The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal world-wide newsbox, and USA Today all lead with the Supreme Court making it easier to sue for age discrimination but also making it harder to win those suits. By a 5-3 vote, the justices ruled that workers over 40 can sue for discrimination regardless of the company's intent. On the other hand, the court said companies can enact polices that work against older employees so long as "the differentiation is based on reasonable factors other than age." Some lower courts had ruled that preferences for younger workers could be justified only by "business necessity." The New York Times and Los Angeles Timesboth off-lead the ruling and lead locally.
The WP off-leads a classified Army study suggesting the Army's new armored transport vehicle, the Stryker, has more glitches than a Yugo. The computers freeze, the add-on armor kills overall handling, and the Stryker's main weapon, a grenade launcher, can't get off a good shot on the move. The Army report says the maintenance problems are "getting worse not better." Although the Post paints a grim picture, it also mentions in passing that "many soldiers in the field say they like the vehicle." It doesn't explain why. And while we're at it, given that the report itself was "obtained by the Washington Post," why not put the whole thing online?
USAT fronts a new study showing that about one in four veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who've visited VA hospitals were diagnosed with mental disorders. The most intriguing part of the story is a graphic that isn't online (yet): The number of such diagnoses jumped from 13 percent last February to 19 percent in July and 26 percent in December.
One Marine was killed yesterday in Iraq. Also, gunmen attacked two separate caravans of Shiite pilgrims, wounding about a dozen and killing one. And a car bomb hit outside an elementary school in Baghdad, killing a guard and wounding five.
The Journal goes inside with a two-year-old FDA internal report, released yesterday, showing that the agency has been approving licenses for medical devices despite the fact that an estimated half the time companies haven't delivered promised safety studies. The FDA reportedly does such a poor job of tracking the studies that it couldn't figure out exactly how many were missing. The FDA insists that things are much improved since the study was written.
The WP fronts the administration requiring Cabinet heads to hang around the White House a few hours per week. The Post quotes the usual suspects. "It confirms how little the domestic Cabinet secretaries have to do with making policy," said one scholar. And then there's Clinton's former HHS Secretary Donna Shalala. "Maybe [Chief of Staff Andy Card] is institutionalizing what is a natural process," she said. "He's an awfully good administrator."
The NYT and WP front the Vatican acknowledging that the pope now has a nasal feeding tube. Shortly before the announcement was made, the pope appeared in front of his apartment window and, for the second time in four days, failed to speak.
As another federal appeals court refused to consider the Terri Schiavo case, the NYT reefersone of the court's judges tsk-tsking President Bush and Congress for acting "in a manner demonstrably at odds with our founding fathers' blueprint for the governance of a free people." The judge is a socially conservative Republican appointed by the first President Bush.
The NYT notices something that is finally bringing together some Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Jerusalem: homophobia. A few leaders from the three religions made a joint appearance decrying a planned 10-day "WorldPride" event slated for the city. "We can't permit anybody to come and make the Holy City dirty," said one Muslim cleric. "This is very ugly and very nasty to have these people come to Jerusalem." One fine American rabbi who helped organize yesterday's announcement concurred, explaining, "This is not the homo land, this is the Holy Land."