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Wednesday, Oct. 6th, 2010

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Guests: David Corn, Jonathan Turley, Jorge Mursuli, Adam Savage, Jamie




KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over):  Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

The Pelosi plan: Tie the Republicans to big money.  Tie the Republicans to big oil, add jujitsu.  “We‘re going to tattoo you with that, so it‘s like doggy-doo stuck on you shoe, wherever you go, people will know.”

Light at the end of the polls: Democratic upswing, and in a month, Obama from 52-46 disapproval to 50-47 approval.

The Cranick fire.  The International Association of Firefighters condemns the refusal of the Tennessee firemen to fight it even though the Cranick had not paid.


GENE CRANICK, HOUSE BURNED DOWN:  I understood some of the firefighters went home and was sick.  And some of them cried over it.  I appreciate it.


OLBERMANN:  The latest from Obion County.


SHARRON ANGLE ®, NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE:  I‘m Sharron Angle and I approve this message.


OLBERMANN:  They, show dark skin people, are taking your, show light skin people, tax breaks, Social Security, jobs.  It‘s the race card and Sharron Angle is now officially playing it.

“Worsts”: Texas Republicans not a penny for Social security, but $5 million for donuts.

And Rick Sanchez apologizes.  Except he doesn‘t.

And the “Weekly World News,” home of bat boy, reports L.A. just spent $1 billion on jetpacks for policemen.  And guess who believed it?


GRETCHEN CARLSON, FOX NEWS:  The city of Los Angeles already ordering 10,000 jetpacks for its police, paramedics and fire departments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Are you kidding?

CARLSON:  Can we afford that?


OLBERMANN:  There are no jet packs, which raises the question: Where are our jetpacks?  We were promised jetpacks.  My guests, the MythBusters.

All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I need a jetpack, if I only had a jetpack.




OLBERMANN:  Good evening from New York.

To boil it down, she is advocating tattoo you with doggy-doo jujitsu.

Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN: Nancy Pelosi‘s plan to capitalize on breaking Democratic momentum in the polls and turn Republican funding advantages against the Republican Party, despite evidence that the Democrats are still underselling their own accomplishments.

The speaker is beginning by frankly acknowledging the GOP‘s enormous advantage in money from outside groups unleashed by Citizens United.  In an interview with “The Huffington Post,” the speaker said, quote, “Somebody said to me you can survive being outspent eight to one.  I said, just as long as the one is there.  Eight to one?  OK.  Eight to nothing?  No, I don‘t think so.”

But Pelosi then tied together what to many has been obvious.  The GOP‘s love of the big guys, specifically the big corporate guy, quoting, “Whenever you get hit be an overwhelming weight, you have to jujitsu it.  So we want to turn it against them.  I want to tattoo them right on to the Republican candidate, big oil, big banks, big health insurance.  We‘re going to tattoo you with that, so it‘s like doggy-doo stuck on your shoe.  Wherever you go, people will know.”

And in San Francisco today, the speaker characterized the motivation of big—fill in the blank.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  We have made some people unhappy, big banks, big oil, a big health insurance industry.  And so, you will see them out there now with their euphemistic names.  They call themselves 60 Plus, means health insurance.  They call themselves Americans for Prosperity.  God knows.  They want to buy the country.  Special interest, corporate money wants to buy America.


OLBERMANN:  To a thematic footnote, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor has all but conceded the Democrats are, indeed, for the little guy.  Cantor was asked about being the only Jewish Republican in both houses of Congress.  He explained to “The Wall Street Journal” that the American-Jewish community is overwhelmingly Democratic because Jews, quote, “are prone to want to help the underdog.”  The obvious implication: Democrats favor the underdog.  Republicans do not.  Therefore, Jewish people align themselves with Democrats.

And on the other meeting of underdog, the narrative the Democrats will get pulverized in the midterm elections is lighter.  Over the past month alone, Democrats cut in half the Republican advantage in the generic congressional ballot.  The 13-point GOP advantage is now down to six.

Meantime, the president‘s approval rating is back in positive territory.  That represents a nine-point swing from a month ago, possibly evidence of the president‘s own campaign schedule.

But yet another poll is showing that Democratic candidates still need to engage Democratic voters.  Only one-third of Democrats polled think this Congress has accomplished more than other recent congresses.  Sixty percent say it has achieved the same or less, even though the 111th has, in fact, been one of the productive since the Great Society passed in 1965, and even though President Obama has had more legislative success than any modern president, according Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan, that according to Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute.  The stimulus bill, health care reform, student loan reform, Wall Street reform among the more obvious achievements.

The Congress and Ezra Klein in a moment.  First about Pelosi.  Let‘s bring in “Mother Jones” magazine, Washington bureau chief, columnist for, David Corn.

David, good evening.

DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES:  Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  In some ways, what Speaker Pelosi is saying seems obvious.  But has been effectively articulated before now?  Have Democrats come anywhere close to drawing that straight a line for the electorate, you know, GOP equals big oil, big insurance, big et cetera?

CORN:  I don‘t think it‘s a matter of drawing a line or even inking a tattoo.  I think it really is a matter of picking up a baseball bat and swinging.  You know, big oil, GOP—bam.  Big banks and GOP—bam.

You have to do this again and again.  People are busy.  They don‘t always pay attention and they want to see it as a fight, not as a debating point.  And there‘s really only one person in town who can swing a hammer that way.  That is the president.

OLBERMANN:  So let‘s talk doo-doo for a moment.

CORN:  Yes.  We must.

OLBERMANN:  With less money, how do Democrats get the message out that, you know, big oil, big banks, big health want to—as she put it and this we have been using this phrase ourselves for months—buy the country?

CORN:  Right.  Well, the White House bully pulpit I think is a more effective way of a message across than a 60-second spot on a rerun of “Friends” at 11:00 at night.  I mean, you can buy 20 of those, 50 of those, 100 of those.  And yet, you know, a clear message from the president which is echoed by the Democrats and in Congress would I think trump that.

But the problem of the Democratic side has long been consistency.  It‘s hard to sort of be an anti-corporate populist if you‘re cutting a deal with big Pharma for the health care bill.


CORN:  Or if you‘re also banking to a lesser degree, but still banking campaign contributions from the same interest.  So, that‘s where the Democrats get kind of stuck here.  They, you know, they feed at the same trough, just not as much.  And they don‘t do I think all the same heavy lifting, but they can still be tarred.

OLBERMANN:  But if the percentages were backwards here and the associations were backwards between the parties, that wouldn‘t stop the Republicans.  I mean, yes, the Republicans counter that the Democrats have, you know, their special interest money from unions as the example.  If these were reverse, the Republicans would just stick their fingers in their ears, turn up the volume on the rerun of “Friends”—I mean, shouldn‘t Democrats just do a better job of portraying the GOP and its ancillary groups as being, you know, flat-out against the basis and the basic economic interests of anybody who is not overwhelmingly wealthy?

CORN:  Listen.  That‘s what I‘m saying for years.  That‘s where my politics come from.

I think when Obama came in—he didn‘t want to be that confrontational.  We talked about this before on the show.  Whether he thought he could work with Republicans, whether he thought that part of his appeal as a candidate had been his promise to transcend, you know, partisan bickering.

But, you know, I think there‘s a difference between partisan bickering and fighting damn hard for your side and your set of views.  And this is—this is really—this works, I think, if you do it consistently, steadily and confrontationally.  Now, you can do with a smile.  You don‘t always have to be angry about it.

But when you go back and forth, it allows the other side to sort of say, you‘re not serious about this.  Look, you took $5 once from a company that did business with Exxon and then, you go, oh, no.  And then—and the way the media covers the stuff, everybody that looks they‘re tainted even though one party is far more in the tank than the other.

OLBERMANN:  David Corn of “Mother Jones”—as always, great thanks, David.

CORN:  Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  For more on what Democrats should be doing to sell themselves and whatever accomplishments they have—let‘s turn to “Washington Post” staff writer, “Newsweek” columnist, MSNBC contributor,  Ezra Klein.

Ezra, good evening.


OLBERMANN:  All polls have to be considered with the healthy degree of skepticism, even though one showing that Republicans are ahead are taken as if manna from heaven.  But is there not a case to be made that things are indeed tightening and seem to be continuingly going in that direction as the midterms draw closer?

KLEIN:  Well, I‘m a sort of guy who roots for the underdog.  But even I—I‘m always careful about the polls and I would say: that the real thing people need to be watching is not the basic generic poll of how many people in the country like Dems and how many like Republicans.  It is who is going to turn out to vote.

Gallup had a poll, I think it was yesterday or two days ago, showed if you just look at all voters, it‘s 46-43 for Republicans—very manageable election for the Democrats.  If you look at likely voters in a high turnout election, it moves to a 13-point advantage for Republicans.  And if you look at likely voters in a low turnout election, it moves to an 18-point.

So, the question is not just what the country thinks of the two parties, but actually, who gets turn out to vote.  If it‘s an older, whiter electorate, a more conservative electorate, you can really have Democrats losing tons of seats even as they‘re pretty much at rough parody in the country as a whole.

OLBERMANN:  Obviously, the question of what is a likely voter in a poll to poll basis, we could talk about for probably four hours without taking a break, but with that as accepted as fact—do the Democrats do themselves a disservice to try to go back and sell, look what this Congress has done?  Has that moment past?  Does that—does that sound like an empty offer of the proverbial bill of goods?  Or are they serve by looking forward and doing the Nancy Pelosi trick of just saying GOP equals big interests against you at home?

KLEIN:  I don‘t know.  I wish I did.  If I did, I could move into political consulting and make a lot of money.

But as a general point, I think that people work backwards from the conditions in their own lives to their views of public officials.  And I think the problem for Democrats is they do have an enormous number of accomplishments.

The idea that people think this Congress hasn‘t accomplished much is frankly absurd.  But it is understandable.  The health care bill does not really begin until 2014.  The stimulus bill may have kept unemployment from being at 12 percent, but doesn‘t mean it‘s not at 9 percent, people don‘t feel 3 percent of unemployment that isn‘t there.  They feel the unemployment that is there.

So, they do have a real problem.  They have a lot of accomplishments, but not a lot of accomplishments that people are fundamentally feeling.  And in that, you can really go out the other side for what they want to do.  And the Tea Parties by extreme are helping Democrats with that strategy.  But it is frankly a pale shadow of strategy where you can sell voters on what you have yourself done for them.

OLBERMANN:  So, if you marry that to the fact that Democrats seem more adept and comfortable on defense than on offense, and I don‘t mean Pentagon defense, I mean, playing defense, is that the—are those the two twin stars of the problem the Democrats face right now?

KLEIN:  I believe so.  You know, that is—their problem—even beyond that is just conditions.  I mean, they really do have a problem with conditions.  It‘s just hard to tell people that things are going well when they‘re not going well for them.  And that‘s sort of the unfair reality of politics, right?

A lot of these people are being judged based on not what they have done but was done before them.  We have a deficit that is largely created by George W. Bush.  We have a large financial crisis created in the ‘90s and 2000s.  Somewhat bipartisan but happened on Bush‘s watch, and you‘re going to have a lot of Democrats lose because of it.  It‘s going to be a lot of people feel like they got unfairly tarred here come November.

OLBERMANN:  A lot of us recognize the implications of Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision, quickly.  The president seemed to get it immediately.  He brought it up in January.

Why—why are the Democrats just now and still somewhat lunk-headedly and clumsily trying to get around to maybe hinting that this was a bad idea?  Did they perhaps think they were going to be able to negotiate in this new system, that they would get some of this extra money coming in, too, or at least proportionately?

KLEIN:  They made a horrible mistake.  They‘ve tried to move undisclosed, which would have ruled back some of Citizens United, but it wasn‘t big enough.  What they should have done, and I do believe this is one of their big missed opportunities this year, is gone to something like Fair Elections Now Act.

They should have taken it as an opportunity to rebuild this whole corrupted, rotted campaign finance system we have.  They should have really swung for the fences and, yes, they couldn‘t have passed it.  But at least they could have run on it.  At least they could have had a message and say, we‘re here and they‘re over there and you have to decide which side you‘re on.

But they didn‘t.  They went with something smaller.  They couldn‘t pass that.  And now, there‘s not honestly that much difference when you got one guy saying, I want things as they are.  I heard a guy saying, I want things as they are, but corporations have to tell when they‘re putting $85 million into a campaign—that‘s really not that much difference for voters.

OLBERMANN:  Ezra Klein, an MSNBC contributor—great thanks as always, Ezra.

KLEIN:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  More developments in the case of the Tennessee homeowner who had to watch the fire department watch as his house burned to the ground because he hadn‘t paid a surcharge for the fire department‘s services.  His insurance status, the condemnation from an International Association of Firefighters and the legal implications—I mean, what could be next?  A la carte police coverage?  A la care homeland security?

Jonathan Turley—next on COUNTDOWN.


OLBERMANN:  The Cranick fire and public safety a la carte.  The head of the International Association of Firefighters says the flames should have been doused anyway.

It‘s all there in black and white.  They are taking away your stuff. 

She puts the race card into a campaign commercial.

When is an apology not an apology?  When you say, quote, “Anyone else whom I may have offended.”

And she really thought L.A. had spent $1 billion to buy jetpacks for police officers and nobody else was covering the story.  By the way, where are those jet packs anyway?  We‘ll ask Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, the MythBusters.


OLBERMANN:  As the astounding story of his burned down home has echoed across this country and back again, Gene Cranick says he still hasn‘t decided whether he‘ll need outside help.  His son Todd telling our local NBC station that the family has received some insurance money already and that their agency says it intends to cover all damage and property losses.

Our fourth story: It‘s unclear if $75 of the insurance money will have to go to pay for subscription firefighters for next time.  But today, the premise and the inaction were condemned by an international union of the bravest.

And the legal implications, how far can you take this optional security stuff began to resonate, too?

Outside the Obion County courthouse this evening, Bob Reavis, the fire chief of Hornbeak, Tennessee, defended the South Fulton Fire Department.  His department is not subscription-based.  And though he said he sympathizes with the Cranicks, the insisted the fault lies with them.  He also said the rural residents of Obion County do not pay taxes that benefit Obion municipalities and that he and his dispatchers have been receiving death threats and threats of other kind in the wake of the Cranick fire.

Attending Chief Reavis‘ news conference, Gene Cranick‘s son, Todd.


TODD CRANICK, GENE‘S SON:  Every chief took an oath to serve and -


T. CRANICK:  I don‘t know what the words are, but to do the best they could.

REAVIS:  Yes, sir.

T. CRANICK:  They dropped the ball.  Are you aware that my neighbor was standing there with an open checkbook and told them to put it out no matter what it cost?  My dad, an open checkbook.

REAVIS:  Yes, sir.  That‘s what I worry about.

T. CRANICK:  It‘s not like the money wasn‘t there.  Seventy-five dollars versus $5,000 or $10,000, which would you rather have?

REAVIS:  Yes, I understand that.


OLBERMANN:  About the condemnation, the head of the International Association of Firefighters releasing a statement.  According to Harold Schaitberger, “The decision by the South Fulton Fire Department to allow a family‘s home to burn to the ground was incredibly irresponsible.  Because of South Fulton‘s pay-to-play policy, firefighters were ordered to stand and watch a family lose its home.  Everyone deserves fire protection because providing public safety is among a municipality‘s highest priorities.”

And there‘s the latest crux right there.  What if South Fulton or Obion County decided public safety should be entirely optional?  What about a subscription police force?

And if you extrapolate a la carte government, should Americans short their IRS bill if they didn‘t think it was a need for an Army or a National Guard or an excursion somewhere?  Why not raise your own militia, a la carte homeland security?  And it is a system that does not compensate for honest mistakes.


G. CRANICK:  I had forgot this thing.  And I know people don‘t think you forget things like that, but you do.  And just so happened that I forgot it and I have to suffer the consequences for it.


OLBERMANN:  This time, the mistake was Mr. Cranick‘s.  What happens next time when there is a clerical error and your name is left of the paid in full list?

Joining us now: Jonathan Turley, constitutional law professor at George Washington University.

Jon, good evening.


OLBERMANN:  This is a strange question to start with.  But how legal is it for any government anywhere to make fighting fires optional?

TURLEY:  Well, unfortunately, it is legal it appears in Tennessee.  The Tennessee law allows for fire departments to contract outside of their jurisdiction for the services.

What‘s strange about the Tennessee system is that they don‘t contract for all areas but they can become a sort of home security system where you get individual owners to pay.  And then you can use as symbols or examples those who do not.  But I‘ve never seen anything like this, Keith.

You know, in the common law, there is a principle called the duty to rescue.  It‘s a bit of a misnomer because it‘s really a duty not to rescue.  It says that you don‘t have to rescue someone if you didn‘t put them into peril.

This is the first time I have ever seen a police officer or firefighter say that they can use that same principle, because if you take this to its natural conclusion, it wouldn‘t be just the pets that necessarily could have died.  Under this same logic, they could have watched people die in the house and say, “That‘s not our problem.  You didn‘t give us $75.”

OLBERMANN:  So, as we contemplate a Tea Party America and the idea that you could just back off what we consider the standard responsibilities of government, local or national, towards its people, what can‘t you make optional?

TURLEY:  Well, that‘s—that‘s the real question.  I mean, we seem to—particularly in the last few years—be returning to a state of nature.  You see states and cities that are throwing over the side critical programs, selling parks, selling buildings.  And the question is: when does government itself become discretionary?  And I think that we are in a dangerous place right now where you can believe in less government.

But no advocate that I know of believes that police and fire support are part of that bargain.  That is—there‘s the assumption is that when you form a civilized nation, particularly in an advanced nation like our own, that there‘s certain things that you should be able to take for granted.

But the thing that I find most worrisome there is the corrosive effect on the professionalism of these firefighters.  Some firefighters, obviously, were just following orders and they were very upset about this.  But to turn firefighters into this type of menace, I mean, because they‘re there not as part of the solution but now part of the problem, and you‘re really basing a whole moral judgment on the failure to pay a contract.

And for those conservatives that are saying, well, you should let the house burn, the question is: where‘s the moral dimension here?  You know, whether this was legal or not, it was facially immoral.  I mean, any citizen, not just a firefighter, who sees a house burning has a moral obligation to try to do something about it other than use them as an example for contract negotiations.


On the subject of contract negotiations, I recall from my—you know, one little tiny law course in college that mutuality is the essence of the contract and government supposed to be a contract among the citizens.  I mean, if Obion County can opt out of elemental responsibilities to me, can I opt up some of my taxes?  Can I just, you know, call up the White House and say, you know, President Obama, I just don‘t think we need to be in the Afghanistan.  I‘m taking 15 percent off my taxes”?

TURLEY:  I‘m going to give you some legal advice, probably hold off on that just for a moment.  I don‘t think that‘s going to work quite well.

OLBERMANN:  Something of a rhetorical question there.

TURLEY:  You know, the fact is the—it‘s a one-way street with the government.  As we see more services contracted out, the government, however, does insist that you must pay your taxes if they‘re not giving you much in terms of services.  But we need to look very carefully at who we are and where we‘re going when we start to make fire protection something akin to a dim sum menu for neighbors and we are entering a very dangerous place.

And I think this case, as you have really brought it to light, shows how dangerous that really can be.

OLBERMANN:  Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University—Jon, as always, thanks for your insight and your time tonight.

TURLEY:  Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  There are two interesting things going on tonight: a proposal tonight from the chief Tea Party puppeteer on college and Pell grants and it will turn your stomach.  And a no-hitter pitch in baseball‘s playoffs by a guy who have been waiting 13 years to appear in them.  Ahead on COUNTDOWN.


OLBERMANN:  Sharron Angle cuts to the chase: the brown people are taking away the jobs of the white people.  Next.

First, the sanity break.  In an epic opening day of the baseball playoffs, Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies, in the first post-season start of his 13-year Major League career threw a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in the opening game of the National League division series at Philadelphia.  That‘s the last out.

It‘s only the second time in the history of baseball that a no-hit game has been thrown in the playoffs or a World Series and playoffs date back to 1882.  The only other one, Don Larsen‘s perfect game for the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series 54 years ago this Friday.

One other pitcher, Bill Bevens, lost a no-hitter with two out in the ninth inning of 1947 World Series game.

Jim Lonborg of the Red Sox lost one with four outs to go in a 1967 series game.

No other pitcher has ever gotten even that close in the post-season.  Halladay threw a perfect game versus Florida in May and thus also becomes the first pitcher in baseball history to throw a perfect game and a full no-hitter in the same year.

Tweet of the day has a tough act to follow there.  It recalls my pledge yesterday, give $2 to the first right-wingnut job to say that the presidential seal falling off Mr. Obama‘s lectern yesterday was a sign.  From mharvey, “You owe Gretchen Carlson $2.  Sucker bet.” Yes, I‘ll just take it off her tab for what she owes everybody to our damage she has done.  So, that‘s now 47,999,999,098 bucks.

Let‘s play “Oddball.”


OLBERMANN:  With the usual caveat, we begin in Para, Brazil, with incredible video.  That‘s Rosalinda de Jesus.  She was walking down the street.  She is, in fact, struck from behind by that car.  She was tossed into the air, landed more than 60 feet down the road, and suffered only minor injuries.  The driver immediately stopped and called for help and witnesses say the driver appeared to have been drinking. 

The Blomafontane (ph) zoo in South Africa is our final destination. 

My sad duty to report that Charlie the smoking chimp has passed on.  Charlie huffed and puffed his way to a level of fame not seen since the days of chimp from Project X.  It is speculated that Charlie picked up the habit while working for an American circus.  He would pester visitors until they would toss him lit cigarettes through his enclosure bars. 

His favorite television show was “Mad Men.”  He was more than a smoker.  He also enjoyed bananas and climbing trees.  Initial cause of death was ruled old age, but the postmortem is due for this week to see if cigarettes played a role.  He‘s survived by his children, Bubbles and Mr.  Teeny Nine. 

Time marches on. 


“The red coats are coming,” cried Paul Revere.  “The brown people are coming,” cries Sharron Angle.  We can play this Tea Party crapola, too, you know.


OLBERMANN:  Exactly how bad is illegal immigration in the state of Nevada?  So bad that illegal immigrants are apparently now crossing state lines to take jobs away from TV actors in political ads.  Our third story tonight, Republican Tea Party Senate candidate Sharron Angle has a new campaign ad out, juxtaposing hard working, law abiding students and blue collar guys who appear to be uniformly white with a portrait of children brought here illegally by their parents, who, as you will see, look hardly like children and appear to be uniformly more likely to take your wallet than your job. 

The ad, which we will now show you in its entirety, has been likened to the infamous race baiting Willie Horton ad used against George H.W. Bush against Michael Dukakis.  It prompted the headline. “Does New Angle Ad Resort to Fear Mongering” from the local Fox News affiliate.  That‘s where that came from. 

Here‘s the context you should have when you see the ad for yourself.  Last Monday, Tibby Ellis, who had served as a spokeswoman for Angle and chair of the Nevada Republican Hispanic Caucus, condemned Angle‘s previous attack ad.  Quoting her, “I condemn this type of propaganda, no matter who is running them, where they blame Mexicans at the only problem, and where they attack them as the only source of illegal immigration.” 

Never mind that the ads‘ claims about Reid‘s supposed votes to give illegal immigrants tax breaks and other perks at the expense of taxpayers were widely debunked, though not by John McCain and other Republican senators who had cast the exact same votes Reid did. 

The new ad claims that Reid wants to take money from taxpayers and give it to illegal immigrants in the form of college tuition breaks, presumably, therefore, also depriving legal residents of tuition breaks and even admission into state schools.  It is, presumably, about Reid‘s support for the Dream Act, which doesn‘t do that. 

What does it do?  According to Think Progress, the Dream Ad would end federal punishment of states that award tuition without regard to immigration status.  In other words, it‘s against the big federal government that Angle claims to hate.  It also provides towards citizenship, not for any child of illegals, but for those making a commitment to this nation, either by attending college or by joining the military. 

Harry Reid isn‘t the only one supporting this.  So is the U.S.  Pentagon.  So when you watch this ad, keep in mind, tax breaks and Social Security claims already debunked; keep an eye on which faces represent Nevadans and which faces represent college-bound child immigrants. 


SHARRON ANGLE ®, CANDIDATE FOR SENATE IN NEVADA:  I‘m Sharron Angle and I approve this message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Harry Reid voted to give special tax breaks to illegal aliens.  And Harry Reid voted to give Social Security benefits to illegals, even for the time they were here illegally.  And now Harry Reid is fighting for a program that would give preferred college tuition rates to none other than illegal aliens, using your money to pay for it. 

Leading to a simple question: what does Harry Reid have against you? 


OLBERMANN:  Did you spot these college kids?  We don‘t know who they are, but we do know that they‘re not from Nevada.  They came from Louisiana.  How do we know that?  Because they already showed up in Republican Senator David Vitter‘s ad there, finding from Think Progress, where they were scaring the voters of Louisiana.  So apparently the problem is this small group of TV actors terrorizing two states. 

Let‘s turn now to Jorge Mursuli, the president of the Latino advocacy group Democracia, which is active in Nevada and other states.  Thanks for your time tonight, sir. 

JORGE MURSULI, DEMOCRACIA:  Great to be here, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Setting aside the factuality or total lack thereof for a second, your reaction to the imagery and the emotional notes of the Angle ad is what? 

MURSULI:  Well, I think that the eerie nature, the gritty nature of these sort of characters walking across the border—I guess it‘s an homage to Halloween that‘s just around the corner.  And more interestingly enough, I don‘t really know what border they‘re crossing.  Last time I checked, Nevada didn‘t border Mexico.

But all kidding aside, this kind of scapegoating is happening all over the country.  And you know, it is a sign that instead of actually fixing a broken immigration system, so that we can get on to other things, like employment—and to make a reference to jobs—well, scapegoating Latinos is not going to get any American a job in this country.  All it‘s going to do is put smoke and mirrors, and allow candidates to not talk about the issues that Americans care about, and go elsewhere, places that isn‘t going to make a difference. 

OLBERMANN:  What about getting Sharron Angle a job?  Is it a win for her because she would gain more politically with enthusiasm among her base than she would lose among Hispanics and among moderates and, you know, sane people? 

MURSULI:  Well, you know, it a‘s tight race.  And it‘s hard to say.  You know, I‘m one of those—I‘m an optimist.  I believe that Americans are smarter than this.  I believe that, in the end, Nevadans know.  They live by—they live next to Latinos.  You know, most of the population in Nevada is ion one or two counties.  It is not like they‘re spread out everywhere.  And I choose to believe that Americans are smarter than that, and that they‘ll know that, in the end, what they should be doing is asking Sharron Angle how she‘s going to get their jobs back.

What they should be doing is asking her, what‘s going to happen to public education and how am I going to ensure that my kid has a public education?  And those are the questions that—of course, this is not a new issue.  This is not a new strategy.  Throughout time and during election periods, when candidates like Miss Angle don‘t have answers, they go to fear mongering.  That is all it‘s about.

It is boring.  It‘s old.  It‘s been done.  Move on, Sharron. 

OLBERMANN:  But not long ago, we had considerable and bipartisan support for the Dream Act and for other immigration reforms.  How did we get from there to these ads seemingly so quickly? 

MURSULI:  You know, that‘s a really good question.  I think the Dream Act is a real—is a tragedy that it didn‘t pass.  You are talking about providing a pathway to citizenship for high—often high producing students who want to go to higher—want to go to a higher—to acquire higher education or be part of the military. 

I mean, the Dream Act addresses those two things very centrally.  And I don‘t really think that that‘s an issue that one can tar and feather Reid or anyone else.  I think those are real admirable efforts.  I don‘t know that we‘re in a position in the United States to turn away talent.  And all the Dream Act said was, look, if you don‘t commit a crime, if you pass security checks, you get good grades, you should be able to go to a college.  You should be able to afford it like every other American.  And you should be able to be able to pay back to this country, which is what we all do when we go to college. 

I mean, you know, I heard a story of Dr. Quinonez (ph) at John Hopkins, who came over the border illegally when he was 19, and now is a neurosurgeon and is saving American lives every single day.  And by the way, those same hands that picked the produce 15 years ago are now the ones that are performing the surgery.

So that I think is what Americans are about.  They want to know that this country‘s going to be as good as it was ten years ago, even better.  And the answer isn‘t whether these individuals are going to come or go.  The answer is whether they‘re going to know the rule of law, have access to accurate information, participate in this democracy and be good neighbors.  I think that‘s really what it‘s all about. 

OLBERMANN:  George Mursuli, the president of the Latino advocacy group Democracia, great thanks for your time tonight. 

MURSULI:  Oh, thanks.  Thank you for having me. 

OLBERMANN:  Fox PAC discovers that the “Weekly World News” is not necessarily a good source from which to draw a story about the LAPD buying a billion dollars worth of jet packs.  And the “Myth Busters” on the reality, or lack thereof, of jet packs. 

Old pal Dick has a new idea about Pell Grants and federal college loans.  You won‘t believe it. 

And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, Christine O‘Donnell would not let her into her campaign headquarters, but she will use Rachel in a fund raising letter.  Among adults, you know what that‘s called?  That‘s called cowardice.


OLBERMANN:  Billion dollars spent on jet packs, you say?  And you reported it?  Where are these jet packs?  We‘ll ask the “Myth Busters.”  I finally did it.  A “Myth Buster.”

That‘s next, but first, time to get out your pitchforks and torches, it‘s time for tonight‘s Worst Persons in the World.

The bronze to Bill Faibrother (ph), Republican chairman of Williamson County, Texas.  His monthly expenditures report to the Texas Ethics Commission included a couple of oopsies.  The county GOP had a big meal at Applebee‘s, according to a report on September 8th, 9,082,010 dollars.  I just can‘t stop eating the million dollar burger platters.  By the 20th, the Republicans there were hungry again.  So it was 5,272,010 dollars at Round Rock Doughnuts.  That would have been 813,000 dozen, and a small coffee. 

The first type was easy to understand.  The date was 09/08/2010.  The amount entered was 9,082,010 dollars.  The other typo, they‘re not sure.  They might have bought 813,000 dozen doughnuts. 

The runner up, former news caster Rick Sanchez.  Six days later, there is a statement.  It begins, “on October 4th, I had a very good conversation with Jon Stewart and I had the opportunity to apologize for my inartful comments from last week.  I sincerely extend this apology to anyone else whom I may have offended.” 

Saying Jon Stewart was a bigot and couldn‘t understand the oppressed because he was Jewish and the most of the people running the networks were Jews was not inartful.  It was anti-semitic.  Once again, apology to anyone else who I may have offended.  Just say I apologize to everyone offended.  No may.  No inartful.

The statement closes with “I look forward to my next step with great anticipation.”  Your next step is an apology. 

But our winner, Dick Armey of Freedom Works.  Asked on CNN if he would like to eliminate all federal funding for higher education, listen to this mad scientist-like new plan from the bank roll of the Astroturing of the Tea Party.  “I don‘t think the federal government‘s involvement in education has benefited the students of America.  The education of our young people ought to be under the jurisdiction and auspices of the state governments.  The state of Texas has a great university system that has not been made any better by federal money involvement.  Let the states manage the education of their young people.”

He wants to eliminate the 18 billion dollars in Pell Grants, the 75 billion in student loans.  He wants to leave the 19 million college students who applied for aid this year out in the cold.  By the way, that great university system in Texas?  In 2007 and 2008, students there got Pell Grants totaling a billion dollars, including a fifth of all the students at the University of Texas at Austin. 

So why does Dick Armey want to eliminate all federal aid for college students?  Obviously, so they‘ll all drop out and be as stupid as he is.  Dick Armey of Freedom Works, today‘s Worst Person in the World.


OLBERMANN:  Their outrage over the story almost admirable.  A cash-strapped city‘s police force spending one billion dollars on futuristic rocket thingies.  But in our number one story, as the folks on “Fox and Friends” contemplate a sky full of flying Angelinos, we‘ll ask the “Myth Busters” how long must this nation wait for its jet packs? 

It was a story they just couldn‘t ignore.  The L.A. Police Department spending big bucks on the latest in jet pack technology.  The report even got a quote out of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  “We‘ll all be flying around L.A. soon.” 

The gum-shoes over at “Fox and Friends” sleuthing their way to the bottom of this. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The city of Los Angeles already ordering 10,000 jet packs for its police, paramedics and fire departments. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Are you kidding? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Can we afford that?  The jet pack can fly up to 63 miles per hour and get as high as 8,000 feet in the air.  Looking better. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You don‘t want to run out of gas. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEAMLE:  Get this, the cost, 100,000 dollars.  States—

I mean, I‘m all for buying stuff up and helping capitalism and all that. 

But states, do they have—

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They have already ordered 10,000 of them. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think Montana could order it.  They have a surplus.  I don‘t think California should.  Here‘s my thing, you have to make up some rules, because you could have jet packs flying into choppers. 


OLBERMANN:  Three guys, total IQ 12.  In addition to those obvious safety concerns raised by Detective Kilmeade, one had to wonder why a city which can‘t pay its police force overtime would spend a billion dollars on unproven space-age technology.  Shortly thereafter—


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Earlier, we were talking about jet packs, where you can fly around.  And it looked like the LAPD was going to buy a whole bunch of them.  Turns out they‘re not going to.  Which means, Brian, more for you. 


OLBERMANN:  Turns out they‘re not going to, which is Fox speak for we crapped on this story.  The city‘s police chief, Charlie Beck, reiterating for the “L.A. Times,” “we certainly haven‘t bought any jet packs.  We haven‘t bought squad cars for two years.” 

Turns out the source for the story was the “Weekly World News,” the creator of such past headlines “Bat Child Found in Cave,” and “Dick Cheney is a Robot.” 

Well, technically, that might be true.  All right, we have all been down this road.  My producers once got punked by a satirical study on parental IQ loss a few years back.  Their source, however, didn‘t turn out to be Bat Boy!

But could something out of Steve Doocy‘s imagination be true?  Is daily jet pack travel, with or without Woody Allen, in our near future?  It was Bell Aerospace engineer Wendell Moore‘s vision for it to be so, after successful rocket belt flights in the ‘60s.  But the thing could only stay in the air for 30 seconds, prompting NASA and military interests in the technology to fade.

But now a New Zealand company is developing jet packs for military and emergency services groups.  Also on the horizon, jet packs fit for personal use.  We have been hearing this since ‘65.  That would set you back 100 grand each.  The company is also negotiating a lease for a jet pack theme park.  Ten-minute flight, 215 dollars. 

Watching Brian Kilmeade trying to avoid choppers five feet in the air, priceless. 

Joining me now, as promised, from Los Angeles, to better assess the country‘s current state of jet pack affairs, and fresh from their triumphant cameos in Craig Ferguson‘s “Melt With You Live” video last night, our friends the “Myth Busters,” Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman.  New episodes start tonight on the Discovery Channel.  Gentlemen, thanks for your time tonight. 

ADAM SAVAGE, “MYTH BUSTERS”:  Thanks for having us on. 

OLBERMANN:  Did you encounter any flying police officers on the way to the studio in L.A.? 



OLBERMANN:  I didn‘t think so.  Where, Adam, are jet packs?  We were promised jet packs.  When do I get my jet pack? 

SAVAGE:  I don‘t think it is going to happen any time soon, Keith.  I mean, think about all the people that you pass driving every single day.  Do you want those people flying around you every single day?  I don‘t think so. 

OLBERMANN:  I don‘t like them driving as it is. 

SAVAGE:  Exactly. 

OLBERMANN:  Jamie, some of these personal jet packs that are currently in development supposedly can go 60 miles an hour on a five-gallon tank of gas.  Can you give us a Cliff Notes version of how that‘s supposed to work? 

HYNEMAN:  Well, these are basically an alternative to a helicopter.  Except that they‘re using smaller fans that they make work just as efficiently by putting them in a duct.  They are possible.  They do fly like the footage shows. 

But there are several problems with that.  In particular, you‘ll notice that in that footage that they show, they‘re doing it inside.  And the devices have a particular problem with cross winds.  They buck uncontrollably currently, as far as I‘m aware. 


SAVAGE:  Yeah. 

HYNEMAN:  Yeah.  There are a couple of other things to keep in mind about them.  If they stop working, which sooner or later one of them will, they‘re going to drop like a stone.  Unlike a helicopter, which actually can auto rotate and coast to the ground, with certain caveats, these things just drop.  So you have to have a ballistic parachute that shoots up and also that explodes to spread it.  And there‘s a dead zone of about 75 feet, I believe it is, where you can‘t recover.  You‘re just going down and you‘re probably going to die. 

OLBERMANN:  So, Adam, when you guys made your own on a past episode of the show, were there other obstacles to overcome besides, say the whole you‘re likely to be killed by one of them thing? 

SAVAGE:  Yeah.  Well, yeah.  We were constrained by a 20-day build schedule when the previous two people to work on it spent ten years and tens of millions of dollars trying to achieve the same thing that we were.  So the hubris was perhaps one of the things in our way. 

You know, trying to keep that weight down.  Control is a really, really devilish issue.  It seems like it‘s sort of intuitive, like the two rotors on your back ought to allow you to kind of be stable like a pendulum and fly around.  It is not the truth.  It‘s not the case.  It is actually really, really difficult to control those things. 


SAVAGE:  I‘m, in fact—


SAVAGE:  Knowing what I know, I‘m kind of glad we didn‘t get off the ground. 

OLBERMANN:  Well, give me your assessment.  Is there any revision of this technology, even theoretically, that might have a chance of working some day?  Or is this just forever part of science fiction? 

HYNEMAN:  Maybe some day, you know, in a couple hundred years.  I don‘t know.  It‘s certainly not going to happen now.  And I would point out, also, that currently the FAA, as far as I‘m aware, won‘t license these things as ultra light aircraft.  They have to be able to have their engines shut off and actually land safely. 

SAVAGE:  And these, if the engines shut off, you‘re basically strapped to a 300-pound brick flying through the air. 

OLBERMANN:  Which is also a bit of a problem if you happen to be on the ground watching.  Right? 

SAVAGE:  Exactly.  And if—yeah.  Oh, totally.  If it happens, you can rest assured we‘re going to strap Buster to a 300-pound brick and throw him through the air. 

OLBERMANN:  Of course, that would be six weeks‘ worth of shows and you would love every second of it, and so would the audience, myself included.  Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from “Myth Busters,”   The new series starts tonight on the Discovery Channel.  And then, of course, the new music video career in the Craig Ferguson ‘80s Hair Forward Orchestra will be coming up real soon. 

Gentlemen, it‘s always a pleasure.  Thanks for doing this with us tonight. 

SAVAGE:  Thanks, Keith. 

HYNEMAN:  Thanks. 

OLBERMANN:  That‘s October 6th.  It‘s the 2,715th day since President Bush declared mission accomplished in Iraq, the 2,304th day since eh declared victory in Afghanistan, and the 170th day of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf. 

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

And now to discuss how Christine O‘Donnell is using Rachel Maddow in a fund raising letter, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel—wait, hold on.  I‘ve got it, Rachel Maddow. 



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