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Frank: House GOP scared to vote on Senate bill

12/20/11 09:51AM

What's happening today in Congress takes confusion and obfuscation to Olympic levels. House Republicans plan to vote on whether to conference with the Senate on extending the payroll tax cut for working families and unemployment insurance for people who can't find work.The measures are important enough for the economy that the U.S. Senate passed a two-month extension last week while the parties keep negotiating. Speaker John Boehner then spiked the deal, or if you prefer, his caucus spiked it for him.Now House Republicans are holding this conference question. read more

Morning Maddow: December 20

Morning Maddow: December 20

12/20/11 07:29AM

"Isn't it time for a president who looks like a 1970s game show host?"Add Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) to the list of people who worked with Newt Gingrich, and didn't endorse himHouse Republicans will kill the payroll tax cut extension today"Occupy Christmas"pledge to buy AmericanAT&T, not just dropping calls anymoreDocuments as old as America destroyed in EgyptKim Jong-Il lies in stateThe Obama Administration is still going with the whole, "drone? What drone?  We don't have any drones"-thing read more

Ahead on the 12/19 Maddow Show

12/19/11 06:37PM

Tonight's guests:Dave Weigel, political reporter for Slate.comCongressman Barney Frank, Democrat from MassachusettsJosh Rogin, staff writer for "Foreign Policy" magazine and author of the blog "The Cable."Here's executive producer Bill Wolff with a look at today's stories:  read more

The Yanggakdo Hotel in Pyongyang contains a mysterious, hidden fifth floor, a kind of bunker or meeting place. Calvin and his cohort found colorful propaganda posters, including this one. Calvin writes: 'Translation on the left side: "military first...

North Korea: A rare behind-the-scenes, inside-secret-corridors look

12/19/11 05:10PM

Calvin Sun took a trip to North Korea this past summer - one of the few Americans who have ever had the chance. He blogged about some fascinating (and seriously creepy) things he saw and experienced while there - even from inside his hotel.When we noticed that elevator buttons skipped the 5th floor of our hotel in Pyongyang, or that if you google “Yanggakdo Hotel” it auto-fills it to “Yanggakdo Hotel Floor 5″, we knew something was up. read more

The Right to Work for less, or more, or something, in Indiana

The Right to Work for less, or more, or something, in Indiana

12/19/11 03:57PM

Coordinating with the American Legislative Exchange Council, Indiana Republicans are again pushing a Right to Work law. Right to Work is often called "Right to Work for Less" by labor, because it effectively bans union shops and thus weakens unions' positions in collective bargaining.Republican State Senator Joe Buck had a barrel of fun trying to explain the rationale for this to the Kokomo Perspective:KP: So, is it about being able to pay a lesser wage to be more competitive?Buck: No, no. They’re already receiving a lesser wage due to inflation. read more

By the PowerPoint vested in me

By the PowerPoint vested in me

12/19/11 02:11PM

Here at MaddowBlog, we don't spend a lot of time on the wedding page, but this one gave me pause.Fast-lane New Yorkers David Friedlander and Jacqueline Schmidt were married recently. Any resemblance to a traditional wedding was purely accidental. Their nuptials were meant to instruct. According to the New York Times:"The wedding was probably the first in the city to be held as a kind of TED conference. read more

Waiting for work in Governor Haley's South Carolina

Waiting for work in Governor Haley's South Carolina

12/19/11 01:03PM

From my new favorite newspaper, the Charleston, South Carolina, Post and Courier:The pecans Felisa Rice collected off the side of a country road lined with tall trees and open fields will buy her what her college degree hasn't: food, soap, electricity.She quickly inspected the shells for cracks, tossed the damaged ones aside and slipped the others into a white plastic bag. Back in downtown Denmark, the pecans will sell for 85 or 95 cents a pound."We'll pick till we get tired," Rice said. "Sometimes you just got to do what you got to do, as long as it's legal. read more

Protesting Alabama's "Papers, please" law Saturday in Montgomery.

Freedom Riders return to Alabama

12/19/11 10:30AM

A couple of Freedom Riders made the trip back to Alabama this weekend to protest the state's anti-immigration law. The Reverend C.T. Vivian told the Alabama press:"White America has never seen anybody as fully human except other white people."Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and the legislature say they'll work to change the law, which has led to the embarrassing arrests of foreign executives who weren't carrying the right documents. Meanwhile, the Southern Poverty Law Center says federal authorities conducted at least three raids in heavily Latino neighborhoods in northern Alabama last week.  read more

Theory A: John Boehner is bad at his job (payroll tax cut edition)

12/19/11 09:34AM

If you're the Speaker of the House, it's your job to set your party's agenda and get your caucus on board for it. How then did we go from a supposed deal for a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut for working families to another race against the clock in Washington? Speaker John Boehner told Meet the Press yesterday: It's pretty clear that I and our members oppose the Senate bill. . . . If you talk to employers, they talk about the uncertainty. How can you do tax policy for two months? read more

Morning Maddow: December 19

12/19/11 07:46AM

The fight over the payroll tax cut extension is so not over.Romney is still a Bain man.Can't read enough about Callista Gingrich? Here's one for you.Rick Perry: beard tugger.Occupy Obama HQ.The AP takes a look at the impact of new EPA regulations on coal-fired power plants.The Koch brothers are hiring.North Korea reportedly conducts a short-range missile test. Which may or may not be related to this.He was the last American soldier to die in the Iraq war. read more

Kim Jong-Il

North Korea says Kim Jong-Il is dead

12/18/11 11:01PM

North Korean television reports that Kim Jong-Il is dead at the age of 69.  According to NBC's Jo Ling Kent the announcer on state TV was dressed in all black which "never happens."  As we continue to learn more regarding the circumstances of the North Korean dictator's death, a few things to know:1. In 2009 Kim Jong-Il reportedly picked his youngest son to succeed him.2. Forget "President;" Kim Jong-Il had a lot of titles.3. Vaclav Havel once wrote a stirring profile of Kim Jong-Il's sickening cruelty toward his own people.4. You can follow North Korean state TV here.5. read more

Links for the 12/16 TRMS

Links for the 12/16 TRMS

12/16/11 11:39PM

Links to material cited on the show: New Capitol access policy enactedOWS Nevada County Responds to Local Eviction - Eviction PostponedTake Back The Land NRA criticizes Delaware private sale legislation Point, click, fire: an undercover investigation of illegal online gun sales Making gun safety politically safe read more

The Whiskey Skin

12/16/11 09:31PM

The Whiskey Skin is a variation on a hot toddy. This recipe from David Wondrich's great book, "Imbibe!"Ingredients:WaterSugar (White sugar, demerara sugar -- depending on what you like)A lemonScotch (Good, scotchy scotch; a single malt, a good peaty one if you can get it, like Ardbeg from Islay)Preparation:Start by setting the water to boil. You want a heat proof mug.Wondrich calls for about a teaspoon of sugar. Rachel likes a little less than that. Then, you want a looooooong thin piece of lemon peel.If you're following the recipe properly, you just drop the peel in there. read more