'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Monday, February 27th, 2012
#ShowPlug 1: Romney reminisces about Detroit Car event he attended - nine months before he was born; Santorum faces "vomit" reflux
#ShowPlug 2: Ed Rollins sums up GOP field: "What a BLEEPING mess." Politico's @KenVogel, @Markos Moulitsas on Michigan.
#ShowPlug 3: Mayor Bloomberg's private anti-Muslim CIA - partially federally funded. NJ Rep @RushHolt on blowback, possible investigation
#ShowPlug 4: Murdoch scandal grows: Now another paper, bribing not cops but government figures. @RobertMooreITV assesses for us
#ShowPlug 5: Oklahoma Congressman has solution to Senate not passing GOP budget: shoot and kill Senators. But he's sorry he said it
#ShowPlug Last: Einstein disproved? No, it was a broken cable. And welcome to Planet Schvitz, w/ @CoolAstronomer Derrick Pitts
#5 'Degrees of Difficulty', Ken Vogel
#5 'Degrees of Difficulty', Markos Moulitsas
#4 'NY-SPY-D', Rep. Rush Holt
# Time Marches On!
#3 'Murdoch-Gate', Robert Moore
#2 Worst Persons: Glenn Beck, Jesse Kelly & Frank Antenori, Rep. John Sullivan
#1 'Spaced Out', Derrick Pitts
printable PDF transcript
On the show: Markos Moulitsas, Derrick Pitts, Robert Moore, Rush Holt, Ken Vogel
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
On the eve of an upset in Michigan, Rick Santorum has met the enemy - himself.
(Excerpt from video clip) RICK SANTORUM: President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob. Oh, I understand why he wants you go to college. He wants to remake you in his image.
OLBERMANN: Rick Santorum campaign website, 2006: he boasted he was "committed to ensuring that every Pennsylvanian has access to higher education."
On the eve of staving off an upset in Michigan, Mitt Romney has met the enemy - himself.
He tells an audience his detailed memories of having attended the Golden Jubilee 50th Anniversary of the Automobile in Detroit, which actually took place nine months before he was born.
Michigan, day minus-one or, as Reagan campaign manager Ed Rollins puts it, "Six months before this thing got going, every Republican I know was saying, 'We're going to win, we're going to beat Obama.' Now, even those who've endorsed Romney say, 'My God, what an effing mess.'"
Mike Bloomberg's private CIA chasing law-abiding Muslims around the northeast. It might be investigated by the federal government. Tonight, it turns out it was partially funded by the federal government.
(Excerpt from audio clip) RAY KELLY: Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it, and the people have short memories as to what happened here in 2001.
OLBERMANN: And apparently, others who forget there is an FBI, a CIA, and a Department of Homeland Security.
Murdoch-gate explodes anew. Another one of his newspapers paying off - not cops, but government officials.
The Republican congressman's idea to get senators to adopt the House budget plan? Kill some senators.
(Excerpt from video clip) JOHN SULLIVAN: Me going over there with a gun and holding it to their head and maybe killing a couple of them.
OLBERMANN: Nice work, Einstein! No, literally. The disproving of his theory is disproved, and the discovery of Planet Steambath, where "a huge fraction of its mass is made up of water."
All that and more, now on "Countdown."
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: In this place they know only as Waterworld.
OLBERMANN: Good evening. This is Monday, February 27th, 254 days until the 2012 presidential election.
Less than 24 hours before Michigan, Rick Santorum's campaign is asking Democrats to vote for him in the Republican primary tomorrow. This, after Santorum has sought to take us back to the time before President Kennedy helped to clarify the separation of church and state, while Mitt Romney sought to prove he has clear memories of attending an event that took place nine months before he was born.
In our fifth story on the "Countdown" - Santorum vomiting at what the majority of Americans saw as a reason to overcome prejudice and elect a Catholic. Romney implying that campaigning begins at conception.
The former Governor, improving in the latest Gallup national polls, pulling four points ahead of Santorum among Republican registered voters and right-leaning independents. Romney also looking to crush Santorum in Arizona with a 17-point lead among likely Republican voters there tomorrow, in the latest Public Policy poll.
Michigan, Romney's home state, of course, a far more vital battleground. There, Romney and Santorum essentially tied. Romney leading by two, well within the margin of error. That, though the vast majority of Michigan GOP primary voters say economic issues are of far more concern to them than are social issues. An area where former senator Santorum appears to be in a class by himself - or a lack of class by himself - attacking President Obama on Saturday over the president's wish that Americans become as educated as they possibly can.
(Excerpt from video clip) SANTORUM: President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob. Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college! He wants to remake you in his image.
OLBERMANN: Santorum, perhaps responding to this well-meaning call from the president's first speech to a joint session of Congress, in February 2009:
(Excerpt from video clip) BARACK OBAMA: I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. It can be a community college or a four-year school, vocational training or an apprenticeship.
OLBERMANN: Santorum, first distorting the president's words, then adding a popular conservative complaint in an ABC News interview yesterday:
(Excerpt from video clip) SANTORUM: To sort of lay out there that somehow this is - this is - should be everybody's goal, I think, devalues the tremendous work that people who, frankly, don't go to college and don't want to go to college because they have a lot of other talents and skills. We have some real problems on our college campuses with political correctness, with an ideology that is forced upon people who, you know, who may not agree with the politically correct left doctrine.
OLBERMANN: Mr. Obama, undercutting Santorum's first claim at a meeting of the National Governors Association today.
(Excerpt from video clip) OBAMA: I have to make a point here. When I speak about higher education, we are not just talking about a four-year degree.
OLBERMANN: And two Republican governors apparently agreeing with the president. Virginia's Bob McDonnell saying, "I wish Santorum had said it differently. I'm pushing in Virginia this year for 100,000 new degrees over the next 15 years." And Romney surrogate, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, also disagreeing with Santorum:
(Excerpt from video clip) CHRIS CHRISTIE: I certainly don't think the president's a snob for saying that. I think that's probably over the line.
OLBERMANN: And as it turns out, the Rick Santorum of 2006 probably agrees with Christie. That Rick Santorum posted on his Senate campaign website that he was, "committed to ensuring that every Pennsylvanian has access to higher education, having supported legislative solutions to make higher education more accessible and affordable."
Santorum also returning this week to his attack last year on President Kennedy's historic 1960 speech on religion in America:
(Excerpt from video clip) SANTORUM: I had the opportunity to read the speech, and I almost threw up.
OLBERMANN: Santorum objecting to JFK's call for an America where the "separation of church and state is absolute."
(Excerpt from video clip) SANTORUM: I don't believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country.
OLBERMANN: Santorum's vision, perhaps. That vision which now includes the news that, late this afternoon, the Santorum campaign confirmed that it had, indeed, paid for a robocall in Michigan encouraging Democrats who can vote tomorrow to do so for Santorum.
Romney's campaign saying that this went beyond, using Santorum's phrase, the willingness to "take one for the team," and instead showed a willingness to "wear the other team's uniform." We'll play you one of those robocalls in just a few moments.
As for Mitt Romney, he's not having trouble with the uniform, only which season and sport is in question. First, about the sport - inserting foot into mouth when asked at Sunday's rain-delayed Daytona 500 if he followed stock car racing.
(Excerpt from video clip) ROMNEY: Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans, but I have some great friends that are NASCAR team owners.
OLBERMANN: Man of the people.
Romney making another unforced error last week, reminiscing with Michigan voters about the 1946 Detroit Jubilee parade:
(Excerpt from video clip) ROMNEY: My dad had a job like being the grand master, or whatever, of the 50th Celebration of the Automobile in Detroit. They painted Woodward Avenue with gold paint. My memory's a little foggy here, so - but, yeah - I was probably four, something like that.
OLBERMANN: No. No, you weren't. The parade took place on June 1st, 1946. Mitt Romney was born on March 12th, 1947.
For more on the Republican primary race as we head towards Michigan and Arizona, I'm joined by Politico's chief investigative reporter Ken Vogel. Ken, good evening.
KEN VOGEL: Hey, Keith.
OLBERMANN: The numbers heading into tomorrow - Romney's got Arizona. He's erased most or all of Santorum's lead in Michigan. Is there some threshold at which Santorum could claim a win in Michigan even with a near loss?
VOGEL: Well, certainly, if his goal was just to bloody up Mitt Romney, prolong the primary, and send Mitt Romney limping into a general election battle with a very well-stocked, well-rested President Obama, but if his goal - Santorum's goal - is to win the nomination, then no. He needs to win. He needs to win some delegates. Of course, he can do that in some of these states with the proportional delegation allocation of delegates, just from placing and getting a certain percentage of votes in the primary.
But, in this case, all it does - the fact that Mitt Romney was able to close this gap with Rick Santorum, who enjoyed a rather healthy lead in Michigan at one point, sort of bolsters the case for Romney's candidacy, that when he has time to both campaign in a state and, perhaps more importantly, spend a lot of money in the state, both he and his super PAC - then, he can do well.
And that's only going to be, sort of, borne out further in the next round of voting in Super Tuesday, where, of course, there's more of a national campaign. It's going to be harder for Rick Santorum to rely on his grassroots appeal, if you will, and it's going to incentivize the type of campaigning that Mitt Romney is strongest at or that his campaign, his operation, his super PAC is strongest.
OLBERMANN: And emphasizing the economic issues that Romney is trying to emphasize, which - the extraordinary thing about Michigan is - here is a poll that show there, the GOP voters are far more concerned with the economy than with social issues. Why is Santorum doubling down on the social issues in the weekend before the vote? Is there some get-out-the-vote quality to this, that if he could really whip up fanatics they're likely to come out even if they don't know where the polls are?
VOGEL: Certainly. This is his base, but it's kind of a Catch-22 for him because - well, this is who he is, and he can't get really away from it. And also, this is kind of the strongest contrast with Mitt Romney, who, of course, many social conservatives - religious conservatives - still feel a great deal of leeriness about Mitt Romney's stance on those social issues, whereas they are very comfortable with Rick Santorum.
Nationally, and particularly with the swing and independent voters who decide these elections of the general elections, these issues are not really where the focus is. Of course, the focus is on economic issues and jobs. So, Rick Santorum can't really deviate too far from where he's strongest and where his strongest contrasts with Mitt Romney are, but nor can he ignore these economic issues where most voters - Republican primary voters who place those at their top issues - are going to gravitate towards Mitt Romney. So, it's really a tough row to hoe for Rick Santorum.
OLBERMANN: I was going to ask you, can - if Romney had really handed Santorum something in reminiscing about an event that took place before he was born that he claimed to have attended. But now, we have Santorum's campaign admitting to these robocalls in Michigan seeking votes in a Republican primary by Democrats. That - presumably, if he gets enough of them - makes a difference tomorrow, but what does it mean on Wednesday? Isn't that basically an anvil to hit him over the head with from Romney or Gingrich or Ron Paul or any other Republican to say, "You went into a Republican primary and asked for Democratic votes?"
VOGEL: Certainly. It's also, to an extent, acknowledging this - sort of the self-sabotage aspect of it, I mean, where you see this crossover voting, where you see mischief. It's in the interest of the other party to vote for the weaker candidate, the candidate who they think will be weakest in the general election. So, the fact that he is playing into this to try to hurt Mitt Romney is in some ways acknowledging that he thinks that Democrats would view him as the weaker candidate.
So it's certainly a bit of tactic that - in the past, at the margins - has been able to help candidates in Michigan and other states where they allow - where they have these open primaries, but it's also a little bit of an acknowledgment that he is not as viable of a general election candidate as Mitt Romney.
OLBERMANN: Ken Vogel, the chief investigative reporter with Politic, always a pleasure, Ken. Many thanks.
VOGEL: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: We were going to talk to our next guest, Daily Kos founder and publisher and "Countdown" contributor Markos Moulitsas, principally about the GOP culture wars, but what a coincidence this afternoon when Rick Santorum essentially followed his call to encourage Democrats to vote tomorrow in the Republican primary in Michigan.
Which was something that you kind of dreamt up, and I want your reaction to it first, but we actually have one of the robocalls on tape. I'm going to play that first and then get your reaction to the whole thing.
MARKOS MOULITSAS: Okay.
(Excerpt from audio clip) MAN: By voting for Rick Santorum. That's right, Michigan Democrats can vote in the Republican primary on Tuesday. Why is it so important? Romney supported the bailouts for his Wall Street billionaire buddies but opposed the auto bailouts. That was a slap in the face to every Michigan worker and we're not going to let Romney get away with it.
On Tuesday, join Democrats who are going to send a loud message to Massachusetts' Mitt Romney by voting for Rick Santorum for president.
This call is supported by hardworking Democratic men and women, and paid for by Rick Santorum for president.
OLBERMANN: Markos, a couple of people who heard that, Republicans in Michigan, thought it was a setup by somebody to hurt Rick Santorum, until they heard the last line of that. What is your reaction to this?
MOULITSAS: Yeah, no - well, it doesn't - it helps Rick Santorum, absolutely. The idea being that Michigan has an open primary. The Democratic contest is irrelevant. No delegates are going to be assigned. The Democrats have their own caucuses in May, so therefore - it's an opportunity for Democrats to actually help prolong this election a little bit longer, because we've seen that the longer this drags out the worse it is for Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum and the best it is for Barack Obama.
So we've been urging our readers and our Michigan crowd to turn out and vote for Rick Santorum and we've seen other - the Michigan Democratic party urge its people to turn out and vote. Obama campaign supporter Move On and Obama's super PAC have both - have all been hitting Mitt Romney in attack ads, and if you're hitting Mitt Romney in Michigan, what are you trying to do? You're trying to depress his turnout to help Rick Santorum.
There's no other options, so there is this really concerted, multi-pronged, multi-effort campaign to try to deliver Santorum a victory in Michigan because, if we do, this thing drags out for at least another month, if not two.
OLBERMANN: Santorum, of course, no matter what advantage you might be handing to him or this - or this little, sort of, bizarre campaign that would come back and fall on top of his head on Wednesday because then they could say, "Well, he only won because of the Democrats," which only screws the thing up more for the Republicans.
He seems to be convinced that every opportunity he gets to move ahead he should hand back as quickly as possible. He attacked the president as a snob because the president wanted to get better educated - Americans to be better educated so they can get better jobs and it drew applause and laughter at this tea party event, as we heard in Michigan, but he advocated the same thing in Pennsylvania the last time he ran for Senate. Does the past not exist for the candidates or the people who support them?
MOULITSAS: Yeah, these people keep forgetting the thing called YouTube and video, and that these things exist. But I think, beyond the hypocrisy - I don't think the tea party crowd that supports him really cares about the hypocrisy. They just want to see somebody attack Obama and they don't care what it's about.
I mean, these are people who obviously, probably, would want to go to college or go to vocational school or be trained in a skill that they can use to make more money. These are Republicans. They're supposed to want to get better and make more money, so why is education suddenly an evil?
And that's because Santorum has created this whole mythology about how college is a way to strip out God from students and turn them into p.c. heathens and whatnot. So, it's just another prong in this culture war and it doesn't matter what Obama says. They're going to twist and then turn it in a way to make it an attack on them and the tea party privates will cheer.
OLBERMANN: Ed Rollins, to New York Magazine - Reagan's campaign co-manager in 1984: "Six months before this thing got going, every Republican I know was saying, 'We're going to win, we're going to beat Obama.' Now even those who've endorsed Romney say, 'My God, what an effing mess.'" Only he didn't say "effing." Do they have a Plan C?
MOULITSAS: Yeah, it's called 2016. That's why so many of the top-tier Republicans decided not to run this year and wait this out. I think a lot of them hope that the tea party, sort of, will run its course by then so they can have - the more saner components of the Republican party will be in charge.
But it's clear that Santorum and Romney, at this point, are near unelectable. The longer we drag this thing out, the worse it's going to be for them and really - this whole fantasy about a brokered convention and a consensus candidate coming out of that is pure fantasy.
This would be somebody with no organization, no money, not vetted - and we saw what happened with Sarah Palin when the press got around to vetting a candidate that hadn't been vetted before. And this person would come out of the convention and face $200 million in attack ads from Democrats and their allies. So this is not going to be a good year for them.
I think Plan C, really, is to try to do as best as they can, minimize the losses down ballot in the Senate and the House, and just pretty much start building towards 2016.
OLBERMANN: Daily Kos founder and publisher, "Countdown" contributor - and not the voice you heard on the Santorum robocall to Democrats - Markos Moulitsas. Thank you, Markos.
MOULITSAS: Good evening.
OLBERMANN: Not only has the New York Police Department been profiling law-abiding Muslims in this city, not only has it been chasing them around in the northeast as if there were no FBI, but it turns out - wherever you are - your tax dollars have helped pay for it via a special White House grant. The ever-uglier details, next.
OLBERMANN: Amid growing calls for the feds to investigate the New York Police Department, it turns out his racial profiling of law-abiding Muslims around the northeast has been paid for, in part, by the Feds.
The phone hacking at one of his newspapers was just the tip of the iceberg. Now it's government bribing by another one of them.
Is he still selling you overpriced gold coins while you think you're buying bullion? His sponsor admits to wrongdoing. It will compensate its victims and it will have a court-appointed monitor inside its business for the next five years.
And you need a nice interplanetary schvitz? The discovery of the Steam Planet. Derrick Pitts joins me. Not your picture.
OLBERMANN: For month after month, the investigative reporting by the Associated Press has gotten more and more astounding - the New York City Police Department targeting - spying - on law-abiding Muslims, first in New York, then in New Jersey, now up and down the east coast, including at major colleges and universities. Several mayors and governors have discussed the possibility of a federal investigation.
But in our fourth story - documents obtained by the AP now make it seem less likely that an investigation will occur because, not only is it possible that the federal government was aware of the spying program, it clearly played a hand in funding it.
The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program is a federally-funded one designed to aid local law enforcement agencies in disrupting the market for illegal drugs. After 9/11, law enforcement agencies in New York and New Jersey were allowed to use this money - totaling $135 million since 2001 - to fight terrorism.
Through secret police documents, interviews with federal officials, the AP confirmed that a portion of that money was being used for the NYPD's spying program. Congress approves funds for the program, but it is not provided a detailed breakdown of the program's activities and NYPD intelligence operations receive little oversight in New York.
But according to Chauncey Parker, the director of the New York/New Jersey HIDTA program, about $1.3 million of the federal money was used by New York Police intelligence unit for cars: "Those cars are used to collect and analyze counter-terrorism information with the goal of preventing a terrorist attack in New York City or anywhere else."
Former police officials told the Associated Press those vehicles were used to photograph mosques and to record the license plates of worshipers there. You know, preventing terrorism.
Through all of this, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly continues to insist his department has done nothing wrong. Yesterday, on a radio show with Congressman Peter King - whose own investigation into Muslims drew fire last year - he defended the NYPD actions with the Bush-ian rationale of "keeping America safe."
(Excerpt from audio clip) KELLY: Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it, and the people have short memories as to what happened here in 2001. It would be folly for us to focus only on the five boroughs of New York City and we have to use all of our resources to protect everyone. They forget that we've been the subject of 14 plots here since 9/11 and they've been thwarted through various means.
OLBERMANN: Joining me now, the congressman from New Jersey's 12th district, Representative Rush Holt. Congressman, thanks for your time tonight.
RUSH HOLT: Thank you, Keith. Good to be with you. I'm glad you're doing this story.
OLBERMANN: I thank you. We've been doing it all along with growing dismay about this.
OLBERMANN: And without even getting into the religious element or this news about the funding, the point I can't get past - talking about jurisdiction, the need to go way outside New York City. It's really too bad for the NYPD, isn't it, that there's no, you know, Federal Investigation Bureau or some sort of central agency of investigation or intelligence which, you know, could deal with, say, security in the homeland?
HOLT: Well - yeah, they're way out of line. They're out of bounds in several senses. This - you know, they've been unapologetic about it. The police chief, Kelly, and the mayor, they've said, "Well, the 9/11 - September 11th, 2001 hijackers spent some time in New Jersey."
Well, I shudder to think that the New York Police Department is also in Boca Raton, Florida and Portland, Maine and Hamburg, Germany. You know, that's - it seems to me it's illegal, unconstitutional on several counts. But even if it isn't, it's bad policing. And now, we hear that they've been misusing the high trafficking drug money - the high intensity drug trafficking money - for purposes that it was not intended for. So this is - this is out of bounds on all sorts of scores.
OLBERMANN: Is that high intensity drug trafficking area program, the HIDTA program, in some ways a can opener for this, because I know you have written previously to the attorney general to ask for a special prosecutor to look into this? But does this - the fact that these federal funds may have been, at least, massaged to fit into a program that they clearly weren't intended to - give you an opportunity to start an investigation?
HOLT: Well, it might be another opportunity. When I first heard about this last summer, because of some enterprising reporting by the AP, I wrote to the attorney general and said, "You know, you need a special - a special prosecutor on this." And, you know, all I've gotten back from repeated interactions with the Department of Justice is they're taking it seriously.
You ought to take this very seriously.
Whenever you start targeting a group based on their religion, I mean - you know, a few minutes ago you played a clip - you know, if you don't learn from history. Well, yeah, there's some lessons we should learn from history about targeting people of minority religions and, interestingly, the New York City Police Department, 40 years ago, was called on the carpet for - by the courts and said they may not target groups, domestic groups, without a valid, probable cause demonstrated before a court.
Clearly, in this, they did not get that. They have just violated that longstanding court order.
OLBERMANN: Congressman - Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, tried to downplay any White House involvement in this. The quote from him was, "This is not an administration program or a White House program. This is the New York Police Department." That's true. It doesn't exactly answer the question of how this money is coming through the administration and - funded by the Bush administration more than the Obama administration - but funded by them both indirectly. Is there a way to, at least, cut that off and to lay some responsibility of this - for this at the White House and say, "Now is the time for you to get on the stick?"
HOLT: Yeah, perhaps. I'm going to look into that. As I say, there are just - there seem to be so many avenues that one could go after this - on the Fourth Amendment, on the 14th Amendment - and besides, the CIA was involved in this. And there is, you know, under Title 50 of the U.S. code, there is a strong prohibition against the CIA being involved in domestic surveillance, domestic policing. They're not supposed to be doing this.
So there are so many avenues, and this might - the misuse of this drug - anti-drug program - might be another avenue to go after, but mostly, what I'd like to do is to get everyone from the mayor to the attorney general - you know, from the president on down - to condemn the idea of profiling, to condemn the idea of targeting people based on their religion.
You know, whatever avenue we take to go to court and stop this particular activity, that's not enough unless we can just erase the temptation from any police department's mind of ever trying to do something like this. I mean, it is such bad policing.
You know, driving while black shouldn't be reason to be pulled over and, by the same token - you know, praying four times a day, facing east should not be grounds for suspicion and surveillance. You know, there are three million Muslims in America. If you want to spend, say, an hour surveilling each one, well, it will take about a century of NYPD time and if they start going over to Hamburg or any other place where terrorists have been known to frequent, there'll be no end of it.
OLBERMANN: Congressman Rush Holt of New Jersey, great thanks for you time tonight. Good luck in pursuing this.
HOLT: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Thank you.
Email records that prove that another Rupert Murdoch newspaper was bribing not just cops but government officials, and scientific records that prove that the disproving of Einstein's theory was a clerical error. Ahead.
OLBERMANN: So Rupert Murdoch's men were not just hacking phones and voicemails and bribing cops and military officials. He also had a network of government folks that they were bribing on his behalf.
The scandal widens.
First, the "Sanity Break," and on this date in 1980 an obscure, first-term governor of Arkansas and his wife announced the birth of their first child, a girl they named Chelsea Victoria.
The governor was Bill Clinton, his wife was Hillary, and Chelsea is, as of today, now 32 years of age. And if that doesn't make you feel old, I'm guessing your bedtime is still 9:00 p.m.
"Time Marches On!"
VIDEO: Baguette-stealing dog is thwarted by lack of geometry skills.
We begin with the TMO Adorable Clip of the Day.
This thieving canine has almost pulled off the perfect heist, made off with an entire baguette. She's a French dog.
Unfortunately, she doesn't have much of an exit strategy.
Arriving back at the kennel with no way to get the baguette inside, after several attempts to force it, the persistent pup finally gets a lucky break, and she closes the door behind her, leaving no trace of the crime, except half a baguette sitting on the floor.
VIDEO: Brazilian soccer player has the worst day ever.
In sports: the semifinals of Rio de Janeiro's Guanabara Cup - I'm screwing this up seven ways to Sunday.
It's tied 1-1. That's likely to change.
The pass to Flamengo's Deivid de Souza and - he hit the bleeping post!
Flamengo went on to lose the match. Gah!
But De Souza was given a consolation prize: a barrel of fish and a loaded gun. He has yet to hit a single fish.
"Time Marches On!"
Rupert Murdoch's world of hurt, much bigger than we thought. Universe of hurt.
Speaking of universes, the challenge to Einstein's theory seems to have vanished into a black hole.
OLBERMANN: Rupert Murdoch had hoped to shift focus away from the investigations into his newspapers by introducing a new one over the weekend, The Sun on Sunday. Then, it turned out The Sun - not on Sunday - has allegedly been bribing not just cops, but government and even military officials.
In our third story - Sue Akers, the officer leading the British police investigation into Murdoch's news organizations - telling the parliamentary inquiry today that, according to email records, The Sun paid both cops and military and government officials hundreds of thousands of dollars for information.
(Excerpt from video clip) SUE AKERS: The payments have been made not only to police officers but to a wide range of public officials. There also appears to have been a culture at The Sun of illegal payments, and systems have been created to facilitate those payments whilst hiding the identity of the officials receiving the money.
OLBERMANN: Sue Akers goes on to say that payments were authorized at a, "very senior level within the newspaper."
Perhaps just as interesting, Mr. Murdoch does not exactly dispute the allegations.
He released the following statement today: "The practices Sue Akers described at the Leveson inquiry are ones of the past, and no longer exist at The Sun. We've already emerged a stronger company."
In other words, because we're not doing it anymore, let's just pretend we never did it at all.
Adding fuel to the fire that could potentially burn down at least part of the Murdoch empire, more information today surfacing on the News of the World front. It seems former News International Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks - who resigned in July at Murdoch's insistence that she travel the world, on his dime, for a year - was actually told by police back in 2006 that at least 100 people had been victims of News of the World phone hackings. This, despite Ms. Brooks' insistence that, until 2010, she was only aware of these sorts of actions by a single "rogue reporter."
To try to understand the implications of the latest developments, we're joined once again by the Washington correspondent of the fine U.K. television news organization ITV News, Robert Moore. Thank you once again for some of your time tonight, sir.
ROBERT MOORE: It's a pleasure.
OLBERMANN: Which of the developments resonates more meaningfully, do you think - the alleged awareness by Rebekah Brooks' in 2006 rather than 2010, or this broadened scope of the alleged bribery at The Sun?
MOORE: Oh, I think they compound each other. I think this issue about how - you know, the Murdoch strategy of trying to contain it to a single newspaper, the News of the World, I think the very fact that is clearly failing, that it's migrated this scandal to the heart of Rupert Murdoch's favorite tabloid, namely, The Sun - I think that's potentially devastating for News International, that's the - you know, the company in the U.K., the parent company of which of course is News Corp.
Because, you know, Murdoch had these great, kind of, firewalls that he had designed. First of all, contain the scandal to The News of the World, and the second firewall, make sure that the scandal stays within the U.K. But it's now migrated from the News of the World to The Sun and, potentially, will now cross the Atlantic and could endanger News Corp. here in the United States.
So it really is a very big day of developments for Murdoch, and a pretty grim one, I think.
OLBERMANN: Obviously, that second point that you raised is of principle interest here. Were there specific developments today that made the likelihood of problems for him in the United States grow?
MOORE: I think that's right. I think it certainly did because, up until now, we assumed that there was a kind of - a relationship between journalists on The Sun and police officers, you know, maybe investigating various sort of criminal activities.
Now, it appears that the criminality at The Sun was really on an industrial scale. It wasn't just a relationship with police officers. It extended to government officials, even to officials inside the British Ministry of Defense. That - the idea that there was kind of industrial criminality, not just a kind of - a drink between journalists and police officers, but something much more substantial, what Sue Ackers called "a network of corrupted officials," that clearly does impact a potential FBI investigation under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
So, it does have the danger now for Rupert Murdoch and it's a major danger of crossing the Atlantic and becoming a United States investigation as well.
OLBERMANN: Why is Murdoch's response to this to create another newspaper, The Sun on Sunday? There was a former News Corporation executive who told The New York Times over the weekend, "Let's just accept that these are toxic properties. They're severely damaged and have no value to anyone other than him."
If they're toxic properties and he shut down News of the World as quickly as he could to make all the evidence go away, why expand? Why bring more attention to the origination? Is the charm, to him, of starting a newspaper just so great that he can't resist it?
MOORE: Well, it's partly that. It's partly because, you know, for decades he's loved to be unpredictable. He loves the idea of turning defense into attack. He loves the idea of being able to sort of snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. I think that's classic Rupert Murdoch and, let's be frank, The Sun on Sunday - on Sunday - sold three and a quarter million copies.
So on a - as a purely commercial biases, it would appear to be a successful tactic, but what he hadn't imagined was that, within 24 hours of that launch, he would be hit by an avalanche of fresh and potentially devastating allegations suggesting, as I've mentioned, criminality on an industrial scale. So, even as he succeeds in a commercial enterprise - politically, News International in the U.K. is under relentless pressure once again.
OLBERMANN: The Washington correspondent of ITV News, Robert Moore. Again, thanks so much for your time, sir.
MOORE: Oh, it's a pleasure.
OLBERMANN: Thank you.
A planet full of steam. And a debunking of Einstein's Theory of Relatively that is full of broken cables, literally. Coming up.
OLBERMANN: Einstein, one. Skeptics, nothing. The theory that his theory had been disproved seems to have itself been disproved.
First, the "Worsts," and an Oklahoma congressman says he can think of only one solution for the Senate refusing to pass the House budget - start killing senators. Next, on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: It's Steam World. Planet o' Steam. Derrick Pitts on the first-ever sauna planet.
That's next, but first - because the following individuals represent the hot air on this planet - it's time for "Countdown's" top three nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the World."
The bronze? To "Lonesome Rhodes" Beck. Remember him?
The former TV guy is still on the radio, brought to you by Goldline. For years I, and others, have pointed out that Goldline is a rip-off whose customers think they're investing in actual gold bullion, but are, in fact, buying overpriced gold trinkets, and that Beck was their number-one shill.
Goldline has now admitted in a court in Santa Monica that charges against it there are accurate, that it did defraud customers of at least $4.5 million, and the 19 criminal charges had a basis in fact. The company agreed to repay that full figure and overhaul its business practices and have a full-time court monitor, for the next five years, inside its business.
The Santa Monica city attorney determined that Beck's sponsor was typically charging customers 155 percent of the actual value of the gold coins he was selling them.
Well, not just Beck, but also Sean Hannity, Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson, and radio eunuch Mark Levin.
A tie at number two - Arizona Republican congressional contenders Jesse Kelly and Frank Antenori.
Antenori, who served in the first Gulf war, is apparently having a flashback. To a tea party crowd in Tucson, he has compared President Obama to Saddam Hussein:
"We helped train the Kuwaiti Liberation Brigade and lead the Kuwaitis into Kuwait City to liberate their own country after it had been taken from them by Saddam Hussein. Imagine that, having your country taken from you and then having to fight for it to get it back. We're at that point here in this country."
So, you're proposing armed violence against the president and the U.S. government? But is that conservative enough for Arizona?
Then, there's Jesse Kelly, vying with Mr. Antenori for the same congressional nomination.
He has now mystified many - some in his own party - when he told a tea party crowd: "Three decades ago, they told us there were 800 million barrels of oil existing in the world. Today, because of technology, there's over a trillion. So apparently, it is the renewable resource we've all been talking about."
Uh, the word "renewable." You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Of course, it was Mr. Kelly who ran for Congress in 2010 and ran an event in which he encouraged voters to support his candidacy and oppose the incumbent by shooting a machine gun with him. The opponent was Gabby Giffords, and Kelly and Antenori are now seeking the GOP nomination in her district.
Which leads us to the winner, an already-sitting congressman, Republican John Sullivan of Oklahoma.
Representative Sullivan was trying to explain to his constituents about why the GOP budget - that they don't understand would gut their safety net - is never going to become law. He blamed it on the Senate, but he did offer a solution - kill some senators.
(Excerpt from video clip) SULLIVAN: I live with some senators, I yell at them all the time. I grabbed one the other day and shook him. I'd love if they'd vote for it. Boy, I'd love that. You know, but other than me going over there with a gun and holding it to their head and maybe killing a couple of them, I don't think they're going to listen unless they get beat.
OLBERMANN: See, per the previous entrants, Congressman Sullivan, less than 14 months ago a lunatic walked up to one of your House colleagues and shot her, point-blank, and we don't really need gun-fetishing people like you legitimizing that idea as a solution in the mind of the next lunatic.
The congressman did offer an excuse - that a spokesman called an apology - in which he said Sullivan was offering "sincere apologies to anyone he offended, and for using a poor choice of words to make his point."
No, a poor choice of words is saying America in 2012 is like Kuwait in 1990. Saying you grabbed a senator the other day and shook him, and now you think maybe you need to kill a couple of them - that's not "a poor choice of words." That's a resign-and-get-help-for-your-problem choice of words.
Congressman John Sullivan of Oklahoma, today's "Worst Person in the World."
OLBERMANN: In searching the universe, the hope of every scientist is to find a planet that contains water, something we believe to be essential to life.
In our number-one story - scientists believe they have found a planet that contains more water than Earth, just not in the right form. Imagine Planet Schvitz.
Planet GJ 1214b was first discovered in 2009. What separated it from the others was that it had an abundance of water, but after a closer look with the Hubble infrared telescope, it was discovered the planet did not contain liquid water. Instead, the water was almost entirely comprised of what we Earthlings would call "steam."
As anyone who has spent extensive time in a sauna knows, steam can provide a perfect breading ground for living organisms, specifically mold and mildew. But scientists don't expect to find any life on GJ 1214b. It would be like putting a beautiful green, leafy plant into an oven and baking it at 450 degrees for a billion years. It just wouldn't work.
Being just 40 light years from Earth, scientist are excited to study the planet further - or were, when the new James Webb Space telescope was launched in 2018 - but any hopes of traveling to the Planet Schvitz may have been dashed.
As we reported on this news hour in September, researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which is called CERN, observed particles moving faster than the speed of light and, it turns out, they were probably wrong.
In the process of vetting the results, two mechanical problems were discovered. One problem had to do with the global positioning system used to track the neutrino's progress - wasn't that the John Runyan - Bunyan story? "The Neutrino's Progress?" It was found to be slightly off.
The other involved a fiber-optic cable connecting a GPS receiver and an electronic card in one of the lab computers. It was discovered to be loose. Proof that even brilliant physicists using the most complex machinery on the planet sometimes forget to check that the cable to the printer is connected before they call the help desk.
On that note, let's bring in Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute and, of course, a "Countdown" contributor. Derrick, good evening.
DERRICK PITTS: Hi, Keith. How are you?
OLBERMANN: I'm steamed, actually.
PITTS: Yes, steamed.
OLBERMANN: If we could go to the steam planet, first - if we could somehow get there and manage to cool that water down to something less than 450, could we drink it?
PITTS: Not only could we drink it, but we could swim in it, you know.
PITTS: You know, if we could drop the temperature low enough, we could condense that atmosphere and turn it into some oceans on the planet to supplement whatever is there already.
But because it is around the kind of star it is, at the distance that it is - it's only 1.2 million miles away - the temperatures' going to stay warm. But if we could make it cooler, maybe we could have a nice, warm, tepid bath instead of the steam bath.
OLBERMANN: If there's that much water in that planet, does it mean that other, cooler planets in that same solar system might have what we would probably consider more reasonable water and then, therefore, possibly life?
PITTS: It could mean that. It really depends a lot on where on where the planets are placed. Every type of star has its own, if you will, "Goldilocks Zone" where the temperature at that distance is just right for water to behave as a liquid. And so, if we could identify candidate planets in the Goldilocks Zone for this star - if they are of the right size and other composition - it's possible to find something that has more liquid water there.
OLBERMANN: Do you think terms like "Goldilocks Zones" might contribute to the other problem here, about the non-Einsteins trying to correct Einstein? Do you think that it lends a certain looseness to the operation here because, you know, the people talk about Goldilocks, and then the thing you know is it's the three bears and the next thing, the researchers don't realize that the cable connecting the laptop to the equipment is loose?
PITTS: You always have to make sure you turn the thing on before you start it.
OLBERMANN: Take the lens cap off the Hubble!
PITTS: We've been there.
OLBERMANN: Yep, yep. What happened, do you know?
PITTS: Well, as you described, they discovered these two flaws.
Now, we have to remember that this is a very, very complex study that's being done. We're measuring neutrinos traveling at very high rates of speed, and, in an experiment like this, it is always possible for errors to creep in and this is the thing about how well science works.
Science works in such a way that, if I do something in my lab, I'm going to invent - invite scientists from all over the world to check my work and scientists invite this because, indeed, this group of scientists were themselves amazed that they got the results that they did. So, by inviting others then they can pick up these errors.
Now, it would be really wonderful to find out that, indeed, things can travel faster than the speed of light but we have to work all the bugs out first before we can figure that.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, is Einstein is laughing somewhere, are all the results necessarily discredited or is just in a - sort of, a stay position now?
PITTS: Well, right now, it's in a stay position. Well, what they've done is they've moved down to the position of, "Well, we don't really think what we thought happened really did, but we have some errors we have to correct first." And then, of course, what will they do as good scientists? Collect more data to make sure of what their results are.
OLBERMANN: Then blame Einstein. The other space news we wanted to get to with you - scientists say they have observed seismic activity on Mars, which they call Marsquakes, which is - I get that. Is there an indication that that planet is not quite as dead as advertised?
PITTS: The thing we really should consider is that what's happening at the core is that the core is still cooling off. Because it's not as massive as the Earth is, and while it may still have a molten core to some degree, there's no seismic or tectonic activity going on, really, in the idea of volcanic activity. So we may be seeing this continual cooling that causes contraction of the mantle material, if you will, on the inside around it.
But one - one of the things I really love about this story, Keith, along with the other one about the steam planet, is it opens the door for so many different types of - or varieties of - planets to be discovered. Hopefully, maybe one day, something like ours.
OLBERMANN: A place to go for a schvitz and another one to go for a rub down. There it is, a vibrating planet - Mars. "Countdown" contributor -
PITTS: Bring your own branches.
OLBERMANN: Thank you very much. "Countdown" contributor Derrick Pitts, who puts up with me on a frequent basis. Thank you, Derrick.
PITTS: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: That's "Countdown" for this, the 418th day since John Boehner and the Republicans took the House. Thus, 418 days in which the Republicans have failed to pass a jobs bill of any kind.
Congratulations on getting through another day of this crap. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck.