The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 03/08/13
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Have a great weekend, my
ED SCHULTZ, “THE ED SHOW” HOST: I will do that. You, too.
MADDOW: Thanks to you at home for being with us this hour.
Happy Friday to you. Lots to get to tonight.
Today`s news started with happy economic noises on unemployment
falling to its lowest rate in four years, and unexpectedly high number of
jobs being created, which is great. And we`ll have to see how that holds
up in the face of the sequester which will try its best to screw that up.
And, yes, the sequester still exists.
Today, the new director of the CIA, John Brennan, was sworn into
office using an original draft of the U.S. Constitution. That was what he
got sworn in on.
Today, the new secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel, took a surprise trip
to Afghanistan to visit the troops there, to talk about how that war ends.
Today, the president`s nominees to run the Energy Department and the
EPA got a new framing for their reason to exist when a new study in the
“Journal Science” came out, showing that the global warming news is really,
really bad news. Like global temperatures highest in 4,000 years bad news.
But we start tonight just east of Denver, Colorado. The town of
Aurora, Colorado, which, of course, was the scene of a mass shooting in a
movie theater this past July. 12 people were killed, 58 people were
injured by a gunman whose many weapons included an assault-style rifle that
was loaded with a magazine that looked like this. It`s called a drum
magazine because it holds its rounds in a spiral instead of a stack, like
they`re used to in a normal magazine. This drum magazine can hold 100
When that mass killing unfolded in Aurora last year in 2012, one of
the underappreciated things about it at the time, I think, was that it was
not the first time that that specific town in Colorado had had a mass
December 1993, a 19-year-old young man went on a shooting rampage at a
pizza parlor where he had previously been employed. It was a Chuck E.
Cheese. He killed four people. He himself survived. He`s on death row
now. The Supreme Court just turned down his execution appeal.
He only left one person alive in the building after that rampage that
night and that may have been only because the lone survivor played dead.
When the next mass shooting happened in Aurora, years later, this past
summer, that lone survivor of the previous mass shooting in Aurora ended up
back in the news talking about what it meant to be a survivor of a mass
shooting like that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOBBY STEPHENS, 1993 SHOOOTING SURVIVOR: I remember playing dead and
more or less waiting for him to finish me off. Running through an area and
seeing bodies and everything else, those are images that you`ll never,
never lose. Those will stay with you no matter what.
Why am I still here? Why didn`t I do things differently? Why
couldn`t I have been more help?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Mass shooting that he survived in Aurora, Colorado, was in
1993. The other mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, which killed 12 people,
happened 19 years later. In the intervening years, Colorado also saw, of
course, the mass shooting in Littleton, Colorado, at Columbine High School,
which left 15 people dead, including the two gunmen.
Now, there`s no reason to think that Colorado is a magnet for this
kind of violence, that it is any more prone to gun massacres or gun
violence in general than any other state in the country. But for whatever
reason, Colorado just in this past generation has had a couple of the most
high-profile massacres in the country. And after Columbine and after
Aurora, there was not just national attention to those outrages, but there
was a wave of national outrage – national attention, national outrage,
national outpouring of grief. And, ultimately, no change in public policy.
Colorado has, meanwhile, become this very illuminating lens through
which to view what is going on in our country now on this subject because
Colorado will always be the home of Columbine. And Colorado will always be
the home of Aurora.
But Columbine and Aurora were not enough to change anything in
Colorado when it comes to policy. Nothing happened. And that seemed to
prove that nothing could happen, even in the face of the worst kind of gun
But today in Colorado something began to happen in a big way. And I
think it reflects two changes.
The first change, of course, that it reflects is Newtown. Each
horrible gun massacre we go through as a country feels like it`s going to
be the one that we go through as a country that will galvanize us to
finally demand some kind of change. It`s always impossible to imagine that
anything could be worse.
And with Newtown, maybe this actually is going to be the one that we
cannot imagine anything worse. And it really does change us. Newtown has
happened since. But also, a much more pedestrian change has happened since
in Colorado, one that may have profoundly changed the realm of what is
possible in Colorado.
It`s what happened in the last election. Colorado`s governor, John
Hickenlooper, he`s a Democrat. Colorado`s Senate had been Democratic
controlled before. But in the November election, Colorado`s House also
So Colorado now is all blue. Not by huge margins. Not by
overwhelming numbers, but it`s blue – in the legislature and the
governor`s house. That meant when Newtown happened, after Aurora and after
Columbine – I mean, after Aurora, before that, after all the other
experience that Colorado has had with gun violence, today Colorado decided
to change some things.
After all these previous things, nothing had changed. But today,
something started to change. Today has been a very dramatic day. Seven
pieces of gun-related legislation moving one after the other through the
state legislature today. The first one was about domestic violence.
It already says in federal law if you have a domestic violence
conviction if you have a domestic violence protection order against you,
under federal law you are not supposed to be able to have a gun. Colorado
did not have in place a mechanism at the state level to enforce that.
So what passed this morning, the first bill that advanced this morning
in Colorado would create that mechanism at the state level to keep people
who have been convicted of domestic violence related offenses or have
domestic violence protection orders against them from having guns.
Second, there was a loophole that said you have to apply and get a
license and get checked out to see if you`re OK to give you a concealed
carry permit. But none of that had to happen in person. You could do the
whole thing online, from your padded cell or wherever. Nobody ever had to
look at you face to face.
Well, under the second bill that moved today, now that loophole will
be closed in Colorado. You cannot do it just online.
Another bill that passed today would close the loophole that says not
everybody has to have a background check before they buy a gun. Buying a
gun at a gun show should not be a way to evade having a background check
And they are still working. I mean, this evening they advanced a bill
make you pay 10 bucks to cover the cost of that background check. There`s
also another bill to limit the size of ammunition magazines. There`s a
bill to try to get around the federally imposed immunity for gunmakers so
they cannot be sued for the way their products are used.
Nobody seems to believe that all of these bills are going to pass, but
nobody seems to believe that none of these bills are going to pass either.
They have been in session. They have been debating this stuff in
Colorado today. They`ve been fighting it out for 10 hours today and still
counting. They plan, I hear, to stay until they vote on the last of the
seven bills however long that takes. This is happening right this second.
The fight in Colorado has already seen charges filed against one angry
opponent of the proposed reforms for allegedly threatening one of the state
representatives who sponsored some of the legislation. She`s a
representative who already lost her son to gun violence.
The man who`s being charged in this case allegedly threatened to kill
both her and her daughter who he named in very racially explicit messages.
His defense so far is that those messages may have been vile but were not
intended to be threatening.
The problem of gun violence in our country is so widespread that
almost any state could claim to be ground zero for change on this issue,
could claim to be the place where change should start. Well, today, with
its specific history in Colorado, they are not only making decisions for
their state. They seem to be making those decisions knowing that the eyes
of the nation, to a certain degree, are upon them.
It has helped that Gabby Giffords` husband Mark Kelly was among those
who testified. He testified in favor of the universal background checks
Vice President Biden personally contacted legislators in Colorado to
talk to them about the national importance of these bills that they are
Right now, it is still going on in Colorado. It is likely to continue
into the wee hours, if not into tomorrow.
We are joined live right now from just outside the senate chamber by
Colorado Senate President John Morse, Democrat of Colorado Springs.
Senator Morse, thank you so much for being here. It`s really nice to
have you here.
STATE SEN. JOHN MORSE (D), COLORADO SENATE PRESIDENT: You`re welcome.
MADDOW: I understand this has been a trying day, a long day, and that
in that work is still under way.
By the end of the night tonight, or by the time you guys stop, what do
you think will have happened today in the senate? Do you think you`ll get
to all seven bills?
MORSE: I do think we`ll get to all seven bills. And I think we`ll
pass most of them. I think by the end of today, we will have passed a
comprehensive package that in the long run will make Colorado safer and
will blaze a path for the whole country to follow.
MADDOW: Colorado is home, of course, to Littleton, Colorado, where
the Columbine mass shooting happened. Home to Aurora where we`ve had two
mass shootings in Aurora, the one most recently this past summer.
But it was Newtown that happened in Connecticut that seems to have
changed the national discussion around this issue. Did what happened in
Newtown change what was possible in Colorado, or do you think you might be
doing this without that having happened?
MORSE: I think that Aurora had a big impact, and this is the first
legislative session that we`ve had. We started January 9th. Since the
Aurora shooting had.
But I agree with you that Newtown really seared the consciousness of
this country and that includes Colorado. And so I think that has made it
possible to do the things that we`re doing now that might not have been
possible even in November after the Aurora shooting. I think some of this
we would have tried, but it`s great to have a comprehensive package and
actually have a shot at getting it done.
MADDOW: The other thing practically that is making this all possible,
we know that Democrats have control in the state senate and Democrats have
control in the state house and there`s a Democrat in the governorship in
And that`s a political reality. But I wonder if you can think about
this and sort of meta terms. Not just in terms of what`s possible but what
ought to be. I mean, it doesn`t seem like you`re getting Republican
support for this package. It seems like you were able to do this because
you`ve got Democrats in the numbers that you need to have them.
Does that surprise you that this has ended up being so crisply
partisan, that there isn`t more crossing over?
MORSE: Yes, it has surprised me. I think it is important to make the
distinction. There are Republicans that support this in the state of
Colorado. There just aren`t any that are elected and here under the gold
I do think Republicans support what we`re doing in large numbers. I
think there are NRA members who support what we`re doing in large numbers.
But there aren`t elected Republicans, and that is frustrating.
MADDOW: In terms of understanding why that is true and whether that
might ever change, can you describe a little bit about the atmosphere
around this debate? I mean, we`ve seen – I`ve been following the “Denver
Post” and some of the other Colorado media, the coverage of this one man
who has been charged now with threatening two state representatives, and I
know that there`s been some real intensity rising to that potentially
But has there been a lot of – has the pressure been intense?
MORSE: The pressure has been amazingly intense. And there`s actually
a better example, I think, than what you are talking about with e-mails
that are threatening and rise to the level of criminality.
There`s actually one of my senators that lives in a town that still
has a newspaper, a pretty good sized newspaper that like 85 percent of the
folks in her district read.
And the general manager of that newspaper sent her an email that said,
I`m the general manager of this newspaper. I`m the one that controls the
newsroom. I control which stories get done and how those stories get done.
And I don`t like these bills.
So he threatened her with how he`s going to cover her. And then
followed through, really, she was in the paper and on the front page for a
week, practically a week straight and including with pictures that weren`t
very flattering, almost deliberately.
So the level of intensity here is really profound, both with respect
to e-mails, some of which like you say rise to the level of criminality,
some that are just mean and nasty. I personally have gotten some that have
words in them that rhyme with fire truck.
But we`ve also seen lots of threats but mostly to either women or
people of color. I haven`t personally gotten any threats in my e-mails,
but the level of intensity is profound on so many different levels.
MADDOW: Given that, do you – what advice do you give to your
senators in terms of coping with that? And as the rest of the country
watches Colorado go through this, do you have any advice or anything you`ve
learned about this process about how to get through it?
MORSE: Well, and the biggest piece of advice I give is the piece of
advice that I got from Abraham Lincoln. And he didn`t read the papers
because he didn`t want to be mad at people. He wanted to just be able to
do what he needed to do. And he still tapped into public opinion but
didn`t worry about what the papers were writing about him and what was
going on in the opinion pages.
And that`s what I tell my senators as well, even though at this point
when you are getting thousands of e-mails, you can`t read all of them
physically anyway. But it`s – we just have to stay away from some of this
We got the point that some of these folks think their Second Amendment
rights are being abridged. Even though we know darn well that`s not true,
it`s not worth getting into that argument with them. And so, just move
along and don`t read any more of these than you absolutely have to because
it will wear on your psyche. And it has weared on my psyche.
But I`m very proud of my caucus and the way they`ve stood up and
gotten this done.
MADDOW: John Morse, Colorado Senate president – I have a feeling
it`s going to be a late night yet. Thank you for taking time to speak with
us. Stay in touch.
MORSE: Thank you for having me.
MADDOW: Thanks very much.
All right. Lots to come on this fine Friday night, including the
political importance of keeping mummies around under glass. That`s coming
MADDOW: In the fall of 2002 in the Washington, D.C., area, there were
the sniper attacks, right? This was just a year after 9/11. The country
was still unusually terrorized because of that anyway.
And in the D.C. area, that fall, the two D.C. snipers killed 10 people
and wounded another three. They used a semiautomatic assault rifle called
the Bushmaster XM-15. The two men were eventually caught, tried and
convicted on multiple charges including the illegal use of a firearm.
But that was not the end of the legal rope. The families of some of
the victims sued the company that made the product that they used to commit
their crimes. They sued Bushmaster and the gun store that sold the
Bushmaster. They called selling those men that gun, quote, “gross
The lawsuit alleging that records from the – the lawsuit alleged that
records from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives showed
that over a few years, hundreds of guns had disappeared from that store
with no paper trail. Hundreds of guns completely unaccounted for, in terms
of any record keeping at all, including the gun that the snipers used to
kill all those people.
Bushmaster and the gun store ended up settling with the victims`
families. They paid out $2.5 million for that negligence.
Around the same period of time, the late 1990s and the early 2000s,
there were a lot of things like this, from the victims of gun violence and
their families, from municipalities, from states, even from some public
housing authorities. People were taking gun manufacturers to court to try
to hold them responsible. New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, Gary, Indiana,
New Orleans, Miami, Bridgeport, Connecticut, more than two dozen other
cities sued more than 20 gun manufacturers.
They argued in many of these cases the gun industry had built up a
distribution system for its product that allowed and even encouraged
illegal sales – sales to people who should not have been able to buy guns
legally. When warned that certain distributors are responsible for big
proportions of the guns that ended up in the hands of criminals, the
manufacturers just kept their distribution systems in place. No change.
We don`t care. We hope you are paying cash.
The lawsuits holding gun manufacturers accountable for those decisions
were exactly what the gun industry did not want to have to deal with. And
so, the gun industry made them go away.
When New Orleans sued the gun industry, the gun industry got the state
of Louisiana to pass a law giving the industry immunity from lawsuits,
retroactively. When Atlanta sued the gun industry, the gun industry got
the state of Georgia to give the industry immunity as well. In 1995, they
got the big kahuna. The gun industry had its fake populist front group,
the NRA, lobby hard in Congress for a federal grant of immunity from
Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the NRA, said about the
immunity bill, quote, “It is a historic piece of legislation.”
And he`s right. I mean, no other industry has blanket immunity from
lawsuits. But the gun industry does.
When it passed, “The New York Times” noted that the gun liability bill
has, for years, been the number one legislative priority of the National
It`s not really the way the NRA advertises itself, but it`s kind of
telling, right? The number one legislative priority of the National Rifle
Association was not protecting hunters and sportsmen, sticking up for the
rights and conveniences of America`s law-abiding gun owners. The number
one legislative priority of the National Rifle Association was giving
blanket immunity from lawsuits to the companies that make guns and sell
them for a profit.
Joining us now is Jon Lowy. He`s director of the Legal Action Project
at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Mr. Lowy, thanks very much for being with us. I appreciate your time.
JON LOWY, BRADY CENTER TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE: My pleasure.
MADDOW: Am I overstating it to say that in the United States of
America, gun manufacturers have immunity from liability that no other
LOWY: You`re right. I mean, there`s a basic principle of civil
justice which governs everyone in society that we all have to act
reasonably. And if we don`t, we are deemed negligent. We can be deemed
liable. The only people that that rule does not apply to are licensed gun
dealers, manufacturers and distributors.
MADDOW: Does the industry behave in ways that they otherwise would
not behave if they weren`t immune from prosecution in your view?
LOWY: There`s no question about it. I mean, we have cases where gun
dealers supply criminals profit from those sales.
And then they come up with defenses such as, I put a gun on the
counter. I turned my back. What do you know, the criminal took the gun,
left money on the counter for me and I didn`t know that he was going to do
That, as implausible as it sounds, is a compelling defense under this
federal law that can get them off the hook.
MADDOW: What sort of lobbying effort did the gun manufacturers and
the NRA put into passing this tailor-made immunity bill for their own
LOWY: Well, they misrepresented it. I mean, they would say that the
bill was about preventing gun companies from being held liable when they
did nothing wrong, but their gun was used in a criminal shooting.
And the fact is these lawsuits were not seeking to impose liability
for those cases. It was simply saying that if a gun company acted
unreasonably, if they profited off criminals and they could have easily
prevented it, or if they could have put a safety device on a gun that –
which would have prevented a kid from getting killed. These are the sort
of principles that govern every other industry in America, including BB gun
manufacturers. And that`s what these cases were about.
MADDOW: Wait, wait, wait. These kinds of – that kind of protection
you are talking about wouldn`t apply to a BB gun manufacturer, but it does
to a gun-gun manufacturer?
LOWY: You can sue a BB gun manufacturer for not putting in a certain
safety device. And that case will be heard by court. In fact, also the
Consumer Product Safety Commission can require BB gun manufacturers to put
safety devices into guns as it can do for any other product.
Guns get the double whammy. One, they get this special exemption from
civil justice law, from products liability law. They also get exempt from
Consumer Product Safety Commission. So the federal government can`t force
them to put in safety devices.
As a result, there are safety devices which are literally over 100
years old. They cost less than $1. They would save the lives of children.
There`s no question about it, and yet, they are not the industry standard
in – for guns in America.
MADDOW: One of the reasons we`ve been trying to focus on the gun
manufacturers and their relationship with the NRA, is because I find it to
be politically important that the manufacturers are able to essentially
stay out of the spotlight politically altogether. They largely fund the
The NRA maintains itself publicly as if it is mostly a membership
organization. It seems to me they are mostly doing what the industry
wants. And part of what the industry wants is for the NRA to be out there
taking all the criticism so they don`t have to.
It seems to me that a manifestation of that is that the whole country
isn`t up in arms about the gun industry having liability that – liability
protection that no other industry has.
What are the chances that this might get undone? It was only imposed
in 2005 or 2006.
LOWY: Well, Representative Adam Schiff has introduced legislation
which would undo the worst of this law. And it basically would say that
negligence law, product liability law, these basic principles, will apply
to gun companies.
And that gun violence victims will have a right to their day in court,
but to simply prove their case and say they`re entitled to win their case.
But victims of Newtown for example have a right to bring a case just like
anyone else. So, that`s very promising. It`s very modest legislation and
I`m hopeful about it.
I mean, it`s got to get through the Congress, obviously, but I am
MADDOW: Talk about a special interest piece of legislation. Your
industry gets immunity from liability and nobody else does. It`s just –
it`s incredible this exists. Jon Lowy, director of the Brady Center`s
Legal Action Project – thanks for helping us understand this. Appreciate
LOWY: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. It`s Friday. I promised mummies and mummies you
shall have. Please stay with us.
MADDOW: University College of London is a fancy, very good public
university in London, in England. Most people call it UCL.
And UCL has the advantage of being right in the heart of London. It
is in the historic Bloomsbury District in central London. It`s a big
school. It has undergraduate programs and graduate programs, really good
And UCL, the University College of London also has this. His name is
Jeremy Bentham and he lives in a cupboard at the school. UCL is very proud
they have Jeremy Bentham preserved in a cupboard, which you can tell in
part because they made this amazing Web site showing him up close.
And if you mouse over Jeremy Bentham you can swing him around and
check him out by all angles. And if you so desire, if you are that kind of
person, you can also click on the link on the left there that takes you to
Jeremy Bentham`s preserved head.
I know deciding if and where to go to school is a hard choice, but how
many schools can offer you the philosopher`s preserved head as part of your
This question informed some rather jarring developments in today`s
news. And, no, I do not mean that anybody is being put in a jar, but it`s
That`s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE SEN. JASON RAPERT (R), ARKANSAS: I wonder sometimes when they
invited all the Muslims to come into the White House and have a little
Ramadan supper, when our president could not take the time to go attend a
National Prayer Breakfast. I wonder what he stands for.
You know what? They told me that what you say speaks so loudly that -
- excuse me, what you do speaks so loudly that what you say, I cannot hear
I hear you loud and clear, Barack Obama. You don`t represent the
country that I grew up with and your values is not going to save us.
We`re going to try and take this country back for the Lord. We`re
going to try to take this country back for conservativism. And we`re not
going to allow minorities to run roughshod over what you people believe in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We`re not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over
what you people believe in.
That`s a Republican state senator from Arkansas who really does not
want people to keep playing that tape of that speech he made at that Tea
Party rally in Little Rock, Arkansas in 2011.
He`s come up with a whole series of arguments to explain what exactly
he was saying there. How he didn`t mean minorities, minorities when he
said he`s not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over what you
people believe in. He didn`t mean it like that.
He also is explaining how even though President Obama did attend the
National Prayer Breakfast every year of his presidency, there is apparently
something else prayer breakfast-related of which Senator Rapert is
critical. So even though he is lying about the president and the prayer
breakfast in that speech, Senator Rapert would like everyone to stop
reporting it that way anyway.
The reason that State Senator Jason Rapert of Arkansas he`s gone from
a person who was perfectly comfortable talking about minorities running
roughshod over what you people believe in at public rallies in Arkansas
just two years ago to somebody who wants to try to maybe have that
forgotten, somebody who wants to try to put that genie back in the bottle,
try to manage his public image is because Jason Rapert believes he is going
He thinks he`s going big time because now at least his ideas are
In 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled that states cannot make
abortion illegal. The right to privately make your own decisions about
your health and your body and your pregnancy cannot be overridden by a
state government that wants to decide it instead of you.
You can`t ban abortion. You can`t make it impossible to get an
abortion. That`s illegal in America. States just do not have that option.
That said, Republicans in the states, particularly since the 2010
elections have been on a rampage to test that to try to make access to
abortion as impossible as they can. Ninety-two restrictions on abortion
access passed in the year 2011. Another 43 passed past year. This year
close to 300 provisions restricting access to abortion have already been
introduced in the states.
But good old Jason Rapert in Arkansas has dragged his state further
over the cliff than any other state now. In the newly Republican
controlled legislature in Arkansas, Jason Rapert`s bill flat out bans
abortion in the state after 12 weeks.
And that is very, very obviously illegal in the United States of
America. It is flatly illegal under the Constitution. There`s no
ambiguity about it.
Nevertheless, his illegal bill passed the legislature. The Democratic
governor of Arkansas vetoed it, saying in his veto letter, this blatantly
contradicts the United States Constitution and is, therefore, likely to be
very costly to the state once someone decides to sue over it.
The legislature responded by overriding that veto. Essentially
saying, we do not care that it is blatantly unconstitutional. We do not
care that it is illegal. We are doing it anyway. Strike us down.
Joining us now for the interview is the woman who will in all
likelihood, strike them down. Nancy Northup is the president of the Center
for Reproductive Rights, which along with the ACLU, has promised to sue the
state of Arkansas over this blatantly unconstitutional new abortion ban.
Nancy, thank you for being here.
NANCY NORTHUP, CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: Thank you for having
MADDOW: The abortion ban in Arkansas set to go into effect 90 days I
guess after the legislature wraps up. Am I right in saying that this is
the sort of thing about where there`s a bright line, there isn`t any legal
NORTHUP: Absolutely. You`re right. The governor was right. The
Constitution is clear. The Supreme Court has been clear.
This is far outside the range of what you can do in restricting
abortion. It`s just a new form of extreme.
Usually when you`re seeing this chipping away, what you`re seeing is
they are trying to push the envelope within the constitutional standard.
What Arkansas has done has said we don`t care about the constitutional
standard. We want to try to get a whole new standard that would limit
abortion quite early in pregnancy.
MADDOW: So, you are presumably going to get this blocked in court
before it even goes into effect?
NORTHUP: Oh, we`re going to find this in court before it goes into
MADDOW: Now in terms of their strategy, in part, I give you credit
for acknowledging that they have a strategy. In part, this sort of seems
to me just like a tantrum. It seems the people who think strategically
about these have decided not to pursue it this way in the past because it`s
not a very good plan to have something sent up that will get smacked down
Do you think that there is any reasonableness – forgive the phrasing
– to the idea that they might be able to bust open the constitutional
constraints on this issue by putting forward something that is this
NORTHUP: Well, it`s certainly not reasonable whatsoever. It harms
women and that`s the place that we really want to start.
MADDOW: Legally, is it reasonable strategy that they could win with
NORTHUP: I don`t think it`s reasonable strategy. What I think it is,
is actually that these folks in Arkansas have shown the hand of what is
actually the objective of the anti-choice movement, which is to ban
abortion, criminalize abortion.
So, yes, they have tactical decisions within the anti-choice movement
about how to go about it. The reality is, they`re all up to the same end
game, which is to ban abortion. And they are pushing it faster in
Arkansas, but that`s what they want.
And they`ve always been clear. They want the Supreme Court to change
MADDOW: Most of the new abortion restrictions we see cropping up in
the states as incremental, restrictions that chip away at access to
Is there a – I guess a front end assault on Roe that is coming that
we should see Arkansas as a sort of sign of? Is there a new approach
coming, a second prong of the movement?
NORTHUP: Oh, yes. I mean, this isn`t chipping away. This is taking
a sledgehammer to Roe. And the only way it could stand is if they get to
the Supreme Court and they convince the court that they ought to throw Roe
out the window, 40 years of precedent out the window, and establish some
kind of new incredible regime in which women can`t make these choices with
their doctors. And in which women in a state like Arkansas have completely
different rights from women in New York.
I mean, that`s part of what is so horrific about what`s going around
in the nation now is that whether you are in Mississippi with one clinic
standing, or North Dakota with five bills pending currently, or right now
in Arkansas, we`re making second class citizens of women in some of our
states. And we need one standard for the nation. Roe versus Wade should
be that standard. It`s been that standard.
And we can`t have second class citizens in Arkansas and, you know,
full rights elsewhere in the nation.
MADDOW: Looking at this Supreme Court right now and they are thinking
on this and related issues, if a case like that did get to the Supreme
Court, your confident they`d uphold Roe.
NORTHUP: Well, right now in the Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy is the
swing vote. Justice Kennedy voted with the majority in Planned Parenthood
versus Casey, which is a case 20 years ago that reaffirmed Roe that said
you can`t ban abortions at 12 weeks, that women have to have the ability to
make this choice through the time of viability.
So this court shouldn`t look at this for two seconds.
MADDOW: In terms of the 20-week bans that have been passed in a
number of states. There was a ruling in Idaho related to the Idaho ban
that was a bit of a surprise, I think. Nobody really knew that the court
ruling in that case was going to strike down the Idaho ban.
Does that mean that any of the other states are now in jeopardy,
NORTHUP: Well, actually, the reality is that everywhere it`s been
tested in court right now, those 20-week bans are enjoined. So, they are
enjoined in Idaho and in Arizona and currently in Georgia. Some of those
are just temporarily enjoined as the case goes on.
But the Idaho judge did the right thing. He looked at it and he said
it contravenes the constitutional standard and blocked it.
MADDOW: This is – this is a fight that is so hard to keep track of
on a day-to-day basis because there`s so much happening on a day-to-day
basis that we have a whole separate stream of news input on this show to
try to keep track of these things. You guys are doing so much more
intensively than us because you are combatants in the field.
But thanks for helping us understand this.
NORTHUP: Thanks for continuing to coverage the story.
MADDOW: Thanks. It`s hard. It`s getting harder.
Nancy Northup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights,
which along with the ACLU, has promised to sue the state of Arkansas over
Jason Rapert`s pet bill.
All right. We`ve got a story about Senator John McCain coming up.
And we`ve got a story about mummies coming up. And they are two different
stories. I swear.
MADDOW: OK. Map time. Map of Lower Manhattan, please.
This is about 60 blocks south of where I sit right now, over on the
left side of the screen. You can see the World Trade Center site.
Twenty years ago last week, this is what it looked like at that site.
This was the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. A truck bomb detonated in
the parking garage beneath the North Tower of the World Trade Center
killing six and injuring more than 1,000. Almost two years to the day
after that bombing, U.S. officials tracked down the mastermind of that
attack, a man named Ramzi Yousef.
Authorities captured him in Islamabad in Pakistan. They extradited
him to the United States to face trial. The place where Ramzi Yousef was
tried is about 10 blocks from where he committed the crime for which he was
arrested. He was tried at the U.S. district courthouse in Lower Manhattan
which is right there. It`s right in the shadow of the World Trade Center.
Ramzi Yousef was convicted in that courthouse. He was sentenced to
life in prison without the chance of parole and is now known as inmate
03911 at the federal super max prison in Florence, Colorado.
While that prosecution of Ramzi Yousef was under way, that same
courthouse was the scene of another federal prosecution. An Egyptian-born
cleric known as the “blind sheikh” was being brought up on terrorism
charges related to his plans to blow up a whole slew of New York City
Like Ramzi Yousef, the “blind sheikh” was convicted by federal
prosecutors. He was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of
parole and now he goes by the name of inmate number 34892-054 at the
federal super max prison in Butner, North Carolina.
That courthouse in Lower Manhattan is sort of prolific in terms of
prosecuting terrorism. The cases that end up there are serious cases and
the prosecutors are good at getting convictions. Basically in that
courthouse, international terror suspect goes in, life sentence comes out.
And this morning that courthouse was abuzz with activity again. This
is one of Osama bin Laden`s sons-in-law. This guy was sort of a mainstay
in al Qaeda propaganda videos for years after 9/11. He was a spokesman for
al Qaeda. He was said to have been personally close with bin Laden.
In January, he was captured in Turkey. He was eventually handed over
to Jordan and then Jordan handed him over to American authorities. Because
we as a country have a long history of dealing with terrorism suspects,
guess where his next stop was shortly after he got off the plane from the
If you guessed that U.S. district court in Lower Manhattan, you would
be correct. Just blocks away from the World Trade Center site.
That courthouse has been sending international terrorism suspects away
for going on three decades now.
Osama bin Laden`s son-in-law appeared at the federal courthouse this
morning. He was officially charged with a conspiracy to kill Americans.
It is a crime that carries a potential life sentence. That development,
the capture and appearance in federal court of a high-ranking al-Qaeda
figure, that was greeted today with delight? Congratulations?
No, it was greeted with outrage today by Republican members of the
United States Congress. One after the other came forward to denounce the
Obama administration for having the audacity to mount this terrorism
prosecution for federal court, which we have done for decades.
John Cornyn, Kelly Ayotte, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, John
McCain, they all came out and said it was an outrage. They say the right
decision of course would be to ship the guy to Guantanamo. Their argument
is that Guantanamo is so much better.
They say that now that he`s in federal custody, of course he will not
talk. He`ll clam up. The Obama administration blew it.
I should also mention now that along with charging the federal suspect
in court today, the prosecutors also submitted as evidence 22 pages of
statements that bin Laden`s son-in-law has made to federal law enforcement
officials since he was arrested. But still, everybody freak out. Double
Maybe that will help you get re-elected if you ever have to go back in
a time machine to run for office again in 2004.
MADDOW: If you happen to visit Arizona`s capitol museum in Phoenix,
you may find yourself face to face with that state`s very first governor,
George W. P. Hunt, still seated at his desk, even though Governor Hunt has
been dead for almost 80 years.
But freaky as it is, it is not really Governor Hunt. It is a life-
sized wax figure of him. He is actually interred in a white pyramid that
sits on top of the hill in Papago Park, also in Phoenix. Why not make an
afternoon of it and visit both places?
Here in the pyramid, actual dead politician but you cannot see him.
Here in the capitol museum, fake wax politician but you get to look right
at him, including his spiffy white shoes underneath the desk.
But what if you could do both at the same time? What if you wanted to
do both at the same time? You wanted to see the dead guy up close and have
it be the real dead guy.
Well, the world has just offered up an opportunity to do that. The
nation of Venezuela held its state funeral today for its beloved president,
Hugo Chavez, who died on Tuesday. But that doesn`t mean that they buried
Hugo Chavez. All week long, people have been waiting in line to pay their
respects to Chavez`s casket. They were still doing it today, even as the
funeral was getting under way.
But this is not a last chance, see him now or the opportunity will be
lost forever kind of lineup. What we have learned is that President Chavez
will be embalmed and placed in a glass box on permanent display.
Venezuela`s vice president, who tonight became the new president, explained
that this way that “the people can have him forever.”
Once he is under glass, Mr. Chavez joins a selective group of people
who have been put on perpetual display in our world. There is Lenin`s tomb
in Moscow`s Red Square, want to see him from a different angle? Got that,
North Korea`s Kim Jong-il is on display at a palace in Pyongyang, as
his pops, his dad, Kim Il-sung. So, it`s kind of a family thing.
In China, the body of Chairman Mao can be found at a mausoleum in
Beijing`s Tiananmen Square.
All of these people belonging to the real famous world leader category
of entombment and perpetual exhibition.
My favorite however is also the preserved skeleton of British
philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, who came up with the panopticon of
utilitarianism. Here he is, dressed in his own clothes, sitting in a
wooden cabinet, more of a closet or armoire really at the University
College of London. Hello, Jeremy Bentham.
The only thing that is wax inside the box is Benthams`s head.
Bentham`s own actual mummified head used to seat at his feet inside that
glass box before it was taken away for more tasteful storage elsewhere.
But you know what? If Jeremy Bentham were sitting with me tonight, I
would make him a drink called a corpse reviver, just to see what would
happen. Actually, it`s a corpse reviver number two and it`s delicious.
Are you ready for a cocktail moment?
We haven`t done one of these in a long time, but, boy howdy, do I need
one? All right, corpse reviver number two – I have no idea what corpse
reviver number one is, but number two is a good one.
It`s equal parts, which is actually true of a surprising number of
really good drinks. Three quarters of an ounce of good gin, we`re using
this Death`s Door Gin from Wisconsin because it`s delicious and ignores it
annoys Wisconsin`s Governor Scott Walker for me to use a Wisconsin product.
This is quantreau, which is one of the orange flavored liquors. It`s a
clear one, if you use grand marnier, it will taste sort of the same, except
grand marnier isn`t clear and it`s better if it`s clear.
This is Lillet like fancy French thunderbird, a vermouthy, fortified
wine thing that is surprisingly delicious on ice with an orange twist, and
it`s good cocktail ingredient as well. My sister-in-law loves Lillet this,
perhaps too much. And – just kidding.
And, very special ingredient, fresh lemon juice, it must be from a
fruit. I know this is disappointing to you, if you have something that`s
called lemon juice that you bought from a store, and they didn`t spend
lemon with all the vowels but it needs to come – there we go. Three
quarters and add some lemon juice.
Now, the really difficult thing about the corpse reviver, is that –
it is really easy, right? It`s all equal parts, three quarters of an ounce
of gin, Cointreau, Lillet, and lemon juice, you don`t even need to write it
down. But then, here`s the hard part, two drops, what, two drops of
absinthe. It`s impossible to get two drops of anything unless you`re the
kind of person who has an eyedropper around.
And if you are the kind that has an eyedropper around, you`re probably
not watching cable TV for your cocktail recipes.
So see what you can do to get two drops. I use a paring knife. Shake
it. For more than you think you need to, until your hands feel really
And – the corpse will be revived. Or as they say in the serious
drinking business, if you have one too many of these, the corpse will
Happy Friday. Thanks for being with us. The recipe is at
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD”.
Have a really good weekend. Good night. See you later.
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