The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 08/26/11
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Chris. Are you going to ride out the
storm in New York?
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Riding it out. I`m getting my
poncho, some bottles of wine, some crackers. It`s going to be groovy.
MADDOW: I remember wine from the must-do list.
HAYES: I texted my wife at the grocery, like, buy lots of wine
MADDOW: Also water.
HAYES: Yes, that one, too. Right. Yes, water.
MADDOW: Well, good luck, Chris. Thanks a lot. Have a good weekend.
HAYES: You, too. Thanks.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next
Roughly 65 million Americans are sitting in the path of an unusually
enormous hurricane that has been named Irene. We`ll report on Irene`s
location, intensity, likely path, and likely implications this hour.
We`ve also got a big update tonight on how Texas Governor Rick Perry
has funded his political rides – and how Elizabeth Warren is probably not
funding hers. They`re related.
There is a Florida Governor Rick Scott update regarding MSNBC`s
And for the first time anywhere, tonight on this show, we will have
an exclusive first look, an exclusive first preview of my documentary with
NBC`s Richard Engel about America since 9/11.
That`s all ahead this hour.
But we begin tonight, of course, with the hurricane that is bearing
down on the East Coast of the continental United States. This is what
Irene looks like from space – a powerful category two storm with a
diameter of about 510 miles. That means if this were in California, this
single storm would extend all the way from San Francisco to San Diego.
Irene is now slowly moving on to the East Coast of the United States.
The storm already lashing the outer banks in North Carolina and expected to
make landfall in that state tomorrow before moving up the East Coast. A
hurricane warning now in effect from North Carolina, all the way north to
President Obama cutting short his family vacation on Martha`s
Vineyard, which is an island off the coast of Massachusetts. He did not
cut off his vacation before he took time to warn the other 65 million
Americans in the path of this storm to take this hurricane extremely
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All indications point
to this being a historic hurricane. I cannot stress this highly enough: if
you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take
precautions now. Don`t wait. Don`t delay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: In the state of Virginia, residents are stacking sand bags
against expected flooding. The governor there warning coastal residents to
expect a storm surge of up to six feet when the hurricane comes ashore.
In Washington, D.C., the mayor of D.C. declared a state of emergency
warning of possible power outages and flooding.
Residents of Ocean City, Maryland, given mandatory evacuation orders.
The mayor of Baltimore declaring a state of emergency in his city.
In Delaware, the governor ordered tens of thousands of residents to
move inland and warned about the storm causing more damage than the state
has seen in 50 years.
In Pennsylvania, the governor declaring a state of emergency.
Philadelphia will shut down its public transit this weekend.
In New Jersey, the governor there warned that this could be the worst
storm to hit New Jersey in 60 years. He issued mandatory evacuations along
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: You know, I saw some of these
news feeds that I have been watching upstairs of people sitting on the
beach in Asbury Park. Get the hell off the beach in Asbury Park and get
out. You`re done. It`s 4:30. You`ve maximized your tan. Get off the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The storm even forced the casinos in Atlantic City, New
Jersey, to close for only the third time in their history.
In New York City, for the first time ever 300,000 people are being
told to get out of their homes in low-lying areas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK: We`ve never done a mandatory
evacuation before and we wouldn`t be doing it now if we didn`t think this
storm had the potential to be very serious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Several major hospitals and nursing homes have been
evacuated ahead of the storm in New York City.
And at noon tomorrow, for the first time in history, New York will
shut down its subway system preemptively because of a weather event. They
say they can`t guarantee that trains can operate safely with more than 39
mile per hour winds. Mayor Bloomberg says he expects Irene to hit New York
City with winds of 74 miles an hour or more. If that happens, the bridges
connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn, Queens, and New Jersey will also be shut
In Connecticut, the naval submarine base at new London – the Naval
Submarine Base New London in Groton has sent its submarines out to sea to
avoid the storm. And the Connecticut governor has also declared a state of
So has the governor of Massachusetts as that state prepares for what
they say – they are expecting to be the worst storm in Massachusetts in 20
years. Of particular concern, the town of Springfield, which is still
recovering from a rare tornado there in June.
Amtrak has cancelled all trains in the Northeast corridor as of this
Sunday, and nearly 7,000 flights have been cancelled all along the East
For the very latest on Hurricane Irene, I`m joined now by Ed
Rappaport. He`s the deputy director for National Hurricane Center.
Dr. Rappaport, thank you for sparing us some time tonight. I really
appreciate it, sir.
ED RAPPAPORT, NATIONAL HURRCANE CENTER: Good evening.
MADDOW: What are the basics that people should understand now about
the projected path of the storm and its timing?
RAPPAPORT: The storm is a little unusual, and that`s why it`s
getting so much attention, for a couple of reasons. One is the forecast
track, which takes the center that you can see down here off the North
Up across North Carolina, and then rather than out to sea, it takes
it very much along the shoreline or just offshore through Long Island and
into southern New England. Most of the time the center of a hurricane
passes off shore.
The worst of the weather is to the center and near the east. And
what does that is it puts all the metropolitan areas of the Northeast into
play. So, we`ve got a new track in essence for many people, so it will be
the first experience they`ve had with such a storm and the first experience
for the Northeast in about 20 years.
The other issue with the storm is even though the winds aren`t as
high as we`ve seen with hurricane Katrina or other hurricanes, it`s a very
large storm. It`s going to take a long time for it to clear most of these
areas. It will be a battering from anywhere from 10 to 24 hours of
tropical storm force winds for much of the area in the Northeast.
MADDOW: Those of us who are not scientists in these things do tend
to know that these storms get more powerful when they are over water and
they get less powerful when they are over land. As you say, this has a
somewhat unusual track, and it`s going to be hugging the shoreline.
How should we understand that then in terms of the – I guess the –
how long the strength of the storm will last and how it will ebb and flow?
RAPPAPORT: Right now the hurricane has maximum winds of about 100
miles an hour. Those are what we call sustained winds, and it has higher
gusts. That`s enough to cause at least minor structural damage and to take
down trees and caused a storm surge that we`re so much concerned about
along the coast.
We do think that there will be a slow weakening trend as the
hurricane moves northward because even though it`s going to be going over
the waters, the waters do cool, of course, as you move northward. So, over
North Carolina the eastern part of the state we`re expecting category one
to category two conditions – and then probably category one conditions
near and just off shore as we move northward, and then we get up to the New
York/southern New England area, probably borderline tropical storm category
Again, not the strongest of winds, the problem is that we`re going to
have 24 hours as much – of as much as 24 hours with those winds, and
that`s going to bring the storm surge inland to depths as high as four to
eight feet locally along the coast.
M,ADDOW: In terms of the – what you just described for the timing
of the storm and the characteristics of the population centers it`s going
to be hitting along the way, do you expect the most damage from this storm
to be done by wind, or do you expect most damage to be done by flooding?
RAPPAPORT: We`re going to see both – I can`t tell you right now
what is going to cause more, but we`re going to experience and see damage
afterwards from both. The wind in this case because it`s over such a large
area and we`ll be lasting so long, is going to take down a tremendous
amount of trees, particularly in the Northeast.
Now, the reason that we`re going to have problems is that those trees
have – are on saturated ground, and with the wind and with heavy rain that
is are expected as well, we`re likely to see flooding.
So, as you said, we have a problem from the wind. That`s mainly
going to be structural – minor structural damage coming down. To the east
of the center, we have a storm surge problem along the coast. To the west
to the center, we have the rainfall problem, five to ten inches of rain,
maybe as much as 15 inches of rain. And as many folks know, the Northeast
has been very wet this summer, so it`s going to be coming down on already
So, we really have three risks. Depends on where you are.
MADDOW: Ed Rappaport, the deputy director of the National Hurricane
Center, one of the busiest men in America right now – thank you for your
time, sir. I really appreciate your clarity on this.
RAPPAPORT: Thank you.
MADDOW: One of the concerns along the coast as Hurricane Irene comes
ashore everybody as you just heard the deputy director say, there is the
storm surge, especially because the storm surge will be hitting at a time
of unusually high tides anyway.
For some further explanation on both the seriousness of this and the
science of this, we`re joined now by NBC meteorologist Bill Karins.
Bill, thanks for helping us understand this.
BILL KARINS, NBC METEOROLOGIST: Of course.
MADDOW: Can you talk us through what a storm surge is and why the
deputy director might have been expressing such caution about that right
KARINS: Yes. It`s getting a little confusing, because viewers and
everyone out there is hearing the storm is weakened and it`s supposed to be
a landfall of category one. Well, that`s the winds – when we talk about
the category, the strength of the storm. That doesn`t have a ton to do
with what the storm surges are going to be in any local area.
So, although it`s only weakened down to a category two, possibly to a
one by landfall, it`s still a huge storm, and it`s displacing a lot of
water. In other words, this is like a big huge fan out over the ocean,
taking all of that wind and pushing the water towards the coast. And
because of the angle of approach to the coast, the winds are going to be
out of the south for a very long time, and areas along the coast, the
Southeast, along areas of Maryland, Delaware, up into New England.
So, the longer duration is actually going to build the water up
Let me try to explain what the storm surge is, one of the most famous
cases, of course, was Katrina as it went on shore. They had a storm surge
of 27 feet in areas of Mississippi.
So, as the hurricane approaches land, the wind pushes the water
towards the shoreline. That happens in the Northeast quadrant of the
storm. That`s where the winds are coming out of the South and in the
Northeast, and that just blows and piles the water. The water can`t go
back out to sea because the wind doesn`t allow it, so it just keeps getting
higher and higher.
If you want to do just something with your kids at home to explain
this to them, you can just take a glass of water, fill it up to the top of
the cup and just blow on it. That`s all the hurricane is doing. It`s
pushing the water from one side to the other, and that water will seep over
If you want to do a bigger experiment, you can go and take your tub
of water, take your house fan and start blowing it across the surface of
that tub of water, and you`ll see the water rise on one side and lower on
the other. So, that`s all this is – just on a much, much larger scale.
So, once we get that storm surge and once it piles up along the
coast, you got your normal shoreline here, and then what happens is the
water levels begin to rise, and they`ll continue to rise until the winds
begin to shift out of a different direction, and this doesn`t even include
So, we get the water that will come up – in the case of what we
dealt with Katrina, 20 some feet. This storm, we`re talking maybe at most
10 feet in the outer banks, and what we`re not showing here is the water
then rises to the first floor of a lot of buildings. Then we get the waves
on top of that. The storm surge does not include the wave action at the
coast, which in some cases the storm will be another five to 10 feet.
That`s what smashes the properties, and that`s what destroys them in the
biggest of hurricanes.
Again, we`re not talking about a big huge storm this time, but the
storm surge is going to be much greater than you would expect for a
category one storm. Here`s our example of that. There`s the storm track
taking over the Albemarle and the Pamlico Sounds. They`re probably the
most vulnerable area.
I lived in Newborn (ph), North Carolina. I went through a bunch of
hurricanes in the 1990s. That whole basin is going to see some of the
worst flooding because of the angle of the approach of the storm. That
will happen tonight, and that`s where we expect that storm surge to be
about five to eight feet.
And out on the outer banks, it will be similar. There we`ll all have
to deal with the wave action.
So, Rachel, that`s kind of just the best layman`s view of this I
could possibly try to help people with.
MADDOW: NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins – Bill, thank you. I
expect you to run back here and interrupt me if things change and we get
new information out, and we`ll talk later in the hour. Thank you, Bill.
KARINS: Of course.
MADDOW: Appreciate it.
In an area this large, the Eastern Seaboard of the United States,
from North Carolina, as Bill was saying, all the way up to Maine, preparing
for a storm potentially this big means managing the movement of millions of
humans out of the storm`s way. As we have already discussed, evacuations
have been ordered for coastal and low-lying areas of Delaware, Maryland,
New Jersey, New York, including parts of New York City, Rhode Island,
Virginia, the outer banks of North Carolina where evacuations are also
taking place in five inland counties.
In light of those evacuation orders, some of them literally orders,
some of them suggestions – it has been a sobering thing to see cities and
states checking on whether their bridges are cracked and dangerous.
Whether their bridges and their infrastructure is sound enough to handle
what they need to handle right now.
In Maryland, whether the infrastructure, whether the bridges were not
to with stand the one-two punch of an earthquake and a hurricane in the
In New Jersey, inspectors making sure that culverts and storm drains
In Vermont, inspectors checking to see if dam there`s can handle all
the extra water that`s about to push up against them. Checking that those
dams will hold.
Nuclear power plants, which are generally built along oceans and
rivers because being near water is helpful for dealing with dissipating all
the heat that power plants generate when everything is going fine. In
ideal circumstances, that`s great. No problem. But in New Jersey in the
path of this storm, inspectors in there checking the state`s four nuclear
power plants to make sure the plants` water tight doors are working and to
secure anything that could be loosened by the wind.
Dealing with an emergency is essentially a technocratic skill. It
takes a specific kind of leadership and it requires a very specific kind of
good governance in which we all are invested. Storm of this scale though
is also a test of whether or not we have physically taken care of the
things we count on not only in every average day but that we count on in a
mass life or death way in extreme circumstances like this one.
That is why talking about roads and bridges and dams and power plants
is not supposed to be a partisan concern. We are all in this together. Us
on one side. Irene on the other.
Governor Bev Perdue of North Carolina is not only dealing with this
challenge right now, it is something her coastal state that juts out in the
Atlantic has had to deal with often. For this storm, Governor Perdue has
ordered mass evacuations in 19 counties. She will join us next to update
the challenge on getting everybody out and keeping everyone safe in the
first state to be affected severely by Hurricane Irene.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: The great state of North Carolina is feeling the effects
much hurricane Irene as we speak. That state`s governor, Bev Perdue, will
join us with the very latest.
MADDOW: All weeklong, the hundreds of thousands of people who
usually flock for the beaches of North Carolina`s outer banks at this time
of year have been heading in the other direction, evacuating under the
order and leadership of North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue.
Governor Perdue joins us live by telephone now on this very busy
Good evening, Governor. Thanks very much for your time. I really
GOV. BEV PERDUE (D), NORTH CAROLINA (via telephone): Good evening.
And thanks to your coverage of hurricane Irene.
MADDOW: Can I just get from you, I guess, a basic North Carolina
update, the impact on your state so far and whether there are any
bottlenecks or snags in the emergency response plan as you have been
implementing it so far?
PERDUE: Rachel, we have a really state-of-the-art evacuation and
emergency response plan. This is North Carolina. We`re hurricane alley.
So, we`re used to it. It happens nearly every year two or three times.
And so, our whole plan goes from the local level to the state level
to the Feds. FEMA has been on the ground for a couple of days. The
president gave us their national emergency disaster order yesterday, so we
have resources in the state.
We`ve got shelters all over eastern North Carolina, which is our
coastal region. We have evacuation routes. We`ve had mandatory
evacuations. We have asked all the tourists to leave.
It affects about 3.5 million people, so it`s a wide range part of our
state that`s coastal.
We feel really good. The hard part is waiting, as you can
understand. And then, tomorrow afternoon, we begin on recovery, whatever
that might be.
MADDOW: In terms of your relationship with the federal government
and other authorities that you work with at a time like this, I`d ask you,
Governor, for a very, very, very candid answer, because we all depend on
your candor on this, about how it`s been to work with FEMA. We know about
the challenges that FEMA has faced over major hurricanes over the past
decade, and we all want to hear that they are doing well in dealing with
hurricane management right now, but we do really want to if the answer is
that they`re not doing as well as they could.
How do you think it`s been so far?
PERDUE: Well, I live on the coast, so, you know, I`ve been this for
30 years. So, my experience with FEMA is (INAUDIBLE).
In the late `90s, the hurricane that was devastating to our state, a
couple of billion dollars worth of damage, was a nightmare. None of us
knew what to do.
And since then we have developed a strong partnership with our
federal friends, and FEMA has been an extraordinary help to us. Not just
in hurricanes, but it`s for natives and other natural disasters.
We have two people on the ground that have worked with us. They were
here for the tornadoes. They are in and out of North Carolina
consistently, and we feel like that they are only a phone call away.
We say here, Rachel, that we don`t exchange business cards on the day
of the incident. We know each other. We have longstanding relationships.
I think that makes a difference.
So, North Carolina is very, very glad to be a partner with FEMA as we
look forward to tomorrow when we can assess our damage and hopefully will
have very little.
MADDOW: Governor, the everyday infrastructure that takes on out-
sized importance during an event like hurricanes, things like bridges and
major road systems – are you confident that the state of North Carolina is
getting – is investing enough in its infrastructure, not just to handle
this storm, but future ones too?
PERDUE: No, I think the whole country is not investing enough, quite
frankly. We are at a real disadvantage globally, competitively. We have
got as a country to rebuild and reconfigure our infrastructure.
We have no decent mass transit. Our airports are still very, very
slow. Our highway system is decaying around us. And, yet, our people
refuse to invest in the infrastructure that must happen for us to be a 21st
century global competitor.
It translates right back to North Carolina. We try. We were glad to
get the recovery money. Many governors were. I asked the governor of
South Carolina just to let me drive a truck over and pick his up if he
didn`t want it, because we need the money here to build our roads and to
build our bridges and to be sure our people are safe.
And then you`ve got the whole question of the electric grid and how
we`re going to transform that. The challenges for America and for North
Carolina are great, and I think good leadership will meet those challenges.
MADDOW: Governor Bev Perdue of North Carolina, good luck tonight and
this weekend. The whole country is thinking of your state and pulling for
you. I`m real grateful for your time tonight, ma`am. Thank you.
PERDUE: Thank you. And we invite you to come on down and be a
PERDUE: Thanks so much.
MADDOW: Yes, ma`am. Thank you.
We will have more on hurricane Irene`s progress in just a few
But, next, some politics. And a big update on that story that made
me put on a prison jumpsuit on the show just a few days ago. Stay with us.
MADDOW: The hurricane is, of course, soaking up most of the news
coverage in the country right now. But this terms of 2012 and other
politics today, I got a couple of items for you.
First, the announcement that nobody was waiting for is officially not
going to happen. Former New York Governor George Pataki has decided, well,
maybe not. He did try desperately to float the idea that he might run for
the Republican nomination for president this year. He was supposed to go
to Iowa this weekend to speak at a GOP picnic, a picnic that advertised its
impressive array of presidential candidates, grouping Mr. Pataki among
Then there was a draft of his presidential campaign Web site that
“The New York Observer” discovered earlier this week with a spectacularly
exciting Pataki for president logo. But then, today, Governor Pataki
canceled his trip to Iowa and issued a statement saying that he, in fact,
is not running – which means the only perceived moderate in the Republican
race for the presidential nomination, Jon Huntsman, who`s not even all that
moderate, Jon Huntsman can continue to rake in 1 percent in the national
polls with no worries that he might have to split that 1 percent up with
Also today in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Fed chairman castigated
Congress for brinksmanship on the debt ceiling, for congressional
Republicans bringing the country to the brink of default. Ben Bernanke
saying that caused the country`s economy real harm, and that, quote, “The
country would be well served by a better process for making fiscal
Since Fed chairmen usually try hard to say nothing at all, that
statement counts as his same saying a lot.
But what Ben Bernanke did not say was that the Fed would embark on a
new round of stimulus actions to try to boost the economy. There had been
hopes earlier this week that he might – hopes that shot the Dow up more
than 300 points on Tuesday. Today, during his Wyoming speech, when it
became clear that he was not going to promise new stimulus, the Dow
promptly slid nearly 2 percent, which is a lot.
The market did recover by the end of the day, but still, a reminder
that the market is desperate for some economic stimulus somehow from the
Republicans continue to warn that they, of course, are against that
or depending on the specific Republican they continue to warn that they
might just beat up Ben Bernanke.
And, finally, last week, we reported that Florida Governor Rick Scott
canceled a contract between the MSNBC awesome prison show “LOCKUP” and his
state`s prison system. This week, the contract is back on again.
One of Governor Scott`s big hires after his election last year was
this man. This guy, Edwin G. Buss. He left his job running Indiana`s
prisons to come run Florida`s prisons instead. When he hired him, Governor
Rick Scott said he was looking forward to Mr. Buss helping him, quote, “to
change the way the Department of Corrections does business here in
One of the new things that Mr. Buss wanted to do in Florida prisons
was to allow the juggernaut MSNBC show “LOCKUP” to film inside a Florida
prison for the first time. But just days after the production company
started filming inside Florida`s Santa Rosa correctional institution,
Governor Rick Scott abruptly pulled the plug.
One Florida newspaper speculating that Rick Scott`s decision to pull
the plug on “LOCKUP” maybe had something to do with the governor feeling
sensitive about being criticized on another MSNBC show whose initials are
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW.
“The Bradenton Herald” saying, quote, “It`s probably just a
coincidence, but MSNBC`s liberal night-side anchor Rachel Maddow has been a
persistent critic of Scott and his policies.”
Flattering, but actually, it was just a coincidence. The governor`s
spokesperson telling us in an e-mail, quote, “We were not aware of any
affiliation with Maddow. Not that it mattered. That would indeed be
petty. The contract was canceled because the secretary of the corrections
did not have the authority so sign it. It was entertainment related and
outside the scope of his agency.”
OK. So, that was last week. This week, the secretary of
corrections, Mr. Buss, pushed back. The prison`s front office telling the
“St. Petersburg Times” that actually, at least five of Governor Rick
Scott`s aides knew about the contract back in April.
So, if the governor`s office said they didn`t know about this
contract or they weren`t advised that it was happening, that in short,
according to the Corrections Department, is bullpucky.
Then on Wednesday, Governor Scott reinstated the contract with
“LOCKUP,” without changing a thing.
So, the prison`s chief tells the governor`s office that it wants to
do “LOCKUP” months ago. Prison`s chief then puts out a press release and
signs the contract to do “LOCKUP.” “LOCKUP” starts shooting for the show.
Rick Scott angrily rescind the “LOCKUP” contract and stops them from
shooting saying I had no idea this was happening. What is this contract?
Then after trashing the prison`s chief to the press over and over and
over again about his horrible offense of having signed this contract, Rick
Scott signs the exact same contract, that same day that Rick Scott signed
the contracts, Ed Buss, the prison`s chief, quit. Surprise!
So, “LOCKUP” is back shooting at that Florida prison. Expect the
show early next year. But Rick Scott and Florida have lost their state
prisons chief. And Florida still has Rick Scott.
MADDOW: Say you`re a Texan. First, congratulations, this particular
hurricane is not headed your particular way. But say are a Texas resident
and you have had the misfortune of mold, toxic mold in your house. And
it`s not because of anything you did wrong; it`s because of the way your
house was built. The builder did a shoddy job or used shoddy materials.
And the consequence confesses for you and your family is that your house
has toxic mold.
If you live in Texas and you would like to sue the builder
responsible for the toxic mold in your house, I have bad news, and that is
that your governor`s top campaign contributor is a zillionaire homebuilder
who does not want to be sued for toxic mold in Texas houses.
And so, you, Texas resident, with mold in your house, you are out of
luck. Thanks to your governor, Rick Perry, in most cases, you cannot sue
your homebuilder. You, instead, have to put your complaint about the mold
in your house through something called the Texas Residential Construction
Commission. You`re not allowed to sue. You have to go through this
government board instead.
After Rick Perry signed the law creating this board in 2003, his
number one campaign contributor, the builder guy, sent Rick Perry two
$50,000 checks for the governor`s campaign. Three weeks after the checks,
according to “The New York Times” this week, Rick Perry appointed an
executive from that contributor`s company to his board – to the board that
means you can`t sue.
That board no longer exists in Texas. It was abolished in 2009. But
the story of how it came to be, how Rick Perry looked out for the interests
of the people of Texas in that moldy little instance is not a unique story.
Say you are another Texan. Not a Texan this time with a toxic mold
problem in your house, but just a run of the mill, average resident of
Texas. The only restriction on this is that you are not a Texas resident
who`s one of those uranium-eating bacterium. So, you are a Texas resident
who has an interest in not being exposed to any radioactivity you don`t
need to be exposed to.
So, if you are a Texan who does not want radioactive waste, say,
leaking into your ground water, I again have bad news for you. And that is
that your governor`s second largest campaign contributor after the house
builder mold guy is a man whose business wants to put a giant radioactive
waste dump in Andrews County, Texas. And so, you, nonbacterial resident of
Texas who doesn`t want a radioactive waste dump in your state, you are out
According to “The L.A Times” earlier this month, Texas is getting the
first new low level radioactive waste disposal site anywhere in the country
in three decades.
The second largest campaign contributor to Rick Perry explained to
the “Dallas Business Journal” back in 2006 that his company would have a
fantastic future – he means monetarily – if it could get in radioactive
waste dump licensed in west Texas. But for that, he would need Rick Perry.
Quote, “We first had to change the law to where a private company can
own a license, and we did that. Then we got another law pass that said
they can only issue one license. Of course, we were the only ones who
Then a state review board, members appointed by Rick Perry, approved
the licenses. Geologists and engineers working for that board reviewing
the request said don`t do it. The bottom of this pit of radioactive waste
is only going to be 14 feet away from the ground water. Don`t do it.
But Governor Perry`s appointees voted, yes, do it anyway. The only
restriction they put on it was that the dump was supposed to only take
radioactive waste from Texas, from one other state, and from the federal
It turns out that`s no problem either. Another state review board,
members appointed by Rick Perry, then approved just letting the dump take
radioactive waste from all over the country, from 34 other states.
Then, after Rick Perry himself gave it the final rubber stamp, Rick
Perry`s second largest campaign contributor, the radioactive dump guy, sent
a $100,000 check to Americans for Rick Perry. That`s for Governor Perry`s
run for president.
So, Rick Perry gets campaign donations from the radioactive dump guy.
Some state laws get written or rearranged a little. The radioactive dump
guy gets hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars from his
radioactive for profit dump, and the people of Texas get low level nuclear
waste from more than 30 states.
So, if you are a Texan, and you`ve had your interests handled this
way by your governor, then, you know, after – at this point, we`re hoping
that maybe you can advise us as nation of what it is like to live in a
system like this. Maybe you can help the rest of the country in
understanding what it`s like to live in a system like this because the
Texas campaign finance laws, or lack thereof, are things that make this
sort of thing kind of legal in Texas. That`s pretty much the way we`re
heading nationally now, too.
Texas puts no limits on how much people can contribute to campaigns.
That`s why Governor Rick Perry`s top donors like house builder mold guy and
radioactive dump guy are known to have given him donations that total into
Because of what Roberts court has done to campaign finance rules
nationally for this election, individuals or even corporations can give
unlimited donations now, too – unlimited. So, that radioactive waste dump
in Texas, public citizen in Texas says that`s going to be did about a $2
billion deal for that company, for Rick Perry`s second largest campaign
Everybody is freaking out this year that the two candidates for
president in this next election might raise $1 billion each in the
campaign. Think about it. If you are Mr. Radioactive Dump Guy or you are
his company and you are going to make $2 billion on this radioactive waste
dump, it would be worth your while just for you to spend $1.5 billion on
your chosen candidate if you thought that would secure you the radioactive
dump of your dreams.
Now, extrapolate that to a nation full of potential radioactive waste
dumps or whatever some other corporation wants to do in order to make
It`s also starting to look more and more like Elizabeth Warren, the
nation`s most eloquent and pugnacious advocate for the interests of the
middle class against predation by Wall Street. Starting to look like
Elizabeth Warren who might be running for Senate next year against
Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts.
She`s been attending small house parties in Massachusetts talking
about what it was like to be fighting for Wall Street reform and consumer
protection in Washington while Senator Scott Brown was fighting every step
of the way to water all of that down.
Liberal groups this week announced with some excitement that through
on-line sources like Act Blue, they have raised a little over $100,000 for
an Elizabeth Warren Senate campaign, even though she hasn`t actually
declared one yet, $100,000. Wow! Wow!
Until you realize that against that $100,000, Scott Brown is sitting
on $10 million. Dubbed Wall Street`s favorite congressman in a “Forbes”
article last year, Scott Brown reported having more than $9.6 million in
the bank at the end of June. A good portion of that money came from the
financial services sector, according to data compiled by the Center for
According to that same article on “The Hill” this week, Senator
Brown`s top donors include Fidelity Investments, Goldman Sachs, Bank of New
York Mellon, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America.
So, big picture here. You are a human being who has toxic mold in
your house or you`re any other kind of living being besides a uranium-
eating bacterium who does not want radioactive waste in your ground water,
or you are a member of the working class or the middle class or any class
that doesn`t light its cigar with burning $100 bills, and would you please
like there to be rules on Wall Street so Wall Street doesn`t plunge us back
into another near Great Depression and rip us all off on the way down again
and on the hard and terrible way back up. When Wall Street and radioactive
dumps and toxic mold can infinitely fund their own candidates, how are any
candidates running against those guys going to keep up, going to compete?
Everybody keeps saying that money and electrics is all Wild West now,
just like Texas. Don`t think Wild West. Think “Lord of the Flies.”
MADDOW: This is the very latest radar map tracking Hurricane Irene
as it heads to the East Coast of the U.S. Coverage of this mass of storm
continues just ahead.
MADDOW: If you feel like you`ve been having a lot of George W. Bush
administration flashbacks recently, you are not alone. Also, it will be
OK. I promise.
But the reason you`re seeing so much of George W. Bush and Dick
Cheney right now is because the former president and vice president and
other Bush administration officials have sort of timed their return to the
public`s gaze to the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Although the
Cheney book tour and the George W. Bush FOX News special and all these
other things are designed keep the Bush administration`s own take on 9/11
in the foreground for that anniversary, there`s a lot more to say besides.
For most of the past year, I have been working with NBC chief foreign
correspondent, Richard Engel, on a two-part documentary about not 9/11
itself, but the decade after, how 9/11 has changed the country, what we`ve
done and how we are different now because of it.
Here exclusively premiering first time anywhere ever is a short clip,
short preview of the film.
MADDOW (voice-over): In August 2001, weeks before 9/11 Osama bin
Laden and his al Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri meet around a campfire in
Kandahar, Afghanistan, with one of Pakistan`s top nuclear scientists. They
discuss al Qaeda`s aspirations to build a nuclear bomb.
ROLF MOWATT-LARSSEN, VETERAN U.S. INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: The two
apparently met in what is referred to as the fireside chat or had a dinner
and talked about al Qaeda`s interest in nuclear bombs where the al Qaeda
leader apparently was trying to gain some basic sense of what it would
MADDOW: Rolf Mowatt-Larssen is a veteran U.S. intelligence officer.
MOWATT-LARSSEN: A famous question he apparently asked at the end of
that meeting was after Bashir was trying to tell him how hard this was and
how difficult it was for Pakistan, bin Laden said if I have the material,
then how do I build it?
MADDOW: The Pakistani scientist Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood later
confirms to U.S. official that is the meeting took place and that he gave
al Qaeda leaders a pencil drawing of a crude nuclear bomb design. Just one
month after that meeting in Kandahar, September 11th, 2001.
As the United States reel from the attacks, those who know about that
meeting at that Kandahar campfire reel over what may be about to come next.
Overnight the most important question for the United States government
becomes how far along is al Qaeda in its pursuit of a nuclear bomb and how
can the United States stop them from assembling one?
MOWATT-LARSSEN: That`s a piece of cake if you have enough material.
If you look at the Hiroshima bomb, you know, it was 50 kilograms of HGU.
The Oklahoma City bombing was two tons. If you about back and look at the
devastation, the two-ton bomb, think of 13,000 tons versus two tons. It`s
– it`s inconceivable. Even if you look at the Hiroshima pictures, it`s
inconceivable what a bomb that size could do.
MADDOW (on camera): And if you have the material, it`s not hard to
build that bomb?
MADDOW (voice-over): Rolf Mowatt-Larssen had been planning on a new
CIA posting in Beijing. But after 9/11, just after 9/11, he is drafted
personally by CIA Director George Tenet to lead a new effort instead.
MOWATT-LARSSEN: That is one of my most vivid memories. He said to
me, we`re behind the eight ball, and the reason he said that, which I
didn`t know what he meant at that precise moment, was because we had
information about this meeting with the Pakistan scientist and bin Laden
MADDOW: November 2001, Mowatt-Larssen and Tenet, at the direction of
President George W. Bush, are dispatched to Pakistan to confront Pakistan`s
President Pervez Musharraf about the fireside chat that`s turned up in U.S.
intelligence reports – the possibility that Pakistani nuclear scientists
are assisting al Qaeda in pursuing a nuclear bomb.
MOWATT-LARSSEN: President Musharraf`s reaction, initial reaction,
was men in caves can`t do this or incredulity. That`s what we expected.
It`s the same incredulity we all felt.
MADDOW: It`s part of a two-part series that airs starting next
Thursday night, September 1st at 9:00 p.m. It`s called “Day of
Destruction: Decade of War.” I`ve been working on it for a long time with
Richard, and we`re both really proud of it. Hope you`ll watch.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Big events like hurricane Irene have a way of sort of
freezing time. We spend our lives coming and going, working and playing
and then we have to stop. We have to because of something like this.
When we get from that stopping, it`s sort of a snapshot of life of
what the way live it. So, in Florida and South Carolina, for example, they
canceled gambling cruises and fishing charters.
In North Carolina, the very cool Felice Brothers cancelled shows in
Wilmington and Raleigh.
Also, in Virginia, Pat Benatar got canceled and so did something
called the Cops and donuts festival. Love is a battlefield.
In Crownsville, Maryland, the Silopanna Music Festival got canceled.
That one was supposed to have Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.
In Philadelphia, the Phillies rescheduled a home game, so that the
Red Sox in Boston.
In New Jersey, Seton Hall University called off its convocation.
In Stamford, Connecticut, the women`s triathlon scheduled for
(INAUDIBLE) park, that was canceled.
In our nation`s capital, they canceled the dedication ceremonies for
the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, which had been planned for Sunday
on the Washington Mall. President Obama was to deliver what the White
House says is a major address, at a time when President Obama`s
relationship with many black elected officials has been strained over
issues like painfully high unemployment in the African-American community.
African-Americans, a key consistency for the Democratic Party every year,
but especially now when President Obama has begun his campaign for re-
election. Black turnout was high in key states last time, making a
difference in `08 for candidate Obama in places like Virginia and Ohio –
hence the expectations for this major address.
Now, though, the dedication of the King Memorial and major speech
from the president with it will have to wait for a sunnier or at least less
In New York City, they are pretty much cancelling everything, from
Mets baseball games to Broadway shows to a Dave Matthews concert that our
producer Tina Cowen (ph) really, really wanted to attend. Tina, I have no
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as we mentioned, ordered the first
mandatory evacuations in New York City history. He also revoked the
permits for some 300 New York City events this weekend – 300. All
scheduled for this weekend, all cancelled.
The mayor also announced the city`s subway system will close Saturday
at noon because high winds threaten the safety of trains when they leave
the tunnels for the elevated tracks. Same goes for bridges in New York
which will have to close once Hurricane Irene`s winds hit a certain point.
It`s not that the bridges would fall down, Mayor Bloomberg, but rather that
the wind would threaten to toss cars off the side of them.
Amtrak announced it was cutting back service for Saturday and
canceling everything on the Northeast corridor on Sunday.
Some New Jersey highways became a bigger parking lot than ever with
everybody heading in one direction, away from the beach. As Governor
Christie said, you have already maximized your tan.
Also, cash in your chips and go home. New Jersey shut down the
Atlantic City casinos today, because otherwise, how would people know who
to go home from them?
So, this is who this accidental snapshot shows that we are – we are
a bunch of music-loving, baseball-watching, subway-hopping, highway
driving, train riding, casino hounds who want to live in a better union.
We`ll keep hoping for that.
For what hurricane Irene is right doing now, we turn to NBC News
meteorologist Bill Karins.
Bill, thanks for joining us again. What can you tell us about the
KARINS: All right, Rachel. A lot of people are wondering, what are
your tax dollars doing to help you? Well, one of those things we have and
it`s kind of a cool little graphic, is we have hurricane hunter planes.
There are men and women right now onboard two different airplanes that are
flying through the center of the storm. And they relay information back
into my weather computers and we can track them as they fly in and out of
the storm. They report to us how strong the winds are.
And then when we get the new visionary at 11:00 East Coast, a lot of
that information comes from these hurricane hunters, the men and women from
the Air Force and NOAA who are out there flying through the center of the
storm right now. They`ll continue to that all the way up to the East
The big news out of this storm in the last 12 hours is that the
center has weakened. It didn`t strengthen as was expected. If anything,
it weakened significantly. We are no longer calling for a category 3
landfall, a category 1 landfall most likely late tonight into early
And what that means is a lot less wind damage from this storm. It
doesn`t make much of a difference with the rainfall. That`s going to be
expensive. But the wind damage is not going to be as bad as what was
expected for the most part in the eastern North Carolina and maybe all the
way up and down the Eastern Seaboard. That`s very important for a lot of
Lower winds, less tree downs and less power outages. So, that`s good
news. We should all be happy about that.
Other thing of interest and I`m tracking this, this black line is
where the storm has been. White line is projected path of the center.
It`s a little bit to the east of that line by about 15 to 20 miles. When
the new advisory comes out, instead of landfall being near Atlantic Beach,
North Carolina, maybe over here towards Ocracoke Island, not much of a
little shift, but any little shift to the east will take the storm surge
out of the coastal areas. That`s also a little piece of good news.
The new computer models are coming in, these little squiggly lines
that predict where the center is going to go. They are good in unison over
the outer banks and right along the Maryland coasts and then possibly
another landfall around southern Jersey or right along the coast, and then
over New York City or extreme eastern or western portions of Long Island.
So, that hasn`t changed much. I don`t expect the forecast path to
change. And by the way, this path, if you`re going to tell someone what is
the worst possible path can take, this is it. But, thankfully, this is
supposed to be a weak enough storm and it`s not going to do a lot of enough
wind damage. The storm fall and rain damage, that`s what`s going to cause
all the issue.
And this is a pretty amazing graphic. Our computer has also let us
know how much rain we`re going to get. And this is estimating, this dark
brown, if you look at the chart behind, is five to six inches of rain.
We`re talking eight inches possibly from North Carolina, about seven around
Norfolk, possibly eight inches of rain all the way through Philly to New
York City. So, we`re talking about a huge amount of rain, short period of
time, saturated soil. We`re going to have a lot of flooding concerns.
And if any reason trees are going to come down, it`s because soil is
so wet and they`re going to topple for that reason. So, that`s one of my
And also, Rachel, this is kind of cool. We get the reports from the
buoys out here, 16-foot waves and now 28-foot waves off Wilmington, North
Carolina. So, that`s not where you want to be.
MADDOW: Bill, in terms of the weakening of the center of the storm
that you describe, will that affect the duration of the storm? One of the
things you were describing earlier was that the storm will just move slowly
and last for a long time. That`s part of the reason that we`ll have a lot
of rain damage, grand saturation damage. Does that mean the storm might
break up faster?
KARINS: It does unfortunately. The storm is huge, Texas size huge,
but intensity is not all that impressive, especially consider some of the
historic storms that our country has had. The size is what is very big.
That is going to go anywhere, that built in size, and that`s going to take
a long time to wind itself down.
That`s not what`s going to matter. We are not going to see one
concentrated area where a tornado went through, with houses torn apart.
We`re just not going to get that. That`s what changed. And I know a lot
of people have been asking what`s going to happen up in New England.
It looks like now, don`t be surprised if it`s only a tropical storm
by the time it gets to Long Island and New York City. May not be a
hurricane anymore. But we`re still going to have that storm surge of three
to six feet. Still going to have a ton of rain, and the max winds now
lowered for New England and Long Island and also in New York City, possibly
max winds at 50 to 70.
So, Rachel, we`re not going to see skyscrapers with their windows
blown out. It doesn`t look like the storm will be strong enough to do that
once it gets up here.
MADDOW: That is great news. NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins –
thank you, Bill. Appreciate it. I know it`s going to be a busy night for
MADDOW: Stay with MSNBC throughout the night for the latest on
hurricane Irene, starting right now with Thomas Roberts.
Have a good weekend. Stay safe. If you are told to evacuate –
evacuate, OK? Thanks. Have a good night.
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