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Christopher Hayes | The Nation

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Christopher Hayes

Christopher Hayes

Nation editor-at-large and host of MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes.

The Real Story Behind 'Orange is the New Black'

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The US criminal justice system disproportionately incarcerates individuals from disadvantaged communities, particularly people of color. For privileged Americans, this system is often an afterthought—prison is for other people. Netflix’s new hit show Orange is the New Black aims to address what happens when these two worlds collide. The show, which is based on a true story, chronicles the travails of Piper Chapman, an upper-class white women, as she spends a year in federal prison.

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MSNBC’s Chris Hayes is joined by Piper Kerman, the author of the memoir on which the show is based, to discuss the unequal application of criminal justice, as well as Kerman’s year in prison and the women with whom she spent it.

—Jake Scobey-Thal

Salamishah Tillet on how the show seeks to challenge the racial stereotypes of women of color.

Justice Department Goes After Texas’s Discriminatory Voting Laws

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After the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, conservative legislatures from North Carolina to Texas rejoiced by enacting a range of discriminatory measures. But was it too early to celebrate? This morning, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department would be using Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act—a section that remains intact after the Supreme Court’s decision—to ask a federal court in Texas to subject the state to a pre-clearance regime whenever the state tries to change voting laws and practices.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes is joined by Congressman Marc Veasey (D-Texas) and Julie Fernandes, senior policy analyst with Open Society Institute, to try to figure out what the federal government can do to combat Texas’ new voter suppression laws.

—Jake Scobey-Thal

Ari Berman on the country’s worst voting law yet.

Savoring Small Victories in the Fight to Rein in Wall Street

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After Harry Reid’s threat to amend Senate rules broke the longstanding Republican filibuster, Richard Cordray was finally confirmed Tuesday as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB, which was created as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, regulates consumer financial products so that they work for ordinary Americans.

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MSNBC’s Chris Hayes was joined by the visionary of the bureau, Senator Elizabeth Warren, to celebrate Cordray’s confirmation and discuss what’s next in the fight to reign in Wall Street.

—Jake Scobey-Thal

Why were the banks fighting against CFPB? Because it works.

Abortion Opponents' Underhanded Tactics

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On Sunday, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law a state budget that includes some of the most restrictive anti-abortion measures in the country. One day later—and just a week after the now famous Wendy Davis filibuster—the Texas state legislature kicked off their second special session, in which Republican lawmakers aim to pass their own legislation that would make Texas one of the hardest places in the country for women to get an abortion.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes is joined by Texas State Senator Leticia van de Putte and Ohio-based columnist Connie Schultz to discuss the draconian tactics these legislatures have employed to bypass public debate and offer some friendly PR advice for the men that sign anti-abortion bills.

—Jake Scobey-Thal

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When it comes to abortion, Katrina vanden Heuvel is sick of being patronized.

In Defense of Rachel Jeantel

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George Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin. As the last person to speak with Martin before his death, Rachel Jeantel took the stand this week as a key witness for the prosecution.

After a cross-examination in which the defense attempted to impugn Jeantel’s credibility, much of the court commentary devolved into crass and racialized barbs attacking her intelligence. But as Nation blogger Mychel Denzel Smith wrote yesterday, amid this tactical denigration, “Rachel stood and defended herself and Trayvon (and frankly, many other black youth) against the condescension, against silencing, and against the character attacks.”

Quoting Denzel Smith, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes defends Jeantel and takes her haters to task for their “willful” misunderstanding of a young, black woman’s vernacular.

—Jake Scobey-Thal

Can Obama Reverse Climate Change—or Is it Too Late?

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In a speech that Al Gore described as “the best on climate by any president ever,” President Obama forcefully called for action to address man-made global warming. Refusing to wait for skeptics or be sidelined by industry special interests, the president outlined a series of executive actions aimed at curbing climate change. And it is about time. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes talks to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse about what has stunted the climate debate and why Republicans can’t accept that the EPA actually exists.

—Jake Scobey-Thal

Can Boehner Save Immigration Reform?

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While the immigration bill is getting bipartisan support in the Senate, the House is a different story. Yesterday, Representative Steve King led a six-hour press conference outside the Capitol steps to raise concerns about the pathway to citizenship. While right-wing intransigence is nothing new, these calls for obstruction from the Tea Party caucus are in conflict with more mainstream Rebulicans’ support for the bill. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes evaluates Speaker John Boehner’s options: kill the bill to appease his base; or bring it to the floor for the good of the party—and, more than likely, say goodbye to his speakership.

—Jake Scobey-Thal

The Two Faces of Marco Rubio

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On Tuesday, the immigration reform bill passed a crucial procedural hurdle. With the Senate set to begin formal debate on the bill, Chris Hayes explains why Marco Rubio continues to attach amendments that undermine his own legislation.  

—Jake Scobey-Thal 

The Pitfalls of Testing-Based Education

Atlanta's cheating scandal has gripped the nation, with 35 educators indicted Friday for raising their students' standardized test scores. But while the scandal should be investigated and dishonest teachers held to account, the overall picture is more complicated. On the first episode of his new primetime show on MSNBC, Chris Hayes also takes a critical look at the testing-obsessed education system that has created an incentive for this kind of cheating.

Speaking with a panel that includes Nation contributor and NYU education professor Pedro Noguera, Hayes discusses the nationwide practice of evaluating education mainly on the basis of test scores under George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind and Barack Obama's Race to the Top laws. 

Alec Luhn

It's a been a big week for Nation contributors Chris Hayes and Katha Pollitt, Katrina vanden Heuvel writes.

The Real Problem With Brooklyn College's BDS Forum Was the Backlash

When Alan Dershowitz led the charge against a forum at Brooklyn College discussing the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement as a counter to Israeli aggression in the occupied territories, the pile-on from both sides of the political spectrum was quick. New York politicians from Assemblyman Dov Hikind to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Comptroller John Liu all publicly called for the College’s Political Science department to drop its support for the forum. All the forum’s detractors took issue with the fact that the forum was unbalanced, and did not represent the spectrum of views on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Brooklyn College’s president has since come out strongly in support of the panel’s value as an expression of free speech, and the forum will take place as scheduled on February 7. But as Chris Hayes explains in this clip, there was something disingenuous about the cries of imbalance in the first place. 

The Brooklyn College panel will feature Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti, both of whom have written on BDS for The Nation.

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