Today's Papers

Little Green Man

The New York Times leads with George W. Bush’s expression of regret yesterday for not clearly separating himself from some of the anti-Catholic and racially discriminatory statements associated with Bob Jones University when he recently spoke there. The top non-local story at the Washington Post claims that although Al Gore once described rescuing the environment as central for civilization, it is now a peripheral topic for his campaign. The story includes attributed-by-name quotations from two former senior Clintonistas saying that Gore should be more courageously green on the campaign trail. The USA Today lead is that nationwide, the number of juveniles sentenced to adult state prisons has doubled in the past decade. The Los Angeles Times goes with the growing concern among researchers that medical progress will be hurt by the seemingly haphazard way a recent patent for the development of a new class of AIDS drugs was awarded to one company even though many scientists at many other places have been doing the original substantive work in the field. None of these stories are fronted by the other papers.

The NYT lead reports that the Bush concession came both in a letter to the archbishop of New York and in a Texas news conference. The paper says that the comments, coming after several weeks of Bush’s saying there was nothing awry in his conduct of the BJU campus appearance, are “a striking about-face” and reflect that the episode was doing Bush political damage.

The USAT lead about juvenile criminals sentenced as adults does the right thing by following the percentage increase with the hard numbers–7,400 in 1997, up from 3,400 in 1985. It also gives the racial/ethnic breakdown of juveniles doing adult time: 58 percent are black, 25 percent white, 15 percent Hispanic, and 2 percent Asian. But it would have been helpful for interpreting these stats if the paper had also supplied the general group-by-group percentages for American juveniles.

The LAT is alone in fronting the assassination in Tijuana yesterday morning of the city’s police chief. He was driving away from church when his vehicle was overtaken by three cars and sprayed by at least 100 rounds. How lawless has Tijuana become? Well, the story relates that this is the second time a police chief has been murdered on that very street.

The Wall Street Journal tops its front-page business news box with word that GM, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler have agreed to go in together on a single Internet operation for automotive parts ordering, set up as an independent company. A Ford executive is quoted as saying the new venture will be the worlds’ largest Internet company.

The papers report inside that on Sunday, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan reconciled with W. Deen Muhammad, the leader of the orthodox Muslim American society and the son of the Nation of Islam’s founder, Elijah Muhammad.

The NYT business section reports that earlier this month Sun Microsystems marketing execs hired a fleet of 20 bright yellow trucks used by a pest-control company to circle the building in San Francisco inside which Microsoft was rolling out Windows 2000. The idea was to draw attention to the idea–denied by Microsoft–that the new operating system is plagued by bugs. The stunt was aborted, says the Times, when the manager of the exterminator company became concerned that Bill Gates might react by buying his company and closing it down.

The WP’s Al Kamen adds a new wrinkle to the already plenty mussed John Deutch home computer affair: It seems that during the time Deutch had sensitive CIA files on his home PC, his housekeeper, who was then a noncitizen with no apparent security clearances whatsoever, had control over Deutch’s home alarm system and had independent access to the home when Deutch was away.

Last Friday’s WP featured a front-pager on John McCain’s circle of policy advisers that stated that the candidate “talks regularly” with such journalists as William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, and R.W. Apple. And lo and behold, that same Post contains an op-ed by Krauthammer, slugged “Profile in Courage,” that tongue-bathes the candidate from head to toe, even saying at one point that in Vietnam, McCain “suffered for our sins.” Even though Krauthammer isn’t (as far as the public record indicates) being paid in money by McCain, readers are entitled to know that K.’s adulation might stem not just from merit but also from the psychic rewards he’s getting from being given the Washington treasure of access to power, and perhaps from the promise of real power should the election come out a certain way. Indeed, readers should be forewarned that Krauthammer’s columns might be part of an orchestrated campaign strategy. Therefore his credit line should always brand him as a McCain adviser. Ditto for other journalists who are in kitchen Cabinets.

Today’s Papers doesn’t know if David Brooks is also on the McCain team, but that Post piece says that Brooks’ boss, William Kristol, is. That might explain the utter cerebral breakdown involved in Brooks’ comment in Sunday’s LAT that McCain has a “coherent approach to governing … even if he is himself unable to explain what it is.”