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The economy is improving, but Congress can make things worse.

Congress can still 'muck' things up

02/09/12 10:51AM

Late last week, after we'd learned the economy created nearly a quarter of a million jobs in January, President Obama delivered a not-so-subtle message to Congress: "Don't muck it up."This was not a stray thought from the president. Economic conditions appear to be improving, but Americans have seen encouraging data before, only to have the strength of the recovery falter. read more

The right keeps targeting the Girl Scouts

The right keeps targeting the Girl Scouts

02/09/12 10:00AM

Conservatives' antipathy towards the Girl Scouts has generally been found on the fringes. In 1994, for example, James Dobson's Focus on the Family published a memorable attack on the Girl Scouts, insisting the group "lost their way" after the Scouts made a religious oath optional for membership. read more

Public revulsion towards Congress increases

Public revulsion towards Congress increases

02/09/12 09:24AM

President Obama's approval rating, like the national economy, has steadily improved recently. Those on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue aren't nearly as fortunate.A record-low 10% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, down from 13% in January and the previous low of 11%, recorded in December 2011. Eighty-six percent disapprove of Congress, tying the record high for disapproval set in December. read more

Jobless claims continue to improve

Jobless claims continue to improve

02/09/12 08:39AM

The general trend on initial unemployment claims over the last few months has been largely encouraging, though there have been setbacks, and most analysts expected this morning's report to show an uptick in filings.The good news is, that didn't happen. The better news is, initial jobless claims have reached one of the lowest levels we've seen in four years.U.S. jobless claims fell by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 358,000 in the week ended Feb. 4, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had estimated claims would rise to 370,000. read more

The company CPAC keeps

The company CPAC keeps

02/09/12 08:00AM

As Rachel noted last night, the Conservative Political Action Conference will get underway in Washington today, and will feature a cavalcade of Republican leaders and prominent far-right voices. read more

Morning Maddow: February 9

02/09/12 07:57AM

Same-sex marriage passes in Washington state.The Pentagon moves women closer to combat today.How bad the jobs picture really is for young people.CPAC runs into trouble with those pesky co-sponsorships again.A little background on the War on Birth Control.10 states will be freed from No Child Left Behind today. read more

Ahead on the 2/8 Maddow show

02/08/12 06:28PM

Tonight's guests include:Tim Pawlenty, former Republican presidential candidate, has now endorsed Mitt Romney for Republican presidential candidate, and former governor of MinnesotaChris Hayes, host of “Up with Chris Hayes” on msnbcDoug Wilson, assistant Secretary of DefenseWhile we wait for tonight's video to load, take a listen to tonight's soundtrack.  read more

Very ape and very nice

Very ape and very nice

02/08/12 06:00PM

A fascinating article in Wired makes the case that some animals that were once highly aggressive, blood-thirsty creatures (like bonobos and dogs and foxes and macaques) have, over time, become mellow, cooperative, Lebowskian dudes.Chalk it up to self- domestication. Not to be confused with self-deportation, self-domestication happens when some species discover that their key to long-term survival is not by clawing everything in sight but in mutual cooperation, trust and respect. Consider the Tonkean macaque."They live in cohesive social groups and fight rarely. read more

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