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Fiery explosion as another oil train derails

Fiery explosion as another oil train derails

03/05/15 11:22PM

Mark Stevens, KWQC-TV investigative reporter, talks with Rachel Maddow about a still-burning oil train explosion in Illinois, on a day that included miles of cars stranded in the snow in Kentucky and a plane sliding off the runway in New York City. watch

Harrison Ford injured in plane crash

Harrison Ford hospitalized after plane crash

03/05/15 09:02PM

Assistant LAFD fire chief Patrick Butler and NTSB investigator Patrick Jones brief reporters on the circumstances of a crash by a vintage plane flown by Harrison Ford, leaving the actor hospitalized with moderate injuries. watch

Decryptomaddowlogical #112

03/05/15 07:50PM

In last night's segment about New Jersey's surprising settlement with ExxonMobil in a pollution case, Rachel also mentioned that Governor Chris Christie's proposed budget for next year cuts snow removal funding in half. Unfortunately for Christie, he doesn't get a vote on how much snow falls on his state next year. The citizens don't have much say in a ...

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Thursday's Mini-Report, 3.5.15

03/05/15 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
 
* South Korea: "U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea Mark Lippert was attacked in Seoul on Thursday morning local time in an encounter that left him bleeding heavily. He is in stable condition after being treated at a local hospital.... The assailant was wielding a razor and shouted 'South and North Korea should be reunified,' the Associated Press reported."
 
* Yet another ISIS tragedy: "Iraq's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities says Islamic State militants 'bulldozed' the Nimrud archaeological site near the northern city of Mosul using heavy military vehicles."
 
* Baghdad: "Insurgents unleashed a series of attacks mostly targeting civilian areas in and around the Iraqi capital on Thursday, killing at least 16, as Islamic State militants in the country's north set oil wells ablaze in an attempt to slow government forces battling to reclaim territory."
 
* Quite a story out of Argentina: "The ex-wife of a prosecutor whose mysterious death has rocked Argentina said a team of experts she hired has concluded that her former husband was killed. Sandra Arroyo Salgado said Thursday in a press conference that her husband 'was a victim of homicide, without any doubt.'"
 
* More from New Jersey on tonight's show: "The administration of Gov. Chris Christie offered details for the first time on Thursday about its settlement of a longstanding legal battle with Exxon Mobil Corporation over contamination in which the company agreed to pay a fraction of the damages that the State of New Jersey was seeking."
 
* That's pretty amazing, actually: "Unemployment fell in every state and the nation's capital last year -- something that hadn't happened since 1984."
 
* Strange bedfellows: "At a time when President Obama is under political pressure from congressional Republicans over negotiations to rein in Tehran's nuclear ambitions, a startling paradox has emerged: Mr. Obama is becoming increasingly dependent on Iranian fighters as he tries to contain the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria without committing American ground troops."
Kris Kobach

Kansas' Kobach breaks new anti-Obama ground

03/05/15 04:28PM

In recent years, we've all heard some pretty outrageous allegations surrounding President Obama, and we've all heard Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) throw around some pretty ridiculous rhetoric.
 
But Right Wing Watch catches the two phenomena coming together in one bizarre story.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, one of the chief architects of the anti-immigrant movement's legal and legislative strategies, told a caller to his weekly radio program last week that while he thought it was "unlikely," it would not be a "huge jump" to predict that the Obama administration could call an end to the prosecutions of African Americans for any crime.
 
Claiming that "it's already happened more or less in the case of civil rights laws," Kobach told listeners that "I've learned to say with this president, never say never."
It really is as bad as it sounds. Kobach fielded a call from a listener to his radio show, who raised the specter of the president announcing that no African American would be prosecuted for any crime. "We've already seen it from Eric Holder in his failure to prosecute the Black Panthers," the caller said, probably referring to the New Black Panthers and the ridiculous Fox-inspired conspiracy theory.
 
Obviously, Kobach isn't responsible for comments raised by those who call into his show. But Kansas' Secretary of State, a notorious national figure for his anti-immigration and voter-suppression efforts, is responsible for how he responded to this caller's concerns.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks at the American Action Forum Jan. 30, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty)

Wisconsin and Minnesota: A One-Sided Political Competition

03/05/15 01:59PM

Wisconsin and Minnesota have long made fascinating bookends. As longtime readers may recall, the two neighboring states have similar sizes, similar populations, similar demographics, and even similar climates. But they don't necessarily have similar politics, at least not lately.
 
In the 2010 elections, the Badger State elected Scott Walker (R) governor and gave control of the legislature to Republicans, while the Gopher State made Mark Dayton (D) governor and elected a Democratic legislature. The former got to work targeting collective bargaining and approving tax cuts, while the latter raised taxes on the wealthy and boosted in-state investments.
 
Nearly five years later, one of these two states is doing quite well. Policy.mic had an interesting report this week.
Since 2011, Minnesota has been doing quite well for itself. The state has created more than 170,000 jobs, according to the Huffington Post. Its unemployment rate stands at 3.6% -- the fifth-lowest in the country, and far below the nationwide rate of 5.7% -- and the state government boasts a budget surplus of $1 billion. Forbes considers Minnesota one of the top 10 in the country for business.
As Patrick Caldwell recently explained very well, Minnesota's gains come on the heels of tax increases on Minnesota's top 2% and higher corporate taxes, both of which state Republicans said would crush Minnesota's economy. As for their neighbors to the east:
By a number of measures, Wisconsin hasn't fared as well as Minnesota. As the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal reports, Wisconsin's job growth has been among the worst in the region, and income growth is one of the worst in the country. It has a higher unemployment rate than Minnesota. And the budget is in bad shape.
Back in January, the editorial board of LaCrosse Tribune wrote, "The governors of Wisconsin and Minnesota each presented their versions of new year's resolutions in various media interviews last week....Which approach is better? As we enter the new year, Minnesota is clearly winning by a long shot."
Militant Islamist fighters take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. (Photo by Reuters)

War-weariness fades; most Americans support ISIS ground war

03/05/15 12:40PM

ISIS leaders have made no secret of their hopes for a ground war against U.S. military forces. It's unexpected, but most Americans apparently want the same thing.
American voters support 62 - 30 percent sending U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria, with strong support across all party, gender and age groups, according to a Quinnipiac University National poll released today. [...]
 
A total of 69 percent of American voters are "very confident" or "somewhat confident" that the U.S. and its allies will defeat ISIS. Only 39 percent of voters are concerned that U.S. military action will go "too far" in getting involved in the situation, while 53 percent are more concerned the U.S. military "will not go far enough in stopping ISIS."
The results were surprisingly one-sided. Support for sending U.S. ground troops spans gender, age, and even partisan lines.
 
This is obviously just one survey, but a CBS News poll released a few weeks ago pointed to very similar results, suggesting this is a pretty accurate reflection of public attitudes.
 
It wasn't long ago that much of the political establishment described the American mainstream as "war weary" following tragedies in Iraq and Afghanistan. As surprising as it may be, it seems that weariness has faded.

Thursday's Campaign Round-Up, 3.5.15

03/05/15 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items that won't necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:
 
* Hillary Clinton commented on her email controversy for the first time last night. "I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them," she said via Twitter. "They said they will review them for release as soon as possible."
 
* Jeb Bush has been on the offensive over the email story, but he's run into complications: "[Bush] owns the server that runs jeb@jeb.org, the personal email account he used as governor to conduct official, political and personal business. Asked who controls the server that operates that email address, Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell responded: 'He owns it.'"
 
* In a new national Quinnipiac poll, Scott Walker leads the Republican presidential field with 18%, followed closely by Jeb Bush with 16%. Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee are tied for third with 8% each, followed by Ben Carson with 7% and Rand Paul with 6%.
 
* In the same poll, Clinton leads each of likely Republican rivals in hypothetical match-ups, leading Bush by three, Marco Rubio by five, Walker by nine, and Cruz by double digits.
 
* To the surprise of no one, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a leading House Dem, announced yesterday that he will run for Sen. Barbara Mikulski's (D) seat next year in Maryland. He'll almost certainly face a crowded Democratic primary.
 
* In North Carolina, PPP's latest survey shows Gov. Pat McCrory (R) narrowly leading state A.G. Roy Cooper (D) in next year's gubernatorial race, 43% to 41%.
Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback speaks to supporters in Topeka, Kansas, on Nov. 4, 2014. (Photo by Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters)

Faced with a crisis, Brownback reconsiders 'Obamacare'

03/05/15 11:20AM

Plenty of Republican governors, including a few White House hopefuls, are facing alarming budget shortfalls right now, but no one's in worse shape than Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R). The far-right former senator imposed an "experiment" on his state, and it's failed spectacularly.
 
Massive tax breaks Kansas couldn't afford have led to debt downgrades, weak growth, and state finances in shambles. Making matters worse, confronted with weak statewide job growth and a deepening budget shortfall, a judicial panel recently ruled that Kansas has been "inadequately funding K-12 education." Brownback, not surprisingly, can't afford the fix.
 
How dire have things gotten for the beleaguered Republican governor? The Lawrence Journal-World in Kansas reports that Brownback is starting to reconsider his contempt for the Affordable Care Act (via Daniel Strauss).
Gov. Sam Brownback suggested Wednesday that he might consider proposals to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, provided the Legislature can identify a way to pay for it.
 
"I've been pushing that anything we do on Medicaid expansion has to be 100-percent paid for," Brownback said during impromptu remarks to the Kansas Association of Insurance Agents, who met at the Statehouse on Wednesday.... Brownback's comments, which came in response to a question from one of the insurance agents, stood in stark contrast to his remarks on the campaign trail last year when he said he strongly opposed the federal health care law, also known as Obamacare, and criticized his Democratic opponent Paul Davis for supporting it.
To be sure, the governor isn't officially on board, at least not yet. But Brownback was willing to say yesterday, "I haven't said we'll take it. I haven't said we wouldn't." In this case, "it" is Medicaid expansion through the ACA.
 
And as you'd probably guess, the Kansas Republican has never said anything close to this before.

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About The Rachel Maddow Show

Launched in 2008, “The Rachel Maddow Show” follows the machinations of policy making in America, from local political activism to international diplomacy. Rachel Maddow looks past the distractions of political theater and stunts and focuses on the legislative proposals and policies that shape American life - as well as the people making and influencing those policies and their ultimate outcome, intended or otherwise.

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