Going out the door: “As his final act before leaving the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is working to build support for what he is calling a ‘modest’ drawdown in Afghanistan, even though a war-weary Capitol Hill wants more.

Millionaire Democratic insider John Podesta says that we are going through a “slow patch.” Slower for some than others, I suppose.

Going out on a limb, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pronounces herself “deeply concerned.” “ ‘We are deeply concerned by reports that Internet service has been shut down across much of Syria, as have some mobile communication networks. We condemn any effort to suppress the Syrian people’s exercise of their rights to free expression, assembly, and association.’” But not so concerned as to call for President Bashar al-Assad to go.

I don’t suppose the United Nations is ever going to condemn the invasion of a member state. Bloomberg reports: “Israeli troops on Sunday battled hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters who tried to burst across Syria’s frontier with the Golan Heights, killing a reported 20 people and wounding scores more in the second outbreak of deadly violence in the border area in less than a month. The clashes, marking the anniversary of the Arab defeat in the 1967 Mideast war, drew Israeli accusations that Syria was orchestrating the violence to shift attention away from a bloody crackdown on opposition protests at home.”

Going, going and finally gone. “Effective Saturday night, Yemeni Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi took over Ali Abdullah Saleh’s responsibilities as president, Yemeni government spokesman Abdu al-Janadi told CNN.”

It is going to be tough sledding in some of these states for President Obama. “Reversing the economic decline fueled by the housing bust is a paramount test for President Obama as he campaigns for reelection. The president’s challenge is particularly pressing in potential swing states such as Florida, Nevada and Arizona, where stubborn joblessness and the pain from the collapse in real estate is most acute.”

The president’s executive order on disclosure of political donations by contractors is likely never going to see the light day. The Post editorial board explains: “The order, leaked by opponents while it is still in draft form, would require anyone seeking government contracts to report contributions (by the company, its subsidiaries and its directors or officers) to or spending on behalf of federal candidates, parties and political committees. This information is already publicly available, although not collected in a single place or reported in connection with the contracting bid. More controversial, the order would require reporting of ‘any contributions made to third party entities with the intention or reasonable expectation that parties would use those contributions to make independent expenditures or electioneering communications.’ These are the checks that currently escape disclosure. The stated justification is to ‘ensure the integrity of the federal contracting system’ and make certain that contracts are awarded ‘free from undue influence’ of extraneous factors, such as ‘political favoritism.’ ”