leads with President Clinton's announcement of new federal enforcement policies governing nursing homes. The story is also on page one at the New York Times, but absent from the other fronts, an odd elision for a slow news day in a country getting grayer by the minute. The top national story at the NYT and Los Angeles Times is the House vote, despite much previous conservative consternation, to maintain current levels of financial support for the National Endowment for the Arts. The Washington Post's top national story details the five-month manhunt for suspected abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolph.
The administration's nursing home plan, says USAT, will require more random inspections at night and on weekends and impose immediate civil monetary penalties on serious or chronic violators. The NYT sums up the situation to which this is a response: Two-thirds of nursing homes are not in full compliance with federal standards. And USAT explains the political timing of Clinton's announcement: A General Accounting Office report to be released Monday will make "explosive" charges of lax federal enforcement.
The LAT sees the House NEA turnabout as a new comfort level created by recently imposed limits on the agency's grant-giving in general and a fresh Supreme Court decision allowing limits on the funding of indecent art in particular. The NYT instead sees the influence of the fall elections, going so far as to call the aforementioned new grant limits "political cover" for long-time NEA critics who voted yes. The vote, the paper continues, also reflected anti-New York sentiment because under the new endowing rules New York, long the NEA's largest beneficiary, can receive no more than 15 percent of all direct grant monies.
The Post reports that the 200 law enforcement trackers braving rough terrain, boiling temperatures and snakes in the North Carolina woods in search of Rudolph have not garnered any new clues since a neighbor had a run-in with him near his hometown on July 14, when Rudolph made off with an ex-neighbor's pick-up truck and some food. The FBI, says the story, expresses grudging admiration for Rudolph's outdoor skills. The piece also notes that the last movie Rudolph rented at the local video store before going underground was the psychological thriller "The Game." (Oh, he's the one.)
The LAT front reports that a consortium of software companies including Microsoft is close to settling its dispute with the Los Angeles public school system over illegal copies of programs made by school employees. An outright payment to the companies as well as administrative and replacement costs will mean that the schools will be out $4.8 million originally earmarked for educational purposes. In other Microsoft news, the papers report that Bill Gates will focus on products and delegate most day-to-day business operations to his No. 2, Steve Ballmer. In the testosterone-addled world of big deal biz, there's no higher compliment than the description of Ballmer given to the Wall Street Journal by one stock analyst: "He's a trained killer."
The NYT reports that New York University, contending that its name is being tarnished, has filed a federal lawsuit against the operators of a sexually explicit Web site that features a secret camera purportedly spying on scantily- but NYU-logoed-clad women students romping in their dormitory. The paper says university officials said they first learned of the Web site from a Daily News reporter. (Yeah, right.) The university's housing director, says the Times, was then called in and--through a grueling review of the Web site, no doubt--ascertained that the rooms depicted are not on campus. Another clue: the women aren't discussing feminism.