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Tuesday's Mini-Report

Tuesday's Mini-Report

01/31/12 05:32PM

Today's edition of quick hits:* How are the Eurozone talks progressing? Slowly. Keep an eye on whether the European Central Bank will forgo future profits on its Greek bonds.* Russia is blocking diplomatic efforts to condemn the Syrian government. read more

Romney on health reform, then and now, II

01/31/12 04:40PM

James Carter adds more evidence that Mitt Romney advocated health reform with an individual mandate as a national solution, before he opposed it. James posts this video from a speech Romney gave in April 2006 to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:"I hope we continue to elect representatives on both sides of the aisle that want to see this work and want to see the market as the approach to getting everybody insured. read more

Taking the STOCK Act one step further

Taking the STOCK Act one step further

01/31/12 03:48PM

In his State of the Union address, President Obama urged lawmakers to reduce the "deficit of trust" between Washington and the rest of the country, in part through a series of institutional reforms. At the top of the list: banning insider trading by members of Congress and limiting elected officials "from owning stocks in industries they impact."Those are two related ideas, but they're not quite identical. The "STOCK Act" is already pending in the Senate, and it's a companion measure to a House bill intended to restrict insider trading on Capitol Hill. But Sen. read more

When defensiveness leads to dishonesty

When defensiveness leads to dishonesty

01/31/12 02:28PM

No candidate ever wants to give the impression that he or she bought a campaign victory, even if it's true. Just on principle, it looks unseemly.With that in mind, it's understandable that Mitt Romney would feel a little defensive -- he's put his flush coffers to good use in each of the nominating contests thus far, taking full advantage of his massive financial edge. read more

A 30-foot valentine

A 30-foot valentine

01/31/12 01:03PM

Lonnie Anderson is a famous guy, at least in Albuquerque. Every year he makes a giant valentine, like the 30-foot-tall flowers pictured above. Anderson made them out of cardboard boxes and gave them to his wife, Anne Bolger-Witherspoon. He writes:All of this started when I was a kid and we were visiting my grandmother at the diner where she worked as a waitress. She was older than the other girls who worked there and on Valentines day all the younger girls had roses and candy, but my grandmother had nothing. My grandfather didn't believe in presents. read more

It's a Toyota accelerator pedal.

Dan Burton exits stage right

01/31/12 12:33PM

Rep. Dan Burton (R) of Indiana, facing another serious primary challenger, announced this morning that he will not seek re-election.Burton's lengthy career -- the right-wing Hoosier is currently in his 15th term -- has at least been memorable. The lawmaker has been accused of some highly suspicious fundraising and ties to unsavory international thugs, as well as having a scandalous personal life. read more

Tuesday's campaign round-up

01/31/12 12:00PM

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:* In the wake of the recent caucus fiasco, Matt Strawn, the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, is stepping down from his post.* Just about all of the recent polls out of Florida show Mitt Romney winning today's primary by double digits. By the time the results are announced tonight, none of the GOP candidates will even be in the state.* There's a U.S. read more

The efficacy of the Affordable Care Act

01/31/12 11:28AM

Harold Pollack and Greg Anrig make the case this week that President Obama brushed past the Affordable Care Act in his State of the Union address, which is a shame because the health-reform law has become a "quiet triumph."urprising even to many advocates of health care reform, evidence is emerging that the ACA is already improving life for millions of average Americans. It is promoting long-overdue fundamental changes in our dysfunctional medical system. read more

Indiana may drug-test lawmakers

Indiana may drug-test lawmakers

01/31/12 10:33AM

Remember when Florida's legislature mandated drug-testing for welfare applicants, and writer Carl Hiaasen challenged lawmakers to get tested themselves? Meet the Indiana House, where Republicans are also pushing a measure to require drug screens for welfare recipients.Last week, Indiana House member Jud McMillin, a Republican, proposed testing people on welfare. Democrats argued that for consistency's sake, Indiana should drug-test lawmakers, too -- why should lawmakers make the poor jump through hoops that they're not willing to go through themselves? read more

The House's misplaced priorities

01/31/12 10:01AM

With Congress' approval rating reaching depths unseen since the dawn of modern polling, self-interested lawmakers should probably focus at least some of their attention on addressing actual problems.House Republicans apparently disagree. read more

Grimm makes a name for himself

Grimm makes a name for himself

01/31/12 09:21AM

Plenty of politicians make their way to Capitol Hill and hope to get noticed during their first year. As a rule, that's not easy for a freshman -- to borrow a line from "Arrested Development," rookie lawmakers are generally supposed to be neither seen nor heard.Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), meanwhile, has a very different kind of problem. read more

McConnell's revisionist history

McConnell's revisionist history

01/31/12 08:41AM

Given that 2009 and 2010 really weren't that long ago, one would like to think Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would remember them. It was, after all, just one Congress ago.And yet, McConnell has begun arguing that White House officials have been "trying to pretend like the president just showed up yesterday, just got sworn in and started fresh. In fact, he's been in office three years. He got everything he wanted from a completely compliant congress for two of those three years."This is a popular claim in Republican circles. It's also demonstrably false. read more

An increasingly unappealing field

An increasingly unappealing field

01/31/12 08:00AM

At this point in the nominating process, it stands to reason that Republican voters would start finding the field of candidates more appealing. The presidential hopefuls have been available for nearly a year; GOP voters have gotten to know them and their agendas pretty well; and the various party constituencies should have settled on a favorite by now.And yet, as the Pew Research Center found, rank-and-file Republicans are finding themselves less satisfied with their presidential choices, not more. read more

Morning Maddow: January 31

01/31/12 07:21AM

 Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for the song stylings of Mitt Romney.Florida, Florida, Florida.The other big election of the day.Today we find out who those big donors to Super PACs are.Obama defends drones.For House Republicans it's jobs, jobs, jobs making English the official language. Funding transportation in an age of cost cutting.LOTR in LEGO!  read more

Flying people in New York City

01/31/12 12:41AM

The username on the video is ChronicleNYC, so presumably this is a promotion for that new movie about the telekinetic teens. Regardless, my brain accepts three people flying in front of the Lower Manhattan skyline so easily it's embarrassing. read more

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