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The problem with Boehner's logic

The problem with Boehner's logic

04/24/12 03:48PM

This tweet from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) probably wasn't intended to be important, but it's an astonishing message.Let's back up for a moment. At issue is a 2007 law, set to expire on July 1, which keeps the interest rate for federal Direct Stafford Loans at 3.4%. If Congress fails to act, the rate will double, affecting more than 7.4 million students, who'll face, on average, an additional $1,000 in debt. read more

Scott Brown makes Romney's life more complicated

Scott Brown makes Romney's life more complicated

04/24/12 03:23PM

Sen. Scott Brown (R) seems to believe Elizabeth Warren's personal finances are of the utmost importance in this year's Senate race in Massachusetts. To that end, the Republican is releasing his tax returns for the last six years, and wants his Democratic challenger to do the same. That wouldn't be especially noteworthy were it not for the larger context. read more

Bringing the big sky to the Big Apple

Bringing the big sky to the Big Apple

04/24/12 02:57PM

Montana's Governor Brian Schweitzer has trucked some big rigs across the country to New York City to promote tourism to his state (and a new airplane route to serve that purpose). TRMS staffer Andy Dallos popped out of the office to get a look and see if he could pick up some of the give-away jerky mentioned in the press release. Sure enough, he found the governor pressing the flesh and trying to draw as much attention as possible. read more

Rick Scott's sense of irony

Rick Scott's sense of irony

04/24/12 02:17PM

Republican policymakers at the local, state, and federal level are targeting new restrictions in women's health; congressional Republicans are balking at the Violence Against Women Act; and GOP leaders, including the party's presumptive presidential nominee, won't take a stand in support of fair-pay laws for women.Leave it to Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) to find a way to make matters worse.On April 17, smack in the middle of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed $1.5 million for the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence. read more

Competing for the youth vote

04/24/12 01:35PM

In the 2008 presidential election, there was a striking age gap -- Obama not only beat McCain among younger voters, he did so by a two-to-one margin. Of all the various constituencies, some of Obama's strongest support came from voters under 30.But with younger workers struggling, and political disillusionment not uncommon, Mitt Romney thinks he can close the gap, at least a little, and perform far better than the McCain/Palin ticket did four years ago. read more

Tuesday's campaign round-up

04/24/12 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:* Newt Gingrich is apparently still a presidential candidate, though he acknowledged yesterday, "I think we need to take a deep look at what we are doing."* There's no doubt that Mitt Romney will do very well in each of today's Republican primaries, but the margins of victory may tell us something about whether, and to what extent, GOP voters are rallying behind him.* For months, the Obama campaign has said it considers Arizona a competitive stat read more

Counting on the Thurston Howell demographic

Counting on the Thurston Howell demographic

04/24/12 11:38AM

We've reported many times on the degree to which Mitt Romney's presidential campaign has relied on votes from wealthy Republicans to help his candidacy thrive during the Republican primaries. But let's also not forget the role of the Thurston Howell demographic when it comes to financial support.BuzzFeed's Zeke Miller recently noted that the most recent federal campaign finance filings help show that Romney is "more dependent on wealthy donors" than any modern major-party nominee. read more

It all boils down to physics

It all boils down to physics

04/24/12 11:22AM

Turns out physics can explain more than just why a ball bounces or a tea kettle whistles. Physics can also help explain why American politics is so polarized. We discovered this when Rachel was cited in a physics paper (pdf) published this month by the American Physical Society.In the paper, researchers working with the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems devised a model of society. Red and green nodes represent people with different political persuasions, like Democrats and Republicans, and the gray lines between them represent communication, dialogue. read more

A solution in search of a problem

A solution in search of a problem

04/24/12 10:54AM

Fox News ran a curious special report the other day called, "Fox News Reporting: Stealing Your Vote." The ostensible point of the report was to justify Republican efforts to place new restrictions on Americans' access to the ballot box, as we've seen in recent years with a slew of voter-ID laws.And while Fox was able to highlight some actual, real-world incidents, there were a couple of notable problems with the report. For one thing, these were isolated incidents, some of them several years old, and represent an infinitesimally small percentage of the larger voter-participation rate. read more

Remember the 'ban' on earmarks?

04/24/12 10:11AM

It seems like a long time ago, but at this point two years ago, Republican congressional candidates were running on an anti-earmark platform. Illinois Republican Robert Schilling, for example, told voters two weeks before the 2010 midterms, "We need earmark reform that improves transparency, roots out corruption and eliminates wasteful spending.... read more

Romney shakes the Etch A Sketch on student aid

04/24/12 09:22AM

As we discussed on Friday, an important fight is brewing over student loan interest rates, with policymakers facing a July deadline before rates for federal Direct Stafford Loans double. If Congress doesn't act, more than 7.4 million students will face, on average, an additional $1,000 in debt.The Obama White House and congressional Democrats are eager to keep rates where they are, while congressional Republicans want the lower rates to expire in two months. Yesterday, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced he agrees with ... the left. read more

Wal-Mart faces criminal probe in bribery scandal

Wal-Mart faces criminal probe in bribery scandal

04/24/12 08:40AM

Over the years, retail behemoth Wal-Mart has been the subject a fair number of controversies, most of which have related to union busting and immigration abuses. But the New York Times' David Barstow has helped uncover a different kind of scandal, and this one may lead to criminal charges.In September 2005, a senior Wal-Mart lawyer received an alarming e-mail from a former executive at the company's largest foreign subsidiary, Wal-Mart de Mexico. read more

Will he have to give the gavel back in January?

Boehner frets over his job security

04/24/12 08:00AM

Exactly three months ago today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) boasted that it would be "nearly impossible" for his Republican caucus to lose its majority this year -- or at any point in the coming decade.Does Boehner believe his majority is secure because House Republicans are responsible lawmakers who've impressed the American electorate and earned voters' trust? Not exactly. read more

Morning Maddow: April 24

04/24/12 07:40AM

It's primary day! 5 states are voting for a Republican nominee.Gingrich's campaign may depend on how he does in Delaware today.As Virginia debates Voter I.D., a report finds zero cases of the kind of voter fraud the law addresses.The financial forecast for Social Security is a little grimmer than it was last year.The Senate votes on proposals to reform the U.S. Postal Service today. (Useful anti-union context from Matt Taibbi here).James Cameron and other rich guys are about to announce a big space venture (maybe to mine unobtainium?).Today's Google doodle is pretty neat: read more

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