The WP covers the ongoing fight over the fate of the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93. A group representing the families of the 40 passengers who perished in the crash on Sept. 11, 2001, want President Bush to use eminent domain to seize the land surrounding the crash site so that they can build a permanent memorial to the crash victims.
The prospect of finally tapping the vast reserves of oil shale located in and around the Rocky Mountains has many energy companies excited and water providers concerned, the LAT says. While America is believed to possess 800 billion barrels of oil trapped in underground shale, the technology to extract the oil has yet to be perfected. What scientists do know is that any method for extracting the oil from the shale will require a great deal of another natural resource that's in short supply out West: water. Some scientists think it may take as much as 10 barrels of water to produce one barrel of oil from shale.
The declining number of American Catholics entering the priesthood has forced some diocese to look abroad to fill vacancies. The NYT follows a priest from a rural diocese in Kentucky as he searches for priests from Africa, Latin America, and India. The solution is far from perfect. Foreign-born priests sometimes have trouble overcoming the culture shock and often come from countries where the priest shortage is even more severe. Some critics say that importing priests might ease the burden on American parishes, but it does little to address why the church has a priest shortage in the first place.
Inside, the WP runs an interesting look back at how the role of technology in political discourse changed in 2008. The story makes the case that a shift from community-based political organizing to viral political movements means that politics is no longer about catering to local concerns; it's about engaging individuals.
Dogfighting is making a comeback in Afghanistan, according to the NYT. The fights, which were once banned by the Taliban, have steadily grown in popularity since 2001. Victory can now bring in thousands of dollars in prize money. Unlike American dogfights, in Afghanistan the dogs rarely fight to the death, since few can afford the expense of losing a dog in the ring. Instead, the dogs fight until one dog shows clear signs of submission or dominance.
The LAT counts Broadway among the many marketplaces that are suffering in the current downturn. In the current climate only the most bankable shows (or those with the most bankable stars) are able to find financial backing.
The WP wraps up 2008 by reveling in the absurd with Dave Barry's take on the year that was.