Shira Springer, sports enterprise editor for the Boston Globe, talks with Rachel Maddow about how the NFL is making itself look worse as it attempts to control the damage to its image by a series of domestic violence scandals. watch
Rachel Maddow reviews the places in the world where the U.S. is already maintaining aerial bombing counterterrorism campaigns with no defined end as the list is set to grow to include ISIS in Iraq and potentially Syria, which is not open to that idea. watch
Seth Moulton, four-tour Iraq War veteran and Massachusetts Democratic congressional candidate, talks with Rachel Maddow about the slippery slope of "military advisory missions" and solving Iraq's security problems by addressing its political problems. watch
Rachel Maddow shares a glimpse of an odd diagram of names beginning with L and two small farms as a means of previewing a segment tomorrow in which the whole complicated affair will be explained. watch
* Coalition building: "Arab nations vowed on Thursday to 'do their share' to confront and ultimately destroy the Sunni extremist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The promise came after the nations' foreign ministers met [in Saudi Arabia] behind closed doors with Secretary of State John Kerry."
* Russia: "European leaders agreed on Thursday to go ahead with additional economic sanctions meant to punish Russia for its role in promoting separatist warfare in eastern Ukraine, officials in Brussels and Moscow said."
* Ferguson: "Newly released video allegedly showing the reaction of two new witnesses right after the Aug. 9 killing of Michael Brown suggests what nearly a half-dozen earlier witnesses have claimed -- that the unarmed teen was shot by a police officer while his hands were held up in surrender."
* Elsewhere in Missouri: "Police in Kansas City, Missouri say someone threw a Molotov cocktail at Rep. Emanuel Cleaver's (D-Mo.) office there early Thursday morning, breaking a window but failing to start a fire. Police responded to an alarm at Cleaver's office around 3:00 a.m."
* This was a longshot: "Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked a constitutional amendment meant to reverse two recent Supreme Court decisions on campaign spending. Senate Democrats needed 60 votes to end debate on the measure, but fell short in the 54-42 party-line vote."
* It's complicated: "The prospect of the first American attacks on Syrian soil during three years of brutal civil war captivated Syrians on Thursday, prompting intense debate over whether airstrikes on the extremist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria would help or harm President Bashar al-Assad, his armed Syrian opponents and war-weary civilians."
* This could take a while: "House GOP leaders are advocating for giving President Barack Obama some authority within the continuing resolution to arm Syrian rebels against the insurgent terrorist group known as the Islamic State or ISIS, according to several Republican lawmakers present at a Thursday morning members' meeting. But those lawmakers also cautioned that discussions on how to proceed were far from over."
* One more mission for Gen. Allen: "The Obama administration has tapped retired Marine Gen. John Allen to coordinate the international effort against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), according to The Associated Press. Allen will organize the efforts of nearly 40 countries around the world, according to the report."
* Responding to the GOP's new favorite position: "The Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization that aims to advance reproductive health policies, released a statement on Thursday calling Republicans' proposal on over-the-counter contraception 'troubling.'"
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) thinks he knows why tax reform hasn't worked out: this, like everything else, is all President Obama's fault.
The House's top tax writer on Wednesday rebuked President Obama for not releasing a detailed plan to overhaul the tax code.
"I think we all get elected to lead," Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said. "We need some leadership." [...]
Camp, appearing at an event with Jason Furman, one of Obama's top economic advisers, noted that the White House had only rolled out a general draft on business taxes well over two years ago. A more detailed proposal from Obama, Camp said, could give new life to the stalled tax reform effort.
According to the report in The Hill, Camp made the remarks at an event sponsored by the Business Roundtable, a group of top corporate chief executives. The Michigan Republican, who's stepping down this year after 12 terms in Congress, added on tax reform, "I could negotiate with myself. I don't think it would get anywhere.... But I can't really counter what I've done with nothing."
I have a strong suspicion that I'm one of only about seven people nationwide who find this interesting, and the reflexive "blame Obama" line grew tiresome quite a while ago.
But in this case, Camp's defense -- tax reform failed because the White House didn't follow through -- is so absurd, it requires some fact-checking.
This week in Georgia, state Sen. Fran Millar (R) caused a considerable stir complaining about early voting in the upcoming elections. As the Republican state lawmaker explained, he has concerns about Sunday voting in an Atlanta shopping mall "dominated by African American shoppers" and near "several large African American mega churches."
When his racially charged comments garnered attention, Millar refused to back down, writing on Facebook, "I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters."
Complicating matters, a recording of comments Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) made in July surfaced today to a group of Republican voters.
"In closing, I just wanted to tell you, real quick, after we get through this runoff, you know the Democrats are working hard, and all these stories about them, you know, registering all these minority voters that are out there and others that are sitting on the sidelines, if they can do that, they can win these elections in November."
Now, in context, Kemp didn't say efforts to "register all these minority voters" should be curtailed, only that Republicans should work harder to compensate, presumably by registering more non-minority voters.
But that's cold comfort. Georgia's Secretary of State is also the state's top elections official, responsible for the integrity of the system for all citizens, not just Republicans. It's hardly reassuring that he's concerned about one side of the political divide "registering all these minority voters."
Indeed, this is the same Kemp who recently subpoenaed "the records of the New Georgia Project, the state's largest voter registration effort, alleging the group has committed voter fraud." As Joan Walsh noted, the probe is so broad, it could tie up the voter-registration organization "indefinitely."
I can't speak to the merit of the allegations against the New Georgia Project, but it'd be easier to take the subpoenas seriously if Georgia's top elections official were more impartial and less partisan.
The political world is far better at focusing on a burgeoning crisis than following through on the resolution. There was a time last year, for example, when everyone was convinced the IRS "scandal" was a massive controversy comparable to Watergate. But when facts emerged and the allegations proved baseless, most lost interest and neglected to tell the public the "scandal" was bogus.
More recently, a lot of very serious claims surrounding Veterans Affairs turned out to be wrong. The falsehoods generated considerable national attention, while the truth was largely overlooked.
And then there's the humanitarian crisis at the U.S../Mexico border, including unaccompanied children from Central America. As recently as two months ago, this was labeled "Obama's Katrina" -- a crisis so severe that it would undermine Obama's presidency and raise lingering doubts about the efficacy of the federal government.
Danny Vinik noted this week that it turns out, this "might not be that big of a crisis anymore."
The Department of Homeland Security released new figures on the number of apprehensions along the Southwest border Monday and the numbers continue to plummet, for both unaccompanied children and adults with children. "In July the numbers of unaccompanied children were about half of what they were in June," DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement. "August was even lower -- lower than August 2013 and the lowest since February 2013."
Consider a chart I put together based on the Homeland Security data: