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assault deaths, US vs other countries via Ezra Klein

Daily Times/Gannett editorial:

We are not in a war zone, but we might as well be.

A frequent factor in these violent incidents is mental illness. In many — but not all — of these incidents, the weapons used to wreak havoc were obtained legally.

This is not a proposed assault on the Second Amendment. There is, of course, no way to avoid all gun violence. But there is a clear choice we must ultimately make: What kind of society do we want to inhabit — one in which we risk our lives to watch a movie, go shopping or enter a classroom?

Or one where capable and responsible adults are free to own guns but every effort is made to weed out those who could turn violent?

Michael Gerson captures the anguish of Christmas during tragedy:
Death is not the expression of a just moral order but its violation. And the proper response is not explanation but friendship. “Immediately after such tragedy,” said [William Sloane] Coffin, “people must come to your rescue, people who only want to hold your hand, not to quote anybody or even say anything, people who simply bring food and flowers — the basics of beauty and life — people who sign letters simply, ‘Your brokenhearted sister.’ ”

Grief is particularly difficult at Christmas, as the best memories can be the hardest ones. But the hope of Christmas is broad enough for joy and sorrow.

Gerson is one of the few living practitioners of compassionate conservatism.

In this holiday spirit, here's a short and incomplete list of conservatives I've said nice things about, on occasion: Mike Gerson, David Frum, Bruce Bartlett, Cesar Conda, Rory Cooper, George W. Bush (on PEPFAR and pandemic preparedness). The list does not afaik include Mitt Romney, Dick Cheney or the Republican House.


Firefighters' ambush killer left note on his plan, had same rifle as Conn. gunman
I was hoping to hear it was banned, not that it was used again. As a Newtown resident, my heart goes out to Webster, NY and their first responders.

I am one of David Gregory's biggest detractors. But this interview with the head of the NRA is extraordinary. (Scroll.)
@jayrosen_nyu via bitly

MSNBC provides us with some memorable Democratic party 2012 moments, including:

Mitt Romney, the gift that kept on giving

Right-wingers go off-script on rape; women shut that whole thing down

Obamacare survives Supreme Court test

Wall Street watchdog goes to Washington

Obama backs same-sex marriage

and of course


Meanwhile, the WaPo reports the tea party is staying on the sidelines. The NY Times reports the tea party has diminished clout. Both ought to remember for headline purposes that the tea party is the Republican party.

Jonathan Bernstein:

So: Do tea party leaders actually care about deficits? Is deficit talk all just a cover for a traditional (over the last 30 years at least) Republican insistence on low tax rates for rich people, regardless of what actually happens to the deficit? Do they have no idea what they’re talking about at all, and are lost when it comes to actual policy choices instead of easy slogans?

I’m guessing it’s the last one.

But I’ll admit: I don’t know the answer. It is, however, what I want to hear about from tea party leaders.

Reread it and insert Republican party every time you read tea party. The fiscal cliff discussions will make a lot more sense to you.

Added: don't miss this amazing story of heroism, guns and revolution.

Richard K. Armey, the group’s chairman and a former House majority leader, walked into the group’s Capitol Hill offices with his wife, Susan, and an aide holstering a handgun at his waist. The aim was to seize control of the group and expel Armey’s enemies: The gun-wielding assistant escorted FreedomWorks’ top two employees off the premises, while Armey suspended several others who broke down in sobs at the news.

The coup lasted all of six days. By Sept. 10, Armey was gone — with a promise of $8 million — and the five ousted employees were back. The force behind their return was Richard J. Stephenson, a reclusive Illinois millionaire who has exerted increasing control over one of Washington’s most influential conservative grass-roots organizations.

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