David Brooks in The New York Times on Chuck Hagel Questions about his support for Israel and his attitudes toward Iran have so far dominated the discourse surrounding President Obama's nominee for secretary of defense, former Sen. Chuck Hagel. But David Brooks thinks the real reason Hagel was picked has everything to do with defense spending. "So far, defense budgets have not been squeezed by the Medicare vice. But that is about to change," Brooks writes. "Chuck Hagel has been nominated to supervise the beginning of this generation-long process of defense cutbacks ... All the charges about Hagel’s views on Israel or Iran are secondary. The real question is, how will he begin this long cutting process?"
Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly in USA Today on guns After Aurora, Sandy Hook, and a number of other mass shootings, we've heard many impassioned takes on how to approach America's gun violence problem. Gabrielle Giffords, one of the most high-profile victims of a recent shooting, is personally disappointed that Congress hasn't taken up the issue at all. Giffords says that's why she and her husband Mark Kelly are launching a new political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions. In a new op-ed Giffords and Kelly write, "When it comes to protecting our communities from gun violence, we're not even trying—and for the worst of reasons."