The January 4 'MHP' Syllabus

Bill de Blasio
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (2nd R) waves to the crowd after being sworn in as New York City Mayor on the steps of City Hall in Lower Manhattan on Jan. 1, 2014 in New York

It’s only been a few days. But from the looks of it, 2014 could be the year of the progressive politician.

Across the country, eyes are on New York City's new mayor, Bill de Blasio, whose New Year's Day swearing-in marked a renewal of progressive governance in the city and a new flashpoint for populism. If Mayor de Blasio, who won by more than 40 points last November, can successfully govern as a progressive mayor, perhaps New York City will be seen as a model for the entire country--allowing Democrats to take hold of more progressive policies as 2016, and even November of this year, draws closer.

On Saturday’s Melissa Harris-Perry, we'll talk to our panel of guests and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader about this progressive push and its chances for practical and electoral success in 2014.

As the final hours of 2013 ticked away, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor put the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate on hold for the Catholic-affiliated nursing home that brought the case. As the law currently reads, religious organizations are exempt from supplying birth control but employees who wish to access contraception can bypass the employer and go directly to the insurance administrator. Where’s the catch? The employer must sign off on a form. A group of Catholic nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor, maintain that even signing such a form is a violation of their religious views and are waiting to see if their case has standing. We will bring you details on this case as well as the latest in the push to expand Medicaid at the state level under the new ACA regulations.

For some Coloradans age 21 and up, 2014 has started out on a high note. As of the first of the year, stores with the appropriate licenses were allowed to sell recreational marijuana to those with proper identification. Coloradans are legally allowed to purchase one ounce of marijuana, while out of towners are allowed to purchase a quarter-ounce. Host Melissa Harris-Perry will discuss both the social and economic pros and cons of legalization.

Be sure to read what we’ve linked above, and watch Melissa Harris-Perry Saturday at 10 a.m. EST on MSNBC! Also, don’t forget to join us on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #nerdland.