Today's Papers

All-Mail Voting

On a slow news day, the Los Angeles Times leads with the quiet hope among some Republicans that the House impeachment inquiry will die a swift death. The New York Times goes with an affirmative action-related piece: complaints from some parents, mostly in the white majority, that their kids have been excluded from schools on the basis of race. And the Washington Post leads with the growing vote-by-mail trend.

The LAT front says that some Republicans believe that losing the House impeachment vote would be much better than winning by a narrow margin and sending the unpopular impeachment proceedings to the Senate (which would likely kill impeachment anyway). The GOP is in a tough spot: The LAT cites a recent Gallup poll which says that while 64% of Americans oppose impeachment, 68% of “self-identified Republicans” want their Congressmen to vote for it.

According to the NYT, high schools and elementary schools are increasingly butting heads with parents of rejected students over race-conscious policies. The issue–whether diversity should be a selection criterion in public schools–has not been directly addressed by the Supreme Court, even as desegregation orders are lifted in many areas across the U.S. Magnet schools, which accept top students yet also seek to preserve their racial diversity, are particularly flummoxed by this issue. A spate of upcoming court cases across the country may determine the future of race-based policies.

Voting by mail was once confined to the legitimately absent or the physically impaired. Now, says the WP, it has become widely popular among stay-at-homes. In over 20 states, voters can vote up to 21 days early without explaining their early voting. Oregon will soon become the first state to switch to an all-mail ballot. Alarmingly, individual candidates can bundle their campaign literature into a vote-by-mail application (which incidentally does not require identification). Among the downsides of mail-voting: Extra costs and the potential for corruption–ineligible, dead, or nonexistent voters can wriggle onto the voting rolls.

The NYT off-lead carries another voting issue: soft money. More soft money than ever is flooding presidential campaigns–and earlier than ever. The soft money is no longer principally funneled through national political parties; many candidates today have established political action committees which are thinly veiled conduits for their own interests. Sen. Bob Kerrey, for example, will rely on funds for the “Building America’s Conscience and Kids PAC” for the 2000 Presidential campaign.

The NYT front hints at a coming waterloo for Yugoslav dictator Slobodan Milosevic. The evidence is a spate of recent purges of government leaders in the army, air force, and intelligence service. Some Washington officials believe–nay, hope–that the purges indicate that Milosevic is teetering. The WP also runs an item on the purges, saying that they have rattled Montenegro (adjacent to Serbia), which fears a crackdown from Belgrade. Both stories note that Milosevic’s wife has played a key behind-the-scenes role in the dismissals.

The LAT fronts an interesting piece describing Iran as a low-profile, high-volume refugee haven. Floods of Afghan refugees (and, to a lesser extent, Kurds and Bosnians and others) have found Iran to be hospitable. However, this has make no impact on the West; the United Nations’ main agency for refugees (UNHCR) gave only $17 million this year for Iran’s 2.1 million refugees, whereas it provided $149 million this year to handle the almost 1 million displaced persons within former Yugoslavia.

The WP runs an op-ed by Henry Kissinger that denounces the ineffectiveness of America’s current Iraq policy: “We win the battles, but Saddam Hussein is winning the wars,” Kissinger says. Specifically, he warns that international support for U.S. raids cannot be “recycled indefinitely” and that the U.S. is becoming “more captive to a fragile U.N. consensus.” Rather than swallow Saddam’s bluster about inspections and sanctions, the U.S. should actively pursue the removal of Saddam from power. Kissinger proposes not only strengthening the anti-Saddam resistance groups, but also implementing a much firmer policy on Iraq–i.e. actively destroying command areas and suspected weapons sites when Saddam provokes the next crisis.

A massive piece fronting the NYT “Money & Business” describes the recruiting process for college seniors. In the mad scramble for lucrative investment banking and consulting jobs, interviews can be quite grueling. Says one unidentified student: “I walked into the interview, and before the guy even says, ‘Hi, how are you doing?’ he asks me, ‘What’s the sum of 1 through 100 consecutively?’” (Answer: 5050. Don’t despair–the student flubbed it also.)