Politics And 'Bo': Frenzy Surrounds New First Pet The guys in this week's Barbershop weigh in on the arrival of the first family's new dog, Bo, a Portuguese water dog. Also, Oscar Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx recently had some harsh words for tween music sensation Miley Cyrus (for which he has since apologized).

Politics And 'Bo': Frenzy Surrounds New First Pet

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. It's time for our weekly visit to the Barbershop, where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chairs for a shape-up this week are freelance writer Jimi Izrael; civil-rights attorney and editor, Arsalan Iftikhar; freelance editor Nick Charles; and Ken Rudin, political editor for NPR. Welcome everybody. I may jump in here or there, but for now, take it away, Jimi.

Mr. JIMI IZRAEL (Freelance Writer): Thanks, Michel. Hey yo, fellas, welcome to the shop. How are we doing?

Mr. ARSALAN IFTIKHAR (Civil-rights Attorney): Hey, hey, hey.

Mr. NICK CHARLES (Freelance Editor): Hey, Jimi.

KEN RUDIN: Pretty good.

Mr. IZRAEL: Hey, well you know? President Barack Obama, you know what? He delivers on a campaign promise, and he introduced Bo, the first dog, this week. Now Bo is a Portuguese water dog, a hypoallergenic breed, and unfortunately, homeboy's neutered.

He was a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy, and initially, dude said he was going to - the first dude - said he was looking to get a shelter dog, but a lot of people said a fix was in, and there was some talk of a conspiracy theory, and me personally, I wasn't sure that this was even news. K-dog, Special K, my man. What do you think?

RUDIN: I don't know if there's a conspiracy theory out there, but a lot people say the dog came from the grassy knoll.

(Soundbite of laughter)

RUDIN: I think people were watching that, but I thought Bo - I mean, look. Bo has a great history. I thought he was great in "10" with Dudley Moore. It was one of my favorite movies.

(Soundbite of laughter)

RUDIN: And I was excited about that.

MARTIN: Jimi, what was the conspiracy theory? I don't know - what are you talking about?

Mr. IZRAEL: Well, I mean, okay because people were saying the fix was in early because this was a gift from Kennedy, but…

MARTIN: You know a lot about this for a story you don't think is important. I'm just saying.

Mr. IZRAEL: But Obama had said early on he was looking to get a shelter dog. So you know, him and Kennedy are real cool. So it's looking like, you know, Obama was just talking that talk, but he knew which way he was going to go from the beginning. A-train, I'm wondering who's going to clean up when homeboy diddles, when Bo diddles on the presidential rug.

Mr. IFTIKHAR: Well that's what I was thinking, and you know, being from Chicago, I'm reminded of the better Bo, Vincent Bo Jackson, one of the best dual-sport athletes ever, and you know, I think that when Bo makes a tinkle in the Lincoln bedroom, I hope Barack tells him that Bo, you don't know diddly.

(Soundbite of laughter)

RUDIN: Bo Jackson…

Mr. IZRAEL: Well, speaking of people messing up this week, Jamie Foxx, man.

MARTIN: Wait a minute. Let me just ask this one thing.

Mr. IZRAEL: Yes, okay.

MARTIN: That I know a lot of people, Arsalan you were among them, right, were saying what's up with the dog, but I personally think that the news is so dramatic that people need a relief. I don't know. Ken, what do you think?

RUDIN: No, I agree. I mean…

MARTIN: What's so terrible?

RUDIN: I think if the pirates off the Somali coast had a dog, things would have been so much sweeter there, and they wouldn't have called the seas so ruff.

(Soundbite of groan)

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. IZRAEL: It's so early in the morning.

Mr. CHARLES: Oh come on.

RUDIN: Did I hear Nick complaining?

Mr. CHARLES: This is so sad.

Mr. IZRAEL: Go ahead, Nick.

Mr. CHARLES: It's a non-story. At least this is the first White House appointee that doesn't have to worry about taxes.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. IZRAEL: Okay, well keeping in the motion, speaking of people messing up, Jamie Foxx messed up royally this week. And he apologized on Jay Leno for insulting singer Miley Cyrus on his show, "Foxxhole." You all can get it on satellite, Sirius Radio. You can also get it online some places, too, I think, and I think we've got tape. Is that right?

MARTIN: Yeah, we do, we do. This is the (unintelligible). Apparently, Miley Cyrus said on her blog that she was - she said something on her blog about being upset that Radiohead wouldn't meet with her backstage before the Grammys, and you know, Miley of course is the star of this wildly popular show, "Hannah Montana," very popular with the pre-teen set, with you know, really young kinds like nine, 10, even younger, and this is what Jamie Foxx had to say. We are not going to play the whole bite for reasons that will become clear. Here it is.

(Soundbite of radio program, "The Foxxhole")

Unidentified Woman: I'll make a sex tape.

Mr. JAMIE FOXX (Radio Host): Yeah, make a sex tape and grow up. Be like Britney Spears and do some heroin.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Unidentified Man: Do like Lindsay Lohan.

Mr. FOXX: Do like Lindsay Lohan and start seeing a lesbian. Get some crack in your pipe.

Unidentified Woman: So we can start respecting you as an artist.

Mr. IZRAEL: Okay.

MARTIN: Yeah, and of course, that was his co-host on the program. Then Foxx, who has a 14-year-old daughter, later in the week, apologized for his comments when he was asked about them on Jay Leno. And I just think it's fair to play that as well. Here it is. No we don't have the bite. I'm sorry. I'll just read it to you. I'll just read you what he said. I'm sorry.

Mr. IZRAEL: Okay.

MARTIN: He said, there was a situation with Miley Cyrus. And I just want to say, I apologize for what I said. I didn't mean it maliciously. You know I'm a comedian. You know my heart, Miley. I apologize. I will call you. I got a daughter too. I completely understand.

MARTIN: And he went on to say that, look, you know, I'm a comedian and you get into a zone when you're doing that. So there you have it. But, you know, all of you are fathers, well except Arsalan. He's a father in training. So…

Mr. IZRAEL: Well, well, thanks for that Michel. And you know what, as I wrote about on theroot.com, you know, I have a daughter and if homeboy had went at my daughter like that, I guarantee you that his prognosis would be…

MARTIN: Unpredictable.

Mr. IZRAEL: Because I'd be trying to hunt homeboy down for reals. Nick, my man, what do you think? I mean, I think - I think 16 year olds, I think all women and kids, off limits. What do you think?

Mr. CHARLES: Well, you know, he's just saying, I'm a comedian. But that's not comedian, you know, the radio like that it's just trashing people. And there's no reason to go after Miley Cyrus or anybody else in that way.

Mr. IZRAEL: Right.

Mr. CHARLES: Then he remembers, oh, I have a 14-year-old daughter who actually watched "Hannah Montana" and she might be offended, so I'm going to apologize. And then he hides and says, well, you know, when I'm in the zone. That's not in a zone. That's a bunch of guys sitting around just going through newspapers and clippings and radio and TV and just trashing who they can. And then you can tell the girl to make a sex tape. You know, Billy Ray is like, he's upset, no forget upset, fired up.

Mr. IFTIKHAR: I mean, honestly on behalf of the Barbershop, I'm going to jump into the Foxx-hole and give him the ridunculous award of the week.

Mr. IZRAEL: My man.

Mr. IFTIKHAR: Jamie Foxx, you are a grown man going after a little Disney tweeny bopper girl who said something about Radiohead, who by the way, is way out of Miley Cyrus' league. Thom Yorke and Radiohead were named number 73 on Rolling Stones' greatest artists of all time. So this is a non-story and Jamie Foxx just gets the ridunculous award.

MARTIN: Well, here's - oh, go ahead, Ken.

Mr. RUDIN: I was just going to say, it's not even just the fact that she's underage and that's also a problem but under the guise of comedy people will say what they want. You know, the Don Imus thing about the Nappy-head hoes, I mean, he said, well, it's a comedy. It's not if comedy gets insulting and it's ugly. I remember a lot of people say, you know, like I a lot of times say things I wish I hadn't said. I once out loud said the words Dick Army. I didn't even know he was a congressman, but I was reprimanded for that. I feel you have to watch what you say at all times.

MARTIN: As you will be again.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: But here's my question - here's my question.

Mr. IZRAEL: Go ahead.

MARTIN: Is Jamie Foxx getting - I mean, he apologized, which was the stand up thing to do. But is he getting a pass because he's a comedian, he's popular in a way that Don Imus did not? That's my question.

Mr. IZRAEL: I don't think so. I think the same rules apply but I get your point. I think to some degree he is getting a bit of a pass. But, you know, when people start entering in this realm where they're doing culture commentary, you just have to know, pick bigger targets, you know, that's the rule. Pick big targets.

MARTIN: Who should be picking a bigger target? Because - should it - my question is, if this had been the reverse, where a white comedian had taken on and made disparaging comments about a 16-year-old young black girl, like a Raven Simone(ph) would we have heard more about it? That's my question.

Mr. CHARLES: You know what, I think the one thing that differentiates the Imus and the Foxx thing is the racialist concept of it. When Don Imus said the Nappy-headed hoes, there was definitely, whether or not it's racist, it was a racialist connotation to it. Here he was just dropping the b word, telling her to smoke heroin. There was no racialist, you know…

Mr. IZRAEL: Yeah there was.

MARTIN: Why isn't calling a 16 year old the b word worthy of the same level of opprobrium and, you know, saying, you know, make a sex tape.

Unidentified Man: Sexist…

MARTIN: So, sex is okay, race is not okay?

Mr. CHARLES: No but they're different. Sexism is different than racism. No…

Mr. IZRAEL: He did know her color, bro.

Mr. CHARLES: I heard the clip…

MARTIN: He called her a white - we didn't play that clip…

Mr. IZRAEL: He called her the white b. Yes.

MARTIN: Yeah, exactly. So…

Mr. IFTIKHAR: Well, then it changes, obviously. You know, I didn't know that there was a…

Mr. IZRAEL: Yeah, yeah, that's all kind of problematic, bro. All kind of problematic.

Mr. CHARLES: It's all wrapped up in the fact that, you know, its all being mean and mean-spirited.

Mr. IZRAEL: Right.

Mr. CHARLES: And when you get that, you know, after this new movie comes out, maybe he's looking for some attention because the movie is not that good. And he's moved into this arena now with the Foxxhole where it's basically, you know, Imus light or Imus dark, if you want to call it. He just goes after people. And going after a woman like Miley Cyrus, a young girl like Miley Cyrus just shows the levels which people will stoop.

And, you know, he's sort of being egged on. People forget, Imus egged on by the people - his hangers on, his co-hosts. And it's the same thing, you can hear the people in the back with Jamie Foxx egging him on and saying the really bad stuff. It's on him because it's his show but these folks just say whatever they want under the cover of…

MARTIN: Well - I just want to point out, his new movie "The Soloist" in which he stars, is getting a tremendous - I don't know - its not out yet, so I don't know whether it's good or not good, but I know that it's getting a lot of attention because of the story and also because of the - you know, high powered cast. He costars with Robert Downey Jr. His song is number one on the charts right now. So it's not like he needs the attention.

Mr. IFTIKHAR: Right. And that's why he gets a ridunculous award.

Mr. CHARLES: But "The Soloist" has been postponed twice in terms of being released. And he even got upset with the studio because they haven't released it because they didn't think it was that good.

MARTIN: I do think you make a good point about being egged on by co-hoster or whatever. There is that element of it. But I do think - I do sort of wonder why it is that people - why - where's the break? Why is it that people don't understand that there are certain things you just don't say? I don't understand that.

Mr. IZRAEL: But I also think that Michel, to your point - but I also think that people tune into satellite radio and people like Imus, and they're listening for that provocative content. So I don't - I mean there are certain things that are off limits but you're tuning into the Foxxhole or you're tuning into Don Imus, you're going in knowing that nothing is off limits.

RUDIN: Especially on satellite radio when obviously people are paying for it. It's not that this is in the public airwaves and people get insulted. You turn to satellite radio, you turn to the Imus because you want to hear misogynist, sexist, racist stuff and everybody laughs which is part of the…

MARTIN: I take your point. It's not over the - sort of the public airwaves, you have to tune into it, you have to buy it. You have to have special equipment to use it, to access it. I see your point. Let me just jump in just briefly to say, if you're just joining us, we're having our weekly visit with the Barbershop on TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin and we're visiting with Jimi Izrael, Nick Charles, Ken Rudin and Arsalan Iftikhar. Back to you Jimi.

Mr. IZRAEL: Thank you. You know, Jamie Foxx jumped offsides. And, you know what, speaking of people getting off the field of play, sportscaster John Madden, he's retiring from the game this week, I believe. And we got tape, right?

MARTIN: We do. He said, the 73 year-old, he's been a player, a coach, has this incredibly successful video game franchise. But I think most people know him now as a colorful, as a color commentator for football. And lets listen to what he said when he decided to retire. Here it is.

Mr. JOHN MADDEN (Sportscaster): I decided to retire. Heck, I can't even say it but I decided to retire. And you know, it's tough, not because I'm not sure it's the right time. I mean, I really feel strongly that this is the right time, but I'm just going to miss everything about it because, you know, I enjoyed it so much.

Mr. IZRAEL: Oh, man, you can hear his heart breaking. Thanks for that Michel. You know you mentioned his video game. It sold 70 million copies and it sold -and it's made over $2 with-a-b billion since 1989. Now you know what, some people say he changed football. Some people just say he changed sports broadcasting. Nick, what do you say?

Mr. CHARLES: You know, I love John Madden. I'm not a EA Sports person so I've never played Madden the game.

MR. IZRAEL: Hey, it's in the game, bro.

Mr. CHARLES: But I love him as a sportscaster. I love him as a football personality. I love him as somebody who always looks for the best in every play, in every player and in every game. And my concern is that they're replacing him with Chris Collinsworth, who, I'm like, he's the most cynical person that I've ever heard talk about sports. He can't wait to talk bad about athletes. And John Madden was like whether or not people were good on or off the field, he always tried to find the good in it. And I am going to miss him.

RUDIN: Can I just say something?

Mr. IZRAEL: At least they're not replacing him with Dennis Miller. Go ahead, Ken.

RUDIN: I was thinking, I mean - it's almost as if John Madden were part of the Barbershop because what we talk about here is sports and screaming and say no, and then, boom and this. We watch football. We watch the hitting. And I think Madden is just like all of us, all of these little kids who just grow up and say we wish we could do that. And I think, you know, he's an honorary Barbershop member.

Mr. IFTIKHAR: Absolutely and I would even go further and say that John Madden is the Vito and Andolini Corleone of the National Football League. For any person who has heard the words EA Sports, it's in the game, in the college dorm room anywhere, we need to, you know, honor the man who's given 40 years of his life. You know what I find the most interesting is the fact that he had this phobia of flying so he took a bus to every game that he went to. That is the love of the game.

MARTIN: You know what I like about him is that - you know, I'm not a huge football fan. There are just other sports that I like more and know more about. But what I like about him is that you can watch him whether you know a lot or don't know a lot and still understand and appreciate what he's saying. You know, he doesn't make you feel stupid.

You know like's there some people who you listen to and if you haven't been watching it for 20 years and been studying, you know, every sports page you can't follow what they're saying. And he, you can follow what he's saying, you can really kind of get into it and his enthusiasm without having a deep knowledge. And you know he has it. I mean, one of the things I always felt was funny was he'll predict the play that's going to be called before its played. And you think, how did he know? What? You know, how did he know that?

Mr. IZRAEL: Well, Nick since you don't like the choice (unintelligible) I mean, who would you choose, bro?

Mr. CHARLES: I don't know. It's a pairing. You know, it's like, you know, it's chemistry. Who would you put in there with Al Michaels? You have to find somebody who can balance out. Al Michaels is very straight - a very straight man. So you need somebody a little off kilter, a little - with some flavor, who could, you know, balance that pairing.

And I don't think, Chris Collinsworth is it. I don't know who's out there right now, you know, I know people they were trying to groom, Matt Miller, who I knew as a GM in Detroit, for the Lions. But maybe he's the kind of person, the oversized kind of figure who could like make that kind of pairing.

RUDIN: What about Jamie Foxx?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. IZRAEL: You know what? Al Roker, but don't tase me bro. You know, who I'd like to see step in, I'd like Bryant Gumbel to get back behind the sportscasting.

RUSIN: Oh.

Mr. CHARLES: Bring Dan Dierdorf back. Al Michaels and Dan Dierdorf.

MARTIN: I have an idea. Condi Rice.

Mr. CHARLES: She wants to be.

MARTIN: Condi Rice.

RUDIN: She wants to be commissioner.

MARTIN: I know she does. But she's got to start somewhere.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. IZRAEL: Condi the commish.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. CHARLES: Condi and Al Michaels. Can you imagine, Ken?

MARTIN: Well, I don't know, for people who don't know, former Secretary Of State, former National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, huge football fan, fanatical football fan. But okay - you should see the looks that I'm getting here - I feel like my body getting cold.

RUDIN: I want to say one more thing about Madden. You know, we talk about - I mean, we watched him on TV, but for us old-timers, somebody died this week, a guy named Les Keiter. And of course you didn't see him on TV. You listened to him on the radio. But Les Keiter did the Ali-Liston fight in February of 1964. And I remember as a little kid there, sitting and listening to that and listening - everybody thought that Liston would knockout Ali within seconds. And you hear Keiter saying, what is wrong with Sonny Liston? What is going on with Sonny Liston?

And of course, Liston never comes out for the bell in the seventh round, and Ali becomes champion. But I still think as a little, you know, all these years later, you think of great sportscasters who put in some kind of a influence on your life, I think of Les Keiter announcing that Ali upset in '64. I'll never forget that.

MARTIN: Hmm.

Mr. IFTIKHAR: That's sweet.

MARTIN: That is sweet. That is sweet.

RUDIN: I'm a sweet guy sometimes.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Write that down. Write the day down.

Mr. CHARLES: In small doses. Small…

MARTIN: All right, we have to leave it there. We have to leave it there. Jimi Izrael is a freelance journalist who writes for theroot.com and TV1 Online. He joined us from member station WCPN in Cleveland. Nick Charles is a freelance editor and writer. He joined us from our bureau in New York. Ken Rudin is NPR's political editor, our political junkie. He joined us from our studios in Washington. And Arsalan Iftikhar is the founder of the Muslimguy.com and a civil rights attorney. He was also here with us in our studios in Washington. Gentlemen, thank you.

Mr. IFTIKHAR: Peace.

Mr. CHARLES: Thanks, Michel.

RUDIN: I am sweet.

Mr. IZRAEL: Yup, yup.

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