The budget dominates the front pages — the WSJ don't like the tax rises for the wealthy, everyone else analyzes the deficit. There are great stories from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and some surprising news about the joys of abstinence.

Expect to hear the word 'deficit' bandied around willy-nilly over the next few weeks. It's the new 'public option' in terms of news watchwords. Luckily we have the New York Post as an antidote to all this 'serious' news crap. They lead with a kiddy fight club. Now that's a front page.

Other stuff that is not children fighting:

  • The New York Times prove that you should always send a former Army Ranger Marine captain who went to Army Ranger school to report on military operations. CJ Chivers apparently cannot stop turning in great Afghanistan stories. Every human being should also read this, his National Magazine Award-winning piece (in the style of John Hersey's Hiroshima) from Beslan for Esquire.
  • The Washington Post report that abstinence-only sex education may actually work.
  • And the Wall Street Journal are Groundhog Day fans.

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: analyzes the budget deficit, and the Haitian children story. CJ Chivers files yet another best-story-ever from Afghanistan, there's a great piece from Memphis on evangelical martial artists, an update on Toyota's woes and a court report on the bizarre subway sodomy case.

The Washington Post: also leads with Obama's budget, and some more infighting over healthcare reforms. There's also a piece that Fox News will cover all day, on the apparent benefits of abstinence-only sex education, a dispatch from Pakistan and a piece on the machinations behind Oscar nominations.

The LA Times: also opts to analyze the budget and has a piece on solar power efforts in LA. There's a feature on a novice politician, a look at Toyota's efforts to stop its cars accelerating out of control and a story from Haiti.

The Wall Street Journal: has its version of populist rage — highlighting tax rises for the wealthy, and also flags up US efforts against the Taliban in Afghanistan. In what I hope is a deliberate juxtaposition, a story about reading economic tea leaves (or 'data') is next to one about using a groundhog to predict the coming of spring.

The New York Post: tthree words: kiddy fight club.

The Daily News: has a story about police (allegedly) massaging crime statistics.

Tampa Bay Times: this is the quintessential smug John Edwards picture.

The Citizens' Voice (Wilkes-Barre): surely the other side of injustice is... justice?