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E.g., 1/25/2015

Republican infighting and other headlines

01/22/15 07:38AM

Conservatives at odds over border security bill. (USA Today)

Veterans suicide prevention bill advances in the Senate. (Stars and Stripes)

Cleanup underway for nearly 3M-gallon "brine" spill in North Dakota. (AP)

Powerful New York State politician expected to be arrested on corruption charges today. (New York Times)

Romney and Bush to meet in Utah. (New York Times)

Want more "Mitt?" Now there's bonus footage. (Washington Post)

Disney parks-linked measles outbreak grows to 70 cases. (AP)

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Obama earns American approval with SOTU ideas

Obama earns American approval with SOTU ideas

01/21/15 11:06PM

Rachel Maddow reviews the results of polls taken after President Obama's State of the Union address, finding that the themes President Obama presented were well received and the speech overall brought more Americans into alignment with the president. watch

Injury leads to eye surgery for Harry Reid

Injury leads to eye surgery for Harry Reid

01/21/15 09:57PM

Rachel Maddow reports that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is back in Washington after a dramatic injury had him housebound at the start of the year, but will undergo eye surgery on Monday to help recover the vision in his right eye. watch

Fair Housing Act debated by Supreme Court

Fair Housing Act debated by Supreme Court

01/21/15 09:35PM

Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, talks with Rachel Maddow about the Supreme Court's decision to take up the Fair Housing Act, a landmark piece of civil rights legislation, and fears and expectations for the outcome of the case. watch

Obama prioritizing foreign policy agenda

Obama prioritizing foreign policy agenda

01/21/15 09:00PM

Rachel Maddow reports on the latest step in the U.S. rapprochement with Cuba, and details the story behind President Obama's trip to Boise, Idaho, to visit with the family of Christian pastor Saeed Abedini who is being held prisoner in Iran. watch

Wednesday's Mini-Report, 1.21.15

01/21/15 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
 
* Ferguson: "The Justice Department has begun work on a legal memo recommending no civil rights charges against a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., who killed an unarmed black teenager in August, law enforcement officials said."
 
* When 50,000 gallons of oil leaks into a river, it's a very big deal: "More than 5,000 people in the rural Montana city of Glendive have been told not to use municipal water because elevated levels of cancer-causing benzene were found downstream from a weekend crude oil spill into the Yellowstone River."
 
* Historic talks: "The highest-ranking U.S. diplomat to travel to Cuba in nearly 40 years boarded a commercial flight Wednesday morning from Miami -- ahead of negotiations to re-establish diplomatic ties between the two countries."
 
* Why did Republicans offer different messages on immigration in English and Spanish last night? According to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, it's all President Obama's fault. Don't worry, this struck me as incoherent, too.
 
* FHA at the high court: "At a Supreme Court hearing Wednesday, Scalia joined all four liberal justices in sounding deeply skeptical of a bid by the state of Texas to dramatically narrow the scope of the 1968 Fair Housing Act (FHA), which prohibits racial and other forms of discrimination in housing."
 
* And speaking of the court: "President Barack Obama issued a strong statement Wednesday in opposition to the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizen's United decision, a ruling he believes 'has caused real harm to our democracy.'" The ruling was issued five years ago today.
 
* This guy: "A Virginia lawmaker who was elected to the House of Delegates while serving a jail term now faces felony charges for allegedly entering a forged document into court and lying under oath, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday in Henrico County."
The Idaho statehouse in Boise, Idaho. (Charlie Litchfield/AP)

Tough luck for salamanders in Idaho

01/21/15 04:54PM

States regularly make official designations that demonstrate their unique qualities. Just about every state in the union has an official state bird, state motto, state song, state flower, etc. Once in a while, these innocuous designations cause political trouble -- the South Carolina effort to create an official state fossil, for example, drew opposition from a creationist lawmaker.
 
A similar problem arose this week in Idaho where a local teenager asked lawmakers to name an official state amphibian. As the Spokesman-Review reported this week, it didn't go well (via Taegan Goddard).
Idaho lawmakers worried that special recognition of the Idaho giant salamander could lead to federal protections have rejected a grade school student's request that it be named the state amphibian.
 
The House State Affairs Committee voted 10-6 on Monday against 14-year-old Ilah Hickman's plan. It was her fifth attempt in as many years to persuade lawmakers that students made a good choice for state amphibian.
This might sound a little nutty -- because it is -- but according to the lawmakers who rejected the idea, if Idaho makes the Idaho giant salamander the state's official amphibian, then federal officials might make the salamander an endangered species. And at that point, the state might have to endure all kinds of new regulations from Washington.
 
Or something.
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in Washington on Oct. 1, 2014.

Netanyahu, Republicans take 'partisanship to a whole new level'

01/21/15 03:56PM

About a month ago, just two days after Christmas, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) traveled to Jerusalem for a joint appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, where the American lawmaker struck an interesting note.
 
"I'm here to tell you, Mr. Prime Minister, that the Congress will follow your lead," Graham said.
 
Ordinarily, America's elected lawmakers follow the American president's lead on matters of international affairs, making the senator's comment just a little jarring.
 
It was not, however, quite as jarring as today's news.
House Speaker John Boehner is inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on February 11. The invitation comes as the Hill braces for a clash with the White House over sanctions on Iran.
 
Boehner told reporters that he did not consult the White House before extending the invitation, adding "I do not believe I am poking anyone in the eye."
Well, whether the Speaker believes it or not, this was quite a provocative move, which is arguably without precedent.
 
By delivering remarks to the U.S. Congress, Netanyahu will get a political boost at an opportune time -- the prime minister will speak on Feb. 11, with Israeli elections to follow just five weeks later. The move may give the appearance of interfering in a foreign democratic election.
 
More importantly, Netanyahu will not be stopping by Capitol Hill for a friendly chat. Congressional Republicans, and a few Democrats, hope to sabotage international nuclear talks with Iran by imposing new sanctions on Tehran, destroying the once-in-a-generation diplomatic opportunity. These American critics of the talks see the conservative Israeli leader as an ally towards their goal, so his Washington visit is likely to be part of the broader lobbying effort.

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