Guests: John Wathen, Bill Press, David Kiley
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over): Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
Day 72 and new almost unbelievable images from deep in the Gulf, 17 miles from shore, 23 miles from shore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN WATHEN, ALABAMA CONSERVATIONIST: Some of it looked more like bruised internal organs of the human body than the surface of the ocean.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Fire from sea, like something out of “Apocalypse Now.”
And worst yet, the only signs of life are signs of death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WATHEN: Then there was this pod of dolphins found later, some are already dead, some in their death throes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Our special guest, the man who photographed and narrated the horror, John Wathen.
And all that is headed inland. Tonight, deep sea oil disaster plus category one hurricane equal onshore oil disaster. Just two or three feet and the wetlands are finished.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADM. THAD ALLEN, COAST GUARD: We fully expect that if there‘s a two or three storm surge, we could see oil moving further inland or in the marshes where we hadn‘t had an experience with that before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: And still, GOP fights for the underdog, the corporations.
The financial reform bill?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER: This is killing an ant with a nuclear weapon.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Do you think the financial crisis was an ant and we just need a little ant swatter to fix this thing?
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
OLBERMANN: Mr. President, maybe he meant giant irradiated atomic death ants from hell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: You can‘t be that out of touch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Yes, he can.
Tonight, the Democrats again try to re-establish jobless benefits. Another “Special Comment”: you may have lost a job. But business just gained a great full freelancer. Besides, says Sharron Angle, there are jobs for you to get. You‘re just “spoiled” by the system of entitlement.
Beck‘s paranoia rally at the Lincoln Memorial on the 47 anniversary of Dr. King‘s “I Have a Dream” speech. He forgot to get the permit. Our guest: Bill Frist.
And, yes, it‘s a flying car.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four wheels on the ground. It‘s a car and a plane.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: It‘s a floor wax and a dessert topping.
All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: High flyer on the unlimited highways of the sky.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.
BP‘s disaster response plan for the Gulf of Mexico having been absolutely no mention of what the company would do in the event of a hurricane. Walruses? Yes. Hurricanes? No.
Our fifth story tonight, with a category two storm about to make land fall along the Texas/Mexico border, BP forced to—just as it has with almost everything else in the last 10 weeks—make it up as they and the terrorized citizens of the Gulf go along.
The first storm of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season sparing the Deepwater Horizon a direct hit this time as the waves, as you see, hit South Padre Island in Texas as we speak. Alex is projected to stay far from the spill zone off the Louisiana coast.
But the storm‘s outer edges are still complicating the cleanup. Along beaches, rough seas and high waves bringing even more tar balls ashore than ever before; wind and rain largely keeping workers from cleaning up the crude.
In Grand Isle, Louisiana, one marine science technician describes the mess as a huge setback. To quote him, “The sad thing is that it‘s been about three weeks since we had any big oil come in here. With this weather, we lost all the progress we made.”
One possible benefit mentioned again today, scientists also saying that the rough seas and winds could help break apart the oil, making it evaporate faster. And we keep the lens clean at all times.
At the site of the leak, oil collection volumes lower today because of lightning strikes. In addition, skimming efforts off the coast in four states mostly halted today as the storm was approaching.
The government‘s point man on the spill saying getting these skimming efforts up and running again is a priority.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: The big focus of our operations right now would be on water skimming, try to deal with the oil as far off shore as we can. We‘re being inhibited right now by the weather.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: For more on the situation along the coast, let‘s turn now to MSNBC science and environment expert , Jeff Corwin, who‘s at Pensacola Beach for us this evening.
Good evening, Jeff.
JEFF CORWIN, MSNBC SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT EXPERT: How‘re you doing, Keith?
OLBERMANN: The storm surge, what—what is it expected to actually do? What are the material results?
CORWIN: Keith, if you look behind me, you can actually see these waves have come alive as a result of Hurricane Alex. And, of course, I‘m standing here on Pensacola Beach. This beach is famous for the ivory sand, but not today.
As these waves lap up into the shore, it brings up this incredibly toxic stuff. Can you see that, Keith?
CORWIN: This is crude that is washing with the lap of every additional wave on to this beach. And it stretches as far as my eyes can see and throughout this entire coastline. And as this storm gets more fears, it brings more of this crude.
And it‘s incredible to me, Keith, to think that this oil originated nearly 100 miles away from here. But it‘s tenacious stuff and it sticks to everything, to the sand, to the habitat, to the wildlife.
OLBERMANN: To that point, Jeff, is there any precedent for predicting the actual environmental impact of a category two storm mixing with that volume of oil that‘s on the surface—on the Gulf and in the water that‘s forced now behind you, and when all that stuff is forced into fragile ecosystems like marshes and such?
CORWIN: Keith, this is clearly the most devastating, unprecedented environment catastrophe our country has ever experienced. I think people don‘t truly recognize the importance of these Gulf waters. Seventy percent of our seafood, specifically our shellfish, our oyster, our shrimp, they grow in these waters.
The marshes and the estuaries, you just referred to, these are the nurseries for life. This is the place where little baby fish grow up and get their gumption so they can come up there and go out there and become big fish. This whole ecosystem not only supports wildlife, but it supports the livelihood, culturally and for generations, for thousands of thousands of people.
And this whole region is in jeopardy. There are over 400 different species in the line of fire this toxic crude. You know, I‘m sitting here, Keith, and I‘m holding this stuff. And, you know, I feel like I should be in, like, Central Park with my dog.
CORWIN: I keep reminding myself that this is the other version of that stuff. It is incredibly toxic. When it begins out there in the waters, it contains up to 100 different hydrocarbons from benzene to chromium, metals like mercury, all this stuff is very, very toxic. Not only at the surface of the water but throughout the entire water column. I think we are—we are in store for a truly—a truly devastating impact on our natural resources.
OLBERMANN: Let me explain one thing the viewers saw, Jeff, that you
would not have in our shot that we took from South Padre. What you saw
there, that sort of amorphous figure in the wind and the rain in Texas is,
in fact, our friend Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel. That‘s how bad -
now you see it—just bad it is down there.
But back to what we‘re looking at where Jeff is. This is the second time in two days I‘ve heard this. This might help. The storm might help because it would help the oil evaporate if it breaks it up.
Does oil evaporate? And if it evaporates, is it necessarily a good thing that it evaporates?
CORWIN: Interesting question, Keith. When the evaporating process happens, it‘s usually at what they call the source, at the place where the oil is bubbling up. It begins at 5,000 feet at the bottom of the ocean. It makes its way to the surface. And very quickly, chemicals like benzene burn off.
But this stuff, it doesn‘t evaporate. In fact, as it‘s—as it‘s exposed to the sea, to the heat, to the salt water, it becomes pretty noxious stuff. It becomes what we call emulsified. And it will stick to anything.
For example, the bird stories that we‘ve been featuring, for example, the Louisiana brown pelican, this is the state bird, OK? This is a bird that became nearly extinct in 1963. They recovered this bird. But now, it‘s facing another threat—again, one of many, many different species that are being attacked by this oil.
And, frankly, I‘m not seeing it evaporate because of this hurricane. If anything, Keith, the hurricane makes cleaning up this mess even more of a challenge because when you have seas that are pushing from five feet to 12 feet, there‘s no way you can have the boats out there skimming. You can‘t have the first responders out there rescuing wildlife. This whole place right now is in the eye of this storm.
OLBERMANN: MSNBC‘s science and environment expert, Jeff Corwin, in Pensacola Beach, Florida, for us—thank you, Jeff.
CORWIN: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Some of the most devastating pictures yet of the extent of the damage being caused by this oil disaster is coming from an Alabama conservationist named John Wathen, who has been flying over the spill whenever he can to document independently exactly what is taking place. Footage shot last week posted on YouTube, this gentleman revealed that the devastation is worse than BP has been telling us and it possible that it is more extensive than many of us had feared.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN WATHEN, ALABAMA CONSERVATIONIST: The further we got in the Gulf and the more consistent it came, at 17 miles out, it was obvious that the entire Gulf was covered at this point.
At 23 miles out, we encountered the heaviest sheen yet. The water was a deep purple, maroon, blue. It looked almost like a rainbow. The scope of this is beyond belief. It will take years at this rate to gather up even a portion of the oil that‘s on the surface today.
Some of it looks more like bruised internal organs of the human body than the surface of the ocean. And yet that‘s what it is.
The first time I came out, I saw a fire, there was only one. Today, when we got here, there were four. Within a couple of passes, there were seven.
From the size of these fires, it seems as though we‘re not only trying to kill everything in the Gulf of Mexico but everything that flies over it as well. This toxic environment can‘t be good for the birds that fly over the Gulf. And certainly nothing can live in these rainbows of death that cover the entire horizon.
As we look closer, we saw this pod of dolphins, obviously struggling just to breathe.
SUBTITLE: Thirty-six dolphins try to escape the BP slick. Eighteen dolphins in this pod.
WATHEN: Then we found this guy, a sperm whale swimming in the oil had just breached along his back where you see red patches of crude as if he had been basted for broiling.
Then there was this pod of dolphins found later, some already dead, some in the death throes. It seemed to be they were raising their heads and looking at the fires wondering, why is my world burning down around me? Why would humans do this to me?
OLBERMANN: Joining us now from Tuscaloosa, the man behind the remarkable video, John Wathen, conservationist with the Water Keeper Alliance.
Thanks for your time tonight, sir.
WATHEN: Thank you. I appreciate being here.
OLBERMANN: As I implied there, that‘s not even your most recent footage. Do the new images show any sign of improvement out there?
WATHEN: Not at all. If anything, things are getting worse.
When we first went out, there were bright red colors. There were vivid colors in the oil and there was some separation between the bands. The second time, it looked more like deep bruising on the skin. This time, when we went out there, it was—it was much wider. It was much widespread from a mile and a half off the shore to Gulf Shores, Alabama, all the way out to the rig some 90 miles away. We didn‘t fly over clean water one time.
WATHEN: It is getting worse.
OLBERMANN: The thing that is resonating with people that have seen your video online, in particular, have been the dolphins. How many would you say you spotted and how many of them were already dead by the time you saw them?
WATHEN: Well, we couldn‘t get an accurate count on how many were actually dead. We had three people in the plane trying to count.
And we figure we saw over 100 dolphin that‘s were in distress. Some were obviously dead. They were belly up in the water. And there were several more that were in, you know, obvious distress. It looked to me as if they were in their death throes.
OLBERMANN: The burning of the oil, the use of the dispersants that obviously created the separations that you described, and now, just the sort of coating of the surface, wall to wall oil, is this an instance where the attempt of the cure, what BP is supposedly doing to clean up what it has spilled into the Gulf, that the cure is as bad if not worse than the original disease itself?
WATHEN: In my opinion, absolutely. This dispersant, we‘re putting so much of this stuff in at the source. What they‘re basically doing is just hiding it from sight. We‘re not seeing it on the surface anymore. So, it must not be as bad.
But it‘s robbing the water column of the oxygen. And we‘re seeing these huge plumes of oil underwater. And what you‘re seeing in Florida today, in my opinion, is where these plumes are coming from the Continental Shelf and boiling out into that shallow water.
I flew the Florida coast right after this video. And I had people actually in water that had oil in it. And you could see the sheen for miles and miles and miles out on the horizon. So, they can‘t see from the beach what I can see from the airplane. This thing is huge.
OLBERMANN: What happens when that hurricane blows that into more sensitive—as if the rest of the ecology wasn‘t sensitive enough—but into things like the marshlands, what happens to the marshlands? Do you have any guess?
WATHEN: Well, from what I heard from most of the locals down there and the people that really know the marshes and bayous, this is the worst possible scenario, is a weak storm like this because all it‘s doing is raising the tide and pushing the oil into the marshes without enough force to really break it up. We‘re pushing bulk into the marshes.
With the dispersant that‘s involved here, the oil, a lot of it is under the water and the booms had no effect with or without the waves. The oil was coming under the boom.
So now, there is nothing blocking it. All of that oil is going to be in our marshes. It‘s going to be in our estuaries. And there is nothing we can do about it.
OLBERMANN: How much do you think the fires, the burning off spread this into the environment in other ways? Do you have any way of measuring that?
WATHEN: I don‘t have any way of measuring it, Keith. But it‘s phenomenal when you get out there and you realize that these huge towering columns of smoke are coming from incredibly small fires on the horizon. When you look at the amount of oil that‘s out there, each one of those columns of smoke is nothing more than a tea cup in comparison. It will take thousands of these fires to burn all the oil on the Gulf of Mexico. This is—this is ludicrous.
We‘re toxifiying the atmosphere. We‘re killing everything in the Gulf of Mexico around this thing. It seems like we‘re trying to kill everything in the air, too. It‘s insane out there.
OLBERMANN: Indeed, it is. John Wathen, chronicler of that, resident of Alabama, member of the Water Keeper Alliance, his Website on the disaster is BPoilslick.blogspot.com. Mr. Wathen, great thanks for your time and we‘ll talk to you again when the next video gets out of there.
WATHEN: Thank you. It‘s an honor. I hope to have the next video out by the next week that will cover the Florida coastline. And then again, we want to go up right after this storm. I want to try to get down there and get as much of it as I can.
OLBERMANN: We‘ll talk you to then. Thank you, sir.
And yet, the GOP—excuse me—the GOBP continues to defend corporations. Another fight against jobless benefits, my “Special Comment.”
And John Boehner describing reforming the rapaciousness of big banks as killing an ant with a nuclear weapon. Behold, it is Boehner, king of the ants. Next with Gene Robinson.
OLBERMANN: “I shall put antic disposition on,” said Hamlet, fanning madness. No fanning here. The minority leader rushes to protect, the poor, defenseless ants, the big banks.
Small problem with the Lonesome Rhodes desecration of the Martin Luther King “I Have a Dream” speech, he hasn‘t gotten a permit yet to give his speech on the anniversary from the Lincoln Memorial. Bill Frist joins us.
This woman explains there are jobs for to those jobless who just lost their benefits. It‘s just that unemployed are too spoiled to take them. “Special Comment.”
And she lifts from the obscurity of the FOX out of business channel by proposing to pay the national debt by raising taxes on those who pay the lowest taxes, the poor.
Ahead on COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN: The man who would wind running the House of Representatives if Republicans win a majority this November compares the nation‘s financial meltdown to an ant.
So, in our fourth story tonight: what do his fellow Republicans do to distance themselves? They agree with him. The president today? Not quite.
It began with an interview on Monday reported yesterday, in which House Republican leader, John Boehner, was asked about the Democratic Wall Street reform bill after lamenting the Democrats general, you know, destruction of America, blah, blah, blah.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: They‘re snuffing out the America that I grew up in. And I went there because it‘s my job, and our job as a generation is to make sure those opportunities are available to us are available for our kids and grandkids. And it‘s not going to happen if they‘re imprisoned under a mountain of debt and regulations and bigger government.
REPORTER: Is that extensive Wall Street reform? Regulatory reform?
BOEHNER: This is—this is—this is killing an ant with a nuclear weapon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Sir, Dan Aykroyd wants his cliched caricature back.
First, snuffing out the America he grew up in. Under two-term Republican President Eisenhower in 1959 when John Boehner was 10, the richest Americans paid 87 percent income tax—more than twice what they pay under that socialist, wealth-redistributing President Obama.
The so-called nuclear weapon which is actually roundly criticized for not doing enough to rein in the excesses that caused the financial meltdown passed the House late this afternoon. It might have passed the Senate before the Fourth of July as well, except that, first, Republicans objected to ending the bank bailout early, which would have saved taxpayers $11 billion. And then because Republican Scott Brown objected to paying for the new regulations with a tax on big banks and hedge funds.
Republicans instead put most of the burden on the bailout funds, reading taxpayers, and a new FDIC tax that would hit small Main Street banks.
Of almost 10 percent unemployment and a new survey showing one in 10 Americans have moved back in their folks and most Americans feeling some impact from the economy, you might expect Republicans to run away from Boehner‘s remarks, but there was Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday, blocking aid to homeless veterans and their children—seriously. And unemployment benefits about which more later in a “Special Comment,” including the wisdom of Nevada Senate Republican candidate Sharron Angle, blaming unemployment on the appeal of unemployment benefits -- which explains, you know, that zero unemployment rate during the Great Depression.
Nor did the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee repudiated Boehner‘s remarks, speaking after a fundraiser hosted by—come on—lobbyists for big banks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: This morning, it was reported that Minority John Boehner said bank reform is too broad. It‘s basically using a nuclear weapon on an ant do. You agree with that kind of sentiment?
SEN. RICHARD SHELBY ®, ALABAMA: Well, I basically agree with that.
I voted against it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Promoting his economic policies today, President Obama was happy to share Mr. Boehner‘s thoughts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The leader of the Republicans in the House said that financial reform was like, I‘m quoting here, “using a nuclear weapon to target an ant.” That‘s what he said. He compared the financial crisis to an ant.
You can‘t be that out of touch.
Do you think that the financial crisis was an ant and we just need a little ant swatter to fix this thing? Or do you think that we need to restructure how we regulate the financial system so you are on the hook again and we don‘t have this kind of crisis again?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Let‘s turn to MSNBC political analyst, Eugene Robinson, also associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist of “The Washington Post.”
Great thanks for your time tonight, Gene.
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Good evening, Keith. Good to be here.
OLBERMANN: I think the president‘s mistaken about how out of touch John Boehner could be. But is he out of touch or is it really that he‘s just in touch with only a select few people and corporations as people in this nation?
ROBINSON: Well, you know, I think I‘m going to have to go with out of touch because even if you assume that Boehner is referring to the traditional Republican stance of essentially representing big business and those folks, to say that publicly, to compare the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression to an ant, that to me just sounds out of touch, that displayed really thin here even for John Boehner.
OLBERMANN: But is this sort of the peril that tea party brings with it? Poll after poll shows the tea party is out of step with America virtually on every issue while claiming to represent, you know, the real America which is apparently what John Boehner had when he was 8 years old in Ohio and we still had Jim Crow and we had 87 percent tax rates.
Have—Republicans just not remember that there are non-tea party members of the Republican Party, let alone all those Democrats or independents?
ROBINSON: Well, I think they made a calculation. I mean, leaving aside what I think were remarks that had an impact that Boehner probably didn‘t intend, he didn‘t intend to sound that frankly stupid in making the ant reference, but living that aide, I think a calculation has been made to appeal to the faction of the Republican Party, of a faction supporting the Republican Party where you can find the energy and the passion. And there‘s a lot of energy and passion among the tea party people. And I think that‘s a big gamble, the gamble that people are so angry that—that they‘re willing to go all out anti-incumbent, anti-Democrat, even at the expense of position that they support.
And I—I‘m not sure that as—that‘s a sensible gamble. But it seems to be one the party is taking.
OLBERMANN: One thing about the stupidity of that. Remember, he is talking at the Pittsburgh newspaper, vanity press.
ROBINSON: I notice that, yes.
OLBERMANN: So you have to be pretty stupid to get the point across to the “Tribune Review” people, that‘s the name of it.
But one other thing about Sharron Angle‘s statement, I‘m going to go into this in-depth in a little bit. But she said Americans were spoiled, spoilage was the term, the way she used this term, spoilage over—unemployment is caused by unemployment benefits.
Can you explain to me based on all your years covering these things, why would anybody have created unemployment benefits if there had not previously been unemployment?
ROBINSON: Well, you keep giving me these missions impossible, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Yes. Yes, I do.
ROBINSON: I choose not to accept this one.
And, of course, that makes no sense. It is—it‘s not just a ridiculous thing to say. But the heartlessness and the lack of any sort of empathy that it implies, I think, it certainly will—at least to some extent—come back to haunt Sharron Angle and I suspect that Harry Reid is feeling a little bit better about his prospect today.
OLBERMANN: And it didn‘t occur also that unemployment benefits might be part of God‘s plan? Because she‘s always invoking God‘s plan for everything else. So—
ROBINSON: Why would God have give us unemployment benefits if he didn‘t intend for us to use them?
OLBERMANN: There you are. You finally got one right. Gene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist of “The Washington Post” and also of MSNBC -- thank you, Gene.
ROBINSON: Great to be here.
OLBERMANN: The bid to take a couple of the crumbs of jobless benefits back from the ants, the giant nuclear testing mutated 400-foot long ants. My “Special Comment” is ahead.
OLBERMANN: The Glenn Beck appropriation of the Martin Luther King Day Speech, he didn‘t get a permit. First, our sanity break, starting with the Tweet of the day. It‘s a repeat winner Don Millard: “maybe if we had a National Day of Science instead of prayer, we‘d know how to stop a deep sea oil disaster.”
I‘d settle happily for one of each right now. Leads play Oddball.
We begin with day three of the Senate Judiciary Committee‘s questioning of Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan. Doing that in Oddball now? Committee members doing their best to understand her judicial philosophy, yesterday gave us Senator Graham‘s investigation into the Kagan Christmas dinner plans. Today a probing inquiry into a matter that could establish legal precedent, courtesy Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Democrat and apparent Twi-hard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Solicitor General Kagan, you did have an incredibly grueling day yesterday, and did incredibly well. But I guess it means you missed the midnight debut of the third “Twilight” movie last night. I keep wanting to ask you about the famous case of Edward versus Jacob or the vampire versus the werewolf.
ELENA KAGAN, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: I wish you wouldn‘t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Confirm this woman immediately.
To the Vatican; Pope Benedict has just received an invitation to Coventry in England. A British nurse asking the Holy Father to come and witness the second plumbing. It‘s Jesus on a drain pipe. Alex Cotton discovered the Messiah on her way home from a soccer match, noticing that the smudge on her backyard drainage pipe wasn‘t just a smudge, but the savior. Pipe is on the right. Miss Cotton doesn‘t seem to be worried about protecting the pipe. A local plumber assuring her, if the drain were to clog, it would clear up in three days. I don‘t care can if it rains or freezes, as long as I have my drain pipe Jesus riding down the backyard of my house.
Time now for Oddball‘s annual almost Independence Day reminder; please don‘t let your mannequins play with explosives. Actually, the video comes from the good folks at the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Hooray far safety. It‘s the group‘s yearly demonstration of the dangers of fire works. While it may not prevent Missy here from lighting twin sister on fire, it‘s enough to scare the crap out of your local supermarket produce section.
Speaking of exploding watermelons, the struggle to stop Glenn Beck from desecrating the memory—did he just blow up too—the memory of Dr. King by commemorating the anniversary of the I Have a Dream Field Speech with a hate-filled speech of his from the same venue. The struggle to stop Glenn Beck is apparently being led by Glenn Beck.
OLBERMANN: Having consulted the monolithic corporate research firm to which he pays tens of thousands of dollars annually to find out with what to follow up his books of fiction, also his novel, and his radio show, and his televised paranoia hour, and his tears, and his movie that sold 30 tickets in Washington, they said, hold a big rally in Washington. Our third story, Beck says he did not happen to pick the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the day of the 47th anniversary of the Martin Luther King “I Have a Dream” speech. God picked it.
Well, God apparently forgot to put in for permission. Dr. King had a dream, Mr. Beck has a scheme. He does not have a permit. He also has an apparent problem with the concept of charity, since he‘s funneling money his followers think will go to a military based fund into his pockets and the pockets of political groups. He‘s also said that 100 or 200 years from now, this rally will be remembered as, quote, “the moment America turned the corner, the pivot point.”
Let‘s bring in nationally syndicated radio talk show host Bill Press, also the author of “Toxic Talk, How the Radical Right Has Poisoned America‘s Airwaves.” Hello, Bill, how are you?
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Keith, good to see you.
Unbelievable, isn‘t it?
OLBERMANN: Well, no, not at this point.
OLBERMANN: He sold a book with a picture of himself as a doorman on the cover of it. Why not? There is something akimbo with the permit for the live imitation of Lonesome Rhodes from “Face in the Crowd,” is there?
PRESS: Oh, yeah. In fact, Keith, when I first heard about this from you, by the way, you know, I was just outraged that the park service would even consider giving Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin a permit to hold a political rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, that sacred shrine, on this historic date. So I called the park service and it turns out they don‘t have a permit. He does have a permit.
He‘s applied for one. At this date, it‘s still not been granted. They‘re still negotiating. He may get it. He may not get it. In the meantime, as you just pointed out, he‘s soliciting donations to pay for the rally. He‘s inviting people to the rally, telling them how to get there. And he‘s telling t-shirts and posters for the rally that may not even happen.
OLBERMANN: The poster on the subject of location for the Beck rally states, quote, “at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.” Is that even going to be true even if he gets a permit? It‘s not really going to be there, is it?
PRESS: Negative. In fact, on his radio show, Keith, he says on August 28, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial; that is absolutely not true. If it happens, it‘s going to happen down on the steps of the Reflecting Pool, which is across that little road in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Now, of course, the Lincoln Memorial will be the backdrop. But the idea that he‘s going to be standing where Dr. King stood is just simply not true. Another, shall we say, misrepresentation.
But you know what, Keith, I think he wants it in front of the Lincoln Memorial. As you said, he sees this as a moment when America turns a corner. I really think 100 years from now he sees Abraham Lincoln off that share and Glenn Beck sitting on it, looking at the mall.
OLBERMANN: I‘m in complete agreement with the idea Glenn Beck should sit on it. But is the desecration of Dr. King‘s memory and what he stood for part of this. Is it just not—should the poster actually say, I‘m there to go and be racist and blame black people, where Dr. King said let‘s all hold hands together?
PRESS: It‘s hard to know exactly what‘s in his mind. Like restoring honor, what does that mean? Does that mean that we‘re restoring honor from the dishonor of electing Barack Obama president of the United States? Clearly, I don‘t care what he says. He chose that site on that day to kind of supplant Dr. Martin Luther King‘s “I Have a Dream” speech with his message, whatever it is.
OLBERMANN: It‘s a political rally, former—well, half Governor Palin is going to be there, and he‘s—Beck has found a convenient way to pay for the event, presumably her speaking fee?
PRESS: Again, I think he‘s misleading people. What he says is he‘s soliciting donations. Keith, to something—get this—called the Special Operations Warriors Fund. It was formed to raise money for wounded veterans and their families and the families of those who have been killed in action. And yet—so it‘s allegedly a support the troops rally. That‘s why you‘re giving your donations.
But look at the bottom of the poster, the very small print says that any money that goes to this Special Warriors Fund will first go to pay for Glenn Beck‘s rally. And then any spare change left over will go to the soldiers. So I think he‘s really—by the way, these are tax deductible contributions. I think he‘s stealing money from the troops and putting it in his own pocket.
OLBERMANN: Will it happen? And if so, what are the protests going to look like? I know Al Sharpton is organizing. The head of the NAACP has spoken out against it too.
PRESS: You know what? I‘m afraid it will happen, because I don‘t think the National Park Service has the backbone to do the right thing and turn him down. I think they ought to tell him, rent National Stadium, rent Yankee Stadium, have it somewhere else. You don‘t have to be at the Lincoln Memorial. I think it‘s going to happen.
From what I‘ve heard from Al Sharpton, they‘re not planning a counter-protest on that day. They just think that would be too hard to organize. They‘re planning a March on Washington on jobs on October 2nd. And so that‘s when we‘ll see a competing message, if you will.
OLBERMANN: Radio talk show host Bill Press, an old colleague and old friend. Great thanks for your time.
PRESS: Thank you. Great to be with you.
OLBERMANN: The 1964-‘65 New York Worlds Fair promised me a flying car in my lifetime. And damn it, I -- oh, apparently it arrived.
If you don‘t have a job, says Sharron Angle, it‘s half your fault and half the fault of whoever created these crazy jobless benefits. Special Comment ahead.
And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, her special guest, Frank Rich on Boehner versus Obama, and which side represents the ants and which side uses the nuclear weapons.
OLBERMANN: Flying cars, literally, ahead.
First, another Special Comment tonight on the struggle to reestablish the unemployment safety net.
Senators Harry Reid and Max Baucus have introduced another bill to rescue those million two, million four as of Friday, who have prematurely lost their jobless benefits because Republicans continue to represent corporations and oppose, you know, human beings.
This would be retroactive to the systems collapse at the end of May, and it would extend until November. It has yet to come to the floor. But to give you an idea of why the Republicans have fought its predecessors, there‘s a new wrinkle tonight. The chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management in Minnesota explains it thusly: “companies are getting higher productivity employees for the same or lower wage rate they were paying a marginal employee. You have a more productive and adaptive labor force.”
To you, it‘s unemployment. To corporations, it‘s cheap freelancers and temps. Better cost containment, as another analyst put it. No inflation, no leaping interest rates on Treasury bills, so all there is to invest in is corporate stocks. Hell, since March of 2009, the Standard and Poors 500 Index has risen—risen 61 percent.
So you thought your unemployed cousin or friend or self merely constituted a small personal crisis. In fact, you‘re part of a global investment opportunity. Every dollar you don‘t make and every dollar that the government does not give you is another buck for the Republicans‘ clients, the corporations.
Besides which there are plenty of jobs out there, just ask Sharron Angle, Republican candidate for the Senate from Nevada. From her first mainstream interview last night, probably her last, “they keep extending these unemployment benefits to the point where people are afraid to go out and get a job because the job doesn‘t pay as much as the unemployment benefit does. What has happened is the system of entitlement has caused us to have a spoilage with our ability to go out and get a job. There are jobs that do exist. That‘s what we‘re saying, is that there are jobs, but those are entry level jobs.”
See, don‘t worry if the latest Reid/Baucus bill gets swatted again by the political prostitutes of the corporations, the Republicans. There are plenty of entry level jobs available to you, for which no experience and evidently no intelligence is required, you know, like being the Republican Senate nominee from Nevada.
Remember what the first George Bush called Ronald Reagan‘s financial plan, right? Voodoo economics? Welcome to the Republican‘s 21st version of it, Screw You Economics.
OLBERMANN: It‘s a car, it‘s a plane, it‘s a car-plane. That‘s next, but first get out your pitchforks and torches, time for tonight‘s worst persons in the world.
The bronze to Bill-O the clown, talking to someone named Anne Mullins (ph) about a conservative website‘s list of the top ten right wring nut jobs liberals are supposed to hate the most. “Palin, Coulter, Malkin and Bachmann are all attractive women. They‘re all good looking. But I think that liberals, they resent that. They think that all women who are good looking should be liberal women.”
Miss Mullins then says, yes, there are no ugly women in the top ten. Palin, Coulter, Malkin, Bachmann—anybody want to volunteer to break it to Miss Mullins and Mr. O‘Reilly? Leave me out of it.
Our runner up, Michele Bachmann, number ten on the list, but still the leader for Operation Enduring Stupidity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN ®, MINNESOTA: President Obama is trying to bind the United States into a global economy, where all of our nations come together in a global economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: She went on to insist that a global economy would lead to literally a one-world government. Put that aside for a moment. Let me just review that sentence again. “President Obama is trying to bind the United States into a global economy where all of our nations come together in a global economy.” What kind of—what kind of global economy do you know of that isn‘t a global economy?
But our winner, Cheryl Casone, who used to do news cut-ins here and is now somehow on the Fixed Business News Channel, and she has the whole debt thing beat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHERYL CASONE, FOX BUSINESS ANCHOR: A new government report showing 40 percent of income tax filers are paying no income taxes at all, and are getting money back. And this has someone here saying enough is enough. You want America‘s debt mess cleaned up? It‘s time for all Americans to pay up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Is she really saying we need to tax the poor? I mean the really, really poor? I mean, there was this report from the Congressional Budget Office, the CBO, that said 40 percent of filers pay nothing. But it pointed out that half of them had incomes under 19,000 dollars a year. She‘s not talking about increasing taxes on the really poor, is she? She‘s not talking about the CBO report?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASONE: You know, Chris, the CBO report—granted it‘s for 2007. But the fact that most Americans are not paying any income tax, at the end of the day, kind of shows the imbalance. What if everybody pays just a little bit, we‘re out of debt in this country. So, Jonathan, did we just find a way to solve America‘s debt crisis, do you think?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Next on Fox Business Channel with Cheryl Casone, Swift‘s modest proposal that hunger could be solved by eating the children of impoverished families? Was it satire or was he just a far thinking economist ahead of his time. Cheryl “Tax the Poor” Casone of Fox, today‘s worst person in the freaking world.
OLBERMANN: In 1917, 14 years after the Wright Brothers first flew an airplane—that worked, anyway—aviator Glen Curtis unveiled his auto plane at New York‘s pan-American Aeronautic Exposition. The car-plane hybrid was billed as a flying limousine, though it could only hop down the road and was never mass produced. Possibly because they forgot the end of it.
Our number one story, as long as there have been planes and cars, there have been people trying to get rich selling hybrid plars (ph). The latest is the Terrafugia Transition, which now has the all clear from the Federal Aviation Administration. A roadable aircraft; the transition is more like a plane that drives, rather than a car that flies. On the ground, the wings fold up like an accordion, without the noise, and extend in 30 seconds for liftoff.
One tank of regular unleaded gas will fly you 400 miles in the air. you get 30 Miles per gallon on the road. Some of the craft‘s safety specs, like parachute, airbags, safety cage cause the craft to surpass acceptable weight limits for the FAA light sport aircraft designation, 110 pounds too much. An exemption granted. All Terrafugia has to do is let customers know their plar is a little overweight.
The light sport aircraft designation means owners would need only 20 hours of practice before legally flying this thing. Its plar‘s price tag, just 194,000 dollars, but includes the true coat. And even though the it still needs—it would probably be the way that should be written—needs crash testing before going to market, the company says it‘s already taken 70, count them, preorders.
David Kiley has been covering the car industry for more than two decades and is currently a correspondent for AOL Autos. Mr. Kiley, thanks for your time tonight.
DAVID KILEY, AOL AUTOS CORRESPONDENT: Glad to be here.
OLBERMANN: The FAA says this thing is OK to fly. Who has to say whether or not it‘s OK to drive the damn thing?
KILEY: Well, that will be the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But, you know, they also green lighted the Yugo and the Pontiac Aztec. So the standard for achieving street legal is not that high.
OLBERMANN: It seems to me, also, this—it misses the point of the flying car. For it to be a flying car, you have to be able to be driving it and then suddenly push a button and you take off and fly, don‘t you? Isn‘t that the premise of the flying car?
KILEY: That would be great. I mean, I was driving on I-95 two weeks ago, and it took me nine hours to get from Washington, D.C. to the Outer Banks, where ironically that‘s where Kitty Hawk is. I think that was the inspiration for the Wright Brothers, is being on 95 on a Friday in June.
But actually, I mean, that‘s the thing. You have to fly this thing from municipal airport to municipal airport, so it‘s not like you can be frustrated with the traffic, pull over on the shoulder, get up a head of steam and do a chitty chitty bang bang over all the traffic. That‘s what we‘d all like.
But still, you know, I think these guys are great. They‘ve come up with a pretty innovative thing. These are also, by the way, the same guys who developed the spork, the combination spoon and fork, for people—I‘m actually kidding about that.
OLBERMANN: I got you on that.
KILEY: But the dual purpose invention is a fascination that captures a lot of people‘s imagination.
OLBERMANN: Twenty hours practice time for flying it, does that sound
I know you‘re a car guy more than a plane guy. But 20 hours, is that enough?
KILEY: You know what? I don‘t think so. I couldn‘t learn how to play the clarinet in 20 hours, let alone fly one of these things. And the last time I checked if I played the clarinet badly, I wouldn‘t kill anybody. So I‘m not—but, you know, flying one of these, I think—frankly, I think the standard is a little low for training, but that‘s me.
OLBERMANN: Has anybody thought about the impact of this thing during police chases? I mean—
KILEY: I think it‘s only a matter of time. I‘m sure O.J. has, but I think he‘s strapped for the 10 Grand deposit. But the—it will happen. Once these are out and once people are driving them, there will be somebody who goes out and wants their Sean Connery moment. And they‘re going to be on a lonely sort of highway or country road at 6:00 in the morning, and they‘re going to want to do it. Whether or not that extends to somebody who is actually fleeing the police—you know, anything is possible.
OLBERMANN: Mr. Carracadis Pott (ph) from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang will be joining us later to discuss the implications of that. David Kiley of AOL Autos and his own standup act, much obliged. Thank you very much.
That‘s COUNTDOWN for June 30th. It‘s 2,617th day since President Bush declared mission accomplished in Iraq, the 2,206th day since he declared victory day in Afghanistan, and the 72nd day of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf.
I‘m Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.
Now to discuss Obama and Boehner and ants and nukes, with her guest, Frank Rich, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow. Good evening, Rachel.
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