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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Monday, June 7th, 2010

Read the transcript to the Monday show

Guests: Samantha Joye, Anthony Bourdain

KEITH OLBERMANN, "COUNTDOWN" HOST: And now to discuss how the oil

leak is impacting the seafood supply from the Gulf, and other matter there, too-ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Keith. That's nice to see you from really much closer than I have been these last several days.

OLBERMANN: And welcome back.

MADDOW: Thank you very much.

And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. There's much to report about the BP oil disaster, of course, and about tomorrow's surprisingly entertaining elections across the country. And, in addition to that, we'll be visited here on set tonight by the one and only, Anthony Bourdain-a man who lives the dream, he eats for a living.

If I look green, it is not because I'm still queasy from being out on the oil in Louisiana, it's because I'm jealous of Anthony Bourdain's life.

But, first, as you can probably tell, the show is coming to you tonight from the friendly confines of our studio here in New York. Good to be back. Good to be back here after spending three days last week reporting from Louisiana.

Anybody in the country who was paying any attention at all to this BP oil disaster story can tell you in pretty minute details what's going on at the wellhead with the effort to plug the leak. And the focus on that initially I think made a lot of sense, plugging the well was initially about trying to prevent an environmental disaster, trying to prevent a huge outlay of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.

Ultimately, the well did not get capped, and we have had a huge outlay of crude into the Gulf of Mexico. The environmental disaster happened. Yes, there is still an engineering problem with not being able to shut off or siphon the oil at the source, but that leak is not the disaster itself. The disaster is what that leak has done.

And the way we're dealing with what that leak has done, the way we're dealing with the oil that is in the Gulf now is, frankly, a disgrace. At this hour, officials believe that somewhere in the neighborhood of 39 million barrels of crude have already spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, 39 million barrels.

And we're acting like every new gallon is not a surprise every time. Whoa, we were ready for that one! Whoa, weren't ready for that one, either! Thirty-nine million barrels over.

I'm not doing this to tout our own show's reporting about this, but I feel like we are on to an important part of the story that is not yet sinking in.

There is a major, major contrast between the Apollo Project level, super-genius effort to try to cap the leak at the seabed, an effort that has been failing, despite all of the resources and intellectual firepower thrown at it. There was a major contrast between that and the low-tech, no-tech, lackadaisical, pitiful measures being taken to deal with the spilled oil.

The pathetic efforts to deal with the spilled oil and to protect the land and shore communities and wildlife, they are pathetic for a reason-a reason that we've been trying to shine a light on.


MADDOW: The oil companies keep talking about how technologically advance they are. But what they've gotten technologically advanced at is drilling deeper. They haven't gotten any more advanced on how to deal with the risks attached to that. They haven't made any technological advances in the last 30 years when it comes to stopping a leak like this when it happens. All they've gotten better at is making the risks worse by putting these leaks further out of our reach.


MADDOW: The oil industry-the oil industry has made itself B.P., "beyond profitable," but drilling, drilling and more drilling. What they have not done, as we've learned from this disaster, is invest in any new research and technologies that can reliably stop a leak at great depth, or can reliably clean up the oil that is released in a big spill.

Last week, I spoke with Dr. Mike Blum from Tulane, a professor of coastal marsh ecology, and I asked Dr. Blum why the cleanup technology is so lame. Whether the industry's been investing in it at all.


MADDOW: How much improvement has there been in the technology for when things go wrong?

PROF. MIKE BLUM, TULANE UNIVERSITY: Most of the investment in terms much intellectual capacity and research was made around 1979 through the late '80s. And since about the late '80s, very little work has been done, very little research dollars have been invested in response efforts, very little progress has been made over the last 25 years.

MADDOW: So, as an academic, as a professor working in this field, are there endowed, you know, professorships and graduate programs that are supported by the industry to try to get the academic side of this, the intellectual side of this, sort of intellectual firepower directed toward these things, or no?

BLUM: No. No. Certainly, there are individual efforts and there's certainly individual interest in investing in research towards remediation and recovery. But by and far, it has been outpaced by the investment made in engineering and drilling technologies.


MADDOW: The evidence of that, of course, is on full display right now in the Gulf of Mexico, on the shores of the Gulf Coast. It's everywhere. It's still stuck to my boots.

That same night that we talked to Dr. Blum, we talked to the co-chairs of President Obama's new oil spill commission. They are former Democratic Senator Bob Graham of Florida and former EPA administrator, Bill Reilly.

While Mr. Reilly was EPA administrator, the Exxon Valdez oil spill happened in Alaska. More recently, Mr. Reilly has been on the board of another oil company, Conoco Phillips. And even he conceded to us that the oil industry-in a way, his industry-has failed, in terms of developing the technology that we desperately need right now.


WILLIAM K. REILLY, FMR. EPA ADMINISTRATOR: The extraordinary success

of this industry in developing technology to go deeper and deeper into the sea to put down a well, a central well, and then go out in all directions to get the product up is breathtaking. And the condition, as nearly as I can tell, from looking at the-at the photographs and the movies from what's happening in the Gulf is that the response technology is about as primitive as it was in the Exxon Valdez case. That is-the skimmers that are dysfunctional in the open ocean, the booms that break, as you say, with the slightest wave action, dispersants that are not ready for prime time, that may or may not be toxic.

I would say it's really scandalous that the response capability, even on the surface, not just the sub-surface where we have admittedly a case of virtually nothing to work effectively, is really going to be a prime focus of our-of our review, and has got to be a major, a major priority of the commission.


MADDOW: I would say it is really scandalous, he says. That from somebody who knows the oil industry from the inside.

Then there's Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the national incident commander for this disaster, the man in charge of making sure this well gets capped and that all of the oil gets cleaned up. Admiral Allen appeared on this show the very next night and he made this point which should now sound familiar to you.



response technology that we are applying in this particular spill has been created over the last 20 years following the Exxon Valdez and the landmark legislation that followed that, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. I think when all this is done, we're going to have to sit down and see whether or not that technology maybe hadn't a atrophied over those 20 years while the technology in deep oil drilling had moved more farther offshore, and maybe created a bigger risk envelope. And I think that's certainly something we need to look at.


MADDOW: Again, I'm not here to tout the show's own reporting on this.

But this point is an exclamation point that is looking for a sentence. This is a huge deal. This is the giant scandal that lurks within this disaster-the fact that the oil industry hasn't gotten around to developing any new technology whatsoever for dealing with spills. And no one made them do it.

Here's the other point: while there isn't any really great technology for dealing with containment and cleanup, the technology that we do have, the really sad sack antiquated technology we do have, we're not even trying to do right. In BP's regional oil response plan for the Gulf of Mexico, remember the one that was apparently cut and pasted from their Arctic plan, the one that talks about protecting the mythical walruses of the Gulf of Mexico?

In that plan, which details how they will respond to a spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP goes on bragging and bragging about all of the offshore and shoreline protection methods they have at their disposal in the event of a spill. Methods like rapidly deploying all sorts of boom.

They talk about how they'll do protection exclusion booming and containment booming and diversion booming and sorbent booming. You name the booming, they know all about it. They are on top of it. They will put it into practice. It will be like clockwork.

If you go to the BP/Deepwater Horizon response Web site, you can find all of these photos of all this pretty, pretty boom. Their intent to deploy boom, the way they move boom around on land before it gets put into action. Every day, BP brags, every day, about how much boom they are deploying.

At this hour, BP reports proudly that they have deployed more than 2.19 million feet of containment boom and more than 2.46 million feet of sorbent boom. It sounds great, right? It sounds like a huge deal.

How many of those 4.6 million feet of boom look like this? Snarled up in marshes, not protecting the shoreline, blown over by tiny little wind, tiny little waves, bamboo pickets to hold the boom in place that doesn't hold the boom in place, boom that hasn't been tended to in hours, maybe days.

Even this primitive technology we do have, oil booming, which can be somewhat effective if it's done right, even that isn't being done right. It needs a ton of manpower to get it in place, to keep it in place and to remove the oil that it diverts or absorbs. None of that is happening properly.

This isn't rocket science, but it is science. This could be done right, and it is not being done right. We have the capacity to do this better than we are, and we are not doing it.

This would be the equivalent post-Hurricane Katrina of those helicopters going to take people off of roofs and the helicopters then dropping the people they're trying to rescue. Pulling people off the roofs and then dropping them in the flood waters.

This is the equivalent of in a fire, of bringing the trucks out and not knowing how to turn on the hoses.

This would be the equivalent of in an earthquake of going to search through the rubble for people and then driving your earthmoving equipment onto half-standing buildings and smashing any people inside who may be trapped in them.

Deploying boom, this most primitive technology that we've been using since long before I was born, this is being bungled. It's being screwed up. And no, this technology-this lousy technology-is not a magic bullet, but it is a bullet and it is a bullet that is being misfired. This is a problem.

This isn't meant to be-oh, woe is me, aren't we so impotent complaining? It's true not enough can be done to stop this disaster, but there's no reasonable human explanation why what can be done, nobody is bothering to do right.

The effort to contain and clean up the oil that's already been spilled is for the most part been a failure. If you go and visit the Gulf Coast, you can see it with your own eyes. It has been a failure because the oil industry has never cared that cleanup technology stinks. They've never been made to care that cleanup technology stinks. And it is a failure because nobody is insisting that when we can do we do correctly.

The whole country has been focused on capping the still gushing well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. And while all the attention has been on that, the disaster onshore and at sea continues to get worse. This manmade disaster of an oil spill that was caused by careless and incompetence could be being eclipsed by the carelessness and incompetence that has characterized the cleanup that has followed.


MADDOW: The BP oil spill has reached mega-disaster level.

Besides all the obvious stuff like the oil all over the Gulf, there are indications like this one as well. The Brevard County Manatees, they are a Minor League Baseball team on Florida's east coast. Like all baseball teams, the Manatees practice batting before each game.

But as of now, the team is officially calling that pre-game routine hitting rehearsal. Of course, it's traditionally called batting practice. Batting practice is traditionally referred to as "B.P." and the Brevard County Manatees don't want to have anything to do with BP right now. So, hitting rehearsal it is.

Also, for the foreseeable future, please refer to blood pressure as the force of blood against the walls of arteries, FBAWA-just until this whole thing blows over.




vessels have been testing out there, haven't found evidence of plumes. Actually, everyone's out there looking for these plumes. They haven't found them yet, and I think it's the science of the plumes hanging in the water doesn't feel right.


MADDOW: The science may not feel right to BP's managing director or to BP's CEO who claimed there aren't any plumes.

But science is fairly unfeeling, as it turns out. It's not a feel thing. It's an evidence thing.

An untouchy, unfeely, hard cold evidence of oil suspended underneath the ocean's surface in big plumes continues to be discovered. Scientists from the University of South Florida and University of Georgia have continued to study the underwater oil plumes that just don't feel right to BP, with reports of a third plume from a professor at Louisiana State, the one that goes off the screen there, still being measured.

University of Georgia scientist measured the plume in the southwest side of the spill site as three miles wide, 10 miles long and 600 feet thick. In the northeastern gulf, it was South Florida scientist who found an even bigger one, twice as wide, more than twice as long, and five times as thick. USF researchers said Friday that test results confirmed that samples collected from that giant plume do contain oil, despite BP's denial denials.

Evidence from different scientists from different universities onboard different research vessels doing individual testing all coming to similar conclusions: there are plumes containing oil under the water.

How do you clean up the water when it is fouled in that specific way? Nobody knows. For that matter, how do you clean up oil on the surface of the water when it's not one big spill, it's a gazillion patches of oil going in every direction, growing and changing every day?


ALLEN: You kind of think of an oil slick coming en masse, and you think about the Exxon Valdez. That is what's been different, and that, if anything is taxing our resources, it's the breadth and the complexity of the disaggregation of the oil. This spill has disaggregated itself. We're no longer dealing with a large, monolithic spill; we're dealing with hundreds of thousands of patches of oil that are going a lot of different directions.


MADDOW: Frankly, I'm at the point now where I don't want to hear from people anymore who are overwhelmed or mystified by what's going on in the Gulf. I can curl up with that feeling alone at night in my own head. I'm at the point where I need to hear from people who are actively working to figure this stuff out.

Joining us now is someone who is actively working to figure this stuff out. She is Dr. Samantha Joye, professor of marine sciences at the University of Georgia. She's been out on the water in the Gulf for two weeks, studying an underwater plume at the spill site. She'll hold a news conference tomorrow to discuss her research.

Dr. Joye, thank you very much for your time tonight.


having me.

MADDOW: BP has denied that undersea plumes exist. Are they real, and how do you know?

JOYE: They're real. They're very real. And we know by doing a variety of different tests on the water. The first thing we did was we have an instrument that has a sensor package that detects things like colored dissolve organic matter, of which oil is one type. And we have another sensor that measures chlorophyll fluorescence, which is usually used to measure phytoplankton abundance. But it turns out that this particular sensor also picks up an optical signal from poly-aromatic hydrocarbons. So, (INAUDIBLE) about-to this point 2 percent to 7 percent oil.

When we lower those sensors to the water column, we see substantial deep water features that start at a depth of about 1,100 meters below the sea surface and they continue down to a depth of about 1,300 meters. The core of the plume is narrow, about 200 meters thick. That's narrow in a 1,600-meter water column. It's a large, large feature.

The signals that we measure with these instruments are highest and greatest closest to the leaking well. And we got pretty close to the well, about within three quarters of a mile from the leaking site. And we track the signal away from the site, about 20 miles. And as you move away from the source, the signal decreases.

MADDOW: Do you think that these plumes have formed-some people have suggested because of the use of undersea dispersants, or do you think they are just a consequence of the oil being blasted out of the seabed like a fire hose for these past 40-something days? Or is it something of both?

JOYE: I think it's a built of both. I mean, the models out there of deep-water blowouts and there are quite a few models that have been done to describe such events predict that there would be dispersed oil in the water column, not dispersed via dispersant, but just the natural action of gas-charged oil getting blown out of the sea floor causes at atomization of the particles and as particles then become neutrality buoyant at a given water depth. So you could expect to see layers and lenses of oil in the water and that's exactly what we see.

MADDOW: What are you most worried that will be the impact of these plumes?

JOYE: Well, the most substantial concern I have is that there's a lot of-there's oil in the water. You can see it and you can smell it, particularly when you're close in to the leak.

But there's also a tremendous amount of gas in the water. We were measuring methane concentrations-and this is also coming out of the same leaking pipe. It's oil and gas coming out together. We measured methane concentrations that were 100 to 10,000 times what you normally see in the water column of the Gulf of Mexico.

Now, this methane is very palatable for microorganisms and the microbial consumption of that oil and gas is consuming oxygen in the water. And the oxygen levels in the plume drop as you get further away from the source. So, as the plumes age, if you will, the oxygen is getting drawn down to fairly low levels.

The lowest concentrations that we measured were about three milligrams per liter, which may not mean a lot or sound like a lot, but basically the level where animals begin to get stressed out is two milligrams per liter. So, we're almost to the point where fish and other organisms that require oxygen will be stressed in this water.

MADDOW: And just to be clear and forgive my-the speed at which I absorb these things because I'm not a scientist, but what you're saying is when microbes essentially eat the oil, they're also using up the oxygen in the water, and so, while that sort of bioremediation of these microbes going through the oil is a good thing in terms of getting rid of the oil, it also can create potentially dead zones where this water can't sustain living things.

JOYE: That's precisely correct. And things will survive in the low oxygen water, but any higher organism that requires oxygen won't be able to survive in that water. It will be-will avoid it, if possible.

MADDOW: Is there any technology to clean up an undersea plume of oil?

Is there any technology to clean up dispersed oil?

JOYE: Not that I'm aware of. The problem-and that's the big issue with these dispersants and dispersant use in general because oil on the surface, at least if you're successful in skimming it or burning it off, you've recovered the material. You've removed it from the-from the environment. When you disperse this oil, it's present in-it's not even, you know, 100,000 little slicks; it's millions of little-billions probably-of little oil particles in the water.

And one of the most shocking things that I saw out there was when you look into the water column in the Gulf of Mexico, typically the water, unless there's a plankton bloom, which occur after storms, sometimes, you can see tens of meters down into the water column. And when you look into the surface water now, if there isn't-even if areas where there's a light sheen of oil on the surface, what you see is just a ton of dispersed oil, stringy, orangey-looking streamers that are down as deep as far as it goes.

And to me, that's the biggest concern of these dispersants. It's basically keeping the oil off the beaches and keeping the beaches clean, but it's transforming the oil into a form that's almost impossible to clean up-except for, you know, the activity of natural microbial populations that live in the water.

MADDOW: Yes. And it's not even doing that great a job keeping it off the beaches. Dr. Samantha Joye-

JOYE: Yes. Exactly.

MADDOW: -- professor of marine sciences at the University of Georgia

this has been really helpful in helping me and I think our viewers understand what's going on there. Good luck with your research. Thanks for your time.

JOYE: Thanks for your time, too.

MADDOW: OK. From science to politics-the big primaries tomorrow to food. Anthony Bourdain here live in studio. That's all coming up.


MADDOW: It's been a bad day for fossil fuels.

First, seven workers were burned early today in West Virginia, when an effort to drill a natural gas well through an abandoned coal mine hit and ignited a pocket of methane. The explosion resulted in a tower of fire 70 feet tall. It's expected to keep burning for two to three days. The seven workers were all taken to a burn center. They're all in fair condition and expected to recover.

Another natural gas explosion in north Texas today led to initial reports of three people being killed, though that death toll was later denied by local officials. The blast happened in Cleburne, Texas, south of Dallas, where workers apparently hit an underground natural gas line while digging. The resulting explosion there created another huge column of flame, hundreds of feet high. It could reportedly be seen from 30 miles away.

And in Texas City, Texas, at the BP refinery where 15 BP workers were killed five years ago, that plant has now admitted to a huge pollution dump in April and May. State law in Texas says you have to alert the state if your plant releases 10 pounds of cancer-causing benzene into the air over the course of a day.

In April and May, BP says it pumped 10 times that amount into the air for 40 straight days. Oops!

BP filed paperwork to that effect on Friday, perhaps hoping it wouldn't get noticed through the weekend news cycle, or perhaps hoping we'd be so overwhelmed by BP's other huge, environmental disaster in the American south that this one would seem like small potatoes-small, acrid, cancer-causing, irreversible potatoes.


MADDOW: The story of Illinois Congressman and Senate Candidate Mark Kirk is the story of the little political scandal that could. What started as a fairly minor dustup over Congressman Kirk's military record has blossomed into the most amazing senate candidate story of the season, which is pretty incredible when you consider that the competition includes Rand Paul in Kentucky, now just as famous for his position, sort of, on the civil rights act, as he is for being his father's son.

Also Sue Lowden of Nevada who planned to solve the health care crisis through chicken bartering, as created they run on chicken soups. But Mark Kirk beats them both. Congressman Kirk becomes more fabulous with every new thing we learn about him. With every new detail the Chicago media turns up about him. And by fabulous, I do not mean awesome, I mean, fabulist. I mean, the man has an incredible imagination. He has made up an amazing array of stuff over the course of his public career. And the more you look at his public statements, the more whoppers you find.

Now, this all started because after Connecticut Democratic Senate Candidate Richard Blumenthal got national attention for misstating his Vietnam era service records, it started to become a problem for Congressman Mark Kirk that he had repeatedly claimed to have once been named the intelligence officer of the year by the U.S. Navy. Turns out that only happened inside Mark Kirk's own mind. Mark Kirk was not ever named the intelligence officer of the year by the Navy. That award does exist, there is a Naval Reserve Intelligence analyst of the year. It was never, ever Mark Kirk. Mark Kirk was in a unit in Italy that once got an intelligence award from a professional group, not from the Navy, but when he was caught he tried to make it seem like a harmless little mistake on his website. This award, that award, navy, private organization, me, other people, what's the difference?


REP. MARK STEVEN KIRK (R-IL): We misidentified the award. I actually received the Rufus Taylor intelligence unit of the year award. We misidentified it. And so, when the staff saw that it was a different title. We changed my official biography.


MADDOW: See how he also made it sound like the whole thing was just a typo? Just a teeny, tiny little mistake on his campaign website? Turns out the exaggeration also showed up one of his campaign ads and in something he spit from his very own mouth in Congress in front of the CSPAN cameras.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The Navy named Mark intelligence officer of the year for his combat service in Kosovo.

KIRK: I've been in office just one year. Before that I was a Navy Reserve Intelligence officer, was the Navy Intelligence officer of the year in 1998.


MADDOW: No, you weren't. Well, he was kind of sort of half apologizing over that mistake, that repeated mistake, Congressman Kirk took special care to make it seem like the array was discovered by own staff, pro-actively checking his record for accuracy. Writing in a blog entry late last month, quote, "the error was discovered last week by my staff." But it turns out even Mark Kirk's account of how he came to correct the record about the award he didn't receive, even that is made up. In fact, the navy told Congressman Kirk that reporters were investigating his intelligence officer of the year claim and the navy reminded him that he didn't win that award.

Ultimately in an interview with the "Sun Times," Congressman Kirk apologized for a, quote, "casualness." Which he has described his, quote, "military details," saying of the award he didn't receive, that he simply misremembered it wrong. Wait, a minute, Mark Kirk supposed to be a former school teacher too, isn't he? Did he really say he misremembered it wrong?


MARK: I simply misremembered it wrong.


MADDOW: OK. He misremembered it wrong. Just this one thing that Mark Kirk have had mentioned about himself or misremembered well about himself. That would be one thing. And quite frankly, that might be enough to scoffer his chances as a senate candidate particularly one who really wants to run on his military record. But it's not all. It turns out that lots of things Mark Kirk has been saying about his military record are things that only happened in Mark Kirk's mind.


KIRK: The last time, I was in Iraq, I was in uniform flying at 20,000 feet and the Iraqi air defense network was shooting at us. That force is now gone.


MADDOW: He's talking about the year 2000 when he flew missions over Iraq, and it turns out there's no record of his aircraft being fired on. Congressman Kirk also claimed on his website to be, quote, "the only member of Congress to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom." Congressman Kirk did not serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He did not serve in Iraq during that war. Congressman Kirk also claimed in a letter sent out to his district last year to be a veteran of Operation Desert Storm, the first Iraq war. And that is fake icing on the fake cake, because Congressman Kirk did not participate in that war, either.

But here's what really makes the Mark Kirk story fabulous. Here's what makes this the little Senate campaign scandal that could. Mark Kirk turns out doesn't just make stuff up about his own military combat record or lack thereof, he also makes stuff up about the world at large. Check this out. Here's Mark Kirk in a radio interview. This was in 2008 talking about why the U.S. should expand offshore oil drilling. Listen to this.


KIRK: It makes no sense to allow the Chinese to drill on the Cuban side of the line in Florida without us tapping into the very same oil field.


MADDOW: See, we should be drilling for oil off the coast of Florida because the Chinese are drilling off the coast of Cuba, except the Chinese are not drilling off the coast of Cuba. Not even a little bit. That's-that's made up. Also on the subject of oil, here's another Mark Kirk gem from the same year, from 2008.


KIRK: We have a fundamental choice. We need to get off oil. But for the time being, we are still dependent on. We can either buy 80 billion barrels of oil from the Iranians or from ourselves and we should buy it from ourselves.


MADDOW: Except we're not buying any oil from Iran. Mark Kirk apparently just made that up, too. And then there was this long, complicated story he told about France and pirates. Genius. Just-I just want you to follow this for a second because it is a really great story, and none of it is true. Lynn Sweet at the "Chicago Sun-Times" dug up the story and has been looking into it. And other reporters at the "Chicago Sun-Times," forgive me. And every single part of this story, as told by Mark Kirk is made up. Here it is.


KIRK: We began to see some backbone first, not from the United States, but from France. France was always good for a quick $2 million ransom, until the election of President Sarkozy. When his first ship was seized, he authorized the standard ransom payment, with a transmitter in the box.


MADDOW: Oh, great story. But we have to stop there just for a second, because that's already not true. The mission that Congressman Kirk is about to describe was not the result of the first ship seized after President Sarkozy took office. So, that's already-there's already some stuff that's made up. Let's go back to the story.


KIRK: As that went into the pirate compound, he then authorized, French Special Forces to roll in. And they killed everybody.


MADDOW: Great story. Also made up. According to President Sarkozy, those French Special Forces did not kill anybody. They caught six pirates and took them back to France and put them on trial. Another four pirates escaped. But the fake story gets better. Here's the last part.


KIRK: It kind of shocked us in the Pentagon. But it sent a clear message, and I don't think the French have had many problems since.


MADDOW: What a great story. Also, that part of it totally made up too. That mission did not end France's pirate problem. France ships have been attacked since that operation. Add that all up, what you're left which is the fact that none of the facts of that story were true. None of them. None. Which is hard to do-to tell such an elaborate foreign policy story that is entirely invented. It's hard to tell any story that doesn't accidentally that's have something in it that is true. But if anybody can do it, it's Mark Kirk. So, Mark Kirk is becoming nationally famous as the guy who makes stuff up, who makes up everything.

But do you remember the first time he was ever featured on the show, the first time we ever highlighted Mark Kirk as a politician on this show was last June. He has served as a naval reservist with distinction. He talks about that sometimes. He had come back from a visit to China and said that while he was there, he met with high-ranking Chinese government officials. He told them not to trust the government of the United States. He told the Chinese not to trust our country in what we said about economic policy. China, he said, should believe him, Mark Kirk, but not believe the government of the United States.

Now, at that time, I thought that made Mark Kirk seem a little, I don't know, a little undercut in one zone nation with a foreign powerish.

What do you call that? But now, given what we've learned about Mark Kirk,

I actually feel much more ease about that story. Because he probably

just made that up, too. It's the one silver lining here. If Mark Kirk

hasn't done any of the good things he says he's done, he probably hasn't

done any of the horrifying things he's said he's done either. At least

here's hoping.


MADDOW: Still ahead, former chef, author and international man of mystery Anthony Bourdain to join us to talk food. What food tells us about humans and also the enduring mystery of deliciousness.



ANTHONY BOURDAIN, AUTHOR AND CHEF (voice-over): Much like New York,

Malaysia is a melting pot of many cultures. And I've always said that a place is food and more specifically its markets are the quickest best way to gain entry to a culture and the people. So, I'm ignoring most of the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's ultramodern capital in favor of one of its oldest neighborhoods Kampung Baru where I'm meeting Chef Wong, the TV superstar, he is famous for his flamboyant personality as he used for his encyclopedic knowledge of Malaysian cuisine.


BOURDAIN: Oh, yes.


BOURDAIN: Oh, yes.

WONG: Make sure your tongue come out like this.

BOURDAIN: All right. Tongue out.

WONG: Fabulous!


BOURDAIN: First, how-to in Malaysian eating etiquette.


WONG: Make sure you wash your hands.



BOURDAIN: Now, a lesson to personal hygiene.


BOURDAIN: And what is this sauce?


BOURDAIN: Oh, that's great.

WONG: Serious?

BOURDAIN: No, that's really good. I have a long history with rotten fish. I like it.

WONG: This guy is tough.


BOURDAIN: Oh yes. I'm giving my system the full-on onslaught again.


BOURDAIN: That's fast. You're good at this.

WONG: After 15 years.



BOURDAIN: You work my job, I'm taking an engagement, history, geography and iconography, all in one block in 14 minutes. You can't beat that.

MADDOW: That was Anthony Bourdain in Malaysia. His TV show, "No Reservation" is in its sixth season on the travel channel and auditioned to be a TV star, he is also an author of very good one, that latest book is called "Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook."

Anthony Bourdain joins us now in studio. I'm very excited to meet you. Thank you for being here.

BOURDAIN: I'm glad to be here. Thank you.

MADDOW: I wanted to show that clip because something you said in the book jumped out at me. You said, this gave this very specific prescription, and you said that you think that America could benefit from Asian-style food courts. Why do you think that?

BOURDAIN: Well, you know, fast food is good food in much of Asia, in Singapore, in Malaysia, Hong Kong in particularly. You go to food courts that looked much like the terrible food courts we have in our shopping malls, in the central, sort of shared tables, a lot of businesses around them. And instead of the usual suspects, they've got these sort of one-cook, one-dish specialty places, often third or fourth generation joints that, you know, they'll be the roast duck guy from China, they'll be somebody doing fish head curry from India, Malay style, Bakutar (ph) or something like that. So, you get this incredible variety of highly specialized, super cheap, super fast delicious food. And it's probably even healthy. And all in sort of a fast food, food court environment. And for some reason, we don't have that here, the way they do in much of Asia, and we should.

MADDOW: Do we not have that because in order to have cheap food, we have mass produced food and in order to have mass produced food you need to have these big chains?

BOURDAIN: I think it's a vicious cycle. I think, also we come from a culture that at least until around 20 years ago, I mean, people go to a lot of these places, I won't name the names, we know who they are, they know the burger's not particularly good, but they know that it's the same burger they had last time in another city and the other city and the other city. They know-they have that assurance that it's at least going to be the same, if not a very good one. And that means a lot to Americans. That it's reasonably safe, as they see it, clean, as they see it, and non-threatening, you know, in their comfort zone. And that's unfortunate.

MADDOW: I wonder if undermining the perception of safety and cleanliness is a big part of what's maybe starting to change about perceptions of the help and that kind of eating.

BOURDAIN: Well, I think people like Michael Pollen and Eric Schlosser and the film "Food, Inc.," have done a pretty good job of, you know, scaring the hell out of people and they should be scared. Well, because there's stuff to be scared off and because it's-I think, it's good for the country if we move away from that.

MADDOW: You're sort of famously unafraid of food. I've seen you eat a lot of things that are things that I would not want to eat. But you seem a little grossed out by hamburger.

BOURDAIN: I've got to a hot dog, there's sort of implied consent there.


BOURDAIN: You take your chances. It's floating in the dirty water, and you have a pretty good expectation, there might be dead zoo animals or missing gangsters in there. At least it's cooked, but a hamburger, I mean, it's-I was really shocked to read the Times, series of Times articles recently where they described during the recent e. Coli outbreak for some cheap hamburger meat, it wasn't the stuff that made people sick that terrified me. When they described how the ordinary course of business, they make a lot of this meat and soak meat in ammonia. That shocked even me. You know, I'm not Eric Schlosser. I'm-food safety is not really a concern, healthy eating not so much, but I do believe that you shouldn't be soaking my meat in cleaning products and I also believe that as an American, it's my right to order a burger medium rare. I don't you should have to treat your burger like medical waste and cook it well done.

MADDOW: Does any other culture, any other country in the world-I mean, again, this is not your thing that it's all just about mass production and sort of industrialized production of food, but do any other countries have these expectations about their food production process?

BOURDAIN: I don't think the demand for as much meat on a daily basis, as much chicken exists anywhere else. Even in this country, it's quad-tripled in the last few decades. And of course, that drives the market and creates, and demands for cheap meat at any cost, no matter how it's raced or cheap poultry. David Chang has something very interesting recently about what the financial, the collapse of a years ago might mean to food and menus in the future. He said, we might be forced that food prices rise to concentrate on dishes where meat is used more as a flavoring agent, as they do in Asia, and less the main event. Now, that's going to be a tough sell in good times. In hard times, we might end up eating a little better.

MADDOW: Yes. Anthony Bourdain, the new book is "Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook." I have to say, it's a great read, you're a really good writer, but you're screened against the empire of mediocrity, about how mediocrity necessarily becomes the most profitable thing was both right and very moving to me. So, thank you for writing it.

BOURDAIN: Thank you.

MADDOW: And for being so pissed off all the time.

BOURDAIN: Thanks for that. I appreciate that.

MADDOW: Nice to meet you. Thank you.

All right. Coming up on "Countdown," Keith asks Philippe Cousteau about the environmental impact of the oil spill.

But first on this show, the nexus of chickens prohibition and 15 years of celibacy. It's republican politics in Nevada, next.


MADDOW: Turn down the house lights and drop the disco ball. Tomorrow is another election day. Voters in 12 states go to the polls with ten of those states holding primaries. In Georgia, there will be a runoff of a special election to replace Retired Republican Congressman Nathan Deal, and then there's Arkansas where Incumbent Conservative Democratic Senator Blanch Lincoln is also in a runoff for her party's nomination for her own seat in the senate. At this point, the polls do not look great for Senator Lincoln. How these all happened? Hope you set your way-back machine to October 27th, here on this program last year, my guest Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake said this.


JANE HAMSHER, FIREDOGLAKE.COM: I dare Blanche Lincoln-I dare Blanche Lincoln to join a filibuster. She'll draw primary opponents so fast it would make your head spin.


MADDOW: Jane Hamsher, founder and publisher of Firedoglake, the first person who have ever issued a live dare on this show. Blanche Lincoln took that dare, a few weeks later, a threatening to join a Republican filibuster that ended up killing the public option. And yes, she thus earned her primary challenger in the form of the State's Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter. So now, it's June, health reform has become law without the public option and heading into tomorrow's election, the latest Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll has Mr. Halter leading Senator Lincoln by four points.

No one has any idea how to predict turnout in a runoff election like this in a midterm year, but all eyes will be on that race in Arkansas tomorrow. Except for the eyes that will be on Nevada. Because Nevada may not have the most important races on the ballot tomorrow, but it does have the most hilarious ones, like, for example, the governor's race in which the Incumbent Republican Governor Jim Gibbons might very well lose in the GOP primary, which would be a tragedy for local news reporters if it means they will be deprived of sordid, Jim Gibbons airports stalking scenes like this one.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Governor you told us just ten minutes ago that

was not on this flight. You want to change your statement?

GOV. JIM GIBBONS, NEV.: She was not with me in Washington, D.C. I can't control where she goes and what she does.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So, you just happened to be in Washington, D.C. with her and happened to be leaving in the same car with her? Sir, we are less than 12 hours away from a special session that's going to decide almost a billion dollars in cuts, and here you are with a woman who is not your wife.

GIBBONS: You are full of (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You are, you really are-all you're doing is out here late at night trying to make a scene.


MADDOW: When not denying the existence of a woman who are plainly visible to people with cameras, Governor Gibbons also made himself nationally famous when he was accused in 2006 of assaulting a waitress in a parking lot. To defend himself against the charges, the governor volunteered during his deposition that he had not had sex with anyone in 15 years. I don't exactly know how that's a defense.

Anyway, Governor Gibbons now is telling the local press in Nevada that if he loses the primary tomorrow, that will be a cause for celebration. And the Jim Gibbons stuff isn't even the weirdest stuff in Nevada Republican politics right now. In the Senate race to pick a republican to run against Harry Reid, do you remember the chicken lady? The candidate who said her idea of how to fix health care was that we could develop a system of paying doctors with stuff like chickens? She is Sue Lowden, and despite being heavily favored by the Republican establishment, Sue Lowden is no longer the front-runner. And the polling for the primary, that honor goes to Sharron Angle, who's campaigning on a pledge to end Social Security. Yes.

Although, she's apparently trying to appeal to more moderate voters now by denying her earlier assertion that she was against the legality of alcohol, alcohol. She now says she doesn't want to ban booze anymore. And she's the front-runner to go against Harry Reid in November.

We'll be covering it all tomorrow night live from Los Angeles at our regular time at 9:00 Eastern, and we'll have a special live show with elections result at 11 p.m. Eastern. Until then, you can check in with us at the Maddow blog, We're very proud of it. "Countdown" with Keith Olbermann starts right now. Have a great night.




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