Radio and news veteran Mike Opelka, host of Pure Opelka on TheBlaze and editor of FireWire, TheBlaze daily newsletter, filled in for Glenn on The Glenn Beck Program today, Friday, December 30.
Read below or listen to the full segment from Hour 1 for answers to these questions:
• How did Putin "alpha male" Barack Obama?
• Is Hillary Clinton the new Nemo?
• Is Mike obsessed with pyrotechnics?
• What has Mike so impressed by the NYPD?
• Who is D.A. Henderson and why is he the most significant person who died this year?
Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:
MIKE: Hello, friends and neighbors. My name is Mike Opelka. And I will be here today and Monday. I will be ending the year on the Glenn Beck Program and kicked off 2017. Coming to you live from the constitutionally protected free speech bunker in the woods of Delaware. The first state to ratify the Constitution.
I'm proud to be here. I'm proud to have returned to the show.
If you don't know me, I hope we get to know each other over the next couple of days. I am part of TheBlaze.com. Have been a part of TheBlaze.com for officially -- well, next week -- officially six years. Next week, I will enter my seventh year as part of TheBlaze.com. Written over 2500 -- almost 3,000 pieces for TheBlaze. And you can see them on TheBlaze.com.
I encourage you to visit TheBlaze, as well as other news sources. I'm a guy who believes that we need to take in as much information as possible in order to understand the whole picture, try and see it from as many different points of view as you can and try and find as much truth as possible because I'm a person who believes the truth has no agenda.
Today -- today I want to do a couple of things. Obviously, we are going to deal with the fact that Vladimir Putin just alpha maled Barack Obama in the biggest way I have seen to date. That's absolutely right.
Putin just alpha maled Obama, dropped the mic, and walked off. What am I talked about? Well, I'll tell you in a minute.
We are going to introduce you to a hero, a veteran, a retired Army vet who is doing something amazing right now. He's doing something. He's not asking for money. He's only ask for attention and awareness. And we're going to talk to him. A real hero.
We're also -- also going to talk with a doctor. I was fascinated by the story this week, you know, heartbroken as well, the story of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds passing away within 24 hours of each other. What a tragic story.
But the speculation that Debbie Reynolds may have died of a broken heart and the theory that, "Hey, could that really happen?" It made me think, "We need a medical professional here." So we're going to talk to a medical professional today and get an opinion on that. A guy who has been -- he's on TV all the time. But he's got an operating practice in different parts of the country than I'm based. And he's a very clear speaker on topics of health.
And as heart disease is still killing more people in this country than anything, we need to be aware of that. So can you die of a broken heart? We'll find out later.
This is also the kiss-off of 2016. So if you want to join me today, you can -- you can talk about what you're not going to miss from 2016. The phone number here -- lines are always open. 888-727-BECK. 888-727-2325. Share your thoughts.
You can tweet at me as well. My Twitter identity is @stuntbrain. That's all one word. S-T-U-N-T B-R-A-I-N. And use the #whatIwon'tmissabout2016. What I won't miss about 2016.
One of the top things on my list, if we could prevent it from happening in 2017, would be man buns. I'm really sick of the man bun. If you only knew how silly it made you look. If you had any idea of how the majority -- and maybe you don't care. And maybe I'm jealous because my hair, which had been very long for years, is gone. Pretty much.
But 2016 has been probably the most troublesome year in my life.
And, yes, there were blessings in 2016. There were new members in our family, our extended family. There were new engagements in our extended family. There were wonderful things happening. I was given the opportunity to do a nighttime show on TheBlaze Radio Network, which I do from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. I hope you will stop in for that.
And so many other things just to be thankful for. But there are things that I am very happy to just wave buh-bye to 2016. So you will be -- I welcome you. I welcome you to share your thoughts about what you won't miss about 2016.
Now, the news from yesterday, we heard for quite some time that Barack Obama was going to retaliate, was going to respond to Russia. And the reports that Russia meddled in our election. And yesterday, we got the news that, in fact, the president was going to give -- and this to me seemed like a game show: You've got 72 hours to get out of the country. Pack your bags and get out, Russia. Thirty-five diplomats or people masquerading as diplomats were told they had to leave. And they were going to close these two compounds. The one 45-acre compound in Maryland. Massive place that the Soviet Union purchased back in the '70s. I wonder what happens to that.
If you tell them they have to get out, I wonder what becomes of that property. Are we allowed to then go in and search it? Are we allowed to see what's been going on in there? What will happen, Russia?
You know what I need, I need to light up the Buck Sexton symbol and see if Buck will call in and explain. I know he's getting -- he's on vacation. But he's also working on something else for today. I think he's filling in for Rush Limbaugh actually.
But this morning, all of the mainstream media sources were reporting, "Oh, my God, Russia is react. Russia is going to react to President Obama telling the 35 diplomats they were expelled. They have 72 hours to get out." And reciprocity was going to happen. And so this morning, the mainstream media was full-on reporting that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had told Putin, "We must retaliate. We must expel 35 Americans from the country."
And I can't tell you how many times I heard this morning the phrase "tit-for-tat." Yes, we get it, Mainstream Media. They're still saying it. But despite the fact that that's not happening.
Lavrov Told Putin, quote, we cannot leave such acts unanswered. Reciprocity is a part of diplomatic law.
And Putin's spokesperson said there's no doubt that Russia's adequate and mirror response will make Washington officials feel very uncomfortable as well.
Little did we know how accurate that statement was. Putin, as I mentioned earlier, has just alpha maled Barack Obama. Totally alpha maled him. And I think this is amazing. Absolutely amazing. Putin basically laughed at Obama and called this -- basically called this an 11th-hour temper tantrum and said Russia won't cause problems to US diplomats. Russia will not deport anyone. Russia has the right to respond, but will not engage in irresponsible diplomacy.
That's one mic drop right there.
Vladimir Putin just told the president of the United States what he did was irresponsible diplomacy. And he saved -- he saved some even bigger shots. He called it kitchen diplomacy. Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible kitchen diplomacy, but will plan further steps to restore Russian/US relations, based on the policies of the Trump administration. Boom!
But wait, there's more. Vladimir Putin congratulated Trump and the American people on the New Year, and he did something -- first of all, when Putin says this, you know it's got to tick off the Obama administration because Putin just really -- he really did drop the mic on Obama, call him an irresponsible kitchen diplomacy, his move. But now, every one of those Russian diplomats has got to know that they're being watched even closer. Every one of them has to know -- and let's not forget, earlier in the year, we had a situation where an American diplomat was trying to enter their compound and was tackled to the ground by a Russian police and/or military person because they were claiming they couldn't identify with them. Russia has been messing with our diplomats for a while, and this is a big one. But Putin played an even bigger -- bigger card here.
Not only did he congratulate Donald Trump, the president-elect, and the American people, wishing them a Happy New Year. He invited all of the children of the US diplomats in Russia, all of them to come to the Kremlin and celebrate the holidays.
Obama lost the diplomatic war on the way out. Let's face it, 21 days from today, we will have a new president. Twenty-one days from today, it becomes the Trump administration versus the Obama administration.
He said, Putin, in his exact -- in the translated words, "It is regrettable that the Obama administration is ending its term in this manner. Nevertheless, I offer my New Year greetings to President Obama and his family. My seasons greetings to President-elect Donald Trump and the American people. I wish you all happiness and prosperity."
Now, part of me believes that Mr. Putin has his tongue planted firmly in his cheek, and he doesn't wish us anything close to happiness. But what he did here was the ultimate checkmate move in this diplomatic battle. It's just a piece of brilliance.
And will I get in trouble for praising a guy like Vladimir Putin? I don't care. That was a great move. Obama was -- Obama and Kerry this week have been so outclassed on both the Russian and Israeli problems. The only words I have for them is, "Bye, Felicia."
If you ever wanted an example of a kakistocracy, a word I've used before, a word Glenn has used before -- government by the worst possible individuals -- you have to look no further than President Obama and John Kerry on the situation of Israel and Russia in the past week.
It's a stunning example of the kakistocracy that we are currently dealing with. It's amazing.
I have to exhale. I know. I got all wound up. We just started the show. Mike Opelka is my name. This is the Glenn Beck Program.
You know, I have so much more to talk about because -- because there are so many things going on in the world today. I want to wrap up some of the memories of the year. We will -- we will recall some of the people who have left us. And since the media is focused on celebrities, I want to focus on some people who -- who left us in 2016 who were big difference makers. People you may never hear about. People the media seems to gloss over because they didn't have a movie out last year or they didn't sell 100 million records. But how about somebody that saved 500 million lives?
One person. You want to know about him? They lost -- we lost them this year. I'm going to stop away from it. When I get back, I will share with you the story of someone the media doesn't seem to be talking about, but we should be. At least I think we should be.
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MIKE: Mike Opelka is my name, filling in for my friend, my boss Glenn Beck on this, the final Glenn Beck Program of 2016. We are discussing many topics, both the latest news and news stories and stuff we won't miss when 2016 finally leaves.
And I think someone is actually call in from Florida. I missed the name. Who is with me today?
CALLER: Hi, I'm Alex. And I'm in St. Petersburg, Florida.
MIKE: Hey, Alex. I'm jealous of your weather and your golf courses.
But what won't you miss about 2016?
CALLER: Well, I guess I'm optimistic to think that it won't happen in 2017. But I'm not going to miss disinformation, truthfulness -- truthiness, or post truth, or whatever you want to call it.
You know, I try to -- I joined every single Trump fan group on Facebook I could find. Not -- I don't comment. I just read. And I tried to understand what they think. Because, you know, I'm very different them. But also similar in some ways. But it seems that the things that get the most likes and the things that are best received are things that, with just a couple minute check -- you know, if you have the ability to check on the internet or, you know, at a computer at the library -- I don't know -- you would find out that it wouldn't be true.
MIKE: That's true.
CALLER: Little things.
CALLER: But also huge things.
MIKE: There are many misconceptions and mistruths still being spread. And I think we have to vigilant. And somebody said to me, you know, not just to our own, but also to the snowflakes that we've been mocking. And I'm going to tell you, I'll raise my hand, I mock the snowflakes every day. But what I think we need to do is make sure we educate them. Each one of us has to teach someone.
Alex, I got to jump because I'm up against a hard break, and I have to share this story of a person we lost this year. Thank you for joining the show. Anybody can call in today.
The guy I wanted to tell you about -- I know you're all thinking, "Antonin Scalia. You want to talk about Justice Scalia's death." No, that was a huge death. That was a massive death. And thankfully, it looks like we've weathered that storm. And we will have a Supreme Court that with any hope and luck and clear -- clear choices from President Trump, we will have a Supreme Court that will defend the Constitution going forward for decades.
I hope and pray that in my world, Justice Ted Cruz would be a wonderful gift from this new president. But the guy I think we need to salute and say, "God bless, rest in peace," is D.A. Henderson. D.A. Henderson died in August. He was a doctor, a doctor who basically saved 500 million lives.
Wait. What, Mike? How come we never heard of him? Henderson was a guy who led the eradication of smallpox by taking the smallpox vaccine around the world. He decided to do this in 1966. Led the World Health Organization's war on smallpox. And by 1977, the last known case was found in a hospital cook in Somalia.
The disease has been officially eradicated as of 1980. And, yes, we keep examples of it around to make sure that if it pops up, we can fight it off. But rest in peace, Dr. Henderson, you were one of the true heroes.
Now, what are you doing on New Year's Eve? I want to tell you about a really wildfire works show coming out of Dallas, Texas. And it's -- it's fascinating.
MIKE: It is Friday. The last Friday of 2016. My name is Mike Opelka. I'm typically heard on TheBlaze Radio network in the evenings on a show called Pure Opelka, which runs from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. And Saturday mornings. If you like what you're hearing here, I invite to you join me.
You can also see what I'm up to. If you go to TheBlaze.com and on the web page, there's a button at the top that says Channels, you can click on Channels and follow me. And you will get my -- my updates all the time and see what I'm up to, stories that I'm working on, et cetera. I would appreciate it.
And I would love to have more followers. We have a loyal group of stunt brainiacs who do follow the show and have made it a reality to -- to take it to five days a week -- or six days if you count Saturday's show. Things are -- things are happening here. And I appreciate my buddy Glenn Beck trusting me with his show to wrap up the year.
If you would like to join in the conversation, you can do so at Twitter. My Twitter handle @stuntbrain, all one word, S-T-U-N-T B-R-A-I-N. And the phones are open. 888-727-BECK. That is 727-2325.
I was going to give Glenn a hard time for putting his name in the phone number, and then I realized that my own cell phone number ends in M-I-K-E. So I would be -- I would be -- I would be in trouble if I made fun of him and I did it myself.
So we were supposed to have a guest here. There's a big fireworks show in Dallas, Texas, happening this weekend -- a big fireworks show from the reunion tower.
Are you aware of the Reunion Tower in Dallas, Texas? It's a pretty cool structure. 500 feet tall. And if -- if you are -- if you are watching television and watching the fireworks on TV, CNN, and Fox, and all the networks will cover the fireworks from around the world, typically starting with Sydney, Australia. And you'll see the fireworks coming off the bridge.
In New York, you don't see too many fireworks. You just see the large group of people who would be gathered in New York City.
And, by the way, New York is a little nervous this year. Why? Because ISIS has tried to make New York a target, as they have tried to make many big gatherings this year a target, especially during the holidays, after what we had happen over the Christmas holiday in Berlin. And so around Times Square, there will be 65 sand trucks making effectively a barrier. And there will also be another 100 trucks blocking the -- the square of Times Square, but not just right up close. It will kind of make a protected perimeter.
They've also -- the NYPD, who are just amazing, the NYPD has been checking out all the parking lots in the area, looking for rogue trucks. They've been going to truck rental places to see what's going on. Times Square, which should be filled because the whether is not going to be too cold. Times Square will have probably close to a million people. A million people on -- on New Year's Eve.
And if you've ever been there, it's kind of an amazing thing because you get a million people on the street. And the one thing I don't -- I don't understand is: How do those people stay out there for all day long without really getting to a bathroom? Because they can't.
The bathrooms typically in the hotels and the restaurants that are right there in Times Square, they are kind of on lockdown. And it's really difficult to get past security.
The two times I have worked Times Square on New Year's Eve for broadcast jobs, if you are working and you are overlooking Times Square, you're usually doing it from a hotel. And the hotels get on lockdown at 4 o'clock.
So just being at the hotel, there's eight hours where you can't get in -- you can get out, but it's very hard to get back in. And a million people on the street, in those pens that they have people all locked up, the little metal pens, it's almost impossible to find a bathroom. I don't know how they're doing it.
And I don't want to know. But I -- I will be watching from the comfort of my home. We tend to watch the New Year's Eve broadcast with Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper. I find them funny.
If you don't, I'm sorry, but I think they're entertaining. Now it's getting a little -- a little predictable. And I will tune in.
But after -- after you watch the midnight show on the east coast and you watch whatever pyrotechnics they show you from the east coast, I encourage you to hang out because -- and this is how small the world is: As I mentioned before, I'm broadcasting from the constitutionally protected free speech bunker in the woods of Delaware.
And as I sit here, a neighbor of mine is in Dallas, Texas, not far from TheBlaze headquarters. My neighbor happens to be a pyrotechnics genius, a wizard, a who is capable of putting on an incredible pyrotechnics show from just about anywhere at any time, which is why I tread lightly around him. Because you never know when something is going to go off.
His name is Denis O'Regan, and he's with Melrose Pyrotechnics, the company that is putting together this incredible show tonight -- or, not tonight, tomorrow night, from the Reunion Tower in Dallas. Denis, I know you're working like 24 hours a day, so I appreciate you giving us a couple of minutes here.
How is it going?
DENIS: Hey, Mike. We're doing great. We really lucked out with the weather down here. All of the pyrotechnicians that came down from our Chicago office are really pleased to be here in milder temperatures, and they're getting up in the windy city on that show.
MIKE: Well, you've got a really interesting task here. And as I look at fireworks shows that I've witnessed, both at baseball parks and in being in New York for decades, watching the barges on the East River and watching them just shoot stuff up, you're doing this from a structure that's 500 feet in the air and has a geodesic sphere on top of it. Is this a challenge, a dream, or both?
DENIS: It is absolutely both. It's a great structure. And while we're used to designing and producing shows off of flat or slightly domed surfaces like rooftops and so forth, this is a true 3D opportunity here. Because it's a sphere. And we shoot effects, both radially and tangentially from the sphere, not to mention from the base and from the columns that support the sphere.
It's really so much fun, really.
MIKE: What do you have? A bunch of Spider-Man guys climbing up the side of the tower, putting charges on the building?
DENIS: Well, some of them do wear harnesses, fall protection and so forth. But there is a roof within that sphere. There are three stories within the sphere. There's a restaurant. There's a Wolfgang Puck restaurant in there, and there's an observation deck. And there will actually be people inside of an enclosed space within the sphere, while the show is shooting out.
MIKE: Wow. And this sounds like the biggest undertaking the reunion tower has done in -- in its New Year's Eve stuff. Am I correct on that one?
DENIS: Oh, yeah. It's the biggest show that reunion show has done. We -- we have been -- this is our third year here. But first time we're doing New Year's Eve from the tower. And it's a really nice show. We've just got -- just from a technical standpoint, we've got over 3 miles of cable, connecting all of our modules. We've got 82 positions with numerous pods in each position.
It's very complex. It's taken months to plan every tenth of a second of the show.
MIKE: So months to plan. Tenths of a second will matter. How long will the show with music, pyrotechnics, and lights last?
DENIS: Well, we start a minute out from midnight with a count-up, as we call it, to the ball. Because the ball is not going to move, unless we succeed in spinning it off into --
DENIS: Getting a little silly there. But, you know, when you're designing a show like that, you let your fantasies take off, and you try to imagine what a viewer would like to see happen as you're -- as you're shooting these effects on angles, you know, trying to make that sphere actually turn.
But, you know, it's -- it's a lot to install. We try to visualize what we might like to see happen. We've designed a vortex coming out of the top of the ball. And numerous chases and waves wrapping the ball. And then chasing up the in to complete the answer. It's about an eight-minute show all totaled from when things get really crazy at midnight. And we will be controlling the time from the atomic clock in Boulder, Colorado.
So it will be exactly midnight. And all of the show is controlled by digital time code and synchronized to an audio track. And there's going to be a satellite up-link and everything else.
MIKE: So, wow, there you have it, Central Time Zone people, you don't get short-changed this year. As a matter of fact, you might just have some of the best stuff you're going to see. It is my buddy, Denis O'Regan from Melrose Pyrotechnics, who is leading it from the Reunion Tower in Dallas, Texas.
Denis, I usually fall asleep about 12:30. I am staying up this year just for you to see your work.
DENIS: Oh, well, thank you, Mike.
MIKE: And I hope it all goes off as planned. I'm sure it will. I know -- Denis' calm demeanor is what makes me feel comfortable in this. I know that inside he's swirling, but his calm demeanor makes me feel comfortable. When he pushes that button, it's (sound effect). It's all going to work. Have a great New Year's, my friend. I'll see you back in the woods.
DENIS: Hey, thanks. Good talking to you, Mike. Take care. Happy New Years.
MIKE: Take care. Happy New Year.
It is amazing, isn't it? That we live in a world where, at any given time, you could walk down the street and run into a friend who is then going off to Dallas to put on the biggest fireworks show, the biggest pyrotechnics production that city has ever seen. And we'll all be able to watch it because CNN is going to carry it live. Which I think is very cool. And I wish my buddy good luck on all of his efforts, but I don't think he needs it.
When we get back, I want to talk about some of the strange stuff going on in the world today. I'm very nervous about my technology listening in on me, especially since a judge just agreed with the police department that if your technology is listening to you, it can be subpoenaed. We'll talk about that when the Glenn Beck Program continues.
MIKE: Mike Opelka is my name. I'm hosting for my buddy today, Glenn Beck, on the Glenn Beck Program. And I posted on Twitter earlier today my question of the day. I'm very nosy. I want to know what people are thinking. But it's usually mundane stuff because I think it is the mundane stuff that tells us more about somebody, how they live their lives, which way the toilet paper goes when you put it on the roll. Does it go over or under? Stuff like that. So I asked today on my Twitter, my Twitter feed, New Year's Eve, are you going out, staying home, or still deciding?
And currently, after just a couple hours, 14 percent of you are going out to party, 77 percent are staying home, and 9 percent still debating, which is fine because you have a day to think about it.
I'm a stay-at-homer. We tend to ride the couch and celebrate. That's why I talked to Denis -- my buddy, Denis O'Regan, just minutes ago, about the fireworks show in Dallas. And how about that Dallas? You guys are getting one of the big shows this year. I think that's very cool.
We are -- we need to do a deep dive on this situation with those -- those devices in your life that are constantly listening to you and the fact that a murder case has been at the center of an argument between -- a privacy argument where the court wants to get a hold of the device that is listening in your home so that when you say, "Search this for me," it's saving those searches. And if the devices are always listening, what is being done with that stuff?
And it worries me because I will tell you, for example, right now, I'm holding an i Phone in my hand. And I'm not -- I don't have anything but the front page engaged. But if I say, "Hey, Siri, what's the weather like?"
SIRI: Okay. The temperature today will range between 26 degrees and 39 degrees.
MIKE: See, she's listening all the time.
So all those devices -- it's very 1984. Orwell was so genius on this. But in order to get into this, we're going to need to bring in a legal mind. So when we come back, I want to talk about this story because a judge rendered a decision on that subpoena for that information, for that data. And I think this is stepping into the Fifth Amendment. This is stepping into our right to privacy as well, our right to be secure in our own thoughts.
But this is essentially dealing with bugging someone. And is our technologies bugging us? Are companies bugging us? We'll get -- we'll get an attorney's point of view on this. Dr. Wendy Patrick will join us next on the Glenn Beck Program. Of course, after the news. Come back.
Featured Image: Russias President Vladimir Putin (L) walks past US President Barack Obama as he arrives to pose for the family photo during the G20 summit on September 6, 2013 in Saint Petersburg. World leaders at the G20 summit on Friday failed to bridge their bitter divisions over US plans for military action against the Syrian regime, with Washington signalling that it has given up on securing Russia's support at the UN on the crisis. (Photo Credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)