(CNN) – The two new ethics complaints filed against Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in the past week should be ‘a wake-up call,’ the former Republican vice presidential candidate says.
In a statement released late Friday night, Palin’s office announced that two more ethics complaints had been filed against the governor in the week since she made her surprise announcement that she plans to step down later this month -including one complaint filed on Friday.
“Although the governor would not have thought it possible, the latest complaint rises to a new level of absurdity in alleging that she has been paid for interviews that she has given to the news media,” Palin’s chief of staff Mike Nizich said in a release announcing the filing of the recent complaints.
“It is amazing to me that anyone could think that, let alone put their name behind it and once again seek to distract state officials and needlessly increase their work load. The state is losing the value of some of its expenditures when public servants are pulled away from important assignments to deal with far-fetched and mean-spirited allegations,” added Nizich.
For her own part Palin used the leveling of two more ethics complaints against her in a week’s time to call for a more productive political discourse in her state.
“The only saving grace in this recent episode is that it proves beyond any doubt the significance of the problem Alaska faces in the ‘new normal’ of political discourse,” Palin also said in Friday’s statement announcing the complaints. “I hope this will be a wake-up call – to legislators, to commentators and to citizens generally – that we need a much more civil and respectful dialogue that focuses on the best interests of the state, rather than the petty resentments of a few.”
Of the total of 19 ethics complaints that have been filed against Palin or her staff, “15 have been resolved without any finding of wrongdoing, and four are now pending,” Friday’s statement from Palin’s office also said.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) - The United States has dropped its request that two American journalists imprisoned in North Korea be released on humanitarian grounds, and is seeking amnesty instead, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.
A plea for amnesty implies forgiveness for some offense.
Previously, Clinton said the United States was seeking the immediate release of the women - Laura Ling and Euna Lee - on humanitarian grounds.
The women were sentenced in June to 12 years in prison on charges of entering the country illegally to conduct a smear campaign.
Laura Ling's sister, Lisa Ling, told CNN Friday night that she feels the change in approach is significant, and could aid negotiations for the women's freedom. Lisa Ling is a CNN contributor.
"The two journalists and their families have expressed great remorse for this incident, and I think everyone is very sorry that it happened," Clinton told a State Department briefing Friday.
“In a little over one hundred days,” Obama says in Saturday’s address, the stimulus plan “has worked as intended.”
“As a result of the swift and aggressive action we took in the first few months of this year, we’ve been able to pull our financial system and our economy back from the brink,” Obama also says.
The nearly $800 billion bill “wasn’t designed to restore the economy to full health on its own, but to provide the boost necessary to stop the free fall,” the president says in his weekly address.
Answering attacks on the stimulus bill in the last week for failing to create as many jobs as projected, Obama says the bill is still the process of yielding projects and employment.
“[I]t’s led to new jobs building roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects, thousands of which are only beginning now. In the months to come, thousands more projects will begin, leading to additional jobs,” the president says.
In Saturday’s address, Obama also responds to critics who believe the $787 billion bill is not sufficient to turn around the economy and who are, therefore, pushing for another stimulus package.
“[A]s I made clear at the time it was passed, the Recovery Act was not designed to work in four months – it was designed to work over two years. We also knew that it would take some time for the money to get out the door, because we are committed to spending it in a way that is effective and transparent. Crucially, this is a plan that will also accelerate greatly throughout the summer and the fall. We must let it work the way it’s supposed to, with the understanding that in any recession, unemployment tends to recover more slowly than other measures of economic activity.”
Saying the stimulus bill passed earlier this year was "full of pork barrel spending, government waste, and massive borrowing," the House Minority Whip also says in Saturday's address that "President Obama's economic decisions have not produced jobs, have not produced prosperity, and have not worked."
Citing the millions of jobs lost this year and a national unemployment rate hovering just under ten percent, Cantor also uses this week's address to assert that the stimulus package has failed to deliver as promised by Democrats.
"Remember the promises? They promised you if you paid for their stimulus, jobs would be created immediately. . . . Yet just months later, they are telling us to brace for unemployment to climb over ten percent. They promised jobs created. Now they scramble to find a way to play games with government numbers by claiming jobs saved.
"Simply put, this is now President Obama's economy and the American people are beginning to question whether his policies are working."
(CNN) - President Obama praised Ghana on Saturday for working to put its democratic government on a firmer footing, with peaceful transfers to powers.
Obama stressed that all nations must support "strong and sustainable" governments.
Watch: Obama speaks in Ghana
"History offers a clear verdict: Governments that respect the will of their own people are more prosperous, more stable, and more successful than governments that do not," he told Ghana's Parliament.
Obama said that much of Africa's promise is going unfulfilled, and he pointed to Kenya - where his father was born - as an example.
"Countries like Kenya, which had a per-capita economy larger than South Korea's when I was born, have been badly outpaced. Disease and conflict have ravaged parts of the African continent. In many places, the hope of my father's generation gave way to cynicism, even despair," he said.
"The 21st century will be shaped by what happens not just in Rome or Moscow or Washington, but by what happens in [Ghana's capital of] Accra as well," Obama said to applause.
The visit by the first African-American president in the United States sparked a frenzy in the country as street vendors sold miniature U.S. flags, and massive billboards with pictures of a smiling Obama and "akwaaba, " the local word for welcome, were set up in the capital city.
(CNN) - The text messages address various issues and come from all over the African continent.
From the personal: "Obama, as a young lady I dream of being the president. U r a huge encouragement."
To cries for help: "Dear president, Darfur firing again...waiting for peace through the change u promised."
To calls for intervention: "Encourage African leaders to improve the quality and access to education for citizens."
The messages, from Ghana, Sudan and South Africa respectively, were among more than 5,000 sent to Barack Obama during his first visit as president to sub-Saharan Africa as president.