Congressman Elijah Cummings talks about what role Congress can play in bringing change to improve the lives of people in Baltimore, mentioning specifically the damaging effects of austerity measures enacted after the 2008 economic crash. watch
Rachel Maddow reports on Chris Christie ally David Wildstein pleading guilty in the New Jersey bridge scandal case, and federal indictments for Bill Baroni, Christie’s top Port Authority appointee, and Bridget Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staf watch
New York going for the gold in the corruption olympics this year. Leader of House *and* leader of the Senate, too? http://t.co/wkklLLSNul
Rachel Maddow sums up the day's events in Baltimore, and Joy-Ann Reid, national correspondent for MSNBC interviews a pair of parents about how they explain the events of the past week to their young children. watch
* Baltimore: "Hundreds of people spilled into the streets of a riot-torn neighborhood in Baltimore on Friday after the city's chief prosecutor announced criminal charges against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray."
* The former Chris Christie aide who wrote the "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" email now wants everyone to know how innocent she is.
* Nigeria: "Nigeria's military on Thursday vowed to free more hostages from Boko Haram after nearly 500 were released from atrocious conditions this week in the group's Sambisa Forest stronghold."
* This may be a very big deal: "[Tesla Motors] announced that it is offering a home battery product, which people can use to store energy from their solar panels or to backstop their homes against blackouts, and also larger scale versions that could perform similar roles for companies or even parts of the grid."
* A start: "Instances of sexual assault among U.S. service members have fallen over the past year, a new report suggested on Friday, but Pentagon officials said more work remains to be done on preventing retaliation against those who report abuse."
* Important safety rules: "The Obama administration imposed tougher safety regulations Friday for trains carrying crude oil, responding to growing alarm about a series of fiery derailments that killed dozens of people in a small Canadian town and have rattled U.S. communities from North Dakota to Alabama to Virginia."
* $10.10 is solast year: "Top Democrats laid down their minimum-wage marker on Capitol Hill on Thursday, setting up their party's middle-class-focused economic message heading into the 2016 elections campaigns. Their pitch: '$12 by '20' -- a $12 per hour federal minimum wage by 2020, which they say will give a pay raise to nearly 38 million Americans."
A Senate panel held a hearing with officials from the National Institutes of Health this week, and nearly two hours into the discussion, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) noticed something interesting: no one had mentioned Ebola at all.
It was just last fall when much of the political world was experiencing a election-season breakdown over the virus, and now, even in discussions with NIH officials, it's relegated to an afterthought.
Sam Stein's report added that it's a good thing the Washington Democrat broached the subject, because "the news that the NIH had to share was decidedly positive."
"From a public health standpoint, the number of cases in West Africa has diminished dramatically," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "There hasn't been a case in Liberia in almost 40 days, which means that the country of Liberia very likely will be declared Ebola-free very soon." [...]
Researchers running trials on vaccines, Fauci said, were seeing promising results: The vaccine was proving safe, and the outcomes were similar to those of earlier monkey trials. But because cases of Ebola were on the decline, he added, "it might be difficult to actually prove on an incident basis that the vaccine does actually work."
Fauci acknowledged there are challenges elsewhere, most notably in Guinea, but it's easy to feel encouraged about the progress and the efficacy of the U.S. response.
It was just last October when Republican pundits, including Peggy Noonan, said that if the Obama administration failed to impose a travel ban, she was "certain" that Ebola cases in the United States would grow. That same week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) announced plans to introduce legislation imposing such a policy, banning U.S. visas for nationals from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.
President Obama ignored Rubio and Noonan, choosing instead to listen to actual experts. In retrospect, that was apparently a good idea.
Back in January, it was unsettling to learn that on the same day the nation honors Martin Luther King Jr., three states -- Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi -- also celebrate a statewide holiday honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's birthday.
When Arkansas lawmakers considered a proposal soon after to end the Lee commemoration, the Republican-led legislature rejected the recommendations, citing the importance of "Southern heritage."
This week, it was equally interesting to learn that Confederate Memorial Day still exists in parts of the deep South.
One city block and 150 years from the first White House of the Confederacy, descendants of Confederate soldiers gathered outside the Alabama Capitol on Monday to celebrate Confederate Memorial Day.
In Montgomery, the first official capital of the Confederacy, nearly 100 convened for the commemoration.
One of the organizers told the local Sun Herald that in the years since the Civil War, "the why and for what Confederate soldiers fell has undergone a dramatic change in this country at the feet of the new unholy trinity of political correctness, multiculturalism and diversity."
The same report added that Alabama isn't alone: Mississippi and Georgia also recognize Confederate Memorial Day.
In fact, all three states recognize Confederate Memorial Day as an official state holiday, in which state offices are closed.
Without any hint of irony, Karl Rove, still a prominent figure in American media, devotes his latest Wall Street Journalcolumn to complaining about President Obama leaving behind "messes" for his successor to clean up in 2017.
Even at face value, Rove's missive is hard to take seriously. Economic growth has improved under Obama, but Rove complains the growth has been too slow. Job growth has soared under Obama, but Rove complains it's not enough. The deficit has shrunk under Obama, but Rove complains about the size of the debt. Medicare's finances are on far stronger footing thanks to Obama, but Rove complains about "squandered" opportunities at "reforms."
How, oh how, Rove wonders, will Republicans "clean up the mess Mr. Obama will leave."
Rove's column makes no reference -- literally, not one -- to the fact that his old boss left the biggest mess in modern American history for President Obama to clean up. Jon Chait wonders if the poor GOP strategist is suffering from some kind of "post-traumatic shock" stemming from his failures in the Bush/Cheney White House.
[Rove is] the victim of a severe psychological trauma that has rendered him unable to recollect anything that transpired between January 2001 and 2009, when he masterminded one of the most disastrous presidencies in American history, an ordeal that is the possible source of his trauma. Thus, Rove wanders the Earth in a haze, experiencing hazy flashbacks to a history he cannot recall and expressing his anguish in the form of op-ed columns.
Quite right. The delicious irony of Rove's complaints -- the detail that makes him a truly great performance artist, blind to his own genius -- is that each of his complaints focus on an area of economic policy that George W. Bush made considerably worse (and Obama has made better).
In other words, the strategist's entire column, when considered in context, is one of the more amusing possible rebukes of the Obama presidency: Karl Rove isn't satisfied with the speed with which Obama has improved upon Bush's failures.
But Chait's response, though compelling, overlooks a key detail: Rove's breathtaking failures of self-awareness are part of a chronic condition that's become quite alarming.
We talked earlier about Gov. Chris Christie's (R) longtime ally, David Wildstein, pleading guilty this morning to two counts of conspiracy, stemming from his role in the "Bridgegate" scandal. Wildstein's court appearance shed considerable light on the controversy, including the fact that Team Christie crippled Fort Lee on purpose -- deliberately choosing the first day of school -- to punish a local mayor for failing to endorse the governor's re-election campaign.
Soon after Wildstein's court appearance, however, another shoe fell when his co-conspirators from Team Christie were indicted on federal criminal charges.
At the federal court [in Newark], David Wildstein acknowledged conspiring with Bill Baroni, Christie's then-top Port Authority appointee, and Bridget Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich. [...]
At a press conference, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said Baroni and Kelly were charged by a federal grand jury in a nine-count indictment unsealed Friday. Fishman said Wildstein and Baroni executed a political "vendetta" against Sokolich. Among other charges, they are each accused of conspiring to misuse -- and actually misusing -- property of an organization receiving federal benefits, conspiring to commit wire fraud, conspiring to injure and oppress certain individuals' civil rights.
Their arraignment is scheduled for Monday morning.
And then, of course, there's still the matter of Christie himself.
After dominating headlines for a while last year, Gov. Chris Christie's (R) "Bridgegate" scandal seemed to largely fade from public view. The Republican governor liked to pretend the story was over, and he said the abuse scandal shouldn't undermine his presidential ambitions
But the investigation didn't end, and today, it snared a top former Christie ally.
A former ally of Gov. Chris Christie pleaded guilty Friday to helping to engineer traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge in 2013 and concocting a cover-up along with two other officials with close ties to Christie. [...]
Wildstein, an official at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey at the time of the tie-ups, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy.
We learned this morning that Wildstein and his co-conspirators from Team Christie deliberately chose to cripple Fort Lee, New Jersey on the first day of school in September 2013. The idea was to maximize the impact of their scheme, and choosing the day in which schools opened meant exacerbating the traffic gridlock.
Wildstein also admitted this morning that he ignored calls for relief from Fort Lee's mayor.
As for the lingering questions as to why, exactly, the governor's aides sought to punish the community so severely, WNBC's report noted that Wildstein "told a judge the intent of the lane closures ... was political retribution against Fort Lee's Democratic mayor for failing to endorse Christie's gubernatorial re-election bid."
That was why it was "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."
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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