* Takedown of the day: Jonathan Chait versus Joe Scarborough. As Chait notes, there has been a lot of chortling about Nancy Pelosi’s claim that we mostly don’t have a spending problem, but broadly speaking, she has it right, and he has it wrong.
* As Dave Roberts details, whatever Obama says about climate change in the State of the Union address, there are a range of things he can do about the problem right now, without a whisper of cooperation from Congress.
* Peter Beinart has a nice takedown of the line of questioning GOP Senators have directed at Chuck Hagel, and how it has somehow failed to focus at all on an enormous range of tasks Hagel will actually perform on the job.
* Jonathan Bernstein compares today’s House GOP intransigence to the Newt-era GOP approach, and asks when Republicans of today will realize that trying to get a bit of what you want is better than digging in and getting nothing at all.
* Will Ted Nugent be packing when he attends the State of the Union address? Nope:
“I will go in at least 20 pounds lighter than I normally walk,” he said. “I will be going in sans the hardware store on my belt. I live a well-armed life, and I’ve got to demilitarize before I go.”
That’s reassuring. ICYMI: The problem isn’t Nugent; it’s the Steve Stockmans of the world.
* Joan Walsh on CBS News’ super huge “exclusive” interview with … Dick Cheney, in which the former Veep — shockingly — will tell us that Obama’s choice of Hagel is badly damaging our national security:
Cheney is a jobless former vice president who’s been wrong about everything, and who has criticized Obama since before he became president. That he’s still hailed as a newsmaker tells us only bad things about the news industry.
* Digby flags a truly terrible David Gregory moment, which signals (again) a fundamental inability to grasp the notion that only one party actually favors compromise to avert the sequester, and the other doesn’t.
* Is it really possible that Republicans might agree to support some infrastructure spending stimulus? Neil Irwin is cautiously optimistic.
* Nancy Pelosi calls on John Boehner not to leave town until the sequester is averted.
* And Jed Lewison translates Eric Cantor’s sequester mumbo-jumbo: The sequester’s spending cuts are going to hurt a lot of people, so we should replace them with only spending cuts.