BEHIND THE NEWS: Contradictions

January 14, 2009 1:35:24 PM PST
We are all bundles of contradictions. Some of us look at them closely, and often. Others -- not so much.

I cast no judgments - either about my own contradictions, or the contradictions of others. The vegetarian who loves her knee-high leather boots? To each their own.

Personal contradictions are one thing. Professional contradictions are quite another. In fact, without them, we'd be short of news.

And so that's why the contradiction at next week's inaugural is worth nothing.

No question, there are people of every stripe coming to Washington for the swearing in ceremony and festivities. Barack Obama - pushing diversity, and he'll get it next Tuesday.

He's also pushing Green. Oh, sure, it's costing a lot of money, and the Obama peeps have fully engaged their well-oiled fundraising machine. But this Green is the environment. There are two "green" inaugural balls. And, for the first time ever, the inauguration committee is working with a liaison from the EPA.

Trash is a big issue, what with a few million people expected to attend. A hundred volunteers will be picking up trash and recyclables in bags along the Capitol Mall and the parade route.

Recycling bins will be everywhere, and the organizers are using recycled paper for the invitations and ball tickets. Even catering will be using environmentally correct products -- think Corn Forks Knives and Spoons, and recycled plates.

In addition, some of the generators will be running 80/20 biodiesel, and parade goers will get "heat sheets" like the ones used in marathons; they'll be donated to local homeless shelters after the event.

And finally -- and this is my favorite -- volunteers will be trailing the parade horses, collecting manure. The stuff will then be put in a dumpster, and sold to a local farm.

Charming.

Now, the contradiction part.

At the same time all this diversity and really good Green behavior happens, the folks who run Dulles Airport outside Washington are closing off the facility's fourth runway -- to make room for all the private jets expected to arrive for the Inauguration. Nearly 500 private jets.

Now that's a contradiction, no?

We'll have the latest on the transition, and the plans for the inauguration, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, Lee Goldberg is keeping tabs on this blast of arctic air that's sweeping through the area, and will stay around for a couple of days. He says we'll see -- make that feel -- the coldest temps in a few years starting tonight.

And we'll have the latest from the Middle East, where tonight Hamas has agreed in principle to an Egyptian proposal for an immediate ceasefire. No agreement from Israel yet, although an Israeli delegate is due in Cairo tomorrow to hear details.

The ceasefire proposal calls for "peace" for one year - and has Israel compensating Palestinians for the damage caused in Gaza. More than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed in the 19 days of attacks.

And under the heading: bad news gets worse. The Federal Reserve today issuing its "Beige Book," which paints the picture of economic reality in all 12 Federal Reserve districts.

And the picture ain't so pretty.

There are 26 "negative assessments" of the nation's financial condition. And it appears to be critical condition.

The bad news categories include retail (sales were down 2.7% in December - more than twice as bad as economists were predicting), real estate, banking, employment and consumer prices.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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