William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 8:23 P.M. ET:

KERRY IS IN – As expected, the Senate confirmed the nomination of John Kerry to be secretary of state.  Only three brave souls had the guts to vote no:  Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas, and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma.  Inhofe, a friend of Kerry's, made clear that he objected to Kerry's ideas on foreign policy.  Gee, you mean policy actually counts these days?   Why must we be weighed down by details?  Kerry will take office on Friday, opening a Senate seat in Massachusetts.

DEFENSE CUTBACKS I – As an example of the defense cutbacks planned by the Obamans, note that the Marine Corps will be slashed from 202,000 to 182,000.  That may not seem dramatic, but the Marines are overstretched right now, and this will not improve the situation.  Some charge that the reason we could not get Marines to Benghazi to defend our consulate while it was under attack was that there just weren't enough Marines available in the region.

DEFENSE CUTBACKS II – Reader Joseph J. Gallick alerts us to still another cutback in defense.  Part of the defense of our southern border is handled by the Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS), which utilizes moored balloons hovering at about 15,000 feet to identify low flying aircraft and missiles that may penetrate the border and cross into U.S. airspace.  That system is being shut down, rendering us "blind" to aircraft and missiles at certain altitudes.  The great threat is not only drug-carrying aircraft, but planes carrying terrorists or weapons of mass destruction.  Not a smart move.

MORE EGYPTIAN CRAZINESS – One of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's key aides, who appoints the editors of all state-run newspapers, says that the Holocaust was cooked up by U.S. intelligence operatives, and that the six million Jews killed by the Nazis actually moved to the United States.  As Fox News reports:  “'The myth of the Holocaust is an industry that America invented,'” Shihab-Eddim said, leaving no room for doubt that the Egyptian government -- like Iran's -- has at the very least significant elements that deny one of history's best documented genocides."  I wonder if our new secretary of state will take notice.  The new Egyptian government is run by whack jobs, and the people currently rioting in the streets of Egyptian cities seem to realize it.

January 29, 2013