Today's Papers

Pentagon Budget Still Flush

The Washington Post leads with the U.S. government’s plan to publicly identify today the companies and laboratories in the world possessing embryonic stem-cell material qualifying for federally funded research under President Bush’s recently formulated policy. The Wall Street Journal puts this atop its front-page worldwide news box. The story was first reported as the off-lead in the New York Times, which leads instead with the Bush administration’s imminent effort to strengthen U.S. ties to India, an effort that the paper says will include asking Congress to lift sanctions imposed in 1998 when New Delhi successfully completed its drive to become a nuclear power by testing a weapon. The Los Angeles Times leads with signs that Taiwan, which is in an economic slump, wants to open up its trade with China–a panel of the island’s leading politicians, business leaders, and academics recommended such measures as easing capital flow, communications, transportation, and tourism between the two countries. The USA Today lead is that Gary Condit’s TV interview hasn’t helped him in any way, with anybody. The paper reports that its post-interview polling shows that most people believe he was involved in Levy’s disappearance and is immoral, dishonest, and uncaring. Without publishing any legal details, the story also says the flight attendant who claimed she had a months-long relationship with the married Condit is going to sue him today in his district. A NYT insider has the woman’s lawyer implying that the lawsuit might include claims of defamation or libel.

The NYT and WP both say that publicizing those holding the stem cells may help clear up concerns expressed by many scientists about the quantity and quality of the supply to which Bush has limited federal money. Both accounts say that the list includes organizations outside the U.S. The NYT says most of the cells listed were known to have “the right set of proteins” and “to be capable of developing into the three separate tissues of the early embryo.”

The NYT lead explains that the anti-India sanctions likely to be lifted bar military exports to India or any exports to companies believed to be connected to India’s nuclear program. The lift, says the paper, would mean the U.S. could conduct joint military operations with India and sell it non-nuclear weapons. The paper quotes one unnamed senior official saying the Bush administration was also likely to ask Congress to lift some sanctions against Pakistan, the region’s other renegade (in U.S. eyes) nuclear power, but it also indicates that there would be more congressional opposition to this than to the India move.

The NYT top front says that according to some experts–including government experts–the kind of incoming nuclear-tipped missile that a U.S. missile defense would have the hardest time shooting down would be those less accurate ones launched by “rogue nations” like North Korea, Iran, and Iraq–the very threat most often cited by the administration as such a system’s raison d’etre. The trouble is that these countries would most likely develop less accurate, wobblier missiles, whose paths are more unpredictable. These more rudimentary weapons are also harder to distinguish from decoys. Unfortunately, they’re still accurate enough to hit cities.

The NYT front reports that the U.S. surgeon general released a report yesterday concluding that ethnic and racial minorities “suffer a disproportionate burden of mental illness” because they have less access to care, the care they do have access to is of lower quality, and they’re less likely to seek help.

The WP fronts, and USAT reefers, Colin Powell’s decision, first reported in the LAT, not to attend the upcoming U.N. conference on racism (to be held in Durban, South Africa) because its program compares Zionism with racism.

The USAT “Money” front reefers the naming of a new judge in the government’s Microsoft antitrust suit. (She was picked by a lottery.) The WSJ, in its account of the move, says she doesn’t have much experience with complex antitrust cases and is known for aggressively pressing for out-of-court settlements. The Journal identifies one issue in the choice that will quickly emerge: Her husband has represented a Canadian software company that competes against Microsoft (although MS has also invested millions in it).

The WP online serves up proof that the Pentagon has made an important change when it comes to $600 toilet seats. A story at the site reveals that the DOD is developing a Collectively Protected Expeditionary Latrine, a toilet that’s suitable for use in remote locations and even during chemical or biological warfare. No, the folks in the Building haven’t learned to stop overspending even for basic stuff, but they have learned to stop admitting it. None of the four officers deployed at various times to explain the system to the Post reporter would give even a ballpark figure for its cost.

Both USAT and the NYT report that Gary Condit’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said over the weekend that there was no reason for Condit to be removed from his seat on the House Intelligence Committee. The NYT misses gold by not quoting Lowell’s actual words. USAT knew better. What Lowell said: “I don’t want to be glib about this, but congressman Condit has shown his ability to hold information.”