Everybody leads with 14 moderate senators announcing a deal that will head off a showdown on the filibuster, at least for now. The Democrats in the deal agreed to allow a floor vote on three of the 10 currently held-up judicial nominees: Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor, and Priscilla Owen. In return, the Republicans in on the deal said they won’t kill the judicial filibuster so long as Democrats invoke it only in “extraordinary circumstances,” whatever that means.
The New York Timesand Washington Postlist two judges each who are currently being held up and, in an unwritten part of the deal, are slated to be sacrificed. At least that’s what Senate “negotiators” and “Democratic officials” said. The Wall Street Journal doesn’t rely on the anonymice and says nominations are still in play.
The 14 senators held the swing votes, so they didn’t have to bother getting their parties’ respective support. In fact, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist didn’t exactly sound elated, saying the bargain “has some good news, it has some disappointing news, and will require careful monitoring.” White House spokesman Scott McClellan called the deal “progress” but added, “We will continue working to push for an up-or-down vote on all our nominees.”
Frist has been considering a presidential run and was under pressure from conservatives to go nuclear and deliver all the nominees. The fact that some of the nominees are now going down means Frist stands to be, as the Post puts it, “one of the biggest losers” in the deal.
The Los Angeles Timesdetails the conservative activists’ unhappiness. “The Republicans who lent their names to this travesty have undercut their president as well as millions of their most loyal voters,” said Gary Bauer. “Shame on them all.” (Though LAT doesn’t say it, the quote comes via a press release.)
The papers all trot out analyses, and none are as impressed with the deal as Sen. Byrd, who proclaimed modestly, “We have kept the Republic.” One prof told the Post, “I think they did what the Senate very often does. They kicked the can down the road.”
The Post alone fronts about 60 Iraqis killed in mostly terrorist attacks around the country. (The other papers reefer the bombings.) Ten Iraqis were killed and roughly 100 wounded in the bombing of a popular falafel restaurant in Baghdad. Another 20 to 30 people were killed by two car bombs outside a Shiite community center near Mosul. Late last night another car bomb outside a Shiite mosque south of Baghdad killed 10. Also, a top Iraqi national security official was assassinated. And the military announced that five American soldiers had died over the weekend.
Everybody mentions that Iraqi and U.S. forces have launched what military officials described as their biggest counterinsurgency sweep yet in Baghdad—”20,000 U.S. troops backed 15,000 Iraqi soldiers,” says the LAT. The NYT cites officials saying Iraqi forces are in the lead. Whatever the case, everybody says about 300 suspects have been arrested.
Nobody reports from the Baghdad neighborhood where the sweeps are still happening—except Knight Ridder (which credits an Iraqi employee on the story). “They came here and detained people randomly,” said one candy-store proprietor, who then took off after hearing an approaching chopper. One Shiite politician told KR, “These random attacks on people and houses gives the insurgents a bigger base.”
The LAT and NYT front the Supreme Court accepting its first abortion case in five years: It’s set to decide on the lack of a health exemption for a currently overturned parental notification law in New Hampshire.
The WP announces on Page One: “CHOLESTEROL DRUG CRESTOR POSES RISKS, JOURNAL SAYS; Study Suggests Use Only as Last Resort.” Not so much, says the NYT: “MIXED SAFETY RESULTS ON CHOLESTEROL DRUG.” The rate of complications with Crestor was higher than with its sibling drugs, but still very low. “The overwhelming majority of people who are taking it will have no problem at all,” said the president of the American Heart Association, as quoted in the LAT.
A NYT piece, based on an interview with a Syrian diplomat, says Damascus has stopped intel and military cooperation with the U.S. The diplomat cited hurt feelings over the administration’s complaints about Syria not cracking down on Iraqi insurgents. Not that there has been loads of cooperation recently. One U.S. commander said the contact has mostly been helpful to “mitigate” a number of “cross-border firings” of artillery. Which raises a question: Cross-border firings of artillery?!?!?