|August 31, 2012||No Good, Pretty Bad, and yes, Ugly.||2 comments|
|August 26, 2012||Doggone Funny.||1 comments|
|August 21, 2012||Democracy Under Attack.||6 comments|
|August 21, 2012||New GOP Convention Keynote Speaker?||2 comments|
|August 21, 2012||Wiggling The Toes.||2 comments|
|August 20, 2012||Beer beats out wine as Americans' booze of choice.||1 comments|
|August 19, 2012||Science Corner.||2 comments|
|August 19, 2012||Eulogy.||3 comments|
|August 19, 2012||Setting Sail.||1 comments|
|August 19, 2012||Laser Tag (Martian Style).||3 comments|
Finger-pointing quickly ensued, suggesting real displeasure and even confusion over the handling of Mr. Eastwood’s performance, which was kept secret until the last minute and offered an off-key message on the night that Mr. Romney accepted the Republican presidential nomination.
A senior Republican involved in convention planning said that Mr. Eastwood’s appearance was cleared by at least two of Mr. Romney’s top advisers, Russ Schriefer and Stuart Stevens. This person said that there had been no rehearsal, to the surprise of the rest of the campaign team.
But another adviser said that several top aides had reviewed talking points given to Mr. Eastwood, which the campaign had discussed with the actor as recently as a few hours before his appearance. Mr. Eastwood, however, delivered those points in a theatrical, and at times crass, way that caught Romney aides off guard, this person said. Mr. Eastwood even ignored warnings that he had exceeded his time.
Mr. Stevens, in an interview, said he would not discuss internal decision making but described Mr. Eastwood’s remarks as improvised.
“He spoke from the heart with a classic improv sketch which everyone at the convention loved,” Mr. Stevens said.
He called it “an honor that a great American icon would come and talk about the failure of the current president and the promise of the future one.”
Mr. Eastwood delivered one of the more unusual moments in Republican convention history — a speech in which he pretended to have a sarcasm-filled conversation with President Obama sitting by his side in an empty chair. Initially, there were no plans for Mr. Eastwood to take a chair onstage as a prop. But at the last minute, the actor asked the production staff backstage if he could use one, but did not explain why. “The prop person probably thought he was going to sit in it,” a senior aide said.
“Mr. President, how do you handle promises that you made when you were running for election?” the onetime Dirty Harry said, mumbling to a befuddled crowd of thousands in the convention hall and millions of television viewers.
As thousands of “OMG!” tweets started flying, Mr. Eastwood, 82, asked the invisible Mr. Obama why he had not closed the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
“What do you mean, shut up?” he said, continuing to talk to his imaginary companion. A moment later, he stopped again, saying, “What do you want me to tell Mr. Romney?”
“I can’t tell him that. He can’t do that to himself,” Mr. Eastwood said. “You’re getting as bad as Biden.”
Leonard Hirshan, Mr. Eastwood’s manager, said the actor was traveling and would not be available for interviews until he started promotional work shortly for his next film, “Trouble With the Curve,” which is set for release by Warner Brothers on Sept. 21.
Mr. Hirshan said he had heard a chorus of response since the speech, divided evenly between those supportive and critical. “The more I look at it, the more I appreciate what he did,” said Mr. Hirshan, who added that neither he nor others in Mr. Eastwood’s professional entourage, as far as he knew, were consulted in advance.
“He does these things for himself,” said Mr. Hirshan, who spoke by telephone on Friday morning. “It’s his private life. He believes in what he’s doing.”
The networks began their hour of convention coverage at 10 p.m. Eastern time, which meant that Mr. Eastwood was the first act of the night for their viewers. He was scheduled to speak for about five minutes but stayed onstage much longer, throwing off the schedule for Mr. Romney, a stickler against tardiness.
As Mr. Eastwood ran long, convention producers activated a red light on the camera stand opposite the stage, a signal to nudge speakers to wrap up their remarks.
Despite the fuss that the speech created, the campaign insisted that Mr. Romney enjoyed it.
“I was backstage with him and he was laughing,” Mr. Stevens said.
Aides said Mr. Eastwood does not like teleprompters and was trusted to deliver an on-message endorsement.
“He made a last-minute decision to ad-lib, and I don’t think people knew,” said Ari Fleischer, a former adviser to George W. Bush, who said he had spoken with people involved in planning the convention. He suggested that second-guessing of the Romney campaign’s convention presentation was “just the nature of the beast.”
Two aides said that Mr. Eastwood had been booked weeks ago and that the expectation was that he would deliver a more standard endorsement, as he did earlier this year in Sun Valley, Idaho.
After that endorsement, Mr. Romney himself asked Mr. Eastwood to come to the convention, one of these people said.
Advisers were quick to point out that Mr. Eastwood mentioned all the points they had agreed upon, including an unemployment figure, but the aides had expected him to address the issues in a more straightforward manner.
As they hopped from party to party late Thursday and early Friday, celebrating the end of the Republican convention, Romney advisers tried gamely to find an upside. Several said that the Eastwood appearance offered a moment of improvisation in a convention that was otherwise surprise-free.
By Michael Barbaro and Jeremy W. Peters
Missouri election law gave Akin until 5 p.m. local time (6 p.m. EDT) to take himself off the Nov. 6 ballot in the Senate race against Democrat Claire McCaskill.
Party leaders including Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell had strongly urged him to step down.
But the Republican has vowed to stay in the contest, saying he represents a conservative movement that must be heard.
A staunch opponent of abortion rights, Akin claimed in a television interview on Sunday that women could not get pregnant from "legitimate rape" when asked about his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest.
MIAMI (AP) — Forecasters cast a wary eye Tuesday on Tropical Storm Isaac, which was looming in the Atlantic Ocean and poses a potential threat to Florida during next week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa.
It’s much too early to say with any certainty whether it will gain hurricane strength or make a beeline for Tampa, on Florida’s west coast. But it’s the type of weather that convention organizers knew was a possibility during the peak of hurricane season — and they have backup plans in place in a worst-case scenario.
It’s been 90 years since a major hurricane made a direct hit on Tampa. The last to strike Florida’s west coast was Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 packing 150 mph winds. The Aug. 13, 2004, storm was small yet powerful — and was initially forecast to strike the Tampa Bay area before it turned and slammed Port Charlotte, about 100 miles south.
National Hurricane Center computer models predicted Isaac would become a hurricane over the next few days, meaning maximum winds must be at least 74 mph (120 kph). Some models had the storm striking Florida, including the Tampa Bay area, after moving across Cuba or the Bahamas as early as Sunday morning.
Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at Weatherunderground.com, said long-range storm track predictions five days in advance are notoriously inaccurate, often off an average of 260 miles. But Masters said the climate situation has improved chances that Florida could be in the system’s sights during the GOP event that runs Monday through Thursday.
“It would take a perfect storm of a scenario where a bunch of factors all conspire together,” Masters said. “But we definitely have to watch this one.”
At 5 p.m. Tuesday, Isaac had maximum sustained winds near 40 mph (64 kph) but was expected to strengthen. The storm was about 500 miles (804 kilometers) east of Guadeloupe and was moving west near 17 mph (28 kph). A hurricane hunter plane confirmed the storm had strengthened.
GOP and state officials have contingency plans in place if the storm makes its way to Tampa, including an evacuation in a worst-case scenario. About 70,000 delegates, party officials, journalists, protesters and others are expected for the convention that culminates in the nomination of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president and Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan for vice president.
“We’re monitoring it,” said James Davis, communications director for the Republican National Convention. “We’re in close touch with all the federal, state and local agencies. We’re focused on preparing still and having a great event starting on Monday.”
A f o u r-day mock hurricane drill was held in May featuring a pretend major storm striking the Tampa area during the second day of the convention. Under that scenario, planners canceled. A major hurricane is a Category 3 or above with winds at least 111 mph (170 kph) and devastating damage can occur.
“At this point, we’re prepared for everything,” said Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor on Tuesday. “We’ve certainly factored that into our plans.”
Forecasters say that fortunately for Tampa, most Gulf storms emerge earlier or later in the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
Florida, historically the nation’s top target for tropical systems, has not been hit by a major hurricane since Wilma in 2005. The new storm’s potential threat comes just as South Floridians are marking the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 monster that resulted in 26 direct deaths and caused some $26.5 billion in damage when it came ashore south of Miami on Aug. 24, 1992.
(CNN) -- The USS Constitution, or "Old Ironsides," sailed under her own power Sunday for just the second time in some 130 years.
The Constitution set out on Boston Harbor in Massachusetts to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her victory over a British frigate during the War of 1812. The battle earned Constitution her "Old Ironsides" nickname.
"I cannot think of a better way to honor those who fought in the war as well as celebrate Constitution's successes during the War of 1812 than for the ship to be under sail," said Cmdr. Matt Bonner, Constitution's 72nd commanding officer.
Some 285 people were on board the ship, which sailed under her own power for 17 minutes, traveling a distance of 1,100 yards.
Tugs were then reattached to Constitution's sides and she returned to her pier by early afternoon. The ship, which doubles as a museum, receives more than half a million visitors each year.
Sunday's sail marked the first time Constitution sailed on her own since 1997. Before that, the last time she sailed on her own was in 1881.
The ship, which is considered the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat, is tugged into the harbor several times a year.
Constitution defended sea lanes from when she was first launched in 1797 to 1855.
A small, flat rock known as Coronation suffered the wrath of Curiosity’s laser when the Mars rover finally fired up its ChemCam instrument and delivered 30 pulses of energy at the rock over a 10-second period.
The laser pulses, each delivering more than 1 million watts of power for around 5 one-billionths of a second, turn some of the rock’s atoms into a glowing, ionized plasma. By analyzing the light from the plasma, the ChemCam’s three spectrometers can determine what elements are in the rock.
“We got a great spectrum of Coronation — lots of signal,” Roger Wiens of Los Alamos National Laboratory, leader of the ChemCam scientific team, said in a press release today. “Our team is both thrilled and working hard, looking at the results. After eight years building the instrument, it’s payoff time!”
The rock formerly known as N165 was selected as a good target for Curiosity to test its laser on. Scientists are using the data to learn how ChemCam is working, but they were impressed with the quality of the data, which are even better than the data acquired during testing on Earth, and they may learn something about the rock as well.
“It’s surprising that the data are even better than we ever had during tests on Earth, in signal-to-noise ratio,” ChemCam scientist Sylvestre Maurice of the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (IRAP) in Toulouse, France, said in the press release. “It’s so rich, we can expect great science from investigating what might be thousands of targets with ChemCam in the next two years.”
From Wired Science By Betsy Mason