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Execution a 'failed experiment': attorney

Execution a 'failed experiment': attorney

07/23/14 10:41PM

Dale Baich, attorney for Joseph Wood, who witnessed Wood's botched execution, talks with Rachel Maddow about the ensuing legal steps as it becomes increasingly clear that the practice of killing prisoners with secretly sourced drugs is flawed. watch

Investigators begin work on MH17 black boxes

Investigators begin work on MH17 black boxes

07/23/14 10:39PM

Rachel Maddow reports on the first stages of examination of the flight data recorders of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 which so far appear not to have been tampered with despite concerns raised by the delay in their being turned over. watch

Hero closes day's trading... emphatically

Hero closes day's trading... emphatically

07/23/14 10:29PM

Rachel Maddow shares video of Medal of Honor recipient former Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts, closing the trading day at the New York Stock Exchange and accidentally breaking off the head of the gavel in the process. watch

Ahead on the 7/23/14 Maddow show

07/23/14 07:51PM

Tonight's guests:

  • Mauricio Marin, reporter for CBS's Tucson affiliate KOLD TV. He witnessed the execution today.
  • Dale Baich, attorney for Joseph Wood, witnessed botched execution today
  • Thomas Kaplan, reporter for the New York Times

Here's executive producer Bill Wolff with a video preview of a show you should not miss:

read more

Wednesday's Mini-Report, 7.23.14

07/23/14 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
 
* Ukraine: "Two Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jets were shot down on Wednesday in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border. The planes were downed in an area of heavy fighting between government forces and Russian-backed separatists, near where a Malaysia Airlines jet was blown out of the sky on Thursday, killing 298 people and drawing international dismay."
 
* Unimaginable: "Parents who lost three young children and their grandfather when Flight MH17 was shot down by pro-Putin rebels revealed that they now 'live in a hell beyond hell.'"
 
* Middle East: "Israel faced new political and economic pressures on Wednesday to negotiate a halt to the 16-day-old Gaza war, with its rising toll of death and destruction, as cease-fire talks ground forward and the Israeli tourism industry was upended as major foreign airlines extended their suspension of flights over fears of Palestinian rocket fire."
 
* U.N.: "The United Nations Human Rights Council voted to establish an inquiry into human rights violations in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories at a special session on Wednesday in which the top human rights official, Navi Pillay, said Israel and Hamas had likely committed war crimes with indiscriminate attacks on civilians."
 
* Intelligence released: "The Obama administration, detailing what it called evidence of Russian complicity in the downing of a Malaysian airliner, on Tuesday released satellite images and other sensitive intelligence that officials say show Moscow had trained and equipped rebels in Ukraine responsible for the attack."
 
* A career-ender for Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.)? "An examination of the final paper required for Mr. Walsh's master's degree from the United States Army War College indicates the senator appropriated at least a quarter of his thesis on American Middle East policy from other authors' works, with no attribution."
 
* House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is blasting President Obama for supporting a 2008 human trafficking law. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) is blasting President Obama for opposing the same 2008 human trafficking law. Hmm.
 
* Confirmation now appears certain: "The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved President Obama's pick to lead the troubled Veterans Affairs Department, sending his nomination to the full chamber. Senators voted 14-0 for former Procter & Gamble executive Robert McDonald to run the agency, which has been rocked by a scandal over falsified reports over how long veterans were waiting for care."
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) delivers remarks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition "Road to Majority" policy conference in Washington, June 19, 2014.

At the intersection of Ted Cruz and bad charts

07/23/14 05:01PM

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) really wants to deport Dream Act kids. I mean, he desperately wants to deport them. The far-right senator knows these young people have been living, working, and studying in the United States for most of their lives. And he knows America is the only home they've ever known.
 
But the Texas Republican has nevertheless made kicking these young people out of the country his "top priority." Cruz is approaching this with a zealotry that's rather unnerving, and he's urging other GOP lawmakers to do the same.
 
This is no excuse, however, for bad charts.
Fox and Friends host Brian Kilmeade

Fox hosts blast 911 calls from immigrants

07/23/14 04:00PM

There's obviously no point in getting too excited about every foolish remark uttered on "Fox & Friends," but this story by way of Emily Arrowood, is pretty extraordinary, even by Fox standards.
On July 23, Fox & Friends centered a discussion on how undocumented immigrants in Brooks County, Texas are "bombarding" the police department with 911 calls. Host Brian Kilmeade ... suggested Brooks County emergency response services might be strained because, "not only are they understaffed and lacking resources, now they've got to deal with illegal immigrants who have no business being here."
 
As an example, the program aired two emergency calls from Spanish speakers each identified on-screen as "Immigrant." In the first, a distressed male requests emergency assistance for his cousin, whom the man described as "turning blue." Another call featured a man and woman explaining to the 911 operator that they have not had access to water in three days.
During the on-air interview, Kilmeade asked the deputy, "So those calls, you have to respond to, even though for the most part, when you get there you realize, they're not even American citizens?"
 
Co-host Steve Doocy added his concerns about "a small Texas town" that's "forced to answer 911 from stranded illegals in Spanish."
 
How the show knows that Spanish-speaking people in Texas who call 911 are "illegal immigrants who have no business being here" is unclear. Maybe they're Spanish-speaking Americans with an emergency. Maybe they're tourists.
 
More important, though, is what "Fox & Friends" would recommend as a remedy to this perceived problem. Should there be some kind of test in which 911 operators check callers' citizenship status before dispatching first responders?
 
Let's pause for a quick refresher on the point of 911 operations.
Mothers from Honduras traveling with their children prepare to get into a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Services agent's truck after crossing the Rio Grande near McAllen, Texas, July 3, 2014.

What is the 'working group' working on, exactly?

07/23/14 12:50PM

It's been a few weeks since President Obama presented Congress with a pretty credible package to address the humanitarian crisis at the U.S./Mexico border. Congressional Republicans have made clear that they don't like the White House's proposed solution, though they have no alternative of their own.
 
At least, not yet. Robert Costa reports that House Republicans are nearly ready to present their own proposal, which would mandate deploying National Guard troops for no particular reason, and require reforms to the Bush/Cheney law that provides a legal process for these unaccompanied Central American children.
Rep. Kay Granger (R-Tex.), who led the House GOP "working group" tasked with tackling the issue, planned to share her team's recommendations during the closed-door weekly House Republican meeting. On her way in, carrying a binder of papers and pamphlets, Granger said a vote on her proposals "should happen right now."
 
"Every day that we delay, thousands more come across the border," she said.
Actually, no. That's incorrect. "In the first 14 days of July, Customs and Border Protection officials apprehended an average of 150 unaccompanied children per day in the Rio Grande Valley -- a figure that has plunged from about 355 per day in June," we learned yesterday.
 
Presumably, if an elected member of Congress is tasked to lead a "working group" on the border crisis, he or she would not only have access to detailed information, but would also know that claims such as "every day ... thousands more come across the border" aren't true.
 
It's important to have this policy debate, but it'll be a more constructive debate if policymakers stick to the facts.
 
And the facts tell us that despite the recent crisis, illegal immigration is actually down sharply.

Wednesday's Campaign Round-Up, 7.23.14

07/23/14 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items that won't necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:
 
* In North Carolina's closely watched U.S. Senate race, incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan (D) continues to hold on against state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R), with PPP showing her up by seven points, 41% to 34%. In May, PPP shows Hagan up by five.
 
* In related news, the Koch-affiliated Freedom Partners has reportedly made a $2.8 million ad buy in North Carolina in order to try to bring Hagan down.
 
* In Florida, a new Quinnipiac poll shows former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) leading incumbent Gov. Rick Scott (R) by five, 45% to 40% in a head-to-head match-up. When Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie is added to the mix, Crist still leads, but his advantage slips to just two points.
 
* In Colorado, PPP now shows Sen. Mark Udall (D) with a narrow, one-point lead over Rep. Cory Gardner (R), 44% to 43%.
 
* The same PPP poll out of Colorado shows an equally close gubernatorial race, with incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) also leading former Rep. Bob Beauprez (R), 44% to 43%.
 
* In Iowa, Republicans are going after Rep. Bruce Braley's (D) Senate campaign, attacking him for having missed a VA hearing in 2012. In an amusing twist, it turns out that Braley was in "Fast & Furious" hearing at the time, making this an odd thing for the GOP to complain about.
Leading Conservatives Attend 40th Annual CPAC

Obama, Rand Paul on 'opposite' sides of minimum wage

07/23/14 11:30AM

The Associated Press this week dove into Labor Department data and found something interesting: states that raised their minimum wage are creating more jobs than states that didn't. It's the kind of development that does no favors for Republican Party orthodoxy.
 
In light of the data, I thought prominent GOP figures might avoid the subject for a while, though Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) may have missed the memo.
 
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama gave a joint interview last month in which they said they hope their daughters work minimum-wage jobs -- just as the First Couple once did. "I think every kid needs to get a taste of what it's like to do that real hard work," Michelle Obama said.
 
The president added, "We are looking for opportunities for them to feel as if going to work and getting a paycheck is not always fun, not always stimulating, not always fair. But that's what most folks go through every single day."
 
It seemed pretty innocuous, though the Obamas' comments apparently bothered Rand Paul.
Speaking at a downtown conference for libertarian and conservative technology types [in San Francisco], the Kentucky Republican and prospective 2016 White House contender said he had an "opposite" view from the Obamas when it comes to seeing his own sons work delivering pizzas and at call centers.
 
"The minimum wage is a temporary" thing, Paul said. "It's a chance to get started. I see my son come home with his tips. And he's got cash in his hand and he's proud of himself. I don't want him to stop there. But he's working and he's understanding the value of work. We shouldn't disparage that."
I didn't hear a recording of Paul's comments, but I've read the Politico report a few times trying to make sense of the senator's argument. I'm just not sure what he was trying to say.

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