Greetings and salutations from the sand, sun and surf of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and the great island of Nantucket! Great to be with you on this snowy morning here in Osterville, as you gaze out into the cold Nantucket Sound, an image that resembles exactly what it looks like on little old Cape Cod at this very moment, should you ever decide to vacation here in the winter, a vacation I would highly recommend, for there are no commercial interruptions, and if you own some warm foul weather gear, you can truly explore this wondrous landscape without seeing a soul, save a black lab every now and again, not to mention a harbor seal, a whale, a dolphin, a sea turtle, a Great Blue Heron, or a Cardinal. So come on down and visit! We’ll leave the Light on for ya! With Lawrence O’Donnell taking the 8 p.m. time slot on the now Comcast owned MSNBC, the sting of what happened to Keith Olbermann is a little less painful, for I could not think of anyone better to pick up the football and continue to march down the field with TRUTH and INTEGRITY on it’s side, than Mr. O’Donnell. O’Donnell, focused on tonight’s “State of the Union” address by President Barrack Obama, the nation’s annual speech, by the President, to the American people, coming every January, spelling out the obvious points that will be covered by both the President and his detractors on the right, and even those on the far, far right. Bernie Sanders, the excellent Senator from the great state of Vermont, an independent, spoke on “The Last Word”, last night, regarding the Republican’s response, coming in the form of representative Paul Ryan, i.e., massive tax breaks for the wealthy, and corporations, really one and the same, massive cuts to social programs such as medicare, medicaid, and social security, along with countless social programs that help out the most vulnerable in our nation, that all add up to sticking it to the poor and indigent in this floundering nation of ours, while continuing to ignore what deregulation over the past thirty years in the oil, “natural gas”, coal, insurance, high finance and other corporate industries, have done, and continue to do, to our fragile and, in some cases, dying environment. Bernie said, “I think at a time when the middle class is collapsing, poverty is increasing, and the richest people are doing phenomenally well, I think we should have a clean and respectful debate about where congressman Ryan (the politician on the “right” hand picked by the elders to deliver their “counter-point”) would like to take the country.” In other words, no more double-speak. I wonder what Antonin Scalia, “Justice” in the Supreme Court, who recently had a pow wow with Michelle Bachmann and the tea party, “thinks” about all of this? At least he is transparent and has shed his a-political position, traditionally reserved for these men and women, who were placed, appointed for life, in an extreme position of power, as Justices of the nation’s highest court, as they continue where they left off from their “Citizens United” mistake, surrounding themselves with the likes of corporate monsters such as the Koch Brothers, David and Charles, while attending secret billionaire meetings held in my old stomping ground of Aspen, Colorado–evoking images of Dr. Evil, played by the incomparable Mike Myers, of SNL fame, in the movie, “Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery,” where he holds the world ransom for say, “one million dollars…?” Of course, that number was already set, just for starters, at 700 billion dollars. On a similar note, the most powerful lobby, arguably, in the United States today, the NRA, must be dealt with by this president, for it is outrageous that WE, as a collective nation, cannot come together and ban the 31 bullet magazines built for deadly hand guns such as the Glock 9 millimeter that was used in the Tuscon, Arizona massacre. And finally today, as I did on Friday’s seacapecod.net edition, Lawrence O’Donnell paid tribute to “the house that Keith built”, and to quote Tom Cruise, as he was getting fired from “SMI”, “sports management incorporated”, in the classic film, “Jerry McGuire”, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to do what you all think I’m going to do and just FREAK out. But, there is such a thing as manners, a way of treating people, these fish, (pointing to the large fish tank in the office filled with over 500 people watching as this all went down) these fish have manners. So, as I ease on out of the office, an office I helped BUILD, a FACT, I am going to take these fish with me.” (Cruise fishes out one of the goldfish in the tank, then turns to the wide eyed co-workers and says) “…whose with me (crickets) whose with me and flipper here?” Yes, Keith is gone, but NOT forgotten, and this is what Lawrence had to say, word for word, although I apologize up front for the upcoming misspellings that you will see, as I did not have the closed caption button turned on for last night’s show, thus, misspelling the names you are about to hear, so again, my deepest apologies for that. Lawrence: “I will never forget the nervousness and inadequacy that I felt when I first substituted for Keith on this hour, July 27, 2009, the boss of the “Countdown” team, the ever gracious Isabella Povich, who is now the boss of me, had obviously instructed the staff to pretend they were confident that I could do it, I knew I couldn’t. There was no way to occupy Keith’s anchor desk without seeming smaller, much smaller in every way that mattered and in every way that made the “show” the most successful hour in MSNBC’s history. I had been nervous doing television before that night, oh, I had been agitated and out of sorts, and off my game, and intemperate, silly even, but never nervous. It took me a while to recognize the feeling, then the feeling was about to overtake me, when Rich Stockwell started talking me through the “show” and suddenly the room was filled with confidence, his, not mine, but it was enough for the both of us and anyone else on the staff who needed any, but none did. These wonderful writers I was meeting for the first time, presented me with elegant scripts–Elin Reilly, who could never fit everything she KNEW in a script, Jonathon Larson, who dug deep and taught me things I did not know, Brenden O’melia, who made me laugh with everything he said or wrote, Harry Fox, Ms. Mishka, and the invaluable Greg Kordic, who wrote all of the connective tissue of the show and made sure that it could be done in sixty minutes, instead of the 120 minutes their material deserved. The show was directed that night by Brian Nalesnik, with help from Dave Sarosi, Ron Zech, Megan Listen, Aaron G., Katie Ramirez, Amy Schuster, and Greg Cochran. By the time the red light went over my camera, I knew that I was in the hands of professionals who simply were not going to let me fail. And when you saw me reading the teleprompter that July night, I know you were disappointed that you were not seeing Keith, but you did not turn away, or should I say click away. You kept on watching not because of me, but because the same people who brought you “Countdown” every night, were still delivering you “Countdown”, the same people, minus one, the most important one, but it was still “Countdown”. I went on to host “Countdown” more than any of us wanted me to, Keith devotedly stayed by his father’s bedside, which sadly turned out to be his final days. I hosted the “show” every night, save one, in March of 2010, and it eventually fell to me to announce to you, Keith’s father’s passing. Keith’s time away from the show last year was not a restful one, and there was certainly no time to rest when he returned. Consider what Keith invented and taught US to do, “Op Ed on tv”. The incomparable Maureen Dowd is a friend of mine and I know if I told her I want her to do five op ed pieces a week, she would tell me, “that it is impossible,” and ask if I know how hard it is to do just one.” I do know, I’ve done a few, very few. That’s why I marvel, as any writer must, at what Keith was doing, FIVE op ed pieces a week, each of them much longer than the standard 800 words. This is the only place on television, where people are surprised, if you leave after eight years. In the entertainment division of this company, if a show like say, “The West Wing”, wins every possible award, and runs for seven years, everyone just applauds an extraordinary show, for an extraordinary run. I saw, I saw exactly how exhausted Aaron Sorkin was after delivering 22 episodes a year of “The West Wing”, while Keith delivered twenty a month. Hundreds of episodes a year. Hundreds of op ed’s a year. Year in and year out. For eight years. I have no idea how he did it, none of us do. No one in television history has done anything like it. And in doing it, he took MSNBC to new heights. I know that I now occupy a platform built for me, by Keith Olbermann, had he not built this show, and welcomed me to it, I would be home tonight, watching, I don’t know, “real housewives of somewhere”. I thank you Keith, my 92 year old mother thanks you too, she could never stay awake past that first commercial break in my 10 o’clock show. Good night mom.” A fine and fitting tribute to a great man, and please, if you get the chance, go back to this past Friday’s commentary on seacapecod.net, where I recognized MR. KEITH OLBERMANN, who did more than save my life, my sanity and my dignity, more than any doctor ever could–he gave me HOPE. For if it is true that “the truth shall set you free”, as Shakespeare wrote over 500 years ago, if that is true, and if it is also true that laughter is the best medicine, than Mr. Keith Olbermann will always be batting a thousand, and will rise once again, perhaps in an even more influential way, as one of the greatest voices the modern news era has ever seen. Mr. Walter Cronkite, who was a friend of mine when I lived and worked on Martha’s Vineyard, would have been proud and honored, if he wasn’t already, to call you a friend and fellow traveler in this crazy, topsy turvy world we all seem to be living in now. May you take some needed time off and may that road continue to always rise at your feet, the sun shine constantly on your face, and the WIND be always at your back! You be careful out there amongst the English! Have a great day everybody. PRESERVE THE WILDERNESS! Peace~M
January 25, 2011
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