Today's Papers

From the Mouths of Babes

Heterogeneous leads anchor the fronts. The New York Times reveals that nonprofits, including churches, pocketed millions in Federal grants that are designated to feed poor children. The government nourishes 2.4 million day care kids by reimbursing intermediary organizations, which oversee the doling out of meals. The CIA says it cannot precisely track small-scale nuclear tests, according to the Washington Post’s lead. After being informed of the intelligence agency’s assessment, Majority Leader Trent Lott decided to rush the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty to a ratification vote, in the hope of sinking it by arguing that CIA uncertainty makes the test ban unenforceable. The Los Angeles Times leads with a local story: Gov. Gray Davis is blocking the parole of inmates sentenced to terms that carry life maximums.

An above-the-fold Post feature reviews Al Gore’s family roots. The vice president inherited his pedantic political style from his father, who rose from poverty to become a teacher and politician. The senior Gore forced his son to work the family farm, arguing that to achieve anything in life a boy “oughta be able to run a hillside plow.”

A NYT front-pager examines Bill Bradley’s means of milking his past in professional sports. Bradley raised $350,000 through Hoopla–a Chicago fund-raiser where donors played with former All Stars. A similar event at Madison Square Garden is expected to raise $1 million. The former Knick will court votes by recruiting the endorsements of sports stars such as Michael Jordan

Maureen Dowd’s Liberties column provides a list of George W. Bush’s regular guy credentials. He digs Van Morrison’s music and Jack Nicholson’s irreverence. His literary preferences run the gambit from John Le Carré spy novels to Robert Parker’s detective stories. W. doesn’t do opera and he has only been to one ballet. The troubling anomaly-the guy loved Cats.

The Times also reports that four Bush biographies are in the publishing pipeline. First Son, Fortunate Son, and Shrub are being written by independent authors. The Bush camp is putting out an official version. Originally a sports writer and long-time Bush associate was slated to author the book. The writer insinuates he was ousted for asking hard questions. The Bush campaign’s communications director is now penning the party line.

A NYT article on Orrin Hatch’s presidential run quotes the Republican senator’s quixotic argument for his candidacy: “[Bush is] a mile wide and an inch deep. … Orrin Hatch is 40 miles deep and 10 inches wide.” Hatch acknowledges that he has a rough row to hoe. Even some of his friends are unaware that he is in the race.

The Post’s “Outlook” section surveys candidate statements on campaign finance reform. Al Gore advocates a soft money ban and free broadcast time for candidates. Bill Bradley adds a calls for public financing of campaigns. George W. Bush and Elizabeth Dole support raising the $1,000 contribution ceiling. Bush backs banning soft money from corporations and labor unions. John McCain and Pat Buchanan want to stop all soft money. Steve Forbes would like to lift contribution limits. In a refered piece, the NYT projects that federal candidates could spend $3 billion on campaign 2000.

All papers devote column space to the opening-day hoopla surrounding the Brooklyn Museum’s “Sensation” exhibit. Despite pans from art critics, record crowds passed through newly-installed metal detectors to view the art that Rudy Giuliani abhors. The Times’s “Arts & Leisure” section caricatures the carnival-like scene: Protesting Catholics prayed and handed out vomit bags. Animal-righters waved posters of decapitated cows. The papers do not subject the anti-Giuliani protesters to the same withering attention. The LAT lets the sensation speak for itself: An above-the-fold photo pictures man contemplating shark-in-formaldehyde.

A NYT piece reports that a 5 feet, 5 inches, 125-pound woman hopes to strike a blow for feminism by fighting a male lightweight in boxing’s officially sanctioned first intergender bout. The pathbreaking pugilist is partially driven by her experience with domestic violence.

The NYT’s “Styles” section reports a new trend in parenting: the use of kids as social stepping stones. The ex-headmistress of an elite all-girls school indignantly argues that “education is not a country club” and disdainfully describes mothers jockeying to make play dates with the offspring of Katie Couric. The former educator allowed that social connections influenced which kiddies were admitted to kindergarten under her reign. She graciously explains, “It is one of the subtle ways we limit who applies.”