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The Buzz | Is the Republican remedy covered by Obamacare?

Covered by Obamacare?

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said last week that Republicans, reeling from losing the presidential race, need to “give our political organizational activity, you know, a very serious … proctology exam.” Said CNN Newsroom anchor Carol Costello: “I think searching the soul is a more apt description.”

Cost of Obamacare?

Florida-based businessman John Metz, the owner of 40 Denny’s franchise restaurants, plans to add a 5 percent surcharge to customers’ checks to cover costs of the Affordable Care Act’s mandates that businesses with more than 50 workers offer an approved insurance plan or pay a penalty of $2,000 for each full-time worker over 30 workers.

The ACA comes into full effect in January 2014. Metz says the direct surcharge is “the only alternative. I’ve got to pass on the cost to the customer.”

Some of his best friends

Maine GOP chair Charlie Webster defended himself to Talking Points Memo over charges that he was racist for suggesting black people committed voter fraud in rural counties in his state.

“There’s nothing about me that would be discriminatory. I know black people. I play basketball every Sunday with a black guy. He’s a great friend of mine. Nobody would ever accuse me of suggesting anything.”

Support the … oops!

MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., is scrubbing its list of 800 civilian “friends” to head off any future embarrassments since former CIA Director David Petraeus’ sex scandal.

“It’s being looked at,” a defense official told The Washington Times. “It’s just the prudent thing to do to make sure everything is legal and is it appropriate.”

Shirtless, yes, sexting, no

FBI agent Frederick Humphries did send a shirtless image to Tampa socialite and scandal fulcrum Jill Kelley. Alas, it wasn’t a flirtatious boast of buffness, The Seattle Times reported. Rather, it was a joke photo sent to Kelley and others, including a reporter, in 2010 showing Humphries bare-chested and bald alongside two target dummies to which he bore a striking resemblance.

“Which One’s Fred?” read the caption.

Do you know who I am?

After calling police and claiming “diplomatic protection” from the scruffy journalists assembling outside her mansion, Kelley wrote an email to her mayor saying that her name was being “exploited by the media.” And, “to put insult to injury, your police dept gave the local 911 tapes to the press!”

“I wouldn’t care — if they got the facts right and the focus was on the criminal that stalked all of us,” she added in an apparent reference to Petraeus biographer and mistress Paula Broadwell. “But the truth will one day prevail.”

Lessons learned

The American Civil Liberties Union pointed out that even though biographer Broadwell was savvy enough to use anonymous email accounts and to avoid sending Petraeus things from home, she was tracked down anyway. Her mistake? She logged in at different hotels where she was registered. After combining the Internet addresses of hotel registrations, investigators were ultimately able to find that Broadwell’s name was the only one that showed up in the multiple cross references.

“When the CIA director cannot hide his activities online,” asks the ACLU, “what hope is there for the rest of us?”