Today's Papers

AIDS and Aides

The New York Times says it’s the booming dollar. The Washington Post goes with the 2000 Census (Republicans want to count heads, Democrats want to use statistical sampling). USA Today leads with President Clinton’s support of a bill that would bar health insurance companies from discriminating against people because of their genes. And the Los Angeles Times leads with the Los Angeles harbor pilots strike–they’re asking for a 72 percent raise to $195,000 a year (hence the term “TV pilot?).

Away from the lead story positions (top right, that is) there is more agreement about the news. The NYT, LAT, and WP each have front-page pieces about yesterday’s announcement that primarily because of treatment advances, deaths from AIDS continue to drop in the United States. The point is made though, that worldwide, AIDS deaths are still increasing, and will probably continue to do so, because of the difficulties involved in bringing better therapies to Africa and Asia. Both USAT and the LAT give front-page play to another medical story: the development of a nasal flu vaccine.

And those two papers also report that President Clinton’s lawyer has complained via letter to the producer of the just-released space movie “Contact” about the manipulated use of footage of the president in the film. The studio involved, Warner Bros., says it just wants Clinton to see the movie first before passing judgment. The LAT reveals that it was former Clinton press aide, Dee Dee Myers, a technical advisor on the film, who initially gave the White House a heads-up about the sequences. If so, you have to wonder why the NYT didn’t have the story too, since Myers’s significant other is its L.A. bureau chief, Todd Purdum.

A quick point about that NYT dollar story. The piece says U.S. currency is up against most European currencies and down against the yen, and that both developments are good news for the U.S: “For the Clinton administration, led by Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, a slumping mark is much less worrisome than a slumping yen would have been, several economists said Monday.” The Times goes on to explain that the trends mean more buying power for Americans in Europe and the prevention of further deterioration in the trade balance with Japan. But it doesn’t explain why their other consequences–less buying power for Americans in Japan and further slippage in the trade balance with European countries–aren’t of equal concern.

According to the front-page “Work Week” column in the Wall Street Journal, workplace equality still has a way to go when it comes to job-related injuries: 71 percent of the nation’s nearly 32,000 cases of carpal-tunnel syndrome involve women, but of the 11,308 amputations, 90% involved men.