The fiscal cliff drama? Over. The Redskins' season? Kaput.
There's only one thing left. ScuttleButton.
ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Monday or Tuesday I put up a vertical display of buttons on this site. Your job is to simply take one word (or concept) per button, add 'em up, and, hopefully, you will arrive at a famous name or a familiar expression. (And seriously, by familiar, I mean it's something that more than one person on Earth would recognize.)
Let's hear now two critical views of the foreign policy and national security team that President Obama is assembling for his second term. Yesterday, the president nominated his longtime aide John Brennan as director of the CIA. He named Chuck Hagel, a former Republican senator, as secretary of Defense.
Chuck Hagel would be the first Defense secretary to have worn the uniform of an enlisted man, and also the first to have fought in Vietnam. Hagel won two purple hearts, and still carries some of the scars and shrapnel from that war. Obama says that makes him the kind of Pentagon leader that U.S. troops deserve.
So why did President Obama choose Chuck Hagel to be his new defense secretary?
First, Hagel is Obama's kind of Republican. The former senator from Nebraska is a realist and pragmatist who hasn't been afraid to buck the orthodoxy of his chosen party, for instance when Hagel opposed the Iraq War.
President Obama's choice of John Brennan to lead the CIA appears to be less controversial than his decision to nominate former Sen. Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense.
The top Republican on the House intelligence committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, said in a statement Monday that he looks forward to working with Brennan at the CIA. Still, the Brennan nomination will raise questions about Obama's national security policy.
Saying they're following the example of last year's Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, a coalition of "gun rights" activists announced today that they're calling on like-minded Americans to visit gun stores, gun ranges and gun shows on Jan. 19 in a show of unity they're calling "Gun Appreciation Day."
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Ari Shapiro in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Well, Congress averted the milk cliff. A five-year farm bill was set to expire, and it could have doubled the price of milk if that had happened. But instead of passing a new five-year plan, Congress extended parts of the old farm bill. That renews subsidies for grain, cotton and soybeans; it cuts budgets for some organic and environmental initiatives.
President Obama is moving to fill two key posts on his national security team with the nomination of former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican, to be secretary of defense and current White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
We're updating this post as he speaks, so be sure to hit your "refresh" button. We've also added an audio player so you can, if you wish, hear NPR's coverage and the president's remarks.
Update at 1:35 p.m. ET. Hagel Pledges To "Always Do My Best":