The Boston Globe

WINDSOR GUSHER: It would be the perfect exclamation point on all that is Windsor: an oil gusher in the queen's garden. It could happen. (What hasn't?) Last week Queen Elizabeth II gave a Canadian company . . . permission to dig a test well in Windsor Great Park because a pool of black gold worth $1.5 billion is supposed to be under the grounds. Just when you thought the world's longest-running soap opera couldn't get much wilder, it turns into "Palace Dallas." The New York Times

'60s VALUES: Generational bonding experiences have always been important in American life. The Depression shaped the economic dreams, and fears, of millions of couples. People who fought in World War II have moved through history with a fortifying set of common memories. So have the children born to them. Now, in the excess of Republican triumphalism, the party's new leaders have decided to make this "counterculture" into a pejorative. What flapdoodle. Like many of his elders, Rep. Newt Gingrich may prefer a stricter regimen of social conformity. (But) at its essence, the ('60s) counterculture was about one of the conservatives' favorite words: values. It was a repudiation of the blind obedience . . . of politcs as usual. It was about exposing hypocrisy . . . and standing up to irrational authority. It (too) is a part of us, a legacy around which Americans can unite, rather than allow themselves to be divided.

The Washington Post

TRADING PARTNERS: At the center of the summit of 34 hemispheric leaders in Miami lies the purpose of advancing the economic integration and convergence of the Americas. It is the right purpose, and the right time to reach for it. The Cold War is over, and a new shared focus of hemispheric striving is due. Successful consummation of a North America Free Trade Agreement and congressional approval of the new world trade agreement have set the stage for extending free trade soon to Chile and by 2005 to the rest of the hemisphere. Behind the economic agenda, however, rests a serious political purpose. The proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas is open only to democracies. The rules . . . emphatically exclude Cuba, which finds itself fenced out (but also) could yet be applied to (any) country that reverts to an openly undemocratic style.

Los Angeles Times

QUAKE DATA: A Republican plan to abolish the 115-year-old U.S. Geological Survey, best known for providing the public with data on earthquakes and other geophysical phenomena, needs to be rethought. This proposed cutback, part of the GOP "Contract With America," would cost the nation more money than it saves and could endanger the public. USGS information about geological hazards helps safety officials in disaster preparation and is used in constructing safer buildings . . . research (that) might one day mean the difference between life and death for many Americans.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

(It) may go down in congressional history as "Return A Little Sanity To Washington Day." The new GOP majority in the House of Representatives voted to ban commemorative days, weeks and months - those designated times that please special interests but waste the time of lawmakers. Many lobbyists may find it hard to contemplate a nation without National Pizza and Pasta Day or Classical Music Month. No one wants to discount the importance of Mozart or mostaccioli to our national heritage. But such special bills require congressional staffers to line up support, and the effort costs an estimated $300,000 a year. That sum may be less than a drop in the federal budget bucket. Still, saving it is a symbolic start toward making Congress more productive.