Today's Papers

Greenspan: Greed Spans

USA Today and Los Angeles Times lead with Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s speech yesterday in which he said that the economy is on its way—slowly and tentatively—to recovery. He said that part of the reason it’s not happening quicker is that in the bubbling 1990s corporate America developed a culture of “infectious greed.” The New York Times’ lead gives an overview of Greenspan’s speech and also points out that the House passed a Republican-sponsored bill to impose criminal penalties on corporate fraudsters. The bill, in some cases, doles out even longer sentences than the tough Senate bill that recently passed. The Washington Post  leads with word that Republican leaders in the House have actually decided to fight the Senate bill, which calls for many reforms beyond lengthening criminal penalties. The Wall Street Journal tops its world-wide newsbox with a report noting that some federal agencies are hustling to try to make sure that Bush’s domestic security plans won’t leave them with less power or as orphans who won’t get a piece of the anti-terror pie. The Journal, for example,points out that while officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms have been publicly supportive of the administration’s decision to leave the agency inside the Treasury Department, behind the scenes they’re lobbying to become a part of the new security department.

Everybody points out that Greenspan said the best way to handle corporate fraud is to impose harsh criminal penalties for crooked execs. The chairman also warned against radical reform. “Remember,” he said, “the system is frayed, but it is not broken.”

The Dow didn’t seem overly impressed by Greenspan’s talk. The market fell 166 points yesterday.

The Post’s lead is dismissive of the limited reform bill that the House passed yesterday and that the NYT emphasizes in its lead. The article waits until the 16th paragraph to mention the bill and at that point flatly states that the legislation is “political cover” initiated by Republicans who want to use conference negotiations to water down the Senate’s more wide-ranging reform bill. 

The papers, including the Post, note that some Republicans in the House are urging their leaders to simply accept the Senate bill as is.

The WP, NYT, and LAT go above the fold with yesterday’s attack by Palestinian terrorists on a busload of Israeli settlers that killed 7 and injured 17. According to witnesses, a roadside bomb hit the armored bus, then three Palestinians disguised as Israeli soldiers sprayed gunfire on surviving passengers. It was the first major attack against Israeli civilians in nearly a month. USAT’s front page doesn’t mention the attack.

Three Palestinian organizations separately claimed responsibility for the attack: Hamas, the leftist PFLP, and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which is an off-shoot of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction. The Palestinian Authority condemned the attack.

The NYT says that Israel “indicated” that it won’t respond with any major retaliatory strikes but will continue to occupy most major Palestinian towns.

The Times also mentions that Israeli police arrested four Israeli soldiers for allegedly selling Palestinian militants “large quantities” of ammunition.

Everybody mentions that Secretary of State Colin Powell met with major Mideast mediators yesterday (the U.N., E.U., and Russia). The participants all tried to convey a sense of unity, but the foreign diplomats acknowledged that they disagree with the U.S.’s position that Arafat needs to get out of the ring before peace negotiations can start.

The papers all mention Spain’s arrest of three men it says are linked to al-Qaida. When police nabbed one of the men, they found also found five-year-old videotapes he had apparently made of various American landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, the Sears Tower, and the World Trade Center. A Spanish official said that the tapes were “nothing like [what] a tourist would make,” explaining that they consist of lengthy shots of structures from all angles, including footage of things like the support beams for the Golden Gate Bridge.

Everybody fronts word that for the first time in its history,the Irish Republican Army apologized yesterday for all the civilian deaths that it has caused.  The NYT says the IRA has killed about 1,800 people in its 30-year bid to unite Northern Ireland with the Irish Republic. About 650 of those killed were civilians. By the way, the Post’sheadlineis a touch off: “IRA ISSUES APOLOGY FOR ALL DEATHS IT CAUSED.” [Emphasis added.]

Everybody notes that officials in New York unveiled six proposals to rebuild the World Trade Center site. (Here’s a slideshow of the options.) The NYT emphasizes that while officials originally stipulated that the redevelopment needs to replace all the office-space lost, they said yesterday that they were open to other options. 

The WSJ profilesMark Hostetler, a University of Florida biology professor who the paper dubs “the splatologist.”  The Journal explains that Hostetler enjoys going around identifying the remains of insects on the hoods of cars and buses. “Here’s a butterfly,” he notes while doing his work. “No. Yeah—that’s a butterfly. There’s yellow in it. That’s pollen. Moths tend to be creamier.”