But a new political reality dawned after the Newtown shooting.
The president was bluntly asked in a White House news conference: “Where’ve you been?” on gun control. He responded curtly that the shooting had been a “wake-up call.”
And before any Inaugural balls, the president appeared at the White House with schoolchildren who implored him to do something about gun violence.
Americans' immediate reaction to President Barack Obama's proposals for new laws designed to reduce gun violence is more positive than negative, with 53% saying they would want their representative in Congress to vote for the set of proposed new laws, while 41% say their representative should vote against them.
The only sub-groups that oppose it are conservatives and Republicans. Duh. Hugely popular in the East (68-30), marginally popular out West (47-45). Midwest (50-42) and South (49-44) okay with it.
Jonathan Chait on David Brooks:
Moderate Republicanism is a tendency that increasingly defies ideological analysis and instead requires psychological analysis. The psychological mechanism is fairly obvious. The radicalization of the GOP has placed unbearable strain on those few moderates torn between their positions and their attachment to party. Many moderate conservatives have simply broken off from the party, at least in its current incarnation, and are hoping or working to build a sane alternative. Those who remain must escape into progressively more baroque fantasies.
Leonard Pitts Jr
Does torture work? Beg pardon, but we have been asking the wrong question. What matters is not whether torture works. What matters is whether torture is right.
Consider: Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports that drunk drivers kill almost 10,000 people a year. That's three Sept. 11's and then some. But if you wanted to stop that carnage, it would be simple. Just make drunk driving a capital crime with instant punishment. The evidence – blood alcohol levels – allows for scientific certainty of guilt, so there'd be no need of a long trial. We could execute the miscreants within a day.
Drunk driving would disappear. The new policy would solve the problem. It would work.
And if that were truly the ultimate rubric by which we decided a question, there could be no argument against it. But we won't make drunk driving a capital crime for one simple reason.
It would be wrong. In fact, it would be repellent to our values, inconsonant with the kind of people we consider ourselves to be.
/Dallas Morning News:
Even before the Te’o story broke, some were already saying “enough already” about Armstrong. I particularly liked this one from Washington Post writer Melinda Henneberger, which we published on Viewpoints today. Perhaps I’ve just seen one too many replays of Armstrong’s steadfast (and at times angry, in-your-face) denials, which have looped endlessly this week on the news channels. As this former fan, who believed those denials for far too long, I think Armstrong is getting his just deserts for his years of cheating and bullying: growing indifference.
Opponents of the new NRA shooting app for iOS are calling on Apple to pull it from the App Store because its release is insensitive so soon after the Newtown shooting.
"The National Rifle Association's new app 'NRA: Practice Range' is an insult to the victims of gun violence, having been launched on the one month anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting," according to the petition posted on Signon.org. "Out of respect for the victims and to signal Apple's support for common sense measures to help end gun violence, we call on you to rescind your approval of this shameless new product."
leads with "America loves guns" and "nothing will change", but here's what their own poll actually shows:
On Wednesday President Obama announced several gun-control proposals. Among them: requiring background checks for all gun buyers and banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
The poll asked about these as well as other possible ways to reduce gun violence. (A portion of the interviews were conducted before Obama’s formal announcement.)
The most popular suggestions are requiring criminal background checks on all gun buyers (with 91 percent favoring this proposal), providing services for mentally ill people who “show violent tendencies” (89 percent) and improving enforcement of existing laws (86 percent)
Large majorities also favor mandating mental-health checks on gun buyers (83 percent) and requiring criminal background checks on anyone buying ammunition (80 percent).
Smaller majorities favor putting armed guards in schools (60 percent), banning high-capacity clips (56 percent), banning assault weapons (54 percent), and reducing “access to violent movies and video games” (52 percent).
The least popular suggestion tested -- and the only one a majority opposes -- is allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns on school grounds (42 percent favor, 52 percent oppose).
As flu cases increase, hospital administrators are grappling with whether to compel doctors, nurses and other medical staff to get vaccinated. Each year, only about 60% of hospital workers get the shot, according to a report by the California Department of Public Health. The federal government has set a goal of 90% by 2020.
In general, medical societies and hospital associations support mandatory vaccine, nursing unions support the shot and recommend it but oppose the mandate. People don't like mandates. But mandates are what makes things work. Then again, so does honoring collective bargaining and working it out via negotiation. On the third hand, as my friend David Waldman is apt to note, freedom, liberty and Hitler (and no, it's not rational, so don't try and make sense of it. Then again, opposition to flu shots isn't rational, either.)