Today's Papers

A Deflating Parade

The Wall Street Journal’s world-wide newsbox and Washington Postlead with the violence in Iraq, where 30 people were killed by a bomb that targeted an American unit giving toys to children. Another roughly 20 Iraqis were killed in other attacks, and the military announced that five GIs have been killed over the past two days. USA Today  leads with the Small Business Administration still lagging in processing Katrina and Rita-related loans. The SBA has only processed half the number of loans it did in a similar period after last year’s Florida hurricanes, despite having hired more staff. USAT has previously suggested the culprit was a glitchly computer “upgrade.” Another potential factor not explored by USAT: The head of the SBA is a former GOP fund-raiser who appears to have little relevant experience and previously headed up the SBA’s bumbling response to 9/11. The Los Angeles Timeslead says California stands to lose “billions” of dollars in aid as a result of the Republican-pushed budget cuts that just passed in the House. Among the cuts would be $3.2 billion over 10 years for a popular child-support enforcement program. The New York Timeslead notices that states’ revenues are soaring, a trend USAT led with last week.

The bombing near Baghdad happened outside a hospital and, according to the NYT, “shattered the facades of buildings for blocks around.” Doctors were so overwhelmed they had to send some victims to another hospital 30 miles away. The Times also says the number of suicide bombings appears to be holding constant: The military counted 52 in October, about the same number as the monthly average early this year.

The NYT fronts a trend this TPer has been noting for months: The number of prisoners being held by the U.S. in Iraq is surging. With double the number of detainees there were last year and little oversight, detainees have been held for months without review. Another piece inside the Times details how the military mistakenly released a prisoner it had connected to a bombing.

The LAT mentions that scientists have drilled the largest core of Arctic ice ever sampled and found that two greenhouse gases are currently at their highest levels in 650,000 years. “This is saying, ‘Yeah, we had it right.’ We can pound on the table harder and say, ‘This is real,’ ” said one geophysicist not affiliated with the research.

The NYT mentions that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, once a baseball prospect, acknowledged that—contrary to what he has long said—he was never drafted. A newspaper reported that there is no record of Richardson being picked. “After being notified of the situation and after researching the matter,” said the governor, “I have come to the conclusion that I was not drafted by the A’s.”

The NYT fronts two people injured after an M&Ms balloon at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade was buffeted by a gust of wind and knocked over part of a light pole.

The Times points out that when the M&Ms balloons went wild, parade broadcaster NBC was quick on its toes. In the words of a spokeswoman, “We rolled with some previously recorded footage,” namely the M&Ms balloons from last year. And then the crack team covering the parade—Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, and Al Roker—continued their witty repartee, without mentioning the incident. “Will these classic candymen get out of this delicious dilemma?” said Roker, referring not to accident but to the original balloon concept in which one M&M was trying to save the other. “Hard to say,” Roker continued, “but when it comes to sweetness, Yellow and Red continue to melt your heart, but not in your hand.”