Today's Papers

Jesus Saves Millions

The New York Times leads with details of NATO’s stand-down deal with the KLA. The Los Angeles Times goes with the scene on the ground as Kosovar Albanians begin a return to the status quo antebellum. The Washington Post goes with an echt inside-the-Beltway story: how the Army and Air Force will be trying to turn the lessons of the Yugoslav war into bigger budgets. USA Today leads with a Commerce Department study coming out today concluding that digital business companies are driving the nation’s economic growth. The study states that computer and communication hardware, software, and services, although only accounting for 8 percent of the U.S. economy, have contributed more than a third of its growth since 1995. This sector, says the study, is, thanks to its rising quality and falling prices, controlling inflation too. An adjacent USAT story on the just-convened federal commission (also covered inside at the NYT) taking a look at whether to tax Internet transactions (after the current congressionally mandated moratorium expires in October 2001) reports that Net consumer sales last year totaled about $10 billion, and business-to-business commerce was $43 billion.

The NYT lead reports that Monday’s agreement to disband the KLA shortly–thereby giving the allies the security upper hand in Kosovo–includes a NATO pledge to consider letting the province’s rebels form a provisional army like the U.S. National Guard. The story makes it plain that the clause met with steep opposition within NATO, especially from Germany, but prevailed because there was not going to be a KLA deal without it. The story also makes it clear that, in classic diplomatic fashion, NATO views a new Kosovar army as merely something to be given “due consideration,” while the KLA sees it as a “foregone conclusion.” Both the LAT lead and a WP Kosovo front-pager put the National Guard story in their middles.

The NYT and WP quote the peacekeeping force commander, British Lt. Gen. Mike Jackson, as apologizing for the widespread looting and burning of Serb homes on Sunday, sometimes in the presence of NATO troops just standing there. Jackson called for Kosovo residents of all ethnicities to return, and the WP and LAT quote the KLA’s leader as imploring innocent Serbs to return. As if to make such a request reasonable, the LAT describes a “euphoric” Monday in Kosovo with Albanians and Serbs patronizing each other’s businesses and a banned newspaper’s presses rolling again. But it also tells of NATO’s arrest of some ethnic Albanians on suspicion of arson and of the first two peacekeeper deaths–a pair of British army Nepalese Gurkhas, blown up by some left-behind Serb ordnance they were trying to clear.

According to the WP lead, the Air Force will in the budget battles ahead be emphasizing the Yugoslav battle record of its stealthy aircraft and precision munitions, while the Army will stress the need to hold on to its heavy armor and its current strength of 10 divisions, although given the fumbling of the Apache helicopter deployment the grunts will probably have to acknowledge the necessity of developing a force structure capable of deploying more rapidly. One way the intense rivalry among the services should be used to save the country billions while producing more tactically effective arms: The Army should test the Air Force’s proposed weapons and vice versa. The service that should really be concerned about losing out is the Navy: It isn’t mentioned in the Post piece.

The LAT front takes a pass at the latest blip in the longstanding American tradition of mixing financial advice with spiritual salvation. The story focuses on best-selling author Suze Orman, who’s quoted as saying that God looks down on believers and makes sure they have more money than they’ll ever need. Besides such books as Orman’s The Courage To Be Rich, the piece also glances at Jesus CEO, God Wants You To Be Rich, and God’s Money-Back Guarantee.

Everybody reports that AOL has elaborated on the alliance with Hughes Electronics it struck a month ago, deciding to invest $1.5 billion in Hughes, which will market AOL’s interactive television service, while AOL will promote Hughes’ DirecTV and DirecPC satellite-based Internet services. The Wall Street Journal says the move represents the biggest vote of confidence yet in satellites as broadband technology, noting that currently only about 40,000 U.S. consumers get their Web access that way.

An inside story at the WP straight-facedly reports that a survey of senior federal executives coming out tomorrow concludes that civil service pay “has become the greatest obstacle” to recruiting and retention of qualified managers in the government. According to the story, more than 80 percent of the federal executives surveyed said they have considered leaving the government. All this is very unconvincing. If the pay is so bad compared to what the civilian sector offers, why don’t those 80 percent actually leave? And where are the numbers in the story of how many civil servants do just that?