The New York Times' top non-local story follows up on a point everybody mentioned yesterday: A number of centrist Democrats who supported Bush's 2001 tax cut aren't into the latest proposal. The piece also mentions another problem the White House may face regarding the cuts: Some Republican leaders want to increase them. "I look at the Bush plan as a floor, not a ceiling." said House Republican honcho Tom DeLay. The Washington Post leads with Secretary of State Colin Powell's comments, in an interview with the paper, that the U.S. has started sharing intel with inspectors in Iraq. The Post says, in the article's penultimate paragraph, that a U.N. official confirmed the sharing but complained the intel is "a little opaque." Powell said that the U.S. will hand over more info after it sees how the U.N. handles the stuff—that is, presumably the U.S. wants to see whether the goods get leaked to Iraq. The Los Angeles Times' top non-local story is the federal appeals court's ruling that U.S. citizens captured overseas and declared by the military to be "enemy combatants" can be held indefinitely and without access to a lawyer. USA Today leads with the crash of commuter plane in North Carolina, which killed all 21 aboard. It's the first commuter plane crash in six years.
The NYT mentions inside that the White House has released figures on the estimated number of jobs that the cuts will create: 190,000 in '03 and 900,000 in '04. According to the paper, 1.5 million jobs have disappeared from the economy in the past two years.
The Times also has an enlightening person-on-the-street piece about the cuts. The upshot: Some people like 'em, some don't.
The court explained that its enemy-combatant decision was based on the idea that when it comes to war, courts should defer to the executive branch: "Courts are ill-positioned to police the military's distinction between those in the arena of combat who should be detained and those who should not." The case, involving Yaser Hamdi, who was born in Louisiana and captured in Afghanistan, is expected to be appealed to the Supremes.
A front-page piece in the NYT says that the Pentagon is stressed out that Turkey still hasn't agreed to let the U.S. base ground troops there. If it doesn't happen soon, say administration officials, the Pentagon might have to scratch Turkey off the list of Iraq invasion corridors, since the military would need about six weeks to prep bases and ports there. According to one unnamed official, invading only through the south means it will be "harder and uglier." A Pew poll cited by the Times concluded that 83 percent of Turks oppose letting U.S. troops in.
In a second front-pager that the WP squeezes out of its interview with the secretary of State, the Post notes that Powell hinted that the U.S. might be willing to ink a non-aggression pact with North Korea. Asked by the Post whether there is "some formula" whereby the U.S. would provide Pyongyang with something more than recent Bush's verbal assurances that the U.S. won't attack, Powell said, "You've just bounded a problem. That's what diplomacy is about."
Everybody mentions that an airliner crashed yesterday in southern Turkey, killing 72 of the 77 aboard.
A piece in the Wall Street Journal notes that the administration yesterday reiterated its stance that more research still needs to be done on global warming before moving to deal with it. The White House's point man on the issue explained in congressional testimony that scientists still have to "sort out" to what degree humans are responsible for the Big Heat. The Journal's piece spends a while pondering the political implications of that but should've given at least a sentence to the obvious: There is an emerging consensus that humans are responsible.
The NYT, WSJ, and USAT all have comments from the Pentagon's chief bio-defense officer—who, as only USAT mentions, had a gaggle of reporters over for breakfast. He said that the military doesn't have enough vaccines on-hand to protect troops from the nerve agent botulinum. As the NYT plays up, the colonel explained that responsibility for the lack of vaccine lies with drug companies, who apparently aren't interested in making bio-war vaccines because they don't think they'll be profitable. And maybe that's right, but the Times should've at least checked out the point out for itself. Here's a little research help: According to a recent, little-noted USAT piece on botulinum, in the early 1990s when bio-defense wasn't a priority, Pentagon "funding for the vaccine program died and the effort ended."
The Post's Lloyd Grove notices a new drink offered by the Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe in D.C: The "Trent Lotte." The $3.25 item consists of "separate but equal parts of coffee and milk." Customers are encouraged to mix them together.
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