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10:15 AM ET, December 20, 2013


 Top Items: 
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 …
Ezra Klein / Wonkblog:
The individual mandate no longer applies to people whose plans were canceled  —  Today, the Obama administration announced that people whose insurance plans were canceled this year will “temporarily” be exempted from the law's individual mandate.  Here's how they're doing it — and what it means for the law.
Louise Radnofsky / Wall Street Journal:
White House Will Allow Some To Buy Catastrophic Health Plans  —  Health-Care Law Tweak Addresses People Whose Polices Were Canceled Under New Rules  —  The Obama administration said Thursday it would allow some of the millions of Americans whose insurance policies had been canceled …
Avik Roy / Forbes:
Utter Chaos: White House Exempts Millions From Obamacare's Insurance Mandate, ‘Unaffordable’ Exchanges  —  It's hard to come up with new ways to describe the Obama administration's improvisational approach to the Affordable Care Act's troubled health insurance exchanges.
White House broadens Obamacare exemptions  —  Millions of Americans who had their health plans cancelled will be exempt from the Obamacare individual mandate, the administration said Thursday - a surprise move that comes just before Monday's deadline to sign up for coverage starting Jan. 1.
Clara Ritger /
Obama Administration to Delay Individual Mandate for Some
Elise Viebeck / The Hill:   O-Care ‘fix’ extends to bare-bones plans
Byron Tau / Politico:
For Obamacare boosters, all memes are good memes
Discussion: CNN, CBS New York and Betsy's Page
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
Governor Bobby Jindal:
Gov. Jindal on Phil Robertson Suspension: I Remember When TV Networks Believed in 1st Amendment
Ted Cruz / Facebook:
Free Speech Matters  —  The reason that so many Americans love …
Donna Cassata / Associated Press:
Senate To Vote On Yellen For Fed Chair In January  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate will vote on the nomination of Janet Yellen to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve in January.  —  Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Thursday night that Republicans and Democrats had worked …
Meredith Shiner / The World's Greatest …:
Senate Deal Sets Up Friday Christmas Exit, Pushes Yellen Confirmation to 2014 (Updated)
Discussion: Booman Tribune
MacIver Institute:
BREAKING: Workers Dismantle Over 70 Unions in Wisconsin  —  [Madison, Wisc...] Workers rejected over 70 of 408 school district unions during annual recertification elections that ended on Thursday, according to a preliminary analysis of the results.  —  The elections went from November 29th until noon …
Discussion: Hot Air and Weekly Standard
Amie Parnes / The Hill:
Messina rejects holding Baucus's Senate seat  —  Jim Messina, who served as President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign manager, said Thursday that he is not considering an appointment in the Senate to replace departing Sen. Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat.  —  The comments came on the heels …
Discussion: Washington Wire
First Read / NBCNews:
First Thoughts: Baucus' ambassadorship gives Democrats a potential 2014 break
Discussion: The Fix and Outside the Beltway
Washington Post:
Officials' defenses of NSA phone program may be unraveling  —  From the moment the government's massive database of citizens' call records was exposed this year, U.S. officials have clung to two main lines of defense: The secret surveillance program was constitutional and critical to keeping the nation safe.
Podesta's Push for Executive Power Raises Stakes on Obama Agenda  —  When the Republican victory in the 2010 midterm election raised the prospect of political gridlock, John Podesta was ready with an answer: The president should bypass Congress and wield the executive powers of his office.
Discussion: ABC News
James Hohmann / Reuters:
NRSC raised $3.2 million in November  —  The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised $3.2 million in November and ended the month with $6.4 million cash on hand.  —  The numbers, shared first with POLITICO, come after the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $5.1 million …
Discussion: CNN
McKay Coppins / BuzzFeed:
Paul Ryan Finds God  —  How a backstage prayer in Cleveland and a new leader in the Vatican set the budget-slashing congressman on a mission to help the poor.  “My bet is that he's on Pope Francis's team.”  —  On Oct. 24, 2012, Paul Ryan slipped into a high-ceiling backstage room …
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.
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
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 …
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 More Items: 
Kimberley A. Strassel / Wall Street Journal:
Mary Landrieu and All That JAZZ
Chicago Tribune:
The Obamacare 10 Percent Club
Discussion: Hot Air
Statement from Scott Brown on move to NH
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Roll Call
Nedra Pickler / Associated Press:
Obama Commutes Sentences for 8 Drug Convictions
Discussion: The Hill and The Raw Story
Stuart Rothenberg / Roll Call:
Race Ratings Change: Arkansas Senate
Discussion: Hot Air, Rothenblog 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: Politico and The Verge
 Earlier Items: 
Rossmurray / GLAAD:
Bob Newhart bows out of gig with anti-LGBT organization
Adam Serwer /
Conservatives freak out over ‘pajama boy’
Alex Pareene / Salon:
Hack list No. 1: Mike Allen
Discussion: The Dish and his vorpal sword

From Mediagazer:

Mark Miller / Hollywood Reporter:
Q&A with IAC chairman Barry Diller on the future of the Daily Beast, Aereo, Vimeo, and more

Dominic Ponsford / Press Gazette:
Judge orders Mail Online to pay £10k damages to Paul Weller's children over use of unpixelated pictures

Bill Grueskin / Columbia Journalism Review:
Why the Pulitzers ignored the NYT's ambitious series about Dasani, a homeless Brooklyn girl

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