updated 6/30/2006 11:31:12 AM ET 2006-06-30T15:31:12

Guests: Janice Armstrong, Katrina Szish, Katie Caperton, Tina Dirmann, Diana Blaine, Martha Zoller, Larry Sutton

RITA COSBY, MSNBC ANCHOR:  And right now there is breaking news.  NBC News as just learned that an apparent new message from Osama bin Laden has just been posted on the internet.  This will be the fourth message from the wanted terrorist this year.  The question is what is the significance of the timing, it is coming out, as we know, just before the July 4th holiday.  Some terrorism experts say that al Qaeda doesn‘t obviously typically recognize these holidays, but that they do tend to send out information on July 4th and of course the anniversary of September 11.  And indeed, we‘re wondering if this of course comes on the heels of Zarqawi‘s death. 

We are told that in the contents, and we‘re trying to get it transcribed right now and get a full transcription for you, but indeed we‘re told that it has to do with the death of al-Zarqawi, that he talks about Zarqawi.  Again we‘re told that this is an audio recording over a video presentation.  There is no new video of Osama bin Laden, simply an audio recording. 

They also are saying that this is information, the timing of it, comes on the heels of a serious of other tapes that have been released recently with Zawahiri and others, and the big question of course is are their any hidden messages, are there any new details in this.  And again the new word coming in, a new tape just coming in from Osama bin Laden.  Again, typically, it comes through a house, a production house that is on the Afghanistan, Pakistan border.  That is where authorities do believe he is still now.  And again it is an audio recording, not a video recording.  Let‘s bring in, if we could, our terrorism analyst, Ben Venske.  Ben, what do you make of the timing of this tape recording, coming out right before July 4th

BEN VENSKE, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST:  Well, I wouldn‘t draw any connection to July 4th at all.  What we‘re seeing here is, this is the normal amount of time we would expect from the event, the death of Zarqawi, if bin Laden had decided to make a statement, as obviously he did, at the time of that he event, this is about the normal amount of time it would have taken for them to release the tape. 

COSBY:  Why again are we seeing just audio tape, not video tape.  We have yet to see video of bin Laden for a long time. 

VENSKE:  Right.  This fits the same pattern as the other three releases or statements that bin Laden has put out this year and then of course we didn‘t see him at all or hear from him at all in 2005 and the last time we actually saw him was in 2004.  There‘s always a lot of speculation every time you get an audio message, people say well maybe he‘s not well, maybe he had some other issue or problem. 

Whenever we‘ve looked at that in the past, there‘s been a sort of a flip back and forth between audio and video and those theories have never proven out.  So it‘s hard to say.  It may be because one of those things are occurring or it simply could be that they made a choice, for whatever reason, to stick with audio this time instead of video.  It‘s hard to say. 

COSBY:  What do you make of the fact that obviously he felt compelled to talk about Zarqawi and is there anything to read into what he is saying in terms of concern for us here in America. 

VENSKE:  Well, we‘re still, excuse me, we‘re still looking at, we‘re still evaluating the translation right now.  We don‘t know exactly what he‘s saying, but there has been a growing trend by al Qaeda, from both Zawahiri and bin Laden, starting around the beginning of this year, to be much more responsive to current events than we‘ve ever seen them before.  Where you‘ll have an event happen that they feel is significant, whether it‘s the sentencing of Moussaoui or the rioting in Kabul, and then they‘ll quickly, within a matter of three, four or five weeks, were to release a statement directly to address that issue before it fades from people‘s memories and this seems to be part of that new pattern. 

COSBY:  You know Ben, everybody is out here saying, how can this guy be able to put out another tape.  Explain to them the system of how these tapes get out.  The whole world‘s looking for this guy and he‘s able to release tapes at will, it seems. 

VENSKE:  Yes, and not only are they doing it occasionally, but they‘re releasing, just this month alone, we‘ve had more than 10 video releases from al Qaeda‘s video production arm, called As-Sahab.  And what it‘s indicative of is the level of operational security that the group has by using couriers, cut outs and various other sort of, what we call trade craft techniques, in order to be able to move these videos from, you know obviously a point that we don‘t know where it is, because it‘s where we‘re trying to find, where Zawahiri or bin Laden are located and moving them to a very public point that we know of, be it Al-Jazeera, be it the internet, or some other news organization.  And they have proven very adept to be able to reliable and fairly quickly move materials between those two points and it‘s because of their good trade craft and operational security that it‘s proven so difficult for us to be able to sort of penetrate that chain and trace it back to their location. 

COSBY:  You know Ben, what about the intel community?  What do they believe about his condition?  There‘s so many theories about why he‘s heard and not seen. 

VENSKE:  Right.  I can‘t, because of our work with the government, I can‘t comment on what any of the assessments are of the actual government, but what I can say is, you know, it‘s an unknown factor.  You know there‘s a lot of speculation when you continuously just hear his voice and say well, if Zawahiri‘s doing videos, why isn‘t bin Laden doing videos?  And all I can say is in the past, we‘ve had periods where there has just been audio and all of a sudden he‘ll show up in video and it‘ll look just fine.  So it‘s one of those things you can come up with various assessments about it, but we don‘t have hard information based upon these videos or the mere absence of video to firmly state what his condition is. 

COSBY:  And where do you see this headed now?  Do you see anything in terms of what‘s anticipated after this?  What kind of reaction do you think we‘ll see from the tape? 

VENSKE:  Well, in terms of, you know what we see going forward and the reactions, it‘s likely to be, now again, I have not gotten access to the full translation yet, but it is likely to be similar in line with what Zawahiri said.  We might see some kind of threat statement in it.  Zawahiri did make a threat against the United States, in terms of carrying out an attack in revenge for the death of al-Zarqawi. 

So there might be some threat information that‘s pertinent to the security situation in the United States or elsewhere, but we‘re likely to see, if they continue on track with how they‘ve been behaving this year, in terms of the way they‘re doing their messaging and statements by bin Laden and Zawahiri, we‘re likely to continue to see these kind of quick messages coming on the heels of events that are in the news, that are being talked about around the world, that they feel are significant or important for them to sort of way in on. 

COSBY:  Well thank you very much.  Ben Venske, if we get more details we‘ll come back to you later on in the show.  Everybody again a new audio tape being released from Osama bin Laden, just an audio tape.  As we get some more details, we know he is talking about the death of al-Zarqawi, of course, in Iraq and as we get more details we will indeed bring them to you, hopefully later on in the show. 

Ben, thank you very much and everybody, we‘re now going to go to our other big story.  The other breaking news, out of the northeast.  Across the region, residents are being warned that the danger from the flooding in their area is far from over.  The death toll now stands at 16 and thousands more have been forced from their homes. 

Here‘s an unusual demonstration of just how fast and fierce this flooding is.  Take a look at this surveillance video from a business in Alexandria, Virginia.  You can you see the water filling up the room in just a matter of minutes.  It‘s a scene that has been repeated across the northeast.  And we‘re joined now by Harry Hairston with NBC station WCAU who is LIVE AND DIRECT right now in Trenton.  What‘s the situation there? 

HARRY HAIRSTON, WCAU-TV, TRENTON, NJ:  Well talk about adding insult to injury, the situation right now, it is lightning and thundering and the rain is coming down at a pretty wicked pace now.  Just something the folks here really don‘t need to see.  There‘s spirits have already been beaten up pretty badly, seeing as this is the third flood within less than two years here. 

So, they really don‘t want to see this happening.  It was hoped today that they‘ve got some good news, that the water did not crest as high as they thought it would, but the bad news is that it crested enough to cause a lot of damage in a lot of basements.  Some people were feeling very thankful that the water may not get to the first floor level of their homes, but once again they‘re not going to be going back to their homes this weekend.  It was thought earlier, yesterday, they may get into their homes sometime after the fourth. 

COSBY:  You know Harry, as you point out, they‘ve been through this before.  What‘s the emotional state of the folks there?  You know when I was talking in Yarley, Pennsylvania last night to the people, they were just so frustrated.  Here we go again. 

HAIRSTON:  That‘s right.  Folks are extremely frustrated around here.  They dealt with the flood in September of 04, then another flood in April of 05 and now this month.  They are just beaten up by this.  I talked to a woman, she‘s 80 years old.  The first thing she told me, she said, she is angry.  She is very angry.  But frustrated because she doesn‘t have anywhere to turn her anger.  She can‘t blame the mayor, she believes the mayor and the city officials have been doing a good job to help them so far.  She says she doesn‘t know who to blame, mother nature?  She‘s just frustrated and angry. 

Here‘s another sad note, 80 years old, for three floods now, she has been rebuilding her basement.  And she told me she is simply broke at this point, that she doesn‘t know what she‘s going to do for money, to once again go in and salvage what she had. 

COSBY:  You know Harry, have they even talked about damage estimates at all at this point?  I mean, we were hearing, you know, projections in some places—I mean, we‘re talking millions of dollars. 

HAIRSTON:  Well, we‘re hearing that there‘s going to be a very extensive damage here.  I did talk to the American Red Cross.  They said they‘re going to try to get in as soon as they can, once people start to get back into their homes, and they‘re going to try to get ahead of FEMA and they are going to offer some emergency dollars right away to try to get people new bedding and new clothing, food. 

They also want to, most importantly they said, offer some type of counselling, because they know people need this mental health counselling because they‘ve been beaten up really badly here with all of these floods, and folks are running out of money.  And the damage is going to run into large, large, numbers. 

COSBY:  Harry, thank you very much.  Keep us posted. 

And everybody, let‘s now move on to New Jersey.  Thousands of residents are spending the night in the shelter there after some of the worst flooding that we‘ve seen.  Official estimates for the damage caused by flooding in that state will easily be in the millions. 

Joining us now is Janice Armstrong.  She‘s the owner of Ribsom‘s Flowers in Trenton, New Jersey.  Janice, how badly is your flower shop?   What do you think the damage there? 


see, it‘s in the first floor, the whole basement is totally covered.  Last

in April, we had about 18 inches on the first floor.  That didn‘t include the basement that was fully covered too in water.  (inaudible).

COSBY:  How worried you are?  You talk about the basement, how worried are you that it‘s going to spread to the rest of your shop? 

ARMSTRONG:  Pretty worried.  Right now, what I see is a lot of water, a lot, a lot of water, and it‘s not receding yet. 

COSBY:  Yes, describe the scene in your shop and also your neighbors? 

ARMSTRONG:  I‘m more nervous for my neighbors.  I‘m at the highest point on the island.  And as of April, we got hit worse than everybody else did.  We had to put—this is the third time happening to us, you know, so that‘s two times we had to put two new electrical systems in, two new heaters in, you know.  Hot water heaters had to be put in.  We have had to put out a lot of money.  And nowadays we can‘t even get flood insurance unless I want to put a mortgage on it. 

COSBY:  And how long do you think it‘s going to be until your business is going to be able to open and that of your friends? 

ARMSTRONG:  Well, last year—or in April, it took us 10 days just to be able to open up our business, and that was a rush.  Because we were right by holiday season, and we wanted to make sure we were in our business, open for holidays, Mother‘s Day and Secretary‘s Day, which is (inaudible). 

COSBY:  And how much money do you think you‘re looking at in terms of damages, not just to the business, but lost business? 

ARMSTRONG:  Just after this flood? 

COSBY:  Yes. 

ARMSTRONG:  After this one, this right now? 

COSBY:  Yes.

ARMSTRONG:  Probably 20,000, even more than that. 

COSBY:  Wow. 

ARMSTRONG:  You know I put 10,000 out in the first flood we had, and that didn‘t even get into my first floor.  That was just basically just the redo of my whole electrical system. 

COSBY:  And how worried are you, you know, we‘re heading into bad weather, that this could even happen again this season? 

ARMSTRONG:  I hope not.  If it does, I don‘t know if I‘ll be able to keep my business open. 

COSBY:  Well, our prayers are with you, Janice Armstrong.  Thank you very much.  And thanks for being with us during a really hectic time.  We appreciate it. 

Everybody, we‘re going to stick with this, of course.  We‘ll have the very latest on the storm, and also our other big story tonight, the new message from Osama bin Laden.  That just came in a short bit ago.  If we get some more details on what the tape says, bin Laden‘s voice talking about al-Zarqawi, just coming into us here at MSNBC.  We will fill you in on what we have there. 

And also tonight, a killer ride on a Walt Disney World roller coaster. 

How did a vacation turn tragic and who‘s to blame?

And find out what lesson this professor wanted to teach her students, and why did she do it without her clothes.  She‘s causing a lot of controversy.  We‘re going to show it to you, and she‘s coming up next. 

But next, if you thought the Star Jones fiasco was over, think again.  Tonight, find out what Star‘s nemesis, Rosie O‘Donnell has to say.  Lots more diva battles coming up. 


COSBY:  And breaking news right now.  A new audiotape coming from Osama bin Laden, talking about the death of al-Zarqawi in Iraq.  Again, this is the first statement from bin Laden officially on it, coming just shortly of course after the death of Zarqawi.  The big question is, what can me make of it?  What‘s in the tape?  And what do we make of the timing of it, right before the July 4th weekend? 

Joining us now is terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann.  Evan, now, you know, we had someone on, we had Ben Venske at the top of the show.  He was not suer what to make—he didn‘t think there was a significance with the July 4th.  You do.  Why?  

EVAN KOHLMANN, NBC NEWS TERROR ANALYST:  Well, because we have past precedents to go on.  In fact, Zarqawi himself kind of set that precedent.

In the beginning, al Qaeda did not pay attention to our holidays as per its propaganda release.  However, especially as time went on, events like September 11th, just July 4th, these dates started having increasing significance to al Qaeda.

So for instance, back in 2004, Zarqawi actually released his first full-length propaganda film just about exactly on July 4th, and it seems like it was programmed to be pretty much about that time. 

Now, we can‘t say for sure.  Certainly this is not July 4th.  It‘s a few days before.  But since we do know that these fellows are pretty media-savvy and that they do understand how the United States propaganda machine works and they understand how the U.S. media machine works, and I say that because they have an American that‘s working with them.  You know, these are not foreigners trying to understand how Americans think.  There is an American at the helm of As-Sahab media wing, that‘s the media wing that produces these videos. 

COSBY:  Evan, who is this American? 

KOHLMANN:  It‘s Adam Gadahn. 

COSBY:  Yes, who is this American?  What‘s his background? 

KOHLMANN:  His name is Adam Gadahn.  He‘s actually a former (inaudible) and Muslim convert from Southern California. 

COSBY:  So he‘s the one who made all those headlines over there.  I remember that.

KOHLMANN:  Bingo.  That‘s right.  You‘ll notice that he actually continues to come up, because As-Sahab foundation, the same foundation, the same group that keeps releasing these videos and audios of bin Laden and Zawahiri, also releases video recordings of Mr. Gadahn.  And I have a sense that we may be seeing yet again, on the anniversary of 9/11, a third recording of Gadahn care of the same outlet that‘s releasing these videos.  And they have been releasing tons of them.  Literally tons of them. 


COSBY:  What do you make of the fact that we‘ve seen some big ones lately?  Is there anything to read into that, because sometimes you know, there‘s obviously been this heightened concern of security when we see sort of this rush of tapes? 

KOHLMANN:  Yes, no, I think we have to put this in perspective.  You know, no doubt that al Qaeda is quite active right now, but there‘s no reason to believe that the release of their tapes, these programs offers us any clues any clues as to future terrorist strikes.  In fact, Adam Gadahn actually came out in his last recording released care of al Qaeda and mocked those that say that there are secret messages in these tapes, explaining that, look, if we have the technology and the know-how to distribute these tapes on Arab television, on the Internet and what not, don‘t you think that if we want to talk to our own operative, we have better ways of reaching them than in coded messages and videos and I think the reality is that.  And I think U.S. intelligence pretty much realizes that there are no secret messages in these tapes, the message is straight and right in front of us.  It‘s bin Laden taking credit for the legacy of Zarqawi and trying to ride on his coat tails. 

COSBY:  Yes, I was going to say, we‘ve always heard of the rivalry between bid Laden and Zarqawi.  Real quick Evan, and then we also have Roger Cressey joining us as well, but first to you Evan, why is he highlighting Zarqawi.  It‘s obviously for his own benefit? 

KOHLMANN:  It‘s very easy to take credit for the accomplishments of someone who‘s dead.  And I think that as long as Zarqawi is a martyr, he has great value for bin Laden.  He‘s a symbol of bin Laden‘s Jihad, he‘s a military commander, he appeals to the younger generation.  In fact, in many ways Zarqawi may have more value to bin Laden dead than he did alive. 

COSBY:  Evan Kohlmann, thank you so much and in fact year probably one of the best in the business.  If you find out some details of the tape please call us back later in the show.  Evan, thank you very much.  And joining me now is NBC News terror analyst Roger Cressey.  Roger, what do you make of the timing now of the bin Laden tame coming out? 

ROGER CRESSEY, NBC NEWS TERRORISM ANALYST:  I wouldn‘t read too much into the timing, vis-a-vis the holiday weekend, I think this has more to do with the timing on the heels of Zawahiri‘s tape, several days ago, or a week or so ago, and just the logistics involved of getting a tape produced with bin Laden and then transmitting it via the As-Sahab Web site to all of us on the internet. 

So from an operational perspective, you know we have to be careful not to assume there‘s any hidden message here.  I think, as Evan said, this is about bin Laden and the leadership in al Qaeda associating themselves with Zarqawi, because they of course believe Zarqawi was one of the most effective operators conducting Jihad right now, and that was in Iraq. 

COSBY:  What do you make of the fact, Roger, that it is still an audio.  You know we all are reaching out for video.  What are you hearing this sort of the latest reason why he continues to put audio tapes? 

CRESSEY:  One reason is they‘re easier to do.  It‘s very simple for them to do a recording and then push it down, probably through the internet.  And we need to keep in mind that transmitting via the internet for these guys, even in the mountains in North Waziristan (ph), on Afghan-Pakistan border is the probably the preferred way for communicating these messages down via Ah Sahab.  So they have a network of people in place that upload these messages on the internet, and they also have a network of people in place, in terms of couriers who transmit messages to al-Jazeera.   I think this was a case where putting an audio message on the internet was a lot easier to do. 

COSBY:  You know Evan was just talking to us about the role of Adam Gaddan (ph), he was the American sort of al Qaeda convert, you know?  He says is playing an integral role in helping release these tapes, working with that Ah Sahab network.  What do we know about him and what do we know about this network that keeps, you know the whole world is looking for him, but yet he keeps releasing the tapes? 

CRESSEY:  I think what it demonstrate Rita, is how easy it is to post messages on the internet via a mechanism such as Ah Sahab.  In the case of Gaddan, Muslim convert, grew up in California, became radicalized, adopted the ways of Jihad and fell into the circle of al Qaeda.  I personally think the jury is still out as to how important Gaddan is in the scheme of things. 

He has become a public spokesman because of his background, because he is an American and he can communicate a message, as he has in the past, in both English as well as Arabic, to an international audience.  So, you know, he‘s significant in the sense that he‘s part of this broader network that‘s still operating inside Afghanistan and Pakistan, but I think the jury is still out in terms of how important he is, in the al Qaeda hierarchy, such as it is these days. 

COSBY:  Roger Cressey, thanks so much for being with us.  We appreciate it on this late breaking story.  Again everybody, the tape coming in, Osama bin Laden‘s voice heard on the audio tape, talking about the death of Zarqawi, as we‘ve heard from Roger and Evan and everybody tonight, obviously critical and not a surprise because he‘s often released such tapes after important events, i.e the death of Zarqawi, which we took place, as we know, not too long ago in Iraq. 

So expected that a tape would come.  But again an audio tape again as we continue to look for the world‘s most wanted man.  Roger thank you.  And everybody we‘ll continue to follow the story and still ahead on a very different note, we‘re going to switch gears here.  Find out why this teacher says, she has a lesson for her students.  And why she says she has on to do it naked.  Stay tuned. 

And the Star Jones fiasco is still everybody‘s hot topic.  Tonight, find out what “The View‘s” next co-host Rosie O‘Donnell has to say, some more fireworks.  



BARBARA WALTERS, HOST “THE VIEW”:  What do you play? 

RENE ALICE GOLDSBERRY (PH), HOST “THE VIEW”:  I play an attorney. 

WALTERS:  Oh, heaven help me. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I want to hear you say, let‘s hear you say, let‘s hear her say I‘m a lawyer. 



COSBY:  Well, it is round two now in the battle between Star Jones and Barbara Walters.  Barbara Walters wasted no time in at least temporarily replacing the empty chair that was held for nine years by Star Jones.  Star look alike, soap actress Rene Alice Goldsberry, who plays on ABC‘s “One Life to Live,” filed in today.  She plays a lawyer as just heard.  But she clearly didn‘t want to get involved in the new battle between the day time divas.  Joining me now for today‘s “Celebrity Dish” is Katie Caperton, she‘s with “OK” magazine, in the house, and also one of our favorites, Katrina Szish with “US Weekly,” and we also have Tina Dirmann, who is with “Star Magazine.”

Let me start with you, what do you make Katrina of the fact, this woman, no surprise, kind of interesting, is that a little dig there by Barbara?

KATRINA SZISH, “US WEEKLY”:  I think it was a lot of dig.  It was a big old dig, and I think the interesting thing was, even seeing her there in the pink in the exact same chair where Star sits was definitely startling.  When I first saw it, I definitely was taken aback and I had to do a double take.  And it was no surprise that this young beautiful woman plays a lawyer on TV.  They all acted surprised, but come on.  They knew that ahead of time. 

COSBY:  Katie, what did you think?  You know, we were laughing about this before the show.  It is very similar. 

KATIE CAPERTON, “OK” MAGAZINE:  It‘s uncanny.  I don‘t know, maybe she‘s looking for a new career in daytime talk shows. 

COSBY:  What do you think, does she have an option? 

CAPERTON:  Absolutely.  She was fantastic.  She was very comfortable. 

She could definitely do it.

COSBY:  Do you think that they‘re looking to replace her?  Do you think, Katrina, they‘ll go to that degree? 

SZISH:  I don‘t think they would try to go to replace her...

COSBY:  Is this all a temporary job?

SZISH:  This is a temporary thing.  I mean, not that we couldn‘t see this one rise to the occasion, but I think it‘s a little too obvious. 

COSBY:  Tina, what do you make, smart move on Barbara‘s part or a little too close for comfort? 

TINA DIRMANN, “STAR” MAGAZINE:  Oh, God, the claws were out today, weren‘t they?  That was really, really interesting move that Barbara made.  Without having to say a word, she made a clear swipe.  But I think, you know, this lady was great.  But she‘s clearly, it‘s Barbara‘s way of saying, look, I have got a hotter, younger, flashier, better version of you.  Take that, Star Jones.  We all got the joke.

COSBY:  Do you make, Tina, that she is actually going to be replacing Star?  Will that definitely be a replace?  Or do you think they‘ll stay with three?  What do you think?

DIRMANN:  I don‘t think she‘s going to be a permanent replacement.  I think this was just a temporary placeholder, and I think she just, you know, used this lady just to kind of, you know, get her little dig in. 

Barbara is no shrinking flower.  She knew exactly what she was doing.

COSBY:  But Tina, do you think—do you think they‘ll replace Star for sure or do you think they will keep that empty seat there for a while?

DIRMANN:  I think—oh, no, I definitely do think they‘ll replace Star, absolutely.  You know we‘ve heard for a while that Oprah‘s been pushing her friend, Gayle, to try and fill that seat.  So I‘m not sure if they will go that direction, but I know that there have been feelers out there.  Definitely, that seat will be filled. 

COSBY:  Katrina, what do you think?  And by who?

SZISH:  Absolutely, yes, there have been, again, lots of mentions of Gayle King, as was just mentioned...

COSBY:  Oprah‘s pal, yes.

SZISH:  Oprah‘s pal.  Also, Connie Chung has been mentioned.  A lot of women who are a little bit older than the actress we saw on the show today.  So it‘ll be interesting to see if they do skew younger.  And also, I‘ve heard a little rumor of Daisy Fuentes.   

COSBY:  Oh, that would be an interesting one.  What do you think of that, Katie? 

CAPERTON:  I think she would be a great replacement, but I think they could also do it with three people.  I think Rosie has enough personality, they could sort of—just handle it with her as well. 

COSBY:  Do you think she‘s going to try to hurry up and fill it, or do you think she‘s going to keep it empty, Katie?

CAPERTON:  I think they‘re going to try and keep it empty for a little while. 

COSBY:  Oh, you do.  So a little different. 

Now, one thing today, we heard a lot of Rosie talk, little chatter on the blogs, Rosie sort of putting the word out.  This is—I want to put this up on the screen—and this is what she said.  She said, “Well, you know how much I like her, but she thinks she‘s Beyonce.”

Katrina, what do you make of that statement?

SZISH:  I mean, this is funny.  That‘s classic Rosie.  I mean, if she‘s really going to say something hilariously funny, she‘s going to say it even if it stings a little bit, and Rosie is not kind of taking a step back from this controversy; she‘s diving right in. 

COSBY:  And here‘s some other things, Kate.  She put—this is again one of her comments on the blogs that she put—“Today, after my shrink, I drove past ABC studios.  There were camera crews waiting.”  This is my favorite line.  “Drama is, as drama does, everybody breathe.”  How do you read that, Katie? 

CAPERTON:  Oh, I love it.  I think she‘s saying, get ready, you know, I‘m coming out on the show.  You know, she‘s very funny.  She‘s just going to add so much to the show.  Absolutely.

COSBY:  Tina, what do you think?  What do you make of the blogs?

DIRMANN:  The blogs are hilarious.  You know, the thing is, Rosie can‘t help herself.  She‘s so outspoken, she‘s got to say something.  But I think she‘s trying to show restraint even there.  I think she‘s saying, look, the woman created drama, and now we‘re all in the drama.  But she has got to try and pull it together and be a little more graceful.  She‘s about to sit alongside Barbara Walters, who doesn‘t like controversy.  She likes her show to be easy, friendly, middle America, you know, easily digestible.  And so Rosie, who had a talk show of her own, understands that. 

So to say what you want on your blog, to go ahead and make the insults and the funny poems that we‘re all, you know, getting a kick out of, that‘s one thing.  But you have got the job now, you‘re in the driver‘s seat.  You have got to pull it together and act a little classier.  So I think we‘re going to see her tone that down quite a bit. 

COSBY:  And you talk about Barbara Walters.  This is, again, what Barbara Walters said the day after the whole Star incident happened. 


BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS:  We wanted to protect Star, and so we told her that she could say whatever she wanted about why she was leaving and that we would back her up.  We worked closely with her representatives, and we gave her time to look for another job, and we hoped then that she would announce it here on the program and leave with dignity.  But Star made another choice. 


COSBY:  And also Star also has made some comments.  We just got this in, this is Star making some recent comments. 


STAR JONES REYNOLDS:  I‘m sad that the platform that I helped to build was used in a way to attack me professionally.

LARRY KING, HOST, LARRY KING LIVE:  Do you think you were attacked there?

REYNOLDS:  Well, I‘ll leave that to the viewers to decide.


COSBY:  How do you make that?  Katie, what do you think of that?  That was pretty emotional on her part. 

CAPERTON:  I think it‘s a good choice for her to do this.  I think she was very soft spoken.  She was very out of character for her.  She said, you know, you have to hear my story.  I‘m the victim in this situation.  I think it was a good choice for her to go on “Larry King” tonight. 

COSBY:  How do you think she handled it, Katrina? 

SZISH:  It‘s a brilliant career move.  It‘s a brilliant publicity stunt, if you call it that.  She knows what she‘s doing.  She has the viewers, as she says, right now as potential putty in her hands, and she knows that, and she needs to handle it very carefully, and she did that on “Larry King” tonight. 

COSBY:  And in fact, we talked to “People” magazine last night, because they did the interview also, at-length interview with Star, that it didn‘t sound like they knew it was totally coinciding with her making this big bombshell announcement.  But here‘s what the report of “People” told us last night.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  One thing, she was worried that there were going to be tabloid leaks about this.  I mean, she has suffered just leak after leak and comment after comment in the gossip columns for months, and she wanted to do this on her own terms.  She wanted to take a little bit of the control back and just tell the viewers the truth about what happened to her.  Which is a pretty bold move. 


COSBY:  You know, Tina, where do you think Star is going to land next? 

DIRMANN:  You know, I think it‘s going to be a tough road for Star, but I do like this new tact she‘s taking.  Be the victim.  Let us feel sorry for you.  We can feel sorry for you.  Barbara gave you an opportunity to say, you see, you see, I was right.  I am the victim here.  Play that card, because Star Jones is not a sympathetic character.  She‘s not somebody you easily want to feel sorry for. 


DIRMANN:  ... she‘s got the reputation of a diva.

COSBY:  Where do you see her go next?

DIRMANN:  I think she‘ll probably get some sort of talk show of her own.  She needs to have her own spotlight.  She needs to be able to be the only voice and not the one where she‘s competing with the grand dame of television, Barbara Walters.  

COSBY:  Katrina, where do you think she‘s going to end up?

SZISH:  I do think that there is sort of a Star Jones Reynolds show in the works somewhere out there.  I do think it will start off with lots of viewers.  Everyone will want to see what she‘s doing, but I think it will taper off like this.  And then...

COSBY:  What do you think? 

CAPERTON:  I think she has lots of opportunities.  She can have her own talk show, her own reality show, definitely a few books in the works.  You‘ve not seen the last of Star Jones Reynolds. 

COSBY:  I think her life would make a very good reality show.  Thank you very much.  I‘m rooting for her.  All right, guys, thank you.

And remember, you can get more on Star‘s side of the story tomorrow morning, live on NBC “Today.”  She is going to be on, so you can hear a lot more about that.

And still ahead, everybody, from the naked pop star to the naked professor, find out why this teacher says she has a lesson for her students.  And why she says she has to do it naked.  Stay tuned.


COSBY:  And she‘s come to it with her body and she‘s not afraid to show it.  That‘s the message from the University of Southern California professor who‘s bearing almost all on her personal web site.  The photos are causing a stir on the USC campus.  Supporters say, good for her, while other say, Blaine has crossed the line and LIVE AND DIRECT tonight has the very professor in question.  And also with us here is radio talk show host, Martha Zoller.  Dianna did you know that your pictures would get so much attention nation wide? 

DIANA BLAINE, USC PROFESSOR:  I had absolutely no idea. 

COSBY:  What did you think was going to happen?  Did you think nobody would pick it up. 

BLAINE:  Well, I thought nobody would pick it up.  I just posted them as a part of my existence.  You know there‘s also pictures of my dog and birthday parties and so this is the last thing I thought anybody would be interested in honestly, but I appreciate you having me, thanks a lot. 

COSBY:  You know, when you say part of your existence.  You know, all right, your dog, it‘s this, but pictures of yourself like this, don‘t you think it opens it up to fodder that anybody would be looking and it would stop? 

BLAINE:  Well I don‘t really have any reason to hide my body.  You know I‘ve been teaching feminist theory for about 20 years and I realized that I had this discomfort with my looks that actually wasn‘t natural, but I had internalized this kind of sexism and so I‘ve learned to externalize that and to love myself for who I am and so I have a physical existence as well as an intellectual existence and an emotional existence and a spiritual existence, so to me it‘s part of the my life, it‘s nothing to hide, nor is it anything to promote laboriously.  I haven‘t gone out of my way to draw attention to myself, it‘s absolutely come to me. 

COSBY:  How did people find out that these pictures existed. 

BLAINE:  I wrote an anti-rape editorial for our school newspaper last Spring and it put me on the radar of some conservative bloggers, who very strenuously objected to my argument that we need to stop rape and so ever since then, they‘ve pick me up as the man-hating femi-Nazi Blaine and so I realized when they discovered my website, which is not where the photos are, but it does link to a photo site, that they would probably find those topless pictures, three out of 150 pictures and so I thought, you know, should I sensor myself out of fear of somebody else‘s disapproval or should I continue to walk down that path of self confidence and self love that I‘ve been working on so hard and as you can tell, I made the decision to go ahead and be myself and indeed they discovered the photos.  They started berating about it on their blog and the local news picked it up and it went international. 

COSBY:  Martha Zoller, what do you make of this.  Self love, or what‘s your reaction when you see these pictures? 

MARTHA ZOLLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, the pictures in and of itself are not really the problem.  She said that she wrote, Professor Blaine wrote a column about rape and being against rape, and of course, everyone is against rape, but it really was a condemnation of men and I think in this society, we‘ve spent a long time talking about feminist theory.  But you know what, women are getting it.  Over half of the people in colleges are women. 

Over half of the people in professional schools are women and that is great.  But men are the ones that are not moving on right now.  And I gotta tell you, this broad brush of saying somehow that men support rape, which is really what her column said, or at least when I read it, that‘s what it said, is really the wrong thing.  There are a lot of great, upstanding men out there and I think we need to start appreciating both sides of the story. 

COSBY:  Absolutely now let‘s get to the focus here, the USC reaction from the school.  This is what they said.  They said the content of individual web pages is primarily a matter of free speech and academic freedom.  The university will not be held responsible for the content of personal web pages.  You know, it sounds like the school is just washing its hands of this, Martha. 

ZOLLER:  Well you know I think, yes, a personal web site, but it was linked from this column and there is this relationship between teacher and student and there‘s a power that goes on. 

COSBY:  So are you suggesting that this should be something Martha?

ZOLLER:  It‘s no different than the power between a man and a woman sometimes that I know that the professor has talked about. 

COSBY:  Well Martha, what are you suggesting, are you saying she should be punished? 

ZOLLER:  No, I don‘t think she should be punished.  I think there has to be decorum, there has to be boundaries, and that you have to understand that when you put something up there, which is literally like putting them on the front of your house.  The internet is not a private space and I tell my children every day, if you put something on the internet, expect that everybody in the world is going to see it.  It‘s not a private space.  It‘s not like the privacy of your own home. 

COSBY:  Diana, what do you make of that?  I mean it is public domain? 

BLAINE:  Well we like to position ourselves as the liberated and enlightened west, as opposed to the Osama bin Laden, Talibans of the world.  So I‘m wondering should I be wearing a burka or should I not be ashamed of the body. 

COSBY:  You do understand why some people say that‘s way too much. 

BLAINE:  You know, I live in a culture that surrounds me with Playboy bunnies and air brushed women all day long, extremely artificial images, and it seems to me a stink arose when a woman decided to put her own pictures out there for noncommercial purposes and so it‘s confusing to me why I pass so many sexist, exploitative images of women all day long and nobody cares about that.  You know it adds to the idea that I‘m anti-male.  One of the reasons I‘m a feminist is because I absolutely love men and I know what men are capable of. 

COSBY:  We all love men. 

BLAINE:  I absolutely love men. 

ZOLLER:  Thank you. 

COSBY:  And this has to be the last word.  We have to get back on. 

BLAINE:  As soon as men find out there‘s something they can do to help end our rape culture, the best men I know are saying sign me up.  And that‘s all I was asking in my editorial.  Saying, let‘s all show up to end a rape culture. 

COSBY:  Fair enough.  Both of you thank you very much.  Interesting way to get that message across and there‘s a lot more coming up here on MSNBC tonight.  Let‘s check in with Tucker Carlson with the preview.  What do you have Tuck? 

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Rita Cosby, the reverend Al Sharpton threatens to run for president again.  All of us in the press box stand up and cheer and beg him to do so.  He‘s on our show in just a minute.  Also tell us what exactly the Democrats are going to run on in the midterm elections plus, remember those looters in New Orleans, we saw right after Katrina, we said to one another, god this is awful.  Well, it turns out they‘re in deep, deep, deep trouble.  Much worse trouble than we ever could have imagined at the time, I‘m personally cheering.  We‘ll tell you what happened in just a minute. 

COSBY:  And we‘ll be tuning in Tucker, thank you very much.  And still ahead, for the first time we‘re hearing from the mother accused of killing her husband, a preacher, does she admit to the killing?  That‘s coming up next and a deadly day at Disney, find out what went so wrong on a roller coaster that turned a joy ride deadly.  That‘s next. 


COSBY:  A tragic death on a Disney roller coaster in Florida today.  A 12-year-old boy collapses and dies after riding the rock ‘n‘ roller roller coaster at Disney‘s MGM Theme park.  Let‘s get the latest from reporter Greg Fox at NBC affiliate WESH in Orlando. 


GREG FOX, WESH, ORLANDO:  They ride it for the thrills, the 0 to 60 launch in near seconds, the G-forces Disney promises in promoting the Rocker Roller Coaster at Disney MGM.  But after 12-year-old Michael Russell of Fort Campbell, Kentucky road the roller coaster just before noon with his family, authorities say he stopped breathing and was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Our deepest sympathies with are the family and we are doing everything we can to assist them. 

FOX:  Authorities say the boy‘s father first notices he was unconscious just as the ride stopped. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He helped the boy off the ride and at that time began C.P.R.  People were notified, responded within minutes, little Michael was transported to Celebration Hospital and subsequently he died. 

FOX:  There is nothing that appears to be mechanical that was wrong with the ride, that may have caused the trauma. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  At this time the ride appears to be functioning well. 

FOX:  The ride remains closed until Disney inspectors can verify that there is nothing mechanically wrong with the Rockin Roller Coaster.  An autopsy will determine if the boy had a preexisting medical condition.  Disney warns guests at all rides to be aware of their physical health before climbing aboard. 


COSBY:  And Disney put out a statement right after the incident.  Let me read a portion of that statement, “We offer the family our deepest sympathies.  We have closed the attraction pending and investigation.  An initial review of the attraction shows that the rid was operating normally.  The State Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection has also been notified and will observe the inspection and review of the attraction.”

Still, ahead, everybody, for the first time we are hearing from the mother accused of killing her preacher husband.  Find out what she has to say about that bloody night.  That‘s next. 


COSBY:  A woman accused of murdering her preacher husband had a bitter sweet reunion with her children in jail.  She hasn‘t seen them since she was arrested three months ago.  Mary Winkler is charged with the March 22nd murder of Matthew Winkler.  He was the pastor in the couple‘s home town of Selmer, Tennessee.  Winkler fled with her three daughters after the alleged murder and was found the next day more than 300 miles away in Alabama.  “People Magazine” had an exclusive interview with Winkler‘s attorney about the surprise visit, and joining me now live is “People Magazine” staff writer Larry Sutton.  Larry what happened during the surprise visit?  It had to be very emotional? 

LARRY SUTTON, “PEOPLE MAGAZINE”:  It was extremely emotional.  Everyone was crying, her three daughters very sad, tears in their eyes.  As a matter of fact, Mary Winkler told her children, listen, if you are going to cry, let it out, so they did.  It wasn‘t a physical visit.  She was behind a glass plate, so they were not touching each other, but they went up to that glass wall, put hands against each other, and her littlest child, a little one-year-old girl, she asked if they could just put her on the ground and let her crawl around and let me see her walk and let me see if she still remembers me. 

COSBY:  You know, she has the three children, of course the one-year-old doesn‘t understand, but do the older ones understand what is happening with her mother? 

SUTTON:  Yes, our reporters in Tennessee have found out that it‘s basically through their friends at school, that‘s how they are getting the world of what their mother is charged with and what happened to their father.  Their grandparents have been very good with them, but I don‘t think they gave them the full story.  So I think they hear more from their schoolmates than they do actually from their family. 

COSBY:  You know I was hearing that one of the girls looked at Mary‘s hands and said that her hands looked better.  Suggesting that there was abuse, or they were damaged before? 

SUTTON:  That‘s one theory.  When we asked her lawyer what did they mean by that, he said you can interpret it any way you want, and some people say maybe she was abused, and maybe marks on her hand, which is what her oldest daughter referred to, perhaps they were from stopping something, stopping a fight.  We don‘t know, but perhaps we‘ll find that out tomorrow morning.   

COSBY:  Do we know any more about her motive?  As you talk about the possible physical, are they going to go for mental?  It‘s still a little murky, right? 

SUTTON:  yes, that‘s one of the reasons this case is fascinating, it‘s a big mystery.  What was the reason behind it?  Now, they‘ve confiscated computers from the family home.  They have talked to neighbors and friends, but nobody has laid any sort of clear cut path.  No one‘s saying definitely it was with abuse, no one is saying definitely there was an affair on the side going on.  No one knows for sure.  

COSBY:  You know, Mary‘s parents, as I understand, have custody of the girls.  They were not letting her see them, they were just doing letters, why did they change their pattern and do it now?   

SUTTON:  Well I think perhaps because Mary‘s lawyer complained a little bit, saying that she‘s just looking for little something from the kids.  In fact she had asked if they could writer her or she could write them.  That didn‘t happen until a couple weeks ago, and now another court appearance is coming up tomorrow, and perhaps it looks good for them to say look, we let the kids come over and visit her.  Maybe makes them look a little more sympathetic.   

COSBY:  Is anybody else visiting with Mary Winkler? 

SUTTON:  Oh sure, she has lots of visitors.  In fact, every Sunday there is a group of people from her church that come down and visit with her.  We‘ve talked to some of the church members and we‘ve talked to her lawyers, and from what we understand they don‘t talk at all about what happened, they don‘t talk about Mr. Winkler dying, it‘s more sort of a moral pick me up, saying we are with you, and you still have people by your side. 

COSBY:  Larry thank you very much.  Larry Sutton from “People Magazine.”  Interesting interview, we appreciate it.  And everybody that does it for me on LIVE AND DIRECT tonight.  Thanks for joining us everybody, I‘m Rita Cosby.  “THE SITUATION” with my pal Tucker starts right now, Tucker.



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