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tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  November 17, 2013 7:00am-9:01am PST

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this morning, my question, just how conventional is it to be disgusted by interracial colors. and foot soldier tanya fields is back to talk about the shaming of poor mothers. plus, nerdland goes to space camp. but first, sanctions, sanctions, and more sanctions. are they working in iran? good morning. i'm melissa harris-perry. on thursday night, former secretary of state, hillary clinton, asked and sort of answered a big question on the mind of many americans.
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no, not whether or not she's going to run for president. instead, the question was this. what place will our country have in the world going forward? >> i hear all this talk about how we need to withdraw from the world. i've heard even tonight some references to the really unfortunate consequences of sequester and budget cuts. we have to decide if we intend to continue america's global leadership. >> all right, maybe she did just answer the question about whether or not she is running. because former secretary of state clinton just articulated an interventionist argument that puts her squarely at odds with potential republican opponents, like the withdraw-minded senator rand paul and the globally inexperienced governor chris christie. clinton's comments about the necessity of u.s. leadership come at a heady time, as american's deeply dysfunctional
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domestic politics may prove a problem for the next step in a multi-lateral negotiation with iran. now, it has been more than a decade since the international atomic energy agency, the iaea discovered traces of enriched uranium in iran that put the world on alert. in that decade, world leaders have used sanctions and talks to try to dismantle iran's nuclear capacity. time that many observers claim that iran has used to move closer to weapon capacity. then this fall, the new iranian president, hasan rouhani visited the u.n. and chatted with president obama by phone, and sent the tweet that was heard around the world. negotiations resumed. john kerry and several other world powers failed to come to an agreement last weekend, but lower level representatives are set to meet again this week to try to come up with a solution. in the meantime, the white house and senate are locked in a stalemate with the latter
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threatening to pass even tougher sanctions against iran. and president obama pleaded for patience, so that talks can proceed and a potentially lasting diplomatic solution be found. so, now, when it comes to iran, we find ourselves at a geopolitical cross roads where the decisions that we make can have profound consequences. at a time when a new u.n. report shows iran has virtually halted uranium enrichment under the new president, hasan rouhani, and a new report shows no new major components added to their facility since august, what should we try to exercise on iran? according to president obama on thursday, our policy of sanctions are the key tool that we have, and we must continue to use them while talks progress. >> as a consequence of the sanctions that we put in place and i appreciate all the help, bipartisan help that we received from congress in making that happen, iran's economy has been
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crippled. >> but other american leaders, chief among them, the leader of the senate hawks, john mccain, insist that the president and his administration are naive with respect to iran, and a harder line must be drawn. for them, the united states must employ a bigger stick and a smaller carrot. but the president insists that the sanctions are effective. and he's not arguing for sending the iranians a fruit basket, just giving the process a little more time. >> we would provide very modest relief at the margins of the sanctions that we've set up. but importantly, we would leave in place the core sanctions that are most effective and have most impact on the iranian economy, specifically oil sanctions and sanctions with respect to banks and financing. >> so, president obama is looking for some leeway here. some time from the senate to
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pause so that even more -- on sort of imploring even more sanctions, so that he can explore. if iran's recently signals of change are, in fact, legitimate. >> what that gives us is the opportunity to test, how serious are they? but it also gives us an assurance that if it turns out six months from now that they're not serious, we can crank -- we can dial those sanctions right back up. >> so, here we are. a former secretary of state, eyeing the electoral horizon, insisting that we must remain present and active leaders in the world. our deeply dysfunctional legislative branch howling for a tougher stance, and president obama standing there, trying to ensure that america's domestic political squabbles do not derail the best chance in a decade to dial back the iranian nuclear program. it is a balancing act, in which there are multiple players and competing interests in whatever the role of america's global leadership is increasingly unclear how the rest of the
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world will respond. at the table, charlie senate, founding editor of foreign affairs publication global post. ru ru ru rula gibral. and an organization responsible for coordinating coverage in the u.s. capitol and analyzing political developments that affect the jewish world. and nina khrushcheva at the new school. so nice to have you all here. so let me ask, should we believe the evidence from the iaea that the iranians are dialing back their program? >> i think we have to believe it. and i think we're wise to believe it. because i think that if syria and iran are going to actually progress, we're going to have to have some faith in diplomacy. so for the president to be asking for more time here is wise, but it's also going to be, i think, productive. so i think the big question will be, will iran allow these
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inspections to take place in a very aggressive way, with a very short timetable. if you compare the inspections that are going to be done in iran with the inspections that are going to be done in iraq, this is a very short timetable. so i think we need to keep the pressure on, push forward with these negotiations, so that we can get inspectors really aggressively in there, and we'll know immediately whether or not iran is serious, as the president has said. >> so let me just point out that israel's prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, does not think that we should take the serious -- i just want to listen for a moment to his point of view on this and then ask you to respond. >> this is a country that is participating, as we speak, in the mass slaughter of men, women, children. tens of thousands of them in syria. this is a country, in five continents. this is a country that pledges to destroy the state of israel and subvert so many of the other countries. it's not only my concern that this is a bad deal, there are many, many arab leaders in the region who are saying, this is a
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very bad deal for the region and for the world. and you know, when you have the arabs and israelis speaking in one voice, it doesn't happen very often. i think it's worth paying attention to us. >> a statement like that is not only to the world, but also to the domestic internal politics of the u.s. what do you make of that statement? >> well, you know, netanyahu is the first prime minister, maybe in israeli history, certainly since 1973, that has had to depart from israel's defense doctrine of going it alone. he really needs the united states in this. because israel would be very difficult for israel to stop iran's nuclear weapons program, should it come to that, by itself. but what his problem is, he has a dysfunctional relationship with president obama. if there was another president, if there was a president john mccain, somebody with whom he has a report, he might be able to go forward and trust the americans, but their relationship is, i think, what's obstructing a lot of what's happening. >> so there's multiple layers of distrust. part of it is a question of
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distrust of the iranian government, but the other piece of it is this sort of distressed relationship, long-term distressed relationship with president obama. >> yeah, you had a very weird and difficult relationship with president nixon in 1973. but when golden asked him for an airlift, he came through. he had the airlift of weapons. israelis want to know if they have that, netanyahu wants to know if he has that with obama. and he's just never managed to develop that kind of relationship with him. >> professor, it's also worth pointing out that netanyahu, in that sound that we just listened to, revived a conversation, in part, about syria and about the world arab nations. you brought up syria, charlie. i wonder if, in part, if we continue to think of this as sort of a one-on-one or maybe three, u.s., iran, and israel. what are we missing in terms of an american perspective on the larger neighborhood in which this is all occurring? >> i think, actually, barack obama is trying to open it up,
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open up a conversation for the rest of the world and saying, we need this diplomacy, the way we need to guide the world or leaded the world, so everybody would get involved. because good relationship between the u.s. and iran, actually, the benefit of all countries, not just the benefit of iran and the united states, or doesn't damage, and doesn't necessarily damage israel. so i think that barack obama's message is probably the right one. i totally agree that diplomacy is something that really, they should exploit. hasn't been enough time. i mean, these negotiates have only been postponed, and they may work out. >> and yet we have our senate wanting to push the extra layer of sanctions. rula, i'm bringing you in first as soon as we get back. because all of this also turned sort of on this domestic politics, because the question this week became, is john kerry the miley cyrus of foreign affairs? john mccain seems to think so. customer erin swenson ordered shoes from us online
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john kerry has only been secretary of state since february, but this week, critics already question whether he is the worst secretary of state ever. at issue, kerry's efforts in the middle east, ranging from attempts to rekindle talks between israelis and palestinians as well as the pursuit of a deal on iran's nuclear program. senator john mccain had these choice words on thursday. >> look, this guy has been a human wrecking ball. he has traveled around the world and -- >> this guy, meaning? >> secretary kerry, a good friend of mine. >> whoa, remind me not to be friends with john mccain. that was all it took to launch a
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new online mean. the secretary of state was lampooned as pop star miley cyrus. this feels like the u.s. taking this sort of hardline -- not the u.s., but rather, this sort of faction within the u.s., wanting to take a hard line saying, let's not negotiate. is that because there's reason to think we should not trust iran, or do you think we have reason to see this opening as meaningful? >> i think in the last decade, we invested everything in military, military action. we paramilitaryize our foreign policy, where, you know, we went to iraq, went to afghanistan, and generals would tell you the policies, that the united states is applying in those countries. they weren't diplomats to. to go back to a shift are we believe in diplomacy and smart change and start negotiating and using different leverage, which is sanction on one hand or aid, we don't do that. we are out of date with that. but there's one thing that it's concerning for me. i have been studying all of these regions. i understand what they understand as language.
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so when we tell them, okay, we're negotiating with you, we'll open up, but then we see that, oh, my god, while we're negotiating, we want to toughen the sanction. it's like two people are negotiating over a house, and one comes to negotiate, and the wife of the owner, eventually, come and smack him in the face. and say, okay, now, you know what, now we start the negotiations. it does not work like this. with iranians, they have national pride, but they are opening up. you have rouhani, but you have the regime itself. first you have the ex-president, and one of the guards somehow of the system, who came out, more than once in the last three, four years saying, we have not only to open up normal relationship with the united states, but also with other countries. he was referring to israel. and i think something has to give here, otherwise, we lose this amazing opportunity. >> you know, the stakes are so high that you have to give these
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negotiation time. and we've said that. at the same time, i'm not convinced they'll work. >> but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. >> and the reason the stakes are so high is because the war in syria represents a proxy war between a sunni and shia divide in the region. and that could really escalate into a regional conflagration. and this is one of the most important steps towards bringing that down, to be negotiating with iran isn't only going to, if these negotiations work, mean a safer world for israel and for all of us, it's also going to mean that we take a lot of the energy out of the war in syria. and i think that is why we really need to see this go forward. now, you know, secretary of state john kerry, who i covered for the "boston globe" and who i feel like i know well, this idea that he is the worst secretary of state is ridiculous. >> yeah, in ten minutes -- >> right. there's never been anyone more prepared, more bred, more intent on having a role like this.
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and a deep knowledge base to draw on. but that said, he really -- it is open to the criticism that this foreign policy is all over the place. and they seem distracted and they haven't focused on what matters. >> and in fact, i might suggest that there might be a certain kind of hubris associated with secretary kerry, from the very sense that this is the job he has waited his whole life to have if and i wonder, as much as we talk about how high the stakes are from an american position, if we are failing to recognize how high the stakes are for those in the neighborhood of iran. >> yeah, you know, you're sitting at a different perspective. i think one of the simplistic things you've seen about the whole calculus for israel is that iran with a nuclear bomb means a mushroom cloud. that's not what it means necessarily for israel. nobody actually believes that the first thing the iranians are going to do is bomb israel. what it means is that it's sort of exponentialized. hezbollah, which has provoked two wars with israel, or had two provocative incidents with
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israel, in 2000 and 2006, to which israel responded with nuclear force, hezbollah has to consider how it responds. and life could be unlivable. that's what's going through netanyahu's head. >> but also, let's be honest -- >> hold one second. i'm going to pull you back in. we have to take a quick break, though. as we come back, i want to talk about how important it is to get the stories right, when, in fact, the story is a whole world away. the american dream is of a better future,
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an unreliable source for the story. following that admission, the report faced even more criticism and the mcclatchy news service reported this week that there are even deeper problems with the cbs story than the network has acknowledged and they simply have not yet acknowledged any of those aspects, including the claim that the attack was well planned and orchestrated solely by al qaeda on claims that mcclatchy says has little evidence. so cbs news says it is conducting an ongoing journalistic review of this story and certainly, there are many matters still to sort out. but one thing that is clear at this point is that "06 minutes" failed to deliver accurate news to the people, but let me make this claim. in particular, with the kind of sensitivity to international news, but domestic stories, as an audience, you have your own context, right? if i tell you that the economy had recovered but you and your neighbors don't have jobs, you can judge for yourself how well you think the economy is doing. but we have less context for international news.
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about two-thirds of americans do not even have passports, or relatively geographically isolated for much of the rest of the world. and we rely on reporters to be our eyes and ears around the globe. we have to be able to trust their word. so i can't want to go in on my colleagues can at "60 minutes" at all, but i want to reflect on this idea, how do we have a conversation about complicating their national politics in a way that informs without simply sort of reproducing this good guy/bad guy narrative. >> first of all, it's very hard not to reproduce the good guy/bad guy, because we just talked about it in terms of john kerry and john mccain. you have to have an enemy. it's much easier to report what is not than what is. this is first. and secondly, i actually want to speak in defense of "60 minutes" and i can tell you why. with the 24/7 365 days a week news cycle, it's very difficult to absolutely check your stories. and the expectations are
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enormous that right now, immediately, without even a moment of a thinking process, you're going to deliver fine news. "60 minutes" manned up, they're doing an investigation, they accepted the responsibility. and i think they are -- one of the greatest things they're trying to do is provide context to that story. >> it's so interesting that you say that, professor. because i don't know yet what happened there. but my very first thought was, we work on such shoestring staffs that, i mean, one or two folks out, and all of a sudden the difficulty. but i see you over there saying, nope, i work on shoestring and we get it right. >> we do. at global post, this is what we live and breathe for, to try to provide context and try to be on the ground. we call it ground truth. that's our mission, what we try to do. it's a very old-fashioned idea, to be there and tell the story. you know, watching the coverage of the anniversary of the kennedy assassination and looking at a different time in america, when there were these trusted voices like cronkite, like robin mcneil, who was just
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on. these were people who worked very hard to get it right. "60 minutes" has a wonderful track record of getting it right, but there are really important questions that are taking too long to answer. and the crucial one is, why wasn't dillen davies vetted? they had a lot of time. this wasn't 24/7. this was time. and i think it's a fair question. and i think we really need to not allow this to get politicized. the landscape of benghazi is politics. the reporters, on the ground, have a sacred role to just stick to the facts. >> i think you know, both of you are right, we have a real issue with how, how our news is politicized. look, in this country, let's not forget, holding "the new york times," which for me was a bible, a koran, and "the new york times," before the iraqi war, published an article saying, we have wmd, and there's wmd in iraq, enhancing the public perception. yes, we are in danger. saddam hussein might use them.
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let's go into war. and this continued. i mean, talking about boston. remember when cnn, they said, oh, they caught the guy and they already arrested him. there are flaws, but we amend them. they shouldn't be politicized. but there is also a major issue about our credibility as news anchors, especially when you travel abroad. and most of the foreign reporters, they are embedded for security reasons. so what kind of voices you're hearing on the ground of the people that are in syria, in iraq, eventually, or in iran. you need to hear these voices more than ever. >> i was also going to suggest that the ability of any given news organization, whether it means to or not to mislead is in part context. the ability to believe that osama bin laden and saddam hussein are in cahoots requires people to know -- does not understand what world -- or the nature of these historic -- >> and we control them. if you look at the islamic arab world for example, why in certain areas are the state regimes that control television,
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they control education, and control the media. because you shape the public opinion, you can do with them whatever you want. >> let me get you briefly in here. >> your metaphor about the neighborhood is exactly right. we've got to travel to other neighborhoods and see what it looks like from their perspective. so, you know, in washington, we had this narrative about syria. saddam hussein -- sorry, john kerry is equivocating, he's not equivocating. obama's equivocating. there's all this discussion about what the political reality is. and i speak to israelis, their narrative is, obama stepped up, threatened military action, whatever was going on politically and the syrians stepped up. and now the israelis want to -- >> so it's a success. >> it's a success and the israelis want to see that success replicated with iran. >> however, you might have a different perspective in the sense of the continuing violence there. at each point, giving context. i'll give an education nation
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shout-out. one of the ways we can travel to other neighborhoods, we want to speak the language. ron, thank you so much for joining us. we are still going to keep going around the world. up next, the release efforts in the philippines. this is in part how the u.s. and others are helping to shape the world while they're helping os. [ brent ] this guy's a pro, herbie. [ herbie ] no doubt about it brent, a real gate keeper. here's kevin in the nissan sentra.
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goodness of our hearts. by helping out the philippines, the united states and others are hoping to gain more influence on china's doorstep in order to keep that country's power in check. joining our panel now is gordon challenge, columnist with and author of "the coming collapse of china." what do you make of that argument, yes, we're great humanitarians, americans have a great spirit and all of that, but this is in part strategic, this aid to the philippines? >> it does have a strategic benefit, but i think we would do this regardless of the pivot. remember, december 2004, the great tsunami, more than 250,000 people died and remember, the bush administration was there. now, the bush administration ignored asia. a terrible asia policy, yet humanitarian assistance was extensive. and so i think this is something we're going to do, pivot, no pivot, asia focus, no asia focus. >> so you think the fact that the philippines are there on china's doorstep is incidental. and yet, countries do seem to be
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positioning around this super typhoon. certainly, there's a deep humanitarian crisis, which is the big story. but the aid -- aid has politics. >> absolutely. of course aid has politics. everything has politics. culture has politics. >> that's true. >> why are we even so surprised. and strategy is part of foreign affairs and it's wonderful to think, oh, we're just going to go and help humanity, but at the same time, people have to have self-interest, and that's how they function. so it is -- i mean, i wouldn't say it's that incidental, but we all believe the united states is capable of doing this. it's also a message that our troops can go there as quickly as well. and i think, i mean, of course, you know this much, much better. but in some ways, china blew it, because it has been arguing for, you know, its ex-american sanctuary and now it's going to be the chinese and we're going
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to be that soft power. well, where is soft power? why do you have very traditional geopolitical concerns versus the new millennium where soft power is reaching out and helping people in need? >> but, actually, that's -- it's perfectly put. but look at the numbers. americans gave $20 million. chinese, they wanted to give $100,000. oh, my god, maybe we're too stingy, we'll give you $1.6 million. they were shamed off. >> countries that have, you know, gdp that is rising and they want to stretch muscles, but there's also an issue of an island, where they are fighting with philippine over this island and the south china seas. and americans goes there, the uk go there, and the government even tells americans, look, if you want to stay and open bases, we're open to that. i think suddenly chinese are waking up of what maybe should help them more. i think two things match each other. our interests, american
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interests, and also helping a population that's been destroyed by this. >> in authorization of aid has a very long history. you know -- >> exactly. >> throughout time. but world war ii, for sure, and absolutely, the united states and afghanistan and pakistan. we've seen militarization -- >> and egypt. >> egypt. but i agree with gordon, that i really think this is also where the united states shines. that we are there to help. and that we would have done this with or without the politics of the south china sea. and i kind of come down on that side, and i think it's a very important message that i think resonates well in the world. >> yeah, you know, this is -- >> stay with me. gordon, i'll bring you right back in. when we come back, i do want to talk a little bit more about china policy and specifically the moment when 1.3 million people is both too many people and not enough people. and china seems to want more people. do you need more people? that's next. i'm beth... and i'm michelle.
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huge news out of china this week. the most populist country in the world now wants more people. china announced this week that it is relaxing its 34-year-old one-child policy and will allow more couples to have more children. the country is making the change in the face of a looming labor crisis and as its population ages without enough young people to replace retiring workers and amid demands for broader reforms. so is this about, like, a future economy, or is this about, we don't want to make the big changes, so we're going to make this change, which won't feel so personal and relevant to people? >> well, chinese officials have been talking about the economy as really being the driving force for this. also because of the aging society. and we've got to remember that this is occurring while china is in the initial stages of accelerated demographic decline. because the workforce started to shrink in 2010, six years before china's official demographers said that it would. and the country as a whole will
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probably start to shrink before 2020ll2033 projections that beijing makes. so china is following both russia and japan into uncharted demographic territory. this is not a good story for china. >> so let me ask this question, though. once policy has been in place for 34 years in this way, even if tomorrow, and it's not going to happen tomorrow. the problems are going to implement it relatively slowly. but even if tomorrow, everyone could have two children, has the world sort of evolved for the chinese, particularly the urban child, who say, one child is kind of how we make our lives. >> because this has been in place for more than three decades, it's engrained for many people. so essentially, you have, for instance, couples only want one, because of the pressures of a second child. also, you have, you know, the stagnating economy's not helping and you have women who are not buying into china's social system. and they, look, it's not a question of not having children, i just don't want to get married. so what you have is essentially,
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in places like shanghai, you have a total fertility rate of perhaps 0.5, which is well below replacement of 2.1. >> fascinating, i wonder if they then have to create incentives for children. i wonder, what might this mean for america? do we want more chinese consumers? do we see china as a competitor for world politics, therefore we don't -- i'm wondering how owe see a change like this. >> well, we hear about these personal freedoms are suddenly on the table in china and hear about the one-child policy. we also hear about the reeducation through forced labor, that they're going to end that as well. i think china is getting very good at playing public relations and they're starting to really put spin on things in a way that the united states has always been pretty good at that. china's playing the same game. deeper question for me, though, there is no sense of how this will be implemented. there's no sense of how it's going to, at all, change the human rights equation or that there's any sense if this is going to expand democracy. those things are still very much on hold, and those are the
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forces that will ultimately hinder china's advancement and its growth, you know, democratic growth. >> china has become very aggressive on the international stage. we tried to have a solution for syria and they had, no, vetoed more than one. when you look at china ten years ago, when it comes to kosovo or other issues, no, we go along with you. i think they feel the pressure of the arab spring. simple people, millions go to the streets, demand box and dignity and a different life. and i think they felt, oh, my god, america and the west wants regime change all over. it's not about -- i mean, agreed with libya, but then they felt betrayed. that's why they didn't go along with syria. it's not about helping people, it's about regime change. >> i think another big thing here is social networking. >> absolutely! that's why the shutdo down internet -- >> so people can have the voice.
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>> but they have the ex-minister having problems, corruption issues. they have to give in something. >> and at a certain point, china is going to have more reproductive freedom than the u.s. and few eer gulags than russia. this is quite a difference. >> you have a very insecure regime right now, who's been talking moua and marks for the last few months. his predecessor, hu jintao. and we talk about wen jiabao, and those issues that didn't exist before. >> particularly on social issues. >> yes, social issues, this one-child policy is very controversial, and a lot of chinese people, not all of them, as we talk about, but some people really want two children. >> you have to come back and talk about this idea of how social media actually challenges regimes in this way. i know there's a lot of nerds who are interested in that. thanks to charlie, to rula, and to gordon.
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the doctor will stay with us for a bit. i'll see you in the next hour, but everybody else, stay with us right now. because we are going to do some race talk. everyone pause with me and breathe, because i'm going to make an argument that richard cohen did not have it all wrong. ♪ [ male announcer ] welcome back all the sweet things your family loves with 0-calorie monk fruit in the raw. ♪ welcome back [ male announcer ] it's made with the natural, vine-ripened sweetness of fruit, so you can serve up deliciously sweet treats without all the sugar. so let no drink go unsweetened. no spatula un-licked. and no last bit un-sipped. you don't have to throw a party, but you'll probably feel like celebrating. raw natural sweetness, raw natural success. wears off. [ female announcer ] stop searching and start repairing. eucerin professional repair
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"washington post" columnist richard cohen has a long history of being wrong about racism. he's been wrong at least since 1986, when he defended store owners, whose crime prevention strategy was to close their doors to young black men. so wrong that "the washington post" executive editor had to write an article apologizing for the column. he was wrong when he justified george zimmerman's suspicion of trayvon martin, because martin was wearing, quote, a uniform we all recognize.
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and if you somehow managed to miss the smackdown cohen got from the entire internet, he got it way wrong in his most recent column for the post past leek. if you read the argue, then you know that something -- that you knew something racist was about to happen. why? because cohen signaled it the universal sign, the what i'm about to say isn't really racist preamble. in a column that was supposed to be about chris christie and the 2016 republican presidential primary, cohen wrote, today's gop is not racist, but it is deeply troubled about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. people with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor elect of new york, a white man married to a black woman with two biracial children. should i know that bill de blasio's wife used to be a lesbian. i think it goes without saying that being repulsed to the point of nausea about a mixed race marriage is some basic, by-the-book, old-fashioned
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racism. so on that, cohen got racism wrong again. but lost amid all the well-deserved critique of what cohen got wrong was an acknowledgement of what he got right, if you interpret his use of the word "conventional," to mean a widely held belief embraced by the majority of people, then, no, that gag reflex isn't conventional for americans today. it's clear from this graph on interracial marriages that most americans are just fine with the de blasios and other families like them. but that's only part of that graph. take a look. at the same graph in its entirety, going all the way back to how those attitudes have evolved since 1959, and you'll see that our current enlightened acceptance is relatively new. before 1988 and for the vast majority of american history, the popular and enduring and conventional view about african-americans mixing with and marrying white americans has been one of disgust. joining me now is one of those writers who responded to cohen this week, msnbc's dot-com
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reporter, adam sore roe. also here, dorothy roberts with the university of pennsylvania and author of "killing the black body." also, tanner kolbe, author of "some of my best friends are black," and professor wesley harris, associate provost of faculty professor at m.i.t. and as i have always called him, uncle wes. i want to start with you, adam. it was hard, i think, probably for you, for me, as children of interracial parents, of mixed race parents not to take personally that there's a gag reflex in response to our families, but is cohen on to something about the idea that this threat to the conventional is at the core of republican angst at this moment? >> i don't know if it's at the core of republican angst, but certain, people are much less okay with interracial marriages than that graph suggests. no one in america today or very few people think it should be illegal, but when you ask them, i think the more important question, how would you feel if
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someone in your family married a black person, the numbers go way lower. 40% of self-identified conservatives and moderates would not be happy if one of their family members married a black person. so there is widespread legal acceptance of the idea of interracial marriage, but culturally, we're not quite as advanced and enlightened as we think we are. >> i wonder what the flip side of that is. i think it is, it's always surprising to white americans to find that there are black americans who also oppose interracial marriage. that our goal isn't to whiten ourselves as much as humanly possible, and if we ask the question on the other side, we might also find some resistance to what would potentially create cultural extermination, the language that you hear in african-american communities. >> certainly, that is, i think, a vocal minority. i mean, having just -- you know, just in my personal life, i've encountered that. but you know, it's much smaller in the african-american community than it is in the white community as a whole.
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but the people who are opposed to it tend to be very vocal about their opposition, i think in a way, you know, that is perhaps unexpected, because today, culture in america, we tend to try to restrain ourselves when we feel that we might be saying something that is visibly or audibly racist. >> and in the rush in responses to cohen to say, no, no, no, people -- no, we're not racist, this is not how we feel. it's part of why i want to say, well, let's pause and take a look, because there is still that kind of visceral, gut -- we talks about the gag -- that kind of gut reaction, which is old in this country. >> sure, it goes back to the founding of the country, the first laws against it 1600s, an against the law for mixed race marriages. it was only in the 1977 that
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they struck down those laws, and there were still 16 around the country. it's a long, long history. it's part of white supremacy, as the court said, in loving versus virginia. and i think what we have to look at is not what just people say. people know they're not supposed to say they disapprove of interracial marriage, but people do. and in 2010, only 15% of marriages in the united states were between people of different races. and the least likely are couples like bill de blasio's couple, a white man married to a black woman. it's extremely rare. so people can say they approve of it, but they don't show that, in their daily lives. and also, people who are interracially married experience all sorts of backlash from family members, from people walking down the street. so there's evidence of that. >> as you talk about, professor harris, the kind of anxiety around the intimacy of marriage, but i'm also wondering, in your role, which is a more institutional role, and as a
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question of, not the intimacy of marriage and love relationships, but rather, the intimacy of access to privilege, that comes, for example, with entrance into an ivy league university for students, for faculty, for contracting. whether or not you still see that kind of initial gag reflex or distrust of black bodies to do the sort of work that is institutionally on the inside. >> well, we certainly see that resistance, a quite high intensity at m.i.t. and i find the horrific part, not so much to paragraph, but the one sentence before that paragraph, i would like to read that. "they saw a way of life under attack and they feared it's lost." for me i asked, could the dinosaurs perhaps saved themselves? and the answer is, of course, they did not.
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so we are at a point in our major institutions, in the one in which i'm a professor at m.i.t., where the question is, how do we circle the wagons? how do we prevent true understanding, true dialogue, real conversation, and ultimately, the advancement of humanity. so this man, cohen, i think reads his constituencies very well. there is an effort to make a decision as to how america will proceed. when i understand or try to interpret comments about closing down government, does that mean a destruction of america? if so, why? clearly, it's not a desire on the part of people of color. my brothers and sisters do not want to destroy america, to shut down government. so why is it that the opposition takes that position? >> in part because they fear, as cohen says there, that the loss of that way of life. i want to bring you in after we
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come back after this commercial, because i want to talk a little bit more about that question of how we would overcome such a thing. you write so beautifully in your book about the difficulty of going to school together, of sitting next to each other, and forming genuine friendships and relationships. so i want to talk more about that when we come back. so up next, there will be more on the history of this conventional racism. plus, girls in space! and america's complicated relationship with the final frontier. there's more nerdland at the top of the hour. avo: the volkswagen "sign then drive" sales event is back. which means it's never been easier to get a new 2014 jetta. it gets an impressive 34 highway mpg and comes with no charge scheduled maintenance. and right now you can drive one home for practically just your signature. sign. then drive. get zero due at signing, zero down, zero deposit, and zero first month's payment on any new 2014 volkswagen. hurry, this offer ends december 2nd.
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or you are ready for retirement, we'll help you get there. customer erin swenson ordebut they didn't fit.line customer's not happy, i'm not happy. sales go down, i'm not happy. merch comes back, i'm not happy. use ups. they make returns easy. unhappy customer becomes happy customer. then, repeat customer. easy returns, i'm happy. repeat customers, i'm happy. sales go up, i'm happy. i ordered another pair. i'm happy. (both) i'm happy. i'm happy. happy. happy. happy. happy. happy happy. i love logistics. welcome back. i'm melissa harris-perry. and if you are just joining us, we have talking about the controversial op-ed by "washington post" writer, richard cohen, in which he suggested that people with conventional views must repress a, quote, gag reflex when consider interracial marriage.
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now, brace yourselves and grab a second cup of coffee and grab your thinking hats. because when we think about racism, we tend to understand it as a set of beliefs about inequality, beliefs based on a collection of thoughts, so far at the top of our minds about ethnic and racial groups about how are some superior and others inferior. but those aren't fixed points. as we saw when we looked at these data on americans' thoughts about interracial marriage, that has room to grow and change. but what we are reminded of by cohen's choice of the words, "gag reflex," is that there is another form of racism that can be more enduring and harder to measure. one that is more resistant to reason. because it is based not so much in thoughts about abstract ideas and concepts of supremacy, but about emotions of disgust. in her book, "from disgust to
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humanity," philosopher samantha nussbaum arguing that american lawmakers have long used the feeling of revulsion as a guide for creating policy. nussbaum finds, for example, the resistance to lbgt rights a language of disgust. she concludes that laws meant to restrict the rights of lbgt americans are really aimed at creating distance from difference and avoidance of being contaminated by that which is considered to be vile or revolting. when we look at the history of laws to regulate the mixing of the races, we find these same fears and anxieties about blackness. from the earliest days of our nation, our lawmakers saw blackness as a taint to be isolated and constricted, to prevent it from spreading. in 1785, thomas jefferson published notes on the state of virginia, it's his only full-length book, making the case for separation between the races, jefferson wrote, "i advance it therefore as a suspicion only that the blacks,
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whether originally a distinct race or made distinct by time and circumstance, are inferior to the whites by the endowments of both body and mind." "among the romans, emancipation required but one effort, that the slave when made three may mix, without staining the blood of his master. but with us a second is necessary, unknown to history. when freed, he is to be removed beyond the reach of mixture." in the late 19th century after reconstruction, we saw that enshrined in the lines of the jim crow south, underlying the supreme court's doctrine of separate but equal in its plessey v. ferguson decision was a notion of so blackness that it must be kept in separate spaces. in 1924, virginia passed the racial integrity act, which forbade interracial marriage
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based on junk science theories. it was violating that law that led to the arrest of mildred and richard loving, an african-american woman, and a white man, who married in washington, d.c. in 1958 and were arrested upon returning home to virginia. when they were later convicted on felony charges, leon vasal, the judge who presided over the case said to them in the courtroom, "almighty god created the races, white, black, yellow, melee, and red and he placed them on separate continents. the fact that he separates the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix." still with me, adam soro, dorothy, and tanner caolby, and my uncle. so tanner, i want to start with you, because this central reversion, this kind of emotion seems to be you can't just argue about it, you can't just show me a graph or a chart showing that intelligence is equally distributed. you have to actually change it
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through long-term interactions between racial groups. >> right. and that's what we don't have. and one thing that's interesting about school integration is the black cafeteria table really dates from puberty. elementary school, everybody plays together on the playground, nobody thinks about it, but the separation really comes when people start dating in middle school and high school. that's when you start to get the segregation in high school, therefore we don't know each other and don't form relations with each other. >> so you think it's a late tent fear that in part generates this distance between folks, because it happens at the moment of adolescence. >> right, whether it comes from your parents or culture, it's something that becomes engrained in you. and once you reach adulthood, whether it's a gag reflex, or some people fetishize and er eroticize in a relationship.
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but you always note it, like, what's the story there. >> both your and my father grew up in jim crow richrichmond, go to segregated schools. and we've had an opportunity to talk about going in these segregated schools. and i wonder about this idea that overlaying all of that was this fear of interracial mixing through dating, but was that sort of present for young african-americans in that moment, that idea? >> it was very much a part of what we had to come to grips with. i like to certainly acknowledge what it was in my youth in richmond, virginia, but take it a bit further. recently, i asked a colleague at m.i.t. in the department of physics to explain to me the relationship between polish catholics and polish jews, and why did the catholics in poland dislike jews so much.
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he paused for a moment and looked at me and said, wes, they get it through their mother's milk. so we just used the phrase, language of disgust. obviously, there's a cultural disgust. and in the south, i think this hatred, this disgust, this disdain for blackness comes through their mother's milk. it's in the air, it's in the apples that they eat, it's in the tobacco that they plant. it is a profound disgust. so the question of interracial marriage a boo-boo, it just doesn't happen. it's impossible. it's against everything that we believe. it's against god's wish in the south. >> this notion of it being so deeply engrained, culturally, and yet, professor, the other piece i want to make the point about here, it has policy consequences, even unto today. particularly in the attempts to control the bodies of black women around issues of reproductive justice. >> sure, sure. there's a long history of trying
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to control black women's childbearing, either to encourage them to produce slaves, back in the time of slavery, but that continues all the way to today. and we can see, for example, welfare laws. the whole issue of welfare restructuring that was fueled by the image of the black welfare queen and the ways in which black women now are regulated. the whole point of welfare, behavior modification, to push women towards marriage, as if that's going to solve the issues of poverty and regulate their decision, so they don't have too many children. it literally, spreads blackness. >> that's the idea, we can see the image of the crack baby and the crack addict, the pregnant crack addict that led to prosecutions, mostly of poor black women for drug use during pregnancy. and the expansion of the incarceration of black women. we often leave that out when we talk about mass incarceration. black women are the fastest growing population, and these are mostly women with substance
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abuse problems, mental health problems, they're victims of abuse often, and the reaction is to put them in prison. >> we've seen that, certainly in the marissa alexander case. you know, one of my favorite moments this week at the height of the whole conversation about the gag reflex was the craig paul cobb, who is the racist who discovers that he's 14% black. if you have not seen this, it's worth just pausing and taking a look at this. >> 86% european and, uh -- >> what is it? >> give it to him! >> 14% sub-saharan african. >> wait a minute, wait a minute. >> hold on! >> you have a little black in you. >> so i -- you know, adam, i
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despise the kind of genetic project of determining just how black or how white one is, but there is a way in which whiteness can mask the idea that we are, in fact, racially -- that blood or our mother's milk is, in fact, all the same genetic material. so there is sort of power in that moment of telling the neo-nazi, telling the racist, actually, your blood is my blood. we are flesh of the same flesh. >> and what people like about that moment is that, obviously, this person has a sort of almost religious, theological belief about the separation of races, that white and black are actually -- rather than a social construction. it's this genetic wall that can't be breached. and having realized that he, himself, is part black, he's sort of being forced to confront the myth around which he's built his life. >> although the notion of being part black is, itself, sort of patently ridiculous, right? because it is socially constructed, and yet there's something about sort of that
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ability to play with the biological basis of this very conventional racism that is interesting. but i want everybody to stay right there. because when we come back, i want to talk renisha mcbride and that case. and whether or not it tells us anything about race and disgust and law. how are things with the new guy? all we do is go out to dinner. that's it? i mean, he picks up the tab every time, which is great...what? he's using you. he probably has a citi thankyou card and gets 2x the points at restaurants. so he's just racking up points with me. some people... ugh! no, i've got it. the citi thankyou preferred card. now earn 2x the points on dining out and entertainment, with no annual apply, go to yep. got all the cozies. [ grandma ] with new fedex one rate, i could fill a box and ship it for one flat rate.
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last week we told you the story of renisha mcbride, the 19-year-old young woman who was shot to death on a porch in the suburbs outside of detroit. when she was simply seeking help from the homeowner after a car accident. at that time, no one had been charged or arrested in the shooting, but all that changed on friday when 54-year-old dearborn heights resident,
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theodore paul wafer, turned himself in and was arraigned on three charges, the most serious of which is murder in the second degree. he told police that his shotgun went off by accident and that they believed that mcbride was trying to break into his home. the remaining details of exactly what happened that morning have yet to be released. but as we've been talking about here today, there is a kind of fear and loathing of black bodies, and i'm wondering, and i want to ask the folks at my table whether or not that fear and loathing of black bodies, sometimes we don't think about in connection with black women, but if renisha mcbride's story makes us ask, if it's not just our sons, our trayvons who are vulnerable, but potentially, also, our daughters, our renishas. >> sure. i think black women have been victims of stereotypes that paint us as less feminine, more masculine, aggressive, and also, importantly, less in need of protection. we're supposed to be, you know, these sturdy women who work in white people's homes and support
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our families and, we're not seen, often, as women, even as women. you know, there's been images of black women painted as animals, and this goes back to the stereotypes of black women as being reproductively irresponsible, having too many babies. it's all tied together. the idea that black women couldn't be victims of rape, for example. >> yep, yep. >> the story you mentioned, of a black woman in florida, who was sentenced to 20 years, because she shot a warning shot. >> at her abusive husband! while her infant child was in the home. >> exactly. so this idea that black women aren't in need of help, i think that has a lot to do with it. that combination. we're more aggressive, we don't appear to be feminine, and that we don't need production, i think, is what leads to a 5'4", 19-year-old girl being seen as threatening, so threatening to a
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homeowner that he has to shoot her in the face? from his home?! it's a deep, deep, deep sense that black women, along with black men, are threatening, prone to violence, and don't need help, which was also the case in trayvon martin. >> yes. and jonathan ferrell. >> yes, i want to go to exactly this, and ask a structural question about it, tanner. jelani cobb writing for "the new yorker".com says, it's entirely reasonable to be alarmed by an unexpected knock in the middle of the night. it's not difficult to imagine someone nervously answering the door with a weapon nearby, but the shock moment is what happens next. is it possible to look through a cracked open door and register moore or ferrell or mcbride as something other than an amalgam of suspicions? and part of the structural piece of that to me is whether or not you live in an integrated neighborhood. if you live with black
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neighbors, then seeing a black person on your stoop, you might think, well, maybe that's my neighbor or somebody who works here or maybe that's my mail carrier. it could be any of a set of people. but if your world is entirely white, then the black body on your front doorstep couldn't possibly be a familiar face, it would have to be one of these stereotypes, one of these suspicions. >> and that's what happened in kansas city, the integrated neighborhood that i profiled there for my book, was that it is an integrated neighborhood and you have black and white neighbors, and there is one story, or actually a number of stories of a black homeowner and a white homeowner working together as a neighborhood watch to catch an assailant, whether that assailant was black or white. and so it's familiarity and knowing one another that, you know, leads you to be able to have a neighborhood. and you know, things like trayvon martin and things like these stories are used by the black community to say, well, this is why we need to be in our own spaces where we can be safe and protected. and that's the danger of moving to a white neighborhood.
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but if you don't move to the white neighborhood and normalize it, then we're going to be left with this sort of antagonistic situation. >> that's interesting, because there is a moment after the zimmerman verdict where i did feel like, okay, so where do you go? if in black communities you have often higher crime rates for a wide variety of reasons, but if in white neighborhoods you feel like there's a potential zimmerman. and i want to come to you, adam, on exactly this question, because you have been reporting on a moment that is not just about choice, right, but that, in fact, our fair housing laws, under the context of the case you've been reporting on are potentially threatened here. and the very brake light to create a stable, integrated neighborhood is not just about choice, but about all these different striuctural factors. >> you look at the history of fair housing in the united states, and it's basically this gigantic, decade-long wrestling match between like idealists who are trying to use the law to bring people together, to compel integration, and people who are
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trying to use the federal housing law in order to keep people as separate as possible, by subsidizing white flight, by zoning areas in a particular way, by destroying minority neighborhoods. and so it's -- there's an incredible history of basically almost all-out war in the united states about who lives where, and why and who's allowed to go where. >> because all the questions of that are all connected to them. thank you, i wanted to have a little bit of a complicated question around race and conversation, and i appreciate you all for being here. you are going to hang around, uncle wes, because we are going to make a really big turn here. houston, we have a special treat. girls in space! is next. as a business owner, i'm constantly putting out fires. so i deserve a small business credit card
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do you remember when you wered a kid and adults asked, what do you want to be when you grow up? how did you respond? back in 2012, the professional networking site linkedin asked more than 8,000 professionals what their childhood aspirations were. american men remembered hoping to become athletes and pilots, scientists and lawyers. and girls dreamed of becoming teachers, vets, writers, doctors, and singers. one dream job that made the top five list for girls and not for boys, astronaut. in the past 40 years, girls have made huge gains in education. in 1970, only about 59% of women had a high school education. today, it was nearly 90%. and today, as many women as men finish college. but girls still lag in the stem cell fields. science, technology, engineering, and math. and how can you dream of being an astronaut without that first fascination with science, with math, with exploration of the
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unknown? in norriew orleans, louisiana, hundreds-year-old girl's school is working hard to nurture the skills and curiosity that girls need to succeed in s.t.e.m. fields. every year, mcgee sixth graders pile on a bus and go from new orleans to huntsville, alabama, for three days at space camp. this year, my daughter, parker, was among those sixth grade space campers. so of course, nerdland cameras went along, mostly because i think the nerds wanted a trip to space camp. ♪ >> space camp is 31 years old, so when it began, there were so many young men who came, and then we began to see that trend change. and now there are probably more young women than men who work through the door. >> i'm really excited, because it's really, really cool to
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watch my friends' rockets go up. >> houston, we have a problem! >> i was bound to be a science nerd. for simulation purposes, we have these screens right here that shows launch, shows when we are actually in space. i have a b.a. in chemistry, a b.s. in spanish, and am currently studying material science in engineering. >> i would not like to be an astronaut. first, i feel like i would die in that thing. >> you're going to love it. >> okay. >> tell them to spin away. you ready? all right. are you okay? >> yes! >> perfect. >> five, four, three, two, one! >> oh, my god. i'm never going to do it again. >> ready to proceed. >> starting metcalf lyndenberger. she's mission specialist number 2, making her first space flight. >> and liftoff of "discovery".
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>> she came to space camp as a young lady, she came through the programs, did exceptionally well while she was here at space camp, and she followed her dreams. she followed her heart. she had a love for math and for science. and became our first graduate from space camp to go into space, and she was on one of the sts shuttle missions. >> i really want to be an astronaut. i think it would be really cool to just go up in space. >> we love science. >> i'm really excited to go on the rides and space camp is so much fun. >> hey! >> come to space camp. have fun, don't be afraid to fail, and just enjoy any rock star moment that you may have. >> hi! >> that was very fun! launch systems are a go. stand by to resume the countdown
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on my mark. five, four, three, two, one, mark. i've never done something like that. it's very difficult to run a space shuttle. it's very fun having that job. >> when we come back, we're going to talk about space. should we care what's out there? and how do we make sure that all kids can dream the big dreams of being astronauts. there are seniors who have left hundreds of dollars of savings
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first american civilian in space. and because of that, a lot of kids around my age were watching the fateful launch in class. and 73 seconds after leaving the launch pad, "challenger's" right rocket booster's o-ring failed and the shuttle exploded. while the moon mission and apollo 13 may have been formative space moments for my parent's generation, the "challenger" disaster is the foundational space moment for me and for so many in my generation. and frankly, it kind of made me hate space. i mean, not hatred born of space itself. not the cold, airless qualities, and i like the stars, but because it did make me question our dedication to spending money on trying to get there and do things there and thanks largely to our american romanticization of risk, a risk that comes at expense, literally, of sometimes more earthly priorities. so joining me now are four people who are going to try to talk to me out of my hatred and make me truly love space.
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first, live from houston, naturally, bonnie dunbar, professor of aerospace engineering at the university of houston and a former nasa astronaut, veteran of five space shuttle missions and around 50 total days in space. and here at the table, dr. derek pitts, a chief astronomer at the science museum in philadelphia, where many children come to love space. and of course, professor wesley harris, who happens to be my uncle and an m.i.t. professor of aeronautics and astronomics. i want to come to you first, bonnie, because i want to very simply ask the question, why do we need a space program? >> well, we wouldn't be talking like this right now if we didn't have a space program. think of space as an environment. we are curious human beings. we explore and if we didn't have the curiosity and the need to explore and the willingness to take some risk, we might all be in some desert some place,
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without houses, without air-conditioning, without housing and communications. space just another area that we started really exploring 50 years ago and it's transformed our lives. >> i want to ask exactly that follow-up question here, professor, how has it transformed our lives? what is it that we know from space that has changed what our experience here on earth is. >> well, we can look at it in a number of different ways. we can look at our personal experience with space, which is the way we communicate nowadays. so often, we're directly connected with space with our smartphones. and that's one personal way. but another way that's really very important is how our use of the near earth environment in space has allowed us to monitor so many things on earth, learn so much about the earth environment, and be able to integrate so many different things about our environment that we didn't know before. and if doing this, this helps us better understand how we can raise the quality of life for people all over the planet. so it affects all of us, all the
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time. >> there's that kind of big blue marble moment where the first time that you actually recognize the global reality is when you are -- when you're in space and you look back and you see the precious thing that is earth. it's a perspective you can't have here. >> yeah, that's very true. and it's unfortunate that more people can't travel in space, just yet, i'll say, because if they could have that perspective, it might better help everyone once that we're all on this blue marble together. however, having said that, because of the view we have, we have been able to knit together the planet in a way that is really changing how we relate to our environment and how we engage with our environment, and how we do everything we can to improve the environment for the betterment of everybody. >> so on this question, then, on the betterment of everybody, professor. part of what i want to then push on is, okay, there is the kind of pure science question of exploration and of asking questions, and of not shutting off frontiers. and i like the very specific point of, all right, your cell phone doesn't work unless we go into space. but i do wonder if we have ever
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had to make trade-offs, particularly on questions of marginalized people and communities here on earth, because of our desire to pursue space instead. >> well, i certainly think there is, i'll put it this way, a great opportunity to mis-serve the needy here on earth, on the surface, as opposed to our investments in space. i think we must continue to have a space program that is humans, not necessarily limited to the u.s., that does both look away from the planet earth, as well as look back toward planet earth and provide richness, understanding, raise questions, but also to answer them, to answer questions that i think are absolutely critical to come out of our space program. are the investments correct? i would say not. i would say the policy itself needs corrections. why are we so distant from the chinese when it comes to space? are we close enough to the indians when it comes to space?
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can we find some way to leverage the opportunities to strengths of multiple nations, and therefore reduce our own financial commitment to space. use some of that reduction to solve some problems that people who are walking right around here among us today in new york city would benefit from. >> this framing of, are we close enough to the chinese, are we close enough to the people of india actually sounds very similar to that sort of our domestic politics, right, or our global politics being connected somehow with the space race, which was that great cold war moment for kennedy and for the soviet union at the time. >> absolutely. and i think that, i mean, from a scientific perspective, probably we do need this program. we cannot cancel it. we shouldn't. but i think it should need rephrasing, because it's very much still centered around politics. who is better? who is grander, who flies fast. the chinese started a program,
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remember how proud they were. they finally caught up with the two superpowers, the united states and russia. and i think that takes a lot of time and energy and that needs to be -- so the propaganda moment should be taken out of -- >> so it becomes truly about science. >> it's about science. >> when we come back, i want to ask about this question of how much do we spend. do we actually need to be spending much more, and whether or not what we learn from space is the thing that makes life better here on earth. ♪
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bruising, bleeding, or paleness. [ woman ] finally, clearer skin for more than a few days, weeks, or months. enbrel works for me. ask your dermatologist if you can have clearer skin with enbrel. so i should probably get the last roll... yeah but i practiced my bassoon. [ mom ] and i listened. [ brother ] i can do this. [ imitates robot ] everyone deserves ooey, gooey, pillsbury cinnamon rolls. make the weekend pop. everyone deserves ooey, gooey, pillsbury cinnamon rolls. don'neutralize them odorand freshen.ash. with glad odorshield with febreze. it's been well over two years since nasa sent a person to space in a space shuttle. the last mission going up in july of 2011. but that doesn't mean that we're not still sending astronauts up.
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in fact, a russian mission that carried the winter olympic torch and a nasa astronaut floated back to earth just a week ago. but news came this week that our astronauts star treks with foreign agencies might be coming to an end. under a plan funded by the mrngs, nasa is seeking the to partner with american companies to send astronauts to the space station as soon as 2017. so instead of hitching with the russians, we're going to be doing so with private industry. bonnie, i want to go back to you, because i know that if we just take a look at the percentage of our national budget that is spent on space and on nasa, we see this sort of tiny budget that explodes in the kennedy moment, and then, of course, drops off and comes right back down. and then you've made a claim that we are not investing enough nationally in this program. >> well, yes. first of all, let's kind of redefine space. we are in space. we're on the third planet from the sun and hurtling quite
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rapidly around that sun and we now know there are about 800 other planets in our near vicinity in this solar system or actually, in our galaxy. but so let's talk about the numbers. nasa budget right now is one-half of 1% of the federal budget. at the height of the apollo program going to the moon, it was 4.4%. and it really is about the values that we have and our priorities. we spent about 25 times the entire nasa budget on cosmetics in this country. and that's a choice. but what nasa really is, if you want to look at aeronautics in space, is an investment in research and in development and a larger picture of societal needs. we just watched this large hurricane hit the philippines, and it's a real tragedy. but we were able to forewarn them through weather satellites. and those weather satellites were a direct investment in technology, research and development that we made in going to the moon. in fact, all the satellites are.
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the rockets that get them up there. so it would be like saying, well, i'm done with airplanes. let's no longer fly. we are in space, we're here to stay. how do we prosper? how do we get our university students educated? how do we have our professors do research? our national labs. how do we stay competitive. and i is a that we're too little right now and we need to grow the r&d part of our country. >> i like this language you used here about competitiveness. we were just talking about needing to move out of the political competitiveness, but i also worry a great deal about the fact that this is going to private industry, mostly because i keep thinking the competition of private companies in this -- on the planet, have not necessarily always led to equitable outcomes, that sort of thing. so should i be excited that now there will be a potential profit motivation to send you, to send me into space, and to continue to fund our astronauts in space? >> so, one of the ways i look -- >> well, going back --
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>> sorry, bonnie, let me direct that at the table and i'll come back to you, we promise. >> one of the ways i look at this is a redirection of what's happening with nasa. if we look at what nasa had been doing, nasa was very much operating at least a manned exploration, something very much out of the '70s and '80s and hadn't really grown very much beyond that, without much of a plan. so now, moving forward is what we see is a change in which nasa is trying to redirect its energies towards deep space exploration. and one of the thing that's happening is that nasa is outsourcing the easy work it does. almost anybody can launch a rocket to low earth orbit and carry supplies to low earth orbit. it makes sense in a way for nasa to outsource those things and concentrate on the big work that has to be done. so the word that i use for what's happening with nasa now is that the program is evolving from a space program of the '60s and '70s into a space program of the 21st century, where they
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redirect their attention out to doing deep space exploration. >> and yet, with in the break, we sort of had a bit of a conversation about this idea that with the private industries, being part of this, there might, in our lifetime, come the question of, would you like to take a ride into space? and professor, i was so surprised when your response to that question, just in the conversation, in the break was, no, i wouldn't go. talk to me about that response. >> well, i would not go, because i did not -- i don't feel the rush to have after lower earth orbit up and down experience. i see space as an opportunity that must ultimately lead to deep reduction of national wealth. and the $300,000 per ticket suborbital bump is not, in my opinion, directed toward the production of national wealth, which leads to our ability to
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maintain our governments, lead to the expansion of our culture, lead to the advancement of humanity. and until space begins to take that perspective, i think the interesting buck rogers' kind of experience are interesting in that limit only. so i'm not moved by that opportunity at all. i think we must be more strategic, more profound in our thinking about space. we need it to be a truly earth experience that is not u.s. alone, but it partners with other nations. and it must be a part of human expansion that leads to deep reduction of wealth. >> bonnie, in 15 seconds, i'm so sorry, we can get back around to this more clearly, but i want to ask on this issue of benefiting everyone and your point about being capable of doing this, how do we make sure that we have girls, which is where we started this, girls in space, that we have women engaged with s.t.e.m. in a way that there are more
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girls and women dreaming of doing this work and in fact, ultimately doing it? >> well, i'm glad you asked that question. it starts in middle school. and it means we encourage our young girls to take all the math and physics and chemistry and biology they can. that's the foundational set of knowledge, the keys they need to study those fields in the universities. and quite frankly, when i talk to many young women, they're kind of i paappalled at the pub images of women in science and engineering. i'm very grateful you're bringing this up. we need to change the image and encourage them to study those subjects in middle school and high school. >> thank you to bonnie dunbar and to dr. derek pitts and to my uncle, professor wesley harris. up next, my footnote this week is a conversation with a former foot soldier who is facing challenges in a personal battle. [ coughs, sneezes ]
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bell hooks, the new school right here in new york. when we e opened the floor for questions i saw a familiar face. in september we featured south bronx organizer tanya fields as a foot soldier on the mhp show. in response to food insecurity in her community, tanya created a way to bring fresh produce directly to residents with a brightly colored ek co-friendly bus. but that night tanya didn't want to talk about food injustice. she wanted to share she's pregnant with her fifth child. because she's unmarried and financially insecure, she's been the object of shaming and ridicule by other black women who deride her for being irresponsible and reinforcing stereotypes about black women.
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let many be clear. shaming tanya fields is not okay with me. so i invited her back to "nerdland" to respond. tanya, what has the response been since that night? >> overwhelmingly positive and susta sustaining. women have reached out -- men, actually some of the most touching experiences were men who reached out to me who said you made me rethink about my relationship with my mother, with my own baby's mama, my aunts, my sisters, the women in my neighborhood. that for me was like wow, right? but then there were like thread that people started tagging me. first of all, let me say i did not know that the event was being live streamed. that room was so powerful and it was vibrant and like church up in there, you know what i'm saying? >> mm-hmm. >> and i just came and spoke my peace that, you know, the day before, my partner and i had a big blowout, he left, i didn't know if he was coming back. he has come back. but i was mortified, you know? >> yeah. >> and here was something we had
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planned together and i thought i was going to have to do it alone. >> yeah. >> i just wanted an audience with you, who i greatly respect, and with bell, who was, like, that's like my black family. my aunties. so i came and it felt safe and i was raw and candid. then i left that space and twitter had blowed up. >> yep, yep. >> facebook had blowed up. and i felt this incredibly exposed and vulnerable place that i wasn't really prepared for. >> and i think it was that -- when i learned that you didn't know that we were live streaming, so there is that -- when you believe you're in a relatively safe, private space and then, in fact, the public nature of it ends up reproducing the very thing that -- >> absolutely. absolutely. >> -- we just spent an hour and a half talking about. i love you because you're funny and smart and competent and you care about your community and you do all these things, then you get reduced in this moment, not to tanya fields, but to the black reproducer and whatever it
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is -- >> on the color lines face page who said i was the legacy of the black mammy breeder. >> yeah. no. >> exactly. >> except in that we also have no idea who mammy was and that when people use women who in the context of enslavement made life for themselves and their children in circumstances harder than anything -- circumstances much harder than anything we could imagine, like -- and also why are you degrading her? why do you believe that story, that lie that has been told about her too? >> right. so for me it was, like, really, like -- first of all, there was some language that really bothered me that was, like, if you made one mistake, i can kind of understand it, but for this woman to have four more kids or be working on her fifth child, it was, like, fist, let me tell you something, sucker. my why would is not a mistake. my chirp are not the man fisations of poor decisionmaking. they are human beings. if we don't nurture them,
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whatever circumstances under which they were born, and they tear ones who need to take care of us, we as a community are going to see ourselves in some deep stuff in the next 20 years because that's the legacy in which you will be surrounded. my daughters, i put up a video -- >> they are -- tanya, i want to underline that and say as you spoke i was thinking of tony morrison's "the bluest eye" and the narrator, claudia, saying i felt the need for someone to want the black baby to live. and so "nerdland" knows that your children are great gifts to our community. thank you for coming here. tanya fields, your honesty, your courage matters to all of us. that's our show for today. thanks for watching. see you next saturday 10:00 a.m. eastern. a preview for weekends with alex witt with mara schiavocampo. thanks for filling in for alex today. >> good morning. what's a time tax and why are young voters paying it at the polls? a new report that will be released first on our air at
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1:30 eastern. and benjamin netanyahu weighs in on a deal for the iran nuclear talks this week. a customer denies a new jersey waitress a tip on a bill worth nearly $100 because of her sexual orientation. we'll tell you how the tables got turned. and the best man holiday beats out thor. we ask when is hollywood going to stop being surprised when films featuring african-americans do so well? ov? ♪ like, really big... then expanded? ♪ or their new product tanked? ♪ or not? what if they embrace new technology instead? ♪ imagine a company's future with the future of trading. company profile. a research tool on thinkorswim. from td ameritrade. see, i knew testosterone could affect sex drive,
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