William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 9:04 P.M. ET: 

JUST NEUTRAL, SWEET GUYS – MSNBC, that objective, deep-thinking network, has hired Obama political guru David Axelrod and former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs as commentators.  The move brought some ridicule, as if MSNBC wasn't sufficiently in the tank for The One.  Now the new hires are fighting back, assuring the public that they will be neutral, dispassionate analysts.  Please stop laughing.  Stop laughing right now.

HAGEL GAINS, IN A WAY – Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama announced today that he would vote to confirm Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense.  Shelby said that Hagel was as good as any candidate we'd get from this White House.  At the same time, 15 Republican senators asked President Obama to withdraw Hagel's nomination, something that won't happen.  It looks as if Hagel will squeeze by in a vote next week, unless there's a dramatic shift.  It is rare for candidates for secretary of defense to face serious opposition.  It is considered a bipartisan post, although former Senator John Tower was actually rejected in the late 80s.  But Hagel will go into office with more opposition than any confirmed candidate for the job has ever faced.

THERE ARE NEVER ENOUGH CLOSETS – A woman cooking a snack in Tampa, Florida, was wounded as the bullets her roommate left inside the oven exploded.  We don't know why the roommate chose the oven as his storage facility.  The woman's wounds are not life-threatening.  We eagerly await the use of this incident by the White House to push for further gun-control measures.  Obama will make his pitch, standing in front of innocent women who've been wounded by bullets flying out of ovens.  It's an epidemic, you know.

MORE ON OUR EGYPTIAN "ALLIES" – Egypt is denying the United States access to a prisoner we believe was connected to the Benghazi raid.  This occurs only weeks before Egyptian President Morsi is due to visit Washington.  Fox says:   Abu Ahmed, also known as Mohammed Jamal, is suspected of establishing Islamist training camps in Eastern Libya where militants who took part in the Sept. 11 Benghazi terrorist attack were able to train."   We would like to interrogate him, but we can't.

February 21, 2013