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10 things you need to know today: November 1, 2013
Only six people were reportedly able to enroll on HealthCare.gov during its first 24 hours, a new book says Obama considered replacing Biden, and more
 
A Hillary nod wouldn't have provided enough of a poll boost to warrant ditching Joe, campaign advisors concluded.
A Hillary nod wouldn't have provided enough of a poll boost to warrant ditching Joe, campaign advisors concluded. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

1. Just six people reportedly enrolled on HealthCare.gov on first day
Documents released by the GOP-controlled House Oversight Committee say that just six people managed to enroll for insurance on HealthCare.gov in its first 24 hours online, and just 248 people had managed to by the second day. The revelation, included in notes prepared for the "war room" of an agency managing the botched rollout of the ObamaCare website, came a day after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Congress she could not provide reliable data on enrollment yet. [USA Today]
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2. Obama advisers said to have considered replacing Biden with Clinton
President Obama's top aides secretly conducted polls and focus groups to determine whether it would be a good idea to replace Vice President Joe Biden with Hillary Clinton on the 2012 ticket, journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann say in their new book, Double Down, which is a sequel to Game Change. Then–chief of staff William Daley pushed the radical option, they say, but it was dropped because it didn't offer Obama a big-enough boost. [The New York Times]
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3. Court revives Texas abortion restriction, for now
A federal appeals court on Thursday lifted an injunction blocking a key part of Texas's new abortion restrictions requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The decision means that the rule can take effect immediately, leaving at least 12 of the state's 32 clinics unable to perform abortions as soon as Friday. A lower court had blocked the restriction on Monday, calling it unconstitutional. [Associated Press]
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4. FAA eases electronics restrictions in flight
The Federal Aviation Administration announced Thursday that it will lift restrictions on the use of electronic devices to listen to music, read, and play games, because it has determined that they are safe during all phases of flight. An advisory committee recommended the change a month ago. It probably will take effect by the end of the year, but the ban on making cellphone calls and sending texts will remain in effect. [The New York Times]
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5. Food stamp cuts take effect
On Friday, $5 billion in cuts to food stamp benefits are taking effect as a federal economic stimulus program expires. The average household benefit of about $275 will drop by $36, which amounts to 21 fewer meals a month for a family of four. A near-record 47.6 million Americans are receiving benefits, and budget hawks are trying to impose further cuts. "Our members are panicking," says Margaret Purvis, president of Food Bank for New York City. [Time]
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6. Booker takes his seat in the Senate
Former Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker was sworn into the Senate on Thursday, continuing his rise to stardom in the Democratic Party. Booker is the first black senator from his state, and the first elected anywhere in the country since Barack Obama's 2004 election in Illinois. Booker immediately cast his first vote — for a procedural move allowing a vote on Obama's Federal Housing Finance Agency nominee Mel Watt. [USA Today]
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7. Israeli airstrikes target missiles on Syrian bases
Israel this week launched airstrikes on Syrian military bases — one near Damascus and another near the port city of Latakia — Obama administration officials told CNN and CBS News on Thursday. The presumed targets were missiles Israel believed could be sent to the Lebanon-based Islamist group Hezbollah, which is helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad battle rebels. Israel hit missile shipments twice earlier this year. [CNN, CBS News]
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8. Appeals court blocks reforms for New York's stop-and-frisk policy
In a surprise twist to a long battle over police tactics in New York City, a federal appeals court on Thursday halted changes to the New York Police Department's practice of stopping and frisking people on the street. Trial Judge Shira A. Scheindlin said stop and frisk violated the rights of minorities, but the appeals court said she had failed to maintain the appearance of impartiality and removed her from the case. [The New York Times]
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9. Six tech giants call for restraints on the NSA
Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft, and AOL sent a letter to Senate leaders Thursday supporting a proposal to end the National Security Agency's bulk collection of the phone records of millions of Americans. The bill also would create a privacy advocate within the secretive surveillance court that oversees the NSA. Long wary of Washington politics, the tech industry is getting more active as revelations on NSA snooping pile up. [The Washington Post]
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10. Toronto police dig up video of mayor allegedly smoking crack
Toronto police say they have found a video, taken in a surveillance operation targeting an alleged drug dealer, showing the city's mayor, Rob Ford, appearing to smoke from a crack pipe. The tape's existence was first reported in May, but police say it was deleted from a hard drive and they only recently recovered it. The news intensified calls on Ford, who has denied the tape existed, to resign, but he said Thursday he has no reason to quit. [Associated Press]

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Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami HeraldFox News, and ABC News.

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