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CNN looks at gun sales in Newtown:
And while government data show the number of Americans who own guns has been declining for several decades, experts say we are now seeing more guns in the hands of fewer Americans.
"I think it's a little bit of a reaction to what's going on both here and across America where I think the gun owners are seeing there is this huge outcry in the U.S. to reduce gun violence and there's a perception that the government is going to come and grab all their guns, or is not going to allow them to purchase certain guns," said Monte Frank, another Newtown resident who's also a member of the Newtown Action Alliance.
NEW YORK CITY Comptroller, Dem. primary: Eliot Spitzer 56% / Scott Stringer 37% / Unsure 7% (Quinnipiac U, likely Dem primary voters 8/7-12)
Joan Walsh:
[Marco Rubio's] probably onto something, trying to channel his party’s hatred of the president, but he underestimates the extent to which it prevents most of them from making rational political decisions. The guy once considered a top 2016 prospect has been hurt politically by his efforts on immigration reform – Charles Pierce calls him a “has been,” noting that Rubio overestimated his party’s desire to lose its nativist image, but “by the time he figured all of this out, the party had found Ted Cruz, who is completely nuts, but who is as Cuban as Rubio. Right now, Marco Rubio looks as relevant to Republican politics going forward as Robert Taft does.”
What else did Charles Pierce say about Rubio?
It has been amusing to watch Marco Rubio, The Future Of The Rebranded GOP, try to struggle free of the shrink wrap while half his party flings poo at him. He was going to be the guy who led his party out of its increasingly tiny, and largely melanin-free, wilderness. He was the party's voice of reason on Immigration Reform. Christ above, did he back the wrong horse. He discovered to his horror that his party likes being in the wilderness. You can eat with your fingers, run around shoeless, and pee behind trees. By the time he figured all of this out, the party had found Ted Cruz, who is completely nuts, but who is as Cuban as Rubio. Right now, Marco Rubio looks as relevant to Republican politics going forward as Robert Taft does.

You can tell Rubio knows it, too, because he's begun to thrash around, trying to square his original issue with the racial paranoia of the people he needs in any primaries he still might be considering entering.

More politics and policy below the fold.

The Fix:

Several states may see stricter voter identification laws implemented by the 2014 midterm elections. The June Supreme Court decision removed special scrutiny of voting laws in nine states and a number of jurisdictions with a history of discrimination. In addition to North Carolina’s law, five others states directly affected by the Supreme Court ruling have passed laws requiring additional voter identification, according to a tally by the National Conference on State Legislatures.

Here’s a rundown on where the laws stand in each state where federal pre-approval of voting laws is no longer required.

How insurance works, from Tina Rosenberg/NY Times:
In January 2010, the company was enrolled in a Blue Cross P.P.O., or preferred provider organization. That month, Blue Cross told Texas811 that it was planning to raise the company’s premiums by 75 percent. That was extreme. But health insurance premiums are rising three times as fast as wages, doubling since 2002. “We freaked out,” said Lee Marrs, the company’s president. They negotiated. Blue Cross agreed to lower the increase to 68 percent. “At that point it was go out of business, drop health coverage, or try something new,” Marrs said.

They tried something new.

What Texas811 did first was drop Blue Cross and its P.P.O. and become self-insured. That means that the company itself paid claims up to a certain amount, and bought an insurance policy that kicked in after that. This isn’t revolutionary – self-insurance is how it’s done for about a third of the insured work force.  After one unsatisfactory year, Texas811 signed up with GPA, a Dallas-based company that administers claims for about 230 workplaces like municipalities, school districts, retail businesses.

The difference was astounding.

Jonathan Bernstein:
Yes, that’s right. Heritage is asking Republicans in Congress to base their choices about the next fiscal showdown on a partisan poll of GOP House districts. So we have a loaded sample asked loaded questions — and Republican politicians are supposed to stake their careers on it? Really, any politician who would take this sort of stuff seriously deserves whatever he or she gets.
Gulp! Tea Party to Lamar Alexander: You should retire. US  “can no longer afford compromise and bipartisanship”
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