The fallout from yesterday's shock Republican victory in Massachusetts dominates once more. Did you miss those dry, congressional infighting stories of a couple of weeks ago? Fear not! They're back.

Those damned Republicans. If they care about healthcare reform, rather than just winning in politics, it's not evident from today's crop of stories. Doubtless they have some well-intentioned but nuts plan to ruin the Obama bill, sweep to power on its failure, totally deregulate the insurance industry, take money from poor people and give it to rich ones (as an incentive to hard work) and remove any government-funded help. Because government is always bad and the market is always good. But couldn't they start with this and then try and apply their looney tunes, utterly discredited, ideas later?

Other stuff:

  • Like the Republicans, the Taliban have got better at disguising a nutty agenda with careful campaigning.
  • The Washington Post says the SEC missed far more than Madoff. Their favourite trick is ignoring whistleblowers, apparently.
  • And the Los Angeles Times takes an interesting look at the business elite who have power in Haiti.

Disclosure: I freelance write and report for newspapers that are included in this roundup. Where there is a direct conflict of interest I will make it clear.

The New York Times: reports, mostly off the back of the ABC interview with Obama yesterday, that he is willing to scale back his ambitions for a healthcare plan. Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate leader, thinks Obama should abandon the bill. But then he would say that. The paper also reports that Obama will support more bank regulation, and that the Democrats undoing in Mass was the old story — better organized and more energetic opponents. The Taliban are also pretty good politically. And a warning that we should make our passwords more robust.

The Washington Post: also lead with Obama's comments to George Stephanopoulos yesterday, and throw in a bit of lawmaker infighting too. There's some background on the man who shot eight in Virginia, a local angle on the Haiti story, and another way in which regulators missed the financial crisis.

The LA Times: have the same analysis of Obama's missteps, and their impact on healthcare that everyone else does. There are also pieces on interrogation failures over the Detroit attack, the businessmen who control Haiti and the conspiracy theories about the killing of a Cambodian actor.

The Wall Street Journal: also leads with Obama's 'retreat' on healthcare. They also look at China's boom, a controversial gas drilling technique and Mumbai's skywalks.

The New York Post: the headline writers were doubtless pleased that Tiger wore a garment that rhymed with his last name.

The Daily News: give ABC an almost clean sweep of the front pages with their Obama interview.

Newsday: report that at least little kids are bringing kid-sized guns into school these days.

The Press (Christchurch, New Zealand): say that the language in Avatar was based on Maori.