Today's Papers

Nut Cases

Everybody leads with the Monica-related maneuverings taking place on Capitol Hill. The general consensus is that the public’s support for President Clinton’s remaining in office has withstood the airing of his grand jury testimony and indeed, has even grown a bit stronger. This has, report the papers, encouraged Democrats to seek a compromise outcome short of impeachment–say, having Clinton testify before the House Judiciary Committee with a guarantee that he wouldn’t be removed from office, although perhaps censured and/or fined. The Washington Post reports that former White House counsel–and Washington Wise Man–Lloyd Cutler has been working the Hill for a censure deal as an unofficial Clinton rep.

But Judiciary chairman Henry Hyde is quoted by USA Today and the New York Times saying that talk of such a deal is “very premature.” Hyde expects a committee vote recommending impeachment hearings to come in early October, with the hearings beginning after the November election. The NYT explains the politics of that schedule: it would allow Republicans to avoid looking too soft or too hard on the president before the elections, while still forcing Democrats to cast a pre-election vote on Clinton’s fate.

The papers report that as part of its anti-impeachment lobbying, the White House legal team went on the offensive yesterday, writing a letter to Hyde accusing Ken Starr of deliberately leaving exculpatory statements he’d turned up out of the formal report he tendered to Congress. “Ultimately, we just got the sex,” a presidential advisor is quoted in the LAT. Exhibit A of something in evidence but not in the report is Lewinsky’s statement to the grand jury that “no one ever asked me to lie and I was never promised a job for my silence.” The LAT notes, referring to the Starr office’s response, that when this statement was paraphrased in the report the modifier “explicitly” was added. The WP notes that the Starr office sarcastically observed that the Clinton team now appears to find Lewinsky credible on some topics but not others.

The papers report that at a White House East Room reception, Nelson Mandela said that South Africa, Africa and the entire world supported Bill Clinton. It was, notes the NYT, “the kind of emotional endorsement that Clinton has trouble getting these days from members of his own party.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that China has banned a kind of foreign joint venture that was the principal way such telecommunications firms as Sprint had begun gaining entry into Chinese markets. The move is the latest in a series of protectionist steps that are worsening the business climate for U.S. companies and widening the U.S.-China trade gap. The trend is puzzling, the paper notes, in that the Asian economic crisis has already made foreign investors leery of investing in China. A WP story says that trade is quickly becoming the biggest issue between the U.S. and China. According to U.S. stats, the U.S. deficit with China is second only to the one with Japan. China says U.S statistics are exaggerated. The big leverage the U.S. has to remedy the problem is, according to the Post, that–especially with other Asian markets in such disarray–America is China’s most important export market.

Although the NYT’s off-lead reports that any U.S.-Iran thaw is still a long way off, LAT’s front, and inside stories at all the other papers, report that Iran’s president Mohammed Khatemi told reporters yesterday that the fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie for blaspheming Islam was “completely finished.”

A front-page NYT story shows that private and suburban school parents still lead the way in fighting against threats to their children so slight as to be all but invisible to ordinary folk. The latest bogeyman: peanut butter allergies. A number of elite schools in the New York area, the paper reports, have declared peanut-free cafeterias. Others serve peanut butter sandwiches only in a special designated area. Some schools have stored syringes of antidote around their buildings. And thought is being given to providing separate instructional materials to peanut-allergic children. One lawyer who represents many New York private schools is concerned, says the paper, that peanut allergies might qualify as a disability that must be accommodated under the American with Disabilities Act. The NYC public schools have done none of these things, largely because no one has complained. (Although peanuts are not served because they are deemed a choking hazard.) The Times notes that according to the Center of Disease Control, from 1979 through 1995, there were but 88 deaths nationwide from all forms of food allergy combined.