updated 8/23/2010 11:04:14 AM ET 2010-08-23T15:04:14

Guest Host: Cenk Uygur

Guests: Ezra Klein, Grover Norquist, Arshad Hassan, Mike Papantonio, Karen

Hunter, Heidi Harris, Elijah Cummings, Stephanie Miller

CENK UYGUR, HOST:  Good evening, and welcome to THE ED SHOW.

We‘ve got a fun, fun show for you guys.

I‘m Cenk Uygur, in for Ed Schultz.

These stories are hot tonight. 

So much for historic health care reform.  A new poll shows the new law is becoming even more unpopular.  And I think most of the reforms will be dead on arrival by 2014. 

I‘ll tell you why in my commentary in just a moment. 

Evangelical preacher Franklin Graham says that President Obama has the Muslim seed in him.  How dangerous is that and how do you get it out? 

Plus, Howard Dean‘s own group turns on him on the mosque issue.  The director of that group sounds off right here. 

And Sarah Palin is doubling down on her defense of Dr. Laura. 

Stephanie Miller takes her on in “Club Ed.” 

Tonight, we started with a new poll that might indicate that the health care reform bill the Democrats passed earlier this year is already in trouble. 

A CNN/Opinion Research survey poll indicates 56 percent of Americans do not support the legislation.  Now, that set off a bit of a panic in Democratic circles.  New internal polling indicates Democrats should focus less on defending the specifics of the bill and more on telling stories about how it will affect real people. 

Now, that makes some sense, but that‘s also because some of the specifics are hard to defend.  But pollsters are also telling Democrats that they should start telling people that they will change some of those provisions. 

Now, that could mean that they‘ll make it stronger, which would be awesome.  But knowing Democrats, that probably means retreat is imminent. 

But I think Democrats have an even bigger problem.  Look, I don‘t think we‘re ever going to make it to 2014. 

That date is important because that‘s when most of the reform is supposed to be implemented.  And I‘m afraid we‘re not going to make it.  Here‘s why. 

People don‘t like the mandate.  And the polls bear that out. 

Republicans will come back around and hammer the Democrats on that.  And what happens when Democrats get beat up by conservatives?  Let‘s get real.  Usually they run.  Plus, there‘s a faction of Democrats led by Howard Dean who are against the mandate in the first place. 

If you remember, Barack Obama was in that faction.  Well, at least when he was running for president.  We know how that goes.

But there‘s something even more important in the mandate—the price we all pay for our premiums.  There‘s nothing in the bill that stops insurance companies from cranking that way up.  We‘re at their mercy and people just can‘t afford it anymore. 

Look, Anthem Blue Cross recently tried to raise rates by 39 percent in California.  Who can afford that? 

Now, the administration stopped them, which they should get credit for, at least for a little while.  But then they instituted new increases, Anthem Blue Cross did, just this spring.  And you think they‘re done? 

They‘re not done.  They‘re going to raise them again.  We‘re never going to make it to 2014.  And it‘s not just Anthem Blue, it‘s all over the country. 

Remember that one of the positive things in this bill is that it covers 30 million people who are currently uninsured.  But by the time 2014 rolls around, the number of people who no longer have insurance might double or triple because of how many people just can‘t afford it anymore. 

This bill did not fix the heart of the system.  We still have a system that‘s fundamentally broken.  There‘s no competition for private insurance companies.  The drug companies have total monopolies and they can charge us whatever they want. 

Just because the Obama administration calls something historic reform doesn‘t make it so. 

Look, I could be wrong and we could all be celebrating how low our rates are in 2014 and how we‘re all covered.  But I‘m asking you, even if you‘re an ardent administration supporter, do you really believe that‘s going to happen, that our rates are going to be lower in 2014? 

As I look at this legislation, I see great deals for drug companies, insurance companies, and almost every other kind of company out there.  But I don‘t see a great deal for you. 

What‘s going to keep your rates down?  What‘s the point of getting a reform deal if you didn‘t get the reform? 

Believe me, I hope I‘m wrong.  I hope I‘m dead wrong.  But at this point, I don‘t think the bill is even going to survive to 2014, when it gets implemented. 

Look, I want to know what you think.  Am I being too tough on the president?  It‘s entirely possible.  So get your phones out. 

The question for tonight‘s text survey is: Do you think President Obama‘s health care reforms will survive until 2014?  Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639.  I‘ll bring you the results later in the show. 

Joining me now is Ezra Klein a reporter from “The Washington Post.” 

He‘s also an MSNBC contributor. 

Ezra, how am I seeing this wrong?  I mean, is there—what controls cost?  What‘s going to stop all these insurance companies across the country from jacking our rates up all the way to 2014 and way beyond? 

EZRA KLEIN, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  Well, between now and 2014, as you say, not much, because the bill doesn‘t really happen until 2014. 

You‘ve had Sebelius going war to war with insurers over this, and actually did prevent some of the Anthem Blue Cross rates from going into effect.  But as you say, it doesn‘t move until 2014, if it does make it to 2014, which I think the odds are better than you think it will.  But then a lot more things go into effect. 

So, take insurers, right?  In the small business and individual markets, insurers have to be in the exchange or they can‘t sell to people.  And the exchanges can kick an insurer out for a rate increase.  They can kick them out, deny them customers.  That is power that no one has currently, the power that Sebelius doesn‘t have, power that the California insurance commissioner doesn‘t have, and it‘s a real stick you can use to beat insurers with. 

UYGUR:  But Ezra, let me just jump in there for a second, because, look, there‘s a huge problem with that.  Some of the insurance companies don‘t mind that.  They actually want to get the higher-paying customers, and they don‘t mind if they don‘t get the lower-paying customers.  So, if they jack up those rates, they still win from those higher-paying customers and the rest of us don‘t have insurance. 

KLEIN:  No, no, no.  So if they get kicked out of the exchange, there are no customers.  If you‘re dealing with a company—and these companies like WellPoint and Anthem, we‘re talking about individual market companies here—to sell on the individual market or the small business market, the exchange isn‘t the only game in town. You get kicked out of the exchange, you‘re not selling anymore.  So that‘s where the power in that particular segment comes from. 

UYGUR:  So let me then ask you, between now and 2014, let‘s say one of these companies raises rates 50 percent, 100 percent—God knows how high it can go—if once that 2014 kicks in, if we ever get to that point, well, then, do they have to bring the rates down or no?  They can just crank them up to 300 percent and go, oh, OK, well, that‘s where they are now? 

KLEIN:  Well, if they crank up to 300 percent, there are two different reasons that probably won‘t happen. 

Number one is they could be denied access to the exchanges in the first place.  Number two is—and this is why the exchanges are a good idea, these places where you buy health care from a lot of different insurers.  There is such a thing, and it does work generally, is competition.  Right?

You get a lot of folks in one place, and people can compare them and see the different prices, which is very difficult on the insurance market right now.  If somebody‘s got rates that are 300 percent higher than everyone else, you‘re not going to get any customers. 

Then you add in a couple of other things that make some sense in the bill.  There were a number of cost controls which I think don‘t go nearly far enough, but are not nothing, things like the excise tax, things like bringing community ratings so everybody gets the same price so insurers can‘t cheat the market by just grabbing the healthy people and kicking the  sick people out. 

There‘s a lot going on in there.  Whether or not it will work I think is an open question. 

But in Massachusetts, where we did put in a reform somewhat like this, in the markets that it affected, the small business and independent—and that‘s what we‘re talking about here—the rates did go down.  They went down by about 14 percent.  They went up much, much slower than nationwide. 

UYGUR:  Right, but they started much earlier.

KLEIN:  So, if we make it to 2014, we‘re going to be in better shape. 

UYGUR:  Right, but they started much earlier, not four years down the road. 

So, Ezra, real quick, let me ask you about the politics of this. 

Now, it looks like from that polling information that the Democrats are ready to run.  I mean, they‘re already talking about changes in the bill.  They‘re worried about the mandate, et cetera. 

Politically, can Democrats withstand that kind of pressure for four years? 

KLEIN:  I think so.  I mean, I think this is going to be less of an issue in the midterms than a lot of people anticipate. 

Look, the bill has become a bit less popular as the Democrats have become a bit less popular, as Barack Obama has become a bit less popular.  Everything is moving in the same direction for them now. 

A month and a half ago, most polls were showing the bill up a little bit.  So, these things have been fluctuating.

As you say, if Republicans take the Senate and they take the House, and they can overcome Obama‘s veto, they could do some real damage to the bill.  But in the absence of that happening, my hunch is that Democrats are pretty much going to just try to ride this one out and let the law go into effect in 2014. 

But, to some degree, that depends on them surviving, right?  Elections have consequences, and this will be one of them. 

UYGUR:  All right.  Thank you, Ezra.  We appreciate it. 

KLEIN:  Thank you. 

UYGUR:  All right.  Now let me bring in another voice.  Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform and a noted conservative. 

So, Grover, on the one hand, I know you don‘t like the bill.  But on the other hand, isn‘t the main problem the ability of the private insurance to crank up our rates—and the drug companies?  And you guys, as conservatives, on their side? 

GROVER NORQUIST, AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM:  No.  As a matter of fact, for the last 10 years, free market advocates have been advocating that people should be able to buy insurance across state lines.  Some states now and over the last 20 years have very high mandates. 

So if you buy insurance in New Jersey, they have all sorts of requirements that don‘t exist in Pennsylvania or Iowa, and it costs you thousands of dollars more.  We should allow people to buy across state lines, have competition. 

UYGUR:  But let me address that point real quick, because, originally I was excited by that point and I thought, OK, there‘s a Republican idea I kind of like.  But then I realized that part of the trick there is all those companies are going to rush to the state with the least amount of regulation.  So, the one that has the worst cop on the beat, as it were, isn‘t that a huge problem in that? 

NORQUIST:  Somehow I don‘t think that Pennsylvania has a worse cop on the beat than New Jersey.   

UYGUR:  Sure they do. 

NORQUIST:  The reason you get those mandates is you have particularly corrupt state legislatures which require people to insure for things that they may not choose to insure for.  Not everybody wants to insure for pregnancy, starting with 70-year-old women.  I mean, you don‘t always want to have to buy insurance for everything. 

UYGUR:  So, then less people get insurance. 

NORQUIST:  No.  Actually, more people would have insurance. 

UYGUR:  How so? 

NORQUIST:  Well, the Congress itself or the CBO said that this would drop prices across the board about 15 percent.  A lot of the unnecessary mandates would be dropped, or you could have all the mandates you want in New Jersey, if you want, if you think New Jersey is more concerned about their citizens than Iowa or Pennsylvania.  Then buy your insurance in New Jersey if that‘s what you want.

UYGUR:  But Grover, let me ask you, why—

NORQUIST:  Fifty states competing.

UYGUR:  -- shouldn‘t we have more competition?  I thought that conservatives love the free market.

NORQUIST:  Yes.

UYGUR:  I mean, that‘s—you have that one idea, but we have a disagreement on how the regulation would work.  But why not introduce competition to the insurance companies with a public option?  It‘s just an option.  Or, in the drug companies, why in the world can‘t the government negotiate on behalf of the American people?

NORQUIST:  Well, two things.  The government‘s a monopoly.  To do that would be to introduce a monopoly power into the market.

What I would argue for is more competition.  Anybody should be able to set up an insurance company as long as they‘ve got the money to cover what they‘re promising to do, be able to do insurance. 

The other thing that needs to be done is some sort of tort reform that‘s not at all done in this.  And there you‘re talking about maybe as much as 10 percent of medical tests and so on are done just for defensive medicine.  It would dramatically drop the cost of medicine if you didn‘t have billionaire trial lawyers getting rich off of citizens and patients. 

UYGUR:  So, you guys are against the trial lawyers because they give money to the Democrats.  But look, we‘ve got to leave it right there.

NORQUIST:  Because they interfere with people‘s decisions. 

UYGUR:  And they give to the Democratic Party.  So it‘s a win-win for you guys. 

NORQUIST:  That‘s the same thing.  It‘s the same thing. 

UYGUR:  Right.  Right.  All right.

Thank you, Grover.  We appreciate it. 

NORQUIST:  Thank you.

UYGUR:  All right.

Now, coming up, Franklin Graham is talking about the seed of Islam. 

He says President Obama was born a Muslim because his father was a Muslim. 

Can you be infected with Islam?  We‘re going to find out. 

And is it just me, or does it seem like everyone‘s trying to forget the largest oil spill in history happened this summer?  Scientists find an enormous plume, and the victims might be getting screwed on their claims. 

Mike Papantonio brings the straight talk. 

All that, plus this clown is hosting a rally on the same day and spot where Dr. King gave his “I have a dream” speech.  How‘s Beck going to turn it into a nightmare? 

My commentary on that when THE ED SHOW continues.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UYGUR:  There appears to be no end to the mosque/Muslim controversies.  Well, we know the president isn‘t a Muslim.  So how else can right-wingers connect him to the ever-so-scary Islam?  Boo.

So, the new strategy is questioning whether President Obama is in any way, shape or form somewhat Muslim. 

Franklin Graham was on CNN last night and admitted that the president says he is Christian.  Wow.  Is he not merciful?  But then he went on to say --  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. FRANKLIN GRAHAM, SAMARITAN”S PURSE:  Well, I think the president‘s problem is that he was born a Muslim.  His father was a Muslim.  The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. 

He was born a Muslim.  His father gave him an Islamic name.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR:  The seed of Islam.  That‘s awesome.  That really sounds kind of dangerous, maybe like a virus. 

Well, I must confess, I too have the seed of Islam in me. 

(LAUGHTER)

Look, I‘m an agnostic and so is my father.  But my father was a Muslim when I was born. 

Oh, no, I‘ve been infected!  I have the seed of Islam! 

(LAUGHTER)

Somebody‘s got to the help me. 

Look, this whole hinge is so absurd.  What does that mean?  You‘re the faith that you believe and practice.  You don‘t get infected with something when you‘re born. 

Of course, what Graham wants to do is smear the president by association.  But then you might ask, what‘s wrong with being Muslim?  Well, Franklin Graham has the answer. 

He‘s previously said that Islam is “a very evil and wicked religion.” 

That seems pretty clear. 

And last December, he told CNN, “True Islam cannot be practiced in this country.  You can‘t beat your wife.  You cannot murder your children if you think they‘ve committed adultery or just something like that, which they do practice in these other countries.” 

Why is this guy still going on TV? 

To think that will true Islam is murdering your children is beyond offensive.  Imagine if he said that about any other religion. 

And besides, I don‘t think there would be $1.5 billion Muslims in the world if they were all killing their children.  But what would I know?  I have the seed of a wicked and evil religion in me. 

Get it off.  OK.  I guess that doesn‘t work. 

(LAUGHTER)

Look, joining me now is Arshad Hassan.  He‘s the executive director for Democracy for America. 

First, I‘ve got to ask you, Arshad, do you have the seed of Islam in you? 

ARSHAD HASSAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DEMOCRACY FOR AMERICA:  Yes.  In fact, I do have the seed of Islam in me.  But actually, my family‘s a lot like yours, Cenk. 

(LAUGHTER)

UYGUR:  All right.  So now, look, guys like Franklin Graham claim that they‘re American.  Right?  They‘re 100 percent American. 

So I have a question for you, Arshad.  Since you are Muslim, what percentage American are you? 

HASSAN:  You know, I was born and raised in North Dakota just like Ed.  And that, I think, is the most important fact for that one.  I‘m as American as anyone else who‘s American, who says that they‘re American. 

UYGUR:  See, that‘s what I‘m driving at.  I mean, these guys think that they have a monopoly on being American, but we‘re all just as American as they are. 

So, I mean, what—

HASSAN:  Right.  Nothing makes you the arbiter of declaring who‘s American.  I mean, that‘s completely ridiculous. 

UYGUR:  Right.  So what do we do with a guy like Graham?  I mean, of course, he‘s got his First Amendment rights, but the things he‘s saying are over the top offensive. 

So what‘s the answer? 

HASSAN:  Well, one of the things that our members at Democracy for America have been doing in the past couple of days, especially after all this dialogue about, oh, is Obama a Muslim or is he American enough?  One of the things that we‘ve pledged to do is actually to have these conversations. 

You know, I‘m not going to be able to change Newt Gingrich‘s mind about what he thinks about Islam.  But actually, I will be able to talk to my neighbors and my barber or the guy down at the corner shop. 

We actually started this pledge where people actually go in their neighborhoods and have these—and these can be really difficult conversations—and actually just talk to people.  I‘m not going to be able to change Sarah Palin, but I am going to be able to talk to my neighbor.  If it sounds wrong, question it. 

UYGUR:  Well, the guy whose mind you‘ve got to change, ironically, of course, as you know, is the person who founded your organization, Howard Dean.  Let me give you a quick quote from him on MSNBC from last night and we‘ll play that for you. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD DEAN, FMR. DNC CHAIRMAN:  I don‘t site with the race-baiters on the Republican side, and I don‘t—but 65 to 70 percent of the people have a real problem with this.  Now, I don‘t think they‘re all race-baiters. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR:  So, you guys have an interesting internal beef.  How do you address that with Howard Dean? 

HASSAN:  You know, it‘s not a beef at all, actually.  I have the greatest respect for Governor Dean, and so do our million members at Democracy for America. 

Now, we do have a difference of opinion, and it‘s perfectly fine to disagree with somebody.  And in this case, I do so respectfully. 

That part of the clip that you just played actually is right on. 

There‘s a lot of people who are just never going to change their mind. 

Right?  I mean, it‘s kind of not even useful. 

But there‘s also—I think the majority of Americans really are open-minded and want to learn and want to discuss these issues.  I mean, I think this is an opportunity for us to really engage Americans. 

You know, when Barack Obama was getting elected, people were asking, well, can we really elect a black man?  But we had the discussion, and he led it, and we did.  So I‘m actually very hopeful that we can turn this into an opportunity of discussion. 

UYGUR:  Right.  Well, if you continue to talk to Howard Dean, can you change his mind?  Because, I mean, presumably, you think he‘s wrong on this issue, right? 

HASSAN:  Yes.  Actually, we just had coffee this morning.  So it‘s not like there‘s a feud or anything.  And, you know, he comes from the same place that I did.  

UYGUR:  You guys didn‘t wrestle or anything? 

(LAUGHTER)

HASSAN:  That would have been a scene. 

UYGUR:  OK.  I hear that they‘re going to do a wrestle-off at the Dean household between Jim Dean and Howard Dean on this.

Is there any truth to that?

HASSAN:  No, it‘s our favorite bakery. 

UYGUR:  OK.  All right.  So how do you resolve—

HASSAN:  But, I mean, we‘re coming from the same place here.  And he‘s coming from it from a place of compassion and recognition that we really need to engage and talk about religious freedom and what it really means.  That‘s also the same place I‘m coming from. 

So there‘s a debate over the location of a particular structure, but I think the most important locations are the ones in our neighborhoods, your neighbor or your corner store.  I think those are the locations that we ought to engage this debate. 

So, I took the pledge and I had a conversation with Governor Dean.  And I think if you go to Democracy for America and sign that pledge, I‘d actually like to hear about all the conversations going on around the country.  I think it‘s actually really inspirational. 

UYGUR:  I would have gone harder.  I would have at least arm-wrestled him.  But that‘s your call. 

All right, Arshad.  Thanks for joining us. 

HASSAN:  I had some of his scone. 

(LAUGHTER)

UYGUR:  OK.  Ah, libs getting along like that.  All right.  Thank you. 

We appreciate it. 

Now, coming up -- 

HASSAN:  You‘re welcome.  My pleasure.

UYGUR:  -- Glenn Beck is holding a rally to reclaim Martin Luther King‘s dream.  But given who‘s coming, it might be the worst civil rights demonstration ever. 

I‘ll tell you which Psycho Talkers are on the schedule next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UYGUR:  In “Psycho Talk” tonight, a week from tomorrow, on the anniversary of Martin Luther King‘s “I have a dream” speech, Glenn Beck is planning a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  He‘s been plugging the event for months as an opportunity to “reclaim the civil rights movement.” 

From whom?  Black people? 

Let‘s let him explain. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  We‘re going to be there restoring honor in Washington.  As we create history together, your children will be able to say, “I remember, I was there,” as we pick up Martin Luther King‘s dream that has been distorted. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR:  The only thing that‘s been distorted is Glenn Beck‘s relationship with reality. 

Beck can try to rewrite history all he likes, but as everyone in the country knows, conservatives were the one who‘s fought tooth and nail against civil rights.  And where MLK gave his speech is hallowed ground. 

Should we even allow conservatives near there? 

Sure, they have their First Amendment rights, but is that how they should exercise it?  You remember that line of argument somewhere else? 

All right.  Now, one of his scheduled speakers is Sarah Palin, the woman who told Dr. Laura to reload after her record-breaking N-word rant.  Is that also part of Martin Luther King‘s dream, when white men and white women can hold hands and scream the N-word together? 

I don‘t think that‘s what King was talking about. 

Also speaking at Beck‘s rally is Ted Nugent, who recently told an audience in Dubuque, Iowa, “There‘s a lot of white people in this crowd.  I like that.  Dubuque is a white town.”

Now, to be fair, that‘s totally King.  Not a lot of people remember this, but right before the “I have a dream” speech, King looked out into the crowd and said, I see a lot of white people here.  Cool.  I love that Washington is such a white town.

You don‘t remember that, do you?  Yes.  That gets by people. 

Glenn Beck having the audacity to compare his nightmare vision of America to Martin Luther King‘s dream is pure “Psycho Talk.”  

Now, coming up, outrage is boiling over for victims of the BP oil disaster.  Ken Feinberg tells them not to worry, they‘re all getting paid.  But should we trust them, or are the residents there going to get screwed? 

Environmental lawyer Mike Papantonio is on fire about this one.  He usually is.  He‘s going to sound off straight ahead. 

And Rand Paul runs from any camera that doesn‘t say “Fox News” on it. 

How brave.  Now his opponent is calling him out on it with an ultimatum. 

I‘ll get “Rapid Fire Response.”

All that, plus Joe Biden absolutely unloaded on the Republicans today. 

And the Taiwanese animators are taking on Blago.  I‘ll show you the tape. 

That‘s always funny. 

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UYGUR:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Cenk Uygur filling in for Ed Schultz tonight.  The Battleground story for tonight, are powerful interests in this country trying to cover up the full extent of the damage from the gulf oil spill.  BP is putting the victims over a barrel secondly saying, they can only be compensated from the escrow fund if they sign away their rights to sue.  Not just BP but any other potential defendant.  Meanwhile, in a desperate attempt to get the story off the front page, the administration way overstated the amount of oil that‘s been removed.  The first week of August, the White House was pushing a report that said 75 percent of the oil was gone.  How is that possible?  But at an Energy Committee hearing yesterday, a top NOAA scientist gave the exact opposite figure.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ED MARKEY (D), ENERGY COMMITTEE:  How much oil was actually discharged into the gulf?

DR. BILL LEHR, NOAA:  The best estimate to date would be 4.1 million barrels plus or minus 10 percent.  

MARKEY:  Out of the 4.1 million barrels discharged, how many barrels are still in the gulf or on its shores in some form?

LEHR:  Probably three-fourths.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR:  So, it‘s 75 percent that‘s not gone.  Not 75 percent that is gone.  That would seem to be a pretty important difference.  This testimony coincides with the discovery of a massive oil plume buried deep underwater.  Near where the deep water rig exploded in the first place.  It‘s 22 miles long.  And proof that the dispersed oil didn‘t magically disappear or dissolved in the water as we were lead to believe it would.  To which I say, of course, it didn‘t magically disappear.  It‘s an absurd argument in the first place. 

For more, let me bring in environmental lawyer Mike Papantonio, his firm is leading the class action lawsuits against BP.  All right, Mike.  

MIKE PAPANTONIO, ATTORNEY OF FAMILIES SUING BP:  Hey, Cenk.  How are you?

UYGUR:  Good.  Good.  It‘s good to have you here.  So, first question is, who is saying hey, you know what?  You can‘t sue anybody else if you agree to this.  Is it BP or is it the government?

PAPANTONIO:  Well, no, it‘s the way—it‘s the way the document is put together.  And the problem is, the way its put together makes it almost impossible for all practical purposes for anybody to sign off on it.  I mean, that is the problem.  You can‘t sign off on something when you know that down the road you have the right before you go into that agreement to sue all the defendants and all the defendants are responsible for what happened here.  

UYGUR:  So, but is the administration signing off on that?  Are they on board for that?

PAPANTONIO:  The administration, Cenk, wants this to go away.  They want it off the front page.  They‘re willing to do anything with it, whatever Feinberg can do to make this move from the front page, they seem to be willing to go for.  As a matter of fact, when they had Carol Browner show up in front of Congress and make the statement that hey, three-quarters of this gone, they knew it wasn‘t gone.  Our scientists told them it wasn‘t gone.  They knew they didn‘t have the documentation.  They will knew that the science was woefully incomplete.  They knew that but they were so anxious to make this whole thing go away, that they were willing to lie to the American public. 

Think about this, Cenk.  Here‘s where it all ties in.  You ask yourself, why would they do that?  They did it because they want to add credibility to the idea that this $20 billion is going to be enough to pay for everybody.  We know that‘s not true.  We know it‘s about an $80 billion deal.  But if they can make this go away  and say all the oil‘s gone, the 22 miles that you talked about of oil that is 22 miles long, it‘s one mile across, it‘s 600 feet deep, that‘s just one of the plumes.  And that‘s another point.  That‘s just one of the plumes we‘re talking about here.  But if the government, if the White House can say hey, listen, it‘s not as bad as you thought it was, then all of a sudden, it moves away from the front page.  

UYGUR:  So, you know, a lot of people would say a lot of administrations including this one are too much in bed with corporate America.  Now, is that part of this thing here where they‘re still basically covering for a corporation and it‘s not even America, it‘s a multinational corporation obviously in this case.  Or is it just that they think, hey, you know what?  I got to get this, I‘m getting blamed for it just as much as BP is.  So, that‘s why I‘m going to help them cover up how much oil is there.  

PAPANTONIO:  It‘s too part, Cenk, but I‘ve heard you say this before on your show.  And when I‘ve heard you talking about, you‘ve hit it right on the head.  And it is this.  You have a government that would allow—if you dress a criminal up in a three-piece suit and you say that that criminal has robbed a bank, it‘s probably OK with this administration.  They look at it differently.  They look at the crime standard differently for a corporate America.  Look at AIG.  Look at Goldman Sachs.  How in the world did they say that the thugs that pull that had kind of travesty on American people, that they weren‘t going to be prosecuted?  But nobody‘s been prosecuted.  That‘s the same mentality you see here, Cenk.  It‘s exactly the same mentality.  It‘s BP. 

They dress up in three-piece suits.  They wear Armani suits, therefore, we‘re going to let them go.  It is a blinder that we have put on, on the American public about the way we regard corporate America.  You know what?  This White House by way of Eric Holder shows that side too much.  I‘m hoping they‘re going to overcome it by this investigation they have going on.  I‘m hoping they‘re going to redeem themselves by going after the criminals that killed 11 people and destroyed an ecosystem.  If you‘re thinking for a second that this is over, it has just started.  You have an ecosystem that is hugely at risk.  You have you marine life that‘s going to be affected for the next decade.  I have the best scientists in the world working with me on this case.  And they tell me, they almost laughed when they heard that last report.  

UYGUR:  All right.  Mike, real quick.  So can the people down there trust Ken Feinberg to pay out their claims or you think he‘s not going to do that?

PAPANTONIO:  I think.  

UYGUR:  How do you feel about that?

PAPANTONIO:  I think what‘s going to happen is this, Feinberg is going to come out, he‘s going to play all the low-end claims, what are called, the low hanging fruits, the ones that are crystal clear.  And then he‘s going to stop when it comes to a restaurant that was maybe 700 yards away from the beach and they‘re out of business because they‘ve lost their beach business.  He‘s going to make the argument, the proximity does not permit him to make that payment.  And that‘s where the fight‘s going to take place.  But he wants to look like a hero.  He wants to come out and say look, I solved 80 percent of the problem but it‘s that 20 percent where the billions and billions of dollars are really going to be wrapped up here.  And that‘s where the fight‘s going to take place.  

UYGUR:  All right.  Thank you, Mike.  Always on fire.  We appreciate it.  

PAPANTONIO:  Thank you Cenk.  

UYGUR:  Now, let‘s get some rapid fire response from our panel on these stories. 

Sarah Palin doubles down on her defense of Dr. Laura in a new Facebook message.  

Rand Paul‘s democratic challenger surging in the polls and gunning for a nationally televised debate. 

Jack Conway has promised he‘ll debate Paul on FOX News, if Paul will debate him on “Meet the Press.”

And fool me once.  A new democratic ad goes backing to Bush when making the case for the midterms, while Joe Biden is warning Americans against voting for the Republican Tea Party. 

Karen Hunter, a journalist and publisher, and Heidi Harris, a radio talk show host is in Las Vegas. 

All right.  So, let me start with Sarah Palin.  She said, quote, “does anyone seriously believe that Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a racist?”  I‘ll interject by saying yes.  OK.  Now she continues.  “Anyone, I mean, who isn‘t already accusing all conservatives, Republicans, Tea Party Americans, et cetera, et cetera of being racist?” 

Now, Heidi, what does it take to get called a racist using the “n” word 11 times didn‘t do it,  saying all black people have a chip on their shoulder?  That didn‘t do it?  Why is Sarah Palin defending this person?  

HEIDI HARRIS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, she‘s defending her because one word that she used obviously many times by Dr. Laura, got her in huge trouble after a nearly 30-year broadcasting career.  Dr. Laura is not a racist.  I know her personally, she is not a racist.  She used that had word—by the way, I don‘t use the word ever in any context, never have in my entire life.  I‘m not defending the use of the word.  But the point is, she was trying to make a point.  She obviously even she said she didn‘t do it well.  But that doesn‘t make her a racist.  She was making the point that there are double standards when it comes to that word.  If the “n” word is a bad word, then it‘s a bad word no matter who uses it.  And we should limit it from all of our vocabularies.  It makes perfect sense to me.  

UYGUR:  Karen?

KAREN HUNTER, JOURNALIST:  Well, if it walks like a duck Cenk, and it talks like a duck it, it might be a duck.  I challenge Dr. Laura to go to Harlem with a bullhorn on 125th street in front of the Apollo Theater and yell out that word 11 times.  Maybe she‘s not a racist.  I don‘t know her heart.  And I can‘t throw that word at her.  But she‘s old enough and she‘s been living in this country long enough to know that yes, while there is a double standard, she should not have ever uttered those words.  I host at a radio show in New York for three years and I was extremely careful about what I said.  Because even though you do shock radio and Heidi, you know this better than I do, you don‘t want to offend people.  And it was unnecessary.  If she was that apologetic when that lady on that show was telling her she was offended, she would apologize then, not the next day after people called in, and her sponsorships were threatened. 

UYGUR:  All right.  Now, let‘s go the next issue.  Heidi, we‘ve got Conway challenging Rand Paul to debate on both—I‘m sorry, Rand Paul of course on MSNBC—again, NBC and FOX News.  That makes sense, doesn‘t it?  Shouldn‘t he accept that challenge?

HARRIS:  Absolutely.  It always makes sense when you‘re behind.  You know, when you‘re ahead, a debate usually isn‘t the best thing for you to do.  But when you‘re a challenger, you‘ve got nothing to lose, right?  So, if Rand Paul accepts the challenge, I don‘t think it‘s a bad idea.  You want to work for me obviously, he wouldn‘t be representing me.  But any of these politicians who‘s worked for me ought to be willing to take the heat.  That‘s how it‘s supposed to go.  So, you have to be able to debate, you have to be able to get your points out there and make it very clear.  You should be able to do it in any forum and be very clear about your viewpoints. 

UYGUR:  Karen, doesn‘t it seem like Rand Paul is being a little scared if he just doesn‘t want to come on MSNBC anymore because Rachel was tough on him?  

HUNTER:  Well, I‘m going to say, the last time wasn‘t such a great opportunity for him and he put his foot in his mouth.  And I think, well, this is about redemption for him.  He should absolutely take this opportunity to say hey, you know, I can handle this.  I can handle this.  You‘re going to handle worse when you get into office if you win.  

UYGUR:  All right.  Now, I want to show you guys a new DNC web ad and get your reactions.  Let‘s watch. 

HUNTER:  OK.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER:  This fall, America faces a big choice.  Do we continue to move forward like Democrats are doing? Investing in education for every child, manufacturing right here at home, clean energy powering a new economy.  Do we put Main Street ahead of Wall Street?  Do we hold big business accountable when they‘ve gone too far or do we go back to the same Republican policies that got us into this mess?  

GEORGE BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We can‘t get fooled again.  

ANNOUNCER:  This fall, our choice is clear.  The Democratic National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR:  That Bush clip never gets hold.  Heidi, so, don‘t they have a point here?  Didn‘t the economy actually crater under George Bush?  So, isn‘t that the ultimate problem we‘ve got to deal with here?

HARRIS:  No, in Nevada, unemployment now is 14.3 percent in Nevada.  Thank you Harry Reid.  In November of 2008, when Obama got elected it was eight percent.  That‘s all people in Nevada are going to care about.  They‘re not going to look at Obama and how much he‘s made a difference in the country.  I can sit there and break that ad down and talk about how everything they‘ve talked about has completely destroyed the country or put it on a wrong path.  So, now, people are going to pay attention.  Did I have a job in November of 2008?  Do I have a job now?  That‘s all they‘re going to care about.   

UYGUR:  The answer is probably no on both counts if you‘re unemployed.  

HARRIS:  Yes.

UYGUR:  Karen, what do you think?

HUNTER:  That‘s great Heidiology.  But, you know, the reality is Bush took over this country with $129 billion surplus and under his tutelage, we had an ill fated war in Iraq, which is still costing us $700 plus billion.  They gave a check to the banks for $800 billion which set up the whole banking collapse that we are experiencing right now which is the cause of this unemployment.  Oh, the oil stuff.  Yes, that was under Bush too, thank you Halliburton and Dick Cheney.  The reality is, this is the democrats only chance is that remind the American people that this is why we‘re in this mess. 

UYGUR:  Now, I kind of agree with both of you guys.  Bush did do it but Obama also signed off on that money.  So now, let‘s go Biden.  He‘s attacking the republicans today.  Let‘s watch.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  When they start to look at the alternative, they‘re going to see what my phrase, and I‘m going to get in trouble for saying this, Donna, this ain‘t your father‘s Republican Party.  This is the Republican Tea Party.  This is the Republican Tea Party. 

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR:  All right.  We have about 30 seconds.  Karen, what do you think?  

HUNTER:  Brilliant, but whenever he starts with I probably shouldn‘t say this, maybe he shouldn‘t say it.  

(LAUGHTER)

UYGUR:  Heidi?

HARRIS:  Yes.  I love the good Tea Party.  I‘m all for it.  Keep it up, Biden.  

UYGUR:  All right.  There you go.  Thank you both of you.  We appreciate it. 

HUNTER:  Thank you.

HARRIS:  Thanks.

UYGUR:  All right.  Now, coming up.  Baseball great Roger Clemens faces 30 years behind bars for lying to Congress.  One man knew he was lying that day.  Congressman Elijah Cummings, he is going to tell us why he went after Clemens.  We‘ll ask him which sport might be targeted next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UYGUR:  It‘s not too late to let me know what you think.  And I‘m curious about this one.  Tonight‘s text survey question is, do you think President Obama‘s health care reforms will survive all way until 2014?  Text A for yes, text B for no to 622639.  The results are coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UYGUR:  In the Playbook tonight, Roger Clemens could end up behind bars.  A federal grand jury indicted him yesterday for allegedly lying to Congress back in ‘08.  When he voluntarily testified at a hearing about steroid use in baseball.  The indictment accuses Clemens of obstructing a congressional inquiry with 15 different statements like this one. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER CLEMENS, FMR. MLB PLAYER:  Here we are now with me being accused of steroids and cheating the game of baseball.  I‘ve been accused of something I‘m not guilty of.  Let me be clear.  I have never taken steroids or HGH.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR:  Unless, of course, I did.  Oops.  If the government can prove he was lying, Clemens could face up to 30 years in jail and a $1.5 million fine.  Doesn‘t bode well for him that even in 2008, members of Congress weren‘t buying his testimony. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND:  I must tell you the person that I believe most is Mr. Pettitte.  All I‘m saying is it‘s hard to believe you, sir, I hate to say that as—you‘re one of my heroes but it‘s hard to believe you. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR:  Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland joins me now. 

Congressman, how did you know back then that he was lying, in your opinion?

CUMMINGS:  Well, clearly, we had quite a bit of testimony written affidavit from Andy Pettitte that said that, he had said that Roger Clemens had told him that he had used human growth substances.  And that he used steroids.  And then of course, we had Mr. McNamee who had claimed that he had injected Roger Clemens some 16 to 19 times with a ban substances.  And he also had some gauze and some other bandages with allegedly with Roger Clemens‘ DNA.  So, you know, it was really quite clear to us early on.  And let me be real clear.  I‘m very saddened by the string of events where Roger Clemens finds himself now.  But Roger Clemens, I personally asked him not to testify.  I advised him not to.  I‘m a lawyer.  I practiced law for many years.  And I told him that if he testified to please tell the truth.  Even he did not have to do this hearing.  He insisted on having this hearing.  

UYGUR:  Yes, that sounds like it was a massive mistake.  

CUMMINGS:  Massive.  

UYGUR:  OK.  But, of course, everybody‘s asking also, why were you guys having the hearings in the first place?  Should Congress be involved in this?

CUMMINGS:  I‘m so glad you asked.  We were having the hearings because one out of every 16 youngsters in a poll said that they were using steroids.  And out of those, 50 percent of them back then in 2008 said that they were—they were trying to emulate Major League professional players.  And so, we figure that had we needed to find out more about what was happening in the various leagues.  And then try to, if the problem was as bad as we thought it was, to try to stop it.  

UYGUR:  Now, you just said various leagues though, I mean, I‘ve see those offensive linemen.  You‘re telling that they‘re not on steroids?  Why are they in front of Congress?

CUMMINGS:  We‘ve addressed just about all of them.  And I‘ve got to tell you that since those hearings, the use of steroids among our youngsters has decreased and all of the least, football and basketball and certainly baseball, they have all taken drastic actions to police themselves.  And I‘ve got to give it to baseball.  They‘ve done a pretty good job. 

UYGUR:  All right.

CUMMINGS:  So we‘ve come a long way.  But this was about children.  Children were taking these steroids in some instances harming themselves unknowingly and then in some instances actually dying.  

UYGUR:  Well, there were good results.  You got to give Congress that.  That is true.  Congressman, thank you so much for joining us.  We really appreciate it.  

CUMMINGS:  Thank you.  

UYGUR:  All right.  Now, on the final pages in the Playbook, Blago is still running his mouth, he stopped by the “Today Show” for an exclusive interview this morning with Meredith Vieira.  And she asked him if he could afford another trial.  You got to hear this.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. GOV. ROD BLAGOJEVICH (D), ILLINOIS:  Well, you know, you keep fighting against all the odds.  I mean, the fact of the matter is, you know, I‘m up against the giant Goliath and I take solace and the biblical story of David.  In this case, I don‘t have a slingshot but I do have the truth on my side.  And without putting on a defense, let me emphasize again, the government failed to convict me of any corruption charges.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Comparing himself to David?  Blago, please.  And the people at Taiwan‘s next media animation are giving their take on this Blago mania.  This is a classic.  Watch this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER:  (SPEAKING MANDARIN)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN:  Oh, yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MAN:  Oh, no, what‘s he going to do with Obama?

ANNOUNCER:  (SPEAKING MANDARIN)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UYGUR:  That was awesome.  I can‘t get enough of those things.  You should have seen the one with Snooki and Obama. 

All right.  Coming up, Sarah Palin told Dr. Laura to reload this week.  She doesn‘t want any racist to be silenced, wow!  But watch out, Stephanie Miller is going to—both of them in Club Ed.  Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UYGUR:  It‘s Friday, which is awesome.  And even though Ed isn‘t here, we‘re going to take some time for Club Ed with Stephanie Miller, nationally syndicated radio show host.  Stephanie, we‘ve had couple of massive stories in the news this week.  Let‘s start with Palin and Dr. Laura.

STEPHANIE MILLER, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO SHOW HOST:  Well, first of all, Cenk, I love that the quitter from Twitter is urging someone else to quit.  And using that delightful borderline violent rhetoric, the whole reload thing to recruit yet another racist to the Tea Party.  For those of you, it was really a little too subtle, those signs showing watermelons on the White House lawn.  If that was little too subtle for you, now they have someone that will shout the “n” word repeatedly at their rallies.  Isn‘t that delightful?  

UYGUR:  It is and they‘re going to go to Beck‘s rally, to Palin is and they‘re going to go and reclaim civil rights.  From who?  That‘s what I can‘t understand.  

MILLER:  Yes.  And what I love Cenk, is this started as the best republican chick fight ever.  Dr. Laura didn‘t support Sarah Palin.  So, what‘s a woman with a special needs child doing running for office and why is she using her pregnant unmarried teenage daughter on state as a prop?  This is not someone from the left.  This is hilarious.  This started as the best Republican chick fight ever and now she‘s going the “n” word.  You go, girl.  It‘s like Republican mean girls.  I love this movie.  

UYGUR:  All right.  How about the mosque?  That‘s dominated the news all week. 

MILLER:  Well, first of all, it‘s not a mosque as you know.  And it‘s not at Ground Zero.  It‘s like an Islamic, I don‘t know, rec room, an Islamic rumpus room?  And it‘s not at Ground Zero.  And to me, it‘s exactly part of the solution to the problem.  I love the latest person to chime in Rudy Giuliani who would never dream of politicizing 9/11 in any way, he‘s accusing them of desecrating the memory of 9/11.  

UYGUR:  Right.  Al Franken was saying, what are they going to have? 

Muslim point guards because they‘ve got a nice basketball court?

MILLER:  Yes.

UYGUR:  That‘s absurd.

MILLER:  That‘s what with the big fears.  

UYGUR:  By the way, I‘m in favor of any place with basketball courts, so.  All right. 

MILLER:  My last dream, I want the African-American caller that called Dr. Laura to get her own show.  Because she‘s clearly much better therapist than Dr. Laura.  She‘s like, OK, I need to you breathe.  Yes.  You‘re not black, you‘re not black.  You want to show me on the doll where the black person touched you?  OK.  

(LAIGHTER)

UYGUR:  All right.  Stephanie, thank you. 

MILLER:  Thanks, Cenk.  

UYGUR:  All right.  Now, tonight in our survey, I asked you, do you think President Obama‘s health care reforms will survive until 2014?  Sixty eight percent said yes, 32 percent said no.  That‘s interesting.  Look, that‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Cenk Uygur.  It‘s been a great week.  Thanks for watching.  You could always catch me on The Young Turks at theyoungturks.com.  “HARDBALL” starts right now. 

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