Morning Bits

Israel awaits President Obama’s visit. “To counteract accusations of ‘too much daylight’ between the American administration and the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama announced that he was coming to Israel. His visit, scheduled for March 20, is cause for much trepidation in Jerusalem — particularly since Netanyahu has yet to finalize his coalition.” If it makes them feel better, most of what the president does now is just for show.

George P. Bush, son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush. (Eric Gay/Associated Press)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) asks that we wait before signing any more checks. “Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committee, tomorrow will introduce an amendment to the Continuing Resolution that would block two key forms of U.S. assistance to Egypt unless economic reforms and human rights safeguards are adopted, while also initiating a more thorough, longer term reevaluation of U.S. military assistance to Egypt. Among other measures, The Egypt Accountability and Democracy Amendment would block the disbursement of additional economic support funds and new foreign military financing (FMF) contracts until Egypt begins to enact economic reforms and the Obama administration certifies that Egypt is protecting basic freedoms and human rights.”

Waiting around to be spoon-fed the White House spin isn’t what it used to be. “Although often thought of as the most prestigious beat in political journalism, the White House is increasingly seen as a newsless land of ‘stenographers’ — a dead end for young, ambitious reporters hoping to carve out a niche, and a constant target of criticism by the partisan public. Veteran members of the White House press corps bristle at the criticisms, even as they acknowledge the beat has lost some of its allure as the obstacles have increased.”

Two Republicans ask the Senate to wait so they can actually read what is in the spending bill. “Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Tuesday blocked the Senate from proceeding to debate on the bill, arguing they were not given enough time to read the 500-page legislation.” Neither has anyone else.

Waiting for Godot . . . er .  . . the “peace process” detracts attention from where we can do some good, like promoting change in Bahrain, where the regime may show new flexibility. But alas: “As I read of Secretary Kerry’s enthusiasm for that old holy grail, the Israeli-Palestinian ‘peace process,’ I wonder if his attentions and some of his energy might be better directed to Bahrain. Perhaps here American activism could do more good, and certainly our interests in the Gulf and in Bahrain, headquarters of the Fifth Fleet, give us reason for concern and for involvement. If we can help Bahrainis take advantage of this moment of opportunity, we should try.”

If you think Obamacare is bad now, wait until you see the forms. “Applying for benefits under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul could be as daunting as doing your taxes. The government’s draft application is now on the Internet. It runs 15 pages for a three-person family. The online version has 21 steps, some with added questions. At least three major federal agencies, including the IRS, will scrutinize your application. That’s just the first part of the process, which lets you know if you qualify for financial help.”

We won’t have to wait long for the next Bush to run. “George Prescott Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and nephew of former President George W. Bush, has filed paperwork to run for Texas Land Commissioner in 2014.”

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