Congressional battles are about who gets what, it is sometimes said, while presidential elections are about who and what we are as a people. One of the issues to be settled in the House and Senate conference over healthcare insurance reform is who and what U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak is.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the "oft-cited credo that more guns equal more crime is being tested by facts on the ground this year: Even as gun ownership has surged in the US in the past year, violent crime, including murder and robbery, has dropped steeply." FBI statistics for the past several years had shown crime rates holding steady but for 2009, violent crimes dropped "dramatically." Contrast these figures with the fact that gun sales are up 12 percent since the election of Barack Obama.

A three man panel of the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, by a two to one split vote, has determined that Washington state law, which prohibits convicted felons from voting, violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

President Obama said on January 5, following a meeting with members of his national security team,  that U.S. intelligence had gathered enough information to uncover the plot to bomb a Northwest Airlines plane enroute to Detroit, but "failed" to piece it all together before the plane departed.

U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn., picture at left) is expected to announce this morning that he will not be a candidate for a sixth term in the Senate, thus ending a Dodd family reign in the Senate and in Connecticut politics that goes back to the election of his father, Thomas J. Dodd, to the Senate in 1958. The elder Dodd, a popular prosecutor with a strong anit-communist stance, was a favorite with the state's conservative Catholic Democrats and was a familiar speaker at Catholic events, being a frequent keynoter at Knights of Columbus communion breakfasts.

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