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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 Sept. 29, 2005 / 25 Elul, 5765

After the hurricanes, it's raining money

By Jonathan Turley

Turley
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It is one of the secrets of the Beltway: Washington loves disasters. With large-scale disasters, government expands, its friends get wealthy and citizens become as docile as kittens. That is why Congress calls it "disaster relief" — the relief is from the usual restrictions on revenue spending and individual responsibility.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are like dinner gongs for Beltway lobbyists, who are lining up for the windfall of tens of billions of dollars. Even before Katrina finished plowing through the South, special interests moved to plow under restrictions on competitive bidding. The principal protection against sweetheart deals for administration friends is the requirement that large federal contracts must be awarded on the basis of competitive bidding. The administration's chief procurement official, David Safavian, pushed a provision in a disaster bill to increase the number of contracts that Congress could award on a noncompetitive basis. Safavian was in a hurry: The week his provision became law, he was indicted for allegedly lying to investigators in a different controversy.

Safavian has resigned, but hundreds of noncompetitive contracts live on in his name. More than 80% of the $1.5 billion in FEMA contracts were awarded without competitive bidding. Even the inspector general of the Homeland Security Department has said he is "very apprehensive" about how the administration is handing out contracts.

In the meantime, members of Congress are demanding billions from the Treasury over and above the billions in charity and the $62.3 billion already appropriated for disaster relief. The Louisiana delegation alone is asking for the equivalent of $50,000 for every person in New Orleans. This reportedly includes $40 billion in projects for the Army Corps of Engineers — 16 times the amount that the Corps says is necessary to protect New Orleans.

The usual players are circling. Halliburton, with ties to Vice President Dick Cheney and other high-level officials in the administration, has already received a contract related to Katrina. Another company, AshBritt, with ties to Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, was handed a $568-million deal.

Of course, the key to becoming a disaster millionaire is to strike when the disaster's hot. Take Sunnye Sims, who until three years ago was a meeting-and-events planner living in a $1,025-a-month, two-bedroom apartment in San Diego. Post-9/11, Congress was gushing out domestic security money to well-connected companies, which in turn were subcontracting out the work after taking hefty profits. Sims secured one of those subcontracts to help set up and run assessment centers for airport screeners.

She eventually charged the government $24 million, paying herself $5.4 million in compensation, with a $270,000 pension, and now lives in a stunning $1.9-million hilltop mansion. Auditors recently stated that $15 million in expenses for her company are still unsubstantiated.

With noncompetitive contracts and sparse auditing, Katrina will probably spawn hundreds of disaster millionaires like Sims the way that hurricanes spin off tornados.

Of course, not all disaster relief takes the form of money. This month, the administration sent an e-mail to federal prosecutors in New Orleans: Had prosecutors in the Big Easy faced "claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the work on the levees protecting New Orleans"? It appears that the administration was looking for evidence that the levy breaches and the resulting devastation could be laid at the feet of environmentalists — not the Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, Bush budget cuts or state and local planners. This week, administration officials suggested that environmental rules governing refineries and oil companies should be relaxed in the name of disaster relief — measures long sought by lobbyists. Perhaps if we scrap the Clean Water Act entirely we could prevent hurricanes altogether.

This follows an opportunistic pattern. After 9/11, the administration blamed not government lapses but civil liberties and civil libertarians for part of the nation's vulnerability. Within two years, it had used 9/11 to limit those liberties, increase the power of the presidency and federal agencies such as the FBI, and even to push through its long-stalled energy legislation.

Of course, all the fun and frenzy associated with disaster relief may be lost on the thousands of Gulf Coast residents trying to find shelter and subsistence. But they should know that folks are doing fine in Washington. In fact, they could not be doing better.

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

JWR contributor Jonathan Turley is a law professor at George Washington University. Click here to visit his website. Comment by clicking here.

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