Today's Papers

Limited Austin Powers?

The Los Angeles Times leads with an AP story asserting that during the early days of the Korean War, South Korean soldiers and police executed 2,000-plus leftist political prisoners without trials, apparently to prevent them from collaborating with the advancing North Korean Communists. USA Today leads with a pair of presidential race stories, one detailing how George W. Bush is salting his staff with Washington insiders including three who worked on the McCain campaign, and one based on an interview with Al Gore stating that starting next week Gore is going to be discounting Bush’s gubernatorial experience, based on Gore’s claim that “the governorship of Texas is by far the weakest of any of the 50 states.” The New York Times goes with new data from the Congressional Budget Office showing that financial controls on Medicare imposed by Congress in 1997 have led to a sharp drop in payments to home health-care agencies, with the upshot that those who are too sick or disabled to get out of the house are being forced into hospitals or nursing homes–or are simply going without treatment altogether. The top non-local news story at the Washington Post is an exclusive: the revelation that Canadian cops moved in on “mafiaboy” when they did (this past weekend) because the wiretap they had in place to verify that he was indeed involved in Web-blitzing and to garner leads about possible collaborators also apparently picked up the boy’s father talking to a hit man he’d hired to harm or frighten a business associate–and the attack was imminent. The father was arrested, the story reveals, along with his son.

As the LAT lead notes, the Korean executions have long been suspected. (And there has also been sporadic press reporting on them.) But the AP is now confirming them via declassified U.S. government documents and some witnesses–apparently, one formerly top secret document says Gen. Douglas MacArthur was aware of at least one mass shooting. The WP and NYT run essentially the same AP story inside. Only the LAT gives a byline–to the AP’s Sang Hun Choe, who shared in a Pulitzer just last week for uncovering a separate U.S. military massacre of civilians, also during the initial phase of the Korean War.

Citing information from unnamed government officials, both the NYT and WP fronts report that Janet Reno has decided to forcibly remove Elián González from his Miami relatives and has been meeting with federal law-enforcement officials to work out the tactical details, which the WP says address everything from traffic to weather. The Times says the number of agents would be kept small enough to avoid the appearance of a military-style assault, but large enough to ensure safety. The NYT also says a bigger concern among planners than the extraction is violent demonstrations afterward. Both papers agree that a prime catalyst for the decision was President Clinton’s remark yesterday about Juan Miguel González, that “There is now no conceivable reason for his not being reunited with his son.” The NYT says the operation would probably come in a few days at most, while the WP says by the middle of next week.

The WP goes inside with a story about Europe’s gypsies that never mentions the criminal aspects of that culture. Clearly, crime isn’t the whole or even the major story of these people. But it’s surely part of the story, no?

The LAT and NYT fronts report that scientists have concluded from X-rays of a dinosaur fossil that it had the sort of four-chambered heart that’s characteristic of mammals and hence that Dino was warm-blooded. It’s now official: Everything you were ever taught in sixth-grade about dinosaurs is false.

USAT goes Page 2 and the WP goes op-ed with the news that Mattel is about to come out with the 76th version of Barbie. This time, it’s Barbie for President. She comes in a red, white, and blue box along with a Girls’ Bill of Rights sticker and a Girls Action Agenda urging the pursuit of community leadership. Imagine what scientists several thousand or million years hence will conclude if they get to X-ray one of these beauties. That we had zero-chambered brains.

The top of the Wall Street Journal front-page biz news box is all Microsoft all the time. First there’s the news that although the company’s first-quarter earnings slightly exceeded Wall Street expectations, the market might well further punish the stock price. Then there’s the bit about how one of Microsoft’s insurers has gone into court to see if it doesn’t have to pay for costs associated with Microsoft’s defense against those 140 private antitrust suits. And there’s a new batch of Microsoft TV ads designed to reveal the company’s warm, approachable side. Apparently, they tell the as-yet-unappreciated story of how Microsoft is combating Internet porn and dyslexia. (Today’s Papers has to confess it had never experienced either until after it got Windows.)