Taliban, Karzai in Talks to End War: The Washington Post reports that Afghan President Hamid Katzai and Taliban representatives have begun holding secret, high-level talks over a negotiated end to the war. The Post's sources said that for the first time they believe that Taliban representatives are fully authorized to speak for the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban organization based in Pakistan, and its leader, Mohammad Omar.
Tea Party Alliances: The Wall Street Journal reports that Tea Party candidates are increasingly forming alliances with the Republican Party establishment they profess to dislike as a way to make their political organizations more sophisticated. According to The Journal, nowhere is this evolution more vivid than in Virginia, where a federation of more than 30 groups scattered across the state now has the ear of the Republican governor, top state legislators and the state's congressional delegation.
A Bargain Bailout? The Treasury Department expects to lose $29 billion on the federal bailouts stemming from the financial crisis, with most of the losses in its housing finance program and the auto rescue, The New York Times reports. The cost is far below the $350 billion the Congressional Budget Office once estimated.
The Tribune 'Frat House:' Also in The Times is a profile of the Tribune Co. under billionaire Sam Zell. The story says that under Randy Michaels, a former radio shock jock who was handpicked by Zell to run the Tribune Co., the company took on the air of a frat house. Among the highlights, Michaels paying a waitress in a bar to remove her top shortly after being named CEO. Also under Zell, the Tribune Company filed for the largest bankruptcy in American media history.