Tuesday, September 30, 2008

BREVITAS

OUTLYING PRECINCTS

Joel Stein, LA Times
- If you need proof that this is the most important election in a generation, get this: Jewish grandkids are flying to Florida to visit their grandparents -- without being guilted into it -- to talk their elders out of voting for John McCain. The Jewish Council for Education and Research -- a new pro-Obama political action committee -- is organizing "The Great Schlep," in which hundreds of Jews will make the Southern exodus on Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 10-13. They will travel to the Fort Lauderdale area, where they will visit their grandparents, organize political salons in their condos and eat incredibly bad food. . . More than hockey moms or gun-toting God lovers, old Floridian Jews are the most important demographic in this election. They make up about 5% of the voters in a swing state with 27 electoral college votes. They never miss so much as a condo board vote and are normally reliable Democrats. Barack Obama's trouble winning over older Jewish voters has been difficult for pollsters to explain, so I came here this week to visit my grandmother, Mama Ann, and find out what the hang-up is. After a long discussion about policy, I asked her if the reason she was leaning toward voting for McCain was because Obama is black. She assured me that it was not. Though during dinner, she did casually mention that her grandfather used to express a superstition that if you ate marrow, you'd date a black man. I had no idea that for so many generations, Jews have hated marrow. . .

ECO CLIPS

Architecture 2030
- According to the US Energy Information Administration, oil production from drilling offshore in the outer continental shelf wouldn't begin until around the year 2017. Once begun, it wouldn't reach peak production until about 2030 when it would produce only 200,000 barrels of oil per day. This would supply a meager 1.2% of total US annual oil consumption (just 0.6% of total US energy consumption). And, the offshore oil would be sold back to the US at the international rate, which today is $106 a barrel. So, the oil produced by offshore drilling would not only be a "drop in the bucket", it would be expensive, which translates to "no relief at the pump".

USA Today - The state of Washington is telling its local governments they must prohibit home car washing unless residents divert the wash water away from storm drains, where they say it causes water pollution. "I understand this is something people have done for a long time," says Bill Moore, water quality specialist with the Washington state Department of Ecology, which is requiring the ban. "It's not something we should be doing any longer." He says the soapy runoff is toxic to salmon and other fish and that small metal particles that wash off cars, such as brake dust, is harmful, too. Unlike public sanitary sewer systems that clean wastes from water, storm drain systems in most communities empty straight into streams and eventually rivers and oceans. . . Washington state environmental officials insist they aren't banning home car washing - just the runoff into storm drains, Moore and Schmanke say. They say residents will still be able to wash cars on lawns or gravel driveways where water will soak in the ground. Residents can wash on pavement if they install barriers to prevent wash water from going into storm sewers.

PR Watch -
In an opinion column, former Greenpeace activist turned PR consultant Patrick Moore waxes lyrical about a proposal by Luminant to build two new reactors at its Comanche Peak nuclear power station in Texas. Luminant's new reactors, he wrote, would produce "electricity from virtually carbon-free nuclear power." Moore's brief biographical note states only that he is "co-chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, a national grass-roots coalition that promotes nuclear power." What neither Moore nor the Dallas Morning News discloses to readers of the column is that he is a consultant for the Nuclear Energy Institute , which funds the "coalition." Luminant is a member of the NEI.

Architecture 2030 - 12,954 Nuclear Power Plants - That's how many nuclear plants the world would need to build to replace its current fossil-fuel-based energy. Even if it was physically possible to build this many plants within the seven-year timeline set by scientists to avoid dangerous climate change (it takes 8 to 12 years to get a nuclear plant on-line), the cost would be astronomical. At $6 billion per plant (a conservative figure), 12,954 plants would cost $77.72 trillion - more than the total Gross World Product of $65.95 trillion.

MEDIA

Fishbowl DC
- On Friday's "Hardball," Chris Matthews interviewed a number of student members of the group Concerned Youth of America. One of those students -- Caroline -- is his daughter, a student at the University of Pennsylvania. . . One tipster tells FishbowlDC that "Matthews, at the asking of his daughter, instructed the producers not to name her."

MONEY & WORK

Luke Reiter, DC Examiner
- Homeless shelters and food banks in the Washington area are seeing huge increases in the number of people seeking assistance as the national economy falters. Manna Food Center, a food bank that serves Montgomery County, has seen a 25 percent increase in clientele from 2007 to 2008, compared with a 1 percent increase from 2006 to 2007. . . Similarly, the Arlington Food Assistance Program provided food to 918 families last week, compared with 542 in the same week two years ago. . . Marion Peele, director of agency relations at the Capital Area Food Bank, said she had recently been contacted by an unemployed lawyer who was struggling to start his own firm. He told her he had never needed to use a food bank before, but he could no longer afford to pay his mortgage and buy food.

FURTHERMORE. . . .

Manchester Evening News, UK
- [Manchester Univesity] Students say new signs on toilets at their union building might be making their WC just a 'bit too PC'. The traditional sign on the door of the Gents has been temporarily replaced with one that says 'toilets with urinals'. And the sign on the Ladies now simply says 'toilets' in a move to make the lavatories more inclusive for trans-gender students.

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