Cindy McCain on ABC Today: Palin Has National Security Experience Because Alaska Is Close To Russia

*Just when you thought that it couldn’t get much worse…nobody can be this stupid. Can they??*
When a Fox News morning host, Steve Doocy, testified to Sarah Palin’s national security experience on Friday by saying that her state, Alaska, was so close to Russia, it drew hoots across the media and blogosphere (and even, no doubt, from a few Fox viewers).

This morning, on ABC in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, Cindy McCain endorsed this very view.

Asked about Palin’s national security experience, Cindy McCain could not come up with anything beyond the fact that, after all, her state is right next to Russia. “You know, the experience that she comes from is, what she has done in government — and remember that Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia.”

She added that Palin has “was more experience than….” but Stephanopoulos cut her off before she could say, for example, “Barack Obama” or maybe “others give her credit for.”

Earlier, she said that Palin was “heavily experienced” in general, citing her going from the PTA to mayor to governor — and having a son headed for Iraq. She actually said that she started her political career at the PTA “like everybody else.” She also said she met her just before Palin’s meeting with McCain on Thursday and came away impressed that she too was a “reformer.”


Gustav worse than Katrina

The mayor of New Orleans has issued a mandatory evacuation order for the entire city, as Hurricane Gustav bears down on the US Gulf Coast.

Ray Nagin said residents of the city’s West Bank should begin moving out at 0800 (1300 GMT) on Sunday, with the East Bank leaving at midday (1700 GMT).

He called it “the storm of the century” and added: “You need to be scared”.

Gustav, which is forecast to strengthen to a Category 5 storm over the Gulf, powered through western Cuba overnight.

Gustav ploughed through Cuba’s Isla de la Juventud, or Isle of Youth, overnight on Saturday before hitting the mainland in Pinar del Rio province, home to Cuba’s lucrative tobacco plantations.

The storm, which has now moved into the Gulf of Mexico, currently has maximum sustained winds of nearly 240km/h (150mph), with even stronger gusts.

At least 300,000 people have been evacuated in Cuba, says the BBC’s correspondent there, Michael Voss. There has been extensive flooding and reports of severe damage where the storm has hit, but no reports of fatalities.

Officials on Isla de la Juventud said that nearly all the island’s roads were washed out and many areas were underwater.

No help

Hours before Mr Nagin spoke, a hurricane watch was put in place along America’s North Gulf coast, from Texas along to the Alabama-Florida border.

The BBC’s Kevin Connolly, in New Orleans, says Mr Nagin spoke in “passionate and desperate” terms, telling a televised news conference the storm was “so powerful” and growing more powerful every day.

“I’m not sure we’ve seen anything like it,” he told reporters at City Hall.

Mr Nagin said Gustav – expected to make landfall on Monday or Tuesday – was more powerful than Hurricane Katrina.

That storm, which hit New Orleans in 2005, killed some 1,800 people and caused hundreds of billions of dollars worth of damage.

Addressing anyone considering riding out Gustav, Mr Nagin said: “I have news for you – that would be one of the biggest mistakes of your life”.

The mayor said he was aiming for a 100% evacuation, which extends to members of the emergency services – fewer than 50 city workers will remain in the city.

Mr Nagin described the threat facing New Orleans in stark terms, calling Gustav “the mother of all storms” and urging people to follow the evacuation order.

Mr Nagin that there would be no emergency services to help anyone who chose to remain in the city.

“If you are stubborn enough, if you are not taking this as seriously as we need you to take it, and if you decide to stay; you are on your own.”

The mayor, who was in office when New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said those who stayed would almost certainly be stranded in a flooded city.
Predicted route of Hurricane Gustav (30 August 2008)

“Anyone who decides to stay, I’ll say it like I said it before Katrina: make sure you have an axe, because you will be carving your way, or busting your way out of your attic to get on your roof with waters that you will be surrounded with in this event,” he said.

“So anyone who’s thinking of staying, rethink it, get out of town.”

Our correspondent says that thousands of people were already beginning to leave the city before the evacuation order was announced, joining a continuous stream of vehicles heading north.

Meanwhile, Republican party presidential candidate John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin announced they would travel to Mississippi on Sunday to observe storm preparations there.

The hurricane has already claimed the lives of more than 80 people in the Caribbean.

It has swept through Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica over the past week, killing dozens of people and causing widespread damage.

It has strengthened rapidly from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane, and is expected to grow to a Category 5 storm – the maximum on the scale – as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico.

Crackdown begins: Food Not Bombs house among Saturday raids

*Yup. Feeding vegetarian meals to the poor is a violent act…lol*

MnIndy RNC reporter Jeff Severns Guntzel is at the Minneapolis Food Not Bombs house, which was raided by police this morning. Facts are still coming in, but Guntzel says that at 8 a.m. neighbors near the home, located at 2301 23rd Avenue South, reported hearing a loud bang followed by yelling. A single police squad car was parked out front. When Guntzel arrived he saw eight or nine officers enter the house in what he says is a joint operation between officers of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department, the Minneapolis Police Depatment, and the FBI. According to one witness who was in the house at the time of the raid, the action is related to last night’s raid on the RNC Welcoming Committee’s “convergence space.” Several other spaces have been raided this morning.

Around 9:20, two Minneapolis Police Property & Evidence trucks pulled up. Present were a Hennepin County Sheriffs’ crime lab truck, a Ramsey County Sheriffs’ squad and an MPD squad, plus at least four unmarked cars parked facing the wrong direction in traffic. Police tape is marking off the yard.

At one point a five-year-old boy was escorted from the home by police. In what Guntzel calls a “sweet moment,” the boy told police he wanted his markers, and the officer went in and came back out a few minutes later. “These are the only colors I could find,” the officer said. “Did I get the right stuff?”

As MnIndy reported on Thursday, rumors of a weekend sweep of activist organizations have been swirling. In the last 12 hours, at least three other sites, from the RNC Welcoming Committee’s “convergence space” in St. Paul to sites in South Minneapolis have been raided.

9:45 A woman named Heather Adams just came out of the Food Not Bombs house and gave Guntzel the following account: She arrived from Chicago at 3 a.m. this morning with plans to protest at the RNC. At 8 a.m. she woke up to find police in the house wearing riot gear and camouflage flak jackets. She says they had rifles drawn. Adams has a broken ankle, and when officers ordered her to roll over on her stomach, she says she was slow to do so and the officer, she says, pushed her with his boot.

Adams says one arrest was made. Nathanael Secor, a main organizer of FNB, was arrested on charges of conspiracy to riot, she says.

9:54: Guntzel says a Ramsey County warrant was served, and the house is now occupied only by law enforcement agents. Evidence has been taken out the back of the house. Adams said law enforcement took photos of maps of St. Paul which were present in the house, as well as house plants. Adams also said that a city inspector was on site as well. The house, according to one law enforcement official, has links to the RNC Welcoming Committee.

10:03: Guntzel has in hand a Hennepin County warrant. It indicates law enforcement was searching for incendiary devices, smoke bombs, urine and feces, and other items.