Bush calls for discussions on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

Bush calls for discussions on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

Bush calls for discussions on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
June 1 2007 5:21 AM

A Convenient Warming

The New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Todaylead, and the Wall Street Journal tops its world-wide newsbox, with President Bush's call for a new set of meetings to discuss ways to cut greenhouse-gas emissions globally. Environmental groups immediately criticized the plan as too little, too late. But, as all the papers note, the announcement marked a shift in an administration that had been criticized for its skepticism regarding the need to cut emissions. As the WSJ puts it, the announcement "effectively removes the U.S. as the last doubter among big developed nations on the need for cooperative reductions."

The Los Angeles Timesleads with news that the man who is infected with a dangerous strain of tuberculosis was allowed to enter the United States from Canada even though his passport immediately generated a warning to the border-control agent. Adding another strange layer to the story was yesterday's revelation that Andrew Speaker's father-in-law, Robert Cooksey, is a researcher at the CDC's tuberculosis division. In a statement, Cooksey insisted that he had never tested positive for tuberculosis and "was not involved in any decisions my son-in-law made regarding his travel."

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In his announcement, Bush said he wants to hold talks between the world's top 10 to 15  polluters (USAT has a handy chart that lists who they are) to set up what his chief environmental adviser calls "aspirational goals" by the end of 2008. Bush said he would present his proposal at next week's G8 meeting, where it was widely expected that his administration would come under fire for its failure to act on global warming. Some think that Bush is effectively trying to "hijack" the ongoing talks about the issue and use the discussions as a tactic to delay any concrete actions until after he is out of office. Environmentalists also immediately picked up on the fact that Bush was not talking about mandatory cuts, which are seen as essential for any plan to be successful.

Although some European leaders offered tepid support, it is still unclear how receptive they will be to the proposal since many seem to be ready for a more drastic step. Germany has called for a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, which the administration has said is impractical.

The WP points out that yesterday's announcement is one of several Bush made this week on issues that were bound to elicit  criticism at the G8 summit. The NYT says it's an example "of the kind of policy adjustment that is becoming increasingly common" as Bush's time at the White House comes to an end. The LAT fronts a look at how mending relations with "old Europe" might be easier now that "Britain, France and Germany are fielding potentially the most pro-U.S. group of leaders to emerge in Western Europe in years."

The border-control agent ignored the warning that said Andrew Speaker was contagious apparently because the 31-year-old Atlanta lawyer looked healthy. Members of Congress said this once again raises questions about the security of the country's borders and vowed to investigate. Although Speaker had been told by the CDC to stay in Italy, where he was on his honeymoon, he said he decided to take an alternate route back into the United States out of fear that he would be confined to a hospital in a foreign country. He was finally taken to a hospital in Denver yesterday where he will have to stay for months. In an interview with ABC News, Speaker asked for forgiveness for exposing airline passengers, but says he has a tape recording of a meeting with health officials where they allegedly told him it was all right for him to travel.

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The NYT off-leads, and the WP and WSJ front, the family that controls Dow Jones & Co. announcing that it would consider purchase offers. The Bancroft family said it plans to meet with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. to discuss Murdoch's $5 billion bid but emphasized it is also open to other deals. "Dow Jones & Co.'s 125-year history as an independent media company could be nearing an end," writes the WSJ. The NYT says some suspect the initial rejection of Murdoch's bid might have been a bargaining tactic but everyone notes the family seemed particularly concerned about the planned merger of Reuters and Thomson Corp., which could make things more difficult for Dow Jones Newswires.   

The LAT and WP go inside with Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno's warning that September might be too early to judge whether the buildup of troops in Iraq is working. Odierno, the top U.S. ground commander in Iraq, said he might ask for more time when he presents his report. In his briefing, Odierno also said that commanders in Iraq now have the authority to reach out to militants and negotiate cease-fire agreements. The Post emphasizes that both Odierno and Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed support for a long-term plan for troops in Iraq that would be similar to what exists in South Korea.

The LAT and WP go inside with the head of NASA saying in an interview that he's not sure global warming is "a problem we must wrestle with." Lawmakers have criticized NASA for cutting programs that track climate change.

The papers report the new spelling champion is 13-year-old Evan O'Dorney from California. His final word was "serrefine." 

And this little piggy fought against gay marriage: The LAT fronts a look at Eric Jackson's quest to publish children's books that have a conservative message. His first book, Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed! sold 30,000 copies, and he's now looking to publish one that exposes the lies about global warming.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.