Today's Papers

Keeping a Straight Faith?

Both the Washington Post and New York Times lead with yesterday’s moderate-Republican-led revolt in the House against the Republican leadership over whether and how legislation designed to implement President Bush’s faith-based social service initiative should address religious organizations’ compliance with local anti-discrimination laws, particularly as they apply to hiring gays. The squabble is the highest national story at the Los Angeles Times. USA Today’s lead reports that the economic downturn’s squeeze on state budgets is causing many public colleges to raise their tuitions and that more are likely to do so soon. Problem: The headline, “COLLEGE TUITION SWELLS,” suggests that private tuition is on the rise, too, even though the story doesn’t include any examples of that.

The House rebellion leads explain that House Republican honchos were forced to postpone their planned vote on the faith-based social services funding bill when moderate Republicans threatened to join the Democratic opposition to it unless it was changed to stipulate that charities and religious organizations receiving money under it must abide by state and local laws banning hiring discrimination. Both papers note that this dust-up illustrates how hard it is, given the Republicans’ mere six-vote House majority, for the White House and the Republican leadership to move favored legislation forward. (The Times notes, and the Post does not, that yesterday’s development came just a week after 19 House Republicans opposed the leadership to help the Democrats torpedo the Republican leadership’s plan for how to debate campaign-finance reform.) And both stories note that the Republicans are also hemmed in by a stern conservative backlash to the backlash, exemplified by the complaint yesterday of one religious organization that the faith-based bill was “in danger of being hijacked by homosexual groups.”

USAT fronts Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle’s comment that under President Bush, “I think we are isolating ourselves. … I don’t think we are taken as seriously today as we were a few years ago.” Daschle notes that recently British Prime Minister Tony Blair offered to act as an intermediary for the U.S. in maintaining relations with European allies and adds, “Since when did we need a liaison with Europe? … What a commentary about the relationship we now have.”

The Wall Street Journal and WP report that a large Dutch study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine has provided the strongest evidence yet that removing the breasts of women with genetic predispositions for breast cancer helps them avoid getting the disease (in remaining breast tissue).

The NYT, WP, and USAT go inside with a new compilation of stats on child welfare in the U.S. that concludes conditions for children have improved, with, for instance, the rates for teen poverty, teen death, and teen motherhood now at their lowest level in 20 years. The Post story points out that still, 10 million U.S. kids don’t have health insurance, although the NYT effort says that the percentage of kids that have it (86 percent) is the highest since 1995.

The WSJ fascinates with its feature on the leather business in India. It turns out that the land of the sacred cow is No. 5 in the world for killing cattle, and leather is one of its biggest exports. The main trick is that in the Hindu religion, it’s OK to skin cows that have died naturally, which provides a good cover story for Indians in the leather trade even when they know it’s not true.

The NYT business section includes the latest on IBM’s financials, which runs under the headline (online at least) “IBM EARNINGS MEET EXPECTATIONS.” But the story itself also mentions that the company’s revenues are off and below what analysts expected. And then there’s the estimate from IBM’s chief financial officer that his outfit probably won’t meet expectations for the rest of the year. Why isn’t this stuff in the headline? The WSJ headline is “IBM MEETS 2ND-QUARTER ESTIMATES, SEES WEAKNESS IN PCS, HARD DRIVES.”

The WP credits the New York Post for its report that at a fund-raiser last night, a former president of the New York Historical Society introduced Bill Clinton to the gathering as Richard Nixon.

The USAT “Sports” front has a picture of Tour de France racer Lance Armstrong with an interesting detail. Clearly, Armstrong is racing with headphones on. Is this a common practice in the sport? And what’s he listening to?

Thus answering the question, “What happens when you hit F4 on Times keyboards?” The NYT front features a classic–and accurate–headline about the wisdom dispensed in yesterday’s congressional appearance by Alan Greenspan: “GREENSPAN WARNS OF SERIOUS RISK BUT SAYS REBOUND MAY BE IN SIGHT.”