December 14, 1998
"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.
December 13, 1998
A Trip to Stonesville
Arnold Relman on author Andrew Weil M.D. and alternative medicine
November 30, 1998
The Permanent Insurrection
David Grann on Bob Livingston's unruly inheritance.
John Judis on Gingrich's fatal misreading of the past.
"It is either impeachment or nothing," Gary McDowell, the conservative legal scholar, told the House Judiciary Committee on November 9. "Thus, the current suggestion that Congress might censure the president is to assume a power not given by our Constitution." Many of the scholars who testified during the opening hearing of the House impeachment inquiry agreed with McDowell, but they were overstating the case against censure.
The DNA test proving that Thomas Jefferson fathered at least one child with his slave Sally Hemings was good news for the Jefferson-Hemings descendants, for a brave and stubborn lawyer-historian, and for the United States. It was bad news for some conservative pundits. And it was gratifying news for me. More than a year and a half ago, I wrote in these pages that the existing evidence made it "difficult to avoid thinking in terms of the probability, and not merely the possibility, of a Jefferson-Hemings liaison" (see "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Thomas Jefferson," March 10, 1997).
October 19, 1998
Surveying the current state of uncertainty in the White House, one can't help but wonder whether things would be different if Rahm Emanuel were alive. In the corporeal sense, of course, the presidential counselor is still very much above ground. But, as far as the White House is concerned, its veteran cheerleader is history. On the day the Starr report hit, as the White House scrambled to respond, Emanuel had more important concerns: his wife had just given birth to their second child. And, at the end of October, Emanuel will quit his job to take a teaching post at Northwestern University. Col
October 18, 1998
Call the whole thing off
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.
October 12, 1998
Back to Bosnia
A flashback: I heard the sniper's shot before I saw Haris Bahtanovic fall to the ground. He was walking through a park-turned-shooting-gallery behind Sarajevo's Holiday Inn. A few men rushed into the open and dragged Bahtanovic into a car that tore away. I wrote a story about this, about the odd way you can cover a war by sitting in your hotel room, out of the line of fire, and watch someone get shot. The next day, I found Bahtanovic in a hospital. The bullet had smashed through his left arm and grazed his ribs.
October 05, 1998
A Constitutional Crisis
"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.