The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 11/01/11
ED SCHULTZ, “THE ED SHOW” HOST: Rachel Maddow starts right now.
Rachel, thank you for buying lunch today. I gave you a little bit of
barbecue from Iowa and you buy the whole Ed team lunch. What a good sport.
Have a great one.
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: I have to tell you that the whole fleet of New
York City sandwiches is worth one serving of Iowa barbecue.
SCHULTZ: Well, we appreciate it.
MADDOW: My pleasure, Ed. Thanks a lot, man.
SCHULTZ: Thank you.
MADDOW: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
I want to show you a picture of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, today.
Look, Oak Creek, Wisconsin, down there in the lower right hand corner,
that little glimmer of a sort of pretty color, that unfortunately is Lake
Here`s another view of this. What you are looking at here is a
collapsed bluff at a coal-fired power plant. That`s right on the shore of
Lake Michigan in Wisconsin.
For perspective here, so you can get a sense of how big this spill is,
that tiny little yellow rectangle there, the other little rectangles of a
similar size that you see in this image, those are container storage units
similar to the ones you see loaded on the back of an 18-wheeler which is
something that`s this side.
So, that spill at Oak Creek tossed – look at those – those container
storage units into the mire and into the lake like they were Tonka trucks
or toothpicks. That flat piece right there in the muck, that`s the roof of
a building. The scale of this makes it look like a monopoly hotel.
The company that operates this power plant that had this spill today,
Wi Energies, Wi as in Wisconsin Energies, says that this disaster happened
at about 10:45 yesterday morning. They said they have hired a contractor
to try to clean this thing up. So now, of course, we`re back to some big
energy company`s huge, disgusting disaster in water that everyone depends
And that – see that little thin line of boom right there? That is
the pitiful means by which the whole thing is supposed to be contained.
About 10 million Americans have as the source of their drinking water
that lake. While Wi Energies acknowledges this bluff collapsing 200 feet
over Lake Michigan and throwing all that stuff into the lake, and they also
acknowledge that coal ash was likely, quote, “some of the material that
washed into the lake,” they also insist coal ash is not a hazardous
material. It`s unlikely there will be health impacts at all from this same
That`s the same thing the coal industry said, of course, after the
last one of these coal ash disasters. December, 2008 dam break at the
Kingston fossil plant in Harriman, Tennessee. That spill, you recall,
dumped more than a billion, billion with a “B,” gallons of toxic coal
slurry across hundreds of acres and into local ponds and streams and a
river. Coal ash doused with water and left in containment ponds for years.
Thus, the sludge. Coal ash contains toxic elements like arsenic and
mercury and lead.
In a Tennessee disaster, a tidal wave of the toxic flood flooded
people`s front yards, backyards and houses and the whole valleys they lived
in. They think now it will take four years to clean the Tennessee disaster
up. Residents were first told it would take four weeks to clean the whole
Since the disaster in 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency has
been looking into better ways to regulate coal ash since there are huge,
huge pits of the stuff sitting around aging coal fire plants all over the
country. Often, as in Wisconsin today, they are conveniently poised right
next to the source of drinking water for millions of people.
Two weeks ago, Republicans in the House voted to block the EPA from
being able to do anything about this. They voted to block the EPA from
having authority over coal ash which after all the industry says is
healthy, absolutely nothing to worry about.
Lake Michigan full of coal ash? Well, that`s no different than Lake
Michigan with no coal ash in it. Have a sip, take a dip, eat some fish,
Wi Energies, the company that owns the power plant where this happened
today in Wisconsin should be noted also lobbied heavily against the EPA
being able to do anything about this. They insisted they had this sort of
thing all under control on their own, didn`t need pesky regulations. They
obviously had this thing in hand.
The Oak Creek power plant, site of this disaster, is in the district
of Congressman Paul Ryan. Famous for writing the House Republicans` kill
Medicare budget. Paul Ryan voted to block the EPA from doing anything
about this. Maybe he will help himself in the cleanup now.
That vote in the House was 2 1/2 weeks ago. This week, part of the
Oak Creek power plant collapse and coal ash and God knows what else in
storage units the size of semi truck trailers careened into Lake Michigan.
And now, they`ve got a line of boom out there, trying to clean it up. What
did the House spend their time doing today?
Now, this is a trick question. Because remember, the Republicans
control the House. This is the new Tea Party Republican Congress, where
after the 2010 elections, one out of every three Republican members in the
House is new, elected in 2010 in the great Tea Party election.
And the Tea Party breed of Republican, if you listen to the spin, they
are supposedly not interested in your old traditional Republican ideas.
They`re not interested, for example, in social issues and the whole guns,
God and gays thing, right?
They are populists. They are libertarian populists at that if you
listen to the spin. They`re a new breed of Republican focused purely on
Well, today, the House, under Republican control, voted on a
resolution to affirm that “In God We Trust” is still our national motto.
That was the House`s business today.
Two and a half weeks ago, they took care of not letting the EPA
regulate coal ash anymore. Today, they took care of the fact that “In God
We Trust” is our national motto.
“In God We Trust” was our national motto before today. It has been
since the `50s. It is still our national motto, and by a vote of the House
today, an official vote by the official business of the U.S. House of
Representatives today, it has been affirmed that “In God We Trust” is our
national motto. So, yes, America, that motto that we`ve got, we`ve got it,
still, also, like we did before.
In case you ever forget that, there`s a convenient reminder in your
pocket on each coin and all of our paper money. It`s on there because it`s
our motto. And that`s not changing.
You may remember when the Republican majority leader Eric Cantor said
this fall that now that they`ve gotten everything else out of the way,
Republicans were going to focus like a laser on jobs – jobs, jobs, jobs.
That was going to be it. Well, today, their jobs, jobs, jobs work was to
vote to confirm that our national motto exists. “In God We Trust,” still.
You recall when the Republicans took control of the House after the
2010 elections, part of the way they were going to show their seriousness
to show these are not your father`s Republicans anymore, they`re an all new
laser-focused Tea Party inflected Republican Party, one of the things they
did is that they changed the House rules. Part of what they changed the
House rules to was giving themselves a week`s vacation for every two weeks
that they work, which is awesome. That is really small government, at full
But they also said there wouldn`t be anymore frivolous, symbolic,
nonbinding resolutions anymore in Congress. Only Democrats care about dumb
stuff like that. Under John Boehner`s leadership, the Republicans would no
longer allow any votes on symbolic resolutions expressing appreciation or
commending our congratulating or celebrating or recognizing the
accomplishments of, or celebrating the anniversary of any particular thing
in commemorative feel-good resolutions.
So, after President Obama ordered a successful mission that killed
Osama bin Laden on May 1st of this year, House Republicans said they were
sticking by their rule. Yes, Osama bin Laden may be dead, but there will
be no standalone resolution in the House congratulating U.S. troops and the
CIA for killing bin Laden. That would be against the rules. That would be
But, today, they spent the day on a nonbinding resolution affirming
that “In God We Trust” is still the national motto.
Asked by “The Washington Post” today whether the “In God We Trust”
resolution might also be considered a symbolic thing that`s supposedly
against their rules now, a spokesman for Eric Cantor declined to comment.
Joining us now is John Stanton. He`s a reporter for “Roll Call.”
John, thanks very much for joining us tonight. Nice to have you here.
JOHN STANTON, ROLL CALL: Good to be here.
MADDOW: Did we, in fact, affirm that our national motto is “In God We
Trust” today? Has that congressional business been accomplished?
STANTON: It is, in fact, safe. Yes, the motto has not changed. They
did vote by an overwhelming majority. In fact, they actually had 90-some-
odd percent of the Democrats vote with them to say that, in fact, we still
believe that “In God We Trust” is the national motto. So, yes.
MADDOW: Voting no on this is amazing – voting on an affirmation that
it is our national motto, you`d be denying that that is the truth.
STANTON: There actually were nine members that voted against it,
including, I believe Pete Stark who`s the only acknowledged atheist in the
House. He voted against it.
MADDOW: Wasn`t there one Republican who voted against it as well?
STANTON: I believe so. I believe so. But there`s always the
outlier. Yes, they got through without too much of a problem.
MADDOW: This is an embarrassing thing. For the House Republicans to
be caught spending congressional time doing. No matter how strongly you
feel about “In God We Trust,” I mean, they`ve got this jobs, jobs, jobs
message. They really want to look like they`re working on jobs all the
How do they keep letting that image that they`re trying to project get
punctured by spending time on stuff like this? And the triple, quadruple
abortions bans and all these other things that they have been doing that
are not the jobs agenda?
STANTON: You know that`s a good question. I think, you know, with
the abortion bill for instance that they did two weeks ago, I guess, they
had already promised to do that as part of their pledge to America and
there was an argument that could be made that because it would cut funding
to Planned Parenthood, it was also, there was a fiscal component to it.
So, there was an argument to be made that it was a legitimate part of their
You know, this bill, though, Republicans that I`ve talked to don`t
understand why it came up, you know, as you said, leader Cantor`s office
has not been commenting on why they decided to bring it up. And, you know,
there is sort of a puzzlement of why because there is no fiscal component
to it. There`s – it doesn`t do anything in particular. And it just sort
of creates the sort of, you know, momentary distraction from the broader
agenda that they`re trying to push, which is a deregulatory jobs agenda.
MADDOW: This seems important to me because it`s sort of two points of
dissidence. One is: real work and real problem – real work needing to be
done, real problems in the country that need addressing and the question of
whether or not our political system can address them, hence the clash thing
today. But then also the issue of what is the common wisdom about how our
politics goes right now, and whether or not the Tea Party movement and the
big gains the Republicans had in 2010 changed the Republican Party at all.
I mean, did the Republican freshmen class elected after 2010 change
Congress very much at all?
STANTON: Well, the members, themselves, did not I don`t think. The
freshmen have gotten a bad rap in a way. People have sort of blamed them
for a lot of the problems going on in the House and they really haven`t
been the big issue for Mr. Cantor or Mr. Boehner, frankly. They have voted
more or less with the party line.
But they have created the ability for those that are in the party,
that have been in the party for a very long time, some of the hardcore
conservatives that have been around for a while, they use them as cover
essentially to do some of these kind of things. Like this bill they`re
pushing some of the social riders on spending bills, other things like
that. And so, you know, they get blamed for a lot of this.
But, frankly, they are by in large, you know, your standard, you know,
MADDOW: John Stanton, reporter for “Roll Call” – thanks again for
your time tonight, John. It`s always nice to have you here.
STANTON: Any time.
MADDOW: I will say that looking into this empirical question of
whether or not the 2010 election, the Republicans were elected in the 2010
election, have changed the Republican Party at all, there`s two bits of
data out there recently. “Politico” looked at their votes on substantive
issues in the House and found that Republicans in general were willing to
dissent from the party line, dissent from the party leadership 12.34
percent of the time.
House freshmen, this class of 2010, was willing to dissent from the
party leadership 12.5 percent of the time. No difference whatsoever.
John`s newspaper, though, “Roll Call,” today, did find there was one
really big difference about the 2010 class in Congress. Between the 2008
Congress and the 2010 Congress, the net worth of congress increased by
nearly 25 percent.
So, the one thing that I can empirically tell you is that electing
lots and lots of Tea Party Republicans in this last election meant that
Congress got a hell of a lot richer.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: So how could Herman Cain`s terrible, horrible, no good, very
bad week get worse? Quote, “State firm`s cash to Herman Cain may breach
federal campaign and tax laws.” Oh, that`s how. That`s coming up.
MADDOW: This is day three of the media scrum over past sexual
harassment allegations made against Herman Cain.
Meanwhile, there`s a totally unrelated Herman Cain scandal that is not
anonymously sourced that no one is really asking him about and that frankly
remains unanswered. And it`s one that could potentially put someone in
The story as reported by the “Milwaukee Journal Sentinel`s” Dan Bice
is this – at the start of Herman Cain`s campaign, a private non-profit
incorporated in Wisconsin financially supported Cain`s campaign. They paid
for things for the campaign, things like air travel and iPads. In other
words, they made in kind donations to Herman Cain for president.
The group also paid for Herman Cain`s campaign manager to travel to
D.C. to meet billionaire conservative activist David Koch. They also paid
$3,000 to the singer who recorded the campaign`s theme song.
This all turns up in the non-profit`s financial records but none of it
to turn up in Herman Cain`s financial records. They say he`s going to pay
back all this money to the non-profit, but Herman Cain doesn`t list any of
this as a debt that he needs to pay, doesn`t list it as anything else
Now, first things first, non-profits can`t just pay for a campaign.
You not only violate serious tax laws by doing that, you also make the
candidate you are illegally funding potentially a felon for breaking
campaign finance laws.
But beyond that potential criminal culpability, there`s also the
question of where all the money came from.
Quoting from the “Journal Sentinel,” quote, “The records show
Prosperity USA,” the non-profit in question, “received $150,000 in loans
from individuals who could not be identified.”
It`s one thing to find out that Herman Cain`s campaign is being
illegally funded. It`s another thing to figure out who is illegally
Joining us now is the reporter who broke this story, a columnist for
“The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.” He writes the “No Quarter” column for
Dan, thanks very much for joining us this evening. Nice to have you
DAN BICE, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL: Sure, thanks for inviting me.
MADDOW: I realize there`s a lot more to this story. But the details
that I briefly just described, did I basically sum those up correctly?
BICE: You did a great job in a short period of time. It`s a
MADDOW: What do you make of the Cain campaign`s response that they
have no idea about any of this? This is news to them. They`ve never heard
anything about this and they don`t yet have a response.
BICE: Frankly, I don`t buy it. I`ve been working on this story for
weeks and actually for months. I first contacted the chief of staff for
him and the deputy chief of staff this summer to go over some of the
details. They wouldn`t talk then.
I tried reaching out last week. They wouldn`t respond then. I ended
up sending them the secret financial documents. And they sent me a
statement saying, we`ll get back to you soon and they still have yet to get
back to me.
MADDOW: Is this something where this is sort of an arcane campaign
finance law, that this is a poorly understood matter in campaign finance
and it`s reasonable that a campaign like this might have forgotten to dot
the I`s and cross the T`s?
BICE: The simple way to understand this is, election law and campaign
laws are in place for one reason. And that`s to provide transparency. We
should be able to see how campaigns are raising money and spending money.
And in this case, everything was done in secret.
As you said, we don`t know who the money was coming from, and without
these secret financial documents being leaked to me, we wouldn`t have known
where it was going.
It`s the same thing with the non-profit. They – it`s supposed to be
transparent. They get a tax break in exchange for revealing how they`re
spending money, but this non-profit never filed a 990, never filed any tax
The only way we`re able to get this stuff is that some of the
contributors apparently were very upset with what was going on with the
non-profit. So they contacted me. I received these records anonymously
and was able to confirm them through other people.
MADDOW: In temples of who those contributors are, obviously I`m not
going to ask you to talk about your sources and anybody who`s stayed
anonymous at this point, I`m not in the position to out. But this group,
Prosperity USA, was one of a number of groups set up by Herman Cain`s
campaign manager, Mark Block. He was – after he was sort of exiled from
Wisconsin politics legally for getting caught in 2001 for having an outside
group illegally fund a Supreme Court justice campaign, when Block was
allowed to get back into Wisconsin politics, he signed up with Americans
for Prosperity and founded these other groups that all have conveniently
have prosperity in their names.
MADDOW: They weren`t all non-profits. They weren`t all set up
exactly the same way. What were you able to figure out about who was
funding these groups for Block?
BICE: It appears there are a certain number of conservative wealthy
people who are giving a lot of money, hundreds of thousands of dollars.
You mentioned the loan. That`s two individuals, one gave $100,000. The
other one gave $50,000.
That`s the sort of money that we`re talking about. And he set up
three different groups, maybe four.
Now, Americans for Prosperity is distancing itself from all of this,
saying we had nothing to do with this. But if you look at the records, and
I`ve posted it all online, you can see there are transfers in and out from
Americans for Prosperity to them and then transfers between these groups.
It`s a rather intricate system that they set up.
And, you know, you mentioned the situation with Mark Block. Mark and
I have known each other for a long time. He`s been involved in Wisconsin
politics for I think 39 years now, and I`ve been dealing with him for 19.
So, this isn`t some sort of thing that we don`t know each other. I
contacted him, asked him all this stuff and it`s just amazing that he`s
decided not to talk at all.
MADDOW: Dan, campaign finance is one of those things even when it`s a
scandal, that is sort of hard to get people to pay attention. One of the
things that has received some attention for Herman Cain is he doesn`t seem
to have much of a traditional campaign apparatus. Block obviously a
longtime political operative. But a lot of other people around him seem to
be from Americans for Prosperity, this group that was set up by the Koch
Because of that, I think this may be something people end up following
with some interest. I got to ask you if there is more to this story from
your perspective. Do you expect to do firth further reporting on this?
BICE: Well, I only wrote about what happened with the Cain campaign.
You know, these groups raised hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of
dollars, and we haven`t gotten to bottom of how that money was spent.
But you`re right. Campaign finance stuff is hard to compete with
sexual harassment. But, you know, it`s – there are interesting elements
given the Koch brothers` American for Prosperity and their involvement in
MADDOW: Dan Bice, columnist for the “Milwaukee Journal Sentinel” –
Dan, I have to tell you, I`ve been reading you on all different sorts of
issues on Wisconsin politics for a long time now. And your work is
trenchant and really well-sourced and really authoritative. And it`s just
– it`s a real tribute to journalism. It`s great.
BICE: Thanks, thanks.
MADDOW: Now, in contrast with Dan Bice`s excellent journalism, I have
to tell you what`s coming up as “The Best New Thing in the World Today” is
caffeinated meat. That`s right. Caffeinated meat.
MADDOW: Divestment is a word most in my generation associate with
apartheid South Africa. In that case is referred to joining those in South
Africa fighting to end the racist regime there, demanding that American
investment in the regime end immediately. Eventually a federal law was
passed in 1986 banning American investment in South Africa, in the
Four years later, Nelson Mandela was freed. Four years after that,
Mandela was elected South Africa`s president and apartheid was dead.
Now, divestment is becoming a household word again. But people are
not talking about a foreign police state an ocean away. People are talking
about something much closer to home. People are talking about divesting
from Wall Street, from big banks here in the U.S.
In one major case, at least, that means Bank of America, the bank from
which a Catholic Church in San Jose, California, announced last month that
they would removing $3 million.
Occupy protesters across the country have turned their attention on
their local city halls, urging cities to divest from the big banks which
played such a role in the financial crisis, have not been held accountable
and continue to profit off the woes of the 99 percent.
This upcoming Saturday, November 5th, the Move Your Money project,
which is not officially a part of “Occupy Wall Street,” they will have
their bank transfer day.
Tonight, organizers tell us that over 71,000 people have pledged to
close their accounts at big banks this weekend, moving them in most cases
to credit unions, small cooperative banks and other local community-based
Seventy-one thousand people signed up already.
We got more ahead.
MADDOW: We are the oldest democracy in the world, but yet we have the
lowest voting participation rate of any Western nation. Perhaps that`s why
our democracy has been able to get so old. It`s nearly new. We`re barely
Part of the reason we have low voting rates is that in some parts of
the country, voting can be prohibitively difficult. Just casting a ballot
can require such a Herculean effort that in major elections in certain
parts of the country, you kind of look like a hero for doing it. In
November 2004 for example, voters in Ohio waited hours to vote in the rain,
in the cold. Old people, people with disabilities, everybody, all waiting.
In Columbus, Ohio, in Toledo, Ohio, waiting for 10 hours at some
polling places where they didn`t have enough voting machines. That same
year in Florida, even with early voting to make things easier that year,
they got huge lines. This is early voting lines.
After a few weeks of huge lines for early voting, for Election Day
voting in Florida, huge lines again. Bring your lawn chairs and something
to eat, I guess. Biblical waits for the chance to vote have been a problem
for the country in a while now.
In 2000, in Georgia, the secretary of state says the polls were
overwhelmed with, quote, “frustrated impatient citizens,” some of them
waiting two hours to exercise their frustrated impatient citizenship, in
the Bush/Gore presidential race that year. Two presidential races later,
things had still not gotten any better in Georgia. Check out this report
from the early voting in the Obama/McCain election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: In Atlanta, they were queued up long before the doors
opened. Eventually, more than 900 people. Voters in Gwyneth County,
Georgia, waited eight to 10 hours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Eight to 10 hours. So, the wait time to vote in some parts
of Georgia started off bad and then over the course of the decade, the
badness quintupled. From when the secretary of state identified those two-
hour-long lines as a barrier to democracy, the problem got five times
worse. If a two-hour wait is a barrier to democracy, what is a 10-hour
We cannot say we`re surprised anymore by how hard it is to vote in
this country. We cannot say we are surprised when voters spent literally
hours in line just trying to vote as they did in the last presidential
In Florida and Virginia and North Carolina, voting was hard in 2000,
voting was hard in 2004, voting was hard in 2008. Voting is hard in this
country. It is already hard.
And as we have been reporting on the show for months, since
Republicans won control of so many state governments in the 2010 elections,
they have been engaged in a concerted, cross-country, multistate effort to
change voting rules in ways that make both registering to vote and voting
even harder. They have specifically sought to make voting harder by means
that disproportionately impact students and minority voters and less well
off voters who tend to vote for Democratic candidates.
In Maine, Republican Governor Paul LePage signed a bill ending that
state`s 38-year tradition of allowing you to register as a voter and then
vote on the same day. There`s never been a problem with that policy in
Maine but it apparently makes things too convenient.
A week from today, Mainers will at least try to vote on a ballot
measure to restore the ease of voting that Maine Republicans took away this
year, a yes vote on Question 1 in Maine would put the old voting rules back
in place. A no vote on Question 1 would uphold the Republicans` changes.
Polls so far show this race in Maine is going to be close.
Also, a week from today, alongside its personhood amendment that would
seek to ban both abortion and most birth control in Mississippi,
Mississippi voters next week will decide on an amendment to their state
constitution that would make voting hard there, too. You`d have to produce
documentation you`ve never before had to show in order to vote in
The amendment was sponsored by Mississippi Republicans, that has been
pushed by Mississippi Republicans and it will cost Mississippi a bundle the
state might otherwise have charged for ID cards, because those ID cards
will have to be free so they do not become a modern day poll tax which is
Here`s the thing: to get one of those IDs you have to show a birth
certificate. And to get a copy of your birth certificate, that costs 15
bucks. Mississippi, of course, is one of the poorest states in the
country. So, that 15 bucks, that`s kind of a poll tax anyway, once
Mississippians will also have to pay to defend the state against all
the legal challenges they will face on this. Legal challenges that
probably do not have a very good – excuse me – legal challenges that
probably to have a pretty good chance of overturning the law in the end.
In Florida this year, Republican Governor Rick Scott signed a law that
cuts early voting in half. Thus ensuring longer than ever lines to vote in
Florida. It also makes voter registration drives all but impossible.
Florida`s new rules are so complicated and onerous that the League of Women
voters gave up rather than inadvertently commit a crime while trying to
encourage people to register to vote.
A teacher trying to organize a voter registration drive at her high
school in Santa Rosa County, Florida, is accused of making that mistake.
She`s now facing a $1,000 fine for an alleged crime of turning in students`
complications to vote in violations of the new rules that make that almost
impossible to do illegally. The Republican secretary of state in Florida
has just written to the state attorney general demanding that teacher be
pursued and fined for helping students sign up to vote.
A second Florida teacher has been accused of essentially the same
crime in Volusia County.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want every person to have a chance to vote.
You know, we`re fighting in wars so people can have democracy. And so,
when we don`t recognize that, that upsets me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It`s hard to conceive of prosecuting a case like that one,
but in Florida, that is the deal now. The county election supervisor in
Volusia County told the local paper, quote, “This isn`t someone who is
going to commit voter fraud. She was doing a good thing.”
The election supervisor wrote herself in the local paper, quote,
“Traditionally, as supervisor of elections, I go out of my way to avoid
controversy and conflict. But legislation passed in the 2011 session was
so egregious that I felt I had to bring it to the attention of all
interested citizens. That law was brought to the forefront in my office
last week when we received by mail a packet of 50 completed applications of
preregistrations from a public high school. It was an emotional day when I
had to forward this information to the division of elections as being
Noncompliant as in illegal.
She did turn in the teacher to the state for potential prosecution,
telling the “Palm Beach Post,” quote, “I was sick to my stomach when I did
it. Here was a teacher doing the good thing, but my job was on the line if
I ignored it.”
Joining us tonight for the interview is that county supervisor of
elections, Ann McFall who serves Florida`s Volusia County. Ms. McFall, I
realize you have not sought the spotlight on this and I really appreciate
you taking the time to talk to us about it tonight.
ANN MCFALL (R), VOLUSIA, FL ELECTIONS SUPERVISOR: Well, thank you for
MADDOW: When you began your job overseeing the elections, did you
think you`d have to report a teacher for trying to help her students vote?
MCFALL: No, it`s still appalling to me that motherhood and apple pie,
our teachers we respect and uphold, that I`d have to turn a teacher in.
It`s just – it`s still appalling to me.
MADDOW: What happened when you reported this case to the state? Has
there been any act of furtherance? Or do you know what`s going to happen
in this case?
MCFALL: I understand from the division of elections that the teacher
will probably be given a warning because it was her first time she did
this, as opposed to the teacher in Santa Rosa who probably, it was her
second time that this occurred.
The teacher in Volusia County was not a third party voter registrar.
She was not registered as such with the division. That was her mistake
Mistake number two, the new law says that it was – that you have to
get the applications into my office within 48 hours. She did not do that.
It was the beginning of the school year. And it was an SGA project to get
seniors preregistered. So she just mailed them in. There wasn`t any major
election until 2012 in that area of the county. So, she didn`t see a need
to do that.
It`s just amazing to me, in Volusia County, alone, we probably have
5,000 public school teachers. How in the world are we going to be in
compliance when half of them go out and do voter registration drives?
Which they do on a regular basis.
MADDOW: Has there been any problem of voter fraud that you know of in
Volusia County, associated with teachers doing voter registration drives or
any other regular day of business voter registration drives?
MCFALL: No and I keep asking people to show me the fraud, show me
where it occurred. Beginning in 2006, Florida began operating a statewide
database. All 67 counties are a part of this state of voter registration
database. We will catch anyone who tries to register, for instance, in
Volusia County, already registered in another county.
We will catch someone if Abe Bigoda (ph) tries to register in Volusia
County. It just won`t happen because of our security features that the
state helped us develop. It just doesn`t happen.
MADDOW: Ms. McFall, I know that you are Republican in Florida. The
law about voter registration this year was passed by the Republican-
controlled legislature, signed by the governor who shared your party. How
do you square your objections to this law – your feelings about it, with
your party`s support for it? Is this a partisan issue for you? How do you
feel about it?
MCFALL: Well, it is not a partisan issue with me. I`m proud to be a
Republican, but I will tell you my first and foremost job that I was
elected to do is to have equitable, transparent, fair elections. This law,
with the early voting changes, the voter registration changes, does not
make that ease of elections any easier for any of the 67 supervisors.
MADDOW: What do you think could be done now about these new
restrictions in Florida? Obviously, the cases of the teachers getting in
trouble for doing something that most people support I think is getting
some attention to it. Your willingness to discuss this openly is getting
some attention to it, I think particularly because you are a Republican
What do you think could be done to ease this burden?
MCFALL: Well, you know, it`s interesting that in the past month, I`ve
probably made 10 public speaking engagements. I`ve talked to Republican
clubs, to Democratic clubs, I`ve talked to universities, I`ve talked to
League of Women Voters, AAUW. I`ve talked to all of them.
And it`s unanimous, none of these groups like the third party law. It
just is too cumbersome.
If nothing else, the Florida legislature goes into session in January
and it goes January through March. Hopefully, they can create some of
these misdeeds that they did in 2011.
MADDOW: What do you think motivated them to change the law in the
MCFALL: Oh, I think the ease of registering to vote was too much.
There were some other changes that is really locking out the chance for
students to vote.
In Florida, the primary for 2012 was moved up two weeks to August
14th. Most of the state universities don`t go back into session until
MADDOW: Ann McFall –
MCFALL: Why is that?
MADDOW: – supervisors of elections in Florida`s Volusia County –
it`s a pleasure to speak with you. I know this isn`t the easiest thing and
your willingness to talk about it publicly I think is making a real
difference in your state. So, thank you very much, ma`am.
MCFALL: Thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you.
All right. Right after this show on “THE LAST WORD,” Lawrence
O`Donnell will get a Republican take on Herman Cain`s current mess from his
guest, Meghan McCain. Lawrence and Meghan. That should be awesome.
Here, we`ve got caffeinated meat – meat with caffeine. Lots and lots
of caffeinated meat. You`re not mishearing me. Best new thing – that`s
MADDOW: Today, Bank of America which almost never blinks, blinked. I
wonder if that had anything to do with all those nice people still
protesting downtown. A report on “Occupy” the unseasonably chilly Wall
Street is coming up next.
MADDOW: And now the occupation has mittens. When we last reported on
“Occupy Wall Street,” a winter storm was about to hit the Eastern Seaboard,
including Wall Street in Manhattan. Seeing the temperatures were about to
drop, New York City firefighters showed up at the occupy encampment and
confiscated six generators and about a dozen cans of fuel used to run them.
No more heaters for the people derided as hippies.
Even on this unseasonably really cold weekend in New York, almost
three inches of snow fell in Manhattan Saturday. It was wet and windy and
very cold in New York City. People at “Occupy Wall Street” this past
weekend passed out hats and scarves and ponchos. It sounds basic. You
cannot expect a bunch of urban political activists to know what to do when
the snow starts flying and they`re you`re not planning to go inside. You
can, though, apparently expect them to stick it out through the storm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once we figure out how to stay here and we are
going to do it, that`s going to be bigger than any sign that any one of us
is holding right now, because they`re counting on us leaving because it
sucks. This sucks. You know? Belief in the movement, obviously as cheesy
as it sounds, is the most important part.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The good news for the occupiers is that human beings have
been dealing with winter for a very long time. We have learned a lot about
dealing with winter, even when we`re not in our homes and we don`t have
heaters. Back in Wisconsin in March, remember Republican walker`s state
government kicked people out of the capitol building where they hunkered
down with sleeping bags and crock pots to protest the union-stripping bill.
The state kicked them out and I mean out, into the cold.
This was not March as in spring, this was March as in Wisconsin
winter. Did the protesters go home? No, the protesters did not go home.
Man, this is Wisconsin. The unofficial motto of Wisconsin is we fish
through ice and so what if state rules forbade the protesters from putting
up tents? The protesters of Wisconsin unfurled their sleeping bags on
plain air. They created a tent city without tents. They called it
It was 14 degrees in walkerville. Cold enough to make the hairs on
the inside of your nose freeze. But they stayed.
Everyone involved with the occupy movement has known winter would be
the real challenge because “Occupy Wall Street,” occupy wherever is about
staying put. It`s not a march where you show up at a certain time and do
your thing and go home. “Occupy Wall Street” is about occupying.
It`s about taking up space indefinitely.
In Portland, Maine, this weekend, they got up on Sunday and shoveled
out their occupation. They stayed. Someone built a snow protestor, snow-
tester, I don`t know, but in Maine, they are staying.
In Hartford, Connecticut, it snowed and they stayed there too. To the
extent that the success that the success of the occupation turns on the
protesters` willingness to sacrifice, to keep going, to stay out there, to
show commitment, the snow becoming part of the message.
You still have the real physical problem of winter, and winter can be
dangerous. At the occupy winter Facebook page, they`re posting links to
the U.S. Army`s survival field manual and this handy guide from the Web
site Rogue Priest. Hot tip, pine bows are your best bet to get off the
cold, hard ground outside. Rogue Priest says the occupy camps need to
consider their locations carefully so they`re protected from direct
exposure to the elements as much as possible and not in a de facto urban
wind tunnel, say.
You want shelter from tall buildings nearby and if you can get it some
grass, you`re not parking your tail on the asphalt. The point is you keep
the occupation going. Occupiers in Maine say they may start taking turns
sleeping out, so not everybody has to sleep in the deep freeze every night.
Maybe they`ll try building igloos, who know? They`re certainly
talking about it. Or maybe yurts, like they use in Mongolia.
“Occupy Toronto” is getting three yurts donated by labor unions
At “Occupy Oakland,” they`re talking about occupying opening buildings
where banks foreclosed on the owners or buildings that are sitting empty,
in which case taking shelter would be its own political point.
Tomorrow, “Occupy Oakland” is calling for a general strike in Oakland,
aiming to shut down the port of Oakland, and banks and businesses.
Businesses and organizations that support the 99 percent movement are being
asked to give employees the day off tomorrow so people can join the protest
downtown throughout the day at 14th and Broadway in Oakland.
Meanwhile, “Occupy Iowa” has announced plans to occupy presidential
campaign offices in Iowa. Both sides, the Republican candidate`s offices
and those for President Obama.
While the occupy movement is figuring out the big picture strategy and
their strategy for coping with winter, the very fact of their occupation
has been changing the ambient temperature of politics in this country.
“Occupy Wall Street” accounts for why Congressman Eric Cantor is all of a
sudden, for the first time in his life, talking about income inequality as
if it might matter to his favorite policies.
“Occupy Wall Street” has made it possible for even the Beltway media
to point out and laugh at flat tax proposals for shoveling more money to
the already richest people in the country.
“Occupy Wall Street” is how you get into the narrative so when Bank of
America blinks, as it did today, about a new, big fat fee on its ordinary
customers, you can wonder why it happened, but the story is forever linked
to the 99 percent, to the standing up for the 99 percent that is happening
all over the country, because if a bunch of your customers start saying
they`re going to take their money out of your bank, and the media starts
listening to them, those customers, ragged urchins or not, have changed the
climate in which you, big banker, do business.
So, yes, it is colder now than it was when the first occupiers moved
in to Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, and it is going to get colder
still. But this occupy thing appears to be working. Forgive me, but
that`s kind of hot.
MADDOW: Napoleon once said an army marches on its stomach. So, it
should not be surprising that the U.S. Army has food scientists working on
the age old problem of MREs. That is meals ready to eat, that will not
only have a shelf life of three years at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and satisfy
the surgeon general`s requirement for nutrition in operational rations,
i.e., approximately 1,300 calories with specific ratios of carbohydrates,
protein and fat, and be capable of being dropped thousands of feet by
parachute without bursting open. All that seems like a tall enough order
for inventing MREs.
But according to today`s “Washington Post” – military food scientists
are going further than even those requirements. They are now experimenting
with changing the properties of some common foods to make them more useful
to soldiers in the fields. Like, for example, lacing up applesauce with
maltodextrin for extra carbs for the applesauce.
They also say they`re lacing other food with Omega 3s or curcumin, I
think that`s how you say it. It`s an anti-inflammatory apparently.
They`re also apparently experimenting with caffeinated meat.
Caffeinated meat – you heard me, caffeinated meat. Specifically beef
jerky that contains the caffeine equivalent of a cup of coffee. Now, our
staff on the show today was about three hours late to the rest of the news
in the world today because we got so derailed by the whole caffeinated meat
thing. And while fascinated by the idea of caffeinated jerky and knowing
that was “The Best New Thing in the World Today,” we really decided that we
were stumped about how to translate this idea into a television experience.
We came up with a couple of ideas like using a Slim Jim to stir your Red
Bull in a highball glass thus imparting meatiness to your caffeine
I`m just going to let that marinate a little bit, I think. Or their
cereal style involving the flakey kind of jerky in a bowl with this – as a
sort of milk experience in the cereal, then you can have your jerky and
caffeine together. It could work. I am going to try them.
At the control room`s request apparently, I am supposed to wait until
the end of the show in case I cannot talk anymore after I try this. But
we`ll just table these for a second.
Guess what, though? The thing we learned after coming up with the
ideas of how to combine meet and caffeine is the military did not invent
caffeinated jerky. There is, it turns out, a commercially available
caffeinated meat product already that`s called Perky Jerky. Perky Jerky
also comes in turkey flavor, so that would be Perky turkey Jerky, I would
The guy who founded the company is planning to run the New York City
marathon this weekend. He says he will do it while wearing a suit made of
bags Perky Jerky. This is what that looks like.
But before we knew that you could just buy this stuff, that was our
idea to test whether the military was being genius and gross here – or
just genius. Here we go. Meat plus caffeine equals “The Best New Thing in
the World Today.”
The good thing about THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW is you`re never allowed to
eat the garnish. That excuses me there.
Look at that. We`re out of time. I`m very sorry. I`ll have to do
this all alone because now it`s time for “THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence
O`Donnell. I`m just going to eat this thing myself.
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