Bill Clinton’s Browser

Michael Kinsley on the president’s browser and other Clinternalia.

Bill Clinton’s Browser

Whom should we run into the other night in T.G.I. Friday’s at the mall but Bill Gates and Janet Reno! They were out together celebrating the settlement of their little tiff over that consent decree. Gates’ guard dogs snarled as we approached, and so did the crack team of Justice Department arsonists who were standing by, ready to set the whole restaurant on fire at the slightest hint of danger. “Down, Higgins! Down, Ballmer!” said Gates, feeding them small bits of his braised Myhrvold nacho salad and inviting us to pull up a pew. Reno called off her flamethrowers as well, and it was the beginning of a jolly evening. After a few Old Neukom Pale Ales, we couldn’t resist asking them what they thought of this latest Clinton brouhaha. Gates observed tartly, “Someone should tell that guy to keep his browser separate from his operating system.” Reno guffawed, “Maybe someone should tell him to keep his browser out of other people’s operating systems.” Gates stared at her briefly, clearly annoyed at having had his metaphor appropriated by the government. But then he relaxed and added with a philosophical chuckle, “Of course in Clinton’s case the browser and the operating system seem to be one integrated product.”


If ever there was a moment for pack journalism and media overkill, this is it. For those who are too excited by this Clinton story to even think about their browsers, Slate offers plenty of grist. Our chief political correspondent, Jacob Weisberg, is filing daily dispatches from Washington until further notice. “Chatterbox,” our on-again/off-again feature of short observations, gossip, and other tidbits, is on again. Mickey Kaus, a former senior editor at Newsweek and the NewRepublic, will be filing from Washington. Our ongoing “Dialogue” about Internet gossip columnist Matt Drudge and his Drudge Report, between Susan Estrich and David Frum, switches from discussing the issue of libel on the Internet to the question of Drudge’s role in starting the Clinton scandal. A “Tangled Web” column by Slate’s Seth Stevenson traces the path of the story from Drudge, to the Internet as a whole, to television–and only then to the newspapers. Speaking of papers, “Today’s Papers” and “International Papers” will keep you abreast of how the major newspapers around the world are treating the scandal. And for an elegant summary and analysis of the latest developments, go to “The Week/The Spin.”

Is Not! Is Too!!

Second only in urgency to the question of whether the president of the United States should be impeached for subornation of perjury is the question of whether a 501(c)(3) charitable organization is legally permitted to engage in lobbying of Congress. In a recent column about the Heritage Foundation, Jacob Weisberg asserted that it isn’t. In “E-Mail to the Editors,” a reader asserts that it is too. Who’s right? By a fortunate coincidence, one of the world’s living experts on this deeply troubling topic is the live-in husband of Slate’s Washington editor, Jodie T. Allen. George Allen’s definitive memo is available here.

George is not the first Slate spouse to appear in our pages. Deborah Needleman, author of two gardening columns (and we hope many more) is married to Jake Weisberg. And Hackathlete Hanna Rosin is married to Slate’ssenior writer, David Plotz. Suspicious minds may be thinking at this point that being married to a Slate editor carries some kind of unfair advantage in getting published in Slate. Absolutely not. If anything, the opposite is true. After all, Washington editors and writers and political correspondents are a dime a dozen. In choosing among the many candidates, it is only reasonable to give a modest preference to those who can bring along a good gardening writer, a gifted hack, or an expert on 501(c)(3) organizations.

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–Michael Kinsley