This Week in the Mercury

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Good Morning, News!

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Oct 24, 2013 at 9:04 AM

The zeal to destroy Obamacare hasn't left the Republican Party, despite its defeat this month over the arch-drama of a government shutdown. Seizing on the federal government's majorly borked enrollment website, the GOP has merely shifted back into pointless-pain-in-the-ass investigation mode. It's making the website's designers answer for their treason at a congressional hearing.

Of course, the problems with the website—its frailty and lack of capacity (thanks for the preemptive funding sabotage, GOP!) are significant enough that the Obama administration is extending the enrollment window by six weeks, until March 31. That's now how long you have to buy insurance before paying a penalty.

And this bit definitely won't endear the red states... In rural areas, where competition between insurers is practically nilch (thanks, Walmart, Chinese outsourcing, and corporate farming, for the heartland's WONDERFUL quality of life), the purported price-reducing effects of Obamacare are rather hard to find.

Relentless American snooping has roused the ire of several important allies, like Germany—which is apoplectic over reports that the National Security Agency targeted the cell phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel and is threatening an end to "business as usual" between the two countries.

Meanwhile... hello, Cold War! We've accused the Russians of spying—in person, how old-fashioned—in Washington, DC.

Pakistan's drone outrage isn't quite the whole story. CIA documents leaked to Bob Woodward show the country's government, behind closed doors, well-briefed on the civilian-killing attacks going back several years and offering tacit approval.

Syria's getting a thumbs up, so far, from the international outfit charged with tallying and then destroying its torturous arsenal of poison gases and nerve agents.

That tartly tweeting White House staffer? The one who was fired for anonymously saying, in 140 characters, what everyone else was thinking? He was nabbed after blabbing about misinformation planted as part of a sting operation.

California cops shot and killed a boy with a pellet gun yesterday. The 13-year-old, an athlete and a musician, was walking to a friend's house to return the pellet gun when cops rolling through his neighborhood saw him, ordered him to drop the weapon, and then opened fire as the no-doubt nervous teenager slightly turned in their direction.

Black people aren't allowed, apparently, at New York City high-fashion emporium Barney's. They keep getting jammed by cops after legally purchasing luxury goods.

Clowns in Mexico, gathered at a clown convention, are insisting that a drug cartel hit in the same town—pulled off by someone wearing, as it were, obvious clown paraphernalia—had nothing to do with their happy fun time.

That's dope! Uruguay is officially getting into not just the pot-selling business, but also the pot-growing business. And how does one fight drug cartels? Don't punish their customers. STEAL THEM. DUH.

And if you missed it below on Blogtown... Faced with some modest proposed improvements to the city's police accountability system, Chief Mike Reese and the city's two cop unions yesterday spent many minutes in city council explaining why they thought many of them were bad ideas.

The pipe dream of baseball in Portland has flared to life again—but it's living on fumes. City hall doesn't appear, at least publicly, to be interested.



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