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E.g., 4/23/2014

Russians on the border and other headlines

04/11/14 07:59AM

Satellite images show Russian forces poised near Ukraine. (NY Times) Missouri becomes the latest Right to Work battleground. (Washington Post) Former CT Governor John Rowland indicted in two alleged campaign finance schemes. (Hartford Courant) The woman who threw a shoe at Hillary Clinton had eluded security to gain access to the event. (Las Vegas Review Journal) read more

Sebelius exit steps on Obamacare good news

Sebelius exit steps on Obamacare good news

04/10/14 10:45PM

David Corn, D.C. bureau chief for Mother Jones, talks with Rachel Maddow about the surprising resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and how this news undermines the good news cycle Obamacare is having. watch

Hillary Clinton takes shoe throwing in stride

Hillary Clinton takes shoe throwing in stride

04/10/14 10:44PM

Rachel Maddow reports on a strange incident at a speech by Hillary Clinton in Las Vegas in which someone threw a shoe at the former Secretary of State, prompting Clinton to make a series of quips and one previously unknown revelation. watch

Maine Gov. Paul LePage during a news conference March 10, 2014, in Brunswick, Maine.

LePage vetoes Medicaid expansion for all the wrong reasons

04/10/14 04:58PM

Maine's Democratic state House Speaker, Mark Eves, noted the circumstances this week surrounding Medicaid expansion. "We have a bipartisan plan for life-saving health care for tens of thousands of Mainers," he said. "It creates jobs, it save lives, it saves money."
 
All of this happens to be true. Every state north of Virginia has either embraced Medicaid expansion or is working towards doing so -- except Maine, where Gov. Paul LePage (R) refuses to cooperate. More than 60,000 low-income Mainers would benefit from the policy, on top of the economic and fiscal benefits, but the Republican governor nevertheless vetoed Medicaid expansion yesterday.
The measure also would have established a managed care system for all 320,000 beneficiaries, an effort to control costs in the $2.5 billion program, which is Maine's version of the Medicaid health insurance program.
 
Under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, the federal government offered to reimburse states for 100 percent of the cost of expansion for at least three years, then gradually reduce reimbursements rates to about 90 percent.
 
But in his veto message to the Legislature, LePage wrote that Maine could neither afford expansion nor trust the federal government to deliver on its promises.
The rejection didn't come as a surprise, and Democratic state lawmakers will try to override LePage's veto. By all accounts, however, they face an uphill climb -- some GOP state lawmakers are on board with the policy, but probably not enough to generate a two-thirds majority.
 
But what was somewhat surprising was just how awful LePage's defense was. The governor, struggling in his re-election bid this year, had plenty of time to come up with a credible rationale for blocking Medicaid expansion, but he didn't come up with much.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., right, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 26, 2014.

Issa embraces McCarthy-era tactics

04/10/14 03:42PM

Once in a while, when Democrats refer to Republican tactics as "McCarthyite," they're being literal.
 
As part of the ongoing effort to make the discredited IRS "scandal" interesting, the House Oversight Committee voted to today to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress. Every Republican on the panel voted for it; every committee Democrat voted against it.
 
But in a situation like this, the details matter. Lerner was called to testify 11 months; she said she had done nothing wrong; but she invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in response to lawmakers' questions. Lerner was called back to the committee two months ago and she again took the Fifth.
 
Republicans are now targeting the former IRS official, saying she should be prosecuted for pleading the Fifth. The last time this came up? The era of Joe McCarthy and his notorious witch hunts.
According the records retrieved by the Congressional Research Service, no American has been successfully prosecuted for invoking their Fifth Amendment rights before Congress.
 
Congress brought contempt cases 11 times from 1951 to 1968, according the CRS.... Most of the cases involved the House Un-American Activities Committee and its communist witch-hunts in the 1950s.
The full CRS report is online here (pdf).
 
One case is of particular interest -- and makes Issa's over-the-top tactics look a little worse.

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