Keith Olbermann Nominated For Emmy Award

Keith Olbermann was nominated for an Emmy Award for the above tribute to his mother following her death. A transcript was also posted by Diogenes2008 at Daily Kos:

And finally, how does one tell this story?  My mother passed away Saturday night.  Our number one story on the COUNTDOWN, Marie Katherine Charbonier Olbermann, 1929-2009.  This remembrance is not going to be a medical story, although lord knows mom was the foremost authority on her own health.  Nor is it going to consist of me telling you that she was the proverbial saint, although I can hear her saying, go ahead.  I‘m not going to disagree with you.  Who is going to disagree with you?

It is not going to be a full biography.  Suffice to say, she was a gifted preschool teacher and a legendary authority on opera.  Somewhere, she is going to be genuinely disappointed that I did not get Placido Domingo to sing at the memorial service.  I thought instead it would be best to focus on something for which she became and remained pretty famous, literally until the day she died.

My mother was one of the best-known baseball fans in this country.  She attended games of the New York Yankees from 1934 to 2004, and she watched or listened to every one she didn‘t go to up until last month.  My guess is she went to at least 1,500 of them, most of them in that seat right there, where the Fox cameras captured her late in the season of 2000.

As recently as the 13th of last month, Jerry Manual, the manager of the New York Mets, came over to me on a field in Lakeland, Florida before an exhibition game and asked me how she was.  He was the fifth or sixth active baseball figure to have done so this year alone.  They have averaged at least one or two a month for nearly a decade now.  Saturday afternoon, not six hours before mom died, a New York Yankees executive made reference to that which had made mom famous in the ballparks, and trust me, mom loved being famous in the ballparks.  Even if it had to have been attained this way on June 17th, 2000.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And these are the problems that have become well documented over the last few days.  Throwing it into the stands and ironically enough, the ball hit Keith Olbermann‘s mother right between the eyes.  She was all right.  The glasses were broken.


OLBERMANN:  Four days after her birthday, mom had found herself in the middle of one of the great melt downs in sports history, a sudden and growing inability of the ill-fortuned second baseman Chuck Knoblauch of the Yankees to make any kind of throw, easy or hard, to first base.  Chuck was in the middle of losing his beloved father at that time.  Though I thought I got what that meant to him then, I didn‘t really understand it at all until this afternoon as I wrote this, and I struggled to find the right keys, let alone the right words.

For three days in 2000, mom was on one or both of the covers of the “New York Post” and the “New York Daily News” and “New York News Day.”  She was somewhere in every newspaper in America.  And all this happened while I was the host of the baseball game of the week for Fox.  Needless to say, I managed to get an interview with her for the pregame show the following Saturday, an exclusive interview.  Although don‘t think I didn‘t have to work for it.


OLBERMANN:  Joining us now for her first interview since the Knoblauch incident, my mom.  Are you OK?

MARIE OLBERMANN, MOTHER OF KEITH OLBERMANN:  I‘m pretty good.  A little bruised, but OK.

OLBERMANN:  Mom, you‘ve been going to games since—so long that you met Babe Ruth when you were a toddler.  Have you ever been near a foul ball or thrown ball before?

M. OLBERMANN:  Not that close.  No, not really.  No.

OLBERMANN:  And this was close enough?

M. OLBERMANN:  Too close.

OLBERMANN:  A lot of the pitchers are saying this year that the hitters are doing better because the ball is harder than it has been in the past.  Would you agree that it‘s harder than it has been in the past?

M. OLBERMANN:  It‘s the hardest one I‘ve ever been hit with.

OLBERMANN:  You went back to Yankee Stadium the next day.  Why?

M. OLBERMANN:  To see the game.

OLBERMANN:  Do you have any worry about Chuck, either as a Yankee fan or for your own safety?

M. OLBERMANN:  Not really.  I sympathize with him.

OLBERMANN:  Why do you sympathize with him?

M. OLBERMANN:  Because I‘m a little awkward at times too.

OLBERMANN:  But you‘re not playing second base with the Yankees, are you?

M. OLBERMANN:  Not yet.

OLBERMANN:  Have you been surprised by all the newspaper attention?

M. OLBERMANN:  A little bit, but I want to know why they keep mentioning you.

OLBERMANN:  Uh, OK.  What matters most, obviously, mom, is that you‘re all right.  But I‘ve got to ask you, in closing, it‘s no secret that I collect memorabilia.  Like I‘m telling you something you don‘t know.  You had to clean most of it up.  But can have the ball?

M. OLBERMANN:  You can bid on it when I auction it off, just like everyone else.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Four million.  Thank you, sir.

OLBERMANN:  My mother, everybody.


OLBERMANN:  My great thanks to my old boss, David Hill, at Fox Sports, for his kindness in letting us run that tonight.

Anyway, for the rest of the year, any time Fox broadcast a game from Yankee Stadium, mom got on TV again.  We even talked about her during the World Series broadcast that fall, during which began this ritual that continues to this day, players, players who were at the game, players who only heard about the game, players asked me about my mom.

Since the day it happened, I‘ve been told Chuck Knoblauch has been mortified by it.  Chuck, give yourself a break.  You made her famous.  She loved it.  She could not have been happier if they let her pinch-hit for you.

A full circle that is.  It was mother who was the fan in our family.  My dad likes the game enough, but the Yankees traded his favorite player away, and he‘s still mad at them.  This happened late in 1948.  So it was mom who introduced me to the game.  In my teenage years, when we went nearly every day, it was she who trundled me and my sister to the ballpark.  It was on her TV that I came to love the sport and by her side that I began to understand it.  And sitting next to her that I began to understand that I was not going to be any damn good playing it, and if I wanted in, maybe I‘d better try talking about it.

Thus was born a career, the results of which you see now.  At least half of the ham comes from her.  She was an aspiring ballerina.  And when I keep talking and talking and talking, for good or for ill, that‘s pretty much all her.  What I don‘t have pictures of are the thousands of hours she spent driving me to and from school so I could work on the newspaper or announce the hockey game.

In retrospect, it‘s obvious she was, to adapt a phrase, a media mom.  It was the proverbial sudden illness in the best of senses.  She had no apparent symptoms until two weeks ago.  She was not severely afflicted until ten days ago.  The treatment lessened her pain, and she never awakened, thus never had to hear, nor did any of us have to say, you have terminal cancer.

I‘m not going to end with harangue about how you need to go see your doctor, because not feeling so bad does not mean you are not sick, though you should keep that in mind.  But knowing those of you who watch this show and others I‘ve done, I‘m always overwhelmed by your support and how personally you take all this.  If you are so inclined, instead of flowers or card or whatever, make a donation to Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation or St. Jude‘s hospital.  They do such important work there too.

Marie Olbermann is survived by her husband, my dad, my sister Jen and her husband and their two kids, Jacob and Eve, mom‘s grandchildren.  By her cousins Robert and Bill Shlombom (ph) and their families, by just about everybody in baseball, and by me.  Good night, mom, and good luck.

Olbermann has already won the Edward R. Murrow award for this story. He has won multiple other awards for reporting, including a previous Edward R. Murrow award for his coverage of the events of 9/11.

Conservative Hysteria Over New Black Panther Party

Yet another bogus conservative meme surfacing recently has been about a New Black Panther Party practicing voter intimidation. Jonathan Chait looked at the claims yesterday:

What you’re starting to see from Fox News now, though, is the most widespread and mainstream right-wing effort to exploit racial fears against Obama. The putative issue is the claim that the Obama Justice Department is failing to prosecute a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party. If you’re interested in the merits of the case, which are extremely flimsy, a good rundown can be found at Fourth Branch. Even if the conservative interpretation of this event were actually true, it’s obviously a tiny matter. Nobody has produced a voter who even claims to have been intimidated — the voters at the polling station were virtually all black anyway — nor is there any credible claim of anything remotely approaching a systematic attempt to intimidate white voters at the polls.

The story fit well into the narrative coming from Tea Party rallies, right wing talk radio, and Fox:

At a recent town hall meeting, conservative protesters exploded with rage when Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman denied that Obama’s Justice Department has a policy of never prosecuting African-Americans. There has been a great deal of right-wing insanity unleashed over the last year and a half, but this is the first time that the fear has an explicitly racial cast. You now have the largest organ of movement conservatism promoting Limbaugh’s idee fixe that the Obama administration represents black America’s historical revenge against whites.

Debunking Claims Al Franken Won Due To Illegal Votes

Talking Points Memo debunks recent right wing claims that Al Franken won his Senate seat due to fellons voting illegally for Franken. The claims originated with a conservative group, Minnesota Majority, and have been spread by Fox and others:

As it turns out, though, Minnesota Majority’s study has had its share of sloppiness and false assumptions. As the Twin Cities NBC affiliate noted, it’s not even proven that hundreds of felons illegally voted at all — in some cases there were felons who could legally vote in Minnesota, having had their rights restored, and in other cases Minnesota Majority submitted the names of the wrong people:

In reality, that has not been proven. And the actual number of felons who voted illegally will likely be much lower based on reviews from prosecutors who received Minnesota Majority’s lists in the form of spread sheets in February.

“We received about 480 names from Minnesota Majority,” Ramsey County’s lead prosecutor Phil Carruthers told KARE Wednesday, “About 270 were clearly inaccurate and were rejected right from the get-go.”

He said a quick review revealed the names and birthdates didn’t match, or that the felons in question were no longer barred from voting.In addition, instances of individual felons voting is different from any organized fraud. As Franken’s former attorney Marc Elias told The Hill: “Sen. Coleman was represented by some of the best lawyers there are in the country. At the end of that process, the lead lawyer for Sen. Coleman told the state Supreme Court that there was no evidence of persistent fraud in the election.”

Furthermore, the report runs up against a pesky obstacle that in this country dates back to the late 19th century, called the secret ballot. Even if it were proven that hundreds of illegal votes were cast, it can’t ever be proven who those people voted for. Right-wing media outlets have simply been assuming that all the felons voted for Franken. In fact, there was one solid case in January 2009 of a felon who pled guilty to illegally voting — and he said he voted for Coleman, though his word is obviously less than 100% credible. But in any case, the point stands: It can’t be proven who any one of these people would have voted for, or what any spread might have been, much less that they would have all voted for one candidate out of several who were on the ballot.

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Quote of the Day

“Rush Limbaugh had an apartment here in New York City. He sold the apartment for $11.5 million. That is $2.5 million for the apartment and $9 million for what they found in the medicine cabinet.” —David Letterman