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E.g., 9/17/2014

ISIS airstrikes and other headlines

09/10/14 07:54AM

Obama ready to authorize airstrikes on ISIS in Syria. (NY Times).

White House: Congress will have a role in ISIS strategy. (The Hill)

One last Congressional incumbent turfed out in the primaries. (NY Mag's Daily Intelligencer)

Kansas Democrat sues to get his name off the Senate ballot. (AP)

Ferguson residents demand 'justice for all' at City Council meeting. (MSNBC.com)

Breitbart News Network claims IRS harassment. (Politico)

Last night Missouri executed its 8th prisoner this year. (AP) A Texas inmate is scheduled to die tonight. (Reuters)

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Wendy Davis seeks to rouse dormant Democratic giant in Texas

09/10/14 03:23AM

Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, Democratic candidate for governor, talks with Rachel Maddow about how foregone conclusions about Republican election dominance has allowed the state's political discourse to stagnate and fostered a sense of hopelessness among Democrats and groups likely to vote Democratic. In her first cable news interview since the publication of her new memoir, "Forgetting to be Afraid," Davis explains why she thinks this burgeoning electorate is powerful enough to put her in the governor's office.

Video and transcript after the jump...

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Ahead on the 9/9/14 TRMS

09/09/14 07:06PM

Tonight's guests:

  • Robert Costa, national political reporter for The Washington Post
  • Wendy Davis, Texas state senator, Democratic candidate for governor, author of the newly released, "Forgetting to be Afraid"
  • Xeni Jardin, editor, tech culture journalist, BoingBoing.net

Here's executive producer Cory Gnazzo with a look at what's coming up tonight:

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Tuesday's Mini-Report, 9.9.14

09/09/14 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
 
* I'll never fully understand how the right perceives this as nothing: "The U.S. military says it launched five more airstrikes in support of Iraqi government troops and Sunni tribesmen protecting the Haditha Dam against fighters of the Islamic State group that controls parts of northern and western Iraq."
 
* Syria: "An explosion killed the leader of one of Syria's most powerful Islamist insurgent groups Ahrar al-Sham on Tuesday, the group said, and an organization that monitors violence in the civil war said at least 28 of its commanders had died."
 
* Encouraging economic news: "The number of U.S. job openings remained near the highest level in 13 years in July, and companies also stepped up hiring that month to the fastest pace in nearly seven years, two signs the job market is slowly healing."
 
* Additional sanctions on Russia? "The Obama administration is putting the finishing touches on a new round of sanctions against Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis."
 
* Climate crisis: "Levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose at a record-shattering pace last year, a new report shows, a surge that surprised scientists and spurred fears of an accelerated warming of the planet in decades to come."
 
* Hopefully not the last hearing on the militarization of local police: "Senators blasted the Pentagon on Tuesday for providing police forces with an overabundance of military equipment, which they say laid the groundwork for what unfolded in Ferguson, Mo., last month."
 
* Republican Bob McDonnell is out at Jerry Falwell's college: "Ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has lost his teaching gig at Liberty University. The Christian college announced on Friday they had ditched the disgraced politician after he was convicted on multiple federal corruption charges."
 
* The cast of "Fox & Friends" argued this morning that domestic violence "is a very serious issue to us." There was reason to believe otherwise yesterday.
NEW US SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT GATES IS SWORN IN

'Most of us think we did the right thing in Iraq'

09/09/14 04:52PM

Following up on this morning's report, Dick Cheney was on Capitol Hill once again today, delivering yet another round of advice to congressional Republicans on foreign policy as if he still has credibility on the subject. The failed former vice president was reportedly "greeted with affection," and received standing ovations from the assembled GOP lawmakers.
 
This seemed to summarize the ridiculousness of the scenario nicely.
Asked if he saw any irony in Cheney coming to talk to Republicans about next steps in Iraq, [New York Rep. Peter King] said firmly, "No, because most of us think we did the right thing in Iraq."
And there it is. Even now, years later, as the world struggles with the consequences of a disastrous war, which the Bush/Cheney team handled in the most incompetent, dishonest, and corrupt ways possible, congressional Republicans look back and think, "Yep, that was a smart move."
 
If anyone ever wonders why credible debates over foreign policy seem so incredibly difficult right now, look no further than the fact that "most" congressional Republicans consider the worst foreign-policy catastrophe in a generation "the right thing."
 
Indeed, the Huffington Post's report on GOP reactions to Cheney's remarks -- journalists were not allowed to hear or see the gathering -- were disheartening.
 
Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, responded, "What he talked about was we've, Republicans, have had a position on peace through strength. You look at all the Republican presidents we've had back to [Dwight] Eisenhower. You know they all understand, if you're not strong, then you invite aggression. When you invite aggression, you end up with people getting killed.... It's important to be strong, and that's what he talked about."
 
This will no doubt be disappointing to the pro-weakness contingent of American politics.
 
I mean, really. If we're "not strong" we "invite aggression"? This is empty, meaningless rhetoric. In the Reagan/Bush era, attacks on U.S. diplomatic outposts around the globe reached unprecedented heights, including the deadly assaults in Beirut in 1983. The size of the Pentagon budget and our commitment to presenting a "strong" posture were irrelevant.

Georgia Republican makes the case against Sunday voting

09/09/14 04:06PM

When it comes to Republican efforts to restrict voting rights, some arguments are easier than others. Voter-ID laws, for example, are awful and unnecessary, but on the surface, the right can at least sell the idea in a coherent way by raising the specter of "fraud." It's why polls generally show pretty consistent support for voter-ID measures -- they needlessly disenfranchise many Americans, but most of the public doesn't know that.
 
But other aspects of the "war on voting" are much harder to defend, even on a rhetorical level. Why, for example, would Republican policymakers oppose voting the Sunday before the election? If most people in the community have the day off, and find Sunday voting convenient, why deny voters that opportunity?
 
As a rule, GOP officials opposed to Sunday voting have a tough time rationalizing the policy -- though they keep trying to cut off Sunday voting anyway -- but Rick Hasen brings our attention to an interesting report out of Georgia.
 
Apparently, DeKalb County, home to Atlanta, has extended early voting to include Oct. 26 -- a Sunday -- with a polling station at a popular local shopping mall. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported, it led state Sen. Fran Millar (R) to write an angry response.
"How ironic! Michele [sic] Obama comes to town and Chicago politics comes to DeKalb. [...]
 
"Now we are to have Sunday voting at South DeKalb Mall just prior to the election. Per Jim Galloway of the AJC, this location is dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches such as New Birth Missionary Baptist. Galloway also points out the Democratic Party thinks this is a wonderful idea -- what a surprise. I'm sure Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter are delighted with this blatantly partisan move in DeKalb.
 
"Is it possible church buses will be used to transport people directly to the mall since the poll will open when the mall opens? If this happens, so much for the accepted principle of separation of church and state."
Hmm. Let's unpack this a bit, because it offers a fascinating perspective.

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