Today's Papers

Race Ipsa Loquitur

USA Today

and the Washington Post lead with the dust-up over the expulsion by Iraq of some American members of a weapons inspection team. The Los Angeles Times leads with more bad news about the IRS. The New York Times metro edition leads with President Clinton stumping in NYC with the Democratic mayoral candidate and then in New Jersey with the Democratic gubernatorial candidate. The NYT national edition leads with a story you could be excused for not worrying about–White House and Congressional plans for spending all those future federal budget surpluses. The Times front has a truly spectacular color shot of runners in the NYC marathon going over the Verrazano-Narrows bridge in the rain.

Both the USAT and WP accounts of the Iraq situation emphasize that congressional Democrats and Republicans and the White House are all on the same page: if the U.N. can’t negotiate Iraq into reversing itself, then it’s ass-kicking time. The NYT front-page piece on this quotes the explanation proffered for Iraq’s behavior by the Australian head of the weapons inspection team: namely, that Iraq is probably still in the biological and chemical weapons business.

The LAT lead reports that an IRS internal audit found that the IRS’s focus on disseminating as much information as possible to taxpayers via phone has resulted in serious breaches of confidentiality. A team of the agency’s auditors operated a sting this year that established that callers could easily obtain income data on other taxpayers using only name, address and Social Security Number. The auditors tried this in 109 calls and got improper information in 96 of them.

Yesterday the NYT charted its own course and ignored Jiang’s oblique remark at Harvard about “mistakes” his government has made. But today in its front-page piece on what Jiang accomplished with his U.S. trip (a lot: he got planes and nuke equipment, and looked good here and back home), the Times plays catch up, now likewise seeing the remark as significant.

A Wall Street Journal “Politics and Policy” piece makes the point that cultural exchange between the U.S. and China is wreaking bigger changes back there than could ever be arrived at via summitry. In the past decade, the Journal reports, China has sent a quarter of a million students to study in the U.S. The 100,000 or so who have returned have brought back “impressions of an open society, a thriving market economy, the rule of law and the role of minority rights.”

The NYT front reports that a growing number of scientists and policy makers now say it will be difficult if not impossible to avoid doubling the amount of heat-trapping gasses in the atmosphere before the greenhouse problem is brought under control, which could mean anywhere from a three- to eight-degree increase in the earth’s temperature.

The USAT front section cover story states that a new poll of teenagers shows that 57 percent of them say they’ve dated someone of another race or ethnic group. This up from just 17 percent in 1980. And another 30 percent who haven’t dated inter-racially say they have no objection to doing so.

That LAT IRS story contains the following explanation: “Outside experts warn, however, that business conducted over the telephone is generally less secure than by mail.” For this, we needed an outside expert?