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The Ed Show for Friday, May 4, 2012

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Guest Host: Michael Eric Dyson
Guests: Melissa Harris-Perry, James Peterson, Robert Reich, Dave Zirin, Dr. Scott Heath

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, GUEST HOST: Good evening, Americans. Welcome to
THE ED SHOW. I`m Michael Eric Dyson in for Ed Schultz who will be
appearing on "Real Time with Bill Maher" tonight. Check him out.

The new Republican line is that President Obama is the divider, not a
uniter. Tonight, we`re going to prove those Republicans wrong.

This is THE ED SHOW -- and as Ed would say -- let`s get to work.


divide America. He`s pitting one American against another American.

DYSON (voice-over): Republicans try to paint President Obama as the
divider in chief.

ROMNEY: He`s blaming one street or one type of person.

DYSON: Tonight, we prove how the president is actually the uniter in

us are not as strong as those that unite us.

DYSON: Dr. James Peterson will weigh in.

ROMNEY: He was a capable individual. We`re sorry to have him go.

DYSON: Mitt flops around the Grenell controversy.

Ted Nugent loses his cool once again.

TED NUGENT, MUSICIAN: If you can find a screening process more
powerful than that (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

DYSON: Melissa Harris Perry on Romney`s problem with the radical

NUGENT: I`m an extremely loving, passionate man.

DYSON: A former teammate of Junior Seau estimates the linebacker has
1,500 concussions during his career. "The Nation" magazine`s Dave Zirin
has the latest.

Beastie Boy`s co-founder Adam Yauch is dead at the age of 47.
Tonight, a look back at the life of a hip hop pioneer.

ADAM YAUCH, BEASTIE BOYS: The only way change will come about is
through mass public awareness and the area that I`m able to help --


DYSON: The right wing noise machine is working overtime to cast
President Barack Obama as the divider in chief. Here`s Mitt Romney
directly accusing President Obama of being divisive.


ROMNEY: He`s taking to dividing the American people. This nation was
not made great by Americans castigating and demonizing one another.


DYSON: It`s a theme Romney has been pushing since he became a
candidate. Here is Romney as he pivoted toward the general election
campaign a couple of weeks ago.


ROMNEY: Instead of taking responsibility and acknowledging what he`s
done wrong, he casts about looking for someone else to blame. He tries to
divide the American people. That`s what we`re in for. You`re going to see
one person after the other castigated. This is a president who is dividing


DYSON: Oh, boy. This is a classic Republican campaign tactic. They
want to paint Obama as the divider so Romney can cast himself as the

Today, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote that, quote,
"The entire Obama campaign is a slice and dice operation. It makes a
mockery of Obama`s polls as the great transcender, uniter, healer of

Charles Krauthammer, Mitt Romney and the right wing are operating from
some sort of parallel universe. After Obama was elected, he met with
Krauthammer and other conservative columnists to the chagrin of many
progressives. But, of course, we know that on the night of President
Obama`s inauguration, GOP leaders were literally plotting against him at
that very moment.

Here is the president today pushing for Congress to extend the low
interest rate on student loans.


is going to be just saying no to ideas that will create new jobs is not an
option. There`s too much at stake for us not to all be rowing in the same


DYSON: Now, think about that for a moment. A president who has had
too deal with an obstructionist Republican Party since day one and he is
still trying to speak in the theme of unity.

But House Speaker John Boehner says President Obama is just picking a
fight on the student loan issue, and Republicans pounce on everything that
he does. When President Obama talks of shared sacrifice and tax fairness,
the right cries class warfare.

President Obama has soundly rejected trickle down economics.


OBAMA: I`m here in Kansas to reaffirm my deep conviction that we`re
greater together than we are on our own. I believe that this country
succeeds when everyone gets fair shot, when everyone does their fair share,
when everyone plays by the same rules. These aren`t Democratic values or
Republican values. These aren`t 1 percent values or 99 percent values.
They`re American values, and we have to reclaim them.



DYSON: The right calls that class warfare.

You know, Jesse Jackson told me something once. He said, look, when
we were kids, you`d see some poor guy coming toward you trying to borrow
money for you. So, in order to beat him, you would preemptively strike.
You`d say, hey, give me some money, so that you would ask him before he
asks you. That`s what the Republicans are doing hear, crying class warfare
because they know they intend to practice it.

A pattern is developing here. They call President Obama divisive
when, in fact, he`s anything but. Mitt Romney even gave a prebuttal to
President Obama`s State of the Union address. He said Obama`s speech would
be divisive rhetoric from a desperate campaigner in chief.

But the main theme in the president`s speech was unity. And he
pointed to the Armed Forces and the Navy SEALs as a symbol of that unity.


OBAMA: They don`t obsess over their differences. They focus on the
mission at hand. They work together. Imagine what we could accomplish if
we followed their example. The SEALs who charged up the stairs -- more
than that the mission only succeed because every member of that unit
trusted each other.

Each time I look at that flag I`m reminded that our destiny is
stitched together like those 50 stars and those 13 stripes.


DYSON: The right wing uses projection politics. They are the ones
being divisive and they try to saddle the president with that claim, like
the great philosopher Shawn Carter said, we don`t believe you. You need
more people.

They have even castigated the president for being divisive on issues
of race. Newt Gingrich said, "President Obama`s comments on the Trayvon
Martin case were disgraceful, trying to turn it into a racial issue is
fundamentally wrong. I really find it appalling."

Here is President Obama on the Trayvon Martin case.


OBAMA: I think every parent in America should be able to understand
why it`s imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and that
everybody pulls together, federal, state and local to figure out how this
tragedy happened.

But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if
I had a son, he`d look like Trayvon.


DYSON: How much more reasonable, calm and empathetic do you have to
be? This sounds like empathy not division. And it`s not just words. The
president`s record is replete with instances of him finding common ground
with the reactionary right, which most of us on the left find pretty
reprehensible. Even the most recent legislation he signed, the JOBS Act,
was opposed by many progressives.

Get your cell phones out. I want to know what you think. Tonight`s
question: who is dividing the country? Text A for Mitt Romney, text B for
President Obama, to 622639, or go to our blog at

I`ll bring results later in the show.

Joining me now is Dr. James Peterson, director of Africana studies and
associate professor of English at Lehigh University.

Professor Peterson, thanks for coming on.


DYSON: You know, it`s so hard to know where to begin here because
those on the right called this president divisive. But the pattern seems
to be clear, they do it themselves to try to blame Obama for the mess that
they have gotten us into with their divisive politics.

PETERSON: You`re right. It`s projection politics. And I think a
certain point, the American voting populous is going to grow tired of the
Karl Rove playbook. This is what Karl Rove tries to do all the time. And
so, the Romney campaign is taking a page out of that playbook and all the
Republicans are rallying around this idea that this president is divisive.

We don`t have to be too smart to understand the ways in which
President Obama has moved toward consensus with every policy initiative
that he has started as he begun his presidency here. There`s no policy
that we can point to where President Obama wasn`t more interested in
consensus and in consensus-building in getting what he wanted for his base
or for the Democratic Party.

DYSON: So, what value do the Republicans get where creating a
narrative where Obama looks like he`s the divisive figure and they are
coming in as the heroic party to save the day?

PETERSON: I think the value for them right now is they`re trying to
throw anything up against the wall and see what`s going to stick. The poll
numbers are not looking so good in their favor. There`s a lot of sort of
vulnerability in Mitt Romney`s campaign. Obviously, he hasn`t done a good
job of uniting a different fragments of the Republican Party to get to
rally around him. You know, he had this terrible faux pas with Grenell.

I mean, he`s got a lot of different challenge to deal with this. So,
they`re actually trying different things to see what the voting populous
and what the American public and what the media is going to sort of cling
to here.

DYSON: Well, let`s take another example -- the war on Republican.
The Republicans are claiming it`s really the Obama administration that`s
waging a war on women. But let`s look at who is being divisive here.

The president wants to divide necessary help and health care for women
and they are the party, the Republicans, that talk about transvaginal
ultrasounds. I mean, what gives there?

PETERSON: Sure. I mean, the roll back on reproductive rights, or the
attempt to rollback reproductive rights is what the war on women is really
about. I mean, we can talk about all the different politics that are being
played right now.

But essentially, the Republicans have tried to make certain strategic
and political moves to challenge women`s rights again to satisfy their
base. Obviously, the president is leading in the polls still double digits
amongst women. And so, with that kind of gap, the campaign I think is a
little bit desperate and that`s where you get this sort of projection

DYSON: You know, in November 2008, the "Weekly Standard" recommended
seven ways the incoming president could show bipartisanship, things like
aborting criminal prosecutions of the Bush administration officials,
reappointing Robert Gates as the secretary of defense, appoint a judges`
judge to the Supreme Court, endorsing school choice. I mean --

PETERSON: The president did all of that.

DYSON: He did all of it. So, I mean -- that and more. Why is it
they are able to get or are they able to get any traction out of this
relentless assault?

PETERSON: Well, this is challenge to the American viewing public and
the folk who follow politics. It`s about us having the conversations and
the kind of discourse that really enlightens the viewers and enlightens the
voters. I mean, we`ve got to talk about these things because otherwise, in
the sort of minute to minute media sort of state of our lives, we kind of
lose and don`t forget some of the things that have happened prior.

So, we have to understand the things that you`d just laid out for us
and have a better appreciate of the ways in which, unfortunately, politics
is more like poli-tricks these days, right? It`s just different tricks and
different things that people try to do sort of move a flock or move a
certain demographic one way or the other. We`ve got to be much smarter
than they think we are.

DYSON: All right. Dr. James Peterson, thank you so very much.

PETERSON: Thank you for having me.

DYSON: Remember to answer tonight`s question there at the bottom of
the screen and share your thoughts on Twitter @EdShow. We want to know
what you think.

Coming up, a new report shows 26 straight months of private sector job
growth, but Republican attacks on the public sector are holding the economy
back. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich joins me next.

And one of the great linebackers of all time is dead. And now, his
family says he will donate his brain to science. Dave Zirin of "The
Nation" magazine is here with the latest on Junior Seau.

Stay around.


DYSON: Coming up on THE ED SHOW: the economy has had 26 months of job
growth, but it`s just not good enough for Republicans. Former Labor
Secretary Robert Reich joins me on the latest numbers and the GOP reaction.

You won`t believe who is questioning Mitt Romney`s leadership skills
after the resignation of an openly gay advisor. We`ll bring you the
details, and I`ll talk with MSNBC`s Melissa Harris Perry.

And later, we`ll take a look back at the life and legacy of Adam Yauch
of the Beastie Boys.

Be sure to catch "Real Time with Bill Maher" tonight at 10:00 p.m. Ed
will be on the panel and you know there will be some fireworks.

And share your thoughts with us on Twitter using the #EdShow.

We`ll be right back.



OBAMA: This morning, we learned that our economy created 130,000
private sector jobs in April, and the unemployment rate ticked down again.
So, after the worse economic crisis since the Great Depression, our
businesses have now created more than 4.2 million new jobs over the last 26
months, more than 1 million jobs in the last six months alone.


DYSON: President Obama is slowly but steadily turning things around.
After 26 straight months of private sector job growth, there are for the
first time more private sector jobs in America than there were when Obama
took office at the height of the recession.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a net gain of 115,000 jobs in
April and unemployment rate fell from 8.2 percent to 8.1 percent. Even
Mitt Romney admits this is good news. But he wants to be president so he
had to come up with why more jobs and lower unemployment is a bad thing.


ROMNEY: Just this morning, there was some news that came across the
wire that said the unemployment rate has dropped to 8.1 percent. And
normally, that would be cause for celebration. But in fact, anything over
8 percent, anything near 8 percent, anything over 4 percent is not cause
for celebration.

We should be seeing numbers in the 500,000 jobs created for a month.
This is way, way, way off from what should happen in a normal recovery.


DYSON: The reality is 500,000 jobs a month ands for 4 percent
unemployment is far from normal. The economy has only created at least
500,000 jobs a month 16 times since 1939. It`s only happened four times in
the last 50 years. Incidentally, 13 of those 16 months were during
Democratic administration administrations. The last time the unemployment
rate was below 4 percent was December of 2000, under a Republican who
raised taxes, something Republicans insist will kill jobs.

But while Mitt Romney protects tax cuts for the wealthy, there`s an
entire category of jobs he`s eager to eliminate.


ROMNEY: People asked me what will I do to help create jobs. One
thing I know I`m not going to do is go hire a bunch of more people in the
federal government. As a matter of fact, the president`s put about 150,000
more people in government. And, of course, you`re paying for them. That
doesn`t lift the wages and create the jobs in the private sector that
employ the American people.


DYSON: You know, Governor Romney, I`d like to know who you think is
employed in government jobs if it`s not the American people. The
Republican demonization of public sector jobs, teachers, cops,
firefighters, is impending and impeding of overall job growth.

Public sector jobs have fallen by 608,000 since President Obama took

Let`s turn to Robert Reich, former secretary of labor under President
Bill Clinton, now a professor of public policy at the University of
California at Berkeley. He`s also the author of "Beyond Outrage: What Has
Gone Wrong with Our Economy and Our Democracy and How to Fix It".

Secretary Reich, thank you so much for joining us here today.


DYSON: Let`s do a Bush-Obama comparison. Under President Obama,
private sector jobs are up 35,000. Public sector jobs down 608,000. Under
President George W. Bush, private sector jobs feel 646,000 jobs. Public
sector jobs increased 1.7 million.

So, why did Republicans start demonizing government jobs and what are
the ramifications of public sector job loss?

REICH: Well, the biggest problem we face right now, the reason the
economy, at least the recovery is slowing a bit and we saw a slow down, we
have seen a little bit of a slow down, is because of the cuts in government
employment, and also the cuts in government spending that hire private
sector individuals to build roads and bridges and erect schools and so

In other words, what`s happening is we are following, because of the
Republicans. I mean, this is not what the Democrats wanted. This is not
what the president wanted. The president did not want to send the stimulus
this way, but because of what the Republicans have insisted on and what
Romney would do, we are seeing a slowing down of the economic recovery.

And, you know, this is exactly what Europe has done. This is the kind
of austerity economics that got Europe into deep, deep trouble. When you
have so many people unemployed, when you have so much underutilized
capacity in the economy, you do not want to slice government jobs and you
don`t want to slice private sector jobs that are dependent on government

DYSON: Well, you know, something else is no often spoken about, of
course, is that because of declining revenues and, you know, budget
shortfalls, a lot of local and state economies are just slashing public
sector jobs and those have a deleterious and disproportionate impact upon
African-Americans and upon women. And what ends up happening is that they
get hit even hardest and they are the most vulnerable to begin with.

Tell us about how destructive that practice is.

REICH: Well, it has a negative multiplier effect, because when you
are at the state level, at the local level, and at the federal level, when
you are cutting jobs, and a lot of these jobs are African-Americans, a lot
of them are Latinos and Hispanics and women, look at all the teachers that
have been cut across America, in terms of state and local budgets.

I mean, you are hurting people who are the back rock of their
communities, the backbone of their communities. These are people whose
money turns around and buys things on Main Street. If they don`t have
money in their pocket, then a lot of other people don`t have jobs. I mean,
that`s the negative multiplier effect we`ve seen across this country.

Also, the assumption that all government spending is on government
employees is itself a mythology.

DYSON: Right.

REICH: Most of government spending is on private sector. And the
private sector and we`re talking about contractors and everybody else, they
employ a lot of people. If you cut back on that spending, when you have
high unemployment, you`re going to make things worse.

DYSON: Look, we got 30 seconds left. The unemployment rate has been
dropping -- Mitt Romney said normally that would be a good thing.

Why can`t he just admit this is a good thing? Is it pure politics

REICH: Mitt Romney does not want to admit anything is a good thing.
I mean -- but he doesn`t want to come up with ideas for how to do it

DYSON: All right. Robert Reich, thank you so very much.

REICH: Thanks very much.

DYSON: Mitt Romney says President Obama has a leadership problem.
Yet Romney can`t stand up to the religious right or Ted Nugent for that.
Melissa Harris-Perry will join me next.

Later, as President Obama prepares to kick off his re-election
campaign, Mitt Romney pins a op-ed about the president`s economic record.
We`ll set Mitt straight.

Stay tuned.


DYSON: The fall out continues over the abrupt resignation of a Romney
campaign spokesman, raising the question if Mitt Romney can`t stand up to
his own party, how can he lead the entire country?

Last month, the Romney camp hired former Bush administration official
Richard Grenell to serve as a policy foreign spokesman. Despite Grenell`s
neocon credentials, the radical right took issue with the hiring because
Grenell is openly gay.

Earlier this week, Grenell resigned. One GOP advisor telling "The New
York Times" it`s not that the campaign cared whether Rick Grenell was gay.
They believed this was a nonissue but they didn`t want to confront the
religious right."

Mitt Romney went on FOX News, not to defend Grenell or speak against
intolerance. Instead, he offered this smelly (ph) mouth, lukewarm


ROMNEY: Well, we wanted him to stay with our team. He`s a very
accomplished spokesperson. We select people not based upon their ethnicity
or their sexual preference or their gender, but upon their capability.


DYSON: We are the world -- really?

Romney senior advisor Eric Fehrnstrom gave a more passionate defense.


you know, there were voices of intolerance that expressed themselves during
this debate. That was unfortunate. Mitt Romney has confronted those
voices of intolerance. He did it last October on stage at the values
voters summit where he denounced some of the poisonous language that`s
being used by some of the same people who had criticized Rick Grenell`s


DYSON: Wow. Makes a lot of sense to me but that response didn`t sit
well with Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association. Earlier this
week, Fischer called the Grenell`s departure a huge win for social
conservatives. Now, Fischer`s attacking Romney`s botched response, calling
it a classic Romney etch-a-sketch moment.


People have raised this question. If Mitt Romney, if Mitt Romney can be
pushed around intimidated, coerced, co-opted by a conservative radio talk
show host in Middle America, then how he is going to stand up to the
Chinese? How is he going to stand up to Putin? How is he going to stand
up to North Korea if he can be pushed around by a yokel like me?

I mean, I don`t think Romney is realizing kind of the doubts that this
begins to raise about his leadership.


DYSON: And there`s more problems for Romney. Supporter Ted Nugent
isn`t backing down from incendiary comments he made about President Obama.
In fact, he claims the Romney campaign supports him.


REPORTER: You had a conversation earlier this year with Mitt Romney.

NUGENT: I did.

REPORTER: You endorsed Mitt Romney?

NUGENT: I did.

REPORTER: Have you heard from the Romney campaign after these

NUGENT: I have.


NUGENT: I have to say what I say the way I say it.

REPORTER: Were they unhappy with you for saying that?

NUGENT: No. They expressed support.

REPORTER: Did they say to you, listen, we appreciate the support,
tone it down?


REPORTER: They didn`t.

NUGENT: I got the sensation it was not from Mitt himself or Mrs.
Romney, stay on course, Ted. Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing.


DYSON: Indeed it is. I`m joined by the literate, lively and lovely,
Melissa Harris-Perry, Tulane University professor, columnist for "The
Nation" and host of MSNBC`s "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY," nerd land comes to
night land.

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: It is so nice to be in here, in
this room with you.

DYSON: Oh, my God. It`s great to have you here. So Mitt Romney
claims President Obama has a leadership problem. But Melissa, it appears
that he`s the one -- he can`t even get his own party in order. He can`t
even get his own campaign in order. What`s he going to say to the nation
about his leadership?

HARRIS-PERRY: Let me give the most fair reading of Romney that I
possibly can on this. And it`s two things. One, it`s not surprising to me
that somebody who has just come out of a bruising primary is not yet in
control of their party. That is not exceptional, nor necessarily does it
say anything about his leadership per se.

There will come a point probably post-GOP convention where Romney will
be much more a leader of the party, where he can put his own voice forward.

The second thing I want to say is look, even among some of the most
progressive voices in American history, we have had people, leaders who
have walked away from gay and lesbian supporters because of the ways in
which we as a country have made it possible for that to happen. So we will
talk this -- tomorrow on my show about Martin Luther King Jr. walking away
from Bayard Rustin because Rustin was openly gay.

So I want to be careful. But what I want to push on here is Romney
here -- to me this is not so much an issue of leadership. It`s about his
actual issue positions, his actual policies, his actual perception around
inequality and the fact that it`s OK -- it`s acceptable to Romney that
whole groups of people will be fundamentally second class citizens.

DYSON: Right. Yes, it`s good you`re going to talk about that King
stuff, because of course it wasn`t in the high water mark of his career.
But you had Adam Clayton Powell in the background threatening and
blackmailing King. And it was an extraordinarily difficult time. But it`s
a great point.

So the Romney campaign denies having contact with Ted Nugent. But
guess what, here is more of Nugent defending himself.


TED NUGENT, SINGER/ACTIVIST: I`m an extremely loving, passionate man.
And people who investigate me honestly, without the baggage of political
correctness, ascertain the conclusion that I`m a damn nice guy. And if you
can find a screening process more powerful than that, I`ll (EXPLETIVE
DELETED) or (EXPLETIVE DELETED). How does that sound?


DYSON: Yeah, like a bleeped out rap record is how it sounds.

HARRIS-PERRY: That looks like love to me, Michael Eric Dyson. I am a
very nice person. Deeply loving.

DYSON: You are very loving. And I am from Detroit. And the madman
from Detroit is making even me look calm. How big of a problem is this for
Mitt Romney?

HARRIS-PERRY: Look, the fact is it is a real problem. The folks who
are trying to decide whether or not Mitt Romney is going to be their
candidate -- so it`s no problem for the people who have already decided
he`s not their candidate, no problem for those who have already decided
that he is. But there`s a group that are trying to make up their mind.

And he`s been through a bruising primary. They are trying to decide
who is this guy? Who does he surround himself with? Who does he think is
sort of reasonable? This sort of extremism is not good for that middle

DYSON: Right. So how do you think then they handled the Richard
Grenell situation? You know, you talk about King 40 some years ago. Here
we are 40 years later. Homophobia is deep and pervasive still. Did he
miss an opportunity to bring in new folk under the bigger and increasing
tent of the Republican party?

HARRIS-PERRY: He did just do a George W. Bush. What is constantly
surprising to me is why this crop of Republicans won`t be as good as George
W. Bush was in terms of like big tent politics, saying actually there`s
enough room here. We may not support marriage equality, you know, based on
whatever positions.

But I`ll also say this: he`s also missing an opportunity to talk about
his LDS Mormon identity as an identity that could link him to people who
have been oppressed. So he could say look, I am from a people who were
pushed out of their homeland, who were pushed out of their state, who were
made to flee under fear of death. I am not going to treat a member of my
own staff in that way.

And it would -- it would actually reframe one of his biggest
challenges, which is being Latter Day Saints.

DYSON: All right, Melissa Harris-Perry, she`s a saint in this latter
day. We appreciate her coming on.

There`s a lot more coming up in the next half hour on THE ED SHOW.
Stay tuned.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve talked to guys who are in their early 40s,
who have already been diagnosed with dementia.


DYSON: Former NFL player Junior Seau `s suicide is shedding light on
the dangers of pro football. I`ll ask Dave Zirin about the future of the

President Obama is kicking off his campaign tomorrow. Romney is
writing a letter full of lies. We`ll have the latest.

And Hip hop legend MC8, Adam Yauch, is dead at the age of 47. Tonight
a look back at a founding member of the Beastie Boys.


DYSON: Forty eight hours after we learned that NFL legend Junior Seau
committed suicide, there are major developments today. His family says
they will donate the linebackers brain to science. And a former teammate
is shedding some light on what Seau may have been suffering through.

Seau, of course, was one of the best linebackers to ever put on a
uniform. He played 20 years in the NFL, mainly for the San Diego Charges.
He was a 12 time Pro Bowler who had only been retired for three years when
he committed suicide on Wednesday by shooting himself in the chest.

Seau`s former teammate, Gary Plummer, says "multiple grade one
concussions are a part of every NFL game. As a middle linebacker in the
NFL, if you don`t have grade one effects each game, you were inactive the
next game. Junior played for 20 years. That`s five concussions a game
easily. How many in his career then? That`s over 1,500 concussions. I
know that`s startling. But I know it`s true."

Today on MSNBC, former Green Bay Packer`s running back Dorsey Levens
made it sound even worse.


DORSEY LEVENS, FORMER NFL PLAYER: Initially, we thought having a
concussion meant you were unconscious. But we now know, in talking to
experts around the country, that every time you get your bell rung or a
dinger, that is an actual concussion, which is kind of shocking to me when
I talk to the doctor, because for me to happen two or three times a game,
early in my career and training camp when I played full back, four or five
times a practice, twice a day. So we`re talking eight to ten times a


DYSON: That`s really pretty stunning. Let`s turn to Dave Zirin,
sports editor for "The Nation" magazine. Brother Zirin, welcome to the

DAVE ZIRIN, "THE NATION": Hello, Michael.

DYSON: Look, Seau is now the third former NFL player since February
of last year to commit suicide. Remember former Bear Dave Duerson shot
himself in the chest and left a note asking for his brain to be researched.
Tell us what`s going on here. This is pretty startling.

ZIRIN: What`s going on is 1,500 former players are now suing the
National Football League. What`s going on is that the level of
consciousness amongst NFL players about what they may have gone through and
contrasting that with what they were told by team medical staffs is sending
shock waves among the alumni of former NFL players.

I`ve talked to so many players over the last couple of weeks, since
Ray Easterling took his own life on -- on April 19th. They all say the
same thing to me. They say if I had known the risks going in, I may have
made very different decisions about how long I played and about certain
safety precautions I may have taken as a player.

One player said to me, look, I knew going in I could lose my knees, I
could lose my hips. I didn`t know I wouldn`t be able to remember the names
of my children.

DYSON: That he could therefore lose his mind. So look, do we know
any details that make us believe that Seau thought he had a problem with
concussions? Because a lot of this stuff is just now coming in. Players
are just now beginning to understand. Were there any symptoms? Did he
express that he had a problem in any way?

ZIRIN: We know four things that I`d like to share with you. The
first is that his ex-wife Gina (ph) has come forward and said yes, he had
many concussions during his playing career. We know that a good friend of
his named Tyler Twelman (ph), who played in Mayor League Soccer, he went
out to dinner with Junior a couple weeks ago and he was complaining about
his on concussion problems. And he asked Junior if he ever had

And Junior said, I basically had one and it lasted for 20 years. It`s
like a headache that`s never stopped.

The other thing that we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, and this is
what`s truly damning here, Michael, and this is what makes it a true
citizens` issue that we need to discuss, is that in Junior Seau`s two-
decade career, he was not publicly diagnosed with a concussion once, not

So there are only one of two conclusions we can draw from that.
Either an angel was on his shoulder for two decades of playing in the
National Football League or there was some sort of collusion, maybe between
Junior and the team doctors, about not reporting these injuries when they
took place. That was the mind set forever in the National Football League.

And according to Junior`s family, they certainly believe that he paid
a price for that.

DYSON: Clearly. So Dorsey Levens is one of the former players suing
the NFL regarding their handling of concussions. We just saw from him what
he said. So what`s the NFL doing about this? Because when you see this
coming -- obviously this is new information. This is now being revealed.

Roger Goodell has something to do. Demaris Smith (ph) has something
to do. What do they do in light of this? Then you have the bounty program
with the Saints going on. It`s an extraordinary stew that`s quite chaotic.

ZIRIN: It`s amazing. I mean, people call the NFL -- the slang for it
is the Shield. I`m seeing a lot of people, particularly in the sports
media, lining up to protect the Shield. But who is the Shield protecting
right now? It`s protecting Roger Goodell and it`s protecting a multi-
billion dollar industry, which is the largest form of entertainment, not
just sports, but form of entertainment in these United States.

Roger Goodell talks a very good game about being concerned for player
safety. But at the same time, he wants it to be an 18-game season. He
wants to make the seasons longer. That to me, right off -- right from Jump
Street, makes him not an honest broker when we talk about issues of player

Roger Goodell is also trying to stonewall these 1,500 players who are
doing this class action lawsuit. If he was serious about getting to the
bottom of this, what he would do would be to impanel a team of neurologists
that would be independent of the National Football League, so we can
finally get some true answers, not just for NFL players, but for children
as young as five years old in this country who play in tackle football
leagues, so we actually know, without a shadow of a doubt, what the real
risk factors are in playing tackle football.

DYSON: All right. All very interesting. We`ll certainly stay on top
of this. Dave Zirin, thank you so much for joining us.

ZIRIN: My privilege, Michael.

DYSON: Coming up, Mitt Romney pins a letter to the president on the
eve of his campaign kickoff in Ohio. Naturally, the former governor
couldn`t get through a few paragraphs without lying. We`ll set the record
straight. Stay with us.


DYSON: The presumptive Republican nominee wrote an open letter to
President Obama in the "Cleveland Plain Dealer" today. President Obama
will be kicking off his campaign in the state tomorrow. Ordinarily, THE ED
SHOW ignores this type of blather. But in it, Mr. Romney continues his
lies and distortions.

And we felt it required a response. Mr. Romney went through his
normal distortions on job creation and how the president should be held
accountable for jobs before he entered office and before his policies were
passed and could take affect.

But he did get closer to reality when he wrote his, quote, "I
recognize, of course, as do all Americans, that you inherited an economic
crisis, but you`ve now had three years to turn things around. The record
of those three years is clear. Your policies have failed not only in Ohio
but across the nation."

Nice of you to recognize what everybody else has long known, but you
don`t admit that the economy was in free fall. Let`s take a look at Ohio
and job creation in the country in these last three years.

Ohio has gone from 10.6 unemployment in July of 2009 to 7.5 percent as
of March this year. With help from the thriving auto industry that you
wanted to let go bankrupt -- can`t ever stop saying that -- and increased
manufacturing jobs, the nation as a whole has seen 26 months of private
sector job growth.

While nobody is satisfied, it`s certainly better than under your
party`s rule that was killing jobs at an alarming rate before President
Obama got into office.

Mr. Romney also attacked President Obama, claiming he was
inexperienced. Quote, "Mr. President, forgive me for being blunt, but when
it comes to economic affairs, you`re out of your depth. Unlike you, I am
not a career politician. Unlike you, I`ve spent more than two decades
working in the private sector, starting new businesses and turning around
failing ones."

Mr. Romney, forgive me for being blunt. You are a career candidate.
The only reason you are not a career politician is because you can`t win
elections. Loser.

Your time in the private sector was spent outsourcing and destroying
companies so that you could personally profit. Bluntness hurts, especially
when truth is attached.

Finally, Mr. Romney, as always, addressed in a vague way how he would
make changes. Quote, "I have a path forward to accomplish that. I will
cut individual tax rates by 20 percent across the board to jump start job
creation. I will reform a corporate tax system that drives American jobs
overseas. I`ll slash the needless regulations that crimp our energy supply
and inhibit so many different kinds of businesses."

Governor Romney, you do not have a path forward. You have a direct
road map back to the past. Your policies are nothing more than an
expansion of the Bush policies that put us in the ditch to begin with.

Tax cuts for the rich didn`t create jobs for the middle class under
Bush. Deregulation only made the rich stronger and the economy weaker.
And protecting big oil didn`t improve our energy production or national

As you said, welcome to the campaign. Welcome to THE ED SHOW, where
we will be documenting your lies and promoting the truth every night.

Up next, a rap legend passes away. We`ll pay tribute to Adam Yauch of
the Beastie Boys. Stay tuned.


DYSON: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Tonight in our survey, I asked
you who is dividing the country? Ninety five percent say Mitt Romney; five
percent say President Obama.

Coming up, remembering a hip hop legend. Dr. Scott Heath joins me
discuss the legacy of Beastie Boys co-founder Adam Yauch and what it means
to the music world and beyond. Stay tuned.



DYSON: That`s classic stuff, man. Tonight the world is morning the
loss of a hip hop legend, Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys. Yauch, known to
fans as MCA, He co-founded the group along with Mike Diamond and Adam
Horowitz in the early `80s. The band was originally punk but soon began
experimenting with hip hop and rap.

In 1986, the Beastie Boys went mainstream. Their album "License To
Ill" was the first hip hop album to hit number one on the album`s chart.
The group helped define the rap and hip hop scene in the `80s, and stayed
popular for over a quarter of a century.

Yauch was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and was unable to see his band
get inducted into the Rock `n Roll Hall of Fame just last month. Fellow
Beastie Boys Ed Rock and Mike D read a letter from Yauch, which read in
part, "I`d like to dedicate this to my brothers, Adam and Mike. They
walked the globe with me. It`s also for anyone who has ever been touched
by our hand. This induction is as much ours as it is yours."

Adam Yauch lost his battle with cancer today at the age of 47. His
mother telling the "New York Times" he was hopeful to the very end. Yauch
leaves behind a wife, a daughter and millions of fans, including me.

I`m joined by Dr. Scott Heath. He`s a professor of African-American
literature and black popular culture at Georgia State University. Welcome
to the show, my friend.


DYSON: I`m doing fine, my man, Scott. Look, this is a big loss for
the music world. But give us a sense of just how huge it is.

HEATH: Well, it`s huge because of what Adam Yauch, MCA, represents
and what the Beastie Boys represented, in terms of the development of hip
hops during its early stages of expansion, its experimental stages of
expansion. You know, the Beastie Boys very keenly represented the
intersection of punk and rap music, something that Def Jam was actually
pushing, you know, that was central to the development of Def Jam.

Of course, Def Jam was a very seminal label in the development of hip
hop and in the globalization of hip hop culture.

DYSON: Sure. Well, think about it, not only they are white guys,
they are Jewish white guys. So the relationship between black and Jews in
culture has been a storied one, although a complicated and difficult one.
Tell us about how they bridged the gulf and took the message of a black art
form into the broader world as three hip Jewish guys.

HEATH: Right. Well, three hip Jewish guys, three hip white guys who
are working through a black based genre. Again, I think the timing
mattered a lot. But also their skill-set, their acumen. I think that
their excitement as artists, their enthusiasm as artists out stripped the
criticism that they received for simply being white, criticism that
obviously other people working in the rap genre have experienced in recent
years, still continue to experience as non-black artists.

But the Beastie Boys were important also because of what they were
suggesting as a model for a generation who attaches itself to hip hop
culture. Adam Yauch himself was not just a rapper. He was also an artist
and producer working across media. He was not just a rapper, but he was
someone who was defining himself as a freedom activists.

These are things that hip hop artists 20 years later would be aspiring
toward for themselves.

DYSON: Well, isn`t it interesting, there was a big outpouring of
condolences from elected officials today. Yet, as "Talking Points Memo"
points out, the Beastie Boys were a political punching bag in the 1980s.
The Beastie Boys were one of the targets of Tipper Gore`s Parent`s Music
Resource Center, a committee of political spouses fighting obscenity. What
kind of impact have the Beastie Boys had on pop culture over the 25 years -
- over the past 25 years?

We got one minute, but I know you can nail it.

HEATH: Well, right, you know, they were targets simply because of
their range of influence. You know, if they`re not influencing nobody, if
nobody is hearing them, if nobody`s seeing them, then nobody is going to
care. They were targeted largely because of their reach. They contributed
very much to the diversification of hip hop`s audience, to the
globalization of hip hop culture itself.

They literally took it around the world at a time when hip hop was
really deciding what it wanted to be.

DYSON: All right. Dr. Scott Heath, thank you so much for your time

HEATH: Thank you, Mike.

DYSON: That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Michael Eric Dyson, in for Ed
Schultz. Don`t forget, Ed will be a guest on HBO`s "Real-time With Bill
Maher" tonight at 10:00 PM Eastern. You don`t want to miss it.

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now. Good evening, Rachel

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Mike. You did a
tremendous job this hour. You got a future for you in this business.

DYSON: Well coming from the master herself, I appreciate that.

MADDOW: See. Even in flattery, you`re perfect. It`s great to see
you. Well done. Thanks, man.


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