Today's Papers

Time Will Tell

The Wall Street Journal’s world-wide newsbox and Washington Postlead with—and others stuff—President Bush’s pledge of $1.7 billion in increased aid to Africa over five years, most of it for fighting malaria. The New York Timesleads with Time Inc.’s decision to accede to a judge’s demands and hand over reporter Matthew Cooper’s notes about the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. “I found myself really coming to the conclusion that once the Supreme Court has spoken, we are not above the law and we have to behave the way ordinary citizens do,” said Time Inc.’s Editor in Chief Norman Pearlstine. The Los Angeles Timesleads with a California judge’s decision to hand the state’s ill-run prison health-care system over to a receiver. According to estimates not disputed by the state, about one prisoner dies per week from neglect. USA Todayleads with this summer’s hottest trend: Gas theft. “Our drive-offs are up probably 100 percent” this year, said the head of one convenience store chain.

The Post says up high that “some analysts and advocates” argued that the money Bush has promised for malaria would just be “repackaging” and would in part replace funds Congress and the White House agreed to cut. But the paper relies on the advocacy groups for the numbers, rendering the stats at least questionable. The NYT doesn’t focus on the critics’ concerns but explains that the White House’s last budget did indeed propose cutting anti-malaria funding, from $90 million down to $58 million. If Bush’s plan is carried out, spending will dwarf that. Meanwhile, a Post editorial notes that the new proposal is “small potatoes” next to the anti-poverty proposal Prime Minister Blair pitched and Bush rebuffed.

Even with his bosses’ decision, Cooper might not be in the clear—the prosecutor in the case said he still might want to ask Cooper some questions. And the same goes for Miller. Cooper said he disagreed with Time’s decision and said he regretted having once handed the notes over to higher-ups.

Unlike Time, the NYT didn’t have to struggle with handing over its reporter’s notes; that’s because the paper says it doesn’t have any. The NYT’s Miller did reporting on the agent outing but never wrote about it.  

Oddly, the prosecutor in the case has suggested he knows who spoke to Miller. Meanwhile, as the NYTmentions, Cooper has already named one administration official who chatted him up about the CIA agent: Scooter Libby, Vice President’s Cheney’s chief of staff.

The NYT fronts the Senate voting 54 to 45 to approve the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Its passage had been expected there and it now moves on to a real fight in the House. Many Democrats have complained that CAFTA doesn’t have sufficient labor and environmental protections while others—on both sides of the aisle—want to make sure the sugar industry stays protected.

The Times says inside that the Labor Dept put the kibosh on a study it funded that concluded that labor standards in Central America basically blow. The NYT doesn’t mention it, but for what it’s worth, the report was actually outed a few months ago.

According to a front-page Post piece, the Bush administration has been exaggerating the amount of help it’s given anti-AIDS programs in Botswana. Having spent all of $2.5 million so far, the administration recently claimed credit for all the treatment being given Botswana. The head of the country’s HIV program called the U.S. stats “a gross misrepresentation of the facts.”

A Page One piece in USAT crunches the numbers from Iraq and finds that a third more GIs were killed in the past year than in the one prior.

The WP says inside that a year ago an FDA researcher noticed a (not necessarily causal) link between Viagra and a rare form of blindness, but nothing much was done until a medical journal reported similar findings recently.

The LAT and NYT front President Bush saying he’d sure like to know whether Iran’s newly elected president was indeed among the captors at the U.S. embassy in 1979 as a handful of the hostages allege. Two of the former militants who oversaw the hostage-taking said the new president wasn’t in on the job. “He called after the embassy was captured and wanted to join us,” one told the NYT. “But we refused to let him come to the embassy or become a member of our group.”

The Post fronts the House voting to try to limit the Supreme Court’s recent eminent-domain decision. The legislation would deny federal funding for any local project that used eminent domain to clear the way for a for-profit venture. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate.

The NYT, Journal,and Post all go high with Bank of America snatching credit-card company MBNA for $35 billion. The purchase makes B of A the country’s largest dealer of general credit cards.

Another FBI triumph … From the Journal’s Washington Wire:

Under siege for high-tech blunders, the FBI creates a Web site to educate Americans on the bureau’s “information-technology initiatives.” A news release announcing the move gave an incorrect Web address.