Kerry Swoops In

Senator John Kerry is trotting out to try to ease the tension with Pakistan. (Not for the first time, of course—the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee also swooped into Islamabad in February to help get Raymond Davis back.) He will be heading to Pakistan to speak with “all the main players” and “discuss all the relevant issues.” As Kerry put it, “A number of people suggested it would be good to get a dialogue going about the aftermath and how we get on the right track.” Kerry, who coauthored a bill that provided Pakistan a hefty amount of aid, has been in touch with the White House about the trip. He also plans to head to Afghanistan.

Beijing isn’t just blocking searches for jasmine or jasmine-related text messages. The government has banned selling the plant at a number of flower markets and has taken away the summer's International Jasmine Cultural Festival as well, fearful about the spread of the Middle East’s Jasmine Revolution. As jasmine is coming under fire, an interview with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was touted on the final day of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. The secretary called this kind of crackdown and other efforts to stave off the revolutionary tide a “fool’s errand.” “They're worried, and they are trying to stop history,” Clinton told the Atlantic.

Vice President Joe Biden held deficit-reduction talks with senior Republicans yesterday. Afterward, he put a positive spin on the meetings, saying “we are making real progress.” House Speaker John Boehner offered up one option on Monday that would mean making cuts in spending that more than cover any increase in the debt limit. “This is a window of opportunity for us to address the big challenges that face our country,” he explained Tuesday on NBC.