Public affairs viewing on tap

You’re going to think I’m one boring dude when I reveal this item to you.

One of my week’s highlights includes catching up on public affairs with public television’s smart analysts and commentators. It occurs on Friday evening, usually after a hectic week. The PBS NewsHour airs for an hour on KACV-TV beginning at 6 p.m., followed by a 30-minute broadcast of Washington Week in Review.

This week’s offerings no doubt will provide some drama to go along with incisive reporting, analysis and balanced commentary.

What will have occurred by this Friday?

* Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will step down to make way for her successor, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusettes, who was confirmed this week by a 94-3 U.S. Senate vote. I hope someone explores why Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn voted “no” on their colleague’s move to the State Department. And there no doubt there will be discussion of Clinton’s future and whether it includes a possible — or arguably probable — run for the presidency in 2016. For now, though, Clinton says she plans to try to catch up on “20 years of sleep deprivation.”

* Former Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on his nomination to become the next secretary of defense. Hagel is being opposed by gay-rights groups and by conservatives in the Senate. Talk about making both sides mad at you.

* Senators conducted a hearing Wednesday on legislation designed to curb gun violence. The star witness was former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona Democrat who suffered grievous injuries in a shooting spree in Tucson more than two years ago. Her co-star at the hearing was Wayne LaPierre, the chief spokesman for the National Rifle Association, the leading gun-owners rights group in the nation.

I suppose I could find more a more fun-filled activity to do on Friday evening. But I’ll gladly settle for a little education, courtesy of public TV.


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