Two Black Republicans, Divided On Obama: Kevin Ross, a former judge who identifies as a "loyal Republican," says he's voting for Obama because he wants to "be able to look at my children" and tell them they can "be anything." Ron Christie, a former special assistant to President Bush, says he's not voting for a race, but rather an individual; to him, Colin Powell's endorsement is irrelevant.
Day to Day, October 21, 2008 · Former Secretary of State Colin Powell's endorsement of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has come with a vast array of questions. Has he opened the floodgates for other Republicans who are teetering on the edge? When presented with a contest between loyalty to one's party and loyalty to one's race, how should one vote? Or is loyalty even a significant part of the equation?
Alex Chadwick speaks with two black Republicans who are divided on these matters.
Ron Christie, former special assistant to President George W. Bush, says he doesn't think Powell's endorsement will have any impact.
"There is no question that Gen. Powell is a very admirable individual, but I have a difficult time believing that just 'cause Powell said he's going to vote for Barack Obama, that he's going to push someone over the edge," he says.
Christie says he is proud to see how the country has progressed, and that it's "encouraging to see African-Americans running for all levels of office." But at the end of the day, "I'm not voting for a race, I'm voting for an individual."
And in his case, that individual is Republican nominee John McCain.
Former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kevin Ross, who says he voted for McCain in the primary, has a different take on Obama's candidacy.
"For me, I was conflicted about the issue of race," he says. "And I knew exactly what someone like a Colin Powell was struggling with."
He says he felt torn between a sense of loyalty to his party and to his race, but ultimately it came down to the fact that "I had to be able to look at my children, and I wanted to be able to say to them, 'You can be anything you want. And now, after Nov. 4, you can also be president.' "
In his mind, this required supporting the candidate he describes as "competent, bright, touching people's emotions, speaking to a new generation and, on top of that, an African-American" — even if he doesn't agree with all his policies.
He still considers himself a "loyal Republican," however, and emphasizes that it's important that there are African-Americans in both political parties.
Astute Observer:I hope she accepts Hef's invitation and spreads 'em for Playboy. That would mercifully exclude her from the Vice Presidential nomination. She's a little old to bare all but she is far more qualified to pose nude than she is to be vice president.
O0psies — Palin's mask is slipping?
Sparky: Boobery commence! I still wonder if all that flying caused Trig to be the way he is?
I've never worried much about a gigantic asteroid hitting the earth, probably because I've always been more interested in another low-probability, Earth-shattering cataclysm: namely, the active supervolcano sitting beneath Yellowstone National Park. Supervolcanoes, mind you, aren't just "big" volcanoes like Krakatoa or Vesuvius; they're utterly monstrous—the last time one erupted was 74,000 years ago, when Toba in Sumatra slathered the atmosphere in ash and may have wiped out all but 10,000 or so human beings on the planet. Needless to say, having the behemoth under Yellowstone erupt—with it's 1,500-square-mile caldera (right)—would make us all forget about all that stock-market turmoil pretty quickly. Oh yeah, and having exploded 642,000 years ago, some scientists have calculated Yellowstone's due for another burp… sometime around now.
Anyway, here's the good news (a month or two old, but worth passing along even so): Recently, Derek Schutt of Colorado State University and Ken Dueker of the University of Washington estimated that the possible source of eruptions, a plume of hot mantle 50 miles below the surface in Yellowstone… isn't actually that hot, "only" about 1,450 C, cooler than the mantle plume you'd find, say, under Hawaii. This might be a sign that the plume's been disconnected from its heat source deeper down in the Earth's core—which could mean that it's dying out, making titanic eruptions less likely. Not everyone's so cheery—one geophysicist told New Scientist that "Ruling out a future catastrophic eruption would be foolish," and other recent studies have found disturbing activity on the march in the Yellowstone caldera. Still, maybe it's time to start freaking out about asteroids instead…
AP INVESTIGATION: Alaska funded Palin kids' travel
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – expense reports to specify that they were on official business.charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later amended
The charges included costs for hotel and commercial flights for three daughters to join Palin to watch their father in a snowmobile race, and a trip to, where the governor attended a five-hour conference and stayed with 17-year-old Bristol for five days and four nights in a luxury hotel.
In all, Palin has charged the state $21,012 for her three daughters' 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights since she took office in December 2006. In some other cases, she has charged the state for hotel rooms for the girls.
Alaska law does not specifically address expenses for a governor's children. The law allows for payment of expenses for anyone conducting official state business.
As governor, Palin justified having the state pay for the travel of her daughters — Bristol, 17; Willow, 14; and Piper, 7 — by noting on travel forms that the girls had been invited to attend or participate in events on the governor's schedule.
But some organizers of these events said they were surprised when the Palin children showed up uninvited, or said they agreed to a request by the governor to allow the children to attend.
Several other organizers said the children merely accompanied their mother and did not participate. The trips enabled Palin, whose main state office is in the capital of Juneau, to spend more time with her children.
"She said any event she can take her kids to is an event she tries to attend," said Jennifer McCarthy, who helped organize the June 2007 Family Day Celebration picnic in Ketchikan that Piper attended with her parents.
State Finance Director Kim Garnero told The Associated Press she has not reviewed the Palins' travel expense forms, so she could not say whether the daughters' travel with their mother would meet the definition of official business.
On Aug. 6, three weeks before Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain chose Palin his , and after Alaska reporters asked for the records, Palin ordered changes to previously filed expense reports for her daughters' travel.
In the amended reports, Palin added phrases such as "First Family attending" and "First Family invited" to explain the girls' attendance.
"The governor said, 'I want the purpose and the reason for this travel to be clear,'" said Linda Perez, state director of administrative services.
When Palin released her family's tax records as part of her vice presidential campaign, some tax experts questioned why she did not report the children's state travel reimbursements as income.
The Palins released a review by a Washington attorney who said state law allows the children'sto be reimbursed and not taxed when they conduct official state business.
Taylor Griffin, a McCain-Palin campaign spokesman, said Palin followed state policy allowing governors to charge for their children's travel. He said the governor's office has invitations requesting the family to attend some events, but he said he did not have them to provide.
In October 2007, Palin brought daughter Bristol along on a trip to New York for a women's leadership conference. Plane tickets from to La Guardia Airport for $1,385.11 were billed to the state, records show, and mother and daughter shared a room for four nights at the $707.29-per-night Essex House hotel, which overlooks Central Park.
The event's organizers said Palin asked if she could bring her daughter.
Alexis Gelber, who organized Newsweek's Third Annual Women & Leadership Conference, said she does not know how Bristol ended up attending. Gelber said invitees usually attend alone, but some ask if they can bring a relative or friend.
Griffin, the campaign spokesman, said he believes someone with the event personally sent an e-mail to Bristol inviting her, but he did not have it to provide. Records show Palin also met with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Goldman Sachs representatives and visited the New York Stock Exchange.
In January, the governor, Willow and Piper showed up at the Alaska Symphony of Seafood Buffet, an Anchorage gala to announce winners of an earlier seafood competition.
"She was just there," said James Browning, executive director of Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, which runs the event. Griffin said the governor's office received an invitation that was not specifically addressed to anyone.
When Palin amended her children's expense reports, she listed a role for the two girls at the function — "to draw two separate raffle tickets."
In the original travel form, Palin listed a number of events that her children attended and said they were there "in official capacity helping." She did not identify any specific roles for the girls.
In July, the governor charged the state $2,741.26 to take Bristol and Piper to Philadelphia for a meeting of the National Governors Association. The girls had their own room for five nights at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel for $215.46 a night, expense records show.
Expense forms describe the girls' official purpose as "NGA Governor's Youth Programs and family activities." But those programs were activities designed to keep children busy, a service provided by the NGA to accommodate governors and their families, NGA spokeswoman Jodi Omear said.
In addition to the commercial flights, the children have traveled dozens of times with Palin on a state plane. For these flights, the total cost of operating the plane, at $971 an hour, was about $55,000, according to state flight logs. The cost of operating the state plane does not increase when the children join their mother.
The organizer of an American Heart Association luncheon on Feb. 15 in Fairbanks said Palin asked to bring daughter Piper to the event, and the organizer said she was surprised when Palin showed up with daughters Willow and Bristol as well.
The three Palin daughters shared a room separate from their mother at the Princess Lodge in Fairbanks for two nights, at a cost to the state of $129 per night.
The luncheon took place before Palin's husband, Todd, finished fourth in the 2,000-mile Iron Dog snowmobile race, also in Fairbanks. The family greeted him at the finish line.
When Palin showed up at the luncheon with not just Piper but also Willow and Bristol, organizers had to scramble to make room at the main table, said Janet Bartels, who set up the event.
"When it's the governor, you just make it happen," she said.
The state is already reviewing nearly $17,000 in per diem payments to Palin for more than 300 nights she slept at her own home, 40 miles from her satellite office in Anchorage.
Tony Knowles, a Democratic formerwho lost to Palin in a 2006 bid to reclaim the job, said he never charged the state for his three children's commercial flights or claimed their travel as official state business.
Knowles, who was governor from 1994 to 2002, is the only other recent Alaska governor who had school-age children while in office.
"There was no valid reason for the children to be along on state business," said Knowles, a supporter of. "I cannot recall any instance during my eight years as governor where it would have been appropriate to claim they performed state business."
Knowles said he brought his children to one NGA event while in office but didn't charge the state for their trip.
In February 2007, the three girls flew from Juneau to Anchorage on Alaska Airlines. Palin charged the state for the $519.30 round-trip ticket for each girl, and noted on the expense form that the daughters accompanied her to "open the start of the Iron Dog race."
The children and their mother then watched as First Family official starter for the start of the Iron Dog race."and other racers started the competition, which Todd won that year. Palin later had the relevant expense forms changed to describe the girls' business as "
The Palins began charging the state for commercial flights after the governor kept a 2006 campaign promise to sell a jet bought by her predecessor.
Palin put the jet up for sale on Republican National Convention, and it was ultimately sold by the state at a loss., a move she later trumpeted in her star-making speech at the
That left only one high-performance aircraft deemed safe enough for her to use — a 1980 twin-engine King Air assigned to the public safety agency but, according to flight logs, out of service for maintenance and repairs about a third of the time Palin has been governor.
How great would it be for Sarah Palin to just man up and take her shirt off for Playboy come election time? She is just such a sassy hockey mom, she's really going to shake things up for those boys in the White House, blah blah blah generic rhetoric WHOOPS there's some breasts. Old guy Hugh Hefner has the right idea on how to really grab the interest of the American public:
"Palin would make a great centrefold. I don't know what it is, but there's something about a really sexy-looking woman wearing glasses. Imagine what she's like when those glasses come off. It would be a new definition of the word vice in vice president."
-Hefner in OK!
A new McCain in the making?
Isn't aerial wolf hunting already a vice? Or is that more of a hobby?
Speaking to a college audience in Boston, Mass. Friday, "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart used his stand-up routine to respond to Sarah Palin's comments about "pro-America" parts of the country, shedding the profanity restrictions that govern his Comedy Central show.
"She said that small towns, that's the part of the country she really likes going to because that's the pro-America part of the country. You know, I just want to say to her, just very quickly: [expletive] you," Stewart said to raucous applause.
Palin addressed a North Carolina fund-raiser Thursday night saying, "We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. We believe...that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, very pro-America areas of this great nation."
The comment was quickly picked up by media outlets and the Obama campaign, whose spokesman Bill Burton asked in an e-mail to reporters, "What part of the country isn’t pro-America?"
Stewart didn't let his own harsh language stop him from criticizing John McCain and Palin for divisiveness.
"I can't take it anymore...After eight years of this divisiveness, we're back to this idea that only small-town America is the real America," he said.
The Manhattan native accused the Republicans of "writing off whole swaths of the country," saying "cities are just a lot of towns piled on top of each other in one place. "
During the same routine, however, he seemed to write off Palin's rural swath of the country, referring to the governor's home not as Alaska, Wasilla, or Juneau, but as "the woods."
"McCain made an interesting vice presidential choice," he said. "I like the woods...I just don't know if I would pull my vice president out of the woods randomly."
Stewart also joked about Palin's recent statements on Barack Obama's links to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and Obama's abortion stances, distorting her statements:
"I've never seen someone with a greater disparity between how cute they sound when they're saying something and how terrible what they're saying is," he said, launching into an impression of Palin. "Don'tcha know, Obama, by golly, he just is a terrorist?... Oh, you know, he just, gosh, kills babies, you know."
Palin has referred to the relationship between Obama and Ayers by saying Obama "pals around with terrorists." She has also attacked his opposition to a state version of the federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act during his time in the Illinois senate, which would have required that medical care be given to infants born alive during attempted abortions.
The media has devoted hundreds of stories of late to the tenor of audience comments at McCain-Palin rallies, fretting about "rage" and "incitement" by the campaign, but the only account of Stewart's appearance is a one-sentence mention in the Boston Globe, and his abusive Palin comments are not included.
Below is video of Stewart's comments, with the audio improved as much as possible (earphones may help). A rough transcript of the video is after the jump. Please observe a content warning for bad language and some crass jokes:
"He (McCain) made an interesting vice presidential choice.
I like the woods...I just don't know if I would pull my vice president out of the woods randomly.
She came out again today. She was talking to a small town, she said that small towns, that's the part of the country she really likes going to because that's the pro-America part of the country.
You know, I just want to say to her, just very quickly...[expletive] you.
I've never seen someone with a greater disparity between how cute they sound when they're saying something and how terrible what they're saying is.
Don't ya know, Obama, by golly, he just is a terrorist? What? Oh, you know, he just, gosh, kills babies, you know.
I'm so over the idea that only small-town America is the heart and soul. Small-town America is fine, but it's the same as cities. Cities are just a lot of towns piled on top of each other in one place.
They have this whole thing that somehow we can write off entire swaths of the country, that we are somehow...I get it. You know, New York City wasn't good enough for [expletive] Osama bin Laden, it better be good enough for you.
I can't take it anymore. After eight years of this divisiveness, we're back to this idea that only small-town America is the real America.
I get it. I'm from New York. We have a lot of gay people. But homosexuals don't have sodomy on Russian flags."
No, but some would offer odds that “W” had hot sex with Putin on one.
Powell’s Endorsement Puts Spotlight on His Legacy
Powell’s Endorsement (via MSNBC)
It was not only an embrace of a presidential candidate from the other party, but also an effort to reshape a legacy that he himself considers tainted by his service under President Bush.
The endorsement, which came after months of conversations between Mr. Powell and Mr. Obama on a wide range of foreign and domestic policy issues, made clear Mr. Powell’s dismay at the Republican Party. He said he felt that the party had become too conservative under Mr. Bush, and that Senator John McCain’s campaign was not good for the country or its reputation around the world.
In that sense, his remarks further stirred the brewing debate about the nature of the post-Bush Republican Party.
“I have some concerns about the direction that the party has taken in recent years,” Mr. Powell told Tom Brokaw on “Meet the Press” on NBC as he made his endorsement of Mr. Obama. “It has moved more to the right than I would like to see it.” In recent weeks, Mr. Powell added, “the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower.”
It will be up to the next president, Mr. Powell said, “to fix the reputation that we’ve left with the rest of the world.”
People in both parties debated the impact of Mr. Powell’s endorsement, but on a Sunday morning in Washington the conclusion was that the action revealed less about Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain than about Mr. Powell, who 13 years ago was himself thinking of trying to become president.
In saying he would vote for Mr. Obama over Mr. McCain, Mr. Powell aligned himself squarely against Mr. Bush, who has been counting on a Republican victory next month to see through his strategy of avoiding a rigid timetable for withdrawals in Iraq — the issue, more than any other, on which the president’s legacy will rest.
Mr. Powell’s role in selling the invasion, despite his frequent clashes with other members of Mr. Bush’s team about how to proceed, has also come to dominate his own place in history. In siding with Mr. Obama, who from the start was an opponent of Iraq, he seemed to be making a clear break with the more hawkish elements of the Republican Party and signaling an effort to reshape how he is judged on the war.
One major factor in Mr. Powell’s decision appeared to be Mr. Obama’s careful wooing of the former secretary of state. In recent months the two have had one face-to-face meeting and some half-dozen telephone conversations, all initiated by Mr. Obama.
A friend of Mr. Powell’s said Mr. Obama sought the advice of Mr. Powell before Mr. Obama’s trip in July to Europe and the Middle East, and has also had long discussions with him on Iraq, Iran and North Korea as well as education and health care policy. The two last spoke some two weeks ago about the worldwide economic crisis, the friend said.
In contrast, Mr. McCain met with Mr. Powell, a friend of two decades, in June, and has not spoken to him since, the friend said.
Like Mr. Obama, Mr. Powell has long represented to millions of people around the world the possibilities of the American dream. The son of immigrants from Jamaica who was born in Harlem and reared in the South Bronx, Mr. Powell earned a degree from the City University of New York and then embarked on a rapid rise through the military, perhaps the most integrated institution in American life.
He became a military assistant to Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger in 1983, national security adviser under President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the first President Bush during the 1991 Gulf War.
By 1995 he was flirting with the idea of running for president, and a friend said he briefly considered leaving the Republican Party to run as an independent. But his wife, Alma, said she would worry about his safety. Mr. Powell finally announced he would not run in 1996 because it was “a calling that I do not yet hear.”
Mr. Powell had a tumultuous tenure as President Bush’s first-term secretary of state, when he was frequently undercut by Vice President Dick Cheney and Donald H. Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, in the period before the Iraq war. Although Mr. Powell had major misgivings about the war and what he considered the inadequate number of troops, he not only agreed to the invasion but also made the administration’s case for war in a presentation to the United Nations Security Council in February 2003.
Much of what he said is now known to be based on false information provided by the Central Intelligence Agency. Mr. Powell has been widely criticized for the appearance, including by Mr. Obama, a fact that Mr. Brokaw brought up on Sunday.
Mr. Brokaw read aloud a passage from Bob Woodward’s most recent book, “The War Within,” that quoted former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, a Republican, as saying that Mr. Powell was “the one guy who could have perhaps prevented” the war from happening.
Mr. Powell, who friends say remains angry about his time in the Bush administration, briskly responded that “it was not a correct assessment by anybody that my statements or my leaving the administration would have stopped it.”
The fissures within the Bush administration and the fractious Republican foreign policy establishment have in the meantime played out in the 2008 presidential campaign. In many ways, Mr. Powell’s endorsement reflected the rift between the so-called pragmatists, many of whom have come to view the Iraq war or its execution as a mistake, and the neoconservatives, a competing camp whose thinking played a pivotal role in building the case for war.
Mr. Powell, who is of the pragmatist camp and has been critical of the Bush administration’s conduct of the war, was said by friends in recent months to be disturbed by some of the neoconservatives who have surrounded Mr. McCain as foreign policy advisers in his presidential campaign.
The McCain campaign’s top foreign policy aide is Randy Scheunemann, who was a foreign policy adviser to former Senators Trent Lott and Bob Dole and who has longtime ties to neoconservatives. In 2002, Mr. Scheunemann was a founder of the hawkish Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and was an enthusiastic supporter of Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi exile and Pentagon favorite, who was viewed with suspicion and distaste at the State Department during Mr. Powell’s tenure.
Although Mr. Powell had some warm words for Mr. McCain on Sunday — he said that he admired him and that he would make a good president — friends say that Mr. Powell has felt cut out by Mr. McCain’s campaign foreign policy circle and concerned that Mr. McCain speaks too off the cuff about national security and has not taken the time to do the deeper homework required of a presidential candidate.
In addition, a friend said that when Mr. Powell met with Mr. McCain at Mr. McCain’s Arlington, Va., apartment in June, Mr. McCain spoke almost exclusively to him about the war in Iraq and the increase in troop strength, or surge, that Mr. McCain had strongly supported. Mr. Obama, who met with Mr. Powell at Mr. Powell’s Alexandria, Va., office, discussed a broader range of issues and actively solicited Mr. Powell’s expertise, the friend said.
Mr. Powell’s endorsement was such a powerful break from his past that Mr. Brokaw asked if he anticipated a role in an Obama administration, perhaps as an ambassador at large to Africa or in some role in Middle East peace negotiations.
Mr. Powell, in the practiced language of an old Washington hand, replied, “I served 40 years in government, and I’m not looking forward to a position or an assignment. Of course, I have always said if a president asks you to do something, you have to consider it.”
I don't want to google “/” fiction for Putin & W.