The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 04/02/10
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST (voice-over): Friday night on THE RACHEL MADDOW
The monthly jobs numbers are out, and they‘re kind of OK. Cue the Republican outrage. Those numbers aren‘t really kind of OK, and even if they were—
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REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER: Hell no, you can‘t!
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MADDOW: Ezra Klein is here with analysis.
The embarrassment gets even deeper for Michael Steele. RNC expense reports show they bought $1,000 worth of office supplies at a liquor store? Liquid paper bottled and bond (ph).
And this show doesn‘t do gadget segments, gadget segments are just ads for gadgets. We don‘t show—ooh, iPad, never mind. Boingboing.net‘s Xeni Jardin got an iPad already. She‘ll be here to show off her new toy.
The right wing‘s war on community-organizing group ACORN is complete.
ACORN is officially no more. The war on them was based on pure bullpuckey.
And last night, I called it what it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Boat jail.
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MADDOW: You, our viewers, responded with doubt. But we have accredited experts who swear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Boat jail.
UNIDENTIFIED KID: Boat jail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boat jail, it be called.
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MADDOW: More show than we have time for right now on THE RACHEL
MADDOW: Thank you very much for joining us to share your Friday night tonight. As you can tell, we have a very big show ahead.
Where we begin is with a larger-than-life chart. We are admittedly a little chart and graph crazy around here. And tonight is a night where we‘ve just decided to stop fighting it and give in.
We have Kent Jones standing by at our big, sort of interactive magical chart wall.
KENT JONES, POP CULTURIST: Hello. It‘s huge.
MADDOW: Sort of interactive is the important part here.
The reason we had to call in Kent and the big chart wall is because today was one of those “where‘s the country headed” days? One of those “are we crawling out of the great recession or not” days.
Today, President Obama and the White House hailed the release of the latest round of job numbers, and that‘s not ordinarily the most exciting thing in the world, but there was really good reason to take note today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I‘ve often had to report bad news during the course of this year, as the recession wreaked havoc on people‘s lives. But, today is an encouraging day. We learned that the economy actually produced a substantial number of jobs instead of losing a substantial number of jobs. We are beginning to turn the corner.
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MADDOW: We are beginning to turn the corner.
The new jobs numbers out today revealed that last month, the month of March, was the single best month for jobs in the last three years. Instead of hemorrhaging jobs at a breakneck rate, the U.S. economy is beginning to create jobs—a significant number of them.
To understand where we are right now, you‘ve got to put that in context, and for that, we have enlisted the help of Kent, tonight, playing the part of Vanna White.
What you‘re looking at over there with Kent on the big wall right now is a giant graph. It shows job losses during the final year of the Bush administration, during 2008.
Now, as you can see there, each month of 2008 was pretty much worse than the last. In September of 2008, when the meltdown was in full effect, the U.S. economy lost about 450,000 jobs. Then in October, another 550,000 jobs. Then in November, another 730,000 jobs.
During President Bush‘s final month in office, January of 2009, the U.S. economy lost a pretty staggering 779,000 jobs—one month, 779,000 jobs lost.
That‘s what the current president was handed when he came into office, essentially a freefall.
What happened next?
OK, Kent. Now, you have to cue the Vanna White skills big time.
February 2009, another pretty bad month for jobs, more than 720,000 lost. March, same deal—another 750,000 jobs gone.
OK, now watch what happens. In April of 2009, the job losses begin to taper off. In May, the news gets a little better. The fewest number of jobs lost in nine months.
June, that trend reverses a bit, about 500,000 jobs lost that month. Then July hits, and we‘re going in the right direction here, 346,000 jobs lost that month. August, about 200,000 jobs lost. September and October, about the same.
And all right—this is what we‘ve been calling the bikini graph, because although I profess to not being able to see it, the staff of THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW insists to me that when much of America looks at this graph, what they see is—a bikini bottom, sort of.
I know it‘s weird, but Steve Benen at WashingtonMonthly.com was the first one to start graphing the job loss numbers like this, the first Friday of each month. And we kept talking at staff meetings about the Steve Benen first Friday of the month job loss numbers, and nobody grock their significance at all because nobody could remember that.
But when we started talking about the bikini graph, well, whoa, let‘s do this on every show. So, all right, bikini, yes. Thank you.
All right. So, back to the numbers. So, something pretty notable happens in November of last year.
Kent, can you put that up there?
JONES: There we go.
MADDOW: For the first time in 23 months, almost two years, the economy gains jobs, 64,000 jobs. December ends up being another dip, about 100,000 jobs lost.
But then in January of this year, January of 2010, the economy gains again. It gains another 14,000 jobs. Those jobs ultimately lost again in February, which brings us to the news today. The latest job numbers for the month of March.
And at this point, Kent, I‘m going to have to take it from here. I‘m sorry because this is very exciting. This is the part that I get to do. Yeheey!
MADDOW: OK. Thank you very much.
In the month of March, 162,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy. That‘s the way I interact with the map. That marks the biggest one-month increase in jobs in three years.
Now, look—the economy is clearly still struggling. We‘ve still got a long way to go to make up for all of the jobs that were lost over the last two years. But when you look at where we were, when you look at the left hip of the bikini graph, when you realize we were losing about 700,000 jobs each month, this is a step in the right direction, right?
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OBAMA: The tough measures that we took—measures that were necessary, even though sometimes they were unpopular—have broken this slide and are helping us to climb out of this recession. We‘ve now added an average of more than 50,000 jobs each month over the first quarter of this year. And this month‘s increase of 162,000 jobs was the best news we‘ve seen on the job front in more than two years.
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MADDOW: Left, right or center, you‘ve got to admit, this is good news, right? You see the numbers turn around like this? Oh, no, of course, you don‘t have to admit that.
Less than five minutes after the jobs numbers were released today—less than five minutes after they came out—the number two Republican in the House, Eric Cantor, released a statement that said, quote, “Americans deserve far more than the up and down roller coaster like unemployment reports of the past few months.”
Dude, have you seen the bikini graph? I mean, it‘s—the roller
coaster is sort of heading in a positive direction, if you think of the big
right towards the right hip and beyond? I mean, it‘s like a bikini with a garnish at this point.
This may not help Republicans, you know, get elected if they‘re counting on voter anger about the direction of the economy. But you‘ve got to admit, the way things are going, is good news about the country.
House Minority Leader John Boehner offered a similarly action to Eric Cantor. What he said was, “A near 10 percent unemployment rate is completely unacceptable. America‘s employers are taking a pummeling from Washington Democrats‘ job-killing agenda.”
You know, as opposed to the Bush administration‘s job creating agenda, right? Which shed more than 3.6 million jobs in 2008.
The number of jobs created or lost each month is an empirical thing, it‘s a knowable fact. And when you look at the trend of what‘s happened in this country over the last year when it comes to jobs, it is pretty hard to come to a conclusion other than, things are getting slightly better. It is a slow process to be sure, and an unsteady one, but things are getting better. That‘s just a fact. And it‘s something that every American should be encouraged by—everyone—even the ones running for office.
Joining us now is Ezra Klein, staff writer for “The Washington Post.”
Mr. Klein, thanks very much for joining us tonight. I appreciate it.
EZRA KLEIN, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good evening.
MADDOW: Clearly, we here at the show love the bikini graph too much.
KLEIN: I don‘t see it.
MADDOEW: You don‘t see the bikini part?
KLEIN: I don‘t see the bikini part. I‘ve looked at this graph many times. I‘ve been trying to figure it out all day. I don‘t see the bikini.
MADDOW: Yes, I don‘t see it, either. I‘m with you. All right.
MADDOW: The unemployment rate—John Boehner‘s right when he says the unemployment rate is unacceptable. It still absolutely stinks. But, in the big picture in terms of what we can say about jobs in this country, we are getting good news, aren‘t we?
KLEIN: Absolutely. I mean, look, it‘s 162,000 jobs that they created. At one point, the unemployment rate may actually go up a bit in the next couple of months. The way we calculate that, are people who are seeking jobs and can‘t find them.
And what happens in a long recession and we‘ve had a long recession now is that people stop, they get discouraged, they‘ve been turned down from two dozen applications and they just stop. When they come back in, when they say, oh, my neighbor just got a job, maybe it‘s time to look again, they go into the unemployment rate where they have been erased from it before. So, it‘s very common that you have very, very good job growth, and you‘ll see the unemployment rate tick up because people are getting optimistic enough to rejoin the economy after essentially sitting it out in discouragement.
MADDOW: In terms of the best ways to watch how we come out of the recession and how we recover—obviously, economic growth is one of the big growth measures, job creation and job loss is one of the big—one of the big growth measures. What else do you watch in terms of figuring out whether or not the economy is actually going in the right direction?
KLEIN: Well, actually, the size of the—not the unemployment rate but what is called the labor force, it‘s how big the labor force is and it tends to show you—whether or not people think this is a good enough economy that they can actually get a job. The other big ones are consumer sentiment, whether or not consumers essentially think this is a good economy to buy in.
So there are a lot of different measures that sort of across the board. You can look at the stock market, though I think that‘s disconnected from Main Street now in a way that begins to get a little bit worrisome.
But one thing that I think we should make clear is that the issue of how good the economy is doing is not a Washington issue. It‘s not something you can message around really easily. Democrats can‘t tell you the economy is good if you‘ve got 10 percent unemployment come November, and Republicans can‘t tell you it‘s really bad if your neighbors are getting a job and you‘re seeing the—you‘re seeing the unemployment numbers go down.
So, this one is really going to be won out based on how good the economy is for Americans come November. It‘s not going to be about Eric Cantor‘s press releases, no matter how much his message guys would like to make it so.
MADDOW: And it is—it is common wisdom and it‘s one piece of common wisdom that I agree with, that the most important thing that‘s going to drive the election in November or any election is the unemployment rate, how people are feeling about the economy at that time. Democrats definitely know that. It‘s not something that‘s a foreign concept to people in Washington.
As the governing party with big majorities right now, what are the Democrats going to try to do between now and November to keep being seen to be making progress on the economy and on jobs specifically?
KLEIN: Well, what you‘re going to be seeing out of the Senate in particular—aside from showing the bikini graph a lot—what you‘re going to be seeing out in the Senate in particular is back in December, the House of Representatives passed $154 billion job bill. The Senate took that and instead of simply passing the same one, they couldn‘t get that through, they broke it into pieces.
And so, week by week by week by week, they‘re putting through more of these jobs bills. The first one had unemployment insurance in it, or maybe the first one had business tax credits and the seconds had unemployment insurance, and they‘re actually getting Republicans on them, Scott Brown included. These folks are looking at jobs bills and saying, I can‘t vote to filibuster that. So, you‘re breaking the filibusters and getting them through.
They‘re going to have message legislation going right through to November. Every week, they‘re going to be messaging on jobs. And that is going to create a sort of the second layer of the story, right? You‘ll have these stories around the jobs numbers.
But in addition, the sense that the job situation is getting better, people are also going to see Democrats passing this legislation—state and local aid, investment in infrastructure. And that will go on for months now. And it will be the way they push this message.
These bills won‘t be the ones that create jobs now. They‘ll be creating jobs next year. But it will further the sense that Democrats are really on top of their game on this one.
MADDOW: It was one of those—it was going to go down as one of those Washington mysteries. Why is it that Harry Reid has decided not to keep pursuing this giant jobs bill that might have had some bipartisan support? Why is he being critical of that?
It seems clear now exactly that it‘s because he had this other strategy in mind—exactly what you‘re seeing—to do it piece by piece so they can be seen to consistently work on it and to get Republican votes every step of the way. Yes.
KLEIN: That was a big part of it, and the other piece was, I don‘t think they had the votes for the whole thing.
MADDOW: Ezra Klein, staff writer for “The Washington Post”—thanks for spending some of your Friday night with us, Ezra. Appreciate it.
KLEIN: Nowhere I‘d rather be.
MADDOW: Now that‘s a lie.
MADDOW: All right. The Republican National Committee was recently embarrassed for dropping nearly $2,000 at a naked lady club in West Hollywood. Now, the Republican National Committee also having to explain how they spent $700 on office supplies when, by the phrase office supplies they meant stuff you can buy at a liquor store.
And later, iPad. I succumb to the geek storm with Xeni Jardin of Boingboing.net and her iPad which she already has. Yes.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Would you like to work for a company that considers liquor an office supply? Depending on how far you‘re willing to go for that perk, you might consider the Republican National Committee. Melissa Harris-Lacewell joins us next—on the week that everyone thought couldn‘t get worse for Michael Steele. But it somehow did.
MADDOW: First, it was a wardrobe and accessories for Sarah Palin and her family. Then, the bondage-themed naked lady bar in West Hollywood.
Now, the Republican National Committee is apparently caught for spending its donors‘ money in high fashion boutiques, at liquor stores and on fishing tackle.
AlterNet.org has looked at the RNC‘s recent filings with the Federal Election Commission and found that the committee spent $3,800 at Fugate‘s in Florida on something they listed as office supplies. Fugate‘s is a department store that does not sell office supplies. They sell clothing.
The RNC also paid for $423 worth of meals at Henri Bendel in Manhattan, except that Bendel doesn‘t have a restaurant. It‘s a high-fashion boutique.
Then there‘s the nearly $300 spent on meals at something called Boca Grande Outfitters. Broca Grande Outfitters is a Florida fly fishing store that doesn‘t sell food, unless you‘re a fish.
And the $982 spent on office supplies from Boyden Valley Winery, it went to a winery. That, like most wineries, doesn‘t sell office supplies.
Also providing office supplies, over $700 worth to the RNC, is a nice place called Congressional Liquors. It‘s a booze and sandwich shop in Washington, D.C.
Now, while the Republican Party may be having a hard time justifying its expenses to its donors, who are presumably giving them money for things other than bondage-themed nightclubs, fishing tackle, high-fashion shopping and booze—the RNC, for all the scandal, is starting to seem like kind of a fun place to work, isn‘t it?
Joining us now is Melissa Harris-Lacewell, MSNBC political analyst and professor of political science and African-American studies at Princeton University.
Melissa, thank you so much for joining us.
MELISSA HARRIS-LACEWELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. Glad to be here.
MADDOW: Now, you publicly lamented online this week that I had not yet had you on the show to talk about Michael Steele and bondage-gate. So, here‘s your chance. Tell me how important this is for Michael Steele‘s career.
HARRIS-LACEWELL: I was just so excited when I got the call today. I was like, oh, yes because we‘ve had many good Michael Steele moments together, from, you know, the sort of hip-hop moment, you know, why they picked an African-American leader at the moment that Barack Obama was elected to the U.S. presidency. But this one was particularly juicy.
And then tonight, when I got the call and had an opportunity to look over the article about how money is being spent in the RNC, we just keep seeing this kind of clear distinction between, on the one hand, a social movement describing itself in the context of the tea party, as a movement concerned about fiscal responsibility, that is saying the problem in our government is people who spend money irresponsibly and without concern for really moving our nation forward. And on the other hand, the party with which this tea party social movement is aligned, doing things like spending its money on entertainment and liquor and high fashion.
And I think that particular sort of rub up against—on the one hand the rhetoric and on the other hand, the behavior, is precisely the sort of thing that ought to produce anxiety for us.
MADDOW: Well, it‘s—clearly, Democrats and liberals are laughing at the RNC over this. And a lot of speculation is about what this means for Michael Steele as an RNC leader.
But what you‘re getting at, I think, is a more fundamental issue, which is that—are Republicans going to have trouble on their right flank from this? Are the right-wing populist protesters on the street the RNC has been courting so much going to care about this? Or are they going to se this as irrelevant, as not their issue?
HARRIS-LACEWELL: Well, listen—I am no Michael Steele defender, not at all. And yet, before I could know whether or not Michael Steele is personally responsible, whether or not the buck should stop with him, I want to see the bikini graph for GOP spending. In other words, whether or not this is an increased expenditure on liquor and fine fashion, or whether or not they have, in fact, cut back on their liquor and fine fashion office supplies in the context of this recession. We just can‘t really know without more information.
So, let‘s see the bikini graph on RNC spending. If in fact there has been an increase in this sort of boondoggle spending, that is clearly the responsibility of Michael Steele.
On the other hand, you know, sort of what we know is that this kind of
you know, what should seem like scandals that will get people really moving against one party and towards another, instead what they tend to do for citizens is make citizens feel like all politicians are dirty, that all politics is dirty, and that no one can be trusted.
Think how difficult it is right now in the context of a recession for people to contribute to a political party, and then to feel like that political party is spending its money in way that‘s are irresponsible makes people just want to opt-out of the process altogether. And although there may be progressives who would be perfectly happy if the right just opted out of politics, that‘s not really what we want. We don‘t want to just create anxiety about sort of whether or not we can be trusted as a government.
And so, this is—this is really bad for kind of our democratic system, regardless of whether or not it‘s bad for Michael Steele personally.
MADDOW: Although when Republicans tried to push back against this this week, they released a whole list of DNC spending, hoping to create a sort of sense of pox on both their houses, look, they spend money on awful things too. And the most—you know, the most damming thing on the DNC list was that the DNC held a fundraiser at a bowling alley. I mean, there is sort of a—people may take as a pox on both their houses thing, but the scandal‘s really a one-sided problem here.
HARRIS-LACEWELL: Yes. I‘m not going to go out on a limb and say that Democrats don‘t spend money on liquor and entertainment. I mean, maybe we don‘t, but I‘m just going to hold my professional career back on putting that one on the line. In fact, look—
HARRIS-LACEWELL: You know, I live half my life in New Jersey and half of it in Louisiana, and I‘m pretty sure that probably most state legislators in both places were elected with a great deal of liquor and fly fishing.
MADDOW: Fly fishing tackle. I hear you.
MADDOW: We‘ll line up those expenditure reports and we will not hold you—we‘ll not hold you to account for them.
Melissa Harris-Lacewell, MSNBC political analyst and professor of political science and African-American studies at Princeton University and a very good sport—have a great weekend, Melissa. Thank you.
MADDOW: OK. Hype meets reality as the embarrassingly named, very neat iPad drops on gadget geeks. Boingboing‘s Xeni Jardin has been test-surfing one for a couple of days now. She‘s here with the slick and not at all gritty, nitty-gritty on the iPad—next. Stick around.
MADDOW: The screen and play with this cool thing, it‘s only going to change the way we all experience books on the Internet, and TV and videos. I‘m having both of these experiences at once inside my head right now. One of them is about to win.
Even though the iPad comes out tomorrow, Apple sent samples of it to a few out to reviewers in advance. And today, they are the ones that both the gadget lovers and Apple haters want to hear from.
One of those influencers is our friend Xeni Jardin, co-editor of Boingboing.net. If you have any question about whether she is a lover or a hater, can tell you how her review of the iPad starts?
She says, “It strikes you when you first touch an iPad. The form just feels good, not too lightweight or heavy, not too thin or thick. It‘s sensual. Its tactile. Flick the switch and the novelty hits. Just as the iPhone, Palm Pre, and Android phones scratched an itch we didn‘t know we had, the iPad hits a completely new pleasure spot.”
Joining us now is Xeni Jardin, along with her new love object.
Xeni, thank you so much for joining us. This is very cool.
XENI JARDIN, BOINGBOING.NET: Hi, Rachel.
MADDOW: Since you wrote the review—
JARDIN: Happy iPad‘s eve.
MADDOW: Yes, thank you very much.
Well, since you wrote your review, do you still really dig it? Are you still in love with it?
JARDIN: You know, gadget reviewers, we pride ourselves on how crusty and skeptical and jaded we can be when a new product rolls out, but it‘s really hard to maintain that with a product that is as graceful and well-designed as this one is.
You know, it‘s hard to describe exactly what‘s so different about it, and maybe the best way to do it is just to show you. One of my favorite apps is the periodic table of elements.
This is a lot more exciting than anything I ever remember on paper, right? Zoom in to an element and then here we are.
JARDIN: And you can sort of move things around, right? These guys also sell 3-D glasses so you can look at these items in 3-D. This makes information come alive in a new way.
And one of the things that, you know, technology developers always say is, when the operating system gets out of the way, when the experience of a computing device is so seamless that you‘re not aware of the operating system, all you‘re aware of is the information or the experience, or the enrichment that you‘re after, that‘s when you know you have a really sweet design, and that‘s what this is.
MADDOW: Well, looking at the online reaction today, there seems to sort of be two broad camps. But again, most of the people talking about this online haven‘t even been able to handle one the way that you have.
But it seems like there are people who are saying that this isn‘t enough computer to justify the hype. And there are people who are saying they are more gadget people than they are computer people. They were saying that this is actually sort of the ultimate gadget.
Is there - are there meaningful distinctions between gadget and computer anymore? Is that even an important way to think about it?
JARDIN: This is not a laptop. It‘s not a phone. This occupies a new niche. And anyone who tells you that they exactly how this is going to change things or exactly how people are going to use that is lying, because we don‘t know. They‘re not out there yet. They‘re not out in the wild and we don‘t know how people will adopt them.
But I can tell you that, having fooled around with this for, you know, a week - week and a half, this occupied a space for me that involved sort of consuming it, experiencing media and sort of like sharing of media with friends, with family, you know, looking at blogs, reading books on iBooks or, you know, the Marvel Comics app, which is really nice, and then chatting about that on Twitter or Facebook.
This isn‘t a heavy duty media production device. I don‘t know that I would, you know, write a newspaper column or bang out a whole bunch of “Boing Boing” posts in text on this. Maybe I would with the help of the keyboard that‘s available separately.
But something that you might lounge around on your couch with and then, you know, watch a video and watch some television, play some games with friends or family, and kind of move around seamlessly between those experiences that used to - that used to reside on separate devices.
That‘s what‘s amazing to me. This sort of blurs the division between games and books, between Web sites, between search applications. All of those things can merge in new and interesting ways that, you know, only the app developers know.
And those apps are going to go live starting tomorrow. I think 1,000 or so are ready for iPad upon launch. But there‘s going to be a total gold rush of application development. And I‘m really excited about what that‘s going to mean.
MADDOW: Can you ask you about the - I don‘t know if it‘s the like astronomy app or the star app. This is one of things that you‘re very excited about.
JARDIN: Yes. So just as we were waiting to go live here with you, apparently, the new addition of Star Walk for iPad went live. And I‘m still just getting used to it. But the idea here - this is sort of like a living telescope that is aware of where you are in space.
So there‘s an accelerometer inside and this is location-aware. So here I am, looking in the sky, and this isn‘t just, you know, recorded information or like a film that‘s playing back.
I‘m looking in this direction, and there is Ursa Minor. Now, there‘s Hercules. There‘s the Aurora Borealis, right? My grandfather was an astronomer. I wish that he were alive to see this kind of magic.
Yes, this app is available on iPhone. And yes, applications like this will be on devices that follow. But this is what we have right now. This is the best hint at what the future holds in terms of computers where you don‘t have to have an engineering degree to understand them.
You don‘t have to drag things around with mice and folders and learn shortcuts and think about the process of computing. This will be something that opens up a whole new world for children, for older people, and for everybody in between, where you can just get at that experience and the computing kind of gets out of the way.
And I‘m also really interested in what will happen with all the competitors to Apple that will follow. There‘s a lot of buzz about some companies that are readying other devices similar to iPad. Competition is going to be good. And competition will open up new forms of magic. That‘s what technology is when it‘s at its best.
MADDOW: I am having the competition in my head right now, like I
don‘t want to hype it. But I‘m so hyped about it I can barely control
myself. That is so cool. Xeni Jardin -
JARDIN: Get your hands on it, maybe you‘ll discover something I don‘t know.
MADDOW: I will. I will. I‘ll mug somebody some time soon and take theirs. OK, I will. I know it will happen. Xeni Jardin is the co-editor of one of the reasons the Web exists, which is “BoingBoing.net.” Xeni, it is always such a pleasure to have you here. Thank you so much.
JARDIN: It‘s a pleasure, Rachel. Thank you.
MADDOW: Still ahead - last night I referred on this show to the jail on board a Navy ship as a boat jail. I was quickly informed by a multitude of sources that there‘s another word for such an enclosure. We‘ll just see about that later on. As of right now, though, I am sticking with boat jail.
MADDOW: I‘ve got a follow up for you on the search for the man in charge of one of the largest pools of money in the entire world. As we reported earlier this week, the man in charge of the world‘s largest sovereign wealth fund, the younger brother of the president of the United Arab Emirates, had gone missing.
He had been a passenger in a glider that crashed into a lake in morocco last Friday, a week ago today. The pilot of the glider was found and is OK. But the sheikh himself was nowhere to be found after the crash.
On Tuesday, after five days of extensive search and rescue operations involving teams from multiple countries, the sheikh was finally found dead.
Now, as we mentioned in our earlier reporting, the fund that Sheikh Ahmed of Abu Dhabi controlled is thought to have been the largest investment fund in the entire world. And although sovereign wealth funds don‘t have to disclose anything about themselves - they‘re totally unregulated - this fund from Abu Dhabi was thought to be potentially as large as $800 billion.
Now, since the glider crash and since the sheikh was killed, there has been no word on all of this, no statement from the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority from the fund other than to say that there is a succession plan of some kind.
To add to the spooky factor here, the other brother of the president of United Arab Emirates, not the one who controlled the largest investment fund in the world who just died when his glider crashed into a lake - not him - but the president‘s other brother died under very similar circumstances two years ago.
In the other brother‘s case, it wasn‘t a glider. It was a helicopter that crashed. And he didn‘t crash into a lake. He crashed into the Persian Gulf. I‘m sure it is just a big coincidence. It‘s just a big spooky coincidence (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
MADDOW: There used to be an organization called ACORN. ACORN tried to help poor people survive and even tried to get a leg up in America. They pushed for higher minimum wage. They pushed against discrimination.
They had hundreds of members.
And ACORN is now gone, thanks to a successful right-wing campaign of pure hooey, demonstrably false accusations that scared America into killing ACORN. The even bigger problem? The hooey doesn‘t stop with just ACORN. The whole story, next.
MADDOW: Did you hear that the community organizing group ACORN shut down all of its offices this week? ACORN shut all of their offices this week in the same week that the California attorney general release his assessment of what really happened in the supposed ACORN pimp video scandal that ultimately brought the group down.
Fox News, you‘ll recall, trumpeted this video from a conservative activist named James O‘Keefe, in which Mr. O‘Keefe supposedly dressed up like a flamboyant blaxploitation version of a pimp.
He went into different ACORN offices and convinced ACORN workers to give him advice on handling the finances of his prostitution business. Mr. O‘Keefe and his ACORN pimp video were promoted by an offshoot of the right-wing Web site, “The Drudge Report.”
Mr. O‘Keefe personally and his supposed expose were promoted heavily, heavily, heavily on the conservative Fox News Channel. And it might have been a tip-off early on when Mr. O‘Keefe refused to release unedited versions of what he actually taped in those ACORN Offices.
What Fox and O‘Keefe decided to show from these videos was damming. Him in the pimp costume, you know - how outrageous. How could these people not have known he was a bad guy?
Those ACORN people must be used to seeing guys like this all the time. And then, they actually offered to help him with this plainly illegal thing he was doing. It‘s outrageous. It‘s very damning, right?
After the videos came out, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of the Republicans who pounced on the ACORN issue, as if ACORN was a real threat to the republic. On the basis of the fact that some of the ACORN offices where O‘Keefe‘s filming took place were in California, Schwarzenegger asked California Attorney General Jerry Brown to investigate.
Mr. Brown did investigate. And an official warrant forced an investigation, he actually got a hold of the unedited O‘Keefe tapes, the raw footage before it was cut down to make the point that Mr. O‘Keefe and his conservative activist patrons and Fox News wanted to make.
And when you look at that unedited footage, well, lo and behold. Attorney General Brown describes O‘Keefe‘s pimp video as severely edited and says that the unedited videotapes show, quote, “that things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through highly selective editing of reality.”
Among the things made clear, he says, by the unedited tapes are things like an ACORN Staffer calling the cops on Mr. O‘Keefe and the fact that Mr. O‘Keefe didn‘t go into the ACORN Offices dressed as a pimp.
Quote, “At the beginning and end of the Internet videos, Mr. O‘Keefe was dressed as a 1970s Superfly pimp. But in his actual taped sessions with ACORN workers, he was dressed in a shirt and tie. He never claimed he was a pimp.”
So the whole premise of the attack on ACORN was false. This guy dressed up like a pimp and went into the ACORN offices. And they gave him straight up advice like that was normal.
Actually no, he was dressed up like a law student and they called the cops on him. Oh, well, no harm. No foul, right? Well, no. According to the attorney general again, “The original storm of publicity created by O‘Keefe‘s videotapes was instrumental in ACORN‘s subsequent denunciation in Congress, a sudden tourniquet on its funding, and the organization‘s eventual collapse.”
So ACORN is now gone and it‘s an afterthought that the attack on them that killed them off was totally made-up. Bogus. Bullpucky.
You know what else was bullpucky? Climategate - that made-up controversy promoted by climate change deniers and promoted on Fox News Channel that British scientists who provided evidence that climate change was real had been caught making up the data.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, CORRESPONDENT, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: A lot of people are changing their minds about the theory of man-made global warming on the heels of a major scientific scandal concerning researchers and their behavior.
GLENN BECK, HOST, “GLENN BECK”: The leaked E-mail scandal known by some who actually read papers that report the truth, climategate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Continuing fallout from climategate. it about to save America‘s economy? Hacked E-mails from scientists preaching global warming found to be full of hot air.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, “HANNITY”: The climate change E-mails uncovered at the University of East Anglia showed serious doubts on the science of global warming.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are the types of things that maybe you‘re not hearing from the mainstream media. But one of the things about whether or not climate change and everything that‘s going with climategate will actually get out to the general public. We don‘t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Thank god we have Fox. I don‘t mean to rain on all their excitement here, but it turns out that climategate is total bullpucky as well.
A little noticed news this week that the British House of Commons has officially investigated the controversy and found that no one misrepresented any data. Nobody lied.
Nothing about the supposed bombshell climategate scandal at all challenges that scientific consensus that global warming is happening, that it is induced by human activity.
So which did you hear more about, that climate change deniers have uncovered some huge scam about some climate data being faked? Or that when responsible, uninterested parties looked into the supposed scandal, they found that no one was faking anything?
Did you hear more about there being some scandal about ACORN giving prostitution advice to a right-wing activist dressed up like a pimp? Or did you hear more about the fact that when responsible, uninterested people looked into it, they found it was all made-up, down to the part where the guy wasn‘t actually even dressed up as a pimp?
What we‘re dealing with here is the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) politics from facts. The activists pushing the ACORN scandal knew it was fake. After all, they faked it. But it made a political impact anyway, so they win, right?
The climategate scandal, not an actual challenge to be homogenous consensus of decades of climate science but it could have a political impact, so go for it. It might work.
If the triumph of fake politics or advantage gleaned from stuff that‘s not real - and who cares if it‘s not real or if it has a political impact?
When Republicans complain President Obama is using recess appointments, they are faking it, because if they really had a real concern about recess appointments, they wouldn‘t have been fine with them when George W. Bush used them.
The recess appointments outrage is bull. Republicans are faking their outrage over their being an individual mandate in health care reform, too. It‘s a Republican idea.
The Republicans are faking their outrage over terrorism suspects being read their Miranda rights. They had no problem with that when it was done by the previous administration. That fake outrage is bull.
Same goes with the Republican outrage over civilian trials for terrorism suspects. If you weren‘t outraged with the shoe bomber getting a civilian trial, that‘s proof that your purported outrage over the underpants bomber getting a civilian trial is bull.
Republicans are faking their outrage over the stimulus. You can tell because when they go to home districts, they admit that it‘s working great. Their Washington outrage over the stimulus bill is bull.
The anti-ACORN crusade was bull. Climategate was bull. Repealing health reform is bull. The lawsuits against health reform are bull. The death panels, bull. The president is secretly foreign and doesn‘t have a birth certificate - bull.
Fear of the census is bull. Supposed threats to end the Second Amendment - bull. The claim that thousands of armed IRS agents are going to storm troopers to enforce health reform - it‘s bull.
The administration taking away the right to go fishing - it‘s bull. Scott Brown saying I‘m running against him is even bull. It‘s made up. It‘s bull. It‘s bull. It‘s not real politics. Let them eat fake.
These are not real problems to worry about and work on as a country, right? But there‘s more bang for the political buck to make stuff up like this than to try to debate real problems in the real world. So just go with the bull.
The “Atlanta Journal Constitution” reports today that billboards against Obama are popping up in the Atlanta area right now. They say things like, “Stop Obama‘s socialism,” and, “Now, it‘s personal.”
CNN has hired a contributor who said on his radio show yesterday that he‘d pull a shotgun on any census worker who came to visit his home. A group calling itself the Guardians of Free Republics has sent threatening letters to dozens of governors telling them to resign from office or else.
Dissent is not the aberration in a democracy. Dissent is the norm. Our political vitality depends on dissent. No one expects that the president is going to have the whole country agree with his options and his priorities.
Nobody expects Americans to share the same political opinions.
But has there ever been a time when we shared so few political facts? Let‘s argue. Let‘s have the great American debate about the role of government and the best policies for the country.
It‘s fun. It‘s citizenship. It‘s activism. It makes the country better when we have those debates. And your country needs you. It needs all of us.
But two things disqualify you from this process. You can‘t threaten to shoot people and you have to stop making stuff up.
MADDOW: Yesterday, the crew aboard the U.S. Navy guided missile frigate, the USS Nicholas, arrested and imprisoned five pirates way out in the Indian Ocean, out near the Seychelles Islands.
The last Somali pirate we took into custody last year, you might recall, is on trial in New York now. Others have been sent to Kenya to face trial. Even though the pirates are from Somalia, they can‘t really be sent home to Somalia to face trial because Somalia hasn‘t actually had a functioning government for almost 20 years.
So last night, when we were talking about the USS Nicholas, I speculated that at least while the USS Nicholas is still at sea, the pirates would remain in custody on the boat. They would remain in boat jail. That‘s right, I said “boat jail.”
(UNINTELLIGIBLE) saying that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) where the bad guys are kept on the big navy ship. But according to what appears to everyone, “boat jail” is actually called the brig. People E-mailed us and Twittered us and posted at “Maddow Blog” and yelled at me on the street and basically had a very good time making fun of me for saying “boat jail.”
So, we looked into it. I have here the Oxford English dictionary. Ready? OK, “Brig,” one, quote, “A two-masted square rigged ship, typically having an additional lower fore-and-aft sail on the gaff and a boom to on the mainmast. Two, a prison, especially on a warship.” So it looks like the origin of the word is an abbreviation for the word “brigantine.”
And finally, “Also see ‘boat jail.‘” So maybe we weren‘t actually wrong about boat jail. Just to be sure, we dispatched our crack RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Naval research team - emphasis on “crack” - to ask the experts whether it‘s “brig” or it‘s “boat jail.” Here is what we found.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VANESSA SILVERTON-PEEL, NAVAL-GAZER: Boat jail.
TRICIA MCKINNEY, “JEOPARDY” CHAMP: I‘ll take Naval lexicography for $400.
D.L. COOKIE, U.S. NAVY COOK: Boat jail - definitely boat jail.
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST, “COUNTDOWN”: It‘s a boat jail. Duh.
JESSICA RODRIGUEZ, PLAYED NAVAL OFFICER IN MOVIE: I was in a movie called “Boat Jail” with Charlie Sheen. It‘s definitely boat jail.
ARGUS FLANGLEY, PIRATE: Boat jail. It‘s because - worst two years of my life.
TINA CONE, SNOOTY BRITISH PERSON: Brig. It‘s a boat jail.
MCKINNEY: What is boat jail?
IKE WOLFF, BOY WONDER: Boat jail.
CHAZ MCCABE, MAN ON THE STREET: Boat jail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Experts. Empirical evidence. But while “brig” may be a technical term for the person aboard a Naval vessel, the RACHEL MADDOW SHOW is going to stick with our experts and we‘re going to stick with boat jail forever no matter what anybody else says.
That does it for us tonight. Thank you for indulging us. We will see you back here on Monday. Until then, you can E-mail us, firstname.lastname@example.org. We do actually read your E-mails.
Please also hang out with us at our new blog, MaddowBlog.MSNBC.com. You will find stuff there we really can‘t put on TV. We test story ideas. We even break some news there. It‘s cool - “MaddowBlog.MSNBC.com.”
You can also listen to our podcasts at iTunes. We hope you have a very, very good weekend. Good night.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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Copyright 2010 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>