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What`s Up with "W"?; Why Did Chris Lose on "American Idol"?; Why Won`t Government Enforce Border?
Aired May 11, 2006 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GLENN BECK, HOST: "When good men do nothing," you`ve heard the saying, but perhaps you`ve forgotten the application. You may believe it`s just a historical perspective, a way to look back on the past wars and tragedy with a wiser heart.
But tonight, we bring you a story of abandonment, a story of two men whose lives have been turned upside down by the very people who put them into power. Chris Daughtry, America failed you. But President Bush? You did this to yourself.
Look, here`s the deal. I am a conservative, but I am not a zombie. When I look at an issue, I don`t see a donkey or an elephant. The parties, you`re dead to me. Politics really is all about common sense. And most of us, at least those of us who are going to be honest with ourselves, are able to embrace good ideas, no matter what party came up with them.
The country was never built by Republicans or Democrats. It was built by people who shared a common dream, put their differences aside and made that dream a reality. Does anybody, anybody in Washington actually feel that same sense of purpose today? I got to tell you, I don`t think they do.
And that`s why I found my safe taking a hard look at George W. Bush lately. I`m actually starting to feel a little like John Kerry, flip- flopping on my opinion of him every day, you know. Sometimes I think that the biggest problem with G.W. is that he just might be the worst communicating president since Buchanan. And that`s only because Buchanan used the Pony Express.
Let me ask you, what`s going in Iraq right now? We could be building a Disneyland in the Green Zone and who would know it? The last update I remember was some statue fell down and people were hitting it with their shoes. What`s happened since then, George?
And then there`s the economy. The Dow is just shy of its all time high, unemployment low; retail sales records are just being blown and shattered. Why is it that so many people think we`re actually in a recession? Communication, George, communication.
Finally, the immigration debacle. This is -- this is the one that most hacks me off the most. It`s the reason I`m really starting to question everything about both parties.
Here to help me figure this thing out is -- is Joel Mowbray. He is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally syndicated columnist.
Hi, Joel, how are you, man?
JOEL MOWBRAY, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Doing well, thanks. How are you?
BECK: Very good, very good. Let me ask you: the polls are in. It seems the people have pretty much spoken and said, "George, you suck." What`s the deal: Is it communication or is it execution?
MOWBRAY: It`s a confluence of things. I mean, it`s both how he`s doing the job and what he`s telling people about the job he`s doing. The biggest thing is Iraq. I mean, the guy cannot communicate a clear message on what`s going on over there.
BECK: The sad thing is, I think things are going relatively well.
MOWBRAY: There`s a good story to tell in Iraq.
BECK: There`s a great story to tell in Iraq. When you come to the economy, why isn`t this guy, when Laura says, "Good morning, George." Why doesn`t he answer everything? "Hey, good morning, Laura, and isn`t the economy doing well?"
MOWBRAY: You know, he actually should be out there just pounding the pavement and just every chance he gets reminding people that we have a blistering economy right now: 4.8 percent GDP growth in the last quarter; unemployment below 5 percent. There`s a great story to tell.
You have new businesses. By the way, black-owned businesses are up substantially under Bush at a much higher pace than they were under Clinton.
BECK: Same with Hispanics. All time high.
MOWBRAY: Female owned businesses, same thing.
BECK: My gosh, he has lost 31 percent of the conservatives. Like I said, I`m a conservative.
BECK: If you don`t know me, you might not be able to tell on this particular segment. I`m a conservative.
BECK: But I look at him and I`m like, "What kind -- what kind of a conservative are you? You`ve got prescription drugs going on. You`re spending like, you know, Paris Hilton at some, you know, Chippendales show."
What is going on with this guy? Can he ever get conservatives back?
MOWBRAY: Yes, I think he can get conservatives back. If you`ll remember, he had a slump that was pretty bad last year, and -- and then kind of toward the end of the year he pegged it back up. And that`s because he came out swinging.
When you`re curled up in the fetal position, and your best response is, "Not the face, not the face," that isn`t exactly a very good defensive posture.
MOWBRAY: This guy, when he is -- when he is on the offensive, he`s effective. When he has a clear, simple message and communicates it, he`s good.
BECK: He needs more bullhorn moments.
MOWBRAY: Yes. Absolutely.
BECK: When that guy, when he has real vision, he`s a guy that, you know, generations to come would be building statues to. But then he just gets lost and you don`t know what he`s doing.
Did you -- did you read Malcolm Gladwell`s book, "Tipping Point"?
MOWBRAY: An amazing book. Yes.
BECK: What was the tipping point with George W. Bush?
MOWBRAY: The tipping point happened right around Hurricane Katrina, and it wasn`t as people think, you know, all this stuff about, "Brownie, you`re doing a heck of a job." It actually was -- and it started in the base.
What happened was, Bush`s advisors like Karl Rove, went to the conservative base and they said, guys, "When he puts out the rebuilding plan for New Orleans, you`re going to love it. It`s going to be about free market. It`s going to be a conservative based platform."
And then he comes out and just proposes billions of dollars in government spending. And the conservatives went, "What?"
And then right at the same time, Harriet Miers.
BECK: You know, I saw the most amazing headline today, the most frightening headline I saw today, was we just had second biggest month for income for the Unite States government in April. The IRS took in more money, the second highest month of all time.
And yet, they`re still talking in Washington, "I don`t know if we should continue with tax cuts. We can`t afford it." Are you kidding me? You have this huge economy. You`re making all kinds of money, but the Republicans and the Democrats spending money like they`re crazy.
MOWBRAY: Glenn, when is up -- when is up down, when is down up? In Washington.
BECK: Right now.
MOWBRAY: Right now. The reason -- you`re right, by the way, tax rates -- the tax revenues, excuse me, to the government are up. The second highest level ever, just this past April. You know what the highest was? April of 2001, just before the bubble burst.
The reason why you have all this tax revenue pouring in, is because people are buying and selling more capital stocks than they were at a higher tax rate. So when it`s cheaper to do something, you buy more of it. And so people are buying and selling stocks a lot more often, or they`re buying stocks that pay dividends, because the dividend tax rate is so much lower. As a result, tax revenue goes up.
But what happens when Washington debates the extension of this very tax cut and they say, "Oh, no, it`s going to cost the government money?" No, it`s not. Simple history tells us we get more money.
Now, Glenn, I`m not happy, and I doubt you`re happy when the government gets more money, but the fact is it happens.
BECK: Joel, I appreciate it. Thank you so much. We`ll have you back on again.
MOWBRAY: Thank you Glenn.
BECK: You bet.
ANNOUNCER: This is Glenn Beck.
BECK: So who is a great communicator? This guy right here, Simon Cowell. If this guy were president, I`m telling you, I think he could lead us into an invasion of Switzerland and somehow get 98 percent approval ratings. "The chocolate there is just dreadful."
But even Simon didn`t see this surprise coming last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN SEACREST, HOST, FOX`S "AMERICAN IDOL": A lot of people predicted, Chris, that you could be the next American Idol. Chris, you are going home tonight. The journey end.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Look at that. Look at that face. I mean, he had absolutely no idea that that was coming. Wow! I mean, who could have ever predicted that? Gee, I wonder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Let me ask you this.
KIMBERLY CALDWELL, HOST, "IDOL TONIGHT": Yes.
BECK: Chris, doesn`t -- ever since I saw Chris, I thought he`s going to be the winner, but you know what? I think most people feel like I do. That you look at him, and say he`s the winner, he`s great. But you don`t have real passion for him. Taylor, people have...
CALDWELL: I do.
BECK: I don`t want to talk about that
BECK: I think people...
CALDWELL: Chris Daughtry, are you joking? People don`t have passion for him? The women in America have fallen in love with a married man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: All right. All right. Stop, stop, stop. Look at that. Kimberly, I remember when I was young and naive too.
That was last night`s show before "Idol" went on the air. Look how the cute little "American Idol" expert was wrong and I was right. That, my friends, is exactly what you get when you watch this television show: accurate predictions about meaningless talent contests.
Anyway, everybody on cable news and everywhere else talking about the NSA, how they`re recording millions of boring phone calls. And everybody I know in real life was talking about how come millions of those calls weren`t being made to vote for Chris Daughtry last night.
Daughtry fans, where the heck were you, man? I had calls on the radio show today, people calling me up, and saying, "Hey, there`s a conspiracy going on." About, you know, all male finals and busy phone numbers.
Let`s face it. Here`s what happened. You set there eating your Fritos because you thought somebody else would make the call for you.
Here to tell me what a genius I really am, and actually knows a lot about this stuff is Jim Hellrigel. He`s from DialIdol.com.
Hi, Jim. How are you?
JIM HELLRIGEL, DIALIDOL.COM: Thanks, Glenn. How are you?
BECK: Good, good. What is -- what`s the system that you use, because you guys, you predicted this yesterday?
HELLRIGEL: Yes, DialIdol is a program you can download on your computer for free. And you can cast votes for your favorite "American Idol". It uses your phone line and your phone modem to call for whoever you`d like.
BECK: Are you in Cleveland?
HELLRIGEL: I`m in Cleveland, Ohio.
BECK: You know what you need, is like a big picture of Cleveland behind you. Looks like you have one.
HELLRIGEL: I think I do.
BECK: Did you watch it last night?
HELLRIGEL: Of course. Yes.
BECK: Chris was in shock, man. It looked like -- I mean, Simon could have stomped his puppy and Chris couldn`t have been more in shock.
HELLRIGEL: I think we all were.
BECK: What about today?
HELLRIGEL: The shock is all over the web. People aren`t happy.
BECK: Did you see "USA Today" this morning?
HELLRIGEL: I actually did not, no.
BECK: They -- they`re now predicting that, what`s his face, my favorite. Not Elliott, Taylor. Taylor is actually going to win. What do you guys see?
HELLRIGEL: Well, Taylor has been strong every single week the dial out has been running this season, which is the entire season. And it`s going to -- he`s been very, very strong. I think he`s -- that could be a very good prediction.
BECK: I`ve got to tell you, I said it last night, not this way, but I think Taylor is the winner, because his fans are passionate. And Chris is, you know, an example of what we`re doing with Darfur. Everybody is like, "Yes, we should do something about that. That`s bad." But then nobody gets off their butt and does anything.
Let me ask you this real quick. Who was the sex God Elvis and who was the fat Elvis? My wife said that it was definitely Taylor. She said, "He needs a bigger shirt." Which was the fat Elvis and which one was the hot Elvis?
HELLRIGEL: The fat Elvis and the hot Elvis?
BECK: You know what I`m saying, Chad? Which one? Taylor was channeling fat. Do you think maybe it was Katharine?
HELLRIGEL: I think Katharine may have been sailing high, yes.
BECK: You have no idea. You`re really talking down to me at this point. Aren`t you?
BECK: It`s all right. Jim, I appreciate it. We`ll watch for you on DialIdol.com.
HELLRIGEL: All right. Great, thank you.
BECK: You bet. Bye-bye.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CALLER: Beck, I really hate to do it to you. But I`m going to have to. First it was blue eyeglasses. Now it`s "American Idol". Go ahead. Hand over your man card. Hand it in.
BECK: What`s wrong with the blue glasses?
CALLER: Well, they look kind of fruity.
BECK: Wait a minute. Hang on just a second. A guy can`t wear blue glasses?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, not those.
BECK: What does that mean?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Look. Aside from the fashion sense, I can`t say anything about fashion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because if you saw how I was dressed, you know...
BECK: What are you wearing right now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, nothing. Nothing, the same thing I wear whenever I listen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: I know what you`re saying, brother.
Listen, have you ever heard of "Mexamericanada?" Of course not, unless you listen to me on the radio, because I`m making it up. But I want you to pay close attention to this, because you just might be living there someday.
It`s the idea that the United States, Mexico and Canada may someday all be fused together in a single bloc, kind of like the way the European Union is, and for financial reasons, just like Europe.
It may seem crazy, like some whack job conspiracy theory, which is kind of is, until you start thinking about how little attention anyone in Washington is giving to protecting our borders. For the love of Pete, man, we`ve got grandmothers sitting in a lawn chair in 100 degree heat to do the job our government won`t.
Why? Why is the question? Why is our government not listening to us? Is it the Hispanic vote? Is it the fact that corporations who support our politicians need the cheap labor to survive? Or maybe it`s something else altogether.
Here to help me figure out why lawn chairs just might be the next greatest American hero is Brian Whitman, a radio talk show host at KLSX in Los Angeles and our token liberal.
Hello, my friend Brian. How are you?
BRIAN WHITMAN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hey, buddy. How are you? Doing well.
BECK: I`m doing good. Are those, like, your Super Friends pajamas underneath that jacket?
WHITMAN: Yes, I`m wearing Underoos for you tonight.
BECK: Well, it`s very, very nice.
Brian, why -- why is the government not listening to us?
WHITMAN: Well, look, I think ultimately the problem is that both parties, Glenn, want status quo. I mean, there are laws on the books to address the problems of illegal immigration that everybody laments about. But the issue is enforcement.
BECK: You know -- but you what, Brian, everybody is staying -- everybody is saying, liberals, conservatives, everybody is -- fix this problem, and they`re not doing anything. Why?
WHITMAN: I think that -- I can`t speak for the administration. The administration has trouble, I think on this issue, Glenn, you even agree, speaking for itself. I think the president`s priority is no longer the conservative base but business interests. If he wanted to rally the base on this issue, he could.
BECK: You know what? I don`t -- yes, he could, but I don`t think it`s a left and right issue on this one.
Let me ask you this. Have you ever, in your lifetime, ever seen the American people come together like this? Where the -- we`ve got people in lawn chairs. Have you ever seen anybody do this, besides like a neighborhood watch program, which is police?
WHITMAN: I haven`t seen -- I have not seen anything like this, Glenn. It`s amazing. I thought as I saw this video of Americans sitting out there in 100 degrees, basically making nothing outdoors all day. That`s a job for an illegal immigrant. These Minutemen...
WHITMAN: These Minutemen, you know, hire illegals to control this border.
BECK: Let me ask you this. This is kind of -- I was thinking today, this is kind of like Declaration of Independence stuff. We asked the king, we said, "Hey, can you fix this for us?" And nothing ever happens, except they raise our taxes.
Isn`t this exactly what we wrote the Declaration of Independence to solve?
WHITMAN: It certainly is. But there is no willingness on either side. You`re right about that, Glenn. Both of these sides, liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, no side really wants to move on the issue of illegal immigration.
BECK: Right. So will you -- you`ll be with me, then, as our token liberal, and I`m the conservative. You`ll go with me and say both parties just stink on ice?
WHITMAN: I think on this issue we can come to agreement on this, my friend.
BECK: Building -- building bridges.
Let me ask you this. I actually thought there`s got to be somebody out there. There`s somebody watching right now, who`s like, "You know, I could fix this problem. I should run. But I`d never be able to win, or it`s too weird, or they`re going to find out about all my girlfriends" or whatever it is. And so they`re not running. There is -- I think, now more than ever is a time for a third party.
WHITMAN: I think you`re right about that. I think the appeal of moderates on both sides. I mean, look at someone like John McCain. You have your token liberal like me. I mean, I like John McCain. I think that he`s a man of great integrity, a man of great independence. I think you`re right; the time is now.
BECK: Yes. John McCain. Not so much. Really, not so much.
WHITMAN: Maybe not for you, but...
BECK: I think -- here, look. Let`s see if we can come up with a third party candidate that we can both agree with.
BECK: I just want somebody to tell us the truth. I just want somebody to say, "This is the way it is, man. I don`t care if it`s hard. I don`t care if it`s ugly. Here`s what it is." That`s why I think we should change the Constitution and elect Simon Cowell. I`m just...
WHITMAN: Well, you know, he`s a little harsh. We liberals like compassionate.
BECK: He`s a truth teller. He stands for what`s really true.
WHITMAN: But we`ll need a little of Paula Abdul in there, because we liberals like compassion. You see how she got so emotional when Chris was voted off last night.
BECK: Right, yes. No, she was a little -- a little creepy.
WHITMAN: And I don`t know about Simon. I mean, I`m sick of presidents with low approval ratings. Someone we all like, maybe Seacrest, maybe Regis.
BECK: No, come on. No, no, no, come on. Really, I think somebody like Simon Cowell who will tell you the hard facts. Just say it the way it is: "I don`t care if you like me or not. This is just the way it is."
If you need somebody else, how about the compassion of Donald Trump? He`d be...
WHITMAN: Finally, finally a vice president with better hair than Cheney.
BECK: Right. Wow, that is saying something. That`s quite a dig.
WHITMAN: How about me?
BECK: I was going to say, coming from you.
All right. Brian, thanks a lot.
WHITMAN: Thank you, buddy.
ANNOUNCER: Later on "Glenn Beck".
BECK: Coming up in the next half hour, we all know the villains of Katrina. Maybe it`s time to have a little "Oprah" moment and shine a little light on some of the heroes.
ANNOUNCER: Later on "Glenn Beck".
BECK: A small community of wounded vets in D.C. has had their gathering place shut down. Just how exactly are we serving those who`ve served us so well? More on that later on in the show.
First, it`s our "Quality of Life" market update, where we choose a bunch of stories and then make a completely subjective judgment as to whether your life is better or worse because of them. Let`s get right to it.
In the pharmaceutical sector, stocks are taking a tumble on news that prescription sleep medicine may very soon be obsolete. And that is because yes, commencement season is officially underway. College students, man, if you thought Poli Sci 101 was boring, you ain`t seen nothing yet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: An honorary degree from this great university is, indeed, an honor.
LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: When I was in college, I majored in education, too.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I`m particularly privileged to join the faculty, the staff, the graduates, family and friends who are today.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We used manual typewriters instead of the personal computer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: You wonder why alcohol is so prevalent on college campuses?
College grads, listen up. Whatever degree you`re about to get, it`s the wrong one. The one you really want is the one that`s going to allow you to make really long, agonizingly boring, cliche-laden speeches and get paid lots of money for it.
Now to Florida. The stock of alligators is down, down, down. And yes, the stock of senior citizens is up, up, up. Seventy-four-year-old Constance Gittles -- I love that name -- South Punta Gorda, she was in her backyard gardening when she was approached by a hungry, ferocious, bloodthirsty alligator, who apparently had a taste for gray meat. But this is not the way Gittles wanted to go. Oh, no. Here, Gittles tries to explain how she got through her gruesome ordeal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONSTANCE GITTLES, ATTACKED BY ALLIGATOR: I was watering, you know, like that, over their, and then all of a sudden, you know, I`m standing here, and I feel something biting me. I shake my leg, and I took the hose like this, I got him right on the nose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: I mean, first of all, an alligator bites you and you can cover it with a Band-Aid? Let me tell you, I mean, it is an alligator. And not only should this woman be honored for her bravery, but I`ve got to tell you, that`s one of the best, all-time greatest re-enactments in the history of cable TV. And I know: I`ve been in it for four days.
Can you roll that back, Ellie (ph)? Roll that back, will you?
"And then I took him and I beat him on the head. I`ll make you into a pair of shoes, I will."
We finish today in India, where a 4 1/2-year-old child has made the record books by running 40 miles in one day. That sent the stock price of yesterday`s media darling of the moment, Fat Man Walking across the country Steve Vaught, plummeting.
If you`re listening, Steve, get a load of this. The kid in India ran for seven hours straight in 98-degree heat. And did I mention that he`s only 4 1/2 years old?
Anyway, India is rallying around this kid, and for good reason. I mean, aside from a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics, India isn`t exactly, you know, cranking out the world-class athletes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Do you think we should rebuild New Orleans?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BECK: You do?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New Orleans is a part of history, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should we be responsible for all of it? We`re going to have to raise taxes and everything else to do that.
BECK: Would you pitch in?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pitch in? Like, give five dollars to New Orleans?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or, like a thousand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t have a thousand dollars to give. But...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you`re against the New Orleans tax?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I`m not -- there`s a New Orleans tax?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you send them a thousand dollars to rebuild New Orleans?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not when you`re making only $30.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be willing to contribute?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got $20 bucks on me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, that will do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: That`s exactly right. Hurricane season is exactly three weeks away. I don`t know if you`re counting, but I could tell you right now: The people in New Orleans, oh, yes, they`re counting.
FEMA says they`re really confident in their capabilities this time, and I for one believe them. President Bush, a little more cautious. He says he`s praying there`s no hurricane coming this year. And let me tell you, if God can pull that off, I`d say he`s doing a heck of a job.
Let`s see where we are: A city that was 80 percent underwater has yet to be rebuilt. And, as far as I`m concerned, it shouldn`t be rebuilt, unless we`re going to do it right, which we`re not.
By the way, what you`re seeing here, this is not eight months ago. Oh, yes, this is going to make you really happy. This was actually just a few weeks ago.
If you think you know the whole story behind Katrina, you don`t. The guy we`ve got on next is going to rip that all apart. His name is Douglas Brinkley. He is from New Orleans. He`s got a new book out called "The Great Deluge."
And, wow, you`ve got some harsh things to say, Doug. Welcome to the program.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, HISTORIAN: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
BECK: You bet. You know what? I have so much to ask you about, I just want to race through it. So let me just play a little game with you: Hero or Hack? You tell me the players, which they are, a hero or hack, and a little bit why, all right?
BRINKLEY: All right.
BECK: Let`s start with the -- let`s start with the first one, Brown, FEMA, hero or hack?
BRINKLEY: He`s in the hack category. This is all for the week I write about in the book. Before Brown was good and he did a good job for FEMA with the Florida hurricanes, but when it came to Katrina, he was handcuffed, was forced to stay in Baton Rouge by Michael Chertoff, and didn`t do a very good job as head of FEMA and, of course, has lost his job because of it.
BECK: OK, so clearly one for the hack side. How about Ray Nagin?
BRINKLEY: You know, I have to give him a low rating there. He, you know, ended up, as I`ve talked about some this week, the drowned buses, the staying in the Hyatt strategy.
BECK: Yes, hack`s not a strong enough word for Ray, is it?
BRINKLEY: I`m being cautious on this, the bell ringing here, but, no, he was a failed mayor for that week.
BECK: Yes, you`d think. Governor Blanco?
BRINKLEY: Blanco`s in between. She did some things right, the Contraflow Plan in Louisiana did an excellent job of getting people out of the parish. I`m very critical of her for, when President Bush called her and asked what she wanted specifically, she said, "Give me everything you got." So she comes off, I think, from my research and the facts of it, as a kind of a person...
BECK: Yes, this is really kind of milk-toasty, you know what I mean? The game is hero or hack, not a little of both.
BRINKLEY: Some people are a little of both.
BECK: I don`t think so. Actually, here`s what she said about your book. She said, "It appears to be the first historical book that has researched the available record, and it is close to actual fact. I hope this book gets to the core of what I`ve known since the beginning," which is what?
BRINKLEY: Which is that the state of Louisiana did a good job, in the sense of Louisianans saved Louisiana. The Wildlife and Fishery boats, 200 of them, were on the periphery, and they went in and really saved people`s lives. The state police of Louisiana did a good job.
So when sometimes people feel where everybody in Louisiana was waiting for the federal government for that week, people in Louisiana did a lot. And I profile a lot of those first-responder heroes in the book.
BECK: You know, I want to get a little Oprah-esque, if you will, here in a second. I want to ask you about some of the good stories that, like, nobody ever talks about, but I can`t move off the mayor of "Chocolatetown." Is this guy the worst mayor of all time?
BRINKLEY: Well, I`ll tell you, the week I -- and I studied it carefully, and I talked to people, and I honestly was trying to be fair- minded about it. But, I`ll tell you, he was a disaster the week that I write about, because he seemed so detached from his own people. He was worried about his personal safety over the people of New Orleans.
And this idea that you need to first respond, and you have your bull horn moment, and get out there in the waters, and be hands-on. The fact that you go to the very top floor of a hotel, make that your EOC. He abandoned city hall and the emergency operations center. He left these guys up to their own devices.
And a guy that deserves a salute is a man named Terry Ebert, who was the homeland security head in homeowner, who had to run the city when Nagin wasn`t doing it.
BECK: Did you see "United 93" the movie?
BRINKLEY: I haven`t yet.
BECK: There`s a guy -- I can`t remember his name now. And it`s a shame that I don`t know his name. He is the guy from -- that was on the ground in Virginia, and he`s the guy who actually grounded all of the planes. This guy was the real hero of 9/11. Who is the real hero of Katrina?
BRINKLEY: I`d say the U.S. Coast Guard, because -- a man named Captain Pascowitz (ph) and a man named Jimmy Duckworth. Because after Ivan in 2004, Hurricane Ivan, they recognized how vulnerable New Orleans was, and they moved all the Coast Guard assets north of New Orleans, in the town of Alexandria, Louisiana.
So that Coast Guard -- when you saw all those dramatic rescues -- they didn`t lose a single helicopter. They didn`t lose a single boat. And every man and woman in the U.S. Coast Guard did triple duty. Many of them had lost their homes in New Orleans East, but they stayed on the job. And we really owe the Coast Guard a great deal of thanks for the job they did.
BECK: OK, one-word answer here. Who`s the mayor, last name? Who`s going to win?
BRINKLEY: It`s 50-50 in New Orleans right now, so I don`t know.
BECK: Who is it? Stop playing the middle ground. Who is it?
BRINKLEY: I honestly don`t know.
BECK: Come on. Make the blood shoot out of my eyes. Say that it could be Nagin.
BRINKLEY: Well, no, I think it`s a tie right now. I mean, the polls in New Orleans -- I look at them every day, and it shows it as a dead heat.
BECK: All right. Doug, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
BRINKLEY: Thank you.
BECK: Time now. Let`s go "Straight to the Hill" for Erica Hill, the news anchor of "PRIME NEWS" on Headline News.
Hello, Erica. How are you?
ERICA HILL, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Hello, there. I`m doing well. Happy Thursday.
BECK: Happy Thursday to you. I actually got a note from a family member last night who said, "Erica hates you, Glenn."
HILL: That wasn`t very nice. I don`t hate you.
BECK: You don`t? You just kind of just...
HILL: You know, sometimes it`s a strong dislike. It`s not hate.
BECK: Let me ask you this. I mean, you went to, like, journalism school and everything.
HILL: I did.
BECK: This is kind of like emptying the garbage, isn`t it. When they said: And we want you to also be on the GLENN BECK program, you were like, "Oh, no, not me. Can`t you get Lou Dobbs to do it or something?"
HILL: Lou won`t available, is that what you`re saying? I`m like last choice?
BECK: I don`t know. I don`t know.
HILL: That makes me feel really good. Thanks. I`m happy to be here.
BECK: See, you do hate me. All right, what`s happening the news?
HILL: I don`t hate you in the least.
This is why I`m here to fill you in on what`s happening in the news, and this story absolutely dominating the headlines today. I know you`re familiar with it. It affects tens of millions of Americans.
Here`s the deal: If you use AT&T, BellSouth or Verizon, for your phone service, chances are the National Security Agency has your number in its massive database. That`s because the companies started giving the NSA information on who customers call and when after the September 11th attack. That`s according to "USA Today."
BECK: Who is surprised by this?
HILL: Well, here`s why people are surprised. The calls, we should point, aren`t listened or recorded. But here`s the deal: We heard a long time ago the president telling us, yes, we do monitor calls, but international calls. We`re looking to see who people are calling internationally and how often.
BECK: I get it. But back in like 1996 or `98, we found out about Echelon. I mean, you think the government was using that for all good reasons?
HILL: Listen, but the deal is a lot of people are very surprised, because this is the first time there`s actually been some talk of, yes...
BECK: Yes. Anybody in the government that was surprised, you`re morons. Next story.
HILL: Moving on.
Forget the red light district online, because it just ain`t going to happen right now. ICANN, which is the organization that basically oversees Internet domain names, rejected plans to create a XXX domain for the adult entertainment industry.
BECK: As a dad of four, no, thank you, ICANN. No, I appreciate it. You`ve made my job really easy. Why won`t they do it, do you know?
HILL: Yes, I do know. Here`s the reason, is that you have to remember, too, the Internet is worldwide, so it can make it very difficult. So what they`re saying is, the problem is, we could have gotten into almost content-management, which is not their job, and also would have had to deal with all the different pornography laws in all of the different countries.
BECK: Yes, do not...
HILL: So that`s the issue for them.
BECK: Do-nothing weasels. I mean, I`m just saying, do-nothing...
HILL: Strong words from Mr. Beck.
BECK: Well, you watch that. OK, and the last story?
HILL: Last one for you, a little cash for your hydrogen thoughts. Basically, here`s the deal. Congress is throwing money at scientists and inventors to get them to come up with alternative fuels. Here we`re talking about the H-prize, h for hydrogen. Basically, they`re going to pay them to develop ways to produce, store, distribute and use hydrogen fuel. It`s just one alternative.
BECK: This is the best idea that I have heard.
HILL: You think so?
BECK: Yes, thank you.
HILL: Really? Hydrogen is very expensive, though, and very hard for people to use, so a lot of people say hybrid is the way to go.
BECK: Hybrids, they`re too ugly, oh, like you`re going to drive one. Erica, thanks a lot.
HILL: Have a good night.
BECK: Check her out, "PRIME NEWS," 6:00 Eastern time, CNN Headline News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Average people are getting into their cars with a lawn chair and sitting out in the middle of the frickin` desert. Besides a neighborhood watch, can you think of an example where people have done what they`re doing now because the government wouldn`t do it, the government wouldn`t enforce its own laws?
And yet, even with that, even with the polls at 70 percent, with grandma sitting in the desert watching our own borders, they do nothing. There`s something we`re not being told.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Last week, a really fancy Washington, D.C., steakhouse served its last meal, shut its doors for good. Why would I care? Why do you care? It`s because of what it means to some really special people who ate there. Not power lunch lobbyists, but a bunch of guys who just would gather in the back room every Friday night and share a lot more than just a meal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This restaurant means the world to me. I can actually tell you that they didn`t just save my life; they`re saving all of these soldiers` lives.
BECK (voice-over): For 2 1/2 years, Fran O`Brien`s Stadium Steakhouse provided a weekly respite for some of the most seriously injured veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
JIM MAYER, VETERAN DINNER ORGANIZER: Fran`s was a community of volunteers and businessmen that wanted to show today`s soldiers and marines that they really appreciate the job they`re doing for this country.
BECK: Jim Mayer got the idea for the vet dinners while volunteering at Walter Reed hospital, where rehab can stretch on for years. Having lost both his legs in the Vietnam War, he knew what a simple dinner amongst friends could mean.
MAYER: I can remember back 37 years ago when I was wounded, I really wanted to get out of the hospital. The first time I got out, I was incredibly nervous, so this is like a safe haven for them.
WASIM KHAN, U.S. ARMY SERGEANT: When I was in the hospital, I didn`t talk to anybody. I was kind of depressed and just angry and just -- I told people to just leave me alone. Then Jim Mayer, who met me, and he introduced me to doing dinners at Fran O`Brien`s steakhouse, so he brought me up here.
BECK: With Fran O`Brien`s owners picking up the tab, Jim Mayer began inviting soldiers to come down to the restaurant to get away from the grueling recovery process.
MAYER: I did a count of 390 soldiers and marines that have been through the dinners. Of those 390, 180 were amputees, pretty devastating stuff.
BECK: Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Bain, who was severely injured in an Iraqi mortar attack, is a Fran O`Brien`s regular.
CHRISTOPHER BAIN, U.S. ARMY STAFF SERGEANT: I`m not cutting any steak any time soon, so I was sitting down next to an amputee and he didn`t have any legs, or didn`t know if he only had one leg, or maybe he didn`t have his prosthetic yet. But I told him, hey, this is the deal: I get your food, you cut my steak. And he goes, "Not a problem."
BECK: But now the vets must look for a new place to carry on this military tradition.
BRIAN KELLEHER, GENERAL MANAGER, CAPITAL HILTON: We`ve at this point decided that the lease is terminated.
BECK: On May 1st, Fran O`Brien`s was forced to close its doors when the landlord, the Hilton Hotel Corporation, decided not to renew their lease. Hilton called it strictly a business decision.
HAL KOSTER, CO-OWNER, FRAN O`BRIEN`S: We sent them a letter back saying, well, you know, why not just give us the five-year lease extension that`s part of the lease, except that you have to put in the wheelchair lift? And next thing we got was an eviction notice.
BECK: So the sometimes painful scene of dozens of young men and women in wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs making their way through this hotel lobby to enjoy a simple night out will no longer happen, at least not at the Hilton.
BAIN: Whoever made the decision, I mean, maybe they need to come down and have a dinner with us. I don`t know. But they must not understand what this means to me and all of the other soldiers.
KOSTER: Oh, the dinners will continue. The volunteers will continue to give invitations, and we`ll find a venue where we can put them.
BAIN: I can`t wait until they do find another place. I`m willing to go out there and help them -- go out there and find a place for them and help them. And whatever they need, we`re here for them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Joining me now is Jim Mayer. He is the organizer of the veterans` dinners you just saw in the piece.
Jim, let me ask you a question. The Hilton, I mean, they`re not embarrassed by Paris. Is this whole thing just because it was uncomfortable for people to see veterans?
MAYER: I don`t know how to give you a brief answer on that, but I can tell you what I do know. The owners of the restaurant, for at least a year and a half, negotiated in good faith. The veterans organizations that were helping keep these dinners going for 2 1/2 years, the Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, petitioned the Hilton to keep Fran O`Brien`s open, and the Hilton -- they stayed, for business reasons, chose to give a 30-day notice in the middle of this negotiation and evict them.
BECK: These guys, I mean, I`ve seen video of these guys. They are amazing. How does a dinner like this help them? You`re also an amputee, are you not?
MAYER: Yes, sir. I lost both my legs in Vietnam.
BECK: How does this help them? How did it help you?
MAYER: Well, in my mind, I wish something like this were around when I came home 37 years ago. What I see, the men and women who are now wounded in these dinners, it`s much more than the meal. It`s the camaraderie, the sense of community, and the sense of support that they give to each other and their fellow family members. It`s an incredible thing to see.
BECK: When you came back from Vietnam, how hard was it to start all over again? It`s got to be mind-boggling difficult.
MAYER: In my particular case, and in the men and women that served in my era, the public really didn`t welcome us back with open arms.
MAYER: The country was in a lot of turmoil. What I`m seeing now, irrespective of all of our volunteers that helped support these dinners at Fran`s, and in the public at the hospital, at Walter Reed and Bethesda, no matter what the citizens` views of this armed conflict is, they really now support the service members.
BECK: Man, that is...
MAYER: They really do.
BECK: That is so great to hear. You know, I`m a recovering alcoholic, and I would imagine -- I mean, it`s comforting to me to hang around people who have done it. That`s why, when I first went into recovery, I mean, I never missed a day without a meeting. It`s got to be kind of the same thing, kind of a 12-step program in a way?
MAYER: It is. And we`re all trained. We amputee peer visitors at Walter Reed have to be certified by the Amputee Coalition of America, and they teach us much of a similar show of support, in terms of phases of recovery.
BECK: I will tell you that I -- every time I see the men and women in our military that are serving over in Iraq, you know, after 9/11, I wondered what was going to happen to us. You know, you always hear people beating up on the younger generation. And I have to tell you, these men and women of our military, they have restored my hope in our future. They are an inspiration.
Jim, thank you so much for everything that you do, sir.
MAYER: Sir, I agree with everything you said about these servicemembers. They`re the best.
BECK: Thank you.
MAYER: Thank you, Glenn.
BECK: All right, just an update (INAUDIBLE)
Now, I mean, for some crazy reason, we`re actually getting positive e- mail on this program at about the rate of nine to one over hate mails, which I don`t even get. But positive mail, I mean, it`s so boring. Let`s load up on the hate, shall we?
Let`s start with M.J. in Syracuse, you hate-monger. "Glenn, nine minutes into the show, I wanted to send my comments, but I decided to give the show more time. After 20 minutes" -- thanks for the more time -- "I couldn`t stand it any longer. This show stinks!"
Well, thanks, M.J. You know, unfortunately for you, we have a somewhat controversial plan of putting all of our entertainment value into the 21st minute, so you`re going to have to watch a little longer next time to comment fairly.
Chris from Florida writes -- actually, he probably typed -- "There are more important things in life than `American Idol.` Shows like this are rotting the American culture. I can just feel myself getting fatter."
Chris, I mean, come on. I know "American Idol" isn`t exactly the equivalent of reading the Constitution, but it`s a good show, all right? It has some talented people on it, and it`s actually family-friendly. How many shows can you say that about today? I don`t think it`s ruining our culture, and it`s definitely not making you fatter, my friend. That is the Twinkies.
Greg from Minnesota says, "Glenn, the other night, you said President" -- Ahmajobajob or whatever his name is from Iran; I like to call him President Tom -- "sounded in his letter like Michael Moore. How can you possibly say that?"
You know, that was unfortunate. My point was to say that it seems like our enemies use quotes and rationale of some of the people with a political motive to fuel their own cause. But I guess saying that they sounded alike was probably wrong. Would you let me hear them, please, Ellie?
All right, now let me hear Michael Moore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: All of you have to, at some point in your life, have 10,000 people...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: See, I got to tell you, Greg, you`re actually right on the money. You are right. President Tom sounds much thinner. Michael Moore doesn`t have that cool little accident, but they do have similar beards, and I think there might be something to that.
That`s it. We`ll see you tomorrow, you sick twisted freaks. Thanks for watching.