Today's Papers

Just Chute Me

The Los Angeles Times leads with the House defeat yesterday of a proposal that would have banned the sale of all explicitly violent movies, videos, video games, and CDs to children under 17. The Washington Post goes with the House’s approval of another youth violence idea–tough mandatory penalties for youths convicted of using a gun in the commission of a crime–while also covering the defeat of the underage sale ban. (Oddly, the LAT lead does not mention the passage of the mandatory penalties provision.) The New York Times, which fronts the congressional concern with youth violence, leads instead with the return to Kosovo of more than 12,000 Kosovar Albanians, which, says the paper, created chaos for the relief workers there to receive them. USA Today leads with yesterday’s 190-point Dow jump and record-setting 103-point NASDAQ moves, apparently based on enthusiasm for the revelation that inflation in May was nil. The story addresses the hardy perennial: Do such results mean that the Fed should tighten credit and risk messing up historically low inflation and low unemployment? The only other major to front this is the Wall Street Journal, which says Alan Greenspan is facing mounting pressure from rate-raisers inside the Fed. The two papers say Greenspan may tip his hand when he testifies today before Congress.

Reflecting the hometown ethos, the LAT bills the House defeat of an underage violence access ban as delivering “a victory to the entertainment industry.” (The paper quotes the reaction of the woman who heads up the record industry umbrella group: “We did it and it feels good.”) The story also points out that the result meant failure for the House Republican strategy of shifting focus away from gun control as the nation’s primary response to Littleton. However, the LAT does note that other entertainment measures are still in the offing, such as a proposal for mandatory warning labels affixed to violent media products.

There will also be discussions and/or votes on proposals to post the Ten Commandments in schools and to provide litigation immunity to teachers trying to maintain discipline, but as the LAT, WP, and NYT point out, the main congressional focus in the days ahead will be a myriad of gun-related measures. And, the coverage makes clear, the most controversial of those is probably Rep. John Dingell’s bill that would limit the background check hold period for purchases made at gun shows to one day. Incidentally, both the WP and LAT refer to the Dingell provision as “watering down” other more restrictive proposals. But doesn’t this phrase imply that the original bill is better, something news reporting shouldn’t do?

The WP, NYT, and USAT fronts all report that U.S. Marines had the biggest NATO confrontation yet with KLA forces, stopping a column of 100 Kosovar Albanian rebels who were intending to march into Serb areas. The WSJ runs the story inside. The Marines arrested five men and confiscated all the group’s weapons. The episode, the papers note, is indicative of one of NATO’s most ticklish tasks: protecting retreating Serbs from being set upon by the KLA, while avoiding fire fights with either side.

The WP reports that the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest U.S. Protestant denomination and President Clinton’s church, has rebuked Clinton for declaring June as National Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, which the SBC finds “contrary to the word of God.” (God wanted February.)

The LAT fronts, and everybody else carries inside, the news that Kathleen Soliah, a one-time member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, the gang that kidnapped Patty Hearst, was arrested in Minnesota after being on the lam for nearly 24 years. The paper quotes her physician husband as saying neither he nor their three children had an inkling about her past. But it also quotes Soliah’s parents saying otherwise. Soliah is charged with conspiring to murder L.A. police officers and could get life in prison if convicted. The story says the LAPD took advantage of a lull in local crime to energize the search for the fugitive, which was also aided by a story on America’s Most Wanted .

The WP reports inside that today’s New England Journal of Medicine contains a Johns Hopkins study concluding that the amount of federal research money allocated to combating AIDS and breast cancer is disproportionately larger than the toll these diseases take on public health.

The WP’s “Reliable Source” reveals the scary truth about ex-President Bush’s parachute jump last week: It almost killed him. It seems that he came out of the plane in an improper position and then tumbled 6,000 feet and then forgot to pull his ripcord, which finally was pulled by the skydivers accompanying him.

Data on the personal finances of members of Congress became available yesterday and the WP sticks in its thumb and pulls out a plum: It seems that Rep. Tom DeLay initially reported that his wife owned more than $50 million in Exxon stock. But 10 days later, he changed his report to say that the stock was worth less than $100,000.