Today's Papers

Ben and Jerry-Rigged

USA Todayleads with, the Wall Street Journal tops its world-wide newsbox with, and others front the Supreme Court’s messy 6-to-3 ruling, complete with six opinions, that smacked down a Vermont campaign-finance law as too restrictive and basically upholds the court’s 30-year-old stance allowing limits on contributions but not on spending. The Los Angeles Timesgoes inside with that case and leads with the court agreeing to consider whether the government is obligated to further regulate cars and power plants to deal with global warming. Environmentalists and the 12 states behind the case point to the Clear Air Act’s language requiring the regulation of airborne pollutants that “endanger public health or welfare,” including by affecting the “weather” or “climate.” The New York Timesleads with an Iraqi politician telling the paper that a few insurgent groups have said they want to start talking. The pol “declined to say how many groups wanted to open talks, who they were and how big or influential they were.” As the Times mentions, there have been talks before. Also worth knowing: Yesterday’s LAT said Sunnis weren’t much into the government’s reconciliation plan. There were two big bombings around Iraq yesterday and about 40 people killed overall in attacks. The Washington Postleads with the big storm and big flooding in the D.C. area.

A front-page NYT dispatch from Ramadi looks at the slow-moving but big-time offensive there, where “many neighborhoods are out of control” of government forces and “whole city blocks look like a scene from some post-apocalyptic world.” Iraq and U.S. troops are going bit by bit instead of doing an all-out Fallujah-style offensive. The Times mentions:

One of the actions undertaken by the Americans and Iraqis was the expulsion of about 50 Iraqis from a three-block area where the new outpost was being set up. The Iraqi civilians were told to gather their things and go—where to was not clear.

The WP off-leads a poll showing that 47 percent of respondents think the U.S. should “set a deadline” to pull out of Iraq. That’s up eight points from six months ago. The poll also shows the president’s approval rating up a few points and support for Republicans climbing a bit from its recent trough. USAT goes inside with a poll that has similar conclusions.

The Christian Science Monitor looks at Iraqi ambivalence over withdrawal.

The NYT and WP front President Bush labeling the NYT and others’ disclosure of the bank-records-grabbing program “disgraceful.” The NYT notices that Vice President Cheney and Rep. Peter King happened to choose that word, too.

NYT Editor Bill Keller offered his response yesterday. Today the LAT’s chief, Dean Baquet, chimes in: The government did not “give us any strong evidence that the information would thwart true terrorism inquiries.”

The WP notes that neither Bush nor Cheney suggested investigating the reporters involved. Meanwhile, most Dems haven’t expressed much beef with the program.

Everybody covers Israel’s apparently impending big move into Gaza after Hamas and other gunmen tunneled under an outpost and captured an Israeli soldier. But the Journal has the most interesting coverage, focusing on a split in Hamas: Some political leaders want to step back from the brink and send the soldier back, a move opposed by Hamas militants.

The NYT has a front-page piece on the nearly $2 billion worth of scams skimmed from Katrina and Rita aid. There have already been pieces about that—particularly in USAT. But the NYT does helpfully point out that the estimated bilking represents 11 percent of the total paid out, about four times the normal cut of fraud in disaster relief.   

The LAT fronts a study concluding that having older brothers increases the likelihood of a boy being gay, and that it’s a result of biology and not environmental factors. Each older brother kicks up the probability by 33 percent. The guess is that it’s a result of women pregnant with boys producing antibodies to the fetuses’ proteins.

Missile Misfire? Last Monday, the NYT led with a report—citing “senior American officials”—that North Korea’s missile was fueled up and ready to go. (The missiles are hard to de-fuel.) Except other papers have suggested that the picture isn’t so clear, and that the missile hasn’t been filled. As it turns out, it seems the missile could stay ready for only a few days since the fuel is corrosive stuff and eats through things like metal. It’s now been a week.

Would the Times care to follow up?