Rachel Maddow outlines the very difficult choices facing the United States in constructing a strategy for dealing with ISIS in Iraq and Syria ahead of Wednesday's prime time address to the nation by President Obama. watch
Rachel Maddow reports on developments in the story of football player Ray Rice since the release of a video showing him punching his then-fiance unconscious in an elevator, a video the NFL says it had not seen before initially punishing Rice. watch
Rachel Maddow revisits the 13-hour filibuster by Texas State Senator Wendy Davis in the Texas State Capitol, in which thousands in the building (and hundreds of thousands online) cheered her on, an event that would raise her national profile. watch
* I'll never fully understand how the right perceives this as nothing: "The U.S. military says it launched five more airstrikes in support of Iraqi government troops and Sunni tribesmen protecting the Haditha Dam against fighters of the Islamic State group that controls parts of northern and western Iraq."
* Syria: "An explosion killed the leader of one of Syria's most powerful Islamist insurgent groups Ahrar al-Sham on Tuesday, the group said, and an organization that monitors violence in the civil war said at least 28 of its commanders had died."
* Encouraging economic news: "The number of U.S. job openings remained near the highest level in 13 years in July, and companies also stepped up hiring that month to the fastest pace in nearly seven years, two signs the job market is slowly healing."
* Additional sanctions on Russia? "The Obama administration is putting the finishing touches on a new round of sanctions against Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis."
* Climate crisis: "Levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose at a record-shattering pace last year, a new report shows, a surge that surprised scientists and spurred fears of an accelerated warming of the planet in decades to come."
* Hopefully not the last hearing on the militarization of local police: "Senators blasted the Pentagon on Tuesday for providing police forces with an overabundance of military equipment, which they say laid the groundwork for what unfolded in Ferguson, Mo., last month."
* Republican Bob McDonnell is out at Jerry Falwell's college: "Ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has lost his teaching gig at Liberty University. The Christian college announced on Friday they had ditched the disgraced politician after he was convicted on multiple federal corruption charges."
* The cast of "Fox & Friends" argued this morning that domestic violence "is a very serious issue to us." There was reason to believe otherwise yesterday.
Following up on this morning's report, Dick Cheney was on Capitol Hill once again today, delivering yet another round of advice to congressional Republicans on foreign policy as if he still has credibility on the subject. The failed former vice president was reportedly "greeted with affection," and received standing ovations from the assembled GOP lawmakers.
This seemed to summarize the ridiculousness of the scenario nicely.
Asked if he saw any irony in Cheney coming to talk to Republicans about next steps in Iraq, [New York Rep. Peter King] said firmly, "No, because most of us think we did the right thing in Iraq."
And there it is. Even now, years later, as the world struggles with the consequences of a disastrous war, which the Bush/Cheney team handled in the most incompetent, dishonest, and corrupt ways possible, congressional Republicans look back and think, "Yep, that was a smart move."
If anyone ever wonders why credible debates over foreign policy seem so incredibly difficult right now, look no further than the fact that "most" congressional Republicans consider the worst foreign-policy catastrophe in a generation "the right thing."
Indeed, the Huffington Post's report on GOP reactions to Cheney's remarks -- journalists were not allowed to hear or see the gathering -- were disheartening.
Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, responded, "What he talked about was we've, Republicans, have had a position on peace through strength. You look at all the Republican presidents we've had back to [Dwight] Eisenhower. You know they all understand, if you're not strong, then you invite aggression. When you invite aggression, you end up with people getting killed.... It's important to be strong, and that's what he talked about."
This will no doubt be disappointing to the pro-weakness contingent of American politics.
I mean, really. If we're "not strong" we "invite aggression"? This is empty, meaningless rhetoric. In the Reagan/Bush era, attacks on U.S. diplomatic outposts around the globe reached unprecedented heights, including the deadly assaults in Beirut in 1983. The size of the Pentagon budget and our commitment to presenting a "strong" posture were irrelevant.
When it comes to Republican efforts to restrict voting rights, some arguments are easier than others. Voter-ID laws, for example, are awful and unnecessary, but on the surface, the right can at least sell the idea in a coherent way by raising the specter of "fraud." It's why polls generally show pretty consistent support for voter-ID measures -- they needlessly disenfranchise many Americans, but most of the public doesn't know that.
But other aspects of the "war on voting" are much harder to defend, even on a rhetorical level. Why, for example, would Republican policymakers oppose voting the Sunday before the election? If most people in the community have the day off, and find Sunday voting convenient, why deny voters that opportunity?
As a rule, GOP officials opposed to Sunday voting have a tough time rationalizing the policy -- though they keep trying to cut off Sunday voting anyway -- but Rick Hasen brings our attention to an interesting report out of Georgia.
Apparently, DeKalb County, home to Atlanta, has extended early voting to include Oct. 26 -- a Sunday -- with a polling station at a popular local shopping mall. As the Atlanta Journal Constitutionreported, it led state Sen. Fran Millar (R) to write an angry response.
"How ironic! Michele [sic] Obama comes to town and Chicago politics comes to DeKalb. [...]
"Now we are to have Sunday voting at South DeKalb Mall just prior to the election. Per Jim Galloway of the AJC, this location is dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches such as New Birth Missionary Baptist. Galloway also points out the Democratic Party thinks this is a wonderful idea -- what a surprise. I'm sure Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter are delighted with this blatantly partisan move in DeKalb.
"Is it possible church buses will be used to transport people directly to the mall since the poll will open when the mall opens? If this happens, so much for the accepted principle of separation of church and state."
Hmm. Let's unpack this a bit, because it offers a fascinating perspective.
President Obama will deliver a prime-time address tomorrow night from the White House, speaking to the nation about "the threat posed by ISIL" and presenting "the United States' strategy for degrading and ultimately destroying the terrorist group."
It's part of an ongoing, multi-faceted campaign, which includes airstrikes in Iraq, international coalition building, detailed briefings for members of both the House and Senate, and as of tomorrow, a rare national address from the president.
But while Obama and his team keep quite busy preparing for the next phase of a national-security mission in the Middle East, it's hard not to notice that Congress isn't exactly busy. Will lawmakers make any effort to do their duty and engage in a real debate about U.S. foreign policy?
Democratic leaders in the Senate and Republican leaders in the House want to avoid a public vote to authorize force, fearing the unknown political consequences eight weeks before the midterm elections on Nov. 4.
''A lot of people would like to stay on the sideline and say, 'Just bomb the place and tell us about it later,' '' said Representative Jack Kingston, Republican of Georgia, who supports having an authorization vote. ''It's an election year. A lot of Democrats don't know how it would play in their party, and Republicans don't want to change anything. We like the path we're on now. We can denounce it if it goes bad, and praise it if it goes well and ask what took him so long.''
Though Kingston's candor is appreciated, this is still a pretty remarkable thing for a member of Congress to say out loud and on the record.
The quote offers a peek behind the curtain -- quite a few members of Congress are content to simply complain from the sidelines, constitutional obligations notwithstanding.