Today's Papers

Mine Kampf

The top national story at the Washington Post is the crash of a stealth fighter at an airshow (the first Redskins game at the new stadium dominates the front page), and that accident and two others involving military aircraft are the lead at USA Today. At the New York Times the lead is the U.S.’s possible shift to endorsing a land mine ban, while at the Los Angeles Times, it’s a new study about the impact of immigration on the California economy and what to do about it–on a front page dominated by a backstage picture and the accompanying headline “‘3rd Rock,’ ‘Seinfeld’ Stars Win Emmys.”

The immigration study, prepared by the Rand Corp. warns that the increasingly skill-based California economy cannot continue to absorb large flows of poorly educated immigrants and calls on Congress to: reduce new legal immigrant admissions to “a moderate range,” allow the rate of immigration to fluctuate with general economic conditions, and add education levels and English proficiency as admission criteria. One immigrant advocate is quoted in the paper denouncing the study as “think tank poppycock.”

The NYT land mine story reveals a major policy change: the Clinton administration told allies over the weekend that it could sign a land mine ban provided the U.S. was allowed nine more years before removing them from the Korean peninsula. Administration sources admitted that the death of Princess Diana, who had embraced the ban, raised the pressure on the U.S. to make a move. Some hurdles remain however, says the Times: the U.S. would like at least a limited exemption for anti-personnel mines used in conjunction with anti-tank mines, and also wants an escape clause allowing exemptions for countries who are the victims of aggression.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Seagram has escalated its campaign to advertise hard liquor on television by preparing ads including a caveat about responsible drinking. But the Journal reports that three of the four major networks said that this latest move will have no impact on their existing policies prohibiting liquor ads. (ABC didn’t return the reporter’s call.)

USAT has a big photo-essay inside called “Battle of the Sexes Invades Boot Camp,” in which the paper takes a comparative look at two South Carolina basic training installations–an Army base where recruits of both sexes train together and a Marine one where they are sexually segregated. The reporter even found a female Marine who had previously gone through the basic training at the Army base–she prefers the Marine way of handling the sexes in training. The piece says that “the future of gender-integrated training in the military is on the ropes.”

Following a revelation first made in yesterday’s Washington Times, both USAT and the WP run pieces about Paula Jones’ tax audit. The two headlines chosen emphasize opposite sides of the dispute. The Post’s reads: “IRS Audit of Paula Jones Is `Harassment,’ Adviser Says” and USAT’s is: “Clinton Lawyer: No Link To IRS Audit Of Jones.”

The top of the NYT front features a sprawling piece about how private investigators are using online resources to dig ever deeper into private information. The piece explains that certain Web sites specialize in selling such personal data as unlisted telephone numbers, bank account numbers, beeper numbers, and even annual salary and investment portfolio information, but in effect serves as wonderful free advertising for them by mentioning their names and quoting their rates for these particular services.

There’s an odd lacuna in the piece, where it describes the formidable staffing of “one of the best-connected Washington investigative agencies,” Investigative Group International. It identifies the company’s chairman by name and says also that Ray Kelly, the former NYC chief of police, used to run the firm’s New York operations, but does not elaborate on the following fascinating tidbit: “The promotion brochure features veteran investigative reporters who now work for IGI.”