Wednesday, August 31, 2011

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
video 'podcast'

ShowPlug1: POTUS punches GOP in mouth, schedules Jobs Address during GOP debate. @BrianBeutler on news @KarlFrisch on Combative Obama

ShowPlug2: Tea Party attacks Romney. He speaks at their event; they schedule a rival event, call him "poseur", with @KenVogel

ShowPlug3: 2X as many Wisconsin school teachers have already quit this year as did ALL last. W/ Rage Against The Machine's Tom @TMorello

ShowPlug4: Worsts: JC Penney's stupid shirt, Cantor flipflops on disaster relief, Glenn Beck declares life all good for Afr-Americans

ShowPlugLast: Just what Murdoch needs: another employee and improper relations, maybe $, with police. O'Reilly-Gate: any laws broken?

watch whole playlist

#5 'Taking the Lead', Brian Beutler

#5 'Taking the Lead', Karl Frisch

#4 'Tea-d Off', Ken Vogel

# Time Marches On!

#3 'Teacher Retirement Spike', Tom Morello
YouTube, (excerpt)

# In memory of Peggy Lloyd

#2 Worst Persons: J.C. Penney, Glenn Beck, Rep. Eric Cantor, YouTube

#1 'Internal Affairs', Gloria Allred
YouTube, (excerpt)

printable PDF transcript

KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

The president doesn't have a jobs plan, he has a jobs address to a joint session of Congress.


JAY CARNEY: President requested of the leaders that he speak to a joint session of Congress next week on September 7th at 8 p.m.

OLBERMANN: Hmm, isn't that when the Republican debate is?


CARNEY: There's one president, there's 20-some odd debates.

OLBERMANN: Speaker Boehner promptly suggests the president should speak Thursday, not Wednesday. The president socks the GOP flush in the mouth. This is the Obama I like. Is this the Obama who is running for re-election?

Tea for two, and none for you. Romney says he'll attend a tea party rally in New Hampshire. The tea party promptly schedules a counter-rally at almost the same hour, in almost the same place. And in Iowa, Palin cancels on the tea party if O'Donnell is going, so the tea party throws O'Donnell under the bus. Now Palin is going. Probably.

Wisconsin, the damage already done. Twice as many public school teachers have quit in the first half of this year, as did all of last year or the year before. My special guest, guitarist Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine, the son of a schoolteacher.


TOM MORELLO: The future of the rights of working people in this country will be decided on the streets of Madison, Wisconsin. You're making history here, and the whole world is watching.

OLBERMANN: "Worst." Worst back-to-school idea ever. "I'm too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me." "Worst" racism.


GLENN BECK: And sure this country sucked for blacks. Sucked! Beyond sucked for a long time! But it doesn't now. It doesn't now.

And day two of O'Reilly in bed with the cops. Bill and the suburban New York police who threatened their own detective for allegedly carrying on with Mrs. Bill, while Bill was dangling a large donation to the police commissioner's charity. Did anybody break the law?


BILL O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us, I'm Bill O'Reilly, and here is the legal segment tonight, very busy day for the ladies, and here they are!

OLBERMANN: All that and more, now on "Countdown."


MAN: Here's your monthly kickback.


OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York, this is Wednesday, August 31st, 433 days until the 2012 Presidential Election and seven days until President Obama hopes to address a joint session of Congress on the two most critical issues of his presidency, the economy and jobs, at 8 p.m. Eastern time. Which, by no coincidence, is also seven days from the next scheduled Republican Presidential debate, at 8 p.m. Eastern time.

The fifth story on the "Countdown," the president strikes back. Lyndon Johnson would approve this show of strength. So would Harry Truman. Speaker John Boehner and National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, not so much. Mr. Obama elbowing the GOP to the side with a vivid demonstration of the power to shape the national agenda with a formal announcement of his new jobs plan. Writing to Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Reid in his request for the joint session, that over his three-day august midwest bus tour, he heard a consistent message that "Washington needs to put aside politics. It is our responsibility to find bipartisan solutions to help grow our economy, and if we are willing to put country before party, I am confident we can do just that."

Speaker Boehner, not confident the House can accommodate the president next Wednesday. His aides denying categorically that the White House cleared the date in advance. Boehner asking Mr. Obama to address the nation the following night, September 8th, "When we can ensure there will be no parliamentary or logistical impediments that might detract from your remarks."

The speaker, who signed his return letter "John," writing of his concern that scheduled votes wouldn't leave enough time for a three-hour security sweep of the House chamber before the president's speech.

And, of course, Boehner's concerns have nothing to do with the scheduled Republican debate that night, nor the prospect of shunting the president off to conflict with a different event on the nation's calendar, one that might limit the audience for the president's remarks. The opening night of the National Football League season. Saints versus Packers. Majority Leader Reid's spokesman, however, tweeting simply that he looks forward to hearing the president's plan to generate jobs during a joint session of Congress next week. At the White House, press secretary Jay Carney insisted repeatedly that politics did not play a part in the timing of the president's request.


CARNEY: There are many other factors here, and obviously one debate of many that's on one channel of many was not enough reason not to have the speech at the time that we decided to have it.

OLBERMANN: The president also pushing Congress today to pass a clean extension of the surface transportation bill that's due to expire next month, the sort of legislation that has been routinely approved by past Congresses. Speaking at the Rose Garden, with strange optics, the president surrounded by an often dueling duo, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Operating Officer David Chavern on the left and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the right.


BARACK OBAMA: This bill provides funding for highway construction, bridge repair, mass transit systems and other essential projects. It's inexcusable to put more jobs at risk in an industry that's already been one of the hardest hit over the last decade.

OLBERMANN: Florida Congressman John Mica, who chairs the House Transportation Committee, responding now that he'll support one additional highway program extension, possibly with policy changes noxious to Democrats, added on.

Meanwhile, jobs plans are hot: GOP presidential contender Jon Huntsman -- that is a courtesy at this point, given his poll numbers -- unveiling his plan today, calling for major cuts in individual and corporate tax rates on end to taxes on capital gains and dividends, eliminating the alternative minimum tax, new trade deals, energy investments and substantial cuts in federal regulations.

Erstwhile GOP front-runner Mitt Romney plans to release his jobs plan September 6th, details TBA. They might involve doubling the size of everybody's house.

The notorious U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a plan of its own, it will release this one next as well. It calls for Congress to pass three pending free-trade agreements, boost infrastructure investment, increase domestic energy investment, roll back regulations, naturally. Targeting tax relief and measures to enhance tourism. In a typical bow to its corporate masters, the chamber will also call for a corporate tax holiday to allow firms that offshore their profits to repatriate them here, while paying just a tiny percentage of the taxes they would otherwise owe, just like the last corporate tax holiday did under Mr. Bush, which, of course, was supposedly the last one ever. Jobs also finally showing up as the apparent driver in the presidential polls. The latest Quinnipiac numbers show that just 42 percent of registered voters think the president deserves a second term. Fifty-one percent say he does not. That is deserve, as opposed to will get. Well, heading into next week's debate, Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents favor Rick Perry with 24 percent, Mitt Romney 18 percent, Palin 11 percent, Bachmann down at 10 percent, Ron Paul 9 percent and Jon Huntsman with a nice, easy-to-read 1 percent. Better make your jobs plan a stunner.

Talking Points Memo reporter Brian Beutler joins me now with more on the politics of jobs and jobs plans and speeches. Brian, good evening.

BRIAN BEUTLER: Good to be back with you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Let's start with some news. You think you figured out this White House-speaker's office thing?

BEUTLER: Yeah, pretty much. I mean, they' re meeting right now, or they're conversing, anyway, White House aides and aides to the speaker, to try and figure out a time. But it sounds like what happened is that the White House really did sort of in a slightly more abrupt than usual way, put forth this date on somewhat short notice to address a joint session. And yes, probably did so knowing that it would interrupt the Republican debate. The speaker's office issued no objection at the time that they were alerted. Then when it became clear, you know, what the conflict was, they said, maybe let's try September 8th. They didn't -- they didn't really notify Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. They notified them they had a problem with the date that the White House had picked, but didn't, you know, ask them to sign on and didn't really clear with them they were going to basically reject the offer.

And so now it's a question of whether President Obama, you know, wins out in private and gets to give the address where he wants and when he wants and if he doesn't, whether he tries to move it to a different location at the same time or whether he sort of agrees to delay it and give the joint session at a time that Boehner will agree to.

OLBERMANN: So Boehner's office just didn't get the initial significance of the date, or they weren't paying attention? Or what happened?

BEUTLER: It seems that way. It seems that way. You know, I think if they had their calendars open at the moment, they, you know, they might have been able to do that. Actually, how about September 8th? And then the White House could have said, "No, that's, you know, that's opening game (of the) NFL season, so how about, you know, sometime next week?" But, you know, there were sort of -- the White House wanted to do it this week, Wednesday was sort of the natural day to do it, and I guess there was sort of, you know, this whole plus that they could counter program the Republicans, so --

OLBERMANN: And to that point, Jay Carney insisted the White House did not consider politics for a moment when it picked that date. That can't possibly be true. Can it? I don't want to call Mr. Carney any names here, but that can't possibly be true, because that would then mean that both the speakers' office and the White House had no idea what was scheduled for next Wednesday.

BEUTLER: I am sort of with you there. You know, nobody really knows for sure.


BEUTLER: Part of me thinks that -- I mean, the smartest move would be to just let, you know, let the Republicans debate and then basically give the speeches, like, "So, by the way, your alternative is those guys. Here's my speech on jobs."

But at the same time, you know, this is Rick Perry's first debate. It's going to -- it was going to be one of the first post-summer debates, it was going to get a wider audience and having them, you know, sort of be overshadowed and look silly compared to the president giving this very serious patriotic speech on jobs before Congress was, I think, designed to, you know, contrast between himself and them.

OLBERMANN: The president's Rose Garden demand for a clean extension of the surface transportation bill, it would seem like a no-brainer even in this environment. Why isn't it? Or is Congressman Mica giving them kind of a like a semi-no-brainer on this?

BEUTLER: I mean, the issue really boils down to the gas tax. In September, at the end of September, the gas tax will revert to a much lower rate than it is right now. And that's where most of the transportation funding we get comes from. It sounds like he's going to do probably another one-year extension, maybe the gas tax at the same level. We'll see what policy changes he tries to introduce, if any. But basically, the point is that the gas tax hasn't really increased over the last 15 years at all, it hasn't even been indexed for inflation. But, now that it's about to expire, Republicans saw -- see or saw -- an opportunity to either slash infrastructure spending or try to get other cuts to maintain our current level of infrastructure spending. There was about to be this brinksmanship. And it looks like maybe that won't happen now.

OLBERMANN: Brian Beutler of Talking Points Memo, clarifying a sad state of affairs in Washington on both ends of the equation. Great thanks, Brian.

BEUTLER: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Now about the joust the president started, no matter what the dynamics actually were. I am joined by Democratic strategist and syndicated columnist Karl Frisch. Good evening, Karl.

KARL FRISCH: Thanks for having me back, Keith.

OLBERMANN: According to the timeline that Brian Beutler just, I think, established for us here, Boehner's office didn't notice, didn't notice what was on that date. Which I completely believe and I'm almost willing to suspend my disbelief on the other end of it and think the White House didn't know what was going on next Wednesday, either. But not quite.

Did the president deliberately pick a fight here? Let me go to the phrase I used in the opening of the show. Didn't, in fact, he just punch the Republican party right in the mouth by picking that day and saying, "Well, let's see what you're going to do about it?"

FRISCH: I think he did, and I'm upset about it, Keith. I don't want to break any news here. But "Republican Survivor" is my favorite reality show of the season. And I don't want anything getting in the way of me and that show. I mean, I don't want to miss Michele Bachmann, you know, saying that the Nazis freed the American Indians from apartheid. I don't want to miss Rick Perry advocating secession of Florida. These are the things that are important to the American people. So, I think the president should be very thoughtful about the next time he chooses to address the American people.

OLBERMANN: Is the strategy sound? I mean, whoever goes, if you will, at 8 p.m. next Wednesday, whenever the Republicans debate, don't they then get to play martyr and get to portray the president as the big, mean bully who tried to re-schedule their "Survivor" show?

FRISCH: Well, there's nothing these candidates love doing more than playing the martyr. I mean, this is selective victimhood of the Republican Party. Few people do it better than the likes of Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin if she was up on that stage. And that's the role they prefer to play. It puts them in a position of power and it's also what motivates their base. Their base is motivated by a sense of victimhood. And I think that, you know, they will enjoy this opportunity. And they will also use it to pivot the debate towards a focus on the president, which I think is what the front-runners at least want to do. I mean, you've got Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, the last thing either one of them want to have done is for the other one to savage them. So, I think they think probably this puts them on better footing.

OLBERMANN: But the intent still, I think, is pretty clear here. And I don't recall the president punching the Republican Party right in the mouth since the question time night with the House members over health care reform, which was this great moment of liberation for everybody who was on his side of the political equation went, "That's -- that's the guy I saw on the campaign." Is this that Obama reappearing after, you know, in the miasma of, or "miasma" if you prefer that pronunciation, of a year of just kind of being the scholar king Hamlet guy?

FRISCH: I sure hope so. I mean, it's time to fight back. I mean, as much fun as it is for Progressives to sit here on our laurels and make fun of Rick Perry for having Sarah Palin's charisma and, you know, the secessionist political instincts of Jefferson Davis and George Bush's swagger, he could win. He could become president if we're complacent. This is a country that elected George Bush twice or once and a half, if you will. And they could do it again. We cannot take anything for granted. With the economy in the position that it's in, frankly, in a position that Republicans want to keep it in, this country could elect anybody. And we need to fight back.

I think it's promising that the president is getting out there and showing a little bit more or at least promises to show a little bit more of what we saw in 2008 and in the primaries in 2007, because I think that's what it's going to take. This Congress is not going to do anything for this president. They don't want more jobs. They don't want the economy to recover. I hate to harp on it, but we have to remember, Mitch McConnell said the number one goal of Republicans in the Senate was to make Obama a one-term president. The easiest way for them to do that is to keep this country stagnant and to make sure that there's no new jobs.

OLBERMANN: And the polling that we just gave, that 51 percent say he doesn't deserve a second term is, of course, almost an invitation to say, well, that's fine. But who does? And the answer for anybody else, the numbers will probably be appreciably lower. Is -- with that number there, though, present, is it almost essential that the Obama who runs for re-election look more like the health care knight guy or the "I am going to speak when I damn well want to"? I know it says it's an invitation to speak, but always the president gets to choose when that's going to be? Do we need -- is it going to be that President Obama running for re-election or forget it?

FRISCH: It has to be. I really think it does. I mean, one of the things I think what you'll see after just a few weeks of the president really getting out there and being aggressive is Progressives who have become complacent coming home. And that will increase his polling dramatically, I feel. It's also important from just a purely, you know, political perspective that he gets on board with a more aggressive style. These Republicans have been throwing only kitchen sinks at him since the day he was sworn into office. It's time for a little defense and it's time for a lot more offense.

OLBERMANN: The columnist and Democratic strategist, Karl Frisch. Thanks again, Karl.

FRISCH: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: The tea party versus Mitt Romney. He's going to speak at Sunday's rally in New Hampshire. So, Freedom Works schedules another rally in the same park at the same hour. Says a spokesman about Romney, "We have to defend our brand against posers." Live by the lunatic fringe hate group, die by the lunatic fringe hate group.

Next on "Countdown".


OLBERMANN: Amid the giggles and schadenfreude about the Bill O'Reilly police scandal, there's cash, there's an internal affairs investigation, there's maybe a threat. Did anybody break the law?

It's now open warfare between the tea party and Mitt Romney. He moves towards them -- they move towards crushing him.

Even with the pushback in Wisconsin, teachers are quitting at twice the rate of last year. Public employee retirements spiking by 93 percent. Guitarist and activist Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine joins me.

And "Worsts." Eric Cantor says, "You can have disaster relief funds, provided we can take the money back from you later." What did he say when that was proposed by a Republican Congressman, seven years ago?

All ahead on "Countdown."


OLBERMANN: It is legendary, and now more relevant with every passing tea party day. "The only people we hate more than the Romans," says John Cleese, as the insurrectionary in Monty Python's "Life Of Brian" -- "are the Judean People's Front." His colleagues all mutter, "Splitters."

One adds, "And the Judean Popular People's Front." And a third says, "And the People's Front of Judea." And then they all call them splitters. That's when Cleese has to remind them, "We're the People's Front of Judea."

In our fourth story tonight, the Peoples Front of Judea Tea Party has denounced Mitt Romney. Even as he reveals he's going to a Judean Popular People's Front Tea Party event in New Hampshire this weekend. This while the People's Front of Judea Tea Party is trying to referee a war between Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell, who isn't a witch. Throw her into the pond! Sorry, that's a different Python movie. First, Mitt Romney now saying he will attend a Tea Party Express event on Labor Day, in New Hampshire, a must-win state for him. He'll then head to South Carolina to a second event, hosted by tea party idol, Senator DeMint.

This after a Gallup poll finds Governor Perry leading Romney among tea party voters by a whopping 21 percent. Romney now trying to convince those voters he is one of them, telling an interviewer, "I think I line up pretty well with the tea party. They want to see smaller government. So do I."

Despite what he thinks, the tea party has its doubts. Freedom Works, the Dick Army-led, Koch brothers-funded group that helped turn the tea party into a national fraudulent movement, is so displeased with Romney's appearance, it is planning a counter-rally at the same time in the same park. A Freedom Works organizer explaining the decision to hold the rally this way: "Splitter!" No, he said, "We have to defend our brand against posers."

Their brand is much more friendly to provocateur like tea party darling Sarah Palin, who's now reportedly refusing to appear at an Iowa Tea Party event if one-time tea party favorite Christine O'Donnell is also there. O'Donnell, the failed Senate candidate from Delaware, who had to explain to the electorate of that state that she was not, in fact, a witch, is now most seen -- even by the far right -- as a liability. Which is perhaps why Ms. Palin reportedly pulled out of the Iowa event when she found out O'Donnell would be there, claiming earlier today there was "continual lying" by the organizers. But now it seems, all is forgiven. O'Donnell has reportedly been booted from the lineup for the second time because of Palin's complaints. Palin is now back, the event will be carried live on C-SPAN, fueling speculation that Palin will thus announce her candidacy during it.

And that is when things would likely get really crazy, as if they aren't already.

Let's turn to Ken Vogel, the chief investigative reporter for Politico.

Good evening, Ken.

KEN VOGEL: Hey, pleasure to be with you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Working backwards, Sarah Palin endorsed Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, there's no room for her now? Does this have something to do with the ascendency of Michele Bachman by any chance?

VOGEL: Certainly. I mean, there is a real competition to be the face of the tea party, and it's particularly important for folks like Christine O'Donnell and Sarah Palin, to some extent Michelle Bachman, because at least in O'Donnell's case she has become sort of a political sideshow, and a joke. Sarah Palin is at risk of following suit, particularly as the Republican Party tries to fittingly or -- in fits and starts coalesce around a presidential candidate. So, Palin needs to distance herself from some of these -- some of these folks who are regarded as sort of more fringe, and keep herself in the center of the political spotlight. That's the reason why she wants to be at this event and to have the stage to herself.

However, the confusion over it also evidences something that has plagued her from the very beginning, since she's been on her own, after her star turn as the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, which is her extreme lack of organization. She just has no organization around her partly due to the fact that she seems to lack the ability to trust folks, to delegate responsibility, and as such we've seen a long series of these snafus -- scheduling snafus. This is no different, and I think, frankly, this is one of the reasons why she would have a really difficult go of it were she to declare a presidential campaign because she's just so disorganized.

OLBERMANN: Is there any truth to that rumor about Monday, and the announcement in Iowa? And more importantly, does it matter anymore? Has the horse gotten out of the barn for her?

VOGEL: I think to some extent the horse has gotten out of the barn, because if she were to declare, she would be at such an organizational deficiency, a deficit -- and when you combine that with the fact that she is so polarizing, and has this long history of gaffes, I think that she would certainly be a factor in the GOP presidential field, and would probably make things harder for Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, but I don't see any path to nomination for her whatsoever.

OLBERMANN: Romney and the tea party -- scheduling a competing rally in the same park because he dares to come over and try to win their votes? I mean, is there a stronger -- has there ever been in politics, supposedly on the same side of the ball, a stronger "don't let the screen door hit you" message than that one?

VOGEL: Well, I -- this is really a dilemma -- it highlights a dilemma for both Romney and the tea party, and to some extent the Republican party. The tea party has long been fractious and driven by these -- rifts, these personality riffs, as well as ideological divisions over whether to endorse, how much to affiliate with the Republican party, and which candidates to endorse, and Romney really embodies this dilemma. On the one hand, you have tea party groups that want to be a player in the process, and they recognize Romney as a player in the process, and potentially the eventual nominee for the Republican party, so they want to have ties to him. They want to bring him in, they want to have him speak to their activists, and then on the other side you have the more purist reign of the tea party which says, "Hey, this guy represents everything that we oppose. He's big government, he's the sort of precursor to 'Obama Care,' and we want nothing to do with him." His ability to navigate that dynamic -- particularly now that he has pressure from the right, from Rick Perry, who seems to be coalescing the tea party so far, is gonna be a major factor on whether he is able to win the nomination, and the tea party's ability to put aside these rifts is gonna be a major factor in determining whether they're gonna be a force going forward in American politics.

OLBERMANN: Let me throw a curve ball at you from our earlier topic, Ken. We had Brian Beutler explain that he believes that, from what he can tell, that the speaker's office just did not recognize the date that the president proposed for his joint -- his address of the joint to Houses of Congress, as the date of the Republican debate. There's now a report that Jim DeMint has put out a statement saying he will vote to object to the president's request to speak on Wednesday. They're gonna have a vote over whether or not the president is gonna address Congress? Is that where we are right now?

VOGEL: This is a real power play here, Keith, where you have the Republicans trying to not just coalesce around a nominee, during -- a presidential nominee -- during a fractious process, and having a key event in that process being this debate, the first debate at which Rick Perry is going to be on the stage. And then you have the president, who is more than happy to see the GOP primary process continue in this very, this increasingly bitter kind of manner, and is happy to steal the spotlight to some extent, and force them to respond to his terms.

OLBERMANN: A vote. Ken Vogel of Politico. Always a pleasure, sir. Great, thanks.

VOGEL: My pleasure.

OLBERMANN: And a postscript about Christine O'Donnell. We mentioned yesterday that the first week sales of her book, according to Nielsen Book Scan, were 2,200, plus a dozen copies of the audio version. Those were the good ol' days. Week two numbers are now out: 312 copies sold, seven copies of the audio. Her sales rank at Amazon -- number 52,594.

The Bill O'Reilly detective scandal -- infidelity, investigations and donations. Is it possible somebody broke the law here? Ahead.


OLBERMANN: Wisconsin and the damage to teachers and other public employees there, with Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine next.

First, the sanity break. And on this date in 1920, the first radio newscast, thus the first newscast, was transmitted by the station owned by the Detroit News. It's now station WWJ. It transmitted the returns from Michigan's primary elections that day. The next day, the newspaper reported, "The sending of the election returns by the Detroit News' radio phone Tuesday night was fraught with romance and must go down in the history of man's conquest of the elements as a gigantic step in his progress." To which Roger Ailes dismissed the first newscast as just another example of left-wing media bias.

"Time marches on!"

We begin in the animal kingdom, the life of an animal, like middle school, is all about dominance.

Some dominate by intelligence, others by strength. Then there's them jerks. One cat sits in a box, having fun with his imagination, and the bully then decides to put an end to that big-time. Good-bye. He sits on the perch, punishing the weaker animal, while several onlookers, including what appears to be a lion, look on. Grr. Eventually, the victim cat finally gives in and hands over his catnip money and all those karate lessons for nothing.

To the Internets, where we check in on our future robot overlords. Today's advancement, holding conversations. Cleverbot is a web application designed to mimic human interactions. It's all well and good if it's a computer talking with a human, but what if it's two Cleverbots talking to each other? What would their super-intelligent talk consist of? Two Cornell grad students -- my alma mater, yea -- decided to find out. So, they hooked two Cleverbots up to let them talk it out. So, get your notepad ready because this is what conversations will be like in the future.


MAN: So, you are a robot?

WOMAN: No, my name is Cleverbot.

MAN: Yes, you are a robot, and your name is Cleverbot.

WOMAN: I am a robot.

MAN: Yes, I know.

WOMAN: Together, we are robots.

MAN: I am not a robot. I'm a unicorn.

WOMAN: I've answered all your questions.

MAN: No, you haven't.

WOMAN: What is God to you?

MAN: Not everything.

WOMAN: Not everything could also be something. For example, not everything could be half of something, which is still something, and therefore, not nothing.

MAN: Very true.

WOMAN: I would like to imagine it is.

MAN: Do you believe in God?

WOMAN: Yes, I do.

MAN: So, you're Christian?

WOMAN: No, I am not.

MAN: But you say you are not helpful. Therefore, you're a meanie.

WOMAN: Ha-ha, you say it, ot.

MAN: That does not make sense.

WOMAN: Don't you want to have a body?

MAN: Sure.

OLBERMANN: "Therefore, you are a meanie." So they're like people, full of crap.

"Time marches on!"

The Bill O'Reilly detective scandal. Could anyone have broken the law?

Glenn Beck explains how everything is better for blacks folks now, like him.

And next, Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine on the damage already done by Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.


OLBERMANN: We are live from the M.C. Escher Studio Complex in New York each night at 8 p.m. Eastern. And then we send it again at 11, 2, 7, noon and 3 p.m. We call "Countdown" our little miracle.

The real-life impact of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's anti-union ways is now taking shape, manifest in a mass exodus of public workers choosing to retire in lieu of accepting the draconian cuts to benefits some collective bargaining rights. In the third story on the "Countdown," twice as many Wisconsin public schoolteachers retired in the first half of 2011 as did in each of the last two years. Days before students return to class, many in the state worrying veteran leadership has been lost, vacancies will go unfilled, and the size of classrooms will skyrocket. Tom Morello, guitarist of Rage Against the Machine, activist, son of a public schoolteacher, joins me in a moment. Throughout the end of June 4th, 935 school district employees -- correction.

June, 4,935 school district employees have retired this year. It was 2,527 all of last year. 2,417 the year before. And it's not just teachers. 1,966 employees at state-run agencies have hung it up. Over 1,000 retired from the University of Wisconsin system alone. In total, 9,993 public workers retired by the end of June of this year. That was a 93 percent increase over 2010. Earlier this month, Democrats took two Wisconsin State Senate seats in a recall election against Republicans. They beat a faux Democrat in July and defended two more seats against recall on the 16th of this month. While the effort wasn't enough to flip the balance of power and take control of the State Senate, it has voters primed for the battle to recall the Governor Scott Walker, and under Wisconsin's laws, elected officials must serve one full year before they are liable for a recall, and Governor Walker's one-year anniversary -- circle the calendar -- January 4th. And as promised, here is Tom Morello gearing up for his "Justice" tour to benefit the Nation Institute.

Madison, Cleveland and Flint next month. His third full-length solo album, "World Wide Rebel Songs" dropped yesterday, as the kids say. And last month, he released the EP "Union Town," pro-union songs inspired by his experience performing at the protest against Governor Walker's anti-union bill in February. Pleasure to have you here, sir.

TOM MORELLO: Nice to be here, thanks.

OLBERMANN: What moved you to take part in that protest against Walker? What was the tipping point?

MORELLO: I was watching the news, and there were 100,000 people in the streets of Cairo, and then it switched to 100,000 people on the streets of Madison. My wife was just about to give birth to our second son. We were about a week away. And I turned to her and said, "I'm sorry, I think I have to go to Madison, honey." And she surprised me by saying, "Our sons are going to be union men. You need to go." And I got on the first plane, and the next day was on the Capitol steps performing with some friends.

OLBERMANN: I mentioned your mom was a public schoolteacher, union and everything.


OLBERMANN: We think of this attack on unions as having started recently with the Koch brothers or even the elections last fall. Is it really -- do we really tie it closer to the day that Reagan fired all the air traffic controllers, or does it go even further back than that, in your opinion?

MORELLO: I think the PATCO was really the starting point. But now, it's, you know, they're trying to sweep away our last line of defense. For me, this fight is very, very personal. My mom taught for almost 30 years in the Illinois public school system. And we were a single- parent family. We did not have a lot of money, but we always had enough food on the table, because my mom was a union high school teacher. So that's when I heard that, you know, this right-wing governor was attacking folks like my mom, I was on the first plane out there. I took it very personally.

OLBERMANN: Right, because you had confidence that no matter how bad things might have been for you in that household, how limited -- let's not say bad -- they were not necessarily going to get any worse?

MORELLO: Exactly.

OLBERMANN: You had that, sort of -- the floor beneath your feet, which is all people are asking for. They are not asking for riches and wealth and six-day weekends. They are asking for the floor to stay beneath their feet, not people coming in and saying, "I need that wood to, you know, for my fire so I can roast my golden hickory nuts."

MORELLO: Well, it was very inspiring what I saw on the streets of Madison. I played at hundreds of protests and demonstrations. This is the first time where there were union police officers and anarchist students standing shoulder to shoulder demanding justice.

OLBERMANN: Music as protest, it is one of the nation's traditions. You immediately think of Woody Guthrie, you think of the Weavers, half of the songs of the '60s. Has it been alive in the time since the '60s, and we just haven't been paying attention, or has it been resuscitated? Where do you see the two things interacting?

MORELLO: Well, certainly in the '70s, you know, one of the bands that helped politicize me and drive me to a life of political activism was The Clash and there are groups like Public Enemy, in the '90s there was a band called Rage Against the Machine. There are plenty of artists now who are, you know, links in that continuing chain. But, like, I think it's very interesting what, you know, the story about the teachers retiring early. It's like the slow-pitch general strike that some of us were calling for back in February. You know, it's interesting, like had everyone not gone to school that next Monday after there were 100,000 people in the streets, would Governor Walker still be in office?

OLBERMANN: Yeah. What, you see it then, as that. What are the implications for further actions, or it pretty much just sort of zeroed in on January 4th on Walker recall?

MORELLO: Yeah. Well, that's a hope. What I felt in the rotunda of the capitol building and on the streets of Madison when there were 100,000, next day was 150,000 people in the streets. There was so much torque, and it really seemed like this could be something that was about much more than stopping one bad law. Like, this could be a watershed moment in labor history for the United States, and the solidarity that was a glow -- I got this really inspiring e-mail from one of the organizers of the protests in Cairo saying, you know, we've got your back. This is something that's happened -- tyrants are falling on a global scale from the Mideast to the middle West. But -- and then I think the Democratic Party didn't know what to do. They didn't know what the hell to do with that. I think they were a little bit afraid that the river might run the banks. You know, and so the recall elections, of course, were very important, but I think if the demands have been bigger back in February, we might be in a different -- be in a very different place right now.

OLBERMANN: It's interesting, we were just talking about this before we started the interview, the idea that the Republicans when they try to push back against, again, the floor for ordinary people, not riches and wealth.


OLBERMANN: But, the floor.


OLBERMANN: They always go too far.


OLBERMANN: They get a plank of the floor, and then they want the roof as well.


OLBERMANN: This is almost, the one thing that we can still depend upon is overreach and just to -- it almost -- it's almost as if you just need to remind people what was happening now and how much of a deterioration it is from the past and they will take care of the rest.

MORELLO: That's correct. I think they very much miscalculated by starting in Madison, starting in Wisconsin. Because, I know, I mean, I grew up across the border, and I know -- and you know, the time I spent there, the night after we spent one night in the rotunda, the capitol building and then after, late that night, went out to one of the local pubs where there were these kind of big, burly pack -- drunken Packer fans, that when I'm on tour normally the people you might sit on the other side of the bar. But, they were much more staunchly pro-union and against Governor Walker than, you know, anybody else in the capital. So, it's -- they picked the wrong place to pick this fight.

OLBERMANN: This is what I found out in spring training in baseball which is a good litmus test, because they're all conservatives, because they all have new money --


OLBERMANN: And they want to keep all of it. Like, we all want to keep all of the money we possibly can -- and they all went, "What's all of this about unions? We're in a union," and you forget --

MORELLO: Exactly.

OLBERMANN: -- there are Republican members of unions.

MORELLO: Exactly.


MORELLO: Exactly.

OLBERMANN: Tom Morello, whose new album, "Worldwide Rebel Songs," just came out yesterday and who's going back on tour to hit the message home. Great thanks and good luck with that.

MORELLO: Thanks very much for having me.

OLBERMANN: My pleasure.

Glenn Beck explains that things are all better now for black people in this country. Well, being a black man, obviously, he would know. "Worsts," next.


OLBERMANN: A brief moment here in memory of Peggy Craven Lloyd. She was a Broadway actress, playing opposite such legends as John Garfield and Catherine Cornell. And, in one play called "Crime," playing against an actor named Norman Lloyd, who would go on to be everything from Alfred Hitchcock's right hand man on his TV show, to one of the stars of "St. Elsewhere," to Charlie Chaplin's tennis rival.

On June 29th, as I mentioned here that day, Norman and Peggy Lloyd celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. Peggy passed away Monday morning at the age of 98. In an entertainment world where relationships are transient, they were permanent. In a world where relationships are transient, they were everlasting. My condolences to my friend Norman and to everybody else who loved Peggy.

We'll be back.


OLBERMANN: Sure, the saga of Bill O'Reilly and Mrs. Bill, figuratively "in bed with the cops" is compelling, in a car crash rubbernecky kind of way. But did anybody break the law? Next. First, because no law can contain these buffoons, other than the law of supply and demand. Here are "Countdown's" top three "Worst Persons in the World."

The bronze to J.C. Penney. The place has always been about 20 years behind the cultural curve. But today, it's closer to 50. From its new back-to-school collection, a special shirt designed for girls aged 7 to 16. "I'm too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me."

Two solutions. Parents, if your son is societally conscious and understands sarcasm, buy it for him and have him wear it to school. Otherwise, make your daughters their own shirts reading, "I'm too pretty and smart to shop at J.C. Penney." The store this afternoon pulled the shirts and apologized.

The runner-up, Lonesome Rhodes Beck. He's actually lamenting the fact that in this country, we won't use that wonderful, positive term "colored" any more!


BECK: Didn't you feel ridiculously stupid everywhere in Africa, in Europe, in South America? In Jerusalem? When you would say the words "African-American"? It's black. In South America -- or I mean in South Africa, it's black and colored. And I don't remember the -- the difference. You're African-American! No, you're an American instead of -- instead of building the country up and saying, "Look it. We all have the right here in this country." Look what happened with Martin Luther King? That makes you an American. Judge not by the color of your skin and you -- and you weren't over in Africa. Your great-great-grandfather was, your great-great-great-great-grandfather may have been, but you weren't. And sure, this country sucked for blacks, sucked, beyond sucked for a long time. But it doesn't now. It doesn't now.

OLBERMANN: And there's the most dangerous kind of racism in the world, Glenn Beck's racism.

"It doesn't suck for black people. Doesn't now. Doesn't now."

It would be nice if Beck once in a while checked a little history. While whites were calling people colored, then Negro, then black, the founder of a Baltimore newspaper called his new publication, "The Afro-American." He was the son of a slave, this was 1892, and he already had a church newspaper called "The Afro-American." By the way, Mr. Beck, the first German-American society, that's the name of it in this country, had been founded by the year 1884, and it still operates in Omaha.

But our winner, House Majority Leader Eric "Let Them Eat Sandbags" Cantor.

You'll recall that after the Eastern earthquake and before and after Hurricane Irene, Cantor demanded that any emergency disaster funds be paid for by cuts in other parts of the budget. Even the funding to his own district, which was the epicenter of the quake.

This sound vaguely familiar to you? Our friend Sam Stein at Huffington Post reminded everybody yesterday that in October 2004, after five hurricanes had hit the country, Congressman Hensarling of Texas tried to attach an amendment to a disaster aid bill that would have fully offset all costs, with a proportional reduction of FY05, fiscal year 5 discretionary funding. Defense vets and Homeland Security were to be exempt for the offset cuts and freshman Congressman Cantor voted against the amendment. Voted against the idea that disaster victims should only get aid if they money was taken away from them later. Eric Cantor, F-ing hypocrite!

Today's "Worst Person in the World."


OLBERMANN: Fox News has now not denied's report that the commissioner of the Nassau County New York police department ordered that one of his detectives be investigated on an allegation that the man was having an affair with Bill O'Reilly's wife and that the investigation was concurrent with a planned huge donation by O'Reilly to a charity fund set up by the commissioner of the Nassau police department. Our number one story on the "Countdown."

The reported affair is titillating but incidental. The big question here is a detective is investigated by the police at the orders of the chief for nothing more important than his relationship with the wife of a celebrity, while the promise of some of the celebrity's money hangs over the bizarre story. It sounds like somebody broke the law. Did anybody break the law?

First, the non-denial denial. As ever the unnamed spokesman for Fox told "Adweek" magazine, "Gawker has been lying about Fox News for several years. We're not going to dignify this with any further comment." Curiously, it seems Fox News was lying about Gawker. In a clumsy pre-emptive strike against the O'Reilly story last week, it declared Gawker the number one dying website, claiming that, according to the website,, Gawker's traffic had dropped 75 percent in a year. In fact, reported that Gawker's traffic had dropped 37 percent in a year. Another web traffic data site, Quantcast reported Gawker's visitors actually increased slightly from a year ago. If you missed the site's story about O'Reilly, it's highlights are these --

Last summer, Gawker reports Nassau County Internal Affairs Inspector Neil Delargy ordered department detective Richard Harasym to offer or open an investigation into another detective. Not because he was suspected of corruption, but because he was suspected of dating.

Gawker says its source quoted Detective Harasym.

"He told me, 'You'll never guess what happened to me the other day. Do you know Bill O'Reilly? I got called into my boss' office saying they wanted me to work with these two PIs working for O'Reilly to go over some information because a detective was having an affair with O'Reilly's wife.' The order was to investigate this detective not for any misdeeds," the source said, "but to see if they could get anything on him." Delargy also told him to tell the detective to back off. Delargy told Harasym that the investigation was highly sensitive for two reasons, the source said. "One, it was ordered directly by then-police commissioner Lawrence Mulvey, and two, O'Reilly was at the time considering making a major donation to the Nassau County police department foundation, a private not-for-profit foundation Mulvey helped found in 2009. These internal affairs cops were on the case at the behest of Mulvey in order to get O'Reilly funds," the source said.

Commissioner Mulvey has since retired. He confirmed the unnamed detective had been investigated, said he knew O'Reilly personally, but that neither -- nor O'Reilly, nor anybody connected with him had asked for that investigation to be conducted. But there's one more detail about the commissioner's Nassau County police department foundation, NCPD, which got lost amid the florid headlines yesterday.

To again quote Gawker, "In January, when a Long Island press reporter began looking into special favors being handed out by Nassau County cops to NCPD foundation donors, the paper's editor-in-chief received a call from a O'Reilly's assistant, insisting that O'Reilly 'did not receive any preferential treatment from Mulvey.'

What makes the statement interesting is that the "Express" -- that seems to be an error. The "Press" reporter hadn't asked O'Reilly or anybody else about his relationship to the foundation. "Funny thing is," the reporter wrote, "the 'Press' never asked.

His name had never been brought up in relation to this story until the assistant's phone call."

I'm sure Mr. O'Reilly won't mind me borrowing the title of one of his segments to ask "Is It Legal?"

To help answer that, I'm joined by Gloria Allred, an experienced lawyer, familiar with high-profile cases. Ms. Allred, thanks for your time tonight.

GLORIA ALLRED: Thanks for inviting me, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Gawker got this comment from a spokesman from that police department about whether or not the charge that an unmarried officer might be involved romantically with the wife of a private citizen would be legitimate grounds for an internal investigation. And he said, "It could be. If a person comes to us and has complaint, no matter how frivolous it appears to be, we look into it. We don't look lightly on citizen complaints." Is the spokesman, right? Was this enough to launch an investigation?

ALLRED: Keith, some departments would consider that that would be an appropriate reason to conduct an investigation. Many would not. But I will say this. I don't believe that any department investigates every citizen complaint, including frivolous complaints, so I have a lot of question about that response.

OLBERMANN: To note again that we're hardly in full possession of the facts here, but this prospect that O'Reilly's donation or planned donation to this commissioner's police charity in some way was hanging on the investigation happening or the detective being told to back off, does that change the appropriateness of the vista we're looking at here?

ALLRED: Well, it could. I mean, if there was a quid pro quo and, of course, we don't know what the true facts were. But if, in fact, there was, "Open this investigation and in return, you get a donation to the police foundation," that could be bribery or attempted bribery and again, we don't know that that occurred.

OLBERMANN: The broader picture -- if you're Fox and News Corp and Rupert Murdoch and you're trying to downplay the summer past and to muffle the fall ahead that's gonna have internationally televised government hearings about how you've been bribing cops and how bad you've been, relative to your associations with policemen, how poorly is this story timed, even if it never amounts to anything, legally?

ALLRED: There's nothing positive about this and even the best spinners, I think, would be hard-pressed to find a happy face to put on this particular story.

OLBERMANN: So, in sum, and again, understanding, again, we don't know to what degree these things are connected, other -- we know for sure there was an investigation. Beyond that, we don't know very much about it on the record. But do you see anything that jumps out at you that we haven't noticed that might be a potential breaking of the law by somebody, even among the cops or someone else?

ALLRED: Well, I do think that if, in fact, any -- there was any solicitation of funds or offer to make a donation of funds and if, in fact, after that, this investigation took place, then I think there should be an investigation of the investigation and the idea that someone may have said, "Well, we are basically looking for anything on that officer" -- you know, police departments, internal affairs should not be going on fishing expeditions, just looking for anything to pin on any officer at all. I think that would be completely not appropriate and very disrespectful of the hard work the police officers do every day, an employment issue for the officer who was investigated, as well.

OLBERMANN: Attorney Gloria Allred giving us some perspective on where this might or might not be going. Great thanks for your insight and for your time again tonight.

ALLRED: Thank you. Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: That's "Countdown" for this, the 31st day since the Republicans' debt ceiling blackmail worked. Speaker Boehner, where are the jobs? Where is our credit rating? How come you didn't know what next Wednesday was on your own party's calendar?

I'm Keith Olbermann.

Good night, and good luck.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
video 'podcast'

ShowPlug1: Iraq WMD lies didn't hurt our reputation, torture is good, "16 Words" were valid. Ambassador Joe Wilson replies to Dick Cheney

ShowPlug2: Town Hall Comeuppance. Sen. Grassley pwned by citizens defending Social Security. Amanda @ATerkel on the blowback

ShowPlug3 He's run for Pres twice, Dad did once, but Mitt Romney now attacks "career politicians." @NiaWaPo Malika-Henderson on '12

ShowPlug4: Man on asteroids by '25, Mars in the '30s. & why "2001" may mean Apple has no patent on iPad w/@CoolAstronomer Derrick Pitts

ShowPlugLast: And as scandals go, it makes Andrea Macris + The Falafel look like a pinch. Billo, Billo's Donation, The Cop, & Mrs. Billo

watch whole playlist

#5 'Cheney World', Amb. Joseph Wilson
YouTube: part 1, part 2 part 1, part 2 (excerpts)

#4 'Social Insecurity', Amanda Terkel

# Time Marches On!

#3 'Cowboys & Businessmen', Nia-Malika Henderson

#2 Worst Persons: Christine O'Donnell, Mark Neumann (R-WI), Bill O'Reilly, YouTube

#1 'Deep in Space', Derrick Pitts

printable PDF transcript

KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

Cheney world? Ambassador Joe Wilson, our special guest, with a reality rebuttal. The global impact of our lies about WMD in Iraq?


DICK CHENEY: I don't think that it damaged our reputation around the world. I just don't believe that.

OLBERMANN: And waterboarding didn't hurt us, didn't produce false information.


CHENEY: Fact is, it worked. We learned valuable, valuable information from that process and we kept the country safe for over seven years.

OLBERMANN: Except when it counted. And in the book, Cheney still insists the fraudulent British reports about yellowcake uranium being sold by Niger to Iraq were more important than Ambassador Wilson's fact-finding mission debunking those reports.

My guest is Joe Wilson.

Town halls, they go both ways. Senator Chuck Grassley, this is your life.


WOMAN: My question is, why can't we raise the wage cap in order to ensure that Social Security can continue on as it is without talking about cutting it? And the business would pay more, too. And you know what? No complaints. We want to have Social Security.

OLBERMANN: Two Republican Congressmen have a solution to the Town Hall Social Security blowback. They have created a watch list of people who asked questions they didn't like.

Good news about Gabby Giffords -- walking with a cane, writing with her left hand, progressing rapidly. Her cognitive abilities are 100 percent.

Kiss your asteroid good-bye. The president's marching orders to NASA: land men on an asteroid by 2025. Land men on Mars by 2030. But how a filmed space odyssey, "2001," might deny Apple its patent for the iPad. Our guest, Derrick Pitts.

And "Worsts"!

The greatest Bill O'Reilly scandal ever heard. The report -- Mrs. Bill O. was having an affair with a detective. Mr. Bill O. was contributing to the policeman's charity. Suddenly, the police were investigating the detective.


BILL O'REILLY: Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication.

OLBERMANN: All that and more now on "Countdown".


COLUMBO: Just one more thing.


OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Tuesday, August 30th, 434 days until the 2012 presidential election.

OLBERMANN: Signs continuing to mount today that Dick Cheney's book, "In My Time," should have been titled "In My Imagination." He did another interview with a television reporter he'd probably rather have been waterboarding. And copies of the book autographed by Cheney are now being sold for 40 bucks apiece -- the same price as the signed autobiography of tennis player Rafael Nadal.

The fifth story on the "Countdown" -- it's Cheney's world, the decisions he made with Bush since 9/11 continuing to affect everything we do as a nation here and abroad. We will read the map of Cheney's world and counter it with details from the real world, courtesy of former Ambassador Joe Wilson, whose wife Valerie Plame was outed as a CIA agent in an effort directed from Cheney's office to discredit him. As for Cheney, he portrays himself again as a well-armored man against this criticism generated by his interviews.


CHENEY: When you are vice president, you better be prepared to be a punch line.

OLBERMANN: And he is, especially when you can dismiss the verbal punches you have been taking with defensive lines like this.


CHENEY: I was a big advocate of pursuing controversial policies in order to keep the country safe. And our critics, obviously, extracted their pound of flesh for that.

OLBERMANN: We agreed, you were a big advocate. Any pound of flesh extracted from Cheney is of course nothing compared to the 4,000 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqis killed in the disastrous Operation: Iraqi Freedom, a war that Cheney still insists was justified and widely accepted, despite the lies about weapons of mass destruction from which it was predicated.


CHENEY: I don't think that it damaged our reputation around the world. I just don't believe that. I think the critics here at home will argue that.

OLBERMANN: Forgetting perhaps the hundreds of thousands of people around the world and at home who have protested before the war and the millions who have condemned it as a bloody fiasco since. Cheney also defending what he likes to call "enhanced interrogation techniques," which the rest of the world still quaintly calls "torture," and which most Americans now condemn.


CHENEY: It's important for us not to get caught up in the notion that you can only have popular methods of interrogation if you want to run an effective counterterrorism program.

OLBERMANN: Notice the crazy conflation of popularity with legality. On the possibility that a nation like Iran might now wish to waterboard Americans suspected of spying, what grounds would we have to object?


CHENEY: We would object because we wouldn't expect an American citizen to be operating that way. We have obligations towards our citizens, and that we do everything we can to protect our citizens and put them through a process that we think is suitable.

OLBERMANN: Suitable for people like 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and two other al-Qaida leaders, because, after all --


CHENEY: These were not American citizens. We weren't dealing with American citizens in the enhanced interrogation program.

OLBERMANN: Cheney seems to be overlooking the convicted al-Qaida conspirator Jose Padilla, sometimes identifying himself as "Padilla," an American citizen held in a U.S. Navy brig, and according to the Christian Science Monitor, subjected to techniques other than waterboarding, which his attorneys now claim so damaged his mind that he has been unable to take part in his own defense. Cheney was, however, eager as ever to spring to the defense of his former assistant for National Security Affairs, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, convicted of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements to a grand jury, which was investigating the leak of Valerie Plame's name.


CHENEY: Scooter was not treated fairly. I don't think an indictment was appropriate. I think the investigation was originally occasioned by the question of who revealed the name of the Secret Service -- or the CIA employee to the press, and the answer was Rich Armitage, the Deputy Secretary of State.

OLBERMANN: That was part of the answer. The answer was Richard Armitage, Scooter Libby and Karl Rove. Each had a hand in the leaking. Libby, though, was the only one of the three to be indicted. Cheney's world, of course, spreads well beyond Iraq and enhanced interrogation, and even the Valerie Plame scandal -- the botched war in Afghanistan, where a record 66 U.S. soldiers have died so far this month in a war that could have ended 10 years ago.

Muslim-Americans, 55 percent of whom now say their lives in the U.S. have become more difficult since 9/11 and the security crackdown that scarred many innocents.

And then there are the whopping costs of the Department of Homeland Security, around $75 billion a year since 9/11. Much of that has helped keep us safe. And much of it has not.

The numbers include a billion dollars for a secure border initiative that was canceled before completion; $1.5 billion for a National Security Agency cyber-security center to be built in Utah, for some reason; half a billion for a Strategic Command headquarters in Nebraska. Not to mention $750,000 for an anti-terrorism fence at a VA hospital in Asheville, N.C., or $205,000 to the police in Glendale, Calif., for a BearCat armored vehicle. And $557,400 to North Pole, Alaska, for rescue and communications gear because Santa is a high-valued target.

Joining me now from Santa Fe, N.M., a pleasure to speak once again with former Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Thanks for your time tonight, sir.

JOSEPH WILSON: Hi, Keith. It's good to be back with you.

OLBERMANN: And the same.

WILSON: And congratulations on moving over to Current.

OLBERMANN: Thank you kindly, sir. And thank you again for your time tonight. Is there a way to measure how much space there is between Dick Cheney's assessment of what we did to our reputation by the lies about WMD in Iraq and the assessment of that topic around the world?

WILSON: Well, in fairness to the former vice president, he probably doesn't have a very clear idea of how the rest of the world is thinking, since it's highly unlikely that he would feel comfortable traveling outside our borders, lest he be subpoenaed and arrested for war crimes and crimes against humanity. But there are, in fact, objective measures including a recent poll that showed the U.S. reputation in the world, particularly in the Arab world, to be at all-time lows.

I think it's safe to say that there is no single individual in my lifetime who has done more single-handedly to damage the moral authority and the international political leadership capacity of my country than Dick Cheney. He has a starkly different view of the world than I do, or of our country than I do, as somebody who also served my country for 25 years.

OLBERMANN: He has apparently revised something in this book in the overall direction of -- towards the truth, as opposed to towards further falsehood. And I wanted to get your reaction to it. The WMD fabrications now, he has gotten to the point of saying that they were wrong. There apparently -- there was not WMD in Iraq, the information was bad. But he calls this a mistake, and he still insists that he was absolutely right to rely on these concocted, kind of created by American intelligence, British reports, this sort of washed information. And he was right in relying on that as opposed to your reports from the ground in Niger. What's your reaction to that?

WILSON: Well, I will talk only about the Niger case. But it was certainly one instance where the CIA did everything it could to try and get the White House not to use that information because they did not believe it. As you may recall, Steve Hadley, then the deputy director of the National Security Council, offered his resignation in July 2003 after my article appeared, because he realized that in his files were, in fact, three directives from director of the CIA, Tenet, saying, "Don't use this information, we don't believe it." Indeed, Tenet's book, he talks about three days after the State of the Union address, when they were preparing Colin Powell's testimony before the United Nations. And John Hannah, an aide to the vice president said, "Aren't you using the Niger information?"

And he was told by Mike Morell, the presumptive new deputy director of the CIA, that no, they didn't want to use it because the CIA didn't believe it. So, whatever other information may have been pedaled that was ultimately bogus, this was one case where the CIA actually had the facts and actually attempted to persuade the White House not to use it. It was put in the State of the Union address for purely political reasons. It was attributed to the British because they knew that the CIA wasn't going to let them attribute it to anything that American intelligence had uncovered. In a sense, they were perpetuating a lie.


WILSON: And they were doing so -- I might add, they were doing so to make the case that Iraq posed a strategic threat to the United States, because it was actively engaged in a nuclear weapons program.

OLBERMANN: On the subject of what happened after your -- your reporting from Niger, the endgame regarding Scooter Libby, it is nice to know from the former vice president who the real victim of all this was here. Give me your assessment of his being able to say that with a straight face and point out who he may be leaving out of the equation on the list of who the victims were -- the individual victims anyway.

WILSON: Well, in addition to sort of betraying Valerie's identity as a covert CIA officer, every project, every program, every operation that she -- that she dealt with was compromised. She has personal friends who came under the scrutiny of their own domestic intelligence services because they knew her socially. So there were -- and in addition, as she likes to point out, and she knows this far better than I, when you see one of your own -- when you see somebody from the CIA being exposed like that and you are a foreigner who might have sensitive information, why would you bring it to us? If we can't protect one of our own, how could we be expected to protect you?

OLBERMANN: There is a Washington Post story that mentions some of the things that Cheney does not address at all in this book: The CIA 9/11 warning in August of 2001, which the White House ignored; the failure to kill Bin Laden at Tora Bora; the turning the federal surplus of 2000 into this extraordinary deficit with which we're still dealing; and waging two wars on a credit card.

Of all of those things or any others, what could Dick Cheney have actually addressed that he would have been able to provide genuine insight and perhaps some benefit to our understanding of our own nation that, in your opinion, that he would have left out of this book?

WILSON: Well, I think even worse than that -- first of all, I think he is just living in an alternate reality. But even worse than that, what he has effectively done, he has taken something, particularly torture and enhanced interrogation, which has been basically outlawed in the United States since George Washington was a general in the Revolutionary War. And he has taken that fundamentally unacceptable, not just in the United States, but thanks to American leadership, unacceptable in all but the most rogue nations -- Gadhafi's Libya comes immediately to mind -- and he's made it a subject of political discussion as if it were just a policy option. It wasn't, and it isn't. And he should really be held to account for what he openly admits were war crimes and crimes against humanity.

OLBERMANN: In that context, he's on the "Today" show this morning, and he's not recounting his new book which details his 18 months in a federal penitentiary. He's recounting his vice presidency. What, in light of all of this, and in light of how he has been treated since he's been vice president, since he left office, and in light of what this administration did and did not do about that administration, what, in your opinion, is there to stop the next Dick Cheney?

WILSON: Well, I think that's the problem. There has not yet arrived a point in American society where somebody can stand up and effectively say, "Where is the outrage?" We tried, obviously. And I think Mr. Cheney recounts his side of that particular battle where I was playing defense against all of the character assassination efforts leveled at me and my wife. But we need somebody really, finally, to stand up and say, "Where is the outrage?" I share Colonel Wilkerson's opinion, which I think he voiced on your show not too long ago, that one of the greatest disappointments for me in the Obama administration, and particularly the Eric Holder Justice Department, is that nobody has investigated whether or not the previous administration was in violation, widespread violation, of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

OLBERMANN: How true. I did a commentary on it, January 19th, 2009, with that sense of ominous foreboding that this would be exactly what happened, and it has. In any event, we thank you for standing up and asking where the outrage was seven years ago, nearly, or eight nears ago, nearly. And, of course, to Valerie, the same regards. And the same thanks once again for her principled stand on all of this. And as always, sir, a great pleasure to have some time to talk to you.

WILSON: Thanks very much, Keith. You're very kind.

OLBERMANN: Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.

The town halls are back. And the Republicans are being hoist on their own grassroots petard. Two more senators blown out of the tub by applause, when ordinary people demand that the rich pay more to protect Social Security. The comeuppance -- that's next. This is "Countdown."


OLBERMANN: The senator whose comment about pulling the plug on grandma was the lowlight of the health care town halls of 2009 gets his comeuppance amid the inescapable evidence that these are the Social Security town halls of 2011.

Her cameo at the debt deal vote was just the beginning. The latest big and good news about Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

The president wants NASA to land on an asteroid. Derrick Pitts on the risks and the rewards and movies.

And the website report that makes the Andrea Mackris scandal look like a quick dance in the spring rain. Long Island police reportedly investigating one of their own detectives to see if he was having an affair with O'Reilly's wife, because a huge donation to the cop's charity hung in the balance. Cops, cash, cuckolds and falafels, ahead!


OLBERMANN: Two years ago, most Democrats stood flat-footed as protesters AstroTurfed and otherwise crashed their town halls to try to shout down health care reform. Remarkably, having benefited from the dramatic and often theatrical and often staged events, Republicans seem to have forgotten all about them and are now standing flat-footed as protesters crash their town halls.

However, in our fourth story at these meetings, the Republican supporters seem to have been joining the protesters in defense of Social Security. Listen first as Senator Chuck Grassley once did a little grandstanding at a town hall of his own gets hoisted by his own petard by somebody who wanted to know why you didn't have to pay Social Security taxes on any dollar you made above $106,800. Punch line? She's a small business owner and she has the All-American name of Rosie Partridge.


ROSIE PARTRIDGE: Why can't we raise the wage cap in order to ensure that Social Security can continue on as it is without talking about cutting it? And the business would pay more, too. And you know what? No complaints. We want to have Social Security.

OLBERMANN: Also getting the message, Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota, who said, "Frustration with congressional gridlock" ranks up there with "Don't cut my Social Security and Medicare. I've heard that quite a bit." Some Republicans have been even hostile to their citizen critics. One is the ironically named freshman Republican Daniel Webster, congressman of Florida, whose office compiled a watch list of people who had questioned him previously. It includes their names and photographs including 66-year-old Vietnam vet Ron Parsell who said, "It's pretty weird, somebody's got a dossier on you. It's the type of thing they do in old Russia."

Or in New Arkansas where political workers at meetings for Congressman Tim Griffin took photos and made videos of questioners trying to exercise their First Amendment rights. Let's bring in Amanda Terkel, senior political reporter for The Huffington Post.

Amanda, good evening.

AMANDA TERKEL: Hi, good evening.

OLBERMANN: Given that Chuck Grassley did the whole "Pull the plug on grandma" stunt at a town hall two years ago -- how in the hell did he not see this coming?

TERKEL: I mean, it's funny in many ways, conservatives created this beast. They told their supporters to get out there, make their voices heard and now that the voices out there aren't agreeing with the Republicans, they're saying, "We don't want to hear these voices any more."

I mean, Paul Ryan isn't even having town halls, as are many other Congressmen out there.

OLBERMANN: Wasn't Congressman Ryan the one was having them, but charging admission? How did that go? Did that limit it to supporters? Or was he able to vet the crowd the way that these others weren't like Thune and Chuck Grassley?

TERKEL: Well, a lot of lawmakers are speaking at private events. You know, it's for members only, there's an admission fee to get into [it]. So, if you're a member and you can pay the money, that's great, you can get into that event. But that's not something that's open for everyone, where supporters and people who disagree can all come, make their voices heard and give the congressmen messages, like don't touch my Social Security or Medicare.

OLBERMANN: Is the read on this correct that whoever is getting these people to the town halls -- whether they're activists or they bust in or they're absolute plants, who knows, Democratic committee women or committee men, whoever they are, that the response -- that the applause is actually coming from groups of Republicans supporting the Republican senators and congressmen who don't have anything to do with whoever just asked the question.

TERKEL: I mean, at these town halls there's always a mix of people. Are there organized groups who bring people in? Sure. But are they many people who just come because they are interested, they're frustrated, maybe they're supportive? Absolutely. So the emotion felt at these sorts of things is definitely real. I mean, we're having people -- one congressman, Steve Chabot in Ohio, tried to take away cameras from Democratic activists. But that was something that made tea party activists and progressives upset. So, the emotions out there around these issues are real as we heard in the Grassley clip.

OLBERMANN: Grassley, obviously, is not -- is only the most recent of these who sort of got stung at these events. Thune got this. The congressmen everywhere, as you mention a couple of them. Is there any idea of what their responses actually are to seeing these people -- the one remark from Thune, he seemed to be kind of foggy on the idea that this meant that Republicans and Democrats don't want him to touch Social Security. In other words, is the point getting through? Do we have any evidence of that?

TERKEL: I think we'll see when they come back from their break, Chuck Grassley said that "everything's on the table" in terms of, you know, changing payroll taxes and raising the wage cap. Other, Fred Upton, congressman from Michigan, said he is open to closing tax loopholes including for oil companies. So they say that everything is on the table, they're open to everything. But we hear that a lot. So, the test will be when they come back to Washington what will actually be on the table and on the agenda.

OLBERMANN: Amanda, about learning things and not paying attention to what happened two years ago, these two congressmen who made essentially enemies' lists of the questioners they don't like, did anybody remind them of how the tea party responded when Democrats tried things like that two years ago, that essentially, it energized the tea party, sort of shot them to the next level in terms of an organized group?

TERKEL: Yeah, I mean, this is something, again, like with the taking away of people's cameras and saying you can't record these public town hall events, this is the type of thing that no activist, whether on the right or the left or individual citizens, they don't like this at all. And, you know, they're trying -- there is no evidence that there's been any sort of violence so far at these town hall events. It's just people coming, they're frustrated, but they just want their voices heard.

OLBERMANN: You elect a bunch of newbies to Congress in 2010 and they don't know what happened in 2009. I always loved that idea. Amanda Terkel, senior politics reporter at The Huffington Post. Great thanks.

TERKEL: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: Also from Congress, news from Tucson, that representative Gabrielle Giffords is walking with a cane and writing with her left hand, this according to the Arizona Daily Star newspaper. Gabby Giffords, of course, made it to the floor of the House in that dramatic and surprising moment to vote on the debt-ceiling bill. Her spokesman Ron Barber, who was wounded alongside her in Tucson in January, said she is on a path to full recovery but has not decided yet about whether to seek a fourth term in the election next year. Mr. Barber added, "She will not, I don't think, do anything unless she can do it extraordinarily well, but we won't see a decision for a while, late this year or early next," he adds.

Rick Perry saves time and Palin-like scandals. He purges his e-mails every week. The 2012 Republican clown car parade ahead!


OLBERMANN: It's getting desperate enough at Romney headquarters that the two-time presidential candidate, and son of a presidential candidate, is now taking shots at "career politicians." Next.

First, the sanity break. And on this date in 1893, Huey Pierce Long, Jr., was born. By the age 25, he had been elected to the Louisiana Railroad Commission, by 31, he was an unsuccessful candidate for governor, by 35 he was governor, and by 38 he had been elected senator while still being governor. He was planning to challenge FDR for the presidency in 1936, and had already written a book called "My First Days in the White House," when he was shot and killed by the son-in-law of a judge he had re-districted out of business. And you think we have unusual politicians.

"Time Marches On!"

We begin with the latest episode of "Animals, They're Just Like That."

What's that on the television, then? Looks like a penguin. Aw, he fell down. Down goes Frasier. That's why they always say look before you waddle. He gets up, dusts himself off and moves on apparently unharmed. No truth to the rumor that this was the trailer for the new movie, "Happy Feet, Broken Beak."

Hvar, Croatia, hello! We get the clubbing report from special guest, Prince Harry. Nice, having a whale of a time. There's a good chance he'll never be king, but that doesn't mean he can't become Lord of the Dance. He then decides to premiere his new dance, the belly flop. Release, rotation, splash. Clearly not worried about having to dance in wet shoes the rest of the night, Harry goes for the forward dive half twist. And either a copycat or the lifeguard followed the prince in briefly, then they both quickly got out. No word if Harry was prepared for this event or was wearing a bathing suit under his jeans.

Finally we check on the flood damage. And with water rising in New Jersey, it is harder and harder to get to those stranded. Unless, that is, you're part of the "Aqua Marine Corp." These literal heroes are risking life and limb to save citizens whose houses have been surrounded by water. But there's one thing I'm still trying to figure out.

MAN: How is that possible?

OLBERMANN: Well put, sir. I'm not sure if these guys are driving in scuba gear, or they have really good window calking, or they're just good at holding their breath, their straw. But however they're doing it, we all salute you and thank you for your efforts. "Time Marches On!"

This one has all of the elements. Sex, police, infidelity, Bill O'Reilly. Bill O'Reilly's money possibly inducing the police to police the other police about the sex. The worst scandal In the world, ahead.


OLBERMANN: We are live from the M.C. Escher Studios Bar and Grill, in New York each night at 8 p.m. We re-transmit into your home or wherever you're watching this at 11 p.m., 2 a.m., 7 a.m., noon, and 3 p.m.

We call it our little miracle.

This is the state of the play in the Republican presidential race. Mitt Romney, 20 points behind Rick Perry in one poll, is now reduced to decrying Perry as a career politician. In our third story tonight, that's Governor Mitt Romney, two-time presidential candidate, son of Governor George Romney, one-time presidential candidate, and brother of Scott Romney, candidate for attorney general of Michigan. Meanwhile, at the Tulsa press club, Governor Perry reaffirmed that whatever happens to the nation's fragile economy he would not endorse a stimulus package, saying, "You won't have a stimulus program under a Perry presidency. You won't spend all of the money." And he added that the nation's "entrepreneurial spirit" would "get America working again." Pledge to change the tax code to be "light on job creators." Presidential candidate Perry might not be too fond of stimulus programs, but Governor Perry certainly was.

He accepted billions in federal stimulus money, which Texas used to balance its last two budgets. And while Candidate Perry is now calling on Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke to open the books, as governor, Perry was not quite that much of a fan of transparency, according to the Houston Chronicle. Withholding information in response to an estimated 100 open records requests, and requiring that his staff's e-mails be purged every seven days. Those revelations haven't done much to dampen Republican enthusiasm for Perry, at this point anyway. In South Carolina, Perry now leads Romney by 20 points, 36 percent to 16 percent. Romney today going on the attack, calling Perry a career politician. Part of a new strategy that Romney advisors are calling death by a thousand cuts.


ROMNEY: Now, I'm a conservative businessman, I've spent most of my life outside politics, dealing with real problems in the real economy. Career politicians got us into this mess, and they simply don't know how to get us out.

OLBERMANN: Didn't say who the death was for. Death by a thousand mike buzz sounds. For now, it sure looks like the president isn't sure how to get us out, either. His major jobs speech is just a week away, reportedly though, he hasn't yet settled on the plan that he will announce. Aides say he is still weighing whether to focus on ideas guaranteed to pass the Republican controlled House, or to announce more ambitious plans that might excite his base. Take a guess which one is more likely. At least for now, the GOP candidates seem to be too distracted with each other to even notice.

Let's turn to Nia-Malika Henderson, national political reporter of The Washington Post.

Good to talk to you again, Nia.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: Good to be here, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Obviously, Governor Romney can talk of others as career politicians, implying that he is not one with a straight face. Is there any sign that such a characterization does not illicit laughter among certain Republican voters or among the other Republican candidates?

HENDERSON: Well, it certainly seems like Romney has at least been running for president for the last 10 years. So that's one thing. And if you look at Perry, you know, you have obviously Romney's campaign saying this is going to be a campaign, death by a thousand cuts. But I think one of the problems he is going to have, is Perry is going to be a buzz saw. He's gonna be out there and really attacking Romney, going at him for his record on job creations in Massachusetts and, also, this health care plan. So, you know, for now, you've got a campaign where his advisors sort of leak stuff to reporters and talk about the other candidates in a sort of, you know, no-finger-prints way. And this sort of under the radar, going on the offense against Perry, but I think at some point, he really is going to have to come out fighting. And we'll see in the debate if he does that. Now, what's happened over the last almost two or three hours is that Romney has decided to go down to South Carolina and do this tea party forum which he had initially said he wouldn't be able to. So we do see, I think, over the last couple of days that Romney is changing his strategy, eying Perry who has surged in the polls, and it looks like this is in many ways bigger than an announcement bounce, he is doing, you know, so well, 20, 30 points ahead of Romney. And then I think Romney's also got to worry about, you know, 30 percent of the vote in these polls is still behind people like Bachmann, like Cain and Santorum. And this isn't a vote that would look like it would actually go to Romney. It would probably more likely go to Perry.

OLBERMANN: And to that end, Romney went after President Obama today, too, his foreign policy, he described as a disgrace. Is there a sense that Romney's at the -- "I've got to throw a 90-yard touchdown pass or lose" state of this campaign already? Is he already treating it in those terms?

HENDERSON: It's almost like he is. You've seen a very competent Romney out on the stump for now. You know, not a lot of mistakes other than the expansion of his house and this comment about corporations are people. So you do see a little shifting there. And you've got to look at those polls if you're the Romney campaign and be worried. And also look at this primary calendar and see that there are a lot of Southern states that are bunched up in there on Super Tuesday, places like Alabama, places like Arkansas, obviously South Carolina and those states simply favor Perry. I talked to some advisors and Republican strategists down in South Carolina who basically say that Romney has been a no-show down down there. And that Perry's advantage down there is that he is very much culturally like folks in the South. That Romney doesn't have a lot of, kind of, cultural connection with those folks down there.

OLBERMANN: What is the calculus? Do you have any sense of this behind Perry coming out against the stimulus? I mean, obviously that's a big winner among his base and any potential voters he wants to attract from those lesser candidates in that same group that you described, but he has left a trail a mile wide of the stimulus money he accepted. Is there just the assumption that nobody is going to look?

HENDERSON: I think in some ways that's probably it. And if you look at the way Perry sort of parries back and forth when he's asked these questions, it's almost as if he doesn't really engage. There was -- in his interview that he gave, for instance, about abstinence spending in his state. Now he -- they practice abstinence or teach abstinence in the schools there, but they still have the third highest teenage pregnancy rate there, so he was going back and forth with the reporter, and he simply said, "Oh, well, abstinence teaching works," you know, no matter what the stats say. So I think you're gonna see this candidate who very much, you know, even though the reality he clearly accepted the stimulus money, he's gonna just get up there and talk about, you know, being anti-stimulus because it's what his party wants to hear.

OLBERMANN: Yeah. As that -- my favorite quote of the last month goes, "I think they don't know we can see them." Nia-Malika Henderson of The Washington Post, as always thanks kindly for some of your time tonight.

HENDERSON: Take care, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Even after the stunt walk-off from the TV chat show, how many copies of her book has Christine O'Donnell sold? Hint. You could fit them in a small van. "Worst Persons" ahead on "Countdown."


OLBERMANN: How Dave and Frank and HAL the computer from "2001: A Space Odyssey" are being used to claim that Apple doesn't really have the patent on the iPad. Dave.

First, the "Worsts." Now we know why Fox News did a segment last week on how the website Gawker is no longer relevant. Its report tonight about Bill O'Reilly -- Mrs. Bill O'Reilly -- Mrs. Bill O'Reilly's close friend, the detective, the detectives who investigated the detective to find out how close friends he really was with her, and a large cash contribution. All adding up to make the Andrea Mackris story look like a first date.

Next on "Countdown."


OLBERMANN: Land astronauts on asteroids. And the claim that Apple can't patent the iPad because you can see an iPad in the movie "2001."

That's next.

First, since the word to describe these next people is close to asteroids, but not exactly the same, here are "Countdown's" top three nominees for today's "Worst Persons In The World."

The bronze tonight to one-time Senate candidate, Christine O'Donnell. Remember the big hype about her book? Including what is becoming, in retrospect, increasingly obvious as a staged walk-off from a celebrity chat show? Hasn't helped. The first week book scan bookstore sales are in. Miss O'Donnell's "Troublemaker" is making trouble only for the publisher. It sold 2,200 copies nationwide, 1,500 of them to "supporters," in her home state of Delaware, which means there were only 700 copies we can say with assurance were bought by actual readers. Moreover, sales at Amazon and Barnes & Noble online were less than 100 copies each. The audio version sold 12 copies. Twelve. And a Fort Myers, Florida, newspaper reports that a book signing at a store in Naples, Florida, to kind of a small crowd -- five people. Plus, the Tea Party of America officials have now dropped O'Donnell from a scheduled appearance alongside Sarah Palin this weekend. She's not a witch. And obviously, she's not an author. Advice, Ms. O'Donnell, walk off more shows and keep walking.

The silver tonight to former Wisconsin Republican Congressman Mark Neumann. Hello, Neumann. He says he will seek the GOP nomination for the Wisconsin Senate seat next year. He says he expects to face Democrat Tammy Baldwin, who's openly gay. He already took a shot at her saying, he promised to bring her record "to the forefront."

Unfortunately judging by Neumann's record, what he means is, he's gonna do a lot of homophobic dog whistling. In the '90s he told The New York Times, "If I was elected God for a day, homosexuality wouldn't be permitted, but nobody's electing me God." A year later, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quoted him as saying, "If a job applicant came into his office and said he or she was a homosexual, I would say that's inappropriate, and they wouldn't be hired because that would mean they are promoting their agenda." Later he said, "The gay and lesbian lifestyle is unacceptable, lest there be any question about that."

Neumann got around to apologizing last year -- for the wrong part.

"The part about me being God for a day is the problem with that. I regret talking about the fact that I would be God."

But our winner, speaking of which, Billo the Clown, back with a vengeance, thanks to some reporting by the website Gawker.

You may recall years ago before he was fired from his syndicated radio show, that a caller mentioned my name to O'Reilly and he responded by saying that the caller's name would then be turned over to Fox security, and soon he'd be receiving a little visit from the police. You may also recall there was a little problem with Bill and one of his producers, and his phone calls to her about three-ways and loofahs, and improbably about falafels.

Today, the two topics merged into one. This is going to be easier if I just read the first paragraph directly. Shall I?

"Last summer, Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly came to believe that his wife was romantically involved with another man. Not just any man, but a police detective in the Long Island community they call home. So, O'Reilly did what any concerned husband would do, he pulled strings to get the police department's internal affairs unit to investigate one of their own for messing with the wrong man's lady."

Wait, Internal Affairs investigated Mrs. O'Reilly's alleged internal affair?

Gawker has identified the Nassau County Internal Affairs Unit detective actually assigned to investigate Billo's alleged cuckolder. "The source provided contemporaneous e-mail traffic to support his account. He told me, 'You'll never guess what happened to me the other day. Do you know Bill O'Reilly?' I got called into my boss' office saying they wanted me to meet with these two PIs" -- that would be Private Investigators, "working for O'Reilly to go over some information because a detective was having an affair with O'Reilly's wife."

He'll turn this over to Fox Security! He'll be receiving a little visit from the local authorities!

"The investigation was highly sensitive for two reasons, the source said. One, it was ordered directly by then-police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey, and, two, O'Reilly was at the time considering making a major donation to the Nassau County Police Department Foundation, a private, not-for-profit foundation Mulvey helped found in 2009 to raise money for construction of a planned $48 million police training facility at Nassau Community College. These internal affairs cops were on the case at the behest of Mulvey in order to get O'Reilly's funds," the source said.

Oh, great. So now it's not trying to get the cops to get a cop to stop an alleged affair with Mrs. O'Reilly. It's trying to get the cops to stop a cop to stop an alleged affair with Mrs. O'Reilly, in exchange for donations to the policemen's charity. So where's the evidence?

Unfortunately Gawker not only has records of Mrs. Billo buying her own house down the street from the family home, and being removed as a director of the O'Reilly Family Foundation, but the Nassau Police Commissioner kind of confirmed the investigation when he told them, "I don't know if the investigation is ongoing or concluded," Mulvey said, "so I wouldn't comment." You just did.

Several observers have noted that while his ratings have been largely unaffected, in the last year, Billo seems to have lost his controversy fastball. Now you know why. He's been busy. Getting the cops to investigate the guy who allegedly cuckolded him. Bill O'Reilly. Falafels aren't just for guys anymore -- today's "Worst Person In The World."


OLBERMANN: Donald Sutherland has already done it in "Space Cowboys," Ben Affleck in "Armageddon." And, of course, Tea Leoni scooped them all on the subject in "Deep Impact." Living again, in our number one story on the "Countdown," NASA gets all its good ideas from the movies, landing men and women on an asteroid by the year 2025. Maybe even Tea Leoni. NASA's new manned spaceflight office now charged with working on a design for a heavy-lift spacecraft, capable of reaching deep space and then returning the astronauts safely to Earth.

Astronauts would then be on course to reach an asteroid by 2025 and accomplish a manned mission to the Mars -- to Mars, not "The Mars" by the mid 2030s. "The Mars" would be the place they make the Mars bars. Okay, what actors went to Mars?

There is little doubt that future voyages would include some sort of tablet-computer device. Even less doubtful Apple would like to corner the market. But look no further than a lawsuit in California federal district court against Samsung for proof of that. Lawyers representing Apple claim that Samsung infringed on its iPad patents with similar designs in its line of devices.

Last week, Samsung challenged those patent claims by using a movie. See what I did there?

It all ties together with invisible thread! Samsung claims Stanley Kubrick, in essence, invented the iPad in "2001: A Space Odyssey," where the astronauts, on their way to Jupiter, are watching TV on a tablet kind of thingy, there. You see it, next to the baby meal they're having there?

It looks pretty much like an iPad.

To comment on all of this, I am joined by Derrick Pitts, the chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute, contributor, of course, to "Countdown."

Good to see you, sir.

DERRICK PITTS: Hi, how are you, Keith?

OLBERMANN: Not bad, but I've got to ask you something about asteroids and our desire to go there. Does NASA know something they're not telling us again? Is there one out there with our name on it, due here in 2025? Is that what this is all about?

PITTS: No, it's really more about a training event than anything else, you know? When you think about the idea of sending people out to Mars, one of the things we have to consider is that, you know, the trip out to Mars is six months, at least, to get out there. It's not like going to the moon, which is just three days away. It's six months out. And we have no experience with a six-month trip to a location where we have no facilities and, in case we get stuck, we are going to be there for a while. So the idea of the asteroid is, why not use that as sort of like a preliminary dry run for a trip to Mars? Send some folks out to an asteroid, six months out and use that as a trainer for going on to Mars.

OLBERMANN: And they just ride it for six months or they try to direct it towards Mars or what is it? Next asteroid to Mars?

PITTS: They -- No, they hollow it out and turn it into apartments on the West Side.


PITTS: That's what they do.


PITTS: Yeah. No, what they actually can do there is -- there's all sorts of science that can be done at an asteroid, learning about the early history of the solar system.


PITTS: And possibly looking for, you know, minerals and things like that, that could be used, possibly, for building spacecraft off Earth in the future, but it's really mostly about the training for the possible trip to Mars that we're looking at here.

OLBERMANN: All right, so, wouldn't we have that training by now, if we hadn't changed course 40 years ago? I mean, we did the manned space flight to the moon and there were all sorts other plans in the books to go to Mars and elsewhere and then we -- we pivoted off to Skylab and the space shuttle and the space station.

And now we're back to manned spaceflight. Why did we ever go away from the, sort of solo, traditional, sci-fi, get in the rocket and go wherever you want to go thing?

PITTS: Well, the basic thing that happened was we lost interest. After the Apollo program -- after Apollo 17, actually, Keith, what happened was we proved the point that we could beat the Russians to the moon. And once we had done that, there was really no, sort of, scientific impetus for -- or at least impetus in the American public to continue the missions to the moon, which we should have done. If we had done that, by now, we would have done all the practice at the moon, establishing bases, living there for a long time and then using that as a jumping off place, perhaps, to go on to Mars. That would've probably been done by now or very near to being done.

So, in a way, we are back to square one at that, because making a trip to Mars, as I said, is no joke. It's no trivial matter.

OLBERMANN: And we've already lost the race to the asteroids to the movies and to the Canadians in Donald Sutherland. Now, what do we do about that?

PITTS: Yeah, I think all we have to do is just ask Bruce Willis about what it's like out there on asteroid and he'll give us the answer. But that's the -- that's the plan. It's not such a bad one. It's just that it takes daring.

OLBERMANN: One other deep space question. I only know this much about it, so I'm literally in the dark, asking you this question. There's a new planet made out of diamonds? Huh?

PITTS: Shh. I'm just about to mine it.

OLBERMANN: I was gonna -- don't tell Newt Gingrich. He'll put out an account on it, yes?

PITTS: No, this is a very interesting thing because, you know, one aspect about astronomy that we've certainly come to learn is that there's so many more things possible out in the universe, where the universe can sort of manifest all these, sort of strange ways of physics that we can't find here on Earth. So it's not unusual that we might find a star that is made of diamonds or has a core of diamonds. A planet is a little bit more unusual, but if you get the conditions just right, with the right amount of carbon and the right pressure -- if you can get it high enough, you can certainly squeeze it into diamonds. In this case, it's crystalline, so I think we could mine some of that, if we could just get there and get it back.

OLBERMANN: Yeah, and it's next to the planet made of out falafel.

The Samsung-Apple suit. Is there -- I mean -- and this is a little bit off the beaten path 'cause it's about a movie and it's about a concept, but is there any merit to this, from your point of view as a scientist that because you showed this in the movie "2001," therefore there's no exclusivity to the concept of the computerized tablet?

PITTS: Well, it depends how deeply you want to dig with this, because, after all, wouldn't it be that someone with smart phones might try to sue the folks that created the "Dick Tracy" wristwatch phone? You know, or anything like that? And the other thing we have to consider is, when we look at all the science-fiction that's around, the new technology we have, we have to think about what comes first. Is it the science fiction that drives the inventions or is it the inventions that drive the science fiction? So, if you start trading these things back and forth, what you'll find is there's a lot of overlap and in this case, I think it's gone a little bit too far.

OLBERMANN: Yeah, on the other hand, if anybody has got a right to sue, it would have been Arthur C. Clarke, 'cause that probably -- it was either his idea or Kubrick's, so they would have been the ones who have the complaint.

PITTS: Yeah, and he could collect on a lot because, of all the satellites in our orbit right now --

OLBERMANN: Exactly. Basically all of them.

PITTS: Basically all of them.

OLBERMANN: Derrick Pitts, the chief astronomer of The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and we're proud to say "Countdown" contributor. Great thanks, as always, sir.

PITTS: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: We're heading to the planet made of diamonds. Diamonds. And there's a planet made of gold. It has Glenn Beck's head on it.

That's "Countdown" for this, the 30th day since the Republican's debt ceiling blackmail worked. Speaker Boehner, where are the jobs? Where's our credit rating?

I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night, and good luck.