Today's Papers

 The Cheney of Command

The New York Times (online, at least) leads with the new anthrax vaccination policy from the Bush administration. Secret stashes of the vaccine will be stockpiled around the country for civilian use in the event of an attack. The Los Angeles Times leads with Bush’s plans to address Wall Street next month on the subject of get-tough business reforms. The Washington Post goes with House passage of a prescription-drug benefit for seniors. The $350 billion bill was championed by House Republicans and decried by Senate Democrats, who have a more expensive, more comprehensive scheme in mind.

The NYT lead presents the Bush administration’s new anthrax vaccination policy, which calls for the vaccine to be held in “secret warehouses” around the country for use after a domestic attack. Only military personnel who are expected to spend at least 15 days in an area where an anthrax attack is likely—the Persian Gulf, the Korean Peninsula, maybe Afghanistan—would be vaccinated. The old policy, devised in 1997, required that all 2.4 million men and women in uniform get the six-shot series by 2003.

Iraq is believed to have well over 2,650 gallons of liquid anthrax, according to the Times.

The LAT lead has a little fun with the Republicans, who, in light of the rash of recent scandals, are now coming around to the Democrats’ way of thinking on business reform. Both parties are calling for tough legislation. Indeed, even execs have picked up the call. “I’ve had numerous conversations with very prominent and high-profile CEOs who are very concerned about what this has done to the perception of the corporate sector in our society,” says Tom Daschle. 

Friday’s Wall Street Journal ran a handy chart of iconic American companies in financial hot water. Xerox can now be added to that list, according to the WP’s off-lead. The copier colossus already settled fraud charges with the SEC back in April, admitting no wrongdoing but paying $10 million in fines. Now the company says that “accounting errors forced it to restate $6.4 billion in revenue for the past five years,” almost twice the anticipated figure, the Post reports. The current SEC says it’s no big deal, but an accountant from the Clinton era is less charitable. “It should make investors wonder if the auditors would even notice Mount Everest if they were driving by it,” she says.

The LAT has late-breaking news from the Yellow Sea, where a North Korean naval ship fired on two South Korean patrol boats, killing four and injuring at least 18. The South Koreans returned fire, causing an unspecified number of North Korean casualties. The LAT is a little fuzzy on motive, calling the attack unprovoked but implying that fishing territory is at the center of the dispute. A similar skirmish occurred in 1999, also, the paper notes, during crab season.

The NYT fronts the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s decision to broaden its Sept. 11 aid pool. Now New Yorkers who can show that they “are in danger of eviction, that they had a lawful reason for being in New York and that they lost at least a quarter of their income because of the disaster’s effect on jobs and businesses” will qualify for aid. Previously, only those whose financial woes were a “direct result” of the attacks made the cut. 

The “Political Greatness Scale” finds its way into the NYT’s “Arts & Ideas” section. Devised by a University of Kentucky psychiatry professor, the scale aims to provide an objective comparison of leaders’ achievements. “…[C]reating or liberating countries, winning wars, expanding territory, improving the economy, promoting an original ideology, staying in power and serving as a moral exemplar” will get you points. So, who’s at the top? FDR does well (30 out of a possible 37 points), but so does Hitler (25), Mussolini (26), and Stalin (29). The scale measures impact on the world, not personal virtue. “No American president can be regarded as great unless they’ve been involved in war and been responsible for the death of many,” says the professor.

The Post tallies up the cost of hosting the World Cup for Japan and South Korea. The most disconcerting figures relate to the myriad stadiums built for the event, most of which will now sit empty or near-empty, while still costing millions a year to maintain. Toyota, 150 miles west of Tokyo, spent $375 million on a new stadium, hoping to attract a World Cup game. It didn’t get one. 

Dick Cheney will be president for a few hours today while George W. is put under for his routine colonoscopy, which everybody fronts, though that’s the extent of the story. It’s the 25th Amendment Bush will be invoking, the Post reminds. The amendment provides for the voluntary transfer of power when the president is having his colon probed (or is for some other reason unable to perform his duties). It’s only the second power transfer since the amendment took effect in 1967. The first was in 1985, when Reagan had a procedure on his colon and Bush the elder stepped up to the plate.