- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The nation could have a case of Monica Lewinsky fatigue by the time Vanity Fair finally releases her complete insta-memoir and essay on Thursday, penned after more than a decade of mulling over her relationship with former President Bill Clinton. Oh, such a canny publication. Journalists and news organizations staged a combative, old-school media frenzy over the few strategic paragraphs that the magazine flung to them in advance. Oh, such a hungry pack. Close to 300,000 press mentions about Miss Lewinsky emerged in the last 24 hours from around the globe, according to a casual Google News count.

This was normal in days of yore; newshounds clattered down alleys and rifled through depositions. And it continues. There is still a “Monica Media” at the ready. The former White House intern — now an attractive and reasonably well-spoken 40-year-old — continues to mesmerize the press, even one giddy with self-importance and sophisticated new delivery platforms. Everyone has something to say. Miss Lewinsky herself should consider writing a few op-eds, or at least become a well-paid consultant in crisis management. Meanwhile, a minuscule sampling of Monica-centric headlines:

“Monica Lewinsky gives the Internet something to do all day (USA Today); “Monica Lewinsky should shut up and go away” (New York Post); “Stop slut-shaming Monica” (Daily Beast); “Stop judging Monica Lewinsky” (CNN); “The branding of Monica Lewinsky” (Hamilton Ontario Spectator); “Regrets? She’s had a few” (Reuters); “Lewinsky speaking up for all people trashed online (Businessweek); “Lewinsky’s hard-won perspective” (Politico); “Monica returns a month before Hillary’s book drops (U.S. News & World Report); “Don’t over-analyze the reemergence of Monica” (Los Angeles Times); and “Monica Lewinsky feels your pain” (Salon).

TWO DOWN, THREE TO GO

Fire up Air Force One. Another day, another fundraiser. President Obama attended a trio of Democratic Party fundraisers in Southern California on Wednesday; all were private, including one at the Beverly Hills mansion of a prominent Disney Studios executive, another at a swank hotel and a third in San Diego.

Thursday morning, one more Los Angeles fundraiser. Then it’s on to San Francisco area for two more events, one at the home of a biotech entrepreneur, the other at a luxurious hotel in San Jose. Tickets can go as high as $32,400. California has proved a friendly place for the cause: This is Mr. Obama’s 17th visit to the Golden State since taking office.


SEE ALSO: Monica Lewinsky breaks her silence on ‘consensual’ Bill Clinton affair


GUARDIANS OF THE SMALLEST AMERICANS

“We write to bring to your attention a comprehensive and alarming new study which found that the United States is one of just seven countries worldwide that permit elective abortion more than halfway through pregnancy (beyond 20 weeks). The study, commissioned by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the education arm of the Susan B. Anthony List, researched abortion laws in 198 countries and semi-autonomous regions with a population exceeding one million.”

“Joining the United States in allowing abortions past 20 weeks are China, North Korea, Singapore, Canada and the Netherlands. If ranked by population size, the United States places second, beaten only by China. It is time that we in Congress act to bring the United States out of the fringe and closer to international norms on abortions.”

So reads a letter sent by Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican, to her colleagues, co-signed by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and 31 more.

“I urge Majority Leader Harry Reid to allow a vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would bring us closer to international norms and the views of the American people,” Ms. Ayotte writes.

“It is time America join the ranks of most other civilized countries by protecting unborn children at least at the point at which they are capable of feeling pain. The House already approved this humane measure in a bipartisan vote last summer. There’s no reason our constituents should be kept from having their voices heard on this issue in the Senate as well,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, also one of the signers.

NOBLE CANINES

On Capitol Hill Thursday morning, it’s Peppe, an Italian Greyhound; Ladybug, a Yorkshire Terrier; Olive, a Dalmatian; and Butler, a German Shepherd mix. All are “therapy dogs” specially trained to comfort and encourage children with cancer; they are part of a special briefing for lawmakers from the American Humane Association. The group will introduce its groundbreaking new “Canines and Childhood Cancer” study, a three-year, privately funded research effort suggesting the significance of animal-assisted therapy in pediatric oncology patients.

Among the sizable crowd on hand: Robin Ganzert, president of the American Humane Association, Steven Feldman, executive director of the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Foundation and country music goddess Naomi Judd, chanteuse and animal advocate.

LESSONS FROM OINKVILLE

What’s this? Porker behavior in the hallowed halls of Congress has improved? Yes, according to the Citizens Against Government Waste’s 22nd annual “Congressional Pig Book” which homes in on pork-barrel spending. The group found that, after Congress somehow managed to adopt an “earmark moratorium” in 2010, that the number of earmarks actually decreased by 28.3 percent, from 152 in fiscal 2012 to 109 in fiscal 2014. The cost of earmarks declined by 18.2 percent, from $3.3 billion in FY 2012 to $2.7 billion in FY 2014, the lowest amount since 1992.

“There are no earmarks for museums, theaters or opera houses; wood-utilization or shrimp aquaculture research; or brown tree snake research,” the researchers say. But there’s always something.

“Members of Congress need to maintain the moratorium, or even better, ban earmarks entirely,” says Tom Schatz, president of the nonprofit watchdog group. “Sens. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican and Mark Udall, Colorado Democrat, have asked all senators and representatives to sign a letter pledging to extend the moratorium. This effort is both vital and timely, since more and more of their colleagues appear to be ready to hop back on the pork-barrel bandwagon and renew their swinish ways.”

ON THE RADAR

Clinton, Christie, same stage? Yes, former President Bill Clinton and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will both appear next week in the nation’s capital at “2014 Fiscal Summit: Our Economic Future” — part of a sizable cast that also includes House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington; GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois, plus former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer and PBS host Gwen Ifill will be on hand to keep them all in line.

POLL DU JOUR

53 percent of U.S. voters say their midterm vote for a congressional candidate is “not sending a message” about their support for President Obama.

44 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of Democrats agree.

25 percent say their vote will send a message that they oppose Mr. Obama; 52 percent of Republicans and 4 percent of Democrats agree.

20 percent say their vote will send a message that they support Mr. Obama; 3 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of Democrats agree.

46 percent overall are Republicans or lean Republican.

45 percent are Democrats or leans Democratic.

Source: A CNN/ORC poll of 911 registered U.S. voters conducted May 2-4.

Caterwaul and doggerel to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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