crime sceneAccording to the Associated Press, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg “railed against gun violence” on December 11, one day after a street peddler died in a shootout with police in Times Square. Unfortunately, this type of crime is increasingly typical in high-crime areas of major U.S. cities, especially where gun control laws make it extremely difficult for law-abiding citizens to possess a gun. Yet Bloomberg, the founder the anti-gun group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, viewed the shootout as evidence that there are "too many guns on the streets."

DCThe House of Representatives passed a bill on December 10 that would allow the government of the District of Columbia to use public funds to pay for abortions and also allow the city government to legalize the medical use of marijuana. If enacted into law, this legislation would move the District closer to exercising the same sorts of sovereign powers as state governments, with profound long-term structural implications for our federal system.

AmtrakWhen congressional negotiators agreed to a final version of a transportation bill, it included an amendment to allow Amtrak passengers to take their guns with them — unloaded, locked, and only in their checked baggage.

CBS News reported on December 9 that Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) have determined that at least 15 percent of the $217 Billion dollars spent through November in the economic stimulus package has been pure waste. The list of dubious projects funded by federal stimulus funds includes some odd uses of tax dollars. These included $219,000 to study the "hookup" behavior of college coeds and $389,357 for people to keep journals of their malt liquor and marijuana use. Funding was also provided to renovate martini bars in Missouri and to conduct fossil research in Argentina.

ObamaPresident Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, on December 10, adopting a self-effacing attitude during his acceptance speech as he said, “I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility.”