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The final weekend open thread of 2012...it feels special. Still: end-of-year compilation lists need not apply.

  • The Obama Administration says that no, you can't impose your own religious doctrine onto your employees, and if you try, you'll face a substantial fine:
    Washington (CNN)– Craft store giant Hobby Lobby is bracing for a $1.3 million a day fine beginning January 1 for noncompliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare.

    The company opposes providing some contraceptives to employees through its company health care plan on religious grounds, saying some contraceptive products, like the morning after pill, equate to abortion.

    After failing to receive temporary relief from the fines from the Supreme Court, Hobby Lobby announced late Thursday through its attorneys that it "will continue to provide health insurance to all qualified employees. To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs."

    In September, Hobby Lobby and affiliate Mardel, a Christian bookstore chain, sued the federal government for violating their owners' religious freedom and ability to freely exercise their religion.

    For these people, "religious freedom" is really tantamount to "freedom to impose religion on others."
  • The Guardian reports on the coordination of the crackdown on the Occupy movement:
    It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.
  • The New York Times recently profiled a disturbing sexual assault of a teenage girl in Steubensville, Ohio, when members of the revered high school football team allegedly dragged an intoxicated minor from party to party for her to be repeatedly victimized. Only two people have been charged.  The hacker group Anonymous has now taken matters into their own hands, threatening to post personal information of people whom they view as complicit.
  • Video from Maine as the first same-sex couples got legally married.
  • Speaker Boehner, according to Politico, is going to stay Speaker Boehner, regardless of how the fiscal slope negotiations end up. That could be because nobody else wants the job of leading this gerrymandered crackpot tea party House.
  • Ezra Klein, on the fiscal slope negotiations:
    I think it was a mistake for the White House not to have done more to build on Simpson-Bowles. But part of its reluctance was based on the belief that there was no way the Republicans would ever come together around the plan. Rep. Paul Ryan, for instance, was on on the Simpson-Bowles Commission, and he voted against the plan, as did every other House Republican on the panel. The White House saw no reason to embrace something that raised taxes sky high and slashed defense and would never pass.

    When the White House brought out its budget alternative, it included fewer taxes and fewer defense cuts. It was a framework that administration officials thought had a better chance to move the country towards a deal. Meanwhile, the Republicans brought out the Ryan budget, which was an exercise in conservative fantasizing.

    Facts are facts: no amount of "coming together" or "bipartisanship" will obviate the fact that the Republican House couldn't even pass their odiously conservative "Plan B."
  • Say goodbye to the 75-watt incandescent lightbulb, as the next round of energy efficiency standards in lightbulbs hits at the turn of the year.

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