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12/14/11 04:10PM

Every morning around here, a producer puts together a list of news stories for Rachel and the staff. Usually it's Tricia, but today Vanessa did the honors. She included this Peter Sagal picture of cellist Yo-Yo Ma on the bathroom floor with a wombat.Rachel hit reply all:did everybody who read to the end of the note today do a google image search for "wombat"? do a google image search for wombat. go on. you deserve it.We deserved it. read more

Chart: Life for the top .1 percent

Chart: Life for the top .1 percent

12/14/11 03:19PM

The rich are getting richer than the rest of us, and faster. The really rich  -- the top .1 percent -- are getting really richer, and really much faster. Jared Bernstein posts this chart and writes:What we really don’t need is another decade where economic growth is a spectator sport for the middle class.  read more

On Plan B, Democrats want answers from Obama

On Plan B, Democrats want answers from Obama

12/14/11 02:06PM

Last week, the Obama administration blocked a single-pill version of the emergency contraception Plan B from being sold over the counter, despite the FDA giving it a green light. Some have argued that it was a good call, that parents should have more control. But there's also a contingent who thought the administration's "common sense" reasoning sounded like a more polite version of "just because." One former FDA official claimed President Obama broke a promise to keep science and politics separate.Now some Senate Democrats are getting into the fight, and demanding their own explanation:Sens. read more

Is that all there is to the circus?

12/14/11 12:17PM

For those of you in the pitiable position of not having enough Peggy Lee in your mental music catalog to have picked up on Rachel's joke with Gene Robinson in last night's opening segment about the meager choices for Republican voters, here's what you're missing (and for those of you know already got the joke, here's that song that's been stuck in your head since Rachel mentioned it last night):  read more

Payroll tax cut explained by guy who is not Ezra Klein

12/14/11 10:25AM

OK, so he's not Austan Goolsbee, but White House economic adviser Brian Deese makes a decent sell of the payroll tax cut. Mr. Deese even holds up a smaller "Wonk Board" -- by that point, I was already thinking he might be Wonkblog Ezra Klein's brother from another mother.This one's five minutes of technical that won't hurt:When you give a typical family tax relief, it's not likely to just sit in their bank account. In fact, most of that tax relief gets spent on anything from groceries to a family going out and having their car repaired. read more

The de facto poll tax of 2011

12/14/11 09:24AM

When you talk about government overreach, sometimes the effect matters more than the intent. Consider Michigan, for instance, where the new emergency manager law has put more than half the African-American population is at risk of having no meaningful local democracy. You can't say that Republicans wanted that law so they could disenfranchise those voters. You can say that's becoming the effect of the law.Likewise, in Wisconsin, a new law that requires you to show photo ID at the polls is having the effect of disenfranchising the poor, minorities, students and seniors like Ruthelle Frank. read more

Fort Calhoun nuclear plant on June 16, 2011.

Morning Maddow: December 14

12/14/11 07:39AM

The once flooded Fort Calhoun nuclear plant has so many design and installation flaws it won't reopen until next yearWhat does it say about the Tea Party that Christine O'Donnell endorsed Mitt Romney for President?If that's bad news for the Tea Party, so is this: the Tea Party candidate in a bid for a Senate leadership position lost yesterdayWhile MItt Romney has fundraisers in the NY metro area, the DNC will fly a plane overhead taunting him for his $10k betKashering the White House: the rabbis do the super cleaningAnother nail in the F-22's coffinSomali terror group with links to al Qaeda jo read more

Ahead on the 12/13 Maddow Show

12/13/11 07:04PM

Tonight's guests:Vice President Joe BidenEugene Robinson, columnist for the Washington Post and msnbc political analystAnd here's executive producer Bill Wolff with a preview of tonight's topics: read more

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