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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 May 6, 2005 / 27 Nissan, 5765

The Law of Loopholes in Action

By David Gelernter


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Noticing patterns helps you predict, sometimes, how a story will turn out. For example, there's the law of loopholes: Every loophole will eventually be exploited; every exploited loophole will eventually be closed. This is human nature.


Consider post-9/11 Washington — a sad sight, with long lines of tourists patiently awaiting yet another inspection for the privilege of entering yet another government building they probably helped buy with their own money. All security loopholes are closed, theoretically. But we have been traveling this road for a long time.


In 1849, Isaac Mayer Wise visited Washington and was taken around by an acquaintance who decided they might as well stop in on the president — who was (after all) one of the sights of the city; there weren't too many others. (Later, Wise became a founder of Liberal Judaism. That's another story.) Wise and friend walked into the White House. There was no one around but a butler, who "pointed backwards to the staircase" when they asked for the president. They went upstairs, knocked on a door and were told to come in. President Zachary Taylor was sitting alone by the fire, doing nothing in particular. "Step up closer, gentlemen," he said. "It is cold today." So they did, and the three had a pleasant chat.


Fifteen years later the painter Francis B. Carpenter, passing the White House on a summer morning, saw President Lincoln out front "looking anxiously down the street," trying to find a newsboy. There was a war on, and the president wanted to know what was happening. Naturally he was eager for a morning paper. If you can find a newsboy, said Lincoln to Carpenter, "I wish you would start one up this way." He proposed to wait patiently till the newsboy arrived.


Washington was a city of wide-open loopholes. If you had business with the president, you knocked on his door. A year later Lincoln was murdered and the loopholes started to close — slowly, like flowers at dusk. But ever since, this society has locked itself down tighter and tighter.


Terrorists in the late 1960s discovered a different kind of loophole: It was easy to hijack airplanes. Just charge into the cockpit waving a gun. Hijacking seemed like a fairly pointless crime at first. But every loophole gets exploited. In 1968, hijackings to Cuba became a serious fad. Air travel security began to tighten in response — but not enough. On Sept. 11, 2001, it became clear that many loopholes had remained wide open. The nation hurried to shut them, but no doubt many others are still available. If you can think of any, keep them to yourself.


Terrorists discovering air travel security loopholes resemble lawyers discovering that you can win millions by suing the right companies in the right courts. Agreed, lawyers are not criminals. But traditionally nothing prevents parasitic lawsuits in this country except comity, common sense and the wisdom of judges and juries — which isn't much. And every loophole gets exploited, as we've established. This March, for example, a California judge decided in favor of aggrieved shoppers who had purchased high-end cosmetics at fancy department stores. Evidently, they had been overcharged and were entitled to reparation payments, to be doled out in the form of small dollops of cold cream, etc. The lawyers got $24 million in cash.


Recently, federal tort reform measures became law; many other related federal and state measures are under consideration. It's easy to blame trial lawyers for ruthless greed. But then again, the first law of loopholes is something like the first law of thermodynamics. There is no way around it. Adults discover open loopholes the way children break things, by relentless experimentation that looks aimless but turns out (over time) to be remarkably expensive. It's sad but inevitable.


Which brings me back to Washington. No rule prevents a Senate minority from filibustering a president's judicial nominees. Up-or-down votes are traditionally expected on nominees who have been voted out of committee, but mere tradition can't prevent a loophole's being exploited. Some Republicans are speechless with rage, but they might as well save it. Republicans are now preparing to abolish judicial filibusters — one more open space in American society to be fenced off. Accordingly, some Democrats are now furious — and they too might just as well not bother. Did they expect their loophole to stay open forever? When has that ever happened?

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.



Yale professor David Gelernter is a senior fellow at the Shalem Center, Jerusalem. To comment, please click here.


04/29/05: The ‘We're Smart, You're Dumb’ Principle
04/22/05: To Dems, it's 1974 forever
04/18/05: Turning American soldiers into an out-of-sight, out-of-mind servant class who are expected to do their duty and keep their mouths shut


© 2005, Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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