Today's Papers

Smoke and Ice

The UPS strike makes everybody’s front page, but only leads at USA Today. The Los Angeles Times leads with California’s passage of a welfare reform bill that would for the first time ever subject state recipients to strict time limits and work requirements, along with a companion measure that would ban from the rolls for life anyone convicted of a drug felony. The New York Times leads with word that “a federal advisory panel has decided to recommend abolishing the troubled Immigration and Naturalization Service and assigning its duties to other government agencies.” And the Washington Post leads with President Clinton’s decision to sign an executive order later this week dramatically broadening the ban on smoking in the federal workplace.

The presidential smoking ban would, says the WP, “set a standard policy across the government and extend existing prohibitions to places currently exempt, such as military officers’ clubs.” Some exceptions would remain, such as military barracks and “undercover, military or diplomatic situations that are essential to accomplish agency missions.” (Spies, thank God, can still smoke.)

The NYT runs a front-page piece that may signal the beginning of a major environmental development. British Petroleum, the world’s third-largest oil company, announced that “there is now enough scientific evidence to warrant concern about whether human activity–primarily the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas–is changing Earth’s climate.” This is a break from oil and gas companies’ monolithic denial of a global warming problem and thus may have policy ripples akin to the separate catalytic course taken in tobacco and health issues by Liggett Myers.

The Post front features a behind-the-scenes account of the negotiations leading to the budget deal. Top revelations include that at one point, Gingrich was so stressed out that he went off his diet, and that at another, he successfully smoothed over ruffled Democratic feathers by sending over inscribed copies of his two books. Also, in one phone call, Rep. John Kasich told Clinton lobbyist John Hilley that, “…if we don’t get a deal by the beginning of the recess, I’m [expletive] coming over and burning your house down!”

In other congressional news, the Wall Street Journal’s main front-page feature takes a one-year-later look at Congress’s reform of doing away with ice deliveries to member’s offices, a move that Gingrich claimed saved $500,000 a year. It turns out that the ice is still being distributed, and the Journal wonders how any savings have been accomplished since the delivery work is now done, not by the maintenance personnel who used to do it–and who still watch over the ice and log its movements–but by higher-paid congressional staffers.

A NYT front-page piece describes the efforts being made on behalf of Malcolm Shabazz by New York power brokers and family friends David Dinkins and Percy Sutton, revealing that the two men, in attempting to favorably work out details of Shabazz’s upcoming juvenile sentence, have been “sharing the back seat of a chauffeured black sedan,…combing the country for a place secure enough to satisfy the judge, therapeutic enough to satisfy the psychiatrists and academic enough to satisfy their ambitions…” The paper quotes Sutton as saying, “I tell him he can be a king, he can go to West Point, he can do anything he wants if we can get through this problem we have now.” But the twelve-year old wants something else, says the Times–to be a lawyer.