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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guest: Ezra Klein, Mike Mason               



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

be talking about tomorrow?

Senate Republicans protecting B.P.  The Senate rises to vote on

increasing the oil monolith‘s liability in the Gulf from $75 million to $10

billion.  But Senator Murkowski of Alaska blocks the vote, insisting it

would hurt small businesses.

Senator Menendez nails it.


SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY:  If you drill, you need to be

able to pay for the damages, because otherwise, imagine if this particular

spill had been done by a, quote-unquote, “small company,” then who would be



OLBERMANN:  And our exclusive interview with the Alaska whistleblower

who witnessed cheating on tests for the blowout preventers on wells owned

by B.P.—as all hell blows out in the Senate.


Arrests in Massachusetts, in New York, in New Jersey.  Those arrested,

says the attorney general, provided Faisal Shahzad with funding.  A

significant step, he says, in the investigation.

Then why did the administration just cut New York City‘s anti-

terrorism budget by $100 million?  They didn‘t.  They raised it by $47


Then why is Congressman Peter King saying they cut it?  I don‘t know,

maybe we should go to that secret briefing for senators on the Times Square

bomber and ask Senator Kit Bond, except he fell asleep for 15 minutes

during it.

Arizona‘s “papers please” law.  The latest high profile convention

boycott, the Republican presidential convention of 2012 -- it goes to

Tampa.  Not Phoenix.  Oops.

Lewis Black takes of on Glenn beck.


GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS:  These are the Brownshirts.

This is what Hitler did with the S.S.


LEWIS BLACK, COMEDIAN:  Glenn Beck has “Nazi Tourette‘s.”


OLBERMANN:  Hey, great ceremonial first pitch, Olympic hero.

“Tea Time”: Everybody just lock hands and form a human chain around

the building.  OK, everybody just stand 25 feet apart and form a symbolic

virtual human chain around the building.

And idiot woman speaks in front of a big flag sponsored by a sump pump

company, quote, “Somebody told me, ‘You know you‘re going into enemy

territory.‘  I said, ‘It‘s Chicago—it‘s not MSNBC.‘”  Yes, like you had

the courage to come to MSNBC.

All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.






OLBERMANN:  Good evening from New York.

As oil and gas continue churning into the Gulf, more than 4 million

barrels now, Democrats today brought a measure to the Senate floor that

would increase the amount Americans hurt by this bill can get from those


And in our fifth story tonight: A lone figure dared to stand up in

defense of the oil companies.

The law spearheaded by Bob Menendez of New Jersey, a state with miles

of beaches, would have raised the current level for liability from $75

million, a drop in the oily bucket, to $10 billion.  Still less than B.P. 

makes in profits over half a year‘s time.  But procedure was one used for

noncontroversial—bipartisan vote, unanimous consent, which means there‘s

no vote, the bill just passes, unless someone objects.  Cue the Republican.


SEN. ROLAND BURRIS (D), ILLINOIS:  Is there objection?


BURRIS:  Senator from Alaska.

MURKOWSKI:  Mr. President, reserving the right to object.


OLBERMANN:  Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, campaign recipient of

more than $400,000 from the oil and gas industry, explained that increasing

liability will make drilling prohibitively expensive for mom-and-pop

operations and said existing law already permits those hurt by the spills

to seek compensation in court.


MURKOWSKI:  The law expressly—expressly allows for unlimited

damages.  So, you‘ve got unlimited damages in state courts where the

compensatory, the punitive damages, are already being sought.  As we speak,

there have been numerous claims filed.  Back on the 28th of April, the

Louisiana shrimpers filed a class action lawsuit against B.P., Transocean,

Halliburton and Cameron for their economic losses.


OLBERMANN:  Senator Menendez argued that if mom-and-pop drillers

lacked the resources to cover the damage they do, maybe they ought not risk

doing the damage in the first place.  He also offered Senator Murkowski a

history lesson about her own state and oil.


MENENDEZ:  The suggestion that those who are harmed—the fishermen,

the commercial fishermen, the tourism companies and others—are

ultimately will be in a position to make claims in state court—well, I

know my distinguished colleague from Alaska knows what happened in the

Exxon Valdez case, that took 20 years for claimants to try to get their

just response.  And some of them fell off the way because they just

couldn‘t keep hanging in there.  And they lost everything.


OLBERMANN:  We learned yesterday about the faulty blowout preventer

which could not be activated because of: “A,” a dead battery, “B,” a loose

fitting that leaked hydraulic fluid and, “C,” modifications that disabled

the key part of it and were not reflected on the schematics which caused a

whole day of wasted effort to shut down the spill.  Regulators testified at

a Louisiana hearing yesterday that the blowout preventer was designed,

manufactured and installed without any government oversight at all.

“The Wall Street Journal” today reporting that after bad test results

of the new cement seal on the well, B.P. decided to move ahead anyway.  The

alternative, at least a week‘s delay in fixing the seal at a cost of more

than $5 million.

Transocean, owner and operator of the rig, today petitioning a judge,

arguing that its own liability should be less than $27 million, based on

19th century maritime law.

Joining us now: Ezra Klein, policy writer for “The Washington Post,”

columnist for “Newsweek” and the author of the “Wonkbook” newsletter.

Ezra, good evening.


OLBERMANN:  Given Transocean is hard at work trying to game the court

system against Americans who are hurt by this spill, do you have an idea

why Senator Menendez says the courts are not sufficient for providing

remedy for these spills and what the proposed remedy in his bill is?

KLEIN:  Well, Keith, I‘m no expert on 19th century maritime law.  So,

that might disqualify me here.

But as Senator Menendez says, when you go through the courts, it takes

a very, very long time in these cases.  And a lot of the people, it‘s a

dispersed damage.  It‘s a lot of individual fishermen, individual

restaurant owners.

And it‘s hard for them to stick in there.  It‘s hard for them to keep

up with the legal fees.  It‘s hard for them to get away from some hot shot

lawyer bringing up 19th century maritime law.

On the other side, we have the law that makes of an expedited process

but has a $75 million cap.  Now, we‘ve had estimates of the B.P. damage up

to $14 billion.  So, he‘s trying to move it up to $10 billion so there

could be an expedited process for these people who lost everything now to

get it back soon.

OLBERMANN:  We did put in a call to 19th century maritime law expert,

Herman Melville.  But we haven‘t heard from him back.  So, we go along with


KLEIN:  Yes.  He‘s not good at responding the calls these days.

OLBERMANN:  He also knows about the Customs House down here.

Senator Murkowski‘s other objection—she‘s protecting mom-and-pop

operators who wouldn‘t be able to afford insurance.  Can you flush out or

add to that rebuttal that Senator Menendez gave?  And are there a lot of

mom-and-pop oil drilling offshore operations?

KLEIN:  I don‘t know how many mom-and-pop offshore operations there. 

I mean, these mom-and-pop operations, I imagine, are a lot bigger than, for

instance, for what my mother and father own.  I don‘t think that‘s the

scale we‘re talking about.

But it is totally conceivable that there are a lot of oil drilling

operations, that if the true cost of oil were put into the price of what

they have to do and what they have to cover, if their drilling goes wrong,

they couldn‘t afford to do it.  And that gets to a much more important and

much larger point.  What we pay at the pump does not include all the costs

on society.  There‘s an enormous amount of pollution, dangers from global

warming, spills like this one.  The National Academy of Sciences put in

just some of those and estimated that oil should be at least 29 cents more

per gallon.

So, yes, it is true that if you made oil reflect its true cost, some -

either some of us wouldn‘t buy as much of it or some people who currently

produce it wouldn‘t be able to produce it.  I‘m not sure why it should be

the government‘s role to encourage mom-and-pop production of oil or more

production of oil.


OLBERMANN:  Correct me if I‘m wrong on this last point.  B.P. 

literally already has a criminal record for the deadly blast in Texas City,

Texas; for the spills in Alaska, at Senator Murkowski‘s Alaska, for

conspiring to corner propane and manipulate the price, we assume that was


So, why are we talking about any cap on liability?  I assume we don‘t

do that for organized crime usually.  And, B, you know, why are Republicans

engage in defending habitual criminals from having to compensate their


KLEIN:  Well, it‘s because the cap is sort of an expedited process. 

And I imagine, I‘m not an expert on it, but I imagine it has a lot to do

with there are probably some legal issues there, I‘d guess.  On the other

hand, I don‘t know exactly what the Republicans are doing on this.  You

remember, the Senate is sort of run like a hippy commune.  If as many as

one of them says, no, I don‘t want to continue, everybody‘s got to stop for

a couple days and sort of have a feeling circle on it before they take a

vote of 60.

So, what Republicans will do on this, I think, is up in the air. 

Senator Murkowski, I imagine, you‘re seeing that there are of Alaskan oil

companies that don‘t like this legislation and worry that, in the future,

they will have a massive oil drilling—a massive oil catastrophe and they

don‘t want to be on the hook for it, and she‘s helping them out.

OLBERMANN:  And Senator Murkowski from the hippy commune.  Ezra Klein

of “The Washington Post” and “Newsweek” reporting to us tonight from

Woodstock.  Thank you, Ezra.

KLEIN:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  As promised now, let‘s bring in Mike Mason, a veteran

Alaskan oil worker who now runs a freight service and who has been the

proverbial thorn in B.P.‘s pipeline for years now—with this warning that

the satellite from Anchorage is longer than usual for some reason tonight.

Mr. Mason, thank you for joining us.


OLBERMANN:  Explain briefly how a blowout preventer works and what

testing tells them before you install them.

MASON:  Well, a blowout preventer works in two different ways.  One,

to shear the well off and—if the primary way doesn‘t work, which is to

seal the pipe off; and to test the BOPs—it‘s what they call an integrity

test to see if they hold up to the pressures.

OLBERMANN:  So, what exactly is the claim that you‘ve made about the

testing that B.P. and its contractors have done on the BOPs, on the blowout


MASON:  Well, when they test the BOPs, they‘re supposed to hold each

test for five minutes, at 5,000 psi.  And to cut corners, they just hold

the test for 30 seconds or so on on each one.  And they have a spin chart

with an ink pen on the spin chart, and they just spin the chart ahead five

minutes and then bleed the pressures off.

OLBERMANN:  So, you‘ve seen them just literally, what, move a paper

through a machine to indicate there‘s been a five-minute test when it

hasn‘t been that long?

MASON:  Yes, sir.

OLBERMANN:  Often?  Is this—is this the regular way to get these

things tested or is it just an occasional corner cut?  What would—how

would you estimate it in terms of your experience?

MASON:  Well, I would say if the state inspector wasn‘t there to

witness it as most times, I would say—and the state inspector is there

at least maybe half the time on the test.  So, they would do it if the

state inspector wasn‘t there.

OLBERMANN:  Is there any rule or any law that says BOPs, blowout

preventers, have to meet those standards that are set for them?  And who is

the testing done for?

MASON:  The AOGCC in Alaska and the state of Alaska.

OLBERMANN:  But are there laws that say—I mean, in other words, is

there a set of laws that says these are the standards, but there‘s no set

of laws that says the blowout preventers have to meet the standards?  Is

there a loophole that big?

MASON:  No, there is a set of laws that says they have to meet them


OLBERMANN:  Provided there is an inspector there.  If there‘s no

inspector there, they just fake it.

MASON:  Yes, sir.  That‘s correct.

OLBERMANN:  You‘ve gone public before, nationally and Alaska locally,

with these allegations about the practices in the industry regarding the

blowout protectors.  I assume, senator from your state, Senator Murkowski,

has been working diligently to address your claims on behalf of the natural

pristine environment in your state?

MASON:  Not that I can see, no.  No.

OLBERMANN:  So, is anybody interested in doing anything about this in

the government—either in Alaska or representatives nationally from


MASON:  No.  I believe that the commissions—the regulations

commissions up here are in the oil field‘s back pocket.  They don‘t have

the strength to follow through with the regulations, and pretty much they

let the oil fields write the procedures in the first place.

OLBERMANN:  Do you assume—obviously, your experience would be

primarily in Alaska.  Do you assume this is the case in the Gulf and what

we‘re looking at with this thing, and that B.P. is continually spilling

200,000 to 300,000, 400,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf right now each

day?  Is that—do you think something like that happened there, based on

your experience?

MASON:  Yes, I do.  I think it‘s a culture that is within B.P., and

other drilling contractors.  Yes, I do.

OLBERMANN:  Is there any way out of the corruption in this system, in

your opinion?

MASON:  No.  Until we have stronger regulations and stronger

commissions and more honest politicians, I don‘t see that B.P.‘s going to

change their ways.

OLBERMANN:  It sounds like a state regulator at every one of those

tests might be of some use, or a federal one.

Mike Mason, whistleblower on the practices of the oil industry—

great thanks for your time and great thanks for your courage in speaking up

on this stuff.

MASON:  You‘re welcome.  Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  And we should note that we asked B.P. for comment on Mr.

Mason‘s story.  We received no reply.

Speaking of spills and repairs, at an Illinois political affair

sponsored by a sump pump company, “Drill, baby, drill” Palin attacks Rachel

and boasts about what she‘d do if she visited MSNBC—like she‘d have the

guts to do that.

How‘s that whole delusiony grandeury thing working out for you?


OLBERMANN:  Why is this man claiming the administration just cut

counterterrorism funds to New York—and he‘s talking so much he might as

well be going door-to-door—when it actually increased them?  And why is

he doing it on a day of breaking news from Pakistan in the case of the

Times Square fireworks terrorist and supposed accomplice?

The leader of the statewide Arizona legislators trying to correct the

“show us your papers” law, on the irony of ironies, the first big

convention not going to Arizona—the 2012 Republican presidential


A colleague and friend inexcusably attacked and belittled in “The

Washington Post,” something about her attacker which he does not want you

to know.

And there‘s no description better than the one on Comedy Central‘s own

Web site for its segment by Lewis Black.  Glenn Beck plays six degrees of

Kevin Bacon, except there‘s one degree and Kevin Bacon is Hitler.  That‘s

what they said.

All ahead on COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN:  FBI agents today raiding half a dozen locations in the

northeast as part of the investigation into the failed attempt to set off a

bomb—or fireworks—in Times Square earlier this month, amid breaking

news tonight that Pakistan has arrested a suspect who says he was an

accomplice to the Times Square would-be bomber.  “The Washington Post”

reporting within the last hour that the suspect, whose arrest has not been

previously disclosed, has provided a, quote, “independent stream of

evidence that the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attempted attack.”

Meanwhile, in our fourth story on the COUNTDOWN: The president‘s visit

to New York tonight setting off a bizarre round of bipartisan accusations

that his administration is shortchanging the city on homeland security

funding, even though basic math suggests that that is not the case.

We begin with arrests, the ones here in the U.S. today.  Federal and

local officials are searching homes and businesses this morning in the

suburbs of Boston, Philadelphia and New York.  Three men arrested being

held tonight for immigration violations.  Two of them believed to have

helped suspect Faisal Shahzad receive money from Pakistan.  But officials

adding, there is no evidence to suggest they knew Shahzad was planning to

set off a bomb in Times Square.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL:  There‘s at least a basis to

believe that one of the things that they did was to provide him with funds. 

And so, we are trying to trace back to see what exactly was the nature of

those transactions, the purpose of the sharing of that—of those moneys. 

And so, this is just part of the ongoing investigation.


OLBERMANN:  As we mentioned, the president in New York tonight

visiting police headquarters in order to thank the officers for their

response to the bombing attempt.  Local politicians of both parties today

are complaining about the administration‘s homeland security funding.

Republican Congressman Pete king and Democrat Anthony Weiner upset

that New York‘s share of grant money for beefing up rail and port security

has been cut from $198 million last year to $145 million this year.  But

the White House pointing out that New York got an extra $100 million for

rail and port security in economic stimulus money.  The net increase: $47

million from the city of New York.

Then there‘s Republican Senator Kit Bond of Missouri who, having

accused the Obama administration of, quote, “executing a hostile takeover

of the intelligence community” by purportedly failing to cooperate with the

intelligence committee on which he sits.  He appeared to fall asleep for 10

to 15 minutes yesterday during a closed door intelligence briefing on the

Times Square bombing attempt.

Senator Bond‘s office telling MSNBC the accusation is a baseless

personal attack, but Senator Orrin Hatch who sat next to Mr. Bond during

the briefing confirmed that Hatch‘s eyes were indeed shut.  He told “The

Wall Street Journal,” quote, “I can tell you he was awake,” adding that

sometimes, the lights in the room are so bright, quote, “You have you to

rest your eyes for a bit; you get light burn.”

My future‘s so strong, I get light burn.

Lots to talk about tonight with our own Jonathan Alter, “Newsweek”

magazine national affairs columnist and author of the upcoming book, “The

Promise: President Obama Year One.”

Jon, good evening.


OLBERMANN:  Net increase of $47 million in overall counterterrorism

funds to the city of New York.  Some of it coming from a different place

than it did last year.  What explains the bipartisan outrage?

ALTER:  I think it has to do with the fallout from the Khalid Sheikh

Mohammed case where Attorney General Holder wanted him tried, you know, the

mastermind of 9/11, tried in New York City.  They blindsided the local

authorities.  The police commissioner was upset, the mayor was upset. 

Everybody was upset.

So, that‘s part of what the president‘s visit is tonight, to try to

mend fences with law enforcement in New York.  You have to remember that in

the president‘s first budget, they changed Bush‘s priorities on funding for

terrorism money.  It used to be spread around the country like pork.

OLBERMANN:  Exactly.

ALTER:  And with all due respect to Kansas, for them to get a lot of

post-9/11 money was pretty silly because there was not likely to be an

attack in Kansas.  New York was short-changed for that whole period, for

eight years, and that was rectified in the president‘s first budget.  But

there are still these hard feelings as a result of the poor politics of the

way they handled the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed case.

OLBERMANN:  We don‘t know what happened in terms of this arrest in

Pakistan, and it is fascinating to hear them describe this suspect as a

self-described accomplice of Shahzad.  But we know that the ones today in

this country, the searches anyway, came from information that officials say

Shahzad gave to them.

Is it still difficult now to claim that this was a mistake to have

read him his Miranda rights?

ALTER:  Well, you know what happened is, Dick Cheney said, he dissed

law enforcement and he thought this is a military problem, terrorism.

It‘s both.  You have to fight it militarily with drone attacks and so

forth overseas.  But at home, especially after an attempt, it‘s a law

enforcement issue.  There‘s nothing wrong with reading folks their Miranda

rights, especially if they‘re American citizens.  There are waivers that

you can get if you think it‘s a real national security threat—

OLBERMANN:  Which they used in this case.

ALTER:  Which they used.

But here‘s the thing to understand—remember that the Christmas Day

bomber, Abdulmutallab, he was treated through conventional law enforcement,

Cheney and the rest of them went crazy.  The only reason that they cracked

all the details of that case is because—by using classic police

techniques, they convinced him that he should cooperate, they brought his

father over.


ALTER:  And once his father came over to the United States, they were

able to get all of the details.  If that had been the military handling

that, do you think that the father in Africa would have come over to the

United States?  The police department—particularly the New York City

Police Department really know what they‘re doing on terrorism.

OLBERMANN:  Senator Bond came out of that intelligence briefing about

the Times Square situation—or as he would call it, nap time, and said he

was not convinced of the claim that Shahzad was trained and directed and

financed by Pakistani Taliban militants, which is looking like a fairly

foolish remark in the light of tonight‘s developments.  But he said that

beforehand—to be fair to him.

But might it really be the case that now there is a Democratic

president, a Republican, a prominent one on this issue, would not want to

prevail in the so-called war on terror?

ALTER:  Now, you know, look—I mean, they want to win the war or

terror, too.  But what‘s happened is the partisanship has just gotten so

ramped up, they have to oppose on every issue.  And it reaches a kind of a

mindlessness where the same people who were saying that Harriet Miers‘ lack

of experience on the bench was a positive when Bush nominated her for the

Supreme Court are now turning around without batting an eye and saying that

Elena Kagan‘s lack of experience on the bench is a problem.

So, what you get here is a—an almost sort of absurd knee-jerk

reaction and that‘s what you saw with the senator.

OLBERMANN:  Or—which suggests perhaps more naps, not fewer, during

the briefings.

ALTER:  Well, if he thinks he‘s just resting his eyes or he‘s having

light burn, maybe he should wear sunglasses in the hearings.

OLBERMANN:  It would look like those ‘50s—


OLBERMANN:  -- mobsters hearings, what, Genovese wearing the glasses.

ALTER:  Yes.  Yes.

OLBERMANN:  The author of “The Promise: President Obama Year One”

Jonathan Alter of “Newsweek” and MSNBC—good to see you, Jon.  Thank you.

ALTER:  Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  The intention of the 20 different tea party organizers was

to form a human chain around the building at the heart of the state

government.  Instead, they didn‘t have enough people to crowd the hallway. 

Tensions do not come to a boil on “Tea Time”—ahead on COUNTDOWN.


OLBERMANN:  Whoops.  Arizona Republicans and their anti-Hispanic law

costs Phoenix a big convention get, the Republican presidential convention.

First, today‘s Twitter report.  Day—I‘ve long since forgotten. 

Followers, just under 60,000.  Tweet of the Day from Marcus Noble, part of

the hashtag festival on Twitter, “Palin‘s new book title, ‘Chicken Soup for

the Isolated Conservative, Alaska Soul‘?”  No, chicken soup for those

without a soul.  Reminding you the Twitter exclusive “Tworst Persons in the

World” follows “The Worst Persons.”

And let‘s play “Oddball.”


OLBERMANN:  We begin in a bear park in Switzerland with the greatest

non-human, non-trampoline bear in a tree rescue ever.  A mother of two has

one cub on the ground and one cub stuck atop a tall tree.  Clearly the

little critter too scared to climb down, so mama expedites the whole

process.  With a crowd gathered and the videotape rolling, mama bear gets

her cub down the hard way. 

And down goes bear cub.  Baby bear was fine, but he‘ll have to pay to

replace the tree out of his allowance and he gets no for porridge. 

More Cubs, the Iowa Cubs, Chicago‘s AAA affiliate, recently asked Des

Moines native and gold medal winning Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson to throw

out the ceremonial first pitch.  After a big introduction, a round of

applause, Johnson took the hill and proved that she never heard the advice

I got, it is better to throw the ball over the catcher‘s head than—you


Shawn Johnson, everybody.  Mayor of Cincinnati and Howard Stern‘s

producer, Gary Belaponti (ph), thank you for making their ceremonial first

pitches look like strikes. 

The opponents of Arizona‘s show us your papers law predicted this. 

Little did they know the irony provided by the first big name convention to

take a pass after the bill passed.  Phoenix loses the Republican

presidential convention.  Please try to stop laughing by the end of these



OLBERMANN:  The RNC has chosen Tampa, Florida, as the site of its 2012

Republican National Convention.  Phoenix, Arizona, was in the running for

the convention, but RNC organizers insist new Arizona‘s Draconian

immigration law had nothing to do with its choice.  Coincidence, no doubt. 

In our third story tonight, more protests in Arizona, this time yet over

another provocative over-reaching law. 

First to the RNC‘s inspired choice of Tampa.  A Florida Republican

committeewoman credited the two previous bids as having improved its

prospects this time around.  Fair enough, Tampa is a great city. 

But after the RNC‘s recent trouble, does Chairman Michael Steele

really want to contend with this?  That Tampa has a Reputation among some

as the lap dance capital of the world?  Fifty six adult-oriented clubs in

the greater Tampa area, according to the founder of “Night Move Magazine,”

who edified “Politico‘s” Ben Smith on this subject. 

Three of the four major companies that supply dancers are based in

Tampa.  Phoenix, as well as Salt Lake City, not chosen for the GOP

convention.  Arizona Governor Jan Brewer explaining the RNC was, quote,

“looking for a state with more electoral votes.”  RNC Chairman Michael

Steele said the choice of Tampa over Phoenix was, quote, “purely a business


Other business decisions are affecting the city of Phoenix.  They have

been tallied at the request of its Mayor Phil Gordon.  Mayor Gordon

commissioned a study by city officials showing that Phoenix could lose up

to 90 million dollars in revenue from events that might be canceled due to

the new immigration law.  Four events have already been canceled.  A dozen

are listed as vulnerable.  The lost revenue would create a near economic

crisis, according to the study prepared for the mayor. 

But to the rescue, Sarah Palin, who has remarked on the decision by an

Illinois high school refusing to send its girls basketball team to a

tournament in Arizona to protest the immigration law.  Palin says the girls

should go rogue and figure out a way to get there on their own, you know,

without the approval of the school or their parents also. 

Meantime, Governor Brewer is just getting warmed up.  She signed

another brand new bill into law.  This one restricts ethnic studies classes

in the state‘s public schools.  And that has already spawned this protest

at the state office of education in Tucson.  Hundreds of students and

parents and educators staging a sit-in, 15 of them arrested for


Let‘s turn now to Arizona State Representative Kyrsten Sinema, who is

also the assistant leader of the Democratic caucus in the Arizona House of

Representatives.  Thanks for your time again tonight. 


here with you, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  The Republican National Committee not choosing Phoenix a

month after this law passed, is that coincidence, irony or harbinger? 

SINEMA:  I think that it‘s ironic considering it‘s thanks to the

Republican party in Arizona that SB 1070 actually passed.  Even though

high-ranking Republicans all across the country have indicated that this

bill is bad for our country and is unconstitutional. 

OLBERMANN:  How significant is it that Mayor Gordon from Phoenix is

concerned enough to begin assessing potential economic losses to his city? 

SINEMA:  Well, you know, I‘m glad he did a study to assess it, but

we‘re already feeling the effects of the boycott.  We‘ve lost already 10

million dollars at least in economic revenue in Phoenix.  And that doesn‘t

even consider the entire state.  So I think it‘s important we‘re doing this

research.  And hopefully we can use it to show legislators who have made

this bad decision that it hurts us in more ways than just in the reputation

across the country. 

OLBERMANN:  This new law restricting ethnic studies classes, what is

it?  Who‘s for it?  And what are the impacts of that going to be? 

SINEMA:  This bill was drafted by a current superintendent of schools,

Tom Horn, who happens to be running for attorney general.  The bill outlaws

any optional program of study that concerns a specific racial or ethnic

group.  So for instance, African-American studies, Asian-American studies

and Latino studies are banned under this program.  It‘s important to note

that those existing programs in Arizona are all optional programs for

middle school and high school students to learn about the culture and

heritage of our country. 

OLBERMANN:  You‘re in Washington now, obviously.  You‘ve been seeing

the national reaction to this new law and to 1070.  What is it like?  I

guess I‘m more concerned with the off the record stuff that can‘t be

quoted, but what‘s your sense from people of both parties about what‘s

happening in Arizona and what it means for that state and this country long


SINEMA:  I just came from an event with folks from both political

parties and they are just aghast at what‘s happening.  Not only is this bad

policy, but it‘s unconstitutional and the state had no right to do it.  And

everyone really agrees that this sets a bad precedent for our country and

could encourage copy cat measures across the nation.  And that‘s a great

danger to not only immigrants, but all people, even people like me, across

this country. 

OLBERMANN:  These laws have been passed.  They have been signed by the

governor.  They are going to take effect at the conclusion of the

legislature, after a certain given period.  Looks like the end of August,

beginning of September.  What are lawmakers like you who oppose this doing

right now? 

SINEMA:  Right now, I‘m working with a group of organizations to bring

a lawsuit to SB 1070.  We have until July 29th to bring this suit and seek

an injunction to stop the law from going into effect.  I‘m working with the

ACLU, MALDEF, the Mexican-American Legal Defense Education Fund, and the

National Immigrant Law Center. 

We‘re also urging the Department of Justice to look carefully at this

law and either consider bringing a suit or intervening in an existing suit

to seek injunction, so this law does not go into effect and violate the

civil liberties and protections of all Arizonans. 

OLBERMANN:  Good luck with it.  Arizona State Representative Kyrsten

Sinema, joining us once again tonight from Washington. 

SINEMA:  Thank you. 

OLBERMANN:  Great thanks and good night. 

SINEMA:  You too. 

OLBERMANN:  You can‘t spell Lewis Black without B-E-C-K.  Oh, I‘m

sorry, that would be you can‘t spell Bleck without B-E-C-K.  Well, after

what he did to Lonesome Rhodes last night, close enough. 

Miss bendy straw of 1989 takes shots at Rachel and at MSNBC and does

so at a political event sponsored by a sump pump manufacturer. 

When Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, you already know that

the sheriff in this John McCain ad is not from the border town in which the

ad was shot.  She will interview the town‘s actual sheriff, the one whose

experience didn‘t fit John McCain‘s script.


OLBERMANN:  Sarah Palin jokes about coming to MSNBC, as if she had the

courage of her convictions, or merely just some convictions.  First, that

isn‘t your water coming to a boil.  It‘s our nightly checkup on the

something for nothing crowd.  It‘s Tea Time.  Now they‘re just the nothing

for nothing crowd.  This is just getting sad. 

It was a mass Tea Party rally at North Carolina‘s General Assembly

building.  The goal?  Show the man the unmitigated force of all the

protesters banding together, putting aside their differences and nuances to

form a united front to demand the repeal of health care reform.  This was

the chance to illustrate the evil that socialism, fascism, Nazism and

Botulism have inflicted upon our fair land and tell the legislators who‘s


The methodology is simple.  Bring the membership of 20 different Tea

Party groups to the center of North Carolina‘s state government, and have

each patriot link hands and form a human chain around the building.  It was

only about nine seconds worth of video of the vast multitude, this mass of

mankind that stepped up to meet history‘s moment. 

Oh, the humanity, 50 People, with long arms, I guess.  OK, OK, I‘ve

got another one.  It was a mass Tea Party rally at North Carolina‘s Bank of

America headquarters in Charlotte.  The goal, show the man the unmitigated

force of all the protesters, banding together, putting aside their

differences and nuances to form a united front, to demand the defeat of the

Congressional financial reform bill.  This was the chance to illustrate the

let‘s just cut to the chase and show this picture. 


Looks like the crowd‘s thinned out a bit.  That was it, seven people. 

Seven people and a flag.  Do you have a flag?  If it‘s that bad, to invoke

the late great Bill Hicks, have some self-respect.  Stay home and you can

look up the last word online.


OLBERMANN:  Lewis Black makes me look like Glenn Beck‘s best friend. 

That‘s next, but first tonight‘s worst persons in the world. 

The bronze to Tom Shales of “the Washington Post.”  He has been an

acerbic but largely fair TV critic for several decades, but his time seems

to be at an end.  In his review of the new PBS show “Need To Know,” he

fully and colorfully described his contention That he doesn‘t need to know

it, fine.  Then he wrote this about my friend, colleague and previous guest

host for this program.  “First show included a fawning, fatuous interview

with Bill Clinton.  The show‘s at best semi-competent anchors were Jon

Meacham and NPR veteran Alison Stewart.  He looked forlorn, as if having

been left out in the rain.  And she looked as though she would have been

much more comfortable in Clinton‘s lap.” 

The sexist and offensive imagery about Alison Stewart is one thing. 

Dragging a former president into it is another.  For those remarks, alone,

the “Washington Post” should terminate Mr. Shales.  Dismiss it for a moment

and consider if Mr. Shales had just substituted some less offensive analogy

addressing Alison‘s journalistic ethics.  This is from the same man, Mr. 

Shales, who was or perhaps still is involved in the writing of a book about

the ESPN Network, where his co-author was dating one of the ESPN hosts, and

one of her shows was virtually the only topic in at least one 90 minute

interview with a former staffer, even though neither Shales or his co-

writer disclosed that fact before the interview was conducted. 

Mr. Shales is not qualified to be lecturing anybody on journalistic

integrity anymore. 

The runner-up, the crack road sign team of Sparks, Nevada.  ACcording

to local TV station KWLO, two signs have been placed along Vista Boulevard

telling drivers to yield to bike traffic.  Unfortunately, on each of them,

the word is misspelled, Y-E-I-L-D.  Both of them.  This is the same

municipal sign department that, two years ago, painted a school warning on

a street and left out the H.  Spelled school, S-C-O-O-L.  It‘s Nevada.  I

wonder if the sign men are paid in chickens. 

Our winner, Sister Sarah.  The maestro of the bendy straw spoke to a

crowd of 4,000 in Rosemont, Illinois, outside Chicago. 


SARAH PALIN, FMR. GOVERNOR OF ALASKA:  A gal walked up and asked him

where he was from.  He said Alaska.  And all of a sudden, the clerk turned

beat red and the veins popped out in her neck, kind of like Rachel Maddow

does sometimes.  Now watch, that clip‘s going to be on air for her dot com. 

Increase her ratings. 


OLBERMANN:  For her dot com.  It‘s pronounced Maddow, Ms. Palin.  She

continued, “I‘m glad to be here on the president‘s home turf.  Somebody

told me you know you‘re going into enemy territory.  I said, it‘s Chicago. 

It‘s not MSNBC.”  That woman is an idiot.  The event at which that idiot

spoke was sponsored by an Illinois firm that specializes in battery-

operated backup sump pumps.  So it‘s not just a sump pump political event,

it was a backup sump pump political event. 

Moreover, to put it plainly, this is a matter of record, that woman

does not have the courage, personal or political, to appear on MSNBC, not

without an army with her.  I mean that literally.  The half governor of

Alaska, now celebrating two years without holding an actual news

conference, nor having the guts to be interviewed on a network like this

one, but the toast of America‘s backup sump pump political circuit, today‘s

worst person in the world.


OLBERMANN:  Constant viewers will agree when it comes to political and

social satire, it‘s nearly impossible to watch stuff from comedian Lewis

Black that is not the A material.  But in our number story, often it

happens that Lewis outdoes himself with his “Back in Black” segment on “The

Daily Show.”  Such an occasion?  Last night‘s monologue about Lonesome

Rhodes Beck.  Here, a few weeks back, Lewis was positively placid compared

to his eruption last night.  Viewers of this program are also familiar with

Glenn Beck‘s I see Nazi people routine .  You may recall expose on my

expose on his expose outing NBC as a communist organization, because the

headquarters are in Rockefeller Plaza.  Of course, Fox News and Glenn Beck

are also headquartered in Rockefeller Plaza. 

Somehow Lonesome missed that one.  Fortunately for comedians, and only

for comedians, Glenn Beck keeps bringing the stupid.  So as a public

service for the increasingly smaller number who take Beck seriously, here‘s

Lewis Black on Glenn Beck. 


LEWIS BLACK, “THE DAILY SHOW”:  Arizona‘s new immigration law has a

lot of people outraged.  Some people more than others. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Some have likened having to carry papers around to

Nazi Germany. 

BLACK:  That‘s a little bit of a hyperbole to compare Arizona to Nazi

Germany.  First of all, Nazi Germany had a much nicer climate.  But now all

this outrage has people outraged at the outrage. 

GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  You‘re out of your mind.  Are you

comparing the systematic, cold blooded extermination of millions of Jews to

America making sure that people are here legally?  Arizona sure is putting

the AZ in Nazi, aren‘t they? 

BLACK:  Oh, didn‘t think it was going to be him, did you?  Glenn Beck

is offended.  Glenn Beck thinks playing the Nazi card is going too far. 

Glenn Beck.  This is a guy who uses more Swastika props and video of the

Nuremberg rallies than the History Channel.  For god‘s sake—for god‘s

sake, he compared global warming to Nazi Germany. 

BECK:  That was Hitler‘s plan.  His enemy, the Jew.  Al Gore‘s enemy,

the U.N.‘s enemy, global warming. 

I‘m not accusing Al Gore of being a Nazi or anything like that. 

BLACK:  Yes, you are!  You just did it!  Note to Glenn Beck, I‘ve met

Al Gore.  Al Gore is no Adolf Hitler.  Hitler had charisma.  All Glenn Beck

needs is a single word to send him into a Nazi tizzy.  Especially when it

comes from President Obama talking about his Supreme Court justice. 

OBAMA:  I view that quality of empathy, of understanding, and

identifying with people‘s hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient

for arriving at just decisions and outcomes. 

BLACK:  Did you catch it?  Neither did I.  But guess who did? 

BECK:  Hitler decided that it was the only empathetic thing to do is

to put this child down and put him out of his suffering.  It was the

beginning of the T-4, which led to genocide everywhere.  It was the

beginning of it.  Empathy leads you to very bad decisions, many times. 

BLACK:  In one paragraph, Glenn Beck tied one of the most positive

words in the English language to Hitler‘s genocide.  It‘s six degrees of

Kevin Bacon, except there‘s just one degree, and Kevin Bacon is Hitler. 

Oh, can I play?  Let‘s see.  Mother Teresa.  Mother Teresa had a

mustache.  Hitler had a mustache.  Mother Teresa is Hitler. 

This is easy.  And it works for anything.  The National Endowment for

the Arts. 

BECK:  Advocating through art is known as propaganda.  Should look up

the name Goebbels. 

BLACK:  Teaching kids about climate change. 

BECK:  Some may believe we‘re on the road to the Hitler youth. 

BLACK:  Acorn. 

BECK:  These are the Brown Shirts. 

BLACK:  Tarp. 

BECK:  It‘s what happened in the national socialist country of Germany

in the 1930s under Hitler. 

BLACK:  The Peace Corps.  Seriously, the (EXPLETIVE DELTED) Peace


BECK:  This is what Hitler did with the SS. 

BLACK:  Glenn beck has Nazi tourette‘s.  My goodness, this is

delicious.  Hitler!  That‘s a lovely tie you‘re wearing, Jon.  Goebbels. 

I‘ll give Glenn Beck this, he‘s got style.  He can even make a paranoid

Nazi comparison using poetry. 

BECK:  you ever heard the old poem, first they came for the Jews? 

Well, first the banks, then it was the insurance companies, then it was the

car company. 

BLACK:  Glenn, get a grip.  There‘s a difference.  They came for the

Jews to kill them.  They came for the banks and the car companies to give

them 700 billion dollars.  If that‘s coming for them, then come for me. 

Hell, for 700 billion dollars, I‘ll go to you.  Unless it‘s not me they‘re

after.  Gee, I wonder who they could be after? 

BECK:  First they came for the Jews and I stayed silent.  Next, I‘ll

show you the very latest attacks on me. 

BLACK:  Yes.  Glenn, the Nazis are everywhere.  And you‘re not safe. 

So here‘s what you do.  And take it from me, my people have been through

this before.  First, you‘ve got to find an attic.  Then hide there for the

next three years.  And whatever you do, don‘t make a sound.  We‘ll let you

know when it‘s safe to come out. 


OLBERMANN:  Glenn Beck has Nazi tourette‘s.  That‘s COUNTDOWN for this

the 2,569th day since the previous president declared mission accomplished

in Iraq.  I‘m Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck. 

Now to discuss Senator McCain‘s campaign commercial plea to finish the

dang fence with the actual sheriff of the Arizona county he was standing

in, not the stand-in, ladies and gentlemen, here‘s Rachel Maddow. 




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