Today's Papers

Union Guise–and Dolls

The decision by a federal monitor to keep Teamsters president Ron Carey from running for re-election leads at the Washington Post, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal. The terrorist attack on tourists in Egypt leads at the New York Times. The Los Angeles Times goes with a federal court decision that ensures that next year Californians will be able to vote across party lines in primary elections. A party official is quoted as saying that such open primaries are like “letting UCLA’s football team choose USC’s head coach.”

Carey was barred, say the papers, because he misused his power by tolerating and engaging in various laundering schemes to funnel money from his union’s general fund to his own election effort. How much money? USAT says “$735,000.” The WP agrees with that total in one place but elsewhere says “nearly $1 million.” (If the Post is rounding up, it should have said “nearly three-quarters of a million dollars.”) The Post says the ruling is a major blow to organized labor’s recent resurgence, and runs a companion piece elaborating this point. Oddly, the main piece doesn’t mention the high-water mark of that resurgence–Carey’s leadership of his union in last summer’s UPS strike–while the companion piece relegates it to the twelfth paragraph.

The WP, NYT, and LAT report that the Clinton administration is quietly trying to negotiate with Saddam Hussein by offering to loosen the current constraints on what he can buy with his oil proceeds if he will let the UN inspection team back in. But death flashes in the region anyway. The NYT says that at least 70 people, mostly foreign tourists, were killed yesterday outside an ancient temple in an attack by Islamic militants, who have for five years been trying to overthrow the moderate Mubarak government. Most of the papers say that there were six shooters and that they were all killed by Egyptian forces. The LAT is alone in suggesting that there were at least ten gunmen and that several might have escaped.

The Egypt massacre also tops the World-Wide news digest box at the WSJ, and is on the front at USAT, the WP and the LAT. It looks as if, reports the Times, there were no American victims. Presumably, that’s the reason the story isn’t everybody’s lead? Is that a good reason?

The WP has an intriguing detail about the release of Wei Jingshang: namely that China signaled the U.S. last month that he would be allowed to leave the country if Jiang Zemin’s visit here went well. As a result, says the WP, President Clinton deliberately avoided mentioning Wei by name during his joint press conference with Jiang when the issue of jailed dissidents came up.

In his op-ed column, the NYT’s Frank Rich reports that Republican senators have gotten a “hold” put on President Clinton’s choice to be ambassador to Luxembourg, James Hormel. Hormel is openly gay and the Republicans fear that Hormel “might use this post to promote [the gay] agenda.” Rich observes that “Ambassador to Luxembourg is not a post conducive to promoting any agenda more daring than a wine list.”

The WP runs an AP story reporting that AOL has just hit 10 million subscribers. The piece says it is now estimated that AOL has about 20 percent of the world’s online population. The company handles its phone traffic with 600,000 modems.

Playing off yesterday’s front-page WSJ story reporting that Barbie is scheduled for breast reduction (“Today’s Papers” missed that one, being too preoccupied with other pressing Barbie news), USAT assigns seven reporters to the story. They come back with interviews about the impending surgery with little girls who love Barbies. One six-year-old defender of Barbie’s current dimensions puts it this way: “I don’t want her to look like somebody I know.”