Today's Papers

In the Market for Disaster

The Los Angeles Times leads (while the NYT fronts and the WP teases) news of the triple bombing in New Delhi, which killed at least 55 on Saturday. The Washington Postleads with a move by Kurdish political parties to resettle Kurds in the city of Kirkuk ahead of a 2007 referendum on an autonomous Kurdistan. The New York Times leads with speculation over the White House’s damage control strategy for the coming week.

The papers report slightly different casualty numbers from Saturday’s trio of attacks in New Delhi. The WP and NYT each say “at least 55,” while the LAT says “at least 50,” though the Web site slugs the story with a body count of “at least 58.” All the papers mention that the bombs targeted shopping districts, which were especially busy due to the upcoming Hindu festival of Diwali. The papers all note that both India and Pakistan have condemned the bombings and that no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks yet. Everyone mentions that the last time India experienced a terrorist attack, an assault on India’s Parliament in 2001 that was linked to a Pakistani militant group, it led the two countries to the verge of declaring war. The papers also point out that the bombings come just weeks after the border of the long disputed Kashmir province of India was opened to allow aid from both countries to reach the area devastated by an earthquake that killed over 78,000 people.

When the new Iraqi government didn’t quickly act on its promise to start relocating displaced Kurds to northern Iraq, the Kurdish political parties picked up the slack, the WP reports. Much to the consternation of Arab locals, the Iraqi government and the U.S. Army, the two leading Kurdish parties are managing the influx of thousands of Kurds to the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, in hopes that it will someday be part of an autonomous Kurdistan. The two Kurdish parties are handling everything from paying relocation costs for Kurds and buying out Arab landowners to prescribing exact schematics for how the new Kurdish homes should be built to maximize efficiency.

The NYT looks ahead to how the Bush administration might try to right itself after taking a couple of kicks to the head last week. In a vaguely sourced story (no one goes on record till paragraph eight) the NYT cites Republican strategist scuttlebutt saying the White House will focus on appeasing the right with a solid conservative Supreme Court nominee and trying to move spending cuts through Congress. Not surprisingly, all the named sources are bullish about Bush’s future, while the anonymous voices stress caution in the weeks to come, emphasizing that over-catering to the right could alienate moderates.

The WP fronts its own take on Bush’s PR strategy in the weeks ahead, similarly sourced by anonymous Washington whispers. While it agrees with the NYT that Bush faces something of an uphill climb, it does point out that the pundits counted Bush out once before, early in his first term when he appeared to be “bleeding influence,” only to be given a new swell of support after Sept. 11. Meanwhile, in its style section the WP looks at how decades of fighting with moderates within the GOP have given neo-cons that perpetual underdog complex that makes them so good at fighting back when the chips are down.

The WP fronts a blow-by-blow retelling of the events that led up to the Libby indictment. If you’re late to the party and wondering who this Scooter guy is, this is an excellent summary of the story so far. The NYT off-leads with a similar examination of Vice President Dick Cheney’s role in the incident. Their analysis, however, is inexplicably mixed with predictions of how much the Scooter fallout will taint Cheney’s public image and political clout. The NYT concludes that: 1) Cheney’s beltway sway won’t be damaged by this in the long term but, 2) its likely that losing Libby will put him off balance for a while and 3) while the scandal may make him less appealing to moderate voters, Cheney isn’t running for anything, so it doesn’t really matter.

Under the fold, the LAT runs a very different sort of reaction to the Libby indictment, expressing frustration at the dearth of details coming out of Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald’s investigation.

The NYT reports that lack of body armor and armored vehicles has resulted in heavy casualties for the fledgling Iraqi Army.

The WP remembers Rosa Parks.

The LAT reports that U.S. deportation policy has inadvertently helped the spread of a Salvadorian gang.

The NYT takes a look at the rise of “boutique” medical practices, whose advocates claim provide superior, personalized care for those who can afford it, while critics say it creates a tiered health-care system in America.

The LAT Magazine runs a feature on a collection of Cold War-era “nuclear hygiene films.”

Not Even Humiliation Is Free Anymore …

Along with a piece discussing the potential costs of podcasting, the NYT reports on another venue for music enthusiasts hoping to use the web to gain exposure, for a price. For $50, American Idol Underground (which has a licensing agreement with the TV show) will webcast your demo tape and forward you the e-criticism of would-be cyber pop pundits.