Veep Day is tomorrow, by all accounts. My against-the-grain prediction: Sebelius. What do you think?
I’d estimate it’s about 150 tons of carbon dioxide, some 10 times that of the average American. But someone should ask Senator McCain. After all, he says he wants to require all Americans to cut greenhouse gas emissions 60% to 70% by 2050.
As probably the whole country knows by now, John McCain does not know how many homes he owns. But the number seems to be between 7 and 12, depending on whether you count his Sedona ranch as one house or six.
Given how conservatives beat up Vice President Gore for the supposed energy excesses of his one Nashville home, I can’t wait until they start running TV ads attacking McCain’s climate hypocrisy. [Note to self: Don't hold your breath.] After all, McCain fashions himself as a leader on global warming, just like Gore, but his combined homes have a considerably larger square footage than Gore’s — and thus presumably a much larger energy use. That said, the energy use of McCain’s homes is infinitely less relevant than their greenhouse gas emissions (see “GOP Attack on Gore Makes No Sense At All“).
So what is the carbon footprint of McCain’s countless homes? Here is a rough estimate. Read more
Throughout his campaign, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has disguised his support for a failed strategy in Iraq by regularly railing against Donald Rumsfeld. A lengthy Washington Times article today highlighting McCain’s advocacy for more troops (calling it a “David against Goliath” battle) reveals that McCain’s push for more troops may have been more tepid than he portrays.
In an August 2003 meeting with Rumsfeld, McCain “made a very passionate case that we need to look at adding more troops,” according to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). But in a note from Rumsfeld just after meeting, McCain reportedly told Rumsfeld, “the answer may not be more troops in Iraq“:
An aide to the secretary said Mr. McCain’s account is incorrect. “In November 2003, Secretary Rumsfeld and Senator McCain had one of a number of conversations that ended with the two in agreement on the need to win in Iraq,” Keith Urbahn said. “Senator McCain may prefer to characterize their meeting as a Showdown at the OK Corral, but that’s not straight talk. It’s a fairy tale.”
Mr. Rumsfeld wrote a two-sentence summary shortly after his meeting, according to his office. “I had breakfast with Senator McCain. He said, ‘The answer may not be more troops in Iraq, but the answer is not the status quo.’ I agree with him.”
On the campaign trail, McCain assails Rumsfeld as “one of the worst secretaries of defense in history.” Yesterday, however, The Jed Report unearthed a 2001 Larry King interview with McCain saying he would have hired Rumsfeld had he been elected President in 2000. McCain said Bush assembled the “strongest” national security team in history. Watch it:
“Oh yes, and Cheney,” he added gleefully, saying that he told Dick Cheney at the time, “If I had been elected President, you’d have been my nominee for Vice President.” “Hell, yeah,” McCain told Stephen Hayes about Cheney serving in a future McCain administration. But in 2007, McCain said Bush was “very badly served” by Cheney.
As ThinkProgress has documented, McCain continued to try to have it both ways despite criticizing Rumsfeld, stating in 2005, “we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course.”
Our guest blogger is Jessica Arons, the Director of the Women’s Health and Rights Program at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
HHS has released its proposed regulation to “help protect health care providers from [religious] discrimination.” The good news is it no longer attempts to re-define abortion to include birth control. But don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet.The regulation no longer defines pregnancy or abortion at all. But in a telephone news conference, Sec. Mike Leavitt left open the possibility that individuals might be able to define those terms for themselves in determining what they find morally objectionable, which means they still may be able to deny women access to oral contraceptives, emergency contraception, and the IUD, among other commonly used methods of birth control.
And that’s just the beginning.
While most of the regulation limits the scope of allowable moral objections to training, performing, counseling, or referring for abortion and sterilization, some sections are not so restricted.
Entities to whom this subsection 88.4(d) applies shall not require any individual to perform or assist in the performance of any part of a health service program or research activity funded by the Department if such service or activity would be contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions.
That seems to be an exception you could drive a truck through.
Also note the objections can be based not only on religious beliefs but on any personal moral convictions. This is much broader than the traditional conscience clauses, including those that allowed for conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War.
Finally, the proposed regulation would extend protection from doctors and nurses to just about anyone who might come into contact with a patient, and even some who might not.
[A]n employee whose task it is to clean the instruments used in a particular procedure would be considered to assist in the performance of the particular procedure.
By that logic, an ambulance driver, a receptionist, and even the person who processes health insurance forms might be able to refuse to perform their jobs if related to a health care service they find morally objectionable. Volunteers are explicitly protected too.
The public may submit comments on the regulation during the next 30 days to http://www.Regulations.gov or via email to email@example.com.
UPDATE: NFPRHA has more.
The really important news of the day, it should be said, has nothing to do with Georgia or Iraq or John McCain’s houses — it’s the fiftieth anniversary of Ben’s Chili Bown, Washington DC landmark and the cornerstone of the U Street corridor. It’s home of the famous chili half-smoke pictured above. Of course any talk of the Ben’s chili half-smoke naturally leads people to ask “what’s a half-smoke?” The simple answer is that it’s a kind of sausage, a regional delicacy of the area. But what kind of sausage is it? That turns out to be a harder question, and one that resulted in one of the finest pieces of journalism I’ve read during my career — Dave Jamieson’s “The Missing Link”
Do people really say “frickin’”? I’ve always been a believer in the view that one should either curse, or else one should not curse. These gosh darn stand-in profanity terms are just silly. Battlestar Galactica gets a pass on “frack” because (a) their use is clever and (b) it’s clear that in the fiction “frack” is a full-bore profanity and not a substitute.
Over at Attackerman, Spencer Ackerman notes that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said today that the U.S. is constructing a missile defense shield in Poland to protect from “long-rang missile threats” from Iran and North Korea, not Russia:
This is an agreement that, of course, will establish a missile defense site here in Poland, a missile defense site that will help us to deal with the new threat to the 21st century of long-range missile threats from countries like Iran or from North Korea.
Russia interprets the construction of missile defense facilities on Polish soil as a hostile act. And rightly so — clearly the only possible adversary such a system could be aimed against is Russia. The Bush administration, however, not only believes in the missile shield but believes in pretending it’s not an anti-Russian gesture. Thus we get stuff like this:
“This is an agreement that, of course, will establish a missile defense site here in Poland, a missile defense site that will help us to deal with the new threat to the 21st century of long-range missile threats from countries like Iran or from North Korea,” Rice said yesterday at the Polish presidential palace in Warsaw.
As Spencer Ackerman wisely points out the idea of a North Korean missile attacking Poland is laughable and of an Iranian missile doing so only very slightly less so. The countries that Poland worries about are Russia and Germany; the countries with substantial missile arsenals are the United States and Russia; the country that this would defend Poland against if it worked (which it doesn’t) is Russia.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said yesterday in an interview with Politico that he did not know how many houses he and his wife Cindy own. “I think — I’ll have my staff get to you,” McCain said. “It’s condominiums where — I’ll have them get to you.” His staff has since said “the correct answer is at least four,” but the McCains actually own 7 houses.
Some in the media are leaping to defend McCain, either by justifying or downplaying his comment. The Washington Post’s Paul Kane called it a “manufactured flap,” and not “a huge deal” because “at this point in his national political career McCain is not going to be transformed into a super rich elitist. He’s just not, the voters won’t buy it.” Others downplayed McCain’s gaffe:
– Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic: “[T]he word ‘John McCain’ means a lot of different things, but rich isn’t one of them.”
– Howard Kurtz, Washington Post: The “assumption” that “McCain’s personal wealth makes him insensitive to the struggling economy…is highly debatable.”
And today on Fox News, host Martha MacCallum justified McCain’s comments, saying the reason he couldn’t answer was simply because the McCains “have real estate investments and he wanted to make sure he got that right.” Watch it:
Unfortunately, these reporters are ignoring an obvious and glaring reality that McCain is running a campaign of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. He recently defined rich as earning $5 million or more and doesn’t know how many houses he owns, and at the same time, McCain is proposing a tax policy that primarily benefits the rich. In fact, under his proposal, McCain himself would receive a $300,000 tax cut, while middle class Americans would receive only a few hundred.
Moreover, while ordinary Americans are struggling to keep the one house they own, McCain has a record of denying assistance to homeowners, having voted against mortgage protections and other steps to help consumers fight unfair credit terms.
But by now, we should all be used to the media’s favorable treatment of McCain. Indeed, just yesterday, McCain agreed that the U.S. should reconstitute the military draft. Yet some in the media argued that McCain hadn’t actually agreed to this policy change (he did) and instead chose to give McCain “the benefit of the doubt.”
Yesterday, the McCain campaign held a press call trying to make an issue of former U.S. ambassador to Israel/current Barack Obama adviser Daniel Kurtzer’s attending a legal conference in Damascus. McCain foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann and Ru9y Giul1an1 both did their best to spin Kurtzer’s presence in Syria in the most sinister way possible, but unfortunately for Team McCain, the only traction the story has gotten thus far has focused on reporter Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency being cut off when he confronted Scheunemann and Giuliani on their history of lobbying for various foreign interests.
The McCain campaign’s own incompetence appears for the moment to have thrown a wrench into their attempt to throw dirt on the reputation and judgment of a respected former ambassador to Israel. Scheunemann and Giuliani strongly implied that Kurtzer was involved in “covert” negotiations with the Syrian regime on Obama’s behalf, when in fact all Kurtzer appears to have done was voice his support for continuing Israeli-Syrian peace negotiations. Joe Klein writes that “the McCain campaign and its neoconservative allies have expanded their foolish bellicosity to Syria and are now criticizing a sometime Obama adviser for…saying that it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the next U.S. President to promote an Israel-Syrian peace accord”:
In this case McCain and the neocons–with their extremely warped view of Israel’s best interests–are considerably to their right of the Israeli government, which has been negotiating with the Syrians under Turkish auspices.
Heather Hurlburt adds:
When the McCain campaign goes after an Orthodox Jew, former dean of Yeshiva U., career diplomat who was the Bush Administration’s ambassador to Israel on 9-11, was caricatured in anti-Semitic cartoons in the Cairo press during his tenure as Ambassador to Egypt, where he bravely was a public face of Orthodoxy, and is the Commissioner of the Israeli Baseball League (you can’t make this stuff up), for doing something the Israeli government is already doing (talking to Syrians), will someone please tell me exactly how this country is supposed to have a diplomatic establishment?
As Steve Benen and Max Bergmann both note, John McCain was for engagement with Syria before he was against it. Currently, the only sort of US-Syria relationship that John McCain supports involves rendering CIA detainees to Syria to be tortured.