'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
#ShowPlug 1: Special Prosecutor says Sanford PD wanted to arrest Zimmerman night of shooting, stopped by State Prosecutor
#ShowPlug 2: George H.W. "Sick Puppies" Bush endorses Mitt "Seamus" Romney; Job Creator Newt Gingrich fires 1/3 of staff
#ShowPlug 3: "Severability" - can SCOTUS find just the mandate unconstitutional but keep health care reform? @JonathanTurley joins me
#ShowPlug 4: Research shows statistical evidence of positive OWS impact on Wall Street; Charges against JetBlue pilot; passenger joins me
#ShowPlug Last: Fox trying to launch cable sports rival to ESPN? Wait, why does that sound SO familiar? #WillPlayOldFSNPromos
#5 Breaking news on Trayvon Martin case, Corey Dade
#5 Breaking news on Trayvon Martin case, Marc Morial
#4 'Endorsemitt', David Catanese
# Time Marches On!
#3 '"Heart" Less Healthcare', Jonathan Turley
#2 'In-Flight Detainment', Tony Antolino
#1 Breaking news on Trayvon Martin case, Jonathan Turley
printable PDF transcript
On the show: Jonathan Turley, Tony Antolino, Marc Morial, David Catanese, Corey Dade
KEITH OLBERMANN: There is breaking news at this hour, contained in video that looks the least like breaking news of anything you've probably ever seen. This is video from the night that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, one Monday and two days ago.
Police headquarters there, and the news here is what is not seen. Where is the slightest evidence of this man having been in an altercation minutes or even hours before? Where is the evidence of the broken nose, the wound on the back of his head? If all of it's been cleaned up, just bruises? If not blood, then some evidence of inconvenience?
Full coverage, now on "Countdown."
Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
It was him. Florida's special prosecutor says Sanford police wanted to arrest George Zimmerman, but the office of the ousted state prosecutor Norman Wolfinger held off.
A sitting U.S. congressman escorted from the House chamber for wearing a hoodie.
(Excerpt from video clip) BOBBY RUSH: Racial profiling has to stop, Mr. Speaker. Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.
(Excerpt from video clip) TRACY MARTIN: I'd like to commend Congressman Rush for pleading our case.
OLBERMANN: The hoodie symbolism begins to take on a life of its own at Howard University.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: Do I look suspicious?
OLBERMANN: The racist backlash begins to take on a life of its own.
(Excerpt from video clip) LOU DOBBS: So why would his campaign suddenly advertise hooded sweatshirts in the middle of a national controversy, in part created by the president himself?
OLBERMANN: I don't know. Why would your employer advertise them? Why would the National Rifle Association advertise them - with pockets for concealed guns?
George H.W. Bush endorses Mitt Romney.
(Excerpt from audio clip) GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. I mean, here are a couple of sick puppies.
OLBERMANN: Did you say - puppies? Seamus!
(Excerpt from video clip) JAY LENO: Did you ever think that we'd be talking about porn? I mean, with all the other things in this election -
(Excerpt from video clip) MITT ROMNEY: I didn't know we were talking about porn.
(Excerpt from video clip) ARLEN SPECTER: Mitt Romney has changed positions more often than a pornographic movie queen.
OLBERMANN: Amputate or euthanize - the Supreme Court on "severability," ending the insurance mandate, keeping the rest of reform?
(Excerpt from video clip) ANTONIN SCALIA: My approach would say - if you take the heart out of the statute, the statute is gone.
OLBERMANN: The analysis of Day Three of three from Jonathan Turley.
This is your captain speaking:
(Excerpt from video clip) CLAYTON OSBON: I'm so distraught! Oh, we've got Israel, we've got Iraq!
OLBERMANN: As he is charged, we are joined by one of the passengers, Tony Antolino.
(Excerpt from video clip) TONY ANTOLINO: The co-pilot, really, he is the hero here for being able to recognize early on that something was going horribly wrong.
OLBERMANN: And Fox to launch cable sports network to try to rival ESPN - why does that sound so familiar?
(Excerpt from video clip) OLBERMANN: At Fox Sports News we cover your team so closely. I am not a role model, not a role model, but just because I say - from way downtown - bang! that does not mean I should raise your kids.
OLBERMANN: I thought that was a bad dream. That was real?
Now, on "Countdown."
(Excerpt from video clip) OLBERMANN: Olbermann's open.
OLBERMANN: Good evening, this is Wednesday, March 28th, 224 days until the 2012 presidential election.
Reports surfacing today that police in Sanford, Florida, wanted Trayvon Martin's shooter charged early in their investigation, while a congressman protesting racial profiling is removed from the floor of the House for pulling up a hoodie.
But the breaking news on the fifth story on the "Countdown" - revealed tonight, the first video of the shooter the night all this happened.
The police surveillance video showing George Zimmerman apparently having just been taken to Sanford's police headquarters in handcuffs - though not under arrest, obviously - the night of this shooting.
More importantly, perhaps, what this video does not seem to show. It does not seem to show a man who was in a life-or-death struggle with an aggressive teenager who had just left him bloodied and crying on a neighborhood sidewalk. Even if we assume that he has been to a hospital and been cleaned up there - and that would be only be an assumption - George Zimmerman is not having trouble standing, talking, or walking throughout the video from ABC News, which runs, in full, about a minute and a half.
Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin, of course, had just been shot to death by Zimmerman on February 26th. Zimmerman claiming that Martin attacked him, and he fired in fear of his life.
The Miami Herald today reporting that Sanford police wanted charges filed and went to the state prosecutor for the county of Seminole, Norman Wolfinger, who said no - or said nothing - and so there was no arrest, as there has been yet no arrest.
This, even though the state's new special prosecutor described all this to The Miami Herald today and after the local police described the shooting in an official report as, "Homicide, neglect manslaughter."
Special prosecutor Angela Corey telling The Miami Herald, "The police went to the state attorney with a request that charges be filed. The state attorney empanelled a grand jury, but before anything else could be done, the governor stepped in and asked us to pick it up in midstream." Corey replacing the State Attorney Wolfinger last week.
Sanford Homicide Detective Chris Serino, who first investigated the case told NBC News he was, "Looking forward to the truth coming out."
Zimmerman friend and defender Joe Oliver giving the truth according to George Zimmerman, insisting in interviews that he knew in his heart George had been in a life-or-death struggle.
(Excerpt from video clip) JOE OLIVER: We know that if we weren't sitting here talking about George shooting Trayvon, we'd talking about Trayvon shooting George.
OLBERMANN: Trayvon Martin's father Tracy Martin saying police described his son's last moments very differently.
(Excerpt from video clip) MARTIN: Zimmerman was able to unholster his weapon and fire one shot, and Trayvon fell back and said, "You got me."
OLBERMANN: Martin adding that put his b.s. detector into high gear.
(Excerpt from video clip) MARTIN: That was bull. I was more saying to myself, "No way." At that point I knew that there was something terribly wrong.
OLBERMANN: And there was, and is.
In Washington, the other dynamic continuing to play out - Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush making that point in a speech on racial profiling in the House.
(Excerpt from video clip) RUSH: Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum. The Bible teaches us, Mr. Speaker, he has shown your man -
(Excerpt from video clip) JOHN BOEHNER: The member will disband. The chair must remind the member of Clause Five of Rule 17. The member is out of order -
OLBERMANN: Apparently, Congressman Rush violated Clause Five of Rule 17, prohibiting the wearing of hats in the chamber when the House is in session.
But Trayvon Martin's parents, in any event, grateful for his assistance.
(Excerpt from video clip) MARTIN: I would like to commend Congressman Rush for pleading our case.
(Excerpt from video clip) SYBRINA FULTON: Some people don't quite get it. Some people don't quite understand what it's all about. It's almost like they're an ostrich, like they have their head buried the sand.
OLBERMANN: But some people do get it, like these protesters in Memphis, Tennessee, today beginning their march for Trayvon Martin outside the historic Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was shot and killed in 1968.
Other protesters in Charleston, South Carolina last night, with a candlelight vigil for Trayvon Martin.
And students at Howard University asking anyone who might run from a black man in a hoodie one question -
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: Do I look suspicious?
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #2: Do I look suspicious?
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #3: Well, contrary to what America has led me to believe, all young, black males are not suspicious. We don't deserve to be harassed, murdered, prosecuted, or denied protections of the justice system all because America believes that we are suspicious.
OLBERMANN: That last of those statements came from Howard Kandhai, alumnae of Howard's Schools of Business and Law.
Hoodies, apparently becoming magical garments that can drive men mad, not to mention this tweet from the Obama campaign on Tuesday, which read, "Let everyone know whose team you're on for 2012, with today's merchandise steal, the college-style hooded sweatshirt." An Obama campaign official telling Business Insider they sold hoodies in the 2008 election as well.
But to Fox Business host Lou Dobbs and his guest, a deplorable man named Dr. Keith Ablow, they found it all suspicious.
(Excerpt from video clip) LOU DOBBS: So why would his campaign suddenly advertise hooded sweatshirts in the middle of a national controversy, in part created by the president himself.
(Excerpt from video clip) KEITH ABLOW: It's irresistible for this president to enter the fray when there seems to be an opportunity for a kind of furious splitting.
OLBERMANN: A controversy created by the president - as if he fired a gun.
Fox, blaming Mr. Obama for splitting the country on racial lines again on the Fox and Friends program today - former Justice Department Attorney J. Christian Adams reading obscurely into the president's comment last week, that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin.
(Excerpt from video clip) J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: No president in our country's history would have injected himself into a criminal matter using racial code like Barack Obama did.
OLBERMANN: For more on the Trayvon Martin case, and today's extraordinary developments, I'm joining by Corey Dade, national correspondent with NPR digital news. Thanks for your time tonight, sir.
COREY DADE: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: This new video, am I right that it's relevant here in a way that, perhaps, nothing else has been in this case, at least what we've seen publicly - more for what it conclusively does not show than what it does? And where is the man who thought he was being killed, who had to resort to mortal force? Even if he has been to the hospital, how is he in such good shape afterwards?
DADE: Well, I guess we'll have to find out. It seems like, Keith, every day there is a new bit of information or detail that's coming out that may be actually contradictory to what we knew the day before. I think, in this case, what we're probably going to see is this get admitted to evidence, because - because when we look at this case in its totality, there is not a lot of physical evidence at the scene. I think that's been pretty much attested to. So, this may really become material.
OLBERMANN: We don't know, do we? Whether or not he was taken to the hospital or doctor or to somewhere - just to a sink where he washed up between the altercation and when that video would have been shot at headquarters?
DADE: Yeah, I don't think that has been established yet. I think this is - you're asking the questions that Trayvon Martin's family is asking constantly. What was, for lack of a better phrase, the chain of custody from the time the police arrived at the scene to the moment that they released George Zimmerman from their custody?
OLBERMANN: This ties in, I think - in some way - to the revelation from the new special prosecutor Angela Corey who said that Sanford police wanted the charges filed against Zimmerman that night or early on, and the state prosecutor in Seminole County said no. Is that the first time we've heard that timeline floated? Has anybody been able to verify this new version of the story?
DADE: Well, obviously, The Miami Herald put this out - reported this earlier today. And I think that timeline is exactly the thing that the Trayvon family lawyers have been asking about. And it speaks to, again, you know - the reasons why the Seminole County prosecutor was removed from the case.
OLBERMANN: The natural question here, I guess -here we know of prosecutors, we know of D.A.s who make these tough adjustment calls in tough cases and say, "All right, send the police out." It's the stock material of every TV cop drama. But the other way around? How often do the police seek the state prosecutor's consent, as the chief representative of the state in their county and then defer to him when he says no in terms of an arrest?
DADE: Well, I think what's usually standard - obviously, I'm not an attorney, but I've covered plenty of crimes - I think what's usually standard, the police have a role of arresting. The prosecutors have a role of bringing charges, and usually they confer. And if a prosecutor doesn't believe that they can make the case, then sometimes that may affect the decision of a police department to arrest. And I think here, again, this gets to one of the big unanswered questions - what really was the litmus test that made the police decide not to arrest?
OLBERMANN: Mr. Zimmerman's defender, Joe Oliver - who used to be a newscaster - apparently hasn't talked with him as one might think, given how much time he's been on cable news in the past week. He said today that if Zimmerman had not shot Trayvon Martin, Trayvon Martin would have shot him. This is an attempt to paint the picture of the dead man as a teen guilty of assault, capable of homicide. Who is Joe Oliver, and where is he getting this stuff?
DADE: You know, I think this - you know, Joe Oliver has become sort of the person of the moment that has shifted a little bit of attention away from Zimmerman. And so, now he's taking fire, as we've seen, in the last 24 hours. He's taking fire from supporters of Trayvon Martin, from all sides, questioning his relationship with Zimmerman, questioning what he knows about the case.
One thing that was interesting that came out when I was talking to Trayvon Martin's family lawyers today, is that with Joe Oliver talking with such specifics about what he says happened in the case, it raises the question of whether or not Joe Oliver will get a visit paid to him by Corey's investigators.
OLBERMANN: All right, one other thing here - the court documents that have shown that George Zimmerman had his problems with the law, including an arrest for resisting an officer with violence. It was reduced when he entered an alcohol-education program, and also the civil motions regarding domestic violence from a former fiancée. Are we getting any better picture of who this man is, you know, amid all the traffic about who - and the noise about who Trayvon Martin was?
DADE: I think it's been inevitable that we were going to have that, just like we're getting more information coming out about Trayvon's history - for example, his suspension because they found marijuana residue in his bag - in his book bag - in school.
And with Zimmerman, I think we're going to continue to see, I know people in my profession are going to continue to dig into his past, and see what they can glean about who this man is, especially considering he's, you know, keeping about the lowest profile possible right now.
OLBERMANN: Corey Dade, national correspondent with NPR Digital News. Corey, thanks for your time tonight.
DADE: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: For more on Congressman Rush's protest in the House and what Trayvon Martin's dad had called the "Trayvon Movement," I'm joined by Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, and former mayor of New Orleans. Thank you for your time tonight, sir.
MARC MORIAL: Hey, Keith, thank you. I appreciate it.
OLBERMANN: Let me start again with this new video. I've been trying to contextualize this. We've only all seen this for about the last 40 minutes or so. What do you see in this video that's relevant to our understanding of what happened on February 26?
MORIAL: What's relevant is that it impeaches the story that George Zimmerman has floated, that somehow he was injured in the altercation, that he had a broken nose, that he had scratches - it impeaches that story, and that story has been part of an orchestrated effort by George Zimmerman and his supporters to sort of advance an alibi, if you will, advance a version of the story that is not supported by this video, and isn't supported by the 911 tapes.
So, I think it's very important to look at this video. People can see what - it does not appear that this gentleman was involved in an altercation.
And then, also, I'm interested to note today this sort of new twist that the Sanford police did, in fact, want to conduct an arrest. I question why they would have consulted the prosecutor. The typical procedure is that the police would, in fact, arrest and book and the prosecutor would make a decision later as whether to bring criminal charges. So, this is a deviation from what I think, in most jurisdictions, is standard procedure.
OLBERMANN: A question I wanted to get in to you, and I'm glad you did that for me - let me ask you one more question about the videotape, then we'll get to Congressman Rush. Let's, for the sake of argument, say there is something left out of the timeline that we know of - and he's been to a doctor, he's been to a bathroom, he's been to a hospital - and the chain of custody, as our previous guest Corey Dade used that term, allows for some place where he could have been cleaned up. That's not the evidence we're talking about in this, is it?
I mean, there is no gushing blood, and I don't think anybody would expect that, necessarily, but there is no - he doesn't seem to be halted in his walking. He doesn't seem to be somebody who just went through a traumatic experience. Is that what we're seeing? Can we assume somewhere along the line he might have gotten a Handi Wipe or something?
MORIAL: Well, he doesn't seem to be in distress.
MORIAL: He doesn't seem to be someone who was involved in any sort of altercation, and I think we have to be on guard at this effort under way to damage Trayvon Martin's reputation - this teenager's reputation - and slander a dead man, as well as the effort to continue to advance this story which now - is now unsupported by this tape which, along with the 911 tapes, are pieces of what I would call independent evidence, not some person who said, "I'm telling you what someone told me," but actually something that people can see.
And I'm hopeful that the prosecutor will quickly make a decision to bring the original charges, or stronger charges, that the police originally wanted to bring. I think that would constitute the first step towards justice in this case.
OLBERMANN: The protest on behalf of justice, as we've already discussed, got to the floor of the House today, and Congressman Rush pulling up the hoodie while denouncing racial profiling and reading verses from the Bible and getting thrown out because he violated an obscure rule of the House while in session, because you can't wear a hat, which is - I guess, a relatively new rule in the last 130 years or so. Did he make his point? Did that resonate the way he wanted it to, do you think?
MORIAL: I think he makes the point that a man, an African-American man, wearing a hoodie is not, by definition, suspicious. In America, which looks on it that way, that's the very essence of what we mean when we talk about racial profiling, so I think you're going to see the wearing of the hood as a universal protest sign in connection with Trayvon Martin.
Because the troubling thing with George Zimmerman is this pattern that existed before this incident of him calling 911, and inconsistently reporting quote/unquote, "black men" as being suspicious in that neighborhood. So, this is why this incident has struck a nerve, because Trayvon Martin is a teenager. It struck a nerve because this person was a self-anointed - self-appointed, if you will - neighborhood watch sheriff. And that people can, in fact, can listen to the 911 tapes, now they can see this video, and I think it's becoming clear what, in fact, happened. We want justice for Trayvon.
OLBERMANN: The president of the Urban League, former mayor of New Orleans, Marc Morial, great thanks. Good to see you. Thank you.
Also tonight, another bad day for health-care reform at the Supreme Court, but it could be worse, as we'll find from the campaign trail. You could be Newt Gingrich.
OLBERMANN: President George H.W. Bush once called me a sick puppy. George H.W. Bush just endorsed Mitt Romney. Thus, President George H.W. Bush just reminded us of - Seamus T. Dog.
OLBERMANN: The hope for a candidate in gaining an endorsement, especially one from a former president, is that voters who supported the endorser will in turn support the endorsee.
In our fourth story - that endorsement can have a negative effect, if it conjures negative images of the candidate. Say a casual use of the term - puppies.
(Excerpt from video clip) BUSH: Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, I mean, here are a couple of sick puppies.
OLBERMANN: Apparently, that President Bush has a warped idea of what makes someone a sick puppy, because - despite Romney's handling of Seamus - Bush 41 is planning to formally induce - endorse, that was a Freudian slip - endorse Mitt Romney tomorrow.
While Romney continues to win over the Republican establishment, he seems to have the same problem continuing with the general public. According to a recent Washington Post poll, half of America has an unfavorable opinion of him. But Romney did his best to seem likeable in an appearance on "The Tonight Show."
(Excerpt from video clip) LENO: Did you ever think we'd be talking about porn? I mean, with all the other things in this election.
(Excerpt from video clip) ROMNEY: I didn't know we were talking about porn.
OLBERMANN: With Leno, Romney tried not to look past the primary. It appears, though, Republican voters are.
According to a recent CNN poll, registered Republicans are getting tired of the race. Forty percent said Santorum should drop out. Sixty percent said Gingrich and Ron Paul should go, and it looks like they may get their wish - at least with Gingrich. Today, his campaign announced it would begin limiting campaign events and laying off one third of their staff. Just remember, as Gingrich says, he and Ronald Reagan created 16 million jobs.
But, that may be a symptom of problems, not a cause. According to reports, Sheldon Adelson - whose $16.5 million in donations has single-handedly kept the Gingrich campaign afloat - is expected to make multimillion-dollar donations to Crossroads GPS. And, in a private dinner at his house with members of the RNC and other Republican fund-raisers, Adelson also indicated he was ready to begin donating to a Romney super PAC.
But Mr. Gingrich has a backup plan.
(Excerpt from video clip) BILL O'REILLY: But you don't have any money. You're going to spend your own money?
(Excerpt from video clip) NEWT GINGRICH: If necessary.
OLBERMANN: For more on that, let's bring national political reporter for Politico, David Cantanese into the equation. David, thanks for your time tonight.
DAVID CANTANESE: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: What happened to Sheldon Adelson's bottomless buffet of money?
CANTANESE: Well, he spent $16.5 million and got two wins in two Southern states for Newt Gingrich, and I think, you know, he said, "That's about it." But, you know, more seriously to the point - you know, Republican voices have been saying that there needs to be a shift away from, you know - Newt Gingrich, some of these underlying candidates - into the House and Senate, which is going to be a huge battleground in 2012.
You have got George Will, the prominent columnist, saying Republican donors should be focusing all of their attention there. And that's where American Crossroads - this Karl Rove super PAC - is going to play heavily. They're going to spend a lot of money in these states that could control - could determine control of the Senate, and that's going to have to do a lot with whether, you know, if President Obama's even elected, whether he's going to have an agenda to put forward in a second term.
OLBERMANN: The endorsement by George H.W. Bush of Romney - does it mean anything to voters by sense of a sort of secondhand extension of Reagan? Or is this just a continuation of the Republican establishment kind of timidly lining up behind Mitt Romney?
CANTANESE: You know, I would say "B." It matters to establishment and it matters to the media narrative that, "Look! Here's another huge Republican figure saying, 'Get on board. This train is moving away with or without you, Newt and Rick.'"
Romney now has two out of the three Bushes. I don't think you'll see the most recent Bush endorse - the most recent President Bush endorse, but you know, he got Senator Jim DeMint to say favorable things - he got majority whip Kevin McCarthy, another person in leadership here in Washington to endorse him. So, I'm sure he's got some more, you know, lined up privately just waiting to come public, if he is able to win a few more primaries.
This is sort of the endorsement portion to say, you know, "Rick Santorum, it's going to be a no-go, and no convention fight."
OLBERMANN: Are they going to get him endorsed sufficiently that Mitt Romney doesn't have to say anything between now and November? Because there was another conference call today, he was trying to connect with voters in Wisconsin, and he laughingly told this story about his dad who closed an American Motors plant in Michigan and moved everybody to Wisconsin, and the punchline was there's a marching band participating in a campaign event for his father, the governor of Michigan at one point, and they only knew the Wisconsin fight song, as he tells the story.
And then, the quote was, "So, every time they would start playing 'On Wisconsin, On Wisconsin,' my dad's political people would jump up and down and try to get them to stop because they didn't want people in Michigan to be reminded that my had dad moved production to Wisconsin."
This is another one. This is like the "I need a garage elevator for my cars" story. Is there no way to stop this man from injuring himself?
CANTANESE: He should have stuck with, "The trees are the right height."
OLBERMANN: Yeah, seriously.
CANTANESE: You know, he just has an awkward sense about him. And this is, I think, the bigger problem for Mitt Romney going forward. It's not where he is on the issues.
I mean, right now, the polls show most Americans are opposed to the health-care law. That's the position that he holds. That's not his barrier to defeating President Obama, I don't think. It's this sort of weirdness, lack of connectivity, you know, unable to deliver a sense of humor that comes across as authentic.
You know, in this instance, you have a Democratic senator from Michigan come out with a statement very strongly saying, "Don't joke about job loss in our state, even if it was decades ago." So, it just gave immediate fodder to his opponents in another state that he wants to play well in in the general, and now, you know, he's made this sort of gaffe.
OLBERMANN: Isn't that funny? Dad liked to fire people, too.
David Cantanese, national political reporter for Politico. As always, great thanks for your time, sir.
CANTANESE: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: We'll get back to the story of this new video tape of George Zimmerman and ask the question - where are the bandages?
And speaking of bandages, the health-care insurance mandate seems to be on the ropes. Will all of reform go with it? Jon Turley joins me. Ahead.
OLBERMANN: More on the new George Zimmerman video, and is the insurance mandate being denied coverage as a pre-existing condition? Or is the entirety of health-care reform about to be screwed by the Supreme Court? Ahead.
First, the "Sanity Break," and on or about this date in 1999, Tony Ball, the chief executive of Fox Sports Net - Rupert Murdoch's attempt to break ESPN's hold on cable sports - decided to move back from Los Angeles to London to run some of Murdoch's properties there.
Ball - whose game plan included a five-year fight just to get his "Fox Sports News" within shouting distance of ESPN's "Sports Center" in the ratings - was replaced by a small group of executives who decided they needed to increase the ratings immediately. The changes they made in an attempting to do so caused "Fox Sports News" to crash. It would be off the air less than three years later.
It was estimated that just this one program lost Murdoch at least $125 million, seven million of which went to me - the last eight hundred thousand dollars of which he paid me to do nothing while hoping I would quit.
Today, Bloomberg News reports Fox is planning a new cable sports net - Rupert Murdoch's attempt to break ESPN's hold on cable sports.
Rupert, give me a buzz and I'll tell you where to send me another seven million dollars and which rat hole to pour the other $118 million down.
"Time Marches On!"
VIDEO: Dog mascot chases cat from court during Israeli basketball game.
The problem was, we used to lead with stories like this - Israeli basketball, with Maccabi Tel Aviv versus Bnei HaSharon.
Game's off to a slow start, until a new player gets in there.
Fortunately, when you have a cat problem, your best bet is a dog mascot. The Tel Aviv mascot Donny the Dog tries to capture the cat. The cat was too fast for him. Donny was still proud to have chased it away.
Maccabi would go on to win the game, and the cat went on to sign a ten-day contract with the New York Knicks - Kevin?
VIDEO: Tiny skier falls asleep while still upright on his skis.
To the Internets, and there's nothing more thrilling than the rush of skiing. And nothing more relaxing, as this little guy can tell you.
After a long day out on the slopes, Bodee was ready for a nap, but he didn't want to wait to get back to the lodge.
That's what a pair of skis will do for your balance. He's able to keep his balance, until he's not. Down - goes Bodee!
Tune in next time as Bodee tries to sleep while kite surfing.
VIDEO: Under-14 team wins championship, world record at the U.S. National Sport Stacking Championships.
Finally, as if you didn't already know this, the weekend was the occasion of the U.S. National Sport Stacking Championships in Colorado Springs.
And the Under-14 team, "Wills and Not Wills," took the world record in the timed 3-6-3 relay. That's the world record for any age group.
Rumblin', stumblin', bumblin', tumblin', dumblin' - after a rough first attempt, they regrouped and got the world record on their next try, stacking and taking down all the cups in 13.96 seconds. I'm reminding you here, this footage has not been sped up in any way.
The team will next be traveling to Germany in April for the world championships, where they will compete for the holy grail of this sport - the Robert Stack Trophy.
"Time Marches On!"
Jonathan Turley on the Supreme Court and health-care reform. Next.
OLBERMANN: Though there was no talk of broccoli mandates during the final day of health-care arguments at the Supreme Court, there was a proverbial loaf of bread referenced.
In our third story on the "Countdown" - the Supreme Court remained deeply divided today when it grappled with the question of "severability" - whether the Affordable Care Act could survive if its key provision, the individual mandate, was to be struck down.
Stripping that mandate, the administration argues, would eliminate other vital provisions - including one banning insurers from turning away people with pre-existing conditions. Across the bench, Justices expressed their concern for the bill's 450 remaining provisions.
(Excerpt from audio clip) RUTH BADER GINSBURG: Why should we say, "It's a choice between a wrecking operation, which is what you are requesting, or a salvage job?" And the more conservative approach would be salvage, rather than throwing out everything.
OLBERMANN: Justice Kagan echoed Justice Ginsburg's sentiment.
(Excerpt from audio clip) ELENA KAGAN: Is half a loaf better than no loaf? And on something like the exchanges, it seems, to me, a perfect example where half a loaf is better than no loaf.
OLBERMANN: Justice Scalia was not shy about where his interests lie. He took the all-or-nothing approach.
(Excerpt from audio clip) SCALIA: My approach would say, "If you take the heart out of the statute, the statute's gone." That enables Congress to do what it wants in the usual fashion.
OLBERMANN: But Justice Kennedy wondered if a partisan Congress would be capable of sensibly reforming the bill.
(Excerpt from audio clip) ANTHONY KENNEDY: Is that the real Congress or a hypothetical Congress?
OLBERMANN: Meantime, White House officials say any speculation about the court's decision is premature.
(Excerpt from video clip) JOSH EARNEST: There is no contingency plan that's in place. We're focused on implementing the law, and we are confident that the law is constitutional.
OLBERMANN: Joining me now for more on this final day of the arguments in front of the SCOTUS, Jonathan Turley, George Washington University law professor, constitutional law expert, and "Countdown" contributor. Jon, again, great thanks for your time tonight.
JONATHAN TURLEY: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: So, we're back to where we were yesterday - severability. Did the questions from the justices tell us anything about what a ruling of unconstitutionality would mean, in practical terms, for the entirety of health-care reform?
TURLEY: Well, it broke along familiar lines. I mean, you have the conservatives that - for the most part - suggested that they thought that, if you cut the heart out of the bill, the whole bill should die, and the liberals suggesting that we could still salvage some of this.
I was a bit surprised, quite frankly, by the views of some of the conservatives. This really does go against the grain of past cases. The court has a longstanding tradition to minimize the degree to which they overturn federal law. I think part of the problem here is that the thing is so immense that some of the justices said, you know, "How are we really supposed to figure out what can live without the individual mandate and what cannot?"
OLBERMANN: Our friend Jeff Toobin says the questions alone suggest that the whole thing is over, that health-care reform will be fully overturned. What are your thoughts about his conclusions?
TURLEY: I wouldn't go that far, quite frankly. Kennedy is still in play, although I think that the administration lost an opportunity, in these arguments, to give him a viable way to limit a ruling, to make it more appealing to him, so that Federalism itself did not appear to be on the chopping block. I think they lost that opportunity, but Kennedy himself can still come up with that type of limiting principle.
But, you know, if you take his comments as a whole, they seem to suggest that he is leaning to the right of the court, and that would be deadly for the individual mandate.
On the issue of severability, Kennedy is very much in play. I don't see Kennedy clearly indicating that he would kill the entire bill. Part of this is due to a mistake by the administration and the Democrats. They chose not to put a severability clause into the bill. When I looked at this bill before it was passed, I asked about that. It was a very noticeable decision. And it seemed to be a game of chicken that they were playing, that they wanted to give these judges the sticker shock of - if you take down the individual mandate, the entire act will be torched.
Well, you know, the problem is that a game of chicken can be deadly. And what these conservative justices were saying today is, "We'll torch the whole darn thing."
OLBERMANN: Well, there's the political calculation, too. They wouldn't have gotten some of the support from the conservative Democrats, had they not done that and, obviously, the, you know, the entire health-care industry would have held people hostage if there had not been an automatic or a forced buy-in, so there was that, too.
TURLEY: Yeah. I think that's right. I mean, there's very unpredictable political aspects to this. I mean, I'm not too - I've always said I'm not too sure what would be worse for the administration, politically, to win this case or to lose it. You know, the - but I'm pretty sure that having part of the act survive might not be the best thing for the administration, because that individual mandate really was needed to make this financially viable. And when you take that away, there's going to be these ripple effects. We don't really know how much of this act could survive without Congress having to step in and directly appropriating that missing income.
OLBERMANN: Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, "Countdown" contributor who has agreed to stick with us for a recap of the legal implications of that Zimmerman video we showed you at the top of the hour. So, we'll be back to you in about ten minutes, Jon. Thanks again.
TURLEY: All right. Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Also, besides that, the second crew meltdown in as many months on an American airliner as the Jet Blue captain is charged. One of his passengers joins us.
OLBERMANN: We will return to this hour's breaking news, the video from the Sanford Police Department, the night George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Jonathan Turley will rejoin me to analyze this from the legal point of view. And then, there is the further question - if there is no blood because, as Mr. Zimmerman said as he did, he did not need to got to the hospital. Even if he just went to a washroom, where are the bandages, where is the swelling? Coming up.
OLBERMANN: The JetBlue pilot whose erratic behavior forced an emergency landing is now facing federal criminal charges.
In our number two story tonight - JetBlue Flight 191 heading from New York to Las Vegas was forced to make an emergency landing in Texas yesterday after pilot Clayton Osbon, a 12-year veteran of the airline, began acting erratically, roaming the aisles shouting about Israel, Iraq and saying things just don't matter.
Federal prosecutors today charged Osbon with interfering with a flight crew. According to the FBI affidavit, shortly into the flight, the captain began to exhibit erratic behavior, including improperly fiddling with the plane's controls and speaking incoherently about religion. The flight's co-pilot was able to convince Osbon to exit the cockpit, at which point he locked the pilot out and changed the security code, in order to prevent Osbon from re-entering. After his failed attempts to get back in, the pilot became increasingly agitated.
Upon direction from the first officer, several passengers, many of whom - by extraordinary coincidence - were security professionals on their way to Las Vegas for a convention, jumped into action and subdued the pilot. One of those passengers will join me momentarily.
(Excerpt from video clip) CLAYTON OSBON: It doesn't matter. Oh, my God. I'm so distraught. Oh, my God. We got Israel, we got Iraq.
OLBERMANN: The group of quick-thinking passengers was able to keep Osbon restrained for more than 20 minutes upon landing in Amarillo. Osbon was taken into FBI custody, is currently undergoing psychiatric testing. If convicted of interfering with a flight crew, he could face a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
Joined now from Las Vegas by one of the passengers who helped to restrain the pilot on yesterday's flight, Tony Antolino. Thank you for your time tonight, sir.
TONY ANTOLINO: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: A flight heading to a security convention, what might have happened if all the pros had been on another flight?
ANTOLINO: I'm telling you, you know, it was all the right pieces came together, quite frankly. I couldn't be more thankful to be here to be able to talk to you.
OLBERMANN: Indeed. At what point did it become clear to you that this wasn't just a joke or the captain being a little stressed, but that he actually needed restraint, and did you hesitate - did anybody on that flight hesitate?
ANTOLINO: You know, the first visible sign was when he first came out of the cockpit. He came out unannounced, which was, you know, as we all know from traveling, there are certain things that the crew does in order to prepare for the pilot or captain to come out. That barricade was not in the aisle, and so on, so, that was the first kind of visual trigger that something was a little wrong. The crew kind of pulled that together pretty quickly, though, began talking to him. But, when you looked at him, you could see he was clearly erratic, he was very agitated, he was tense, he was drinking a lot of water. And so, you could tell that his adrenaline was going. He did continue to be increasingly agitated.
I think the second real trigger, and at the point in which I realized something was really going wrong, was when they asked the co-pilot to prepare to go up to the cockpit. Once that did happen, when the distressed captain went into the bathroom, I knew for sure something was going wrong. I really didn't expect what was about to follow, but certainly confirmed in my mind that something was wrong with him. He went to the back of the plane. Upon returning to the front of the plane, he began running towards the cockpit and tried entering that keypad, as you said, and then tried kicking the door down and physically gaining access.
And, impulsively, that's when myself and three other guys just reacted and grabbed him and started pulling him away from the cockpit door. And that's when you heard the audio there, actually, is right about when we grabbed him.
He was saying, "They got us in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, we got to go down, they're going to take us down. Say the good Lord's prayer," is what he said. And then, I think it meant - subconsciously, I think for those of us that had him - I think that was just when we decided, you know, we got to put him down to the ground and forcibly restrain him.
I mean, this is a was a big guy, Keith, he was 6'4", 250 pounds. He's a really big guy, so he put up quite a fight, and clearly, clearly, really distressed.
OLBERMANN: Did he - some people had said, who were on the flight, that they heard him talking about a bomb. Did you hear him talking about a bomb?
ANTOLINO: I personally did not hear him talking about a bomb. But a few of the other gentlemen that were helping to restrain him did hear that.
OLBERMANN: For ten years, as if I'm telling you or anybody who is watching anything they don't know, we're all worried about problems on a flight. I guess everybody has - every time they've gone on, they've had one moment of thinking, "What would I do if?"
And here we have a flight attendant melting down last month, and grabbing the P.A. system and just freaking out, now a captain yesterday. And you'd guess stress or overwork, or goodness knows what else plays a factor. Do we have to worry about the flight crews now? I mean, you're now a veteran of this. Tell the rest of us what we need to think of as we get on our next flight.
ANTOLINO: Well, going into the flight, you know, I think the unfortunate world we live in, you have to be extremely aware of your surroundings, right? So, we're all at that kind of heightened sense of what is happening, so you notice when something is going wrong, you kind of track it and see whether it's going to resolve itself or someone or something is going to resolve it.
In this case, though, you know, nobody could have expected this would be the outcome. No one saw it coming. I think what the conversation is now going to move towards, though, is, you know - why did this guy have a meltdown, so to speak?
I'm hearing some confirmed reports today that he was a former military pilot, and such, so did that have something to do with it? You know, why was he so mentally distraught? Why was he so dehydrated and agitated and non-coherent?
I read some of the affidavit statements from the first officer about some of the comments that were being made between them in the cockpit, and clearly, clearly he was deranged and had an alternative plan. And you know, I can't say it enough today, that the hero here is the co-pilot who had the wherewithal who to somehow coerce him out of the cockpit and secure the aircraft, and quite frankly, secure the, you know, all of the passengers on board.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, we joke about these -
ANTOLINO: I think we're going start talking about different kinds of screening processes for the crew, for the pilots. I mean, clearly, we need to look more into why this was not presenting itself.
OLBERMANN: And we joke about the flight crews often, and then every once in a while, every couple of years, there is a Captain Sullenberger or the co-pilot on your flight yesterday who does wonderful things for the public and, obviously, for the profession.
ANTOLINO: It was the crew, as well, Keith. You know, seriously. It was the crew, too. I have to say the JetBlue crew did a spectacular job in executing in a crisis, really.
OLBERMANN: Tony Antolino, one of the passengers on that JetBlue flight. Congratulations on getting there, and thanks for your time tonight, and good luck on the trip back.
ANTOLINO: Thanks, Keith, appreciate it.
OLBERMANN: Back with Jonathan Turley and trying to legally understand the implications of this new George Zimmerman video. If you haven't seen it before, you'll want to see it right after this.
OLBERMANN: This, again, the day's breaking news.
From Sanford, Florida - released to ABC News, and now everywhere, of course - video from some moments after the killing on February 26th of Trayvon Martin in that city of the man who fired the gun, allegedly in self defense, George Zimmerman, who has not been arrested nor charged with any crime - being taken by police out of that police vehicle in to the headquarters - police headquarters.
No determined time yet, as to how long after the event this took place. But the details of what you don't see as you get this good profile view and then a back view and briefly a front view of this man's head, summarized by an article in The Orlando Sentinel.
Police say Zimmerman told them he shot Trayvon Martin in defense after the six-foot high school junior punched him, got on top of him, then began banging his head into a sidewalk. Zimmerman was bleeding from his nose and the back of his head, according to a police report. But the video, as you see here, shows no obvious sign of injury. He was tended to at the scene by paramedics, bu told them he did not need to go to a hospital, police reported.
This extraordinary video - for an understanding of that and the other legal developments today, Jonathan Turley of George Washington University Law and "Countdown" contributor has joined us again. Give me your initial impression, Jon, of the legal meaning and value of this videotape.
TURLEY: Well, you know, as a criminal-defense attorney, I have to say this is pretty bad evidence for his defense. You know, it is potentially admissible. You know, the whole basis upon self defense here is that he faced a reasonable fear of serious bodily injury or death, and he, at least through the police, have claimed that he was beaten and jumped by Martin. That would make this tape potentially admissible, potentially relevant.
The other problem with this tape, by the way, that I would have on the criminal defense side is that, you know, we're careful never to show a defendant or allow a defendant to be shown in court wearing handcuffs or prison garb in front of a jury. If this is admissible, it's the type of thing that you never want the jury to see, to see the client, actually in cuffs, surrounded by police officers.
The jurors, like everyone else, are extremely visual. You know, the impact of seeing a video has a pronounced impact on their view of a crime or a crime scene. So it hurts on both the substantive defense, it also hurts, potentially tactically, for his defense council.
OLBERMANN: Thirty seconds on this point. The report from the special prosecutor there that the police in Sandford wanted to charge him with a crime, went to the county representative of the state prosecutorial force - the state prosecutor in Seminole County - and said, "We want to arrest him," and were either overruled, or the thing was just pigeonholed and left there. Is that standard procedure, that the cops in this scenario would then go to the county prosecutor?
TURLEY: Well, it is not unheard of in some jurisdictions for even ADAs - assistant district attorneys - to ride along with the police officers. I'm surprised he was not arrested. I've seen indictments based on less evidence than this. And so, for that reason, I'm very surprised to see that the initial recommendation of the charge appears to be either overridden or simply not acted upon. I think that this tape is going to cause even greater anger towards that decision.
You know, it is certainly the case that you can use lethal force against an unarmed individual in many states and be viewed as acting in self defense, but it's difficult. And you usually have more of a showing from the beating than what we see here.
OLBERMANN: Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, criminal defense attorney, "Countdown" contributor, thanks for staying with us on this.
TURLEY: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Thank you. That's "Countdown," I'm Keith Olbermann, good night.