The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal world-wide newsbox, and Los Angeles Times lead with yesterday's two nearly simultaneous suicide bombings in Israel, which killed at least 23 people and injured more than 100. The New York Times off-leads the bombings and instead leads with President Bush's plans to propose eliminating the tax on corporate dividends, and not, as previously reported, cutting it in half. According to the NYT, the move would cost $300 billion over 10 years. USA Today leads with the Pentagon's activation of 275 Army Reserve units—about 10,000 troops—the biggest single call-up since 9/11.
The coordinated suicide attacks, which happened a few hundred feet from each other in a neighborhood dominated by foreign workers, resulted in the second-highest bombing death-toll since fighting broke out 27 months ago. (Twenty-nine people were killed in the Passover bombing.) The NYT has some of the more gruesome imagery: "One man, calling for help, lifted himself from the ground and ran 50 yards down Neveh Shaanan Street before finally falling down dead." The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an off-shoot of Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Meanwhile, late last night, Israeli helicopters destroyed a metal-works plant that officials said was a weapons factory. Palestinian officials denied that and said 10 people were slightly injured.
Bush's proposed cuts get a beating in the papers. The NYTimes says "many economists" think they won't help the economy. According to the Post's off-lead, an analysis by two big-time economists concluded the same thing, although they added that the economy is just so huge that most cuts wouldn't have much of an effect. Meanwhile, the Post's lead editorial chimes in: "Let's see if we have this right. President Bush plans to propose a stimulus plan the centerpiece of which will have little or no stimulative effect. And at a time when some people badly could use help, Mr. Bush's tax cut mostly will help those who need it least." (Slate's Daniel Gross has also argued against the cuts.)
A front-page piece in the Post says that the White House is going to propose what amounts to a freeze on non-entitlement and non-security-related domestic spending. The shut wallet means that states—many of which are in bad financial shape—won't be getting much help from the feds this year. The WP points out that the administration is also planning on cutting in a few places, including $300 million from a program meant to help the poor with their heating bills.
The NYT goes high with what appears to be a big scoop, albeit spoon-fed, announcing the White House's plans for a post-war Iraq: A U.S. military commander will oversee things for at least a year, while a few months into the operation the general will be joined by some sort of civil administrator, perhaps appointed by the U.N. According to the Times, the White House settled on the general-led plan after the president rejected the push by some folks—namely, Rummy and Cheney—to name a government-in-exile. In other bits, while the administration is planning on tossing out Saddam's top people, the plan states, "much of the rest of the government will be reformed and kept." The plan also promises to "preserve Iraq as a unitary state, with its territorial integrity intact." Of course, it's all contingent on if and how the war goes down. On other note, the NYT's headline seems too rah-rah: "U.S. IS COMPLETING PLAN TO PROMOTE A DEMOCRATIC IRAQ." The article actually quotes some of the plan's listed objectives. Democracy isn't mentioned as one of them.
A tiny bit ticked ...USAT's "Life" section says Mississippi University for Women was all set to have an MTV reality show filmed on its Columbus, Miss., campus. Then it learned the working title of the planned series: Sex in the IttyBittyCity.MUW canceled.
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