THE ED SHOW
August 12, 2014
Guest: Allison Riggs, Lizz Winstead, Jon Soltz
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their baby was executed in broad day light.
LES MCSPADDEN, MICHAEL BROWN`S GRANDFATHER: These black kids here in St.
Louis and I`m sure around the world, they might as well walk around with a
target on their back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re not God. You don`t deciding when you`re going
to take somebody from earth.
JON BELMAR, ST. LOUIS COUNTY POLICE CHIEF: I want to assure you that this
is a very complicated investigation as it should be.
MICHAEL BROWN SENIOR, MICHAEL BROWN`S FATHER: We need justice for our son.
We need justice for our son.
BELMAR: A man lost his life and there`s a police officer involved in this.
And we need to make sure that this investigation is done right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, MSNBC HOST: New calls for the justice and the
investigation on Michael Brown`s death, authorities in Ferguson, Missouri
decided earlier today not to reveal the name of the officer who shot and
killed the unarmed teenager on Saturday. Due to threats received on social
media NBC`s John Yang interviewed the Ferguson Chief of Police earlier
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM JACKSON, FERGUSON, MO POLICE: It went out over social media that the
officer that was involved in the shooting was Michael White, it was not.
Michael White not involved in this incident at all. However death treats
are coming in right away from around the country. And based on that and
that is one reason -- officer`s safety is a reason that we can delay and we
think it`s prudent that we do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Officers say there is no timetable for the release of the name.
And the decision is up to Chief Jackson and City authorities. The officer
is on paid leave. Witnesses say Michael Brown`s body was on the street for
sometime after he was shot. An autopsy has been completed but the medical
examiner`s office is not releasing any details.
Either the prosecutor`s office of the St. Louis county police will
determine whether or not they will release any information on the autopsy.
Police are bracing for more protest expected today. Less than 24 hours
after SWAT teams fired tear gas and rubber bullets on angry protesters
during a second night of violent demonstration last night.
The FBI has officially opened an investigation into the shooting. Looking
they say for a protection and civil rights violation. Attorney General
Eric Holder says attorneys from the justice department will work with the
FBI agents and he will receive regular updates. He released this statement
Monday night, "The Federal investigation will supplement, rather than
supplant, the inquiry by local authorities. At every step, we will work
with the local investigations, who should be prepared to complete a
thorough, fair investigation in their own right."
On short time ago, President Obama released this statement, "The Death of
Michael Brown is heartbreaking. And Michelle and I send our deepest
condolences to his family and this community at this very difficult time.
As Attorney General Holder has indicated, the department of justice is
investigating the situation along with local officials. And they will
continue to direct resources to the case as needed. I know the events of
the past few days prompted strong passions.
But as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across
the country to remember this young man through reflection and
understanding. We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a
way that heals, not in a way that wounds. Along with our prayers, that`s
what Michael and his family, and our broader American community deserve."
The sensitivity of this incident can be observed over social media. The
New York Times highlighted the eruption the incident has caused. Twitter
users have been posting condolences as well as outrage. Michael Brown`s
family is calling for justice and peace. The Reverend Al Sharpton spoke to
Michael Brown`s family and his heart broken mother was searching for answer
on Politics Nation Monday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESLEY MCSPADDEN, MICHAEL BROWN`S MOTHER: Nothing, nothing, nobody could
say -- could ever explain to me that he provoked this, that he wanted this
or asked but his it`s not. Not my son. There`s no crime in walking down
the street. No crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Lesley McSpadden went on to describe her son as gentle giant, a
teddy bear who did not deserve this treatment. At the request of the
family of Michael Brown, Reverend Al Sharpton, president of the National
Action Network traveled to Ferguson, Missouri and met with his earlier this
Earlier today a news conference was held with the family on the stairs of
the old court house in St. Louis Missouri. He relayed a message of peace
that Lesley McSpadden, Michael Brown`s mother refer to him as a gentle
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK PRESIDENT: No one has the right to
take their child`s name and drag it through the mud because you are angry.
To become violent in Michael Brown`s name is to betray the gentle giant
that he was. Don`t be so angry that you distort the image of who his
mother and father told us he was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: At 8:00 p.m. Eastern a forum will be held at Christ the King,
United Church of Christ where Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III and Police
Chief Jackson are expected to be on hand to answer questions. Joining me
now is Trymaine Lee, msnbc.com national reporter who`s in Ferguson,
Missouri right now. Trymaine, what`s the feeling, the vibe and the
sensation on the ground there with you right now?
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC.COM NATIONAL REPORTER: And Michael, it was just about
a year ago, I was in another small town in the South called Sanford,
Florida in the wake of another killing of an unarmed Black man. And in
that community there tension that had been boiling over for years. It`s
not dissimilar from this situation. This is a collection of small
community that had been under the thumb of these alleged police abuses and
a long history distrust within the community. Michael Brown`s killing on
Saturday tipped it over and lifted the lid off the pot. And so people are
angry. Young people have been disaffected, are upset. It has gone over
And the thing now is, where do they go from here? When we talk about
resources, we talk about issues in the schools, it`s no different than
Detroit or Chicago or Camden, New Jersey. But here in this small town in
St. Louis, there`s not have a history of really allowing the violence to
unfurl in response to these kinds of issues, we see it here. So people are
still very concerned, pretty angry, and now it`s where do they go from
DYSON: Is it fair for people -- and we heard the Reverend Al Sharpton
talked about the fact that violence would besmirch the reputation of this
young man. It`s an unfair burden to be placed on the community, on
Reverend Sharpton and on the family. So, but the reality is this, is that
the politics of respectability that we have to be perfect in order to be
recipients of justice has to be checked and challenged, so is it fair to
blame people who, once you cut off their legs, so to speak, they can`t
walk, so that the violence is a response to the invincibility or
voicelessness that they felt. Is there a sense that people have to speak
in this way or is it the violence will be curtailed because they respect
what Reverend Sharpton said?
LEE: I mean I think some would say to move the ball in any direction they
wonder whether violence is the answer at all. But when people don`t have
the tools, don`t have the agency or where with all or any other path to
express themselves in any other way, it leads to violence. And when you
talk to these young people, I`ve talked to several of them over the last
few days no one is coming down to talk to them. No one is coming down to
address their needs.
And so when it`s time for them to set it off in the way they did there`s no
other reaction from the people, you know, so we`ve seen a gathering with
Reverend Sharpton and other community leaders. But folks down here say
they haven`t come to talk to them. And so I`m not sure if we can question
whether or not is was right or wrong or justified. But some of these
people saw that there`s no other tool, there`s no other agency.
DYSON: So where is the leadership there because there seems to be a gulf
opening up between younger generations of African-Americans and others who
feel that the older generation has not addressed them and yet the older
generation wants to abide by the law, so to speak, in order to investigate
this with proper -- improper fashion? Where is the Lacuna? Where is the
gap down there in terms of leadership?
LEE: The gap is huge, and I`m sure how much of it is in the leadership.
But when we look at this generational gap, those that came before, a
generation or two before this, they had a framework, right? And you know
how to protest. You can assemble at a certain kind of way. These young
people have never had that. And so while, you know, a whole new
generation, a whole class of, you know, middle class, black folks that
moved on and filled the churches and are going on, live productive lives,
there are generations of young people still suffering and still struggling
without any real framework in how to address these disparities and issues.
DYSON: Right. You spoke with Dorian Johnson, a friend of Michael Brown
who says he stood just feet away as a police officer shot and killed the
unarmed teen. What stands out to you most after speaking to him?
LEE: I think after speaking to him I think part of it is a lot of
questions were kind answered. There`s so much mystery around this case.
But the fact that police say that there was physical altercation and at
least one gun shot was fired from within the car. Dorian Johnson, says
that once the police, you know, encountered them that he grabbed Michael
Brown by his throat and fired the first gunshot seated in his patrol car.
And that as the two ran the officer follow and fired several more shots one
strike -- at least one strike him in the back.
And I think the fact that this all began with an order as, Dorian Johnson
to get the F1 to sidewalk from a police officer, I think -- it seem that
this whole encounter could have been avoided. Again, we don`t know all the
facts. The local authorities are still conducting their investigation.
But it`s pretty astounding that it all started with an order to get the F
on the sidewalk.
DYSON: Well, do you anticipate more violence and more eruption, more
disdain, more anger to be expressed tonight?
LEE: I`m not sure how we capture it, whether it is accusation of violence,
but I don`t think it`s over yet. Day by day, things seem to be cooling off
but the anger that`s just under the surface and this is a whole generation
of young people making noise and taking action in the best way that they
know how. I`m not sure we`re going to see this end, any time soon.
DYSON: All right, Trymaine Lee, thank you so much. Let me bring in Dr.
James Peterson, MSNBC contributor and director of Africana Studies at
Lehigh University. Let`s take right up James Peterson where Trymaine Lee
There`s a tremendous disparity going on here. Black people who felt that
they`re voiceless and invisible and left alone for so many decades, then
when they erupt because of the mistreatment to which they are subject, they
are then blamed for their own behavior. And implicitly suggesting that
that behavior is why the young man got shot in the first place. How do
those who want to maintain the peace avoid that kind of trap, falling into
that which implicitly blames the very people, they claimed they want to
JAMES PETERSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think first and foremost, for
us to be outraged at the response to the murder of Michael Brown doesn`t
make a lot of sense to me, because the outrage needs to be directed at the
source. You know, they can handle the riot and stop the riot and control
the riot, but the real question is, can we get our criminal justice system,
can we get these police departments to acknowledge the humanity of black
and brown folks.
And so, I think our energy needs to be focus on that. It`s not that
rioting is a good thing but as you know, ML (ph) said, their rioting is
sort of the language of the oppressed and those who are silence. And those
young people in that community have been oppressed and they`ve been
silence. And just think about the terror in that community Doc. I mean
that body was laying there for hours, that terrorizes the community. When
the police sort of abused their power, and when it reaches the peak the way
it has in Ferguson at this point in time, those communities have been
terrorized for a longtime.
So think about the violence enacted upon those communities, the conditions
in which they`re living in the ways in which that is emblematized by the
murder of Michael Brown. Those are the things we just stayed focused on,
to be talking about the riot, for me, personally, it`s a red herring.
DYSON: Yeah. You know, yesterday, you mentioned this and I want to kind
of underscore this. You talked about the dehumanizing impact of the
perceptual lens through which these young people are viewed. Speak to us a
bit more about what happens. There have been study after study done,
there`s been study after study done talking about the dehumanizing impact
of seeing young black kids not quite as innocent as young white kids and
others and therefore depriving them of their human status.
PETERSON: Yeah, I mean there are scores of studies that -- the one that
stands up most to me though is the one that Rosa Clemente and the good
folks over at the Malcolm X Grassroots organization did that looks at the
sort of cycle violence every 28 hours and so we see unarmed black and brown
young people killed either by vigilantes, so-called vigilantes or law
enforcement. That means that this is systemic and it`s getting out of
control and probably has been out of control for sometime.
But what`s required, the predicate to that kind of sustained systemic
violence in our communities, the predicates to that is the sort of sense of
dehumanization and there have been lots of social psychological studies
that just sort of underscore this. Not just in the communities, not just
among mainstream folk but also amongst police forces that a young black
boys are seen as men so they`re robbed with their innocence just by people
looking at them and thinking them as being menacing.
The implicit bias test which shows all of our biases and reveals all of the
biases but you put that in the hands of someone who has a gun and it`s
literally life and death in those implicitly bias informed decisions.
PETERSON: And so, we`ve got to really wrestle with some of the deeper and
more sustained challenges here and thinking and talking about the responds,
the riding and unrest, to me, just seems to be distraction from what the
real situation, with the real problem is.
DYSON: Well, do you think, releasing the name of the officer who fired the
shots change the feelings the people of Ferguson?
PETERSON: Well, that`s very tricky, right? I mean it`s interesting to
them to talk about death treats of police officers when we`re talking about
the death and murder of a young man right now.
PETERSON: And so, again, we have to stay focused but I don`t know if
releasing this police officer`s name is anything that we should necessarily
be concerned about. The individual here is not the problem. I`m not
exonerating him Doc. But it`s the system.
PETERSON: . and it`s the structures within the system that we`ve got a
challenge and we got to wrestle with them to overturn.
DYSON: Now, finally, do you think cases like this involving the deaths of
young unarmed black men are A, on the rise and if they are on the rise,
what does that say about the necessity to be vigilant in looking at all of
the sources of harm and hurt and oppression that are unleashed on these
young men. And we know more broadly on black boys and black girls as well.
PETERSON: Well, it`s not quite clear that it`s on the rise. Certainly if
-- we`re to compartmentalize things like stay in your ground defenses and
justifiable homicides, that is on the rise because that policy essentially
allows people to commit murder and be free from blame but we do know Doc,
is that it sustained, that the violence in this way, state violence and
also so-called vigilante violence in our communities has been sustained
over time and we have to think structurally about how to address it. And
so, I really hope that people can stay focused on the systemic challenges
here and all of the riots and the rallying, all those things to me are
somewhat a distraction.
We go to stay focused on changing how police, police our communities. I
mean we have to sort of work with ways in which people are uninformed by
certain kinds of implicit biases and that`s the long hard work. We need
neighborhood policing, community-police partnerships, long hard work.
There no easy answers here and there`s no simple way of resolving these
DYSON: All right, Dr. James Peterson, thank you for your time tonight.
PETERSON: Thanks Doc.
DYSON: Coming up, we take a look at the profound impact, Robin Williams
had on other comedians but first, North Carolina courts uphold the state`s
restrictive voting laws.
DYSON: Time now for the Trenders. Keep in touched with us on
Twitter@edshow and on Facebook and you could find me on
The Ed Show social media has decided and we`re reporting.
Here are today`s top trenders voted on by you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: May the best man win.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The number three Trender, burning questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iowans start effort to draft Bernie Sanders for 2016.
If drafted, would you sir?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bernie Sanders discusses his chances for 2016.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought Hillary Clinton was poised to be the next
democratic nominee, is that so?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (D) VERMONT: I`m not quite sure that the political
process is one in which we anoint people.
Working class in this country, the middle in this country are facing
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that a platform on which to run for president?
SANDERS: Yeah. I look into them, good platform.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can do it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The number two Trender, ace of base.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Meet Mo`Ne Davis, a 13-year-old pitching phenom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You play ball like a girl.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She, yes, she was electric.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you as good as any boy here?
MO`NE DAVIS, PITCHING PHENOMENON: Yes. No question. No question.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mo`Ne Davis is Philly shining star on the baseball
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She throws a 70 miles an hour fast ball.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, how did you that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s really cool that there`s a girl pitcher and has
made it this far.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If Mo`Ne she`s going to do it, Mo`Ne`s going to do
DAVIS: Don`t let anyone stop you from doing what you like. So, just keep
dreaming, go for it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief, let`s go practice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And today`s top Trender, block the vote.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: North Carolina`s new election law will remain in
effect despite ongoing legal attempt to stop it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The state legislature has the most regressive voting
rights law ever.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: North Carolina couldn`t swing the senate this year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: North Carolina courts uphold the states restrictive
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Part of the new voter law impact on November elections,
including a seven day reduction in the early voting period.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The NAACP says, in 2012, 70 percent of African-
American chose early voting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These laws are making it harder for Americans to have
a voice in our democracy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The NAACP is saying tonight, their legal team is
mobilizing and plans to challenge the state again in court next summer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The greatest weapon against this suppression is voter
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Joining me now is Allison Riggs, voting rights attorney with the
Southern Coalition for social justice.
ALLISON RIGGS, SOUTHERN COALITION FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE: Hi.
DYSON: Alison, thank you for joining us.
RIGGS: Thank you
DYSON: How restrictive are these new voting laws in North Carolina? We
know that they are extensively are to tap down on what they see as
exploitation of the process and all kinds of fraud, but really what is the
RIGGS: Unprecedented, these provisions over the last two decades have
really opened political participation in North Carolina and have gone
towards remedying what the history of discrimination in our state has left
us with. And undoing all of that, all at once and so abruptly is going to
prove to be enormously challenging for voters of color, for young voters,
for the elderly, for people who`ll lack transportation options.
DYSON: Right. And so, those are the groups that will be impacted most by
these voting restrictions especially on early voting in registration. But
some would say, they`re skeptical, like no, there`s no such thing in this
day and age that we would dare target African-American, our young people,
our senior citizens and others. How do you substantiate the claim that
these restrictions are indeed racially charged, generationally charge and
perhaps even in some cases, geographically charged?
RIGGS: We`ve presented the legislature with that evidence during the
legislative process last, last year. We provided documentation of how
African-American voters disproportionately use early voting,
disproportionately used same-day registration and out of precinct voting.
And in fact in the decision on Friday, the court recognized that African-
American voters will be disproportionately affected by these changes.
DYSON: Well, they recognized it but what? It wasn`t enough to spur them
on to, so to speak. Address the incivility or at least the legality of
RIGGS: So, where we are at the proceedings? We were just asking for a
preliminary injunction so that this challenged provisions wouldn`t go into
effect in November, and there`s a heightened standard for what you have to
prove to get a preliminary injunctions so the preliminary injunction was
denied but we have a year before trial in which to develop more evidence
and to correct the errors of law that underpinned the denial of the
preliminary injunction on Friday.
DYSON: So how does the Supreme Court`s rollback of the voting rights act
affect this decision in North Carolina?
RIGGS: I think it makes clear that the laws of section five of the voting
right act was a devastating blow to minority voting abilities. This is a
law that everyone is an agreement, the state as well, that the Department
of Justice would have never, pretty clear this monster bill in light of the
data presented during a legislative process about the effect on protected
voters. So, it`s a stark reminder that we have made progress in some
places but we`re not there yet.
DYSON: What about those groups that say look, we going to go to the courts
but the courts are constantly and, you know, let us returning us down. We
have no hope that the court will be -- if you will neutral enough to
intervene on our behalf, so what a groups do? Do they continue to look for
the right federal court, the right district court, the right local court to
make a ruling in their favor?
RIGGS: I think it`s always a multi-pronged to approach. The courts have
never -- whenever you -- (inaudible) these kinds of lawsuits. The courts
have never been an absolute guarantee and so I think what we`ve seen in
North Carolina is vigorous fighting in the, vigorous advocacy and
demonstrations in the streets and on the plaza, the general assembly.
Voters are not going to support this. Early voting is enormously popular
in North Carolina. Election officials say it saves money, it makes voting
much more accessible to those who have other problems. I think we keep
doing what we`re doing in the courts and we keep mobilizing and agitating
voters to push back against the people who are passing these kinds of
DYSON: The voter I.D. requirement doesn`t go into effective until 2016.
With North Carolinians really right there on the spot since you`re there,
keep up the fight?
RIGGS: Yeah absolutely, and, you know, we`re already seeing some issues
with the way that I.D. information is being spread, voters being confused,
election officials thinking they have the right to ask for I.D. already.
So, we`re cognizant of what`s going on in other states around the country.
We`re working to make sure that people do have I.D.s and we`re working to
document the problems that are going to ensue.
DYSON: All right, well good luck and God bless Allison Riggs. Thanks for
joining us tonight.
RIGGS: Thank you.
DYSON: Still ahead, remembering Robin Williams. Lizz Winstead joins me to
discuss how the legendary comedian helped score her first big break. Plus,
U.S. air strikes continue today in Iraq. Jon Soltz joins me with the
But next, I`m taking your questions. Ask med live is just ahead. Stay
DYSON: Welcome back to the Ed Show. We love hearing from our viewers.
Tonight in the Ask med at live, our questions is from Ken. "What was your
favorite Robin Williams movie?"
Wow, that`s hard. First of all I love Tim (ph) on TV and "Nano Nono". I
know you asked me that, but I love that guy from the very beginning with
that quick silver, you know, tongue that brilliant mind, that incredibly
for-do (ph) imagination and the rapid rhetoric that really revealed such a
powerful and brilliant intelligence was beautiful. Of the films "Good Will
Hunting", ironically, you know, playing a therapist trying to help the
young Matt Damon through his own contorted and distorted psychic and social
And "What Dreams May Come" where the afterlife is imagined with such vivid
colors and such a sparse landscape that was then contrasted with the
population of beautiful images for those who come in the afterlife and
looking for his lost ones, his wife and so on. It was an incredible movie
and I love it.
Our next question is from Lenora. "What do you like to do in your space-
time?" What spare time? But when I get to day or a moment, I love going
to movies. I am a movieholic. I love the "Godfather I". I love the
"Godfather II". I love the "Godfather I", I love the "Godfather II" does
that give you a sense? I love movies. I love going to movies. I love
independent movies. I love the Blockbusters. I love the Hollywood big
stuff. I just love to see stuff on television and on the big screen, and I
love going to bookstores and buying some more books so I can read them on
the next 10 years.
There`s a lot more coming up on the Ed Show. Stay tune.
HAMPTON PEARSON: I`m Hampton Pearson with your CNBC Market Wrap. Stocks
end slightly lower. The Dow falls nine points. The S&P is up three. The
NASDAQ losses 12 points.
Home prices were up nationwide in the second quarter but it was the
smallest gain in two years. Prices rose 4.4 percent to just over $212,000.
Meanwhile sales fell 4.5 percent. And job openings were up 2.1 percent in
June that`s according to the Labor Department. And number of openings
advertised was the highest since February of 2001.
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.
DYSON: Welcome back to The Ed Show. Actor and comedian Robin Williams`
life ended tragically this week. The Oscar winner was found in his
California home on Monday. Earlier today, the Marin County Sheriff had the
latest on Williams` autopsy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. KEITH BOYD, ASST. CHIEF DEPUTY CORSNER: The forensic examination
conducted by Dr. Joseph Cohen who is the Sheriff`s Office for Marin
County`s chief forensic pathologist, did not reveal any injuries indicating
Mr. Williams had been on a struggle or a physical altercation prior to him
being located deceased. The preliminary and again, I say preliminary
results of the forensic examination reveals supporting physical signs that
Mr. Williams` life ended from asphyxia due to hanging.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: As medical examiners peace together clues from their inspection,
everyone from politicians to performers have paid tributes to the master of
stage and screen. Each of us has a favorite Robin Williams role, a
favorite Robin Williams moment. He reached audiences across the world but
the way he touched his fellow comedians cannot be overstated.
Friend and entertainer Billy Crystal said simply, there are no words. One
comedian reflected on her time doing stand up in the late 1980s, she was
hopping from gig to gig in California when one late night set brought the
unexpected break she needed. Sitting in that San Francisco audience was
Robin Williams, his career had already taken off to epic proportions but he
was just there to watch that night.
Williams laughed the hardest on the crowd and approached the fledgeling
comic after the show to tell her to keep going. That comedian who was
touched by Robin Williams so early in her career joins me now. Daily Show
Co-creator Lizz Winstead has her take on the comedic icon`s passing.
Liz, I know this is a tough time for you for sure. So, tell us the story
of that night, I mean, you now, that`s some bragging rights that very few
LIZZ WINSTEAD, DAILY SHOW CO-CREATOR: Well, and bragging rights that came
-- I probably was about three years into stand up.
WINSTEAD: I started out in Minneapolis, I moved to San Francisco, it`s my
first place to move like out of my hometown.
WINSTEAD: I was living with three other comics in this crappy apartment in
San Francisco and was doing like one-nighter. It`s like I moved to San
Francisco but I wasn`t really getting a whole lot of gigs in the city.
WINSTEAD: . I was getting the $75 to a $125 gig, two hours outside the
WINSTEAD: ... in some like horrible bar. So, I did that gig with my
roommate Alex, and it`s just was awful, we made it through and we went to
the Hall of city zoo (ph) which was this great club where all the comics
would gathered like after any show where you were, everybody would just go
the zoo (ph) and it was the best workout when we`re in San Francisco. And
that night, Robin was an audience, I didn`t know, and the guy who was
hosting the night said, "Hey, you want to go up and do a set?" And said I
do, I kind of just want to rant about this horrible hell (ph) gig that I
WINSTEAD: .and I was going on just talking about it and this guy was
laughing really loud and it was like, "Dude, hey, this is not funny" and I
don`t know why you`re going, how he`s laughing louder and louder and was
like, "You sound like mort, which is making this even worse." And the he`s
laughing louder and like there, there`s that annoying Mork laugh again,
just stop, and so I do the joke, I get off stage, you know, his laughing
really hard and I`m like, "Why is everyone laughing really hard?" because I
didn`t -- It wasn`t really that funny. I go up just look (inaudible) right
outside of the club, and this old dude comes out and he goes, "You`re
hilarious" and then behind him was a guy who is like, "You were really
funny" and I looked and I was like, "Oh, my God, not only do you sound like
Mork, you are Mork."
WINSTEAD: And so his manager said, "You know, I book comedians who are
great and I book them for HBO and we`re doing a comedy special called
"Women of the Night". And I was like stunned, there`s Robin Williams,
there`s a guy and then he just said, "You should be doing Women of the
WINSTEAD: .and I was like, "Are you saying I should quit comedy and become
a hooker?" I don`t know what you`re saying.
DYSON: One-night stand?
WINSTEAD: Yes, yes, exactly and so the next year I was on and it was just
Romin Mort (ph) comedy, like he was at the zoo and the club`s in San
Francisco all the time. And my story, I don`t think it`s unique or -- it`s
not I was friends with him really.
WINSTEAD: ...but he helped me, he was like, "You`re funny, here`s my
DYSON: But everybody doesn`t do that, I mean a lot of young comedians, a
lot of these older women and men, they don`t help younger comedians. What
I mean, so what was unique about him in that regard?
WINSTEAD: That I think there was -- she want loved art form and the craft
like nobody`s business and I think that he didn`t just love doing it, I
think he loved watching other people do it.
WINSTEAD: I mean, any comical value, it`s really hard to be a comedy fan
when you`re a comic, because you`re always analyzing materially, you`re not
-- like you`re not and somebody say, that`s great.
WINSTEAD: Or that woman`s great.
WINSTEAD: So, when somebody`s genuinely laughing like he really wanted
that to be out there, he wanted the best comics.
WINSTEAD: . to be able to succeed and that part was pretty amazing. And
my phone blow up last night from just other comics kind of regaling saying,
you know, I just heard from Robin last week, he was telling me this, sir,
you know, I was going through the same and he would text me all the time to
ask me how I was doing.
WINSTEAD: And I think a lot of times people forget that comics are very
good at making sure everybody else doing OK and not checking themselves a
DYSON: Well, tell us about it because, you know, it`s almost a typical
thing to say and almost archetype at the same time that great comedic
artists draw from a whirlwind, a vertex of pain, of sadness, of depression,
of hurt and anger but they transmute it into something that saves the rest
of us but sometimes it doesn`t quite save them.
WINSTEAD: Sometimes yes, they get Pharisees (ph) when you can take pain
and transfer that into something else so that I as the comic can make you
feel you better about what`s going out with you.
WINSTEAD: It still stays with you, so you`re not necessarily working out
your things. You`re working through them through a lens of somebody else
can relate to, and I think the stage can be a place for a lot of people who
do comedy where you feel free.
DYSON: Right, right.
WINSTEAD: So, you`ll see these havens of comedy clubs. You`ll see exist
for a reason where you gather there with other people and other souls all
DYSON: Well, at least he was honest about struggling with substance abuse
and some of the depression. How does the comedic community deal with
depression and substance abuse? I mean, how do you address -- how those
issues address within the committee community?
WINSTEAD: Well, I think it`s really hard in a couple levels because if
you`re the person that makes everybody laugh and you`re really fun.
WINSTEAD: . people who might enable you to just keep being that person,
you know, if you`re fun, outward and great and intoxicating as a human
being and that`s not just comics, that`s anybody.
WINSTEAD: You can convince people to keep going with you. And so, I think
that people do it in a lot of ways. I think people have to realize that
you are -- your humor and your talent doesn`t come from your pain and I
think that`s a big mistake for a lot of comics make.
Somebody -- it comes from examining your pain and being able to talk about
WINSTEAD: And it doesn`t come from letting the pain sit.
WINSTEAD: And so I think once you learn that as a comic it`s easier to,
you know, and as a human. When I say comic, I really do mean human.
WINSTEAD: You can work it out that way, but I think that.
DYSON: Yeah, it`s a critical difference though that you made there, not
the pain itself. It`s the examination of the pain and what lessons it
might teach. What do you think -- do you think his death will -- as
unfortunate and tragic as it is change anything in comic communities where
people -- or even discussions about mental health, health in general?
WINSTEAD: Well, you know, I`m certainly couldn`t predict that, but I do
hope is that people do understand that you need to talk about depression
and mental health about stigma. You know, you need to stop saying things
like he had demons or.
WINSTEAD: . you know, when you hear the terms that go with people dealing
with just struggling with this particular disease. It is like anything
else. It is something that you work with, you live with.
Sometimes you never work out of it but you learn to manage it just like
anything else and I think that we need to start having conversations that
allow people to not be afraid. I mean, the biggest thing about depression
and mental health is if you suffer from depression, it`s hard to reach out
because you don`t want to bring to the people you love, right?
DYSON: Yeah, right.
WINSTEAD: And so, how do you say can you help me when you`re feeling like
I don`t know if I deserve the help.
WINSTEAD: And so, to be able to reach out to somebody and say, I want to
know your pain, I think is really important.
DYSON: All right. Lizz Winstead, such wise words. Thank you so much for.
DYSON: . sharing out of your own spirit today.
Coming up, Sandy Rios calls for a brave (ph) stand against the
authoritarian regime of public schools.
Pretenders is next. Stick around.
DYSON: In pretenders tonight, all class Sandy Rios. The right-wing radio
host scolded Christians for failing to speak out against public schools.
She was shocked no parents, teachers or pastors came out against obscene
books and pro-homosexual resources in the classroom.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SANDY RIOS, FOX NEWS HOST: Even rarer was the Christian teacher who would
counter the union, or dare to stand for their own faith, they stayed out of
it. They`d didn`t want to get involved and rare was the pastor who would
come to these school board meetings and defend the children in his schools
when these obscene books would be sent out and there would be objections.
And so we saw time after time and again schools boards rail and belittle
and manipulate. Talk about, you know, an authoritarian regime. It was
(END AUDIO CLIP)
DYSON: (Inaudible) they. This shouldn`t come as a shock. This was the
same woman who said, test scores are down because public schools aren`t
teaching their students the correct material.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RIOS: It`s sad. It`s just amazing how they are throwing -- whether they
are teaching radical environmentalism or homosexuality. Can you imagine
that they`re teaching this instead of Math and Science? And they are. And
Margaret`s right. That`s the reason our test score are so shockingly low
compared with the world."
(END AUDIO CLIP)
DYSON: Sandy, right here. You got me? There was nothing wrong with
teaching students about homosexuality and environmentalism. There is a
problem however with the discrimination and limiting educational material
in the classroom. If Sandy Rios thinks any school in America wants her
archaic opinion on what should be taught in the classroom, she can keep on
DYSON: Welcome back to the Ed Show. The United States is continuing the
air strike campaign in Iraq. Earlier today, a U.S. drone successfully
struck and destroyed an ISIS mortar position north of the Sinjar Mountain.
ISIS was firing on Kurdish forces defending displaced ethnic minorities in
The situation for tens of thousands of trapped ethnic minorities on Sinjar
Mountain is still dire. The military have sent more than a 120 additional
U.S. military advisors to Iraq to specifically assess the ongoing crisis.
Sources tell NBC news, the new advisors will attempt to determine if and
how tens of thousands of people still trapped on the mountain can be safely
ITN`s John Irvine went on a Kurdish mission to rescue ethic minorities
stranded on the mountain. It`s a truly desperate situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN IRVINE, ITN REPORTER: Thousands of Yazidis are still stranded up
here, on what is a mile high hell, a place where drinking water is a rare
or glycinin (ph) price.
Take off their -- when you try to get (inaudible) distance, but they
wouldn`t issue (ph) the way that withdrew (ph) too much of the helicopter
represented the prospect of salvation.
I`ll safe havens go, this mountain top really is the devil`s alternative.
It`s making baking (ph) hot and bone dry. Survival depends on these air
drops but sadly redemption from the skies has come too late for many of
their kin (ph) and king (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Meanwhile, President Obama has praised the designation of a new
prime minister in Iraq. The United States hopes Iraq can form a new more
inclusive government. All this comes as Republicans are calling air
strikes insufficient and calling for military action in Syria.
Joining me now is Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran and chairman of votevets.org.
Jon, let`s get to the brass text and knuckles. You were one of the last
advisors there, the last time around. You know, all these other experts
and talking from a distance. You were there on the ground, boots down.
What`s your assessment on what`s going on now and the wisdom of our current
JON SOLTZ, CHAIRMAN, VOTEVETS.ORG: Well, I think the president was right
to strike. I mean there was no way to stop the advance of ISIS on the
Erbil. Erbil was actually a city that was under no threat whatsoever. We
used to say in the American army, "Hey, if you get to Erbil, you get to
take your equipment off and walk around." So...
SOLTZ: ... that`s where the American camps was. There was no way that we
can allow it to be overrun and have a Benghazi situation.
The other issue is the Kurds were great. We worked with them time and time
again, they`re our true allies. The situation with the ISIS is much more
complicated, they`re a minority sects, they essentially don`t have a dog
(ph) in this fight. They have been good to the Americans for a long time
but the way how the Sinjar is out near the Syrian border. So, this issue
that we face to give them relief is hard because they fall outside the
blanket of protection of the Peshmerga.
We didn`t train the Peshmerga as proficiently in the end as we probably
needed to. We focused on the Iraqi army. Most of that was because the
central government was very concerned with making the benchmark (ph) so
strong they could take back Kurdish territories down in Kirkuk. So, the
president rightfully, you know, has arm now the Peshmerga and we put
advisers back in there. We`re going to have to get advisers with the
Peshmerga, and they`re going to have to get all the way to Sinjar to
relieve the Yazidi, or the Yazidi are going to continue to have these
Right now, Masoud Barzani has called in the PKK which is a terrorist
organization, a Kurdish terrorist organization of Syria to help relieve the
DYSON: So, what do you think about the strategy, that is the presidents
that -- he said we`re do these targeted air strikes, we`re going to send
advisers over, we want to keep the boots on the ground away, so to speak
not on the ground there. But others are arguing like, you know, John
McCain and Lindsey Graham that hey, not only should we have boots in the
ground but we should be attacking in Syria. What`s your response to that?
SOLTZ: Well, I can`t believe John McCain. I mean look, both that we
argued last year absolutely do not give weapons to people on the other side
of the border. They all fight together. There was no real coordination of
Sunni Iraqi or Iraqi and Syrian insurgency groups. They were Syrians and
Iraqis that were sort of stock in that border and a bunch of Jihadist that
SOLTZ: So, the idea that -- what John McCain is saying that we should have
armed the moderates earlier -- there`s no way the moderate Sunni insurgence
who are fighting in Bashar al-Assad would have turned on ISIS. I mean it`s
a, you know, crazy of John McCain to think now that we can strike in Syria.
He essentially wants to shoot the same people he gave weapons to last year.
You know, hey, I`ve always been against ISIS in Syria but I`ve never been a
fan of the insurgency there.
John McCain to Syria, met with these people, took pictures with them. I
mean the only thing John McCain knows is he wants to fight everybody. He
literally wants to fight both sides of the war. And he`s basically been
wrong about every major foreign policy decisions since Beirut. So, at this
point -- I`m tired of people giving him credibility because he now wants to
shoot the people that he wanted to give weapons to.
SOLTZ: It`s appalling.
DYSON: Well, speaking of which, Hillary Clinton has weight in here. I got
to ask you what you think of how -- what she`s been saying.
SOLTZ: I love Hillary Clinton.
SOLTZ: I think she`s one of the smartest people out there.
DYSON: She is.
SOLTZ: This is absolutely the dumbest thing I`ve ever heard of her say.
DYSON: She`s a very bright woman. Yeah.
SOLTZ: We had advisers on the ground in Northern Iraq. There was two
Iraqi army divisions in the ground. The second Iraqi army division took
the City of Mosul. The third Iraqi army took everything from Mosul out
pass Tal Afar, pass Sinjar out to the border, that was the division I
worked with. All of the equipment that we gave in the Iraqis is in the
hand of the ISIS right now.
Those divisions were overrun. We also trained Peshmerga up there. So now,
somehow think that we could have arm moderates in Syria and they would have
stood a chance against ISIS if they had fought them, it`s preposterous.
It`s simply would have just put more fuel into the fire. The larger
problem for the president is to look at the overall Syria policy where both
sides are bad.
And to think that we should add, you know, more fuel to the fire, I mean
we`ve got to get rid of Maliki. And it looks like he`s finally out there.
DYSON: I was going to ask, does he have to go before any change can
SOLTZ: He has to go before any meaningful change happens. All he have
done is prevent Kurdistan by being overrun by ISIS, you know, terrorist.
SOLTZ: The problem in Iraq is still is Sunni minority representation.
Maliki, once we left Iraq purged the military of Sunnis.
SOLTZ: So, he`s continued to do that and that`s really what`s led to this,
you know, another Sunni uprising. There`s nothing to do with U.S. forces
DYSON: All right.
SOLTZ: This is everything Nouri al-Maliki treating the Sunni minority.
DYSON: All right. Jon Soltz, thank you so much.
SOLTZ: Thank you.
DYSON: That`s the Ed Show. I`m Michael Eric Dyson in for Ed Schultz.
Politics Nation with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now. Good evening,
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