ITEM: The Chicago Sun-Times reported on December 8: "As gun sales shoot up around the country, President-elect Barack Obama said Sunday that gun-owning Americans do not need to rush out and stock up before he is sworn in next month. 'I believe in common-sense gun safety laws, and I believe in the second amendment,' Obama said at a news conference. 'Lawful gun owners have nothing to fear. I said that throughout the campaign. I haven't indicated anything different during the transition. I think people can take me at my word.'"
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A leader of what became known as the "New Right," veteran conservative activist Paul Weyrich passed away on December 18 after a long bout with diabetes. A native of Wisconsin, he began a career in the world of politics as an aide to Colorado Senator Gordon Allott in 1967. While attending a gathering of Washington operatives, he became aghast at the way they openly planned to manipulate public opinion in favor of some liberal causes. So he decided to create a counterforce to propagate conservative thinking.
ITEM: In an article entitled "5 Myths About Our Ailing Health-Care System" in the Washington Post for November 23, 2008, Shannon Brownlee and Ezekiel Emanuel write that the United States lags behind "many developed countries on virtually every health statistic you can name. Life expectancy at birth? We rank near the bottom of countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, just ahead of Cuba and way behind Japan, France, Italy, Sweden and Canada, countries whose governments (gasp!) pay for the lion's share of health care."