Inside the Beltway: Ignoring the obvious about Obamacare

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AL-JAZEERA AMERICA AMPS UP

The Qatar-owned American news channel, Al-Jazeera America, that launched in late August is “significantly accelerating both its news and business growth plans” according to interim CEO Ehab Al Shihabi and President Kate O’Brian. On the to-do list: more local news bureaus, more hires, more new programming, more marketing and some new headquarters in midtown Manhattan.

The network, which promotes “unbiased, objective and in-depth coverage” according to Mr. Al Shihabi, got a significant boost last week when Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks announced a new carriage agreement that will significantly increase viewership.

“It’s impossible not to be excited about what the immediate future holds for our viewers,” says Ms. O’Brian.

OUTFOXED FOR A DOZEN YEARS

“Fox News is No. 1 for 142 consecutive months,” advises TV Newser, a news site that follows and makes sense of myriad Nielsen ratings numbers.

“As usual, Fox News was the top-rated cable news channel in October, closing in on 12 straight years at No. 1 in total day and primetime,” the site notes.

ONE FOR THE PUPS

Three cheers for noble canines. Just dedicated: the U.S. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument, meant to honor the intrepid companions of the armed services who sniff out explosives and brave the battlefield. The four-footed soldiers have saved lives, died in the line of duty, served as sentries and scouts and set their own examples. Consider, for example, Army Sgt. Maj. Fasco — a German shepherd — who made a record-breaking airborne jump six years ago from 12,500 feet above Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., with his handler and a jumpmaster. The three-way jump from that altitude was a first. Yes, the dog had an oxygen mask and a nifty jumpsuit.

The monument is now open to admirers at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, where the military has trained all of its working dog teams for the past 45 years. It’s also the world’s largest center for such work. Legislation to authorize design and construction was sponsored eight years ago by Rep. Walter B. Jones, North Carolina Republican, and signed into law by former President George W. Bush in 2008. The monument was funded by private and corporate donations.

It is a site to be reckoned with. There’s a ton of dogs alone here. The main granite pedestal features the bronze likenesses of military working dog breeds: Doberman pinscher, German shepherd, Labrador retriever and Belgian Malinois. Each stands 5-feet tall and weighs 500 pounds. And the bronze handler? He stands 9 feet tall and weighs in at 1,500.

POLL DU JOUR

96 percent of libertarians oppose the Affordable Health Care Act.

94 percent of libertarians are “non-Hispanic whites.”

68 percent of libertarians are men, 32 percent are women.

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