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North Carolina county possibly sorry about turning down state money for birth control

03/15/12 04:35PM

Commissioners in New Hanover County, North Carolina voted this week to refuse state grant money for family planning.  The money -- around $9,000 -- would have gone to the county's health department, which had initially planned to use it to buy IUDs but, since the commission vote, has said it could be used for other family planning-related expenses.Here's video of the brief discussion surrounding Monday’s decision from NC Policy Watch (excerpted transcript below): BARFIELD: I guess this is one of those kinda hot-button topics. read more

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) may want to read CBO reports more carefully.

What the CBO said (and didn't say) about the Affordable Care Act

03/15/12 03:49PM

The Congressional Budget Office released a new report this morning on the costs of the Affordable Care Act, and ever since, Fox News, congressional Republicans, the conservative Washington Times, and a variety of conservative blogs have been pretty worked up about the CBO findings.They may want to take another look at it.In the right's defense, CBO reports can get a little tricky if you're not used to looking at them -- they're not light reading for lay audiences -- but that doesn't excuse folks like Rep. read more

In the Mississippi Delta, 2009.

Mr. Romney, have you been to Mississippi?

03/15/12 03:03PM

One factor in Mitt Romney's underwhelming performance in Tuesday night's Deep South primaries could be his habit of blurting out pandering whoppers like this one, (in front of a crowd at Pascagoula, Mississippi): "If the federal government were run more like here in Mississippi, the whole country would be a lot better off."Insert spit take here. read more

A crack in the GOP's anti-tax wall

A crack in the GOP's anti-tax wall

03/15/12 01:56PM

About five months ago, during Senate debate over the proposed American Jobs Act, the White House and nearly all congressional Democrats rallied behind a popular financing option: invest in job creation and create a surtax on millionaires and billionaires to pay for it.Senate Republicans, not surprisingly, ignored polls showing broad national support for the idea. The Democratic surtax measures died at the hands of a GOP filibuster.In an unexpected development, however, a conservative House Republican has apparently decided to break ranks on the issue.Freshman Republican Rep. read more

It's all about priorities

It's all about priorities

03/15/12 01:03PM

Mitt Romney caused a stir this week when he told the NBC affiliate in St. Louis that he would "get rid of" Planned Parenthood if he's elected president. The candidate and his campaign are now pushing the context of the comment."Planned Parenthood is a private organization. What I want to get rid of is the federal funding of Planned Parenthood," he told Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times. His spokesperson, Eric Fehrnstrom, soon clarified that Romney did not mean to eliminate the organization altogether."It would not be getting rid of the organization," Fehrnstrom said. read more

Democrats on offense over ultrasounds

03/15/12 12:10PM

With the Virginia state legislature now locked in a battle over the budget, Virginia Democrats seem to have figured something out about this politics thing. Namely, the budget battle is boring. But that mandatory, state-ordered vaginal probe thing initially backed by Governor Bob McDonnell and his Republicans -- that's really, really interesting.Yesterday, long after Republicans backed off the vaginal probe part of the bill, Virginia Senate Democrats renewed their call to at least have the state pay for the unnecessary belly ultrasounds. read more

Thursday's campaign round-up

Thursday's campaign round-up

03/15/12 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:* Time reports that Ron Paul has a four-pronged "wish list" he'd like Mitt Romney to consider in exchange for support in the Republican presidential race. The Texas congressman is also hoping his son, Sen. read more

Deval Patrick will remain the only member of a very small club.

Limited diversity on 2012 ballots

03/15/12 11:26AM

There are 100 members of the United States Senate, and none is African American. There are 50 governors, and only one, Massachusetts' Deval Patrick (D), is African American, and he won't seek another term.Perhaps the 2012 elections will help bring some additional diversity to statewide offices? Apparently not. Jamelle Bouie reported yesterday that there will very likely be no African-American candidates even running for governor or senator in November.utright racism isn't the main reason that keeps African Americans locked out of the highest statewide positions. read more

Lindsey Graham's elusive credibility

Lindsey Graham's elusive credibility

03/15/12 10:49AM

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has heard the rumors about expedited troop withdrawal plans in Afghanistan, but the conservative senator is, not surprisingly, opposed to such talk."The problem with this administration is that every time the generals give them good advice, they've got to change it," Graham said. "Why is wrong? ... The last thing we want is a bunch of politicians who have been wrong about everything controlling the war."Michael Cohen noted in response, "Literally everything in this paragraph is wrong."First, let's begin with some history. read more

Gingrich counts the number of people who consider him a viable candidate.

Gingrich faces dwindling odds, support

03/15/12 10:15AM

After failing in his "must-win" Southern states on Tuesday, Newt Gingrich headed to Chicago to rally supporters in advance of Tuesday's primary in Illinois. Unfortunately for the former Speaker, only 75 people showed up. read more

Why Romney's pass on Medicare matters

03/15/12 09:23AM

Mitt Romney celebrated his 65th birthday this week, which made him eligible for the popular, successful Medicare program. The Republican presidential candidate's campaign wasted no time in letting reporters know a key detail: Romney isn't signing up for the health care benefit.This is, of course, his right. But Romney's decision matters because of what it tells us about his approach to the bedrock American program. read more

Jobless claims remain at four-year low

Jobless claims remain at four-year low

03/15/12 08:39AM

The general trend on initial unemployment claims over the last few months has been largely encouraging, despite occasional setbacks, including one last week.Today's report, however, was far more heartening. Initial jobless claims reached a four-year low a month ago, and returned to that level this week, beating expectations.The number of Americans who filed requests for jobless benefits fell by 14,000 last week to 351,000, matching a four-year low, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday. Claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 365,000 from 362,000. read more

House GOP plans to renege on budget deal

House GOP plans to renege on budget deal

03/15/12 08:00AM

Last summer, as part of the debt-ceiling crisis, Democrats and Republicans agreed to spending levels for the upcoming year, suggesting the budget process would go relatively smoothly in 2012. After all, with the figures already locked in, the most contentious part of the process was already addressed. As far as everyone was concerned, a deal's a deal.And then GOP officials started whispering that they didn't much like the deal anymore.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters earlier this week, "This wasn't a handshake, it was a law we passed.... read more

Morning Maddow: March 15

03/15/12 07:32AM

El Senador Puertorriqueño.The V.A. promises to get its act together on the G.I. Bill.That I'm-quitting-Goldman-Sachs Op-Ed costs the company $2 billion dollars.Evicted 101-year-old woman is about to get her house back.The politics of food stamps.Ron Paul's delegate strategy = county convention chaos. (and can this really be about "an important speaking role at the convention?")The soldier accused in Afghanistan massacre has been flown out of the country. read more

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