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More pings and other headlines

04/09/14 07:49AM

Searchers hear more pings from the missing plane search site. (NBC News) GOP not fazed by paycheck fairness vote. (Politico) Rep. Jackie Speier pushes for lawmaker sexual harassment training. (TPM) Business groups counter Tea Party challenger in Idaho. (WSJ) NJ bridge scandal investigative committee wants tapes of interviews that led to the report that cleared Gov. Christie. (NJ Star-Ledger) read more

Sex scandal exacerbated by insider silence

Sex scandal exacerbated by insider silence

04/08/14 10:45PM

Rachel Maddow reports on a burgeoning sex scandal made even more outrageous by the mishandling of a police report and the silence of high level politicians who allowed a man with serious allegations against him to ascend in political rank. watch

Gender wage gap exists in real life

Gender wage gap exists in real life

04/08/14 10:28PM

Heidi Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women's Policy Research and professor at George Washington University, talks with Rachel Maddow about what the data and social science literature show about the wage gap between men and women in America. watch

United States Attorney General Eric Holder appears on Capitol Hill in Washington April 4, 2014.

'You don't want to go there, buddy'

04/08/14 05:07PM

Even the most patient of people can become exasperated by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas). One of Congress' more colorful and bewildering personalities, the far-right Texan has an unsettling habit of making truly ridiculous comments, out loud and on purpose, for reasons few even try to understand.
Attorney General Eric Holder, for example, appears to have no patience left for Gohmert, as was evident in a House Judiciary Committee hearing today.
While being questioned about the Justice Department's reluctance to hand over documents related to the prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation, a Texas-based Islamic charity that was shut down by the government for funding Hamas, Gohmert brought up how the House held Holder in contempt of Congress two years ago over the Fast and Furious gun running scandal.
Gohmert said "contempt is not a big deal to our attorney general," to which the Attorney General responded, "You don't want to go there buddy, all right? You don't want to go there, OK?"
After some additional back and forth, Holder tried to explain to Gohmert, "You should not assume that this is not a big deal to me. I think that it was inappropriate. I think it was unjust. But never think that that was not a big deal to me. Don't ever think that."
Two boys look at an orangutan, July 4, 2006.

Aaron Miller's Minnesota platform

04/08/14 04:48PM

Different people pursue elected office for different reasons. For some, it's a passion for the issues. For others, it's the family business. Many politicians talk about hearing "a calling" for public service.
In Minnesota last week, Republican Aaron Miller was a surprise victor in the race to take on Rep. Tim Walz (D) this year, and after securing the nomination, Miller talked a bit about why he's running. He mentioned, for example, that he wants to reduce the deficit and repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would be tricky, since repealing the ACA would make the deficit go up quite a bit.
But as the Mankato Free Press noted, that's not the only thing driving Miller's candidacy.
He also called for more religious freedoms. He repeated his story about his daughter returning home from school because evolution was being taught in her class. He said the teacher admitted to not believing in the scientific theory to his daughter but told her that the government forced him to teach the lesson.
"We should decide what is taught in our schools, not Washington D.C.," Miller said.
Miller has declined to provide any more information to verify his story.
As Tim Murphy noted, this wasn't the first time Miller, a hospital account manager and Iraq War veteran, "recounted this tale -- it's a staple of his stump speech."
And for a variety of reasons, that's a real shame.
House Republican Conference Vice Chairman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) during a briefing March 5, 2014 at the headquarters of the RNC in Washington, D.C.

What not to say on Equal Pay Day

04/08/14 03:27PM

Republican opponents of equal-pay measures have known for weeks that today was coming. It's a punch that Democrats were only too pleased to telegraph -- they planned to use Equal Pay Day to highlight the fact that women in the U.S. workforce don't receive equal pay for equal work, and Dems are prepared to do something about it.
But despite the foreknowledge, leading GOP officials apparently couldn't come up with compelling talking points. Take Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), the House Republican conference's vice chair, for example.
Democrats' push for pay equity between men and women is "condescending," one of the top women in the House Republican leadership argued Tuesday, suggesting that the campaign for equal pay for equal work reflects a lack of understanding of women's contributions to the workforce. [...]
"Some folks don't understand that women have become an extremely valuable part of the workforce today on their own merit, not because the government mandated it," Jenkins said.
And some folks don't understand that equal-pay measures are government mandates to require that women become valuable parts of the workforce. It's not that complicated: women often receive unequal pay for equal work, so policymakers are weighing possible solutions. In what universe is it "condescending" to take steps to prevent discrimination against women?
Making matters slightly worse, American Bridge 21st Century PAC released a video today of Michigan's Terri Lynn Land, the Republicans' U.S. Senate hopeful, arguing, "Well, we all like to be paid more and that's great. But the reality is that women have a different lifestyle. They have kids, they have to take them to get dentists' appointments, doctors' appointments all those kinds of things, and they're more interested in flexibility in a job than pay." [Update: An extended version of the clip with more context is availale here.]
So, Land not only sees women in traditional gender roles, but is also convinced that women aren't especially concerned with receiving unequal pay for equal work -- because "women have a different lifestyle."
Adding insult to injury, when msnbc's Chris Jansing asked Republican National Committee Press Secretary Kirsten Kukowski what policies her party would support to improve pay equity, Kukowski couldn't think of anything.
And to think the gender gap is keeping Republicans from winning more elections.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) was confronted during a listening session in Racine, Wisconsin Wednesday

The House GOP's 'dynamic' ambitions

04/08/14 12:53PM

There aren't many differences between this year's House Republican budget plan from Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his blueprints from recent years. Medicare would still be privatized; the Affordable Care Act would still be repealed and replaced with nothing; aid to the poor would still be gutted; the rich would still get a massive tax break; etc.
But this year, Ryan embraced "dynamic scoring" as a way to help finance his far-right agenda. In other words, Ryan believes he can pay for his wish list by implementing it, which he's certain would make the economy soar, which means he's comfortable counting predicted revenue from the super-charged economy he thinks he'll create as actual revenue.
In fact, GOP lawmakers like this approach so much, they want it to be required.
The House approved a bill Friday that would require "dynamic" scoring of major legislation before it comes up for a vote.
Members passed the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act in a 224-182 vote, a few days before the House is slated to pass the latest Republican budget, which would cut $5.1 trillion from current spending plans over the next decade. Four Democrats voted with Republicans on the scoring bill. [...]
Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the Congressional Budget Office should be required to use dynamic scoring to determine legislation's likely effects on jobs and the economy.
As the chasm between the parties grows wider, it's not uncommon to hear speculation about whether Democrats and Republicans have entirely distinct realities, each with their own rules. This reinforces the thesis -- Democrats would rely on budget math, while Republicans prefer their own friendlier version of budget math that's more in line with what they want to hear.
The same bill would also require the Congressional Budget Office to "consider the effects of legislation over a 40-year time horizon, not the 10 years the nonpartisan agency uses today."
Think about that for a second: the CBO's number-counters would be mandated to give Congress credible estimates about U.S. finances four decades in advance. (Try to imagine CBO officials making educated guesses in 1974 about the nation's fiscal landscape today. Then imagine policymakers making decisions in 1974 based on those projections.)
We know what's driving this nonsense, and it's absurd.