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11:50 AM ET, December 20, 2013


 Top Items: 
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.
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 …
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.
Obama Lifts Health Mandate for Those With Canceled Plans  —  Hundreds of thousands of people whose health plans are being canceled because their coverage doesn't meet Obamacare rules will be exempt next year from the U.S. mandate that all Americans carry medical insurance.
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit
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 …
Tal Kopan / Politico:
Chuck Todd: Will anyone be fined?  —  NBC News chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd says with all the changes the Obama administration has made to the rules of Obamacare, he doubts a “single person” will end up paying a penalty next year when the individual mandate takes effect.
Politico:   Six questions for Obama
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, First Read and CBS New York
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.
Phil Robertson Publicly Bashed Gays for Years — A&E Knew All About It  —  Publicly Bashed Gays ... FOR YEARS  —  A&E KNEW ALL ABOUT IT  —  EXCLUSIVE  —  A&E knew all about “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson feelings toward gays when it hired him — because the guy openly preached …
Governor Bobby Jindal:
Gov. Jindal on Phil Robertson Suspension: I Remember When TV Networks Believed in 1st Amendment
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' team.”  —  On Oct. 24, 2012, Paul Ryan slipped into a high-ceilinged backstage room …
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
Ryan Grim / The Huffington Post:
10 Democratic Committee Chairs Warn Menendez's Iran Sanction Bill Could Blow Up Negotiations  —  WASHINGTON — In a remarkable rebuke to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), 10 other Senate committee chairs are circulating a joint letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada …
Donna Cassata / Associated Press:   Senate To Vote On Yellen For Fed Chair In January
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.
GCHQ and NSA targeted charities, Germans, Israeli PM and EU chief  —  • Unicef and Médecins du Monde were on surveillance list  —  • Targets went well beyond potential criminals and terrorists  —  • Revelations could cause embarrassment at EU summit
Emily Swanson / The Huffington Post:
Most Americans Don't Care What Race Santa Is — Except For Republicans Who Think He's White  —  Most Americans don't care about Santa's race, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, but nearly half of the Republicans surveyed think Santa should be portrayed as white.
Brendan Nyhan / Columbia Journalism Review:
Political centrism is not objectivity  —  How the media wrongly treats deficit reduction as non-ideological  —  How should the United States choose among the difficult tradeoffs it faces in setting the federal budget?  There's no one correct answer, but you wouldn't know it from coverage …
Discussion: Washington Monthly
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
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
Kimberley A. Strassel / Wall Street Journal:
Mary Landrieu and All That JAZZ  —  The Louisiana senator says she's pro-energy, but her PAC has raised a lot of money to elect opponents of the oil and gas industry.  —  Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu rolled out her pitch for a fourth term in an interview with the Times-Picayune in April.
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 More Items: 
John Sides / The Monkey Cage:
Democrats currently have a 1 percent chance of retaking the House
Times of India:
READ MORE Mohammad Afzaal Rizwi|Live-In Relationships|Homosexuality|Akhlaq Ahmed Siddiqui Noori
Discussion: Jihad Watch and Weasel Zippers
Gregory Ferenstein / TechCrunch:
Tim Draper Wants To Split California Into Pieces And Turn Silicon Valley Into Its Own State
Discussion: ThinkProgress
Eli Lake / The Daily Beast:
Terrorists for Human Rights
The Atlantic Online:
The Gangs of Chicago  —  I spent last week trooping through …
Discussion: Washington Monthly
James Hohmann / Reuters:
NRSC raised $3.2 million in November
Discussion: CNN
Chicago Tribune:
The Obamacare 10 Percent Club
Discussion: Hot Air
Amie Parnes / The Hill:
Messina rejects holding Baucus's Senate seat
Discussion: Washington Wire
 Earlier Items: 
Statement from Scott Brown on move to NH
Discussion: Roll Call and Talking Points Memo
Nedra Pickler / Associated Press:
Obama Commutes Sentences for 8 Drug Convictions
Discussion: The Hill and The Raw Story
Igor Bobic / Talking Points Memo:
Peter King Slams Paul For Attacking Clapper: ‘He Disgraced His Office’
Discussion: Politico and The Verge
Rossmurray / GLAAD:
Bob Newhart bows out of gig with anti-LGBT organization