'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Thursday, April 11th, 2013
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THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
April 11, 2013
Guests: Michael McBride, Dustin McDaniel
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Chris, have I not been glued to the makeup chair
with mascara wands in my eyes, I would have been tweeting about the
discussion between you and the prime minister about what a great discussion
CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: Oh, thanks.
MADDOW: You`ll never see anything like that on TV.
HAYES: I cut off the former Greek prime minister to hit that toss on
a right time. So, I`m glad you enjoyed it.
MADDOW: So that I could blabber about it on my own time.
Thank you, Chris. Great job.
HAYES: Thank you.
MADDOW: Thanks for you staying with us this hour.
All right. There`s a lot to get to this hour, but we`re going to
start with the big political story of the day.
And there`s an issue of context that I need to explain before we get
to our top story of the day. The issue of context is an issue about
autism. Twenty years ago, the writer, Temple Grandin, who herself has
autism, she famously built what she calls a squeeze machine for her own use
after she discovered the feeling of physical pressure helped her feel calm
when nothing else did. She has autism herself.
That idea of physical pressure has become part of what people consider
when working with kids with autism or Asperger`s or any conditions related
to it. So, if you look around at a site like Autism Speaks, you will find
products and tools for families with names like Cozy Calm Weighted
Blankets. Weighted Blankets. Or this one, The Big Hug.
This is a special hug vest. Looks like an ordinary jean jacket vest
but it weighs a couple of pounds on purpose. The idea is that that weight,
the pressure of the hug vest or pressure of the weighted blanket with the
extra weight in it can sometimes help a person with Asperger`s or autism to
feel calm, to feel comforted in a way that works for them.
Obviously, it does not work for everybody. Who knows exactly how it
works. But for some people, this does work. So, particularly for autistic
kids for whom this technique works, physical pressure, hugs and physical
pressure can be part of the protocol for professionals who work with them.
It`s more than just a hug for a hug`s sake like with any kid. In some
cases, it is a therapeutic measure for kids who are living with autism.
And although we cannot know for sure, it seems like that context,
understanding that about being an autistic kid may be a relevant detail for
understanding this today on Capitol Hill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRISTOPHER MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: We`re glad to be here today
with real heroes, with family members, who have, in the middle of their
grief, come down to Washington, D.C. to argue for change. You know, a
couple weeks ago, people were equally cynical about what Connecticut could
do. People said that Connecticut couldn`t pass the strongest ban in the
nation. It was the families of Newtown who came to the state capitol and
changed the calculus.
I think the same thing happened here this week. There`s nobody that
can make the case better than these families. And they spend all week
fanning out across the capitol and I think it`s no coincidence that we will
end this week in a much better position than many people thought we would a
week ago or a month ago.
I went to the floor yesterday to give my first speech. I talked an
about one of these kids, Dylan Hockley. And Dylan was a child with autism
who died that day. But his mother, Nicole, who was amongst the families
who are here, took some tiny measure of peace in the way that he died
because though there was terror in that classroom that day, his beloved
special education aid, in the moment of horror, wrapped her arms around
him, hugging him tight, as the destruction reigned down on that class.
That`s how Dylan and Anne Marie were found, embracing each other.
She said, I knew at that moment he felt love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Stories like that story about Dylan Hockley, 6-year-old kid
living with autism until he was killed at Newtown. That story, stories
like that, and the Newtown families` willingness to let those personal
stories be told publicly for the whole country, that is why what that NRA
lobbyist derisively called the "Connecticut effect", that`s why the
Connecticut effect has not worn off four months later.
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy brings pictures of the kids who died
that day with him when he talks about gun reform on the floor of the
He puts their pictures up there on easels and tells these personal
stories, these personal detailed individual stories about what they were
like before they were killed by a disturbed young man armed with a semi-
automatic assault rifle on high capacity 30-round ammunition magazines,
things that wouldn`t have been illegal to buy had the assault weapons ban
not expired in 2004.
At the time when the weight of family`s grief could be immobilizing,
when you think it could be immobilizing for anybody, the Newtown families
have been able to kept move moving. They have refused to let the country
move on and forget four months later now. They are saying, no, we`re going
to hold your focus on what happened here until something is done to try to
stop this from happening to the next family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Dylan. I think the picture kind of sums
him up perfectly. He was always smiling and always laughing and he was
very pure. Possibly because of his age, he was 6, and possibly because he
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m Jesse Lewis` dad. Jesse was 6 years old. He
was my best friend and my buddy. He`d introduce himself as Jesse and
daddy. He was my whole life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The Newtown families just will not let the country forget
what was lost in Newtown. When David and Francine Wheeler came to us, on
this show, came to me and said they wanted to talk on this show about what
happened. It was the same, they wanted to talk about their son with his
picture right there between us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My dad would always say, Ben is going to do
amazing things. And I always say, now, I just didn`t know it was going to
be at his death. I thought it was going to be in his life. So he`s going
to do amazing things now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It is emotional stuff. Of course, it is private what they`re
going through, right? But these families have been willing to make it
public, to try to make a difference in their kids` names, to try to save
somebody else`s kids.
Well, yesterday, the Newtown families met again with lawmakers on
Capitol Hill. We showed some of this footage last night. You might notice
some of the parents and siblings and spouses are crying in these pictures.
You can also see big tough Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is looking
quite moved himself.
A reporter asked him how the families affected the debate over gun
reform on Capitol Hill. And I`m not sure he was sure he could answer the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I`m a parent. I`m a
grandparent. I just can`t imagine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was yesterday on what was a very busy day for that big
tough Democratic senator from West Virginia.
Hours later, that senator stood with Republican senator, Pat Toomey,
both of them with their A ratings from the NRA, saying we are gun owners,
we belong to the NRA. We support the NRA. We invited the NRA into our
negotiations over this legislation.
But we do not believe that nothing should be done to try to stop what
happened in Newtown from happening to someone else`s kids. We do not
believe that nothing can be done and nothing should be done.
And led by that measure from those two A-rated NRA conservative
senators, today, the U.S. Senate voted on gun reform. The common wisdom
was that it could never happen and today it happened.
And look at this: Tommie Christopher of Mediate went through the vote
today and noticed it was 21 senators with A ratings or better from the NRA,
21 senators rated top shelf by the NRA who were among the majority, among
those who voted to break the filibuster. It`s actually 22 senators if you
count everybody with an A plus rating like Senator Roger Wicker of
Mississippi. Mr. Wicker`s state suffered a horrific school shooting in the
1990s. It would be worth nothing.
Roger Wicker voted to break the filibuster, even though he has an A-
plus rating and it goes on like Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, a big gun
right state, and Jeff Flake of Arizona, where state lawmakers, Republican
state lawmakers answered the mass shooting in Tucson in his state by
calling for loser gun laws. Bob Corker of Tennessee says he will not vote
for anything that compromises gun rights, but neither will he stand in the
way of debate.
More than 20 A-rated NRA senators voted against this filibuster. The
overall vote: 68-31.
So, yes, the NRA is still beating its chest saying it will score the
votes on the final bill and all the rest. Everybody`s A ratings are going
to be in danger as if that is the most important thing in the world and
maybe some people think that is the most important thing in the world.
But that is not the only truth here. It is not the only truth or the
only consequence to a vote like this on an issue like this in a country
changed like we have been with the decision-makers were talking to the
people most affected by it.
The Senate needed 60 votes today to break the filibuster. They got 68
votes. They broke the filibuster at a trot. So, gun reform moved forward.
Now, of course, this is only the beginning. And the White House is
calling for everybody who supports gun reform to get on the phone to their
senators, to post messages to Twitter and Facebook about it. To keep the
pressure on, do not let up.
The final vote on this is still ahead. It looks like it might happen
by this time next week. If the pressure stays on and if the Senate passes
gun reform, then it will still have to somehow get through the Republican-
controlled House. I mean, gun reform is by no means a done deal. But the
reason it has got this far thus far is because of the scrupulously
nonpartisan families of Newtown, Connecticut, telling only their personal
stories and what they have come to believe could keep this from happening
again, walking the halls of Congress and meeting those likely to see the
world their way and senators who did not. You never know how people are
going to vote.
Today, when the Senate voted to let gun reform have a vote, the
Newtown families were there watching from the Senate gallery. Afterward,
President Obama called the families and congratulated them on this vote.
This is a picture of the president calling Dylan Hockley`s mom. The
president reportedly told the families that this moment would not have been
possible without them.
He has a point. Yesterday, when it seems that the Senate might
filibuster gun reform, as if it might not work, the Coalition to Stop Gun
Violence started staging a filibuster of their own, families from Newtown
were among those who stayed out overnight, all night long outside the U.S.
capitol reading the names of the Sandy Hook victims, the names of the more
than 3,300 people killed by gun violence since the massacre at Sandy Hook.
The families started at 1:00 in the afternoon and they read all night long
overnight. They kept reading until just before noon today when the Senate
And right about then in D.C., another vigil began, this time, it was
the clergy of Newtown working with clergy from across the country from all
different faith traditions, setting out 3,300 crosses along with stars of
David and other regulation symbols, and then they started reading the names
of all the victims. They say they will stay out there all night keeping a
24-hour vigil. That`s happening right now.
And joining us right now from the vigil on the mall is Pastor Michael
McBride. He came all the way from California to be part of this. Pastor
McBride is the national director of PICO Lifelines to Healing Campaign.
He`s pastor of the Way Christian Center in West Berkeley, California.
Pastor McBride, thank you so much for being with us. It`s nice to
have you here, sir.
PASTOR MICHAEL MCBRIDE, PICO LIFELINES TO HEALING CAMPAIGN: Very glad
to be here with you, Rachel.
MADOW: Can you tell us the overall idea of why you`re out there and
what you`re doing and how long you guys will stay out there tonight?
MCBRIDE: Well, we are here all day long, been here since 11:00 a.m.,
joining with the Newtown clergy, clergy from the PICO National Network,
Sojourners all day with 3,300 crosses and regulation symbols remember
remembering all the many lives that have lost to gun violence since the
And we`re here because the blood of the slain is crying out to us from
the ground demanding and asking us to lift up our voices with the moral
imperative to call for the comprehensive action to reduce gun violence in
our country through common sense laws that the overwhelming majority of our
citizens all sport and believe.
So, we`ve been reading the names of the fallen ever since 11:00 a.m.
and the vigil will remain throughout the evening and throughout the night
and into the morning.
MADDOW: And then, once the morning comes, presumably, it`s time to
rest and get warm and get some sleep after being up all night. But then,
what happens next? What is the overall trajectory of this campaign for
MCBRIDE: Well, as you stated earlier, we know this is just the
beginning. We know we have a huge and significant charge that is left
within our care to move our Congress and our elected officials to enact the
will of the American people, to make sure that they hear from us, to make
sure that they know that we will not accept partial solutions to
We are going to be urging all of our loved ones, our family members,
our congregations, people of faith and all goodwill, call your senators,
participate in this process by letting them know that we want background
checks, background checks for every single sale. We want to make sure
these weapons do not continue to flood into our communities. We want to
make sure we have legislation in place that makes the trafficking of
weapons across state lines something of the distant past. We want to make
sure that we have targeted solutions to urban gun violence.
We know that these are issues and situations that can be resolved with
common sense gun laws. So we`re going to continue pushing and lifting up
our moral voice and urging our elected leaders to enact what we all know
can save lives.
MADDOW: Pastor McBride, one of the reasons I specifically wanted to
talk to you tonight is because I know your work specifically as a minister
and as an activist has really focused on gun violence in the streets and in
urban communities. And it`s clear to me the kinds of reforms that are
happening right in the states and might happen federally are being made
possible because of Newtown.
As somebody who`s really focused on urban gun violence, do you feel
like these reforms are also considering the needs of our cities, too? Is
it a separate agenda that needs to be pursued or is this a way to tackling
both the mass violence like we saw at Newtown and also the day after day
grinding violence that we see in this cities?
MCBRIDE: That`s a great question. This is what we know. We know the
gun violence perpetuates itself every day in our communities is a tragedy
that tears at the fabric and moral compass of our country.
What kind of country are we living in where children are dying every
single day on the street corners of our country in the isolation of their
bedrooms? What kind of morals are we purporting where we are not doing
everything within our power to make sure that the weapons that take lives
are not so easily available to individuals who have no business having them
in their possession?
So, part of what we know and understand is all of these situations are
interconnected. Dr. King says we all live in a network of
interconnectedness, right? We believe the pain of Newtown is similar to
the pain of New Orleans, the pain of Chicago, similar to the pain of
Aurora, pain of Oak Creek, similar to the pain of Oakland where I live.
All the legislation that we are proposing we believe gets us closer to
the day we do not have to bury children.
So we want to keep pushing. We know targeted strategies in our
community that help provided opportunities, help provide quality education,
they help us to deal with the root causes of violence in all their many
So, this is an opportunity for all of us to be united together. We
believe the pain, the shared pain we have as a country can help move us
forward. And this is why we`re here standing together from every part of
our country, every race, every religious background, we`re all children of
God created in his image, and we will respond accordingly.
MADDOW: Pastor Mike, Pastor Michael McBride, national director of
PICO Lifelines to Healing Campaign, pastor of the Way Christian Center in
West Berkeley, California, thank you for your time, sir. I`m glad it`s not
bad weather out there but still, stay warm and stay safe. Thank you.
MCBRIDE: Thank you, Rachel. God bless you.
All right. There is a lot serious going on in the world. There`s
also something important news about a French zoo. And the funniest thing I
think I have never seen about spilling oil. And both of those are still to
Big show ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: We are in the middle of April, which means that our next
federal holidays kind of a long ways off. It`s Memorial Day. The last
Monday in May.
Our federal holidays are spread out in this country. We don`t have a
ton of them. For 2013, for example, for this whole entire year, we have 10
federal holidays total -- 10 proper federal holidays of people getting the
day off work and banks closing and all the federal days closing and all the
Other countries are not so choosy, particularly dictatorships.
According to dictators who run dictatorships, there are lots of reasons to
stop and celebrate whatever it is the dictator is telling us to celebrate.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, for example, will be celebrating 28
holidays this year. We get 10 and they get 28. They get a whole month`s
worth of holidays. You have to celebrate, of course, when you made your
country into a dictatorship. In Iran`s case, that would be February 10th -
- but then it`s also April 1st, which they call Islamic dictator day.
Dictatorship sometimes like to celebrate the day their dictator was
born. In Iran`s case, they celebrate the day their dictator died. That
would be June 4th, the day in 1989, when the Ayatollah Khomeini departed
this green earth.
If you`re a religious dictatorship, there`s tons of extra holidays
that are worthy of holidays, lots of birthdays, lots of martyrdoms, not
just of your dictator but of other people the dictatorship wants you to
So, I mean, on the one hand, you live in a dictatorship. On the other
hand, you get lots of days off work. And it doesn`t work just that way in
In North Korea, they really celebrate their holidays. Today in North
Korea for example, a large number of students did this impressive
synchronized dance routine in the middle of Pyongyang. What`s the
occasion? To mark the one year anniversary of Kim Jong Un taking charge of
the country`s ruling party.
It`s kind of a big holiday week overall, though. Tuesday of this
week, there was another big celebration in North Korea, a holiday to mark
the day the former dictator, Kim Jong Il gave himself a promotion. They
have a national holiday for that.
But none of these holidays come pair to the really big one in North
Korea, which is the birthday of Kim Il Sung, grandfather of the former
dictator, and father of the last dictator and the founder of North Korea
and its current dictatorial state.
They make a huge deal out of Kim Il Sung`s birthday. This is footage
from it last year. It`s the biggest holiday in the country, in a country
with many holidays. Kim Il Sung`s birthday on April 15th really is the big
That becomes an important thing to know not just for dictator holiday
trivia, because in year`s past, it`s been around things like the big Kim Il
Sung`s birthday celebration that North Korea has done things like launch
Last year, it was April. So, three days in advance when North Korea
launched the long-range rocket. That launch was a big fat failure and it
fell into the sea, but the North Koreans did decide to launch it around
this time. We feel that timing was not an accident.
In 2009, North Koreans tried another rocket launch around this time.
It was April 5th of that year. That launch was also a failure.
This year, of course, there`s been weeks and weeks of speculation
about whether North Korea might start a war with South Korea. They
ratcheted up the threats in recent weeks and will engulf their enemies in a
sea of fire, and all the stuff they usually say. And there have yet to be
any seas of fire and North Korea does have the Chicken Little problem of
making these kinds of threats all the time and try to launch a rocket and
falls apart before the world and very embarrassing.
But this time, it seems like the world is taking these threats a
little more seriously. That may be because the threat period seems more
sustained and more hysterical than usual. And it`s because of the timing.
American Secretary of State John Kerry is due to arrive in Seoul,
South Korea in a few hours. He`ll also be visiting Beijing and Tokyo on
this trip. His first stop in Asia is South Korea, where the agenda is
pretty singularly focused how to deal with the new level of threats from
Also tonight, new (INAUDIBLE) from the Pentagon that for the first
time, the intelligence arm Pentagon says it is, quote, "moderately
confident that North Korea has learned how to make a nuclear weapon small
enough to be sent as a ballistic missile.
Because it is difficult to get accurate information out of North
Korea, even this report has a lot of disclaimers that the defense
intelligence agency saying this missile would not be very reliable even if
it exists and maybe it doesn`t exist.
And it`s still unclear what North Korea`s end game is here. Do they
want a war, do they want attention, is it all bluster?
But the Kim Il Sung holiday, the biggest holiday in North Korea, which
like to mark with missile launches, that holiday is Monday. John Kerry`s
visit to South Korea starts tonight.
The bluster in North Korea has turned up to stun right now but it
often is. If you`re wondering why people are worrying right now that the
bluster right now might be more than just the usual bluster, timing may be
part of the answer. Watch this space.
MADDOW: I just mentioned that Secretary of State John Kerry is
heading to South Korea tonight. True. But before that, he met with the
Canadian foreign minister for the express purpose of the Canadian foreign
minister giving him a case of beer, case of Molson, I believe. Something
about a hockey bet.
Diplomatic gifts can be awkward. They can be heavy, awesome and
delicious. Tonight, we have a story about all four -- awkward, awesome,
heavy and delicious. And this one ends at a zoo.
Please stand by.
MADDOW: The true sign of great satire is that it is so close to
reality that it fools you into thinking it is true when it is not actually
true. Por ejemplo, this is a satirical Web site. It`s called
ArcticReady.com. It is a spoof Web site that takes on all of the shelling
misadventures in the arctic. Are we Arctic challenged? No way.
This is satire. Not real.
But a quote on that Web site was cited as real by a Seattle news
outlet after one of Shell`s Arctic drilling rigs crashed off an island in
southern Alaska last year. The satire was really good satire and it was
really funny, but parts of it looked funny enough to get quoted in a
newspaper. It happens.
And believability is one way satire can really work well. There has
to be something about it that rings super true.
But here`s an example of satire that is also about the oil industry
that isn`t just awesome because it seems so real. This is awesome because
it is intrinsically awesome. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the past, you have to drive to get gas. In
communities like this one, Exxon has revolutionized the way fuel gets to
you. We`ll pump that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) right down your driveway.
When the convenience of lawn based oil reserves meets the power of
you, that`s the smell of freedom -- the freedom to roam and never leave oil
Our nationwide lawn immersion systems or pipelines make us the Johnnie
Appleseed of get getting (EXPLETIVE DELETED) everywhere. So explore.
Wherever you`re going, we`re there. Exxon, because this rancid sludge
won`t spew everywhere all by itself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s the very talented satirist Andy Cobb. The video is
obviously referencing the giant Exxon oil spill in the town of Mayflower,
Two weeks ago, one of Exxon`s underground pipelines burst beneath the
town of Mayflower, sending tar sand crude oil everywhere. Tar sand is the
type of oil that we don`t really have any idea how to clean up.
But what does Exxon care? They meant to do it. It was just their way
to get oil to the residents of Mayflower as quickly as possible.
Not really. But the idea behind that satire, that it`s really Exxon`s
world and we`re just living in it, sorry about that crude in your backyard,
the spoof sort of works in part because of the attitude that`s been by
Exxon in the town of Mayflower. "Reuters" published an amazing article
this morning about the extent to which this ginormous multi-national
corporation Exxon is really taking control of not just the spill, but in a
lot of ways, a lot of what`s going on in this tiny Arkansas town. They`re
pushing everybody aside.
Look at this -- three days after the spill, 120 Exxon workers
descended on the town, a number eventually swell to more than 600 across
the country, including and -- this is the important part -- company
doctors, communications specialists and wildlife experts.
Company doctors? Actual doctors sent to the town by Exxon. Quote,
"When eight students who were vomiting and complaining of headaches were
sent home from Mayflower Elementary School the Monday morning after the
spill, an Exxon Mobil doctor arrived quickly on the scene.
The doctor quelled concerns about the air quality around the school,
which is just a block south of the spill site according to the school
principal, Candy Watts. The school explained that some students and they
were worried some students may have sensitivity but according to the
doctor, there was no cause for alarm, says the doctor paid by Exxon. Don`t
worry about your vomiting child. Some kids are just really sensitive.
The other dynamic at work in this case is not just what Exxon is
doing. The other dynamic that`s been really interesting to watch unfold
since this big spill in Mayflower, the efforts of the state, the efforts of
Mayflower and the state of Arkansas to hold Exxon accountable for this.
The attorney general for the state of Arkansas has been sort of all
over this. He has been regularly touring the spill site over the last two
weeks. He`s been in contact with attorney generals and surrounding states
who have dealt with oil companies and oil spills in the past and he`s
already starting to get some results from Exxon.
Last week, the attorney general gave the company a deadline to get its
office internal company documents related to this ruptured pipeline, things
like blueprints and inspections reports, oil companies withholding, or in
some cases destroying documents has been a hallmark issue for state
officials in recent years after spills.
But the Arkansas attorney general gave them until yesterday to provide
these documents and Exxon did finally turn them over with just a few
minutes to spare before the deadline was up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DUSTIN MCDANIEL, ARKANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: Today, we received 12,587
pages of documents. That includes five CDs of data and more than 200
blueprint sized diagrams. We received these documents 45 minutes ago.
Lawyers and investigators from our office are reviewing them as we speak.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us now is the attorney general of the state of
Arkansas, Dustin McDaniel. His office provided this photo of some of the
documents that Exxon has now turned over.
Mr. Attorney General, thank you very much for being with us tonight.
I really appreciate your time.
MCDANIEL: I`m glad to be back with you.
MADDOW: I know your team has only had these documents from the
company from about 24 hours or so, so I understand you haven`t had a ton of
time to looking through them. But what kinds of information are you either
finding already or hoping to get from these documents?
MCDANIEL: Well, it`s been a productive 24 hours. Obviously, there`s
a lot of very technical information and things that we`re looking for.
But in the last 24 hours, I`ve retained James Lee Witt`s company, Witt
O`Brien who sent world class experts to Arkansas. They were on the site
today and will be there each day reporting directly to me about what`s
happening at the site.
We`ve retained experts to do our own independent air quality testing,
referencing some of what you were talking about at the school, just because
certain carcinogens are not present in the air doesn`t mean that the air is
safe much less pleasant to breathe. And so, we`re going to be looking
through the documents that have been given to us, as well as working with
our experts to come up with additional questions based on what we read.
MADDOW: That sounds thorough. It also sounds expensive. Is this
going to come down on the taxpayers of the state of Arkansas? Are you
hoping Exxon will foot the bill for paying for these experts?
MCDANIEL: I don`t in tend to see the taxpayers of Arkansas fit the
bill for this disaster. I expect Exxon as the responsible party to pay the
bills. I`ve already sent them a request that they advance $4 million to my
office so that we can start paying the paychecks of these people who are
doing this work, to look over the shoulders of those 600 people that you
MADDOW: One of the things you said at that press conference yesterday
was that the spill, and in fact the size of the spill, meaning the amount
of oil that has come out of the ground, but also the damage to the pipeline
was larger than you had previously known.
Can you explain what you meant by that?
MCDANIEL: I think when people found out that there was a rupture and
there was a 65-year-old pipeline, I think that almost everybody assumed
that there was some small crack due to age. The rupture was 22 feet long.
MCDANIEL: Twenty-two feet is not something one would think would
happen gradually. So now we`re starting to ask all new questions. What
was the pressure rating within the pipeline? What indications would there
have been in the inspection records up until now, to lead us to believe
that a 22-foot gash would appear in this pipeline. As I keep saying, the
more I learned, the more questions that I get.
MADDOW: You know, one of the things that we talked about the last
time we spoke, sir, was about how this is very, very heavy oil. You can
describe it as heavy crude. Some people are describing it as diluted but
human in terms of being a mix of different types of petroleum products here
and some stuff we don`t know what`s in it.
But in any case it doesn`t look like the kind of lightweight sweet
crude that we`re familiar with from larger spills, or spills throughout
somewhere like the Gulf of Mexico so maybe that means the ways of cleaning
up those spills aren`t the best way to clean up this heavy stuff. I
thought of that particularly knowing that you guys had some severe weather
in this area last night.
With the storm that went through the affected area last night and with
kinds of affected techniques they`re using to try to get this gunk out of
the marshes and people`s homes -- does it seem to you like stuff is getting
MCDANIEL: Well, you`re right. The storm that came through last night
was a very serious storm. We had a lot of damage. Arkansas gets tornadoes
this time of year. And when you have containers filled with oil-soaked
soil and oily water that are all set in a staging area -- yesterday
afternoon, I said, just God forbid what happens if we have a tornado in the
staging area? What do we do about that?
Lots of water, a lot of runoff because of the storm. So, we were very
concerned about it. You`re right. It`s not just light sweet crude. It is
heavy tar sand crude.
And, of course, we don`t know what the solvents are. I still want to
know and I don`t know if they`ve included that in what they provided to me.
It`s 12,000 pages, so we haven`t got it all digested within the last 24
But there are obviously a lot of chemicals that are incorporated into
the product. So I need to know what those are as well.
MADDOW: Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, thank you for your
time tonight. Actually, before you go, I feel like I need to tell our
audience they appreciate you being here that I forced you to sneak away
from your grandmother`s birthday party tonight in order to be here.
I just want to -- as a way of thanks, I want to say, we have a picture
here of Imogen McDaniel. She just turned 92 years old. There she is with
former President Bill Clinton.
This is my -- this is my thank you for doing this, particularly given
your family responsibilities tonight, sir. I hope your grandmother had a
MCDANIEL: I think she had a great birthday. President Obama asked me
to testify for Justice Sotomayor in her confirmation hearings, and that was
during my honeymoon. So, I think I`m used to it.
MADDOW: Well, the country thanks, sir. Appreciate it.
MCDANIEL: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. On the list of stories that I never expected to
bring you, the cautionary tale of the French president and his camel is
really, really right at the top. That`s coming up.
MADDOW: There are only three people born in the U.S. who the Catholic
Church has canonized as saints. One was a Mohawk woman who lived and died
the century before the United States was founded as a country. The other
two founded orders of nuns, one born in the 1770s, the other in 1850s.
There are other people who are canonized as saints of what they did in the
U.S. But as far as Americanized saints go, that`s it.
But just a few years ago, an investigator from the Vatican traveled to
Kansas to see if there might be another saint named sometime soon. An
important part of the formula for sainthood, of course, is the issue of
miracles. And according to an eight part series of the "Wichita Eagle"
newspaper, the church`s investigator in 2009 came to look into seemingly
miraculous medical recoveries of two young Kansans -- one from an
autoimmune disorder and one from catastrophic pole vaulting accident.
Their families organized mass prayers, not just God and Jesus but
someone in Kansas thought of being a saint already even if it`s not
official yet. They prayed to Emil Kapaun, a Kansas farm boy who became a
priest at age 24. He was called to serve as an Army chaplain in the Korean
War. He never came home from the Korean War. He died in a North Korean
prison camp in 1951.
But from the day that his surviving fellow prisoners of war were freed
from North Korea, some advocated for him to receive the highest military
award that is offered by our country. Today, when a White House ceremony
was convened more than 60 years after Emil Kapaun`s death to award him that
Medal of Honor, some of the men he served with who are now in their 80s
talked with NBC News correspondent Jim Miklaszewski about why they fought
to get him recognized. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM MIKLASZEWSKI, NBC NEWS (voice-over): An Army chaplain on the
front lines, Kapaun, with regard for his own safety, often rode a bicycle
straight into combat. That`s him on the right carrying a wounded soldier
Army veteran, Bob Wood, says the father was fearless under fire.
BOB WOOD, ARMY VETERAN: We both dove into that ditch alongside the
trail. And looked back, and they had shot the pipe right out of his mouth.
All he had was the stem of the pipe still clenched in his teeth.
MIKLASZEWSKI: Mike Dow (ph) and Father Kapaun were eventually
captured and thrown into a Chinese prisoner of war camp where hundreds died
from the cold, starvation and worse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were a lot of people who were tortured and
killed as prisoners.
MIKLASZEWSKI: But Kapaun remained defiant, often risking his own life
to feed and care for his fellow prisoners.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was a great thief. He would sneak off and
steal food to feed the wounded with and medicine.
MIKLASZEWSKI: Dow credits the father with saving hundreds of lives,
through his own self sacrifice and undaunting spirit and faith.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A good number of those that survived really owe
their lives to Father Kapaun.
MIKLASZESKI: Ultimately, with his health failing, the Chinese guards
ordered father capon to what the prisoners called the death house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said, don`t cry for me, I`m going where I`ve
always wanted to go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he`s the finest man I ever knew. And I
get all choked up just thinking about him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Even before being awarded the Medal of Honor today, Pastor
Kapaun had already been awarded the Bronze Star for walking through enemy
fire to drag wounded soldiers to safety.
Eighty-six-year-old Herbert Miller was there today at the White House
for the Medal of Honor ceremony. He was a 23-year-old platoon leader in
Korea when he was hit by a hand grenade that shattered his ankle. He was
unable to move and he pulled a dead Korean soldier over him to try to hide
but the Chinese soldier spotted him.
And Sergeant First Class Herbert Miller was soon lying on the ground
with a Chinese soldier standing over him with a rifle pointed down right at
him. And at that moment, his chaplain, the unarmed chaplain, who never
carried a gun, came out of nowhere, walked right up to the Chinese soldier
and just pushed the barrel of his rifle aside, picked up the wounded
American soldier, put him over his back, and walked into safety for miles.
That act of heroism had a statue made to commemorate it at a church in
Kansas named for Father Emil Kapaun.
The Kansas high school that is named after him also displays this
crucifix that was hand-carved by another American prisoner in his honor.
His acts of heroism not just on the battlefield but once captured in the
POW camp stealing food, carrying the wounded, burying the dead, trading his
watch for a blanket to cut into socks for the men who are freezing to
death. Those stories are well-known and well-told stories in Kansas which
led to Kansans praying to him for other worldly assistance when they needed
it, which has now led to the Vatican investigating him for sainthood.
So, yes, that process is still in process. But it also head the
Kansas congressional delegation for a decade to lobby for the three-year
time limit on Medal of Honor recognition to be lifted in the case of Emil
Kapaun. They got that time limit passed in his case.
President Obama signed a measure in 2011 doing that. His name was
then put forward for the Medal of Honor. The military investigated the
allegations of his heroism, much as the Vatican has investigated the
allegations of his miracles. And today, Emil Kapaun`s nephew accepted the
Medal of Honor on his uncle`s behalf in front of the octogenarian prisoners
of war who served with him and still survive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Father Kapaun has been
called a shepherd in combat boots. His fellow soldiers who felt his grace
and his mercy called him a saint, a blessing from God. Today, we bestow
another title on him. Recipient of our nation`s highest military
declaration, the Medal of Honor.
After more than six decades of working to make this medal a reality, I
know one of Father Kapaun comrades spoke for a lot of folks here when he
said it`s about time.
MADDOW: This is a story about a camel. It is not the most important
story in world politics, but it happened and you should know that it
happened. A little camel back in February was presented as a gift to the
president of France. The nation of Mali gave the camel as a gift to French
President Francois Hollande as a thank you for sending French troops to
fight the Islamic rebels who had taken over parts of Mali.
Well, today, President Hollande received said camel. He said to the
people giving it to them he would like to bring it back to France to help
him get around Paris. At least that`s what we think he said. It was a
little hard to hear anything over the camel itself hollering so loud
through the whole ceremony. The first plan was, in fact, to take the camel
back to France to be housed in a zoo.
Until those details could be worked out, President Hollande left his
new pet camel in the care of a family in Timbuktu for safe keeping. And
then they ate it. At least that`s what it seems like must have happened.
According to a French magazine, France`s minister of defense was
supposed to give weekly updates to President Hollande about how the camel
was doing with the folks in Timbuktu, but apparently there was a
misunderstanding and the family who had been given the camel for
safekeeping thought they were being given the camel for dinner. When they
were told they were supposed to feed the camel, they instead thought they
were supposed to eat the camel.
And so the defense secretary had to report back the president`s camel
had been made into delicious camel stew. The Malian government says it is
sorry about the mix-up. They are now offering a replacement camel one that
an anonymous official as, quote, a bigger and better camel, shipped
directly to France, to a zoo in France. Zoo. Not stew.
Now you know. One to grow on.
It`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL."
Have a great night.
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