Today's Papers

Gone to Pot 

According to early morning reports, a roadside bomb hit a U.S. diplomatic convoy in the Gaza Strip, killing at least three Americans, security guards apparently.

The New York Times and Washington Postlead with word that a compromise Security Council resolution is taking shape on Iraq: As the WP emphasizes, Russia, France, and Germany backed down from their demands that the U.N. get significant authority in Iraq and that the U.S. give Iraqis sovereignty ASAP. Yet as the NYT says up high, while the resolution will almost certainly pass, there is still plenty of unhappiness with the U.S.’s proposal, and five of the 15 current SC members might abstain, including Russia, Germany, and France. The Wall Street Journal tops its worldwide news box with China’s launch of a man into space. He’s scheduled to return later today, and if he makes it back in one piece, China will become the third nation to successfully fling a human into space. USA Todayleads with the Supreme Court’s decision to hear a case deciding whether having school kids recite the Pledge of Allegiance’s “under God” phrase is unconstitutional. The Los Angeles Times’ top non-local story is the Supreme Court’s decision letting stand a ruling that bars the feds from going after doctors who recommend pot to their patients.

Russia, Germany, and France presented their concessions in the form of an amendment that also tweaked the U.S.’s proposal. Among the proposed changes was language calling for the U.S., at the time of its choosing, to give the Security Council a timeline for leaving Iraq. The attempted haggling didn’t sit well with the White House. As one U.S. official told the Post, “We will look for people to face reality and decide whether they will support this process or not.” That in turn doesn’t sit well with some other Security Council countries, hence the threatened abstentions.

The Post, which fronts the pledge case, emphasizes that Justice Antonin Scalia recused himself, likely because earlier this year he publicly commented on the case, a no-no. If there is a 4-4 tie among the justices, the lower court ruling striking “under God” will hold.

The NYT, meanwhile, reminds us how the Supreme Court opens up in the morning: Justices bow their heads while an officer bellows, “God save the United States and this honorable court.”

Everybody goes inside with yesterday’s suicide car-bombing in Baghdad that targeted the Turkish Embassy, injuring about 10 and killing only the attacker. There wasn’t much damage because the attacker didn’t breach concrete barriers. Turkey, of course, recently agreed to send troops to Iraq, and in a bit of a sticky wicket, Iraq’s Governing Council has said it opposes the deployment. “If the IGC is against this, it would be extremely difficult for us to go forward,” one Pentagon official told the LAT. “It goes against everything we’re trying to do in Iraq.”

The WP has an in-depth piece on Page One reporting that rival Shiite groups got into an hours-long firefight yesterday in Karbala. Apparently, the action was started by gunmen loyal to Moqtada Sadr, the upstart radical cleric who’s been trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to get other Shiites to move against the U.S. occupation. The other papers fold news of this into their Iraq wrap-ups.

Emphasis ontry …The NYT notices that the “Chinese assert that they were actually first to try to send a man into space.” The Times recounts:

A 16th-century Ming Dynasty artisan, Wan Hu, held kites in each hand and strapped himself to a chair equipped with rockets, according to some historical accounts carried in the state news media. His servants reportedly lit the gunpowder-fueled rocket as Mr. Wan tried to launch himself into the sky. He failed, dying in the explosion.