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9:00 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.
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 …
Steve Deace / USA Today:
A&E fowls up ‘Duck’ flap: Column
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.
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.
Discussion: NBCNews and Los Angeles Times
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 …
Elise Viebeck / The Hill:   O-Care ‘fix’ extends to bare-bones plans
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
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
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
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
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.
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 …
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 …
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 …
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.
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
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 More Items: 
Chicago Tribune:
The Obamacare 10 Percent Club
Discussion: Hot Air
Statement from Scott Brown on move to NH
Discussion: Roll Call and Talking Points Memo
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
Byron Tau / Politico:
For Obamacare boosters, all memes are good memes
Discussion: Reuters, CNN, CBS New York and Betsy's Page
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
Chris Geidner / BuzzFeed:
Marriage Equality Is The Law In New Mexico, State Supreme Court Rules
Discussion: Hot Air
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

From Mediagazer:

Rick Edmonds / Poynter:
Newspaper industry narrowed revenue loss in 2013 as paywall plans increased

Todd Spangler / Variety:
British Pathé Uploads Entire 85,000-Film Archive to YouTube in HD

Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg / Wall Street Journal:
Smaller Barnes & Noble Stores? 'Yes, It's Possible,' Says Leonard Riggio

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