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The Week in Geek: Back to Earth edition

02/24/12 01:15PM

Rocket-powered landing demonstrator makes first flight.This guy wants to build a functioning computer model of the human brain, but he has to finish modeling a rat brain first.Good news guys, looks like you'll be around longer than originally thought.Circadian rhythms may influence when you're most at risk for sudden cardiac death.Seven species that drew the short stick when it came to living the good life.One of the world's tiniest lizards can sit on the head of a match.What's the quickest way to tell if a frog is poisonous? read more

Culture of Corruption Watch

Culture of Corruption Watch

02/24/12 12:38PM

House Republicans apparently thought they were making a smart move when they tapped Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) to lead the party's national fundraising efforts for 2012. And to a certain extent, the decision has paid off -- contributions to the NRCC have increased since Buchanan took over as finance chairman.It's the ongoing allegations of corruption surrounding Buchanan that pose the larger problem.Federal inquiries surrounding Mr. read more

Friday's campaign round-up

02/24/12 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:* Based on the latest data, Nate Silver's forecast model now shows Mitt Romney edging ahead of Rick Santorum in Michigan. read more

Santorum's Dutch death panels

02/24/12 11:19AM

Appearing recently at the American Heartland Forum, Rick Santorum shared an interesting perspective on the fate of the elderly in the Netherlands. It's an absurd perspective, of course, but it speaks to a larger issue."In the Netherlands, people wear different bracelets if they are elderly," Santorum said. "And the bracelet is: 'Do not euthanize me.' Because they have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands but half of the people who are euthanized -- 10% of all deaths in the Netherlands -- half of those people are euthanized involuntarily at hospitals because they are older and sick. read more

The fate of the contraception lawsuits

02/24/12 10:39AM

As Tricia noted earlier, seven states filed suit this week, challenging the Obama administration's policy on contraception coverage. Led by Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning (R), the seven Republican attorneys general are arguing that the policy -- which exempts churches and will not force religiously-affiliated employers to cover birth-control costs directly -- "discards" and "violates" the First Amendment.What's more, this isn't the only case. read more

The end of a short-lived grace period

02/24/12 10:05AM

In the immediate aftermath of the assassination attempt against Gabrielle Giffords, there was an effort on the part of many to show restraint when it came to rhetoric about politics and violence. That grace period is now long gone.Republican pollster Frank Luntz, for example, is comfortable joking about using his car to run down President Obama. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) thought it was funny to say, "In Arizona, sometimes to gain office you have to have shot someone." Rep. read more

Raising the wrong Specter

Raising the wrong Specter

02/24/12 09:26AM

Nate Silver noted this morning that Mitt Romney probably isn't "playing to his strength" by emphasizing Rick Santorum's 2004 endorsement of former Sen. Arlen Specter.I agree, but the Romney campaign doesn't seem to care.Former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter left Capitol Hill more than a year ago, but Mitt Romney's campaign is working hard to give the party-switching ex-lawmaker a political revival of sorts.The Romney campaign released a new web video on Friday highlighting the alliance between Specter and Rick Santorum when the two were colleagues in the U.S. read more

Remember him?

GOP uses Bush as a model of moderation

02/24/12 08:42AM

Three years after Bill Clinton left the White House in January 2001, the 2004 Democratic candidates were tripping over each other to connect themselves to the nation's 42nd president. I remember one September 2003 debate in which literally every Dem running for the party's nomination said they were the rightful heir to the Clinton legacy.Al Sharpton, after a while, apparently couldn't take it anymore. "I know that within the next hour we'll say that Bill Clinton walked on water," he joked.We're at a comparable point now with regards to George W. read more

The wrong way to argue about gas prices

02/24/12 08:00AM

President Obama was in Miami yesterday talking about gas prices, making a pitch for an "all-of-the-above" energy policy that would rely on oil production, alternative energy, and improved fuel-efficiency standards. Anticipating the Republican response, Obama added, "Anybody who tells you we can drill our way out of this problem doesn't know what they're talking about, or just isn't telling you the truth."If an "all-of-the-above" policy sounds vaguely familiar, there's a good reason: as recently as 2008, it's what Republicans said they wanted, too. read more

Ahead on the 2/23 Maddow show

02/23/12 07:18PM

Tonight's guests include:State Rep. Yasmin Neal, (D) Georgia, proposed vasectomy regulation billManuel Roig-Franzia, staff writer for the Washington Post and author of an upcoming book about Marco Rubio, due out in JulyWhile watching tonight's video preview, take a listen to tonight's soundtrack. (Just be sure to let the ad below play out entirely before starting the song.)Executive producer Bill Wolff shares a preview of tonight's show:  read more

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