Paula Jones

Advocates of the debt reduction commission seem to be engaged in a lot of magical thinking over just how this report is going to get enacted into law. I've been eager to see one of them actually spell out how this could happen.

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Disaster Relief

When I studied the results of my national surveys of public opinion one week before the Massachusetts special election, I felt a wave of panic--a strangely familiar feeling. The results showed that the public’s hope had given way to disillusionment; that Democrats had come to embody political gridlock and big spending; that conservatives were energized and Democrats demoralized; that the country was in revolt against elites.

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But Mrs. Clinton is the designated canary who brings the bad news. Or, rather, the good news... at least to the mullahs. She has now told everyone who will listen that the U.S. has no plans for a military strike against Iran. And, given the 
president's deeply ideological commitment to peaceful engagement with Tehran, there is no reason to doubt her. In fact, it is reasonable to deduce that no armed strike by America has even been laid out in the 
most theoretical manner.

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If you have been feeling closely scrutinized at work lately, you are not alone. The most recent study of electronic monitoring in the workplace, conducted earlier this year by the American Management Association, found that more than half of the large U.S. firms surveyed monitor the Internet activity of their employees. Two-thirds monitor e-mail messages, computer files, or telephone conversations, up from 35 percent three years ago. The companies gave several reasons for these intrusions, including concerns about employee performance and productivity.

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Steele Trap

Ordinarily, a witness who changes her story in a way that makes herself an object of ridicule or disgrace is viewed as more credible rather than more suspicious: the law of evidence calls this a statement against interest.

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Material Girl

The witnesses are coming! In their opening arguments during the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton, the House managers seemed to convince a majority of senators to call witnesses to resolve disputed factual questions. The president's lawyers responded that witnesses are unnecessary because "you have before you all that you need" to conclude that there was no basis for the House to impeach the president or the Senate to convict him.

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Starr Crossed

"You have no right or authority under the law, as independent counsel, to advocate for a particular position on the evidence before the Judiciary Committee," Sam Dash wrote to Kenneth Starr last week, announcing his decision to resign as Starr's $400-an-hour ethics adviser. But Dash's frantic attempt to save his tattered reputation after Starr's appearance before the House was several months too late.

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Last weekend was the hundredth anniversary of George Gershwin's birth, and, to commemorate the event, while seeking refuge from the obscene cd-rom containing the appendices of the Starr report, I put on the Brooklyn Academy of Music's terrific recording of Gershwin's greatest political operetta, Of Thee I Sing.

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"There is Substantial and Credible Information that President Clinton Committed Acts that May Constitute Grounds for an Impeachment," Kenneth Starr declares in his report to Congress. But the independent counsel does not explain how, precisely, he has decided to define "acts that may constitute grounds for an impeachment." Starr clearly believes that impeachable offenses are not limited to violations of criminal law, since he includes acts, ranging from bathroom trysts to more formal exercises of executive privilege, that not even he suggests are illegal.

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In Harm's Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings edited by Catharine A. MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin (Harvard, 496 pp., $24.95) Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism by Daphne Patai (Rowman & Littlefield, 288 pp., $22.95) I. In February, Yale Law School sponsored a conference to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Catharine MacKinnon's Sexual Harassment of Working Women.

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