Today's Papers

In the Zone

The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times lead, and the Wall Street Journal tops its world-wide newsbox, with yesterday’s suicide bombing inside Iraq’s parliament building that killed eight people, including at least two Sunni lawmakers. It was the deadliest attack in the heavily guarded Green Zone. The bomber hit the parliament’s crowded cafeteria in the early afternoon, soon after lawmakers had wrapped up a legislative session. USA Todayleads with word that there is a growing conflict within the Federal Aviation Administration because of an air-traffic procedure that allows arriving planes at several airpots to fly directly over other aircraft that are landing on a nearby runway. The procedure has almost caused midair collisions and some in the FAA have called for it to stop but those in charge of air-traffic control have ignored the plea.

The bombing inside the Green Zone is particularly symbolic because it shows how even the most fortified area of the country is not safe from attacks. As the NYT notes up high, citizens might start wondering how a government that can’t even keep itself safe could protect them. The LAT gets word from an Iraqi security official who said there are suspicions that the suicide bomber was a woman. Meanwhile, many suspect this was all an inside job. The NYT (which has started calling the Green Zone by its official name, the International Zone) does a good job of showing how some lawmakers and their guards are often able to go through security without being checked.

The Post’s Sudarsan Raghavan was in the cafeteria when the suicide bomber struck and, on Page One, writes a gripping first-person account of his experience. When Raghavan went back to the bombed-out cafeteria to recover his belongings, he discovered that his tape recorder was still running, which allowed him to hear “the vocabulary of a bombing’s initial moments.” Among the screaming and chaos, someone said, “It’s all a curse on us, Ayad. It’s because of the stealing, the corruption.”

Earlier in the day, a truck bomb destroyed the Sarafiya bridge, which was built more than 50 years ago and was a powerful symbol as it connected the mostly Shiite eastern side of the city with the predominantly Sunni west. In a separate piece inside, the NYT explores the significance of the bridge, and says that after the explosion people gathered on either side of the river and wept, “as if they had lost someone they loved.”

The Post and NYT front the latest in the growing controversy of how Karl Rove and other White House staff used private accounts set up through the Republican National Committee for official government business. Many of those e-mails are now missing. The NYT emphasizes the White House admitted that some of the missing e-mails may relate to the firings of eight U.S. attorneys last year. The Post goes high with word that a RNC lawyer allegedly told congressional staff members that the organization doesn’t have at least four years’ worth of e-mails from Rove. Also, according to Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the RNC lawyer said that in 2005 the national committee set up a new policy to prevent Rove from deleting e-mails from the RNC server.

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont isn’t buying the explanation that the e-mails are lost. “You can’t erase e-mails, not today,” Leahy said. The White House insists it is working on trying to recover the e-mails. The papers talk to computer experts who say it’s likely a copy of the e-mails exist somewhere, but it’s also possible that they were permanently erased.

Meanwhile, the Post gets word that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is furiously preparing for his appearance on Tuesday before the Senate. Gonzales is allegedly engaging in mock testimony sessions that sometimes last up to five hours. 

The NYT and WP front a look at the scandal that has engulfed World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz. Yesterday, Wolfowitz made a public apology for getting involved in arranging a pay raise and guaranteed promotion for his longtime companion, Shaha Riza. When Wolfowitz tried to address staff members gathered in the bank building’s atrium, he was met with boos, hissing, and chants calling for his resignation. The bank’s staff association has called for Wolfowitz’s resignation. When Wolfowitz went to the bank, Riza was kept on the payroll but transferred to the State Department and her salary jumped from $132,660 to $193,590.

Everyone except the NYT fronts news that CBS Radio pulled the plug on Don Imus as the company’s CEO, Leslie Moonves, announced yesterday afternoon that the show was being canceled “immediately.” The move is particularly painful to CBS Radio since it already suffered a big loss last year when Howard Stern went to satellite radio, a move that many speculate could be in the future for Imus. Confused about how the Imus controversy developed? The WSJfronts a good blow-by-blow account that starts at the moment the infamous words were uttered at 6:14 a.m. last Wednesday. 

The NYT’s David Carr does a good job of explaining how several different factors converged to create the perfect storm that made yesterday’s decision by CBS “seem almost inevitable.” But Carr talks about the media (“the controversy metasized and by Monday, the media began to lock and load”) as if he’s a complete outsider. He never mentions the role he played in the controversy, particularly with his Monday column that looked into whether Imus’ regular guests would continue to appear on the show.

In the NYT’s op-ed page, Harvey Fierstein says he’s “watching America with wry amusement” at its reaction to Don Imus. Although many were offended by Imus’ comments, no one seems to much care about the way so many in the media consistently make fun of gay men and lesbians. “Hate speak against homosexuals is as commonplace as spam,” writes Fierstein. He wonders how Americans choose which hate speech they can tolerate and which they can’t: “Where’s my copy of that rule book?”