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11:05 AM 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.
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 …
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 …
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.
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 …
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
Washington Post:
How Boehner's Plan B for the ‘fiscal cliff’ began and fell apart
Boehner Drops ‘Plan B’ as Budget Effort Turns to Disarray
Discussion: Quartz
Erick Erickson / RedState:
URGENT: Last few hours to stop the Boehner Tax Hike
Wall Street Journal:
Boehner's Budget ‘Plan B’ Collapses
Discussion: Washington Wire and Bloomberg
House GOP Puts off Vote on ‘Plan B’
Discussion: Politico and The Huffington Post
David Kurtz / Talking Points Memo:
Boehner Calls Off Plan B Vote
Discussion: Firedoglake and Crooks and Liars
Michael McAuliff / The Huffington Post:
‘Plan B’ Vote Postponed In House
Discussion: The Moderate Voice and Hullabaloo
Washington Post:
Boehner abandons plan to avoid ‘fiscal cliff’
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: Weekly Standard
Larry Alan Burns / Los Angeles Times:
A conservative case for an assault weapons ban
Discussion: Hot Air and Talking Points Memo
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
Jennifer Epstein / Politico:
Obama calls on Americans to help fight gun violence
Associated Press:
Obama on Gun Violence: ‘We Hear You.’
Discussion: The Hill and BuzzFeed
Mark Landler / New York Times:
Obama Picks Kerry 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, succeeding Hillary Rodham Clinton and putting in place the first member of his second-term national security team.
Discussion: Daily Kos and Business Insider
Jonathan Easley / The Hill:
State Dept. focusing on ‘deteriorating security’ at diplomatic posts
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.
Peter Hamby / CNN:
FIRST ON CNN: Mark Sanford plans to run for Congress  —  Richmond, Virginia (CNN) - Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is launching a political comeback that may begin within days.  —  Sanford is planning to run for the Congressional seat he held almost a decade ago …
Discussion: Ballot Box, Hot Air, The Fix and ABCNEWS
Alex Isenstadt / Politico:
Report: Ex-S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford to launch congressional bid
Jeff Poor / The Daily Caller:
Michael Moore: Americans' desire to own guns stems from racial fears  —  Friday night, on the heels of last week's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., the left-leaning Current TV is planning to air progressive filmmaker Michael Moore's ten-year-old Columbine documentary …
Discussion: Examiner and The Gateway Pundit
Kristina Wong / Washington Times:
U.S. on alert for Islamist ire to ‘Zero Dark Thirty’  —  Film depicts harsh interrogation methods  —  Could the release of “Zero Dark Thirty” provoke violent protests against the U.S. in response to the film's searing depictions of “enhanced interrogation” — the coercive …
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
Tom Cotton / Wall Street Journal:
A Soldier's-Eye View of Chuck Hagel  —  His record on Iraq alone should disqualify the former senator from leading U.S. troops in time of war.  —  Chuck Hagel, who is reportedly on the White House's shortlist of nominees for secretary of defense, served our country admirably in Vietnam.
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 More Items: 
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 and Vox Popoli
Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania:
Ethics Filing Shows Corbett Took Free Vacation from Businessman with Ties to Gas Industry
Michelangelo Signorile / The Huffington Post:
Barney Frank On Westboro Baptist Church, Prostitution And ‘Bigot’ Antonin Scalia
 Earlier Items: 
Lois Romano / Politico:
The disappearing independent  —  As Republicans sift through …
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