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tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  December 15, 2013 7:00am-9:01am PST

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one week? that's just my speed. rapid wrinkle repair. and for dark spots rapid tone repair. from neutrogena®. this morning, my question. how hard can it be to give away $1 billion? plus, the human cost of surviving our nation's gun battles and the legendary poet, nicky giovanni is here in nerdland. but first, john boehner's message to the ultra right wing, i'm just not that into you. good morning, i'm melissa harris-perry. this week, believe it or not, we learned something very, very important. house speaker john boehner can display an emotion that is different from the one we've
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become accustomed to seeing him display, a lot. >> i've spent my whole life chasing the american dream. i put my -- myself through school, working every rotten job there was. >> instead of heartstring-pulling, tear-shedding john boehner, we got to meet -- ♪ angry john boehner. oh, yes, y'all! speaker boehner reached his boiling point on wednesday and let all his feelings be known about conservative interest groups who are criticizing the newly minted budget deal and trying to wield their influence to undermine it. and the speaker did not mince his words. >> frankly, i just think that they've lost all credibility. you know, they pushed us into
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this fight to defund obamacare and to shut down the government. most of you know, my members know, that wasn't exactly the strategy that i had in mind. but if you'll recall, the day before the government reopened, one of the people at one of these groups stood up and said, well, we never really thought it would work. are you kidding me?! >> dang! boehner took it back to obamacare. and when asked by msnbc's own kelly o'donnell if he was enjoying the chance to speak his mind, mr. boehner let it all hang out. >> you know, it just comes to a point when some people step over the line. you know, when you criticize something and you have no idea what you're criticizing, it undermines your credibility. >> i am not exactly sure what is going on with the raging boehner this week, but it seems that he has had enough of ideological interest groups, setting the direction of public policy and political affairs. maybe the speaker is prepared to
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usher in a new era of compromise and accomplishment in our nation's capitol. okay, probably maybe not. but let's go back for a moment and try to understand why. why speaker boehner was so ticked off. on tuesday, republican congressman paul ryan and democratic senator patty murray held a news conference to introduce the budget act of 2013, after weeks of negotiation. and the deal is far from perfect, as there is no extension of unemployment insurance, among other things, but the deal isn't an actual deal. and it won bipartisan support in an otherwise divided house. and regardless of that support, the proverbial you know what hit the fan, because no everyone was happy about the compromises, especially conservative interest groups. take, for example, the kato interest group think tank, which published a piece with the title, "the budget deal is a huge republican cave-in." they called the deal another budget surrender. and the club for growth announced that they flat-out
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oppose ryan and murray's budget proposal. mike need hamm, tsaid the budge agreement struck by paul ryan and patty murray is a step backward. so when speaker boehner lashed out on these conservative groups on thursday, day did not retreat quietly into the corner. the attacks included this one, "speaker boehner thinks outside groups are the problem. plotting your colleagues against their constituents is how you lose credibility with your conference. not upholding conservative principles is how you lose credibility with the voters who will find someone else if you are not willing to do your job." and check out what heritage action for america's ceo, michael needham, had to say about boehner's remarks when he appeared on msnbc's the daily rundown with chuck todd on friday. >> what's going on in washington is that the speaker is trying to turn this into a boring fight between outside groups and himself, so that we're not having a policy debate about whether or not this is a good
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deal. >> well, i mean, maybe budgets should be boring, but, look, what was more telling in chuck todd's interview with needham is when he asked this. >> you don't think you're part of the problem? that the interest groups have too much power? >> interest groups don't have power. >> you have money and you're making a lot of money. >> chuck, if you remember ten years ago when the music industry was forced to do peer-to-peer music sharing, everyone was furious. they said, you're selling your music directly to our customers. it's our job -- >> you're the napster of politics? >> i think we're the itunes of politics, but the establishment is very upset with the notion that there are people that are having conversations with their voters and i think that's good for democracy. >> no, they're the itunes of politics. listen, that is a really interesting analogy, but may also be why things came to a head between speaker boehner and the ultraconservative interest groups this week. these groups may see themselves as the upstarts, holding the entrenched republican interests in government accountable.
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but speaker boehner seemed to think that these outsiders should get out of his political business. one thing i know for sure, it is getting darn interesting on that side of the aisle. at the table, angela ry, political strategist and principle of impact strategies. igor bollski, managing editor at katrina beltran with nyu. and ron christie, a contributing columnist at the daily beast and a former special assistant to president george w. bush. igor, let me ask you this, is this the end of speaker boehner's speakership or the beginning? >> well, i hope it's the beginning. you know, this was kind of a long time coming. you saw in 2010 when this new class was elected, boehner very frustrated on issues like the debt ceiling, all of the budget fights. he tried to make a deal with the president, with the democrats. it didn't go anywhere. i mean, issue after issue, the farm bill, comprehensive immigration reform. he tries to do something, they pull back. and so now it all kind of boiled over out into the open. you know, i think at the end of
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the day, though, this is about politics. republicans right now see obamacare as the golden goose for the 2014 elections. >> again? >> oh, again. they think, again, yes. so anything that distracts from that is a problem. that's why he's saying, guys, sh, let's do obamacare and win elections then you can do what you want. >> part of what i find fascinating, and i really, legitimately mean i find this interesting. like i can't quite figure it out. we spent a lot of this show yesterday complaining from the left about the budget deal. about unemployment insurance, and basically saying, man, this is once again a massive democratic cave. how can it possibly be that the left sees this as a massive democratic cave and that the right sees this as a massive republican cave at the same time? >> because i think this is about the art of the deal. i think that the democrats wanted unemployment extensions, they department get it. republicans wanted more deficit reduction, they wanted entitlement reform, day didn't get it. to me, the fact that both of these factions didn't get what they wanted, maybe that means
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that we're actually on to something good here. but i want to pick up on what igor was saying. >> i'll let you, but you're suggesting in a more normal politics, there's not a declaration of the great win and the great loss, but everyone losing a great deal? >> i think in the last couple of years, it's either been, you have to win and i have to lose. and i think if this case, we found that both sides had to give a little, both sides got a little of what they wanted, which is maybe the art of compromise. but here's a guy, i've known john boehner for 22 years. you showed the clip of him crying. the john boehner you saw in these clips of him being upset and him wanting to say, enough is enough, enough is enough, this is ridiculous. he has about 30 or 40 members of the house who want to vote no on everything that's out there. he wants to get things done and a way to work the president and he's been stymied. and i say good for him. >> i want to listen to paul ryan talking about that boehner that you're describing there for just a moment. he was on "meet the press" this
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morning. i would like to listen to what ryan had to say. >> look, i think john has kind of got his irish up. he was frustrated that these groups came out in opposition to our budget agreement before we reached a budget agreement. and i was frustrated too, but i think these are very important elements of our conservative family. i would prefer to keep those conversations within the family and i think he was basically voicing his frustration with his option. >> so john got his irish up and apparently the family is an abusive one. but what do you make of ryan now trying to smooth over this fight? >> if only this budget impacted just conservatives perhaps they could keep it in the family. the problem with that argument the it's the larger american family that's been impacted. so, yes, i do think speaker boehner from all that i've heard from members that served with him before this particular term, he's a dealmaker. this is a very frustrating proposition and a zero sum game that we've seen far too much. you mentioned that both sides have to lose, but i would have
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to argue that democrats or the more progressive side lost a lot. this deal is much closer to the republic budget agreement than it was president obama's. >> part of what i'm wondering, because i am compelled in certain ways by your argument, ron, that we should be imagining a new normal when there isn't this kind of zero sum game. and where as much as it is fun to play the crying boehner, that we would have a respect for the speaker of the house being table to get legislation passed, just as we would expect respect for the president of the united states, being able to be the president but it does feel to me, he made this claim about outside groups, as though it isn't the politics happening among our elected officials that is relevant, but this pressure of politics coming from the outside. >> right, that it is not really about the republican party itself, as opposed to that it's sort of over in the separate space. i think that fundamentally, what's really interesting in a couple of ways that the idea that a bad deal is a compromise is hard. i think there's something else about the fact that democrats
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are just so always used to like, oh, a crumb. well, it's a crumb! and the republican party is like, well, they have a sort of all-in, we better get everything or we feel like we've been betrayed. so the logics are so different. but the other thing that strikes me, how low has the bar got for governing? the gop has basic motor skills. they're not putting spaghetti on their pans and juice on their heads. they can chew food and use a fork. we can pass a bill and pass a budget. this is now a miracle of governing. we're so excited by boehner's newfound leadership. >> i will say, my daughter is 11 and is doing american history this year in her class. and she had to make a board game of how a bill becomes a law. and we played it, the three of us together, my husband, my daughter, and i. and in nearly an hour of playing, we could never actually get a bill all the way through. i was like, oh, my god, this is the 113th congress.
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just how conservative does an establishment republican senator have to be these days in order to keep his job? if you are republican senator john cornyn of texas, who last year ranked as the number two most conservative senator by "national journal," you may think you're doing just fine. but not so fast, senator, because in the eyes of the tea party, you and a number of your colleagues just aren't conservative enough. and now facing primary challenges that threaten to derail the republican effort to take back the senate. while senator cornyn currently enjoys a 44% lead over his opponent, congressman steve stockman, stockman is a tea party favorite, and the type of
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politician who can out-conservative a conservative like cornyn. just look at his campaign bumper sticker that read, "if babies had guns, they wouldn't be aborted." or this gem, just last month, when stockman tweeted, "about 110,000 people contracted chlamydia each month, more than that signed up for obamacare, obamacare is less popular than chlamydia." when giving his reason for why he should challenge someone like cornyn, stockman said it was because cornyn undermined senator ted cruz's fight to stop obamacare. ron -- no, i'm not going to ask you to defend that, who could, right? but here's what -- on my very first show with my very first guest, almost two years ago, the question i asked is, what is conservatism and how is it related to what conservatism might have been defined as, say, 30 years ago? and i feel like two years later,
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i still don't have a very good answer to that. because when i see that, you know, babies with guns shooting out of the womb, that doesn't strike me as conservative. >> i'm not going to insult somebody personally. i'll keep ronald reagan's 11th commandment, not to speak ill of another republican, but that guy has the no business being in elected office. i think john cornyn is a great leader. i think it's someone who wants to have a small and limited government, have a strong national defense, and protect our homeland. a lot of these social issues, i respect their opinion, but it's not about governing, in my view. >> it's about making sure government doesn't work at all. it's about all the filibustering, stalling, making sure that bill never becomes law. that's the problem. cornyn is in leadership. and as someone in leadership, he has to make some kind of compromise to make sure things happen. and that's the problem that stockman has. that he works, tries to, you know, maybe build consensus and
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doesn't take a purely ideological root, and that is grounds for dismissal. if you don't want to govern, get out of government. >> that's exactly right, exactly right. >> can we really say the person that ranked second most conservative and is the senate minority whip, so in leadership, can we really say he's a compromiser at that point? >> well, compared to stockman. >> sure! >> all relative now. >> case closed. >> the other part of this, i think we forget historically, party infight has galvanize and energized the gop for a long time. if you look at goldwater's conscience of a conservative, when that was published in 1960s, it doesn't open by attacking liberals, it attacks establishment republicans, right? it attack s establishment republicans is and reagan, who's a goldwater follower, makes his name by attacking the republican establishment, challenges ford in '76. and newt gingrich is the contract with america. so there's been a long history of attacking sort of "the man,"
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but i think that i have reached the sort of cultural revolution end of the story where you have so many purges and you eat your own. i wonder if we're at the end of that. >> so this story is not one i've thought about before. and this is fabulously interesting to me. so if we look at the map of senate primary challenges right now, almost all of those primary challenges are coming towards republicans. you see right there that basically everyone who is facing a primary challenge is -- currently has a republican incumbent. wyoming is the one folks are looking at mostly because of liz cheney, not because she's doing particularly well, india is beating her pretty well in the polls. but when democrats infight, it typically hasn't strengthened the party. so why is that? why would it strengthen the party for republicans but not for democrats? >> what's interesting, we disempower our left and they empower their right. i think that is part of the story. but i think there's something just very interesting about the way that we -- and also, democrats participate in this. because we tell this magical
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story -- remember when the republican party was really straightforward and knew how to govern and compromise? that party has been fighting with itself for 50 years. so that's starting. but once you're in office, of course, you have to make deals and govern. and to the lesson that all insurgents learn is they have to govern, right? uh bing there's a very -- the stories are not parallel with these two parties and we tend to try to make equivalences and they're not. >> as part of what the tea party's demonstrated, they're not willing to learn. >> i was just thinking, to me, in 2010, the republican infighting took a particularly dangerous tone, because wasn't just about infighting anymore, it was about taking our country back with the resurrection of the tea party. and it was very, very racial, whether any of them will admit it or not. >> racial, i will not sit here and allow you to say that. >> i said it and i'll say it again. >> there were 63 people who came in in 2010, because the government grew too much -- >> you should calm down just a little bit. >> i will not allow people to
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sit here and say there was a racial aspect to it. that's absolutely false. >> so this is absolutely valuable and i'm not going to let it die over the course of the commercial. i'll come back and ask a question about voters. i think this is relevant and i think the fact that you feel that much passion about it means we should talk about it. so when we come back, we'll ask that question. muddling through allergies. try zyrtec® liquid gels. nothing starts working faster than zyrtec® at relieving your allergy symptoms for 24 hours. zyrtec®. love the air. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] everyone deserves the gift of all day pain relief. this season, discover aleve. all day pain relief with just two pills.
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we're back because there's a real tension here that is worth us spending a little time with. so i want to pause and breathe, because that's what nerdland is good for. angela, i want to allow you first to make your point, because what i heard you say was that the language of take back our country had a rationalized overtone to it that was associated with the election of a black president. but what i felt like i heard ron -- what i felt like ron heard angela say was, republicans are racist. so let me say what you want to say and how you heard it. >> sure. the tea party has some serious racial challenges. for example, when they were -- when the house of representatives were voting on
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obamacare, all of the tea party members that came to protest on the hill spat on my future boss, who was the congressional black caucus incoming chair. john lewis, who had already been beaten and bludgeoned, trying to ensure that we would all have voting rights and parody in this country was called the "n" word. this isn't something that i made up, these are things that really happened and continue to happen. and we continue to see it in ways people talk to the president, about the president, and is that reflective of all people in the gop? absolutely not. but i think it's absolutely a problem and it has to be addressed. it happens every time i'm on msnbc, in my twitter feed, people touting -- >> i'm curious, were you there that day? >> i was not. >> i was there that day. i was doing a stand-up for msnbc, i was out talking to tea party people, i saw john lewis walk out to go to the capital to vote. i did not hear the "n" word. >> i'm sorry you didn't hear it. >> reporters have asked him, did
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people call you the "n" word. >> and most of the members said, they refuse to talk about that day, because it was so insulting. >> i was standing there, i was listening, i didn't hear it. >> i'm sorry. >> again, it's a difference of opinion. >> it's not an opinion. >> but for you not having been there, and i having been there -- >> i talked to the members, ron. >> i was physically there! >> it's not just angela making this point. we saw after the 2012 elections, colin powell, a star in the republican party for years, come out and say, there's a vein of intolerance within the republican party. he was pointing to people like sununu, a surrogate for the romney campaign, who time and time again used race baiting to advance the candidate. i mean, i remember doing posts on think progress, there was one particular day towards the end of the election when we were able to point to four or five different instances of race baiting within that one day. everything from calling the president lazy to all kinds of -- sununu had to apologize
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for an insensitive remark he once made. the campaign was loaded with that in 2012. it goes well beyond one incident. >> let me ask you a question and pull back from this a little bit. so, one of the challenges in sort of that kind of discourse is just that there is lots of racial intolerance within the democratic party as well, and i do sometimes worry that when we name the racial problems as one that is about the attitudes of individuals, that it kind of allows a covering of the attitudes of individuals on the left, because they're like, well, i'm behind the black president, therefore i can't possibly be racist, right? >> right, right. >> that said, what i would like us to try to refocus on, then, the question of racially disparate impacts in policy. so whatever good or bad emotions people may have about this president, about john lewis, who is an american hero, just sort of -- right, an icon, all of those things. because what is important to me about this moment is african-americans do not all think the same thing.
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that we legitimately stand on different sides of the issues. but there are empirical realities about whether or not some policies have a disparately positive impact and/or negative impact on the question of closing the gap of racial inequality. and on that, democrats have done better since democrats became the contemporary democrats, not the democrats of the -- you know, of old, in doing better on policies that close the racial divide on economic inequality -- not perfectly, but better. >> when you look at the issue of health care, there, even a subissue of medicaid expansion, of republican governors refusing to expand medicaid. well, the population that benefits the most disproportionately from medicaid, from health care for lower income americans are african-americans. you have republican governors saying no, no way, even though the economics and the conservative case for expanding medicaid is so strong. >> igor, pause right there, precisely the question i want to ask when we come back is about the possibilities of coalition building across partisan lines
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and other identity-based lines, because when we talk about the republicans, who do we think we're talking about? at of our neighbors and friends are republicans. who are those republicans and how is this fighting at the republican top impacting folks who are republican on the bottom? good job! still running in the morning? yeah. getting your vegetables every day? when i can. [ bop ] [ male announcer ] could've had a v8. two full servings of vegetables for only 50 delicious calories. [ female announcer ] holiday cookies are a big job. everything has to be just right. perfection is in the details. ♪
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and make sure things look the way they should. awesomesauce! huh! my twin sister always says that. wait...lisa? julie?! you sound really different on the phone. do i sound pleasant? for once in your life you sound very pleasant. at discover, we treat you like you'd treat you. free fico® credit score. get the it card at elected leadership, like boehner. those who don't hold office, but do attract headlines like palin? well-financed think tanks like heritage? maybe. but focusing on those republicans may allow us to forget the republicans who are our neighbors and friends and coworkers and fellow citizens. republican voters. if we claim republicans won more than they lost in this budget deal, which republicans do we think won, exactly? because there have got to be plenty of republican voters among the 1.3 million unemployed
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americans who will lose their unemployment benefits at the end of this month. so what happens? so for those republicans who are disadvantaged by a set of republican policies, do we expect them to become harder right tea party folks? do we expect them to become democrats or potentially just to opt out altogether? >> right, right? i think one thing, when we talk about voters that's so hard is that the sense of being a voter and your relationship to the party is so diffuse, right? the sense, a lot of people don't feel like i'm a republican, i'm a democrat. there are a certain group of people who feel that way, but a lot of folks vote for candidates, vote in very kind of emotive ways. one of the very dangerous things for democrats in particular is that when government stops working, i think it makes it easier for the anti-government argues to work. so i think for some people who end up looking at cuts in their unemployment benefits, they think, this is the problem with government. but we have to think a lot about the fact that a lot of people
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don't necessarily have strongly held ideological positions. those of us who do feel that way, that's what being a democrat or republican is. but for a lot of people, it's so much more emotional and affective. and i think that's part of what's also dangerous about the way parties or people are manipulating voters, manipulating voters through misinformation. and i would argue that the republican party has made that much more of a strategy of their party, is, i think they show a lot of contempt for their voters. and i think that's something they do as a party, show a lot of contempt very voters. it used to be one of the way democrats and republicans both gomped was bringing home goodies to constituents. that's part of why there weren't these strong ideological or party establishments. what you want is the end of earmarks has affected boehner's ability to log rol, but doesn't it impact the ability of voters to say, this guy, this gal is my
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guy or gal? >> it's made it a lot harder for them to put these votes together. but they don't just look at government not working and government being too big. that's certainly a problem -- as far as voters see it. i think we're in a time, and the president discussed this last week, of such great equality, of such great income stagnation. and voters see government rewarding the very rich, the top 10%, the top 1%. so it's not just this argument of government is too big. i think progressives have a lot to say about government working for the very few, and i think that turns off voters just as much. >> the one thing i was thinking about is the book that came out in 2004, "what's the matter with kansas?" because folks often vote against where they wish they were. so i think that's what you're seeing with the republican party, most of the members in the house are absolutely supported by their constituents. there's a certain voting bloc
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that supports them, and as the districts became more gerrymandered in 2010, you have more ideologically based congressional districts. so they are supported by this and they do support their members. >> it's interesting, the argument you just made about what's the matter with kansas and folks voting against their narrow economic interests is often an argument made by african-americans within the republican party that black folks are voting against their interests in sort of 90% support and better during the president obama years. in terms of support for the democratic party. now, i think -- i personally think that doesn't quite hold up empirically, but it's an argument that often comes from the gop about both economic and ethical moral alignment with the republicans. >> christine has said that republicans have contempt for their voters. i think black democrats are held in contempt by the democratic party. if you look at the last 50 years, the statistical unemployment rates the for black has been over 10%. often 12%. >> that's been true for every that's been true since the 70s,
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whether the president was a -- >> i'm focusing on one demographic, the african-american population in the united states, and i'm focusing on that specific level of unemployment rate for the last 50 years. >> when we've had both democrat and republican presidents. >> but my point is, democrats are saying how compassionate they are, how compassionate the president is, why aren't we really addressing the core issues of this inequality, which in my view is education. why aren't we saying we need to put as much power of education and making sure these kids have the tools they need to succeed. >> i've got to go, but one thing i will say is on this topic, there is a great deal of bipartisan support in this sort of free market, neoliberalism around schools. on this one, you guys actually have convinced the democrats, and that's the one i don't agree with. thank you to angela ryan, to igor wolski. i hope you'll come back and have a great holiday. ron will be with us back in the next hour. up next, we'll switch gears and talk about an issue plaguing
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we've been talking about a lot of things, but one of them is outside influence in politics. and there's perhaps no issue when that influence is more coordinated and effective than in the gun control debate. but before we get into that, i want to pause and talk for a moment about the real lives impacted by gun violence. not the shocking headline-making school shootings, which despite friday's news out of colorado, are still, in fact, pretty rare, but how lives, especially young lives, are impacted by the everyday violence in many neighborhoods and cities, in places like oakland, california, where children have often lost multiple loved ones to violence. they live with that threat of violence and the sounds of gunshots and sirens every day. in 2012, about 2,000 violent crimes were committed per 100,000 people in oakland. contrast that nationwide, where
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only 387 violent crimes per 100 people. these data come from an article this week in the east bay express, detailing how that violence impacts far more people than those physically struck by the bullets. one young woman in the story lost on uncle and five close friends in the span of five years. her mother was shot in the leg the same week her uncle was killed. another friend was the victim of sexual assault. in oakland and nationwide, there is a growing awareness that the trauma of living with constant violence can lead to depression, anxiety, and even ptsd, posttraumatic stress disorder in our children. joining our table now is shannon watts. also back with us, jonathan metzel, professor of psychology at vanderbilt university. but first i want to go to san francisco to talk with rebecca ruiz, a reporter for the "east bay express," who wrote this
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week about the efforts to diagnose and treat children coping with trauma, and kendra simmons who's the youth director who works with young victims of violence in oakland. so nice to have you both here. >> thank you for having us. >> rebecca, first talk to me about this idea of ptsd, which we typically think of being like combat troops who are coming home from the theater of war. why use that language to describe what is happening with kids in oakland? >> well, kendra might be able to address this from a therapist's point of view or a social worker's point of view, but this is what the kids are actually experiencing, we think, ptsd is a condition that soldiers have, but it affects many people who experience traumatic events and it's particularly happening to children in oakland, who experience chronic violence. >> so, kendra, talk to me a little bit about how those trauma symptoms actually manifest themselves in young people. >> young people, particularly in oakland, they are living, in what we do consider the war
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zones. they hear gunfire, they cross yellow tape. so when they go to school, they're agitated. it's a challenge walking from home to school or trying to catch the bus. we hear gunshots at school, there are gunshots at home. they walk around angry or they either self-medicate. this is all just the symptoms of what we would call ptsd, but it's actually ongoing trauma, because they don't actually get away from it. >> that's a great point. let me come to the table for one second. jonathan, i want to follow up on what kendra is saying about the idea that the trauma season post, it's actually ongoing. how that does change the nature of what the trauma is? >> it's interesting. many of the early studies of what we call ptsd is soldiers in vietnam. the thought at the time is the more time you were in combat, the higher your risk of ptsd. there's never a study that said, if you just lived in combat, so in a way, it's off the charts and it's completely understandable that people who are living with the constant anxiety and stress of violence would suffer these kind of
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symptoms. >> let me go back to you, rebecca. because the piece undoubtedly deals with questions of health care, psychiatric care for young people. but i was really interested in the idea of schools and the fact that, you know, the place where these young people spend most of their time is obviously in the schools, and all of these traumatic symptoms end up manifesting themselves in school behavior, and then we're often in schools that then treat these kids with zero tolerance policies. how do we need to adjust the policies of schools and of education to address the kind of traumatic communities in which these children live? >> i think that the oakland school district has done a great job at trying to get at that question, giving teachers experience and understanding of what trauma looks like in their children. and that some schools are pulling back on the zero tolerance policy, so that when you are disciplining a child, you're considering what kind of suffer or trauma that they're experiencing and how that might be affecting their behavior. >> kendra, let me ask you a little bit about that as well.
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i wonder if there's ways in which issues of race, of inequality, and of poverty make it hard for us to see these kids as wounded children rather than as themselves potentially criminal. because i assume that part of what happens with the trauma is they then will sometimes revictimize others in their community. >> exactly. with young people who are constantly victimized, constantly seeing the trauma, because we look at the trauma, and it is a form of victimization, our young people, when they are out about in the community, they tend to look like the young people who are committing the crimes. as we all know, violence is a learned behavior. so whether a young person is a victim, we soon know that after that, they will become a perpetrator. so with organizations like youth alive, what we do in working with young people is we make sure not to criminalize and not to further traumatize the young person, so use a trauma, inform, and care approach, so we
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understand that young people who are living in traumatic situations, living in these neighborhoods that are considered war zones, we know what that looks like. we know what that behavior looks like. we make sure not to further punish them or make them feel as if their behavior is just so outside of the normal. we want them to know that violence is a learned behavior and it's not normal. >> thank you to rebeckra ruiz and to kendra simmons for sort of setting our table here so we remember, as we go into our conversations about gun, there are real people's lives impacted by the violence in our communities. thank you for your work. >> thank you. >> when we come back, the harrowing school shooting that made national headlines just yesterday. it could have been much worse. all of that is up next. [ lane ] do you ever feel like you're growing old
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this morning, we want to share with you a few new details about friday's shooting at arapahoe high school in centennial, colorado, a suburb of denver. before the shooter, 18-year-old karl pierson took his own life, he shot one fellow student,
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17-year-old senior claire ester davis, who underwent surgery friday and remains in critical condition with major head trauma. the local sheriff holding her picture at a press conference said claire was an innocent victim in the wrong place at the wrong time. we're also learning more about the suspect. authorities believe pierson torn originally targeted a school staff member for some type of retaliation, but denied earlier reports that he'd been kicked off the debate team. according to nbc news, pierson was armed with a machete, three molotov cocktails, one of which was set off, and pierson purchased the pump action shotgun used in the shooting incident legally on december 6th at a local retail outlet, then legally purchased multiple rounds of shotgun an in addition on friday morning. this has once again fueled the debate over gun control. and why a year after the newtown tragedy and 14 years after columbine, we are talking about the same thing. you have been in d.c. all week, in advance of that newtown
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one-year anniversary, not knowing, obviously, what was going to happen on friday in colorado. trying to talk to lawmakers. what has that experience been like for you? >> this is the one-year anniversary of our organization today. a year ago, i started a facebook page, which has turned into a grassroots movement in just a year, which shows you where mothers are on this issue. and legislators are listening to us. we sat in the offices of senator harry reid and we went with at least a dozen other members of congress, and what we said was, it is time to act. and even if you can't win this vote with this congress, we want these people on record going into the midterms. will they vote for background checks or not? are they going to do the right thing? and if they're not, we want that to be fresh in people's minds as they go into the polls in the midterms. >> so you want the vote even if the legislation won't pass? >> i think this congress has proven they are in the pockets of the gun lobby for the most part. this may not be the congress to get it done, so we have to vote in the congress that will in 2014. >> so i want to come to you in one second, jonathan.
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one more question, though, one of the things that happens in this moment, and even as i'm reading the name of the 17-year-old girl who was shot, i have this certain kind of guilt about, now we go immediately to talking about politics. so as a mom, i guess i want to ask -- although you cannot speak for all parents on this, obviously, like, is this the wrong time -- should we just be talking about the victims, about their trauma, or is this the right time to be having this conversation? >> when there's an incident like this, it's not too soon to talk about it, it's too late. and we have been told for decades that you cannot talk about something after it happens. the never again. moms will never be silent in this country again. and as soon as it happens, we're going to start calling for reforms in this country. i have an 18-year-old daughter. i would like her to have a shotgun as much as i would like her to have the keys to my liquor cabinet. it isn't the right idea in this country that we aren't everyone. including 18-year-old children. i think they're children. >> that is so encouraging. i was feeling yesterday, i was on the show, and it felt like
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kind of a repetition in a way, a kind of hopelessness, oh, my god, we're having the same thing again. and over time, dealing with the repetition of a violent act, that we kind of get used to it. and so, hearing that there's so much grassroots activism around this, i think we can't habituate this. this cannot become the new normal for us. >> so my progressive impulse sits on this side of the table, right? not that you're on that side of the table, christina, but it sits in this notion that we've got to restrict guns. but i live in a community more like that oakland community than like newtown, in new orleans. one that is traumatized by regular violence. and i am a mom of a tween child and there is also a part of me that says, i want to have the right to be armed, because -- and i grew up in a household with a father who had guns. and there's a part of me that says, hey, those bad guys have
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guns and as long as that's true, and that's going to be true for a little while longer, i don't want to not be able to -- so there's a mother part of me that wants to keep my kid from having a gun and there's a mother part of me that wants to protect my kid with a gun. >> there's an interesting question about trying to feel, you know, the protection. this compulsion to protection. but i think one thing you've talked about is there's this larger sense of all these children. not just my child, but all children. and that really is what your organization is trying to get at. and i think one of the things we're talking about, and we have to keep talking about is what lives are grievable and what lives are continually treated as disposable. and it is really the story of black and brown children dying in inner cities, poor children in general, dieing in inner cities. >> isn't it shocking to you that after newtown -- because these newtown children -- >> these are quintessential american children -- >> and we did nothing! >> i think this is a culture war where at some point someone's
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going to win and someone's going to lose. we talk about performancetivity, right, and performance. the republicans are very good at performtivity and performance. they have been voting against obamacare over and over, even if it means nothing. but there's something about the fact that they keep performing that. why don't democrats vote on things in a way -- there's something about doing that, where you're like, take a stand. >> so they're voting for manchin/toomey. >> in some ways republicans have been in la la land doing that. but there is something profound about taking votes on the world as it was. >> because it makes that thing seem vulnerable. >> cristina beltran is on fire today! coming up next, the gun lobby strategy from states to small town america. plus, i can't believe this, nikki giovanni is coming to nerdland and she is going to be ego trippi inping live. you are not going to want to miss this. there is more nerdland at the
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welcome back. i'm melissa harris-perry. in the months following the newtown shooting, 28 communities in maryland got an unwelcome piece of mail. in a report this week from mother jones, we learned about that mail. a letter that looked like this one and was addressed to the attorney for the town of walkersville, maryland, a town about 50 miles northwest on baltimore. as you can see there, it's from the second amendment foundation, or saf, a legal action organization in washington state. now, even though it came from across the country, the letter warned walkersville about the part of their town code that, quoting the letter, purports to prohibit the carrying of loaded firearms anywhere in the town. the saf then warned walkersville that their town code violated the state's open carry law, concluding, quote, failure to bring the town code into
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compliance with the state law puts the town at risk for a lawsuit. this argument is based on what's called the legal conflict of preemption, which restricts local lawmakers' authority to regulate firearms beyond what's in state law. and there's no need to go after new federal gun control laws since newtown, since there aren't any. if local and state gun laws or gun rights organizations like sfaf are focusing their energies. but it goes beyond warning letters to communities like walkersville. their message is that gun rights are a civil rights issue for all americans. >> i can't defend my family because i live in chicago. >> i am free to defend my family with my ar-15, my shotgun, or my handgun because i live in wyoming. >> i can't even protect myself if i'm attacked because i live in d.c. >> i care my 9-millimeter in my purse anywhere i go in texas. >> i can't protect my small retail job because i live in
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brookly brooklyn. >> walkersville, maryland, tone attorney and the town commissioner said, i don't think we even wrote back. joining me is shannon watts with an organization seeking gun law reforms. alongside her, jonathan metzel, professor at psychologist at vanderbilt university. and cristina beltran with new york university, and ron christie, contributing columnist for the daily beast, and former special assistant to president george w. bush. ron, i want to come to you on this. in addition to like protecting your family with your ar -- that was a lot. but i actually want to come to you on this particular strategy, which is it feels funny to me around conservatism, because conservatism typically says, make policy at the most local possible level, because people will understand the needs of that community and it threatens if you are making laws that don't conform with the state, then you can be sued is. >> i think the conservative position on this is looking at the second amendment, and it is
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very explicit about the ability to possess and carry arms. the one thing that i, looking at the entire debate, the emotions that are contained in this, that make it so excited. and i respect very much what you're doing, shannon, but nothing would have changed what happened in newtown if we had background check legislation that has been pushed in the congress. that was a legally obtained weapon from the mother that the son took and did his horrific acts. and i think people need to take a step back and say, we uphold the constitution, but i respect what you're trying to do and to elevate this issue, because i think it's something frankly that the lawmakers should be on record for. where do you stand, where do you want to be? and this is why i think this is a conservative issue that should be at the federal level, where it belongs because of the constitutional provisions. >> i respect that point and i would say that the irony here is, i don't think anybody in the mainstream debate here is saying, we should take away all of everybody's guns. i think that people's guns to protect themselves are not really even part of the debate.
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>> i'm a little nine about claire's 9 in her purse. >> yeah, but i would say that there are a couple problems with that. one is that i hear the issue a lot about, well, it wouldn't have prevented another newtown. but i think there's a lot of research coming out of duke and johns hopkins and other places that say that essentially, we want to prevent the next newtown, absolutely, but setting national gun policy based on these -- there have only been 55, i guess 56 now, in the country, in the last 30 years. what we really want to prevent is everyday violence. the thousands and thousands and thousands of things. so in a way, setting gun policy based on these relatively rare occurrences is not indicative of the much bigger problem about what it's like to live in oakland. >> right, right, right. this is such a great point, especially on this sort of localism versus state. this is exactly what's going on in part in california. so california, which is among the states that has -- in fact, brady really likes california, because they have some of the sort of best gun laws. and yet oakland carved out for itself the ability to pass even
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tougher gun laws within the city of oakland, because they said, we are facing a problem that is not about being out on the range, we're facing a problem right here in our city. >> if i could just add, in get back to the ptsd question, undoubtedly, the bigger issue is kind of the secondhand smoke of gun violence. it's what's happening to communities, people who aren't shot are living with the threat of being shot. and as much as i respect the question of are there mental health diagnoses for that, i think we have a long history of knowing that if you live in a racist society, you have higher cortisol. if you live in a poverty-poor area, you have all these medical problems. we're individualizing the problem on people's brains, but we need to change the structure. it's a structural problem, as much as we need to take care of people's individual psychologity. >> inequality is bad for our brain, for our health. >> fix the system.
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>> chrkristina, this is not one those moments where people say, the nra and afs say, they want kids to die, or they're happy for people should be shot. even in our most extreme, i don't think anyone thinks that about the other side, or credibly, right? so how, then, do we start to navigate a question of, there is a second amendment. it has been understood by the supreme court in a very particular way. and yet, also feels as though those founders in the 18th century could not possibly have imagined the level of militaristic -- >> that's right. >> i think that really having a serious conversation about it. and we talk a lot about guns, but we don't have serious conversations about structural inequality. and we don't really have a serious conversation about what it even means to talk about common sense gun control. like the language of common sense gun control, sometimes does make people who are gun control advocates feel like, is
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that going to get to the real problem? so we need to have a real conversation about gun culture. and i think this point about the normalization of violence in communities and, you know, i think we need to tell more stories. and i think storytelling is actually really critical here, about lives lost. you know, and the uniqueness of each life, and so the loss of that life being meaningful, right? so maybe that would lead to a better conversation about day-to-day gun violence and the day-to-day slaughter going on. >> do you feel that storytelling and narratives moves lawmakers? so when you go and tell those stories, do you have stories of lawmakers moving once they've heard them? >> well, you know, going in there just as a mother to begin is different than what they're used to seeing and meeting with. so we go in there and bring our infants and we bring our toddlers and we have them at the table and talk and we say, this is why we're fighting. and some of our moms are victims of gun violence, some of them have been affected. one in three people in america are affected by gun violence. this is a national epidemic, and we need to put a face on that. but there are 80 million moms in
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this country. and this is not, in my opinion, a partisan issue. this is a common sense issue. this is a cultural issue. and if we band together, we will affect change. we have in this country, forever. women are on the forefront of these kinds of issues. drunk driving, segregation. we can do it again with gun violence. >> it's interesting that you said, i've sort of forgotten because we do start focusing on kids and school and the mass shooting. what moms are doing is protecting their children. but domestic violence and the number of women who lose their lives in domestic violence situations, when there isn't access to the gun is enormous. >> nine women every week are shot and killed in this country. >> by domestic violence. >> and we're number one in suicide, by far. >> one thing i'm thinking about real quickly, we don't nearly enough about is why don't we discuss this in a comparative context, with great britain? and i think we might want to have a conversation about other country's gun laws and say -- we're special! >> it's the whole reason that we have a second amendment, is because of great britain,
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because we -- the king, and we were like, uh-uh. no, not you, king george. i'm just saying. the reason is because if you bring up great britain, we're like, well, the whole reason we have second amendment is because george. tyranny! >> despite the fact they don't have our gun laws, they appear to be free in those countries and functioning citizens in those countries. >> this is apparently going to get hot in the commercial. thank you. and i am happy we broke free of great britain. i'm down for that. thank you -- yes, all that. yeah, oh, right, france, louisiana. after the break, some fascinating fun facts. the world that we learned about, look, about 2,000 -- okay, i'm sorry. the world, as we have learned, has about 2,170 billionaires. a few years back, three of them tried to do something very unusual and since then, more and more of their friends have been catching on, to the tune of more than half a trillion these bil
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this sunday morning, i would like to ask the congregation of nerdland to turn your books to the gospel of biggy, second album, disk one, and met at a time upon the wisdom of one of our greatest hip hop disciples, mo money, mo problems. when the notorious b.i.g. made the change from common thief, he discovered thing that wealthy americans have long understood. it isn't easy to be stuck with all that green. '80s babies might remember, that was exactly the dilemma facing
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montgomery brewster, the washed up baseball player portrayed by richard pryor in "brewster's millions." he discovered he has a wealthy uncle who's prepared to make him the sole beneficiary if he can satisfy one simple request. >> you have 30 days to spend 30 million bucks. if you can do it, you get 300 million, but if you fail, you don't get diddly. >> why can't i tell my friends? >> because i don't want anybody helping you out. >> but when brewster finds out, when you have millions, getting rid of that money is a lot harder than it sounds. the complications from giving away money may be why. according to a recent article in "business insider," only 5% of the world's billionaires have been persuaded to join the giving pledge, a campaign where the world's richest people pledge to give away at least half of their wealth to clarity. it leaves a lot of convincing to
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do by the three people who started it in 2010, bill and melinda gates and warren buff t buffett. but even though most of the world's big spenders are doing their own thing, 5% of all the billionaires on the planet is by no means small change. that's 128 people, according to "business insider," who are each worth billions. that's billions, with a "b," of dollars. and their combined assets estimated to be worth more than $600 billion. meaning their commitments to the giving pledge amount to at least $300 billion of those billions, all to philanthropic causes. the vast majority of those taking the pledge are from the country with more billionaires than any other, us, the united states. which is probably why most of his billionaire buddies are still being stingy with their charity cash, warren's having a lot more success with that plan than to get wealthy americans to turn over their money than this other one. you remember the buffett rule?
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it was part of president obama's tax plan in 2010 based on buffett's rule that the very rich should pay their fair share of taxes. maybe you don't remember because it died fast in the senate last year. which means if we want to rich to pay mo money, getting them to get out of charity instead of federal obligations may be our only option. joining me now, the stacy palmer, the editor of "chronicle of flophilanthropy," and aurora cepeda, so nice to have you all here. so let's talk about this notion of flont ro philanthropy versus redistribution of income through taxes. how effective is it to say the wealthy have these assets, they've earn eed these assets o inherited these assets and now
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we want to ask them to redistribute them based on their own beliefs, values, goals by giving to charity. >> i think there's a great partnership between private philanthropy and the government. and the reason why we have so much need, the reason why we have such a big income gap is because of government policy. and it's going to in part take a government solution to get us out of there. so building up the safety net investing in infrastructure, providing people with affordable health care, making sure the rich pay their fair share in taxes. you need those kinds of policies to close that income gap, to move forward, because flo philanthropy is not going to do it on its own. >> and part of the reason philanthropy is not going to do it on its own, and looking at the numbers, this is what i want you to weigh in on, they tend to give to things like private schools, colleges, operahouses,
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all really valuable and important things, but also things that may benefit them more than what they think of as traditional charitable giving. >> what often happens, the wealthy are disconnected from the issues of the real people that are struggling day to day. they know the schools from which they came, that they believe helped them make it in the world. they know of the opera and other theatrical events that they enjoy. they're removed from what is happening and the people who need it. they don't see it. if you were in a car moving from one place to the next, not in the subway or walking the streets of poverty, you're not going to see it so you're to the going to feel compelled to give. >> this is a great point that seems to be born out empirically, because the wealthy who live in zip codes that are economically diverse tend to give more to things like the united way or salvation army. those who live in zip codes that are economically homogenous tend to give more to their alma maters. and again, no one's suggesting one should not give to their
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alma mater, but there is a funny tax thing that happens, right? so i'm not taxed and i give to a 501 c-3, and then i get a tax break for having given to that, but that still doesn't move down to the folks who are on the bottom. >> yes, you know, there's nothing wrong with having these private priorities, individual priorities, but our collective needs and our collective priorities, often, as jennifer's saying, kind of fly below the radar screen. things like poverty are visible in our city, in our country, if nobody brings a spotlight to it. so while it's important that the wealthy give money, i think it's important that the wealthy open the doors to dialogue on these issues. it's important they bring their influence to bear. if they see it and provide some resources to it, that's great. but more is to make it known that this is a public issue that we have to contend with. >> this is an interesting idea.
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and we see it -- so let me take an example of the koch brothers who often get critiqued for the political giving that they give on the right, but if you spend any time in new york, if you have a cancer treatment, it happens in a koch, you know, cancer center. if you go see a play, it happens in a koch theater, right? so there are huge philanthropists across things that don't have any particular ideological divide, but their political giving does have an effect that is quite specifically towards an ideologically conservative viewpoint. >> that, i think, is the danger of exporting too much of the duty of carrying it for low-income americans, of building an education system that works for everyone, for exporting that job to a small group of private people, because some of those people are driven by very ideological agendas, whether it be denying climate change or making sure there are fewer regulations on business across the board. so, again, we need a balance. we need to strike a plabalance really make this work.
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>> and i would just add that very often what happens is people are removed from touching and feeling at a very early point in life. so that community social responsibility is not really taught and reinforced, so when you acquire wealth, you know, or you inherit wealth, if that is not what is within you to begin, your inclination is not necessarily going to be to give -- >> and i would to suggest in a way -- because to the extent that it does get developed, it is sometimes kind of the largess giving back as opposed to a sense of collective identity. i want to talk a little bit about that when we come back. up next, a discussion of a farewell to alms. the hottest trend in giving is taking a page from the business community. this may or may not be a good thing.
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if you're a regular nerdland watcher, you're already in on my shameful secret, that every now and then, when i can sneak a moment alone, i like to enjoy dirty porn. no matter how hard i try, i can't get enough of what i like to call 1 percenter porn, starring the filthy rich. i found my latest tidbit of titillation in the pages of one of my favorite dirty magazines, "town & country." an article in the december issue checkly tighted a farewell to alms is about how they're giving way to venture philanthropy. the new model is based in the venture capitalism movement and includes all of the same requirements for long-term measurable outcomes. think of it as teaching a man to fish instead of shoving a couple of salmon his way. joining me now from san francisco is one of those fishing teachers, matt flannery,
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who is co-fonder and ceo of kiva, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to alleviate poverty through online lending. thanks for being with us. >> thanks for having me, melissa. >> talk to me about this notion. when i'm reading "town & country" and they're like, charity is out, venture philanthropy is in. so what's different than traditional charity? >> venture philanthropy is a lot like venture capital applied to the social sector. so essentially, venture philanthropists look to take risks in social change businesses that can have a revenue stream and can scale more sustainably. >> but that said, i was looking at the fact that not one of the top 50 charitable gifts last year went to a social service organization or to a charity that principally serves the poor and dispossessed. so i love the idea of kiva, the microlending both
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internationally and domestically has been critical. but i wonder if it won't go far enough into providing that ground under which people won't fall. >> it's important not to trade them against each other. there's a strong need for aid, given to people that need it most. but there's also a place for venture philanthropy. we find that about two-thirds of all new jobs are created by small businesses in the u.s. and it's important to support that sector too because it's struggling. >> who does venture philanthropy work well for and for whom does it not work well? >> one of the most interesting foundations is the rob yin hood foundation here in new york. so it can work well for all kinds of causes. it doesn't necessarily need to be just about the rich or the poor. it can really be about everything. but what's important to look at is, what are the problems that we can't really measure? and how do we do a good job of knowing over the long-term, how
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is a child's life going to be changed by some of these programs. it's going to take us 50 years to know that. and the venture philanthropy model doesn't always have the patience for that. >> because it might need a return more quickly. we here in nerdland felt that emotion in our gut when we read "the new york times" piece, the invisible child, about homelessness here. and i kept thinking, you know, i love kiva, but also, if you're a kid, you're not starting a business. like, you've got to be able to go to school. the investment is the 50-year investment in your human capital based on good high-quality public schools and safe, affordable public housing. >> absolutely. so i think that, again, it goes back to this idea that we have to -- as a government and as people who have influence on government, establish priorities. and fund those priorities beyond someone's tenure in office. we really have to keep that on the forefront. and so i think that we figure
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that children have very immediate needs and those needs grow and change over time and we have to be very vigilant of that. so i think investing in their education first and foremost. whether we invest directly or supporting the things outside of school that enrich their lives that allow them to have opportunities to participate in society, things like after-school programs, cultural enrichments, sports, all those things that make kids kids are very important. whether you come at it through the shelter door or the schools or come at it through community-based organization, the same kids will benefit no matter what. there's homeless children in every country, and we need to invest in them. >> one of the things i love about kiva is the idea that people living in community have their own solutions and what they need is capital in order to make those solutions real. so i'm thinking here about the question for homelessness of education or any of a variety of
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interlocking social problems. does venture philanthropy give a better capacity to get those problems solved or a different kind of capacity to get those problems solved by community-based problems, problem solving? >> exactly. i think it's another alternative that needs to be there and we're trying to help fill that gap. we started a local food helicopteri i cooperative that's providing local foods and vegetables to the community and it was created by the members to have that community and it has a revenue stream and growing quite fast now. so looking for models like that all over the u.s. and i started this in uganda, so taking methods i learned there and applying them here in the u.s. and working quite well. >> we have a kiva in new orleans. we've got a little bit more. as soon as we come back, we'll stay on this topic. but i am going to tell you a story that really got my executive producer revved up. he loved this, because it was a good walmart story, or a nice
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person shopping in the walmart, but a good walmart story when we come back. [ male announcer ] this is george. the day building a play set begins with a surprise twinge of back pain... and a choice. take up to 4 advil in a day or 2 aleve for all day relief. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪ add brand new belongings from nationwide insurance and we'll replace stolen or destroyed items
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. christmas came early to a florida walmart last week, when a man who's being called the layaway santa paid off almost $20,000 in layaway items for a few lucky shoppers. financial planner greg parody pulled out his credit card after overhearing a woman say she might have to cancel her order because she didn't know if she could afford her payment this year. this good samaritan's generosity is a heartwarming story for the holidays, but it also doesn't reflect the reality of who's more likely to be on the giving end of charity. it turns out, based on an april article from the atlantic magazine, author ken stern writes that, "in 2011, the wealthiest americans, those with earnings in the top 20%, contributed on average 1.3% of their income to charity.
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by comparison, americans are the base of the income pyramid, those in the bottom 20%, donated 3.2% of their income. the relative generosity of lower-income americans is accentuated by the fact that unlike middle class and wealthy donors, most of them cannot take advantage of the charitable tax deduction, because they do not itemize deductions on their income tax returns." so igor, the news this week about about affluenza and the idea that this young boy was not sentenced even after a drunk driving incident and part of what the judge says, oh, he has affluenza, but i thought, this might be affluenza in the top 1% is only giving 1.3 and the bottom folks are giving 3.2. >> you know, part of this could also be ideology. because if you look on the political right, there's really this belief that people just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, we made it, we
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work hard, they should work hard as well. and that's an ideology you see in the republican party. in the 2012 election, you had three different candidates. people like gingrich, bachmann, santorum say, let's repeal the health care law, and instead we'll just have charity take care of people. and if charity can't, people can just go to the emergency room and whatever. it's this whatever, i think, that's pervasive and some at the top, certainly, but also in our politics. our politics that say, people should be on their own if they make it, and through working hard, that's great. and if not. >> so you frame it at ideology. and that seems possible, right? i can't then break down those numbers to republicans and democrats. so for me, that's an empirical question that must have an answer, but i don't know what it is. that said, i do wonder if it also goes back to the point that you made earlier, that it could be ideological, but also expe n
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experiential. >> several years ago, when fema was funding for food supports was at risk and food pantries across this country were seeing a growth in the number of people coming and accessing, middle income people who had lost their jobs, looking for food. one of the things i noted when i was reaching out to the community is that people who were accessing the food pantries were often taking food out of their bags to spread it among others, because they knew there wasn't enough food. that sense of collective responsibility, as opposed to personal responsibility. so it is ideology, but it is experiential. it's like, i know what it means to go to bed hungry. i'm going to help somebody else. >> but it's not just rich versus poor in that kind of way. all of the studies show that when rich people are exposed to the needs of the poor, they give more. so peep who live in cities, for example, at every income level, are very generous compared to those who live in the gated communities, because they're seeing what's going on in the city.
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i think it's probably not quite right to say it's all about ideology. some of it is about knowledge, and that's one of the things that nonprofit organizations can do, is let people know what's going on, bring them and help show them what's going on and start that at a really early age. >> what are the most effective tools for doing that without it becoming a missionary impulse in the worst sense of what a in additionary impulse is. but in the sort of, we're connected impulse. >> and we were talking during the break, community service programs that a lot of children are doing these days really makes a giant difference. and that's a great age to expose people to charitable giving, and that people really think about one another that way. so starting that and bringing people into the community, and that's something nonprofits can do. they can bring rich people on to their boards, let them know what's going on. the more people know, the more likely they're able to give. the single biggest thing from rich people, they don't know where and don't trust nonprofit organizations and don't want to waste their money. so a lot of education, talking
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about these issues is incredibly important. >> the other possibility is a progressive tax code. >> but i just -- i appreciate all of you being here today. because it's the end of the year. and for a lot of people, they're trying to stretch a budget to get holiday items and a lot of people are trying to figure out, have they given enough for the year to get their tax write-offs. and in that moment of split, it might be worth thinking about how to access charity for good. thank you to jennifer jones austin, to stacy palmer, to igor wolski, and to aurora cepeda. up next, famed poet, activist, and one of my dream guests, nikki giovanni is here in nerdland. you do not want to miss that. but first, before we go to break, a look at the final tribute to president nelson mandela. the beloved south african leader was laid to rest today in his childhood village after an emotion nam funeral ceremony attended by 4,500 people, including britain's prince charles and oprah winfrey.
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the funeral marks an end to official memorials to the man credited with ending apartheid rule in south africa and inspiring the rule. but as the country's president told mourners, mandela will live forever no our hearts and hinds. ♪ if i can impart one lesson to a new business owner, it would be one thing i've learned is my philosophy is real simple american express open forum is an on-line community, that helps our members connect and share ideas to make smart business decisions. if you mess up, fess up. be your partners best partner. we built it for our members, but it's open for everyone.
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soft black song. while pledging my sorority in college, i had to recite giovanni's ego tripping from heart. giovanni's meter and rhyme have been the metronome giving rhythm to the lives of generations. and today she is here in nerdland. poet, activist, professor, nikki giovanni is the author of 28 books. her latest, "chasing utopia," features remembrances of her childhood, family, and some pretty amazing metaphors around food. i am thrilled to welcome nikki giovanni to the table this morning. >> thank you so much. good morning. >> i spent a lot of time with the book and just adored it. and sort of just want to ask you a few things about it. on the very first page, this very simple set of sentences. i was sad when mommy died, then six weeks later, gary died, then my aunt ann. i tried to find a way to bring them back.
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that's what "chasing utopia" is? >> my mother drank a beer every day, i didn't know my mother at all, of course, until she was 26 and had me, so i only knew her as an adult. but it came into my consciousness, every day i knew mommy and she drank a beer. and beer is good for you, you know, it's a liquid and keeps you flowing and those sort of things. and when she died, i had a lot to do, as you can see, because there was a series of really sad things. and i laugh at myself, but i'm a responsible person. so i got done what had to get done, and then i did what americans do not do, which is mourn. i just say, i'm just going to accept it. i have a dog and alex and i went out on the deck and i think the term would be, i overdrank. because i'd start with chardonnay in the morning and switch to red. and it finally got to the point, one day, maybe the tenth, eleventh day i'm doing this, you know how your dog -- you can do a lot of things in life, but you cannot embarrass your dog. >> no, you cannot, tahank
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goodness, you cannot. >> so alex is looking at me and thinking, again? and i was like, okay, alex, you're right. it's time for me -- you know, not to move on or forget, but make a change. so since mommy drank a beer, i thought, why don't we drink a beer for the old girl. and i don't really like beer. so i said, if i'm going to drink a beer, i'm going to drink the number one beer. so we went to the bookstore and found the number one beer in the world, it's utopia, it's $350 a pint, it's incredibly difficult to locate. so i started chasing, as it were, utopia. >> there's a moment where you were speaking of dillard university in new orleans. we've just been talking about philanthropy, and in the text, you say, that the katrina era was the only time i had wished i was rich. >> it's true. >> why?
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>> first of all, the president of dillard, is a first hariend. and the building that took the biggest hit of all was the library at dillard university. and i would have given anything to just write a check for $1 million to rebuild it. i couldn't do that, but i did sit down to myself and say, what do you have, nikki, that you can make a difference? and so what i did was i pulled all of my first editions, because i had duplicates, you know, i've known everybody forever. well, it's true. i had like 1,100 duplicates, and i sent them down to her, because the building had to be rebuilt. and i stored them until she was ready, but i wanted her to know that this will be the beginning. so dillard has a corner of their library now, it's a nikki giovanni collection, we sent the books down for them, they're all first editions. >> i love this idea that you have known everybody forever. that's why i laughed out loud.
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i love that idea. on page seven, you have a -- it's fairly early in the text, and it is podcast for bicycles. and i just wanted, sort of towards the end of that, say, to read from this. but i grew up and learned, trust and love are crafts we practice, are wheels we balance, are lives on. >> bicycles we ride. that's how we came to bicycles, was trust and love, excuse me, trust and love, were the two things spinning. and you have to connect them. so you have to find that. and when you connect them, it's a bicycle. but my mother used to pull that thing on me. a lot of this book, i said to a friend of mine, i had dinner with her last night. if you could put this book in the water and boil it, add a little salt, you'd be just drinking joy. >> it's true. >> it's the most fun book in the world. but mama used to do that thing with me, that i was a clumsy kid, i guess i was like any kid,
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and i would fall. and mommy would be sitting wherever she was, and she'd say, come here, nikki, i'll pick you up. and all of my life, i'd be a sucker for that. and she'd give me a kiss, like, mommy picked me up. no, she made me get up myself. >> but by calling you, by calling you to the trust and the love. one last moment before you'll do an amazing thing, but one last question, you were at virginia tech when the shooting happened. we are marred again this week by a school shooting, trust and love, these things that make our bicycle, that are the things that we are practicing. how do we it in our collective life when it keeps getting marred by this kind of violence? >> we have to have some leadership and we have not. and one of my really sad thoughts is that obama was elected president -- the system we have is that the president is the president of all of the people.
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so you don't have to try that. you have to lead the people who equity willed you to lead. and the majority of people elected him to lead. and we have not had leadership in any of the important social areas that needed to be dealt with. some things you can't things yoe on. gun control is one of them. it's a bad idea. there is nothing in the second amendment -- i'm not a lawyer. i'm a poet. that says every fool has to have a gun. it's just not there. i think we need strong leadership. everybody is not going to like it. it's not the way. i would love it if everybody was had a t-shirt on that said, we love nikki, but it would worry me. i'm a worrisome person. >> one should worry if everyone loves you. you're not challenging anyone. >> you're not doing anything. >> stay with us. you will do something to make my year. this is my early christmas present when we come back. nikki will be ego tripping. ♪ ♪ such a huge ego ♪ but you love my big ego i'm beth...
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i mentioned i had to cite "ego tripping" by heart when i pledged my sorority in college. today we hear it from her. >> i was born in the condo. i walked to the fertile crescent. i designed a pyramid so tough that a star that only go glous every hundred years gives divine perfect light. i am bad. i sat on the throne drinking nectar. i got hot and sent an ice age to europe. the tears from my birth pains created the nile. i am a beautiful woman. i gaezed on the forest and burned out the desert with a packet of goat's meat i crossed in two hours. i am a gazelle. you can't catch me. for a birthday present i gave my son hannibal an elephant. he gave me rome for mother's day. my strength flows ever on.
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my son built newark and i stood at the helm as we sailed on a soft um summer day. i turned myself into myself and juz jesus. men intone my loving names. all praises. i am the one who would save. i sow diamonds in the backyard. my bowels deliver uranium. my finger nails are jouewels. i gave arab to the oil world. i am so hip even my errors are correct. i sailed west to meet east and rounded out the earth as i went. the hair from my head thinned and gold was on three continents. i am so perfect, so divine, so surreal, i cannot be comprehended except by my permission. i mean, i can like a bird in the sky. >> oh, hearing you. oh, thank you. >> thank you. >> that poem for so many of us as young women, in our 20s
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reciting that and saying i turned myself into myself. and i was jesus. what is it about poetry that gives us a special way of being human? spl poetry loves us. it's unconditional. stopping by the woods on a snowy evening. it doesn't matter. boats sail on the river, ships on the seas but the clouds sail across the skies. poetry loves us. >> poetry, indeed, loves us. we love your poetry. that's our show for today. thank you for watching. special thanks to nikki giovanni for the holiday season gift. hi, alex. >> hi. that was wonderful. okay, everyone. can the family of a teenage boy executed 70 years ago find justice today? you will hear from the man who claims he shared a cell with him. in today's veteran politics, martin fletcher talks about the most difficult assignment he's had. he explains why it would never happen again. the pope's reaction when a young
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expect another blast of wintry weather. this after the last storm left parts of the country under a foot of uh snow. a live report ahead. the latest ruthless act by the north korean leader. why did he do it? the fight for higher minimum wage. it could affect every state and every city. one man's blueprint. and "saturday night live" sets the record straight on santa claus. hello, everyone. high noon here, 9:00 a.m. in the west. right now the powerful storm that stretched a thousand miles from the midwest to hear in the northeast is leaving travel headaches and a massive cleanup in its wake. ice, snow and freezing rain in 20


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