The Los Angeles Timesleads with a former House page revealing he had sex with former Rep. Mark Foley. The man told the LAT their sexual encounter took place when he was 21. The Washington Postleads with the revelation that the number of U.S. troops who were wounded in Iraq last month reached its highest level in almost two years. The New York Timesleads with the first in a four-part series that looks into the rising number of exemptions from regulations and taxes that are afforded to organizations with a religious affiliation.
The former page's assertion that he did not have sex with Foley until years after he finished the page program supports the former congressman's claims he never had sexual relationships with minors. At the same time though, the LAT says the instant message conversations between Foley and the former page "offer a glimpse of possible predatory behavior by the congressman." The man, who is gay, said he started receiving instant messages from the former congressman soon after he ended his tenure as a page, and he only had one sexual encounter with Foley before they stopped communicating with each other.
Some military experts say the number of wounded in Iraq is a better indication than death statistics of the resistance U.S. troops face because technological advances in armor and medicine have made survival more likely than in previous wars. In total, 776 U.S. troops were wounded last month, which is the highest number since November 2004. The figure also amounts to the fourth-highest monthly total since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
Despite many conservatives repeating over and over again that there is a "war on religion," the NYT says organizations with a religious affiliation can save themselves a bundle of money and regulatory headaches compared to their counterparts, including nonprofit organizations. And as religious organizations expand into many areas of life, by, for example, opening day care centers or gyms, their competitors say the benefits are an unfair advantage.
The WP fronts a look at the way Republican campaign efforts are being "drowned out" by the Foley scandal. As, the LAT also notes inside, Democratic candidates are using the scandal as a way to rally voters before the election. While last week there were 37 Republicans facing competitive challenges, the number has now increased to 43. The WP has a good piece inside, detailing the number of important questions surrounding the scandal that are still unanswered and will have to be investigated by the FBI and the House ethics committee.
While everyone else is focused on Foley, the WP says Vice President Cheney is back on the campaign trail with his usual message, saying terrorists are "still lethal, still desperately trying to hit us again." Even though many candidates are wary of being seen (or photographed) with Cheney, strategists see him as a reliable way to rally up the Republican base.
In a Page One piece, the WP's Anthony Shadid reconstructs the days before and after two Israeli soldiers were captured by Hezbollah, and says the group's leadership was largely caught off-guard by the Israeli response. Most of Hezbollah's leaders simply did not expect such a strong reprisal, which is why they sometimes waited days to evacuate some poor neighborhoods. "They were prisoners of their assumptions," a retired Lebanese general tells the Post.
The NYT reefers, and everyone else goes inside with, the apparent assassination of a prominent Russian journalist who was critical of her country's policies toward Chechnya. Anna Politkovskaya was working on an article about torture in Chechnya.
The LAT reports on Page One that American consumers are being sold products containing substances currently banned in other countries, particularly in Europe and Japan. A Berkeley professor says the United States has become a "dumping ground" for goods much of the world simply doesn't want. The lack of government standards frequently makes it difficult for U.S. shoppers to even identify which products contain potentially hazardous chemicals.
In another article that tries to illustrate how common violence has become in Iraq, the LAT tells the story of how gunmen dragged out a Baghdad shopkeeper from his store. It was the middle of the day, and everyone continued with their routine after the kidnappers left. The NYT fronts a look at how the lives of middle-class young people in Baghdad have largely been put on pause as many are not even allowed to leave their homes, let alone think about university or careers.
A car bombing at an Iraqi Army checkpoint in the city of Tal Afar killed at least 14 people yesterday. The WP notes that in March President Bush said residents of Tal Afar "can count on a basic level of safety and security, they can live together peacefully."
In the WP's Outlook section, Robert Dallek says President Bush can still force Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to step down, and benefit from the change. Even though it could hurt the president and his party in the short term, his administration might benefit from a new perspective.
Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks has become a "marketing phenomenon," reports the NYT. Experts say whoever controls her likeness could make millions of dollars from products that include her picture, from t-shirts, coffee cups, and refrigerator magnets, to name a few. In April, the Parks Institute decided to hire CMG Worldwide, a company that specializes in celebrity licensing and merchandising.