Today's Papers

The Disney Exercise Program

Yesterday, everybody had the same lead–today, nobody does. USA Today leads with a major new comparative study of Americans’ life spans. The New York Times leads with South Korea’s acceptance of the largest international economic rescue ever, a $55 billion bailout engineered by the IMF. The Washington Post goes with Motorola’s decision to make its largest single capital investment ever, in the form of a new computer chip plant near Richmond, Va. The Los Angeles Times lead is a survey suggesting that 42 percent of Californians with medical insurance had a problem with their health plan, including hundreds of thousands who reported denials or delays in getting treatment, which often made their medical conditions worse.

USAT’s longevity study lead reveals that the gap between the longest and shortest American lifespans–where life expectancy can vary by as much as 40 years from one county to another–is about as big as that found between the nations with the longest and shortest lifespans. For instance, an Asian woman living in Bergen County, NJ, can expect to live for 96 years, while the average black man in Washington D.C., lives to age 58. The paper says the director of the CDC finds the results incredible, adding that they will probably serve as a blueprint for research into disease and urban violence.

The WP runs a front-page piece driving home the study’s applications to the Washington/Virginia region, noting that it reveals that D.C. men have nearly the shortest life span in the country, while men just across the Potomac in suburban Virginia have nearly the longest–a difference of 14.5 years. Not surprisingly, one expert quoted pins the difference on economic status–in other words, that Motorola plant’s only going to make things worse.

The NYT explains in its lead that in return for the bailout money from the IMF and such countries as the U.S. and Japan, Korea will have to cut public spending, open its market up to more foreign goods and investors and put growth constraints on its conglomerate industries. All of which, says the Times, could be very good for the U.S. economy.

120 nations (that’s the NYT number; the LAT and USAT say 125) gathered yesterday in Ottawa to sign a comprehensive land mine ban. The U.S. was the most conspicuous non-signer. As you’d expect, the story is front-page news at the NYT, LAT, and USAT. But the WP puts it on p. 33.

Both the NYT and WP give front-page coverage (with pictures) to President Clinton’s first town meeting on race, held in Akron, Ohio. And both papers give a lot of ink to an exchange between Clinton and Abigail Thernstrom, a conservative critic of affirmative action. Clinton, on his feet, “towering” over the seated Thernstrom, asked her if she favored the U.S. Army abolishing the affirmative action program that “produced” Colin Powell. The NYT version makes it look like Thernstrom didn’t respond very clearly. The WP account says she replied, “The overwhelming majority of Americans want American citizens to be treated as individuals.”

The Wall Street Journal “Business Bulletin” reports that University Microfilms, long the nation’s main repository for doctoral dissertations, has now made them available on the Web. Which means, says the Journal, you are but a few clicks away from reading the Ph.D. theses of the likes of Bill Cosby, Dr. Ruth and the Unabomber. But not Alan Greenspan’s–he asked that his “Papers on Economic Theory and Policy” not be made available.

Back to that LAT lead about health plan problems: One Californian who probably doesn’t have these difficulties is Disney poohbah Michael Eisner, who, says the LAT in a nearby front-pager, yesterday had the single biggest executive payday in history when he exercised stock options bringing in $565 million. A little perspective on that sum: it could pay the salaries of every member of Congress for about a decade.