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Book talk: David Lamp at CATO Lovers of free markets and individual liberty like to say that the GOP is a big tent. But to suggest that conservatism is more about building coalitions than adhering to first principles is to erase what makes being a Republican different from being anything else. First principles, when adhered to consistently, are what keep Americans and their markets free. Theoretically, this means that a change in the Republican platform has to undergo an intellectually rigorous test. In “A Fundamental Freedom: Why Republicans, Conservatives and Libertarians Should Support Gay Rights,Ó Cato's David Lampo makes the case that recognizing gay rights is consistent with the ideas of individual liberty and small government, and that grassroots Republicans are in favor of civil unions for same-sex partners, even if their leaders are not. Lampo, along with Michael Barone, speaks July 18 at the Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Phone: (202) 842-0200. Web: http://www.cato.org/

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Say hello, Assad: See the Navy warships off the coast of Syria

The Navy has sent four warships — USS Ramage, USS Mahan, USS Gravely and USS Barry — armed with ballistic missiles into the eastern Mediterranean Sea amid violence in Syria. Navy ships are capable of a variety of military actions, including launching Tomahawk cruise missiles as they did against Libya in 2011.