In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 14, 2008 / 9 Nissan 5768

Washington is ‘Home Alone’ as the Senate refuses to confirm nominees

By John H. Fund

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | During last month's Bear Stearns financial crisis, the Federal Reserve was in the awkward position of having two empty seats on its seven-member Board of Governors. Two new nominees, along with a holdover member, have been awaiting Senate confirmation for a year. This was a problem because the votes of five governors were required to exercise the economic rescue clause that allowed the Fed to lend emergency funds. One governor was unavailable to vote, so a special rule had to be invoked for the Fed to act.

Back in 2000, then-Fed chairman Alan Greenspan warned the Senate that it must fulfill its duty to confirm nominees. Failure to do so, he said, "would effectively create a problem for us should a major financial crisis emerge." That almost happened last month. But the vacancies remain.

The problem goes far beyond the Federal Reserve. Partisan politics has brought Washington a "Home Alone" government, in which more than 200 nominees for the judicial and executive branches are waiting for Senate confirmation.

Foot-dragging in filling judicial vacancies is a growing problem. President Clinton got a Republican-controlled Senate to confirm 15 of his appellate court nominees in his final two years in office. So far the Democratic Senate has confirmed only seven Bush nominees. It is sitting on 10 more, apparently waiting to run out the clock on the administration, and never mind that seven of the remaining vacancies have been deemed "judicial emergencies."

The Securities and Exchange Commission has only three out of five commissioners. The National Labor Relations Board two members and three empty seats, so that, according to former chairman John Raudebaugh, it can handle "only cases that have no issues." The Consumer Products Safety Commission has only two of its five commissioners on the job at a time when public concern about lead-tainted toys is acute. Three key positions at the State Department, including the undersecretary for arms control, remain unconfirmed. Acting officials fill vacant slots at State and other agencies, but they are limited in their roles and often ignored by career bureaucrats who refuse to take them seriously.

The most ridiculous case is the Federal Election Commission, which has had only two out of six members since January. That's when Democrats balked at confirming Hans von Spakovsky, who had served on the FEC for two years. Sen. Barack Obama put his nomination on hold for years because Mr. von Spakovsky, as a Justice Department official, supported laws requiring voters to show photo ID. So much for Mr. Obama's call to transcend partisanship.

With only a skeleton crew, the FEC can't open new cases, hold public meetings or even issue advisory opinions. Michael Toner, a former FEC chairman, says the inability of the White House and the Senate to agree on nominees "hurts the ability of parties and candidates to comply with the law."

Presidential scholar Paul Light says both sides deserve some blame for a confirmation process he says has degenerated into "hostage negotiation between warring nations." Sure enough, while the Bush White House blames foot-dragging by Democrats, Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy responds that the administration "could care less" if some of its nominees get confirmed: "They dislike government. They dislike the way government works."

Suspicion of Mr. Bush runs so deep among Democrats that some seem to delight in making it impossible for a Republican administration to make policy decisions. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Environment Committee, told Politico.com that "it's better to have fewer people on the commissions if the people who are nominated want to destroy the mission of their particular job." She added, "From my perspective, I'd rather have nobody."

It's already difficult to get good people to take top government jobs. Even before the confirmation process, they must contend with pay cuts, family disruptions, lengthy background checks and burdensome and duplicative financial disclosure forms. Mr. Light worries that the built-in delays in vetting and confirming Presidential appointees could mean the next administration won't be fully in place for a year.

The bloody-minded absolutism of the current confirmation wars threatens to have long-term negative consequences for whichever party holds office in the future. It's absurd for the United States to hold itself up as a model for democratic governance when as a nation we can't even get a full team onto the field to conduct basic administration and diplomacy.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor John H. Fund is author, most recently, of "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

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© 2006, John H. Fund