Today's Papers

Geithner Pitches Plan Across the Pond

The Washington Post leads with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner meeting with foreign officials in order to build confidence in the Treasury’s bank bailout proposal. The Los Angeles Times leads with its analysis of the implications of last week’s highly partisan vote on the economic stimulus package. The New York Times leads with the U.S. military conducting a new corruption investigation targeting a pair of high-ranking officers who oversaw the early phases of Iraq’s reconstruction.

During a meeting with senior officials from other G7 nations, Treasury Secretary Geithner did his best to reassure his international counterparts that the U.S. is taking steps to address its financial crisis. After being criticized for not being specific enough about the bailout plan during a domestic press conference, Geithner took his time with his international audience. During the six-hour meeting, he told attendees that the U.S. government isn’t looking for a one-size-fits-all approach to the banking crisis. Instead, it will tailor its plans to meet the needs of specific institutions. The WP says Geithner did a better job of selling his plan this time around, with many of the meeting’s attendees saying they felt reassured. On the domestic front, Geithner says the next major announcement about the administration’s financial strategy is likely to come on Wednesday, when the administration will detail its foreclosure prevention plan.

The lopsided vote over the economic stimulus package proves Washington isn’t ready for post-partisan politics, and the LAT says the battle is just getting started. The paper argues that by voting against the stimulus measure, Republicans are betting that either the stimulus package will fail or it will have significant drawbacks that will dry up its popular support. The article suggests that the fate of the GOP’s 2010 comeback bid may rest entirely on whether the party guessed correctly about the stimulus. The paper says the vote sets up a precedent for similar party-line tactics for all of President Barack Obama’s policy initiatives. In a related piece, the NYT fronts a profile on the rising influence of Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor. As the House Republican whip, Canton was responsible for ensuring that no House Republican broke ranks over the stimulus package.

Federal prosecutors have won dozens of Iraq reconstruction corruption cases against contractors and midlevel military personnel, but now they may finally have some big fish on the hook. Using information obtained by a now-deceased arms dealer, prosecutors are taking aim at a pair of colonels who oversaw the early stages of Iraq’s reconstruction programs.

The NYT off-leads with a look at a new military recruitment program for immigrants. The recruitment program will target legal immigrants who have lived in the country for at least two years, have temporary work visas and posess certain special skills. The Pentagon hopes the program will help bring in speakers of desirable languages, as well as medial professionals.  The article’s headline and lead focus on immigrants being able to gain citizenship through military service, but that’s not such a new development. The article acknowledges that immigrants who sign up for military service have been able to expedite their citizenship applications since 2002. This new program wouldn’t really change the military’s path to citizenship, it would just make it easier for immigrants to take advantage of it.

The WP off-leads with a package detailing executive compensation limits included in the stimulus measure. The final bill contained stricter measures than the ones Obama suggested, causing many finance professionals to predict an exodus of top talent to other industries.

Facing the worst economic crisis in decades, the LAT looks back to the 1930s for insight into how people endure hard times. In a front-page feature, survivors of the Great Depression reminisce about the hardships they lived through and the lessons they learned.

Things are tough all over: The NYT fronts a look at how the global economic crisis could destabilize fragile governments. While the U.S. has lost 3.6 million jobs in the current recession, more than 50 million jobs have been lost worldwide. Protests and strikes have begun popping up everywhere work is disappearing, even in countries like China were civil dissent is seldom tolerated. Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair recently said instability from global unemployment has eclipsed terrorism as the greatest threat to U.S. security. The paper says protectionist trade policies are gaining ground, both in the U.S. and abroad, as countries look for ways to prop up their flagging economies.

The WP fronts a profile on disgraced peanut magnate Stewart Parnell. Parnell’s company, the Peanut Corporation of America, is believed to be responsible for a salmonella outbreak that triggered the biggest food recall in U.S. history. The paper looks into conditions at Parnell’s Texas peanut facility and what they find is just plain disgusting. The plant was leaky, moldy and filled with vermin excrement. Former employees say conditions at the plant were substandard for years. The real question here is why regulators never caught on to the lack of sanitation. The paper says federal and state officials had no idea the plant even existed and so the plant wasn’t inspected. Yet at the same time Parnell was selling peanuts to the government for school lunches and advising the Department of Agriculture on peanut standards. TP would be curious to know why government officials involved in either program never asked to see Parnell’s plant.

Under the fold, the WP assesses Bolivian President Evo Morales as he enters his third year in office. The paper isn’t all that impressed. They find that while Morales has made some big populist pushes—more rights for indigenous peoples, nationalizing oil production and expanding government payments to students and the elderly—his initiatives haven’t done much to improve the lot of the average Bolivian.

The NYT fronts and the WP teases the revelation that before Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., was appointed to President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat, former governor Rod Blagojevich’s brother asked Burris to help Blagojevich raise campaign funds. Burris declined to do any fundraising and no one’s charging him with wrong doing on that score. The trouble is that this is now the third distinct version of Burris’ recollection of his contacts with the former governor. In fact, Burris’ new story pretty plainly contradicts what he told the Illinois House of Representatives impeachment committee while he was under oath. Illinois lawmakers are now calling for a formal investigation.

Times are hard for Detroit automakers and the Big Three have responded by slashing budgets for everything from production to marketing. The WP reports, however, that Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have all kept up their association with NASCAR, as stock car marketing events still have huge potential to convert fans into potential customers.

The paparazzi in South Korea aren’t targeting celebrities, according to the LAT. Instead, they go after photos of people committing pretty crimes and use the pictures to collect reward money.

A Nigerian Prince in Every Inbox: Is the Internet too riddled with security problems to survive? The NYT posits that the only way to create a safe, sustainable Web is to start over with a new network that removes some of the anonymity and freedom of the current ‘net.