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2:05 PM 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.
Dylan Scott / Talking Points Memo:
Does New Obamacare Mandate Exemption Open A Pandora's Box?  —  The Obama administration's announcement Thursday night that it would exempt people whose policies have been canceled because of Obamacare from the law's individual mandate was an unexpected move.
Discussion: Health Affairs Blog
Jennifer Rubin / Right Turn:   Well, let's delay the mandate after all
Tal Kopan / Politico:
Chuck Todd: Will anyone be fined?
Obama Lifts Health Mandate for Those With Canceled Plans
Politico:   Six questions for Obama
Robert Pear / New York Times:
Another Rule in Health Law Is Scaled Back
Discussion: Power Line, BizPac Review and Gawker
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.
Pete Kasperowicz / The Hill:
Senate hatches last-minute deal  —  The Senate reached a last-minute procedural agreement late Thursday that spared them from horribly-timed votes on Friday and Saturday, and should let everyone fly home Friday for Christmas.  —  Before the deal, senators were facing a bitter end to a bitter year.
Discussion: Daily Kos and Booman Tribune
Donna Cassata / Associated Press:   Senate To Vote On Yellen For Fed Chair In January
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
New York Times:
N.S.A. Dragnet Included Allies, Aid Groups and Business Elite
Discussion: Daily Kos, Gawker and The Verge
Paul Steinhauser / CNN:
President ends year at all-time CNN polling low  —  Washington (CNN) - Fourteen points.  —  That's how far President Barack Obama's poll numbers fell in CNN polling over the course of what's been an especially tough year.  —  Obama's approval rating stands at 41% in a new CNN/ORC International …
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 …
Eric Lach / Talking Points Memo:
Massachusetts State Police Bust ‘Obama Care’ Heroin  —  Massachusetts State Police on Friday confiscated 1,250 bags of heroin during a traffic stop — and many of the bags were labled “Obama care.”  Other bags were labled “Kurt Cobain.”  —  The traffic stop was made in the town of Hatfield, Mass.
Discussion: The Jawa Report
Massachusetts State Police / Facebook:
Trooper Joe Petty assisted by Tpr Dave Stucenski & K9 Frankie …
Discussion: Business Insider and CBS Boston
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.
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 …
Post Politics: goes down as Dec. 23 deadline looms  —  With less than two hours to go before President Obama is scheduled to give his year-end news conference, people are not able to apply for health insurance on  —  The home page is still present, but when one tries to apply …
Discussion: Weekly Standard
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.
Philip Klein / Washington Examiner:
Obamacare ‘death spiral’ scenario is about the states, stupid  —  OBAMACARE HEALTH CARE HEALTHCARE.GOV HEALTH CARE EXCHANGES HHS  —  As problems continue to plague the rollout of President Obama's health care law despite improvements to the federal website …
Discussion: Washington Post
Charmaine Noronha / Associated Press:
CANADIAN COURT STRIKES DOWN ANTI-PROSTITUTION LAWS  —  You are here  —  Home » Canada » Canadian court strikes down anti-prostitution laws … TORONTO (AP) — Canada's highest court struck down the country's anti-prostitution laws Friday, a victory for sex workers who stepped …
Discussion: Liberaland
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 More Items: 
Benjy Hansen-Bundy / Mother Jones:
Science Says: Cocktails Could Protect You From Getting Sick
Discussion: Outside the Beltway and Daily Kos
Lucy McCalmont / Politico:
Jack Kingston defends school lunch quote
Discussion: CNN and Daily Kos
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
Eli Lake / The Daily Beast:
Terrorists for Human Rights
 Earlier Items: 
The Atlantic Online:
The Gangs of Chicago  —  I spent last week trooping through …
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Brendan Nyhan / Columbia Journalism Review:
Political centrism is not objectivity
Podesta's Push for Executive Power Raises Stakes on Obama Agenda
Discussion: ABC News
Kimberley A. Strassel / Wall Street Journal:
Mary Landrieu and All That JAZZ
Amie Parnes / The Hill:
Messina rejects holding Baucus's Senate seat
Statement from Scott Brown on move to NH
Discussion: Roll Call and Talking Points Memo
How dogs scan familiar and inverted faces: an eye movement study
Discussion: CBS Philly

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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