Today's Papers

The Climes, They Are A-Changing

The New York Times leads with the U.S. agreeing to discuss climate change with the rest of the world, just 24 hours after saying it couldn’t commit to nonbinding talks. The Washington Post off-leads with the U.S. climate change agreement, following a top local story on the Washington Nationals’ stadium deal. The Los Angeles Times leads (at least online) with movement among House Republicans to eliminate birthright citizenship in an upcoming immigration reform bill. The Wall Street Journal leads its world-wide newsbox with Iraqi hopes that Thursday’s election will have the best turnout yet, in absence of a Sunni boycott.

The U.S. has agreed to at least discuss climate change, agreeing to participate in nonbinding talks after being chided by the international community for storming out of negotiations just 24 hours earlier. The agreement comes at the tail end of two weeks of preliminary negotiations in Montreal, with nearly 200 nations present to discuss how best to proceed with talking about deciding how to handle emissions standards and global warming after the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012. U.S. negotiators had claimed that the description of future nonbinding talks made them sound tantamount to binding agreements and later agree to more talks after just a few words in the agreement were changed. Both papers cover the highly amusing diplo-drama well, though the NYT gives somewhat more in-depth analysis of what the rest of the world is planning to do about the problem, with or without U.S. cooperation.

Congressional advocates of nixing citizenship for anyone born in the U.S. say that the key to their argument is this clause in the 14th Amendment: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” Conservatives argue that since illegal immigrants are apparently not subject to U.S. jurisdiction (despite being able to stand trial here), their children aren’t covered by the second prong of that test. The paper does a good job of covering the thorny ins and outs of the issue— politically, legally, socioeconomically, etc. But in the last lines the LAT admits that the measure isn’t likely to pass the Senate, making the argument largely theoretical. They really should have mentioned that earlier.  

The NYT off-leads with the fight over the use of cell phones as tracking devices. In the last three months, judges in New York, Texas, and Maryland have all ruled that prosecutors need to demonstrate probable cause to be able to access cell phone tracking info from phone companies. Prosecutors, naturally, want the threshold to be lower. Scariest buried factoid: Your wireless company can track you even when you’re inside buildings, regardless of whether or not you’re actually on the phone. And some companies keep that information for years.

An agnostic single mother may be the next president of Chile, reports the WP. Victory for Michelle Bachelet, a Socialist candidate largely expected to win in Sunday’s elections, would mark a number of firsts for a country that only legalized divorce last year. The WP plays up the fact that Bachelet may represent a fundamental shift in the attitudes of Chileans on a number of subjects—religion, gender, and family among them. The paper admits, however, that most voters supporting her candidacy are backing her economic plan, not making any sort of statement about social norms.

Paramount is going to pay more than $1 billion for Dreamworks SKG, fronts the LAT, bringing an end to six months of tense negotiations. The deal also leads the WSJ business and finance newsbox, mentioning Paramount managed to steal the bid out from under GE’s nose when GE’s board didn’t approve a deal fast enough.

The NYT and the WP each front observations on how Sen. Joe Lieberman’s increasingly vocal support for the war in Iraq has alienated Dems while earning him Republican plaudits. Both papers acknowledge Lieberman’s felt the same way about Iraq for the past 14 years— apparently no one noticed before now. Predictably, very few Dems (outside of Nancy Pelosi) are willing to outright bash Lieberman for the record. The scuttlebutt on the side of the aisle, however, is much more provocative: Both papers actually site “rumors” that Bush is so pleased by Lieberman’s support that the senator is now in line to replace Donald Rumsfeld at the DoD. But TP thinks that’s about as likely as, say, Newt Gingrich and Hillary Clinton teaming up and … oh wait, never mind.

The WP covers the campaign to have extreme bigotry classified as a mental illness. Foes of the idea say it could provide a handy excuse for committing hate crimes. Proponents stress that they’re only talking about cases in which a person hates a group so much that it makes normal social interaction impossible. The article’s highpoint is the description of a woman who wants to seek treatment for her rampant anti-Semitism but can’t because she’s afraid her therapist will turn out to be Jewish.

Chinese paramilitary police killed as many as 20 people at a fishing village early last week as part of a broad crackdown on social protests, reports the NYT. It is believed to be the bloodiest clash between protesters and the Chinese Government since Tiananmen Square.

Meanwhile, California is scrambling to meet China’s apparently endless demands for more cardboard, according to the LAT.

Under the fold, the NYT examines the national discussion on whether high-school proms are a time-honored tradition or a spectacle of wretched excess.

When America invaded Iraq, it wasn’t content just to bring Iraqis justice, liberty, freedom, and democracy. The WSJ reports that Americans have gone the extra mile and rescued Iraq’s only English speaking boy band. Mission accomplished.

… Uh, Dude, It’s Still Porn …
The LAT fills their readers in on the latest trend in porn—esoterically shot XXX flicks showcasing heavily tattooed misfits getting their proverbial grooves on. The piece profiles the godfather of the subgenre and his attempts to titillate a demographic for whom hardcore sex scenes aren’t quite edgy enough. The director expresses concerns about maintaining the purity of his vision and reminisces about the good ol’ days of sex films … you know, before they became too commercial.