Today's Papers

Bare Market

The New York Times and Washington Post lead with the House Judiciary Committee’s decision to grant President Clinton’s lawyers two 9 AM-to-midnight sessions this week to make their case against impeachment. The Los Angeles Times puts that story on the front but leads with the ever-worsening relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the eve of President Clinton’s Middle East trip. The big bone of contention is whether or not Israel is abiding by its Wye promise to free Palestinian political prisoners. Another is whether President Clinton’s visit to Palestinian-ruled Gaza will have the full trappings of a visit to an independent state. USA Today goes with upcoming statistics from the Centers for Disease Control suggesting that the food-poisoning bacteria E. coli–usually associated with inadequately cooked hamburgers–may be causing twice as much illness as previously thought. USAT’s off-lead is another scientifically based second look at U.S. life: New computer-assisted studies match up DNA left at violent crime scenes surprisingly often with the DNA of known burglars, indicating that contrary to traditional dogma, burglary is a good predictor of violent crime.

The NYT and WP leads communicate almost exactly the same information: The tart letters back and forth between Judiciary and the White House. The likely schedule of events, culminating in the committee vote Friday or Saturday. Tom DeLay’s judgment that the House floor vote will be close, but will produce an impeachment bill. Both say that until last week the impeachment tide had ebbed considerably but that Clinton’s answers to Judiciary’s 81 questions made it rise again. Both have Rep. Christopher Shay’s quote about those answers: “I mean he still doesn’t get it….He still doesn’t tell the truth.” Both have Trent Lott saying that if the House votes to impeach, the Senate will put Clinton on trial quickly. The two stories are near twins because they both reflect the standard no-shoe-leather m.o. for many a Monday Washington story: Watch the Sunday chat shows.

The LAT follows yesterday’s lead about the FDA ignoring warnings about a diabetes drug now implicated in 33 deaths with a top-front effort today revealing that the man responsible for the federal government’s largest study of diabetes, which included administration of that drug, was at that time also on the payroll of the drug’s manufacturer, Warner-Lambert, as a consultant. The paper says that according to legal experts, this seems to be a crime under federal conflict-of-interest law.

The “cover story” in USAT’s “Money” section checks in on what happened when management yoda Steven Covey merged his firm with rival Franklin Quest. According to the paper, there’s hardly been one effective habit on display, much less seven. The company’s stock is but three dollars above its six-year-old initial offering price, and sales of its business consulting products and services are flat. Meanwhile, there have been time-consuming wrangles between the two partners over such significa as the dress code and the company logo. One observer quoted sums up the situation this way: “It’s proof that the great business gurus know how to run everyone’s business but their own.”

The WP front features a story about Y2K survivalists. In the fourteenth paragraph, the Post stops to explain something: “the Y stands for ‘year,’ and 2K is shorthand for 2000.”

Today, some poor soul (two actually) at the Wall Street Journal has to write about Scottish Power’s expected announcement that it has agreed to acquire PacifiCorp, yadda yadda, but elsewhere in the paper, another reporter lucks out. Today, the Journal’s Asra Q. Nomani is an island of lust in a sea of lucre, filing a long, long, look at the slow, slow-sex industry known as Tantra. There are some of the usual trappings of a financial story, but most of the multiples here aren’t P/Es. For instance: “Known as ‘Shara,’ Ms. Seabrook slips off a white-gauze sarong from over her white G-string bikini as she climbs on a massage table to straddle the table with Ms. Clarke’s live-in boyfriend, Evan Sarver, 30, a Web designer, who sits naked, his face just inches from hers.” Who cares what the market does today?