newspaper headline collage
The NRA’s congressional operation is so effective that one of the gun lobby’s most outspoken critics, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), initially signed on as a sponsor of the NRA-supported background check bill. Blumenthal said he had no direct contact with the NRA when he signed on to the measure but had been drawn by the idea of a bipartisan initiative to improve background checks.

On Friday, Blumenthal withdrew his support, saying in an interview that he was no longer comfortable with the bill because of “serious unintended consequences” related to provisions governing the mentally ill.

Don't confuse this with what the public wants. That the NRA may win some of this battle doesn't mean they win everything everywhere. They fought and lost in CT, NY, MD and CO. But there are plenty of places where they will win, for now.

David Ignatius:

“I can’t adequately describe how unwilling the American people are to get involved in another war in the Middle East,” said one representative. “We’re almost unable to respond,” given what the United States has spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, said another. He described intervention proposals as “half-baked” and argued that “the last thing we need is something ineffective.” A third member summed up the public mood this way: “We are not just war-weary, we are war-wary.”
And that's a bad thing?

NY Times:

China, which has been deeply suspicious of the American desire to reassert itself in Asia, has not protested publicly or privately as the United States has deployed ships and warplanes to the Korean Peninsula. That silence, American officials say, attests to both Beijing’s mounting frustration with the North and the recognition that its reflexive support for Pyongyang could strain its ties with Washington.
read in tandem with above. While there's no appetite for war in Syria, Asia is saber-rattling country.

Join us for more pundits and punditry below the fold.

Charles Blow:

The surge of generational change continues in this country, altering the cultural landscape with a speed and intensity that has rarely — if ever — been seen before.
David Rothkopf:
North Korea is dangerously close to crossing a line. Not the line that leads to a missile attack on the United States, but the one that separates being a rogue state from being a parody of a rogue state. Pyongyang's bluster is as comical as its nuclear threats are implausible.
Richard Knox:
Sixteen cases of a new flu around Shanghai have touched off a major effort to determine what kind of threat this new bug might be.

The victims range in age from 4 to 87 years old. Six have died. It is a tragedy for them and their families, but is it a global crisis?

To understand why so few cases are generating so much concern, the first thing to know is that no flu virus like this one — called H7N9 — has ever been known to infect humans before.

That immediately grabs the attention of flu pros. "Since it doesn't affect people, people haven't developed immunity to it," says Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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