Morning Must Reads: December 20

In the news: another Obamacare rule scaled back; Iran sanctions; defense bill passes; European Union's credit rating taken down a notch; Capitol dome and space station need fixing; Duck Dynasty

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Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

People gather for the lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree in Washington, December 3, 2013.

  • “Millions of people facing the cancellation of health insurance policies will be allowed to buy catastrophic coverage and will be exempt from penalties if they go without insurance next year, the White House said Thursday night.” [NYT]
  • On Iran, senators defy White House, threaten new sanctions [WashPost]
  • “A comprehensive defense bill that cracks down on sexual assault in the military and adds protections for victims—but doesn’t include the most controversial proposals concerning new  rights for victims—was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate late Thursday.” [CBS]
  • “A bit of bipartisan Christmas cheer finally arrived in the Senate around 10 p.m. Thursday. That’s when senators locked in an agreement that will set up a series of votes Friday morning as the last of 2013…” [Roll Call]
  • “Credit agency Standard & Poor’s cut its triple-A rating of the European Union by one notch on Friday, saying it had concerns about how the bloc’s budget was financed, a view EU leaders and other officials dismissed as misguided.” [Reuters]
  • “Former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been released from jail following a pardon from Russian President Vladimir Putin…” [BBC]
  • Metaphor Alert: The U.S. Capitol Dome Is Cracked 1,300 Times, Needs Repair [TIME]
  • “U.S. astronauts are poised to begin a series of spacewalks as soon as Saturday to replace a coolant system aboard the international space station, a harbinger of the increasing maintenance the aging laboratory is likely to need in coming years as it orbits Earth at more than 17,000 miles an hour.” [WSJ]
  • What the Duck? [GQ]
    • The Duck Dynasty Fiasco Says More About Our Bigotry Than Phil’s [TIME]
  • The Worst Predictions of 2013 [Politico]
  • “In honor of the winter solstice, December 21, the shortest day and longest night of the year, LightBox presents the story behind the first photograph ever taken of the moon.” [TIME]
  • Paul Ryan finds God [BuzzFeed]
  • Joe Klein’s “Tis the Season

Happy Holidays from TIME! We’ll see you next in the New Year!

2373 comments
collioure
collioure

A very tough year for Obamacare is under way.

It's going to be so unpopular that Democrats will be forced to gut it.

At the same time numerous new legal challenges can be brought since the law is now in effect.

sacredh
sacredh

Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to bed I go.

sacredh
sacredh

Did anyone else make ant New Year's resolutions? There are a few things I'm going to attempt, but I don't think they're resolutions as much as moving goalposts.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Looks like one  of the first victims of our ever increasing CO2 levels will be the world's coral reefs.

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/Loss_of_Tropical_Coral_Reefs_May_Be_1st_Irreversible_Climate_Consequence.html

Just as alarming, acidification in polar regions could badly hurt calcareous species like krill, which are at the very foundation of the whole ocean food chain. There are many other possibly dire consequences, some of them more fully understood than others. 

It's worth noting that one of the problems of acidification is that it reduces the capacity of the oceans to buffer atmospheric climate change. As the oceans turn more acid, they become less able to absorb carbon dioxide from the air—and that, in turn, would worsen the warming of the atmosphere.

sacredh
sacredh

Another OT, but I didn't miss a single day of work in 2013. I get paid whether I go or not. Damned lazy federal workers.

sacredh
sacredh

OT and I mentioned it yesterday, but I finish up in the morning and then I'm off for 10 days. We're going to have the coldest week we've had all winter. I did the same thing last year and missed thed the biggest snowstorm we had last year. And the guys at work thought I was nuts for "wasting" a vacation week.

sacredh
sacredh

I woke up this afternoon with a chub. Just thinking about a new MMR......

retiredvet
retiredvet

 Ed Kilgore's personal favorites of 2013:

* A January 25 takedown of Bobby Jindal’s “big speech” calling for a revival of the GOP with more of the same. 

* A January 30 post prophesying that Benghazi! would become quasi-immortal for conservatives. 

* A February 27 post tartly responding to the question of how long the South must be “discriminated against” with Voting Rights Act enforcement.

* A February 22 tribute to “Stupidity Week” in honor of the approaching appropriations sequester.

* A March 27 meditation on the insufferable self-pity of the Christian Right.

* A March 22 assessment of the value of the often-underestimated Medicaid program.

* A March 19 critique of the popular meme that “the states” somehow represent an alternative America instead of just a different level of governing.

* A March 12 commentary on Mississippi’s proud attachment to self-abasing economic development strategies and fried food.


mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

The manly men at Fox have spoken. Along with my personal favorite.


http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/12/23/top-ten-things-fox-decided-will-lead-to-the-wus/197334

Top Ten Things Fox Decided Will Lead To The "Wussification of America" In 2013 

 On January 3, Fox & Friendsasked whether young children participating in yoga is leading to the "wussification of America."Guest Larry Winget called yoga a "disturbing trend" and complained that yoga wasn't competitive enough and, doesn't teach people how to be "tough." Winget admitted that yoga has positive properties only because he didn't "want all those yoga Nazis coming after [him] on this thing." [Fox News, Fox & Friends1/3/2013]

retiredvet
retiredvet

A Closer Look At Those Falling Into the Wingnut Hole

 What doesn’t vary state by state is how outrageous it is to exclude the people who by the accident of a court decision fall into the “wingnut gap” of benefits available to people just above them on the income scale. They are for the most part the “working poor,” people with part-time or small-business jobs that don’t come with private health insurance.

sacredh
sacredh

@mantisdragon91, once the world takes care of that pesky human infestation, things should start to improve.

collioure
collioure

@sacredh 

I rather like your OT's.

Nothing wrong with working.  Good for the soul.

sacredh
sacredh

@mantisdragon91,

The Ten Things That Really Led To America's Wussification:

1.   Not being able to beat your wife if she angers you.

2.   Not being able to throw your kids into the deep end of the pool to teach them to swim.

3.   Salads.

4.   The death of John Wayne.

5.   Enya.

6.   Smoking ban in buildings.

7.   Bullet resistant stop signs.

8.   Education.

9.   Glee

10. Handicap parking.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@retiredvet 

Aha! The Vogons are hear already?

I wonder if they have set a date yet to demolish the earth to make way for that hyperspace offramp...

sacredh
sacredh

@collioure,

I quit fast foods (almost two weeks ago)

Cut my cigarette consumption in half (less than two weeks)

Decide by June if I'm going to retire at the end of the year.

sacredh
sacredh

@collioure, we're allowed to build up our sick leave. We get 4 hours every two weeks. I've got over a year of sick leave built up. I hate missing work.

sacredh
sacredh

@retiredvet, when I get home from work in the morning and there's a new MMR.....wear goggles is all I'm saying.

retiredvet
retiredvet

@sacredh@mantisdragon91

11.  (Really) gay marriage.


(No comfy chair.)

retiredvet
retiredvet

@fitty_three@MementoMori   A sure thing to happen when you call attention to yourself is that people will look more closely. And maybe find stuff that you'd rather not have seen.

collioure
collioure

Actually the laptop might not be on the desk.  It's just going to replace my CPU tower.  I'm only going to use it as a laptop when I travel.

collioure
collioure

@sacredh@collioure 

I also buying a new computer - a laptop that will sit on my desk 11 months a year hooked up to all my peripherals.  I won't even use its screen or keyboard here.

Planning trips to Italy, USA including Ariz-NMex, and a long weekend in Belgium by train.

Big play by the Cardinal, Stanford leads 17-7.

sacredh
sacredh

@collioure, once I retire, I'm not working again, not even part time. I have hobbies i enjoy and I've wanted to do stained glass for years. I might take that up.

collioure
collioure

@sacredh@collioure 

Nice going.

In June I hang up my hiking boots after 12 seasons and pick up books (in French!). I need another activity or even a part-time job.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@sacredh@mantisdragon91 

Agree, I think the turnout for the sane will be light as it always is in non presidential elections. I'm just happy that the end is clearly in sight, the GOP won't learn and they won't adapt which means a generation or less is all that stand between them and a rather nasty foot note in history.

sacredh
sacredh

@mantisdragon91, I think that anyone expecting an answer as to which way the country is heading based on elections this year is going to be disappointed. I think the results will be mixed. 

hivemaster
hivemaster

Uh, maybe YOU should wear goggles...

sacredh
sacredh

@retiredvet, when people started turning gay 17 years ago was the true death knell for America.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@retiredvet 

This is exactly my POV. I think that Obama is not out to implement anything that will hurt the American people. I would not be so trusting if he was replaced by a demagogue, on either side (Hillary I can trust too).


We're in a situation where commercial interests are actively reaching for the levers of government, and that, combined with their massive real-time databases, could become a very, very deadly mix.


And the Dems are sworn to blunt it, starting with getting a SC justice in there that will reverse the Citizens United decision.  There are many other safeguards that need to be implemented as well.

retiredvet
retiredvet

@fitty_three  The article makes it pretty clear that the NSA is not the real problem with the loss of privacy. Big business is.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@outsider

True. By the time Mr. Phil gets done, he'll have offended everyone but white heterosexual men with deep prejudice problems.  You know, like @collioure.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@retiredvet 

I have some too, in both families. They're all either fairly distant, or, in some cases, there are three in my wife's family who I just don't associate with.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@retiredvet 

I don't think it's all that hard to figure out.  We can start with all the bigotry.  Who around that you've heard about has the most bigoted constituency?

retiredvet
retiredvet

@fitty_three  I'm not sure who their audience is. But it sure don't include me. Or anyone I know.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@retiredvet

Seeing as they've seem to have struck a gold mine in that department, and will no doubt find more in the coming days, how could anyone state otherwise!

Except all those 16 year old preggers sammich makers  [He already finished gays and blacks off]