Morning Must Reads: “Libel”

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–Sarah Palin breaks her silence on the Arizona shootings, issuing a long, unapolagetic response from her social media perch that accuses the media of trying to “manufacture a blood libel” against her.

–”Blood libel” historically refers to the powerful anti-semitic falsehood that Jews use the blood of Christian children in rituals. Ben Smith tries to get a bead on how it entered the American political vernacular.

–Obama’s speech today in Tucson will be more eulogy for the victims than treatise on political rhetoric reports Jake Tapper.

–Jonathan Cohn weighs the mental health implications of Arizona.

–Carl Hulse writes that the shooting is Speaker Boehner’s first real test.

–He won’t back Rep. Peter King’s proposal to ban people from carrying guns within 1,000 feet of members of Congress. Majority Leader Cantor’s office says he is reserving judgment for the time being.

–Nate Silver on how gun control opponents won the battle of public opinion.

–Charles Krauthammer charges Krugman et al. with libel.

Jon Ralston asks:

…what about the destructive effect on democracy of empty or hollow rhetoric that is not just unchecked by the media or opposition voices, but either ineffectually parried or even shamelessly highlighted?

–One way to mend a busted state budget: Illinois lawmakers approve a 66 percent increase in income taxes (temporarily up from 3 to 5 percent).

–The Obama reelection fundraising behemoth will lurch into motion by March or early April.

–The New York Times SundayMagazine profiles Colorado’s new governor, John Hickenlooper. A taste:

“I think I can be beloved,” Hickenlooper told me when I visited Denver in mid-December. He smiled widely, but then he smiles widely all the time and laughs nearly as often. “Certainly,” he added, “I’m very needy, so we’ll give it our best try.”

The comment was classic Hickenlooper, a bit of braggadocio quickly leavened with self-deprecation.

–A judge has dismissed the AP’s copyright claims against HOPE artist Shepard Fairey.

–And Ben Quayle hitches a ride with “the worst president in history.”

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