The started reading a letter written to Franken from some who didn't like him. No biggie. Then he talked about what he calls Bushes management style. He brought up how on September 12, 2001 "Rumsfeld tells Richard Clarke let's bomb Iraq" because "they have better targets in Iraq". And at "the first National Security Council meeting they had they were talking about attacking Iraq". I saw this meeting on a PBS special in Sept 2002 and I saw one person (I think Wolfowitz) mention it and everyone else ignore it. If I'm remembering right, "talking about" is a bit of an exageration (though that doesn't let Wolfowitz off the hook). Then Franken said that in Woodward's book (Plan of Attack) "it says that he didn't ask, he didn't sit down and say give me 12 reasons to go into iraq, give me 12 reasons not to. He didn't have that discussion. Woodward's book, he had total access, if this had happened we would have heard about it." I read the book, and one complaint is that it doesn't cover any discussion about where the idea came from, it talks mostly about how the battle plans were formed and negotiating with other countries and the UN (hence the title). it does not say that there wasn't any debate about invading or not, it just doesn't cover that, the same way it doesn't cover health care.
Then Franken said "tell me about this guy's business successes, he had one failure after another". Franken said they did some research "first of all every business he had been in until the Texas Rangers had lost money, and he was bailed out by his dad's friends". The TV show put up screen shots of the quotes he gives in this segment and cites them from "The Washington Post, June 31, 1999". Now since June only has 30 days, I think they meant this Washington Post article from July 31, 1999. He read three quotes by Peter Ueberroth (MLB commissioner) from one paragraph from this article" "There is no question that Rainwater and Rose were the primary investment group and I asked them to consider taking George in..." and "He was an asset because his father's career was going up and reaching the top". And Franken's favorite "We just brought the young man over somewhat out of respect for his father."
Franken didn't quote the next paragraph in the article which reads:
Several major investors disputed Ueberroth's recollection. "It was a merger of the two groups," said Gerald Haddock, Rainwater's attorney and later the Rangers general counsel. "It is a fact that Eddie Chiles wanted to give the deal to George W. . . . Without George, this group could not have done the deal."
Franken also said he invested "$606,302 or 1.8 percent of the purchase value but he was given 10% of the team, that's his profit, so that's where his profit came from". Well the first part of that come right from the article. But what Franken left out was the whole sentence around the 10% part. It says: "For running the team and his role in putting together the deal, Bush was promised an additional 10 percent share when the team was sold -- after all other investors received a return." A few weeks ago I heard Franken railing against Rush Limbaugh for not quoting article accurately. Pot meet kettle.
In this segment Franken was talking about Bush's management style, so it surprised me that he left out this part of the article that actually talked about it. But I think to include this, Franken would have had to mention that Bush ran the team with Edward Rose splitting the work 50/50.
Running the team together, Rose and Bush were a study in contrasts -- Rose is as studied, cerebral and shy as Bush is impulsive, loquacious and brazen. "George is very intuitive, very quick to come to the path he wants to take," said Rose. "And I'm pretty plodding. Never in our partnership did we have a disagreement over the paths. But George came up to a path in 15 minutes, and I never was able to come with the path until three days. . . . Sometimes he called me daily and I'd say, well, I still got the abacus whirling."
Franken continued talking about where Bush raised the money for this deal. He got a loan from a bank that he was a director of and used his stock in Harken Oil as collateral. He talked about the possible insider trading issues with Harken Oil and there's real stuff there. Bush sold, before the price collapsed and didn't file required forms with the SEC for 8 months. There was an SEC investigation but it apparently did nothing and was filled with Bush family friends. I give Al credit for mentioning this, though he covered it all in less than a minute. I would have prefered he dove into this in more detail and didn't (mis)cover the Rangers so much.
After a commercial they spoke with Melanie Sloan, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. They talked about Jack Abramoff a Washington lobbist who was just indicted on fraud charges. He's accused of frauding Gus Boulis in buying his casino gambling ship. Boulis had mafia ties with the Ghotti's and was murdered several months later. This week the police said they'd like to interview Abramoff about Boulis and Abramoff's lawyer said they'd cooperate. While the AP Story is a little vague, this South Florida Sun-Sentinal article makes it clear that Abramoff is not a suspect. While all this is being explained, Franken says "It's possible that Abramoff murdered Boulis". Ms. Sloan said "well I wouldn't go that far". Franken then explained that Abramoff as a lobbyist has close tied with Tom DeLay, Grover Norquist, and Ralph Reed and Ms. Sloan confirms this (this is well known). But then Franken goes on to say "Now could these guys have been involved in a gangland-type slaying?" Ms Sloan replies "Seems pretty unlikely to me that they would have gone that far." "Ok, so you don't think that, I'm not saying that Reed pulled the trigger, I'm saying that, and how was Boulis killed?" I'm really, this is ridiculous and it's the same kind of crap Limbaugh does. But he continued, as Sloan described the gangland-style hit, and said they hadn't caught the killer, Franken says "Did he look like Reed, did he look like Ralph Reed, did he look like Grover Norquist?" Sloan said "I don't think they have any information" and Franken replies "See that's why they're still under suspicion".
At this point Franken's co-host Katherine Lanpher chimes in being annoyed at Franken. She says "I thought guilt by association wasn't something that good people liked to do." She says "it's idle wicked speculation that we usually take the other side to task for." Then they go on to (Speaker of the House) Dennis Hastert and accusations that he received large amounts of (illegal) campaign donations from Turkish nationals. Ms. Sloan's organization just filed a complaint with the FEC on this based on an article in the September Vanity Fair. Franken said "And of course Hastert is innocent until proven guilty, just like Reed and Norquist, there's no reason to say they did kill Boulis". On TV you see Ms Lanpher hold and shake her head in disbelif that he's saying this and they go to commercial.
They then spoke to Manal Omar of Women For Women International about women's rights in Iraq. Throughout this segment the TV show cited her incorrectly as being from "Women to Women International", though they said it correctly on their air. The TV show folks need to get their act together. She spoke about inequalities of marriage and divorce law in Islamic countries and how it seems the Iraq constitution might adopt these. Franken asked about women's rights under Saddam Hussein and Ms Omar said that in the 70s and 80s he was not against women and they in fact had the right to vote, same as men, though she pointed out that in a dictatorship the right to vote isn't much. She also pointed out that in the 90s to gain support of tribal and religious leaders, Saddam adopted much tribal law and raped and tortured many women. She said "I don't want to present him in any way as a champion of women's causes." This was a fine segment.
After the break they came back and Al and Katherine talked about Abramoff again. Franken kept speculating on connections between the Boulis murder and Norquist and Reed. Lanpher kept protesting this, at one point calling it libel (actually it's slander). Then Franken goes into a skit playing fictional special investigator Anthony Panzzini of the Department of Justice. He then interviews Anthony while playing him as well with a thick stereotypical italian accent "cal me Tony, Tony Six Ducks" Franken asks "Is it fair to speculate about whether Abramoff has any involvment". "Tony" replies "Oh, yeah yeah yeah, he did it, he put a hit on the guy". Lanpher shouts "What?!?...but Jack Abramoff was out the country when Boulis was killed". Tony responds "Katerin [sic] you can put a hit on a guy anyone from anywhere. Abramoff didn't pull the trigger he had a goon do it". This goes on and gets worse, but one thing that the TV show makes clear is that both Franken and Lanpher are reading from scripts throughout this. All her shock at what he's saying is scripted and part of the act. At one point she reads "I think you're a crude anti-italian stereotype that Al invented just so he could accuse Jack Abramoff of being a murderer." Calling the skit out explicitly for what it is makes it seem a little better, but I don't really think it is.
They then spoke with Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant. Who's
op-ed the prior Sunday talked about how Republican are having problems recruiting strong candidates to run. First up was Jeanine's Pirro annoucing she was going to run against Hilary Cliinton for NY Senator. During her speech, she paused for 32 seconds because she didn't have "page 10". Franken played the whole cliip and it was pretty amusing. They pointed out how this DA was apparently so scripted, she couldn't wing it. Also that the Republicans had hoped NY Governor George Pitaki or former mayor Rudy Giuliani would run against Hilary, but they declined. Others running for the Republican spot include Richard Nixon's son-in-law Ed Cox. They moved on to North Dakota which is a red state but has a strong Democratic Senator Kent Conrad who has "no big time oppenent". Then on to Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) where the two "the Republican race is missing its best-known potential candidates -- Domino's Pizza CEO David Brandon [and] Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land". Then on to Florida where to oppose Democrat Bill Nelson the best they can come up with is Katherine Harris who according to Oliphant the White House views as damaged goods. She aparently is accusing the media of darkening her eye shadow during the 2000 election. Then on to Washington State where Democrat Maria Cantwell where Dino Rossi isn't going to run against her. His conclusion was that the Democrats might be able to save money by not needing to defend many candidates early in the election cycle. That could be good. Overall it was a fine summary piece early in the election cycle.
So there's a show (well the radio show is 3 hours and the Sundance show just an hour but still). Manal Omar. I didn't like the Bush on Iraq bit, the Texas Rangers bit and I thought the Abramoff bit was mudslinging if not actual slander. He still hasn't won me over, maybe I should just stop trying.