updated 4/28/2006 12:36:50 PM ET 2006-04-28T16:36:50

Guests: Gregory Kane, Ahmed Rehab

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  And thanks to you at home for tuning in.  It‘s good to have you here, as always.

Tonight Americans are angry about the high price of gasoline, and Washington is feeling your pain.  But can Congress and the White House actually do something about it?  We‘ll talk to one money man who says talk of price gouging is nothing but, quote, “political pabulum.” 

And a father is caught on tape of beating his own daughter.  Looks like clear evidence of a crime.  ABC News aired it as part of a report last week.  But should the network have told cops about it first?

Also ahead, the latest celebrity split turns ugly with indications of death threats, gay porn obsessions and drug use.  But will Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards top our top list of five celebrity breakups?

But first, new developments tonight in the Duke investigation.  One of the lacrosse players charged with raping a stripper was in new legal trouble.  Collin Finnerty now faces trial in Washington, D.C., on an unrelated assault charge from last fall. 

There was a previous agreement to dismiss that charge, but a judge ruled Finnerty‘s arrest in the Duke case violated the agreement he had previously made. 

Meanwhile, deferred misdemeanor charges against several other Duke lacrosse players may also be reinstated.  The players could be charged with crimes ranging from public urination to alcohol and noise violations if they can‘t prove they were not at the March 13 party on question. 

For more on this prosecution strategy, we turn now to Susan Filan, MSNBC legal analyst and former prosecutor, joining us tonight from Stamford, Connecticut. 

Susan, thanks for coming on.

SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Hey, Tucker, how are you?

CARLSON:  I‘m doing great. 

I can‘t believe that this prosecutor who‘s supposed to be spending his time finding out who raped this woman is wasting his time instead opening cases having to do with public urination and noise complaints.  I can‘t think of any other explanation for this other than personal animus. 

FILAN:  No, he‘s in law enforcement and he‘s trying to enforce the laws.  And what‘s happened is a group of unruly boys have gotten diversionary programs that now the prosecutor thinks they‘re not entitled to. 

And he wants to bring them back into court and say, “Look, you got your chance at a one get out of jail free card, and you blew it because you continued to misbehave.  So now I‘m revoking the program.”

And the other thing... 

CARLSON:  Get out of jail free card?  Wait—wait a minute.  It‘s not like they‘ve been busted before for armed robbery or embezzlement.  We‘re talking about having a boom box on too loud or taking a leak outside.  I mean, these are not crimes, as ordinary people recognized them.  Get out of jail free card?  You shouldn‘t go to jail for those things in the first place—Susan.

FILAN:  Tucker, I lost you.  I can‘t hear you. 

CARLSON:  I think you lost me.  Well, I was just making the point, if you can here me now, Susan, that it‘s clear that this prosecutor has a thing for these boys.  We‘ve talked about it for the past week and a half.  He is clearly out to get not simply the boys, the men, he believes committed this rape but people who are at the party. 

And I guess my point is the obvious one: it‘s not a crime to be at a party.  It‘s not even a crime to have a stripper there.  Now, it may be in bad taste.  It may be immoral, right, but it‘s not something that a district attorney ought to be concerning himself with, it seems to me. 

Moreover, Collin Finnerty, one of the boys—one of the men charged already in this case—has had a previous piddling case brought up again.  He was arrested in the District of Columbia late last year for getting in a fistfight in Wisconsin Avenue.  The guy he punched said that Finnerty called him, quote, “gay.”

Now cops at the time busted Finnerty for it.  But this was never classified as a hate crime.  It‘s been described in the press again and again as some sort of gay bashing.  Gay bashing is a crime in Washington, D.C.  And yet Collin Finnerty was not charged with that.  He was charged with simple assault. 

He did not go to jail for that.  Now that case is being reopened simply because he has been charged in North Carolina for this rape.  Now it seems to me that if you thought what he did the first time in Washington was worthy of going to jail, try to send him to jail.  But they didn‘t. 

And I think they are using a crime that he has not been convicted with

he‘s innocent, keep in mind—to bludgeon him.  And I just think that that‘s wrong. 

We‘re going to go to break.  We apparently have lost our contact with Susan Filan.  But we will be back in just a minute and re-establish that.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Clearly, there are larger forces at work here, forces that don‘t want you to hear the truth about the Duke rape case.  Our audio has gone down, but it‘s just momentary.  We‘ll be right back in just a second with that conversation.  Stay tuned. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back to the newly operative SITUATION.  We are rejoined now by Susan Filan to talk about the Duke rape investigation. 

Susan, are you there?

FILAN:  I‘m here, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Susan, I‘m just—I am troubled by the characterizations I keep reading in the press about this assault case that Collin Finnerty was involved in.  Collin Finnerty, of course, one of the Duke lacrosse players charged in the rape. 

In D.C. last year, he was charged with getting in a fistfight on the street in Georgetown.  And I keep hearing it—reading it described as a gay bashing incident.  In fact, a gay bashing incident would have been recognized as such by the D.C. government.  If, you know, it‘s a bias related attack, they charge you for a bias related attack.  This kid was not charged for that.  So let‘s be honest.  It wasn‘t a gay bashing. 

FILAN:  Well, I think what‘s interesting about this is that the kid himself who was bashed isn‘t gay.

CARLSON:  Right.

FILAN:  But—but it‘s not clear that by the language that the—that Collin Finnerty using that he wasn‘t treating him as if he was gay and insulting him as if he was gay. 

I think what the prosecution‘s trying to do here by revoking this program, perhaps, although the judge didn‘t let them do that today, is if he‘s got a conviction and then he takes the stand his own defense, if this rape trial goes to trial, that‘s going to be used against him on cross-exam, because it‘s going be seen as pattern or similar or motive.  And that‘s really going to hurt him. 

And the same thing with the prosecutor opening up these other misdemeanor charges.  If these kids also have records, it‘s going to hurt them when they testify.

And the other thing is it‘s leverage Tucker.  The prosecutor is saying, “Hey, do you guys want records or do you want to tell me what happened at that party?  I‘m sick of your silence.” 

CARLSON:  OK.  But actually, there‘s no evidence that he‘s attempted to get their story.  There‘s no evidence at all.  In fact, there‘s countervailing evidence that he‘s made zero effort to find out their point-of-view.  In fact, on this very show last night you were saying that it would be unwise for him to ask them their version of events.  So I don‘t think the leverage here works.

FILAN:  Apples and oranges, Tucker.  You‘re mixing apples and oranges.  What‘s happening is the kids that are at the party are now having their charges brought in, but the defendants who have been charged weren‘t asked for their side of the story.  Apples and oranges, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Look, the bottom line here, Susan, is you ought to charge and prosecute...

FILAN:  Tucker, I‘ve lost you again.  I can‘t hear you.

CARLSON:  You‘ve lost me again?

FILAN:  I think we get along better when we can‘t hear each other. 

CARLSON:  I think we do, Susan.  And I think the truth is just shorting out these circuits.  That‘s what.  Susan Filan, I want to thank you for joining us.  Very much. 

What started out as a criminal investigation at Duke has quickly turned into a national obsession.  But for some people, it‘s not a case of he said-she said.  It‘s not a case about a rape.  It‘s a story about race and class. 

My next guest wrote of the accused players, quote, “Here‘s a message to those whining, wimpy, wussy lacrosse players at Duke University.  And to their friends.  And to their families.  Holla at me when you got a real problem.”

Gregory Kane is a columnist for the “Baltimore Sun” and a contributor to BlackAmericaWeb.com.  He joins us tonight from Baltimore. 

Mr. Kane, thanks for coming on.

GREGORY KANE, COLUMNIST, “BALTIMORE SUN”:  Thank you, Tucker.  It‘s a pleasure being here. 

CARLSON:  I think they‘ve got a real problem, wouldn‘t you say?

KANE:  Not yet.  They may be soon enough.  If—as the news hasn‘t been revealed that the other dancer is now changing her story and that she‘s changing it to cut a deal with the prosecution. 

It is at this point, Tucker, that I think that maybe they have a real problem.  I didn‘t know that last week when I wrote that particular column.  But if that‘s the case, there‘s been dozens of case where, you know, people have been lied and to jail based on the testimony of a witness who changed their story under pressure from either police or prosecutors. 

At this point they may have a problem.  I still don‘t think they have one yet because none of them is in jail yet.  None has gone to trial yet.  And there‘s a possibility that this second dancer may change her story yet again and do another flip-flop. 

CARLSON:  You make a really good point, and you make it in your column, that there have been other cases where people, as you put it, have been lied into jail by false testimony.  This could be one of them. 

Given that, I wonder why the contemptuous tone for these accused.  You described them as people who essentially deserve to be in trouble, whether they did it or not.  You mocked their, quote, “mommies and their daddies.”  You mocked their lawyers.  You take obvious pressure in their predicament and I wonder why, since you don‘t know they did this. 

KANE:  No, that‘s not pleasure, Tucker.  That‘s because I know, as you said, the situation where, you know, there have been people falsely accused of rape who have actually spent time in jail, who were denied the bail. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.  That‘s right.

KANE:  And you know, they haven‘t been through that yet.  I think that, you know—I wrote that after that committee was formed, that committee for fairness the Duke families for all that.  I think what‘s been done to them at this point, except their lacrosse season has been canceled. 

CARLSON:  What do you mean?  Wait, slow down.

KANE:  Tucker, all that‘s happened is that their lacrosse season has been cancelled.  They‘re getting off easy. 

CARLSON:  But that‘s an awfully glib assessment, and you know it.  I mean, look, that‘s all that‘s happened to them legally so far.  There is more.  We‘re not going to get into details. 

But the most obvious point.  We know their names.  We‘ve got their pictures.  We know how much their parents‘ houses cost.  We know their parents‘ names.  We know where they live.  Their names are forever linked to a violent sex crime, whether they did it or not.  Their lives are affected with this forever.  Kind of a big deal if they‘re innocent.  Isn‘t it?

KANE:  Well, not compared to, like I said, some—what the—the others, they actually spent time in jail.  They were in the cut.  They were in there.  They were denied bail.  They haven‘t been through that yet. 

CARLSON:  OK.

KANE:  Tucker, you know as well as I do, these guys, when they graduate from Duke, and this is even if they‘re found guilty, Tucker, some of them will still get out of jail and still get good jobs. 

CARLSON:  Wait a second.

KANE:  You know that as well as I do.

CARLSON:  Wait a second.  I would think that as someone who‘s clearly concerned about miscarriages of justice in this country, and you said that you‘re a person who‘s concerned about that, that you would have concern for them, regardless of their race or their background.  That you would care and be personally offended by the possibility of an innocent man going to jail for a crime he didn‘t commit.  But you don‘t seem offended.

KANE:  No, no, no.

CARLSON:  You seem...

KANE:  You‘re talking about something that‘s hasn‘t happened yet.  These guys were whining that, you know—that, you know, “our lacrosse season has been canceled.  You‘re not being fair to us.”  Tucker, at that point if that‘s what happened to them, they got off easy. 

They‘re not going to go to jail, because based...

CARLSON:  But if they didn‘t—but hold on. 

KANE:  ... on the evidence so far, this evidence is weak. 

CARLSON:  But if they didn‘t do—if they didn‘t do it, and we presume officially at this point that they didn‘t.  They are presumed innocent.  Then attacking them at all seems—I don‘t know, on the basis of no evidence, a bit much. 

And you do attack him.  Quote, “Even if no rape occurred, Duke lacrosse players were busted for inappropriate conduct.  If their season is lost, tough luck.  It‘s their fault.” 

Kind of self-righteous.  Have you ever been to a stripper before?  You ever seen a stripper?

KANE:  Tucker, when I see strippers, I do it in a place appropriate for that, in strippers‘ bars.  That‘s where these guys should have gone.  These guys didn‘t do that. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Hold on.  I want to know the rules here.

KANE:  Go to a strippers‘ bar, the way the other guys do it.

CARLSON:  So you go to a strip bar, so it‘s OK.  But they have a stripper to the privacy of their home, so that‘s immoral.  That‘s bad. 

KANE:  No, no, no.  I didn‘t say immoral.  Unwise, Tucker.  You‘ve got 40 guys.  You‘ve got underage drinking.  You‘ve got testosterone, and you‘ve got two semi-naked women.  This was not going to end up with them reading the Bible together an extolling the virtues of chastity.  You know that. 

CARLSON:  OK.  So just to make sure I know the rules according to the “Baltimore Sun” columnist who‘s on the show right now, when I go to a stripper, it better be in an actual stripper establishment and not in my house. 

KANE:  Tucker, have you ever been to one of these establishments?  Let me turn this question on you.  Have you ever been to one?

CARLSON:  Absolutely, but then I‘m not pointing my finger and saying, “You guys deserve to burn in hell.” 

KANE:  You are not allowed to touch woman.  And there are bouncers.  In case you get out of line, they toss you out on your ear.  That‘s the difference. 

CARLSON:  Has that ever happened to you?  Honestly?

KANE:  I—when I go to the strip club, Tucker, I follow the rules, the one time I have been there. 

CARLSON:  All right.  Good.  I want to go to strip clubs with you.  Mr. Kane, Gregory Kane for the “Baltimore Sun”.  I appreciate it.  Thanks a lot.

KANE:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, President Bush announces a gas price gouging investigation, but has the damage already been done?  Are you ready to pay $5 a gallon in the very near future?  You better be.

Plus outrage tonight over ABC‘s decision to withhold a three-year-old videotape from police that shows a father physically beating the tar out of his daughter.  A criminal investigation is underway, but is the network criminally—criminally liable?  Is Diane Sawyer in jeopardy of losing her job?  People are saying she ought to be.  We‘ll tell you what‘s happening, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Now to a story that is certain to have you bothered, the explosion in gas prices.  Drivers are angry, and it seems everyone in Washington is falling over themselves to try to stake out a position that will play well with voters.

President Bush announced today he is suspending some environmental rules for gasoline production.  He‘s also stopping the government‘s purchase of crude oil for the emergency petroleum reserve.  Here‘s what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Gasoline price

increases are like a hidden tax on the working people.  They‘re like a tax

on our farmers.  They‘re like a tax on small businesses.  Energy prices are

energy experts predict gas prices are going to remain high throughout the summer, and that‘s going to be a continued strain on the American people. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  No doubt about that.  But how did prices get so high in the first place, and is there anything that will bring them down to earth?

Joining me now to answer those questions, among others, Larry Kudlow. 

He is the host of “KUDLOW & COMPANY” CNBC. 

Larry Kudlow, welcome.  Thanks for coming on.

LARRY KUDLOW, HOST, CNBC‘S “KUDLOW & COMPANY”:  Hello, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Here‘s what the president‘s economic advisor, Al Hubbard, said about gas prices.  He said, “It‘s sort of Economics 101.  The demand for fuel and gasoline has been growing dramatically, and the supply has not been growing as rapidly.”

I get that.  Why have profit margins, however, been growing as rapidly as they have been for the oil companies?

KUDLOW:  Well, work it through.  I mean, if demand is growing faster than supply, then prices are going up. 

We are in a global boom. 

CARLSON:  Right.

KUDLOW:  We are in a U.S. economic boom.  I call it the greatest story never told.  And unfortunately, because of government policies, lousy government policies, we have stopped energy companies from producing as much as they could produce. 

So China, India, Japan, the U.S., the demand is going up.  And the energy companies in this country could do a lot more.  But we won‘t let them.  Their hands are tied by a bunch of terrible government taxes and regulations. 

CARLSON:  I believe at least half of that, the taxes and regulation part.  But as the prices in the world market spike, it looks to me like the oil companies have taken that opportunity to stick it to the rest of us and therefore make higher profits. 

Occidental Petroleum announced today first quarter profit 45 percent, far exceeding expectations.  You know all that.  But they are taking this opportunity to stick it to us.  Aren‘t they?

KUDLOW:  They‘re not sticking it to you.  They are getting their shareholders as much profitability, as much rate of return on capital investment.  This is called market capitalism.  The shareholders own the company.  And if the company‘s any good, they return profits and returns and dividends and capital gains and all of that good stuff. 

They‘re in business to do that, just like any grocery store or small business person.  You‘re in business to make a buck.

CARLSON:  Right.

KUDLOW:  And they‘re making a good buck now, but they have gone through some very lean years up to now. 

CARLSON:  But because almost the U.S. economy depends to some degree or other on the price of petroleum, you know, we all have a vested interest in this.  And it seems to me the stories that say, for instance, Occidental Petroleum posting, you now, first quarter profits of 45 percent or the CEO of Exxon Mobil taking home a $400 million retirement package, stories like that are going to incite Congress to regulate the industry more. 

KUDLOW:  Well, you know, Congress doesn‘t need to be incited to produce bad policies, whether they‘re incited or whether they‘re... 

CARLSON:  Yes, but $400 million.  I mean, the guy didn‘t invent oil. 

That is a bit excessive, don‘t you think?

KUDLOW:  I don‘t know that that‘s excessive, because he delivered fabulous, fabulous returns to his shareholders, of whom, by the way, there are millions who are in pension funds, and 401(k)‘s who are elderly and retiring.  That‘s how our system works. 

Look, they kind of lucked out, because world market conditions, because of the economic demands around the world and because you got some bad politics in Iran and places like Venezuela, where Hugo Chavez is threatening to take supplies off the market.  Ahmadinejad in Iran... 

CARLSON:  Right.

KUDLOW:  ... says he‘s going to take supplies.  So yes, profits are very strong.  It‘s a once-in-a-lifetime development, but don‘t blame Exxon.  Don‘t blame Lee Raymond.  Blame the U.S. government for stopping us from drilling offshore. 

CARLSON:  You‘re saying that it‘s the government‘s fault.  President Bush suggested today it‘s partly your fault and my fault.  He said, quote, “Consumers bear”—this is the description.  Consumers bear a part of the blame for the price of fuel, because, quote, “The prices people are paying at the gas pump are a reflection of our addiction to oil.”  Says a man who flies around in Air Force One, consuming God knows how many gallons of jet fuel. 

KUDLOW:  Right. 

CARLSON:  How dare he blame us?

KUDLOW:  I hate that kind of rhetoric.  That rhetoric is right out of Jimmy Carter‘s playbook.  And unfortunately, I say this as someone who is usually a Bush supporter.  He is absolutely wrong. 

You know what?  We all respond to market prices, and as these prices are drifting higher, we will conserve more.  We will consume less.  And because of profits, the dreaded “P” word, we will invest more and produce more, and eventually the prices will come back down. 

That is if Republicans and Democrats get out of the way and let energy companies do what they do best, which is find oil, produce oil, sell it worldwide. 

CARLSON:  There is—I‘m sorry to burst your vision here, Larry, but there‘s a midterm election coming up.  They‘re not getting out of the way.  But that probably is a good prescription.

KUDLOW:  Actually, Bush did himself some good today.  He actually made the right move on removing the ethanol tax. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

KUDLOW:  What he should have done is remove the Brazilian ethanol tariff.  That would help, too. 

But I actually think Bush may be misunderestimated.  This is a good move, however belated. 

CARLSON:  We will see.  Larry Kudlow, CNBC.  Thanks a lot, Larry. 

Tonight‘s “Under the Radar” segment comes to us from Arlington Heights, Illinois.  That‘s where a 24-year-old Muslim woman, Rehana Khan, says police violated her religious principles by removing her head scarf after arresting her for battery, to which she later pled guilty.

Officials deny wrongdoing, saying cops followed standard procedures.  My next guest says the police actions were akin to ripping off her blouse, creating, quote, “a state of forced nudity”.

Ahmed Rehab is the spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations.  He joins us tonight from Chicago.

Thanks for coming on.

Can you hear me, Mr. Rehab?  Are you there?

I don‘t think Mr. Rehab is there, so we‘re going to take a—we will be right back.  It‘s going to be worth waiting for.  We‘ll see you in just a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, and I promise it actually will come, a vicious beating caught on tape.  So why didn‘t the news organizations that shot the video hand it over to cops? 

Plus, a celebrity wife wants out of her marriage because she says her well-known husband is an abusive gay porn addict.  Where does their split rank among worst celebrity breakups of all time?  We have that list, and we‘ll give it to you.

First, here‘s what else is going on in the world tonight. 

(NEWSBREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  We start where we left off, with the story of a 24-year-old Muslim activist woman arrested recently for battery outside Chicago.  Police made her remove her head scarf.  She said that was a violation of her religious principles. 

We are joined now by a man who agrees with her.  His name is Ahmed Rehab.  He‘s a spokesman for CARE, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.  He joins us from Chicago. 

Mr. Rehab, thanks for coming on. 

AHMED REHAB, SPOKESMAN, CARE:  Glad to be on. 

CARLSON:  Now the cops 0- I‘m a little confused as to what exactly your complaint is.  The police made it pretty clear, her religion had nothing to do with their actions.  It‘s police policy to remove from someone arrested, particularly for a violent crime, as this woman was arrested for, anything that could be used as a weapon or any garment in which a weapon could be hidden.

I think the exact quote from the cops, the police spokesman was, “If a priest was wearing a cross around his neck, we‘d take it off.”

Why does this woman want special treatment?

REHAB:  That actually does not make much sense to me, because it is inconsistent with what the police have done in the past.  There are two things that the police normally would do.  One is pat on a person‘s clothing to ensure that nothing is concealed under a person‘s clothing, whether it‘s a blouse, a skirt or a head scarf.

And then, two, if they feel that it is necessary for them to take that person and actually strip search them, they don‘t do it publicly.  They take them into a private area and purport to do that with an officer of the same gender as the individual that‘s being searched.

CARLSON:  Strip searched?  It‘s take a head scarf off.  I mean, look, if a man is wearing a hat and he‘s arrested, the police make him take the hat off, because they‘re afraid he might have an ice pick in his hat.  That‘s just—that‘s what they do. 

REHAB:  Well, let me ask you this.  If they had removed her blouse or skirt, would you have considered that to be a strip search or no?

CARLSON:  Yes, but they didn‘t remove her blouse or skirt.  It was her head scarf, which... 

REHAB:  That‘s precisely the point, Tucker.  Whose standards are you using for what strip is?  For this girl, as a female, she has a right to conceal whichever part of body she wants.  Her hair is and her head scarf, really, is just like her blouse and her skirt.  You cannot remove any of these articles of clothing.

CARLSON:  She may have that—I don‘t know.  You seem to be making up your own rules, but the rules in America are she may have that right, but she forfeits it when she punches a cop, as she did.  So she no longer has that right to do whatever she wants. 

REHAB:  Do you forfeit your right to—do you forfeit your right to have your blouse or skirt removed in public by a police officer? 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know, if...

REHAB:  Because you punched them, allegedly?

CARLSON:  If the police—Not allegedly.  She pled guilty to it. 

REHAB:  What I‘m trying to say is...

CARLSON:  Read the news. 

REHAB:  What I‘m trying to tell you...

CARLSON:  OK.

REHAB:  ... is that a scarf for a Muslim woman who wears a scarf...

CARLSON:  Right.

REHAB:  ... because she believes it is religiously mandated is no different than a blouse or a skirt.  That is the standard...

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  I‘m not sure—I‘m no expert on...

REHAB:  She‘s not thinking of Tucker Carlson‘s standards of clothing but her own. 

CARLSON:  Slow down.  I‘m not an expert on Islamic customs here.  But it seems to me...

REHAB:  Then you shouldn‘t be making a—statements about her clothing if you‘re not an expert. 

CARLSON:  Is it my—I‘m merely asking you questions, to which hopefully you can provide answers.  Do—it‘s my understanding that a woman would take her head scarf off, say, in front of her children, where she would not—in front of her grown children, where she would not take her blouse off in front of her grown children.  Tat is right, isn‘t it?  That‘s not exactly the same as a blouse. 

REHAB:  But in public, in public in front of men to whom she‘s not married, if it‘s not her husband or her father or brother, no male member of her family is present, she does not remove her scarf at all. 

CARLSON:  Here‘s the bottom line.

REHAB:  And if she tells the officer not to remove the scarf because she has it on for religious reasons, then that officer has to respect her civil right to dress the way she wants and to practice her religion because she‘s not...

CARLSON:  You can say that all you want.  I can say, “I‘m carrying my sacred handgun.  And to take it away from me, you‘d be violating my religious rights.”  And you know what I mean?  “I‘m going to sue you.”

OK, fine.  But the cops are still going to say, look, that‘s a threat to my safety.  I‘m sorry.  You may say that‘s your religious right, but I feel it‘s a threat.  OK?  So you know, we have conflicting interests.

REHAB:  See, that‘s the difference...

CARLSON:  And in a secular society the secular interest, the interest of safety wins.  I‘m sorry.

REHAB:  You can argue—you can argue that a woman covering her breasts is a religious thing to do or a secular thing to do.  And we‘re not going to get into details of why a person does what they do. 

If they decide—if a woman decides to conceal a certain part of her body, she has a right to that self-determination.  You cannot take that away from her.  No police officer can take that away from her. 

If we are concerned about security, then I‘ll ask you this.  Why not remove her boots?  Her boots are harder than her head scarf.  It is a soft clothing on her head that does not present any peril or danger to anyone. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  I‘m not a cop and I guess you‘re not either.  That seems to be the policy developed, presumably for a good reason over a good number of years, because there are threats that you emanate from people‘s head covering. 

REHAB:  That is not true.  The policy is that they pat down—they pat down on people‘s clothes.  They do not remove people‘s clothings.  It‘s never happened before. 

CARLSON:  Just one closing piece of advice: as a civil rights hero, I think this woman—I mean, it‘s hard to hold her up as an example if she just pleaded guilty to punching the cop.  It makes the case—not to give you unsolicited advice, but less compelling. 

REHAB:  That‘s half the story.  That‘s half the story, Tucker, because it was a plea bargain, and they dropped charges. 

CARLSON:  OK.  I‘m just saying it‘s hard to make her Rosa Parks if she‘s running around hitting cops.  Just my view.

REHAB:  She‘s not trying to make herself a Rosa Parks.  She‘s trying to say, “I‘m a woman, and I have a right to maintain my head scarf if I so want it on my head.

CARLSON:  All right.

REHAB:   No one can remove it from me. 

CARLSON:  Not in America, as far as I‘m concerned.  But you know... 

REHAB:  She‘s an American citizen practicing her American civil rights.

CARLSON:  All right.

REHAB:  She wears those.  When she‘s having a head scarf on her head, she‘s being and American practicing her civil rights. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Until she punches a cop.  But we‘ve had this argument. 

We have to stop now.  Mr. Rehab, thanks for joining us.  I appreciate it. 

REHAB:  Thank you.  Not a problem.

CARLSON:  Here‘s a question.  Does a news organization exist to serve the public good or to serve its own ratings?  That‘s one question people are asking after ABC News aired video of a New York man beating his daughter on the show “Prime Time”.  The beating was recorded by ABC in December of 2002.  It was not aired, though, until Friday night. 

The local D.A. is furious the show‘s producers didn‘t notify authorities about the incident as soon as they saw the tape.

Here‘s the tape.  Take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

DON NELSON, FATHER:  You want to hear the truth?

KYLE NELSON, DAUGHTER:  No, I don‘t want to hear your lies and bullcrap.

No.  Ow!

D. NELSON:  I never (expletive deleted) lied to you.  Never have I lied to you, you little (expletive deleted).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  The D.A. says he can‘t prosecute the case, because the statute of limitations has run out.  For more on this story we turn to our old pal, Rachel Maddow of Air America Radio. 

Rachel, welcome. 

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO HOST:  Hi, Tucker.  I can hear you loud and clear. 

CARLSON:  Excellent.  I am so glad. 

Look, I mean, this is an appalling event.  I mean, it‘s disgusting.  It‘s stomach churning when you watch it.  But I guess I would argue that it‘s pretty clearly not ABC‘s job to police domestic violence cases.  And you know, it‘s the police—it‘s the job of the police department.  So I don‘t—I just don‘t think ABC—I don‘t know—should be required to turn over all damning video it finds to the cops. 

MADDOW:  Yes.  You know, I tend to agree with you on this, Tucker, just on First Amendment grounds.  We very rarely get to argue for First Amendment cases for, you know, clean, obviously principled political cases.  Usually it comes down to disgusting stuff like this that turns your stomach. 

I don‘t want to see a father beating the snot out of his kid.  And I don‘t want to see it three times.  I don‘t want to see it over and over. 

CARLSON:  I agree with that.

MADDOW:  I can get the information contained in this tape without having to see it over and over and over and over again. 

But the fact remains there has to be a division between policing and the free press.  That‘s what it means to have a free press.  And it comes down to nasty, grotty (ph) little unprincipled cases like this in order to hold that rule true for the American public. 

CARLSON:  Yes, and this is—this case is a little bit more complicated.  Not to jump in and defend ABC here.

MADDOW:  yes.

CARLSON:  But this is a little bit more complicated than I think that it‘s being presented by other news organizations.  I mean, the fact is this was recorded on a camera that this couple allowed in their house voluntarily.  They knew it was recording they were doing.  They could have erased it.  They didn‘t.

Excuse me.  Moreover, the daughter has said she doesn‘t want her father charged with a crime. 

I mean, I‘m not defending this.  I‘m not even necessarily defending ABC.  I‘m merely saying that families are more complicated than sometimes we give them credit for being. 

MADDOW:  I don‘t actually care whether or not the daughter would want her father prosecuted in a case like this.  I think in a case where she‘s underage, she‘s being beaten, if there was a police investigation in this, her perception on whether or not her father should be charged in domestic abuse cases, that‘s not going to be the deciding factor for me. 

What us the deciding factor is the principle of whether or not when you‘re shooting stuff for the media, whether it‘s, you know, MTV‘s “The Real World” or whether it‘s, you know, some ABC News show, you should not - - there should not be principle that you should turn over your footage to the police...

CARLSON:  I agree.

MADDOW:  ... just in case a crime has been committed.  Again, as you mentioned, this was years after this took place.  It was not totally clear that a crime was there to be investigated, according to the people that NBC talked to.  And you‘re setting up a situation where people filming, you know, parties for MTV are going to send those tapes to the police before they air them so the police can iris scan all the party goers on the tape to make sure they‘re all 21. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

MADDOW:  You can‘t having that and have a free press at the same time, even though this is disgusting. 

CARLSON:  We are not organs of a police state, thank God.

I just want to end quickly.  We did a discussion last night about the number of illegal aliens in this country, and there was some dispute as to, you know, has the number grown or not. 

MADDOW:  Right.

CARLSON:  These are the facts as we found them today.  In 1988 there

were 1.9 estimated—these are rough estimates, but here‘s what they are -

1.9 million illegal aliens in this country. 

2002, 9.3. 

2006, take your pick: 13, 14, 15, however many we‘re guessing are in this country.  But the point is, a lot more than there used to be. 

MADDOW:  Yes, but Tucker, I spent the whole day researching this, because I knew you were going to do this to me.  And the U.S. census number. 

CARLSON:  I‘m not doing it to you.  I‘m merely pointing out what‘s true. 

MADDOW:  I would just say the U.S. Census Bureau says that number of people immigrating illegally immigration to the United States has stayed the same or slightly decreased annually that time period.  So yes, the overall number may be growing, but the number of people coming every year has not increased. 

CARLSON:  According to the census, I‘m not sure that is, by any means, most accurate.  No, we looked at those numbers, too.

MADDOW:  Yes.

CARLSON:  But I think it‘s pretty clear by any measure there are a lot more illegals now than there were 20 years ago.  But you know, we‘ll have plenty—we‘ll have ample time to debate this.  Rachel Maddow.

MADDOW:  Draw our sabers and have dueling statistics, Tucker.  We‘re very good at that. 

CARLSON:  Thank you, Rachel. 

MADDOW:  Thank you, Tucker.

We turn now to a man who is every night painted into the corner of playing devil‘s advocate to my common sense and good judgment.  And we‘re grateful to him for that.  He is “The Outsider” ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing host Max Kellerman. 

Welcome, Max.

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  You know, Brett Favre decided to play another year just today, Tucker.  And you are like a quarterback with the defense, with your offensive line breaking down of him just staying cool in that pocket, Tucker.  Tremendous. 

CARLSON:  This show has had more technical difficulties probably than any show I‘ve ever been on in my life.  I like it. 

All right.  It feels like James Frey all over again, except this time the author is a young writing prodigy from Harvard.  Kaavya Viswanathan struck it rich at the age of 17 when she signed a six-figure deal to write the best-selling book, “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life.”

Now she is being charged with plagiarizing parts of that book.  She admits to having been, quote, “unconsciously influenced” by a book written by the author Megan McCafferty.  She says she‘s a big fan of McCafferty‘s and, quote, “wasn‘t aware of how much I may have internalized Ms.  McCafferty‘s words.” 

Max, this is bad, but I think a desperate and increasingly cynical publishing industry is to blame at root.  A 17-year-old with a six-figure fiction deal?  What a gimmick.  This was bound to happen. 

You, meanwhile, have to defend plagiarism, and good luck with that.

She should—I mean, look, they shouldn‘t publish more of her novels.  I mean, let‘s be real.  She‘s 19 anyway.  Is she really writing deep fiction?  Maybe she is.  Probably not likely. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, not only deep fiction gets published.  There are plenty of...

CARLSON:  Well, that‘s a good point.

KELLERMAN:  But I read the passages in question.  It‘s in the Harvard Crimson online edition. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

KELLERMAN:  And they‘re not that big a deal, Tucker.  First of all, I‘m sure the book—there‘s no way you can sell a novel at 17 or 19 or any age based on similarities and if even it‘s they claim up to 40 different passages.  That‘s not the entire book.  That‘s not what‘s selling the book.  Obviously, the girl has talent as a writer. 

Now, there were similarities in what I saw, striking similarities. 

The question is, is it credible that she, in fact, did internalize it, as -

internalize this other author, as she claims?  And from what I‘ve read, the answer is yes. 

I know this guy who went to Harvard who idolizes this other really brilliant guy.  And this really brilliant guy could throw off something and just say something in passing from three years ago.  The guy from Harvard can repeat it verbatim. 

I find it credible that‘s she‘s internalized.  She idolized this author, and it‘s got like it is verbatim.  There are similarities.  Clearly, she was influenced.  But I find her explanation credible. 

CARLSON:  You know, it‘s funny.  I know that exact guy from Harvard you‘re talking about.  You make an excellent point, but I do think the bottom line is the publishing industry is desperate for some new gimmick. 

“My gosh, a 17-year-old novelist.  She‘s brilliant!  The next new thing!”

Give her time to become brilliant.  Right?

KELLERMAN:  Let‘s take both scenarios.  Let‘s assume that it was unintentional for a moment, even though the—if in fact, it helped the book get published and people enjoy the book.  It got the movie rights were bought.  Good for her, because people—because then in that internalizing the other author‘s work, people are enjoying—you know, that‘s not the book.  The book is her own book.  And that helps sell it. 

If it didn‘t affect anything, it‘s really much ado about nothing.  So either way, it doesn‘t seem like that big a deal to me.  I don‘t consider it out and out plagiarism. 

CARLSON:  I think—I‘m more down to the publishers than her.  But I can see sort of what you mean.

Would you be willing to stand up for an entire flight from New York to San Francisco?  That‘s the question. 

Standing room only travel is an idea that‘s been studied by Airbus, one of the major—one of the two major airplane manufacturers in the west.  The standup seats would be as comfortable as they look here.  And for that reason, Airbus put the idea on hold. 

Passengers would be dropped against a padded backboard and held in place with a harness. 

I kind of like the idea of standing up on a flight.  It‘s more social.  Max, on the other hand, likes to be herded into his tiny seat for a long flight. 

Look, Max, rising fuel prices mean airfare is going to be more expensive for everybody.  Airfare—cheap airfare is one of the great innovations of the age.  Right?

KELLERMAN:  Sure.

CARLSON:  This is an alternative to, you know, really expensive seats. 

Some people, including me, willing to stand on a relatively short flight. 

I think this is a great idea.

KELLERMAN:  That illustration looked like an iron maiden, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  I know.

KELLERMAN:  Let me tell you something, these airlines—this is not JetBlue, right?  JetBlue, they are—they‘re viable in a free market, in an open market.  These other airlines, most of them, they‘re taking a lot of federal money.  They are not subject to market forces.

So what do they do?  They—they juice the system for all it‘s worth.  The CEOs get rich.  They pocket all the federal money.  And then they give lower and lower standards and claim that they‘re being innovative.

See, in other words, they get all the positive of the market and don‘t have to deal with any of the negative.

CARLSON:  I agree with you.

KELLERMAN:  The Darwinian force acting on them.

CARLSON:  I agree with you, and that‘s the macro-argument for the beauty of these, quote, seats is there‘s no pretending.  They‘re not telling you they have the roomiest economy in, you know, America.  They‘re saying, “Look, buddy, for half price we‘ll strap you to the wall, and good luck.”  I don‘t know.  There‘s an honesty about it I admire.

KELLERMAN:  That‘s true steerage.  I just resent the lower standards and the pretense that they‘re reacting to market forces.

CARLSON:  Yes, but there‘s no pretense in being strapped to the wall.

Max Kellerman, a man without pretense.  Thank you, Max.

KELLERMAN:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Well, even the Bush administration‘s strongest supporters acknowledge this White House has a profound communication problem.  Karen Hughes, Ari Fleischer, Scott McClellan, Bush‘s spokesman have ranged from patronizing to oleaginous to almost comically inept.

This is more than a P.R. problem.  As the president has discovered the hard way, it‘s pretty hard to govern when you can‘t explain yourself to the people you‘re supposed to be governing. 

That may soon change.  As of today—that is six years into his term

Bush has finally chosen a spokesman worth listening to.  He is Tony Snow, columnist, FOX radio host and, for what it‘s worth, a very good guy. 

Snow will soon become the new White House press secretary, and for this, it is a remarkable appointment for this White House.  Not only is Snow a better person than previous press secretaries by a lot, he‘s also dramatically more honest and more independent.  Tony Snow is not a throne sniffer. 

In recent columns, he‘s described Bush as the free-spending, politically correct, ideologically adrift president that he actually sometimes is.  Quote, “George Bush has become something of an embarrassment,” Snow wrote last November, but Bush hired him anyway. 

And good for George W. Bush.  When you stop requiring your employees to worship you, you are making real progress. 

Congratulations to Tony Snow.  He‘ll be a pleasure to watch.  I look forward to it. 

Coming up on THE SITUATION, Charlie Sheen‘s wife accuses him of being a porn- addicted monster.  It‘s an ugly split, but where does Sheen rank against Woody Allen in the celebrity breakup hall of fame.  We‘re keeping track.  We‘ve got the list.  We‘ll show it to you when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VANESSA MCDONALD, PRODUCER:  Coming up, what do Tommy Lee and Liz Minnelli have in common, besides their love of show tunes?  Find out in tonight‘s “Top five.”

Plus, what happens when Hooters comes to China.

CARLSON:  I for one can‘t wait to find out.  Stay tuned.  We‘ll be back in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  It appears actors Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards—she‘s an actress, too, apparently—are taking off the gloves for their upcoming divorce bout.

In court papers, Denise claims Charlie popped pills, gambled, surfed the Web for underage gay porn, and was verbally and physically abusive.  She also says he threatened to kill her if she went public.  She‘s mad at him.

Sheen calls the allegations a smear campaign.  A bitter end to the couple‘s three-year marriage but certainly not unprecedented in the annals of celebrity fallouts. 

In tonight‘s top five, we hook up some of the most notorious cases of he said-she said-they both said.  Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON (voice-over):  Surely they may be the envy of mere mortals, but when celebritydom‘s worshipped couples have a nasty falling out, few of us would ever wish to bask in their limelight.

There‘s certainly something shady going on in his relationship.  First married in 1999, Eminem and Kim Mathers have since divorced and remarried.  He‘s written songs about killing her, pointless perhaps, because she‘s tried suicide.

Now they‘re divorcing again.  Is it any wonder marriage gets such a bad rap?

If you‘ve ever seen this couple‘s sex video, then you can probably guess why Pam Anderson agreed to marry Tommy Lee only 96 hours after meeting him.  But during their four-year marriage, Lee was jailed for beating her.  Then accused him of giving her hepatitis C.

Now divorced, they remain the best of friends.

PAMELA ANDERSON:  He‘d actually thanked me for a lot of things that we‘ve gone through.

CARLSON:  Once the darlings of Hollywood, Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin went to the mats after a nine-year marriage.  She accused him of being an abusive husband.  Then the couple reportedly continues to fight bitterly over custody of their 10-year-old daughter.

And to think the two met on the set of “The Marrying Man.”

And here‘s the guy who turned the tables on the abused spouse defense.  But David Gest struck Liza Minnelli back with a $10 million lawsuit.  She countersued for $2 million after a 16-month marriage.  And they said it wouldn‘t last.

And the Oscar for most original dramatic breakup goes to Woody Allen and Mia Farrow. 

WOODY ALLEN, DIRECTOR:  I now reverse myself and beg for peace. 

CARLSON:  Soul mates on and off the screen since the 1980s, their relationship soured in 1992 when Mia discovered Allen was cheating with her adopted daughter.  Farrah retaliated by accusing Allen of abusing her other daughter, but in the end, Soon Yi got the Woody.

ALLEN:  It‘s a performance.  It‘s a skill. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  That‘s right.  Soon Yi got the Woody.  Lucky girl.

Still ahead on THE SITUATION, there‘s baby news from Britney and that guy she‘s married to.  Are they expecting another, or has the state finally stepped in and put a merciful end to their reproduction?  We‘ve got answers on “The Cutting Room Floor” next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time for your nightcap.  His name, Willie Geist.

No.

WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER:  Are you talking to me?

CARLSON:  Just...

GEIST:  We want to apologize to the viewers for technical problems.  It wasn‘t pretty, and you handled it well.  We—somebody didn‘t pay the phone bill. 

CARLSON:  The fact that not a single guest could hear us?

GEIST:  Right.  That‘s a problem in television, in my experience.  But it will never happen again.  You have my word.

CARLSON:  Onward.  All right.

For some reason, Britney Spears continues to insist on leaving her DNA.  Evidence of that, her relationship to Kevin Federline.  “Us Weekly” magazine, which has never been and never will be wrong, ever, is reporting tonight that Britney is expecting the couple‘s second child. 

The 24-year-old Spears and the 28-year-old Federline have been married since September of 2004. They have a 7-month-old son together.

GEIST:  Because the child thing worked so well the first time, Tucker.  She dropped him out of a high chair, carries him around in her lap when she‘s driving around town.  Let‘s just run it right back and get another one. 

CARLSON:  But that Kevin Federline, I mean, he just—he lives to spread his seed.  That‘s what he‘s here for.

GEIST:  Good.  You know what?  Good for him.  He‘s living the dream. 

CARLSON:  What does he do?

GEIST:  I don‘t know.  He‘s a dancer or something.  Nothing, of course.

CARLSON:  He impregnates. 

How do you know when you‘ve arrived as an industrialized nation?  When you get your first Hooters, of course.  China, welcome to the club.  There‘s now a little taste of America right in the heart of downtown Shanghai. 

The Chinese Hooters waitresses look a lot like the ones here at home, right down to the tank tops and the orange short-shorts.  Hooters now has 384 restaurants worldwide. 

GEIST:  Do you think this is what Mao had in mind with the cultural revolution?  They‘re certainly changing things. 

You know how they say American culture is ruining the rest of the world?

CARLSON:  Yes.

GEIST:  That‘s, of course, not true, except in the case of Hooters. 

That can actually, measurably, corrupt a society.

CARLSON:  It‘s so good it‘s like a biological agent.  Just let it go, and it keeps reproducing.

GEIST:  Watch this development come to a screeching halt in China. 

CARLSON:  Yes, yes.  I love it!        

Willie Geist.

GEIST:  All right, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Thank you. 

That‘s THE SITUATION for tonight.  We‘ll see you back here tomorrow with no technical problems.  Good night.

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

END   

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