Today's Papers

Paper Cuts

The New York Times leads with George W. Bush’s aggressive defense of his tax-cut proposal against criticisms leveled recently by Al Gore. The Washington Post goes with the Clinton administration’s expected release today of long-awaited guidelines on human embryonic cell research. The Los Angeles Times lead is the agreement by Publishers Clearing House to refund $16 million to consumers (in 23 states and D.C.) and to stop telling them without clear qualification that “You Are a Winner” or suggesting to them the falsehood that if they purchase magazines they stand a better chance of winning sweepstakes prizes. The company also agreed to include a clear statement of the odds of winning and to stop including simulated checks in its solicitations. USA Today leads with the first hurricane of the season, which narrowly bypassed Puerto Rico, is apparently on its way to the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, and could go feet dry on the U.S. mainland this weekend. Nobody’s lead is fronted by anybody else.

The NYT lead notes that in recent days, Gore has claimed the Bush tax cuts coddle the rich, would lead back to budget deficits, and in the process wreck the economy and make it impossible to modernize the U.S. military. The paper says that in response, Bush aggressively defended the affordability of his $1.3 trillion in tax cuts over 10 years, citing Congressional Budget Office estimates to support his claim that after sequestering the Social Security surplus, he would have $2.3 trillion left for tax cuts, debt reduction, and new spending. The paper describes Bush as defiant but also quotes his admission that he has to do a better job of explaining his position. The Times deems Bush’s numbers as “essentially valid” but also suggests that it would be extremely difficult (Politically? In some other way? The paper doesn’t say.) to undo the cuts and/or raise taxes if the projected surpluses did not materialize.

The WP lead says the embryonic cell guidelines stipulate that federal (and federally funded) research shall be conducted only on cells taken from frozen embryos destined to be discarded anyway. Plus, the embryos cannot be destroyed on the federal dime in order to get the cells–that would have to be done by privately funded researchers. (Quick: Name something else it’s not legal to do yourself although you’re fully qualified and credentialed, but it’s legal to arrange to have somebody else do.) And there will be no payments allowed to embryo donors. Also, in order to prevent a woman from harvesting embryos to provide a treatment for a relative, donors will not be allowed to specify recipients. The paper takes note of one recent scientific development that might moot the need for embryonic cell research in the first place: recent evidence that certain cells from adults may hold much of the therapeutic promise once believed unique to embryo cells.

The NYT, LAT, USAT, and the Wall Street Journal business news box report that yesterday Mitsubishi admitted to a nearly 30-year-old practice of concealing consumer complaints that if reported would have triggered large volume recalls. The company usually did the repair work–it just didn’t tell the government about it. Most of the affected cars are in Japan, but some 50,000 are thought to be in the U.S.

The WP is alone in fronting, just slightly above the fold, President Clinton’s signing the go-ahead for a $1.3 billion aid package to help the Colombian government fight drug traffickers. The package starts, explains the paper, even though Colombia has not yet met most of the various human-rights-protecting criteria Congress required when it passed the aid bill.

The WSJ reports that some retired Firestone employees who used to work at the company’s Decatur, Ill., plant where most of the company’s recently recalled tires were made are expected to testify today (in connection with a lawsuit) that the inspection process at the plant was often cursory because of the sheer numbers of tires passing through.

USAT fronts evidence of renewed cooperation between the White House and the Gore campaign: President Clinton abandoned plans to go to Atlanta or even to have a Rose Garden ceremony to celebrate the fourth anniversary of his signing the welfare reform bill. From now until Labor Day, says the paper, to give Gore an “open field,” Clinton will restrict his public appearances to fund raising and foreign policy.

Today’s Papers has recently been experiencing some delays in its e-mail delivery and has discovered that the problem is that its large deliveries of e-mails per day trips the defenses e-mail services have installed now to protect against the likes of the “I Love You” bug and denial of services attacks. Yesterday’s papers brought word that the Philippines dropped charges against the college kid probably responsible for ILY. That little rat mother effer may not have broken the law, but he’s still causing trouble.

Idea for TV executives: How about a show where contestants are put in Mitsubishis with Firestone tires? You could call it Survivor.