A camera tree used to photograph vehicles that are speeding, or that run a red light, glows at dawn in front of a cluster of real trees along Military Road, Dec. 20, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

The January 19 ‘MHP’ Syllabus


Just days before the federal holiday in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., President Obama invoked the civil rights leader during a Friday speech on NSA reforms. As the president laid out the changes being made to the NSA in order to better protect the civil liberties of Americans, he connected the current state of domestic surveillance with that which took place at the behest of J. Edgar Hoover in monitoring Dr. King.

King was a major target of the FBI’s covert domestic intelligence program dubbed, COINTELPRO. Yes, the same man that our federal government devotes a day of reverence to was also a man that certain individuals within the government once deeply distrusted. On Sunday’s Melissa Harris-Perry we’re taking a deep dive into the history of domestic surveillance and the impact it continues to have on the nation.  

In 2011, President Obama fulfilled his campaign promise of removing U.S. troops from Iraq. The facts about the nearly 9-year war, that it cost almost 4,500 American lives and 800 billion dollars, can be quantified. What is harder to determine, are the lasting results. Just after the start of 2014, according to US Intelligence officials, Al-Qaeda linked Sunni radical forces planted their flag in Fallujah, claiming ownership of the city Americans lost their lives liberating. Now, for some, the question has shifted from who won the war, to what was accomplished. 

Coal is incredibly important to the West Virginia economy. It is also an industry rife with environmental consequences. West Virginia residents became the victims of one of those consequences when about 7,500 gallons of crude Methylcyclohexane Methanol flowed into a portion of the Elk River that runs through the southern state on January 9. The chemical, commonly known as MCHM is used to remove impurities from coal. The leak prompted the West Virginia American Water company to advise about 300,000 residents not drink or bathe in the water flowing through their pipes. The ban has since been lifted for those in West Virginia (pregnant women are still advised to avoid using tap water), but some are still skeptical as their water reportedly still smells strongly like licorice. What is even more unnerving is that apparently, there isn’t much by way of cold hard data on the effects of MCMH on humans.

#nerdland, you won’t want to miss the end of our show! On Sunday, in her first television appearance since being released from prison, CeCe McDonald will be speaking with us about being a black trans woman, being charged with second-degree manslaughter, and serving time in a men’s prison. Also, Laverne Cox, who plays transgender prisoner Sophia Burset on the hit Netflix show Orange Is the New Black and uses CeCe’s story as inspiration for her TV character, will be with us on set to discuss her upcoming documentary on CeCe and what it meant to see her released.

Be sure to read what we’ve linked above, and watch Melissa Harris-Perry Sunday at 10 a.m. EST on MSNBC! Also, don’t forget to join us on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #nerdland.