What is left for regulators to rescue?

Treasury secretary Henry Paulson was right about one thing when he introduced his sweeping 218-page overhaul of our financial regulatory system: The midst of a financial crisis is no time to do it.

Paulson and the White House seem resigned to the prospect that if broad reforms are to be enacted, it will be the next president and the next Congress who will do so.

We need a modern day Joe Kennedy

The Treasury department’s elaborate plan to restructure the regulation of the nation’s financial markets has the same chance of becoming reality as any other major Bush administration initiative during the next nine months — none.

Play with fire and you get burned

One New York governor resigns because it was discovered he was involved with prostitutes; his replacement admits to numerous past extramarital affairs, and his wife says she was unfaithful as well; a former New Jersey governor claims he and his wife were involved in sexual threesomes with his male aide; the mayor of Detroit is involved in a sex-and-corruption scandal.

Military to Bush: ‘We’re stretched way too thin’

Behind the Pentagon’s closed doors, U.S. military leaders told President Bush they are worried about the Iraq war’s mounting strain on troops and their families. But they indicated they’d go along with a brief halt in pulling out troops this summer.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff did say senior commanders in Iraq should make more frequent assessments of security conditions, an idea that appeared aimed at increasing pressure for more rapid troop reductions.

The chiefs’ concern is that U.S. forces are being worn thin, compromising the Pentagon’s ability to handle crises elsewhere in the world.

Workers looked at many passport files

State Department workers viewed passport applications containing personal information about high-profile Americans, including the late Playboy playmate Anna Nicole Smith, at least 20 times since January 2007, The Associated Press has learned.

No reason to make this a federal case

A federal appeals court has thrown out, and properly so, a New York state law requiring airlines to accord decent treatment to passengers trapped on their planes for long periods of time.

The law was passed after a 2007 Valentine’s Day storm trapped thousands of passengers on board airliners parked on runways at JFK International for up to 10 hours without food, water and functioning toilets.

Some PR advice for the PR business

Today’s column is narrowly focused for the benefit of America’s public-relations professionals. The rest of you can just rest easy and amuse yourselves for the next 20 inches or so. As they used to say in the service, “Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em,” although in today’s health-conscious times they probably say, “Denounce ‘em if you haven’t got ‘em.”

Try reading a book before you ban it

Here we go again. Parents are upset with language or a specific word in the books their children are reading at school. This time, as in many other instances nationwide, the offender is the N-word.

At least one sector of the economy is hot

One of the few bright corners of the U.S. economy these days is the agriculture sector, where higher prices for major crops are counteracting spot losses from drought and floods.

American death toll in Iraq tops 4,000

The American invasion of Iraq reached a deadly milestone Sunday as the U.S. soldiers death toll hit 4,000.

That milestone was reached when four U.S. soldiers died in a bomb blast in southern Baghdad, less than a week after the invasion reached its fifth anniversary and President George W. Bush called the war “one of the greatest military exercises in the world’s history.”

Although Bush contends the American war effort has brought “peace and stability” to Iraq, more than 50 Iraqis also died in weekend bomb blasts and the death toll continues to mount.