A staunch advocate for America’s national security. “Rep. Buck McKeon (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, won’t seek re-election in November after more than two decades in Congress . . . The Cook Political Report downgraded its rating for the district from ‘Solid Republican’ to ‘Likely Republican’ following news of his retirement.”

Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Thaer Ganaim/European Pressphoto Agency) Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Thaer Ganaim/European Pressphoto Agency)

Undeterred democracy activists can rejoice about one country (only one, unfortunately) that underwent an Arab Spring revolution. “One is setting a standard for dialogue and democracy that is the envy of the Arab world. The other has become a study in the risks of revolution, on a violent path that seems to lead only in circles. Tunisia and Egypt, the neighbors whose twin revolts ignited the Arab Spring, are a dual lesson in the pitfalls and potentials for democracy across the region.”

A valiant effort to distance herself from President Obama. Too bad her votes in the Senate don’t reflect that. ” In what may be a sign to come for the midterm elections, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, who faces a tough re-election battle this year, stayed far away from President Barack Obama’s visit to her home state on Wednesday.”

Former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman was a resolute pro-defense, pro-Israel lawmaker. Naturally then, he has nothing good to say about the president. ““I do not see a credible or coherent U.S. strategy right now for exactly those countries — Syria, Iraq and Libya — that most threaten to emerge as al Qaeda’s newest and most dangerous footholds — places, from which terrorist attacks against our homeland can and will originate.” Our allies in the region agree.

Another sign the far right is not the invincible force it once was. “The U.S. House, shunning the budget brinkmanship of recent years, passed a $1.012 trillion bill Wednesday that would fund the government for the next 8½ months. . . . After three years of budget battles between Mr. Obama and the GOP, the bill marks the first time in years that Congress has made considered decisions about spending priorities from top to bottom, instead of putting parts of the government on autopilot.” The adults are back in charge.

No matter how determined (deluded?) our secretary of state may be, “peace” isn’t happening anytime soon, says Elliott Abrams, because “the most any Israeli government seems able to offer is less than the least any Palestinian government seems able to accept.” That’s doesn’t mean we should do nothing, however. “While today’s political-level peace negotiations can provide an essential umbrella for pragmatic steps, focusing solely on achieving a full final status agreement is too risky. Practical on-the-ground improvements are beneficial in themselves and can improve chances for an eventual negotiated settlement. They will also strengthen the PA and its ability to engage in the compromises any full peace agreement will require.” Read the whole thing.

The intrepid light bulb team is on the case! “The $1.1 trillion spending bill, which covers all federal agencies and is expected to pass the House and Senate this week, bars the Department of Energy from spending money to enforce federal rules that set tougher efficiency standards for light bulbs.  Such a measure has been attached to prior budget deals as well. The ban takes aim at a bipartisan 2007 law, signed by President Bush, that phases out the most commonly used Thomas Edison incandescents, which waste 90% of their energy as heat rather than light.”