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E.g., 12/19/2014
E.g., 12/19/2014
Cuba deal reached under cloak of secrecy

Cuba deal reached under cloak of secrecy

12/18/14 11:39PM

Rachel Maddow reports new details of how President Obama negotiated directly with Cuba's President Castro to remake U.S./Cuba relations, the role of Pope Francis, secret meetings, and the American spy returned to the U.S. in the deal. watch

US wary of North Korea war fantasy

US wary of North Korea war fantasy

12/18/14 11:38PM

Rachel Maddow reports on how the United States is weighing its options as it pieces together clues that North Korea is behind the hack of Sony Pictures and the threats against movie theaters, mindful that North Korea would like to draw the U.S. into war. watch

Programming note: Lambchop to pack heat

Programming note: Lambchop to pack heat

12/18/14 11:31PM

Rachel Maddow alerts viewers to an upcoming special presentation of All In with Chris Hayes in which Hayes visits a shooting range to test out the one kind of gun the NRA does not want sold in America. watch

Russia crash is perilous, schadenfreude aside

Russia crash is perilous, schadenfreude aside

12/18/14 09:42PM

Michael McFaul, former U.S ambassador to Russia, talks with Rachel Maddow about the dire economic circumstances President Putin has placed Russia in, the danger to the world economy of a Russian crash, and what options remain open for Putin to recover. watch

Jeb Bush caught in conflict over Cuba embargo

Jeb Bush caught in conflict over Cuba embargo

12/18/14 09:26PM

Rachel Maddow reports on how Jeb Bush, fresh off the starting line of a presidential bid, suffered embarrassment after grandstanding in support of the embargo of Cuba when it was revealed that he was being paid by a bank that violated that embargo. watch

Ahead on the 12/18/14 Maddow show

12/18/14 08:18PM

Tonight's guests:

  • Jason Healey, cyber-security expert and director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council
  • Michael McFaul, professor of political science at Stanford University, former U.S Ambassador to Russia

read more

Thursday's Mini-Report, 12.18.14

12/18/14 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
* ISIS: "Three leaders of ISIS have been killed by American airstrikes in Iraq in the past month and a half, U.S. defense officials said Thursday. They were identified as Haji Mutazz, a deputy to the ISIS leader; Abd al-Basit, the top military commander; and Radwin Talib, who is in control of ISIS in Iraq. They were described as mid- to high-level leaders."
* Nigeria: "More than 100 women and children were unaccounted for after gunmen stormed a northeastern Nigerian village in a deadly raid Sunday, a Nigerian military source told NBC News on Thursday. No group took responsibility for the attack in Gumsuri, but it bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, which abducted more than 200 girls in April from a secondary school in nearby Chibok."
* Secret Service: "The Secret Service is overstretched and needs a 'culture change' from outside leadership, according to an independent review of the agency that found profound problems in the organization tasked with protecting the president and his family."
* Putin: "Russian President Vladimir Putin, at a press conference on Thursday to address the country's increasingly dire economic crisis, made an extended, bizarre reference to bears that is drawing a lot of attention, and rightly, because it makes him sound absolutely crazy."
* A lot of the early reporting on this was wrong: "How exactly the former Marine suspected in this week's killing spree in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, died is unclear after an examination by the county's coroner. Coroner Dr. Walter Hoffman tells NBC10's Deanna Durante there was no sign of trauma to Bradley Stone's center region, contradicting information released by prosecutors on Tuesday."
* DOJ: "Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department's position going forward in litigation will be that discrimination against transgender people is covered under the sex discrimination prohibition in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964."
This will matter to several red-state policymakers from Plains states: "U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said reforms announced today by President Barack Obama will make it make easier to sell U.S. farm products to Cuba."
This image released by Columbia Pictures shows James Franco, left, and Seth Rogen in "The Interview." (Photo by Ed Araquel/Columbia Pictures/AP)

Hollywood retreats in the face of threats

12/18/14 05:08PM

I'll concede that the entertainment industry is pretty far from my usual beat, but the story of North Korea, Sony, and "The Interview" is obviously no longer just a story about a movie.
And while there are obviously policy concerns related to national security and cyber-attacks, even at a surface level, it's hard not to notice the speed with which Hollywood is retreating, just over the last 24 hours.
For example, as you've probably heard, the movie studio has already scrapped distribution of the movie.
Sony Pictures decided to pull its upcoming comedy "The Interview" from distribution Wednesday amid security concerns and news that the five largest movie theater chains in the U.S. had decided to hold off on screening the film.
A handful of theaters intended to respond to the developments by screening "Team America," a puppet movie that casts Kim Jung-il in a negative light, but apparently those plans are off, too.
Paramount Pictures ordered movie theaters planning to screen Team America: World Police to cancel the screenings.
If that weren't quite enough, it appears yet another film that might bother North Korea has now been scrapped before production could even begin.
According to, plans for a "paranoid thriller" set in North Korea and starring Steve Carell have been scrapped in the wake of a cyber attack against Sony Pictures that eventually led to the postponement of "The Interview." A source close to the project confirmed that production company New Regency had stopped development on the untitled film after Twentieth Century Fox pulled distribution plans.
I can think of instances in which various movies have been the subject of protests and boycotts, but is there any precedent for Hollywood fearing literal, physical violence from a foreign government and its allies?
A supporter holds a campaign sign of Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, left, promoting his goal of $2.50 a gallon gas as he speaks at a rally in Brandon, Miss., Sunday, March 11, 2012.

Gas prices drop below key threshold

12/18/14 04:01PM

Remember the 2012 presidential campaign? It was just two years ago that Mitt Romney boasted that if he were elected president, he'd "get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent, perhaps a little lower" by the end of his first term in 2016.
Americans decided to re-elect President Obama instead. The unemployment dropped below 6 percent in September 2014, about two years ahead of Romney's timeline.
It was around this time when Newt Gingrich vowed that if he were the president, he'd lower the price of gas to $2.50 a gallon. That was the threshold for success.
Which brings us to this morning's latest news from the energy sector.
This week's national average is $2.47 per gallon, also down by more than 14 cents from last week.
Triple-A analysts say prices could fall even further in the coming weeks, barring unforeseen circumstances.
You know, by the standards set by Republicans two years ago, Obama sure is looking like a great success, isn't he?