William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 8:22 P.M. ET:

OBAMA SPEAKS – The president held a news conference today, which itself is news.  He really said nothing, which isn't news, but became noticeably agitated when defending Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice against severe criticism by John McCain and Lindsey Graham.  Both senators said they would oppose Rice's possible nomination to be secretary of state because they believe she intentionally misled the nation about the Libya episode.  Obama got very righteous, as if he were defending a damsel in distress.  The code language was, "How dare you attack this fine African-American woman."  Frankly, Obama didn't come off very well.  It sounded fake, and almost patronizing toward Rice.  Senators McCain and Graham have made serious charges against Rice, and they should be answered in a serious way.  They were not.

OH, LET US REVISE – Why do we have to depend on the British press for this?  From London's Daily Mail:  "The world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago, according to new data released last week.  The figures, which have triggered debate among climate scientists, reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.  This means that the ‘plateau’ or ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. Before that, temperatures had been stable or declining for about 40 years."  Oh.  Don't tell the president.  He wants to make global warning a main building block in his new term.  On second thought, maybe tell him.

ISNT THIS A LITTLE LATE? – The Pentagon has suspended the security clearances for the two women embroiled in the Petraeus scandal – Paula Broadwell and Jill Kelley.  Now wait.  How long has this probe been going on?  Don't you think maybe our great and powerful security apparatus should have acted a little sooner?  Broadwell's clearance was lifted by the Army.  Kelley's pass to MacDill Air Force Base was lifted by the Air Force.  Kelley can still visit the base but must report to the visitor center.  Yeah.  Great chance.  "Hi Jill.  I'll tell the general you're here."

NEW WAR? – The escalation between Israel and Hamas is dramatic.  After enduring several days of rocket attacks, Israel struck back and killed the Hamas military commander, who was traveling in his car when he received a very big surprise.  There is legitimate concern that this could escalate into another Arab-Israeli war.  Thus far the Obama administration is routinely supporting Israel's right to defend itself, but we don't know of any special diplomatic moves planned.

November 14, 2012