Guests: Mike Papantonio, Mike Frenette, Debbie Stabenow, Tom Horne, Todd
Webster, Scott Hennen, Randi Weingarten, Erica Lovely
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Good evening, Americans, and welcome to THE ED SHOW in New York tonight.
These stories at the top of the list here on THE ED SHOW tonight.
“Plug the damn hole.” That‘s what President Obama has told his staff. He can‘t figure out why no one seems to be able to fix this mess. He‘s heading back to the Gulf Coast Friday to get some answers.
President Obama is also sending more than 1,000 National Guards troops to Arizona and other border states. Now, that‘s a major gesture to Senate Republicans. Let‘s see if any of them step up and help him pass comprehensive immigration reform.
And death threats against lawmakers are surging. Now, these just aren‘t nut jobs out making prank calls. One lawmaker had his life threatened when he was taking a walk with his kid.
What is happening in America?
This is the story that‘s got the country fired up and is on top of the list tonight. It‘s day 36. President Obama wants BP to “plug the damn hole.”
Late this afternoon, the White House announced the president is heading back to the Gulf on Friday. Members of his administration are already admitting that the Gulf oil disaster will be the worst in American history.
White House climate czar Carol Browner was asked about it this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOLOUS, ABC NEWS: Any doubt in your mind this is going to be the worst oil spill in American history?
CAROL BROWNER, ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT FOR ENERGY & CLIMATE CHANGE: I
don‘t think there‘s any doubt, unfortunately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: OK. They got the message.
Democrats are pushing the Obama administration to just go ahead and kick BP to the curb and take over this whole recovery operation. Florida Senator Bill Nelson put it this way: “The president ought to take charge. The military ought to take charge. The military can organize it and be the head of the rescue operation. Otherwise we have a situation that‘s going on out of control, with BP doing the running of the show, and they‘re not getting that done.”
The White House knows that it‘s time for them to go on the offensive. A new CNN/Opinion Research poll shows 51 percent of Americans disapprove of the president‘s handling of the crisis. But at the same time, 76 percent also disapprove of the way BP has handled the disaster.
This is another case of how I think the American people are way ahead of Washington again. They want the president of the United States to clean up BP‘s mess.
The president is getting the message. I think he knows that if this leak continues, it‘s going to be right up the East Coast, could completely destroy our environment and economy. I‘ve said that from day one.
This is going to be devastating if it hits the East Coast. It‘s already bad.
But the president has another mess to clean up at the Minerals Management Service. According to “The New York Times,” an inspector general‘s report shows federal regulators responsible—responsible—for oversight allowed industry officials—that would be oil boys—to fill out their own inspection reports. And on top of that, the regulators were getting, let‘s see, free meals, fishing—hunting and fishing trips—and gifts from the oil industry. It seems to me that it‘s back in the Bush-year culture, you know, those years where the MMS had a drug, sex and rock ‘n‘ roll kind of culture that we had talked about and reported on in past years.
Here‘s where we are right now. As I said on this program a week ago, the table just seems to be set that somebody‘s on the take. And lo and behold, here comes the inspector general‘s report showing that that‘s exactly what‘s going down.
I say follow the money. We need to have a full financial audit of everybody who works in the government, every inspector, every department head, to find out the influence of big oil and what they‘ve had on our government.
That‘s where we are right now. We can walk and chew gum at the same time. They ought to be able to do this.
President Obama, you deserve those answers, and so do the American people.
Tell me what you think in our telephone survey tonight, folks. The number to dial is 1-877-ED-MSNBC.
My question tonight is: Do you believe it is now the president‘s responsibility to clean up BP‘s mess? Press 1 for yes, press 2 for no. I‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.
Joining me now is Mike Papantonio, an environmental lawyer whose firm is leading the class-action lawsuits against BP.
Lots of information has flown out of this whole scenario over the last 48 hours, comments that are more than interesting. But the blame, as far as the American people is concerned when it comes to the cleanup of the mess right now, seems to be falling more on the White House.
Mike, your thoughts on that?
MIKE PAPANTONIO, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILIES SUING BP: That‘s real unfortunate. You know, think about this. And you‘ve talked about this on your show before, but you have Bobby Jindal, Haley Barbour, Bob Riley, Rick Perry, all red state coast governors, that, all of a sudden, are screaming this is a government problem.
You understand, Ed, these are the same people who, for years, said we don‘t want government, we don‘t want regulation. All they do is get in our way. We want states‘ rights.
Well, I‘ve got to tell you something. They‘re not talking about states‘ rights today, because you‘ve got Bobby Jindal out there saying, where is Obama, where is the government? Well, he wasn‘t saying that when he was talking about the idea that he didn‘t need—he didn‘t need government to give him a stimulus package.
Our governor in Florida had enough sense to do that. Our governor in Florida, Charlie Crist, knew that government matters.
So, now, all of a sudden, they‘re trying to shift this from BP, who‘s responsible for all this, to the White House. Now, truthfully, there is some truth—there‘s some truth to some of the criticism about what government‘s doing right now.
SCHULTZ: They‘re not moving fast enough, Mike. They‘re simply, in my opinion, they‘re not moving fast enough. And the American people don‘t feel like they‘re moving fast enough.
In your opinion, do we have the right people in place?
PAPANTONIO: We don‘t. As a matter of fact, you said weeks ago—you came on this program, you said time and time again, this is a company that‘s winging it.
They should have recognized it, Ed, the same time that you recognized it. And one thing they should have recognized is they don‘t have the right people in charge.
You‘ve got Ken Salazar. There‘s a reason that environmentalists were outraged when Ken Salazar was put in charge of the Interior.
PAPANTONIO: The quick report card on Salazar as he led the charge to end offshore drilling moratoriums, he was the front man to give Exxon one of the biggest tax breaks they‘d ever gotten during a year when they made $42 billion. He led the charge against the CAFE standards, he voted against the bill.
SCHULTZ: All right.
PAPANTONIO: I mean, this is a guy who‘s the wrong man in charge, to answer your question.
SCHULTZ: All right. We had a couple of interesting interviews on this program last night. This is Admiral Thad Allen, in charge of the Coast Guard, the commandant.
I asked him this question about how long it‘s going to go—
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Are you confident that this is going to get resolved in the near future?
ADM. THAD ALLEN, COMMANDANT, U.S. COAST GUARD: Well, it‘s not going to be resolved permanently without risk until we have a relief well drilled and the drill is capped for good. And that is not likely to happen until August.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Until August. What in the heck does that mean to the American economy, until August?
Now, Billy Nungesser, this guy is a parish president down there. He‘s telling it like it is. Here‘s his response to that answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILLY NUNGESSER, PRESIDENT, PLAQUEMINES PARISH: I don‘t think, in all due respect, they have a clue. I mean, you know, you asked him if they‘re doing everything possible and he passed the buck to BP.
They are the commanders. They‘re in charge. They can demand what BP does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: So where are we, Mike?
PAPANTONIO: Ed, interesting. Salazar made the statement. He said when we find out that BP isn‘t doing what they‘re supposed to do, then we‘re going to move them out and we‘re going to take over.
Now, think about this. This is a guy who‘s making this statement when he knows that BP lied to us from day one. They never tested the blowout preventer, they never had a catastrophe plan. They lied to us about that.
They knew that the hydraulic system on the blowout system had been failing for two weeks. They didn‘t do anything because it was going to cost them money. This is a company that has paid $153 million in penalties, ranging from environmental felonies to criminal misdemeanors.
SCHULTZ: All right. Let‘s talk more about the money here.
There was another comment yesterday at a press conference. Senator Mary Landrieu said that if you make $50,000, that, you know, BP‘s going to make you whole. If you made $1 million in the last year and you lost it, they‘re going to make you whole.
Do you believe that? Do you believe BP is making people whole down there and they‘re going to be writing checks for people‘s income loss?
PAPANTONIO: Let me tell you what. The checks they‘re writing right now are required by EPA (ph). Everybody doesn‘t understand that. They don‘t understand they‘re required to write these initial interim checks. It‘s not because this is a great company.
I‘ll tell you what, when I make a claim for a man who‘s lost his business, three generations of being a shrimper, can‘t do it anymore, when I make a claim and that claim‘s over $1 million, you watch BP say, no, I don‘t think that‘s a legitimate claim. That‘s what we‘re going to be hearing right now.
Sop, we saw where they did exactly the same thing, Ed, in Texas. They did exactly the same—Exxon did the same thing up at the Exxon Valdez incident.
All this is hoping that this story is going to move from the front page and people won‘t cover it anymore. And when it‘s quiet, nobody‘s paying attention. Then that‘s when the ugliest side of BP is going to come out. They‘re not going to pay this kind of money.
SCHULTZ: Yes. Well, one of their executives at BP, Kent Wells, he says that they‘ve lost 25 percent of their market value, $50 billion. I believe you predicted on this program that in the long haul, BP, it might break them.
What do you think?
PAPANTONIO: It absolutely could. Here‘s the way they do it, Ed.
It‘s not that they‘re out of money. They do what they call a projected loss like the asbestos industry. You had the asbestos industry, you had companies that were worth $4 billion to $5 billion, went in front of a federal court and said, look, judge, we have too many claims, you have to give us some reorganization, bankruptcy protection.
If you don‘t think BP is thinking about that right now, we‘re missing the boat. I can promise you they‘re thinking about it right now.
SCHULTZ: Yes. OK.
Now, as far as the cleanup, tomorrow is going to be a big day.
They‘re going to try the top kill method.
What happens if that doesn‘t work?
PAPANTONIO: Well, if that doesn‘t work, then we have to believe what Matthew Simms (ph) said when all this started. Matthew Simms (ph) said, look—he said this is going to stop when the well runs dry. This is only going to stop when the upward pressure equals the lower pressure. That means there‘s not this gusher coming from the bottom.
Now, this guy is not—this is not just a fanatic boob out there. This is a guy who worked for the Bush administration as a deputy secretary in Energy. He‘s the guy who‘s written more about peak oil than anybody in America.
PAPANTONIO: This guy says you can‘t stop this because of all of the way that it‘s unfolding.
SCHULTZ: Mike Papantonio, keep up the fight, my man. Just keep on going after it.
PAPANTONIO: Thanks a lot.
SCHULTZ: I appreciate your time tonight.
PAPANTONIO: Appreciate it.
SCHULTZ: Captain Mike Frenette, who owns Venice Charter Fishing in Venice, Louisiana, is one of many who has been affected by this.
Captain, good to have you with us tonight.
Have you lost your business?
CAPT. MIKE FRENETTE, VENICE CHARTER FISHING: I have, as well as several other guides and charter fishermen in the Venice area. We have an association of close to 60 charter captains and guides. And for all practical purposes, our businesses are pretty much shut down right now.
I personally have a lodge, as well as charter business, and things are extremely difficult right now. And it certainly doesn‘t look like there‘s any, you know, good things coming in the future.
SCHULTZ: Captain, do you expect BP to write you a check to make you whole? Because that‘s the comment that was made by your senator.
FRENETTE: OK. You know, I would really like to see BP come to the table, because as of right now, all we‘re hearing is what I would call political rhetoric. It‘s what you want to hear. We‘re not seeing really any action when it comes to that.
BP has got to step to the plate. If they‘re willing to stand in front of the press and in front of the Congress and in front of the president of the United States and say that they‘re going to make people whole, then they need to make people whole, not just talk. It‘s time to take some action, because right now several of my members of my association, the Venice Charter Boat and Guide Association, are starting to suffer.
There‘s no income coming in, there‘s no income for the foreseeable future. They have families to feed, they have insurance notes to pay, they have mortgages to pay. I have two kids that are in college.
I mean, this is a devastating effect, and we have a multimillion-dollar impact to this community and to this parish by way of charter fishing and guide fishing. We bring in, just through these two marinas, the Venice and Cypress Cove Marina, we‘re looking at approximately 35,000 to 45,000 people that we bring in through the charter industry that fish on the boats out of here annually, not including the recreational fishermen that come here. It‘s considered the number one destination in the United States, and right now our doors are completely shut.
SCHULTZ: Captain Mike Frenette, one of the most passionate speakers down there has been Billy Nungesser. Do you agree with him, that enough is not being done, that there‘s just foul-up after foul-up at the administrative level of BP and the government to respond to all of this?
Do you share that view?
FRENETTE: I certainly could appreciate Mr. Nungesser‘s feelings right now, and quite honestly, we‘re totally 100 percent behind him. He is getting absolutely no answers from the United States Coast Guard or from British Petroleum, and it‘s quite confusing to me.
It almost seems like British Petroleum is dictating this event and not the government. It‘s time that somebody steps in with some authority to make some demands and gets some things going.
You know, we all assumed that this was going to be over in just a few days. That was by words of British Petroleum.
The first day of the accident, tragically, we lost 11 members off that oil rig. Then they said it was only about 1,000 of oil being dispersed into the Gulf of Mexico. Then we find out, OK, it might be 5,000. Then, realistically, we‘re looking between anywhere from 7,000 to 50,000 barrels a day that are dumping into the Gulf of Mexico and now penetrating our—the richest estuary in the United States is right here, and it‘s now penetrating our coastline.
SCHULTZ: Would you like to meet with the president? And do you think Billy Nungesser should meet with the president?
I mean, you two guys are the guys that are speaking out. I mean, I hear more from you two guys down there supporting the community than I do from any other politician. I mean, all they do is stand up and thank everybody for being at these places, and then they make a guarantee about how the people are going to be made whole. And you‘re telling me tonight that that‘s not the case.
FRENETTE: It‘s not the case. And quite honestly, I would love to be able to say—I would love to have two to three minutes with the president and let him hear from the real people, the working people from this area that drive this economy, that produce this economy.
And again, I do appreciate what Mr. Nungesser is saying. Mr. Nungesser and Mr. Craig Taffaro from St. Bernard Parish are the only two politicians down here that have really, from the onset, have stood up and tried to fight major corporations and government.
SCHULTZ: Captain, keep up the fight. We‘ve got to run. Appreciate your time tonight. Thanks so much. We‘ll stay on the story, obviously.
Coming up, Congressman Anthony Weiner is calling out the White House. He wants answers on the alleged job offer to get Sestak out of the way in Pennsylvania against Arlen Specter.
I‘ll have “Rapid Fire Response.”
And Arizona‘s immigration battle hits the classroom. Auditors are going after teachers. I call it Discrimination 101. A top superintendent is in the hot seat with me tonight on this show.
All that, plus a righty is plagiarizing the president. Tim Geithner shooting three-pointers overseas. And “The Drugster” is back in the “Zone.”
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, and thanks for watching tonight.
Congress could act as early as tomorrow to extend unemployment benefits again. But right now the legislation won‘t help the people who need it the most, the 99-weekers.
These people are out of work for two years or more. And there are thousands of them across America.
I believe it‘s a moral obligation that we have to help these folks through this long-term unemployment stint that this country is seeing. This goes beyond a middle class issue. I think it‘s an age issue.
There‘s a lot of age discrimination that‘s taking place across America. I‘ve talked to many Americans on my radio show who have filled out application after application and get no response.
Michigan Senator Deb Stabenow is a member of the Senate Budget and Finance Committee.
Senator, good to have you with us tonight.
SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), MICHIGAN: Hi. It‘s good to be back.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
Is there a solution for the 99ers out there?
STABENOW: Well, the real solution, Ed, as you know, is jobs. And when the president took office, we were losing almost 800,000 jobs a month, which is astounding. And now we‘re turning it around. It‘s about 250,000 jobs to the good right now, but that‘s not enough.
I mean, obviously, we have to keep going. And we‘ve got a lot of folks, as you said, who are in their 50s, who have been “early retired,” who lost their jobs that are now needing to find another job. And this is a long-term challenge for us.
So that‘s why we‘ve been focussed on jobs. As you know, I‘m laser-focussed. We have a jobs bill in front of us this week that needs to get passed not only for unemployment extension, but to create jobs.
SCHULTZ: Well, I‘m amazed at the numbers. The statistics that are out there, the 99ers, there‘s hundreds of thousands of them across America.
SCHULTZ: These folks are burning through their retirement, they‘re burning through their savings. They‘re losing their homes. And we stand here and watch the Congress fight about this.
These are extraordinary times. Will Republicans come on board to help these folks?
STABENOW: You know, Ed, I don‘t know. I mean, twice now we have seen objections and threats of filibustering unemployment extension. We‘re going to see again this week. I hope not.
SCHULTZ: So the Democrats have to do it. The Democrats are going to have to do this?
STABENOW: Yes. Well, and that‘s the way it‘s been since the beginning, as you know.
We‘ve seen more objections and blocking and filibusters than ever at any other time in our history. But I have to say, even in light of that, things are turning.
Now, they‘re certainly not where they need to be, and they‘re certainly not where they need to be in Michigan. But they‘re turning in the right direction. We just have to keep our foot on the pedal to keep it going.
The bill in front of us creates a youth jobs program this summer. It invests in innovation, it invests in more construction jobs for local communities. We just have to keep doing.
SCHULTZ: OK. A $30 billion program is now being proposed by the president for small businesses. I thought we went down this road about six months ago.
What happened to that money?
STABENOW: Well, Ed, as you know, when we first saw the bailout of Wall Street, the whole idea was to unfreeze the credit so that small businesses, manufacturers, others could get loans.
STABENOW: Homeowners could get a loan. That didn‘t happen.
Instead, they just shored up their books and bought other banks and left people still not able to get credit. So we are now specifically focussing on small businesses who are the majority of those creating jobs.
We have a lot of folks that you‘re talking about who find themselves in a situation to now go home and work out of their garage or their basement and are starting a small business. And we have got to get loans directly to them.
SCHULTZ: Senator, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
STABENOW: Good to be with you.
SCHULTZ: Coming up, Limbaugh‘s fill-in is a huge chip off the old block. Wait until you hear where he thinks a wife belongs. That lands him in the “Zone” next.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, Rush Limbaugh off the air this week. And we were kind of worried, gosh, what‘s going to happen to “Psycho Talk”? Well, his fill-in, Walter Williams, I mean, this guy carried the nut job torch pretty well.
He dove straight into the controversy of Rand Paul, started about whether the private sector should be allowed to discriminate.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
WALTER WILLIAMS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: In private acts, I‘m asking, should people have the right to discriminate by race, sex, religion, and other attributes? Well, in a free society, I say yes, they do have the right to discriminate.
When I was choosing a marriage partner, I systematically discriminated against white women. I didn‘t give Asian women an equal chance to marry me. I didn‘t give women with criminal records or women that did not bathe regularly, I did not give them an equal opportunity to marry me.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Right, because a private business turning someone away because of the color of their skin is the same as picking a spouse?
All the women out there who are white, Asian, criminals, or who don‘t bathe, count your blessings this idiot did discriminate against you.
Listen to him discuss his philosophy on wives with a caller.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife just came in and made me lunch after she was mowing the yard.
WILLIAMS: OK. Good. Good. You have her under control.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. Absolutely.
WILLIAMS: I guess you‘ve learned a lot of things from me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘ve been listening to you for a long time. She does a lot more chores now than she used to, so I appreciate that.
WILLIAMS: OK. Yes, right. And I believe in keeping wives under control.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You‘re a good man. You‘re a good man.
WILLIAMS: Yes. OK.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Whoa! Walter, you better watch out, buddy.
Decades of that kind of talk left “The Drugster”—left him all alone with his cat, Pumpkin (ph), to keep company. And Rush may want to watch his back on this one because, you know, Walter Williams could be a serious rival for him when it comes to consistent “Psycho Talk.”
Coming up, President Obama is stepping it up on the border. Twelve hundred new National Guard troops are being deployed, but “The Maverick” says, ah, that‘s not enough. Congressman Becerra of California will sound off on this.
And a shocking new report from the FBI—death threats against elected officials are rising. The perpetrators are gun-owning men with mental illnesses.
All that, and we have got, of course, “The Tan Man” speaking out. Sestak is zipping it up. He‘s not talking. And Geithner is hitting the three-pointers.
You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Our Battleground Story tonight, Arizona‘s Department of Education is now auditing English teachers to decide if they are fit to teach children who are not native English speakers. If a teacher has a heavy accent, they‘ll be reassigned. Seems to me the policy is left wide open to discrimination.
Let me bring in Tom Horne tonight, the Arizona state superintendent of public instruction. Mr. Horne, good to have you with us tonight.
TOM HORNE, ARIZONA STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION: It‘s nice to be with you. I have one little quibble. It‘s not that we‘re doing it now. We‘ve done it for all eight years that I‘ve been superintendent that we‘ve been monitoring the English language learner classes. We‘re actually required to do that by court order.
And we make sure—not whether or not they have an access. That‘s not really the issue. The issue is are they proficient in the English language? Do they pronounce it in a way that‘s understandable? Do they know grammar? Because they‘re teaching students language. Certainly, these students‘ parents expect the teacher of their children where they‘re learning English, which is very important to them, to be fluent in the English language.
SCHULTZ: So it‘s not an accent issue? If I talk to you with an accent, that wouldn‘t effect whether I could teach English in your school system?
HORNE: That‘s correct.
SCHULTZ: That‘s not what the people are saying down there. They‘re saying it‘s a method to target folks that you don‘t want in your school system. I need you to answer to that.
HORNE: That‘s just a crazy made up thing by a reporter for the “Wall Street Journal.” There‘s no one down here saying that. We have not—we‘re not looking to discriminate against anybody. This is something that‘s done for immigrants, people who come here from another country, who expect their children to learn English. They would feel defrauded and betrayed if they had a teacher who was not fluent in the language.
SCHULTZ: OK. Doesn‘t it help a student have someone who is bilingual?
SCHULTZ: It doesn‘t?
HORNE: Definitely does not. No. You need—they need to be taught by a teacher who knows the English language and teaches the student the English language. It doesn‘t—it‘s not possible to be bilingual in all the languages we teach. We teach over 100 languages. So our teachers are trained to teach the children English without necessarily knowing the language of the student, and immersing the student in English, at least four hours a day of intensive instruction in English, so they learn English quickly enough to compete academically with their peers when they go into the regular classroom.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Horn, what‘s the definition of fluent?
HORNE: It means that you can pronounce words correctly so that you‘re understood, and it means that your grammar is proper.
SCHULTZ: So there‘s a judgment call made here by someone in administration to determine that teacher X, Y and Z just doesn‘t sound right.
HORNE: Well, the judgment call is made all the time in education. You‘re constantly observing teachers and making judgment calls as to whether they‘re teaching effectively or not.
SCHULTZ: Do you do this with math teachers and competency on that and all? Or is it just English?
HORNE: Actually, if you‘re not checking to see that your math teachers know math, you‘re in big trouble. We expect our science teachers to know science. We expect our math teachers to know math. We expect the teachers who are teaching English to know English and to be fluent in English.
It‘s actually required by federal law in two places. One is in No Child Left Behind requires that all teachers be highly qualified in their subject. That means math teachers must know math, science teachers must know science, English teachers must know English. The second thing, in No Child Left Behind, there‘s an entirely separate requirement that‘s specific to people who teach kids English who are not fluent in English, that they themselves must be fluent in English.
SCHULTZ: You can see where the public views this, that there are many Americans who think that this falls right in line with some of the other laws that seem somewhat racist that Arizona‘s passed. For instance, in the 1990s, Arizona hired hundreds of teachers whose first language was Spanish as part of the bilingual education process. Now you‘re not going to do that? It‘s all based on how they sound and whether they can communicate to the satisfaction and by the judgment of an administrator? Doesn‘t that—that leaves it wide open to discrimination, Mr. Horne.
HORNE: That‘s a totally silly argument. People expect a teacher of English to know English. There aren‘t a lot of people who think that. There was one wacky “Wall Street Journal” reporter who made it sound like it was a recent thing that just happened. I‘ve been doing it for eight years. And who made it sound as though you‘re discriminating against people when you insist that teachers who teach a subject know the subject matter that they‘re teaching. It‘s common sense.
SCHULTZ: Have you fired teachers for not knowing the subject matter?
SCHULTZ: OK. Mr. Horne good to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time. Interesting topic. Education is something I write about in my book. I‘m passionate about it. Good to have you with us.
Now let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories tonight. Today the Obama administration announced a plan to deploy up to 1,200 National Guard troops to the border of Arizona and Mexico. Minority Leader John Boehner and House Republicans launched their America Speaking Out Campaign today. They want voters to help shape the GOP platform. I think it‘s proof the Republicans don‘t know where they are and what they stand for.
Congressman Anthony Weiner jumped into the fight between Joe Sestak and the White House today. He wants the White House to come clean about the job allegedly offered to the admiral, if he dropped his campaign against Arlen Specter.
Don‘t Ask Don‘t Tell may finally be on the way out. The White House has reached a deal with the Defense Department and Congress. Democratic lawmakers say that they have the votes to pass it.
With us tonight, Democratic strategist Todd Webster and also Scott Hennen, conservative radio talk show host from good old Fargo, North Dakota, the middle of the country.
Scott, let‘s start with you tonight on this campaign that Mr. Boehner wants to kick off for the Republicans. What‘s the mission here? If they don‘t know where they are right now, is this a mission to get it together before the midterms? What do you think?
SCOTT HENNEN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: SCHULTZ: This is a mission, Ed, to stay out of the trouble that the Democrats have found themselves in politically for not listening. This is a novel concept. These people represent us. We found this in North Dakota. Byron Dorgan, they got in trouble because they ignored the will of North Dakotans. That‘s why they‘re in real political trouble. Byron Dorgan waving the white flag saying out I‘m of here. Earl Pomeroy down nine points to someone who has never been on the state-wide ballot before in Rick Burg.
This is being repeated all across the country. Republicans, on the other hand, are saying, he, we want to listen to people. We want to reach out. We want to have them help shape our agenda. I think it‘s a sign of strength that the Republicans are willing to sit down and listen to the American people. It‘s great.
SCHULTZ: Todd Webster, you know that part of the country. Used to be on Tom Daschle‘s staff from South Dakota. What do you make of this?
TODD WEBSTER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Look, I think it‘s interesting, certainly, that on the day that—day 36 of the oil spill, the Republicans are looking for a new message. The problem is, for the last 30 years, their message has been deregulate, let private business do whatever it wants, and get the federal government off everybody‘s back. Well, now you‘ve got, you know, Republican orthodoxy embodied in the oil spill. They had the regulators on their dime. They had MMS. They were writing the actual inspection reports of the MMS. And the spill has happened sufficiently far off the coast and sufficiently deep that the federal government can‘t get at it. It‘s 5,000 feet below sea level. The Navy has only two submarines that can even get that deep.
This is exactly what Dick Cheney has been hoping for. Unfortunately, it is a cataclysm. It‘s a huge tragedy. So they‘re going to need to do more than re-tool their message.
SCHULTZ: Let‘s hear from Mr. Boehner, who explains exactly what they‘re trying to accomplish.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, MINORITY LEADER: This is an effort to do—to more engage the American people in the development of the solutions. People can come to this site and give us their ideas. They can debate other ideas that are already there. They can vote on these ideas.
As we‘ve made clear, we know what our principles are. What we‘re asking the American people to do is participate with us in terms of how do we apply those principles for tomorrow and the day after?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Scott, does it sound like John Boehner‘s got a plan on where he wants to take the country? It sounds to me like he‘s winging it. What do you think?
HENNEN: Not at all. In fact, I think what he sees is a robust Tea Party movement that he wants to listen to. We perfected it here in the Heartland with the Win Back Washington effort, which folks can check out at WinBackWashington.com, where we sat politicians down to listen, and the American people spoke. North Dakotans, South Dakotans, Minnesotans sitting down and saying, hey, here is what we want from our elected leaders.
This is brilliant on the part of Republicans. They need to do this. They need to listen. We‘ve heard enough politicians talk for far too long in this country. It‘s time for the American people in this Tea Party movement to bring some common sense conservatism to Washington, D.C., and our federal government.
SCHULTZ: So the Tea Party movement is the Republican party? OK. We‘ve got that squared away. Let‘s go to the story with Joe Sestak. Todd Webster, is this a problem for the White House?
WEBSTER: Well, I don‘t think anybody should be surprised that there are politics in politics. Joe Sestak is an imminently qualified—imminently qualified individual to be the secretary of the Navy. He‘s the highest ranking military official in the Congress right now.
SCHULTZ: If they offered him a job, is this a problem for the White House? I mean, this guy won‘t shut up about the Obama administration offering him a job, so he wouldn‘t be going against Arlen Specter. It sounds like a protectionary measure to me.
WEBSTER: I think—look, I think it‘s going nowhere. It‘s passed history. Sestak would be a fantastic Navy secretary. I think he‘ll be an even better senator. He‘s up two points right now over Pat Toomey. And more power to him.
SCHULTZ: Scott Hennen, you have a Democratic congressman in Anthony Weiner. He wants the White House to come clean. Is it trouble for him?
HENNEN: It is trouble. I‘ll tell you, it‘s trouble in the USC 18-211. That‘s federal statute that says you can‘t go out there and offer something of value for someone to take a different job. It is a clear violation of law. It‘s big trouble. And Todd may think—and Chicago way politics of Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama may think, hey, that‘s just politics as usual, but that is against the law and it is trouble for this administration big-time.
SCHULTZ: OK. Let‘s talk about Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell. Scott Hennen, where do you stand on Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell? And why is the administration so slow to get to this?
HENNEN: Well, slow to get to it. First of all, they got out in front of their pander a little quick, Ed, because they obviously have to pander to the gay lobby quickly, and have taken a lot of grief for not listening and taking the things they took in during the campaign and then acting on them 16 months into the administration. So they‘re pandering is what they‘re doing, number one.
Number two, they did it a little too quickly, because it‘s very clear the military is not on the same page here. You have Secretary Gates being a little cool on this. It might not even pass. First of all, blatant pander.
SCHULTZ: Todd Webster, what do you think?
WEBSTER: Secretary Gates, the secretary of Defense, who was appointed by George W. Bush, has been advancing this policy. Look, the reality is that America is fighting two wars overseas. The military is under enormous stress.
SCHULTZ: Final subject.
WEBSTER: Over the last year we lost 13,000 soldiers.
SCHULTZ: Final subject, Scott Hennen, we have 1,200 National Guard troops going on the order in Arizona and other states. Is this an effort by the Obama administration to get Republicans onboard and will they respond to it?
HENNEN: It‘s too little, too late by the Obama administration, as usual. It might be, you know—
SCHULTZ: You don‘t want those troops there?
HENNEN: The Obama administration is reacting to the polls. They‘re reacting to the polls. And they‘re saying we have to do something quick because we‘re in free fall here. Too little, too late.
SCHULTZ: Scott—or Webster, what do you think of that?
WEBSTER: Give Attorney General Terry Goddard of Arizona credit for
asking the administration to do this. I think it‘s an important first
step. It‘s obviously a big national problem. It‘s far better to be making
continuing this to be a national solution than to have Republican politicians down there creating—forcing people to show off their papers for looking like they might be Hispanic.
SCHULTZ: Todd Webster, Scott Hennen, good to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.
Coming up, schools across the country are slashing budgets. Hundreds of thousands of teachers are being laid off. I believe education should be a right for everyone. Schools need a bailout now. That‘s in the playbook next. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, a quality public education for our children may be the next casualty of this recession. States are slashing education budgets. It‘s a fact everywhere. And 300,000 teachers are expected to be laid off. The Obama administration is pushing a 23 billion dollar bailout bill to help states avoid disaster. It passed the House. The Senate has yet to act on the bill. But cash-strapped school districts need help right now.
Joining me now is Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers. What kind of bailout are we talking about? Once the money‘s gone, wouldn‘t we be back to square one on trying to save teachers?
RANDI WEINGARTEN, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: Well, look, Ed, you know, we‘re in an emergency situation right now. And so we need that lifeline, just like we had that lifeline last year.
SCHULTZ: Well, the lifeline last year, OK, that didn‘t lead to anything, because you got how many thousands of teachers that are going to be losing their jobs?
WEINGARTEN: So what happened—what happened last year, Ed, was that with the stimulus bill, over a quarter million teachers kept their jobs. The young people that we had coming into the profession, the experienced people that we need in the profession, but more important than my members keeping their jobs is what it does in terms of kids.
What happens is that kids don‘t get to decide if they‘re born in times of prosperity or in times of challenge. They don‘t get a pause button on their education. So what we‘re seeing now is that because the ravages of the recession are still hitting main street, what we‘re seeing is that schools are really hurting.
So summer schools are being cut right now. There‘s four-day school weeks instead of five-day school weeks. We‘re seeing an expectation of class sizes skyrocket next year.
SCHULTZ: We‘re going backwards?
WEINGARTEN: We‘re going backwards. This is at the very same time as we know we need to keep our foot on the accelerator of reform, while these budget cuts are devastating to not—
SCHULTZ: Republicans are saying this is going to add to the deficit, Randi. And of course Senator Harkin has proposed this bailout bill and says if we don‘t have it, we‘re going to be in big trouble. How are you going to get this in good favor in the Congress?
WEINGARTEN: You know, this is what I don‘t get. I hear people talk about how we have to invest in the future, and how we have to make sure this country is safe for our grandchildren. Right now, we‘re talking about our children being devastated by budget cuts. I‘ve watched it. I grew up around New York City in the 1970s, and I saw us lose a generation of kids. We are passionate about this because we don‘t want to lose a generation of kids.
SCHULTZ: I agree.
WEINGARTEN: The teachers will get their jobs back ultimately. The issue becomes how to make sure that the kids don‘t lose a year of schooling. That‘s why we‘re wearing these pink hearts, not pink buttons. We‘ll be with Congressman Obey tomorrow trying to get this bill through on the House floor.
SCHULTZ: Thank you, Randi Weingarten. Appreciate your time tonight.
Education in America is the crisis and it is really not talked about enough. Economic circumstances should not dictate whether any American has the opportunity to go to college. In fact, education is one of the four pillars I believe in and are essential to a great country. I discuss it in detail in my book “Killer Politics: How Big Money and Bad Politics are Destroying the Great American Middle Class.” It comes out June 1st. I have a series of radio town hall meetings and book signings. You can go to my website, WeGotEd.com for the entire schedule. Hope to see you on the road.
Some final pages tonight, call it the Big Apple Bowl. For the first time ever, the Super Bowl is going to be coming to New York. The 2014 Super Bowl will actually be played across the river in New Jersey, where the Giants and the Jets play. But all the events will be hosted in the city, here in New York. It‘s the first time the game will be played in a cold-weather city without a dome.
No, you don‘t think we could get Favre to hang around until 2014 to get the Vikes in there, do you? No.
Finally, if the Knicks can‘t land Lebron James, maybe Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner can bail them out. Geithner took a break from economic meetings today in Beijing to shoot some hoops with the local kids there in China. Did it in his work clothes.
Not too bad. No word on if he‘s gone one-on-one with the president yet or who hits the three pointer better. Maybe he can take on the boss at the White House.
Coming up, on a serious note, assassination threats against lawmakers are on the rise. An FBI report just out shows just how scary the political world is today. The reporter who broke the story joins me next right here on THE ED SHOW. Stay with us.
SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Finally tonight, assassination threats, hit lists, intimidation tactics, there has been a 300 percent jump in the number of violent threats made against lawmakers of both parties this year. It shows just how out of control the political rhetoric in this country has gotten and where it is right now.
For more, let me bring in Erica Lovely, congressional reporter for “Politico.” She broke this exclusive story. Erica, good to have you on tonight. How serious is this? How serious are the comments? And what‘s being done about it?
ERICA LOVELY, “POLITICO”: These are some really serious comments. We‘ve heard everything in these files from people threatening to slit lawmakers‘ throats, to shooting them in broad daylight. There was one congressman who was walking with his six-year-old daughter outside of his office. A black SUV pulled up and told the congressman you have a target on our back and I‘m going to kill you. These are serious threats.
SCHULTZ: Of course. Heath Shuler, congressman from North Carolina, he was left a voicemail, quote, “I voted for you, if you vote for that stimulus package, I‘m going to kill you, simple as that.”
He responded through the media, “the first time you get a death threat, it‘s really alarming, not to mention that they know where you live and can find your family. You get a threat like that, you start rethinking your priorities.”
From your sense of reporting, how nervous are Congressional members about this?
LOVELY: You know, we get the sense they are very nervous. There‘s been an uptick in the number of Capitol police escorts that have been required or requested by members of Congress. And, you know, they have reason to worry. If you look at some of these people that are making the threats, many of them are gun owners. Many of these people have a history of mental illness.
In one case, an individual had so upset his own wife that she was sleeping with a can of mace under her pillow at night. These are not people to be taken lightly.
SCHULTZ: Who‘s getting more threats than anybody else? Who is very concerned?
LOVELY: I would say definitely Heath Schuler is very concerned. You know, Democrats and Republicans are concerned. This really runs the gamut. This is a bipartisan problem, from what these files show. We weren‘t able to tell exactly who has gotten the most. We suspect it‘s probably House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But, you know, with the health care debate heating up over the last winter, there were probably many, many more issues.
So it‘s kind of a gamble. We‘ll have to wait until the next round of files come out and we‘ll be able to tell.
SCHULTZ: Are more lawmakers traveling with security now?
LOVEL: That‘s at least what the police records show us. We‘ve noticed that Capitol Police has asked Congress for an uptick in the amount of funding they give for dignitary protection. That‘s when a Capitol Police Officer escorts a member back to their district, likely for a town hall or some sort of event, and there definitely seems to be a growing demand for that kind of escort.
SCHULTZ: Congressional Reporter Erica Lovely, “Politico,” thanks for your time tonight.
LOVELY: Thank you.
SCHULTZ: Tonight in our phone survey, I asked you, do you believe it‘s now the president‘s responsibility to clean up BP‘s mess? Fifty percent of you said yes; 50 percent of you said no.
That‘s THE ED SHOW. I‘m Ed Schultz. For more information on THE ED SHOW, go to Ed.MSNBC.com or check out my radio website at WeGotEd.com. Our book tour starts next week. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now on the place for politics, MSNBC. Have a great night. See you back here tomorrow night from 30 Rock, right here on THE ED SHOW.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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Copyright 2010 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>