William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 9:52 P.M. ET:

STORMIN' NORMAN – General Norman Schwarzkopf has died.  He commanded coalition forces during the first Gulf War.  I'm sure he was a fine officer and all that, but, speaking of over-the-top journalism, The New York Times reported the story this way:  "Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the American-led forces that crushed Iraq in the 1991 Persian Gulf war and became the nation’s most acclaimed military hero since the midcentury exploits of Generals Dwight D. Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur, died on Thursday..."  Geez.  The first Gulf war lasted about 30 days, and Iraq was hardly crushed.  If it had been, there wouldn't have been a second Gulf war in 2003.  Facts, gentlemen.

NUT CASE – One of the tragedies of South Africa is that, following the end of apartheid, it never developed the leaders who could wisely guide and build the country.  A rule of thumb in politics is that you never let a revolutionary group actually run a government, which is what South Africa did.  The country is a mess.  An example of leadership wisdom:  The current president, Jacob Zuma, has just proclaimed that blacks the country should not have dogs as pets because that is a white man's tradition.  He charged that blacks who have dogs are trying to be white.  With brilliance like that, South Africa has a dim future.

REMEMBRANCE – The Texas police officer who helped stopped Charles Whitman's mass murder at the University of Texas in 1966 has died.  Houston McCoy climbed the University of Texas tower from which Whitman had killed 14 people, in one of the most famous mass killings in modern American history, and got close enough to the shooter to fire two shotgun blasts, killing him.  While the presence of an armed patrol force did not prevent the killings, it clearly limited them and ended the carnage. 

STUNNED – In a major setback for American democracy, and even the future of the world, actor Matt Damon says he is giving up on politics.  “We’re at a point where politicians don’t really get any benefit from engaging with long-term issues. Instead, it’s all about the next election cycle. Those guys in the House don’t do anything now but run for office. So unless they can find some little thing that zips them up a couple of points in the polls, they’re not interested."  Politicians are interested in getting re-elected?  That's why you give up on politics?  What Matt is actually conceding is that his political views haven't sold well among the electorate.  I wonder why,.

December 27, 2012