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Friday Flashback: Obamacare, economic growth, stimulus and more

US President Barack Obama.
US President Barack Obama.
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We've come to the end of the week. Christmas is just around the corner, and it's time for the Season's Greeting edition of The Friday Flashback. Joining us today our regular Flashback friends. Jim Rainey of the LA Times, and Nancy Cook, of National Journal. 

Let's begin with health care, and yesterday's attempt to address the concerns of people who've had their coverage cancelled. 

The key to Obamacare, most experts say, is the individual mandate, the idea that if everyone has coverage, overall rates will be lower. How much does this chip away at that?

Capitol Hill is shutting down for the holiday. Might be a good thing given the on-going battle between so-called establishment Republicans and hard-line, Tea Party conservatives. That really heated up this week, with Tea Party advocates going after House Speaker John Boehner.

Meanwhile, there's a split developing between the Obama Administration and some key Democrats on the Hill over Iran. What's the story there?

A little surprise under the tree from the economy. New, revised numbers from the Commerce Department say the economy grew four point one percent in the third quarter. What's driving this growth, and more importantly, is it going to last?

Also this week, the Federal Reserve announced it was going to begin reducing the $85 billion a month it's pumping into the economy. But after the announcement, the markets just shrugged. Why so little reaction?  

More big money news this week. Attention, Target shoppers. Check your bank account. This is really hard to believe: data stolen from 40 million customers' credit cards. This seems like a watershed moment, or a tipping point or something. Should we cut up our cards and go back to cash?

In other insecurity news, a panel appointed by the White House was highly critical of many of the activities of the NSA, and recommends curbs on spying, both on Americans and foreign citizens. There are calls for reform from Democrats and Republicans. What will — or what should — the Obama Administration do about a spy program that seems out of control?

LA City Councilman Jose Huizar is being sued for sexual harassment by a former aide, and you've uncovered a police report of a previous incident. Tell us about that.

This is a pretty old incident, and charges were never filed. So one could say it's kind of an unsubstantiated allegation. Why did the LA Times decide to go with this story?