Today's Papers

Supreme Savior

The New York Timesleads with British, French, and U.S. diplomats working out the final details on a U.N. resolution against Syria that they expect will pass the Security Council on Monday. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will join the foreign ministers of the Security Council countries to vote on the resolution that threatens Syria with economic sanctions if it fails to cooperate with investigations into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The Washington Postleads with expectations that President Bush will announce his new Supreme Court nomination today. The Los Angeles Timesleads with the increase in assaults against agents patrolling the Mexican border. There were 333 more assaults in the fiscal year that just ended than in the previous one. USA Todayleads with a poll taken over the weekend that shows 55 percent of Americans believe President Bush’s presidency is a failure. As the administration tries to remake its image, some are wondering whether Bush will be able to take a cue from former Presidents Clinton and Reagan, both of whom made far-reaching changes that were necessary to save their presidencies when they were faced with second-term slumps. The Wall Street Journal tops its world-wide newsbox with an administration catchall, mentioning the criticism from Democratic lawmakers and the call from Republicans that “new blood” should be brought in to the White House. It also mentions Bush might have a chance to improve his image with the Supreme Court nomination.

This time around, Bush seems to be considering only judges who have many years on the bench and a track record of conservative opinions. The chatter among strategists, which the WP notably points out has been wrong before, seems to suggest that the front-runner for the job is federal appeals judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., who has often been called “Scalito,” for his similarity to ultraconservative Supreme Court Justic Antonin Scalia. The NYT fronts the story and focuses on the possible upcoming fight over the confirmation after Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid warned that nominating Alito would “create a lot of problems” and hinted at the possibility of a filibuster.

The WSJ fronts a story that says Bush’s decline in popularity is also affecting his ability to get things done abroad. As the president prepares to go on several international missions, some people are wondering whether the increasing problems in the administration will force the president to abandon the international arena and focus more on domestic policy. A graphic accompanying the story points out that Bush’s approval ratings are close to Nixon’s right before he resigned.

Everybody fronts the memorial service held to honor Rosa Parks, who became the first woman to lie in honor in the Capitol rotunda. Thousands of people lined up outside for hours to get a chance to see a woman whose struggle for civil rights was an inspiration to many. Notably, the NYT is the only paper that instead of fronting a dispatch from the service chooses to take a look at civil rights leaders who are questioning how much they have done to pass on the movement’s legacy to the younger generations. NPR correspondent Juan Williams writes an op-ed piece in the NYT that says people often simplify Parks’ story. She was not merely a tired woman who one day decided to refuse to give up her seat. Parks had a long history of working and fighting for civil rights long before the bus incident, and she was only one of many who should be getting credit for bringing about changes.

The LAT fronts warnings from leaders in the Middle East that the pressure the United States is building on Syria’s government could backfire. The Syrian government is seen as weak, and any more pressure could lead to its collapse, causing a destabilization in an important country in the region, and the possible rise of a fundamentalist government.

The WP points out that Democrats used the Sunday talk-show circuit to demand President Bush fire Karl Rove for being involved in the release of Valerie Plame’s name to the press. They also said the administration should give a full explanation of the exact role played by Vice President Dick Cheney. A front-page Post piece examines how those that have worked with I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby are surprised that he became a central figure in the leak case. He was always notoriously careful with what he revealed to the press and encouraged staff members to quickly get rid of notes taken at White House meetings. Some speculate he could just be “falling on his sword” to protect Cheney. The NYT fronts a story on how Tim Russert used a segment of his Meet the Press program on Sunday to explain his role in the leak investigation. It was partly Russert’s testimony that was used to debunk Libby’s assertion that he learned about Plame from journalists.

The LAT and NYT go inside with, while the WP relies on a wire report on, the latest from India, where investigators are searching for clues in the bombing that led to 59 deaths. A group called Inquilabi (Revolutionary) claimed responsibility for the bombings, though many speculated that this a front for what appears to be the main suspect, a Pakistan-based organization called Lashkar-e-Taiba. The group was involved in the last major terrorist attack in India in 2001.

USAT fronts a story on how thousands of Katrina victims could become homeless because they are not receiving the necessary aid from FEMA. Some evacuees have already started showing up at homeless shelters.

All the papers mention that the brother of Iraq’s Shiite Muslim vice president was killed. The WP has the most vivid account of how the vice president, Adel Abdul Mahdi, found out about his brother’s death while giving an interview to reporters, and he continued answering a few questions. Cryptically, the NYT is the only one who calls Mahdi an “adviser to the cabinet” rather than a vice president. The U.S. military also announced that a Marine died from injuries sustained from a roadside bomb on Saturday.

The NYT and WSJ go inside with a report by the special inspector general for Iraqi reconstruction that says money is running out from the $30 billion reconstruction budget and several projects are still far from completed. The report states that part of the problem has been bureaucratic mismanagement and also the high cost of providing security for contractors. Since the invasion of Iraq, 412 contractors and civilian workers have died in Iraq; 82 of those deaths occurred since June.

The WP mentions that a new vaccine against cervical cancer, that could become available as early as next year, has sparked a controversy between health practitioners and conservative groups. The vaccine seems to be almost 100 percent effective in preventing the most serious types of the human papilloma virus that can cause cancer and some want to immunize as many prepubescent girls as possible. Because HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, however, some conservatives are concerned that large-scale vaccination among the young could be seen as encouraging premarital sex.

A Houston lawyer paid $690,000 for a 1975 Ford Escort that was once owned by Pope John Paul II. He said he wants to put the car in a museum he plans on building.