Posted at 8:50 AM ET, 08/31/2007

Today's Hot Topic: The Larry Craig Saga

The Larry Craig Saga: In the NYT, the editors claim that "the rush to cast [Craig] out betrays the [Republican] party's intolerance, which is on display for the public in all of its ugliness." The WSJ, meanwhile, declines to go that far, merely observing that the party "needs to get its house in order." Elsewhere in the Journal, Naomi Schaefer Riley explains why sex scandals still get so much attention in "a culture awash in sex." USA Today says "pity and compassion seem a more fitting response than outrage" for the Idaho senator. And in the WaPo, Ruth Marcus remembers the Walter Jenkins scandal and writes that "the story of Craig's encounter with a police officer in an airport bathroom underscores the continuing grip of homophobia on American society."

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Posted at 8:47 AM ET, 08/31/2007

Today's Columns: Poverty vs. Celebrity

WaPo: E.J. Dionne wonders: "Why is it that the poor -- and, for that matter, the struggling middle class, too -- disappear in the media, barricaded behind our fixation on celebrity, our titillation with personal sin and public shame, our fascination with every detail of every divorce and affair of every movie star, rock idol and sports phenom?".... Des Browne and David Miliband say British forces have not failed in Basra.... Michael Gerson hears "rumors of hope" about Iraq.... Charles Krauthammer continues his campaign for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's removal.

USA Today: Raul Reyes says Alberto Gonzales's story is "a genuine Latino tragedy." "The last time I checked," he writes, "the American dream did not include leaving national office in disgrace."

LAT: Rosa Brooks writes that "we long ago squandered any capacity to guarantee a happy ending for the Iraqis" and that we should withdraw.... Ian Buruma reminds President Bush that "the happy fact that Koreans, Filipinos, Indonesians and Taiwanese did eventually become free, or at least freer, is not so much to the credit of the U.S. as to the people who fought for their freedoms themselves".... Alonso Alegria talks about the unfortunate mix of "food, drink and politics," which "hasn't gone down well here in Peru."

Plus: Joel Stein reveals that not long ago, he was close to realizing a "lifelong dream," namely "owning a home urinal."

NYT: Joseph Hoar reminds readers that "It is shameful that more than four years into this war, Iraqis working at our embassy cannot count on the United States to protect them or to help them find a new home when their work with us has made it impossible to survive in their own country".... Paul Krugman says "the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina -- the mixture of neglect of those in need, obliviousness to their plight, and self-congratulation in the face of abject failure -- has become standard operating procedure. These days, it's Katrina all the time."

WSJ: Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton criticizes criticizes the current state of American diplomacy with North Korea.... Pete du Pont warns against a constitutional amendment regulating Iraq.... Nathaniel Popper wonders if "culturally specific public schools" cross a constitutional line.

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Posted at 8:46 AM ET, 08/31/2007

Today's Editorials: Public Safety and Privacy Rights

WaPo: Responds to the Virginia Tech Review Panel's findings: "In the aftermath of such a devastating tragedy, it's easy to say, but nonetheless true, that public safety must trump privacy rights".... Asks who hired the people who killed Anna Politkovskaya -- and offers a guess.

NYT : Says that the new GAO report on Iraq proves that the administration "went to great lengths to pretend that victory was at hand when nothing could be farther from the truth".... Cautions that "as homeowner woes mount, Wall Street may have a harder time justifying its pleas for special treatment."

LAT: Wonders if "South Park" can make money online under its creators' new deal with Viacom.... Says that coal should "not be cheap" because "the only way to encourage cleaner alternatives is to make coal producers and the consumers of coal-fired power pay the true cost of their pollution."

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Posted at 8:40 AM ET, 08/30/2007

Today's Hot Topics: Early Primaries and Public Restrooms

Early Primaries: In the LAT, the editors say voting for president tomorrow "would be the logical extension of the states' battle to get to, or at least near, the presidential primary starting line," and argue that the Democratic National Committee's harsh response to Florida's decision to move its primary to Jan. 15 was an example of "welcome party rigor." USA Today is relieved that "finally some adult supervision is coming to the process of picking presidential nominees" and praises the national political parties for punishing states that are moving their primaries before Feb. 5. But Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) insists that the situation is "a case of fundamental rights vs. party rules" and calls for a long-term fix, "perhaps a system of rotating regional primaries."

Larry Craig: In the WaPo, an editorial calls the Republican senator from Idaho "yet another willing accomplice in the machinery of intolerance that has stunted the lives of many gay men and lesbians. Maybe even his own." Manwhile, in the LAT, David Ehrenstein is surprised that the "tearoom trade" is still so active, and says that "bathroom cruisers seem almost antique.... Larry Craig, meet Craigslist. In short, never has the admonition 'Get a room!' seemed more apropos." And in the NYT, Gail Collins says she feels "pity for the man and his unhappy family," but isn't all that interested. "If It involves men's rooms, we would really rather not hear about it."

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Posted at 8:39 AM ET, 08/30/2007

Today's Columns: Do You Care Enough to Read This?

WSJ: Daniel Henninger ponders the declining influence of the "established media" -- which presumably includes the Journal -- and wonders whether "too many people now simply don't care about major media anymore."

WaPo: David Ignatius reports on the fate and fallout of secret American plans to manipulate Iraqi democracy.... Robert Novak explores the challenges facing France's top deregulator .... Tova Andrea Wang says that her work on a bipartisan Election Assistance Commission report was compromised by partisanship and its findings suppressed.... Kyle Teamey is concerned that "Party politics matters more than the results" in the war in Iraq.... Robert Novak says "the high caliber of possible selections" to replace Alberto Gonzales "means President Bush is not content with a placeholder sure to get Senate confirmation."

USA Today: Education Secretary Margaret Spellings defends No Child Left Behind in a question-and-answer session.

LAT: Benazir Bhutto says she knows that "Time, justice and the forces of history are on our side" in the fight for a moderate, democratic Pakistan.... Greg Critser sees Type 2 diabetes as an example of "evolution in our time," and calls for more education on its dangers.

NYT: Dana Thomas warns that counterfeit luxury goods finance "illicit activities" and "terrorist plots".... Roger Cohen is encouraged by the Bush administration's new interest in the Isreali-Palestinian conflict.

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Posted at 8:37 AM ET, 08/30/2007

Today's Editorials: In the Air, on the Ground

WSJ: Warns that high property taxes could pose a big obstacle to rebuilding New Orleans.

USA Today: Says the Census Bureau's report of the "disturbing rise in the number of people without health insurance ... helps explain why health care is again becoming a defining domestic issue."

WaPo: Praises the courage of pro-democracy protestors in Burma and calls for an international response.

NYT : Is disappointed by the verdict in the "court-martial of the only officer to be tried for the abuse, sexual assault and torture of prisoners that occurred" at Abu Ghraib in 2003, calling it "a remix of the denial of reality and avoidance of accountability that the government has used all along to avoid the bitter truth behind Abu Ghraib: The abuses grew out of President Bush's decision to ignore the Geneva Conventions and American law in handling prisoners after Sept. 11, 2001.".... Criticizes Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma for "blocking final passage of a suicide prevention bill in fear that the government's record-keeping on troubled vets might somehow crimp their ability to purchase handguns."

LAT: Cautions that the "stuff you're breathing could be killing you," and argues that if the EPA fails to crack down on ozone concentrations, "It clearly will be violating its legal responsibility to protect public health."

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Posted at 6:11 AM ET, 08/29/2007

Today's Hot Topic: What's Next for the Big Easy?

The Future of New Orleans

USA Today warns against broadening the National Flood Insurance Program to cover wind damage, warning that doing so is akin to "inviting reckless development" and "will only ensure a new catastrophe with the arrival of the next great storm." Gene Taylor disagrees, writing that the plan would "would benefit every taxpayer in America by ensuring that more disaster costs are covered by insurance premiums instead of by costly and inefficient disaster assistance programs." In the WSJ, Nicole Gelinas argues that two years after Katrina, what New Orleans needs most is law and order. The LAT argues that "It would compound the tragedy of Katrina to leave the [rebuilding] job half-finished or to bury the region's will to rebuild under a mountain of red tape." Also in the LAT, Michael Tisserand reports that some children in New Orleans are developing post-traumatic stress disorder. Tisserand warns that PTSD is just one of the many negative effects the storm's "aftershocks" have had on the city's children. Meanwhile, and finally, the WaPo says the Commission on Presidential Debates should give New Orleans' application to host a debate "serious consideration."

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Posted at 6:09 AM ET, 08/29/2007

Today's Columns: Bush's Crisis -- and Mother Teresa's

WSJ: Andrew Stark wonders how Kyle MacDonald pulled off trading a paper clip for (eventually) a house.

LAT: Ronald Brownstein says President Bush can learn some lessons from Ronald Reagan that might help him salvage the last months of his presidency.... Nick Gillespie hopes that Sen. Larry Craig "will eventually draw on traditional Republican principles and stand up for his right to engage in consensual sex in toilet stalls with men."

WaPo: Harold Meyerson advises against dumping Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and writes: "It's Bush, not Maliki, whose term must come to an end before we can close out our misadventure in Iraq".... Robert Samuelson says we're in the "'blame phase' of the economic cycle".... Janusz Reiter says tough visa rules are hurting American relations with Central Europe.

NYT: Jack Miles worries that the American occupation of Iraq may soon lose its justification under international law.... Thomas Friedman says the Sunni tribes may be the key to some sort of stability in Iraq.... James Martin discusses the agnosticism of Mother Teresa.

USA Today: Jonathan Turley says "bad things happen" to lawyers who work for the Bush administration.... Kirsten Powers speaks out against illegal-immigrant bashing.

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Posted at 6:08 AM ET, 08/29/2007

Today's Editorials: The Economic Punch Bowl

WaPo: Says it's time for Pakistan's "autocratic leader" Gen. Pervez Musharraf to "make a deal" with Pakistan's secular political parties. "A compromise between Mr. Musharraf and former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif may offer the best chance to check extremism and mounting instability in that nuclear-armed country," the editors advise.

NYT : Analyzes the latest Census Bureau report and complains that "the economic party is winding down and most working Americans never even got near the punch bowl." In a separate editorial, says the report's findings on the U.S. health-insurance industry were "as disturbing as its statistics on poverty and income."

WSJ: Says that Nicolas Sarkozy has "signaled that France means to be something more on the international scene than an anti-American nuisance player."

LAT: Insists that Hillary Clinton should "help the National Archives comply" with a conservative group's request for papers from her time as first lady.

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Posted at 8:07 AM ET, 08/28/2007

Today's Hot Topics: Bring Me The Head of Alberto Gonzales

Alberto Gonzales Resigns: The NYT praises the impending departure of the Bush administration's embattled attorney general. "But his departure alone cannot remove the dark cloud that hangs over the justice department," the editors write, urging the President to nominate "a new attorney general of unquestioned integrity".... The LAT seconds that emotion, saying President Bush should "look for the opposite of Alberto R. Gonzales".... The editorial board of the WSJ thinks other qualities are more important in Gonzales' replacement, arguing that "Mr. Bush needs above all an AG willing to explain and defend his policies on the vital and related areas of Presidential power and the war on terror".... The USA Today joins the WSJ and the NYT in focusing on what's next for the justice department, arguing that the search for a replacement would be "best expanded beyond the president's circle of buddies".... In the WaPo, the editors say that Mr. Gonzales "distinguished himself most as a Bush loyalist, never grasping that as attorney general his fealty to the rule of law had to trump his loyalty to the president".... In the NYT, David Brooks says that Alberto Gonzales "lacked the experience, the professional stature and the insider knowledge required of a good attorney general. He was part of an administration that was unthinkingly hostile to elite opinion, even when the elites were making sense".... In the LAT, Jonah Goldberg writes that Gonzales was "the most self-involved attorney general in modern memory".... The WaPo columnists weigh in, too. E.J. Dionne writes that this is "only the beginning of accountability, not the end of it." Ruth Marcus compares Mr. Gonzales to Melville's "maddening scrivener" Bartleby. And Jamie Gorelick sets out "10 priorities that would help the next attorney general guide the department back on course".... Finally, the USA Today prints the President's comments on Gonzales' resignation in its "opposing view" section of the editorial page.

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Posted at 8:05 AM ET, 08/28/2007

Today's Columns: Insidious New Rules

WSJ: Bret Stephens confesses that he believes in man-made global warming.... Arch Puddington remembers New York City teachers union chief Albert Shankar.

WaPo: Alex de Waal and Julie Flint warn that "In Darfur today, knowing who is on which side is not straightforward".... Danielle Pletka calls several Iran divestment measures pending in Congress "ill-timed."

Plus ... Sally Squires warns of increasing rates of childhood obesity.

NYT: Amy Liu and Nigel Holmes offer a graphical update on the state of New Orleans.... Bob Herbert says that the "insidious new rules" restricting health insurance for poor children are tantamount to holding children "hostage to policies driven by a desire to protect the big insurance companies."

USA Today: James Alan Fox reminds parents that college campuses are statistically safe places.... Peggy Drexler provides an update on the place of women in business.

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