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Folks waiting outside the Saban Theatre for Writers Bloc with Rachel Maddow and Bill Maher.

Coast to coast love

04/18/12 06:00PM

 We may have snuck a palm tree or two back on the plane. Maybe.Stay tuned for more pictures this weekend and next weekend, as Rachel's book tour for "Drift" continues! Many thanks to our West Coast TRMS friends for the love. read more

Wednesday's Mini-Report

04/18/12 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:* In an awful new controversy, some U.S. paratroopers took photographs of themselves posing with Afghan human body parts.* The Zimmerman trial: "The Florida judge overseeing the murder case against George Zimmerman stepped aside on Wednesday at the request of Mr. read more

Thomas Friedman's bad habits

Thomas Friedman's bad habits

04/18/12 04:50PM

If New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman hoped to get people talking with his column today, it was a sterling success -- I've lost count of how many pieces I've read today about Friedman's latest submission. The responses haven't exactly been positive, but at Friedman can at least take comfort in knowing his column is being read.Before getting into his latest piece, I wanted to note a little context. read more

The growing importance of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

04/18/12 02:22PM

Yesterday, as you may have heard, was Equal Pay Day. It's the day that marks how much longer American women have to work to earn the same amount of money American men make in the same positions -- so if we use Jan. 1, 2011 as a starting date, what men made as of Dec. read more

Kobach on Romney role: 'Nothing's changed'

04/18/12 01:26PM

In a rather blatant "Etch A Sketch" moment, the Romney campaign yesterday tried to distance the presumptive Republican nominee from Kris Kobach, the architect of harsh, right-wing immigration measures and a leading Romney advisor on immigration policy.It seemed like an odd move. Kobach has, after all, boasted several times about taking a leading role with Team Romney, advising the former governor "directly" on immigration.Now it appears Kobach is taking additional steps to make clear that he's still an influential Romney insider. read more

The 'Woman's Option to Raise Kids' Act

04/18/12 12:41PM

One of the overarching lessons of the last week, apparently, is that Democrats and Republicans agree that stay-at-home moms are, indeed, working and should be respected for it. Ryan Grim reports that Rep. Pete Stark of California, a top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, wants to put this agreement to the test.Under current law, raising children does not count toward the required "work activity" that must be performed by recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, the federal program that emerged from the 1996 welfare reform. read more

Wednesday's campaign round-up

04/18/12 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 national polling, a Pew Research Center poll shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney, 49% to 45%; a Reuters poll shows Obama leading Romney, 47% to 43%; and a New York Times/CBS News poll shows them tied at 46% each.* In Florida, arguably the nation's most important swing state, Public Policy Polling shows Obama leading Romney by five, 50% to 45%.* In the special election to fill the seat vacated by Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, the parti read more

Getting an earful from regular folks

04/18/12 10:55AM

Mitt Romney appeared in the Pittsburgh area yesterday, and participated in a "tax day roundtable" with eight regular folks at a park bench. Unfortunately for the presumptive Republican nominee, they didn't stick to the script.I realize it's setting the bar too low, but Romney probably deserves at least some credit for speaking to voters who hadn't been told what to say in advance. But spontaneity comes with a price -- these Pittsburgh-area voters said they don't want to see cuts to education and they're comfortable with some tax increases.ThinkProgress posted a video of the chat.Remember. read more

Wild, wild West

04/18/12 10:08AM

It's been about a week since Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) insisted that members of House Progressive Caucus are secretly "members of the Communist Party." The unhinged congressman began fundraising off his tirade soon after.Some pesky journalists continue, however, to ask West what in the world he was thinking. Here was an answer the right-wing politician offered yesterday (thanks to our pal James Carter for posting and passing along the clip):The video is worth watching, in part because it's a peek into the mind of someone who's simply gone around the bend. read more

A growing interest in Mr. Secrecy

04/18/12 09:27AM

Mitt Romney appears rather desperate to shield his tax returns from public scrutiny. He has the materials -- when Romney was considered for John McCain's 2008 ticket, the former governor turned over 23 years worth of returns -- he just doesn't want to share the materials.The Romney campaign, however, has a new line it hopes will put a stop to the questions. Ed Gillespie told Fox News the other day, "In 2004, John Kerry as a Democratic presidential nominee, released two years of tax returns. read more

The Sympathy Gap

04/18/12 08:45AM

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) appeared on G. Gordon Liddy's radio show the other day, and shared her thoughts on Americans burdened with student-loan debt.For those who can't watch or listen to clips online, here's the part of Foxx's comments that stood out:"I went through school, I worked my way through, it took me seven years, I never borrowed a dime of money.... I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there's no reason for that. read more

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) isn't fully invested in his party's 2012 ticket.

The GOP power play on public display

04/18/12 08:00AM

Even before the race for the Republican presidential nomination effectively ended, many of Mitt Romney's most notable supporters expressed deep misgivings about him. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), for example, said a day after endorsing the former governor, "There are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish had run for president -- but they didn't."On Capitol Hill, the dissatisfaction is considerably more acute. read more

Morning Maddow: April 18

Morning Maddow: April 18

04/18/12 07:50AM

Crossroads GPS releases its tax filings.Catholic Bishops criticize the Paul Ryan budget for cutting food stamps.Arizona appeals court OKs voter i.d., but strikes down proof of citizenship.The President threatens to veto a House GOP tax cut that has no chance of passing in the Senate anyway.A brewing scandal shakes up the leadership of the North Carolina Democratic party.Mitt Romney's friends can't understand why he's so stiff in public (includes special bonus embarrassing dog anecdote!).The Secret Service sex scandal came to light because two agents wouldn't pay a prostitute enough.   read more

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