tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC August 13, 2013 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT
>> right, and there were some who felt a little guilty about it so they like to chance to vote for clinton the next time. the other thing is, it is hard to see anybody out there right now who is strong enough to challenge her. the only possibility is joe biden, and i am good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. tonight on "all in" it's the hottest show not on television. netflix's true story women's prison drama "orange is the new black." tonight i'll be joined by piper kerman, author of the book and inspiration for the show's lead character. you definitely want to stick around for that.
plus, did the department of justice really try to change a bunch of numbers on its website and hope we didn't notice? well, we noticed. that and a collection of other political sneakiness coming up. we begin tonight with what appears to be the most restrictive voting measure passed in this country in the deep south since the voting rights act was signed in 1965. speaking of sneakiness, the bill was signed last night by north carolina governor pat mccrory, more than two weeks after it passed with no lye ceremony, not so much as a picture, just this weird 90-second hostage-style video. >> hi, i'm governor pat mccrory. the integrity of our election process is vital to our democracy, which is why i've signed today several common sense reforms into law, including voter i.d. let me be direct. many of those from the extreme left who have been criticizing photo i.d. are using scare tactics. they're more interested in divisive politics than ensuring that no one's vote is
disenfranchised by fraudulent ballot. >> now, what the governor doesn't mention about this bill is that while, yes, it is a voter i.d. bill, voter i.d. is just a small portion of the bill, what the bill actually does. and only a part of what those of us on the extreme left have been criticizing. not only does the bill require a government-issued photo i.d. to vote, something the state estimates more than 300,000 registered voters in state do not have, it also eliminates preregistration for 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds, slashes the early voting period from 17 days to 10, bans same-day registration, ends straight-ticket voting, and my personal favorite because i
cannot think of one single valid justification, bans early voting on sunday. and that's just a taste. the people of north carolina are not fooled. governor pat mccrory's approval ratings are in a tailspin, down 22 points since may, with only 40% of north carolinians approving his job performance. the bill, itself, despite the claims of state republicans to the contrary, is not popular. according to the latest ppp polling, only 39% support the bill, while 50% oppose it. today democratic senator kay hagan from north carolina wrote to urge the justice department to immediately review north carolina house bill 589 and take all appropriate steps to protect federal civil rights and the fundamental right to vote. north carolina is now drawing national fire. hillary clinton went out of her way last night at the american bar association to go after the bill. >> legislators in north carolina push through a bill that reads like the greatest hits of voter suppression. restricted early voting, no more same-day registration, or extending voting hours to accommodate long lines. stricter photo i.d. requirements disqualify those issued by colleges or public assistant agencies, and it goes on and on. >> we're north carolina will be a voter ground around new voter restriction in this world, a case of how much southern
republicans can get away with in the wake of the roberts decision. and one that the aclu and naacp will fight in court. >> our complaint and lawsuit will show how this voter suppression deal and its many eery elements revisit the tactics of jim crow in the 21st century. >> joining me now, susan myrick, policy analyst at civitas, a conservative think tank in north carolina. susan, my first question is, one of the things this bill does is it moves back the end of early voting so it has to end saturday at 1:00 p.m. it used to extend through sunday. what evidence do you have that there's a disproportionate amount of voter fraud committed in the 30 hours or so between 1:00 p.m. on saturday and the end of sunday? >> well, actually, early voting always stops on saturday. sometimes the local boards could extend it to 5:00 on saturday, but we've never had early voting on sunday. >> so what is the --
>> on the last sunday. >> okay. what is the reason for those four -- that four-hour difference to ban that extra four hours on saturday? >> i can't tell you the difference between the four hours. it just takes that option away from the counties. four hours. >> okay. what about this 16-year-old and 17-year-old preregistration program for high school students which has also been done away with in the bill? what evidence is there that those 16-year-old and 17-year-olds were committing some disproportionate amount of fraud? >> well, i don't think there was any evidence they were committing fraud. i think the 16-year-old and 17-year-old legislation really went nowhere. while the proponents thought it would encourage young people to vote, all it really did was put their personal information on a website so anybody could access it. in north carolina, if you went to a high school and asked for the names and addresses of 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds, there's not a school in north carolina that would hand that over to you.
>> but there's no -- >> what this bill did was put that information on a website that anybody could access. >> but there was no evidence that those kids were committing any kind of fraud, that you had to end the program. >> there was not. >> what about the idea of provisional ballots? i thought this was a really interesting provision of the law. you go and you accidentally go to the wrong precincts. precincts are rather small. people get them mixed up. i've gotten mixed up in my precinct in my life. if you go to the precinct under current law, if it later turns out you're at the wrong precinct, your votes for positions above the precinct level, the county level, president of the united states, the governor, those still count. after the new law, that gets all thrown out. i'm curious, what is the rationale for that? >> i think what the new law is doing is letting people know that they have more than 50 days to vote. if on the very last day, on election day, they go to the wrong polling place, their wrong precinct which is usually the closest one to their house, they're going to be directed to the right one. if it's too late to go to that
one, they'll be allowed to vote a provisional ballot. now, it probably won't be counted. but that's if they go at the last minute. >> and you also have this provision in the bill that anyone from the county on election day can challenge a voter saying they actually don't, aren't at the address that they're supposedly reported at, and that just strikes me as an invitation for all kinds of vigilante justice and tomfoolery. i live in a county with 2 million people. kings county. if i drive miles from my house, i can call people out as not having the right address. what's the object to unleash the populous on each other in this fashion? >> i don't think it's unleashing the populous. they're allowing ten extra people to be appointed at large poll observers. if they're in a precinct, they can challenge a voter, but that's not the reason they've added the additional poll observers, and it's just ten per county. >> susan myrick -- >> per party.
every party gets to do that. >> susan myrick from the civitas institute. joining me now, reverend william barber, president of the north carolina chapter of the naacp and rick hasen, professor of law and political science at uc irvine law. and author of the book "voting wars." reverend barber, i'll begin with you. i'm curious your reaction to the justifications for the bill we just heard. they all seem to run in one direction which is making it harder for people to vote across the board. >> there is no justification. this is a vulgar display of the misuse of political power to manipulate political outcomes. this is what we have called a monster bill. it is clearly targeted at voter suppression. it's not about voter i.d. 34% of those without voter i.d., over 300,000 people, are minorities, are african-american. african-americans used early voting, 70% of those who voted
used early voting and they're attacking early voting, they're putting forth a voter i.d. that's more stringent in alabama, south carolina. and 34% of african-americans use the same-day registration. they're ending same-day registration. turning loose these vigilantes to go into these polling places. this is our governor deciding to join the interposition and nullifiers like in the 1960s, george wallace, strom thurmond. he's on the wrong side of history. this is extreme, and it's a fundamental crime against democracy and attack on our voting rights. >> rick, you are -- reverend barber is an activist, obviously. he's been working on this issue in north carolina. you're an academic. you study election law. you write about election law. you're probably the most read election law scholar, certainly, that i know of. where does this bill rank in the spectrum of restrictive voting measures? >> well, you know, almost every piece of this kind of law has appeared elsewhere, but i've never seen rolled into one bill
all of these things. rollbacks on early voting, cutbacks on voter registration, same-day registration, new absentee ballot restrictions, photo i.d. i've never seen it all together. i think that the republican legislature came into power in north carolina and john roberts freed them from the restrictions of the voting rights act and they went to town in the biggest bill that they could write. >> reverend, we saw tape of you announcing the lawsuit. what is the next step here for the fight against this bill which this round of the battle is lost. it has been passed. it has been signed. it's going to start going into effect. some provisions, quickly. some not until 2016. what is the next step in the battle here? >> your guess is right. these folk are acting as though they are back in 1877, when the united states armed troops were pulled out of south carolina and the former slave owners felt like they could do whatever they wanted to do. the reality is the 14th amendment is still in place. the 15th amendment. the 24th amendment. and sections 2, 3, and 5 of the
voting rights act. first of all, we're asking, this lawsuit is asking that the state be enjoined. we're also calling on the attorney general to do what senator hagan said, to come in as he did in texas. more so, chris, we -- this lawsuit, the naacp's lawsuit is tied to a movement. you know, we've been 15 weeks straight having moral monday. thousands of people gathering. 10,000 people last week in asheville. we are mobilizing through voter education, voter registration. we have direct action going on. >> so there's going to be more coming in terms of moving in a parallel track with the legal -- rick, the section 2 part of this lawsuit, which is part of the voting rights act which is an individual cause of action. how likely is that to succeed in your estimation? >> well, it's tough. i mean, this is one of the reasons why we were so upset that the supreme court effectively struck down section 5 which would have required north carolina, because of 40 of its counties being covered under
section 5, to get approval from the voting rights department, the department of justice, to show that this wouldn't make the position of minority voters worse off. a section 2 claim is very tough to win. a section 3 claim, which is also being asked for, to try to get preclearance restored, is going to be very tough to get without proof of intentional racial discrimination. some kind of smoking gun, something. all of the other options are not nearly as good as what we had before june when the supreme court issued its opinion. >> reverend william barber from the naacp, rick hasan from the uc irvine school of law. thank you, both. i appreciate. >> thank you so much. god bless. we have an interview coming up you don't want to miss. the woman who inspired "orange is the new black," piper kerman will be here. we'll be right back. goggles to keep an eye on my spicy buffalo wheat thins. who's gonna take your wheat thins? i don't know. an intruder, the dog, bigfoot. could you get the light? [ loud crash ] what is going on?! honey, i was close! it's a yeti! [ male announcer ] must! have! wheat thins!
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there seems to be a spate of stories today involving politicians trying to sneak one by us, fine print, and then hoping we wouldn't notice. so with a hat tip to rev al, i think it's time to play, nice try, guys. friday, president obama came before the american people and introduced new oversight of government spying designed to ensure the protection of americans' privacy rights. >> we're forming a high-level group of outside experts to review our entire intelligence and communications technologies. i'm tasking this independent group to step back and review our capabilities. particularly our surveillance technologies. and they'll consider how we can
maintain the trust of the people, how we can make sure that there absolutely is no abuse in terms of how these surveillance technologies are used. >> independent group of high-level outside experts to make sure government spies are not abusing their power. after making that announcement, the president left town heading to martha's vineyard for vacation, which i'm not hating on. i took vacation, myself, last week. last week, with the president out of town, the white house released a follow-up memo on this outside independent watchdog group. here's what we learned. the independent outside panel going to be created by this guy, james clapper, the director of national intelligence. also known as the guy who straight-up lied to congress back in march about the nsa's collecting of data on americans. >> does the nsa collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of americans? >> no, sir. >> it does not? >> not wittingly. there are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly. i was asked when are you going to stop beating your wife kind of question which is meaning not answerable, necessarily, by a simple yes or no. so i responded in what i thought was the most truthful or least untruthful manner by saying no. >> that's the guy who's in charge of setting up the independent outside group of experts the president said would be in charge of making sure government surveillance programs
maintain the trust of the people and are not abused. initial reports indicated that clapper, himself, would pick the members of the group. clapper's office has since pushed back and said he's not actually choosing members. according to the white house's memo, this independent group will be answering to clapper, briefing the president on their findings and recommendations through the director of national intelligence. through james clapper. the guy who wants credit for lying to congress in the least untruthful way he could. join look at the fine print, attach the president's new outside independent oversight group, it would seem the white house is using alternate definitions for the words outside and independent. nice try, guys. next up, we move down pennsylvania avenue to capitol hill where more than 30 house democrats sent a letter to the labor department earlier this summer opposing a new regulation designed to protect americans' retirement accounts. if you're wondering why congressional democrats would write a letter in opposition to an investor protection measure, the folks at "mother jones" might have the answer because democrats did not write the letter. it was, according to "mother jones'" own investigation, drafted by robert lewis, who works for investment industry trade group. the letter was signed by a bunch of congressional democrats but
originated with a financial industry lobbyist. nice try, guys. nice try. next up, to the justice department, where just last fall a big mortgage fraud initiative was being touted as a major success. attorney general eric holder, himself, convened a press conference to roll out the very impressive results of this mortgage fraud crackdown. >> over the past 12 months, enabled the justice department and its partners to file 285 federal criminal indictments and informations against 530 defendants who are allegedly victimizing more than 73,000 american homeowners and inflicting losses in excess of $1 billion. >> 530 defendants, $1 billion. those numbers sound incredible. almost too incredible if you ask some seasoned reporters. like the folks at "bloomberg" who reported at the time that the number of defendants seemed inflated. as it included one case filed two years before president obama was elected. the justice department subsequently declined to provide "bloomberg" with a complete list of the hundreds of indictments on $1 billion in lawsuits. timely just in the last few days late on friday, the justice department, to its credit, came out and admitted that the
numbers eric holder cited last year were just wrong. like really quite wrong. for example, remember how eric holder said the program had resulted in indictments and information against 530 defendants? that was really 107 defendants. or that it involved 73,000 homeowners. that was revised down to just over 17,000. and that $1 billion figure, that was really just $95 million. and, okay, it's a little embarrass to have gotten those numbers so wrong, but here's where the justice department crosses the line into full nice try guys territory. they apparently went back to the transcript posted online from eric holder's speech to swap in the newly revised numbers, thereby rewriting history as if eric holder had gotten the numbers right the first time and said things that he most assuredly did not say. of course, as you saw, they did not manage to go back in time and make eric holder actually say what the transcript purports
that he said. that speech is, of course, on tape. it's such an embarrassingly awkward nice try guys move, that you have to feel sorry for them. we're going to go ahead and give the justice department a hand at covering their tracks on this one. >> over the past 12 months, it's enabled the justice department and its -- >> lots of -- >> federal criminal indictments and information against -- >> 107 -- >> defendants who are allegedly victimizing more than -- >> 17,000 -- >> american homeowners. and inflicts losses in excess of -- >> $95 million. >> nice try, guys, and you're welcome. coming up, white people want college admissions to be a true meritocracy truly based on test scores unless they think white people don't do well on those tests. new insight on white people problems, next. mine was earned in djibouti, africa. 2004. vietnam in 1972. [ all ] fort benning, georgia in 1999. [ male announcer ] usaa auto insurance is often handed down
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a jaw dropping new study shows that white people don't like affirmative action unless they think it's going to benefit them. and this is very real practical implications because every year that goes by, the job market increasingly requires college degrees. parents grow more anxious about their kids getting into college. and admissions to these colleges grow more and more competitive. so along comes this great experiment, a study by frank sampson, a professor of sociology at the university of miami. asked 599 white californians how they felt about the importance of grade point average in the university of california admission system.
grade point average was generally rated as extremely important, but half of the people in the study were randomly selected to receive this information. "under current admissions procedures in the university of california system, asians make up almost 40% of the student body or 2 out of every 5 students. while they are only 12% of the california population." lo and behold, that group of white people who got that information gave grade point average less importance because suddenly they, white people, were the ones being threatened by the so-called meritocracy. part of professor sampson's conclusion, this finding weakness the argument that white commitment to meritocracy is purely based on principle." exactly. it shows how malleable, slippery, our notions of merit are in the context of higher education and opportunity in america in general. our official ideology, of course, here in the united states, is level playing field, but we want a level playing field that will select the people we think should be winning the race. joining me now is randall
kennedy, professor of law at harvard university. author of the book "for discrimination: race, affirmative action and the law" which comes out next month. professor kennedy, did the results of this study surprise you? >> no, it didn't surprise me. after all, people will often favor the policy that is good for them and their group. so it shouldn't be any surprise that there would be some white people who would downgrade, let's say, grade point average or test scores if those in merit aren't working in their favor. >> we often think of the debate over affirmative action in a kind of battle over a zero sum fixed pie of educational resources, as involving white people and black people, or white people and black or brown people. one of the things i thought was interesting about this study was it looked at this group that doesn't get talked about in the context of affirmative debate which is asian-american students who perform quite well as a group on standardized testing, grade point average and other things like that and who are in some ways the victims of the current system that's been erected largely by white
policymakers. >> that's true. i think we're going to hear more and more about asian-americans in this struggle in part because they are becoming increasingly salient at the most elite schools on the west coast and on the east coast. so they haven't figured in, you know, very much thus far in the debate, but i think increasingly they will figure in. certainly that's the case in california. >> what's the takeaway here? i mean, we obviously, we have a national myth about meritocracy. we have this idea that there's some sort of fixed metrics we can use to select the best people who are most deserving of these educational resources. what is wrong with that? what's way we move past that idea to something that's a little more comprehensive and going to move us toward a more diverse set of educational institutions? >> i think that we need to take a more realistic view of what affirmative action has meant over the past half century, and we need to talk about all of the
various arguments that have, that can be mobilized in favor of affirmative action. over the past 10 to 15 year, in large part because of the supreme court, we've talked almost solely in terms of higher education about the so-called diversity rationale for affirmative action. the idea that people from different backgrounds bring something to the table and thereby enrich these institutions for everyone. and that's an important rationale, but there are other rationales for affirmative action that need to be put out there as well. it's still the case, it seems to me, that a good argument can be made for affirmative action for compensatory justice. helping those who have for a long time been pushed to the margins, kept down in american life. or the argument of, you know, just straight-out desegregation of institutions which for a long time practiced segregation. or the idea of legitimation, the idea of making it very plain to everyone that all groups, all
people in american society, are welcome at elite institutions. so i think all of these arguments need to be out there, put on the table and debated. >> professor kennedy from harvard university. thank you much. i look forward to reading your book. >> thank you. we'll be right back with #click3. rgy...
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unsuspecting passengers and chatting about his policies. we learned today those passengers were maybe not so unsuspecting. in fact, we say they were downright suspecting. the norwegian newspaper reporting, the labor party eventually confirmed, that at least some of those passengers were paid actors cast as ordinary citizens for what would become a campaign video. this, of course, is a shocking breach of the public trust. you can't trust a political campaign ad to be authentic, what on earth is left? second awesomest thing on the internet today, don't let the powder wigs fool you. how old were some of the key participants in the american revolution? many of the founding fathers were, in fact, under 40. he listed a number of ages at the time. july 4th of 1776. thomas jefferson, 33, a year younger than i am. james madison, quarter century mark. back then laying down the groundwork for the greatest democracy in the world. today maybe he'd settle for skinny jeans. alexander hamilton would have been able to drink sam adam, the beer, not the guy, who's
downright ancient at 53. james monroe was barely legal. i can't believe we made that joke. the third awesomest thing on the internet today takes us to beijing, china, where a man has built a mountain over his living room. this is the 26-floor penthouse of dr. jang who reportedly spent six years and over $130,000 building a mountain on top of his house. the only problem is the good doctor never asked anyone for permission to do that. monday, the district government issued a compulsory demolition order. now the full thing has to be torn down. neighbors have been complaining for years about the sound of the construction, about the doctor's workers hogging the service elevator. tenants claim the building's structural has been compromised. an interview translated by the bbc. >> translator: the fake mountain you see from pictures is made of plastic materials, materials from resin, but not real rocks. the purpose of building it in
the first place was to protect our roof from sunshine. the house is all glass. so it gets very cold in winter and very hot in summer. >> yes, instead of buying curtains and a fan, the doctor builds a miniature golf course over his home. by way, if you're in the market, doctor, i know a motivated seller looking to unload his volcano near the ocean. find all the links for tonight's #click3 on our website, allinwithchris.com. we'll be right back. check it ou. over 20 million drivers are insured with geico. so get a free rate quote today. i love it! how much do you love it? animation is hot...and i think it makes geico's 20 million drivers message very compelling, very compelling. this is some really strong stuff! so you turned me into a cartoon...lovely. geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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witness states piper chapman carried drug money. piper chapman was part of the ring. >> were you? >> i was 22. i thought that i was in love. i was in love. and it was all crazy. and then it got scary. and i ran away, and i became the nice blond lady that i was supposed to be. >> that was a clip from the new netflix series "orange is the new black." like her tv character, piper chapman, piper kerman was to her friends and family a nice blond lady. she had a boyfriend who loved her, had a life. for years piper kerman was keeping a secret. at 24 she carried a money for a west african drug lord. kerman was in a relationship with a woman involved in an international drug smuggling ring. kerman got caught up in the lifestyle, retrieving money wires, carrying thousands of dollars of cash across borders. after months, kerman cut ties
with her criminal life and began living what she has called a normal one. that is until the feds showed up to her apartment years later informing her she'd been indicted in federal court on charges of drug smuggling and money laundering. that was just the beginning of a year's long odyssey through the american criminal justice system. she pled guilty to her crime and eventually served 15 months in a federal penitentiary. kerman's time in prison is the subject of a memoir and new tv series "orange is the new black." which chronicles the fish out of water experience of someone whose socioeconomic background led them to believe prison is the last place they'd see themselves, prison is for other people, bad people. here's piper, nice blond lady dumped right in the middle of it. >> what size are you? >> 9 1/2, 10. these are kind of like toms.
>> who's tom? >> toms are shoes. when you buy a pair, the company gives another to a child in need. they're great and come in lots of different colors. >> how nice. strip. >> the series is incredible. and i love it. which is why i am so, so excited piper kerman is here. her memoir is called "orange is the the new black: my year in women's prison." it's fantastic to have you. >> thanks for inviting me. >> i first came across your story in a monologue you did at a story-telling venue, you were telling about your experience, and have started -- most of my way through the series. love it. i have the thought numerous times in every episode, how did this series get made? it is just so off the charts of what, if you were going into a pitch meeting with a television executive, i could imagine anyone green lighting. how did it get made? >> the book came out in 2010. i was really lucky and fortunate
that it received, you know, good notices, and the book came to the attention of jenji kohan, the woman who created the show "weeds." so jenji read the book and loved the book, so i was actually out in los angeles during my book tour, you know, right after the book came out. we sat down. we talked. you know, and i was really, really struck by her insatiable curiosity about everything about life in a prison. above and beyond the contents of the book. so i had a really high degree of confidence that she was going to do something wonderful with it. >> you must have, right? because this is your story. this happened to you. this is the life you live and you wrote about it. i wonder, watching the show, if there are moments where you feel like you're no longer the custodian of your own story because this is on television and there are some small changes and the last name has been changed and things have to be fictionalized in certain ways. is it a strange experience to
watch your life be on screen? >> it's very surreal to watch the series. the series is an adaptation, and it, in fact, makes very dramatic departures from the facts that are contained in the book. so piper chapman's story line is very, very different than my own. and there are characters who are new, you know, brand new characters, the jenji and the writers have dreamed up. and that's all fantastic because i believe that what people liked the most about the book, and what people really responded to in the book, was the intersection of my own life and experience with all these other women that i met. hundreds and hundreds of women. some of them are dealt with in a lot of detail in the book. that is the most important takeaway from the book. what the show does is take that intersection and just expand upon it. so what they are able to do in the television show is to tell other women's stories in incredible detail. that is really, i think, very
important, and the best thing about the show. >> what i think is remarkable about it, i've done some, as a reporter, have reported on the criminal justice system. one of the things the show does incredibly well, at one level you don't want to romanticize or minimize the terribleness of being in prison. it's bad. it's really bad. at the same time, it's not a pen with animals. it's human beings who are in a society and a culture and are having interactions and moments of kindness. and somehow the show is managing to walk this very, very fine line of showing that it's not fun, but it's also human -- it's humans. it's people. it's people interacting with other people at the end of the day. >> yeah. i mean, what i wanted to do in
the book was to show in a different and a much more multifaceted way who's in prison, who's really in prison, and we don't necessarily think of women, first and foremost, when we think about the criminal justice system, and why are they in prison? what are the pathways? what are the offenses that end them there? often nonviolent crimes. and, you know, the backstories. and what really happens to them. what are the conditions of confinement? what is it like to live every day in a prison? i really hoped that people who read my book would walk away with some sense of what would it be like for me if i was in prison? and i think that the show just sucks you in, it allows viewers to imagine themselves walking in those shoes. >> there is an episode where a tool goes missing from a work space that you've been assigned to, and there's a huge security freak-out among the officials in the prison, and i had a knot in my stomach for the entire episode. >> that really happened. you know, that was a very, very scary day for me, and, you know, the future of the screwdriver in
the reality of the book is very different than what happens with the screwdriver in the show. but that day that i inadvertently stole a screwdriver was a really scary day for me, a terrifying day because it is a dangerous weapon and there are incredible consequences and i was, like, what am i going to do with this thing? >> are you still in touch with people that you served time with? >> i am in touch with people. folks sometimes ask if there was anything about prison that i liked. the only thing to like about prison is the friendships that you, perhaps, might forge there. so i really treasure the friendships that i made with some of the women who i did time with, and i am still in touch with and still friends with some of those women. >> have you talked to them about this series? i mean -- >> i have talked to some of them. some of them have been in touch. they've been watching. the feedback i've gotten is positive from those women and also along the lines of, wow, i'm having a flashback. so i haven't heard from every
single woman who is depicted in the book. the changes of the show are very substantial in terms of, you know, the characters. >> fictionalizing. >> the reaction has been enthusiastic. >> i want you to stick around if you will. when we come back, a former state senator sent to federal prison for a campaign finance violation will be here to tell us about his experiences. ♪ [ villain ] well mr. baldwin... it appears our journey has come to a delightful end. then i better use the capital one purchase eraser to redeem my venture miles for this trip. purchase eraser? it's the easy way to erase any recent travel expense. i just pick a charge, like my flight with a few taps, it's taken care of. impressive baldwin. does it work for hotels? absolutely thank goodness. mrs. villain and i are planning our... you scare me. and i like it. let's go what's in your wallet?
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somebody before i came in here. i was somebody with a life that i chose for myself. and now, now it's just about getting through the day without crying, and i'm scared. i'm still scared. i'm scared that i'm not myself in here, and i'm scared that i am. >> that was a scene from "orange is the new black." we're back with piper kerman, whose memoir is the inspiration for the hit netflix series. join me at the table, jeff smith, former missouri state senator who went to federal prison for campaign violations. jeff, i wanted to have you here, you and i spoke before. i read about your prison experience, and you said you had read the memoir when you got to federal prison. >> yeah, i actually had it sent to me while i was locked up, and so, you know, it was really great to be able to read about someone who had a little bit of a similar experience. >> in terms of similar
experience, so there's something strange here, right, which is i have these two relatively well educated white people on the show right now. we're talking about prison. at some level, you do not want to give a misimpression about who is incarcerated in the massive incareal state which is america which disproportionately puts behind bars people of color, particularly men of color and people without much in the way of means. but at the same time, one of the things that comes through in the show, and in the memoir, is that actually it's more diverse than you would think. you can't -- people shouldn't think that that world of prison has nothing to do with them. >> absolutely not. i mean, there is no question that who is policed and who is prosecuted and who is sentenced and how they're sentenced is very, very different for some americans than for other americans. and the racial disparity and the class disparity is indefensible in terms of whether equal justice is really happening in
our courtrooms and in the streets as well. but what you find in prison is people from every walk of life, every race, color, creed, religion, and you're living together in a very, very close quarters and have to make your own peace and have to navigate and negotiate how everyone's going to get along. >> do you find that, jeff? >> yeah, i mean, frankly, race is a huge problem in society and a problem in federal prison as well. prison is very segregated. it's sort of like sunday morning in the united states, the most segregated time in america. prison is probably more segregated than that. i actually was part of the only
interracial, like, cell group, so i had a black cellie when i first came in. consequently, the only people i knew for my first week were black, and i sat down at a lunch table with that group and i was told in no uncertain terms by a white man afterwards, you need to stop sitting there and sit with your own kind. so i had several, you know, very tense experiences in prison, but many of them revolved around race. >> there are two americas. an america that thinks it has nothing to do with the criminal justice system, that this thing churns in the background, it never affects their life. don't know anyone who's been to prison. have never gotten on a bus to go three hours to visit their loved one there, never been at a midnight arraignment down at the criminal court. don't know what a parole violation is, have never talked to a c.o. there's another part of america in which that is life. in and out of prison. people they know and love in prison. visiting loved ones in prison. interfacing the criminal justice system. as people that were in one america and went to the other,
what do you come back, what do you want to tell people who are living in the america that don't think that criminal justice system has anything to do with them? >> i think that first of all, there are communities which are generally our most vulnerable communities which contend with the criminal justice system in incredibly intense ways every single day. as you describe, huge swaths of those communities who may by directly affected, may have been incarcerated, themselves, or may have a loved one who's in prison or in jail. what i have found in the course of talking about my own experience, though, with folks who in theory don't touch the criminal justice system at all, when you peel things back just a little bit, people say, oh, you know, when my cousin, my brother -- >> that's a really good point. >> -- my stepfather, my neighbor's son. so the criminal justice system affects far more americans than i think everyone realizes or recognizes. and there's, of course, a lot of guilt and shame associated with being convicted of a crime and going to prison and coming home. trying to come home successfully. but i think that it's a system which affects far more lives
than people recognize, and also, you know, has a tremendous literal economic cost to every single american who pays taxes. so that's what i would say. >> did it change your politics on this issue? >> it changed my politics somewhat. absolutely. i mean, i cared about recidivism issues when i was in the missouri senate, and in fact, i used to bring, try to invite other colleagues with me to go to prisons to watch theatrical performances. never in a million years did i imagine that just a year later i'd be playing drums in the gospel choir performing for visitors in a federal prison. so, yeah, i mean, you can't go through something like that and say it didn't change your outlook. for me, the thing i want to tell people on the outside more than anything is just that the people who are locked up really aren't that different from you and i. we probably had a lot more privileges than most of them growing up, maybe an intact family or the opportunity for a great education, or financial security. but at the end of the day, they miss their kids just like we do. they miss their girlfriend or their wife or their mom or their
friends just like we do. and they want a chance at a better life when they get out. >> do you think that we are at a point -- there was eric holder's announcement yesterday about mandatory minimums and sam changes to the way the department of justice would deal with them. mandatory minimums. the character of piper chapman faces a mandatory minimum. i believe you faced a mandatory minimum. >> absolutely. >> which is why you pled. what was your reaction to that news yesterday? >> i was very encouraged. i mean, it definitely can have a substantial impact if all those u.s. attorneys, you know, follow the directive of the attorney general and start doing, going about their business differently. that can have a big impact. the truth of the matter is, there are far more people in state prisons than in federal prison. there are huge, hundreds of thousands of people in federal prison. so we need governors and state attorneys general to also take steps. >> we need to see a sea change in the politics which i am hopeful is happening, though i'm
not quite sure. piper kerman, inspiration for the netflix series "orange is the new black" and former missouri state senator, jeff smith. thank you very much. that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. >> that was textbook chris hayes, fascinating and super smart and amazing. that was awesome. >> thank you, rachel. thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. polls are closed now in the primary election for new jersey's u.s. senate seat. after u.s. senator frank lautenberg died in june, new jersey governor chris christie appointed a replacement senator to keep that seat essentially occupied until new jersey voters could choose who they wanted to take that seat for the remainder of mr. lautenberg's term. well, as of tonight, we now know that the two candidates in that election to take frank lautenberg's u.s. senate seat will be for the democratic party the mayor of new jersey new jersey's largest city, cory booker. the republican party, the former mayor of new jersey's 280th