*MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE!*
There was a huge last minute surge of consumers to Healthcare.gov yesterday as the Obama Administration extended the deadline to sign-up by 24 hours.
The deadline to sign up for coverage by the first of the year was supposed to be Midnight, but the systems are now set up so anyone who got in line yesterday will be able to sign up until tonight to get covered by January first.
As of 2pm yesterday, the Feds said 850,000 folks had been to the website after more than a million logged on last weekend.
President Obama also signed up under his own law for a bronze plan for just under $400 a month (even though he's covered under the U.S. military as Commander In Chief).
The latest polling suggests the Affordable Care Act is not popular with Americans. A CNN poll suggests only 35% say they approve of the law.
A new argument appears today from the left. In the 'Daily Beast', Jamelle Bouie argues the law isn't liberal enough! He writes, "a good number of Americans don't think it's liberal enough." Some are calling for government run health care.
Meantime, some critics say they are worried about sticker shock for many Americans.
In other news,
Former NSA analyst Edward Snowden - persona non grata in the U.S. for revealing state secrets - says his mission has been accomplished. He said he wanted the world to know about American spying and the collection of data on Americans, and he's achieved that goal.
Holiday sales leaving some retailers saying "Bah Humbug." ShopperTrak says sales at U.S. stores are down more than three percent in the just-ended week over last year.
Markets are open until 1pm today, and it looks like a week of good cheer for investors. All the major indexes were up yesterday and are expected to trend higher today too on light volume. Analysts call it a Santa Claus rally. It caps a pretty amazing year for investors, but can it continue into 2014? We'll ask the WSJ's chief economics correspondent John Hilsenrath.
Target now facing more than a dozen lawsuits over its customers' data being stolen. The Justice Department and the Secret Service are involved.
We're awaiting a decision by a federal appeals court over the future of gay marriage in Utah. Yesterday another federal judge rejected the state's request to delay his ruling that the ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. Gay marriages have been happening in Utah since the initial ruling on Friday.
Bitter cold, snow and icy rain greeting some parts of the country today. A storm that slammed the Upper Midwest and New England killed 11 people and left tens of thousands without power. The forecast calls for bitter cold for the near future. The Great Lakes and Midwest are expecting snow for Christmas.
A terrible storm has brought much of Britain to its knees. London' Gatwick Airport is having power outages and trains aren't running to or from the airport. Flooding and downed trees are a big problem.
A suspected car bomb exploded north of Cairo. At least 14 are dead.
The death toll from a week of violence in South Sudan now at more than 1,000 according the U.N. 4 Americans were injured during evacuations over the weekend.
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