Since I (and Martin, and the other PA bloggers) are writing about the Democratic presidential nominating contest more and more, I guess I should make something plain. PA is not the platform for any candidate, and while we all have our prejudices and preferences, I’d really appreciate it if readers would do us the courtesy of accepting that we are not on some secret mission to shill for one candidate or destroy another (or for that matter, fighting each other from different “camps”). We’re trying to call it as we see it. That does not, unfortunately, mean that the facts as we see them are always going to be as friendly to your candidate as to that candidate you hate, but it does mean we’re trying to be detached, though it’s impossible to avoid some spillover from their horror we generally feel when we consider four years under the governance of some of our conservative friends.

So if you want to disagree with what any of us are saying about presidential politics in the comment thread or in other venues, that’s obviously fine. But please, spare us, yourselves, and your fellow readers accusations of secret agendas or bad faith. I cannot speak for anyone else, but no, I’m not in touch with anybody’s campaign and am not a message board for anybody’s daily talking points. To put it another way: If I’m wrong it’s more likely because I’m ignorant and illogical than because I’m Machiavelli. Okay? Okay!

Here are some slightly tardy midday news/views treats:

* What was a bipartisan bill to invest some serious money in NIH in pursuit of medical cures is getting screwed up by Tea Party objections to a five-year funding commitment, plus an abortion amendment.

* Black conservative group offering a very lonely defense of Bill Cosby.

* Confederate flag physically comes down in SC.

* Turns out breakdown in FBI’s background check system enabled Dylann Roof to buy his gun.

* Tom Edsall suggests intra-Democratic divisions on trade policy are becoming toxic and maybe permanent. More about that later, though I may not have the energy until next week.

And in sorta non-political news:

* Whether or not Greeks preparing to “surrender” to creditors, markets sure think they are.

As we break for lunch, here’s the inevitable food-themed Arlo Guthrie antiwar song: “Alice’s Restaurant.” Particularly if you’ve never heard this before, enjoy.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.