Today's Papers

House Call

USA Today

leads with the tough prison sentence given to an ex-aide to Mike Espy and what it might mean to the dramatis personae of the Clinton sex scandal. The Washington Post leads with word that Newt Gingrich and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde agreed yesterday to form a small group of House members that would check to see if Kenneth Starr’s investigation has accumulated evidence of an impeachable offense. The national edition of the New York Times goes with the conclusion by a panel of educational experts that both old-fashioned phonics and new-fashioned “whole-language” methods are valuable for teaching reading. The metro edition of the Times leads with the unanimous decision by the New York City Board of Education to require elementary school kids to wear uniforms. The top national story in the metro edition is the president’s criticism of the GOP budget. The Los Angeles Times lead continues the close look the paper has been taking lately at local and state prisons. On the heels of indictments of prison officials in connection with an inmate death at Corcoran prison, the paper reports that federal investigators are now looking into assaults and slayings of inmates at two other state facilities.

The judge in the Espy aide case ignored the sentencing guideline recommendation of probation to hand down a 27-month sentence for lying, and while doing so, referred darkly to a “Hollywood” lawyer and others who have suggested that lying under oath in a civil case isn’t a big deal. USAT implies the “Hollywood” tag was meant to refer to Monica Lewinsky’s Los Angeles-based lawyer, William Ginsburg. The paper concludes the judge wanted to “send a message to key players in the White House intern scandal.” The sentence is also covered inside at the WP.

According to the Post, the House select group agreed to by Gingrich and Hyde would include Democrats and will probably examine Starr’s evidence at Starr’s office to avoid the leaky consequences of the House of Representatives rule making material in the files of any standing committee available to any member.

The NYT reports that President Clinton used sharply partisan language in knocking the Republican budget before a cheering, sympathetic crowd of AFL-CIO members in Las Vegas, saying it “shortchanges our nation’s future,” by eliminating his new initiatives on education, job training and child care. Meanwhile, back in Washington, reports the Times, the Senate Budget Committee approved the Republican tax and spending plan on a straight party-line vote, after defeating several Democratic attempts to reinstate the Clinton initiatives. The Clinton speech also gets front space at the WP.

The Wall Street Journal “Business Bulletin” reports that it takes about six years for a new consumer product to take off. That probably seems long to investors, but, says the Journal, before World War II it took about eighteen years.

A Clinton White House executive order from a few years back requires the CIA and other government agencies to release every classified document in the archives that’s more than 25 years-old. A WSJ front-page feature visits the CIA facility that’s doing the declassification work, editing out sensitive information line by line. And it’s a lot of work–there are 65 million pages to review. Where’s the facility? That’s a secret.

Right now, the press is in a big respectability-puffing, nose-holding phase in its reporting of the Clinton sex scandals, deploring–in exquisite detail–having to cover all that executive branch breastage and groinage. A good clue to how insincere that all is comes in a letter to the WP. “The press coverage of Monica Lewinsky and her problems,” a reader notes, “has mentioned little or nothing about the [White House] intern program in which she was employed.” Here at last is a legitimate story related to the scandals that’s not itself salacious–so of course, it hasn’t been done.