updated 5/3/2006 4:01:54 PM ET 2006-05-03T20:01:54

Guests: Elias Bermudez, Jeff Levy, Max Kellerman

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Thank you, Rita. 

Thanks to you at home for tuning in.  It‘s good to have you with us, as always.

Tonight outrage is growing over the new Spanish version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  More than 2/3 of Americans say the national anthem ought to be sung in English and English only. 

Tonight, you‘ll meet a man who not only defends “Nuestro Himno” but says it brings tears to his eyes in a good way. 

Also ahead, an elementary school teacher who clearly has not learned her lesson.  Pamela Rogers went to jail last year for having sex with a 13-year-old student.  Now she could wind up behind bars for seven years partly because of the stripping episode you‘re watching right now.  Does the punishment fit the crime?

And experts in Washington have determined that a bird flu pandemic could kill up to two million Americans.  But have no fear, there‘s a government plan, complete with advice like, quote, “Sit three feet way from our co-workers.”  Feel safer now?  Good luck. 

We‘ll talk to a doctor who says we may be running out of time to prepare for the inevitable. 

But first tonight breaking news in the Duke rape investigation.  Prosecutor Mike Nifong will remain as Durham County‘s district attorney after being reelected narrowly tonight in North Carolina, one day after attorneys for Reade Seligmann asked that Nifong be removed from that case. 

His investigation, which led to the arrests of Seligmann and lacrosse teammate Collin Finnerty has ignited a firestorm on the Duke campus and across the country. 

So did Nifong‘s aggressive prosecution allow him to remain in office?  Did he pander to his voters, in other words?  Joining me now, MSNBC legal analyst, Susan Filan, joining us tonight from Stanford, Connecticut. 

Susan, welcome. 

SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Hey, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  I can‘t say congratulations to Mike Nifong.  I think he‘s—

I think he‘s actually guilty of negligence here, at the very least.  But he may also be guilty of violating the North Carolina rules of professional conduct. 

I take you to rule 3.8.  Prosecutors, quote, “must refrain making extra judicial comments that have the substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused, except when they absolutely have to, except when they serve, quote, “a legitimate law enforcement purpose.” 

Nifong has referred to these guys as hooligans.  He‘s suggested the woman involved is the, quote, “victim.”  He‘s given 70 interviews, at least, to the press.  He is in every way whipping up public sentiment against these guys.  He ought to be investigated, at least, kicked out at best. 

FILAN:  Well, OK.  He‘s certainly not going to get kicked out.  It‘s very, very rare that you would get a motion to recuse granted.  In other words, if you say you‘re impartial, you can‘t prosecute this case, “Judge, kick him off.”  Those are very, very, very rarely granted. 

But more likely in this case is that he would be sent to the ethics committee, the statewide committee, to see did he violate the rule that you just mentioned? 

Now the extra judicial statements he made weren‘t specifically against these defendants.  He said she‘s a victim, “I believe a rape took place.  These boys are hooligans.”  But he wasn‘t talking specifically about the accused at that point.  That may be the loophole that he uses to get out from out under any kind of criticism that may come his way. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  Those seemed like statements that have, quote, “a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused.” 

FILAN:  The accused, but he wasn‘t talking about the accused at that point.  When he made those statements, it was pre-indictment.  Had he made them post indictment, specifically about Seligmann and Finnerty, then he might be in trouble.  He may have then run afoul.  But I think you think you could skate out under the technicalities. 

CARLSON:  I think we all know what‘s going on here, though.  He‘s pandering to the committee.  And I think you‘ll agree with me that there‘s nothing more frightening than a prosecutor, someone who‘s armed with the power of the state, who can literally deprive of you of your life, send you to jail forever, out of control, motivated by political goals.  And that‘s clearly, in my view, what‘s going on here.  Should the Justice Department step in at some point?

FILAN:  No, no, no.  The prosecutor‘s job is to do the right thing not to save one‘s own skin, to keep one‘s own job.  He believed that he was doing the right thing. 

The problem that I have is if it‘s true, Tucker, that the defense beat on his door to show him what they‘re claiming is exculpatory evidence, pre-indictment and he didn‘t look at it, I think that‘s a real problem. 

CARLSON:  Well, I think—I think...

FILAN:  I think a prosecutor has a duty to look at what‘s being given, if for no better reason than to try to get one up on your opponent.  Sure, show me what you‘ve got and I‘ll use it against you. 

But in this case it may have actually changed his point of view or at least informed his point of view.  If he just slam the door and didn‘t listen, I think that‘s a problem.  That in my view would not be doing the right thing. 

CARLSON:  Well, there is evidence, because I think as we said before in this show, and has not been widely reported, but I believe it to be true, there were people who were not lacrosse players at that party.  And some of them offered to give their DNA to Mike Nifong, and he refused. That itself, it seems to me, is evidence of negligence.

Moreover, you have today another player not identifying himself publicly but going on television in North Carolina saying there was no rape.  Now this—this—believe him or not, but it raises a really interesting question. 

If Nifong doesn‘t have other players who were at the party who say they witnessed a rape or have indications or knowledge that a rape took place, I don‘t see what the case is exactly. 

FILAN:  Come on.  You never have an eyewitness to rape.  You never have somebody corroborating the he said, she said. 

CARLSON:  Wait a second.  There are 50 people at the party.

FILAN:  You didn‘t have 50 people in that bathroom.  Rape cases are some of the most difficult cases to prosecutor. 

CARLSON:  But this took place in public. 

FILAN:  You‘ve got a victim saying he did it and a defendant saying no, I didn‘t. 

CARLSON:  Wait a second, Susan.  That‘s because most rapes, as you know, take place outside the public square.  I mean, they take place in, you know, alleys or in bedrooms or wherever but outside the view of other people. 

You had 50 people—at least 50 people at this party.  Do you really believe that if a rape took place, no one—none of the three supposedly in the room mentioned it to anyone else?  They didn‘t notice anything?  Come on. 

FILAN:  Come on.  They take place in frat houses.  They take place in parties.  They take places in restaurants—in bathrooms in restaurants.  I‘m not going there with you, Tucker. 

Look, I think this case has plenty of problems.  Don‘t get me wrong. 

I just don‘t think you hit on the right ones yet. 

CARLSON:  OK.  If this guy pulls out at the last minute evidence that suggests these guys did it I will publicly apologize.  Otherwise I think, as I‘ve said every night, there are going to be a lot of public apologies needed from people who‘ve defended him.  I think he‘s out of control.

We‘ll see.  Susan Filan, Thank you. 

FILAN:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Now to the latest example of multiculturalism run completely amuck, the Spanish language “Star-Spangled Banner.” 

Millions of Americans outraged by this, called “Nuestro Himno”.  In fact according to new “USA Today”/Gallup poll 69 percent of Americans say the anthem ought to be sung in English only. 

My next guest does not agree.  He says the Spanish version makes him proud, brings tears to his eyes.  He is Elias Bermudez, a radio talk show host in Phoenix and a promoter of illegal immigrant rights. 

Mr. Bermudez, thanks for joining us.

ELIAS BERMUDEZ, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Thank you for having me, Tucker.  I‘m very happy to be here.

CARLSON:  So what—can you understand, Mr. Bermudez, why English speaking native born Americans, who are still the majority in this country, might be offended by the idea of a Spanish language national anthem, which of course, is not the same song?

BERMUDEZ:  I can understand that some people think that English is the only language in the world.  It is not.  There are many languages...

CARLSON:  No, it‘s just the language of America. 

BERMUDEZ:  And the language of England, too.  And I think that this is a proud moment for us as a community because we have—unfortunately, we have still a lot of people that cannot command the English language, and we want them to be Americans. 

My father, for instance, he came a U.S. citizen when he was 78 years old.  And he had to do it in English.  He actually made the affirmation and the swearing in ceremonies in Spanish, because that‘s what the law calls for.  You have to understand the oath of allegiance of this country. 

And now that is why I am so proud, because my dad will feel the same goose bumps that I feel when I listen to the song in ballgames and every ceremony.  I want my dad to understand what the song means to us as Americans, now that we are in the country. 

CARLSON:  Here‘s the deal.  We say to immigrants we have this terrific economy, the best in the world.  We have more freedom, more opportunity than any other country in the world.  Come partake in it with us.  We invite a lot of immigrants, millions of immigrants to this country. 

In return become part of our country, become part of our culture, learn our language.  Above all, learn our language.  It‘s possible.  Millions do, and yet many illegal aliens do not.  And there is great resentment in this country about that toward the people who refuse to learn English.  Do you understand why?

BERMUDEZ:  And Tucker nobody refused.  That‘s where you also have it wrong, Tucker.  Nobody refuses to learn English.  As a matter of fact, we have—my dad even in his late times he tries to preach in English.  He wants to reach the American—the English-speaking audience with his sermons in church.  And he does have a lot of new kids in his church that don‘t speak Spanish. 

So I believe, Tucker, that that‘s wrong.  Not only do we want to learn English.  We also want to feel very patriotic.  And this song now—finally comes to us and is welcomed by our community. 

CARLSON:  Right.

BERMUDEZ:  And we‘re not offending anyone.

CARLSON:  The problem is a separate—a separate national anthem for Spanish speakers smells of the creation of a parallel culture.  Right?  It is not part of the mainstream American culture, which is, as you know, conducted in English.  And there is a feeling that millions of new immigrants to this country, most of them illegal, are not interested in joining in with the rest of Americans, all the descendents of immigrants, but instead are interested in creating this kind of parallel culture that is separate and distinct.  And that‘s really bad. 

BERMUDEZ:  Forty-five million Hispanic Americans, Tucker, speak Spanish.  And they do—they do now.  I don‘t like the music.  I really don‘t like the music.  The music should be as solemn as it is in English.  But never mind that; that‘s artistic.

CARLSON:  How about some of the words—wait, wait.  How about some of the words added to the new Spanish language version?  The center stanza‘s rapped in English, actually, by a rapper called P-Star.  Here‘s one of the lines: “These kids have no parents because of all these mean laws.” 

In other words, you have now a version of the national anthem, so called, which is being hijacked to spread—disseminate a political message.  How offensive is that, taking our national anthem and using it to forward your political goals? 

BERMUDEZ:  And Tucker, we‘re not going to go against artistic expression.  Everybody sees it the way it is.  I do also—I am with you on that.  I think we should not pull that.  We should translate the English, the hymn as it is. 

But those words, the words of the land of the free and the home of the brave, the words that we say here is our flag who has so valiantly defended our soil.  And this, we have taken that on ourselves.  And we are very proud of our national anthem will, as Hispanic Americas.  And Tucker, do not take that away from us.  Allow us—allow us to participate.

CARLSON:  I‘m not taking anything away from anyone.  I like Hispanic immigrants.  I‘m merely saying that if 50 years from now we have a large population of Americans who don‘t speak the majority language, English, you will have a lot of strife in this country.  It will be a less unified country.  And I‘m just sorry we‘re letting that happen. 

BERMUDEZ:  And Tucker, it‘s not going to happen.  Please understand that we, as Hispanic-Americans, defend this soil with the same bravery.  Thirteen percent of the people killed in Iraq...

CARLSON:  Yes.

BERMUDEZ:  ... are Hispanic soldiers.  And we defend this same soil with the same tenacity and the same pride as you do.  And do not take that away from us. 

CARLSON:  I couldn‘t agree more.  Just do it in English.  That‘s all I‘m saying.

BERMUDEZ:  We will do it in English and Spanish, too.  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Thanks.

Still to come, are we prepared for a bird flu pandemic that could kill millions and millions of Americans?  The government releases a worst case scenario plan that involves, quote, “massive disruptions.”  We‘ll bring you the frightening details in just a minute. 

Plus, was Steven Colbert‘s performance at the White House Correspondents‘ Dinner an inspired performance or simply very unfunny?  It depends on who you ask.  We‘ll debate it next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come tonight, geographic illiteracy.  Why can‘t kids in America identify New York or Louisiana on a map?

Plus, would you rather be fat or unemployed?  I know, it‘s tough question.  We‘ll debate it when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Is America prepared for a bird flu pandemic?  Government plan sets to be released tomorrow worst case scenario 2 million people dead.  Workers remain at left three feet apart from one another.  But are me assure like the enough?  Is time running out? 

My next guest says we could be facing a real crisis.  Jeff Levy is executive director of the Trust for America.  So bottom line is this real?  Could this happen. 

JEFF LEVY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TRUST FOR AMERICA:  It is real.  It could happen.  And I think the very fact that the administration is issuing tomorrow a plan that addresses almost every agency of the federal government‘s responsibility in addressing a pandemic shows that this is a threat of an unprecedented nature in our modern times. 

Will it happen tomorrow?  We don‘t know.  Will it happen six months from now?  We don‘t know, but pandemics happen.  They happen regularly.  They happen three or four times a century.  We haven‘t one since the mid-‘60s—late ‘60s.  And so we‘re overdue and probably underprepared.

And what‘s gratifying to see in both some of the earlier steps and what‘s going to be coming out tomorrow is going to be coming out tomorrow is much more focused attention across the federal government to making sure that our entire society is prepared. 

CARLSON:  So how much—how much warning will we have?  As I understand the step that will create a pandemic will occur when this virus spreads not simply from bird to human being but from human being to human being.  At what point will we know that, and how much time will we have to prepare for it?

LEVY:  We won‘t necessarily have a lot of lead time.  A lot of that depends on how good our surveillance systems are.  A lot of that will depend on the transparency of other countries where this may break out, that they‘re not hiding what is actually happening. 

The more lead time we have before it hits our shores the more time we have to build up a vaccine—start producing a vaccine, build up a stockpile and get people protected. 

CARLSON:  This new report apparently—we haven‘t seen the whole thing yet, but from we‘ve seen today suggests that the U.S. government will not attempt to seal the borders.  If this is coming from overseas, why wouldn‘t we seal the borders?

LEVY:  Well, to some degree, once we know there‘s a pandemic, it‘s probably too late to completely seal the borders.  My understanding is that the plan will do things to restrict entry into the United States so more people can be better screened. 

But the bottom line is we live in a global society now.  And we can‘t

we saw in the SARS situation that you really can‘t prevent diseases from crossing borders. 

CARLSON:  So what do you think about the specific recommendations in this report, the ones we‘ve seen so far?  If you‘re an employer seat your employees three feet away from one another.  If you‘re on a plane and someone‘s coughing, I don‘t know, breathe through your nose. 

I mean—I mean are those worth anything, those suggestions?

LEVY:  Good old fashioned infection control.  The very things that we would do to prevent getting a cold or from getting the seasonal flu.  They‘re actually things that do work and will have to work in this situation. 

It may be—it will be likely a regular flu except much more virulent.  And so we have to take extra precautions.  Until we have a vaccine produced—and it will up to six months to have a vaccine ready for mass use in the United States, after we have identified the pandemic strain—we‘re going to have to use those old fashioned forms of infection control. 

CARLSON:  But do you really think any—I mean, look, if there‘s an avian flu out that kills people 25, 30, 50 percent of the people who are infected, whatever, but actually kills people in large numbers, nobody is going to go to work.  Don‘t you think?

LEVY:  Well, certainly the very fact that the federal government is addressing all aspects of society in this plan reflects the fact of how disruptive it could be. 

A pandemic will be a terrible thing but even in the worst case scenarios only about two percent of the people who get sick will actually die.  So we need to be prepared.  We need to be concerned.  This will be a terrible disruption of society and far more people than anyone would like to see will die.  However, we don‘t need to be panicking about it. 

CARLSON:  Two percent is still millions. 

LEVY:  It‘s still—two percent of those who get sick.

CARLSON:  Right.

LEVY:  So in a worse case scenario that could be two million people. 

And that is something we need to prepare for. 

And while what the administration is pushing—putting forward tomorrow is going to be a major step forward, we still have a long, long ways to go.  A long ways to go in terms of our capacity to produce a vaccine, but also a long way, even farther to go probably, in developing the capacity to care for the 45 million people who could be needing health care delivery during a pandemic.  We don‘t have the structure to deal with that.  And we need to be developing it now. 

CARLSON:  What a nightmare.  Jeff Levy from Washington.  Thanks a lot.

LEVY:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Still to come, the dumbing down of America reaches dangerous levels of stupidity, toxic levels of dumbness.  A new survey finds that most kids cannot even locate the state of Louisiana on a map.  Geographic illiteracy and its consequences when THE SITUATION returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVEN COLBERT, HOST, COMEDY CENTRAL‘S “THE COLBERT REPORT”:  Justice Scalia is here.  Justice Scalia, may I be the first to say, welcome, sir.  You look fantastic.  How are you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That was good.  It was also one of the rare amusing moments in Steven Colbert‘s awkward and unfunny routine at the White House Correspondents‘ Dinner Saturday.  As entertainment, it was a bomb, an unmitigated disaster.  But as a political statement, many on the left are calling his act a triumph.  So which was it?  For answers, we turn now to Air America‘s Rachel Maddow. 

Welcome, Rachel. 

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO HOST:  Hi, Tucker, nice to see you. 

CARLSON:  Nice to see you. 

MADDOW:  Nice to see you. 

CARLSON:  Nice to see you.  That was actually very funny.  And everyone was laughing very much, including me.  And I think Steven Colbert is really funny most of the time. 

MADDOW:  Yes.

CARLSON:  It was an awful act.  I can promise you mostly liberals in that room.  Virtually no one laughing. 

The smartest thing I‘ve read about it was in “The New Republic” on their blog yesterday.  Here‘s the quote: “The blogosphere response from the left is more evidence of a new Stalinist aesthetic on the left, until recently more common on the right, wherein the political content of a performance or work of art is actually more important than its entertainment value.” 

That‘s what‘s going on here.  The left loves his act because they hate Bush.  And I just think there‘s something kind of corrupting about that.  You ought to evaluate a comedy routine on its comedy and on its intelligence.  And this was dumb and unfunny.

MADDOW:  You were there.  I wasn‘t there. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

MADDOW:  You were on sight.  I know my only—my own reaction to it watching it on C-SPAN and also, the number of people who have sent me the online video clips of it and the transcript of it.  I mean, I‘m getting more copies of this thing sent to me than the one-eyed kitten and the Colin Farrell sex tape combined, which is a lot, given my circle of friends. 

But I don‘t think that it‘s—that we have a Stalinist sense of what‘s politically appropriate must be applauded.  I think it‘s that some people genuinely think it‘s funny.  And whether or not it was funny in the room, it‘s funny as a routine.  And some people, I think, are uncomfortable with just how unrelenting in its criticism it was. 

CARLSON:  That‘s funny.  I don‘t think that at all.  I mean, I go to these dinners every year.  There are two of them every year, and I always go and have for more than 10 years.  And the comic is always attacking the president and always attacking the press. 

And again, it‘s a room of mostly liberals.  They don‘t care if Bush gets attacked, obviously.  This idea that the White House press corps or the media in Washington are all in the thrall of Bush and his lapdogs.  I mean, that‘s literally the kind of things that people who sit and blog in their undershorts in their basement believe.  Like people who actually know what‘s going on in the world don‘t think that, because it‘s so unbelievably stupid. 

MADDOW:  But when he said—I mean, he didn‘t just take on the press.  He didn‘t just—he didn‘t say, you know, all of the standard jokes that everybody makes about, like oh, the president is having a tough time, but he‘s going to come back.  And we‘re all going to try to give him a harder time.  It just wasn‘t standard stuff.

What he said, I stand for the president because he stands for things.  He stands on things.  He stands on aircraft carriers.  He stands on the city squares of recently flooded cities.  When he was making those kind of cracks it was not only a criticism of the response to Katrina and the Iraq war, it was a response to—it was criticizing the press for all the photo op nonsense that implicates the mainstream media as much as it does...

CARLSON:  Come on.  You know, with all due respect, I don‘t think that‘s a sophisticated critique.  The reason people didn‘t laugh is because he didn‘t understand this audience.  He doesn‘t understand Washington.  He doesn‘t understand politics very well, beyond the sort of banal critique of, you know, people who don‘t really pay close attention.  Oh, you know, it‘s all about photo ops.  Partly that‘s true.  But it‘s not a very incisive critique.  And that‘s why people weren‘t laughing.  It was like same old same old.  You know what I mean?

There was nothing deeply insightful about it.  And the idea that the press are lap dogs is just—it‘s just not true.  It‘s just wrong.  It‘s like you‘d have to live out on another planet to really believe that. 

MADDOW:  Well, when you go back and you actually look, we just had the anniversary of the mission accomplished speech, as an example.

CARLSON:  Right.

MADDOW:  You go back and you look at the press coverage of that event when it happened on May 1 when he was originally was on that aircraft carrier.  It was totally fawning coverage.

CARLSON:  Yes.

MADDOW:  It was people totally buying into it.  It was people talking about how virile he looked in that flight suit with the crotch straps. 

CARLSON:  Right.

MADDOW:  I mean, really, people drank the Kool-Aid. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.

MADDOW:  And I do think that press coverage is unbelievably embarrassing. 

CARLSON:  I was in Washington that day.  I was on television that day.  And I think some of the coverage was adulatory.  The war seemed like it ended.  We didn‘t know there were no WMD there.  We didn‘t know a lot of things we do know how.  So it was a different time.

But there was a lot of criticism.  Even then I remember, I debated it on the air that very day.  There are a lot of people saying this is outrageous. 

In other words, there is a real diversity of views in Washington, unlike New York and L.A.  That‘s my point.  Steven Colbert lives in a world in which everybody he knows thinks the same thing.  They voted for the same person, the same cultural preconceptions.  D.C. is different because you actually have a pretty balanced city between right and left. 

MADDOW:  Tucker, I think what you‘re saying here is he wasn‘t funny.  He wasn‘t funny.  The criticism of the president just wasn‘t funny.  And you know what?  A lot of Americans think it was hilarious.  And you can argue that it wasn‘t funny, but it isn‘t actually going to change the impact that it had.  And I think he hit a home run. 

CARLSON:  Boy, woo!  I don‘t agree.  You could be my guest next year. 

We‘ll critique it together.  Rachel Maddow, thank you. 

MADDOW:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON: Still to come have women finally turned on Tom Cruise?  “Mission:Impossible III” star apparently is in serious trouble with the ladies.  We‘ll tell you why after the break. 

Plus, is this sex—sex video the reason former school teacher Pamela Rogers is back in the pokey?  Does the punishment of seven years behind bars fit her crime?  Answers when we return. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, a new study shows kids really don‘t know much about geography.  We‘ll tell you why that‘s a serious problem for the country.

Plus, all that couch jumping and silent birthing finally catches up with Tom Cruise.  We‘ll tell you who‘s turning on Tom.  Before we get to that, here‘s a look what else is going on in the world tonight. 

(NEWSBREAK)

CARLSON:  We turn to a man who every night on this show defends the indefensible and champions causes that have been lost for good reason.  He‘s the Outsider, ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing host Max Kellerman. 

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  Not to sound too much like Colbert, but Tucker, I am glad that the administration, the federal government is planning on doing something about bird flu.  You know, it‘s reassuring.  Because I thought what was going to happen was they would ignore all empirical data and declare war on chicken pox. 

CARLSON:  I think we won that already.

You know what?  I‘m not even defending Bush in my critique at all, actually, in my critique of Colbert‘s routine.  It‘s just I wanted to be amused and wasn‘t.  Maybe better luck next time. 

These days, when we talk about the lost youth, we‘re talking about people who are literally lost.  A new study found 63 percent of Americans age 18-24 could not find Iraq—you know the place we‘ve been at war for more than three years—on a map. 

The same study found staggering 88 percent couldn‘t find Afghanistan, where we‘re also at war.  Only 50 percent of men and 43 percent of women could even point out New York or Ohio.  A third of those asked couldn‘t find Louisiana. 

That‘s obviously pathetic and a problem for the country.  Max, meanwhile, still believes that old “New Yorker” cartoon of Manhattan is geographically accurate.  But it‘s not, Max. 

Look, the problem—look, this is a form of solipsism, of self-involvement.  I mean, I‘m not an internationalist.  I don‘t like the U.N.  I don‘t care what Liechtenstein thinks of us.  But I do think the rest of the world is kind of important and sort of interesting.  And you should be aware of what else is out there. 

And if you‘re not, basically the message you‘re sending is nobody is more important than I; no place is more important than where I am.  And there‘s something wrong with that.

KELLERMAN:  Well, since the break down of the feudal system, Tucker, you‘re right.  You should know what‘s going on in the world.  But the fact, is, the history of this country, because we‘re isolated by those two oceans, ask most Americans where Canada is on a map, more or less, or Mexico on a map, more of less.  They more or less know.  They‘ll point north and south.

CARLSON:  Right.

KELLERMAN:  The rest of the world they just know is on the other side of the world somewhere.  You know, west or east.  You keep going past—over one of those two oceans and you get there. 

I think the irony is globalization means because of all these access -

all the access to goods and services and information that actual geographical knowledge is probably leas important than it was 30 or 40 years ago. 

CARLSON:  Ohio?  New York?  Louisiana?  I mean I don‘t know.  It‘s not like knowing where Wadadugu is or Absurdistan.  These are states.  There are only 50 of them.  Shouldn‘t you know where Ohio is?

KELLERMAN:  You know, I‘ll tell you the truth.   When I was a kid, there was a big map in the kitchen that my parents had up of all the states and I could point to every state.  I‘d get a couple wrong.  I‘m not kidding.  With 50 blank states I‘m not which one is which.

CARLSON:  Yes, but you live in Manhattan.  You get a pass.  I‘m talking about normal people. 

KELLERMAN:  Yes, that‘s true.

CARLSON:  On to the next.  Here‘s another question for you, Max.  Would you rather be fat or unemployed?  Tough choice.  Well, it turns out a majority of Americans would prefer being without a job to being a little thick around the middle. 

A survey conducted by “Fitness” magazine found 58 percent of women and 54 percent of men would rather than jobless than 75 pounds overweight.  Sixty-three percent of those same women and 55 percent of men polled said they‘d rather be poor and thin than rich and fat. 

I think I‘d rather be fat than unemployed.  He is collecting his unemployment checks, Miami. 

CARLSON:  What is this saying?  I‘m not defending fat.  It‘s hard to lose weight.  Nobody wants to be fat, of course. 

Essentially, we‘re talking about vanity here.  So it‘s more important to look good than to, say, feed your family or be a productive part of society?  I mean, it‘s—that is kind of vanity run amok. 

KELLERMAN:  As with almost every survey I have ever heard, it‘s set up in a ridiculous way and does not actually yield any worthwhile results. 

CARLSON:  You know it‘s true.  You know most people would rather be collecting than being 75 pounds overweight.

KELLERMAN:  Let‘s think about this for a second.  It‘s not just fat.  It‘s 75 pounds overweight.  Seventy-five pound overweight is obese.  So you‘re not just talking about—what‘s harder to do?  Is it harder to get a job or to lose 75 pounds?  Ask an illegal immigrant, whether it‘s hard tore get a job or lose 57 pound.  Apparently it‘s easy to get a job of some kind. 

CARLSON:  You may be right.  The truth is if you are unemployed much more likely to spend your day eating Ben and Jerry‘s. 

KELLERMAN:  Perhaps losing 75 pound is hard.  Another way set up in a way yield a result that is worth anything is if you say 75 pound overweight, then the alternative is by default it‘s ideal weight.  Right, 75 pounds over your ideal weight. 

CARLSON:  Right.

KELLERMAN:  How many people have the ideal job?  Very few.  A lot of them don‘t like the job they have.  So when you ask someone job which you don‘t like you‘re trading up. 

CARLSON:  I never thought about it that way.  I‘m not sure I agree, but as usual you made me think.  Max Kellerman. 

KELLERMAN:  That‘s the exercise, isn‘t it?

CARLSON:  I‘ll be pondering that all evening.  Thank you. 

KELLERMAN:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  The ladies once considered him Hollywood‘s top gun but tomorrow another title, Tom Cruise may be losing it.  His popularity is sliding fast among female fans while his negative ratings have more than doubled.  Blame it in part on Tom‘s tirade against postpartum depression drugs and his purported controlling relationship with his fiance, Katie Holmes. 

CARLSON:  Paramount Pictures meanwhile awaits next weekend‘s debut of “Mission : Impossible III.  The studio hopes to offset Tom‘s Sinking appeal by launching ad campaigns that play up the film‘s romantic side, further proof that even in Hollywood odd behavior is risky business.

In tonight‘s “Top Five” we show you why restoring Tom‘s star hour might be a mission improbable. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON (voice-over):  OK.  There are greater concerns in our world than Tom Cruise: Usama bin Laden, global warming, gas prices, illegal immigration, just to name a few of them.  But let‘s be honest.  None of those is as much fun. 

Apparently, those separation of church and state of mind when Tom is cruising for new Scientology recruits.  During the filming of “War of the Words”, Tom treated his cast and crew to free massages.  It turns out the masseuses were Scientology ministers armed with religious literature. 

We figured this guy was all wet targeted by a waterloaded mic in London. 

CRUISE:  I‘m here giving you an interview.  I‘m answering your questions and you do something really nasty.  You‘re a jerk. 

CARLSON:  The pranksters were assaulted for assault.  Come on, Tom, lighten up.  Aren‘t Scientologists allowed to bathe?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is the greatest day of my life. 

CARLSON:  Animators Matt Stone and Trey Parker begged Tom to come out of closet, so to speak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. Cruise, come out of the closet.

CARLSON:  Instead Comedy Central tossed this repeat of “South Park” in the closet. 

Tom reportedly threatened to refuse his mission to promote “Mission I Impossible III” if the episode wasn‘t yanked.  Viacom, which owns Paramount Studios and Comedy Central, bowed to the power star. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘re not, like, as good as Leonardo DiCaprio, but you‘re OK I guess. 

CARLSON:  Action heroes aren‘t supposed to lose their cool but Tom‘s short fuse ignited last June on “The Today Show”.  He launched into a lecture about Brooke Shields dress, postpartum depression.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

You don‘t know the history of psychiatry.  I do. 

CARLSON:  First hand knowledge, no doubt. 

And finally the ultimate loss of Cruise control, last May‘s infamous couch incident on “Oprah.” 

Is it any wonder we liked Tom a lot better when he was jumping around the set in his underwear. 

CRUISE:  What do you mean by that?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  We‘ll be playing that video when I‘m selecting Social Security and I‘m glad. 

Well, there‘s good news from Washington tonight.  It turns out not every dumb idea becomes law in the end.  The plan to ease gas prices by sending $100 checks to drivers has died.  As House Majority Leader John Boehner pointed out, the idea was insulting.

It was insulting, consider the reasoning behind it.  Each year the average person pays about $100 federal taxes on gasoline.  Rather than simply eliminate that tax Congress planned to collect the money, run it through a bureaucracy a few times and send it back to you.

Why?  Because sending you with the check might leave you with the impression Congress had given you a gift, a present like Christmas or your birthday.  You might forget that it was your money to begin with.  You earned it, most likely by driving to work every day.

And it was             that very drive, probably long, unpleasant and frustrating, a typical commute, that lawmakers are profiting from every time you fill your tank.  Also, they can return your money to you so that you‘ll have the opportunity to feel grateful to them for their compassion. 

And the worst part is you might not even notice.  That‘s how deep the Stockholm Syndrome is.  So next time, do notice.  And don‘t ever thank members of Congress for whatever they give you.  It was yours to begin with. 

Coming up on THE SITUATION, I‘ve always said porn stars don‘t get enough credit for their acting.  Now they‘re getting to show their thespian side on one of the world‘s biggest stages.  We‘ll explain when THE SITUATION rolls on.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VANESSA MCDONALD, PRODUCER:  Coming up a school teacher put on a raunchy strip tease for a teenage student. 

Plus, you‘ll meet the undisputed whistling champion of the world.

CARLSON:  Wait until you hear this man whistle.  You‘re not going to believe it, honest.  We‘ll be back in just 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

When you think of whistling you may think of “The Andy Griffith Show” or Otis Redding and “Sitting on The Dock of the Bay”.  That is amateur stuff compared to what my next guest can do.  He is the four time world whistling champion.  He‘s even performed for the president in the Oval Office.  His album, and there is an album, is called “The Symphonic Whistler”. 

His name is Chris Ullman.  He‘s a former spokesman for the FCC.  He‘s a principal at the Carlisle Group in Washington.  He‘s also the whistling world champ, and he joins from the District of Columbia tonight. 

Mr. Ullman, thanks for coming on.

CHRIS ULLMAN, CARLISLE GROUP:  Hi, Tucker.  Thanks for having me on. 

CARLSON:  I could ask you a lot of questions about whistling, because believe it or not, I‘m actually really interested, but first show—just whistle something for us.  I want to hear it.

ULLMAN:  Here‘s a little Grateful Dead for you. 

CARLSON:  Outstanding. 

ULLMAN:  “Bird Song.” 

(MUSIC)

CARLSON:  That‘s perfect.  I feel like Jerry Garcia is sitting right here.  That‘s—can you—do you do it by ear?  Can you mimic music that you hear for the first time?

ULLMAN:  I have a great ear.  So I can hear something and then whistle it.  But when I do classical music, for instance, on my CD I do Mozart‘s oboe concerto.  So I actually broke out the score and went through all 27 minutes of it.  And had to learn the notes and make sure I did it right, because it was with a live symphony orchestra.

CARLSON:  So you can replicate the sound of an oboe? 

ULLMAN:  Well, sort of.  I sound more like a whistle—actually, I sound more like a flute probably.  But I can do—on CD I do trumpet, and I do Hummel‘s “Trumpet Concerto”.  So it‘s more of the notes and it‘s my interpretation of it.  But I ultimately sound like a whistler. 

CARLSON:  Can you do—we were just talking about Tom Cruise.  I don‘t know if you saw.  Not exactly celebrating his life and career, but you know, discussing it.  The “Mission : Impossible” theme, can you do that?

(MUSIC)

CARLSON:  That‘s amazing.  What was that last thing?  I‘ve never seen someone whistle with an open mouth. 

ULLMAN:  Well, I‘ve got some different techniques.  If you can—usually I whistle with my lips.  But I can whistle with my tongue, and then if I use my lips to go “wawa,” I can go (MUSIC) or what sound like a referee‘s whistle by going (MUSIC). 

So those are embellishments that I use to make the music more interesting or try to mimic different instruments or to try to give it a little more flavor. 

CARLSON:  I mean, I don‘t want to accuse you of pulling a Milli Vanilli here, but that almost looked fake.  I mean, the last thing you...

ULLMAN:  It almost does.  Now my old boss, Mitch Daniels, who is the former director of the Office of Management and Budget, he was a ventrilo-whistler.  So when he and I actually whistled for the president in the Oval Office, we did “Dueling Banjos”. 

So Mitch started but no one could tell it was him whistling, and they thought it was me doing both parts.  And but he‘s actually a pretty good whistler.  We had a lot of fun serenading the president. 

CARLSON:  That is—what did Bush think?

ULLMAN:  He seemed to like it.  He said he was auditioning me for a state dinner.  Now, I still haven‘t gotten an invitation yet, but I‘m optimistic. 

CARLSON:  So whistle something that our fans watching, your fans watching, our viewers would know. 

ULLMAN:  Here‘s “A Train” by Duke Ellington. 

(MUSIC)

CARLSON:  Amazing.  Chris Ullman, buttoned Washington figure by day, world‘s greatest whistler by night.  We‘re honored to have you on our show.  Thanks, Chris. 

ULLMAN:  Thanks for having me on, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Still ahead on THE SITUATION, does look like any teacher you‘ve ever had?  No.  I‘ve never seen one like this either.  We‘ll tell you why this little strip tease not going over well with the PTA.  “Cutting Room Floor” next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time for “The Cutting Room Floor.”  And that means a man who literally whistles as he works, Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER:  The opposite is true.  I‘m one of the worst whistlers in the business.  I‘ve always been envious of the guys who can do this one. 

CARLSON:  Yes, totally.

GEIST:  I‘ve never been able to pull it off.

CARLSON:  The cat call.

GEIST:  Yes.  It‘s the shortcoming of my life.

I want to give you one quick news update.

CARLSON:  Yes.

GEIST:   The woman who got $1.7 for getting spanked.

CARLSON:  The spankee.

GEIST:  The spankee.  Not only is she getting paid, now she‘s going to appear on “Good Morning America” and Oprah Winfrey. 

CARLSON:  No way.  To offer support and comfort to the victims of spanking?

GEIST:  Yes, exactly.  And you know the book is coming and the whole thing. 

CARLSON:  The made for TV movie.

GEIST:  Exactly.  It‘s coming.  Brace yourself. 

CARLSON:  “I Was Spanked at a Work Event.” 

GEIST:  Yes.  Get the most out of it.

CARLSON:  “Thank you, sir.  May I have another?” 

If recent events forced Pamela Rogers out of the teaching profession, she has a very bright future as a stripper.  Rogers is the Tennessee school teacher convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old student. 

You‘re looking at one of about 20 videos she recently sent the boy over the Internet.  Not a secure connection, apparently.

Rogers has been ordered to have no contact with the boy after she was convicted.  So this dance performance landed her back in jail where she can stay for nearly eight years. 

GEIST:  Who invited the black dot to the party?  Damn you, black dot. 

You know, it‘s a wonder what they‘re doing with these interactive classrooms these days. 

CARLSON:  It‘s really amazing.

GEIST:  The strides in education. 

Can I just say probably not good that she slept with a 13-year-old, but this is the kind of thing that‘s going to keep kids in school, get them coming to class and help them achieve their dreams down the road, don‘t you think?

CARLSON:  I can‘t get pass the interactive classroom.  That‘s just too good.  It‘s awesome.

Well, the term May-December romance does not do justice to the relationship in our next story.  This is now Ashton and Demi.  This is the darling newlywed couple of 33-year-old Muhammed Musa and 104-year-old Wook Kundor.

GEIST:  Wow.

CARLSON:  Yes, I said 104 years old, as in born in 1902.  The couple says its friendship recently turned to love so they decided to tie the knot.  It‘s his first marriage.  It‘s lucky number 21 for her. 

GEIST:  Wow.

Do you remember a couple weeks ago we had the woman on explaining the phenomenon of cougar hunting, where older New York socialites go after younger men?  That is a cougar hunt.  Seventy-one years older than her husband.  That is a serious cougar hunt. 

And at what point after the 20 marriages do you realize marriage might not be for you?

CARLSON:  At what point do men realize it‘s deadly to marry this woman?

GEIST:  Exactly.  Exactly right.

Actually, it‘s good for him.  She‘ll be gone in a couple years. 

CARLSON:  He‘ll be gone.  That‘s the point.  Twenty guys died before him. 

Well, if you watch porn strictly for the acting there‘s probably something clinically wrong with you.  But there‘s also a new reality show made just for you.  FOX, of course, has announced plans for a show called “My Bare Lady”, where American porn stars like the ones you see here travel to London to try their hand at stage acting in a West End theater production. 

FOX anticipates, quote, a humorous and all too real culture clash. 

GEIST:  Tucker, we laugh.  I think they‘ll be fine on stage as long as the plots involve lawn boys coming into a woman‘s home for a glass of lemonade or a plumber coming over to clean the pipes and the husband is away at work.  You know?

CARLSON:  They‘ll be fine.

GEIST:  Just keep the plots...

CARLSON:  There‘s almost nothing you could make up that FOX wouldn‘t do.  I don‘t say that with criticism.  I say that with awe. 

GEIST:  Like you say, it‘s a compliment. 

CARLSON:  It‘s incredible.  Willie Geist, thank you. 

That‘s it for us tonight.  Thank you for watching.  We‘ll see you tomorrow. 

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

END   

Copy: 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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