updated 10/19/2007 11:35:07 AM ET 2007-10-19T15:35:07

Guests: Stephanie Miller, Cliff May, Pam Bondi, Steve Musso, Ray Krone, Ray Abruzzo

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up. Under tough questioning from Senate Democrats the president‘s nominee for attorney general unwilling to say that water boarding is torture.  But first, today‘s Democrats and Republicans battled over the national child health care bill known as S-chip and the costs associated with insuring ten million kids.  Lo and behold even that turned into a rallying cry against the Iraq war.  With one Democratic congressman making a personal attack on the president.


REP. PETER STARK, (D) CALIFORNIA:  You don‘t have money to fund a war for children but you‘re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president‘s amusement.


ABRAMS:  Not surprisingly Republicans took the opportunity to condemn Stark.


REP. KEVIN BRADY, (D) TEXAS:  It is despicable to have a member of this Congress accuse the president, any president, of willfully blowing the heads, quote, “Blowing the heads off our young men and women over in Iraq and Afghanistan.”


ABRAMS:  My take.  Guessing most Democrats in the House wouldn‘t support Stark‘s comments and I wonder if it derails the real debate and becomes a verbal pinata , an opportunity for Republicans to seem self-righteous.  Joining us now Cliff May, the president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and Stephanie Miller host of the Stephanie Miller Radio Show.  Alright, Stephanie, what do you make of Stark‘s comment?  Have you ever made a comment that aggressive against Bush on your show?

STEPHANIE MILLER, THE STEPHANIE MILLER RADIO SHOW:  If you don‘t have a recording of it, no I have not.  But you know, I do think that these Democrats need to leave this low-life-kind-of-stuff-to-us radio hosts.  It was a little over the top.  But you know what, Dan?  I also can understand the emotion of it.  People in this country are so sick of this war and the fact that we‘re going to spend a trillion dollars on this Iraq war and we don‘t have money to help poor kids in our own country?  That‘s why emotions are so high.

ABRAMS:  Well, Cliff, here‘s what Stark‘s response was to the Republicans—“I have nothing but respect for our brave men and women in uniform and wish them the very best but I respect neither the Commander in Chief who keeps them in harm‘s way nor the chickenhawks in Congress who vote to deny children health care.”  I mean, on a sort of more substantive note is it fair to make the comparison where they say, you know, this would cost $35 billion a year yet the Iraq war costs $10 billion a month?

CLIFF MAY, FOUNDATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES:  If you want to talk about money, that‘s one thing but what happened here is that Pete Stark crossed whatever red line might be left.  What he said will be broadcast all over the Middle East, all over the Muslim world.  It will be interpreted to mean we are killing people in various parts of the world that our soldiers are doing so and also, there should a modicum of respect if not for George Bush for the office the president.  You don‘t say any president I don‘t care what party blows peoples heads off for his amusement.  That is over any red line you or I or Stephanie could possibly go.

ABRAMS:  I agree with you.  My problem is that every time somebody says something on the House floor or in public, that the right wing doesn‘t like, their argument always is, oh, this is going to be played across the Middle East, this and this.  Put aside, stark for a minute, no one, even Stephanie Miller is not agreeing with what stark said, put that aside for a minute, all right?  I mean, this argument that oh, every time somebody says something that‘s against the war it is getting played all over the Middle East and it‘s going to be horrible for America.  I mean, doesn‘t that effectively mean that no one can question the war?

MAY:  I think actually that we can have a debate over insurance without talking about the president blowing people‘s heads off for amusement or without talking about the war in Iraq and what‘s going on there and whether we should or should not be fighting al Qaeda which is what we are doing right now there.  I think you should be able to have a civil debate in the halls of Congress and I‘m old enough I can‘t remember when that actually occurred.

ABRAMS:  Alright, Stephanie, wanted you to give your final word because I really want to talk about this attorney general and the torture stuff but go ahead final word on this one?

MILLER:  Dan, you know, it‘s like this is what they always say—you Liberals get so emotional.  You know, when is a time to get emotional?  When Americans are dying for no reason in Iraq and we can‘t take care of poor kids here?  Of course it is connected.  All of our money is going into Iraq.  People are emotional about this.  People are dying for no reason in Iraq.

MAY:  Not the debate that we should have, Stephanie, fighting al Qaeda

in Iraq is not -


ABRAMS:  Today the president - alright, let me move on, President Bush‘s candidate for attorney general, Michael Mukasey was grilled by Senators today on a host of issues including torture.  He said the U.S.  should never do it but was unwilling to say that what is known as water boarding is in fact torture.


SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D), RHODE ISLAND:  Do you have an opinion on whether water boarding which is the practice of putting somebody in a reclining position, strapping them down, put a cloth over their faces and pouring water over the cloth to simulate the feeling of drowning, is that Constitutional?

MICHAEL MUKASEY, ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE:  If it amounts to torture, it is not Constitutional.

WHITEHOUSE:  I‘m very disappointed in that answer.  I think it is purely semantic.

MUKASEY:  Sorry.


ABRAMS:  My take.  Come on.  You can‘t say it‘s torture?  Senator Whitehouse defined it for him.  The simulation of suffocation when the suspect is strapped to a board doused with water.  Here is an actual demonstration, the subject a former navy seal who says he hired army instructors to perform this demonstration.


ABRAMS:   Come on, cliff.  Why can‘t we just say that is torture?

MAY:  Dan, you‘re a lawyer.  You can play one on TV.  So, you know full well this is not a matter of his opinion.  He has said torture is something we don‘t do under law, under the Constitution.  What constitutes torture is something he would like if the case comes to him to actually study and listen to testimony, consider evidence.


ABRAMS:  He is not applying to be a judge, Cliff.  He‘s applying to be attorney general.

MAY:  Fine.  As attorney general he would have to look at the

evidence.  He would have to look at -


ABRAMS:   Why don‘t you look at the evidence?  I just showed you the evidence.  I showed you a videotape.

MAY:  I don‘t think this should be used except in extraordinary cases

but if you and Stephanie this - if you have Khaled Sheikh Mohammed with a

ticking time bomb scenario, David -


ABRAMS:  There you go.  That‘s fine.

MAY:  Would you not—would you say -


ABRAMS:  Fine.  Ask that question of Mukasey and say, “Look.  Would we be willing to torture people in particular circumstances?  And I think it is a legitimate debate to have on the ticking time bomb question.  No question.  It is a fair debate.  But I don‘t understand why Mukasey can‘t just say water boarding is torture.  Let me get Stephanie in here.

MILLER:  Dan, it‘s like the old definition of obscenity.  I know it when I see it.  You just showed it.  What person watching right now doesn‘t know that‘s torture?  We are America.  We don‘t torture.  Like Jimmy Carter said the other day if you‘re going to make up your own definition of torture then you can say you don‘t torture.  That‘s why there are international standards.


ABRAMS:  Cliff, the president won‘t even—here is what the president said in the press conference.  He won‘t even define torture in any regard.  Listen.


RICHARD WOLFFE, NEWSWEEK:  What is your definition of the word torture?


WOLFFE:  The word torture.

BUSH:  It is defined in U.S. law and we don‘t torture.

WOLFFE:  Your version of it, sir?

BUSH:  Whatever the law says.


ABRAMS:  I mean, Cliff, you know that becomes another verbal pinata. 

And I‘m not sure it is defined in U.S. law.

MAY:  Well, but that is what an attorney general, that is what a Supreme Curt justice, that is what any of  those folks would have to do is under the law and under the Constitution under relevant international statutes actually find.


ABRAMS:  You‘re suggesting to me Cliff, you‘re saying to me that a candidate for attorney general should not answer a question asked of him by Senators about a specific technique and whether that would be a definite defined as torture because you‘re concerned that at some point he may have to evaluate evidence about whether water boarding is torture?

MAY:  He may have to issue an opinion that has to be considered.

ABRAMS:  So, it‘s a close call.

MAY:  Having someone sit in a 50-degree room for three days.  Is that torture?  Should they have to get that out as well.


ABRAMS:  I want to rack that up again if we can that videotape of the water boarding.  But go ahead, Stephanie.

MAY:  Stephanie, let me ask you this?

ABRAMS:  No.  I don‘t want to make you the subject, Cliff.

MAY:  You said the president didn‘t answer that question properly. 

Stephanie, give me a one-sentence definition of torture.

MILLER:  Dan, my dad is a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials.  OK?  This World War II guys have come forward and have said we don‘t want any of these Nazis playing tough with them and we‘re getting torture.  We‘re America.  We don‘t torture.  You can‘t look at that videotape and say that‘s not torture.

ABRAMS:  To be fair to Mukasey, who you know, I have respect for, I followed his career et cetera.  He is saying we shouldn‘t torture and he is saying we won‘t.  What I don‘t understand and I‘ll give cliff one more chance to answer this, is why on something as clear-cut, you don‘t need evidence, you don‘t need to evaluate, on something as clear-cut as what is the definition—put up the number eight, all right?  As Cliff is answering this question we‘re going to put up the definition of water boarding because it seems Cliff is unclear as to how you define it.  We got the definition of water boarding.  We‘ll put it up on the screen and you‘re going to tell me why the attorney general can‘t answer the question, is this torture?

MAY:  Water boarding is something we do ourselves to our special forces as a way to train them to be tough in interrogation processes.  You can‘t give evidently and neither can Stephanie, a one sentence definition of torture even though you just criticized the president for that.

ABRAMS:  I‘ve just said - I‘ll tell you what?  I‘ll make it real clear Cliff, is water boarding torture?  That is the question.  The answer is yes.

That‘s what Mukasey was asked today and he couldn‘t answer it.


MAY:  An attorney general is not a talk show host and he owes the public much more than I do.


MAY:  You just criticized the president for not being able to define torture.

MILLER:  The international standards say this is torture.  That‘s why there are international standards and a Geneva Convention.  We can‘t make up our own rules about what torture is.

MAY:  What is torture, Stephanie, define it.

MILLER:  I know it when I see it.  If you don‘t know watching that videotape if that‘s torture do you want that done in your name?

ABRAMS:  Geneva Convention defined torture Cliff -

MAY:  And you can‘t define it and Stephanie can‘t.

ABRAMS:  I can get you the definition if you want it, cliff.

MAY:  No.  It‘s not you—if you were being considered for attorney

general -

ABRAMS:  I would be able to answer the question.  That‘s it.  I‘d be able to say water boarding is torture.  That‘s it.

MAY:  You cannot tell me what torture is.  How do you know water boarding is?  Because you know when you can see it?


MILLER:  It puts our troops in danger and it doesn‘t work.


ABRAMS:  Wait.  This is a typical far right changing the subject. 

Mukasey won‘t answer the question.  Neither will Cliff and that‘s it. 

Cliff May, Stephanie Miller, I love Cliff, he‘s great.  Thanks a lot. 

Appreciate it.

Up next: The right wing attack machine Bill O‘Reilly and Rush Limbaugh threatening anyone in the media who tries to expose them.  Rush said he‘d find out where a reporter lives and where his kids go to school.  How do they get away with this and isn‘t even legal?  Coming up.


ABRAMS:  Recently, some of the far right wing talk show host like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O‘Reilly have resorted to threatening anyone who calls them out or even questions them.  Earlier this week, Rush admitted he threatened a reporter he fear was going to mischaracterize him in an article.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, HOST:  We‘re going to find out where your kids go to school, we‘re going to find out who you knocked up in high school, we‘re going to find out what drugs you use.  The guy was screaming on the phone.  Just with.  You can‘t do that.  We still watches.


ABRAMS:  OK.  That threatening rant from Rush sounds awfully familiar sort of like another far right wing talk show host named O‘Reilly.


BILL O‘REILLY:  These people aren‘t get away with this.  I‘m going to go right where they live.  Every corrupt media person in this country is on notice right now.  I‘m coming after you.


ABRAMS:  I mean, what is with these threats?  And is it even legal? 

Here now, Florida prosecutor, Pam  and MSNBC media analyst, Steve Adubato.  Alright, Steve, first of all, let me ask you, look, in terms of the history of talk shows, et cetera - it seems that the far right is getting more aggressive and more threatening than I think they were even three, four, five years ago?

STEVE ADUBATO, MSNBC MEDIA ANALYST:  Apparently these guys are tough.  I have to tell you, Dan, it‘s appalling.  It‘s embarrassing and shocking and I tell you what.  I know there‘s this whole thing going back and forth, who is the left wing who is the right wing media?  Here‘s my view of it.  Everyone, all of us regardless of the political stripes we have, must condemn what we‘ve just heard and it‘s worse.  I read those transcripts as did you, Dan.  When you attack, people because you think they‘re going to criticize you be they callers on a call-on-show or reporters doing a story, you ask about their kids?  I have three little boys.  You‘ve got to be kidding me.  Where is the line Rush?  Where is the line O‘Reilly?  You‘re not that tough.  Deal with the issue don‘t threaten people, it‘s an embarrassment.

ABRAMS:  Here is another piece of sound from Limbaugh.


LIMBAUGH:  We‘re going to find out where you go to drink and we‘re

going to find out how you paid for your house.  We‘re going to do exactly -

we‘re going to say, you know what?  You are no different than Al Goldstein.  You both masturbate.  You‘re no different than Al Goldstein and you‘re both journalists and so forth.


ABRAMS:  I mean, what the heck?  You know, look, there‘s an article today that suggests that they know that the person they‘re talking about is from “Time” magazine.  Pam Bondi, is there any possible legal repercussions?

PAM BONDI, PROSECUTOR:  No there is not.  He did not threaten to do any physical harm.  Of course it is troubling any time you talk about someone‘s children.  However, here he didn‘t threaten to do harm to anyone.

ABRAMS:  You have to threaten someone specifically wouldn‘t you?  I mean, he would have to say about someone to be in legal jeopardy he‘d have to say I‘m going to go and do x, y, or z to this person to say as O‘Reilly does, you know, you‘re on notice I‘m coming after all the corrupt media people, I think the generality there is what protects him, right?

BONDI:  Exactly, Dan.  You‘d also have to threaten to do physical harm and have the ability to carry the harm out.  Here, all this is - is - this is our freedom of speech and what our country is founded on.  You know, we just - we can‘t fight to protect only speech that we agree with.  Whether or not we agree with what‘s been said.

ABRAMS:  It seems, I guess what bothers me about this is this isn‘t just speech.  And I‘m not suggesting there is criminality here but this is specific threats to people.  When you talk about you know where their kids go to school and you talk about coming to get them and coming to their homes, it seems to me you‘re crossing a different line.

ADUBATO:  It‘s not even close to the gray area, Dan.  It‘s not even a debatable subject.  This is a guy, Limbaugh, who should have been stopped a long time ago when he went after Michael j. Fox not on the issue of stem cell research but actually making fun and saying that he was faking his Parkinson‘s disease.  My point is it‘s connected to a pattern of mean-spirited, vicious attacks on people on a personal note.  And O‘Reilly, Mr.  tough guy, you say you‘re going to go after all the people who are corrupt in the media and attack people in public life?  I saw you with Ann Coulter the other night, whose more vicious and mean spirited?  Who says things about people‘s sexuality?  Like John Edwards - I heard you saw about her comment about Jews you had no problem with it.  Bill, you aren‘t that tough when the people who do the things you say are on your show and you agree with them.

ABRAMS:  Steve Adubato, thanks a lot, appreciate it as always.  Pam Bondi is going to stay with us for her segment later on.

Coming up: Talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres continues her new cause on her show and it isn‘t multiple sclerosis, poverty or adoption it is a dog named Iggy, who she wants returned to her friend.  It is hard to believe but there are new developments tonight.

Plus sometimes words have different meanings.  What is warm clothing to one person can mean quiet something else to another.  Let‘s say you might need ear muffs for the kids to listen to what one TV reporter said.  Up next in Beat the Press.



ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s Beat the Press.  First up reporter Lori Wilson from WCAU in Philadelphia was doing a fun segment on misheard song lyrics and read a letter from a woman who confused Whitney Houston‘s song - “Saving all my love for you” for a type of apparel for women.


LORI WILSON:  Well, the woman who wrote in saying that she misheard the song thought it said ‘Coz I‘m shaving off my muff for you.  I don‘t know if muff is a bad word.  Is it?  OK.  Sorry.

MALE:  She‘s from Indiana and you had a sheltered life.  Right?


ABRAMS:  What‘s the big deal?  She thought the song was about a hand warmer women use.  I don‘t know.  Finally I‘ll step aside and let the eclipse speak for itself.  Here is Stephen Colbert on CNN SPECIAL - Planet In Peril which looks at issues threatening life on Earth.


STEVEN GOLDBERT:  CNN is so committed to raising awareness of the depletion of our natural resources they put a six-foot square poster in each of the 2.3 million copies of today‘s “The USA Today.”  That is 13.8 million square feet of planetary peril.


ABRAMS:  Well done, candidate Colbert.  We need your help beating the press.  If you‘ve seen anything amusing, absurd or just right or wrong in the press, go to our website - Abrams.msnbc.com.  Leave us the tip in the box.  Please include the show and the time you saw the item.

Up next: The latest on Ellen DeGeneres‘s drama.  She broke down on air.  Didn‘t tape her show today.  Threatened legal action.  Got a new cause.  All in one week.  Over a dog and now there is new video.

Plus: Live from Atlantic City, 400 pounds of explosives surround what of the most storied hotels right now.  Those would be set off in just minutes.  The legal fight over this continued until just hours ago, this is going to be a sort of thing you don‘t see outside of the movies.


ABRAMS:  We are about to show you a live picture of the 21-story, 500-room Sands Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.  Four hundred pounds of dynamite have been placed around the hotel.  Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.  called this their east coast home.  The casino has been embroiled in a legal battle with a neighboring hotel that ended today.  The fight over what is about to happen.  The Sands expected to implode at exactly 9:30, 30 seconds from now.

Tonight to make way for a new $1 billion to $2 billion hotel.  Thousands have gathered in Atlantic City to what you are about to see live.  it is the sort of event you would usually only see in the movies.  One reason cited by the judge for refusing the neighboring hotel‘s effort that it might be more dangerous to remove the explosives than to go ahead with this implosion.  You see them making the announcements there.  They‘re getting ready to do this.  I can tell you they have put explosives on the first, the second, the fifth, the tenth, and the 15th floors.  The entire process of this implosion should take about 20 seconds.  They have done - put the explosives all in areas which will weaken the building so that when they set those off, those 400 pounds of explosives, you should see this building simply crumble to the ground.  They‘re doing this in an effort to make room for a new, much bigger, much fancier hotel. 

And you can see, though, it‘s pretty close by to other buildings and that‘s why the other buildings, at least one of them, a neighboring hotel, was suing, saying that it would or at least could damage the atmosphere.  It could be Dangerous if this building goes down.  They were saying if there is asbestos in the building. 

But this building going to come down.  They said 9:30 on the dot.  That hasn‘t happened yet.  They‘re doing a bunch of ceremonial stuff with a cake.  They‘re singing happy birthday to the governor, et cetera.  OK.  But the bottom line is that - there, it seems the lights have now gone down.  We‘re expecting it at any minute.  Really, the sort of thing you would only see in a movie generally.  There go the fireworks.  There it is. 

Those are live explosives, not just fireworks, in the Sands Casino in an effort to make that building come down.  The building still hasn‘t come down.  You see the dynamite going off on the various floors.  It looks like it is.  Looks like it may just be fireworks, yet, so far?  OK.  Looks like it may just be fireworks.  Looks like the dynamite hasn‘t gone off yet. 

They‘re just doing the celebration but at any minute they‘re going to set off the dynamite.  It will bring this storied building down.  The first floor, second floor, fifth floor, tenth floor, 15th floor.  All right.  Well they‘re mucking around over there.  They told us it was going to be 9:30. 

They‘re doing all their celebrations and making these - making me think that was dynamite when it was just fireworks making me look like a fool.  What we are going to do is we‘re going to keep that picture up.  And we‘re going to move on.  I can‘t tell.  Is that dynamite?  It‘s not, right?  It‘s just fireworks. 

All right.  So we‘re going to move on.  We‘ll keep talking about another topic and keep up that shot in the corner and when they do it we‘ll show it.  All right.  Keep it up. 

Ellen Degeneres still using her nationally televised show to try to get a dog she adopted and then gave away back to her hair dresser‘s family.  She said this on today‘s show.  


ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST, “THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW”:  I know that people are passionate about this and people have strong feelings.  I love animals.  I have strong feelings.  I want nothing - nothing more than that dog returned to that family.


ABRAMS:  Mutts and Moms shelter gave Iggy to a new family despite this teary plea from Ellen earlier this week. 


DEGENERES:  I feel totally responsible for this.  I‘m so sorry.  And I‘m begging them to give that dog back to that family.  I just want this family to have the dog.  It‘s not their fault.  It‘s my fault.  I shouldn‘t have given the dog away.  Just please give the dog back to those little girls. 


ABRAMS (voice over):  The shelter‘s owner pictured at the family‘s house with the dog in this exclusive video from TMZ says Ellen broke an agreement not to transfer the dog to another home.  Ellen told TMZ she made a desperate, last-ditch effort to get the dog back. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE POLICE OFFICER:  Just give her the dog, please. 

Just give her the dog.

ABRAMS (voice over):  And you can see there from the video, this is the actual day that all of this occurred, when they were battling over where the dog should go.  All right.  My take. 


(on camera):  Ellen Degeneres really wants to be known as a celebrity who championed the cause to get Iggy back to her hair dresser?  Other talk show hosts like Oprah Winfrey started a leadership academy for girls.  Montel Williams tries to find a cure for multiple sclerosis.  Even Rosie reaches out to disadvantaged kids. 

I believe Ellen is a good, caring person.  I‘m sure she‘s involved with a lot of good causes.  But come on, there‘s got to be something else more worthy of her air time and passion than this. 

Joining me now is someone who can really evaluate this objectively for us, the Executive Vice President and COO for the ASPCA in New York City, Steve Musso, and prosecutor and self-proclaimed dog rescue activist Pam Bondi.  Thanks to both of you for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.

BONDI:  Thanks.

ABRAMS:  All right, Steve.  Let me ask you, the ASPCA has been a real straight shooter on this.  You basically think the whole incident is bad for the adoption movement.  I get that.  But tell me what you think should happen now.  I mean, the bottom line is now the dog has been taken away.  Now the dog has been given to a different family.  Do you think that now they should go in and remove the dog from this family and bring it back to Ellen‘s hair dresser? 


Well, if they just adopted out to somebody else, obviously this person is aware of the circumstances.  So, we would hope that, you know, they‘d be sympathetic and give it to this family with this young girl who obviously became attached to the animal within the few weeks that it had it, because it seems like it would be a better outcome. 

Yes, this should have been resolved earlier and there were better resolutions that could have occurred before this happened.  Ellen certainly could have contacted the shelter.  But you know what?  Mutts and Moms should have consulted and counseled these people, plus the old adopters, because there could have been a much better resolution. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Now look, I think everyone agrees, Pam.  I think I should remind my viewers we are continuing to wait for the implosion of the Sands Casino.  Just you know, it‘s a cool picture.  I mean that‘s it. 

And you know, we‘re talking about Ellen Degeneres and Iggy.  It‘s OK.  We can do both of these together.  They‘re still doing all the fireworks there but that building is literally going to come down, explosives on a number of the floors there at any minute. 

All right - but, Pam Bondi, look.  Here‘s what bothers me.  Ellen has the opportunity to make a lot of difference in this world.  And she is spending now three days and now she can‘t even do her show because she is getting so upset about this, over a dog that she chose to give away to her hairdresser.  I mean, it seems to me of all the causes, even animal causes, getting this particular dog back to her particular friend after she gave the dog away is not really a priority. 

BONDI:  You know, Dan, what Ellen did was she was talking about very personal issues on her show and that‘s why she is so popular.  She goes on her show and discusses things in her home life, personal things, and this was very personal and very important to her.  And you really have to have adopted a rescue dog.  You really do, to understand what is going on.  

ABRAMS:  Wait, Pam.  She gave the dog away.  Tell me what we have to understand that we‘re not understanding. 

BONDI:  Dan, the dog didn‘t get along with her cat.  She gave it to one of her dear friends.  She was still having a lot of contact with the dog.  What I‘m saying is she was very, very sincere.  The rules of that adoption agency are there to protect the animals.  Yet now they‘re more concerned about protecting the rules when, in fact, they gave that dog to Ellen without neutering the dog because she could pay for it.  They bent the rules.  All this is about, Dan, is trying to find animals a home. 

ABRAMS:  Pam, hang on one second.  Sorry.  There it goes. 


(voice over):  The Sands Casino.  See you, live, 400 pounds of dynamite just been set off in the Sands Casino to bring that building down.  Boom.


Dust and debris, a controlled implosion as they call it.  There‘s been a legal battle going on up until this afternoon.  You can see all the dust and debris spreading over the area.  Some of the neighboring hotels had been complaining that there was asbestos or could be asbestos in the building, there could be possible health problems. 

But interestingly enough, one of the things the judge said, look, at this point all the explosives are already in place.  We think would be more dangerous to remove those.  There is the governor - Governor Corzine there.  The judge ruled that it would be more dangerous to remove them and there was no actual evidence it would endanger the neighboring buildings.  Let‘s play it one more time in slow motion. 


And slow motion.  Come on.  How much did you guys slow this down?  All right.  Boom.  There it goes.  Kind of a cool picture.  All right. 


(on camera):  All right.  Going back to the Ellen Degeneres - I apologize to Steve and Pam.  Steve, getting back to this Ellen Degeneres question, all right, and the ASPCA‘s position, you view this, don‘t you, as sort of a bad thing in general for adoptions of pets? 

MUSSO:  Absolutely.  There are five to seven million animals that end

up in shelters every year and three to four million end up getting

euthanized for space and lack of resources.  The fact that, you know, they

couldn‘t accept the fact that Ellen couldn‘t have passed it on to somebody

else -

ABRAMS:  Right. 

MUSSO:  Sends a bad signal to folks to say, “Hmm.  I‘m not going to go to a rescue group or a shelter to adopt an animal because, you know what?  They‘re going to scrutinize me too much.”

ABRAMS:  I think you‘re right.  I think that makes a lot of sense.  But again, Pam, I am just still concerned about this being the cause that Ellen Degeneres pursues on her program.  Again, not suggesting she is a bad person, not suggesting that she is not involved with a lot of good causes.  But do you think, if you were advising her, would you say,  “You know what?  Ellen, let‘s make it bigger about pet adoptions rather than just about Iggy?” 

BONDI:  No.  I think this is something very personal that was happening to her and that‘s why she chose to talk about it.  I think she is stopping it now because she doesn‘t want anybody to get threatened, Dan.  The goal here is to get as many animals adopted as possible.  In fact, I think you should look at adopting a puppy now because there are so many animals out there that need good homes.  

ABRAMS:  All right. 

MUSSO:  And I could give you the right web site to go to, to check that out. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Thank you both.  As you say, you‘ve got to make it personal.  Who knew that I was going to be watching a building come down and adopt a dog in one segment?  Steve Musso and Pam Bondi, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it.

Up next we‘ll talk to a man long known as the snaggle-toothed killer. 

He spent ten years in prison.  It turns out he didn‘t commit the crime.  Wrongly convicted based on his funky teeth.  DNA set him free.  And later, we may finally know whether Tony got whacked up to the finale of “The Sopranos.”  The show‘s creator is answering the question.  One of the show‘s co-stars is with us.  Coming up in “Winners and Losers.”



ABRAMS:  We hear a lot about forensic evidence putting people away or clearing them of crimes they didn‘t commit.  But what about when forensic evidence leads to a false conviction?  That‘s exactly what happened to Ray Krone.  He spent ten years in prison for a murder he did not commit.  Half of that time, in a tiny cell on death row.

Krone was convicted using forensic evidence from his teeth.  It took ten years before another type of forensic evidence, DNA, helped clear his name.  We‘ll talk to Krone in a minute, but first a look at his story from the new MSNBC documentary, “When Forensics Fail.”


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER (voice over):  Phoenix, Arizona.  Ray Krone is a 34-year-old bachelor in the prime of his life.  After serving seven years in the Air Force, he has recently received an honorable discharge and has begun to establish himself. 


INNOCENCE:  I liked it out there.  I was starting to be easy to meet people.  I got a job at the post office then.  I bought my own home and was doing well, living a good life. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER:  Krone frequents the CBS restaurant and lounge, a neighborhood hangout where he plays in a dart league.  It‘s at the CBS that Krone meets the bar‘s manager 36-year-old Kim Ancona.  

KRONE:  She was a real nice girl.  I remember talking with her at that time at the bar.  I guess she had a liking for me and talked to her girlfriends about me.  It never went any farther than that. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER:  On the morning of December 29th, 1991, Kim Ancona‘s body is found in the men‘s restroom of the CBS restaurant and lounge.  She has been raped and stabbed to death. 

CHRIS PLOURD, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Her body was nude, spread eagle. 

Clothing had been cut off and was strewn around the men‘s room.  It was

just a very horrific looking crime scene.  The detective noticed Ray

Krone‘s crooked teeth, and he, having seen the mark on Kim Ancona‘s breast

he completely was convinced that that was the mark that made this bite. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER:  The detectives asked Krone to come to the station for more questioning. 

KRONE:  I didn‘t feel threatened or have any reason to feel concerned because I didn‘t do nothing.  And certainly, why would they even think I did anything because I didn‘t hardly know her and I was home in bed.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER:  At the end of Krone‘s interview, he is asked to bite into a piece of styrofoam. 

KRONE:  I just cooperated, and after three hours, finally, they took me home. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER:  The forensic dentist compares Krone‘s dental cast to the bite mark on Ancona‘s breast and concludes that it‘s a match.  Saliva samples also show Krone‘s blood type is consistent with saliva collected off the bite mark.  The detectives believe they have enough forensic evidence to make their case. 

December 31st - Ray Krone is arrested for the murder of Kim Ancona.  The press nicknamed Krone the Snaggle-Toothed Killer.  Eight months later, Krone‘s murder trial begins. 

The bite mark evidence is the centerpiece of the state‘s case.  During the trial, the prosecution‘s forensic dentist shows the jury this video he created demonstrating how Krone‘s dental cast matched the bite mark on the Ancona‘s body.  His presentation is extremely convincing.  It takes the jury two hours to find Krone guilty.  At his sentencing the judge looks for Krone to show signs of regret.  

KRONE:  I told the judge - I said, “I don‘t have any remorse.  I didn‘t do it.  You got the wrong person.” 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER:  Krone refuses to apologize and the judge sentences him to death. 


ABRAMS:  Ray Krone served over ten years in prison before DNA evidence finally cleared him of the brutal rape and murder of that young woman. 

He joins us now.  Thanks very much for taking the time.  We appreciate it.  Is it hard to keep friends and family on your side when a jury has convicted you and they show this evidence which seems so definitive of these bite marks?  Did you ever get the sense that some of your closest family or friends might have doubts? 

KRONE:  Oh, absolutely.  I mean, it‘s a common thing that happens and most of the other guys who are in prison - I mean, they did lose their family and friends.  I was very fortunate that I was 35 when this happened, so my family and friends did know me for a long time before these accusations were made against me.  

ABRAMS:  Did you get a chance - I assume you had a chance to talk to some of the other prisoners there and people would talk about what happened and the crimes they‘re in there for.  Did you talk to them again and again about the fact that you didn‘t do it? 

KRONE:  I really - they didn‘t really care much, and they‘re not ashamed of this.  People always say everybody in prison says they‘re innocent.  The truth is the people would say they‘re innocent in jail before they get convicted, before they get sentenced, but after that, it doesn‘t matter.  But I was able to work with a lot of the guys.  I began studying the law in there.  I figured if I‘m going to fight the system, I‘d better know the system.

ABRAMS:  You were convicted based on forensic evidence and ultimately cleared based on forensic evidence.  What is your position on the use of forensic evidence? 

KRONE:  Thank god for DNA, I guess.  It really is an important thing.  The truth is, though, no matter how good the evidence is, it‘s about the people who collect it and the way it‘s tested.  In my case, there were experts who looked at this bite mark stuff, and one said it was me and all the rest said it wasn‘t me, and the jury still believed the one.  So it‘s kind of amazing whenever we have a trial that there‘s always two sides and two experts who have 180-degree different opinions.  One of them has got to be wrong. 

ABRAMS:  Looks like you had your teeth fixed.  

KRONE:  I did.  That is a whole another story.  I was actually on “Extreme Makeover.”

ABRAMS:  Oh, really? 

KRONE:  Yes.  They said they didn‘t want me being called the Snaggle-Toothed Killer anymore.  They said they couldn‘t give me 10 years back, but could make my teeth straight.  So that‘s really all it is.

ABRAMS:  Ray Krone, thanks a lot for taking the time.  Appreciate it.

KRONE:  Thank you.  My pleasure.

ABRAMS:  When forensics fail, premieres Thursday night at 11:00 p.m.

Eastern on MSNBC.


Will tonight‘s big winner or loser, the Yankees Manager Joe Torre who, believe or not, is rejecting a new $5 million a year offer?  Middle school students caught on tape in a fight you have got to see to believe?  Or make-believe mobster, Tony Soprano?  We finally know if Tony survived the show‘s mystery ending.  We reveal his fate next in “Winners and Losers.” 


ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this 18th day of October, 2007.  Losers, a pair of Florida middle school girls caught on cell phone video, beating up a fellow classmate.  The girl-on-girl brawl was posted on a web site and appears to show two seventh grade girls attacking another female student.  The pair was suspended for ten days, but now the two school girls could face criminal charges for the smack down. 

Our first winner, a TMZ photographer who avoided a smack down with cranky actor Sean Penn, who often acts like a school girl around photographers. 


(voice over):  The paparazzo greeted him in L.A. with an innocent

enough, “Have a good night, Mr. Penn?”  In return -


ABRAMS:  I like him better in character.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  Awesome!  Totally awesome!


ABRAMS:  Loser, Sinbad - called out by the state of California today as a tax cheat.  They published the names of the biggest tax evaders.  Sinbad is in the hole for $2.1 million.  But he was hardly the only sort of celebrity on the list.  O.J. Simpson and Dionne Warwick joined hundreds of others embarrassed clowns who haven‘t paid up. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE ACTOR:  I learned my lesson.  No more lies.  To this brother, no more lies.  Honesty is the best policy.


ABRAMS:  Winners, hundreds of clowns paying homage to their craft in Mexico City.  The never embarrassed jokers descended on the city for the 12th Annual International Clown Convention, chance for the painted-faced funny men to show off their latest tricks and accessories, including of course those larger than life shoes. 

But the big loser of the day?  The New York Yankees who threatened to fire their coach, Joe Torre, if the team didn‘t make it deep into the playoffs, which they did not.  Today, they backed down and offered him a one-year $5 million contract, an offer he rejected.  This from the guy who so many thought would get whacked. 

The big winner of the day?  Tony Soprano, who survived getting whacked in the final episode of “The Sopranos.”  Today the show‘s creator implied Tony actually did survive after that final cryptic scene. 

“Sopranos” creator David Chase is out with a new book about the show. 

And then he says he understands some fans‘ frustration with the ending, but

killing Tony in the final scene would have been, quote, “disgusting.”  Here

now, Ray Abruzzo, who played “Little Carmine” in “The Sopranos.”  Thanks a

lot for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.  What would you have guessed

RAY ABRUZZO, ACTOR:  My pleasure, Dan.

ABRAMS:  What would you have guessed happened to Tony? 

ABRUZZO:  I never thought he died.  I always felt that he lived.  I always felt that David had a plan that life goes on.  Things don‘t get wrapped up in nice little packages, and I think that he took us on that ride.  I mean we know what his life is going to be like.  We watched.  He has to look at the door every time somebody walks in for the rest of his life and David took us on that trip. 

ABRAMS:  Here‘s what he said in his book, or at “Entertainment Weekly,”  “They wanted to see his brain splattered on the wall.  I thought that was disgusting, frankly.  The pathetic thing - to me - was how much they wanted his blood after cheering him on for eight years.”  What‘s the matter with wanting his blood after everything he‘s done, even if they were rooting for him initially? 

ABRUZZO:  Well, I think everybody wanted to be vindicated.  They felt they would feel guilty for rooting for this guy all this time.  And now, all of a sudden, they wanted to alleviate their guilt and have him die and have his brain splattered all over her onion rings, you know.  I don‘t think anybody would have wanted to see that.  

ABRAMS:  You know, Chase doesn‘t seem to be really making it entirely clear what happens in that.   What I just read, he seems to be indicating, well, maybe he lives.  Then he goes on and says. this wasn‘t really about leaving the door open.  There was a clean trend on view, a definite sense of what Tony and Carmela‘s future looks like, whether it happened that night or some other night doesn‘t really matter.  Again, what do we make of it.

ABRUZZO:  That‘s exactly right.  I mean, we saw it.  Everybody that came through the door, you saw the urban guys come in the door.  You saw the guy with the red neck that could have been a cop.  He has to keep looking up at the door. 

That was a moment that he was most at peace with his family, the most we have seen him at peace with his family in all the years of the show.  Yet, he still has to sit facing the door and look up every time somebody comes in, whether he‘s going to get whacked or arrested - something coming out of the bathroom.  That‘s his life and now we know what it‘s like.  So it didn‘t happen that night but a lot of it did get resolved.  He was at peace with his family.

ABRAMS:  I‘ve got 10 seconds.  Do you want to see Tony die in the end? 

ABRUZZO:  No, no.  Not at all.  I wanted to see him alone, frankly, as so many episodes ended.  But no, I like him living on.  

ABRAMS:  Ray Abruzzo great job on the show.  And thank you so much for taking the time.  We appreciate it.  

ABRUZZO:  Thank you, Dan.  

ABRAMS:  that‘s it for the show.  This is actually the final live prime time show that MSNBC will ever air from this building.  We will see you next week from New York in 30 Rockefeller Plaza.  Until then, who knows what will happen to MSNBC World Headquarters. 




Copy: Content and programming copyright 2007 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2007 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.


Watch Live with Dan Abrams Monday - Thursday at 9 p.m. ET


Discussion comments