updated 3/30/2006 11:04:54 AM ET 2006-03-30T16:04:54

Guest: Mike Allen, Colin Hanna, Kevin Thompson, Mark Ginsberg

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”:  THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON starts right now.  Tucker, what's the situation tonight?

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Thanks.

Thanks to you at home for tuning in for a special SITUATION from Washington, D.C. 

Tonight, debate continues over a proposed 700-mile long fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.  Critics compare it to the Berlin Wall.  Supporters say it will prevent us from being overrun by illegal aliens.  We'll get both sides tonight.

Also former House majority leader, Tom DeLay, tells a conference of religious conservatives there's a quote, “war on Christianity” going on in this country.  Does he have a point or is he just playing politics?

Plus a crazy cat with six toes named Lewis is placed under house arrest after terrorizing a neighborhood in Connecticut.  But did this happen before?  We'll bring you our top five instances of animals gone wild in just a few minutes. 

We begin our show tonight, though, with President Bush's visit to Mexico.  With the debate over border security still raging here at home, the president could use some support for his immigration plan from south of the border.  That's the plan, anyway.

Bush's guest worker proposal has generated a positive response throughout Mexico.  And Mexican President Vicente Fox appears to be in favor of the bill approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this week. 

For more on what Bush is hoping to accomplish with this visit, we bring in “TIME” magazine White House correspondent Mike Allen.  He's now traveling with the president in Cancun, Mexico. 

Mike, welcome.

MIKE ALLEN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, “TIME” MAGAZINE:  Hey, Tucker.

CARLSON:  What does Bush hope to get from Vicente Fox?  And more to the point, I guess, what does Vicente Fox want from Bush here?

ALLEN:  Well, Tucker, just to set the scene a bit, we're here at a classic spring break hotel.  I'm wearing my wrist band that gives me unlimited use of 10 bars and 20 restaurants.  You'll be happy to know that, since I had to visit with you, I've held off on the tequila volley ball. 

But the president lands tonight and tomorrow is going to be meeting with President Fox.  And the White House is emphasizing to us not to expect anything, no deliverables.  And they the summit isn't about immigration; it's about security in general.  They'll be talking about coastal security, other types.  But of course, that's the only issue that matters here.  And the president has said that himself today. 

He did another one of these marathon question and answer sessions.  He started (AUDIO GAP) doing these in Washington and mixing his broken languages a bit.  He said that immigration was the topic du jour.  And he stuck to the decision which he's had, which is that enforcement has to go hand in hand, as he put it, with the guest worker program. 

CARLSON:  Now you saw the Mexican president, Vicente Fox, and his minions yesterday, applauding the Senate vote, judiciary committee vote, on the guest worker program?  Does that help or hurt Bush?  If the Mexican government is seen in favor of it, doesn't that weaken Bush's hand?

ALLEN:  That's an interesting point, and people have thought that this was a very difficult issue for the president.  Tucker, I have a little news for you tonight.  As you know, I've been saying for some time, cautioning people that this issue could turn out to be a winner for Bush and Republicans.  And tonight we can put a little meat on those bones. 

My colleague, Karen Tumulty, first got wind of this today, and I checked into it a bit.  The House speaker, Dennis Hastert, in comments on Capitol Hill today, made it clear that the House leadership is not dug in against some sort of guest worker program.  Everyone thought the Senate could do whatever they wanted, but it was going to die in the House.  There was no way Bush was going to have a bill to sign.

On the contrary, Republicans, House, Senate, White House, have decided it's in their political interests, maybe even a political necessity, to have some accomplishment this year.  They want to have a bill signing on the border before fall so that they can talk about and communicate the message that they have accomplished this. 

And the way that they plan to do it is the House is sort of hanging back, playing possum, while the Senate comes up with what they hope will be some sort of reasonable compromise between security and a guest worker program.  If there's something sort in the middle, the House is willing to work with that. 

And the speaker, Dennis Hastert, today, while not endorsing a guest worker program, said enforcing the borders come first, but he said he recognizes that some sectors of the economy need a guest worker program. 

CARLSON:  Right.

ALLEN:  And that's a tectonic move from what we've been hearing from Republicans lately. 

CARLSON:  It certainly is.  The White House is clearly making inroads in the Congress.  That's going to have to finally be coupled with pretty strong beefing up of security along the border, or else the Congress isn't going to vote for it. 

Tell me succinctly, what are the measures that we're going to see become law that is going to strengthen border security, do you think?

ALLEN:  Well, the White House is going to emphasize what they've already done, and that is adding more agents to the border, more technology to the border.  The House, as you know, has talked about some sort of fence. 

What can be clear in this compromise, is there's going to be a little bit for everyone and they're going to do something to make this guest worker program palpable.  Something so that conservatives who have been criticizing this program have been saying that it's unfair to people who follow the law, that it's rewarding law breakers, give them something to say, somewhere to go so that it does not look like they backed down. 

For instance, they may make (AUDIO GAP) some sort of a pilot program.  It may be geared at certain parts of the economy.  They haven't worked that out.  But they're very intent on making sure that everyone can say that they got something out of this. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

ALLEN:  And the people who are all about security have gotten in their bill, and now they're looking for ways to open it up just a little bit so that the president can go back to that compassion message he had in '99.  He said again today, we are for family values, wherever they come from.  And that's an appealing message for Republicans, and I think he's going to argue that it's in their interests to walk a little bit that way. 

CARLSON:  We'll see if they can sell it, but I have my doubts.  But I appreciate it.  Mike Allen on the volleyball court in Cancun.  Thanks, Mike. 

ALLEN:  Have fun in D.C., Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Thanks.

Controversy continues to swirl around the proposed 700-mile-long fence along the U.S.-Mexico border that would help prevent illegal immigrants from entering this country.

Colin Hanna is the founder of the group Let Freedom Ring.  He's also the president of WeNeedAFence.com.  He's taken the concept of a border fence a step farther.  He's proposing a state-of-the-art fence 40 to 50 yards wide that he says would never allow an illegal immigrant to cross the border again. 

Colin Hanna joins us tonight from Washington.

Mr. Hanna, thanks for coming on.

COLIN HANNA, PRESIDENT, WENEEDAFENCEC.COM:  Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Now give us an honest and dispassionate sense of where this is now.  Are we likely to get a border fence?  A lot of people, you of course, very much included, in favor of it, but is it likely to actually happen in the next five years?

HANNA:  Well, first point is that the House bill already includes the 700-mile fence and not just 700 miles as some sort of arbitrary number, but it's 14 known drug smuggling corridors.  So it's already in the House bill.  The question is will it be in the Senate bill? 

You were talking earlier about the possibility of compromise with regard to the guest worker program.  There are two ways to compromise.  You either dilute each side of the compromise until it becomes both unobjectionable or ineffective, or you attempt to create balance by having a strong component on one side added to a strong component on the other side. 

That, I think, is by far the most thoughtful and likely productive way to break the legislative stalemate that would otherwise ensue. 

So our belief is that you start with border security first with a high-tech, physical barrier system as the centerpiece of border security.

CARLSON:  Right.

HANNA:  And then you can add some of these other immigration liberalization measures. 

CARLSON:  Well, of course, we...

HANNA:  Not only that they be balanced, Tucker, but that they also be sequenced properly.  And if they are, our opinion research shows that the actual support for the combination is greater than the individual constituencies for each of its parts. 

CARLSON:  Because people intuitively understand that, if you grant amnesty to the 10, or 11 or 12 million, whatever they are, illegal immigrants already in this country...

HANNA:  It will make it worse.

CARLSON:  ... you will draw tens of millions more from Latin America and around the world, because the message you'll be sending is come here illegally and we don't care.  We'll make you a citizen anyway.  So—but if you put that fence up and prevent anybody else from coming in illegally, then you have more latitude to extend citizenship to the people already here.  Is that what you're saying?

HANNA:  Absolutely.  And we make a big distinction, Tucker, between securing the border, which we favor, and closing the border, which we don't.

CARLSON:  Right.

HANNA:  Securing the border means having enough crossing points, ports of entry so that it does nothing to interfere with trade, with commerce, with tourism or with legal immigration.  We are pro-immigration, but we are pro-legal immigration. 

CARLSON:  Well, I'm not even sure exactly what the argument is against it.  This country is spending hundreds of millions and billions, actually, in aid to Israel, and I think we ought to be giving that money to Israel.  However, that money is going, some of it, to building a fence, right, to keep Palestinian suicide bombers from getting into Israel proper.  And it works, so how can we fund that and say our own fence is illegitimate or won't work?

HANNA:  That fence has been very effective. 

CARLSON:  Of course.

HANNA:  And in fact, our fence design is modeled on that.

CARLSON:  That's right.

HANNA:  But you used a keyword a moment ago when you said what is the argument against the fence?  By and large, there is no argument against the fence.  There are sometimes instinctive, emotional reactions against the fence, largely centered on the symbolism of a fence. 

CARLSON:  Why isn't the president...

HANNA:  When you get past the symbol—I'm sorry.

CARLSON:  Why isn't the president behind the fence?

HANNA:  Because I think he is hung up on the symbolism of the fence.  But when it is part of a true balance, then, I believe, that the base of support increases. 

So if the president truly wants a guest worker program, our argument is the best way to get the support for a guest worker program is first to secure the border with a fence, such as we have proposed.  And then there will be public support. 

Otherwise, Tucker, you're going to see public outcry which will far exceed last weekend's immigration rallies and, frankly, will exceed the port security fracas that we saw a few weeks ago. 

CARLSON:  That's right.  I think every word you've just said is completely true.  Americans feel like immigration is out of control, and more to the point, they have no control over it. 

Once they feel they have control over it, then I think we can all relax and make, I think, good decisions about what to do now. 

Colin Hanna, I hope you succeed in what you're doing. 

WeNeedAFence.com.  Thanks a lot for coming on. 

HANNA:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Still to come, former House majority leader, Tom DeLay, claims there is, quote, “a war on Christianity” in this country.  Are Christian values being attacked by people who oppose President Bush?

Plus a frustrated father in Massachusetts writes a book claiming custody battles and family court favor mothers.  And of course they do.  What did a judge do next that would have our Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves?  Stay tuned.  THE SITUATION returns with that answer. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still ahead, is there a war on Christianity currently being waged in this country?  Plus, does killing a gold fish warrant two years behind bars?  We'll tell you the answers when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TOM DELAY ®, TEXAS:  We are, after all, a society that abides abortion on demand, has killed millions of innocent children; degrades the institution of marriage; and often treats Christianity like some second rate superstition.  Seeing from this perspective, of course, there is a war on Christianity. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That was former House majority leader, Tom DeLay, speaking at the War on Christians Conference in Washington, D.C., yesterday.  Is he right?  Are Christians and Christian values being attacked in this country? 

If you watched our show this week, you know that San Francisco officials recently condemned a Christian youth rally and the Rhode Island Department of Education pulled abstinence-only programs in its public schools because they were deemed too Christian. 

Joining us from Philadelphia now to give us her thoughts on the subject, MSNBC contributor Flavia Colgan.

Flavia, welcome back. 

FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Good evening, Tucker.  Thanks for having me. 

CARLSON:  I think this is a bit of an overstatement on DeLay's part. 

There's not a war of Christianity going on in this country, necessarily. 

It's an overwhelmingly Christian country. 

George W. Bush is the great example.  I think he was elected partly because a lot of Christians voted for him, but I also think he's hated by people mostly because he's a Christian.  So it does cut both ways, and there are a lot of people who are very hostile to Christianity.  They tend to be very liberal, and they tend to live on the coasts.  True?

COLGAN:  Well, I don't think that George Bush is hated because he's a Christian.  I would say that people, based on the polling, are very disappointed with him because he's not competent and has waged a lot of domestic and foreign policy initiatives...

CARLSON:  Hold on.  You know—but you know—see, I agree with you halfway.  Sure, Iraq is a disaster.  He deserves to be blamed for it.  I'm not excusing that.  But you know it's true, because you have a lot of liberal friends, and I'm around liberals a lot, too, that people hate him on a gut level, because they think he's pious, holier than thou and an evangelical.  And—you know that's true.

COLGAN:  No.  No.  People do not dislike him on a gut level, and I'll be the first one to admit it.  And we can get into that in a second in terms of the cognoscenti and the clattering—the chattering classes, I think, being dismissive of religion. 

What people have a problem with, with Bush, is that they are concerned about a potential lunge towards theocracy and him saying that God the father is, you know, putting him there to make decisions.  And I think that makes people feel a little uncomfortable in a democracy.

CARLSON:  But wait a second.  Wait a second.  Clinton talked far more about Jesus than Bush did.  Clinton was always walking around with his Bible and having these phony preachers over at the White House, and you know, talking about what God wanted and quoting scripture all the time and getting up and, you know, thumping the scriptures in black churches.  I mean, nobody ever complained about that except me, I guess. 

COLGAN:  No.  No.  Well, Bill Clinton didn't say that one religion, or implied that one religion was superior to others. 

But hold on.  Let's just talk about this conference for a moment.  I find that Hot Tub Tom, by the way, being the anointed person to represent Christian values and integrity in government, as the way they positioned him for conference, is completely farcical.  And I think this Christian group does themself a huge disservice. 

I also found the rhetoric, as you pointed out, a war.  While we're in the middle of a civil war, which has huge religious overtones, for them to be talking about war and persecution, I mean, it really trivializes true persecution, which is happening around the world to Christians. 

You have 80 million Chinese Christians having—I mean, for goodness sakes, having to worship underground and being tortured and detained.  You had an Afghani guy last week alone who was going to be tried to death—I mean, you know, because he converted to Christianity. 

CARLSON:  I think you make a good point. 

COLGAN:  I mean, I think it trivializes it.

CARLSON:  But the flip side and I think it's absolutely a fair point and, as I said, I think the rhetoric is overheated and to suggest that any politician has God's special favor makes me uncomfortable, whether it's Bill Clinton or Jesse Jackson, who claims that every 15 minutes or whatever.  It makes me want to throw up.  I completely agree with you.

But the examples you gave are really interesting.  Yes, there are Christians being persecuted all around the world.  Their causes is almost never taken up by the activist, you know, human right-centered left.  Amnesty International isn't, you know, red in the face over the persecution of Christians.  And that is anti-Christian bias.

COLGAN:  Actually—well, actually, that's not true.  When the Chinese pastors were detained, and they were released, Amnesty International was involved, actually, in talking about their plight. 

I think the issue comes down to the fact that, for me as a Christian, I guess I just find it offensive when groups like this, who are a fringe part of Christianity, try to pretend that they speak for all Christians.  They say that their values are being attacked, but I feel that my values of social justice, of caring for the environment, God's creation, of being against usury of the Sudan, of being against the war in Iraq like the pope was, I feel that a lot of the values that I care about as a Christian, that I see embodied in the Bible and in Jesus' life, are under attack by people just like Tom DeLay. 

CARLSON:  There you go.  You just proved the point.

COLGAN:  I think we have to have a real discussion.  Yes, but I'm not going around using big, huge rhetoric and having three-day conferences about a war on Christians when we have a real war going on.  This is a disproportionate amount of time for an issue that's not as important.

CARLSON:  OK.  OK, but—all—OK.  All the left-wing churches, including the Episcopal Church, of which I'm a member, claim that they have a special lock on Christianity, in God's favor, and they're all making these pompous “we're right, you're wrong” kind of statements at every possible opportunity.  So to say that it's only the evangelicals just isn't true. 

COLGAN:  First of all, this isn't evangelicals.  Like we've discussed before, Evangelical Network has been very involved in environmental campaigns and a lot of progressive causes.  That's what happens. 

This group and people like Jerry Falwell, who cares about the sex of the “Teletubbies”, they're serial provocateurs.  They're partisan politics.  It's not a religious or cultural discussion.  They want to grab the headlines, so me and you have to talk about them, because they want to get the spotlight, the national spotlight. 

CARLSON:  Actually, you know, I think that...

COLGAN:  They do not represent all evangelical Christians, and don't certainly represent me. 

CARLSON:  They do—they do represent more than these phony, liberal evangelical groups do.  They actually have a lot of people who listen to them, and they do, I think, make real and serious points.  Anointing Tom DeLay God's chosen one is not one of them.  But they do make real points.  And I think they affect American politics, like it or not.

Anyway, Flavia Colgan, a deep thinker on these subjects, thanks a lot. 

COLGAN:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Still to come, does being against illegal immigration mean you're against immigrants?  That's what some people would have you believe.  I'll tell you the truth when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Time now for our “Under the Radar” segment, which comes to us tonight from Watertown, Massachusetts.  Kevin Thompson, like many men, thinks that custody courts are unfair to fathers.  And they are.

But he's gone a step further.  He wrote a book called “Exposing the Corruption in the Massachusetts Family Courts.”  And in it, Mr. Thompson vilifies, by name the judge who handled his case and the mother of his child.  Well, that same judge has now issued an order to restrain distribution of the book that criticizes him. 

Mr. Thompson says his First Amendment rights, as well as his rights as a father, are being violated.  Kevin Thompson joins us from Watertown, Massachusetts, tonight to talk about this incredible case. 

Mr. Thompson, thanks for coming on. 

KEVIN THOMPSON, AUTHOR, “EXPOSING THE CORRUPTION IN THE MASSACHUSETTS

FAMILY COURTS”:  Thank you for having me, Mr. Carlson.

CARLSON:  So did I characterize that right?  You write a book attacking the judge who you think screwed you in this custody case, and now he's restricting distribution of the book?  Can that happen in this country?

THOMPSON:  Well, she's restricting distribution rights.  Right. 

CARLSON:  She is.  Yes. 

THOMPSON:  Yes, well...

CARLSON:  On what grounds?

THOMPSON:  Well, she's claiming that she's not banning the book.  What she's doing is she's taking everything that's in the book and impounding it.  So, you know, what—really, they're not afraid of the claims that I make; what they're afraid of is the substantiation contained in the book. 

CARLSON:  What does that mean, impounding it?

THOMPSON:  Anything related to my custody case is impounded, so that I'm not supposed to be talking about it or distributing it.  They said you can have your book, but you have to take all of that out of it. 

CARLSON:  So a judge gets to decide what's in your book.  I mean, you write a book about your case, about something you know very, very well, about something on which you have impassioned opinions, right?  And you contain in this book, presumably, facts but also those impassioned opinions, which attack this judge, presumably by name?  Correct?

THOMPSON:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  And this judge...

THOMPSON:  There's a chapter...

CARLSON:  Yes.  There's a chapter—I'm sorry?

THOMPSON:  There's a chapter titled “Judge Mary McCauley Manzi”, who is the one who made the decision. 

CARLSON:  And then she decides she doesn't like that, so she uses the power of the state to prevent that from being distributed?  Has the ACLU come to your aid in this?

THOMPSON:  I heard from them.  They haven't got back to me about what their—what their response is going to be. 

CARLSON:  Did the judge say to you with a straight face, “You cannot distribute this material”?

THOMPSON:  Well, no, the judge didn't say anything at the time.  She gave me the notice by mail two days later.  In fact, she held onto it two days, because there was a lot of media attention regarding her ruling.  So she tried to—I think she tried to kill the media attention by—by impounding her ruling for two days. 

CARLSON:  That is one of the most stunning abuses of power I've ever heard of in this country.  That does sound like something that takes place in a third world nation.  Are you going to abide by her order?

THOMPSON:  No.  I told her—I told her at the hearing that she had no jurisdiction to rule on the book, that there was a clear conflict of interest.  And—and that therefore, that order would be illegal and null and void. 

CARLSON:  So you're going to ignore it.  Do you expect to face penalties for ignoring it?

THOMPSON:  Yes, I do.  I'm going to be in court in three weeks.  And for all I know, they're going to throw me in jail.  That's pretty much how Massachusetts responds to fathers who actually fight the system.  It's either throw them in jail or—or extort the attorney fees every time you go into court. 

I'm representing myself, per se, but I've already had extortion orders for me to pay attorney fees of the mother in my case. 

CARLSON:  Are you an attorney?

THOMPSON:  No, I'm not.  I'm just a high school physics teacher.  I'm just a regular guy.  In fact, my story wouldn't be out there without the help of fathers and families that have done everything possible to make this a national issue. 

CARLSON:  Does this jeopardize your job, all this?  I mean, you've facing jail here, so...

THOMPSON:  Yes.  It does jeopardize my job.  Because my—I've been told not to talk about it at school.  And the kids come up to me, and they ask me.  You know, they see me on TV a few times.  They've seen articles in the newspaper.  And they've asked me.  And I'm a straightforward guy.  They asked me questions, and I answer them.  And actually, it's very—I'm very likely to lose my job. 

CARLSON:  This is just—I don't even know what to say other than there's something very wrong in Massachusetts, and I just—I really hope you prevail on this.  Kevin Thompson, good luck, and thanks for coming on. 

THOMPSON:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  We've talked a lot about illegal immigration on this show lately.  And in almost every conversation, a guest will ask more or less the same rhetorical question: how can you be against immigration?  This is a nation of immigrants.  All of our ancestors came here from somewhere else. 

That's both correct and completely misleading.  Yes, this is a nation of immigrants.  No, it is not a nation of illegal immigrants, not yet anyway.  And there is a difference between the two. 

America is not an easy place to get to.  If you want to come here legally, you've got to spend months, even years, standing in line and navigating the bureaucracy in order to get here.  It takes a huge amount of effort.  And as a result, the immigrants who make it want to be here more than the average Hollywood celebrity does.  They understand the promise of America.  They've sacrificed a lot to participate in it. 

These are the immigrants from Ethiopia and India and Ecuador and all over the world who make this country a great place.  They play by the rules.

Illegal immigrants, by contrast, did not.  The moment they arrived here, they displayed a contempt for our system, and by extension, a contempt for us.  They don't deserve to be here, and we should never pretend they do. 

But immigrants, they're terrific.  Send us more.  We'll send you Barbra Streisand in return, and we'll call it a deal.

Well, up next, death defying stunts by animals.  These acrobatic—this bear bounces his way onto our top five list of animals gone wild.  See what creature tops that list.  We'll show you next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, we'll tell you how killing a goldfish can get you thrown behind bars for years.  Plus, our favorite animal antics, including the famous bear on the trampoline in tonight's “Top Five.”  We'll get to that in just a minute, but first, here's what else is going on in the world tonight.  

(NEWSBREAK)

CARLSON:  It is time once again to bring in a man who not only isn't here with me in Washington but who rarely travels south of Washington Square Park in New York City.  Here's “The Outsider,” ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing host, Max Kellerman. 

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  Or north of Washington Heights, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  That's right.  You don't want to leave that little island you call home. 

KELLERMAN:  No, no, no.

CARLSON:  I don't blame you.  It's a nice island.

KELLERMAN:  Thanks.

CARLSON:  We begin our first story tonight with a disclaimer.  The man involved is a thug who was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend.  He's now locked away in a New York prison, as he should be.

However, part of this man's sentence stems from an animal cruelty charge during that assault.  The animal in question, a goldfish.  Michael Garcia killed his girlfriend's goldfish during a rampage in 2003.  His attorney wanted the animal cruelty charge reduced because, quote, “goldfish are not domesticated animals, because given the opportunity, they'd leave home.” 

The appeals court upheld the animal cruelty charge, however.  Jail time for killing a goldfish seems a little absurd to me, Max.  You apparently want to serve a warning that anyone who harms his beloved goldfish, including yours, Mr. Goldstein, should end up behind bars. 

KELLERMAN:  Mr. Goldstein was my cat, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Now a cat, I'm totally for sending someone away for killing a cat.  The difference is people have genuine emotional attachments and vice versa with cats and dogs and other domesticated animals, but the measure they're using, would the animal leave if he could, is the right one.  A goldfish would take off into the deep blue sea.  And so there's a difference when a goldfish dies. 

KELLERMAN:  First of all, apparently, that goldfish was huge.  Here's the thing, Tucker.  Not like the smaller—really, here's the thing, Tucker.  You are allowed to eat pork.  It's perfectly legal to eat pork, right?

CARLSON:  Yes.

KELLERMAN:  You cannot, however, go slaughter someone's pet pig. 

CARLSON:  Yes, that's true.

KELLERMAN:  What is the government actually saying?  What's the law really about?  Is it about the consciousness of the animal?  No.  It's about the person's attachment to the animal. 

CARLSON:  That's right.  That's a good point.

KELLERMAN:  And this guy, in a violent rampage, was trying to hurt her as much as possible, grabbed the thing, the animal, the goldfish, because he knew that she was attached to it and said, “Watch what I'm going to do to your goldfish,” and killed it. 

CARLSON:  And he's an awful guy for doing that and he also hit her and he's in jail for that, and amen.  But the fact remains it's a goldfish.  And there is a real difference between a goldfish and a dog or a cat.  And I think it trivializes the relationship people have with their dogs and cats and actual pets, companion animals, as they say, to pretend that a goldfish is exactly the same.  You don't have the same emotional attachment to your goldfish, unless you have profound emotional problems. 

KELLERMAN:  I don't know.  There are people who—my mother loves lizards.  I don't get it.  She loves lizards.  Tucker, what is the lizard giving you back?  I don't know.  But she loves lizards.  I mean, it's about the person's—look, the cruelty here, the animal that this guy was cruel to was the woman.  And that's really what it's about.  She was the animal he was cruel to.

CARLSON:  Now that you pulled your mom into it and conceded that she loves a lizard, I can go no further.  I don't want to attack the Kellerman family. 

KELLERMAN:  These little lizards, they sit there.  They eat leaves or mealworms and they disappear one day.  And she loves them. 

CARLSON:  OK. 

They say there's a 12-step program for everything these days.  One of them is called Workaholics Anonymous.  It has become a popular way to help people who say they work too hard.

Like many of the characters on the show “The Office”, most workaholics probably don't work as hard as they'd like you to think they do, but they seek help anyway. 

Workaholics are described as people who derive self esteem from work, neglect their health and over schedule their lives.  Workaholics Anonymous, or WA, has been around since 1983. 

I think people who work hard should just shut up and do their jobs.  Max, on the other hand, likes the idea of sitting around in a circle in a church basement talking about how tough work is. 

Look, Max, the idea that you derive your sense of self worth from your job, that you over schedule your work life, you neglect your health in pursuit of your job, I mean, of course.  That's what it is to have a job.  Right?  I mean, those are all normal signs.  They're not a sign—they're not signs of addiction.  They're signs of someone working hard, and good for you. 

KELLERMAN:  This really hits close to home for me.  Tucker, if the mother things worked so well, you know, my great-grandmother was a workaholic, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Was she?  OK.

KELLERMAN:  Look, 12-step programs are popping up everywhere.  You know why? 

CARLSON:  Why?

KELLERMAN:  They work.  I mean, they're effective.  Now, you may disagree with the aims here, you know, people being less productive?  No, it's great being more—if you're going to sublimate energy or anger or something that you're repressing anyway, sublimate it into being successful, into being productive.  That's a good thing (ph).

CARLSON:  Right.

KELLERMAN:  However, insofar as it's destroying people's lives and their relationships and their relationships with their family, and they want to change that, the 12-step program is going to work.  And you're not going to have to hear them complain.  They don't get on TV and put these things on.  They do it to each other.  It's a captive audience.  Just themselves, not you.

CARLSON:  Well, I guess I—look and that is great.  That sounds like people who deserve to be with one another, and that's terrific they're not imposing on the rest of us. 

But two quick points.  One, if you've got enough time to complain about how much you work, you're not really working that hard. 

KELLERMAN:  That's a good point.

CARLSON:  It is.  And two, I'm not sure we have a workaholism problem among the educated classes here in the United States.  Look, people who work too hard are, like, your gardener, right, or people with blue collar, heavy lifting jobs.  A lot of them are illegal aliens, incidentally. 

But people—what, you know, it's—you're working so hard managing Radio Shack, you don't have time to do what?  I mean, you know what I mean?  All you're doing is complaining (ph).

KELLERMAN:  There's no question about it.  It's not even really work that most of these people who are complaining about are complaining about.  I mean, it's not—real labor is one thing and pushing papers across the desk is something else.  And that's what most of these people who are complaining are probably doing. 

CARLSON:  That's right.

KELLERMAN:  I concede. 

CARLSON:  You pull a double shift in the uranium mine, you're welcome to complain about it.  Otherwise, hush, hush.

KELLERMAN:  That's exactly right.

CARLSON:  Max Kellerman from his beloved New York City.  Thanks, Max.

KELLERMAN:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Sunset Circle, Connecticut, is a community in fear tonight. 

Residents there are being terrorized by a crazed prowler named Lewis. 

Don't let Lewis' looks deceive you; he is described as armed and dangerous.  Witnesses say he has six toes on each paw, each with a long claw protruding, and he's not afraid to use them. 

So far, six people, including an Avon lady, have fallen victim to Lewis' unprovoked attacks.  Cops have since placed Lewis under arrest.  They hope a restraining order will keep this cat from further mischief.

In tonight's “Top Five,” we offer you our favorite cases of animals gone wild.  Keep in mind: no animals were harmed during the making of this video. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON (voice-over):  They're known as furries, those funny felines, and canines, and chimps and penguins who amuse us all with their impromptu performances of out of control slapstick shtick. 

We begin with the daring exploits of Piper the tree-hugging cat who saw her nine lives flash before her eyes during a death-defying 80-foot drop.  Kids remember, Piper is a professional.  Don't try this at home. 

This wayward bear was barking up the wrong tree when he tried to elude cops in Montana.  No need to go out on a limb to track down this wild beast.  Just follow the bouncing bear. 

Mess with the bull, you're likely to get the horns, a painful lesson this novice matador won't soon forget.  Now you know why mom always told you to sport clean underwear. 

Curiosity didn't kill this cat, but it came awfully close.  Again, no injuries to report, just a severe case of humiliation. 

Rounding out tonight's top five countdown, Mikey the Chimp goes ape.  A monkey with a nasty monkey on his back and of course, our all time favorite “animals gone wild” video.  No ands, ifs or buts, about it. 

Coming up on THE SITUATION, if you have to die, you might as well do it in style.  We'll introduce to the new trend of pimped out caskets when THE SITUATION rolls on.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VANESSA MCDONALD, PRODUCER:  Coming up, you can be the envy of all your friends in the afterlife with a tricked out coffin.  Plus, is Jessica Simpson stealing Angelina Jolie's rep?  We'll get to the bottom of it when THE SITUATION returns in just 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Death is really no excuse to compromise your personal style.  That's the idea behind the decked out caskets many people are choosing to be buried in these days.  Are you a big fan of Dale Earnhardt Jr.?  Why not have your coffin painted like his racecar?  Got a thing for Elvis?  You can take a nice airbrushed image of the king with you into eternity. 

Mark Ginsberg is the owner of Casket Royale in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire.  His company carries a variety of specialty caskets.  He joins us tonight from his show room in Hampton Falls. 

Welcome, Mr. Ginsberg. 

MARK GINSBERG, OWNER, CASKET ROYALE:  Thank you, Tucker.  Thanks for having me this evening. 

CARLSON:  Can it really be true that dead people are buried in caskets bearing the image of Elvis Presley?

GINSBERG:  Yes, it can, if they want. 

CARLSON:  So are these requests—I mean, because of course, the person in question, the person inside the casket, is no longer with us, no longer to voice his opinion.  Are these requests you get ahead of time from the pre-dead person?

GINSBERG:  Yes, they'll actually come in with stencils, or they'll come in with their own ideas and say, “This is what I want it to look like,” and we'll make a prototype and show it to them and if they like it, then we'll go to final production and make it for them. 

CARLSON:  And then do you keep it in storage until the big day?

GINSBERG:  No, we won't store it for them, per se.  What we will do is we'll package it, box it up, and ship it to wherever they want it to be shipped to.  And they'll store it for themselves. 

CARLSON:  What kind of requests do you get?

GINSBERG:  Requests.  In what side can you... 

CARLSON:  What's the strangest request you've ever had?  Someone comes in and says, “Incidentally, I'm thinking about dying, and I'd like my coffin dressed up as blank.” 

GINSBERG:  Actually, I don't think I have an answer to that one, Tucker.  They're pretty serious when they come in here. 

CARLSON:  Are they really?

GINSBERG:  Oh, yes.  I mean, this one here like a race car.  They were very serious.  This is what they really wanted.  And this was the prototype, and their favorite driver was Jeff Gordon.  So he put the “24” on there.  He says, “I want this one, but please, take the 24 off” and they'll detail it themselves. 

We've had other people come in and want various sports caskets where their favorite teams.  So we'll paint it their colors and they'll go out and get the actual insignias for the teams and put them on their caskets. 

Then there are other ones, for someone who—a writing group that worked out of the Toronto that worked in the NASA programs where we actually—we shipped them off the hides.  They had it pre-stitched with all their names and the different programs, brought it back, and we adhered it and made them for them.

So if you want a picture of yourself, we'll take a picture and we'll laminate it, put it on there and ship it right to you. 

CARLSON:  That is pretty cool, I have to say.  How much does one of these cost?  How much would, say, it cost to get a decent casket with Dale Earnhardt's picture and race car painted on it?

GINSBERG:  With the race car, depending on how many colors and everything, I wouldn't say no more than $1,100 or less. 

CARLSON:  Well, that's not such a bad deal. 

GINSBERG:  No.

CARLSON: Are they conventional caskets?

GINSBERG:  They're conventional caskets.  It's just you're actually adhering various different paints and things of that nature.

But you can pretty much do what you want.  We made—a lady came in, a local, actually, who lives here, no longer with us, God rest her soul.  But she came in and she was a die-hard Red Sox fan and 88 years young.  And she wanted her casket to be the Red Sox colors.  So we painted them the Red Sox colors.  And they went out and got various Red Sox stickers and what not, and God rest her, adhered them to the casket.  And God rest her, she's in Red Sox heaven now. 

CARLSON:  The Fenway in the sky.

GINSBERG:  That's right.

CARLSON:  What effect does a coffin like this have on the family?  Do you think it helps when the family is standing at the gravesite, you know, looking on at their departed relative?

GINSBERG:  I think it's something that you really want.  If you really want something that's going to make you happy.  I know it's going to make mom happy, then that's what really counts, doesn't it?

CARLSON:  Absolutely, but of course, the person in question is dead, so presumably beyond, you know, happy and sad, because no longer with us, so isn't it really about the people who are left?

GINSBERG:  Yes.  Well, it's about taking care of their final wish.  And if you wanted a final wish regarding, you know, you wanted to have, you know, a party before, you know—on your sendoff, then if that's what's going to make you happy, which is going to make everybody else happy, I think it's kind of neat that we're able to pass on that final wish, instead of saying, “Gee, I should have done something.”  Or “Gee, Ma really wanted this.”  Where if the people let them know ahead of time, I think it really gives them an opportunity to give the final sendoff and let everyone walk away feeling whole. 

CARLSON:  How early would you recommend someone order one of these coffins?

GINSBERG:  Well, I'm going to tell you, if you're a young person, please, you know, take your time.  If you know something is going to be happening within the next six months or the year, that's something that we can do, because it's a trial and error process with us.  Because when we do it, we have to make sure that you're satisfied with it.

The last thing I want to do is, you know, put something together and say, “Hey, where's my casket.”  And I say, “I'm sorry, it's not ready yet.” 

So we let people know when we start this process that it might take a month or two, but once we get it to where you like it, then it's fine.  But if someone is going to know that they're going away tomorrow, I wouldn't tell you to do it. 

CARLSON:  Is there any casket you wouldn't do that just you think is not appropriate for a solemn event like a funeral?

GINSBERG:  I'm not going to put my values on it, because I've never heard of an unwanted request, no.  I made one for a person that made it look like a brown paper bag and it had a tag on it that said return to sender. 

CARLSON:  You know, what?  I think that's pretty good.  Mr.

Ginsberg...

GINSBERG:  You know, I had—yes, sir.

CARLSON:  I think you know what?  I'd just as soon have a casket like that myself.  I really appreciate your coming on and telling us about it.  Thank you. 

GINSBERG:  You're welcome, sir.

CARLSON:  Still ahead on THE SITUATION, Jessica Simpson is about to steel a page from Angelina Jolie's playbook.  Is she moving in on Brad Pitt?  That's the question.  The scandalous details live, of course, on “The Cutting Room Floor.”

And don't forget THE SITUATION voice mail.  It makes its triumphant return tomorrow night, Thursday night.  It's been awhile since we've heard from you, so give us a call.  The number, again, 1-877-TCARLSON.  Leave us a good message and we will play it on the air, we promise.  We're coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Time now for “The Cutting Room Floor.”  Willie Geist, of course, not invited to Washington.  Willie, how are things back at MSNBC in the studio?

WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER:  They're great, Tucker.  I was waiting down at the rail yard, just like you said this morning, and you never showed up.  But I guess...

CARLSON:  Sorry, Willie.

GEIST:  Can I just say something? 

CARLSON:  Good to see you (ph).

GEIST:  In regards to the coffin?

CARLSON:  Yes.

GEIST:  I hope St. Peter is not judging us based on taste, because if you roll up to the pearly gates in a Jeff Gordon NASCAR coffin, he's sending you right back from whence you came.  Don't you think?

CARLSON:  You know, I just hope it's a more forgiving scenario than that.

GEIST:  I really do.

CARLSON:  That would be just, wouldn't it? 

GEIST:  But KISS, he might let you in with the KISS coffin.  That was pretty cool.

CARLSON:  You're part of the KISS Army?  I don't think so.  I think you're right in the other direction.

GEIST:  You're correct.

CARLSON:  Jessica Simpson is finally ready to settle down and have children.  Strange timing, considering she just dumped her husband.  But she's ready nevertheless, she says.  Simpson's publicist confirms Jessica is looking into adoption.  Simpson says she's been inspired by Angelina Jolie, who's adopted at least two kids.  The 25-year-old Simpson filed for divorce from her husband, Nick Lachey, just in December. 

GEIST:  You know, Tucker, it's so fashionable to adopt from abroad, but there's a forgotten pool of adoption candidates right here at home.  And there are 30-year-old television producers who need love and homes.  And I just hope Jessica will turn and open her home to a fellow like me, for example. 

CARLSON:  If she can open her heart and her mind, I think she could come around to your position.

GEIST:  There will be a lot of mind opening if you let me in your home. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

There's only one place on earth where the Guinness world record for world's biggest buffet could have been set, in the home of the buffet.  That is, of course, Las Vegas.  The Vegas Hilton put out a record-setting spread of 510 different dishes.  The 500-foot maze of food included choices ranging from pumpkin pie to fried alligator.  In the true spirit of Vegas, a trip to the buffet cost a mere $7.50. 

GEIST:  That is a good price.  That's a good gift.  Here's the problem.  This is cool.  Congratulations on the record.  There are not 510 dishes in the known universe.  So you go through that line, you're going to want to take a long hard look at what you're shoveling onto your plate.  Because I'm guessing anywhere in the neighborhood of 25 to 50 of those dishes are straight up pet food.  Don't you think?

CARLSON:  No, I think probably 680 of them were variations of JELL-O and cottage cheese. 

GEIST:  Probably.  The good news is the people who are going through that line have no idea.  They don't know the difference.

CARLSON:  No, they don't.  They can't see past the sneeze guards. 

GEIST:  That's right.

CARLSON:  You may have noticed, we've got a bit of a soft spot here for building implosions.  This one comes to us from Winnipeg, Manitoba.  That's in Canada, a foreign country.  The arena that was once the home of the now defunct Winnipeg Jets hockey team, came down under more than 400 pounds of explosives.  The arena has been around since 1955. 

GEIST:  You know, it never—those controlled implosions never get old.  That was textbook how they did the arena.  Let's remind our viewers back in December how not to implode.  I hate to bring it up again.  Here it is.  The Zip Feed Mill tower, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, still the leaning tower of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  That is just poor, poor execution.  That can't happen.

CARLSON:  That is—Willie, honestly, I think it's cruel of you to keep pointing that out. 

GEIST:  Building implosions are one thing you want to get right.

CARLSON:  That is my favorite video. 

Well, usually, when a husband is forced onto the roof by his wife it's to clean the gutters.  James Wilson of Redford, Michigan, is up there because he can't stand to be in his own bedroom.  Wilson is protesting his wife's decision to allow the couple's 2-year-old and 3-mont-old babies to sleep in their room.  He says the intimacy of his marriage has been ruined by the clutter of toys and dirty diapers.  Wilson spends two hours a day on his own roof. 

GEIST:  Tucker, can I just remind Mr. Wilson, he is the man of the house.  Take control of your household. 

CARLSON:  I agree.

GEIST:  You're letting your wife and your 2-year-old and 3-month-old send you to the roof?  Make your kids sleep on the roof.  What is he doing?

CARLSON:  The contempt they have for him, I imagine, by this point, knows no bounds at all. 

GEIST:  No, and it's making it worst because he's sleeping on the roof.  What a fool. 

CARLSON:  That's such a passive aggressive thing to do: “I'm going to sleep on the roof.” 

GEIST:  I know.  Don't go on strike, just take control of your house and you're going to be fine. 

CARLSON:  Mr. Wilson, you deserve it.  That's the verdict from “The Cutting Room Floor.” 

GEIST:  I agree.

CARLSON:  And that's THE SITUATION for tonight.  Thanks, Willie.

Thank you for watching.  We'll see you back here tomorrow night.  See you then.

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

END   

Content and programming copyright 2006 NBC.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and Voxant, Inc.'s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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