tv The Reid Report MSNBC May 7, 2014 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
another benghazi investigation on the way. >> there's not going to be a sidesh sideshow, not going to be a circus. this is a serious investigation. >> okay. but what if you threw a bipartisan benghazi hearing and the democrats didn't show up? we'll hear from someone who calls the republican fishing expedition a colossal waste of time. race and politics, two democrats engage in frank tank about the role race has played facing the gridlock in the country. first, there are reports of renewed violence in nigeria, even as the international push intensifies to bring home hundreds of girls kidnapped by terrorists. several reports saying civilians were gunned down in a brutal massacre that killed as many as 300 people on the nigerian border with cameroon. that is being blamed on boka haram, blamed for the mass kidnapping on april 14th. elsewhere in the country,
villagers fled their home after at east another eight girls were kidnapped this week, reportedly also by boka haram. after word of a u.s. team being sent in, the state department had this update moments ago. >> our ambassador met with the nigerian national security adviser. our legal attash shea has been in touch with nigerian police, the fbi stands ready to send additional personnel to provide technical and investigate ga tory assistance including hostage negotiations. a number of u.s. military officials have been on the ground in nigeria since well before the girls were kidnapped as part of the military's permanent office of security cooperation there. while the pentagon is preparing on sending additional military to nigeria, defense officials say no decision haves been made to deploy any combat forces. as nbc news reports, what is a certainty, according to one
senior official is that the u.s. military will deploy surveillance drones from africom and europe. as the u.s. role plays out in the coming days, members of congress have set their sites on the leader of boka haram. >> we have such a defiant person, he's now kidnapped more girls. this is what -- there is a special place in hell for somebody like him. >> they have kidnapped girls this time. they were slaughtering boys before, and this is all within the context of nigeria becoming the fastest growing economy on the continent of africa. >> to the congresswoman's point, their economy is also on the world stage as the capital city of abuja hosts the world economic forum. it's a forum to focus on their growth.
poverty that secretary john kerry pointed out today could drive young people to the kind of sectarianism and extremist ideologies exemplified by boka haram. >> we see with what is happening in nigeria with boka haram the extent to which this can disrupt the world. for all of us, the truth sit's not something far away. every american needs to understand that this is related to security at home. >> and pushing for further security, all 20 female u.s. senators sent a letter to president obama saying, quote, we urge you to press for the addition of boka haram and another militant group to the united nations security council al qaeda sanctions list. as religious leaders gathered in the nation's capital to pray for the missing girls, questions remain about how a collaboration between the u.s. and nigeria will work. for more on the situation in any engineer yeah, i bring in writer and huff tinge ton post
contributor loyal la add soya and kevin maroone with the youth organization global kids. kevin, i want to start with you because i think the story here today is about the u.s. cooperation, the u.s. coming in and sort of bringing in i guess what you'd call the big security guns, coming in with drones, with additional help, military, not military aid but sending in members of the u.s. military. the thing that makes this story so poignant and the reason it's become belatedly such a big international story is the actual plight of these girls and the issue of human trafficking. as horrific as it is, what are these girls facing? it has been almost 30 days. >> as you mentioned, it is finally the world is paying attention. it has been over three weeks. we're facing a situation with 223 girls still in captivity in a forested area, difficult terrain to actually have a
rescue effort be effective, and now we are in a situation where there's a porous border with cameroon. nobody is quite sure if these girls are still in the borno state. abubakar shekau said he was going to sell these women in the open market. the fear is that has already begun to happen. >> he openly said that slavery is allowed in his region. he believes in it. in a situation where you're dealing with human traffickers, once, let's say, that has happened to some of these girls and there's been this horrific -- almost unthinkable to even talk about it, once they have sold some of these girls -- the stories are for as little as 12ds, how can they be found at that point? >> i think now it's going to take concerted effort between all these nations that are offering support, france, britain, the u.s., offering technical assistance. it's become a wider issue.
you're talking about boka haram, talking about the affiliation with al qaeda in the islamic rim, talking about extremist groups in cameroon and mali. this has become a wider regional issue. the involvement needs to be robust and immediate to get these girls back. >> lola, going and taking a step back, we talked about the poverty and the irony that you do have the capital of nigeria hosting this world economic forum. the other issue i'd like to talk about, is this an issue of anti-colonialism. there's a scholar from the university of indiana who said really it isn't western education that's forbidden, it's more of a broader colonial term and a reaction against the fact that colonialists when they were running that country forbade the traditional religions and teaching which was islamic teaching. and boka haram is a reaction to that and westernism itself.
how has that aspect and poverty played into the groups like boka haram. >> with all due respect to that person, i don't necessarily believe that. in the south, for example, you have educated people who are christian, who are muslim. it's not really about colonialism. i think in that particular region of nigeria, there's a lot of poverty. it's the poorest area in nigeria, about three times the amount of poverty in the northeast than there is in the south. i think boka haram emerged from a mixture of political, social and ethnic that decisions that have given rise to a group of men who feel emasculated, disenchanted, plus they also have their own way of leading
which is somewhat different from the rest of the country that's connected to the government. i wouldn't say it's colonialism, but i would say it's a mixture of social and political issues that basically have left a void for these people to emerge. >> what they want is to take over the government and restore a taliban-like government in nigeria. the nigerian government hasn't tried to deal with this group and insurgency before, and the fact that they've taken so long to deal with this issue with the girls. >> one of the issues is genuine into tude of the government. i'm sorry. i'd have to say it like that. we're not talking an american government that reacts to things and gets a press secretary. we're talking a government that doesn't necessarily even within its own country understand what's going on. nigeria is the most populous country in africa. we're talking millions and millions of people. it's huge.
i think before the government thought boka haram is a northeastern problem, it's not really going to affect everywhere else, so you can just ignore it and just a few guys causing trouble. >> clearly that's not true. kevin, is it possible to use the fact that nigeria is trying to put itself on display as sort of a growing economy and this is a giant, sort of pokes a giant hole in this idea when this can take place within it? is it possible to use this moment on the world stage to force the government of nigeria to do more to help these girls? >> i think it is possible. it's what needs to happen. we've seen now globally people have been galvanized to make sure that something is done to rescue these young women. and president good luck jonathan has to take decisive action. >> i agree with lola. this is an issue of marginalized north. historically, marge liesed,
impoverished, they need to address this issue on several different fronts. the security, military assessment to get the girls back and then a political and economic assessment to address those issues of marginalization, to address the corruption, thus being easier to recruit to some of these more extremist countries. >> kevin from global kids inc. as well as lola, thank you both for being here. up next, the democratic congressman leading the boycott to boycott boehner's subcommittee on benghazi gas at the same location. during the day, we generate as much electricity as we can using solar. at night and when it's cloudy, we use more natural gas. this ensures we can produce clean electricity
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going to tell the american people the truth. they're not telling the truth about benghazi. they have not told the truth about fast and furious. only one would have to guess. if they're not willing to tell the american people the truth, it must not be very pretty. thanks. >> that was john boehner talking to the media after the gop's weekly leadership meeting. he closed his remarks with a loud and emphatic condemnation of the obama administration over a series of sessions that are unique to the republican past. you heard fast and furious and the irs and benghazi. republicans have tried really hard to make those met taft size into big national scandals, wall-to-wall stories that will reach hard core voters, really one way they've tried to do that is by using the media, holding hearings, lots of hearings, hearings that get covered by a broad sweep of the mainstream
press. on the irs, as i'm talking to you we're monitoring the house which is expected to find former irs official lois lerner in contempt today. while john boehner has mastered the fiery walk off in the weekly news conference, there's actually some question over how much the speaker himself and the gop leadership really want this new benghazi investigation, complete with a special committee. how much of it is the same kind of appeasement of the hard core faction within the house caucus we saw from boehner on issues like the government shutdown. nbc's frank thorpe tweeted this, in the middle of the news conference today, so far, boehner, kantor, mccarthy and jenkins have spoken at the weekly stakeout and no mention of benghazi and irs. politico's jake sherman noted opening statements at the leadership presser, no mention of benghazi. they xleerly don't want this front and center. the potential friction against boehner and his base over
benghazi is not the only question on the table today. what could be just as intriguing would be how democrats react to boehner's benghazi gamut by either shunning it and letting the republicans fight it out themselves or participating. congressman adam ship is a democrat from california. congressman, we played the tail end of mr. boehner's remarks in which he added benghazi to the mix. the fact this wasn't front and center in his leadership meeting makes it seem like this is more about really watching out for the base and doing what the base wants than it is about sort of a broad fact-finding mission. that being the case, if that is true, why would democrats participate in such hearings at all? >> look, there are some arguments to be made in favor of participating. if the democrats aren't at the table the argument is the republicans will have the sole microphone. democrats can't elicit contrary evidence from the witnesses. that's true.
at the same time you have to ask yourself after umpteen committees that have investigated benghazi, when is enough enough? what powers would this committee have that, for example, dirl issa and the government reform committee haven't already had? he has run that committee with an iron fist, had the power of subpoena. we saw what bipartisanship looks like on benghazi most graphically and one of the iconic images of this congress, when darrell issa tried to cut the microphone when elijah cummings was talking. i think your question is a good one. why participate in that? why legitimize that? i come down on the side of recommending that we not do that. it's not as if this was our first hearing, first committee on this. i think, joy, you used exactly the right word when you used the word appeasement in terms of the speaker appeasing his base. let's not forget just a month ago the speaker was against this and said what's the point of having another committee to do months and months and months of
more hearings. the republican chair of the armed services committee, buck mckeen said at a certain point you've got to say when is asking the same questions over and over and getting the same answers, when is enough enough and when do we move on? you know, there's been no there. it's time to move on. >> to your point, and we put up a little while ago the number of hearings there have been. at least four reports of dozens and dozens of hearings that have turned up nothing other than a lot of fund-raising. your colleagues are actually fund-raising off of benghazi and doing quite well at it. there's actually been a robust fund-raising response to benghazi when an e-mail goes out or a chain mail goes out saying, hey, you've got to contribute to your local republican committee. if, in fact, this is a fund-raising push for the republicans, if this is, in fact, really base cottaling by john boehner, i come back to, you said there were good reasons to argue for participating. i don't know what those would be. >> it's a close question.
i'm clearly on the side that democrats shouldn't give this anymore credibility than this deserves. there are arguments, i think arguments to be made at the table. i think you're right. this is something the speaker has agreed to do to placate the base inside the beltway and excite the base outside the beltway. i don't see any reason for us to give that enhanced credibility by joining it in what will ultimately be just like the darrell issa committee, a very partisan conclusion first and then facts later kind of investigative process. up to four investigative committee hearings, foreign affairs, armed services, the intelligence committee, two more that were bipartisan in the senate that debunked all the conspiracy theories and very high-level accountability review board conclusions by two very well respected people on both sides of the aisle. at a certain point, you've got
to say how long are we going to distract ourselves from the business of the country in trying to increase the minimum wage, provide jobs for people, make sure people have adequate health care? i think that time has come. one final point i would make on this is, there are legitimate questions and always have been about what's the state of our security around the world at our embassies? where are we in the hunt for people responsible for killing americans? we all in the democratic party and the republican party take very seriously the loss of american lives, and if the focus were on that, we would be with them. but focus isn't. it's all about raising money for the base -- from the base and exciting the base to turn out next november. >> right. >> and going after hillary clinton. >> just really, we're out of time, i want to ask you briefly. your leadership, nancy pelosi as well as congressman cliburn have been focusing on the composition of the committee. would you recommend they stop
arguing over the compensation and just say no to participating at all? >> our leadership is bending over backwards to be fair and say are you serious about this and really test whether the speaker means to have a truly independent body look at this that will work in a bipartisan fashion. the speaker made it clear that's not what he's interested in. he's not interested in a committee like the ethics committee that would be nan partisan. he wants sole control over subpoenas. i think it's more than appropriate for our leadership to probe whether they're serious and plainly they're not. >> democratic congressman adam schiff of california. thank you. >> thank you. >> we're be right back. as well: jobs all over america. engineering and innovation jobs. advanced safety systems & technology. shipping and manufacturing. across the united states, bp supports more than a quarter million jobs. when we set up operation in one part of the country, people in other parts go to work.
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rehab. apparently he's loving it. in an interview published today ford compared rehab to football camp calling it amazing. he assured voters he's still running toronto from the clinic. many of you are puzzled that ford is enjoying his detox. you're doubting ford quite gets what battling an addiction intails. if you eastern joying rehab, you're probably doing it wrong. he contends he'll win re-election in october and kick butt. best of luck with thafrnlths from toronto to beverly hills where the beverly hills hotel has gone from celebrity playground to battleground. stars like jay leno have joined organizations picketing the iconic hollywood hot spot after the sultan of brunei who controls the group that owns the hotel, announced his nation adopted sharia law. under the islamic code, homosexuality and adultery are capital offenses. ellen degeneres tweeted she was
boycotting the hotel. hollywood power plays are pulling events from the property. both women and lbgt groups are uniting for protest under the hash tag stop the sultan. many of you online agree, any business associated with the impression of women and gays does not need american support. the mind is a beautiful thing. one man's mind became brilliant following a tragedy. in 2002 jason padgett was brutally beaten by two men, repeatedly kicked in the head resulting in a concussion. doctors think these injuries rewired his brain. now padgett is a math genius, diagnosed with acquired savant syndrome. now the former furniture salesman from taco ma, washington, cease complex geometry in every day things. they illustrate mathematical concepts such as pi as pictures rather than equations. his amazing story is going viral
as we marvel at his evolution. evidence doctors say points to untapped potential lying dormant in all of us. you the potential to join the conversation with fellow read reiders and keep telling us what's important to you. fast food workers announce plans for a nationwide protest for next week, fighting for a living wage and here is what that means by the numbers. vo: once upon a time there was a boy who traveled to a faraway place where villages floated on water and castles were houses dragons lurked giants stood tall and the good queen showed the boy it could all be real
how much money do you think you'll need when you retire? then we gave each person a ribbon to show how many years that amount might last. i was trying to, like, pull it a little further. [ woman ] got me to 70 years old. i'm going to have to rethink this thing. it's hard to imagine how much we'll need for a retirement that could last 30 years or more. so maybe we need to approach things differently, if we want to be ready for a longer retirement. ♪ former florida governor charlie crist is a lot of first things in 2014 politics. he's the first major candidate to have embraced obamacare and to show it can be a path to victory as he leads governor rick scott in the polls. he's the first florida
politician to seek the governorship twice from two different parties. the republican-turned-democrat is the first candidate this cycle to throw the charge of racism against his old party. in an interview with jorge ramos, the ones and possibly future florida governor had this to say. >> when i saw how the party, some of them, were treating the african-american president and i couldn't take it anymore. that's a big part why i left the party. >> he was pressed on this point, was the real reason racism or marco rubio's impending primary win against the republican that forced crist to leave his party? crist defiantly said no, it was not rubio, it was the racism. >> the moment when you decide to leave the republican party is because you were going to lose to marco rubio? >> no. it was because i couldn't be consistent with myself and my core beliefs and stay with a party so unfriendly toward the
african-american president. i'll just go there. >> it's not just crist who is going there when it comes to republicans and race, however. it's also jay rockefeller, the soon to retire democratic senator from west virginia. during a senate finance hearing tuesday he said this, quote, it's an american characteristic that you don't do anything which displeases the voters because you always have to get re-elected here. i understand part of it. it has to do with, for some, it's just we don't want anything good to happen under this president because he's the wrong color. karen finney is my friend and colleague. two of them. >> whoo. let's go there. >> charlie crist says i was pushed out of the republican party because of their intolerance on race. and then you have rockefeller saying some people say obama is the wrong color. revolutionary, dangerous. what is your assessment, karen? >> well, one does not have to
run for re-election, so that is very freeing for a lot of these numbers. this is when you really find out what they think. for crist, it's a little bit of 50/50. i believe him, that in his heart he believes that. he's also, let's be clear, a very smart politician. he knows that he needs the black vote that's going to be critical to him for a win in this race. 50/50 i would say. >> are you calling him a politician? >> heavens, no. no, no, no, never. >> the interesting thing about charlie crist, the things that really made the republican party angry with him included holding those lines open in 2008 when a lot of african-american voters were really overjoid he had done it. it was vetoing a bill teachers didn't like which made a lot of democrats who were teachers love charlie crist. it was pushing back against attempts previously that the head of the republican party, that said the republican wanted to get rid of early voting and
charlie crist said no. that and hugging. >> hugging the president, right. what's interesting about that, it almost goes to what rockefeller was saying, crist understood as the governor of the state of florida what the majority of people in the state of florida would want. he didn't go with the national republican mantra of we're going to cut early voting. we're going to be horrible to teachers unions. he kind of went his own way. so you could make the argument he was doing that because he believed -- he believed in it, but if you're the governor of the state of florida and you know how to get re-elected, you know you can't necessarily afford to play by what the gop in washington is telling you have to do. >> florida is an interesting state. it's a purple state but absolutely 100% run by the republican party. there's the huge i-4 corridor in the middle, a lot of puerto ricans in the jacksonville area. charlie crist is way ahead of rick scott in the polls.
we have a quinnipiac poll showing him up 48% to 38. who is more compass nat? he puts governor scott away, 50 to 35. >> i would think that also helps him with independents which we were alsos talking about. a lot of the moderate or independent voters see what governor scott is doing as too extreme. they have the choice will they vote for crist or will they just not vote? will they stay home? either way that's a win for crist. >> to go to rockefeller for a minute, is there somebody like a jay rockefeller who is white and talk about it in a blunt way. let's face it, some of my constituents believe barack obama is the wrong color. does that land differently than if an african-american said the wrong thing? >> absolutely. rockefeller has been such a stalwart of the senate for so long. for him to say that, i think it was courageous. he'll get some backlash.
since he's not running for re-election, he doesn't have that kind of concern. it's an important thing to put on the table. give him credit for putting it on the table. >> interesting that this is happening at a time when south is becoming -- white, southern voters are becoming as solidly with the republican party as african-americans with the democratic party. does that start to make people question that dynamic or are we headed for this polarization that isn't going to end? >> i would imagine someone like rockefeller put it out in the context of trying to break down some of that and let's have a conversation about that. it was clearly in a very thoughtful way that he said it. i don't know that it helps the polarization. but if we were all smart, we would take it as, let's try to have that conversation instead of, as you and i both know when you try to have that conversation, you're a hater and all that. let's have that conversation and be honest about how people are feeling and where their heads are at.
>> what's interesting, if charlie crist doesn't get a backlash, that will be interesting to me karen finney we should watch every week end right here on msnbc. it is on weekends at 4:00 p.m. eastern right here on this very channel. thank you so much, karen. all right. put another one in the win column for the gop establishment. candidate tom tillis delivered the victory in the north carolina primary. he picked up 46% of the vote for the gop nomination for senate. he'll face incumbent senator kay hagan in november. it's a nail-biter for moraler "american idol" star clay aiken. he leads the race in the north carolina second congressional district by a mere 369 votes. coming up, whether or not you agree with the death penalty. the botched execution in oklahoma has raised questions about how it's administered.
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from philips sonicare and save now. philips sonicare his body continued to move, locking up, his head was lifting, tightening his muscle, exhaling. >> at 6:39, he's still lifting his shoulders and head off the gurney grimacing. >> he was struggling to talk, but those were the words we got out "man, i'm not" and "something is wrong." one week after the botched execution of oklahoma death row inmate clayton lockett a bipartisan panel is urging states to stop using the drug cocktail for lethal infections. instead they recommend one drug method some states already use. the problem is it's becoming increasingly difficult for states to find the drugs they need.
u.s.-based pharmaceutical companies are increasingly saying no to supplying the drugs, fearing of backlash from death penalty opponents. drugmakers in countries where the death penalty is banned won't supply the chemicals for moral reasons. that means states are resorting to experimental concoctions that they buy from undisclosed suppliers. they're fighting in court to keep their sources secret. this week oklahoma governor mary fallin called on those questioning the death pen amendment to remember the victims. it recalled the gruesome death of the 19-year-old woman that lockett was convicted of killing. his death was very bad, too. he struggled in obvious pain for 43 minutes before finally dieing of an apparent heart attack. for now, some states still have the legal option to put their convicted criminals to beth including using the three-drug cocktail. is it the right thing to do?
joining me now mark white, the governor of texas from 1983 to 1987, during that time overseeing the executions of 19 minutes. here is what he said last week in an essay for politico magazine. i believe our criminal justice system delivered fair sentences and could humanely carry out the ultimate punishment. today i'm not so sure. governor white, thank you for being here, first of all. >> sure. >> why are you now not so sure and are you not sure about the death penalty itself or just about the means? >> well, i think it's both. i think you have to be certain, first of all, that you have a person that committed the crime. we've seen evidence, strong evidence that we've executed innocent people in this country. nothing could be more horrible than that. we saw the governor of oklahoma talk about how we have to remember the victim. well, if you weren't the perpetrator, then don't think about the victim because you've got the wrong person. nothing could be worse than that. what we saw happen in oklahoma was just a tragic thing.
call it a botched execution, but i call it torture. that was cruel and unusual punishment in the eighth amendment sense of the word. to call it botched smooths over something horrendous. >> i want to have you listen to current governor rick perry defending texas's excuse process this morning on "meet the press." >> the process of the actual execution is very different from oklahoma. we only use one drug. but i'm confident that the way that the executions are taken care of in the state of texas are appropriate and humane. >> was this inmum mane? >> i don't know whether it was inhumane or not, but it was botched. >> there's the current governor using the same term that you say min midsing the severity of this. do you think the one-drug method is more humane than the three-drug cocktail? is your objection is that we
don't know what this mix of drugs will do to the person and how long it will take for them to die? >> i think so far so good as far as executions go, but hope is not a very good plan. today the spca is doing a better job than what we're doing in some of our states. i think it's stop what we're doing, review what we're doing and get it right. we have absolutely executed innocent people in this country. that's something that is so abhorrent to every bright thinking person in america, it shouldn't happen again. we have plenty of time to get it right. many of these people average 15 years on death row before they're executed. what's wrong with taking a little more time to make sure you're right. >> so are you calling, sir, would you call for a national moratorium on the use of the death penalty? >> if we have to go through what oklahoma went through and what ohio has gone through, certainly we should stop for a moment, pause for a moment, make sure we're right.
we have plenty of time to do it the right way. right now our death penalty circumstances in this country are abhorrent. we don't use the right forensic evidence. we sometimes find later that what we thought was right is no longer correct. that just goes to show that we need to be looking at the latest science, making certain that we're using and applying it properly. dna evidence, a good example. over half the people who were released on dna evidence that was shown that they didn't actually commit the crime were convicted on forensic science that we thought was accurate the time. there's a good example of why we need to stop. let's make certain we're correct before we run the real prospect of executing innocent people. >> when you talk about that issue, because the innocence project and others have gotten to the issue you're talking about, the fear that innocent people are being put to death, support for the death penalty, it is still majority, but it has
declined. it's gone from about two-thirds of people supporting it back in 1996 to just over half now. do you think that issues like this three-drug cocktail will exacerbate people's distaste for the death penalty itself? >> let me say that leaders shouldn't look to polls to be the reason for why they take action. this is purely right and wrong. there's no question about it. innocent people being subjected to the death penalty is wrong. and the leaders in our country have the opportunity to make sure that it doesn't happen. they should take action. the innocence project is a good example of that. the constitution project, releasing their report today on irreversible executions is another good example of work that's been done. it can be used to change the way in which we go about using our procedures in states as well as federal government.
something the president has called for, eric holder, our attorney general, should look at it very carefully. i think many answers to the questions he's been asking are found there. >> sir, when you look back at the 19 executions that took place when you were governor, are there any you look back on and think to yourself that there was doubt, either retroactively or even beforehand about the guilt of that person? >> having been a lawyer, i was very concerned that we didn't execute an innocent person. i went over every one of those 19 cases and not only myself and other lawyers on my staff to make absolutely certain that the person was afforded all the constitutional privileges that he enjoys as an american citizen. and also make certain he never claimed he was innocent. i'm persuade thad there were no innocent people executed on my watch. but that's not to be critical of anyone else. it's only to say that since then we know that what we used to be sure of was wrong. we used to be sure that eyewitness testimony was great. it's not. we used to be sure that
testimony for arson was sound forensic evidence. it's not. we now know today that dna evidence is a much better test of whether someone is involved in a crime or not, but yet we see some prosecutors in texas that have held back from testing evidence with dna tests that have ultimately proven that an individual named michel martin was, in fact, innocent. spent 25 years in prison, innocent every single day. >> sir, i really appreciate you being here governor mark white, former governor of texas. thank you very much for being here. coming up next, we'll reid between the lines on how the death penalty discussion is about how to kill people, not on whether the government should be killing people. (music)
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in 1877 wallace wilkerson was tried and convicted of murder in the utah territories. though he professed his innocence, he chose to died by firing squad rather than being hanged or decap taelted. his appeal went all the way to the supreme court which ruled in wilkerson case that death by firing squad is not cruel and unusual punishment. on his execution day in 1879 wallace wilkerson was led out to a jail yard soon after his sentence had been affirmed. he could see the guns pointed his way having declined a bind fold. when the shots were fired, they failed to kill him, hitting him in the arm, the abdomen instead. as "the new york times" described the scene, my god, my god, they have missed. more than 27 minutes passed as wilkerson bled to death in front of astonished witnesses and a
helpless doctor. people were horrified, but not so horrified that america stopped executing people, something north americans had done since george kendall was put to death for spying for spain in 1908. back then execution was allowed for stealing grapes, killing chickens and trading indians. we've held on to executions long after all of europe has stopped doing it. what we have done is to continually search for ways to make putting people to death more palatable to the public. that's whent changing the crimes subject to the death penalty and taking the executions inside of the facilities and outside of public view. when the governor of new york was looking for a more efficient means of executing people, a dentist named dr. alfred p. southwick stepped forward with an invention he came up with after watching a drunk man die after touch ag live generator. finding the right current to
power southwick's electric chair pitted thomas edison and george westinghouse against each other. edison who actually opposed the death penalty admitted using westinghouse's alternating current to get the job done. the state called the process electricide. one of the first to be selected was convicted killer william kemler. after 17 seconds and 1,000 volts, he was convulsing and foaming at the mouth and smoke was rising from his body, but he wasn't dead. 2,000 volts later he finally died. "the new york times" called it an awful spectacle far worse than hanging. that didn't stop the death penalty either. nor did the electrocution of the rosenbergs or the notorious stories about florida's old sparky. we're back to questioning the means of execution.
whether as unsympathetic as those subject to execution can be, we want to be in this gruesome business at all. that wraps things up for the reid report. i'll see you back tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. be sure to visit us, "the cycle" is up next. >> hey, how are you doing? joy, i hope you'll stick around. we'll talk about north carolina today, spinning about the infamous -- >> the blue dress. >> monica lewinsky, and then i'm going to rant about the need for democratic voters to come out and vote in november. also, we've got senator casey on. >> excellent. it's true. if voters don't come out, they only have themselves to blame. i think you'll say just that. "the cycle" comes up next. i'd do anything to keep this guy happy and healthy. that's why i'm so excited about these new milk-bone brushing chews.
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cycle" score one for the establishment. i'm jonathan capehart in for ari. we are closely watching the markets as they hang on the every word of one woman. >> who? >> not me. janet yellen. she's on today with some good news and a warning about the economy. >> krystal, i hang on your every word. the most infamous intern is back. 16 years after her affair with president clinton, why is monica lewinsky speaking out now? a lot of people are wondering that today. so is abby. if millennials are twitter, washington much aol. i'm abby huntsman, can we click our way to better government. come into our domain. it's "the cycle." we start with the comeback of the gop establishment, maybe. last night's