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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 8, 2013/ 28 Nissan, 5773

The Senate as it once was

By David Shribman




JewishWorldReview.com | WASHINGTON -- What if they had a Senate race and nobody ran?

Not as fanciful as you think. It's only April and already seven lawmakers have announced they won't run again in elections still 18 months away. Alm ost certainly more will join them. Last year 10 senators shied away from running.

A lot of qualified people no longer want to be in the world's most exclusive club -- it's actually called that, though many describe it as the cave of winds. Especially the men and women who are in it now.

Of all the institutions in American life, the Senate once seemed the sturdiest. Fortified with rules written by Thomas Jefferson, animated by an 18th century Enlightenment outlook, protected by a generous sense of tenure, it had charm and stability and seemed impervious to change.

Within its walls, time stood still, in part because the traditions of the Senate defied time, because the rules of the Senate suspended time, because time could not dim the history -- from Webster and Calhoun to Baker, Dole and three Kennedys -- that was made within those walls.

"I had such respect for the institution itself and the very large figures who inhabited it, many of whom I had admired from afar," says former Sen. Gary W. Hart, a Colorado Democrat who served from 1975 to 1987. "Then, not one time in 12 years did I enter the chamber without being keenly aware that I was inheriting national history and making it at the same time."

All that was true and may be true again. But it is not true now, with senators abandoning the chamber like passengers fleeing an ocean liner on fire. No one today would agree with Gladstone's assessment that the Senate was "the most remarkable of all the inventions of modern politics."

Senators from another time regard their years in the chamber as among the richest, most rewarding in their lives, and almost universally they speak wistfully, nostalgically, almost romantically, about their time there. Yet these days the Senate is a wretched place.

There's the partisanship, which always existed but in the past was much more muted. There's the lack of comity, a favorite Senate word when there actually was some. There's the lack of respect from the public, which once regarded the Senate as the "upper house" even though longtime House denizens, particularly onetime Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill Jr., never bought that theory. There's the lack of a sense of accomplishment, mostly because the Senate doesn't accomplish much anymore.

In short, it's a lousy job, with very little satisfaction because the Senate's work is consumed with routine filibusters, indefinite holds on legislation and nominations, and straight party votes dictated by leaders who watch helplessly as the chamber lurches from crisis to crisis.

Some figures make the case. Twenty years ago the Senate held 395 roll-call votes. Last year it held 251. Two decades ago it ratified 20 treaties. Last year it ratified none. Twenty years ago it confirmed 38,676 nominations. Last year it confirmed 24, 296 -- a reduction of about 37 percent.

Now, it is perfectly plausible to argue that a Congress that passes less legislation is a better Congress and, in a world where the country would do well to tend to its own knitting, the reduction of ratified treaties from 20 to zero is a good thing. But few people -- Republicans or Democrats -- go to the Capitol with the hope of accomplishing nothing, and few lawmakers, even in the age of the Tea Party, go to Washington with the stated intent of preventing legislation rather than promoting it.

"We had hard-line, unbending senators before," says former Vice President Walter F. Mondale of Minnesota, who served in the Senate between 1964 and 1976, "but they tended to marginalize themselves."

Similar comments could be heard from Republican lawmakers such as former Majority Leader Robert J. Dole of Kansas (Senate years 1969-1996) and, before he died last year, Warren B. Rudman of New Hampshire (1980-1993).

Consider two similarly situated sessions of Congress, the second session of the 112th that just was completed and the second session of the 106th in 2000 -- both the final years of a Congress meeting as an election loomed. The Senate in the second session of the 106th Congress sent 131 laws onto the books, according to the Congressional Record. The most recent Senate's second session logged 42.

"By that time, most of the senators -- those staying and those retiring -- regarded the Senate as a bad joke -- polarized, paralyzed and dysfunctional," says Ira Shapiro, a Washington lawyer whose "The Last Great Senate" looks with nostalgia to a different chamber in a different age. "The rising demand for 'regular order' reflects the deeply felt desire of senators to return to real legislating -- committee hearings and markups, floor debate on legislation and amendments, and hard bargaining which produces principled compromise and legislative accomplishments."

The situation is so bad -- there is so little to do in the Senate -- that lawmakers who once were members of the House now often cross the Capitol to pass the time with their former colleagues. Just two months ago, GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, 69, whose two terms in the Senate followed four in the House, stunned Washington by announcing he would not seek another term.

Mr. Chambliss was just the sort of lawmaker who in another era might have been counted for a long career. His service on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and his chairmanship of the Intelligence and Homeland Security Subcommittee, along with his status as ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, set him up to become that committee's chairman in a GOP Senate.

Instead, he decided to leave.

There are, to be sure, some hopeful signs. In the first few months of 2013, there is more evidence of serious work on important legislation, especially immigration, than the Senate has seen in years.

But lawmakers still feel profound frustration, and they don't feel they are surrounded by what Mr. Hart called "large scale figures." He listed some colleagues by last name only, knowing he served at a time when Senate surnames sufficed: "Mansfield, Humphrey, [Philip] Hart, Muskie, Nelson, Church, Mathias, Javits, Case, Stennis, Goldwater and many others," he recounted. "All gone. All gone."

All gone, and with them, something special in American life.

Comment by clicking here.

David Shribman, a Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism, is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


Previously:



04/01/13 Connections and coincidence: History is full of mysterious relationships, including clusters of greatness
03/25/13 Where portraits tell the story of America's greatest conflict
03/18/13 A former president's correspondence reveals the power of letters, and the powerlessness of aging
03/11/13 Outrageous spectacle lead to a rational resolution on the budget? A nation can dream, can't it?
02/25/13 The one big thing Democrats and Republicans can actually agree on
02/18/13 Obama is wrong to make young people think college is mainly about making a living
02/11/13 The war inside the GOP
02/04/13 Presidential politics, frozen in place
01/28/13 Speech invokes past for present and future
01/14/13 If Obama's inaugural address is to be remembered at all
01/21/13 Identity crisis in the GOP
01/07/13 History meets firearms
12/31/12 In search of our better angels
12/24/12 Wounded in war, Inouye just kept serving his country
12/10/12 President as change agent
12/10/12 Another overtime election
12/03/12 Defining the Obama presidency: Our re-elected chief executive has the whip hand now, but how will he use
11/19/12 New Hampshire 2016
11/12/12 Obama's second chance
11/05/12 America's first martyr to free speech
10/29/12 Making hay in Iowa
10/15/12 When two men confronted each other from afar as civilization hung in the balance
10/08/12 If you look at the election a certain way, things don't seem so terrible
10/01/12 Debating the debates
09/24/12 Pessimists R Us
08/20/12 Obama remains a puzzle even as he asks the American people for a second chance
08/13/12 With Ryan, Romney upends the conversation
08/06/12 The real Romney remains hidden behind other people's opinions
07/30/12 What summer is for: How August can matter, and how Romney might use it
07/23/12 The Independent son of independent Maine promises to shake up Washington
07/16/12 The Rambler American
07/09/12 The Telstar revolution: Fifty years ago, a 3-foot orb was sent aloft and spawned a new era in communications
07/02/12 It's got only four electoral votes, but Romney and Obama will be fighting for them
06/25/12 A little noted rebellion over a lonely stretch of land helps tell the American story
06/18/12 You're nothing special: Luck is what you make of it . . . and what it makes of you
06/11/12 Anybody can talk authoritatively about the presidential election. Here's how
06/04/12 Candidates love to ally themselves with admired presidents, in sometimes unexpected ways
05/29/12 Americans aren't in a new burst of patriotism but they are in a new burst of appreciation for the military
05/21/12 Inside out: Almost nothing about this year's presidential election conforms to conventional analysis
05/14/12 Lugar grew into an elder statesman, which is why he'll be leaving the Senate
05/07/12 50 years later, MacArthur's farewell to arms continues to inspire
04/30/12 The likability factor: We're going to find out how important it is in these troubled times
04/23/12 Romney's four battles: With the nomination essentially in hand, he must turn to new challenges
04/16/12 For GOPers, expect the frustration to build, not abate
04/09/12 The political battles you cannot see
04/02/12 Romney's roadmap: Doing better in Democratic states may complicate his fall campaign
03/26/12 Romney struggles with same GOP forces his father faced long ago
03/19/12 The writer and the president
03/12/12 Romney could learn from his rivals after Super Tuesday
03/05/12 The GOP race continues, and Republicans continue to grouse about their choices
02/27/12 The turnout threat: when voters vamoose
02/20/12 The Winter's Tale: Republicans are engaged in a 'problem play,' full of psychological, and real, drama
02/13/12 Which Ike to like?
02/08/12 A tale of two elections: Voters today are making their most profound choice since 1912
01/30/12 Whither the GOP establishment?
01/23/12 The Democratic coalition is breaking up
01/09/12 The verdict that wasn't
01/02/12 These are the keys to who will persist
12/19/11 Another Gingrich rebellion
12/12/11 A defining fight for the GOP
12/05/11 A distinct lack of enthusiasm
11/28/11 For GOPers, the winds are beginning to pick up, the horizon is darkening
11/21/11 Today's polarized politics . . . blame FDR and the political scientists
11/11/11The sporting life
11/07/11 Ron Paul, true believer
10/31/11 Why Cain isn't able
10/10/11 GOP starting over
10/03/11 The Forgotten War of 1812
09/26/11 The way we live now
09/19/11 The crisis this time
09/11/11 But what will it mean?
09/05/11 A horse race column: Who might win the GOP nomination and how it might unfold
08/29/11 The vacuum calls
08/22/11 Passion and politics: How Barack Obama and Mitt Romney got crowded into the same dangerous corner
08/15/11 Eleanor's little village
08/08/11 The agony of August
08/01/11 The politics of the impossible: What a country this might be if the political class served the broad interests of the majority
07/25/11 Pennant fever grips 'Burgh
07/18/11 Exemplar of an era
07/11/11 On summer
07/04/11 The soul of the party
06/27/11 What the Secretary said
06/20/11 Romney has big advantages over his rivals, but they will be coming after him
06/06/11 One question each
05/30/11 The 14-week challenge
05/23/11 Delay tactics
05/16/11 Republicans are waiting
05/09/11 Bin Laden is dead. What does it mean?
05/02/11 From nobodies to nominees
04/25/11 The founders left slavery for future generations to settle, and we still haven't fully come to terms with it
04/18/11 From audacious to cautious
04/11/11 Dreaming of space
12/12/10 The GOP takes control
12/06/10 DECEMBER 7
11/29/10 GOP presidential hopefuls already are lining up local supporters in what is now a red state
11/22/10 Burning down the House
11/15/10 Institutions of higher learning are finally beginning to teach important lifeskills
11/04/10 The war has just begun
11/01/10 Echoes of a speech 40 years ago this week still resonate today
10/25/10 50 years ago America chose between two men who were dramatically different --- and eerily similar





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