Today's Papers

Deadline in Darfur

The New York Timesleads with no agreement on a peace deal in Darfur as a deadline came and went—mediators agreed to give it another 48 hours. As the Times notes far down, even if there is a deal, there are “serious doubts” about whether attacks on civilians will stop soon. That’s because the attacks are generally by independent militia janjaweed, whom the Sudanese government has never shown much interest in reining in. The Los Angeles Times leads with Bush administration officials appearing on the Sunday talkies, where they made a collective nod toward the fact that the president’s plan to bring down gas prices won’t have a big effect, and the only “solution” is a long-term one. The Washington Postleads with something of an evergreen: While the government is using polygraphs “more than ever,” they have limited utility, at best. USA Todayleads with more states considering getting DNA samples from people who’ve been charged—but not yet convicted—of crimes. The ACLU isn’t happy and is filing suit against the practice in California.

The LAT and WP front previews of today’s scheduled immigrant rights’ rallies and boycott. As the Post emphasizes, the latter has split the pro-immigration movement, with many arguing that a boycott will backfire. The NYT and WP both mention that a few meat and poultry companies—such as Perdue Farms and Tyson Foods—have shut down about half their plants today.

One of the main groups pushing for a boycott is “Act Now to Stop War and End Racism,” or ANSWER. Lefty journalist David Corn once looked into them and concluded it’s a front for a Stalinist party that “advocates abolishing private property and hails North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il for preserving his country’s ‘socialist system.’ ”

A piece inside the Post warns of trouble on the horizon for President Bush on immigration: According to “advisers,” the president thinks he can get House Republicans to support a bill that would give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. Then there’s the message Majority Whip Roy Blount sent via the WP, “That is certainly not the view of the House.”

The NYT fronts the less-than-glowing reviews of Republicans’ plan to send $100 to taxpayers in “gas relief.” “The conservatives think it is socialist bunk, and the liberals think it is conservative trickery,” said a spokesman for one Republican senator. “What kind of insult is this?” asked Rush Limbaugh on his program. “Instead of buying us off and treating us like we’re a bunch of whores, just solve the problem.”

The NYT considers the recent tapes by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Osama Bin Laden and concludes: “SOME SEE HINTS OF DISHARMONY IN QAEDA TAPES.” Which is true enough. Except Zarqawi’s “merger” with al-Qaida has long been suspected of being more a marketing ploy than anything operational. After all, there’s long been evidence he’s something of a rival to OBL. (Here’s another, smart, analysis of the videos—by a Mideast expert who specializes in Arab media.)

And in other papers … Yesterday’s Boston Globe had a big takeout on the president’s fondness for “signing statements”:

President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, “whistle-blower” protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.

Judging from a quickie Nexis search, the number of front-page stories the LAT, NYT, and Post have had on the president’s signing habit: one.

Mistakes have been made … by the computer! From the NYT’s correction page:

Because of a word processing malfunction, an article on April 21 about the Afghan parliament’s endorsement of 20 of the 25 proposed cabinet ministers misstated the name of a deputy from Kabul who forecast further discussion of three of them. The deputy is Kabir Ranjbar, not Caber Ran bar.

Well, the good news is your paper should now be delivered earlier, since some editing at the Times is apparently now fully automated.