#ShowPlug 1: Advertisers, RW pols abandon Limbaugh in "slut" assault on Sandra Fluke, all women who get insurance $ for birth control
#ShowPlug 2: Laura @LEBassett on day’s developments; @Markos on the possibility of a Limbaugh tipping point
#ShowPlug 3: Romney narrows gap in Ohio but old "I'm a DC insider" video surfaces, as does Weird Cain Video. W/ @Craig_Crawford
#ShowPlug 4: Mayor Bloomberg becomes the new "A Noun, A Verb, and 9/11" in fight w/NJ over NYPD excesses; W/ @errollouis
#ShowPlug 5: Worsts: GA GOP tries to make picketing illegal; NM GOP Senate candidate's staffer's hubby charged w/voter fraud
#ShowPlug Last: James Thurber on the Martian threat – the threat WE represent to Mars.
#5 'One Track Mind', Laura Bassett
#5 'One Track Mind', Markos Moulitsas
#4 'Primary Problems', Craig Crawford
# Time Marches On!
#3 'NYPD State Of Mind', Errol Louis
#2 Worst Persons: Jerry Boykin, Georgia state GOP, Thomas Tolbert
#1 Fridays with Thurber: Look Out For The Warelians!
printable PDF transcript
On the show: Markos Moulitsas, Laura Bassett, Craig Crawford, Errol Louis
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
(Excerpt from video clip) JACKIE SPEIER: I say to the women of this country, ask Century 21, Quicken Loans, Legal Zoom, and Sleep Number to stop supporting the hate-mongering of Rush Limbaugh.
OLBERMANN: Sleep Number pulls its ads. Sleep Train pulls its ads. Quicken Loans pulls its ads. Limbaugh, on the run and under righteous attack.
(Excerpt from audio clip) RUSH LIMBAUGH: Her name is Sandra Fluke. She's having so much sex she can't pay for it.
OLBERMANN: That is attack by the right, by the former Republican candidate for senate in California.
(Excerpt from video clip) CARLY FIORINA: That language is insulting, in my opinion. It's incendiary and most of all, it's a distraction. It's a distraction from what are very real and important issues.
OLBERMANN: Even John Boehner noticed. "The speaker obviously believes the use of those words was inappropriate."
The president steps in, and telephones Sandra Fluke.
(Excerpt from video clip) JAY CARNEY: He wanted to offer his support to her. He wanted to express his disappointment that she has been the subject of inappropriate personal attacks.
(Excerpt from video clip) SANDRA FLUKE: It's the first day of Women's History Month, on that day, a woman is being called these names in an attempt to silence me.
OLBERMANN: And still, Limbaugh cannot stop himself.
(Excerpt from video clip) LIMBAUGH: Did you ever think about maybe backing off the amount of sex that you have?
OLBERMANN: Ohio, Santorum's lead down to 35-31. He accuses Romney of -
(Excerpt from video clip) RICK SANTORUM: Class warfare. Saying, "Well, the wealthy should pay more."
OLBERMANN: The playing field on the Friday night before Super Tuesday, highlighted by this - whatever it is.
(Excerpt from video clip) GIRL: This is the economy on stimulus.
OLBERMANN: Bloomberg versus Christie, who on earth can you support in this fight? New York City's self-declared right to have its police act - in Jersey or anywhere else - without telling Jersey or anywhere else.
(Excerpt from audio clip) MIKE BLOOMBERG: A lot of the World Trade Center terrorists that killed 3,000 people went back and forth to New Jersey.
OLBERMANN: And Republicans rejoice! Another proved case of voter fraud as a man gets his dog a ballot. Only one problem, the man is a Republican whose wife works for the Republican Senate candidate, the Republican Senate candidate whose big issue was - voter fraud.
(Excerpt from video clip) BUDDY THE DOG: Woof!
OLBERMANN: You said it, Buddy. Woof!
All that and more, now on "Countdown."
(Excerpt from video clip) ROMNEY: Who let the dogs out, who, who?
OLBERMANN: Good evening, this is Friday March 2nd, 250 days until the 2012 presidential election. Only rarely have Republican politicians had the courage to stand up to Rush Limbaugh, even temporarily.
Some did when he branded troops who supported withdrawal from Iraq as, "phony soldiers," others when he said that he hoped the new president would fail.
But tonight, in our fifth story - as Limbaugh continues to pile on in a brutal and personal assault against a law school student, a sitting Republican senator has demanded he apologize, a Republican presidential contender has called the comments "absurd," a spokesman for the speaker of the House called the words "inappropriate," and a recent Republican Senate candidate called them "insulting and incendiary."
It is the strongest blowback from his own side in Limbaugh's 20-odd years of public notoriety and, more importantly, in one day his claims that Sandra Fluke was a "slut" cost him three major advertisers and may cost him a fourth.
National mattress retailer Sleep Train dropped its support this morning, followed by Select Comfort and Quicken Loans. The Cleveland Cavaliers, the owner of which was the founder of Quicken Loans, have also dropped out local advertising in Limbaugh's show, all of them reacting to a massive Twitter campaign of complaints, as well as comments from legislatures on the House floor.
Undeterred, Limbaugh seemed emboldened by the backlash, repeatedly attacking Fluke again today.
To put it into context, Sandra Fluke had testified about friends who had encountered issues with Georgetown University's birth control policy because it's a Catholic school. One who said, because she could not afford birth control, developed tennis ball-sized cysts on her ovaries, requiring that they be removed, and another who had been raped, but did not go to the doctor to be examined because she did not believe it would be covered by Georgetown's policy.
Limbaugh, who has once - was once stopped by authorities as he re-entered this country from the Dominican Republic carrying a prescription for Viagra in somebody else's name - reinterpreted those stories.
(Excerpt from audio clip) LIMBAUGH: Her name is Sandra Fluke. She's having so much sex she can't pay for it. Three thousand dollars worth of birth control pills worth of sex. She's having so much sex - and her buddies with her - and not one person says, "Well, did you ever think about, maybe, backing off the amount of sex that you have?"
OLBERMANN: That, apparently, too much even for some Republicans to take.
(Excerpt from video clip) FIORINA: That language is insulting, in my opinion. It's incendiary, and most of all it's a distraction. It's a distraction from what are very real and important issues.
OLBERMANN: Senator Scott Brown also tweeting today: "Rush Limbaugh's comments are reprehensible. He should apologize."
Despite broad agreement that Limbaugh's comments were masochistic, hateful, and inappropriately aimed at - if you will, a civilian - some Republicans, perhaps fearful of the Limbaugh backlash, attempted to make it look like they were against the comments without coming out against Limbaugh.
(Excerpt from video clip) SANTORUM: He's being absurd, but that's - you know, an entertainer can be absurd.
OLBERMANN: Also, Mitt Romney made a similarly tepid comment later in the afternoon.
Speaker Boehner tried to have it both ways, had his press secretary issue a tepid denunciation of Limbaugh while, at the same time, bringing the Democrats into this: "The speaker obviously believes the use of those words was inappropriate, as is trying to raise money off the situation."
The problem for the speaker is no one appears to be trying to raise money off of Limbaugh. What conservatives are pointing to is the DCC email asking people to sign a petition to have a Republican leadership repudiate Limbaugh's comments.
Responding to a letter written by Democratic members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Chairman Darrell Issa knew exactly who to blame - the Democratic members of his own committee: "I am struck by your clear failure to recognize your own contributions to the denigration of this discussion and attacks on people of religious faith. I propose that you join me in broader condemnation of the attacks of people of faith" - you can read the rest of it for yourself.
Nobody called the people of faith "sluts," Mr. Issa.
Issa then swung back at Democrats on the committee, criticizing them for appearing, "outright giddy" in criticizing his hearing on contraceptive coverage. You'll remember that this is the one that originally did not have any women. Specifically, Ms. Fluke was not permitted to testify.
With all the Republicans trying to shift the blame away from Limbaugh's hateful words, it is easy to forget that there's a person behind those comments he made, a private citizen who was asked by legislators to share her experiences, and the toll of Limbaugh's anger was evident as Ms. Fluke describe a supportive call she received from the president.
(Excerpt from video clip) FLUKE: Well, what was really personal for me was that he said to tell my parents that they should be proud, and that meant a lot because Rush Limbaugh questioned whether or not my family would be proud of me, so I just appreciated that very much.
OLBERMANN: We're going to talk, in two ways, about what Limbaugh has done. First, on the subject of his war on women, I'm joined again by Huffington Post political reporter Laura Bassett. Laura, thanks for your time tonight.
LAURA BASSETT: Thanks for having me.
OLBERMANN: How are these remarks seen, do you think, in the larger context of this recent GOP - I'll use the kind word - pressure on women's rights, particularly reproductive rights?
I mean, we all thought the Susan G. Koman/Planned Parenthood disaster was the low point of that. Does it seem like this event might replace that?
BASSETT: This is, certainly, a new point - a new low point in terms of rhetoric. I think the problem is that the argument that he's trying to make this about, you know, women want men to pay them to have sex, is just so absurd. It's beyond what the Republicans are saying. It's beyond what the Democrats are saying.
This is about women's health care, and I think the Democrats have been sort of fanatically trying to get that point across. You know, even Fluke's testimony was not about wanting to have sex and needing birth control for that reason. It was about, you know, her classmate who had a golf ball-sized cyst on her ovary and needed birth control coverage for health care reasons.
And so, I think that, you know, Rush said what people are afraid - that a lot of Republican men think - which is that, you know, women are going out and trying to get people to pay them to be promiscuous. I mean, it couldn't be any further from the truth, and it's absolutely absurd of him to say.
OLBERMANN: Well, as I suggested earlier, this man has been the national clearinghouse for decades for misogyny, but there's a hypocrisy in this - is it hypocrisy, or is it actually ignorance about how birth control is used by women compared to how, say, erectile dysfunction drugs are used by men? There seems to be some sort of belief that each event requires a separate dosage?
Is it really - is it possible for an adult male over the age of 25 not to understand how, say, birth control pills work?
BASSETT: I think it is possible. I think we're seeing how it's possible. You know, for him to say, "She's having so much sex that she can't afford birth control" - I mean, whether you have sex once or whether you have it 100 times you need the same amount of birth control, and birth control is prescribed for a number of health reasons that go beyond simply wanting to space out your children or family planning or anything like that.
And I also think that there is an element of hypocrisy involved because erectile dysfunction drugs -
BASSETT: - are covered under a lot of these health plans, and, you know, for instance, the Catholics to say, "We oppose birth control because sex is supposed to be for procreation within the confines of marriage," - do they oppose providing erectile dysfunction drugs for single men? Should single men be having sex? That's not a conversation that anyone is having, and I think that it would be no less absurd than the conversation we're having about Sandra Fluke right now.
OLBERMANN: Well, indeed. There's also an even larger one. I don't know the last man who had a vasectomy who paid full price and didn't get at least some insurance coverage on that.
OLBERMANN: This other thing that I pointed out last night, based on what he called Ms. Fluke - any woman in this country who even once did not pay for birth control 100 percent out of her own pocket, Limbaugh called her a slut and prostitute, too. Is that beginning to resonate? Has it, sort of, grown out of just this assault on this woman who doesn't deserve this kind of assault?
BASSETT: Of course. It was an attack on all women. I think everybody sees it that way. You know, he did say, yesterday, "I would like to buy, you know, the women who go to Georgetown Law as much aspirin as they want to put between their knees," you know, echoing Foster Friess' controversial comments a couple of week ago.
I think that this is about men - certain men, not all men, of course - certain men, like Foster Friess and Rush Limbaugh, trying to turn the clock back on women and push us back into the Dark Ages and say, "You know, you should be barefoot in the kitchen and having our babies," and I think that's what - I think that's what women are afraid of, and he's sort of speaking to our fears by voicing a comment like that.
OLBERMANN: Nothing will make people wake up faster than exactly what you just described, hopefully. Huffington Post political reporter Laura Bassett, great thanks for your time. Have a good weekend.
BASSETT: Thanks for having me.
OLBERMANN: Now, as to how Limbaugh's world is reacting, let's bring in Markos Moulitsas, "Countdown" contributor and, of course, founder and publisher of DailyKos.com. Good evening, Markos.
MARKOS MOULITSAS: Happy Friday, Keith.
OLBERMANN: And to you. Scott Brown stepping out front among the Republican party, is he it or does he enable other Republican men to actually stand up to the bully this time?
MOULITSAS: Oh, he's pretty much it. I mean, this is a guy who's locked in a very unique situation for Republicans. He represents an indigo blue state - Massachusetts - in a presidential year, against an incredibly charismatic and popular Democratic opponent in Elizabeth Warren.
So, he made a terrible decision earlier this week to vote for the Blunt amendment, to vote for this effort to deny women contraception care. So, he's already, sort of, on a defensive. So, I think this is a way to try to show how independent he is from the Republicans, when he actually cast the vote that mattered the wrong way. So, he's fighting for his political life. This has nothing to do with any kind of real principle, because he already showed the way he truly believes on this issue.
OLBERMANN: Is he going to wind up apologizing? Because every previous, seeming-tipping point in Limbaugh's career, the Republicans who criticized him have wound up calling the show and begging him to forgive them. I mean, is there a prospect that this as some kind of tipping point or is this just going to be another Limbaugh publicity milestone?
MOULITSAS: Look, this is fantastic for Rush Limbaugh. I mean, Rush Limbaugh's gotten to where he has because he's not afraid to out loud - to yell out loud what Republicans really believe, and they really believe this.
They believe that it's sluts - dirty sluts - who want to have sex, and that's the only reason that you would have birth control, and he convinced himself that they are paying for this birth control, which make no sense because this is employer insurance that has nothing to do with taxpayers. So, this is really what they believe.
So, why is he going to apologize for saying what they all are applauding him for saying?
So yeah, there's a couple of politicians who are going to get a little bit queasy about it, but the rank and file - the people who actually listen to Rush Limbaugh - they're with him 100 percent. This is the modern Republican party.
OLBERMANN: And yet, three advertisers - and significant ones - have pulled out. Particularly, Quicken Loans have pulled their ads from Limbaugh's show and were not hesitant nor really particularly shy in terms of doing so. Is there a prospect of more of that, and at what point does that become a real factor in this?
MOULITSAS: Well, at some point I expect Rush Limbaugh's advertisers to look like Glenn Beck's - a bunch of gold shysters. So this is - I hope that there are more that are leaving Rush Limbaugh. I mean, this happened on a Friday. This sort of blow up has happened on a Friday. You know things don't really get done very efficiently on Fridays, and a lot of these advertisers are probably hoping this blows over over the weekend.
So what needs to happen, obviously, is that progressive groups and women groups need to be really aggressive on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of next week to make sure those advertisers know that this is not going to blow over, that this is a continuing issue, and that they can't ride this out or ignore it or hope that it goes away, because it won't go away.
OLBERMANN: And to that end, obviously, the last one of these major issues was relative to Limbaugh crossing some sort of - you know, line beyond ten lines that he always crosses - was when he said he hoped that President Obama would fail right after the inauguration. And just to think of how social media has changed in the three years since then, particularly the advent of Twitter, which was a minor thing then and a major force now.
If pressure - largely coming out of Twitter and Facebook - could shatter the Susan G. Komen Foundation's decision to go onto the wrong end of the political pond, could it be the deciding factor in whether this does real damage to Limbaugh, could it even move those Republican presidential candidates off the dime? I mean, Romney said, "It's not the language I would have used." Is there a prospect that Twitter, in particular, can do some damage to Limbaugh in return?
MOULITSAS: The Twitter, absolutely. Facebook as well, which continues to grow at astronomical rates. I mean, what those technologies have allowed people to do is to have an actual voice in their democracy. I mean, this is fantastic.
So, they can actually reach out directly to those companies because those companies all have Twitter and Facebook presences and make sure that the pressure is felt, not just today but into next week, in a way that really wasn't possible before, because it's not just writing a letter that going to get read by some PR department and be buried into some big corporation.
This is all public, out in the open. The media is writing about it. People are seeing it. They're piling on. So, it really does dramatically change the ability of those companies to sort of shrug it off and ignore it. So absolutely, I think social media in all its forms, not just Twitter, are going to have an effect moving forward.
Now, there are going to be advertisers who don't care because, politically, they're conservative or they're selling gold to idiot Republicans, but those - they'll still be around - but anybody else, it's going to be harder for, sort of, credible companies to advertise on shows like that.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, well you got Carbonite, Profilers, and Citric Systems that have all indicated a willingness to at least listen to the protests. We'll see where it goes from there, next week, and your point about next Monday, that's absolutely critical and absolutely correct. Marko Moulitsas, always a pleasure. Thank you, sir.
MOULITSAS: Have a great weekend.
OLBERMANN: You, too.
The Washington State caucus tomorrow. Super Tuesday, Tuesday. Romney narrows the gap in Ohio and Herman Cain is back from delivering some sausage to go or something. Next.
OLBERMANN: Will Romney clean up Santorum with cash on Super Tuesday or will Santorum continue to spread his message among the evangelicals?
It was Joe Biden who famously called Rudy Giuliani "a noun, a verb, and 9/11." Giuliani's successor tries the same tack, trying to rationalize illegal spying on Muslims outside of New York. Even Chris Christie is mad at Mike Bloomberg.
Georgia Republicans pushing a bill to make picketing, on strike or even as social protest, a crime.
And the Martian threat. Not Martians threatening us, but us threatening them. Fridays with James Thurber, ahead on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Four days before Super Tuesday, stories surfacing contradicting Mitt Romney's claim to being a Washington outsider, and Rick Santorum's self-portrayer as a persecuted college conservative.
Our fourth story - the longer these candidates are out on the stump, the more we learn about them, and it's not always to their advantage. This, as the GOP field does battle before Super Tuesday, with primaries and caucuses in 10 states, along with the - tomorrow's Washington State caucus, with 43 delegates at stake.
The latest Quinnipiac poll showing likely primary voters in Ohio, the key Super Tuesday state, favoring Santorum by four points over Romney, which is now a lead that is only within the margin of error.
Now, Romney leads Ron Paul by 25 in a Roanoke College, Virginia poll - the state where neither Santorum nor Gingrich managed to get on the ballot.
Romney trying to hammer President Obama today in Bellevue, Washington:
(Excerpt from video clip) ROMNEY: As I look at the president's promises over the last three years, he hasn't kept up with them.
OLBERMANN: As we look at the past four months, Romney's attacks on Santorum and Gingrich as Washington insiders have been a mainstay of his campaign, but a video released by ABC News from his 2002 gubernatorial campaign showing Romney, too, trying to play that game.
(Excerpt from video clip) ROMNEY: I'm a big believer in getting money where the money is, and the money is in Washington. I want to go after every grant, every project, every department.
OLBERMANN: Santorum, meanwhile, attempting to skewer Romney as an FDR-style class traitor for saying he would raise taxes on the very wealthy.
(Excerpt from video clip) SANTORUM: He sort of plays class warfare, saying, "Well, with - the wealthy should pay more and not everybody."
OLBERMANN: Santorum having his own problems, not so much with class as with classmates from his senior year at Penn State.
Tau Epsilon Phi brother David Vondercrone telling The Huffington Post Santorum may not have been nearly as conservative as he now claims: "I played a lot of basketball with him and a lot of poker with him. He wasn't so outspoken, seems to be his identity in the race right now. I didn't think of him as that way."
While in Georgia, Newt Gingrich still thinking of himself as a sort of right-wing, populist conservative.
(Excerpt from video clip) NEWT GINGRICH: Senator Santorum is essentially a big-government, big-labor conservative. Mitt Romney is clearly the inside-establishment candidate.
OLBERMANN: And Herman Cain - no longer a candidate, but still a contender for wackiest political video maker of the year - even, perhaps, exceeding the one with the guy and the smokes.
This release from his super PAC, which seems to be attacking the federal stimulus and evokes a drug abuse PSA you might recognize, if this is 1990:
(Excerpt from video clip) GIRL: This is the economy. This is the economy on stimulus. Any questions? Any questions!?
OLBERMANN: Oh, more than we have time for in an eight-hour show.
For more on the past catching up with the candidates in the GOP primary campaign - to say nothing about catching up with him and me - I'm joined by Craig Crawford, politics blogger at CraigCrawford.com and the author of "The Politics of Life." Good to talk to you, Craig.
CRAIG CRAWFORD: Ah, the surreality show continues.
OLBERMANN: Yeah. There's a word I can't use in the following sentence, but let me start with that Cain thing. What the blank was that?
CRAWFORD: You know, these candidates - Sarah Palin has got an ad that - it is like phantom pain, these candidates. I mean, they get - they get out of the race, but they just can't stop feeling it. You know, and so, "We have just got to do an ad," I guess. I don't know what the point of that is? Probably speaking fees.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, and it's - probably - well, I'm not going to say that it was influenced by those people who made the anti-drug campaign, because it looks like whoever was doing it was not following an anti-drug campaign. I don't - I've seen it about 20 times. It gets trippier and trippier. All right -
CRAWFORD: Makes you want to take drugs.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, well, if - never that, but maybe give you the strange desire to swallow goldfish, I suppose, after something like that.
All right, let's get back to business. The caucus in Washington State tomorrow, do we have a measure on that? Do we have a measure on Super Tuesday with Ohio now, virtually in a tie, is Santorum being bought out of existence here?
CRAWFORD: Well, because Washington happens on Saturday, and that's before Tuesday, and the headlines on Sunday will matter for momentum, I suppose - but this is another one of these cartoon caucuses with no delegates picked, nobody knows who is going to show up. Pollsters can't do turnout models and, at the end of the day, they count the votes with their feet.
So, I would say, probably this is a good terrain for Ron Paul. As in Maine, you know, this was where he was supposed to shine, in these kinds of events. So, I think a lot of pressure is on him to do well. But if Romney can eek out something, then he gets some good headlines going into Tuesday.
OLBERMANN: And he needs them because of this, oddly, this ABC tape going - with him going through the PowerPoint demonstration for the New Bedford Industrial Foundation, explaining how he hopes to get federal money for Massachusetts.
Two questions - anybody who relies on a PowerPoint demonstration, I don't think they should be allowed to, you know, run for dog catcher, let alone president. But, I mean, is he, even in that contest, just giving him that, can he, after tape like that, continue to go after Santorum and Gingrich for taking federal funds for their districts?
CRAWFORD: Oh, you think he worries about being shameless or something?
OLBERMANN: Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm sorry. It's late in the week.
CRAWFORD: It's kind of like - I find this applies so often, you know - if hypocrisy were a virus, then these politicians would be dead, and I guess a PowerPoint is his idea of passion. I think that's what we get from Romney for passion.
These flip-flops, for Democrats though, Keith, I keep thinking about - now this is a good flip-flop for Democrats. By that, I mean, does it show that he was once liberal? And I think the flip-flopping on some of the abortion stuff is a little tricky for Democrats because you don't want to play into that notion, a lot of even Democratic voters have, that - "Oh, well, he's really liberal and moderate. He'll be okay."
And if you make those cases, with those other flip-flops, that kind of feeds into that.
This one is just pure shamelessness.
OLBERMANN: A question about Santorum and college pals - Huffington Post got four of them - none of them apparently saw him as this, you know, martyr to campus conservatism that he claims to be from the perspective of 30 years later.
Is it fun for the faithless who don't believe in his mission to save America, but it's really sort of besides the point for the people who support him anyway?
CRAWFORD: Yeah, because the people who support him anyway, they just say that's the liberal media making up stuff again. The mark of a demagogue, though, is martyrdom - irrational martyrdom and revisionist history, particularly about your own background - and he seems to have some of that.
OLBERMANN: You know the old joke from "The Young Ones," the British comedy show, "Don't try it by yourself because you can never get the last nail in, Rick."
The author of "The Politics of Life," Craig Crawford, who has now introduced the term "phantom pain" into the GOP nominating process. Well done, sir. Have a good weekend.
CRAWFORD: Good to see you.
OLBERMANN: The Koch Brothers-funded ALEC problem - that's a sort of Freudian slip - program, may have created its all time lulu of legislation, a bill in Georgia that would make picketing illegal. Coming up.
OLBERMANN: New Jersey strikes back against the New York police claim that it has jurisdiction, you know - anywhere. Next.
First, the "Sanity Break," and 50 years ago today, Wilt Chamberlain became the first and only NBA player to score 100 points in a game. The game was played at Hershey, Pennsylvania, so not only is there no film, there aren't even any still photos.
Presumably - afterwards - Chamberlain resumed working on his other volume record, his claim to have slept with 20,000 different women, which would have required two new ones every night - every night for 54 years, and which also would have required that none of them ever wanted to rejoin him.
"Time Marches On!"
VIDEO: Rhode Island Republican candidate serves as ventriloquist for son.
We begin with the bizarre behavior of politicians.
Rhode Island senatorial candidate Barry Hinckley recently made a campaign ad starring his adorable five-year-old son, Hudson. However, when Hudson and his dad sat for an interview with Neil Cavuto, it turned out the whole thing was maybe some sort of weird ventriloquism act.
The key is to watch his father's mouth when Hudson is answering a question.
(Excerpt from video clip) NEIL CAVUTO: Hudson, what are your friends saying when they see you on TV?
(Excerpt from video clip) HUDSON HINCKLEY: Um, I don't know right now.
(Excerpt from video clip) CAVUTO: You haven't talked to them? Have they seen you?
(Excerpt from video clip) HINCKLEY: I think.
(Excerpt from video clip) CAVUTO: What do you want to be, Hudson, when you grow up?
(Excerpt from video clip) HINCKLEY: I want to - I want - to be in the war and save the country.
OLBERMANN: Holy crap, what's that? What the hell was that? What is that?
The palpable discomfort of Neil Cavuto is just the added bonus. What the hell?
VIDEO: Chimp kick at baby thwarted by zoo glass.
We travel to the other animal kingdom where we meet Furious George.
Apparently, chimps are not big fans of babies, or perhaps the chimp doesn't like this one baby? He had been eating mashed-banana baby food right in front of him.
Either way, the baby seems completely unfazed by the whole thing. "Yeah, yeah, take it up with management, J. Fred Muggs."
VIDEO: Wind carries soccer ball to wrong goal in Israeli soccer match.
And in sports - here we have a friendly match between Maccabi Haifa and Dynamo Kiev on a very windy day in Israel. Clearly, the players are having trouble controlling the ball in the wind, when Haifa goalkeeper, Assaf Mendes, sets up for the goal kick.
He put the biscuit in the basket.
Bad day for Mendes, but a good day for the wind. Apparently, Manchester United is looking to sign the wind to a three-year contract.
"Time Marches On!"
What's with the kid?
Congrats, New Mexico Republicans, you've proven a case of voter fraud - by the husband of a staffer on the New Mexico Republican Senate campaign. Oops. Just say oops and get out.
OLBERMANN: No matter what time you're watching this, "Countdown" is live each night at 8:00 Eastern with the primary replay at 8:00 Pacific, the longest continuously-running 8:00 p.m. news hour on cable, unless you consider Fox - "news."
The New York City police say monitoring entire ethnic communities, in other states, is legally justified. New Jersey says this isn't some secret fishing expedition. The Justice Department now examining whether to investigate civil rights violations, and the mayor of New York replies with a noun, a verb, and 9/11.
In our third story on the "Countdown" - pressure from both sides of the Hudson has continued to mount, following the Associated Press reports last month that the NYPD has been conducting some of its large-scale surveillance on the Muslim community - among college students in neighboring New Jersey and throughout the Eastern seaboard.
Jersey's Governor Chris Christie and Newark's Mayor Cory Booker are now slamming the NYPD for keeping them out of the loop about this, and Christie laid into the NYPD state of mind earlier this week, saying "They think their jurisdiction is the world."
(Excerpt from video clip) CHRIS CHRISTIE: My concern is this kind of obsession that, you know, the NYPD seems to have that, you know, they're the masters of the universe.
OLBERMANN: The governor's criticisms went well beyond Police Commissioner Ray Kelly's arrogance in a press conference yesterday:
(Excerpt from video clip) RAY KELLY: 9/11 was not prevented because law enforcement agencies weren't talking to each other. They were being selfish. They were being provincial. They were being paranoid, and they were being arrogant.
OLBERMANN: And he says that's happening again now. And Newark Mayor Booker says his city was misled by the NYPD's secrecy.
(Excerpt from video clip) CORY BOOKER: We don't know what the provocation even was. Maybe there was actually a legitimate reason. We just don't know.
OLBERMANN: But New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg continued to defend his city's cops today, saying "They did nothing more than anybody in this country."
(Excerpt from audio clip) BLOOMBERG: A lot of the World Trade Center terrorists that killed 3,000 people went back and forth to New Jersey, so to say that the NYPD should stop at the border is a bit ridiculous.
OLBERMANN: Let's welcome back Errol Louis, political anchor for NY1 News and co-author of the book "Deadline Artists." Good to see you again, sir.
ERROL LOUIS: Yes, good to see you.
OLBERMANN: Is this just two bull-elephant politicians rearing back and being territorial or is there something productive, possibly, coming out of this?
LOUIS: Well, this is a bull elephant on the other side of the Hudson finally speaking back against a mayor who has not gotten much pushback when it comes to public safety issues in particular, certainly not within New York.
I mean, when Chris Christie speaks, he has a kind of authority that a lot of other people don't have - former prosecutor, tough as nails, nobody's squishy liberal, a guy who has quite a lot of power, actually one of the more statutorily-powerful governors, probably the most in the entire country. He can - I mean, he controls a lot of the law enforcement apparatus, even as governor, so when he says, "This isn't working, this needs to be coordinated, we need to be kept in the loop," it has a kind of authority that, you know, the Civil Liberties Union, for example, might not have when they raise these issues.
OLBERMANN: And yet, is this as far as he's prepared to go with it because, clearly, Mayor Booker went a little bit further. He actually used the term "deeply offensive," and I don't think Governor Christie's gone that far. Is he hoping to provoke some sort of resolution of this or would he, indeed, go further if there's - continuing a sort of stonewall reaction to Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly?
LOUIS: Well, when I hear "deeply offensive" from Cory Booker, I think of him as somebody who is, sort of, a personal friend of the mayor. I mean, they're somewhat close. The mayor endorsed him personally. He's given him money, you know, for his campaigns over the years. They've worked together on education reform over the years. So, when he says "offended," I think he means, you know, like, "Hey, we're supposed to be friends. You're supposed to not leave me hanging out to dry in front of my entire city like this."
Christie, on the other hand, I think, is another story. He's not looking for a handshake and a warm embrace. That's not his style. He doesn't need it, and again, if he wants to pick up the phone and call some of his buddies in the Department of Justice who are still there and sort of say, "Look, we need - we need this straightened out and we need it straightened out now." He can actually cause more headaches than he would just by going on the radio.
OLBERMANN: But, generally speaking, there seems to be blank indifference to complaints - no matter where they're coming from - from Mayor Bloomberg and from Commissioner Kelly. I mean, they are lame ducks, and they don't really seem to have in - at least in New York City, any political future beyond - unless he changes the term-limits law again - beyond the end of the term. Are they just going to stonewall and say, "No, we're right and screw you?"
LOUIS: Well, it is possible that they could just be looking ahead to the end of the term. It wouldn't be their style, but it's possible. I think, though - more to the point, Keith - is that this is an organization that has been built up over the last 10 years into - it was already a storied organization, the NYPD.
It is the stuff of legend. It is, literally, something that you read about, that people dream about, that people will hear about, and they do have their own foreign policy. They do have people stationed overseas. They do have the ability to shoot down aircraft. I mean, Ray Kelly has talked about this on "60 Minutes," and they have - in their opinion, in their own internal opinion - gone out and done things that the federal government was unwilling or unable to do as far as gathering foreign intelligence.
There are NYPD officers stationed in London, stationed in Jordan, stationed around the world to do what the commissioner says - "Ask the New York question: how's this going to affect us? We don't want it filtered through Homeland Security, the CIA, the FBI, and anybody else. We want to hear it ourselves." So they do, in fact, sort of carry on and carry out their business without regard to borders.
OLBERMANN: But, the other element that we really haven't touched on here - we're talking about jurisdiction, but also there's this element of racial profiling or religious profiling. How does Bloomberg turn on a dime on this when he seems to be fairly responsible on this issue of individual rights except, you know, when it's about him?
LOUIS: Well, there's - that's right. I mean, when it comes - like any other politician, let's give Bloomberg some credit for being not that much different from anybody else. Everybody likes the First Amendment until it gets aimed at them. This mayor is not an exception.
This mayor is in favor of free speech. He has taken some hits. He has really gone to bat, including for the Muslim community, but when you turn around, and say, "Well, listen, you know, we don't - we think that our freedom of assembly, that our freedom of religion, that our freedom of speech is being infringed upon, and we would like to have a conversation with you about it," well, the mayor gets a little prickly about it. He doesn't want to really hear this and, as you suggested - I wouldn't necessarily put it that way - he does go back to the fact that there have been, by the NYPD's count, 14 attempted terrorist attacks and all have been caught and all have been foiled, and that means a lot to citizens who are still feeling shaky 10 years after 9/11.
OLBERMANN: Admittedly true.
Errol Lewis, political anchor for NY1 and the co-editor of the book "Deadline Artists." Again, great thanks for coming in. Have a good weekend.
LOUIS: You, too. Great to see you.
OLBERMANN: A bill that would make picketing - on strike or in protest - illegal in Georgia. "Worst Persons" ahead.
OLBERMANN: There may have been others, but I'm only aware of Thurber doing it. Thinking of life on Mars and the threat we represent to them. "Look out for the Warelians!"
And the general who once told his troops he'd win the war on terror because "his God was bigger than the other guys' God," is now on the internet explaining that the bailout was a ruse to cover the introduction of - No, I gotta save what he's thinking it's a ruse for - for "Worst Persons," next.
OLBERMANN: Thurber on the Martian threat. Not Mars threatening us, us threatening Mars. Next.
First - because if these folks were revealed as Martians, that would explain everything - here are "Countdown's" top three nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the World."
The bronze? To Jerry Boykin of JerryBoykin.com. He has appeared on the webcast "Prophetic Perspective on Current Events" to explain that - wait for it - the bailout of the AIG insurance company was simply a cover to permit sharia law in this country.
(Excerpt from video clip) JERRY BOYKIN: All of us as taxpayers are practicing sharia, because we bailed out AIG, the largest purveyor of sharia-compliant insurance in the world, and when we bailed them out, and the taxpayers became part-owners of that, it meant that we're practicing sharia.
OLBERMANN: First, I may not be in a position to point fingers here, but you birds need a bigger set. Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub. But more importantly - the guy with the sharia obsession, Jerry Boykin, does that name sound familiar - he used to be a general.
In 2003, he violated a hatful of military regs by telling his troops in North Carolina that the U.S. would win the so-called "War on Terror" over the Muslims because quote, "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God."
The guy used to be a general! We gave him guns and bullets.
Now, he thinks the insurance bailout was a trick to spread sharia law, as was the expansion of the baseball playoffs today, no doubt.
The runners-up? Georgia state senators Don Balfour, Bill Hamrick, Bill Cowsert, and Ross Tolleson.
They have introduced bill SB 469, which would make it a crime for union members to picket a business or stage a sit down, an aggravated misdemeanor. If passed, the law might also be used to prevent non-work picketing, like, you know, the Civil Rights marches that made Georgia suitable for human habitation in the 1960s.
Where'd Balfour and Cowsert and Hamrick and Tolleson get this medieval legislation? They're members of ALEC, the Koch Brothers' anti-people, law-writing factory.
But the winner? Thomas Tolbert of New Mexico.
It's one of those rare triumphs for those conservatives who think the real danger is not massive sharia law but massive voter fraud - nearly ten cases a year - one that has tipped the scales illegally towards - I don't know, Karl Marx. I don't know.
Mr. Tolbert managed to get his dog, Buddy, registered to vote in Bernalillo County, and he went on TV to talk about how this proved the epidemic of voter fraud. Then, it turned out he's the husband of Heather Wade, who just happens to be a staffer on the New Mexico senate campaign of Republican Heather Wilson.
Heather Wilson, who - as a New Mexico congresswoman six years ago - allegedly pushed the Bush administration to fire the local U.S. attorney David Iglesias because he wasn't prosecuting voter fraud.
Good news, Republicans, there is voter fraud. Bad news, you're doing it.
Thomas Tolbert - who now faces five years in jail and a $10,000 fine for trying to execute Heather Wilson's self-fulfilling prophesy - today's "Worst Person in the World."
OLBERMANN: Until late this afternoon I had no idea James Thurber had ever written about science fiction or interplanetary travel. Yet there it is, in a 1939 issue of The New Yorker magazine, obviously written in the aftermath of, and frequently referencing, the infamous Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" broadcast from the year before, which tens of thousands of radio listeners thought was a real newscast about an invasion of New Jersey by Martians.
I'm reading from Michael J. Rosen's Thurber collection, "People Have More Fun than Anybody," and - for time - I'm picking this up about four paragraphs in.
Suffice to say, Thurber's reaction to Welles' "War of the Worlds" is almost unique. With his view of man, he was certain that what he called "The Inner Planets" - Mercury, Mars and Venus - had much more to worry about from us invading them, than we did from them invading New Jersey.
"Look Out For the Warelians!" by James Thurber.
"They are, or at least they think they are, in desperate and imminent danger of an invasion by Warel. Warel is my kind of idea for the kind of name the other terrestrial planets must have for Earth. It is made up of the words 'war' and 'cruel," and for the purposes of this study, or any other purpose, it is a much better term for our planet than the one we use.
Two of the imperiled planets, Mars and Venus, have a general similarity to Earth, which has caused astronomers to assume that they may be inhabited. Mercury is rather similar to Earth, too, but I guess we can leave her out of this.
Mercury presents always only one hemisphere to the sun, and if there were any people on that burning side, they would be too miserable to devise any deviltry or to be afraid of anything except the sun. Any beings who might exist on the hemisphere that is constantly turned away from the sun would be 237 times colder than the Eskimos, and nobody could be that cold and get away with it. I think we can safely conclude, then, that there isn't anybody at all on Mercury, either for us to worry about or to be worried about us.
Let us fix our telescope on Mars and Venus. Because of certain physical phenomena, Mars and Venus are not nearly so well-adapted as we are to the development of that higher intelligence which has made the Earth creatures, or Warelians, what they are today.
The atmosphere on Venus is much too thick and that on Mars far too rarefied to produce the intelligent human being as we know him. The inhabitants of Venus live in a kind of overcharged, aqueous fog and are slow of thought and sluggish of movement. This kind of atmosphere fosters the development of a rather stupid, kindly people who do not go in for weapons of war other than the club and the brickbat.
It is extremely unlikely that Venusians possess anything of steel or want to possess anything made of steel. The heaviness of the atmosphere, the scarcity of oxygen, and the prevalence of carbon dioxide make Venus a dreamy kind of planet with no genius at all in the arts of hellishness. We could put Venus down as a friendly planet, friendly but frightened.
Mars, as I have said, has a thin atmosphere, and you know what that does to you. The Martians can't hear very well. They're constantly swallowing, and they're always slightly dizzy. A great many of them find it difficult to keep anything on their stomachs.
The Martians are afflicted with torpor and indecision in certain seasons and a vague melancholy in all seasons. I think we assume that, in implements of warfare, they have not gone beyond the slingshot era and that they have no desire to.
Martians are canal workers, and there's so many millions of miles of canals on Mars that Martians have no time for anything else, even if they could think of anything else. They get up and work on the canals, and they go to bed, and get up and work on the canals again. Like the Venusians, they have a great deal of carbon dioxide, but a great deal of carbon dioxide does not get a planet anywhere.
My researchers have established the probability that Mars also has hornblende and nice, but I can find no traces of steel, oil, warships, battle planes, speakers, platforms, national flags, or anything else. Martians may be a trifle more active than Venusians, but they are not warlike. They are sad, and they want to be left alone.
The inhabitants of both these planets put together would not have the energy or spirit to invade Halley's Comet even if it came to a stop and cooled off. They have not yet developed a higher intelligence. If we fix the intelligence of the Warelians at one - and after what happened on Earth last October with the Orson Welles broadcast, that is putting it high - the intelligence of the Martians and the Venusians may be fairly represented by the symbol -17.
Now, the more intelligent you are, in a planetary sense, the less scared you're going to be in an interplanetary sense. Let us take a peek at the intelligence quotient of the Warelian, as indicated by his fear level. This will give us some idea of how dumb and how frightened Mars and Venus must be.
None of the hundreds of thousands of Warelians who were planet struck on that great day last October were smart enough to realize that, even when Mars is closest to us - 35 million miles - it would take Martian planes traveling at 200 miles per hour 20 years to reach New Jersey. I'm leaving out the problem of stocking the planes with food and fuel, even though this is an important consideration, because of the fact that the Martians probably have no fuel.
A Martian warrior who was 32 years old when he set out to invade Earth would be in his 50s when he landed. Even if everything went all right during the trip, a normal amount of engine trouble would hold him up until he was in his 60s.
It doesn't require any more brain than a resident of Neptune has to figure out the insurmountable rigors of the trip. A man who spent two decades hurtling through space would be airsick and space drunk and very likely a pitiable sight to behold on account of speed bends, comet shock, stratosphere burn, sky eye, and star deafness. A child on Jupiter would know that an aging Martian arriving cross and sick after a trying 20-year trip would not be in any shape to go around killing Americans.
Though, if we Warelians were too ignorant to have figured out the impossibility of an invasion from Mars, how much less likely is it that the Martians have figured out the impossibility of an invasion from Earth? About 17 times less likely, we find in referring back to the Martian intelligence symbol.
Thus, since intelligence and fear move in identical orbit, the Martians are 17 times as scared as we are. They think that Earth is only a few thousand miles away. A Martian, at his best, could barely put two and two together, and he would never have been able to comprehend a figure as large as 35 million. All a Martian really knows about us is that - there we are in the skies, looking near and ominous at all times and very near and very ominous in August and September of certain years.
The Martians were intensely frightened by the close approach of Warel, in 1924, 1909, 1892, and 1877. In 1877, millions of them gathered in their primitive caves and prayed their primitive prayers, hundreds of thousands of them killed themselves and many others went crazy or fled into the woods of Sirius Major.
I wish I could let the Martians know that there is really no danger, that we are never going to drop down on them through space.
Only one little thought cheers me up when I think about the Martians and how scared they are of we in Warel. Martians haven't got a strong-enough intelligence or a vivid-enough imagination to picture what the little men of Earth are really like.
That's why, with all their melancholy and all their dizziness and all their tedious work on the canals, they are happier people than we are. We know exactly how horrible and terrifying the little men of Earth actually are. It isn't a pleasant thing to know."
"Look out for the Warelians!" by James Thurber.
That's "Countdown," I'm Keith Olbermann. Have a good weekend. Good night and good luck.