Today's Papers

Up Hillary Battle

USA Today leads with the Congressional Budget Office’s latest rejiggering of the 10-year projected federal surplus. Credited to an ever more booming economy, it’s now thought to be $2.2 trillion, more than twice CBO’s April guess. The bigger number is sure, says the paper, to escalate the election-year debate over tax cuts vs. new government programs. The New York Times goes with the White House’s legislative proposal for tightening rules governing cyberspace surveillance of e-mail–so that they conform to the probable-cause-based-court-order standard of conventional wiretaps–and its announcement that it was easing export controls on encryption technology, making it easier for American companies to sell security software to the European Union and other main trading partners. The Washington Post goes with gleanings from the latest Federal Election Commission disclosure reports filed by labor unions, which show that in the current election cycle they are giving soft money, mostly to Democrats, in record amounts–nearly $15 million. That is, says the Post, a 50 percent increase over each of the last two cycles. The top non-local story at the Los Angeles Times is the finalizing of a $5 billion fund for survivors of Nazi slave labor projects, with half coming from the German government and half from some 3,000 German companies (which, as of right now, are coming up a little short funds-wise). The story explains that the fund would preclude any future class-action lawsuits on behalf of ex-slaves of the Nazis, and especially credits the negotiating efforts of Deputy Treasury Secretary Stuart Eizenstat and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. The fund will benefit some quarter of a million surviving Jewish ex-slaves and more than three-quarters of a million central and east European non-Jews, who have never previously been recognized in any of postwar Germany’s reparations programs. None of the papers’ leads is fronted by anybody else.

The WP goes above the fold with the White House’s counteroffensive in response to the Republican-crafted tax bills gaining speed in Congress. The message: These cuts inordinately help the wealthiest Americans. The story says that the Democrats are worried that if the Republicans are identified with the proposed cuts, that could really help the GOP in the fall. The Wall Street Journal puts this story atop its front-page world-wide news box. Some sense that the nation’s elite already have too much money can be garnered from the NYT front-pager on the construction boom in the Hamptons, a tale of $800 shower heads delivering nine times New York’s maximum legal flow rate, $1.5 million backyard swimming pools, and cell-phone-operated hot tubs. To be fair, the story says the boom has also produced $25/hour construction workers and even the occasional plane-owning plumber.

USAT fronts its latest presidential election poll, which shows that Al Gore has moved into a virtual tie with George W. Bush, mainly because of gains among independent voters.

From the papers, it seems clear that at the Camp David talks, Generalisimo Francisco Franco is still dead. In fact, there was so much peace not breaking out there that according to the NYT and WP, President Clinton had a chance on Sunday to break away and make phone calls to New York Daily News publisher Mortimer Zuckerman and to editor Michael Kramer in an attempt to get them not to pursue the Hillary slur story.

The Times lead editorial believes Hillary. And the paper’s columnist Gail Collins gives a pretty good reason to: If Hillary’s accusers are right, then “one of the most politically correct people on the planet, chose to express her anger 25 years ago by homing in on the ethnicity of a guy’s great-grandmother.” Meanwhile, over at the WSJ, L.A. talk radio penseur Dennis Prager, a conservative Republican who’s Jewish, gets some prime op-ed real estate by taking a previously vacant position: He believes the charges against HRC and they don’t matter. After all, he writes, we know now that Harry Truman used pejoratives for Jews and blacks in private all the time, but those comments didn’t define the man. Ditto, says Prager, for Richard Nixon and Jesse Jackson. (The only position left now is the Woody Allen mishearing line: “Did yeet yet?” “No, d’you? You bastard!”)

Both the NYT’s Bill Carter and the WP’s Lisa de Moraes report in their TV columns that ABC is planning to advertise its fall schedule in some new places. In some major markets, stars of new shows will call you up and leave messages on your answering machine. (If you’re home and pick up, the network’s fancy technology will be able to tell and make the line go dead.) And in some major bathrooms, the voice of Norm Macdonald will plug his new show when a man approaches a urinal.