CAN’T FIND THE TIPPING JAR?

That’s probably because you haven’t refreshed your cache. Ahem. Refresh the site or re-load it, and all will be well. Always keep your cache refreshed and your browser attached. That’s what my mother always told me. And she was right as ever. By the way, we have netted over $500 in four hours. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks.

TO BOLDLY GO …

I know it took us a while, but the tipping jar is now up and running. It’s down there on the right, just under the three most recent pieces. (Alas, this is true only of the lite site. The heavy site will be fixed soon to include a tipping feature). In the end, we’ve kept it to two options. You can send from $1 to $50 by credit card to Amazon.com and they’ll send 85 percent of it onto us. Or you can write us a check and send it to the address you’ll find if you click on the Tipping Point. (Another option – a direct credit card link to our site – proved too expensive and cumbersome for now. But if we get some cash, and pay off our debts, we hope to add an e-commerce credit card option soon as well.) What’s this all about again? Bottom line: we’re trying to help pioneer a new way to bring fresh content to the web. Most traditional journalism sites are having a hard time. Ads aren’t working too well. Mandatory subscriptions suck. This way, you can voluntarily support a site with low overheads and keep us on the web. How much should you give? Your call entirely. Anything would help. If our regular readers all gave a buck a month, we’d be fine. If some of you want to really help, more would be great. Lots more would open up a host of new possibilities. There are all sorts of options we can add to the site – a feedback page, quicker scrolling, more regular updates – but these need money. I’ll report back on progress (or not) as soon as we have any hard numbers. The skeptics are saying we don’t stand a chance. Prove them wrong.

INSTAPUNDIT

2-4-6-8, Time to go triangulate. Bush’s speech was uninspired but very smart. He worked the room – especially the Democrats. The Moakley schmalz was particularly effective. Putting Ashcroft up to tackle racial profiling was exactly right. The line about the nobility of public service was such a perfect, deflected use of the Clinton hangover that W should give Dan Burton some coaching lessons. For those of us who have long realized Bush is a heavy-weight, no big surprise. But I’ll bet you there’s a significant uptick in public support for him – if only because he seems like such a straightforward, normal guy after you-know-who and because expectations are so low. Thanks, Molly! But I worry about the emphasis on the good that government can do. Not because he isn’t right – reflexive opposition to everything government does is silly. I worry just because that huge guzzling monster needs no encouragement. On the other side, the old Dems looked truly pathetic. They kept referring to the Reagan years as a ‘ditch’. Huh? But if they’re befuddled by Reagan, they’re crippled by Clinton. Whenever they mention working families, my mind immediately sees Beth Dozoretz taking the Fifth. That’s not fair, but I can’t help it. I can’t be the only one. They then have to be in favor of tight budgets and class warfare – the grinch meets Trotsky. Not an appealing combo. Or a winning strategy. They’ll have to wait this out like the Republicans did Nixon.

GREEN ROOM: As always, entertainment in the NBC waiting room. John McCain punched me in the gut and winded me. Terry McAuliffe came and went, a strange green slime on the floor remaining the only trace behind. Tim Russert breezed through, commiserating on the Wolff hatchet-job. (He’d been a victim of a half-assed job in the same mag by the same guy only a week before.) Don Evans, Commerce secretary and FOW, sat awkwardly among the hacks. Michael Grunwald, a smart, nice man who now has to put years of writing speeches for Clinton on his resume chatted earnestly. I started to go after him on the Clinton stuff, but it’s just cruelty now. Michael is clearly a decent guy dragged into a swamp. Similarly, all of Clinton’s lower apparatchiks seem to have taken this very hard. Wouldn’t you? Honestly, I’m not gloating. When you live in this town, you meet lots of twentysomethings and thirtysomethings, people who came here to do good or make a difference. Many of them worked for Clinton – although most of those who got real jobs had money connections. It’s really unpleasant to see what they’ve been put through. I think of Jake Siewert, a great guy and longtime acquaintance, having to defend all this sleaze, when he has nothing to do with it. In fact, one of the sickest aspects of Clinton’s blaze-out was the seemingly deliberate swipe he took at all the people who had ever been foolish enough to go to bat for him. You see the big machers on tv. They’ll survive. It’s the less famous ones who feel deflated, depressed. Clinton may have crushed the idealism of an entire Democratic generation. And as I saw McAuliffe breeze into his chauffeur-driven SUV in front of the capitol, I could all too easily see why.

VAST LEFT-WING CONSPIRACY WATCH

The Wall Street Journal’s discovery that ex-president Bill Clinton called CBS president Leslie Moonves to nudge him to pay Harry Thomason $1 million is no huge news. Isn’t that what criminal bosses generally do for their buddies? And isn’t that the same Leslie Moonves who was recently yucking it up with Fidel Castro and Graydon Carter on a clandestine trip to Cuba? The guy clearly is a sucker for criminals with cigars. One of the differences, I guess, is that Castro throws innocent people in jail – and Clinton lets criminals out of it.

SUCKING WOLFF

Or something like that. Hilarious piece about this website in suck.com. He calls me (and a few others) a celeblogger – celebrity web-logger. Brutal, funny and smart, it’s the kind of criticism that takes longer than ten minutes to phone in. Ahem, Mr Wolff. Suck is right about this kind of journalism. It’s a melange of diary pieces, notebook items and postcards – in a stream of e-consciousness. It’s fun. It’s immediate. But so what? I’m not pretending this is the New York Review of Books here. Anyway, more evidence, I think, that we’re onto something. If we can make it pay for itself, it really will be something.

THIRTEEN TIMES

That’s the number of visits Denise Rich made to the White House over the last few years, according to the Secret Service logs reported in the Washington Post. Beth Dozoretz’s visits were in the dozens. I have a feeling we’ll find out about the times of those visits soon as well. The timing of the last cleared visit by Ms Rich couldn’t have been more appropriate – the night before the pardon. She didn’t show, apparently. At least someone was exercising some judgment in the White House in those last crazy hours.

FOUR MORE YEARS!

John Fund argues in today’s Wall Street Journal that on the fiftieth anniversary of the 22nd Amendment barring presidents from more than two full terms, we should rejoice. Why? Because it saved us from a third Clinton term. Unfortunately, I think John has it exactly the wrong way round. Many of our Clintonian problems stem from exactly the fact that we have the 22nd Amendment. What the country desperately needed in the wake of the Lewinsky matter was a clarifying vote on the 42nd president. Impeachment was a half-measure, too drastic for the issue at hand, not drastic enough for the real job of throwing a criminal president out of office. Last year’s election foisted the Clinton issue onto Gore, who only half deserved it, and rightly resented being the receptacle of our diverted rage. Part of the reason, I think, for the communal breast-beating of the last few weeks is a consequence of our never having been allowed to vent our feelings about Clinton directly at the ballot box where they belonged. I believe, despite John’s worries, that Clinton would have lost a third election; and that his loss is the only thing that would have led to a real national reckoning with the meaning of the man and the damage he has done to our culture, our law, and our politics. Elections are the core of our democratic experiment. Limiting them only pushes the pressures of democracy onto legal institutions (like independent counsels) or quasi-political institutions (like the press) which are not built to take the strain. The 22nd Amendment is one of the worst ever to have been passed. And we’re now living with the cultural and political consequences.