Today's Papers

A Call to Arms

The Los Angeles Timesand the Wall Street Journal’s world-wide newsboxlead with Pakistan’s deposed chief justice and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto calling on citizens to stand up to President Pervez Musharraf and his imposition of emergency rule. Fired Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry is currently under house arrest but used a cell phone to communicate with supporters and insist that “this is the time to sacrifice,” and Bhutto said she will meet with opposition parties today. Meanwhile, rallies and arrests continued, but in smaller numbers. The New York Timesleads with the standoff between Congress and the White House over spending, which reached new heights yesterday as the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to override Bush’s veto of a water projects bill and approved a $215 billion spending bill. Assuming the Senate follows through, it would mark the first time that a Bush veto is overturned.

USA Todayleads with a look at how the Homeland Security Department hasn’t been able to keep up with all the requests to have names removed from the terrorist watch list that contains more than 750,000 names. Since February, more than 15,000 people have made the request, and lawmakers are calling on the department to speed up the appeal process. The Washington Postleads locally with news that Democrats gained control of the Virginia Senate in yesterday’s elections. Although the House remained in Republican hands, Democrats managed to get a few more seats there, as well. The paper says the results highlight how the state will be a major battleground in next year’s elections.

It’s not clear how Chaudhry managed to get his hands on a cell phone while under house arrest, but the NYT notes he has also been in touch with several Pakistani journalists in the last few days. Bhutto’s message was also particularly significant because for the first time since this weekend she specifically called for protests and confirmed she will be leading a rally Friday. (Early morning wire reports say the government warned that police would be out in full force to prevent anyone from reaching the protest site.)

The LAT notes that Bhutto “has been considerably more nuanced than Chaudhry,” and some have been wondering whether she still hopes to salvage a power-sharing deal with Musharraf. Her spokesman denies that talks are underway, but the WSJ quotes a senior government official saying that talks are still ongoing. There at least seems to be some concern from the Musharraf camp since Bhutto is “the one politician with the popularity and clout” to call on mass rallies, says the WSJ. The NYT notably calls the emergency rule “de facto martial law.”

The Post fronts a dispatch from Lahore and says that while many are angry over the current situation they’re also scared and unsure about how to proceed, which could go a long way to explaining why rallies were considerably smaller yesterday. Most of the people who could lead protests have been arrested or have gone into hiding, which would seem to raise the stakes for Bhutto as well.

Bhutto writes an op-ed for the NYT in which she recalls Bush’s pledge that the United States “will not ignore” oppression and will stand by those that fight for democracy. “The moment has come for the Western democracies to show us in their actions, and not just in their rhetoric, which side they are on,” Bhutto writes. Bush has still not picked up the phone to call Musharraf.

The fights between Congress and the White House are only likely to intensify as elections get closer and Bush, along with other Republicans, continues to try to “re-establish the party’s faded reputation for fiscal responsibility,” says the NYT. The LAT notes that it’s the first time since 1995 that lawmakers and the White House “appeared so far apart on spending priorities.” The new fiscal year began more than a month ago and none of the 12 annual spending bills has made it all the way through. The current stopgap measure that is funding the government will most likely be extended until mid-December, and although a government shutdown is mentioned as a possibility, everyone says they want to avoid it.

All the papers go inside with yesterday’s suicide bombing in Afghanistan that killed at least 42 people, including six lawmakers, and was the deadliest attack since the fall of the Taliban. The bomber’s target was a sugar factory in a town north of Kabul that was being visited by members of parliament. The Taliban denied carrying out the attack but the NYT notes that “no other group carries out suicide attacks in the country.”

Another grim milestone was reached in Iraq yesterday as 2007 officially became the deadliest year for U.S. troops. The U.S. military announced the deaths of six servicemembers, which brought the year’s death toll to at least 852. 

The LAT and WSJ front a hearing by the House foreign affairs committee, where lawmakers strongly criticized Yahoo! for helping the Chinese government imprison at least two dissidents. “While technologically and financially you are giants, morally you are pygmies,” Rep. Tom Lantos said. The WSJ says the hearing “highlighted the risk that comes with the rewards of moving into the huge Chinese market.”

As the price of oil passed the $97 mark yesterday, the WP’s Steven Mufson explains why it’s so difficult to have a story that categorically states a record has been broken. The problem is everyone has different numbers.

The Post notes there are growing complaints that the Senate banking committee can’t get through important legislation because the chairman, Sen. Chris Dodd, is busy traipsing all over Iowa in his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The NYT fronts a look at how the presidential candidates are slowly learning the potential pitfalls in Web advertising. Since much of the advertising on the Internet is randomly placed on a network of sites, some candidates are finding themselves pitching to audiences that they don’t want to be associated with. For example, Rudy Giuliani pitched to readers of the liberal blog DailyKos last week, and ads for Mitt Romney appeared on for two days and a fan fiction site that includes several pornographic stories.