Today's Papers

Speaker Livingston, I Presume

The Republican struggle over who will be the next Speaker of the House leads at the Washington Post and the New York Times. The WP says that Bob Livingston has already gained the crucial support of Majority Whip Tom DeLay and has received verbal support from “100-plus members.” Livingston will need 112 votes to gain an intra-party majority when the Republican members of the House meet on November 18. The NYT says that most of the top House majority positions will be up for grabs in the coming days, pitting GOP personalities and ideological factions against each other. All the papers mention Oklahoma Rep. Steve Largent as a serious threat to take over Dick Armey’s spot as House majority leader.

The Los Angeles Times leads with the increasing likelihood of imminent U.S. military action against Iraq. Citing a “senior foreign policy advisor to Mr. Clinton,” the LAT says the Administration has lost hope for any Iraqi concessions and is ready to use force “sooner rather than later.” The NYT off-lead says that the U.S. will abandon U.N. arms inspections as a means of restraining Iraq in favor of traditional methods like sanctions and force. The NYT piece quotes a senior Administration official’s warning, ” If [Saddam Hussein] tries to use weapons of mass destruction he should know that we will obliterate Iraq.”

The WP off-lead reveals that the FAA, which recently decided to overhaul the way insulation on commercial airliners is tested for flammability, received warnings about its test’s unreliability as far back as 1988. The change in fire–safety regulations-prompted in part by the crash of Swissair Flight 111–will cost airlines over $1 billion.

A NYT front page article reports that Sen. John Glenn landed safely at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida yesterday aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Glenn, whose age-related experiments required him to provide 10 blood and 16 urine samples in zero gravity, was understandably wobbly upon de-shuttling.

Author and Slate correspondent Michael Lewis appraises Tom Wolfe’s “A Man in Full” in a NYT book review. In a quote waiting for a paperback rear cover, Lewis writes, “The novel contains passages as powerful and as beautiful as anything written…by any American novelist.”

A front page WP report explores the way health-related charities rely on media buzz to generate private donations and government funding. As a result, says the piece, people give more money to fight breast cancer than the equally common prostate cancer, and it’s harder for poor diabetics to get financial assistance than for AIDS sufferers.

A NYT Magazine piece describes and denounces solitary confinement, a punishment now inflicted on 8 percent to 10 percent of prison inmates. Out of their cells for just one hour a day, the inmates grow slowly insane and even more violent and unstable than when they entered prison. Many psychologists believe the treatment is inhumane. Wardens disagree.

A local story from yesterday’s NYT makes today’s WP via the Associated Press. Apparently, the state Supreme Court has ruled that a club can’t be called adult if they let in kids. And if a club can’t be labeled adult, Mayor Giuliani can’t close it down. These developments trace back to one Manhattan strip bar’s attempt to avoid Rudy’s wrath by admitting minors accompanied by adults. A lawyer for the club adds: “You could take your 15-year-old son to see the movie ‘Striptease.’ Why can’t you take him to see a striptease?”