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12:20 PM ET, December 21, 2012


 Top Items: 
Ezra Klein / Wonkblog:
Will Boehner's speakership survive until Plan C?  —  Has there been a House speaker in modern American history with less control over his members than John Boehner?  —  Sad trombone.  (Charles Dharapak / AP)  —  Over the past three days, Boehner has focused all attention on “Plan B” …
Behind the scenes of a GOP meltdown  —  Things were so bad for Speaker John Boehner Thursday night, support for his Plan B tax bill so diminished, the limits of his power with his own party laid bare, that he stood in front of the House Republican Conference and recited the Serenity Prayer.
Robert Costa / National Review:
Inside the Meltdown  —  “How the hell can you do this?”  —  • followers  —  At a quarter to 8 p.m. on Thursday night, House Republicans gathered in the Capitol basement for an urgent, closed-door conference meeting.  The scene was hushed and confused.
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Playing Taxes Hold 'Em  —  A few years back, there was a boom in poker television — shows in which you got to watch the betting and bluffing of expert card players.  Since then, however, viewers seem to have lost interest.  But I have a suggestion: Instead of featuring poker experts …
Matthew Yglesias / Slate:
The Failure of Last Night's “Plan B” Vote Makes a Fiscal Cliff Deal More Likely  —  WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 20: Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) leaves a meeting with House Republicans, on Capitol Hill, December 20, 2012 in Washington, DC.  —  Drew Angerer/Getty Images
David Kurtz / Talking Points Memo:
Does A Speaker Survive This?  —  The likely truth is that John Boehner never had the votes to cut a deal with President Obama.  Any deal.  Not a grand bargain of deficit reduction.  Not a piecemeal deal that might have lessened the blow of all the Bush tax cuts expiring on Jan. 1.  Nothing.
Discussion: Econbrowser
Jonathan Weisman / New York Times:
Boehner Tax Plan in House Is Pulled, Lacking Votes  —  WASHINGTON - House Republican leaders abruptly pulled their fallback tax bill from the floor Thursday night, conceding that they did not have the votes to pass it.  —  “The House did not take up the tax measure today …
Brian Beutler / Talking Points Memo:
Republicans Crush Boehner's Plan B  —  Plan B was supposed to have been John Boehner's masterstroke — and the only legislative tactic protecting him from an embarrassing defeat in fiscal cliff negotiations with President Obama.  —  But late Thursday, after a brief but contentious meeting …
Washington Post:
How Boehner's Plan B for the ‘fiscal cliff’ began and fell apart  —  View Photo Gallery — The ‘fiscal cliff’: Meet the key players: With the election behind them, Obama and lawmakers have turned their attention to the fiscal cliff.  Here's a look at some of the leaders …
Ryan Cooper / Washington Monthly:
Speaker Boehner's Plan B Fails
Discussion: American Prospect
Behind the scenes of a GOP meltdown
Discussion: The Demos Blog and The Plum Line
Boehner Drops ‘Plan B’ as Budget Effort Turns to Disarray
Discussion: Quartz
John Stanton / BuzzFeed:
Conservatives Kill Republican Tax Plan
Discussion: Daily Kos
House GOP Puts off Vote on ‘Plan B’
David Kurtz / Talking Points Memo:
Boehner Calls Off Plan B Vote
Discussion: Firedoglake and Crooks and Liars
Mark Landler / New York Times:
Kerry Is Pick for Secretary of State, Official Says  —  WASHINGTON — President Obama plans to nominate Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts as secretary of state, a senior administration official said.  He would succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton and become the first member of Mr. Obama's second-term national security team.
Mj Lee / Politico:
Frank not saying ‘no’ to Senate appointment
Discussion: BuzzFeed and Post Politics
Jonathan Easley / The Hill:
State Dept. focusing on ‘deteriorating security’ at diplomatic posts
Washington Post:
Remarks from the NRA press conference on Sandy Hook school shooting, delivered on Dec. 21, 2012 (Transcript)  —  Video: After a week of silence in the wake of the Newtown shootings, the National Rifle Association finally spoke out Friday defending guns and decrying violence.
Colin Campbell / Politicker:
Bloomberg: No One Has ‘Defended the Second Amendment as Much as I Have’  —  Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have risen to become the country's chief critic of lax firearm laws, but on his weekly radio show, he argued that has nothing to do with the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Discussion: Weasel Zippers and Weekly Standard
Ian Swanson / The Hill:
Huelskamp holds heated exchange with Scarborough on gun control  —  Talk show host Joe Scarborough and Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kanses) engaged in a heated discussion Friday over gun control.  —  Scarborough and Huelskamp both shouted over one another after Huelskamp said those arguing …
Discussion: Politico
Mark Landler / New York Times:
Chuck Hagel Is Criticized Over Gay Rights Record  —  WASHINGTON — Chuck Hagel, the former Nebraska senator on President Obama's short list for defense secretary, came under fire again on Thursday, this time for his record on gay rights and remarks he made 14 years ago about an openly gay nominee for a diplomatic post.
David Edwards / The Raw Story:
Mosque arsonist tells court: ‘I only know what I hear on Fox News’  —  An Indiana man convicted of setting fire to a mosque in Ohio told a judge on Wednesday that he committed the crimes because Fox News and conservative talk radio had convinced him that “most Muslims are terrorists.”
Hal Brown / Sentinel-Tribune:
Randolph Linn pleads guilty to Islamic Center of Greater Toledo arson
Discussion: Booman Tribune and Gawker
Jennifer Epstein / Politico:
Obama calls on Americans to help fight gun violence  —  President Obama urged Americans to keep pushing for efforts to combat gun violence, as he thanked hundreds of thousands of people for voicing their concerns to the White House over the course of the week since the Newtown shooting.
Associated Press:
Obama on Gun Violence: ‘We Hear You.’
Discussion: BuzzFeed and The Hill
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 More Items: 
Dylan Matthews / Wonkblog:
‘Antitrust was defined by Robert Bork. I cannot overstate his influence.’
Discussion: The Demos Blog and Mother Jones
New York Times:
Gaps in F.B.I. Data Undercut Background Checks for Guns
Discussion: emptywheel and The BLT
Genesis / The Market Ticker:
The Market Ticker - Obama's Hypocrisy Problem On Guns
Discussion: Instapundit
Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania:
Ethics Filing Shows Corbett Took Free Vacation from Businessman with Ties to Gas Industry
Jeff Poor / The Daily Caller:
Michael Moore: Americans' desire to own guns stems from racial fears
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit and Examiner
Tom Cotton / Wall Street Journal:
A Soldier's-Eye View of Chuck Hagel
 Earlier Items: 
Larry Alan Burns / Los Angeles Times:
A conservative case for an assault weapons ban
Discussion: Hot Air and Talking Points Memo
Michelangelo Signorile / The Huffington Post:
Barney Frank On Westboro Baptist Church, Prostitution And ‘Bigot’ Antonin Scalia
Carl Bernstein / Guardian:
Why the US media ignored Murdoch's brazen bid to hijack the presidency | Carl Bernstein
Katy Steinmetz / TIME:
The Cost of Romney's Government-Assisted Transition: $8.9 Million