Slam Donaldson

Slam Donaldson

Slam Donaldson

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
June 2 2005 3:56 AM

Slam Donaldson

The Wall Street Journal's business box and New York Timeslead with the surprise "resignation" of SEC chair William Donaldson, who had been getting increasing heat from Wall Street for his regulation-happy ways. The Los Angeles Timesleads with a less than surprising Iraq trend piece: Suicide bombings are on the rise. There were 90 such attacks last month, and 69 in April, which in turn is more than in the year preceding the official handover of sovereignty. According to early morning reports, a car bomb in northern Iraq killed nine. Another car bomb this morning killed the head of one provincial council.

The Washington Postleads across the top with Bob Woodward's 4,884-word proto-book excerpt on how Mark Felt came to be Deep Throat. While serving as a courier in the Navy, Woodward was once waiting to deliver some papers at the White House and found himself sitting next to the FBI guy. That's when Woodward started hitting up Felt for career advice. (Woodward was thinking of going to law school.) Thanks to Woodward's unending pestering, the two eventually became buds ... and, well, here are the remaining 4,500 words USA Todayleads with another obvious trend piece: States are increasingly cracking down on drivers who blab away on cell phones. Thirty-seven states now have regulations restricting cell-phone use; Illinois' legislature passed a bill just last week.

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Donaldson, who turns 74 today, hired scads of new SEC employees and issued a record number of violations. He also often sided with the commission's two Democrats. The Times says he been had "frustrated" with opposition from Republicans and from some in the administration. Explaining his departure, Donaldson said, "I have repeatedly said I serve at the pleasure of the president and at my own pleasure." The Journal says Donaldson suggested a few months ago that he wanted to serve through 2005.

Citing what seem to be official leaks, the papers say that the White House will nominate Rep. Chris Cox to take Donaldson's place. White House counsel in the Reagan years, Cox also sponsored legislation that limited investors' ability to sue for stock fraud.

The NYT gives a play-by-play of how the Felt family went around looking to tell—and cash in on—the elder Felt's story. The Times also gets more details about the Post's Tuesday freak out:

The Post's executive editor, [Len Downie], was speaking at a management retreat on the Eastern Shore of Maryland when his cellphone began ringing so incessantly that he turned it off. He ignored hand-passed notes from the hotel staff. Only when the Post's chairman, Donald Graham, stepped out to take a phone call did they learn of the Vanity Fair scoop. "He signals me through the door with one of those finger things," Mr. Downie said.

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Given the current welcoming climate for conspiracy theories, USAT has an unfortunate teaser on Page One. Showing a picture of Felt, the headline reads: "MYSTERY SOLVED?" As it happens, the story doesn't even doubt that Felt is the man. It just wonders, as Slate's Tim Noah did, whether Woodstein engaged in a bit of misdirection.

The LAT's lead on suicide bombings includes this ominous line: "U.S. officials and Iraqi analysts say the insurgents' resources are increasing on several fronts: money to buy cars and explosives, expertise in wiring car and human bombs, and intelligence leaks that help the insurgents target U.S. and Iraqi forces." (What the paper doesn't include are any quotes backing that up.)

A front-page Post piece looks at how Iraqi war victims aren't getting much help or attention. There is "little available data" on the number of civilians wounded in fighting. (TP recently wrote an op-ed arguing that the U.S.'s lack of interest in tracking civilian casualties is ultimately counterproductive.) Meanwhile, either due to security problems, a lack of money, or just corruption, Baghdad's main rehabilitation hospital hasn't been able to get spare parts for prosthetics in nearly two years.

The NYT and WP front Dutch voters rejecting the proposed EU constitution by an even larger than expected margin. With a record turnout, nearly 62 percent of voters marked "nee." Following France's vote earlier in the week, the proposed charter is now on life support, at best. Meanwhile, the euro dropped to an eight-month low.

The NYT reefers 19 people killed in the bombing of a mosque Kandahar, Afghanistan. Among the dead was the police chief of Kabul.The attack has been part of a surge in violence and happened at the memorial services for a well-known cleric who himself was assassinated Sunday. A Taliban spokesman said his group was responsible for the attack.

The papers go inside with researchers' discovery of a hormone that appears to increase people's trust. When subjects were given sniffs of the oxytocin, it increased their faith in the person they were playing a financial game with.

President Bush met yesterday with South African President Thabo Mbeki. The NYT flags the get-together and Bush's reiterating the U.S. stance on Britain's call for the doubling of aid to Africa. "It doesn't fit our budgetary process," Bush said.