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The Syllabus: What you need to know for the August 3 'MHP'

On Thursday, Ariel Castro officially received a life sentence plus 1,000 years in prison for kidnapping and imprisoning Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus, and
AP Photo/Tony Dejak
AP Photo/Tony Dejak

On Thursday, Ariel Castro officially received a life sentence plus 1,000 years in prison for kidnapping and imprisoning Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus, and Amanda Berry, subjecting them to horrifying abuse and holding them in deplorable conditions. Castro only has one life to give for the three he nearly destroyed and therefore his sentence, impossible to fulfill, is our justice system’s way to punctuate the magnitude of his crimes. The survivors have asked for privacy.

But the public is left asking many questions: How did no one know? How did his captors survive? And how many women are still living in the manufactured hells like the one Knight, DeJesus, and Berry escaped?

On Saturday’s show, host Melissa Harris-Perry and her guests--political analyst Zerlina Maxwell, msnbc national reporter Irin Carmon, Service Women’s Action Network executive director Anu Bhagwati, and Juan Ramos, executive Director of Community Driven Solutions--will explore public perception of survivors, institutional failures, and how even in an extreme case like the perpetrator’s mindset is all too common.

In the Capitol this week, Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, held a hearing titled “The War on Poverty: A Progress Report.” What ensued shows a woeful lack of understanding of the various causes of poverty by those on the right. The transcript from the hearing reports a surreal conversation in which Rep. Marsha Blackburn questioned Sister Simone Campbell on the morality of anti-poverty programs while a witness for the Republicans did not know the federal minimum wage. As fast food workers across the country strike for higher wages, our host and panel will discuss the key person missing from Rep. Ryan’s hearing.

Feeling a bit apocalyptic this week? You’re not alone. President Obama presented two plans to Congress to literally and figuratively save America. The first involved a strategy to lasso an asteroid, and study it, in the hopes of avoiding future cataclysmic events. The second was another attempt at a ‘Grand Bargain’ that--put simply--would cut corporate tax rates and use the revenue created to improve infrastructure, support community colleges, and promote manufacturing jobs. Republicans shut down both. On Saturday’s show we'll discuss the reality of getting anything accomplished with a Congress that seems to stop at nothing to shut down progress.

Speculation over the next Fed chair picked up speed this week. So far supporters of Janet Yellen have happily gone on the record voicing their praise for the current Vice Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve. Those who support Larry Summers have spoken anonymously and those who oppose him have not shied away from the media. The Summers pile-on prompted the president to defend his old friend during a closed meeting with House Democrats earlier this week, leading some to think the president has already made up his mind. On paper, both economists have impeccable credentials but while Janet Yellen has managed to exist under the radar, the very mention of Larry Summers elicits incredibly strong reactions. On Sunday’s show Harris-Perry will be joined by Democratic consultant Jamal Simmons, Syracuse law professor and author of The Fine Print David Cay Johnston, News hour’s Political editor Christina Bellantoni, and former Ohio congressman and author of Sideswiped, Bob Ney to discuss why many just don’t like Larry.

Join us as Harris-Perry sits down with author Alison Stewart to talk about her book, First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America’s First Black Public High School. Our host will be joined by Washington DC public school chancellor Kaya Henderson who has reformed the school system, resulting in public school students scoring higher than ever this year on annual math and reading tests.

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 and Twitter with the hashtag #nerdland.