TUESDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:
* It seems hard to even imagine, but Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) is already able to breathe on her own, though she remains in critical condition. One of her doctors told reporters today, “She has no right to look this good.”
* Speaking from China today, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said North Korea’s nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile programs are “becoming a direct threat to the United States.”
* Gates’ visit just happened to coincide with a test flight of China’s new stealth fighter jet. If that wasn’t enough of an eyebrow raiser, try this: “[T]he demonstration also raised questions about the degree of civilian control of the Chinese military, as China’s president, Hu Jintao, and other civilian leaders appeared to have no knowledge that the test had been conducted only hours before they received Mr. Gates for a formal meeting at the Great Hall of the People.”
* Oversight matters: “The U.S. official in charge of overseeing the billions of dollars being spent to rebuild Afghanistan announced his resignation Monday, just a week after he fired two of his top deputies in a major shake-up of the organization.”
* Did House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) suggest Muslim Americans aren’t actually Americans when it comes to war? It sure sounded like it.
* Not exactly the ideal reaction to recent events: “Gun sales soared in Arizona and several other states on Monday after the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, according to FBI figures provided to POLITICO. Gun sales skyrocketed 60 percent in Arizona on Monday Jan. 10, compared to the corresponding Monday last year.”
* State lawmakers in Illinois are poised to abolish the death penalty.
* Once and for all, Fox News’ report connecting Loughner to a white supremacist group was wrong.
* I’ve been trying to stress this since Sunday: “In other words, even if the shooter is a complete nut, we should be asking whether the tone of our political discourse might also have played a role in triggering the shooting — and if so, whether such a thing could happen again.”
* And I’ve been trying to stress this for eight years: “The right and the left both have intemperate voices. But here’s the key: only the conservative movement counts the most vile blowhards as leading lights, embraced by the leadership. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Sarah Palin: these are among the most popular conservatives in America. Who are the folks on the left with equivalent popularity and influence?”
* High on the list of things that bother me about conservative media: they make stuff up.
* Ken Blackwell’s understanding of constitutional history is ridiculous.
* Colleges measuring their output can be a good idea, but it doesn’t have to be.
* For what it’s worth, Alexander Hamilton rejected the idea of legislative supermajorities, too.
* I knew comment moderation on Sarah Palin’s Facebook page was excessive, but I had no idea it was this bad.
* And Glenn Beck’s website this week included a heartening message: “We must stand together against all violence.” Less heartening: the message ran next to an image of Beck holding a gun.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.