William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 9:27 P.M. ET: 

WHAT AN HONOR – A website that specializes in these things ranks Washington, D.C. the leading American city for extramarital affairs, for the second year in a row.  Maintaining oneself at the top requires hard work, and we congratulate the citizens of the District of Columbia for the effort they spent to achieve this singular distinction.  Now maybe they can concentrate on the nation's business.

HAGEL – The Senate Armed Services Committee will vote tomorrow on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense.  Scheduling the vote so soon is angering some Republicans, like Lindsey Graham and Jim Inhofe, who want more information about Hagel, but they've been undercut by John McCain, who said today that Hagel has been vetted.   (McCain, whom I generally like very much, is on another respectability kick again.  He was so respectable during the 2008 campaign that he respectable himself right out of the presidency.)  Hagel is expected to be approved on a party-line vote, meaning the committee will report the nomination favorably to the full Senate, which could vote as early as Thursday.  Both Graham and Inhofe have indicated they may place a hold on the nomination, but we'll see if that comes to pass.  My hunch is that goofy Chuck will be secretary of defense by the weekend.

HIGH-PRICED GAS – Gasoline prices today marked their highest point ever for a February 11th.  The national average today was $3.59.  Prices have risen every day for the last 25 days.  That steady increase represented the greatest jump in gasoline prices in almost a year.  When Obama took office, the price of gasoline was less than two bucks a gallon.  More change we can believe in.

TEXAS TRIUMPHS – Texas is now ranked as the number one exporting state in the Union, for the 11th straight year.  Governor Rick Perry is now going on raiding trips to other states, especially California, urging businesses to move to Texas, and he has a powerful record to back up his sales pitch.  Sadly, that record did not translate into votes for Perry when he tried to run for the Republican presidential nomination last year.

February 11, 2013