William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 10:41 P.M. ET:

STRONG WORDS – Bob Woodward, not exactly a journalistic slouch in Washington, describes President Obama as "exhibiting a kind of madness I haven't seen in a long time," for deciding not to deploy another aircraft carrier to the Mideast because of budget concerns.  The carrier, the Harry S. Truman, remains in Norfolk, leaving us with only one carrier in the volatile region.  Woodward asks, "Can you imagine Ronald Reagan doing this..?"  Those are strong words, and maybe, we hope, an indication that some light is emerging from the darkness of the national press corps.

TIMES ALLOWS A HIT ON IT – This is making the internet rounds.  It turns out that The New York Times doesn't apply editorial standards to paid obituaries.  So it allowed a paid obit for a man named Amos Shuchman, who had very distinct opinions.  The obit read in part, "Loved everything about NYC, except The New York Times."  If enough mourners insert paid obits with that line into The Times, maybe the paper will eventually get the message.

UPDATE TO OUR FIRST "SHORT TAKES" – Bob Woodward has appeared on CNN to claim that a "senior" White House official threatened him after he said President Obama was exhibiting "a kind of madness."  The unnamed official, according to Woodward, said that Woodward "would regret doing this."  Woodward said, on the air, "It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters, 'You're going to regret doing something that you believe in.'"  We assume some in the mainstream media will have something to say about this.  Or maybe not.

THERE'S A PLACE FOR HER, A TIME AND PLACE FOR HER – Caroline Kennedy is reportedly under serious consideration to be ambassador to Japan.  It is not known whether she speaks Japanese or has ever had sushi, but no matter.  Obama, like most presidents, is paying off his major supporters and contributors with ambassadorships.  No "change we can believe in" there.  Caroline, who has won respect for the way she conducts herself, is of course the daughter of President John F. Kennedy, who first won notoriety for having his PT boat sunk by a Japanese destroyer in World War II.  I'm sure the incident won't come up in polite Tokyo conversation if Caroline gets the job.  Banzai. 

February 27, 2013