William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 10:58 P.M. ET:

SURRENDER – The local newspaper here, which made national news by publishing a map containing the names and addresses of legal pistol-permit holders, has taken the map down from its website, after considerable criticism.  The move also comes after the homes of two people on the map were broken into.  A new gun-control law passed by the New York legislature earlier this week makes maps like this illegal by guaranteeing the privacy of permit holders.  The paper was not required under the law to take the existing map down, but did anyway.  I suspect the editors realized they were facing a public-relations disaster.

BLOWBACK? – Gallup reports that President Obama's approval has fallen to 49% from 58% a month ago.  The fall coincides with the president's push for more gun control, although we stress that we cannot guarantee the cause-effect relationship until further polling is done.  CBS has the president's approval at 51%.  Mr. Obama will be re-inaugurated Monday with only half the country approving of his job performance.

NOT THE FIRST CHOICE – The Washington Times's Rowan Scarborough reports that most Pentagon staffers preferred Michele Flournoy to Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense.  The lack of enthusiasm for Hagel, except for the soft-on-Iran and anti-Israel crowds is keenly felt everywhere.  But the president apparently loves him, even though Hagel's positions are to the left of Obama's.  Which means they're Obama's actual positions.

COLD AIR DOES THIS – A 48-year-old married Minnesota lawyer has been suspended from practice after admitting that he had an affair with a female client, and then billed her for the time they spent in sexual endeavors.  The suspension is indefinite and the lawyer has lost his license.  However, he can apply to get it back in only 15 months.  In 1997 he was placed on probation for buying cocaine from a client.  What does it take to get a guy like this thrown out permanently?  A parking ticket?  Criticizing Obama?  Owning a .22 rifle? 

January 18, 2013