11 26 2014
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  • 'If you’re sitting at the Thanksgiving table where we’re told that you don’t talk about sex, you don’t talk about religion, you don’t talk about politics, throw some fuel on the fire'  
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  • Protestors shut down streets demanding systemic change   
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  • Nearly one in three retailers in Multnomah County illegally sold tobacco to minors last summer  
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  • PHOTO: Still image from The Imitation Game.   BIG BUDGET FILMS Horrible Bosses 2 (R for pervasive profanity and crude sexuality) Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day reunite for revenge-fueled sequel as inept entrepreneurs-turned-kidnappers who hatch a cockamamie plan to hold the son (Chris Pine) of a ruthless businessman (Christoph Waltz) for ransom. Cast includes Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey and Keegan-Michael Key. The Imitation Game (PG-13 for sexual references, mature themes and smoking) Historical biopic about Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), the British cryptologist who helped the Allies defeat the Nazis by cracking the Enigma Code, only to be prosecuted and chemically castrated following World War II for being gay. With Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode and Mark Strong.   Penguins of Madagascar (PG for mild action and rude humor) 4th installment in the animated franchise finds the peripatetic quartet of penguin protagonists (Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon and Christopher Knights) joining forces with an undercover, inter-species task force to apprehend a diabolical madman (John Malkovich) bent on world domination. Voice cast includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Dr. Ken Jeong and Peter Stormare. INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS Antarctica: A Year on Ice (PG for mild epithets and mature themes) Subzero documentary chronicling what life is like at a couple of ice stations located near the South Pole. The Babadook (Unrated) Haunted house flick, set in Adelaide, Australia, about a grieving widow (Essie Davis) who comes to substantiate her young son’s (Noah Wiseman) complaints about a monster inhabiting their home. Cast includes Daniel Henshall, Tim Purcell and Cathy Adamek. Before I Disappear (Unrated) Surrealistic saga, set in NYC, about a suicidal twenty-something (Shawn Christensen) who finds new meaning in life by babysitting his prepubescent niece (Fatima Ptacek) for his long-estranged sister (Emmy Rossum). With Ron Perlman, Paul Wesley and Richard Schiff. Escobar: Paradise Lost (Unrated) Romance thriller, set in Colombia in the summer of 1991, about a Canadian surfer dude (Josh Hutchinson) who is pressured to serve as a hit man after falling for the niece (Claudia Traisac) of drug cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar (Benicio del Toro). Support cast includes Anne Giradot, Carlos Bardem and Brady Corbet. The Immortalists (Unrated) Fountain of Youth documentary chronicling the efforts of a couple of eccentric biologists desperate to live forever. The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (Unrated) Reverential biopic revisiting the six-decade career of legendary Japanese filmmaker, artist, animator, illustrator, producer and scriptwriter Hayao Miyazaki. (In Japanese with subtitles) Remote Area Medical (Unrated) Domestic doctors without borders documentary about the free healthcare offered uninsured Appalachians once a year at a pop-up clinic set up for three days at a NASCAR speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. The Rule (Unrated) Inspirational documentary about the overachieving students at St. Benedict’s Prep, a Catholic school in Newark, New Jersey whose mostly Latino and African-American graduates enjoy a nearly 100 percent college acceptance rate. A Small Section of the World (Unrated) Tale of female empowerment about a group of women who sparked a coffee-growing revolution in Costa Rica. Touch the Wall (Unrated) “Bound for Greatness” biopic about Missy Franklin, the Olympic swimmer who won a quartet of gold medals at the 2012 games in London. Featuring appearances by Lara Lynn Joyce, Rowdy Gaines and Michael Phelps. Women Who Flirt (Unrated) Romantic comedy, set in Shanghai, revolving around a college student (Zhou Xun) who relies on her womanly wiles to woo the classmate (Xiaoming Huang) she has a crush on when he returns from a trip to Taiwan with a new girlfriend (Sonia Sui) in tow. With Yi-Lin Hsieh. (In Cantonese with subtitles)  
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They went around and around for an hour, getting nowhere.

Then came a sudden change that could help break the political impasse causing a partial government shutdown and the looming threat of a further crisis when the nation bumps up against its self-imposed borrowing limit.

As first reported by CNN's Dana Bash and Deirdre Walsh, an exchange between GOP Rep. Paul Ryan and President Barack Obama seemed to clear the air, with each side acknowledging the validity of the other.

Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, conceded his side wouldn't get all it wanted while Obama said, tell me what you need to make something happen, Bash and Walsh reported after the Thursday night meeting.

CNN Chief National Correspondent John King told CNN's "New Day" on Friday that Ryan "said something to the effect of, 'Look, we know you don't like our position, we know you probably don't respect our position, but we're the Republican majority.' "

"You're stuck with us for a while, at least through the next election season, so we need to learn to have a conversation with each other," King paraphrased Ryan as saying.

"And at that point, both Democrats and Republicans say, the tone of the meeting changed," King added. "The president said, 'Listen, I'm not going to negotiate with you until you reopen the government, but go to your members, find out what you need to do to get that part done and let's try to make some progress.'"

CNN's reporting on the meeting is based on accounts from multiple sources who attended.

Republican Rep. Steve Southerland of Florida essentially confirmed the CNN account on Thursday night.

"Paul and the President certainly have a pass through the last election and I think there's a great respect between them. And you can't make that up." Southerland said, adding that "the communication between Paul and the President, I think, was an important part of the conversation."

The meeting appeared to begin breaking the partisan logjam that has kept parts of the government shut down for 11 days, leaving hundreds of thousands of federal employees without work and causing countless ripple effects, from lost tourist revenue around national parks to a threat to the Alaskan crab fishing season.

"We're all working together now," Rep. Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican, said after the meeting, while House Majority Leader Eric Cantor called the meeting "very useful."

The Obama administration described the meeting as "good," saying the President listened to Republican proposals and the two sides discussed "potential paths forward."

On Friday, Senate Republicans arrived at the White House for their talks with Obama, who has held separate sessions with the House party caucuses as well as Senate Democrats.

Senators are involved in their own talks to come up with a package that would reopen the government and lower the debt ceiling, while ending a tax on medical devices under Obamacare and setting up broader negotiations on deficit reduction.

In a video message to a conservative political summit Friday, Ryan warned the right-wing gathering that they can't get everything they want with Democrats holding the White House and a majority of the Senate.

"This President won't agree to everything we need to do," said the message from Ryan, according to excerpts provided by one of his aides. "A budget agreement with this President and this Senate won't solve our problems. But I hope it's a start."

Beginnings of a deal?

After initially demanding changes to or the elimination of Obama's signature health care reform plan, Republicans have more recently focused on extending the debt ceiling for up to six weeks while negotiating on spending and other issues during a continued government shutdown.

Democrats have insisted that the debt ceiling be raised and the government reopened before they would be willing to negotiate on other issues.

Obama made clear, during his session with House Republicans, that he won't give concessions to reopen the government, according to a Democratic source familiar with the meeting.

But he has indicated willingness to consider a short-term debt deal, a Democratic lawmaker told CNN.

"If that's what (House Speaker John) Boehner needs to climb out of the tree that he's stuck in, then that's something we should look at," according to the lawmaker, who attended the meeting and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Rep. Hal Rogers, a Kentucky Republican, said both sides are talking "in good faith" about not just the debt ceiling, but also what it will take to restart the government.

"There was not a timeline set," Rogers said. "But we want to move quickly."

Some congressional Democrats have balked at the outline of the GOP offer, insisting the government must reopen and the debt ceiling must be increased to get broader talks going.

"One way or another both of those have to happen," said veteran Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan.

Another Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, said Obama "needs to press for the opening of the government."

"Without a doubt the default would be much more catastrophic, but I've got constituents, a lot of whom work for the federal government who are going through catastrophes every hour," Cummings said.

Anti-Obamacare provisions no longer in GOP plans

One thing any agreement won't include, it appears, is a provision to defund the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

Ryan, who was the Republican party's vice presidential nominee last year, didn't mention Obamacare in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week, saying instead that politicians from both parties should focus on "modest reforms to entitlement programs and the tax code."

As others have done in recent days, GOP Rep. James Lankford of Oklahoma told CNN on Thursday that cutting the funding for the President's signature health reform is "currently off the table."

However, Lankford said Republicans still seek a one-year delay in the penalties under Obamacare for people who fail to obtain health insurance, as required by the law.

Yet Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas -- one of the most vocal Republicans in the debate -- wasn't so ready to let the health care issue go. Speaking Thursday on CNN's "Crossfire," he said, "Democrats in this town do not want to discuss Obamacare."

On Obama's signature health care reform and what's happening in Washington generally, Cruz said that it's House Republicans who "are listening to the millions of Americans" to do what's best for them.

According to a GOP source, it's not certain whether Boehner can gain support from some or most of his GOP caucus for a plan without anything to do with Obamacare or other concessions. That could mean, if a proposal like the one floated Thursday proceeds, the speaker may need Democratic votes to pass it.

Failure to raise the debt ceiling by next week's deadline would leave the government unable to borrow money to pay its bills for the first time in its history. And absent a breakthrough, the shutdown would continue at a cost estimated at up to $50 billion a month.

All of this is taking a toll on Washington's reputation: A national CNN/ORC International survey released Monday indicated that Americans are blaming all parties in the fight, though Republicans got the worst of it.

CNN's Alan Silverleib, Chelsea J. Carter, Paul Steinhauser, Jim Acosta, Barbara Starr, Ted Barrett, Dan Merica and Brianna Keilar contributed to this report.

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