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Must-Read Op-Eds for Monday, March 19, 2012

03/19/12 10:34AM

THE WRONG WAY TO SHAKE UP CONGRESSEDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESPolitical entrenchment is a problem in a Congress where 90 percent of the districts are dominated by a single party and incumbents can often take their re-election for granted. Those who want to change that can better spend their money supporting nonpartisan redistricting in state legislatures. They can also oppose state attempts to limit voter turnout, and use their money to encourage voter registration and participation in both primary and general elections. read more

Rick Santorum: Mitt Romney is a big government heavyweight

03/19/12 08:50AM

This morning, in advance of Tuesday's Illinois primary, 2012 presidential candidate Rick Santorum joined us from the state to update us on his campaign.Over the weekend, Santorum's competitor Mitt Romney picked up a win in the Puerto Rico GOP primary and took home the 20 delegates offered there. As of now, Romney has a total of 521 delegates and Santorum has 253. read more

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at a campaign rally at Herrin High School Saturday, March 17, 2012 in Herrin, Ill.

The Tease: Coming up on MJ

03/18/12 10:49PM

Is it a matter of math or momentum? We'll ask Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who currently stands with 184 delegates, after his loss to rival Mitt Romney in Puerto Rico. Can he catch up to the former MA governor, who's sitting pretty with 443? Santorum claims all he has to do is win states that he's "not supposed to win" to nab the nomination. With all this confidence, maybe that's why he's found the time to get some R&R. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) also wants this guy to step down from his post as Acting Director for the Federal Housing Finance Agency. read more

Must-Read Op-Eds for Friday, March 16, 2012

03/16/12 11:58AM

THE CAGEY PHASEBY DAVID BROOKSNEW YORK TIMESObama has talked vaguely about tax reform. He has acknowledged the need for entitlement reform and major deficit reduction. But he has never thrown himself All In. He has never displayed an inner passion, a sense that these projects are his life mission, or a willingness to bear the pain that taking on these challenges necessarily entails. It will be interesting, over the course of this campaign, to see what’s underneath the cageyness. read more

Mike Barnicle, with not a care in the world, blithely jogs back to his seat on the set of Morning Joe. Others may frown on Barnicle's fashion sense, but he's not breaking a sweat about it.

Jonathan Capehart to Mike Barnicle on his Friday outfit: C'mon, man!

03/16/12 10:46AM

By Jonathan CapehartBarnicle. Barnicle. Barnicle! C’mon, man!Mike Barnicle started out today’s show in some sort of Nike something-or-other. Some kind of sports related gear that would look better if his surroundings were a gymnasium, a stadium or a golf course. And it’s all kindsa wrong.Look, I’ve been there with Mike on days like this. Remember the day-glo canary yellow number he wore a while back? (My eyes! My eyes!) It’s painful. A good man with fashion so dumb.Of course, Mika gave Barnicle a hard time. Like the time he showed up in a polo shirt with visible hole right smack on the belly. read more

An excerpt from Maria Goodavage's book "Soldier Dogs"

An excerpt from Maria Goodavage's book "Soldier Dogs"

03/16/12 08:26AM

7 a. m., just north of the town of Safar, Afghanistan, and Fenji M675 is already panting. Her thick, black German shepherd coat glistens in the hot August sun. Fenji is out in front of ten marines, leashed to a D-ring that’s attached to the body armor of her handler, Corporal Max Donahue. He’s six feet behind her and holds his rifle ready.Fenji leads the marines down the flat dirt road, past the trees and lush vegetation in this oasis amid the deserts of southern Afghanistan. She ignores the usual temptations; a pile of dung, a wrapper from a candy bar. read more

Morning Headlines: Friday, March 16

03/16/12 05:56AM

Here's a look at the stories we're following right now. What are you reading this morning?US official: Soldier in Afghan killings 'just snapped'Lawyer: Suspect saw friend injured the day before killingsVCU makes March mad once againWhite House steps up attack on RepublicansSantorum has used presidential bid as vehicle for resurrection, reinventionGas prices spike, and gallon by gallon, the frustration buildsObama's campaign is watching youSantorum: I was misquotedM.I.A. to publish book, beefs with Anderson Cooper read more