Today's Papers

Partners in Power

The New York Times leads with news that scientists now believe that in order to develop viable stem cells, they may need to create human embryos. Scientists had thought they could use existing frozen embryos, which they believed were readily available at fertility clinics. It seems scientists forgot to check one thing: According to the Times, “the vast majority of couples use their frozen embryos, or plan to use them, in attempts at pregnancy.” The article notes that this little snafu doesn’t have any bearing on President Bush’s recent decision to limit federally funded stem-cell research. The Los Angeles Times leads with yesterday’s attack by Palestinian commandos on an Israeli base in the Gaza strip. Three Israeli soldiers and two attackers were killed. The Washington Post leads with President Bush’s proposal to streamline the federal workforce.

Yesterday’s raid by Palestinians was the boldest and bloodiest attack on Israeli soldiers since fighting in the region flared up last year. It was carried out by a group that until yesterday was considered a 1970s relic with no role in the current conflict. Indeed, in 1999 the State Department took the group off its list of terrorist organizations. Israel quickly retaliated for the raid by sending tanks into the hometown of the attackers and sending fighter jets to bomb a Palestinian police headquarters. In another incident, Palestinian gunmen fired at car carrying an Israeli family. Three of the riders were killed and two children were injured.  The LAT’s Middle East headline, “Five Die in Storming of Israeli Outpost,” includes the attackers in the casualty count. Today’s Papers wonders if that’s a consistent policy, and whether readers might wrongly infer that five Israelis (i.e., the targets of the storming) were killed.

The president’s federal employee overhaul program will try to trim the number of federal workers by urging early retirements, offering employee buyouts, and opening up some federal services to private competition. If this sounds a bit Goresque, the WP reminds that it also mirrors Jimmy Carter’s and Ronald’s Reagan’s government reform efforts. One particularly sensible part of the proposal: Managers could base promotions on performance not seniority.

The LAT weighs in with a lengthy front-page investigation of the Bush administration’s close connections to the energy industry. The piece charges that while the White House was devising its energy plan this past spring, the administration was meeting with a steady stream of energy company executives. Apparently, the execs were charmers. According to the Times, one passage of the White House’s energy plan “adopted word for word a proposal on global warming” from an industry trade group.

The NYT fronts former first brother Roger Clinton’s efforts to free–via pardon or parole–a convicted drug dealer. Clinton wasn’t successful. But he was persistent. According to one top parole commissioner, “Every time the phone rang, you thought, ‘Oh, no, is it Roger Clinton again?’ ” 

The LAT fronts word that China has launched a campaign to clean up manners in Beijing, host of the 2008 Olympics. The city’s mayor recently released a list of a dozen habits that residents need to work on. They jostle (No. 2), never smile (No. 7), and talk too much (No. 11). Oh, and they spit, a lot (No. 1). According a survey cited by the Times, over 300 million Chinese spit in public. Many respondents to the poll said their expectoral excess was an effort to cope with air pollution. Not all Chinese take that tack. Three percent of respondents said, “Don’t spit … swallow.”