Matthew O'Brien

The agreement announced Tuesday, however modest, is a step in the right direction.

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[with contributions from Matthew O'Brien and Darius Tahir] President Obama travels to Nevada on Monday and, at first blush, the timing could not be better. Mitt Romney, the man most likely to be the Republican presidential nominee, was there just a few days ago. During a televised interview with the editorial board of the Las Vegas Review Journal, he said he didn’t think the government should do anything to stop foreclosures: Don’t try to stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom.

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[with contributions from Matthew O'Brien and Darius Tahir] The recession may be officially over, but state governments continue to struggle. Fewer people working means fewer people paying taxes. That’s forcing states to cut their budgets, which means laying off still more people – and making a bad situation worse. Even as the private sector is adding jobs, the public sector is taking them away.

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Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy [with contributions from Matthew O'Brien and Darius Tahir] In late 2009, the parliament in Uganda began formally debating a law that would have sentenced gays and lesbians to life in prison – or, in some cases, to death. Homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda, but the lawmakers hoped the new law could improve enforcement. And very few people outside of the human rights advocacy community noticed. But Rachel Maddow did.

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[with contributions from Matthew O'Brien and Darius Tahir] Anarchy is all fun and games, I suppose, until you need to get something done – like, say, condemn the handful of anti-Semites in your midst. That’s the message Michelle Goldberg sends in a new piece she’s just written for Tablet.

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[with contributions from Matthew O'Brien and Darius Tahir] Robert Bork is not a sitting justice on the Supreme Court. And there is a very good reason for that. During his lengthy career as a legal scholar, he was an outspoken critic of modern constitutional interpretation – arguing, among other things, that the Civil Rights Act was coercive and that Griswold v. Connecticut, the decision that established a right to privacy, had no legitimate basis. This didn’t make Bork a racist and it didn’t suggest he wanted to ban contraception, as the Connecticut law under review in Griswold did.

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[with contributions from Matthew O'Brien and Darius Tahir] E.J. Dionne today points out that the Republicans have no agenda to create jobs in the short term, summarizing their credo as "Don't just do something, stand there." It's the latest in a series of terrific, hard-hitting columns that he has written about the Republicans. And that's worth pondering for a moment. If you've ever seen E.J. on television or heard him on the radio, you've probably gotten the impression he is polite and reasonable to a fault. That impression is correct.

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[with contributions from Matthew O'Brien and Darius Tahir] I suppose the most memorable line from last night’s Republican debate was Michele Bachmann’s reminder that Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan was actually an inversion of 6-6-6, the sign of the devil. I am almost mostly sure she was kidding. And even if not, well, she's not a serious candidate for the presidency anymore. But Mitt Romney is. And something he said has stuck with me all day long.

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[with contributions from Matthew O'Brien and Darius Tahir] As noted below, the Senate votes on President Obama’s jobs bill tonight. And although Democrats have more than 50 votes in their caucus, it’s not clear they’ll get 50 votes for this bill. President Obama takes a lot of grief for political timidity and, at least some of the time, he deserves it. But if Democrats can’t get 50 tonight, that’s not on him. In the last few weeks, he’s said all the right things and made all the right moves. And it still might not be enough. That’s the reality of our political system.

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