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Mired in tribal rules while Obamacare suffers

President Barack Obama speaks on the Affordable Care

President Barack Obama speaks on the Affordable Care Act in the White House briefing room. (Nov. 14, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

Why stop with the Senate filibuster? Washington has so many other rules just begging to be obliterated.

The rule that says Democrats must support President Barack Obama even when they know he's stumbled. See Obamacare.

The rule that says Republicans have to hate everything Obama does even if they secretly like it -- heck, even if they were the ones who originally dreamed it up. See Obamacare.

The rule that says cable-news shows need a guest from the left and a guest from the right, even if their views are totally predictable and rote. Yes, see Obamacare.

This is just what happens when people trade independent thinking for tribal rules. We have a hard-fought issue. The issue lingers on and on. The arguments are endlessly repeated. Not a single mind is ever changed. We all end up exactly where we began.

See Obamacare.


1. Mary and Liz Cheney, for making our family feuds seem pale by comparison.

2. Mayor Rob Ford, for showing that municipal government doesn't have to be dull.

3. Dow 16,000, for reminding the rest of us just how broke we are.

4. The FCC, for threatening our last, high-flying, phone-free cocoon.

5. Alec Baldwin, George Zimmerman and Trey Radel for delivering the gift of easy superiority.

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: What day is it? Who cares anymore? Brookhaven Town's switching over to single-stream recycling . . . Fees on dismissed tickets? What if Suffolk's new Traffic & Parking Violations Agency just changed its name to the Department of You Can't Win? . . . Really, what's keeping the Suffolk Board of Elections from certifying Southampton's Nov. 5 Town Board election? Did I mention that Election Day was Nov. 5? . . . Was the water too cold or not salty enough? How do scientists at Stony Brook's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences explain the hundreds of dead bluefish suddenly washing ashore from Mecox Bay? . . . Are Huntington school board members too flipped out about a deluge of school-age children once the 379-unit AvalonBay complex is fully occupied? AvalonBay Rockville Centre brought just 23 new kids and AvalonBay Garden City delivered only three . . . Having trouble spelling Thanksgivukkah? Don't worry, after Thursday, the two holidays won't land together for another 70,000 years. Turkey-flavored latkes, anyone? . . . If Eric Thunberg's E-Sports Entertainment didn't do anything wrong, why did the Commack video-game pioneer just sign a $1 million settlement with the New Jersey attorney general, settling a claim of illegal bitcoin mining?

THE NEWS IN SONG: Got my mind made up: "Stubborn Kind of Fellow" by Marvin Gaye,


Here's something else to be thankful for: I'm not climbing into the ring Monday night at the Hilton Long Island in Melville as 20 eager amateurs Fight for Charity. The way some of these guys have been training, they seem to think they were on the pro card at Friday night's Rockin' Fights 11 at the Paramount. Joe Palumbo's friends say the Camelot Limo honcho has dropped 25 pounds and has been sweating buckets at the Glen Cove Boxing Gym. Says Palumbo: "My wife wanted to know what midlife crisis I was having. But she, like everyone else, has been totally supportive." Beneficiaries include LI Community Chest, the National Foundation for Human Potential, The Genesis School and other nonprofits of the fighters' choosing. Tix and info at

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