Today's Papers

Taking Stock in America

The top story at USA Today, the New York Times and the Washington Post is Benjamin Netanyahu’s home-front political battles arising from his just-signed peace deal with Yasser Arafat. This is also played above the fold at the Los Angeles Times, which leads with the paper’s own study revealing that despite being the most populous state, California stands 31st in per capita share of federal education spending.

The papers report that as soon as his plane landed in Israel, Netanyahu began vigorously defending the Wye deal with Arafat. According to the coverage, he portrayed the agreement as his success at getting the very best possible out of the land-for-security Oslo peace process he inherited from his Labor predecessors. Everybody quotes him saying, “We have closed the holes of the Swiss cheese created by Oslo.” The NYT quotes his direct pitch to militant Israeli settlers: “You are us and we are you. We love you.” Koo-koo-ka-choob.

The NYT and WP say Netanyahu could face a no-confidence vote this week, while the LAT doesn’t give a time frame, and USAT says it’s today. In view of the no-confidence threat, the WP notes the oddity of Netanyahu’s Labor slam, since it’s the doves who may save his government, with conservative settlers expressing great disaffection. All this political intrigue, even though, as the papers report, about three-quarters of all Israelis approve of the accord.

The NYT and LAT include in their lead stories reporting on unrest among the Palestinians as well. The two papers note that violent clashes broke out in the Palestinian-controlled city of Ramallah, resulting in the death of one Fatah member, after Palestinian security forces, pursuant to the new agreement, raided the Fatah headquarters there, confiscating documents and weapons and making five arrests.” The NYT notes that Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi was a witness to the death, but the WP quotes her only on the general political situation and doesn’t seem to know about this.

The NYT front continues the sprawling series on adoption it started yesterday. One of the main points of today’s installment is that the demand for white American-born infants is so great that even though it is not legal to bid on or buy an adopted child, there has arisen an entire network of adoption-related intermediaries who sell various kinds of access to child-bearing women. In effect, the paper states, today there is only the thinnest line between buying adoption services and buying a child.

The story of the upstate New York abortion doctor murdered in his home continues to garner a lot of coverage. The LAT runs a front-page encomium, while the WP reports inside that for quite some time, he had received phone and written threats. The NYT reports on the manhunt for the sniper and also that the Georgia-based computer programmer who hosts an anti-abortion web site called “The Nuremberg Files,” where the doctor’s name had a line drawn through it shortly after he was murdered, denies any advance information about the shooting. The NYT lead editorial has this reaction to the crime: “If an armed police officer has to be stationed outside every abortion provider’s home and office, 24 hours a day, let it be done.”

It’s well-known that convicts paper the legal system with suits, briefs and motions to spring themselves, but a Wall Street Journal front-page feature reports on a prisoner who has put the same kind of energy into stockholder suits and makes a decent income from it. Over the past three years, says the Journal one convicted tax cheat has taken in more than $30,000 making (dubious) allegations of stockholder fraud against various corporations. All this without owning any stock in any of the companies.

In the aftermath of the recent revelation that a celebrated 19-year-old writer on “Felicity” is actually thirty-two, the LAT front reports that according to a new study from the West Coast branch of the movie and TV writers union, writers under age thirty–most of them white males–are increasingly dominating TV and movies. Since it is obvious that studios will want to immediately correct this grievous social injustice, Today’s Papers feels compelled to confess that it is a black woman over fifty.