John Brabender, Republican strategist, talks with Rachel Maddow about how the Republican presidential field for 2016 is taking shape and the extent to which having the favor of big donors is important as the field narrows. watch
Carol Leonnig, national reporter for The Washington Post, talks with Rachel Maddow about how a drunken government employee accidentally crashed his drone on the White House grounds, setting off a new round of alarm about White House vulnerability. watch
Will Femia, web producer for The Rachel Maddow Show, assists Rachel Maddow in a science experiment to determine whether it's possible to deflate 11 footballs by two psi in a bathroom in 90 seconds. watch
Rachel Maddow reports that the eight surviving members of the Friendship Nine, who served hard labor following arrests for a peaceful lunch counter protest, will have their convictions in that case overturned. watch
Rachel Maddow reports on the devastating flooding in Scituate, Massachusetts and other coastal towns as a result of the blizzard of 2015, the sixth largest snowstorm ever recorded in the city of Boston. watch
Rachel Maddow shares a piece of the show meeting from earlier in the day in which newly leaked information that New England Patriots footballs were briefly in a bathroom, is worked into a theory of how deflation may have taken place. watch
11 TRMS staffers crammed into one bathroom stall as part of show prep tonight. Some workdays are harder to explain than others.
* Libya: "Terrorists launched a bomb and gun attack on a Libyan hotel popular with government ministers and Western diplomats Tuesday, killing up to five people. One American citizen was among the dead, NBC News' Paul Nassar reported. A handful of other Americans were evacuated after the attack."
* The global chess match: "The reaction in China to the breadth of strategic and economic issues discussed by the United States and India during Mr. Obama's visit and to their obvious, though not publicly expressed, mutual anxiety about China has been cool but controlled."
* It's quite a delegation: "President Obama met with King Salman of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, leading a bipartisan delegation of prominent current and former officials to shore up an important relationship and offer condolences for the death of King Abdullah."
* Capital punishment: "A two-time killer is waiting to hear if the U.S. Supreme Court will stop his Tuesday night execution, which is being used to challenge the state's uniquely strict standard for intellectual disability. Warren Lee Hill's lawyers claim the 54-year-old has the mental capacity of a child -- but the state says that hasn't been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, as it requires."
* Criminal justice system: "A record number of convicts were exonerated last year, fueled by a backlog of lab tests that cleared drug suspects in Houston and a string of murder cases linked to a single New York City detective."
* Economy: "The latest reading on consumer confidence rose to another milestone. The Conference Board's consumer-confidence index rose to 102.9 from 93.1 in December, the best reading since August 2007 and above the MarketWatch-compiled economist forecast of 96.9. Consumer assessment of both current conditions and the outlook for the future brightened. "
The Congressional Budget Office released a whole lot of information yesterday, all of which caused a fair amount of chatter, but some of it matters more than others.
Most of the coverage I've seen highlighted the CBO projections on the budget deficit, most notably an expected shortfall of about $468 billion -- 2.6% of GDP -- for this fiscal year. This puts the U.S. on track for the smallest deficit in eight years, and over $1 trillion in deficit reduction in the Obama era.
The same report noted that the era of extremely fast deficit reduction will probably end soon after, which will invariably lead deficit scolds to start demanding cuts to social-insurance programs. But that won't make any substantive sense it won't be social-insurance programs that cause the larger deficits.
Obamacare, as it is commonly known, will cost 20 percent less than previously projected over the next decade, the CBO said Monday. The reason for the revised estimate is a result of a decline of healthcare inflation, the Los Angeles Times reported. In addition, the number of uninsured Americans has fallen by 12 million, the CBO estimates, and an additional 12 million are expected to gain insurance by the end of 2016.
Through 2019, the law's insurance provisions will cost an estimated $571 billion, down $139 billion from the CBO's initial estimates.
One of the more common complaints from the right is that the nation "can't afford" the ACA. Even if it's working, even if it's saving lives, the argument goes, the massive reform law simply carries too large a price tag.
That argument cannot be taken seriously. For one thing, "Obamacare" reduces the deficit -- repeal it and the shortfall conservatives sometimes pretend to care about gets worse, not better. For another, the price tag keeps shrinking, not growing, making the "we can't afford it" argument nonsensical.
Every time a Republican-run "red" state embraces Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act, the pressure increases a little more on the dead-enders to come to their senses. The latest news is out of Indiana, where the Indianapolis Starreported on the agreement between Gov. Mike Pence's (R) administration and Obama administration officials.
Indiana has been given the green light to expand its Healthy Indiana Plan, which would offer insurance to an additional 350,000 Indiana residents, who currently lack insurance.
The state will begin taking applications today for its so-called HIP 2.0 plan, for which coverage begins Feb. 1, Gov. Mike Pence announced Tuesday morning at a packed speech at St. Vincent Health.
His announcement culminates more than two years of back and forth between state government and federal health officials over whether to grant the state a waiver for the plan debuted in 2006.
With this announcement, 28 states have accepted Medicaid expansion -- an optional part of "Obamacare" thanks to a Supreme Court ruling -- a list that includes 10 "red" states.