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History shows Clinton hard to intimidate

History shows Hillary Clinton hard to intimidate

08/13/15 09:00PM

Rachel Maddow revisits Hillary Rodham Clinton's trip as first lady to an international women's convention in Beijing, China in 1995, ignoring criticism from political opponents and criticizing China in their own house for their treatment of women. watch

Thursday's Mini-Report, 8.13.15

08/13/15 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
 
* Iraq: "At least 76 people were killed and 212 wounded in a bomb attack on Thursday at a market in Baghdad's Sadr City district, police and medical sources said. The bombing was one of the largest attacks on the capital since Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi took office a year ago."
 
* Gut-wrenching: "Claiming the Quran's support, the Islamic State codifies sex slavery in conquered regions of Iraq and Syria and uses the practice as a recruiting tool."
 
* Kentucky: "A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to resume issuing marriage licenses despite her religious objection to same-sex marriage, but Davis quickly filed an appeal and continued her refusal to issue licenses."
 
* This is a big get: "Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) is throwing his support behind the Iran nuclear agreement, suggesting it is the only way to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon."
 
* Add Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to the list: "After careful review, I have decided that I will vote in support of the agreement the United States and our international partners reached with Iran last month."
 
* John Warner, a Republican former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Carl Levin, a Democratic former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee -- two very respected voices -- agree that lawmakers shouldn't derail the Iran deal.
 
* An important ruling: "The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the state's death penalty is unconstitutional, a decision that will spare 11 inmates who are currently on death row."
 
* Criminal justice: "A Pennsylvania man who served 34 years in prison for the rape and murder of a teenage girl -- after being fingered by jailhouse snitches -- was released Thursday because of new DNA tests."

The Reagan-Obama showdown on unemployment

08/13/15 04:19PM

The New York Times' Paul Krugman had an interesting item the other day on popular perceptions srrounding Ronald Reagan -- or as the columnist put it, "Reaganolatry."
[C]onsider the track of unemployment under two presidents. One is lauded as the ultimate economic hero and savior; the other reviled as an economic failure, who killed jobs by being nice to poor people and insulting job creators.
The former, of course, refers to Reagan, while the latter refers to President Obama.
 
Krugman added a chart, but with due respect to the Nobel Laureate, the image was a little confusing -- it had Reagan in blue and Obama in red, which is now counteractive, and included all of Reagan's eight years in office, while Obama still has a year and a half to go.
 
So, I made my own related chart.
Ben Carson announces his candidacy for president during an official announcement in Detroit, May 4, 2015. (Photo by Paul Sancya/AP)

Carson stumbles on fetal-tissue research

08/13/15 12:53PM

The crux of the recent Planned Parenthood controversy is about fetal-tissue research: the health care organization provides tissues, at no profit, to medical researchers. It's an important area of science that has enjoyed bipartisan support for decades, but which Republicans have now rebranded as "harvesting organs from unborn children."
 
Among the group's critics is Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon. That wouldn't be especially interesting, were it not for the fact that Carson "previously did research using human fetal tissue." BuzzFeed had the scoop this morning:
Late on Wednesday, an OB/GYN and science writer Jen Gunter revealed on her blog a 1992 study in which Carson and three other colleagues used tissue from the fetal brain and nasal cavity to better understand the development of the chambers (or "ventricles") of the brain. These tissues "were obtained from two fetuses aborted at the ninth and 17th week of gestation," the paper says.
Just so we're clear, no one has accused Carson of doing anything illegal or medically unethical. On the contrary, the fetal-tissue research Carson conducted is rather common, and up until very recently, uncontroversial.
 
But as a Republican presidential candidate, Carson appears to have criticized the same scientific research he personally participated in. What's more, as BuzzFeed's report added, Carson told Fox News last month that a fetus at 17 weeks "is a human being." The fact that the GOP candidate used tissues from an aborted 17-week fetus makes his position that much more complex.
 
The good news is, Carson has a response. The bad news is, it's not particularly persuasive.

Thursday's Campaign Round-Up, 8.13.15

08/13/15 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
 
* In Iowa, the new CNN poll shows Donald Trump leading the Republican presidential field with 22% support, followed by Ben Carson at 14%. No other candidate reaches double digits, though Scott Walker is third with 9% and Ted Cruz is fourth with 8%.
 
* CNN also polled Iowa Democrats and found Hillary Clinton ahead with 50%, followed by Bernie Sanders with 31%, and Vice President Biden with 12%.
 
* Rand Paul's offensive against Trump continued yesterday, with the senator's campaign unveiling a new attack video that basically characterizes Trump as a Democrat.
 
* Trump responded with a lengthy statement mocking the Kentucky Republican, ridiculing his golf game, and encouraging him to drop out of the presidential race.
 
* Jeb Bush had an awkward town-hall event in Nevada yesterday, telling a Filipino immigrant he opposes an immigration policy based on family reunification. The event ended with Black Lives Matter protesters clashing with Bush supporters.
 
* More than half of New Jersey voters want Chris Christie to resign as governor while he runs for president.
 
* In Missouri, PPP found Sen. Roy Blunt (R) with an ugly 30% approval rating. In a hypothetical general election, he leads his largely unknown Democratic challenger, Jason Kander, by just five points, 40% to 35%.
A Planned Parenthood location is seen on Aug. 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty)

Obama admin warns states on Planned Parenthood defunding

08/13/15 11:23AM

The renewed Republican campaign against Planned Parenthood has moved past the realm of rhetoric and debate, making the transition to legislative bodies. At the federal level, for example, quite a few GOP lawmakers say they're prepared to shut down the federal government next month over federal funding for the health care organization.
 
At the state level, meanwhile, officials in Alabama, Louisiana, and New Hampshire recently decided to block public resources for Planned Parenthood -- it apparently doesn't matter that some of these states don't have clinics that perform abortions -- and related efforts are underway in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
 
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, however, that the Obama administration isn't just committed to protecting Planned Parenthood in a political dispute; it's also concerned about the legality of state action against the health organization.
Federal law requires that Medicaid beneficiaries may obtain services, including family-planning care, from any qualified provider. Terminating Planned Parenthood's Medicaid provider agreements restricts access by not permitting them to get services from providers of their choice, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. [...]
 
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a unit of HHS, has notified Louisiana and Alabama, which have taken action to terminate their Medicaid provider agreements with Planned Parenthood, that they may be in conflict with federal law, according to HHS. CMS said that, by restricting which provider a woman could choose to receive care from, women could lose access to critical preventive care, such as cancer screenings.
The key here are guidelines from 2011, in which HHS said states "cannot block Medicaid funding to providers on the basis of the other services offered." In other words, Alabama can't block funding for cancer screenings because it opposes abortion, since public money can pay for the former but not the latter.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Philadelphia, June 19, 2015. (Photo by Matt Rourke/AP)

Christie latest to back Norquist anti-tax pledge

08/13/15 10:58AM

As a matter of political strategy, Americans for Tax Reform's Grover Norquist came up with a pretty effective tactic when he crafted "the pledge." As we discussed a few months ago, the idea is entirely straightforward: Republican candidates, up and down the ballot, are asked to sign a promise never to raise any tax on anyone by any amount for any reason.
 
If a proposal increases government revenue, under the Norquist framework, Republicans must approve comparable cuts elsewhere.
 
In time, the pressure on GOP candidates took root: Republicans who wanted to win, especially in a primary, came to recognize the intra-party expectation. Sign the pledge or lose.
 
The more popular the tactic became, the more bipartisan policymaking became practically impossible, especially at the federal level. It wasn't long before Norquist's pledge developed a reputation as a mindless, knee-jerk obstacle to good governance.
 
But Republican presidential candidates keep signing it anyway. The conservative Washington Times reported:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has signed Americans for Tax Reform's Taxpayer Protection Pledge vowing to "oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes," the group said Wednesday.
 
"Governor Chris Christie has vetoed more tax hikes than any other governor in modern American history," said Grover Norquist, president of ATR. "And he made those vetoes stick. Without the Christie governorship, New Jersey would be somewhere between Detroit and Greece."
The New Jersey governor joins Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, and Ben Carson among GOP presidential contenders who've added their names to the Norquist pledge list.
 
They'll probably soon have company: Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, and Mike Huckabee "have all previously signed the pledge in some capacity," and are expected to do so again this year.

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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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