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House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 14, 2015, following a GOP strategy meeting. (Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP)

Boehner struggles with his failed ACA predictions

05/04/15 09:20AM

House Speaker John Boehner sat down with NBC's Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" yesterday, and the host asked a good question about the Republican leader's failed predictions about the Affordable Care Act. Regrettably, the Speaker couldn't respond with an equally good answer.
TODD: You made some dire predictions about health care. 2014 you said fewer people would have health insurance. According to plenty of surveys, more people have health insurance today than they did before it went down from -- the uninsured rate went down 17 percent to just under 12 percent. You said it would destroy jobs. The first year it was implemented, the country added 3 million jobs. Why...
 
BOEHNER: Obamacare made it harder for employers to hire people. The economy expands and as a result, you are going to have more employees because businesses have to. But if you can ask any employer in America, and ask them whether Obamacare has made it harder for them to hire employees, they'll tell you yes. Because it's a fact.
 
When you look at -- you know why there are more people insured? Because a lot more people are on Medicaid. And giving -- you know, we expanded Medicaid in a big way. And giving people Medicaid insurance is almost like giving them nothing. Because there aren't -- you can't find a doctor that will see Medicaid patients.
The Speaker soon added that, as far as he's concerned, the Affordable Care Act is "not working."
 
Boehner might have a credible argument, if we abandoned the agreed upon meaning of "working."
Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., makes his way a news conference at the Senate swamp to speak about his agenda for the country, April 30, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty)

Sanders sees surprisingly strong start

05/04/15 08:40AM

As easy as it may be to see Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) presidential campaign as a quixotic exercise, launched by a candidate who doesn't really expect to hold national office, Alex Seitz-Wald reported on the Vermont independent's strong start as a White House hopeful.
Sen. Bernie Sanders raised more than $1.5 million in the 24-hours since he announced his presidential run, his campaign announced Friday.
 
It's a strong performance for a candidate many pundits have dismissed as fringe, outpacing Republican candidates who have recently announced.
In a statement, Tad Devine, a Sanders adviser who worked as a top aide to Al Gore and John Kerry, described the $1.5 million first-day haul as "a remarkable start for Bernie's campaign."
 
While one certainly expects a candidate's aides to say things like this about their own campaign, Devine's boast is rooted in fact. Indeed, there are two striking details about Sanders' early fundraising success.
In this Friday, March 15, 2013 photo, Steven Fulop talks to The Associated Press at his campaign headquarters in Jersey City, N.J.

The other mayor who faced retribution from Team Christie

05/04/15 08:00AM

Many of the key details surrounding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) bridge scandal came into sharper focus on Friday. As part of a plea agreement, David Wildstein, a former member of Christie's team, explained that he and two other top aides to the governor conspired to deliberately cripple a New Jersey for several days as part of a retribution scheme -- the local mayor didn't endorse Christie's re-election, so the governor's aides punished the community.
 
The top members of the governor's administration picked the time to inflict the most severe damage -- the first day of school -- then coordinated a cover-up of their alleged crimes. Two prominent former members of Christie's team are now facing a nine-count criminal indictment, with an apparent trial on the way.
 
But the Jersey Journal flagged an interesting detail that was also revealed, though largely overlooked, on Friday
Buried in the 30-page federal indictment of two key figures in the Bridgegate scandal is additional confirmation that Gov. Christie Christie's office had it in for Mayor Steve Fulop.
 
There was a "coordinated and deliberate refusal by the conspirators to communicate with, meet or respond" to Fulop after he became mayor in July 2013, according to the nine-count indictment of Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie's ex-chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, formerly Christie's top appointee at the Port Authority.
I can appreciate the fact that it's tough to keep track of all of the various scandals surrounding the Republican governor's office, but these new details about the governor's office punishing the mayor of Jersey City reinforce an alarming pattern of abuse from Team Christie.
 
Let's back up to refresh some memories about the nature of the Jersey City controversy.

Gunmen attack in Texas and other headlines

05/04/15 07:52AM

Police kill 2 men who opened fire outside Muhammad art show in Texas. (Dallas Morning News)

Curfew lifted in Baltimore, National Guard leaves. (Baltimore Sun)

GOP field grows: Fiorina, Carson to launch presidential bids. (AP)

Carson actually announced last night. (WJLA)

Ex-Christie allies to make court appearance in bridge case. (AP)

Ted Cruz says he has asked the Pentagon for answers on Jade Helm 15. (Bloomberg Politics)

101-year-old man rescued in Nepal a week after the earthquake. (AFP)

Astronaut (wearing a Starfleet uniform!) brews first cup of espresso in space. (@NASA)

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The colors of the solar system's innermost planet are enhanced in this tantalizing view, based on global image data from the Mercury-orbiting MESSENGER spacecraft.

Week in Geek: MESSENGER end of message edition

05/03/15 01:05PM

This past Thursday, NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft completed it mission at Mercury and impacted the surface around 3:30pm EDT. MESSENGER was originally launched in 2004, arriving at Mercury in 2011 after taking a winding path through the inner Solar System. The spacecraft achieved its primary science objectives in March of 2012, but its mission was subsequently extended twice as the spacecraft remained functional and scientists couldn't help but want to know more about the closest rock to the Sun.

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Pope Francis (R) and US President Barack Obama laugh as they exchange gifts during a private audience on March 27, 2014 at the Vatican.

This Week in God, 5.2.15

05/02/15 08:33AM

First up from the God Machine this week is an unexpected voice in the pay-equity debate, where proponents are always glad to pick up high-profile allies, though few expected Pope Francis to endorse the principle with fervor.
Pope Francis on Wednesday made an impassioned plea for an end to the salary gap between men and women, calling it "a scandal" that Christians should decisively reject.
 
"Why is it taken for granted that women must earn less than men? No! They have the same rights. The discrepancy is a pure scandal," he told tens of thousands of people at his general audience in St. Peter's Square.
 
Raising his voice for emphasis as he made some of his most forceful remarks on the subject to date, he said Christians should "decisively support the right to equal pay for equal work."
Francis added that Christians should "become more demanding" for that "radical equality."
 
Note, in the U.S. political debate over pay equity, the argument is less about the outcome and more about the means to produce that outcome. In Congress, for example, Republican lawmakers publicly insist they're strongly support equal pay for equal work -- they just oppose legislative remedies to help guarantee equitable results. To this extent, the pope's declaration is an important contribution to the debate, but its impact is limited -- it's not an endorsement of a specific proposal.
 
That said, for President Obama and congressional Democrats, the pope's endorsement of the underlying principle is welcome. Indeed, it's the latest issue on which Francis is breaking with American conservatives, following the pope's very public -- and quite progressive -- remarks of late on the climate crisis, Iran nuclear talks, and support for a new U.S. foreign policy towards Cuba.
 
The Hill reported earlier this year that the pope "is increasingly driving a wedge between conservatives and the Catholic Church." His spirited opposition to the income gap between men and women may very well drive that wedge even deeper.
 
With Francis headed for the United States in the fall, including a speech to a joint session of Congress at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), it's a dynamic worth watching.
 
Also from the God Machine this week:
Elijah Cummings: 'I am proud of Baltimore'

Elijah Cummings: 'I am proud of Baltimore'

05/01/15 09:36PM

Congressman Elijah Cummings talks about what role Congress can play in bringing change to improve the lives of people in Baltimore, mentioning specifically the damaging effects of austerity measures enacted after the 2008 economic crash. watch

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Launched in 2008, “The Rachel Maddow Show” follows the machinations of policy making in America, from local political activism to international diplomacy. Rachel Maddow looks past the distractions of political theater and stunts and focuses on the legislative proposals and policies that shape American life - as well as the people making and influencing those policies and their ultimate outcome, intended or otherwise.

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