The Washington Post and New York Times lead with yesterday's Senate defeat of a proposal that would have entirely voided a McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform law if any portion of it were ever found unconstitutional. The Los Angeles Times, which fronts the Senate action, and USA Today, which doesn't, both lead with census results showing that fueled by the growth of the Hispanic and Asian populations, California has become the first large state with no majority race or ethnic group (Hawaii and New Mexico already had this status). USAT says the Hispanic/Asian upsurge is due to increased immigration. The LAT says that immigration into California, while still considerable, peaked in the 1980s and that the explanation is the Hispanic birthrate. The NYT California fronter cites both as causes.
The papers explain that yesterday's Senate rejection of "non-severability" was significant because the M-F bill contains not just raised inflation-indexed limits for the individual contributions it allows and a ban on almost all donations to political parties by unions, corporations, and individuals (equals soft money) but also constitutionally much dicier restrictions applying in the final weeks before an election to "issue ads" (not specifically supporting a candidate) by unions, corporations, and advocacy groups. The coverage views yesterday's vote as virtually assuring that the Senate will pass M-F next week, although it also includes plenty of indications that an up-vote is not automatic in the House, which has several times previously passed soft-money bans without tolerating raised individual contribution limits. And the NYT front reminds that campaign-finance reform faces an "adamant and powerful foe" there--House Republican whip Tom DeLay. The papers also have remarks from President George W. Bush that the LAT calls his "strongest signal yet" that he might not veto a bill containing a soft-money ban.
The WP and LAT front President Bush's press conference yesterday. Both stories emphasize his insistence that America's energy and economic concerns must take precedence over global ones, like the Kyoto global warming treaty or fighting in the Middle East. Another LAT fronter reports that the Bush administration is set to "severely scale back" a Clinton-era police hiring program that put tens of thousands of new officers on the street.
The NYT and WP front, and the others stuff, the arrest in a small French town of a man suspected of a 1998 New York state sniper murder of an abortion doctor.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Europe's hoof-and-mouth and mad cow troubles have invigorated America's horsemeat market. Europeans have apparently always had a taste for filly mignon, most of which comes from the U.S., and now horsemeat prices are booming. The Journal reports on one horse auction where animals were bought for slaughter at prices sometimes 50 percent higher than just six months ago. And where the bidding is so fierce that even horses intended for sale as working animals or pets for children went to the abattoir instead.
OK, so President Bush isn't supporting the Kyoto protocols, or limits on carbon dioxide emissions, or negotiating with North Korea. He is, however, reports the WSJ, planning to launch an extended campaign to "revitalize baseball as the national pastime." The effort will include stops at major league and minor league and Little League games and a series of T-ball contests at the White House involving 8-year-olds and Cabinet members.
Los Angeles Times circulation drops: Yesterday's LAT contained the following "For the Record" item: "Poisonous mushroom--The mushroom identified as an edible bolete in this picture that ran on Page H3 of the Food section Wednesday is actually an amanita, which can be poisonous. It is most easily identified by a small ring midway down the stem."