'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Thursday, May 13, 2010
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Guest: Antonio Estrada, Sen. Maria Cantwell, Kent Jones
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening. Congratulations on breaking
Godwin‘s law in a way that it‘s never been broken before on cable news.
That was spectacular.
KEITH OLBERMANN, “COUNTDOWN” HOST: I was just playing Lewis. It‘s—
he did it. I‘m just happily sitting here and watching it. Did it make the
veins in your neck bulge out by any chance?
MADDOW: Yes, it did. It got me all blotchy, all red. You know how I
get. I‘m so emotional.
MADDOW: Thank you, Keith. Appreciate it.
OLBERMANN: See you.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next
We will report on the new call for a moratorium of offshore drilling,
off the west coast. Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington is here.
We also have the incredible story of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 25
years ago today when the city went to war with some of its own citizens.
We‘ve got some footage you will not believe.
Sarah Palin, as Keith mentioned, has a new applause line in her stump
speech. It‘s me, which frankly makes me feel very important.
And there is essentially follow-up on the story of George Rekers, the
anti-gay crusader who found really attractive male companionship at
That is all to come this hour.
But we begin tonight with the city of Los Angeles now finalizing its
plans to boycott the entire state of Arizona, to suspend all travel to
Arizona by city employees, to terminate more than $7 million worth of
contracts that the nation‘s second largest city, L.A., has with Arizona
companies—a full economic boycott of the state.
The L.A. City Council approved the boycott yesterday. It goes into
effect as soon as the city‘s mayor approves it—something he has
indicated that he plans to do.
L.A.‘s boycott of Arizona would be a remarkable enough story on its
own, but the exclamation point on this story becomes evident when you look
at the calendar. It‘s mid-May right now, right? Every single year at this
time, the NBA playoff season is underway. And if you follow the NBA
playoffs, you will know that the Eastern Conference Finals matchup is still
being sorted out but the Western Conference Finals matchup is set.
And you should prepare for yet more politics breaking out into your
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARV ALBERT, NBA COMMENTATOR: Reggie, it sets up the Western
Conference Final and a good one, between the Phoenix Suns and the L.A.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Phoenix versus Los Angeles. Awkward, right? What are the
The largest city in California, L.A., which has just approved a full-
on boycott of Arizona, now set to face off in the playoffs against the
largest city in Arizona, Phoenix—in the do-or-die, winner-take-all
Western Conference Finals. Game one of the series is Monday in L.A.
But consider how grateful the city of Phoenix must be at this point
that any of the games are due to be in Phoenix at all. This week, the
mayor of Phoenix, again, Arizona‘s largest city, said his city is facing,
quote, “near economic crisis” because of lost revenue from organizations
canceling events in Phoenix in response to the new “papers please”
immigration law. “Near economic crisis.”
Despite the “near economic crisis” they have thrown the state‘s
largest city into, Republican politicians who support the new “papers
please” law apparently see too much political advantage in it to walk away
now. Take Arizona Senator John McCain. Before this great temptation came
along, Senate Bill 1070, this rosy red apple in the garden that was too
irresistible to not support, John McCain was the nation‘s leading example
of Republican moderation on the issue of immigration. In 2005, for
example, he teamed up with Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy—yes, Ted
Kennedy—to introduce comprehensive immigration reform in the United
States Senate, legislation that among other things offered a path towards
citizenship for those who are now in this country illegally.
While his fellow Republicans derided that as amnesty—John McCain
bucked his party with “I used to be a maverick” rhetoric like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA: No wall, no barrier, no sensor, no
barbed wire will ever stop people from trying to do what is a basic human
yearning of all human beings all over the world, and that is to have better
lives for themselves and their families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: John McCain forged a righteous reputation as a famous
moderate on the issue of immigration. It‘s in part why Republicans thought
they might have a chance of him winning the presidency in 2008. They
thought he would not be a completely untenable choice for Latino voters.
But now in 2010, John McCain, facing a primary challenge from the
right, has decided he not only supports the new “papers please” immigration
law, he‘s now casting himself in his TV ads as essentially a vigilante
Minuteman on the border. You may have seen the ad which has gotten a ton
of national attention mostly because, I think, people think it‘s funny.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: Drug and human smuggling, home invasions, murder.
SHERIFF PAUL BABEU, PINAL COUNTY, ARIZONA: We‘re outmanned. Of all
the illegals in America, more than half come through Arizona.
MCCAIN: Have we got the right plan?
BABEU: The plan‘s perfect. You bring troops, state, county and local
law enforcement together.
MCCAIN: And complete the dang fence.
BABEU: It will work this time. Senator, you‘re one of us.
MCCAIN: I‘m John McCain, and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: OK, here‘s the problem with this ad. Number one: John McCain
until really recently was against the dang fence that he‘s now campaigning
on. Remember that clip you just heard from Senator McCain in 2006 saying
no wall, no barrier will ever stop people from coming across the border?
John McCain also quoted in “Vanity Fair” in 2007, telling an audience
in Milwaukee—and excuse my language here—quote, “By the way, I think
the fence is least effective. But I‘ll build the G-damned fence if they
Whoo hoo! Ringing endorsement for that dang border fence that now
must be built. That‘s problem numero uno with this ad.
Problem numero two-o, you see the sheriff that he‘s with in the ad?
Sheriff Paul Babeu. Now, that is a real sheriff. Sheriff Babeu is not
however the sheriff of where he and John McCain are standing in that ad.
In fact, he‘s the sheriff of a county that is not on the border. Sheriff
Babeu is the sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona, which is up there.
Where John McCain physically is in that ad is in Nogales, which is
actually in Santa Cruz County. The actual sheriff of the real Santa Cruz
joins us as our guest now, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Antonio Estrada.
Sheriff Estrada, thank you so much for joining us tonight. I really
appreciate your time, sir.
SHERIFF ANTONIO ESTRADA, SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, ARIZONA: Rachel, thank
you for having me.
MADDOW: The reason I wanted to talk to you tonight, Sheriff, is
because Senator McCain‘s new advertisement leaves the impression that law
enforcement officials, particularly the sheriff on the border where that ad
was shot, would be in favor of the border fence. Are you in favor of the
ESTRADA: I‘m not a fan of fences at all. As a matter of fact, you
know, when they started setting the fence here in the urban area, what they
did is they created more problems for us. The traffic, the activity, we
never had as a sheriff‘s office.
The rural areas, we started seeing problems as a result of that.
People were being pushed into these areas and we started having people that
were dying out there, they were being assaulted out there. There were a
lot of things that were happening that previously had not happened before
when the fence wasn‘t set up.
So, it has created some very unique and special challenges for that.
So, a fence to us is not a solution. At least it‘s not a solution for the
rural sheriffs, as far as I‘m concerned.
MADDOW: Aside from the border fence, Senator McCain advocates in that
advertisement—again, shot in your county—he advocates sending 3,000
National Guard troops to the border. Again, in your county where this was
shot, in your professional opinion, are thousands of National Guard troops
what you need there?
ESTRADA: You know what? I think Border Patrol is what we need. We
have had troops here before. They have been in a support role here in
Santa Cruz County. They have been very helpful to Border Patrol and
they‘ve been welcomed by the community as well.
However, I don‘t think they should be placed here on the border to be
making contact and having confrontation with anybody coming across the
border. In a support role, I have no problem with that.
MADDOW: Sheriff, we know that there are some law enforcement
officials in Arizona who are in favor of the state‘s new immigration law,
S.B. 1070. We know there are some law enforcement officials who are
What‘s your opinion of the new law?
ESTRADA: It‘s absurd. I‘m totally against it and I really hope it
goes away. It‘s like a nightmare. I think it‘s something we cannot afford
to be straddled with. It‘s just something that‘s overwhelming for us.
You know, this phenomenal with the illegal immigration is going to
take a lot of efforts. Immigration reform, guest worker programs—
there‘s a lot of thing that‘s have to be done. And we cannot as a small
agency—especially here along the border, we cannot afford to be—to
have another level of responsibility in jurisdiction. So, it‘s something
we cannot afford.
We‘re not prepared for it. We‘re not trained for it. And we
shouldn‘t be doing federal work.
Border Patrol and the agency down here don‘t do our work. They don‘t
investigate domestic violence, thefts and vandalism. So, we should not be
doing Border Patrol work. They‘re trained, they‘re prepared, they do a
good job. They just need more help down here.
MADDOW: Sheriff, as you know, this is an election year. And it seems
like what Arizona‘s done with this immigration law has made politicians
coast to coast who are on the conservative side of the spectrum try to seem
tougher on immigration by supporting it.
Do you—I know you‘re not a political man. You‘re a law enforcement
officer. But do you think there‘s any hope for anything positive coming
out of this process or do you think this is really more politics-oriented
than it is solutions-oriented now?
ESTRADA: Well, you know, I hope—I hope we can ride the wave on
this. I hope that something does come out of it. But I do hope that
Senate Bill 1070 does go away.
But, hopefully—hopefully—as a result of that publicity and
uproar it has created, it will have some positive effect. I‘m hoping that.
I know that politicians are jumping on the bandwagon on this. They‘re
trying to take advantage of this particular issue.
And in one way or another, I certainly hope that we have something
good come out of it. You know, the people that are coming across this
border now and the focus of this particular bill is the poorest people.
You know, they‘re coming from extreme poverty.
They‘re hard working people. They‘re noble people. And they‘re also,
you know, family-oriented. You know, these are the kind of people that
they‘re focusing on, not the criminals.
Every state here in America has laws against criminals, whether they
live here or that they‘re here illegally. And I think that‘s the way to
deal with it. But I think they‘re focusing on the good people that are
trying to do good things and trying to make a living for themselves, and
their families. And I really have a lot of compassion for that.
MADDOW: Santa Cruz County Sheriff Antonio Estrada, thank you so much
for your time and your insight tonight, sir. It‘s good to have you on the
program and it‘s good to have your voice added to this national debate. I
really appreciate it.
ESTRADA: Thank you. Have a great day.
MADDOW: Thank you.
So, we‘re starting to learn exactly what mechanical failures caused
the Gulf oil spill. Short answer? There‘s no short answer because there
were so many failures. This after B.P. and Transocean bragged about how
safe this drilling was. One of the senators who called today for a ban on
offshore drilling off the west coast, Washington‘s Maria Cantwell, will be
joining us live next.
And it finally happened. Sarah Palin said my name in public. It was
a cheap shot to get a laugh, but still, Sarah Palin. She was a United
States—she was a—well, she was a governor for more than a year.
Drinks on me, everyone. Drinks on me. Woo! Woo! Woo!
But wait, “One More Thing.”
MADDOW: This is not the first time the city of Los Angeles has staged
an economic boycott against a place that wasn‘t Los Angeles as a means of
protesting discrimination. In 1992, Los Angeles was one of many cities and
organizations to boycott Colorado after Colorado voters passed a
constitutional amendment to ban all civil rights protections for gay
Remember Ted Haggard, the Colorado Springs pastor with the really good
taste in male escorts? Ted Haggard helped lead the fight for amendment,
too, before it was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, L.A. joined
a national boycott of Colorado at that time. That wasn‘t a racial issue
like the Arizona boycott but it was civil rights.
Before that in the ‘80s, Los Angeles boycotted South Africa over
apartheid. Of course, apartheid was nothing like the “papers please” law
in Arizona either. Apartheid was a race-based governmental system that was
totally, morally egregious. People of color had to carry specific papers
with them at all times to be checked by police on demand. If they didn‘t
have the right documentation on them at all times, just because of what
they look like, they were subject to being arrested just for being not
white and not having the right “papers, please.”
See, compared to Arizona that was a—never mind.
MADDOW: President Obama was in New York City for a fund-raiser at the
St. Regis Hotel where he was greeted by whole puzzle of AIDS activists
shouting, “Keep your promise. Keep your promise.”
Barack Obama the candidate made a campaign promise to add $50 million
to the fight against AIDS in the first term. AIDS activists are angry that
Barack Obama the president he has, thus far, actually flat lined AIDS
funding, when you consider inflation or even worse—the administration‘s
fiscal 2011 budget proposes a $50 million cut in our country‘s contribution
to the Global AIDS Fund.
Activists are circulating a document, they say, shows the effect of
the U.S. backing off on AIDS. A memo that appears to be on U.S. government
letterhead warning doctors in Uganda to essentially not put any more people
on treatment because U.S. funding won‘t cover it anymore.
Today, outside the president‘s event at the St. Regis, several
activists who appeared to be chained together were arrested after sitting
down in the street in protest. There‘s no word on whether the president
actually saw the protest which was happening as he arrived at the event.
We asked the White House for comment on the protesters‘ allegations.
We will let you know when we hear back.
MADDOW: Besides the thousands more barrels of oil that spewed into
the Gulf of Mexico today, there are two other new developments to report in
the B.P. ultra-disaster in the Gulf.
First: The attempt to cover the gusher with a smaller containment
dome, the thing they‘re calling a “top hat,” that did not happen. B.P.
reportedly had concerns that ice crystals might form inside that thing the
same way they formed inside the larger containment dome when that effort
failed a few days ago.
B.P. is instead preparing to insert a narrow pipe right into the spot
where the oil is gushing, hoping to be able to siphon the crude up to the
surface and into a tanker. The riser pipe that‘s gushing is reportedly
about 21 inches in diameter. The siphon is reportedly about six inches in
diameter. The smaller tube, according to the “A.P.,” would be surrounded
by a stopper of some sort, to keep oil from leaking around it once it was
stuck into that riser pipe.
So, that was the first development: the new plan for what to try to do
a mile under the surface of the water.
The other development today happened in Washington where two days of
hearings this week on the oil disaster showed us exactly what the oil
industry means when they say safe—when they keep assuring us that
offshore drilling in deep water is so safe now.
The big blowout preventer that didn‘t work in 2001, a Transocean
report showed that there could be as many as 260 failure possibilities in
that piece of equipment. That‘s supposed to be the failsafe if all else
fails, remember, and it‘s got 260 different possible fail points. The
blowout preventer‘s hydraulic system did fail, meaning that it was
physically incapable of doing its job, which was primping off the pipe
that‘s spewing oil.
The blowout preventer also has a dead man switch that‘s supposed to
operate if other systems fail. That dead man switch was hooked up to a
The engineering diagrams of this blowout preventer that they consulted
to try to figure out how to activate it with those robot subs, remember,
after it failed, the diagrams they were consulting were completely out of
date. The thing had been modified so much it didn‘t look anything like the
plans that they were consulting to figure out how to work on it.
One of the cement plugs on the rig was also found to be missing. The
rig failed pipe pressure testing which should have indicated that something
was going wrong with gas in the drill line. Failure after failure after
failure, blown supposed fail-safe after blown supported fail-safe after
blown supposed fail-safe—and 11 people lost their lives, and the Gulf
every day gallon by crude gallon is losing maybe everything.
But don‘t worry—remember, they said it would all be fine. It would
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID RAINEY, VICE PRESIDENT, B.P. AMERICA: I think we should
remember that scientific knowledge is always moving forward and actually
using the best available and the most up-to-date scientific information is
part of the current regulatory system. And it supports the OCS leasing and
expiration and development programs. I think we also need to remember that
OCS development has been going on for the last 50 years. And it has been
going on in a way that is both safe and protective of the environment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: B.P.‘s vice president of Gulf of Mexico exploration speaking
last year, giving chest-thumping assurances about how safe and protective
of the environment it is to drill, like the Deepwater Horizon into the
outer Continental Shelf.
Today, the six senators from California, Oregon and the state of
Washington called for a ban on all oil drilling off the entire west coast
of the United States. But, wait, didn‘t B.P. say it would be safe?
Joining us is Washington Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell, who joined
with other five other Pacific coast senators today to announce that
legislation that would permanently ban offshore drilling off the coasts of
Washington, Oregon and California.
Senator Cantwell, thank you for being on the show tonight.
SEN. MARIA CANTWELL (D), WASHINGTON: Good evening, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, President Obama, as I understand it, put a moratorium on
west coast drilling until 2017, seven years from now. What would your
proposed ban do differently?
CANTWELL: Well, we want a permanent ban, why have oil drilling off
our coast be prohibited just when Barack Obama‘s president. We see now how
dangerous this can be in the Gulf of Mexico and how important it is to
protect the pristine shorelines of Washington and California and Oregon.
These are vital economies, and we don‘t need to keep drilling for oil.
MADDOW: When the political pressure created by this oil disaster in
the gulf is over, the political pressure on the other side will resume to -
for lack of a better phrase—drill, baby, drill. Do you think this
incident has permanently damaged the credibility of people who are in favor
of offshore drilling in terms of their assurances about the safety of this
CANTWELL: Well, the United States only has 2 percent of the world‘s
oil reserves. And so the notion that we are going to affect gasoline
prices or affect what we‘re going to do in the future as a world oil
supply, we‘re not. And so, I think when you take that into consideration
and you take into consideration the catastrophe and the economic damage
that could reach $14 billion, you have to say to yourself: it‘s time to
start migrating off oil and on to other sources of energy.
MADDOW: Is there west coast drilling now? Is there west coast
drilling that‘s already happening? And if so, what would the—what would
your proposed ban do to that?
CANTWELL: Well, there is drilling off the coast, the west coast; and
in my state, mostly, the proposal is to continue to explore and do mapping
and doing inventory for the future. That is at the taxpayer‘s expense.
Now, if you don‘t want to drill off the coast of Washington, why do
you want to spend millions of taxpayers‘ dollars actually doing the mapping
and the inventory? Off of California‘s coast, there is exploration today.
In fact, the governor, just after this incident happened, pulled back from
a proposal that was to open up a large area and generate revenues to the
state. But he has decided: yes, this is too big of a risk.
MADDOW: Senator, the Kerry/Lieberman bill, the climate bill, that was
introduced yesterday would allow states to opt-out of offshore drilling
anything within 75 miles off their coastline. Your proposed ban, of
course, would prohibit it on the west coast categorically.
How do you expect the Senate to work out the conflict between those
CANTWELL: Well, you had six senators today from the west coast who
said we‘re having none of it. We don‘t want to expand. We basically want
to have a clean energy future.
And we think that the economies with fishing, with tourism, with the
other industries that exist there are natural resources that have become,
you know, heritage sites—we don‘t want to see that economy ruined by the
fact that we would go after so little amount of oil. To say nothing of the
fact that the royalties that are supposed to be paid by these companies
nowhere meet what they really should be meeting for the American taxpayer.
MADDOW: One last question for you about the politics of all this.
And I will confess that it might just be me not getting it. But the
Beltway common wisdom is that the oil disaster in the Gulf actually makes
it less likely that we‘ll pass a climate bill this year. And I just—I
just don‘t understand that common wisdom, but I recognize that is the
Do you believe that‘s the case? Do you think a bill can pass?
CANTWELL: Well, Rachel, I‘ve seen your show enough to know that you
usually do get it right and do you your homework. And the issue here is
not “if,” it‘s a matter of “when.”
We know that oil is going to continue to skyrocket up and there‘s not
enough resource there, and the United States can‘t do anything to impact
the world oil supply. Now, we have a very visual damaging situation that
we know that the risk is far greater than anybody ever realized. And so, I
think my colleagues are going to look at those events and say, there‘s got
to be a better path forward.
Now, I can‘t say what day or what week that‘s going to happen, but I
know that this is going to be something that is going to be helpful to my
colleagues in saying there‘s got to be a better path forward for the U.S.
economy and to preserve those other economic—you know, tourism and
fishing that are so vital to the U.S.
MADDOW: Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington State—thank
you so much for your time tonight. It‘s nice of you to be here with us on
the program. Appreciate it.
CANTWELL: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: OK. Just ahead—I become part of Sarah Palin‘s act. I
always dreamed that some day I‘d be cheap-shotted by the biggest name in
conservative politics, but this is just so sudden.
And later, big news from Jupiter. Not Jupiter, Florida, but Jupiter -
Jupiter. Part of Jupiter is missing. We have the tape.
Please stay with us.
MADDOW: Twenty-five years ago today, part of the city of Philadelphia
was burnt to the ground. In a massive police raid gone awry, it‘s one of
those things that if you‘ve ever lived in Philadelphia or had anything to
do with the city, it is a central defining feature of modern Philadelphia,
even as a central defining feature of the 1980s.
And if you know enough about it to know that it happened, it is still,
at least to me, to this day, stunning that the rest of the country knows so
little about it. It‘s known as the MOVE bombing, because the target of the
raid was a radical group called MOVE, M-O-V-E, men, women and children who
lived in a house on Osage in West Philly.
The police raid on the MOVE house lasted 18 hours. It‘s called a
bombing because it included a bomb. By the time it was over, 11 people,
including five kids, were dead. Fifty-three homes were destroyed. Another
eight were damaged. All 61 homes were torn down.
The “Philadelphia Inquirer” has, on occasion of the anniversary,
produced a short documentary about the MOVE bombing. I want to show you
just a brief excerpt from that.
REPORTER: At 5:30 this morning, warrants were to be served on the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, we eventually took up a position in the rear
of the 6,200 block of Osage nearest the Cobb Creek Parkway. And we heard
the police commissioner make an announcement.
REPORTER: What did the Commissioner Sambor say, do you know?
MICHAEL WARD, “BIRDIE”: He was telling them to come out.
REPORTER: Could you hear him saying that? What did your mother say?
WARD: She was just arguing and stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we intended to do was to create a diversion
on the roof of the move compound. That diversion was to pour a large
amount of water on to the bunker itself, to obscure the vision of anyone
that may be inside the bunker and prevent them from seeing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We started down the alley. We got down the alley
approximately 15, 20 feet, the shooting started.
Then we hit tear gas, which at that time wasn‘t supposed to be in the
plan. So we had to stop and put or gas masks on.
GREGOR J. SAMBOR, POLICE COMMISSIONER, 1985: I had recommended that
the best way to go was to use an explosive entry div vice to blow a hole in
the roof so that we could insert gas in through the roof and that we
intended to use a police helicopter, a state police helicopter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what did you think was the fate of the
children in terms of blowing a hole in the roof?
W. WILSON GOODE, MAYOR OF PHILADELPHIA, 1984-1992: My understanding
was that it would work and would therefore be safe for the children. I did
not have any notion whatsoever that anyone on that site would do anything
that would endanger the children.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did have you any information or belief that there
was any gasoline stored on the roof of 6221 Osage Avenue?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don‘t recall. I‘ve heard that several times
since. I don‘t recall having been told prior to that that there was
gasoline stored on the roof.
REPORTER: And then what happened?
WARD: They were still up there and then they came down. Everybody
REPORTER: All the men came down?
WARD: That‘s when the big bomb went off.
REPORTER: Did you hear the big bomb?
WARD: It shook the whole house up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The house shook. We knew something had
happened. It never, ever occurred to me that they had dropped a bomb on
us, you know? We felt something, but I didn‘t know what it was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw them come over the fence. She had started
to walk down, stop, and she would wave her hand like this. And on the
driveway I see who was later identified as Birdie come out of the fire.
And he literally came through the smoke and fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a board on fire there and he hopped over
that and he started coming down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I had a shotgun. I said, take my shotgun. I
said I‘m going to go get the kid. At what point, did I start out to get
Birdie. And that‘s the first time I realized Officer Tursten (ph) was
behind me. He grabbed my left shoulder and said, don‘t go out there, Jim,
it‘s a trap.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I took my service revolver out. That‘s what I had
at the time, .357 magnum.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We‘re trying to say to him, son, come over here.
We‘re trying to get him to come to us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I ran out and I scooped him underneath his
left arm and I‘ll never forget it. The first thing he said was, “Don‘t
shoot me. Don‘t shoot me.”
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he was locked on Officer Miller‘s face and
back towards MOVE.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m praying that I‘m not going to see a change of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I made like a left to go out to Osage. And
then started to say to me that I‘m hungry, I want something to eat. I‘m
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That‘s the part I have a hard time with. What
this kid went through. I‘m hungry. After he went through all that? I‘m
hungry? To explain things to certain people, that‘s my contact. Then
later on, I found out there was other kids in there.
And in essence, I was a brick wall away. So now—honestly, do I
think about that every day? No. But when it‘s brought up, it‘s like it
MADDOW: According to an investigation into the MOVE bombing in 1986,
a year after it happened, police gunfire did prevent people from inside the
house from escaping when the house was on fire. However, a state grand
jury contradicted that MOVE commission conclusion.
Ramona Africa, the only adult to survive that day, who you saw on that
clip, she was charged with conspiracy, riot and assault. She served seven
years in prison. But a few years after her release, she won a federal
lawsuit against the city and was awarded half a million dollars.
The 13-year-old Birdie, Birdie Africa, he went to live with his
father. He was awarded $1.5 million settlement with the city.
To add tragedy to tragedy, Osage Avenue has still never recovered.
The city promised the owners of the 61 destroyed homes that their houses
would be rebuilt by Christmas of that year. Instead, it took a year and a
The two heads of the company hired by the city to rebuild the homes
embezzled more than $200,000 for which they served jail time. There were
leaky pipes, collapsed roofs, broken floors, blocked sewage system, shoddy
electrical work. Efforts to fix the homes were so expensive and futile
that 37 of the 61 homes today have been bought by the city, boarded up and
Residents continue to battle the city for fair compensation after
their neighborhood was bombed by the city, bombed, 25 years ago today.
MADDOW: Coming up on “COUNTDOWN,” Keith‘s exclusive interview with
the whistleblower who says there was cheating on blowout preventer tests
and B.P. knew about it. But first on this show, just when you thought
you‘d heard all the baggage-handling details of anti-gay crusader George
Rekers and his rented boyfriend, I mean, masseur, I mean, travel assistant,
things get even weirder. Now, the right-wing is swooping in to defend
George Rekers and RentBoy.com is stepping up to defend itself. That is all
But, first, a few holy mackerel stories in today‘s news—starting
with the new applause line in the traveling Sarah Palin for-profit road
show. The new applause line is me—weirdly, really weirdly. Last night,
former half-term Governor Palin was in Rosemont, Illinois, for one of those
speeches she gives for an undisclosed by reportedly very large amount of
Here‘s the new piece of red meat she is throwing to her fans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN ®, FMR. ALASKA GOVERNOR: A gal looked up and asked him
where he was from, and he said, “Alaska,” and then, all of the sudden, the
clerk, she turns beet red and the veins pop out of her neck, kind of like
Rachel Maddow does sometimes.
PALIN: Now watch, that clip‘s going to be on air for her doggone
(INAUDIBLE) get her some ratings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: For all the things I thought might change in my life when I
got a job in TV, I did not foresee becoming a stump speech applause line
for politicians who won‘t agree to do interviews with me. Also super
weird, just like what Senator Tom Coburn said about me, Sarah Palin‘s case
against me is also that I‘m inappropriately emotional.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PALIN: She turns beet red and the veins pop out of her neck, kind of
like Rachel Maddow does sometimes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: For the record, I don‘t know why she‘s looking at my neck, I
think my neck is actually kind of always bulgy, no matter how I‘m feeling.
I think I just have sort of a bulgy neck. When I get frustrated I actually
think I get more blotchy than bulgy, right? See, blotchy.
Honestly, weird as it is to have my looks picked on by Sarah Palin,
I‘m not going to get too excited about this. I mean, I have been used to
raise money for right-wing politicians and causes before—hi, Senator
Brown. Hi, John Birch Society! Still waiting for my cut of the proceeds
on those fundraisers.
But I will make one last comment on this. To report a couple of facts
about Governor Palin‘s speech with me as the applause line. I think it‘s
important for you to know that Sarah Palin‘s appearance in Rosemont,
Illinois, was co-sponsored by: “A,” a company that makes sump pumps, and
“B,” a conservative radio station with the call letters WIND.
Really, I got to say, it was just an honor to be there.
If you‘re looking for a job in Colorado there‘s an interesting new
opportunity on Craigslist right now. Let me show you, it‘s right here
under “jobs,” “government,” let‘s see,” state criminal investigator, park
ranger, Vietnamese translator, not it. Oh, terrestrial section wildlife
manager. That sounds cool.
OK, here it is. Lieutenant governor of Colorado, look at that, you
can make more than $68,000 a year. All you have to be is 30, a citizen, a
Colorado resident and registered as an independent as of June 15th.
Craigslist ad was placed by Jason Clark, an independent candidate
running for governor in Colorado. He explained to “Talking Points Memo”
today the challenge of finding a lieutenant governor candidate for a
running mate. Quote, “If you look in Colorado politics,” he said, “barely
anyone is registered as unaffiliated. It‘s all Democrats and Republicans.
So we‘re thinking, how do we come up with someone who is unaffiliated, a
resident of Colorado, 30 years old and a U.S. citizen?”
Obviously put an ad on Craigslist. Mr. Clark says he has had 200 or
300 people answer this ad so far. But he says, quote, “There‘s 70 percent
to 75 percent that I would say are not qualified for an office of that
If you do the math that means at least 50 of you folks who responded
to the lieutenant governor ad are qualified. So good luck with the
campaign. And if it turns out this was just a Jason Clark campaign stunt
to get your e-mail address, I‘m very sorry.
Finally, we‘ve got something that we are calling tonight‘s “Moment of
Pointless Discomfort.” As the Elena Kagan Supreme Court confirmation
process continues, the nominee spent a second day schmoozing with senators
and members of the judiciary today. This is the part where they all play
nice, the part where Republicans try to trap her into making statements
about Roe versus Wade comes later.
Now, you know—I mean, the way it works is, the real conversation
happens behind closed doors. But there‘s also this weird part that‘s
staged for the media before they closed the doors, where the nominee and
the senator make small talk while the cameras are rolling. And that gives
rise—at least it did today—to a long, pointless moment of discomfort
between Elena Kagan and Utah Republican Orrin Hatch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ORRIN HATCH ®, UTAH: Good to have you in my office.
ELENA KAGAN, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: It‘s great to be here. It‘s a
HATCH: Yes, well, there‘s some nice stuff here. You‘re going to get
mad. There‘s a Man of the Year from the American Rifle—National Rifle
Association. So it‘s a piece of art, really.
KAGAN: It‘s beautiful.
HATCH: It‘s a handmade flintlock, and it‘s beautiful. Beautiful.
KAGAN: It‘s gorgeous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That did happen yesterday but it‘s today‘s long moment of
pointless discomfort brought to you by—me.
MADDOW: In 2008, our spending in Iraq was triple what we were
spending in Afghanistan. Last year, our spending in Iraq was double what
we were spending in Afghanistan. This year, Iraq has officially been
outpaced by what we are spending in the other war. “USA Today” reports as
of February, the most recent figures we‘ve got, we‘re spending more than
$6.5 billion a month in Afghanistan, outpacing Iraq spending by more than
$1 billion each month.
The numbers of troops we‘ve got in both places is roughly equal now,
within about 7,000. But as of next year, plans are to have more than
double the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan than we do in Iraq. The
president of Afghanistan today visited the section of Arlington National
Cemetery where Americans killed in the war in his country are buried,
Section 60. He was joined by the defense secretary, the chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, yesterday in Afghanistan, 14 American soldiers were given
an honor that has never before been bestowed on any American. The German
military awarded these American soldiers the Gold Cross medal. It‘s one of
Germany‘s highest awards for valor. It was awarded to them for risking
their own lives to save wounded German troops in a Taliban firefight last
month. The award has never before been given to troops from any other
nation—uncommon valor in life during wartime.
We‘ll be right back.
MADDOW: George Rekers‘ career as one of America‘s loudest voices in
the anti-gay, “cure the gays” movement, his career has fallen apart, ever
since this picture of him appeared in the “Miami New Times.” That‘s George
on the left there and a very handsome young man he met at RentBoy.com,
returning from an all-expenses paid European vacation together.
Mr. Rekers resigned from a national “cure the gays” group on Tuesday,
saying, quote, “With the assistance of a defamation attorney, I will fight
these false reports because I have not engaged in homosexual behavior
whatsoever. I am not gay and never have been.”
RentBoy.com for its part is also defending itself, releasing this
statement about the fair, quote: “At rentboy.com, it is our policy to
protect the privacy of any escort advertising services on our site—the
same goes for clients. Information exchanged between consenting adults
meeting on our site remains private. Mr. Rekers has built a highly public,
lucrative career out of shaming gay men and women. If it is true that he
took a rentboy “on vocation,” then he has brought this negative attention
Our mission is to create a non-judgmental space where anyone curious
about exploring male-male companionship can hire a man by the hour. We
remain open-minded and devoted to privacy for the people who use our site,
but we can‘t take the risk out of leading a double life, or having a
closeted or hypocritical career.
If you‘re a famous heterosexual homophobe and appear in public with a
rentboy, you‘re just asking for trouble. If you would like to take a porn
star or male escort on vacation, rentboy.com is where you can find him.
Excess baggage can indeed be heavy and there is nothing like a hot man to
help you unload it,” end quote.
Sarah Palin says I turn all beet red sometimes. I‘d like to see her
try to read that with a straight face, without a straight face. In any
case, excess baggage can indeed with heavy.
George Rekers has, however, found at least one defender, Matthew
Staver of Liberty Council, the conservative legal group known for
supporting “don‘t ask, don‘t tell” and for opposing same-sex marriage
rights, as well as opposing Hogwarts‘ Certificates of Accomplishment for
kids who finish one of the Harry Potter books. They‘re against those, too.
Last summer, you might recall that Liberty Council made this show when
they declared that health reform—remember health reform? They declared
that health reform would mandate free sex change operations. Not just a
completely ridiculous suggestion but a very complicated one as well.
Matthew Staver of Liberty Council today told “The Washington Times,”
quote, “I think Mr. Rekers would have a great case to file a defamation
suit. I think it was a completely arranged setup.”
Now, for the record, “Miami New Times” says it got the photo because
friend of the rentboy in question had been reading the rentboy‘s e-mail and
tipped off the paper‘s reporters. So, in that way, yes, they had set up a
situation in that they thought they might be able to catch George Rekers at
the airport that day.
Also, George Rekers appears to have arranged the setup, himself, by
cruising for this guy on rentboy.com and then taking him on vacation.
Also, for the record, Liberty Council has cited Mr. Rekers‘ pseudo-
research in a California court fight against gay marriage and in the
Florida ban on gay couples adopting kids. So, Matthew Staver and Liberty
Council naturally have their own interest in defending George Rekers since
they counted on him in court.
It should perhaps also be noted that George Rekers has an interest in
that nice-looking blond guy. Is that so wrong?
MADDOW: So, the Earth spins around on its axis. That‘s a day. While
doing that 365 times, the very busy Earth also takes an orbit around the
sun. That‘s a year.
All the planets orbit around the sun. It‘s not just us. All the
planets have years, and this year on Jupiter, something very alarming
happened in the Jupiter year.
We turn now to our cosmic disappearances correspondent Kent Jones to
get further alarmed.
KENT JONES, COSMIC DISAPPEARANCE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Rachel.
Alarming. Experts discovered what may be the biggest burglary in the
history of the solar system.
MADDOW: Oh my God.
JONES: Jupiter. Here we go.
JONES (voice-over): Take a look at Jupiter, the big daddy of all
planets. And you‘ll see it has a big, red spot, and two big old belts
around the middle. Now, we‘re talking 200,000-plus mile-wide Elvis in
1973-sized belts here—impossible to miss. So, it was extra mysterious
after Jupiter‘s usual orbit when the planet disappears behind the sun for
three months, it reemerged without the south equatorial belt.
Check it out. Jupiter is naked from the waist down. Jupiter has gone
commando. What happened here? Did Jupiter have some work done?
Astronomers—well, they‘re not exactly sure, but since Jupiter‘s
belts are made up of clouds the most likely explanation is that storms on
that gassy tempestuous planet had a hand in the vanishing act. Astronomers
do know that Jupiter‘s southern belt has disappeared before in 1973 and
again in the early 1990s. And guess what? The belt eventually came back.
According to “Popular Science,” quote: “The planet should maintain its
appearance for another few weeks, possibly even months, at which point a
bright, white spot will appear and begin seeding the former belt with dark
blobs, eventually restoring the belt to its former dark color.”
In the meantime, if you have any information about its whereabouts,
please—please e-mail us.
MADDOW: What do you do when you‘re the first astronomer who notices,
like, OK, here comes Jupiter from around the sun. OK, here comes—what?
Is anybody else seeing what I‘m seeing?
JONES: There‘s a belt, it‘s gone.
MADDOW: Did I—was it—I could have sworn—I left it in the
JONES: I got this picture from six months ago. Where‘s your belt?
MADDOW: Thank you very much, Kent.
MADDOW: Let me know what you‘ll hear. I‘m sure our viewers will tell
MADDOW: That does it for us tonight. We‘ll see you again tomorrow
Meanwhile, you can e-mail us about Jupiter‘s missing belt or anything
else at . You can hang out with us at our new blog, at
Maddowblog.MSNBC.com. We posted a link there to the footage that we showed
about the MOVE bombing earlier in the show, if you want to check that out.
You can also pick up our podcast at iTunes.
“COUNTDOWN” with Keith Olbermann starts right now. Have a great
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