updated 2/7/2006 11:19:34 AM ET 2006-02-07T16:19:34

Guest: Jim O‘Shea, Peter Fenn, Anya Kamenetz, Max Kellerman, Montel Williams, Harvey Bennett

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”:  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Let‘s go now, though, to THE SITUATION with Tucker Carlson.

Tucker, what‘s the situation tonight.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  THE SITUATION, Joe, is busted to the city councilman.  Busted.  Busted.

SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s that about?

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  Politicians, Joe.  Good to have you back. 

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

Tonight, as Muslim outrage over a controversial cartoon turns violent around the world, we‘ll ask why most of the American media refused to show the very images causing this controversy.  Is it responsible—responsible journalism, or is it just plain old-fashioned cowardice?

Plus the Republican Party steps up its attacks on Hillary Clinton, the presidential candidate.  Does calling Hillary an angry woman amount to a campaign strategy?  The GOP appears to be counting on it. 

And the world‘s first face transplant patient gets her media close-up.  Was she the best candidate for a new face?  Should we be giving people new faces at all?  We‘ll debate that a little later.

We begin tonight with the red hot controversy over cartoons published in European newspapers that depict the Muslim Prophet Mohammed as carrying a bomb. 

Tens of thousands of Muslims across Europe and the Middle East have taken to the streets in violent protest over those drawings.  Afghan police killed two protesters outside the U.S. Bagram Air Based North of Kabul today. 

But many people here in the U.S. haven‘t even seen the images that are stirring up this worldwide violence.  That because most American media outlets, including this one, have refused to show them, despite their obvious news value. 

So why does the American media refuse to show the cartoons?  Here to help us answer that question, the managing editor of the “Chicago Tribune,” Jim O‘Shea, whose newspaper decided not to publish those images. 

Jim O‘Shea, thanks for joining us. 

JIM O‘SHEA, MANAGING EDITOR, “CHICAGO TRIBUNE”:  That‘s quite all right.

CARLSON:  Now, these images, these cartoons are at the very center of this massive international incident or a series of them going on.  We‘re not showing them here at MSNBC.  That‘s not my decision.  I disagree with that decision, but again, it‘s not up to me.  It is up to you, though.  You‘re the managing editor of the paper.  Why are you capitulating to the threats made by Muslim groups?

O‘SHEA:  I wouldn‘t call it capitulating.  I call it a decision that we make every day.  We go through lots of stories, lots of pictures, and we make decisions about what we will put in the paper and what we won‘t.  And we are guided by judgment, taste and all the other sorts of things. 

I don‘t view this decision as any different than any other one that we would make about a picture or a story that we would find either offensive, not in good taste or inaccurate. 

CARLSON:  But this story is about the pictures.  And that‘s what separates it from—I understand you have all sorts of rules about good taste and the breakfast rule.  You don‘t want to shock readers.  And I, of course, get all that.

But the outrage is about these pictures.  So you can‘t really understand what caused the outrage, you can‘t really understand the story itself, unless you know what‘s in the pictures, can you?

O‘SHEA:  Well, I don‘t agree with that.  I think you can describe it.  You know, it‘s not really about the pictures or the cartoons.  It‘s about the images that cartoons project.  And I find the images to be inaccurate.  They are not an accurate portrayal of Muslims. 

CARLSON:  What about—OK, the image that seems to have—and I really wish we could show this, but the image that seems to have riled people the most is a drawing of Mohammed, the Prophet with a bomb in his turban. 

Now, the people who are against this say you‘re portraying Islam as a religion of violence, and because you‘re doing that, we want to kill you.  So what‘s inaccurate about it exactly?

O‘SHEA:  Well, I don‘t think you can just take an entire religion, or a prophet for that matter, and portray him in a way that I don‘t think is supported by the facts. 

Sure, you have—you have radical Islamists.  And you have the Islamic people and Muslims that resort to violence, but you could say the same about Catholic, Jews or any other religion. 

CARLSON:  So you‘re making an editorial decision?

O‘SHEA:  We don‘t go around and portray them in an inaccurate way. 

Just don‘t do it.

CARLSON:  Really? News organizations ran just this month—the February 9 issue of “Rolling Stone” has a cover photograph of Kanye West, the rap star, dressed as Jesus with a crown of thorns and everything. 

All sorts of news organizations ran that.  Offended the hell out of a lot of Christians.  Probably cared.

O‘SHEA:  Well, I don‘t agree with that.  I think that we would not publish something that we would find that would be inaccurate or offensive or give an inaccurate portrayal of someone. 

CARLSON:  So you‘re taking an editorial stand.  You think that Islam is not a religion that inspires violence.  Therefore, you‘re not allowing your readers to see a depiction that suggests otherwise?

O‘SHEA:  I think as a generalization, it‘s probably not supported by the broader facts.  I don‘t believe that.  I don‘t think that‘s true.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Do you see any irony in the fact that people are killing because they disagree with an image that suggests their religion inspires them to kill? 

O‘SHEA:  People are—we have wars going on over all sorts of issues every day.  That doesn‘t justify just provocatively putting something in a newspaper that is—that doesn‘t really accurately project—it isn‘t an accurate proper trail of Mohammed. 

CARLSON:  But come on.  You know as well as I do that you put things in your paper all the time that offend different religious groups.  You know, every time you have an ad that has been in it, Hindus are going to be upset.

You run stories on abortion or evolution or condoms.  That makes evangelicals mad.  You just don‘t want protesters outside your paper.  Isn‘t that—I mean, that‘s got to be part of our concern. 

O‘SHEA:  We‘ve had protesters outside of our paper on numerous issues. 

We‘ve run stories that have angered people, but the stories are accurate.  Or the portrayals of what they are—THE SITUATION that—it‘s an underlying news situation is an accurate portrayal. 

CARLSON:  But wait a second.  How can I, as  -- I‘m just—I‘m shocked by the lack of courage on the part of a lot of press.  It‘s not just the “Chicago Tribune,” obviously.

But if I want to understand why people are rioting over these cartoons, don‘t I have to see the cartoons to understand that?  Of course I do.  So you‘re not serving your readers, are you?

O‘SHEA:  I think I am serving my readers.  We‘ve had stories about it, where we‘re having the story about why they find it offensive.  That‘s in tomorrow‘s paper.

I don‘t see that there‘s any problem of describing what‘s going on. 

CARLSON:  Wait a second.

O‘SHEA:  I don‘t think it‘s a lack—I don‘t think it‘s a lack of courage.  We have people that are out risking their lives every day to bring news to people.  So I think just trying to oversimplify this situation into, you know, black and white, do you have courage is wrong.  It‘s just as wrong as...

CARLSON:  I don‘t think your explanation makes—I don‘t think it makes any sense.  If there‘s a story on a painting, and people are outraged by a painting and I can‘t see what the painting depicts, which is essentially what‘s going on here. 

Then I don‘t under the story.  Isn‘t it your job, isn‘t it all of our jobs, to help people understand what is going on?  I just don‘t get how I can understand the story without seeing the cartoon?

O‘SHEA:  I think if you describe that is the cartoon in a newspaper

story, with words—and that is what a newspaper is, it‘s mainly a written

written instrument—you can describe what‘s going on.  People know what‘s going on. 

CARLSON:  Even that offensive then?  Why even describe it?  I mean, that‘s offensive, too.  You‘re passing on, as you by your own description, inaccurate portrayals of Islam, in your words. 

O‘SHEA:  No, we aren‘t.  We are describing what is in a cartoon, and we are telling people that it is not an accurate portrayal and that‘s why people are upset. 

CARLSON:  OK.

O‘SHEA:  I think we‘re representing the situation. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Well, I respectfully disagree, but I appreciate your coming on to explain it. 

O‘SHEA:  That‘s quite all right.

CARLSON:  Jim O‘Shea, managing editor of “The Chicago Tribune.”  Thank you. 

O‘SHEA:  Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

Here to share thoughts on the cartoon and the Bush administration‘s response to it, Air American radio host Rachel Maddow.

Rachel, welcome.

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICAN RADIO HOST:  Hi, Tucker.

If you want to know 20 years ago from now why nobody reads newspapers, go back and look at the interview we just did with Jim O‘Shea for the “Chicago Tribune.” 

MADDOW:  Because everybody wants to see those offensive cartoons. 

Because Newspapers and mainstream news outlets are cowardly and run by corporate worms like the man I just interviewed.  They‘re nice enough, but in the even bones, bound by focus groups, unwilling to take a stand and tell the truth, which in this case is disseminate the news. 

So people go to these, like, extremist nut cake blogs, people lose faith in the mainstream media, and it‘s worth having some faith in the mainstream media.  Or should be worth it.

And the only place you can get these cartoons is on the internet.  And I just think you can‘t cover this story, you can‘t report this story unless you show what is at the very center of it, these images. 

MADDOW:  I disagree.  I mean, I agree with you—I think both of us are real—very strong on free speech, very much fundamentalists about the First Amendment.  Absolutely.

But this is kind of a typical case of free speech rights running up against something that causes offense.  But the thing is that it‘s not going to cause offense, that Cartoon, to most Americans, who see those imagines. 

It‘s going to cause offense to very religious Muslims who do not like to see any depiction of the Prophet Mohammed.  So when we see those cartoons, it‘s not going to be like understand why they‘re mad.  An explanation would more help us understand why they‘re mad.

CARLSON:  No, it wouldn‘t.  Because look, first of all, nobody in the press cares about the religious sensibilities of the dominant religion in this country, Christianity.  Right?

The Kanye West “Rolling Stones” cover we put up is proof positive.  Nobody thought twice before putting that cover on, you know, show after show after show, on television here, even though it offended orthodox Christians.  Nobody cares.

It‘s when Muslim groups, who are organized and intense and whose demands are always shadowed by the threat of violence, and they are, complain, that‘s what editors in a cowardly say, say, “I don‘t want to deal with it.  I‘m not putting it up there.”

MADDOW:  I disagree.  I mean, again, what you have is—again, it‘s a free speech issue, but it‘s something that causes offense.  And then you add religious fundamentalism into the mix.  It‘s not like we‘re strangers to this in the U.S.

I mean, there was—in the late 80‘s, right, there‘s a depiction of a crucifix in a piece of art that was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.  Jesse Helms and Al D‘Amato...

CARLSON:  “Piss Christ.”

MADDOW:  Right.

CARLSON:  And that was reproduced in a number of American...

MADDOW:  But look, the way it was responded to in American politics was that they wanted to defund all government funding for artists. 

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly right. 

MADDOW:  It was absolutely the only time. 

CARLSON:  A sane response?  Setting buildings on fire and killing people is not a fair response.  That‘s the difference between them and us.

When we‘re mad we take away your federal funding.  When they‘re really mad, they set you on fire.  And that‘s what separates us from the lunatics that surround us in this world.  And I think with...

MADDOW:  Our fundamentalism is safe, and their fundamentalism is unsafe.

CARLSON:  Yes.  That‘s exactly what I‘m saying.

MADDOW:  Wow.

CARLSON:  No—that‘s exactly what I‘m saying.  Nobody killed an American newspaper editor, or for that matter an NEA member, over that—over that installation or whatever it was called.

There are journalists in Europe who are hiding, cowering for their lives, and their American counterparts are too afraid to stand up and support them by printing these cartoons.  And I think it‘s shameful.

MADDOW:  Fundamentalism in politics and fundamentalism in censorship and fundamentalism and violence is always dangerous.  And I you think that American fundamentalism is always safe, I‘m going to disagree with you. 

What we‘ve got here, though, is this fundamental problem internationally for the U.S.  The biggest problem facing us internationally, which is the appeal and rise of fundamentalist Islam.  We‘re doing nothing to counteract it.  Nothing to counteract it.

BUSH:  The Bush is doing its bed to appease it, which is difference than counteracting it, by issuing...

MADDOW:  By engaging with some countries?

BUSH:  I‘m chewing this repulsive statement that we‘ll have to live with forever, from the State Department, from this junior guy the State Department.  You know, it‘s like these cartoons are wrong. 

Rather than standing up saying freedom speech and freedom of the press is worth defending, which is what they should have done as a beacon of freedom in the world.  They stand up and they give in those these violent mobs.  And that‘s just awful.

MADDOW:  The cartoons are wrong and offensive, and free speech is important.  But it‘s an editorial decision whether or not to run those things, just like it‘s an editorial decision whether or not to a racist caricature.

CARLSON:  I‘m embarrassed.

MoveOn.org is at it again because I need your help to start.  This time bashing the president for breaking the law in the name of national security and comparing him to President Richard M. Nixon.  Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Claiming national security, Richard Nixon illegally wiretapped innocent Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We put a law in place to protect innocent Americans, allowing the president to wiretap for national security, but requiring court approval within days.  George Bush is breaking that law. 

Are you having trouble telling these men apart?  We had a special prosecutor then.  We need a special prosecutor now. 

MoveOn.org political action is responsible for the content of this advertisement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  They‘re only helping Bush.  For one thing if Bush had his minions break into the Democratic National Committee in terms of its strategy, what would they find? Nothing.  But beyond that, this story helps...

MADDOW:  What was that about?  Here‘s a chance to have an ad hominem attack on...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Nixon got in trouble because his employees broke in looking for the Democrats‘ strategy.  It just makes me laugh.  This helps Bush, because it takes the attention off Iraq, which people don‘t support, and puts attention on domestic spying, which they do support.  Move on is helping Bush. 

MADDOW:  The comparison, though, is apt.  And the reason that the parallel is apt, is because the whole reason that we have this special court for getting warrants to specialized is a because Nixon spied on Americans without a warrant.  We have all sorts of laws in this country to make up for the excesses of Nixon. 

What they‘re to do is they‘re saying this is not necessarily about privacy rights, what this is about is a president who thinks he‘s above the law.  And that is the question.  Are ruled by consent of the government and law?  Or are we ruled by Bush because he‘s benevolent?

CARLSON:  I think that‘s a completely valid question.  And I‘ve written about it.  And       I think there is a serious point at the core of that.  My point is Nixon did what he did for political advantage.  Bush, in the public‘s view, is doing what he is doing for what he believes are national security reasons and just I don‘t think the Kabulis ever going to hold accountable for it. 

MADDOW:  I think that what Move On is doing is the fact that they have the opportunity to do everything they‘d doing legally.  And they chance at they‘re doing legally and they chose at every opportunity to do it illegally.  They could have gotten warrants.  They chose not to.

The Senate offered to make what they‘re doing after they‘re doing after 9/11‘” legal, and the Justice Department says, “No, thanks.  We‘d rather do it illegally.”  There‘s a question of why they want that power. 

CARLSON:  I think it‘s a fair question.  I still think MoveOn.org is funded by the Republican National Committee.  It must be, it and Howard Dean, because they help so very much.            

MADDOW:  And I must, too, then.  That doesn‘t explain my...

CARLSON:  You‘re funded party by THE SITUATION and we‘re part of that. 

Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Still to come, move over boob jobs, will face transplants soon become the hot new thing in plastic surgery?  Pardon that tease: we couldn‘t resist?

And is Hillary Clinton an angry woman?  It‘s a question you‘re likely to hear debated from now until November of 2008.  We‘ll tell you why when THE SITUATION comes back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Coming up, is Hillary Clinton seeing red?  Republicans certainly hope so.  We‘ll tell you about the new strategy to euthanize her presidential candidacy in the crib.

Plus, Montel Williams drops by THE SITUATION to share his thoughts on medical marijuana.  We‘ll be right back.  Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEN MEHLMAN, CHAIRMAN, RAINBOW NATION:  I don‘t think the American people, if you look historically, elect angry candidates.  And whether it‘s the comments about the plantation or the worst administration in history, Hillary Clinton seemed to have a lot of anger.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That was RNC Leader Ken Mehlman, giving us a taste of Republican campaign themes for the 2008 election.  Hillary Clinton, too angry to be president. 

It has worked before.  Just ask Howard Dean, whose red-faced, high volume outrage scared voters in Iowa into giving him a job in the private sector for good.  Could the same fate befall Hillary?

Here to tell us, Democratic strategist Peter Fenn.  I know joins us tonight live from Washington.  Peter, welcome.

PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well, thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  I like that.  I think it‘s a pretty good slogan: Hillary Clinton too angry to be president.  What‘s wrong with that?

FENN:  I think there are a lot of angry things to come out of this, but Hillary Clinton is not one of them.  She smiles more than you and I do, Tucker.  She laughs more than you and I do.

CARLSON:  But it‘s the forced John Wayne Gacy smile.  No way.

FENN:  Listen—listen, I‘ll tell you what Ken Mehlman‘s angry about, and that is Hillary Clinton is so popular in New York state that they can‘t find anybody to run against her.  She‘s unbelievably popular in the Republican areas upstate and she sponsored legislation with 35 senators who voted for her husband‘s impeachment.  That‘s what drives Ken Mehlman nuts.  I mean, he‘s the angry guy.

CARLSON:  Here‘s why I think it might be a flawed strategy.  She‘s popular in New York, there‘s no question.  And she‘s going to get reelected this year, maybe unopposed. 

But here‘s the problem, I think, with it.  People like an angry Hillary Clinton.  She became popular when she was humiliated by her husband‘s infidelities.  And I think that still forms the basis for popularity today.  People sympathize with her.  They think she was wronged. 

So people actually like a grouchy Hillary Clinton.  If she were genuinely satisfied—right—and at peace, who would she be, you know?  Some freshman senator. 

FENN:  Right.  Well, I‘ll tell you, I‘ll think the interesting thing about this is, you know, when he talks about referring to Congress as a plantation.  Of course, as we know, the first person that did that was Newt Gingrich, talking about Congress as a plantation, and look what happened to him. 

Yes, right. 

CARLSON:  So there‘s that award.

Now let‘s say you were—I now you‘ve been a Democrat strategist for many years and run many campaigns.  But you‘ve worked around Republicans a lot.  If you were starting to figure out how to run a campaign against Mrs.  Clinton, what would some of your themes be?

FENN:  Well, you know, I think that they‘re very confused now.  I don‘t know where the anger fins come to talk to each other. 

First they tried to make her so extreme and out of touch and too liberal.  Well, then you know—she comes up and says we ought to try and solve this abortion question and the right to choose and she talks about compromise.  Whoops.  They had trouble with that. 

Then they say she‘s not standing up enough for the president on Iraq.  Well, you know, what they do expect out of her?  This is a group that can‘t sort of get—can‘t figure out how to get to her.  And if I were these guys, Tucker, I would say to Ken Mehlman, “Look, you‘ve got elections coming up this year, you know, this year.  You‘re in danger of losing the House of Representatives and possibly the United States Senate here. 

HAMMER:  Well, that‘s true, but it‘s never too early to stop thinking about how to stop the Hillary menace from becoming real.  I mean, I think we all agree on that.

Do let me ask you this.  Do you think, honestly, that she has a shot, given how dissatisfied some of the Democratic base is with her position on Iraq that you just mentioned?  She has been a pretty stalwart supporter of the president on Iraq, more hawkish than I am. 

FENN:  She‘s been critical.  But she—no, no, you‘re right.  She‘s more hawkish than you and I are. 

But here‘s the problem.  It‘s hard to typecast her.  But listen, one of the things I‘ve said over and over again is that Senator Clinton is an extraordinarily pragmatic person. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

FENN:  She will not run for president of the United States if she doesn‘t feel the time is right, if she doesn‘t feel she‘s got a good shot at it.  She‘s enjoining her time in the Senate.  She loves what she‘s doing.

I‘m not anything she‘s not going to run.  But I‘m saying, then she‘s going to look at this very, very carefully.  And if I were Ken Mehlman I‘d leave well enough alone.  Because you know, be careful what you wish for.  You might get it. 

CARLSON:  But then, Peter, I‘m not going to ask you to answer this question.  If she‘s so happy in the United States Senate, why is she so darned angry?  We can talk about that next time.  Peter Fenn, joining us from Washington, D.C.  Thank you, Peter. 

FENN:  Thanks a lot.

CARLSON:  Thank you for joining us.  Up next, the terrible twos are nothing compared to the terrible 20‘s.  Find out why young Americans fresh out of college could face financial ruin when THE SITUATION returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

If only I could be 22 again.  Before you utter those words, you might want to hear what my next guest has to say about it.  Anya Kamenetz is the author of “Generation Debt: Why Now is a Terrible Time to be Young.”  She joins us live from San Francisco tonight.

Anya, thanks for joining us. 

ANYA KAMENETZ, AUTHOR, “GENERATION DEBT”:  Thanks so much for having me.

CARLSON:  Is it ever a terrible time to be young?  I mean, come on.

KAMENETZ:  Well, you know, it‘s always great to have your health and all of that.

CARLSON:  Yes.

KAMENETZ:  But what I‘m really talking about is we are the first generation in, let‘s say a century or so, that is facing the possibility of not doing as well as their parents did.  I mean, they grew up in prosperity.  We‘re growing up in a time of war and a time of uncertainty.  And we‘re carrying $20,000 in student loan debt on average.

CARLSON:  Yes.

KAMENETZ:  Just to get out of college. 

CARLSON:  So isn‘t that an argument against wasting your money on college?

KAMENETZ:  Well, you know, an awful lot of people are being told that college is the golden ticket to the middle class. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

KAMENETZ:  And yet, you know, out of every two people that go there, one of them doesn‘t finish.  So it does end up being that a lot of people feel like they‘re sold a bill of goods.  And in fact, about two million college qualified high school grads by the end of this decade are not going to get through college.  They are going to miss out on it. 

CARLSON:  But are they missing out?  I mean, I wonder if we‘re not overselling college to high school students.  Wouldn‘t it be better to say some of you won‘t care for college, won‘t get much out of it?  Some of you will succeed without college.  You don‘t need it.

KAMENETZ:  If we had a perfectly fair system it would be—the best thing would be to lay out everyone‘s options, from trade school to medical school, to everybody, and say these are—this is the deal.  This are the costs.  These are the benefits.

But the fact is that the system we have now is rigged against the poor and the working class and many minorities, and they are facing higher and higher barriers to get in.  So when you start talking about let‘s be realistic about who gets to go to college and who doesn‘t, you know, to a lot of people that sounds like maybe not such a fair way of going about it. 

CARLSON:  Boy, things must have completely changed in the 12 or 13 years since I was in college, because that was just the opposite of the way it was when I was here. 

Now isn‘t it also true, though, that this is a more fluid society than your parents or my parents‘ generation lived in?  People can sort of do anything they want.  And yes, there are more risks involved, but you have the possibility that you‘ll be the next Bill Gates.  You can really strike it rich.  Isn‘t that better?

KAMENETZ:  Well, the whole fluidity thing, it has to do with people absorbing more risk.  I mean, that‘s really what we‘re talking about.

CARLSON:  Exactly. 

KAMENETZ:  When you say “ownership society,” you mean risk.  And I think for young people, we‘re getting along without health insurance.  One out of three of us doesn‘t have health insurance.  We don‘t have pensions.  We‘re not counting on Social Security.  We are working temporary jobs, part-time jobs, contract jobs. 

And for us, you know, we‘ve got as much as ownership we can take.  We really can‘t handle too much more. 

CARLSON:  But isn‘t that good, though?  Who wants when you‘re 25 -- like, who wants a pension?  Who wants health insurance?  You should be, like, joining the French Foreign Legion or striking out on our own in some weird, dangerous country.  Isn‘t that part of the whole point of being young?  You‘re into risk.  You drunk drive, you don‘t wear a seat belt?  I‘m not saying—I mean, isn‘t that what it is to be young?

KAMENETZ:  It sounds like a lot of fun, but then when you talk to the average college student today, who is in their early 20s, they‘re slogging through school.  They‘re working, you know, 30 hours a week on average.  They‘re taking six to eight years to finish college, transferring from the community college to the state college. 

It doesn‘t look like so much fun any more.  I mean, we have a lot of images in our mind of what being young and being free is supposed to be like, but what people are telling me is that that freedom turns pretty hollow when you‘re paying, you know, $1 out of $4 you make in debt payments. 

CARLSON:  That‘s why you should drop out of college and go do something interesting.  I beseech you, Anya.  I think you already have.  You are doing something interesting.  You disapprove your thesis in a good way.  Thanks a lot for joining us tonight.

KAMENETZ:  Thanks for having me. 

CARLSON:  Still to coming lost your health insurance, speaking of?  In need of prescription drugs?  Did you know you can get all the medicine you need for free just by asking for it?  It sounds untrue, but it is true. 

But don‘t ask me.  Ask Montel Williams.  He joins us next to explain. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Montel Williams has already graduated from the Naval Academy, he‘s been a Marine, a best-selling author and of course an Emmy Award-winning talk show host.  So what else could the man possibly do?  How about bringing medicine to the sick?  He is now the national spokesman for the Partnership for Prescription Drug Assistance, a program that brings cheap drugs to people without insurance.

Montel Williams joins us tonight from Houston.  Montel Williams, thanks for coming on. 

MONTEL WILLIAMS, TALK SHOW HOST:  Thanks so much for having me, Tucker.

CARLSON:  It sounds like, on paper anyway, the answer to the problem of all these uninsured.  How does it work?  Who pays for this? 

WILLIAMS:  It‘s not only the answer for the uninsured, but it‘s really kind of an answer for all of us who are taxpayers who are paying for the uninsured.  This is a program that has been put together by the pharmaceutical research companies and through the association with over 475 private and public organizations that are already providing medical assistance to some of the uninsured. 

This group has now decided to make this so easy for everybody, because

you can register through 1-888-4PPANOW.  If you register through this

program, if you‘re uninsured or underinsured, you could probably qualify—

because over 70 percent of the people who are registering were qualifying -

for your medication to be delivered to your house for free, or nearly free. 

So it‘s amazing. 

It‘s being paid for by all kinds of public and private organizations that already have established programs that allow for medicine to be delivered to the uninsured, but nobody knows how to get to it. 

CARLSON:  So basically there‘s all this medicine out there that nobody knows about?  Skeptics say, well, wait a second, if the pharmaceutical companies are behind it, if the dreaded drug companies are behind this, it must be bad? 

WILLIAMS:  Well, you know what, that‘s one of the things that I think

and one of the reasons why I decided to get involved with it.  Because I think everybody who knows me knows that for the last 15 years on my show I‘ve held the pharmaceutical industry to task for anything that I‘ve felt has been an egregious offense, from certain drugs that maybe we thought did harm. 

But I‘ll tell you, as much as I will vilify, I‘ve got to vindicate.  These guys are doing an exceptional job.  This is medication that is being provided by almost all of the companies that make the medicine.  They have problems available for people who can‘t afford it.  But people don‘t know how to get to it.

And what‘s so important about this program, 1-888-4-PPANOW, this program, it allows people to call in.  In less than 10 minutes, you‘ll find out if you‘re qualified.  In less than an hour, they‘ll have you completely registered, and medication will be on your doorstep in about a week to a week and a half. 

CARLSON:  Well, pardon my skepticism, but why would a drug company that sells these drugs for a profit—and has every right to—why would they want to give them away? 

WILLIAMS:  I think, you know, let‘s talk about smart business.  And I‘m not foolish, and I think everybody in America understands that drug manufacturers are making a lot of money in the last couple of years, though they also spend an inordinate amount of money on research.  And we have got to pat them on the back for the research that they‘ve been doing. 

But now when they make these drugs, OK, there‘s a pool of drugs that they keep aside anyway for this kind of a program, so that they understand.  I mean, philanthropic?  Yes.  No ifs, ands or buts.  But at the same time, if in fact I‘m providing you with the care you need during a period of time that you‘re in need, when you‘re out of need, you‘ll continue to use the medication that you need. 

CARLSON:  That is smart.  Now, you‘ve been an advocate for legalizing medical marijuana.  If you qualify for this program, would they deliver it to your house? 

WILLIAMS:  You know what?  I‘ll tell you what, as long as the federal government still has it as illegal—now, we have 13 states right now in America today that have now voted—the people have voted and said, let‘s make this legal for doctors to prescribe.      

And let‘s talk about this for a second.  Tucker, one of the things that‘s so crazy about this is that right now, today, across the country, every 17th of the month, marijuana is delivered from a program through the University of Mississippi—that‘s a government program—in USDA-stamped cans.  The United States government does this anyway. 

Unfortunately, they haven‘t changed the status of marijuana, so it‘s only for a small group of people who are able to get this.  But if our government now for 25 years has been delivering marijuana to 25 people, why can‘t it also include the rest of us?  If in fact it‘s made legal nationally, it might be something that the PPA (INAUDIBLE)...

CARLSON:  For medicinal purposes. 

WILLIAMS:  Period.  Only for medicinal purposes, period.

CARLSON:  Right.  You‘re also not just an advocate; you‘re also a patient.  You have MS.  You talked about it. 

WILLIAMS:  I have MS.  I have MS.  And one of the things that‘s so crazy about this, and it‘s part of the reason why I partnered up with the pharmaceutical industry on this is because, you know, for me, I have some of the best insurance in the world.  I have (INAUDIBLE).  You know, I‘m covered.  My medication comes to me.  I‘m on a three-pronged approach.  I‘m paying for it myself, because I can afford it. 

I have people walk up to me every single day, Tucker, because they know I‘m the face of MS, and they walk up to me and say, I can‘t afford my medication.  And the first thing I‘m saying to them right now—on the plane coming here for this interview, I had a woman stop me because her parents both have Alzheimer‘s.  They neither are insured, and the flight attendant and her sister are trying to pay for the medication that these people are getting.  I said to her immediately, call 888-4-PPANOW.  I‘m telling you, this program will probably help. 

CARLSON:  All right.  I want to walk through an airport with you. 

Montel Williams, thanks a lot for coming on.  I appreciate it.

WILLIAMS:  Tucker, thanks so much for having me.  And any time you want to talk about something else, call me back. 

CARLSON:  I appreciate it.

Oh, but there‘s more.  Stay tuned, still plenty more ahead on THE

SITUATION.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON (voice-over):  Cutting edge science.  Is this the new face of modern medicine?  Or are doctors operating on dangerous ground? 

Plus, earn while you learn.  Why a new school of thought may be turning education into a money-making lesson for enterprising teens. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Now, who pays the price later?  You.

CARLSON:  And, you‘ve got hate mail.  The bizarre story of how a friendly message in a bottle uncorked a nasty transatlantic (INAUDIBLE).  It‘s all ahead on THE SITUATION. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What are you people, on dope? 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Sir Winston Churchill once said, “the greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.”  Present company excepted, of course.  Joining me now, the Outsider, ESPN radio and HBO boxing host, Max Kellerman. 

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  I love you and Montel.  There‘s something there.  I‘m telling you, that was, as I told you, the most interesting interview I‘ve seen since Oprah Winfrey and Dave Chappelle. 

CARLSON:  Who does that make me?  Oprah or Chappelle?

KELLERMAN:  Well, you‘d be Oprah. 

CARLSON:  Thanks.

First up, what‘s got to be the picture of the day.  The French woman who received the world‘s first face transplant appeared in public today.  Isabelle Dinoire said, quote, “there‘s no comparison between the face I have today and the face I had seven months ago.  It is totally different.” 

She thanked doctors and the donor‘s family for giving her a new chance for a new life after she was severely disfigured by a series of dog bites.  Some critics question the radical surgery, since her injuries were not life-threatening.  Did she really need the face transplant?

Here‘s my position on all cosmetic surgery, particularly as it pertains to women.  Anything that makes a woman feel better about her appearance is an objectively good thing.  It‘s good for her, it‘s good for the man in her life.  I‘m for it.  

KELLERMAN:  Well, I was trying very hard to take this seriously and present a serious counterpoint, but the song I just heard playing underneath was “Eyes Without a Face?” 

CARLSON:  I know.

KELLERMAN:  That was inspired.  Whoever chose that, that really was inspired. 

Listen, of course, cosmetic surgery, if it makes someone feel better, good, because actually you‘re affecting the inside through affecting the outside...

CARLSON:  Yes, that‘s right.

KELLERMAN:  Which is fine.  But personally, how do you really—I mean, corrective surgery is one thing.  When you‘re talking about face transplant—you know, John Woo made a movie about this not long ago, “Faceoff.”

CARLSON:  Right.

KELLERMAN:  You‘re talking about “Faceoffs”—corrective surgery is one thing, cosmetic—I mean, when you think about it, someone says like, death warmed over—you look like death warmed over.  They get these faces from cadavers. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

KELLERMAN:  So in order to have cosmetic surgery in this case, someone would have to tell you, you look like death warmed over, and you take it as a compliment. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I understand it can be kind of creepy, but in the end, if it makes the person who receives it feel better about herself, I‘m totally for it.  I mean, people, you know, spend a lot of time, what‘s happiness, how do I rich happiness, fulfillment, how do I get it?  Boob job. 

KELLERMAN:  In the case which I find by the way monstrous—I know the guys—I‘m in the minority here, but...

CARLSON:  You‘re not from Southern California. 

KELLERMAN:  Yes, apparently not.  Let‘s face it, if you‘re getting a face transplant, it is corrective, not cosmetic.  I mean, it‘s one and the same.  Because you wouldn‘t get one if it was simply—you‘d have to really cross a line before—although people like Michael Jackson, really sick people, might. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  Call me a radical feminist, but I‘m just—I‘m for it.  I‘m for women feeling good about the way they look.  I am.

They say you get what you pay for, but schools around this country are taking that maxim to extremes.  Schools in Massachusetts and California are now offering cars, iPods, even a month‘s rent to students with a perfect attendance record.  Some prizes are paid for by local businesses; others come out of school budgets.  All of them are wrong and silly and send the wrong message, Max.  The point is, kids go to school not because they get paid to, but because they have to.  It‘s their duty.  I‘m not even defending school, which I didn‘t care for personally, but there is an important life lesson in this.  Shut up and do it.  That‘s the lesson.

KELLERMAN:  Because you had to do it, let‘s face it. 

CARLSON:  No, not just because I had to do it, but because it‘s important to learn about duty.  You do things because you have to. 

KELLERMAN:  You know, college athletes, college football players generate a lot of revenue for their schools and don‘t partake of any of it, really.  And there‘s a big argument that says, look, the networks are getting rich, the schools are making money, and these kids, OK, they are getting a quasi-education. 

You know, schools, public schools get paid when kids show up.  They get money based on attendance. 

CARLSON:  Yes, they do.  I know.

KELLERMAN:  So they‘re sharing in that.  And the kid might be thinking, wait a minute.  How did you do in high school? 

CARLSON:  I did fine. 

KELLERMAN:  I didn‘t do so well in high school.  You know what?  If they would have paid me to show up, I would have showed up.  I remember my home room teacher—I always used to cut home room.  You couldn‘t get graded in home room.  She‘d say, where were you today, you have to show up.  And I think to myself, or else what?  What are you going to do?  If you get paid to do ,it I would have been front row and center. 

CARLSON:  I showed up because I had no choice.  There was no promise of getting anything extra.  If you didn‘t show up, there was a promise of getting severely punished.

KELLERMAN:  Which is not necessarily a good thing. 

CARLSON:  No.  All stick, no carrot.  You‘re under 18, you don‘t have a job, you do what you‘re told.  You don‘t have rights. 

KELLERMAN:  That‘s—look, a 15-year-old is in many ways adult.  I mean, in many ways adult—and people want to try them as adults...

CARLSON:  In what way an adult? 

KELLERMAN:  Oh, in many ways.  Eighteen, arbitrarily, suddenly, presto, you‘re change-o, you‘re an adult? 

CARLSON:  I was 15, and I know this really well from personal experience.  You‘re convinced you‘re an adult.  You don‘t have a job.  You can‘t support yourself.  You‘re (INAUDIBLE).

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  You be quiet! 

KELLERMAN:  Exactly.  It‘s tautological.  Until you get some money, you don‘t get to make any decisions. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

KELLERMAN:  OK, well, how about this, if I show up for my job, just like when you show up for your job, you get paid; I get something, too.  No, you can‘t do that.  So in other words, you can‘t have the money for doing your job, and since you don‘t have the money, you don‘t have any control over your own life (ph).

CARLSON:  Yes.  And you know why that‘s a good thing?  Because it makes you yearn for the freedom of employment.  By the time you finally leave school, you are psyched to get a job. 

KELLERMAN:  I got a job in high school just so I would (INAUDIBLE). 

CARLSON:  Max Kellerman, thank you.

KELLERMAN:  Tucker, thank you.

CARLSON:  Coming up on THE SITUATION, imagine how excited you‘d be to get a response to a message in a bottle.  But imagine how shocked you‘d be if that response was anti-American hate mail from the creepy Brit who found it.  An amazing story you won‘t want to miss when THE SITUATION rolls on. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Let‘s be honest, when you put a message in a bottle and throw it into the Atlantic Ocean, you really aren‘t expecting a reply.  If you do get one, you‘re certainly not expecting it to be hate mail. 

Well, that‘s what happened to my next guest.  He threw five bottles off New York‘s Long Island last summer, and was shocked to get a response from England last week.  He was even more shocked to find that letter called him “a litter bug” and attacked America. 

Captain Harvey Bennett joins me live tonight from Amangasset, New York to tell his amazing story.  Captain Bennett, thanks for coming on. 

CAPTAIN HARVEY BENNETT:  Hi, Tucker.  How are you doing tonight.

CARLSON:  I‘m great, and I‘m annoyed that you got that kind of response.  What did you put in the bottle?  What kind of note? 

BENNETT:  It wasn‘t much of a note.  It was just one of my business cards, and I had kind of done it in haste, and I just threw it in the ocean at the beach down here in Amangasset back at the end of August.  And lo and behold about a week and a half ago, I get the bottle back and a note.  And the note kind of blasted me for being, you know, a litter bug. 

CARLSON:  Why did you do this in the first place? 

BENNETT:  Well, I‘ve done this my whole life.  I‘ve always been throwing bottles in the ocean.  I‘d done it when I was a kid and then I—

I did—I don‘t know, about five or six years ago, I was in Australia and I did it in Australia, and had one wash up in—I threw it in the water in Melbourne, and I had it wash up in Tasmania.  And then I, you know, just kind of continued when I got back here. 

And the furthest I ever had one before this wash up in south Jersey, and then this one.  This one (INAUDIBLE).

CARLSON:  So this is your first transatlantic reply then to one of these bottles? 

BENNETT:  First transatlantic reply.  And the amazing thing about it was, it washed up in a town that was, oh, 30 miles from where my ancestors came from back in the mid-1600s. 

CARLSON:  Well, that makes the reply you got even more offensive.  “I recently found your bottle while taking a scenic walk on the beach by Pool Harbor,” it said.  “While you may consider this some profound experiment on the path and speed of ocean currents, I have another name for it—litter.  You Americans don‘t seem to be happy unless you‘re mucking about somewhere,” he said.  That‘s unreal. 

BENNETT:  Yes.  Well, I guess we got a bad rap.  You know, I don‘t know.  I think he was poking at the politics of this country.  I‘m hoping that he doesn‘t think every American runs around mucking about, you know. 

CARLSON:  No, you seem like the kind of person that doesn‘t muck at all.  This guy‘s name is Henry Bigglesworth of Bornmouth, Great Britain.  Have you written him back? 

BENNETT:  His—we found that his address was—it‘s a fake address, and the name was taken from an “Austin Powers” movie, I believe.  Bigglesworth was the cat in “Austin Powers” movies.  He doesn‘t have—he‘s got the nerve to write a letter, but he doesn‘t have the nerve to face up to it.  

CARLSON:  Was it post-marked Great Britain? 

BENNETT:  Yes, it was.  It cost one pound 37 to get it here.

CARLSON:  Good, I‘m glad it cost him some money.  So this guy attacks you, who is just doing something, a good deed, and actually a pretty cool thing to do, and then he attacks our country.  Have you turned this over to some law enforcement agency that can track this guy down and send him to prison? 

BENNETT:  No, I don‘t think it‘s ever going to go that far.  But I think the British media‘s been after him quite a bit.  I don‘t think he‘ll show his face anytime soon or come forward. 

But I wish he would, because it‘s his bottle.  I gave it to him.  He found it.  I‘d like to go back and meet him and give it back to him. 

CARLSON:  I hope that from now on, Captain Bennett, you will just litter the British seashore with letters taunting the occupants of that island.  Will you do that? 

BENNETT:  Well, I don‘t know if I‘ll litter, but I‘m going to use bigger bottles, and I‘m hoping that people, whoever finds the larger bottles, will have a life, because Mr. Bigglesworth sure doesn‘t.

CARLSON:  Good.  That‘s right.  I think you should only use 40-ounce malt liquor bottles, and just throw them out by the truckload. 

Captain Bennett, thanks a lot for joining us from Amangasset tonight. 

We appreciate it. 

BENNETT:  OK.  It was a pleasure talking with you tonight. 

CARLSON:  Thanks.  Me, too.

BENNETT:  OK.

Still ahead on THE SITUATION, the names Michael Jackson and Pope John Paul usually don‘t appear together unless they‘re followed by some kind of tasteless joke.  We‘ll tell you how MJ and the late pope are linked—and they are—when we visit “The Cutting Room Floor.” 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time for “The Cutting Room Floor.”  Joining us, our own version of Montel Williams, Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST, SITUATION PRODUCER:  Thank you.  We cannot catch a break.  The British are supposed to be our friends.  We send them this nice, idealistic, like romantic thing, throwing bottles, and we get attacked for it?

CARLSON:  I know.  Anonymously, too.

GEIST:  We cannot win.

CARLSON:  Not only are they mean, they‘re cowardly. 

GEIST:  Remind me not to throw anything...

CARLSON:  We ought to invade, pay them back for 1812.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are proud Super Bowl champions tonight, but they can‘t be half as proud as 22-year-old Joe Chestnut (ph).  He won the last high-profile but equally prestigious Wing Bowl over the weekend.  He sucked down 173 buffalo wings to trounce the competition in a 14th annual contest held in Philadelphia.  Chestnut qualified for the national finals by drinking a gallon of milk in 41 seconds. 

GEIST:  Wow.  That‘s more impressive than the wings.  One hundred and seventy-three wings is very impressive, but he could not hold Sonya Thomas‘ jock.  Remember Sonya Thomas?  There she is.  Our dear old friend.  Anytime you compete against Sonya, you‘re playing for second place.

CARLSON:  Hold her jock?

GEIST:  Well, I guess she doesn‘t wear one.

CARLSON:  One hopes not.

GEIST:  I don‘t think competitive eating requires a jock. 

CARLSON:  No, I don‘t think it does either.  No protective equipment required. 

You have to be a pretty hardcore partier to commute by commercial airplane to your parties.  These people are.  A tour company has introduced a commuter flight from Germany to party hot spot Mallorca, Spain.  It leaves at 9:00 p.m. and returns to Germany at 6:00 p.m. (sic).  The airline says the flight gives people a chance to enjoy the renowned clubs of Mallorca and be back in time for work in the morning. 

GEIST:  Tucker, you thought that commuter flight from Laguardia to D.C. was fun.  Boy, I mean Mallorca I heard is fun, but is it really worth that?  Like you would really get off work, get on a plane for like three hours, go dancing, and come home?  It‘s that fun? 

CARLSON:  You my friend have never been to Mallorca. 

GEIST:  No, I haven‘t.  I would stay in Berlin.  They have some nice clubs there.

CARLSON:  I would not stay in Berlin.

GEIST:  Oh.

CARLSON:  Ever.

The male gender was humbled in Alaska over the weekend.  Sophomore Michaela Hutchison became the first female in the United States in history to win a state wrestling championship against boys.  She won in the 103-pound weight division of Alaska‘s biggest schools.  Hutchison finished the season with a record of 45 wins, just four losses.  She pinned 33 of her victims.  Congratulations. 

GEIST:  Congratulations is right.  But come on, guys, what are we doing up there in Alaska? 

CARLSON:  I totally agree. 

GEIST:  I know it‘s Alaska, but it still matters what you do.  There are certain areas where we have to maintain our supremacy.  Wrestling is one of them. 

CARLSON:  They got some tough chicks up there.  Manhandling sled dogs all day.

GEIST:  Come on, guys.

CARLSON:  As you know by now, we never pass up a chance to show you video of something being blown up.  This structure went down in Columbia, South Carolina yesterday.  The Carolina Plaza office building imploded to make room for the expansion of the University of South Carolina.  It never gets old watching buildings implode, does it? 

GEIST:  No.  And in fact, as I watched it, I don‘t know what it is about implosions.  There needs to be a building implosion channel.  I‘d watch it. 

CARLSON:  Oh, yeah.  Oh, completely.

GEIST:  I‘d watched scrambled building implosions. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

GEIST:  Better than porn. 

CARLSON:  The irony detector of an Italian priest slash music producer appears to be out of service tonight.  The Roman clergyman says he hopes to enlist Michael Jackson—that‘s right, Michael Jackson—to sing on a CD of Pope‘s John Paul‘s prayers.  The priest hopes to put together an album of music headlined by Jackson, with lyrics drawn from the prayers of the late pontiff.  The Vatican would have to approve any such collection, and good luck with that.

GEIST:  I have a feeling the PR department at the Vatican might nip this one in the bud.  And I want the record to show, I (INAUDIBLE) to make it obvious Michael Jackson ...

CARLSON:  Yes, you didn‘t, and...

GEIST:  And the pages of history will reflect that.

CARLSON:  I want to congratulate you for your awesome self-control.

GEIST:  The history will smile on me.

CARLSON:  Yes, it will.  Willie Geist.

GEIST:  See you tomorrow, Tucker.

CARLSON:  That‘s SITUATION for this evening.  Thank you for watching. 

Up next, Keith.  See you tomorrow.

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

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