updated 8/24/2006 10:54:35 AM ET 2006-08-24T14:54:35

Guests: Josh Gerstein, Pat Buchanan, Neal Boortz, Bernie Ward, Devin Gordon

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Welcome to the show.

Fears of another terrorist threat in the sky today.  Twelve passengers under arrest right now after a Northwest Airlines flight headed for India was forced to turn around and head back to Amsterdam just a few hours ago.  The plane was escorted by two Dutch F-16s after the pilot radioed for help when a group of passengers reportedly began behaving in a suspicious way.

Here now with the very latest on this story, NBC‘s Keith Miller.  He‘s in London.

Keith, what is the latest?

KEITH MILLER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Tucker, the names and nationalities of the 12 people in custody have not yet been revealed.  What is known is that Northwestern Flight 42 on its way to India from Amsterdam turned around shortly after entering German airspace.  The plane, with 142 passengers aboard, was escorted back to Amsterdam by fighter jets. 

According to a U.S. government official speaking to The Associated Press, some passengers were behaving suspiciously.  They reportedly started using cell phones and passing the cell phones around just after the plane took off.  That behavior of course raised the alert from the cabin staff, and we‘re also told, Tucker, that there was an air marshal aboard who also reported to the pilot what was going on. 

One passenger said the people arrested appeared to be of South Asian origin.  Operations at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam continue tonight without disruption.  And also, the national threat level in the Netherlands has not changed.  It is listed tonight as light, indicating to us, Tucker, that perhaps this is a group of people who were just behaving badly. 

CARLSON:  Keith, who were they arrested by?  This was an American carrier. 

Was it an American air marshal?  And are they still being held, these 12? 

MILLER:  They are still being held, Tucker.  They were arrested by airport security and Dutch police. 

We were told that there was an air marshal aboard the flight who had talked to the captain of the plane about the disturbances in the back of the plane.  Mind you, 12 people, that‘s a lot of people to round up. 

We know that they were handcuffed as they came off the plane, but no indication now, at least from the Dutch officials, exactly what the disruption was in terms of keeping them in custody.  They have not been charged with any crime at the moment, so we‘re still a little bit in the dark here. 

But I think it‘s worth pointing out, Tucker, that, you know, if you picked up 12 people, terrorists groups, at least the operatives, don‘t move in that size group.  It‘s usually two, maybe four guys at maximum.  So it‘s all a bit suspicious, still a bit murky.  And we‘re still trying to get to the bottom of it. 

CARLSON:  Well, we‘ll check in when we find out more. 

Keith Miller, thanks a lot.  I appreciate it.

We turn now to the political battle over the war in Iraq which is already shaping the next presidential race here in the U.S.  In the latest salvo, Senator John McCain took aim at President Bush, his new friend and ally.  Here‘s what McCain said yesterday about how the White House has spun the debacle in Iraq. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA:  “Stuff happens,” “mission accomplished,” “last throes,” “few dead-enders.”  I‘m more familiar with those statements than anyone else because it grieves me so much that we have not told the American people how tough and difficult this task would be. 

They were led to believe that this would be some kind of a day at the beach, which many of us fully understood from the beginning would be a very, very difficult undertaking. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  But wait a minute.  John McCain is an assertive, aggressive loud supporter of the war in Iraq.  Why is he turning on President Bush when he‘s still for the war?  Could it have something to do with his own presidential ambitions? 

Joining me now with the answers to that is Josh Gerstein.  He‘s a reporter for “The New York Sun” and he joins us from New York. 

Josh, welcome. 

How do you explain this? 

JOSH GERSTEIN, “THE NEW YORK SUN”:  Tucker, well, I‘m actually in San Francisco today, but I would explain it that...

CARLSON:  Well, close enough.

GERSTEIN:  ... I think we heard—I think we heard from Senator McCain exactly what it is that he really thinks about the war in Iraq, which was that part of the way it was presented to the American people was unfair.  And while the senator‘s program for the last few months has been to try to appear to be behind the president, to try to be in the president‘s camp as Mr. McCain tries to reach out to conservatives in the party as the 2008 primaries get closer, we had a moment yesterday where Mr. McCain in his straight talk fashion was a little bit more candid maybe than he‘s been in the last few months. 

CARLSON:  Really?  I don‘t see see this as straight talk at all.  Let‘s recount one of the things he said.

He said, “The White House has contributed enormously to the frustration Americans feel.  We were led to believe this would be some kind of day at the beach, which many of us fully understood from the beginning would be a very, very difficult undertaking.”

John McCain had no idea the disaster this would turn out to be, and if he did, why in the world would he have supported it from the beginning?  That‘s—that‘s not straight talk.  That‘s a crock. 

GERSTEIN:  Well, I think there is a combination of statements here.  Some of this stuff is derived from stuff McCain has been saying for a while.  But you‘re correct that if you look closely at what he said, he seems to be trying to extract himself from it, saying many of us knew this wasn‘t going to be easy and some of us had these views and tried to warn people about it but they didn‘t listen. 

So, you‘re right.  There is an element here where he is trying to step back from what is seen as a debacle not—not just by liberals at this point, but increasingly by moderates and even by conservatives.  So, you‘re right, he is trying to maneuver himself a little bit here. 

But I do think that he is being honest when he says that he didn‘t agree with a lot of the rhetoric the White House has put forward.  And he has been down there at the White House I think for the last year or so in his meetings there trying to tell them that they needed to change they‘re talk here or they were going to be really caught out. 

CARLSON:  Well, I believe McCain would have done a better job prosecuting this war.  I like McCain.  I covered him in 2000 extensively.  I think he‘s a smart and a good guy. 

However, he is confusing me at this point.  I‘m not sure what McCain believes. 

On the one hand, he comes out and says, I‘m essentially still a neocon.  I believe the United States has a moral obligation to help nations achieve democracy and peace and prosperity and all that.  And then on the other hand, he‘s saying that Iraq isn‘t working. 

Is he still a neocon or is he not?  Is he a realist?  What does John McCain think? 

GERSTEIN:  Well, you know, the neocons think that he is.  They‘re sure that he‘s on board with them.  But I think if you look at his statements—and he did an essay for “Playboy” magazine this month where he said that is basically is a neocon, but then he went on to say that he essentially thinks that it‘s quite possible Americans were sold a bill of goods on Iraq. 

And in particular, he‘s been in a number of conflicts with Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, who is a leading neocon.  For about two years McCain‘s been calling for Rumsfeld‘s resignation. 

So, like I said, the neocons think McCain is in their camp, but if you look at his record on Iraq and even his record on things going back to, say, recognizing Vietnam or the torture issue that has come up in the last year or two, he‘s not exactly in the neocon camp. 

CARLSON:  Not exactly.  He is apparently—or his staff is telling reporters that Brent Scowcroft, who worked for the first President Bush, is one of his advisors, one of his foreign policy advisors. 

Brent Scowcroft embodies the anti-neocon world view.  I mean, that—those just don‘t go together.  You can‘t be a neoconservative and have Brent Scowcroft on your team.  That doesn‘t make sense. 

GERSTEIN:  Right.  That‘s true, and that came from a “New York Times” article on Monday.  And it‘s not entirely clear to me whether Scowcroft  really is advising McCain on a regular basis. 

McCain has been around a long time and is friends with a lot of people.  It‘s interesting, though, that his staffers would float some of these names.

Colin Powell‘s name was floated, Richard Armitage‘s name was floated, along with some of the more standard neoconservatives, like Bill Kristol of “The Weekly Standard” and Robert Kagan.

CARLSON:  Right.

GERSTEIN:  So, there does seem to me maybe to be a straddle going on here where McCain is trying to claim that he occupies the entire foreign policy field that‘s occupied by Republicans, which probably in the long term isn‘t possible but maybe at this early stage in the campaign he thinks he can get away with it. 

CARLSON:  It‘s a pretty broad spectrum for one man to occupy all of it. 

And finally and quickly, can he get away from the war?  Can John McCain in his campaign for president two years from now plausibly run as a guy who is kind of disappointed in Iraq and wasn‘t really for it in the first place? 

GERSTEIN:  I don‘t think he can get away from it entirely, but I do think just as a political reality he has to back away from it somewhat.  I mean, it‘s so unpopular now, Tucker, with so many elements of the electorate, including many conservatives who think that it‘s a mistake and it‘s gone very poorly. 

I think essentially he‘s bending a bit to a political reality, which is that we have no choice.  But if you look at his very specific views on it, he‘s actually saying we should send more troops over there. 

CARLSON:  Right.

GERSTEIN:  You don‘t hear that much out of him these days, though.

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly—that‘s exactly right.  And thank you for reminding the world of that, because we need to remember it. 

Josh Gerstein, thanks a lot. 

GERSTEIN:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Still to come, the author of the top selling book in the country on his charge that the American Southwest is being conquered by Mexico, a third world invasion.  Pat Buchanan joins us. 

And has the war in Iraq stretched U.S. forces to the breaking point?  Are we on the verge of reinstating the draft?  

That story, again, when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Here‘s some numbers that may tell you something about the future of America.  By 2050, there will be almost two and one-half times as many people here as there were in 1960, 420 million.  The share of the population of European descent will be a minority, as it is today in California, Texas, Nevada, and Mexico.

And that minority will be aging, shrinking and dying.  There will be as many Hispanics here, 102 millions, as there are Mexicans today living in Mexico.  Los Angeles and the cities in the southwest will look like Juarez and Tijuana. 

That is all an excerpt from the number one best-selling book on amazon.com today.  That book is called “State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America.”

Its author is Pat Buchanan and he joins us now from New York. 

Pat, welcome.

PAT BUCHANAN, AUTHOR, “STATE OF EMERGENCY”:  Thank you very much, Tucker.

CARLSON:  So there are a lot of—a lot of immigrants in this country.  There have always been.  The argument is, so what?  You know, they add to the diversity that makes us strong, the melting pot and all that.  This is no different than immigration 100 years ago. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, the difference is we‘ve got 36 million immigrants here.  That‘s as many immigrants today as every immigrant who ever came from 1607 to John F. Kennedy‘s election.

So the numbers are astronomical compared to before. 

Secondly, Tucker, we have 12 million illegals.  That is more than all of the Jewish immigrants, Irish immigrants and English immigrants whoever came to America.

CARLSON:  Ever?

BUCHANAN:  Ever came to America.  Those are figures that are right out of John F. Kennedy‘s book, “A Nation of Immigrants,” which I reviewed in 1964 to say that I endorsed the Immigration Act of 1965.  I favorably reviewed Jack Kennedy‘s book.

I reread the book and... 

CARLSON:  But did you like the book at the time?

BUCHANAN:  Oh, I not only liked the book at the time, I like it now.  Let‘s take Jack Kennedy‘s immigration program and every friend I got will endorse it.  It‘s so different than what actually happened, Tucker. 

Jack Kennedy said we‘ve got to change the mix of immigration, keep the numbers.  “My friend, the liberal senator Herbert Lehman, wants 250,000, I want about 157,000.  We can work here.  There‘s not that much difference between us.”  If we talked in those terms today, we could solve this problem. 

CARLSON:  But instead, you say that this civilization, not just America, but Western civilization itself, is perishing, is passing away, is disappearing as Rome did.  That‘s a pretty heavy thing to say.

Why do you believe that? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, Tucker, the reason, let‘s take Europe.  I have a chapter called “Eurabia.”  There is not a single European country except for one, Muslim Albania, which has a population growth which will enable it to survive. 

All of them are below sustainable population right now.  The populations are aging and dying. 

For example, if you take Russia and Ukraine together, they‘ve got—they‘re going to lose about 53 million Ukrainians and Russians between now and 2050.  And into Europe are coming mainly Muslims at a time when Islam is increasingly militant and contentious, as we see in Europe, as we see in Britain, and we certainly saw last summer in France.  And I don‘t know how you stop that when your populations are dying and the immigrants are coming from a culture and civilization which is increasingly hostile to the West. 

America is going to be inundated—we‘ll be the first country—western country to be predominantly third world in national origins.  And the problem is, the newcomers are not assimilating as the Irish did, the Germans did, the Jewish folks, the Polish folks.

CARLSON:  No, they‘re not.  But why couldn‘t they?  I mean, why—look, it seems—I mean, let‘s be totally real here. 

We‘re not going to stop this because vested interests have a stake in it, Democrats and Republicans.  They want illegal immigration.  So there is nothing we can do, apart from hope that these are people who can be assimilated.  Why can‘t we start trying now to make these newcomers to our country Americans? 

BUCHANAN:  Because the same people that want the illegal immigration are opposed to assimilation.  Right now we live in the age of diversity and multiculturalism, where the idea of taking kids and dipping them into English and American literature from the first grade or kindergarten on, the way they used to do in America, that‘s cultural genocide, Tucker.  You‘re not allowed to do that anymore. 

And the folks coming from Mexico, for example...

CARLSON:  Well, you‘re not allowed to teach immigrants to our country our language and our literature?  It‘s our country.  I mean, on what grounds aren‘t you allowed to do that?  That makes me red in the face just thinking about it.

BUCHANAN:  Well, we are allowed—we are allowed to do it, but take a look at the people who are educating the children in this country.  Secondly, the folks who are coming, particularly Mexican folks who are coming simply to work, they‘re loyal Mexicans.  They want to keep their language, they want to keep their culture, they want to keep their music, they want to keep their identity as Mexicans, they want to keep their loyalty to Mexico, and the Mexican government wants them to stay loyal to Mexico. 

They are moving people from another nation into the United States.  This is not Ellis Island.  These folks aren‘t coming here and kissing the ground and saying, “Thank god I‘m an American or I‘m going to be one, and my kids are certainly going to be Americans.”

These folks, they march under Mexican flags, they boo American teams as soccer games.  They are militant, and they have no interest, may of them, in becoming Americans.  And frankly, the Mexican government is interested in basically the reconquista of the American Southwest.  Not militarily—culturally, ethnically, linguistically.  And it‘s happening, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Well, then why—I mean, sum this up quickly for me.  Why would the Republican Party—you make a very smart and I think completely defensible and true case—the Republican Party is destroying itself, ensuring it will be forever a minority party by its support of illegal immigration.  Why would it do that?  Why would Bush and his party act against its own interests and against America‘s interests? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, you know, I describe that in the chapter called “Suicide of the GOP.”  Rove sees correctly, and it‘s because of mass immigration, that the European Americans, or white Americans, quite simply, were 89 percent of the population in 1960.  They fall into 67 percent.  They‘re going to go down to less than 50 percent. 

In other words, they‘re going to be a minority.  That is the core population voting bloc of the Republican Party.  And Rove says the only minority bloc we can get is Hispanics. 

And if we enforce the law and if we enforce employer sanctions and force them to fire people who are illegals, most of whom are probably Hispanics, we‘ll lose the Hispanic vote, they‘ll call us names, we‘ll be like Pete Wilson‘s party in California.  We can‘t have that.

So therefore, they don‘t enforce the laws.  But they‘re committing political suicide.

CARLSON:  Well, they are.  You know, their track record of stupidity and incompetence is long.  So, you know, you listen to them, you make a mistake, in my view. 

The best selling book in the country according to amazon.com by Pat Buchanan, who joins us from New York. 

Pat, thanks a lot. 

BUCHANAN:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Still to come, a race war in prime time.  It could happen on the new season of one of the most popular reality shows in network television.  Details on that.

Plus, Tom Cruise takes a beating at the hands of a Hollywood bigwig.  Will Scientology kill his career?  It seems to be. 

That story when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Still to come, could one of TV‘s top reality shows be encouraging a race war and why you ought to be very worried about a housing bubble, you personally, worried.  We‘ll get that in just a minute.  But right now here‘s a look at your headlines. 

MARGARET BRENNAN, CNBC ANCHOR:  I‘m Margaret Brennan with your CNBC market wrap.  Stocks in the red today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing the day down almost 42 points, the S&P 500 off almost 6.  The NASDAQ off by more than 15.  Housing inventory hitting record highs as home sales slow.  Existing home sales unexpectedly plunging more than four percent last month to their lowest levels since January of 2004.  A surprise surge in gasoline inventories sending oil prices lower.  New York crude closing the day $1.34 off to $71.76 a barrel.  And CNBC has learned Frank Quattrone‘s deal with the government could clear the way for a very big payday.  Yesterday a judge agreed to drop all charges against the former high tech deal maker, as long as he stays out of trouble for a year.  Quattrone may be able to collect on a promise from his former employer, Credit Suisse First Boston, to cough up $120 million in back pay and other compensation if he is cleared in the case.  Now back to Tucker.

CARLSON:  Time now for three on three where we welcome two of the sharpest people we know to discuss three of today‘s most interesting stories.  Let‘s get right to it.  Joining me now Neal Boortz, he‘s the host of the nationally syndicated “Neal Boortz Show” and Bernie Ward, the talk show host on KGO 810 AM.  Welcome both.   First up, could the draft be coming back.  That‘s an obvious question in the wake of news that up to 2,500 discharged U.S. Marines could be forced to return to active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Is the American military stretched too thin, Neal Boortz?

NEAL BOORTZ, HOST OF “NEAL BOORTZ SHOW”:  First of all, hey Bernie, let‘s take this show from Tucker.  

BERNIE WARD, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, KGO 810-AM:  Neither one of us have as good a tan, that‘s for sure.  

BOORTZ:  Well we‘re not as pretty.  I mean look at the opening shot.  

CARLSON:  You‘re radio guys, you‘re indoors in some basement in an office park somewhere.  

WARD:  He is pretty, I give him credit. 

CARLSON:  You guys look great.  

BOORTZ:  But, oh by the way Tucker, I practiced law in Atlanta with Nancy Grace and I love her, she‘s great, she‘s great.  Now -- 

CARLSON:  So, wait, wait, slow down.  You‘ve actually met and spent time with Nancy Grace in a normal environment, does she snarl, the nostril thing, the eye popping, what‘s that about? 

BOORTZ:  She is a southern bell, she is a total sweetheart an incredibly effective prosecutor and very sharp.  And Tucker if they ever catch you, you don‘t want her prosecuting you because you‘re going down.  

CARLSON:  I don‘t want to be on a long car trip with her.  She scares me.  I cross my legs involuntarily every time she comes on the air. 

BOORTZ:  No, she‘s delightful, I love her, I really do.  She‘s just great.  Now—

CARLSON:  So tell me, you can support the war in Iraq.  You can support our efforts to rebuild Afghanistan, but is the fact that, we‘re just running out of soldiers, is that real, do we need a draft? 

BOORTZ:  No we don‘t need a draft.  We need to really produce some great benefits to American men and women who will serve in our armed forces.  We don‘t need a draft.  As a libertarian I‘m against the idea of conscription, but there are plenty of people in this country who will work to defend us, to defend our interests, if you will make it, A, relatively easy to do, and B, to really put together a great benefit package that you honor fully and completely when these people leave the service.  So we can easily handle this.  I think the recruitment figures for all four of our branches show that you can easily handle this without a draft.  Every time we have a call up you have people saying oh, we‘re going to have a draft.  What‘s the purpose there?  I think it‘s just to frighten people. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know, the only time I ever hear calls for a draft are from liberals Bernie Ward, have you noticed that?  I mean it was Charlie Rangel calling for a draft last time I heard. 

WARD:  Charlie Rangel.  Listen, it‘s nice to say that we can recruit with better benefits but the bottom line is they‘re not volunteering, the marines are getting hurt badly.  The army is—Neal said we just have to make it easier to get in, we are making it easier.  We‘re bringing in people who are mentally handicapped, we‘re bringing in people with stress disorders, we‘re ignoring criminal records, we‘re ignoring drug convictions and all of that is being done to try to bring more people into the army.  We‘re not asking for high school diplomas any more.  We have significantly reduced the bar and we‘re still not getting enough people and most American parents do not want their children going to Iraq to fight for a war that they don‘t see any reason for why we‘re in and that‘s the problem. 

If you saw the story, the marine colonel was asked why aren‘t you getting enough volunteers, he had no answer.  And the answer is, because people don‘t want to volunteer to go to Iraq, they don‘t want to go to Afghanistan, there is no great fervor in this country for any of that.  And the president now says we‘re in there for two and a half more years at least and that means they‘ve got some significant problems in retention.  They‘re using stop-loss on the army.  They‘ve got real significant problems on where they‘re going to get the bodies to keep this up.  

CARLSON:  It‘s amazing in light of all of that that the Marine Corps has actually had a fair amount of success in convincing people to join.  I think people who join the Marine Corps know what they‘re getting in an honorable way and good for them.  You won‘t hear me complaining but it does look like there is an impending shortage of liberals in this country.  A new study from Syracuse University finds conservatives cranking out more children than liberals are by a wide margin.  Bad news (INAUDIBLE), here are the numbers, according to this Syracuse University study, your average sample of 100 unrelated liberals has a total of 147 children.  Your average sample of 100 unrelated conservatives, 208, a 40 percent difference.  Why is it Bernie Ward the conservatives have so many more children than liberals?  I think it says something pretty bad about liberals, don‘t you? 

WARD:  Well they don‘t have any hobbies.  You know, if they had something else to do maybe they would be able to accomplish that and of course conservatives get divorces at a much higher rate than do liberals, so they‘re having more and more families with more and more women—

BOORTZ:  I don‘t think we know that at all.  I think that‘s a totally absurd made up statistic actually.

WARD:  Actually we do know the highest divorce rate is in the country is in Oklahoma, the lowest is in Massachusetts. 

CARLSON:  The highest—wait, wait, slow down, slow down.  I actually know about this and the highest divorce rate is in the state of Nevada, not Oklahoma.  And I don‘t think that‘s attributable to the politics of anybody there. 

WARD:  And the lowest is in Massachusetts.  Liberals stay married longer than conservatives do and therefore they have less children.  But the other side of it is, most of us, at least people my age, grew up with fairly conservative parents coming out of World War II and so forth, and we produced an amazing generation of progressives and liberals and there is no reason to believe that the children that are being born now to whatever you want to define as a conservative are not also going to look around the country and see that we‘re at wars we shouldn‘t be in.  Or we‘re running up checks we shouldn‘t have either. 

CARLSON:  That‘s true, you don‘t—generally people vote as their parents did.  But don‘t you think it says something Neal about a world --  

WARD:  For a while they do, but they don‘t.  

CARLSON:  Well, no, actually studies show that, I think it‘s about 70 percent of people vote as they grow older as their parents did at the same age.  But doesn‘t it say something about a  world view, right, if you are confident and happy, if you have bought into a country and its system, if you see a future for yourself, you have children, that‘s kind of the thing you do instinctively to pass on what you see as good.  If you feel insecure as, you know, in countries that are in war, the birth rate goes down.  Then he said something interesting about liberals that they bear fewer children, Neal? 

BOORTZ:  Well Tucker, let me cover a few—first of all about the divorce rate.  That‘s easy to explain, conservatives are much more likely to get married before they have a child than are liberals.  Now also, liberals understand this fertility gap here and they‘ve come up with a marvelous way to handle that, to address it on the other side so to speak.  They‘ve set up this incredible system of government education in this country where even the children of conservative parents eventually end up getting brainwashed into mindless liberals.  So they have the government schools on their side and the comment you just said about faith in this country, the belief in a future, I think that that‘s much more of a conservative trait than a liberal trait.  Then if I have no faith in the future I don‘t think I‘m going to be doing a lot of begetting.  

CARLSON:  Yeah, I mean, it seems to me—

WARD:  Yeah, faith is a wonderful thing, especially when you understand that faith is belief in something that you can‘t prove.  And if conservatives want to believe in something they can‘t prove, be my guest.  But anybody who looks at this country right now, you can look at this country right now and the idea of a parent is you want your child to have a better life than you did.  And if you look at the situation with children coming up now, massive debt coming out of college.  Last month 15,000 more manufacturing jobs gone, we‘re not making anything in this country any more.

CARLSON:  Yeah, but then strike back, I mean strike back, I mean no, seriously strike a blow for a positive world view for hope, children.  I mean there‘s nothing more positive than a child—

WARD:  Go ahead Tucker, Tucker, make your case, make your case for hope, go ahead make your case for hope because I‘d like to hear it. 

CARLSON:  Bernie, my case for hope is implicit.  Back to the here and now.  There is obviously no such thing as shame in reality television, if you‘ve seen it, you know that.  However, CBS may have crossed the line today when it announced that the teams on the new edition of “Survivor” will be divided by race.  The four tribes will be black, white, Asian and Latino.  Now this may or may not be good television but I find it incredibly creepy.  This is already, thanks to liberals by the way, a country that is polarized by race.  Affirmative action, this diversity nonsense, make people think of themselves in terms of their tribe already, and that‘s wrong in my view.  This I think makes it even, this extends it to the realm of popular culture.  I hate this, I‘m not watching this.  Bernie Ward are you?

WARD:  Well I don‘t watch it to begin with but that‘s a whole other story.  I‘m not big on reality shows and as for liberals polarizing this country according to race, I think I remember liberals putting in Jim Crow, I think I remember liberals fighting to oppose the Civil Rights Act and the voting --   Those democrats Tucker, those democrats were not liberals if I remember correctly. 

CARLSON:  No there weren‘t, you‘re right, no that‘s true, they were not liberals. 

WARD:  Ok, so did I say democrats or did I say liberals? 

CARLSON:  No you said liberals that is absolutely a fair point.  I just always like to remind our viewers who may not be well read in American history that it was democrats who created and sustained Jim Crow up until, I don‘t know, about 1964. 

WARD:  It was republicans and it was Richard Nixon and Strachan(ph) Thurman who came up with the southern strategy of telling whites they should vote republicans or the democrats are going to give the blacks everything, a southern strategy to this day that the republicans don‘t repudiate.  So you want to talk about polarizing race, you can look at Lyndon Johnson saying when he signed the Civil Rights Act, we lost the south and it turned out he was absolutely correct and that was all over race.  Well as far as reality TV is concerned, they‘ve already done gender. 

CARLSON:  Right, but look, the difference between race and gender is we know there are physical differences between the genders.  We know that men and women are different, there‘s no denying that.  They‘re physiologically different.  We do not acknowledge essential meaningful differences between the races.  We say as Americans, all people are created equal.  They have the same potential, they are not fundamentally different.  So segregating by race is totally different than segregating by gender. 

WARD:  You see many college recruiters out looking for Asian quarterbacks?

CARLSON:  No, but look—Neal, is this upsetting to you, is this? 

WARD:  I‘m sorry, I didn‘t know that.

BOORTZ:  No, no, it‘s not at all.  It‘s going to make the whole “Survivor” series easy to handicap.  If surviving involves math, bet on the Asians, if it involves treachery, bet on the white guys.  It‘s going to make it a lot easier to handicap, I think it‘s going to be interesting to watch and before we go by the way, I just want to tell Bernie, man I love going head to head to you on these TV shows.  You are polite and a gentleman and it is a pleasure unlike that lady I had to tackle here a couple of weeks ago. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know what that reference is to. 

WARD:  By the way, if it involves jumping, don‘t bet on the white guys. 

BOORTZ:  Well no, and you know swimming, go for the Hispanics. 

CARLSON:  What‘s going to happen is, it will degenerate into a series of stereotypes, which, some of which may be rooted in truth.  But that‘s not the point, they‘re too uncomfortable.  I don‘t know.  No, I‘m serious.  I think it‘s important to pretend, I‘m serious, it‘s important to pretend that those are phony and I think it‘s uncomfortable on a gut level to watch people break down along racial lines.  It was uncomfortable watching it in the O.J. trial --  

BOORTZ:  I‘m on record right now rooting for the white guys.  

CARLSON:  All right, thank you gentleman.  

WARD:  I‘m on record as him saying it‘s important to pretend we‘re not racists in this country.  

CARLSON:  Well, I do think that, it‘s important not to be racist.  Thanks.  A new report shows the brakes officially have been thrown on the housing boom.  Experts are warning it‘s going to get much worse.  We‘ll tell you why owning a home suddenly is a risky proposition.  Plus a year of nationally televised couch jumping and psychiatry lectures finally catches up to Tom Cruise.  We‘ll give you the real story behind his big Hollywood breakup when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Tom Cruise gets dumped.  Did scientology bring about the end of a long Hollywood relationship?  Plus Osama bin Laden‘s former lover speaks right here on MSNBC,  you‘ll hear more about Bin Laden‘s strange obsession with American pop culture.  We‘ll be back in just 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Time to check out today‘s stories that I just don‘t get. 

We begin with one that hits close to home. 

Falling housing market is nothing to laugh about if you‘re currently trying to move.  Realtors across the nation tell us sales of previously owned homes plunged last month, the lowest levels since January of ‘04, while the inventory of unsold houses rose to a new high.  This comes after a five year trend of record sales.  The turn about is the result of climbing mortgage rates and concern about sky rocketing energy prices and possibly just the bubble is bursting.  Here‘s what I don‘t get, why aren‘t more people upset about this?  If housing prices fall dramatically, it‘s not simply going to hurt realtors, it will mean that thousands, millions likely of Americans will find themselves with something called negative equity.  In other words, they will owe more on the house than the house is worth.  Think about that.  Think about what that means for banks, what that means for the American economy and then start to shutter.  It‘s terrifying.  Let‘s pray this doesn‘t continue. 

Well one year after Katrina there is a new storm brewing in Texas. 

And I don‘t get this at all. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They gave roofs over people‘s heads, people had the chance to have baths, air condition, we have TV, we have toiletry, we have things, the necessities that we can live upon.  

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Those are words of appreciation from a Katrina survivor for the aid he and countless others received after New Orleans was flooded last year.  But several apartment owners in Houston, Texas, where many evacuees were sent, now regret ever opening their doors to storm victims.  That‘s because some evacuees have been destroying their new homes, turning those apartment complexes into slums and landlords complain crime has risen since those tenants moved to the neighborhood.  Statistics from the police in Houston bear that out.  Katrina evacuees have been tough on Houston.  Think about that for a minute.  Here‘s what I don‘t get.  The ingratitude.  A storm comes, an act of God, the fault of no one, displaces people from their homes, most of them decent, some of them not decent.  They rely on the goodness of strangers which is ample in this country.  They repay it with violence and destruction.  That‘s outrageous and not understandable or forgivable for that matter.

And now a story that‘s got us asking, has Tom Cruise‘s career finally jumped the couch? 

Yes, Tom is gone, banished from the Paramount lot by the company‘s chairman.  Once Hollywood‘s top gun, this fallen star has been canned because of his recent controversial and sometimes bizarre public behavior.  Paramount estimates Tom‘s antics cost “Mission Impossible III” as much as $150 million in loss ticket sales.  Cruise‘s producing partner says that‘s outrageous, disrespectful, insane and irresponsible.  Here‘s what I don‘t get, why is criticizing Tom Cruise‘s nutty behavior somehow an attack on religion.  No, it‘s an attack on Tom Cruise.  Well for more on Tom Cruise‘s behavior, his future, his big breakup, we bring in Devin Gordon, he‘s “Newsweek‘s” senior arts and entertainment writer.  He joins us from New York.  Devin, welcome.  What‘s the real story here, what caused this do you think? 

DEVIN GORDON, NEWSWEEK:  Well it‘s basically, it comes down to money.  Everything in Hollywood comes down to money.  And the fact of the matter is, Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner‘s Production Company had a far more lucrative deal than almost any comparable “A” list Hollywood movie star.  It was a deal that was struck years ago back in the glory days of Hollywood star power and those fiscal realities just don‘t exist any more.  And that‘s really what drove this.  It wasn‘t jumping on couches.  It wasn‘t the underperformance of “Mission Impossible III.”  Although those were certainly factors.  What really drove this is that he just had a deal that his value just didn‘t justify any more.  

CARLSON:  But it seems pretty clear from polling I‘ve seen any way that his outburst with Matt Lauer on the “Today Show” where he attacked women who take anti-depressants after suffering from post partum depression, that really hurt his approval rating among women, they were repelled by that and that‘s got to hurt at the box office.  That didn‘t have any affect?

GORDON:  Oh absolutely, I‘m not disputing the affect that his behavior has—his rather odd behavior of the past year has had on his box office appeal.  I‘m not sure if it had a deterrent effect to the tune of $150 million.  I think the fact that “Mission Impossible III” was a franchise that really didn‘t resonate with teenagers.  I mean heck, it was the first one in the series in close to six years.  It was just a franchise that didn‘t mean anything to kids and those are the ones who go to movies nowadays.  I don‘t think that was a big deal.  I think it was part of it.  But the fact is he had a deal, his production company had a deal that was exorbitant, it was a deal that was based upon the way Hollywood looked 10 years ago and not the way it looked now when movies are routinely costing $200 million a pop. 

CARLSON:  What I think is remarkable about this, Paramount and Viacom essentially coming out and saying, you‘re too weird, we‘re dropping you, ok that‘s their official explanation.  Think about what that means.  For a Hollywood star to be too weird, Hollywood star, either you think of them living in a bungalow at the Chatteau Mormon(ph) drinking human blood and shooting heroin.  If you‘re too weird for Hollywood, how weird are you? I mean that‘s profound.

GORDON:  I think too weird isn‘t necessarily the problem.  I think because sometimes weird can be perfectly good for your box office appeal, just look at Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton years ago, that did wonders for them.  I think the problem is, is when your behavior, your public image starts to take away from your value at the box office and what these big corporations that now control all the Hollywood studios are saying is do what you want but as soon as your behavior starts taking money out of my pocket, you‘ve got problems.  And that‘s what Hollywood is saying.  It‘s saying that the actors are no longer worth what they used to be worth.  And if they‘re behavior is hurting their box office, they‘re going to be put in their place. 

CARLSON:  Sum it up for me in 15 seconds, from what you‘re hearing when you talk to people who work in the movie business.  Is Tom Cruise unbalanced?  Do they believe that there‘s something really wrong with him?

GORDON:  I think people think that he‘s a little peculiar.  I don‘t think anybody‘s ever accused him of being unbalanced.  He‘s a very control oriented guy who knows what he‘s doing.  And he‘s going to do just fine, he‘s just not going to do it at Paramount.  

CARLSON:  Devin thanks, I appreciate it. 

GORDON:  All right, thanks for having me.

CARLSON:  We told you yesterday that Osama bin Laden has a crush on Whitney Houston.  Next you‘ll hear straight from his former girlfriend about Osama‘s other curious American obsessions.  We‘re coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  It‘s that time, if you read Maureen Dauds column in today‘s “New York Times,” you know his name.  His name is Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST:  That must have been someone else that was a horrible mistake I think Tucker.

CARLSON:  That was you Willie.

GEIST:  Tucker a lot of people ask me, what‘s Tucker been doing lately with his whole “Dancing with the Stars” thing.  Here‘s what he‘s been doing lately.  Yeah, there he is.  Senior happy pants.  That‘s a nice shirt too. 

CARLSON:  It‘s 100 percent silk substitute.  What you can‘t see is the skin tight black mesh wife beater undershirt I have beneath that, for real. 

GEIST:  Oh Tucker, we cannot wait for the show.  September 12, we cannot wait.  In the meantime, we told you yesterday Tucker that a woman who claims to be the former unwilling mistress of Osama bin Laden says in a new book that the Al Qaeda leader was obsessed with Whitney Houston and even considered having Houston‘s husband Bobby Brown killed.  (INAUDIBLE) spoke on MSNBC today and said Houston is not Bin Laden‘s only American fascination. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And Julia Roberts he liked and Iman, the supermodel.  He had a thing for western culture, period.  But he also prayed all day Tuesday and Thursday every day.  I couldn‘t feed him or touch him on those days. 

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

GEIST:  That‘s gross. Tucker, Whitney Houston and Julia Roberts, he‘s kind of a woos, I have this image of him sitting in his cave eating bon bons, watching pretty woman listening to the bodyguard sound track.  Come on.

CARLSON:  I want to know how he feels about Meg Ryan?  Maybe we‘ll have to wait for the next interview.

GEIST:  He loves her stuff, “Sleepless in Seattle,” loves it.  Tucker former middle school teacher Debra LaFave, you remember her, serving three years house arrest for having sex with a 14-year-old student.  That means it takes a darn good reason for her to be allowed to leave home, a reason like NBC‘s own Matt Lauer.  A Florida judge made an exception to LaFave‘s confinement by ruling she could go to a luxury hotel to be interviewed by Lauer for an upcoming “Dateline” special.  The judge stepped in after LaFave‘s probation officer did not approve the trip.

Now as you know Tucker, people on house arrest can only leave the home for essential activities.  So now it‘s not just us saying it, but a judge has declared that Matt Lauer and by extension, the “Today Show” and the entire NBC Universal family is essential to human survival. 

CARLSON:  That‘s the power of NBC NEWS Willie.

GEIST:  That‘s it Tucker.

CARLSON:  We are proud, thanks Willie.

GEIST:  All right, see you tomorrow.

CARLSON:  That‘s our show for tonight, thanks for watching.  Up next, Chris on “HARDBALL”, see you tomorrow.

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

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 NBC.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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