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Posts By Author » Debra Saunders

Monica’s Emancipation Proclamation
  8 May 2014     12:03 am

“It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress,” Monica Lewinsky, now 40, writes in a Vanity Fair essay due for digital release today. All I can say is: You go, girl.

The 1998 revelation of L’Affaire Lewinsky and its fallout should have made one thing clear to American women. Forget “You’ve come a long way, baby.” When husbands cheat, the other woman usually ends up the odd man out.
Bill Clinton’s presidency and poll ratings survived his self-serving definition of sex. Hillary Clinton had to live with her husband’s …

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Forgive and Forget Benghazi, Dude
  6 May 2014     12:03 am

“Dude, this was, like, two years ago.” Thus spake former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor on Thursday after Fox News Channel anchorman Bret Baier asked him whether he had been involved in changing talking points to prepare then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice for Sunday talk shows in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi, Libya, attacks that left four Americans dead. Vietor explained that he should not be expected to remember something as “mundane” as “the process of editing talking points.”

It would be easier to …

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Freed Prisoner of the Drug War
  4 May 2014     12:02 am

MOBILE, Ala. — “That situation didn’t define who I was,” Clarence Aaron, 45, told a group gathered for a weekend celebration at the Mobile high school he attended about two decades ago. When, at age 24, he found himself in federal prison in 1993 — after he was convicted and sentenced to life without parole for a first-time nonviolent drug offense — he felt what he called the “stigma.” But the former LeFlore High varsity football star refused to give in to the bitterness of receiving a life sentence while …

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If Lethal Injection Is Torture, Who’s Responsible?
  2 May 2014     12:02 am

News reports this week were filled with lamentations from death penalty opponents about the messy and unnecessarily painful execution of Oklahoma’s Clayton Lockett. As Andrew Cohen wrote in The Atlantic, Oklahoma corrections officials “were using an untested mix of lethal drugs, never previously used in that dosage combination, obtained through secret means, which precluded the possibility of oversight from attorneys or medical officials on the quality of the drugs. They were warned by medical experts, and asked by defense attorneys, to open up the process to review — by the …

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Can’t We Share the Love?
  27 Apr 2014     12:02 am

If ever there was a city built on the bedrock belief that the government should stay out of the bedroom, it is San Francisco — unless you own the bedroom. Then you are not free to do whatever you want with the bedroom, because people who are not owners control what you can do with your own property.

Ergo, if you want to rent out a spare bedroom in your flat or, Goddess forbid, a standalone unit to tourists via Airbnb, VRBO or a similar platform, you might run into the …

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Cruder Than Alberta Tar Sands
  24 Apr 2014     12:04 am

According to experts cited by The New York Times, President Barack Obama’s eventual decision on the Keystone XL pipeline — last week, the administration once again postponed a decision — “will have a marginal impact on global warming emissions.” The global economy releases lots of greenhouse gas — 32.6 billion metric tons of carbon in 2011. The Keystone XL pipeline would add 18.7 million metric tons. In the global greenhouse gas picture, it won’t make a dent.

To the working men and women of America, however, the project represents “a lifeline …

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Overdue Mercy for Low-Level Drug Offenders
  22 Apr 2014     12:04 am

When Barack Obama ran for the White House in 2008, federal inmates and their families believed that if he won, miracles would follow. They were convinced that the former law professor and critic of federal mandatory minimum sentences would be liberal with his unfettered constitutional power to free low-level and nonviolent offenders sentenced to decades, even life without parole, behind bars.

Then, for the next five years, criminal lawyers and reformers stood around scratching their heads, wondering why Obama held the worst pardon record of any modern president. He commuted one …

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I See Rich People
  20 Apr 2014     12:02 am

In the “Star Trek” movies, San Francisco serves as headquarters of Starfleet Command. This cracks me up to no end, as I cannot imagine the Board of Supervisors approving construction of Starfleet Academy or the oddly shaped high-rises you see in the background. And if City Hall somehow did approve the project, you know there’d be some ballot measure to kill the deal. The grounds could be endless: No photon torpedoes. Too many techies already. What about affordable housing?

In many ways, San Francisco is a museum. It’s a city that …

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District of Compensation, Just and Otherwise
  17 Apr 2014     12:05 am

Pete Stark’s name didn’t come up Tuesday night at the Castro Valley Library candidates forum for the congressional district Stark represented from 1972 to 2012. The fact that nobody seemed to miss the California Democrat should serve as a warning to politicians who think they own their seats. So thought Stark, until fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell knocked him off his perch in 2012, thanks in part to California’s top-two primary election.

This go-round, Swalwell is the incumbent. Termed-out state Sen. Ellen Corbett is his Democratic challenger. Against the odds, Alameda County …

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Nevada Showdown: All Hat, No Cattle
  15 Apr 2014     12:05 am

Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and his well-armed supporters forced the well-armed federal government to back down and return Bundy’s seized cows — which were seized because Bundy, 67, stopped paying grazing fees in 1993. How does anyone get the government to back down?

At first blush, Bundy seemed to have right on his side. He’s a cowboy who just wants to keep being a cowboy.
The federal government, which owns more than 80 percent of Nevada land, including the land on which the Bundy family had settled, threatened to put him …

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Government Can’t Say No
  13 Apr 2014     12:02 am

The Social Security Disability Insurance program is in big trouble. In 2016, the program’s trust fund is expected to run out of money. When that happens, there will be “large across-the-board cuts for all beneficiaries,” warn James Lankford, the Republican chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees entitlements, and Jackie Speier, the subcommittee’s ranking Democrat. Those cuts will be painful for the “truly disabled,” whom the system originally was designed to serve.

Washington has a choice to make: provide for the truly disabled or the newly disabled.
The definition of disability was …

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The GOP’s Legacy Underdog
  10 Apr 2014     12:02 am

Barbara Bush was right when she pooh-poohed son Jeb’s interest in running for the White House in 2016. Forget political dynasties — Bushes, Kennedys and, yes, Clintons — the former first lady told NBC last year. “We’ve had enough Bushes.” She also said: “There are a lot of great families, and it’s not just four families or whatever.”

Listen to your mother, Jeb.
Heed her words well, Hillary.
My sweetest dream for 2016 would be for a bipartisan pact: that 2016 will not be a sequel to the 1992 Bush-Clinton faceoff. Is it …

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Mozilla CEO Eich Caves In
  8 Apr 2014     12:08 am

“While painful, the events of the last week show exactly why we need the (Web). So all of us can engage freely in the tough conversations we need to make the world better.” That moment of fantasy came courtesy of Mozilla Chairwoman Mitchell Baker as she announced last week that Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, had caved in to calls that he resign for the Silicon Valley sin of having donated $1,000 to Proposition 8, the California ballot measure to limit marriage to one man and one woman — six …

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Get Thee Behind Me, Satan — But First, Write a Check
  6 Apr 2014     12:02 am

After the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision Wednesday that threw out a cap on the total amount wealthy donors can give to federal candidates in an election season, Democrats and self-proclaimed do-gooders cried foul at the prospect of more big money’s tainting Washington politics. Federal law continues to cap individual contributions to congressional candidates at $5,200, but the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission decision eliminated the $48,600 cap on the total individuals can contribute to candidates and the $74,600 cap on donations to political committees.

An online New York …

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The Internet Is Tolerant. Don’t Agree? Keep Out
  3 Apr 2014     12:03 am

Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, gave $1,000 to Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure passed by a majority of California voters to limit marriage to one man and one woman. The U.S. Supreme Court voided the measure, but the hate campaign against its supporters lives on.

There’s a Twitter campaign to force Eich to step down. “I’m an employee of @mozilla and I’m asking @brendaneich to step down as CEO,” one employee tweeted. Rarebit CEO Hampton Catlin and his husband announced a boycott against Mozilla Firefox applications. It will cost the …

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A Repeal by Any Other Name
  1 Apr 2014     12:03 am

Should Congress repeal Obamacare?
If you had asked that before the botched Affordable Care Act rollout, I would have had a hard time answering yes. I didn’t see how the scheme could work, but I also believed that Washington owed the millions of Americans who I was told had been waiting desperately for years for guaranteed health care.

Now I say, “What’s in a name?” There’s no need for a repeal when Washington is bound to revamp the law. The reason: Consumers aren’t buying it.
According to the White House, more than 6 …

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‘Shrimp Boy’ Chow, Yee, FBI — Your Tax Dollars at Work
  30 Mar 2014     12:02 am

Observers have likened the federal case against state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, and 25 others to the film “American Hustle,” about an FBI Abscam-like sting that used a small-time con man to win corruption convictions against public officials.

I hope it is not like another Hollywood film, “The Departed,” about a well-connected FBI informant who was also a homicidal crime boss fashioned after Boston’s politically wired gangster Whitey Bulger.
The 137-page criminal complaint against Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, Yee and company on firearms trafficking, drug trafficking, money laundering, murder-for-hire and fraud …

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CNN’s Death-Row-Optional Death Row Series
  25 Mar 2014     12:05 am

Actor-turned-producer Robert Redford boasts that his new CNN series, “Death Row Stories,” is “about the search for justice and truth.” That’s odd, because the series has aired three episodes and they’re all about victims of prosecutorial abuse. So far, nobody’s really guilty. The second episode features a woman who never spent a night on death row.

From what I’ve seen, they should have named the series, narrated by anti-death-penalty activist Susan Sarandon, “Death Row Propaganda.”
Episode two, the website says, is about Gloria Killian, who was “charged with capital murder, found guilty …

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Political Fight Is Brewing on Race-Based Preferences
  23 Mar 2014     12:02 am

Until this month, supporters of racial preferences in California have enjoyed a cozy narrative. They were able to dismiss the 55 percent of voters who passed Proposition 209, which barred race and gender preferences in university admissions, hiring and public contracts in 1996, as over-entitled fear-obsessed white folks with little understanding of and sympathy for the obstacles that daunt minority students.

That ended Monday when California state Sen. Ed Hernandez was forced to put a hold on a measure to allow voters in November to restore racial preferences in public education. …

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Sheryl Sandberg, How About Banning Bossy Billionaires?
  20 Mar 2014     12:02 am

Of course Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg is right to point out that “bossy,” the other B-word, is often used to discourage girls — and later women — from becoming leaders. “Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up,” says the website of her “Ban Bossy” campaign. “By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys — a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead.”

Still, I wish “Ban Bossy” would just go away — or at least …

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