July 8, 2010
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Guests: Ed Markey, Bob Cavnar, Alex Wagner, Chris Rodda, Jason Paur, Chris
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST: Breaking news at this hour: There will be no temporary moratorium on deepwater drilling. A three-judge panel in New Orleans, each with sketchy ties to big oil, is ruling against the government. Until the moratorium case is finally decided, drilling can continue. The case will not be heard until the 30th of August.
OLBERMANN (voice-over): Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
Day 80 and, suddenly, BP is in a hurry. They'd like to have the well capped by July 27th. Their second quarter earnings will be announced on July 27th. Coincidence no doubt.
Rush job with Congressman Ed Markey and oil industry expert Bob Cavnar.
The GOBP has a new member-would-be-senator Sharron Angle.
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SHARRON ANGLE ®, NEVADA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: The government shouldn't be doing that to a private company. And I think you named it. Clearly, it's a slush fund.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Both Angle feet in the Angle mouth, to the hypothetical 13-year-old girl raped by her father who needs an abortion-
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ANGLE: I think two wrongs don't make a right. And I have been in the situation of counseling young girls and they found that they had made what was really a lemon situation into lemonade.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: There has been another Palin tape about something.
Apparently, she's been promoted from pit bull.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN ®, FMR. ALASKA GOVERNOR: Here in Alaska, I always think of the mama grizzly bears that rise up you on their hind legs when somebody's coming to attack their cubs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: I'll see your grizzly bear and raise you one psychic octopus-Paul picks the new hole of LeBron James.
Mel Gibson slimes a third ethnic group.
And Beck U opens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS: You'll learn more in the next hour than you probably have learned your entire life about American history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: The first thing you learn is you get charged for an hour but the class lasts 34 minutes and 57 seconds.
And he walks into my favorite "Worst Person" blunder of all time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Robert Byrd was filibustering the Civil Rights Act. Why-why is it this guy dies and we haven't seen any footage? How? How is that possible?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: All the news and commentary-now on COUNTDOWN.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BECK: We have rewritten history.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.
Breaking news from New Orleans tonight, the U.S. fifth circuit court of appeals has ruled on the moratorium against new offshore drilling, ruling against the government and for big oil, saying the moratorium cannot remain in place while the government continues to pursue its legal defense of that moratorium, originally overturned by a lower court last month.
Oil companies expected to wait anyway before resuming new drill to avoid having to stop in the middle yet again if the government ultimately wins.
The one well still being drilled, the relief well, to end the Gulf spill, BP suddenly says today it might be completed as early as the 20th of this month, well before its official mid-August estimate.
But in our fifth story tonight: A member of Congress, with us presently, wants answers about the new timeline, as our second guest will point out BP has massive financial incentive to keep that oil spilling until that relief well cuts off the flow.
It began with an interview by BP managing director Bob Dudley, telling "The Wall Street Journal" that his company wants to show progress by July 20th, because that's when British Prime Minister David Cameron comes to the White House. And, quote, "In a perfect world with no interruption, BP's relief well drilling would have reached the well now spilling and be ready to start sealing off with the heavy drilling fluid known as mud by July 27th."
July 27 just happens to be the day BP answers to investors for its quarterly earnings-a day BP wants good news to keep its stock rebound alive.
Congressman Ed Markey today asking BP to explain how and now, why the original application to drill the relief well listed an estimated completion date of July 15th.
Our second guest, oil industry veteran Bob Cavnar who now writes about the industry, pointing out in a post today that for the same reason, BP had financial incentive to low-ball its initial flow rate estimate, the company has financial incentive not to cap the spill at all, but end it with the relief well.
Why? Well, capping the spill successfully, totally, would allow scientists to count accurately the rate of gallons per minute, generating a hard-and-precise number for the total amount spilled-a number that would then be used to calculate BP's fines and penalties.
If the relief well shuts off the flow, however, the rate and total spill will never be precisely known. Meaning, BP's lawyers can create doubt about any estimate and therefore about any fines and/or penalties.
This as the "New Orleans Times-Picayune" reports concerns that BP's use of dispersants has kept oil submerged enough to bypass the barges protecting Lake Pontchartrain where almost a ton of oil has now collected.
And "The Associated Press" reporting that BP's beach cleanup had been skin deep. The company only now developing plans to remove oil from beneath the sand.
BP, not the only company in for criticism today-"The New York Times" reporting that Transocean, which owned and operated the Deepwater Horizon rig for BP, has been in legal trouble for practices abroad. Norway finding that Transocean's actions contributed to the death of eight people in a capsizing in 2007. Its tax practices under scrutiny in Norway, in Brazil and in the U.S., where the company used to be based before it moved to the Cayman Islands and then to Switzerland.
There are still unknown businesses, insurance companies, as we told you on this news hour last night, even now working not to fulfill claims for lost income by Gulf Coast businesses. The Marsh Insurance Brokerage saying several carriers which it would not identify would strictly enforce deadlines for filing claims, the earliest of them today at 5:00 prevailing local time, even if the business is not impacted until tomorrow or next year.
With us tonight, as promised, Congressman Ed Markey, the Democrat of Massachusetts, who chairs the Global Warming Committee.
Great thanks for your time tonight, sir.
REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Thanks for having me.
OLBERMANN: "Think Progress" has a scorecard on the three judges from the 5th circuit who ruled today on a temporary extension of the moratorium. Two of the three have taken big oil junkets. Two of the three have litigated for big oil. One has $300,000 invested in big oil.
So, let's start with your reaction to their ruling tonight.
MARKEY: Well, obviously, it's absurd. There are 33 rigs out in ultra-deepwater. We have an ultra-deep rig at the bottom of the ocean. It's a rig that is operated by Transocean, which is a Swiss company, that registered the rig in the Marshall Islands, had it checked by a Norwegian company for safety problems, and now, it's the bottom of the ocean in the Gulf of Mexico.
There are ten other Transocean rigs out there of the 33 in ultra-deep waters. We're not talking about the 970 other drilling rigs out there that are manned right now. We're just talking about these 33.
It is an unbelievable miscarriage of justice for this court to make this decision knowing how risky it is to allow Transocean and others to continue to be out there without having a check on what they're doing.
OLBERMANN: One of the premises in the statement from the court was that there was no evidence from the government presented that drilling was likely to resume, which is by itself farcical.
But let me move you to the insurance question. I had to file a claim by 5:00 today even if the oil is not going to come ashore near me until next month or next year. I mean, obviously, regulators at the state level would look at that. But what are your thoughts on this practice, and what Congress might specifically do about this practice?
MARKEY: Well, I understand what the-what BP is trying to do. I understand what the insurance industry is trying to do. In both instances, they're trying to limit their liability.
BP doesn't want us to know exactly how much oil went out there since they get fined by the barrel.
The same thing is true for the insurance industry. They're trying to put a clock on this. They're trying to say, well, it started 80 days ago. There is a limitation of 80 days in the filing of claims. And therefore, some poor soul out there that thinks they're going to be able to sue, to be able to collect on their insurance claim, won't be able to do so.
Well, it might have started 80 days ago, but it hasn't ended 80 days later. It is continuing. And so, whether it be the government of Louisiana or it be the U.S. government, we are going to have to come down like a ton of bricks on any insurance company that thinks they're going to be able to escape their liability to someone who purchased an insurance policy to protect themselves against the very thing that is happening right now.
OLBERMANN: Now to your question, to BP today, Congressman. Explain this apparent discrepancy on the timing of the completion of the relief well.
MARKEY: Well, again, back two years ago, they said that they could handle a spill that was 300,000 barrels. As recently as this April, when they were filing to be able to drill the relief well, they said they could handle a spill of 162,000 barrels a day.
It's obviously right from the get-go, they have had no idea what they are doing. I think that it's very suspicious that they're picking July 27th, the day where they're supposed to produce their financials for the last three months, to pick as a date to speak to the financial community, that they're likely to have begun the process and, in fact, completed the relief well, which will end all of the oil going into the Gulf of Mexico.
I think it's very suspicious. I don't think that a lot of weight should be given to it. I think there's about as much likelihood of them being successful as there is the L.A. Clippers getting LeBron James tonight. I don't think it's going to happen.
But I understand why they're saying it. They're talking to the financial community as Mr. Hayward does his global tour to Libya and to Angola and other countries, trying to find investors in his company.
OLBERMANN: I think, by the way, you may have just-if they still have time to do it-you may given BP its public relations solution to this, start your own basketball team and sign LeBron James in an hour.
Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts-as always, great thanks for your time tonight, sir.
MARKEY: Thank you for having me on.
OLBERMANN: As also promised tonight, let's bring in former oil and gas executive, Bob Cavnar, who writes about the industry for "Huffington Post" and his own Web site, "The Daily Hurricane."
Bob, good evening.
BOB CAVNAR, OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY VETERAN: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: What was your take-away from this news today about the sudden new updated, improved estimate for finishing the relief well?
CAVNAR: Well, you know, Keith, I think there are several things going on here. One is, I believed for the last several weeks that mid-July was kind of the time frame that they would be ready for the kill, were it not for a storm or some other situation come up. Since there hasn't been a storm that's shut them down, they really have made enough progress to be able to do the kill by mid-July.
The fact that they're pushing their date up finally is one, they're facing the reality they're only within a couple hundred feet. And also, since they're now being pushed to put a tighter cap on, they want to get that well killed before they have to put the cap on.
OLBERMANN: Whatever litigation motives the company might have for not getting that accurate flow rate count, which would be provided when the relief wells go through, would those-this is more of a business question, obviously-would those be outweighed by the loss in stock value each day of the spill, not to mention the risk of somehow getting caught further with something else going wrong?
CAVNAR: I think, right now, BP's more worried about cash than they are their stock price frankly. Every day that they have the well flowing without the entire volume being measured is a day they can argue that the volume is much less than what we think it is. If they get a cap that's put on that contains the entire flow-then, all of a sudden, they'll be forced into a hard number.
And as we know, all of the fines are based on a per-barrel discharge. That turns into a gigantic number. So, as long as they can argue that it's a lower number, they actually do better on cash.
OLBERMANN: Turning to Lake Pontchartrain, can you explain the suggestion reported today that the use of dispersants by BP might have enabled the oil to stay submerged and get into the lake?
CAVNAR: You know, Keith, I think we're going to learn that the use of dispersants was a gigantic mistake-especially applying them as subsea on the ocean floor the way they did. First off, though, the defense of the barges themselves is not a great defense. The only real defense you got against oil is don't put it in the water.
But since it is in the water, the barges might slow it down. But it's still going to get there-especially since it's been dispersed in tiny, tiny, tiny droplets that never come to the surface. So, it will just drift along the bottom, right under the boats and into the lake.
OLBERMANN: Back to the breaking news, the court ruling that there will be no interim moratorium until the full moratorium at the end of August, can you asses that ecologically? Is that as crazy as it sounds?
CAVNAR: In my view, it is. But, as you know, I'm a supporter of the moratorium, purely for safety reasons, because these rigs use the exact same blowout preventers that were used on the Deepwater Horizon that failed so tragically. And nobody can tell you why that BOP failed.
So, going back and doing the same thing, to me is just crazy. Plus, they have every asset they have deployed now trying to collect this oil. If something else goes wrong, it's a gigantic catastrophe that we have nothing to mitigate with.
OLBERMANN: Right. The next one would be worse.
Bob Cavnar, oil and gas industry expert-as always, great thanks for your time, Bob.
CAVNAR: Good talking to you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Among metaphorical, unstoppable spewings, what could be worse than the following phrase? Sarah Palin has released a new tape? Even some of her supporters have no idea what she's talking about in it.
But a team of experts will try to make sense of it-next on COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN: Translators are still working on the tape she has released. But it appears to be authentic. And in it, she has apparently switched mascots. Pit bulls in, mama grizzlies replacing them.
How many feet can this candidate fit into just the one mouth. More on abortion in the event of incest, quote, "two wrongs don't make it right." And the $20 million BP escrow for those in the Gulf, a slush fund. Then she denies it is a slush fund.
School's back in session for all you Lonesome Rhodes scholars. We respond to Beck U by launching "Debunk U."
And where do you see his greatest blooper ever?
And how many groups are there left for Mel Gibson to insult, Jews, blacks, next?
Ahead on COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN: Videotapes from Osama bin Laden grew irrelevant when it became clear what they were-without exception, loud, angry incoherent and boring.
And in our fourth story tonight: Joining the ranks in both form and relevance are the videotapes from half-Governor Sarah Palin. Her latest scoring the highest on that last coincidence: boring.
The video produced by Palin's political action committee, Sarah PAC, and features images of women at tea party rallies holding signs like, "Don't Tread on Me." There are also plenty of shots of Palin at various events and the voiceover is all Palin taken primarily from the speech he gave before the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony list. The nearly two-minute video is entitled, "Mama Grizzlies."
Here's part of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PALIN: All across this country, women are standing up and speaking out for common sense solutions.
These policies coming out of D.C. right now, this fundamental transformation of America, well, a lot of women who are very concerned about their kids' futures, saying, "We don't like this fundamental transformation and we're going to do something about it." It seems like it's kind of a mom awakening in the last year and a half where women are rising up and saying, no, we've had enough already-because moms kind of just know when something's wrong.
There in Alaska I always think of the mama grizzly bears that rise up on their hind legs when somebody's coming to attack their cubs, to do something adverse toward their cubs. You thought, pit bulls were tough, well, you don't want to mess with the mama grizzlies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Mama grizzlies eat their own young. That woman is an idiot.
And the rest of the video, did it offer policy prescriptions, did I give examples of common sense solutions that get specific about the things that the new movement was against? Nope. The rest of the video basically restated that moms are worried about kids and grandkids.
And Palin added this, quoting, "Look out, Washington, because there's a whole stampede of pink elephants crossing the line and the ETA stampeding through is November 2nd, 2010," end quote.
Pink elephants being for decades, most commonly associated with the delusional visions of alcoholics.
And yet an unnamed but supposedly prominent GOP media consultant praised the video. According to "The Washington Post," the consultant called it brilliant and added, quote, "I wish I'd done it."
Let's bring in the White House correspondent for "Politics Daily," Alex Wagner.
Thanks for your time, Alex.
ALEX WAGNER, POLITICS DAILY: Thanks for having me, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Are their dog whistles in there? Are their buzzwords? Is there a State Department translation coming? Because, otherwise, now my question is: what the hell was that all about?
WAGNER: A dispatch from north Wasilla-stan.
OLBERMANN: Yes. Thank you.
WAGNER: I think, you know, what that-what that was, was an attempt at Sarah Palin to have a come-to-Mary moment as they like to call it, for her leagues of pink elephants and pit bulls.
But what it's really supposed to be doing is raising money for Sarah PAC is a political action committee that Palin started to ostensibly raise money for like-minded candidates who want to take America back.
I think the most curious thing is that in the first quarter of the year, Sarah PAC had $900,000 in its coffer, of which it spent $7,500 on actual House Republicans. The lion's share by far was spent, you know, $240,000 on consultants, $12,000 on photography.
You know, as far as preparing the pink elephants for stampede day, I'm not quite sure how that all works.
OLBERMANN: A lot of money spent on slow-mo'ing video and film. But
even what it's against is vague in this. What exactly is it against?
Is it against health care reform? If it is-I mean, she doesn't say anything about-there's no-there's no-there's no issue in there that she's complaining about.
WAGNER: Yes. You know, you see the women talking about Obamacare on their sandwich boards and signs outside the rallies, which is-it's sort of a questionable strategy because, you know, Palin is saying mama grizzlies raise up on their hind legs to defend their cubs. But one of the tenants of the White House is pushing as far the health care bill is that, you know, insurers will no longer be able to deny children with pre-existing conditions medical coverage. And you think any responsible mama bear or mama grizzly would want her cub with a preexisting condition to have access to health care.
OLBERMANN: Now, who would win in a battle between mama grizzlies and pit bulls-pit bull hockey moms? Do we know?
WAGNER: I mean, I think, it's interesting that she's chosen animals that are not really known for their nuance and their firm grasp on the ins and outs of issues. I think, if I had to bet, if I were a betting woman, I'd go for elephants just based on the sheer size of their hooves.
OLBERMANN: Even the pink elephants would be the ones you go for.
WAGNER: Yes, the pink elephants.
OLBERMANN: Who is this-who is this aimed for? Was it aimed for tea partiers or female independent women voters or all the women who voted for Obama last time, or just angry people? Who-do we know that?
WAGNER: I think it's-I think you're right talking about angry people. I think-one of the things that struck me personally was, you know, all the women-the pink elephants are actually white elephants according to Sarah Palin. I mean, the only women featured in this video are white women. That's a pretty strong departure from GOP 2.0 which has candidates like Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal and it's a sort of new version of the Republican Party that ain't your dad's party and we're sort of back to a monochromatic palette with the Sarah Palin video.
The other thing I say is that the rhetoric there is the same old sort of vitriol that we've heard from her for the last two years.
OLBERMANN: Yes. It ain't your dad's GOP, it's your great-great-grandfather's great-great-great-great-great-grandfather's GOP.
One other domestic political question right here. The West Virginia attorney general has rendered an opinion now. We discussed this last night. The state can hold an election in the fall to replace Senator Byrd.
OLBERMANN: But it's unclear whether that's going to happen without some sort of special action by the state legislature. But the governor, Mr. Manchin, is still interested in running for the seat. So, is he going to push for the November election instead of appointing a replacement while that absentee seat helps the GOP filibuster jobless benefits?
WAGNER: You know, I think, look, this is a tricky situation. Constitutional scholars, for the most part, have weighed in, saying there's been a gross abuse of the 17th Amendment in terms of allowing governors to fill vacant seats over the last couple of years. So, here's a chance for us to do something right for-right by the Constitution and right by the democracy in terms of having a special election in November.
But it will-it will be a nail-biter for the Democrats, who handled the last abrupt vacancy of Ted Kennedy seat, not so great. I think, someone needs to sit down with Manchin and give him either a stern talking to or really bump up his campaign efforts in advance of special election.
OLBERMANN: Alex Wagner, White House correspondent for "Politics Daily"-thanks for being with us. Welcome to the roster and many thanks.
WAGNER: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Paul, the psychic octopus, picks which team we'll sign with. Which would be rather amusing if you're watching this at 10:00 p.m. Eastern or later.
And the first day of class at Beck U. Well, no class. Call me sometime when you've got no class.
OLBERMANN: Auditing the first day of class at Beck U. And it would be his first day of class.
First, the sanity interruption. We begin with the Tweet of the Day. It's a tie from Chaos Films. "Hi, I'm Sharron Angle. Wait, was I this morning? Am I now?"
Leading from Dave Diamond, "Angle to refute her own views in a one-hour primetime special. Lebronify." Her co-host for that would, of course, be Jim Gray.
There's been a slight technical malfunction. So this has to be done manually now.
Let's play "Oddball." Ha!
We begin in Taipei where parliament is in session. At issue: the economic cooperation framework agreement. Clearly, there was little cooperation. Here's an amendment for you, buster! It all started when the speaker rejected a call from the minority party to continue the debate. This is just a look into our own future. Just look carefully.
So to show their displeasure, members charged the voting, began throwing trash cans. Was that a shoe in there? Who throws a shoe? I mean, in Taiwan, who throws a shoe? After much fighting and a little crowd surfing, everybody kicked back and enjoyed a nice, cold beverage. Ah, Summer nights.
Sydney, Australia, g'day. With the Oddball possum chase of the week. Here the little guy is being pursued by a cherry picker. Not exactly a high speed adventure. But this possum decides to make it interesting. Happy thoughts, happy thoughts. Wee! He sticks the landing. After a quick bolt, look at him go!
Rescuers eventually tracked him down because he could go all or most of the way. After a quick checkup by a vet, he was sent home. where he's either looking for a reality TV deal or just trying to avoid becoming road kill.
Time now to check in with Paul, the psychic soccer octopus. Apparently Lebron James was impressed with Paul's ability to pick World Cup winners. Instead of wasting an hour of prime time TV, he has canceled that. He's decided to let this aquatic Nostradamus pick his team destination for him.
The two finalists are, just handed to me now, the Miami Heat or the long shot Buffalo Braves? They haven't existed since 1978. I don't like how this is turning out. Yep, Paul picked the Buffalo Braves. Lebron James will report to the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium to join Bob McAdoo and Ernie DiGrevoria (ph) in the starting lineup.
So you can watch Rachel as scheduled.
Next, we peer inside the first day of summer classes at one of those elitist, egg-headed, left-leaning, Ivy League institutes of, quote, higher education, unquote, Beck University.
OLBERMANN: The open enrollment aspect of Glenn Beck's new online university is a double-edged sword. On one hand, anyone with 79 dollars and an Insider Extreme Membership can register. On the other hand, we had 79 dollars and we spent it on an Insider Extreme Membership. In our third story, we assess the first day at Beck-U by founding our competing university, Debunk-U.
Faith 101, Beck-U's inaugural effort; Lonesome did a short cameo at the top of the red video session. "You will learn more in the next hour than you probably learned in your entire life about American history," it said. Of course, the hour-long class only lasted 35 minutes. They're going to get to math later.
As advertised, your first lecturer was David Barton, the founder of the right wring wing group-Christian Group Wall Builders, and a man our next guest calls a Christian nationalist pseudo-historian. Barton's thesis, as always, the separation of church and state today that exists today is a distortion of what the founding fathers really wanted, which was for Christianity to help co-govern the country. Only they didn't tell anybody that.
Barton offers evidence for that hidden in the Declaration of Independence. Oh great, now, all of a sudden, it's one of those on the back of the Constitution and the picture of Mona Lisa stories. Anyone, he cites the research of historian Alice Baldwin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID BARTON, FOUNDER, WALL BUILDERS": There are 27 grievances in the Declaration. The Declaration starts with a 56-word phrase up front that gives the four principles of American government. She went through all those things in the Declaration, and then she looked over at all these sermons she had read.
Alice Baldwin documented that every right set forth in the Declaration of Independence had been preached from the American pulpit prior to 1763. You know what that means? That means the Declaration of Independence is nothing more than a listing of all the sermons that folks had been hearing in church in the two decades leading up to the American Revolution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: You are worthless, Alice Baldwin. Bet you didn't know that. Mr. Beck would soon return to class in the form of a cartoon intermission, more of a cartoon intermission, giving the class a kindergarten-level quiz on what they've learned so far. Are you smarter than a Tea Partier?
Barton came back and fudged some more history to round out the lecture. As I mentioned, class ended early, so students likely tooled over to the online university to pick up a Beck University debate team t-shirt.
Now, Debunk-U is in session, with Chris Rodda, research director for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, author of "Liars for Jesus, the Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History," blogger at "Huffington Post," where she exposes Glenn Beck's American history lies.
Welcome, Chris. Thanks for your time.
CHRIS RODDA, MILITARY RELIGIOUS FREEDOM FOUNDATION: Hey, Keith.
Thanks for having me on.
OLBERMANN: So you took this class. Obviously, you have a PHD now as a result of Glenn Beck University. Give me your macro-impression of the Barton lecture which you witnessed last night.
RODDA: It was essentially just lies he uses in his typical presentations, nothing new. He had more about the Declaration of Independence, that 29 of the 56 signers were ministers. And he gets that because they went to seminaries, which anyone knows seminary just means college. So 29 out of the 56 went to college. But he goes further and says they were seminaries so they were ministers.
OLBERMANN: Tick off some of-besides Professor Barton's misunderstanding about the language changing since the 18th century. Some of the specific mistruths he went through last night.
RODDA: He had the one about the Constitutional Convention taking a three-day break to go to church. In reality, what that was was they took a break for a couple of days for the delegates, one from each state, to hold a meeting to hash out some stuff. And it coincided with the Fourth of July. Some of the Fourth of July celebrations were being held at the church. Barton's version is that they all went to church for three days, came back and then everything was hunky-dory and they were able to finish writing the Constitution.
OLBERMANN: As if, by the way, they were all there at the same time, which we know was almost never true during the Constitutional Convention later on, but certainly during the run-up to the Declaration.
RODDA: Also, George Washington didn't even stay for the religious service. He stayed for the oration by a law student, and then he split to go hang out with the-his former fellow Army officers at some event.
OLBERMANN: The piece of tape that we played, is the Declaration of Independence a collection of sermons and we didn't know it? What's that all about?
RODDA: That's something Barton's been using for a long time. If you Google the Declaration, 27 points from the Bible, you'll get probably thousands of hits. Because basically he usually just-he doesn't go into detail of where he gets this from in his other presentations. But he says all 27 points are based on the Bible. And people just keep parroting that and parroting that.
But I guess if you ask any of them what those 27 points are, they wouldn't be able to name a single one.
OLBERMANN: I often judge my college professors by how they dressed. We'll leave that out of the subject altogether. Why is it important to debunk this alternate view of history that Beck and now Barton are pushing here?
RODDA: It's influencing voters. That's their whole thing. Barton goes out every election and stumps for the family values candidates at churches all over the country. He was even hired by the national GOP to stump for Bush. He goes to church after church and uses the fake history to justify why people should vote for those candidates.
Most Christians aren't liars. They need to be convinced that the stuff is genuinely true to support the agenda. Barton's also been speaking on military bases. Before the 2008 election, he was, handing out those-remember, there was a big story about the voter guides-I believe it was Americans United challenged as being unconstitutional to pass out at churches. He was distributing those on military bases, with the chaplains permission. He is doing this in military chapels.
Most recently, he spoke at-I believe it was Fort Drum in New York and that was spreading the Christian nationalism to people who already think we're in a holy war. It's pretty dangerous.
OLBERMANN: It sure is. It's easy to-you don't need a license to open up a university. Chris Rodda, senior research director at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, who is now headed over to the Debunk-U alumni touch football game. So, thanks for your time tonight, Chris.
RODDA: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Beck also provides us with the best worst in months, years, maybe ever. This is glorious. This is worse than Mel Gibson's latest equal opportunity racism.
Meanwhile, Sharron Angle blames teenage incest victims and calls relief for the Gulf coast, quote, a slush fund. Big night in Tea Time.
And on "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" at the top of the hour, the growing conundrum inside the GOP. To keep your conundrums growing, use Miracle Grow. Tea Partiers who want to cut spending versus neocons who say, don't you dare touch the defense budget.
OLBERMANN: Possibly my favorite worst person blunder of all time is next. First, this is not your water coming to a boil, it's our nightly check up on the something for nothings tea time. I am seriously considering recording one of these in which I say, wait till you hear what Sharron Angle did now, and then we put up some video and play tape of the Tea Party's Nevada Senate candidate's newest crazy talk, and I can take the segment of and go to the can or something.
Here we go again. On the radio talking about BP turning the Tea Party into the Tea BP Party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to know what she thought of the 20 billion dollar slush fund, and whether our government should be able to do that to a private company.
SHARRON ANGLE, TEA PARTY CANDIDATE FOR SENATE IN NEVADA: The short answer is no, government shouldn't be doing that to a private company. I think you named it clearly. It's a slush fund. They're actually using this crisis, if you will-because they never waste one. It's all in "Rules for Radicals." They are using this crisis now to get in cap and trade and every fine and penalty and slush fund, like you said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Do you think Saul Alinsky pays the Tea Party to keep dropping his name everywhere? Just like everything she said in the primary, Mrs. Angle promptly tried to run away from that quote. "Having had some time to think about it, the caller and I shouldn't have used the term slush fund," she said. Then she moved on to hinting the Gulf disaster was all Obama's fault.
And from the sublimely ridiculous to the infuriating. She is back, insisting that no abortions for any cause be allowed, and showing the insensitivity to rape victims that, frankly, if it had come from a male candidate, he would have had to immediately withdraw from the campaign, no matter his party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you say, then, to sway a young girl? I am going to place it as he said it, a young girl is raped by her father, let's say, and she is pregnant. How do you explain this to her in terms of wanting her to go throw the process of having the baby?
ANGLE: I think that two wrongs don't make a right. I have been in the situation of counseling young girls, not 13, but 15, who have had very at-risk, difficult pregnancies. My counsel was to look for some alternatives, which they did. And they found that they had made what was really a lemon situation into lemonade.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Serious commentary seems superfluous here, except for this: I can't imagine many Nevadans, many Americans, many human beings as cold and as callous as to agree with this sick, sick woman.
OLBERMANN: Up in the air. It's a bird, it's a plane. If it's a plane, why is it doing just 26 miles an hour? That's next, but first, get out your pitchforks and torches. It's time for tonight's Worst Persons in the World.
The bronze to Mel Gibson, who won the trifecta. You will recall his tirade against Jews after being pulled over for drunk driving in California. Then came his abuse of African Americans in a recorded tirade at his ex-girlfriend. Now apparently referring to turning over a Latino worker to immigration authorities, he has been heard on tape saying, quote, "I will report her to the blanking people that take blanking money from the," again, quoting Mel Gibson here, "wetbacks." People of Icelandic heritage, the only ones yet free of a Mel Gibson' tirade, anxiously huddle in preparation.
Our runner-up, Senator Jim Demint of South Carolina. He belongs to two Senates, apparently. One of them is in his mind. "Supposedly, after we all pledge to a limited government, we can work together and debate how to do that. But the Democrats have completed forgotten that oath, and so have some Republicans. I hope those Republicans are sent home. And I hope we get some people up here who take their oath of office seriously."
Doesn't sound like any oath of office I've heard. Got it handy? "I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and bear true faith and allegiance to the same. I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation, purpose of evasion-so help me God."
So Senator Demint took an imaginary oath of office, and nobody else did, and they should leave? Alvin Green is looking better and better.
But our winner, Lonesome Rhodes Beck. Some men are born arrogantly stupid. Some achieve arrogant stupidity. And some have arrogant stupidity thrust upon them. I don't know which it is with Glenn, I'm just glad he found his true calling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: At the same time this was going on, Robert Byrd was filibustering the Civil Rights Act. Why is it this guy dies and we haven't seen any footage? Tiffany, did we look for footage?
We're still looking. We can't find footage of the filibuster of the Civil
Rights Act of this guy. How? How is that possible? How did the guy die -
one of the most important things he ever did in his life, at least for the first 47 years was to filibuster the Civil Rights Act?
We have rewritten history. And we are only looking now for the truth that helps our side. It must stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Live television coverage from the Senate floor did not begin until June 2nd, 1986. TV cameras were not permitted onto the Senate floor until December 1974, and were then used only to broadcast the swearing in of Vice President Rockefeller. Prior to that, TV or film cameras were never permitted on the Senate floor, only occasionally in committee hearing rooms. No cameras at the Civil Rights debate of 1964.
Maybe it's not necessary for Glenn Beck to know this obvious fact of the history of his own profession, nor for Tiffany to. And it's nice she got work after the singing career fizzled out, by the way. But the answer to his fulminations is available on Google by typing in "Senate, televised,"and waiting, you know, two seconds.
Founding a university? This guy is not qualified to found a Magic Eight Ball. Lonesome Rhodes, where's the film of Congressman Brooks caning Senator Sumner in 185, huh, huh? The communists stole it-Beck, today's Worst Person in the World.
OLBERMANN: When a solar-powered plane can fly through the night, the entire night, that is something. In our number one story, not only did the plane fly on solar power alone, it broke a record for the longest flight of its kind, 26 hours, and for altitude, 28,000 feet above sea level. Even the pilot was happy, except for a few complaints. For example, the plane outlasted the battery on his iPod.
It was the first flight of more than 24 hours for the Solar Impulse, which has an airliner sized wing span of 208 feet. The plane took off in Switzerland early yesterday, landed at the same airstrip 26 hours, nine minutes later. During the period, the plane's battery charge increased under the rays of the sun and then powered the plane through the night.
The pilot, sole occupant, Andre Borschborg (ph), saying quote, "I have just flown more than 26 hours without using a drop of fuel and without causing any pollution." He added that his back was sore after all the time in the cramped cockpit and the water system froze over night. His iPod battery did die. So apparently he couldn't keep listening to his favorite tunes.
But the plane soared over the Drua (ph) Mountains at an average speed of 26 miles an hour. It was a test flight. The project's co-founder, Dr. Bertram Picard, saying, quote, "we're on the verge of perpetual flight."
Let's bring in the aviation writer for Wired.com, Jason Paur. Thanks for your time tonight, sir.
JASON PAUR, WIRED.COM: My pleasure.
OLBERMANN: Fill in some of the details, including how much that plane weighed, for instance.
PAUR: The plane only weighed 3,500 pounds, which is about the same size as your typical mid-sized sedan. As you mentioned, it's got a wingspan of 208 feet, which is about the same as a Boeing 777. It's not a lot of weight for its size.
OLBERMANN: In taking an educated guess about where this might lead, put this on the spectrum between the Wright Brothers flight and maybe the Spruce Goose, the Howard Hughes plane from the '30s that just sat there after one four-second flight.
PAUR: It's probably a lot more analogous to the Wright Brothers' flight. At that time, they made a flight. They made a few follow up flights. A lot of people kind of saw it as a useless tool, a useless invention. Even the U.S. military sort of passed it at first glance.
A lot of people have been saying this seems kind of like a useless tool, and maybe it isn't something we'll be using to cross the Atlantic any time soon. I spoke with Mr. Picard, Bertram Picard, who was the founder of the project, last night, just after they passed the 24 hour mark. He said one of his big goals is to show that this technology exists, that this technology is available. He's really trying to push to show that renewable energy is a viable option, not only for powering airplanes, but, of course, for all other aspects of life.
OLBERMANN: How far is it viable? I must say, my optimism, although I'm delighted by this, is circumscribed a little by the one detail of 26 miles an hour. How many people could you put in a plane going 26 miles per hour before it necessarily descends? Is there any capacity to make what we consider a passenger craft?
PAUR: Well, by comparison, the Wright Brothers' first airplane was a little slower and didn't fly nearly as far. It only flew a few hundred feet. Again, 20 years later, they were flying many, many people farther distances. So where this goes, who knows? Obviously solar technology is evolving very quickly.
I don't think anybody expects people to be crossing the Atlantic or crossing vast distances in solar-powered airliners anytime soon. I guess there are people who have those kind of dreams and engineers that can hopefully figure it out.
OLBERMANN: In the end and also in the near term, which do you think has more of an impact on, the development of flight or just the development and acceptance of solar power as an energy source in all sort of different venues?
PAUR: I guess that sort of depends on what point of view you're coming from. From the aviation point of view, it's a fairly interesting milestone. It's quite historical. A solar-powered aircraft flew all through the night under only sun power. It took off with, effectively, empty batteries. It landed with more battery power than it took off with. So it's a very interesting aviation milestone.
From the solar point of view, I'm sure it's a boost for that industry and for people trying to show that there's more that can be done with solar power, and hopefully give a boost to increase the technology and research going into it.
OLBERMANN: Jason Paur of Wired.com, great thanks for your time.
PAUR: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: That's COUNTDOWN for this July 8th. It is the 2,625th day since President Bush declared mission accomplished in Iraq, the 2,214th day since he declared victory in Afghanistan, and the 80th day of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf. No solar power involved.
I'm Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.
Now to discuss the GOP's fight, Tea Party versus the neocons, ladies and gentlemen, in for Rachel Maddow is Lebron James. I'm sorry, Chris Hayes. Good evening, Chris.
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