TABLOIDED: Barack Obama is a Christian and a Yankees-Red Sox merger?

It's Monday, and we're sluggish. Perhaps it's the depressing idea that our morning commute has gotten more expensive or that the two presidential candidates could be determined by tomorrow night or maybe, just maybe it's the idea that the owners of the two biggest rivals in sports, the Yankees and the Red Sox, might go into business together outside of baseball. Is nothing sacred?

The Post's front page teases the Yanks-Sox prospect on its front page, noting that this would be "Sleeping with the enemy." We decided to check the front page of today's Boston Herald to see what it had to say about the idea. Hank Steinbrenner is on the front with the taunting hed, "If you can't beat us, join us." This is going to be a great season of tabloid trash-talking, and these first barbs just let us know that spring has sprung.

The majority of the Post's page one is dedicated to Barack Obama's defense of his religious beliefs. Since it seems that many people haven't heard of checking out e-mail hoaxes by referring to snopes.com, some folks seem to think that Obama is a Muslim. This has put the Illinois Senator on the defensive, as he tells voters in Ohio that he "pray[s] to Jesus every night" and is a "devout Christian." This defense of Obama does not, however, prevent the Post from yet again running the photo of him in a turban. The News ignores this mini-controversy to instead run a story on speculation that the Hillary Clinton campaign is trying to link Obama to a Chicago developer who is on trial for corruption charges. Tony Rezko raised money for Obama's campaign and helped the senator buy his home. Columnist Michael Goodwin writes that this is Obama's last chance to destroy Clinton in the primaries. If she doesn't get knocked out now, perhaps Obama isn't as powerful as some think.

This speculation is incredibly interesting on the eve of the crucial Texas and Ohio primaries. There is much less of the "last stand" rhetoric related to Clinton than we saw with the coverage of Rudy Giuliani before the Florida primary. In fact, Hillary Clinton is only indirectly mentioned in the Post today: in an article skewering Gloria Steinem for her comments on John McCain's time as a POW, it's noted that she's a Clinton supporter, and New Mexico governor Bill Richardson said that the party needs to unify and rally behind a single candidate after these primaries. Will Hillary go out with a whimper? We'll find out Wednesday.

The News saves most of its front-page real estate for more on the livery cab abandoned baby hoax. The paper has an interview with the cab driver, who insists that he was doing the right thing for the child. Klever Sailema claims he perpetuated the hoax so that little Daniella Perez would not be left out in the cold. He also was asked to participate because his immigration status was legal, unlike that of the child's father and aunt, whom Sailema had just started dating. The one-and-a-half page spread features several photos of Sailema, including one of him reading the Daily News coverage of the incident. Talk about staring into the abyss until the abyss stares back! The Post's coverage concentrates on the fact that little Daniella may return to her 14-year-old mother.

Meanwhile, one story that is of interest to just about anyone living in this area is the MTA fare hikes. Today's the first weekday with the Metrocard fare increase and toll hikes. Straphangers are especially annoyed with the subway and bus increase because of the bizarre leftover amounts that could end up on Metrocards. The "State of the MTA" address is today, and the news claims it has an exclusive on how $46 million will be used to improve the system. Too bad the Post has the same story on page 17. We wonder if the "exclusive" was supposed to be attached to a story about how MTA CEO Elliot Sander has a chaffeur who makes $160,000 a year. This is the perfect story to spark "man-on-the-street" outrage, and the News does a good job with it.

So, while you're commuting home at a higher premium, we urge you to snicker at the best headline we've seen in a long time, courtesy of the Post: " Sex-toy shop has bad vibes in Park Slope." Apparently some parents are not thrilled that Babeland is opening up a new location in the land of strollers.


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