William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 9:58 P.M. ET:

A BIT OF BOTHER – The confirmation vote on Chuck Hagel in the Senate Armed Services Committee, scheduled for tomorrow, has been delayed, with no new date set.  It seems that new information about Hagel is surfacing, like his refusal to supply to the committee requested information on his business and civic dealings.  Also, there's concern about the way a sexual harassment suit was handled by his Senate office.  It's pretty clear there's little enthusiasm for Hagel, but he still has the party-line support of Democrats.  What's needed is for Chuck Schumer of New York, whose seal of approval made Hagel's path easier, to reverse his decision.  That will allow other Dems to abandon the listing Hagel ship.

ONE UP – Senator Marco Rubio of Florida will deliver the Republican response to Obama's State of the Union speech next week, and he will deliver it in both English and Spanish.  Talk about one-upsmanship.  It's a great idea, if a bit over the top.  The Republicans clearly are going to make the Hispanic vote a major target in the future.  It will be a tough haul.  It was tried during the Reagan administration, and the Hispanic vote became more Democratic.  You have to convince people that your efforts on their behalf will extend beyond the next election.

OUR ENEMIES ARE LAUGHING – The Navy is delaying the deployment of the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman to the Mideast because of budgetary concerns.  That is pathetic, coming at a time when the Mideast is in turmoil and other nations are starting to doubt our influence in the region.  We will now have only one carrier in the region.  The Navy assures us that the Truman would be ready to deploy on short notice, should it be needed, but it's a ship, not a plane.  Short notice means days to get there.  I guess "we're out of money" will now be the Obama administration's excuse for weakening America further.  Does anyone in Washington care?

BOAST OR TRUTH? – Iranian President Ahmadinejad says that Iran is already a nuclear state, but has no intention of attacking Israel.   Now, wait a minute.  Hasn't Iran been saying all along that it has no intention of becoming a nuclear state?  Dear Leader's comments might be written off as bravado, but it's a dangerous kind of bravado.  We're talking about atomic weapons.  I do hope we don't make the mistake of trusting the word of these creeps, but I'm afraid we just might, to achieve "peace in our time – the sequel."

February 6, 2013