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Does Race Matter in `08?; Did Over-Medication Cause Heath Ledger`s Death?; Sean Penn at Odds with San Francisco Paper
Aired January 25, 2008 - 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 (voice-over): Tonight, Hillary and Obama prepare to slug it out once again in South Carolina. The race card is in the mix. You`ll be shocked to see who`s playing it.
Plus, movie and TV writers still on strike. But why haven`t any of the Democratic candidates joined them on the picket line? Are they laying low so they don`t upset their Hollywood contributors? Hmm.
Heath Ledger dead at 28. Prescription medication found by his bed. Horrible tragedy caused by a common American problem. Is America becoming a brave new world that`s just overmedicated?
All this and more to night.
BECK: Well, hello America. I`m glad you`re here. It`s Friday. The South Carolina Democratic primary is tomorrow. I`m all a-tingle. Touch your TV. Can you feel it?
The south has gotten hotter now that former president Bill Clinton has been campaigning for his wife and putting the heat on the opponent. Hillary has gotten to play nice while Bill goes after Obama, so much so that Barack has said he`s not even sure which Clinton he`s running against now.
But it wouldn`t be a good old-fashioned American election if race didn`t rear its ugly head. Both Obama and Clinton now have been accused and accused the other of playing the race card. So here`s "The Point" tonight.
You know what? They`re both right, and that`s all wrong. We have come too far in this country to let something like race distract us from vitally important issues that we`re facing this election. Hello. If a candidate managed to win on the color of their skin, you know what? We`re all going to lose in the process. And here`s how I got there.
Some would say that the worst race-baiter in this campaign has been our old pal Bill Clinton. Author Toni Morrison claimed that Bill Clinton was our first black president, and the Democratic candidates had a good laugh about it at their debate this last week. But if you`re Barack Obama, maybe it isn`t that funny.
Tomorrow we will see a black man running against a white woman in a southern state. In our young nation, you can`t underestimate or understate the significance of that. That is fantastic. Look how far we`ve come.
So when Bill Clinton predicted this week that many voters would be guided mainly by their gender or race loyalties, that`s not only an insult to the candidates, but it`s more so to South Carolina and to the rest of the American people.
Bill Clinton also told an audience in Charleston that voting for president along racial and gender lines was understandable, because people are proud when somebody who they identify with emerges for the first time. Well, yes, that is understandable. But it`s also understandable that I like to eat cake three meals a day. After all, cake is quite delicious.
The thing is, when it comes to making healthy decisions, you know, for my diet or my country, we have to be able to reach what -- reach beyond what`s understandable and strive for what is just, honorable and right.
So tonight, America, here`s what you need to know. It is nothing short of revolutionary that a candidate representing the Democrats in a presidential election will likely be chosen from two historically underrepresented groups, women and African-Americans. Choosing to wipe your feet on that accomplishment is beneath the -- the behavior of a former president, especially a progressive and open-minded president like Bill Clinton.
He capped things off this week with a little gem on why he`s saying now whatever pops into his head. He said, quote, "This is what some of us have been living for our whole lives, waiting until we could all freely run and say whatever the heck was on our mind." I`d like to be able to say whatever is on my mind when it comes to global warming, Bill. But that`s a different story.
I don`t care how long you`ve been waiting; it`s still wrong to yell "fire" in a crowded movie theater and to cry race when there is no racism.
Peter Fenn is a Democratic strategist and former Gore advisor. John Ridley is a political commentator for National Public Radio and a contributor to "Esquire" magazine.
John, let me -- let me start here. Do you think that there is -- do you think there is race in this? Barack Obama in Iowa, where I don`t know if you`ve been to Iowa lately, it`s riddled with white people. There`s no racism here.
JOHN RIDLEY, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: For Barack Obama, look, you see the support that Obama has been getting and the fact that he`s transcended race in the early part of the campaign. And it was absolutely wonderful.
And I agree with a lot of what you`ve said, Glenn. It`s amazing that race has reared its ugly head when race and gender was so much not part of this election. But as it`s become contentious, people have gone to their base. And for Obama, it`s been picking at Hillary and some of the things that she`s said in the past. And for the Clinton campaign it looks like race is coming up.
But I think both sides have played this race card. Obama has played it somewhat as the victim and putting out these talking point memos in South Carolina about what they said. And I think the Clintons have played it up a lot, too. So it`s ugly, and it`s unfortunate.
BECK: I got to tell you. Yes. It`s absolutely despicable. With everything we`re facing in this country, it`s despicable. And Barack Obama, look, I don`t agree with a damn thing that spills out of that man`s mouth, policy-wise. But to interject race in this when there is no race is an absolute insult.
Peter, I mean other than the fact that the Clintons are clearly racist, because they`re all for Whitewater but against Blackwater...
PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Oh, gees. That is a good line. That is a good line.
BECK: ... I don`t think that race is on anybody`s mind except, you know, the small minority of real racists in this country. I think this is all just being generated by the -- it`s being regurgitated by the press. They love it.
FENN: That`s what I was going to say. And the question is who benefits from this? Does Clinton benefit? Does Obama benefit? I`m not sure either one benefits.
BECK: Nobody benefits from this.
FENN: I think the press benefits...
FENN: ... because they sell newspapers with this. But you know, you think back about this a little bit. We talk about natural constituencies. I grew up a nice, good Irish Catholic boy, a group in Boston. Did the Irish vote for the Irish? Did the Italians vote for the Italians? Did you have some of this group (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- throughout our history, of course you have. Race is a different matter in a campaign like this. No question.
And what was so great, as you point out, is that if you look at how well Barack Obama did in Iowa and New Hampshire and other states, you know, this wasn`t -- no one was talking about race in this campaign in this way until we got to the South Carolina primary.
BECK: Until somebody needed to use a wedge. And it`s -- you know what, I have to tell you, as a conservative, there`s a part of me, a very small part of me, because I think this is just bad for the country and I know what`s coming once the -- once the race is narrowed down with a conservative. It`s either going to be a sexist or a racist that`s running against whoever the Democrats are.
It is -- it is shocking to me, and there`s a part of me that is almost gleeful that the Democrats are exposed as fricking hypocrites when it comes to this. They`re always saying, "Oh, look at how evil racist these conservatives are."
Well, you know what? Now they`re playing the sexist, racist card with themselves. And it exposes them -- John, correct me if I`m wrong -- as just a group of people, just like every other group of people, that will use whatever they have to use to win.
RIDLEY: Well, hypocrisy, Glenn, doesn`t know political ideology. And I think there are a lot of liberals -- and I don`t say this to denigrate liberals. But the fact of the matter is, is that they live comfortably with their liberalism, because they don`t necessarily have to deal with it. I mean, a lot of us go home to segregated communities and this and that, no matter that we can live wherever we want.
So I think the fact that they have to deal with Obama -- you know, they can say Al Sharpton is not going to be president. We don`t really have to deal with him. Or Jesse Jackson or whomever. But they`ve got to deal with Obama.
And for me personally, a lot of the hypocrisy, I`ve seen that in a lot of the liberal media, where there were questions about is Obama black enough and those kinds of things, which are ridiculous. So I`m not surprised...
BECK: John, can you imagine a white commentator saying that? Can you imagine if I said is Barack Obama black enough? I mean, I don`t see -- I don`t see that man as black. Of course I do, because I`m not blind. I don`t see him as black or white. He just is. He`s an American. He`s a man.
FENN: And the good news -- sorry to interrupt you, Glenn. The good news, I think, with this is that you have someone like Barack Obama, who is a very serious candidate for president of the United States, who is getting support all across the country, who is a black man, and a white woman. He is their son.
Now, you know, if someone had said to America 30 years ago, 40 years ago, could this happen, that would be the farthest thing from their minds. And yet, you know, we are making tremendous progress in this country. And to have a discussion like this about -- about whether someone is black enough or white enough is outrageous.
BECK: It`s insulting. It`s insulting. And you know what? It is not the conversation that America is having. It is the conversation, again, politicians, both sides of the aisle, will do whatever they have to do.
They are becoming professional separators. All they do is pull us apart so they can angle and try to grab as many people and ignite their base. And it`s outrageous. And it`s happening on all sides, on all issues. And it has got to stop or we`re going to disintegrate.
RIDLEY: Yes, I would agree with that. I mean, the interesting thing is the Democrats went into this election with an incredible tableau. They had Obama. They had Hillary Clinton. They also had Bill Richardson. In addition to, you know, whatever you want to call them -- traditional, capable -- white guys who are running for president.
So to be able to present that at the general election, that this is what America represents -- Glenn, I`m keeping the white guys in there.
BECK: You know, I appreciate it. John Edwards is in there pitching.
RIDLEY: He`s in there pitching. The idea, even with Edwards, a guy who grew up in impoverished backgrounds and made good, at the general election as a party, the Democrats could stand up and go, "Look, we represent America`s future," regardless of who the actual nominee is now.
RIDLEY: But what are the Republicans going to be able to use in the general election? Sniping...
BECK: I have to just -- no, no, please, I have to tell you, what I think, if Hillary Clinton wants to be consistent, I believe affirmative action, she should give Barack Obama an additional five percentage points just for the years of oppression.
Peter, John, thank you very much.
Coming up, sudden death of actor Heath Ledger is high profile of how everybody in this country is overworked, stressed, sleep-deprived, and why prescribing medication is the cure to all ills, not the answer. We`ll get into that here in just a second.
Also, some investors are bailing on the stock market. It`s been a rough week. What`s coming up next? We`ll follow the money. Details in tonight`s "Real Story".
BECK: Well, cyber-hacking isn`t new, but holding hacked utility companies for ransom, that is new. And apparently, it is happening overseas. Could it happen here? What are the details? What are the ramifications? Is it pay up or lights out, in tonight`s "Real Story"?
But first, Australian actor Heath Ledger was found dead in his New York apartment yesterday afternoon. A bottle of sleeping pills was by his side. Probably typical Hollywood story. I don`t mean to be callous about this at all, but we`re waiting for more conclusive tests.
Those close to Ledger are confident that his untimely death was purely accidental. But we`ve heard this story over and over again. What is tragic about this story is his age, but also the root of the problem is far too common. The problem is that we`re all stressed out in America, and our solution is overmedicating usually, and it is a deadly combination.
Last November, Ledger gave an interview with "The New York Times" and confessed to being stressed out a little too much. He said, quote, "Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night. I just couldn`t stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going."
Sound familiar to you? I felt that way for the last two years. In fact, those words are the exact words I said to my doctor right before Christmas, except it had been for a whole month I hadn`t slept for more than two hours.
Countless Americans, much of my own staff, are helping wind down after a long day of responsibilities by hopping what some call the A-train, relying on prescription sleep aids like Ambien to not help them sleep but force them to sleep so they can get up the next day and start the vicious cycle all over again.
Unless we demand that doctors spend more time treating the cause of our problems and less time tossing pills at our symptoms, Heath Ledger`s death will not be the last.
Dr. Gail Saltz, she`s an associate professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Gail, what`s so freaky about this is I had this conversation with my doctor.
DR. GAIL SALTZ, ASSOCIATE PROFESS OF PSYCHIATRY, NEW YORK PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL: Yes.
BECK: Except I said to him, "I do not want Ambien. I don`t want any kind of drugs. What else can I do?"
And he immediately said, "Well, there is melatonin, and there is exercise."
And I`m like, "OK, tell me about the melatonin." I mean, we really do look for the easy way, and so many people are doing this.
SALTZ: Well, we are unfortunately a quick-fix society. And we, you know, aided by insurance companies who don`t really want to pay for long- term treatments like psychotherapy, which when you`re suffering a lot of stress, when you`re going through a divorce, when you have a young child, when your career is overwhelming and, certainly, if you can`t sleep, could be immensely helpful but takes time, takes money and takes hard work on the part of the patient.
BECK: Well, I tell you, I mean, I got to the point -- and I took Ambien for four days because my doctor said, "You`ve got to break this cycle."
BECK: "You`ll sleep more than two hours a night." And I just wanted out of the Ambien scene at all. But I got to the point to where I was afraid to go to bed at night, because I knew I would just -- I`d toss and turn.
BECK: And there would be nothing on the other side. And I know I`m not alone. We`re riddled with people that I work with that are exactly like that.
SALTZ: Yes. Well, Glenn, this is exactly what happens to people. They have a bad night where they`re worrying about some things, and then they lay there awake. And it`s a very uncomfortable, lonely feeling. And then they start to be worried the next night that the same thing is going to happen. And, of course, it`s a self-perpetuating process.
With that being said, many people who have sleep difficulties do so because there is an underlying diagnosis, and it may be major depression. It may be an anxiety disorder. It may be -- actually, be a medical problem.
And so, rather than getting a sleeping pill to start with, you really need to see your doctor and get promptly evaluated. Sometimes you should be referred to a psychiatrist for a proper evaluation. And it`s important to know that, in addition to melatonin and exercise, there really are sleep hygiene things that you can do to start to correct a pattern. But it`s true, that you don`t sleep all the way...
SALTZ: ... you can bring on a psychiatric situation.
BECK: He told me that one of the tricks is you got to go bed at the same time. You`ve got to have -- you`ve got to have a pattern.
BECK: You`ve got to do it. Force yourself all the time.
SALTZ: And of course, people don`t like to do it. They don`t like to do it. They want to keep doing things the same old way and yet have the benefits, which is why they take the pill.
But it`s true that, if you go to sleep at the same time, if you use your bed only for sleep, you don`t bring work to it, you don`t have other stimulation going on, you make a soothing environment, all of these things can really be quite helpful to re-establishing a pattern.
BECK: That`s why my wife falls asleep in bed all the time. That was unnecessary.
Let me -- let me just take you back to Heath Ledger for a second, because I`m not convinced that Heath Ledger was just on sleeping pills. And I -- you know, I don`t know. But how many times have we seen Hollywood celebrities -- I mean, we just saw this video of that Winehouse woman over in England.
I just can`t believe how many people just mix everything. I mean, they`re just dumping poison into their body. They`re on valium. They`re on sleeping pills. They`re on, you know, speed. They`re on crack. They`re on everything all at the same time.
SALTZ: Yes. Unfortunately, look, particularly in the celebrity world -- and I do want to say that we really don`t know what killed him at this point. I don`t want to speculate.
BECK: I don`t mean to draw -- yes, yes, yes.
SALTZ: But what I do want to say is that, you know, in the celebrity world, I think that, you know, there`s a tremendous amount of reinforcements for this very sort of fast lifestyle and for solving feeling states, states of anxiety, sadness, loneliness, or looking for the next -- or even boredom, to be perfectly honest with you. Like wanting the next thrill with some sort of substance and to allow yourself to be disinhibited with alcohol or whatever it is that you are using so that you sort of have permission, if you will, to act in a way you want, to feel the way you want. And, of course, this can have dire circumstances.
Some people are going to be genetically predisposed to taking that first, you know, binge drink or that first drug. And they`re going to be very quickly addicted and, unfortunately, as you can see, it is an extremely difficult illness to treat.
BECK: OK. Doctor, I`ve got to run. But I appreciate your thoughts and, you know, you just got -- you got to do what you got to do. You`ve got to do the right thing.
I have to tell you, when it comes to Hollywood, I think it might be counterintuitive, but they`ve got so much money; they have so much free time; they have so much fame. I really truly believe these celebrities are the most miserable people in the world. I feel bad for them. I do.
Agree or disagree? Go to CNN.com/Glenn right now to cast your vote.
Coming up, as global stock markets continue their gentle plummet downward, I`ll tell you where smart money is going in tonight`s "Real Story." Follow the money, coming up.
BECK: Well, if Hollywood history has taught us anything, it`s that there are three basic ways to revive your career. You can play a character with a disability, you can marry Tom Cruise, or you can become really good friends with a ruthless dictator.
Last part was suggested in a humorous article in the "San Francisco Chronicle," and it made actor and director Sean Penn a little testy. Penn responded by calling the "Chronicle" an "increasingly lame-brained paper," leaving some to question whether Penn`s byline would return to the paper. Back in 2005, you might remember his five-part series on his experiences in good old Iran.
Phil Bronstein is the executive director -- or editor of the "San Francisco Chronicle."
Hi, Phil, how are you?
PHIL BRONSTEIN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE": Good, how are you doing?
BECK: Very good. First of all, congratulations on, you know, printing this, and it`s going to be cool on the other side, not you know, just letting it all hang out. That shows courage on your part.
BRONSTEIN: Well, you know, people have things to say, you want to let them say it.
BECK: Good. You know, here`s one thing, he said in his letter that he is a journalist. And I looked it up, and he doesn`t have a degree, but you responded, "You know, anybody who wants to do journalism can try. Whether they`re a journalist or not is a judgment other people have to make." Isn`t journalism a degree?
BRONSTEIN: Well, you know, Glenn, I don`t have a journalism degree, so -- and I`m a journalist. So I think it`s not necessarily about degrees so much as it is about experience and skill.
BECK: OK, so hang on. Wait, wait, wait -- so I`ve done radio broadcasts for 30 years now. I`m not a journalist. I want people to understand that. I`m an opinion guy. If I went over to some ruthless dictator and, you know, got into bed with him, and I wrote a paper...
BRONSTEIN: Do you think it would help your career, is that...
BECK: No, I`m asking, should I be printed as a journalist?
BRONSTEIN: Well, you know, look, newspapers, people who write opinion columns and people who write for the editorial pages are also considered journalists. The newsroom staff, people who write for newspapers or take photos or edit are considered journalists. That`s true.
So you`re obviously, in your case, you feel because you`re an opinion guy, you`re not a journalist. I don`t know that everyone would agree with you, but that`s why I said...
BECK: I can`t believe somebody from "The San Francisco Chronicle" is saying this to me. I love this. I love this.
BRONSTEIN: Which part do you love, just so I know?
BECK: I love the part that you say not everybody would disagree that I`m a journalist. I`m not a journalist, man.
BRONSTEIN: Well you know -- you can`t determine whether you`re a journalist or not, and you know, I get to watch you and say, "Well, he is or he isn`t."
BRONSTEIN: That`s the point. That was the point of the quote.
BRONSTEIN: If someone`s going to put someone on the air or if we`re going to put someone in the paper who`s not a regular journalist attached to the staff or newsroom of this paper, then readers will make a determination. I think, you know, the term journalist does imply some skill, and it does imply some training, no question about it.
BECK: OK. Are you going to print and is he going to do anything more for the paper? Will you -- if he wants to -- I don`t know, if they give CPR to Hitler or anything, can he go over and do an interview and you`ll print it? Or are you guys done with each other?
BRONSTEIN: If he can get -- if he can get an interview with Hitler, we`d consider -- we`d have to consider that.
BECK: Yes, well...
BRONSTEIN: That would be a coup.
BECK: I might actually consider that one. It would be an interesting thing to know.
BRONSTEIN: And you would be a journalist then.
BECK: No, I wouldn`t be. No, it wouldn`t be.
Phil, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.
BRONSTEIN: You`re welcome. Sure.
BECK: Coming up, the U.S. government is fully invested in the digital age. But how vulnerable are we to an all-out cyber attack? Find out on "The Real Story," next.
BECK: Thank goodness the Hollywood writers are going to return to the negotiating table this week in hopes of saving us from shows like "American Gladiators" and the return of my personal favorite "Paradise Hotel". The real question is not when will they make their deal, but why haven`t the pro-union Democratic candidates spoken up on the strike? Where have they been? I`ll examine all of that in just a bit.
But first, welcome to the "Real Story." A few years ago, the biggest issue in the country was national security. Last year it was border security. A few months ago it was Iraq. Now, of course, it`s the economy. What most people are missing is that these are not separate issues. They`re all connected. We can survive a terrorist attack, we`ve done it before. We can survive a border crisis, we`ve done it before. We can survive a war, we can survive a major recession.
But we cannot survive all of it at once. It is easy to be distracted right now by the falling stock market. But the real story is that this is exactly the time that we need to be most vigilant. There is blood in the water, our blood. And those who want to take us down are circling. They have been for quite some time. A few months ago, I did a real story segment that was kind of out on the fringe. It was about a threat of cyber terror. Here is the clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: What you`re seeing here is an industrial turbine, it`s just like one that our power plants use for electrical grids all across the country. It`s been taken over by a computer hacker. There you see, the turbine spins out of control, starts to smoke and then it shuts absolutely everything down, taking whatever electrical grid it was powering right along with it. Fortunately, once again, this was just a test. But it`s another example of how ancient software being used for our power and our utilities was never created with the Internet in mind. So how easy is it to hack into our critical infrastructure? Listen to this professional hacker.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I woke up tomorrow morning and decided I wanted to do that against a generator, I could. And it would not be that hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: OK, now that hacker, fortunately, worked for the government. But at the time I warned you that cyber attacks were a real threat. Well, now we find out from the CIA that they`re more than just a threat, they`re happening.
And once again, you`re likely hearing about it here first. The CIA`s top cyber security analysts recently warned U.S. power companies that attackers have infiltrated foreign utilities, causing widespread multi-city power outages and then demanded payment in exchange for turning the lights back on. Really?
The most surprising part of the story isn`t that this kind of thing is happening, it`s that our government is the one publicizing it. Maybe it`s just me, but I don`t think they`re normally in the business of advertising ways for terrorists to hit us. So does that mean they`ve learned the lesson from 9/11 and they are concerned about cyber attackers and they`re just trying to warn us that they could shut down our power grids? Or is there something else at work?
Bruce Schneier is a cyber security expert and author of "Beyond Fear." Bruce, this doesn`t feel right do me for some reason. And maybe it`s just because I just don`t trust our government sometimes. Why is the CIA coming outs and saying this, and yet I`ve not heard this story anyplace else?
BECK SCHNEIER, AUTHOR: Well, the story is real. I mean, certainly our infrastructure is vulnerable. Lots of these control systems are very old and as you said.
BECK: I get that. But they`re saying there have been attacks on multiple cities shutting it down and then demanding ransom. Is there any evidence of that?
SCHNEIER: Not really. This was something said at a conference in New Orleans last week. There`s no facts, there`s no real evidence. The extortion angle, I`m not sure if it came from the CIA analyst or was embellished afterwards.
They said this happened in multiple cities and there was at least one shutdown that affected multiple cities. We can`t figure out what that is. There might have been insiders involved. This might not have been a cyber attack, but an insider attack. There`s a whole lot of rumor and not a lot of fact. That aside, there are vulnerabilities. This is not a fake story. But the CIA leak seems really weird to me.
BECK: Do you know the -- I`m sure you do, what is it, SCADA or SCATA, it`s a system that we used that was before Internet. I remember the story vaguely from October, where it`s so easy to hack in, you can hack into this thing almost by accident.
SCHNEIER: The SCADA systems they used for controlling different processes. So it might register the water level in a tank in your community. It might be used to open and control a valve in a chemical plant or at a power plant.
These systems are very vulnerable because they were built without security in mind, again mostly by accident and not on purpose. There hasn`t been a lot in the real world. The one thing that actually happened is there was a SCADA system in Australia used to control something in a sewage plant.
Someone hacked in, a kid, didn`t know what he was doing and accidentally released a whole lot of raw sewage into a bay. So that`s the sort of thing you have to worry about. These are real. These are old systems and security wasn`t thought about when they were built.
BECK: I agree that this is real. I`ve just never seen our CIA, our government come out and do what they`re doing here, which is really breaking news on something and saying, look, this is happening, we`ve got to be prepared. Is anybody moving in the direction to protect this yet?
SCHNEIER: There are lots of security systems that protect SCADA. They have to be installed. They`re expensive. Utilities aren`t going to do it on their own because there isn`t any market incentive to do it. It`s something where government has to step in. Systems are also being upgraded. But even the upgraded systems, just like there are vulnerabilities in your network, there was an attack of CNN in the year 2000. The Web site went down. So even upgrading doesn`t make the vulnerabilities go away.
BECK: All right Bruce thank you very much, I appreciate it.
Now if you want to know what`s coming, they always say follow the money. You want to know what`s really going on? Follow the money. Well, everybody is focused on the money pouring out of the stock market when we talk about our economy. The real story is not where the money has -- is not going, it`s where the money is pouring into. That is the bond market. Specifically, the U.S. Treasury bond market.
I hate to be a geek here, but let me get geeky on the air for a second because you`ll understand why this is relevant to your wallet in about 60 seconds. Interest rates on a 30-year treasury bond touch 4.1 percent today. Big deal, right? Lowest rate since 1977 and here it is plain English and here`s what it means. The U.S. treasuries are backed up by the full faith and credit of the United States government. Apparently there are people who still think that`s valuable some way or another.
So they`re a safe haven investment. People buy them as protection against all sorts of catastrophes. It is literally the safest place you can park your money. If anybody thinks, oh, the world is going to melt down, they`ll always say put your money in U.S. treasuries.
But the more money that goes into these bonds, the more expensive they get. It`s supply and demand. If you remember anything from your economics classes, then you might recall as bond prices go up, the interest rates go down. It`s like a seesaw. But when that seesaw gets all out of whack, like right now, it means that something is going on. After all, why would investors be willing to lock up their money for 30 solid years at an interest rate that might not even beat inflation?
There is only one logical answer. Because a lot of people think that`s a lot better alternative than anything else they see. If you read between the lines on the bond market, investors are saying that all the stimulus packages, all the rate cuts in the world are not going to make any difference. They see dark clouds and tough times coming. And unlike the so-called experts that you see on TV on every other channel, these people are quietly putting their money where their mouth is.
Steve Cordasco is the financial consultant and the host of "The Big Money Show" on 1210 AM, the big talker in Philadelphia, which is our flagship station in Philadelphia. Steve, let me show you a chart and you tell me what the chart is and what it means. Let`s put the chart up there. That`s the 30-year Treasury yield. It`s headed all the way down to the bottom. Explain this.
STEVE CORDASCO, THE BIG MONEY SHOW: Well basically what it`s showing is over that period of time since 1977 rates have been coming way down on bonds. And specifically here in the short term Glenn, the message that the bond market is sending is that there`s a lack of confidence, and the lack of confidence in the Fed and what the Fed has been doing over the last 10 years of lowering interest rates and manipulating interest rates to keep the consumer spending, it`s a lack of confidence in our political system in that the stimulus package that many are kicking around is just what it is.
It`s a bunch of nothing to put short-term fix on really a long-term problem. All the talking heads, as you mentioned, today and yesterday are talking about the stock market. Many of them looking to manipulate the stock market, hoping that somebody listens to them and goes in and starts to buy to move the market up.
BECK: OK. If I can explain bonds, I would explain it this way. Tell me where I`m wrong. That if I had a bunch of money -- let`s say I`m a wealthy guy and I have a lot of money and I could pay off my car loan or I could invest. I`ll look, can I make more money on the stock market than I have to pay in my interest rates on that monthly car payment. If I can make more money in the stock market, then I just keep my interest rate going on my car and I don`t pay off my loan.
What we`re talking about people locking up money for 30 years and buying into a Treasury bond that is basically your investment here is getting you the equivalent of putting your money in a savings account. That`s crazy normally, isn`t it?
CORDASCO: Absolutely, Glenn. You have two fronts here. You`re talking a little about main street and what a lot of main street investors are doing today. They don`t have enough money to pay off the debt. We are a debt-laden society. The balance sheet of mainstream America is wrecked. That`s why a stimulus package is there, to help you get through one or two or three more months. The bottom line is this, this is the big money, this is serious money, and this is the money that`s finding a place to go because there`s no belief in the future right now of our system.
BECK: What does this tell you, Steve, of what`s coming down the road?
CORDASCO: Glenn what it says over the last three, four months you`ve been on this, you`ve been dead on with it. What this is saying is everything that you`ve been talking about, about how things could get ugly. This message is here. The market is telling us, money is flowing into bonds, it`s looking for a place to hide and it`s predicting the future.
So we, as investors have to look and say where do we want to position our money today? Oh by the way, in case you don`t know it, the last 10 years, bonds have outperformed the S&P 500 for many of you that are sitting with 401K hoping that your retirement is going to be OK.
BECK: OK, thanks Steve. That`s the "Real Story" tonight. If you are sick of hearing me talk about my book "An Inconvenient Book" in stores everywhere, well, why haven`t you bought it? The real story here is tomorrow is your lucky day. I`m going to release the first full color excerpt from the global warming chapter. Tomorrow you`re going to see little graphs and funny little sidebars. You`re going to get the whole thing if you sign up right now for my e-mail newsletter at GlennBeck.com. Again, it is completely free. You`ll also get a recap of everything we`ve been talking about here tonight.
Coming up, if you want more proof that Hollywood is completely out of touch with the American mainstream, look no further than the Oscar nominees. And where are those liberals with the strikers and the writers? We`ll look into it next.
BECK: Well, if you are just sick of the reruns and reality shows on television, then you must be watching television. I don`t know a soul who has been watching television, you know, except for this program. It`s been a very, very, very long tunnel. But there is some light at the end. Hollywood striking writers and the studio executives have said they plan to meet this week for the very first time since early December when their talks collapsed. Who has been paying attention? It might be good news for those of us who are really sick and tired of reconnecting with our family.
But the most interesting side to this whole fiasco might be the political one. I want you to think about this. When was the last time you saw a strike in our country where the Democrats haven`t lined up to deliver hot coffee on the picket lines and denounce the big, bad corporation for keeping the man down?
Where is Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama now? Where is John Edwards?
The writers are starting to ask this question. They don`t like the answer. Democrats just get too much money from Hollywood to risk screwing it all up, or do they like Hollywood`s money and their propaganda tools, but they just don`t want to be seen around the Hollywood people?
Screenwriter and former Clinton/Gore staffer Chris Jackson told the "New York Post," quote, "I was hurt by learning the true. The DNC, the Democratic National Committee, are in bed with big business. They`re for charge when it comes to using marketing slogans, but they only use Hollywood to milk money out of us."
Michael Medved is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, a veteran film critic. Michael, which is it? They don`t want to be seen around Hollywood because they know it`s really bad for them, or are they just getting too much money?
MICHAEL MEDVED, SYNDICATED RADIO TALK SHOW: I think it`s a combination of all the above, of course. But the main thing is they gain absolutely nothing but getting involved in this very, very, very bitter dispute.
It would be like getting involved between the baseball players and baseball management when the players went out on strike. The main point about this particular strike is, I think it`s actually good for the country because you mentioned reconnecting with family, Glenn. I don`t know anybody who feels like, oh, my gosh, my life isn`t the same now that the writers are on strike. I`m forced to watch the Glenn Beck show. It`s crazy.
BECK: Michael, isn`t it amazing how - I think even maybe 15, 20 years ago it would have made an impact in our life. I don`t know a soul that cares. I don`t know a soul that cares.
MEDVED: You`re exactly right. It`s because we have so many alternatives. We`re in the middle of a fascinating political season. You talk about it all the time. I talk about it all the time.
The writers` strike hasn`t handicapped that in particular. The truth is everyone was worried when Colbert comes back or Jon Stewart comes back, are they going to be able to survive without writers? What this shows is that this only impacts a very, very narrow segment of today`s entertainment.
I think actually it`s a good thing if people understand and Hollywood gets the message, we are not central to the American experience. We are not the center of everybody`s universe as we pretended to be for so long.
BECK: You know what? But they don`t really care about the American market as much as they used to. Now absolutely everything is global.
Let me bring up the full screen here of the Oscar nominations. Do we have this? I have to tell you, Mike, I heard them at 8:30 in the morning come out with these nominations. I thought to myself, I usually don`t care about the Oscars, but I really don`t care. There`s not a picture among them that I care about. I think that is the first time in my life that Hollywood is completely, 100 percent irrelevant.
MEDVED: Again, the writers strike just emphasizes that. I thought there was a great headline today, Glenn, in "The New York Times" and it said, "For Oscar Nominations, Blood and No County Lead the Way." They`re talking about "There Will Be Blood" and "No Country For Old Men."
But the idea that people are going to go out and say, man, I want to go see "There Will Be Blood" that`s the movie for me, or "No Country," this is nonsensical. Again, these are good movies, many of them are. I thought "Atonement" was a great movie. "Juno" was actually a powerful pro-life movie and it`s nominated for best picture.
The truth of the matter is that the entire idea that the world, the sun rises and sets over who is going to be nominated for best supporting actor I think has never looked less credible than it does today.
BECK: Michael, I don`t think I`ve ever seen any industry go from mass appeal, mainstream to niche. It`s usually -- everybody tries to go the other direction. Can they reverse this at all? Or do they even care?
MEDVED: Yes and no. First of all, if you take a look at the movies that really connected with the public, they tended to be sequels like "Spiderman 3" or "Harry Potter" or even the "Pirates of the Caribbean," which I thought was lousy. The American people still enjoy good times at the movies. And right people are still going to "National Treasure," which was a great movie.
MEDVED: Delightful film. So the point is that there`s a difference between what they know makes money and what they think is really good, which explains why they feel so guilty and end up being so liberal despite the money they make.
BECK: Mike, got to run. Thank you very much. Now I have to move on to global warming. A new study suggests that there`s actually debate. Believe it or not, I found it in "The New York Times," I`ll explain in an "Inconvenient Segment" coming up next. You`re not going to believe this.
BECK: Well, in yesterday`s "Inconvenient Segment," I told you how an EPA study of even the most moderate global warming legislation will cost us between $400 billion or $1.2 trillion every year by the middle of the century and it will essentially do nothing. Great, huh?
Take a quick look at the projected CO2 levels, red line that you`ll see on this graph peeking out at the top is what we have if we do nothing at all.
But if we spend trillions of dollars, we can get all the way to the other lines. You may say, wait, they look an awful lot like one line, which is kind of the point. There`s more global warming news out today in relation to hurricanes. "USA Today" says that it`s part of a contentious scientific debate over how manmade global warming may affect the intensity and number of hurricanes.
First I thought, wait a minute, debate? I swear I`ve heard environmentalists tell me, I don`t know, a million or trillion times, there is no debate. But here is what Al Gore writes in his book, "The Inconvenient Truth." Quote, "Brand new evidence is causing some scientists to assert that global warming is even leading to an increased frequency of hurricanes," end quote.
This is the way Al Gore does it. On one hand he throws in the qualifier, some scientists say. But on the other, he puts a giant killer hurricane coming out of a smoke stack on his movie poster.
The new research indicates that global warming actually may cause less hurricanes to hit the U.S. Quoting the article, "Researchers link warming waters, especially in the Indian and Pacific Oceans to increased vertical wind sheer in the Atlantic Ocean near the U.S. Wind sheer, a change in wind or speed direction makes it hard for hurricanes to form, strengthen and stay alive." That`s a quote.
The headline in the story translates all that, quote, "Climate Change Could Cut Hurricanes," end quote. More global warming may mean less hurricanes. Amazing.
I`m not saying that we should warm the globe as much as possible, but with so much new information coming out, maybe we should be careful not to create more problems than we solve.
That`s what I talk about in the first chapter of my book, "An Inconvenient Book" and I want you to read some of it on your own for free tomorrow. I`m going to for the first time send you a taste of the global warming chapter in full color. And you can check it out for yourself free of charge. Just go to GlennBeck.com, sign up for my free newsletter. And I`ll send it out to you. Tomorrow, it will be in your e-mail box. From New York, which will soon be underwater, I hear, good night America.