I'm out of breath, trying to read four dead-tree papers in an hour, a news triathlon with another leg (quadrithon?). Here's my list of the top three stories of the day, independent of talking to anyone and—of course—Web-deprived for a second straight day. (It gets easier!)
1) Have to go with a big story about the future of American industry, such as it is: a Seattle Times story that the 787 Dreamliner may not fly this year and could have serious troubles down the road. The implication is that it may not fly at all. One caveat: My wife works at the Seattle Times, on the editorial side, so this could sound like a homer. But it's a big deal. Why? With the auto industry in bankruptcy, people oft say: We don't make anything in this country anymore. In fact, we do. We make airlines for the world, at some of the best wages in the world. If the Dreamliner, Boeing's next edition, doesn't fly, it's a huge blow to American industrial might, or what's left of it. And it shows, perhaps, that you can't build a plane by outsourcing all its parts to factories and engineers around the world, as Boeing has tried to do. Also, I think this is exactly the kind of story you can't get from bloggers in their jammies. You need reporters who work sources, tirelessly, as those at the Seattle Times seem to have done, to get a story like this. Finally, it's a scoop. No one else had a word of this, at least that I could find.
2) I give USA Today the second slot, for its lead story above the fold featuring an interview with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. There's the usual Pelosi blather, in her painfully condescending and irritable style, but there's also some news here: She says, as forcefully as she is capable of, that taxing the rich will probably not fly if health care is to pass. And it will pass, she vows. Now, she doesn't exactly say that the tax plan is off the table. Rather, she says she would prefer to finance the bill with cost-cutting and savings, etc. But this admission, coupled with the Blue-Dogs-in-ascendancy stories that everyone else has, means that Henry Waxman and co. will not get their way in the soak-the-rich plan. End of that debate, I suspect. It advances the story more than the WSJ front-page piece on Obama extending his political capital (duh!) and the silly Bobby Jindal op-ed piece inside. (Really, I'm sorry, but all I can think of with Jindal is Kenneth the page from 30 Rock, after that devastating parody of his State of the Union response.)
3) The New York Times Page One piece on the end of the California Dream, for now, is one the most extensive stories I've seen on the subject. Now, these kinds of stories have been circulating since I first became capable of growing facial hair. There's a cycle to them and certainly a predictability. But this piece gives real specifics on the pain—state offices will be closed three days a week, health care for the elderly and poor withdrawn in many places, classroom sizes "will explode." (I hate when people use that term, as in "explosive" growth—it's so terroristic.) But if you're a family considering whether to stay in the Golden State, these things will figure in your decision.
All for now,