Today's Papers

Cisneros and Aphrodite

USA Today

and the Washington Post lead with a federal judge’s order that Microsoft must, at least temporarily, stop bundling its Internet browser with its Windows operating system. This is also the top national story at the Los Angeles Times. The New York Times goes instead with a look at the coming debate over the Kyoto greenhouse protocol.

USAT describes the federal court decision as “a major blow” to Microsoft and “a big victory” for the Justice Department. The decision not only applies to current versions of the software programs but could also hinder the development and marketing of new versions set to roll out early next year. The judge also made another ruling that gets less attention: he refused to order Microsoft to stop asking business partners to sign “non-disclosure” provisions that require notifying Microsoft when passing information along to the government. His reason: there is no evidence that MS is using the provision to prevent signatories from speaking to government investigators.

The NYT lead reports that the White House said Thursday it would not submit the proposed global warming treaty for Senate ratification until developing countries agree to participate in its restrictions, something these countries refused to do at Kyoto until they see developed countries like the U.S. cut their own emissions first. Perceptions of the treaty’s softness on the third world, says the Times, have already prompted many Senators to come out against it.

In politics, what could be worse than having your cold, dead ass dug up from Arlington Cemetery when it’s discovered that your tombstone there is full of lies? Well, maybe it’s being indicted for lying along with your ex-mistress. Anyway, the front pages at the NYT, the LAT and the WP report that this is exactly what’s befallen former Clinton HUD secretary Henry Cisneros. The indictment charges that while Clinton was choosing his first cabinet, Cisneros lied to FBI agents conducting the requisite routine background investigation, saying that he had stopped paying money to an ex-mistress. But the money, alleges the indictment, wasn’t for support but for silence and the payments continued. The papers all mention that some ex-Cisneros employees are indicted too, but it’s the NYT that makes it clear why: the charge is that they also lied to investigators about the financial arrangements with the woman, in hopes of securing HUD jobs for themselves.

For those who persist in arguing that our politicians need salary increases, please note that according to the indictment, somehow Cisneros was able to scrape together a quarter of a million dollars for his girlfriend.

The Wall Street Journal runs an interesting front-pager on the Asian economic turmoil’s impact on U.S. businesses. The piece points out that it depends on the business–the best situation is companies like Hewlett-Packard and Seagate, who have a lot of production facilities in the troubled countries, but sell mostly to other, healthier regions. The worst is the reverse: companies like Applied Materials and LAM Research, which make products in the U.S. and Europe for sale in Asia.

USAT repeats Cindy Adams’s account in the New York Post of her and Hillary Clinton getting thrown out of the University Club in NYC. Adams says it might have been because she was talking on a cell phone and because she and the First Lady were spritzing each other with her new perfume. (How it must have pained Adams’s sense of journalistic integrity to have to mention the name of that perfume in her column.) The NYT’s account doesn’t mention the phoning and the spritzing, which makes the whole episode utterly incomprehensible.

The WP’s Al Kamen reports that Al Gore has sent a Christmas card to just about every Democrat in New Hampshire. In case you were wondering if it was wise for Gore to spend all that money on just one primary state, don’t worry–the Democratic National Committee paid for the leafleting. Isn’t this exactly the sort of soft-money-for-hard-purposes shenanigans that Gore’s just dodged a bullet over?

In a long WP profile of Geraldo Rivera , prompted by Rivera’s new lush contract with NBC News, which he hopes to use to ride back into teevee news respectability, he’s quoted saying, “I would debate with anyone, on any of the meaningful issues of our day–with Peter Jennings, Charlie Rose, Bill Moyers, all these people that you guys are always kissing their [expletive]. I happen to be one of the most educated men in television. Not only am I lawyer, but I have had two graduate fellowships!” Yeah, but Bill Moyers never did a show where he had some of his butt cells transplanted into his face.