William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 8:32 P.M. ET:

PUBLIC SERVICE – We are informed by The Hill that a major priority of Democratic Congressional leaders is...stopping retirements.  Apparently the Dems, possibly anticipating a rough year in 2014, when America wakes up and realizes what's happening, are concerned that some of their big votegetters may decide to hang 'em up.  They include such worthies as Jay Rockefeller, who purchases his seat every six years from the people of West Virginia, and Frank Lautenberg, who actually retired once, but was brought back after an embarrassing corruption scandal in his state of New Jersey, where corruption is the official state sport.

WISH HE WERE HERE TO SEE IT – The death of Larry Hagman, of "Dallas" fame, has brought forth an unexpected outpouring of respect.  Hagman, who made his name entirely in TV, was, in life, never taken that seriously as an actor.  In fact, he was a talented, reliable actor who was absolutely critical to the success of "Dallas."  His mother, of course, was Mary Martin, who made her name as one of the queens of the American musical theater, creating the starring roles of Nellie Forbush in "South Pacific," and Maria Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music."  Hagman was too often considered as the lesser-talented son.  He wasn't, and he will be missed.

GRACIOUSNESS – Senator John McCain, who should have been president instead of the chap we have now, has vigorously opposed the possible nomination of our U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, to be secretary of state.  McCain, though, has slightly softened his stand, saying that he might change his view, depending on Rice's testimony about her misleading public statements on the Libya attack.  McCain was far too gracious during his 2008 campaign and, although he should be fair, he should continue to be tough on Rice.  She was sent out by Obama to make misleading statements on Libya.  Either she knew they were wrong or is too dense to understand how absurd they were.  She has not demonstrated the judgment of a secretary of state.  She should have resigned rather than disgrace herself in public.

November 25, 2012