updated 5/10/2006 11:40:19 AM ET 2006-05-10T15:40:19

Guests: Jason Fagone, Chris Simcox, John Podhoretz

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  (AUDIO GAP) ... sharing information intelligence with the Mexican government.  You haven‘t heard all.  We‘ll give you the whole story.

Plus, talk about strange bedfellows.  Rupert Murdoch, of all people, jumping on the Hillary Clinton band wagon.  Can anything stop her march to the White House?  We‘ll talk to a conservative who says time is running out. 

And remember this proud SITUATION moment?  We‘ll take you inside the gut-busting sport of extreme eating in just a few moments.  There she is, the all-time bratwurst champion.

But first tonight, a story that‘s already got many of you at home outraged: reports that the U.S. Border Patrol is tipping Mexico to the location of groups like the Minutemen.  A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman said the idea is to reassure the Mexican government that migrants‘ rights are being preserved. 

My next guest says disclosing the location of the patrols is endangering the lives of American citizens.  It‘s also just wrong on principle.  Chris Simcox is the founder of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps.  He joins us tonight from Phoenix, Arizona. 

Mr. Simcox, thanks for coming on. 

CHRIS SIMCOX, FOUNDER, MINUTEMEN CIVIL DEFENSE CORPS:  Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  I should start by saying the border patrol has issued a statement tonight saying that these reports which have been published online and in at least one newspaper are false that the United States, in fact, is not tipping the Mexican government off to Minutemen patrols and that there‘s no truth to it at all.  How do you respond to it?

SIMCOX:  Well, it‘s just another in a series of reports out of Washington, D.C., where—going back to last April, where the government actually worked with Mexico to bring in the Mexican military to divert illegals away from our areas so that there would be no confrontations. 

Of course, our Minutemen Civil Defense Corps volunteers are trained not to have any contact with any illegals.  We‘re just there to support the men and women of the border patrol. 

CARLSON:  Right.

SIMCOX:  We‘ve had reports from field agents that they‘re told to stand down.  They‘re told not to respond to our calls for assistance.  This is just another in a series of—of disturbing issues with border patrol and the Department of Homeland Security. 

CARLSON:  Just to make it clear, on this one specific issue, the claim is that the United States government is tipping off the government of Mexico, a foreign government, to your whereabouts.  The Minutemen, of course, your group, patrolling the border, not members of any government agency, working pro bono, for free to secure our borders or help do so.  And the U.S. government is telling Mexico where you are. 

Do you have evidence that that‘s true?

SIMCOX:  Yes, we do from government—Mexican web sites.  And the second half of that story is coming out.  In fact, the web pages have been published tonight on our web site, MinutemanHQ.com, where they‘re not only telling them about our whereabouts along the border but they‘re also tipping off the Mexican government about our internal operations, our internal chapters, the heads of our operations, the number of volunteers that we have in states like Illinois and Tennessee. 

What does that have to do with protecting the rights of people coming across the border?

CARLSON:  Well, I mean, but hold on.  On its face it‘s completely outrageous.  Your group is composed of American citizens.  The idea that the American government is ratting you out to a foreign government, in this case the government of Mexico, is just wrong on every possible level.  Have you complained to the White House about this?

SIMCOX:  Of course, we‘ve been complaining to the White House about the fact that our border security is a joke four and a half years after September 11. 

It‘s very disturbing that our Department of Homeland Security is notifying a foreign government about where it‘s not safe to cross, where you can‘t bring drugs across and you shouldn‘t bring people across because you may get caught.  This is a threat not only to our volunteers but to national security on the whole. 

CARLSON:  This doesn‘t make sense.  I mean, I‘m not—I‘m not saying it‘s not true.  But I am saying it doesn‘t make any sense at all.  Why would the United States government, which is in charge, of course, of keeping our borders secure and keeping drugs and illegal aliens out, be helping them come in?

SIMCOX:  You know, it has us all puzzled: why President Bush talks about national security but yet does nothing to secure the borders; why we have every high level official from the FBI to Michael Chertoff saying we must secure our borders, it‘s a threat to national security and public safety, yet we get no action, border patrol gets no funding, no support.  And it‘s mind boggling that four and a half years after September 11, our borders are still wide open. 

There‘s a human tsunami of people coming across this border right now, coming to get earned citizenship, according to Senator McCain.  And it‘s absurd that our borders still remain a war zone and controlled by a foreign government, as well as criminal cartels and criminal syndicates. 

CARLSON:  With our help, it sounds like.  Now the allegation is here that the U.S. government is doing this in order to protect “migrants‘ rights,” quote.  Are there allegations, true or not, that the Minutemen have violated the rights of people sneaking across the border?

SIMCOX:  There are plenty of wild allegations.  Of course, we‘ve documented all of our activities.  We have a standard operating procedure that prohibits any of our volunteers from having contact unless they give medical aid, water, to immigrants that are illegal... 

CARLSON:  Well, have any of your volunteers—let‘s put it this way. 

Have any of your volunteers been arrested for violating...?

SIMCOX:  Never. 

CARLSON:  Not one?  Not one Minuteman volunteer arrested?

SIMCOX:  Not one single arrest incident of any wrong doing on behalf of over 7,000 registered volunteers that have been on that border for the last year.  Not one incident.  So...

CARLSON:  That‘s amazing. 

SIMCOX:  It is amazing that, again, what are they—why are they concerned about the civil rights when no one‘s civil rights are being violated?  And why are they working with the Mexican government and the Mexican military to divert the flow of illegal activity away from our locations, where they know they‘re going to be spotted and reported to the proper authorities?

CARLSON:  I don‘t have the answer to that.  I will say if this turns out to be true and it sounds like it is true.  But if you can verify that it‘s true, it‘s one of the most outrageous things I think I‘ve ever heard.  So we‘re going to continue to follow this story.  Chris Simcox, thanks for coming on tonight.

SIMCOX:  Sure.  Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  We will have much more on this developing story tomorrow night. 

Now to the growing outrage over the Duke rape investigation.  The accuser first told police she‘d been raped by 20 white men.  She then changed her story to say there were three attackers.  Police called her, quote, not credible.

So why is this investigation still going on nearly two months after the alleged assault?  And does the D.A. even have a case?  Here to answer those questions, MSNBC legal analyst Susan Filan, joining us tonight from Stamford, Connecticut. 

Susan, thanks for coming on.

SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Hey, Tucker.

CARLSON:  I have a copy of the Duke police report first filed after the alleged event.  It was filed by Officer Christopher H. Day, badge No.  116.  He has this to say. 

He says, “The female was picked up at the Kroger on Hillsborough Road, and she was claiming that she was raped by approximately 20 white males at 610 North Buchanan Street.”  There you have it, a primary document.  This isn‘t hearsay.  This is an actual police report saying this woman‘s first contact with law enforcement, she claimed she was raped by 20 men. 

This case basically doesn‘t exist anymore.  I mean, what is the point of continuing prosecuting these kids?

FILAN:  Come on, Tucker.  That is completely taken out of context and blown up. 

CARLSON:  What context?  I have the police report right here.  This is the context. 

FILAN:  Yes, and he‘s repeating what she said.  What she said was a hyperbolic, exaggerated claim because she was at a party and her perception when she was making the initial complaint is there was a large gang of people responsible for her assault. 

She then goes on to say specifically it was three men that raped her in a bathroom.  But what she was saying—don‘t forget, she was crying, she was hysterical.  She was visibly shaken. 

And in the report issued by Duke University, the—there‘s a tiny little footnote—I think it‘s on page five—that says a Duke policewoman was at the hospital when she was getting her exam and said she was freaking out.  And this is not likely to go away. 

CARLSON:  Wait, wait, wait.  Wait a second. 

FILAN:  Wait, what?

CARLSON:  Wait.  There‘s no footnote in the police report.  This is the sum total of this officer‘s—and this is not an officer a week after the fact or three months after the fact.  This is a guy, night of, one of the very first people to speak to the alleged victim after the alleged attack occurred.  And here‘s take away from that, where she said 20 men raped her. 

Now I know that she was upset.  No matter what happened, she was clearly upset.  But it‘s impossible to imagine that 20 men raped you when only three raped you.  I mean, they‘re not even in the same ball park. 

FILAN:  I get that.  I get that.  I get that.  But sometimes people mean something other than what they actually said.  And I think you have to look at the meaning.

CARLSON:  If she didn‘t even state that clearly, how is she possibly going to hold up in court?  I mean, this is crazy. 

FILAN:  Well, let‘s give her a chance.  And let me tell you what else came into this report that I think is very, very significant.  This is Duke speaking about the way they reacted, the way they mishandled the situation. 

They say the discounting by police and others of the importance, of the seriousness of the allegations, may have reflected a belief that the matter would not be pressed because the charging party was not that important or liable.  What Duke is pretty much saying is she was treated like trash and she was discounted. 

CARLSON:  Oh, give me a break.  The Duke report—actually, the Duke report is ridiculous.  If you read the Duke report, its final recommendation is that Duke diversify its administration, as if that has anything to do with what happened in one specific house on one specific night. 

It‘s a political document, and I think it‘s laughable.  But it doesn‘t speak to what did or did not happen that night.  This, by the way, does.  Here it is. 

This woman was interviewed by police the night it happened.  The police did not give—get a search warrant for the property, where it originally—allegedly took place, this North Buchanan property.  Didn‘t show up until two days after the event allegedly took place.  I mean, they don‘t bother to go to the crime scene for two days?

FILAN:  I think that perhaps—perhaps and I don‘t know—that the Durham police and the Duke police are going to come to the fore as having, perhaps, mishandled this by not believing her, and that may have been a critical mistake.  Don‘t forget, this D.A. has won his election.  This isn‘t politics anymore.  We can‘t throw that up as a motivation. 

CARLSON:  Of course, it‘s politics.  The guy just ran on this issue.  He can‘t after winning say, by the way, now that I‘ve won, I‘m going to drop the charges. 

FILAN:  Of course he can.  But don‘t you think you‘ve got to have something that we don‘t know for him to continue on like this?

CARLSON:  Maybe he does.  But it‘s getting kind of late in the game.  Meanwhile, these guys are having these lives destroyed.  And I do think that not everybody is worth listening to.  If someone is saying and saying crazy things on the street corner, “I was raped by the pope” or whatever, we don‘t have to take that person‘s word AS seriously as we would take word of a sane person. 

I‘m saying this woman sounds like she‘s a serious flake at this point. 

OK, so how do you explain the vaginal injuries and the anal injuries and the sodomy?  How do you explain the medically documented injuries on this woman?  She did it herself?

CARLSON:  She was a prostitute working for an escort service.  I don‘t know. 

FILAN:  Wait a minute.  You don‘t know that.

CARLSON:  What do you mean I don‘t know that.  Yes, I do know that.

FILAN:  She is not a prostitute. 

CARLSON:  She worked for an escort service. 

FILAN:  Be careful.  Be careful.  No, she was a dancer.  She was, perhaps, a stripper.  But be very careful when you go that extra step.

CARLSON:  It‘s not an extra step.  She worked for an escort service.  You‘ve got to be kidding.  I‘m an adult.  That‘s what people who work for escort services are.  I‘m not attacking them...

FILAN:  How do you know that, Tucker?

CARLSON:  What do you mean that?  Because I‘m an adult who lives in America.  I have the ad.  I put it on the air.  It‘s not for dancers.  It‘s for hookers.  I‘m sorry, it‘s true. 

FILAN:  Don‘t go there.

CARLSON:  I don‘t want to go there, but she did go there.  I‘m merely reporting what‘s true. 

FILAN:  Well, I think you‘d have a very, very difficult time proving that allegation.  I think that‘s pretty serious and I think we‘ve got to be a little bit careful and step back from the brink here, because what she did... 

CARLSON:  The brink?

FILAN:  Yes.

CARLSON:  I‘m not the one who worked for an escort service.  She is. 

I don‘t know why everyone is...

FILAN:  That‘s a crime. 

CARLSON:  ... is backing up and saying...

FILAN:  That‘s not a crime.

CARLSON:  First of all, it is a crime.  Prostitution is a crime.  Yes, it is. 

FILAN:  No, it isn‘t.

CARLSON:  Yes, it is.  I‘m sorry, in Holland it‘s not.  In the United States it is.  Whether is should be is another question.  I‘m libertarian.  I don‘t think it ought to be, but it is. 

FILAN:  You think dancers are engaging in criminal activity?

CARLSON:  No, I‘m merely saying, Susan, what everybody knows but everybody for some reason can‘t bring him or herself to say, which is this woman was a prostitute working for a company that supplied prostitutes for people who ordered them.  OK, that‘s just true.  It‘s not something I made up.  It‘s a fact.

And I don‘t know why we are afraid to say what is true.  And I also don‘t know who we‘re afraid to use this woman‘s name.  We know the names of the men who she‘s accused of felony sex crimes, but she is shielded because she is a so-called victim.  Come on.  I think it is outrageously unfair. 

FILAN:  Exactly.

CARLSON:  Susan Filan, you got me.  Ha!  Susan Filan, joining us tonight from Stamford, Connecticut.  I appreciate it. 

FILAN:  Good night, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Thank you.

FILAN:  You‘re welcome.

CARLSON:  Still to come, what can conservatives do to bring down Hillary Clinton?  We‘ll a?  Can they do anything?  I‘ll talk to the author of a new book.  Can she be stopped and what it will take to stop her and prevent a Hillary presidency. 

Plus, what‘s better than a kitten?  Nothing, what?  So why is one town in Iowa finding people who feed kittens.  An outrageous story from America‘s heartland when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK:  I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas.  But what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life.  And I tried very, very hard to be as careful as possible, and that‘s all I can tell you. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  And yet, sadly, Hillary Clinton did not stay home to bake cookies.  She went on to become the junior senator from New York State.  And no matter what she‘s claiming in public these days, to run for president in 2008. 

She even has fans on the political right, believe it or not.  FOX News chief Rupert Murdoch reportedly is hosting a fundraiser for her.  With friends like that, can Hillary be stopped.  My next guest says maybe. 

John Podhoretz is a columnist for the “New York Post” and author of “Can She Be Stopped: Hilary Clinton Will be the Next President of the United States, Unless”.  He joins us from New York City tonight.

John, thanks for coming on. 

JOHN PODHORETZ, AUTHOR, “CAN SHE BE STOPPED”:  Hi, Tucker.

CARLSON:  So is—I mean, is this really an imminent threat?

PODHORETZ:  I think so.  I think she will be president of the United States unless conservatives and Republicans gather their wit together, get organized, get focused and follow my 10-point plan. 

CARLSON:  Liberals that I talked to is that she is too unpopular, people hate her too much and she‘s not a threat.  You think she really is. 

PODHORETZ:  I address every one of these charges, one by one, and I disregard them.  And I‘m speaking as someone on the political right.

If she‘s too unpopular, why is she running 25 points in the polls, ahead of any comparable Democrat, including Al Gore and John Kerry?  If she is—if everything that you can say about her that is a negative will actually be a positive. 

CARLSON:  But I mean, are you just saying that?  The conventional wisdom, at least among liberals, who I talk to anyway.  She‘s too unpopular.  America is not ready for a female president.  People hate her too much.  But she‘s not a threat. 

You think she really is?

PODHORETZ:  For example, the idea that she is has negatives and unpopular will rally Democrats to her side if she is the nominee.  And the fact that she is the first woman candidate president for candidate, she is in my view the perfect kind of candidate because she is hard, she‘s tough, she‘s difficult, and she‘s somebody you could imagine could stand toe to toe with Osama bin Laden. 

CARLSON:  You could imagine her pressing the button. 

PODHORETZ:  There you go.

CARLSON:  That is an excellent point.  Rupert Murdoch is supporting her now?

PODHORETZ:  Well, you know, he wants—it‘s a fundraiser for the Senate.  And as far as I‘m concerned, she should have a long and healthy life as a senator and stay the hell away from the White House. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Are you going to see more conservatives come out, supporting Hillary Clinton?

PODHORETZ:  No.  I don‘t think—I think that is a side development of the day. 

CARLSON:  What can be done to stop her?

PODHORETZ:  Conservatives have to use the power of her fame against her. 

She has spent her years in the Senate picking and choosing her fights, remaining quiet a lot of the time.  It is time to put pressure on her to speak daily about the issues of the day.  Not to hide in silence. 

Conservatives in the Senate, Republicans, can use sense of the Senate resolution, as they‘re called, nonbinding resolutions that puts senators on the record on difficult issues.  This will force her to make her position positions known and clear which will either cause a rift in the Democratic Party and make it difficult for her to get the nomination or heal the parties afterwards, or push her to the left and make her much more—much less easily elected in November 2008. 

CARLSON:  That‘s an excellent point.  But people elected her in the first place, because her husband cheated on her and they felt sorry for her.  Don‘t Republicans run a risk of increasing her appeal by attacking her?

PODHORETZ:  No.  I mean, I think they have to be careful.  But I

think, you know, she‘s fair game in the sense that anybody who runs for

president is fair game these days.  She has the advantage of having had the

worst kind of dirty laundry of her life exposed 10 years before she was

going to be run for president.  Difficulties in her marriage are something

that‘s an old story.  Ethical irregularities in her life are an old story.  These are things that, you know, new candidates have to deal with and discard and handle.  She has it all in the past.  That‘s an advantage that she has going into 2008. 

CARLSON:  That is, I think, a smart point. 

And finally, what about Iraq?  She‘s made so many on the left mad by tepidly, on and off, but much more than most Democrats, supporting the war in Iraq.  Is that going to prevent people on the left from supporting her?

PODHORETZ:  Absolutely not.  Because the key thing you have to remember is Democrats want to win the White House in 2008.  She is by far the most popular Democrat in the country.  She is by far the person who is going to raise the most money in the history of the planet to run for president. 

She will be—she is right the front runner.  She will be the overwhelming consensus choice for nominee.  And they want to win and they‘re going to be united.  And Republicans have to be united against her.  And that‘s why they should read my book, because I explain how to remain united and how to go after her. 

CARLSON:  You‘re totally right.  Democrats would vote for Charlton Heston if he ran as a Democrat.

John Podhoretz, author of “Can She Be Stopped?  Hillary Clinton Will Be the Next President of the U.S. Unless...”

John, thanks for coming on.

PODHORETZ:  Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Still ahead, here‘s a new way to keep the cops at bay: throw shoes at them during a high-speed car chase.  We‘ll let you know why footwear was the weapon of choice when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  In our last segment we asked the question can Hillary be stopped in 2008?  Here with her opinion, one skeptical liberal, Air America host, Rachel Maddow.

Rachel, welcome. 

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO HOST:  Hi.  I‘m thinking about this is going to be my new profession.  I‘m the official Hillary skeptic on the left. 

CARLSON:  It‘s good you‘ve got opinions on this, I think.  So John Podhoretz made the point, and I think I agree, that Hillary has been very hawkish on the war, far more hawkish than I, an out of the closet right-winger, has been.  And the liberals are mad about it, but they will ignore her position on Iraq in the end because they hate Bush so much they just want to win.  Do you think it‘s true?

MADDOW:  Once you get through the primary season, whoever the Democratic nominee is, people are going to support the Democratic nominee. 

CARLSON:  Right.

MADDOW:  I think that‘s going to unify the party anyway.  Right now, in terms of the people who are likely candidates, really only Russ Feingold is the one with a coherent position on Iraq.  And it doesn‘t mean that he‘s getting every bit of the liberal vote right now.  I don‘t think that...

CARLSON:  He‘s the most admirable—admirable guy potentially running, in my opinion, for that position. 

MADDOW:  Yes, and it‘s a very clear stand.  I think right now there‘s a lot of other things, including most importantly, electability, that are going into people deciding who they‘re going to vote for. 

And I don‘t think—I mean, I like Hillary.  I think she‘s a Democratic rock star and I like that, but I do not think she‘ll be the nominee.  And if she is the nominee, I don‘t think she‘ll win.

CARLSON:  What a shame that electability is at the top of the list.  I mean, principle, you‘d like to see...

MADDOW:  Well, it‘s true for the Republicans right now, too.  I mean, the Republicans are going to think who‘s going to succeed George W. Bush.  You know, electability is right at the top of their list.

CARLSON:  Both parties are pragmatic by definition.  Too pragmatic for me.  That‘s why I‘m a third party guy.

What do you think of this?  This is Hillary talking today about President Bush, the despised President Bush, who‘s literally as popular as venereal disease right now. 

She says, quote, “He is someone who has lot of charm and charisma, and I think in the aftermath of 9/11, I was very grateful to him for his support.  He‘s been willing to talk.  He‘s been affable.  He‘s been good company,” she says.  “We made sure we got the resources we needed, and I‘m very grateful to him for that.  I‘m very appreciative in the time when the people I represented I needed his help, he was there for us.” 

She loves Bush. 

MADDOW:  Yes, right.

CARLSON:  What do you think of that?  Is that—is that...

MADDOW:  She‘s going out of her way to be nice. 

CARLSON:  But is that nails on a chalkboard to you?

MADDOW:  No.  I don‘t care if she thinks Bush is a nice guy.  A lot of people who really hate Bush say that he‘s good company in person.  I mean, you said he‘s good company in person, and you‘re no big fan.

CARLSON:  But what about the idea that he gave New York everything New York needed and he was, you know, a steadfast president on 9/11?  It kind of gets to the core of his case for himself.  And she‘s endorsing that.

MADDOW:  The big point about Hillary Clinton is that she is much more important to people who hate her than to people who are on her side.  And so what Hillary Clinton decides to do in terms of New York politics, serving the New York constituency, being the junior senator from New York.  It‘s like, you know, kind of junior senator politics on the Democratic side.  It‘s on the Republican side where she is what John Podhoretz is going to make his next million bucks on.

CARLSON:  You know what irritates the hell out of me about Hillary Clinton, is every time you attack her, it‘s, you know, you‘re a Hillary hater.  Because she is a woman, there‘s such a double standard.  Because she‘s a woman, if you attack her, somehow you‘re a bad guy.  If I were attacking Russ Feingold, people say, you know, that‘s in bounds.  Russ Feingold can handle it.  But if you attack Hillary, it‘s, “Ooh, you‘re being mean.  You‘re obsessed with Hillary.  You can‘t handle strong women.”

MADDOW:  You don‘t attack Russ Feingold on the basis of the size of his ankles. 

CARLSON:  You shouldn‘t attack Hillary that way.

MADDOW:  You don‘t attack Russ Feingold on the basis of whether or not he‘s hot or cold as a person.  People who are attacking Hillary Clinton on sexist terms usually, which is why people get upset about it. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  I think her ideas are dumb.  How‘s that? 

MADDOW:  Fair enough.

CARLSON:  But I think that she is sometimes dishonest.  I mean, she‘s not the only person who‘s dishonest in this world.  I don‘t hate her at all.  But she is dishonest sometimes.  And when you point that out, people say you‘re obsessed. 

MADDOW:  That—well, that outrage about the way that Hillary Clinton has been demonized on the right is not enough to propel Hillary Clinton into the front of the pack, and it‘s not enough to put her in the White House. 

CARLSON:  Good.  You always make me fell better, Rachel.  Thank you for coming on. 

MADDOW:  That makes me deeply—that makes me deeply uncomfortable. 

CARLSON:  You‘re a breath of liberal fresh air.  I appreciate it. 

Rachel Maddow from Air America Radio.  Thank you.

MADDOW:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Still to come, AIDS testing for everybody.  Don‘t be surprised if your doctor checks your cholesterol and HIV status at the next physical.  We‘ll tell you all about it next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, find out which city is fining people for feeding cats.  Plus no running or swinging allowed.  Why can‘t kids be kids in America‘s playgrounds?  The lawyers will explain in just a minute.  But first, here‘s what else is going on in the world tonight. 

(NEWSBREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  We turn now to a man who expertly combines the charm of a young man, the wisdom of an old man and the beard of a member of a boy band.  He is “The Outsider”, ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing host Max Kellerman. 

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  These are getting better and better or worse and worse for me.  I don‘t know. 

CARLSON:  You can thank the great Willie Geist, who writes the script every night. 

Well, if the goal of lawyers these days is to make certain that no kids have fun anywhere, they‘re doing a pretty good job.  In a disturbing national trend, schools are banning kids from running and playing tag on playgrounds.  They‘re also removing swing sets, teeter-totters and anything else that could potentially be a liability.  Litigation fears have turned playgrounds into places where kids cannot play at all.  Safety advocates are pleased.  They say playgrounds are danger zones anyway.

I say safety advocates are idiots.  Kids shouldn‘t be victims of our lawsuit happy culture.  Max, on the other hand, would like to see playgrounds where kids can safely have fun watching grass grow and paint dry.

Max, look, this is more...

KELLERMAN:  Max, you idiot, how could you think that?  What‘s the matter with you?  No, let me have it.  Let me have it.

CARLSON:  I will.  This is more than a question of kids having fun.  This is a question of allowing the lawyers to win.  Whenever we give in to the fear mongering of the trial bar, we are letting the lawyers win.  We become a little bit less free.  Right?  This is kind of the 9/11 patrol (ph).  I‘m dead serious.  We need to act boldly or the creeps that would take our freedoms away, in this case the trial lawyers succeed, and we can‘t let them. 

KELLERMAN:  OK.  This is an indefensible position, tell kids not to run? But I will here defend it, Tucker, because that‘s my job.

CARLSON:  That‘s the spirit, Max.

KELLERMAN:  What do—what‘s free time really about for children?  Is it for the children?  No.  It‘s for the adults. 

Look at every child around the world, a group of children who‘s let out for recess.  What do you hear from your window?  What do you see?  No matter where you are in the world, they run around like maniacs for two or three minutes, arms flailing, yelling at the top of the lungs until they start organizing themselves into smaller groups and playing more self organized activity. 

Do you know why they do that, Tucker?  Because they‘re forced into unnatural situations where they have to sit and be quiet.

CARLSON:  Right.

KELLERMAN:  And we say it‘s all, you know, under the rationale of teaching them to be—you know, to be adults eventually and teaching them how—culture and society.  No.  It‘s about us being lazy, adults being lazy and not having the energy to really keep up with the children.  So we make them do things our way all day and then we set them loose without any real supervision to run around to burn off the energy. 

CARLSON:  So basically, a swing set is like a giant pacifier or a huge video game.  It‘s a way for us to get a smoke break while the kids play?

KELLERMAN:  Basically yes.  If adults weren‘t so lazy and were able to educate children and teach them about the world at children‘s pace rather than to sit them down in seats, there wouldn‘t be time for unorganized free time.  Now I know the argument, the counter is, let them be original and explore. 

CARLSON:  I‘m not going to bother with that, because in fact, while your argument is completely false and specious, it‘s also pretty clever. 

KELLERMAN:  Tucker, how about some of these merry go rounds?

CARLSON:  My hat off to you.

KELLERMAN:  Let the litigious nature of our society force ourselves to evolve in a good way.  Merry go rounds?  Think of how inane this device is.  Spin around in a circle until you vomit?

CARLSON:  Exactly.  It‘s an important early lesson in the effects of centrifugal force. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, who‘s going to argue with that logic?

CARLSON:  Max, where I come from, people who help abandoned animals are called compassionate.  In one Iowa town, they are called criminals. 

The city council of Claremont, Iowa, wants to discourage its citizens from feeding stray cats, so the mayor there has instructed cops to photograph people in the act of doing that.  The mayor says violators could be fined.  The Claremont police chief says stray cats multiply too fast and leave a mess all over town. 

Penalizing people for helping animals is about the most outrageous, repulsive thing I‘ve heard in awhile.  Max, meanwhile, likes to kick kittens and puppies when he‘s not stealing ice cream from children. 

Look, you never, ever want to penalize a good deed is basically the bottom line here.  Helping cats?  Feeding kittens?  You ought to encourage that kind of behavior.  People who are kind to helpless animals are more likely to be kind to other people. 

KELLERMAN:  Yes, and empathy is a very important thing.  Look, as you know, I hate children and kittens, apparently. 

Yes, you‘re right.  Acts of kindness should not be met with penalties, certainly. 

CARLSON:  Right.

KELLERMAN:  But the question is, again, what is the difference—is it really an act of kindness?  Is it really an altruistic act?  Or is it an act to make oneself feel better?

CARLSON:  Right.

KELLERMAN:  Because if you‘re supporting an unsupportable population, if you‘re encouraging a stray population to increase and therefore encouraging and multiplying the suffering of the animals, you‘re not doing a humane thing. 

It may not feel humane when someone puts down a lame horse or a sick dog, but it actually is in many instances.  And in this instance, it may feel humane to feed the cat, but in reality, it‘s inhumane. 

CARLSON:  So this is the aid to Africa argument.  Simply making the population more dependent on you, less able to fend for itself, artificially expanding the population.  Is that your argument?

KELLERMAN:  No, I would not say that...

CARLSON:  OK.

KELLERMAN:  ... for instance are cats.  However...

CARLSON:  No, I just said I‘ve heard people make that argument, and it always has struck me as possibly intellectually true, but that‘s kind of irrelevant.  I mean, if there‘s a cat, a hungry kitten. 

KELLERMAN:  Because in the moment...

CARLSON:  Exactly.  Exactly.

KELLERMAN:  That‘s right.  In the moment, it‘s the right thing to do.  You‘re empathizing.  It is a good, humane thing to do to feed the cat.  And that‘s why government can take the position that because of that instinct, which is a good one, we need to set regulations to curb that so that people do behave as a society humanely. 

And that‘s all I got, Tucker.  That‘s it.

CARLSON:  Wow.  That is a game try, though, Max. 

KELLERMAN:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  Good try. 

KELLERMAN:  I tried my best; 0-2, I tried my best. 

CARLSON:  Max Kellerman.  See you tomorrow.

KELLERMAN:  See you tomorrow, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Well, the federal government recommended this week that doctors routinely test their patients for HIV.  As of this summer, the CDC will encourage doctors to offer a voluntary AIDS test to anyone between the ages of 13 and 64. 

Officials say they‘d like HIV testing to become as common as cholesterol checks, and it‘s easy to see why.  People who don‘t know they have HIV don‘t get treated for it.  They‘re also far more likely to spread the disease to other people.  More than half of all new infections are spread who don‘t know they‘re carrying the virus. 

Routine testing is a great idea and also a completely obvious one.  The only question, why has it taken so long?  AIDS has been a public health crisis for a quarter of a century now.  More than half a million Americans have already died from it.  A rational society would have been begun routine testing in 1981. 

When it comes to AIDS, we have not been a rational society.  We‘ve been intimidated by aggressive, politicized activist groups who claim that universal testing would somehow stigmatize AIDS patients.  Meanwhile, thousands more became infected and thousands more died. 

Well, it‘s time to ignore the activists.  They were wrong.  They were completely wrong.  Their protests don‘t matter.  They never did.  Public health is what matters.  Nothing else matters, apart from that.  Keep that in mind.

Coming up on THE SITUATION, it turns out life as a competitive eater isn‘t all glamour and groupies like you‘d think.  We‘ll draw back the curtain and give you an unsanitized look at the hot dog eating world of speed eating, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VANESSA MCDONALD, PRODUCER:  Coming up, the traveling Tom Cruise circus makes a stop in small town America.  We‘ll tell you if there are any survivors.

Plus, “The View” isn‘t big enough for just Rosie O‘Donnell and Star Jones.  Somebody‘s hitting the road.

CARLSON:  Well, as long as Joy Behar is staying put, I‘m fine.  THE SITUATION comes back in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Of all the interviews I‘ve done on this show, I have never been impressed by a guest as I was by speed eating goddess Sonya Thomas.  Thomas is a world champion competitive eater.  She came on the show, and in a matter of seconds, scarfed down enough sausage to feed an entire family reunion. 

My next guest also marvels at such world class talent.  Jason Fagone spent a year traveling the globe to study the phenomenon of competitive eating.  The result of his study is the book “The Horsemen of the Esophagus: Competitive Eating and the Big, Fat American Dream”.  Great title. 

Jason Fagone joins me live from New York City tonight. 

Jason, thanks for coming on.

JASON FAGONE, AUTHOR, “THE HORSEMEN OF THE ESOPHAGUS”:  Hey, thanks for having me, Tucker.

CARLSON:  How much do these people make?  Like, why would you go into this?  Can you make a living being a competitive eater?

FAGONE:  Not yet really, Sonya made about $40,000 on the circuit last year, but she‘s the top American eater.  And there‘s not that much money for everybody else.  It‘s more for the pride and the trophy and the camaraderie.  And you know, these things that are the things that we‘re all looking for.  You know, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness through organized competitive gluttony.

CARLSON:  Would any American corporation dare sponsor a competitive eater, do you think?

FAGONE:  They do, actually.  You know, Verizon has sponsored a chicken wing circuit.  Waffle House has a contest.  There was an Alka-Seltzer contest for awhile, but it was actually pulled because the Germans at Alka-Seltzer headquarters thought it was—it looked bad for the company. 

CARLSON:  I can see why. 

In your book, the name Kobayashi keeps reappearing. 

FAGONE:  Yes.

CARLSON:  He is—he is, I don‘t know, the Michael Jordan, the Arnold Schwarzenegger.

FAGONE:  Tiger Woods, whatever you want to say.

CARLSON:  He‘s the dominant figure in the sport.  Who is he?  What‘s his story?

FAGONE:  He is a 28-year-old man from Japan.  Her weighs between 130 and 150 pounds, depending on where he is in his training.  And he has won the Nathan‘s Hot Dog contest since 2001 when he came in and he sort of doubled the world record, doubled the prior world record.  He can do things with food that nobody else can do.  He‘s really incredible.

CARLSON:  What is the secret?  I mean, do competitive eaters have larger stomachs?  Do they stretch their stomachs out?  How do they train?

FAGONE:  Well, they—they stretch their stomachs.  They do it with large quantities of water and also large quantities of food.  Some of them train to strengthen their jaw with sort of hard foods, refrigerating Tootsie Rolls and trying to chew them very quickly. 

Kobayashi seems to have a natural talent.  He can relax his esophagus at will and kind of turn it into an inner tube, and the food just goes down, sort of like a sword swallower.  Not everybody can do that. 

CARLSON:  No, not everyone can.  That‘s for sure.

Did you ever compete?  I mean, you spent a year researching and writing this book.  Were you ever tempted to see how many hot dogs you could eat?

FAGONE:  Not hot dogs.  I did compete in a pastrami contest in New York, and I did horrible.  Really, the less said about it the better.  I think I ate one pastrami sandwich in about 10 minutes.  It was awful.

CARLSON:  What did you—what did you think in the end of competitive eaters and of competitive eating?

FAGONE:  Well, originally, I was intrigued by the visual, right, this thing that seems to embody everything that the British and the French hate and fear about America. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

FAGONE:  Our dumbness, our rapacious appetite, our vapidity.  It was something, you know, a reason that the terrorists hate us.  It‘s almost enough, single-handedly, to turn a Muslim swing voter into a car bomber.  And I was curious if we were really that bad or if there was something redeeming about an eating contest and therefore sort of redeeming about the American character. 

And I‘m not sure.  You know, I went back and forth in the course of a year and 300 pages.  There were contests that were—you know, involved food courts.  And they were soul killing and awful.

And there were also really joyous contests.  I went to an oyster contest in pre-Hurricane Katrina Louisiana and had a great time.  There was a federal district judge there, and he was eating.  And there was a Louisiana state senator and there was a cover band playing “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns and Roses.

CARLSON:  I‘d go to that.  Have you ever seen—have you ever seen anyone get hurt or throw up?

FAGONE:  Yes, I mean, it‘s not called that.  It‘s called reversal of fortune in the euphemism of the circuit.  I have seen that.  It‘s—it‘s generally not a pretty sight.  But that‘s frowned upon, because it‘s—you know, it doesn‘t help with corporate sponsors, as you can imagine. 

CARLSON:  No, it really doesn‘t. 

“Horsemen of the Esophagus: Competitive Eating and the Big, Fat American Dream”.  Jason Fagone, excellent book.  Thank you.

FAGONE:  Hey, thanks, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Still ahead on THE SITUATION, Tom Cruise took a break from hip-hop dancing today to invade an unwitting town in the great Northwest.  We‘ll tell you how bad things got when we visit “The Cutting Room Floor”. 

But before we go to break, it‘s tonight‘s installment of “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” 

“The Good” is the end of a long road for the self-proclaimed Fat Man Walking.  Steve Vaught lost more than 100 pounds on a cross-country stroll.  He began in Oceanside, California, in April of last year.  He arrived in New York City today.  He went through 15 pairs of shoes on the journey.

Vaught will be on “The Today Show” tomorrow morning. 

“The Bad” is the news that we won‘t get to see the on-screen chemistry between “The View” newcomer Rosie O‘Donnell and veteran Star Jones.  Reports say Jones will be booted off the show.  Sources say Jones‘ dismissal was a condition of O‘Donnell‘s joining the show.  That town literally was not big enough for both. 

And “The Ugly” is David Blaine‘s hands after spending a week submerged in 2,000 gallons of water.  Kind of looks like E.T.‘s paws, don‘t they?  Blaine was released from a New York City hospital today after his failing in his attempt to break the world record for holding his breath underwater.  Those hands.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time for “The Cutting Room Floor” and the man whom I have personally seen eat 11 quesadillas in a single sitting, Willie Geist. 

GEIST:  Grilled cheese.  Kobayashi, come to the MSNBC dot commissary. 

Let‘s do this thing.

CARLSON:  You‘d crush him.

GEIST:  No, he would devour me.

CARLSON:  Yes.

GEIST:  Couple of things, Britney Spears told David Letterman tonight yes, indeed, she is pregnant with her second child.

CARLSON:  Wow.

GEIST:  Congratulations to Britney. 

No. 2, Tom Cruise made an appearance tonight in Aberdeen, Washington. 

We don‘t have video of that.  A lot of people would show you that video.

CARLSON:  Right.

GEIST:  What we‘re going to do is just go ahead and show you the BET dancing again.  It‘s completely unrelated to the story. 

A contest winner in Aberdeen, a small timber town in Washington state, Cruise shows up, has a private screening for the guy and 150 of his friends.  God only knows what happened there.  It was at a mall in Aberdeen, town of about 16,000.

CARLSON:  Did he dance like this?

GEIST:  I have a feeling he‘ll never do that dance in public again. 

CARLSON:  One hopes not.  Actually, I hope he does. 

GEIST:  Believe me.  I have video.

CARLSON:  Exactly.  Kind of a mainstay here on the show.

Southern California car chases are a dime a dozen, of course.  But this one offers a unique twist.  The suspects are a pair of shoe thieves.  And if you look closely, you can see the woman throwing stolen shoes out of the car and onto the highway. 

Cops say the women tried to exchange shoes they‘d already stolen for sizes that fit.  The clerk—the clerk recognized the thieves, called police and the high-sped chase was on.  The women were eventually caught and arrested. 

GEIST:  Tucker, the obvious lesson here: always try on shoes before stealing them. 

CARLSON:  Totally.

GEIST:  Then you don‘t have to go back and exchange them for the right size and they catch onto you. 

Let me ask you another question.  What were they hoping to achieve by throwing the shoes out of the car?  Were they, like, losing weight and picking up speed, like throwing sandbags out of the hot air balloon?

CARLSON:  I haven‘t the faintest idea.  I know when we were in New Orleans, I saw people who had stolen shoes they couldn‘t possibly use.

GEIST:  Right, right.

CARLSON:  Women stealing 19 pairs of...

GEIST:  Size 15 Air Jordans, right.

CARLSON:  Exactly. 

Well, a recent study showed that four out of 10 American adults play video games.  It wasn‘t just kids and pimply faced teens who celebrated the news today that Sony will release PlayStation 3 in November.  The low end version will run video geeks $500.  The better one costs $600.  Sony plans to ship out four million PlayStation 3 consoles by the end of the year. 

GEIST:  Can you use your celebrity to get early, Tucker?  Be honest?

CARLSON:  Are you kidding?  Yes, they comp me.

GEIST:  Right.  You‘re such a gamer, aren‘t you?

CARLSON:  I‘ve never played a video game that I didn‘t like. 

GEIST:  I‘m still stuck on Nintendo.  I can‘t get past the first board of Super Mario Brothers.  So I‘m not ready for this.  Looks kind of cool, I guess.

CARLSON:  Six hundred bucks.  That‘s a commitment.  That‘s a lifestyle. 

GEIST:  Yes, that‘s more commitment than I‘d ready for.

CARLSON:  I don‘t know the rules for bank robbery.  But I do know that you don‘t stop for pancakes at the restaurant next to the bank you just robbed.  That‘s Bank Robbery 101.

This Pennsylvania man held up a bank for $4,000, then decided to reward himself with a little breakfast.  He sat at the counter of the restaurant located literally next to the bank he just knocked over and ordered a short stack off the kids menu.  Cops caught up to him there and led him away in handcuffs.  He didn‘t even get his pancakes. 

GEIST:  You know what?  Instead of going to the restaurant, why don‘t you just drive yourself straight to prison, you idiot?  That‘s just unacceptable. 

But let me just say something.  If you‘re going to go to the restaurant, if you must, know the police are looking for you.  Don‘t order a hot item that requires preparation.  Get yourself some cold cereal, some mixed berries, something they have already prepared.  That‘s what you eat, and you‘re out of there.  You don‘t have to wait for the server. 

CARLSON:  It‘s so—and why off the kids‘ menu? 

GEIST:  He‘s a cheapskate.

CARLSON:  Though I have to say I think pancakes are an appropriate reward for a job well done.  Personally, I reward myself.

GEIST:  It‘s not a job well done, unfortunately.

CARLSON:  Good point. 

A mother in Maine is in trouble tonight after police say she helped three teenage girls make a batch of Ex-Lax laced cookies for a teacher who‘d given her daughter a poor grade. 

The cookies were left on the teacher‘s desk with a note that read, “We just made these cookies for you.  Hope you enjoy them.”

The teacher never ate the treats, but four other kids did and got sick.  Police say the woman and the girls used an entire box of laxatives in those cookies.  The mother denies guilt.

GEIST:  Those look kind of good, actually.  I mean, Ex-Lax or not, I‘d have a batch of those. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t think I‘d be able to resist. 

GEIST:  I‘d worry about the consequences later.  There are worse things you could do to a teacher.  I mean, it‘s not good, but there are worse.

CARLSON:  I like your attitude.  Live for the moment. 

GEIST:  Exactly.

CARLSON:  The cookies are good now. 

GEIST:  Exactly.  Deal with it later.

CARLSON:  Willie Geist.

GEIST:  All right, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Thank you. 

That‘s THE SITUATION for tonight.  Thank you for watching.  As always, we‘ll be back here tomorrow. 

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