Red meat and potatoes from the Sun with an obligatory side dish of praise for Hillary, this time for her (relative) hawkishness towards the mullahs. Within the last hour, they’ve also posted a letter from Hillary to the organizers of the rally outlining what she would have said if she hadn’t disgracefully backed out after Palin’s invite. There’s nothing in either piece that you haven’t heard before, although Palin’s claim that Ahmadinejad dreams of eliminating “the Jewish people” is a pointed rejoinder to what the world’s tiniest terrorist said last week about distinguishing Israel from Israelis. Meanwhile at HuffPo, here’s the first attempt I’ve seen from the left to defend the decision to disinvite Palin. Why was someone from the Republican ticket invited, wonders Menachem Rosensaft, when no one from the Democratic ticket was? Possible answer: Because Hillary Clinton, who’d already committed to being there, is a vastly bigger draw and more influential surrogate for Obama than Joe “Zzzzz” Biden is, a fact Biden himself would likely admit. If you want to promote your event, you shoot for the biggest names possible — which is exactly what the organizers did, until the left decided that Hillary’s star turn at the rally to burnish Obama’s foreign-policy cred would have been diminished with Palin sharing the spotlight. They’re the partisans here, not McCain. And so I repeat my invitation to Fox News: Name ’em and shame ’em.

Lost in this soap opera, of course, is the point of the rally itself. Read the latest assessment from IDF intelligence about Iran’s progress on the bomb, bearing in mind that their estimate is actually conservative compared to the analysis of some independent think tanks. Readers who have been following our posts on this over the past two years know that the main obstacle to Iranian nukes is figuring out the tricks of the trade in keeping enrichment centrifuges not only online but running constantly at peak efficiency. How are they doing with that? Quote:

Physicist and former UN nuclear inspector David Albright says says Teheran could reach weapons capacity in as little as 6 months through uranium enrichment…

Iran, he says, has managed to iron out most of the bugs in the intensely complicated process of enrichment that often saw the centrifuges breaking down. The machines, he says “now appear to be running at approximately 85 percent of their stated target capacity, a significant increase over previous rates.”…

To date, Iran has produced nearly 500 kilograms of low enriched uranium, said the report – close to what Albright says is the 700 kilogram – minimum needed to produce the 20-25 kilograms needed for a simple nuclear bomb under optimal conditions.

And with Iran’s centrifuges running ever more smoothly, it “is progressing toward this capability and can be expected to reach it in six months to two years,” says Albright.

Exit question: If it’s six months to two years using standard equipment, what’s the timeline using more technologically advanced machinery?