Palin’s Geography Lesson

By
Thursday, September 25, 2008 at 4:35 pm

In her interview with Katie Couric, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin again points to her state’s proximity to Russia as evidence of her national security cred. She offers, “As Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border.”

But a glance at a globe shows how misdirected this claim is. No flight from Moscow to Washington would go anywhere near Alaska — they fly over the Atlantic. Take a look at Delta’s flight routes to Moscow. Even flights from San Francisco go over the Atlantic:

To confirm, I plugged some numbers into MapCrow. Sure enough, the transatlantic route from Washington to Moscow is just 4,857 miles. A flight from Washington to Provideniya, Siberia (the closest Russian city to Alaska) is 4,007 miles — and then it’s an additional 3,973 miles to Moscow.

So the Palin route is nearly twice as long as the logical route.

And Palin’s claim that you can see Russia from Alaska is dubious. On a clear day, you can see one sparsely populated Russian island from one sparsely populated Alaskan island.

But it’s OK if her geography’s a little weak — Laura Bush says the GOP’s vice-presidential nominee is a quick study.

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Comments

41 Comments

Lorrne Gates
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 1:55 pm

She was referrinf to airspace incursions by Russiam bombers. Not that it is a realistic example of foreign policy experience, but either you misunderstood or were trying to be funny?


dva1946
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 1:57 pm

Quick Study? You mean she's chewing her fingernails to the QUICK?


Vlad
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

Please do not pick on my home girl, Sarah. It just so happens I have a summer dacha in Siberia and I occasionally take a quick hop over to Nome to pick up a case of Alaskan Amber. Pajalsta.


Mr. McKenzie
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 2:21 pm

And don't forget, Alaska is also next to Canada and has numerous airspace incursions by Canada Geese.


Ethan
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 2:39 pm

Honestly, I think her point was that the closest airspace to Russian is over Alaska.

And considering there's a large mass of Russia that's not Moscow … she's not inaccurate.


brandon
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 2:45 pm

Not a Palin fan but she is correct on this, http://edition.cnn.com/2008/US/03/26/us.russian…
Guess you get a lesson today


Ed Cates
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 2:51 pm

George Bush was also touted as a quick study. Sarah Palin needs a college education. It is my educated guess that she could not pass a comprehensive college examination. Her beliefs are archaic and downright scary. To equate Iraq as God's war is downright sicko. To shoot wolves from the sky is sicko. To not take responsibility for her daughter's sex education is sicko. To accept a redneck son-in-law to be who “don't want no f…… kids” is sicko. To accept a drug addicted son is sicko. To build a bridge to nowhere is sicko. To retaliate against a brother-in-law by using her office is sicko. Well, I think you get the picture. A woman her age should know that her chances of delivering a down's syndorome child if she doesn't use birth control is probable. The lady can't manage a family much less a state or a country.


Uncle Sam
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 3:11 pm

Time for your lesson, Brandon: States don't have airspace. Nations do. State government has no role in policing airspace incursions; they are entirely federal matters. A governor has nothing to do with it. And since when does hearing about an airspace incursion constitute foreign policy experience?


HAHAUBET
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 3:19 pm

Oh, really? Putin doing airspace incursions himself? Why, he has idle hands now since he left the pm last March?? Oh, wait, Sarah does not know. that…. hmmm


NETHERLANDS ANTILLES
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 3:39 pm

SHE'S A SMALL TOWN CRIMINAL AND A BULLY,AND NOW ON STAGE…


Former Alaskan
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 4:01 pm

Not that I'm a Palin fan, but she surely was talking about the Bear bombers that regularly used to fly up to U.S. air space and were then met by Air Force jets out of Galena.


brandon
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 5:29 pm

Was not commenting on how legitimate her foreign policy experience is, she has none. Just how silly and pathetic it was too waste all that effort with a silly little map showing Delta flight maps. Totally irrelevant and it does a massive disservice to anybody raising legitimate concerns over her experience. Kind of like someone circulating a picture of Obama dressed in Muslim garb. It cheapens and demeans someones point of view and makes them look like a petty child. If you want to make a strong intelligent point, make it. Don't put some stupid travelocity type map up that says nothing about anything.


Dr. Ron
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 6:02 pm

Anybody who can listen to that interview and understand what she is saying is a hero to me. Her answer was evasive, non-responsive and incoherent. If you read the transcript, it's even more incoherent. No wonder they have only let her off the teleprompter leash for a total of about 12 minutes of air time in a month.


Dr. Doug
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 7:07 pm

It is relevant, because she states that is her foriegn affairs experience. So what lesson did she give… You were not clear your self. Kind of like her who doing one of her three interviews stated I dont know what my running mate stands for but I will go find out and bring it back to you. Wow… Guess when that call comes in at 3 am and she has to decide what border to protect based on a credable threat she will pick the island 4 thousands miles away after she goes and asked someone what to do.


Dr. Doug
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 7:09 pm

No one misunderstood that was her response to a foriegn policy question asked of her about russia no one made it up that was her response


Art
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 7:38 pm

wow…dumb as a brick..gibberish

pootin rears his head?

as in the holy rollers bible 'the antiichrist rears his head'?

she wants nuke war with russia so bad she can taste it


Art
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 7:42 pm

did she scramble jets to intercept?
was it like 'fail safe'?

why does this giver her experience?
did she even know it happened until it hit the paper?

it standard stuff, we do it, they do it…

btw, she lied,AK has no 'trade missions' to russia…


Achshav
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 8:26 pm

Palin lacks the mental clarity to express a coherent thought. Her remarks are a combination of gibberish and rubbish. I'd sooner vote for a monkey.


theantibush
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 8:45 pm

The US Military would do well to stage a coup d’etat before giving that scatter brained twit authority over so much as a pack of chewing gum.

Country First…my arse.


Yaccov
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 8:51 pm

You could put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig
You could put Sarah Palin as Vice President
But she's still Sarah Palin
If Tweedle dee and Tweedle Dum is elected
I'm moving to Canada


theantibush
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 9:00 pm

If McCain wins, Im Canadian.
If Obama wins, I might have a couple years here in the USA, but with 40+ percent actually voting for Palin-McCain, its only a matter of time before another bushie, or worse, takes his place.

Either way, the USA is toast.


theantibush
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 9:13 pm

Yeah, I always thought KAL-007 (I bet you think that has something to do with James Bond) got shot down by planes from…Moscow.

And I always thought the DEW line (I bet you think thats where the trees start growing on a mountain) was a little far from and aligned in the wrong direction from…Moscow.

And, despite being an ex military aviator, I always thought all Russian military flights originated from…Moscow.

The dork map is one thing. Its an artifact from the ignorant country that gave you GWB, and may yet give you, unbelievable as it may sound, something worse.

The fact that an airhead is a heartbeat from the big button is quite another.


Wilbur
Comment posted September 25, 2008 @ 11:43 pm

Swinging schlong John McCrazy loves beauty queens. First wife. Second wife. Now, VP select. The crazy old bastard can only remain horny in his head at his ancient age. And this makes him a pervert. Have you seen the video of him eyeing Palin up and down and drooling?
He's a walking wound from POW days and wants everyone to pay. Everyone under 40 will be drafted if he is crowned.


N D PENDANT
Comment posted September 26, 2008 @ 12:02 am

SHE IS JAW DROPPING UNBELEIVABLY UN-PRESIDENTIAL (TO SAY THE LEAST). REPUBLICANS COME ON, EVEN YOU CANT BE SERIOUS. THIS LADY READY FOR THE BIG LEAGUES? GIVE US A BREAK, AND IF YOU HAVENT NOTICED MC CAIN IS ON THE BRINK WITH SERIOUS DEMENTIA. HE CLEARLY FORGOT WHICH HEMISPHERE SPAIN IS IN LAST WEEK, AMONG OTHER OBVIOUS GAFFES. HIS BIZARE DECISIONS (CHOOSING PALIN, SUSPENDING HIS CAMPAIGN)…OBAMA & BIDEN ARE OUR ONLY HOPE AND THERES NO GUARANTEES ANYONE CAN FIX THIS STINKIN MESS ANYTIME SOON.


Mark Chisholm
Comment posted September 26, 2008 @ 12:03 am

I saw the interview. Palin makes Dan Quayle look like a genius. She is that lacking in knowledge about world and domestic issues.

This is getting scary. I'm a Republican, but I am an American first and foremost. Palin could end up in the Oval office making decisions. That is not a risk I am willing to take.


Democrats 08
Comment posted September 26, 2008 @ 12:05 am

LOL, OMG, where ever did they find this woman, no wait, that's right, she's from the state where you can see Russia from her house! We'll be safe now with her in charge! LMAO NEXT!


Not A-Moosed
Comment posted September 26, 2008 @ 1:17 am

“Palin makes Dan Quayle look like a genius”

There's no comparison. Quayle was no bright bulb but he had some experience as a U.S. Senator and he had some knowledge of the issues of how the federal government works. Palin is a tabula rasa.


SR
Comment posted September 26, 2008 @ 3:06 am

Fair enough! If Palin had in mind commercial routes (and I won't pretend to know what goes on in her head, if anything), she's completely missed the geographical mark. But the fact of the matter is that ongoing NATO expansion, Bush's abrogation of the ABM treaty and promotion of a “Missile Shield,” the recognition of Kosovo's independence, etc., have all forced Russia into a corner. Putin, and now Medvedev, have dug in their feet, and they're making a public, global, show of the might of New Russia. Among other things, the Russian flexing of muscle has included resumption of bomber flights near NATO borders — and this, alas, includes Alaska. Is Palin aware of this? I wouldn't bet on it. I have absolutely no interest in defending Palin, but there's one or two chances in a million that she had Russian bombers — not commercial flights — in mind.


Jess
Comment posted September 26, 2008 @ 7:18 am

Palin reminds me of the Indian politician Laloo Prasad Yadav.
He was rustic (a people's choice) who was very proud of his small-town values and support.
Sparely educated, he would make similar remarks. He would eat and talk in small town ways..

He was RIDICULED to the core by the press and made into a laughing-stock by the elite.
He ended up today at the top reforming the Indian Train system as a Railway Minster in a dazzling success story.

Lesson: Who we laugh at today may end up laughing at us tomorrow.

P.S. Palin still does not have my vote (I'm an animal rights advocate and do not agree with her polices). However, I am appalled at the delight of her treatment meted out to her. Shame on us who are supposed to embrace all.


Manja
Comment posted September 26, 2008 @ 11:16 am

Hey Jess, did you say Laloo Prasad Yadav was sparely educated? He is a lawyer by profession… No wonder Palin still does have a chance of becoming vice president…


esteban
Comment posted September 26, 2008 @ 11:24 am

Not to defend her, but what she is referring to is Russian air force planes that challenge our air defenses by flying towards our coastline to see how fast our F-15s can respond. I wonder why no one is challenging her assertion that Russian planes have actually been in US air space – that seems to be a stretch.


Jess
Comment posted September 26, 2008 @ 7:31 pm

Laloo Yadav: Yes.. a B.A LLB – but I meant the media view was that he was basically a fool and uneducated– not that he actually was. And compared to the cream of crop educated aboard in ivy leagues– he was looked down from the elite of India, and frankly hounded every inch of the way.

Look where he rose to today- how much he reformed the Railyway!

Palin's media bash reminds me similarly.. . I hope this media bash inspires her to rise above it.


G
Comment posted September 29, 2008 @ 7:41 am

hehe!! good one Wilbur.


John E
Comment posted October 10, 2008 @ 4:20 pm

Palin got her first passport last year. Since Russia (Siberia) is so close and she can “see” it, wouldn't you think that a anyone at her level, a Governor, would be curious to meet those next door? Or, to put it another way, imagine if W never had step foot in Mexico.


Leatherback
Comment posted October 22, 2008 @ 1:43 am

I am surprised the Delta routes you show on the above map are as far South as they are. When I stretch a string over a globe the shortest route from Moscow to Washington DC is through the middle of the Scandinavian Countries, right throught the middle of Iceland, touching the Southern tip of Greenland and entering the US on the Maine-New Brunswick border. That is a so-called “great circle” route, shortest distance between two points on the surface of a globe.

There may be weather, air traffic and political considerations which cause the route to vary from that which would be shortest. In any case, one does not fly from Moscow to the US over Alaska unless the destination is Alaska or Hawaii. Indeed Moscow is 180 degrees round the globe from a meridian in Alaska running roughly half way between Wasilla (Anchorage area) and the capitol of Juneau. Juneau is actually closer to Moscow going East rather than West.

As for seeing Russia from Sarah Palin's house, even figuretively, it's nonsense. It's about 725 miles from Wasilla to Russian territory. Wasilla is a little further from the nearest Russian territory than Sacramento California is from Canada, and a little closer than San Francisco is from Canada. I assure you, I have never seen Canada from anyone's porch in either of these California cities and Canada is a damn long drive from anywhere in California.

If Ms. Palin was referring to the governor's house in Juneau, well that's about 1200 miles from Russia, about the same as San Francisco to the middle of Kansas, or Charleston SC to Kansas.

Also, there are mountain ranges between Wasilla and the Bearing Straight, including the one which includes Mt. McKinley, North America's tallest peak. So, not only must the Alaskan air be very pure, but the mountains must be transparent.

Russian policies, business, trade and military matters are decided in European Russia, West of the Ural Mountains and half a turn of the globe from Alaska. That part of Siberia which nearly touches Alaska has a very sparse population and for hundreds or even thousands of miles West from Alaska it has few cities of any size. It is important to the Russians for it's natural resourses but it is not a place of commerce nor political power. Sarah's “Russian” neighbors are mostly Aleuts, often belonging to the same extended families as Aleuts on the US side of the Bearing Straight.

–Leatherback


Leatherback
Comment posted October 22, 2008 @ 8:43 am

I am surprised the Delta routes you show on the above map are as far South as they are. When I stretch a string over a globe the shortest route from Moscow to Washington DC is through the middle of the Scandinavian Countries, right throught the middle of Iceland, touching the Southern tip of Greenland and entering the US on the Maine-New Brunswick border. That is a so-called “great circle” route, shortest distance between two points on the surface of a globe.

There may be weather, air traffic and political considerations which cause the route to vary from that which would be shortest. In any case, one does not fly from Moscow to the US over Alaska unless the destination is Alaska or Hawaii. Indeed Moscow is 180 degrees round the globe from a meridian in Alaska running roughly half way between Wasilla (Anchorage area) and the capitol of Juneau. Juneau is actually closer to Moscow going East rather than West.

As for seeing Russia from Sarah Palin's house, even figuretively, it's nonsense. It's about 725 miles from Wasilla to Russian territory. Wasilla is a little further from the nearest Russian territory than Sacramento California is from Canada, and a little closer than San Francisco is from Canada. I assure you, I have never seen Canada from anyone's porch in either of these California cities and Canada is a damn long drive from anywhere in California.

If Ms. Palin was referring to the governor's house in Juneau, well that's about 1200 miles from Russia, about the same as San Francisco to the middle of Kansas, or Charleston SC to Kansas.

Also, there are mountain ranges between Wasilla and the Bearing Straight, including the one which includes Mt. McKinley, North America's tallest peak. So, not only must the Alaskan air be very pure, but the mountains must be transparent.

Russian policies, business, trade and military matters are decided in European Russia, West of the Ural Mountains and half a turn of the globe from Alaska. That part of Siberia which nearly touches Alaska has a very sparse population and for hundreds or even thousands of miles West from Alaska it has few cities of any size. It is important to the Russians for it's natural resourses but it is not a place of commerce nor political power. Sarah's “Russian” neighbors are mostly Aleuts, often belonging to the same extended families as Aleuts on the US side of the Bearing Straight.

–Leatherback


MikeHydro
Comment posted July 14, 2009 @ 11:22 am

Pacific Geology !


sheswallows
Comment posted July 22, 2009 @ 3:58 am

palin gave me good head in my back seat in high school, i still vote for her:”


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Comment posted November 11, 2009 @ 10:29 am

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