Barnes and Ignoble

Barnes and Ignoble

Barnes and Ignoble

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
Feb. 10 1999 7:18 AM

Barnes and Ignoble

The New York Times and Los Angeles Times lead with the Senate's commencement of closed-door impeachment deliberations. USA Today reefers the Senate doings (to a story running on page 11) and goes instead with the report on the Salt Lake City Olympics bid turned in by an independent ethics panel, which found more than $1 million in funny money and implicated as many as 10 International Olympic members (in addition to the 14 already fingered). The paper reports a significant reaction to the muck raked thus far: John Hancock Insurance has dropped plans for placing $20 million in Olympic ads with NBC. The Olympics report gets prominent front play at the other majors. The Washington Post leads with the deterioration of Russia's early warning defense against nuclear missile attack, which the paper says, has gotten to the point that for several hours each day, Russian military commanders cannot see any of the thousands of land- and sub-based missiles aimed at them. The upshot is a much increased risk that the Russians would make a "serious miscalculation." That's tech-speak for "accidentally blow the world up." The paper follows up inside with a fascinating interview with the former Russian officer who decided on a hunch that an apparent Sept. 1983 American ICBM attack was a false alarm and so didn't start World War III.

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The NYT, citing unnamed senators as sources, says that in closed session (the result of a sunshine motion missing the required two-thirds by eight votes), senators spoke one at a time for or against the two impeachment articles. The mood, says the NYT, was somber and without partisan sniping, but the speeches were almost all along party lines. The LAT lead quotes one senator saying that each of his colleagues to speak thus far has used up his full fifteen minutes. The NYT explains its access to senators' versions of the day by stating that although Senate rules forbid the lawmakers from divulging what occurs in closed session, senators had voted in open session to allow each other to essentially reiterate what they said behind closed doors.

While it's flatly assumed that President Clinton will not be removed from office, the LAT suggests that a few senators in each party will cast crossover votes. The paper also sees the idea of censuring President Clinton losing momentum.

USAT and the WP front a federal appeals court ruling, almost surely headed for the Supreme Court, holding that for the five states covered by the court--Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina--a criminal suspect's confession could be held to be voluntary and admissible even if he was not read his Miranda rights.

The WP fronts the surprising results of the first study to cover the full range of sexual problems since the Kinsey reports 50 years ago: Four out of ten women and nearly one-third of men suffer from sexual dysfunction. The authors of the study, which appears today in JAMA, say this is "a significant public health concern." There is at least one hopeful finding though: college educated women are more than twice as likely not to suffer from lack of sexual desire as those who did not complete high school, and men who complete college also tend to complete something else, suffering much less premature ejaculation than male high school dropouts. Today's Papers thinks this data could be the basis of the best stay-in-school ad campaign of all time.

The NYT reports inside on what amounts to a quick reward for its story earlier in the week exposing Amazon.com's covert pay-for-play book review scheme: a complete climb-down by the company. Henceforth, reports the Times, the company promises to disclose when publishers pay it to feature specific books. One question, though. Today's Papers notices that the book review portion of the NYT online site leads to the Barnes and Noble web site. Doesn't the Times receive money from Barnes and Noble for this? And if so, isn't this arrangement similar enough to the one at Amazon to have warranted mention? And isn't this especially important since Barnes and Noble is an Amazon.com competitor?

The WP runs an AP dispatch inside reporting that voter turnout in last November's elections--36.06 percent--was the nation's lowest in 56 years. Highly partisan, negative campaigns seem to be implicated. But on the other hand, in an item elsewhere in the Post, a representative of the American Apparel Manufacturers Association cites the Lewinsky scandal for a positive trend: the third quarter's 11 percent hike in lingerie sales.