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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 July 30, 2010 / 16 Menachem-Av, 5770

Just another day at Ways and Means

By Wesley Pruden




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There's something in the water, if not the Scotch and bourbon, at the House Ways and Means Committee, and a procession of chairmen just couldn't resist taking deep draughts of whatever it is. It's entertaining for the rest of us, but expensive.

Rep. Charles Rangel, who has been in Congress longer than almost anyone, spent Thursday vainly trying to cut a deal with the House Ethics Committee over his presumed capital indiscretions with the tax man. Charlie is a master craftsman of congressional bonhomie and like most of his colleagues he imagines that rules, most of which Congress writes, apply only to the peasants. Charlie wants most of all to keep his seat in the House. He thinks a public trial, which looks like what he'll get, would be embarrassing, though it's hard to imagine how a member of Congress could any longer be humiliated by anything.

Mark Twain, who lived in a more innocent age, gilded or not, famously observed that Congress is our only native criminal class. What could he think of several recent chairmen of the once-powerful House Ways and Means Committee, where taxes originate. The most recent miscreants are Democrats, but that's only because Democrats preside over the House more often than Republicans.

Dan Rostenkowski, who was chairman of the Ways and Means Committee from 1981 until he was deposed in 1994, is the most prominent member - so far - of the Congressional Prison Caucus. He didn't necessarily cheat on taxes, but laundered money through the sale of stamps at the House Post Office, converted office funds to buy gifts for his friends and diverted more than a million dollars from campaign funds to pay his lawyers. He was practicing Chicago politics.

He served 15 months in a minimum security prison, two days of it in solitary confinement after he sassed a social worker. He learned the hard way that social workers, like congressmen, don't like back talk. He finally put in a useful day's work in prison, earning 16 cents an hour for reading the boiler gauges in the prison electricity-generating station. When he got one of Bill Clinton's Christmas pardons just before Bubba checked out of the White House, he left the pokey to collect his $104,000-a-year congressional pension.

The saddest comeuppance was earned by Wilbur Mills, the chairman of Ways and Means for 18 years, longer than any man in history, and once was regarded as the most powerful man in Congress. He kept a copy of the tax code at his bedside for nighttime reading, devouring the sections A and subsections B in the fine print like other congressmen devour Playboy centerfolds and Capital guides to massage parlors and bordellos. But Mr. Mills, who died in 1992, was not all the staid banker, and his appreciation for the terpsichorean arts finally cost him his seat in Congress.

A Park Police patrol car stopped his big black sedan, running without lights at 2 in the morning, at the Tidal Basin on a cool October night in 1974. A cop's flashlight revealed his face scratched and cut from an altercation with a constituent named Annabelle Battistella, perhaps over the capital gains provisions in the tax code. Miss Battistella was better known as Fanne Fox, a stripper billed as "the Argentine Firecracker". She leaped from the car and into the Tidal Basin, attempting to flee. She was caught and taken to St. Elizabeth's Hospital for a psychiatric examination. She was crazy, all right, but only for Mr. Mills, who then endured considerable embarrassment back home in Arkansas, where cavorting with constituents who make their living without much on is officially frowned on. But he was re-elected with 60 percent of the vote. Republicans, in or out of their clothes, were thought in those days to be unsuitable for public office.

Mr. Mills returned to his chairmanship and might have remained there for years, but three weeks after re-election he turned up with whisky on his breath at a burlesque house in Boston, and held a press conference in the Argentine Firecracker's dressing room. Soon after he joined Alcoholics Anonymous, checked into a Florida hospital, stepped down as chairman of Ways and Means, and after leaving Congress at the end of his term devoted the rest of his life, sober, to helping other alcoholics.

Mr. Mills was never accused of cheating anyone other than Mrs. Mills, and so far as anyone knew never did anything seriously against the law.

Congressional entertainment has since become more sordid than entertaining, more mortifying than memorable, as young men have all but replaced young women as congressional prey of choice. Some call it progress.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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