Jared Lee Loughner pleaded guilty Tuesday to 19 counts involving a 2011 shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that left six dead and 13 others, including then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, wounded. As part of the deal, Loughner will receive a sentence of life without parole.
By now the script should be familiar. A bombing or a mass shooting occurs and the media immediately look for a simple cause. Invariably, they turn to talk radio or some other conservative pit of "intolerance."
President Barack Obama has certainly changed the tone in Washington. What used to be a town well-known for partisan bickering has been transformed into a 24/7 hate fest. Obama may bemoan the rancor in Congress every time the cameras are rolling, but make no mistake, this acidic atmosphere is by his own design.
A year ago this week, just two days before being shot by a deranged assailant in her district, Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords introduced legislation to cut congressional salaries by 5 percent, from $174,000 to $165,300.
Bad year, 2011, even though some bad guys and charlatans got a karma blast. Osama bin Laden got it up close and personal from a Navy SEAL, while his cohort al-Awlaki got drilled from the sky. Gadhafi went down, and al-Assad is tottering.
In 2008, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics. At that time, it wasn't hard to imagine the Swedes were rewarding Krugman for eight years of blasting George W. Bush. In other words, the Nobel Prize truly matched its namesake: Alfred Nobel invented dynamite. Krugman regularly throws rhetorical dynamite at anything that stands in the way of his radical worldview.
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