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3:40 PM ET, December 21, 2012


 Top Items: 
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.
Community Resource Officer Called to “Back Lot”  —  Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy Neil Gardner soon would complete his second year as the uniformed community resource officer assigned to Columbine High School.  Gardner, a 15-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office, normally ate his lunch …
10 Things The NRA Blamed For The Sandy Hook Massacre  —  Not guns.  At a press conference Friday morning, the NRA's Wayne LaPierre offered some other villains.  —  The Media  —  “Rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize gun owners.”  —  Image by Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images
John H. Cushman Jr / New York Times:
N.R.A. Calls for Armed Guards in Schools to Deter Violence  —  WASHINGTON — The National Rifle Association on Friday called for schools to be protected by armed guards as the best way to protect children from gun violence.  —  The group, long the most vocal and influential organization …
Melissa Hayes /
Christie: Armed guards won't make schools safer  —  Governor Chris Christie said he doesn't agree that placing armed guards at every school in the state would help prevent tragedies like the Newtown, Conn. school shooting last week.  —  “In general I don't think that the solution to safety …
Discussion: Post Politics and Mediaite
Philip Elliott / Associated Press:
David Weigel / Slate:
Wayne LaPierre Wants Armed Guards at Schools. Columbine Had an Armed Guard.
Alex Pappas / The Daily Caller:
Journalists slam NRA throughout press conference
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.
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.
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 …
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” …
Brian Beutler / Talking Points Memo:
Boehner Points — Subtly — Toward A Way Forward After Failure Of Plan B  —  The morning after conservatives in his conference threw Plan B back in his face, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) did his level best to sound like a man in charge — as if his vulnerabilities had not been laid bare just 12 hours earlier.
Discussion: Daily Kos
David Kurtz / Talking Points Memo:
Does A Speaker Survive This?
Behind the scenes of a GOP meltdown
Jonathan Weisman / New York Times:
Boehner Calls on Obama and Senate for Fiscal Solution
Mike Allen / Politico:
Chuck Hagel apologizes for gay slur  —  Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, seeking to preserve his viability for nomination as secretary of Defense, on Friday issued a strong apology for a gay slur in 1998 that turned some top Democratic activists against his potential selection.
Scott Johnson / Power Line:
Shock audio: Hagel on the “Jewish lobby” [UPDATE: Hagel Apologizes for Gay Comments]
Discussion: Politico
Jennifer Rubin / Right Turn:
EXCLUSIVE: Top Republican Senator will oppose Hagel nomination
Mark Landler / New York Times:
Obama Nominates Kerry for Secretary of State  —  WASHINGTON — President Obama nominated Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts as secretary of state, choosing an elder of the Democratic Party's foreign policy establishment and a crucial political ally in the Senate to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Boston Globe:
Roots of John Kerry's secretary of state ambition lie in wake of 2004 defeat
Discussion: The National Memo
Mj Lee / Politico:
Frank not saying ‘no’ to Senate appointment
Wjac Web / WJAC-TV:
4 dead in Blair Co. shooting; 3 troopers injured  —  Sponsored Links  —  BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. —  The Blair County district attorney said that four people, including the alleged gunman, are dead after a series of shootings along a rural road on Friday.  —  The district attorney …
Ron Nixon / New York Times:
With Farm Bill Stalled, Consumers May Face Soaring Milk Prices  —  WASHINGTON — Forget the fiscal crisis and the automatic budget cuts.  Come Jan. 1, there is a threat that milk prices could rise to $6 to $8 a gallon if Congress does not pass a new farm bill that amends farm policy dating back to the Truman presidency.
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 More Items: 
David Auerbach / Waggish:
Robert Bork: In Memoriam
Discussion: Lawyers, Guns & Money
Noah Smith / The Atlantic Online:
The Single Best Anti-Gun-Death Policy? Ending the Drug War
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Hartford Courant:
Michelle Obama's Letter To Newtown: ‘Holding You In Our Hearts’
Simon Johnson / Project Syndicate RSS-Feed:
Financial Reform's Breakthrough Year
Discussion: Business Insider
Justin Sink / The Hill:
Obama calls Inouye an ‘inspiration’
Discussion: Politico
Herman Cain / CainTV:
Politics: The New York Times is a racist newspaper
 Earlier Items: 
Paul Davidson / USA Today:
Unemployment rates fall in 45 states in Nov.
Ian Swanson / The Hill:
Huelskamp holds heated exchange with Scarborough on gun control
Discussion: Politico
Jeff Poor / The Daily Caller:
Michael Moore: Americans' desire to own guns stems from racial fears
Discussion: Examiner and The Gateway Pundit
Tom Cotton / Wall Street Journal:
A Soldier's-Eye View of Chuck Hagel