William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 11:05 P.M. ET:

MIDEAST – Reports from the Mideast say that Israel is preparing for a ground invasion of Gaza, to clean up the terror nests and rocket platforms.  It's impossible for us to know whether this operation will go ahead, or whether the Israelis are engaged in a major show of force, trying to get Hamas to stop launching rockets into Israel by threatening a ground attack.  Netanyahu spoke with Obama today, but the contents of the talk weren't reported.  The key is Egypt.  If Egypt wanted to put major heat on Hamas to stop the rockets, it could.  The next two days could be critical.

JUST FRIENDS – It turns out that Jill Kelley, the second "other woman" in the Petraeus case, and the object of Paula Broadwell's wrath, visited the White house as a guest three times over the past year.  I guess the White House just needed Jill's expertise, whatever that is.  We think we should be told who invited her, and why.  This woman, of Mideast origin, was involved with two four-star generals with special concern for Mideast policy.  I believe the scandal will grow, not recede.  We already know that classified information was found on Paula Broadwell's computer.  But this other woman, with connections that seem to come from nowhere, is far more interesting.  Why does she have such easy access?

TASTELESS – In a vile display of poor taste, a group of female House Democrats, most representing the Congressional Black Caucus, held a press conference to denounce Senator John McCain's criticism of Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, for Rice's role in misleading the country about the Libya attack.  In her remarks, the leader of the group ridiculed McCain's class standing at Annapolis, and his choice of Sarah Palin for vice president in 2008.  John McCain has served this country in ways that these clowns cannot possibly understand.  There is no need, in disagreeing with him, to ridicule him personally, or to make reference to his college grades.  If academic achievement were so important to these Democrats, they might ask the man they just helped re-elect, Barack Obama, to release his academic records, something he has refused to do.  I wonder why.

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK – We learn that A123 Systems, which produced batteries for electric vehicles, was given one million dollars of federal funds, part of a larger grant, on the day it declared bankruptcy in October.  Republican senators are demanding to know why companies like this get grants in the first place, and why these grants are placed on "auto-pilot" as the companies start to fail, with checks regularly written.  I'd like to know how much the key executives of the company gave to the Democratic Party.

November 16,  2012