tv Melissa Harris- Perry MSNBC July 13, 2014 7:00am-9:01am PDT
the number 1 doctor-recommended frequent heartburn medicine for 9 straight years. >>you can't beat zero heartburn. prilosec otc. one pill each morning. 24 hours. zero heartburn. insure this morning my question -- is lebron james the ultimate homecoming king? plus, mrs. turner goes to washington. this week's powerful congressional testimony about what it is really like to live in poverty. and of the women behind the emmy-nominated mega hit "orange is the new black" but first, running out of water in the motor city. good morning, i'm melissa harris-perry. if you thought the refugee surge we talked about on yesterday's show was the only border crisis currently facing the united
states, think again. because there is another humanitarian situation unfolding on the u.s.'s northern border that also has caught the attention of the united nations and also involves people from another neighboring nation crossing into the united states. only in this case it is people on our side of the border who are in need of help and our foreign friends who could be coming to the rescue. i'm talking about the people in the city of detroit, who have been deprived of access to the most basic element of human survival -- water. in a city that borders the largest source of fresh surface water on the planet, contained within the great lakes, thousands of people are being prevented from getting even a single drop out of their faucet. this summer detroit's water and sewage department is working to shut off the water for up to 3,000 delinquent city customers eechl we each week, in addition to the 710,000 people who had their
water turned off in june and the 7,5567 people who had their water turned off in april and may. the department's campaign to stop water service is targeting people who are more than 60 days late on their bills or who owe at least 1$150. they say turning off the water is a necessary incentive to collect on more than 90,000 delinquent accounts owing more than $93 million past due. they point to the 60% of customers who pay their accounts within a day of having it shut off as evidence that people can pay their bills but deciding not to. but the united nations with the thought of turning off water without proving who can pay falls short of upholding human rights. according to the u.n. disconnections are permissible if the resident cannot pay.
if there's an inability to pay, human rights simply forbids disconnections. congressman john conyers in letters to the federal government and detroit's water and sewage board stressed consequences of denying those rights saying, quote, the failure to reinstate water service means unsanitary conditions, malnutrition, and disease for babies, the sick sxeld early. this isn't, for example, electricity, which while a useful modern convenience allowing to you watch me on television or internet right now is not a necessity to sustain life. this is water. the substance without human beings cannot exist. your body is unable to function without it. without water you cannot bathe or prepare food for yourself or your family or use the toilet. making it not only a necessary resource to preserve public health but also human dignity. in detroit those who are being denied their water and the right to that dignity are also those who are least empowered to
defend it. according to the environmental protection agency, on average most american households pay about $300 a year for water. but according to detroit water and sewage, average water bill if you live in the motor city is $65 a month. that's double the national average. a cost that is only going up. just last month an 8.7% increase boosted that monthly bill by $5. and the people bearing the outsized burden of a water infrastructure meant to support nearly 2 million people are those left behind. after detroit's population shrunk to fewer than 700,000. that eroded tax base is already contending with 38% of its people living below the poverty line. what the detroit free press reports is a 14.5% unemployment rate. the economic struggles are only compounded by the little "d," unpolitical disenfranchisement
and disempowerment of the shutoff because the push for detroit's water and sewage department to turn off the top came straight from the top. these days the person at the top is someone who was appointed, not elected. kevin orr, emergency manager who controls the city of detroit. with no help on the way from their government, detroiters are getting some help from a higher place. no, i mean, literally higher, but on the map. because our neighbors to the north are coming to the rescue. a convoy of canadians have pledged on july 24th they will be heading to detroit and bringing their good, clean canadian water to share with whoever needs it. in the meantime, detroit activists are continuing the fight to get the water back on. one of them is joining me now from detroit. pastor david alexander bullock is the national spokesman for the change age consortium. thank you for being here.
>> good to be here. >> help people understand the human extent of this issue. >> yes. it is tragic in the city of detroit people are having their water shut off, the most vuler? able. if you're 60 days behind or $150 or more, your water is being shut off. no advance notice. no conversation. the emergency manager, kevin orr, has told the water department to shut off people indiscriminately. at the same time, the commercial customers, the big bills, of e lewis arena, and state of michigan has $8.4 million water bill but the state of michigan's water is not being shut off. we believe in the city of detroit, this is really war on the poor. preying on the most vulnerable populations. as you stated in your opening comments, the water rates are going up, unemployment is up, insurance costs are up, but the money is down. and so the water department, the
emergency manager in an attempt to show that the water department can collect is preying on the most vulnerable. we're saying, enough is enough. >> so, pastor, two parts i want to get to with you. one is about kevin orr. now, i want our viewers to know that we did invite multiple times mr. orr to either come on the show or to send us a statement. repeatedly sending e-mails, asking for the courtesy of a reply. much like, for example, one might send a bill, we never even got a reply of any kind. i want folks to know we did ask mr. orr to have a say here. but when you say that he is trying to show that he can collect, why would he need to show he can collect? what is the story behind the story here? >> so, detroit is not run by elected officials. the mayor does not run the city of detroit. city council does not run the city of detroit. kevin orr, state-appointed emergency manager runs the city of detroit. there's no democracy in the city of detroit. his job is basically to balance
the books. part of what that means, though, the water department, which is a public asset, it's city owned, he wants to sell that off. of course, nobody's going to buy it unless he can show that it's a money maker. how do you show that? by saying -- by showing that you can collect on the debt that's owed. now, if you can't collect from other municipalities because you're in bankruptcy and if you can't collect from commercial customers and corporations because you're in bankruptcy, then you can only collect from the most vulnerable. namely mom and pop, folks on the east side, west side, who owe $150, two months late. many of these folks who own the homes typically wait until the end of the year and when they pay their taxes, they pay their water bill when they pay their taxes. but for some reason all the standard way for folks collecting water bills is out the door and there's this mad dash, massive dash, to collect
from the so-called 90,000 customers that are delinquent right before you go into bankruptcy court so that as kevin orr leaves detroit, they can sell off the water department. this is about privatizing the water department. it is not about detroiters who can't pay their bills. >> this is useful to me because in part you're talking about this punitive aspect, not giving people time, not giving people notice. in addition to the general punitiveness and potential human rights violations of turning off the water, i almost lost my mind this morning hearing that they are actually pursuing criminal activities -- or criminal charges against folks who are so-called stealing the water. now, quite honestly, i don't know that it is a thing one can steal water because water is a -- it's like i'm stealing air by breathing right now. people are actually being arrested. there is actual criminal activity going on here? >> you know what, people are being arrested. there's a great activist who just passed away, charity hicks,
who was arrested. all she was doing is letting folks whose water was going to be cut off know that the private contracting company was coming down the street and they arrested her. even this week, they were about eight folks, some clergy, some activists, that simply wanted to stop the private contracting company from shutting off water. they were arrested. look, i mean, what's happening in the city of detroit is unprecedented. no democracy. corporate money interest gets protection. residents get no protection. city services are down. unemployment is up. there are only 27 jobs per 100 detroiters. you tell me, with a depressed economy like that, why are we going after the most vulnerable first but not collecting from the commercial customers? >> pastor david bullock in detroit, i'm just saying, i'm going to be flying a canadian flag this weekend because i appreciate at this moment the canadians with a little recognition on this. thank you for joining us this morning.
>> thank you so much. >> now, i know you know there was a big story out of ohio this week. but there's another ongoing story you need to know about. and that story is next. there. that's keeping you from the healthcare you deserve. at humana, we believe if healthcare changes, if frustration and paperwork decrease... the gap begins to close. so let's simplify things. let's close the gap between people and care.
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i'm going to take you to ohio to discuss an important story. no. not that story. although we will get to that a little later in the show. i'm referring to a very different and much less welcomed development in the buckeye state. this week it became clear ohio may soon join a growing list of states that had substantially limited women's access to reproductive services using trap laws. now, that stands for targeted regulation of abortion providers. it's a new and highly burdening
abortion providers with medically unnecessary rules and regulations, requirements so they must close their doors. it means accessing termination services becomes nearly impossible. by september t.r.a.p. laws are expected to close all but six clinics in texas. in louisiana, only one clinic is in compliance with new rules recently signed into law by governor bobby jindal. state of alabama only has half of what they had in 2012. four states with more than 39 million people. and just 11 clinics that provide abortion. let's see that map again. i want to you keep looking at it because now we're going to add another state. ohio. last summer with little public warning or debate, conservative lawmakers used an 11th hour addition to a budget bill to push through t.r.a.p.
legislation with massive consequences for reproductive rights in ohio. candidate for ohio secretary of state nina turner had this to say to my msnbc colleague chris hayes when it all happened. >> they put it -- the provisions in like thieves in the night, like cowards that they are. they didn't even have the decency to have their anti-women legislation stand alone so we could debate it. they thought no one was watching. >> at the start of 2013, ohio had 14 abortion clinics. five have already closed. two more at risk. both of those are in the greater cincinnati area. if these clinics shut their doors, accord together a study by the cincinnati enquirer, cincinnati would be the largest metropolitan area in the country without access to abortion clinics. joining us from cincinnati, cuyahoga county executive and democratic candidate for governor, ed fitzgerald. nice to have you this morning. >> good morning. good to be here. >> talk to me about why this is happening in ohio.
we showed that map to kind of show how these t.r.a.p. laws are having effects in the deep south and all of a sudden, ohio. why? >> well, because we elect the the same kind of people in 2010 that were elected in some of those southern states. they didn't run on those issues. they ran on saying they were going to bring jobs back but they have slowly but surely, sometimes through administration actions. head of ohio right to life was put by governor john kasich on the medical bothered. now you have people defining compliance with these laws are people that are very extreme on these issues. it's coming to ohio. it's coming to a lot of states. it's not just something happening in the deep south. >> help folks to understand, because as my producers and i were kind of reading through this, i kept saying, this is like a crazy catch-22. so, the state has passed a law that requires abortion providers to get transfer agreements, but also made it illegal for publicly funded hospitals to
give transfer agreements to abortion providers? do i have that right? >> right. so, what it means is that it would have to be a private hospital or a hospital that is more likely, by the way, to have a religious affiliation, which they know is less likely to grant that. what you have in the toledo area, in the northern part of the state, you have people crossing the border into michigan. and you're going to have the same thing happen in the cincinnati area if these things continue to roll along. all that means is that a woman who is working class or poor is going to have a tougher time traveling to a jurisdiction that hasn't restricted this. as nina turner said, this was never debated. it was put into a budget bill with basically no discussion whatsoever. so, this is really kind of blindsiding people here in ohio. >> well, let's talk about the politics of that in particular. so even beyond whatever one's position might be on the question of the termination of
pregnancies, let's talk about the fact that this happened, a, in a budget bill and as nina turner said, like a thief in the night. will there and should there be political consequences for making such substantial policy changes in that way? >> there should be. we're trying to raise the issue and stalk about it. because they were -- they were clever tucking it into a budget bill, it didn't get the attention i think it deserves. to give you an example, there was a separate piece of legislation introduced called house bill 351 which would ban insurance companies from providing certain kinds of birth control, including iuds. now, the response sosponsor of said iud was tantamount to abortion. when he was challenged on that, he said, well, i'm not a medical doctor. that's exactly the point. he's not a medical doctor. that's why he shouldn't be legislating those things. at least i give him credit that that is a separate piece of legislation that we can debate and bring attention to. it's not tucked into a budget
bill. >> i appreciate it. we wrote a letter here from the mhp show to that legislator like if you're not a doctor, how about not play one in the legislature, right? >> right. >> so, talk to me a little bit about this. we went back and looked at your record. you've long had a position of supporting reproductive rights access, something that is constitutionally product al lal. this could be the precise issue your opponent mr. kasich doesn't think is a problem. why not make this something you're right out front on? >> because we hear it from constituents. i mean, one of the things a candidate has a responsibility to do is is that if you're hearing from voters about a certain issue, you have, i think, a responsibility to respond to it. and when we travel the state and talk to voters, women bring this up to us all the time. we haven't even gone over everything they've done. not everybody knows this but they actually passed a law that
restricts rape crisis counselors from giving any information regarding all the health care options to a woman that has been a victim of sexual assault. so, when we're talking to voters and they're saying, listen, something's got to be done about this, we have a responsibility to speak up about it. >> i so appreciate that. it's a monstrous bill in terms of what it does, giving money to organizations at rape crisis centers, forcing ultrasounds. it is a pretty extensive bill. i appreciate you bringing light to it. ed fits garlzgerald, i can't le go without asking the produques my producer wanted me to ask. how do you feel about lebron coming home? >> i thought this would be the first interview is that wasn't asked. >> see, i told you! >> we're happy about it. we're a forgiving people, so we forgive him. he made it easier to forgive him. i thought he wrote a great essay and he handled it right.
and it's a financial benefit, millions of dollars. winning a championship, hopefully, for the first time in 50 years, we'll make more money for the community. that's a good thing. >> ed fitzgerald, i'm sorry for falling into the trap of being a tv host and asking you about lebron james. >> that's okay. >> ed fitzgerald, democratic nominee for governor in ohio. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. coming up, we have something really special we're excited to share with you. she is a recurring guest on this program whose voice is always so clear and powerful. now hers is a voice being heard by those who need to hear it most of all. the story of tianna gaines-turner going to washington. better than tums smoothies assorted fruit. mmm. amazing. yeah, i get that a lot. alka seltzer heartburn reliefchews. enjoy the relief.
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week in detroit among those protesting the shutoffs. up next, one mother working hard to make ends meet for her family. speaking to a room full of united states congressmen. many of them millionaires. you do not want to miss what happened when tianna went to washington. speaking truth to power is next. (vo) ours is a world of passengers. come on let's go! (vo) the red-eyes. (daughter) i'm really tired. (dad) i feel bad for you. (vo) the transfers. well, that's kid number three. (vo) the return trips. how you feeling buddy? i'm fine, dad. (vo) the day trips. (boy) i get it this time! (vo) the carpools. see...now this is why i wanted girls. (boy) i called it! (vo) the co-pilots. all sitting... ...trusting... ...waiting... ...for a safe arrival. which is why we built our greatest subaru sedan ever,
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go to washington to speak at a house budget committee hearing on the war on poverty. at the time the chairman of the committee, congressman paul ryan said no, because democrats had already named the one witness they were allotted. tianna was invited to submit written testimony instead. but this past wednesday tianna finally had her chance to be heard, out loud, when the house budget committee convened another hearing on poverty and here is our msnbc original report. >> my name is tianna gaines-turner and i'm a 35, married mother of three. and i have the exciting news is that i was asked to come down to the budget committee and testify on the war on poverty. i have been homeless twice. the first place we were living
in, my son marcus was 10, he started developing getting seizures because he had rat poisoning and we moved into a hotel. because in philadelphia at that time, they wouldn't keep families together if you weren't married. they wanted to separate us and that is something we weren't willing to do. >> see you tomorrow. >> see you guys. >> see you later. >> my mom always told me to take the good with the bad and you roll with the punches, you know. you never -- you never lay down and you never accept no. that's how i was raised. and, you know, it's been a struggle. it's constantly a struggle. like, i'm going to say in my speech tomorrow, you make a dime, they take a dollar. you make a little bit, they cut your food stamps from 793 to $320, and then from there to $220, and then to $200. when you lose hours, you have to go back to the caseworker and say, hey, my hours were reduced and they raise it back up and then you go back when your hours are increase the.
it seems like people in poverty, we have to learn how to jump hurdles before we get an opportunity to crawl. that's what it feels like. and i feel paul ryan and others need to understand that. ♪ >> how you feeling right now? >> i'm feeling good but a little nervous. i feel like i'm here to make history, so i'm excited. >> i would like for everyone in the room that's going to hear my voice and the other witnesses to walk away with this one fact. that there should be no child in the united states of america that goes to bed hungry. there should be no family that has to stand hours and hours in line at a food pantry to be denied. >> there should be no one that will have to face the troubles every day without knowing. >> this photo is a photo of my children. my children are everything to me. i would like to say that we need to break the cycle. we need to make sure that we all
remember what the american dream is. values, family values. i am not a number. i am not a statistic. i'm an individual who lives in the inner city who just so happens to be right now struggling. >> it was great. it was awesome. i feel -- i feel relief. i feel so empowered and so excited and happy to see now, you know, how -- where would this move us to and now i have something to hold them accountable for that i was here. so, i did inform them as much as i can. >> i am so pleased to welcome back to the table here in new york, tianna gaines-turner. and from san francisco, california, congresswoman barbara lee, the house women who originally proposed having tianna testify in congress. nice to have you both here. >> thank you. >> tianna, we're so thrilled you had this moment. and part of what you said was, i am not a statistic. i want people to hear my story. do you feel you were heard?
>> yes. >> you had a moment that you told me about a little earlier with congressman ryan. can you share that? >> well, prior to that, i had went down and ms. lee said, we're down on the floor and let's see he'll come up. i never thought he would come up. ms. lee made it possible and he came up. he walked over and went to give me a hand shake. i said, absolutely not. have you to give me a hug. it was very empowering and a great hug. just the opportunity -- i'm trying not to cry. >> your babies are so beautiful. they're very emotional. i want to say thank you so much to ms. barbara lee for making them -- when we sat here at this table, you said it and it became true. i'm so grateful to her and very thankful that i had the opportunity to speak out for so many americans. >> congressman lee, let me turn to you. it was your idea. you were at this table when you pitched it. you stuck to it for more than a
year. i want to play you sound from one of your colleagues talking to tianna gaines-turner because i don't want my audience to go away thinking this was an easy process. i want to listen to one of your colleagues from south carolina and then get to you respond. >> if they are capable of going out to get a job, sir, and have the necessary things to do that, then, yes. but you have to think of, there are some people who are not capable of finding employment because where they live, there aren't any jobs. let's think about it. there's a recession right now. how many jobs are there? >> well, i -- >> and good paying jobs. let's make sure we keep is that in mind. >> all i'm saying is that if you rely on federal programs, you're never going to come out of poverty. the only way out of poverty is to be self-reliant and find yourself a job. >> so, i have all the feelings, congresswoman lee, about a millionaire talking to tianna gaines-turner about going out and getting a job. did you have any reactions to that? >> first, let me just say how
proud i am of tianna. she clear, bold, smart, confident. i tell you, she spoke for millions of americans. thank you, tianna. continue to raise your voice and make sure that policymakers especially hear what it means to juggle and to live on such minimal wages. here you are working and your husband's working and you're living off barely $16,000 a year. i mean, that is a shame and disgrace. we've got to do better. i tell you, when republicans respond like that, it's almost as if they're living in another world. first of all, mthe majority of people such as tianna who need a safety net to help them, it's a bridge over troubled water. the majority of people don't want public assistance. they want to work. they want a good paying job. this recession has hit especially women and people of color in a very tragic way. it's been disproportionate. the unemployment rate, once again, is double digit -- excuse
me, double what it is in the white community for african-americans and latinos. and so you have to really look at all of the issues around work. first of all, we haven't created enough jobs. secondly, we haven't created enough training programs, workforce training. thirdly, we haven't passed legislation, for example, such as legislation that would call for affordable child care, pay equity, you know, pay equal pay for equal work for women. we have not paid past legislation that would really allow for everything that a person needs to move forward in their daily lives. and that's what we have to do. and republicans who believe that people rely on government subsidies, some think they're lazy. well, i think tianna proved that she works hard, her husband works hard, they juggle their lives and they're trying to take care of their children and trying to live the american dream just like everyone else
does. >> i so appreciate the clarity of your voice, congresswoman. tianna, there are 47 million people currently receiving s.n.a.p. benefits. you were one voice, and it was so loud, so important in that moment. what do you hope the congressmen and women heard when they walk away? >> i hope they walk away with an understanding. as i said in my speech that day, a lot of times as congresswoman barbara lee just said, they put up a smoke screen and stamp that it's lazy so they can sleep at night and so they can look down on me and people like me. i hope they walk away with the understanding that we're not lazy. we're very independent. we're not going away. hopefully those numbers will go down and i'll continue to go and have a respectable conversation and even a debate, because that was a debate. and, you know, i welcome it. i welcome the debates. i hope they walk away with the understanding that this is a problem. and it's not going to go away. and, you know, we need to have
more conferences, more talks, more conversations, about everything that's the gamut. you can't talk about hunger and poverty without speaking about affordable wages, paid sick leave. the fact we use the word minimum wage is a big problem. the fact we oon have minimum in there, it's not a living wage. >> stick with us, tianna, and congresswoman lee. i'm going to add one more voice to this conversation when we come back. he's a john's hopkins professor who concludes after a 25-year study that one of the things that helps a person get out of poverty is being a white guy. i want to ask him if there's anything else we can do there's a gap out there. that's keeping you from the healthcare you deserve. at humana, we believe if healthcare changes,
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found, from those low income, working class families, only 4% earned college degrees. joining the table now is carl alexander, professor of sociology at johns hopkins university and co-author of the new book based on his study "the long shadow: family background, disadvantaged urban youth." part of what i'd like you to do, we're hearing about the big policy picture. we know something about tianna's personal story. if you put it in context for us of a 25-year study, what do you know about poverty and what tends to keep people there and what tends to provide an avenue out. >> thanks so much for having me on, first. it's an honor to be here with tianna. her story is riveting, inspiring and it won't surprise that many of the children that we followed over this 25-year period in our project follow a similar path, struggling along the way and working hard to make a go of it. we thought that this was going to be a book about achieving success by doing well in school,
which is what we tell our children to do. and many of these young people try to follow that good advice, but as your statistic at the outset indicated, with little success, only 4% of the children we classify as urban disadvantaged, low income at the outset, at 28 had a bachelors degree and only another percentage or so had an associated arts degree, even though 30% started college. >> that feels to me like -- that finding alone is going to be a little shocking to so many people. tianna, obviously you have three beautiful children who undoubtedly you help through school and you're telling them to, you know, achieve. are you surprised to find out that so many from your community are unlikely to actually make it through college? >> no, i'm not surprised at all. i'm actually saddened by the fact because, you know, a lot of people try hard every day, you know, but like i said, it seems like when you're in poverty, you're thrown so many hurdles your way, you know. i've met students before that
was actually homeless in college, and their classmates and professors didn't even know. or not being able to receive food stamps and things like that because of different boundaries for income reasons and things like that. i'm not surprised. i'm just saddened by the fact. people ask me all the time, why don't you go back to school? i know i have the gift to go back to school. that's my goal. my husband wants to go back to school. but, unfortunately, we're thrown so many different things at so many different times. we're trying to juggle what's on our plate and it's not able to happen but some day we will. >> the other stunning statistic you find is to the extent folks are in low income backgrounds as kids, one of the wages or privileges that tends to lead to a better life outcome is simply white maleness so that of those who start in low income backgrounds, 45% of white men end up with construction or industrial training jobs whereas only 15% of black men do. once they have those jobs, white men earn almost twice that of what black men earn.
>> that's right. >> why? >> it's quite striking and we need to step back and probe the issue more deeply than we were going to at the outset. there are opportunities for some young men, occasionally youm women, who aren't able to follow the college path to do well in the labor market and to live a comfortable standard of living. but in experiences of the youngsters we followed over in baltimore, it was mainly white men with working class background able to access high pay, steady work. as you said, in a surprising place, in the remnants of the old baltimore industrial economy. those jobs are still there. they're fewer in number. they don't have union protection often as they used to. so, the question really is, who's able to access them? it's the highest -- highest paying sector of blue collar work in the labor force. >> congressman lee, let me come back to you. here we have a professor who has got 25 years of data and information.
here we have a woman who has lived experience and a clear voice and capacity to talk about it. are these the kinds of things that will penetrate for your colleagues in terms of making policy when it comes to poverty in this country? >> let's hope so, melissa. this is a first step. we have to remember a couple of things, however, in doing this. first of all, the right wing tea party republican party really wants to dismantle government. they do not want to see any safety net. they would rather dismantle social security, medicare. they want to dismajtsz by looking at ryan budget, 60% of the safety net is totally cut. so, we have to understand there's an ideology out there that says, let's go for what you know, survival of the fittest, it's a dog eat dog world. secondly, let me comment with the issue of race. race is still a attack for.
institutional racism is a huge factor in our whole efforts to address income inequality. we must not forget that. thirdly, let me say, back to what tianna said about minimum wage. we need to be looking at raising not only the minimum wage, which i agree is really just a pittan krft e, but we need to move to a living wage where people can develop a pathway to middle class through a living wage. we have to understand that income inequality, ceo compensation is at its highest now when you're looking at what the lowest wage worker makes versus ceos. it's outrageous. so, we have to really look at what some of these structural issues are and the republican tea party, i don't believe will even consider this because their ideology is about getting government out of the lives of people when, in fact, government is not the panacea. we're saying government has a
role in the lives of people. and that is to support people into the middle class to create jobs and opportunities for all. >> representative barbara lee in san francisco. i so appreciate you pointing out that there's data, there's evidence, compelling questions. and then, of course, there's the issue of ideology. tianna and carl are going to stay with me. because when we come back, i want to dig a little deeper into the idea that a narrative can often have an impact on policy. for that part of the conversation, we're bringing in piper kermen. avo: waves don't care what age you are. take them on the way you always have. live healthy and take one a day men's 50+. a complete multivitamin with 7 antioxidants to support cell health. age? who cares.
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was nominated in best actress. she's been a guest on nerd land and was on the cover of "time" magazine and she told "time," quote, most of us have living visibly and pursuing our dreams visibly so people can say, oh, yeah i know someone who is trans. when people have points of reference that are humanizing that demystify difference. that can be the power of the personal narrative. joining the table now is piper kerman whose memoir "orange is the new black" who inspired the series and through popularity of her own series brought to light the problem of this country's mass incarceration. we thought we would pause for a moment and ask how you see personal stories and courage to tell particularly the tough stories, ones people don't want to hear as potentially transformative for politics. >> it's so important. because for so many people, the
thing that frames an issue for them is a story. it's not data. it's not a single data point or a host of data points. it's a narrative. most likely it's a narrative about a single person or small group of people. there's a famous line that a million deaths is no big deal but one death is a tragedy. that's how we understand things as human beings. so, i think it's exceptionally important. especially if it's something that is a little distant from many people in power. and that is particularly true when you're talking about something like mass incarceration. >> it feels to me also that the story teller matters. that part of what you've been able to do is use the relative privilege of whiteness, middle class status and education to then open up the stories of all the women with whom you were incarcerated, who if they had told their stories, we might have ignored. >> messenger matters a lot. when i came home from prison in 2005, almost every person i knew wanted to hear about the experience in as much detail as
possible. which is ironic given we send so many millions of people away and certainly while they're incarcerated, completely forget about them. and when they come home, are largely indifferent to their struggles. so, it was clear to me that talking about my own experience had currency for certain audiences. and that's important because when you talk about something like mass incarceration, you need a lot of people to pay attention. so communities of color have been advocates on this issue for decades because mass incarceration has been a policy for more than 30 years. but we need lots of americans to understand why having the world's biggest prison population and the biggest prison population in human history is detrimental to all americans. not just to folks who are most affected. >> tianna, i'm thinking about this. you go and stand in front of congress without that privilege and standing there in front of these often very wealthy, white men who are elected officials.
how much courage did it take for you to do it? >> it took a lot of courage. i was actually ill at the time, which no one didn't know. i was suffering from a left kidney infection when i was sitting there. so, when we were going back and forth for the debate, you know, the panel winside was saying, y not listening to me. you want to hear yourself speak. but it's a lot of courage. it takes a lot to stand in front of millions of people and tell your story day in and day out and hope they're listening and hope they get what you're saying and they're not just, you know, blowing you off because, you know, you tell if so many times and you feel like, are you really listening? do you care about what's going on in my neighborhood, my family, my brothers and sisters. it's hard but i feel i have to say it. as you said, we have to speak out and be that voice of the voiceless because, you know, a lot of people think, they don't care, they don't want to hear what we have to say. >> professor, let me add one
beat to this. my tv self loves this story as a way of framing and telling the narrative my academic loves it because it gives me a different level of confidence about what i actually know. you actually began your book by saying that the story of the corner that is initially the story of this community that you study is actually a too limited a narrative. how do we add the narrative along with kind of the broader findings? >> well, i think it's important to avoid starting a project with deep preconceptions. to be open to discovery. the corner is very well known book. it eventually involved into the wire, homicide, mega hits. set in west baltimore community ravaged by open air drug market. it so happens one of our original schools was located in that area. we understood there was a difference of experience of the people living there than was captured in that book. and so we use that as a vehicle for pointing out that most of
the folks who live in high poverty neighbors, what elijah anderson calls decent folk. get along with their lives, play by the rules, not get in trouble. and so we used census data to show that community is much more diverse than in "the corner" and we reported interview information from our respondents, 6 years old, but at age 28 when we talked to them, who had grown up and many followed diverse paths. one of the interesting details is that many of them were working class whites, who were missing from the scene in most urban poverty yet in big cities like baltimore and they provided a really important perspective on what it means to be poor and growing up poor. >> what you say here is so critical. you say, you have to be open to discovery. that's in your journalism role, academic role and certainly in the policymaker role. tianna gaines-turner, thank you for being here.
>> thank you. >> karl, thank you for being here. you're going to stick around because we're going to dig into that policy issue. i want to get your evaluation on the policy by rand paul and booker. in new york state, we're changing the way we do business, with startup ny. we've created tax free zones throughout the state. and startup ny companies will be investing hundreds of millions of dollars in jobs and infrastructure. thanks to startup ny, businesses can operate tax free for 10 years. no property tax. no business tax. and no sales tax. which means more growth for your business, and more jobs. it's not just business as usual. see how new york can help your business grow, at startup.ny.gov
we're working deals all day. you get 10 gigabytes of data to share. what about expansion potential? add a line anytime for 15 bucks a month. low dues... great terms... let's close. introducing at&t mobile share value plans... ...with our best-ever pricing for business. welcome back. i'm melissa harris-perry. have you heard about the two senators, an african-american, liberal democrat and mayor of large city in new jersey and the other is tea party from kentucky planning to run for presidential nomination in 2016? have you heard it? no, there's no punch line. it's not a joke. i'm wondering if you heard about the proposal from democratic cory booker from new jersey and republican senator rand paul of kentucky. they were making the d.c. rounds
in a show of bipartisan cooperation about an issue of actual policy significance and meaningful social economic and political impact. which isn't to say the two of them aren't having any fun. here they are at a politico playbook cocktail event, seeming to have more fun than a libertarian in international waters. >> did they offer you cocktails? >> i see cocktails but i didn't get offered cocktails. >> pass that down. >> yeah. >> cheers. >> behind the surprising optics of this unlikely political duo is a new proposal for addressing the incarceration crisis in america. on tuesday senators booker and paul introduce the redeem act, which stands for the record expungement designed to enhance employment and focuses on reforming the criminal justice system. here's what the act proposes. it would invent viz states to raise age of criminal responsibility to 18 years old which would prevent sending kids
into the adult criminal justice system. also allows for sealing and expungement of juvenile records, which would seal the records of those under 15 whoe commit nonviolent crimes giving those young people a second chance to make good. it would restrict the use of juvenile solitary confinement except for in the most extreme circumstances and offer adults a way to seal nonviolent criminal records to help job applicants who would otherwise unable to pass job application. lift ban on s.n.a.p. and t.a.n.f. benefits. booker, democrat with core urban constituency, disproportionately affected by mass incarceration. paul, the idea log who has stood on opposition of drugs and what he calls mandatory minimum sentences. they're offering a provocative agenda for an effort to yield
tangible benefits for thousands of former inmates who have paid their debt to society but are still shut out of a second chance. like the nearly 75% of ex-offenders who remain jobless up to a year after their release. as snore paul puts, it the biggest impediment to civil rights and employment in our country is a criminal record. our current system is broken and has trapped tens of thousands of young men and women in a cycle of poverty and incarceration. many of these young people could escape this trap if criminal justice were reformed, if records were expunged after time served and if if noen violent crimes did not become a permanent block preventing unemployment. >> seema eyre, former civil rights attorney. piper kerman author of "orange is the new black" and glenn martin, president and founder of just leadership usa which ames to cut prison population in half by 2030. thank you all for being here.
so, glenn -- >> hi. >> i mean, this is the kind of proposals you and others in the activism community have been making forever. is it exciting to see this duo taking this on? >> it's definitely a huge step in the right direction, considering 65 million americans have a criminal record on file. and the fact that punishment doesn't end when people exit our prison system. the idea that this not only takes a look at how do we stop so many people from going in but also how do we respond to the fact that even after people exit prison, trying to get their lives together and get a job, that they face these collateral consequences or lifetime punishment make this is a comprehensive proposal. it's definitely the first step in the right direction. >> the part i was stunned by, piper, it addresses the actual experience of incarceration. for example, with juveniles in solitary confinement and the back end issues of recidivism and re-industentry.
it's relatively rare in washington to see a meaningful policy proposal like this. do you have any optimism, given the work you've been doing, that there is space for this to actually move into reforming our criminal justice system? >> i think what's smart about the proposal is its focus on kids in the system because -- for two reasons. there's no question that kids in the system, young people who get caught up in the juvenile justice system or criminal justice system are a leverage point. it's easy for everyone to see that if you make a difference, the life of a young person, get them on the right path, makes a huge difference not just for that individual but for the entire community, to pay his dividends to the entire community. also politically, you know, there has been month empathy extended towards kids. there's a variety of reasons we treat children differently when they commit crimes. >> rehabilitative rather than pure punishment context thinking
about juvenile crime, although that's shifted in some southern states, in particular. as we have increasingly, for example, incarcerated young people in adult prisons. i wonder if there's also -- i mean, this is also part of the work of "orange is the new black" if thinking about particular populations, whether it's young people, nonviolent, drug offenders, women, are in part a leverage point for getting the big criminal justice reform. >> just what piper was saying. it's these children, because that's what they are. you're talking about young people who are 15 and 16 and i see them every day and i say to them, you're at this fork. so if you go right, you are going to prison. i am right. you will be wrong. there is no debate. if you go left, if you decide to put this aside and go look for a job and do it the hard way, because i think what the general public does not sometimes understand is that for some people, it is a status symbol to go to prison. just like for some people --
>> i'm not convinced. >> i had someone tell me this monday. i had a young client who said to me, he went the right way. he finally got out of the system. a lot of misdemeanor convictions. has a job. and he said, you know what, i don't have the respect that i used to have. and that -- >> okay. but i think that's a totally different thing. i have a brother who has spent decades in and out. in the context of an imprisoned community, he is tall, good looking, relatively educated, right. so, he does have a relative status inside, but once he's out in part because he has a record, it's -- he's working minimum wage jobs where there's little respect and he's a grown man, right? so i think that's different than suggesting that people have an aspirational desire for prison. >> i think if that's true, that's an indictment on society. the fact we have communities where people are finding their self-esteem and so on by being involved in the criminal justice system. i served six years in prison. i met many people, i met some of
america's best and brightest on the inside. we should start with young folks, and they should be given a chance because of brain development and -- >> they literally can't make good decisions. >> but as parents go, the children go. we have criminalized generations of color. i love "orange is the new black." this is generational. we should help the children. wow, we have 65 million americans with criminal records and 650,000 exiting the system each day. and they're not all young folks. >> but there's a point it's good politics, right? so if you're trying to get that wedge to get in, you don't begin with, you know, adult recidivists, you begin with young people who are nonviolent drug users. >> we see this in a lot of debate, dreamers, because who could disagree with these kids who haven't done anything wrong. it's always a good way to get into it. but in this case, yeah, rand paul is one of several republicans trying to come up
with a more empathetic pace for the party. this is one area where crime has plummeted to such historic lows. there's a little more breathing room for republicans to step back. >> i want to come back to you after we take a break. i do still find this fascinating, because it's not just like compassion -- like, it's meaningful, right? i'm not one who's going to give rand paul a lot of credit, but i appreciate this moment. ♪ [ cat meows ] ♪ ♪ da-da-da-da-da, bum-da, bum-da ♪ ♪ bum-da, bum-da ♪ the animals went in two by two ♪ ♪ the sheep and the frog and the kangaroo ♪ ♪ and they all went marching, marching in two by two ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] the nissan pathfinder, with intuitive four-wheel drive. an adventure worth sharing. nissan. innovation that excites. an adventure worth sharing. wwithout the time and money to wash all this stuff separately. so we wash it all in cold water with tide. even sara's shorts.
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empowering people to succeed. and ending something that really betrays american values. fiscal prudency and values. >> that was cory booker talking about the need for prison reform and carefully noting how he just got to the senate but already working in a bipartisan fashion. bipartisanship may be a good resume builder for senator paul to distinguish himself from a crowded field of 2016 republican hopefuls. when did common sense criminal justice reform and legalization of controlled substances become a way of winning the republican nomination? it's kind of exciting. i might become a republican. >> this is interesting. his libertarian movement has really been picking up movement within the party. this was all a standard position of his father, ron paul, who talked about how the war on drugs was a failure, overcriminalized and seeping its way into the republican mainstream more and more. someone like chris christie who no one would confuse with a
libertarian like rand paul has been giving speeches to conservative audiences about how drug war is a failure, we need sentences rules and that's what i'm going to do in new jersey. this is a broader play for rand paul. his argument for 2016 is, look, i have different positions for candidates on key issues like this. that means i could broaden the party. not just, listen, black voters, did you know abraham lincoln was a republican? something like, look, this is an actual concrete think. the naacp is very supportive of what i'm talking about. let's talk. >> so, i find that to be potentially exciting because i actually think the political system always works better when is there are two robust parties that are trying to get everybody's votes, right? so, even if i -- if i may not myself be casting a vote for that party, i think it is more exciting that way. yet i'm still nervous in part, seema, because of what i heard you say about, oh, making decisions and i feel like that world view is still the primary one we have about incarceration.
that people who are in jail are people making bad decisions and committing crimes who ought to go to jail. >> no, no, no. >> that's not what you said. >> wrong categories. one is that category of people who, yes, maybe it's an occupational hazard to go to jail. there is another category, especially now with the influx of identity theft crimes, cyber crimes, technology crimes where you have highly educated, smart, young people who, because they are poor, because of their station in life, they are facing felony convictions without the hopes of an expungement or sealing of their record. and the prosecutors aren't willing to negotiate. so i have, you know, little mark zuckerbergs running around who have no shot because they're going to have a felony conviction on their record. >> still it's mostly drugs, right, filling our prisons? >> well, 50% of all federal prison is filled with people who have drug convictions. but it's interesting what you just said, seema, because i do believe that now that our system, which is running on full throttle, is consuming so many
americans, including those with access to privilege and power, that now we're having this meaningful debate. let's not let democrats off the hook and rewrite history. >> no, please. shall we talk about mr. clinton? let's talk about mr. clinton, yes. >> we got here through bipartisanship. if you look at some of the toughest laws signed into the law and look over the shoulder of the president, you see familiar faces standing there. >> that's why i love you at my table. given we in part got here through bipartisanship and bipartisanship who was about a president on the side of federal incarceration, also the possibility we could move away from it. let's go back to the beginning where we started talking about this. this is politicians, we've been talking about numbers. how important will it be to have voices like both of your voices saying, we are the kinds of people whose talents you would be losing if, in fact, there was no second chance after incarceration? >> it is exceptionally important to recognize the lived experience of people who have
been through the system, people who have survived the system, people who may have experienced inadequate access to counsel, which makes a big difference in whether someone goes to prison at all. if they do go, what kind of sentence they serve. also from the families and communities most affected by incarceration, which again historically have been those with the least political power. and that is really important. but i have to say one thing about stories to tether back to some of the things we were talking about earlier. really powerful narratives move people's understanding and perception of these important questions which relate back to policy. but grassroots organizations have to pick up the ball because true change doesn't happen until those stories get tethered back to grass roots actions, which is the amazing thing about tianna, is that she's not just telling her own story. she's also involved in political activity in her community in philadelphia. and that's what creates change. >> it's the stories, the activism and getting the right elected officials in who have
some political incentive to, in fact, behave in different ways. i am excited about this. thank you. up next, with all due respect to thomas wolf, it does look like you, in fact, can go home again. the return of the king when we come back. [ male announcer ] this is the age of knowing what you're made of.
side effects include headache, flushing, upset stomach, and abnormal vision. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours. stop taking viagra and call your doctor right away if you experience a sudden decrease or loss in vision or hearing. this is the age of taking action. viagra. talk to your doctor. the most anticipated nba prodigy in a generation, one who was already being called a king, was a lot skinnier back when he does his best to fill out this all-white suit on his draft night 11 years ago. on the verge of being chosen first overall by the cleveland cavalie cavaliers. he was just a kid. just out of high school. who was going to get the chance to play just up the road from his hometown of akron, ohio. like many 18-year-olds, he kept growing in stature, in wealth and into his greatness. the prodigy lifted cleveland
into the stratosphere over the next seven seasons, becoming the team's all-time leading scorer. winning two nba most valuable player awards and leading the cavs to the brink of the city's first major pro sports title since 1964. becomes the global icon he set out to become. then he left with a flash, via a live television special called "the decision," he as he put it that night in 2010 stood his talents to south beach to go play with two of his friends, dwyane wade and chris bosh, with the miami heat. who doesn't want to hang out and play with your friends in miami when you're 25? plus, the decision made basketball sense. four years in miami brought four trips to the nba finals, including two titles and a finals mvp. the prodigy had become the master, at least on the court. but he grew into his own voice, too. joining his teammates to protest injustice where he saw it, to stand up for the labor rights of
his fellow players and to speak out with force against power when needed. but his departure, public, messy and without having won a title for his fellow northeast ohioans had opened up an ugly divide between the prodigy, former team owner and fans across the country, many of whom took pleasure at every one of his failures, including this past june's nba finals when he and the heat were crushed in five games by the san antonio spurs. one week later, after he had opted out of his contract, he had his second crack at free agency, a chance, perhaps, to do things a little differently. and that's when his wife, also from akron, posted this on instagram and started the rumor mill going. home sweet home, the countdown is real, #330, for akron's area code. did this mean he was coming home to the cavaliers and rescue a franchise that had struggled in his wake? the speculation became obsession for media and fans alike.
it went on for week after week. the decision 2.0 had become indecision. we knew no tv special was coming. he wouldn't do that again. fans, particularly in miami and cleveland, wondered what was taking so long. turns out, it takes a long time, even for prodigies and masters to get it right. guesses and wrong reporting friday, lebron james broke his own news. he told cleveland he's coming home. in a message to "sports illustrated" he wrote, before anyone ever cared where i would play basketball, i was a kid from northeast ohio. it's where i walked. it's where i ran. it's where i cried. it's where i bled. my relationship with northeast ohio is bigger than basketball. i didn't realize that four years ago. i do now. he added while he left cleveland in search of championships and though he won two, he found himself wanting to win one back home. i feel my calling here goes above basketball.
james wrote. our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it go-k get. in northeast ohio, nothing is given. everything is earned. you work for what you have. i'm ready to accept the challenge. i'm coming home. a long way from that kid in the ill-fitting white suit. more on lebron's return next. at legalzoom you can take care of virtually all your important legal matters in just minutes. now it's quicker and easier for you to start your business, protect your family, and launch your dreams. at legalzoom.com we put the law on your side. yobut you may notds. know we're a family. 12 brands. more hotels than anyone else in the world. like days inn, where you can do everything under the sun. save up to 15 percent and earn bonus points when you book at wyndhamrewards.com
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♪ bum-da, bum-da ♪ the animals went in two by two ♪ ♪ the sheep and the frog and the kangaroo ♪ ♪ and they all went marching, marching in two by two ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] the nissan pathfinder, with intuitive four-wheel drive. an adventure worth sharing. nissan. innovation that excites. friday was a good day in nerd land. baby nerd visited and brought a much needed distraction to my hard working team. also, one of our producers, tracy, was literally singing and dancing all afternoon as she prepared to attend the carters on the run concert in new jersey. but no one had a better friday than mhp's digital and segment producer jameel smith. if you follow him on twitter @jameelsmith.
you might see his 17-character response to the biggest news of the week. welcome back, bron. but if you work in the office next door to him, like i do, you know friday was near apocalyptic reckoning, and general jubilation for our own cleveland native. honestly, the party hasn't stopped for jameel. we can't -- we can't get him to stop. really, all because lebron james is going back to cleveland. and this is about much more than basketball. joining me to talk about the return of the king is jason page, host of "the jason page show" on nbc sports radio. also keith boykin, cnbc contributor and b.e.t. columnist and scott rad, author, writer for "esquire" magazine.
i have to start with you "the whore of akron," the forgiveness and love and emotion from ohio this week is intense. >> it's a huge, biblical story for my hometown. it is. the love, the amount of love that goes into hating someone for simply exercising free agency, undeniable. it was undeniable. i was working on the book. to see this happen, a lot of down-dr down-ready toen areas. cleveland may never recover fully, but this is huge. it has a direct impact on the lives of tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of people. >> so, we have just spent the morning talking about the lack of water in detroit, about criminal justice reform, about reproductive rights and you -- are we overreacting? it's basketball. >> it is basketball, but the fact he just said it's huge and affects hundreds of tens of thousands of people is exactly
why this is not an overreaction. i think what lebron said in his letter. he said it was about inspiring people. he's the american dream personified. this is a guy who does everything he's supposed to do, works hard, becomes successful. goes off for four years, which people would do for college, but miami is college for him, and comes back to his hometown, brings his talents back to his home community and encourages other people to do it. and he marries his high school sweetheart, too. >> i'm not sure i heard someone put it in that con next. he didn't go to college, and the four years away -- you really did react completely crazy town about someone taking a job in another city. i mean, i don't -- i can't imagine that if i took a job in another city people could have that many emotions about it. but let me -- i mean, more seriously, why does it affect so many people in so many ways? >> it's unprecedented.
think if babe ruth had been traded away from the red sox and yankees and one day wound up back in boston five or six years later, the height of his career, the star, no 1918, all of that would have gone away. i mean, this is that kind of big. it's unprecedented in sports to see a star, before the age of 30, i mean, bit age of 30, going to one city, winning four championships, coming back to where he started, phenomenal. >> so, let me ask this, though. is it in part because -- i feel bad saying this about ohio because jameel might run out and choke me, but is it also who in the world moves from miami to ohio? that there is something about the decision to go back to a place that is struggling, that is less glamorous, that part of the unprecedented part. >> but it's relatability. how many of us relate to wishing we could go back home in some cases. i'm from east haven, connecticut. if i could do what i do for a living, go back to east haven, connecticut, do it for a living, have the same amount of money,
quality of life and all of that, i would do it in five minutes. there's people all around america who look at this story and say, i can relate to that. >> i kept crying when i was reading it, as i was saying before, because right now a moving van is on its way to my new home in north carolina because i'm going home. i'm going back to where i went to college. that sense of going back to that place. but kareem abdul-jabbar wrote this week that you can't go home again. he actually said, look, you know, the city will have changed. people will not feel the same way about him. and that this isn't about the prodigal son coming home, this is like the lover who goes off and cheats and comes back. >> i'm so uncomfortable with that analogy. >> the scorned wife, my dear. >> but i think it's been elevated. i think the letter talks about lebron feeling a higher calling. it's no coincidence, by the way, that mohammed ali, jim brown,
young african-american male coming back to a place that really is a soulful place. in my bumbling caucasian way i try to address this in the book. but the fact of the matter is, it's hardly irrelevant in this culture. it's huge. >> i like that analogy about a loving relationship, but not from the perspective kareem abdul-jabbar said but this is a guy who actually wrote a love letter to cleveland. that's what that "sports illustrated" essay was. it's a love letter. he called himself a boy from northeast ohio from the beginning, as he says on his website, and talked about how he had no other choice but to go back to cleveland. there was no other way he wanted to go. and he was willing to forgive the fans who burned his jersey. willing to forgive dan gilbert who wrote a scathing letter about him and put it on the website, forgive those who booed him every time he went back to the city. that's a love letter. >> i appreciate your point. we keep talking about ohio forgiving lebron, but lebron forgiving those sorts of reactions from people.
it is -- it is speaking to something that might be bigger. when we come back, i want to ask how big, because i'm wondering if there's -- if there's a political future. people also sometimes go home when they're thinking about running for office. so, when we come back, we'll talk about the king and his political future. hey pal? you ready? can you pick me up at 6:30? ah... (boy) i'm here! i'm here! (cop) too late. i was gone for five minutes! ugh! move it. you're killing me. you know what, dad? i'm good. (dad) it may be quite a while before he's ready, but our subaru legacy will be waiting for him. (vo) the longest-lasting midsize sedan in its class. introducing the all-new subaru legacy. it's not just a sedan. it's a subaru.
when they chose cleveland for 2016 convention, they probably didn't count on lebron james and cavaliers being a factor. the associated press reports, if james leads his team into a postseason play then, the gop could find its preferred june 28th start date for the convention impossible because of the site conflict. the republicans backup date is july 18th, safely after the basketball season.
joining us by phone this morning is ohio state senator and cleveland native, nina turner. nice to have you this morning. >> good morning, professor. >> so, look, mr. james says in his "sports illustrated" essay he is planning to lead off the court in addition to on the court. so, i thought maybe you and i could come up like an agenda for him. like women's reproductive rights, voter disenfranchisement. what would you like to see him take on? >> i agree in that statement, and i agree with the panelists that he did write a love letter. i'm with jameel, have i to throw that out there, we are happy. the reason clevelanders are so emotional. when you're in love with somebody, it invokes that kind of emotion. we're glad the king is coming home. he'll have a big stage and big platform from which to advocate for. we've seen him advocate for issues, whether it was the
donald sterling issue, the trayvon martin issue, that he took a great leadership role in. so, i would think that he will use his stage to advocate. now, what exactly will be on his list? i don't know. he certainly has made it clear that in his decision to return back home to northeast ohio is more than about basketball. and for cleveland, for greater cleveland, it's not only about the economic impact that people estimate between $50 million to $80 million is what the king can draw in, but it's about the psychological impact, which is priceless. so, the king coming home is great for greater cleveland and great for the state of ohio by extension. i'm with you, professor, i hope that the king does dabble a little in those women's rights. he has his mother, who he adores. >> that's right. >> his wife, who he adores. he has sons he is raising. >> and a daughter on the way. >> i'm hoping the king will go there. >> how fun would it be if lebron james was against voter i.d. and for iuds. man, i would be beside myself.
>> that would be amazing. >> let me come out to my table a little bit. stick with us, nina. dave wrote something, first of all, lebron james is the first meta, consciously aware cinematic athlete we've seen. if michael jordan was the superstar of his own blockbuster movie, lebron is the actor, director, every step he takes he has his eye on posterity. if he's starting to think about posterity, even before 30, what does that look like? what does the akron native want to leave? >> he's already got a foundation doing a lot. he said in his letter that he has a responsibility to lead. and that is larger than basketball. and he takes that responsibility seriously. could you imagine michael jordan or kobe bryant even or any of these other huge athletes making a statement like that. and i think that is a statement not only about his personal
redemption in terms of his branding as an actor -- athlete/activist but his statement about his intention to be involved in his community. and i don't know if that means politically. i think you were leaning that way. >> i know. because that's how i would like to see it. >> i know. i've been a very political person over my lifetime, but i have honestly come to the belief you can have more influence outside of politics. i think he can have a political impact without being in politics. >> the king can be a kingmaker in a way. >> let's be sure not to indict kobe or michael -- >> oh, no, we indict michael jordan at this table all the time. we enjoy that. we like to criticize him. he was a great basketball player but we find him toe be whack in many other ways in nerd land. >> i'm just saying -- just saying -- >> when did you get here, jameel? >> it's like, poof, she appeared. >> joiningous table as though from a poof of dust, jemele hill
from espn.com. >> i'm just joining in. >> we're talking about the larger legacy lebron would like to lead off the basketball court. >> i think it looks remarkably different from the first part of his career. so far, i think it looked for a lot of us that he was part of that jordan blueprint. very successful commercially. obviously, the relationship with nike, that he was building his brand kind of that way. and he's the first probably social media superstar that we've had in sports. but now with that thoughtful letter, it's clear to him that he felt -- he feels as if his legacy hinges on how he's able to connect with his community. and i'm struggling to think of an athlete who's had this deep abiding connection to a place. i get it. i'm from detroit. detroit, cleveland, we're sister cities. the mentality is very much the same.
this is a place, cleveland much like detroit, that people forget about. that people leave and they go on on to do great things and never come back. for him to actively choose them when he doesn't have to i think is symbolic and something we've never seen in sports. >> the social media thing, and i was thinking about the mistake the decision was, being on tv and sort of making the -- not that going was a mistake, but sort of performing the going in that way. but i kept thinking, well, maybe all this means is four years later, dotcom is more important than tv. that you -- it's still as big a deal, it just happened on the internet instead of on television. >> and that's significant. i mean, it happened in numbers, 7, 8 million people follow lebron, maybe even more, and it drove the reporting the entire way. it's, again, unprecedented in my memory. >> nina turner, i want to come back to you because i want you to know. we do a lot of fanlt sitasizing
in nerd land because it helps us get through the day as progressive. we had this fantasy that maybe the reason lebron kept open the option to actually go free agent again is because you can't legally have two people from the same state on a presidential ticket and that maybe there is a a nina turner/lebron james ticket cominging down the pike in 2016. >> oh, professor, that's hot. that is hot! too hot to handle. i'm not sure if the world would be ready for that. but i will tell you that, you know, the tree can never separate itself from its roots. and to have king james come home in such a powerful way and to use his prominence and his voice to lift -- you know, he talked a lot about young people and when we begin to lift our young people, we are really catapulting our community for generations to come. but, professor, that ticket, turner/james, james/turner
ticket sounds hot to me. >> you would take him as my vp? >> any day. >> my thanks to nina turner for joining us by phone. i know you're at the aka convention. i'll forgive you for that. >> we have a good panel going here in charlotte to talk about human rights. >> very good. >> and our responsibilities and our rights. this is a social justice/human rights panel here in charlotte. so send us some leave here in charlotte. >> all the love sent down to north carolina, which will be my new home i'm going home to. jason page, jemele hill, and scott boykin. we'll turn to another trail blazer, film critic roger ebert. a new documentary chronicles his life and legacy. we're going to talk about the film with his widow, chaz ebert, when we come back. at every ford dealership, you'll find the works! it's a complete checkup of the services your vehicle needs. so prepare your car for any road trip
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decade, they took us to the movies. >> roger ebert and gene siskel were the most powerful critics of all time. another perfect matching of opposites. >> even though roger wrote "beyond the valley of the dolls" gene lived the life. >> these were towering figures clashing. >> you give it a positive resflu. >> that's totally unfair. >> that was from a new film about roger ebert, the famous film buff began his career as a critic for the "chicago sun-times" and became the first film critic to win a pulitzer prize in 1975. he's perhaps best known for the critiques and widely debate they offered on their widely popular television show. ebert didn't just tackle mainstream flick, he lauded some of the best films in 1989 and 192 respectively. and in april 2013, ebert passed
away during a decade long, brave battle with cancer. steve james brought ebert back to the big screen with a documentary that chronicles his inspirational life. it's called life itself. it's named after ebert's best-selling autobiography. it was filmed during the last four months of robert ebert's wife. joining us now is robert ebert's wife, chaz ebert. >> i watched you many a sunday morning. i'm really happy to be here with you today. >> i am completely humbled to know that you know i exist. and in actually -- >> are you kidding? i have to tell you, i bond with my granddaughter over you, who loves you. she's a graduate of pomona, really smart, just like you. and your demographics whe s are
the charts. we all love you. >> that's too much about me. more about you. roger ebert supported folks like me, folks like you. in other words, women of color. articulates this noble level of trust she can placed in ebert as a critic to dissect her films. tell me how he saw that role. >> you know, i tell you, you know, people give me credit because, you know, i'm his wife, but i have to tell you, if you look back in roger's history, he did this very early on. there's a part in the movie where he talks about the bombing of the birmingham church where those four little black girls were killed. and what he writes about that when he was a student in college, and he had the presence of mind to do, to talk about the blood on our hands. and it's not new blood, it's old blood. and like lady mack beth say, it
will never be washed away. he had sensitivity of race and human rights early on. he felt it was a good thing to check in all filmmakers. you know, african-american, white, asian, latino. he's just that -- he was just that kind of guy. and he was an extremely -- >> you bring up the piece he wrote after the bombing of the birmingham church. he won a pulitzer prize for film critique, which was unheard of until that moment. and he wrote up until the final days of his life. what was writing to him? >> he did. you know, i think writing -- well, i know that roger said that maybe he was -- he was just a born writer. but it meant so much to him. i saw during his illness how writing took him into a total zone where he felt that he was the same as he had always been. he said when he wrote,
everything else just faded away and he was totally focused on his writing. it was all consuming for him. >> this movie is also about the love story that you two shared. and the most moving part for me was in the end when you have to let him go for his final transition. my sister just lost her husband recently. and tells a very similar story about being there in those final moments. what is the legacy that you are now carrying on? >> you know, one of the things that i hope that people get from seeing "life itself" is number one, to sort of, to live your passion. because that's what roger did. he said that even if he hadn't gotten paid for doing what he did, he would do it anyway. and a lot of people are afraid to do what they really feel in their heart they were put here to do. that's one thing. the other thing is that to have the joy that he had in life. i mean, even in the very last
day, you saw the twinkle in his eye. i tell you, i was there with him on the last day, and he left. you know, he wasn't afraid to live and he also wasn't afraid to die, which was surprising for me. because for someone who loved life so much. he said death is a part of life. the other thing that's really important to me is he talks about empathy. putting yourself in another person's shoes. figuring out what it is to be someone of a different race, of a different age, of a different nationality, of a different gender, that empathy is the machine for civilization. >> and you have helped to make a film that building that empathy and thank you for reminding us we must be not afraid to live and not afraid to die. thank you more than you can know for joining me this morning. next time come to new york and hang out with me at the table. thanks for watching. see you next saturday. coming up right now, "weekends
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