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9:05 PM ET, December 19, 2012

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 Top Items: 
Brian Beutler / Talking Points Memo:
Did Boehner Just Pull The Plug On Fiscal Cliff Negotiations?  —  In response to President Obama's extensive comments about the fiscal cliff at the White House Wednesday afternoon, House Speaker John Boehner left himself little if any room to continue negotiations.
RELATED:
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
House Republicans Again Show Why We Need to Wait Until January for a Deal  —  For about half a day, in the wake of President Obama's most recent budget compromise, it appeared that an agreement might be close at hand.  Boehner was reported to be taking the temperature of his crazies on Obama's plan.
Ryan Ellis / Americans for Tax Reform RSS:
ATR Statement on “Plan B” Tax Plan  —  ATR's statement on the “Plan B” tax bill.  —  ATR has consistently maintained that individual Members of Congress make a pledge to their constituents to oppose and vote against tax increases.  The House this week will vote on a tax bill.
Politico:
Obama, Boehner duel on fiscal cliff  —  President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner traded sharp words Wednesday as each leader urged the other to get serious about averting the fiscal cliff — and Boehner revised his strategy on the Hill.  —  House Republican leaders are changing …
Talking Points Memo:
Grover Norquist: Boehner's ‘Plan B’ Not A Tax Pledge Violation
Discussion: Firedoglake and National Review
Tom Cohen / CNN:
Boehner's tax gamble roils fiscal cliff talks
David Taintor / Talking Points Memo:
White House: Obama Would Veto GOP's Fiscal Cliff ‘Plan B’
Discussion: ThinkProgress, Firedoglake and Reuters
Kate Nocera / Politico:
Norquist giving House Republicans a pass on Boehner's ‘Plan B’
Kos / Daily Kos:
Capitulation is never popular. Or effective.
Michael Scherer / TIME:
2012 Person of the Year: Barack Obama, the President  —  Twenty-seven years after driving from New York City to Chicago in a $2,000 Honda Civic for a job that probably wouldn't amount to much, Barack Obama, in better shape but with grayer hair, stood in the presidential suite on the top floor …
RELATED:
Adolph L. Reed Jr / New York Times:
The Puzzle of Black Republicans  —  WHEN Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina announced on Monday that she would name Representative Tim Scott to the Senate, it seemed like another milestone for African-Americans.  Mr. Scott will complete the term of Senator Jim DeMint, who is leaving to run Heritage Foundation.
RELATED:
Igor Volsky / ThinkProgress:
CNN Anchor Blasts Florida Governor For Ducking Gun Control, Demands Action Before ‘I Cover Another Tragedy’
Ashley Killough / CNN:
TRENDING: Tim Scott points to ‘moral decay’ after school shooting
Discussion: Politico
Roger Kimball / Roger's Rules:
Robert H. Bork, 1927-2012  —  Judge Robert H. Bork, one of the the greatest jurists this country has ever produced, died early this morning from heart complications in a Virginia hospital near his home.  He was 84.  —  Bork was a national celebrity.  Several years ago …
RELATED:
Jeffrey Toobin / News Desk:
Postscript: Robert Bork, 1927-2012  —  Robert Bork, who died Wednesday, was an unrepentant reactionary who was on the wrong side of every major legal controversy of the twentieth century.  The fifty-eight senators who voted against Bork for confirmation to the Supreme Court in 1987 honored themselves, and the Constitution.
Discussion: American Prospect
Jennifer Rubin / Right Turn:
More trouble for Hagel  —  Joining other groups and individuals opposing Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, the generally liberal American Jewish Committee (among the older and better known Jewish organizations) has signaled it opposes the potential nomination.  Executive director David Harris e-mails me the following:
RELATED:
Maggie Haberman / Politico:
Kristol-founded group targets Hagel
Washington Post:
Chuck Hagel is not the right choice for defense secretary
Kevin Robillard / Politico:
Joe Manchin: 'I'm so proud of the NRA'  —  'I'm not supporting a ban on anything.  I'm supporting a conversation on everything,' Manchin said.  AP Photo  —  Close  —  West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who suggested earlier in the week that the time had come for some gun control restrictions …
Discussion: Daily Kos and Mediaite
RELATED:
Shauna Johnson / WV MetroNews:
Senator Manchin attempts clarification
Discussion: The Hill and Politico
NRO Symposium / National Review:
Newtown Answers  —  Twenty children and six adults are dead.  In Nigeria, people put their lives at risk going to church on Sundays.  But in New England?  The thought that going to school could be a final act is hard for us to comprehend.  The seeming senselessness of what happened …
CNN:
CNN Poll: Bare majority now support major gun restrictions  —  Washington (CNN) - Americans are reacting to the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut with elevated levels of anger, shock and fear that have led a growing number of people to look for action from the government and society …
Eric Schmitt / New York Times:
3 State Department Resignations After Libya Attack Report  —  WASHINGTON — Three State Department officials resigned under pressure on Wednesday following a report that detailed “grossly inadequate” security measures at the United States Mission in Benghazi, Libya, on the night assailants besieged …
Robert Rizzuto / Union-News:
Sen. Scott Brown says he now supports a federal ban on assault weapons  —  Although he once said banning so-called assault weapons fell under the category of issues best left to the states, Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown told The Republican / MassLive.com in an exclusive interview Wednesday that he now supports federal action.
Discussion: The Hill, 2chambers and Post Politics
RELATED:
Andrew Kaczynski / BuzzFeed:
The Assault Weapon Ban Would Have Never Passed If It Wasn't For Ronald Reagan
Discussion: Outside the Beltway
Frank Newport / Gallup:
To Stop Shootings, Americans Focus on Police, Mental Health  —  Democrats substantially more likely to see assault gun ban as effective  —  PRINCETON, NJ — Americans are most likely to say that an increased police presence at schools, increased government spending on mental health screening and treatment …
Matt Townsend / Bloomberg:
Guns Out of Stock at Wal-Mart as Magazine Prices Surge on  —  With President Barack Obama endorsing sweeping gun restrictions in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, prices for handgun magazines are surging on EBay (EBAY) and semi-automatic rifles are sold out at many Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) locations.
Joel Gehrke / Washington Examiner:
Court: Obama must rewrite contraception mandate to accommodate religious liberty … Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius cannot enforce the Obamacare contraception mandate as it is written, but must follow through on a promise to rewrite the rule to accommodate religious liberty, a federal appeals court ordered.
RELATED:
Becket Fund:
Federal Appeals Court Hands Victory to Religious Colleges, Commands HHS to Act Quickly to Fix Mandate
Laura Vozzella / Washington Post:
Va. bill would order schools to arm teachers  —  Del. Robert G. Marshall is proposing a bill that would require some teachers or other school staff to carry concealed weapons in schools.  —  Marshall (R-Prince William) requested that the bill be drafted in response to the mass shooting last week at a Connecticut elementary school.
Ted Barrett / CNN:
FIRST ON CNN: Sen. Mikulski to chair Appropriations Committee, becoming first woman to hold the post  —  Washington (CNN) - Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, will step up to the helm of the Senate Appropriations committee, three Democratic sources told CNN, and one source said she would be the first woman to chair that powerful panel.
Discussion: Politico and Booman Tribune
 
 
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 More Items: 
Lisa Daftari / Fox News:
American pastor imprisoned without notice of charges while visiting family in Iran
Discussion: Weasel Zippers and National Review
David Martosko / The Daily Caller:
Obamacare could drive Little Sisters of the Poor out of the US
Discussion: National Review
Alex Seitz-Wald / Salon:
Assault rifle company issues “man cards”
Stephen Galloway / Hollywood Reporter:
Steven Spielberg: In 2012, ‘Chris Christie Was a Hero for Me’ (Q&A)
Discussion: Politico and GOP 12
J.J. Gould / The Atlantic Online:
Slavery's Global Comeback
 Earlier Items: 
Bloomberg:
American Gun Deaths to Exceed Traffic Fatalities by 2015
Samuel Knight / Washington Monthly:
“Fix the Debt” - Defense Contractor Ties Exposed
Conor Friedersdorf / The Atlantic Online:
Quoting Rush Limbaugh Verbatim Is the Easiest Way to Discredit Him
 

 
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