Home
In this issue
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 August 16, 2010 / 6 Elul, 5770

Flaws aside, Rosty and Stevens put the public first

By Michael Barone




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The deaths this week of two political Old Bulls has inspired some harsh commentary.

Writers have noted that Dan Rostenkowski, longtime chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, went to "Club Fed" (as he called it) on minor corruption charges. They have written at length that Ted Stevens, senator from Alaska for 40 years, brought a lot of pork barrel projects to his state and was convicted on corruption charges -- a conviction overturned because of prosecutorial misconduct.

Let me put in a few good words for these two Old Bulls, whom I've followed in the 40 years that I've been co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.

Rosty worked hard in his 14 years as chairman of Ways and Means. The gruff Chicago pol, who got his House seat at age 30 because Mayor Richard J. Daley owed his father a favor, mastered the deals of legislation and could explain them lucidly on the floor.

He was an indispensable player in passing the 1986 tax reform that lowered rates and eliminated hundreds of tax preferences. That was the kind of bipartisan effort you haven't seen lately and one that was contrary to his institutional interest as chairman.

As for Stevens, he had a point when he said that Alaska, because of its geographical position, demographic character and heavy federal involvement, had special claims on the federal government.

Moreover, Stevens worked hard and could produce instantaneous justifications for even the most minor project he was backing. I have seen him spout forth the details, sometimes angrily, in both Washington and Alaska.

He deserves special credit for one piece of legislation that I've seen mentioned only briefly in the obituaries, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971.

This law was necessary because the Alaska statehood act had left unsettled the land claims of Alaska Natives, 15 percent of the state's population. The North Slope oil fields, discovered in 1968, couldn't be exploited until those claims were settled.

The Native Claims Act took a novel approach, rejecting the traditional Indian reservation system and instead setting up a dozen Native corporations entitled to select certain lands and pooling mineral resource income among them. Each Native got shares in one of the corporations.

The corporate form gave incentives to the management of each corporation to pay attention to minority opinion (because minorities could elect a director) and at the same time tended to insure continuity of management. In contrast, some Indian reservations are governed by successive winners of 51 to 49 percent elections, with continued skirmishing and attendant corruption.

Some of the Native corporations have been mismanaged, and there have been constant readjustments of the system, in which Stevens played a role. He kept in constant touch with Native leaders and, while not always agreeing with their advocates, always treated them with respect.

He took the lead in obtaining jobs for Natives on the North Slope oil fields and in defense contract work.

The result has been a system far superior to that of Indian reservations. The Native corporations have mostly invested their income wisely and continue, even as North Slope oil production has tailed off, to provide an income supplement to Native shareholders.

This allows Natives to choose where they want to live on the spectrum from the Native lifestyle, living in the Alaska bush and participating in subsistence hunting and fishing, to the mainstream lifestyle, living in Anchorage or Wasilla or the Lower 48 and working in jobs of their choosing.

One of the blotches on America's history has been our treatment of aboriginal Americans. Thanks in very large part to Stevens, the Native Claims Act has provided a better life and a wider array of choices for Alaska Natives than the reservation system.

For Stevens there was not much of a political payoff. Most Natives voted for him in the years when he was re-elected almost unanimously, when he didn't need their votes.

In 2008, when he faced a tough opponent and was convicted as a result of prosecutorial misconduct just weeks before the election, most Natives voted Democratic, as they usually do. Stevens lost by 3,953 votes.

Rostenkowski and Stevens did not get much political reward for their good work on tax reform and Alaska Natives. They just worked hard in what they thought was the public interest. They deserve to be remembered for that.

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.

Comment by clicking here.

JWR contributor Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner.




Michael Barone Archives

© 2009, Washington Examiner; DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles