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By Tom Blumer | July 28, 2011 | 4:16 PM EDT

Two "alert" emails hit my inbox this morning concerning the Department of Labor's just-released unemployment claims report.

The one I expected came from, which read: "Initial unemployment claims fall below 400,000 for the first time in more than 3 months, dropping 24,000 to 398,000 in latest week." The other one came from, which does not ordinarily issue alerts when this report appears, took the opportunity to relay the same message, followed by an assertion that today's report is "a sign the job market may be healing after a recent slump."

Over at the Associated Press, Christopher Rugaber joined in the premature e-celebration (possibly more permanent link here):

By Ken Shepherd | July 28, 2011 | 3:39 PM EDT

Shortly after noon today, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer followed her colleague Chuck Todd in using the anniversary of the 14th Amendment becoming law to cite the liberal fantasy of a clause in the amendment empowering President Obama to end-run Congress on raising the debt ceiling.

Like Todd she got her history and the text of the relevant clause wrong.

This occurred during a satellite interview with Rep. Elliot Engel (D-N.Y.) on the debt ceiling debate (video follows page break; MP3 audio available here):

By Kyle Drennen | July 28, 2011 | 3:28 PM EDT

On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared the delayed vote on House Speaker John Boehner's debt ceiling plan "took precious little time," and touted how "Democrats filled the time with sharp words." A sound bite was featured from Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen: "I've had kidney stones that are easier to pass than this."

O'Donnell focused particularly on Democrats in Congress whining about a movie clip shown in a private House GOP meeting: "House Republicans fired up their members to stick together at a meeting last night. And even played a movie clip, a violent scene from the Ben Affleck film 'The Town.'" She added: "...that got bad reviews from Democrats today."

By Aubrey Vaughan | July 28, 2011 | 3:21 PM EDT

First it was her migraines, then it was the cost of her hair and makeup, and now it's correlating her anti-gay views to bullying and suicides in a school district she represents. Rep. Michele Bachmann has in many ways become the new Sarah Palin as a prominent female target the media love to hate. Even when she responds to her critics, they don't seem to go away.

Bachmann suffers from migraines, like 30 million other Americans, but has proved through her career the migraines don't hinder her ability to serve. Nevertheless, she immediately released a statement from her doctor explaining her migraines are under control. In comparison, both former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama had health issues that could have turned into major problems during their presidencies, but neither released their medical records. Clinton had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and clogged coronary arteries, while Obama was a longtime smoker with a family history of cancer.

By Alex Fitzsimmons | July 28, 2011 | 3:07 PM EDT

After only his third day on the job, Fox News senior White House correspondent Ed Henry was accused by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney of intentionally "creating" a dispute to please his new employer.

"I know you're creating a thing here for Fox," charged Carney toward the end of a testy exchange with the former CNN correspondent during Wednesday's press briefing.

As members of the White House press corps giggled off camera, Henry retorted: "That's not what I'm doing, you know better than that."

By Matt Hadro | July 28, 2011 | 12:45 PM EDT

In a critical "Keeping Them Honest" segment Wednesday night, CNN's Anderson Cooper selectively reported findings from his network's own poll to bolster his argument that Republicans are out-of-touch with the wishes of the American people in the debt ceiling debate.

This came even after the Democrat Senate Majority Leader, supported by the president, produced a plan including no tax increases in an effort to garner Republican support. Yet Cooper still peddled a CNN poll showing public support for a plan including increased tax revenues, and framed Republicans as dishonest for claiming Americans want no more taxes.

By Penny Starr | July 28, 2011 | 12:38 PM EDT

At a hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security today about the radicalization of young Somali American Muslims by the al-Shabaab terrorist group, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said the committee should hold a hearing on “right-wing extremists” in the United States.

Jackson Lee used much of her allotted five minutes to question panelists with expertise on radicalization about the alleged hacking into telephones of 9-11 victims by the now-closed News of the World tabloid in England.

By Eric Scheiner | July 28, 2011 | 12:30 PM EDT

Would Senator Barack Obama disagree with the actions and statements of President Barack Obama? That question gets a closer look in the video ‘The Great Debate’.

Among the issues touched on is President Obama’s current decision to have the Attorney General’s office on the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA). 

By Clay Waters | July 28, 2011 | 12:07 PM EDT

Peter Goodman, the former Times left-wing economics writer  who is now business editor at the Huffington Post, called Republicans terrorists in a Monday column. The Observer’s Kat Stoeffel explained:

Huffington Post Business Editor Peter Goodman wrote a provocative column today. It was no Esquire “Have More Satisfying Sex Than DSK”, but it did compare Republicans to terrorists.

“The same Republicans who have so eagerly prosecuted the war on terror, running up huge deficits in the process, are now behaving like the enemies on which they have squandered so much blood and treasure: They are acting like terrorists. Yes, terrorists.”

By Scott Whitlock | July 28, 2011 | 11:38 AM EDT

Good Morning America's Nick Watt on Thursday launched into a mocking attack on CNN host Piers Morgan and his role in the British hacking scandal. With barely restrained glee, Watt gloated, "The tide of scandal is now lapping into the well-pressed pant cuffs of the man who took Larry King's chair and the America's Got Talent self-proclaimed loud mouth."

Watt played an audio clip from a 2009 interview in which a BBC reporter casually asked Morgan about his 11 years as editor of British tabloids and  having to tap phones and take secret photos.

After initially saying that "not a lot of that went on," Morgan added, "A lot of it was done by third parties rather than the staff themselves. That's not to defend it because, obviously,  you were running the results of their, of their work."

[See video below. MP3 audio here.]

By Ken Shepherd | July 28, 2011 | 10:58 AM EDT

Update: According to the Library of Congress website, July 28, 1868 was the day when Secretary of State William Seward "issued a proclamation certifying without reservation that the Fourteenth Amendment was a part of the United States Constitution." Todd told his viewers that July 28, 1868 was the day the amendment "officially became part of the U.S. Constitution" although Article V of the U.S. Constitution states that amendments "shall be valid to all intents and purposes...when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths" of the states, which in the case of the Fourteenth Amendment would be July 9, 1868.

Wanted: Better fact checkers for MSNBC.

For today's "Flashback" feature on the "Daily Rundown," anchor Chuck Todd misinformed viewers by noting that on July 28, 1868, the 14th Amendment went into effect.

In fact the amendment went into effect when South Carolina ratified it on July 9, 1868.

But not only was Todd off by 19 days, he selectively quoted a passage of the 14th Amendment that has some relevance to the debt ceiling debate:


By Jack Coleman | July 28, 2011 | 10:17 AM EDT

Bradlee Dean, a Christian ministry founder, conservative radio host, and rock drummer has sued Rachel Maddow for claiming he advocated execution of gays on his radio show in May 2010.

Dean is seeking "in excess" of $50 million in damages and stated in his lawsuit that reporting by Maddow and the Minnesota Independent's Andy Birkey has harmed his reputation, hurt his livelihood, and led to death threats against him. Dean is also suing MSNBC, the cable network's parent company NBC, Birkey and the Minnesota Independent.

Maddow first criticized Dean on her program Aug. 9, 2010 after describing how the ministry created by Dean, You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International, received money from Minnesota GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. Maddow quoted Dean saying this on his radio show May 15, 2010 and played an edited excerpt (video clip after page break) --

By NB Staff | July 28, 2011 | 10:14 AM EDT

Global warming, aka climate change, is the scapegoat for everything from record snowfalls to disastrous tornadoes. As such, it is also the perfect route for governments to closely control their citizens by regulating the smallest of details, like which lightbulbs they are allowed to use, to supposedly fix the problem.

Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who grew up under totalitarian rule, is speaking out against what he sees as the latest government attack on democratic freedom, environmentalism, which he argues closely parallels the thefts of freedom under communism. Do you agree with him? Let us know what you think in the comments.

By Clay Waters | July 28, 2011 | 9:22 AM EDT

Wednesday’s “Lessons From The Malaise” is David Leonhardt’s last economics column before becoming the New York Times's Washington bureau chief. It pretty much encapsulates his liberal worldview, while assuming his premises are universally shared.

One of the tricky things about the subject is that almost nothing is certain in the way that, say, two plus two equals four. Economics -- which is at root a study of human behavior -- tends to be messier. Because it’s messier, it can be tempting to think that all uncertainty is equal and that we don’t really know anything.

Leonhardt again writes as if it is all serious thinkers admit tax increases are necessary.

By Noel Sheppard | July 28, 2011 | 1:07 AM EDT

Just how totally out of touch is MSNBC's Chris Matthews?

At the beginning of Wednesday's "Hardball," he said the actor who famously rode the bomb at the end of the classic film "Dr. Strangelove" was "Sam" Pickens (video follows with transcript and commentary):