Bruce Berman, communications director for Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, talks with Rachel Maddow about the desperate situation in Massachusetts to deal with an overwhelming amount of snow, and the dangers of dumping that snow in rivers and the ocean. watch
Rachel Maddow shares video of Susan Selke, Clay Hunt's mother, speaking at a congressional signing ceremony for the veterans’ suicide prevention bill that bears her son's name, with President Obama's signature expected Thursday. watch
David Carr, New York Times media columnist, and Chris Smith, contributing editor for New York Magazine, talk with Rachel Maddow about the departures of Brian Williams, on six-month suspension from NBC News, and Jon Stewart, who is leaving The Daily Show. watch
Rachel Maddow reports breaking news that Jon Stewart is retiring from his job as host of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central, and pays tribute to a man who shaped the definition of news for a generation. watch
Rachel Maddow reports the breaking news that NBC News has suspended Brian Williams as Managing Editor and anchor of NBC Nightly News for six months without pay over misstating his role during a combat operation in the early days of the Iraq war. watch
Upon learning that several joggers at Bush's Pasture Park in Oregon's capital city of Salem had been attacked by an angry owl, the Rachel Maddow Show decided that, if nothing else, better signage was in order. The show presented a new option for the town to consider, and appealed to the audience for more ideas. To that end, the Rachel Maddow Show Owl Warning Sign Challenge was born, with viewers from across the country and even overseas submitting designs to better illustrate the threat to the park's unsuspecting passers-by.
Below are some of the highlights of the collection we received. Thanks to everyone who participated. Jog safely.
* Kayla Mueller: "American ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller is dead, the aid worker's family and the White House said Tuesday. The announcement came four days after ISIS claimed the 26-year-old Arizona native had been killed by a coalition airstrike in Syria."
* Heartbreaking: "Mueller was kidnapped by ISIS in August 2013 and her family has released a copy of an unpublished letter she wrote to her loved ones in the spring of 2014 while in captivity."
* Ukraine: "Negotiators meeting in Minsk, Belarus, reached a tentative deal for a cease-fire in Ukraine on Tuesday night, setting the stage for a meeting of the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France to sign the agreement on Wednesday, according to media reports."
* Nigeria: "Boko Haram Islamic extremists have abducted about 30 people including eight Cameroonian girls and killed seven hostages in two bus hijackings in Cameroon and Nigeria, Cameroon residents and a Nigerian intelligence officer said Tuesday."
* Iran nuclear deal: "Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose recent public pronouncements have usually been skeptical about the talks, promised in a speech to Iranian air force officials that 'I would go along with the agreement in the making,' the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported."
* Indictment: "The police officer who fired the shot that killed an unarmed man in a Brooklyn housing project in November has been indicted, according to three people familiar with the grand jury proceedings."
* The new Senate's first confirmation: "The Senate on Monday confirmed 92-0 President Obama's nominee to serve as the administration's 'czar' overseeing drug control policy. Michael Botticelli has served as acting director of the U.S. National Drug Control Policy since March, after previously working as deputy director starting in November 2012."
When it comes to the Bush/Cheney lies about Iraq, the consequences have been severe for the world. The political consequences for the those who told the lies, however, have been quite mild.
But for some, the observation itself is apparently offensive. Judge Laurence Silberman argued in the Wall Street Journal yesterday that to say the former president "lied" the nation into a disastrous war is "dangerous."
The charge is dangerous because it can take on the air of historical fact -- with potentially dire consequences. I am reminded of a similarly baseless accusation that helped the Nazis come to power in Germany: that the German army had not really lost World War I, that the soldiers instead had been "stabbed in the back" by politicians.
It's worth noting that Silberman's op-ed was directed at Ron Fournier, of all people, who's aggressive, unyielding hyper-centrism usually makes him the target of criticism from, well, me.
But in this case, Fournier apparently said on Fox News that George W. Bush "lied us into war in Iraq," a claim that Silberman considers "shocking," "dangerous," "false," and apparently the sort of thing that makes Silberman think of Nazis.
This puts me in the awkward position of defending Fournier, though the circumstances warrant it.
When it comes to the so-called "Republican war on voting," few figures are quite as notorious as Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R). The far-right official's antics during last fall's U.S. Senate race in Kansas were themselves remarkable, but even before then, Kobach has earned a reputation as a pioneer in voter-suppression tactics.
Not surprisingly, frequent claims about "voter fraud" -- a phenomenon that largely exists in the imagination of far-right activists -- have become a Kobach staple, though one particular incident is proving to be a real problem.
During last year's election, the Kansas Secretary of State chastised U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, complaining to the media that Kobach's office had referred examples of voter fraud to the Kansas-based federal prosecutor, but Grissom has refused to prosecute. Worse, Kobach said the U.S. Attorney didn't "know what he's talking about" when Grissom said voter fraud doesn't exist in Kansas.
The AP reports today that when Kobach made these claims, he appears to have been brazenly lying (thanks to my colleague Tricia McKinney for the heads-up).
[I]n a Nov. 6 letter sent from Grissom to Kobach and obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request, the prosecutor responded that his office received no such referrals from Kobach, and chided the secretary of state for his statements.
"Going forward, if your office determines there has been an act of voter fraud please forward the matter to me for investigation and prosecution," Grissom wrote. "Until then, so we can avoid misstatements of facts for the future, for the record, we have received no voter fraud cases from your office in over four and a half years. And, I can assure you, I do know what I'm talking about."
In recent years, one group has had more success at the Supreme Court than any other. It's not Republicans. It's also not conservatives, per se. It's not the NRA, the Koch brothers, or the religious right movement.
In Justice John Roberts' court, there's been a lot for the right to like, but Big Business and Corporate America have consistently found a friendly ear among the majority of the sitting justices. With this in mind, Stephanie Mencimer's report last night stood out as especially significant.
If getting rid of Obamacare is such a good idea, why isn't corporate America getting behind King v. Burwell, the Supreme Court case designed to demolish the Affordable Care Act? More than 52 different parties have weighed in with briefs in advance of oral arguments on March 4.... But not a single business group -- not the US Chamber of Commerce, not any of the health industry companies and trade groups that opposed the law when it was being drafted -- has presented a brief endorsing this lawsuit.
These outfits are either backing the Obama administration's attempt to defeat the suit or sitting out this case. Briefs in the case help explain why: Obamacare is working.
Mencimer pointed to a brief filed by the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), the nation's largest health care provider, which described the argument underpinning King v. Burwell as "absurd," while also making the argument that the system at risk in this case is working quite well, both for the public and for America's hospitals.
What's more, it's not just private medical institutions pushing against the ridiculous litigation. National Journalreported a couple of weeks ago that private insurers are doing the same thing.
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:
* Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) left yesterday for a trade excursion to London. As Rachel noted on the show last week, England has been political quicksand for several Republican presidential hopefuls, including Mitt Romney, Chris Christie, and Bobby Jindal.
* Jeb Bush's presidential operation hired Hipster.com co-founder Ethan Czahor to be the candidate's chief technology officer, but the move was not without controversy -- Czahor has published a variety of provocative online missives, including a variety of tweets that referred to women as "sluts."
* Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), demonstrating the kind of class and decency that's made him famous, insisted yesterday that only Muslims have President Obama's "undying" and "unfailing" support. The likely right-wing candidate added, in reference to the president, "Everything he does is against what Christians stand for, and he's against the Jews in Israel."
* There was some drama yesterday when tensions between Priorities USA and American Bridge, super PACs likely to support Hillary Clinton's campaign, boiled over. By late yesterday, however, the groups were "publicly mending fences."
* Kevin Hassett, a former economic adviser to Mitt Romney and John McCain, has a prediction for Clinton's 2016 message: "When Hillary Clinton runs, she's going to say, 'The Republicans gave us a crappy economy twice, and we fixed it twice. Why would you ever trust them again?'"
* Jim Merrill helped lead Romney's primary campaigns in 2008 and 2012, but in 2016, he'll be a senior adviser to Marco Rubio's operation.
During his tenure as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) made few friends. Democrats found his partisan antics offensive; reporters found his habit of leaking deceptive information infuriating, even Republicans tired of Issa's ineffectiveness.
When the gavel was passed to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), many hoped the transition would be for the better. Those hopes are being dashed.
Chaffetz and his Senate counterpart, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), are predictably unhappy about the FCC's newly announced support for net neutrality. But the far-right committee chairmen aren't just upset about the policy; they're alleging some kind of White House conspiracy.
Two congressional committees have launched investigations into whether the White House improperly influenced the net-neutrality proposal released last week by the head of the Federal Communications Commission. [...]
Although the president nominates the chairman and other FCC commissioners, the agency is independent and not supposed to be subject to White House control. [FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler] is a former lobbyist for the cable-TV and wireless industries and was a major fundraiser for Obama, who nominated him to head the FCC in 2013. Republicans have charged that Obama unduly influenced Wheeler's proposal.
Chaffetz and Johnson, the L.A. Times report noted, "cited a Wall Street Journal article last week that reported that two White House aides led a 'secretive effort' to build support from outside groups for tough net-neutrality regulations."
Kevin Drum noted in response, "Chaffetz must really be desperate. Does he seriously think that the president of the United States isn't allowed to try to mobilize outside support for his policy proposals? Or even that the White House isn't allowed to lobby FCC commissioners? That's just crackers."
I heartily agree, though when it comes to Republican opposition to net neutrality, it's arguably the second most bizarre story since the FCC's big announcement.
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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