***Quick update: The show is over and I’m still floored by the interview with Rabbi Nesenoff, the man who asked Helen Thomas the question that led to her resignation this morning. Now, in addition to feeling sorry for Helen, I feel sorry for this man who I think gives Rabbis a bad name, and shows why there’s so much Antisemitism in this country today. As a Jew, I hate what Helen said, but really despise the situation that’s causing the fighting. My interview with Rabbi Nesenoff comes at about 30 minutes into the podcast, which you can hear by clicking the link above.***
I guess we should start with Helen Thomas. The Grand Dame of the White House Press Corps was shamed into retirement today after criticism of her from all sides surrounded her because of this video:
As the video points out, the offending remarks were made on May 27, 2010, when the White House was celebrating American Jewish Heritage Day. Rabbi David Nesenoff was out an about, apparently asking anyone he could the same question, “Any thoughts on Israel?” The Rabbi posted the video on his website and YouTube, and the rest, as they say, is history. Rabbi Nesenoff will be my guest this evening on the show.
After the news broke of Helen Thomas’ resignation, I attempted to contact her as well. Unfortunately, her office number goes to a full voicemail box, and the cell phone number I had for her seems to be disconnected.
I feel awful about this turn of events. Helen Thomas has shown herself to be anti-Semitic. As a Jew, I felt particularly stung by her comments. But I’m also conflicted because, for years, I’ve applauded her tough questions to presidents, particularly on the subject of war. I’ll miss her questions, always knowing that they’re the ones I’d been screaming at the tube!
Last week, during President Obama’s press conference, Helen Thomas asked the one question about the war in Afghanistan, which today becomes our longest war ever! We’ve now been there for 104 months – eight and a half years, surpassing the war in Vietnam. During that presser, President Obama stated:
“More than anything else, this economic and environmental tragedy – and it’s a tragedy – underscores the urgent need for this nation to develop clean, renewable sources of energy. Doing so will not only reduce threats to our environment. It’ll create a new, homegrown American industry that can lead to countless new businesses and new jobs.
We talked about doing this for decades, and we made significant strides last year when it comes to investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The House of Representatives has already passed a bill that would finally jump start a permanent transition to a clean energy economy, and there’s currently a plan in the Senate – a plan that was developed with ideas from Democrats and Republicans – that would achieve that same goal.
If nothing else, this disaster should serve as a wake-up call that it’s time to move forward on this legislation.”
Aside from Helen Thomas’ question, that statement from the president stood out to me. Because as much as we need legislation that will promote and “jump start a permanent transition to a clean energy economy,” I don’t believe that the legislation currently moving through Congress actually achieves that goal. We’ll check in with the director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, Tyson Slocum, and get his thoughts on that question.
We’ll also talk about the protest they held yesterday, at BP’s Washington DC headquarters. Here’s tonight’s guest at yesterday’s rally:
There will be many more such rallies and protests taking place all over the country tomorrow. Tonight, I’ll speak briefly with Danielle, a fellow South Floridian and blogger, who’s organizing one on Dania Beach tomorrow night at 7pm.
As we do every evening at the start of hour two, we’ll get an update on the news of the day from the Talk Radio News Service. I’ll have a few words to say about Elton John singing for Rush Limbaugh’s 4th wedding.