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Today, we start with a two-part look at some of the points President Obama hit in his speech last night. First, could he take some kind of executive action on gun control? Then, the president says we should not get into a ground war with ISIS in Syria and Iraq; what should we do instead?

Next, a look at Ed Blum, the conservative activist behind several big Supreme Court cases.

After that we speak with author Michael Cunningham about his latest book, which reworks classic fairy tales to give them a dose of reality.

And finally, in our regular Monday TV segment, a preview of the second season of “Transparent,” plus more.

Banner Image: Screenshot from president Obama's address

Executive Action on Guns? 8 MIN, 11 SEC

The president spoke from the Oval Office last night about terrorism and gun control. Polls show a significant majority of Americans support universal background checks. But last Thursday, the day after the San Bernardino shootings, the Senate voted down a universal background check bill. The Senate also voted down a measure that would prevent people on the terrorist watch list from being able to buy guns. A few Republicans joined the Democrats supporting background checks. But the votes were largely along partisan lines. Obama now is considering taking some kind of executive action on gun control.

Adam Winkler, University of California, Los Angeles (@adamwinkler)

Obama Says No Ground War With ISIS 8 MIN, 55 SEC

In his speech last night, President Obama mainly focused on the fight against ISIS. But he made it clear this isn’t a conventional conflict. He spoke strongly against the U.S. engaging in a ground war in Syria and Iraq, saying it would play right into jihadists’ hands. But if that’s true, what should we be doing instead to combat Islamist extremists in the Middle East?

Andrew Tabler, Washington Institute for Near East Policy (@andrewtabler)

Who is Ed Blum? 9 MIN, 49 SEC

It’s a big week at the Supreme Court. Tomorrow the justices will hear a case that could redefine what we mean when we call ourselves a representative democracy. And on Wednesday, a case takes on affirmative action at the college level. Behind both of those blockbuster cases is one man. Conservative activist Ed Blum recruited plaintiffs and lawyers to bring lawsuits in both of these cases. He’s also behind landmark lawsuits that overturned longstanding rules about voting rights. Who is Ed Blum?

David Gans, Constitutional Accountability Center in Washington D.C. (@MyConstitution)

'A Wild Swan and Other Tales' 14 MIN, 2 SEC

There’s not a whole lot of room in the classic fairy tale for moral ambiguity. Be good and good things will come to you. Happily ever after, right? Well, no. That’s not really the way life works. So why then do we treat fairy tales as moral allegory? Enter Michael Cunningham’s new collection of reworked fairy tales. The author of novels like 'The Hours' and 'By Nightfall' has taken stories like 'Beauty and the Beast,' 'Rumplestiltskin' and 'Hansel and Gretel' and injected them with a bit of hard reality.

Michael Cunningham, Author

A Wild Swan

Michael Cunningham

TV Roundup: 'Transparent' Returns 8 MIN, 5 SEC

Attention fans of the series 'Transparent,' don’t make any plans this weekend. The full second season drops on Amazon this Friday. Amazon has already released the first episode to rave reviews. So can the show avoid the sophomore slump that infects so many other TV shows?

June Thomas, Slate (@junethomas)
Michael Schneider, Indiewire / Variety (@Franklinavenue)

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