Today's Papers

The LAT Quits Smoking

The Los Angeles Times leads with the concerns of U.S. foreign affairs experts (mostly outside of, but some in, the government) that Russia, China, and India might form an anti-U.S. alliance (the story also uses the more loaded word “axis”). The New York Times goes with the serious shortage of military recruits and what the Pentagon is trying to do about it. USA Today goes with a federal commission’s proposal today of a dramatic exception to the U.S. criminal appeals process: permitting convicts to file appeals based on DNA evidence even if deadlines for appeals in general have already expired. The Washington Post leads with Dan Quayle’s likely announcement today that he will drop out of the presidential race. One misstep in the Post’s sum-up of Quayle’s career: It cites his Murphy Brown speech about out of wedlock births as an embarrassing incident on a par with the potato spelling episode. A fairer statement is that the speech helped make the topic a serious part of the national conversation. Aside from Quayle–played bottom front by USAT–none of the papers’ leads are fronted elsewhere.

The LAT lead says that the U.S.-spearheaded intervention in Kosovo seems to have accelerated a collaboration between Russia, China and India, which together, the paper notes, represent a vast nuclear stockpile and 2.5 billion people. One of the most alarming signs of the trend: increasing arm sales by Russia to the other two countries.

The NYT says that of all the service branches, only the Marine Corps is taking in as many new recruits as planned. Some of the Pentagon’s countermeasures include: paying recruits $6,000 just for signing up; increasing college money available to enlistees from $40,000 to $50,000; and using brand new soldiers as recruiters, a job formerly reserved for personnel with a real service tour behind them. The story describes how a major Pentagon response has been to revamp recruitment advertising, so that even “Be All You Can Be”–considered to be one of the most successful ad campaigns of all time–is likely to be junked. And it cites the shrinking pool of 18-to-22-year-olds and the booming economy as two causes of the problem. The aforementioned anomalous success of the Marine Corps suggests a politically sensitive cause that the Times doesn’t mention: the feminization of the military hasn’t made it that much more appealing to women but has made it much less special-seeming to men.

USAT explains that Janet Reno is expected to use the DNA recommendation to promote changes in state laws and court rules. The paper notes that since its 1987 introduction into U.S. courts, DNA evidence has been used to exonerate 62 wrongfully convicted men (no women?).

The Wall Street Journal runs a “Rule of Law” column that weighs in effectively on an unpublicized Hawaii case about to be argued before the Supreme Court. Seems there’s something there called the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which gives out money to Hawaiians of Polynesian origin, and to no one else. The OHA administration is likewise exclusively populated by these “native” Hawaiians. And “native” here doesn’t mean “born and raised in Hawaii.” Hence the lawsuit, in which a lifelong Hawaiian native who happens also to be white is suing for his piece of the pie. The interesting thing is that the Clinton Justice Department has weighed in on the side of the status quo Hawaii rules, on the grounds that “native” Hawaiians are “indigenous” people, just like Native Americans. The problem with this, the column points out, is that native Hawaiians, unlike Native Americans, don’t have their own system of governance, don’t live on recognized reservations, and don’t have treaties with the government. If they were to be granted special rights, then why not do the same for African-Americans, or Croatian-Americans? The DOJ position, argues the piece, is fiercely anti-immigrant.

Sunday’s LAT reported in its “readers’ representative” column that the paper has decided to ban tobacco ads after Oct. 1. After Jan. 1, the ban will even extend to externally controlled inserts such as Parade magazine. With many papers (including the NYT) already on this bandwagon, how about turning up the heat on another type of advertising that probably cuts as wide a swath through American families–sports handicapping services? Page 10 of today’s USAT sports section features 10 ads for such services, which obviously promote (mostly illegal) gambling.