William Katz / Urgent Agenda
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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2009
COMMENT: Lost his virginity? Matthews is the same guy who said he got a tingle up his leg whenever he heard Obama speak. This man has issues, and only a trained person can deal with them. We extend our sympathies and stress that there is no shame in having unusual feelings.
Busy Gupta performs brain surgery, reports for CNN
COMMENT: We have standards here, and will avoid CNN jokes. But I can't control what you're thinking.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the incoming chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday she intends to support President-elect Barack Obama's choice for CIA chief, Leon Panetta, despite earlier comments that she had reservations about the choice.
COMMENT: You know, as Obama's inauguration approaches, things are getting more cynical by the hour. Suddenly Di-Fi is supporting a man she doubted, even before hearings are held. Such change we can believe in. Such change.
WASHINGTON (CBS) —
Burris met Wednesday with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Dick Durbin, a day after his paperwork was rejected at the opening of the 111th Congress.
They called the meeting ''positive'' and indicated that the Senate would be open to seating Burris once legal hurdles are resolved and Burris clears the air over his appointment.
COMMENT: This is a sordid affair. Apparently, the law is on Burris's side, but his blatant playing of the race card - surrounded by African-American supporters whenever he appeared - was sickening. I repeat an earlier comment: The president-elect should have intervened to prevent this racially charged spectacle. You'd also think that black leaders would have wanted to insure that this appointment to the Senate, to fill the seat of the first black president, would be pristine. For some, though, this "moment in history" is just business as usual.
Worries about falling profits and soaring unemployment dragged Wall Street lower on Tuesday, damping some of the optimism that had crept back into the markets in the new year.
Stock markets dropped sharply on Wednesday as warnings from the media company Time Warner and the computer chip maker Intel foreshadowed a bleak season for fourth-quarter corporate earnings.
COMMENT: Obama will hit the ground spending, but a quick tax cut would be the best way to move forward. The money goes immediately back to the people, rather than to programs that can take years to implement.
It's always a pleasure to quote Bernard Lewis, who probably knows more about the Mideast than any other Westerner. Of course, the new academic crowd has tried to destroy Lewis and replace him with the usual anti-American "scholars," but Professor Lewis (Princeton) fights on, brilliantly:
The Arab dilemma:
The plot thickens:
Lewis is always worth reading. He brings vast knowledge, something in short supply in the chattering classes.
January 7, 2009. Permalink
COMMENT: It's sad that the Senate seat held by the first African American to be elected president should be filled in such a sleazy manner. Illinois Democrats should have made every effort to fill this seat in accordance with the highest ethical standards and with the best possible candidate, as a tribute to the president elect. But Illinois Democrats don't know from high ethical standards.
Now, for those of you who don't follow the gossip, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo is the son of former Governor Mario Cuomo. He is also the ex-husband of Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Robert Kennedy. Their divorce was spectacular, a real juicy mess. So there's a family feud at work here in New York. This can get very ugly very fast.
At the same time, Hamas bluntly rejected any permanent cease-fire with Israel:
Let's see how much criticism they get. Don't hold your breath.
Oh, I love it, I love it. They will battle over the intellectual honesty of Michael Moore. That's like fighting over the long-term vision of Fannie Mae.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 6, 2009
President-elect Barack Obama said Tuesday that $1 trillion deficits could last for “years to come” as he sought to make the case for budget reforms amid an economy in peril.
Obama’s warning came as he met for the second consecutive day in Washington with his top economic officials, this time in a session devoted to fixing the budget process.
COMMENT: Suddenly the realities of governing are closing in on Obama. Both Republicans and Democrats are asking tough questions. Obama's first hundred days may be more of a marriage counseling session than a honeymoon.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Republican Norm Coleman said Tuesday he is suing to challenge Democrat Al Franken's apparent recount victory in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race, delaying a resolution of the contest for weeks or months.
At a Capitol news conference filled with cheering supporters, Coleman said he won't accept a board's determination a day earlier that Franken won 225 more votes in the November election. He had a seven-day window to file the lawsuit.
"We are filing this contest to make absolutely sure every valid vote was counted and no one's was counted more than anyone else's," Coleman said.
COMMENT: Probably a good move. It's unlikely Coleman would be doing this unless his lawyers told him he has a good chance of prevailing. The recount was strange, to put it mildly. It's a time to fight.
UPDATED, 3:48 p.m. ET: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will not run for the open Senate seat of Sen. Mel Martinez, he announced in a statement released moments ago.
"After thoughtful consideration, I have decided not to run for the United States Senate in 2010," said Bush. "While the opportunity to serve my state and country during these turbulent and dynamic times is compelling, now is not the right time to return to elected office."
COMMENT: A big blow to Florida Republicans. Some reports say personal and business considerations were behind the Bush decision. There is some speculation that he might run for president in 2012, but that would be a stretch. While popular in Florida, Bush would be hindered nationally by identification with his less than popular brother, President Bush.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Tuesday that President-elect Barack Obama apologized to her for not notifying her ahead of time that Leon Panetta was his pick for CIA director.
His name leaked to the press before Obama informed Feinstein, a California Democrat and incoming Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, who will oversee Panetta's nomination hearing.
"I have been contacted by both President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden, and they have explained to me the reasons why they believe Leon Panetta is the best candidate for CIA Director," she said.
COMMENT: Sen. Feinstein is sending a message to Obama - don't mess with Congressional powers. So now he's apologizing, not messing. We live, we learn.
COMMENT: The fact that the attack came from Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, a liberal Republican from a state with a large African-American population, is significant. (Holder is black.) Republicans are signalling that they aren't rolling over, and that's good. Holder has some significant ethical problems, something not a plus in any nominee, especially one for attorney general. Holder will be confirmed, but there'll be pounds of sweat.
WASHINGTON (AP) _ President-elect Barack Obama's appointed successor was turned away when he appeared at the U.S. Capitol to take his seat.
Roland Burris announced the decision to deny him the seat as he stood before a large throng of reporters and cameras in the rain outside the Capitol building.
COMMENT: You'd think Mr. Burris would have more dignity than to go through with this charade. Who would want even to accept an appointment to the Senate from the corrupt governor of Illinois?
Some good news from Congress? Let me pinch myself.
The New York Times reports that the new Congress may have a decidedly moderate cast, thanks in large measure to moderates elected as Democrats. Dennis Kucinich must be taking pills over this:
Guess it wasn't the wipeout that the mainstream media was screaming about on election night.
Oh goody. I can sleep well tonight.
A former Nixon aide, Walt Minnick of Idaho, was elected as a moderate Democrat:
A Democrat said this? Is he still alive?
And that's good, coming from a Republican.
So the old adage applies: Be careful what you wish for. You may get it. The Democrats increased their majority, but the liberal left in the party may actually have been weakened by the last election. We await the first call from Manhattanites and San Franciscans to secede, and maintain their ideological purity. It will come.
January 6, 2008. Permalink
COMMENT: Kennedy has done poorly in interviews. In the media age, that's a devastating minus. It's sad because, by every account, she's a lovely woman. But lovely doesn't quite do it. And most Americans alive today don't remember her father, who was assassinated some 45 years ago, so the name doesn't have the impact it once did.
The Obama team, as it starts its maiden voyage in government, may have brushed an iceberg. The president-elect's selection of Leon Panetta to head the CIA has been met with a big chill.
It isn't that Panetta is unpopular. He's a former congressman and White House chief of staff under Bill Clinton, and is respected as both competent and smart. But in a time of war the nation usually expects a CIA director to have some experience in intelligence work. The Panetta resumé is blank on that one. CQ reports, in a dispatch carried by Yahoo:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who was miffed that she wasn't consulted on the nomination, reiterated her stand that a CIA director should have relevant experience.
Not much applause there.
If Panetta were a Broadway show, it would be closing already.
But not everyone was opposed:
I'm not sure Panetta will want such faint praise. "Dealing" with intelligence is far from being an expert on intelligence operations or how to run a spy agency. I "deal" with medical matters whenever I read a medical story. But I'm not a physician.
Look, he'll probably be confirmed. But the choice is disappointing because Obama has bowed to the left wing of his party, which opposed any new CIA director who had anything to do with intelligence operations under the Bush administration. That pretty much ruled out anyone who'd served in the last eight years. The Panetta apointment is the equivalent of Harry Truman choosing a military leader in 1946, to confront the Soviet Union, who hadn't served in World War II.
Not change we can believe in.
January 6, 2009. Permalink
COMMENT: In the story, Kennedy says he'll try to meet with Chavez to turn this around, and urged people to write to the Venezuelan "leader." This is pathetic - asking Americans to go begging to an America-hating thug. Most outrageous, the request comes from a member of the family of an American president who vowed to pay "any price" in defense of freedom. Joe, this is what happens when you depend on people like Chavez. Why can't you understand it?
COMMENT: Toward the end of World War II, General Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered American soldiers marched through the newly liberated death camps of the Third Reich. He said at the time that American boys might not know what they were fighting for, but at least they would see what they were fighting against. The paragraph above gives us a small glimpse of what, today, the free nations are fighting against. The question is whether we will care enough, and see the battle through.
"What you see is news. What you know is background. What you feel is opinion."
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