updated 12/22/2005 9:34:18 AM ET 2005-12-22T14:34:18

Guests: Rick Warren Victoria; Toensing, Tina Brown, Gordon James Klingenschmitt

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Thanks, Catherine.

And thanks to you at home for tuning in.  We always appreciate it. 

Tonight, we‘ll look into President Bush‘s dramatic turn-around in the polls.  Has the recent situation in Iraq actually helped him here at home?  I‘ll ask the acclaimed columnist and editor Tina Brown.

Also, is a Navy chaplain about to be fired for praying in the name of Jesus?  He is a Christian chaplain, by the way.  We will speak live to him.  He‘s not staging a hunger strike outside the White House in protest. 

We‘ll also talk to the man who invited strangers to send him post cards detailing their innermost thoughts, and believe it or not, many of those strangers complied.  We‘ll show you the amazing results in just a few minutes. 

We begin tonight with the ongoing eavesdropping controversy in Washington.  Federal Judge James Robertson has resigned from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, reportedly in protest of President Bush‘s secret authorization of domestic spying on Americans.  Sources say Robertson was worried the warrantless program approved by the president was legally questionable and may have tainted the work of his court. 

I‘m joined now by a well-known expert on intelligence and national security questions, a veteran of the Reagan Justice Department.  Victoria Toensing joins us from Washington.

Victoria, thanks a lot for coming on. 


CARLSON:  Here‘s the point at which I become uncomfortable with this NSA story.  I‘m all for catching terrorists.  I‘m all for listening into their phone calls.  What I don‘t understand is why the Bush administration didn‘t go to the court set up by—the FISA court, for permission, particularly since, as I understand it, the law allows for retroactive warrants.  You can do the eavesdropping and then come to the court after you‘ve done it to get a warrant.  Why wouldn‘t they do that?

TOENSING:  Well, there could be two different scenarios.  Let‘s say one of them is that urgency was of the essence. 


TOENSING:  Do you know how long it takes the court to—actually to start a process, the Justice Department, and the FBI, to start it?  Let me just tell you, I‘ve had those when I was at the Justice Department.  I had to review them.  They are three to four inches thick, Tucker. 


TOENSING:  So it would take—it takes weeks, sometimes months to prepare them.  The court doesn‘t take quite that long when it receives it, but getting it prepared so the court understands is it is another matter.  But let me just tell you the other thing...

CARLSON:  Why wouldn‘t you hire more government lawyers?  I mean, because again, you can do it retroactively, after... 

TOENSING:  It‘s not hiring.  It‘s FBI agents, actually, do a lot of the leg work.  Listen to me, OK?  What happens.  Let me give you a factual scenario.  You‘re the president, and I come to you, and I say, “Tucker, we just got Osama bin Laden, and we‘ve got his cell phone.”

CARLSON:  Right.

TOENSING:  “And we‘ve got the last 20 calls he made, and you know what, we can do a whole lot with 16 of them, because they are all over Europe and the Middle East.  But on four of them, these are numbers in the United States.”  Do we just not pursue to see who those numbers are?

CARLSON:  Of course we pursue.  But the law, as I understand it... 

TOENSING:  When do we pursue, Tucker?  When do we pursue?  I‘m trying to point out that there‘s gaps in this law.  Then that‘s why...

CARLSON:  I understand.  Then why not change the law?

TOENSING:  Well, they can do that. 

CARLSON:  Why didn‘t they do it four years ago?

TOENSING:  But wait a minute.  Do you want them to throw away those four numbers and not pursue those four numbers?

CARLSON:  Of course not.  I‘m for doing whatever it takes to catch terrorists. 

TOENSING:  Those numbers, that does not establish probable cause, to go to the FISA court. 


TOENSING:  You appreciate that.  Just getting somebody‘s number in a cell phone is not probable cause. 

CARLSON:  And there are a lot of antiquated laws that were changed after 9/11 by the Patriot Act, for instance.  Why wasn‘t—why—here‘s the problem I have, the expansion of presidential authority. 

TOENSING:  It‘s not expanded.  The Clinton administration used it, and the Carter administration, have all asserted it. 

CARLSON:  OK.  But why not go to the Congress elected by the people and say, as the administration did in a lot of other cases...?

TOENSING:  Having this program, let me see.  Here‘s what we do.  We say, “Hey, we have this program that we are listening in on Osama bin Laden‘s cell phone.  Let‘s discuss it.”  What do you think that would be like, Tucker?

CARLSON:  I think it would be news to no one. 


CARLSON:  Because it‘s reported countless times in the past that we‘re listening in on Osama‘s cell phone, which is why he uses carrier pigeons or whatever. 

TOENSING:  They went to Congress.

CARLSON:  Right.

TOENSING:  And did exactly the way it was supposed to act, to work out under the—how the intelligence community is supposed to carry out things, and then report to the intelligence committees and to the leadership. 

CARLSON:  Right.

TOENSING:  If the Congress was so upset about this, why didn‘t they say, “Hey, let‘s pursue legislation because we don‘t think we really should be doing this without legislation”? 

CARLSON:  I tend to agree.  I think Congress, as it always does, pretending that it didn‘t know things that it knew, and passing the buck, et cetera.  I‘m not defending Congress.  I‘m merely saying the justification behind all this is really troubling to me, as a small government conservative. 

TOENSING:  You wouldn‘t care if they passed a law to allow it. 

CARLSON:  I absolutely wouldn‘t care, because that is a—that‘s a democratic process.  I‘m very uncomfortable with the president saying, “We‘re at war, an amorphous, endless war, a war without end, this war on terror, and because we‘re at war, my powers are, you know, without obvious limit.”  I mean, that... 

TOENSING:  You know, the Clinton administration. 


CARLSON:  ... because he won‘t always be president. 

TOENSING:  The Clinton administration, of course, did...

CARLSON:  Right.

TOENSING:  ... a warrantless search of Audrey James‘ (ph) house.  You know that. 

CARLSON:  I hated when they did things like that.  I hated it, because I didn‘t care about...


TOENSING:  ... I was really—no, I don‘t change my idea on who did it.  I applaud it, because they thought that he was a spy and that he was giving over information.  I‘m not going to, you know, deciding on whether I like the president, decide on what the rules should be. 

CARLSON:  Do you have a philosophical problem with the president going to Congress, if he wants to push the boundaries of his powers, and he obviously does, and that‘s fine, going to Congress and saying, “Here‘s what I am doing.  Give me the authority to do it or at least acknowledge I am doing it,” in public, so that people can weigh in on it?  If the American people don‘t want him spying on them, they ought to have the right to stop him.

TOENSING:  No, because you know why?  Tucker, it‘s obvious you‘ve never been in a situation where you have to keep these kinds of things secret.  You don‘t have the appreciation of those of us who have had to sit there...

CARLSON:  I don‘t think they should be secret, though.  I guess that‘s my point. 

TOENSING:  Well—well, I mean, let‘s see.  You want us to announce to all the terrorists, exactly how we are getting information from them.  It doesn‘t work, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Not exactly.  But in general terms, it would be nice to know what the government is doing. 


CARLSON:  Victorian Toensing, in Washington, someone who knows exactly what government is doing.  We appreciate it. 

For more on government secrecy and other pressing matters of the day, we turn now to acclaimed columnist and editor, and my former boss, by the way, Tina Brown.  She joins us live from New York—Tina. 

TINA BROWN, COLUMNIST/EDITOR:  Hi, Tucker.  Never a boss; you never had a boss. 

CARLSON:  No, that‘s true.  Mentor. 

All right.  I am bothered by the secrecy here.  I‘m bothered by the idea that Americans are being spied upon.  I have mixed feelings, at any rate.  I don‘t think the average person cares, though, do you?

BROWN:  Well, it‘s very interesting.  I think that a lot of people right now are sort of hooked on shows like “24,” or the recent show, on Showtime, which was called “Sleeper Cell.” 

And we are constantly seeing intelligence operatives who, in a sense, are operating exactly the way the president now is saying that he wants to operate, which is basically doing exactly what they must at any time to catch the terrorists, you know, a sense that they can tap telephones.  They can read e-mails.  They can do all these incredibly sort of cowboy things.  It‘s thrilling to watch.  And you want them to be doing it. 

And there‘s a part of us, I think, which does want our intelligence operatives to be operating in this fashion, somewhat outside the boundaries of the kind of norm.  And yet at the same time, of course, we can all get up on our high horses about civil liberties all the time, as well.  So there‘s a real sort of dichotomy, I think, the way people feel about it. 

CARLSON:  But you do want—you do want your government to have James Bonds working for it, though. 

BROWN:  I absolutely do.  I mean, you want to feel—you know, Kiefer Sutherland in “24” is who we all fantasize is kind of keeping us safe at all times, a guy who will break in, who will risk himself, who will do things that are sort of somewhat, you know, outrageous almost to protect the national safety.  You want that.  You want to feel that person exists. 

And the problem is, now you feel that Kiefer Sutherland will be continually having to get, you know, a 50-page legal brief in order to do anything that he‘s doing right now.  And that‘s... 

CARLSON:  Well, that‘s an interesting point.  I always—I‘ve always thought that the Bush administration hurt itself by its own secrecy.  If they let documentary film-makers, for instance, follow Delta Force around a week, right, or let the press know more about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, I think the public would be impressed. 

BROWN:  I think that‘s right.  And I think that, in a sense, what‘s happened here is that the Bush administration operates in such intense secrecy all the time when they don‘t have to, that it‘s made us all highly suspicious when perhaps they do have to. 

It‘s like their natural M.O. is to do things in this kind of hug-a-mug-a, deep chest, somewhat sinister kind of—you know, I always feel that Dick Cheney is like Blowfelt in the James Bond book, you know, the spooky, kind o strange, out there, mysterious villain, almost, in the whole case. 

So people do have that sense about the government. 

CARLSON:  I—and yet, Bush‘s poll numbers, going up.  Now, there‘s some debate over why.  The “New York Times” suggests it‘s because the economy is doing well.  I think it has to do with Iraq. 

And I think that people above all fear failure and humiliation in Iraq.  And even if they think that Bush‘s assurances that we are doing great there are hollow, even if they don‘t really believe him, they want to believe him so much, that they appreciate it when he says we‘re going to win. 

BROWN:  Well, I also think it‘s interesting, these Iraqi elections keep giving people a kind of incredible momentary moments of sort of hope.  It‘s almost like we have to drink the Kool-Aid along with the president. 

Because the—otherwise, we‘re looking at an abyss.  Otherwise, we‘re looking at such a horrifying scenario.  As you say, I mean, you just want to believe it.  And I think these elections do keep allowing us to kind of say, “You know what?  It could be working.  Maybe it is working.  Let‘s pretend it will work.  Let‘s just say it‘s going to work.  Let‘s just like it working for a moment.”  You know what I mean? 

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly how I feel.

BROWN:  Me, too.

CARLSON:  I‘m opposed to the war.  I don‘t want to hear the argument for justifying the invasion of Iraq.  I will never buy it. 

On the other hand, we‘re there, and I desperately want to believe America is not being hurt by this.  I desperately want to believe we‘re going to come out in the end on top and that Iraq is going to be a great place.  I eat that stuff up.  I hope Bush is right in every detail. 

BROWN:  I hope so too, and I think this purple finger stuff just gets us totally jazzed.  It‘s we can‘t bear to think about the alternative, because frankly if the other alternative is true, then we‘re looking at having made America a lot less safe, having gone in. 

CARLSON:  Right.  And weaker and humiliated in the world‘s eyes. 

BROWN:  Very.

CARLSON:  You‘re obviously a very famous figure in the world of journalism.  I‘m interested in what you think about this year in journalism. 

You saw a reporter from the “New York Times” go to jail, whatever you think of Judy Miller.  I was really struck by how little outcry there was over that.  The federal government puts a reporter in jail, and nobody really seems to care, and a lot of other reporters attack her for being unpleasant or bitchy or something.  I mean, she got no sympathy from other reporters.  What was that about?

BROWN:  I think that‘s one of the big problems.  What I think you‘ve seen this year, in a sense, is what we began with the year before, with the CBS debacle with Rather-gate, kind of big media having a kind of collective nervous breakdown. 

And so distracted by their own sense of being assailed by the blogosphere, by cable, by all the things that are—that are in a way competing with the public‘s attention.  It‘s turned journalists inward.  It‘s turned them into their own kind of dark feeling that they‘re assailed at every turn. 

And instead of actually showing any solidarity with the journalists who are in a tight corner and actually trying to break a story, they‘re all kind of out there having this kind of cannibal feast. 

We saw everybody turning on Bob Woodward.  Now, I know that both these journalists, Miller and Woodward, did a couple of questionable things, I mean, along the way.  But ultimately, Judy Miller went to jail.  Bob Woodward has broken more big stories than virtually anybody else in journalism. 

It doesn‘t seem right that colleagues are just tearing them to shreds in quite such an over the top way.  You feel that investigative zeal should be turned to government behavior rather than to simply kind of trivial journalistic issues. 

CARLSON:  Well, I completely agree with that.  In the end, reporters, as obnoxious as they are, as self-righteous as they are, you know, as boorish as they can be, they are still attempting to get information for our sakes.  I mean, they may be corrupt, but I think they‘re less frightening than government potentially. 

BROWN:  Far less frightening. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know why people don‘t side with them.

BROWN:  That‘s right.  And in the case of Judith Miller, she got it wrong about the weapons of mass destruction story, but the notion that somehow this reporter all by herself was responsible for this story is totally unfair and insane. 

I mean, ultimately, you know, the paper published it.  The editors read it.  They put headlines on it, you know.  They promoted it in the paper on the front page very often. 

So to somehow go at the individual like this, just seemed to be a sign of something sick happening. 

CARLSON:  Just quickly, I‘m interested in your bottom-line assessment of what that sick thing was.  Why did people hate Judith Miller so much?  They made her out to be lackey of the Bush administration, right-wing operative.  I don‘t think that hat‘s true at all. 

BROWN:  I think in the case of Miller, you know, she is an aggravating, obnoxious woman to many.  It‘s almost as if she drew off all the venom and against and all the kind of latent aggravation, in a sense, about how the “Times,” I think, felt they‘d been led by the nose into the war in Iraq. 

They had gone along with the war.  They had gone along with weapons of mass destruction.  And they‘re mad with themselves.  I mean, they are just mad at themselves.


BROWN:  And they really vented it all on Judith Miller.  She became the kind of carry their rage for them in a sense.

CARLSON:  I think you‘re absolutely right.  When the history of American magazines is written, you‘ll have your own chapter, and it will be glowing.  Thanks for joining us tonight.

BROWN:  Thanks, Tucker.  Good to talk to you. 

CARLSON:  Thanks. 

Still to come, religious censorship in the military.  A Navy chaplain

goes on a hunger strike, because he‘s afraid he‘ll get fired for praying in

the name of Jesus.  We‘ll speak with him live.  He is Lieutenant Borden

Plus, what‘s really involved in loving someone?  Question to ponder this weekend, when you are surrounded by the people you care about most. 


CARLSON:  Still ahead, we‘ll speak live with a Navy chaplain in danger of being canned for mentioning Jesus during a prayer service.  Plus, a woman is beaten unconscious by her boyfriend.  She is afraid to testify against him in court. 


CARLSON:  Welcome back.  If you thought Saudi Arabia was the only place a man could get in trouble for using the word “Jesus,” think again. 

A Navy chaplain has gone on a hunger strike outside the White House because he‘s afraid of being fired for saying “Jesus” during prayer.  Lieutenant Gordon James Klingenschmitt wants President Bush to issue an executive order allowing military chaplains to pray according to their individual faiths. 

Lieutenant Klingenschmitt joins us live tonight from Washington to tell his story.  Lieutenant, thanks for coming on. 

LT. GORDON JAMES KLINGENSCHMITT, CHAPLAIN:  Thank you, Tucker.  And I appreciate your show. 

I am a Navy chaplain who is still ineligible for contract renewal.  I cannot reenlist right now, and the Navy cannot produce one document that says I‘m allowed to reenlist.  In fact, I‘ve seen three documents that say they‘re still trying to kick me out of the Navy because I pray publicly in Jesus‘ name. 

CARLSON:  How does that work?  I mean, I‘m not doubting your story, but I kind of am.  You‘re a Navy chaplain.  You are paid by the government to talk to sailors about religion. 

KLINGENSCHMITT:  That‘s right. 

CARLSON:  So how is it that you‘re not allowed to use the word “Jesus” when you‘re a Christian chaplain?

KLINGENSCHMITT:  Well, I have a document, and it‘s on my website.  And a chief of Navy chaplains told me that if I pray in Jesus‘ name, I‘m denigrating other faiths.  And so they want me to pray privately in Jesus‘ name, but if I use the “J” word in public, then they say that I‘m offending other people. 

Well, I asked my commanding officer on my ship, USS Anzio.  I said, “Sir, why don‘t we share the evening prayer?  It‘s a tradition at sea.  And let my—let my Muslim sailor come on and pray to Allah, and let my Jewish sailor come on and pray in Hebrew, let my Roman Catholic pray in the name of the father, and son, and the holy spirit.  And I‘ll just pray in Jesus‘ name every fourth night.  And we can take turns.” 

He said, “No, Chaps, I‘m not comfortable with that.  You keep saying the prayer, but from now on, I want you to pray Jewish prayers.”  And so I obeyed him.  For eight months I only prayed out of the Psalms.  But after those eight months... 

CARLSON:  Wait a second, you‘re not—you‘re not a rabbi. 

KLINGENSCHMITT:  No, I‘m not a rabbi. 

CARLSON:  Why would he want you to pray only Jewish prayers?  That doesn‘t make sense.

KLINGENSCHMITT:  Well, to be more inclusive of my Jewish sailor, I suppose, but after those eight months, he still told a Navy board in writing to end my career.  And here‘s the phrase he used...

CARLSON:  Just make sure I have this straight.  I‘m sorry to interrupt you, but was the rabbi required to use the word “Jesus” in his prayers?

KLINGENSCHMITT:  Oh, good heavens, no. 

CARLSON:  Was the Imam required to use the word “Jesus” or “Adonai” in his prayers?

KLINGENSCHMITT:  They teach all chaplains just to pray to God and say amen.  In fact, they have mandatory lectures at the chaplain school, but my commanding officer told them to end my career.  After 14 years of great fitness reports, I‘ll be out on the street, without a job, no retirement.  My wife and daughter evicted from military housing, because I pray in Jesus‘ name. 

And the Navy has yet to produce one document, saying that I‘m allowed to reenlist.  Despite their double speak and their backpedaling now, they‘re coming out with statements saying, “We‘re not really going to fire him.”  But show me the documents.  They have yet to put it in writing.  And my contract expires 31 December of this year.  And I‘m wondering, are they going to let me reenlist or not?

CARLSON:  So you want to reenlist, just to be absolutely clear about this?  You want to stay in the Navy. 

KLINGENSCHMITT:  Absolutely.  I want to stay in the Navy and I want to pray publicly in Jesus‘ name, but on Friday, admirals in the Pentagon, claiming to speak for the president of the United States, stripped me of my uniform for all public appearances.  They said, “You can‘t pray in Jesus‘ name in public, unless you‘re wearing civilian clothes.”

And so that‘s when I had enough.  I began this hunger fast, and I‘m asking the president of the United States to sign an executive order, protecting all of our military chaplains‘ right to pray according to their diverse faiths.  Seventy-four congressmen have asked for this.

CARLSON:  Wait...


KLINGENSCHMITT:  ... 125,000 Americans signed a petition (ph).

CARLSON:  Hold on.  Just to be clear.  You would like to see chaplains who represent each faith, I think there are four, right?  It would be Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim, each chaplain to be able to represent his own faith publicly? 

KLINGENSCHMITT:  I‘m just asking the president to enforce the law that‘s been on the books since 1860.  It‘s been public law.  U.S. Code Title 10 says that we can pray according to our own faith and not according to the government‘s faith. 

I even have a letter here from Senator Clinton who supports me.  And I just wonder, is the president—has he lost control of his admirals?  Is he going to let them run roughshod over the evangelical chaplains?  You know, 65 Navy chaplains are involved in a class action lawsuit because of this.  They‘ve been suing since 1999. 

CARLSON:  But wait.  This doesn‘t make sense, Lieutenant.  I mean, here you have a president, who is known throughout the world as a fire-breathing evangelical.  Everybody knows that President Bush is an evangelical Christian, a Methodist, a church-goer, who‘s on your side.  That‘s what everybody thinks he knows, anyway.  Why hasn‘t the president signed this executive order?  I‘m completely confused. 

KLINGENSCHMITT:  Well, I was on a conference call with the White House staffer who‘s handling this issue about three weeks ago.  And they said they just haven‘t heard enough public outcry about this yet. 

So I‘m wondering if anyone in your audience cares about this and would call the White House tonight, at 202-456-1414, and just ask the president of the United States to sign an executive order, allowing military chaplains to pray according to their diverse faiths. 

You know, since the American Revolution, we‘ve been allowed to pray however our bishop wants.  Since 1860, it‘s been public law.  But only in 1998 did the Navy chief of chaplains sign a policy memorandum, which is posted on my web site which says that if I pray in Jesus‘ name, that I ought to exclude myself from participation as the prayer giver, because I‘m insensitive to other faiths.  That‘s ridiculous. 

CARLSON:  Let me—let me make a prediction, Lieutenant Klingenschmitt.  You are fasting now.  You will not be fasting for long.  I have the feeling that a lot of people are going to be outraged by this story, and the White House will hear from those people. 

KLINGENSCHMITT:  All the documents are on my web site, and I‘m just asking the public to call the president...

CARLSON:  All right.

KLINGENSCHMITT:  ... 202-456-1414.  He has asked to hear your opinion about this. 

CARLSON:  Well, he‘s going to hear it.  I have no doubt.  Lieutenant, good luck.  Thanks for coming on. 

KLINGENSCHMITT:  Thank you, sir. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, should a battered woman go to jail for refusing to testify against her alleged attacker?  We‘ll debate that with “The Outsider,” next.


CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

If you, like millions of other Americans, are planning to spend the weekend with family, don‘t despair.  We all have relatives we love and some we simply tolerate for the holidays. 

Here to inspire us to make the most of our time together is Po Bronson.  He‘s the author of a genuinely interesting new book, called, “Why Do I Love These People?  Honest and Amazing Stories of Real Families.”  Po joins us live tonight from San Francisco. 

Thanks a lot for coming on. 

PO BRONSON, AUTHOR, “WHY DO I LOVE THESE PEOPLE?”:  Thanks, Tucker, appreciate it. 

CARLSON:  Really nicely written, interesting book.  I read a whole chapter before airtime, just got sucked right into it.  You talked to a whole series of different families about the dramas in their lives. 

The chapter I read was about a woman who commits adultery.  She tells her husband she‘s going to cheat on him, and then does.


CARLSON:  And then the story of their marriage after that happens.  The interesting thing to me was, you have her picture in the book and her name and where she lives.  How did you convince people like this woman to open up their lives to you?

BRONSON:  Because their stories would help people.  I interviewed some 700 families with the goal of telling 20 stories, and narrowing it down as to the few people I said, “I want to go on the record with your story.”  I just convinced them these stories will help other readers. 

Because if you‘ve been through hard times, and believe me, trouble finds all families, when it‘s happened to you, you start to feel like you‘re all alone, like you‘re the only one in the world who‘s gone through this.  And the book is there to comfort you and to help you know that your life is not alone with the troubles that you seek. 

And in fact that, when you see the people in these stories survive the hard times they go through, it makes you to believe it‘s possible to come out the better for your experience. 

CARLSON:  So I mean, the consensus about families in 2005 is they‘re a disaster?


CARLSON:  People getting married, more people getting divorced.  You know the statistics.  They‘re always batted around.  You seemed to have reached a pretty hopeful conclusion about American families. 

BRONSON:  I just want to say the glass is half full.  And Tucker, the reason I want to say it is that the pessimistic tone we‘re casting this conversation is turning a younger generation off from even wanting to have families, and even this goal to them, in saying you should have a traditional family.  They—all they hear is the odds of holding together a family are no better than a coin flip. 

And that‘s making them think, why bother, why try?  And I wanted to write a book that said you may come from one of those so-called broken families, as I did, but that doesn‘t mean you can only survive your childhood.  It means you can still go on to create great family relationships. 

CARLSON:  So, but that doesn‘t answer the question, why try?

BRONSON:  Well, OK.  Let‘s just go back to the depiction of today and the numbers.  We assume that children today are being short-changed.  Well, sociologists have been doing time studies that say children are getting more face time and direct engagement with their parents today than any decade studied, and they‘ve been studying it since 1915. 

Moms were staying home, but they weren‘t necessarily engaging their children.  They were cooking and cleaning a lot, to tell you the truth, and that‘s what these time journals show. 

Another story we hear, is that women today, and the younger generation is really turned off marriage.  They just want to cohabitate.  You might not think that not many people are getting married. 

Well, actually, for the women who will turn 40 next year, women who have been vilified as being too picky and waiting too long to have kids.  Over 85 percent have married by age 35 already, and the Census Bureau says over 92 percent will marry at some point in their life. 

If over nine out of 10 people are still bothering to try marriage, why are we saying the story is so bad?  Even today, the Census Bureau turned out some numbers that said that the percentage of single mothers raising kids is 12 percent of all households.  And that‘s not as high—that‘s no worse than it‘s been in the last 15 years. 

CARLSON:  Interesting. 

BRONSON:  I‘m just trying to say—I‘m not trying to say that we don‘t have hard times. 

CARLSON:  Right.

BRONSON:  I‘m just trying to say that every generation has had its challenges.  And when I interviewed families, the parents had challenges, and the grandparents had challenges, and we have our challenges.  Let‘s face them and move on. 

CARLSON:  So give me quickly—summarize your favorite story that you came across. 

BRONSON:  One of my favorite stories is a man in the Ozarks, a former southern evangelical, who at the age of 30 decides to track down the son he gave birth to 13 years ago, and become the father he always should have been for that boy.  And he—the father, he barely ever knew his own father.  There wasn‘t a man in his life to teach him how important this is. 

And I love this story because it represents the way men today are getting involved in emotional inner lives of our children.  And all of the sociological statistics don‘t capture the fact that valuable thing, that men are more involved in their sons‘ lives than ever. 

CARLSON:  Yes, I believe that.  The book, “Why Do I Love These People?” by Po Bronson.  Sounds kind of touchy-feely, and it is kind of touchy-feely, but in a good way.  It‘s a really good book, and I appreciate your coming on. 

BRONSON:  Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Po Bronson from San Francisco, thanks. 

Still to come, dress code drama.  Sure, burkas are uncomfortable, maybe even humiliating but should they be illegal?  That‘s the question.  THE SITUATION strips down the issue next.


CARLSON:  Welcome back.  William Blake, the 18th Century poet, painter, visionary mystic, a man who hallucinated before LSD, once wrote, “The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water and breeds reptiles of the mind.”  Eww. 

Joining me now, live in our SITUATION studio, “The Outsider,” ESPN radio and HBO boxing host Max Kellerman. 

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  I wasn‘t aware standing water bred reptiles. 

CARLSON:  I know, but to William Blake, it did. 

KELLERMAN:  Spontaneous combustion. 

CARLSON:  Mr. Blake saw things the rest of us don‘t see.  I think that‘s kind of implied.

KELLERMAN:  Animation, anyway. 

CARLSON:  Yes, he did.  Intense man. 

First up, a case out of California takes blaming the victim to brand-new and appalling heights.  A woman who says she‘s afraid to testify against the ex-boyfriend accused of beating her unconscious could herself be jailed in a week in an effort to get her onto the witness stand. 

Katina Brit‘s (ph) attorney says, quote, “She was beaten the first time around, and now she goes to jail so she‘s been pummeled twice.” 

The irony in this story, and of course I agree with the lawyer.  The irony here, though, is that it‘s feminism that got us here, right?  The laws pushed by feminists, that someone accused of domestic assault or abuse is always arrested, no matter what, right?  That we‘re going to have zero tolerance for this.  And we shouldn‘t tolerate it.  I‘m not saying we ought to. 

But have led us to a place where the wishes of the victim herself are ignored, supposedly for her benefit.  So in other words, we‘re going to help you, and if you don‘t like it, we‘re going to put you in jail. 

KELLERMAN:  That‘s a very interesting take.  You know, she‘s alleging that she was beaten up.  And apparently she was beaten up.  She‘s alleging that it‘s her husband, that it‘s this guy.

CARLSON:  Right.

KELLERMAN:  Right now, he‘s being accused.  Her lawyer is coming out and saying, “Now she‘s getting beaten twice,” ostensibly, by this guy. 

Well, if this guy is professing his innocence, then he‘s saying, “No, no, I didn‘t beat her.”

CARLSON:  Right.

KELLERMAN:  So she shouldn‘t be forced to take responsibility and take the stand and say, “No, he did beat me.”  In other words, she can cast, you know, aspersions, ruin his life, essentially, and then not take any responsibility.  “You know what, but I‘m not going to testify against him.” 

CARLSON:  That is a very, very—that is such a smart argument, that in fact, for the first time in a long time, I‘m going to have to roll over.  You‘ve shaken my faith in my position. 

KELLERMAN:  Tremendous. 

CARLSON:  Because actually, that is a very good point.  You shouldn‘t be allowed to get up and accuse a person of a felony, and a despicable felony, considered socially unacceptable, destroying a guy‘s life, you‘re right, without backing it up.  If you‘re going to say that, you ought to be required, morally, anyway, to take it to court. 

KELLERMAN:  That her attorney says now, you know, she‘s being beaten twice, parentheses, by him.  He‘s sitting there saying, I didn‘t beat her once. 

CARLSON:  All right.  Max Kellerman, that‘s why I have you on, because you‘re smart, I have to say. 

All right.  Defend this.  In the Netherlands, the Dutch government is considering a ban on burkas, you know, the bed sheets.  Member of parliament Diep Wilders (ph) proposed the ban saying that, quote, “Women should walk the streets in a totally unrecognizable manner, that‘s an insult to everyone who believes in equal rights.  This law is a comfort to moderate Muslims and will contribute to integration in the Netherlands,” end quote. 

If the Netherlands does decide to ban the burka, it will be the first European country to do so. 

I‘m not for the burka.  I think it actually does represent an anti-liberal and anti-western ideology that I‘m firmly opposed to, and I think it‘s humiliating and medieval. 

However, the point of having a liberal western society is to allow people to make their own fashion choices, among many other choices.  This will only empower the lunatics who favor the burka. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, it strikes me as ironic that the international court of justice is based in Holland, the Netherlands, and now this guy, I mean, he actually came out and said that women should walk the streets in a totally unrecognizable manner is an insult to anyone who believes in equal rights. 

That‘s an insult to anyone with a brain.  I don‘t understand how you could actually come out and say that “I am for human rights, and therefore, you can‘t make up your own mind.” 

CARLSON:  Right. 

KELLERMAN:  Here‘s my—here‘s my defense of the whole situation. 


KELLERMAN:  This is the Netherlands.  They‘re in Europe.  It‘s a constitutional monarchy.  I don‘t care how they let you smoke weed and prostitution is legal, and, oh, aren‘t we so liberal.  In fact, no, you‘re not so liberal.  You‘re still a monarchy, a constitutional monarchy, whatever.  Means you got a king.  And this is not America we‘re talking about.

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

KELLERMAN:  And these ideas that seem antithetical to the American way of thinking, well, guess what, it ain‘t America. 

CARLSON:  That‘s—and that is very true.  That‘s one of the reasons these countries, and the Netherlands is not alone—all of Scandinavia is having the same problem—are having these issues with immigration, because theirs is a false promise of liberalism.  It‘s not really liberalism. 

In a lot of Scandinavian countries, you‘re not allowed to name your child whatever you want.  You have to name them a name the government approves of. 

For instance, I could give you a million examples.  There‘s no freedom of speech.  People are jailed for having certain opinions, in Western Europe. 

And so these countries claim to be tolerant.  They‘re, in fact, far less tolerant.  And I think that‘s one of the reasons they have a bigger problem with Islamic extremism. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, it begins with I said constitutional monarchy.  Well, it‘s just a figurehead.  Get rid of it.  You know?  I mean, and by the way, this goes for—and you‘ve been taking a lot of shots at Canada.  By the way, I have Canadians e-mailing me, Tucker.


KELLERMAN:  Just by—guilt by association.  However... 

CARLSON:  Let the record show that I love Canadians. 


CARLSON:  I just feel a little bit, as the big brother in this relationship, responsible for their behavior, and I‘m merely trying to correct them. 

KELLERMAN:  But they got the queen on the money. 

CARLSON:  Yes, they do. 

KELLERMAN:  They got the queen on the money.  And that‘s a problem. 

You know?  No more kings and queens. 

CARLSON:  I agree.  I agree.

KELLERMAN:  And constitutional monarchies, monarchies of any kind. 

CARLSON:  And as I said, I‘m merely trying to help our little buddy, Canada. 

Max Kellerman.

KELLERMAN:  How did I get this to Canada?  I have no idea.

CARLSON:  It always comes back to Canada. 

KELLERMAN:  More nasty e-mail comes. 

CARLSON:  Thank you, Max. 

KELLERMAN:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Still ahead on THE SITUATION, if you‘re hiding a deep, dark, personal secret, we‘ve just the place for you to spill your guts.  You‘ll meet the man who can turn your personal life into a work of art.  We‘ll explain when we come back.


VANESSA MCDONALD, SITUATION PRODUCER:  Coming up, could there actually be a thaw in the Cold War between Tucker and Canada?  We‘ll tell you the news that has our host considering dual citizenship.

CARLSON:  That‘s right.  Detente comes to THE SITUATION.  We‘re back in 60 seconds.


CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

What would possess a person to reveal his most personal secrets to a complete stranger?  And not just reveal them, but allow them to be published in a best-selling book? 

Here to answer those questions, the complete stranger himself, the man who collects and prints people‘s anonymous life confessions.  Frank Warren is the author of “Post Secret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives.”  He joins us live from Washington tonight. 

Frank, thanks a lot for coming on. 

FRANK WARREN, AUTHOR, “POST SECRET”:  Thanks for inviting me. 

CARLSON:  This book—this title is not in any way an exaggeration. 

These are extraordinary confessions, just to get our audience up to speed. 

The idea is people confess things to you on post cards, and send them in. 

And you print them, is that correct?

WARREN:  That‘s right. 

CARLSON:  I want to put one up on—up on the screen here, that gives a flavor of the kind of stuff you all seem to get in the mail.  This is a picture of a keyboard, and it says, “I hate working as a janitor for arrogant rich people, so I clean their computer keyboards with the toilet brush.” 

You get a lot of these, I notice.  A lot of kind of hostile, hostile postcards. 

WARREN:  I think in a sense I almost give a voice to voices that aren‘t commonly heard.  And you‘re right, some of them are funny.  Some of them are sexual.  Some of them are philosophical.  And sometimes they sound like they‘re from a person trying to figure out exactly what their own secret might be. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  Here‘s one from a guy who knows what his secret is.  This is from the weirdo pile.  “I bought my wife stockings.  She won‘t wear them, so I do!”  Exclamation point.  Is that real, do you think?

WARREN:  I‘ve received over 13,000 post cards with secrets on them, and I don‘t think they‘re all real.  But with the same token, I think when you walk into a library, you can find value in the fiction section and the nonfiction section. 

CARLSON:  But are they real in the sense that you didn‘t write these? 

I mean, you got these in the mail?

WARREN:  Yes, every postcard that‘s in the book, every postcard that‘s here at this art exhibit arrived in my mailbox just as you see it. 

CARLSON:  That‘s amazing.  Here‘s one.  “It makes me smile when tourists fall on the subway.” 

Has it shaken your faith in the American people, these postcards?

WARREN:  Well, the post cards come not just from America but all over the world.  I‘ve received them in French, in German, in Hebrew.  I‘ve received them in Braille. 

And really, for me, they‘ve expanded my sense of humanity.  And I feel a greater connection to strangers or people I see in movie theaters sitting by themselves, so for me, I have more empathy. 

CARLSON:  There are a lot of people who are afraid out there I was not surprised to learn.  “I hate my college,” this one says, “but I‘m too scared to admit it.”  Seems like people don‘t have anyone to talk to.  That‘s the theme. 

WARREN:  I think it‘s healthy if we can share our secrets with our close friends or family members, but I think sometimes if we carry a secret that‘s about a family member or about our friends, it‘s difficult to find an ideal person to share it with.  And so I tried to create a safe, nonjudgmental place, where people can share secrets. 

CARLSON:  Have you ever prescribed, like, three “hail Marys”?  Or anything like—I mean, this is a kind of confession, it seems like. 

WARREN:  I think—I think it has elements of confession there, also maybe of maybe therapeutic value, maybe artistic elements, as well.  But I try and keep it completely anonymous and nonjudgmental. 

CARLSON:  Some of these are just clearly bragging.  I mean, look at this one.  My chest is so huge, I have to wear two bras. 

WARREN:  Well, you can take it as bragging, but actually the card right after that on the web site, I think, says something to the effect of, the grass isn‘t always greener on the other side of the fence.  And I think that secret illustrates how sometimes there‘s a common perception of a situation, but maybe there‘s somebody with a different voice who‘s not being heard. 

CARLSON:  Have you had any secrets revealed to you that made you want to call the police?

WARREN:  I haven‘t.  The secrets I reveal are thoughtful.  They‘re philosophical.  They‘re soulful.  But I do receive secrets that give me pause.  I received a secret about four months ago that said, “He‘s in jail.  He has been in jail for two years, for something I did, nine more to go.” 

CARLSON:  Oh, man.  I saw that on your web site.  This is one of the most compelling things I‘ve ever seen.  This collection is one of those things that you almost can‘t stop looking at, because it seems to give you insight into the way people really are. 

Do you think it gives you insight into the way people are?  I mean, is this a genuinely revealing look, or is it a sideshow?

WARREN:  I think it‘s a lot of things.  I certainly think that there‘s some lessons in the book that we can learn about other people.  Or parents can learn about children.  I also think that there‘s value sometimes at participating in the project. 

I get the feeling that when people mail me a post card, sometimes they‘re using that as an opportunity to change some behavior in their life or to face some secret that they haven‘t thought about for years. 

CARLSON:  Boy, I hope it works for them.  Frank Warren, author of “Post Secret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives.”  Really an interesting collection.  Thanks a lot, Frank. 

WARREN:  Thanks for having me on. 

CARLSON:  Coming up on THE SITUATION, sure these puppies look cute and cuddly at first glance, but are they really instruments of an elaborate terror network?  We‘ll tell you why the government ought to be keeping a close eye on PETA when THE SITUATION rolls on. 


CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Time for our voicemail segment.  Apparently, Canada finally got touch tone phone service.  How do we know that?  Because they‘ve been calling. 

First up. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hello.  This is from your retarded cousins up north in Canada.  You know, you can have a worse neighbor.  You know, you could have Iraq on your border.  If you don‘t like it here, don‘t come here.  If you don‘t like it, who cares?  We don‘t care.  We live in 10 feet of snow. 


CARLSON:  But you do care.  And that‘s the sad part.  You care deeply. 

Next up. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m wondering if you caught the intelligent design ruling out of Pennsylvania.  So what do you think?  And what is this going to mean all over the place?


CARLSON:  I don‘t know what it means.  I‘ll tell you what I think of the coverage of it, though.  It‘s appalling.  I mean, I have mixed feelings about it.  You know, I‘m not threatened by intelligent design.  I‘m not threatened by Darwinism.  I mean, I don‘t know why God couldn‘t have thought up evolution. 

But I‘m amazed by the unwillingness of the national press to take the intelligent design people seriously.  It‘s been the most one-sided coverage of anything I‘ve seen in a long time.  The intelligent design people are obviously crackpots and snake handlers and scary evangelicals who stockpile guns.  That‘s the perspective of most people who report on the subject, and I think it‘s biased and outrageous. 

I think they‘re just ordinary Americans who disagree with the media. 

And they ought to be given a fair shake. 

Next up. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This is Elizabeth, Fredricksburg, Texas.  I‘m against the Pentagon spying on these different groups, but I‘m glad they‘re spying on PETA.  As far as I‘m concerned, they‘re not spying enough on PETA.  I think they are a weird, warped organization, and they ought to be spied on more. 


CARLSON:  They are a weird, warped organization.  But they‘re kind of sweet.  I mean, they really are.  The PETA people, it‘s hard to believe they‘re a threat to this nation. 

I can think of some people who are a threat to this nation, though, and we ought to be spying on them.  And I think it‘s a waste of time.  There are only so many spies to go around is the point.  And we‘re wasting all of our resources spying on a bunch of crackpot vegetarians at PETA.  People who wear vinyl shoes and take resources away from spying on the centers of radical jihadism that exist in this country.  That‘s my view. 

Next up. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is Tim from Denver.  I‘m a regular viewer of your show.  But tonight when you said that most Americans don‘t care Bush spies on them to make the country safer, I don‘t agree with that at all.  And I think you‘re not in tune with the heartbeat of America.


CARLSON:  You live in Denver and you‘re telling me I don‘t know the heartbeat of America?  I mean, I could be completely wrong.  But I bet I‘m not. 

I am actually bothered by it.  I think if the president wants to spy on Americans, he ought to tell us and convince us.  That‘s what presidents do.  They convince people of things.  The Congress and the public.  And he ought to have convinced us rather than doing it in secret.  There‘s no justification for secrecy in this case, despite what they‘ll you.  That‘s a lie. 

However, I don‘t think the average person agrees with me.  I think people are willing to tolerate almost anything as long as they think it‘s making them safe.  We‘ll find out.  There will be polls on this, and I bet you $20 I‘m right. 

Let me know what you‘re thinking.  Call 1-877-TCARLSON.  That‘s 877-822-7576.  You can also e-mail at Tucker@msnbc.com.  Moreover, you can read the blog, and you should.  Type in Tucker.MSNBC.com into your browser and there it is. 

Still ahead on THE SITUATION, I admit; I‘ve been a little hard on Canada lately.  And tonight we found reason to celebrate our neighbors to the north.  The healing process begins on “The Cutting Room Floor,” next. 


CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Just in time for the Christmas season, Willie Geist joins us for the “Cutting Room Floor.” 

WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER:  Just in time for the Christmas season and I‘m a little red in the face, Tucker.  The postcard guest actually—we put up on the screen, if we can take a look.  I sent that in anonymously, having no idea it was going to be published in a best-selling book. 

CARLSON:  I know your handwriting anywhere.

GEIST:  Notice it doesn‘t say I‘m proud of wearing the stockings. 

It‘s just something I did. 

CARLSON:  Yes, but remember to put your socks over them because I can see it. 

GEIST:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  At work.

GEIST:  Got something to hide. 

CARLSON:  All right.  Elton John confirmed the whispers that he might be gay when he married a man today.  Sir Elton tied the knot with boyfriend David Furnish at the town hall in Windsor, England.  Today was the first day same sex couples were permitted by English law to enter into civil unions. 

As you may know, Sir Elton is not a subtle man.  The reception was a $2 million affair held at his mansion.  For this last part, I think he dressed as Marie Antoinette.

GEIST:  Yes, he did.  Yes, he‘s definitely not subtle.  The question you have to ask: what do you get Elton John for his wedding?  You know what I mean?  The fondue pot at Crate ‘n‘ Barrel just seems a little inadequate. 

CARLSON:  What did you get him, Willie?

GEIST:  Well, he was registered for a diamond encrusted Steinway piano, and me and some of the guys went in on it. 

CARLSON:  Really?

GEIST:  Yes.

CARLSON:  You and the crew?

GEIST:  Yes.

CARLSON:  You‘re sweet kids (ph).  You have a big heart, Willie Geist. 

If you think the snowman you and your kids built in the backyard is big, put this in your corncob pipe and smoke toast it up.  This is Snowzilla.  An entire Anchorage, Alaska, neighborhood got together to construct this 16-foot monster.  His pipe is made from a ski pole and a tin can.  His eyes are a couple of beer bottles. 

GEIST:  That‘s good for the kids.  Some beer bottles in the eyes.

CARLSON:  I suspect there were a few beer bottles went into making this Snowzilla. 

GEIST:  That is one cutthroat Christmas decorating neighborhood, though.  If you just put out the old wreath and lights you are going to get shamed and beat down.  A 16-foot snowman in that neighborhood.  That just might be the tallest structure in the state of Alaska right now. 

CARLSON:  We should point out this is Anchorage, Alaska, where the days are short. 

GEIST:  That‘s right.

CARLSON:  You‘ve heard of largemouth bass.  But have you ever come across a two-mouth trout?  If you have, please contact your local authorities immediately, because there‘s something horribly wrong with your drinking water. 

A Lincoln, Nebraska, man caught this rainbow trout over the weekend. 

When he pulled the fish into the boat he noticed it had an extra mouth. 

GEIST:  That is something you‘d notice, I guess.  That is incredible, Tucker, but wouldn‘t it be kind of embarrassing if you didn‘t catch that fish?

CARLSON:  I was just thinking...

GEIST:  The odds are sort of in your favor when there are two mouths. 

You miss one, maybe you hit the second one. 

CARLSON:  That‘s my kind of fish. 

GEIST:  We need more of these. 

CARLSON:  Well, Canada, and I‘m talking to you, it‘s time for me to tip my hat to you.  Your supreme court or travel council or big wigwam or sweat lodge, whatever they‘re calling the august body that makes the final decisions on your laws has had the good sense to stop the senseless persecution of orgies and those who participate in them. 

The Canadian court lifted the ban on swingers clubs today.  It ruled that group sex among consenting adults is not a threat to Canadian national security. 

GEIST:  Tucker, reconciliation between you and Canada wasn‘t going to happen overnight.  But I think this is a real nice first step. 

CARLSON:  You know, I thought that, too, at first blush. 

GEIST:  Yes.

CARLSON:  The thought of orgies, good.  The thought of Canadians participating in orgies, not so good.  It‘s a bittersweet ruling, really.

GEIST:  You‘re undoing all the work we‘ve done in the last 30 seconds.

CARLSON:  I know.

GEIST:  I thought we made some real progress but you sort of rolled that back. 

CARLSON:  Well, that‘s because the image just came flooding into my mind. 

GEIST:  Why did they outlaw orgies, by the way?

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.

GEIST:  We‘ll discuss that tomorrow. 

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


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