Today's Papers

Not Your Father’s Guzzmobile

USA Today

leads with the Dept. of Justice’s attempt to have Microsoft held in contempt because the company is allegedly flouting the recently issued court order requiring it to market its Web browser Internet Explorer separately from its Windows 95 operating system. The Washington Post leads with news that GM and Ford are ready to roll out the cleanest-running-ever gasoline-powered cars. The Los Angeles Times goes with the Clinton administration’s decision to open the way to full-scale trade between the U.S. and Vietnam. The New York Times lead is that the New York City Council has passed the nation’s toughest restrictions on outdoor cigarette advertising.

According to the WP lead, Ford and GM say they could put their new generation of clean gas-powered cars on the road soon provided they got guarantees the cars would qualify as acceptable under the pollution standards everywhere in the country outside California. (The cars are said to eliminate 99 percent of smog-producing emissions, but California has adopted eventual zero-admissions standards.) But much to the companies’ chagrin, New York and Massachusetts have adopted requirements similar to California’s and their fear is that other states will follow suit. The story quotes unidentified EPA officials saying that the automakers’ proposals offer an acceptable compromise, which will produce cleaner air.

The LAT lead states that economic normalization between the U.S. and Vietnam will result from the administration’s decision, based on its view that Vietnam’s emigration policies have improved considerably, to grant Vietnam a waiver from the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which bars full economic relations with Communist countries that don’t permit free emigration. This will unblock a variety of government-backed financing programs for the Vietnam projects of various American companies. It would have been helpful if the story had said high up in what respects Vietnam’s emigration stance has improved, and had also explained how it is that the president can alter a country’s trade status like this unilaterally, without Senate approval.

The WP and LAT front pages carry news of the decision by New Jersey to allow gay partners to jointly adopt children on the same basis as married couples, the first state to do so. (The NYT runs the story inside.) The WP story includes these factoids: between eight and thirteen million children nationwide are being raised by gay parents, while two states, New Hampshire and Florida, bar the adoption of children by gays.

USAT reports that yesterday, President Clinton signed the first law directly cracking down on unauthorized distribution in cyberspace of copyrighted material even if there is no profit sought. The piece suggests that the new law addresses the case of a large corporate interest being abused by a lone-wolf operator. But does it also address cases where it’s the corporation that’s doing the stealing? Like a magazine’s putting an article on its Web site for which one-time print rights only had been purchased from a freelance writer? Or if its online archives contained plagiarized material? The story doesn’t say.

The WP “Politics” column reports that Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Linder recently sent out a letter titled “In Praise of Soft Money” to the Fortune 500 CEOs, which described soft money as “entirely legal, ethical, beneficial and necessary to our nation’s healthy two-party system.”

The WP states that in Japan, more than 700 viewers of a television cartoon show were taken to hospitals, many suffering from seizures and unconsciousness, after viewing a sequence in the show containing strobe effects. Jay Leno explained last night why network executives are so concerned: TV isn’t supposed to cause brain damage that fast.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Postal Service plans to issue a philanthropy stamp next year that will depict a bee pollinating a flower and will bear the words: “Giving and Sharing: an American Tradition.” Guess the rights to the Pamela and Tommy Lee video weren’t available.