April 29

* A federal judge in Wisconsin has struck down the state’s voter ID law, ruling that it impermissibly infringed on people’s right to vote, particularly since. Key nugget from the ruling:

“The defendants could not point to a single instance of known voter impersonation occurring in Wisconsin at any time in the recent past.”

But: Other restrictions passed since Scott Walker became governor, like severe cutbacks on early voting (including banning it on the weekends, which is just coincidentally when many black churches organize voting drives) remain in place.

* Erik Wemple with a great piece on Dean Angstadt of Boyertown, PA, who was so mad at Barack Obama, he refused to sign up for health insurance even though he needed a heart valve replaced. Only after the intervention of a friend did Angstadt sign up, paying $26 a month for his coverage. He had the heart surgery he needed, and is now recovering:

“Asked if Fox News had molded his view of Obamacare, Angstadt responded, ‘Yeah, yeah — they get people fired up. You know what, I really do have a different outlook on it. It’s really wrong that people are making it into a political thing. To me, it is a life-and-death thing.’ Of Obamacare’s namesake, Angstadt says, ‘I didn’t care for Obama. I can’t say nothing bad about him now because it was his plan that probably saved my life.’”

I wonder what conservatives would say to someone like this. “Sure, you’re alive. But are you free?”

* Meanwhile, Steve Benen makes a good point about the story:

This is exactly the kind of success story that terrifies anti-healthcare activists. Angstadt had fallen for the con – he viscerally opposed the reform law and wanted nothing to do with it. Conservatives had told him not to enroll, not to trust anything Democrats say, and to stay uninsured on purpose, and he stuck to the plan. But facing a crisis, Angstadt grudgingly gave it a try. And now he knows the conservative pitch was wrong.

* A group of evangelical pastors went to Capitol Hill today to lobby Republicans and encourage them to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and there will probably be a lot more of this, now that there are scattered signs it might not be entirely dead yet.

* Brian Beutler on how GOP attacks against Obamacare is losing its political potency, which could leave them with few other issues to turn to other than immigration reform.

* Jeffrey Goldberg, whom no one ever accused of being anti-Israel, has an interesting and nuanced take on how contemporary Israel and the West Bank relates to apartheid, and whether or not people should be upset with John Kerry for using the word to refer to the state’s possible future.

* Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is an unlikely publishing phenomenon, and it has some conservatives asking whether they shouldn’t have a response to public concerns about income inequality as well. But Jonathan Cohn explains why they just can’t come up with anything:

This is the same crowd that loves the Ryan budget, which envisions a government that collects fewer taxes from the rich and spends far less money on the poor. Conservatives suggest that such an agenda will actually lift up the poor while helping the middle class — and, who knows, maybe some delude themselves into believing it will. But they provide no compelling evidence to back up that claim. The whole idea rests on the premise that government is the primary cause of inequality, not the market itself — a premise that seemed absurd even before Piketty demolished it.

* Give Republicans this: their opposition to an increase in the minimum wage is a matter of principle for them, so much so they’ll stick with it even in the face of real political cost. They’ve announced their intention to filibuster a bill to hike the minimum to $10.10, which will make their opponents glad.

* Meanwhile, in Kentucky, Alison Lundergan Grimes hammered Mitch McConnell on the issue at a “Give America a Raise” rally, suggesting she will continue to make it front and center.

* Nor are House Republicans in the mood to extend unemployment benefits. A bill to do so has already passed the Senate, and its Republican co-sponsor, Dean Heller met with John Boehner today to try to convince him to move it to the floor. Remarkably, Boehner was unconvinced.

* The Obama administration scored a victory at the Supreme Court when it upheld efforts by the EPA to limit pollution from coal-fired power plants. Next up: How far will future executive actions go in curbing carbon emissions?

* And Florida governor and second-tier Bond villain Rick Scott went to a senior center to scare some old folks about the alleged evils of Obamacare, and found a bunch of people who hadn’t seen any of its ill effects. They told him they would actually be okay with cuts to their program if it meant more people could get coverage. Oops.