Bloomberg has a few words left for Washington, too. The mayor called on Congress to “end the national epidemic of gun violence” during a Thursday press conference, two days before the one-year anniversary the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Conn., that claimed innocent 26 lives.
“It’s important that we remember all those that we lost and their families. The anniversary will obviously be a very painful time for them and a painful time, I think, for all Americans,” Bloomberg said.
“It’s also important to remember that nothing in Washington has changed since Newtown, despite the fact that the vast majority of American people favor basic steps that would help keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, criminals, and other dangerous people.”
Bloomberg cited some shifts in the debate this year. Several states, including New York and Connecticut, closed loopholes in their own legislation on background checks. The first permanent director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in seven years was sworn in in spite of the gun lobby’s stalling efforts. And President Obama gave the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the green light to renew research on gun-violence prevention, “ending the long, shameful freeze on such research caused by pressure from the gun lobby and its Washington allies.” (Gun supporters argued that the findings from that research contradict the administration’s message.)
Still, stricter federal regulations on background checks for gun permits is the endgame, Bloomberg said. So too is a bigger crackdown on gun sellers, many of whom deal in a growing online market.
Bloomberg’s tenure may soon be over, but judging from his last words to Congress as mayor, lawmakers won’t be seeing the last of him on this issue. “We will keep fighting,” he said. “Maybe we’ll keep fighting even harder.”
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”