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The 'MHP' Syllabus: October 19

Who is saying that it's racist to disagree with the president? And will the shutdown struggle continue? That and more, all on Saturday's "MHP."
Cory Booker, Newark Mayor and newly-elected Democratic U.S. Senator, speaks after winning a special election against Republican Steve Lonegan on October 16, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey.
Cory Booker, Newark Mayor and newly-elected Democratic U.S. Senator, speaks after winning a special election against Republican Steve Lonegan on October 16, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey.

As Americans woke up Thursday morning to a re-opened government and a fairly stable global economy, one question was on everyone’s mind. Who won the shutdown fight? President Obama formally announced that there were no victors seeing as the government shutdown unnecessarily burdened many Americans. But when you look at theeleventh-hour bill that managed to pass in the Senate and the House, conventional pundity wisdom tells us that Democrats can count this one as a win. Congress will now have borrowing power through February 7th and will be able to fund the government through January 15th. Furthermore, the bill requires Congress to agree on a long-term budget by mid-December. For their efforts, the GOP walked away with nothing more than abysmal poll numbers. But is the game really over?

On Saturday’s Melissa Harris-Perry, our host -- still recovering from her hometown Saints' stunning defeat last Sunday -- will explain why you should never ever celebrate a victory before the two minute warning.

We'll also examine the politics of persecution and how losing can prove to be a winning strategy. While the cable news outlets were glued to the Capitol Wednesday night, a special election was wrapping up in New Jersey. Newark mayor Cory Booker beat out Tea Party Republican Steve Lonegan in the special election, making him the ninth African American Senator in the history of the upper chamber, the first from New Jersey, and one of two currently holding office. In fact, Booker is only the fourth to actually be elected, others like sitting Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), were appointed to their positions.

On Saturday’s MHP, we will discuss Booker’s plans for the Senate and the role of modern black politicians. 

Is it racist to disagree with the president? As a nation, we are used to disagreeing with and criticizing our presidents. However, until President Obama, all of those gentlemen were white. Since 2008, the conservative right has oft complained that they have been wrongfully labeled as racist purely because they sometimes disagree with President Obama. Now, a theory is being put forward on conservative blogs that people should admit that they want a white Republican president so that they can disagree without being called a racist. This claim is of course, absurd, but it gets at one of the issues that has been an underlying current of the Obama administration since the current president took office.

Can you disagree with a black president without being a racist? Of course you can. On Saturday’s MHP, our host and panel will discuss why that question is actually more complicated that it seems.

Growing up, many of us were taught the age-old adage “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” as a strategy to cope with playground bullies. But in today’s world of text messaging, twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets, what happens when words become permanent cyber-taunts? In what is becoming an all too common occurrence, 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick committed suicide last month after enduring months of online bullying from former classmates. Two of her tormentors, young girls ages 12 and 14, were arrested this week and charged with felony aggravated stalking. Join us Saturday as Melissa and her panel discuss the increasing trend of teen suicide and what schools, parents, and law enforcement measures can do to stop it.   

Last but not least, Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson, the co-directors and co-producers of the new documentary American Promise will be with us on set. The film follows their son Idris and his best friend Seun Summers from kindergarten through high school at New York’s Dalton School. Summers will also join us to talk about his experience as an African American student attending an exclusive predominantly white school.

Be sure to read what we’ve linked above, and watch Melissa Harris-Perry Saturday at 10 a.m. EST on MSNBC! Also, don’t forget to join us on Facebook -- 100,000+ "likes" as of this week! -- and Twitter with the hashtag #nerdland.