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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 August 19, 2010 / 9 Elul, 5770

Big Government Forgets How to Build Big Projects

By Michael Barone




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When I drive from downtown Washington to Reagan National Airport, I often encounter delays on the George Washington Parkway due to construction of a small bridge over an inlet of the Potomac.

It's called the Humpback Bridge, and the Federal Highway Administration began reconstruction in January 2008. It was supposed to be finished last February, but the estimated completion date is now June 2011.

That's 42 months to finish a bridge that doesn't rise more than 30 feet over the water.

From the top of the Humpback Bridge, if you glance to the south, you can see the Pentagon.

The Pentagon was built in 18 months.

From the groundbreaking on Sept. 11 (yes!), 1941, it took only 15 months for Gen. George Marshall and Secretary of War Henry Stimson to move in.

Those metrics tell us something about how government worked then and how it works now. It's taking more than twice as much time to reconstruct a small bridge than it took to build the world's largest office building more than half a century ago.

Now it must be conceded that the two cases are not precisely comparable. Construction crews leave the Humpback Bridge during rush hours. They built the Pentagon 24/7/365.

Still, the contrast is stunning — and unsurprising. In human societies, learning is supposed to be cumulative. But government has unlearned how to build big projects fast.

Steve Vogel's vividly written "The Pentagon: A History," published in 2007, tells the story of how the Pentagon was built and makes it clear that it was typical of the times.

Gen. Brehon Somervell was handpicked by Marshall to supervise the project because, as head of the WPA work-relief agency in New York City, he had built LaGuardia Airport from start to finish in 25 months. Try building an airport in 25 months today.

Somervell worked fast. One Thursday evening in July 1941, he ordered the War Department's chief architect to prepare the building's general layout, basic design plans and architectural perspectives, and have them on his desk by 9 a.m. on Monday morning.

Today government takes longer to do things. The Obama Democrats' stimulus package was passed by Congress in February 2009. Of the $140 billion authorized for infrastructure spending, less than $20 billion had been disbursed 12 months later.

The $8 billion of stimulus money set aside for high-speed rail won't be used for years in the Northeast Corridor, the busiest passenger rail artery in the nation, because the Obama administration ordered a strict environmental review.

Somervell and his WPA boss Harry Hopkins would have had things moving a lot faster than that. Of course, they didn't have to deal with the intricacies and incrustations of federal procurement policy that have been built up over the years.

They didn't have to get clearance from environmental agencies and then prepare for the lawsuits that in our time area are inevitably launched by environmental advocacy groups (part of the Pentagon was built on mud flats; any endangered species there?).

They didn't have to engage in endless negotiations with state and local agencies. In New York, Somervell settled his disagreements with Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in brief shouting matches, after which everyone quickly went to work.

A case can be made that some of these changes are beneficial. Recent reconstruction of the Pentagon showed that some of the cement that was supposed to be poured never was. A nearby semi-shanty town inhabited by blacks was ruthlessly torn down. We do want to protect the environment more than Americans did in the 1940s.

But even those conservatives who don't want government to do much do want government to do the things it should be doing reasonably rapidly.

When three days after the BP gulf oil spill, the Dutch government offered their oil-skimming ships and oil-cleansing technology. The Environment Protection Agency rejected them for weeks because the cleaned ocean water would contain more than 15 parts per million of oil. Somervell wouldn't have taken five minutes to make the opposite decision.

Big government has become a big, waddling, sluggish beast, ever ready to boss you around, but not able to perform useful functions at anything but a plodding pace. It needs to be slimmed down and streamlined, so it can get useful things done fast.

By the way, do you think they'll actually finish the Humpback Bridge by next June? Me neither.

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.

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




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