Today's Papers

Roll, Jordan, Roll

USA Today

leads with Kofi Annan’s politically-loaded cancellation of a trip to Washington. The Washington Post goes with the weekend call by several Clinton allies for Kenneth Starr to abandon his Whitewater inquiry. The New York Times leads with the first big test for the balanced budget–the pork-lined transportation bill. And the Los Angeles Times leads with another in its series of important stories on the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department–this time it’s news of a major bribery scheme involving food contracts for the county jail.

Kofi Annan was, says USAT, to be in Washington today to meet with President Clinton and “bask in praise for ending the threat of war with Iraq.” But, U.N. officials told the paper, he postponed his trip after Sen. Trent Lott, who last week harshly criticized the deal Annan brokered with Iraq, said he didn’t have time to meet with him. (Idea for editors: report on Lott’s schedule for this week. It would be interesting to see how many fundraisers and meetings with lobbyists he manages to fit in.)

The WP lead notes that on weekend yap shows, White House advisor Rahm Emmanuel and Sen. Patrick Leahy called on Starr to wind up Whitewater, and that three Republican senators also expressed guarded criticism of him. Emmanuel stopped short of saying Starr should resign, but Leahy said, “Sure he should,” adding that he is “totally out of control.” The paper reports that over the weekend Arlen Specter, John McCain and Orrin Hatch each questioned Starr’s calling in Sidney Blumenthal to question him in front of a grand jury about his press contacts. The idea that Starr has blown it is explored in a large piece inside the Times and was also the subject of an LAT front-pager on Sunday.

The NYT notes that the transportation bill before the Senate is such a big challenge to the balanced budget because it provides goodies to every congressional district in the country. The piece points out that among those who want to make sure the bill doesn’t eat into any budget surplus is Newt Gingrich. The Times also notes that the bill raises several partisan side issues that could lead to a confrontation with the White House, namely, proposals to delay new clean air regulations, scale back affirmative action hiring on highway projects, and lower wage levels for transportation project workers.

The Wall Street Journal front page tells the story of how four years after the FAA announced its intent to create a $500 million system for allowing commercial aircraft to use military Global Positioning satellites for navigation, the system is nowhere near in place. In fact, says the Journal, the system might end up costing $14 billion. And the FAA would have to keep paying for the current, conventional system until every airline had switched over. Meanwhile, last year, there were 225 near-misses over the U.S., up 22 percent from the year before.

The Journal also reports on the trend of professional sports teams offering player education programs in an attempt to keep their new millionaires out of trouble. The programs typically cover how to handle gamblers, groupies and…salad forks. The most elaborate example, run by baseball’s Texas Rangers, even includes role-playing bimbos, and is euphemistically called the “Career Development Program.”

USAT’s off-lead reports that, rumors to the contrary, Vernon Jordan, who is scheduled to appear before the Starr grand jury on Tuesday, has not requested immunity from prosecution. Jordan’s lawyer also told the paper there is no rift between his client and Bill Clinton.

“Military rock and roll is to rock and roll as…” The WP reports that Gen. George T. Babbitt, head of the Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, recently jammed with the Ventures, a band he helped form in the late 1950s.