Today's Papers

Coming to a Resolution

The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal world-wide newsbox, and New York Times lead with President Bush’s deal with the House on a resolution giving Bush authority to strike Saddam. Though the deal includes a few concessions to Democrats—such as limiting any action only to Iraq rather than to “the region”—the resolution gives the White House lots of latitude to deal with Saddam. It doesn’t require Bush to get U.N. approval before invading. Everybody notes that the support of House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., was key to the agreement. Everybody also says that the deal probably means that the more restrictive, alternative resolution in the Senate is dead. USA Today leads with an interview Secretary of State Colin Powell gave the paper, during which he said Saddam doesn’t necessarily have to leave power for the U.S. to meet its goals: “The issue is disarmament,” Powell explained. “If you can get inspectors back in, that can make sure under a tightened, tough regime, with consequences for failure to perform, you can disarm this society. Then in effect you have a different kind of regime no matter who’s in Baghdad.” White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said that those comments don’t represent any change in policy. The Los Angeles Times leads with news that L.A.’s mayor picked a new police chief: William Bratton, who used to be the top guy at the NYPD.

A front page piece in the LAT says that the U.S.’s proposed tough Security Council resolution is losing ground to the French proposal, which would require the U.N. to pass a second resolution before any strikes are authorized. The article doesn’t mention that the administration has already suggested that it may go for the French two-step deal, though that doesn’t mean it would compromise on the demand for absolutely unfettered access. (The WP has an op-ed from former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger suggesting just that kind of deal.)

A piece inside the Post says that Russia seems to be softening its opposition to the U.S.’s tougher resolution. The Post’s piece doesn’t mention the likely reason for Russia’s attitude adjustment: According to the LAT, in return for Russia’s support, the U.S. is offering “significant economic benefits,” namely guaranteeing that any new Iraqi government would repay that country’s $8 billion debt to Russia.

The NYT fronts word that unnamed legislators on the Senate Intelligence Committee got really peeved yesterday after the CIA refused to give the committee a report detailing the intelligence community’s plans for Iraq and how they fit in with the administration’s wider diplomatic and military strategy. (That sounds a touch fuzzy because the article itself isn’t clear about the details of the report.) The paper explains that some “congressional leaders,” again unnamed, said they suspect that the CIA doesn’t want to hand over the report because it could embarrass the administration by exposing rifts in its Iraq strategy. One intel official countered, “They were asking for an assessment of U.S. policy. And that falls outside the realm” of such CIA reports. It would have been helpful if the NYT put that quote in context by explaining whether the committee’s request was really out of the norm.

The NYT and WP both front the New Jersey Supreme Court’s unanimous decision to allow Democrats to drop Sen. Bob Torricelli’s name from the November ballot and replace it with that of the new nominee, former Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Republicans said they’ll appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Read the PDF file of the court’s decision.) The court also ruled that Dems have to reimburse the state for changing the ballot.

The WP fronts, and others reefer big photos of, the impending hit of Hurricane Lili. The storm, which has winds nearing 140 miles per hour, is expected to hit land this afternoon. About 500,000 people in Louisiana and Texas have been told to head out of town. “This one is for real,” said a government spokeswoman. “This storm is very tight and very fast. It could be horrible.”

The NYT and Post front news that alleged shoe bomber Richard Reid filed a motion yesterday saying that he plans to plead guilty to all charges against him. Prosecutors said the move was a surprise and explained they haven’t agreed to any plea bargain.

Everybody notes that former Enron exec Andrew Fastow was charged yesterday with fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy. He allegedly not only hid loses from investors but also straight out stole dough. The government’s complaint against Fastow also suggests, as has been reported before, that Merrill Lynch helped hide some of Enron’s losses. USAT had the skinny on Fastow’s indictment last week.

The papers go inside with news that one American soldier and at least one Filipino man were killed when a bomb exploded next to a karaoke bar in the Philippines; about 20 people were injured, including another American soldier. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the LAT quotes a Filipino police chief as saying that he has evidence Abu Sayyaf did it.

Everybody fronts news that scienists have unraveled the genetic code for a parasite that causes malaria as well as for the mosquito that transmits it. Researchers expect that the discoveries will help them develop new drugs against the disease, or even a vaccine. Malaria kills about 2.5 million people per year.