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Them's the rules
March 4, 2014
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If you don't have health insurance from your employer or other sponsor, the Affordable Care Act requires you to buy coverage by the end of March or pay a fine... unless you join a quasi-insurance network run by Christian ministries with names like Medi-Share. Membership in these faith-based networks has been growing rapidly as the ObamaCare individual mandate deadline approaches, says Fox News' Garrett Tenney. He goes on to explain:

The nation's three largest ministries boast more than 242,000 members, spanning all 50 states, who agree to live so-called biblical lifestyles — meaning regular church attendance; no drugs, tobacco, or sex outside of marriage; and limited alcohol consumption. This kind of healthier lifestyle helps keep monthly premiums lower than that of other health insurers for most members... Each of the ministries varies a bit in what they will and won't cover, but all are exempt from the Affordable Care Act's fines on those without health insurance. [Fox News]

The "won't cover" part is important, though. Some members of these co-ops appreciate that their plans don't cover abortion and other procedures they oppose on moral grounds, but it's also important to note that the sharing networks don't guarantee that they will pay your medical bills. Peter Weber

terrorism
2:09 p.m. ET
Fethi Belaid/Getty Images

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi declared a state of emergency in Tunisia on Saturday, the state news agency reports. In June, a gunman killed 38 foreigners and injured 39 others in a beachside terrorist attack. Security officers killed the gunman after the attack had stopped.

It's the second terrorist attack Tunisia has seen in three months, The New York Times reports. The state of emergency allows Essebsi to authorize military operations in Tunisia's own cities. Julie Kliegman

hot diggity dog
1:41 p.m. ET
Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images

Eight-time defending champion Joey Chestnut met his match Saturday in Matt "Megatoad" Stonie, who won Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island. Stonie downed 62 dogs and buns in 10 minutes, two ahead of Chestnut.

"I trained hard for this, and I came prepared," Stonie said.

Chestnut still has claim to the contest record, though, since he polished off 69 dogs in 2013 — good news for those of you who worried the man famous for binge-eating fast food might've lost his dignity with his defeat. Julie Kliegman

Pot economics
1:20 p.m. ET
Oliver Berg/Getty Images

The legal pot market began in Washington on July 8, 2014, and just one year later, it's making bank. The state's 160 stores earn $1.4 million per day. Between state and local governments, pot sales have rolled in about $70 million in taxes, The Associated Press reports.

Business might be good, but all those taxes — on top of federal ones — hurt growers.

"I'm basically doing this for free," James Lathrop, who owns Seattle's first legal shop, told AP. "Nobody's gone out of business, but I'm not driving a new truck either."

So next time you're in Washington, maybe you should think about kicking back with some weed — you know, just for the sake of supporting small business. Julie Kliegman

tied to the whippin' post
12:31 p.m. ET
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Donald Trump took to Fox & Friends to defend the comments on Mexican immigrants that landed him in hot water this week with companies like NBC, Macy's, and most recently NASCAR.

"The crime is raging and it's violent. And if you talk about it, it’s racist," he said, referring to accusations against his presidential campaign kickoff that many Mexican immigrants are rapists and drug users.

Trump admitted he didn't realize the backlash would be quite so severe, calling himself a "whipping post." Watch the full interview here. Julie Kliegman

you're fired
12:00 p.m. ET
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NASCAR joined a long list of companies cutting ties with billionaire and Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump following his controversial remarks last month about Mexican people. The auto racing governing body will not hold its Xfinity and Camping World Truck series banquets at the Trump National Doral Miami as originally planned, USA Today reports.

"Our company will not stand to support any person or organization that associates with such beliefs and we feel strongly about distancing ourselves from any negative and discriminatory comments made against any gender, ethnicity, age group or so forth," said Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis, who vowed to not attend the awards if held at Trump's hotel. "I would hope that the entire NASCAR organization would agree with my sentiments."

In his campaign kickoff, Trump classified most Mexicans immigrating to the U.S. as rapists and drug users. NASCAR joins companies like NBC Universal, Univision, and Macy's in denouncing the comments. Julie Kliegman

Awwww
11:35 a.m. ET

A Florida judge had one unusual question for the burglary suspect in her bond court: Did you go to middle school with me?

Arthur Booth, 49, was arrested in Hialeah on charges of burglary, grand theft, fleeing, and resisting arrest, NBC 6 South Florida reports. Judge and former middle school classmate Mindy Glazer's question shocked him. He immediately teared up, held his head, and repeated "Oh my goodness."

Glazer had some encouraging words for the man she called "the nicest kid in middle school."

"Good luck to you sir," she said. "I hope you are able to come out of this OK and just lead a lawful life."

Watch the full encounter below. Julie Kliegman

Cuba Libre
11:05 a.m. ET
Matthew Hinton/AFP/Getty Images

JetBlue ran its first official direct flight from New York City's John F. Kennedy Airport to Havana's José Martí International Airport on Friday, the first in a planned series of weekly charter flights.

It's the first major airline to do so, though smaller outfit Sun Country was the first to start servicing the two cities, Time reports.

JetBlue also runs flights to Cuba from Florida cities following the easing of travel restrictions earlier this year as the two nations work to restore diplomatic ties after half a century without relations. Julie Kliegman

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