The Washington Post leads with new evidence that House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s office knew about Rep. Mark Foley’s page problem in 2003, not 2005. The New York Times lead says that up to five more House seats are in play following weeks of bad news that have sapped Republican voter enthusiasm. The Wall Street Journal and NYT front Google’s effort to buy YouTube for $1.6 billion, while the LA Times leads with a thumbsucker about the complexity of violence in Iraq.
A second source on the Hill says Hastert’s official story on Foleygate—that he first learned of the problem in 2005—is incorrect. The source agrees with Kirk Fordham * that Hastert’s man, Scott Palmer, tried to deal unsuccessfully with Foley’s “socializing” in 2003. Palmer maintains that the meeting didn’t happen, but Fordham plans to testify that at least everyone told him it did. Meanwhile, the FBI is still combing through Palmer’s townhouse, which he … shares with Hastert?
In late-breaking news, the WP says the United Nations has warned North Korea of “unspecified consequences” if it tests a nuclear weapon. Unspecified means the threats were watered down by China and Russia. The AP says South Korea fired 40 warning shots near the DMZ.
The Pig-Penlike aura of scandal surrounding the Republicans is disillusioning the elderly, suburbanites, women, and religious conservatives—taken all together, an important constituency. The NYT suspects Foleygate is hitting God’s electoral shock troops hard. Forty five to 48 seats are now considered competitive. Republicans are looking for new strategies, like blaming the media.
Karl Rove’s top aide resigned for accepting gifts from Jack Abramoff and passing him inside information, fronts the WP. The White House says the investigation is over, stating with certainty that, “Nothing more will come from the report, no further fallout from the report.”
Google’s bid for YouTube, Rupert Murdoch’s MySpace purchase, and Yahoo’s interest in the Facebook are giving the NYT nostalgia for the ‘90s—when big companies snapped up wild-eyed internet startups like Pogs despite a lack of potential for future profits. TP is nostalgic for the ‘90s, too, but this isn’t the bubble era. Even the NYT notes that the bids have been “expensive but not unreasonable.”
The WPfronts a heartbreaking piece about the organization tasked with sorting dead U.S. soldiers’ personal effects before sending them home to families. There’s a warehouse in Maryland filled with the haunting remnants of peoples’ lives. Stacks of video games, graduation photos, socks, posters.
The LAT thumbsucker says U.S. troops are not facing one war in Iraq, but many. Insurgency, interethnic violence, conflicts over oil—it’s just too much complexity to fit under the rubric of a single war. Gosh. Reminds TP of a more general contemporary “War.” LAT reefers a note on Condi telling Kurds to rely on Iraq, not America, for their future. But the important item in the story is Congress’s further drift towards dumping Iraqi PM al-Maliki.
The WP takes Bush at his word and says “job numbers remain strong.” Oops. The WSJ actually does the math and says job creation “sputtered” last month, while the LAT says job growth was disappointing, but that—hey—at least it happened.
The LAT says workers at Chinese companies in Africa are protesting miserable labor conditions. Well, that happens with Chinese businesses in China, too.
NYT fronts a human-interestish story about a benighted Democratic candidate who’s been abandoned by the DCCC against an entrenched incumbent. Party officials convinced him to run, but aren’t sending him any money since his race doesn’t fit the strict definition of competitive. “Sometimes I feel like the marine who they sent charging up a hill. … Then the marine looks back over his shoulder and wonders, ‘Hey, where’d everyone go?’”
And the NYT Arts & Leisure section covers the retreat of free speech everywhere, as distributors shun a controversial film depicting Bush’s assassination, a London art gallery removes some works to avoid offending Muslims, and Salman Rushdie announces that his personal papers—recently acquired by Emory University—will remain sealed “for a period.” When we can read them, we’ll know we’ve achieved victory in the War on Terror.
Macho’s Last Stand: Finally, the WP fronts a story on the decline of machismo in Spain. Spain missed out on feminism during Franco’s era, but now the ruling party reserves 40 percent of its list for women, half of the cabinet is female, and legislators are telling companies to hold 40 percent of the seats on their boards for the fairer sex. Nothing is immune. The royal family, the military, and divorce law are changing substantially. But traditionalists won’t take it without a fight. “Just because Zapatero says men by law have to do dishes,” says one Spaniard, “men are not going to do dishes.”