Flush With Embarrassment

Flush With Embarrassment

Flush With Embarrassment

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
May 17 2005 3:37 AM

Flush With Embarrassment

The Washington Postleads with Democrat and Republican Senate leaders announcing the death of negotiations to avoid a war on the filibuster. Still, the "nuclear option" isn't a sure thing. A bipartisan group of senators, led by John McCain, R-Ariz., and Ben Nelson, D-Neb., has apparently been chatting and will now purportedly kick into high gear. USA Today leads with a preview of the potential filibuster showdown, saying Republicans aren't sure they have the votes to kill it.

The Los Angeles Timesleads with, and others front, the Supreme Court ruling that vineyards have the right to sell wine directly to customers in other states. "States have broad power to regulate liquor," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the 5-4 majority decision. "This power, however, does not allow states to ban, or severely limit, the direct shipment of out-of-state wine while simultaneously authorizing direct shipment by in-state producers." Twenty-four states currently bar interstate shipments. The New York Timesleads with the Iraqi government, in a peace offering to Sunnis, promising not to raid mosques.

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Iraqi insurgents have sometimes used mosques as mini-bases. The NYT says the ban on searching them will apply to both U.S. and Iraqi troops, the first time the Iraqi government has put a crimp on American military action. The Wall Street Journal goes high with yesterday's death toll in Iraq: About 20 people, including four engineering students, were killed when a rocket hit a university in Baghdad. Nine people were killed in two car bombings in Baghdad. Another five were killed by a suicide bombing near the Syrian border. 

The LAT and NYT front the Newsweek crying mercy and formally "retracting" its story alleging that Gitmo guards once threw a Quran in the toilet. The Post—which owns Newsweek (and Slate)—stuffs the move. The magazine originally backed away from the story Sunday, acknowledging in guarded language that the single, anonymous source appeared to be a suffering from a Senior Moment and couldn't recall exactly where he read the allegation. The original story had said it would appear in a coming government report. The magazine's fuller backdown came after the White House continued to complain, loudly. Detainees have long alleged that guards tossed Qurans in the toilet, but this was the first time a government official had seemed to confirm it.

The NYT says a former Gitmo translator recalled that a top officer once apologized for (non-flushing) mistreatment of the Quran. As the Post notes, the Pentagon has a two-year-old policy on the proper handling of Qurans at Gitmo, saying that only Muslim service members can hold them and even then only with gloves. The prison had been open for a year before the memo was penned.

Slate's Jack Shafer flags a little-noticed part of the blunder by Newsweek: The magazine "let its anonymous source predict the contents of a future government document."

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Everybody mentions inside that Kuwait's parliament, in a surprise move, granted women the right to vote and run in all elections (er, except president and prime minister, since Kuwait doesn't have those).

Nearly everybody fronts a study showing that breast cancer survivors ordered to eat low-fat foods had about a 20 percent smaller chance of a reoccurrence than did than did their butter-spreading counterparts. The Post puts the study in the off-lead andbills it as the first study showing that a lifestyle change—other than quitting smoking—can ward off cancer. But as the NYT cautions, the results were only "marginally statistically significant."

The NYT fronts Harvard's announcement of a $50 million "diversity fund" to recruit and support female and other minority members of the faculty. The move was part of a series of panel recommendations that the university's battered president, Larry Summers, has promised to adopt. Last year, four of 32 professors offered tenure were women.

In a piece stuffed inside the NYT, survivors of the violence in Uzbekistan said the fighting there was far from a two-way street. "Tanks came, with soldiers," said one man with a bullet wound. "It was just mass death." Reporters have been effectively barred from Uzbekistan, but the NYT got to a hospital along the border. Meanwhile, the most powerful and detailed reports on the massacre come from the nonprofit Institute for War and Peace Reporting: "There is evidence to suggest that government security forces carried out deliberate extrajudicial killings once the mass shooting was over." One survivor recounted, "[People] were waving white flags and screaming that they had no weapons, women and children amongst them, but they continued to shoot."