Slow and Steady

Slow and Steady

Slow and Steady

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
Aug. 1 1998 5:42 AM

Slow and Steady

News of slower second quarter economic growth leads at the Los Angeles Times and New York Times. The Washington Post leads with President Clinton's pledge to testify "completely and truthfully" at his grand jury questioning in two weeks.

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Asia's financial woes and the effects of the General Motors strike kept growth of the nation's gross domestic product at a modest 1.4%, down from last quarter's scalding 5.5%. The news isn't so bad, though, as all three papers report that the current seven-year expansion seems to be withstanding the Asian storm nicely. The LAT calls it a "slow-but-respectable performance" and the NYT deems the economy's pace "modest but still healthy." On the awesome impact of the GM shutdown, the LAT notes that it shaved a full percentage point from second quarter growth.

President Clinton has announced that he will answer questions under oath in two weeks, but will have no comment on the Lewinsky matter until then. The President's testimony will be transmitted live to the federal courthouse, allowing jurors to pose questions via the prosecutor. The WP reports the President "maintained a casual, unaffected appearance" before reporters, despite waiting for the FBI's report on the existence of "DNA material" in Ms. Lewinsky's dress. Amid criticism from Clinton supporters, Ken Starr has announced that he will take an unpaid leave of absence from his nearly $1 million per year post at a Chicago law firm where he defended clients such as GM and Meineke Discount Muffler.

An above-the-fold NYT piece reports that an IBM subsidiary has pleaded guilty to selling computers to Russia that can simulate nuclear weapons testing. With no prior convictions, a contrite IBM received the maximum fine possible: $8.5 million.

Direct legislation gets a closer look in a WP story on the debate over Oregon's direct voter initiatives. Defenders cite initiatives' ability to express public frustration with government. Critics claim the process is too susceptible to monied interest groups and upsets the "checks and balances of the legislative process." While no one wants to abolish the initiatives altogether, most agree reforms are needed.

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An LAT front page article reveals a "serious slump" among dozens of Silicon Valley firms. Again, Asia's financial troubles are to blame along with cheaper PCs and slower PC sales. Having already seen downsizing this spring, the industry faces another round of wage reductions and layoffs. This past year, industry stalwarts like Intel and Hewlett-Packard have trimmed payrolls through plant closings, forced retirements, and pay cuts in the once unstoppable Valley. The LAT reports that one industry has thrived during the slump: job and career counseling.