“Republican Sen. John McCain is skipping President Bush’s State of the Union address on Monday night even though Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton plan to attend.”
For those interested in sources of growing carbon emissions, the N.Y. Times ran an important article today, “Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler.” Here’s a startling factoid:
To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms, Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, calculated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan — a Camry, say — to the ultra-efficient Prius. Similarly, a study last year by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.
And the indirect effect of growing meat consumption on the climate is equally large:
Marc Ambinder reports that Kathleen Sebelius is planning to endorse Barack Obama but wants to wait until after the State of the Union address because she’s scheduled to deliver the Democratic response (seems appropriate, maybe she can give Bill Clinton a lesson on etiquette). This further re-enforces the point that the clear sentiment among Democratic elected officials in the red areas is that a Nominee Obama or a President Obama would do more to expand the Democratic Party’s geographical reach.
John McCain, seeking to redirect the conversation in Florida away from the economy, about which he knows nothing and has little to say, back to his perceived strength of national security decides to tell a whopper about Mitt Romney’s record. I have no particular desire to defend Romney, who’s a liar and a buffoon himself, but one would hope that McCain’s affection for such tactics might enter the media consciousness about what kind of “straight talker” he is. On that note, good for Jeffrey Toobin.
Every once in a while, I come across a person who still hasn’t read Malcolm Gladwell’s definitive article on ketchup. Well, you should read the article. You probably don’t think ketchup is a very interesting subject, but you’re wrong.
Narrow lead for Obama over Clinton in Colorado according to a Denver Post poll. I’d kind of figured that Obama was doomed anyplace where Latinos outnumber African-Americans but apparently not. One advantage he should have is that normally states with smaller black populations show less racially-polarized voting patterns. Thus, though Obama likely won’t see many more states where the electorate contains such a high proportion of blacks as South Carolina, it should be much easier for him to win white votes in the whiter states just as he did in Iowa and seems to be doing in Colorado.
This morning on CNN’s Reliable Sources, Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz interviewed Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC’s Countdown.
Kurtz tried to press Olbermann into conceding that he is thankful for Bush’s unpopularity because his show’s success is due to his criticisms of the Bush administration. Olbermann responded that if given the choice between his current success and a new President, he would choose the latter:
KURTZ: But in a sense, the Bush administration has been very, very good for Keith Olbermann.
OLBERMANN: Honestly? No. I’m an American citizen, I think this has been a disastrous presidential administration. I would have given what I have, in terms broadcasting success in the nature of this newscast, I would have easily said…if I were given the choice of this or some responsible presidency in the last four years or eight years? I would have taken a responsible presidency.
Kurtz then accused Olbermann of making criticisms of Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly as an attempt to boost his ratings. “This is a clever way you get some ratings, the guy who dominates the ratings,” Kurtz said. Olbermann said that he is just trying to hold O’Reilly accountable:
KURTZ: Are you obsessed with the guy?
OLBERMANN: No. … The viewers not only enjoy this segment but expect it. Because there is a sense that if you do not answer or put on the record somewhere that O’Reilly has just denied that there are 200,000 homeless vets, if you don’t do it somehow, the lie will go to the record books.
Nobody used to say anything about O’Reilly’s “making it up as he goes along,” Olbermann argued. He later assured Kurtz that if Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) or Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is elected President the show would “not change much.”
“Who do you want to see take the lead role in setting policy for the country: George W. Bush or the Congress?” asks NBC/WSJ. The answer is congress by a 62 to 21 margin. One more reason to think that the weakness and conflict-aversion of the congressional Democrats is a bigger source of their low approval ratings than is any alleged overreaching. The President is very unpopular and people are apparently desperate for Congress to play a bigger role.
Looks like Ted Kennedy’s going to pull the trigger and endorse Barack Obama. Having the Kennedy/Kerry/Patrick trifecta should help Obama in Massachusetts, but more broadly one assumes that the iconic figure of American liberalism can help Obama convince people that he doesn’t have shrines to David Broder and Ronald Reagan in his basement.
Spencer Ackerman does analogies and asks the question that needs to be asked: Is John McCain responsible for the deaths of billions of D’Bari? It’s possible. Meanwhile, this came up as the two of us were watching a bit of McCain on the stump down in Florida. He has an odd manner — he makes a lot of jokes and he’s genuinely funny, but he sounds really angry, it’s more like a Lewis Black routine than a stump speech. What’s more, his efforts to appear concerned about the economy “my friends, we’re all know about the housing, um, subrime mortgage, um, crisis” continue to be unconvincing — I’m not sure McCain does know.