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Jun 072010

***Quick update: The show is over and I’m still floored by the interview with Rabbi Nesenoff, the man who asked Helen Thomas the question that led to her resignation this morning. Now, in addition to feeling sorry for Helen, I feel sorry for this man who I think gives Rabbis a bad name, and shows why there’s so much Antisemitism in this country today.  As a Jew, I hate what Helen said, but really despise the situation that’s causing the fighting.  My interview with Rabbi Nesenoff comes at about 30 minutes into the podcast, which you can hear by clicking the link above.***

Will we ever see a “good news” day again? Something tells me no…

I guess we should start with Helen Thomas.  The Grand Dame of the White House Press Corps was shamed into retirement today after criticism of her from all sides surrounded her because of this video:

As the video points out, the offending remarks were made on May 27, 2010, when the White House was celebrating American Jewish Heritage Day. Rabbi David Nesenoff was out an about, apparently asking anyone he could the same question, “Any thoughts on Israel?”  The Rabbi posted the video on his website and YouTube, and the rest, as they say, is history.  Rabbi Nesenoff will be my guest this evening on the show.

After the news broke of Helen Thomas’ resignation, I attempted to contact her as well.  Unfortunately, her office number goes to a full voicemail box, and the cell phone number I had for her seems to be disconnected.

I feel awful about this turn of events.  Helen Thomas has shown herself to be anti-Semitic. As a Jew, I felt particularly stung by her comments. But I’m also conflicted because, for years, I’ve applauded her tough questions to presidents, particularly on the subject of war.  I’ll miss her questions, always knowing that they’re the ones I’d been screaming at the tube!

Last week, during President Obama’s press conference, Helen Thomas asked the one question about the war in Afghanistan, which today becomes our longest war ever!  We’ve now been there for 104 months – eight and a half years, surpassing the war in Vietnam.  During that presser, President Obama stated:

“More than anything else, this economic and environmental tragedy – and it’s a tragedy – underscores the urgent need for this nation to develop clean, renewable sources of energy. Doing so will not only reduce threats to our environment. It’ll create a new, homegrown American industry that can lead to countless new businesses and new jobs.

We talked about doing this for decades, and we made significant strides last year when it comes to investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency.  The House of Representatives has already passed a bill that would finally jump start a permanent transition to a clean energy economy, and there’s currently a plan in the Senate – a plan that was developed with ideas from Democrats and Republicans – that would achieve that same goal.

If nothing else, this disaster should serve as a wake-up call that it’s time to move forward on this legislation.”

Aside from Helen Thomas’ question, that statement from the president stood out to me.  Because as much as we need legislation that will promote and “jump start a permanent transition to a clean energy economy,” I don’t believe that the legislation currently moving through Congress actually achieves that goal.  We’ll check in with the director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, Tyson Slocum, and get his thoughts on that question.

We’ll also talk about the protest they held yesterday, at BP’s Washington DC headquarters.  Here’s tonight’s guest at yesterday’s rally:

There will be many more such rallies and protests taking place all over the country tomorrow.  Tonight, I’ll speak briefly with Danielle, a fellow South Floridian and blogger, who’s organizing one on Dania Beach tomorrow night at 7pm.

As we do every evening at the start of hour two, we’ll get an update on the news of the day from the Talk Radio News Service.  I’ll have a few words to say about Elton John singing for Rush Limbaugh’s 4th wedding.

And we’ll finish things up with “Life During Wartime,” our weekly Sunday Talking Head shows recap segment with Crooks & LiarsNicole Belle.

May 292010

Down here in Miami, Veterans for Peace South Florida have once again erected Arlington South Beach to pay tribute to our fallen men and women from Iraq and Afghanistan.

If you’re not in South Florida, perhaps the Veterans for Peace chapter closest to you is doing something similar. If you are in Miami, try to make it by.  It’s an incredibly moving experience.

Members and supporters of Veterans for Peace South Florida Chapter 32 will conduct a Memorial service before sunset, 5pm,  on Monday, May 31st, Memorial Day. During candlelight vigils, participants in will read from the list of Florida’s Fallen to honor and remember the soldiers that have died in the war in Afghanistan.

Arlington South Beach is a memorial of a thousand headstones, like those in the National Cemetery at Arlington, Virginia. The replica headstones have been displayed on the lawn of Lummus Park in South Beach since the week before Memorial Day weekend starting on Sunday, May 23rd to commemorate the American Soldiers lost in Afghanistan since 2001. The headstones are marked with the name and age of fallen American soldiers. The headstones display the names and age of American soldiers lost in Iraq on the rear of each marker.

What: Arlington South Beach: Remember the Fallen Memorial Service
Where: Lummus Park lawn east of 901 Ocean Drive between 9th and 10th Streets, Miami Beach, Florida 33139 (South Beach)
When: 5 p.m., Monday, May 31st, 2010
Breakdown: 6:00 p.m., Monday, May 31st, 2010
Sponsors: Veterans for Peace South Florida Chapter 32,
Contact: Dave Patlak, 305-519-4412 or Larry Thorson, 305-331-9938

May 272010

Ask a group of parents their thoughts on vaccinating their children and you’re likely to get some who’d never go against doctor’s orders, and some who believe that childhood vaccines are somehow responsible for the rise in autism rates among children.  That latter belief is likely as a result of Dr. Andrew Wakefield who, in 1998, authored a study published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, which suggested a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

In 2004, British investigative journalist Brian Deer, who’s known most for his reports on the drug industry, medicine and social issues for the Sunday Times of London, began investigating concerns over the MMR vaccine, as raised by Dr. Wakefield.  Deer’s investigation, in a series of reports between 2004 and 2010, led to the Lancet retracting the study’s findings, and prompted the longest-ever inquiry by the UK General Medical Council.

In January of 2010, The GMC judged Wakefield ‘callous, unethical and dishonest’ and on Monday of this week, stripped him from the UK medical register, thus revoking his license to practice in the UK.

The GMC also found Wakefield to have shown ‘a callous disregard” for the distress and pain he caused the children in his study.

“Callous Disregard” is the phrase Dr. Wakefield chose to use for the title of his new book, which claims to tell “the truth behind tragedy.”

During tonight’s show, I’ll spoke with both Dr. Wakefield and Brian Deer, although not together.  Wakefield actually filed filed a libel suit against Deer, but later withdrew the charges.

We got a news update from Ellen Ratner of the Talk Radio News Service.

To lighten things up a bit, we had a visit from John Fugelsang… and we’ll also dissectected some of President Obama’s press conference today which mostly dealt with the BP disaster.

And, to end the week, I’ll once again be guest hosting the Randi Rhodes Show tomorrow!  Listen live here (via the ustream feed), or from any of Randi’s affiliates tomorrow from 3-6pm ET.

And just because we could all use a smile right about now, enjoy the newest offering from the Raging Grannies:

May 262010

If we didn’t know better, you’d probably think I was reviewing a new Rambo film.  Unfortunately, we can’t kill this oil well in the gulf as easily as Sylvester Stallone could gun down his enemy.  (I apologize if I got the imagery wrong, but I’ve never seen a Rambo film.)

Yes, I’m preoccupied with the gusher in the gulf, as everyone should be. I truly fear for the future of life on the planet if they don’t get this thing stopped soon.  You’ll notice the streaming video and estimated gallons leaked counter (courtesy of PBS Newshour and NPR).  It’ll remain there until the oil stops.

Below is the video from BP where, supposedly, the top kill procedure is underway.

I certainly can’t explain what we’re looking at, but I have a great guest coming on tonight who likely can.

In my online travels today, I happened upon a wonderfully informative (although technically often over my head, website– The Oil Drum.  I  was joined on the show tonight by The Oil Drum contributor Heading Out (actually Dr. David A. Summers, who is a Curators Professor of Mining Engineering and Director of the Rock Mechanics and Explosives Research Center at UMR. Dr. Summers, who has had over 30 years of experience in the field of high-pressure waterjet research, began his professional life as an Indentured Apprentice in the British National Coal Board.He helped found the Water Jet TechnologyAssociation in 1983, and has served as Vice President, President and Chairman of that Society. He is currently a Vice President of the International Water Jet Society.), who’s written the key posts on the oil spill at TOD.

As we usually do on Wednesdays, we started the program with a visit from Christy Harvey at the Center for American Progress for a discussion about the news-both the big stories of the day, and some that otherwise fly under the radar.

In hour two, we  visited with Jack Rice of the Talk Radio News Service.  And then connected with another progressive radio host, Jeff Farias. We’ll spoke about what’s happening in his home state (Arizona), the oil mess and, of course, the state of progressive radio today.

Jeff also announced that he’s running for Justice of the Peace in Phoenix, and therefore will cut back on his broadcasting schedule.  So, beginning tomorrow night, my show will be carried on his stream on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

May 252010

This should be the top story on every news broadcast, and the number 1 priority for this administration. If they don’t stop the oil from spewing up from the floor of the Gulf soon, our entire eco-system will likely be doomed.  The Mayans may have really been on to something.

I’ve watched this video a few times today… I certainly didn’t want to, as once was more than enough. But I wanted to play it on the video stream tonight, so I watched it again as I tried to figure out how to do that, and then yet again during the show. The impact doesn’t lessen with each subsequent viewing, and I think that’s a good thing.  We can’t get complacent about this.

Tonight, I spoke with Rick Outzen, publisher of Pensacola Florida’s alternative weekly paper, the Independent News, who also blogs at  Rick is also a Daily Beast contributor and, today, had a stunning piece about BP’s callous disregard for human life in favor of profits called “BP’s Shocking Memo”.

If that’s not enough to entice you to read the story, perhaps this actual image of the memo will:

At this point, nothing about BP shocks me any more.

I took a few moments to speak with Bob Fertik of, and got a news update from the Talk Radio News Service.

And we spent most of the second hour chatting with the very outspoken Brent Budowsky.  His two latest pieces at The Hill are “Super Dem Tuesday,” about how the Dems are not necessarily sunk in November (though the party had better get its shit together…soon!) and “Senators Screw American Troops for Memorial Day.”  Brent pulls no punches!

May 172010

While the news is looking more and more ominous for those of us here in Florida, the Sunday talking head shows all just pontificated about Elena Kagan. Seriously!

“Scientists are increasingly worried that huge plumes of crude already spilled could get caught in a current that would carry the mess all the way to the Florida Keys and beyond, damaging coral reefs and killing wildlife,” reads the article that popped up on my browser just a moment ago, which would be a disaster – not only for Florida – but for the entire ecosystem of the earth. Yet, there was not a peep heard about BP, the continuing gushing geyser of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico, or the dangers it poses to our way of life during the “news” shows that permeated the Sunday morning airwaves.

Instead, as we learned during our regular Monday segment with Nicole Belle of Crooks & Liars, it was all Kagan, all the time.

At least 60 Minutes covered the disaster last night.  In a brilliant segment entitled “Blowout: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster,” we got a first-hand account of exactly what happened on April 20 from Mike Williams, the chief electronics technician in charge of the rig’s computers and electrical systems, who was one of the last survivors to escape before it exploded.

The 60 Minutes piece also spoke with a BP whistleblower, Ken Abbott, who warned that we’re headed for another, probably larger, disaster on the Atlantic oil rig. Great information, and I’m glad they covered it. I only wish they had given credit where credit was due– to Jason Leopold, who broke the story weeks ago, and provided 60 Minutes the contact information for said whistleblower at their request!   Read Jason’ original story, “Whistleblower: BP Risks More Massive Catastrophes in the Gulf,” and check out some of his other stellar reporting here (including his must-see interview with former CIA officer John Kiriakou here.)   Jason joined me on the show tonight to talk a bit more about this story.

In case you missed it, here’s the 60 Minutes piece, definitely worth your time:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Watch CBS News Videos Online

I’ve played this a couple of times on the show, but it’s certainly worth posting here too…

I have one last clip to share with you today…
First, you might remember a few weeks ago I spoke with DC Douglas, the voice actor (best known as the Geico announcer) who left a very critical voicemail for FreedomWorks. He’s back, this time with a helpful PSA:

May 132010

**Post updated with tonight’s show’s audio. Click above to listen!**

I do a live program here at Radio or Not Monday through Thursday from 6-8pm ET.  I usually take Fridays off to take care of all the personal stuff I neglect during the week… But tomorrow, I will be working, as I once again guest host the Randi Rhodes Show.

You’ll be able to watch the ustream feed here as usual, but to listen to the audio stream, head over to or stream from one of her affiliate stations.

More on that later…

As for tonight, we’ve got an interesting show planned.  We’ll start with a conversation with Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, who’ll explain what’s in the new so-called “climate bill” introduced yesterday by Sens. John Kerry & Joe Lieberman.

Journalist and pro-Palestinian activist Jeffrey Blankfort wrote a piece earlier this week for CounterPunch entitled “The Last Democratic Primary Worth Watching,” about the Marcy Winograd primary challenge to Blue Dog Jane Harman in California. Jeffery will join us tonight to talk about that race, and explain where both candidates come down on the Israeli issue.

We’ll get our nightly report from the Talk Radio News Service.

And to end the week, a visit from singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb, who’s working on “Camp Kappawanna,” a new children’s musical inspired by her latest cd “Camp Lisa” opening here in Miami at the Arsht Center as part of their Summer Shorts series next month.

And don’t forget… I’ll be filling in for Randi Rhodes tomorrow, 3-6pm ET, with comedian John Fugelsang – just back from Haiti, and two Democratic primary contenders: Marcy Winograd, who’s challenging Blue Dog incumbent Jane Harman, and Congressman Joe Sestak, who’s running against Republican turned Democrat incumbent Senator Arlen Specter.

May 062010

What a way to end the week!  Today was a strange, strange day.

The stock market went over the cliff because some trader typed the letter B instead of M and traded billions instead of millions of futures of something, Joe Lieberman introduced legislation to strip citizens of their citizenship, it was the “National Day of Prayer” (in a country founded on the idea of separation of church and state), the UK held an election and nobody won, and the floor below the Gulf of Mexico is still spewing an oil geyser that could threaten our country’s coastlines and millions of people’s lives and livelihoods for generations to come.  Yes, I’d say it qualifies as a Strange Day of The Doors magnitude.

Tonight’s show started with a recap of some of the strangeness of the day with David Dayen, news editor of FireDogLake.

Gotta Laff of The Political Carnival joined in to tell us about the new, special edition of Blunt, entitled “Do I Look Illegal?”

Marco Ceglie, one of the founders of The Other 98% told us about the organization that’s doing a great job of explaining to the unwashed masses about the realities of how little we pay in taxes…

And we wrapped up the week with a visit from Howie Klein of Down With Tyranny who filled us in on the primary results from this past Tuesday, and the three coming up a week from Tuesday in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Arkansas… and we did talk a bit about the hypocrisy of George Rekers, the homophobic homosexual co-founder of the Family Research Council who hired a “luggage carrier” from the male prostitution site

And on that note, I wish you a happy weekend.  Talk to you Monday… Radio or Not!

Apr 272010

What a difference a day makes! Although I’m not 100% yet, I am feeling much better today.  And it’s a good thing, because it was a very busy show tonight…

We started with comedian Jamie Kilstein who, along with Allison Kilkenny hosts Citizen Radio. Jamie has a new CD out, called Zombie Jesus

It had been a while since I last spoke with Congressman Dennis Kucinich. He joined me tonight to talk about the wars and what it’ll take to end them, health care reform and why he voted the way he did, financial reform, and more… If you happen to be in Washington DC on Thursday, join him for a “Teach In on Capital Hill: What Congress Must Do to End US Wars and Help Secure a Peaceful Middle East“  (More about the Teach In tomorrow, with activist David Swanson.)

Environmentalist/Activist/Author Bill McKibben, founder of, has a new book out… Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.  We talked about the book, the crazy weather we’ve been experiencing lately and how it’s all connected to climate change.

Ellen Ratner checked in with a news update from the Talk Radio News Service.

But there’s more…. My boyfriend sent me this column about Pat Tillman, written by Bill Dwyre, sports columnist for the LA Times. I was so impressed with what he wrote so I emailed him and asked him to join me to discuss it…

And finally, I checked in with investigative journalist Greg Palast to talk about his latest piece for “Behind the Arizona Immigration Law: The GOP Game to Swipe the November Election” — another way to look at the insanity from the most unwelcoming state in the nation…

And one more thing… Senator Carl Levin is my hero of the week, thanks to this line of questioning from today’s hearing on Goldman Sachs…

Apr 222010

What a way to end the week… It was a busy show tonight. So click on the player above, and here’s what you’ll hear:

Since today is Earth Day, we started the show with a conversation with Jeff Regen, VP of Online Communications for Defenders of Wildlife. In addition to a campaign to urge people to dedicate a day of service to the earth, they’ve also spearheaded a drive to make Discovery Inc rethink its terrible idea to air a program on its TLC channel called “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.”

There is a light at the end of the Boehner tunnel. I spoke with Justin Coussoule, the Democratic challenger running against John Boehner for the Congressional seat from Ohio’s 8th District! Justin was just endorsed by the Blue America PAC, so help him get the orange guy out of our Congress, if you can.

Last night, I played the phone message left on FreedomWorks voicemail by voice actor D.C. Douglas that wound up costing him his gig as the announcer voice in the GEICO commercials. Tonight, I spoke with D.C. Douglas and heard the whole story, first hand, from the voice himself!

I liked D.C. yesterday, when I first heard the story, and like him even more today, after speaking with him…and seeing this video he put together:

Jack Rice checked in with a report from the Talk Radio News Service

And we wrapped up the week with a visit from comedian/actor/author John Fugelsang

Just a quick favor to ask… please take a moment and click here.  I’m trying to get a DFA scholarship to Netroots Nation this summer, so I can use your support.  (It’ll just take a moment, and doesn’t cost a cent… just your vote!)  Thanks.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll be back with a new show Monday — 6-8pm ET.

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