tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC June 7, 2011 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT
the right foot with lot of people who don't know him. it might enhance people thinking he responds well in a crisis. bob ker ree is not responding well to this. he's kind of a mess out in the campaign in new hampshire last week. he was unimprisonive when i watched him. bill clinton on the other hand was able to kind of segment the different parts of his life and he was great on the stump. >> ker ree doesn't have to do a thing, just watch clinton collapse. that will have to be "last word" for tonight. thank you for joining me. and thanks for playing along in our media circus that msnbc missed. "rachel maddow show" is up next. good evening, rachel. you know, i'm having such weird flash backs to bill living through the early '90s that was upset frg ways you did not intend. >> that was exactly the idea. >> i feel like i'm wearing acid wash right now. and thanks to you at home
for staying with us for the next hour. remember this? >> the bottom line is this, i've been unfaithful to my wife. i developed a relationship with -- what started out a dear, dear friend from argentina. it began very innocently as i suspect these things do. but here recently over this last year it developed into something much more than that. i think that is the bottom line. it is not a moral rigged list of dos and don'ts for the heck of dos and don'ts. it is indeed to protect us from ourselves. the biggest self or self is indeed self. >> the biggest self of self is indeed self. who could argue? that was republican governor mark sandford of south carolina admitting that he had been cheating on his wife. that was two years ago, two years ago this month, in fact.
the governor admitting to the people of south carolina and to the world that he has traveled to argentina to visit his mistress even though he told everybody that he was off hiking the appalachian trail. the day after that press conference, the day after sitting republican governor mark sanford of south carolina admitted to not only having this affair, but lying about it, republicans across the country, of course, were asked what they thought about all of this. what should happen to mark sanford? should mark sanford resign because of all this? among the republicans asked that question was the number two republican in the u.s. house of representatives at the time a gentleman you might have heard of named eric cantor. here's how he responded. >> as far as his remaining governor, brian, it's up to the people of south carolina and that will play out. listen, governor sanford apologized yesterday. we ought to be really dedicating our thoughts and prayers to his family right now going through a difficult time. >> we should be praying for his family right now whether he stays or goes is up to the people of south carolina.
it's not for me to say. one of the things that was so amazing about the mark sanford i had an affair press conference was that it came just about a week after a similar but also quite shocking i had an affair press conference from this guy. >> last year i had an affair. i violated the vows of my marriage. if there was ever anything that i could take back in my life, this would be it. >> that of course is republican senator john ensign of nevada acknowledging that he too had been cheating on his wife. he had been doing the wife of one of his senate aides who in addition to being his mistress was also work for his campaign. two high fro file republican politicians busted for adultery in the span of about a week. again, eric cantor one of the top ranking republicans in the entire country was asked to respond. he had responded to mark sanford, then he had to respond to john ensign. what should happen to these
guys? >> look, i mean, is anyone happy to see all that have happened? no. it's not good. listen, we have our thoughts with their families and they themselves. >> if you're going to talk the talk, walk the walk and say they should step down. >> listen, again many the instance of the people of south carolina and nevada, it is up to them and those are the elected individuals by those states. >> my thoughts are with their families. but really it's up to the people of south carolina and nevada to decide, me eric cantor it is not for me to say. so to be clear you have governor mark sanford admitting he's guilty of lying and adultery and hypocrisy on the issue of sexual morality, he had previously campaigned on his superior family values and other people having family values that weren't as good. and you have senator john ensign, lying, adultery, hypocrisy on the issue of sexual morality. he had previously called for bill clinton to resign because of president clint's affair.
possible abuse of power in his office. a complicated cover up ensnaring other utah senators. orchestrating an illegal lobbying scheme that ended up implicating his own senate staff to the point where his chief of staff had to seek immunity from prosecution. that's the john ensign scandal. in both of those cases the number two house republican eric cantor says essentially pray for r for their families. let the constituents decide their fate. who am i to say? fast forward to today. the day after democrat congressman anthony weiner of new york acknowledges his own indiscretions. they amount to sending compromising pictures of himself to women on the internet and engaging in sexually explicit chats with women online and lying to cover it up. yes, he definitely lied as far as we know there was no actual physical adultery nor is there political hypocrisy here. antmy weiner has never campaigned on the basis of his superior family values and other people having bad ones. he's never demanded anybody resign for having had an afare
or having some sort of online indiscretion. so, congressman cantor what should happen to any weiner? what should happen to congressman anthony weiner? should we pray for his family? is this not for us to say? >> i think it is up to congressman weiner and his constituents to make that decision. i don't condone his activity. i think he should resign. >> i think he should resign. sure, his constituents should get a say, but me, eric cantor i think he should go right now. what is the difference between anthony weiner and the other scandals other than the fact when they stack up next to each other, his has less bad thins to say about it than governor sanford's or ensign's scandal, what's the different between these two guys. it's okay if you're a republican. anthony weiner committed the gravest sin of all. not a republican. this stuff is okay if you are a
republican. if you are asking the republican party about it. do you remember this guy? republican senator david vitter of louisiana? in 2007 david visit ere was busted for having solicited prostitutes through the d.c. madam. she was running a high end prostitution ring in washington, d.c. her phone number list got out and david vitter was identified by "hustler" magazine as being a client of the d.c. madam. his phone number appeared on her list five separate times. david vitter was a member of the house of representatives at the time. two of the phone call from the d.c. madam occurred during house voters. really. david vitter like mark sanford and like john ensign addressed the media. he acknowledged that he too had been cheating on his wife. this wasn't just cheating. soliciting a prostitute is illegal even in louisiana and in washington, d.c. but senator vitter who had proovsly called on bill clinton to resign for his affair david
vitter decided that he was forgiven. decided to stay in office we had all the image on the look of his wife's face burned into our minds forever. david vitter decided that he himself was forgiven. he was forgiven by his republican colleagues. allowed to stay in office then in the senate. today right now david vitter remains a republican senator from the great state of louisiana. here's one of his websites which we accessed today. he proudly already displaying big pictures of his wife and kids still proclaiming his great family values. given republican congressman eric cantor's demand today that anthony weiner resign, we asked congressman cantor's office if he is now making the same request of david vitter. senator vitter, this guy who again potentially committed a crime by soliciting prostitutes. the response from eric cantor's office quote, eric isn't the majority leader of the u.s.
senate. david who? that's a matter for the senate not the house. got to go. when we reminded them that mr. cantor had previously smoken public lbt about the john ensign scandal. even though john ensign is also a member of the senate. what does he think about david vitter? who were told by his office, senator vitter won re-election. that's already been decided. he was re-elected. anthony weiner on the other hand, he must resign. why is that? because it is really only okay if you are a republican. it wasn't just eric cantor calling for anthony wean ear's resignation today. incredibly it was also the chairman of the republican party. he put out a statement today saying quote, congressman weiner's actions and deception are unacceptable and she should resign. he appeared on my colleague martin bashir's show on msnbc and he ended up running headlong into the it's okay if you're a
republican problem. watch this. >> the man is a creep and he's a member of the united states congress and he's admitted to flat out lying not only to the american people multiple times but to multiple reporters and even coming back to hallways after he knew -- >> mr. priebus is john ensign a creep as well? >> well, you know, listen -- >> no, sorry, can you just answer that? >> john ensign resigned. i'm not going to get -- >> was he a creep prior to his resignation? >> i have no idea about whether or not he was a crepe or not. but the man resigned and he did the honorable thing. and the reality is that i think anthony weiner should do the same. >> i have no idea if john ensign was a creep? should be noted that john ensign only he says did the honorable thing and resigned after it was clear that he was going to have to testify in front of the
senate ethics committee. after testifies clear that at the timics committee had enough dirt to recommend his expulsion from the senate. he didn't resign in shame, oh i've done wrong. he resigned about four feet in front of the pitch forks coming after him from the senate he was part of. he only resigned because he was about to get thrown out. he didn't resign in shame. is that the honorable thing? he presided over a republican party that counted ensign and vitter as its members in the senate never called for these guys to resign. he said he's still not sure if ensign is a creep. but anthony weiner must quit. it's okay if you're a republican. as we speak the house republican campaign committee is demanding that any house democrat who received any campaign donations from anthony weiner must return those donations immediately because it's tainted money. now might be appropriate time to note that the republican senate campaign committee would chaired by a man named john ensign while
he was with the senator staffer's wife. everything the senate republican campaign committee did was under john ensign's direction in 2008. he got the son of his mistress a job at the senate campaign committee while the affair was happening. are these republicans who received not just money but strategic advice and coordination from john ensign's senate campaign committee while he was having this affair that led to this cover up that led to this et irks can zal that may lead to charges that may lead him going to jail? are these senators these guys all tainted by john ensign's taint? whether or not you think that certainly no republican has argued that even as they now argue that ant knit weiner's money taints everyone it touches. it is okay if you are a republican. it is okay if you think that anthony weiner should resign, frankly. it is okay if you think that even who's gotten money from anthony weiner is now themselves tainted somehow by the fact that he had sexual relationships with
people online that weren't physical and maybe people should give that money back. it's okay. there are not a love of democrats rushing to anthony weiner's defense right now. if you're looking to friends in politics asy certain an appropriate level of response here. i would venture the guess here that you can't both demand na anthony weiner resign because he's a creep if you never said beep about john ensign. you just can't. you can't look kindly upon david vitter in the united states senate while demanding that anthony weiner resign. you, sir, you're fine. anthony weiner got to go. really? seriously? really? you cannot demand na people return donations from anthony weiner when the whole senate republican campaign committee was headed up by john ensign while the affair and the cover up were happening and you didn't say beep about it. either you care about this stuff or you do not. this is not to say that anthony
weiner didn't do anything bad here. this show is one of the places where he lied in response to a direct question from me about what he was doing. but if you are so outranged by that lie or by anything else that you did that you are demanding that he must resign and other people be shamed by any association with him that is not repute tated you ought to at least try to fake that same concern about other politicians who have done the same thing and worse but happen to be in a different party. i know that it's okay if you're a republican is actually what the rule is that's actually how things operate in the beltway. but for the sake of national shame at least try to fake it. for the sake of the fame of the nation and my belief that we might still have some, please try to fake it. please, try to fake it. please, try to fake it about this guy. come on. former chairman of the republican party michael steele joins us next. in companies embracing the cloud-- big clouds, small ones,
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why do we need to spend taxpayer dollars on investigating whether or not the guy's a liar or whether or not he's fit for public office? the man should resign and we should move on and put someone else there that's fit to serve. >> i don't condone his activity. i think he should resign. >> house majority leader eric cantor this afternoon saying he should resign. republican party chairman saying anthony weiner should resign. neither man thinks this person should resign. senator david vitter, the hooker
guy. and yes, i keep his picture in my office. keeps me grounded. here to help me understand the republican party congressional leadership and party leadership saying it's totally kosher for this guy to be in the senate but anthony weiner must resign is a man who is earning his keep tonight, msnbc political analyst and rnc chairman michael steele. please help me out here. >> you don't want me to give you the insight tons leadership that's for sure. i don't think they'd appreciate my views in this. >> dooing they're wrong on this? >> i think you're right. there's a level of inconsistency here to be polite about it. i've always felt very strongly that when you have been blessed with the public trust through the voters of the people and your district and your state you honor that trust every day. and whether your name is vitter or weiner and there's a whole commercial we could probably do on just those two names, the
reality of it is in fact, that that trust applies to you, too. the consequences of breaking that trust should be equally applied to you. so i heard what the chairman said today. and i thought it was a little bit not right. you can't look at one case and say, that this dehaifr is -- warpts, you know, dismissal or you should quit. and look at another one that may be a degree or two more agree jous and not see that same requirement of removing yourself from office. a pox on both their houses it violates the very public trust that the people sent them to washington and to their state capitals to uphold. >> anthony weiner to me, it seems important to me that anthony weiner does not have a political hypocrisy problem here. he's never campaigned as a family values guy.
he never said voters for me because i'm a sexually morality role model and my ideas about sexual morality are superior. to me it makes it less newsworthy. it's newsworthy that he lied and it's important issue with his private life, this hypocrisy matters, i think. >> it does. you raise two interesting points for me. one goes to an argument that i've made inside the party for a good 15 years now and the other goes to your first point and that is, i don't know if vitter or ensign or any of these gentlemen ran saying that i'm morally superior, i'm a better family guy or family man. everybody puts out the images of their families and together and the kids on the front porch and all of that. i wouldn't necessarily extrapolate from that. >> let me -- >> let ge tote to the second point -- >> they both said that bill clinton should resign from office because of his affair. both of them, even david vitter
more recently. i think ensign sponsored legislation so that gay people can't get married. >> right. and again, i get that in the context of once they're in office, but the question is how did they approach that? maybe they made those points. this gets to my second point, i've always had a problem with any political party espousing morality that they are not ordained to espouse. in other words, i go to my minister, my rab bye, my imma'am. i do not go to my politician for that. when you get on that horse, and you want to ride that horse very much like we saw our good buddy mr. colbert do last night trying to load his gun, you spill stuff everywhere. it always comes back to bite you right on the butt in a way that you have to stand in front of that camera and look in the people in the eye and go, well,
i told you to do one thing while i was doing something else and that is not a position you want to be in. >> when republicans talk strategy, though, does that come up? >> no. >> nobody believes me -- it doesn't? christopher lee sends out a shirtless picture of himself on the internet on gawker. nobody believes this is true. you can check with my staff, the notes are there from our news meetding. we would not have put that on the air not have been newsworthy in my estimation had he not resigned. he took an act that affected the united states house. other than that i think it would have been private. they can't see they're buying insurance by laying off about other people's marriages? >> i agree with you. i think it's not a place you need to be as a political institution to delve into these kind of issues. when they do come out, you have to handle them in a very interesting, very important way.
the interesting thing for me about representative lee was how the leadership in this instance actually got him to resign before the people largely knew it was he was resigning over. that was an ince substantiate where speaker boehner was very proactive. i think it speaks to hip and how he looks at these things. you go back and look at nancy pelosi coming in saying she's going to clean up this republican zest pool. all the while mr. weiner was engaging in this behavior sometimes in his congressional office. that's the type of hypocrisy in mr. speakers where we get on that slippery slope. >> nancy pelosi found out about this, she's demanding that there be an ethics investigation. >> that's now. i'm talking about then. >> as soon as she found out about it she called for the investigation. >> i get that, totally. i'm talking about when pelosi ran -- when the democrats ran to take control two years, three
years, four years ago they ran on this issue. we're going to clean up the zest pool. all the while members within their own party were engaged in that activity. that's why you have to be careful on how you go to the public. they do come back to bite. >> i think people screwing up is inevitable in life and in politics. >> it is. >> maybe more inevitable in politics because get get into politics who often think very highly of themselves and that often goes along with bad behavior. the ethical issue is how you handle it. that's why when the priebus thing makes my eyes cross. for him to say anthony weiner he's got to go, i feel like that is almost an unpardonable humiliation for somebody in the position he's in. >> but the thing is, the other side of this coin, too, rachel is the fact that he's the party
chairman. so he's not going to throw his guys under the bus. that's the politics of it. just as the democrats didn't want to throw the louisiana congressman with tlrs 09 thu in freezer under the bus. they wanted to promote him. so the fact of the matter is the political institution when one of their own gets in the cross hairs does try to protect them and others in some manner. i think to your broader point with respect to both depps and republicans enough is enough. when you screw it up like this, you've got to be prepared to pay the pipe ner a big way. with respect to representative weiner coming on your show, looking you in the eye and lying directly to you and ostensibly the american people, that is an unpard donable sin as an elected official. >> if it is unpardonable, i am going to start wearing this as a macing every day. >> i'm not exonerating vitter or anyone else on that. >> you took money from his pac and didn't give it back after
all this came out in 2006 when you were running for senate. nobody's been calling for him to resign. you never called for him to resign when you were party chairman? >> no, i didn't. the political part of this the politics of it is that you do, you know, you take care of your own as best you can. >> you do unprincipaled things because you're running the party. >> michael steele? >> no. i'm not taking it that way, what i'm saying there are two competing interests in this dynamic. you saw it played out this week and you still -- you don't have the cavalcade of democrats rushing to get weiner out of the house. you have those who stew with him and you can't tell me that they didn't have an inkling of his behavior. >> nobody's supporting him. everybody's saying they ought to investigate him. >> no one's supporting him
publicly. but that silence, that lack of a call for his resignation that lack of a call for action beyond -- >> they're calling for an investigation into him. >> it's beyond the speaker is -- >> and the chair of the house democrats campaign committee and harry reid saying if he called me for advice, i'll tell him to call somebody else. i understand it's a pox on both their houses is the popular thing to do here. but the republicans have such a bigger problem on this name david vitter than the democrats do on anthony weiner. >> just on that final point, i think the one that i think that cantor and others have said is true. at the end of the day this will be the case for congressman weiner, it will be the people of his district who will ultimately decide his political fate. if he decides to stay in the office and run for re-election, they will have the chance to cast their opinion, their voters one way or the other on his behavior and his actions. the same was true with vitter. the same has been true for
others. in the case of ensign it was very clear that was beyond anything the votersers were going to do. he had legal and ethical committee issues that were about to come pouncing on his head. he took that way out. ultimately it all comes home to roost for thier guys at the ballot box in in their caucus in some way. >> and to have priebus saying he has to quit, but john ensign, well. this is a republican problem right now. >> i understand. >> michael steele msnbc political analyst former rnc chairman. i enjoy talking to you very much when we agree and when we disagree, sir. >> absolutely, rachel. >> absolutely, rachel. >> we'll ♪ # [ male announcer ] thanks to advanced natural gas turbine technology from ge, the power that will help make our nation more energy independent is right here in america. [ crickets chirping ] ♪
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the land of opportunity, i think of an egalitarian system, a free market economy, equal protection under the law. opportunity, it does mean different things to different groups of people, i guess. >> america is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. >> and that is a message from the al qaeda av club. seriously. more ahead on that. too much on your plate? no matter when you get around to booking,
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there are a lot of things that guns can be used for that are not terrorism, of course, and there are a lot of things that are terrorism, of course, that can be done without begins. here where they overlap there's been a loft onews lately. for example, the terrorists as in the ones you are thinking of as in al qaeda central they've put out a new video, a really long one. it's nearly two hours long, the world's most boring al qaeda featuring length film. it advises sympathizers to get
there on their own. al qaeda is not going to come to you with a ready made plot mr. terrorist, you've got to do-it-yourself. it goes through a long list of pseudo lone wolf attacks and driebs and praises each of them. from the first attack on the world trade center to the fort hood shooter. another man adam the goat farm dork the guy who grew up loving death metal on a goat farm in california who does these videos for al qaeda. at one point in this video he addresses al qaeda sympathizers in the united states. he tells them they are perfectly placed to do major damage to al qaeda's enemies. if you are in the united states, he says, you are not only close to good terrorist targets. he also, says you have great resource at your disposal by virtue of the fact you're in america. you can't see him here.
what you'll hear here is his voice. >> let's take america as an example. america is absolutely awash with easily obtainable fierps. >> i could continue to play the sound of him you can forgive me if i cannot stomach that. i will quote him, he says you can go down at a gown show at the convention center and come away with an assault rifle without a background check and most likely without showing an identification card. so what are you waiting for? you're not going to believe he says the last part in the al qaeda videos. so i'll prove it. >> so what are you waiting for? >> truth be told, getting a fully automatic assault rifle is going to be hard even at a gun show. semiautomatic no problem. fully automatic a problem. you do general vi have to show an identification card even at a gun show. what he says about not needing a background check, that's true. >> no background check?
>> no. >> that's good. i probably couldn't pass it. >> i need proof of arizona residence is all i need. >> that's me. that's arizona. >> that's all i need. >> videos from mayors against illegal guns people buying guns not only after not passing a background check, but after telling the seller they couldn't pass one. there's a bill in congress to make it you can't buy guns at gun shows without a background check anymore. that bill has yet to get out of committee. even harder to believe than that, i submit is the fact that if you have been put on the terrorist watch list by the united states of america you may not be able to board a commercial flight in this country, after all you're on the terrorist watch list, but you can legally still buy guns. last year almost 250 people on the terrorist watch list in this country legally purchased guns. they didn't sneak around or buy them on the black market. 24 people whose names are on the terrorist watch list bought guns
in america because that's legal. a democratic congressman mike quigley of illinois has proposed making it so people on the watch list can't buy guns. his proposal was defeet along party lines. everyone republican on the committee to voters keeping people on the terrorist watch list buy guns. also you're not sleeping right now. if you pinch yourself, you will find that this is real. you are not dreaming. seriously. joining us now is congresswoman car lin mccar thy. >> thank you, rachel for having me. >> what's your reaction to that al qaeda video urging sympathizers to take advantage of weak background checks at gun shows. >> i've been talking about this for years unfortunately since 9/11 that when we have terrorists trying to come into this country, we have terrorists probably in this country already and yet we're going to be a louing them to go and buy guns in a gun show. it doesn't make any sense.
when you think about it as you have mentioned that you can't get on to a plane if you're on the terrorist watch list, but you can go certainly go and buy a gun. it doesn't make any sense at all. but i don't think the american people actually realize that how crazy some members in the house and the senate will go so far to make sure that people can get away with doing this. i think that's what's wrong. >> do you think that this video though could change people's pers picket vs on capitol hill? the nra hasn't won the close the gun show loophole. it's hard to believe that the nr sarks a bigger motivator on capitol hill than al qaeda. >> i'm hoping that watching this they'll certainly realize we are dealing with a potential threat. again to be very honest with you any law-abiding citizen or anybody that's mentally stable are still going to be able to buy their guns.
but we are trying to stop those that shouldn't be buying guns. i think that has always been the goal. take the guns away as far as those that shouldn't have them. the nra i hope is listening to this. have seen these tapes because it is a real threat. it is a homeland security threat for this country and for all americans. >> i know that since the wake of the tucson massacre, the gabby giffords assassination attempt getting the high ammunition clips banned once again. one of those was used in that shooting. how's that going? >> we are still collecting signatures. we have still not gotten unfortunately one republican. it's almost like a message has been sent out to all members of congress from the republican leadership that we're not going to have anybody sign on to any gun leadership -- obviously i personally feel they're afraid to offend the nra. but when you have common sense,
common sense legislation taking away the large magazine clips, the majority of americans in this country absolutely agree with me. when you say let's everybody go through a background check. everybody goes, that's common sense. why not? it only takes a few seconds. >> thanks very much for your time tonight. i really appreciate it. >> i just want to say one thing quickly. >> sure. >> gun checks do save lives. if people will go on to our website to sign up for a petition, hopefully we can move members of congress to really get this done. >> thank you. again. we'll be right back. remember when you had more energy for 18 holes with your buddies. more passion for the one ya love. more fun with your family and friends. it could be a treatable condition called low testosterone or low t. come on, stop living in the shadows. you've got a life to live. [ male announcer ] so don't blame it on aging. talk to your doctor and go to isitlowt.com to find out more.
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this the catherine ferguson academy. if you are in high school in detroit or had a baby, since 1988 it was designed to keep you in school, to keep you from dropping out. to get you to graduate. to get you goo college. real course work and health care education for the moms. many the middle of detroit they've got some land the school has used it to have the girls tend beehives and take care of animals. that is part of the deal at catherine ferguson the girls learning to grow food and harvest crops. learning farming. the formula works. they can brag on their graduation rate and their college acceptance rate.
there is almost no place like this academy in the entire country. we started covering the story of this remarkable school in april after detroit public schools put it on this list closures or charters. catherine ferguson academy follow the asterisk to this footnote. if an acceptable proposal is not accepted it will be closed during the summer of 2011. in other words, catherine ferguson named incidentally for a former slave whose mother was sold away from her as a kid, catherine ferguson academy has been put on the block. if a private charter company bid for the school and the school district accepted that bid maybe it could live on in some way. if not then the school would close this summer. like all decisions involving the detroit public schools the one belonged to the school system's emergency manager. the schools have been run by an emergency manager since 2009 when former governor jennifer
granholm a democrat installed one to try to save the school system. last year the manager tried to move the school out of its building under the old emergency manager law but community protests forced him to leave the school alone. then in march the new governor, republican rick snyder signed a new emergency manager law sometimes called emergency manager on steroids. sometimes called financial marshal law. this new law from the new republican governor gave the old manager essentially dicta torl powers in the technal sense. unilateral authority. you decide it, it is so. under nick snyder's new law the manager answers to no elected officials, not the school board, the emergency guy is in charge with unlimited authority. detroit schools are broke. they may even be broken and in the state of michigan's view, the first part of fixing them is to do away with democracy and give the power instead to a
state appointed overseer with unilateral power. perhaps because they remembered what had happened the last time the emergency manager came for the school and how protests had stopped that for happening, the students of catherine ferguson academy this year staged a sit in at their school to try to keep it open. you see them painting protest signs here setting up for the long haul with sleeping bags, stuff for their babies, food. they meant to settle in for however long it took. this is their school. this is how they thought they would be able to keep it open. >> i want everybody to have the same opportunity that i had. i got out of here. i want you to graduate the same way i did. i got two kids. you can make it with one, two, or how many you got. they're going to make it happen. >> ms. andrews the school principal. she's the one who finds a college for you to go to, and money to help with tuition. if you show up at her school as a junior or senior ms. andrews says you have a 90% chance of leaving with your diploma.
under her leadership catherine ferguson is named a breakthrough school by the national association of secondary school principals. just hours after her students began their sit-in what they thought would be a long haul occupation of their school ms. andrews got a call to make short-term arrangements for the kids because the kids needed to be taken care of because this happened. police moved in and arrested these girls, these american girls in this american high school. a dozen students and one teacher were taken into custody on april 15th. their voices drowned out by the police sirens put on so their community could not hear what they were yelling. the last time we checked in with catherine ferguson the principal was preparing a 20-minute public presentation on why the emergency manager should choose to keep the school open. since it's his decision alone. he gets to personally make that call, this one guy.
ms. andrews never got a chance to give that public talk because on may 3rd catherine ferguson turned up on this announcement, the emergency manager's list of schools that had drawn at least one bid from a private charter company. that was their only hope of staying hope if a private company wanted them. so with a bid from a company to keep them open they thought there was some hope but then three weeks later catherine ferguson turned up on a new list, this list, schools whose buildings would close with some kind of unspecified transition plan for continuing their services for a while. far less hopeful but maybe not the worst. that was a couple weeks ago. yesterday the principal ms. andrews got called to a meeting for schools being shut down. catherine ferguson, her school, is on that list now. ms. andrews has been told to turn in her keys to the school on june 17th. catherine ferguson academy, which has served detroit's most at risk girls for almost a quarter century now is slated to close in just a few days. because the school's emergency manager says so. that's what he decided. and in michigan now his word
alone is the law. joining us now is the principal of catherine ferguson academy in detroit. thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thank you for having me. >> let me first say that i'm sorry about this. i imagine this must be a very difficult time for you personally. did i get the basics there accurately about your school and what's happened? >> yep. that's pretty much what's happening. >> were you given any particular reason for the decision to close the school? >> well, the reasons we were given is that it was expensive and we didn't have enough students and there's no way for the district to get money for our infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. >> what do you think will happen to the students now, the girls who come to the school who are pregnant or have young kids? >> i'm so afraid most of them will just quit. nationally, most girls who quit school do so as a result of pregnancy or parenting. and if our girls don't have a place that they can go and that they can take their children
that's safe and inviting and special and has high expectations for them, then right now some of our kids take three buses to school. if the neighborhood school is a really good option they'd be at the neighborhood school. so i'm not at all hopeful that our girls are going to get back into school if we're not there. >> on the issue of the expense of the school and why you were told it's closing, it seems to me that a school like catherine ferguson may be more expensive. you are in effect educating two generations at once. the people of detroit had decided before now the investment was worth it and fought to keep the school open. under this new emergency manager law, the -- does the local community have any say any longer? >> i don't know that everybody -- anybody ever had a say over it other than the -- it used to be the board of education and us, the emergency manager, we as a school never had a say. but i think that the district up
to this point felt the commitment was important enough so that they said, yes. we need to do this. we need to make sure the children of these young women get a good foundation before they become detroit public school students and that these young women get the kind of confidence and competence that they need to go on to make a life that gives them and their children some chances in the world. >> what kind of message do you think that this decision -- the emergency manager's decision here has sent to your students in closing the school? clearly, this is part of their education, too, now, this decision. >> i think they feel like nobody gets it. nobody understands how important it is for them to be there or how important the school is to them or how much success they've had since they've been there. one of our students just graduated from medical school last week and a former student and she clearly attributes her success to having found us when
she was pregnant and 16. and us -- our school is saying, well, yes. we still expect you to be successful. yes of course we still expect you to have goals. we want you to have a future. and you've got to do some things to make sure that happens. so i think my girls now think like nobody's hearing them. nobody gets that this is so important. >> and they really think that they can just go to the neighborhood school. >> do you know what you're going to do next? >> i'm going to retire. >> principal at catherine ferguson academy in detroit, i appreciate your time tonight on what i'm sure is a very difficult time. good luck to you and your students ma'am. >> thank you. >> the ed show is right after this one here on msnbc. tonight ed schultz has a report on how the koch brothers are funding an expensive campaign to try to get america to blame the president for high gas prices. do you remember what it is that the koch brothers do for a
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