US Politics

  Prosecutor Named To Probe Us Attorneys' FiringsSeptember 29, 2008 21:09

Attorney General Michael Mukasey named a prosecutor Monday to investigate whether former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, other Bush administration officials or Republicans in Congress should face criminal charges in the firings of nine U.S. attorneys.
The launching of a criminal inquiry follows the recommendation of internal Justice Department investigators who concluded that, despite denials of the administration, political considerations played a part in the firings of as many as four of the federal prosecutors.
In their 358-page report, investigators said the lack of cooperation by senior officials at the White House and in the Justice Department left gaps in their findings that should be investigated further.

  Mccain Suspends Campaign, Obama Plans To ContinueSeptember 24, 2008 15:48 Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain announced Wednesday that he is suspending his campaign to return to Washington and focus on the "historic" crisis facing the U.S. economy.

Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama said at a news conference later Wednesday that he and McCain had spoken by phone and had agreed to issue a joint statement about shared principles in the approach to resolving the economic crisis.

But he disagreed with McCain's call for postponing Friday's first presidential debate in Oxford, Mississippi.

"It's my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person will be the next president," Obama said in Clearwater, Florida. "It is going to be part of the president's job to deal with more than one thing at once. It's more important than ever to present ourselves to the American people."

Regarding McCain's call to join him in Washington to help participate in the congressional debate over the Bush administration's proposed $700 billion Wall Street bailout, Obama said, "If I can be helpful, then I'm prepared to be anywhere, any time. ... [I] don't want to infuse Capitol Hill with presidential politics."
  If Palin Were A Man Or A DemocratSeptember 18, 2008 22:58 It’s difficult to get my head around the mindset of letter-writers who clearly get their basic notions about American life from Fox News. Usually I just grit my teeth and turn the page. But the two letters today, implying that Ms. Palin is actually better qualified than Barack Obama, have forced a response.

Let’s review, shall we. I make no claim to authorship of the following, but it is factually accurate. (As if facts actually matter anymore.)

If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you’re “exotic,

Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers: a quintessential American

If your name is Barack, you’re a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

Name your kids Willow, Trig, and Track: you’re a maverick.

Graduate from Harvard Law School and you are unstable.

Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating: you’re well

If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the
first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter
registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years
as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator
representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of
the state Senate’s Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years
in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people
while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs,
Environment and Public Works and Veteran’s Affairs committees, you
don’t have any real leadership experience.

If your total resume is: local sportscaster, 4 years
on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with fewer than
7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with 650,000
people, then you’re qualified to become the country’s second highest
ranking executive.

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising
2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you’re not a
real Christian.

If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your
disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you’re a

If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no
other option in sex education in your state’s school system while your
unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you’re very responsible.

If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a
prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city
community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family’s values
don’t represent America’s.

If your husband is nicknamed “First Dude”, with at least one DUI
conviction and no college education, who didn’t register to vote until
age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession
of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.
  Karl Rove Says Excitement Over Palin Will SubsideSeptember 18, 2008 21:59 Republican tactician Karl Rove said Wednesday that John McCain’s vice presidential pick was a political choice and that excitement over Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will subside.

“Nothing lasts for 60-some-odd days,” Rove told The Associated Press after appearing at a health care conference. “Will she be the center of attention in the remaining 48 days? No, but she came on in a very powerful way and has given a sense of urgency to the McCain campaign that’s pretty remarkable.”

Rove said Palin was a “political pick” just as Barack Obama’s choice of Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden was, and that she is not the most qualified candidate. Biden, well-versed in foreign policy issues after more than three decades in the Senate, makes up for the Illinois senator’s lack of experience in that area. Palin has been governor for less than two years, and was mayor of small-town Wasilla before that.

But Rove said he had no qualms about her ability to lead.
  Palin'S Project List Totals $453 MillionSeptember 15, 2008 23:36 Last week, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain said his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, hadn't sought earmarks or special-interest spending from Congress, presenting her as a fiscal conservative. But state records show Gov. Palin has asked U.S. taxpayers to fund $453 million in specific Alaska projects over the past two years.

These projects include more than $130 million in federal funds that would benefit Alaska's fishing industry and an additional $9 million to help Alaska oil companies. She also has sought $4.5 million to upgrade an airport on a Bering Sea island that has a year-round population of less than 100.

Sen. McCain has made the battle against earmarks and wasteful spending a centerpiece of his campaign. He has never sought earmarks for his state of Arizona and vows to veto pork-barrel spending bills that come to his desk as president, saying these projects should go through normal budget review. And he derides the argument that states often make: that they're funding important projects.
  Palin Billed State Of Alaska For Nights Spent At HomeSeptember 09, 2008 09:48 Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.

The governor also has charged the state for travel expenses to take her children on official out-of-town missions. And her husband, Todd, has billed the state for expenses and a daily allowance for trips he makes on official business for his wife.

Palin, who earns $125,000 a year, claimed and received $16,951 as her allowance, which officials say was permitted because her official "duty station" is Juneau, according to an analysis of her travel documents by The Washington Post.
The governor's daughters and husband charged the state $43,490 to travel and many of the trips were to and from their house in Wasilla and Juneau, the capital city 600 miles away, the documents show.
  Fbi Arrests Former Lobbyist In Growing Abramoff CaseSeptember 08, 2008 14:01 The FBI today arrested Kevin Ring, a former lobbyist, for his alleged role in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Justice Department officials said that the FBI arrested Ring this morning at his Maryland home. He is charged in a 10-count public-corruption indictment, the officials said. Ring is a former congressional staffer for Rep. John Doolittle (R-Ca.)

The indictment charges Ring with conspiring with Abramoff and others to corrupt congressional and executive-branch officials by providing things of value to several public officials "to induce or reward those who took official actions benefiting Ring and his clients."

As reported by the Associated Press, Ring is a one-time congressional aide who went on to
work with jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Ring, 37, pleaded not guilty to a 10-count federal
indictment that accuses him of conspiring with Abramoff to win assistance from congressional and executive-branch officials by giving them things of value, and helping them skirt requirements to report those gifts.

He appeared in federal court unshaven, his hair rumpled, wearing shorts and a T-shirt and occasionally fighting back tears as he exchanged glances with his wife.

Ring's lawyer said that despite cooperating voluntarily for two years, Ring was not allowed to surrender himself. "The prosecutors orchestrated the spectacle of arresting Mr.
Ring in front of his wife and children this morning," attorney Richard Hibey said in a statement.

"While Mr. Ring had been cooperating with officials for over two years, he simply could not plead guilty to crimes he did not commit. From that point he was deemed uncooperative."
  McCain Campaign Lying in New AdSeptember 08, 2008 11:39 The presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John McCain are sparring over a new television ad claiming Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin stopped the “Bridge to Nowhere” — the infamous $400 million congressional earmark that became the ultimate symbol of excessive pork-barrel spending.

The new McCain ad, set to air in key states, calls both the Arizona senator and Palin "original mavericks," and characterizes the Alaska governor as an ardent opponent of the 2005 bridge proposal championed by Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens connecting Ketchikan, Alaska to the Ketchikan airport on Gravina Island (Population: 50).

Several opponents of Palin, as well as the non-partisan, have noted the claim she was against the bridge is not entirely accurate — the Alaska governor was for the bridge during her 2006 gubernatorial bid, and did not begin opposing it until it became clear the project was doomed on Capitol Hill.

  Heart To Palin: Cut It OutSeptember 05, 2008 15:15 Ann and Nancy Wilson, headliners of Heart, demanded Friday that Republicans stop using their hit song "Barracuda" at rallies for vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.
It's the second time this year that GOP stage managers have found themselves in trouble for using music without a singer's permission. Jackson Browne has sued the Republican Party over the McCain campaign's use of his "Running on Empty."

In a statement, Heart disassociated itself from the political views of the politician oft-nicknamed "Sarah Barracuda" in Alaska.

"Sarah Palin's views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women," wrote the Wilson sisters. "We ask that our song 'Barracuda' no longer be used to promote her image."

"The song 'Barracuda' was written in the late '70's as a rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women. (The barracuda represented the business.)

"While Heart did not and would not authorize the use of their song at the RNC (Republican National Convention), there's irony in Republican strategists' choice to make use of it there."
  Lieberman Could Lose Chairmanship, Democrats WarnSeptember 03, 2008 18:01 Sen. Joe Lieberman's speech before the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night could cost him the chairmanship of a key Senate committee, a top Senate Democratic aide told CNN.

Sen. Joe Lieberman's speech to the Republican National Convention on Tuesday angered some Democrats.

During the speech, the Connecticut senator praised GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain and criticized Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama.

"The Democratic Caucus will reassess the situation with Sen. Lieberman after the election," Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said Wednesday.

Lieberman, the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2000, now calls himself an "independent Democrat," but he remains a member of the Senate Democratic Caucus, which allows him to head the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Democrats have grumbled for months about Lieberman's outspoken support of McCain, and both Reid and Obama have warned Lieberman to curb his public criticism of Obama.
  Pastors’ Web Electioneering Attracts U.S. Reviews Of Tax ExemptionsSeptember 03, 2008 09:27 Keep religion out of politics!

There was a time when a minister like James David Manning could stand in the pulpit of his little church on 123rd Street in Harlem and say pretty much anything he liked about a presidential candidate. Beyond his community of devoted parishioners, who was to know?

But when Pastor Manning, who is black, posted an angry sermon in February on the Web site of his church, the Atlah World Ministries, denouncing Senator Barack Obama as a “pimp” and Mr. Obama’s mother as a “trashy white woman,” his preaching spread like a virus on YouTube, earning lavish attention on right-wing talk shows — and two weeks ago, the less-welcome attention of a watchdog group, which filed a formal complaint with the Internal Revenue Service.

The I.R.S., which can revoke the tax exemptions of churches that express support or opposition to candidates for public office, has declined to say whether it is reviewing Mr. Manning’s case. But in the past year, the agency has undertaken its first serious look at the digitized church world that his sermon represents, issuing a set of new guidelines that bar electioneering on the Web.

Both partisan-minded religious groups and those that police the boundaries between church and state say the implications of that new scrutiny are great.

Even as the increasing Web fluency of religious organizations has flung their doors wide to a new world of potential followers, it has also opened the gates for all to see what may have been intended only for the faithful in the pews. Now, I.R.S. investigators, as well as groups that monitor churches’ political activity, can do much of their work with a simple Google search, or a surfing of YouTube posts.
  Democrats Attack Lieberman, Saying He Lied To DelegatesSeptember 02, 2008 23:20 Democrats accused former colleague Sen. Joe Lieberman of misleading the Republican National Convention when he addressed them in a speech Tuesday night.

A senior Barack Obama campaign adviser said Lieberman flat-out lied when he told delegates that Obama never successfully reached across party lines.

"Joe Lieberman ought to be ashamed of himself for some of the things he said tonight, not as a Democrat but as an American," adviser Robert Gibbs said on "Larry King Live."

  Democrats Attack Lieberman, Saying He Lied To DelegatesSeptember 02, 2008 23:20 Democrats accused former colleague Sen. Joe Lieberman of misleading the Republican National Convention when he addressed them in a speech Tuesday night.

A senior Barack Obama campaign adviser said Lieberman flat-out lied when he told delegates that Obama never successfully reached across party lines.

"Joe Lieberman ought to be ashamed of himself for some of the things he said tonight, not as a Democrat but as an American," adviser Robert Gibbs said on "Larry King Live."
  Sarah Palin: Shooting Star?September 02, 2008 15:35 I love this headline. Shooting star indeed... gun-toting, Right wing, fetus protecting, war hawk cigarette glow is more like it.

Four days into Hurricane Palin and the decision by John McCain to pick the Alaska governor as his vice presidential running mate looks every bit as big a gamble as it did when he introduced her to the public last Friday. "Sarah who?" has been replaced by, "Who is Sarah?" and "What was John McCain thinking?" has been replaced by, "What did John McCain know?"

Each day has brought new revelations about Sarah Palin that raise questions about her political biography and philosophy. Not all of them are accurate, but many are. The McCain campaign is chasing ghosts as it tries to keep up with everything flying across the Internet. Tamping down inaccurate information is only part of the challenge. They are attempting to shape her introduction before others can.

Was she a past supporter of Pat Buchanan? He says yes; she and the campaign say no, not really, though she did put on a Buchanan button when he was in the state during one of his campaigns. Was she a member of the fringe American Independence Party? The campaign says no, that she has been a registered Republican since 1982. Was she a friend or foe of earmarks? It depends on when you look at her public career.