updated 6/7/2006 11:44:25 AM ET 2006-06-07T15:44:25

Guests: Howard Fineman, Eric Schlosser, Ben Klein, Heather Klein

BRIAN UNGER, HOST:  Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

The trifecta of distraction.  On Monday, gay marriage.  Tuesday, leaky borders and terror threats.

In other news, constitutional fracas number—well, who‘s counting?

The president accused of picking laws he likes and ignoring laws he doesn‘t.  The dying art of checks and balances.

Tom DeLay says Au revoir to Congress at a D.C. dinner tonight.  On the menu, lame duck l‘orange with a side of irony.  We‘ll explain.

Merchandising and Mephistopheles.  Why Ann Coulter and others have made a deal with the devil to sell their wares on 6-6-06.

Selling a burger inside a doughnut.  It‘s the Krispy Kreme and cow sandwich.  And who better to deconstruct the decadence than “Fast Food Nation”‘s Eric Schlosser (ph)?

And the Oprah Winfrey wedding crash extravaganza, how the daytime diva busted up a couple of weddings so she could make television magic.

All that and more, now on COUNTDOWN.

And good evening.  I‘m Brian Unger, in for Keith Olbermann.

Follow American politics long enough, and you almost get used to the doublespeak.  Example, a president who signs legislation into law, while secretly reserving the right to ignore any law that he sees fit.  Example, an administration that preaches fiscal conservativism while letting the deficit balloon to $432 billion.

But never before have we been asked to believe that a French restaurant is really an American restaurant that just happens to serve French food.

Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN, Tom DeLay, parlez-vous francais?  Three days and counting until the former House majority leader resigns his seat in Congress to fight charges of money-laundering back in his home state of Texas.  Fellow Texans in the House bidding him bon voyage tonight with a private dinner at a fancy French restaurant in the nation‘s capital, an ironic choice, when you remember that the congressman used to taunt the nation of France for its opposition to the war in Iraq.  He also made fun of Senator John Kerry for having French relatives during the 2004 race for president, opening speeches back then by saying, Good afternoon, or, as John Kerry might say, bonjour.

DeLay‘s spokesperson, unhappy that anyone is calling the restaurant where tonight‘s dinner is being held, Le Paradou—French—widely regarded as D.C.‘s finest contemporary French restaurant.  That‘s what Le Paradou‘s Web site claims.  The spokesperson telling the Associated Press, quote, “This is an American restaurant—last I checked, the owner came here from France some 30 years ago—that serves French cuisine,” DeLay‘s spokesperson inexplicably adding, “I trust that you do know Mr. DeLay is French.”

Perhaps the French will grow to embrace Tom DeLay as much as they have Jerry LEWIS.

Political doublespeak, reaching its apex just about every time President Bush sits down to sign a bill into law.  As we‘ve reported, yes, he signs the legislation.  But after the cameras and reporters have gone, then he issues secret signing statements reserving the right to ignore the law if he sees fit, “The Boston Globe” reporting over the weekend that the American Bar Association will be investigating whether it was unconstitutional for the president to have done this more than 750 times.

And a question that no one is asking, What about the bill‘s feelings?  How do you think it likes being ignored?  Anyone who used to watch “Schoolhouse Rock” knows exactly what I‘m talking about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK”)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s not easy to become a law, is it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No.

(singing):  But how I hope and pray that I will.  But today I am still just a bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He signed you, Bill.  Now you‘re a law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNGER:  Oh, yes.  P.S., Bill, President Bush says you aren‘t worth the paper you‘re printed on, that you and $4 will get you a grand mocha frappuccino over at Starbuck‘s.  And a sad little scrap of paper our friend Bill shall always remain.

We can only hope that Howard Fineman, the chief political correspondent for “Newsweek” magazine, hasn‘t signed any statements reserving the right to ignore some of our questions.

Thank you for your time, Howard.

HOWARD FINEMAN, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, “NEWSWEEK” MAGAZINE: 

You‘re welcome.

UNGER:  We never expected Tom DeLay to leave quietly, of course, but did we anticipate that he‘d be bidding us all adieu?

FINEMAN:  Well—

UNGER:  (INAUDIBLE) that according to his spokeswoman, Mr. DeLay is French.  Why wasn‘t he sharing that information too in 2003 and 2004?

FINEMAN:  Was that bidding us adieu, or a Duke?  I mean, I think he might be sitting at the Duke De Cunningham table there at that restaurant.

I mean, I—what this story to me is emblematic of is the way people come to Washington, perhaps with good intentions, let‘s grant them that possibility, and just get lost here.  They lose touch with what America really is in the echo chamber and the money pit of Washington.  And whatever political antennae Tom DeLay might have had, you know, he clearly doesn‘t have any more, and doesn‘t care about having, because he‘s going out in grand style as he moves over, you know, to officially spend a lot more time with the people he was spending a lot of time with when he was a member, which are the lobbyists down on K Street.

UNGER:  Or forgets about charges they made, you know, just in previous years.  He was very staunch about the anti-French sentiment.

FINEMAN:  Oh, yes.  I mean, it was—and, you know, the whole city was, but he was sort of a caricature of it.  But there‘s no sense of irony, it doesn‘t seem to me, in the brain of Tom DeLay.  And I‘m sure it never occurred to him that he used to be railing against French fries and called them Freedom Fries.  And now he‘s having the pommes frites down at Le Paradou.

UNGER:  That sounds good.

I want to be clear about this “Boston Globe” story.  The bicameral legislature, our bicameral legislature, approves a bill, sends it to the president for signing.  He turns that bill into law, but with a kind of postscript, a signing statement, it‘s called, declaring his obeyance or disobeyance of said law?  And this has occurred over 750 times?  I mean, is this what our forefathers had in mind when they wrote the Constitution?  Or is this normal and allowable?

FINEMAN:  Not according to the American Bar Association.  They may have a point here, because the president is saying in those statements that there are portions of these laws that he simply doesn‘t have to execute.  And his oath is to faithfully execute the laws and to uphold the Constitution of the United States, that‘s what he swears to when he becomes president.

And the question‘s going to come, is—in their effort to rebuild the power of the executive branch—that was the vision of Dick Cheney and even George Bush when they came into office in 2001, certainly post-9/11, have they gone too far?

The interesting legal question is, if somebody is going to sue the president, who it is going to be?  Is it going to be the Congress?  Or going to be individuals who claim somehow their rights are being violated by the president‘s failure to execute one or another portion of a law?

Interestingly, one of the laws he‘s saying he doesn‘t have to execute properly or fully is the one having to do with banning of torture of detainees.  So maybe they picked some laws to say they weren‘t going to follow where they knew there‘d be nobody who could sue, because the (INAUDIBLE)-- the detainees can‘t do it.

I think it‘s another element of the constitutional confrontation that‘s been brewing between the presidency and the Congress.  And you‘re going to see more of it.

UNGER:  Howard, I want to skip forward to something else here.  We have a lot to cover.  But amid all this week‘s talk about gay marriage and immigration, we can see in brand-new Gallup polls, poll numbers, that the president‘s approval ratings has inched up for the second straight time, now at 36 percent.  That‘s 5 percentage points above its low.  Might the fact here be that the politics of distraction work?

FINEMAN:  I think it‘s the politics of immigration.  That‘s certainly-

that‘s what Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, told me when I asked him about it.  He thinks it‘s immigration.  It‘s the fact that the president has gone out there with what is really, to some people, a fairly moderate approach in an effort to reach some kind of consensus.  And according to Dan Bartlett, that‘s brought some Republicans back into the fold.  I would say those are moderate Republicans if they come back.

And I think if there is an explanation, that‘s it.  It‘s the president attempting to lead in a legitimate fashion on a big national issue, which is immigration, and unusually for him, he‘s tried to do it in a bipartisan way, which wasn‘t the way he was operating most of the first four or five years of his presidency.

UNGER:  Howard, gay marriage, most agreed, has no chance of passing, because of the high bar required for constitutional amendments.  But then as a political gesture, how successful was its second outing here?

FINEMAN:  I don‘t think it‘s been successful.  And I—if Dan Bartlett‘s theory that Bush‘s sort of bipartisan approach on—moderate approach on immigration is helping the president‘s numbers, then I don‘t see any way around the notion that by appealing narrowly to his base on gay marriage, that it‘s probably not helping him at all politically.

I don‘t think it‘s a benefit to him.  I don‘t think, for example, it‘s an issue out in the California special election that‘s going on today.  I don‘t think its there at all.  And I—and it‘s going nowhere, and it‘s going to be seen for what it is, which is kind of a political dud.

UNGER:  I don‘t think we‘ve heard the last of it, though.

“Newsweek”‘s Howard Fineman.

FINEMAN:  Oh, of course not.

UNGER:  Thank you so much for your time.

FINEMAN:  Thank you.

UNGER:  At least some federal officials of the opinion that any relief Americans might be feeling about those terror arrests in Canada over the weekend would be shortsighted, CBS News reporting Monday that U.S.  officials have told them they expect a homegrown terror attack on American soil before the end of the year, nothing as big as 9/11, they say, but just as unpredictable, their prediction that the casualty toll will not be that high, that the target probably will not be that big.

They are all but certain that another attack is coming.  CBS is the only news organization they have told that to.

The homegrown nature of that threat and of the terror group busted in Canada the biggest worry for intelligence experts, who say it is the new model for how all terror attacks are being planned.

As our justice correspondent Pete Williams reports, it is no longer just about al Qaeda.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  U.S. officials say the Internet was both the inspiration and the downfall for the group arrested in Canada.  Like the terrorists behind the 2004 Madrid train bombing, the Canadians are thought to be part of an emerging trend, with no direct connections to bin Laden and al Qaeda.

JOHN MILLER, FBI:  These groups aren‘t being supported by a central hub that‘s taking care of their funding, their equipment, their bombing expertise.  They‘re putting themselves together in the field and doing it with whatever resources they can generate on their own.

WILLIAMS:  The net around the Canadian cell began to tighten last October with the arrest in London of a man suspected of operating a terrorist Internet site, one that investigators say the Canadian group was using too.  The FBI says two Atlanta-area college students arrested two months ago were also using it, and took the bus to Toronto a year ago to meet some of the Canadians.

In on those same Internet conversations, U.S. officials say, was an Islamic extremist in Sarajevo, arrested with suicide bomb vests.

The former top counterterrorism official for New York says the Internet provides potential terrorists with radical inspiration, bomb instructions, and a way to communicate.

MICHAEL SHEEHAN, NBC NEWS ANALYST:  See, the Internet is like the old-

is the new Afghanistan.  It‘s the way radicals can get together when it‘s more difficult for them to travel and find sanctuary.

WILLIAMS (on camera):  Officials say this case shows that police and intelligence agencies from several countries are learning to work together to connect the dots worldwide.

Pete Williams, NBC News, at the FBI in Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

UNGER:  June 6, 2006, 6-6-6, the day “The Omen” gets rereleased in the movie theater, and the day Ann Coulter defends an indefensible statement.  Did Matt check for 6-6-6 on Ann‘s head?

And the evil minds behind fast food.  A stuffed Krispy Kreme doughnut.  No, not with ice cream.  That would be too easy.  How‘s a Krispy Kreme bacon cheeseburger sound?  Eat one, then see your doctor.

You‘re watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNGER:  The book of Revelation, chapter 13, verse 18, reads, “Let him that hath understanding account the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.”  Subsequent verses say nothing about movie remakes about an adorable Satan‘s growing-up years, or books written by an adorable Satan in her grown-up years.

Our fourth story on the COUNTDOWN, no surprise, then, that Ann Coulter chose 6-6-6 to release her new book, and to explain to Matt Lauer why she wrote, among other things, that 9/11 widows are enjoying their husbands‘ deaths, and using their status for political gain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “TODAY”)

ANN COULTER:  They were using their grief in order to make a political point but preventing anyone from responding.

MATT LAUER, HOST:  So if you lose a husband, you no longer have the right to have a political point of view?

COULTER:  No, but don‘t use the fact that you lost a husband as the basis for your being able to talk about it while preventing people from responding.  Let Matt Lauer make the point.  Let Bill Clinton make the point.  Don‘t put up someone I‘m not allowed to respond to without questioning the authenticity (INAUDIBLE).

LAUER:  Well, but apparently you are allowed to respond to them.

COULTER:  And this is--  Well, yes, I did.

LAUER:  Right.  So in other words—

COULTER:  But that is the point—

LAUER:  ... and they—and they...

COULTER:  ... of liberal infallibility, of putting up Cindy Sheehan, of putting out these widows, of putting out Joe Wilson.  No, no, no, you can‘t respond.  It‘s their doctrine of infallibility.

LAUER:  Well, what I‘m saying is, maybe...

COULTER:  Have somebody else make the argument, then.

LAUER:  I‘m saying is, I don‘t think they‘ve ever told you you can‘t respond.  So why can‘t they make their point?

COULTER:  Look, you‘re getting testy with me.

LAUER:  No, I‘m just...

COULTER:  Ohhh.

LAUER:  ... I think it‘s a dramatic statement.  “These broads,” you know, “are millionaires”...

COULTER:  Yes, you think I shouldn‘t be able to respond.

LAUER:  ... (INAUDIBLE) --  “I‘ve never seen people enjoying their husbands‘ death so much”?

COULTER:  (INAUDIBLE), they‘re, yes, they‘re all over the news.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNGER:  That testiness was Ann Coulter‘s contribution to 6-6-6.

Our correspondent Peter Alexander takes a look at some of the other satanic offerings out there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETER ALEXANDER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Ominous signs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  When you see 6-6-6, right away, I made the connection.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s provocative.  It‘s head-turning.  That is a fantastic marketing hook.

ALEXANDER:  Focusing on the devilish date 6-6-06, “The Omen” opens on a Tuesday, almost unheard-of on in Hollywood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  When a date only comes around once in a century, it‘s the best thing for you to possibly do to take advantage of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE OMEN”)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Damien, help.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALEXANDER:  It is a remake of the 1976 horror classic about a murderous boy, Damien, the son of Satan, marked with a 666 on his scalp.  The studio sees the date as a godsend, and others hope to cash in as well.

PAMELA LEVINE, PRESIDENT, FOX STUDIOS MARKETING:  The number 666, or, in this case, the date 6-6-06, is bigger than just this movie.

ALEXANDER:  Rocker David Lee Roth‘s new CD, “Strumming with the Devil,” arrives today, and the authors of the bestselling Christian series “Left Behind” are betting on the triple-sixes as well, debuting their latest novel today.

The number appears in the New Testament in Revelation, as the mark of the beast.  Some expectant mothers are concerned, like Kerry McFarland (ph), due any day.

KERRY MCFARLAND, EXPECTANT MOTHER:  I would prefer he not be born on Tuesday, June 6, because if asked when his birthday is, to have him have to say 6-6-6 is not fun.

ALEXANDER:  Even the movie promoter is a little spooked.

LEVINE:  I definitely will be on sort of extra alert for any strange supernatural goings-on on that day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE OMEN”)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s all for you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALEXANDER:  Whether you‘re into the marketing hype or a true believer, you‘ve been warned.

Peter Alexander, NBC News, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

UNGER:  This is not the work of the devil.  It‘s all about the dynamite.  Oddball comes flooding your way next.

And an explosion of popularity on the Internet.  The crazy dancing guy creating quite a stir on the World Wide Web.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNGER:  I‘m Brian Unger in Los Angeles, filling in for Keith Olbermann on this 6-6-06.  And once again, we pause the COUNTDOWN now for our daily signs of the apocalypse, weird sports, cool explosions, and dumb criminals.

Let‘s play Oddball.

We begin at Dovers Hill in the United Kingdom for the granddaddy of all ridiculous British sporting events, the big annual shin-kicking contest.  Look at them go.  Oh, yes, that hurts.  Since six 12 drunken—six to 12 drunken idiots gathered here to stuff their pant legs full of hay and kick the shin out of the other guy for fun and prizes.  I said shin.

It‘s all part of the Cotswold Olympics, featuring a full schedule of sadistic sports, such as the Indian burn contest, the what‘s-the-capital-of-Thailand competition, and the world series of purple nerkling (ph).

Let‘s move on to the Lubai (ph) Province of China, way down upon the Yangtze River, where they‘re blowing up the dam at the big Three Gorges project.  Damn.  The river was blocked off while crews constructed a permanent dam downstream.  And Chinese TV was nice enough to carry the demolition of this (INAUDIBLE) live.  Quality explosions, even if you have to preempt Chinese soap operas.

One hundred ninety tons of dynamite were used, and it was all over in a matter of seconds.  But memories surely live on forever.

And finally to Buffalo, New York, home of the AAA minor league Buffalo Bisons.  Let‘s join the action in the bottom of the 11th inning.  Bisons facing Durham Bulls reliever Jason Childress (ph).  And, oh, there‘s something you don‘t see every day, a seagull flying between the pitcher‘s mound and home plate.

Really the wrong place and really the wrong time, but he will be all right.  He just needed to walk it off, or be carried off.  The gull actually got himself together, flew away after a few minutes, and is no doubt back at the nest right now, where none of the other birds believes his story.

Forget Wheaties, there‘s a new breakfast of champions for those who want to drop dead after crossing the finish line, the Krispy Kreme bacon cheeseburger.  The man behind “Fast Food Nation” joins us t analyze what the industry is up to this time.

And Oprah Winfrey surely knows all the rules of etiquette.  So why is she crashing other people‘s weddings and bringing camera crews, no less?  We‘ll talk to one very surprised couple.

All that ahead.

But first, here are COUNTDOWN‘s top three newsmakers of this day.

Number three, government officials in Sydney, Australia.  They‘ve got a new plan to keep teenage hooligans from loitering around city streets and parking lots, Barry Manilow music playing on loudspeakers.  Officials believe it‘s so uncool it just might work.

Number two, Bimbala Das of New Delhi, India.  She‘s a brand-new bride after a grand Hindu wedding.  Two thousand guests showed up to see the 30-year-old woman marry a cobra.  Bimbala says she fell in love with the snake after she fed it milk near the anthill where it lives, and it didn‘t‘ harm her.  So this week, they decided to make it legal.

And number one, June Dumas of Sussex, England.  It‘s her birthday today, on 6-6-06.  She‘s 66.  She was born at 6:00 in the morning and weighed six pounds, six ounces.  She says she‘s not overly superstitious, but today she will avoid any cars, ladders, or anything else that could be catastrophic.  She‘ll just stay in the comfort and safety of her own home and sacrifice a goat to Lord (INAUDIBLE).

We‘re just kidding.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BRIAN UNGER, HOST:  Welcome back.  I‘m Brian Unger filling in for Keith Olbermann.  It‘s well established we are a growing nation, 60 percent of American adults are overweight and 30 percent obese.  The problem is so bad that the FDA recently asked American restaurants to offer healthier foods to help curb the epidemic. 

Our third story on the COUNTDOWN, but are they really helping and are the American people listening?  The latest in food excess comes from those culinary geniuses, the Gateway Grizzly‘s minor baseball team in Illinois.  It‘s a cheeseburger with two slices of bacon sandwiched in between a Kirspy Kreme doughnut bun.  That‘s about 1,000 calories and 45 grams of fatty goodness.  Cost, $4.50, but can you eat just one? 

Though of a new study out of University of Wisconsin, Madison has it right, the real cost of eating such a monstrosity could be lot higher.  Scientists calculated the amount of extra calories you take in by supersizing your fast food meal and then factored in the amount of money the extra weight would cost you in health care, energy needs, and even gasoline.  The results, every 67 cents spent on upgrading your meal size in the subsequent 37 gram weight gain means an creased cost of up to $7.72 for men or up to $4.53 for women depending on your body type.  Joining me to talk about America‘s insatiable appetite for fast food despite all the extra financial and health costs is Eric Schlosser, author of “Fast Food Nation” and “Chew on This:  Everything you Don‘t want to Know about Fast Food.” 

Thanks for joining us. 

ERIC SCHLOSSER, AUTHOR, “CHEW ON THIS”:  Thanks for having me. 

UNGER:  Sure.  You have been studying all kind of fast food for years now.  Have you ever seen anything so blatantly bad for you as this doughnut burger with the bacon on it? 

SCHLOSSER:  You know, I‘m kind of tempted to try that doughnut burger, it‘s such a strange assortment of things, but it‘s relatively low calorie compared to the monster thick burger which that you can get at hardees which is 1,400 calories.  So, you know, on a routine basis people are eating all kind of unhealthy food in this country. 

UNGER:  These hidden costs of obesity figured out by the University of Wisconsin, Madison that you‘re paying out far more than just the price of an oversizing a meal, do you think that‘s a way to make Americans sort of scale back on their food intake, just sort of point out the financial rather than the health risks. 

SCHLOSSER:  Well, I think it‘s true.  I mean, the dollar menu doesn‘t include the cost of dialysis that comes later when you eat this food four or five times a week.  But, my main concern really is how these companies are targeting children at the moment.  If an adult wants to get one of those doughnut burgers, you know, it might be an interesting experience for them.  But it‘s the heavily fried, you know, chicken nuggets and french fries that are being marketed to two, 3-year-old kids that I find more offensive. 

UNGER:  Is it a problem, though, that a lot of children are staying home and playing video games and leading more sort of sedentary lives than going out and exercising?  You can‘t exercise sort of counterbalance some of the intake of these high fat, high sugary foods? 

SCHLOSSER:  Yeah, I think exercise is great but the reason the industry is promoting exercise is because they‘re pushing the responsibility back on the consumer.  If you look at how fast food has traveled around the world in other countries as they adopt our fast food diet they have an obesity problem too.  So, it‘s not just exercise it‘s this really heavy, high fat, high calorie foods. 

UNGER:  The CDC recently released a study that drew a direct correlation between the increase in American waistlines and the increase in diabetes.  Now listening to you tonight do you think the FDA should be asking food outlets to help, you know, curb obeseite or should they be—should the government regulate the industry instead? 

SCHLOSSER:  I think the FDA should ban these hydrogenated oils that the fast food companies use because they‘re so cheap that are full of transfats and that could be done tomorrow and that would have a big impact.  It‘s being done in some European countries.  My main goal with the government is to prevent the marketing of unhealthy food to small children.  Adults should be able to eat what they want, but we‘ve got to prevent this obesity epidemic among very young kids. 

UNGER:  This book, “Chew on This” this is the latest book you have written is all about helping children, to help them change their eating lifestyles.  Now, have you met with any pressure from the food industry about this? 

SCHLOSSER:  Well, they would probably tell you that I am the anti-Christ. 

They have been spreading.

UNGER:  On 6-6-6. 

SCHLOSSER:  They have been spreading all kinds of terrible rumors about me and posting stuff on the internet and on one hand it‘s been a hassle to deal with, on the other hand I think of some of my favorite writers, like Upton Sinclair who wrote “The Jungle,” Rachael Carson who wrote “Silent Spring” and maybe the message is getting through to then and they‘re having to use these phony front groups to try to attack me personally rather than debate these issues. 

UNGER:  Is it because that this food is just cheap and easy?  Those are two very difficult criteria combat. 

SCHLOSSER:  I got no problem with the fact that it‘s cheap or that it‘s easy or that it tastes good.  My problem is how they produce the food, what‘s in the food and what it does to your body when you eat it. 

UNGER:  Eric Schlosser, author of “Fast Food Nation” and “Chew on This.” 

Thanks so much for being here. 

SCHLOSSER:  Thanks for having me. 

UNGER:  From fast food to toxic food, a new advisory for pregnant women the possibly harmful effects of canned tuna on an unborn child.  The likelihood that canned tuna contains significant levels of mercury is great enough that expectant mothers should stay away from consuming it according to a leading “Consumer Report.”  On the story is correspondent, Peter Alexander. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETER ALEXANDER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Melanie Culp (ph) is 10 weeks pregnant with her first child and like many other women was advised by her doctor to stay away from tuna. 

MELANIE CULP, PREGNANT:  Truly, I was told specifically albacore tuna.  So I assumed other tunas would be OK for me to eat. 

ALEXANDER:  But not according to the latest issue of “Consumer Reports.”  Scientists for the nonprofit magazine determined canned light tuna, once thought to be safer than white tuna or albacore, can actually contain even higher levels of mercury that could also pose serious problems to an unborn child. 

URASHI RANGAN, “CONSUMER REPORTS”:  Fetuses are growing and have developing nervous systems, mercury can affect the development of that and lead to other longterm problems. 

ALEXANDER:  The scientist‘s recommendation, that expectant mothers cut tuna out all together.  Previous FDA findings have suggested women who are pregnant, nursing, or even planning to become pregnant should eat no more than six ounces of albacore tuna a week. 

RANGAN:  Our advice is a bit stronger than the FDA‘s which is really you just avoid any risk can you. 

ALEXANDER:  With this latest research on tuna scientists warn pregnant women should be extra cautious. 

Peter Alexander, NBC News, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

UNGER:  And this man is the latest guy to enjoy worldwide celebrity because of the worldwide web.  How a dance show, a dream and a camera can totally transform your life. 

And the transformive powers of “American idol,” rocker Chris Daughtry went from nobody to somebody, pretty much overnight and now he‘s saying no to offers from rock bands.  Details ahead, but first here are COUNTDOWN‘s “Top 3 Sound Bites” of this day. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Today on this symbolic day of 6‘s everybody wants to be in Hell. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So in 1841 when the state came by and asked George what are you going to name your town, he said call it hell for all I care.  Everybody else does. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And we got lost.  Saw some goats, so now we‘re here. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Wow, you got lost on the highway to hell. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yeah, on the back roads to hell, actually. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And hot too, but I guess you expected that. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, it‘s hotter than hell. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is Helmsley the weather dog and he‘s getting ready for a nice day ahead.  Looks like today‘s highs will be warmer than they were yesterday, mid to upper 70s around the southern (UNINTELLIGIBLE) valley, and that is why tonight Helmsley will be going to take a dip—oh, no, not working.  There we go in the pool.  Show him your swim trunks.  Yeah.  This guy is bold and beautiful. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  At first look the videotaped exchange is almost funny, 5‘4” officer Julie Welch trying to search the pockets and then handcuff 6‘11” tall suspect Michael Schmidt. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I didn‘t know if it was a female officer or not.  I just knew there was a size difference. 

JULIE ANN WELCH, PLACE OFFICER:  His waist is literally right here in front of me as I‘m trying to wrap up on him. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNGER:  He‘s a motivational speaker by day and a human anthology of dance moves at night.  Package that together and you got the biggest thing to hit the internet since Numa Numa Boy.  And attention all brides and grooms, Oprah Winfrey is crashing weddings.  Why?  Because she can. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNGER:  Well, we‘ve heard the stereotype, white men can‘t dance.  White men have no groove.  White men got no rhythm.  It‘s true I proved it at a wedding this weekend.  Our  No.  2 story on the COUNTDOWN the next “it” boy of the internet has come to debunk the white men stereotypes.  Thank goodness.  Well, see for yourself. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over):  This is Judson Laipply a motivational speaker and comedian, doing what he‘s dubbed “The Evolution of Dance.”  He grooves through five decades of dance moves in just six minutes starting from Elvis Presley‘s “Hound Dog” to Outcast‘s “Hey Ya.”  Doing the Twist, the Macarena, hip-hopping and rapping.  It‘s the video that‘s become the new internet sensation.  Only about a month ago he was urged to put the video on the internet at the request of some college students and ever since Judson‘s performance has been viewed by more than 20 million people who have logged on to youtube.com making it the most viewed video clip on the popular website.  Earlier today Judson Laipply made his television debut performing a shorter version on NBC‘s “Today Show.” 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

UNGER:  And now on to our roundup of celebrity and entertainment news “Keeping Tabs.”  It begins on a sad note, Billy Preston, the music legend who was described as the fifth Beatle, has died.  The keyboard player backed up the Beatles on their “Let it Be” album, as well as “Abbey Road” and the “White Album.”  He also appeared in films with the band and toured with individual members after the Beatles broke up. 

Preston he had hits on his own like Willie “Go Round in Circles” and “Nothing from Nothing: and wrote Joe Cocker‘s “You are so Beautiful.”  Born in Houston and he was child prodigy who‘s career included collaboration with Ray Charles, Little Richard, the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Sammy Davis Jr., the Jackson five, and Bob Dillon.  Billy Preston died in Scottsdale, Arizona after battling chronic kidney failure.  He was 59. 

Musical careers like that practically an artifact.  These days, “American Idol” castoffs are casting about for record deals hoping to have a few good years, let alone a career.  Rocker, Chris Daughtry, the fourth place singer has repeatedly turned down an offer to become the lead singer of the rock band “Fuel.”  Daughtry said, quote “I‘m be doing my own thing.”  Indeed he is.  The celebrity website tmz.com is reporting Daughtry is close to signing a deal with RCA Records, as is runner-up Katherine McPhee, according to the website. 

And can crooner Elliott Yamine be far behind.  Tmz also saying that the Hollywood management company called the Firm flew Mr. Yamine to Las Vegas last weekend and treated him with tickets to concerts by both Madonna and Prince. 

And a follow-up to a young man who was finding too much of his own private Idaho in a public library.  He has now been arrested and slapped with a half million dollar bail bond.  Michael Cooper was caught pleasuring himself at the library in Berea, Ohio while watching porn on a computer there.  Cooper now faces charge of public indecency and Berea municipal judge Marcia Meyer set bail at $500,000.  She said she thought it was not excessive and wants Mr. Cooper to get a psychiatric evaluation.  It stems from the investigative reporting of Mr. Carl Monday of WKYC in Cleveland.  Hidden cameras were placed in the library leaving Mr. Cooper no choice but to admit the act also on camera. 

And it was partly you get a car, you get car, you get a car.  No, Oprah will only give you dishes when she crashes your wedding.  We‘ll talk with one of the shocked newlywed couples next on COUNTDOWN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNGER:  Before we move on, we are getting some pretty extraordinary images, right now, live from Phoenix, Arizona.  That is Phoenix that you see there and a very huge dust storm that seems to be enveloping the city, sort of rolling in almost like fog there.   But it is dust in the city of Phoenix, Arizona and this dust storm, apparently miles wide, and creeping into all over Phoenix.  If you‘re watching in Phoenix I‘m not sure what to do in a dust storm except close your doors and go inside and I suppose, yeah—extraordinary images.

We‘ll move on now, proving that it‘s celebrities not gay couples that pose the biggest threat to marriage.  Two A-listers are determined to turn society‘s most enduring institution into a circus.  Oprah Winfrey, who has now become the best known wedding crasher in the whole-wide world.  More on that in a moment.  And Nicole Kidman who has gone to such extraordinary lengths to keep the media away from here upcoming wedding.

She‘s guaranteed that the press will be frothing at the mouth.  Ms. Kidman has arranged a stealth event, nuptials, under the cover of darkness aided by a fleet of limousines and a bevy of unused helicopters.  The date of her marriage to country singer, Keith Urban, June 25, the place Sidney, Australia.  The rest, off limits and Kidman wants to keep it that way, so she is e-mailing wedding invitations to her guests with a personal call from Kidman or Mr. Urban to fallow.

Kidman fears that paper invitations could wind up in the wrong hands, because e-mails never do.  They never wind up in the wrong place, but those e-vites will not include the address of the event.  Guests will be instructed to be ready to have limousines kidnap them on Kidman‘s wedding day.  To discourage the media, Kidman will provide both photos and video of the wedding within hours of the “I do‘s.”  She borrowed that idea from her media friendly buddy, Russell Crow.  She chose to ignore his advice on how to throw a phone at someone.  And the Kidman/Urban vows will take place at night to render helicopter flyovers in effective, but just in case, Kidman has spent $300,000 to reserve all the copters in the Sidney area.

Maybe Oprah will be one of the invitees, but even if she‘s not, she may go anyway.  Winfrey crashed several wedding receptions in Tulsa, Oklahoma last weekend.  She‘s collecting footage for a September show, in stead of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson picking up chicks, it‘s Oprah picking up material for episode No.  77,564 or something close to that.  And Oprah showed up to at least two different receptions bearing a gift of dishes.  One couple that got the surprise of their young married life, Ben and Heather Klein who join us from Ridgedale, Missouri. 

I‘m glad there is not a dust storm near you.  Heather, Ben, thank you for your time. 

BEN KLEIN, OPRAH CRASHED THEIR WEDDING:  So are we.

(CROSSTALK)

UNGER:  I want to thank you for being here.  I want to hear about this, but I have to ask you, Heather, were you surprised that Oprah, you know, didn‘t do better than just a set of dishes, you know she got over at Macy‘s or something?

HEATHER KLEIN, OPRAH CRASHED THEIR WEDDING:  Yeah, you know what, I am so happy to have dishes from Oprah.  Now that I can entertain and say hey, these dishes are from Oprah.  Not everybody can say that and they are very gorgeous.  So, hey, any young couple these needs a great great set of dishs and Oprah did just that.  I was excited.

UNGER:  Are the dishes nice?  Are the dishes—well, what do they look like? 

H.  KLEIN:  They are actually ivory and got eight plates and eight bowls they have a little chicken on the top of it.  So, they‘re great.  They‘re wonderful, so.... 

UNGER:  She got you dishes with chickens on them?

H.  KLEIN:  Yeah. 

UNGER:  Were those at your registry? 

B.  KLEIN:  Yep.

UNGER:  Were those at your registry.  I don‘t.

H.  KLEIN:  They were not.  She told us that a lot of our registry was already taken up, so she just decided to go ahead get us something different.  So, we‘re just—it‘s actually personalized, so we‘re excited. 

UNGER:  It‘s beautiful where you are standing right now.  Where exactly are you? 

H.  KLEIN:  We‘re at Big Cedar Lodge.  It‘s gorgeous out here.  It‘s gorgeous. 

B.  KLEIN:  Yeah, we never thought that our parent‘s would be watching us from a live feed at home on our honeymoon, but we‘re more than happy to have you guys with us. 

UNGER:  Well, we never thought we would be interrupting your honeymoon either. 

B.  KLEIN:  It‘s all right.

H.  KLEIN:  Hey, it‘s OK.  A great story for the kids. 

UNGER:  Let me ask you this, Oprah, you know, she‘s famous for you get a car and you get a car and you get a car.  I mean, she‘s literally handing out automobiles to people left and right.  So you never thought hey, gee, where‘s my car? 

H.  KLEIN:  Hey, you know what, Oprah coming to our wedding is the, for us.  I mean, that was so exciting and it was a great surprise for the guests, a great surprise for us.  And it will definitely, you know, be in our memories for the rest of our lives. 

B.  KLEIN:  We‘ll take a bus. 

UNGER:  Let me ask you this.  You‘re at the wedding reception? 

H.  KLEIN:  Yes.  At the reception.

UNGER:  And does she knock at the door or send, sort of, Oprah sentinels in first or does she just burst through the door and say put down your champagne, I don‘t care what you‘re doing, I‘m Oprah and I am here to videotape you.  How did it go down? 

H.  KLEIN:  Well, actually we were heading to go cut our cake and our D.J.  stopped us and told us that there was a special guest to come and congratulate us.  And actually, off of our reception site there was double doors and we saw bright lights coming and she walks in and came right to us and said congratulations Ben and Heather and gave us a toast and it was great. 

B.  KLEIN:  Yeah, we welcome her anytime.

UNGER:  Well, Ben and Heather, we want to thank you so much and congratulations and thank you for letting us ruin your honeymoon or crash it, at the very least. 

B.  KLEIN:  That‘s OK. 

H.  KLEIN:  Hey, that‘s OK.

B.  KLEIN:  Thank you for having us.

UNGER:  That does it for this edition of COUNTDOWN.  I‘m Brian Unger in for Keith Olbermann.  We thank you for watching.  Our MSNBC coverage continues now with the view from “Scarborough Country.”  Good evening, Joe.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTY”:  Hey, good evening Brian.  And thanks so much, and I guess you know, you don‘t look a gift horse in the mouth.

UNGER:  You don‘t.  you really don‘t.  You take the dishes and you go home.

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll take—exactly.  I‘ll take paper cups from Oprah, that‘s fine.  Thank you.

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 MSNBC.  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 MSNBC 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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