The Morning Now: 7/09/13

Protesters carry signs at an abortion rights march that originated at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas, July 8, 2013. The political battle in Texas over...
Protesters carry signs at an abortion rights march that originated at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas, July 8, 2013. The political battle in Texas over...

It’s been real, Governor. But something tells me we’ll be seeing you again.

But we must pull ourselves together and get on with the show! Today on NOW

Sam Stein, Political Editor and White House Correspondent, The Huffington Post/msnbc contributor (@samsteinhp)

Karen Finney, Former DNC Communications Director/msnbc Host (@finneyk)

David Carr, Business Columnist, Culture Reporter, The New York Times (@carr2n)

Ben LaBolt, Fmr. National Press Secretary, Obama Campaign (@benlabolt)

First up, day 21 in the Zimmerman trial, and proceedings appear to be coming to a merciful close. Yesterday saw a dramatic day of testimony from Trayvon Martin’s father, who denied allegations that he had initially told police the person screaming in the 911 tape was not his son:

In a heart-wrenching turn on the stand Monday, Mr. Martin was asked to explain the discrepancy between his initial reaction and the one that followed. He told the jury that the police were wrong.

“I never said that wasn’t my son’s voice,” Mr. Martin said.

Another potentially pivotal development was the judge’s ruling to admit a toxicology report which found a small level of THC in Martin’s system, enough to create “some level of impairment.” With the defense expected to wrap up it’s case in the coming days, speculation now turns to whether Zimmerman himself will be called to testify.

From Florida, we move on to (where else?) Texas, where the state Senate once again takes up its crusade to protect women by stripping them of their rights. The proposal in question would ban  abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, and institute regulations that would force 37 of the state’s 42 abortion clinics to shut down (If you would like to personally thank Governor Perry for his concern, be sure to leave him a going away message on our Facebook page). With states enacting 43 restrictions on abortion so far this year, is the pro-choice movement losing the abortion fight?

President Obama’s embrace of natural gas as the energy source of the future has earned him the ire of the environmental movement, and awareness of the controversial drilling method known as fracking has spread as its consequences have become increasingly evident. Filmmaker Josh Fox joins Alex to discuss his latest HBO documentary, Gasland II, in which he travels across the country exposing the influence of corporations behind the gas boom, the politicians in their pocket, and the communities affected by its environmental devastation.

Remember the sequestration? It sure seems like congress doesn’t, at least not since they scrambled to alleviate the inconvenience of flight delays brought about by its furlough of air traffic controllers. But for countless Americans, the effects are in fact very real, and very painful. A new piece by Sam Stein in the Huffington Post reveals the impact the cuts are having on low-income children and their families. He writes:

In Washington, the conventional wisdom has sometimes held that sequestration’s harms were oversold. Dire warnings of massive job loss never came true, while government programs used budget gimmickry to keep operating.

Outside the Beltway, the perception of sequestration is sharply, viscerally different. Budget cuts have resulted in fewer meals for seniors, less financial aid for scientific research, poorer natural disaster preparedness and more expensive treatments for cancer patients.

The Huffington Post set out to tell the story of another slice of sequestration: the damage being done to Head Start. The 5.27 percent reduction to the $8 billion program is having a devastating effect on families with children in the program, according to interviews with parents across the country.

Stein joins Alex in the studio to discuss the devastating effects of Washington’s failed gamble.

The Morning Now: 7/09/13