Today's Papers

Hoffa Gets His Due(s)

The New York Times leads with James P. Hoffa’s victory in the Teamsters’ presidential election. The Washington Post leads with an in-depth look at D.C.’s burgeoning high-tech industry and goes with the Hoffa election as its top non-local story. The Los Angeles Times lead accuses the FDA of approving a drug linked to 33 deaths since 1997.

A University of Michigan-educated labor lawyer, Hoffa takes over as President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters two years after losing an election that was eventually overturned because of his opponent’s corrupt campaign financing. Hoffa’s most recent rival claims that the son of the legendary James R. Hoffa spent more than $6 million over the 4 years he campaigned for the leadership position. The NYT reports that the union has 1.4 million members, down from 2.3 million during the seventies, but it still holds considerable influence over U.S. industry.

The LAT Sunday Report says that the FDA approved a drug used to treat adult-onset diabetes despite “explicit warnings of danger” from within the agency. Even after the product was recalled in Great Britain it remained–and still remains–available by prescription in the U.S.. The drug, called Rezulin, can cause liver damage that has led to 12 deaths in Japan and the U.S. since June. Part of the outrage over the drug’s availability stems from the numerous drugs also available to treat the same symptoms. One M.D. notes, “Nobody is going to suffer if [Rezulin] is taken away.”

Nigeria held elections for local officials in what the NYT headline calls a “First Enthusiastic Step Towards Democracy.” The voting was peaceful, turnout was high, and the mood was optimistic throughout the country. Nigeria’s president has promised a full transition to democratic government after years of military dictatorship.

A WP piece reports that Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer spoke out publicly against what they perceive as threats to judicial independence. The unusual move was a reaction to both Congressional Republicans who threaten to impeachment judges based on their rulings and to campaign contributors who attempt to influence elected state judges.

A depressing NYT Magazine cover story follows the struggle of two parents trying to save their toddler, a victim of Canavan disease. The parents desperately lobby the cautious and slow-moving Federal Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health to approve experimental gene therapy, but when the treatment comes it does little. The child is still alive but slowly dying.

All the papers report that Albert Gore Sr. died Saturday at age 90. Vice President Gore and Tipper were at the bedside of the former U.S. Senator when he died peacefully of natural causes in his Carthage, Tennessee home.

The NYT off-lead profiles Casino mogul Steve Wynn’s considerable clout in both the gaming and political arenas. Wynn’s company, Mirage Resorts, employs a full-time tele-survey staff that polls constituents on numerous political issues. He then shares this information, along with hundreds of thousands of dollars, with politicians most sympathetic to his cause. The piece says that his methods are successful: many Nevadans consider Wynn “the most powerful man in the state.”