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E.g., 7/8/2015
E.g., 7/8/2015

Battle flag's last stand and other headlines

07/06/15 08:00AM

Confederate flag's last stand at SC State House. (The State)

Global markets sink after Greece votes 'no' on historic referendum. (USA Today)

U.S.-led coalition unleashes wave of airstrikes on Syrian ISIS stronghold, Raqqa. (AP)

Ohio looks overseas in search for lethal drugs. (AP)

Medicare expected to pay for end-of-life talks. (Politico)

Former AG Eric Holder: U.S. may need to sue to enforce gay marriage ruling. (Wall Street Journal)

Veterans hotline tries to survive without Pentagon funds. (New York Times)

More than 1 million expected at Pope's Mass in South America.

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Week in Geek: The atomic science of fireworks

07/05/15 11:29AM

Every wonder how they make all those gorgeous explosions we all enjoyed yesterday? You guessed it -- SCIENCE.

The color you see is a result of the atoms in the fireworks reaching hot enough temperatures that the electrons inside get so excited they give off energy. This energy is emitted as light, or photons, as a result of the electron "falling" from a higher energy level to a lower one in its orbit around the atomic nucleus. The color of the light we see as a result depends on how far that electron "fell." Scientists characterize this distance using wavelength or frequency.

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A tablet of the Ten Commandments, which is located on the grounds of the Texas Capitol Building in Austin, Texas, is seen in a Tuesday Oct. 12, 2004 photo.

This Week in God, 7.4.15

07/04/15 08:30AM

First up from the God Machine this week is a major court ruling in Oklahoma, where state officials have been told to stop promoting one religion's scared tenets on the Capitol grounds. The Tulsa World reported this week:
The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday said the Ten Commandments monument at the state Capitol must be removed.
 
The plaintiffs said its placement at the Capitol constituted the use of public property for the benefit of a system of religion, which is banned by the Oklahoma Constitution.
State law isn't especially ambiguous. Section II-5 of the Oklahoma Constitution says public property can't be used to benefit or support any "sect, church, denomination, or system of religion," either directly or indirectly. When state lawmakers approved a monument to the Protestant version of the Ten Commandments, it was hard to even imagine how this could be legally permissible.
 
The state Supreme Court issued a 7-2 ruling against the government-endorsed religious display, siding in support of a suit brought by the ACLU of Oklahoma.
 
The Republican-led state legislature has been a little hysterical since the decision was handed down, and state House Speaker Jeff Hickman (R) said impeachment proceedings against the Supreme Court's majority "will be seriously considered."
 
Other state lawmakers are calling for repealing the relevant portion of the state Constitution, so that religion and government can be more easily merged together.
 
Legal controversies surrounding Oklahoma's official endorsement of the Ten Commandments have been percolating for a while, with a variety of other groups -- including Satanists and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster -- seeking equal treatment for their proposed monuments on the Capitol grounds. The argument has long been that Oklahoma can't play favorites -- if Christians can ignore the state Constitution and have a monument for their sacred text, so can everyone else. Either the door is open to everyone or no one.
 
At least for now, according to the state Supreme Court, the law requires the latter.
 
Also from the God Machine this week:
MaddowBlog World Cup Corner: Episode 7

MaddowBlog World Cup Corner: Episode 7

07/03/15 10:18AM

Lucas Vazquez and Kasey O'Brien TRMS World Cup correspondents (and intrepid interns) look at England's own-goal semi-final loss to Japan, sending Japan to meet the U.S. Women's National Team in a finals face-off Sunday. (Image credits: Ryan Remiorz/The... watch

Fireworks light up the sky over the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the U.S. Capitol on July 4, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Independence Day Weekend 2015

07/03/15 08:44AM

MaddowBlog will probably be pretty quiet today in honor of the 4th of July holiday weekend.

That said, I'll be around and may jump back in if there's a major, unexpected news development.
 
Looking ahead, readers should check back on Saturday morning -- there will be a new installment of "This Week in God" -- and we'll return to a normal schedule on Monday morning.
History made in bright, bold, personal color

History made in bright, bold, personal color

07/02/15 09:52PM

Rachel Maddow looks at the personal arc of Barbara Dunn, the clerk in Hinds County, Mississippi who was forced by law to turn down same-sex couples seeking a license to marry, and who this week had her photo taken a couple finally able to wed. watch

Fascinating 2016 race hints at deeper trends

Fascinating 2016 race hints at deeper trends

07/02/15 09:00PM

Rachel Maddow reviews the latest developments in the race for the presidency in 2016, from newly declared candidates, to web site challenges to newly released fundraising numbers, to signs of a surprising, unexplained, under-reported liberal movement. watch

Thursday's Mini-Report, 7.2.15

07/02/15 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
 
* Eurozone: "Greece will need more help from eurozone countries to manage its debt because the country's finances and economic performance have deteriorated since a new government took office, the International Monetary Fund said in a report on Thursday that is likely to further heighten tensions between Athens and its creditors."
 
* ISIS: "A U.S. coalition jet killed a senior leader who was one of the first terrorists to join ISIS in an attack in Syria last month, the Defense Department said Thursday. Tariq Bin-al-Tahar Bin al Falih al-Awni al-Harzi, a top fundraiser for the radical Islamist group, was killed June 16 in an airstrike over Shaddadi, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a spokesman for U.S. Northern Command."
 
* Measles? "Health officials on Thursday confirmed the country's first measles death since 2003, and they believe the victim was most likely exposed to the virus in a health facility in Washington state during an outbreak there."
 
* Immigration: "The Obama administration has begun a profound shift in its enforcement of the nation's immigration laws, aiming to hasten the integration of long-term illegal immigrants into society rather than targeting them for deportation, according to documents and federal officials."
 
* Philippines: "A ferry carrying 189 passengers and crew capsized Thursday minutes after it left a central Philippine port in choppy waters, leaving at least 36 dead and 26 others missing, coast guard officials said."
 
* This ought to be the basis for some interesting litigation: "The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that homeowners who have sustained injuries or property damage from rampant earthquakes they say are caused by oil and gas operations can sue for damages in state trial courts, rejecting efforts by the industry to block such lawsuits from being decided by juries and judges."
 
* $18.7 billion: "The Justice Department announced Thursday an $18.7 billion agreement with BP to settle civil claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The comprehensive agreement, the largest environmental settlement ever, includes the largest Clean Water Act fine in history as well as addressing other federal and state claims."

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About The Rachel Maddow Show

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.

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