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Cory Booker's 'young (& old) money clique'

05/26/12 12:15PM

I'm just going to let hip-hop DJ and videoblogger nonpareil Jay Smooth cook here, since this is about the best response I've seen anyone offer to Newark mayor Cory Booker's defense of private equity and false equivalence on last week's Meet the Press -- including my own.Jay touches on Booker's Wall Street ties -- cited by today's guest Steve Kornacki in his response -- and notes:It made everything ten times more awkward than it would've been if Cory Booker had just come out and said, "I have allegiances to the private-equity world, and I think we should be fair to them."What's most "nauseating read more

In our May 26 show, we're taking you to school

05/26/12 08:55AM

To say that things are falling apart in any public education district would remove agency from those who could prevent it from happening -- or in the case of cities like New Orleans and Philadelphia, those who are actively making it happen. We took a look yesterday at Mitt Romney's renewed and sudden focus on education, and the effort to slice up the Philadelphia public schools yesterday, and one of the reporters covering that better than most is Daniel Denvir, reporter for Philadelphia City Paper and contributor to Salon, The Guardian and The Atlantic's Cities section. read more

Melissa's commencement speech at Wellesley

Melissa's commencement speech at Wellesley

05/25/12 10:25AM

Update: the video of Melissa's speech is now online. See it above.Our beloved host gave the commencement speech earlier this morning at Wellesley College. The picture below depicts the #nerdland flag, swag and campus #nerdland map which the Wellesley students and faculty surprised Melissa with before her speech! read more

New report exposes wrongful convictions

New report exposes wrongful convictions

05/24/12 05:40PM

The National Registry of Exonerations, a brand-new joint project between Northwestern University and the University of Michigan, released its first report on Monday. To date, it has examined nearly 900 individual cases of prisoners exonerated in the United States from January, 1989 through February, 2012. The findings thus far? read more

'This is the campaign ad we've been waiting for'

05/24/12 01:41PM

When I saw Mother Jones reporter Timothy Murphy tweet that phrase this afternoon, I was powerless to resist. I anticipated something either so unspeakably awful that I'd know Murphy was being sarcastic, or something so absurdly profound that it might do more than make us laugh -- it might offer a deconstruction of the art form known as the political ad. High expectations, either way.This nearly five-minute web video released today by Jeff Barth, Democratic challenger to Republican Congresswoman Kristi Noem of South Dakota, manages to be more of the latter than the former. read more

T.J. Lane, 17, is brought into Juvenile Court in Chardon, Ohio, on Thursday, May 24, 2012. Lane is charged in the Feb. 27 Chardon High School rampage that left three students dead and two students seriously wounded.

Chardon shooter will be tried as an adult

05/24/12 01:08PM

Almost three months after a deadly shooting at Chardon High School in northern Ohio, a judge has determined that the alleged shooter, 17-year-old T.J. Lane, will be tried as an adult. The February 27 shooting killed three students and injured two others. From The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer's report, the reason why.It follows a hearing earlier this month that may have foreshadowed the youth's defense as an adult, as a psychiatrist testified that Lane suffers from serious mental problems, including auditory hallucinations, depression and involuntary fantasies. read more

Obama launches LGBT voter outreach

05/24/12 11:10AM

The Obama campaign is capitalizing on the wave of support for marriage equality after the flood gates were opened with Vice President Joe Biden’s admission earlier this month that he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex couples.On the heels of Harvey Milk Day honoring the trailblazer in gay rights, the campaign on Wednesday launched Obama Pride: LGBT Americans for Obama, in outreach efforts to coalesce the community for the 2012 elections. read more

Clarence Aaron, in the early nineties.

Conyers writes Obama about Clarence Aaron

05/23/12 07:03PM

I wrote yesterday about the increasing momentum that seems to be swelling up about the case of triple-life prisoner Clarence Aaron, and the alarming allegations raised in last week's joint ProPublica/Washington Post report that his plea for commutation was mishandled by the current head of the U.S. Pardon Attorney's office, Ronald Rodgers. read more

Colin Powell backs marriage equality

05/23/12 05:11PM

Just weeks after President Obama announced his support of marriage equality, a veteran of his predecessor's administration has also made his position public.Former secretary of state Colin Powell, who served under under President George W. Bush, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer today that he supports same-sex marriage.Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was implemented. read more

Obama-as-Big Spender image is simply false

Obama-as-Big Spender image is simply false

05/23/12 01:30PM

Mitt Romney said this on May 15 in an Iowa speech:When the men and women who settled the Iowa prairie saw a fire in the distance, they didn’t look around for someone else to save them or go back to sleep hoping the wind might blow another direction. read more

GOP's wooing of women voters is 'cosmetic'

GOP's wooing of women voters is 'cosmetic'

05/23/12 09:14AM

The most striking thing about the video above is how brief it is. Typically, a two-minute-plus political ad, even when it's a web video, is thought to be too long. When its score is a grating, hokey brand of Muzak that feels reminiscent of 1980s public-service announcements, that doesn't help, either. read more

Rape metaphors are always a bad idea

05/22/12 04:44PM

Cory Booker's comment got folks talking about Bain Capital again, and President Obama responded in a populist manner that not only was an effective rebuttal of those critical of his anti-Mitt Romney ads, but kept the issue rolling. As such, I was interested to hear what Rep. read more

Momentum building for Clarence Aaron?

05/22/12 10:36AM

Dafna Linzer's investigative report in ProPublica about prisoner Clarence Aaron, and the mishandling of his commutation request by the man who still heads the U.S. Pardon Attorney's office, caught our eye when it was published just over a week ago. But it wasn't just the way that Ronald Rodgers "torpedoed" Aaron's already-slim chances; that was insult to injustice, in a manner of speaking.Aaron has been serving three life sentences since the early nineties for a minor drug crime, his first offense -- and was neither the buyer, not the user, nor the seller of the drugs involved in his case. read more

Cory Booker's false-equivalence problem

05/21/12 02:37PM

Newark, NJ mayor Cory Booker had a little fun last week with his state's governor, Chris Christie, in a web skit. Booker, who recently suffered minor burns when he rushed into a burning building and helped save his neighbor's life, is depicted more or less as a political Superman: solving any number of problems from fires, flat tires, cats in trees, and replacement guitars for Bruce Springsteen. It offers a few chuckles, but the skit comes off like something Funny or Die rejected -- but it gets good at the end. read more

It's #nerdland -- of course there's homework

It's #nerdland -- of course there's homework

05/20/12 04:57PM

For your homework this week, we have texts to help you delve into the topics we discussed in our Saturday and Sunday shows.Rather than letting a conservative super-PAC use Rev. Jeremiah Wright as a scare tactic, and the black church as a divisive tool, we decided to try to understand the theological tradition that Jeremiah Wright operates in as a thinker and preacher. Learn more by reading a book by our guest Dwight Hopkins, "Introducing Black Theology of Liberation."On Sunday, we gathered a compelling panel of young women. read more