William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 8:35 P.M. ET:

WE MUST RESPECT OTHER CULTURES – From AP:  "Angry relatives and residents rampaged through an Egyptian port city Saturday in rioting that killed at least 27 people after a judge sentenced nearly two dozen soccer fans to death for involvement in deadly violence after a game last year.  The unrest was the latest in a bout of violence that has left a total of 38 people dead in two days, including 11 killed in clashes between police and protesters marking Friday's second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew longtime leader Hosni Mubarak."  The Arab spring is a time of joy, isn't it?  No.

MUST BE AN ACCOUNTING ERROR – Illinois now has, according to Standard & Poor's, the worst credit rating in the nation.  Its most famous resident, currently living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, has failed to comment.  Illinois now gets an A- rating, compared to the AAA rating enjoyed by adjoining states like Indiana, Iowa and Missouri.  The downgrade means, among other things, that Illinois citizens, and businesses, will see a greater chunk of their taxes go to pay higher interest rates.  What business would want to move to a state like that?  The state is in grave trouble, and its largest city, Chicago, is a corrupt shooting gallery.  Why do I guess that Obama, after leaving office, might choose Hawaii instead?

FANATICS UNITE – A top Iranian official declared today that any Western attack on Syria would be considered an attack on Iran.  This was the strongest statement yet indicating that Iran will go to almost any lengths to protect the murderous Assad regime in Damascus.  It is a major complicating factor in any plan to end the Syrian genocide.  Secretary of State-designate John Kerry could not be reached for comment.  Defense Secretary-designate Chuck Hagel was too busy explaining that all his past foreign-policy comments, going back 20 years, have been misunderstood.  Another spectacular success for the Obama administration.

January 26,  2013