ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
December 12, 2013
Guest: Rosa DeLauro, John Stanton, Julianne Malveaux, Aisha Harris, Lizz
Winstead, Paul Hudson, Matt Yglesias
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Tonight, the House of Representatives delivered a stunning rebuke to the
Tea Party and outside conservative groups, passing the Paul Ryan/Patty
Murray by overwhelming margins, with 332 votes for an only 94 against.
Today, House Speaker John Boehner opened up the possibility that maybe,
just maybe, he is sick of being the puppet for the Tea Party and their
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: House Speaker John Boehner going off on conservative
groups yet again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said critics of this deal are outside agitators
who are stirring up trouble.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Saying some of his own people are trying to kill this
budget without even seeing what`s in it.
HAYES (voice-over): Today, John Boehner had words for the conservative
groups who have been rallying against the budget.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think they`re misleading
their followers. I think they`re pushing our members in places where they
don`t want to be. And frankly, I just think that they`ve lost all
HAYES: Now, the first step towards admitting you`re a puppet is
acknowledging you have masters. Earlier, the speaker, in an amazing moment
of shock and candor, went ahead and did just that.
BOEHNER: You know, they pushed us into this fight to defund Obamacare and
shut down the government.
HAYES: That is the man third in line for the presidency, saying a bunch of
random think tank guys are calling the shots. It`s worth listening to one
BOEHNER: You know, they pushed us into this fight to defund Obamacare and
shut down the government.
HAYES: That was Speaker Boehner saying the single most senselessly
destructive thing he`s done as speaker was done at the behest of a small
group of conservative activists. That he was being manipulated by people
like Michael Needham, president of Heritage Action, the political arm of
the infamous right-wing think tank.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are in a war. We`re in a war to save this nation.
HAYES: No one voted for Michael Needham of Heritage Action or Matt Kibbe
of FreedomWorks, and yet they shut down the government. The speaker`s
excuse, it wasn`t his idea.
BOEHNER: Most of you know, my members know, it wasn`t exactly the strategy
that I had in mind.
HAYES: Now, that`s sort of true. Here`s John Boehner from March of this
BOEHNER: If we were to put Obamacare into the CR and send it over to the
Senate, we were risking shutting down the government. That is not our
HAYES: But that John Boehner and this week`s John Boehner sound very
different from shutdown John Boehner that held the American people hostage
because Heritage told them to.
BOEHNER: Well, I would say to the president. This is not about me, and
it`s not about Republicans here in Congress, it`s about fairness for the
HAYES: Sure, it wasn`t originally the speaker`s strategy, but he certainly
went along with it.
BOEHNER: If you`ll recall, the day before the government reopened, one of
the people at one of these groups stood up and said, well, we never really
thought it would work. Are you kidding me!
HAYES: Boehner seemed shocked that Michael Needham didn`t have the
interests of the entire Republican Party in mind.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, everybody understands that we`re not going to be
able to repeal this law until 2017 and we have to win the senate and win
the White House.
HAYES: Today with his rejection complete, it looks like John Boehner has
finally broken free of his puppet masters.
REPORTER: Mr. Speaker, are you asking these groups to effectively stand
BOEHNER: I don`t care what they do.
HAYES: There is no turning back for John Boehner or the Republican Party,
but admitting you are being manipulated is just the first step. The second
step is cutting the strings, leading on the issues that really matter,
BOEHNER: It`s not going to be an easy path forward, but I`ve made it clear
since the day after the elections, it`s time to get this done.
CARMEN LIMA: So we can count on your vote for immigration reform?
BOEHNER: I`m trying to find a way to go forward.
HAYES: No, it will not be easy, Mr. Speaker. But you`re a person now.
You`re in control of your own destiny, and you can prove it in one simple
way. All you have to do is bring comprehensive immigration reform to a
HAYES: Joining me now is Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Democrat from
And, Congresswoman, were you surprised by the vote tally on this budget
deal this evening?
REP. ROSA DELAURO (D), CONNECTICUT: No, I wasn`t. I wasn`t surprised. I
think that the sense was that while I don`t know that anybody thought that
this was a great deal, but that they, you know, thought that it should move
As for myself, it was a very tough decision, and I voted against the bill
tonight. You know, while it eases -- I actually think "The New York Times"
described it the best this morning as a minimalist budget deal. And while
it does ease the across-the-board indiscriminate cuts, the sequester, in
fact, we have seen an unbelievable erosion of the priority of this nation
in education and health care, child care, Head Start, biomedical research.
They suffered such a blow over the last decade that there is no ability, in
fact, to increase any of these efforts over the next several years.
And my view is that the sequester cuts ought to be gone permanently.
HAYES: Aare you surprised that John Boehner was able to hold the majority
of his own caucus, in previous iterations in which we`ve had bills, he`s
brought to a vote over objections from the far right, what has happened is
a minority of his caucus has joined with a majority of Democrats to pass a
bill. That`s not what we have tonight. We have 169 GOP yea votes and just
Is this a breaking point for the power of the Tea Party caucus on the House
DELAURO: You know, I don`t have any idea. This is, you know, what goes on
within that Republican conference.
We`ll see where they are on -- you know, they`re holding back on
immigration. You know, they`re hell-bent on the farm bill to cut $40
billion in food stamps and they haven`t changed their spots in that
They may have decided that they have suffered serious political blowback
and that they would move forward here. And they, you know, may regard that
cuts and pensions, sequestration, in fact, not removed permanently. And
that some of the other pieces that are -- there was a no-growth economy
here, that the austerity continues.
DELAURO: That may be enough to satisfy them and that is not what satisfies
me -- that we have to be involved and investing in jobs and in an
infrastructure and worker training and education if we are to grow this
That is not what this budget bill is about, which is the reason why I voted
And in addition to which, and probably this is the one that they may have
been most pleased about, while they did take care of the doctors for the
next three months --
DELAURO: -- and I`m supportive of that effort, what they did with regard
to unemployment insurance and extending these benefits, that is
unconscionable. That is one of the basic reasons for voting against this
bill. You know --
HAYES: Congresswoman, we`re going to dive into that, because I want to
explain for the audience at home what the doc fix is and why it`s so
egregious. But I appreciate you making such a strong case for a no vote
and against the glide path towards austerity and continues austerity our
program tonight. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, thanks so much.
DELAURO: Thanks so much. Appreciate it, Chris.
HAYES: All right. Joining me now is John Stanton, Washington bureau chief
for "BuzzFeed". So let`s get into a few things here.
First of all, what the congresswoman just said. I think this is a perfect
study in how Washington works.
The 1.3 -- I think it`s 1.3 million unemployed, who are going to get their
benefits for now three days after Christmas. They`re out of luck.
Republicans wouldn`t include in the bill.
But quietly behind closed doors, Republicans did slip into this bill a fix
for doctors so they would not see their reimbursement rates on Medicare go
down dramatically, right? This is known as the doc fix. So, doctors who
are generally fairly well-compensated individuals, they get what they need,
the unemployed, out of luck.
JOHN STANTON, BUZZFEED: Yes, the unemployment insurance issue has become
one of these things were Republicans, they have not felt enough blowback,
frankly, particularly in the House, from their constituents. I think in
large part because of the way districts are drawn. So, they can go in and
say, well, look, we will extend it if it`s totally paid for, by cuts to the
discretionary spending and other parts of the budget, but we are not going
to agree to it.
And you know, that`s what they forced in the last iteration of this thing.
And, you know, it doesn`t hurt them anymore. And this is sort of a
fundamental shift on this debate. And in the past, these unemployment
insurance extenders have always been sort of done. And it was a bipartisan
HAYES: Yes, and particularly under conditions, 7 percent unemployment.
You have -- and long-term employment at historic levels, essentially. This
is one of these things there`s a bipartisan consensus for that has come
undone in recent years.
HAYES: Now, the other thing that`s fascinating about this vote. And I
want to bring in Dr. Julianne Malveaux as well to talk about this,
president emeritus of Bennett College for Women, contributing writer to
"Essence" magazine -- is the fact that I feel like we`ve hit a kind of
turning point in the politics of this. You`ve got some yay votes on this
from Ted Yoho, who`s the large animal veterinarian who famously said it
would be no big deal if we blew through the debt ceiling. He was a yay on
You`ve got some other folks who were definitely in what was called the
suicide caucus by Charles Krauthammer. They were voting for it as well.
Is this a kind of breaking point for the power of that caucus?
STANTON: I think so. Again, Yoho, from Michigan, who`s been a reliable
rank and file conservative vote, these guys have sort of finally found the
moment where they can step away from Heritage Action and some of these
other outside organizations and find a way to operate a little bit.
I think, you know, they saw what happened with the government shutdown. It
hurt them very bad. And they got some of that ground back, because of the
problems with the Obamacare Web site and all oft. And I think they really
feel like they don`t want to lose --
HAYES: They don`t want that again.
HAYES: As an economist, is there any kind of substantive argument to not
extend emergency unemployment for long term unemployed under these
JULIANNE MALVEAUX, BENNETT COLLEGE: There`s no argument whatsoever. This
is the craziest thing I`ve seen. As you said, they got the doc fix in,
they`re not taking care of the unemployed. Not giving them additional
checks actually hurts, not helps the economy.
We`re taking spending the dollars out of the economy, at a time when, quite
frankly, down to 7.7 percent unemployment, that`s no great thing to say. I
mean, the recovery remains precarious. The only people who are fat cats
these days are those who are Wall Street. So, your basic Joe and Sue, who
need their dollars, are not going to get them, December 28th, the last day.
I was just with some folks.
By the way, a shout-out to the students at John Jay College, who I was with
But, you know, we`re talking about, what difference does it make if you
lose just one paycheck? I say, let`s go back and look at sequester.
MALVEAUX: Just one paycheck is a lot for some people.
HAYES: And the savings rate in this country, particularly if you look at
the working poor or even folks that would count as the middle class,
there`s not a lot of cushion in savings, right? So, if you miss one check,
you miss whether that the shutdown pay check or you missed your first check
three days after Christmas, which people know, you are spending a lot of
your disposable income in this month, you`re going to be in trouble.
MALVEAUX: We`re talking mortgage, we`re talking eating, we`re talking so
many things, and we`re talking 1.3 million Americans. We`re talking people
in states where there`s extraordinarily high unemployment. We`re also
talking about states, well, one in particular, North Carolina, where they
changed the statement unemployment level to much lower than it was before.
So, these are people who aren`t going to get anything. Kay Hagan is trying
to fix this. But it`s going to be rough sledding.
HAYES: And also, John, to me, what`s such a study in the way that
Washington works is that the unemployment extension was an issue, OK? It
was an issue. It was pro and against, and it`s polarized.
The doc fix, OK, which is making sure the doctors get paid what they want
to be paid, right, that wasn`t an issue. That wasn`t on the front pages,
that wasn`t being debated. That was just, oh, very quietly, we all agree,
the doctors have to get paid.
MALVEAUX: It`s called a fix. Why don`t we call about the work fix?
HAYES: The poverty fix or the unemployment. The doc fix, it`s like
there`s a thing that`s broken that of course we have to come in and fix,
right? But there is no unemployment fix.
STANTON: And there`s no unemployment lobbyists, either.
HAYES: Thank you.
STANTON: And also, you know, the doc fix, the ironic thing about this,
they`ve been doing this as long as I`ve been a reporter, for 15 years.
Every once in a while, they have to come in and give them more money and
they sort of figure out a way to do it. But if you`re poor, the
unemployed, they don`t have a really loud voice in Congress.
HAYES: We should make the point, on the merits about the doc fix, a sudden
massive catastrophic drop in the payments to doctors would be bad policy
and screw up a lot of providers. It`s not a question of whether that`s
good on the merits.
MALVEAUX: It`s not an either/or, not at all. But at the same time, you
know, if we`re talking about merits and we`re talking about public policy,
as Rosa DeLauro said, what about our national priorities?
MALVEAUX: We are falling behind other countries, because we don`t want to
deal with poverty elimination, because we haven`t seen people get a raise
in how long. Because you`ve got grown people who work for McDonald`s and
Walmart, we still think they`re all kids -- no, these are grown people --
who are making $7 or $8 in change. Or Walmart, not the pick on them, I
don`t know, I don`t know anything about them, actually.
MALVEAUX: But, you know -- I don`t know how much money these folks spend
over the Thanksgiving holiday. If you watch any television, they are
barraging you with, we have benefitis at Walmart, give me a break. They
also tell you that, you know, their LBGT employees get marriage quality.
Yes, if they work full-time.
HAYES: Right. And I think also, John, that the where we go from here
question I have about John Boehner is why can`t he just bring up
comprehensive immigration reform? It`s like, those people have been
routed. They`ve been broken. They voted for you on this thing, you won,
you whooped them. They have no credibility, you said yourself. They`re
the ones standing in the way of this thing. It passed by broad majority in
STANTON: You know, it`s an interesting question, and I think he`ll
probably end up spending a lot of the Christmas break trying to figure out
what to do with that. I don`t think they`re going to do a full bill. They
sort of made that very clear and it would be difficult for him to walk back
But they could move this as a series of three or four bills and, you know,
have larger and smaller number of Republicans vote for them. But I do
think, it looks like this is broken to a certain degree right now. So --
HAYES: You`ve cut the strings, John Boehner, now, be a human. Be a full
John Stanton and Julianne Malveaux, thank both.
MALVEAUX: Thank you.
STANTON: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, FOX News takes on black Santa?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: So in "Slate", they have a piece, on dot-com, Santa
Claus should not be a white man anymore. And when I saw this headline, I
kind of laughed and said, this is so ridiculous. Yet another person
claiming it`s racist to have a white Santa, you know. By the way, for all
you kids watching at home, Santa just is white, but this person is just
arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa. But Santa is what he
is, and just so you know, we`re just debating this because someone wrote
about it, kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK, there are several things wrong with that clip we just played
and we`ll talk about all of them with the woman who wrote that "Slate"
HAYES: Hello and good tidings to you. Next up, we`ll be addressing the
very real fear of a black Santa. Yes, during this season of kindness and
giving, some folks are arguing that Santa ain`t Santa if he ain`t white.
But back to this being the season of giving, have you thought about what
you`re going to give your loved one. Do I count as a loved one? Can I
count as a liked one?
All you have to do is go to Facebook.com/allinwithchris and like our page.
Just like that. It`s a virtual stocking stuff. It`s a great page. And
Santas of all stripes are welcome, of course.
Thank you. Stay tuned.
HAYES: FOX News broke a big story last night, in case you missed it. In
exclusive reporting from that network, both Jesus and Santa Claus are
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: In "Slate", they have a piece on dot-com, Santa Claus should not be
a white man anymore. When I saw this headline, I kind of laughed and I
thought, this is so ridiculous. Yet another person claiming it`s racist to
have a white Santa, you know?
And, by the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white,
but this person is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black
Santa. But Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we`re just debating
this, because someone wrote about it, kids. OK, I want to get that
The author seems to have -- you know, she`s African-American, and she seems
to have real pain in having grown up with this image of a white Santa and
she speaks about it kind of honestly, saying, I didn`t really understand
why that had to be. So I`ve given -- her name is Aisha Harris. I`ve given
her, her due on where she was going with it.
But just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn`t mean it has so
change. You know, Jesus was a white man too, but, you know, it`s like, we
have -- he was an historical figure, that`s a verifiable figure, as is
Santa. I just want the kids watching to know that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK, that bizarre segment on Megyn Kelly`s show on FOX is based on
this article by Aisha Harris, in which Harris talked about how alienating
it was growing up as a black girl and seeing a white Santa outside her home
and a black Santa in her home.
"Seeing two different Santas was bewildering. I eventually asked my father
what Santa really looked like. Was he brown, like us, or was he really a
Out of deference to the same concerns that Megyn Kelly had about children
in her audience, we hear at ALL IN won`t present the most rock-solid
refutation of the argument that Santa Claus is white, if you understand,
but just wait until FOX viewers find out that Santa Claus is actually a
black man pretending to be a black woman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ho, ho, ho. (INAUDIBLE) Go see Madea`s Christmas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We`ll instead point out this simple verifiable fact. In different
parts of the world, Santa Claus looks different. Aside from the fact that
the race of Jesus Christ is a matter of sustained debate in biblical
circles, there`s been less scholarly debate on Santa Claus`s race, again,
for some obvious reasons.
But just as a note, you would think it might be nice to have, I don`t know,
one person of color discussing this issue, and just because the panel
discussed other hot topics like the pope doesn`t get them off the hook. Or
maybe Kelly could have had on her show the author of the piece in question.
We`ve done just that.
Joining me now, Aisha Harris, a blogger for "Browbeat", Slate.com`s culture
blog, author of "Slate" piece, "Santa Claus should not be a white man
So, where do we start on this? I actually, I thought the piece made a very
simple, and I thought really good point. And something that has been in my
mind recently, because my daughter the other day said to me the first time,
like, what`s Santa Claus? What`s the deal with Santa Claus?
And kids are so obsessed with Santa Claus, and I had never considered, just
like what message that sends that Santa Claus is white.
AISHA HARRIS, SLATE.COM: Well, I think it`s really important to note that
Santa Claus is one of the very first kind of iconic figures that kids come
across when they`re children. And for me, at least, I know it was very
confusing and I felt like Santa wasn`t -- the black Santa wasn`t the real
And for me, this article was a chance for me to kind of poke a little fun
and suggest, there are other ways to think about Santa. He doesn`t always
have to be white, even though movies, TV, media, everything tells us that
Santa, the default is white.
HAYES: I really liked the way your fathered threaded the needle when you
asked him. He said, basically, the part of Santa is that he would be able
to take on the appearance of the homes into which he went, which seems to
me like a good response.
HARRIS: It`s a good response. I don`t think I quite bought it, but, you
know, I appreciated it. It was a noble effort.
And I think -- that`s why I think the penguin, which I suggested, would be
a great quite a few substitute, because for one thing, animals for kids are
much more believable --
HAYES: Right. This is where you took some heat from the Megyn Kelly
segment we played. I should note that one of the panelists did defend you
and spoke highly of your writing.
You know, basically, that you cannot, through some misguided attempt of
political correctness just change what is this iconic figure that we`ve all
HARRIS: Right, that`s my problem with the phrasing is the political
correctness. Because to me, it`s not being politically correct. It is
opening your mind and being more creative and looking beyond what the norm
is considered. Santa Claus, and maybe we should warn parents to turn off
the TV right now.
HAYES: OK, keep going.
HARRIS: Santa Claus is not real. He is, as I think Monica Crowley noted
in her segment, he is based on St. Nicholas, who was a European saint, a
historical figure. But that Santa -- Santa now looks nothing like that
Santa does. We`ve completely kind of changed the way --
HAYES: Right. Let`s just be clear. There is no historical Santa Claus,
right? We have a figure, there was a St. Nicholas figure, the traditions
around the St. Nicholas Christmas celebration, the depictions of that St.
Nicholas, who traditionally was a very skinny figure.
In Amsterdam, there`s a tradition where he`s accompanied by, as David
Sirota (ph) once famously said in a very routine, six to eight black men,
who may or may not be slaves, this is a real thing, I`m not making this up.
But our Santa Claus is a collective creation. There`s no historical
figure, verifiable or not, about which we can make claims.
HARRIS: Exactly, he`s a huge hodgepodge, which is why there shouldn`t be a
problem with taking a different stance on it.
HAYES: Can I also say this? I thought the Jesus thing was interesting
too. I do think like the idea that we have -- that we have to, in this
society, think about race as these like fixed things that are out there in
the world, like he is white. Like, whiteness is a thing, it`s a thing in
the world, the way like gravity is or planets or plants or trees and you
name it and he is white and that`s just the way reality is.
Well, I have news for you, Jesus wasn`t white, because the category white
didn`t exist when Jesus was around in the Roman empire. That is a
construction that was made later on for very intense social reasons. We
have this idea that there`s something essential we`re getting at when we
use those words.
HARRIS: Exactly. And I think that`s probably what bothered me the most
about it, was the way that Kelly and the others kind of -- she said it just
so angrily. And it kind of sunk into me, it felt like, you`re insisting
that this not-real figure must be white speaks to a larger problem of us
always thinking, well, this fictional character must be white.
Like, they can`t be -- there`s the "Hunger Games" controversy last year
with the character who was written in the book as being someone of color
and then when the movie was cast, with a woman of color, people were up in
arms and said, well, she can`t be, she`s -- why is she black?
HAYES: And now we have a Spider-Man who is African-American, it appears,
HARRIS: Well, I don`t -- no. The comic, he`s Latino.
HAYES: Latino, I`m sorry, the comic, he is a non-white Spider-Man. And
there was a sort of similar question of like, can Spider-Man be non-white?
HARRIS: Right. Exactly. And I think Donald Glover at one point was
trying to campaign for the role, and that didn`t come to pass, but -- yes.
HAYES: Yes. So to summarize, again, parents, if you need to, you know,
turn off the television.
But to summarize, I think you`re right. Social constructions and
collective enterprises of imagination, in periods in which we stress at
holiday charitableness and openness, inclusion is probably a better way to
go around these holiday times.
HARRIS: I would agree, especially for kids.
HAYES: Exactly, especially for kids. Especially for kids.
Aisha Harris from Slate.com -- thank you so much.
HAYES: Coming up, a controversial new law has been passed by the Michigan
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Republican male majority continues to ignorantly
and unnecessarily weigh on important women`s health issues that they know
about. I think the fact that rape insurance is even being discussed by
this body is repulsive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You did not miss here.
More on that story, next.
HAYES: The sentence I`m about to utter is going to sound insane, but it is
true. Republicans in Michigan have passed an initiative that would, in
effect, require women to take out rape insurance.
I know, I know. That does not sound like it could be true, but that is
what happened yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE SEN. GRETCHEN WHITMER, D-MI: This tells women that were raped and
became pregnant that they should have thought ahead, and bought special
insurance for it. By moving forward on this initiative, Senate Republicans
want to essentially require Michigan women to plan ahead, and financially
invest in healthcare coverage for potentially having their bodies violated
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was Michigan Senate minority leader, Gretchen Whitmer, who
revealed publicly yesterday that she, herself, is a survivor of rape. It
happened two decades ago.
The initiative she was speaking out against effectively bans private
insurance companies from covering abortion as part of their standard
healthcare plans. Which means you would have to purchase separate abortion
insurance in the form of a special rider.
So, if, say, you were raped and need an abortion, too bad. Should have
bought rape insurance ahead of time. Your standard Michigan health
insurance plan cannot cover abortion under any circumstances.
Eight states already have laws in effect restricting insurance coverage for
abortion. Just one of them allows coverage for rape victims, and while
most of them allow for special abortion insurance riders, an expert at the
Guttmacher Institute told us today she does not know of any where they`re
actually offered. So even if you want to buy insurance, to specifically
cover the often-unexpected situation in which you would terminate a
pregnancy for any reason, you`re probably out of luck.
Now, think for a minute about what the Republican party is saying here.
They are making it clear, they are quite willing to intervene in a private
health insurance market, not to make sure people have basic package of
care, not to control spiraling healthcare costs, not even to make sure that
poor people are getting covered. No, they will intervene in the market in
order to stop insurance companies from offering coverage for a legal,
constitutionally protected medical procedure.
A party that does that is a party that is committing political suicide.
And if you think that is hyperbole or doubt that, consider this: even the
right-wing governor of Michigan, Republican Rick Snyder, did not want his
party to pass this into law; Snyder vetoed a similar measure last year,
saying, quote, "I don`t believe it is appropriate to tell a woman who
becomes pregnant due to a rape, that she needed to select elective
insurance coverage. And as a practical matter, I believe this is a type of
policy is an overreach of government into the private market."
But Snyder couldn`t stop this initiative, because it was introduced through
a citizen`s petition, backed by Right to Life of Michigan, which got
signatures from 4 percent of the state`s voters. So the law is set to take
effect after 90 days with the countdown starting tomorrow.
But there`s one thing that could stop it. If opponents get about 160,000
signatures before that 90-day period is up, the initiative will, instead,
be put up for a vote next November. And the last thing Republicans want is
for this thing to go to a vote. And do you know why? Because they`re
forcing women to buy rape insurance. That`s why.
Ninety days, 160,000 signatures, the clock is sticking, Michigan. Go get
HAYES: Coming up, there has always been at least one good thing about
flying: that you didn`t have to listen to other people`s cell phone
conversations while in flight, but that might be about to change. More on
First, I want to share the three awesomest things on the internet today.
The first comes to us from National Public Radio, which did a story last
year week called The Afterlife of American Clothes, chronicling how used
and donated clothing from the United States eventually ends up in Sub-
Most of it comes from charities like Good Will or Purple Heart, which packs
up clothing by the ton and sends it across the ocean in container ships,
where much of it makes its way to used clothing street markets in places
like Nairobi, Kenya.
This one particular shirt caught the producer`s attention. Dancing with
the Tunes. The custom made (ph) shirt from Jennifer`s bat mitzvah in
November 1993. The shirt had a name inside, Rachel Williams, and so to
close the loop, they say, NPR posted to its Tumblr page a call for
assistance, can you help us find the original owner of this shirt.
One man who took up the challenge was from a Jewish news service who used
Facebook and searched for people named Rachel Williams, who had a friend
named Jennifer ,who would both be around 13 in 1993. And get this: it took
him two tries and he found her. It was indeed Rachel Williams` shirt. She
had donated it about five years ago, and she was thrilled to find it had a
second life in Kenya. Read the whole story at NPR.org, which will either
warm your heart and faith in humanity, or chill you to the bone over just
how easy it is to find someone on Facebook.
Second awesomest thing begins with an afternoon tweet from the White House
Twitter feed today. President Obama holding a sign explaining that
Americans need to get covered under Obamacare, because nobody should go
broke just because they get sick.
Not ten minutes after the Obama tweet, the Twitter feed of Senator Ted Cruz
took the Photoshop bait. Get covered because Obamacare canceled. You`re
blah, blah, blah. But there was more creative internet trolling, like, "get
covered because we`re up all night to get lucky." "Get covered because
luckies (ph) have consequences."
Buzzfeed`s Andrew Kaczynski added this one of his own and aggregated some
others like, Obama holding plans for death star, a picture of Obama and the
Danish prime minister, some picture from "Modern Family," and shameless
pleas for followers on Twitter, which actually isn`t a bad idea.
And our third awesomest thing on the internet comes not from the internet,
but from an actual, physical, printed newspaper which is being killed by
the internet. We saw it because someone took a picture of it and put it on
the internet. It is the farewell edition of The Onion, the final printed
version of the legendary satirical newspaper, hitting newsstands today for
the last time after 25 years of publication. In an homage to print media`s
annihilism you would never know it`s their last. "Onion print revenues up
50,000 percent." "Digital media revolution still another 70 or 80 years
away." "Nation just prefers feel of newsprint in hand." And "city planners
call for widened sidewalks to alleviate congestion around Onion newspaper
boxes." Ironically, the very digital properties The Onion says it will
now concentrate on have helped make the print edition obsolete. Onion.com,
you had me at your cable news spoof, the Cressbeckler Stance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government`s calling back more chickens that they
say is contaminated with the chicken curse. Well, I say no good chicken
soup for me, thanks, if you`re too lazy to strangle your own bird maybe a
week on the privy would straighten you out!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Production values are so good! You can find all the links for
tonight`s click three on our website, allinwithchris.com. We`ll be right
HAYES: A big announcement from the FCC today could make air travel even
more unpleasant if you can believe that. They are now considering allowing
airline passengers to use cell phones in flight. That comes on top of
another piece of bad news for air travelers, a fee hike in the new
bipartisan budget deal that will, as Jetblue put it, quote, "definitely
drive up the cost of your air travel."
Those new fees will be in addition to the baggage fees that everyone hates,
which let us all remember, proliferated in 2008 because of a spike in fuel
prices. And even when fuel prices came back down, the baggage fees, of
course, stayed put.
If you are traveling this holiday, you will, no doubt, have conversations
about how crappy flying on airplanes is, about what a hassle it is, how it
keeps getting worse, from being forced to pay for adequate leg room to the
fact that you can`t even get a free meal anymore if you`re flying domestic.
Now there`s a thought of some loudmouth sitting next to you on a cell
phone, droning away about some power point presentation for a four-hour
But in such moments, I would urge you to remember the wisdom of Louis C.K.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOUIS C.K., COMEDIAN: I had to sit on the runway for 40 minutes. That`s a
story in this country. That`s a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hardship, that you had
to sit on the runway. People will listen to that story. They`ll stop
doing the dishes and turn around and go, oh, my God, really, for 40
minutes? That`s awful. I had to sit on the runway for 40 minutes. Oh, my
God, really? What happened then? Did you fly through the air like a bird?
Incredibly? Did you soar into the clouds impossibly? Did you partake in
the miracle of human flight? And then land softly on giant tires that you
couldn`t even conceive how they (EXPLETIVE DELETED) put air in them?
How dare you?! Bitching about flying. I had to pay for my sandwich.
You`re flying! You`re sitting in a chair in the sky!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`ve got to say, Mr. C.K. makes a pretty good point. Air travel in
the U.S. is shockingly safe. Between 2007 and 2012, there was exactly one,
one fatal crash of commercial U.S. airline, killed 50 people. During that
same time span, the number of traffic fatalities was over 200,000.
To put it another way, you are probably more likely to die driving to the
airport than flying across the country. And also, the on-time rates for
airlines are more than 80 percent. So as Slate`s Matt Yglesias wrote,
"When you can show me you`re showing up on time 90 percent of the time,
Joining me now, comedian Lizz Winstead, Paul Hudson, the president of
FlyersRights.org and an aviation attorney, and the aforementioned Matt
Yglesias, business and economics correspondent for "Slate".
So, Matt, you wrote what we like to call in the business kind of a slate
pitch about how flying actually isn`t terrible. Everyone complains. They
need to get over it. What is the case?
MATT YGLESIAS, SLATE.COM: Well, you know, I mean, flying is not only safe,
but it`s much safer than it`s ever been before. And it` also quite a bit
cheaper than it was if you go back 20 or 30 years in the past, to what
people consider to be the good old days of flying.
And so if you look at things like, well, you`d have to pay extra to get
some more leg room, you`d still be getting with those premiere seats a
cheaper flight than you would have had a generation ago. And I think it`s
really a sort of a pretty impressive thing that the industry has done.
You know, it`s not to say that there`s no problems with it, but we`ve seen
steady, continuous improvement in the safety of the service, in the price
of the service. And, you know, it`s a really convenient way to get around,
as Louis C.K. was saying. It`s kind of amazing.
HAYES: I`m going to bracket for a second, the sort of carbon emission,
environmental problem of the amount that we fly, which is a huge issue that
we`re gonna have to deal with, we`re gonna deal with in some kind of
comprehensive way with a cost on all carbon emissions. So let`s bracket
that for a moment, but just acknowledge that`s a big problem.
But Paul, at the kind of service level, do you agree with Matt?
PAUL HUDSON, FLYERSRIGHTS.ORG: Well, he`s very humorous and he certainly
makes interesting comments. And I would agree. I`ve been on the FAA`s
Advisory Committee for Safety for over 20 years. It`s certainly excellent
safety, but that`s because of excellent regulation and better technology.
What has gone down since deregulation is the level of service. And it`s
hard to find anyone who has flown in the 60s and 70s, who would say that
service is better today than it was then. You`d have to go overseas for
HAYES: Isn`t that partly because it`s converted, though, from a luxury
good? This is a real kind of first-world problem issue, right? Like, the
people that are flying a lot are people that are relatively affluent, have
a relative amount of privilege, and so have a relative sort of, you know,
control over the national political conversation, I want to say. And
they`re frustrated with the fact that flying has gone from, essentially, a
luxury good, Lizz, to a kind of commodity good. Like, it`s not that
different from taking a bus used to be.
LIZZ WINSTEAD, COMEDIAN: Well, except for it`s like taking a bus, but it`s
still really expensive. So that, I think, is the problem, is that even
though it`s cheaper than it was in the 60s, you`re right. Service -- you
feel like you`re in a dumpster and you`re still paying a lot. And it`s
problematic. I mean, fly tons. I probably fly seven times a month. And
so, yes --
HAYES: That sounds horrible.
WINSTEAD: Yeah, exactly. And so, when you`re flying seven times a month
and you`re on the plane and all of a sudden there`s somebody next to you
eating a Whopper, and the person next to them is removing their nail polish
and you want to --
HAYES: Wait -- I`m going to stop you there. That`s a complaint about
human beings, not about airplanes. I think there`s a category error often
in people`s complaints about flying, which is to complain about their
fellow humans as opposed to a complaint about airlines.
WINSTEAD: But who says, yes, you can do that on a plane? There should be
-- if you`re going to make rules about planes, don`t extend --
HAYES: OK, don`t extend the ability to do all those things.
WINSTEAD: That`s right.
HAYES: I want to talk about the most bizarre aspect of the U.S. airline
industry to me, which is this. Most years, as an entity, it is not
profitable. I do not understand how this exists. How flying continues to
happen, despite the fact that most years the industry as a whole loses
money, we`ll kind of figure that out.
HAYES: We`re back. I`m here with Lizz Winstead, Paul Hudson, and Matt
Yglesias, talking about why airline travel is so frustrating and maddening
and also kind of a miracle at the same time.
All right, big thing happened in the 1970s. We basically deregulated the
industry. The prices dropped. Competition increased; prices dropped.
This is airline prices from 1979 and 2011. They`ve fallen considerable
over the last 30 years.
Now, here`s the thing I was saying before we went to break, that just blows
my mind. These are the years the industry was profitable: 2000, 2006,
2007, 2010. Four years, OK? The years it was not profitable: 2001, `02,
`03, `04, `05, `08, and `09, which is to say, Matt, it is not profitable
more than it is profitable. I don`t understand how the modern airline
YGLESIAS: Well, it starts -- there was a certain amount of bailouts at one
YGLESIAS: That`s crucial to any sort of good old-fashioned American
business enterprise. But also, we have quite a few fewer airlines than we
used to have. A lot of these airlines went bankrupt, precisely because it
hasn`t been a profitable industry. And a lot of the people who work in
this industry have taken it on the chin as well.
You know, investors who put their money into these companies lost it.
Banks who lent money to airlines lost it. Taxpayers have put money in.
And the unions have made a lot of givebacks over the past 10, 15 years.
It`s been, you know, the competition has been good in a lot of ways for
consumers, but it`s been brutal on everyone who participates in the
HAYES: But, Paul, you know, it feels like everything`s squeezed, like,
physically squeezed, like squeezed into the plane and metaphorically
squeezed, and like squeezing pensions and squeezing services, and squeezing
everything out of everyone involved in the industry.
HUDSON: Well, what hasn`t been squeezed, looking forward, instead of back,
are airline profits. If you look at the stock of airlines, the U.S.
carriers, they more than doubled their stock price in the last year.
And there are many low-margin businesses, the food business, travel and
tourism, generally, provides a ton of jobs, and good customers for
airplanes, which is the most big ticket item that America makes. But the
fact that they don`t make a large profit is not necessarily bad.
HAYES: But, it does mean that there`s sort of always -- it seems to me
that it`s always hovering on precariousness. Like, you feel that now,
Lizz, as a customer, which is that you feel the cost cutting, at every
single interface, with the airline, you feel the cost cutting. It`s like,
what am I going to pay for next?
WINSTEAD: Well, and that`s what`s crazy about it, for me, is that not only
do they not -- they cut things out. They don`t -- it`s like, the cost
doesn`t seem to drop that much because of it, right? So they cut out
meals. And then they charge you for bags. And then they charge you for
another bag. And then also, like, the food at the airport is really
expensive. So, that`s -- it`s not like, oh, there`s a great to be had if
you can`t get food on the plane. It`s crazy.
HAYES: And there`s also the fact that -- and I think this is part of what
offends our sensibilities, my sensibilities, as an egalitarian -- is that
this -- the more and more finely grained level of class that the plane is
pulling off, right? So it used to be that there was essentially first
class and there was coach, and first class, business class, and coach. Now
there is first class, business class --
WINSTEAD: Extra sort of economy room. Everybody has to feel like they`re
HAYES: Right, right. And we feel like you are constantly being pegged as
what you paid, and Matt, that`s what economists call price differentiation,
and I feel like you`re a defender of the practice.
YGLESIAS: Well, you know, I think it makes a lot of business sense. It is
true when you sit there, particularly when you`re waiting to board and they
call out all the different kinds, you know, not just the classes of
seating, but your premiere executive, your 1K (ph), the secret global
services, you know, it is a little off-putting.
And I think there`s a rationality to price discrimination, but also,
there`s a reason why. You know, if you go to a restaurant, they don`t,
like, class you into different groups. Like, "Well, you`re a disfavored
diner." You know, sometimes they`ll be nice to regulars, but --
-- you do wonder how far you can really go with this kind of slicing the
WINSTEAD: But it feels like all they do you`re diamond, premiere,
executive, and then they call it out to platinum and then copper and some
other mineral, and then it`s just, "And the great unwashed." The rest of
you can just, like, board, cattle.
HAYES: Paul, do consumers have much concerted power over airlines? It
seems to me like they`re increasingly immune from these kinds of
complaints. You see it on Twitter all the time, like half of Twitter is
people complaining on air travel, and the airlines are kind of like, "What
else are you going to do?"
HUDSON: One of the things the public doesn`t realize is that an unintended
consequence of the deregulation act was to exempt airlines from all state
and local consumer protection laws and most torts (ph).
So you really have no rights, other than maybe the right to complain. And
if it`s a really gross abuse, the airline might get fined. But unless
you`re physically injured or killed, you really don`t have much in the way
of legal recourse against an airline these days.
WINSTEAD: And I think one of the things that people experience more than
anything else is an airline person telling you no, when you know that the
answer can be yes. Every step of the way, the no that happens that can be
yes, it`s maddening.
HAYES: It is the absolute feeling of impotence, of powerlessness, that you
are rendered by the interface of the airline industry. That is the thing
that inspires rage. But then there`s also moments where I have this weird
kind of glint of kind of like, class anger, where I kind of like the fact
that some privileged person is getting told no. But that`s just my own
Comedian Lizz Winstead, Paul Hudson from FlyersRights.org, and Matt
Yglesias from "Slate", thank you. That is "All In" for this evening. The
Rachel Maddow show starts now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I am kind of hung up on the combination of the
nail polish remover and the Whopper in the same row with Lizz. I think
I`ve been on that flight with Lizz, actually.
HAYES: I believe it.
MADDOW: Yeah, I agree. Thank you.
Thanks to you at home for joining us for this next hour. I appreciate you
So Congress is done. The House is over now. They have gone home. It was
only just last week that they came back from their Thanksgiving break, but
now as of tonight, they have already gone home for Christmas. Must be
nice. They`re gone for Christmas. They`re gone for New Year`s. They`re
gone for the first part of January. See ya! We`ll see you well into next
year. They are putting the House of Representatives to bed. And it turns
out they`re going to bed mad.
Contrary to the advice of all the old wives` tales and the relationships
columnists, John Boehner and House Republicans have decided to start a huge
fight in Congress
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