Today's Papers

Poll to Poll

For the third straight day the papers lead with stories about the revitalized U.S. war on terrorism. The New York Times says that U.S. banks must freeze all of bin Laden’s and his associates’ assets; the Washington Post says that all their U.S. assets are already frozen, but fails to make it clear if any such assets exist. Everyone reports that President Clinton, in his weekly radio address, warned of a “long battle” against bin Laden’s terrorist network.

The NYT runs a two-column off-lead on Nigeria’s “self-imposed poverty.” Africa’s most populous nation has everything it needs: arable land, quality universities, and oil. Corrupt leadership, however, has left the nation racked with poverty and unable to correct itself–a predicament blamed largely on the prevalence of graft among Nigerian politicians. In the words of one would-be reformer, “They have no love of their country. Only love of their pockets.”

A WP/ABC News survey agrees with yesterday’s NYT/CBS News poll: folks think Clinton is doing a good job as President, but they don’t trust him. And they don’t like Monica Lewinsky. The WP article’s headline reads “American Voters See 2 Distinct Bill Clintons,” but the article reveals that polling was done among two groups of “randomly selected adults”-selected, that is, from a population in which only 49% of those eligible voted in the 1996 election.

Crime has dropped but fear hasn’t, according to an Los Angeles Times Sunday Report. The piece says that manipulation of public fear by politicians, the media, and the crime-prevention industry has created something akin to Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex.” The article particularly criticizes police departments that take credit for falling crime rates while padding their budgets by fueling unwarranted paranoia.

The NYT reports that about 40,000 people, 2% of Utah’s total population, live in polygamous families. A 16-year-old Utah girl, who claims she escaped from an abusive father and an arranged marriage to her uncle (her 1st, his 15th), has drawn national attention to the issue this summer. A recent poll finds that, while the Mormon Church has officially banned polygamy for more than a century, only 54% of Salt Lake City residents support the prosecution of polygamists.

William S. Cohen talks tough in a WP Sunday Outlook piece. Mr. Secretary says that Thursday’s missile strike signifies a “long term, fundamental way in which the United States intends to combat the forces of terror.” Cohen reminds us that the U.S. never “cringed at the feet of communist or fascist bullies” and warns terrorist-friendly states that they are “not beyond the reach of America’s military might.”

From the Department of Redundancy Department: yesterday’s Today’s Papers discussed a WP article about the rapid growth of the Clinton legal defense fund. Both the NYTand TP had previously covered the topic back on August 13th.

Finally, the NYT Week in Review examines how Americans rationalize their decisions to eat some animals and not others. The article cites perceived intelligence and fluffiness as big plusses in the “don’t eat” column, but fails to mention what historical role taste buds may have played.