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5:45 AM ET, December 20, 2013


 Top Items: 
Swalker / Duck Commander:
The Robertson Family Offical Statement  —  We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support.  The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E's decision.  We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word.
Why The Racist And Homophobic ‘Duck Dynasty’ Comments Have Nothing To Do With Free Speech  —  On Wednesday, Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson made comments in a GQ interview condemning homosexuality as sinful and comparable to bestiality, as well as claiming that African Americans were better off under Jim Crow laws.
Dean Obeidallah / The Daily Beast:
The Right's ‘Duck Dynasty’ Hypocrisy  —  By Dean ObeidallahDecember 19th 201312:00 PM  —  Conservatives think people should be held responsible for their actions—until one of their own, like Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson, has to pay a price for their hateful views.
Governor Bobby Jindal:
Gov. Jindal on Phil Robertson Suspension: I Remember When TV Networks Believed in 1st Amendment
Steve Deace / USA Today:
A&E fowls up ‘Duck’ flap: Column
Mollie Hemingway / The Federalist:
Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson Knew Exactly What He Was Doing
Discussion: Equality Matters
The White House:
Statement by the President on Clemency  —  Three years ago, I signed the bipartisan Fair Sentencing Act, which dramatically narrowed the disparity between penalties for crack and powder cocaine offenses.  This law began to right a decades-old injustice, but for thousands of inmates, it came too late.
Nedra Pickler / Associated Press:
Obama Commutes Sentences for 8 Drug Convictions  —  President Barack Obama on Thursday commuted the sentences of eight people he said were serving unduly harsh drug sentences in the most expansive use yet of his power to free inmates.  —  All eight were sentenced under old federal guidelines …
Discussion: The Hill and The Raw Story
Adam Serwer /
Conservatives freak out over ‘pajama boy’  —  Conservatives are in a tizzy over a seemingly innocuous Obamacare ad from Organizing for Action featuring a young man in pajamas.  —  He's “a metrosexual hipster in a plaid onesie” scowled National Review's Charles Cooke, a “vaguely androgynous …
Charlie Spiering / Washington Examiner:
Meet Ethan Krupp: Pajamacare boy and Organizing for Action employee  —  BELTWAY CONFIDENTIAL OPINION OBAMACARE ORGANIZING FOR ACTION  —  This is the Obamacare Pajama boy in the latest Organizing for Action ad.  —  Pajamacare boy is Ethan Krupp, an Organizing for Action employee and the subject …
Andrew Kaczynski / BuzzFeed:
“Pajama Boy's” Blog Featured Post Criticizing President Obama
Discussion: Weasel Zippers
Meredith Shiner / The World's Greatest …:
Senate Deal Sets Up Friday Christmas Exit, Pushes Yellen Confirmation to 2014 (Updated)  —  Updated 10:25 p.m. |  A bit of bipartisan Christmas cheer finally arrived in the Senate around 10 p.m. Thursday.  —  That's when senators locked in an agreement that will set up a series …
Discussion: Booman Tribune
Greg Sargent / The Plum Line:
Dems plan big Christmas push on unemployment benefits
Discussion: Hullabaloo and Post Politics
First Look / Omidyar Group:
Pierre Omidyar Provides Initial Funding of $50M to Establish First Look Media  —  Honolulu - Dec. 19, 2013 - The news organization created by Pierre Omidyar (formerly dubbed “NewCo") has taken another step forward with an infusion of $50M in capital to fuel operations being established on both coasts.
Discussion: Mediaite, Politico and Guardian
FY 2013: ICE announces year-end removal numbers  —  98 percent of the agency's total removals were convicted criminals, recent border crossers, illegal re-entrants or those previously removed by ICE, in line with agency's enforcement priorities  —  WASHINGTON — Today …
Bradley Klapper / Associated Press:
Defying Obama, 26 Senators Push New Iran Sanctions
Discussion: Politico
Verizon to Publish Transparency Report Disclosing Law Enforcement Requests for Customer Information  —  NEW YORK - Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) today announced plans to publish an online report that will provide data on the number of law enforcement requests for customer information …
Amy Goldstein / Washington Post:
Obama administration relaxes rules of health-care law four days before deadline  —  The Obama administration Thursday night significantly relaxed the rules of the health-care law for millions of consumers whose individual insurance policies have been canceled, saying they could buy bare-bones health plans …
Byron Tau / Politico:
For Obamacare boosters, all memes are good memes  —  When it comes to marketing Obamacare, all memes are good memes.  —  So say progressive activists and Democratic strategists, pushing back against a wave of fresh criticism that mocks their youth outreach efforts as somewhere between slightly awkward and totally tone-deaf.
Discussion: Reuters, CNN, CBS New York and Betsy's Page
Sam Youngman / Politico:
Take This Town and Shove It  —  A White House reporter's tale of sex, booze and the briefing room.  —  If you write about American politics for a living, stop right there.  Get back to work, and don't read another damn word.  —  Sign out of Twitter, say “thanks but no thanks” …
How dogs scan familiar and inverted faces: an eye movement study  — Sanni Somppi, - Heini Törnqvist, - Laura Hänninen, - Christina M. Krause, - Outi Vainio  —  Abstract  —  Faces play an important role in communication and identity recognition in social animals.
Discussion: CBS Philly
Chris Geidner / BuzzFeed:
Marriage Equality Is The Law In New Mexico, State Supreme Court Rules  —  “We hold that the state of New Mexico is constitutionally required to allow same-gender couples to marry,” the justices unanimously concluded.  The state becomes the 17th in the U.S. to approve marriage equality.
Discussion: Hot Air
ABQJournal Online:
NM Supreme Court affirms same-sex marriage rights
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 More Items: 
Stuart Rothenberg / Roll Call:
Race Ratings Change: Arkansas Senate
Discussion: Rothenblog, Hot Air and Power Line
Skschust / CBS New York:
NYC Council Approves Ban On Indoor E-Cigarette Use
Igor Bobic / Talking Points Memo:
Peter King Slams Paul For Attacking Clapper: ‘He Disgraced His Office’
Discussion: The Verge and Politico
Rep. Trey Radel completes rehab, plans to stay in Congress
Discussion: Reuters
First Read / NBCNews:
First Thoughts: Baucus' ambassadorship gives Democrats a potential 2014 break
Discussion: The Fix and Outside the Beltway
Rossmurray / GLAAD:
Bob Newhart bows out of gig with anti-LGBT organization
 Earlier Items: 
Ishmael Reed / New York Times:
The President of the Cool  —  OAKLAND, Calif. — WHEN I lived …
Catherine Thompson / Talking Points Memo:
Reid: ‘I Have Grown To Really Like’ Rand Paul
Alex Pareene / Salon:
Hack list No. 1: Mike Allen
Discussion: The Dish and his vorpal sword
Andrew Ramonas /
Report: Former Bush Lawyer Harbored Anti-Gay Animus
Josh Levin / Slate:
The Welfare Queen  —  Ronald Reagan made Linda Taylor a notorious American villain.
Discussion: Hit & Run

From Techmeme:

Apple Reports Second Quarter Results

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Kara Swisher / Re/code:
Mark Pincus Steps Down From All Operational Roles at Zynga: “Ultimately a Ship Is Better With One Captain”

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