Expensive Epidemic

And now the most absorbing two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:

Focused on SEC Investigation
The New York Times and Washington Post carried front-page stories on the cat energy stock President Bush sold 10 years ago. Both papers said that Mr. Bush, as the Post put it, "disclosed the transaction to the SEC 34 weeks late." What neither paper mentioned is that the president did notify the SEC of his intention to sell the stock on the very day he sold it. Both papers also took note of an SEC investigation of whether the president was improperly acting on inside information. The Post reported that the SEC had "concluded that he did not have access to inside information." The Times, though, never mentioned that either.

Dissing Dubya
At his news conference Monday, the president was asked why he was not planning to attend the NAACP annual meeting now underway in Houston. At that meeting, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said last night that the president and Attorney General John Ashcroft are "the most threatening combination in our lifetime." The night before, NAACP chairman Julian Bond, called the president as a snake-oil salesman and said, "There is a right-wing conspiracy and it is operating out of the United States Department of Justice."

Expensive Epidemic
Health agencies have estimated it would cost $10 billion to treat everyone in the world who has AIDS. So far, about $2.8 billion has been raised and the United States has contributed $700 million, 25 percent, of that amount. This was the reception that Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson got at an international AIDS conference in Spain today:


UNIDENTIFIED CROWD:  Where's the $10 billion?  Where's the $10
billion, money for AIDS?


Halt or Hire?
And finally, California Gov. Gray Davis ordered a statewide hiring freeze seven months ago, but the state government has since hit a new record with more than 234,000 employees. When a tiny newspaper called the Capitol Weekly that is read mostly by state workers looking for employment opportunities published that fact, the Davis administration cut off all state advertising in the paper. The governor's office said it was a cost-cutting measure.