Today's Papers

Breast Defense

The New York Timesleads with yesterday’s bombing at a Tel Aviv falafel restaurant that killed nine, wounded 60, and was met with approval by Hamas.The Washington Postand USA Todaylead with a government study concluding that an osteoporosis drug appears to reduce the risk of breast cancer as much as the one drug already approved for that and does so with fewer side effects. But while the results look good, it’s not a slam dunk. For example, women who took the drug, raloxifene, actually had a higher risk of precancerous tumors. “The outcome of the study is not as clear-cut as we might have hoped for,” said one analyst.  

The Los Angeles Timesleads with oil hitting just above $70 a barrel, about 60 cents more than the (noninflation-adjusted) record set just after Katrina. The Wall Street Journal has a more sophisticated Page One oil piece, noting that prices are being puffed by speculation. Oil inventories in the U.S. are at their highest levels in eight years. “More and more people are going to recognize that the fundamentals just aren’t there to support these prices,” said one industry watcher.

“The Israeli occupation bears the responsibility for this attack,” said a Hamas spokesman of the Tel Aviv explosion. Responsibility for the bombing was claimed by Islamic Jihad, which operates independently of Hamas.

Most of the papers play up Hamas’ response. But the LAT takes a pause from the taunting talk and notices that Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh—a Hamas man and known as a relative moderate—“was silent” about the attack. The paper suggests it’s the latest evidence of a “growing split” in Hamas. “On the one hand they want to govern, and on the other hand they cannot abandon the ideology of terror, or they risk losing the support of the street and outside support,” said one Israeli analyst. “At some point they have to make a decision, but I don’t know if they have a leader strong enough to do that.”

Everybody mentions—and only the NYT fronts—newbie White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten’s very public staff meeting yesterday where he announced it’s time to (nudge nudge) “refresh and re-energize” things. At a press conference later, White House spokesman Scott McClellan brought up the meeting, unprompted.

The NYT’s Iraq roundup says U.S. and Iraqi troops “sealed off” (whatever that means) one of Baghdad’s Sunni neighborhoods. The move came after a murky gunbattle that, according to one resident, involved police commandos—the kind often made up of Shiite militia and associated with death squads.

The Post’s off-lead points out that Mississippi’s two senators—Trent Lott and Thad Cochran—have stuffed $700 million into a war-spending bill in order to relocate a rail line that was destroyed by Katrina. The only catch: The rail line has already been rebuilt, at a cost of $250 million.

The NYT off-leads a study concluding that families, and in particular kids, displaced by Katrina have worse health and less access to insurance than they did before the storm. One thing: The study was sponsored by the Children’s Health Fund, which—though Times doesn’t say it until well after the fold—is an advocacy group that pushes for more health-care coverage for kids.

The WP alone fronts the Pulitzers. Coincidentally, the WP won the most of them: four, including one for its coverage of the CIA secret prisons and one for uncovering Jack Abramoff’s work habits. The NYT won for its scoop on warrantless spying and for Nicholas Kristof’s Darfur writing. And the New Orleans’ Times-Picayune and the Sun Herald of Gulfport, Miss., won, deservedly, for their Katrina coverage.

The nuclear option … Yesterday’s LAT noticed that a principal at an elementary school in Inglewood was so worried her students might attend pro-immigration rallies that she barred some from even going to the bathroom, forcing them to use buckets in class.

Now the odd part: The school district defended the principal. They explained that the super-lockdown, bucket routine is indeed allowed, albeit only in a slightly more extreme scenario, namely nuclear Armageddon. “When there’s a nuclear attack, that’s when buckets are used,” said a district official. “She made a decision to follow the handbook. She just misread it.”