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5:25 PM ET, December 20, 2013


 Top Items: 
The Atlantic Online:
Phil Robertson's America  —  I've yet to take in an episode of Duck Dynasty.  I hear it's a fine show, anchored by a humorous and good-natured family of proud Americans.  I try to be good natured, and I have been told that I can appreciate a good joke.  I am also a proud American.
Ian Bayne for US Congress:
Duck Dynasty Star is Rosa Parks of Our Generation  —  Today, Ian Bayne called Phil Robertson, star of the A&E series “Duck Dynasty,” the ‘Rosa Parks’ of our generation.  —  “In December 1955, Rosa Parks took a stand against an unjust societal persecution of black people, and in December 2013 …
Amanda Terkel / The Huffington Post:
Ian Bayne, GOP Congressional Candidate: ‘Duck Dynasty Star Is Rosa Parks Of Our Generation’  —  WASHINGTON — Embattled “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson has been suspended from his show by A&E for his remarks about gays and African-Americans, and now some high-profile conservatives are rallying to his side and defending him.
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.
Daniel Strauss / Talking Points Memo:
GOP Congressional Candidate: Duck Dynasty Star Is ‘Rosa Parks Of Our Generation’
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.
Paul Mirengoff / Power Line:
Let's call the whole thing off  —  When President Obama signed Obamacare into law, Joe Biden famously told him, “this is a big f___ing deal.”  So too, minus the adjective, is the Obama administration's decree that those whose health insurance policies were terminated will be allowed …
John Fund / National Review:
Who Says Obama Hasn't United the Country?
Discussion: The PJ Tatler
Jennifer Rubin / Right Turn:   Well, let's delay the mandate after all
Amy Goldstein / Washington Post:
Obama administration relaxes rules of health-care law four days before deadline
Dylan Scott / Talking Points Memo:
Does New Obamacare Mandate Exemption Open A Pandora's Box?
Discussion: Health Affairs Blog
Obama Lifts Health Mandate for Those With Canceled Plans
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.
Six questions for Obama
Discussion: ABC News and Weasel Zippers
Abby D. Phillip / ABC News:
Obama Vows ‘Year of Action’ After He ‘Screwed It Up’ on Health Care
Discussion: Reuters, Politico and Balloon Juice
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
Massachusetts State Police / Facebook:
Trooper Joe Petty assisted by Tpr Dave Stucenski & K9 Frankie Locate 1250 Bags of Heroin in Hatfield  —  Early this morning, Trooper Joseph Petty was on a traffic stop of Route 91 in Northampton when a vehicle passed by him.  Trooper Petty observed several violations.
Eric Lach / Talking Points Memo:
Massachusetts State Police Bust ‘Obama Care’ Heroin
Discussion: The Jawa Report
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 …
Sean Fine / Globe and Mail:
Supreme Court strikes down Canada's prostitution laws  —  The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down the country's major prostitution laws, saying that bans on street soliciting, brothels and people living off the avails of prostitution create severe dangers for vulnerable women and therefore violate Canadians' basic values.
Discussion: Outside the Beltway and Hit & Run
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 …
Jenny Beth Martin / New York Times:
John Boehner's Betrayal  —  WOODSTOCK, Ga. — THERE'S a political axiom that says if nobody is upset with what you're doing, you're not doing your job.  We've seen this proved time and again in the liberal attacks on conservatives like Sarah Palin and Dr. Benjamin Carson …
Pete Kasperowicz / The Hill:
Senate hatches last-minute deal
Discussion: Daily Kos and Booman Tribune
Lucy McCalmont / Politico:
Jack Kingston defends school lunch quote  —  Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston, who suggested children should sweep cafeteria floors to earn meals from the federal school lunch program, is clarifying his comments Friday, saying he meant all children should be instilled with a work ethic.
Discussion: CNN and Daily Kos
Catherine Thompson / Talking Points Memo:
GOP Rep.: School Lunch Comments Not Targeted At Any Income Group
Discussion: Balloon Juice
Brooke Adams / Salt Lake Tribune:
Federal judge strikes down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage  —  A federal judge in Utah Friday struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, saying the law violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process.  —  “The state's current laws deny its gay …
Discussion: The Raw Story and Daily Kos
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 …
Ryan Broderick / BuzzFeed:
High Schoolers Staged A Massive Sit-In After Their Vice Principal Was Ousted Over Same-Sex Marriage  —  The students of Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, Washington staged a sit-in Thursday after it was announced that their vice principal was being fired.
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 More Items: 
Ed O'Keefe / Post Politics:
Harry Reid hospitalized
Discussion: Daily Kos
Jonathan Cohn / The New Republic:
The Ultimate Obamacare Chill-Out Post
Craig Whitlock / Washington Post:
Report: U.S. Air Force general drank too much, fraternized with foreign women in Moscow
John Biggs / TechCrunch:
Alleged Top Moderators Of Silk Road 2 Forums Arrested In Ireland, U.S. In International Sweep
Discussion: Forbes, Mashable and The Verge
Post Politics: goes down as Dec. 23 deadline looms
Discussion: Weekly Standard
Philip Klein / Washington Examiner:
Obamacare ‘death spiral’ scenario is about the states, stupid
Discussion: Washington Post
 Earlier Items: 
John Sides / The Monkey Cage:
Democrats currently have a 1 percent chance of retaking the House
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
Tal Kopan / Politico:
Chuck Todd: Will anyone be fined?
MacIver Institute:
Workers Dismantle Over 70 Unions in Wisconsin