updated 10/17/2006 11:34:13 AM ET 2006-10-17T15:34:13

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, another day, another Republican investigation.  Today, Pennsylvania‘s powerful congressman Curt Weldon in the spotlight as FBI agents raid the home of Weldon‘s daughter, digging for evidence that the Republican chairman improperly steered business to his daughter‘s lobbying firm.

Now, Weldon is the latest in a laundry list of Republicans who‘ve been investigated, forced to resign, indicted or jailed.  With the mid-term elections just weeks away, it‘s got the GOP singing the blues.

With charges ranging from votes being traded for cash, hookers being used to win influence, and Internet predators being protected by Republican leaders, the Republican Party been morphed in the minds of a lot of voters from the Grand Old Party to the Guilty Old Party.  And with elections just weeks away, Foley‘s scandal, Ney‘s guilty plea and Weldon‘s FBI investigations are just three more reasons why the next Speaker is probably going to be San Francisco‘s Nancy Pelosi.

Here now, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and “Time” magazine columnist Joe Klein.  He wrote this week‘s cover story for “Time” magazine on Barack Obama.

Joe, let me begin with you.  We don‘t have to go over the past two years, we don‘t have to go over the past six years of failure since Republicans have come to town.  Let‘s look at the last week.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Ney—no, Ney admits he‘s guilty.  And you‘ve got Mark Foley‘s scandal still going on.  And now Curt Weldon, one of the most powerful members of Congress on the Republican side, also a guy who‘s endangered in his own district, now under investigation by the FBI.  It just doesn‘t get worse for the Republicans, does it?

JOE KLEIN, “TIME” MAGAZINE COLUMNIST:  You never know who‘s going to go down tomorrow.  After all, the “L.A. Times” did a piece I think last January about Weldon steering business to his real estate agent‘s lobbying business.  You know, I think that this is all a part of a big river of sludge that‘s flowing past the voters in this country.  It not only includes the cases of corruption, but it also includes the more general incompetence of the Bush administration, and at this point, especially Iraq.  Things are falling apart in Iraq very quickly.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, and they‘ve been falling apart.  If you read Woodward‘s book, it looks like a lot of the military people think it‘s been falling apart for two years now.  But Pat Buchanan, with all this sludge that‘s going past them, we aren‘t talking about policy.  We‘re not talking about North Korea.  We‘re not talking about Iraq.  I mean, voters are going to be focusing on these indictments, on Mark Foley, on all of these scandals.  I mean, how does the Bush administration remain optimistic about their chances in three weeks?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, I will say this for Bush and Rove.  They tend to stay optimistic, and the president certainly does.  But you‘re right, Joe.  I don‘t see...

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, and that optimism‘s worked in Iraq, hasn‘t it.

BUCHANAN:  Well, no, it—I mean, the—well, you‘re talking Iraq, I agree with Joe, this is the big issue.  Iraq is.  Look, this is like an undertow, this Weldon, this other stuff.  I mean, we‘ve got three candidates, Joe—Ney, Foley, and the fellow down there in Texas, “the Hammer”—whose names are still on the ballot.  We‘ve got some dead men walking in this election.

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  But look, I think there‘s no doubt it‘s getting—they‘re overloading the circuits.  It‘s a constant drumbeat.  I think it‘s that part of it, Joe, people are saying, Look, enough of these guys.  The only thing the Republicans have got going for them is there‘s no enthusiasm at all for the Democratic Party that I can see.  A lot of people are disgusted, disillusioned, angry, worried about the Republicans.  But I really have detected absolute zero enthusiasm for Pelosi and the Democratic Party.

SCARBOROUGH:  But Joe Klein, I‘ve been arguing for a year-and-a-half now that you can‘t beat something with nothing.  But at this point...

KLEIN:  I think you can.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... I think you can.  Yes, I—I...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... go back to 1994, Joe, when we came into Congress.  We won by running against Bill Clinton, but we also talked about Dan Rostenkowski.  We also talked about Jim Wright.  We also talked about the House banking scandal.  And I‘ll tell you, when I talked about that on the campaign trail, people really—they bite into that a lot more than the talk about policy arguments.

KLEIN:  Well, what you had then was 40 years of Democratic control and real arrogance on the Democratic side.  I remember covering it that year and really rooting for the—you know, for the Democrats to get their butts whipped because of the arrogance.

Now, because things are moving so much faster in this society, because we have all—you know, 24-hour cable news, it took the Republicans 12 years to do what—you know, what it took the Democrats 40 years to do.  And I think that Pat is right, there isn‘t very much enthusiasm for the Democrats.  But there is active disdain for the Republicans, and especially among key Republican constituencies like religious conservatives, who are feeling, quite rightly, that these people who talk a good game about values don‘t have any.

SCARBOROUGH:  And you know, at least two people in Washington are still optimistic about next month‘s election, the president and his top political adviser.  Sunday‘s “Washington Post” reports, quote, “Party operatives say Rove is predicting that, at worst, Republicans will lose only 8 to 10 seats.  Bush has publicly and privately banished any talk of losing the GOP minorities (ph).”

Pat, are these two people whistling past the graveyard?

BUCHANAN:  Well, I‘d like to bet Rove some money on the eight seats.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes!

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat, does anybody...

BUCHANAN:  Look, I think...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat, does anybody think—does anybody think that the Republicans will hold onto the House, any serious political analyst?

BUCHANAN:  There are folks I‘ve talked to who say, Look, oh, there‘s a lot of brouhaha about how bad off they are, but the Republicans are loaded with money.  They‘re going to hit attack ads in these final days.  The president has pulled it out in 2002.  He pulled it out in 2004.  And they‘re saying there is a chance the Republicans can hold the House.  And they‘ve got a real possibility because they‘ve got a border state firewall strategy for the Senate -- -  Tennessee, Virginia, Missouri—put the money in there.  They seem to be saying good-bye to Pennsylvania and Ohio.  So I think there‘s a chance they can hold the Senate, pretty good chance maybe.  The House—the House looked dubious.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll tell you what—and if you look at the new ABC News/”Washington Post” poll, it asks likely voters if most Republicans in Congress deserve to be reelected, only 39 said yes, while 56 percent said no.

Joe Klein, if I‘m a betting man, I say it‘s going to be one of these years like 1980, 1994 -- actually, 1974, 1966, where you have this huge landslide.  I think Republicans are going to be wiped out in the House and the Senate.  What do you think?

KLEIN:  Well, there are two mitigating factors here.  First of all, things are so disgusting that the folks may just say the hell with both of them and not come out and vote, which would depress the Democratic turnout, as well.  The other scandal that we don‘t talk about is the scandal of gerrymandering.  There have been deals made in state after state after state between Democratic minorities in the inner cities and suburban Republican legislators who have created all of these safe seats.  So there are only 40, 50 seats...

SCARBOROUGH:  And you know, Joe...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Joe, nobody wants to talk about this, but...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You‘re exactly right.  It‘s politically incorrect, but I know a lot of African-American congressmen and congresswomen that I worked with that were willing to basically screw the Democratic Party and say, I tell you what, give me all of your African-Americans in the western half of Texas, and I‘ll give all of you Republicans safe whitebread seats...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And because of that, the Democrats don‘t have a shot...

BUCHANAN:  Joe, I came into politics in 1966, and we picked up 47 seats with Richard Nixon.  You‘ll never have a wave like that.  In California, Clinton swept the state—I don‘t—in ‘96.  I don‘t think a single House seat changed hands.

SCARBOROUGH:  And that‘s because they cut it up and they gerrymandered it, right?

BUCHANAN:  They cut it up.  Sure.

KLEIN:  Right.

BUCHANAN:  They sure did.

SCARBOROUGH:  And of course, you know, when I was in Congress, I‘d talk to the guy that was right next to me when it was time for reinforcement (ph).  What would happen is, he would say to me, Hey, I‘ve got a lot of Republicans in my district...

BUCHANAN:  You want them?

SCARBOROUGH:  ... you want them?  What am I supposed to say, Joe Klein, no?

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I said yes.  Sure, I got some.  You want some of my Democrats?  He‘s, like, yes, sure!

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  And I‘d say, I‘ll see you tonight.  When we walk off, we both—I mean, but that‘s how it works now, isn‘t it.

KLEIN:  Well, isn‘t it institutional racism of a sort?  And the irony here is, you know, I wrote about Barack Obama this week in “Time” magazine.  He‘s part of this generation of new young African-American leaders who want to appeal to white voters.  You‘ve got Harold Ford in Tennessee.  You got Deval Patrick running for governor in Massachusetts, politicians like Artur Davis (ph) in Alabama, a congressman who really wants to appeal to white votes.  That old way of Civil Rights dividing by race should be over in this country.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I worked with Harold Ford, and I‘ll tell you what, that guy was a trailblazer from the first day that he got into Coast Guard, and it was never about race.  I‘ve just got to ask you about that because I think that‘s one of the most—we‘re going off the subject a little bit here.  But—but Harold Ford I think is one of the most fascinating people in politics.  Pat Buchanan...

BUCHANAN:  Right.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... you talked about Nixon in ‘66.  That‘s when a lot of white voters in the South said, Enough is enough, we‘re voting white, we‘re voting Republican.  What about the chance of a guy like Harold Ford winning in Tennessee this year?  What does that say?

BUCHANAN:  Well, I think Ford—look, I see—I‘ll tell you what.  Well, look, we elected—in Virginia, we elected an African-American governor in Virginia.  And I think Harold Ford‘s got a good shot at it.  But I‘ll tell you, every time I hear him, he sounds like me, Joe.

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  He‘s talking conservative down there.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, that‘s—and that‘s...

BUCHANAN:  He‘s talking Tennessee.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... scary as hell, Pat, to a lot of people.

BUCHANAN:  He‘s talking Tennessee, and he‘s talking tax cuts and strong defense and all these things.  He‘s got a couple of issues that are Democratic.  I think he could win down there, Harold Ford.  And I‘ll tell you, if he does, it‘ll be a good contest between him and Barack Obama for the leadership, quite frankly, and who‘s going to move on up from there.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Joe Klein, only the Republican screw-ups would make a Harold Ford election in Tennessee possible this year.  But if he wins, that could transform politics.

KLEIN:  Never—you know, you should know better than anybody, Joe, and Pat certainly knows.  Never underestimate the importance of skill in politics.  You know, we talk about money and endorsements and all the rest of this.  Skill counts for quite a bit.  And Harold Ford‘s a great candidate.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, he is...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  ... he really is.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Barack Obama.  I mean, what an article you wrote in “Time” magazine about Barack Obama.  There‘s a guy again that breaks out of this old way of thinking when it comes to Civil Rights and...

KLEIN:  And he may be running.

SCARBOROUGH:  And he may be running.  How fascinating would that be...

BUCHANAN:  For the nomination?

SCARBOROUGH:  ... in 2008.  Hey, Pat Buchanan, Joe Klein, thank you.  A great discussion.  I really appreciate you taking time out to be with us tonight.

Coming up next, it‘s “The New York Times” versus Bill O‘Reilly.  We‘re going to look at why the old “grey lady” thinks the Fox News host has a book that‘s not fit to print.  Is Bill a casualty of the same culture wars that he writes about?  Plus, from the people that brought us Nick Nolte and James Brown mug shots, “The Smoking Gun” is exposing all of Hollywood‘s salacious secrets, and no star, especially Tom Cruise, is safe.  And later, the firestorm over Madonna‘s adoption.  Did the “material girl” turned material mom use her money and fame to buy a baby?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back.  Fox Newsman Bill O‘Reilly has a new book at the top of “The New York Times” best-seller list, but the “grey lady” refuses to review it.  And surprisingly, the always humble correspondent sounds like he‘s spoiling for a fight with his favorite nemesis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O‘REILLY, “THE O‘REILLY FACTOR”:  And it is my opinion that the print press in America leans dramatically left.  For example, there‘s not much joy that my book, “Culture Warrior,” will be number one on “The New York Times” best-seller list this coming Sunday.  Yesterday, a writer in “The Times” book review section said that looking at the list with “Culture Warrior” at number one was like sticking a fork in your neck.

(LAUGHTER)

O‘REILLY:  And I, of course, will provide the forks for anybody at “The New York Times” that would like to do that.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  So what in the fork is going on here?  With me now, Matthew Felling.  He‘s the media director for the Center for Media and Public Affairs.  We also have Karen Holt.  She‘s deputy editor for “Publishers Weekly.”  Matthew, let me begin with you.  Has “The New York Times” launched a war against Bill O‘Reilly?

MATTHEW FELLING, CENTER FOR MEDIA AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS:  No, I think—

I think what they did was they fought back.  And I think we—we should have seen this coming a long time ago because a couple years ago, Bill O‘Reilly actually had a book review in “The New York Times,” and it was called “The O‘Reilly Factor for Kids.”  And one of the—one of the tactics to fight against bullies was actually taking a fork to people.  And he‘s been using this, this sort of rhetoric, for years.  And his rhetoric and his argument is airtight.

If “The New York Times” covers him, he gets to make hay with the fact that they just completely—they bombast (ph) him and they nail him.  If they don‘t, he gets to say that he‘s being left out.  And if they give a passing reference, like they did with the (INAUDIBLE) reference, it‘s a win-win.  Happiness used to be a warm puppy.  Now it‘s just Bill O‘Reilly.  He‘s got it all covered.

SCARBOROUGH:  So Karen Holt, is it unusual?  I mean, this is the number one book in the country.  And it‘s not like this guy just has put out one—I mean, he‘s put out tons of books.  Most of the skyrocket to the top of the book charts.  Shouldn‘t he—I mean, I was telling somebody before the show, I mean, “Rolling Stone” would always review Billy Joel albums.  They‘d trash them, but at least they‘d review them.  Shouldn‘t you review a guy that has this many readers?

KAREN HOLT, “PUBLISHERS WEEKLY”:  Not necessarily.  I mean, I can‘t speak for “The Times,” but as a publication that does do reviews, I know that any publication gets many, many more books than they can ever possibly review.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, did you guys review O‘Reilly?

HOLT:  We did review O‘Reilly‘s book, yes..

SCARBOROUGH:  And positive or negative review?

HOLT:  Unfortunately, it was rather a negative review.  In fact, it was so negative that Bill O‘Reilly himself called the head of our reviews department to complain to her on the phone at length.

SCARBOROUGH:  Did he really?

HOLT:  He did.  So apparently, it‘s not only the people who aren‘t reviewing him that are biased, it‘s also the people who do review him.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, what did he ask?

HOLT:  Well, he wanted to know who had done the review.  We don‘t have typically signatures on our reviews.  I mean, we speak, you know, as a publication.  So he wanted to know who personally the reviewer was, and I think he had some sense, from what I understand of the conversation, that the reviewer may have had some bias against him.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Matthew, let‘s just—let‘s forget about O‘Reilly for a second and just talk conservatives versus liberals.  I mean, there‘s no doubt that “The New York Times” slants left, right, especially when they‘re reviewing books.

FELLING:  Well, I think that the book editor would probably say that there‘s some kind of line, but we think we all know that that‘s probably not so.  And they reviewed one of his books.  They reviewed his “O‘Reilly for Kids” book.  And life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is guaranteed in the Constitution, not life, liberty and a book review.

I think one of Bill O‘Reilly‘s problems is that he‘s running out of bad guys.  He used to be about Bill O‘Reilly.  Now he‘s against George Bush.  Now he‘s against Osama.  And now, in his most recent book, his big devil is the secular progressive.  And when you‘re using such a dense term like that to be your bad guy, it doesn‘t make for the most fluid reading.

SCARBOROUGH:  But again—again, just to nail you down here, Matt—you know, you will agree with me—and I read it every week.  I always tell everybody my favorite newspaper‘s “The New York Times,” but I know going in that it is a left-of-center publication that serves a left-of-center readership, right?

FELLING:  Yes.  And at times—at times, it gets to be a little bit too far left.  But I think “The New York Times” actually, since Howell Raines was—was booted out, has come back towards the center a little bit.

SCARBOROUGH:  I agree with you.  I think Bill Keller‘s actually done -

done a great job moving them back to the center, but not so, I think, in the book review area.  Karen Holt, what about you?  Don‘t you agree that “The New York Times” is—I mean, if O‘Reilly goes out tomorrow on his radio show and says that “The New York Times” is left of center and liberal, that‘s not shocking to you, is it?

HOLT:  Well, it‘s not shocking because he‘s said it many times before.  But I think left and right is kind of in the eye of the beholder, and I don‘t think that‘s my judgment to make.  I will point out that fully half of the books on the nonfiction best-seller list right now haven‘t been reviewed by “The Times” yet.  So could it be that they have a—you know, a political vendetta against all those writers?  I don‘t know.  That seems unlikely.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, I—I—they reviewed my book, actually, called it an entertaining eruption (ph).  Said Joe Scarborough‘s mad as hell.  And you better believe I put that on the poster right away.

But I want to read you what “The New York Times” told us.  They said this.  Quote, “We have no hard and fast rules and proceed on a case-by-case basis.  Space in our pages is limited to week to week.”

Matthew, do you buy that?

FELLING:  Well, I buy the fact that, if your argument was true, the volume of books sold dictates what gets reviewed, that just becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The only books that get reviewed will be the popular books.  I think they do have to pick and choose.  I do admit that there‘s probably a little bit of tomfoolery behind the scenes, and they don‘t want to give him any more ink.  Then again, he‘s at number two on the list.  How much does he need this extra press to begin with?  I think it‘s just creating one more bugaboo.  And like I said earlier, it‘s—he wins or he loses.  Tails he loses—I mean, either way—he wins every way, is what I‘m trying to say.  “The New York Times” covers him, he gets great publicity.  If it doesn‘t, they‘ve proved his point.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  All right.  Thank you, Matthew.  I appreciate it. 

Matthew Felling.  Thank you so much, Karen Holt.  And I agree with Matthew.  I do think that there is—speaking of forks, I think they‘re kind of poking back at O‘Reilly.  But again, this guy doesn‘t need “The New York Times” reviewing his books to be a best seller.  In fact, when they don‘t review him, you know, they only make him stronger, sort of like Obi wan Kenobe, Strike me down and I only become more powerful.  I‘m such a “Star Wars” geek.

Coming up next, it‘s “Must See S.C.” when Bono and Brian Williams join forces for a worthy cause, welcoming the newest member of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY‘s family.  Plus, a bench-clearing brawl at a college football game, but it‘s not just the players who are now being punished.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video you just got to see.  First up: From Brangelina to Madonna, you know, it‘s hard to keep up with all the celebrity baby adoptions.  We‘re going to be talking about Madonna‘s in a minute, but first take a look at what Jimmy Kimmel says the African governments should be doing to keep things under control.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  First pick of the 2006 African baby draft, Madonna selects Abjuwale Bwanakespace (ph) (INAUDIBLE).  With the second pick, Angelina Jolie Malaeeka Indika (ph) (INAUDIBLE).  And with the third pick, Jessica Simpson selects Willis from “Diff‘rent Strokes.”

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And finally, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY welcomes its newest member of the team.  Today senior producer Pete Breen (ph) comes to us.  Now, he comes from MSNBC‘s “The Most,” and we thought he was a working class hero, but it turns out he‘s got some friends in very high places.  Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BONO, SINGER/ACTIVIST:  Well, you know, I was just talking with Pete the other day.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, ANCHOR, “NBC NIGHTLY NEWS”:  Oh, who hasn‘t?

BONO:  A lot of people don‘t know that—you know, that he used to babysit me.

WILLIAMS:  Oh, is that right?

BONO:  Yes.

WILLIAMS:  Well, you and the Breens were...

BONO:  Yes, I know.  And I—you know, and I was a difficult kid.

WILLIAMS:  Yes, well, still are (INAUDIBLE)

BONO:  But he‘s—he‘s—you know, he was...

WILLIAMS:  Yes.

BONO:  He was tough.

WILLIAMS:  Oh!

BONO:  He really still is.

WILLIAMS:  Yes.  I feel like I raised him.

BONO:  Not good (ph) to drink (ph).  I know that.

WILLIAMS:  No, no.  But hopefully, he‘ll have better luck at this other show he‘s doing.

BONO:  Oh, really?  Yes, you‘re better off.

WILLIAMS:  Thanks a lot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh~!  All right!  Good to know.  Pete comes to us from “The Most.”  Pete?

PETE BREEN, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” SENIOR PRODUCER:  So that was Friday.  Now, today, what have you got, like, Mick Jagger or something, welcoming me to the show?  What‘s up?

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  I got—I got nothing for you, Pete, but I am expecting the next time U2 comes in town, they get front row seats from you, buddy (INAUDIBLE)

BREEN:  See what I can do.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thanks a lot, Pete.

BREEN:  You got it.

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome aboard.  That was really Bono.  (INAUDIBLE) dress up like Bono.

Coming up: Madonna‘s no stranger to controversy, but even she couldn‘t have expected the firestorm over her decision to adopt a baby.  Is the material mom selfish or selfless?  And later: Tom Cruise swears he‘s straight, and we‘ve got the rare court documents to prove it.  “The Smoking Gun” joins all of us with Hollyweird‘s dirty laundry.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, stars can run but they can‘t hide from “The Smoking Gun.”  Now the Web site has a new book with its best celebrity mugshots and confidential documents from “Hollyweird‘s” past.  And they‘re sharing them with us. 

And what happens when you go to watch a college football game and a hockey fight breaks out?  The latest on the bench-clearing brawl that busted up the big game in Miami this weekend. 

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Going to be talking about those stories in just minutes, but first, the 1-year-old African boy that Madonna wants to adopt is going to be starting his new life as the son of an international pop star tomorrow.  The motherless child, named David, left Malawi in southeast Africa for London today.  He traveled with nanny and a bodyguard who worked for the lady who first made a name for herself gyrating in a wedding dress on national television. 

Aid groups continue to lash out at the singer for bypassing normal adoption procedures in that African country, that Madonna handpicked David from an orphanage and wants to adopt him, even though local laws don‘t allow it.  So is the Material Girl using money and celebrity to buy a baby?  Of course she is.

Here now to talk about it, “US Weekly‘s” Katrina Szish and celebrity journalist Pat Lalama.

I‘m going to start with you, Katrina, because I‘m going to beat the hell out of Madonna for the next five, six minutes.  You defend the Material Girl.  Why should she be able to go to Africa and buy a baby? 

KATRINA SZISH, “US WEEKLY”:  First of all, I don‘t think she‘s buying a baby. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Of course she‘s buying a baby.

SZISH:  She actually—no, she‘s not.  What she‘s doing, she has a charity called Raising Malawi.  And the amount of money she donated, which is some $3 million, will help provide food, education, and shelter for over 4,000 kids.  Plus, there is a baby she is adopting, so she helps many children. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Of course, just so you know, many children, so long as they‘re affiliated with Kabbalah?  I mean, there‘s like this Kabbalah hook with it. 

SZISH:  That‘s not confirmed.  There‘s no Kabbalah necessity or requirement there. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s not what I hear.

SZISH:  No, there‘s not. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But anyway—and, as you know, I read Madonna briefing documents all day.  But you say—OK.  But here‘s the deal.  She gives $3 million, and then they hand her a baby.  They line her up against the wall.  It‘s like a scene out of the “Partridge Family,” where David Cassidy would go pick up girls after shows, line these babies up against the wall, and she picks one out.  Usually it takes 18 months to adopt; she gets it in, what, 10 days. 

SZISH:  She only has a temporary order.  She‘s not the legal guardian of the baby yet.  This is temporary.  A judge is still reviewing her papers.  She has temporary custody.  And the adoption will not be finalized or legalized for at least 18 months.  So that is still by the books.

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s by the books.  Now...

SZISH:  Not that the baby isn‘t traveling to see her right now, but...

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly, going to London.  Pat, Katrina‘s putting up a good fight for the Material Girl, but this stinks.  I mean, let‘s look at some of these things.  First of all, she gets the baby in one week instead of the 18 months.  Foreigners aren‘t supposed to adopt in this country, but she can adopt after giving them $3 million.  She goes up—I mean, look, it‘s just a joke.  She goes up, lines these kids against the wall, picks one of them out.  And we heard it was about orphans; this baby is not even an orphan.  There‘s a dad involved. 

PAT LALAMA, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST:  Joe, Joe, did you ever see the movie “Spinal Tap”?

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, I did.

LALAMA:  OK, it‘s the rock and roll spoof.  Now, first let me say that anyone who adopts a child is a hero.  And so what Katrina says—there‘s so much goodness in what she says, and truth, and what orphanage is going to, you know, turn their backs on somebody who wants to help? 

However, having said that, with Madonna it seems like, “Yes, well, in my record contract, I want a full-time masseuse, green M&Ms, hey, and an African baby.”  I mean, it‘s so cliche.  It‘s so P.R.  The rules being changed, I just don‘t think she did it the right way.  The fact that she‘s doing it, phenomenal.  I think it just smacks of arrogance.  It smacks of, “I‘m too cool.  I‘m not doing it your way, and I‘m not going to sit down explain to anybody why I‘m doing it this way.” 

SCARBOROUGH:  And the thing is, again, “I want an African baby.”  I mean, Angelina‘s already done this.  Now even Courtney Love with the whiskey bottle in her hand is saying, “I want a baby, too.” 

SZISH:  But it isn‘t Courtney Love.  Madonna has two children of her own.  She‘s always been described as a very good mother.  And there‘s no doubt here that she‘s going to give this child a great life that never would have been possible. 

So even if there were some exceptions taken, even if things weren‘t exactly by-the-books, there‘s nothing—I don‘t think there‘s anything bad about this.  You can call Madonna self-serving, but, again, she is a loving mother.  And I don‘t think she did this for the press. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know...

LALAMA:  Joe, Joe, I was just going to say that—I mean, what troubles me is reading about this.  This child is in not what you‘d call a Victorian orphanage.  It was a great place where they‘re well taken care of.  The father—I mean, if he couldn‘t take care of the child now, how is he going to take care of the child when the mother was around?  And now, Joe, he has gone from saying there‘s nothing wrong with this, saying, “Well, I kind of had these thoughts of getting this child back.” 

You can‘t tell me that somewhere in this village there are children sitting on dirt roads with nobody, no food, no help, no orphanage.  I just don‘t understand why it was this clean, little perfect, little hand-picked child.  It doesn‘t make sense to me.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, and, yes, pick the child out, again, lines them up against the wall, picks him out.  And, you know, Madonna is obviously under fire for taking a child who does have a family.  I want to read you what the “New York Post” had to say.  Quote:  “His family loves him.  They just can‘t afford him.  If Madonna possessed a speck of sanity or shame, she would write a generous check.”  That was, of course, from Andrea Peyser.

So, I mean, that does make sense.  If she‘s loving, and she‘s caring, and this father can‘t afford the baby, write the father a check instead of taking the baby away, right?

LALAMA:  Exactly.  Exactly.

SZISH:  Well, maybe.  That sounds like throwing money at a problem.  And then what are they going to do with it?  Great, they have a big check, so they‘re going to invest that check, what?  What are they going to do with that check?  What are they really going to be able to do with that money?

SCARBOROUGH:  Keep their kid. 

SZISH:  But they already put the child in an orphanage. 

LALAMA:  But, Katrina...

SZISH:  The child was already in an orphanage.  The mother died.  Sorry, Pat.  The father already said, “I can‘t take the child.  I can‘t take care of the child.  It‘s going in an orphanage.”  And he said to the A.P. that he‘s happy that Madonna has the child and it will have a great life. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And he hopes he gets a 52-inch plasma screen out of it in a couple of years—Pat? 

LALAMA:  Well, you know what, Joe?  I think Katrina makes—it‘s hard to argue with her, because she makes a great case.  There‘s no doubt about it.

But to me, it‘s like I just don‘t—it seems like flavor of the month, the new cause.  “I‘m cool because I‘m going over there to take care of these children.”  And, you know, I‘ve heard some people say, “Well, wait a minute.  You know, instead of taking the baby out of its natural roots, you know, you do have the faction of people who say it‘s wrong to take the child from his”—even though Madonna says she will bring the child back to his roots, to know his roots, I mean, there‘s all kinds of controversies here. 

It just wasn‘t a clean adoption process.  I‘m not saying it was dirty or underhanded.  I‘m just saying it just seems like there were other ways she could do this.  And what I‘d like to see her do is pick a show—I mean, if she doesn‘t want to get, you know, a “HARDBALL” show, then she won‘t pick Joe, obviously. 

But if she wants to get a softer show, then, you know, she could sit down and say, “Look, here‘s my intention.  This is what I want to do,” instead of seemingly running away from it right now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  I‘ll give you the last word, Katrina.

SZISH:  Gosh, just like that, on the spot?  You know what?  I think, again, the bottom line is maybe it‘s the flavor of the month.  Yes, Angelina Jolie did it.

SCARBOROUGH:  It is the flavor of the month, isn‘t it? 

SZISH:  But then again—it does appear to be.  There is a trend. 

However, nobody gave Angelina a hard time.  And the thing is, Madonna, as Pat agreed in the beginning, is doing a wonderful thing.  And I think all that matters is this kid is going to have a great life, so leave her alone.  Ba-dum-bump.

SCARBOROUGH:  I won‘t.  All right, thank you, Katrina.  I appreciate you being here.  Thank you, Pat Lalama.

LALAMA:  OK.

SCARBOROUGH:  A bench-clearing brawl broke out Saturday during a football game between the University of Miami and Florida International.  I‘m sure you saw it.  Things got so out of control the two teams had to be pulled apart by police. 

Today, officials from both schools suspended 31 players and Comcast Sports Southeast, who broadcast the game, fired analyst Lamar Thomas, a former Miami player, after he made some controversial comments during the brawl, saying, “That‘s what happens when you come to Miami‘s house.” 

Tom Llamas from NBC station WTVJ has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM LLAMAS, WTVJ-TV CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  From rivalry to rumble, UM versus FIU, the first time in college football.  But nobody‘s talking about who won, just who swung.  Nearly 20 FIU players were suspended from the team‘s next game, many of them starters.  FIU athletic administrators and coaches apologized to students and fans from both schools.

DON STROCK, FIU FOOTBALL COACH:  We once again apologize to President Maidique, the faculty, the students, the alumni, everyone involved here at this great university for an embarrassing situation that happened Saturday evening.

LLAMAS:  Thirteen UM players have been suspended by the Atlantic Coast Conference from next week‘s game, including sophomore safety Anthony Reddick, number 26, seen in this video running into the fight, helmet in hand, and striking an FIU player.  The ACC announcing moments ago Reddick is suspended indefinitely. 

In response to the fight, UM President Donna Shalala released an open letter to the university community, where she states, “What happened Saturday night at the Orange Bowl was outrageous, regardless of who started it.  This was an embarrassing display of unsportsmanlike behavior.”

JULIAN KIDDGREEN, FIU STUDENT:  It was embarrassing.  That‘s not the game of football.  That‘s not what it‘s about.  It‘s about sportsmanship, and that was sportsmanship right there.

LLAMAS:  So who did start the fight?  Players point fingers at the opposing sideline. 

JON BEASON, FIU FOOTBALL PLAYER:  I got punched in the face.  I didn‘t punch the guy back because, you know, I wanted to play.

KEYONVIS BOUIE, FIU FOOTBALL PLAYER:  It was a good game before that.  You know, there was a little trash talking, but it was all in fun and games, you know?  We kept patting each other after every play.  But after that, it turned—it wasn‘t fun anymore. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, what a joke. 

Coming up, Jennifer Lopez demands an all-white dressing room.  And Tom Cruise demands that folks say he‘s straight.  “The Smoking Gun” joins us with the star‘s scandalous secrets. 

Plus, it‘s a “View” nobody wants to see.  Rosie O‘Donnell does the nasty on national TV.  E!‘s Chelsea Handler joins us with the gruesome details in “Hollyweird.”  Oh, stop it!

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, it‘s called “The Smoking Gun” for a reason.  From the most embarrassing mugshots on the Internet to the lists of stars‘ demands that they don‘t want you to see, you can find all of it on TheSmokingGun.com.  Now the creators of that Web site have released a book called “The Dog Dialed 911.”  It‘s a new book of the craziest stuff from the site. 

I talked to the book‘s author, Bill Bastone, and I asked him how he came up with that title. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL BASTONE, AUTHOR OF “THE DOG DIALED 911”:  We named the book after a dog in Ohio by the name of Willie.  And he‘s a pointer.  And a couple of year ago, he was riding in the front seat of his owner‘s car.  They were on a hunting trip.  And the owner‘s cell phone was sitting on the passenger seat.  The dog stepped on it with his paw and opened up a call to 911. 

DISPATCHER:  Hello?  It‘s like a whimper.

BASTONE:  They traced the number, sent the cops out to where the cell phone is registered.  It‘s the home of the owner.  It‘s a marijuana growth plant.  So arrests occur, and it‘s all because Willy the pointer was the dog that dialed 911. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s beautiful.  “The Smoking Gun” always finds mugshots where you dig up some just horrible shots.  What are some of your personal favorites? 

BASTONE:  Well, I mean, I think that we‘re probably best known as the place that obtained the Nick Nolte mugshot.  We delivered that to the world, whether—you know, I don‘t know whether that speaks well of us, but, I mean, I think that‘s the iconic celebrity mugshot.  It now essentially stands for, like, Hollywood debauchery.  You know, I mean, that‘s how you illustrate when bad thing happen in Hollywood. 

I mean, I like images that are older images, that tend to be kind of black and white images.  In the book, we reproduce a really beautiful, old, 40-year-old photo of Johnny Cash from a minor El Paso Police Department arrest, you know, sitting there in his black suit, white shirt, sitting down, and also in profile.

SCARBOROUGH:  You also have copies of Tom Cruise‘s lawsuits that he filed declaring that, yes, he was a heterosexual.  Tell us about that.

BASTONE:  Yes, from time to time, he has filed lawsuits against gentlemen who have come forward, often in the tabloids, to claim that they were involved in extramarital affairs with him.  And what he has done every time is he‘s basically filed, like, $100-million lawsuits against these guys and had to file civil complaints, and then usually follow them up with affidavits in which he has to basically say, you know, “I am a heterosexual.  I‘ve always been a heterosexual.” 

SCARBOROUGH:  Is it true that when the NBC show, “Friends,” was first screened for a test audience, they absolutely despised it? 

BASTONE:  Yes, on a scale of one to 100 it rated 41. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Sounds like my math grades in high school. 

BASTONE:  And it was almost universal disdain by people who were in the test audience.  They basically found all the characters immature, self-centered, which, you know, I think was fairly accurate, but it didn‘t stop NBC. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, they made a few dollars ignoring that audience.  Talk about the demands the Beatles made from the documents you uncovered versus, let‘s say, pop divas right now, like Jennifer Lopez? 

BASTONE:  Sure.  We‘ve got the Beatles rider from ‘65, and it shows that they had the most Spartan rider you could possibly imagine.  It didn‘t go anything more than they needed, like, a small trailer backstage at the venue, usually a football stadium or a baseball stadium.  And in that trailer, they needed four cots, and like running water, like bathroom facilities, and kind of like some soda and some ice. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, greatest rock band ever. 

BASTONE:  Greatest rock band ever. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pretty sparse accommodations?

BASTONE:  Yes.  And we like to compare it to the demands of people like Jennifer Lopez, who, you know, I guess is a recording artist of some degree.  And hers is the most insane thing you‘ve ever seen.  I mean, it just goes on for page after page.  Everything has to be white:  white flowers, white carpet, white sofa, white chairs.  I mean, it‘s, you know...

SCARBOROUGH:  It sounds actually like my dressing room. 

Finally, between you were talking about the visual of seeing these typewritten documents...

BASTONE:  Sure. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... and one of them you were talking about was talking about Jimi Hendrix who was just terrible in the United States military because he only liked doing one thing.  What was that?

BASTONE:  He basically got drummed out of the Army because he was a total ne‘er-do-well.  And we reproduced a page from one of the document that basically led to his dismissal, and it‘s the superior talking about what a screw-up he was, about he would show up late, never show up, and couldn‘t follow directions.  But it has one unbelievably great line, and it basically says, you know, Private Hendrix, you know, he can‘t do his Army duties because all he ever thinks about is playing his guitar and what he‘s going to do with his guitar. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, Bill, thanks so much.  Really appreciate you being with us.

BASTONE:  Thanks, Joe.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And coming up next, party girl Lindsay Lohan says she needs a break from acting.  You heard me right.  But, don‘t worry, it‘s not before filming one last steamy scene.  Get ready for your close-up, because we‘re heading to “Hollyweird.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Put down the top and ask your doctor for just a smidge of methadone.  It‘s time to take a drive through “Hollyweird.” 

First up, Rosie O‘Donnell.  She subjected her viewers to her “Nip/Tuck” sex scene today on “The View,” whether they liked it or not.  Take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSIE O‘DONNELL, HOST, “THE VIEW”:  We‘ll be right back after this break.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  I just died a little bit.  The host of “The Chelsea Handler Show” on E!, Chelsea Handler, is with us.  She‘s also the author of the appropriately titled book, “My Horizontal Life.”

Chelsea, what the hell do we make of that?  What was that all about? 

CHELSEA HANDLER, “THE CHELSEA HANDLER SHOW”:  I‘m sorry, I jus threw up in my mouth a little bit.  I‘m sorry if I‘m on a delay. 

Joe, I told you once and I think you know this, and I‘ll tell you again, that I am wildly attracted to Rosie O‘Donnell, emotionally, mentally, vaginally, every which way, OK?  And I don‘t think there‘s a lot of men besides that actor that can actually say they‘ve seen Rosie O‘Donnell with her pants down.  So I think there‘s going to be a lot of jealous guys out there tonight. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I don‘t understand the attraction on any level at all, Chelsea.  This woman seems like an obnoxious bore.  Why did she—like, she actually showed a bit of herself on—not on this show, but on “Nip/Tuck.”  I mean, who wants to see Rosie O‘Donnell‘s backside, other than you? 

HANDLER:  Joe, what are you talking about?  She has an incredible figure.  I have no idea what you‘re referring to.  I mean, not everybody has a 24-36-75 measurement they‘re able to work with. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, she‘s got it, 75 is right.  You know...

HANDLER:  That‘s the bottom part, and she‘s working with a lot.  She‘s got a lot to hold onto, Joe.  Some men like that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, I guess some do.  I‘m not one of them.  Kevin Federline, speaking of strange men, took his unique talent to the world of wrestling but didn‘t get much of a welcome.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  K-Fed in the house.  Give it up for K-Fed.  Give it up for K-Fed, he‘s our homie, everybody.  K-Fed is our homie. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Chelsea, it‘s awful.  The guy‘s screaming “K-Fed is our homie,” they‘re all booing him.  I mean, this guy gets no respect wherever he goes, whether he‘s with Britney, or whether he‘s singing one of these music awards.  I mean, he goes to the lowest common denominator, he goes to a wrestling match, they‘re still booing him. 

HANDLER:  He‘s such a loser.  You know what?  I was honestly thinking today on my way over here, if I had to have sex with Kevin Federline or David Hasselhoff, who would I choose? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Who would you choose?

HANDLER:  And I think I would choose David Hasselhoff.  That‘s how bad this situation is. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That is an awful situation.  Go ahead. 

HANDLER:  Well, you know what?  To be honest, if it was David Hasselhoff, Kevin Federline, or a relative, I might choose a relative. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Well, speaking of disgusting, Lindsay Lohan says that she wants to take a break—I‘m not making this up—and leave Hollywood for at least a year, stop—it‘s sort of like one of these early retirements, like Prince‘s retirement.  But, I mean, Lindsay Lohan, my gosh, how will Hollywood survive?  She‘s been on the scene for at least a 1/50th a century. 

HANDLER:  You know what I‘d like to see happen to Lindsay Lohan?  I‘d like her to quarantine herself on an island with actually Kevin Federline, Paris Hilton, and David Hasselhoff, and maybe Tom, and Suri, and Katie, and they can all go somewhere so that not any of us don‘t have to hear any more about it.  They‘re all so annoying.  And I‘d also like to know why she has so many damn freckles.  There‘s too many.

SCARBOROUGH:  There are way too many.  But, OK, so, clear this up for me.  So you find Rosie attractive, but you find this little girl annoying?

HANDLER:  Well, at least Rosie‘s, like, sober. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What are you suggesting? 

HANDLER:  I‘m suggesting that Lindsay Lohan is up late at night doing a lot of nose exercises.  And I‘m not even going to say anything more than that.  That‘s all I‘m saying.  That could mean anything.  That could be a yoga move for all you know. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, you get us in trouble all the time, and I want to thank you for that.

HANDLER:  No problem. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, finally, here‘s one more chance you could get sued for $100 million.  Tom Cruise and Katie Homes preparing to tie the knot Italian style.  Britain‘s “Daily Mail” reports the couple may get married in George Clooney‘s Italian villa.  What‘s your take? 

HANDLER:  Well, first of all, I read that today that they‘re going to make that.  They bought one of his villas, right, in Lake Cuomo, and they‘re going to make it their European base.  Like your base?  Who are they, the Navy SEALs?  Why do they need a base?  Did they join the Army?  I mean, I don‘t understand what they‘re talking about.

SCARBOROUGH:  They‘re TomKat, Chelsea.  Chelsea, we got to go.  Thanks for being with us.  But please say hi to Mike Albert for me, personal friend of mine.

HANDLER:  Oh, I will.  I will say hello.

SCARBOROUGH:  See you tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

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

END   

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

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