Writer Salman Rushdie has a unique perspective on the recent violence in the Muslim world. In 1989, before social media could spread messages like wildfire, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini condemned the British author to death over his novel, The Satanic Verses, and incited rioting in the streets. He has spent many years on the run with a bounty on his head, which was just raised again days ago by an Iranian religious foundation.
In an interview with NBC's TODAY, Rushdie called the anti-Islamic film that sparked widespread unrest "disgraceful."
"I think clearly the video was a flashpoint," Rushdie told Matt Lauer. "From what I can see it was an outrageous, disgraceful little malevolent thing, but by now I think that the reaction we’re seeing is really the release of a much larger outrage. We sort of live in an age of outrage, and people seem to be defining themselves by their outrage and seem to feel that it justifies itself."
While he sees some connection between the current protests in the Middle East over and his own experience running from a fatwa, or religious edict, he doesn't feel sorry for the creator of the film.
"He did it on purpose," Rushdie said. The filmmaker "set out to create a response, and he got in spades."
Rushdie joins us a guest tonight on The Last Word at 10pm ET in an exclusive interview.
Mitt Romney used the old "father born in Mexico" line to try to appeal to Latino voters while speaking at the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Lawrence O'Donnell pointed out in the latest Rewrite, Romney didn't talk about it quite the same way when he is speaking to his fundraising audiences which are not exactly heavily Latino.
Romney said, "[His dad George Romney] was born in Mexico and uh, had he been born of uh, Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot at winning this. But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. He lived there for a number of years. And uh uh, I say that jokingly but it would be helpful to be Latino."
The Republican audience actually found Romney's joke pretty funny.
O'Donnell mused, "Would that same Republican audience laugh if Barack Obama was reminiscing about how his family fled the United States of America to Mexico because his great grandfather found American law limiting him to one wife at a time to be just unbearable?"
Even the latest poll from Fox News has President Obama leading. How did Bill O'Reilly try to explain that result away? He couldn't. Someone else had to do his dirty work. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell explained in the latest Rewrite.
Countless numbers of U.S. State Department employees around the world put themselves in harm's way every day. Today brought a deadly reminder of just how important and dangerous that work can be. But for some Republicans, the contribution and service to our country from these heroes is something to mock or denigrate.
That's not the case when it comes to Sen. John McCain. As Lawrence O'Donnell explored in his latest Rewrite, the Arizona senator demonstrated the proper way to react to the deadly attack on American officials.
Let's play a game, shall we? It's all about finding clues on Mitt Romney's policies. And no, there will be no empty chair involved.
In the latest Rewrite, MSNBC's Lawrence O’Donnell played the part of people who have asked the Republican candidate about various positions. The Last Word host used their questions word-for-word, and Romney’s responses word-for-word.
Bill Clinton says the Republicans aren't so good at arithmetic, but the arithmetic that the Romney-Ryan team does understand is that they are losing. Watch the show above, or click here to launch the Last Word video player.
Since being elected as the junior senator from the state of Minnesota, Senator Al Franken has made a point of limiting his television appearances... until tonight.
Our very own Lawrence O'Donnell caught up with Franken on Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. The senator, a "longtime viewer and first-time caller" on The Last Word, discussed the the importance of bipartisanship after the election is over.
With $500 billion in automatic defense cuts scheduled to go into effect on New Year's Day, military spending — especially spending on liberal, tree-hugger priorities like alternative fuels — are making headlines.
But, as this anecdote in Michael Grunwald's excellent new book about the Recovery Act The New New Deal reminds us, demagoguing on"wasteful spending" can be deceiving:
"... 'hybrid vehicles for the military' sounded goofy- 'That'll really scare Al Qaeda'... but the Pentagon was desperate for energy-saving solutions. Fuel was one of its top costs, and convoys to fetch fuel were getting soldiers killed in Iraq."
Of course, fans of The West Wing already learned that from Christian Slater!
Pat Buchanan delivering his epic speech at the RNC in 1992.
Senator Kelly Ayote of New Hampshire said last night that President Obama has never run a lemonade stand. Gov. Kasich of Ohio blamed the President for the national debt (though he was part of a Republican congress that inflated it.) Speaker John Boehner said he wanted to throw the president out like a bouncer does to a drunk at a bar.
And then there is Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina. Governor Haley told the convention that President Obama tried to stop Boeing's "Mack-Daddy" 787 DreamLiner from being built and that the hardest part of her day is fighting the federal government. (Meanwhile Democrats are accusing her of ignoring Low Country flooding from Isaac — Charleston is flooded — while she focuses on her political career with Republicans in Tampa.)
Were conventions always this way? Well sometimes they were and sometimes they were worse.
On Monday night's The Last Word, Jonathan Capehart and Tom Brokaw talked about Pat Buchanan's fiery speech at the Republicanconvention in 1992... a speech that was filled with disdain towards women seeking military combat roles, women's reproductive rights, alleged anti-religious bigotry, gay and lesbians Americans seeking fairness and especially Bill Clinton. Brokaw reminded us on Monday that the late liberal columnist Molly Ivins said about the fervor of the speech at the time that "it probably sounded better in its original German."
Brokaw and Capehart aren't the only two who are reminded of Buchanan's speech by the tenor and somewhat extreme tone of this week's RNC Convention in Tampa... so is the New York Times.
“That speech was then, and is now, consistent with the heart and soul of the Republican Party,” Mr. Buchanan said. “The country club and the establishment Republicans recoil from the social, cultural and moral issues which many conservatives and evangelicals have embraced.”
Click through to watch Pat Buchanan's 1992 speech... it is worth a watch if only to compare what was once deemed too extreme for the Republican party to what you'll hear tonight at the RNC.
Pat Buchanan delivers his famous address to the 1992 RNC Convention.
Another national Republican candidate caused controversy for his remarks on rape. In the Rewrite, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell explains how these comments really show Republicans' plans for policy on women's health issues.