Today's Papers

Missing Rap Sheet

The Washington Post leads with the Supreme Court’s decision to let stand a lower court ruling prohibiting public schools from achieving racially balanced classes by making race-based enrollment decisions. The case involved a white student who was not allowed to transfer from a mostly black and Hispanic neighborhood school to a mostly white math and science magnet school. The New York Times carries the decision inside, going instead with President Clinton’s announcement yesterday (from Bangladesh) that he would meet with Syria’s Hafez Assad in an effort to restart the stalled Israel-Syria peace talks. The Los Angeles Times fronts both the court’s and Clinton’s decisions but leads with how Mexico is currently enjoying its longest period of economic growth since the 1970s, which the paper says is a clear result of the country’s various recent global trade alliances such as NAFTA, which has generated 1 million jobs in Mexico and has helped attract record levels of foreign investment. The only weak link in the Mexican recovery is the lag in real wages. But, says the story, jobs created by foreign investments pay better than the average Mexican job. USA Today leads with the results of a research study to be released today on the quality of the nation’s roads. Cities whose streets are rated worst: New Orleans, Detroit, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The story is accompanied by a city-by-city chart indicating the incremental cost per vehicle traceable to road conditions, ranging from New Orleans’ $208 down to Atlanta’s $21.

Both the WP and USAT front the Clinton administration’s announcement yesterday of a proposal to phase out a widely used gasoline additive, MTBE, which in the past 10 years of use in about one-third of the nation’s gasoline supply has been proved to cut air pollution but has also shown up in much of the nation’s fresh water supply, which is worrisome since it’s considered a possible carcinogen. Both papers point out a political angle also: Less MTBE would mean more ethanol and other corn-based additives instead, a popular notion in such corn-growing states as Iowa and South Dakota, but one that leads to Republican complaints that the whole package was engineered to shore up Al Gore’s support in the farm belt. In addition, the Post notes that ethanol is not free of health concerns either.

The NYT reports that Viacom made a deal to acquire full control of the UPN network. Given, the story points out, that Viacom is expected to have its acquisition of CBS approved within a month, this would mean that for the first time one company would own two networks. Although this is against FCC rules, the story says the execs involved at the companies involved believe they can work out some sort of a deal that’s compelling to the government, possibly based on the idea that the deal may be the only way for UPN, which attracts the greatest proportion of minority viewers, to survive.

The WP fronts yesterday’s 62 percent plunge in the share price of software company MicroStrategy after it announced that its previously reported 1999 profit was actually a loss. The drop meant more than $11 billion got knocked off the company’s market capitalization and more than $6 billion evaporated from the personal wealth of CEO Michael Saylor, taking him down to a mere $3.81 billion. The Wall Street Journal puts the development in its front-page biz news box. Its story inside refers to Saylor’s proposal last week (put forward in the Journal) of funding a $100 million online university by quoting a wag saying that the first course wouldn’t be Accounting 101.

The NYT reports inside that on the eve of President Clinton’s arrival in India, 36 Sikh men were found murdered in the Indian state of Kashmir. No killers have been caught yet, nor has any political group taken responsibility, says Celia Dugger’s dispatch, but the worry is that it has something to do with Pakistan-sponsored efforts to end predominantly Hindu India’s rule over predominantly Muslim Kashmir.

The NYT fronts the arrest of a man now known as Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin in connection with the murder of one sheriff and the wounding of another last week in Atlanta. The man was once known as H. Rap Brown, but the story waits until the 17th paragraph to mention that Brown spent several years underground 30 years ago after being accused of inciting a riot and of transporting a gun across state lines while under indictment. And the story never mentions that Brown was on the FBI’s “10 Most Wanted” list during that period or that he was captured then only after a gun battle with police. Moreover, in an insult to Martin Luther King, the headline over the story refers to Brown as a “60’s Rights Leader.” Make that “60’s Riots Leader.”


For a quick update on the day’s top political news, go to Slate’s Politics page, For the first time, Gore tops Bush in cash on hand, and Buchanan is trying to force his way onto the fall’s televised presidential debates.