All the papers lead with the drop in unemployment from 4.6 to 4.4 percent. The New York Times and the Washington Post say that November's strong employment levels occurred despite recent corporate announcements of upcoming job cutbacks. Huh? Today's Papers wonders why these papers think layoffs that will happen in the next few months would have any effect on last month's employment statistics. The Los Angeles Times points out that the Labor Department statistics show a troublesome gap between manufacturers, whose production is down due to overseas financial trouble, and service industries, which continue to produce lots of jobs, but at lower wages.
President Clinton's lawyers have requested that the House Judiciary Committee allow them to present an expanded defense over a 3 to 4 day period instead of the currently allotted 1 day. The NYT notes that if the Committee allows it, this move might push the House's vote on impeachment into next year. The WP explains that this would mean more Democratic votes and also adds that Clinton is considering accepting a fine and censure from Congress. Congressional negotiations are stalled over a dollar amount, however, as Dems are proposing $300,000 and Republicans upwards of $4.5 million. All the papers report that the expanded defense would focus on the independent counsel's misconduct and on the definition of an impeachable offense.
The NYT reports that a man imprisoned in Sacramento, California wants to donate a kidney to his 15-year-old daughter--again. The father, serving time for burglary, has already given one kidney to his daughter and his selflessness is now causing a dilemma for local surgeons and medical ethicists. The case has been referred to a university bioethics committee that must weigh factors such as the Hippocratic Oath ("First, do no harm") and the estimated $40,000 a year cost of dialysis that the prison system would have to pay. The father and daughter had not met before the first kidney transplant, but have stayed in close contact since.
Bill Bradley announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee, meaning he'll try for the Democratic nomination in 2000. The WP runs the story on its front, but the NYT--despite Bradley's close ties to New Jersey and the Knicks--runs it inside with a front-page reefer. The papers agree that, while still a long shot, Bradley poses the most serious threat to Al Gore's nomination.
A fascinating WP piece reports that many members of the Israeli press, military, and government have publicly condemed the soldier who was beaten and stoned by a Palestinian mob last Wednesday. Critics say that his failure to defend himself by firing his weapon has humiliated Israel. One daily newspaper's commentator asks, "...have we turned into a wimp state?" The soldier, a 19-year-old draftee, suffered nine head lacerations, blurred vision and hearing loss. One Israeli general says, "He should have opened fire....In a situation like that, you shoot to kill." Such criticism has outraged many Israelis as well, including President Ezer Weizman who notes, "People who haven't experienced anything of this kind don't have a right to speak."