“History by apprising [citizens] of the past will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views.” –Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 14, 1781


More Court Packing

Once again, Senate Democrats took advantage of having “gone nuclear” and ending the filibuster for judicial nominees. In the dark of night Thursday, the Senate confirmed Cornelia Pillard to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals by a vote of 51-44. That makes two additional Obama nominees on the court with the lightest workload, and it gives leftists a 6-4 advantage on the court that hears most challenges to executive actions. On top of that, National Review’s Patrick Brennan calls Pillard “probably the most extreme of President Obama’s judicial nominees this year.” Why? Well, for example, Brennan says she opposed a church’s right to be exempt from normal employment-discrimination law in order to decide on a minister. The Supreme Court disagreed with her, 9-0. Beware…

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‘No Other Way’ for NSA?

National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander told Congress that the NSA’s surveillance is just part of the price we must pay to be secure. “There is no other way to connect the dots,” Alexander told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “We cannot go back to a pre-9/11 moment. … Taking these programs off the table is not the thing to do.” He’s certainly correct that we can’t go back to a pre-9/11 moment or mindset. Murderous jihadis continue to plot to kill Americans and we must remain vigilant. On the other hand, collecting information on every single phone call in the U.S., along with sweeping collection of email and other data produced by Americans strikes us as too much. Of course the NSA argues that these things are needed and useful, and no doubt some information collected has been used to thwart jihadi plots. The question is whether those plots could only have been foiled by collectingeveryone’s phone records, as Alexander contends. We doubt the answer is yes.

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O’Care Deadlines Extended

Health and Human Services has once again extended various deadlines pertaining According to HHS, “If an individual tries to sign up by Dec. 23rd but experiences an issue with the marketplace, they qualify for a special enrollment period and gain coverage as soon as possible.” Recall that the deadline was recently extended by a week, from Dec. 15 to Dec. 23. Additionally, the Washington Times reports, “HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius also said that insurers would be required to provide coverage to individuals who pay for their plans by Dec. 31. Previously, insurance companies could have set an earlier deadline for payment.” To top it off, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Program, previously scheduled to expire January 1, will be extended by a month. Before you know it, Democrats will want to delay the entire law until after the 2014 midterms.

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HHS ‘Encourages’ Insurers

The disastrous rollout of ObamaCare is taking its toll on Barack Obama and Democrats. In fact, the latest news is that Obama’s HHS is “encouraging issuers” to help fix their mess. First of all, insurers must accept payments until Dec. 31 for coverage starting on Jan. 1. After that, they are merely “urging” insurers to take payment beyond Jan. 1 — even partial payment. That’s great considering no one is actually enrolled until they’ve paid. HHS says it’s also “strongly encouraging insurers to treat out-of-network providers as in-network to ensure continuity of care for acute episodes or if the provider was listed in their plan’s provider directory as of the date of an enrollee’s enrollment.” Covering prescriptions beyond the policy date is also “encouraged.” In other words, HHS would like for insurers to pay the price for government incompetence.

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BO Wins Lie of the Year Award

In what is perhaps the understatement of the century, left-leaning PolitiFact did the inevitable by crowning Obama’s “If you like your health care plan” pledge Lie of the Year. Obama’s faux promise garnered 59% of respondents’ votes. “It’s something we first flagged back in 2009,” claimed PolitiFact Editor Angie Drobnic Holan. “We said this is partly right. The health care law does leave in place the existing health care system. But it’s partly wrong because we knew back then not everybody would be able to keep their health care plan, and this was the year that it was proved false as these cancellation letters went out at the end of the year.” We’re just waiting for PolitiFact to declare Obama’s entire presidency a lie. We can dream at least… Baby steps!

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Pelosi’s Tacky Advice

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told her caucus to “Embrace the suck” when it came time to vote on the Ryan-Murray budget compromise. Pelosi added, “We need to get [the budget deal] off the table so we can go forward.” She later said that she thought that summed up not just the package but the whole budget process. We actually agree on the process, but even more so, we think the admittedly tacky phrase encompasses Democrats’ policy in general. But we’ll never embrace that.

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The End of Ethanol?

Could the ethanol mandate be repealed? According to The Hill, “Introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2013 would effectively repeal requirements for the amount of ethanol that is blended into gasoline.” As Coburn wrote explaining the legislation, “The time to end the corn ethanol mandate has arrived. This misguided policy has cost taxpayers billions of dollars, increased fuel prices and made our food more expensive.” He’s absolutely correct, but farm-state senators and congressmen will fight repeal tooth and nail. Still, even the EPA has come to realize that the requirements are unrealistic. Americans don’t consume as much gas as was forecast when the mandate was created, meaning that gas manufacturers are reaching a “blend wall” — a point beyond which more than 10% ethanol would be required in each gallon to reach targets, and that would harm engines even more.

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Photoshop Bombing

The White House Thursday tweeted a photo of Barack Obama holding a sign with the message, “#GetCovered because nobody should go broke just because they get sick.” In response, pundits had some fun photoshop bombing the image. Check out some of the edited versions, courtesy of BuzzFeed.

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Rappin for BoCare

Based on Snoop Lion’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” the Get Covered organization has launched anew ObamaCare promotion targeting unenrolled Americans. Included in the spoof are these, eh, amazing(ly terrible) lyrics: “So don’t stand and diddle. My healthcare’s the ‘shizzle.’ It’s chock full of top notch healthcare ‘provizzles.'”

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Danish PM Won’t Share ‘Selfie’

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt won’t be making public her “selfie” with Barack Obama and David Cameron, claiming, in the words of the New York Daily News, “it’s not a very good picture.” Rumor is, Obama told her that, if she liked the picture, she could keep the picture.

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