TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — The towering black gate opens silently to an alley with walls of corrugated metal. Scrawled in large white letters on one wall is: "The End."
For those deported from the United States, the words are an unnecessary reminder. Nearly every hour of the day, guards unlock this gate that leads back into Mexico, clicking open the padlocks hung on each side, in each nation.
Every time the gate slams shut, it wipes out a dream, divides a family, ends a life lived in the shadows of the law.
We later read:
In a week spent at the Tijuana gate, The Associated Press watched busload after busload of deportees arrive, some in a daze, still stunned over their sudden expulsion. Many stumbled over the Mexican official's question, "Where are you from?" after spending decades in the United States.
The faces of those who stream through reflect how tough and far-reaching the U.S. crackdown on illegal immigration has become.
Today's Chicago Sun-Times features "It's time for Obama to prove his passion" by columnist Carol Marin. Amazingly, she finds an itsy bitsy problem with Barack Obama; he's just too darn cerebral. He needs to show voters what's truly in his heart, the things about which he's genuinely passionate. Marin manages to take a quick swipe at President Bush:
But Obama is a guy, wide smile and well-crafted message notwithstanding, who seems to give the electorate more of his head than of his heart. And though, lord knows, after George Bush we need a president with a head, the heart part is not incidental.
For 10 minutes, the talk show host grilled his guests about whether "George Bush's mental weakness is damaging America's credibility at home and abroad." For 10 minutes, the caption across the bottom of the television screen read, "IS BUSH AN 'IDIOT'?"
Correction/Author's Clarification: Since I wrote this, Time has added two vice presidents to its list, one of them Henry Wallace. There were originally 13 VPs named; now there are 15. The cache page of the first VP listed, Aaron Burr, shows him as "1 of 13." I don't know for how long that will be shown. Is someone at Time reading NewsBusters?
Any such list by its very nature is nothing more than subjective opinion. And in Time's opinion, every vice president in this century who warrants such scorn is a Republican. Calvin Coolidge, Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney are on the list.
On CNN Newsroom this morning, Capitol Hill correspondent Jennifer Yellin did a piece on how Barack Obama is attempting to exploit John McCain's uncertainty over the houses he and wife Cindy own. From Yellin's report:
YELLIN: And top surrogates are hitting 16 states to mock John McCain for, in the campaign's words, losing track of his houses. Obama supporter and VP short lister Virginia Governor Tim Kaine made the case on CNN.
GOV. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: He couldn't count high enough apparently to even know how many houses he owned.
YELLIN: The Obama campaign believes this line of attack will persuade voters that McCain is out of touch with regular folks and can't fix what he doesn't know is broken. It could also diffuse charges that Obama is elitist. It's as if they're saying, who's the snob now?
OBAMA: And if you're like me and you got one house, or you are like the millions of people who are struggling right now to keep up with their mortgage so they don't lose their home, you might have a different perspective.
Associated Press writer Douglass K. Daniel today reports "A housing issue: McCain not sure how many they own." The article points out that John and Cindy McCain are affluent. It then links McCain's age with his difficulty in responding to the question of "how many houses he and his wealthy wife actually own:"
With most Americans feeling the pinch of a worsening economy, the remark allows McCain's opponents to suggest that he personally is far beyond its grip and cannot feel their pain. It also displays the vast wealth of the McCains — his wife Cindy's fortune has been estimated at $100 million. It's also another example of how McCain, nearly 72, can be fuzzy and forgetful on some facts.
This evening on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, the host expressed amusement at something he'd heard earlier today on his own network. Ironically, the source of his merriment was a question posed by anchor Jack Cafferty on CNN's The Situation Room:
Earlier today, I posted on NewsBusters "CNN's Analysis: At Saddleback, Obama Was 'Thoughtful.'" The piece described how CNN repeatedly described Barack Obama at the Saddleback Church forum as "thoughtful." Other observers saw it differently, thinking Obama appeared evasive and indecisive. His hesitant fumbling especially contrasted with the very specific and resolute responses from John McCain.
The Reverend Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback and the host of the forum, appeared on CNN Newsroom this evening. Questioned by anchor Rick Sanchez, it seems clear Warren got the network memo.
Last night the Reverend Rick Warren questioned Barack Obama and John McCain at California's Saddleback Church. Post forum coverage at CNN was hosted by network chief national correspondent John King.
He began by asking CNN senior political analyst Candy Crowley and network congressional correspondent Dana Bash for their impressions. Crowley found McCain to have been "very direct" while Bash observed the GOP candidate addressed the audience rather than Warren. Both stated that Obama was "nuanced" in his answers.
When King asked Bill Schneider, another CNN senior political analyst, for his take on the event, the word of the day shifted from nuanced to thoughtful:
Today's contribution from the Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page, who also serves on the newspaper's editorial board, is "Enquirer scores— but about the aliens." Clarence frets about mainstream media credibility under attack for not pursuing John Edwards's affair:
The blogosphere is abuzz with criticism of the mainstream media for allegedly failing to pursue the story of Edwards' alleged "love child" when the National Enquirer first reported it last year. In fact, major media did try to confirm the story without using the Enquirer as a source. It appears most of us in the MSM tend to be hung up on stodgy old-fashioned virtues like facts. The Edwards bombshell became problematic when none of the main parties in the story would go on the record to confirm the allegation. If you're going to use unnamed sources, which is questionable enough as a practice, at least make them your own sources, not those of a supermarket tabloid.
For the first time since 1984, after six successive appearances on the podium, the Rev. Jesse Jackson will not address the Democratic National Convention in Denver later this month.
There are people who will applaud that fact. I won't be among them.
In her tribute to Jackson, Marin claims that "the unassailable fact of the matter is that he helped set the stage for the history that has already been made this year as an African American and a woman finished first and second in the race to nomination." Whether he indeed "helped set the stage" is in my mind questionable given Jackson's polarizing influence, but that's just a matter of opinion.
Yesterday's New York Times carried the story, "Indiana Senator Offers Obama Risks and Rewards." The article focuses on Democratic Senator Evan Bayh, described as "one of the leading candidates to be the running mate of the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, Senator Barack Obama."
"As a party we have to remember we are the big tent and have to make room for people with diverse views on this issue," said Kristen Day, the executive director of Democrats for Life in America, a group that opposes capital punishment and euthanasia in addition to abortion.
The proposed new language mentions better care for pregnant women and newborns, the need for easier adoptions and an overall effort to reduce abortions.
"We're hopeful that some language will be included that will say pro-life Democrats welcome, but at the end of the day we're still Democrats and we're gonna work hard to work on things that we strongly believe in," Day said.
Obama can certainly lose this race. But McCain's going to have to find a better way to win it than by invoking Paris Hilton or by sniping in his most recent ad how "life in the spotlight must be grand but for the rest of us, times are tough."
What's tough for McCain is that despite having had a practice run at the presidency once before, it didn't limber him up, cause him to realize that even the elderly now skillfully navigate the Internet or help him craft a "vision thing."
In the short run, jealous jabs at Obama for having too much face time on the covers of Rolling Stone and GQ may appear to close the gap in national polls. But the aggregation of images -- Obama in Germany, Obama with his cute girls and beautiful wife, Obama visiting his grandmother in Hawaii -- is by dribs and drabs helping America feel familiar with him, visualize him on foreign soil, and see him, perhaps, as both human and presidential.
In some ways the tightening numbers work for Obama, not against him.
The Chicago Sun-Times today includes Mary Mitchell's column, "We can deny it, but race slithers into campaign." The subheadline reads "Obama, his campaign trying to transcend it -- but can't." The article makes a startling assertion about Senator Barack Obama:
Obama tries to avoid talking about race, as do his surrogates, staffers and supporters.
Filling in yesterday for Chris Matthews on MSNBC's Hardball, Mike Barnicle showed what an understanding, compassionate fellow he can be:
We have some sad news to report this evening. Columnist Bob Novak has announced he has been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. He is retiring from the “Chicago Sun Times” to focus on his treatment and recovery. Bob Novak, despite your ideology, is a terrific guy, a good friends of ours. We certainly wish him all the best.
Novak is widely viewed as a conservative. Yet, despite that, he's still a terrific guy in Barnicle's opinion. Apparently, being a conservative and a terrific guy are mutually exclusive most of the time.
Chris Matthews must be reassured. His show's in good hands with Barnicle.
Three young African-American men stood up holding a sign that read "What About the Black Community, Obama?" as Barack Obama was talking about the economy at a town hall meeting here. Once the crowd realized what the sign, many started booing loudly, which caused Obama to turn around and look at the protesters.
Later, the piece updates with:
During a question and answer session, Obama called on one of the hecklers.
The word "heckle" is defined as "to harass (a public speaker, performer, etc.) with impertinent questions, gibes, or the like; badger." The word conveys an element of disrespect and incivility.
The word "protest," on the other hand, carries little of the acrimony associated with heckle.
Posted on the Los Angeles Times's Web site is the story "John McCain ad irritates many in Hollywood." The referenced ad, of course, is the one that uses Britney Spears and Paris Hilton to portray Barack Obama as a shallow celebrity.
Despite the headline citing "many," only two Hollywood types are quoted. "'I didn't think McCain could look silly,' mused Norman Lear. 'But that ad diminishes him and makes him look silly.'" And publicist Howard Bragman criticizes the commercial as "inauthentic."
If there are so many people who are irritated, you wouldn't know it by this article, which mainly conveys how much Hollywood heart Obama. The piece reports McCain used to enjoy some popularity there:
McCain's latest attempt at discrediting his handsome, photogenic young rival particularly galls stars and executives with a memory, because only eight years ago, McCain was a fixture in Hollywood fundraising circles when he tried to raise money from the very people his ad now ridicules.
On today's CNN Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, network White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux moderated a discussion with Barack Obama at the UNITY convention of minority journalists. Beforehand, Blitzer asked her about someone who wasn't attending the conference:
BLITZER: Senator McCain, I take it, he was invited to address this conference, as well. Is that right?
MALVEAUX: Yes, he certainly was. His campaign said there was a conflict of interest, that he had a lot of other things that were going on. He wasn't able to attend. This is a conference that has spanned across four days or so here in Chicago. Thousands of people have attended. It happens every four years. And so it really is very important to the journalists here, a lot of writers, a lot of people who represent media throughout the country are going to be paying very close attention. It is a shame that he wasn't able to attend.
McCain begged off because of other commitments. That may well be true, but even if it weren't it would have been a mistake for him to participate. He would not have been received nearly as warmly as Obama and the contrast would have given the mainstream media an opportunity to joyfully focus on the disparity.
Much of the mainstream media is gushing over French President Nicolas Sarkozy gushing over Barack Obama. The Chicago Sun-Times's Lynn Sweet, for example, wrote that "The beaming looks Sarkozy showered on Obama needed no interpretation." Unfortunately for the media, those looks of love didn't lead to an explicit Sarkozy endorsement, something they could have really gushed over.
Minutes after both Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and the U.S. Supreme Court denied appeals to spare his life and he was put to death by lethal injection Wednesday evening for his role in a 1998 claw hammer bludgeoning of a friend, 34-year-old Dale Leo Bishop urged Americans to vote for the Illinois senator for president.
According to the Natchez Democrat, after being strapped to a gurney Wednesday evening and apologizing for the crime, the goateed Bishop uttered these final words:
On the Reuters Web site this morning appears this cryptic headline: "ADVISORY: Baghdad story on views on Obama is withdrawn" After that, it merely states, "The BAGHDAD item headlined 'Iraqis say they like Obama, divided on his policies' is withdrawn. The story was transmitted in error."
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is popular among Iraqis.
In two dozen interviews across the country, many told Reuters a black man would understand their plight.
Obama arrived in Baghdad on Sunday on only his second trip to Iraq. He wants to bolster his foreign policy credentials and counter accusations from Republican presidential rival John McCain that he has not seen conditions in Iraq for himself.
"I support Obama. I think he is the best for Iraq and for the world ... if McCain wins I will be devastated," said Mustafa Salah, an office worker in the southern city of Basra.
Today's Chicago Tribune features "Left speechless?," by columnist Clarence Page. Page, who also serves on the Tribune's editorial board, writes:
Besides whispering to another guest on the set that he would like to de-sex the Democratic presidential candidate, Jackson also accused Obama of "talking down to black people . . . telling niggers how to behave."
Jackson has since issued two statements of apology for his self-described "trash talking." He also might issue this word of advice: If you want to whisper something that could be damaging if traced back to you, don't whisper it over a microphone.
Am I surprised by Jackson's use of the racial slur? Not really. I was more surprised to hear that so many other people are shocked, especially non-African Americans.
Ethnic etiquette has always given greater latitude to epithets expressed about one's own ethnic group, as long as they are expressed inside of one's ethnic group. That's how people talk within one's family or ethnic group, especially when you regard your ethnic group as affectionately as you regard your nuclear family.
But if we hold Jackson to a higher standard, it is because he has held us to one too.
Last night's CBS 2 Chicago's newscast led off with a segment on Barack Obama's visit to Kuwait. The station's Web site includes a written report headlined "Soldiers Overjoyed To Meet Obama In Kuwait." The accompanying video is titled "Troops In Kuwait Thrilled By Obama Visit." Obama was "applauded thunderously" by "excited soldiers," according to reporter Susan Carlson. How the media determined the troops were both overjoyed and thrilled isn't detailed. President Bush and others have been greeted by our troops with similar enthusiasm, but I doubt that overjoyed or thrilled were used in describing it.
This typifies the caliber of detached, objective reporting we've come to expect when Mr. Wonderful is the subject at hand. The mainstream media will be tossing bouquets - and probably their undies - in the direction of Obama.
Carlson did mention on her video report that Obama's campaign hopes his overseas trip will "overcome criticism that he lacks experience in world affairs." He needs major help in that area. As noted on CNN.com earlier this year:
"Obama’s Lobbyist Policy Excludes Cleland" was posted last night on the New York Times's "The Caucus" blog. It relates that former Georgia Senator Max Cleland was disinvited from a Barack Obama fundraiser because the decorated war veteran is now a registered lobbyist.
The piece ends with:
As a surrogate for Senator John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign, Mr. Cleland often got marquee billing at campaign events, even landing a coveted speaking role at the Democratic National Convention. He lost his bid for a second term in 2002 after a Republican television advertisement depicted him as unpatriotic.
On Wednesday's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" on MSNBC, Chris Wallace of Fox News was designated as one of Olbermann's "Worst Persons."
OLBERMANN: Our runner up tonight, Chris Wallace of Fixed News, explaining to the TV critics of America, who were gathered tonight in solemn assembly in Los Angeles, insisting that during the primaries Fox had the straight news reporters anchoring the election coverage, and not someone like Keith Olbermann, who was delivering ten-minute screeds against President Bush, telling him to shut the hell up, telling Hillary Clinton to get out of the campaign.
Chris, I never told Senator Clinton to get out of the campaign. I never even suggested it.
Really? On his April 23, 2008 program, Olbermann talked with MSNBC political analyst Howard Fineman. He brought up possible retribution against Clinton if she didn't drop out of the campaign:
DOBBS: Well, I'm very sorry that Julie Gerberding and the CDC is frustrated. But I'm a little more concerned about the fact that the American consumer right now is absolutely vulnerable. When the two agencies, the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration still, after more than two months, don't have a clue as to what is going on here.
SCHIAVONE: It's just an astonishing turn of events. We know that the first case was recorded in early April. This thing is not only going on, but it shows no signs of pulling back. And as you say, they just don't have any idea what the cause is.
On this afternoon's CNN Newsroom, anchor Don Lemon interviewed Carolyn Lochhead, the San Francisco Chronicle's Washington correspondent. The topic was "Obamacans," conservative Republicans who support Barack Obama for president.
Lochhead wrote a recent article on the phenomenon and was brought on to discuss the mythical beast:
Today's Chicago Tribune carries a front page story on the late Jesse Helms, "5-time senator 'great patriot' who held fast to his beliefs."
The piece's author, Los Angeles Times staff writer Johanna Neuman, states:
Often he was the lone voice of dissent in the Senate. He was the only senator to vote against confirming Henry Kissinger as secretary of state during the Nixon administration. And he was the only senator to vote against making Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a holiday.
Both assertions are wrong. MSNBC reported in a 2005 article on secretary of state Condoleezza Rice that Henry Kissinger was approved by the Senate in a 78-7 vote. And the King Center notes on its Web site that the King holiday bill, sponsored by Senator Edward Kennedy, passed in the Senate by a vote of 78-22.
In its eagerness to portray the late Senator as an isolated, extreme extremist, the mainstream media are making up their own "facts."
He may be dead, but Jesse Helms is still driving liberals to distraction. May he rest in peace.
On Independence Day, CNN anchor Don Lemon reported the death of former Senator Jesse Helms.
LEMON: Conservatives are mourning the death of an icon. Former Senator Jesse Helms has died at the age of 86. The North Carolina Republican was known for his unyielding stands on some controversial issues.
LEMON (voice-over): Ever since he came to the Senate in 1972, Jesse Helms had been the champion of the extreme right. His positions frequently infuriated virtually everyone else.