updated 11/16/2005 10:26:14 AM ET 2005-11-16T15:26:14

Guests: Michael Crowley, Dennis Prager, Max Kellerman, Paul English

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Thank you, Joe, and thanks to you at home for watching.  We appreciate it.  We always do. 

Tonight, I‘ll answer many of you who‘ve been calling in, e-mailing, asking about last night‘s interview with BYU Professor Stephen Jones.  He‘s the one who claimed the World Trade Center buildings were bombed. 

Later, we‘ll also tell you how to beat those annoying, infuriating automated messages when you call a company for service help. 

But first, both Democrats and Republicans tonight pressure President Bush into an Iraq exit strategy.  Earlier today, a Democratic effort to set a time table for troop withdrawal from Iraq was easily defeated by the Republican controlled Senate.

The GOP did counter with softer plan, one that states 2006, quote, “should be a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty.” 

Democratic Senator Joe Biden of Delaware says the president‘s mismanagement of that war has forced the Senate to close ranks against him.  Here‘s what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE:  Between this administration‘s rhetoric on Iraq and the reality on the ground, has created a huge credibility gap, and I would have never thought this.  Only this president could unite the United States Senate.  He has united the United States Senate on a single point: what is the plan?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Joining us now to explain what today‘s events mean, MSNBC Washington correspondent David Shuster.  He joins us live, not surprisingly, from Washington. 

David, good evening. 

DAVID SHUSTER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Tucker, good evening. 

CARLSON:  Ninety-eight to zero.  It looks like, from my perspective, not being in Washington, but it looks like this is—this is a turning point of some kind.  Republicans essentially voting against the president.  Is that what happened?  Is that a fair reading?

SHUSTER:  Well, sort of.  I mean, 98-0, was the overall bill, but the key, of course, Tucker, here is this was not really about Iraq.  It wasn‘t even really about President Bush.  This was about the Senate in the wake of these polls in which two-thirds of the American public does not agree with how President Bush has handled Iraq.  This is about the Senate saving face. 

So what they did today is they passed these two measures.  They essentially took the Democratic bill, they got rid of the item that called for the president to give some sort of time table for troop withdrawal and then they took the rest of the Democratic bill, Senators Warner and Senate Frist adopted it word for word, and it called for two things.

First, it says that the White House, the Bush administration must send a piece of paper up to Congress every 90 days updating the mission in Iraq.

And secondly, it says that there‘s sense of Senate that 2006 should be a transition year for Iraq.  But the sense of the Senate is not binding, and the Senate gets reports about the war all the time.  So a lot of people are looking at this largely as just a symbolic gesture. 

CARLSON:  Do you think this was motivated by the obvious motivation, the mid-term elections coming up, almost exactly a year from now?  Are Republicans feeling like, and if so, how many Republicans are feeling like their constituents are demanding pressure on the White House about Iraq?

SHUSTER:  I think that‘s a large part of it.  I mean, the Republicans are seeing the same polls as everybody else.  Two-thirds of the American public disapproves of the handling of Iraq, the way the president has handled this.  Only a third support it. 

And so when you look at the Republicans who sort of—the moderate Republicans, who are up for re-election, almost all of them voted for this at least Republican measure. 

There were some Republicans who voted against it: Senator McCain, Senator Thune.  They suggested that this somehow would send the wrong message.  Although as my colleague, Dominick Balogne (ph) suggests, a lot of people are worried about the message as far as the Constitution, separation of powers, the idea that the executive and the legislative branches should be equal.

And that will be, according to a lot of people, that will be some sort of an election issue, the idea that the Senate is simply—and the House have simply given the president a rubber stamp on policies that are now turning quite unpopular. 

CARLSON:  Well, the Congress has given the president, I think it‘s fair to say, a rubber stamp on foreign policy to a large extent. 

What is the White House response to this?  This seems to me to be exactly what they didn‘t want from the beginning.  Bush has said, “Look, I‘m conducting this.  I‘m the executive.  Any time table is bad for the war effort.”

And here, if not a real time table, at least a hint of one.  Are they mad?

SHUSTER:  Well, the White House, if they‘re mad, they‘re not saying so publicly.  That may be because they still hope to get some of this stripped out when this goes to the conference committee.  The house has already passed a version.  These two have to be reconciled.  Perhaps some of this, including the idea enemy combatants should now have some sort of standard as far as interrogation of them.

That may get stripped out during conference committee, so the White House isn‘t criticizing the Senate.  And they‘re simply saying, “Look, you know, we‘re going to report to the Senate.”  Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said he had great respect for the body, and they want another report, he will give it to them. 

CARLSON:  Interesting.  Were there any Republicans on the fence at all?  Any last—I‘m just surprised that there was not a single dissenting vote. 

SHUSTER:  No, not really.  I mean, one of the things that I think was the key is that a number of—I think a number of Republicans had such huge problems with the Democratic language calling for a phased troop withdrawal or calling for the White House to come up with a phased troops withdrawal that they didn‘t have much of a problem with the rest of the Democratic bill.

So when Senator Warner, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee,” and Senate Majority Leader Frist said, “OK, we‘ll take the part of the Democratic bill that most people think is fine.  We‘ll take that.  We‘ll strip out the provision about phased troop withdrawal and we‘ll simply adopt this Republican measure.  And that will give us essentially some cover, and that is essentially, the way this is being read. 

This is a face-saving measure, so the Senate now, moderates in the Senate, including those who are up for reelection can be on the record of at least saying we have asked the Bush administration to explain its Iraq policy on more regular basis. 

CARLSON:  Well, it‘s about time.  David Shuster, reporting live for us tonight from Washington.  Thanks a lot. 

SHUSTER:  You‘re welcome, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Well, could the situation in Iraq have a dramatic effect on the 2008 presidential race?  Of course it will. 

All the potential Democratic candidates—Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Joe Biden, among others—supported the Iraq war resolution in 2002.  However, there is one exception. 

Here now to discuss the possible surprise candidate from the left, Michael Crowley, senior editor for the “New Republic.”  He joins us tonight live from Washington.

Michael Crowley, thanks a lot for coming on.

MICHAEL CROWLEY, SENIOR EDITOR, “NEW REPUBLIC:  Thanks, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  You have a fascinating piece in the “New Republic” recently, Russ Feingold—Russ Feingold, standard bearer of the left.  Pretty serious lefty, principled guy.  I respect him.  People are talking seriously about him as a presidential candidate, as a contender in the primaries, Democratic side?

CROWLEY:  They are.  I went up to New Hampshire with him a few weeks ago.  This campaign is already kind of springing to life a little bit.  Everybody is going up there.  Feingold went up and filled the halls with activists.  They were really excited about him.  He got a lot of applause. 

And when I talked to these people, they‘re really hungry for, basically to kind of simplify it, the next Howard Dean.  There‘s still appetite for that sort of hell raiser, who‘s saying the things that the mainstream Democrats are sort of allegedly afraid to say.  And he‘s—

He‘s, I think, trying to fill that niche. 

CARLSON:  To what extent is his support a reaction against Hillary Clinton? I mean, the received wisdom is among people who don‘t—you know, aren‘t involved in politics directly, because you know, to involved she has a lock on the nomination.  Is there resentment, from the activist wing of the party, building against her?

CROWLEY:  I think so.  I mean, there are kind of weird ways, in which everything seems to be paralleling the way the 2004 primaries unfolded early on. 

Because you might remember, John Kerry started sort of scooping up all the money and hiring people, and everyone was saying, “Well, Kerry is the sort of establishment guy.” 

Then this guy Dean came out of nowhere, and said, you know, “Kerry, you know, he‘s a waffler.  He doesn‘t stand up to Bush, and he supported the war.” 

Well, people are kind of saying the same thing about Hillary.  I mean, Cindy Sheehan recently posted a very angry letter on Michael Moore‘s web site, and it wasn‘t an attack on George W. Bush.  It was an attack on Hillary Clinton. 

Cindy Sheehan has been really hard on Clinton.  And he thinks—she thinks that Clinton should be saying that, you know, the war is a debacle, and we‘ve got to start pulling out now.”  And Clinton won‘t do that.  Clinton has actually taken a fairly centrist position on it. 

And I think that Feingold is trying to kind of grab that live wire and channel some of the energy and kind of catch fires, this sort of underdog insurgent. 

CARLSON:  It‘s so funny to see Hillary Clinton attacked from the left. 

But you also point out Feingold himself is open to attacks from the left. 

We think of him as, really, the sort of uber-liberal in the Senate.

But here‘s a guy who voted for John Roberts‘ confirmation, he voted for John Ashcroft‘s confirmation, and voted to continue impeachment process, back in 1998.  What is the thread that connects all these?

CROWLEY:  Well, Feingold is a really fascinating senator.  I think you‘re right that superficially, a lot of people think he‘s kind of like Paul Wellstone, the late Paul Wellstone, who was often described as the sort of liberal conscience of the Senate.

And in many ways, he shares Wellstone‘s world view.  But has a kind of proceduralism, an obsession with the integrity of the political process that causes him to do these things that drive Democrats crazy. 

So, he‘s totally obsessed with campaign finance reform, and joined with John McCain, at a time when Democrats were saying it was going to kill the party‘s funding base. 

He thinks that you should get a lot of deference to presidential nominees and appointments, which explains Robertson, Ashcroft.

And during the Clinton impeachment, I mean, it‘s kind of amazing, he was the only Democrat to vote against a Senate resolution that said let‘s throw all the charges out and end this trial. 

And he said, “No, give the Republicans a chance to make their case.  Let the process unfold.”  And this is part of this Wisconsin progressive tradition.  I think he really believes in the sort of integrity of the political process and sometimes places that ahead of outcomes. 

CARLSON:  Yes, and as you pointed out, ahead of friendships.  Considered sort of a weenie by his fellow Democrats in the Senate, kind of a nanny.

Now what if—This is obviously skipping ahead quite a bit.  But let‘s say this effort of his actually amounts to something and he winds up in the primaries facing Hillary Clinton, whose husband, of course, was the subject of the impeachment for which he voted.  Kind of an uncomfortable scene, wouldn‘t it be. 

CROWLEY:  That‘s going to be a gray moment in some early debate, but I am already looking forward to.  You don‘t have to take sides, but just for the pure sort of, you know, unawkwardnes of it, when somebody says, well, why—so you voted.  You voted, essentially, to continue the impeachment of Mrs. Clinton‘s husband.  You would you plan to release that?      

Awkwardness, when somebody says, you voted essentially to continue the impeachment of Mrs. Clinton‘s husband.  Would you care to explain that?  The cameras will zoom in on Hillary‘s face.  It will be great. 

CARLSON:  Sitting in absolutely the front row.  I literally can‘t wait for that.  In the meantime, will he push Hillary to the left, I guess the obvious question?

CROWLEY:  I think if you want to look at parallels of 2004, it‘s hard to predict and use a crystal ball.  Recent history, what happened is Howard Dean, of course, did not get the nomination.  What he did do was he put enormous pressure on John Kerry‘s Iraq position and kind of dragged Kerry a little bit to the left on Iraq.

And I think the key point is to basically John Kerry in the famous vote against the $87 million appropriations bill was quite likely responding to pressure he was feeling on the left from Dean, and a lot of people think that vote might have ruined his chance of getting elected in the general.

So Feingold could force Hillary into some uncomfortable positions in the primaries that will come back to haunt her in the general, assuming she‘s the nominee, which is a pretty early assumption at this point. 

CARLSON:  I think it‘s a very smart analysis.  Michael Crowley, “New Republic.”

CROWLEY:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Thanks a lot. 

CROWLEY:  OK, thanks, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, Senate Republicans are now openly questioning the White House on the war in Iraq.  If the president was already on his last legs, were they cut out from under him?  A little dramatic, but kind of right.  I‘ll ask Flavia Colgan about that after the break.

Plus, pornography that fits in the palm of your hand.  It‘s sex courtesy of the video iPod, a titillating new feature, or just plain dirty or both?  Debate ensues when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Bah, humbug.  We‘ll tell you why some kids are being banned from sitting on Santa‘s lap this Christmas. 

Plus, news you can use, tips on how to outsmart those infuriating phone answering systems and get an actual human being on the other end.  Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

So is Russ Feingold the right man for the Democratic Party?  Have Republicans turned their back on President Bush?  Here to help us answer these questions, MSNBC contributor, the one and only Flavia Colgan—

Flavia. 

FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Thank you for having me, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  I‘m glad you are here. 

It seems to me this is exactly, as Michael Crowley just pointed out, the same dynamic we saw play out in the election a year ago, where this sort of insurgent candidate, then Dean, now Feingold, has the ability to push the mainstream candidate, in this case, obviously Hillary Clinton, to the left.

And I think this will absolutely happen, whether or not Feingold has the best support, because there are a lot of Democratic activists, some of whom we‘ve had on this show, who are furious over her position on Iraq, which is pretty much where Bush is on Iraq. 

COLGAN:  Right.  But let‘s keep in mind, Michael Crowley, it was great analysis.  Michael Crowley and George Will, writing columns, endorsing Feingold or saying this is a great idea does not exactly mean that he‘s going to be one of the leading candidates.

Look, I love his position on energy independence.  I think in terms of the budget deficit, which the GOP obviously doesn‘t believe in fiscal responsibility anymore.  I think he‘s a wonderful senator. 

I have to say, as someone who worked with the governor, Governor Ed Rendell in Pennsylvania, who‘s one of my personal favorites, I would really like to see someone who doesn‘t just stand on the Senate floor and talk about issues, but who cuts taxes, who creates jobs, who has been in crisis situations. 

And translation, I want a governor to be the candidate on the Democratic side, a guy like Mark Warner, for instance, maybe, coming out of Virginia, a moderate who—you know, Virginia is ranked as the best managed state in the country.  And his successor, Kaine, just won, a pretty big election.  I just don‘t want any senators.  I don‘t think we can win the White House with a senator.  But anyone besides Hillary is good for me. 

CARLSON:  Part of it is a regional question, not just a question of, you know, an executive versus, you know, a senator or a congressman.  But where are you from? 

I mean, the Democrats have not had a winning presidential candidate except from the South in 45 years.  It will be 48 years by the time this next election rolls around.  Jack Kennedy was the last one, 1960. 

COLGAN:  But how many senators have been president?  Not many either. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

COLGAN:  And Virginia, that‘s why I like Mark Warner, who I think is -

would be a great choice.  I just don‘t see—you know, I think that...

CARLSON:  Not necessarily a compelling guy, though, I have to say. 

COLGAN:  Really?

CARLSON:  As someone who lived under his regime, lived in fact in his neighborhood, I‘m not opposed to Mark Warner...

COLGAN:  I‘ve met him a couple of times.  I find him to be accessible and great on the stump.  I think he got better throughout his term. 

CARLSON:  Know what it is?

COLGAN:  He sponsored NASCAR.  He sponsored NASCAR, come on.  He‘s really popular in the suburbs and also those rule—whatever you guys call them. 

CARLSON:  He‘s also a gun guy.  He also got high marks from the NRA, which is something you‘ll notice almost all winning Democrats do.

COLGAN:  Right.

CARLSON:  You never hear gun control ever discussed by Democrats who actually win elections, but it does raise the question, who‘s going to stop Hillary Clinton?  Why is it that every—I have nothing against Hillary Clinton personally at all.  She‘s a delightful person and all that.  But every single...

COLGAN:  Very diplomatic, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Well, it‘s true.  I don‘t...

COLGAN:  Your nose is growing. 

CARLSON:  No, it‘s not personal animus that is behind this.  But every single consultant I know on the Democratic side, and I know many, the ones who aren‘t working for Hillary Clinton are upset about the possibility of her running.  So who‘s going to stop her?

COLGAN:  Well, look, it‘s so far out.  You know that, Tucker.  All these type of polls that are done, these horse races. 

CARLSON:  Not that far out. 

COLGAN:  Yes, it is.  It‘s all name I.D.  It‘s completely meaningless. 

I think that people...

CARLSON:  It‘s money, too. 

COLGAN:  Bill Clinton—look, Bill Clinton is enormously charming, obviously.  He‘s in with—he was the last president we had in quite some time who was a Democrat.  Obviously, they have their tentacles everywhere.

But I think that I‘m not alone, when I look at a candidate like Hillary Clinton, when I‘m concerned that two weeks ago, as you pointed out on this program, she thinks the Iraq war is going great, because of suicide bombers.  First of all, I don‘t even understand what that means, let alone... 

CARLSON:  Her point was, she was actually in Iraq, I believe in January, with Russ Feingold.

COLGAN:  Right.

CARLSON:  They drew very different conclusions from what she saw.  Her point was suicide bombing is a sign of our success, because it‘s a sign of the desperation of the insurgency. 

COLGAN:  OK.  I completely disagree with that.  I think it‘s an absurd thing to say.

CARLSON:  Right.

COLGAN:  And I think that a lot of people have a visceral instinct like I do, that she puts her finger up in the air, and that‘s how she makes decisions.

CARLSON:  Yes.

COLGAN:  She looks at polls, and that‘s not leadership. 

CARLSON:  She‘s a Yankees fan, Flavia. 

COLGAN:  That‘s supposed to help me?  I‘m a Phillies fan.

CARLSON:  No, right.  I‘m kidding.

COLGAN:  That doesn‘t give her any points in my book. 

CARLSON:  She‘s a Yankees fan.

So speaking of Iraq, it seems to me—David Shuster is actually on the Hill, didn‘t think it was as dramatic as this, but I still think it is.  A moment when you have, you know, a unanimous decision in the Senate 98-0, to essentially say, “We want you to explain when the troops are coming home.” 

COLGAN:  Right. 

CARLSON:  Say that to the president.  I think this is a big deal. 

I essentially think it‘s over at this point.  I think this is sort of the last moment or the beginning of a new era where we‘re going to start talking openly about bringing the troops home.  I don‘t think the White House will continue to say, “No, you know, even the discussion itself is bad for the war effort.” 

COLGAN:  Well, look, I think that Republicans don‘t want to touch the president with a 50-foot poll.  And you know, these election results only bolstered that idea. 

You know, I‘m really excited, and I think it‘s great that they finally align themselves with the—what the American public and the troops for that matter have been wanting for quite some time, which is accountability. 

But I really don‘t think everyone should be doing this big end zone dance.  First of all, it‘s nonbinding, which as far as I‘m concerned, is a complete hollow gesture. 

Secondly, there‘s no time table.  And I‘m not saying we have to have a specific date to come out, but to not even discuss a time table I think is absurd. 

And for Bill Frist, who‘s supposedly heading this effort, to get on “The Today Show” this morning and tell perky, you know, Katie Couric, “Well, I think the White House is doing a great job in Iraq,” don‘t insult the intelligence of Americans. 

CARLSON:  Well, what is he supposed—hold it.  What is he supposed to say?

COLGAN:  Five people died today.

CARLSON:  He‘s the Senate—hold on. 

COLGAN:  He‘s supposed to...

CARLSON:  He‘s the Senate majority leader.  He‘s a Republican.  I mean, have you to—look, the phoniness of political rhetoric makes me sick, too, but you have to build some tolerance for it. 

COLGAN:  You have to say they think they‘re doing a good job in Iraq? 

CARLSON:  No, but I mean, look, what is he supposed to say?

COLGAN:  It‘s a disaster.  He‘s supposed to be somewhat honest.  If he wants to be diplomatic, that‘s one thing. 

CARLSON:  Right.  But at some point, at some point, as you know, as someone who also believes that things are not going well at all, you do sort of need to shift the rhetoric to, “OK, great, things aren‘t going well.  There‘s a consensus on that.  What do we do next?” 

COLGAN:  Which is why I‘m saying we shouldn‘t be doing an end zone dance.  What are we doing next?  They didn‘t talk about that today.  What are we doing next?

CARLSON:  Right.

COLGAN:  And I think what you said earlier in the show, Tucker, is dead on.  Which is I‘d like to believe that the senators are saying, “Let‘s do the right thing.”  But I think your point is well taken.  It‘s self-preservation.  They‘re very concerned about getting re-elected. 

CARLSON:  That‘s what democracy is. 

COLGAN:  And unfortunately, people who aren‘t elected to office like John Edwards, and I know you‘re not a big fan, came out and said yesterday what I think every Democrat should be saying, look into the camera, and like John Edwards, said yesterday, “I apologize.  My vote was a mistake.  I take responsibility for it.  I was scared; people scared to say it before.” 

CARLSON:  Too late now.  Too late now.  Right.

If he‘d only said that—look, I actually like John Edwards personally, very charming guy.  But if he had had the cuevos to say that in the campaign, maybe, you know, he‘d be president.  Instead he‘s, I guess, blogging or something.

Anyway, Flavia Colgan, thank you.

COLGAN:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, radio talk show host Dennis Prager wants Muslims to answer five questions, including this one.  Why are so many people killed in the name of Islam?  Find out if anyone answered him when THE SITUATION returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

The recent attacks in Jordan, the riots in Paris, the violent insurgency in Iraq, not to mention 9/11 have many Americans questioning what‘s going on with Islam?  My next guest says it‘s about time Muslim leaders spoke up about the atrocities being committed in their name. 

Dennis Prager is the host of his own nationally syndicated radio show.  He wrote an editorial in Sunday‘s “L.A. Times” entitled “Five Questions Non-Muslims Would Like Answered.”  He joins us tonight live from Columbus, Ohio, to talk about it. 

Dennis Prager, thanks for coming on. 

DENNIS PRAGER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Tucker, good to be with you. 

CARLSON:  I want to—I‘m just going to put your five questions up on the screen and read them for our viewers who didn‘t see your column. 

No. 1, why are Muslims so quiet?  No. 2, why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?  No. 3, why is only one of the 47 Muslim majority countries a free country?  No. 4, why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the name of Islam?  And five, why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other religions?

All great questions.  Let‘s start with one.  Why you are so quiet? 

What do you mean by that?

PRAGER:  Well, as I wrote, it wasn‘t a matter of the right announcements.  There are Muslim organizations who routinely come out against terror. 

The issue that I kept writing about was demonstrations, and the truth that is Muslims around the world do demonstrate when they really care about something. 

Look at Jordan now, after the terror attack at the wedding and the hotels in Amman.  They do demonstrate when they really care.  There have been demonstrations around the world over alleged desecration of the Koran. 

But of the billion Muslims of the world, there hasn‘t been a single demonstration, demonstration, not pro forma declaration, in order to sound good for the west. 

CARLSON:  But taking to the streets. 

PRAGER:  That‘s right, taking to the streets, yes.  Would Christians and Jews not take to the streets if people in the name of Judaism or Christianity did analogous things?  There‘s just no question about it. 

CARLSON:  So what‘s the—I think you‘re absolutely right.  I don‘t know what the answer is, though.  What is the answer?  Why aren‘t there spontaneous demonstrations because of a beheading?

PRAGER:  Well, I need to say, that I didn‘t write the questions to be aggressive or to bash.  These really are honest questions. 

I studied Islam.  I‘ve studied Arabic.  I was at the Middle East Institute at Columbia University.  That‘s where I did my graduate work.  I have been to most Arab countries.  I engaged in interfaith dialogue in the Persian Gulf with Muslims in Abu Dhabi and an American.  I‘ve spoken at mosques.

These questions are sincere questions.  And I wrote at the end, “If you just say someone who asks them is anti-Islam, then you are doing yourself no service.  These are honest questions.” 

I don‘t know the answer to the question that I have posed.  Why are there—I need to know, why don‘t you have the sense that your religion isn‘t looking good because of all the evil done in its name?  Don‘t you—don‘t you want to go ahead into the street and say, “No, this is not right.  This is—Allah‘s not blessing these people.” 

CARLSON:  What kind of response have you gotten?  I mean, you‘re a talk radio show host.  You write a column.  Clearly, you hear back from your readers and listeners.  What have they said?

PRAGER:  Well, interestingly, I‘ve gotten many Muslim responses, and they‘ve been absolutely—first of all, none of them were hateful.  I must say. 

There were—there were a number of Muslim responses that totally disagree with me, and I didn‘t think that they were effective.  I don‘t think they took the questions that seriously.  And there were Muslims who actually agreed with me. 

The only hate mail I got were actually from leftists in America, who just said, “You‘re a bigot.”  As if asking honest questions that need to be asked makes you a bigot. 

CARLSON:  Right.  Well, the one thing, of course—right, the radical left and Islamists have in common is they despise American society. 

Here‘s a point that I thought was very smart.  You said when the Israeli government back in ‘82 did not stop the massacres in Savrento (ph), the refugee camps in newly occupied Lebanon, and when that was revealed, a lot of Israelis took to the streets.  Some of them didn‘t but some of them did. 

PRAGER:  It was actually—it was the largest demonstration of Israeli Jews I think in Israel‘s history up to that time.  And it was, we don‘t—we want it known to the world we don‘t partake in massacres. 

There was—even though no Israeli had actually touched one Palestinian, but merely because it was under the control of the Israelis at the time, and Lebanese did the killing, that was enough for Israeli Jews to say, “This is not what we are.” 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

PRAGER:  “We want the world to know, we want our own government to know.”

CARLSON:  Just in the one minute we have left, you raise—one of these questions, I thought, was very provocative and interesting.  Why are there no Palestinian terrorists Christian.  There are a lot of Christian Palestinians, but all suicide bombers are Muslims.

PRAGER:  That‘s right.

CARLSON:  Are you implying there‘s something about the religion itself, Islam, that drives people to violence? 

PRAGER:  Well, as one Muslim actually wrote to me, he said, “No, there are no Christian Palestinians blowing themselves up.”  And I don‘t know if he used the word “blowing themselves up.”  But because Christians fear death more than we Muslims do.

So I don‘t—I don‘t believe that.  But the point is that there is a values difference.  And Hamas regularly announces it.  Their motto is, “We love death as much as the Jews, talking about the Israelis, love life.”  And they have used it about Americans, too, “We love death as much as Americans love life.”  That is a values gap. 

CARLSON:  It is.  What‘s striking to me is there are a lot of decent Muslims who love life. 

PRAGER:  That‘s true.

CARLSON:  And I‘m still hung up on your first question...

PRAGER:  Yes.

CARLSON:  ... which is why aren‘t they demonstrating?

PRAGER:  That‘s right.

CARLSON:  Dennis Prager, really a smart column.  Thanks a lot for explaining it to us. 

PRAGER:  Thank you.  Great to be with you. 

CARLSON:  Still ahead, Christmas season is a time to be merry.  Why are some kids being booted off Santa‘s lap?  Hear the outrageous reason when THE SITUATION rolls on.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  The French playwright and adventurer Pierre de Bochomet (ph) once said: “It is not necessary to understand things in order to argue about them.”  Not necessary, but it does help.  Joining me now, a man who is no stranger to good argument and something of an adventurer himself, the Outsider, ESPN radio and HBO boxing host, Max Kellerman. 

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  Flavia is a Phillies fan? 

CARLSON:  Apparently. 

KELLERMAN:  A Phillies fan?  They are getting rid of—they got rid of their GM after all the good moves he‘s made through the last several years...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Now, you are right over my head, so I am going to switch right to the debate. 

It seems that size does matter when it comes to porn, but not in the way you think.  Gadgets like the pocket-sized video iPod newly out, and tiny cell phones are a hot market for what‘s being called mobile porn.  The sale of adult entertainment for downloading to cell phones is already a multimillion dollar business in Europe.  Now there are calls for a rating system to prevent kids from seeing inappropriate content on mobile phones.  And soon you can bet, Max, that regulation of video iPods is just around the corner. 

And I think it‘s unnecessary for this very simple reason.  There are laws against sitting on the subway, for instance, and exposing the people around you to pornography.  Who is going to sit on an airplane, in a train station... 

KELLERMAN:  Excuse me, Tucker.  Did they have a number—did they have a number on that? 

CARLSON:  ... on live television.  Nobody would do that! 

KELLERMAN:  If history has taught us anything, Tucker, if history has

taught us anything, is that men will watch porn any way they can.  Since

the first puppet show in a cave, you know, when they figured out fire and

they did a little hand puppet show, there was pornography.  I mean, that‘s

men will watch porn.  If you give it to them on an iPod, we‘ll watch it on an iPod.  On a cell phone, we‘ll watch it on a cell phone.  In fact, every new technology has resulted in the kind of proliferation of pornography, from sort of a little bit on the radio, not so much...

CARLSON:  Yes.  OK. 

KELLERMAN:  Television (INAUDIBLE) Internet...

CARLSON:  You are absolutely right.  You are absolutely right.  And porn saturates our society as it never has before, and it‘s because of technology, of course, and because of the way men are, essentially, as you point out. 

However, porn in the public sphere, like the guy sitting next to you on the bus, right, or the subway or in the terminal, that‘s not acceptable.  And that will never be acceptable.  That is so offensive to the non-men in our society—meaning women and children—that that will never be allowed. 

KELLERMAN:  You put in a little ear piece and you just get the—you know, you put in the ear piece and everyone minds their business.  I mean, it‘s not like—and there‘s another way to do it, by the way... 

CARLSON:  You sound very excited. 

KELLERMAN:  I am a little bit.  There is another way to do it, by the way, which is not out-and-out pornography.  You have magazines like “Maxim” and all—which are not exactly pornographic, but are kind of pushing it, and there are kind of images like that that can be (INAUDIBLE). 

CARLSON:  Maybe I‘m wrong.  I‘m just not worried about it.

Nor am I worried about this... 

KELLERMAN:  By the way, chimpanzees, the one thing they will do rather than eat food—they‘ve done studies—is watch pornography of, you know, chimpanzees having sex. 

CARLSON:  Really?  Chimp porn? 

KELLERMAN:  Chimp porn, yes. 

CARLSON:  I haven‘t run across that Web site yet, but I have no doubt it‘s out there. 

Looks like the Grinch stole Christmas in Switzerland this year.  Swiss Santas will no longer be allowed to have kids sit on their laps.  Calls from parents worried about possible child abuse prompted Switzerland‘s Society of St. Nicholas to institute the ban.  The society says it‘s taking the step to protect the Santas—presumably from false charges of pedophilia. 

This is ridiculous.  This is insane.  If a Santa, in a public—like a mall, right, in the United States, maybe they need this kind of law in Switzerland, where the men are wimpy, but in the United States, if a Santa ever touched a kid in a mall...

KELLERMAN:  (INAUDIBLE) yes.

CARLSON:  ... he would be eaten by the dads waiting in line.  He would be torn to pieces. 

KELLERMAN:  The whole thing about—the whole Santa ritual around Christmas—and I am Jewish and I never did that with my family or anything—but it‘s always been a little bit strange to me.  You need to tell me, like, Jeff, who‘s working as like from down the block, who‘s working as a greeter at Disneyland in a Mickey Mouse costume, he‘s moonlighting from that job to have children sit on his lap and tell him whether they have been naughty or nice?  Isn‘t that a little weird? 

CARLSON:  Look, there‘s no—look, as an atheist, I am sure the whole thing is weird to you anyway. 

KELLERMAN:  Yes.

CARLSON:  But there‘s no question, there are probably a lot of perverts in the Santa business, but it‘s a matter of location, of venue.  OK?  This is not taking place in the champagne room, right? 

KELLERMAN:  There‘s no sex in the champagne room, by the way. 

(CROSSTALK)  

KELLERMAN:  Chris Rock‘s song, you know. 

CARLSON:  But it‘s not taking place in a dark room, it‘s not taking place under the boardwalk.  You know, it‘s next to a Christmas tree in the middle of the mall outside (INAUDIBLE). 

KELLERMAN:  Have you ever seen “Bad Santa?”  The movie, “Bad Santa?”  Billy Bob Thornton?  Great flick.  And by the way, I think actually the values of that movie, when you get past all the perversion, are really, really good.  But you don‘t want that kind of thing.  That‘s a lot of the kind of Santas—people who wind up being Santas, these are the kind of people they are.  (INAUDIBLE) make a few extra bucks around Christmas. 

CARLSON:  There‘s nothing we can do about that, and I think I have always thought that the problem with Santas was not pedophilia, but alcoholism. 

KELLERMAN:  Right. 

CARLSON:  And that‘s a lot less dangerous I think to our kids. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, you know, if Santa would just actually show up and talk to these kids himself, we wouldn‘t have this problem. 

CARLSON:  My kids are watching, so I want to stop right there.  Max Kellerman, thank you. 

KELLERMAN:  Stay tuned, there‘s still plenty more ahead on THE

SITUATION.  

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON (voice-over):  The gang that couldn‘t think straight.  How a not-too-bright counterfeiting ring got caught with its hands in the cookie dough. 

Plus, why a naughty lingerie shopping spree may have caused Paris to spank the monkey. 

And, birthday wishes to the world‘s oldest living creature.  Her real age will leave you shellshocked.  It‘s all ahead on THE SITUATION. 

PARIS HILTON:  I thought it was pretty freaky. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  The late Ron “Pigpen” McKernan singing that. 

Well, if you have had it up to your ears with those automated phone systems, this segment is for you.  Paul English, a self-described phone geek, had found a way to bypass all of those annoying prompts and go straight to a customer service agent—yes, a real person. 

He joins us live from Boston tonight to share his secrets.  Paul English, I am just going to say it loud and say it proud, you are my hero.  I mean, you really have done a lot for mankind, in figuring out how to get around these automated systems. 

What possessed you to do this? 

PAUL ENGLISH, PAULENGLISH.COM:  Thanks, Tucker.  I think like a lot of consumers, I just became very frustrated myself with how difficult it is to talk to a human with a company that I am paying money.  You know, I have an account with Verizon Wireless.  I pay them probably $100 a month, and yet every time I tried to talk to someone at the company, it was just maddening how many levels of menus they would try to put me through before they could actually let me talk to someone who worked at Verizon. 

CARLSON:  Well, Verizon, that is a tough one, too?  Isn‘t it?  I mean, Verizon is very hard to get through.  So I had an account with them once, and they made me so mad I switched to Sprint.  How did you get through to Verizon?  How did you figure out how to do it? 

ENGLISH:  I think, you know, with each of them—I have a blog that I write a lot of articles, just consumer advocacy, or different things about technology.  And I think one day I had become particularly frustrated with Verizon Wireless and then with Fleet Bank, I think when they were acquired or rolled into Bank of America, I had a difficult time getting in touch with someone there, and really just trial and error, going through.  And in many cases, they will have a lot of menus that you have to walk through, but if you press 0 or pound 0 or 0 star, there‘s different tricks you can try, to get through the menus.

But I also posted it up on my Web site, with just the 10 companies that I figured out, and then very quickly, I started getting suggestions from other people across the Web. 

CARLSON:  I want to put up on the screen steps to find a human.  This is part of what‘s listed on your Web site.  These are the things you can do. 

Here are two particularly complicated ones.  Sovereign Bank.  Press 1 for English, 1 for person, 3 then social, then press pound sign, passcode, pound sign, then 0, 1, dash 3x—whatever that means. 

ENGLISH:  One to three times, yes. 

CARLSON:  Dell Service.  This is my favorite.  Press option 1, dial extension 7266966, press option 1, option 4, then again option 4.

I mean, it‘s like safe cracker stuff here.  I actually tried that with Dell Service this afternoon, and still couldn‘t get through. 

ENGLISH:  Yes, the codes also change from time to time.  I think one of the interesting ways that I find out new codes is since the site has become a little bit popular, I will occasionally get an e-mail from someone who works at Dell, or at Best Buy or some other company, and they will say, look, we don‘t like it as support reps, with how difficult it is for customers to get in touch with us, so we will tell you the secret code, but just don‘t tell anyone that we are the ones who gave it to you. 

CARLSON:  And they do this, right, because it‘s far more expensive for a live person to answer the phone than it is to shut you off into computerized phone hell? 

ENGLISH:  It is, although I really think it‘s not in the company‘s interest to keep their customers away from their employees.  I think a lot of big companies make the mistake of putting a bean counter in charge of all their call centers, and they are not looking at the strategic advantage of actually talking to customers.  The customers aren‘t going to come back.  They are not going to be loyal to your service, they‘re not going to renew service, just as you didn‘t do with Verizon, if they don‘t feel like they are getting good quality service. 

CARLSON:  I agree with that. 

Now since we have beat up on these companies, I want to put up a list of companies you can call and get an actual human being on the phone, without touching a button.  Here are eight of them.  Southwest Airlines, Nordstrom‘s, Bose, Amazon.com, IBM, United Airlines, Walt Disney World, and XM Radio.

Good for them.  These are the good guys, at least when it comes to telephones. 

Do you think that we are going to see a change, a movement toward actual people answering the phone?  Or they just don‘t—they don‘t lose enough money to care? 

ENGLISH:  (INAUDIBLE) as I look at this.  On—with the cheat sheet that‘s up on the Web site now that shows the tricks to get into these companies, the cheat sheet itself, you know, can be valuable, can teach you how to get by these menus, but I think the more important message for consumers is that if someone is giving you bad service, don‘t accept it.  You have other options.  You can switch to other companies.  You can complain.  You can, you know, tell your friends or your company to stop using that company.  I think consumers just need to realize, when someone gives you bad service, you shouldn‘t accept it.

The message for the companies is: If you‘re not going to talk to your customers regularly and give that human touch, they have no loyalty to you.

CARLSON:  Yes.  That‘s exactly right.

Now, before we go, I just want to put up a full screen up on the screen here.  These are instructions for credit card companies, how to get through.  American Express—that‘s pretty easy.  Visa, dial 0 three times.  Ignore prompts saying it‘s an invalid entry.

ENGLISH:  Right.

CARLSON:  So they basically are lying to you when they say that doesn‘t work.  It does work? 

ENGLISH:  Right. 

CARLSON:  Interesting. 

ENGLISH:  A lot of companies have systems like that, that they want you to go through their long menus so that you can hear the new options for increasing a service, like paying them more per month or whatever.  They don‘t want you necessarily to bypass those marketing messages.  So sometimes they will tell you, invalid entry, invalid entry, but if you try some of these tips over a few times, it will direct you to—connect you directly to a human. 

CARLSON:  Paul English, an innovator, and American hero in my view. 

Thanks a lot for joining us tonight from Boston. 

ENGLISH:  All right.  Thanks a lot, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  When we come back, it went down in history as one of the longest segments ever done on this show.  One viewer thinks the professor did not get enough time to explain how bombs brought down the World Trade Center.  We will give that viewer time to air his complaints, and me time to air mine when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time for our voicemail segment, where we recklessly throw open the lines to you.  Let‘s see what you said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK:  Hey, Tucker, it‘s Mark from (INAUDIBLE), PA.  I‘m still watching your current show on here tonight where you had that professor on talking about his theories about the twin towers.  Any kind of theories like that we would all be interested in hearing, and you should have gave the guy like at least 20 minutes.  Thank you.  Love the show.  Bye. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Thanks, Mark.  You‘re one of dozens, scores, maybe hundreds of people who called and wrote after our segment last night with Stephen Jones.  He is the BYU professor who claimed in his writings, anyway, though not on our show, that he believes the U.S. government had a role in blowing up the World Trade Center, that it was not done by terrorists.  It looks like bombs were planted in those buildings.  We were open-minded enough to have him on, and gave him more time really than we‘ve given almost anybody since the show has been on the air, and he was unable to explain himself.  It was a very frustrating segment last night, and it drew an amazing response from a lot of viewers who think he may be—who think he may be onto something. 

And I guess my point is, and I wrote about this on our Web site this afternoon, if you really believe the U.S. government killed 3,000 of its own citizens for no reason and lied about it and invaded Afghanistan as a result of something it did, you ought to leave this country, because that‘s so terrible and so evil that your tax dollars going to support it make you complicit in it.  If you really believe that, you ought to leave.  But we‘re going to keep an open mind.  If there‘s more evidence that arises the government has lied, you will hear about it on this show. 

Next up. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PATTY:  Hi.  This is Patty from St. Louis.  I never knew Scooby Doo had to do with pot smoking.  You have to fill us in on the rest of that.  I love Scooby Doo, but I have no idea what the pot smoking part of it is.  I haven‘t heard that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Patty, I can‘t tell if you‘re being serious or you‘re mocking me.  They drive around in a van, the stoner and his dog, eating Scooby Snacks and saying, wow.  And they are always kind of confused and these shapes are looming out at them.  I mean, they are high, Patty.  That‘s the subtext of Scooby Doo.  And, you know, in your defense, I didn‘t figure it out myself until I was about 25, but yes, it‘s true.  Scooby Doo is about marijuana. 

Next up. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELISSA:  Hi.  My name is Melissa, and I‘m from Empire, Oklahoma.  And my husband and I were wondering why you don‘t run for president, because we would like to volunteer to help you run your campaign in Oklahoma.  Thanks, we love your show.  Bye. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Oklahoma is probably the only state I would have a shot in, and I would literally get beaten by the Green Party candidate in Oklahoma.  I would not do well in politics.  I‘m going to stay right here in the talk show business, but that‘s awfully nice of you. 

Let me know what you‘re thinking.  You can call 1-877-TCARLSON.  That‘s 877-822-7576.  You can also e-mail us—and we hope you do.  The address, tucker@msnbc.com

If you‘re wondering what I think about the news of the day, tune in to msnbc.com, because I‘m now writing a blog every day.  I‘m a little embarrassed about it, but I do it at great length.  So read it if you will.

Still to come, if you thought Mikey the Chimp ran wild on THE SITUATION, wait until you see what Paris Hilton‘s new monkey did on a trip to the lingerie store.  Everyone‘s got a monkey these days.  We‘ve got details on “The Cutting Room Floor.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time for “The Cutting Room Floor.”  Willie Geist is still recovering from a bikini wax gone horribly wrong.  Filling in, producer Vanessa McDonald.  Vanessa, what do you have?

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Thank you.  I appreciate it.

Happy birthday wishes go out to Harriet the Tortoise, who zoo keepers say may be the oldest animal on planet Earth.  Harriet, 175 years old today, celebrated with a pink hibiscus flower cake at a retirement home in Australia.  I don‘t know what 175 works out to in tortoise years, but Harriet apparently shows no sign of slowing down.  Of course, she was never that speedy to begin with, to be totally honest about it. 

VANESSA MCDONALD, SITUATION PRODUCER:  I think she looks pretty good. 

CARLSON:  She does look pretty good.

MCDONALD:  But she could use a little botox. 

CARLSON:  I agree with that.  For a turtle, though, not bad. 

MCDONALD:  That‘s (INAUDIBLE) 175. 

CARLSON:  Be careful before you get one as your pet.  They can outlive you. 

Well, they say the customer is always right, but in this case, we may have to make an exception.  A Florida man sued his bank last week for $2 million for rudeness.  Bernard Lawrence (ph) said a bank manager was rude when he asked to reverse the $32 penalty he‘d been charged for overdrawing his bank account by less than $5.  He says the bank falsely advertised that it cares about his customers and deserves more than a slap on the wrist. 

MCDONALD:  I don‘t really want to comment on a pending lawsuit, but Bernard, those $2 million, if you get it, give me a call. 

CARLSON:  You know, I‘m sort of torn.  I hate frivolous lawsuits, and I also hate rude bank tellers.  A cage match between the two actually might be the most satisfying outcome. 

Here on THE SITUATION, we love our dumb criminals, and they don‘t get much dumber than a couple of counterfeiters in Arizona.  Investigators say the pair were caught when they sent a printer jammed with counterfeit bills out to be repaired.  To add insult to stupidity, a Secret Service agent said the bills weren‘t very good quality either.  They had easily detectable flaws, just like the people who made them. 

MCDONALD:  Just a thought.  If they had all of that money, why couldn‘t they just buy a new printer. 

CARLSON:  That‘s an excellent—that‘s applying logic to the news, ladies and gentlemen, Vanessa McDonald.  That‘s a good point. 

And finally, put Paris Hilton in a lingerie shop, and you‘ve got a party, but add a monkey, and that‘s our kind of story. 

According to the tabloids—and they‘re always right, as we know—

Paris went shopping this weekend in Las Vegas with her new pet monkey Baby Luv.  That‘s l-u-v, of course.  In an impressive display of multitasking, Paris managed to drop $4,000 on underwear, while Baby Luv bit her and clawed her face. 

MCDONALD:  I mean, come on, it‘s Paris.  I mean, she would make anyone crazy.  A man shopping with lingerie, shopping with Paris. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t think it‘s a coincidence, though.  We have a monkey on this show, and all of a sudden Paris Hilton, a known copycat, gets her own monkey. 

MCDONALD:  Baby Luv cannot compare to our own Mikey, though.  Come on.

CARLSON:  I totally—I‘m a little bit offended, though.  You would think Paris Hilton, who is famous for I‘m not sure what, and who has a job doing I‘m not certain, would take the time to think out her new—her own sort of animal accessory.  You know, a sloth or an ocelot or something. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I agree with that.  A little bit offended.

Vanessa McDonald, you‘re an able replacement for Willie Geist.  Thank you.

MCDONALD:  No, (INAUDIBLE), Tucker.

CARLSON:  That‘s THE SITUATION for tonight.  Thanks for watching.  Up next, “COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN.”  Have a great night.  See you tomorrow.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

Watch The Situation with Tucker Carlson each weeknight at 11 p.m. ET

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