Paul Heintz, political editor for Seven Days newspaper in Vermont, talks with Rachel Maddow about how the city of Burlington is preparing for a schedule Donald Trump rally for which there have already been 20,000 tickets issued for a 1,400 seat venue. watch
Curt Guyette, an investigative reporter for the Michigan ACLU, talks with Rachel Maddow about the effort to unearth documents to find out when and what the Rick Snyder administration knew about Flint, Michigan's water toxicity problems. watch
Rachel Maddow reports on a newly obtained e-mail from June of 2015, confirmed by NBC News, that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's chief-of-staff was troubled that Flint's bad water tests were not being taken seriously, part of a string of mails showing the administration's awareness of alarming lead test results even as it insisted... watch
Joe Cirincione, president of The Ploughshares Fund, talks with Rachel Maddow about the differences between difference types of nuclear weapons and why experts don't believe North Korea's claim that it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb on Tuesday. watch
* No one seems to believe North Korea: "It will take a couple of days for the U.S. to determine if North Korea's claim it detonated a hydrogen bomb is a big lie or a big problem -- but experts already think it's more likely the event was just a blast from the past."
* California: "Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Wednesday in Porter Ranch, where thousands of residents have been evacuated due to a massive gas leak."
* Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge: "The anti-government activists who took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon are going to face federal charges when the siege is over, the local sheriff told NBC News on Wednesday."
* Deportations: "The nation's highest immigration court has temporarily halted the deportations of 12 Central American women and children [whom] the federal government detained last weekend as part of its first significant nationwide enforcement effort focused on these recently arrived immigrants."
* Middle East fallout continues: "Qatar has recalled its ambassador from Iran to protest attacks on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and Consulate in Mashhad, violence stemming from the Saudi execution of an opposition Shiite cleric."
* Georgia: "Gov. Nathan Deal on Monday rescinded an order that sought to stop the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Georgia, clearing the way for new arrivals from the war-torn nation to receive food stamp benefits."
* Turkey: "President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey marched across another line last week. Asked about his push for greatly enhanced executive powers, he told reporters that there was a precedent in 'Hitler's Germany.'"
* Alaska: "Credit ratings agency Standard and Poor's on Tuesday dropped Alaska's gold-plated credit rating and warned of more turmoil ahead unless lawmakers act to close the state's massive budget gap." For more on this, check out my piece from a month ago.
Rachel Maddow discusses the scandal of the mismanagement of the Flint, Michigan water supply by appointees of the Rick Snyder administration that has left many residents with toxic, lead-tainted water. watch
Reporters attending White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest's press briefing today were treated to a fairly detailed slide show devoted to a specific topic: the health of the American auto industry.
And under the circumstances, it's awfully tough to blame the Obama administration for wanting to take a victory lap. Consider thisWashington Post report from yesterday:
Drivers in the United States bought more cars last year than ever before, a staggering turnaround for an auto industry fighting for its life half a decade ago, as low gas prices and a strengthening economy marked a banner year on American roads. [...]
Car buyers last year were energized by several economic sparks: the improving wages and confidence of a more robust job market; easy credit and cheap gas; and the pent-up demand of a driving public whose cars, on average, are more than 11 years old. And the explosive results could prove more than a blip, with some analysts projecting that a strong economy could yield another car-lot record in 2016. Last year's estimated $437 billion in car sales capped a six-year growth streak, the industry's first since World War II.
Given the number of Americans employed, directly and indirectly, in the auto industry, and degree to which this represents the backbone of the nation's manufacturing sector, these figures have to be heartening to anyone rooting for the U.S. economy.
But there is, of course, a political angle to this that also matters.
There was a two-week lull in which there was very little new 2016 polling available, but with the holiday season behind us, new numbers are starting to appear.
Public Policy Polling, for example, released new results out of New Hampshire this afternoon:
1. Donald Trump: 29% (up from 27% a month ago)
2. Marco Rubio: 15% (up from 11%)
3. Christie 11: (up from 10%)
3. Kasich 11: (up from 8%)
5. Bush 10: (up from 5%)
5. Cruz 10: (down from 13%)
The remaining candidates are each below 5%, including Ben Carson, who's support has been cut nearly in half over the last month.
There's quite a bit to chew on here, including this little tidbit: this is the first time in the entire election cycle in which a New Hampshire poll -- any New Hampshire poll -- has shown six different candidates reaching double-digit support.
To an important degree, this helps Trump a great deal: the more establishment-backed Republicans remain divided, the easier it is for the New York developer to stay on top.
There's been some commentary of late that this Congress, now under Republican control in both chambers, is slightly less ridiculous than the last two. And if we lower the bar for basic competence, and then lower it a little more, there may be something to the thesis: lawmakers have managed to avoid imposing a shutdown or a debt crisis in the nation over the last 12 months.
Behold, the grandeur of the world's greatest democracy?
Of course, avoiding self-imposed crises isn't much of a standard for success. This Congress has managed not to punish the country on purpose, but it hasn't done much in the way of constructive legislating, and it's failed even more spectacularly in areas such as confirmation votes.
Maybe lawmakers will get 2016 off to a more sensible start? Maybe not.
For the first time, Republicans on Wednesday are expected to send a bill to President Obama's desk that would repeal most of his signature healthcare law.
While the bill faces a certain veto, the vote in the House brings Republicans closer than ever before to dismantling the healthcare legislation that they say has failed the country.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said this morning, "With this bill, we will force President Obama to show the American people where he stands."
And in a way, I suppose that's true. Americans everywhere will finally learn, once and for all, that President Obama supports Obamacare. What would we do without Kevin McCarthy adding such helpful clarity to the debate?
Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* Hillary Clinton picked up an endorsement yesterday from NARAL, which eight years ago threw its support to Barack Obama.
* The Field Poll, considered the gold standard in California polling, shows Ted Cruz taking the lead among Golden State Republicans. The senator leads the GOP field with 25%, followed by Donald Trump at 23%. Marco Rubio is third with 13%. Carly Fiorina, who ran a failed Senate campaign in California, is tied for seventh place with just 3%.
* Marco Rubio continues to make strides in picking up establishment, inside-the-Beltway endorsements, today receiving support from House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).
* Mike Huckabee's longtime communications director, Alice Stewart, quit his campaign last month, but she's landed on her feet: Stewart has joined Ted Cruz's team.
* Chris Christie, annoyed by new attacks ads from Rubio's super PAC, said yesterday, "I just don't think Marco Rubio's going to be able to slime his way to the White House. He wants to put out a whole bunch of negative ads? Go ahead. I hope that he will acknowledge at some point that I couldn't care less."
* Speaking of Christie, the New Jersey governor hasn't made much of an effort in Iowa, but that's starting to change.
* South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has agreed to deliver her party's response to President Obama's final State of the Union address. As Bobby Jindal can attest, a gig fraught with risks.
It's long been difficult to find a legitimate purpose for the Republicans' Benghazi Committee, but as of October, the panel was simply indefensible. A farcical 11-hour hearing with Hillary Clinton, coupled with a series of internal controversies, made clear that the committee needed to pull the plug.
But it didn't. In fact, McClatchy reported this morning on the partisan exercise passing an ignominious milestone.
As of Wednesday, the House Select Committee on Benghazi has been in existence for 609 days, surpassing the length of time the 9/11 Commission took to investigate the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001.
"Instead of following the bipartisan model set by the 9/11 Commission, which brought our entire nation together after we were attacked by terrorists, Republicans created a highly partisan Select Committee with an unlimited budget to attack their political opponents," said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the committee's top Democrat. "Republicans continue to drag out this political charade closer to the 2016 presidential election, and the American taxpayers continue to pay the price."
Remember, even congressional Republicans have admitted the committee is a partisan exercise, making it that much more difficult to justify its prolonged existence.
For the record, the 9/11 Commission, a bipartisan panel created to investigate the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil, conducted its work over 1 year, 7 months, and 25 days -- which works out to 604 days, five fewer than this current charade.
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.