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tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  February 22, 2014 7:00am-9:01am PST

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this morning, my question. when we say civil rights movement today, what do we mean? plus the arkansas official using ignorance as a political weapon. and the housing project no one should have to call home. first, with revolution in the streets, another diplomatic challenge for president obama. good morning, i am joy reed, in for melissa harris-perry. we have breaking news that's still developing. it is news from ukraine, we're going to bring you the latest developments. i want to put this story into a broader context. we begin with the week that was for the russian president, vladimir putin. the focus was supposed to be on the sochi olympics, as mr. putin had high hopes for the winter
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games, including the russian men's hockey team. representing the country's national sport and a jewel in russia's sports crown. however, they lost 3 to 1 against finland. in spite of that loss, it was putin's hope the world would remain focused on russia being back. that hope would not be realized. while putin was dealing with the olympics in his front yard, in his backyard, he was facing revolution in the streets. it all began in november when the ukranian president abandoned a trade deal with the european union in favor of closer economic ties with russia. in fact, it was russia that threatened trade sanctions against ukraine if that country accepted the eu deal. russia then froze aid to ukraine, while pushing leaders there to pass anti-protest laws. putin may have thought a strong-arm approach would work to restrain ukranians, but they would prove him wrong. they continue to take to the
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streets and succeeded in having those anti-protest laws repealed, calling the cabinet minister to resign. after months of sporadic violence, at least 25 people were killed and 200 wounded. to putin's chagrin, the images didn't come out of sochi, they came out of ukraine. violence erupted thursday between anti-government protesters and security forces in kiev, hours after truce was declared. by friday morning, ukranian health ministry raised the official death toll to at least 77 with 577 injured. russia is knee deep in the history that led to the violence in ukraine, the impact reaches far beyond russia, into the office of president obama as the leader of the world sole super power. tuesday, vice president biden called on him to express concerns over the protest and
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urged him to pull back forces and exercise maximum restraint, that wasn't enough for some, including marco rubio that wanted specific action from the president it himself. he released a statement wednesday that said i urge the obama administration to use every diplomatic means at its disposal, including sanctions, to bring accountability to those involved in acts of violence throughout ukraine, ukraine's future lies in europe, not in vladimir putin's russia. on wednesday during a trip to mexico, president obama made it very clear who he held responsible for what was going on inside the ukraine. >> we hold the ukranian government primarily responsible for making sure that it is dealing with peaceful protesters in an appropriate way, that the ukranian people can assemble, speak freely about their interests without repression.
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we will be monitoring the situation, recognizing with our european partners and international community there will be consequences if people step over the line. >> once again, president obama is facing a revolution that the u.s. has a vested interest in. to understand what's going on, we have to go back for a minute to the orange revolution, and this man, victor yu shank oh, the prowestern politician that survived a poison attempt in 2004 and led demonstrations that resulted in reversing election result and forced out the president. putin at the time accused the u.s. and europe of interfering in ukraine's politics. yesterday an agreement was finally reached to end the deadly clashes. ukranian president agreed to early elections and return to the 2004 constitution. he also seated some of his own power. for the time being, it appeared
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all out civil war had been avoided. but just this morning, a new twist. a defy and the president spoke out to denounce what he calls a cue deat that, and says he will sign nothing with the opposition who he is calling gangsters that are, quote, terrorizing the country. i want to bring in our chief correspondent richard engel from ukraine. what's the scene on the ground there now? >> reporter: i am just off the main square and this entire area in central kiev. they are running parliament, they have taken control of presidential offices. the president that gave the televised speech is no longer here, he is on the run, unclear how much authority he still has in this country.
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parliament has been passing law after law and normally these have to be approved. he says he will not approve the laws, but parliament is going ahead, acting on its own authority, and it seems that we are witnessing something of a coup taking control on the side of the demonstrators, pushing aside the executive branch, which the president claims to control, although he doesn't have a great deal of authority any more here in the capital. if he arrived here, i have almost no doubt he would be grabbed and arrested by demonstrators. there are no government security forces in evidence. protesters are wandering around freely across the city, and in many cases the government forces that were here are not cooperating. >> given the fact you say he is on the run and not clear how much authority he has, who is in control of the country now?
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>> reporter: the parliament is merging as de facto leadership here, and parliament has been meeting all day, passing law after law to release some political prisoners, to pass sanctions in favor of the -- or pass laws in favor of demonstrators. it seems that they are running things politically. on the ground, it is the demonstrators themselves who have been at this movement for the last three months and therefore organized themselves into different committees. there are defense committees, there are supply committees, and those committees are organizing traffic, setting up check points, and it has been very peaceful and organized, i must say, there has not been violence on the street, nor have we seen any looting. >> richard, we also heard conflicting reports about ukraine's former prime minister and whether or not she has been released from prison. tell us the significance of her
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role and what her status is? >> the former prime minister, that was one of the things the parliament was voting on today was to secure her release. she is expected in this area at any moment really. there have been conflicting reports as to whether she has been released from jail or about to be released from prison. she's expected to be released or has already been released and is expected by the protesters to come and greet them here and everyone who i have spoken to thinks when she arrives, there will be an enormous celebration as yet another symbol that the ukranian revolution if you ask people here has already won and just needs to finalize its control of the country by removing the president. that's the way it seems here. so far, the armed forces have not intervened.
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the army has said it will not react violently and put itself in the middle of this crisis. >> nbc news chief foreign correspondent, richard engel, live in kiev. the situation leaves much for world leaders to sort through. friday, president obama got on the phone with vladimir putin, spoke with him about an hour regarding the peace deal. for more on the role the u.s. and the allies will play in the unfolding situation, i am joined by the research director at the enough project that works to end crimes against humanity. and president of the your asia group, a consult firm. michael sing, managing director of washington institute. and also adrian car et anytime ski, the program on transatlantic relations. these developments are happening minute by minute. can you unpack for us the who
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wins, who loses thing? you have vladimir putin >> parliament is acting with veto proof constitutional majorities. 82 deputies approved reworking of the constitution, more than three-quarters of parliament, voting by two-thirds plus one. that means mr. yanukovych's base has defected in parliament and they represent the vast economic interests in the country. they represent people who have served in the security structures. they have elected a new minister of interior, he has taken over. there's now command structure being formed. leaders of the security service in kiev and militia who a few days ago were killing the demonstrators have pledged
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loyalty to this chain of command and to work with the civic defense units. taken together, the important thing is there's some constitutional coherence. mr. yanukovych, even though he has the title of president and from the legal and formal point of view until impeachment proceedings until he would be removed or resign voluntarily, he has some claim to authority, has no command and control over vast resources of the military, of the security. but he still has residual base of support. he could use regional military units in the east to fight back and create mayhem. russia potentially could respond. that's another danger that diplomacy has to avert to the call of a president to come to his defense, which would mean de facto an invasion. the president has lost legitimacy and support and is on the verge of being impeached and being removed from office. >> i am going to work everyone
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in after the break. we have more to get into on this, when we come back, i want to hear more from the white house. i'm beth... and i'm michelle. and we own the paper cottage. it's a stationery and gifts store. anything we purchase for the paper cottage goes on our ink card. so you can manage your business expenses and access them online instantly with the game changing app from ink. we didn't get into business to spend time managing receipts, that's why we have ink. we like being in business because we like being creative, we like interacting with people. so you have time to focus on the things you love. ink from chase. so you can. [ chicken caws ] [ male announcer ] when your favorite food starts a fight, fight back fast with tums. heartburn relief that neutralizes acid on contact and goes to work in seconds. ♪ tum, tum tum tum tums!
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cou and we are not ruling out sanctions to hold those responsible for the violence accountable. especially should there be further violence or violation of the agreement. right now, we're focused on implementation of the agreement, but we consider it a positive development, mindful of the fact that the agreement is one thing, implementation is another. we're going to be closely monitoring that with our european friends. >> that was white house press secretary jay carney yesterday giving cautious assessment of the deal that had been reached in ukraine, reminding everyone that the u.s. and its allies
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would continue to monitor the situation. more breaking news this morning, according to reuters, ukranian parliament voted to dismiss the country's president and set elections for may 25th. i want to go to you for the significance of that. the language of coup has been thrown around, not the least of which by now president whose status is unknown. >> we were saying in the interim, the votes happened, it is a sufficient majority, but it is not procedural, not a legal vote from that perspective. >> is this properly described as a coup in your mind? >> sure, that step is properly described as a coup. doesn't mean a coup the u.s. will support. americans and europeans will be happy about that. here is the thing, they don't care about ukraine like rush a the fact is that the russia foreign minister, the most capable dealing with this issue, has come out publicly and said that the opposition is led by
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extremists and that this is illegitimate. in other words, russia is not accepting any of this outcome. they have by far more economic, political, security influence over what's happening in ukraine than any other country. if it weren't for the russians, we would have transition of power and wouldn't have to worry about massive instability in the country. that's not what's happening here. a sixth of ukraine is ethnic russia, live in southeast ukraine, they're not going to sit and tolerate that. that's the reason president yanukovych, status unknown, location very much known, is sitting now making pronouncements with a putin senior adviser sitting next to him. that should concern us. it is not over. this is not over. >> indeed also using the language of naziism, accusing, a quick quote of something yanukovych said during his address today. he said we're seeing a repeat of
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nazis, when in the 1930s in germany and nazis were coming to power. parties were being banned, the same is happening now, they're banning the communist party, putting labels, persecuting, beating up people, torching houses and offices. more than 200 offices of the party have been burnt in the ukraine. this is not being accepted by the russians or their man in ukraine. >> obviously that language is common from dictators, we see the same from president assad in syria, same from the russians when it comes to syria. let's not forget this all dates back to november and rejection of eu association agreement. as a result in part of russian coercion against ukraine, threats of economic sanctions as you said earlier, joy. then at that time the u.s. and eu had no response to the russian bullying. and we can't allow it to happen again. this time we have to have a coherent sort of coordinated response to what is going to be
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as ian said, more russian threats and attempts to keep ukraine in its orbit. i agree for president putin, this is an extremely important issue. he sees this in a very different way than we do. he sees it as a zero sum issue, where a victory for the west, pro-western forces in ukraine is a loss for russia and loss for him, irretrievably. >> mark? >> i wanted to make two points. while i don't give a lot of credence to much that comes out of yanukovych, the statement about fascist nazis highlights the strange bed fellows aspect of a lot of uprisings we're going to talk about. there are far right elements in the opposition. there are far left elements in the opposition. that doesn't mean they're not struggling against autocratic government that has taken more and more powers and abused human rights, but it does say that we can't just see this as good guys, bad guys, democrats in the street fighting against an
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autocratic regime. we saw that in egypt where we lionized the opposition, and when it took over, began its own autocratic process. >> who is the opposition, how do you localize who it is the government of ukraine is fighting? >> there are right wing groups, but apology data since the violence in the period where things got rough showed that the rise of moderate politicians as favorites in the presidential race. these groups will be in the parliament, they're -- they believe in ethnic nationalism, they're hostile to minorities, there's a far right group which is not hostile to minorities but is very, very ultra conservative. they don't like the eu, but they will probably not represent more than 8 or 10% of the mix. that's an important component, something quite worrying. they gave their lives in this struggle. these guys who are -- have views i clearly do not share and
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disapprove of -- they put their bodies out there to protect the peaceful demonstrators. the protest was two levels, there were hard line guys fighting with shields and staying in the perimeters and people inside who were, you know, more civil and using nonviolent means. when the government started to beat and kill them, these people took the bullets, and i think they -- you're right, there are a lot of terrible things in there, but they gave their lives for this revolution and actually made it happen. without them, i think the square would have been disbursed, crowds would have gone, and revolution, mr. yanukovych would be in power. it is a paradox. i don't think they're aiming and close. the last thing i would say is these groups were created by russian intelligence and by yanukovych and his party who subsidized the groups because they played a cultural politics game in ukraine. there are ultra right wing people from central and western ukraine. we western speakers are under
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attack. that's how they mobilize their electorate while they plunder the country. mr. yanukovych took $12 billion in three years for his personal needs. >> i know everybody wants to get in. when we come back, we'll let everybody get in. you know what it sounds like to people watching who are in the u.s. that watched the whole arab spring thing, it sounds like what happened in egypt. as mark pointed out, that didn't necessarily work out how we planned. we will get into it more when we come back. when you order the works you want everything. an expert ford technician knows your car's health depends on a full, complete checkup. the works. because when it comes to feeling safe behind the wheel, going the distance and saving at the pump you want it all. get our multi-point inspection with a a synthetic blend oil change, tire rotation, brake inspection and more for $29.95 or less. get a complete vehicle checkup. only at your ford dealer.
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what is that? swiffer sweep & trap. i think i can use this. it picks up everything. i like this. that's a lot of dirt. it's that easy! good job chris! i think a woman will probably come your way. [ both laugh ] welcome back. the difficulty in revolutions is that it is hard sometimes to sort out the good guys from bad guys or even what they mean. mark, you made an analogy between what's happening in ukraine and the arab spring. we went in thinking the protesters are clearly the good guys, and afterwards that's not so clear. can you amplify that point when
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it comes to ukraine? >> absolutely. i want to say from the start, ukraine is not egypt, they're not exactly the same. but the leap to saying the good guys, our folks against the auto krats, especially if autokrats are supported by the russians is too easy. the guy next to john mccain in the crowd is a neofascist, and mccain was talking about how we need to support democrats here. i am not sure that man would necessarily be supportive of that. it was pointed out that ukraine has organized political parties that egypt didn't. really egypt had one organized political party, muslim brotherhood. i wanted to cast some doubt on this black, white, good guys, bad guys paradigm we have. there's one other point i wanted to make, too, about russia, and the statement that the u.s. has
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got to find ways to counter russia. russia cares so much more about this than anybody else does, and that automatically puts other powers at a disadvantage. >> absolutely. michael, i want to ask from the point of view of an american watching this thing, what is the best interest of the u.s. in this situation? what should americans be looking for in the best case scenario for american politics around the world. >> joy, it is very hard for the united states to exercise any influence when the action is in the streets. what the u.s. wants to see here is they want to see the action now return to politicians, want to see street protesters yield to the opposition politicians because ukraine has tremendous challenges. we were talking on break about the economic challenges ukraine faces, especially if russia backs off and withdraws aid it offered to ukraine in november. they need to have some technocratic government in place that can avert default.
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ultimately, what the united states and eu want to see is ukraine turning more toward the west and europe, want to see ukraine finally emerge from the sort of post soviet stagnation they have been experiencing so long, but at the same time they don't want to make it a zero sum game against putin, don't want to stick a finger in russia's eye. they want to engineer a solution that works for ukraine while preserving relations with putin. all those issues we have to work on. >> or legitimize as a way of changing government. saying we will immediately recognize whatever government comes out of it, doesn't that legitimize this means of changing one's government? >> no matter what government we end up with in ukraine, they cannot change the geography, they're not like egypt, i have not seen pyramids in ukraine. russia will continue to have the overwhelming political security and economic interest. and the question we should be asking on russia, the most
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important question here, are they going to play hard ball in the short game or hard ball in the medium game. meaning they'll use ethnic russians, passports, independents in ukraine that will use economic leverage, maximize it to cut off trade with energy and all the rest. those folks in parliament saying we're thumbing our nose at the russians or will the russians wait, bide their time, give up yanukovych, and move towards elections, find a nice guy probably from southeast ukraine, throw lots of money at that person and assure the next president is someone they like. if you get a zero sum outcome where the russians feel they lose, the ultimate losers are the ukranians. you have to create a deal the russians can deal with. it looks like the ukranian people are winning but the
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russians feel like they're losing. that's not good for ukraine. >> the parliament includes a lot of businessmen who are -- politicians from the east currently voting with the opposition. they will be shaping the next constitution and rules of the game, and believe me, right now they're voting, they know yanukovych is a problem, want to move as far away from him because of the violence. after there's a little stability as jockeying comes for the real constitution, they will be maneuvering to be sure there isn't a lurch one direction or another. they have too many interests. that's why they're in politics and parliament to defend those interests and many of them have interests in russia, many of them have ethnic russian speaking, russian leaning constituents. because of this vote, you need a national consensus. people have to understand the entire country has to be brought together. that means that russia will be given play. some of the far right groups that are extremely anti-russian stand in the way of that. >> fascinating stuff.
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while much of the media focus has been on the unrest in ukraine and syria, in south america, venezuela is erupting. demonstrators, mostly students, have been protesting the government for nearly three weeks. they want him to resign. at issue, shortage of basic goods, violent crime and inflation, and what they see as mounting repression against anyone that dares to speak out. february 12th, protests turned deadly. three people killed, 66 injured. since then, the situation has only gotten worse. on monday, the president's government demanded three american diplomats get out of the country, accusing them of recruiting students to protest. the u.s. denies the allegations. tuesday, opposition leader lopez
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was arrested on charges that he led protesters to initiate the violence on february 12th. and on thursday, the government sent military units to the southwestern region of the country, causing unrest to boil over again as security forces and demonstrators clashed. the death toll is six. five of them are students. friday, the venezuelan president called for talks with president obama. if the world wasn't watching venezuela before today, they certainly should be now. let's talk about, mark, the regional conflict. we are focusing a lot on what's going on in ukraine, but the venezuela situation is similar in some ways and closer to the home for the u.s. >> there are interesting factors here. the regime has a strong base of popularity. the unrest took off when food
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prices hit an 18 year high. they didn't do so under the previous president in part because of national supermarkets that kept prices low. it is not entirely clear to me there would have been this sort of uprising just over concerns for democracy, concerns about repression. and the strange bed fellows aspect is poor people were in the streets, poor people tend to support the regime, but when prices hit an all-time high, they're going out in the streets, then the opposition which in venezuela has a serious right wing component to it, very right wing component to it, is working with them. at one point when maduro tried to impose price controls and it worked for a brief period, his popularity shot up. we need to look at these factors leading -- that can lead to uprisings of this sort, which we're seeing in places like
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south sudan, syria, et cetera. syria also rising food prices and living prices helped to get people out into the streets. >> to your point, you make an excellent point. also i think what's at play is the fragility and brittleness. i am not sure anyone predicted ukraine would be in jeopardy this quickly, the ones in venezuela have been going on for weeks. talk about this. to mark's point, these are erupting around the world. >> ukraine is brittle because of corruption, massive corruption. venezuela is brittle because of an ideology that doesn't make a lot of economic sense. both countries have suffered from economic stagnation, economic decline. so i think you're absolutely right, that is one of the driving factors. but i think the other difference is that you have the death of president chavez.
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there is support for the regime, but maduro eeked out a victory and a lot of people think there may have been fixing of numbers. there's a question of legitimacy. the opposition opposed chavez, but couldn't challenge him on legitimacy. i think all those things are coming into play. >> all those situations, ukraine and venezuela, you have economic models in serious disrepair, serious need for structural reform and serious political obstacles to achieving it. you see the authorities respond with repression, fan the flames of more violence and contributed to the confluence of factors which mark pointed out to increase the protests rather than address them. in venezuela, you're seeing a test of can chavez, this odd bizarre system of politics and economics that chavez pioneered survive without chavez. the answer increasingly looks like no. he doesn't have the charisma or
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savvy chavez had. >> that personality of that regime, you now have a symbol of the opposition in the name of this student that died as a rallying point to rally mind. is this maduro regime in as much jeopardy as the regime in ukraine? >> no, clearly, maduro is still there. they have an oil state. they have fundamentally undermined, haven't invested in that sector, not producing the way they used to, oil prices are on the down side, they're getting squeezed. no one wants to invest in the country because of rationalizations, no abrogation of contracts. this is a country that will do poorly economically. for the last years, we have been concerned about economic crises in the eurozone. even a china hard landing, another large, relatively stable
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economy. this year it is about lack of political leadership, mismanagement of economies in the emerging markets, and not just about venezuela and ukraine, it is turkey, brazil, thailand. they're driving the questions and instability and the reason they're driving it is because the governments fundamentally mismanaged their economies for a long time. anything that brings venezuela and ukraine together, that's it. not just mr. yanukovych, that's been every government they had. >> central african republic, where you have a lot of the same factors and tension and unrest, doesn't get the same attention, a whole other panel conversation we can have. thank you all for being here. up next, the politician that wants to keep the public from their rights. spokesperson: we decided to settle this. a steel cage death match of midsize sedans. the volkswagen passat against all comers. turbocharged engines against...engines.
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arkansas has the distinction of being the first state to take federal funding for medicaid expansion under the affordable care act and use it to purchase private health plans for the state's poorest adults. so far, 96,950 people signed up, but every one of them could lose that health coverage in july, unless the state legislature renews this private option. the arkansas state senate agreed to renew it this week, the house is working on it. they held four votes this week. coming close to passage, but didn't quite make it. the republican speaker says he'll hold votes every day until it passes, with the next attempt on tuesday. however, if the bill passes, it will still have a major handicap. state agencies will be forbidden from spending any money, most federal money, to advertise or promote the private option to the people who need it. the idea, to keep people from enrolling. and that's why my letter this week is to the sponsor of that particular amendment, arkansas state rep nate bell.
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dear representative bell, it is me, joy. first of all, i want to thank you for being up front about why you want to eliminate advertising for the private option in arkansas. you said, quote, without active marketing, you probably get declining enrollment. we're trying to create a barrier to enrollment. i see what you did there, representative. you said you want a barrier to enrollment and you'll probably succeed since it was state advertising in the form of a direct mail campaign that was largely responsible for the private options' enrollment success. last september, they sent letters to 132,000 households that get food stamps, letting them know they qualify for expanded medicaid. within a month, more than 55,000 people responded, saying they wanted to sign up. that is an enormous response rate, in direct mail terms, practically revolutionary. those people now make up more than half those enrolled in medicaid private option. should we ask why you want to
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handicap enrollment? you say because you're conservative and want to limit government spending any way you can. sure. except your state estimates it will save $89 million by expanding medicaid in the first year. it will save more than $600 million from now through 2021. so there must be another reason. and thanks again for saying it yourself. quote, i didn't vote for this program originally, i don't like it. i want it to go away. i would love to see the program fail. i do want a controlled failure. i want to talk for a second about the people that would be impacted by your controlled failure. there are more than 500,000 people in your state without health insurance in 2012. 260,000 of them were adults with income less than 138% of the poverty line, making them eligible for medicaid expansion. most weren't eligible for medicaid before the expansion, because in arkansas the only way for an adult to get medicaid benefits was to make 16% of the
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poverty line or less, which last year was $3768 a year, for a family of four. if you made any more than that, you were not eligible for medicaid. and that's only for parents of dependent children. childless adults weren't eligible for medicaid benefits at all. look, representative bell, this isn't just an ideological debate we're having in the abstract. people die without health insurance. let me be more precise. in 2010, an estimated 394 people in arkansas died because they didn't have health insurance. i'll say it again, 394 people in your state died in one year just because they didn't have health insurance. and you not only want to create a barrier to enrollment so no additional people get health care from the private option, you want to sabotage the entire program. so the 97,000 people already getting health care won't get it any more. and representative bell, you're doing it by refusing to spend federal money, money that costs
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your state government nothing. but came in part from your own taxpayers. your own people. who are more likely to die without the health insurance you want to deny them. can you just think about that for a minute, please? sincerely, joy. this is for you. ♪ [ male announcer ] bob's heart attack didn't come with a warning. today his doctor has him on a bayer aspirin regimen to help reduce the risk of another one. if you've had a heart attack, be sure to talk to your doctor
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updates. you want them, we got them. if you ever watched a segment and thought whatever happened to that person, well, this is for you. like the scandal plaguing the miami dolphins stemming from allegations that the offensive lineman richie incognito bullied martin, causing him to leave the team middle of last season. last week we discussed the 144 page nfl report that detailed the horrific harassment and the sports editor of the nation called for heads to roll.
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>> and shame on the miami dolphins for not firing the coach, joe philbin and the offensive line coach still employed by the team. that team needs to clean house. >> so far it is one of the two. wednesday, the dolphins fired the offensive line coach, jim turner, who according to the report didn't reign in his guys, and long time trainer kevin o'neal. the report says o'neal allegedly laughed at racial insults at his japanese assistant. next we go from florida to west virginia, particularly the water problems we covered on mhp. west virginia governor is seeking answers about the freedom industries chemical spill. tomlin sent a letter to cdc tuesday asking for further study immediately on the possible health effects caused by the spill. remember, this story stems from the 10,000 gallons of chemical mchm that contaminated the elk river on january 9th at a
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subsequent coal slurry spill. now this. wednesday, the state department of environmental protection reported yet another spill, this time polluted water, black water from a coal slurry, into a creek in mcdowell county. you may remember the cash crop segment we did on mhp, when sail of recreational marijuana began in colorado. it would appear since the state's first recreational marijuana stores opened new year's day, cannabis is booming, so much so that the colorado governor budget proposal released this week indicated that the state stands to make some serious cash off the hash, totalling how much? how about more than $100 million a year, far more than previous estimates. then last week we brought you breaking nerd land baby news with the report that melissa harris-perry and her husband james welcomed into the world baby girl perry on valentine's day. joining me for the update on that story via skype is my friend, melissa harris-perry.
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hey, mom, and parker, her daughter. hey, melissa! give us the latest update on the baby. >> i don't know how long we will get out of her. she is not too happy about live tv, but she has been a joy. we have been having a great time. >> let me ask parker. how do you feel about being a big sister? >> i really love being a big sister because she is so cute and i get to help out a lot, and it is great. >> you'll be able to work out anti-baby crying techniques. it will be great. >> this baby girl is going to daddy. all right. >> and that's the best technique of them all. >> that's right. >> so melissa, baby girl perry is even in the world is a miracle, you shared a beautiful, really moving column this week on mhpshow.com on sur gassy.
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you wrote my pregnancy with my first daughter was blessedly unevent. took two families, four states and five doctors to get this girl here. she gave our daughter love, safety, nourishment for nine months. on valentine's day she gave her life and placed her in our arms. aside from correcting reports that said you adopted, why did you decide to share this story with the world? >> more than anything so adoption is a wonderful and loving choice so many families have made it, but it was important to us that we honored the role of our gestational carrier, that she had done, she and her family, her large extended family and friends had supported and done so much to bring our daughter into the world, we wanted to tell the story in part to say that it took these loving choices of so many people to make it possible. >> absolutely.
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melissa, you're on leave from the show a little longer, explain to the audience how you're going to stay engaged with the nerd land family through the nerd land scholar challenge. >> absolutely. so the nerd land scholar challenge starts march 17th, it will go for four weeks. we will have discussions. basically i am running an online class from here at home. i got to spend time with my daughter, getting our family bonded together. but we -- i wanted to stay involved, in part because as you well know, there are women in politics who act as women, whether they're parents or not. we also know that motherhood and parenting often impact the way women do politics. so we're interested in diving deep and understanding the history and contemporary moments. i cannot say in the days how much i have held my daughter close to me that i think about the mother of jordan davis, trayvon martin's mother, mothers
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impacted by violence at newtown. there are many ways we enter the political world as moms. the nerd land challenge deals with that in the course of four weeks. >> amen. much love to you, melissa harris-perry and parker and baby girl perry, too. bye. talk to you soon. we want to encourage everyone to sign up for the nerdland scholar challenge. go to the website where you'll find a link to sign up. coming up next, as melissa and her father like to say, the struggle continues. a look at the civil rights agenda, then and now, and shocking report on public housing and conditions that no one should have to live in. more nerdland at the top of the hour. is this the bacon and cheese diet?
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they help soothe irritated skin by locking in moisture better. so you can always put your best face forward. a face in need deserves puffs indeed. so you can always put i'm bethand i'm michelle. and we own the paper cottage. it's a stationery and gifts store. anything we purchase for the paper cottage goes on our ink card. so you can manage your business expenses and access them online instantly with the game changing app from ink. we didn't get into business to spend time managing receipts, that's why we have ink. we like being in business because we like being creative, we like interacting with people. so you have time to focus on the things you love. ink from chase. so you can. welcome back, i am joy reid in for melissa harris-perry.
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sigma pie epsilon is suspending its chapter in mississippi after three members were found responsible for vandalizing a symbol of civil rights history on the campus. a statue of james meredith, first black student to enroll at ole miss was found in early hours with a noose around its neck. the statue was covered with former version of the georgia state flag, featuring the stars and bars emblem of the old confederacy. a witness to the incident reported hearing racial slurs shouted by two men during the incident. the statue was dedicated eight years ago in remembrance of the autumn of 1962, when it took a u.s. supreme court ruling, intervention of a u.s. president, and squad of marshals, national guardsmen and army soldiers to get him admitted and enrolled as a student at university of mississippi. a three day long clash against an armed mob of citizens rioting in opposition to integration at ole miss ended with more than 300 arrests.
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more than 200 injuries, and two civilian deaths. the swift response from the university and federal law enforcement to an act of desecration against the statue of james meredith is indicative of progress on racial justice in the years since the violent opposition to james meredith, the man. it's progress cemented by landmark legislation that passed just a year after meredith graduated from university of mississippi, and whose 50th anniversary is coming up in july. the civil rights act of 1964. when president lyndon b. johnson signed that bill into law, followed up a year later with the voting rights act of 1965, he put the full power of the federal government behind enforcement of fundamental civil rights. the passage of these laws marked a victory for civil rights activists in the south who after years of hard fought battles, unrelenting resistance, won their fight for an end to discrimination in housing, employment, education, and voting. yet nearly 50 years later when
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leaders of the modern day movement for civil rights find themselves pressing for action from a u.s. president, it is often to call for justice on many of the same issues. this week leaders of major civil rights and legal organizations met with president obama at the white house and items on the agenda included notably voting rights, education, and states' rights. the discussion turned to progressive initiatives recently enacted or proposed by the obama administration around the issues of sentencing reform, minimum wage and felony disenfranchisement. president and ceo of the leadership conference on civil and human rights spoke about that conversation with the president during a press conference after the meeting. >> the president focused on issues that are uppermost in the minds of the american people, we talked about questions of economic inequality and focused like a laser on those things
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like extending unemployment insurance, raising minimum wage, which he has done in part by way of executive order, but at the same time urging congress both democrats and republicans to step up to a shared responsibility to address those issues that are of real concern to the american people. >> but the meetings agenda also highlighted that the issues of that bygone era are still here today. joining me, deputy director for democracy program, and staff writer for the daily beast. and contributing writer for the nation magazine and author of herdi herding donkeys. and president and ceo of national urban league. mark, i'll start with you. you were at the meeting. give us the substance that came out of that discussion. >> the substance was about the
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economy and jobs and unemployment and underemployment, and the income divide and economic divide, the substance was about criminal justice reform and a number of things, the attorney general with strong support from the president has undertaken in his second term. thirdly, it was about the affordable care act, and a bit of a status update on education and enrollment and ex-or tags to help the administration ensure it succeeds. it was a substantive conversation, a powerful conversation, and i think it is a reflection that the agenda of the civil rights leadership in this nation is indeed the agenda of the nation today. >> let me ask you this, i think what a lot of people will say is the president had the civil rights leaders to the white house and that's lovely, was this more about the white house touting things it has done, that it wants civil rights leaders to go back to the community and say listen, they have really done it, or was it actual concrete
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things the white house will do or will help organizations like yours to do. >> it is a give and take. i've never been in with any president that doesn't try to educate you on all of the work that he's doing to advance the nation and of course your community, but we also presented to the president this document which is a comprehensive written 21st century agenda for jobs and freedom, and we put together a side by side comparison of this agenda and many things that the president has undertaken, including important understanding to a great extent, if you take unemployment, minimum wage, jobs act, many things we pressed hard for are being thwarted by an object stin and the congress. the ex-or tagss behind his
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agenda can only go so far if there's an object stin and the congress. >> you have written about it, a lot written about president obama reframing to get closer to the civil rights or more vocal on issues of race, issues like incarceration. this is sort of part of that narrative, right? is this something that will be well received by critics, really in the african-american community, who have been critical on that area? >> i think it will be in the african-american community, in part because it is also a shift away from what he has done in his first term and in his earlier political career, sort of a respectability politics approach to the issues, saying yeah, we have these problems, but young people stop -- i think the exact phrase is stop watching tv and stop playing x box, start reading books. >> he is not walking away from that, the white house is not walking away at all from that message. >> he is not walking away from that, but having things that may dress real problems instead of what i think are imaginary
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problems about behavior makes that stuff more palatable to critics. critics are still going to be critical, but they're also willing to say the new initiative is dealing with young men of color and cities. that's something concrete that can help. >> and the other issue that's come up that the white house is pushing hard on, the attorney general holder as well, are issues of disenfranchisement based on felonies, which directly impacts voting rights in states like florida where you lose voting rights as a result of having felony conviction. >> it is important to remember the attorney general who is the chief law enforcement officer for the country came out saying states need to revisit their laws. many people are surprised to hear there are 4.4 million americans living and working in communities that can't vote because of criminal conviction in their past, and this kind of high level attention to the issue and recognition that these kinds of laws do not make our communities safer, they don't make our democracy more
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participatory, instead they perpetuate a legacy of the jim crow era, and keep people from successfully reintegrating in the community. >> and voting. one of the key issues is access to the ballot. a lot of initiatives the white house talks about, civil rights community talks about that come down to access to the ballot. >> absolutely. there's been unbelievable restrictions on right to vote since the obama presidency, since 2010 election, talking 180 voting restrictions in 41 states being introduced, data from the center for justice, the real issue in terms of civil rights is getting people to see the struggle then and now are linked, because a lot of people want to celebrate 50th anniversary of civil rights act and voting rights act but don't want to engage with the struggles going on now. the key is to link what's happened in the 1960s to 20th century attacks on voting
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rights. it is happening in different forms but still going on. >> we have to have more than commemoration, we have to have continuation. what we're doing as a nation in 50 years, after '63 and '64, has to be a recommitment that challenges of 1964 and '65 remain with us, legacy remains with us, we have to work hard. i am deeply concerned about the a -- assault on voting democracy is sometimes under attack. we need to stand on principle, shouldn't do anything to restrict the ballot, using false arguments about nonexistent fraud. >> you brought up people want to commemorate 50 years ago, everyone was obviously for civil rights, but no, there's
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opposition, strong opposition. unwillingness to engage with today's civil rights issues shows the same opposition exists. these are contentious issues that people i think are on the wrong side of. >> everybody wants to get in. we have more as pekts to talk about. ...and a choice take 6 tylenol in a day which is 2 aleve for... "action!" about.
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sitting at the left hand of president obama was the man at the forefront advocating for reform for the modern day civil rights movement, attorney general eric holder, felony disenfranchisement, drug sentencing disparities, he has been the most vocal member. during a speech in sweden,
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holder had this to say about a cause he believes should be a civil rights priority. just as our forebears came together to overcome tremendous adversity and to forge the more just, more equal societies we now live, so too must the current generation rise to define the civil rights challenges of our day. one is the fight for equality for lesbian, gay, transgender, lbgt citizens. that struggle between progress and resistance to lbgt equality was on display this week. thursday, oregon attorney general joined a group of ags in six states that refuse to defend constitutionality of the same-sex marriage bans. the same week, arizona became the first state whose legislature passed a bill that would give business owners the right to use religious beliefs to discriminate without legal repercussions. it now goes to governor jan
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brewer who hasn't decided if she will sign it into law. want to talk to the panel about that. jammal, there's sometimes -- and this notion of saying gay rights are the same brand of civil rights struggle, but those struggles are the same. >> you know, there are people in my life who are uncomfortable with the two. my general response to it is that no, they're not the same, but to borrow from dr. king, anywhere -- in my view the same forces that oppose equality and equal rights for lbgt americans often support restriction of voting rights or same people that are supporting things like restrictions on reproductive rights. even if they're not the same struggle, they're connected struggles. for that reason, there needs to
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be combined front to advocate. >> just to talk about the symmetry with the public accommodations of fight from 50 years ago, i want to take a listen to arizona state representative who was the only gay lawmaker. and he talked about the scope of the bill being proposed in arizona. let's take a listen. >> i believe i am the only openly gay member of this house of representatives and so it is pretty appalling to hear a dialogue that talks about using religion to discriminate against both myself and my community. i mean, if this bill passes in my hometown of tucson, i could walk out of my home, call taxi cab and they could refuse me service. i could have a medical incident and somebody comes to my home to provide services and i could be refused. and that's not the arizona that i want to live in. that's not the arizona that the lbgt community wants to live in. >> mark, is that the symmetry
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that gets people on the same page? >> call this law what it is. it is bad, it's awful, it is reprehensible, and patently unconstitutional. people used religion to justify slavery. people used discrimination to justify segregation. it was part and parcel of the state and the community that i grew up in. so the principle is that there is no system that is more reprehensible than slavery. however, these issues are human rights issues. they're contemporary issues of nondiscrimination, of equality, of fairness, and really what this nation should be about in the 21st century. so this is an awful thing that is happening in arizona. i hope the governor demonstrates some courage and vetoes it, otherwise it will be a black mark on the state of arizona, and i think it will be swiftly
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declared unconstitutional by the courts. >> there's also a historical symmetry. we all can remember that after we had the reconstruction amendments in which the federal government was taking steps to enfranchise former slaves, there was swift response from the states to cut back on the rights, where we saw felony disenfranchisement laws and literacy taxes. now you have the federal government through the supreme court taking steps to make sure that lbgt citizens are able to participate more fully and then you have states responding, trying to cut back those rights. i think if we are going to truly understand what's happening in arizona and what attempted to be happening in kansas, we need to remember our own country's history about what happens when rights get expanded by the federal government. >> part of, you have written a lot and paid attention to the moral monday, coalition politics and reviving of that old civil rights formula of having action in the legislature but also action in the streets, but that takes coalitions.
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i want to read something, interesting piece jonathan capehart wrote about difficulties of building the black, gay coalition, and trial in the shooting of jordan davis raising some questions. he said a lot of black folks chafe at the comparison of the two communities' shared struggle for civil rights. never mind that what links the two struggles is the questions for equality. in issues of the african-american community, voting rights, criminal justice, the gay generally speaking have been largely silent. the moral mondays protest, is there a large input from lbgt community? >> i have an article in the nation of the next phase of that movement. there was a rally in raleigh two weeks ago, 80,000 people turned out. it was the kickoff for the moral monday movement in 2014 after
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all of the demonstrations in 2013. the reason it was so big is because so many different causes were represented. all across the board and fighting in a shared struggle. they all believe the direction they're taking south carolina is a threat to fundamental human rights and civil rights. as broadly defined as possible. a moment in 2012 when republicans proposed this gay marriage ban. what they thought they were going to do, thought they were going to split gays and blacks and expected the state naacp to come out for the gay marriage ban and the head of north carolina naacp said no, no, no, we're going to fight this, just like we're fighting for civil rights, we believe fighting for gay rights is part of a broader civil rights coalition. in a way, that fight against gay marriage, they lost in north carolina, that led to seeds of the moral monday coalition. everyone felt welcome in the coalition.
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to be successful in the 21st century, you have to have as broad a coalition as possible to get people to care. that's why moral monday had impact. every week, they're out in force because they have that coalition. >> will we see that brought to bear in arizona? >> i think you will and i think if you remember arizona passed repugnant anti-immigration laws. those repugnant anti-immigration laws yielded a boycott against arizona. we were one organization that we were looking at arizona because of the law, we decided to delay consideration of arizona. so what the reaction will be from the nation to repugnant laws remains to be seen. that's why i hope the governor has courage to veto the law, put it to an end before its head rears much higher. >> quickly, there's a big moral march in arizona like the one in raleigh march 29th for equality. >> thank you very much. mark is leaving us because he
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has stuff he has to do. up next, this week in voter suppression, all eyes on ohio again. we'll tell you about the latest law signed last night. to truck guys, the truck is everything. and when you put them in charge of making an unbeatable truck... ... good things happen. this is the ram 1500. the 2014 motor trend truck of the year and first ever back-to-back champion. guts. glory. ram. [ alarm sound for malfunctioning printer ] [ male announcer ] you've reached the age where you've learned a thing or two. [ metal clanks ] ♪ this is the age of knowing what you're made of. so why let erectile dysfunction get in your way? [ gears whirring ] talk to your doctor about viagra.
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but she loved it so much... i told her it was homemade. everyone tells a little white lie now and then. but now she wants my recipe [ clears his throat ] [ softly ] she's right behind me isn't she? [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. we are days from the first week in march, almost reached the official start of election year 2014. voting already started tuesday in texas. voters began to cast early ballots in advance of the first in the nation primary march 4th. but uchl it also means we had to dust off the tried and true graphic that regular viewers remember from the last election cycle in 2012. that's right. this week in voter suppression! and this week in voter suppression, the state of ohio is back at it again. friday, ohio governor john
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kasich signed into law two bills that could create barriers to the ballot box in this key swing state. one law will shorten early voting by six days, prevent ohioans casting a vote the same day. second one will end a program of mailing absentee ballots to all registered voters. meanwhile, african-american lawmakers faced a setback in efforts to put a voter's bill of rights on the ohio ballot this fall. the proposal which would make voting a fundamental right in ohio's constitution was blocked by ohio attorney general mike dewine, who cited misrepresentations in the text of the proposed amendment. joining me from cincinnati, one of the people with the organization fighting for that measure, ohio state representative alicia reese, president of ohio legislative black caucus. thank you for being with us, representative. i want to start by -- >> thank you for having me. >> i want to start by asking you
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about the second of the restrictive laws, the one that would prevent people from being mailed an absentee ballot, because the key to that is that african-american voters voteless by absentee ballot. this is to try to increase that percentage? >> we have a problem with all of these bills that have been coming forward in ohio in short fashion. we have a new voter suppression bill coming each month, and what they're trying to do is cut off the number of folks that have participated in that process. african-americans, minorities, students who came out in record numbers, low income families that came out of record numbers and voted for president obama, so each week we have a different bill, whether it is stopping them mailing out absentee ballots which allow for more people to participate, whether it is not allowing them to pay
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for postage, whether it is cutting down early voting days. we are a battleground state and we are ground zero in this war against voting rights. >> and to give you a graphic, there's a "the washington post" article that talks about voting in cuyahoga county, a critical county in 2008, and said that limits on early voting are likely to have discriminatory effect on african americans in metropolitan cleveland, in cuyahoga county, and analysis of 2008 returns in cuyahoga county by lawyers on civil rights found that african americans used early in person voting at approximately 26 times the rate of white voters. whites on the other hand tend to favor voting by mail as form of early balloting. it was written before the appeals court, announced a ruling saying based on racial disparity in early voting behavior, new rules are likely to have discriminatory effect. the early voting piece is key
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because early voting is the primary way that churches get people to the polls. how devastating to cut six days off early voting? >> it will be devastating. it will disenfranchise, suppress hundreds of thousands of folks in the state of ohio, in my city, cincinnati, had black men marching, folks in wheelchairs marching, we had generations with grandmother, granddaughter, with daughter, standing in line to vote. so it would be devastating. we know that the target is minorities and african-americans and students and low income families. we know that there is a movement to cut off the voices of the everyday folks to have an opportunity to vote. that's why ohio legislative black caucus has called for a voter bill of rights to be put in the constitution. no more begging the governor to do the right thing. no more allowing general assemblies to use partisan politics to determine who gets to vote, try to determine what the outcome of elections are.
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so we are back on the streets. you mentioned we had a setback by a republican attorney general, we know it is not going to be easy, wasn't easy for dr. king and his movement, as r reverend otis moss junior said. we are in the barber shops, beauty shops, in the churches on sunday, we will resubmit our petitions to put a voter bill of rights on the ballot and we won't stop. they're relentless in cutting and stopping us from voting and putting all of the voter suppression bills out there. we must, too, be relentless, say we won't stop until we don't have another breath in our body to make sure every citizen in ohio and in this country has the right to vote. we believe we can set the tone for the country. >> i want to come back to the panel. the governor of ohio defended this saying his spokesman saying ohio has more early voting than 40 other states after we sign these bills. is that true and is that a defense for these actions in
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that state? >> certain states vary in terms of how much early voting they provide. but the way that needs to be evaluated is how people have come to use it. in our country, we have plenty of people not participating and when you have people that you're getting to the polls and you have systems of engagement such that churches and community groups are able to get people there, you know, manipulating rules of the game such that some can participate and some can't is really something that is very, very hard to overcome, especially when it seems so clear that there's a continuing effort on the part of the partisan folks in ohio to keep trying to restrict voting rights and take different steps. one of the things i find so frustrating about ohio is it is so out of step with what we see happening in some other states. right now we see a greater interest in bipartisanship to try to pass bills that make it
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more accessible people to vote. >> except in florida, north carolina -- >> with ohio, it is like ground hog day with voting rights. every time you wake up, they're restricting voting rights. this dates back to 2004, where there were incredibly long lines, seven hour lines in places like cleveland. as response, a bipartisan coalition expanded early voting. what happened. there was record turnout for barack obama in 2008 and record turnout in 2012, even though they tried to cut early voting in 2012, there was still a record turnout. now they're back cutting it again. regardless of the arguments here, it is a very disturbing trend that every time people vote, they try to make it more difficult to vote. >> one of the things worth pointing out is a couple months ago, came out showing definitively that you see early voting restriction or new voting restrictions in states that are both competitive in national elections and have large minority populations, and if you look across the country, that's where they are. >> i have to show you the map. thank you, representative.
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this is cuyahoga county, hamilton is the other key county in elections. the gray you see there is where african americans are concentrated. the red is where african-american early voters are concentrated. it is clear these restriction will immediately hit the african-american community. we are out of time. want to thank representative alicia reese, thank you for being here. >> thank you, and we will fight back. otherwise, they'll push us back. >> all right. well said. when we come back, pictures of people's homes and you have to see these to believe them. midsize sedans. the volkswagen passat against all comers. turbocharged engines against...engines. best in class rear legroom against other-class legroom. but then we realized. consumers already did that. twice. huh. maybe that's why nobody else showed up. how does one get out of a death cage? vo: hurry in and lease the 2014 passat for $189 a month. visit vwdealer.com today.
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♪ [ male announcer ] bob's heart attack didn't come with a warning. today his doctor has him on a bayer aspirin regimen to help reduce the risk of another one. if you've had a heart attack, be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen.
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[ male announcer ] how could a luminous protein in jellyfish, impact life expectancy in the u.s., real estate in hong kong, and the optics industry in germany? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex, global economy. it's just one reason over 75% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information, risks, fees and expenses to read and consider carefully before investing. this is a photo taken by lacey atkins of the san francisco chronicle. it is part of an explosive report by the center for investigative reporting. what you're looking at is bait, mouse bait to be specific. mouse bait in air vents of an apartment building, an apartment
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ceiling. these are just two of the people, rhonda and everett, that live in the housing project that according to the reporter on the story residents call bed bug city. officially, the building called hacienda, but according to the report, the other nickname residents give to this california apartment complex is hacy hell hole. they say this image is all too common in hacienda, one fifth of the apartments are infested with bed bugs. more than 80 complaints filed in the last year over issues like cockroaches and mice. residents put out glue traps daily to catch the mice, sometimes finding a dozen in a few hours. residents say maintenance is slow to respond to calls, and when they do, all they talk about is having no heat in the winter and sewage leaking through their ceiling. residents report that elevators frequently stop working,
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sometimes trapping residents that use wheelchairs in their apartments. this picture is an image of the ceiling of the sixth floor. it shows chemical adhesive and paint drip, the result of a roof leaking for years. this is a place where people live, managed by richmond housing authority which operates four other apartment complexes in the city. it is one of the worst buildings in a complex managed by an agency with one of the lowest rankings in the country. we called richmond housing authority seeking a comment about the investigative report. we e-mailed as well. we didn't hear back. called again. they're running a deficit of nearly $7 million. according to the center for investigative reporting, that presented prevented the agency director from receiving substantial raises in the past three years, and charging expensive meals in new york and washington to taxpayers. how is any of this happening? the reporter that broke the story tells us next.
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there are more than 4,000 public housing agencies in the united states tasked with providing decent, safe rental housing for low income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. last year 45 agencies were found to have problems so severe, they were on the brink of being shut down. richmond housing agency has been on that list since 2008. a new investigative report published this week exposed poor conditions facing residents and mismanagement that has allowed problems to continue. residents living in housing, residents living in housing managed by the agency, and told reporters they want to leave but have nowhere else to go. joining me now, amy juliet harris, housing development reporter at the center for investigative reporting that broke this story. amy, i want to start with the fact we tried to reach out to richmond housing agency for a comment, we weren't able to get
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a response. have you gotten any response from them that gives us anything new they may have had to say about the story? >> yeah, but we found out after the story came out there was a big city council meeting and for the first time, the housing authority responded to our investigation, and they said that this was definitely a problem that they need to fix all of these conditions that people were living in and they took issue with one point of the reporting, they said some of the salary increases, we reported that the executive director salary had increased 30% at a time when housing authority couldn't make payroll. he said it was 18%, there was a problem with the payroll records and he repaid some of the money. this is the only development we have gotten so far. >> the other development is that the day after you published this story, richmond city council added an emergency item to their agenda, and they discussed the issue for three hours. is any action coming from that? >> yeah, actually the city
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manager just a few days ago announced that the housing authority was going to inspect every one of the 715 units of public housing in richmond, hire private inspectors to go in and ask residents what are the maintenance complaints, have you complained in the past, and what can we do to help you. i talked to residents and they said this is a long time coming because they've been complaining about these issues for years. >> talk about the issues. we're showing it again, showed the rat traps, trying to catch mice, what are some other issues residents complained about in this housing project. >> one thing that came out of the city council meeting, we heard a lot, residents were often afraid to complain about complaints because the housing authority staff was often very rude to them and cursed them out. at a public meeting, the executive director admitted some of his top officials were blatantly rude to staff and sent out a memo saying look, you need to be courteous to the people we're paid to serve, so some of the things we heard from residents was that they were
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kind of stopped from reporting things like sewage leaks, maintenance problems, broken heaters. we talked to one disabled veteran who said that his heater hasn't worked for more than a year. he used his open stove for heat. these were the sort of issues that languished on the maintenance records for months. >> tell us more about the residents. talking about seniors, families with children? give us a bit of a demographic sketch. >> the majority of people that live there are elderly and disabled, so in the two complexes that we focused reporting on, it is predominantly seniors and disabled people, who pay about 200 to $500 a month in rent. these people are not getting their apartments for free, and what they're getting, what we heard time and time again, they're getting cockroach and mice infestations and leaking pipes that are taking forever to get fixed.
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>> i know that i looked at the story, the thing i was thinking, isn't there someone in charge, they have been on the list of being one of the worst public housing agencies since 2008. there's a federal authority here, money to run this agency comes from the federal government and hud. why do you suppose no action has been taken before, and is this also a problem of federal oversight? >> yeah. so they have been on the federal troubled list since 2009. that was just for not turning in their audits on time and for racking up this debt that's now $7 million. i know in the past, talking to hud officials they said they could layout improvement plans and say look, you need to improve your management situation and financial situation, but there were no teeth to those improvement directives, and recently hud changed it and had these binding improvement plans that say, you know, there are going to be real consequences if you don't improve, we're going to shut you down, might bring in a private management company if you can't get your act together. richmond is currently under this
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binding improvement plan that this time hud and the agency think are going to make sure these problems get addressed. >> i want to ask one question out to the panel. there's a sense that people that live in public housing are kind of a forgotten population, they don't have a lobby, not really, they just don't, this is a group of people spurned as having caused their own misery by not being go getters, not making enough money, so it is their fault and so who cares. is that why these things go on this many years without really anything coming of it and any public outrage? >> that was my immediate thought watching the reporting. almost seems like the people responsible for running the buildings and oversight of them have internalized that these are barely people, why bother helping them. why else would you curse out seniors and veterans that just want you to fix their apartments. there's no other reason to do that. you see them as basically sub human. i don't know what you do to fix
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that. it is almost a sort of thing that happens when you have sort of two -- people have oversight over communities that are disadvantaged in some way, right? like there's no direct interaction between the two groups of people, what can easily happen is sort of a con desending view -- >> what's depressing is that almost 50 years ago, you have dr. king moving to chicago to move into decrepid public housing, the exact same thing, so long later that we're still fighting that battle. i want to thank you, amy julia harris in san francisco, california, thank you so much. this is an important i think piece of reporting and terrific piece of reporting on your part. so thank you so much for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> i also want to thank my guests in the studio. thank you all for being at the table as well. up next, our foot soldier of
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the week, an olympic hero bringing home much more than a medal. i'm beth...
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the sochi 2013 winter olympics come to a close tomorrow morning. after marching for the final time in the parade of athletes, many of our u.s. olympians will return to the states, lugging heavy gold, silver or bronze medals with them. but slopestyle skier gus kenworthy will return home with a little something more than his silver medal. actually, make that a lot of a little somethings. he spoke with nbc's natalie morales for the "today" show about some new furry friends. >> i tried to take them and bring them into the athlete village with me, but you're not allowed to do that. so they have had to stay here. but i've come and seen them every day and am feeding them. >> after bonding with some of the stray dogs living under a security tent at the gorki media
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center, kenworthy delayed his trip home so he could complete the necessary paperwork to bring his four-legged friends back to the states with him. and he's already planning on what comes next. >> have you thought about names? >> i mean, i definitely thought -- i think sochi is a really cute name. >> i love that. >> and rosa or khotar. i might have to leave them, but they'll be on the way for sure. >> pretty hard. >> i know. >> you fell in love here in russia. >> i did. >> kenworthy's decision comes amid reports that hundreds of sochi stray dogs have been killed by a local pest control company hired by the russian government in an effort to clear the olympic streets of stray animals. and the fever to save the sochi strays by giving them homes has spread across the olympic village. after kenworthy posted pictures of his soon-to-be adopted pups on twitter this week, other american olympians also felt the puppy love. snowboarder lindsey jack beal i
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couldn't say adopted a dog this week. and members of the hockey team plan to do the same, proving that as olympians go for the gold, their hearts are made of the same material. in fact, the u.s. hockey team's center, david backes is using his organization to help find homes for many of the stray pups. much like the games, this effort to save the sochi puppies has united people across nations a russian billionaire is opening shelters in a town near sochi to help save several of the strays. dereposka also seemed up with kenworthy to work on getting the skier and puppies back to the u.s. this week. these are our foot soldiers of the week. for inspiring the international puppy rescue mission and reminding us here in nerdland that the snuggle continues.
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and that's it for our show today. thank you at home for watching. i'll see you tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. eastern and we will get in on the debate of the minimum wage increase and i'll be joined by lucia mcbath about the loss of her son and the potential stand your ground law. and my show "the read report" launches right here on msnbc in just two days. monday at 2:00 p.m. and i hope you'll join me. and now it's time for a preview of "weekends with alex witt" and today with the great tj holmes. tj, what's coming up? >> what time is that show again, joy? 2:00. 2:00 p.m. congratulations. good to see you this weekend. good to be here with you. but you go ahead and take off. we'll see you back here tomorrow. coming up here in a moment, michael sam, he's at the nfl compound as we speak. he'll be speaking to reporters for the first time since announcing he was gay. we'll bring it to you live. that happens during our hour and we'll be joined by a former nfl star with his thoughts on what's happening there.
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also, the new uproar over a bill in arizona would allow business owners to use business belie religious beliefs for justification for refusing service to customers. and a real rocky mountain high in pot sales. the number is pretty staggering. also take a look at these tiny houses and how they're playing a critical role in changing people's lives. don't you go anywhere. i'm right back. in the new new y we don't back down. we only know one direction: up so we're up early. up late. thinking up game-changing ideas, like this: dozens of tax free zones across new york state. move here. expand here. or start a new business here... and pay no taxes for 10 years. with new jobs, new opportunities and a new tax free plan. there's only one way for your business to go. up. find out if your business can qualify at start-upny.com
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hi boys! i've made you campbell's chunky new england clam chowder. wow! this is incredible! i know. and now it has more clams! [ male announcer ] campbell's chunky soup. what? [ male announcer ] it fills you up right. i'm a messy person. i don't like cleaning. i love my son, but he never cleans up. always leaves a trail of crumbs behind. you're going to have a problem with getting a wife. uh, yeah, i guess. [ laughs ] this is ridiculous. christopher glenn! [ doorbell rings ] what is that? swiffer sweep & trap. i think i can use this. it picks up everything. i like this. that's a lot of dirt. it's that easy! good job chris! i think a woman will probably come your way. [ both laugh ]
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i think a woman will probably come your way. my dad has aor afib.brillation, he has the most common kind... ...it's not caused by a heart valve problem. dad, it says your afib puts you at 5 times greater risk of a stroke. that's why i take my warfarin every day. but it looks like maybe we should ask your doctor about pradaxa. in a clinical trial, pradaxa® (dabigatran etexilate mesylate)... ...was proven superior to warfarin at reducing the risk of stroke. and unlike warfarin, with no regular blood tests or dietary restrictions. hey thanks for calling my doctor. sure. pradaxa is not for people with artificial heart valves. don't stop taking pradaxa without talking to your doctor. stopping increases your risk of stroke. ask your doctor if you need to stop pradaxa before surgery or a medical or dental procedure. pradaxa can cause serious, sometimes fatal, bleeding. don't take pradaxa if you have abnormal bleeding or have had a heart valve replaced.
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seek immediate medical care for unexpected signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. pradaxa may increase your bleeding risk if you're 75 or older, have a bleeding condition or stomach ulcer, take aspirin, nsaids, or blood thinners... ...or if you have kidney problems, especially if you take certain medicines. tell your doctors about all medicines you take. pradaxa side effects include indigestion, stomach pain, upset, or burning. if you or someone you love has afib not caused by a heart valve problem... ...ask your doctor about reducing the risk of stroke with pradaxa. hello to you all. we've got a turning point possibly. dramatic events in the ukraine could change the entire picture. this as president obama and vladimir putin talk. we have a live report for you in minutes. also, the last days of sochi with two new headlines for you, including this, the u.s. men's hockey team in a fight right now to come home with at least something. also mic

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