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And now, for something completely different.

Dreaming of a White Christmas

If the temperature drops just a little more than expected New York City might have a white Christmas eve. Fairly often when snow falls here a hush will descend over the city, even if ever so briefly, and when it does it brings to my mind a sense of coziness, memories of innocence (lost), and an inclination to hope, especially if snow begins in the evening. At those times it is easier to hope that dawn will bring sunshine on snow, and a renewed spirit. Of course, being on the coast, as often as not, the snow turns to rain while we sleep. As the saying goes, "we can still dream."

Snowy trees
Snowy trees
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.  
His house is in the village though;  
He will not see me stopping here  
To watch his woods fill up with snow.  

My little horse must think it queer  
To stop without a farmhouse near  
Between the woods and frozen lake  
The darkest evening of the year.  

He gives his harness bells a shake  
To ask if there is some mistake.  
The only other sound’s the sweep  
Of easy wind and downy flake.  

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.  
But I have promises to keep,  
And miles to go before I sleep,  
And miles to go before I sleep.


Thank you to my fellow Kossacks who deposited so many beautiful pictures in the Daily Kos image library. It was hard to choose among them; there are so many good ones. I settled on these few to wrap around my gratitude.

An Experiment in Collaboration

The Firearms Law and Policy group at Daily Kos is an experiment. As the year draws to a close, I want to thank my fellow authors and editors for joining together with OregonOak, Glen the Plumber and me to open up space to talk about guns, our experience with guns, our thoughts on "gun culture", our ideas about gun control and  gun safety, and to hash over our understanding (and misunderstandings) of gun law and policy. You have inspired me and pushed me to "shoot" a little straighter and post a little more gently when confronted with determined opposition. You have nurtured my better angels and helped me restrain my tendency to resort to mockery and become condescending rather than admit when I'm bored.

It has been truly eye opening to learn a little about how complicated our gun laws are, how they are made, and how they are neutered. I could not have gotten this far on my own. You have taught me so much. You have been generous and patient with your constructive feedback when you consider my half-baked ideas. I am grateful to be rescued by you from my tendency to bury myself in data and to lose the forest for the trees, so to speak.

Thank you to our readers, especially those who give us homework, posting links to references and suggesting ideas that we may not have taken into account.

Our Beautiful Catastrophe - American Democracy
U.S. Capitol building in snow.
U.S. Capitol building in snow
Poetry Tour, Washington, DC

Some of our greatest poets have been intertwined with the history of our nation’s capital.

The Washington, DC, Poetry Tour reveals our nation’s capital through the eyes of its great poets, including Archibald MacLeish, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Elizabeth Bishop, among many others. From the hallowed halls of the federal buildings to neighborhood side streets, the tour features poems written in and about DC, as well as photographs by poet Thomas Sayers Ellis.

Narrated by inaugural poet Elizabeth Alexander and produced by the Poetry Foundation, the tour showcases archival and contemporary recordings of DC poets, scholars, and musicians, all shedding new light on DC’s historic landmarks.

Poetry lovers in the city can download the audio tours and maps to explore the National Mall and Northwest DC, or take a walking tour beginning at the Library of Congress and ending in Dupont Circle.

But you don’t have to be in DC to explore the city’s poetry with the tour. You can take the virtual tour, either by following the sites in numbered order starting at the Library of Congress, or by creating your own order click by click.

Whether they were perusing the stacks of the Library of Congress, walking the U Street Corridor, or visiting the National Zoo, some of our greatest poets have been intertwined with the history of our nation’s capital. The DC Poetry Tour features poems by legendary American poets who have called DC home, including Georgia Douglas Johnson, Robert Hayden, Walt Whitman, May Miller, Sterling Brown, Robert Frost, Robert Lowell, and Randall Jarrell. In addition to these seminal voices, you’ll hear contemporary poets—including A.B. Spellman, Jane Shore, Naomi Ayala, Reb Livingston, Reuben Jackson, Yusef Komunyakaa, Myra Sklarew, E. Ethelbert Miller, Sarah Browning, and Linda Pastan—talk about the ways in which DC inspires their writing today.

Whether virtual or actual, the Washington, DC, Poetry Tour is a new way to discover the unique history of our nation’s capital.

24 Notes

On Service and Sacrifice

I also want to thank our men and women in the military who are currently serving, especially those who are separated from their families this holiday season. May you know peace. I feel profound gratitude to my fellow veterans who have sacrificed so much to protect my rights, and my freedoms. May you recover from your injuries. To those of you who paid the ultimate sacrifice on my behalf, I thank you. May you rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers go out to all your families and loved ones, many of whom are spending their first Christmas without you. May they find comfort in each other and in their memories of you.

Snow covers the gravestones in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia after sunset two days before Christmas day in Arlington, Virginia, December 23, 2009.        REUTERS/Larry Downing
Snow covers the gravestones in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia after sunset two days before Christmas day in Arlington, Virginia, December 23, 2009.

Merry Christmas everybody. See you in the New Year.

The Daily Kos Firearms Law and Policy Group

We will resume publishing Open Threads on Wednesday, January 1, 2014.

The Daily Kos Firearms Law and Policy group studies actions for reducing firearm deaths and injuries in a manner that is consistent with the current Supreme Court interpretation of the Second Amendment. We also cover the many positive aspects of gun ownership, including hunting, shooting sports, and self-defense.

To see our list of original and republished diaries, go to the Firearms Law and Policy diary list. Click on the ♥ or the word "Follow" next to our group name to add our posts to your stream, and use the link next to the heart to send a message to the group if you have a question or would like to join.

Originally posted to Firearms Law and Policy on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 08:09 PM PST.

Also republished by IGTNT Advisory Group.

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