John McCain is trying to milk the Georgian conflict: The GOP nominee has long advocated a hard-line approach to Moscow and continued to talk tough yesterday. Conservative pundit Jonah Goldberg, writing for the LAT, argues that Obama was caught off-balance by the crisis; in fact, the NYT notes, the Obama and McCain camps remain on virtually the same page, with both candidates calling for the U.N. to order a cease-fire and for an international peacekeeping force to be sent to the disputed region.
Elsewhere, the Post off-leads with word that the Bush administration is planning an overhaul of the Endangered Species Act that would allow federal agencies to decide unilaterally whether or not government actions would harm vulnerable species. The move, reported inside by the other papers, would effectively scrap the independent scientific reviews that have been an integral part of the Act for more than three decades.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe appears to be edging toward a power-sharing deal with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangerai, two months after government-sponsored violence ended any hope of free and fair elections. Details remain hazy, but the WSJ reports that Mugabe said only “little hurdles” remained. Any deal would be a coup for South African premier Thabo Mbeki, who has been mediating between the two sides.
A day after winning Olympic gold in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay—thanks to a “swim for the ages” from teammate Jason Lesak—Michael Phelps shaved almost a second off his own 200-meter freestyle world record en route to his third gold of the Games. With swimming records tumbling across the board, the NYT ponders the ways in which technological advances—streamlined body-suits, less wave-prone pools, nonskid starting blocks—are changing the nature of competitive swimming. Some things will never change, though: The LAT reports that Phelps’ celebratory dancing, of which we’ll likely be seeing plenty more over the next few days, appears to be genetically hardwired, bearing a remarkable similarity to victory displays seen in chimps and gorillas.