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In today's pages: Obama, polar bears and pork

May 15, 2008 | 11:32 am

Toon15may Academy Award-winning actor Julie Andrews pens a spirited defense of the Los Angeles Public Library's funding, and Patt Morrison pickets in front of the June 3 ballot for better voting conditions. Cartoonist Ed Rall slips some snide commentary by the airline industry, and Rosa Brooks tells overbearing parents to give their kids a little independence. Pollster Douglas E. Schoen figures the recent controversies surrounding Obama's campaign may be "the best things that could have happened to his candidacy":

The last six weeks have been a great benefit to Obama -- and may emerge as the most important period of his quest for the presidency.

The poll evidence is unambiguous: He's suffered no short-term damage. A recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll shows Obama leading McCain in a hypothetical matchup by six points; in February, he was trailing by two. The Rasmussen Reports' estimate of electoral college strength has him leading McCain, 260 to 240. And a recent CBS/New York Times poll reveals that over the last few weeks, Obama's favorability rating actually increased by five points.

The editorial board wonders if the governor's revised budget plan is too clever by half, and calls the House-approved farm bill a lost opportunity for reform. The board also gives a chilly nod to the federal government's half-hearted move to list the polar bear as an endangered species:

Under legal pressure, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne officially -- and historically -- added the polar bear to the threatened-species list, the first time a species has made the list because of global warming. His action Wednesday was extraordinary. Even more remarkable was Kempthorne's blatant undercutting of his own decision with regulatory shenanigans that will almost certainly mean no new restrictions on carbon emissions and no need to scale back on drilling for Alaskan oil....

What we have here is a newly protected polar bear with virtually no new protections.

Readers react to Hillary Clinton's primary win in West Virginia. Anna Shaff asks:

If the next few weeks afford Clinton a single moment of introspection, she should ask herself the following question: Has the fighter become a piranha?

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