Today's Papers

Cleaning Out Their Closet

The New York Timesleads with a look at how the Supreme Court continued with its pattern of awarding pro-business decisions yesterday when it made it more difficult for investors to sue companies and their officials for fraud. By an 8-1 vote, the court ruled that a plaintiff has to show “cogent and compelling” evidence that demonstrates there was intent to deceive investors. The Washington Postleads with word that next week the CIA will release a series of records that detail the agency’s assassination attempts, domestic spying, and other such highlights from the 1950s to the 1970s. Many have been trying to get their hands on the documents, which are known as the “family jewels,” for years. The Wall Street Journal tops its world-wide newsbox with the military’s announcement that 14 Americans were killed in Iraq in the two-day period ending Thursday, mostly by roadside bombs.

USA Todayleads with a new study that says the death rate in New Orleans was 47 percent higher last year than two years before Hurricane Katrina hit the city in 2005. Many believe this increase is at least partly because of a lack of proper health care for city residents and evacuees. The Los Angeles Timesleads locally but off-leads a look at how many U.S. troops in Iraq are choosing to walk instead of using vehicles because of the constant threat of powerful bombs that can go through armor. Army Lt. Gen Raymond Odierno, the top U.S. ground commander in Iraq, released a memo last week encouraging troops to “get out and walk.”

The recent string of pro-business decisions, which the LAT looked at yesterday, comes at a time when the Bush administration is trying to use its remaining months in office to water down business regulations and make it harder for people to sue companies. One of the main targets is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which imposed new regulations after a series of accounting scandals. Many companies say it’s too expensive to comply with the law and contend that it’s leading some businesses to prefer foreign stock markets. Last year, Slate’s Daniel Gross said that’s not really the reason why some are choosing to go abroad.

CIA Director Michael Hayden said the documents will provide “a glimpse of a very different time and a very different agency” and emphasized that “most of it is unflattering, but it is CIA’s history.” The documents were first compiled in 1974 at the request of then-CIA Director James Schlesinger, who was concerned by accounts that the agency was involved in Watergate. Although most of what the documents contain is already known, the release will no doubt add detail to a period in the CIA’s history that many would rather forget.

The WP, NYT, and LAT front new documents released by a House committee that show how, for the past four years, Vice President Dick Cheney’s office has refused to comply with an executive order that regulates how federal agencies handle classified information. There are also claims that Cheney’s office tried to abolish the National Archives’ Information Security Oversight Office after it tried to push for compliance. Although the vice president’s office fulfilled the oversight requirements in 2001 and 2002, it now believes that it shouldn’t be considered “an entity within the executive branch” because it also plays a legislative role. Although this fight is over a small amount of data, which is described as trivial, everyone notes it’s another example of Cheney’s efforts to envelop his office in secrecy.

The WP fronts a look at the offensive U.S. troops in Iraq are carrying out south of Baghdad in an area known as Arab Jabour at the same time as another operation is going on in Diyala province. In the southern operation, U.S. troops are trying to prevent militants from leaving by bombing any possible escape routes. But the NYT says that many insurgents appear to have already escaped. In a separate story about the offensive in Diyala, the NYT reports that “for the first time since the assault began, Iraqi soldiers joined the operation in significant numbers.”

The LAT fronts news that the Senate passed its energy bill yesterday, which included a measure that would increase the fuel efficiency requirement for cars, trucks, and SUVs to 35 miles per gallon from 25. The Post says that, if it becomes law, it would be the first major change to the fuel-efficiency law since 1975.

The NYT fronts a look at how, after the 2004 elections, John Edwards created a nonprofit organization to fight poverty, raised money, and then used it for what looks like political purposes. Edwards used the money, which totaled $1.3 million in 2005, to keep political operatives on the payroll and to travel around the country to not only talk about poverty but also other national issues such as Iraq. Experts on nonprofit organizations say Edwards “pushed at the boundaries” of how much a tax-exempt organization can be used for specifically partisan political activities.

The NYT fronts, and everyone mentions, a new study that shows firstborn children have a slightly higher IQ than their younger siblings. Researchers say the difference is not genetic but rather a result of the the way the children are treated by their parents.

The NYT and LAT both take a look at the fight that’s breaking out between the television networks over who will get the privilege of conducting Paris Hilton’s first post-jail interview. The NYT talks to ABC News representatives, who say their $100,000 offer was no match to the “high six-figure deal” that NBC is willing to pay, although apparently no agreement has been  reached yet. The LAT says NBC is considering handing out as much as $1 million. Of course, these aren’t payments for the interview directly but rather for “licensing” deals that are supposedly for the airing of personal material, such as photos and videos.