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E.g., 1/30/2015
E.g., 1/30/2015
Obama whets veto pen on Keystone passage

Obama whets veto pen on Keystone passage

01/29/15 09:55PM

Rachel Maddow reports on the passage in the Senate of a bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline, a bill President Obama has promised to veto. Completion of the Keystone vote allows the Senate to take up the Clay Hunt Act, previously blocked by Tom Coburn. watch

What if Hillary doesn't run?

What if Hillary doesn't run?

01/29/15 09:24PM

Rachel Maddow poses the question, if the presumed Democratic nominee for president in 2016, Hillary Clinton, decides not to run, who would make the next most electable candidate for Democrats to put forward. Rachel has someone in mind. watch

Religious bigotry haunts group hosting RNC

Religious bigotry haunts group hosting RNC

01/29/15 08:59PM

Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center, talks with Rachel Maddow about the American Family Association's record of religious bigotry and intolerance that calls to question the RNC's judgment in accepting a trip to Israel with them. watch

Thursday's Mini-Report, 1.29.15

01/29/15 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
 
* Afghanistan: "Three contractors working with the international coalition in Afghanistan and an Afghan national were killed Thursday in a shootout on the military side of a Kabul airport, a spokesman with the International Security Assistance Force said."
 
* Change I can believe in: "President Barack Obama doubled down on his State of the Union vision for a new 'middle class economics' on Thursday with an op-ed in The Huffington Post vowing to completely reverse government spending cuts made in 2013. 'My Budget will fully reverse the sequestration cuts for domestic priorities in 2016,' he writes."
 
* Middle East: "Israel's defense minister said on Thursday that his country had received messages through United Nations channels that Hezbollah did not plan any further action after its missile strike the previous day that killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded seven."
 
* ISIS: "The wife of the Japanese journalist being held hostage by ISIS made an impassioned plea for his release Thursday as an apparent deadline passed for a prisoner swap. Rinko Goto, wife of Kenji Goto, said in a statement: 'I fear that this is the last chance for my husband.'"
 
* Egypt: "Militants struck more than a dozen army and police targets in the restive Sinai Peninsula with simultaneous attacks involving a car bomb and mortar rounds on Thursday, killing at least 25 people, including civilians, officials said."
 
* Good thinking: "The North Dakota Industrial Commission called Wednesday for better monitoring of pipelines and higher standards for those that cross major bodies of water as crews continue cleaning up two major pipeline spills that affected the state's waterways."
 
* Dubious secrecy: "[A]s the Obama administration is seeking to declare the long war in Afghanistan officially over, at least from an American standpoint, the move to classify data about the Afghan forces removes one of the most crucial measures for assessing the accomplishments of the international coalition there. And it raises stark questions about the state of the fight against the Taliban, coming after a year in which the Afghan forces took record-high casualties as they battled heavy militant offensives."
A Tea Party member reaches for a pamphlet titled "The Impact of Obamacare", at a "Food for Free Minds Tea Party Rally" in Littleton, New Hampshire in this October 27, 2012. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters)

GOP faces health care challenge it's totally unprepared for

01/29/15 04:57PM

We don't yet know what the Supreme Court will do in the King v. Burwell case, but we have a fairly good sense what will happen if the Supreme Court sides with Republicans. In effect, there will be chaos that could do considerable harm to insurers, families, state budgets, the federal budget, hospitals, and low-income children.
 
It sounds melodramatic, but the fact remains that if the GOP prevails, more Americans will literally go bankrupt and/or die as a result of this ruling.
 
With this in mind, I couldn't help but find some sardonic humor in the House Republicans' request for information from the Obama administration yesterday.
Senior House Republicans are demanding that the Obama administration reveal its contingency plans in the event that the Supreme Court scraps Obamacare subsidies in three dozen states. [...]
 
"Specifically, we are examining the extent to which the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and other relevant agencies of the federal government, are preparing for the possible consequences of the Supreme Court's decision in the case of King v. Burwell," wrote the lawmakers.
The fact that the GOP lawmakers didn't appreciate the irony was itself unfortunate, but the simple truth is that the underlying question -- what happens if the Supreme Court takes this stupid case seriously and guts the American health care system? -- is one Republicans should be answering, not asking.
An activist holds up a sign outside the State Department during a protest of the Keystone XL pipeline on March 7, 2014 in Washington.

Senate approves Keystone XL project, veto awaits

01/29/15 04:16PM

Three weeks ago, the Republican-led House easily approved legislation to move forward with construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. This afternoon, the Republican-led Senate did the same.
The Senate voted Thursdayto build the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, despite a long-standing veto threat from the White House.
 
Nine Democrats joined a unanimous Republican caucus to support the bill.
The final outcome, which was never in doubt, was 62 to 36.
Charles Gaba joked that the total number of senators who voted for the project easily surpasses the total number of jobs created by the project. That's funny, and it has the added benefit of being true -- a State Department review concluded that the Keystone project, once completed, would create roughly 35 permanent, full-time in the United States, largely in refinery employment.
 
It's not common for 62 senators to invest quite so much energy in the creation of 35 jobs, but here we are anyway. Indeed, the real economic benefits will probably be felt in Alberta, leading Josh Green to joke that it's "kind of nuts" that congressional Republicans decided to start 2015 by "fighting for the Canadian economy."
 
Regardless, with the proposal now having passed both chambers, the bill now heads to the White House, where it will receive President Obama's veto. The president will first have to blow the dust off the box holding the veto pen -- he hasn't used it since 2010, and it will be only the third veto of his presidency. Among two-termers, Obama has made fewer vetoes than any president since Abraham Lincoln, though this may not remain true much longer in light of GOP dominance on Capitol Hill.
 
Towards the end of 2014, there were some concerns among environmentalists that Senate support for Keystone might be strong enough to muster a veto-proof majority. That's evidently not the case -- proponents would need 67 votes to override Obama on this, and as of today, those votes just aren't there.
Roy Moore

Roy Moore: ignore federal courts on marriage

01/29/15 12:45PM

For those familiar with Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, he's probably best known as the "Ten Commandments judge." But looking back over Moore's career, the way in which he became a right-wing cause celebre matters.
 
Back in the 1990s, Moore was just a local judge in Alabama, who insisted on promoting Christianity in his public courtroom. When First Amendment proponents challenged his practice of using his bench to advance his religion, Moore said he had the legal right to ignore federal court rulings.
 
This quickly made him a star in far-right circles, and he parlayed his notoriety into becoming the chief justice of state Supreme Court. In 2003, however, Moore was ultimately kicked off the bench for -- you guessed it -- ignoring federal court rulings he didn't like and insisting that the First Amendment doesn't apply to Alabama's state government. (Voters didn't care, and in 2012, following a couple of failed campaigns, Moore was re-elected as chief justice.)
 
I'm noting this context because it matters in light of Moore's newly created controversy:
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has released a letter to Gov. Robert Bentley saying that he intends to continue to recognize the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and urging the governor to do so. [...]
 
Moore said the ruling by U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. "Ginny" Granade "raised serious, legitimate concerns about the propriety of federal court jurisdiction" over the Alabama amendment.
Moore's letter, which is available in its entirety here (pdf), may be predictable, but it's also wildly wrong and a little dangerous. The Republican judge's argument is that a federal court may consider Alabama's ban on marriage equality unconstitutional, but Alabama doesn't have to care.
 
Moore not only intends to ignore the ruling, he desperately wants Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) to believe states are not bound by federal court rulings.

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