Saturday, May 10, 2008

Cathy's Turn To Blubber

Cathy Pollitt was blubbering.

It took a bit for me to grasp that. I thought she was talking with a full mouth as she's so inclined to do.

"Major said he loved me!" she whined and I had to wonder whether she was dating a man in the military or possible a border collie.

What kind of a name is "Major"?

"He said he loved me. But he's flirting with Ashley now."

Who was Ashley?

Asking that would have made Cathy's story longer and I already had the feeling this one was going to go on for a long, long time.

"And now -- now Ashley's asking me about Pamela!"

Again, I knew not to ask.

"There I was, having to defend Pamela, having to say she was just shy!"

As she blubbered on it became evident that Pamela was in fact Major's wife. Whether or not she was also a border collie, I couldn't determine. But obviously Cathy was upset that the man (or border collie) she was in love with, who was cheating on his wife with her, was now eyeing someone new: Ashley.

"He told me that if I lost 50 pounds, he'd make it worth for me!"

I was not tempted to question but I did have to work overtime to keep a straight face. If Cathy lost 50 pounds, she would be referred to as "obese" and not "grotesque." At her weight, 50 pounds really didn't matter.

"And I went to weigh -- weigh in and at first it said I lost one pound and then it said I gained a pound and I just started crying."

As she sobbed now, she did so with a mouthful of Twinkees and I had to wonder how that would allow to lose 50 pounds?

I also had to wonder how 'feminist' Cathy could get herself in a relationship with a man who apparently promised sex -- as clear as I could tell, Cathy's 'relationship' consisted of going down on Major -- if she lost 50 pounds first.

"And Ashely said I was sweaty and that it smelled like dry urine! She said that in front of Major!"

At this point probably forty minutes had elapsed and we hadn't gotten past the weigh-in which, presumably, was supposed to be the starting point of the story, the initiating incident, if you will.

I reflected on the fact that this was just like Cathy's writing for "The Nation," it never really went anywhere. She'd shout out some buzz words along the way but, when you finished reading, you were fully aware she tacked on the last sentence trying to convince you it was a conclusion and that she'd taken you on a journey when all she'd done was drive in circles.

The doughnuts in the carpet around her computer must be clearly visible from outer space.

She was done.

The story hadn't ended.

An end was more than she had the ability for.

It had just stopped.

And now she was blAAAAAAhing in a non-stop moaning manner, her mouth wide open, offering unappealing peeks at her half-chewed Twinkies.

"Well that is interesting," I lied, "but what happened to the book?"

"The book?" she stopped crying out of confusion.

"How We Lose," the book that had disappered from my kitchen.

"Oh, uh, well, she wanted it."


I feared I knew who Cathy meant.

But she was back to talking about Major, so I turned my attention to the TV.

"HUBdate: Strongest at the Top of the Ticket" (
Strongest at the Top of the Ticket: Several members of Congress released a letter yesterday to other Democrats touting their support for Hillary, saying she is the strongest candidate to have at the top of the ticket in the fall: “[W]e are convinced that Hillary Clinton has the vision, skills and commitment to make the changes our country needs. As Democrats who have run and won in competitive Congressional districts and battleground states, we believe that Hillary is best positioned to successfully lead the Democratic ticket in districts and states like ours around the country.” Read more and more. Click here to view the Power Point presentation.
Automatic Delegate Watch: Yesterday, Texas Congressman Ciro Rodriguez and Pennsylvania Congressman Chris Carney endorsed Hillary. Said Rodriguez, “I believe Hillary Clinton has the experience, vision, and toughness to win a general election and can help expand our Democratic majority in Congress. Not only can she win, I am convinced that she will be a truly great President.”
A Mother’s Day Wish: In a new video, Chelsea shares some of her fondest memories of her mother, and asks mothers across the country to share their mother’s day wishes with her.
Watch here.
Fourth Quarter: Ellen Malcolm writes in a Washington Post op-ed today: “Here we are in the fourth quarter of the nominating process and the game is too close to call…Why on earth should one candidate quit before the contest is finished? Democrats need not be so fainthearted…So why are some Democrats so afraid? We simply need to count every vote, let the remaining states have their say and see the process through to its conclusion.”
Read more.
WV Endorsement Watch: Former West Virginia Governor Hulett Smith and the State Senate Majority Leader Truman Chafin endorsed Hillary yesterday.
On the Air in OR and WV: In a new Oregon ad, U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson tell voters why they support Hillary. A West Virginia ad demonstrates Hillary’s commitment to leveling the playing field against special interests and strengthening America’s middle class.
Watch here and here.
Touting Health Care in OR: “Sen. Hillary Clinton used an hourlong visit with Doernbecher Children’s Hospital patients and their families Friday morning to push for her universal health care plan, which she called the ‘unfinished business’ of the nation.”
Read more.
Previewing Today: Hillary attends a Mother’s Day celebration with Chelsea in New York.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, May 9, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the assault on Sadr City continues, Barack loses a campaign staffer who was in talks with an organization the US has labeled a terrorist group (no, not Ayers & Dohrn) and more.

Starting with war resistance. Who is
Ehren Watada? The answer is fairly obvious, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. But facts is hard for little local weeklies. Nina Shapiro (Seattle Weekly) takes time out from attacking Hillary but it's too bad she and her editor couldn't take the time to be factual. "Not Every Deserter Gets the Watada Treatement" is the headline and she matches that choice with her own writing. She writes, "When it comes to the military's handling of deserters, there is little consistency. Some, like outspoken war opponent Lt. Ehren Watada, face courts-marial and potentail jail sentences, while . . ." Where to begin. They do not generally face "courts"-martial. Watada may if double-jeopardy is thrown out. The face "court-martials." The "court" is singular. "Outspoken war opponent"? He can't just be a "war opponent," to Nina, he has to be "outspoken." That's curious considering he's given one interview since the failed Feb. 2007 court-martial. That was over a year ago. And prior to the court-martial, he'd already shut the press down. But there's Nina, trumping up the charges, just like she does with Hillary. Let's go slow for Nina: "Report to the nearest Army post with your Army ID or other picture ID and any documents or records in your possession which pertain to your Army service. On the installation, go to the Military Police station and turn yourself in to the MPs." What's that from? Fort Knox Law Enforcement Command's "US Army Deserter Information Point." Ehren Watada did not desert. He wasn't charged with desertion for that reason. Watada did not desert. It's a shame that Nina has to (again) put her name to lies because 'facts is hard.' But she's not interested in war resistance, she's interested in pushing lies. There's no war resistance in the story (which isn't about Watada, she just wanted to slime him and see if she get away with acting stupid in public). When trash likes this gets shoved off on the public, everyone loses. The serial liar was pushing conflict between today's veterans and earlier ones. That was a laughable article ("Camaraderie is in short supply"). So is this one. Is no one capable of a basic fact check at Seattle Weekly or do they just not care?

In Canada, war resisters are hoping the Parliament will take action on a motion waiting to be debated. Currently, you can utilize the following e-mails to show your support: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. In addition Jack Layton, NDP leader, has a contact form and they would like to hear from people as well. A few more addresses can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

Turning to Iraq and starting with the press. In February of this year, (PDF format warning) Reporters Without Borders released "
Freedom Of The Press Worldwide in 2008." which noted 57 journalists killed in 2007. If you're in Iraq and trying to report, just FYI, you're a journalist. You're not "a media worker" (RWB uses that phrase). "More than half the recorded physical attacks on the media were in Baghdad despite the huge presence there of Iraqi forces and US troops. . . . On top of the violence, Iraqi journalists face new restrictions imposed by the authorities, including a ban in May 2007 on filming the sites of bomb attacks and another in November on going to the Kandil mounatins, near the Iraqi-Turkish border, to talk to Kurdish PKK rebels." Earlier this week, The Committee to Protect Journalists posed Joel Campangna's report on the Kurdish region of Iraq which included the story of Nasseh Abdel Raheem Rashid whose reporting "railed against the political in Iraqi Kurdistan and the actions of uncscrupulous political officials." Campangna continues:As he strolled through the central market on his hometown of Halabja in eastern Iraqi Kurdistan last October, four armed men wearing military uniforms forced him into a waiting Nissan pickup, bound his hands and legs, and covered his head with a sack. "I didn't know where I was going. They drove around for a few hours and then went over what seemed like an unpaved road," Rashid told the Committee to Protect Journalists during an interview in Sulaymania shortly after the incident. Rashid said he was pulled from the truck, punched and kicked, and threatened at gunpoint to stop working or be killed. The assailants sped off, leaving Rashid bruised and shaken.

That is only one story in Campagna's report.
Click here for audio of him talking about report.
177 is the number of journalists who have been killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. CPJ divides up "media support workers" and "journalists" as well, we don't. Support workers in a war zone are doing a number of jobs they are journalists and, if they are targeted for who they are working for, the "I am just a media support worker!" is not a magic shield that protects them. On a related note, we have consistently avoided highlighting the work of US reporters who 'report' on Iraq from the US but attach themselves to the work done by local population. That's led to a number of mainstream stories being 'missed' but it's not missed because there is something pathetic and dishonest about it. Mentioning it today because among the links pulled from this site (The Common Ills) was a 'news' site where, article after article, an American journalist in the US feels the needs to attach his name to a reporter in Iraq's writing. When said journalist was supposed to go back to Iraq (he lost focus and ended up in Lebanon in the summer of 2006 instead), the Iraqi journalist was more than able to write his own reports for the web outlet. He had no problems with English (though if he had, no one would have been concerned because his voice is of value). He did a great job. But "I WANT ATTENTION!" can't make it back to Iraq and feels the need to put his name to first hand reports from Iraq. We're not highlighting that crap. It's insulting and offensive. And, hate to break it to the 'left,' it's the height of colonialism. So bye-bye. The community won't miss you. It is grossly offensive for an American in the US to feel the need to add his name to these first-hand reports of an Iraqi journalist in Iraq risking his life. We won't applaud that crap and shame on anyone who does. It has gone on now for over a year and it is offensive and people in the press are starting to talk about it. We draw a line. We also draw a line with 'respectable' source Pig -- twice busted for sexual predator activities online. Matthew Rothschild interviews Pig this week. Didn't listen, didn't need to. He's been delinked. The Progressive will be delinked from all sites. The Real Press kicked Pig to the curb because of his arrests. Panhandle Media wants to pretend like he's a 'respectable' source. He's not. If a young girl is raped or assaulted by Pig, it's on Panhandle Media's hands because they can't stop promoting him.

Back to the threats journalists in Iraq operate under.
Selcan Hacaoglu (AP) reports that the BBC's Baghdad bureau was "damaged" by a rocket attack on the Green Zone and quotes Patrick Howse explaining, "It caused structural damage but no one was injured." Deborah Haynes (Times of London) notes, "It was one of a number of rockets fired towards the heavily fortified Green Zone by Shit insurgents taking advantage of a sudden sandstorm, which gave them cover from counter-attack by US aircraft." Meanwhile a McClatchy Newspapers Iraqi journalist blogs at Inside Iraq that "6 days after the occasion of World Press Freedom, Iraqi media witnessed a new violation against freedom of speech. Yesterday Iraqi forces closed Al Ahad Radio Station an excuse of adopting provocative political speech. I have many friends who listen to this radio as I do; I asked my friends if they notice any instagative tones in the programs or newscast of this radio . . . the answers were negative -- as always." Nouri al-Maliki, puppet of the occupation, made it clear in the summer of 2006 that he had no respect for a free press and he's only continued that pattern.

Somethings get little or no coverage, somethings get massive coverage. Like yesterday's big news (which was rightly ignored in yesterday's snapshot) that THE leader of al Qaeda in Iraq leader was captured! In today's paper (so filed hours and hours before sunrise),
Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) noted the capture with qualifiers and, as a result, has no egg on her face -- unlike all of those 'reporting' it had happened! It never happened. Damien McElroy (Telegraph of London) traces back over the lie and US Maj (press flack division) Peggy Kageleiry stating, "This guy has a similar name." BBC leads with: "The United States military in Iraq says a man detained in the northern city of Mosul is not in fact the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq." As Tina Susman notes (LA Times' blog Babylon & Beyond), "For a few hours late Thursday and early today, it seemed the Al Qaeda in Iraq chief might actually be in custody." Yesterday afternoon, Tina Susman noted that the US military backed off from their usual declarations of charges against Iran and she writes:
A plan to show some alleged Iranian-supplied explosives to journalists last week in Karbala and then destroy them was canceled after the United States realized none of them was from Iran. . . . Iran, meanwhile, continues to seethe after an Iraqi delegation went to Tehran last week to confront it with the accusations. It has denied the accusations, and it says as long as U.S. forces continue to take part in military action in Iraq's Shiite strongholds, it won't consider holding further talks with Washington on how to stabilize Iraq."

In Iraq the assault on Sadr City continues.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Casualties in Sadr city for the last 24 hours stand at 14 men and 1 woman killed and 112 wounded many of whom are women, children and elderly people according to medical sources inside Sadr city." Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) notes the Thursday order by the Iraqi military for "residents to evacuate" and that "Sadr City has been a battleground since late March, enduring U.S. airstrikes, militia snipers and gunbattles between U.S. and Iraqi forces and the Mahdi Army, the militia loyal to Sadr. Already some 8,500 people have been displaced from the sprawling slums of some 2.5 million people, according to the Iraqi Red Crescent." Said Rifai (LA Times' Baghdad & Beyond) reports that one of the stadiums set up for Sadr City refugees (Shaab Stadium) is currently empty, that 25 tents are empty and other tents are nearby unassembled and: "Only Sadr City residents are allowed at this camp, which has made for some awkward moments. Seveeral families from other areas arrived Thursday but were turned away. . . . Sadr City residents have to get accreditation from one of their local police stations to qualify to stay in the stadium." And when someone calls it an Iraqi operation, note Eric Owls (NYT's Baghdad Bureau) statement yesterday: "The American military is fighting daily battles for the control of Baghdad's Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City." al-Maliki started it but don't think for a moment it's al-Maliki 'on the line.' That trip down to Basra was purely for show. AFP reports, "An aide to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr lashed out on Firday at Iraq's most revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, for keeping silent over clashes that have killed hundreds in Baghdad" and quotes him (Sheikh Sattar Battat)stating, "We are surprised by the silence Najaf where the highest Shiite religious authority is based. . . . For 50 days Sadr City is being bombed. . . Children, women and old people are being killed by all kinds of US weaspons, and Najaf remains silent." Howard LaFranchi (Christian Science Monitor) notes, "Residents of this city's embattled Sadr City district are growing increasingly anxious that an escalation in fighting is imminent." Chris Floyd (Baltimore Chronicle) rightly notes, "George W. Bush and David Petraeus are preparing to make a new Fallujah in Sadr City, home to two million Shiites in Baghdad. Thousands of people are already fleeing the area before the full-scale slaughter and destruction begin. As in Fallujah, the multitudes who cannot escape will be trapped in a 'free fire zone' subjected to ruthless bombardment and ground assualt. Thousands -- perhaps tens of thousands -- of innocent civilians stand in the shadow of imminent death." But Panhandle Media largely stayed silent during the slaughter of Falluja and they're even more silent during the slaughter of Sadr City.

In other reported violence . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad rocket attack that wounded three people, US air strikes in Baghdad left eight people wounded and 2 Baghdad mortar attacks claimed 2 lives and left eleven wounded. AFP reports, "A rocket attack on a coalition military base in Basra killed two civilian contractors Friday . . . . The two civilian contractors died when rockets slammed into the US-led coalition's base near Basra's international airport, wounding eight others, including four coalition soldiers, the military said." That was reported late yesterday in the US (by five p.m. EST, it's already midnight in Iraq). Reuters notes four members of the Iraqi military were injured in a Kirkuk roadside bombing.


Reuters notes 3 "Awakening" Council members shot dead in Baiji and three police officers and five people were wounded in an attack outside Balad utilizing "rifles and rocket propelled grenades."


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Yesterday's snapshot noted: "Murray wasn't just noting a hearing the day before (see here and here for that hearing), she was also noting the very real frustration with the Veterans Affairs Department on the part of the Congress which includes begging off and blowing off the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee." That's here and here. Links weren't included. Yesterday's snapshot detailed the Senate Veeterans Affairs Committee Wednesday hearing on benefits. Today Paul Kane (Washington Post) reports that "Blue Dog Democrats" are in opposition to a House measure specifically because of "the creation of a program that would guarantee veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan a year of in-state college tuition for each year served in the war zones." Now let's get this straight, the "Blue Dogs" are okay with funding the illegal war and argue that not to do so would be sending a message to the troops in Iraq; however, they're okay with sending the message that your tours of duty aren't even worth in-state tuition if you're fortunate enough to survive? That's some message. Meanwhile Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) reports that the Pentagon is stating that stop-loss/back-door draft numbers have "risen sharply" and that the "number steadily declined through May 2007, when it hit 8,540. But since then, the number of soldiers subjected to stop-loss orders began to increase again, reaching 12,235 in March 2008." Drop back to the February 26th snapshot where the Senate Armed Services Committee heard testimony from the Sec of the Army and Gen George W. Casey:

In regards to the issue of the months involved in a tour, the committee chair, Carl Levin, had to be rather specific repeatedly finally asking "shorthand, you have to drawdown to what level?" Levin also had to pin Casey and Geren down regarding stop-loss. Beaming, Geren declared that the Army will get the number of stop-lossed soldiers down to "a little less than 8,000 today" and insisted -- at length -- that the Army wanted to "move away from" using stop-loss. Stop-loss is the backdoor draft. It's when you're service contract is ending and you're told, "Forget what your contract says, you're staying." Pressed by Levin about the decrease in the number of soldiers stop-lossed that Geren was so optimistic about, the Secretary of the Army swallowed and stated, "It might get to 7,000." Wow. It might drop to 7,000. To hear him spin and spin before Levin pinned him down you would have thought the figure was going to be significantly below 5,000. Geren insisted, "We're growing this Army faster than we planned."

Translation, they lied to Congress.

His name wasn't even on the ballot! Oh how the losers have cried that -- including an elderly woman with a shaky voice who really needs to be told "Step away from the microphone" -- about Barack Obama and Michigan.
Michigan's Secretary of State on October 9, 2007: "Four Democratic presidential candidates -- U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, U.S. Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and former U.S. Sen. John Edwards -- filed affidavits with the Michigan Department of State requesting that their names be removed from Michigan's Jan. 15 Democratic Party Primary ballot. This means four Democratic candiates are still on the Michigan ballot: U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn), U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich and U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel (D- Ala)."

Hillary won Michigan. She received 328,209 votes. 594,398 votes were cast in the Democratic presidential primary. "Uncommitted" received 238,168 votes. As
Jerlyn (TalkLeft) points out, Barack's attempting to claim those 238,168 votes and more: "It not only gives Obama all of the uncommitted delegates, a number that includes those who voted for uncommitted for Edwards, it includes those who voted for Dodd, Kucinich and Gravel and gives him some that voted for Hillary." It takes a lot of nerve to remove yourself from the field and then claim you earned a trophy. But hasn't that been the Obama campaign from day one?

Way back when,
Peter Slevin (Washington Post) explained it all: "Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the only top-tier Democrat on the Jan. 15 Michigan primary ballot, but followers of her chief rivals are hoping to wound her all the same. . . . The campaigns of Sen. Barack Obama and former Senator John Edwards are urging their supporters to cast ballots for 'uncommitted,' according to stae Democratic party chairman Mrak Brewer." "Uncommitted" should be divided between the four. If any "giving" is to be done, that's done on the floor of the national convention. But it's not enough that he try to steal what he didn't earn, he also wants to steal from Hillary Clinton. Now as I understand spots from my children participating when they were younger, you forfeit a game, you're the loser. When the championship's being awarded to another team you can't run up and say, "B-b-but, we forfeited and we should get credit for that!" Barack wants credit for a race he chose not to take part in. Talk about a sense of entitlement. It's not even the rules. (The rules were X number of delegates -- non-pleged -- would be sent to the convention.)

I thought the media said he was 'winning,' that he had the nomination all 'sewn up'. If so, why be such a little thief? Because he's not winning. Because he's not closed the deal. Because Hillary is expected to beat him in several upcoming primaries. Because he is probably unelectable in a general election nation wide. Nation wide is 50 states, not 48. A general election isn't a primary. If he gets the nomination, he'll be dragged through the mud and this is, after all, the fussiest candidate since the current occupant of the Oval Office. "I must have down time in the Virgin Islands!" "I need two days off from campaigning!"

The latter was last week. That was cute. He took Wednesday off by staying home when his weak ass should have been in the Senate for the Veterans Affairs Committee -- which he sits on -- hearing on Veterans Benefits. But he wasn't there. Again. He managed yesterday to hobble through the House but he wasn't elected to the House and he's unable to do the Senate's business. But somehow, he wants America to believe, he'll be able to do their business.
Susan UnPC (No Quarter) has posted the RNC's first video roll out against Bambi -- it's not pretty and this is the GOP taking baby-steps. (About the Louis. election, the elected Dem is a conservative and he started out with a double digit lead and barely squeaked by on election day after only a few weeks of the ads by the Republicans attacking him for his 'link' to Barack. Repeating, Barack at the top of the ticket risks Democratic control of Congress.) What group doesn't he have a lock on? I know that's a tough questions because there are so many; however, I'm referring to seniors and he's taken to knocking John McCain because of his age, doing the typical crap Barack does because Barack has no issues to run and no record to run on. John McCain's campaign (PDF format warning and link goes to USA Today) responds: "First, let us be clear about the nature of Senator Obama's attack today. He used the words 'losing his bearings' intentionally, a not particularly clever way of raising John McCain's age as an issue. This is typical of the Obama campagning. We have all become familiar with Senator Obama's new brand of politics. First, you demand civility from your opponent, then you attack him, distort his record and send out surrogates to question his integrity. It is called hypocrisy, and it is the oldest kind of politics there is. It is important to focus on what Senator Obama is attempting to do here: He is trying desperately to delegitimize the discussion of issues that raise legitimate questions about his judgement and preparedness to be President of the United States. Through their actions and words, Senator Obama and his supporters have made clear that ANY criticism on ANY issue -- from his desire to raise taxes on millions of small investors to his radical plans to sit down face-to-face with Iranian President Ahmadinejad -- constitute negative, personal attacks. Senator Obama is hopeful that the media will continue to form a protective barrier around him, declaring serious limits to the questions, discussion and debate in this race. Senator Obama has good reason to think this plan will succeed, as serious journalists have written off the need for 'de-tox' to cure 'swooing' over Senator Obama, and others have admitted to losing their objectivity while with him on the campaign trail." You need to pay attention closely to that memo. Had John Edwards, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson or Chris Dodd done anything like that, they'd still be in the race.

The reality is no one likes a brown noser, no one likes a teacher's pet or a little prince given everything. Hillary's a fighter and the fact that she is has turned the Democratic primary into a deadheat. John McCain appears to grasp what will work and what won't with Barack. Grinning like an idiot on stage next to Barack? Chuckeling? Playing his groveling little buddy to the point that you like a scared puppy exposing your belly? Getting punked and taking it with no challenge? Didn't work and all the men found that out, now didn't they? The only one who has held their own is Hillary and she's done that because -- though the pundit class hates strength -- the American people love it. Mark Salter, with that memo, goes from writer of McCain speeches to campaign operative to watch and you better believe Newsweek's gearing up their glossy profile. In terms of Barack's attacks on McCain's age, it's dumb, it's stupid and it will hurt him with seniors. If Barack's given the nomination, he's just given them the ammo to become "Democrats for McCain."
Tom Baldwin (Times of London) reports that Robert Malley has left the Obama campaign after bragging to the paper that "he had regularly been in contact with Hamas, which controls Gaza but is listed by the US State Department as a terrorist organisation." By the strictest reading of the Patriot Act, I believe Team Obama could be locked away. Good thing Barack voted against the Patriot Act! Oh, wait, he voted to reauthorize it. And, yes, it does go to judgement, it does go to leadership and, yes, once again Obama has failed.

Perry Bacon Jr. (Washington Post) reports Hillary was in Portland today speaking about healthcare, "The plan I have proposed would cover everyone, children and adults. An artificial distinction between children and adults is unworkable, you have to have [a] seamless health care system that covers every single American. My plan does, my opponent's doesn't." AP quotes her saying, "If you don't start in favor of universal health care, you'll never get there. How can you run for the Democratic nomination and not have a universal health care plan?" David Chalian (ABC News) notes that the Clinton campaign's Geoff Garin and Howard Wolfson "offered a power point presentation looking at 20 competitive House districts currently held by freshmen Democrats that also went for President George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election. Of those 20 districts, Clinton has defeated Obama in 16 of them during the course of the nomination battle and Obama has been victorious in four of them. Eleven of those 20 members have yet to endorse in the Democratic presidential race. Five have endorsed Clinton - including two this week - and four have endorsed Obama." The argument is correct. It was obvious in January to anyone studying the results (Obama has a larger portion of voters who only vote for him and in no other race -- indicating they are Republicans who will cross over only for him or that they're entire 2008 vote is for Obama only). With him being handed the nomination, the risk is that you drives away the base. That puts Congress at risk. But as Donna Brazile indicated in an e-mail Wednesday, it doesn't matter. Or, as she put it, "Message to the base: stay home." Message to Donna, stay away from buffets. You're going to have heart failure with all the pounds you're packing. Brian Goldsmith (CBS News) interviewed West Virginia governor Joe Manchin and asked about Tuesday's primary and whether the race should continue to which the governor responded: "Oh, absolutely. I truly believe so. And it's an exciting time to be a Democrat in the United States of America. And we have so many of them here. They're all excited about our primary. Myself, I'm up in the primary election. So we're all geared up for this. And having both of the candidates come to West Virginia adds that much more excitement to it."

Matt Tepper has a photo essay at and writes: "Hillary Clinton proudly became the first Democratic Presidential candidate to visit the Mount Rushmore State on Thursday afternoon. Nearly 2000 South Dakotans packed the Landmark Aviation Hangar in Sioux Falls to hear Hillary speak about her Solutions for America. Hillary clearly demonstrated that she is ready to lead this nation starting on day one and she is best prepared to beat John McCain in November. When Hillary is president, the voices of South Dakota families will finally be heard. On June 3rd South Dakotans will get their opportunity to vote in this historic primary!"

In other news, Cynthia McKinney's campaign has not refuted Ted Glick's statements (that they linked to last week) so she's not a real candidate for president. This will be an editorial at Third. We are done with her in the primary coverage and it's doubtful she'll be mentioned too often in the general election. We're covering candidates running to win the office, not to run a tiny percentage.
Team Nader announces Ralph needs "$50,000 to get Nader-Gonzales on the ballot in Illinois. Land of Lincoln. Where Ralph Nader was bumped off the ballot in 2004 by the state's Democratic machine. Where already in 2008, state Democratic machine operatives are making threats about keeping us off again." Oh come on, Ralph, the Dems would never do that, they believe in count ever vote. Oh, wait. Florida and Michigan. That's right, they don't believe in count every vote. They believe in count every vote that they want counted which is far less than universal suffrage.