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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  May 2, 2013 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT

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old days right away. >> people say bring private capital back so we can avoid a taxpayer bailout but the taxpayers have been baling out the private sector. >> thank you. that is "all in." "the rachel maddow show" starts now with melissa. so nice to throw to you. >> i know. like the weekend, chris. also, thanks to you at home for staying with us the next hour. rachel has the night off. we begin tonight in texas this afternoon at the bush international airport in houston, terminal b, near the ticket counter a man allegedly fired a gun in the airport. he shot up in the ceiling and no one was injured. when security personnel confronted him, the gentleman shot himself. the man was pronounced dead at a local hospital. police say the incident was an isolated one, no search for
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additional suspects or anything else like that. no one else was injured but it was still very scary for the people in the airport. one witness told the "associated press" there was screaming when the shots were fired. that was houston today. this will be houston tomorrow. in technically related news, the national rifle association is hosting its 142nd convention at the george r. brown convention center in houston. the festivities begin friday and go all weekend. if previous nra conventions are any guide, you can expect a lot of gun sellers selling a lot of guns. you can expect gun and hyperbole enthusiast ted nugent to say something intentionally outrageous. last year the news said by this time this year if president obama were re-elected he'd either be dead or in jail. like much of what the long
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haired outrage generator says that turned out not to be true. he'll be speaking at the convention sunday. outside the convention is another politically powerful group, survivors of gun violence and families of gun violence victims including at least one relative of a newtown victim. as they have done many times before, they will read aloud the names of gun violence victims, 4,000 of them. that's happening over the next few days in houston. what's also happening in the next few days, the congressional medal of honor society will honor the six educators gunned down at sandy hook in december. four vietnam veterans will travel to newtown to present the honor and present to all sandy hook teachers and staff a certificate of commendation in newtown, connecticut this weekend. a 2 1/2 hour drive from there,
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in boston, former congresswoman and gun safety advocate, gabby giffords will be receiving the prestigious, the very prestigious profile encourager award, john f. kennedy presidential library and museum hands out the annual award to politician, activists and civil leaders who portray unusual and almost super human like for ray in politics. gabby giffords was this year's very deserving winner and will receive that award this weekend. gabby giffords is inarguably one of the most powerful and effective political leaders today. for someone who should tire easily, giffords has been tireless to get a gun safety bill through congress. she hasn't sat on the sidelines, sat in senator's offices and literally confronted them where they work on capitol hill. do you remember this from last year's "state of the union" address? this was one of the most powerful and emotional moments
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from any presidential address ever. then democratic congresswoman gabby giffords was about to leave congress. she had been shot in the head in a mass shooting that killed six people. giffords was at that state of the union and sat with her friend and republican jeff flake, at the time in the house and now senate. because giffords was still relatively weak in the early stages of her recovery, congressman flake had to help her to stand. every time she wanted to join her fellow democrats giving the president a standing ovation. mr. flake was often the only republican because he was standing with her. that was last year. this year, giffords again found herself holding onto her friend, jeff flake, again, one of those emotionally powerful moments when you hear about it you will never forget it. gabby giffords and jeff flake really have been friends for years. here's how the "new york times" described their most recent
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public encounter. when gabby giffords was trying desperately to get republicans like senator jeff flake to vote for a background check in congress, miss giffords, who still has trouble speaking because of the damage what a bullet did to her brain, grabbed mr. flake's arm and tried furiously to say that she needed his vote. the best she could get out was the word need. mr. flake looked at the ground. i said i was sorry, he said. i didn't know what else to say. it's very hard. profile encourage indeed. her lobbying has been amazing. but they're not unique. this is what the pro-gun law has been like. they have conducted a one-on-one approach to applying political pressure. they have pushed hard to meet with members of congress directly, not with their staffs, in order to tell their personal stories, with specific tales of tragedy and loss and violence have been at the very core of this movement. and yet despite all the political power these victims and their families really do possess, the one gun safety bill that seemed to have at least a chance of passing this year
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failed. republicans in the senate and democrats blocked the background bipartisan bill sponsored by senator joe manchin a democrat and republican joe toomey. it is true the bill did not pass. it is not true the activism behind it ceased to exist. one of the senator republicans who backed the bill needs to be asked that question. senator kelly held a town hall meeting and let's say the background checks bill has been the elephant in the room. >> let me say i do every town hall meeting this way. i have a process and we will get to as many questions as we can.
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>> that was on tuesday. also on tuesday, same day, different town hall, this happens. >> i'm just wondering about my mother being gunned down in the hall of an elementary school isn't as important. >> that woman, that was erica lafferty. her mother was the principle at sandy hook elementary school and killed there in december. she wasn't the only one who showed up to ask senator ayotte some rather pointed questions this week about her gun vote. regular folks, too, showed up wanting to know why senator
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ayotte voted the way she did. at the town hall, it wasn't the question that was most notable, the senator's answer that's getting all the attention. >> i received your four-page letter regarding guns and background checks. i really don't understand. it doesn't make sense to me. what is wrong with universal background checks? >> okay. thank you, john. >> thank you, john. you know, john, i know obviously we've known each other for a couple years. i have a lot of respect for you. and on this issue, my -- i've described it for you, but i will tell you, in terms of a universal background check, as it's been framed, i have a lot
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of concerns about that leading to a registry that will create a privacy situation for lawful firearms owners. >> seriously, senator. i have a lot of concerns that leading to a registry that will create a privacy situation. translation, i bought into the conspiracy theory performing the same background checks we already run on some gun buyers, on all gun buyers, that will lead to a big scary national registry of all gun owners. no. no. that is not true. not only does current law ban a national registry, but the bill that you, senator ayotte just voted against is doubly, tripoli banned. it ban as registry in so many ways you could calculate it in scientific notation. we know this, remember, senator, remember after you voted against the bill, remember the president's barn burner of a press conference? >> the gun lobby and its allies
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wilfully lied about the bill. they claimed that it would create some sort of big brother gun registry, even though the bill did the opposite. this legislation in fact outlawed any registry, plain and simple, right there in the text. >> what senator ayotte's non-truth tells us politically speaking we are no longer in the land of needing to be convinced, needing to be persuaded, this is straight up political calculus. where do we go from here? joining us is lad everett, director of communications to stop gun violence. >> thank you for having me. >> here's what worries me when elected officials are lying directly to their constituents, it makes me wonder is there any room for persuasion, when you see a senator willing to say something that is not true. >> look, melissa, i think we need to play "hardball" politics here. you know, the persuasion basically appealing to their hearts and saying, please do the right thing on this, please stand with gabby giffords and other survivors has not worked. what we need to do now is convince them voting for
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sensible gun legislation is good politics, it won't hurt you. i think a lot of senators, like jeff flake, in the intro are finding that out the hard way. jeff flake looked at his poll numbers and said i'm now less popular than pond scum. that's how it's going. the senators who voted no on background checks are seeing numbers plummet and say kay hagan and mary landrieu, who thought they were taking tough votes for us, are seeing poll numbers rise and chances in the next election cycle improve. i think that's the sea change. the sea change is voting for smart gun laws has now become a boon to your political career. >> on the one hand you have jeff flake, 's taken a hit but claiming that hit is artifice of the survey, saying it's a push
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poll. in fact, people really aren't that mad at me about it. on the other hand, you have senator baucus saying, i'd be willing to reconsider my vote if i heard from my constituents. what do you think is the message the senators who voted against this are taking home with them? >> jeff flake's claim is a little ridiculous. as i understand it the public policy polling firm he was referring to predicted his election win when he became a senator more accurately than any other firm in the country. i'm not sure what he's referring to. you start with pat toomey. senators who used to be inclined to basically side with the nra in a knee jerk reaction are now understanding there's a political price to pay for doing that. their understanding that the newtown effect is not going
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away. it's not going to go away. >> i want to push you on that a little bit, this idea there's a political effect for this. i think part of what seemed to make president obama so angry in that press conference right after the bill failed was this sense that in fact members of the senate apparently didn't think they were going to lose their job. is there someone who is going to lose their job as a result of this vote? >> yes. undoubtedly yes. i look a lot at the immigration issue to see how this dynamic on guns is now working. you go back a few months, you see mitt romney running for president on the immigration issue on the right wing saying things as radical as you can imagine, they go into the 2012 elections in november and get hammered and lose the latino vote overwhelmingly. now, you have republicans across the country dying to work on immigration reform, right? i think the republicans will
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change when basically they have that deer in the headlights thing going on, looking at their political survival and understanding they can no longer take these radical pro nra positions and number one, get their campaigns funded and, number two, get elected. >> 15 seconds. there will be a new president now of the nra, as of this convention. will that make any difference? >> well, look, if you love ted nugent, you will love the new incoming president for the nra, jim porter. this guy could have walked out of a militia camp a few minutes ago. he called the civil war the war of northern aggression. says obama is a fake president and claims the u.n. treaty to curb the trade and elicit small arms worldwide was a conspiracy to take away all individually held firearms across the world. you will love jim porter. this is a gold mine, i think. >> wow. director of communications at the coalition to stop gun
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violence. thank you. >> thank you. more to come. big news from a little state about same sex marriage. later, the new george w. bush library remembers hurricane katrina. i'm serious. first, one more thing about the background vote check last month, republican senator kelly ayotte was not the only senator to be held in account for her vote. senator john mccain, who split with his party on this, voted for background checks, he had a town hall meeting, too, and a former aide to gabby giffords wounded in the same mass shooting in tucson that almost killed the congresswoman, she showed up directly to speak to senator mccain. >> i would like to thank you very much for your vote. >> that was pam simon, former aide to congresswoman gabby giffords and former family violence survivor. they were not made unanimously.
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blue states and we don't like federal agents around in our library in the red states. we coach little league in the blue states and yes, we have friends that are gay and we are all defending the united states of america. >> we all remember that moving speech that then illinois state senator, a very young barack obama delivered at the 2004 democratic national convention. it was a speech that paved the way for his presidency. since the 2012 election, the red, blue color divide has grown deeper. red states seem to be getting redder and blue states bluer and compromise, it is harder to come by. we saw this firsthand just last month after the gun control bill died in the senate. >> a few minutes ago, 90% of democrats in the senate voted for that idea. but it's not going to happen because 90% of republicans in
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the senate just voted against that idea. i have consistently said there are regional differences when it comes to guns. that both sides have to listen to each other. we can do more if congress gets its act together. if this congress refuses to listen to the american people and pass common sense gun legislation, the real impact will have to come from the voters. >> in this country, if laws don't pass on the federal level, movement often happens slowly on the state level. voters lobby their state representatives to get the ball rolling. so, in a sense, states become training grounds or laboratories for legislation. tame for example romney care. it passed in massachusetts and
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then we decided basically to implement it across the country. with this notion of states as laboratories, let's look at two experiments that happened this week. for red laboratory, the great state of albany, republican governor, republican senate and republican house and they passed legislation to nullify all federal gun laws in albany. meaning any federal laws deemed contrary to the second amendment would be declared null and void. so the alabama state senate voted two days ago to nullify federal law. should that bill become the law of that red piece of land, it is unclear if it would ever have its intended effect. u.s. attorney general eric holder sent a letter to kansas senator sam brownback last week asserting a kansas new state law saying guns in kansas are immune from federal regulations is unconstitutional.
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we know where certain red states are coming from regarding gun regulation. now, to a blue laboratory, to the great state of california we have a democratic governor, democratic estimate with a super majority and democratic house. in this state earlier this week, california governor jerry brown signed into a law a measure that allocates $24 million to confiscate illegal weapons owned by convicted criminals and individuals with mental illness. california is now the only state in the country with this type of program. democrats fully in charge and extremely aggressive approach to the gun regulation, how that new law works and what effect it has remains to be seen. state senator obama was right. we are the united states. there is no getting around the fact there are red laboratories and blue laboratories among us. the divide between the two is growing deeper. while we do not know what all these experiments will amount to, it's revealing to see what unfettered political parties on both sides will do to at least express their will. the boys used double miles from their capital one venture card
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have you ever been to rhode island? let me rephrase that. have you ever been to rhode island in summer? the fancy pants seacoast along newport. lots of ships and a jazz festival and air show, planes and ships. there are kennedys, kennedys and ships. weddings, kennedys and weddings! jack and jackie got married in newport in 1953. more recently the founder of facebook got hitched last summer, no, not mark zuckerberg, one of the other founders you don't actually know even after watching the social network. the state of rhode island markets itself as a destination marriage state that your aunt phyllis doesn't need to schlep all the way to aruba to watch you get married on the ocean, she can go to rhode island on i-95. today, the governor saw to it that marriage includes every one including same sex couples.
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governor chafee signed the bill into law, didn't even wait for it to get to his office, signed it on the state steps. rhode island becomes the 10th state in the country to have legal marriage for all couples. the very last state to do it in new england. look at that sea of yellow in the northeast. delaware might be next. the bill authorizing same sex marriage has been sent there and more are waiting for consideration in illinois and minnesota. new mexico is being asked to come up with an opinion on the issue one way or the other. every state in the country has a law either for or against same sex marriage except new mexico, two same sex couples denied marriage licenses in new mexico have recently filed suit in an
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effort to force the state to decide. right now at this hour, same sex marriage has become law in the state of rhode island and it goes into effect august 1. ten states now have marriage equality on the books plus the district of columbia , fully 20% of these united states have expanded this very lovely loving right to all. joining us now for the interview is rhode island's independent governor, lincoln chafee. thanks to being here, governor. >> my pleasure, melissa. >> there was a lot of celebration at the capitol today. what did the moment feel like for you? >> oh, it was a great celebration. historic vote, 56-15. so overwhelming vote. and then as you said, we marched out and signed the bill. so first it passed the senate last week and today's vote in the house, marched straight out and signed a big celebration still going on here in
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providence. >> talk to me about the overwhelming nature of this vote. this is the kind of sea change we have seen on this issue. >> yes. earlier, in your segment, you were talking about the gun issue and public opinion and how that's shaping this debate politically. that's very true on gay marriage. rhode island is one of the highest roman catholic states in the country if internet the highest. still 56-15 in the house and 26-12 in the senate. overwhelming votes. i think that's because public opinion is just changing, especially with young people. young people very very tolerant, accepting of the diversity that comes with gay marriage and actually welcoming of it. that's a big political dynamic. >> you have made marriage equality arguments in this kind of very moral ethical sense. but the other kind of marriage equality argument you made is
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economic. make that claim for me. >> absolutely. i do believe those studies that show there is a correlation between tolerance and economic prosperity, richard flora is an author that talks about talent, technology and tolerance being the part of a good economy. tolerance is very important. young people, creative people, not only if they're gay, they like that atmosphere, younger people, creative people and that's how you grow a good economy. start-up companies, engineers, young people, that's the roots of a good economy. there is a correlation. >> we were talking about the states as laboratories around gun legislation, but the states have also been laboratories around this issue of marriage equality. how soon until we see this as a federal law? >> good question. i do think republicans are changing. believe it or not, in our state senate, the republican caucus,
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not a big one in rhode island, the entire republican caucus voted for same sex marriage, the first time either caucus in either party has voted in a block for any of the nine states. our entire republican delegation in the senate have voted for it. things are changing, even in the republican party. that's good. >> rhode island governor lincoln chafee, once a republican, now independent, always an ally. thank you very much for your signature tonight. >> thank you, melissa. have a good night. >> one brave state legislator made a life and death decision today. i'll have that next. both tylenol and bayer back & body
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the first person to ever be exonerated from death row due to dna evidence was released in the state of maryland. his name is kirk. here he is on june 28th, 1993, when he was released from prison after nearly nine years. he was sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a child and dna evidence cleared him of that crime and helped identify the perpetrator. this is a picture of him today, and one of the pens the governor
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used to sign that state's repeal of the death penalty. this morning, martin o'malley signed senate bill 76 which abolished the death penalty in his state making maryland the 18th state in the country without the death penalty. since his exoneration, kirk has been on a mission to repeal the death penalty by telling his own story. >> at the time, i was married. i was newly married. i was 22 years old, never been arrested before, discharged marine, went to a christian high school. i don't pretend to purport i was an angel but i certainly knew what i wasn't and that was a child killer. my mother passed away before the results. this was in january of 1993.
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and she died of a massive heart attack when i was in prison. i was allowed to see her before -- for five minutes in handcuffs and shackles and i went back to prison. >> the dna evidence that cleared kirk back in the earl ly 1990s, a scientific break through changed the way we think of dna evidence. it made it clear some like kirk were not guilty of the crimes they had been sentenced to death. that began to give many states pause and another giving states reason to reconsider their execution practices is theory shall equation of capital punishment. back in 1999, then maryland governor commissioned this study to factor how they were factored to death and the study found a vicious alchemy and the race of the assailant and race of the victim that made a big difference.
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when the victim is black this man, wesley eugene baker died at the hands of the state, 2005, more than seven years ago. the reason no one has been executed in maryland for more than seven years before today's official ban on capital punishment was signed into law? because maryland had a de facto ban on the death penalty that had nothing to do with dna evidence or study showing racial disparities in the way death is being handed out. the reason for the state's de facto ban on capital punishment was an obscure regulation. prison officials in maryland have come up with their own processes by which they put people to death and they were not signed off by the appropriate authorities. that is why maryland had to stop executing people in 2006 unofficially.
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when we talk about capital punishment in this country, we talk about the science or the race or guilt and innocence and oversight. rarely do we talk about whether or not we want to be a society that chooses to kill its own citizens for their crimes. only china, iran, iraq or saudi arabia put more of their citizens to death than we do. do we want to be in the company of those countries on this issue? if not, is maryland's repeal of the death penalty a promising sign we could be moving the country in the right direction. joining us now is kirk, the first american inmate exonerated by evidence and now with an organization to empowering death penalty survivors. so nice to have you here tonight. >> melissa, it's a pleasure to be here. a big day. >> it is. your group on innocence is
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working on this appeal across the u.s. tell me how important the maryland victory is. >> 28 years ago, i was sitting in a prison cell waiting to die for a crime i didn't commit. there's been 142 americans who have been found wrongfully convicted and witness to innocence has been showing these individuals for the last 10 years. our anniversary is coming up this october. i have to say since i got out in 1993, it's just one right after another. honestly, we don't need to be executing our citizens like you say, because in fact, they are innocent people. >> so it does feel to me like a lot of the argument, a lot of the momentum around abolishing the death penalty is about that,
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the idea of people like you for whom dna evidence shows that they are not guilty of those crimes. can we get to a point where we can make an argument even if someone is guilty of the crime, we don't believe the state should be putting them to death? >> i think so. i mean, we've come a long way in this thing. dna has shown us that we have a ton of problems. you were talking about one of them earlier, the racial disparity in maryland, it's quite evident. i was on the commission as well. i sat there and was just flabbergasted by some of the stuff that i didn't know. you know, the way we do forensic sciences. racial disparity, jurisdictional disparity, you name it. it comes down to it, melissa, that the death penalty is a failed policy. it hasn't deterred anybody and certainly hasn't detected a soul
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since it's been enacted. >> it's also an expensive policy. i was just talking to the governor of rhode island about the merits and economic arguments. is there an economic argument to a state for abolishing the death penalty? >> absolutely. the state of california for example just spent -- had a 725 people on death row, billions of dollars in up front costs. maryland, we found the same thing. about $3 million more to execute a person and put him in prison for life or life without parole. i think we have found this practice is expensive and for witness to innocence, and people like myself, the worst thing that could happen and the most expensive is the execution of an innocent person. >> absolutely. kirk bloodsworth, thank you for your advocacy and joining us tonight and enjoy this night, which is a big win for you. >> i will indeed, melissa. thank you. at the new george w. bush library in dallas, we get this
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version, verse from the president about the response to hurricane katrina. it is an incredible bit of self-written history and it's next. did i mention i live in new orleans? girl vo: i'm pretty conservative. very logical thinker. (laughs) i'm telling you right now, the girl back at home would absolutely not have taken a zip line in the jungle. (screams) i'm really glad that girl stayed at home. vo: expedia helps 30 million travelers a month find what they're looking for. one traveler at a time. expedia. find yours. [ agent smith ] i've found software that intrigues me. it appears it's an agent of good. ♪
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this handsome fellow is the count. by his own account, the count is called the count because he loves to count. who can blame him? counting is fun and very useful. the count has been teaching children the fun and importance of counting for generations. i love the count. thanks to you, count, millions and millions of americans get it that numbers matter. i mean, cookie monster is going to eat how ever many cookies you count. in most areas of endeavor how many is a super important thing. for instance, tomorrow is jobs day, the day we want the number to be high, the day we learn how many jobs the nation created the previous month and whether the unemployment rate went up or down. knowing how we're doing influences investment and public policy. fingers crossed because numbers are powerful. imagine if suddenly these
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numbers disappeared? what if the monthly jobs report didn't exist and we were left to guess what the monthly unemployment was, getting worse. this completely untenable, damaging possibility could be reality if congressman jeff duncan, a south carolina republican could pass a bill he's pushing, called the congress reform act and 10 of his house colleagues are all for it. if jeff duncan's name sounds familiar, it's because rachel mentioned him just two weeks ago when the south carolina republican was one of four members of congress pushing glenn beck's conspiracy theories in the wake of the boston bombings. now, he's waging a different kind of assault on reality sponsoring a bill called a ken census bureau for a once a decade populus made famous and that is all the census bureau is allowed to do. the census bureau overseas an
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economic census and agricultural census and a census that enables us to live better lives. a business owner wants to build a factory or build roadways. the nation wants to know what the gross domestic product is, all those job creators, they rely on data from the census bureau. ken pruitt, former director of the census, now at a university, told the huffington post if it became law, from now on we won't have an unemployment rate. the past president from the association of business added, do they understand these data, that the census bureau collects, are fundamental to everything else that's done? the proposal to scrap a huge part of the census bureau's work is unlikely to get anywhere, because democrats and probably some republicans will have none of it. it is important to note there
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are members of congress, at least 11 of them, who do not care to be tethered by information for whom information appears to be a nuisance. yes, there are republicans in congress who dare to defy the dauntless defender of data, the count. seriously. you don't want to listen to this guy? what's next? a war on big bird? both tylenol and bayer back & body are proven to be effective pain relievers tylenol works by blocking pain signals to your brain bayer back & body's dual action formula includes aspirin, which blocks pain at the site. try the power of bayer back & body. that owns that aquarium store. he's not gonna sell you some labradoodle, he's gonna sell you tropical fish! he's got salt water tanks, fresh water tanks,
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this tree has deep roots, strong limbs... things are perched and not pinned. nicely done. the boys love it. they are up there day and night. well that might be because you overlooked one thing... what? it looks into your neighbor's window. ohhh boy. hel-lo, mrs. kozlowski. boys? i'm gonna get the hose. [ dennis ] home insurance with do-it-yourself tips? that's allstate home insurance. great protection plus helpful advice to make life better. talk to an allstate agent... [ doorbell rings ] and let the good life in. what are you doing this weekend? got any big plans? if you happen to find yourself in or around dallas, texas, there is a brand spanking-new attraction that popped up in your own backyard. introducing the george w. bush presidential library and museum. yesterday was the grand opening for the general public and this weekend marks the library's
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long-anticipated inaugural weekend. and if you're going to be in dallas over the next few delays, i'm telling you, you just must check it out. if only for the shock value. last night on this show, rachel discussed the main attraction inside the new bush library. which is an exhibit called decision point theater. it's basically an interactive game where you can reenact the biggest decisions that george w. bush had to make as president. decisions like should we invade iraq? the problem, as rachel pointed out last night, when you try to say no, we should not invade! please, let's do anything but invade iraq! president bush pops up on the screen and starts making the case of all the overwhelming evidence against saddam hussein. evidence that has since been thoroughly discredited ten years later in what's supposed to be a library is being taught as fact that saddam hussein was an imminent threat who must be dealt with unilaterally if
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necessary. so there is a certain shock value to the new bush library. but if the iraq war isn't exactly your thing if you want to relive the glory of another bush decision, the george w. bush library gives you the opportunity to do that. >> take a look at the list of scenarios in front of me. first, you will select which one you want to tackle. the majority of the theater chose hurricane katrina. >> yep, hurricane katrina. what is the decision point that the bush library asks you to confront when it comes to hurricane katrina? a disaster in which nearly 2,000 americans died, many in their own homes. what's the decision point that's laid before you at the bush library? >> officials in new orleans are overwhelmed. the president can send in troops, but those troops would serve in supporting roles and state efforts and would not have law enforcement powers unless the president invokes what's called the insurrection act. president bush had to make a choice. one, rely on the national guard
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and local police. two, send in federal troops in a supporting role with no law enforcement authority. three, invoke the insurrection act and send in troops to restore order. >> excuse me, restoring order was the problem when it it came to hurricane katrina, seriously? the main dilemma faced by president bush when it came to the government's response to hurricane katrina was quelling disorder? the bush library takes you through this whole scenario about how to deal with the problem of looters and how to restore law and order in new orleans. that is the decision point. no mention at all of, you know, search and rescue. eight years later, the people of new orleans who were basically left to starve and dehydrate and die in our city, mostly elderly people and children, eight years later, these people are memorialized at the bush library as public enemies, not as citizens who were in need of relief. >> americans are facing lawlessness and chaos.
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we need to send in federal troops so our troops have the legal authority we need to restore order. >> look, federal troops aren't trained police officers. there's a danger that sending them in put them in harm's way without the ability to defend themselves or the training necessary to apprehend criminals. >> i decided that sending in federal troops would diminish authority was better than sending in no federal troops at all. it was what the crisis required, and the troops helped restore order in the city. >> okay. the legacy of hurricane katrina that's on display at the bush library is that order had to be restored to the lawless and violent city of new orleans, and thank goodness president bush was there to make the right call. wow. this game at the bush library is supposed to make you feel the intense pressure of the presidency, the minute-by-minute decisions you have to make as developments unfold all around you. >> the most powerful hurricanes
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in several decades -- >> levee broke yesterday, another levee broke today. >> water is rising so fast. >> no food, no water, no electricity. >> it's going to be increasingly chaotic in new orleans, the city's homeland security chief says there are gangs of armed men moving around the city. >> time's up. it's time to make a decision. >> so it should be noted that the level of urgency that's on display inside decision point theater was not so much on display when it came to the decider himself. this was president bush, the morning that katrina made land fall, sharing a cake with john mccain in arizona. this was after his administration had already been informed that levees in new orleans had been breached. this was president bush on day two of the disaster yukking it up with the country music star in southern california. that night as the situation was growing worse and worse in new orleans, george w. bush decided to return to his ranch in crawford, texas to finish up his vacation. when he finally headed back to
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d.c. the next day, president bush got an aerial view of the damage in louisiana and mississippi. but by friday, five days into that disaster, his aides at the white house were putting together dvds of news coverage to convince president bush how bad things were in new orleans. during those five days, president bush was not on the edge of his seat as the bush library would like you to believe. he was basically checked out. that's the real history. the truth is, the american people have already decided how they felt about president bush's leadership during katrina and while his approval ratings before katrina weren't that impressive, they never recovered afterwards. 15 months after the failed response, democrats took control of the house. they took control of the senate. and they took a majority of gubernatorial seats across the country. the public has already decided. but, hey, if you're in dallas this weekend, you've got some time.
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go see how president bush saved a city from disaster. restored a sense of calm in all of the disorder. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. have a good night. >> on the eve of the national rifle association annual convention, we're going to talk about guns tonight, among other things, like which women might run for president in 2016. and we're going to spend some time talking about a particular gun. one that is designed and made for children. a gun that was bought as a gift for a 5-year-old boy who then used it to accidentally kill his 2-year-old sister. the american people are for background checks. >> we know that america is divided. >> divided government is a recipe for gridlock. >> but nowhere are we as fractious as we are on guns. >> there are people on my side. >> pennsylvania senator pat toomey -- >> who didn't want to be perceived -- >> who didn't want to be