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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guest: Antonio Estrada, Sen. Maria Cantwell, Kent Jones

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST:  Good evening.  Congratulations on breaking

Godwin‘s law in a way that it‘s never been broken before on cable news. 

That was spectacular.

KEITH OLBERMANN, “COUNTDOWN” HOST:  I was just playing Lewis.  It‘s—

he did it.  I‘m just happily sitting here and watching it.  Did it make the

veins in your neck bulge out by any chance?

MADDOW:  Yes, it did.  It got me all blotchy, all red.  You know how I

get.  I‘m so emotional.


MADDOW:  Thank you, Keith.  Appreciate it.

OLBERMANN:  See you.


MADDOW:  And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next


We will report on the new call for a moratorium of offshore drilling,

off the west coast.  Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington is here.

We also have the incredible story of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 25

years ago today when the city went to war with some of its own citizens. 

We‘ve got some footage you will not believe.

Sarah Palin, as Keith mentioned, has a new applause line in her stump

speech.  It‘s me, which frankly makes me feel very important.

And there is essentially follow-up on the story of George Rekers, the

anti-gay crusader who found really attractive male companionship at

That is all to come this hour.

But we begin tonight with the city of Los Angeles now finalizing its

plans to boycott the entire state of Arizona, to suspend all travel to

Arizona by city employees, to terminate more than $7 million worth of

contracts that the nation‘s second largest city, L.A., has with Arizona

companies—a full economic boycott of the state.

The L.A. City Council approved the boycott yesterday.  It goes into

effect as soon as the city‘s mayor approves it—something he has

indicated that he plans to do.

L.A.‘s boycott of Arizona would be a remarkable enough story on its

own, but the exclamation point on this story becomes evident when you look

at the calendar.  It‘s mid-May right now, right?  Every single year at this

time, the NBA playoff season is underway.  And if you follow the NBA

playoffs, you will know that the Eastern Conference Finals matchup is still

being sorted out but the Western Conference Finals matchup is set.

And you should prepare for yet more politics breaking out into your



MARV ALBERT, NBA COMMENTATOR:  Reggie, it sets up the Western

Conference Final and a good one, between the Phoenix Suns and the L.A. 



MADDOW:  Phoenix versus Los Angeles.  Awkward, right?  What are the

chances, right?

The largest city in California, L.A., which has just approved a full-

on boycott of Arizona, now set to face off in the playoffs against the

largest city in Arizona, Phoenix—in the do-or-die, winner-take-all

Western Conference Finals.  Game one of the series is Monday in L.A.

But consider how grateful the city of Phoenix must be at this point

that any of the games are due to be in Phoenix at all.  This week, the

mayor of Phoenix, again, Arizona‘s largest city, said his city is facing,

quote, “near economic crisis” because of lost revenue from organizations

canceling events in Phoenix in response to the new “papers please”

immigration law.  “Near economic crisis.”

Despite the “near economic crisis” they have thrown the state‘s

largest city into, Republican politicians who support the new “papers

please” law apparently see too much political advantage in it to walk away

now.  Take Arizona Senator John McCain.  Before this great temptation came

along, Senate Bill 1070, this rosy red apple in the garden that was too

irresistible to not support, John McCain was the nation‘s leading example

of Republican moderation on the issue of immigration.  In 2005, for

example, he teamed up with Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy—yes, Ted

Kennedy—to introduce comprehensive immigration reform in the United

States Senate, legislation that among other things offered a path towards

citizenship for those who are now in this country illegally.

While his fellow Republicans derided that as amnesty—John McCain

bucked his party with “I used to be a maverick” rhetoric like this.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA:  No wall, no barrier, no sensor, no

barbed wire will ever stop people from trying to do what is a basic human

yearning of all human beings all over the world, and that is to have better

lives for themselves and their families.


MADDOW:  John McCain forged a righteous reputation as a famous

moderate on the issue of immigration.  It‘s in part why Republicans thought

they might have a chance of him winning the presidency in 2008.  They

thought he would not be a completely untenable choice for Latino voters.

But now in 2010, John McCain, facing a primary challenge from the

right, has decided he not only supports the new “papers please” immigration

law, he‘s now casting himself in his TV ads as essentially a vigilante

Minuteman on the border.  You may have seen the ad which has gotten a ton

of national attention mostly because, I think, people think it‘s funny.


MCCAIN:  Drug and human smuggling, home invasions, murder.


the illegals in America, more than half come through Arizona.

MCCAIN:  Have we got the right plan?

BABEU:  The plan‘s perfect.  You bring troops, state, county and local

law enforcement together.

MCCAIN:  And complete the dang fence.

BABEU:  It will work this time.  Senator, you‘re one of us.

MCCAIN:  I‘m John McCain, and I approve this message.


MADDOW:  OK, here‘s the problem with this ad.  Number one: John McCain

until really recently was against the dang fence that he‘s now campaigning

on.  Remember that clip you just heard from Senator McCain in 2006 saying

no wall, no barrier will ever stop people from coming across the border?

John McCain also quoted in “Vanity Fair” in 2007, telling an audience

in Milwaukee—and excuse my language here—quote, “By the way, I think

the fence is least effective.  But I‘ll build the G-damned fence if they

want it.”

Whoo hoo!  Ringing endorsement for that dang border fence that now

must be built.  That‘s problem numero uno with this ad.

Problem numero two-o, you see the sheriff that he‘s with in the ad? 

Sheriff Paul Babeu.  Now, that is a real sheriff.  Sheriff Babeu is not

however the sheriff of where he and John McCain are standing in that ad. 

In fact, he‘s the sheriff of a county that is not on the border.  Sheriff

Babeu is the sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona, which is up there.

Where John McCain physically is in that ad is in Nogales, which is

actually in Santa Cruz County.  The actual sheriff of the real Santa Cruz

joins us as our guest now, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Antonio Estrada.

Sheriff Estrada, thank you so much for joining us tonight.  I really

appreciate your time, sir.


you for having me.

MADDOW:  The reason I wanted to talk to you tonight, Sheriff, is

because Senator McCain‘s new advertisement leaves the impression that law

enforcement officials, particularly the sheriff on the border where that ad

was shot, would be in favor of the border fence.  Are you in favor of the

border fence?

ESTRADA:  I‘m not a fan of fences at all.  As a matter of fact, you

know, when they started setting the fence here in the urban area, what they

did is they created more problems for us.  The traffic, the activity, we

never had as a sheriff‘s office.

The rural areas, we started seeing problems as a result of that. 

People were being pushed into these areas and we started having people that

were dying out there, they were being assaulted out there.  There were a

lot of things that were happening that previously had not happened before

when the fence wasn‘t set up.

So, it has created some very unique and special challenges for that. 

So, a fence to us is not a solution.  At least it‘s not a solution for the

rural sheriffs, as far as I‘m concerned.

MADDOW:  Aside from the border fence, Senator McCain advocates in that

advertisement—again, shot in your county—he advocates sending 3,000

National Guard troops to the border.  Again, in your county where this was

shot, in your professional opinion, are thousands of National Guard troops

what you need there?

ESTRADA:  You know what?  I think Border Patrol is what we need.  We

have had troops here before.  They have been in a support role here in

Santa Cruz County.  They have been very helpful to Border Patrol and

they‘ve been welcomed by the community as well.

However, I don‘t think they should be placed here on the border to be

making contact and having confrontation with anybody coming across the

border.  In a support role, I have no problem with that.

MADDOW:  Sheriff, we know that there are some law enforcement

officials in Arizona who are in favor of the state‘s new immigration law,

S.B. 1070.  We know there are some law enforcement officials who are

against it.

What‘s your opinion of the new law?

ESTRADA:  It‘s absurd.  I‘m totally against it and I really hope it

goes away.  It‘s like a nightmare.  I think it‘s something we cannot afford

to be straddled with.  It‘s just something that‘s overwhelming for us.

You know, this phenomenal with the illegal immigration is going to

take a lot of efforts.  Immigration reform, guest worker programs—

there‘s a lot of thing that‘s have to be done.  And we cannot as a small

agency—especially here along the border, we cannot afford to be—to

have another level of responsibility in jurisdiction.  So, it‘s something

we cannot afford.

We‘re not prepared for it.  We‘re not trained for it.  And we

shouldn‘t be doing federal work.

Border Patrol and the agency down here don‘t do our work.  They don‘t

investigate domestic violence, thefts and vandalism.  So, we should not be

doing Border Patrol work.  They‘re trained, they‘re prepared, they do a

good job.  They just need more help down here.

MADDOW:  Sheriff, as you know, this is an election year.  And it seems

like what Arizona‘s done with this immigration law has made politicians

coast to coast who are on the conservative side of the spectrum try to seem

tougher on immigration by supporting it.

Do you—I know you‘re not a political man.  You‘re a law enforcement

officer.  But do you think there‘s any hope for anything positive coming

out of this process or do you think this is really more politics-oriented

than it is solutions-oriented now?

ESTRADA:  Well, you know, I hope—I hope we can ride the wave on

this.  I hope that something does come out of it.  But I do hope that

Senate Bill 1070 does go away.

But, hopefully—hopefully—as a result of that publicity and

uproar it has created, it will have some positive effect.  I‘m hoping that. 

I know that politicians are jumping on the bandwagon on this.  They‘re

trying to take advantage of this particular issue.

And in one way or another, I certainly hope that we have something

good come out of it.  You know, the people that are coming across this

border now and the focus of this particular bill is the poorest people. 

You know, they‘re coming from extreme poverty.

They‘re hard working people.  They‘re noble people.  And they‘re also,

you know, family-oriented.  You know, these are the kind of people that

they‘re focusing on, not the criminals.

Every state here in America has laws against criminals, whether they

live here or that they‘re here illegally.  And I think that‘s the way to

deal with it.  But I think they‘re focusing on the good people that are

trying to do good things and trying to make a living for themselves, and

their families.  And I really have a lot of compassion for that.

MADDOW:  Santa Cruz County Sheriff Antonio Estrada, thank you so much

for your time and your insight tonight, sir.  It‘s good to have you on the

program and it‘s good to have your voice added to this national debate.  I

really appreciate it.

ESTRADA:  Thank you.  Have a great day.

MADDOW:  Thank you.

So, we‘re starting to learn exactly what mechanical failures caused

the Gulf oil spill.  Short answer?  There‘s no short answer because there

were so many failures.  This after B.P. and Transocean bragged about how

safe this drilling was.  One of the senators who called today for a ban on

offshore drilling off the west coast, Washington‘s Maria Cantwell, will be

joining us live next.

And it finally happened.  Sarah Palin said my name in public.  It was

a cheap shot to get a laugh, but still, Sarah Palin.  She was a United

States—she was a—well, she was a governor for more than a year.

Drinks on me, everyone.  Drinks on me.  Woo!  Woo!  Woo!

But wait, “One More Thing.”


MADDOW:  This is not the first time the city of Los Angeles has staged

an economic boycott against a place that wasn‘t Los Angeles as a means of

protesting discrimination.  In 1992, Los Angeles was one of many cities and

organizations to boycott Colorado after Colorado voters passed a

constitutional amendment to ban all civil rights protections for gay


Remember Ted Haggard, the Colorado Springs pastor with the really good

taste in male escorts?  Ted Haggard helped lead the fight for amendment,

too, before it was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, L.A. joined

a national boycott of Colorado at that time.  That wasn‘t a racial issue

like the Arizona boycott but it was civil rights.

Before that in the ‘80s, Los Angeles boycotted South Africa over

apartheid.  Of course, apartheid was nothing like the “papers please” law

in Arizona either.  Apartheid was a race-based governmental system that was

totally, morally egregious.  People of color had to carry specific papers

with them at all times to be checked by police on demand.  If they didn‘t

have the right documentation on them at all times, just because of what

they look like, they were subject to being arrested just for being not

white and not having the right “papers, please.”

See, compared to Arizona that was a—never mind.


MADDOW:  President Obama was in New York City for a fund-raiser at the

St. Regis Hotel where he was greeted by whole puzzle of AIDS activists

shouting, “Keep your promise.  Keep your promise.”

Barack Obama the candidate made a campaign promise to add $50 million

to the fight against AIDS in the first term.  AIDS activists are angry that

Barack Obama the president he has, thus far, actually flat lined AIDS

funding, when you consider inflation or even worse—the administration‘s

fiscal 2011 budget proposes a $50 million cut in our country‘s contribution

to the Global AIDS Fund.

Activists are circulating a document, they say, shows the effect of

the U.S. backing off on AIDS.  A memo that appears to be on U.S. government

letterhead warning doctors in Uganda to essentially not put any more people

on treatment because U.S. funding won‘t cover it anymore.

Today, outside the president‘s event at the St. Regis, several

activists who appeared to be chained together were arrested after sitting

down in the street in protest.  There‘s no word on whether the president

actually saw the protest which was happening as he arrived at the event.

We asked the White House for comment on the protesters‘ allegations. 

We will let you know when we hear back.


MADDOW:  Besides the thousands more barrels of oil that spewed into

the Gulf of Mexico today, there are two other new developments to report in

the B.P. ultra-disaster in the Gulf.

First: The attempt to cover the gusher with a smaller containment

dome, the thing they‘re calling a “top hat,” that did not happen.  B.P. 

reportedly had concerns that ice crystals might form inside that thing the

same way they formed inside the larger containment dome when that effort

failed a few days ago.

B.P. is instead preparing to insert a narrow pipe right into the spot

where the oil is gushing, hoping to be able to siphon the crude up to the

surface and into a tanker.  The riser pipe that‘s gushing is reportedly

about 21 inches in diameter.  The siphon is reportedly about six inches in

diameter.  The smaller tube, according to the “A.P.,” would be surrounded

by a stopper of some sort, to keep oil from leaking around it once it was

stuck into that riser pipe.

So, that was the first development: the new plan for what to try to do

a mile under the surface of the water.

The other development today happened in Washington where two days of

hearings this week on the oil disaster showed us exactly what the oil

industry means when they say safe—when they keep assuring us that

offshore drilling in deep water is so safe now.

The big blowout preventer that didn‘t work in 2001, a Transocean

report showed that there could be as many as 260 failure possibilities in

that piece of equipment.  That‘s supposed to be the failsafe if all else

fails, remember, and it‘s got 260 different possible fail points.  The

blowout preventer‘s hydraulic system did fail, meaning that it was

physically incapable of doing its job, which was primping off the pipe

that‘s spewing oil.

The blowout preventer also has a dead man switch that‘s supposed to

operate if other systems fail.  That dead man switch was hooked up to a

dead battery.

The engineering diagrams of this blowout preventer that they consulted

to try to figure out how to activate it with those robot subs, remember,

after it failed, the diagrams they were consulting were completely out of

date.  The thing had been modified so much it didn‘t look anything like the

plans that they were consulting to figure out how to work on it.

One of the cement plugs on the rig was also found to be missing.  The

rig failed pipe pressure testing which should have indicated that something

was going wrong with gas in the drill line.  Failure after failure after

failure, blown supposed fail-safe after blown supported fail-safe after

blown supposed fail-safe—and 11 people lost their lives, and the Gulf

every day gallon by crude gallon is losing maybe everything.

But don‘t worry—remember, they said it would all be fine.  It would

be safe.



remember that scientific knowledge is always moving forward and actually

using the best available and the most up-to-date scientific information is

part of the current regulatory system.  And it supports the OCS leasing and

expiration and development programs.  I think we also need to remember that

OCS development has been going on for the last 50 years.  And it has been

going on in a way that is both safe and protective of the environment.


MADDOW:  B.P.‘s vice president of Gulf of Mexico exploration speaking

last year, giving chest-thumping assurances about how safe and protective

of the environment it is to drill, like the Deepwater Horizon into the

outer Continental Shelf.

Today, the six senators from California, Oregon and the state of

Washington called for a ban on all oil drilling off the entire west coast

of the United States.  But, wait, didn‘t B.P. say it would be safe?

Joining us is Washington Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell, who joined

with other five other Pacific coast senators today to announce that

legislation that would permanently ban offshore drilling off the coasts of

Washington, Oregon and California.

Senator Cantwell, thank you for being on the show tonight.

SEN. MARIA CANTWELL (D), WASHINGTON:  Good evening, Rachel.

MADDOW:  So, President Obama, as I understand it, put a moratorium on

west coast drilling until 2017, seven years from now.  What would your

proposed ban do differently?

CANTWELL:  Well, we want a permanent ban, why have oil drilling off

our coast be prohibited just when Barack Obama‘s president.  We see now how

dangerous this can be in the Gulf of Mexico and how important it is to

protect the pristine shorelines of Washington and California and Oregon. 

These are vital economies, and we don‘t need to keep drilling for oil.

MADDOW:  When the political pressure created by this oil disaster in

the gulf is over, the political pressure on the other side will resume to -

for lack of a better phrase—drill, baby, drill.  Do you think this

incident has permanently damaged the credibility of people who are in favor

of offshore drilling in terms of their assurances about the safety of this



CANTWELL:  Well, the United States only has 2 percent of the world‘s

oil reserves.  And so the notion that we are going to affect gasoline

prices or affect what we‘re going to do in the future as a world oil

supply, we‘re not.  And so, I think when you take that into consideration

and you take into consideration the catastrophe and the economic damage

that could reach $14 billion, you have to say to yourself: it‘s time to

start migrating off oil and on to other sources of energy.

MADDOW:  Is there west coast drilling now?  Is there west coast

drilling that‘s already happening?  And if so, what would the—what would

your proposed ban do to that?

CANTWELL:  Well, there is drilling off the coast, the west coast; and

in my state, mostly, the proposal is to continue to explore and do mapping

and doing inventory for the future.  That is at the taxpayer‘s expense.

Now, if you don‘t want to drill off the coast of Washington, why do

you want to spend millions of taxpayers‘ dollars actually doing the mapping

and the inventory?  Off of California‘s coast, there is exploration today. 

In fact, the governor, just after this incident happened, pulled back from

a proposal that was to open up a large area and generate revenues to the

state.  But he has decided: yes, this is too big of a risk.

MADDOW:  Senator, the Kerry/Lieberman bill, the climate bill, that was

introduced yesterday would allow states to opt-out of offshore drilling

anything within 75 miles off their coastline.  Your proposed ban, of

course, would prohibit it on the west coast categorically.

How do you expect the Senate to work out the conflict between those

two proposals?

CANTWELL:  Well, you had six senators today from the west coast who

said we‘re having none of it.  We don‘t want to expand.  We basically want

to have a clean energy future.

And we think that the economies with fishing, with tourism, with the

other industries that exist there are natural resources that have become,

you know, heritage sites—we don‘t want to see that economy ruined by the

fact that we would go after so little amount of oil.  To say nothing of the

fact that the royalties that are supposed to be paid by these companies

nowhere meet what they really should be meeting for the American taxpayer.

MADDOW:  One last question for you about the politics of all this. 

And I will confess that it might just be me not getting it.  But the

Beltway common wisdom is that the oil disaster in the Gulf actually makes

it less likely that we‘ll pass a climate bill this year.  And I just—I

just don‘t understand that common wisdom, but I recognize that is the

common wisdom.

Do you believe that‘s the case?  Do you think a bill can pass?

CANTWELL:  Well, Rachel, I‘ve seen your show enough to know that you

usually do get it right and do you your homework.  And the issue here is

not “if,” it‘s a matter of “when.”

We know that oil is going to continue to skyrocket up and there‘s not

enough resource there, and the United States can‘t do anything to impact

the world oil supply.  Now, we have a very visual damaging situation that

we know that the risk is far greater than anybody ever realized.  And so, I

think my colleagues are going to look at those events and say, there‘s got

to be a better path forward.

Now, I can‘t say what day or what week that‘s going to happen, but I

know that this is going to be something that is going to be helpful to my

colleagues in saying there‘s got to be a better path forward for the U.S. 

economy and to preserve those other economic—you know, tourism and

fishing that are so vital to the U.S.

MADDOW:  Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington State—thank

you so much for your time tonight.  It‘s nice of you to be here with us on

the program.  Appreciate it.

CANTWELL:  Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW:  OK.  Just ahead—I become part of Sarah Palin‘s act.  I

always dreamed that some day I‘d be cheap-shotted by the biggest name in

conservative politics, but this is just so sudden.

And later, big news from Jupiter.  Not Jupiter, Florida, but Jupiter -

Jupiter.  Part of Jupiter is missing.  We have the tape.


Please stay with us.


MADDOW:  Twenty-five years ago today, part of the city of Philadelphia

was burnt to the ground. In a massive police raid gone awry, it‘s one of

those things that if you‘ve ever lived in Philadelphia or had anything to

do with the city, it is a central defining feature of modern Philadelphia,

even as a central defining feature of the 1980s.

And if you know enough about it to know that it happened, it is still,

at least to me, to this day, stunning that the rest of the country knows so

little about it.  It‘s known as the MOVE bombing, because the target of the

raid was a radical group called MOVE, M-O-V-E, men, women and children who

lived in a house on Osage in West Philly.

The police raid on the MOVE house lasted 18 hours.  It‘s called a

bombing because it included a bomb.  By the time it was over, 11 people,

including five kids, were dead.  Fifty-three homes were destroyed.  Another

eight were damaged.  All 61 homes were torn down.

The “Philadelphia Inquirer” has, on occasion of the anniversary,

produced a short documentary about the MOVE bombing.  I want to show you

just a brief excerpt from that.


REPORTER:  At 5:30 this morning, warrants were to be served on the

MOVE member.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So, we eventually took up a position in the rear

of the 6,200 block of Osage nearest the Cobb Creek Parkway.  And we heard

the police commissioner make an announcement.

REPORTER:  What did the Commissioner Sambor say, do you know?

MICHAEL WARD, “BIRDIE”:  He was telling them to come out.

REPORTER:  Could you hear him saying that?  What did your mother say?

WARD:  She was just arguing and stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What we intended to do was to create a diversion

on the roof of the move compound.  That diversion was to pour a large

amount of water on to the bunker itself, to obscure the vision of anyone

that may be inside the bunker and prevent them from seeing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We started down the alley.  We got down the alley

approximately 15, 20 feet, the shooting started.

Then we hit tear gas, which at that time wasn‘t supposed to be in the

plan.  So we had to stop and put or gas masks on.

GREGOR J. SAMBOR, POLICE COMMISSIONER, 1985:  I had recommended that

the best way to go was to use an explosive entry div vice to blow a hole in

the roof so that we could insert gas in through the roof and that we

intended to use a police helicopter, a state police helicopter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And what did you think was the fate of the

children in terms of blowing a hole in the roof?

W. WILSON GOODE, MAYOR OF PHILADELPHIA, 1984-1992:  My understanding

was that it would work and would therefore be safe for the children.  I did

not have any notion whatsoever that anyone on that site would do anything

that would endanger the children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Did have you any information or belief that there

was any gasoline stored on the roof of 6221 Osage Avenue?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don‘t recall.  I‘ve heard that several times

since.  I don‘t recall having been told prior to that that there was

gasoline stored on the roof.

REPORTER:  And then what happened?

WARD:  They were still up there and then they came down.  Everybody

came down.

REPORTER:  All the men came down?

WARD:  That‘s when the big bomb went off.

REPORTER:  Did you hear the big bomb?

WARD:  It shook the whole house up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The house shook.  We knew something had

happened.  It never, ever occurred to me that they had dropped a bomb on

us, you know?  We felt something, but I didn‘t know what it was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I saw them come over the fence.  She had started

to walk down, stop, and she would wave her hand like this.  And on the

driveway I see who was later identified as Birdie come out of the fire. 

And he literally came through the smoke and fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There was a board on fire there and he hopped over

that and he started coming down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So, I had a shotgun.  I said, take my shotgun.  I

said I‘m going to go get the kid.  At what point, did I start out to get

Birdie.  And that‘s the first time I realized Officer Tursten (ph) was

behind me.  He grabbed my left shoulder and said, don‘t go out there, Jim,

it‘s a trap.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I took my service revolver out.  That‘s what I had

at the time, .357 magnum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We‘re trying to say to him, son, come over here. 

We‘re trying to get him to come to us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So, I ran out and I scooped him underneath his

left arm and I‘ll never forget it.  The first thing he said was, “Don‘t

shoot me.  Don‘t shoot me.”

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  When he was locked on Officer Miller‘s face and

back towards MOVE.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m praying that I‘m not going to see a change of


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And I made like a left to go out to Osage.  And

then started to say to me that I‘m hungry, I want something to eat.  I‘m


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s the part I have a hard time with.  What

this kid went through.  I‘m hungry.  After he went through all that?  I‘m

hungry?  To explain things to certain people, that‘s my contact.  Then

later on, I found out there was other kids in there.

And in essence, I was a brick wall away.  So now—honestly, do I

think about that every day?  No.  But when it‘s brought up, it‘s like it

happened yesterday.


MADDOW:  According to an investigation into the MOVE bombing in 1986,

a year after it happened, police gunfire did prevent people from inside the

house from escaping when the house was on fire.  However, a state grand

jury contradicted that MOVE commission conclusion.

Ramona Africa, the only adult to survive that day, who you saw on that

clip, she was charged with conspiracy, riot and assault.  She served seven

years in prison.  But a few years after her release, she won a federal

lawsuit against the city and was awarded half a million dollars.

The 13-year-old Birdie, Birdie Africa, he went to live with his

father.  He was awarded $1.5 million settlement with the city.

To add tragedy to tragedy, Osage Avenue has still never recovered. 

The city promised the owners of the 61 destroyed homes that their houses

would be rebuilt by Christmas of that year.  Instead, it took a year and a


The two heads of the company hired by the city to rebuild the homes

embezzled more than $200,000 for which they served jail time.  There were

leaky pipes, collapsed roofs, broken floors, blocked sewage system, shoddy

electrical work.  Efforts to fix the homes were so expensive and futile

that 37 of the 61 homes today have been bought by the city, boarded up and

left abandoned.

Residents continue to battle the city for fair compensation after

their neighborhood was bombed by the city, bombed, 25 years ago today.


MADDOW:  Coming up on “COUNTDOWN,” Keith‘s exclusive interview with

the whistleblower who says there was cheating on blowout preventer tests

and B.P. knew about it.  But first on this show, just when you thought

you‘d heard all the baggage-handling details of anti-gay crusader George

Rekers and his rented boyfriend, I mean, masseur, I mean, travel assistant,

things get even weirder.  Now, the right-wing is swooping in to defend

George Rekers and is stepping up to defend itself.  That is all


But, first, a few holy mackerel stories in today‘s news—starting

with the new applause line in the traveling Sarah Palin for-profit road

show.  The new applause line is me—weirdly, really weirdly.  Last night,

former half-term Governor Palin was in Rosemont, Illinois, for one of those

speeches she gives for an undisclosed by reportedly very large amount of


Here‘s the new piece of red meat she is throwing to her fans.


SARAH PALIN ®, FMR. ALASKA GOVERNOR:  A gal looked up and asked him

where he was from, and he said, “Alaska,” and then, all of the sudden, the

clerk, she turns beet red and the veins pop out of her neck, kind of like

Rachel Maddow does sometimes.


PALIN:  Now watch, that clip‘s going to be on air for her doggone

(INAUDIBLE) get her some ratings.


MADDOW:  For all the things I thought might change in my life when I

got a job in TV, I did not foresee becoming a stump speech applause line

for politicians who won‘t agree to do interviews with me.  Also super

weird, just like what Senator Tom Coburn said about me, Sarah Palin‘s case

against me is also that I‘m inappropriately emotional.


PALIN:  She turns beet red and the veins pop out of her neck, kind of

like Rachel Maddow does sometimes.



MADDOW:  For the record, I don‘t know why she‘s looking at my neck, I

think my neck is actually kind of always bulgy, no matter how I‘m feeling. 

I think I just have sort of a bulgy neck.  When I get frustrated I actually

think I get more blotchy than bulgy, right?  See, blotchy.

Honestly, weird as it is to have my looks picked on by Sarah Palin,

I‘m not going to get too excited about this.  I mean, I have been used to

raise money for right-wing politicians and causes before—hi, Senator

Brown.  Hi, John Birch Society!  Still waiting for my cut of the proceeds

on those fundraisers.

But I will make one last comment on this.  To report a couple of facts

about Governor Palin‘s speech with me as the applause line.  I think it‘s

important for you to know that Sarah Palin‘s appearance in Rosemont,

Illinois, was co-sponsored by: “A,” a company that makes sump pumps, and

“B,” a conservative radio station with the call letters WIND.

Really, I got to say, it was just an honor to be there.

If you‘re looking for a job in Colorado there‘s an interesting new

opportunity on Craigslist right now.  Let me show you, it‘s right here

under “jobs,” “government,” let‘s see,” state criminal investigator, park

ranger, Vietnamese translator, not it.  Oh, terrestrial section wildlife

manager.  That sounds cool.

OK, here it is.  Lieutenant governor of Colorado, look at that, you

can make more than $68,000 a year.  All you have to be is 30, a citizen, a

Colorado resident and registered as an independent as of June 15th.

Craigslist ad was placed by Jason Clark, an independent candidate

running for governor in Colorado.  He explained to “Talking Points Memo”

today the challenge of finding a lieutenant governor candidate for a

running mate.  Quote, “If you look in Colorado politics,” he said, “barely

anyone is registered as unaffiliated.  It‘s all Democrats and Republicans. 

So we‘re thinking, how do we come up with someone who is unaffiliated, a

resident of Colorado, 30 years old and a U.S. citizen?”

Obviously put an ad on Craigslist.  Mr. Clark says he has had 200 or

300 people answer this ad so far.  But he says, quote, “There‘s 70 percent

to 75 percent that I would say are not qualified for an office of that


If you do the math that means at least 50 of you folks who responded

to the lieutenant governor ad are qualified.  So good luck with the

campaign.  And if it turns out this was just a Jason Clark campaign stunt

to get your e-mail address, I‘m very sorry.

Finally, we‘ve got something that we are calling tonight‘s “Moment of

Pointless Discomfort.”  As the Elena Kagan Supreme Court confirmation

process continues, the nominee spent a second day schmoozing with senators

and members of the judiciary today.  This is the part where they all play

nice, the part where Republicans try to trap her into making statements

about Roe versus Wade comes later.

Now, you know—I mean, the way it works is, the real conversation

happens behind closed doors.  But there‘s also this weird part that‘s

staged for the media before they closed the doors, where the nominee and

the senator make small talk while the cameras are rolling.  And that gives

rise—at least it did today—to a long, pointless moment of discomfort

between Elena Kagan and Utah Republican Orrin Hatch.


SEN. ORRIN HATCH ®, UTAH:  Good to have you in my office.

ELENA KAGAN, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE:  It‘s great to be here.  It‘s a

beautiful office.

HATCH:  Yes, well, there‘s some nice stuff here.  You‘re going to get

mad.  There‘s a Man of the Year from the American Rifle—National Rifle

Association.  So it‘s a piece of art, really.

KAGAN:  It‘s beautiful.

HATCH:  It‘s a handmade flintlock, and it‘s beautiful.  Beautiful. 


KAGAN:  It‘s gorgeous.


MADDOW:  That did happen yesterday but it‘s today‘s long moment of

pointless discomfort brought to you by—me.


MADDOW:  In 2008, our spending in Iraq was triple what we were

spending in Afghanistan.  Last year, our spending in Iraq was double what

we were spending in Afghanistan.  This year, Iraq has officially been

outpaced by what we are spending in the other war.  “USA Today” reports as

of February, the most recent figures we‘ve got, we‘re spending more than

$6.5 billion a month in Afghanistan, outpacing Iraq spending by more than

$1 billion each month.

The numbers of troops we‘ve got in both places is roughly equal now,

within about 7,000.  But as of next year, plans are to have more than

double the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan than we do in Iraq.  The

president of Afghanistan today visited the section of Arlington National

Cemetery where Americans killed in the war in his country are buried,

Section 60.  He was joined by the defense secretary, the chairman of the

Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, yesterday in Afghanistan, 14 American soldiers were given

an honor that has never before been bestowed on any American.  The German

military awarded these American soldiers the Gold Cross medal.  It‘s one of

Germany‘s highest awards for valor.  It was awarded to them for risking

their own lives to save wounded German troops in a Taliban firefight last

month.  The award has never before been given to troops from any other

nation—uncommon valor in life during wartime.

We‘ll be right back.


MADDOW:  George Rekers‘ career as one of America‘s loudest voices in

the anti-gay, “cure the gays” movement, his career has fallen apart, ever

since this picture of him appeared in the “Miami New Times.”  That‘s George

on the left there and a very handsome young man he met at,

returning from an all-expenses paid European vacation together.

Mr. Rekers resigned from a national “cure the gays” group on Tuesday,

saying, quote, “With the assistance of a defamation attorney, I will fight

these false reports because I have not engaged in homosexual behavior

whatsoever.  I am not gay and never have been.” for its part is also defending itself, releasing this

statement about the fair, quote: “At, it is our policy to

protect the privacy of any escort advertising services on our site—the

same goes for clients.  Information exchanged between consenting adults

meeting on our site remains private.  Mr. Rekers has built a highly public,

lucrative career out of shaming gay men and women.  If it is true that he

took a rentboy “on vocation,” then he has brought this negative attention

on himself.

Our mission is to create a non-judgmental space where anyone curious

about exploring male-male companionship can hire a man by the hour.  We

remain open-minded and devoted to privacy for the people who use our site,

but we can‘t take the risk out of leading a double life, or having a

closeted or hypocritical career.

If you‘re a famous heterosexual homophobe and appear in public with a

rentboy, you‘re just asking for trouble.  If you would like to take a porn

star or male escort on vacation, is where you can find him. 

Excess baggage can indeed be heavy and there is nothing like a hot man to

help you unload it,” end quote.

Sarah Palin says I turn all beet red sometimes.  I‘d like to see her

try to read that with a straight face, without a straight face.  In any

case, excess baggage can indeed with heavy.

George Rekers has, however, found at least one defender, Matthew

Staver of Liberty Council, the conservative legal group known for

supporting “don‘t ask, don‘t tell” and for opposing same-sex marriage

rights, as well as opposing Hogwarts‘ Certificates of Accomplishment for

kids who finish one of the Harry Potter books.  They‘re against those, too.

Last summer, you might recall that Liberty Council made this show when

they declared that health reform—remember health reform?  They declared

that health reform would mandate free sex change operations.  Not just a

completely ridiculous suggestion but a very complicated one as well.

Matthew Staver of Liberty Council today told “The Washington Times,”

quote, “I think Mr. Rekers would have a great case to file a defamation

suit.  I think it was a completely arranged setup.”

Now, for the record, “Miami New Times” says it got the photo because

friend of the rentboy in question had been reading the rentboy‘s e-mail and

tipped off the paper‘s reporters.  So, in that way, yes, they had set up a

situation in that they thought they might be able to catch George Rekers at

the airport that day.

Also, George Rekers appears to have arranged the setup, himself, by

cruising for this guy on and then taking him on vacation.

Also, for the record, Liberty Council has cited Mr. Rekers‘ pseudo-

research in a California court fight against gay marriage and in the

Florida ban on gay couples adopting kids.  So, Matthew Staver and Liberty

Council naturally have their own interest in defending George Rekers since

they counted on him in court.

It should perhaps also be noted that George Rekers has an interest in

that nice-looking blond guy.  Is that so wrong?


MADDOW:  So, the Earth spins around on its axis.  That‘s a day.  While

doing that 365 times, the very busy Earth also takes an orbit around the

sun.  That‘s a year.

All the planets orbit around the sun.  It‘s not just us.  All the

planets have years, and this year on Jupiter, something very alarming

happened in the Jupiter year.

We turn now to our cosmic disappearances correspondent Kent Jones to

get further alarmed.

Hi, Kent.


Alarming.  Experts discovered what may be the biggest burglary in the

history of the solar system.

MADDOW:  Oh my God.

JONES:  Jupiter.  Here we go.



JONES (voice-over):  Take a look at Jupiter, the big daddy of all

planets.  And you‘ll see it has a big, red spot, and two big old belts

around the middle.  Now, we‘re talking 200,000-plus mile-wide Elvis in

1973-sized belts here—impossible to miss.  So, it was extra mysterious

after Jupiter‘s usual orbit when the planet disappears behind the sun for

three months, it reemerged without the south equatorial belt.

Check it out.  Jupiter is naked from the waist down.  Jupiter has gone

commando.  What happened here?  Did Jupiter have some work done?

Astronomers—well, they‘re not exactly sure, but since Jupiter‘s

belts are made up of clouds the most likely explanation is that storms on

that gassy tempestuous planet had a hand in the vanishing act.  Astronomers

do know that Jupiter‘s southern belt has disappeared before in 1973 and

again in the early 1990s.  And guess what?  The belt eventually came back.

According to “Popular Science,” quote: “The planet should maintain its

appearance for another few weeks, possibly even months, at which point a

bright, white spot will appear and begin seeding the former belt with dark

blobs, eventually restoring the belt to its former dark color.”

In the meantime, if you have any information about its whereabouts,

please—please e-mail us.


MADDOW:  What do you do when you‘re the first astronomer who notices,

like, OK, here comes Jupiter from around the sun.  OK, here comes—what? 

Is anybody else seeing what I‘m seeing?

JONES:  There‘s a belt, it‘s gone.

MADDOW:  Did I—was it—I could have sworn—I left it in the


JONES:  I got this picture from six months ago.  Where‘s your belt?

MADDOW:  Thank you very much, Kent.

JONES:  Sure.

MADDOW:  Let me know what you‘ll hear.  I‘m sure our viewers will tell


JONES:  Absolutely.

MADDOW:  That does it for us tonight.  We‘ll see you again tomorrow


Meanwhile, you can e-mail us about Jupiter‘s missing belt or anything

else at  You can hang out with us at our new blog, at  We posted a link there to the footage that we showed

about the MOVE bombing earlier in the show, if you want to check that out.

You can also pick up our podcast at iTunes.

“COUNTDOWN” with Keith Olbermann starts right now.  Have a great

Thursday night.




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