Since the start of the year, Republican leaders have insisted their party would soon put forward a health care alternative to ObamaCare. That day may almost be here, as The Washington Post's Robert Costa reports the GOP leadership is finally unifying behind a conservative plan "in part to draw an election-year contrast" with Democrats and ObamaCare.
The plan includes an expansion of high-risk insurance pools, promotion of health savings accounts and inducements for small businesses to purchase coverage together.
The tenets of the plan — which could expand to include the ability to buy insurance across state lines, guaranteed renewability of policies and changes to medical-malpractice regulations — are ideas that various conservatives have for a long time backed as part of broader bills. [Washington Post]
Coming after years of GOP threats to repeal ObamaCare and revert to the old health care system, the mere fact that the party may soon offer a true, unified alternative underscores how far the policy debate has shifted since the health care exchanges went live in October. With more than 4.2 million people having now enrolled in new insurance plans via ObamaCare, calling for repeal alone would mean advocating for those millions of newly insured to lose their coverage. And polls have consistently shown that the public's general opposition to the law does not translate into support for repeal. As Jonathan Chait put it last week, Republicans "have won the public relations war over ObamaCare, and they have lost the public relations war over repealing ObamaCare." Jon Terbush
President Obama flew to Roseburg, Oregon, on Friday to address families grieving from the Oct. 1 Umpqua Community College shooting, when a gunman killed nine people.
"I've got some very strong feelings about this because when you talk to these families, you're reminded that this could be happening to your child, or your mom, or your dad, or your relative, or your friend," he said. "And so we're going to have to come together as a country to see how we can prevent these issues from taking place."
Obama met with about 40 people at Roseburg High School for an hour before making his public statement.
"It wasn't a discussion, it was a hug," one woman described the meeting to The Oregonian.
Some gun rights advocates protested Obama's presence in Roseburg with demonstrations at the airport and in front of the school. Julie Kliegman
Despite repeatedly denying he was interested in the position, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is reportedly considering a run for House speaker, legislators told CNN on Friday. He said he's "thinking and praying on it," according to Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah).
Mitt Romney, who tapped Ryan as his 2012 presidential running mate, is one of many urging him to put his name in to replace John Boenher (R-Ohio) after Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) shocked Congress by dropping out of the race Thursday.
"I wouldn't presume to tell Paul what to do, but I do know that he is a man of ideas who is driven to see them applied for the public good," Romney said in a statement. "Every politician tries to convince people that they are that kind of leader; almost none are — Paul is."
Leaving Capitol Hill on Friday, Paul declined fill in reporters on his chances of entering the race.
"Sorry guys, I'm just going to go," he told reporters. "The Packers are at home. They're going to beat the Rams and cover the spread." Julie Kliegman
Only in America: Tennessee officials ask God to spare them 'His coming wrath' over same-sex marriage
Officials in Blount County, Tennessee, considered a resolution asking God to "pass us by in His coming wrath" over the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage and "not destroy us as He did Sodom and Gomorrah." The resolution pledged that county residents would defy the court ruling. A motion to hear the resolution was rejected by a vote of 10-5, as angry residents booed and yelled, "Cowards!"
Mohamed, 27, was fleeing from Syria on a boat with 50 other people when he woke up one morning to find the boat's engine had fallen off, leaving him and his fellow migrants helplessly adrift at sea. Mohamed, however, was carrying a pair of iPhones he planned to pawn, and when he unwrapped one he realized he had a signal — and a chance to save their lives. He texted his cousin Danya, who lives in Hawaii, and Danya was able to get in touch with the Greek coast guard, who in turn found the refugee boat based on coordinates Mohamed was able to pull up on an app.
While the story is miraculous on many accounts, Mohamed is not the first refugee to find his life depending on the signal of an iPhone:
Data coverage is a lifeline for migrants. Though aid workers stemming the crisis of Syrian migration are yet to officially classify it as such, technology has been recognized by those on the ground as a necessity on par with food and warm clothing. Migrants need phones to help navigate between bus stations once they reach land, aid workers say.
Paul Donohoe, press manager at the International Rescue Committee, said the mobile phone has also become a “fundamental” tool in surviving the harrowing water-crossing from Turkey to Greece, which has claimed almost 3,000 lives in 2015 alone, according to the U.N. Human Rights Council. (Some half a million migrants have tried their luck this year, by the same study.) Donohoe, who recently traveled to Lesbos, said Greek coast guard employees have been overwhelmed with calls from migrants stranded at sea and using the communication service WhatsApp. [The Huffington Post]
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) October 9, 2015
Earlier this week, Facebook announced it's testing "Reactions," a set of six emoji-based buttons that will allow users the long overdue ability to respond to content in a more emotionally sensitive way. On Friday, USA Today, clearly feeling the buzz around the impending debut, decided to give the emoji a test run on its own front page:
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) October 9, 2015
That's right, in case you were unsure how to feel about the day's news, Friday's edition of the paper uses the emoji to provide handy emotional cues, like a sad face next to a story about a stabbing, an angry face next to an article about Russia's misdirected missiles, and a big wow face next to an item about Kevin McCarthy's decision to drop out of the race for House speaker.
AdWeek reached out to USA Today Editor-in-Chief David Callaway for a little more information behind the editorial decision:
Was there any concern about these emojis seeming too flippant next to serious content like the stabbing or Syria?
Yes, of course there was discussion about being too flippant.
Whose decision was it to use the emojis? Was there much debate among the editorial team?
My feeling (as editor-in-chief) is that a billion FB users may soon start using these to share stories—all kinds of stories—which of course is Facebook's intention. Social media and its icons are becoming a dominant form of communication in our world. We wanted to show what they would be like if transferred to print. [AdWeek]
"People love lounging in hammocks, and people love soaking in hot tubs, and finally the two have become one," said Andrew Liszewski at Gizmodo. The Hydro Hammock ($1,495) is a sling built for two that holds 50 gallons of hot, bubbling water. A full setup includes a pump, a portable water heater, and all the hardware required to turn the hammock into a hot tub, though you'll need to find a pair of "extremely large and strong trees" to string it up between. If you can afford the whole kit, "you may never feel stressed ever again."
A publisher has apologized for language in a geography textbook, written to meet Texas' pro-American standards, that referred to African slaves as "workers." The parent of a student called attention to the passage, which stated that Africans were brought to this country "to work on agricultural plantations." Publisher McGraw Hill said it would reword the passage.