O How Fleeting are the lovely cherry blossoms, already being rinsed from their knobby branches by the Spring rain. Though the National Cherry Blossom Festival continues here in D.C. until the 13th, we've already passed the peak bloom. Hanami, the Japanese word for a flower-viewing party, has a bittersweet undertone; the blossoms are precious for being so fleeting, like the Queen's youth ... but markedly unlike the 2008 presidential election.
Take a deep breath of April air and share with me this weekly look at our odd corner of the universe.
Gen. David Petraeus is up before Congress again next week, though with less fanfare than last time. The goal of the GOP is simple: keep this story below the fold and limit his appearance to a two-day story. All news is bad news and they know it. Expect instant reactions from all three campaigns, with McCain's at the forefront.
Continuing the trend from this week, Obama will pick up even more party endorsements to add to the most recent thumbs-ups from Gov. Dave Freudenthal and former Rep. Lee Hamilton. Soon, perhaps, even one from ex-peanut farmer cum President who shall remain nameless? With these additional endorsements, expect more prominent stories on how the party is slowly putting a protective layer of bodies between Obama and the Clinton attacks. Don't forget, each time he nabs key endorsements, Obama wins the news cycle for the week.
Look for more buzz about Al Gore's future. The man is primed to be everywhere once again. After announcing on 60 Minutes his landmark $300 million project on global warming, he has thrown down the gauntlet for accomplishment: What have the rest of you Dems been doing other than fighting in committee or taking embarrassing photo ops on the campaign trial? Democrats, for the love of God, do something! Plant a tree? Mow your neighbor's lawn? Anything!
And because we all have to show up our friends online, Myspace next week will challenge Apple's iTunes Store by launching a music service that will give users access to a wide range of music for a monthly fee. While this will usher in a new era for struggling music labels, which are collaborating with Myspace on this, we're too pre-occupied with getting our own TR mix in order. Send us your mixes, people, and we'll post ours next week!
The Week That Was
Let's dispense with the circus right off the bat. Obama out-raised Hillary two-to-one in March, and New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine -- a superdelegate and longtime Clinton supporter -- may defect. As someone posted below the latter story, "If (the Clinton campaign) were the Titanic, the band would be playing Nearer My God To Thee just about now."
And yet she is hanging tough, with a new 3 a.m. ad (suddenly this has become its own genre) in which she goes after McCain. Next came a McCain ad that cleverly uses the same footage with a new voiceover. We await Obama's entry.
Speaking of whom, the man is flawed, he can't bowl! But at least his horrendous score of 36 gave campaign journalists, bored during the lull between primaries, something to do: trawl the highways and byways of America for incriminating score cards. Don't you get 20 points for just picking up the ball?
Katie Couric finally gets her shot as a debate moderator, now that Hillary and Obama have accepted CBS News' invitation to face off later this month in North Carolina.
So Hillary, resolutely in the race, appears to still have a shot. But some cynics believe it's an illusion based on crass manipulation by an avaricious media. Time will tell.
John McCain got a key endorsement this week from Heidi Montag, the new Boss Tweed of reality shows, who, BTW, is a feminist hero, breast implants and all. McCain also made a key stop at his old high school on his "biography tour." Whoa, John, you shouldn't have reminded people that you graduated before "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and the Comets was a hit.
So it's a circus, but we could have it much worse. We could live in Zimbabwe, where the anxious populace now waits to find out whether Robert Mugabe will meet his defeat with or without bloodshed. While the octogenarian despot contemplates his dwindling options, his police have detained Pulitzer Prize-winning NY Times correspondent Barry Bearak -- not a good sign.
Bernanke has uttered the "R" word, and sure enough jobs are down in D.C. by one point from February and 30 points from a year ago according to the Monster Employment Index, which tracks employer online recruitment activity. If you're out of work, consider Atlanta or Wichita, where apparently things are looking up. Whatever you do, don't bother trying to break into TV news, where stocks, revenues and axes keep falling, or newspapers, which are reeling from the worst ad revenue plunge in 60 years. Consider instead becoming a citizen journalist! I don't know about the money, but it'll keep you in the game.
Or be Tina Brown and Barry Diller. They're launching a new news aggregator, sweeping scraps into what may perhaps pass as a robust news source. Oops, there goes the Queen's launch party invitation.
We found ourselves cheering Sen. Debbie Stabenow's gritty performance after the revelation that her husband paid $150 dollars for an encounter with a prostitute. At least this gave us a new variation on the spouse-by-one's-side post-scandal statement.
A transgender man, formerly a Miss Teen Hawaii U.S.A. finalist, is six months pregnant. Thomas Beatie says that pregnancy does not make him feel feminine, and that he has "a very stable male identity." Wow, if the ability to have children is not what distinguishes women from men, what does? The Queen feels her universe shifting.
Finally, Ted Turner forecasts that due to global warming, in 30 or 40 years, nothing will grow and what's left of the human race will be cannibalizing each other. Best take the Queen's advice: eat lots of fruits and vegetable while you can, bone-up on your BBQ skills and start hoarding ketchup.
We went perfect. Did you really expect anything less? Have a great weekend.