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12:35 PM ET, December 9, 2013


 Top Items: 
Robert Pear / New York Times:
On Health Exchanges, Premiums May Be Low, but Other Costs Can Be High  —  WASHINGTON — For months, the Obama administration has heralded the low premiums of medical insurance policies on sale in the insurance exchanges created by the new health law.  But as consumers dig into the details …
New York Times:
Amid the Uproar Over the Health Law, Voices of Quiet Optimism and Relief
Discussion: The Plum Line
Stephanie Kirchgaessner / Financial Times:
New Affordable Care US health plans will exclude top hospitals
Beth Reinhard /
Can Democrats Make 2014 About the Minimum Wage?  —  Shifting away from Obamacare is smart politics, but it won't be easy to lure GOP voters with a low-wages argument.  —  A prominent liberal think tank dubbed it a “political goldmine.”  The New Republic called it “the issue that could take down Mitch McConnell.”
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Year of living dismally
Discussion: CNN
Nelson Mandela / CNN:
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, congressional Democrats to commemorate Mandela in South Africa
New York Times:
Spies' Dragnet Reaches a Playing Field of Elves and Trolls  —  Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played …
Discussion: Liberaland, The Verge and TechCrunch
World of Spycraft: NSA and CIA Spied in Online Games
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
The Punishment Cure  —  Six years have passed since the United States economy entered the Great Recession, four and a half since it officially began to recover, but long-term unemployment remains disastrously high.  And Republicans have a theory about why this is happening.
Seymour M. Hersh / London Review of Books:
Whose sarin?  —  Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August.  In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts.
Justin Sink / The Hill:
WH: Hersh report on Syria ‘simply false’
Discussion: Politico and Mediaite
Dylan Scott / Talking Points Memo:
Americans Discover They're Trapped In GOP's Medicaid Expansion Gap  —  With working better and the first deadline to sign up for health coverage that starts in January approaching, Obamacare's so-called navigators — the people and organizations receiving federal funds to help people enroll …
The Top Ten Finalists for Person of the Year in 2013  —  Here are the final ten contenders for TIME's Person of the Year (listed alphabetically): Bashar Assad, President of Syria Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder Ted Cruz, Texas Senator Miley Cyrus, Singer Pope Francis, Leader of the Catholic Church Barack Obama …
Joseph Curl / Washington Times:
Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal  —  ANALYSIS/OPINION:  —  Fact: The IRS targeted conservative and tea party groups requesting tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election.  That's a fact.  —  Congress held hearings — embarrassing hearings.
There's Now A Coloring Book To Teach Your Children To Love Ted Cruz  —  Are you a new parent terrified that the liberal media will turn your child into an Obama supporter?  Or do you just need something to entertain your kids during those long drives to Tea Party rallies?
Susan B. Glasser / Politico:
Was Hillary Clinton a good secretary of state?  —  And does it matter?  —  Not so long ago, Hillary Clinton was being lauded as an exemplary secretary of state.  After four years and nearly a million miles logged as America's top diplomat, she stepped down to a torrent of praise.
Discussion: and The Daily Caller
Jennifer Rubin / Washington Post:
Worries about Hillary Clinton
Globe and Mail:   Obamacare, where the liberal dream crashes and burns
Lori Montgomery / Washington Post:
Budget deal expected this week amounts to a cease-fire as sides move to avert a standoff  —  House and Senate negotiators were putting the finishing touches Sunday on what would be the first successful budget accord since 2011, when the battle over a soaring national debt first paralyzed Washington.
Zach Carter / The Huffington Post:
Obama Faces Backlash Over New Corporate Powers In Secret Trade Deal  —  WASHINGTON — The Obama administration appears to have almost no international support for controversial new trade standards that would grant radical new political powers to corporations, increase the cost of prescription medications …
Ben Armbruster / ThinkProgress:
Cheney: The Iran Deal Is Bad Because Of Obamacare  —  Vice President Cheney said on Monday that the deal the U.S. and its international partners reached with Iran last month over its nuclear program is suspect because of some of the Obama administration's initial missteps in implementing the president's new health care law.
Timothy Heritage / Reuters:
Putin dissolves state news agency, tightens grip on Russia media  —  (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin tightened his control over Russia's media on Monday by dissolving the main state news agency and replacing it with an organization that is to promote Moscow's image abroad.
Discussion: Politico and The PJ Tatler
Jeremy Herb / The Hill:
Gillibrand sees assault vote slip away  —  Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is headed back to the drawing board with her controversial proposal to take sexual assault cases outside the chain of command.  —  Gillibrand had been assured a vote on her plan during work on the Defense authorization bill.
Discussion: Daily Kos, New Yorker and The Reaction
Chris Wallace / Fox News:
Sen. Rand Paul on scrapping ObamaCare, saving Detroit; ‘Pik’ Botha on Nelson Mandela's life and legacy  —  Special Guests: Sen. Rand Paul, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, ‘Pik’ Botha  —  This is a rush transcript from “Fox News Sunday,” December 8, 2013.  This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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 More Items: 
Fox News:
World War II veteran en route to Pearl Harbor ceremony booted from flight
Discussion: and BizPac Review
USA Today:
Cellphone data spying: It's not just the NSA
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Mashable
Jayne O'Donnell / USA Today:
Federal exchange sends unqualified people to Medicaid
Discussion: National Review
Warren Hits Banks, Expands Base to Solidify Senate Power
Discussion: First Read
Seth Stephens- Davidowitz / New York Times:
How Many American Men Are Gay?
Channel NewsAsia:
Police say the riot in Little India which broke out on Sunday night took place after a fatal …
Discussion: Crooked Timber and Guardian
 Earlier Items: 
Byron York / Washington Examiner:
Among ‘Obama Coalition,’ Obama approval plunges
John Diedrich / JSOnline:
ATF uses rogue tactics in storefront stings across nation
Discussion: Hit & Run, NPR, Gawker and The PJ Tatler
David Harding / NY Daily News:
Christmas lights cause furor in Rome after rainbow colors used for anti-homophobia message
Discussion: The Daily Caller and Joe. My. God.
Shanna McCord / Santa Cruz Sentinel:
Merrill Newman said he was comfortable during detention in North Korean hotel room
Discussion: CNN, NBCNews and Guardian
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
Eric Cantor on how Republicans can win again