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7:45 PM ET, December 20, 2013


 Top Items: 
Obamacare Initiates Self-Destruction Sequence  —  On Wednesday, Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown reported that the administration was saying fewer than 500,000 people had actually lost insurance due to Obamacare-induced cancellations.  This struck me as a strange leak: Half a million is a lot less …
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.
John Fund / National Review:
Who Says Obama Hasn't United the Country?
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: Politico, Reuters and Balloon Juice
Louise Radnofsky / Wall Street Journal:
White House Will Allow Some To Buy Catastrophic Health Plans
Dylan Scott / Talking Points Memo:
Does New Obamacare Mandate Exemption Open A Pandora's Box?
Discussion: Health Affairs Blog
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 …
Daniel Strauss / Talking Points Memo:
GOP Congressional Candidate: Duck Dynasty Star Is ‘Rosa Parks Of Our Generation’
Ed O'Keefe / Post Politics:
Harry Reid hospitalized  —  Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D- Nev.) was hospitalized early Friday after not feeling well, according to his office.  —  “Early this morning, Senator Reid was not feeling well and as a precaution decided to go to the hospital.  Tests have been conducted and everything is normal.
Discussion: Daily Kos
Pete Kasperowicz / The Hill:
Senate hatches last-minute deal
Discussion: CNN, Daily Kos and Booman Tribune
Jenny Beth Martin / New York Times:
John Boehner's Betrayal
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 …
Associated Press:
Utah's Gay Marriage Ban Is Ruled Unconstitutional
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  —  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
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: Lawyers, Guns & Money
Sean Fine / Globe and Mail:
Supreme Court strikes down Canada's prostitution laws
Discussion: Hit & Run and Outside the Beltway
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
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 …
Brian Krebs / Krebs on Security:
Cards Stolen in Target Breach Flood Underground Markets  —  Credit and debit card accounts stolen in a recent data breach at retail giant Target have been flooding underground black markets in recent weeks, selling in batches of one million cards and going for anywhere from $20 to more than $100 per card, KrebsOnSecurity has learned.
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.
Washington Post:
Obama promises review of NSA spying program, possible reforms
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
Jonathan Cohn / The New Republic:
The Ultimate Obamacare Chill-Out Post  —  Everybody worries about Obamacare leading to the dreaded insurance “death spiral.”  It would work like this: Large numbers of young, predominantly healthy people decide insurance isn't worth the price.  Insurers, left with a pool of predominantly older …
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 …
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 More Items: 
Associated Press:
Ronald Reagan shooter granted more time outside hospital
Discussion: CNN and Liberaland
The Trouble With Populism? It Isn't That Popular
Ryan Broderick / BuzzFeed:
High Schoolers Staged A Massive Sit-In After Their Vice Principal Was Ousted Over Same-Sex Marriage
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, The Verge and Mashable
Post Politics: goes down as Dec. 23 deadline looms
 Earlier Items: 
Philip Klein / Washington Examiner:
Obamacare ‘death spiral’ scenario is about the states, stupid
Discussion: Washington Post
John Sides / The Monkey Cage:
Democrats currently have a 1 percent chance of retaking the House
MacIver Institute:
Workers Dismantle Over 70 Unions in Wisconsin