Monday, May 31, 2010

No show. Memorial Day.

Friday, May 28, 2010

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Friday, May 28th, 2010
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Video via MSNBC: Twitter Report, Quick Comment, Worst Persons
Via YouTube: Quick Comment

Fridays with Thurber:
The Pet Department
via YouTube, h/t fferkleheimer

Guests: Lawrence O'Donnell, Rick Steiner, Thomas Frank, Richard Wolffe



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

Top kill plus junk shot equals treading oily water.


TONY HAYWARD, B.P. CEO: It will probably be another 48 hours, frankly, before we know whether we've met with success.


OLBERMANN: Forty-eight hours from now? Or 48 hours from the first time B.P. said another 48 hours.

The president goes to the Gulf to reassure the residents.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm here to tell you that you're not alone. You will not be abandoned. You will not be left behind.


OLBERMANN: Tonight a comment, this is not Obama's Katrina. He has not done less than he should. But, Mr. President, we need you to get angry.

Rand Paul, again.


RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY SENATE CANDIDATE: We're the only country I know of that allows people to come in illegally, have a baby and then that baby becomes a citizen. And I think that should stop.


OLBERMANN: Yes. He wants to overrule the 14th Amendment and two Supreme Court rulings, and he says this to a TV network funded by the Russian government.

Sestakiness. Rahm Emanuel had Bill Clinton offer Joe Sestak a nonpaying advisory position if he would not challenge Arlen Specter for the Democratic nomination for the Senate in Pennsylvania.


REP. JOE SESTAK (D), PENNYSLVANIA: He said, you know, Joe, if you stay in the House, you know, Rahm had brought up, you know, being appointed to a presidential board.


OLBERMANN: The Republicans go insane - suggesting this demands a special prosecutor, ignoring that Ed Rollins offered Senator Hayakawa an ambassadorship in the Reagan administration if he would drop out of the California primary in 1981.

"Worsts": an oldie but a goody, the Argentine president quotes then-President Bush and saying in 2004 that "the best way to revitalize the economy is the United States has grown based on wars."

And "Fridays with Thurber." Tonight, not just the stories, also the drawings - "The Pet Department."

All the news and commentary - now on Countdown.



OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

On his second trip to the Gulf Coast today since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, the current president did not tell anyone they were doing a heck of a job - far from it.

But with an oil spill that is already the worst in U.S. history and with B.P. executives who are already warning we are still days away from knowing if their latest attempt to fix the gushing oil well has succeeded, President Obama may no longer need to lower expectations for what happens next. Ahead, a comment on what he can lift simply by rhetoric.

In our fifth story, we begin tonight with the latest details. The president is walking the beaches of Louisiana this afternoon to see and to feel firsthand the devastation now washing ashore. In Grand Isle, Louisiana, the president is meeting with local officials, a planned 30-minute session turning into two hours of unloading.

When he emerged, the president again is insisting today that he is in charge.


OBAMA: I ultimately take responsibility for solving this crisis. I'm the president and the buck stops with me. So, I give the people of this community and the entire Gulf my word that we're going to hold ourselves accountable to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to stop this catastrophe, to defend our natural resources, to repair the damage, and to keep this region on its feet.


OLBERMANN: The president offering Gulf Coast residents a solemn pledge that they will be helped.


OBAMA: I'm here to tell you that you're not alone. You will not be abandoned. You will not be left behind. The cameras at some point may leave, the media may get tired of the story, but we will not.


OLBERMANN: But despite the pledges of help and the words of comfort, Mr. Obama not avoiding the stark reality of the disaster.


OBAMA: This is a manmade catastrophe that's still evolving and we face a long-term restoration effort. America has never experienced an event like this before.


OLBERMANN: Survivors of the explosion now testifying that their last moments aboard the oil rig were marked with chaos and an alarming breakdown in the chain of command. A 23-year-old crew member named Andrea Fleytas, who worked on the bridge, telling "The Wall Street Journal" that in the minutes after the explosion, she realized no one had used the emergency radio to call for help.

"Mayday, mayday," she said, "This is Deepwater Horizon. We have an uncontrollable fire."

She says the captain then reprimanded her, saying he had not authorized her to do that.

Meanwhile, dozens of workers are desperately trying to get off the burning rig, the lifeboats filling rapidly, some workers jumping directly into the oily water 60 feet below in the dark of night. Yet again alarmed that no one had actually issued an order to abandon ship, Andrea Fleytas, again choosing to act, announcing over the public address system, "We are abandoning ship."

B.P. is declining to comment of whether the chain of command broke down that night. "The Wall Street Journal" also reporting that because of the chaos, the button to activate the blowout preventer was not hit until minutes after the explosion because written safety procedures meant workers felt they had to wait until they got permission from a higher ranking manager. So they waited.

Meanwhile, the rig's chief mechanic testifying that the crew was often weeks, if not months, behind on preventive maintenance because the company that operated the rig, Transocean, had cut the engine room staff in half in a bid to save money. The chief mechanic's boss denies that charge.

The company that owns the well, B.P., today suspending its efforts to

plug the leak, it has now twice tried the operation known as the junk shot

pouring pieces of shredded rubber, golf balls and other garbage into the crippled blowout preventer in a bid to clog the device. This in conjunction with the top kill maneuver, pumping drilling mud into the well.

CEO Tony Hayward is saying we must now wait 48 hours to see if it has worked - Mr. Hayward having said 48 hours ago that we would need to wait 48 hours. This is beginning to look like a recording.

The science with Rick Steiner a moment. First, the politics. Let's turn to our own Lawrence O'Donnell, also, of course, a contributor to "Huffington Post."

Lawrence, good evening.


OLBERMANN: Did today's trip to the Gulf succeed in doing anything the White House may have wanted it to do?

O'DONNELL: I think it succeeded some. It certainly addressed some of the more incoherent rantings against the president that we've heard from some political observers of this situation, as if the president was Ironman or Jack Bauer or something, or super hero who could go down there and do what science has been unable to do so far.

And it definitely put him in that position of, in effect, preacher in chief, telling people in reassuring tones that they will not be forgotten, that the federal government led by him will be doing everything possible on this. And that sort of reassurance, I think, is reasonable under these circumstances.

And he did have this very difficult political course to walk today, wherein he's trying to deliver that reassurance, trying to keep the pressure on B.P., and trying to all at the same time accept some kind responsibility for the outcome of this entire event when we get to the final spot of the final cleanup moment.

OLBERMANN: But emphasizing - I don't think, in my analysis of this, the president has failed to do anything procedural or anything administratively, or anything as an executive, or anything as a chief executive. Is there a tipping point coming for the president in terms of separating himself from the abject failure aspect here? I mean, specifically B.P.'s abject failure to handle this correctly at almost any point?

O'DONNELL: Well, this - this is the very difficult thing that he's now presented with, Keith. I think this question is really right on point. When the president has been forced now to politically step forward and accept responsibility, to declare himself to be the person who is finally and ultimately responsible for the outcome of what is in effect an industrial crime committed by B.P. - a crime of negligence, a crime of recklessness that begins with the homicide of 11 men on that rig that night and extends now into this spectacular, unprecedented devastation that we're getting some pictures of, but B.P. is restricting camera access to a great deal of what we really do need to see right now.

With the president putting himself as the responsible one at the end of the line of all of the exercises that we have to go through now, it is going to be very difficult for him to, at the same time, disassociate himself where he's going to have to with some of B.P.'s actions.

OLBERMANN: People have joked at that image from the - from the oil leak is on some sort of loop and it is just repetitive video. My contention is that it's much more likely that the comments from Mr. Hayward, the CEO of B.P., are on some sort of loop and he just keeps repeating himself. It's now another 48 hours and another estimate of success, 60 percent to 70 percent.

Why is anybody listening to what Mr. Hayward says anymore?

O'DONNELL: Well, of course, all of his pronouncements should begin with "I don't know what I'm doing. We've never been here before. We never expected to be here because much of our B.P. bureaucracy has in effect lied over the years about what the possibilities were in these kinds of circumstances."

B.P. actually had a letter that went out to the federal government saying that basically that this kind of thing couldn't happen on its wells in the Gulf. And so - and luckily, we don't have to trust Hayward anymore. We have, I think, almost enough people looking over his shoulder. We have enough of our own governmental presence now, state, local, federal.

And, of course, B.P. has absolutely no credibility. It's a little bit peculiar when you look at if and you wonder, why is Hayward even going and stepping up to a microphone? Who does he expect believes him at this point? Certainly not the families of 11 dead in this one.

OLBERMANN: Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC and the "Huffington Post" - it seems odd to say under the circumstances, have a good weekend.

O'DONNELL: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: For assessment of where the effort to plug the leak really stands, let's turn again to conservation consultant, Rick Steiner, marine biologist who's been to the Gulf Coast studying this spill.

Thanks again for your time tonight, sir.


OLBERMANN: Based on what we can see from the output from that oil well or what remained of it, does it look to you as if the effort to plug the leak has had any success? Is it measurable? Is it microscopic? What's going on?

STEINER: Well, so far, it doesn't look all that promising. There's a lot of - the flow rate is still very high, coming out of the blowout. It may be a lot of mud. But still, the flow rate has not declined at all. So, I'm growing more and more concerned that this may not work.

And I did a very cheap and crude - no pun in tended - graphic here to explain it. Here's the sea surface, here's the blowout at two different locations. Here's the oil reservoir down here.

This is coming out, and here's the failed well stem. It's coming out at such high pressure here, about 12,000 - about six tons per square inch. By the time it gets to the blowout preventer, it's at about four or five tons per square inch. There's still some resistance in the blowout preventer.

But what they are trying to do is pump enough heavy drilling mud down

back down this well bore. Let's say it's this. Here's a blowout preventer, just put it down here to counterbalance the outward force. They're going to have to put hundreds if not thousands of tons of this heavy drilling mud down the well bore to make it work.

The longer term solution of course is what's - this is the top kill that they're trying now. But as a relief well intersecting at the top of the reservoir where the well stem starts, trying to do a bottom kill where they'll eject sea water and mud and cement from the bottom along with the flow. That has a much better chance of killing this well.

OLBERMANN: But if to any degree it's mud in, mud out - I mean, if this is working even to minimize or lower the amount of oil that's actually spurting out into the - into the Gulf, what about this? What about while they're drilling the relief wells, just keep doing the top kill. Can that be done indefinitely? Is there some limit to it? Do we know?

STEINER: Well, that's a good possibility. I mean, they would have to have a lot more mud than they have right now. They've got about 10,000 tons. I don't know how much they've used so far.

But the other thing they can do is just blow sea water down there. It's heavier than the oil and gas mixture coming up. If they can put sea water, pump sea water down there as hard and strong as they possibly can, as long as they can get enough pressure going down the pipe than is more coming up the pipe, they'll have negative pressure on it and they'll secure the well temporarily.

The only solid solution, though, is getting this relief well in there and the dynamic kill from the bottom.

But, you know, they should have been engineering all this -


STEINER: - years ago. This stuff should not have been created here, like building the fire truck after your house is on fire. It should have been on the beach, ready to go, a day after they knew that there was a blowout here - instead of engineering it right now. And this system, the top kill, should have been there and attempted at least a month ago.

OLBERMANN: What did you make of the testimony from the people on the rig itself about the breakdown there where nobody thought they had the authority to ask for the abandoning of the ship or they didn't even use the emergency radio or didn't hit the blowout preventer in time - what does that tell you about the human emergency process? Not to criticize any of the victims, the people put in that position on the rig.


OLBERMANN: But what does that say about your human preparations, let alone their mechanical preparations for something hellacious occurring?

STEINER: Well, it's obvious that there was - there's failures from so many aspects here and there's malfeasance and culpability throughout the government and B.P. and Transocean and Halliburton and probably even Cameron International, the manufacturer of the blowout prevent.

But they're supposed to drill on these rigs periodically for emergency response and emergency procedures. And the government is supposed to make certain that they do. Obviously, they either haven't been drilling realistically or they - they haven't been doing it very well, because there was a total failure, it sounds like from the witness testimony - as to exactly what to do when in a crisis.

OLBERMANN: A 23-year-old staffer figured out what to do.

Rick Steiner, conservation consultant -

STEINER: Yes, yes.

OLBERMANN: - marine biologist - thank you, thanks for the illustrations and again for helping us understand what happened.

STEINER: My pleasure, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Back to the president. There is something missing from his response to the B.P. disaster. A comment on what it might be, next.


OLBERMANN: And now, as promised, a comment on what I think Americans have been hoping for from the president about the Gulf disaster and have not yet gotten.

We aren't expecting you to solve it personally, sir. We aren't expecting you to jump into a wet suit and dive in. We don't want you to move to Roberts, Louisiana, until further notice.

We would, I think, like a little of our anger articulated, especially by the least angry man in American politics. We would like to hear a little more about Mr. Salazar's idea of the boot on B.P.'s neck. We would like to hear you, Mr. President, at least talk about shutting down all offshore drilling until all blowout preventers have been vetted by third party experts.

We would like to hear you say that there at least will be no further deep water drilling licenses until an unlimited liability bill is on your desk and ready to be signed.

And, sir, we would like to hear you say that if B.P. and the others try to do otherwise, they'll have to go through you, through the Congress, and through the American people first, because, Mr. President, we have had enough of multinational corporations treating this irreplaceable Earth like it is a kid's home chemistry set and they are a bunch of not very conscientious fifth graders.

And we would like to know, know in our gut, that you have had enough of this, too.


OLBERMANN: What would the GOP do if a Democratic Senate candidate proposed overturning the U.S. Constitution while he was appearing on a television channel funded by the Russian government?

In our fourth story tonight: Dr. Rand Paul says he opposes citizenship for some children born in the United States if their parents are illegal immigrants.

But Mr. Strict Constitutionalist might want to check the Constitution, since the 14th Amendment unambiguously grants those very citizenship rights and two Supreme Court rulings have rejected differing interpretations. Dr. Paul, the Republican senatorial candidate from Kentucky expressing in his views in an interview with Russia Today, an English language TV station funded by the Russian government.

But the Paul interview conducted just after his primary victory is just now getting noticed - thanks to good old YouTube.


PAUL: We're the only country I know of that allows people to come in illegally, have a baby, and then that baby becomes a citizen. And I think that should stop also.


OLBERMANN: Today, Dr. Paul's campaign chairman said that Paul stands by his statements.

What is not entirely clear is whether Dr. Paul supports the Birth Right Citizenship Act, the bill that seeks to eliminate birth right citizenship for children born to undocumented immigrants. That bill while possibly serving as an immigrant bashing vehicle for its 90 cosponsors would, even if it's passed, have no real chance of altering the 14th Amendment - only a constitutional amendment to change the other constitutional amendment could do that. And it is unclear if Dr. Paul supports such a constitutional amendment of an amendment or understands what it is.

In the same interview, Dr. Paul added that, quote, "I'm not opposed to letting people come in and work and labor in our country, but I think we should do is we shouldn't provide an easy route to citizenship." Dr. Paul also favors underground electrical fences, satellite surveillance and helicopter patrols to buttress border security.

Let's turn now to "Wall Street Journal" columnist Thomas Frank, also author of "The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule."

Thanks for your time again tonight, sir.


OLBERMANN: All right, and as usual in a state of confusion.

Section one of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution states, "All persons born and naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside." Twice the Supreme Court had cases in which other interpretations where rejected that would have denied citizenship, two U.S. born children of illegal immigrants.

So, is Dr. Paul, do you think, is willfully seeing ambiguity where there isn't any, or is he implying that this important enough to move it through a constitutional amendment? I haven't heard him say constitutional amendment, just change it.

FRANK: I think a lot of conservatives would really, really, really like to get their hands on the 14th Amendment, you know?

But, no, of course, he's not going to do it. This is just - this is just political grandstanding. That's all it is. He's just playing to the crowd. The crowd in Russia, again, you know?

OLBERMANN: It's also - speaking of playing to the crowd, it's fascinating how people who portray themselves as strict constitutionalists are just always there, ready to go. No, we don't like this part, throw it out.

FRANK: Yes, right.

OLBERMANN: This isn't - this isn't the - you know, this would not pass five years ago, it's not Roe v. Wade even. This amendment was passed in 1868. It's not just settled law, it's 142-year-old settled law.

FRANK: But, it's the 14th Amendment, this is a tricky one. You remember, this has been interpreted in all sorts of crazy ways over the years. The 14th Amendment is in some ways a very radical part of the Constitution, right?

It's the only thing in the Constitution that enshrines quality and also, remember, it applies the Bill of Rights to the states, OK? So, if you didn't have that, then, you know, you'd still have Jim Crow to this day, I mean, in a lot of the southern states.

OLBERMANN: Is there any political liability for Dr. Paul in Kentucky for taking this strident view on immigration? And if not, is there a risk at all from fellow libertarians who might have noticed that he supports satellites and helicopter patrols, and argues that, well, if you could get a satellite shot of me reading this piece of script here, certainly, you could get satellite shots of them aliens coming across them porous borders?

FRANK: Well, look, libertarians - you know, making contradictions with their own doctrine. I mean, that's - come on, that happens every day. Libertarianism is this - you know, is this impossibly abstract purist doctrine.

If you really wanted to be a pure libertarian, you just have open borders, you know. But obviously this is where the statism, as they like to call it, this is where that sort of comes back in.

So, no, I don't think he's going to face much of a challenge from the, you know, from the libertarian movement. I would imagine that - oh, hell, I don't know. Grand standing in this way is generally fairly, you know, popular, right?

OLBERMANN: All right. So, then was the truth burp the problem? Because in the same interview with the damn Russians, Dr. Paul said the Democratic Party is for easy citizenship because the new immigrants coming from Mexico register heavily Democratic, his quote was, "I think we need to address that."

Is that the truth burp? I mean, has he conceded it's one of the real motivations for many Republicans on this issue?

FRANK: That's obviously part of it. But think about - you've got to flip it here. What is the Republican motivation for - remember what he also says. He wants people to be able to come work in America. He just doesn't want them and their kids to be citizens, OK?

This is sort of the great conservative kind of free market dream where you have this sort of endlessly rootless shifting workforce that has no - you know, no citizenship rights and basically is voiceless and powerless and easily exploitable.

This is what you saw in the Marianas Islands. This is Jack Abramoff's great dream. Tom DeLay was really into it. And here is Rand Paul signing on.

OLBERMANN: Yes. It's called freelance slavery.

FRANK: That's right. Indentured servitude I believe is what it is.

OLBERMANN: Brings us back, in fact, to one of the reasons we have the 14th Amendment. Thomas Frank -

FRANK: Exactly.

OLBERMANN: - columnist of "The Wall Street Journal," author of "Wrecking Crew" - great thanks. Have a good weekend.

You remember him as the star of "Diff'rent Strokes." We will remember him for his semi-serious run for governor of California and as one of this news hour's first and most gracious guest. We'll show you some of the graciousness of the late Gary Coleman - next.


OLBERMANN: The Joe Sestakiness comes to end with a whimper and not a bang.

First, the tweet of the day. This is, I believe, not only the all-time dumbest tweet, but the all-time dumbest possible tweet, based on the fact the sender had to spell my name correctly to spell my name correctly to send it to me. He had to type out: "@KeithOlbermann. You are a retard, Ken. Glad to see you're on Twitter. I've been waiting for years to say that to you say that you go back to ESPN."

I've been pointed out the Ken stuff. Tonyd13440 did not stay down. "Whether your name is Keith or Ken, the fact is that bipartisanship is destroying this country. And you are on the front line."

I don't want to go any further. I'm sure it would turn out he thinks this is FOX News Channel he's watching.

We pause the Countdown now to say good-bye.

You knew him as Arnold, one of the stars of TV's "Diff'rent Strokes," the scene he's doing (ph) for a cautious kid who originated the phrase, "What you talking about, Willis." Actor Gary Coleman has died today of a brain hemorrhage at age of 42.

He appeared on this news hour back in 2003 when he decided to take on a different Arnold, as one of the 135 candidates then vying for the governorship of California during the famous state recall election. With the help of the bingo case in used at the time, I selected and interviewed several of the hopefuls. Here now part of our conversation with then-candidate Gary Coleman.


OLBERMANN: Let's just see who the Countdown candidate of the night will be. No. Oh, look, it's actor Gary Coleman, it says here, famed for his role as Arnold in the series "Different Strokes," who just happens to be standing by in our studios in Los Angeles. He didn't even buy that. Good evening, Gary.

GARY COLEMAN, ACTOR: No, but you crack me up every time.

OLBERMANN: Thank you, sir. That's part of the intent. Let me start here. How serious is your candidacy?

COLEMAN: Well, it's as serious as East Bay Express' paper and its 80,000 subscribers wanted me so badly to run, because they thought I'd be fun and interesting and keep almost everyone focused on the issues that are really plaguing California. And when it's put that way, I normally will acquiesce to anyone that asks me to do something that's cool, fun and interesting.

I would say, once you elect a governor in this recall election, he should be allowed to go his full term. I mean, that's just me. And that's something that would I certainly look into if I actually believed I had a chance against the Governorator.

OLBERMANN: We'll see how it turns out. Gary Coleman, the candidate for the governor of California, best of luck. And just remember, if it doesn't work out, there's always chance of another recall measure next year, maybe next month.

COLEMAN: Very true. Very true.

OLBERMANN: Thank you, sir.

COLEMAN: You're welcome.


OLBERMANN: Mr. Coleman came in eighth in that election. Gary Coleman was 42 years old.


OLBERMANN: The season's biggest political mystery, who tried to kill Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak's run for Senate has been solved. It was President Clinton on the phone with a lead pipe. And by lead pipe I mean a totally uncompensated position on an unspecified presidential board. It is a mirror of President Reagan's move on Senator Hiakowa of California in 1981, only with less bait.

Our third story tonight, in the made up debate over whether this qualifies as a scandal, even President Bush's chief ethics officer - pause for laughter - says it is the Republicans hollering about this who should move on. The news conference this afternoon following the release of an internal White House inquiry that found no wrong doing. Congressman Sestak gave his account of exactly what kind of offer was made for him to sit out the Democratic primary against Arlen Specter, which Sestak won last week. This took place on a phone call last summer with Mr. Clinton.


REP. JOE SESTAK (D), PENNSYLVANIA: He talked about how tough this Democratic primary might be if I got in. And he also said, you know, you've done well in the House and your military background can really make a mark there. And then brought up that during a conversation, Rahm Emanuel had brought up about a presidential board of something, you know, if I were to stay in the House. And I almost interrupted the president and said, Mr. President, I am going to decide to get in this or not only depending upon what's good for Pennsylvania's working families, not an offer.


OLBERMANN: Congressman Darrell Issa, ranking Republican on the Oversight Committee, calls this a crime, leading Republican politicians and calling for an investigation, despite the fact that Issa's own office told "Salon" it would have been just as bad if Mr. Obama had offered a Republican congressman a post in return for appointing a Republican to replace him in office, which is exactly what happened with Senator Judd Gregg, who ultimately declined the cabinet post to which he had been appointed and accepted, and Congressman Issa never called for even one investigation about that. Or when President Reagan - you remember him - a Republican, offered a job to California's own S.I. Hiakowa, if he dropped out of his primary race. And like when Republican President Eisenhower sought help from California Governor Earl Warren by making him the 14th chief justice of the U.S.

And even a little "Huffington Post" reports like President Monroe considering ending the Andrew Jackson presidential aspirations with an ambassadorship. Richard Painter, President Bush's former top ethics officer, calling this kind of politics, quote, nothing new. Telling Greg Sargent, quote, "based on the information disclosed from the White House, it's even more apparent that this is a non-issue. No scandal. Time to move on."

Quoting again, "President Bush occasionally intervened in Republican primaries, including on behalf of Senator Specter in 2004."

Let's bring in MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe, also author of "Renegade, the Making of a President." Richard, good evening.


OLBERMANN: Congressman Issa actually said, quote, "Karl Rove would be right now in pretrial confinement if he had orchestrated this sort of a deal." Is there a wink there? Is there a telling, you know, side turn to the camera - is he telling us that he knows this is all kitsch and camp and theater?

WOLFFE: No, I think that would imply a degree of self-awareness that has been genetically removed from his chromosome. Could you pick a worse example than Karl Rove? Here's a guy - no offense to Karl, but a guy who was involved in the orchestration, no less, of the removal of a U.S. attorney in New Mexico because he refused to help people stay in their jobs, elected officials stay in their jobs by investigating allegations of voter fraud. That's a two-fer. He was helping people stay in their jobs and getting someone out of a job.

Now, sadly this kind of thing is all too common. I was doing research on the interwebs today and came across a congressman's website. Under constituent services, this member of Congress was offering voters access to federal funds, buckets of cash for voters. And yes, the name of the congressman was Darrell Issa.

OLBERMANN: Meantime, Congressman Sestak, we know he's known President Clinton for a while. Would that have been why Rahm Emanuel went through Clinton? Because going through a third party like that does suggest he thought he had reason to keep his fingerprints off this.

WOLFFE: Well, look, this is not the first White House counsel's memo that involves Rahm Emanuel and a work placement scheme. This actually is the second time around, at least, that this has happened, because Rahm was intimately involved in the replacement of Barack Obama as Illinois senator. So it's not surprising that, given that experience, how that obviously got wrapped up in the Blagojevich scandals, and given the consequences of the White House involvement in the effort to push David Paterson out of the New York governor's race, they'd want to have this arm's length relationship to whatever outreach there was.

Obviously there's a longstanding relationship, not just Clinton and Emanuel, but Clinton and Sestak. So it's not surprising it played out like this. It has not played out well for the White House, not in terms of the messaging, and not individually for Rahm Emanuel.

OLBERMANN: I heard a charge today that the media has been asleep on this story since it began. How much traction will Fox News and people like those who made that charge or do cheap impressions of Fox News, how much - and the political party they serve - how much mileage will they get out of this from here on in? Or did that mileage just run out and stop varying today?

WOLFFE: Well, the story that never was is no more. But traction applies - implies that they need some kind of momentum or gravity. This is not a news organization that requires the laws of physics. They will keep on running with the story as much as people will listen to them. And it makes about as much sense as investing in gold.

OLBERMANN: Did anybody miss this story?

WOLFFE: You would have - maybe "Russia Today." I didn't see that interview.

OLBERMANN: Ask Rand Paul if he's going to report on the Russian TV newscast tonight. Richard Wolffe of MSNBC, the author of "Renegade," as always, thanks for your time and have a great weekend.

WOLFFE: And you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Tonight a chance to see a James Thurber short story, the marvelous and heavily illustrated "The Pet Department."

Meantime, President Bush told the prime minister - former President, rather, of Argentina that America always grew its economy by going to war. He's back and worst persons has got him.

And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, the effort BP is making to get all of the lawsuits against it heard by just one judge and the judge has ties, bingo, to the oil industry.


OLBERMANN: One of James Thurber's epics, "The Pet Department," next. But first, get out your pitchforks and torches, time for tonight's worst persons in the world.

The bronze to Peggy Noonan, writes today in "the Wall Street Journal" of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, quote, "the Republican party will understandably go to town on the EPA chief who went to a New York fund-raiser in the middle of the disaster." The fund-raiser Ms. Jackson went to is next Friday and she had been invited in March. And she canceled her acceptance to it, along with her acceptance to the White House Correspondents Dinner, and a "Time" 100 event, and European trip on behalf of the governor. Peggy, you need to start vetting those talking points they hand you, not just cut and paste them into your columns?

Runner up, an old familiar name, George W. Bush. Remember him, 43rd

president? It wasn't a dream. In a new Oliver Stone documentary, Nestor

Kirchiner, the then president of Argentina - now his wife is the president

says that in their January 2004 meeting, he suggested to President Bush that the US should repeat its strategy of nation rebuilding from right after the Second World War, "and he stood up from his chair and got angry. He told me, a Marshall Plan? No, that's a crazy idea from the Democrats. What needs to be done here and the best way to revitalize the economy is - the United States has grown based on wars, he told me. That's what he told me."

Kirchiner says Bush also claimed "all the economic growth that the U.S. had had, had been based on the different wars it had waged." So the '90s boom was based on what? Kuwait? The invasion of Grenada? Is it possible Mr. Bush was more clueless than we thought? Miss him yet?

But our winner, Lonesome Rhodes Beck. He done it again. The great champion of leaving people's families out of it today mocked the president's 11 year old daughter again.


GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Daddy? Daddy? Daddy, did you plug the hole yet? Daddy? No, I didn't, honey. Daddy, why do you hate black people so much?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm part white, honey.

BECK: This is such a ridiculous thing, his daughter - daddy? How old is his daughter? Like 13?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, one of them's I think 13. One's 11 or something.

BECK: Did you plug the hole yet, daddy? That's the level of their education, that they're coming to - they're coming to daddy and saying, daddy, did you plug the hole yet? Plug the hole!


OLBERMANN: She's still smarter than you are. Remarkably, this afternoon, Beck apologized. "In discussing how President Obama uses children to shield himself from criticism, I broke my own rule about leaving kids out of political debates. The children of public figures should be left on the sidelines. It was a stupid mistake and I apologize. And as a dad, I should have known better."

Well, that obviously changes things because Beck has shown he at least realized his own hypocrisy and he deserved - wait a minute. He did it again. He did the very thing he was apologizing for in the apology. Show that whole thing again. Show it. "In discussing how President Obama uses children to shield himself from criticism" - In apologizing for breaking his own rule about leaving kids out of political debates, he put the president's kids back into political debates.

This guy is so feral, that even in his brief moment of semi-sanity, he's still completely nuts. Loathsome Rhodes Beck, today's worst person in the world.


OLBERMANN: We close Friday night, as usual, with the works of James Thurber. My only regret in following my dad's suggestion to read these stories to you is how they undersell Thurber's simple magnificence as an illustrator and cartoonist. We're going to take care of that tonight. His drawings started as doodles done during staff meetings at the "New Yorker Magazine." He'd throw drawings away. His colleague, E.B. White, would pick them up and submit them as artwork. And the rest is history.

I'm reading, as usual, from the Library of America, "Thurber, Writings and Drawings," just reprinted. But this piece was first published in his earliest anthology, "The Owl in the Attic," in 1931.

With the kind permission of his daughter, Rosemary, I'm reading an abridged version. And I urge you to rush to read and see the whole thing for yourself.

"The Pet Department," by James Thurber.

"I enclose a sketch of the way my dog William has been lying for two days now. I think there must be something wrong with him. Can you tell me how to get him out of this, Mrs. LLG? Answer, I should judge from the drawing that William is in a trance. Trance states, however, are rare with dogs. It may just be ecstasy. If, at the end of another 24 hours, he doesn't seem to be getting anywhere, I should get him up.

The position of the ears leads me to believe that he may be enjoying himself in a quiet way, but the tail is somewhat alarming.

Question, our cat, who is 35, spends all of her time in bed. She follows every move I make, and this is beginning to get to me. She never seems sleepy, nor particularly happy. Is there anything I could give her? Ms. L. Mick.

Answer? There are no medicines which can be safely given to induce felicity in a cat, but you might try lettuce, which is a soporific for the wakefulness. I would have to see the cat watching you whether to tell anything could be done to divert her attention.

My husband, question - sorry, my husband, who is an amateur hypnotizer keeps trying to get our blood hound under his control. In contend that this is not doing the dog any good. So far, he has not yielded to my husband's influence. But I'm afraid that if he once got under, we couldn't get him out of it. A.A.T.

Answer? Dogs are usually left cold by all phases of psychology, mental telepathy and the like. Attempts to hypnotize this particularly breed, however, are likely to be fraught with a definite menace. A bloodhound, if stared at fixedly, is liable to gain the impression that it is under suspicion, being followed and so on. This upsets a bloodhound's life by completely reversing its whole scheme of behavior.

Question, our gull cannot get his head down any farther than this and bumps into things. HLF.

Answer? You have no ordinary gull to begin with. He looks to me a great deal like a rabbit backing up. If he is a gull, it is impossible to keep him in the house. Naturally he will bump into things. Give him his freedom.

Question, my police dog has taken to acting very strange on account of my father coming home from work every night for the past two years and saying to him, if you're a police dog. Where's your badge? After which he laughs, my father. Ella R.

Answer? The constant reiteration of any piece of badmidge (ph) sometimes has the same affect on the present day neurotic dogs that it has on people. It is dangerous and thoughtless to twit a police dog and his powers, authority and the like. From the way your dog seems to hide behind tables, large vases, and whatever that thing is that looks like a suitcase, I would imagine that your father has carried this thing far enough. Perhaps even too far.

Question, we have cats the way most people have mice. Mrs. C.L.


Answer, I see you have. I can't tell from your communication, however, whether you wish advice or are just boasting.

Question, no one has been able to tell us what kind of dog we have. I'm enclosing a sketch of one of his two postures. He only has two. The other one is the same as this, Except he faces in the opposite direction. This is Eugeneia Black.

Answer? I think that what you have is a cast iron lawn dog. The expressionless eye and the rigid pose are characteristic of metal lawn animals. That certainly is a cast iron ear. You could, however, remove all doubts by means of a simple test with a hammer and a cold chisel or an acetylene torch. If the animal chips or melts, my diagnosis is correct.

Question, sometimes my dog does not seem to know me. I think he must be crazy. He will draw away or show his fangs when I approach him. HM Morgan, Jr.

So would I, and I'm not crazy. If you creep up on your dog the way you indicate in the drawing, I can understand his viewpoint. Put your shirt in and straighten up. You look as if you've never seen a dog before, and that is undoubtedly what bothers the animal. These maladjustments can often be worked out by the use of a little common sense.

Question, after a severe storm, we found this old male raven in the study of my father, the honorable George Morton Bodwell, for many years head of the Latin Department at Tufts, sitting on a bust of Livy, which was a gift to him from the class of '92. All that the old bird will say is grawk. Can ravens be taught to talk or was Poe merely romancing? Mrs. H. Bodwell Coldweather.

Answer? I'm handicapped by an uncertainty as to who says grawk, the raven or your father? Is just happens that ark is what ravens say. I've never known a raven to say anything but ark.

Question, I have three Scotch terriers which take things out of closets and down from shelves, et cetera. The vet advised me to gather all the wreckage, sit them down in the midst of it and say, bad Scotties. This, however, merely seems to give them a kind of pleasure. If I spank one, the other two jump me. Playfully, but they jump me.

Answer? To begin with, I question the advisability of having three Scotch terriers. They are bound to get you down. However, it seems to me you are needlessly complicating your own problem. The Scotties probably think you are trying to enter into the spirit of their play. Their inability to comprehend what you are trying to get at will, in the end, make them melancholy, and you and the dogs will begin to drift farther and farther apart. I deal with each terrier and each object separately. Beginning with the telephone, the disconnection of which must inconvenience you sorely.

And we have time for one last question.

My husband paid 175 dollars for this moose, to a man in Dorsett, Ontario, who said he trapped it in the woods. Something is wrong with his antlers, for we have to keep twisting them back into place all the time. They're loose. Mrs. Oliphant Beatty.

Answer? You people are living in a fool's paradise. The animal is obviously a horse with a span of antlers strapped to his head. If you want a moose, dispose of the horse. If you want to keep the horse, take the antlers off. Their constant pressure on his ears isn't a good idea.

"The Pet Department."

That's Countdown, portions written by James Thurber.

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW," surprisingly enough with Rachel Maddow, is up next. I'm Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Thursday, May 27, 2010
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Tea Time, Worst Persons
The toss: Hardhat

Guests: Michio Kaku, Keith Jones, Chris Jones, Dan Savage

KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST: Breaking news from the Gulf at this hour, the pause in top kill is over as we speak. B.P. says it is now once again pumping industrial mud into the well's blowout preventer to once again try to stop the worst environmental disaster our nation has ever seen.



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

Day 37. In Washington, the president pushes back -


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, this notion that somehow the federal government is sitting on the sidelines, and for the last three or four or five weeks, we've just been letting B.P. make a whole bunch of decisions is simply not true.


OLBERMANN: The head of the Minerals Management Service jumps and/or is pushed.


KEN SALAZAR, INTERIOR SECRETARY: She did it on her own terms and her own volition.


OLBERMANN: The secretary proposes third party certification of blowout preventers. Survivors and families of the 11 dead on Deepwater Horizon testify about B.P. shortcuts.

And the president adds a weird discordant note -


OBAMA: When I woke up this morning and I'm shaving and Malia knocks on my bathroom door and she peeps in her head and she says, "Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?"


OLBERMANN: Day 37 with Gene Robinson on the president's reaction; Dr. Michio Kaku on the science: and Keith Jones, the father of Deepwater Horizon victim, Gordon Jones, on the dead and the short cuts.

"Don't ask, don't tell," the compromise looms, the far right goes nuts, from an accuracy in media hysteric, "disease-tainted gay blood threatens our troops."

"Tea Time": Sue Lowden, not chickens this time, just kind of chick-en.


SUE LOWDEN (R), NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE: It's a simple question but it's a gotcha question. Frankly, I wouldn't even know Rand Paul if I saw him on TV.


OLBERMANN: And "Worsts": does this baseball promotional giveaway remind you of anything?

All the news and commentary - now on Countdown.



OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

The government's estimate of the Gulf oil disaster is now twice the last estimate - at least 12,000 barrels a day spilling, perhaps 19,000. The top kill solution went from being mistakenly reported this morning as having stopped the oil flow to being stopped by B.P., to now being restarted tonight.

The president admitted his administration fell short in reforming the agency that oversees offshore drilling. And while insisting that he was engaged, responsible and in control, he also had to acknowledge that at times of disagreement with his government, B.P. had gone and done what it wanted to anyway.

Our fifth story tonight: Now, it is contradictions flowing almost as freely and merely as unchecked as crude oil into the battered Gulf.

The president's theme which we will underscore, he will underscore visiting the Gulf tomorrow, was consistent, he is on the job. In his opening remarks, announcing new crackdowns on offshore drilling.


OBAMA: First, we will suspend the planned exploration of two locations off the coast of Alaska. Second, we will cancel the pending lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico and the proposed lease sale off the coast of Virginia. Third, we will continue the existing moratorium and suspend the issuance of new permits to drill new deep water wells for six months. And four, we will suspend action on 33 deep water exploratory wells currently being drilled in the Gulf of Mexico.


OLBERMANN: The president also discussed the spill in unusually personal terms, invoking his childhood and his child.


OBAMA; My job right now is just to make sure that everybody in the Gulf understands, this is what I wake up to in the morning and this is what I go to bed at night thinking about.

REPORTER: The spill?

OBAMA: The spill. And it's not just me, by the way. When I woke up this morning and I'm shaving and Malia knocks on my bathroom door and peeks in her head and she says, "Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?" Because I think everybody understands that, you know, when we are fouling the earth like this, it has concrete implications not just for this generation but for future generations.

I grew up in Hawaii where the ocean is sacred. And when you see birds flying around with oil all over their feathers and turtles dying and - you know, that doesn't just speak to the immediate economic consequences of this, this speaks to, you know, how are we caring for this incredible bounty that we have?


OLBERMANN: And in his final words, he insisted again that this is his problem and he is on it.


OBAMA: In case anybody wonders - in any of your reporting, in case you're wondering: who's responsible, I take responsibility. It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down. That doesn't mean it's going to be easy, it doesn't mean it's going to happen right away or the way I'd like it to happen. It doesn't mean that we're not going to make mistakes.

But there shouldn't be any confusion here. The federal government is fully engaged. And I'm fully engaged, all right?

Thank you very much, everybody.


OLBERMANN: The assertion of personal engagement following two exchanges in which Mr. Obama could not say whether Elizabeth Birnbaum had resigned or whether Interior Secretary Ken Salazar had fired her as head of the Materials Management Service, MMS, which oversees offshore drilling.


OBAMA: With respect to Ms. Birnbaum, I found out about her resignation today. Ken Salazar's been in testimony throughout the day. So, I don't know the circumstances in which this occurred.

REPORTER: I'm also curious as how it is that you didn't know about Ms. Birnbaum's resignation/firing before -

OBAMA: Well, you're assuming it was a firing. If it was a resignation, then she would have submitted a letter to Mr. Salazar this morning at a time when I had a whole bunch of other stuff going on.

REPORTER: So you rule out that she was fired?

OBAMA: Come on, Jackie. I don't know. I'm telling you the - I found out about it this morning. So I don't yet know the circumstances and Ken Salazar's been in testimony on the Hill.


OLBERMANN: Mr. Obama refuted claims he has been slow to respond by calling the day of the rig's collapse, that first day, when it actually came two days after the rig first exploded killing 11 people and setting in motion the events that led to the spill.


OBAMA: The day that the rig collapsed and fell to the bottom of the ocean, I had my team in the Oval Office that first day. Those who think that we were either slow on our response or lacked urgency don't know the facts.


OLBERMANN: President Obama took responsibility for B.P.'s response to the spill, saying B.P. has been legally bound to adhere to U.S. government directives.


OBAMA: Make no mistake: B.P. is operating at our direction. Every key decision and action they take must be approved by us in advance. I've designated Admiral Thad Allen who has nearly four decades of experience responding such disaster as the national incident commander. And if he orders B.P. to do something to respond to this disaster, they're legally bound to do it.


OLBERMANN: That claim of government control followed about 15 minutes later by the president's admission that B.P.'s use of dispersants, 850,000 gallons, so far, slammed by the EPA, again, today, has continued despite the fact that the government disagrees with it.


OBAMA: There may be areas where there have been disagreements, for example, on dispersants, and these are complicated issues. But overall, the decisions that have been made have been reflective of the best science that we've got, the best expert opinion that we have and have been weighing various risks and various options to allocate our resources in such a way that we can get this fixed as quickly as possible.


OLBERMANN: Mr. Obama said he had been wrong to believe that big oil, quote, "had their act together" when it came to worst-case scenarios, a presumption squarely in the purview of the Interior Department, where Secretary Salazar the president has, quote, "started cleaning house, but the culture hadn't fully changed." And where there had been insufficient urgency, Secretary Salazar only today tightening regulation on the blowout preventers like the one that failed more than a month ago. Secretary Salazar on the job more than a year answering no when asked today whether he is confident MMS has the right structure and the right people in place.

President Obama, nevertheless, is confident today that the man to fix the agency is the same man who has failed to fix the agency, thus far.


OBAMA: I can tell you what I've said to Ken Salazar, which is that we have to make sure if we are going forward with domestic oil production, that the federal agency charged with overseeing its safety and security is operating at the highest level. And I want people in there who are operating at the highest level and aren't making excuses when things break down, but are intent on fixing them. And I have confidence that Ken Salazar can do that.

REPORTER: And his job is safe?



OLBERMANN: The science and latest on starting and stopping and starting again top kill ahead. First, let's bring in MSNBC political analyst, Eugene Robinson, also, of course, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and associate editor of "The Washington Post."

Gene, good evening.


OLBERMANN: On the pure politics of this, what did Mr. Obama succeed in doing today? What did he fail in doing today, do you think?

ROBINSON: He succeeded in conveying a seriousness of purpose, his own engagement with the ongoing catastrophe. He eliminated any ambiguity as to what he sees his role in this, I am responsible, to me, it is my responsibility to solve this.

What I think he failed to do is explain why any of the way this is working or all of the way this is working makes sense. Why does it make sense that B.P. is able to essentially blow off the U.S. government when it comes to the use of the dispersants?

We understand that B.P. may be the only - they may be the only ones who can work at the wellhead a mile down, but why is B.P. running the containment operation that's supposed to be trying to keep the oil from getting to the shore. That was not, I think, fully explained and I think there will be a lot more questions.

OLBERMANN: Let me ask this question in an understated fashion, and I hope that you can sense the emotional head-smacking that goes into it. How do you go into a news conference about America's worst oil spill ever, hours after the official who is responsible for offshore drilling has stepped down, or been fired, without knowing the details on whether she stepped down or was fired?

ROBINSON: Emotional head-smack right back at you.


ROBINSON: It undercuts the message of being in control, of being the central authority in all of this. And it was certainly a part of the news conference that raised more questions than it answered. What about the MMS?

Now, we understand it's going to be split up into three separate agencies. It - that was not a good moment of the news conference.

OLBERMANN: This is the devil's advocate question or perhaps it is the question not being asked that should be asked, which is this: Of all the criticisms of the president's attitude or his politics or his handling or his ownership of this, exactly what is expected of him that he's not doing? What in retrospect could he have done that he did not do? And I mean it almost as a literal question.

ROBINSON: And that's a very good question. I think in terms of fixing the leak, I can't think of what the president could have done that he hasn't already done. That has to be the responsibility of B.P., seems to have assembled the best minds to try figure out how to do it.

Thad Allen is - Admiral Thad Allen is no pushover, he's a man used to command. He's on the case, he's on the scene. He's trying to get that done.

I think legitimate questions could be asked about the containment strategy, all sorts of discussions have been raised about ways that that might have been done. Again, there might be answers for all of that. But I think there's some legitimate questions there.

And then in the larger sense, I think you could ask: where are the environmentalists in all this?


ROBINSON: The law says the Coast Guard responds at sea, the EPA on land. Fine. We understand that.

But the oil is going to the land. The EPA is responsible for at least to an extent for our environment, for our waters. Where - where is the environmental protection conscience and impulse and moral imperative of this, how is that being expressed? And I frankly wish we were hearing more of that and hearing more from EPA.

OLBERMANN: Something emotional, I want to show you lastly here this minute of the Louisiana congressman whose loss of the ability to speak this afternoon might have in some ways been more eloquent than the president's speech today.


REP. CHARLIE MELANCON (D), LOUISIANA: Our culture is threatened, our coastal economy is threatened, and everything that I know and love is at risk. Even though this marsh lies - along coastal Louisiana, these are America's wetlands. Excuse me. I'll just wish to submit for the record. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We thank the gentleman and every member of our committee and every American is praying for the people of Louisiana and the people of the Gulf. It's just an unimaginable tragedy.


OLBERMANN: Gene, has something changed now about this crisis because of Mr. Melancon there?

ROBINSON: That was an incredibly eloquent expression of I think what people are coming to feel. We learned today there's enormous quantity of oil in the Gulf of Mexico already. If it were stopped tonight, we would still be left for - not for months, but probably for years with this - these noxious plumes of oil, some of which are under water and whose extent is unknown, fouling the coast, killing the animals. It is the enormity, and I use that word in its proper sense, to mean size and monstrousness of this disaster I think is just beginning to sink in. It is for people in Louisiana before the rest of us. I think we'll all get there pretty soon.

OLBERMANN: Gene Robinson of "The Washington Post" and MSNBC - when we're fortunate enough to have him. Thanks, Gene. Good night.

ROBINSON: Great to be here, Keith.

OLBERMANN: The human toll so secondary in the first month of the disaster leap to the forefront today in Washington. The father and brother of one of the victims at Deepwater Horizon will join me. And the meaning of the so-called pause in British Petroleum's solution top kill as assessed next by Dr. Michio Kaku.


OLBERMANN: The assessment of the stopped and now restarted top kill by one of the most forward thinking of today's scientific minds and what to do next if this doesn't work.

For 36 days, the human toll at Deepwater Horizon has been overshadowed. Not today. The story of the late Gordon Jones as told by our guests, his father and brother.

Nevada's chicken lady with a new challenge, trying to fend off a rival who says, "I am the tea party," while she admits she doesn't know who Rand Paul is.

And why is this former presidential candidate siding with opponents of repealing "don't ask, don't tell" who now claim it could lead to an all gay army - an all gay army like the kind they claim Hitler had. I wish I was kidding.


OLBERMANN: To repeat, the biggest development of the day from the Gulf, what is considered to be the best short term hope of stopping the flow of hydrocarbon poison, top kill, was itself stopped overnight by B.P. and then restarted this evening after an interval of about 16 hours.

But in our fourth story on the Countdown: At this hour, we still don't know if it's going to work and we may not know if it has worked or is working for some time. B.P. moving the goalpost by stretching its original timetable on this fact, it could be another 24 to 48 hours before anyone knows whether the operation will, in fact, be considered a success.

Just hours after reports surfaced that top kill had already worked, technicians at the B.P. command center telling "The New York Times" that the procedure had to be temporarily halted because too much of the mud used to plug up the leak was escaping along with the oil.

Meanwhile, at a news conference, B.P. chief operating officer, Doug Suttles, offering a slightly different version, telling reporters the company's temporary suspension of top kill was part of the operation process done in order to evaluate its progress. Top kill resumed after interval of several hours.

And the procedure began yesterday afternoon, B.P. using heavy drilling fluid or manufactured mud, pumping that into the top of the well in an effort to stop the gushing of oil. If that works, cement would then be used to seal the well shut. The leak is more than twice as powerful as previous estimates and at a mile under water, the procedure has never been attempted this deep.

Joining me now, the host of "Sci Fi Science" on the Science Channel, author of "Physics of the Impossible," and physics professor at city college here in New York, Michio Kaku.


DR. MICHIO KAKU, SCI FI SCIENCE: Glad to be on the show.

OLBERMANN: Competing versions explaining the suspension of this process here, it's normal or the mud was in essence blowing back? Do we know which is right? But does it really matter?

KAKU: It matters but we don't know because we are in uncharted territory. Realize that we're witnessing the biggest science experiment of modern times and we are the guinea pigs. Remember that most of these are done at the depth of a few hundred feet, few hundred feet.

Down a mile pressures are 2,000 pounds per square inch. Take a car and put it on every square inch of your chest. Every square inch and then let go. You'd be flattened within a fraction of a second. That's we're up against. That's why we are clueless about what's really happening down there.

And if an explosion takes place, we could be in worse shape than before.

OLBERMANN: What kind of explosion and to what degree could we be in worse shape?

KAKU: If you pump too fast, too quickly, you over-pressurize - you over-pressurize the chamber and it could explode, rupture the pipe, and then it starts all over again with a new rupture.

OLBERMANN: You've got 16 of them suddenly coming up from the floor of the ocean.

KAKU: That's right. That's why we're very, very cautious. That's why they cannot go too fast with this, because like I said, we've never done this before at this depth.

OLBERMANN: Have we ever done this before? We're just talking about this. Have we ever - has science ever attempted to apply or industry attempted to apply science to a situation without having the plan B?

The analogy I used to you before was that it was beginning to sound like the collapse of the earthen dam that led to the Johnstown flood in the 19th century or when the sand hogs used to go before they knew about caisson disease, the bends, what they used to put the supports for the Brooklyn Bridge or other deep water bridges and they didn't know what would happen when men tried to work this those pressures.

Have we ever been in this kind of - as you said - science experiment before to this degree?

KAKU: Well, it sounds like the three stooges are in charge of this operation, running around hitting each other and not knowing what to do. It's not quite that bad, but basically, we are in uncharted territories. Realize that we've never done something at this pressure and this depth with this temperature, and as a consequence, it's learn-as-you-go, with the economy of the Gulf States at stake.

This is inexcusable. There is no plan B.

OLBERMANN: And that's the crime here. What's - everything since this happened is the best possible solution, I guess, that they're doing the best that they can. But the crime is not having planned for this or to proceed with drilling at this depth without a plan B.

KAKU: That's what's so pathetic. The fact that what they are doing is the best they can do with our given technology. So that - that is really pathetic.

Remember, if this thing fails, then we go to a relief well. That takes three months. So, we're talking about August before they can pump cement into a relief well. And remember, this accident could go on for years. There's enough oil down there to last for years - and as we cap it or siphon it or something.

OLBERMANN: So, this is as if we sent men to the moon without ever contemplating how to get them back?

KAKU: In some sense, yes. It's a science experiment, and we are the guinea pigs unfortunately.

OLBERMANN: The late news that we're just getting, literally, in the last few seconds from the Gulf is that the other thing B.P. may do as soon as tonight is this so-called junk shot. Do have you any faith in that? Do we - has that been tried in anything deeper than a swimming pool?

KAKU: It's been tried, basically you throw everything but the kitchen sink - you throw tires, you throw rubber, waste, everything at that thing, hoping to entomb it. And remember when Chernobyl happened in the former Soviet Union, they sent out the Red Air Force.


KAKU: The military finally stopped the Chernobyl accident. It wasn't the civilians, it wasn't people or the scientists, it was the Red Air Force which stopped that raging reactor accident. Something similar may happen here. Obama may have to call out the military at some point.

OLBERMANN: One would think that would be an alternative to stuffing old tires into it, but perhaps old B.P. executives could be of some use here.

Michio Kaku, professor of physics and host of "Sci Fi Science" on Science Channel, I've been an admirer of your work for many years - thanks for coming in.

KAKU: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: Amid further reports of corners cut by both B.P. and the rig operator, Transocean, money saved by cutting preventive maintenance and inspections. The father and brother of one of the victims aboard the oil platform join me next.


OLBERMANN: The intense and multiple investigations into the Deepwater Horizon Explosion have only just begun. But those investigations are already unearthing further evidence of possibly widespread and avoidable mistakes. Our third story tonight, at one of those hearings today, one man spoke of the loss of his son in that oil rig explosion. Keith Jones, father of Gordon Jones, who died aboard the Deepwater Horizon, joins me in a moment, along with Gordon's brother Chris.

First, some of the evidence being offered at these hearings; just 11 hours before the April 20th explosion of the rig, a BP company official overruled the drillers from rig owner Transocean on how to proceed on a potentially critical issue. This according to the chief mechanic of the Deepwater Horizon rig, Douglas Brown. Mr. Brown testified at the Coast Guard hearing in Louisiana. Quoting, "I recall a skirmish between company man, the OIM, Offshore Installation Manager, the tool pusher, and the driller. The driller was outlining what would be taking place. Whereupon the company man stood up and said, no, we'll be having some changes to that. The OIM, tool pusher and driller disagreed with that. But the company man said this is how it's going to be. And the tool pusher, driller and OIM reluctantly agreed."

The significance of the disagreement is that it could amount to further evidence that BP officials continued drilling despite evident problems. That chief mechanic, Mr. Brown, he testified again today in Washington. At a House liability hearing, he described how his company, Transocean, seemed to be putting profits above safety, and how over the years preceding the explosion, his crew had been cut in half.


DOUGLAS BROWN, CHIEF MECHANIC, DEEPWATER HORIZON: Three people are left to do six people's jobs. While this often made it difficult to timely complete our daily preventive maintenance, we worked hard and did the best we could.


OLBERMANN: Even after one of those three critical positions of first engineer was reinstated, Mr. Brown described the team as understaffed. And Mr. Brown said they did speak up about the problem.


D. BROWN: Over the years, after Transocean began lessening the crew, I and others complained that we need more help. They just kept telling us they would see what they could do.


OLBERMANN: And today "the New York Times" reported that just a few days before the explosion, BP used a type of casing seal for the well that the company knew was the riskier of two options, according to a BP document, proving the company made that choice at least in part for financial reasons. The internal document describing it as the, quote, "best economic case."

Let's turn now to Keith Jones and his son Chris Jones. They're both Louisiana natives and are practicing attorneys in Shreveport. But they appeared at today's hearing not as lawyers, but as the father and brother of Gordon Jones, one of the 11 victims of the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

Gentlemen, thanks so much for your time tonight and our deepest sympathies for your loss.



OLBERMANN: If you would, please, tell us about Gordon and what work he was performing on Deepwater Horizon.

K. JONES: Gordon was a mud engineer. And mud engineers advise what mud - drilling mud should be used during the drilling process. One of the sadder and more ironic things about this is that the well had been drilled. There was no need to have a mud engineer there, except, I suppose, that the rules say you have to have a mud engineer. But there was nothing for Gordon to do there because they weren't drilling anymore.

OLBERMANN: Did he ever express to you any concern about his workplace?

C. JONES: Not to me personally. I know he had expressed some concern about some things coming up in the mud to my father.

OLBERMANN: Can you elaborate on that, Keith?

K. JONES: He had - he didn't spell it out. I think I know what he meant now. But he said then that some things were coming up that weren't supposed to come up. And obviously looking back on it, he had to mean the hard rubber pieces from the annular, because nothing else could be coming up that wasn't supposed to be coming up. They weren't drilling through rubber down there.

OLBERMANN: At the hearing today, you spoke about the only, in your opinion, truly effective way to get the attention of these companies to correct at least in advance their future practices. Would you describe that again, please, for us?

K. JONES: In general, what I said was that all these companies do one thing well, and that is to make money. And if their stock has gone down, they'll all be back. The only way to get their attention is through a system that requires them to pay money, and that means punitive damages. I said this morning that you have to hit them where their heart would be, if they had a heart.

OLBERMANN: Do you think that there is still a large amount of critical information that needs to be expanded upon, details that have not yet come out about what's happened, in order for you to fully understand what went wrong? And in particular, is there anything that stands out as an area of lack of information?

C. JONES: Well, as attorneys, we know that it's going to take years to get the real story. So I know that things are going to be coming out on a daily basis. We know there are hearings in other committees going on on the Hill. And we expect new information to come out daily for years to come, I'm sure.

OLBERMANN: Last point, and I hate to - under these circumstances to speak in such stark terms, but a lot of people have suggested exactly this. Keith, Chris, either of you, think - do you think that this is or should be considered a murder investigation, given what happened to all the men on that rig?

K. JONES: I don't know enough to know that. I know that what appears to be so - and we get our information from the news media, whether it's television or the newspaper. And we know that a lot of the things that have been said amount to what could certainly be regarded as criminal negligence. At least that would be what we'd call it if it were a state law case that I'm more familiar with than maritime law. I assume the U.S. attorney has jurisdiction. I don't know what the federal statute says exactly.

But I know that the things that I've seen described go far beyond mere negligence.

OLBERMANN: Last thing, we noticed this with Congressman Melancon as he choked up and left the hearing today. The ribbons you're wearing, can you tell me what they're for and what they represent?

C. JONES: I went to a memorial service two days ago that was put on by Transocean. Transocean actually, I think, did an honorable job in putting the memorial together. All the families were there. And I came face to face with a lot of the families for the first time. They handed out these ribbons. There's 11 stars for the 11 victims that died on the rig. And we're wearing them to honor Gordon and the others that were killed that day.

OLBERMANN: Keith Jones, Chris Jones, again, our condolences on your

loss in the Gulf. There's nothing we can say beyond that that will be of

any value to you other than our nation says the same thing, and we thank

you for your time

K. JONES: You're welcome. Thank you.

C. JONES: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: We'll continue.


OLBERMANN: Break absolutely necessary here. The tweet of the day properly belongs in the Tea Time segment tonight. They're both about Sue Lowden. That's all I need to say. Here it is, let's play Oddball.

Thank goodness for a dumb criminal when we need one. In Boston, we've become used to seeing them do dumb things, but for a robber not even getting past the door might be a first. The crook first tried to enter the convenience store simply by bending back the metal grate of the doorway. But it wasn't as simple as that. When his entry was looking to be more time consuming, he took a moment to move some trash cans around in an effort to hide what he was doing. No one can see you now, Mr. Invisible. But when he tried to climb through, he got stuck between the metal grate and the Plexiglas of the door. A neighbor called 911 and six coppers soon followed. And yes, they had to pull him out of his own break-in before they took him to the big house. Leaving the garbage can.

To Lima, Peru, offering further evidence that people all around the world will do just about anything for no good reason, especially when it comes to "Thriller." This group is not a high school theater troupe. It's not prisoners with nothing better to do. Rather, supporters of the Peruvian presidential hopeful Keku Fujimori (ph). She has to do something special. Her dad, the ex-president, was removed, banned, jailed and then fled Peru. Fujimori the younger was celebrating her 35th birthday and this was meant as some sort of homage. Four of these dancers are themselves Peruvian lawmakers. We won't tell you which four. The performance also featured an interpretation of the king of rock 'n' roll, Elvis Presley, mercifully not shown in your picture.

The latest argument against repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell is that Hitler's army was 100 percent gay. Why is John McCain siding with people who believe this crap?

Worsts, the Indiana congressman who resigned after being caught in an affair with the staffer with whom he had made a pro-abstinence video says he wasn't going to stand for re-election anyway.

And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, Geek Week takes her to Lower Manhattan to see firsthand how they're rebuilding the World Trade Center site, floor by floor. She's wearing a helmet.


OLBERMANN: Giving away statues of African-American baseball players, statues that look surprisingly like lawn jockeys. Worsts next. First, no, that is not your water coming to a boil. It's our nightly checkup on the something for nothing crowd. It's Tea Time.

As promised earlier tonight, the Tweet of the day moves here. From Mr. Universe, "why did the chicken cross the road? Sue Lowden had a doctor's appointment." There's actually Sue Lowden news, where chicken bartering would be Republican senator from Nevada that has nothing to do with chickens, maybe metaphorically. Of late, Lowden has been busy with her conservative rival, Sharron Angle. Angle announced, quote, "I am the Tea Party." Lowden is trying to prove she actually is a Scientologist. During this, a reporter from "Politico" asked Lowden her she agreed with Kentucky's Rand "I am the Tea Party" Paul that the Civil Rights Act and related law should not apply to private businesses. She wouldn't answer, saying "I have no idea what another candidate says."

So now she's gone back on TV in Las Vegas with the same interviewer who previously caught her lying about what she previously said about bartering for health care, John Ralston.


JOHN RALSTON, REPORTER: Answer the question that he asked you. Do you think that Rand Paul was right that the Civil Rights Act should not extend into private businesses?


I'm more interested in what we're doing here in Nevada.

RALSTON: It's a simple question.

LOWDEN: It's a simple question but it's a gotcha question. And frankly, I wouldn't even know Rand Paul if I saw him on TV.

RALSTON: I'm not asking about Rand Paul.

LOWDEN: I haven't been watching that race.

RALSTON: Do you think the Civil Rights Act should apply to private businesses.

LOWDEN: I think you want to change the subject from what's really happening. Nobody's asking that question, John. Nobody.

RALSTON: So you're not going to answer?



OLBERMANN: After the thing, Lowden issues a statement saying, "after reviewing the comments and news stories from Kentucky, I want voters to know that I strongly support all aspects of the Civil Rights Act, just as I strongly believe it applies to my private business and all others. My focus has been on campaigning here in Nevada. And therefore I have not paid close attention to races outside of our state."

This raises two further questions. A, why didn't she just say that in your interview? And B, maybe more importantly, why does she keep going on this guy's show? And C, how many times can one candidate self-destruct on camera?


OLBERMANN: One of the Accuracy in Media clowns spreads out into the Don't Ask Don't Tell debate with disastrous consequences. "Disease-tainted gay blood," he warns, "threatens our troops." That's next with our guest, Dan Savage. But first, get out your pitch forks and torches, time for tonight's worst persons in the world.

The bronze to Newt Gingrich, profiled by Tom Schauer (ph) of, managed to support and oppose the same thing in the same interview, the bailout. "I thought it was totally wrong for the former chairman of Goldman Sachs to be funneling billions of dollars from the taxpayers to Goldman Sachs." But on the subject of the bailout, "candidly, there was a period there when you had the Federal Reserve chairman and the secretary of the Treasury saying if we don't do X, Y and Z, the entire world economy is going to collapse. That's pretty good grounds for stopping and trying to do something."

To paraphrase Ian Hunter's old album, you're never alone with Newt Gingrich.

Runner up, Kevin Skilnarick (ph), director of operations for the minor league baseball team the Redding Phillies. Apparently he signed off on a promotional giveaway featuring a former Redding player for the game on August 3rd, the Ryan Howard Garden Gnome. Oh, dear. Mr. Skilnarick told the "Philadelphia Inquirer" "he is there to protect your garden. People in general think all gnomes are pretty."

What's the matter? Wouldn't they make you one where he is actually dressed up like a little jockey and he's carrying a lantern?

But our winner, resigned Indiana Congressman Mark Souder, who now explains he was going to not seek re-election anyway, because he was burning out on the job. And he only won the primary by a little. And he decided that long ago. He was going to announce it soon, when suddenly his affair with his staffer was revealed. And you made that abstinence video with your mistress because the two of you were going to start practicing abstinence soon?

That makes Congressman Mark Souder today's worst person in the world.


OLBERMANN: It still faces a full vote in the Senate. But tonight the Senate Armed Services Committee has voted 16 to 12 to repeal the 17-year-old ban on gays serving openly in the U.S. military. Fifteen Democrats, joined by Republicans Susan Collins of Maine in favor of repeal, 11 Republicans along, with the Democratic Jim Webb of Virginia, voting against it. The House expected to vote tonight or possibly tomorrow. Either way, Speaker Pelosi telling reporters today, quote, "the votes are there."

But in our number one story, before Don't Ask Don't Tell becomes don't remember it, it's history, John McCain is marshalling his own resistance to the Senate amendment, inexplicably siding with right wing fringe groups who are attempting to out homophobe each other to prevent historic progress for gay Americans. Dan Savage joins me in a moment.

First "the New York Times" reports that the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Mr. McCain, solicited and received letters from the chiefs of four branches of military calling for the vote to be delayed until after a Pentagon review. That's after the secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs already had endorsed repealing the law.

A new CNN poll out this week indicates nearly eight in ten Americans, and nearly 60 percent of Republicans, favor allowing gays to serve openly in the military, 60 percent of Republicans. Speaking for the minority opinion, Family Research Council, Peter Sprigg. He told reporters yesterday, quote, "protected class status for homosexuals would make victims hesitant to report assaults and make commanders hesitant to punish them for fear of appearing homophobic."

According to Mr. Sprigg, quote, "the most common type of homosexual assault is one in which the offender fondles or performs oral sex on a sleeping victim."

Cliff Kincaid of the America's Survival Group, also of Accuracy in Media, warns of an Army of cross-dressing corporal clingers. His group also produced a ten-minute long Youtube video which warns, "disease-tainted gay blood threatens our troops. Open and active homosexuals in the U.S. military could very well result in the spreading of HIV tainted blood throughout the ranks."

And when all else fails, there's always the Hitler card. This is Bryan Fischer from a group called the American Family Association.


BRYAN FISCHER, AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION: Hitler himself was an active homosexual, taught soldiers to be savage, brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders. But that homosexual soldiers basically had no limits in the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whoever Hitler sent them after. So he surrounded himself - virtually all of the Storm Troopers, the Brown Shirts were male homosexuals.


OLBERMANN: We get a bonus tonight. We got to see the audition tape of the guy who finished second to Glenn Beck. Joining me now, as promised, the author of "The Commitment, Love, Sex, Marriage and My Family," columnist Dan Savage. Good evening, Dan.


OLBERMANN: Can you - I know this is - it's like asking people to explain - I don't know - mythology or something. But can you explain how Hitler, who had people murdered for being gay, also had this all gay army that did his murdering for him in between their assaults on straight soldiers, who were surprisingly sound sleepers?

SAVAGE: It's inexplicable. It's a big lie. Hitler treated gay people the way these right wing bigots would like to treat gay soldiers, the way these right wing people would like to treat gay people and gay services. They were driven out of the armed forces. They were locked up in concentration camps. And they were murdered.

And particularly the Brown Shirts on the night of the long Knives, Hitler disbanded the Brown Shirts and had Ernst Rohm murdered, who was their leader, murdered, who may have been gay. Hitler was not an active homosexual. He was married to a lovely female named Eva Braun and had a very strange relationship with her.

But there's no evidence, none whatsoever, that Hitler was a homosexual, active or otherwise. This is a measure of their desperation. They're losing the battle and sort of trotting out all these really appalling and easily disproved lies.

OLBERMANN: Are you ever surprised at the lies or how absurd they are or the venom that comes from these groups of idiots?

SAVAGE: No. Whenever they're on the verge of losing culturally, the outcome - you know, the most appalling, bigoted statements. We've been hearing this sort of hyperbole for 40 years, 30 years. Back when the first gay and lesbian civil rights legislation - laws were being enacted, we heard that we couldn't let gays and lesbians be teachers. And we had Anita Brian in Florida, the Briggs initiative in California. We couldn't let gays and lesbians be teachers because gays and lesbians were crude and they were going to recruit your children. All of that is not true. These laws have been passed. There aren't gay teachers out there recruiting or raping your children. There won't be gay soldiers out there recruiting or raping other soldiers.

HIV positive people can't serve in the armed forces. There will be not be HIV positive blood on the battlefield. Soldiers are required to wear what they're required to wear. So there aren't going to be an Army of corporal clingers, although that would probably terrify our opponents in al Qaeda and Afghanistan, if we did send an Army of Colonel Clingers over there.

OLBERMANN: Is there something you think specifically about gays

serving in the military that these people don't like? Or is it, as you're

suggesting, this is like a timeline in which wherever they encounter the

gay, these bizarre straight people, presumably straight people - who knows

have to overreact just because this is the latest battlefield, no pun intended?

SAVAGE: First, that's a really great point. Who knows whose lifting these people's luggage, these folks who are so paranoid -


SAVAGE: I'd like to see what's going on in their heads. I think they're projecting, some of them. Whenever they're on the verge of losing, they trot out these desperate nightmare scenarios. And they really on the verge of losing the last two final issues when it comes to gay rights, which is service in the military and marriage. Increasingly, the country is ever more supportive of full marriage rights for gays and lesbians, perhaps not using the word marriage, perhaps civil unions, as in the United Kingdom, but full marriage, full civil enfranchisement for gay lesbian citizens, and military service for gay and lesbians.

We're seeing the end of official government discrimination against gays and lesbians. And it's really sending them over the edge.

OLBERMANN: Briefly, if 60 percent of Republicans say it's fine by them, why is John McCain doing this? And why is he on the side of these nut bags?

SAVAGE: John McCain is doing this to appease the Tea Party whack-a-doodles in Arizona, and to run to the right, and appeal to the hard, crazy, bat crap conservative right that is tossing incumbents - ancient incumbents, like McCain, are particularly at risk. This is just a crass political move on his part. He said during the election, the very recent election that he lost, that if the head of the military - heads of the military service supported a repeal of DADT, he would support it and now he doesn't.

The man is a liar and the last dishonest man - the first dishonest man right now in Washington, D.C. And it's appalling. His 180 on this issue is appalling and transparent.

OLBERMANN: Agreed. Dan Savage, columnist and author of "The Commitment," many thanks as always.

SAVAGE: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: That's Countdown for this the 37th day since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill began. I'm Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Twitter Report, Oddball, Tea Time, Worst Persons
The toss: Mission accomplished (and bonus: Sky pilot)

Guests: Gabrielle Giffords, Dave Weigel, Rick Steiner, Harry Shearer,

Howard Fineman



KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over): Which of these stories will you

be talking about tomorrow?

Top kill. The Coast Guard permits B.P. to try the plug the damn hole

method. Can it work? What if it doesn't? And why is this the first time

we've heard those four words? "The Coast Guard permits."

The insider reports continue. B.P. ignoring warning signs in the

hours before, but B.P. official in a, quote, "skirmish" with three rig

operator who tried to stop the process.

And the hearings continue. Congressman Rahall:


REP. NICK RAHALL (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I do think it is important to

determine whether the Deepwater Horizon is a Wall Street of the ocean,

privatizing profit while the public bears the risk.


OLBERMANN: Howard Fineman on the politics, Rick Steiner on the

physics, Harry Shearer on the cries from the heart.

The immigration labyrinth: 61 percent support the Arizona "papers

please" law, which has cost the GOP nearly all Latino support. Troops to

the border requested by a Democratic congresswoman who herself opposes the

"papers please" law. Our guest: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Hypocrisy run amok. A reporter moves in near Sarah Palin, she

complains he's overlooking the family's swimming hole. This is the

swimming hole, Lake Lucille in Alaska, 350 acres' worth. Our guest: Dave


Landrieu-gate: James O'Keefe pledged guilty.

And hypocrisy atop hypocrisy: Lonesome Rhodes recoils over the Palin

neighbor story.


GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS HOST: You leave the families alone. We've never

done anything but protect the families and question why the White House

would bring their children into political debate. Leave the families



OLBERMANN: But in the same broadcast:


BECK: Did nobody hear that no one in the family heard Jeremiah

Wright? The kids never came home and said, "Hey, Jews are destroying the

world." Michelle never said, "Wait, wait. What?"


OLBERMANN: All the news and commentary - now on Countdown.




OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

Mud is on the way - the somewhat less than inspirational announcement

this afternoon from a U.S. Navy official indicating that the equally

dubiously titled repair operation "top kill" is underway.

Our fifth story: the last best hope to end what is probably already

the worst environmental disaster of our time is reduced to mud. Not actual

mud, mind you, but the heavy drilling fluid known as mud, which itself is

still a little more than clay and water.

In a story seemingly filled with acme atomic oil absorption kits,

quoting Bugs Bunny about Wile E. Coyote seems entirely appropriate.

Remember, mud spelled backwards is dum.

Engineers are hoping to pump enough drilling mud into the gusher to

overcome the flow of crude. A B.P. spokesman is saying they will pump in

mud for hours and then follow up the mud with cement.

President Obama is joining the list of those making, quote, "no

guarantees" that the top kill procedure will work.

A live look at the Deepwater Horizon well showing that the procedure

does not appear to have worked so far but that apparently is as expected.

The chief executive of B.P., Tony Hayward, is warning this morning that it

would be days perhaps before we know whether top kill has actually worked -

- something that has never been attempted this deep, one mile under water -

Mr. Hayward having assessed its chances for success at only 60 percent to

70 percent.

Early tonight, the company announcing that the procedure was going as

planned. But remarkable new videotape showing anything but. From National

Geographic, giving us new looks tonight of the final moments on the

Deepwater Horizon oil platform and of the chaos that followed as it

actually toppled over and began to sink - the National Geographic Channel

to air its full special at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. tomorrow.

Witness statements obtained by the "Associated Press" depicting the

chaos that seems to have led to the explosion, senior managers having

complained that B.P. was, quote, "taking shortcuts" the day of the

explosion by replacing heavy drilling fluid with sea water in the well that

later blew out - sea water providing less weight to contain a surging

pressure problem in the hours before the explosion.

And today in Louisiana, a chief mechanic aboard the Deepwater Horizon

who survived the explosion is testifying that he witnessed a disagreement

about the well between a B.P. official and two other employees on the day

of the explosion - with the employees rather ultimately deferring to,

quote, "the company man."



slight argument that took place and a difference of opinions, and the

company man was basically saying, well, this is how it's going to be. And

they - and the tool-pusher and the OIM reluctantly agreed.


OLBERMANN: Other testimony prepared for today's hearings in

Washington revealing that the U.S. Minerals Management Service, the MMS,

last inspected Deepwater Horizon's so-called blowout preventer in 2005.

Five years later, in 2010, the blowout preventer, as we know, having failed

to prevent the blowout.

Interior Secretary Salazar is insisting to lawmakers that the Obama

administration is doing everything possible.

But members of the president's own party today are voicing their

frustration with the response thus far. Senator Shaheen of New Hampshire

is calling for the MMS to be abolished outright. Senator Bill Nelson of

Florida is saying today that if top kill does not work, the administration

should take over from B.P.

Louisiana native, James Carville, meanwhile, is slamming the president

for the, quote, "political stupidity," unquote, of his response.



States could have come down here. He could have been involved with the

families of these 11 people. He could have commandeered the things - we

could have sent the Woods Hole people. We could have sent the Scripps

people on research vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. He could have

implemented a plan in anticipation of this.

These people are crying. They're begging for something down here and

he just looks like he's not involved in this. Man, you've got to get down

here and take control of this. Put somebody in charge of this thing and

get this thing moving. We're about to die down here.


OLBERMANN: President Obama planning to travel to the Gulf on Friday.

Today, on the road in California, notably not saying that he is against the

kind of deep water drilling that led to the disaster, merely that the

nation will not be able to sustain its current level of fossil fuel use.



Gulf which is just heartbreaking, only underscores the necessity of seeking

alternative fuel sources. We're not going to transition out of oil next

year or 10 years from now, but think about it. We're not going to be able

to sustain this kind of fossil fuel use. This planet can't sustain it.


OLBERMANN: At this hour, there's a news conference at Roberts,

Louisiana, at which a coast guard rear admiral and the COO of B.P. have

been speaking. Doug Suttles, the COO, says of top kill merely that the job

is going according to plan. The rest of the news conference is about what

you would have expected at this point.

We're joined now by our own Howard Fineman, senior Washington

correspondent for "Newsweek" magazine.

Howard, good evening.


OLBERMANN: What are the political implications for the

administration, for the president, if this top kill thing that we're being

told about does not work?

FINEMAN: Well, the president's trying to execute his own political

version of the top kill here, Keith. There's a whole series of things

going on, the presser that you just mentioned, Coast Guard Admiral Thad

Allen was made available to some of us today for a detailed briefing over

at the White House. Salazar, the interior secretary, is going to come out

with a statement about offshore drilling and its future in the next day or

so, I think he's going to dial back on some of what the administration was

enthusiastically talking about in terms of offshore drilling, you know, a

couple months ago.

There's going to be a new government estimate of the amount of oil

that's actually out there, separate from any estimates of B.P. that federal

officials have been working on. Then the president is going to have a

press conference about this. He's going to have a press conference, a full

one, in 10 months. He's having one tomorrow.

And then, per James Carville, he's going down to the Gulf on Friday.

So this is their version of a kind of a political top kill to try to

stop the flow of political criticism that's really getting heavy now.

OLBERMANN: Yes. You left out one thing - the podium has a logo now.

There's a logo that says Deepwater Horizon response. So, it's official.

There is a response.

FINEMAN: There you go. A logo. Yes.

OLBERMANN: The president said that top kill, there are no guarantees.

I hear that and I'm having my expectations lowered before my eyes. Is that

a fair assessment?

FINEMAN: Yes. Especially based on what Admiral Allen said to us

earlier today over at the White House.

First of all, as you indicated, there is a chance that putting this

mud down there, if they do it too quickly and heavily, it will bust apart

the well itself - what's left of the well, and create other fishers that

might allow more oil to come through. So, that's why they're being very

careful and slow in monitoring this carefully, because there is that risk

of making it worse and making the flow heavier. That's number one.

Number two, when the platform collapsed, it ruined the system of pipes

that would have allowed for the mud to be easily put down there. This

apparently was not a scenario that they considered. The more you learn

about this, Keith, the more you learn that the failsafe mechanisms and

scenarios that should have been carefully examined by somebody simply were


OLBERMANN: Those tech points you just raised we're going to go to in

depth with our next guest, Rick Steiner, in a moment. But to continue with

you, Howard, Friday soon enough? I mean, Friday in the Gulf Region given

to the political sensitivities related to what's happened to the Gulf

Region in the last five years?

FINEMAN: Well, no, obviously not. I mean, if you've got James

Carville on the TV, there's no more loyal Democrat than James Carville. No

more partisan Democrat than James Carville. Yes, he's from Louisiana.

Yes, it's his home. But you've also got Jeanne Shaheen, you got Nick

Rahall, you've got Ed Markey from Massachusetts. You got a lot of people

saying there should have been more by way of study and response.

And, again, Admiral Allen said that some technical advice from the DOD

and from other places has been helpful. I don't know they've scoured or

thought outside the box about other parts of the federal knowledge base

that could have been brought to bear on this. While it's true that B.P.

has the most knowledge, as much as any oil company does of this new exotic

deep drilling, there could have been I think other things brought to bear.

And emotionally, the president has a duty to be there, to be on scene

with these people, Keith. It sounds a little too technocratic and bland to

talk about reducing oil demand at a time when a whole way of life is under

threat, and a whole ecology is under threat in Louisiana and elsewhere on

the coast.

OLBERMANN: Well stated. Howard Fineman of MSNBC and "Newsweek" - as

always, great thanks, Howard.

FINEMAN: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: For more, as we said, on the science, let's turn again to

conservation consultant, Rick Steiner, a marine biologist who's been total

Gulf Coast and has studied this spill and other events elsewhere regarding

oil spills and disasters.

Thanks again for your time tonight, sir.


OLBERMANN: The chief executive and president of the United States

both warning there's a good chance the top kill's not going to work. What

makes it risky, dangerous and what is that possibility? Why is there a

possibility it's not going to work?

STEINER: Yes, I'm not sure if I was a gambling guy that I'd put my

money on it. But at this point, we're open to Hail Marys on this thing.

There is always a risk. There's an enormous amount of pleasure coming

up the blowout from the reservoir. And if you try to back that pressure

down the failed well string, which is what the top kill is trying to do,

you could change the entire hydraulic situation underneath the sea bed and

cause more damage down there, and the oil could start percolating up

elsewhere to where it would be far more difficult to control.

But these things, you know, trying to snub it off at the wellhead have

to be tried. It could - you know, at this point, it's difficult to

imagine that it could cause more damage, but it is possible. But we have

to try something.

OLBERMANN: And the worst case scenario - or not the worst case

scenario, sort of mid-range scenario, it doesn't cause those other fissures

and doesn't cause additional leaks anywhere else, and it doesn't cause to

percolate up the sea bed or the floor of the Gulf anyway. The mid-term

worst-case scenario is - it just keeps spouting oil indefinitely or is

there a point at which this well dries out? What happens?

STEINER: Well, there's probably several hundred million barrels of

oil in that reservoir, at least, perhaps more. So, if this remains

uncontrolled, it could conceivably go on for years.

But the best hope we have is to get the two relief wells down there

ASAP and then they can do either the dynamic kill from down where the

failed well string meets the reservoir, which is injecting sea water, and

then with frictional forces, slows down the blowout. Then they inject the

heavy mud, which is especially formulated for this. And also - and then

they inject the concrete.

The other thing they can do is inject this guar gum and especially

formulated kill fluids down into the top of the reservoir, sort of like

sticking chewing gum in the top of a fissure like this. But that - the

relief wells are ever important right now, they need to get down there

ASAP. And I'm curious as to whether or not they should start drilling a

third relief well in case the first two fail for some reason.

OLBERMANN: Briefly, what is ASAP on these relief wells?

STEINER: Well, within the next two weeks.


STEINER: They are - the first relief well is more than halfway to

the reservoir. They basically come down about 10,000 feet through the sea

bed and then start angling in, using electromagnetic sensors and such to

intersect the failed well string right at the top of the reservoir.

So, I would - you know, we'd like them down there yesterday, which is

why it's intriguing that the Canadian government requires the drilling of a

relief well along with -


STEINER: - the exploratory well in the extreme environments. I

wonder if we should even be drilling in places like the deep ocean and the

Arctic Ocean if we can't do better than we're doing right now.

OLBERMANN: Yes, you can't see the screen necessarily, but the answer

to that is to the left of the screen the viewer sees at home.

One sort of political question that touches on science and also

touches - every night, the humorous David Letterman touches on this. He

talks about another solution that involves Superman doing something.

As ludicrous as that sounds, what - is there in fact something in the

government quiver that has not been brought to bear, if there had been some

immediate decision by the administration, "B.P., you're out of this, we're

going to take over"? Is there some solution, some offshore geologist, some

marine biologist who knows what the hell to do in this situation that B.P.


STEINER: Well, I think it's the engineers and the fluid dynamic

physicists and such. But unfortunately, we're right at the edge of the

science and technology here. And, of course, if the top kill doesn't work,

which there's a good chance that it won't - but we'll see, hoping that it

does - then they'll try the junk shot which would preclude additional top

kill mud injection, and then they'd try another blowout preventer on top of

the one that's there, then they'd try the dome.

But all these are sort of stop gap, Band-Aid approaches. They need to

try them, but absolutely most thing is they need to expedite getting those

relief wells down there to the top of the reservoir to intersect with the

failed well string.

OLBERMANN: Rick Steiner, conservation consultant, marine biologist,

and once again making this somewhat intelligible for us. Once again for

that, great thanks.

STEINER: Thanks.

OLBERMANN: The unexpected kernel of truth in the phrase "Obama's

Katrina" explained today online by Harry Shearer. Harry joins us next as

our coverage of day 36 continues.


OLBERMANN: He argues that the reference to Obama's Katrina is not as

knee-jerk as it sounds, that much of the president's political risk right

now owes to what he is yet to do to prevent a second Katrina.

Her role in the most intricate story of our time, she opposes her own

state's "papers please" law, but it was her request that will send National

Guardsmen to the border. She joins us.

He pleads guilty, apologizes, is sentenced. Anybody putting money on

him learning a lesson here?

And the crowd that bashes the president's wife, his kids, his aunt, is

enraged because a writer moved into the same neighborhood she leaves in.

We leave families out of it. Hypocrisy squared.

You're watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: In the news conference in Louisiana, Rear Admiral Mary

Landry saying they are very encouraged but do not want to express optimism.

When the right-wing began calling the Gulf oil spill President Obama's

Katrina, we reported on this news hour the extensive role Bush/Cheney

policies and decisions had been allowing the spill to occur and how

Cheney's old company, Halliburton, was literally at ground zero of the


But tonight, in our fourth story, while we have reported almost

nightly on the current administration's failings in the Gulf and as we

mentioned before, the break - the Democrats are at the breaking point it

seems, there is a new argument being advanced by our next guest, Harry

Shearer. That part of the reason for the anger with Mr. Obama's response

is his poor record on - yes, the actual Katrina. Specifically the

president's actions or lack thereof in protecting New Orleans from future

Katrinas, the Army Corps of engineers having still not come up with a plan

for a permanent hurricane protection system.

Mr. Shearer arguing in online post today that a full-on push by Mr.

Obama there might have inoculated him against charges that his

administration has let the oil slipped through its fingers by letting B.P.

run the show. While Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal pleading for the Army

Corps to approve construction of a make shift barrier islands, as

impractical as that might be, leads a growing chorus of politicians,

residents, fishermen and others crying for the federal government to do

more, better, faster than B.P. has so far.

As promised, we're now joined by investigative satirist, Harry

Shearer, New Orleans resident, actor, author, musician, radio host, and

filmmaker behind the upcoming documentary, "The Big Uneasy," the post-

Katrina New Orleans story.

Good evening, sir.

HARRY SHEARER, SATIRIST: Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN: All right. Your thoughts on the response - what exactly

could have or should have the president done?

SHEARER: Well, I say it's two things. It's the Woody Allen rule,

nine tenths of life is showing up. So show up early and often, you're

trying to project the image of un-Bush, who was famous for not showing up.

So, be there.

Be there to express your support, your interest. Be there to start

the fact-finding process a little bit earlier than five weeks after the

thing happens.

Which ties into the second thing, the CSI rule, show up while the

evidence is fresh. Don't be the fireman who waits around, let's the

arsonist put out the fire, and then arrives five weeks later and says,

"Hey, what happened here?"

OLBERMANN: To be fair, did you think in the days after this happened

that he should have been there? Because I can't say, in all honesty, that

I thought in the three days after the event that, "Where's the president?"

SHEARER: You know, the worst that could have happened was that he

would have looked perhaps a bit silly in anticipating disaster where none

was immediately apparent. But to go down there and say, this has the seeds

of a disaster, it doesn't yet have the earmarks of a disaster, but we're

going to be here proactively, precisely because the last time disaster

struck New Orleans the federal government was late at every turn - as was

the same government for that matter.

OLBERMANN: All right. And to Katrina, explain that. I gave that in

sort of a bulletin form. Explain how the president - this president has

disappointed you on the last president's Katrina.

SHEARER: Yes. Well, me, meaning people in New Orleans.

You know, there are two salient points here. One, starting last

March, people in New Orleans became aware that the Corps of Engineers have

publicly announced they were choosing - in their words - technically not

superior solution to rebuilding the canals that breached so disastrously on

August 29th, 2005. The president could have stepped in, and said, you

know, technically not superior is not really the kind of reassurance that

New Orleans deserves in the wake of a manmade disaster like Katrina. As it

was in New Orleans.

And secondly, there's been a letter on his desk since June of last

year from the Office of Special Counsel which validates whistleblower

complaints, saying a whistleblower inside the Corps of Engineers has made a

valid, proven complaint that the temporary pumps on these canals will not

work in the time of a hurricane. And there's been no action from the White


In both situations, action from the White House - steadfast,

forthright action on these issues would have sent a message: this guy cares

about New Orleans.

OLBERMANN: So, in the light of the fact that forecasters today

predicted, the quote was, "a hell of a year for hurricane season this

summer," is there a way from your assessment - and you're not in New

Orleans at the moment, but from the big picture of the community - is

there a way to salvage this? And I hate to reduce these things to

political terms, but is there a way for the president to salvage both of

things simultaneously in some way right now?

SHEARER: Well, the issue of - those issues that I mentioned are

still on the table. They're still - you know, the Corps of Engineer

process is a bureaucratic one. You can still intervene and make the

statement to New Orleans that we're going to do it right this time. We're

not - you know, we're not just going to put up big things and say look at

the big thing we put up. We got to do good science, good engineering, have

it viewed by peer review experts independent of the corps. We're going to

do this the right way.

As to the oil spill, you know, I feel badly for somebody who has to

depend on B.P. to fix this thing. Maybe when the top kill doesn't work

they can try the fedora.

OLBERMANN: Harry Shearer, actor, musician, radio show host and

resident of New Orleans - as always, Harry, great thanks. Good luck.

SHEARER: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: The other body of water in the news, what Sarah Palin has

described as her family's swimming hole now invaded by, defiled by a

reporter verily, a reporter. Turns out the swimming hole, she means the

350-acre lake with the public beach also.


OLBERMANN: As MSNBC covers immigration all day, polling suggesting

the new Arizona law has cost the Republican Party virtually all support

among Latinos.

First, the tweet of the day and this pertains to the joke I made

yesterday about the tea party's North Carolina congressional candidate, Tim

D'Annunzio, who claimed he had found the Ark of the Covenant in Arizona and

how I hoped all the animals had their papers.

From Dr. Mathochist, "The Ark of the Covenant and Noah's Ark are not

the same thing. No animals in the first one." Got you. Thanks, my


Of course, you do realize we are talking about something that wasn't

on, something that never existed, something that the guy didn't find.

Let's play "Oddball."


OLBERMANN: We begin at the new outdoor Target Field in Minneapolis

where before last night's game between the Yankees and Twins was suspended

due to rain, it was held up due to a squirrel - a squirrel that hates

third basemen. Outside baseball, everybody.

The squirrel spent the better half of the inning loitering around the

ballpark, hugging the outfield wall to stay away from the rain. Little

Rocky eventually made his way out of Target Field and then high-tailed it

away from the stadium to kick-ass jet boat. Aloha, Rocky!

To Greece where the country's troubles have taken another turn for the

worse. Their highways are now infested with frogs. No, it's not a plague.

No, the Greek government doesn't owe money to the nation of - never mind.

Reminds me of the popular 1980's video arcade game "Burger Time."

Officials say the amphibians left an area lake in search of food. The

highway was shut down after several cars skidded off the road to avoid the

little guys. All the frogs were able to dodge the cars, leap on to logs,

on to a turtle's back and eat a fly after safely getting across the road.

Finally to Okinawa, Japan, roaring through traffic dodging vehicles

left and right and down the alley he goes. This little piggy was

apparently somebody's pet. He was eventually cornered in a pile of boxes

and rushed back to his deli counter - excuse me, to his owner.


OLBERMANN: The immigration labyrinth, new polling tonight showing

what the Arizona papers please law has cost this country. Gabrielle

Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman whose request will bring troops to the

border, but who opposes the law joins us next.


OLBERMANN: Before our third story, to clarify something that may have

been implied either by my guest, Harry Shear or myself, if we left you with

the impression that we thought President Obama had not been in New Orleans

yet since the time of the disaster, the time the disaster began in the

gulf, we should apologize for leaving that impression.

Of course, the president was there 24 days ago for a visit and to

inspect the area and to express his solidarity with the city and the

community. Harry Shear's point, I believe was that he hasn't been there

enough or done there enough since.

In any event, to our third story, pressure reminders today just how

polarizing immigration has become, after the president announced he would

send 1,200 national guard troops to the Mexican-American border. Two

Republicans quickly called for five times that amount.

This, while a new poll shows the Arizona papers please law has cost

the GOP virtually all Latino support. The congresswoman whose request

would bring the troops, but still opposes the law joins me in a moment.

But first, today GOP Senators Isakson and Chambliss announced they

would co-sponsored measure to fund 6,000 national guard troops to help law

enforcement at the Mexican-American border. This, just a day after the

president announced 1,200 troops for the same purpose.

Meantime, the new Arizona immigration law still generating great

consternation from law enforcement at all levels. The attorney general

today met with police chiefs for major cities nationwide and they say the

Arizona law and similar proposals in other states will burden the law

enforcements, strain resources and damage police relations with local


The Justice Department has now written a recommendation challenging

the Arizona immigration law, following the view of many legal experts that

parts of the law exceed the state's legal authority.

And the political ramifications of this just now becoming clear from

the new NBC News survey, 61 percent of the public generally support the

Arizona law, 40 percent of respondents say they would favor a generic

Republican candidate who supports the law over a Democratic generic

candidate who opposes it.

However, among Latinos, 68 percent approve of President Obama versus

48 percent job approval among all respondents, and 55 percent of Latinos

hold a favorable view of the Democratic Party compared to 41 percent of the

general public holding that view.

More evidence that Latinos are no longer swing voters, but rather

moving heavily in favor of the Democratic Party. Latinos believing,

according to surveys, that Democrats would do a better job than the

Republicans protecting the interest of minorities, 58 percent to 11


Latinos still have the highest percentage of potential voters who have

yet to register and therefore represent a potential source of additional

Democratic support.

Let's bring in as promised Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of the

Arizona 8th, also a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs

Committees. Congresswoman, thanks for your time tonight.


OLBERMANN: First, if you would, clarify your position on this balance

between sending national guardsmen to the border and this new Arizona state

immigration law, 1070.

GIFFORDS: Yes, well, I'm a federal legislator and I firmly believe

representing the most porous part of the U.S.-Mexico border, Southern

Arizona, but specifically Cochise County is the area where Rob Krentz, the

rancher whose family has had this land for over 100 years was tragically

murdered on March 27th.

I know that my responsibility is to secure the border and this problem

has been going on for a long time. Certainly the previous administration

had made some attempts to secure the Southern Arizona border, but even

today, we have anywhere between 700 to 1,100 apprehensions of illegal

immigrants every single day in the Tucson sector.

So the Boarder Security pardon, as you mentioned, I served on the

House Armed Services Committee, national security should be border

security. The state legislators, I believe, some of the frustration of the

Arizona people for not having secure borders and having tremendous amount,

particularly of drug cartel violence that is now starting to come up north.

Passed SP 1070, had I been - had I been a state legislator, I

wouldn't have supported the bill. But the reason really why is because it

does nothing to secure the border. It does nothing for border security and

that's where we need to focus our attention right now.

OLBERMANN: Congresswoman, is there any indication that Mr. Krentz's

murder was not from this country or was here illegally in some way or that

these troops at the border would have stopped that from happening?


GIFFORDS: Yes, it's - the investigation is ongoing right now. But

the assailant was tracked immediately after when they found Mr. Krentz's

body, they actually tracked him, I assume it's a him, back to Mexico.

And the trackers are some of the best trackers in the country, and

they - I.C.E. believes they have an idea on someone, but, you know, this

investigation is ongoing. So we won't know of course until the

investigation's complete and until someone is brought into custody and is,

you know, made to stand for his actions.

But, you know, this was a problem that was waiting to happen,

unfortunately. Because, again, and think about this, the Tucson Sector,

240,000 apprehensions last year, just the Tucson Sector.

And then that - when you compare it to where we were a couple of years

ago, it's decreased almost by half, in 2005 we had over 500,000

apprehensions. But what's happening now with the drugs is actually that's


So last year we set a record 1.2 million pounds of marijuana seized in

the Tucson Sector. Department of Homeland Security's done a good job in

other areas, particularly the urban areas. But out in the rural parts of

Southern Arizona we have a major problem.

OLBERMANN: I'm confused by one thing here, if President Bush sent

6,000 troops to the border and the problem seemingly worsened to the point

where the state of Arizona would consider a bill as it did in 1070, how

will 1,200 troops to the border have any impact now, or how would even

6,000 more troops have any impact now?

GIFFORDS: Well, the number deployed in the past was actually deployed

across the entire southwest border region, not specifically in Arizona.

Also it's important not to confuse operation jump start, which was the last

deployment where President Bush had moved to the guard on to the border to

wait for the training and the preparation of the hiring of additional

border patrol agents to be deployed to the area.

So they're very different. The mission is different. The situation

on the ground is different. Frankly, we are being outmanned, we're being

outgunned, and we're being out resourced by the drug cartels right now.

It's a serious problem and it's beginning to creep northward.

OLBERMANN: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Democrat of Arizona.

Our great thanks for some of your time tonight.

GIFFORDS: Thank you. Appreciate it.

OLBERMANN: To hear her describe it, a reporter has moved in next door

and staring through her windows at her kids in their underwear. Geography

and Dave Weigel explains it a little differently.

And rushing to her defense, the defense of keeping families out of

politics, this carnival barker who just today attacked the president's

family, again. And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, she

choppers on to the "USS Iwo Jima" to find out how they coordinate the

aircraft landings.

You know, like when President Bush had his flight suit mission

accomplished photo op. It's a big night in "Geek Week" for sky pilot



OLBERMANN: Guess which anti-stimulus governor just balanced the

budget with stimulus money. First, no that's not your water coming to a

boil, it's our nightly check up on something for nothing crowd, it's tea


Take full responsibility for our decision to visit Senator Landrieu's

office. I believe (inaudible) should have used other means and with that,

James O'Keefe was sentenced to three years of probation, 100 hours of

community service and a fine of $1500. His co-conspirators got similar but

lesser terms.

The final charges to which the four pleaded guilty today, entering

real property belonging to the United States under false pretenses. It was

O'Keefe's sophomoric idea that because somebody in Louisiana Senator Mary

Landrieu's office said their phones were jammed during the health care

reform debate, that could only mean the phones were broken and thus he

would videotape the senator neglecting the will of the people by not

getting the jammed phones fixed or - or who knows.

As those who defended him kept saying, he's just a stupid kid.

Presumably, O'Keefe does not realize he probably would have looked better

as a kind of junior Watergate figure than just a dimwitted child, but I

doubt he heard much other than the judge referring to him and his co-

defendants today in a perverse affirmation as, quote, "journalists."

Let me quote from the corrupt politician talking to the character, the

title character in citizen cane. "If it was anybody else, I'd say what's

going to happen to you would be a lesson to you, only you're going to need

more than one lesson and you're going to get more than one lesson.


OLBERMANN: Sister Sarah hops back up on the martyrdom stage. A

reporter moves in nearby and she tries to portray him as a pedophile spying

on her kids. That's next.

But first, get out your pitch forks and torches, time for tonight's

worst persons in the world. Bronze, shared by Congressman Kevin McCarthy

of California and Mike Pence of Indiana. McCarthy is hyping a series of

GOP town hall meetings complete with quote, "suggestion boxes." Part of

this is making sure people realize one, we're listening, but also then

you'll find our actions from listening from what we gathered and what we'll

introduce. That was Congressman McCarthy.

His colleague, Congressman Pence will have none of that. This is not

a political party in search of a keel or in search of principles. It's not

a listening tour. House Republicans know what we believe. So much are

they the party of no, they even say no to themselves.

Our runner up, Governor Rick Perry of Texas. He was so de -"home on

the range"d about the stimulus plan last year that he rejected various

portions of the federal funds and implicitly endorsed all that moronic

secession talk, and flirted with doing so explicitly.

The "Wall Street Journal" writes today, "although Mr. Perry has railed

against the federal economic stimulus program, billions of dollars from

that initiative helped Texas legislators balance the current budget."

There's letters, sealed and my two school fellows whom I will trust as

(inaudible) fanged, they bear the mandate they must sweep my way and

marshal me to knavery. Let it work. For tis the sport to have the

engineer hoisted with his own petard.

Hamlet and for my two school fellows read if Mr. Shakespeare will

permit me, that bozo governor, Mr. Perry. But our winner, Lonesome Rhodes

Beck. He's now completed the hat trick. He's now attacked every member of

the president's family.

"At some point there's a tipping point. At some point, you look at,

you know, you start with Jeremiah Wright. OK, here's one thing. Are you

telling me that for 20 years no one in that family, the kids didn't pick it

up? They didn't hear anything and repeat something outrageous? Michelle


Last week it was the first lady. "When our country is economically on

fire and I think we have Julius Caesar in the White House, did you see the

picture of his wife yesterday all dolled up? I don't think I've ever seen

the first lady with, her excuse the expression, but with her breasts all

smooshed up, sort of. I mean, what is that?"

Yes, I know he means Nero. Oh, wait, there's more. Attacked the

president's parents in March. "What scar is left when a mom leaves a son

who's been abandoned by his father for Marxism?" Attacked his aunt last

year. "I took this cane from her earlier. It's a little like Tiny Tim.

She has a limp, didn't you know that?"

And attacked all of them today. "Did nobody hear? No one in the

family heard Jeremiah Wright? The kids never came home and said, hey, Jews

are destroying the world. Michelle never said, wait, what?"

This is the usual Beck holier than thou, God told me to be a jackass

stuff today. But there's a twist here. Glenn Beck today talking about the

blogger moving into the house next to Sarah Palin.


GLENN BECK, HOST "GLENN BECK": This is harassment. This is stalking

and harassment. There's a different - leave my family, leave people's

families alone. I don't think I've - I don't think I've ever - I mean, I

made this when it was - when it was Bill Clinton, you don't go after

Chelsea Clinton.

You don't talk about the Bush kids. Now, the minute they get into

politics, that's a different story. You leave the families alone. We've

never done anything but protect the families and question why the White

House would bring their children into political debate. Leave the families



OLBERMANN: Leave the families alone. Once, just once, jackass, hold

yourself to one thousandth of the standards you piously try to impose on

others. You, Mr. Beck, are a stone cold liar and a hypocrite.


OLBERMANN: She's offered to welcome him with some homemade blueberry

pie, but that didn't stop the half term governor of Alaska from accusing a

reporter renting a house near the Palin compound in Wasilla of peering in

and overlooking the family swimming hole.

The family swimming hole in question would be a 350-acre lake with

public access. Number one story, Sister Sarah laments this apparent loss

of privacy in a public announcement on Facebook.

The former governor updating you, gentle reader, on both her lawn care

regiment, I finally got the chance to tackle my garden and lawn this

evening, so putting on the shorts and tank top to catch that too brief

northern summer sun and placing a giddy trig in his toddler backpack for

lawn mowing adventure, I looked up surprised to see a new neighbor over

looking my property just a stone's throw away.

The new neighbor, author and reporter, Joe McGinnis (ph), according to

Sister Sarah, Mr. McGinnis told Todd Palin, he's rented the house next door

for about five months to write a book. It's working title "Sarah Palin's

Year of Living Dangerously" to be published by Random House in print.

Broadway Books as an investigative narrative of Sarah Palin's significance

as both political and cultural phenomenon.

The publisher issuing the statement, Mr. McGinnis will be highly

respectable to subject's privacy as he investigates her public activities.

No matter, Palin posting a photo of the place McGinnis is renting with the

caption, hi, neighbor, may I call you Joe? If you forget his name too.

Here he is about 15 feet away on the neighbor's rented deck

overlooking my children's play area and my kitchen window. Knowing that

his many other scathing pieces of journalism, including the bizarre anti-

Palin administration oil development pieces that resulted in my Department

of Natural Resources announcing that his work is the most twisted energy

related yellow journalism it ever encountered.

We're sure to have a doozy to look forward to with this treasure he's

penning. Glenn Beck joining in the fight vowing to never mention Random

House books ever again, asking the publisher to rain in its authors. Mrs.

Palin calling into that radio program earlier to make him only the second

dumbest person on air to tell listeners that while she found Mr. McGinnis'

move disturbing, don't worry, she'll be fine.


SARAH PALIN: Everybody has trials and tribulations. Everybody has a

battle that they are fighting, too, and we may want to tire, we may want to

give up, we may want to retreat. Instead, like my dad says, don't retreat,

reload instead.


OLBERMANN: Again, with the freaking gun reference. Joining me now is

the political reporter of the "Washington Post," Dave Weigel.

Dave, good evening.


OLBERMANN: Mr. McGinnis has not commented on this, whether what he's

done is considered unusual or not, is there anything wrong or illegal about


WEIGEL: Well, there's not. I actually think Jack Schaeffer at slate

made a good argument today, there's a long journalistic tradition of being,

in a word he didn't use it, jerk. Of chasing somebody who's not going to

submit to an interview for you.

You know, Michael Moore does that. Bill O'Reilly does this. Bill

O'Reilly sends reporters to shadow people. To the extent to which McGinnis

is taking it, that's more than most reporters would do, but the way that

Palin first put this on Facebook, her readers who might not have read every

Joe McGinnis book interpret it as a crazy person who is writing mean blog

posts or mean, slanderous articles about her. Not as a journalist who was

very clear about who he was and what he was doing.

OLBERMANN: Mr. Beck called Mr. McGinnis a (inaudible), called him a

peeping tom and accused him of stalking. Obviously that's irresponsible,

but we're expecting that because that's the way he rolls. But she's

implying in that post that he's staring at her kids as though go to the

swimming hole, which is the length of 3 ½ football fields. Who is

turning this into a problem here?

WEIGEL: Right, that's where a lot of people take exception to this.

Because McGinnis, he said a little bit about what the book might be, if he

learns anything, the most I guess controversial thing, if he learns

anything about the state of their marriage, then he might write about that.

He's never mentioned the kids.

This is one of a few instances where Palin has taken a personal

attack, or not a personal attack, a political attack, a biographer's

attack, a journalist investigation, claiming it's an assault on her kids.

This happened with David Letterman.

David Letterman made the joke about Bristol Palin, who's a bit of a

public figure. She's a spokesperson for abstinence and Palin claimed,

despite what Letterman saying, he was making a joke about another kid,

everyone's after her kid.

And it reminds you of the kid that throws the water balloon and then

calls timeout. Once she starts attacking, if you try to attack back, she

throws out this defensive shield. In this case it involved I think being

incredibly unfair and a bit slanderous to someone.

OLBERMANN: To shift gears here, there's another result here on the

Palin score board, she supported the Idaho Republican and apparently great

admirer of then-Senator Obama in 2004, plagiarized his speech, Vaughn Ward

and his bid for Congress, he lost.

And a Tea Party candidate that she did not support, we could follow

all these. We need a diagram. Raul Labrador won. Did she just happen to

back the worst candidate in the world or is she losing influence in this


WEIGEL: Yes, she did, I think. I mean, this guy was not the choice

even of a lot of the local Tea Parties. The Tea Party Express endorsed the

incumbent Democrat. So this was a case of her going off half cocked, she

likes gun metaphors, I guess I'll say that.

I'm just surprised that she keeps picking fights like this. This Joe

McGinnis fight, this candidate endorsement fight, when there's oil still

happening, you're reporting it. We're going to hear more about it later.

She has some expertise about this.

Instead, it's these little personal political battles and these little

personal insults that she chooses to use her global celebrity to turn into

news. And it's mystifying. I don't take any pleasure in these - what

ended up for me today, a 50 hate-mail blog post.

I'm wondering why she chooses to get into personal fights and I think

it's because she is more of a celebrity for Tea Partiers, she's more of a

representative of motherhood and all that is good about America than a

political figure.

Well, I - she should really learn to take it when journalists are

investigating her. Stop blocking interviews if she wants to have people,

you know, deal with her on a level.

OLBERMANN: You know, this is closer to Amy McPherson than some actual

religious leader.

WEIGEL: You said that, not me.

OLBERMANN: You only got 50 hate mail? Only 50? Come on.

WEIGEL: I'm rounding down, but it was a lot. More than you get or

less than you get.

OLBERMANN: Yes. Let's play in the big leagues here. "Washington

Post" Dave Weigel. Great thanks, Dave.

WEIGEL: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: That's "Countdown" for this is the 36th day since the deep

water horizon oil disaster began. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and

good luck.