'The Melissa Harris-Perry Show' for Sunday, March 16th, 2014
Read the transcript to the Sunday show
March 16, 2014
Guests: Marcus Mabry, Aisha Moodie-Mills, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Phillip
Atiba Goff, Marcus Hunter, Mark Phariss, Victor Holmes, Melissa Gira Grant,
John Brabender, Greg Feith, Perry Bacon, Julian Zelizer
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC ANCHOR: Plus, the new study on how police
perceive young black men and the unlikely champions for justice in Texas.
But first, the biggest mystery in the world today, where is flight 370?
Good morning. I`m Jonathan Capehart in for Melissa Harris-Perry.
The search for Malaysia airlines flight 370 and the 239 people on board is
growing ever more expansive. This morning, the Malaysian minister of
transportation announced that the area being searched is bigger than ever.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDUL AZIZ KAPRAWI, MALAYSIAN MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION: The search area
has been significantly expanded, and the nature of the search has changed
from focusing merely on seas, we`re now looking at large tracks of land in
every country as well as deep and remote oceans. The number of countries
involved in the search and rescue operations has increased from 14 to 25,
which brings new challenges of coordination and diplomacy to the search
effort. This is a significant recalibration of the search.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: The new search area is based on information reported yesterday
that a private satellite company picked up signals from the plane hours
after it lost regular contact, apparently due to an intentional act to shut
down the plane`s communication systems.
The area stretches in two arcs from Turkmenistan to Thailand in the north
and from Indonesia to the remote southern Indian Ocean in the south.
Malaysian officials also announced yesterday that they believe the plane
was diverted from its original path as a result of a, quote, "deliberate
action." This morning, they said they are investigating the plane`s crew
and passengers as well as staff on the ground and looking at four motives,
hijacking, sabotage, personal problems and psychological problems.
Yesterday, Malaysian police searched the homes of the flight`s pilot and
co-pilot. They even confiscated the pilot`s homemade flight simulator.
Malaysian officials are coming under increasing criticism for not moving
more quickly to expand the search area once it had radar data showing the
plane catch flying for hours after it lost regular contact and for waiting
for a week to search the pilot`s home.
Officials in China were almost two-thirds of flight 370`s passengers were
from have been especially critical, demanding more detailed information
from Malaysia and sending its own technical advisers.
After more than a week of searching, there`s still no physical sign of the
Boeing 777, a jet with a 200-foot wingspan that weighs 420,000 pounds
For more on this incredible mystery of a story, we have NBC news
correspondent Kerry Sanders live in our Washington bureau.
Kerry, what`s the significance of this search area expansion?
KERRY SANDERS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, it would sound like it`s
actually good because the reason they can expand the area is because they
are at the same time eliminating areas. So, let`s look at the map here,
As we look at the map here, of course, first let`s look at this is the
known flight of where the 370 lost contact and then we move to the west.
And see the Malacca strait there? That`s already been ruled out.
Now, as we cut over to another map, I`ll show you the areas that they`ve
actually searched. It`s all along the coast here. So they`ve looked all
along there. They haven`t seen anything in that area along the coast that
tells them there`s any evidence. So that now leaves this vast area here,
the Indian Ocean. Consider it`s more than twice the size of the
continental United States. They have the Bay of Bengal here. And now, as
you just noted, up here to about 11 countries or so up in central Asia.
And again, remember, some of that area is mountainous, so it`s difficult.
As they start moving into this area up here, it`s actually good, because up
here they can use the satellites, as you mentioned. They can look at
something because it`s a two-dimensional view, whereas, down here over
water, it`s three dimensional, because things sink down in the water.
The other piece of the puzzle here, which I think is important, is you
mentioned about how that piece of equipment on the plane was disabled. It
is called ACARS. It`s sort of up in the top of the plane. As it`s flying
along, it`s sending out a signal. And it`s just sending back data bursts
of information. In this case, about once every hour, information about how
much fuel the plane is using and how the engines are running, whether
they`re hot or whether they`re running at the proper temperature. So, as
they`ve been using all of that data, it appears now that it was
intentionally turned off. No doubt it was in the first hour of flight. So
it suggests that really going back to what the Malaysian officials have
been saying for two days, that this was a deliberate act.
CAPEHART: NBC`s Kerry Sanders in Washington. Thanks.
Now joining me from Denver is Greg Feith, former investigator for the
national transportation safety board and an NBC News aviation expert.
Greg, this is an enormous search area. How do investigators narrow it
GREG FEITH, FORMER NTSB INVESTIGATOR: Right now, Jonathan, really they
can`t narrow it down. They`re trying the best they can based on some very
generalized data that they`re getting off of the ACAR satellite in these
pings. Without the data burst that Kerry was talking about, which would
have given them very specific information as far as their location, now
they just have a generalized area. I think that`s one of the reasons that
they`ve expanded this search to both land and sea.
CAPEHART: How do you conduct a search like this? Where do you even start?
And how do so many countries coordinate their efforts?
FEITH: It is a daunting task. And you have to, you know, get all the
assets together. And then literally put together a grid of what your
probability is of finding anything. So they`ll assign each of these
different countries and their assets to a particular area in that grid and
make them responsible for covering that. And again, not only will they do
it on land, but they will do it on sea.
The question is how they`re going to do it on land. Aerial observation is
one thing, but if this airplane has gone down into a jungled area or a very
remote area or even in a mountainous terrain like Kerry had described, that
makes it more difficult, especially people on the ground. That`s so much
territory to try and cover.
CAPEHART: Now Greg, explain the significance of the pings that we keep
hearing about connected to this story.
FEITH: The ping itself, the way the ACAR system works in brevity, if you
will, is that it`s a box that is a repository of information. So the
airplane has a number of different systems. It sends all of the results of
these status updates from the airplane to this box. The box then
communicates to a ground station via a satellite and says, I`ve got some
information for you, are you ready to receive it on the ground? The ground
then communicates back to the airplane saying, yes, so they handshake and
then once that handshake is made, then there`s a burst of data. It`s all
of the data that was in the repository about the health of the airplane.
What has happened is the flight crew has actually turned off the data
portion. So even though the information was collected by the box, it is in
limbo. It was turned off. So now the ping, if you will, is the airplane
telling the ground station, I`ve got information to send you, are you ready
to receive it? The ground station says, yes, I am. But unfortunately,
there`s no data to be downloaded. So it pings with no results, but it does
it automatically once an hour. And that`s how they`ve been able to track
how long the airplane was at least operational.
CAPEHART: Greg, that`s great information. Thank you, Greg Feith, in
FEITH: You`re welcome.
CAPEHART: After the break, the other big breaking news story this morning.
The vote is underway right now in Crimea, and Russian troops are poised on
the border of Ukraine. What happens next?
CAPEHART: We want to bring everyone up to speed on the story we focused
on, on yesterday`s program, the developing story out of Ukraine. At this
hour, the fate of Crimea lies in the hands of its people, as thousands
across the region line up to vote on the referendum on whether or not the
region will break away from Ukraine and move to align itself formally with
Voters have a little less than four hours remaining to cast their ballots.
But given the ethnic makeup of the people in Crimea, nearly 60 percent of
them being ethnic Russians, the vote results may be a foregone conclusion.
And the crucial development the world is waiting on is Vladimir Putin`s
What we know so far is that Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov told
U.S. secretary of state John Kerry on Friday that Putin wouldn`t make any
decisions on Crimea until after the referendum. Thousands of Russian
troops have amassed along the eastern Ukrainian border. Yesterday,
according to "the New York Times" helicopter-borne Russian forces seized a
natural gas plant near the Crimean border. While Russia vetoed the U.N.
resolution that said Sunday`s referendum in Ukraine was illegal, casting a
sole vote against a resolution.
China, which is Russia`s traditional ally on the council, abstained from
the vote. And tens of thousands gathered in downtown Moscow yesterday in
the largest anti-government demonstration since 2012 to protest today`s
vote in Crimea. Yet while so much of the world seems opposed to the
Crimean referendum taking place at all, it is happening as we speak.
Joining me now from Moscow is NBC News correspondent Jim Maceda.
Jim, given that the referendum vote seems to be a foregone conclusion,
what`s the sense in Moscow regarding Putin`s next move?
JIM MACEDA, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jonathan.
Well, this is when Putin`s chess game, if you will, get interesting. Let`s
start with the latest twist. And that is as Russia builds up its forces in
Crimea and along its border with Ukraine, we`re now learning that it`s
reportedly agreed to a truce with Kiev, a government that it doesn`t
recognize, saying there will be no military measures taken against
Ukrainian military facilities before March 21st.
So what does Putin do now? Well, analysts say that he has two choices, he
either accepts Crimea`s vote to join Russia, in other words annexes it
outright which would take a number of days, or he acknowledges the will and
desire of the Crimean people to join Russia, but doesn`t actually annex the
I have to tell you, the vast majority of public opinion here in Russia
expects Putin to annex Crimea, even if that triggers a wave of U.S. and
U.N. sanctions. And we`re not now talking about economic and financial
sanctions, not just visa bans. And the experts that we are talking to are
saying that Putin has indeed made up his mind to take back Crimea and that
nothing and no one will stop him at this point.
Now, the question is whether Putin will use Crimea, if you will, as a
launching pad to take other parts of Ukraine in the east, for instance,
where there are these ethnic Russian compatriots that need his help, he
believes. But so far, many of those Kremlin watchers we`re talking to are
saying that he`s going to stop his land grab with Crimea. That`s really
the big prize for him.
And he`ll keep his forces, however, in place as a reminder to Kiev and the
rest of us that at any time he can move and take more of Ukraine. But
really, the bottom line, Jonathan, is that nobody but Vladimir Putin really
knows his next move.
Back to you.
CAPEHART: Jim Maceda, NBC News correspondent. Thanks very much.
Now joining me at the table is Marcus Mabry, "New York Times" lead blog
editor, Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, an MSNBC contributor and fellow at the
LBJ school at the University of Texas, Beth Fouhy, senior editor at
MSNB.com and Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at
Princeton University and author of "Governing America, the revival of
Welcome on this momentous day.
Before we begin the discussion, I just want to bring up something Senator
McCain said, just coming back from Ukraine, expressed a very troubling
thought yesterday. Let`s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Finally, let me say a word about military
assistance, and this is my personal view. Ukraine is going to need a long-
term military assistance program from the United States, equipment both
lethal and nonlethal. When free people and patriots, victims of aggression
wish to defend themselves and their homes from further aggression and when
they ask for some modest means that can help them resist, I believe we
should provide it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: I mean, that was his personal opinion, but the fear -- is that
the big fear here, that there could be a need for U.S. soldiers or NATO
forces to go into Ukraine?
VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, NBC LATINO CONTRIBUTOR: Jonathan, last week the
Pew Institute did a study as where we are as Americans with regards to
Ukraine and just what international relations in general. We`re very
isolationists. We`re the most isolationists we have been in 50 years. We
are about two-thirds, about half to two-thirds of the U.S. public says, you
know what, we don`t want to get too involved in Ukraine. So even though
you have McCain saying this, remembers what America is thinking and saying.
JULIAN ZELIZER, PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: It`s about the public
opinion. It is also within the Republican Party post George Bush. You have
a big divide with people like Paul who are pushing back hard against
anything, other than sanctions even if that is something they`ll accept.
MARCUS MABRY, LEAD BLOG EDITOR, NEW YORK TIMES: I think we cannot
underestimate how dire the situation is. There`s another poll last week by
CNN that actually pointed out that Americans see Russia as a threat for the
first time in decades. We are already at a new cold war. It has begun.
The question is, Vladimir Putin is almost certain to annex Crimea today or
this week. And then after that, does he want eastern Ukraine or not? We
are before historical precedent here that is very, very scary. Once
before, the United States turned its back on Eastern Europe and let it fall
underneath Russia and soviet communist domination. Are we going to do it
again? How far are we willing to go? Will we send troops? Will Poland
determine that we must send troops to Kiev or even to eastern Ukraine to be
prepared to battle Russians? These questions are going to very quickly get
past any of the popular opinion we`re feeling now in the country.
BETH FOUHY, SENIOR EDITOR AT MSNB.COM: Yes. But you know what? Let`s
CAPEHART: Real fast.
FOUHY: Yes, real fast. John McCain, 2008, I was covering him. Russia
invaded Georgia. He proclaimed we`re all Georgians now. John McCain tends
do go down this route. He doesn`t necessarily reflect that many others.
CAPEHART: You said it and not me.
Up next, selling the affordable care act, is the president stuck between a
fern and a hard place?
CAPEHART: This week on a shopping trip to a New York City GAP store,
President Obama had his daughters` modesty in mind when he picked out crew-
neck sweaters for them instead of the v-neck version offered to him by a
salesperson. Because as he told the GAP employee, quote, "I`m worried the
v-neck is going to slip." Sasha and Malia may be lukewarm on their
father`s fashion sense, but he more than made up cool points with them
because of another choice he made to appeal to young people this week.
On Thursday, President Obama told Ryan Seacrest about Malia`s reaction to
his Tuesday appearance on "Between Two Ferns," a funny or die talk show
hosted by comedian Zach Galifianakis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I was at the dinner
table with the girls. And I said, well, you know today, I did something
today with Zach. It was called "two ferns," I think. Malia was so
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: If the president had been a regular viewer of the series, he
would have known the show`s stick is do subject`s celebrity guests do an
awkward and antagonistic interview with Galifianakis. And on that count,
the president`s moment in the hot seat is definitely delivered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS, HOST, BETWEEN TWO FERNS: I have to know, what is it
like to be the last black president?
OBAMA: Seriously? What`s it like for this to be the last time you ever
talk to a president?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: I love that every time I see it. He also, the president also
gave as good as he got.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GALIFIANAKIS: It must kind of stink, though, that you can`t run three
OBAMA: No, actually, I think it`s a good idea. You know, if I ran a third
time, it would be sort of like doing a third "Hangover" movie. Didn`t
really work out very well, did it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: And eventually, the president got around to the real reason he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: What we want is for people to know that you can get affordable
health care. Most young Americans right now are not covered. And the
truth is that they can get coverage all for what it cost you to pay your
cell phone bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Read between the punch line, and it`s clear that President
Obama`s turn at comedy was really just a different approach to another role
he`s been playing of late, presidential pitchman. With the clock winding
down on the affordable care act`s May 31st enrollment deadline, the
president is making a final inning appeal to so-called young invincibles.
Obamacare`s success depends on those healthy young adults signing up in big
enough numbers to cross-subsidize older enrollees whose medical expenses
exceed their premiums.
Now, while the president was making a push to save his signature
legislation, a few pearl-clutching critics feared he`d sacrifice the
dignity of his office. Unimaginable that Truman, Ike, JFK, Reagan would
appear on "between two ferns," they carefully protected majesty of their
office, tweeted David Gergen, a veteran White House adviser to four
presidents. And of course Bill O`Reilly who said on his show, all I can
tell you is Abe Lincoln would not have done it. except president Lincoln`s
well-documented level for (INAUDIBLE) including a particular fund that
reflect once humor suggest that he has internet existed at the time, our
succeeds president might have gone viral. In fact, the American presidency
has managed to survive intact through a long history of oval office
occupants making with the funny.
Through Bill Clinton showing his sax appeal on comedian (INAUDIBLE) show
through Ronald Reagan joking at the height of the cold war about bombing
Russia, a moment of levity that the Kremlins took seriously.
And George W. Bush at the annual dinner of the radio and television news
correspondence association making light of that oh-so-hilarious time, he
started a war in search of weapons of mass destruction that didn`t really
If anything, President Obama`s viral video moment was in line with a long
tradition of presidents showing their humanity by showcasing their sense of
humor. But more than that, the president`s pitch was indicative of his
understanding of a more modern reality. An increasingly fractured media
landscape where there`s no longer a single, one size fits all way of
Take a look at this 2012 study of where Americans get their news. While
more people overall are still walking towards still turning to TV for their
news, those numbers are on the decline as are the numbers for all
traditional news sources, except one.
The only news source that is increasing in popularity is the exact place
the president went to pitch his plan, online. But the proof is in the page
views. More than 17 million already for the president`s interview on the
Funny or Die Web site, compare that to the 4.2 million who watched the
president`s last major on-camera interview when he sat down on Super Bowl
Sunday with Bill O`Reilly.
And then there`s already some indication that the president`s time "Between
Two Ferns" may be paying off. On Tuesday alone, the White House reported
more than 54,000 referrals from the Funny or Die video to the ACAS federal
enrollment site, healthcare.gov, which probably means the president`s
primary concern is that the dignity of Americans who for the first time
will be able to afford the cost of their care.
Joining the panel now from Washington, D.C. is John Brabender. John was
the senior strategist and media consultant on Rick Santorum`s 2012
And John, I`ll let you weigh in first here because I understand you are one
of those who take issue with the president`s decision to appear on "Between
JOHN BRABENDER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, let me say this. I think the
first thing you have to realize is there`s a symptom of a bigger problem.
And that is that under Obamacare, only 25 percent of the people who have
signed up are younger people. And for the model to work, it needs to be 40
percent. So I think the president was put in a situation where he now has
to try to do something drastic.
The problem I have with it is I do think this particular program at this
particular time when you have all the things going on in the world that you
have this president losing the respect not only of Russia but also many of
our allies that he`d pick to trade the dignity of the White House and
leadership for getting more web hits. And I think what it really does is
shows that Obamacare has some huge problems that are going to make this
something, anything but the affordable care act. It`s clearly going to
become more expensive for every American because of the way the signups are
CAPEHART: Julian, I want to play a memorable moment from another former
president speaking of the dignity of the presidency and of the White House.
Let`s take a look at that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. I dent think we should get Mr. Nixon`s
standstill for a sock it to me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sock it to me?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Now, John, if the presidency can survive Richard Nixon saying
sock it to me, then certainly it`s OK for the president to go on "Between
Two Ferns" to push a policy that is his signature policy.
BRABENDER: Well, my big problem is that on both sides of the aisle,
Democrat and Republican, we are tearing down the institution of the
presidency in this country. And I think both sides have to lower the
Second of all, right now with what`s going on in Ukraine, what`s going on
with Venezuela, what`s going on with jobs and so many places in the world,
the last thing this president needed to do is when his numbers are falling
to look like he cares more about humor and comedy than he does about
leadership. And so, I don`t blame the president quite frankly. I blame
those people around him. Sometimes you have to protect people from a bad
idea. They should have tackled him to the ground before they allowed him
to do this.
CAPEHART: All right, Julian. I mean, has the institution of the
presidency been destroyed because of "Between Two Ferns."
ZELIZER: Not at all. The dignity of the office might have been hurt by
campaign finance and issues like that, not by appearing on pop culture.
Presidents have been doing this for a long time. JFK actually did it as
well when he ran. And I think in this media environment, you have to go on
different kinds of shows. And the line between soft news and hard news is
no longer as clear as it used to be.
So, I don`t think this is what will hurt Americans` impression of the
presidency. I think if anything, reaching out to broader audiences is
something that presidents need to do now.
MABRY: From an international point of view, the biggest disgrace that our
country faces having linked, you know, in the U.K. until just last year.
It is the fact that we have millions and millions of uninsured Americans.
This is incomprehensible to our western European allies. And that really
is, I think, the greatest disgrace that they see for our nation.
CAPEHART: You know, Beth, I was going to ask you, I mean, what -- feeding
off of Julian`s point here, what option does the president have when only
five percent of the American people, young people, are getting their news
from, you know, the traditional means? What other option does he have?
FOUHY: Right. You have to go where people are. That`s the fundamental
change in the media landscape now. You go where they are. Young people
are on facebook. Young people are online. Young people are on these kinds
of shows. And another smart move, I think, with the president going on
this particular show is that Zach Galifianakis, he`s the hangover guy. The
folks they need to sign up are young men to the ACA. Younger women are
going to sign up. Younger women need doctors much more acutely than young
men. Young men really never go to the doctor unless they`re sick or break
an arm. So you want to get these young guys to sign up. That`s the real
key demographic and this is a very appealing form for that.
SOTO: And I think the bigger problem is, why wasn`t the president doing
this five years ago, six years ago? My biggest problem with the ACA is
there wasn`t an aggressive offensive play from the beginning. He had the
millennials charged up in 2008. Why didn`t he follow through? Perhaps if
we would have had this going on in 2008, 2009, the shellacking of 2010
wouldn`t have happened or maybe to the slightest.
MABRY: I think that`s the biggest risk, the political; risk. And the fact
what these what the Democrats were certain were going to be there, you
Know, that there are ace card in this midterm election is probably going to
be the thing that drags them down the most.
ZELIZER: I mean, part of public policy is explaining it to people, selling
it to people, especially something this complex. Congressional Democrats
have been very frustrated with the president since 2010, 2011 for not doing
that and allowing Republicans to shape this as some kind of socialist
intervention into America. And so, I think the problem with this is it
might come too late, not that it`s taking place at all.
FOUHY: Yes. And honestly, let`s face it. I mean, the thing President
Obama`s always been good at selling is himself. He`s never been great at
selling his policies. And even though this is his history and his legacy,
he`s been very meek about sticking his neck out and owning this. I mean,
this is fun and I think it is effective, but it`s not the kind of sales job
it needed right from the beginning.
CAPEHART: Everyone, stay with me. When we come back, I want to get into
what the Funny or Die video is really about, and it`s this one simple fact,
time is running out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GALIFIANAKIS: I want to thank President Obama for being on the show.
OBAMA: I`m going to press this.
GALIFIANAKIS: Don`t touch that, please.
GALIFIANAKIS: Thanks for the interview and thanks for letting me shoot my
show here all these years.
OBAMA: You`ve been shooting these shows here in the diplomatic room? Who
gave you permission to do that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We`re constantly looking at
different ways to reach Americans who don`t necessarily get information
about healthcare.gov from evening news broadcasts or from the newspapers,
but who might either, you know, watch the town hall we did last week with
Spanish language networks or watch Funny or Die or watch, you know, some of
the other things we`ve done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: That was White House press secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday
talking about some of the many ways the administration is letting Americans
know that time is running out to enroll in a health care plan. The
enrollment period, which ends on March 31st, was intended to insure people
purchase coverage before they get sick and really need it.
So far, 4.2 million people have signed up, but with just more than two
weeks left, that number still falls far short of the seven million
benchmark, the administration hopes to reach by the end of this month. And
while the White House has long predicted a last-minute surge in signups,
President Obama isn`t leaving that to chance. With the clock ticking down,
he`s giving it the full-court press. And who better to recruit for an
assist on Obamacare than the guy who always comes through in the clutch?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEBRON JAMES, NBA PLAYER: Hi. I`m Lebron James. I know how important it
is to take care of yourself, your friends, and your family. That`s why I
want to tell you about the health insurance marketplace at healthcare.gov.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: So Beth, I`m going to throw this to you -- actually, I`m sorry,
Vicky, this to you. Is the president communicating the urgency of the
SOTO: He is. He`s procrastinated. Again, I`m afraid it`s a little too
late for all of this. However, there are two weeks, and the millennials
and also Latinos are another key group the president has to get. We were
just talking off air, March madness.
I think this is a key time to get to this demographic. I also think the
president should have done a Telanovela to try to get the Latino population
CAPEHART: So how realistic is it, though, do we think that millennials
with two weeks before the deadline, that they`re really going to come out
and flood healthcare.gov and sign up at the very last minute? I mean, it
did happen in Massachusetts when Massachusetts did the same thing.
ZELIZER: It`s realistic to expect a surge, but I don`t think they are
going to meet their deadlines. And so, the two problems are not having
enough people and not having enough young people. And the administration
is very aware that the premise of this program is to bring all these people
in to lower the cost. So I do think there`s a sense of urgency. I don`t
think he can sell it based on urgency. He has to sell it based on quality.
So, he has to be careful in his messages and saying the right thing to
these millennials that this is a good deal.
CAPEHART: John, I want to bring you back here, John Brabender. How will
the president and affordable care act be judged if March 31st comes in and
goes and then enrollment numbers just don`t meet the White House goal?
BRABENDER: Well, it`s hard to judge because their original goal was seven
million and they lowered it down to six million. A McKenzie study came out
and found that only 27 percent of the people who are signing up were
uninsured to begin with. And, you know, you also have this problem of the
younger people not signing up.
But I find the real irony is that while Republicans have been talking about
repealing Obamacare, you have this president basically delaying the mandate
for businesses, delaying the mandate for individuals to sign up and
changing the hardship rules so if you`re breathing, you basically qualify.
He seems to be the only person really trying to repeal it at this point.
CAPEHART: Real quick question here, are we making a mistake by focusing on
this March 31st deadline and not thinking about the fact that the
affordable care act is on the books and this is a long-term project?
FOUHY: Yes, that`s what we should be focusing on. The point is all these
people are signing up, maybe a little short of the numbers they wanted, but
nonetheless people are gradually getting on to it. You can`t take away
something people have. The Republican argument is over. How do you take
away a right or an entitlement that they have? That`s the problem with
Social Security if you`re a Republican and think there`s too much public
spending on Medicare. People like these programs, and people are going to
like Obamacare once they`re on it and taking advantage of it.
SOTO: And we see red states signing up at higher levels than blue states.
So the people previously against the ACA or maybe lean Republican, they`re
like, this isn`t so bad.
MABRY: If the Democrats actually have kind of suffered their nightmare
scenario in the midterm elections and lose the Senate as well as not having
the house, if that happens, Republicans may well try to undo something
people have. And if not enough people signed up for it, they may pay a
CAPEHART: They`ve been running on repeal, but they haven`t talked a whole
lot about they`re going to repeal and replace it with what? It used to be
repeal, replace. Then it just became repeal.
ZELIZER: Yes. And the idea of repealing something where people now have
expectations of benefits is extraordinarily difficult. We`re talking
millions of people who will have a backlash against this. So, you know,
the history of all programs is it takes time to get them right. There`s a
lot of back and forth. There is a lot of mistakes made, even Social
Security. It wasn`t until 15 years after it was created that policymakers
in Washington said this thing is going to stick. So I think these
deadlines, I understand them, but we can`t measure its success yet.
CAPEHART: That`s a good point.
John Brabender in Washington, thanks so much for being with us today.
BRABENDER: Thank you.
CAPEHART: Up next, we`ll get a fresh report from Texas where the effort to
boost signups is underway right now. Our reporter is on the ground with
the up close and personal scoop. That`s next.
But first, the latest on missing Malaysia airlines flight 370. The search
was greatly expanded this morning to include large tracts of land in
central Asia as well as deep and remote parts of the Indian Ocean and
still, no sign of the missing plane.
Stay with MSNBC throughout the day for this developing story.
CAPEHART: We`ve been talking about President Obama`s multifaceted national
push to get people to sign up for health coverage before the enrollment
deadline. But all of its efforts ultimately boil down to this, individual
Americans assessing their health coverage needs and taking the time to
enroll either online, by mail, over the phone, or in person with specially
trained community navigators. And there`s one organization, Enroll
America, that has been working to make sure as many of those people as
possible get connected to coverage before time runs out.
For a look at exactly what that looks like on the ground, let`s go to
Houston, Texas, the state with the highest number of uninsured people in
the country, where thegrio.com political editor Perry Bacon has been
reporting on efforts underway this weekend to boost enrollment before the
open enrollment deadline hits at the end of the month.
Perry, what is Enroll America`s strategy for getting people to sign up?
PERRY BACON JR., ENROLL AMERICA: They`re trying to go everywhere they can
so they had five events. It`s like being at the end of a presidential
campaign. They`re trying to touch everybody they possibly can. So I went
to several events yesterday, two at churches, two at community centers,
there is one in YMCA today. And basically, you go to these events and it
is a lot of older people, a lot of older women particularly who want to
find out, some of them don`t use computers very well and they sort of admit
that. And they want to come and then you go to these events, you can
literally go talk to somebody who has a computer in front of them and they
kind of lay out for you, here are your options, make you help you sign on.
It take them hour at times. It must be, the average time is an hour to
sign up. But it makes people feel more comfortable they can do it in
person than those on the phone are at their computer at home.
CAPEHART: You know, one of the things, Perry -- I mean, Vicky de Francesco
Soto brought this up earlier about Latinos and them not coming out and
signing up for the affordable care act. Does Enroll America reach out to
Latinos? Have you seen -- since you`re on the ground, tell me, what are
they doing to reach out to the Latino community?
BACON: They have a bunch of events that are really targeted the Latino
neighbors. That would have two yesterday. And at each one of the event,
the city of Houston, despite Rick Perry, the governor being opposed to the
law, this is actually his funding translator, the people who speaks Spanish
and go to these events. So there`s a lot of events around town where they
have -- like it was yesterday, there was probably 100 people, all of whom
are Latino, all of whom were signed up. All of the navigators spoke
There`s a very big focus here on people who speak Spanish and making sure
they enroll in high numbers. Because Texas is among the 20 cities --
Houston is among the 20 cities that enroll America is very focused on
because Houston is a very large uninsured population.
CAPEHART: So Perry, what is turnout looking like? How many people are
BACON: So some of these events are very small. I went to one at a church
where there were like ten people. And that was by design. They want to
catch anybody they can whereas in the community center had about 500 people
in a four-hour period coming to these events. So the vast majority of
people, Jonathan, are going to sign up online. What they`re trying to
catch is people who are for whatever reason afraid to do it online at their
home and need extra help. They`re trying to catch whoever they can at
these events. There is two going on today. There`s a bunch going on next
week. There are lot of enrollment going on at churches as well as it
happening next week where your pastor will talk about -- like, Obama had a
conference call with pastors a few weeks ago. And they want pastors to
talk about during their sermons why you need to enroll in health insurance.
CAPEHART: Perry Bacon, thanks very much. Stay there. We need to take a
When we come back, after the loss in Florida, will Democrats rise to the
occasion, or will they sink?
Plus, the latest on the missing Malaysia airlines jet. Stay with us.
CAPEHART: We`re going to get back to our political conversation in a
But first the latest on the missing Malaysia airlines flight 370. Just
this morning, we learned that the search area has been expanded, stretching
in two arcs, one through central Asia from Turkmenistan to Thailand and one
from Indonesia to the remote southern Indian ocean. Here`s the Malaysian
transportation minister at a press conference earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAPRAWI: The search area has been significantly expanded, and the nature
of the search has changed from focusing merely on seas, we`re now looking
at large tracks of land in every country as well as deep and remote oceans.
The number of countries involved in the search and rescue operations has
increased from 14 to 25, which brings new challenges of coordination and
diplomacy to the search effort. This is a significant recalibration of the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: The plane with 239 passengers and crew aboard has been missing
since March 8th. Investigators believe someone on board deliberately took
the plane off course and disabled its communication systems, but we have no
word yet on a possible motive.
Stay with MSNBC today for the latest developments on this story.
For now, we turn back to President Obama, his messaging efforts on the ACA,
and the political football the issue continues to be. And Republicans are
eager to make the case that the law is a fumble for the president and the
On Friday, Think Progress reported that Obamacare opponents have already
run more than 30,000 television ads attacking the health care law and
Democratic candidates who support it. And this week brought an early
indication that for one Republican candidate, at least, it was money well
On Tuesday, in the special election for a house seat in Florida`s 13th
district, Democratic candidate Alex Sink lost to Republican lobbyist David
Jolley after Sink`s campaign was targeted with what the United States
called, quote, "a tsunami of advertisements tying her to President Obama`s
health care law."
So I`m going to bring this open to the panel. Is this special election an
indicator of what`s to come in the midterm elections?
Vicky, you`re shaking your head no.
SOTO: You know, for every instance we have of a special election going one
way, we have another one going the opposite way. I don`t think it`s a good
crystal ball. I think what`s going to happen in the midterm is going to be
pretty boring. We`re not going to have a wave. The Republicans have
already won as many seats as they can win. Maybe there will be a couple
seats changes hands, but that`s about it.
Also, looking in terms of the generic ballot, the Democrats have a slight
edge. That`s balanced out by the approval rating of President Obama. No
big story in the House. In the Senate, that`s where we`re going to see the
MABRY: Huge question mark.
SOTO: But that is. But in terms of the House of Representatives, which
people are trying to use as a crystal ball, it`s a no go.
MABRY: This was a very Republican district, in fact. And so, you actually
can`t actually go by this special election. But the fact is the Senate
landscape looks very dangerous for Democrats. And the fact that the
president is more unpopular than he`s ever been in his entire tenure and
the fact the ACA rollout has been a terrible failure, means the Republicans
will get to paint Democrats with this brush. There`s no way to escape it.
And I think that`s really, really dangerous for the Senate hopes of the
Democrats only on two (INAUDIBLE).
ZELIZER: And the crystal ball you have is history. Historically, the
second midterm goes poorly for the party of the president. Other than Bill
Clinton in 1998, these don`t go well. And if the Senate is vulnerable and
the House remains the same, that is a bad midterm for the Democrats.
FOUHY: Yes. The whole thing about the tsunami of ads, I mean, that`s
really a concern. I mean, money isn`t the only thing that wins elections,
but it`s a lot of it. And if it is only republican super PACs playing at
the level that they have been thus far, Democrats don`t get into the game,
it`s going to be very, very dangerous for these Democratic Senate
candidates and Senate incumbents. We have Democratic super PACs jumping up
for Hillary Clinton, who maybe isn`t even running for president. And by
the way, that is two years from now. How about Democratic super PACs
stepping up and saving the Senate for this president because if he loses
the Senate his presidency, hi presidential ambitions are basically in the
SOTO: And let`s not forget the states also. So, we`re looking at the
house. We`re looking at the Senate. But all politics is local. And the
type of policy that affects us day to day from abortion rights to even
immigration happening at the local level is at the state legislatures. So
we also have to keep an eye on that, on those concisions (ph).
MABRY: And Republicans already have a majority of the states.
CAPEHART: Right. But, as people live with the affordable care act, the
longer they live with Obamacare and the benefits they get from it, does
that help change the messaging for Democrats leading into the November
MABRY: Not in terms of the midterms.
CAPEHART: You don`t think if Democrats were to go around the country and
say, hey, your kids are on your health insurance until they`re 26 thanks to
the affordable care act, that you can get insurance now even though you
have this pre-existing condition, thanks to the affordable care act. They
can say that now.
MABRY: They`ve been saying that. They`ve been saying that for months.
And in fact it hasn`t worked. It hasn`t made a difference. (INAUDIBLE).
ZELIZER: There is still a lot of uncertainties about the law. And I think
that counteracts some of the positives at this moment you can sell. And
some of the delays that the administration itself has done make the
administration and its program vulnerable to the attack that we`ve heard
that something is wrong with this. So I think it`s going to take a little
more time until that argument can settle in.
FOUHY: You know what`s going to happen is after the midterms, if the
Senate goes to the Republicans and they start talking about repealing the
law, that`s when people are going to wake up and say, hey, wait a minute,
that`s not what I wanted out of this election. And then that`s when 2016
will make a big difference.
MABRY: It`s all get better and better for Hillary Clinton.
CAPEHART: Yes, got to go here.
Thank you, Perry Bacon in Houston, for being with us. And thank you Beth
Fouhy and Julian Zelizer here in New York. Marcus and Victoria are
But coming up next, a new study reveals disturbing trends about the
perception of young black men in America.
There`s more Nerdland at the top of the hour.
CAPEHART: Welcome back. I`m Jonathan Capehart, in for Melissa Harris-
We want to bring you an update on the latest news on the search for
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. We learn this morning that the search area
has been expanded, stretching into two arcs, one through Central Asia from
Turkmenistan to Thailand, and one from Indonesia to the remote southern
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN, MALAYSIAN`S ACTING TRANSPORTATION MINISTER: The
search area has been significantly expanded and the nature of the search
has changed -- from focusing mainly on shallow seas, we are now looking at
large tracts of land, crossing 11 countries as well as deep and remote
oceans. The number of countries involved in the search and rescue
operation has increased, from 14 to 25, which brings new challenges of
coordination and diplomacy to the search efforts. This is a significant
recalibration of the search.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: The new search area is based on information that a private
satellite company picked up signals from the plane hours after it lost
regular contact. The plane, with 239 passengers and crew aboard, has been
missing since March 8th. Investigators believe someone on board
deliberately took the plane off course and disabled its communications
systems, but we have no word yet on a possible motive.
This morning, Malaysian officials said they are investigating the plane`s
crew and passengers as well as staff on the ground and looking at four
motives, hijacking, sabotage, personal problems, and psychological
Yesterday, Malaysian police searched the homes of the flight`s pilot and
co-pilot, and they even confiscated the pilot`s homemade flight simulator.
We`ll continue to bring you the latest on this story throughout the day
here on MSNBC.
But now, I want to turn to an incredible new report that couldn`t be more
timely coming in the wake of stories involving Trayvon Martin and Jordan
Although we are in 2014, when it comes to race, we are reminded all too
frequently that it`s an area where we will still need lots of work. A new
report published in "The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology" and
called, "The Essence of Innocence: Consequences of Dehumanizing Black
Children" reminded me of this very fact.
Last year, I wrote about the rabid hate in Trayvon Martin that was
generated simply by my writing about him. At that time, the hateful
rhetoric that Trayvon Martin was a thug who deserved to die was as strong
as ever. Some readers took issue with the photo of Trayvon Martin that I
used, especially the one that showed him to be young and fresh faced, the
one you`re looking at right now, which he was. One reader went so far as
to chide me for not using what he said was the up-to-date picture of
The only problem, this is not Trayvon Martin. This is 34-year-old hip-hop
artist and actor The Game. Not only had Trayvon Martin just turned 17 when
he was shot and killed, the only tattoos on his body as revealed by the
medical examiner were on his right arm and left wrist. Needless to say,
instead of letting Jesus take the wheel, I let the reader have it. One
would have thought that that was that.
But then the reader responded with this, "The photo was sent from someone
who I believe is a trustworthy source. If that photo is not of Trayvon
Martin, I apologize."
If? Seriously? This is a term for the assumption this reader made about
Trayvon Martin without even checking to see if that picture was an accurate
representation. It is the insidious thing called "implicit bias".
Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our
understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner. And those
attitudes force us to have feelings about other people because of their
race, ethnicity, age, even appearance.
That`s exactly what this new report found, that African-American boys can
be seen as less innocent than their white counterparts. And one of the
most chilling findings in the report was how much more police use force
against young African-American children who are under the age of 18. The
study shows that this dehumanization of young African-American boys and men
is compounded by the fact that they`re often routinely estimated to be
older than their actual age. These findings are among many examples that
show us the struggle continues when it comes to protecting our young
African-American boys and men.
At the table still, Marcus Mabry, "The New York Times" lead blog editor,
Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, an MSNBC contributor and fellow at the LBJ
School at the University of Texas, Aisha Moodie-Mills, a senior fellow at
the Center for American Progress and co-host of Politini, which appears on
NBC`s "The Grio", Khalil Gibran Muhammad, director of the Schomburg Center
for Research and Black Culture.
And joining us from California is a Phillip Atiba Goff, professor of social
psychology at UCLA and director of the Center for Policing Equity. Phillip
is also co-author of "The Essence of Innocence" report.
Phillip, I want to come to you first. Let me start with the amount of
force that police use against young African-American boys. What did your
DR. PHILLIP ATIBA GOFF, CENTER FOR POLICING EQUITY: So, in the study that
we did, the officers that participated showed they had use of force about
three times as high towards black children as towards white children or
Latino children. It`s really important to note that these are just the
officers that participated in this study from one department. Perhaps the
most distressing thing is, I can`t tell you what the rates of disparity are
for black children across the country because there are no national data on
police use of force or police behavior generally, which is actually part of
what the Center for Policing Equity is trying to do across the board,
trying to put together national data so we can at least know where we are
on exactly those issues.
CAPEHART: So, Phillip, was there a reason behind why there was such an
overestimation of age when it comes to young African-American boys?
GOFF: Well, we believe there is a reason why. This is now confirming
evidence that Jennifer Everhart, Sandra Graham, many other social
psychologists are beginning to see, that in our minds, we represent
particularly those young men that we imagine are possibly dangerous to be
older than they are so that we`re essentially justifying the threat that we
So, if we`re seeing them as maybe suspected of a felony, suspected of a
misdemeanor, suspected of any crime, that black as opposed to white or
Latino in our study, boys those folks we`re seeing as older, it justifies
our threat an affirmative response to that threat.
CAPEHART: Khalil, I mean, this implicit bias is not new. I mean, all of
us around this table know it. But is it helpful to have a study like this
out there to educate folks on this?
KHALIL GIBRAN MUHAMMAD, SCHOMBURG CENTER: Absolutely. In fact, when
Phillip talks about the fact that there is not a national database of
police brutality or police interactions with black youth that are
inappropriate, it actually is a consequence of a much deeper and richer
history where we`ve not asked the kinds of questions that tell us something
that is pathological on the other side of the color line.
For example, we used to know, for example, that there were Italian-
American, Irish-American, German-American criminals in our midst. It was
what animated the progressive era in the 1920s, 1930s. But at a certain
point, we said, oh, they`re all white. It normalized behavior amongst
In other words, our capacity to actually study a problem is a consequence
of the racial choices we make in policy setting. So, the fact we don`t
have a national database of police brutality, the fact we don`t actually
have a long, deep tradition of implicit bias grows out of the fact we are
actually not making equitable choices about what`s wrong in our community.
Therefore, only black bodies bear the burden of having a problem in our
society by virtue of even our data set.
So, what Phillip is doing is actually revolutionary.
SOTO: The other thing in terms of psychology is these biases tend to be
implicit. And we do know that once an implicit bias comes to the floor
that you recognize, there`s this bias towards young black men, you can
counteract it. It doesn`t happen overnight, but I think this is where you
can intervene. In an ideal world, you would have training programs for
police officers for the criminal justice system to counteract that bias.
So, knowledge is power. We know it exists. Let`s take care of it.
CAPEHART: And, then, you know, Phillip, tell people why it`s important to
understand why these biases and this dehumanization can leave young men of
color more susceptible to having violence perpetuated against them.
GOFF: Yes, absolutely. One of the most important things about childhood,
one of the essential characteristics of childhood is that children are
innocent. That they`re needing of our protection. And if we take away
that innocence and that childhood protection early, then what we`re doing
is we`re exposing a population to greater risk.
I want to cut in here a little bit on one of the elements that we`ve been
touching on. This is not just a police officer problem. It`s very
important to understand that we did this with police officers. Sandra
Graham and Brian Lowry did this earlier with parole officers. But we also
do this with very liberal college undergraduates who show the same kinds of
effects. If anything, sometimes they`re even worse.
So, this is a human problem. It`s just that the consequences are way worse
when it comes to the area of policing, which is why the Center for Policing
Equity is putting together a national database, not just on use of force,
but also on disparities and stops so that we can a very least begin to
measure those things that we most need to manage for our vulnerable
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I think this study is so
critical to come to the floor, because you`re right, the key is to name
implicit bias. We`re in an era that when anybody suggests someone is being
racist -- and I`m so thankful that you really got on top of the Trayvon
Martin conversation, about putting up images of the wrong person so that we
can assume that this person is a villain.
Whenever we talk about racism, you have those folks who are, you know,
white people who say -- oh, you`re just being a reverse racist for even
bringing this to the floor. But the idea that implicit bias exists is
something that we should talk about, because we need to see black boys as
the victims that they are. And this conversation now is creating a space
for us to do that.
Trayvon Martin was a victim but wasn`t allowed to be because he wasn`t
allowed to be vulnerable, because he wasn`t allowed to have empathy. And I
think this is a great study to create that space for us to talk about that.
CAPEHART: And he wasn`t allowed to be a kid.
MOODIE-MILLS: Little boy.
Thank you, Phillip Atiba Goff in Los Angeles.
GOFF: Thank you.
CAPEHART: When we come back, I want to get into how some of these implicit
bias assumptions sometimes appear to extend to our elected officials.
Before we go to a break, though, this update on missing Malaysia Airlines
Flight 370. The French minister of transportation today announced that
France is sending to Malaysia three investigators from the Bureau of
Aviation Investigation. The agency that was responsible for investigating
the crash of Air France 447 in the Atlantic Ocean in 2009.
Stay with MSNBC throughout the day for the latest on this developing story.
CAPEHART: Congressman Paul Ryan wasn`t the only politician walking back a
statement this week because of its perceived bias. Minnesota State
Representative Pat Garofalo also found himself in a bit of hot water after
he tweeted the following on Sunday night, "Let`s be honest, 70 percent of
teams in NBA could fold tomorrow and nobody would notice a difference with
the possible exception of increase in street crime." Although Garofalo
initially stuck by his words, he had this to say on Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAT GAROFALO (R), MINNESOTA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Today, I want to
apologize for my comments and promise everybody that I will do my best in
the future to not repeat those mistakes. I don`t have a racist bone in my
body. I pride myself that I have tutored in inner city Minneapolis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: OK. That was another "Jesus, take the wheel" moment.
Isn`t his tweet an example of implicit bias that we`ve been discussing?
MOODIE-MILLS: It`s ignorant racism is what it`s an example of. It`s so
frustrating to me when these politicians get on television and they like to
pretend like, oh, I`m not really racist, I just say ignorant things and you
should excuse me.
No, it`s absolutely racist. You`re suggesting that black people on the
street are going to in some way insight violence and be criminals. And
that`s just a racist thing to say. So, don`t let him off the hook for it.
MABRY: I tutor, so I`m not racist. The amazing thing about what Paul Ryan
said was the fact -- he also said that he wanted us to kind of help out
these poor black people.
CAPEHART: Yes. Well, how about we let Paul Ryan, let`s Congressman Ryan
speak for himself. I think we have that.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: You know, your buddy Charles Murray or Bob
Putnam over at Harvard, those guys have written books on this, which is we
have got this tailspin of culture in our inner cities is in particular of
men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working
or learning the value and the culture of work. So, there`s a real culture
problem here that has to be dealt with.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CAPEHART: Now, let`s keep in mind that the Congressman Ryan did walk those
words back. His office released a statement.
"After reading the transcript of yesterday morning`s interview, it is clear
that I was inarticulate about the point I was trying to make. I was not
implicating the culture of one community but of society as a whole."
SOTO: Has he been to rural Texas or rural Appalachia? I mean, here he was
pinpointing one specific group. I think it is good that he`s talking about
poverty, but it`s not regrettably just for one group. It`s not just for
blacks or Latinos. It`s an all-around problem.
MABRYA: I think it`s interesting, Paul Ryan who`s again, so many social
programs that exist today, he says, oh, you should volunteer for your
church. Let all the churches take care of the poor people.
You know, I grew up poor from Trenton, New Jersey, raised by a single mom.
I benefitted from every single social welfare program that existed and was
able to go on from there to Stanford University and then to "The New York
Times". These programs don`t exist anymore. I started working when I was
14 and the program called Pida (ph), which is a summer jobs program for
poor kids. Pida doesn`t exist anymore.
MOODIE-MILLS: That`s the cultural problem. It`s the conservatives are
rolling back all of the social programs that actually benefit people
leaving in poverty. That`s the problem.
MUHAMMAD: But to the point, first of all, we can`t accept the construct
that social programs are the root of the cultural breakdown when, in fact,
we have social programs for wealthy people. We have social programs that
actually help to maintain an infrastructure that allows commerce to flow in
this country, which is not paid for by private industry.
Therefore, Paul Ryan is exacerbating this notion that only dependency works
amongst poor people as opposed to rich people who have been fighting
through the Koch brothers, for example, to hold on to their dependency for
deregulation, for corporate welfare, for a low-tax policy where you don`t
have to contribute to the very community like Boeing where you actually
MABRY: And those social programs created this massive kind of gutting of
the middle class in our country. So, you have companies making greater
profits than ever before, but in fact wages more stagnant than ever before
SOTO: It gets back to implicit bias. He is otherizing a certain community
which feeds that implicit bias we already have in our society.
MOODIE-MILLS: But my question would be, if Paul Ryan is so concerned about
these African-American men in the inner city, how involved is he with the
My Brother`s Keeper initiative that the White House just released? What is
he doing with that?
CAPEHART: And that`s a good question.
MUHAMMAD: Well, on this point, I actually think that program actually, if
you heard the president, if you heard the interviews with Bill O`Reilly
where Bill O`Reilly says we should have a culture of shame because of the
breakdown of the family, because that`s the number one cause, there`s this
House Budget Committee report that looks at the war on poverty. There`s
amazing convergence on the idea that there`s a cultural problem. And it`s
even implicit in My Brother`s Keeper.
I actually reject those ideas. I think that it is a structural problem
that interacts with individuals who operate from a set of limited choices,
which is to say then that we can`t entirely call what Paul Ryan said racist
necessarily because it is in the ether, and it affects all of us in terms
of the air and the ideas we communicate.
CAPEHART: Well, I just want to be clear. I don`t think, at least not to
my mind, the discussion was that what Paul Ryan said was racist but another
example of the implicit bias we`re talking about. And the report we`ve all
been talking about since the last break is an implicit bias against young
African-American men and boys.
I want to throw this out to the table. Is that -- do you think that
implicit bias also translates to African-American girls and women?
MOODIE-MILLS: Absolutely. You see that in the numbers. I mean, I just
did a report called "Beyond Bullying", looking at the school to prison
pipeline for LGBT youth. One of the things that comes out of the research
is black girls in particular in schools face more harsh discipline
penalties than do their peers and not for engaging in any activities or
behaviors that are more extreme or that are different than their peers.
But there`s some implicit bias happening against black girls where they`re
seen as being more aggressive, more difficult to manage. They`re being
pushed out of their schools, being arrested, being pushed into the prison
system. So, there`s absolutely a conversation that we should be having
about black girls as well.
CAPEHART: Real fast, Marcus.
MABRY: What really scares me is this is a horrible, vicious cycle that
feeds itself. And so, I want to know, where do we stop it? Where can we
stop it? Where do we start teaching about this implicit bias? Because
when you`re trying to turn around a 20 or 30-year-old, I think it`s often
CAPEHART: Marcus Mabry, thank you very much for being with us. Everyone
else is sticking around. We have a lot more to get to this hour.
But first up, after the break, an update on the latest with missing
Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. That`s next.
CAPEHART: In just a moment, we`re going to talk about why this map is so
important. But first, another map showing the widening search area for
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which is still missing, along with all 239
people aboard more than a week since it initially disappeared.
For more on this, we turn to NBC News correspondent Kerry Sanders live from
Washington, D.C. Kerry, what is the latest on this ever-expanding search
SANDERS: Well, the ever-expanding search area means that, first, they
found very little to go on. They`re working on some data points and that`s
So, let me just sort of take you here on the telestrator as you look at the
area. First, let me draw a line down along the coast here. So this is an
area that is primarily already been searched along the coast. Then you
have out here in the Bay of Bengal and down here in the Indian Ocean.
Those are two areas that require a fair amount of searching.
But remember, the planes are flying out of Kuala Lumpur, at least the
United States having this plane played out. So just going to the shore is
pretty easy because they can spend hours upon hours. They`re airborne for
about ten hours.
But when the flight goes all the way out here into the Indian Ocean, takes
three hours to get out, three hours to get back. That leaves about 3, 3
1/2 hours to spend searching out there.
So, it actually means that the more time spent out in these distances from
land, the actual less amount of time spent searching. And now, we`re
adding all of this area to the north up here on land. Land is good because
it means that it`s not just airplanes flying over searching, but it means
the possibility of satellites.
And many of the satellites have already passed over. So, it`s an analysis
of the pictures that have been taken to determine whether there is some
sort of evidence of a crash or a plane in a spot that it just does not
CAPEHART: Hey, Kerry, how big a role is the United States taking in this
SANDERS: Well, you know, because there are so many different nations
together, it`s not as if the United States is leading this. Primarily,
it`s the Malaysian government because they are the ones who have determined
now at this point that it is a criminal investigation. But the United
States, Japan, India, all the countries are working together.
Based on my conversations with the U.S. Navy, which has its P3 and P8
aircraft out there doing the search, it is extremely well-coordinated and
things are going well, but the National Transportation Safety Board and, of
course, Boeing, the manufacturer of the aircraft, while participating and
offering assistance, are not making the calls of what exactly is going to
CAPEHART: One more question, Kerry. Is there a sense that authorities in
Malaysia are sharing information with other countries, including the United
SANDERS: You know, there is a sense that quite frankly there may be some
information that they`re not sharing. And it may go towards a whole other
layer here, which is in the region, they may not want others to understand
how sophisticated their military apparatus is. And so, while they may have
more information available, they may not be sharing it because they don`t
want, for instance, China to know just how much information is being
gathered by their military apparatus every day.
But at the end of the day, I think we`re going to see this information is
going to make its way out. There was a lot of criticism, though, of the
Malaysian government for waiting eight days before they actually went to
the pilot and the co-pilot`s house and began taking items out like the
computers to see whether perhaps, there`s some information on those hard
disks that would reveal something about what happened to this flight.
CAPEHART: And also the homemade flight simulator. NBC`s Kerry Sanders in
Washington. Thank you so much.
CAPEHART: Stay with MSNBC throughout the day today for more developments
on this incredible mystery.
CAPEHART: Take a look at this list of counties. They`re all located in
the U.S. South, and what they have in common is something you might not
expect. These counties have the highest percentage of same-sex couples
with an African-American household in the country. This is the top 10 list
all located in the South.
If you look at a map of the United States, you can see that the majority of
same-sex couples with an African-American householder live in the South.
In 12 states, more than one in four same-sex couples are raising children.
Again, you can see that more than half those states are located in the
Higher rates of adults living with an HIV diagnosis also track along the
South, as you can see in this map produced by AIDS View, where the darker
colors show higher rates of diagnosis. And the South is home to the most
rapidly evolving views on same-sex marriage.
In the past decades, support for same-sex marriage increased by 26 percent,
jumping up to 48 percent of people reporting support. That`s exactly the
same percentage of Southerners who oppose it, making the region exactly
split on the issue.
And this year has started off with movement by three Southern states on
same-sex marriage. In Virginia, a federal judge overturned the ban on
same-sex marriage, a decision now being appealed. In Kentucky, a judge
ordered the recognition of same-sex marriages performed out of state. And
in Texas, a federal judge struck down a ban on same-sex marriage, a
decision also being appealed.
Questions of rights and protections for LGBT individuals are front and
center in the South, as are the individuals and couples who stand to
benefit from their extension.
Joining the table now is Marcus Hunter, assistant professor of sociology at
So, Marcus, we see that gay couples with an African-American household live
predominantly in the South. But that isn`t true overall. As we see in
this map in Southern states, the percentage of adults who identify as LGBT
is mostly below the national average at 3.5 percent.
But when we factor in race, the South stands out. What does that tell us?
MARCUS HUNTER, YALE UNIVERSITY: Right. Several things, I would say. So
first, I think it tells us about the re-concentration of black people in
the South, right. So Atlanta is a very striking example. In a post-1996
Olympics era, they`ve seen an increasing influx of black people across
I think one major driver in some ways a sort of push factor out of
traditional destinations has been the feelings of racial exclusion that
black, gays, and lesbians feel relative to their white gay counterparts.
So, the tradition of gay neighborhoods or gayborhoods, if you like, are not
necessarily places of inclusion for blacks, gays, and lesbians. So, this
adds to the draw to other places, right? So even if the place is more
socially conservative, the idea of going to a majority black location,
residence, locale, is appeals, across sex orientation as you`re implying,
blacks folks across sexual orientation are moving in large numbers back to
the South, if you like.
CAPEHART: Now, Aisha, we also know that a greater percentage of black and
Latino same-sex couples are raising children compared with their white
same-sex couple counterparts. More than half of black and Latino same-sex
couples are raising children as well as more than half of Latina same-sex
couples and 36 percent of black female same-sex couples.
So, we know marriage comes with a slew of protective benefits. What are
the implications for gay couples, especially gay couples of color, of a
turn towards legalizing same-sex marriage in Southern states?
MOODIE-MILLS: Well, the key stat that you didn`t mention is that these
families, these families of color, these African-American lesbians who are
raising children, are also more likely to be living in poverty. That`s
really critical to understand, particularly in the South, where it`s a
region that`s been unfriendly to and has very anti-gay policies on the
books. I think it`s going to be huge for the economic condition of LGBT
families in that region.
Families who are already in some way accessing social service programs,
families that are being discriminated against at work because, you know,
employment protections are not taking hold in the south as rapidly as we`d
like to see s even though marriage equality attitudes might be changing.
So, people there can still be fired from their jobs simply because they`re
So, I think that, you know, having marriage equality is really a good
barometer. Hopefully, it floats some boats. But the truth s there`s still
a lot of work we have to do, because as you mentioned earlier, these
changes that we`re seeing are going to happen through the courts. Don`t
think that the legislatures overnight are going to start passing pro-gay
CAPEHART: Yes, Mississippi, hello.
SOTO: As the token southerner at the table here, we have to be very
cautious about how public opinion translates into the electorate. We saw
here that we saw a doubling of the support for gay marriage, but this tends
to be millennials, also people of color, Latinos, and blacks.
And we also know with the exception of black folks, Latinos and millennials
are infamous for not turning out, especially in midterm elections. So, I
definitely agree with you, Aisha, it`s going to have to be through the
courts, because we`re not going to see the legislatures move any time soon.
What we do need is in the meantime, something in terms of civil unions and
anti-discrimination job rights. So, I think we also need the baby steps in
MUHAMMAD: There`s one other point Marcus mentioned at the top, which is
that it`s important to re-enforce one of the things that makes these places
attractive in the South is the larger proportion of a black community. And
with that larger black community comes greater acceptance of the diversity
within the black community, even though among socially conservative
evangelical blacks still we see very low rates of support for same-sex
marriage. But that also means within those LGBT communities, you had many
people not on the same-sex marriage bandwagon because they see it crowds
out some of the core poverty issues upon which black people had been
leading an effort to say, well, we happen to be gay, but we also are
starving, we don`t have quality jobs, and they find a space in those black
communities to organize around those issues.
CAPEHART: We`re literally running out of time, but is it possible for
there to be a connection, cohesion between, you know, the push for same-sex
marriage, for marriage equality and also for this push for job protections
and wage earning and things like that?
MOODIE-MILLS: Well, one rallying point that I see is really around the
issue of voting rights, because I think that it`s really -- it`s imperative
that the LGBT community understand that progressive issues generally and
certainly LGBT equality is not going to move forward when you have the
electorate that supports those issues being suppressed. So, I think there
could be coalition building around voting rights that could translate into
some of those other issues.
CAPEHART: Up next, Texas` unlikely heroes.
CAPEHART: In 1998, two Texas men, John Lawrence and Tyron Garner, were in
Lawrence`s apartment when the police, while responding to a report of a
weapons disturbance, arrested the men for violating the homosexual conduct
law. That law made it a misdemeanor to engage in, quote, "deviate sexual
intercourse with another individual of the same sex." The two men decided
to challenge the constitutionality of that law and their case made its way
all the way to the Supreme Court.
That case led to the 2003 landmark ruling overturning the Texas law and
setting a legal precedent protecting private same-sex sexual conduct. The
two plaintiffs were not active in any gay rights groups and had no past
history of activism. But they decided to make a stand against a law they
Tyron Garner told "The Houston Chronicle" in 2004, I want to tell other gay
people, be who you are and don`t be afraid. That case, Lawrence v. Texas,
changed our nation.
Now, it is again two men in Texas who are challenging the law and hoping to
advance rights for gay individuals. Partners Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes
have filed a lawsuit along with another couple challenging Texas` 2005
constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one
In February, a federal judge struck down the law but Texas is appealing.
Mark and Vic are now at the forefront of the fight, and they join us today
Thank you so much for coming on the show today. >
MARK PHARISS, PLAINTIFF: Thank you, Jonathan.
VICTOR HOLMES, PLAINTIFF: Thanks, Jonathan. Good to be here.
CAPEHART: So, tell me about your story. How you ended up joining this
HOLMES: Well, the whole thing started when we went down to apply for a
marriage license in San Antonio. And we were rejected. And that, as you
pointed out earlier, was definitely not right. We didn`t think it was
So that`s where we wound up saying, you know, this isn`t right. Someone`s
got to do something about this. So we did.
CAPEHART: It was just last month that a federal judge ruled in your favor
and declared Texas` ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. What was it
like when you received that decision?
PHARISS: We were -- we were ecstatic. We were so happy. But
interestingly, beyond being happy, we found ourselves crying. Something we
really didn`t expect to do. We -- I`m not really a crier. I only cry at
And we anticipated the judge would rule in our favor. Once we actually
heard the words that we were equal, brought something forth emotionally out
of us that we didn`t expect.
CAPEHART: Mark, you were out to friends and family when you joined this
lawsuit but not professionally. Taking on such a public role comes with
serious risks in terms of safety among other factors. You`re in a state
where less than two-fifths of people believe same-sex couples should even
have the right to marry.
So, what is it like being in such a public role in a state that trends more
conservatively on this issue?
PHARISS: Well, it`s obviously not a role I`ve ever played before. So it`s
unique. It`s by and large been very positive. We`ve had friends contact
us from Gun Barrel City where they have a lake house. They came to our
house and all were congratulating us. We`ve received letters from couples
who have been together for 30 years and 45 years from Midland and South
Padre, writing us letters, thanking us.
So, it`s generally been positive. My co-workers, it`s been positive. Vic
received a standing ovation at his work.
But I have lost a couple friends as a result who were opposed to us
bringing this lawsuit.
CAPEHART: I was going to ask you, such great news you`re hearing from all
these people, positive news and positive energy. But you are getting some
backlash from people.
PHARISS: We are. A little bit. I mean, we`ve been really amazed that
it`s been by and large positive, but there has been a little bit of
backlash for us, though it`s been by and large positive. We`ve been very
appreciative of that.
CAPEHART: Mark, you are also friends with Texas Attorney General Greg
Abbot, who is named in this lawsuit, and who has promised to appeal the
decision. A lot has been made of your friendship in the press. In many
ways, it`s emblematic of the lives of many LGBT individuals, especially in
the south, who have these relationships across ideological lines that
people who might not approve of their sexual identity.
Do you think these types of relationships have any impact on public opinion
about gay rights?
PHARISS: Oh, absolutely. They can`t help but have an impact.
As you noted earlier, back in 2005, 76 percent of the citizens voted in
favor of constitutional ban. Now it`s split 50/50. I think in large
measure, it`s because of communications that gays and lesbians have been
having with their friends and acquaintances and relatives.
I still don`t have all of my friends and relatives brought along on this
issue. My own twin sister is not supportive. So, we`ll just continue to
work on them. That`s one of the reasons we`ve been willing to be so
public, is to try to let people realize there`s a face to these issues.
CAPEHART: Vic, before we go, real quickly, once you do get the right to
marry, how quickly are you going to get married?
HOLMES: Well, we`re making arrangements. So, it shouldn`t be too much
longer after that.
CAPEHART: Days or hours are we talking here?
HOLMES: I`d like to go with minutes, but we have to get all the friends
and family together. So, we`ll have to see.
CAPEHART: Terrific. Thank you, Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes, in Dallas,
And thank you to my guests at the table, Marcus Hunter, Victoria
DeFrancesco Soto, Aisha Moodie-Mills and Khalil Gibran Muhammad.
Up next, the size of the underground sex industry in America.
CAPEHART: According to a new study, one industry in Miami accounted for
more than $300 million in 2003. I`m talking about the underground
commercial sex economy spotlighted in a new study funded by the Justice
Department, believed to be the first of its kind. It gathered data from
eight cities in cities in 2003 and 2007.
According to the "National Journal", Washington, D.C.`s underground sex
economy accounted for $100 million in 2007. In Atlanta, that same year,
But this study encapsulated just one part of what is more commonly referred
to as sex work, or as author and journalist Melissa Gira Grant argues in
her new book "Just Work."
In an excerpt published next week in "The Nation," she writes, "There is no
one sex industry. Escorting, street hustling, stripping, performing sex
for videos and web cams, the range of labor that falls under the umbrella
of the sex industry makes speaking of one just sometimes feel inadequate.
To collapse all commercial sex that way often risks conjuring something so
flat and shallow that it would only reinforce the insistence that all sex
for sale results from the same phenomenon -- violence, deviance, and
In many ways, the sex industry is just a part of the larger informal
economy, that shadow marketplace of work places with varying degrees of
regulation and legality.
Joining me now is Melissa Gira Grant, author of "Playing the Whore: The
Work of Sex Work."
Melissa, thanks for being here. Welcome.
MELISSA GIRA GRANT, AUTHOR, "PLAYING THE WHORE": Thank you for having me.
CAPEHART: So, we`ve heard a lot of misconceptions about sex trafficking
last month, especially when the Super Bowl was played. What are the key
myths you try to debunk in your book?
GRANT: My book comes from a place of starting with how sex workers think
of their work, right? Which is a perspective we don`t usually hear, even
in the media. And sex workers fundamentally regard their work as what they
do to survive, as what they do to make a living, particularly in a really
There`s so much pressure on people to just get by, and sometimes that means
doing work in the informal economy. Doing work that`s considered
So, for sex workers, their work is their job. It`s not a crime. It`s not
a personal failing. It`s not even necessarily something that they always
think of as abusive or violent, which are the misconceptions we do hear.
For them, they may experience those things. They may experience arrest,
violence, but fundamentally it`s their job and they want their rights as
workers to be regarded the same as any other workers` rights.
CAPEHART: So, what are your thoughts on the study done by the Justice
GRANT: It`s so important --
CAPEHART: I should say funded by the Justice Department, done by the Urban
GRANT: Right. But that`s an interesting -- I mean, we have to hold that
in our mind as we think about the study. Who funded it and where it came
You know, if the study did what it`s been represented as doing, which is
creating a picture for the very first time of the size and scope of the sex
industry, it would be ground-breaking. But the reality is, this study just
looked at a particular slice of the sex industry.
This looked at people who are more likely to experience criminalization.
They primarily talked to people who are incarcerated. When they even try
to find sex workers, they only talked to people who were already in a
prostitution diverse program. So, they didn`t talk to people in the sex
industry who weren`t already part of the criminal system.
And whey tried to talk to sex workers, they tried to find 80 sex workers,
which I think is a pretty small sample. They only found 36 sex workers.
So from 36 workers --
CAPEHART: For a national study.
GRANT: For a national study, they`re looking at eight cities. In some
cities, they didn`t talk to any sex workers at all. I don`t think we can
represent that as a true picture of what the sex industry looks like.
CAPEHART: We know you`ve been reporting specifically on transgender sex
work activist Monica Jones, who was arrested last year in Arizona, thanks
to something called Project Rose. Can you tell us more about that and
about her case?
GRANT: So, Project Rose is a prostitution diverse program operating in
Phoenix. And Monica Jones is a transgender woman, activist, human rights
activist, former sex worker who was a protester against Project Rose and
shortly after that, she herself was targeted for arrest. And she claims
that she was profiled by the police in this.
She`s doing something remarkable, which very few people who are arrested on
prostitution related charges do. She`s fighting her charges. She`s taking
them to court, and just on Friday, her case was postponed pending a
constitutional challenge to the prostitution statute that she was charged
This system is set up against sex workers to make them fearful. And these
diversion programs are usually all that we offer them to say accept that
you were guilty, don`t contest your charges, and just accept this 36 hours
of therapy, which is all that Project Rose offers to people.
CAPEHART: And Monica Jones was on "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" and she
described the stigma on sex work on her and other transwomen. Let`s take a
look at that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONICA JONES, TRANSGENDER RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Going through this process of
walking while trans and being assumed that I`m a sex walker because I`m
walking down the street from my neighborhood. It`s that whole rhetoric of
because you`re trans you`re a sex worker or because you`re a woman in
poverty, you`re a sex worker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAPEHART: What`s the prospect of her winning her case?
GRANT: It`s unclear. The stakes have also been raised in her case because
now we have a chance to look at this law manifesting prostitution that she
was charged with and this law now is what`s on trial even as much as Monica
might be. This law is used to target transwomen, as Monica was discussing,
and it`s a law used as a racial profiling law. I think that now that`s the
conversation we can finally have, not about sex work, but about the way
that police are targeting sex workers under these very vague laws.
Monica should be applauded for that.
CAPEHART: Thank you. Melissa Gira Grant, thank you very much.
GRANT: Thank you.
CAPEHART: If you are regular Nerdland viewer, you might know that
tomorrow, yes, tomorrow, we are launching something brand-new, the Nerdland
Scholar Challenge, even while Melissa is away from the show, on maternity.
She will be leading this online challenge about the intersection of
motherhood and politics.
You`ll learn facts like how many Supreme Court justices have been mothers.
The answer is two. Out of the four women Supreme Court associated
justices, three of whom currently serve on the court.
Melissa will be sharing facts like that during the challenge, while also
diving into the deeper questions of gender representation and parenthood.
You can still sign up. Just go to MHPShow.com and click on the Nerdland
Scholar Challenge graphic.
That is our show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching. I`ll see
you next Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.
Now, it`s time for a preview of "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT" -- Alex.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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