William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 8:46 P.M. ET:

ABC'S LOSS, CNN'S GAIN – Jake Tapper, who has been ABC's White House correspondent, and is about the best there is, will leave the network for CNN, where he will become an anchor, and will serve as chief Washington correspondent.  He is a major and welcome addition to CNN, whose liberal tilt is one of its problems, although it never acknowledges it.  Tapper has been one of the few White House correspondents who has refused to be a potted plant for the Obama administration.  He asks tough, informed questions.  If this step was engineered by CNN's incoming chief, Jeff Zucker, we may be seeing the light at the end of the CNN tunnel.  But if I were Tapper, heading for that network, I'd hire a food taster.

DEBACLE – In a clear PR setback, Speaker Boehner had to cancel the second part of a two-part vote on a GOP fiscal-cliff bill tonight because, as he openly admitted, he didn't have the votes.  The controversial part, which a number of Republicans refused to back, would have raised taxes on those earning more than a million dollars a year.  This defeat weakens Boehner, embarrasses the Republican Party, and will be used by the Obama White House to try to prove that the Republicans aren't serious about solving the fiscal crisis.  The ball, as Boehner now says, is back in the president's court.

GEE, YOU THINK? – A new Fox poll reports that 61% of American voters fear that the Obama administration "will move the country toward socialism."  Some 89 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Democrats agree with the statement.  Hmm.  I wonder why.  Could it be....Obamacare?  Owning GM?  EPA overregulation?  Why, surely these people don't understand the vision of our president.  Choke.

ALERT! – My Midland public alert radio just went off (true!), warning of high winds in our area from tonight through tomorrow, December 21st.  Yes, it will be that day – December 21st – the end of the world.  And, sigh, the end of the world always begins with high-wind warnings.  You'll know the end is really upon us when New York's Mayor Mike Bloomberg warns of a tidal wave of high-calorie sugary drinks cascading down Broadway.  Then, just sip and pray.

December 20, 2012