tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC February 9, 2013 4:00am-5:00am EST
rachel has the night off, but there is lots going on this snowy evening. how little the nra has in the gun debate. congressman luis gutierrez joins us from chicago, where mourners are paying their last respects to hadiya pendleton. rnc chairman reince priebus tries to diversify his party in the same his predecessor did, moving to take away a constitutional right. all that is coming up, yes, beyonce. but when begin tonight with the massive storm that is battling the northeastern region of the country.
still snowing in buffalo. all the way up in northern maine. we've even as far as the accumulating snows that will be from new york city on ward. this is what's causing the power outages. just gusted to 50 in boston. notice the wind direction, due north. the cold air from maine is on the way. temperatures in maine are single digits. we're in the 20s in boston and even new york city dropping down to the 20s. as far as the wind chill temperature goes, negative numbers. it's ugly out there to be trapped in your car or thinking about shoveling. you're not going to want to do that until the sun is out. again, tomorrow morning early in the morning the storm pulls away as we go throughout the overnight tonight. it really begins to crank. that will be the peak of it. right now until 5:00 a.m. or so. the winds will start to relax
from west to east across new england. snowfall amounts. i had boston in the 24 and 30. it's looking tough. they didn't really get that heavy, heavy snow band like some other areas did so boston will end up anywhere from 18 to 24. it doesn't look at this point like they will get their all time record which are is 27.2. it will definitely be a top ten snowstorm. that is very impressive. >> i think folks in boston are okay with not hitting the record. >> i don't know how they measure that stuff any way when it's blowing around. >> i want to show our viewers this pretty amazing shot here top of the rock that we showed a new moments ago. it's coming down outside here at 30 rock. it's coming down pretty heavy. as you mentioned, new york city when you compare it to boston
and rhode island and connecticut, not nearly as bad here. >> five inches of snow in new york city. obviously, you can deal with that. wasn't too many years ago that new york city had a 20-inch snowfall. just wasn't our turn this time. >> thank you. thanks to you at home as well. we have a look at the second amendment and the power of the national rifle association. come back.
it's now a political reality that the national rifle association, the once poster child for how scary lobby groups can intimidate politicians and keep them from supporting common-sense and popular policies, that nra is no longer very scary at all, or influential, not in the way they would like us to think they are. a ppp poll released earlier this week found that an nra endorsement is now more likely to cost votes than to gain votes for a political candidate. we had hints of the nra's anemic influence during this past election when they spent nearly $11 million trying to get pro-gun candidates elected and
got less than a 1% return on that $11 million. it is becoming increasingly clear that no one listens much to the nra anymore. but for all of the out there, shocking, and just plain ineffective talking points the nra screams from the rooftops, there is one message, one message on which they sort of have a point. >> i think without any doubt, if you look at why our founding fathers put it there, they had lived under the tyranny of king george, and they wanted to make sure that these free people in this new country would never be subjugated again and have to live under tyranny. >> so wayne lapierre is talking about the second amendment to the constitution there, and he is kind of correct. in this country we have a constitutional right to bear arms. the second amendment is 27 words long, quote, a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed there is a lot of debate about
what kind of arms the second amendment refers to and exactly what a well regulated militia is. but it is clear one of the things the founders wanted people to be able to do is to protect themselves from the government, government overreach. and this is a fact of american life that the most liberal of liberals or progressive of progressives simply can't deny. the constitution protects this right. here is the deal. for the past 48 hours, we've been watching a horrifying story unfold in los angeles. a frightening case study in what happens when someone decides to bastardize those rights and to use those second amendment rights to create chaos. >> this is a blue alert broadcast on a 187 suspect, former lapd police officer christopher jordan dorner. suspect is armed and dangerous. >> as we join you tonight, a madman is still on the loose. christopher dorner has killed three people and wounded another. every police officer has become a target, and it has now moved
to the mountains of big bear. >> christopher dorner is a former police officer himself with grievances against the lapd. he has allegedly chosen to take out those grievances by targeting and killing other los angeles police officers and members of their families. he is trained in how to use weapons. among the weapons he may have in his possession a .50 caliber rifle which shoots five-inch-long bullets that can pierce bulletproof vests and vehicles as well as a shoulder-fired missile launcher. he is still at large this evening. dorner left a detailed manifesto online that he addressed to america. he called it last resort, and in it he listed the names of the people he plans to target and kill. buried within his rant, quote, i am a man who has lost complete faith in the system. this is one individual who has decided that he believes the los angeles police department has overstepped its bounds. he has decided to use his second amendment rights in this
horrifying way. since the massacre at sandy hook elementary in newtown, connecticut, in december we have been asking ourselves how to balance those second amendment rights with the moral imperative to keep innocent people, especially children, safe. since that day when 20 first graders were shot and killed in their classrooms, there has been sustained attention on the issue of gun violence and gun safety. and it seems for the first time in a long time it's not just political posturing. the presidential election is over, but elected officials are actually continuing to talk about what kinds of policies we might be able to enact, what we might be able to change, despite the partisan divide that seemingly stifles any reasonable debate on any issue. today a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation that would make it easier for people to access mental health services at 2,000 federally qualified community centers across the country. the community centers were offered 24-hour care, and they
would be able to bill medicaid for their mental health services. the legislation is a move in response to the newtown massacre. another bipartisan group of senators, including senator joe manchin of west virginia, who has long been a staunch gun rights advocate is working on legislation that would make it mandatory to pass a background check for everyone who wants to buy a gun. currently roughly 40% of the guns sold in this country are sold with no background check at all. so if that happens, that would be a stunning achievement, right? even just the bipartisan talks themselves pretty encouraging. it is all so encouraging. but we have to be careful not to pat ourselves on the back too much. not yet. tomorrow first lady michelle obama is returning to her hometown of chicago. she is returning to attend an event that should not even be taking place. she is returning to attend the funeral of a child killed by gun
violence. 15-year-old hadiya pendleton was shot and killed in chicago on january 29th. she was huddled with a group of kids taking cover from a rainstorm after school when a gunman opened fire and shot hadiya in the back and killed her. hadiya was an honor student. she was a majorette. and in fact, she just performed at president obama's inauguration last month. and she was killed about a mile from the president's home on the south side of chicago. hadiya's story reminds us again that while the mass murder of children in newtown was an unspeakable horror, it is thankfully rare. and while the manhunt in los angeles is a terrifying spectacle, it too is rare. what gun violence is in this country is hadiya pendleton, a teenaged girl killed in her own neighborhood in chicago. we have some political will right now coalescing around gun violence in this country, right? there are steps being taken that are encouraging, and maybe some of the things our lawmakers are
working on, maybe they can stop the next newtown. but is there enough political will to do what it would take to save the next hadiya pendleton? hadiya was most likely killed with a handgun in a city that has been reeling from gun violence, a city that is seeing its crime rate soar, specifically homicide. a city where roughly 90% of the near record number of homicides last year were gun-related. a city where local gun laws are only as strong as national gun laws. "the new york times" broke this down recently. of 50,000 guns traced by chicago police, more than half came from outside illinois. mostly from indiana, mississippi, and wisconsin. the second amendment means we have a right to bear arms. should it also mean that there is no place in our political dialogue about the factors that made hadiya pendleton's murder possible? is it impossible to talk about
removing handguns from our streets? is that simply too extreme? our first lady is going to be in chicago tomorrow attending the funeral of a child killed by gun violence. chances are while she is there another mother is going to get a call about another child whose life was cut short by a gun. joining me now is congressman luis gutierrez of illinois. congressman, thank you for being here. >> a pleasure to be with you this evening. >> so clearly chicago has been receiving national attention due to the high rate of gun violence. and there is a way in which that's a good story, because for a long time it was happening with no light shining on it. >> yes. >> but the other thing, it's led us to recognize the city actually has very tough gun laws. >> yes. >> what needs to be done if you already have the gun laws in place and you still have this sort of murder rate? >> it's so porous, right? the guns just filter through to the city of chicago. and, you know, the first thing i
supported back in 1993, 20 years ago when i first arrived in congress with such fervor was the assault weapons ban. i remember when we extended it. and that was good. but, you know, melissa, on monday, i worked all day today thinking than same question. so we're going to have some faith-based leaders come and meet with me on monday. and we're going get some victims, survivors of gun violence. we're going to meet with them, talk to them. and we're going to start also begin to focus on, as you said, handguns. i went, and i was astonished there were 351 people murdered with guns in 2011 in chicago. 361 of them -- i mean 351, 361, 351 were handguns, 90%. it's clear we need to look at handguns also. and i hope -- for too long, i think you've heard many of us,
melissa, as we go into national campaigns and we don't want to be put in a corner as being against the second amendment and against the rightful right to bear arms. and it seems as though we articulate much too passionately and clearly and eloquently how we're going to defend people's right to have guns during campaigns instead of talking about how we're going to save children on our streets. and lastly, if i could just -- ten of the kids, i read the papers, ten of those murdered were teenagers, ten in the month of january. >> let me ask you a little bit about this. i think this is tough, right? and it's tougher than just the laws. because the last time that a democratic president, in this case it was president clinton, introduced powerful new federal laws, we ended up incarcerating black kids, kids from the west and south side of chicago, kids from towns like new orleans. there is just a little part of me that keeps being concerned that on the one hand, yes, we must push for tougher regulations.
but how do we keep the regulations from falling on the backs of the very kids we're trying to protect? >> here is the point. we need a holistic approach to this. we can't just look -- it's true. i wouldn't want to get on an airport where four out of ten people didn't get checked, right? so four out of ten people don't get checked for handguns in america. so that's not the kind of way we should conduct ourselves. conversely, let's face it. we have a responsibility to have economic engines out there. because, i mean, the demand for drugs is so huge and continues to spiral out of control in this country. let's face it. there is a direct correlation. the propensity for drugs comes from the selling of drugs and the protecting of those drug turfs of which we are all involved both in the city and outside of the city. the suburbanites come into the
city to buy drugs, and we consume drugs in the inner city. so the scourge of drugs continues to have a huge impact on our community. killing populations because of the use of drug and killing our population, our youth innocently. just think of the contradiction of that young girl dying, right? honor student, wants to be a doctor. just finished her final examines. doesn't use drugs. and killed. >> yep. >> probably because somebody was using and consuming drugs, and somebody wanted to save the turf and protect the turf they were selling in. >> congressman, i so appreciate you bringing us to that point. because it does feel to me like this is exactly why it gets tough to have this conversation. because it is holistic on the one hand we have the piece tough on guns, but the other piece is addressing the drug war and what it has done in our communities. i so appreciate you joining me tonight, congressman gutierrez. >> thank you. >> and also, the work is going to continue. and those of us who love chicago and who know the scourge that
that the party was wrong to use race as a political wedge. it sounds nice, right? the new republican party is going to reach out to you, you right where you live. kind of like when mitt romney went to the martin luther king day parade in jacksonville. >> wow, you want to do a picture here? >> hey, i get to be up here. come on. whose got your camera, though? who let the dogs out, who, who? thanks, guys. >> yeah, who did let those dogs out? or how about the time that newt gingrich called spanish the language of living in the ghetto. and then apologized. in spanish.
>> or how about when the republican party elected an african-american chairman, and he announced the dawn of the hip-hop republican with republican principles in urban/suburban hip-hop settings. how is that working out anyway? oh, right. if the republican party really wants to change, they might start thinking about folks like these. voters in an ohio city forced to wait in ridiculous lines because republicans cut the time for early voting. republicans are still trying to make it harder for people in urban/suburban hip-hop settings to vote with laws that require new forms of id. and they are still voting down bills that would expand early voting, or just keep the lines reasonable at the polls. and republicans are still making plain old life harder for working people. they're still cutting taxes on the rich and snipping away the safety net for the poor. the day republicans really go
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a giant storm slammed into the east coast tonight, dumping snow and rain and ice from new jersey all the way up to maine. states of emergency have been declared in new york, massachusetts, rhode island, and connecticut, and a limited state of emergency was declared in maine. in connecticut, the governor banned all non-emergency vehicles from the highways. in massachusetts, all cars were ordered off the roads this afternoon. the archdiocese of boston urged people attending mass on sunday to use caution and prunes. and meteorologists expect this storm to leave behind 1 to 3 feet of snow. when you think of snow and rain and sleet and gloom of night, you think of the post office, right? or rather the post office creed. here in new york, you can see it there.
see it? just above the colonnade at the famous james a. farley post office. neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. and for the time being, mail delivery has not been interrupted in new york state, although the postal service is asking people to help out their mail people by clearing snow and ice from t the driveways and porches. but in new england where the snow is heavier and driving conditions are extremely dangerous, post offices closed early today. new hampshire, maine, and vermont all pulled their drivers off the road today. but amazingly, the post office is expected to be back in full swing tomorrow. on saturday, mail delivery will be back. and it will be back for about seven months. you see, this week the postmaster general announced that starting in august, the post office will break with decades of tradition and will no longer deliver mail on saturdays. the post office has been downsizing for a couple of years
now, shutting down locations that didn't add enough to the bottom line. but this is far and away the single most significant contraction of what the post office does. the post office belongs to you. it is a service you get from the government because the constitution says so. the united states constitution proscribes the post office. it was a cabinet-level position until the 1970s. the post office is a really big deal. and its impact on america, that's been really big too. not only does the post office handle 40% of all mail that is physically delivered in the world, but it also operates the largest fleet of vehicles in the country. and because the government has been historically better at implementing nondiscrimination policies for years the post office was a critical pathway for african-americans trying to break through to the middle class. the post office not only paid a decent wage and was willing to hire african-americans, but it
promoted them too. by the end of the 20th century, a fifth of all postal workers were african-american. today the post office is still hugely important in terms of jobs. it is the second largest employer in the country just after walmart. it's walmart then the post office. but what seems like a strength, the post office as a job creator, has been turned into a weakness. the post office had to shrink and get smaller because in the bush era, the republican-controlled congress forced the post office to do something that no other government agency has to do. the post office has to fund itself impossibly far into the future. and because of this impossible to meet funding mandate, the post office seems broke. it is not broke there are people trying to break it, but it is not broke. the union that represents mail carriers estimates that if the post office goes ahead with the
plan to cut mail delivery from six to five days a week, it will cost the country about 25,000 jobs. but hey, maybe walmart's hiring. joining us now is congressman elijah cummings. he is a ranking member of the house committee on oversight and government reform, and a member of the committee on transportation and infrastructure. congressman, it is good to have you here this evening. >> it's good to be with you. >> so talk to me, congressman cummings. do you have concerns about these planned changes to the postal service? and particularly the impact that it might have on black communities? >> oh, no doubt about it. you're talking about just this reduction from five days to -- from six days to five days will cut anywhere from 25 to 30,000 employees. and with regard to asian, african-americans, and hispanics, they comprise about 40% of the postal service employees. so it's logical to believe if they were to lose that 30,000 jobs, easily 40% of them would
be african-americans, hispanics, and asian americans. now, there is another thing, melissa, that a lot of people don't realize. and that is over 40% of all postal employees are women. >> yeah. >> so you have a lot of women, many of whom are single women -- head of household, and they depend upon that decent wage, decent working conditions and benefits to take care of their families. so, yeah, it would have a devastating effect in an economy that is already very, very fragile. >> i keep thinking that maybe the post office needs sort of better marketing. so after i saw the dodges, god made a former super bowl commercial, i kept thinking we need a god made a mailman psa, good needed someone to keep a growing nation connected and god needed someone to keep an eye on your house when you're traveling and god needed someone to knock on the doors of the elderly so, god made the mailman. so there is something mere
needing to express just how critical the work of the post office is. >> i think a lot of people are confused as to why the post office finds itself in the difficulty that they are. keep in mind that the post office produces about $65 billion a year. 99.99% of that comes from the sale of stamps and first class mail. and what has happened over the years, melissa, is that the people have now moved more and more towards using the internet. and so therefore since 2008, that income coming into the post office has been reduced by something like about the volume, that is, had been reduced by about 43%. so basically we have now i think and pretty much everybody admits this, we're going to have to do some downsizing because it's just not a good fit right now. we have more employees than we actually need.
but there are all kinds of ways to achieve this without necessarily going through drastic measures. >> what do you think the congress can do at this point in order to kind of forestall the labor force decline that can happen as a result of going from six days to five days a week? >> you know, one of the things that happened last session, melissa, is that the senate put together a pretty good bill. i didn't agree with everything in it. but it called for innovation. in other words, opened the door so that the post office can do what post offices do in other countries, enabling them to make additional money. for example, having opportunities to sell cell phones and opportunities to have all kinds of postal services that they would not normally have. in other words, to expand and to do things that they don't do now. and so -- but what happened is
in the congress, the response has been that any time they decided the post office wanted to do anything innovative, congress said no, we don't want you to do that, because then you'll be competing against the private sector. >> right. >> so their hands are kind of tied. basically, what the congress needs to do is do a comprehensive bill whereby we have what we call an innovation officer, which is my idea. and that person would keep the post office as cutting edge of innovation and bringing in new ways to of making money. the over thing we're going to have to do is we are going to have to do some downsizing. but when we downsize, we have to downsize with compassion. keep in mind we have more than 100,000 people that are right now eligible to retire. and what we have to do now is make sure that they have a decent parachute to land. in other words, to give them some incentive money so they can go ahead and retire, and so that we can right size the post office.
keep in mind every time, melissa, that the post office tries to do something. >> right. >> to correct itself or to make it possible to get new revenue or whatever, the congress comes in and says oh, no, you can't do that. they wanted to close down some post offices that are not being productive. congress says no, that's not -- you can't do that in my community. >> right, right. >> they want to close a plant down, a mailing plant, no you can't do that. so. >> so a balance here. >> they don't let them innovate, they don't let them compete, and then they say you're not innovative and you're not competing. >> that's right. that's the problem. >> thank you, congressman elijah cummings who is reigning member on the house overnight and government reform. i appreciate you being here tonight. >> thank you very much. and coming up, what the story of beyonce and the super bowl lights says about all the ladies, single or otherwise.
republican response to president obama's state of the union address. today the tea party announced its own post-speech presidential nay sayer, kentucky's republican senator rand paul. this is the third such tea party state of the union response. their past two speakers were michele bachmann and herman cain. yep, that's happening on tuesday. happy mardi gras, everybody. after you get it. now that's like sunblock before or sun burn cream later. oh, somebody out there's saying, now i get it! take beano before and there'll be no gas.
okay. let's say you're a doctor, a private physician in any small to mid-sized city in the country. if any of your patients comes to you with an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy, you as her doctor can provide her with a low-risk, outpatient procedure to terminate the pregnancy. you can file a claim with her insurance company. you can both go home to your families. let's say you're a doctor who has chosen to provide abortions to the most vulnerable women, to women without insurance, teens or domestic violence victims. if you're a doctor trying to serve that population in say jackson, mississippi, or sioux falls, south dakota, or little rock, arkansas, or fargo, north dakota, you have a completely different experience. if you live in the community, you'll have protesters at your home and office. your friends and neighbors will get flyers calling you a murderer. you might employee an armed security guard. you take a different route to work every day. you might not even feel comfortable living in the community where you work. you might fly in from out of
state and then fly back home when you're done each week. you might have to use an assumed name while you're in town. and if you don't, you can expect to be followed to your hotel by people who want to stop you from doing your work. openly providing abortion where every one has access to it is bordering on impossible in the united states. the one remaining clinic in the entire state of mississippi, which is served by doctors who fly in each week to serve the patients there, is poised to be shut down by anti-abortion politicians who control state government. they have been very straightforward that their goal is to close this clinic bypassing legislation and of requirement that is they knew they could not meet. >> what we campaigned on, ending abortion in mississippi. >> we're going to try to end abortion in mississippi. this is an historic day of beginning that process.
>> shutting down this one clinic started last spring. the same process is starting right now in fargo, north dakota. another state with only one remaining abortion clinic being targeted by the state legislature in exactly the same way. the north dakota senate this week passed a bill with new regulations targeting just that one remaining clinic. among all health care providers in the state with the exact same new regulations enacted in mississippi, rules that are not necessary for safety or health. just as this method of shusting down access to abortion seems to be working in mississippi, the folks in north dakota are picking it up and running with it. and if it works in north dakota, if this new bill becomes law and does shut down that one remaining clinic, it cuts off access for women in a huge swath of the country. this is fargo. this is where the only abortion clinic in north dakota is. the next closest clinic is to
the east. it's almost four hours away in minneapolis, minnesota. the next closest clinic to the south, about four hours away in sioux falls, south dakota. to the west, you're probably looking at billings, montana, more than eight hours away. as you can see, there's already a very serious access problem in this part of the country. so if you take away the one clinic in this region that is served by so few clinics, you're cutting off access for women in a four-state region. and that is the goal. with both of these laws, to harness the power of state government to eliminate access to abortion, to eliminate the one little building in the entire state where a woman with a few means and tough choices to make knows she can go. but let's be clear. even if the state succeeds in shutting down this clinic, they will not eliminate abortion in the state. those with regular, private, ob/gyns will still be able to terminate pregnancies.
these rules will eliminate safe and legal abortion for the most vulnerable women. there's a very easy way to describe this world being created by anti-abortion forces whittling down the options for women. this is the pre-roe v. wade reality. it's now affordable and accessible in some states and not in others this fundamental, cops contusionally protected right, in practical terms, depends on where you live. women shouldn't have to live with that.
relay, electrical device that's supposed to prevent precisely these kinds of outages. the relay manufacturer has asserted the problem wasn't in the device but in how the local power company, entergy installed it. the intrigue. here is one thing we can now reliably say about the power outage. it was not caused by beyonce. yes, that was a theory being floated by some. oh, okay, by many. at first bay fans took to twitter and said her utter fierceness took out the grid. commissioner roger goodell felt compelled earlier this week to speak. >> there's no indication at all that this was caused by the half-time show. absolutely none. i know that's been out there to say that beyonce's half-time show had something to do with it. that's not case. >> okay, so she didn't blow the lights. that hasn't stopped an almost
comically predictable beyonce performance, those who see danger around every corner when women start flaunting their sexuality. there was katherine jen lopez who said she should, quote, put a dress on it. and another that half-time, quote, looked like a stripper show. listen to this exchange. >> when you were seeing the half-time show, you're sitting >> i'm going to need everyone to take a breath. now, feel free to debate and disagree about the aesthetic, musical or artistic value of beyonce's performance but once you start blaming electrical engineering failures or moral dissenter grags on a married mom
and business woman, you have entered into woman blaming like pan dora, a woman who opens a box and unleashes miserable on the world or eve who ate the apple. now it's beyonce, with sunday afternoon football punctuated by go daddy commercials. right. these are the stories we tell and they have consequences. in 2010 when conservative candidates campaigned on improving the economy? as far as i can tell the main target of all that economy-improving legislative energy was women's uteruses, which were targeted with a number of new laws restricting abortion access. it's like they think women making their own reproductive choices not wall street making bad bettes brought down the economy.