Alberto Gonzales Strikes Out

Alberto Gonzales
GENERIC: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Department of Justice Seal

The Skinny is Joel Roberts' take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.

"Withering" was the word the morning newspapers seem to agree best describes the beating Attorney Alberto Gonzales took at Thursday's appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Washington Post said Gonzales "came under withering attack from members of his own party" as he tried to explain his handling of the firing of eight federal prosecutors.

Gonzales "suffered new and withering criticism from senators of both parties … including questions about his judgment, candor and fitness to serve," said the Los Angeles Times.

The New York Times said the attorney general "endured withering questioning" from senators, "who expressed grave doubts about his truthfulness and judgment in the firing of federal prosecutors."

In a separate news analysis, the Times said "the people he desperately needed to come to his rescue — fellow Republicans — proceeded one by one to throw him overboard."

The Wall Street Journal refrained from using the "w" word, but was no less harsh in its appraisal of the hearing, saying Gonzales' "already tenuous hold on his job was further weakened by more than seven hours of often combative Senate questioning that underscored skepticism from key Republicans about whether he should remain in the job."

A Baby Boomer Health Crisis?

Despite jogging and dieting and obsessing about remaining youthful, baby boomers may not be as healthy as they think.

In fact, according to the Washington Post, there's a growing body of evidence suggesting that the baby boom generation may be the first "to enter their golden years in worse health than their parents."

The Post says large surveys consistently find that compared with their elders, boomers are more likely to report difficulty doing routine activities like climbing stairs and getting up from a chair, as well as more chronic problems like high cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes."

While boomers are healthier in some important ways, like smoking less, researchers say the findings are in line with several unhealthy trends, particularly the rise in obesity. "Despite all those gym memberships, baby boomers tend to be less physically active than their parents and grandparents," the Post says, "their daily routines often dominated by desk jobs and the drive to and from work."

But not all experts are sold on the baby boomer health crisis. The Post says it's still unclear whether boomers are really sicker than their predecessors or simply more likely to "notice and complain about aches and pains that earlier generations would have accepted as just part of getting older."

More Bad News On Veterans' Care

There's still more troubling news about the care the government is providing for America's military veterans.

USA Today reports Friday that staffing at Department of Veterans Affairs clinics in recent years has lagged far behind the increase in visits by returning Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans.

According to VA records, visits to the clinics have more than doubled since 2004, while the clinics' staffing rose by less than 10 percent. More than 21,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans visited the clinics last year, up from about 9,000 in 2004. During the same period, the number of clinic staff members only rose from 992 to 1,063.

The clinics, known as Vet Centers, are small, storefront operations originally set up to help Vietnam vets readjust to society. They provide services like combat-stress counseling, marriage therapy, job assistance and medical referrals.

Some clinics reported they have people waiting in line for services, and others said it takes longer for veterans to get help because of heavier workloads.

A NOTE TO READERS: The Skinny is now available via e-mail. Click here and follow the directions to register to receive it in your inbox each weekday morning.