"We gather here to celebrate" are words I'm not sure you hear anywhere outside of a wedding. And perhaps outside of my late-eighties grade-school socials and your local easy-listening-and-R&B station, you don't hear Luther Vandross' classic "Here and Now" more often than you do when a married couple has their first dance at their wedding.
Matrimony, holy or otherwise, was this week's biggest news. President Obama took a historic new stance on marriage equality, becoming the first American President to state that he doesn't believe that marriage is just between a man and a woman. Whether you judge the decision as courageous, cynical, or catastrophic -- or don't care at all -- the President's now-completed "evolution" on the topic is incredibly newsworthy. As such, Melissa will lead an extensive conversation about it.
And yes, we'll cover the rather apocalyptic reaction to it by some folks on the Right (like Franklin Graham) -- pivoting to a conversation about how the continued religiosity and hard-Right stances that conservatives refuse to budge from are signaling, perhaps at just a deafening volume now, the end of moderation in politics. (For another signifier of that this week, we saw the career of Senator Richard Luger, considered a Republican moderate by some, end at the hands of a Tea Party challenger.) For that conversation, Melissa will talk to a man who has seen both sides of the aisle, and had Republican extremism cost him his seat -- former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter.
We'll also have updates on this week's breakthrough in HIV drug research, the resurgence of the Occupy movement, and Melissa's tribute to an "author of splendid nightmares" who we lost this week. Our guests will include:
- Lizz Winstead, political satirist, co-creator of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," and author of the newly-released "Lizz Free or Die."
- Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer for the Washington Post, and an MSNBC contributor.
- Joy-Ann Reid, managing editor of theGrio.com, and an MSNBC contributor.
- Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry and author of "Why Marriage Matters."
- Dr. Roy Gulick, chief of Infectious Diseases at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.
- Joe Watkins, former aide to President George H.W. Bush.
As always, folks -- be sure to interact with us during the show here in the comments of this post, on Facebook, and on Twitter, using the hashtag #nerdland. We look forward to having you join us at 10am ET!