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this week's CDC tracking of flu season
CDC Fluview

Ian Reifowitz:

Barack Obama has always had a keen sense of history, both how to make it and to talk about it. He consistently offers an inclusive, unifying narrative of our country's past that helps explain his conception of our national identity. We can see this clearly in his second inaugural address and in his writings and speeches over two decades.
More from Ian on yesterday's Kagro in the Morning radio show (he's on at 45 minutes).

Mark  Blumenthal:

"Agree with me or you are un-American" is the way Republican political consultant Dan Hazelwood heard it, according to a tweet from The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza.

While that particular reading of Obama's attempt to ground his arguments in the Constitution and the views of the nation's founders may be a stretch, it raises a fundamental question: Just how many Americans agree with Obama on the more "progressive" positions he advanced in the speech?

A review of recent polling as well as a set of questions asked on a new HuffPost/YouGov online poll show that more Americans agree than disagree with the president on key issues -- in most cases, by large majorities.

Obviously, this is a center-left nation. At least, it is if you ask the people instead of the pundits.

Peggy Noonan:

Noonan: Lessons Conservatives Need to Learn

Conservatives and Republicans feel a bit under siege these days because their views are not officially in style. But the Cringe is not the way to deal with it. If you take a stand, take a stand and take the blows. Many people would think that paying more than half your salary in city, state, county and federal taxes is unjust. Mr. Mickelson is not alone.

Lesson two came from Republicans on Capitol Hill. Conservatives on the ground are angry with them after the Benghazi hearings. Members of the Senate and the House have huffed and puffed for months: "It's worse than Watergate, Americans died." Just wait till they question the secretary of state, they'll get to the bottom of it.

Wednesday they questioned Hillary Clinton. It was a dud.

The US is still #flu-ey, but the epi-curve shows the season is on the downhill slide. #CDC
@HelenBranswell via web

Read more about flu, politics and the political universe (as we know it) below the fold...

Friday's flu status

2013 flu season

Brian Resnick:

The search giant's software has the uncanny ability to assess the severity of an influenza outbreak. But it's missing something essential: a human factor.
Many Kentucky tea party leaders anticipate someone among their ranks will step forward to challenge the state’s senior senator in the Republican Primary in 2014.

Several state tea party groups distanced themselves from U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell on Tuesday and a statement signed by 14 groups, including four in Northern Kentucky, under the name United Kentucky Tea Party criticized McConnell’s recent overtures to the tea party movement.

Sheriff Al Cannon argued that the gun reform legislation introduced earlier this week was "very scary," as banning certain kinds of guns and limiting magazine purchases threatened citizens second amendment rights.

"As a law enforcement officer you ... are responsible for enforcing the laws, not determining if they are constitutional," Costello said. When asked if he would enforce gun reform laws, Cannon answered, "probably ... yes," and added, "but I will look closely at my own understanding of the constitution, my own study, and will put that in the context of what ... others say."

He compared his role to that of a military officer, who he said does not have to follow "unlawful orders."

"I don’t believe many generals would actually agree with you," Costello said. "Any general would say 'I don’t issue unlawful orders.'"

The Colorado sheriff whose county includes the movie theater where 12 people were killed says law-enforcement officers have no right to ignore gun-control laws unless the courts rule them unconstitutional.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson issued a statement Tuesday criticizing law-enforcement officials who have said they wouldn't enforce gun-control laws they consider unconstitutional.

Robinson says only courts have the authority to determine whether a law is constitutional. He says for police chiefs or sheriffs to do that would be the equivalent of having officers deciding whether people they arrest are guilty.

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