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
A Georgia school district is investigating the mass baptism of its high school football players just before practice. A video showing the baptism appeared on a Baptist church's website, with the caption: "See how God is STILL in our schools." A spokeswoman for the Freedom From Religion Foundation said the coach was illegally misusing his authority "to promote his personal religious agenda.'' School district officials said they would "take appropriate steps."
Martin O'Malley wants the U.S. to accept as many as 13 times the number of Syrian refugees it currently plans to take in. The former Maryland governor and Democratic presidential candidate called Friday for the U.S. to up its plans to accept between 5,000 to 8,000 immigrants to "at least 65,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016." O'Malley cited the photos of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, who washed up dead on a Turkish beach after a failed attempt to sail from Turkey to Greece, for stirring his moral obligation to urge Americans to do more to help some four million Syrian refugees.
"Americans are a generous and compassionate people. But today our policies are falling short of those values," O'Malley said in a statement. "If Germany — a country with one-fourth our population — can accept 800,000 refugees this year, certainly we — the nation of immigrants and refugees — can do more."
As Europe faces an influx of migrants from Africa, Afghanistan, and the Middle East — a record 107,500 migrants entered the European Union in July alone — O'Malley contends that Americans are "not immune from the injustices and tragedies that unfold outside our borders." So far, according to numbers from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) reported by Newsweek, only 1,541 Syrian refugees have arrived in the U.S. Becca Stanek
The media is back at it with its "gotcha" questions, according to Donald Trump, and this time they're from conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. In a live radio interview Thursday discussing U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, Hewitt prompted Trump to name the leaders of ISIS, Iran's Quds Force, Hezbollah, the al-Nusra Front, and al Qaeda.
Trump's response: He didn't know — yet. "You know, I'll tell you honestly, I think by the time we get to office, they'll all be changed. They'll all be gone," Trump said in the interview. The Independent notes that Hezbollah has had the "same Secretary General for the past 23 years."
The interview went further downhill when, after Trump mixed up the Quds Force and the Kurds, Hewitt corrected him. Of course, Trump isn't one to admit defeat, so he took to MSNBC's Morning Joe Friday to lash out at Hewitt and call him a "third-rate radio announcer."
"When you say Kurds vs. Quds, I thought he said 'Kurds,'" Trump said. "And it was like 'got you, got you, got you,' and every question is, 'do I know this one, and that one.' You know he worked hard on that."
"Now, this is a problem, because anyone who has the clearances that the secretary of state... knows how classified information should be handled," Snowden said. "And if an ordinary worker at the State Department or the Central Intelligence Agency, or anything like that were sending details about the security of embassies over unclassified email systems, they would not only lose their job and lose their clearance. They would very likely face prosecution for it."
Later in the interview, Snowden also expressed incredulity at Donald Trump's candidacy and labeled Russian President Vladimir Putin an "authoritarian." Watch the full exchange below. Bonnie Kristian
A Denver CBS station has obtained footage that has been concealed from the public since the incident that was caught on camera occurred in February.
Two TSA agents, Ty Spicha and Yasmin Shafi, plotted to manipulate their airport security checkpoint to allow Spicha to fondle male passengers he found attractive. Shafi would tell the body scanner the passenger being screened was female so it detected an irregularity in the genital region. This allowed Spicha to conduct an unjustified pat-down of that area. In the video clip, we see their plan in action:
Another TSA employee reported the plot to superiors. Spicha and Shafi were fired, but no charges were filed. In response to this incident, the TSA has promised more training "in the long run." Bonnie Kristian
Kentucky's Rowan County isn't as conservative as this week's hoopla over issuing same-sex marriage licenses may have made it out to be, The Wall Street Journal reports. While the county's elected local clerk, Kim Davis, has rejected same-sex marriage in her refusal to grant marriage licenses, the county's demographics and voting records suggest that not all of Rowan County shares Davis' conservative standings:
Rowan County is classified as a College Town in the American Communities Project, a data analysis project based at American University. It was one of only eight counties in Kentucky that voted for Barack Obama in 2008. In 2013, Morehead, the home of Morehead State, became only the sixth city in Kentucky to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBT people. [The Wall Street Journal]
However, while Rowan County may have less socially conservative leanings, it is nestled amid counties classified as "Working Class Country counties," which The Wall Street Journal reports are "places that are marked by strong socially conservative attitudes and values." While 56 percent of those in counties classified as College Towns support gay marriage, a 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Study found that only 36 percent of those in Working Class Country counties do.
The juxtaposition of that conservatism with Rowan County's more liberal leanings might be exactly why tensions between religion and social issues erupted there this week. Read the full analysis of Rowan County over at The Wall Street Journal. Becca Stanek
Forget Thomas Dewey and Harry S. Truman: There's a new triumphant presidential upset brewing. Just ask The New Yorker:
KANYE 2020 USE THIS ONE pic.twitter.com/viU8hIIczH
— Silvia Killingsworth (@silviakillings) September 4, 2015