A pizza is a pizza regardless of who makes it, so long as the eater of said pizza finds it delicious, a federal appeals court said Tuesday in upholding ObamaCare's subsidies.
The case concerned a snippet in the Affordable Care Act that some claimed prevented the feds from offering subsidies in states without state-run insurance exchanges. The ACA allowed states to decide whether or not to establish their own exchanges, and a passage in the law said only that subsidies could go to people who purchased insurance via a state-run exchange. Ergo, as one court ruled, subsidies weren't allowed in more than half of the states nationwide since the federal government ran their exchanges.
But a second appeals court said that argument was egregious hair-splitting because the law clearly intended for residents in every state to qualify for subsidies. So in a unanimous ruling, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals used a pizza metaphor to make its case:
If I ask for pizza from Pizza Hut for lunch but clarify that I would be fine with a pizza from Domino's, and I then specify that I want ham and pepperoni on my pizza from Pizza Hut, my friend who returns from Domino's with a ham and pepperoni pizza has still complied with a literal construction of my lunch order. That is this case: Congress specified that Exchanges should be established and run by the states, but the contingency provision permits federal officials to act in place of the state when it fails to establish an Exchange. [PDF]
Coincidentally, the ruling came out around lunch time. Jon Terbush
Johnson tricked Nick Mundy, a fan and correspondent for the YouTube channel "Screen Junkies," by canceling a planned interview. But as Mundy panicked over whether or not he had somehow botched the opportunity, Johnson came out in a tuxedo to deliver the real news: the interview was canceled in favor of a surprise wedding, officiated by Johnson, that brought Mundy and his fiancee Dilara into wedded bliss.
"Just when you thought the day was gonna be terrible — it's actually gonna be the greatest day of your life," said Johnson as he led Mundy into the makeshift chapel full of their friends and family:
"This is cool, 'cause it's real," says Johnson as he marries the couple. "By the power invested in me — Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, ordained by the state of California and the almighty universe itself, I now pronounce you husband and wife." Scott Meslow
Since 2002, the Clintons have been raking in speaking engagement fees that, on the high end, ranged from $100,000 for Chelsea Clinton, $500,000 for Hillary Clinton, and $1 million for Bill Clinton.
After pressure from outsiders that found discrepancies in the foundation's accounting, the Clinton Foundation released the previously undisclosed fees Thursday. The list comprised 97 speaking engagements that span 13 years and netted the organization between $12 million and $26.4 million.
No specific dates were included in the list of payments, but Bloomberg reports that at least a few came as Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state. All told, there are nearly two dozen speeches paid to Clinton and her husband by foreign groups that will be of particular interest to critics given the presidential hopeful's role and influence at the time as a top diplomat. Other major donors include universities and Wall Street giants.
Jeb Bush may differ from his brother on money, but he and George W. Bush are apparently alike when it comes to massages.
In 2006, former President George W. Bush gave Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel a shoulder massage, a move Vice President Joe Biden later recreated with Defense Secretary Ash Carter's wife. Now, Jeb Bush has joined in, as he massaged the shoulders of Salem New Hampshire Chamber of Commerce President Donna Morris at an event Thursday.
Morris joked to Jeb Bush, "Oh, you take my breath away," and he responded with the massage. Check out Bush's move in the video below. —Meghan DeMaria
That's certainly the implication of The New York Times' analysis of Karl Rove's American Crossroads super PAC, which for several elections has been "among the most powerful forces in national politics, a shadow party that has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising, data, and opposition research to help elect candidates." And while you can certainly never count out a political operative who's been as successful as Rove has, the Times makes a compelling case that the mighty may have indeed fallen.
The nonprofit arm of Crossroads is facing an Internal Revenue Service review that could eviscerate its fund-raising. Data projects nurtured by Mr. Rove are being supplanted in Republican circles by a more successful initiative funded by the Koch political network, which has leapfrogged the Crossroads organizations in size and reach.
And the group faces intense competition for donors from a new wave of "super PACs" that are being set up by backers of the leading Republican candidates for president, who are unwilling to defer to Mr. Rove's authority or cede strategic and fund-raising dominance to the organizations he helped start. [The New York Times]
The Times rattles off other factors, too: the death of Bob Perry and Harold Simmons, two of Crossroads' biggest donors; the losses of ever-so-many Crossroads-backed candidates in recent elections; the departure of top fundraisers like Ed Gillespie and Haley Barbour; Rove's rather unfriendly relationship with Jeb Bush; and on and on. Read the whole thing here. Ben Frumin
Nobody likes the annual job evaluation (unless there's a raise, maybe). But "as someone who runs a company, I've been told that it is my job to occasionally have performance reviews," said Conan O'Brien, "CEO of Conaco," on Conan. So, he put on "serious" glasses, showed his alpha-boss dominance by throwing stuff around, and threatened and mocked his employees, mixing in a little sexual harassment for the fun of it. The result is an often-funny, irreverent caricature of a bad performance review, and while it is mostly safe for work, maybe wear headphones if the boss is within hearing distance. —Peter Weber
A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows once again that disliking Congress has become an increasingly widespread and bipartisan hobby.
Only 23 percent of poll respondents agreed that congressional Republicans "are keeping the promises they made during last fall's campaign." After the first few months of 2011's GOP Congress, 33 percent of respondents said lawmakers were keeping their campaign promises. That number was 40 percent for the Dem Congress in 2007, and a whopping 59 percent for the GOP in 1995.
— Pew Research Center (@pewresearch) May 22, 2015
Only 41 percent of Republicans today approve of the Republican-led Congress. Compare that to 60 percent in April 2011.
The poll surveyed 2,002 adults from May 12-18. Meghan DeMaria
A suicide bomber struck the Imam Ali mosque in al-Qadeeh, in Saudi Arabia's eastern Qatif province, during Friday prayer services. Witnesses tell Reuters that 30 people were killed in the blast. The official Saudi news agency has confirmed an attack at a mosque, but hasn't provided details. Photos posted to Twitter show bodies covered with rugs and blankets amid rubble inside the Shiite mosque.
— DW (English) (@dw_english) May 22, 2015
Saudi Arabia is about 15 percent Shiite, and most of them live in the eastern part of the Sunni kingdom. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. BBC News tries to make sense of the attack in the video below. —Peter Weber