Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 9:49 am
While the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to be secretary of defense has drawn opposition from groups who question his views on policy toward Israel and Iran, the nomination of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to be CIA director may be delayed by senators who want to know more about last September's attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Polling found Congress' most recent approval rating is 9 percent. Other things were tested too, and it was discovered root canals are more popular than lawmakers. On the bright side for Congress, it is more popular than the Ebola virus and playground bullies.
Two years have gone by since I first suggested to President Obama that he create a new Cabinet post, and appoint distinguished fiction writer Jim Harrison as secretary for quality of life. The president still has not responded to my suggestion, and meanwhile Harrison has gone on to publish his latest book of novellas, which deepens and broadens his already openhearted and smart-minded sense of the way we live now, and what we might do to improve it.
In 1961, Robert Frost became the first poet to read at a U.S. inauguration when he recited "The Gift Outright" at President John F. Kennedy's swearing in. Since then, only three other poets have taken part in subsequent inaugural ceremonies: Maya Angelou, Miller Williams and Elizabeth Alexander. Now, there's a fifth.
Guns are piled inside a crate outside a police station in Tucson, Ariz., on Tuesday during a buyback. Tuesday marked the second anniversary of when a gunman opened fire on former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as she met with constituents in 2011, killing six people and leaving 12 others injured.
Credit Matt York / AP
Gun buyers inspect their purchases outside a police station in Tucson, Ariz., on Tuesday. About a dozen buyers offered cash to sellers in the parking lot of a police station where a city councilman had set up a gun buyback program.
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and her husband, Mark Kelly, have formed a political action committee to support prevention of gun violence. The announcement came Tuesday, the second anniversary of the mass shooting in Tucson that left six dead and wounded 13, including Giffords.
Churches and fire stations around the city rang bells in memory of the victims and in commemoration of other mass shootings since Tucson.
Weeks before President Obama officially nominated Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense, the lobbying battle was well under way. The fight might be bigger than any other Cabinet nomination in history as the former Republican senator's friends and foes prepare for modern combat on TV and the Internet.