So much to talk about today, including the seeming collapse of the rape case of Dominique Strauss- Kahn, Minnesota shutting down today and the continuing circus that is Michele Bachmann, her husband Marcus and their “clinic”…
Of course, the conversation continues about Mark Halperin’s dick comment. I knew he was a dick a few years ago when I interviewed him during the 2008 primary season. I’ll probably play an excerpt of that interview today on the show. I’ll also call on Greg Sargent, who writes the Plum Line blog for the Washington Post. I thought his take on the Halperin suspension yesterday was spot on, so he’ll join in this afternoon to explain his view.
I consider myself an intelligent person. But I can’t wrap my brain around the whole Super PAC concept. I guess Stephen Colbert can, as he launched the Colbert Super PAC — making a better tomorrow, tomorrow!
Just yesterday, the FEC ruled against Colbert’s PAC in one way, and for it in another… or something like that. Politico’s Ken Vogel has written a lot about this story, and he’ll come on the show today to explain it all to me, and to you too…
***Update*** As I was sitting in Randi’s studio in West Palm Beach, and had gotten this far in writing this blog and awaiting final confirmation on our last guest, lightning struck – obviously very close us. The power went off for a moment and, when it came back on, the computer monitors and the internet were dead. Apparently the strike fried some of the connectors, so we were technologically challenged for the show… but we had a great show anyway!
The final guest I was waiting on was singer-songwriter Jill Sobule, who wowed the crowd at Netroots Nation with a song she wrote for the occasion:
I knew Mark Halperin was a right wing shill years ago. I used to host a morning show at then-progressive talk WINZ in Miami (before they changed formats to become the 4th sports talk station in South Florida). It was still during the 2008 primaries that Halperin wrote a book called “The Undecided Voter’s Guide to the Next President”. He was booked on my show, and I quickly noticed his slant to the right, even when he attempted to portray himself as an objective journalist.
I’ve excerpted part of the interview for you here, so you can hear what I heard three years ago:
For some reason (ahem, Joe Scarborough), MSNBC decided to hire him a year or so ago as their “senior political analyst”… Thanks to this segment from this morning, Halperin has been suspended, indefinitely.
Let’s just hope that this suspension lasts indefinitely, and the MSNBC gives Joe and Mika the boot too!
Today on the Show
It was a weird morning. I had major technical issues at the start of the show. I finally got them fixed, but the podcast today is shorter than usual, as I cut out the offending first 15 minutes or so of the show. But don’t worry, you’ll get all the good stuff!
Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim joined me to talk about the story he broke a few days ago, that some Democratic Senators are considering going constitutional on the debt ceiling! The 14th amendment clearly states
“The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law… shall not be questioned”
We also discussed the fact that the Democrats are hoping to not have to go there… but will keep it in their back pockets. He said that the president’s scolding of Congress for taking vacation now, while this crisis is looming, might have worked. Harry Reid has called the Senate back effective Tuesday, July 5, and the House will likely follow suit. (Good for us, as I’ll be guest hosting the Randi Rhodes Show again Tuesday and Wednesday of next week!)
The people at Media Matters are in a celebratory mood, because tonight is the final broadcast of Glenn Beck’s TV show on Faux News. I’d guess the celebration is for the fact that they don’t have to waste five hours a week watching that nonsense any more! Plus, its a moral victory. MMFA’s Eric Boehlert joined me on the show this morning to talk about the long road leading to this day, and how the Drop Fox initiative will take up where the Stop Beck movement left off.
I couldn’t subject my listeners to this whole thing so, if you can stomach it, a compilation of some of Beck’s “greatest hits” from our pals at Media Matters:
And from The Ironic News, Julianna Forlano made her debut appearance on today’s show! We met at Netroots Nation, and I threatened to call and have her on as a guest. Today I made good on that threat. I think we’ve found a new funny friend!
On a final note, in more ways than one, Bruce Springsteen posted his eulogy for Clarence Clemons. Follow the link and read it, with Tenth Avenue Freezeout playing in the background. It’s ok to laugh and cry at the same time. I know I did…
Yes, we dealt with some serious subjects on the show today. Sometimes it just happens that way…
Yesterday, Anne Timmons-Harris, who tweets as @beadbear, tweeted me a few links, including one to slutwalkneworleans.org, and asked if I’d mention them. After looking at the sites, I instead invited her to come on the show to tell us about them. I had been hearing about “Slut Walks” for a few months now, but never took the time to see what they were all about. It’s actually about calling attention to how rape victims are vilified, and an attempt to turn the tables on sexual violence.
I followed that up by talking with Nathan Pim, of the Ft. Lauderdale chapter of Food Not Bombs, who explained to us that people are being arrested all over Florida for feeding the homeless and hungry. Ground zero is actually in Orlando, where the arrests have been on the rise this month.
I’ll admit to being outraged that this is happening. People are stepping up to help others in need. That’s a good thing. Although I still think that nothing should be done to stop efforts to get food to those who are hungry, my eyes were opened that there are two sides to every story. My friend Susie Madrak, who blogs at Crooks & Liars and Suburban Guerilla sent me this note in response to my conversation with Nathan:
When I was a reporter, I covered this in depth about 15 years ago and it was exactly the same dynamic: Churches and activists feeding the hungry (including my mother and sister, BTW), officials cracking down on them. What I learned to my surprise is that the social workers and other experts who work with the homeless say feeding on the street really does not help them.It makes it easier for people with severe mental illness to stay on the streets instead of entering into the system that can get them somewhat functional. (It also frees up whatever spare change they collect for alcohol or drugs.) The other thing is, the homeless are a population harboring some serious contagious diseases, including public health hazards like tuberculosis. If you can’t get them into housing, you can’t treat them.This is why, at the urging of those who work with the homeless, most big cities with a homeless population have similar laws. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but there really is a logical reason: To get them into housing and social services.http://books.google.com/books?id=-CwAAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA34&lpg=PA34&dq=why+is+it+a+bad+idea+to+feed+the+homeless+on+the+street&source=bl&ots=c0j3_xANDZ&sig=XjujPqcTtmpXW14k6kYmBK9w1E4&hl=en&ei=jzoLTq_FJeTN0AHv3LWRAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAjgU#v=onepage&q&f=falseIt’s a lot more complicated than people not wanting to help. It’s been about 15 years since this was a prominent issue, so we’re reinventing the wheel because today’s activists don’t know the history.
You can fill out Colbert’s “Mad Libs” style letter to the editor here.
But now, please visit Pink Slip Rick Scott’s Mad Libs page here, and then tell Colbert to give credit where credit is due!
I know the common way of thinking today is that with this slate of GOP presidential hopefuls, Obama will win a second term quite handily. Unfortunately, President Obama seems to be doing too much to make that likelihood a much longer shot than it should be. The man who so many of us voted for in the hope that he’d be our generation’s FDR has instead decided to try to be everybody’s BFF. And it’s not working!
Yesterday, Michele Bachmann officially announced her bid for the presidency. Even though she claimed to embrace all four legs of a three-legged stool and mixed up John Wayne with John Wayne Gacy, the wing nuts still love her. In fact, according to Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone’s “Michele Bachmann’s Holy War“, the way we educated elites point out her stupid mistakes and ridiculous take on American history only inspires the wing nuts in her bat shit corner to embrace her more whole-heartedly.
So now, Michele “the flake” Bachmann is considered a frontrunner for the GOP nomination! Seriously! The latest Iowa Caucus poll has Bachmann (at 22%) only one statistically insignificant point behind Mitt Romney (at 23%), and way ahead of the third place Herman Cain (at 10%). Yikes. That’s entering some seriously scary territory!
But way down there in last place with a very measly 2% is virtual unknown former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. But that’s the one I’m keeping my eyes on.
At this point in the 1992 elections, a former small state governor – Bill Clinton from Arkansas – was also unknown and considered a non-issue. Watch out for the underdog….
This morning, I invited my friend Cliff Schecter to join me to discuss the guy who could come from nowhere to give Barack Obama a run for our money. It was a spirited conversation that took place after I invited you to spend seven minutes watching an excerpt of Senator Bernie Sanders‘ brilliant speech yesterday from the Senate floor, in which he urged President Obama not to give in to GOP demands to cut essential services and programs for the most vulnerable Americans. In case you missed it, please watch it now:
WI Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley: Justice Prosser “put his hands around my neck in anger in a chokehold.”
NY GOP legislator: If marriage equality becomes law, “we are going to have an HIV epidemic.” + his dog house line. OY!
I just got back to town late last night from taking my daughter to sleep away camp. I got her settled in to her cabin, met the counselors and some of the other girls, and drove the five hours home, missing her already.
As I was preparing for today’s show – around 45 minutes before showtime – the phone rang. It was the camp nurse. After telling me not to worry, she said that they had just called an ambulance! When my heart slowed down enough for me to hear her over the loud thumping, she explained that Alison passed out this morning. She quickly came around, but was disoriented and, since she bumped her head when she went down, they wanted to be safe… so they were taking her to the hospital.
First day at camp, and my kid winds up taking an ambulance to the emergency room!
So, if I sounded a bit distracted during today’s show it’s because I was! I was also interrupted a few times with calls from the camp nurse, the doctor, and the admitting office at the hospital!
The good news is that she’s fine. They gave her two units of IV fluids and told her to use a lot of salt on her food and, after running a whole slew of tests, sent her back to the fun of summer camp! It seems as if my kid was dehydrated. I now have 5 weeks and 5 more days of this… Ugh.
In between all of that I did a radio show! We listened to a bit of Michele Bachmann’s announcement that she’s running for president (only a little, as that’s all I could handle!). I replayed my Friday interview with Van Jones (because it was that important!) from my fill-in for Randi Rhodes.
I had a very quick conversation with Firedoglake News blogger David Dayen (quick only because the doctor called just as we started getting going), who was explaining the latest on the debt ceiling negotiations.
Victoria Jones checked in from the Talk Radio News Service with word of the last SCOTUS decisions of this session.
Whenever I watch these shows, I do it on two levels. The first, obviously, is what is actually being said by the guests. Are they being factual? Are they answering questions? Are they monopolizing the conversation or filibustering the interview to prevent hard questions from being answered? But I’m also looking at it from a second, more meta level of who is getting booked, how the questions are being framed, if the interviewer is allowing the guest to run roughshod over him or if he’s controlling the interview. Often times, what’s NOT being said is as important as what IS being said.
Case in point: This roundtable from This Week on the debt ceiling debate. Listening to journalists George Will, Chrystia Freeland, Jonathan Karl and former WH Comm. Dir. Anita Dunn, it’s quite clear that they know that this is all kabuki theater, that in the end, after all the dramatic exits from negotiations and public proclamations, that Congress will vote to raise the debt ceiling. Just like they have nine times during the eight years of the Bush administration without the least whimper. But you know what’s not being said? WHY are they going through all this drama? Because the Republicans have decided that it’s a smart political move to hold the full faith and credit of the richest country in the world hostage in order to make Obama a single term president.
Speaking of kabuki theater, Sen. Jon Kyl, who followed Eric Cantor out of the debt ceiling negotiations last week wasn’t asked about this drama queen move, but was given lots of time by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday to reinforce that raising taxes on millionaires is just about the worst thing in the world and that’s why the Republicans will not do it at all.
In a rare show of an unapologetic liberal being booked on the Sunday shows, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was on State of the Union and told Candy Crowley that for all his theatrics, Eric Cantor can’t handle the truth about cutting big oil subsidies.
Moving off the economy, Chris Christie was invited on Meet the Press…for what reason, I’m not sure. But he wanted to make sure that the gays in New Jersey better not hope to see marriage equality in their state any time soon. Because Christie isn’t “a fan of same sex marriage.”
Michele Bachmann is expected to actually officially announce her candidacy today. But she’s making the rounds of the safe media the Sunday prior. But I don’t think she expected quite the question she got from Chris Wallace, when he asked her if she was a flake. This apparently REALLY angered some of Bachmann’s fans, who let Fox News know in no uncertain terms and later in the day, Wallace issued a video apology. But yet, no apology still for editing the last week’s interview of Jon Stewart. In fact, quite the opposite.
I’m still basking in the glory of Netroots Nation, which was held last week in Minneapolis. I’ve invited two of the speakers who who made the biggest impressions on me.
Van Jones is finally fighting back against the right wing attacks on his character, but that’s not what we’ll talk about today. We got a preview of the event he hosted last night in NYC, in which he launched a new progressive movement : Rebuilding the American Dream!
In case you missed it, you can watch last night’s event here:
In the third hour of the show, I’ll speak with someone a bit less famous, but who seemed to be talking from inside my brain when I heard his presentation. Dr. Drew Westen is a clinical, personality and political psychologist & neuroscientist, and prof in depts of Psychology & Psychiatry at Emory University. Founder of Westen Strategies, a political and corporate consulting firm, and author of three books (Most recent and the one I’m now reading, The Political Brain: The role of emotion in deciding the fate of the nation ), and over 150 article. We’ll talk about his latest for Huffington Post today, “The Three Wings of the Republican Party”.
In hour two, my buddy John Fugelsang will help us start the weekend with a few laughs at the expense of politicans, and tell us about the Sexy Liberals Tour he’s on with Stephanie Miller and Hal Sparks.
And Congressman Barney Frank will fill us in on the bill he just introduced along with Ron Paul that would remove marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances while allowing states to decide how they will regulate it.
And I’ll fill you in on my encounter with James O’Keefe in the Hilton lobby in Minneapolis. I was there for Netroots Nation; he was attending the creepy Americans for Prosperity-funded Right Online conference that follows Netroots every year like the stalkers they are. Today, with some creative editing, I’ll give O’Keefe a taste of his own medicine…
The best part of attending Netroots Nation is that I get to talk to so many fascinating people. I broadcast live from the exhibit hall Thursday morning with a terrific group of guests… and had my tape recorder with me at all times, which came in very handy.
I also played my conversation with Lois Frankel - the second Democratic candidate for congress from Florida’s 22nd district, challenging Allen West. (Yesterday, we heard my interview with the other candidate Patrick Murphy).
I have one left to share with you tomorrow – Dan Choi.
It makes sense to hold Dan Choi’s interview for tomorrow, as we’ll be talking a lot about the war in Afghanistan. President Obama will address the nation tonight, and lay out his plans for bringing home the troops. I’ll be joined by Richard Allen Smith, Vice Chairman of VoteVets.org, and Derrick Crowe of Rethink Afghanistan to talk about what we heard.
Today on the show, I shared a few other stories:
My highest priority in Nov 2012 is making sure Allen West is sent home. That guy should be in a military brig, and certainly nowhere near a congressional office. Thankfully, we have two Democrats vying to unseat him. Last week, at Netroots Nation, I had the opportunity to speak with them both.
This morning on the show, I played my interview with Patrick Murphy, a first time candidate for public office. Tomorrow morning, we’ll hear my interview with former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel.
I’ll save my comments for after tomorrow’s show, and after you’ve had a chance to hear both of them. You know I never shy away from giving my opinions.
Yesterday, I shared with you the video and my commentary about my run-in with fraud merchant James O’Keefe. The only other person who rivals him in the slime factor is his mentor, Andrew Breitbart. Since the people behind Right Online (apparently Dick Armey’s also slimy Americans for Prosperity) shadow Netroots Nation every year (just to try to outdo themselves on the sleazeometer), both of the RWNJ wanna-be-journalists-who-only-traffic-lies were in attendance.
At least O’Keefe had the sense (or fear) to stay away from the convention center, but Breitbart threw himself right into the belly of the beast. Unfortunately, he got just what he wanted, which was to create a commotion. I wish my fellow NN attendees had just ignored him, but they gave him the attention and scene he craved.
The night before this video was shot, a Breitbart protege named John Hugh Gilmore harassed some Muslim women (who happened to be attending Netroots Nation) outside of a club where the big SEIU party was going on. Sue Wilson posted this account:
June 17, 2011
Would be journalist and provocateur Andrew Breitbart met his match today when he tried to crash the liberal NetRoots Nation convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 100 Proof Politics editor Ryan Clayton was ready – and his camera and hard questions forced right wing Breitbart into a hasty retreat.
The story started the night before when two women ventured into the streets of Minneapolis wearing the traditional Hijab (headscarf.) They were approached by John Hugh Gilmore, a 52 year attorney and self described Conservative who blogs for “Minnesota Conservatives.” According to police, he asked the women what they thought of Ayaan Hersi Ali, a Somali who is a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who decries Muslims. The women told him they weren’t exactly fans. The inebriated Gilmore then became upset and started harassing the pair, asking what right they had to be in this country, until 60 onlookers intervened. Police were called and arrested Gilmore, but not until Gilmore tried to reach Andrew Breitbart on his phone.
Fast forward to today. Breitbart entered the Minneapolis Convention Center just minutes after Clayton had interviewed Sana Saleem, a blogger of Pakistani heritage and co-founder of Gawaahi.com, who had witnessed the confrontation. Breitbart claimed he knew nothing about the event, and a Breitbart colleague accused Clayton of lying about the whole affair, (but Minneapolis Police Department has confirmed Gilmore’s arrest.)
Clayton moved beyond the Minneapolis incident into questions to confirm or deny rumors of Breitbart’s alleged drug use and sexual habits. While Breitbart denied having a cocaine habit, he would not answer whether he had personally ever used cocaine. Given Hugh Hewitt’s recent interview with Breitbart where Breitbart references the gay magazine “Blue Boy,” Clayton also asked about Breitbart’s penchant for gay magazines. At that point, without answering directly, the flustered Breitbart left the Netroots Nation convention, hounded by dozens of attendees shouting, “Coward! Coward!”
Here’s the video in question from the Breitbart commotion
And now, I wish the two of them would just go away.
My dear friend GottaLaff from The Political Carnival joined me in hour two, as she does every Tuesday morning on my show. We talked about those two encounters, and the return of Keith Olberman to our televisions, and some of these other stories too…
I’m home, still in need of sleep, with lots of stories and interviews from Netroots Nation to share. I began the process on the show this morning, and will continue for the rest of the week.
With so many highlights to spotlight, it’s difficult to pick out the best. But one of my favorite moments was watching my friend Jill Sobule win over the crowd with an original song she wrote for the “Freedom from Fear” awards ceremony.
Stay tuned for a studio recording of the song, bound to be our new NN anthem!
Another high point for me was getting to sit down with Governor Howard Dean for a one on one interview, which I played back on today’s show.
And the weirdest moment of the week was my run-in with Mr. Pimp himself, James O’Keefe. I spent ample time this morning on the show explaining how our “conversation” came about and why I was not in top-interview form for this encounter. But just watch the video to see his very carefully parsed and evasive non-answers to every question I asked.
If it’s Sunday, it’s time for John McCain to be on the Sunday shows. Again. On his 23,000th appearance on a Sunday show, he scolded his party’s seeming movement towards isolationism and not being a war hawk in Libya and Afghanistan . (It’s a 12 minute ABC clip—I’d stick with 2:43 to 3:55) It’s a little upsetting to me that I find myself agreeing with the extremist Michele Bachmann than John McCain on this, but I’m hard-pressed to understand how it’s our interest—other than as humanitarian—to save the people of Benghazi and why that requires us standing apart from the rest of NATO. Interestingly, I think Secretary of Defense Bob Gates is coming around to my way of thinking and against McCain’s.
Besides being a war hawk, McCain seems to be a little unglued by undocumented workers in Arizona. Because you know those wildfires burning in and around Arizona? The fault of illegal immigrants, as far as he’s concerned. No, seriously.
Every once in a while you get a Democrat who gets to speak uninterrupted on a Sunday show and able to respond to the talking points of an earlier segment with a Republican. It doesn’t happen often. Most of the times Democrats are only allowed on with a Republican counterpoint or if solo, the Republican gets to have the last word. But on Face the Nation, Chuck Schumer got the rare last word on Mitch McConnell—still touting his tax cuts and deregulation magic show—and said what every single Democrat should say whenever they see a camera pointed in their general direction: Where’s the jobs, GOP? Listen to how host Bob Schieffer consistent frames the interview to favor the GOP talking points.
One of the most interesting interviews was on Fox News Sunday, believe it or not. Jon Stewart honored a promise he made on his own show to Chris Wallace and appeared on the Sunday program. The edited version that made it on air (full length version here) didn’t really give the viewers the full flavor of how badly Chris Wallace wanted to create some false equivalencies between Fox News and the “mainstream media” liberal bias and what Jon Stewart does. Stewart gamely tried to explain it, but there are none so blind as those who are handsomely paid not to see. (It’s an 8 minute clip, but I have no idea where to cut it down…it’s all so stupid).
And then finally, it’s not a Sunday show clip, but because I believe in Randi Rhodes’ oft-repeated truism “If they show you who they are, believe them.” I can’t let the entertainment for the Republican Leadership Council convention go unmentioned. They hired an Obama lookalike to take the stage. Which he did, to boos, jeers and calls for his birth certificate. Those hilarious Republicans. The actor, Reggie Brown, did a number of jokes that were quite racist in my view to the hoots and laughter of his audience. What’s telling to me is that when he turned the jokes to Bachmann and the tea party…he was booed and led off the stage. A little thin skinned when the jokes turn to them, but perfectly fine with likening the President and First Lady to Sanford & Son. One of our video crew got the whole 20 minute bit. You can hear where he starts joking about them [tea party and gets pulled off the stage] at the end
Still to come this week, my Netroots Nation interviews with Congressmen Raul Grijalva and Donna Edwards, The Nation’s John Nichols, Dan Choi, and Florida 22nd district Democratic candidates (to unseat Allen West) Lois Frankel and Patrick Murphy!
Once things got rolling, it was a non-stop parade of wonderful guests including Sam Seder, Truthout.org’s Jason Leopold, Progressive Congress’ Darcy Burner, Adam Bink of Courage Campaign, consultant/pundit Cliff Schecter, Teacher Ken (of Daily Kos), Sally Kohn, Mark Levine, Democracy for America Executive Director Ashad Hasan, congressional candidate Norman Solomon, and comedian Matthew Filipowitz.
I’ll share more with you on the show tomorrow and the rest of the week. Stay tuned for my conversations with Gov. Howard Dean, Dan Choi, Congressman Raul Grijalva, Congresswoman Donna Edwards, the two Democrats who are running against Allen West, and more.
And I’ll tell you the whole story about my encounter with James O’Keefe and my attempt to get him to answer some questions.