Surprised that he is facing a run-off against State Senator Chris McDaniel to represent Mississippi in the US Senate, sitting Senator Thad Cochran (R) made an odd bid to corner the bestiality and animal cruelty vote.
With a knowing wink to his Pine Bluff audience, Cochran boasted that he'd done "all kinds of indecent things with animals" growing up in rural Mississippi.
Cochran campaign spokesman Jordan Russell downplayed Cochran's comments contending that they were "the sorts of antics that many boys and young men engage in as youths. Let's face it, rural Mississippi is just plain boring. Who can blame a youngster for setting a possum on fire or trying out his manhood on the family cow. It's no big deal. I think every adult male in the state will identify with the Senator on this."
This isn't the only crucial voting bloc Cochran has made moves on in the last week. Senile voters also received a nod from the Senator as he professed his confusion over Representative Eric Cantor's recent primary defeat in Virginia. "I didn't even realize that Eddie Cantor was still alive," Cochran replied to a Fox News reporter. "Great singer and dancer, too. My favorite was 'How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm (After They've Seen Paree?).' That one really hit home with me. Sorry to hear he lost his seat in Congress."
Coming to Cochran's rescue is a $250,000 campaign donation from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who described the Senator as "a national treasure the nation can ill-afford to lose. When it comes to public policy, Senator Cochran has forgotten more than he's ever known. His opponent can't even come close to matching this wealth of institutional knowledge."
Polls taken before Cochran's recent remarks showed that McDaniel had opened up a small 3% lead in the race. The impact of Cochran's new campaign emphasis is yet to be measured. Election day is June 24.
In related news, Representative Peter King (R-NY) lashed out at Senators Ted Cruz (R-Tex) and Rand Paul (R-Ken) for "encouraging voters to turn away from GOP leaders with years of experience and elect upstart neophytes whose single-minded notion that government can and should be curbed is simply out-of-step with modern realities. Life today is too complicated for individuals to cope with on their own. They need government help. The Democrats realize this. Until we Republicans get on-board we'll continue to lose elections to them."
Clinton Characterizes NPR Interviewer as "Dense" and "Unhelpful"
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her "deep-felt disappointment" with the turn her NPR interview with Terry Gross took. "Of all places I would've thought I'd be safe on NPR," Clinton complained. "Is this woman dense? For her to badger me like she did is unhelpful. I mean, NPR is public radio. As a subsidiary of the federal government they ought to do a better job of helping their friends."
The incident that sparked Clinton's ire was a Gross question concerning when Clinton decided to support gay marriage. "During the time your husband was president it appeared that your position was opposed to gay marriage," Gross said. "The infamous 'Defense of Marriage Act' defining marriage as a union of opposite sexes was passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1996. Yet now, it seems that you fully support gay marriage. When did you switch sides?"
"At this point what does it matter when I switched sides," Clinton replied. "If some want to believe that I always secretly supported gay marriage, but kept quiet for Bill's sake, what's wrong with that? If others want to believe that I, like so many other Americans, gradually came to the right side of the issue, what's wrong with that?"
"I was only trying to clarify things," Gross said. "Many brave individuals have been leaders in the fight for gay rights. Don't voters deserve to know whether you were among them? Or is being a follower of popular trends sufficient grounds for voters to elect you president in 2016?"
The question now seems to be whether Gross will be able to hold onto her job at NPR. Paul Haaga, interim Chief Executive Officer of NPR would only say that "personnel matters are confidential. Whether any particular individual is employed by the organization is an internal matter. The complaint registered by Secretary Clinton will be taken under consideration. A decision that best serves the national will be rendered."
In related news, Clinton is reportedly undecided on whether she will honor subpoenas to testify before Congress on Benghazi. "I do want to boost my book's sales," she told friends. "And some say any publicity is good publicity. But would stirring up more dust over that long ago tragedy really be in the nation's best interest?" Hillary suggested that "if I were able to see the questions in advance and be permitted to delete those that are irrelevant then I might see my way clear to participate. Otherwise I'm not inclined to invest my time."
NSA Says It Has No Control Over Its Data
Pressed to supply information in response to lawsuits charging that its widespread surveillance of US citizens is illegal, NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett contends that his agency cannot comply because "we've lost control over our computer system. We couldn't retrieve the subpoenaed information if we wanted to. It's like some kind of 'Skynet'--alien and artificial intelligence has blocked access to all our data."
Ledgett told US District for the Northern District of California Judge Jeffrey White "we're as scared about this as anyone. We don't know who's side the computer is on. We'd like to think that since we programmed it we could count on it backing the Government and serving its interests, but we just don't know. The fact that it currently is evading our efforts to manage it is not a good sign."
In light of Ledgett's response, Judge White vacated his earlier order requiring the NSA to preserve and produce the data needed to answer the lawsuits. "If the experts at NSA say they are stymied who are we to contradict them," White reasoned. "Until NSA regains control of its system, if it ever does, I can see no alternative but to trust in their best judgment. The plaintiffs' request for data is denied."
Events in Iraq Have White House Mulling Options
The recent military success of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)--they have taken several northern cities in Iraq and are said to be advancing on Baghdad—has the White House in a tizzy. In 2011 President Obama declared Iraq had been cleared of Islamic extremists, that they'd been decimated and were on the run.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest insisted that "the Administration is not accepting responsibility for these events. As the President has pointed out, Iraq was broken when he took office. The responsibility for that lies with his predecessor."
Earnest contended that "steps the President has recently taken provide some ray of hope for a positive outcome. His release of detainees from Guantanamo should've earned us a reservoir of good will with the Islamic community in general and its terror arm in specific. So, we have that going for us."
A second ray of hope cited by Earnest was the intervention of Iranian troops, which he argued "should stabilize the region. You don't see terror attacks occurring in Iran. We need to ask ourselves why this is the case. What is their secret for averting this type of threat?"
In Earnest's view "the positive role now being played by Iran also refutes those who say we've gone too easy on them. Maybe allowing Iran to join the nuclear club won't be so bad after all. While the ISIL might doubt America's willingness to unleash a nuclear strike on them, Iran might be perceived as having more fortitude in this regard."
"And let's not forget the President's masterful deployment of drone strikes," Earnest added, almost as an afterthought. "As he has humbly acknowledged, he's very good at killing people with this technology. These terrorists must realize that no matter how many cities they take, no matter how many men they murder or women they rape, a drone can find them and strike them down at any time the President chooses."
President Advises High School Grads
Speaking at a commencement ceremony at Worcester Technical High School in Worcester, Massachusetts, President Obama urged graduates to "vote Republicans out of office before they chain you to a life of sweat, toil, and unwanted personal responsibility."
"Our country is at a crossroad," Obama declared. "Will we continue to go forward toward a future of government-funded leisure for all? Or will the reactionaries of the GOP be permitted to drag us backward toward a lifestyle where everyone is dependent upon his or her own efforts?"
"Rugged individualism may have served our country well in the past when there was a wilderness to conquer," the President observed. "But we are far beyond that now. We are at the dawn of the era of collective freedom. There is no longer a need for back-breaking labor to put food on the table. We have EBT cards. There is no longer a need to spend hours spinning, weaving and sewing. Inexpensive clothing can be imported from China and India. Today, putting a roof over your head is as simple as taking out a loan that can be forgiven when you stop making payments."
"And it's not only the bare necessities that I'm talking about," Obama continued. "I see an America where everyone is entitled to the extras—all the good things in life. And, to paraphrase the Miranda warning, if you cannot afford them, the government will provide them for you."
The President did task the students with "a responsibility to do the one little and easy job of electing your benefactors to office. The enemies of the new freedom won't go away quietly. They prey upon outmoded ways of thinking to trick voters into buying their siren song. But you, as the new generation, can thwart their scheme by ensuring that Democrats hold all the levers of power at every level of government."
Graduating senior Jamil Johnson hailed the speech as "a freeafying experience. I can't say I understood everything he said, but it's clear that white dudes are the ones we've got to bring down if we want to be free."