Today's Papers

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USA Today, the WashingtonPost, and the L.A. Times all lead with the FBI’s announcement that it is investigating “sick” e-mails sent by Mark Foley, a Florida Republican who quit his House seat Friday after the missives emerged. The New York Times uses its Yom Kippur lead space to analyze the coming second term of the Roberts court. The Wall Street Journal doesn’t seem much interested in the salacious beltway tale, instead going prominently with an evergreen about the problem for the U.S. posed by Kurdish rebels launching attacks against Turkey from the safe haven of northern Iraq. Its right-hand column goes to a story on an attempt by private investors to buy Harrah’s.

USAT points out in its Foley write-up that his departure marks the fourth Republican to resign in ethical disgrace within the past year, not quite what the party needs to turn its moral-minded voting base out a few weeks from now. The investigation seeks to determine whether Foley is just a creep or a creepy criminal, and whether Republican leadership intentionally covered up the scandal or just neglected it through benign incompetence.

Even worse for the party, a public spat has broken out over who knew what and when. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said he learned of the creepiness only a few days before it broke. He was quickly contradicted by New York Rep. Thomas Reynolds who said he told Hastert months ago, a charge the leader didn’t dispute. The LAT notes that Foley was a serious player in the party and that his campaign committee donated $100,000 to Republican re-election efforts, money the leadership accepted after it became aware of his e-mails.

The NYT goes above-the-fold with a sort-of-defense of Foley, described as a “Caring Ally” to former pages in the headline. The piece does nothing to move along the story, but does have this money quote from former page Patrick McDonald, now 21: “He was one of the cool congressmen. He was willing to chill out with us.”

The NYT’s lead story seems as much an analysis of the upcoming Roberts term as it is a voicing of confidence in longtime reporter Linda Greenhouse, who has come under fire for acting more like a human being than a journalist during a speech she gave several months ago. Greenhouse reports that the court will be forced to make decisions on major issues this term, with little opportunity to avoid taking positions on race and public policy, abortion, environmental protection, and whether the Constitution places limits on punitive damages. (Philip Morris has 79.5 million reasons to hope it does.)

The WSJ’s story on the problem of Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq gets to a fundamental dilemma facing the Iraqi Kurd leadership: Do they follow their heart and support the Kurdish freedom fighters or follow American orders and give no comfort to this band of Kurdish terrorists? Props to reporter Philip Shishkin, who scores a middle-of-the-night interview with Murat Karaylan, the group’s wanted leader. He gets more than a Marxist lecture, too: Karaylan confirms to Shishkin that Iraqi Kurdish officials have lobbied him not to attack Turkish forces.

Low prices are what Wal-Mart is all about, even when it comes to its share price, which has fallen 10 percent over the last three years. To bump it up, the megastore is pushing to increase its part-time workforce from 20 percent to 40 percent, according to a story the NYT fronts. Wal-Mart’s denial of this goal looks weak in the face of their admission that part-time workers have increased from 20 percent last October to between 25 percent and 30 percent now and the fact that a similar goal was explicitly laid out in a memo the Times obtained last year. Wal-Mart “associates” can also look forward to more weekends and nights on the job as well as caps on their wages, apparently intended to push out more experienced—and more expensive—workers.

USAT fronts a graph of Fox News’ rise to the top as a way of marking the network’s coming 10-year anniversary. Below it is a long analysis of the network that TP is pretty sure we’ve read before.

With state and federal funding for higher education drying up, USAT reports below the fold, universities are turning to credit-card companies, which give schools millions for access to students and their contact info.

In one of the more telegraphed front page stories in recent memory, the Post excerpts from Bob Woodward’s new book, State of Denial. The piece gets a large chunk of the above-the-fold real estate, though mercifully it doesn’t spread all the way across the front. Woodward has an inside look at former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card’s failure to send Don Rumsfeld packing, even though Card had the backing of Laura and Condi.

Hindsight is 40/20 … On the Post’s page A2, Shankar Vedantam writes about anti-war liberals who are crowing “I told you so” following the disclosure that the most recent National Intelligence Estimate concludes that the Iraq invasion has led to an increase in the number of terrorists battling the U.S. These critics are guilty of “hindsight bias,” says Vedantam. Now that it’s clear the Iraq war has been a terrible mistake, the argument goes, liberals are dead-sure that they were always certain that it would go so poorly, when in fact some of those anti-war marchers must have at least entertained the possibility that Bush might pull it off.

After reading the piece, TP isn’t sure exactly how sure we were that the unprovoked invasion of a Middle Eastern country without the support of the international community would turn a lot of Middle Eastern people against us. But we’re pretty sure we were pretty sure.