November 26, 2013

* The top story tonight: Obamacare’s website woes seem to be finally turning around. Though it’s too soon to declare total victory, Healthcare.gov’s front end seems to be working much better and enrollments are up.

As Steve Benen notes, the media will be slow to turn around on this, but the sheer hysteria that gripped many reporters and pundits (Obamacare is the president’s Katrina and Iraq War!!!) created its own vulnerability to contrarian attack. With a bit of luck, soon we’ll be hearing a lot more more about Obamacare’s winners.

* Healthcare.gov’s Spanish language version (CuidadoDeSalud.gov) is reportedly ready for a “soft launch” next month. Notably, it’s only a limited beta to start with, which is much more in line with the incremental test-improve-expand model that is favored by web developers. (In fact, Healthcare.gov actually had a very similar rollout when you think about it, though obviously that wasn’t intentional.) It suggests that the administration is learning from its mistakes.

* Lara Logan and her producer Max McClellan are taking a leave of absence from 60 Minutes over her atrocious Benghazi report. It’s about time — the discrepancy between her and how CBS treated Dan Rather was becoming too big to ignore. Can’t say I’m surprised, either; we’ve had Logan’s number for a long time.

* Important point from Ed Kilgore: the next big flap over Obamacare will be over whether people get to “keep their doctor,” but the effects of the law will be entirely subsumed in the long fight between insurers and providers. Obama deserved flak for the “keep your insurance” line, but Republicans are on much shakier ground with the attack on “keep your doctor.”

* The simple truth that most people have been entirely unaffected by Obamacare is still reflected in the polling: today, 69 percent say they’ve been “unaffected” by the law. Compared to February 2012, and after two months of absolutely apocalyptic coverage, people saying they’ve been “hurt” by the law has moved from 16 percent to…19 percent.

* PolitiFact weighs in Obama’s immigration heckler. They note, rightly, that the president can’t just hand out green cards or otherwise give people legal residency by himself. However, they didn’t address whether he could use the pardon power, though apparently that is out of bounds as well.

* On the other hand, Digby is right: it’s hard to blame the heckler for being frustrated, because bipartisan immigration reform is probably impossible. Conservative media is already using filibuster reform as a reason to avoid it; which itself is only the latest in a long line of excuses.

* Great piece from Felix Salmon about GoldieBlox’s cynical abuse of fair use, feminism, and the Beastie Boys in the service of a viral marketing campaign. Nothing is too sacred to get sucked into the great advertising maw.

* Brad Plumer reports on a new study asking experts about projected sea level rise. The upshot: the IPCC is likely being too conservative, and there is broad agreement among researchers. Without serious action, sea level could rise between 0.7 and 1.2 meters by the end of the century.

* Riveting piece about a mysterious cryptographic game that has captivated some of the world’s finest computer experts. Obviously, it’s the Illuminati.

* And for fans of roguelikes and/or survival horror games: Ben Croshaw has a free beta available for your perusal.

What else?