Rachel Maddow looks at the history of violent clashes with police during the Vietnam protest era and the lesson that a smaller show of force by police can ultimately be more effective in keeping a crowd peaceful. watch
St. Louis Alderman Antonio French talks with Rachel Maddow about the circumstances of his arrest in Ferguson, Missouri and the contrast in the atmosphere of the protests on Thursday versus Friday after police have softened their approach. watch
Rachel Maddow reports on thousands protesting in New York's Times Square and gatherings of support for Michael Brown around the country as part of the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organized by Feminista Jones. watch
Missouri State Representative Courtney Allen Curtis talks with Rachel Maddow about the pre-existing context of relations between police and the people of Ferguson and how the community can get past the negative experiences of this week. watch
Lizz Brown, columnist for the St. Louis American, talks with Rachel Maddow about how the change in policing strategy in Ferguson, Missouri has changed the tone of the protests and whether local officials were too slow to address the situation. watch
Rachel Maddow reports on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki voluntarily stepping down, resolving a significant political crisis in Iraqi leadership that has contributed to Iraq's inability to defend against the advance of ISIS. watch
* Ferguson: "Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon sought to return peace to the town of Ferguson Thursday by placing security and crowd control under the leadership of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.... 'It means a lot to me personally that we break this cycle of violence,' said Nixon, who appeared at a church in Ferguson after first speaking with President Barack Obama earlier Thursday."
* U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder issued a statement on developments in Ferguson that's worth reading in its entirety: "Like the President, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of Michael Brown. While his death has understandably caused heartache within the community, it is clear that the scenes playing out in the streets of Ferguson over the last several nights cannot continue."
* Iraqi uncertainty: "Yazidi leaders and emergency relief officials on Thursday strongly disputed American claims that the siege of Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq had been broken and that the crisis was effectively over, saying that tens of thousands of Yazidis remained on the mountain in desperate conditions."
* Ukraine: "A Russian aid convoy destined for rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine resumed its disputed southward journey on Thursday, in apparent defiance of demands by the government in Kiev that the shipment be stopped."
* Ebola: "The country of Guinea became the latest to declare a public health emergency as West African nations struggle to contain a deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus that's claimed over a thousand lives."
* Austerity wasn't a good idea: "This was supposed to be the year that the European economy decisively broke free of its shackles. But after a dismal round of economic growth reports on Thursday, the main question appears to be whether the eurozone will avoid tumbling back into recession."
* Another police shooting to watch: "The police shot and killed an unarmed black man in South Los Angeles on Monday night, the Los Angeles Police Department said. The police said that the man, whom the department did not identify, had tackled an officer and lunged for the weapon in his holster before being shot at by both the officer and his partner."
* Guantanamo: "A federal judge has directed Guantanamo Bay authorities to answer some highly specific questions about the force-feeding of detainee Mohammed Abu Wa'el Dhiab. In a five-page order dated Aug. 12, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler made public the questions she wants answered by Army Col. John Bogdan, the Gitmo commander, and by the facility's previous and current medical directors."
The question wasn't whether Nuri Kamal al-Maliki's tenure in Iraq was up; the question was whether or not he'd go quietly. To the delight of nearly everyone, especially Obama administration officials, Maliki has agreed to hand power over to a successor.
In stepping aside Mr. Maliki agreed to end his legal challenge to the nomination of his replacement, which was made on Monday when Iraq's president nominated Haider al-Abadi, a member of Mr. Maliki's own Shiite Islamist Dawa Party.
"Maliki steps down as prime minister in favor of Abadi," the state television said on its Arabic-language news crawler.
Mr. Maliki's decision came after days of negotiations with his former Shiite allies, who urged Mr. Maliki to give up in the face of growing international opposition to his rule, including from the United States and Iran, and the sense among most Iraqi leaders that his removal was necessary to bring the country together in the face of an onslaught by Sunni militants with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
As recent developments make clear, a peaceful transition from Maliki's rule was hardly a foregone conclusion. As recently as a few days ago, the prime minister, relying on loyalists in the Iraqi military, dispatched security forces around Baghdad, raising fears that Maliki would fight to keep his power.
But it now appears that won't happen. Instead, Iraq appears poised for a peaceful transition from one elected prime minister to another -- a national first.
Before Maliki departs, however, it's important to appreciate the degree to which he failed. Zack Beauchamp noted the other day that his tenure has been "a disaster for Iraq," marked by "increasingly authoritarian rule and oppression" of Iraq's Sunni minority, which "bears no small amount of responsibility for the current Islamic State (ISIS) crisis, which is part of why the US and many others are pushing for him to go."
How exactly did Maliki even get this job? It's an interesting story, actually.
Though much the political world stayed out of developments in Ferguson in the immediate aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting, that relative silence changed quickly overnight following the violence in the St. Louis suburbs and the police's handling of journalists covering the story.
In addition to President Obama's public remarks, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) also issued a statement, which read in part, "I strongly support a full and thorough investigation of the events surrounding his death, and subsequent actions, including the detention of journalists covering this heartbreaking situation."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) reminded us, "This is America, not a war zone." Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wrote an op-ed that struck a variety of compelling notes, aside from his willingness to blame "big government." Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a legendary figure and veteran of the civil-rights movement, said in a statement, "It is not 1940 or 1950 in America, but today it is hard to see the difference."
But perhaps no political figure has been quite as active today as Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) of Missouri, a prosecutor before her Senate career, started the day with a rather powerful written statement.
"We need to de-militarize this situation -- this kind of response by the police has become the problem instead of the solution. I obviously respect law enforcement's work to provide public safety, but my constituents are allowed to have peaceful protests, and the police need to respect that right and protect that right. Today is going to be a new start, we can and need to do better."
This was soon followed by discussions with Justice Department officials, including U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; then a church service (where she reportedly received a standing ovation); then a visit to Ferguson to meet directly with protesters, where the Democratic senator said the police response "escalated the situation" and had become "more of the problem" than the solution.
And this came against the backdrop of a press conference, where McCaskill said something important.