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The search for silver linings

The search for silver linings

04/06/12 01:44PM

How bad is the new jobs report? Well, the only person who seems really happy about it is Mitt Romney, which tells us quite a bit.But to borrow a line from Douglas Adams, don't panic. Brad Plumer notes some context that's worth keeping in mind.One big question, however, is whether the BLS's estimates for March are actually correct. As Ryan Avent points out, because there's such a huge margin of error in these reports, there's a 90 percent chance that the U.S. economy added somewhere between 20,000 and 220,000 jobs last month. read more

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) wants her party to stop its "attack on women."

Murkowski blasts the GOP's 'attack on women'

04/06/12 12:33PM

To appreciate the trajectory of the Republicans' "war on women," take a look at Sen. Lisa Murkowski's (R-Alaska) shift over the last month.On March 1, the Senate narrowly defeated the anti-contraception Blunt Amendment, but Murkowski sided with her party and supported it. A week later, after hearing from some women in Alaska, the senator expressed regret for the vote.Now, a few weeks later, Murkowski is less circumspect and more outraged. An Alaska paper had this report on the senator's concerns about reproductive rights and her party's agenda. (thanks to reader R.P. read more

Friday's campaign round-up

04/06/12 12:01PM

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:* For the first time in recent memory, all four of the Republican presidential candidates are taking the day off and have no scheduled events.* Rep. Tim Johnson (R-Ill.), just a month after winning a primary fight, made a surprise retirement announcement yesterday. read more

Meet Harold Simmons, a very generous GOP billionaire.

Meet Harold Simmons

04/06/12 11:27AM

When those of us following the 2012 election cycle closely think of wealthy donors investing heavily in their preferred candidates, a couple of names immediately come to mind. Under the "Every Republican Gets A Gazillionaire" framework, we know, for example, that Sheldon Adelson has helped bankroll Newt Gingrich, while Foster Friess backs Rick Santorum.But there's another name that's not as well known, but who's arguably more interesting: Harold Simmons. read more

The group that preferred the shadows is getting the spotlight.

ALEC loses its anonymity

04/06/12 10:25AM

Most political organizations crave the spotlight. A higher profile generally means more influence, more power, and more contributions from donors. Groups on the left and right, from the NRA to MoveOn.org, want to be household names because it maximizes their ability to have an impact.But there are exceptions. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has traditionally been anonymous, working behind the scenes to advance a far-right agenda far from the public spotlight -- which was always the intended plan. read more

Mr. Secrecy

04/06/12 09:37AM

Mitt Romney's penchant for identifying his own faults and then assigning them to President Obama came into sharper focus this week -- I'm still laughing about his anti-Harvard nonsense -- with the Republican nominee taking the "I'm rubber, you're glue" tactic to new extremes.But while some of the recent examples are more substantive than others, it's striking that Romney has chosen to go after Obama on the issues of transparency and secrecy. read more

Job totals disappoint, unemployment rate dips

Job totals disappoint, unemployment rate dips

04/06/12 08:52AM

The Washington Post's Neil Irwin noted this morning that when it comes to the monthly jobs report, "We're due for a disappointing number." He was right -- though forecasts projected about 200,000 new jobs in March, the new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics fell short of expectations.The U.S. economy added 120,000 jobs last month, while the overall unemployment rate dipped slightly to 8.2%. read more

Morning Maddow: April 6

04/06/12 07:51AM

Caterpillar man (aka RNC Chair Reince Priebus) raising lots of money Newt Gingrich will not transform health after all. Guess who lobbied for the individual mandate.Another complication when states don't recognize marriages from other states.Senate to hold hearing on racial profiling for the first time since 9/11. Coast Guard sinks Japanese "ghost" ship read more

String theory: What's the deal with Tampa's twine ban?

String theory: What's the deal with Tampa's twine ban?

04/06/12 12:15AM

For this year's Republcian National Convention, tens of thousands of conventioneers and attendant media will converge with political protesters spanning the spectrum from tea partiers to occupiers into a relatively small area where not only are guns permitted, but it seems to be ok to shoot someone dead for engendering a threatened feeling. As Rachel pointed out Wednesday night, the proposed rules to keep all of these people safe seem a little inconsistent. read more

Rick Santorum more wrong than initially...

Rick Santorum more wrong than initially thought

04/05/12 08:00PM

In the interest of modeling good behavior, Rachel Maddow demonstrates for the Rick Santorum campaign how to make a correction by correcting an earlier error about the extent to which Rick Santorum is wrong about California state universities not... watch

Worm turns on Republican anti-women agenda

Worm turns on Republican anti-women agenda

04/05/12 08:00PM

Karen Finney, former DNC communications director, columnist for The Hill, talks with Rachel Maddow about why Republicans have earned the charge that they're waging war on women and why comparing women to caterpillars won't help their cause with women... watch

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