- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2008

Obama aide repeats patriotism charge

Retired Air Force Gen. Merrill McPeak yesterday again accused former President Bill Clinton of questioning presidential candidate Barack Obama’s patriotism, only this time he did so with the Illinois senator present.

On Friday, Mr. Clinton said in North Carolina that “I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country.”

Gen. McPeak, an adviser to Mr. Obama on defense and intelligence issues, immediately compared Mr. Clinton’s words to the actions of Joe McCarthy, an anti-communist senator whom liberals widely revile, and reiterated his outrage yesterday.

“As one who for 37 years proudly wore the uniform of our country, I’m saddened to see a president employ these kind of tactics,” Gen. McPeak told a rally in Medford, Ore., with Mr. Obama at his side.

“He of all people should know better because he was the target of exactly the same kind of tactic when he first ran 16 years ago,” the general said, referring to the 1992 presidential campaign in which Mr. Clinton was accused of draft-dodging.

The campaign of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday denounced Gen. McPeak’s comments as “a pathetic misreading” and said “comparing Bill Clinton to Joseph McCarthy is an outrage and ought to be retracted.”

Spacewalk to leave inspection pole

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Endeavour’s astronauts embarked on the fifth and final spacewalk of their mission yesterday, this time to attach a 50-foot inspection pole to the International Space Station for use by the next shuttle visitors.

Michael Foreman and Robert Behnken floated out the hatch late in the afternoon as the linked shuttle and station soared more than 200 miles above the Pacific. They planned to spacewalk the night away.

“Spacewalk No. 5 out of five. It’s going to be a great one,” said their commander, Dominic Gorie.

The shuttle astronauts used the laser-tipped inspection boom at the beginning of their 16-day mission and again Friday night to check for any damage to their spaceship.

Marine reunited with ‘best friend’

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego-based Marine major was reunited yesterday with one of his closest war buddies — a 2-year-old dog named Nubs.

Nubs greeted Maj. Brian Dennis at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station when the fighter pilot returned from Iraq. It was the first time the two were together since Maj. Dennis’ family and close friends a month ago helped raise $3,500 to fly the dog to San Diego. Nubs wasn’t allowed to stay on base in Iraq.

Maj. Dennis, 36, of St. Pete Beach, Fla., had spotted the mongrel dog in Anbar province and later nursed the animal back to health after finding him stabbed with a screwdriver. He named the dog Nubs after learning someone cut its ears off believing it would make the dog more aggressive and alert.

Court to rule on bad jail food

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Prison inmates hate nutraloaf — a mixture of cubed whole wheat bread, nondairy cheese, raw carrots, spinach, seedless raisins, beans, vegetable oil, tomato paste, powdered milk and dehydrated potato flakes — that can be fed without giving them utensils.

Tomorrow, the Vermont Supreme Court will hear arguments in a class action suit brought by inmates who say it is not food but punishment and anyone fed it should get a formal disciplinary process first.

Prison officials see nutraloaf as a tool for behavior modification.

“It’s commonplace in other states as a way of providing nutrition in a mechanism that dissuades inmates from throwing feces, urine, trays and silverware,” said Vermont Corrections Commissioner Rob Hofmann. “It tends to have the desired outcome.”

Seth Lipschutz, an attorney with Vermont’s Prisoners’ Rights Office, says the state has a legitimate interest in changing the behavior of inmates who misbehave, but a diet of nutraloaf is punishment and to call it anything else is “playing with words to get what they want. It’s wrong and it’s sad.”

Meat worker gets jail for cattle abuse

CHINO, Calif. — One of two men caught on videotape abusing cattle at a California slaughterhouse has been sentenced to six months in jail.

Rafael Sanchez Herrera pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of animal abuse in a San Bernardino County Superior Court on Friday. Under the plea deal the 34-year-old Sanchez will be deported to his native Mexico after serving his jail time.

The video shows Herrera and other workers at the Westland/Hallmark Meat Company dragging sick cows with metal chains and forklifts, shocking them with electric prods and shooting streams of water at them.

Besides animal cruelty laws, the acts violated food-safety regulations on the handling of sick cattle and led to the largest beef recall in U.S. history.

Atlanta body may be first tornado death

ATLANTA — Workers found a body yesterday while clearing rubble from a building damaged more than a week ago when a tornado slammed into downtown Atlanta, police said.

“We may have the first tornado victim in the city of Atlanta, but we won’t know for sure until the medical examiner” returns with results, Officer James Polite said.

Workers using a Bobcat to scoop up bricks and debris saw a hand sticking out of the rubble and called police, Officer Polite said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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