Learn How To Start Blogging From Blog Experts!

Mar 07 2014

blogDo you want to know how to start blogging without the hassle of having to enroll in online courses or maybe without having to study tutorials? Well, there is an alternate way to learn how to start blogging. This other way that we are referring to is by going in forums online. Forums are made up of threads that discusses about a certain topic. One way to start learning about blog is by learning from the experts. This is more like stalking since it will be about collecting information without the other members having to notice you. It is more like signing up for a membership to watch people talk about a certain topic that may be helpful to you.

How will you learn from watching? You can learn from watching by going on a certain thread with the topic that you need. For example, you want to learn how to use the proper structure of codes. Then if that is so, just go to the list of their forum topics then spot the topic that is close to what you are looking for. After so, go to the last page of the thread and from there, you will see what the original question is about that started the forum.

Learn How To Start Your Own Blog Before Investing Into Something!

Learning something like how to start your own blog without being sure on where you can use your skill after you have learned it is like investing into nothing. That is why before you make up your mind that you want to learn how to start your own blog then use blogging as a source of income or sideline, make sure that you have somewhere to use your skills on. There are so many sites that need bloggers. Whether you are an expert in blogging or an amateur, many sites could use someone like you. There are many ways how site owners could use bloggers whatever their line of experience is.

In order for you to ensure that you can have a stable blogging career, here are some things that you can do to save yourself a job or employer for blogging while you are still enhancing your blogging skills. First thing you need to do is create a sample blog that can be about anything and send them to a number of sites that need bloggers. After you have sent them, enhance your skills while you are waiting for their response if you are denied or accepted. By the time that they contact you if you are accepted, you will already be fully prepared for the job.

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Good Morning Snore Solution Review: Where To Find It

Sep 09 2013

gssAlthough other competitors also work well to some degree, Good Morning Snore Solution review attests that there are few that can match the effectiveness and efficiency of Good Morning Snore Solution. It is not only proven clinically but most importantly it has been tried and tested to work for almost seventy percent of snorers who participated in the clinical tests. This product just works fine for everyone from all ages as proven by Good Morning Snore Solution review.

Buying this product is very convenient as it is available on the World Wide Web. You do not need to stray around and be lost when looking for this very good product. You may buy a family pack for two people or you can buy just a single device. Just add some more cash and you can buy this product in packs of two. This is more convenient and reasonable for you. A family size contains two mouthpieces so if both you and your spouse or love ones are snoring, family packs are the best for you. A 3o day refund is offered to you and you can always ask for reimbursement of your purchase if you found the product to be ineffective. Good Morning Snore Solution reviews assure you that this product has passed strict quality standard and you will be satisfied of its result to your snoring problem.

Objectivity When It Comes To Snore RX Reviews

A well-written review would contain all the pertinent facts about how something works and where it is available. It would also give you the causes that lead you to use snore RX and the consequences of its regular use. The thing about Snore RX reviews would be that you will get to see impartial views or opinions as to its effect on the user. This type of objective writing is always better than a glowing tribute to any product because it makes things real.

If you come across material written only in favor of a product, you may become suspicious and feel that it all sounds too good to be true. On the other hand, if you come across the best snore RX reviews that touch upon a few negative aspects, even if it is only to highlight the cost factor, you will not feel as if you are being conned. Many marketing agencies hire writers to write complimentary copy because they believe that it will boost their sales. However, truth be told, it is the more realistic review that will help a product stay in the market for a longer time. Therefore, as part of marketing strategy, it would help to understand the target audience and the market trends before unleashing all the advertising gimmicks of a product on to the unsuspecting public.

Can Nasal Drops Prevent Snoring?

Snoring can prevent the snorer and his bed partner from good sleep, so it is crucial to find the solution, as soon as possible. The safest way to learn about the product is to read, for instance, some reviews of the mouthpiece, and others of this kind, and see that people have to say about it. Another solution that may help is nasal drops that can stop the nose inflammation.

Even while using the nasal drops, some other habits can trigger the problem, such as smoking, and the irritation that it and being overweight causes leads to inflammation and snoring. It is better to use the herbal nasal drops smooth the nose tissues, so there will be no vibrations when the air flows. However, not every nasal drop can work for everyone, so it is better to ask around since there are many commercials that will do anything to make the customer buy the product. On the other hand, if the cause of snoring is inflammation, this might help, but in more serious situations the patient needs to consult the doctor, or use the mouthpiece or chin straps. Thanks to Good Morning Snore Solution, the patient will find out more about this products and its efficiency, because it is much better solution than the nasal drops.

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Social Security Wins And Losses

Jul 28 2013

Bill clintonThe press coverage of Bill Clinton’s Social Security plan has tended to emphasize that it is complicated. It would be closer to the truth to say that it does not exist. If it is complicated, it is for the same reason Whitewater was complicated: It was designed that way, to obscure its fraudulence.

In his State of the Union speech this January, Clinton urged that about 60 percent of the federal budget surplus be devoted to replenishing the Social Security trust fund. Within the week, Republicans were charging Clinton with an accounting trick. Since most of the federal surplus comes from the trust fund in the first place-right now, Social Security brings in far more in payroll taxes than it pays out to retirees-the administration was double-counting by pretending to add money that was already there.

Caught in what appeared to be a lie, the administration and its defenders did what comes naturally: say that “everybody does it.” Republicans and Democrats alike had for years pretended that the trust fund was in fine shape while simultaneously using it to finance the government’s other operations.

The sophisticated liberal argument went like this: What the administration was really doing was using the surplus to retire debt and, at the same time, piling up the trust fund with IOUs from the rest of the government. Those IOUs meant that when the crunch comes for Social Security, it will have a claim on general federal revenues in addition to the money it raises through payroll taxes. All of the accounting rigmarole, the administration told liberal journalists, was designed to block Republican tax cuts-a cause so manifestly just, these journalists agreed, as to excuse a little deception.

Promising to fund Social Security through general revenues had long been a controversial idea among liberals. The program would become more redistributive, since the income tax is more progressive than the payroll tax, but, by the same token, also more vulnerable to attacks as a form of welfare. What the promise does not do is actually raise revenues. When the crunch comes, the government will have to raise taxes and cut benefits by exactly as much as it would have to do if it dispensed with the IOU scheme altogether.

Will retiring debt make this dilemma easier, as even some Republicans seem to think? It won’t make anything worse, but if the idea is that retiring the debt will make it easier for the government to borrow when it needs to cover the Social Security shortfall, this plan is misconceived. Future borrowing will still be immense and swamp the amount of debt that will have been retired. And feeding more money to Social Security will make the already-dismal return it offers today’s workers that much worse.

nixonClinton proposed to increase the return by having the government invest some of the trust fund in the private sector. An independent board would supposedly make sure that decisions weren’t made on a political basis, just as with the Federal Reserve. Right-the same Fed that goosed the economy for Nixon, the same Fed whose chairman, Alan Greenspan, has risked his reappointment by speaking out against this plan. With this much money to play with, the government could hardly fail to distort capital markets.

With all these flaws, it was easy for the Congressional Budget Office and General Accounting Office to pick apart Clinton’s plan. In the Senate, no Democrat introduced Clinton’s budget; that was left to Republican Kit Bond of Missouri, who embarrassed the administration by forcing a 97-2 vote against it. Then John Ashcroft, the other Missouri Republican, offered an amendment prohibiting government investment and prevailed, 99-0.

But Clinton’s unseriousness does have consequences. Republicans may well be able to get a solid privatization plan through the Senate Finance Committee, where Democrats John Breaux of Louisiana, Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, and probably Chuck Robb of Virginia are open to the idea. But beyond that, the prospects for privatization dim: The left wing of the Democratic party is opposed, the White House has plenty of practice in demagoguery on entitlements, and the usual Republicans are skittish.

The advocates of privatization should not let their remarkable success so far blind them to the political dangers. But that doesn’t mean privatizers should retreat.

Republican consultant Ralph Reed, noting polls that show the public would prefer individual investment to government investment, says that Republicans shouldn’t be shy about picking a fight: “You have to take some risks in politics in order to win big victories. The American people are with us.”

Well, not quite. As is often the case, the conservative policy position is popular until it is linked to the Republicans. The public trusts Democrats much more on the issue. This would seem to suggest that Republicans need to build up their credibility. They’ve taken a stab at it by proposing to take Social Security off budget. This is a substantively meaningless exercise, but it is a way of showing that the program’s funds will no longer be raided. For now, though, the primary Republican task should be to persuade, not legislate.

It would be best to start outside the Social Security system. And here Clinton has suggested an idea that could prove worthwhile. In his State of the Union speech, he advocated establishing “USA Accounts”-a kind of government-matched 401(k) for workers. Since then, the administration has indicated that this match would take the form of a non-refundable tax credit. Since the worker’s own contribution would also be tax-free, this looks an awful lot like a tax cut. Conservatives are wary of the accounts, not least because Clinton proposed them. But their objections are weak. Yes, Clinton will try to make the accounts redistributive. Republicans should simply resist him. It’s an entitlement, conservatives shudder. In terms of political psychology, however, the accounts may function less as an entitlement than some privatization schemes would. In such plans, workers’ investment choices are limited to picking who will manage their accounts. This sort of privately administered entitlement wouldn’t reduce the public’s sense of dependence on government. USA Accounts, on the other hand, would bring millions of Americans directly into the investing class. They would get experience monitoring fund prices, calculating rates of return, and planning a portfolio. In time-and not too long a time-they would become receptive to more robust forms of privatization.

If conservatives continue to balk at USA Accounts, they have other options. Various bills before Congress, many of them sponsored by Democrats, propose expanding IRAs. That, too, would build support for privatization.

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Reagan’s Legacy Lingers

Jul 20 2013

reaganRepublicans celebrate Ronald Reagan for winning the Cold War, reviving the economy, and restoring American confidence. Yet this is actually to understate his contribution to his party. A technical decision of his administration in 1981 lit the fuse for an explosion of stock ownership that is transforming American politics.

Prior to that time, the dominant form of employee pension was the “defined benefit” plan. Labor unions negotiated cash benefits for each employee, calculated on the basis of years of service and a percentage of annual pay. Management, not workers, assumed fiduciary responsibility for plan investments. Government provided tax breaks to encourage this.

But the country’s industrial malaise in the 1970s put many of these plans at risk. Companies went bankrupt holding millions of dollars in pension liabilities. Troubled firms with solvent plans became takeover targets for investment bankers, who questioned the rationality of freezing pension capital within companies that needed to retool. The Democratic Congress responded to worker anxiety by tightening fiduciary regulations on management and by mandating a business-funded bailout program-shackling responsible managers to the bad ones. Corporate enthusiasm for defined-benefit programs predictably waned.

All along, however, a small but influential group of companies, such as Eastman Kodak, Fisher-Price, and Procter & Gamble, had based at least some retirement benefitson profit-sharing-giving employees cash or stock based on the company’s performance-rather than on defined benefits. Until 1978 the tax code continued to favorĀ  defined-benefit plans. But that year, the profit-sharing companies succeeded in securing a tax law that allowed both employers and employees voluntarily to defer “compensation” into a tax-advantaged pension plan.

What, exactly, was “compensation”? The defined-contribution revolution was itself deferred three more years while the IRS decided. The Reagan administration’s 1981 ruling held that the “compensation” eligible for tax advantages included not just profit-sharing distributions and bonuses, but wages as well. The employee’s contribution to his retirement plan would get the same tax break as his employer’s.

The 401(k) was born. Several large profit-sharing corporations immediately filed under the new ruling, and the tax breaks soon lured other companies. By 1984, 7.5 million employees owned $92 billion in 401(k)s. Assets in such programs tripled to $277 billion in 1989, tripled again to $860 billion in 1995, and then almost doubled over the next three years, to $1.54 trillion in assets in 1998. That year, 39 million Americans participated in 401(k) programs, while other defined-contribution plans enrolled 16 million more. A trickle of stock ownership had become a flood.

This resulted in the greatest dispersion of capital ownership in human history. By 1999, 76 million Americans, 43 percent of our households, held shares in corporations or equity mutual funds.

pbDuring these same years, the country’s political balance was also shifting in favor of the Republicans. This was not a coincidence. Most political analysts missed the impact of expanded stock ownership because they assumed that portfolios were an accoutrement of wealthy white households; if stock owners were more Republican than others, this was simply a function of their race, sex, income, etc.

But the rapid growth of shareholding among groups that had not been in capital markets called this assumption into question. From 1989 to 1995, stock ownership increased 46 percent among households earning $25,000 to $49,999, and 78 percent among households earning $10,000 to $24,999. Indeed, by 1995, half of American shareholders had annual incomes below $50,000. Investment in equities also increased substantially among young adults and seniors in the first decade of their retirement.

According to a January 1999 survey by Rasmussen Research for the Cato Institute, the democratization of the stock market is having large political effects. The 6,400 respondents to the survey were divided by the usual demographic markers such as race and sex, but also, for the first time, by whether they owned more than $5,000 in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. The results: Investors, even among groups such as unmarried women and blacks, identified themselves as Republicans in substantially higher percentages than non-investors.

The GOP has been slow to recognize the ramifications of Reagan’s gift. True, Republicans are for medical savings accounts, Social Security privatization, universal IRAs, and other policies that promote investment. But they have offered these programs with a bad conscience. All too often, they have denigrated investment-based tax cuts as social engineering or, worse, elitism. Some, adopting the language of their ideological foes, disparage savings incentives as “tax expenditures.”

They are wrong to do so. An investment-side politics can promote supply-side economics, making taxes both flatter and lower. Flat-tax advocates implicitly assume that the current tax code is skewed to favor consumption today over long- term wealth seeking. That’s why an important feature of the leading flat-tax proposals is the mitigation of the double taxation of savings. An investment- based approach to tax cutting makes this assumption explicit. And the problem of “social engineering”-that it’s wrong for the tax code to promote individual saving for, say, health care over other personal goals-is self- correcting because of the normal processes of politics. Government programs tend to grow by showering more and more benefits on more and more voters. That’s why most “targeted” programs are reduced to idiocy over time (federal aid for the education of the disadvantaged, for instance, goes to almost every school district in the country).

But the same process will make an investment-side policy better. Each time the benefit is increased, more income is exempted from double taxation. Each time the constituency is enlarged, the demand for lighter taxation grows. Each time the approved purposes for tax-exempt saving are expanded, social engineering gives way to individual freedom. Tax cuts for investment will affect the circuitry of government as a virus affects a computer, growing at its expense.

Investment-side politics builds on the Reagan administration’s neglected legacy: the creation of history’s first mass class of worker shareholders. If Republicans help

make that class an actual majority, our political debates in the future will center not on whether to side with capital or labor but on which party can best represent

worker capitalists. This is one other thing that Ronald Reagan wrought.

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Feminism And Biology – Strange Bedfellows

Jul 13 2013

famiA specter is haunting feminism-the specter of Darwinism. Biological learning has undermined the feminist mantra that disproportionate male representation in the highest-ranking positions of corporate and political life is evidence of patriarchy, or even of discrimination. Instead, biological theory and research suggest that patterns of representation are a natural outgrowth of the fact that men, on average, are more aggressive than women, more concerned with status, and more inclined to take risks, while women, again on average, are more nurturing and empathetic.

The feminists’ first response to the rise of this inconvenient biology was to deny its relevance. Yet this is no longer possible, when even popular magazines routinely discuss the biological basis of human behavior, as in the notorious Time headline, “Infidelity: It May Be in Our Genes.” This spring will see the publication of no fewer than three books that try a different tack-offering biological evidence of female traits that are more to the liking of feminists. New York Times science reporter Natalie Angier has already outlined part of her book in that paper’s Sunday magazine, and Barbara Ehrenreich has offered a preview of them all in another Time story, breathlessly titled “The Real Truth About the Female.”

Feminist biology is mostly wishful thinking. As Kingsley Browne of Wayne State University points out in his excellent new work, Divided Labours, women, like females of other species, are more invested in children because eggs are a scarcer resource than sperm and the female contribution to the creation of a child is far more time consuming. On this theory, one would predict that women would be more selective than men in their partners, as they have more to lose in the event of a wrong choice. They would also be more supportive of their offspring.

Men and other male animals, by contrast, have no such limits on their reproductive opportunities. One would therefore predict that they would be more aggressive and undertake more risks to acquire mates and resources; they, after all, can more easily translate these mating opportunities and resources into limitless progeny. Consistent with these predictions, polygyny (an arrangement wherein one man lives with many women) has been common throughout history, whereas polyandry (one woman, many men) has been extremely rare.

hpBecause of their different reproductive strategies, men and women have evolved different hormonal processes that generate different dispositions. Testosterone and other hormones that trigger the development of male physical characteristics also organize personality traits. We know this in part because these traits appear in an unusual degree among girls who, because of a genetic defect, are exposed in utero to these hormones. Psychological studies also suggest that men and women have different predispositions from the beginning. Even before children understand that trucks are associated with boys and dolls associated with girls, girls tend to like dolls and other toys that lend themselves to nurturing and empathy, while boys reach for the Tonka Trucks.

Against the combined weight of this evidence (and this is a mere sample of what Browne and others have collected) the new feminists have embarrassingly little to offer. As evidence of female aggressiveness, Ehrenreich cites studies that claim primitive women gathered as much as 70 percent of their tribes’ plant food. But evolutionary biologists have never said that women were not important contributors to the food supply. Indeed, if our female ancestors concentrated on gathering plant food while men engaged in the more dangerous enterprise of hunting, it suggests precisely that men and women evolved temperamental differences. Ehrenreich also speculates that the aid of post-menopausal grandmothers may have made it unnecessary for primitive women to bond in pairs with men, hence debunking the idea of female dependence. But the notion that in an era of early death and debilitating disease elderly women could have performed defense and other necessary tasks better than young men seems laughable.

Natalie Angier, in turn, tries to poke holes in traditional evolutionary biology by focusing more on mating than on work. She observes that female primates often choose to couple with members outside their troops-supposedly evidence of female promiscuity. But evolutionary biology never predicted that women would lack a strategic mating sense. Indeed, being extremely careful about choosing a mate might sometimes require searching widely for Mr. Right. Angier is correct that a sexually adventurous strategy may make sense for some women in some circumstances, but this does not show that on average they will act as promiscuously as men. The new feminist biology misses the mark again and again because it fails to appreciate that evolutionary biology suggests only median differences between the sexes in temperament and preferences.

Angier seems particularly affronted by the claim that men prefer young, attractive women while women prefer older men with plentiful resources; the idea is that youth assures men of women’s fertility, and resources assure women of men’s investment in their children’s future. Studies from widely dispersed nations at different levels of development all contain this same finding. In response, feminists argue that this is true only because women under patriarchy depend on men for resources. The studies, however, show that rich and accomplished women want even richer and more accomplished men. Angier counters that high-earning women need male riches only because their own riches are insecure. But while she notes that women on average earn less than men (a point consistent with biological differences in priorities and temperament), she provides no evidence whatsoever that the income or riches of women are indeed less secure.

Feminist biology fails not only as science: It doesn’t support much of feminism’s current political agenda. Both Angier and Ehrenreich argue that their findings show that women are flexible and have a variety of interests. But it is the liberty at the heart of modern conservatism that sustains the social niches that accommodate this variety. In a free society, each woman is able to choose a profession that is suited to her particular talents and temperament. The market encourages companies to hire the most productive worker, regardless of gender. Similarly, in a society with limited government, women who want to spend more time with their children can do so and those who do not can marry or hire others who will take care of them.

Of course, these choices necessarily involve trade-offs in time and money, but that is a consequence not of patriarchy but of mortality and scarcity. Yet many feminists favor quotas and a comparable-worth pay system, initiatives to allow the government rather than the market to determine the value of performance. They also lobby for government funding of child care, in effect a tax on women (and men) who want to care for their children themselves. Thus their program is one that tends to foster uniformity rather than variety.

Which brings us right back to evolutionary biology. Biologists now recognize that one of the strongest primate tendencies is the drive to form coalitions that can seize the social surplus for their own benefit. The feminist political program shows that women of similar preferences can organize for those ends as effectively as any other interest group. It is a kind of equality, to be sure, but not one worth celebrating-and certainly not the one feminist biologists had in mind.

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Whitewater Worries Are Gone

Jul 10 2013

wwagNo one quite knows how the story got started that independent counsel Kenneth Starr was going to leave office in March. Maybe he mentioned the possibility to someone. Maybe friends floated the idea in hopes of gently nudging him back to private practice, where he would no longer be a target for the White House and media. Whatever the case, it’s April, and Starr is still going to work every day. And several people familiar with his work now say they wouldn’t be surprised if he stays through the end of 1999.

That’s not true of some of his staff. In recent weeks, there’s been a steady stream of departures among Starr’s top prosecutors. That’s widely known, but what’s not been reported is that Starr is hiring new lawyers to replace the old. Three federal prosecutors have recently joined the office. When the personnel shuffling is over, Starr’s team will be at roughly the same strength it was before extra manpower was added to deal with the Lewinsky probe. All of which means that the Whitewater office is still going strong. But there is a division of opinion-even among those most sympathetic to Starr-about whether that is a good thing.

After the Lewinsky report went to the House last September, there were some close to the office who wanted Starr to wrap up business quickly. The only cases on the plate at that time were criminal contempt charges against Susan McDougal- now being tried in Little Rock-and tax charges against Clinton crony Webster Hubbell. The Lewinsky case, at least as it applied to the president, was over, and other parts of the broader investigation-Travelgate, Filegate, large segments of Whitewater-were also complete.

But there were still other possible prosecutions. Starr’s lawyers were debating whether to go forward with another charge against Hubbell, this one a genuine Whitewater indictment, focusing on his work in the fraudulent Castle Grande land deal. And they were considering indicting Julie Hiatt Steele, who stood to become the first person to face criminal charges as a result of the Lewinsky investigation.

Unlike some of Starr’s major prosecution decisions in the past, there was no unanimity of opinion about what to do. Some people close to the office felt that since prosecutors had fulfilled their responsibility to investigate possible wrongdoing by the president, there was little reason to go on. Others believed that significant areas of investigation still remained. Ultimately, the pro- indictment forces won. In November, Starr’s grand jury indicted Hubbell on charges of fraud, making false statements, and corruptly impeding the work of federal regulators. In January, the jury indicted Steele on charges of obstruction of justice and making false statements in connection with an alleged effort to intimidate Clinton accuser Kathleen Willey.

Steele is scheduled for trial May 3, Hubbell for June 14. Both trials are guaranteed to be controversial-the Steele case because it will revive the passions of the Lewinsky investigation, the Hubbell because it will shine a spotlight on the past business practices of First Lady (and possible Senate candidate) Hillary Rodham Clinton.

bcThe Steele prosecution presents more than just a PR problem; it’s simply not an open-and-shut case. The Hubbell indictment is much stronger. The Castle Grande deal was a sham transaction intended to conceal the deep financial problems of Jim McDougal’s S&L from the federal regulators who ultimately closed it down. Hubbell is charged with lying and covering up not only his own involvement but also that of, in the words of the indictment, the “Rose Law firm’s 1985-1986 billing partner”-better known as Mrs. Clinton. Though the evidence is solid, the First Lady’s involvement could seriously complicate matters. She is mentioned- never by name-more than 30 times in the Hubbell indictment, and she will likely be called to testify.

By that time, of course, she may be on the hustings in New York. How such a trial would affect the race is anyone’s guess; while some Republicans welcome the idea of the First Lady’s unsavory business past coming back to light, others worry that it could cut in her favor. Certainly the White House script is already written: Out-of-control prosecutor revives decades-old allegations for partisan political purposes. And just for good measure, the trial may fall around the time Congress considers whether to reauthorize the independent- counsel law. Given all that, the real question may be how the trial will affect Starr.

His office is still facing two investigations of itself. Clinton’s Justice Department is itching to go after Starr for the way his prosecutors conducted the beginning of the Lewinsky probe. So far, the two sides are locked in a standoff. In addition, Starr is still waiting for the verdict of the “special master” appointed by Judge Norma Holloway Johnson to investigate the White House’s claim that Starr’s office improperly leaked secret grand-jury material last year. There have been rumors the investigator has concluded that no one on Starr’s staff broke any laws, but if anyone knows the truth on that, he’s not saying.

We do know that Starr’s prosecutors vigorously denied the leaks. Take the case of the February 6, 1998, New York Times story that recounted the president’s “We were never alone, right?” witness-coaching session with Betty Currie. Clinton lawyer David Kendall loudly accused Starr of leaking, but unsealed court papers show that Starr thinks the White House did it. Prosecutor Robert Bittman told Judge Johnson that Currie’s lawyer, Lawrence Wechsler, is a longtime friend of White House counsel Charles Ruff and that the White House legal team knew Currie’s story before the Times account was published. “There is a strong prima facie case that the president and his agents,” Starr’s brief argued, “are responsible for many of the alleged ‘leaks.'”

Even as he defended himself in the leak probe, Starr perplexed some observers last month when he announced that spokesman Charles Bakaly had abruptly resigned in connection with an investigation into another alleged leak to the New York Times. This time it was the front-page story on January 31 that said Starr’s team had concluded it might be possible to indict a sitting president. At least on the surface, Starr’s action seemed odd; the article contained no secret grand-jury material and concerned a somewhat hypothetical in-house legal analysis. But Starr lowered the boom anyway and referred the matter to the Justice Department.

So there’s still a lot going on. And there could conceivably be more, because there is always at least an outside chance of new prosecutions, and any of the already-scheduled trials could be delayed by new litigation. On top of that, Starr is required to write a final report, which will be submitted to the panel of judges who selected him. Once they approve, it will be made public. Don’t look for it anytime soon. Lawrence Walsh, the Iran-contra independent counsel, was appointed in December 1986; his final report was made public in January 1994. At that pace, Starr’s report should be at a bookstore near you sometime in early 2001.

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American Expressions Mystify The World

Jul 05 2013

America has a time problem. I don’t mean our obsessive need to “save” time that foreigners have long joked about. We aren’t like that anymore; the American in a hurry has slowed to a crawl and now uses what little Yankee ingenuity he has left to figure out how to get more “leisure” time to spend with his family. Now that we are no longer speed demons or efficiency freaks, we might reasonably be expected to develop the richer, fuller attitudes toward time that we profess to admire, but the opposite has happened. We are still in a time warp, only this one is even worse than the one we shed. Now it’s not merely clock time but our whole concept of time-past, present, and future and their links to each other- that has been shot to hell.

aeChronological eeriness lurks everywhere. Mark McGwire’s pursuit of Babe Ruth’s record was almost overshadowed at one point by talk of what pitcher would become “immortal” by giving up the big one. Masochistic debates about enduring a lifetime of pity to get to the good part tend to spring up when a nation’s population is in the habit of spending much of its day hitting Rewind and Fast Forward buttons. For the time-warped it’s a matter of personal preference, and Reds pitcher Brett Tomko is a Fast Forward man. “If it’s hit off me,” he said, “I’d be on every highlight film for the rest of my life. I’d be part of history.”

Another Fast Forward favorite is the expression “lame duck.” It used to refer to a defeated incumbent during the period between his loss of an election and the inauguration of the victor. Now it means a President entering his second term. The moment he wins re-election, a feat once once regarded as an ultimate triumph, he’s called a lame duck.

To see the Rewind set in action, turn to any Op-Ed page and you will find that of the five syndicated columnists featured, four will attempt to make their points by quoting Yogi Berra’s “It’s deja vu all over again,” while the fifth, more literate than the rest, quotes Faulkner: “The past isn’t dead, it isn’t even past.”

The past may not be dead but we do our best to kill it while simultaneously wallowing in nostalgia. During the late unpleasantness a parade of White House flacks went from talk show to talk show comparing Ken Starr’s investigation to the puritanical, sexually repressed, hypocritical, hysterical, paranoid, Commie- hunting days of McCarthyism, only to be interrupted by pictures of drive-ins and T-Birds and Dean Martin singing “Memories Are Made of This” in the ubiquitous commercial for tapes from the Nifty Fifties.

Among the chief killers of the past are, of all people, writers. The increasing number of novels written in the present tense (“She takes off her bra and moves her hands down her hips, knowing that he is watching”) are defended on grounds of “immediacy,” but in fact their authors choose to hit the Record button because it saves them from getting tangled up in auxillary verbs.

We have developed a mental block against using past tenses correctly. Even educated people say “If he would have sent the letter. . . . if she would have gotten the job . . . if I would have had time. . . . ” Damnit! A past action that precedes another past action takes the pluperfect: “If he had sent . . . if she had gotten . . . if I had had . . . ” This is more than bad grammar: No longer willing or able to cope with anything unequivocal, we skirt the pluperfect and substitute the past-conditional to give ourselves what we imagine to be chronological wiggle room.

vsThe word “past” has become a virtual synonym for bigotry and hence must be avoided by any means necessary. Everybody in publishing knows that Alexandra Ripley was chosen to write the sequel to GWTW because she came up with the craziest plot. An authentically rendered past makes a novel hold together, so to be on the safe side she opted for shattered, dragging the story to Ireland to avoid dealing with the ex-slave characters and substituting a caesarian performed on Scarlett by a Celtic witch.

Our time conflicts have produced an intense interest in the past alongside an utter contempt for it. Editors used to write “off-chron” in the margins of manuscripts to call attention to errors of this type but now nobody cares how many howlers end up in print, and reviewers who do care are called “picky.”

Among my shoot-the-messenger experiences was a biography of Clark Gable which claimed that while shooting the 1953 movie Mogambo, Grace Kelly called Gable a “male chauvinist pig,” an expression born in the 1970s. The heroine of a novel set in 1938 spoke of looking “sexy,” a word not in use 60 years ago. She also put on a brand-new pair of nylons straight from the box even though women of the stocking era always washed new nylons first to keep them from running. I’ve found a blouse in 1910 that should have been a “waist” and a record player in place of a “Victrola,” but the worst was finding a 1955 scene in my own memoir updated by a proofreader who was blindsided by her own terminal now-ness: She changed “t-d” to “nerd” to conform to my 1985 publication date.

We have lost our grip on the rhythms of life. In the Middle Ages there were no clocks, just church bells ringing the canonical hours: Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline. It was unhelpful for making precise appointments but as psychological accuracy it was unsurpassed. The sonorous bells literally reverberated within medieval man, cleansing his soul. By contrast, we get to watch a miracle take place when the detergent removes a stain from a T-shirt in ten seconds while the Elapsed Time ticks away at the bottom of the TV screen.

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