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GOP' s Sandy legacy was not erased by the passage of yesterday's scaled down relief bill (bigger relief bill set for mid-January). Headline from Thursday's paper.
Local media and elected officials, along with some national pundits, heaped praise on the governor, who spoke with characteristic bluntness (and the first leg of the bill passed the House overwhelmingly on Friday). Still, [NJ Gov. Chris] Christie hit some headwinds nationally from conservatives — including Christie fans — who thought he may have gone overboard hitting an already-diminished national Republican brand. On the party’s right flank, some telegraphed a clear sentiment that Christie’s straight-talking truth teller act had worn on them.
Christie's act wears on everyone. I'll bet the Speaker doesn't like being lectured to any more than NJ schoolteachers do.

THIS RT @DemFromCT: @ezraklein @rortybomb Know what govt jobs are called? Jobs.
@newfrontpagesky via TweetDeck

Greg Sargent:

Obama and Dems have vowed not to negotiate with the GOP over the debt ceiling. This morning, I asked what “not negotiating” would look like in the real world, and whether it’s even possible. But another question may be even more relevant: Do Republicans really have the leverage in the debt ceiling fight they think they have?

Some Republicans are now coming out and acknowledging that the GOP may not be in a strong position in the debt ceiling battle, after all. Here’s Newt Gingrich, on Morning Joe today, telling Republicans that a debt ceiling fight is a “loser” for them:

“They’ve got to find, in the House, a totally new strategy. Everybody’s now talking about, ‘Oh, here comes the debt ceiling.’ I think that’s, frankly, a dead loser. Because in the end, you know it’s gonna happen. The whole national financial system is going to come in to Washington and on television, and say: ‘Oh my God, this will be a gigantic heart attack, the entire economy of the world will collapse. You guys will be held responsible.’ And they’ll cave.”
Yes, they will. You'd think a Southern regional party like the GOP would remember Pickett's Charge.

Matt Miller:

I know what you’re thinking: An entitlement cap is a charade without policies designed to stay within it. But it’s the most constructive charade we could get this year. Caps on discretionary spending have worked pretty well. And an entitlement cap embraced by both sides could put fresh energy into bipartisan efforts to make the health-care system more efficient.

That’s the “cap.” On taxes, we need the “swap.” President Obama must insist on real revenue in the next cliff endgame — you can’t retire the boomers and renew America with taxes never topping 19 percent of GDP. But with marginal rates now headed to the mid-50s in high tax states like California and New York, Obama is about to lose his support among the politically vocal lower-upper class. In the end, his drive to tax the top even further via new limits on deductions won’t get him nearly the revenue the country needs.

Michael Tomasky:
Having rather heartily endorsed the cliff deal yesterday (see directly below), I now feel compelled to consider the opposing case. In political terms, I think there's no doubt Obama "won." But let's think about more from a policy perspective.
Newtown Bee:
Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, also the victim of a violent shooting crime, visited privately with Newtown families and officials Friday, January 4, prompted by the Sandy Hook School deaths on December 14.

Following the meeting with First Selectman Pat Llodra and others at the municipal center, Ms Llodra offered her thoughts.

"What drew her was the shared experience — our 26 victims and survivors, and what she experienced in Arizona."

On January 8, 2011, a week into her third term, Congresswoman Giffords was a victim of a shooting near Tuscon, which was a reported assassination attempt. She was critically injured by a gunshot wound to the head, and 13 people were injured and six others were killed in the shooting,

Also among officials meeting with Ms Gifford Friday were Senator Richard Blumenthal, Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, Selectman Jim Gaston, and Deputy Director Of Land Use Rob Sibley.

The group spoke about "what we as a society feel, what difference can we make given the horrific things that have happened," Mrs Llodra said. They considered, "How do we have a greater good come out of it? We talked about gun control, mental health, and society's desensitization to violence."

Mrs Llodra said, "I think what ends up in a meeting with [Ms Giffords] and other important people is that we need to use our voice to make a change, a stoking of that commitment." The time to act in the wake of the school shootings is now. "We have to leverage that experience, and the world will listen to us, but we have to move quickly."

Stressing a "great confidence in our delegation," Mrs Llodra said, "We can't let Congress off the hook either."

Newtown Bee:
Using dozens of huge industrial cardboard boxes on wood pallets, and a 40-yard container donated by resident Pat Caruso, workers separated the organic materials – flowers, plants, wreaths and trees – from all the non-organic items like toys and signs.

By about 1 am, the first flatbed trailer loaded with the huge boxes filled to the brim headed to the cold storage shed at the town garage, where all the collected memorials would be kept until they are ground down and processed into foundation bricks for a permanent display being planned to honor the victims of the December 14 school shooting.

Newtown Patch:
Gun Control, School Safety, Mental Illness Focus of New State Panel

In response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Connecticut is convening a panel of experts to explore all necessary facets of trying to prevent future tragedies.

Hugh S. Bailey/CT Post:
If the federal government wants to get you, your basement arsenal will not be much protection.

We spend about as much on our military as the rest of the world put together. If you get to thinking another American Revolution is in order, it's a guarantee you'll be outgunned.
This would appear obvious. It's apparently not. The nation's debate on guns is forced to accommodate people who believe they are poised to stand up to an Obama-led reign of tyranny, egged on by interest groups claiming to stand for freedom but who are mostly interested in selling more guns.

Great read from someone who knows Newtown.


Americans were in a generous mood when it came to spending this past December, as they reported spending an average $83 per day in stores, online, and in restaurants, excluding household bills and a home or car purchase. That is up from $73 in November and the highest monthly figure Gallup has reported since December 2008. It is also the first reading above the $80 mark since the 2008-2009 recession.

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