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'MHP' Syllabus: November 16

An early look at Iowa (yes, already), abortion rights under attack (again), and the indomitable Grace Lee Boggs will all be a part of Saturday's "MHP."
/ Source: MSNBC TV

An early look at Iowa (yes, already), abortion rights under attack (again), and the indomitable Grace Lee Boggs will all be a part of Saturday's "MHP."

Iowa governor Terry Branstad celebrates his 67th birthday Friday night. and serving as the fete’s keynote speaker will be none other than Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. Confused as to why a Congressman from Wisconsin is helping to raise money for the Governor of Iowa? Well, let’s just take a quick look at the the Branstad birthday bash’s past guests.

In 2012, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was there. In 2011, eventual primary opponents Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich all made it to Iowa for the event. Even George H.W. Bush attended back in 1985. Sensing a trend?

The Iowa Caucus might be two years away, but when it comes to getting noticed in the Hawkeye State, for a presidential hopeful, there is no such thing as arriving too early.

On Saturday’s Melissa Harris-Perry, our host and panel will discuss just why Iowa–a state that bears little resemblance to the increasing diversity in America–has so much power when it comes to picking our presidential front runners.

It certainly has been a rebuilding period for the GOP since the 2012 election. Reince Priebus launched an entire autopsy to get to the root of his party’s shortcomings with minorities and young voters. Now it looks like a new firm led by Katie Packer Gage, Mitt Romney’s deputy campaign manager in 2012, is opening its doors in order to help Republicans secure more female votes. Join us Saturday for a conversation on how to woo lady voters and exactly which female voters the GOP needs to turn – hint, it’s not the white women. 

NET Charter High School, a New Orleans school for at risk students, this week lost its fifth student to gun violence in six months. Terrence Roberts was 15 years old when he was found with multiple gunshot wounds in a vacant lot earlier on Monday night. As gun violence becomes seemingly more pervasive across the country, certain areas of America, like New Orleans and the surrounding areas experience this violence on a regular basis. We can count the deaths and use the data to push for stricter gun control laws, but truly understanding the effects this type of violence has on those who bear witness to it is much harder to document.

Host Melissa Harris-Perry will welcome author Jesmyn Ward, whose new memoir Men We Reaped, which explores the effects that violence and poverty has on these communities through the stories of five men she lost to suicide, drugs, drunk driving, gun violence and a car accident growing up in Mississippi.

Albuquerque, New Mexico is making headway on being the first American city to enact a 20-week abortion ban. The legislation will be voted on on Tuesday and if it passes, it will essentially affect the entire state as Albuquerque is home to the only clinics in New Mexico that offer the procedure. Join us Saturday when Harris-Perry will be joined by MSNBC national reporter Irin Carmon to discuss her new report on this chapter in the fight for female reproductive rights. Saturday’s discussion will also highlight this week’s article that shares the stories of multiple women who made the choice to undergo abortion procedures.

Activist Grace Lee Boggs and director Grace Lee (no relation) will join us in #nerdland to talk about their new documentary, American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs. The film documents Boggs’s extensive work as an activist from her involvement with the Communist Party, the civil rights movement and so much more.

Be sure to read what we’ve linked above, and watch Melissa Harris-Perry Saturday at 9 a.m. EST on MSNBC! Also, don’t forget to join us on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #nerdland.