The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/16/15
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: That is “ALL IN” for the evening. THE
RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. That was awesome.
HAYES: Thank you.
MADDOW: Happy Friday. Thanks to you at home for joining us this
So, there was a big late-breaking news today from the Obama
administration. The Obama administration made environmental groups very,
very happy today with a surprise decision that they did not telegraph. I
think groups like Greenpeace and other environmental groups never thought
this decision would come. But it happened tonight. We`ve got that news
ahead. Very exciting news.
As we get closer to Halloween, I also feel increasingly justified in
broadcasting news stories that might keep you up all night. Tonight, we`ve
also got one of those. It`s out of Oklahoma. It comes with an aerial map
that will haunt you in your dreams if you can ever sleep well enough to
We`ve also got a cocktail moment tonight for a very sappy reason.
So, there`s a lot to come. We`ve got a big show. It`s going to be a very
fun show, I think.
But we start tonight with the governor of Louisiana. His name is
Bobby Jindal. He`s fun. He`s currently running for president. His
presidential campaign is going terribly. Bobby Jindal reporting he has a
grand total of $261,000 cash on hand for his entire presidential campaign.
Governor Jindal is not on track to make it into the next Republican debate,
not even close.
In national polls these days, 1 percent is a huge day for Bobby
Jindal, but zero percent is a more typical day.
Still, though, Bobby Jindal`s not quitting. And I`ve got to say, the
incentives for him to get out of the race or stay in the race may be about
to change, because Bobby Jindal is about to lose his current job as
governor of the state of Louisiana. It`s not his fault. It`s just time.
Election Day to pick the next governor of Louisiana to succeed Bobby
Jindal is next Saturday. Really, Louisiana? On a Saturday? Yes.
OK. October 24th, next Saturday, is Election Day in Louisiana to
pick a new governor. The Republican favorite in that race is this man,
Louisiana Senator David Vitter, who is the only person in the U.S. Senate
who competes with Ted Cruz for the least liked person in the whole
institution among his colleagues.
But there are three Republicans running in Louisiana to succeed Bobby
Jindal as governor. Senator David Vitter polls the best among them.
But the Democrat in that Louisiana race also has a pretty good chance
of winning. He`s a Democratic state representative named John Bel Edwards.
Not to be confused with the other John “not Bel” Edwards.
But that Louisiana governor`s race, that is not some-2016 race that
we`re looking ahead to for next year. This is a 2015 race. That Louisiana
governor`s race is next week. And then right after that it`s the other big
2015 governor`s race, which happens in the great state of Kentucky.
And Kentucky we think of as a reddish state. Kentucky`s at least in,
you know, the south. But Kentucky has a Democratic governor right now.
That`s part of why Kentucky has this great turnaround in a good way in its
health care numbers. The uninsured rate has dropped through the floor in
Kentucky like it has almost nowhere else in the country.
That`s because even though there is a Republican legislature there,
there`s a Democratic governor there who has been Mr. Obamacare, pushing his
state to accept every possible thing they could from Obamacare, and it`s
just had tremendous results in that state. So, it`s just been really
interesting to see. Kentucky had this Democratic Governor Steve Beshear
over these last couple of years.
But Steve Beshear may not be an outlier. Kentucky may be about to
elect another Democratic to replace Steve Beshear as governor. The
Democratic candidate for governor in Kentucky in this election that happens
in just a couple of weeks, it happens November 3rd, the Democratic
candidate is Jack Conway, who is the state`s attorney general right now.
He also, I have it on good authority, he is also the bone structure model
that they use for finding a good jaw line when they want to cast a classic
politician in an after school special.
Jack Conway is already a state elected official in Kentucky. He`s
got great name recognition. He`s run for a bunch of stuff already. But
he`s already statewide elected. He`s the Democrats` candidate for
The Republicans` candidate for governor is Matt Bevin. Matt Bevin is
not an elected official, not a statewide elected official or elected in any
other way. He did run for Senate against Mitch McConnell in 2014. That
was kind of a disaster for him. You might remember him as the guy who went
to a cockfighting rally and gave a big speech about how cockfighting ought
to be legal in Kentucky. And then afterwards when he was called on it by
the press, he said he had no idea it was a cockfighting rally, he`s quite
sure it wasn`t.
Well, now, he`s the Republicans` candidate for governor. And today,
the Matt Bevin campaign did something really strange. I`ve never seen this
before in a gubernatorial election – I`ve never seen this actually before
in any major election.
But what they did today is they released their own internal polling
on the Kentucky governor`s race to show the public what their own private
data says about how Matt Bevin is going to do in that governor`s race. And
the data they released shows that his own campaign believes that Matt Bevin
is going to lose that race.
This is a weird thing. I mean, this is kind of like a political
operations weird thing. But it is a really weird thing.
I mean, public polls come out all the time. Public polling comes out
showing a candidate doing very poorly. It`s embarrassing. The candidate
has to come up with some explanation for that, kind of bear that public
embarrassment. Ask Bobby 1 percent Jindal how that kind of thing feels
with public polls.
But in addition to that public polling that everybody sees,
candidates also in big races tend to hire their own private pollsters to
give them secret but true information about how they`re doing to in
whatever race they are running. And usually in a normal campaign, they
would only release that secret data publicly if the candidate looked bad in
the public polling but the private polling told a much rosier story.
So, a campaign might say oh, sure, all the public polls show our guy
getting swamped. They show our guy`s a lost cause. But look at this
private polling we just did at the candidate`s family reunion. Aren`t
these numbers great? Look, he`s going to win. Look at these numbers
That`s how it goes in a typical campaign. You keep the polling
private unless it tells a shockingly good story. That is the opposite of
what just happened tonight in Kentucky. Tonight the Matt Bevin for
governor campaign released their own internal polling showing their
candidate is losing to Democrat Jack Conway.
So, that`s weird. It`s hard to get your head around why they might
do that. But a lot of things are hard to get your head around from
Kentucky right now.
I mean, Matt Bevin was also the gubernatorial candidate who did a
joint campaign event this month with Rand Paul, right? Rand Paul is the
Republican senator from Kentucky. He`s also a Republican presidential
candidate this year.
Two hours after the Rand Paul campaign announced that Rand Paul and
Matt Bevin would be doing a joint political event in Kentucky two, hours
after that announcement, Matt Bevin went on local radio in Kentucky and
announced that if he had to vote for president today, he`d vote for Ben
And then just a couple days later he had to show up for this sad
little event with Rand Paul and pretend he`d never said that and pretend
that they were, you know, moving Kentucky forward together, or whatever.
So, things are tough and things are weird in Kentucky right now. I
mean, they`re tough for Republicans heading into this election in a couple
of weeks. Even after that election is over, whatever happens to good old
Matt Bevin, next year, Kentucky Republicans have been really worried about
the fact that they`ve got one of their U.S. senators up for re-election and
instead of focusing all his efforts on trying to get re-elected, that
senator is spending all his time now running for president and his
presidential campaign is going very poorly. I mean, not Bobby Jindal
poorly but poorly.
Rand Paul spent almost twice as much money as he brought in this past
quarter. The head of one of his super PACs had to resign to go face
federal criminal charges in Iowa this week, which derive from an Iowa
scandal in the last presidential election in which the Ron Paul for
president campaign apparently bribed a state senator to get his endorsement
in the Iowa caucuses that year.
Rand Paul`s dad, the former Congressman Ron Paul, had to go
personally testify in that trial in Iowa this week. He said he thought it
was all a conspiracy against his son and the Paul family.
I mean things are tough for Rand Paul. He has got that going on.
He`s got money trouble. He`s averaging below 3 percent in the polls these
days. His presidential prospects do not look bright.
And each new bit of evidence supporting the futility of the Rand Paul
presidential effort, it ups the pressure on him at home that he should drop
that apparently futile effort and instead focus on trying to keep hold of
his Senate seat. Maybe that`s doable.
And Rand Paul keeps insisting that, you know, he can do both.
Nothing about him running for president is hurting his Senate re-election
chances. There`s no reason he should stop running for president. There`s
nothing about his presidential run that puts his Senate seat at risk.
But then came news today about his FEC filings. He had to turn in
his FEC numbers just like all the other candidates did this week. And in
Rand Paul`s FEC filings, his news, that Rand Paul literally has transferred
money, has transferred tens of thousands of dollars from his Senate re-
election campaign to his presidential election campaign. Quoting from the
“Washington Post” today, “The FEC filing shows Rand Paul moved another
$57,000 this past quarter from his Senate re-election fund to his
presidential campaign, which brings the total amount of funds transferred
from his Senate re-election campaign to his presidential campaign to $1.4
So, $1.4 million that was donated to re-elect Rand Paul to the Senate
has instead been diverted by Rand Paul to the cause of trying to elect him
So, if you know any Kentucky Republicans and you want to know why
they`re freaking out recently, Matt Bevin is probably one of those reasons.
Rand Paul is the other.
At the top of the ticket on the Republican presidential side, though,
today presented basically the opposite problem. At the top of the
Republican presidential field today, their problem was too much enthusiasm,
too much interest. The Donald Trump for president campaign today somewhat
– it appeared somewhat inexplicably planned a rally in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts is not a typical Republican stomping ground in presidential
campaigns for a reason.
But maybe the Donald Trump campaign knows something we don`t.
Because they planned this rally in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts for an
elementary school auditorium with a capacity of 1,800 people. They
received 4,000 RSVPs for people who wanted to attend this event tonight.
This is people lined up outside hoping for a chance to glimpse Donald Trump
on his way in.
Donald Trump just absolutely mobbed in Massachusetts of all places
Mr. Trump also today picked a particularly exquisite fight with his
main Republican establishment rival Jeb Bush. And he picked it basically
unsolicited. He volunteered this incredibly controversial line of attack
in response to what was honestly a very open-ended, almost solicitous
question from Bloomberg News.
Listen to the question and then listen to his answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLOOMBERG NEWS: In order to be the president of the United States,
you have to be a leader in so many ways. We haven`t seen your soft hand.
We`ve seen your offense. But George Bush had to stand in front of America
after 9/11. Barack Obama did after Sandy Hook.
Help us understand who Donald Trump is as a man. I need to know that
you will make us feel safe and you will make us feel proud.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think I have a bigger
heart than all of them. I think I`m much more competent than all of them.
When you talk about George Bush – I mean, say what you want, the
World Trade Center came down during his time. If you –
BLOOMBERG NEWS: Hold on. You can`t blame George Bush for that.
TRUMP: Well, he was president, OK? Don`t blame him or don`t blame
him. But he was president. The World Trade Center came down during his
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Technically true. Also something that Republicans in
particular and most people generally don`t tend to talk about.
But right on cue, it set Jeb Bush off like a rigged slot machine.
Jeb Bush`s response, quote, “How pathetic for Donald Trump to criticize the
president for 9/11.” The president meaning then President George W. Bush.
“We were attacked and my brother kept us safe.”
I mean, even though this is uncomfortable to talk about, Jeb Bush
certainly has to be aware that the first three words of that last sentence
and the last three words of that last sentence probably do not belong in
the same sentence.
But that is uncomfortable to talk about and that is not something
that usually comes up in polite politics. It never comes up in polite
Republican politics. But Donald Trump is not polite and he is a different
kind of Republican.
And if his strategy so far is to get establishment Republicans
absolutely apoplectically furious with him so they denounce him publicly
and then he basks in their hatred while the whole exercise just further
pumps up his poll numbers among Republican voters, well, then these
comments about George W. Bush being president when the 9/11 attacks
happened, these comments may be the apex of that strategy, because you can
tune in to every single Sunday morning TV show on every network this
weekend if you want to see establishment Republicans absolutely lose their
mind over this latest thing that Donald Trump said, specifically to make
them lose their minds. So that`s what has just happened on the Republican
On the Democratic side, check this out. Democrats have had their one
debate so far, right? Next time, they`re all going to be on stage together
is not technically the next debate. It`s a forum, which MSNBC is going to
be hosting. I`m going to be the moderator of that event. It happens on
Friday, November 6th. That event is going to be held at Winthrop
University in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
And this morning, the South Carolina Democratic Party started making
tickets available to the public for anybody who wants to come to that event
live and sit in the audience in South Carolina on November 6th to see
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and Martin O`Malley, to see this next
Democratic forum that I will be moderating.
They put the tickets on sale at 9:00 this morning. By 9:05 this
morning, every single one of them was gone. The whole thing was sold out.
They completely sold out the entire event in five minutes.
So, I mean, if you`re looking for a barometer of interest and
enthusiasm on the Democratic side of the presidential race, that`s kind of
an awesome measure of that. If you wanted to get a ticket and you were not
able to because they went so fast, this news is probably sad news for you.
If you`re me and you`re thinking about being the moderator of that
forum, that news is kind of – gulp, right? It`s slightly daunting. Never
But you know what? It does prove that people are psyched. People
are that into what`s going on on the Democratic side of the presidential
race. And that all happened between 9:00 and 9:05 this morning, which is
before the huge news that happened on that very issue later on today. And
MADDOW: It started in June. Senator Bernie Sanders started to close
the polling gap in the great state of New Hampshire between him and
Secretary Clinton in June. And then he did it in August for the first
time. Senator Sanders started to beat Hillary Clinton in the state of New
And since then, he has been up in New Hampshire. Senator Sanders has
been first and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been in
second. Until today – today, we got the first poll of Democratic voters
that took place after the Democratic debate this week, and in New Hampshire
it looks like Hillary Clinton is back on top. Still really close. But at
least in this one Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll out today Hillary
Clinton has regained her lead in the great state of New Hampshire.
But here`s the thing. Check out the Joe Biden data in the same poll.
So Secretary Clinton in this poll is at 37 percent. Bernie Sanders is at
35 percent. And Suffolk and “Boston Globe” there polling on Vice President
Biden even though he is not in the race. But there he comes in at 11
Look at the favorable/unfavorable ratings. Hillary Clinton`s
favorable/unfavorable is positive among New Hampshire Democrats. Almost
exactly the same as President Obama`s favorable rating.
Joe Biden`s favorable/unfavorable rating is better than President
Obama`s and better than Hillary Clinton`s. But it`s almost exactly tied
with Bernie Sanders`s ratings.
Look at this number. Who do you trust the most among the candidates?
Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, again, very close to each other, almost the
same, within one point of each other. Bernie Sanders is more trusted than
either of them by a big 12-point margin.
Look at this one. Which Democratic candidate has the best chance of
winning the general election against a Republican nominee? Turns out it is
Hillary Clinton by a huge margin. You ask New Hampshire Democrats, who has
the best chance of winning in the general election, Hillary`s at 52
percent. Bernie Sanders is at 16 percent. Vice President Biden trailing
at 14 percent.
And this is the last one, this is fascinating. Do you think Vice
President Joe Biden should become a candidate for president and enter the
race? Democrats in New Hampshire when asked that question say no by a 14-
point margin. Democrats in New Hampshire say that Joe Biden should not get
in the race.
Well, today there was news on that front. Big news. Joe Biden`s
former chief of staff when he was a senator, the man who took over the
Biden Senate seat when Joe Biden became vice president, former Senator Ted
Kaufman today, who`s known to be very, very close to Vice President Biden,
today he sent this long e-mail to what`s called Biden alumni, Joe Biden`s
political support network basically, and the e-mail basically touts how
great a candidate Joe Biden would be for president if he runs.
On top of that today, CNN also reports today that Vice President
Biden has personally been making calls to the early states. Quote, “Vice
President Joe Biden has personally made a series of calls this week to
Democratic strategists from Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, asking
a final round of detailed questions about how, not whether, how to launch a
2016 presidential campaign.” According to CNN, quote, “He`s asking these
people to work for him if he runs”.
The vice president has been making clear in these calls that his
family is fully supportive of him jumping into the 2016 race. And family
support, Vice President Biden said all along, would be the key issue for
him in deciding whether or not he would run.
Truth is, whether Vice President Biden is running or not is
absolutely unknown. And yes, we have a fresh batch of maybe clues today.
If the vice president does decide to get in the race, if he does decide to
take the plunge, one of the first people to know will be my next guest.
Joining us now is Steve Schale. He`s a Democratic strategist and
adviser to the Draft Biden effort.
Mr. Schale, it`s really nice to have you here. Thanks for being
STEVE SCHALE, DRAFT BIDEN ADVISER: Thanks, Rachel. Good to be back.
MADDOW: So, just tell us. I know you know. Just tell us.
SCHALE: Rachel, trust me, there`s probably nobody on the earth that
wants to know more than me. I`ve been out here for two months beating the
bushes trying to make the good case for the vice president. And I`m ready
to know myself.
MADDOW: Do you have a feeling about when it would be too late?
Obviously, the first Democratic debate has already happened. The internal
dynamics among the candidates who are in the race are now sort of ripe. We
sort of know how those things are going to be playing out I think between
some of the top-tier candidates.
At what point is it too late either technically or just in terms of
just the dynamics of the race?
SCHALE: Well, I mean, really it doesn`t get too late until you start
passing state ballot deadlines. So, for example, I think Arkansas and
Alabama come up the first couple days in November. Texas I think is maybe
the 10th or 11th of November. Once you get past that and you start
knocking states off and delegates you can`t compete for it gets pretty
But I suspect we`ll be hearing in the news and kind of what I`m
hearing just in the ether that we`re going to have an answer pretty
MADDOW: In terms of the way you just put, that what we`re hearing in
the news and what you`re hearing sort of in the ether – I feel like we`re
all in the ether on this. I feel like there`s so much un-sourced
information, there`s so much media speculation driving other media
speculation. That`s why it felt like real news today to hear this from Ted
Kaufman. This is a signed letter from somebody who`s closer to Vice
President Biden in a political sense than anybody else.
Was that something that Vice President Biden you think put out
through Ted Kaufman? Was that Ted Kaufman`s own initiative? How did you
SCHALE: I mean, I got it from a friend of mine who had worked for
the vice president previously. I was an employer for 600 people in 2008
and I reach out to my employees from time to time. I have no idea if it
was authorized or not.
But, you know, what makes sense, I`m sure that Ted`s getting a lot of
phone calls from people who worked for the vice president in the past.
Certainly I have. He`s probably getting three times what I`m getting. So,
it would make sense for him to let them know what`s going on.
MADDOW: It did not feel informational, though. It felt encouraging.
It felt like this is the way his campaign is going to sound, this is the
kind of campaign he`s going to run, won`t it be awesome. It didn`t sound
like he was trying to deliver information about what he knew and what he
SCHALE: Well, I think everybody, including me frankly, we`re trying
to give the vice president the space to make that final decision. Nobody
wants to say anything that`s going to put them in a box. You know, this is
an intensely personal decision. I can`t even imagine going through the
process. I once thought about running for the legislature and that was
enough stress for me.
So, I think it makes sense for everybody to kind of take a little
step back. You know ,we want to encourage the supporters that we`re all
ready to go as soon as he says yes, if he says yes. But I think it`s right
for Ted and for folks like me to give him the space to make that decision.
MADDOW: Are you at all daunted by those New Hampshire numbers out
today where people say simultaneously that they like Vice President Biden
almost more than any other public figure in the United States, let alone
politicians, right? He`s incredibly popular.
But at the same time, Democrats in New Hampshire don`t want him to
SCHALE: Well, Rachel, I`m a Democrat in North Florida. So I`m not
daunted by much these days. I`m used to a challenge.
You know, I mean, listen, a poll is a one snapshot in time. I mean,
if you go back to this point in 2007, I think Hillary Clinton had nearly a
30-point average lead over Barack Obama in the polling.
So, meanwhile, people like you and I are living this stuff every
single day. The reality is voters are just paying attention and if Biden
gets in the next few days or week or so, he`s going to have a bump from
that and there will be a forum in November, there will be a debate in
November and we`ll see where we are then.
MADDOW: Steve Schale, Democratic strategist, adviser to the Draft
Biden effort and a good sport for letting me badger on these issues, Steve,
thanks for being here. Nice to have you here.
SCHALE: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. So, there is it turns out big and late-breaking
news tonight from the Obama administration. I reviewed this a little bit
at the top of the show. This is an announcement that environmental groups
I think did not see coming. Certainly didn`t see it coming today. But it
has at least one environmental group saying tonight literally that they are
waving their kayak paddles in thanks. That story is straight ahead right
after this break.
MADDOW: So, we have a brand new development tonight. A major and I
think unexpected development in the story that we`ve been following pretty
intensively all year. You may remember, this standup from July in
Portland, Oregon, where environmental protesters rappelled off a bridge,
remember this? They we hang off the bridge, they hang there in midair to
try to block a giant icebreaker ship, a shale oil icebreaker that was
heading from a dock where it had been repaired in Portland to go back up to
the Alaskan Arctic to try to drill for oil.
Those rappelling protesters on that bridge in Portland came after the
swarms of kayakers in Seattle, who had also tried to block a different
shell rig from docking in that city back in May. Those kayakers came back
to try to block that ship again in June when it was leaving Seattle to go
up to Alaska.
Shell Oil worked for seven years. They spent $7 billion trying to
figure out how to drill offshore for oil in what is basically uncharted
territory off the northern coast of Alaska up in the arctic. In August,
Shell got the go-ahead from the Obama administration to start that
unprecedented Arctic drilling.
And politically, of course, that was very awkward because a couple of
days after that, President Obama was taking his big high-profile trip to
Alaska specifically to talk about climate change. He became the first
sitting president to travel above the Arctic Circle. He went there
specifically to highlight the effects of climate change and to talk about
his administration`s efforts to combat it. But he did that right after
approving drilling the Arctic for oil.
Here`s the thing: After seven years and $7 billion and a couple of
spectacular rig disasters and several flotillas of protesting kayaks and
people rappelling off a bridge and the rest of it, Shell did finally get up
to the Arctic, and they drilled in the Arctic. And what they found was
bupkis. A couple of weeks ago, Shell announced that the company, having
found bupkis, was going to give up. After all this time and all that
money, they were giving up their arctic drilling effort. What they found
up there was not worth it.
Quote, “This is a clearly disappointing exploration outcome.” Quote,
“Shell will now cease further exploration activity in offshore Alaska for
the foreseeable future.” Operations will continue to safely demobilize
people and equipment from the Chukchi Sea. The well will be sealed and
abandoned in accordance with U.S. regulations.”
So, Shell got permission to go drill the Arctic from the Obama
administration, but Shell couldn`t pull it off. They didn`t get what they
needed out there. And that was a couple of weeks ago that Shell announced
they were pulling out.
And now tonight, the White House has just pulled the plug on the
whole thing for everyone, because tonight the Obama administration has
announced that it will not renew any current drilling leases in Arctic
waters and they will not sell any more of them either. Wow.
This was the response from Greenpeace to this announcement tonight.
And I quote directly, “Greenpeace collectively waves its kayak paddles in
thanks to the president for ensuring this Arctic protection.” This is big
news today. I mean, we knew Shell was pulling out.
But they had been given permission. Was somebody else going it
follow them and try to pull off what Shell wasn`t able to do? No. We now
know there will be no more drilling in the Arctic Ocean. At least – in
the Arctic during the Obama presidency.
The Arctic will not be drilled under this president. This one`s
done. Shell failed.
And the activists trying to keep the Arctic undrilled, those
activists won. They won. Clear as day.
MADDOW: I did not anything – I did not anything. I did not think
anything could give me any more political/aesthetic pleasure than Trump
your cat. Trump your cat. I basically lost my mind over Trump your cat.
I couldn`t control myself in the face of Trump your cat.
I mean, these are the instructions, right? Brush your cat. Form the
hair you brushed into a toupee. Place the toupee on your cat. Take
picture and share. Trump your cat.
Trump your cat set the bar so high that I did not expect to see
anything better in American politics. But now at least, we know what the
It`s babies for Bernie. This exists. Babies in Bernie Sanders
glasses. Babies with Bernie Sanders hair. Babies with Bernie Sanders`s
amazing eyebrows. Babies, babies, babies for Bernie, which is awesome.
But I have to say, if anybody starts Trumping the baby Bernies, I am
so out of here.
MADDOW: This is the story that might keep you up at night. The one
I warned you about. This is Deep Rock Elementary School. Deep Rock
Elementary. Mascot the Tigers. School color, blue.
Deep Rock Elementary closed at the end of the last school year.
There is a brand spanking new school for those kids a couple months away.
Still, though, if you went to Deep Rock Elementary, the closing of
that school might feel sad. You might have some great memories. Maybe
several generations of your family went there. That schoolhouse has been
around in some form since 1892.
So, for some folks it might be a little sad that that school closed.
From another angle, though, literally from another angle, literally from an
aerial view, it is something other than sad because there, we see the
little arrow there, there is Deep Rock Elementary.
You see all those white circles around it in all directions? You
know what those are? Those are humongous tanks of crude oil. Lots of
them. Those tanks of crude oil surrounding the former Deep Rock Elementary
School are in fact the largest oil storage facility in the world.
And there are a lot of big oil facilities in the world. Just in this
country, we have the Sunoco Logistics Nederland Terminal that holds 25
million barrels. The Houston fuel oil terminal that holds 36 million
barrels. The Louisiana offshore oil port which holds 67 million barrels of
But Cushing, Oklahoma, calls itself the pipeline crossroads of the
world, and their hub is bigger than all of those. The Cushing hub holds 82
million barrels of oil. It could fit all the oil from the Sunoco and
Houston terminals and still have room for another 20 million barrels plus.
The Cushing hub is so big and so many oil pipelines come together
there, there`s so much oil stored there that the federal government has
designated that giant farm of huge oil tanks as critical national
infrastructure. And until just a few months ago, right in the middle of it
was – literally right in the middle of it – was this elementary school.
And that scariest map in the world is how we here at THE RACHEL
MADDOW SHOW this week have been celebrating National Remember About
Earthquakes Day. The day isn`t actually called that. Technically, they
call it`s Great Shake Out. But I find that too embarrassing to say.
So, I call it Remember About Earthquakes Day. And what happens on
remember about earthquakes day every year is that there are earthquake
drills that happen all across the country, all at the exact same time on
the same day. They happen 10:15 a.m. on 10-15, on October 15th. It`s easy
to remember, 10:15 on 10-15. Millions of people took part this year.
And every year, there`s always lots of participants in, you know,
California and across the west where earthquakes are common. They do these
kind of drills all the time, including on Remember About Earthquakes Day.
But now, the Great Shake Out is being observed with renewed urgency
in places where people never used to join in. Places like Oklahoma,
because now it turns out we have new kinds of earthquakes. Now, we as
humans have developed the technology to make earthquakes as a terrible
unintended consequence of the way we get oil and gas out of the ground now.
Earlier this year, the state of Oklahoma finally admitted what the science
had been suggesting for years, that when companies dispose of huge volumes
of toxic wastewater from their fracking operations by injecting that stuff
deep into the earth, sometimes the earth doesn`t like it. Sometimes it
We had one of those earthquakes just a few days ago in Oklahoma. I
mean, since the fracking boom started Oklahoma`s had a few of those things.
The state had had in fact lots of those earthquakes with increasing
frequency. Seven hundred earthquakes in Oklahoma this year, which is
already more than they had in all of last year.
Oklahoma didn`t really used to have earthquakes of any significant
size at all. They certainly didn`t have them all the time. But now,
Oklahoma has a ton of earthquakes all the time.
And the one they had last weekend was a big one. It was a 4.5. And
you know where the one, this 4.5 unusually large earthquake was last
weekend in Oklahoma?
It was there. It was in Cushing. Home of the Fighting Tigers and
the former Deep Rock Elementary School, right in the middle of the biggest
oil storage facility in the world. What could possibly go wrong?
So, happy Remember About Earthquakes Day in our new age of manmade
God forbid another really serious quake ever happens in Cushing,
Oklahoma, and that bit of our crucial national infrastructure. But if it
does happen there, we will never be able to say it was a surprise.
Joining us now is Jeremy Boak. He`s director of the Oklahoma
Dr. Boak, thank you very much for being with us tonight. I
appreciate having you here.
JEREMY BOAK, OKLAHOMA GEOLOGICAL SURVEY DIRECTOR: It`s a pleasure to
be here, Rachel.
MADDOW: I know it is an unscientific and probably therefore sort of
offensive thing for me to say, the earth doesn`t like it, talking about the
injection of fracking waste fluid. But is everybody on the same board –
everybody on board now with the fact that these are manmade earthquakes and
we can essentially start and stop them by whether or not we do this kind of
BOAK: Yes, well, I haven`t done any polling on it, but most of the
technical community agrees that yes indeed. We took a position in April as
the Oklahoma Geological Survey a couple of months before I came onboard and
said, yes, indeed, there is a connection between the injection of water
from oil and gas operations. And it`s not actually frac water. It`s
naturally occurring water that occurs in the formations that produce the
oil and gas.
These happen to be ones that produce a large amount of water for
every gallon of oil you get out of them. So, we`ve been disposing of a
large amount of this formation water, naturally occurring water, but it is
very salty, somewhere well north of ocean water and beyond in many cases
dead sea water. This is really salty water.
And, of course, because it`s been living there for tens of thousands
of years with oil associated with it, it`s not really sweet. That`s the
water that we`re disposing of. We`re taking it out of formations,
separating the oil and gas, and then we`ve got this stuff that has to be
disposed of for many, many years, disposing of it in this one formation was
an extremely good idea.
And since – so we did. We disposed of a lot of water in this deep
formation called the Arbuckle Group. It happens to sit right on top of the
crystalline basement. It was a long way away from ground water. Great
place to put it.
Turns out, however, when you really crank up the amount you put in
there, you start changing the stress state deep in the rock and you
actually cause small faults to move. The ones that are oriented just right
within the stress field in Oklahoma.
So, we`ve had somewhere, I believe we`re now past 700 earthquakes of
magnitude 3 or greater this year.
MADDOW: Looking specifically at Cushing, around the Cushing hub,
obviously this is critical national infrastructure according to the federal
government. I mean, that school that I highlighted there was basically to
capture people`s imagination. That school is closed now. But looking at
that as a facility, are you particularly worried about seismic activity
around that spot in Oklahoma?
BOAK: Yes. We`re worried about – I mean, we`re worried about
earthquakes sort of anywhere in this large area. It`s about 15 percent of
the area of Oklahoma that`s been having the spate of large earthquakes.
We`ve had magnitude 4 earthquakes. We`ve had somewhere in the 20s. Last
number I remember was 22. And I can`t remember whether that was before or
after these Cushing earthquakes.
So, we`ve had a number of these earthquakes this year that are of
that scale. Those aren`t the ones that cause the damage but if you have
enough of them you start worrying about the next one that might be bigger.
MADDOW: Dr. Jeremy Boak, director of the Oklahoma Geological Survey.
Thank you for helping us understand all this. I feel like I understand it
much better just talk to you for this short amount of time. I hope you`ll
come back for sometime.
BOAK: I`d be happy to.
MADDOW: Thank you, sir.
All right. We`ve got a cocktail moment coming up. We`ve got more
news tonight. It`s an unusually packed Friday show.
Please stay with us.
MADDOW: We have some folks here watching the show live in studio
last night, just a few friends of somebody who worked here. And when we
showed these images of what was going on north of Los Angeles last night
there was a big audible gasp that you might have heard on last night`s
show. It`s because of how dramatic these views were of these very
dangerous mudslides north of Los Angeles.
A portion of the I-5 freeway is still shut down tonight after those
massive mudslides. Parts of those – parts of that I-5 freeway have been
shut down since yesterday. It turns out it was nearly 200 vehicles that
got stranded overnight, stuck in up to 20 feet of mud and debris, after
dramatic flash flooding led to these huge mudslides. Some of the storms
that hit the L.A. area yesterday were dropping four to five inches of rain
Plus, golf ball-size hail in some places. Interestingly and
amazingly, nobody was injured. But there were some rescues yesterday and
overnight. An estimated 300,000 cubic yards of mud and debris needs to be
removed from these slide zones, just remarkable scenes there in southern
California as a whole, obviously, needs significant drought relief.
But not like this.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: We`ve been getting a lot of feedback asking for an update on
this story. It concerns the great red state of Alabama, Republicans in
complete control in that state. Republicans control both chambers of the
legislature, they control the Supreme Court, and in the person of Governor
Robert Bentley, they also control the executive branch.
Last month, Governor Bentley announced that Alabama would close the
places where you get a driver`s license in most of the heavily black
counties in the state of Alabama. This, of course, follows a new strict
voter ID law in Alabama for which a driver`s license is the most common
form of ID that people show in order to be allowed to vote in that state
Well, Governor Bentley has tried to defend that decision since it
generated a lot of outrage but it really has been an unending embarrassment
at home and around the country since word got out. I mean, all the
counties where the population is at least three-quarters black, all those
counties losing their driver`s license offices.
Well, we reported this week that Governor Bentley has been quietly
floating a plan to maybe undo that embarrassing decision. It`s not clear
whether he can get state lawmakers to go along with it.
But look at this now – among Governor Bentley`s fiercest critics has
been Democratic Congresswoman Terri Sewell of Alabama. Congresswoman
Sewell has called for a federal investigation of the DMV closings in her
state. Governor Bentley responded to that by calling her impulsive and
But now, guess what just happened? Governor Bentley met with
Congresswoman Terri Sewell yesterday privately for two solid hours. Oh, to
be a fly on the wall.
We do not know exactly what they talked about, but from outside
closed doors it appears that Governor Bentley is trying to find some way to
reverse his decision and reopen those DMVs. With Alabama Republicans in
control you`d think he could get that done. Seems like he`s trying to do
But watch this space.
MADDOW: Tomorrow morning at 6:18 a.m. Eastern Time, an Airbus A-321
will land at Philadelphia International Airport. And that landing will be
the end of one fairly typical redeye overnight flight from San Francisco to
But that will also be the end of U.S. Air. That flight tonight is
the last-ever scheduled flight for U.S. Airways, because that whole airline
of course is being eaten by American Airlines, which is now the largest
airline in the world.
They changed the flight number for this last flight tonight. The San
Francisco to Philly Friday night redeye had been flight 434. But they
changed it Flight 1939, because 1939 is when U.S. Air started.
It was originally all American aviation. They flew air mail. They
didn`t fly people. But then they grew into a regional airline called
Allegheny Airlines which is when my partner Susan`s beloved dad started
flying for them as a pilot at Allegheny.
Allegheny became U.S. Air in 1979. They technically became U.S.
Airways in 1997. But now, as of 6:18 a.m. tomorrow morning, when flight
1939 lands in Philly, the whole airline will cease to exist forever.
“USA Today” reporting the U.S. air reservation system is going to go
dark at midnight tonight. Then the Web site will disappear shortly
thereafter. And then, overnight tonight, airport personnel will start
dismantling all the U.S. Air stuff at all the airports where they have
ticket counters and everything else across the country. When you wake up
tomorrow, it will all be gone.
And I know air travel isn`t what it used to be. I still love it.
Susan`s dad was a pilot. And you know what? U.S. Air deserves a fond
And so, I know there`s all sorts of things people drink on planes
they don`t drink anywhere else. What`s the proportion of the nation`s
ginger ale drunk in a seat that has a number and a letter? Do you drink
ginger ale anywhere else?
Also, I`ll tell you when you get a Bloody Mary made on an airplane, I
hereby suggest you get it made with gin instead of vodka, it`s way better,
But to say a proper formal farewell to U.S. Air, I thought about a
ginger ale drink or a gin Bloody Mary. But this is actually one of my
favorite cocktails all-time. It`s a classic. It`s called the aviation.
If I make it right, you will see why it`s called the aviation in just a
All right. The ingredients are gin, fresh lemon, maraschino, which
is not hard to find. But it`s not really. It`s not that hard to find.
You just have to check out the old ladies put this on the fruit salad
section of your local liquor score.
And then this one actually is sometimes a little hard to find, it`s
called creme de violette. You will also find it in the old lady section at
your liquor store if they`ve got.
So, this is how you make it. It`s pretty simple. Two ounces of gin.
You`ll notice these are kind of martini proportions, sort of. Two ounces
of gin, OK.
And then we do three-quarters of an ounce of lemon juice. You have
to use an actual lemon, promise me you`ll use an actual lemon.
Three-quarters of an ounce. Oh, yes. Thank you, sorry.
Half an ounce of the maraschino. It`s very sweet, so don`t overdo it
with the maraschino. It also has a funk factor too which you have to get
used to but grow up, get used to it.
And, finally, the thing that makes it blue if it works right is a bar
spoon full, a tiny bar spoon full of this dark it purple creme de violette.
I spilled, I didn`t spill into the drink, which is good.
And if that works right, when you shake it up and you put it in your
cocktail glass it should be the pale, pale blue of the sky at high
Well, kind of. Good-bye, U.S. Air. Godspeed to U.S. Air. Susan`s
dad, Dick Mikula, this one`s for you.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again on Monday.
Now, it`s time for you to fly off to prison!
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