Wednesday, December 7, 2011

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, December 7th, 2011
video 'podcast'

#ShowPlug 1: Gingrich Self-Destruction Begins: Wants John Bolton as Sec. of State. May have broken federal law in saying so..

#ShowPlug 2: @SteveKornacki on Newt's gaffe, @Markos on the rest of the GOP bashing gays, led by Ricks Perry + Santorum

#ShowPlug 3: #OccupyDC becomes Occupy K Street; @JoshHarkinson of Mother Jones joins us from Washington; + arrests at #OccupySF

#ShowPlug 4: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy: Love the Alec Guinness version? I'll show why you'll also love new Gary Oldman/Colin Firth film

#ShowPlug Last: Worsts: Yes, we just paid $12,000 so Homeland Security could give Michigan 13 Counter-Terrorism...Sno-Cone Machines

watch whole playlist

#5 'Newt's Diplomat', Steve Kornacki
YouTube, (excerpt)

#5 'Perry's Culture War', Markos Moulitsas

#4 'Occupy Day 82', Josh Harkinson

# Time Marches On!

#3 'Unsung Heroes', Lawrence Korb

#2 Worst Persons: Bill O'Reilly & Ann Coulter, Joe Arpaio, David Feldpausch & Sandeep Dey, YouTube

#1 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'
YouTube, (excerpt)

printable PDF transcript

On the show: , , ,

KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about, tomorrow? The descent begins for another Republican front-runner.

(Excerpt from video clip) NEWT GINGRICH: If he will accept it, I will ask John Bolton to be Secretary of State.

OLBERMANN: War-with-Iran, Destroy-the-UN John Bolton? That John Bolton? Besides that, it is illegal for a candidate to promise or pledge - directly or indirectly - the appointment of anybody.

Those who have already self-destructed, keep it up:

(Excerpt from video clip) RICK PERRY: There's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in schools. As president, I'll end Obama's war on religion.

OLBERMANN: The GOP's war on equality, Rick Perry's continuing war with reality.

Another Occupy event:

(Excerpt from video clip) CROWD: Occupy K Street! Occupy Wall Street! Occupy everywhere and never give it back!

OLBERMANN: Occupy versus the lobbyists of K Street. Occupy gets an unexpected endorsement - Jesus Christ. Well, from the Archbishop of Canterbury about Jesus Christ, who he says would be with them, "there, sharing the risks, not just taking sides."

The Cold War returns. Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, John Hurt, star in the startlingly good big-screen version of the John le Carré classic about the fear in British Intelligence that one of their leaders was actually a double agent for the Soviet Union.

(Excerpt from video clip) GARY OLDMAN: Where did you get this?

(Excerpt from video clip) JOHN HURT: I didn't. Percy and his little cabal walked in with it.

(Excerpt from video clip) DAVID DENCIK: Look, Control -

(Excerpt from video clip) HURT: Shut up!

(Excerpt from video clip) COLIN FIRTH: Style appalling. Patently a fabrication from beginning to end. Just could be the real thing.

OLBERMANN: If you loved the 1979 TV version, you will love this one just as much.

And "Worsts." You can't stop the stupid:

(Excerpt from video clip) BILL O'REILLY: There's an outreach - I don't even know what that means - by the Obama Administration to African Americas - I don't - what does that entail? Are they gonna be on "Soul Train"?

OLBERMANN: Plus, what is this? It's a $900 snow-cone machine that fights terrorism. What does it look like? All that and more, now, on "Countdown."

(Excerpt from audio clip) WOMAN: Put an ice cube in and get a snow cone out.


OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Wednesday, December 7th, 335 days until the 2012 presidential election.

Newt Gingrich, ignoring a federal statute today to announce his personal pick for Secretary of State in the unlikely event he is elected president. No one's surprised he's picking the most undiplomatic American diplomat in recent history.

The fifth story on the "Countdown" - Newt's fantasy cabinet would matter less if he was not rising in the polls, eclipsing Mitt Romney in Iowa, Florida and South Carolina, while hypothesizing one of the George W. Bush administration's leading neo-conservative warmongers that - he should succeed Secretary of State Clinton. Gingrich making the announcement during a candidate's forum at the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington:

(Excerpt from video clip) GINGRICH: If he will accept it, I will ask John Bolton to be Secretary of State.

OLBERMANN: In case you need a reminder, Bolton was George W. Bush's U.N. Ambassador under a recess appointment between 2005-2006. He also served as Bush's Undersecretary of State for Arms Control from 2001 to 2005, as a State Department Assistant Secretary under George H. W. Bush and an Assistant Attorney General under Ronald Reagan.

Bolton's also a leading advocate for attacking Iran's nuclear program, or encouraging Israel to attack if we won't. He played a significant role in the run-up to the Iraq War and in Bush's decision to pull the U.S. out of the International Criminal Court.

Contempt for the law may be one thing Bolton and Gingrich have in common. In making his announcement today, Gingrich seems to have contravened Title 18 of the U.S. Criminal Code, which states that any candidate who "directly or indirectly promises or pledges the appointment of any purpose - person for the purpose of procuring support in his candidacy shall be fined or imprisoned not more than one year or both. And if the violation was willful, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years or both."

Mr. Bolton was considered an unusual pick as U.N. Ambassador, given his views on the institution:

(Excerpt from video clip) JOHN BOLTON: If there is no United Nations, there is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power in the world and that's the United States.

OLBERMANN: Bolton also infamously noted that while the UN New York headquarters has 38 stories -

(Excerpt from video clip) BOLTON: If you lost 10 stories today, it wouldn't make a bit of difference.

OLBERMANN: And if Gingrich lost 10 points all his polling numbers, he would still lead Mitt Romney in three different states. Gingrich ahead of Romney in Florida by 48 percent to 25 percent, leading Romney in Iowa by 33 to 20 and in South Carolina by 43 to 20. Romney leading Gingrich only in New Hampshire, where Gingrich trails by nine percent.

For more on Gingrich and his preferred Secretary of State, John Bolton, I'm joined by Salon news editor Stein Kornacki. Steve, thanks again for your time tonight.


OLBERMANN: Given the disaster of the Iraq war and Bolton's role as a leading neo-con in supporting it and his threats to Iran and his direct connection to George W. Bush, how could he help Gingrich in a general election?

KORNACKI: Well, he can't. But I think that's - that's sort of the point. I think this is actually a - a perfect marriage, in a way - because nothing about what John Bolton represents, what John Bolton has said and - and who he is makes sense from a general election perspective but nothing about Newt Gingrich really makes sense from a general election perspective either.

And that's why I think there's almost a sort of reverse logic brilliance to this. It's - it's almost like a tribal thing. What I think Gingrich is really doing here is holding up, for all conservatives to see, John Bolton saying, "See, here's this guy who the other tribe really can't stand and it drives them crazy and he's with me. And I think the conservative tribe, as it were, really likes to hear that.

OLBERMANN: Is there - obviously, you hear Bolton, think George Bush. Is there some effort by Gingrich to reach out to Bush Republicans? Are there still Bush Republicans?

KORNACKI: Yeah. I'm - I'm a little - I guess I'd be a little unclear of what the term really means any more. I mean, if we are talking about, sort of, the - you know, maybe the money people who got behind Bush early, you know, that - that sort of wing of the party, I think, actually, a lot of those people - if you talk to them privately, you give them truth serum - they're gonna tell you they kinda think Bolton's a little nuts, too. I think I read this at least as a direct, sort of, red-meat play to the base of the Republican Party, the people who've -

OLBERMANN: And, of course there is even a narrower view of it, which is that where this took place, the announcement - if we can call it that - bringing that wild applause we heard from the Republican Jewish coalition. Is this - boiling it down, drilling it down, as the kids say - is this all about Israel? Is this Gingrich's way of saying that he's as hot to attack Iran as Bolton is? To win support from the conservative part of the Jewish community?

KORNACKI: I mean, yes. Absolutely. Now, you could say it's - it's about conservative Jews in the - I don't know, 600, 700 of them that are in the Republican Party but I -I think it's more about the merger that's, sort of, taken place in the last few years between the - the right in Israel and the right in the United States. And so, the most sort of hawkish voices in Israel now - those have strong resonance within the Republican Party here. So - if you're embracing the Bolton agenda, if you're embracing the Republican Jewish Coalition's agenda - you are also embracing the agenda of the - the vast majority of Republicans today.

OLBERMANN: Steve, what about Title 18, that I quoted here, about - you can't promise who you're going to appoint after you get elected, before you get elected? I - I imagine that no one's ever gone to prison for this or even been fined but it - it does - it does seem to be in the law somewhere. Do we not pay attention to this particular one?

KORNACKI: Well, I mean I just try to imagine the - scenario right now if the Justice Department - the Obama Justice Department - decided to prosecute Newt Gingrich for anything. I think he'd be at about 90 percent in the polls tomorrow.

OLBERMANN: Point well taken. Last point - given Gingrich's propensity for offending nearly everybody - is it plausible that he and Bolton, together, might eclipse Bush and Cheney and - and become the biggest threat to peace since the Cold War ended?

KORNACKI: Well, I - I heard somebody make the point today you had Bush and Cheney that radically expanded the powers of the Presidency. Obama sort of consolidated that and - and now you're gonna hand it off to Newt Gingrich and John Bolton? This is something to think about.

OLBERMANN: Salon news editor Stein Kornacki. Again, Steve, great thanks.


OLBERMANN: While Newt Gingrich prepares for war with Iran - his fantasy pick, John Bolton by his side - GOP presidential candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry is leading another offensive. And an offensive offensive in the culture wars, with some help from his rival Rick Santorum. A culture war aimed at two of their favorite targets - President Obama and the LGBT community.

This, after the president issued a statement yesterday that read in part, "I am directing all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the rights of LGBT persons."

Secretary of State Clinton, spelling it out at the UN's Human Rights Council in Geneva:

(Excerpt from video clip) HILLARY CLINTON: Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct. But, in fact, they are one and the same... Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.

OLBERMANN: Well, not if you're Rick Perry. The Texas governor now saying, "This is just the most recent example of an administration at war with people of faith in this country. Investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many Americans of faith find so deeply objectionable is wrong."

And Rick Santorum added, "Obviously the administration is promoting their particular agenda in this country and now they feel it's their obligation to promote those values around the world with taxpayer dollars."

Perry's comments coming after he released what we have to warn you is an extremely offensive and even disturbing gay-bashing commercial, aimed at conservative Christians who vote in the Iowa caucus and also, people who just plain hate.

(Excerpt from video clip) PERRY: There's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As president, I'll end Obama's war on religion and I'll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.

OLBERMANN: Daily Kos founder and publisher, "Countdown" contributor Markos Moulitsas joins me now to scan the latest battlefield in the culture wars. Markos, good evening.

MARKOS MOULITSAS: Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN: All right, well, here's a guy - Rick Perry - who was either stoned or high during a speech one night in the Northeast and appeared to fall asleep at the podium a couple of times during debates, telling me about how people are supposed to behave in this country. Is - is there not something self-destructive about that commercial, in addition to the hate that's pouring out of every sweaty pore of his stinking body?

MOULITSAS: Sure. That's a short answer.

OLBERMANN: Yeah, okay.

MOULITSAS: The long answer - I mean, that commercial is so idiotic, I can barely stand it. I mean, he's equating - he's basically saying there's something wrong with this country when somebody can't serve - or gays serve in the military but children can't pray in school.

I mean, you know what? It would be wrong if gays could serve in the military but they couldn't worship in the military and I'll tell you right now that that's not true. In fact, there's an entire MOS - Military Occupation Specialty - focused on chaplains, military chaplains. So yes, people can pray in the military and they can be gay in the military.

And, you know what? Kids can't pray in school, but they also can't be sexually actively gay in school - or straight for that matter.

The fact is, there's a time and place for everything and this is what an equal and just society is all about and I know it offends Rick Santorum and it offends Rick Perry and those guys. That's just what - that's what's right, though.

OLBERMANN: Well, there's - there's also - there's a secondary level to this, of course, is that he takes up the idea of promoting a lifestyle and - and seems to - ignore the - the difference between a lifestyle and a biological issue. And a biological event in someone's development. That - there's even a more fundamental quality than simply bashing and hating gay people in this.

MOULITSAS: Yeah, I mean, there's the trope about - when did a straight person choose to be straight?

OLBERMANN: Yeah, exactly.

MOULITSAS: Obviously, I mean - nobody chooses that. I don't know if he refuses that. I mean, I think that he's just so blinded by his ideology and by his theoc - theocratic tendencies, that he refuses to see science. And this is a guy, obviously, that - that refuses to see science on a lot of different levels, not just - on - on sexuality, so it's really par for the course.

But in this case, obviously, it affects people because it - it dehumanizes them and that's what makes it so upsetting. And it makes - I gotta say - it makes me really glad that he's been mired in the zeroes in the polling, 'cause he doesn't deserve any support whatsoever.

OLBERMANN: And here, after science has done so much for him - particularly the science of pharmacology. The ad also includes this claim that - that Obama is - so there's a tertiary level to this - the war on religion. Is this an early sign, at some sort of - some sort of general election theme, obviously from whoever the candidate is, since it's not gonna be Rick Perry?

MOULITSAS: I mean, if it's Newt Gingrich, I -I don't know how well he can talk about a war on religion. I mean, his three divorces are pretty much full-on shots on the war on religion, right? I mean, Catholics don't like - don't like divorce and he's a - he's a converted Catholic, so -

But, yeah, I mean this is a - sort of an extension of the war on Christmas and they - they've been able to milk that for so many years that, you know what? Why not just expand it and try to really reel in those cultural conservatives and rile them up and make them fearful because, God knows that they have to worship in secret dungeons these days because - if they worship openly - the Gestapo's gonna come in and - and force them to watch Ellen DeGeneres on television. I mean, this is so pathetically ridiculous, but he thinks it's gonna buy him votes, so I guess that's why - and it's gonna get him on TV.

OLBERMANN: Are - are these comments, from both the Ricks - are they - are they just for Iowa voters? Wouldn't they cause both men problems in the unlikely event that either one actually won the nomination in, you know, the - the older states - the ones in the East, for instance?

MOULITSAS: Yeah, I - I clearly think that this is Iowa-focused. But I don't think they realize how much the country has changed. I mean, just remember, in - what was it? 2003 - Howard Dean was a radical because he had passed civil unions in New - in Vermont, right? Civil unions was considered to be the far left, radical position. Now, it's sort of, kind of like the - you know, it's standard, noncontroversial, centrist position to be. They don't realize that.

In fact, now - in the latest round of polls - gay marriage is now a 50/50 in the country. So - and, when you look at the demographics of who supports it, who doesn't, it's old people. They're dying off. Every year, there's fewer and fewer people who hate as much as Rick Santorum and Rick Perry and the rest of the Republicans. They are not really hip to that yet, or they don't care, or I'm not sure what's going on in their heads.

But fact is - this country is changing. It's changing for the better, and either the Republican Party ships up - shapes up - on that front or there's gonna be a - yet another reason for voters to reject them in the years ahead.

OLBERMANN: I think you just gave the Republican Party its new label its new - new label, its new motto: "We're not really hip to that."

The founder and publisher of Daily Kos, "Countdown" contributor Markos Moulitsas. Always a pleasure, sir. Thank you, kindly.

MOULITSAS: Thank you very much.

OLBERMANN: Late reports from Washington tonight of 60 or more arrests, as Occupy DC takes on the lobbyists and becomes Occupy K Street. And they also occupied Chris Christie. I know, I know - it's just a figure of speech. That's next. This is "Countdown."


OLBERMANN: Occupy hit the road again. The D.C. crowd occupies the lobbyists of K Street.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona boasts of a news story about how his birther investigation has supposedly shaken Michele Obama. Problem - the news story is from a supermarket tabloid.

Did you know snow cone machines can fight terror? Think of it! In the event of the terrorist - fire or something, there'd be professionally-crushed ice. Homeland Security buys anti-terror snow cones machines for Michigan.

And the two George Smileys. If you loved Alec Guinness in the TV version of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," why you will also love Gary Oldman in the new film version. Ahead.


OLBERMANN: Protesters occupying the heart of the nation's lobbying industry today, shutting down traffic on Washington D.C.'s infamous K Street to protest the role of special interests in politics.

Meantime, in Iowa, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey gets occupied while campaigning for Mitt Romney.

And on the West Coast, another late-night police raid and another 70 arrests.

Our fourth story tonight - as protesters descend on D.C., the lobbying and banking industries nervously plan their defenses, according to newly-released internal memos. This morning, protesters storming the headquarters of large lobbying firms, as well as Verizon and General Electric. Later, about a thousand protesters converging on K Street. Some even lying in K street.

(Excerpt from video clip) CROWD: Occupy K Street! Occupy Wall Street! Occupy everything and never give it back! Occupy K Street! Occupy Wall Street! Occupy everything and never give it back!

OLBERMANN: Sixty-two people reportedly arrested there, with police on horseback breaking up the protest eventually.

K Street building owners, meantime, responding to the supposed threat from protesters by increasing security. One property-management company so concerned that it reportedly told tenants it would be "initiating a 'soft lock down,'" advising that "tenants may need to execute their 'Shelter-in-Place plans to ensure safety." Guess which one that was. Bank of America, similarly concerned about the Occupy Our Homes movement, which is seeking to help people facing foreclosure in their houses.

In a leaked e-mail, a bank employee telling regional offices, "Do not engage with protesters," directing them to "take notice of vacant Bank of America-managed homes and ensure they are secured."

In San Francisco, police are engaging with protesters, at least - or, having arrested at least 70 in a raid early this morning. About 4:30 AM, officers in riot gear dismantling the two-month-old camp.

(Excerpt from video clip) GREG SUHR: It had not only become a health hazard inside but it was becoming a public-safety hazard to the outside, so the decision was made to clean it up.

OLBERMANN: About 100 tents taken down. Some protesters claiming their possessions were taken away illegally. Mayor Edwin Lee issuing a statement signaling he does not expect this to be the end, however, saying, "We expect people to continue their Occupy protest movement and the city will continue to respect and facilitate everyone's fundamental right to peacefully assemble and protest."

Finally, in Iowa, Governor Chris Christie with harsh words for Occupiers protesting during his rally for Mitt Romney.

(Excerpt from video clip) CROWD: Make Wall Street pay!

(Excerpt from video clip) CHRIS CHRISTIE: You know - no, no, no -

(Excerpt from video clip) CROWD: Put people first!

(Excerpt from video clip) CHRISTIE: No - hey - where was I, before I was so New Jersey-ly interrupted? Their anger is rooted, not in me or in Mitt Romney. Their anger is rooted in the fact that they believed in this "hope and change" garbage that they were sold three years ago by this president, but they're not mature enough to know they should be angry with themselves.

OLBERMANN: Oh, boy. Chris Christie's telling us who should be mature or not. Joining me now, from Washington - Mother Jones reporter, Josh Harkinson. Josh, thanks for your time tonight.

JOSH HARKINSON: Yeah, I'm glad to be here, Keith.

OLBERMANN: What was it like on the ground in D.C. today?

HARKINSON: Well, I still think I have about a pint of water in my boots. The weather was just terrible but, you know, it was an interesting lens into the cooperation between the unions and the Occupiers.

I mean, they basically Occupied two different intersections on K Street and the union occupied one, which was basically SEIU. There were arrests there and - and they were kind of really smooth, you know? And whereas the Occupier arrests, it was a lot more - kind of a direct action, in-your-face approach. I mean, the - the protesters were actually lying in the street and they were carried away by the police. But, I think, you know, ultimately - that was poignant to see that. And you know, you have the images there, on film.

OLBERMANN: The - the big banking and lobbying firms and their nervousness, evidently, that the Occupy movement is going to threaten their influence - was there a way to gauge that, other than those memos that I quoted from?

HARKINSON: Well, you know, I think that the - the banks are extremely nervous and that the memos definitely illustrate that. I mean, this - this whole, like, "Shelter-in-Place" thing, you know, seems like nuclear war or something.


HARKINSON: But - and, you know, I think that their real worry is that the Occupiers are gonna keep these issues of corporate control of politics - you know, income inequality - in the news. Because, as long as they do, that's - that's pretty bad for them because, you know, these are the guys who are kind of behind those problems.

OLBERMANN: The "Shelter-in-Place" quote, in particular - it - you know, just anything from a building-management company that expected a hostage drama is a little - is funny in its own way but, of course, that was Brookfield Properties, which owns Zuccotti Park. So I guess - is their paranoia more justified that - you know, something bad is going to happen to them because of how they treated Occupy Wall Street?

HARKINSON: Sure. I mean, I guess they were probably worried about revenge and, you know, there was an act of revenge, sort of, against, you know, this - this lobbying - this PR firm that was trying to, like, basically muckrake against Occupy Wall Street and, you know, pull, like a Breitbart on them or something, you know, for this lobbying firm. But, you know, I feel like - you know, Brookfield is just another landlord, ultimately.

OLBERMANN: On the other hand, there was a lobbying executive, Scott Segal of Bracewell and Giuliani - and yeah, it's that Giuliani - telling Politico that he wasn't worried about the protesters disrupting his day because, "Even though they are on K Street, I don't think they get up much before 11:00."

So, as - as much as one thinks that, perhaps, the point of the mainstream quality to Occupy has gotten through to the Frank Luntz's of this world and other people of that sort, it's not completely - people in - in the lobbying end of Washington, where they're supposed to be - they have the finger on the - on the pulse of the wallets of America, they - they don't really have a handle. They think it's some sort of insurrectionist movement that has no broad support and stays - stays in bed until 10:59 AM every day?

HARKINSON: Yeah, you know, I - it's really kind of ridiculous. I mean, you know, these people who are protesting are - I mean, they're not just a bunch of lowlife hippies, you know, job - you know, people who are just like, you know - homeless. I mean, they are homeless, sometimes, but I think the real issue here is that, you know, these people are raising legitimate concerns about the fact that our economy is broken, and to marginalize that is just kind of appalling.

OLBERMANN: Occupy DC becomes Occupy K Street. Suddenly, there's Occupy Chris Christie again. It's an unfortunate expression, but it's the most appropriate one for what happened in Iowa, relative to the Romney event. Have we seen the end of the in-place Occupy protests and - and nearly a 100 percent conversion to events?

HARKINSON: I don't think we have. I mean, you know, I was touring D.C. today and - and there were - there're two different Occupations in D.C. right now, with hundreds of people in them. You know, there's a - there's an encampment right now on the National Mall, temporarily. There are other Occupations around the country still.

And there are also people who are squatting in homes - and that's a whole 'nother branch of the movement I think we're gonna see a lot more of through the winter. And then, in the spring, I think we're gonna see even more Occupations break out and - and grow. So, you know, it's yet to be - the story is yet to be written.

OLBERMANN: Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones, in Washington, for Occupy K Street. Thank you, Josh.

HARKINSON: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: To you, it's life and death. To small-time bureaucrats in Michigan, it's a money smorgasbord. Homeland Security buys $12,000 worth of snow cone machines to fight terror in places like Lansing and Grand Rapids. Seriously.


OLBERMANN: Harrowing assessments of life in the post-Iraq era for military families. Next.

First, the "Sanity Break," and - instead of an anniversary - a farewell and a thanks to the great Harry Morgan.

If you knew him only as Colonel Potter from "M*A*S*H," you have missed a wealth of great performances. From the amazingly subtle performance he gave as Henry Fonda's sidekick Art, in "The Ox-Bow Incident" in 1943 - when he was only 28 - through an evil henchman's role in "The Big Clock," to his deadpan perfection in "Dragnet," even to a guest spot as a crazy colonel before he joined the cast of "M*A*S*H," - actually, a general - this was a great actor and a great gentleman. Harry Morgan died today. He was 96.

"Time Marches On!"

VIDEO: Russian weightlifter failure.

We begin - as we always do - with some weight lifting in Russia. This young man is still mastering the sport and, as his coach looks on, he tries to put up an impressive amount of weight. Looks like he might have it, he's got it - got it- and - I got it - I got it - I haven't got it. And - boom goes the dynamite.

In Russia, weights lift you.

He said he thinks his biggest mistake was trying to lift more weight over his head than he was capable of doing.

VIDEO: The amazing, disappearing kitty.

To the animal kingdom - look, a kitty! - where these three cats are looking for a way to pass the time. One has a good idea. "Follow me, fellas, I found this cool, white tower."

One adventurous cat climbs atop, and you know what happens next - ta-da, the amazing, disappearing kitty!

He'll be taking his magic act on the road, performing under the name The Great Catsby. The Great Catsby!

VIDEO: 3-D Christmas lights in Southlake, TX

Finally, it's Christmastime in Southlake, Texas and the White Chapel United Methodist Church has an amazing 3-D display - I love their burgers - the White Chapel - oh no, that's - okay - 3-D display projected onto the front of the church, utilizing three projectors that each cost a quarter of a million.

The beautiful display runs the church a hundred thou a week. The incredible presentation is quite a strong offensive tactic in the ongoing War on Christmas.

Blood corpuscles? Your move, Jon Stewart.

"Time Marches On!"

Speaking of high-budget movies, my review of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" - particularly for those who, like me, can recite the entire dialogue of the TV version. Ahead.


OLBERMANN: Dumont's "Better Living TV Theater" will not be seen tonight, so we can instead bring you "Countdown," the longest continuously-running 8:00 PM news hour on cable, unless you consider Fox - "news." We're live each night at 8:00 Eastern. We call it "the light at the end of the tunnel."

KEITH OLBERMANN: A new report tonight, detailing the economic, physical and educational toll the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have taken on the families of those who fight.

In our third story on the "Countdown" - the results, for the three million spouses and children, are devastating. The report's from the nonpartisan group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and it shows military spouses left behind are often faced with the task of making ends meet - a task made all the more difficult thanks to the staggering rates of unemployment and underemployment they face. In June of this year, 26 percent were unemployed. The national unemployment rate is - 9.2 percent at that point.

Military spouses also earned about a quarter less than their peers. About 20 percent of military wives have jobs that do not match their levels of education and experience. The same is true for only about three percent of civilian wives.

Beyond economic troubles, the war has also taken a toll on health. Nearly 37 percent of spouses of deployed servicemen were diagnosed with at least one mental-health disorder.

Their children faced similar troubles as well. One-third of those between the ages of five and 12 with a deployed parent had a high likelihood of developing social and psychological problems. They have trouble in school, additionally. On average, they transfer schools between six and nine times and students with a parent deployed longer than 19 months, cumulatively, had lower test scores than students with parents deployed for shorter periods of time.

The housing crisis has also hit military families particularly hard. Ninety-three percent have mortgages to pay, compared with just 64 percent of the civilian population. Last year, more than 20,000 service members had their homes foreclosed on. In 2008, foreclosures in military towns were four times higher than in the rest of the country.

Joined now by a man who served in the U.S. Military, was Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan Administration, now serves as co-chair of the Board of Advisors for the National Military Families Association - Lawrence Korb. Thanks for your time tonight, sir.

LAWRENCE KORB: Nice to be with you again, Keith.

OLBERMANN: What in this report - and the numbers cascade like bad news on top of you - but what in this stands out the most to you?

KORB: Well, I think what - what stands out the - the most is the mental problems of the - of the family members of those who deployed, because we all knew that the servicemen and women had - had these mental problems but people forgot that the families are affected as much, even though they don't deploy.

They're the ones who have to deal with the servicemen or woman when they come back. They're the one who have to deal with the financial situations. Since they don't know when - how often the people are gonna deploy, it's very hard for them to get employment, so it's - it's not surprising.

And this is the price we pay for going to wars we didn't need to fight, particularly in Iraq, without activating the Selective Service System, so we could give these men and women the time they needed at home, in between deployments.

OLBERMANN: Most of the country's facing tough economic times. It has been for several years. How did it get more dire for military families in particular?

KORB: Well, I think it got more dire, for example - if you get transferred, you've got to give up your job. Then you go to the next place and it's hard to get a job. Or if you have a license, for example - let's say you're a lawyer or - or a physical therapist - you go to a different state, you need a different license.

So, military people have unique problems that those in charge of the military in the Pentagon and the services should have been worried about.

OLBERMANN: What happened to - to support the troops, in the other meaning of the sense, "support"? Not just their needs in wartime, which are - have been intermittently met in the last decade - but the support - the support structure back home? Why are there not sufficient programs in place to help the families and, in particular - this is such an obvious thing that can be - that can be - not easily addressed or not easily solved but certainly easily addressed. It would seem to be a political win, even on that most cynical of levels. Somebody should've picked this ball up and run with it.

KORB: Well, it took them awhile to get going, 'cause, remember, we thought - you know, these wars would be over very, very, very quickly. So people didn't plan. By the time they caught up, it was pretty late. And the other thing is, again, the policies that we set, in effect - you should have at least two years at home in between a year deployment. Because we didn't activate the Selective Service System and these wars went on longer than we thought, people were lucky to get one year in between.

Or members of the Guard and Reserve, which we used much more extensively, for example, than we did in Vietnam. Those men and women, when they come home - they had no support system 'cause they don't live on the - on the military bases and, again, they weren't supposed to be deployed more than once out of every five years. A lot of them were, you know, deployed much more frequently and so, what you had is - that there was nobody thinking about how to deal with this until it became pretty late in the game.

And then, of course, something like foreclosures - the banks were - weren't paying attention either, you know? You have the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act. You're not supposed to do that while they're deployed, but they didn't think about that.

OLBERMANN: There's no quick fix to all of this. Is there any quick help?

KORB: Well, I think now that we know the problem - and I commend Paul Rieckhoff and his organization for putting this out - we can begin to, you know, to do something. But you gotta remember, unless you deal what the fundamental is - you've got a long war, the all-voluntary military is a peacetime force. You need to activate Selective Service. If you don't - and you ever end up in this situation again - you're gonna still have these problems.

OLBERMANN: Former Assistant Secretary of Defense, former Navy Captain, member of the Board of Advisors for the National Military Families Association, Larry Korb. Again, our pleasure to have you and thanks again. Good to talk to you again, sir.

KORB: Thank you for having me.

OLBERMANN: The startling claim by Sean Hannity about Ann Coulter. He insists she has a sense of humor. "Worst Persons," next on "Countdown."


OLBERMANN: Gary Oldman stars in a remake of the greatest espionage drama ever made. How he and the rest of the cast and the director make the new version of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" worthy of the original.

And what is this, pray tell? Naturally, it's one of the 13 snow-cone machines we just paid for. The ones Homeland Security gave the state of Michigan. Snow-cone machines that are now somehow part of the War on Terror. "Worst Persons" next.


OLBERMANN: "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," the epic Cold War TV drama re-made for the big screen and now you have two versions to love. Next.

First - because these people were not loved as children and therefore, we have to deal with this crap now - here are "Countdown"'s top three nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the World."

A tie for the bronze - Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter. Standard-issue stupidity from each. First, it's Coultergeist, on with Sean Hannity on the radio.

(Excerpt from audio clip) ANN COULTER: I'd vote for Jeffrey Dahmer over - over Barack Obama. For all you liberals that are about to write about this, you need to understand Ann Coulter is not serious. She has a sense of humor.

OLBERMANN: No, no, no. No, no. She thinks she has a sense of humor. What she has is a sense that humiliating, ghastly or inhuman things are funny, provided they happen to - or are directed against - people she doesn't like.

Now, Billo - on a report that the Obama Administration was reaching out to the African-American community.

(Excerpt from video clip) O'REILLY: There is an outreach - I don't even know what that means - by the Obama Administration to African-American -

(Excerpt from video clip) MARC LAMONT HILL: Right.

(Excerpt from video clip) O'REILLY: I don't - what does that entail? Are they gonna be on "Soul Train"? "Soul Train" is a popular program in -

(Excerpt from video clip) HILL: No, it's not! - When? When, in 1964?

(Excerpt from video clip) O'REILLY: Is it syndicated? No, it's syndicated, isn't it?

(Excerpt from video clip) HILL: No. "Soul Train," Bill? "Soul Train"?

(Excerpt from video clip) O'REILLY: Isn't "Soul Train" still on?

OLBERMANN: No, it went off the air in 2006. There were some "Bests of" until 2008.

Speaking of 2008, Billo's just as much a racist now as he was in 2008.

Our runner-up? Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the chief clown of Maricopa County, Arizona. Trying to divert attention from the reported 432 cases of sexual abuse ignored or mishandled by his office - largely because the victims were Latino - he, today, tweeted of the impact of his real investigation, his bizarre birther crusade. "In this week's Globe, inside sources in the White House stated the FLOTUS" - that's First Lady of The United States - "is in a panic over my investigation into Obama's legal status."

Joe, the "Globe" to which you refer - that's the supermarket tabloid. Mrs. Obama's alleged reaction is fighting for space there, in the current issue of The Globe, with a story about how Osama bin Laden was actually gay and the headline "Marie Osmond Plastic Surgery Nightmare!"

Just resign, Mr. Arpaio - you - you're embarrassing birthers!

Our winners, though - David Feldpausch, the director of Montcalm County Emergency Services in Stanton, Michigan, and Sandeep Dey, the director of the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission.

Montcalm County, Michigan has now received the terrorism-fighting equipment Mr. Feldpausch asked for from the Department of Homeland Security -- an Arctic Blast Sno-Cone machine, valued at 900 American dollars. In fact, the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission managed to turn the Montcalm County request for snow cones to defeat the terrorists into a snow-cone machine for each of thirteen different Michigan counties. Cost to you, the taxpayers? Nearly $12,000.

"I don't like the term snow-cone machine because it sounds horrible," Feldpausch correctly told a local newspaper. "When you look at it as an ice-shaving machine - and its purpose - it makes a little more sense. I assume it will get used in Montcalm County a lot more in the summertime by the Fire Corps."

If there's a fire as the result of terrorism in Montcalm County, Michigan, fortunately they have a professional-grade snow-cone machine with which to make ice.

This gets worse. That Regional Development Commissioner, Mr. Dey, says the snow-cone machine can be a draw to bring people to terrorism-preparedness events. It is "used to attract people so they can be educated and prepared for homeland security. More importantly, they" - Homeland Security officials - "felt, in a medical emergency, the machine was capable of making ice packs, which could be used for medical purposes."

So, you idiots think the rest of us are all 12 years old? Or what? This clown, Dey, added that - yes, they did get Homeland Security to buy them thirteen snow-cone machines, but on the other hand, when one Michigan County asked for a terror-fighting popcorn machine, that was denied because it was absurd.

Montcalm County Emergency Services Director David Feldpausch, Sandeep Dey, the director of the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission - because if you don't give them free snow-cone machines, the terrorists win! - today's "Worst Persons in the World."


OLBERMANN: In our number-one story - something entirely different tonight.

The background desperation of the Cold War returns to this country this weekend, at - as they say - a theater near you.

I have watched the 1979 BBC television version of the John le Carré "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" so often that one day I actually noticed that - in a scene in a London bar - its star, Sir Alec Guinness did a kind of slide-kick as he walked that he had also done in a movie called "The Card," that came out in 1952.

I have watched this masterpiece so often that I have nearly memorized its dialogue and its credits. I believe I've watched it an average of once a year but that figure may be wildly wrong. It may be low. I have long since passed mere love for it. It is, to some degree, playing on a permanent loop in my brain.

Thus, when I was privileged to attend a screening of the theatrical film version of "Tinker Tailor" I went with deep trepidation. How could anybody - even genius actors and master filmmakers - do justice in two hours to what Alec Guinness and Ian Richardson and Ian Bannen had done in five and a half hours? This is how.

(Excerpt from video clip) OLDMAN: Where did you get this?

(Excerpt from video clip) HURT: I didn't. Percy and his little cabal walked in with it.

(Excerpt from video clip) DENCIK: Look, Control -

(Excerpt from video clip) HURT: Shut up!

(Excerpt from video clip) FIRTH: Style appalling. Patently a fabrication from beginning to end. Just could be the real thing.

OLBERMANN: That is not just the core of an all-star cast at its best - Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, John Hurt - but everything about that one scene underscores the meticulousness with which this remarkable film has been crafted, with every scene counting, with every gesture meaning something, with every frame of film advancing the story or, even better, the original story's atmosphere - as it was described 30 years ago - of sad menace.

First, that set. In the television version, the British spy agency, MI-6 looks utterly unglamorous, the home of the anti-James Bond. Perfectly good, no criticism intended, but it's an ordinary office building with, you know, drapes and windows.

In Tomas Alfredson's film version, MI6 is in an office building, hollowed out and filled with individual soundproof pods - literally and figuratively almost tombs of isolation - defining the desperate, perpetual effort to keep secrets unheard.

Every set in the new version is as much of an unexpected improvement and unbelievably rich enhancement of the visual, to the point where the secret world of the rival British and Soviet spy agencies of the Cold War - the endless mountains of paper surrounding John Hurt's dying spymaster as he tries to prove he's not failed, but he's been sabotaged; the venue where a British spy is shot; the places where the hero, played by Gary Oldman, serves out a retirement he didn't want - that world of betrayal, that environment becomes a character unto itself. Back inside the pods.

(Excerpt from video clip) OLDMAN: Where did it come from? What's the access?

(Excerpt from video clip) TOBY JONES: A new secret source of mine.

(Excerpt from video clip) OLDMAN: But how could he possibly have access -

(Excerpt from video clip) JONES: He has access to the most sensitive levels of policy-making. We've named the operation "Witchcraft."

OLBERMANN: That's Toby Jones playing the man who will succeed John Hurt as the head of British intelligence. He is extraordinary as a bitter, scheming, striving, lawn ornament of a middle manager, a character named Percy Alleline. He is the meek, not waiting to inherit the earth but deciding to steal it by any means necessary.

This is Percy Alleline in the 1979 version, played wonderfully by a great British actor named Michael Aldridge. But his Alleline was the entitled, inheriting the Earth, tall, lugubrious, urbane. It was a fine performance but it wasn't Toby Jones and the desperate, snarling force that he gave to the same role.

All of the actors - from Jones to the impeccable Colin Firth to heartthrob Tom Hardy - had that most difficult of tasks. They had to play not just complex characters, but complex characters who are already flesh and blood in the minds of those most likely to see their film. And each has re-imagined his role, completely or just partially. Each has done so magnificently.

And, while the TV series afforded them five and a half hours to develop those characters - slowly and in brush strokes of all sizes - actors like Colin Firth have to portray their man in a handful of vignettes. The late, great, Ian Richardson had about 25 minutes of dialogue in which to convey the character of Bill Haydon. Firth has about the length of this next scene. He has to paint his masterpiece on a postage stamp.

(Excerpt from video clip) MICHAEL JAYSTON: You got clearance for that?

(Excerpt from video clip) FIRTH: Well, I'm not bloody chaining it up outside. Mind you, probably no better off in here with this bunch of bloody cut-throats, they'll have the gold out of your teeth! Just thought I'd pop down and catch a glimpse of the new girl before Bland gets to her.

(Excerpt from video clip) JAYSTON: Ah, yes. Belinda, the blonde.

(Excerpt from video clip) FIRTH: Has he seen her yet?

(Excerpt from video clip) JAYSTON: Of course he has. Came down first thing this morning.

(Excerpt from video clip) FIRTH: Belinda.

OLBERMANN: Then, of course, there is Gary Oldman, as George Smiley. He has to contend with five and a half hours of the Smiley of Alec Guinness in the TV version of "Tinker, Tailor" and then six hours more in a sequel.

(Excerpt from video clip) ALEXANDER KNOX: Sweat them, George. Tempt them, bully them, any damn thing. Give them whatever they eat, I need time!

OLBERMANN: How do you top that? How do you compete with the calm, centered, low-key, iconic performance from an iconic actor? You make it calmer, more centered and lower-key.

(Excerpt from video clip) OLDMAN: I'm retired, Oliver. You fired me.

(Excerpt from video clip) SIMON McBURNEY: The thing is, some time ago, before Control died, he came to me with a similar suggestion. That there is a mole. He - he never mentioned his suspicions to you?

(Excerpt from video clip) OLDMAN: No.

OLBERMANN: Oldman is so good in this, and the director, Tomas Alfredson is so good doing this and the script - streamlined, focused, enriched, by Peter Straughan and the late Bridget O'Connor - is so good in enabling this, that Oldman can convey the essence of his character, George Smiley, in one, wordless scene.

He and his cast mate, Benedict Cumberbatch, who brilliantly portrays a kind of younger brother to Oldman's Smiley, have just recruited - from retirement as a beekeeper - an old foot soldier to help their investigation. You watch from behind their moving car as the three discover that one of the man's bees is in the car with them. Cumberbatch swats angrily at the bee. The beekeeper animatedly tries to capture it but Oldman tells you who his character is. He watches the bee, he studies the bee and then he rolls the car window down a crack and lets the bee get rid of himself.

You don't have to have seen the BBC version 30 times to treasure this version of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," nor even to have seen it once. But if you have, you do not have to fear being disappointed.

The best course is to go and see the masterpiece this cast and crew have created - when it opens in LA and New York on Friday and then rolls out across the country - and then go out and buy the BBC version. You will cherish both.

Because - as the guy the who has the five and half hours TV version playing in a loop, somewhere in his brain - when I saw the two-hour film version, I wasn't able to tell where they made the cuts.

That's "Countdown" for this, the 333rd day since John Boehner and the Republicans took the House, thus 333 days in which the Republicans haven't passed a jobs bill of any kind.

I'm Keith Olbermann. Congratulations on getting through another day of this crap. On behalf of Control, good night and good luck!