William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 8:40 P.M. ET:

RESOLUTION? – It's reported today that Jesse Jackson Jr. will resign from Congress as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.  He will also, according to the reports, have to return campaign funds that were improperly used for private purposes, and will serve an unspecified jail sentence.  There would then have to be a special election for his congressional seat, meaning the people of Illinois will pay the bill to hold that election.  Jackson, despite having not shown up for work for months, and being under criminal investigation, was overwhelmingly re-elected to Congress on Tuesday.  His father, the famous racialist Jesse Jackson Sr., demanded today that Obama pay back the debt he owes to black voters for their votes.  Jackson did not demand that black voters ask more of his son.

PETRAEUS UPDATE – Depending on what Republicans, and the media, want to do, the Petraeus story might grow and grow. It turns out that 1) the appropriate intelligence committees of Congress were not informed of the FBI investigation into Petraeus's activities, activities that raised national-security concerns; 2) elements in the FBI are apparently enraged over the administration's handling of the situation, believing Petraeus should have been relieved as soon as his extra-marital affair become known to investigators, because of the possibility that he could have been blackmailed.  These FBI elements believe, according to news reports, that the whole thing was suppressed to avoid political damage to the president before an election.

INEVITABLE – We have argued here for some time that many journalistic organizations are either existing on past reputations are were always vastly overrated.  Perhaps the symbol of overrated news outlets is the BBC.  Only rarely in its history was it outstanding.  It is today, barely second rate, and I say that only because I'm the picture of kindness.  Now the BBC is embroiled in a major scandal indicating how bad its journalism really is.  It ran a documentary charging a conservative Member of Parliament with child abuse.  The only problem is, the whole story was false.  The resulting scandal has now resulted in the resignation of the BBC's director-general, who's only been in office a few months.  I get the sense that this is the proverbial tip of the iceberg.   We'll be watching it.  The BBC is known to be sitting on internal reports harshly critical of its "journalism."  Release them!  The BBC is the world's largest news organization, and it has been misinforming people for too long.

November 10,  2012