Political seasons do not always bring out the best in our political system. The impulse to draw sharp distinctions to win elections exacerbates differences but fails to provide sufficient content to inform voters. When elections are combined with high unemployment, rising foreclosures, and increasing economic desperation, the voices of some become shrill and the voices of the vast majority are weary and often mute. But this year's posturing, acrimony, and ill will seems to have hit a new peak.
Just in case you need more evidence of the paralysis gripping Capitol Hill, consider yesterday's successful effort by Senate Republicans to block debate on legislation repealing the military's “don't ask, don't tell” policy on gay soldiers.
And the threatened filibuster wasn't even on a vote on the bill itself; instead, GOP lawmakers effectively prevented it from even being discussed.
I'm not sure there's anything more demoralizing than watching Congress and the Obama administration sputter away about an economy that seems to heading south once again.
The past few week's newspapers have overflowed with economic news, ranging from bad to really terrible; economic pundits like the New York Times' Paul Krugman tell a terrible story of economic ineptitude at every level and speak ominously about much worse to come.
More Jewish groups are getting the message that the epidemic of Islam bashing isn't ...well, good for the Jews or any other religious minority.
Yesterday a broad spectrum of religious leaders gathered in Washington to discuss the rising tide of anti-Islam bigotry. Representing the Jewish community at sessions hosted by the Islamic Society of North America: Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA).
A couple of Jewish groups have weighed in – angrily – on the federal judge who blocked the Obama administration's decision to fund embryonic stem cell research.
Obama acted in 2009 after legislation that would allow federal stem cell funding was vetoed twice by former President George W. Bush. Christian groups filed suit against the Obama guidelines, saying it would result in the destruction of human embryos.
Will the recent test of an advanced North Korean ballistic missile awaken Washington from its long slumber on the issue of missile defenses?
Wake-up Call On Missiles?
Will the recent test of an advanced North Korean ballistic missile awaken Washington from its long slumber on the issue of missile defenses? That was the underlying question posed by a group of Israeli legislators who made the rounds in Washington this week, seeking to bolster missile defense cooperation and encourage American efforts to combat the escalating threat.
The Jewish wall of silence on the Iraq war cracked a little more this week when a major Jewish women’s group shifted gears and endorsed a strong anti-war statement.
The board of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), in a resolution approved with little dissent, said that “continuing or expanding our country’s military presence in Iraq does not promote peace nor does it provide freedom from terrorism.”
Congressional Republicans are edging away — and some are doing more than edging — from a Bush administration that continues to skid in the polls, and some Jewish leaders are hoping that will be the wedge they need to override last week’s presidential veto of a critical children’s health care bill.