updated 8/16/2006 11:22:51 AM ET 2006-08-16T15:22:51

Guests: Kip Hawley, Michael Gross, Lynn Cutler, Mike Papantonio, Curtis Sliwa, Laura Schwartz, Robert Thompson

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Hey, thanks so much and welcome to the show.

I‘m Joe Scarborough, filling in for my pal Tucker Carlson, who‘s in training for his “Dancing With the Stars” debut.  Ooh, a chill just went up and down my spine.

Topping the news, the U.K. terror plot.  British police arrested yet another suspect today.  That now makes 25 people that have been taken into custody.  Now there‘s word that British Airways may want compensation for canceled flights, up to $95 million. 

Here in the U.S., there‘s a new report from homeland security that shocked a lot of passengers.  Those x-ray machines that scan your shoes, well, they can‘t detect explosives.  But the TSA still making us take off our shoes and running them through the machines. 

So are we really on top of airport security?  Well, this is what George W.

Bush said at the National Counterterrorism Center today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The enemy has got an advantage when it comes to attacking our homeland.  They‘ve got to be right one time, and we‘ve got to be right 100 percent of the time to protect the American people. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  A hundred percent of the time?  Well, yes, he‘s right, but is our batting average that good? 

Here to talk about it, we‘ve got Kip Hawley.  He‘s TSA‘s assistant secretary. 

Hey, thank you, Mr. Secretary, for being with us. 

KIP HAWLEY, TSA ASSISTANT SECRETARY:  Sure.  Good to see you.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s start off—I just want to ask you the generic question that I always love asking experts in this field.  Do—should Americans feel safer today than they should have felt on September 10, 2001? 

HAWLEY:  Yes, absolutely.  And safer than even last week.  With this terror plot disrupted in the U.K., and all the measures that are in place now, I think it is very safe to fly.  And the security system in place both in the United States and U.K. is very strong. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Here‘s a question I don‘t understand.  After I heard that these terrorists were going to be going through these routines where they‘re going to bring the liquid on, they‘re going to assemble it, they‘re going to do all these things, maybe put a charge from an iPod battery, an Instamatic camera, basically going through an awful lot to blow up a plane, I just wonder why they didn‘t do what the terrorists did in Pan Am 103 in Lockerbie, where they just put a bomb in luggage.  Since we‘re only checking 10 percent of our luggage, wouldn‘t that be a lot more efficient way to blow up a plane? 

HAWLEY:  No, we check 100 percent of our luggage in the United States through very sophisticated bomb detection equipment.  And I won‘t speculate on what terrorists wants to do, but we have in place a very sophisticated system in the United States.  And, in fact, on January 1st, worldwide, there are new standards that 100 percent of checked luggage is screened worldwide. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So when I put my—when I pack my bags and check them, I can rest assured while I‘m sitting on that airplane that the TSA has gone through my luggage and they‘ve gone through everybody else‘s luggage on that plane, and if somebody put a bomb in their suitcase, it‘s going to be detected? 

HAWLEY:  That is correct.  And the same thing at the checkpoint. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  What about the shoe issue that we just heard about, where we‘ve heard that actually the shoes, which I‘ve got to tell you, for me, like most passengers post-9/11, I did what the TSA told me to do because I want to be safe, but it is so irritating for me to lean down, take off my shoes.

I‘m an old man.  I‘ve got a bad back.  I put it up on the—and now I find out that I‘ve been wasting my time...

HAWLEY:  No.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... that, in effect, the x-ray machine doesn‘t pick up any substances. 

HAWLEY:  No.  No.

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, that‘s what—that‘s what—isn‘t that what the Homeland Security Department reported? 

HAWLEY:  No.  No.  No, that‘s not correct.  And, in fact, I hate taking my shoes off, too, but for the same reason, I do it, and I do feel safe when I fly. 

In fact, we‘re going to have on our Web site later today, www.tsa.gov, some actual images that we have from our x-ray machines of shoes with explosives.  We have a mockup of the Richard Reid bomb, and x-ray equipment is very good at finding explosives or anything else in shoes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So where did The Associated Press get the idea that a government agency had determined the x-raying of shoes isn‘t effective? 

HAWLEY:  Well, there‘s—first of all, it‘s a classified report, but x-ray machines do not automatically find explosives.  You need to have the operator to do it. 

In your checked luggage, those automatically are processed, and we‘re able to do a large number of suitcases quickly because there is an automatic detection system.  At the checkpoint, the x-ray does find explosives, and is one part of many layers we have that we saw in the U.K. last week, the first one being stopped overseas, and then various other layers going through the checkpoint, including the x-ray. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What about liquid explosives?  If I put liquid explosives in the heel of my shoe, would it pick it up? 

HAWLEY:  The sort answer is, if you do anything with your shoes that tampers with it, they will pick it up.  Remember, they‘re going to see now thousands and thousands, and now really millions of shoes every day.  So if somebody has tinkered with a show, it will—it will stand out and they will get secondarily screened. 

SCARBOROUGH:  One of the hot-button issues in America and now obviously Great Britain has to do with profiling, obviously.  If you look at this case, like so many other terror cases going back to 1983, even—well, you can go back to 1982 in Lebanon—it seems that you have the same type of profile, where you‘ve got young Arab males, for the most part, Muslims, ages 17 to 35, 36, that have been carrying off most of these attacks. 

Should the United States move to more aggressive profiling like the British are now considering to do? 

HAWLEY:  No, we believe that you can‘t stereotype what a terrorist looks like, and there are certainly terrorists who would look as somebody other than what you just mentioned. 

We use behavior observation which goes to involuntary muscle movements. 

That will betray someone who is there on a mission, such as terrorism.  That‘s what we‘re interested in doing.  It is built on a privacy foundation, and it‘s compatible with our values and our laws, but will detect terrorists way far away just by virtue of the way they‘re behaving. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Mr. Secretary, you know that average Americans are angry when they see a grandmother or a 7-year-old kid pulled over to the side being frisked.  And you also know, whether you‘re talking about 9/11 or whether you‘re talking about 7/7 Britain or the Madrid bombing or USS Cole or Khobar Towers or going back to the first attack in 1993, the overwhelming majority of these terrorists, if not all of them, were young Arab males between the ages of 17 and 35. 

Why isn‘t that good basic police work to try to protect Americans by zoning in on the people who should be the suspects here? 

HAWLEY:  Sure.  And the police work is done to detect the criminals, people who have done criminal acts.  And we do have random in there, so that even if you miss somebody, even if somebody looks perfectly fine, that you can never be absolutely certain that you can get through without checking.

And these terrorists in the U.K. spent a lot of time trying to figure out the security system, and try to beat it.  So that‘s why we jumped so quickly with aggressive action to ban liquids, just to be absolutely certain, take no chances aits all, to stop these guys.  We want to assure the public of travel safety. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Secretary Hawley, thank you so much for being with us today.  I know it‘s been a busy day, but we greatly appreciate you being here. 

HAWLEY:  A pleasure, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Now, back in the U.K., their close call on the latest terrorist plot has some people rethinking their positions on profiling. 

The government seriously considering a system that would include checks on traveler‘s ethnic or religious backgrounds, an idea that has some Muslim leaders up in arms.  But really, what‘s wrong with profiling, not only the U.K., but here? 

With us now to answer that question, civil rights attorney, Michael Gross. 

Michael, thank you so much for being with us today. 

MICHAEL GROSS, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY:  Thanks, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ve just—I‘ve got to ask you the same question that I asked the secretary.  How do you explain to Americans that the TSA, in an effort to be fair, should be pulling over grannies, 7-year-old kids, my 3-year-old baby girl, instead of focusing in on those people who commit these crimes 99 percent of the time? 

GROSS:  Well, we treat everyone equally...

SCARBOROUGH:  Why?

GROSS:  ... because—firstly, because the law says we don‘t discriminate based upon race, creed, color, country of national origin, which is exactly what you‘re suggesting we do. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But police do.  No.  No, I‘m not suggesting we do that.  This is good basic police work. 

It‘s—like, for instance, if southern Baptist rednecks from northwest Florida were the people blowing up these planes...

GROSS:  As they were out West when they blew up the federal building. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... I would say that‘s who you want to focus on.

GROSS:  No Muslims involved there. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And let me tell you something else.  When it was right wing fundamentalist Christians that were blowing up abortion clinics, I would be very angry if the FBI started checking out Muslims.  I would say, “Why are you looking at Muslims?  It‘s the right wing Christians I go to church with who have with been blowing up these abortion clinics.”

GROSS:  Joe, it doesn‘t work.

SCARBOROUGH:  What doesn‘t work, profiling?

GROSS:  It is not only illegal—of course.  It doesn‘t work.

SCARBOROUGH:  Police do it every day, don‘t they? 

GROSS:  Well, not if they want to follow the law.  They were doing it in the state of New Jersey, you may know, and it was made a terrific cause celeb, until the attorney general of the United States set real standards through the Justice Department.  New Jersey changed, as well as every state, recognizing... 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, can you name one grandmother that‘s blown up a plane? 

GROSS:  Look, stop trying to compare a grandmother and a 3-year-old child. 

That‘s not what happens. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That is what happens.  You see grandmothers being pulled off at the security checkpoints.

GROSS:  Joe, give me a chance.  What the secretary just said was we use a behavior module.  In other words, we much more carefully than you are suggesting examine behavior, because in this country, we arrest and detain people based upon what they do, not upon what they believe or where they come from or what color they are. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Or what they look like.  But you know what?  Let me show you some pictures of what terrorists have looked like in these past attacks.  Let‘s go ahead and put them up on the screen.

GROSS:  Look at...

SCARBOROUGH:  Here are the 9/11 hijackers.  I want you to take a good look at them.

GROSS:  Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on.  Hold on.

GROSS:  ... you‘re talking about...

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  Now let‘s—let‘s see the Bali bombings.  Take a look at them.  No grandmas there.

What do we have next?  The Madrid train bombings.

GROSS:  What makes you think that—why do you keep using this grandmas business?

SCARBOROUGH:  I don‘t see any 3-year-old kids.  I don‘t see any 3-year-old kids.  OK.  I don‘t see any Irishmen.  I don‘t see any African-Americans.

Look at the London subway attacks.

Listen, when I was on the Judiciary Committee in Congress...

GROSS:  Are you...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... I was the only Republican that fought aggressively against profiling of young African-American males driving up 95, because that‘s what the cops were doing.

GROSS:  Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  If you were a young African-American male, you were driving an expensive car, you‘d get pulled over.  That was too broad.  This is not too broad. 

GROSS:  Look it, Joe, the last government leader that took this as far as you want to take it had a  little black mustache here.  And he arrested people based on race. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, you‘re comparing me to Adolph Hitler?

You‘re not only comparing me to Adolph Hitler, you‘re comparing about 90 percent of Americans to Adolph Hitler who do not understand why we don‘t... 

(CROSSTALK)

GROSS:  Because it separates people.  It tells people, you can be detained...

SCARBOROUGH:  It separates people?  They have separated themselves.

Like I said, in abortion clinic bombings, I‘m looking to right wing fundamentalist Christians.

GROSS:  Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  In these type of attacks, I‘m going to be looking to right wing Muslim extremists.

GROSS:  Joe, this is America.  We do not separate people based upon the way they look, or what they believe in.  We don‘t have collective guilt. 

We don‘t say if you‘re a Muslim or you‘re dark-skinned or you come from this country, you‘ve got a special line you have to go on.  Everybody here is treated equally, which means if they behave in a way that these behavior modules pick up as funny, they get stopped.  If they don‘t, they walk through like you, me, or anybody else.

SCARBOROUGH:  If grandma‘s face twitches?

GROSS:  And if you victimize people based upon their race, creed, color, country of national origin, you‘re going to separate them the way they...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Here‘s the interesting thing, I‘m not trying to victimize them. 

GROSS:  You‘re going to...

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second, Michael.  I‘m not trying to victimize them.

GROSS:  That is prejudice. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I want to protect Arab-Americans, as much as I want to protect African-Americans, as much as I want to protect Irish-Americans.  And this is the best way to do it. 

GROSS:  Joe, you are prejudging people—no.  Listen, please.  Prejudice means that you prejudge.  Based upon what they look like, not what they‘ve done, what they look like, you are making a judgment that they are suspicious and they need to be searched. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And what you‘re suggesting, Michael, is that—what you‘re suggesting to me is, that when I look at an Arab-American, I think they‘re a terrorist.  I don‘t do that.  And by the way, Michael, I‘ve got absolutely no problem being screened every time I go through.  If they he wants to pull me over to the side, I never get upset.  That‘s fine. 

GROSS:  Yes, everybody—nobody does.

SCARBOROUGH:  But let‘s focus in.  And let me say this, also—I‘m not saying you look like a grandma, but terrorists don‘t look like you either.  Let‘s focus on...

GROSS:  Listen, you‘re going to scare us all into dividing ourselves instead of coming together.  We had a president once who said we have only to fear fear itself.  And now we have a president he who says, you better be afraid. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.

GROSS:  Be afraid all the time. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Michael, I listen.

GROSS:  It‘s the worst possible thing you can do and it will cause crime. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Well, I don‘t think it will.  Thank you for being with us, Michael.

I think, though, what I want to prevent is a nuclear bomb in New York City, or Washington, or Los Angeles, and I think it‘s good basic police work.  I believe...

GROSS:  It‘s tyranny.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s tyranny protecting Americans? 

GROSS:  It‘s tyranny to separate people based upon race, creed, color, country of national origin. 

SCARBOROUGH:  If that is—if that is your definition of tyranny, then we certainly disagree. 

GROSS:  No, it‘s the United States Supreme Court.  And it was Jefferson‘s before that.  Madison...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Michael.  I appreciate you being with us, even though you compared me to Adolph Hitler. 

That‘s not a good way to sort of start things up and for us to all come together, but he made the comparison.

I can‘t grow a mustache like that, Joe.  I can‘t.  It‘s really frightening.

And again, I know in this case, a lot of times I go against the grain, but I‘ve got to tell you, 90 percent of Americans agree with me, and it‘s not because they think all Arab-Americans are guilty of terror.  It‘s because they want to protect everybody, from Arab-Americans, to African-Americans, to Irish-Americans, to you. 

Now, still to come, Hillary Clinton says President Bush is failing to keep America safe, but that hasn‘t changed her position on Iraq.  We‘re going to be talking about that coming up. 

And, could the English-only movement be on the way out?  A new report

concerning America‘s diversity explosion.  Why some people say it‘s time

for the United States to become bilingual

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Islamic fascists still hate us.  They still want to attack us.  But the recent terrorist plot to destroy American airliners headed for New York was detected and defeated.  National Security Agency wiretaps of terrorist suspects were vital to stopping this attack. 

But Senator Hillary Clinton opposes the Patriot Act and the NSA program that helped stop another 9/11.  She‘d leave us vulnerable. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  That was a subtle ad, but I think that was Hillary Clinton next to Osama bin Laden.  Yes, there it is. 

Welcome to campaign 2006.  That‘s a Republican attack ad bashing Hillary Clinton for opposition to NSA wiretapping, but the junior senator from New York can give as good as she gets.  She took aim at the president yesterday, saying, “We still haven‘t done what we needed to do to protect our ports, our borders, our bridges and our transit systems, our rail lines.”

It‘s a long list.

With me now to talk about it, Lynn Cutler, former DNC vice-chairwoman and a friend of Hillary Clinton‘s.  She comes to us from Chicago.

Lynn...

LYNN CUTLER, FMR. VICE-CHAIRWOMAN, DNC:  Yes?

SCARBOROUGH:  Your friend is next to Osama bin Laden?  I thought it was still preseason of the 2006 campaign, but it‘s getting very dirty very quickly. 

Let‘s forget about the sleazy nature of that ad.  And let me ask you the question, because—I actually agree with Senator Clinton.  Some concerns about the Patriot Act and wiretapping.  But people are going to be asking, why should the United States employ the same tactics the British use to crack this terror plot? 

CUTLER:  Well, let‘s go back to the ad for a second, Joe.  It‘s disgusting.  It‘s the worst of political judgment, and it‘s going to backfire.  Those things always do, because the American people are much smarter than that. 

Second of all, I can‘t wait to see you dancing.  I saw that trailer.  It was...

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, the dancing.

CUTLER:  Yes, it was great. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, I can move.  I‘ve got the moves.  It‘s the way I move, as they say. 

So—but on Hillary Clinton, what...

CUTLER:  Yes, she‘s right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  She‘s going to—she‘s going to face a debate either in the ‘06 election or the ‘08 election, where her Republican opponent is going to say, “But, Senator Clinton, you don‘t want to give the United States government the same powers that the British government used to crack this terror plot to save 3,000 lives.”

How does she respond to that? 

CUTLER:  Yes.  Well, first of all, the senator is speaking from a knowledge base that comes from having actually talked to the mayors of American cities.  She has come to every meeting of the U.S. conference of mayors for the last four years.  And she not only talks to them, she listens to them. 

You know, former Secretary Ridge used to show up and nod and nod and go away, and nothing would happen.  The fact is, if you talk to the mayors of America‘s larger cities, they will tell you that not only have they had the funding cut and the money being spread now to 99 cities instead of the 33 top targets, they will tell you that they‘re worried about port security, they are worried about rail security.  We‘re continued to be concerned about nuclear power plants and other venues. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And Lynn, let me just say—I don‘t want to cut you off here, but let me just say, I agree with you on that.  And I think—I think she can make that point very persuasively, especially if you talk about port security and homeland security in the big cities. 

CUTLER:  Exactly.

SCARBOROUGH:  But let‘s talk about, again, this issue as far as keeping the skies friendly, keeping the skies safe.  Doesn‘t she see the positive aspects to some wiretapping, to the Patriot Act, again, to giving the U.S.  government the same powers that the British government had to crack this terror plot? 

CUTLER:  Well, first of all, I don‘t know that.  I mean, I didn‘t read that anywhere, exactly how they did that.  The way—the one thing I did hear was that they infiltrated the group and they had someone who spoke Arabic in the group.  And, therefore, they were able to know what they were going to do and when they were going to do it. 

I‘m not sure how great our capability is on this, and I flew that morning, Thursday morning.  I was lucky enough to be getting on a plane, and, of course, it was insanity at the airport, and now it‘s dump all your liquids. 

We‘re in such a reactive mode.  We had Reid and then we dumped the shoes. 

We had this attempt and dumped the liquid. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Right.

CUTLER:  Why don‘t we know about these things?  We‘re smart people.  I mean, you can watch television shows and get some idea of what the crazy technology could be. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Right, and figure that out. 

Lynn, let me ask you a final question.  And again, I think we‘re going to be talking about this in the next couple of years. 

The British also have—I guess the agency is called MI-5.  It‘s a domestic spying agency that allows the British to aggressively track terrorists. 

Do you think we‘re going to be moving in that direction over the next five, 10 years?  Do you think that‘s the way the United States should go?  Is that the way Hillary Clinton thinks we should go? 

CUTLER:  Well, I don‘t know what the senator‘s opinions are on that, but I know we have the FBI, and the FBI is finally, they say, talking to the CIA and to the other intelligence agencies.  But we created this huge bureaucracy, and the cops still can‘t talk to the firefighters. 

Just ask the mayors.  And if you can‘t have that interoperability and you can‘t have that communication, we are not safe.  She is right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Lynn Cutler, thank you so much.  I appreciate you coming to Tucker‘s show, and let‘s dance sometime. 

CUTLER:  I‘d love it, Joe.  Thank you.

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘d love it, too.  I really would, Lynn.

All right.  And still to come, the Bush bashers are wrong.  The president‘s policies aren‘t causing anti-Americanism.  The real reason they hate us when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Time now for “Beat the Press.”

First up, America‘s sweetheart, Katie Couric, is the latest, of course, evening news superstar.  She made some off-camera interviews and remained pretty tight-lipped about how her broadcast would be different. 

But she did drop a few hints, saying this, “We‘re going to take risks and try some new things.  And we‘re not going to be tied to the formulaic evening newscast that we we‘ve pretty much grown up with that hasn‘t changed very much in the last several decades.  Sometimes when you watch the evening news, it‘s all gloom and doom, and some of it has to be because the world is a complicated and pretty scary place right now, but there has to be a place for more hopeful stories.”

Warm and fuzzy news at 6:30, Katie?  I don‘t think so. 

And next up, Jane Velez-Mitchell, who was sitting in for Nancy Grace on CNN “Headlines News” while covering a story about a plea deal in the Nevada case of that paralyzed man who was drowned in a bathtub while under the care of his ex-wife.  Jane decided to take this conversation in a grossly inappropriate direction. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL:  I don‘t know exactly how to phrase this in a delicate way, but I had heard that there were reports that they were still having—even though the relationship had completely deteriorated and they were fighting, according to the daughter of the victim, they were still having relations?  How does that happen when you‘re a quadriplegic? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s correct.  The evidence showed that he was taking Viagra and he had sensation in that area.  You have to understand that for six years of Gloria‘s life, she cared for this man, she cleaned this man, she had sex with this man. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  I don‘t want to hear this! 

Joe, I don‘t want to hear this!  These people can‘t be serious. 

Stop and listen to yourself.  Is it anybody‘s business how a quadriplegic has sex?  The fact that, A, you care and, B, that you asked the question is just disgusting. 

Ma‘am, do you have—and again, this is coming from me in “Scarborough Country”—do you have any standards? 

Still ahead on Tucker‘s show, you know this guy, but can you name the newest Supreme Court justice? 

That answer when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Still to come, America‘s immigrant population is over 35 million, so is it time for the United States to become a bilingual nation?  Then what does it say about us when more Americans know Harry Potter than Tony Blair? We‘ll talk about that in a minute, but first, here‘s a look at your headlines. 

MARGARET BRENNAN, MSNBC ANCHOR:  I‘m Margaret Brennan with your CNBC “Market Wrap.” Stocks soar on a better than expected Producer Price report, indicating inflation isn‘t so out of control.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average surging 132 points on the day, the S&P 500 up 17.  The NASDAQ up just short of 46 points, charting its biggest one day gain in about a month.  Dell shares up riding that rally, up on the day around four percent despite the massive battery recall, which some analysts say could cost the computer maker $200 million.  Dell recalling about four million laptop batteries, which could overheat and catch fire.  Oil futures holding at just over $73 a barrel as the Mideast cease-fire seems to be sticking going into day two.  The price per barrel down 48 cents to $73.05 in New York trading. 

And Miami Heat star Shaquille O‘Neal signing a deal with a Chinese company to produce a line of merchandise, including a special edition shoe.  The Shaq Dunk Man line will be sold in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.  Now back to TUCKER. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Get grandma out of the backyard, it‘s time now for three on three, where we welcome three of the sharpest people we know to discuss three of the most interesting stories.  Let‘s go right to it in Pensacola, Florida, we‘re joined by the co-host of “Ring of Fire,” on Air America, my former law partner Mike Papantonio, from New York, radio talk show host WABC and founder of the Guardian Angels, Curtis Sliwa.  In Chicago we‘ve got democratic strategist and former special assistant to President Clinton, Laura Schwartz.

Mike let me start with you.  Should the United States, and I tried to get an answer from Lynn Cutler earlier, but maybe you can answer this for me.  Should the United States have an agency, a domestic spying agency like the British had, which of course helped them crack this terror plot just last week?

MIKE PAPANTONIO, CO-HOST, “RING OF FIRE” ON AIR AMERICA RADIO:  Joe, we really don‘t need that.  We have a CIA, we have an FBI that has proven time and time again, they do their job.  What we really need is an administration that has a little bit of vision.  For five years, every expert who has looked at this problem has said that we have problems in our ports, we have problems in our chemical plants, in our nuclear plans and if we‘re going to change anything, we have to change the way we take care of our own land here, our own domestic security.  So it‘s not a problem of the FBI, it‘s not a problem of the CIA, it‘s a problem of this administration.  If you‘ll remember, this is an administration where we have a president that didn‘t even read a presidential briefing that indirectly led to 9-11. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But Mike, on the good side of the ledge, we haven‘t had a terror attack since 9-11 and yet there are a lot of people, a lot of democrats, a lot of liberals that don‘t want the United States, don‘t want the NSA to be able to tap phones, don‘t want them to be able to go after financial transfers, don‘t want them, again, to have the type of tools that the British had.  This has nothing to do with ports, this has everything to do with blowing up planes.  So what do we do?

PAPANTONIO:  The difference is we have a constitution that the British don‘t have.  As a matter of fact, 200 years ago we left the British Empire so we could have a constitution.  What you have is right wing neo-cons that would give away that constitution every time they get a chance to do that.  So—

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me take it to Curtis and ask him that question, because that‘s very provocative.  Curtis, are too many Americans willing to give up their constitutional rights for a little bit of security in the airwaves?

CURTIS SLIWA, WABC TALK RADIO HOST:  You know, Mike couldn‘t be more hopelessly wrong.  I realize he wants to make this a partisan debate, but remember the Khobar(ph) towers, remember how they blew up American servicemen in Saudi Arabia and our FBI director went there and tried to deal with the sheikhs in Saudi Arabia.  And they told Bill Clinton, your president, the guy you like, that forget it, we‘re not going to cooperate with you, and then all of a sudden Bill Clinton took the conversation in a different direction.  That‘s why we need a different kind of an agency.  That will bend the rules, not break the rules, but bend the rules. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So Curtis you believe that the United States needs to have a domestic spying agency?

SLIWA:  Ah there‘s no question.  I mean look, they‘re embedded, they‘re amongst us, they could be running a (INAUDIBLE) stand and planning to blow us all to kingdom come and this guy Mike wants to blame Bush and Cheney.  Hey, this is an issue that‘s affecting—

PAPANTONIO:  No, I want to blame you because you don‘t see the connection between the U.S. constitution and what we value as Americans.  You would give that away, simply because you‘re afraid of everything.  That‘s the nature of fear.  It scares people like you, and you know what, here‘s the truth.  Two days, the money we spent two days in Iraq, two days, $700 million, if we took that same money and took care of domestic concerns, we could make sure that we screen all the cargo coming into the U.S.  We could make sure that we have security on subways. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me go back to Curtis and then we‘ll go Laura. 

Curtis, respond? 

SLIWA:  You know Mike, if you‘re a student of history, we had boonce here, people who supported Hitler and Germans and Italians who supported Mussolini.  The day we went to war and remember we‘re at war now, all of a sudden, we‘re all swept up and they were arrested and yes, their rights were violated and they were kept out of sight, out of mind, so they wouldn‘t do any damage through sabotage. 

PAPANTONIO:  They were people in Germany that sounded just like you by the way.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me go to Laura Schwartz.  Laura, politically, the democrats seem to be in a tough spot here.  Most Americans don‘t have the same privacy concerns that Mike and democrats and some libertarians like myself have.  So what do democrats do as they move to the election, where they oppose these domestic spy agencies and they oppose the NSA wiretapping program that most Americans say is fine with me, as long as you‘re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about?

LAURA SCHWARTZ, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  You‘re right, Joe, that‘s what Americans believe and that‘s why it‘s a tough difficult issue for the democrats to talk about because it always pulls in the republicans favor.  You know the democrats, like you say everything you say has got to fit on a bumper sticker to be understood right now by the voting public.  And the problem is that democrats and the liberals, we want whatever program it‘s going to take to prevent a 9-11 ever from happening again.  But we have to protect our homeland, while defending the constitution.  I personally think that an MI‘s type of domestic program in the United States may be a good thing.  It might be the root, the root of our whole problem with the wire tapping program is that there‘s no oversight.  It‘s the president exerting his influence that he really does not legally have the opportunity to do -- 

SCARBOROUGH:  And Laura I‘ve got to say, I was talking to another—I agree with you Laura 100 percent.  The thing that scares me the most about what the White House is doing on these NSA programs, it‘s not that the programs are going forward, it‘s the fact that there is no oversight from the legislative branch, there‘s no oversight from the judicial branch and it‘s very frightening when one branch is making all these decisions unilaterally.  Next, Curtis, why does the world hate the United States?  Well people that don‘t like Bush blame the president‘s policies, but in today‘s “L.A. Times,” Julius Wiggs(ph) says it‘s the foreign policy, stupid, and anti-Americanism won‘t go away even if the democrats win the White House.  So why does everybody hate us, Curtis?

SLIWA:  Well Joe, when did they love us? They loved us in the aftermath of 9-11 when we were weak and we seemed helpless at that time, and they all came and they felt our pain and they were empathetic.  Well you know something? All of a sudden we decided to fight back.  And we launched this war on terror and our president said and we all applauded like seals in his state of the union address that we would have to fight to our children and children‘s lifetime, into every port of call around the world, and now all of a sudden they‘re all upset with us.  But you know something, they take our money, they welcome our tourists, they want to send their children here to be educated.  They can‘t get enough of our culture and movies and then they dis and dismiss us and then they slap us in the face. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know Curtis, I have to say one of the funniest stories I‘ve heard, I‘d better couch this, I don‘t think Abu Ghraib was funny, but one of the funniest stories I heard out of that tragedy was the fact that they had a guy who‘d been abused by our prison guards and he was going to sue the United States and “The New York Times” said, how much money do you want and he said oh I want $10 million or you can let me come to America.  And if you let me become a citizen, doesn‘t that really say it all, that these people may have problems with our policy, but they still want to love America. 

PAPANTONIO:  Joe, you know what says it all? They don‘t hate Americans.  Europeans don‘t hate Americans.  What they‘re terrified of is this incompetent administration.  If you ask our closest neighbor, Canadians, 73 percent of Canadians have an unfavorable opinion of Bush, only because he‘s giving them every reason to do it.  But at the same time, 70 percent of those Canadians like Americans.  38 percent of those same Canadians are more afraid of George Bush policies and republican policies than they are Osama bin Laden.  They‘re not—they‘re not rejecting Americans, they‘re rejecting cats like this Curtis guy who would go to war with everybody, who would have security in our backyard every chance he gets.  They‘re afraid of these neo-con nuts like Curtis is.  That‘s who they‘re afraid of.

SCARBOROUGH:  I have to go back to Curtis, since Curtis‘ name was brought up then I‘ll go to Laura and Laura we‘ll start with you next time.  But Curtis, when I went over to Europe, took my kids over there for the first time, I heard the same thing whether it was in England whether it was in France, they said you know what, we love you Americans, we absolutely love you, but it‘s your president we just don‘t understand, we don‘t like. 

SLIWA:  Yeah and the Canadians right now, since you want to bring them up, our fair weather friends to the north, have voted time and time again in polls to remove their troops from Afghanistan because they‘ve suffered a few casualties.  If we had to depend on the French, the Germans, the Italians, the Canadians, to defend western freedom and democracy, we‘d all be bowing five times a day to the Ayatollah Khomeini. 

PAPANTONIO:  You‘re a perfect talking voice for the republicans.  Because what you‘re saying is what scares the rest of the world.  Look, you had 10 million people show up in the streets, all over the world on February 2003.  You know what? They weren‘t protesting Americans.  They were protesting the incompetence of the republican congress and this administration, that‘s what they were protesting. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I have to say, there are also 10 million people that marched in the streets in the 1980‘s protesting Ronald Reagan‘s policies, which brought down the Soviet empire.  Now here‘s a question that‘s sure to cause some of you some real problems.  Should Americans be bilingual? The latest census data puts our immigration population at 35.7 million, many in the Midwestern states.  So is the English only movement a thing of the past?  Laura Schwartz?

SCHWARTZ:  I don‘t think it is, although I think it‘s very important that we have to recognize the cultures of this great society that have come together for this melting pot, this figurative and literal melting pot that we have in our country.  And I think in communities and neighborhoods, the language of that community, ethnicity is spoken freely and broadly.  But when it comes to English in schools and in our government and as we have seen with the comprehensive immigration reform that has not seen the light of day for the last few months from the congress, is that we need to make sure everyone becoming a citizen has full knowledge of English, can vote using the English language and teach English first, not just second. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So Laura your vote is for English only—

SCHWARTZ:  English first. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What about your vote Curtis?

SLIWA:  Well think about it, some guy in Guinea Besaus, Lovinia, Belarus is going to swim here through shark infested waters to learn English, it‘s the international language.  Then we bring him here, we say multiculturalism, we want to teach you about the great history of the country you left, and we want to teach you your native language.  One nation, one flag, one language, English, because you‘re going to have to talk it, understand it, read it and write it in order to survive.

PAPANTANIO:  Curtis, you are so predictable man. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Mike, are you going to be predictable on the other side? 

PAPANTONIO:  Here‘s the truth.  Yes.  Half of all of Europe, more than 50 percent of all of Europe are bilingual.  Less than 20 percent of Americans are bilingual.  Think about this, Joe.  We are the people creating a global economy.  The U.S. are the people that are saying we need a global economy.  At the same time we‘re saying we need a global economy, are you saying that we shouldn‘t learn different languages, that we shouldn‘t learn different cultures?

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on one second, everybody.  Mike I need, hold on a second, I need Mike to answer this.  Mike, whether you go to France, whether you go to Germany, whether you go to Russia, whether you go to China, whether you go to India, they are teaching their children English.  Why? Because English is the international language of commerce.  If they‘re teaching their children English, shouldn‘t we force people to come to America to learn English for their own good?

PAPANTONIO:  Well they can learn English, but what‘s wrong with forcing bilingual language. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Why?

PAPANTONIO:  Listen to this.  There was a 14 year study that was done by George Mason—

SCARBOROUGH:  I don‘t want to learn Spanish.  Why should I learn Spanish?

PAPANTONIO:  Because it‘s good for our children first of all to know different languages, to know about different cultures, because we‘re a global economy, Joe.  We‘re no longer living in the dark ages. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But it doesn‘t matter whether you go to France or London or—France or China or wherever you go, they‘re speaking English. 

PAPANTONIO:  Do you know why the European common market is such a threat to us? Because they understand that we have to be global.  The U.S.

at the same time we‘re saying we have to be global, we have Curtis here saying, well, let‘s not have people speak bilingual—not willing to be bilingual.  It‘s a ridiculous argument. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re going to have to leave it there Mike.  Thank you Mike, thank you Curtis, thank you Laura, greatly appreciate it.  And again, we need to be international.  I‘m all for free trade.  I‘m just saying when people come to America, they need to learn English just like people overseas are learning English, say they teach their children to learn English so they can get ahead in the business world.  I want those immigrants that come to America to have those same opportunities.  Now coming up, almost every American has heard of the boy wizard, Harry Potter, but how many people can identify the prime minister of England? No, it‘s not Paul McCartney.  That shocking answer coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Still to come, how many more Supreme Court justices can you name?  And can you quickly identify all three stooges?  If you had trouble answering either of those questions, you‘re going to want to stick around for our next segment, which begins in just 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s boy wizard, Harry Potter, who according to a new Zogby poll is better known to Americans than British Prime Minister Tony Blair.  Bet you didn‘t know that was the name of the prime minister.  To find out more of the mind numbing details revealed in this pop culture poll, let‘s bring in the man responsible for designing the questions, Robert Thompson, he‘s the director for the center of the study of popular television, at Syracuse University where he joins us tonight.  Thank you so much for being with us tonight, professor. 

ROBERT THOMPSON, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY:  My pleasure. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Mind numbing details, very disturbing information.  Tell me what you expected to find when you designed these questions? 

THOMPSON:  Well you know we‘ve seen polls like this now for a long time.  Not long ago, we found that many, many, many more people could name all the members of the Simpson‘s family than could name the Bill of Rights, for example.  And we pretty much found the same thing.  Anybody who watches Jay Leno knows when he does that Jay walking, he finds people who don‘t even know what planet they‘re on. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And of course in your case, you set up, like, for instance, a question that asks if people could name more members of the seven dwarfs than of the Supreme Court.  Let‘s look at that and of course we have a couple on each side. 74 percent could name Sleepy and Dopey, only 25 percent could name Thomas and Scalia.  Disturbing stuff, huh?

THOMPSON:  73 percent of those surveyed nationally could name all Three Stooges, 42 percent could name the three branches of government.  But here‘s how I think we have to interpret it.  The general way we read these polls all the time, we throw up our arms and think how will the republic survive, we‘re a nation of idiots, but I don‘t think that‘s really what‘s to be learned here.  First of all, the good news is we know a lot about popular culture and that‘s not a bad thing.  You know that‘s part of the glue that keeps us together.  Part of what being an American is, is knowing your TV shows and your songs and all of that kind of stuff, and we‘ve got that down really, really well.  The other stuff, not so much.  And maybe then it begs the question, why is that pop culture institutions, whether it‘s Hollywood, whether it‘s television, whether it‘s the comic books, popular music, is so good at communicating stuff to us that we retain, whereas the schools, the government, the news media seem to not be able to get any of this stuff through our head. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well they don‘t seem to be able to and let‘s look at the next poll question and the answers, we have two shots of course on the left, Taylor Hicks, just won “American Idol,” on the right Samuel Alito.  23 percent can name Taylor Hicks, 11 percent can name Samuel Alito.  I guess I should take some pleasure by the fact that less than a quarter of the people can name Taylor Hicks.  But here you have Samuel Alito, a man that gets 11 percent.  He‘s going to have more of an impact over the next 25, 30 years on the direction of America‘s culture and America‘s law.

THOMPSON:  Than Taylor Hicks is.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well Taylor Hicks‘ 15 minutes is over, but Alito, more than, really, just about anybody in government right now.  So shouldn‘t Americans, more than 11 percent of Americans know who Samuel Alito is?

THOMPSON:  Well of course they should and the question is then, why don‘t they. And it‘s not as though Samuel Alito‘s name wasn‘t uttered about five million times, I mean you couldn‘t walk by a radio or a TV show.  It‘s just that this information is not effectively being communicated.  I don‘t know how old you are, but do you remember schoolhouse rock back in the 70‘s?

SCARBOROUGH:  Conjunction junction, what‘s your function. 

THOMPSON:  There you go. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m just a bill.  Yes, I‘m only a bill.  See it taught me.  That‘s a great point.  And it‘s just like captain planet taught my kids to be these left wing environmental freaks, TV can have a positive impact, right?

THOMPSON:  I mean, there are more people walking around right now who know how a bill becomes a law thanks to that little cartoon, probably than those walking around who know it the other way.  And Sesame Street, it decided back in the late 60‘s, you can sell kids sugared cereal and soft drinks with Madison Avenue commercial techniques.  Let us take the same quick cutting and talking animals and sell them how to read, how to count, basic manners and socialization and they were very, very successful with that.  I think political leaders, I think educators need to realize that we are beyond the age of the stump speech, that there are more effective ways to communicate and in this culture war, between the popular and the civic, the popular is just so much better at it than the civic. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Speaking of the popular and the civic, let‘s go international for a second and show people out there, the next question that you framed.  Can you name the guy on the left, and the guy on the right? Harry Potter on the left 57 percent, Tony Blair 50 percent, actually that‘s pretty good.  It seems to me I was talking to a former member of the Bush administration who was talking about how we need to get our message out across the world, especially the Arab world that hates us right now.  Could not the answer to that question be what you‘re talking about and that is doing what—exporting what the United States exports best and that‘s our popular culture and spin it in a positive way?

THOMPSON:  Well I mean then the question becomes, who gets to be in charge of that.  And that gets to be a very, very difficult issue because of course we have been very successful at exporting our popular culture, in many cases, more than our automobiles or ideas or anything else.  I think this particular poll most begs the question of how we can learn to—I think it all boils down to education.  It‘s not like the story of the American experiment is boring.  I mean, presidential elections, you know, battles, wars, this is exciting stuff, yet it seems to go in one ear and out the other.  Whereas I think I could probably sing you my baloney has a first name it‘s O-S-C-A-R, for the rest of my life.  Even though I‘ve never heard it since I was five.

SCARBOROUGH:  I tell you what, I look forward to you doing that the next time we have you on the show.  Thank you so much, professor.  Greatly appreciate it.  Still ahead, numerous studies have shown that Americans are getting fatter by the minute, but is obesity really a bigger problem than famine? The shocking results of that new study when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now the biggest story of the day, let‘s go to the lovely and talented William Wolff.  Bill? 

WILLIAM WOLFF, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Joe, thanks so very much. We had time for only one great story, but it is one from the world is out of whack file.  According to a leading researcher at the University of North Carolina, there are about 800 million malnourished people on the planet.  That is of course one of humanities great problems. What‘s out of whack, the same researcher estimates that there are more than one billion obese people on the planet.  That means more obese than starving.  Researcher Barry Popkins says the answer might be higher food prices.  I recommend less Russian dressing and a few billion sit-ups Joe.  And by the way, congratulations on the left wing freak children.  Amazing.

SCARBOROUGH:  That is amazing.  Now Bill I have a quick question for you.  In the (INAUDIBLE) went from the average body weight index, body mass thing where they measure your fat, is 94 percent.  Does that qualify as obese?

WOLFF:  Excuse me? No, but they all vote for you, Joe, so it doesn‘t really matter.

SCARBOROUGH:  We actually, just to break it down, were 94 percent fat, 6 percent oils.  The amazing Bill Wolff, you loved him as a kid, you trust him as a mom.  Bill Wolff, that‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Thanks for watching.  Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.

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

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