Skip navigation

The Ed Show for Friday, April 24th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Friday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

Date: April 24, 2015
Guest: Paul Henderson, Peniel Joseph, Gyasi Ross, Dean Obeiddallah, John
Fugelsang, Zerlina Maxwell

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Americans, welcome to the Ed
Show live from Washington D.C. I`m Michael Eric Dyson in for Ed Schultz.

Let`s get to work.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight, protesters demand justice.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s an opportunity for us to do something publicly
to say no more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The burden of violence is on the police department.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have not arrived at this place overnight.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They demand answers and so do I.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Later, drones strike fallout.

happened, we`re going to identify the lessons that can be learned.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R-OH) HOUSE SPEAKER: We need to make sure that nothing
like this ever happens again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plus, Washington`s funniest night.

OBAMA: I usually start these dinners with a few self-deprecating jokes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It must be so hard to write jokes about a town that
already is one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I may bring up Obama.

OBAMA: I`m the President in the game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And, Jindal doubles down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has been pressing ahead
with a religious freedom bill.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, (R) LOUISIANA: I`m always in favor of defending
religious liberty.


DYSON: We begin tonight with breaking news from Baltimore, just minutes
ago, Baltimore Police held a news conference about the investigation into
the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a ramped up a task force of more than 30 plus
investigators from various disciplines in this agency. Dozens of
interviews have been conducted, many more remain. A step by step
meticulous investigation is taking place.


DYSON: Gray was critically injured after his arrest on April 12th.
Protesters want answers. Two men we`re arrested during protest Thursday,
the mainly peaceful demonstrations are expected to continue tonight.

Demonstrators say they are demanding justice and change.


CONNELL LILLY, BALTIMORE PROTESTER: Black men are dying at the hands of
white police, period. And it`s becoming to so deadly that it`s -- and
repetitions that is becoming alarming.

TED WEDEL, BALTIMORE PROTESTER: My heart is broken at how the system is
just horrible. That`s a racist system, it seems to me and -- we need to do
something. I have no idea what else to do, so I`m here.

HELEN HOLTEN, BALTIMORE CITY COUNCIL: It is now (ph) very public, and so
it`s an opportunity for us to do something publicly to say no more.


DYSON: Governor Larry Hogan has ordered state troopers to the city to help
with the swelling crowd of demonstrators. Earlier today Baltimore Mayor
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake spoke for the residents of her City.


clear, they demand answers and so do I. I still want to know why the
policies and the procedures of transport we`re not followed. I still want
to know why none of the officers called for immediate medical assistant
despite Mr. Gray`s apparent pleads.

The one thing we all is, that because of this incident a mother has to bury
her child.


DYSON: There`s still no answers about how exactly how Freddie Gray
suffered the fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody. Six
officers have been suspended, that includes the three initial officers on
bicycles, the driver of the transport van and two other officers.

NBC`s Kurt Gregory has more.


KURT GREGORY, NBC CORRESPONDENT: They gather in churches.

on him who is in charge of this whole universe. And to ask him that he
would bless the City of Baltimore on a very critical hour.

GREGORY: And at City Hall in Baltimore pressing for answers.

Following the death of Freddie Gray. The 25-year-old died Sunday. One
week after suffering a severe spinal injury while in police custody.

As protest continue, the Governor of Maryland is sending a team of 32 state
troopers to help with crowd control, promising to push for legislation for
police body cameras.

GOV. LARRY HOGAN, (R) MARYLAND: I think having all the -- having the real
evidence of exactly what happened, having everything videotaped is a step
in the right direction.

GREGORY: The Department of Justice has launched an investigation into what
happened, while the Baltimore Police Department continues its own.

are interviewing witnesses to the event, and then when they`re finding out
things we`re (ph) back and reinterviewing witnesses at the same time, and
that just takes time.


GREGORY: Peace and resolution that may only come when the investigations
are complete.


DYSON: Governor Hogan has asked the medical examiner`s office to expedite
Gray`s autopsy report. Both the Justice Department and separately the
Police Department are still investigating the incident. The cause for
legislation for police body cameras are increasing.

A prayer vigil for the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland and the
family of Freddie Gray was held on Thursday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will be as a speak (ph) truth to the powers of this
city, that have the resources but lack the will to move Baltimore from two
cities separate and unequal to one city in which all have the opportunity
to grow and thrive.


DYSON: Gray will be laid to rest on Monday.

Joining me now is Paul Henderson, Veteran Prosecutor and Legal analyst,
also Dr. Peniel Joseph, Professor of African-American studies at Tufts
University, and Dr. James Peterson, MSNBC Contributor and Director of
Africa Studies at Lehigh University.

Mr. Henderson, let me turn to you first. The one thing Baltimore Police
has not addressed is why they chased Freddie Gray to begin with. How will
this impact the investigation?

PAUL HENDERSON, VETERAN PROSECUTOR: Well, we`ve heard from the attorney,
from the Police Union which talked siting case law that allows them to
engage a suspect. And really, here`s the problem. What they`re
referencing is Supreme Court case; it`s United States versus Jones which
talks about being able to engage an unprovoked suspect in a high crime

But here`s the problem with that. One, that speaks to reasonable suspicion
to detain and not probable cause to arrest. And in this case, we have an
arrest. So it`s going to be very important that we understand if he did
have a knife, when they did have the knife, if that was enough to arrest
him, because knifes aren`t necessarily enough to arrest an individual per

People are demanding justice, people are demanding change but they can`t
ask for any of those things until we get more information. And the other
thing that I just want to point out very quickly is, who defines a high
crime area? Because in a densely populated city like Baltimore or Chicago
or New York or Los Angeles, the entire city is considered a high crime area
if you`re just basing it on police reports where crimes have been

So, really what we need is more information and that`s one of the reasons
that people are so frustrated in this situation because we`re just not
getting information, from police reports, from autopsies, from any of the
officials that are engaged in the investigation to the public.

DYSON: All critical matters to be sure. Dr. Joseph, "The Guardian" is
reporting one arresting officer`s alleged pattern of violence. We
contacted the officer for a response. Representatives did not return our
call. Does this story matter in this case, does it make a difference, does
it shade (ph) it in any way?

absolutely. I think, one of the biggest things we`re seeing Doc. is mass
arrest leads to mass incarceration, leads to mass violence and brutality
and all these strings of killings that we`re seeing of black women and men
all throughout the country.

The fact that this officer has a history potentially of physical brutality
against citizens should be noted. But I think the larger framework right
here, why so many people are protesting and we`ve seen these Black Lives
Matter protests all across the country, is the fact that we have a criminal
justice system that is not working for American-Americans.

The President, the White House Task Force had 66 recommendations, those
we`re all well and good and I`ve read that report but they don`t go far
enough in terms of to stop the surveillance of these so-called high crime
areas, which is really becoming -- there`s a police tourism industry right
here, turning our neighborhoods into hunting grounds where -- on the notion
of high crime, they`re able to arrest, incarcerate, brutalize and at times
execute African-Americans.

DYSON: Wow, that`s a pretty dismal and pretty distressing to be sure. Dr.
Peterson, the Peterson, the Baltimore Police Union says they are concerned
about the protest`s tune. Is this the right consideration to have in the
midst of the extraordinary catastrophe and chaos we see going on there?

JAMES PETERSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely not. All Baltimore
municipal officials should be focused on figuring out the ways in which
their police forces, to conduct themselves in a way that doesn`t end up in
the ending or the murder of black people. And in fact, police departments
across this nation need to be taking that serious account.

I take issue with folks who talk about protesters being peaceful when the
issue for protesters is that law enforcement is murdering people. So, if
we`re concern about violence in our communities we got to direct it at the
source of some of that violence, and as colleagues on the panel just talked
about, unfortunately this is too widespread right now.

One of the things that`s interesting to think about here Doc. is, you know,
the law enforcement now, in Baltimore is trying to say that maybe something
happened in the vehicle. But Joy Reid on this network and other folks
start to talk about the possibility of the actual fatal injury occurring
prior to him being placed in the vehicle.

And what we have to think about is what happened in the actual take down?
Was there some kind of cervical vertebrae fracture in the actual take down
that actually led to the paralysis?

They`re not be speaking to people on the ground there and speaking to
medical professors who say that sometimes when a law enforcement person
puts a knee in the back or knee on the neck or like we saw on the Eric
Harris video, a knee on someone`s head, that can actually cause a cervical
vertebrate fracture where if you`d throw someone in the vehicle after that,
the bone fragments can then severe the spine.

So, it maybe that we need to get more evidence from law enforcement about
how they took the person down, how they took Mr. Gray down, and what force
was used there to really figure out what`s going on here, and we got to
keep our eyes on the prize in the sense because the reality is we`ve seen
way too many of these and figuring out exactly what happened here will help
us to better adjust these things going forward.

DYSON: No question about it.

Attorney Henderson, is it an irony involved here? This is the last day of
service for the exiting Attorney General Eric Holder who gave his goodbye
speech today. Is there some great irony? We`re still dealing with this
even as Eric Holder is exiting and Loretta Lynch is coming in.

HENDERSON: I don`t look at it as irony because the foundation that Mr.
Holder has laid for us by trying to establish an example and a model for
local law enforcement to follow with his 21st century policing is exactly
being addressed in this situation here.

And one of the things that the Attorney General has done was tour the
country and talked with local jurisdictions about what models they should
be following, those that addressed reducing racial profiling and
eliminating bias and local policing. And so, I don`t think that Loretta
Lynch and I`m grateful that she is finally been confirmed.

When she comes in is going to change that agenda, and what I think is going
to happen is that we will see a continuation of that model being spread
around the rest of the country, specifically in Baltimore as these
independent investigations are going on because, again and again, we`re
seeing local law enforcement be challenged when they are instance with
outside independent review from state agencies and federal agencies.

And it`s very clear at least from the federal level what they expect of
local law enforcement to address these situations that keep coming up again
and again. And it involved interactions that end up in homicide with
African-American men and law enforcement that just has to stop, and,
hopefully, this is the conversation that moves this nation in that
direction, again with many of the other incidents that we`ve seen over the
past few months and years.

DYSON: Right. No question about that.

Dr. Joseph, what`s your reaction to the fact that there are more calls for
Governor to get further involved?

JOSEPH: Well yeah. I think that the Governor can get further involve but
I mean, obviously, it`s a Republican Governor there in Maryland.

I think, one of the biggest things we need is policy right here. And
there`s too many interactions between the police and community members, and
that has to do with the fact that police are incentivized through the war
on drugs, through burn DOJ grants and other mechanisms to have this kind of
interaction, to pump up their own stats (ph), and the trail of violence
that they`re leaving behind.

It really specifically targets poor African-American communities. Those of
us who are middle -- upper middle class have access. We get targeted by
racial profiling when we`re in predominantly white settings usually.

But, predominantly, African-American communities like the one I grew up in
New York City, these communities and neighborhoods have become hunting

And African-Americans right now are 28 times more likely to be arrested for
drug crimes than they were in 1982, the second year of the Reagan
administration. Latinos, 22 times more likely and whites, 8 times more

So, the war in drugs has become a gateway to mass racial oppression. So,
Freddie Gray, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, all these victims are an example
of a criminal justice system run amok. And certainly, the Governor should
get involved and the President of United States.

People have been calling on him before his term ends to sign an executive
order ordering criminal justice review of the Byrne Grant which is the
largest criminal justice grant that goes to all the state and local
governments, and it incentivizes black and brown women and men getting

Instead of rehabilitation, instead of getting people out of jail and back
in the community so we can have thriving neighborhoods and a thriving
country with tax payers, good citizens, good fathers and mothers and
husbands and wives. Instead of that, we`re incentivizing local police to
use excessive force and brutality and to at times it`s leading to the death
of African-American men and women.

DYSON: How about that Dr. Peterson in light of what Dr. Joseph just
indicated here, and he used twice the phrases hunting ground, which means
that these people are vulnerable targets of state authority run amok?

Do you think that the six officers who have been suspended should receive a
harsher punishment?

PETERSON: I mean we have to figure out exactly what happened. I`m less a
fan of trying to persecute the individual officers and much more interested
in figuring out how we get the systemic changes that are required here.

And Dr. Joseph is right. When you look at the conflation of mass
incarceration that sort of overly aggressive criminal justice system that
we have, and the fact that it`s bias and it targets communities of color
that are poor. The consequences of which are devastating in those

We need to figure out what are some of those systemic solutions. So, yes,
some of it is about addressing tactics and practices, some of it is about
rotting out the biases in these departments, but some of if is also about
the movement, understanding that this is broader than what these individual
male cases that rise at the top are. Or not enough of what we`re (ph)
talking about Rekia Boyd, right? Who was shot sort of -- in a crossfire,

And there`s a lot of us -- to not enough of us are talking about Natasha
McKenna who died in police custody under awful circumstances.

We have expand the sort of sense with them which we are talking about these
issues so that we can capture all the things that are actually going on to
get the data to understand how to best address them going forward.

DYSON: That`s right because if all black lives don`t matter, no black
lives matter so we have to take into account issues of gender and
certainly, issues of community and class as they figure out in who we think
are worthy victims, whose plights and predicaments are to be address.

Paul Henderson, Peniel Joseph, and James Peterson, thank you so much for
you time tonight.

PETERSON: Thank you Doc.

DYSON: Coming up, Adam Sandler`s new movie sparks outrage over its
cultural insensitivity towards Native Americans. We have the details

And later, Louisiana`s religious freedom law gets a big boast of support
from its Governor. The Rapid Response panel takes on the latest attack on
gay rights. Stay tune.



JIM THE WACO KID: Hey, boys. Look what I got here.

SHERIFF BART: Hey, where are the white women at?


DYSON: That memorable scene was from the 1974 classic "Blazing Saddles".
Some of you are too young to remember but not me.

The film satirized racism with provocative language and twists on familiar

Writer/Director Mel Brooks said he couldn`t make the same film today.

This is the argument Netflix would like to use for Adam Sandler`s new
controversial film.

A group of Native American actors walked off the set of "The Ridiculous
Six" on Wednesday. They called the portrayal of Native American people


LOREN ANTHONY, NATIVE AMERICAN ACTOR: They got one female character who is
also one of the main characters like goes by the name of Beaver`s Breath
and another character by Wears No Bra.

DAVID HILL, NATIVE AMERICAN ACTOR: We need to stand up and take issue when
they degrade our women, our children, our elders, our people.

HATUK HILL, NATIVE AMERICAN ACTOR: There`s a lot of traditions that we
hold sacred. There`s a lot of traditions we don`t want put out there in


DYSON: Netflix responded to the walk off by underscoring the film`s use of

A spokesperson said it`s a broad satire of Western movies, and the
stereotypes they popularizes, featuring a diverse cast that is not only
part of but in on the joke.

Joining me now is Gyasi Ross, author of "Isskootsik: Before Here Was Here".

My friend, welcome to the show.

What`s your response to this controversy?


DYSON: Good to see you too, my friend. What`s your response to this
controversy? Do you think this is something that "Hey, it`s a matter of
satire" or is this something serious that people should take into
consideration and not simply political correctness?

ROSS: Thank you, Professor. Before even addressing the idiot whisperer
Adam Sandler or his latest silly movie "The Ridiculous Six", I think it`s
very important as a native person to commend and to think, show some
gratitude and love to those brave actors and actresses who said that we are
going to put principle above racial ridicule for native people.

As you know that`s not easy because for natives in Hollywood seem to
encounter a certain level of antipathy historically. And there`s -- it
particularly ugly against native women.

So, for these actors to put their career in their hand and say, we`re
willing to put principle over profit and not take this role that may or may
not, you know, fulfill our dream of being an actor, that`s a huge step.
And on behalf of my son, my 8-year-old son, my 18-year old nephew who I
raised, native children and native people across the country, I thank those
actors very much.

DYSON: Absolutely.

ROSS: Regarding, Professor, whether or not there`s a place for satire,
there`s absolutely an appropriate place for satire but as you pointed out,
"Blazing Saddles" is an absolutely amazing example. There has to be some
substance underneath that.

And for example, and I don`t want to run on too long but "Blazing Saddles"
talked about a black sheriff if I recall quickly who came into town, and
all the white people left.

It kind of predicted and informed us about white flight. With this
particular Adam Sandler movie, there`s no substance underneath it. All of
it is, is racial insult.

DYSON: Right. So you think that the context has to be put in place. That
people have to understand the substance of engagement with an ideal. You
have to lampoon and pair (ph) ideal. We have to be clear about what it is
and clear that you`re distant from it so that we are in on the joke as
oppose to an object of the joke.

ROSS: Absolutely, Professor. It`s so important not only that we question
and critic the subject matter because we have to be very careful about that
but we also have to question the people who are making the subject matter,
the people who are the directors, and the people who are financing these
particular deals.

If it`s a well-moneyed and privilege white man, that`s lampooning and
making fun of a woman particularly a woman a color, I think that`s
something that in legal terms with merit strict scrutiny.

And you know, with these, I can`t say of any effective or critical use of
lady smoking a piece pipe while urinating. I can`t see what the political
or artistic merit of that particular image is.

DYSON: Sure. So, do you think Netflix is handling the issue correctly?
Are they sensitive enough to the background issues? And are they
responding in an appropriate fashion?

ROSS: No. Not at all. I mean, Netflix, they`re interested with content.
They want to make more content, more content, more content. It`s a money

And I understand that very well, and the only way that we can speak as
native people and for people, you know, whether the African-Americans or
Native Americans who have had this very, very antithetical relationship
with the film industry that only allows us to be the subject of material
and not the -- I mean, excuse me -- the object of the material and not the
subject where we can`t create our own content.

The only way we can speak likewise is with our pocketbooks because Netflix
does not seem to be responding to our indignation or the statement of so
many native people across the country that yes, indeed this is offensive.

Every single one of us finds this offensive. You don`t have to ask any
further. And so, maybe you should reconsider your approach, Netflix.

DYSON: All right. As usual, very sharp. Gyasi Ross, thanks for coming
on today.

Coming up, Bobby Jindal throws his support behind his state religious
freedom law.

But next, new details on the two American-linked al-Qaeda members killed in
the recent drone-strike in Afghanistan. Stay tune.


DYSON: Welcome back to the Ed Show. On Thursday, we learned that a U.S
drone strike targeting al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan accidentally killed
two Western hostages including an American, an aid worker the U.S. had set
-- spent years trying to bring home.

Their deaths happened in January but were publicly revealed by President
Obama yesterday.

Now, we`re learning more about the two other Americans who were killed.

NBC`s Richard Engel has the story.


RICHARD ENGEL, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Warren Weinstein wasn`t the only
American killed in the U.S. drone strikes. There were two others fighting
with al-Qaeda

Born Adam Pearlman, his grandfather Jewish. Adam Gadahn was raised on a
goat farm in California converting to Islam in his teens. Attending this
mosque and getting into trouble there in the mid-1990s was (ph)
increasingly extreme views.

Gadahn traveled to Pakistan in 1998, at first hiding his face. But he was
identified by U.S. officials and in 2006 became the first American changed
with treason since the World War II era.

LAITH ALKHOURI, FLASHPOINT: His death, the killing of Adam Gadahn is a big
blow to al-Qaeda`s operations specifically in the recruitments of

ENGEL: Gadahn was al-Qaeda`s most famous American, but experts say this
man also killed may have been more dangerous.

Ahmed Farouk also started out as an al-Qaeda`s spokesman but rose to
through the ranks to become their second-in-command in Pakistan. Farouk
was at the same compound where Dr. Weinstein and the Italian aide worker
were held, an American keeping a fellow American hostage for al-Qaeda.

U.S. officials say the CIA didn`t know it was killing any of these men, not
the hostages nor the al-Qaeda militants, they happened to be in compound
linked to al-Qaeda that were attacked, exposing a key element of the
administration`s drone policy. The U.S. doesn`t always know who it`s


DYSON: That was NBC`s Richard Engel. The Rapid Response panel joins me
next to discuss Louisiana`s religious freedom crusade. Stick around.

Market Wrap.

Stocks post modest gains. The Dow adds 21. The S&P climbs 4 to hit a new
high. The NASDAQ adds 36 points setting still another record.

Shares in Starbucks rose nearly 5 percent briefly hitting an all-time high
on Thursday. It said sales rose 7 percent in its most recent quarter.

Meanwhile surging 14 percent today following its earnings report
late Thursday.

And Microsoft jumping 10 percent after its quarterly report which was out
after the bell on Thursday as well.

That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.


DYSON: Welcome back to the Ed Show. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal wants
you to know he`s taking a stand on same-sex marriage. The Governor made
clear he`s supporting Louisiana`s new Marriage & Conscience Act.

This legislation puts other states religious freedom laws to shame. The
bill could open the way for discrimination against gay and lesbian
Americans. The firestorm of criticisms in states like Indiana over their
Religion Freedom Act hasn`t fazed Jindal a bit.

He wrote in a "New York Times" op-ed, "In Indiana and Arkansas, large
corporations recently joined left-wing activist to bully elected officials
into backing away from strong protections for religious liberty. It was
disappointing to see conservative leaders so hastily retreat on legislation
that would simply allow for an individual or business to claim a right to
free exercise of religion in a court of law."

Jindal went on to say "I have a clear message for any corporation that
contemplates bullying our state. Save your breath."

Jindal was responding to a number of companies who have already warned the
governor not to sign the bill.

IBM wrote a letter to Jindal voicing strong opposition to the legislation
saying, "A bill that legally protects discrimination based on same-sex
marriage status will create a hostile environment for our current and
prospective employees."

Jindal insist the law does not provide the license to discriminate,
however, reports the legislation says, "The state can`t take
adverse action against someone for opposing same-sex marriage for religious
reasons. For example, it`s possible to state couldn`t punish a state
worker who refuses to process paperwork on a name change following a gay
marriage in another state. Or a police officer who didn`t want to police a
same-sex wedding ceremony."

This law provides those who want to discriminate protection from state
laws. The bill is expected to come up for a vote within the next few

Joining me now is our Rapid Response panel. Dean Obeiddallah, a daily
columnist for "The Beast", "Daily Beast" columnist John Fugelsang, a Sirius
XM Radio host.

John, how long until Jindal regrets writing that op-ed that penned for the
"New York Times"?

JOHN FUGELSANG, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Well, it might not happen until he
leaves office and replaced by the much more morale and Christian, David
Vitter in the Governor`s mansion, Dr. Dyson. I have to say he`s wrong
about a lot of things. Let`s clear it one by one.

First off, he`s wrong about Christianity. Bobby Jindal is the Christianity
when Christ was the bigotry and defending BP after the oil spill. This guy
is a shill for big insurance companies and it`s no so much that he`s a
bigot, he`s banking on bigots opening up their pocketbooks for his future
failed presidential ran.

There`s no part of the New Testament you can use to justify any kind of
discrimination against our LGBT brothers and sisters. And what`s more,
when we talks about these left groups, these left leaning groups that are
bullying them, and to not being allowed to bully gay people. He`s talking
about young Republicans. 60 percent of millennial Republicans favor gay

Bobby Jindal is having a desperate play to a dwindling demographic of
bigots. It`s going to be a pleasure watching them die off and this is
really just him making his big public play to be the latest elf to jump in
the big overcrowded clown car.

DYSON: So Dean, if the law passes, how bad would the push back be? Would
it be substantial?

DEAN OBEIDDALLAH, DAILY BEAST COLUMNIST: I hope it would be substantial.
And I just want to say honestly how I feel about this. Today, Bobby
Jindal`s letter to me is the equivalent of George Wallace in 1963 saying
segregation today...


OBEIDDALLAH: ... tomorrow and forever. That`s exactly how I view it.
It`s a last gas for the man who -- and I will give him the benefit of doubt
about bigotry. He said anti-Muslim study stuff in the past saying "We want
-- on Muslims that we want to impose no-go zones and (inaudible) along in
this country which is absolutely fabrication and lie.

This law goes so far as (ph) any action a person takes. Any action because
they`re objecting to a marriage -- a gay couple is a defense by this law,
meaning you can potentially physically assault someone. I mean -- and --
you might say that`s ridiculous but if you read the statute -- I use to be
lawyer -- if you read the statute it`s that broad. It defends you against
any action adversely by the state for...

DYSON: Right.

OBEIDDALLAH: ... you do to show that you have a morale conviction against
gay marriage. It`s a horrible law, and just one quick thing, in his
article in the op-ed today, he said, "As a nation, we should not compel a
priest, a minister or rabbi to violate his conscience." He let that in mum
on purpose. His goal is to marginalize Muslims, marginalized gay people
because it plays to his conservative base and he`s despicable.

FUGELSANG: And if I may, I`m glad Dean that you mentioned 1963 because if
Bobby Jindal was in Louisiana in 1963, he would find that certain
businesses could use religious freedom and states rights to deny him
service because of the color of his skin. So again...

DYSON: Yes, how ironic.

FUGELSANG: ... yes, yes. I used a different word actually Dr. Dyson than
ironic, you`re a big more charitable than me. So again, religious freedom
was used to prop up Jim Crow and his state for many years, we`re seeing the
same kind of hypocrisy now. This guy`s Christianity (ph).

DYSON: Yeah. So let`s quote from classic op-ed that was put in print
today John. Jindal wrote in this op-ed, "Why shouldn`t an individual or
business have the right to cite, in a court proceeding religious liberty as
a reason for not participating in a same-sex marriage ceremony that
violates a sincerely held religious belief?"

So, doesn`t that open the way for the discrimination that he claims is not
in the offing should this bill be passed?

FUGELSANG: Well sure, but I think that he should be held to a higher
standard. Do you want to say that -- do you want to say to your religious
beliefs allow you to discriminate, you know, this whole notion of what kind
of anti-Christian bully would keep me from being an anti-gay bully? I`ll
say fine Governor Jindal, go with it, but then you better show me in your
holy book where it says you get to do this.

Because as I said before, there`s nothing out of the words of Christ that
justify it, you got the book of Leviticus and that`s it, and we all know
Bobby Jinday wore shirts of two different fibers, he doesn`t Leviticus all
that much. So there isn`t even a religious argument and I don`t know why
the liberal medias fail to jump on him over it.

DYSON: Yeah. So Dean could the LSU Tigers force him to change his mind,
could the New Orleans Saints force him to change his mind...

FUGELSANG: The lack of any Super Bowls ever come to Louisiana again can
make him change his mind.

DYSON: Right.

OBEIDALLAH: I would hope so. And the left-wing advocates that Bobby
Jindal talks about include IBM, which is not left-wing advocate but a major
corporation, which actually Bobby Jinday hyperlinked in his article to say
today, to show much he`s being pressured by big corporations.

I hope corporations will stand with IBM, I hope we will see NCAA, NFL,
Major League Baseball, any professional and sports organization stand
unified like with Indiana...

DYSON: Right.

OBEIDALLAH: ... to make them change as well. There`s no place for this in
2015 United States of America...

DYSON: Well gay people buy gas too don`t they, I mean -- so what about oil
companies? I mean, what about these other businesses that should be
involved in the kind of boycotting of this thing until such services are
rendered to people equally?

FUGELSANG: Well considering that Bobby Jindal jumps exactly how high and
how long is an oil company tells them to, let`s never forget, he was the
guy defending BP while they defouling (ph) the gulf. It`s a very good
point Doctor and I think Dean is exactly right on this. Capitalism is
really the unsung hero in the battle for LGBT equality.

As soon as our businesses realize that gay folks represented an emerging
market of consumers, you started seeing ads and now you can`t go a pride
parade without seeing Budweiser floats...

DYSON: Well, and Hollywood...

FUGELSANG: ... so it`s a progress.

DYSON: Exactly right. And Dean, Hollywood is big down in New Orleans as
well right?

OBEIDALLAH: Surely. I mean you film movies there in New Orleans all the
time. And this is...

FUGELSANG: Occasionally there are conventions in the French Quarter.

OBEIDALLAH: Right. And think about this, Bobby Jindal has a state which
has an unemployment rate of 6.6 percent above the national average of 5.5
percent. When Bobby Jindal came to office seven years ago he had a surplus
of $900 million, now he`s got a $1.6 billion deficit. This is again more
smoke screen to keep away from spell (ph) record as he tries to run for

He`s running a 2 percent in the approval -- the polls, it`s margin of error
of 2 percent. I can be running even with Bobby Jindal at this point.

FUGELSANG: But thanks to Bobby, you are allowed to talk about talking
snakes in Genesis in a science class which shows once again he takes the
Bible very seriously except for the Jesus parts.

DYSON: Dean Obeidallah and John Fugelsang, we love you so much we want you
to stick around.

Still to come, Washington preps for nerd prom. We`ll have a previous from
this year`s host ahead.


DYSON: This is how it (inaudible) down goes Frazier, not quite.

In tonight`s two minute drill, NBA playoff action is heating up. Three
teams are on the verge of victory in the first round. The Golden State
Warriors are one win away from advancing, the Warriors battled back from a
20-point deficit to send the game to overtime on a last three second -- on
the last second three-pointer from Stephen Curry. I was watching that

They held on to win 123 to 119. Curry ended the night with 40 points, 7
baskets from a three-point range. Anthony Davis, he of unibrow fan (ph)
had a strong night for the Pelicans with 29 points and 15 rebounds. The
Warriors and Pelicans play game four on Saturday.

A strong night for LeBron James, the Cavs move to a 3-0 advantage in their
series against the Celtics. James had 31 points on the team`s 103-95
victory in Boston. Kevin Love didn`t look to bad at all. The teams face
off again on Sunday.

And the Milwaukee Bucks we`re double trouble for the Chicago Bulls. That
game went to double overtime before the Bulls pulled of (ph) a 113-106
victory. Derrick Rose looked like his old self, scoring 34 points on the
night to help the Bulls move one step closer to round two.

While it`s a little early for any of the teams to pop open the champagne,
it`s worth noting no NBA team has ever won a series after trailing 3 to

There`s a lot more coming up on the Ed Show right after this. Stay tuned.


DYSON: Welcome back to the Ed Show. Reporters, politicos, and celebrities
are flocking to Washington for the Nerd Prom.

The annual White House Correspondents` Dinner is tomorrow night and the
spotlight is on this year`s host, SNL start Cecily Strong.

MSNBC`s Ronan Farrow sat down with her to preview the big event.


RONAN FARROW, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Since the 1940s, the White House
Correspondents` Dinner has featured host from Bob Hope to Stephen Colbert.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST: He believes the same thing Wednesday that he
believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday.

CECILY STRONG, SNL: Yeah. I was -- I remember when that was live and just
being blown away, and just thinking he`s so amazing, and so brave, and look
what comedy can do.

COLBERT: Events can change; this man`s beliefs never will.

FARROW: Cecily Strong will be only the fourth female comedian just step
behind that podium.

STRONG: It`s not -- doesn`t feel like a huge deal to me. It`s I think a
really nice testament to kind of where everything stands right now. And I
think a lot of it has to do with, you know, Tina and Amy being out there so
much and it`s so just -- it`s very accepted.

It`s nice but it doesn`t feel like a big heavy thing for me.

FARROW: So, when we talked about funny presidents, let`s talk some of the
potential next presidents.


FARROW: OK. Give me your thoughts on Ted Cruz. Very funny president or
unfunny president?

STRONG: Unfunny.

FARROW: Rand Paul? Funny president?

STRONG: That`d be funny, maybe, and it`s a funny president. He`s got that
goofy little silly dad who`s so daring.

FARROW: Marco Rubio. Funny president?

STRONG: No. Not yet. But he can surprise me.



FARROW: Hillary Clinton, would she make a funny president?

STRONG: I think she would -- Yes would (ph) make a funny president but I
don`t know that she can...

FARROW: Does she have a dinner (ph)?

STRONG: She wants to.

FARROW: She`ll not...

STRONG: She going to try. She`s been a trying hard.

FARROW: She`ll rock them on jokes.

STRONG: Yeah. She`s sure well. She kind of keep trying. And one of
these days, one of them is going to land.


DYSON: I`m joined again by Dean Obeidellah of "The Daily Beast" and Sirius
XM Host John Fugelsang, so, I`m also joined as well by Zerlina Maxwell, a
Contributor to "ESSENCE" Magazine.

So, Zerlina, what do you make of the Correspondent Association picked to
host this year?

ZERLINA MAXWELL, CONTRIBUTOR ESSENCE: Well, I think it`s a little bit
surprising just because Cecily Strong doesn`t have a background in standup
comedy. We were just talking about that earlier but, I think that it`s
really exciting to see a woman hosting especially at the moment when we
might have a woman who is president of the United States in the future.

So, I just think that if it`s a moment of progress for women, and it`s a
proof again that woman could be funny. I mean a lot of times, there clip
80 (ph) pieces that say women can`t be funny or feminists aren`t funny.
And I think, and I hope that Cecily can prove that that`s just a lie.

DYSON: Sure. So, John, is it surprising there haven`t been more female
host to you?


DYSON: It`s end of conversation.


FUGELSANG: I mean this is America we`re talking about here. And I mean,
you know, is it surprising women get paid $0.77 on a dollar? I mean, you
know, I`m surprised that there isn`t more outrage among the Press Corps
over this.

I`m surprise the Press Corps hasn`t been embarrassed that only two women
have done this since Ms. Boosler in the Clinton`s early years.

So, you know, I want to be a struck by sexism but no, I`m not, it`s a sad
commentary, yada, yada, yada. There`s tons of funny women out there. The
kind of people who say aren`t funny are usually men who never had the guts
to take it up to an open mike stage themselves.

DYSON: Yeah. No doubt about that.

So, Dean, do you think Cecily Strong will focus her jokes on female
politicians more than some of the male comedians have done in the past?

OBEIDALLAH: I don`t think so to be honest. I think she`ll work with her
writing team. They`ll come up with the best jokes, best thrives (ph) that
they can.

They`ll (inaudible) the members of the press will be there in the audience.
Apparently none of the main Republican candidates running for presidents
will be in the room but I`m sure she`ll make fun of them. It`s a great
time to do this.

But, ultimately, the star is President Obama and (inaudible) "The Daily
Beast". I`ve never seen a president be this good as a comedian.


OBEIDALLAH: And a couple of months ago, I had the honor of meeting the
President, I`m not bragging. Maybe a little bit. OK. I met him.

And I said to him -- I said, no one has been as good as you. You`re great.
And he said, I know.

So, he said -- so, he`s funny all the time but he was being funny of

So, that the point though. He is great. So, it is so hard for anyone to
follow President but I think the only (inaudible) there is really
supportive whoever the -- celebrity is doing the jokes...

DYSON: So, to doing their thing. So, do you think that Ted Cruz or Marco
Rubio or Hillary Clinton, are they going to be funny? Are they going to
be, you know, do they have a sense of humor?

FUGELSANG: They`re not going to be funny deliberately Doc. That`s the
deal. You know, Obama is the funniest President since JFK. He`s also, you
know, not funny and that he`s our first non-buffoon President in the

And I do disagree with Cecily. Ted Cruz is the Abraham Lincoln of Sarah
Palin. He`s extremely funny.

DYSON: Right. So, what do you think the hot topics will be Zerlina, at
this year`s dinner?

MAXWELL: I mean, I just think 2016 certainly will be the hot topic. I
think that`s -- if she is smart about it, she`ll make fun like everyone is
saying about the 2016 candidates because I really think there`s a lot

Marco Rubio, originally (ph) over for the little mini-battle of water. I
mean that`s classic comedy and I just think that they`re unintentionally
funny but I think that, hopefully, she targets the people that maybe
deserve it a little more than others.

DYSON: So, John, do you think he`ll take a shot that is the President at
Ed Schultz over the trade agreement?

FUGELSANG: No. I don`t. I think he`ll be too busy taking shots at
Elizabeth Warren and all the unions that supported him over the trade
agreement but we`ll see, you know, I`m still waiting for my NAFTA price in
the mail Doc, so...

DYSON: Right.

FUGELSANG: We`ll see what TPP can do for us.

DYSON: So, Dean, do you think there`s some topics that are off limits that
they won`t approach?

OBEIDALLAH: I mean, there`s always a discussion about there`s line in
comedy. There really is no line. If you do it with a smile and could make
you (ph) and get away with it. But let`s be honest, last years, there was
some really good jokes that President Obama and Conan that the right-wing
people went crazy over and I wrote about it, that certain people
politically will not laugh at a joke if they don`t agree with it, on either
the left or the right to be honest but, generally on the right, they get
really upset about it.

So, the line is not real. It`s moved by subjectivity.

DYSON: Right. Couple of things, first of all, who will be the biggest
nerd at the Nerd Prom? And then, secondly, when Obama did that little
comic bit during the State of the Union when he said, yeah because I won
twice, and clowned them, do you think we`ll have a reprise (ph) of some of
that stuff?

MAXWELL: Well, I hope so. He`s always good when he`s off script. I`m
actually looking very much forward to Madeleine Albright. And then, the
actors, actress who plays Secretary of State on T.V. Teleone (ph) because I
just think that that`s a cool moment to have an actress who plays the
Secretary of State and...

FUGELSANG: That would but outright hilarious. When Christopher Walken
asked me on the floor every time she whips (ph) it out.

DYSON: Yeah, so to speak. So, at the end of the day, do you think Cecily
Strong is going to be very, very funny or kind of funny?

OBEIDALLAH: I think, she`s going to be very -- I think she`ll be very good
but don`t forget she`s not stand up but it`s going to be the strength of
her writers, and she`s got an experienced writing stuff on Saturday Night
Live, I worked in Saturday Night Live for eight years, there`s some great
people there.

They`re going to make sure this is good. It`s tested and I have no doubt
that rooms is going to be cheering for her and wanted her to succeed and I
think it will go well.

DYSON: All right. Dean Obeidallah, John Fugelsang and Zerlina Maxwell,
thank you so much for joining us tonight.

Alex Witt will anchor MSNBC`s live coverage of the White House
Correspondents` Dinner tomorrow night at 9:00 P.M. Eastern. Be sure to
tune in.

That`s the Ed Show. I`m Michael Eric Dyson in for Ed Schultz.

"PoliticsNation" with the Reverend Doctor Professor Al Sharpton starts now.


<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2015 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2015 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>

The Ed Show Section Front
Add The Ed Show headlines to your news reader:

Sponsored links

Resource guide