William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 9:10 P.M. ET:

OUT – Jesse Jackson Jr. has resigned from the House of Representatives.  Notice the difference?  He was just re-elected by a landslide majority by the potted plants who are his constituents, even though he hadn't shown up for work in months, claiming mental problems.  He admitted in his letter of resignation that he also has legal problems.  It is widely reported that his lawyers are involved in plea-bargain negotiations over charges that can send young Jackson to jail.  He could have resigned before the election.  Now the cash-strapped people of Illinois will have to foot the bill for an expensive special election.  There is already talk that one of Jackson's relatives may run.  Nothing like the spirit of public service.

TRUCE – The ceasefire between Hamas and Israel is less than a day old and seems to be holding.  The problem, of course, is that this is only a ceasefire.  In the Mideast, history is made every hour.  A lot of praise is being given to the Islamist president of Egypt for the ceasefire, but we've not been told exactly what he's done.  Nor have we been told what secret commitments have been made.  I'd withhold judgment on this one.  Let's see what happens next and whether there's another exchange of attacks just weeks from now.

VOICE OF JOURNALISM – Phil Griffin, who runs MSNBC, denies that his outlet is in the tank for Obama.  "This channel has never been the voice of Obama. Ever," Griffin says in an interview with the Huffington Post.  It is also reported that Mr. Griffin's greatest ambition in journalism is to interview the Wizard of Oz.  I am personally prepared to sell Mr. Griffin two air tickets to the Emerald City.

RICE CAKES – Susan Rice is fighting back against charges that she misled the country about who was behind the Libya attack that killed four Americans.  She says she stands by her initial statements that the attack was provoked by a YouTube video because that's what she was told.  She also offered to meet with her chief critic, Senator John McCain, to discuss the matter.  It's clear that Rice still hopes to be nominated to be secretary of state, and realizes she has some work to do if she wants to be confirmed.  She has burned many bridges during her career.  Initial GOP reaction to her offer to meet with McCain was less than enthusiastic.  They just don't like her.

November 21,  2012