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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

Guest: Paul Eaton, Brad Schrade, Justin Halpern         




KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over):  Which of these stories will you

be talking about tomorrow?

From Times Square to arrested in 53 hours and 30 minutes.  And a

president is not crowing and not trying to terrify the citizens for whom he




nation, we will not be terrorized.


OLBERMANN:  The suspect is Faisal Shahzad and he is singing like a



ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL:  He has been talking to us and

providing us with useful information.


OLBERMANN:  Providing it before and after he was read his Miranda

rights, such as: he was trained in a Pakistani terror camp—arrests

there.  All this despite Pete King‘s moronic quote, “I know he‘s an

American citizen, but still,” despite John McCain calling the mirandizing,

“a serious mistake.”

Our guest: General Paul Eaton who says King and McCain are putting

American lives at risk.

And my “Special Comment”: What part of America does John McCain

actually love?

Republicans push for more offshore drilling even as the cataclysm from

the destroyed Gulf rig gets worse and closer.

Nashville—FEMA arrives.  Nineteen dead in Tennessee alone.  We go

live to Nashville.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How Mother Nature can be cruel and, certainly,

she‘s dealt us a really bad hand.


OLBERMANN:  “Worsts”: the latest lies from Charles Krauthammer, “No

successful attacks in the United States” under Bush after 9/11.  What were

the anthrax letters, junk mail?

And stuff my dad says.  “A parent‘s only as good as their dumbest kid. 

If one wins a Nobel Prize but the other gets robbed by a hooker, you

failed.”  The Twitter sensation has written a book.  “Pressure?  Get

married when you want.  Your wedding is just one more day in my life I

can‘t wear sweat pants.”  Justin Halperin joins us.

All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.



OLBERMANN:  Good evening from New York.

The man accused of trying to detonate a car bomb only blocks from here

in Times Square in New York under arrest tonight, now formally charged with

terrorism and tried to use a weapon of mass destruction.  Authorities in

Pakistan are adding that they had arrested seven or eight people in

connection with the bombing attempt.

But in our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN: If for a time last night, it

looked as if the American suspect Faisal Shahzad might have been able to

leave the country undetected, his own mistakes it would seem, ultimately,

to blame for bringing him down—last night, Shahzad who lives in

Bridgeport, Connecticut, on his way to JFK Airport when he made a

reservation to on an Emirates Airline flight to Dubai then was to head to

Pakistan, paying the ticket in cash when he got to Kennedy.  The Pakistan-

born naturalized American citizen already having boarded the flight, the

doors having closed before they were abruptly opened again and Shahzad

hauled off by Customs and Border Control agents.

The plane then pulling away from the gate before this further command

from ground control.


AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER:  Emirates 202 have the Kennedy tower 22 right

position.  Actually, I have a message for you to go back to the gate

immediately.  So, make the left turn when able.

PILOT:  Twenty-two, 202, turning left here.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER:  Hi, Emirates 202, making the left turn onto

echo, left alpha, back to the ramp.  I don‘t know exactly why, but you can

call your company for the reason.

PILOT:  I‘ll do that.  Left onto echo, then onto alpha and back to the

gate, via gulf.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER:  Yes, whatever is convenient.


OLBERMANN:  After that mundane exchange, at the gate, two more

passengers taken off the plane just questioned about their travel

documents, a criminal search that began at 6:30 Saturday night in Times

Square ending at midnight at Kennedy Airport 53 ½ hours later.

Many are now questioning how the suspect, Shahzad, ever was able to

board that flight in the first place having been placed on the no-fly list

on Monday morning.  A senior U.S. official telling NBC News that the

reservation and ticketing process alone should have been enough to keep

Shahzad off the airplane, and if not then, when he was issued a boarding

pass.  But it was only after the airlines submitted its final manifest to

customs that an alert agent caught the name and the doors were reopened.

How did agents know that Shahzad was the man they were looking for? 

From the wealth of clues he left behind, the vehicle registration number on

the car is still there because the poorly designed bomb never had a chance

of going off really and destroying that evidence.  The accurate e-mail

address Shahzad gave to the college student who had sold him the vehicle

intended to use as a murder weapon.

Once the FBI knew Shahzad was the man they wanted, they found out what

he looked like from a photo he himself had posted on Facebook.  In the

undamaged SUV, keys to his house and to another car that he owned were

left.  A prepaid phone card was left behind.  It had been used to arrange

the purchase of the car and call a fireworks dealer in Pennsylvania—

fireworks having been a key component of the bomb along with fertilizer,

except he gotten the kind that did not detonate.

In custody today, Shahzad providing evidence both before and after he

was read his Miranda rights, including that he recently received bomb-

making training in Pakistan.  FBI officials saying today Shahzad was

initially questioned by authorities under the public safety exception to

the Miranda rule, later read his Miranda rights, and he continued to

cooperate after that reading.


JOHN PISTOLE, FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR:  Suffice to say that he provided

valuable information and intelligence and evidence during that time and

then, as the attorney general noted, he was mirandized later and continued

to cooperate and provide valuable information.


OLBERMANN:  President Obama is saying today that if the aim of

terrorism is to stoke fear, this attempted attack failed in more ways than



OBAMA:  We know that the aim of those who try to carry out these

attacks is to force us to live in fear, and thereby amplifying the effects

of their attacks, even those that fail.  But as Americans and as a nation,

we will not be terrorized.  We will not cower in fear.  We will not be

intimidated.  We will be vigilant and we will work together, and we will

protect and defend the country we love to ensure a safe and prosperous

future for our people.


OLBERMANN:  Let‘s turn now to NBC News terrorism analyst, Michael

Sheehan, former counterterror official for the city of New York.

Mike, thanks for coming in.


OLBERMANN:  What does this saga tell you about: A, the quality of the

training that he‘s now being given at these so-called camps in Pakistan and

perhaps elsewhere, and B, the quality of the trainees?

SHEEHAN:  Well, clearly, the trainee was a good recruit.  He‘s an

American naturalized citizen, a guy with an education, with a Masters

degree, able to travel.  How he bungled this is still a bit of a mystery.

The training camps that they have—obviously, some of them are very,

very good because they‘re conducting all sorts of sophisticated attacks in

Afghanistan and Pakistan—suicide bombs blowing off all the time.  But

this guy, whatever training program he went to, clearly failed or he was

asleep during class.  But obviously, it didn‘t work.

OLBERMANN:  Do we—do we assume that he was working off verbal

instructions and forgot key details, or was it possible that the level of

the instruction, wherever he was, was so poor that they didn‘t know what

they were doing either, let alone he didn‘t know what he was doing?

SHEEHAN:  Keith, the design of this makeshift bomb wasn‘t good to

start with—using firecrackers to ignite a bomb.  This isn‘t very


So, this was clearly not the “A” team forces that they have in

Pakistan and Afghanistan.  They do have capability over there.  He clearly

didn‘t get his way into one of those courses.  He probably was new to the

organization, just showed up, self-recruited, self-identified, and either

didn‘t get the training or perhaps forgot something in his panic.

And, by the way, Keith, that happens in some attacks.  In my book, I

talk about how even some killers can bungle their way and still have

violent attacks.  It‘s not that unusual a guy makes mistakes.

OLBERMANN:  And the more mistakes you make, not only the more likely

you are not to accomplish your goal, but you are likely to get caught while

doing it, as this the case, right, correct?

SHEEHAN:  Yes, exactly right.  And in many cases, these terrorists

make mistakes and get caught and that leaves the roll up of the cell.  And

this case, hopefully, it leads back to the groups that prepared him in

Pakistan.  We got a few arrests there in Pakistan.  It remains to be seen

whether if they can roll up some of that infrastructure.

OLBERMANN:  Speaking of mistakes, was that—was there a mistake

involved in him getting as close to getting out of the country as he did? 

Are we clear what happened there?

SHEEHAN:  Well,  you know, Keith, the last check is when the final

manifest is prepared, because it always changes in the flight at the last

minute, they‘re going to know some people missed, some people jumped on. 

The final manifest is always checked against the no-fly and it worked.

However, there were opportunities to check before that that failed and

that needs to be scrubbed.  But, fortunately, the last check worked and we

were able to pull this guy off the plane.

OLBERMANN:  Was anything improved in terms of that process from

Detroit where they know that they missed keeping him off the flight to

Detroit by a matter of minutes?  Was there any indication of that?  Can you

infer any of that from this?

SHEEHAN:  I have some concerns, Keith, that this needs to be reviewed. 

Why wasn‘t this guy‘s name that was on—a day before that plane took off

that his name was on the watch list, why hadn‘t he been picked up by TSA

during the booking?  Earlier procedures and scrubbed out of it.

It‘s not a catastrophic failure.  They did find the guy in the last

check.  They got about three strikes.  They get the guy.  They got him on

the last and it worked.

But, you know, this—getting civil aviation right, you know, you

just got to be really focused.  It needs to be reviewed and try to correct

any errors that might have happened before.

OLBERMANN:  Now, one assumes though that the idea of him getting away

and getting free to Dubai, you know, just a matter of minutes—however,

there‘s a long flight to Dubai, that time, plus the landing.  The Emirates

would have turned him back over, would they not?

SHEEHAN:  Oh, absolutely.  So, if he had been—if his name had been

identified anytime between when the door closed to when he was in Dubai, we

have a good relationship with them.  He would have been sent right back.

OLBERMANN:  What do you infer about our ability to be both proactive

and reactive to situations like that based on the elapsed time between the

event and the capture, which was less than 54 hours?

SHEEHAN:  Well, the reaction was tremendous.  And the NYPD and FBI

guys were all over that car.  They knew to go to the VIN number.  They knew

the VIN number would lead to the owner of the car—the owner of the car,

and then it went to the sale, then back to the Internet, then to the

individual—like clockwork cops working around the clock.  It worked

pretty well, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  What—and I don‘t want to get too political, but as a

function of tamping down fear, what did you think of this president today

saying—congratulating the police in this city, the residents in this

city, and saying, you know, this is not a country that‘s going to be

terrified or terrorized?

SHEEHAN:  I think he got it right on.  And when he said, if we

overreact to a terrorist attempt or terrorist attack, we amplify the attack

of the terrorism.  They‘re really—terrorism is an instrument of the weak

and of cowards.  And they‘re really attacking our psyche.

If we overreact to a terrorist attack, we are playing into their

hands.  We‘re amplifying their power.  We‘re building them bigger than they


So, I think he got that message right.

And, by the way, Keith, New Yorkers get this.  They know they live in

a city of risk.  You can get hit by a bus walking across the street. 

There‘s terrorist—any thing can happen.

It‘s a city.  Life is full of risks.  New Yorkers get it.  We

shouldn‘t be cowering in fear.  And, you know, this city—the day after

this attempt, there were 10,000 bicycles riding through Times Square.  And

I thought that was great.

OLBERMANN:  Former New York counterterrorism official Michael Sheehan,

also now of NBC News—thanks for coming in, again, Mike.

SHEEHAN:  Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  As we mentioned, authorities today questioned Shahzad both

before and after having read him his Miranda rights, using the public

safety exception to the Miranda rule as grounds for their initial


Republicans not letting the facts stand in the way of their rapid

attempt to politicize how the arrest has been handled.  Senator Cornyn of

Texas is saying, quote, “If someone acts like a terrorist and cooperates

with people intent on war against the United States, they should be treated

as terrorists and not as a common criminal, and no, they should not be read

their Miranda acts.”

The suspect, Shahzad, as we mentioned, although born in Pakistan, is a

citizen of the U.S.  “The New York Times” reporting he was naturalized in a

ceremony in Bridgeport, Connecticut, more than a year ago, April 17th,


In an interview, Senator John McCain said it would be a serious

mistake to remind Shahzad of his right to remain silent until all the

information is gathered.

Congressman Peter King, meanwhile, the top Republican on the homeland

security committee, telling that he wants to know whether the

Justice Department consulted with the intelligence community before they

decided to hold his trial in civilian court.

Again, Shahzad, an American citizen, to which King said, “I know he‘s

an American citizen, but still.”

Thus, lots to talk about tonight with Major General Paul Eaton,

retired U.S. Army general who was in charge of training the Iraqi military

from 2003 to 2004, and who is now a senior adviser at the National Security


General Eaton, thanks for some of your time tonight.


great to be here and thanks for the invitation.  But I am a little surprise

that we are here to defend our Constitution against a Republican senator

and Republican representative‘s attack on it.

OLBERMANN:  Obviously, you heard those remarks.  They basically were

just short of demanding that the Times Square suspect should not have been

read Miranda.  It makes them sound tough on national security.

What do you think is the practical result, though, of saying something

like that?

EATON:  From a national security perspective, it‘s damaging.  You‘re

going to have—right now, the FBI and our police forces are looking over

their shoulder every time they hear a Republican come off with a remark

like that.  And we‘ve got to reinforce our men in blue and our men in suits

that they‘re doing a great job, they‘re doing the right thing, they‘re

following procedures, they‘re following the law.

And we are a nation of laws.  So, we know what we‘re doing.

OLBERMANN:  Do you have a sense of the motive for comments like these? 

I mean, obviously, my tendency is to—is to attribute this to pure

politics.  Do you see anything else behind it?

EATON:  It‘s a purely partisan approach.  They are after trying to

frustrate the president and his role as providing for the national

security.  And in so doing, they are actually attacking the viability of

the national security of the United States.

So, rather than rallying around the flag, rather than avoiding a

divisive approach, they‘ve chosen to go off the reservation and they are

doing a bad job.

OLBERMANN:  Attacking the national security violate of the United

States.  Break that down for us.  What do you mean exactly by that?

EATON:  One of the most important things we have going for us, before

our own citizens and before the citizens of the world, is our judicial

process, is our state of law, our Constitution.  And the president is

demonstrating strength and honor.  He is demonstrating strength to get

after these terrorists and he‘s demonstrating that we do it in a context of

honor, that we follow our laws, that we—that we—that we support and

defend the Constitution of the United States, the way every legislator and

the way every soldier, airman, seaman, marine out there swears on entry

into service.

OLBERMANN:  General Eaton, if the Obama administration wanted to try

this man in some sort of military tribunal, would there be any

justification for that?  I mean, materially, legally, even as an aspect of

state of war, how is this man—or might he be different legally from the

Unabomber or the FALN which planted bombs in New York throughout the ‘70s

and ‘80s, or anybody else?  How?

EATON:  Spot on, Keith.  This is a civilian court venue.  It is not a

military venue.  The military commission approach is absolutely

inappropriate.  This is an American citizen and he will be tried in civil

court as the criminal that he is.

OLBERMANN:  If you are the FBI agent and the police officers who spent

53 hours straight on the manhunt that was successful and as Mike Sheehan

pointed out, you throw in the time of the flight that they had as a pad to

Dubai, they didn‘t catch him at the last second before he left the country

or would have gotten out of the grasp of this country.  They got him about

a day before and got him after about two days and a few hours‘ work.

What would it feel like to have done this job and have lawmakers back

at home of any stripe criticizing you in the job that you just did?

OLBERMANN:  Well, not good is the answer.  Since January of 2009, we

have seen a relentless attack on our FBI, on our armed services, on our

policemen by the Republican Party.  Any opportunity that they can find to

see a seam to get in there and lay in an attack they have pursued.  And,

frankly, as a retired soldier and as a guy who supports my police, who

supports my FBI, I want them to cut it out.

OLBERMANN:  What—what do you think—is there anything

psychologically behind this?  This idea—we have heard comments that we

haven‘t killed enough terrorists, we haven‘t made them fear us, we should -

we shouldn‘t be respected in the way you just described, we should be

feared.  Is there something else to this that you and I perhaps don‘t

understand viscerally, that people are trying to achieve by positing the

idea that they should be handled with force and with military effectiveness

and with torture and everything else that we‘ve seen rolled out since 9/11?


EATON:  Keith there is a retired judge advocate, Navy Jag admiral

named John Hudson (ph), who said it about as well as I could find anywhere. 

And he said, you know, the use of torture and these techniques is—that‘s

the tool of the stupid, the lazy and the pseudo tough.  And that‘s, I‘m

afraid, what we‘ve got going on in the Republican Party playbook to excite

their base and it‘s an unfortunate attempt and it‘s counterproductive to

the national security of the United States.

OLBERMANN:  You had it right—the stupid, the lazy and the pseudo


General Paul Eaton, U.S. Army retired—once again, great thanks.

EATON:  Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  “Special Comment:” on Senator McCain‘s reports and on

Senator McCain—next.


OLBERMANN:  As promised the briefest of “Special Comments” on the

statements by the senior senator from Arizona after the arrest of Faisal

Shahzad, the suspected Times Square terrorist.

“Don‘t give this guy his Miranda rights until we find out what it is

all about,” said John McCain.  “Obviously, that would be a serious mistake

at least until we find out as much information as we have.”

Mr. McCain, apart from the obvious fact that following your advice

could mean that because of you Shahzad could walk free on technicalities. 

It is clear that your comments or, really, your utter lack of faith in the

system of justice that has kept this country free and safe for 234 years—

the laws are not there to be switched on and off at your discretion,

Senator.  They are not applicable to all except when you are having trouble

getting renominated and you need to boost your poll numbers with the

lunatic fringe in Arizona.

This man, whatever other reprehensible thing he appears to be, is an

American citizen.  And if you can decide that he shouldn‘t have the same

rights we would give to the man who shot President Reagan or to serial

killers or to Bernie Madoff, then the precedent that you set in doing so

can someday end thusly—someday for some crap reason, somebody will be

able to arrest you, Mr. McCain, and declare that you are not entitled to

your Miranda rights and that perhaps you should be tried by a military


While you pander to a group that tries to dress up its bitching about

paying its fair share of taxes as “the government is taking away freedom,”

you propose that the government should take away freedom.  You shame

yourself in the eyes of American patriots and in the eyes of your fellow

veterans who sacrificed and the honored dead who gave their lives to

protect the freedoms and the laws—you have today suggested should be


Freedom loving Americans look back with horror at what could have

happened on Saturday night six blocks from here.  And we also look back

with horror on how a man who thinks America is some kind of brand name, who

does not respect the laws and honor of this great nation, could have come

so perilously close to becoming its leader.!


OLBERMANN:  At a public forum yesterday, Texas Governor Rick Perry

said the Deepwater Horizon oil spill should not, quote, “cause a kneejerk

reaction that says we are going to shut down drilling in the Gulf of


According to, Governor Perry rejected the suggestion

that deregulation might be blamed for the spill or the Massey mine

disaster, or the financial meltdown.  He said the spill might have been,

quote, “an act of God.”

In our fourth story tonight: The forum was partly funded by B.P. to

promote deregulation.

House Republican Leader John Boehner also not backing down from the

Republican position of pushing for more drilling onshore and off.

or is it just Republicans.  Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, who

represents thousands of Louisiana fishermen whose fishing season came to an

abrupt end at 6:00 p.m. prevailing local time tonight is unmoved by the

implications of this spill, budging not at all in her demand for new

drilling, even after Jon Stewart pointed out on the “Daily Show” that her

position on the safety of that drilling has budged quite a bit from the

days when she line up squarely to defend it, along with the long line of



SARAH PALIN ®, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR:  It is safe to drill and we

need to do more of that.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, OHIO:  We can do this in an environmentally

sound way.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA:  Our companies have done a

wonderful job making sure that we are both environmentally sound but also

able to produce energy.

REP. STEVE SCALISE ®, LOUISIANA:  They do drill today in an

environmentally safe way.

OBAMA:  Oil rigs generally don‘t cause spills.  They are

technologically very advanced.

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA:  The environmentalists are wrong,

actually.  We can drill safely off the shores of America.

JON STEWART, TV TALK SHOW HOST:  Spoken like true scientists from the

first reel of a disaster movie.


STEWART:  If only these pre-spill politicians like Senator Mary

Landrieu, Louisiana, had listened to post-spill realists, like Senator Mary

Landrieu of Louisiana.


LANDRIEU:  No one has ever claimed, including myself, as an unabashed

proponent of the industry that drilling is risk free.


STEWART:  No.  You never claimed it.  You emphatically stated it.



OLBERMANN:  “Dallas Morning News” reports also Monday, at that

conference funded by British Petroleum, Governor Perry defended the safety

record B.P. compiled prior to last month‘s death of 11 people at the

Deepwater well.  B.P., he said, quote, “historically had a very good safety

record from my perspective.”  It would seem then that Sarah Palin never

mentioned to Governor Perry that in her brief tenure as governor of Alaska,

B.P. pleaded guilty to criminal charges there for which B.P. is still on

probation after neglecting one of its pipelines there for more than eight

years, including Palin‘s entire term on the state‘s oil and gas

conservation commission, allowing bacteria to build up and erode it from

within, spilling more than 200,000 gallons on the Alaskan tundra.

Less clear, however, is why Governor Perry‘s perspective did not even

include his own state, during his own tenure as governor.  March 23, 2005,

Texas City, Texas, just last year the Occupational Safety and Health

Administration, OSHA, issued its largest fine ever, $87 million to B.P.,

not just for safety violations that led to the massive 2005 explosion which

killed 15 and injured another 170, but for 270 violations of its agreement

afterward to clean up its act, plus 439 new violations.  Four people died

at the Texas City refinery in separate incidences after that blast.

And what about deep water offshore drilling—is there any evidence

suggesting stricter regulation rather than a less angry god might have

prevented or mitigated this disaster? reports B.P. was

cited in 2007 for poor training in well control.  It was fined only

$41,000, fined $75,000 for lacking adequate water pressure in one rig‘s

firefighting system, fined only $80,000 for bypassing safety alarms.

Regulators last year and this, honored B.P. for its outstanding safety

record—a record B.P. trumpeted in pushing back just last year on a new

attempt to have government safety audits replace the industry‘s voluntary

self-audits.  According to a lawsuit filed some family members of the 11

missing and presumed dead oil rig workers in the Gulf, the oil services

company Halliburton improperly and negligently sealed the Deepwater Horizon

pipeline to the well itself.

Improper seals, ABC News reports, are responsible for more than a

dozen previous blowouts in the gulf.

“The Wall Street Journal” reporting that Deepwater Horizon did not

have a remote-controlled shut off valve that is mandatory in at least two

other countries, and is used voluntarily by other drilling companies in

this.  In 2000, the Minerals Management Service began considering making

that and other backup measures mandatory.  The oil industry pushed back

against the device.

Three years later, an administration led by two oil men, including the

former CEO of the aforementioned Halliburton, decided not to mandate any

new backup systems.  The shutoff valve being, in the words of the

administration itself, quote, “not recommended because they tend to be very

costly.”  They cost half a million dollars—less than Mary Landrieu has

received from the oil industry.

Far less than the $5 million that B.P.‘s CEO, Tony Hayward, makes per

year.  His company reporting $5.6 billion for the first three months of

this year, not revenue, profits.  The kind of profits apparently that can

prophesize a future free of regulation but full of acts of God.


OLBERMANN:  The Twitter sensation Spit My Dad Says joins us.  So he

will count as the Twitter report, including the Tweet of the Day.  We have

a lot to do here.  Let‘s play Oddball.

Philadelphia, hello.  Phillies hosting the St. Louis Cardinals. 

Teenage Phillies fan calls dad from the ballpark, quoting, “dad, can I run

on the field.”  Dad responds, quote, “I don‘t think you should, son.”  Spit

My Dad Says this is the result. 

Youth, 17-year-old, whose name we chose not to reveal, tasered by a

police officers.  The boy‘s father described the phone call as an effort to

get permission.  The boy‘s mother apologizing for his actions.  From

Philadelphia City Councilman Jim Kenney, quote, it seems to me that people

from the suburbs think when they come into the city they can act like


By the way, he would only get about a B-minus on the scale of

psychotic bar fans there in Philly.  Don‘t tase me in the city of Brotherly

Love, bro? 

Elsewhere in the NL East, Senate bipartisanship.  Republican Senator

Johnny Isaacson of Georgia, Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller of West

Virginia, with Republican Senator Jim Bunning of the 1968 Pittsburgh

Pirates, honoring manager Bobby Cox of the Atlanta Braves, who is scheduled

to retire after this his 29th years as a Major League manager, 25 of them

in Atlanta.  We think Cox might have batted against Bunning in Spring

Training during the two years Cox played third base for the Yankees. 

Anyway, the senators extol Bobby‘s leadership, and he, as ever,

produced the mo juiced (ph). 


BOBBY COX, MANAGER OF ATLANTA BRAVES:  One thing I would I like to ask

you gentlemen to do, speak at my funeral. 


OLBERMANN:  To Manomonowy (ph), Wisconsin and the deer crashers.  Two

deer blasted through the glass doors of the Stout Ale House.  Deer like

beer.  The bar/restaurant was not prepared for the unexpected guests.  The

hoofed ones therefore wrestled down to the floor for their own protection. 

Since the regular patrons were watching a basketball game at the time, a

Milwaukee Bucks game. 

That‘s sports.  I‘m Vip Burns, now back to Lou Waters and Bill

Zimmerman in Atlanta.  Sorry, I had a flashback. 

The crisis continues in Nashville.  Off the back burner news wise,

thank goodness, but the death count in Tennessee alone is now 19.  We go

there next.


OLBERMANN:  Just in here, and of great sadness to baseball fans, Ernie

Harwell, a Major League Baseball announcer, principally with the Detroit

Tigers, in a career that spanned 1948 to 2002, has died of cancer.  He was

diagnosed a year ago.  Ernie Harwell was 92 and was one of the best people,

let alone one of the best broadcasters in sports. 

As the Gulf Coast grapples with the flood of oil, Tennessee has been

blindsided by a fatal natural disaster, a flood.  In our third story in the

COUNTDOWN, rescue, recovery and the emergency federal response continues;

29 people in Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky, 19 in Tennessee alone. 

After a weekend record-setting rainfall caused flash flooding, with

the Cumberland River, which runs through downtown Nashville, cresting last

night nearly 12 feet above flood level.  That followed 14 inches of rain, a

new two-day record for the Nashville area. 

Rescuers expect more bodies to emerge from muddy flood water.  But at

least the waters are now receding.  Police managed to evacuate some from a

tent city of homeless people in downtown Nashville.  But they are bracing

for the possibility of finding bodies there as the water ebbs. 

Authorities also fear finding additional fatalities in more remote

areas.  Nashville‘s fire chief, Kim Lawson, saying, quote, “we certainly

hope that it is not a large number.” 

Authorities and volunteers in fishing boats have been rescuing

stranded Nashville residents and tourists; 500 people were rescued from the

Windham Resort alone.  The flooding was not limited to the Cumberland. 

Lakes, rivers and drainage systems were deluged in the three states,

bridges washed out, thousands of homes damaged.  Nashville businesses also

hit hard, include the country music landmark the Grand Old Opry House, and

its hotel and convention center, with 1,500 guests rushed to shelter. 

That prompted a wave of Twitter postings from music stars like Reba

McIntire, Kenny Chesney and Brad Paisley.  They appealed for help for the

entire area.  The president offering federal disaster assistance.  He sent

FEMA‘s administrator to Tennessee to review the damage firsthand.  The

governor of Tennessee, Phil Bredesen, had declared 52 counties as disaster


Let‘s speak now with a reporter for “The Tennessean Newspaper” in

Nashville, Brad Schrade.  Thanks for your time tonight, sir. 



OLBERMANN:  Well, how are you doing?  What is the latest with the

emergency relief efforts, rescue and recovery alike?

SCHRADE:  Well, it has been quite a harrowing few days here in middle

Tennessee.  Today, the effort moved from a rescue to more of a recovery

effort.  They‘re trying to restore power in the downtown district, but

floodwaters are still at some stations there.  So the power company is—

could be days before some of those areas downtown are restored to power. 

And there is still some residents, 3,000 to 4,000 in the Nashville area,

that do not have power. 

The Army Corps of Engineers is focusing on trying to strategically

bring down some of the reservoirs around Nashville, without creating more

flood problems.  The concern there is that if additional rains were to

come, that you could have more flooding, because they—without the—the

dams are very full right now, so they want to bring those waters down to be

able to control the river if additional rains were to come. 

OLBERMANN:  Is—I can‘t imagine any natural disaster like that is

not a surprise, no matter what forecasts might have been made or forecasts

not been made.  But is there a particular history that should have

suggested such a thing was possible in this day and age for Nashville and

the environs? 

SCHRADE:  Well, in Nashville, we have a lot of rain this time of year. 

What is of bigger concern generally is we are in kind of a tornado alley

here.  So I think that was the big fear among residents over the weekend,

as the storms were coming in from the west.  So really the flash floods and

the flooding caught a lot of people off-guard, because we just haven‘t had

this level of rains. 

I think a congressman here said it is a 500-year event.  So the rains,

while we don‘t usually have this amount, this level of intensity and the

way it just hung over and wouldn‘t pass through, created major flooding


OLBERMANN:  What is needed?  I mean, people who are seeing this for

the first time in this unfortunate confluence of news stories that kept

Nashville off the radar for the last few days, and what has happened there

just not getting the publicity until today really—what else needs to be

done?  We have thrown up the texting number for the Red Cross, which had

set up some 30 stations as of yesterday.  Are there other things that

people can do, who are seeing this and appalled by the circumstances? 

SCHRADE:  Well, there‘s a lot of—one of the issues here is a lot of

these homes that flooded are not in the flood plain, or people don‘t‘

traditionally expect them to flood.  So there are a lot of homeowners who

just didn‘t have home insurance and they‘re afraid they‘re going to lose

their homes or not be able to rebuild.  The news out of the White House

today was a good first step, but I think the city and the region is really

just trying to first get the waters to recede and then kind of come to

grips with what our next step is. 

OLBERMANN:  The situation in Nashville as described for us by Brad

Schrade, reporter from “The Tennessean.”  Great thanks, Brad, and good luck

with the community‘s effort to recovered from this. 

SCHRADE:  Thanks, Keith.  Thanks for having me on. 

OLBERMANN:  My pleasure. 

From Tweeting to a TV pilot to a book?  Like paper?  The march of a

Bit My Dad Says.  George Will‘s cherry picking data about bird deaths to

argue for drilling and nuclear, against wind power.  Maybe it is cherry

pecking.  We‘ll see it in Worsts.

When Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, live from New Orleans,

new testing at the Gulf suggests the oil might be thicker than originally

thought and thus tougher to disperse.   


OLBERMANN:  Justin Halpern is not well known.  His dad and the spit he

says and the way Justin disseminates these priceless pearls via Twitter are

very well known.  We‘ll introduce you to the man behind Stuff My Dad Say,

only it‘s not stuff, next. 

But first, tonight‘s Worst Persons in the World.  A reminder, you can

see who did not make the cut exclusively on Twitter.  Follow me, the name

is, creatively, KeithOlbermann, one word.  Get the three Twerst people in

the world each night. 

The TV version, meanwhile.  The bronze to Fixed News analyst Charles

Krauthammer.  I‘m assuming he‘s not mentally impaired and wasn‘t drunk when

he said this: “the Bush administration had seven years after 9/11, no

successful attacks in the United States.  There‘s already been one

successful attack under the Obama administration.  The Bush administration,

which was attacked, excoriated for its tough interrogation, nonetheless,

kept us safe.” 

The SUV attack on students at North Carolina in 2006, the El Al

counter at LAX in 2002, the D.C. Sniper, Anthrax in 2001.  The last three,

by the way, were pronounced terrorist attacks by the Bush administration. 

Charles Krauthammer is a stone cold liar. 

Runner-up, James E. Glassman, managing director and senior economist

at JP Morgan Chase.  Wrote a letter to his clients yesterday insulting the

U.S. Senate after the Goldman Sachs hearing.  “The financial reform debate

is in the final innings.  It is time for the grown-ups to step in.  Flip

assertions about what is and is not socially valuable, reflect a confusion

about our market economy.”  He showed a graph of job losses in Carl Levin‘s

state of Michigan titled, “people who live in glass houses shouldn‘t throw


Say, Mr. Glassman, which of the following statement is closer to the

truth?  The U.S. government ran out of money in 2008 and Wall Street had to

bail it out to save the national economy?  Or Wall Street turned itself

into a casino and, in 2008, the Senate and the rest of the government and

U.S. taxpayers bailed out your sorry, overpaid asses to save the national


In short, Mr. Glassman, what Jon Stewart said. 

Our winner, poor George Will, still operating in those dear, dead days

when people could not easily check his facts and find he had scrubbed them

of so much context that they were left laughably misleading.  As Media

Matters reported on ABC this week, Mr. Will said “wind farms kill a lot

more birds daily than are probably going to be killed in this oil spill.” 

In “Newsweek” last month, he wrote “birds beware, the American Bird

Conservancy estimates that the existing 25,000 wind turbines kill between

75,000 and 275,000 birds a year.  Imagine the toll that 186,000 turbines

would take.” 

My god, that is terribly disturbing.  Each wind turbine might kill

from three to 11 birds per year.  And if we achieved Obama‘s goal of 20

percent energy from wind turbines, and safety measures were not improved,

we could kill as many as half a million, maybe two million birds per year. 

That is terribly disturbing.

But if you look at that site that Will quoted the, American Bird

Conservancy, which supports the wind turbines, here are its estimates for

bird deaths in this country right now: collisions with communications

towers, four to 50 million, power lines, 75 million birds, collisions with

buildings, 100 million birds, hit by cars, 200 million to 300 million, cats

365 million birds a year.  You left out the cats, George. 

By the way, the buildings, the towers, the lines, the cars and the

cats rarely also destroy all the other flora and fauna in the area and

damage the ecosystem for years, and become an excuse for nature to raise

the price of wind.  George “Once Again I Was Hoping You Wouldn‘t Go to the

Website I Quoted” Will, today‘s Worst Person in the World.


OLBERMANN:  Just eight months ago, writer Justin Halpern made lemons

out of the proverbial lemonade after being dumped by his girlfriend and

having to move back in with his parents.  He started a Twitter page called

Stuff My Dad Says.  Only Stuff is actually a word that rhymes with Spit. 

The page‘s content is taken exclusively from remarks made to Halpern by his

father, Samuel.  A sample Tweet reads, November 8th, 2009, “here‘s a

strawberry, sorry for farting near you.  Hey, either take the strawberry

and stop bitching, or no strawberry, that‘s the deal.” 

The number one story, Junk My Dad Says is a runaway hit, spawning over

a million twitter followers, also a sitcom pilot starting William Shatner,

and a book.  How Luddite.  Justin Halpern joins me in a minute.  First, for

the uninitiated, Schmutz My Dad Says went live last August.  Halpern‘s bio

says, quote, “I‘m 29, I live with my 74-year-old dad.  He is awesome.  I

just write down shift that he says.”

Halpern has Tweeted only 118 times.  I do that in like an hour.  Yet,

he has over 1.3 million followers waiting for another nugget from his dad,

who is on the left.  Before we talk to the son, one more Tweet, February

22nd, “a parent is only as good as their dumbest kid.  One wins the Nobel

Prize, but the other gets robbed by a hooker, you failed.” 

Joining me now from Los Angeles is the Tweeter and now author of Sugar

My Dad Says, Justin Halpern.  Welcome. 

JUSTIN HALPERN, TWEETER:  Thanks for having me. 

OLBERMANN:  There was a period during which your dad did not know he

was a sensation on the Internet.  Can you explain that and how did he find


HALPERN:  Yeah.  I had started this page just to show friends and then

it exploded without me having any control over it.  At that point, I

started getting calls from book agents and people like that.  At that

point, I pretty much had to tell my dad.  I called my brother first and he

was like, no, destroy the page.  Don‘t tell dad.  It is not worth it.  Pack

all your stuff.  Get ready to leave. 

I thought, no, I think I have to try this out.  I went and told my

dad.  I thought he was going to explode.  He just laughed for a couple of

seconds and he goes, I can‘t find my cell phone.  I need you to help me

find my cell phone.  I was like, are we good?  He said, yeah, I need my

cell phone.  That was kind of it.  I don‘t know if he gets the scope. 

OLBERMANN:  I‘m sure he will. 

HALPERN:  The book would do it.  Wouldn‘t the book, by itself, get the

point across to him? 

OLBERMANN:  You‘d think.  He‘s starting to get the scope now, yeah,

with the book coming out in stores.  But, yeah, he is pretty excited about


HALPERN:  Another great—they run the range from great is the low

end to unbelievably spectacular.  The one from September 7th, “the worst

thing you can be a liar.  OK, fine, yes, the worst thing you can be a Nazi. 

But then number two is liar.  Nazi one, liar two.” 

Do you provoke him or prompt him or is it more or less organic, this


HALPERN:  That was like an hour-long argument that ended with that

statement.  No, I don‘t provoke him.  He says whatever he wants, whenever

he wants to say it. 

OLBERMANN:  I don‘t know.  Based on the idea that that‘s the end of an

hour, maybe you provoke him more than you know, Justin.  Have you

considered that possibility? 

HALPERN:  I definitely provoke him quite often, never to get the

Tweets, though. 

OLBERMANN:  I know you are a writer by profession.  It would seem,

having dabbled in this now for about three weeks, that going from this

limited space that is a Tweet or even a series of them, to turn it into a

book—how difficult was it to do that? 

HALPERN:  It was actually a pretty interesting process.  I had all

these stories that I had always told my friends about my dad.  When I got

to write this book, I got to sit down and think about the times in my life

where probably if you had a normal parent, it might have been a little bit

of milquetoast, but in this case it was with my dad.  I thought it was a

lot of fun to sit back and kind of relive traumatic moments in my life that

maybe I can laugh at now. 

OLBERMANN:  How does the—we had to use euphemisms just to describe

to your Twitter name.  How is that going to translate to a television pilot

with William Shatner? 

HALPERN:  Yes, obviously, we‘re not going to use that word, or he‘s

not going to dropping any F-bombs.  We try to keep sort of the aggressive

honesty of the page.  We tried never to change the S word to poop or

something like that.  So we figured—we made the rule, if my dad wouldn‘t

say it, then we wouldn‘t put it in the show. 

OLBERMANN:  Was Shatner your first choice?  Is that a good match

realistically?  Does it provide verisimilitude?  Describe the comparison

between your father, real life, and the Shatner character.  

HALPERN:  Shatner is basically a refined version of my father. 

They‘re both sort of older gentlemen who don‘t really want to engage in any

unnecessary conversations with people they don‘t know.  But, yeah, Mr. 

Shatner was definitely our first choice.  He is every bit as awesome as I

hoped he would be. 

OLBERMANN:  Well, I think he also—if it hasn‘t occurred to you, he

may provide you with that euphemism in the way of a title, if you want to

go this direction.  Just throwing this out from one Tweet guy to another,

“Shatner My Dad Says.”  It‘s sort of—all right, it wasn‘t that good an

idea.  Justin Halpern, the creator of Things My Dad Says—it is not

really Things.  Great thanks and good luck and thanks for making the

Twitter world that much more exciting for the rest of us. 

HALPERN:  Thanks for having me. 

OLBERMANN:  Good luck with the book.  It‘s out now.

That is COUNTDOWN for this the 2,560th day since the previous

president declared mission accomplished in Iraq.  I‘m Keith Olbermann, good

night and good luck. 

Now from New Orleans, with the news that the spilled oil may be

thicker than first though, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow. 

Good evening, Rachel.




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