updated 3/21/2005 9:24:37 AM ET 2005-03-21T14:24:37

Guest: Jack Burkman, James Harris, Michael Smerconish, Al Sharpton, Sarah Flounders, Catherine Crier, Tom DeLay

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  A Florida judge rips up a congressional subpoena and tells Terri Schiavo to drop dead. 

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required and common sense is allowed. 

The United States Congress issues a warrant calling a comatose Florida woman and her husband to testify before Congress.  That historic move was meant to stop Schiavo’s husband from killing her by removing her feeding tube.  Florida Judge George now risks being held in contempt of Congress for ignoring that subpoena and may find himself thrown in jail.

Then, two years after the war in Iraq started, free elections and democracy on the march across the Middle East.  But some liberals are still saying, the war is bad.  Could they hate the president that much?  We’ll ask. 

And should hip-hop music, with its violent, sex-charged lyrics, be banned?  The Reverend Al Sharpton says, in some cases yes.  And he’s in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight to tell use why. 

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  Doctors removed Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube at 1:45 this afternoon, despite an extraordinary last-minute push by Republicans on Capitol Hill to use the subpoena powers of Congress to keep the brain-damaged woman alive. 

Mark Potter is in Florida tonight and he’s got the very latest. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARK POTTER, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Joe, the attorney for Bob and Mary Schindler, the parents of Terri Schiavo, vows to keep fighting wherever he can to try to keep her alive.  But today’s ruling, removing that feeding tube for the third time, was definitely a devastating blow for them. 

But the attorney for Michael Schiavo, Terri’s husband, says that finally Terri’s reported wish to not have to live anymore on life support is finally being honored.  He also railed against the U.S. Congress for intervening in this case by issuing subpoenas and asking for a delay in removing that feeding tube. 

Now, that request was denied today by Judge George Greer.  And then, later today, the Florida Supreme Court rejected an appeal on that matter.  There is one more appeal in this case that rests in the federal courts.  But the family’s biggest hope now and perhaps its last hope rests with the U.S. Congress, where it’s said that an attempt might be made to come up with a bill acceptable to the Senate and the House that would protect Terri. 

The parents, of course, are hoping that this can happen quickly, early next week, even though Congress is out of session now.  As it stands, right now, the feeding tube is out.  Terri is in the hospice facility behind me and doctors say that, if that tube stays out, she could die within the next couple of weeks or so—Joe, back to you. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  With us now to talk about how a state court judge in Florida told Terri Schiavo and the United States Congress to drop dead is Representative Tom DeLay, of course, from Texas. 

Mr. Majority Leader, I must tell you, I’ve seen arrogant actions by judges before.  I myself, though, am stunned that a state court judge would basically tell Congress he’s going to ignore your subpoena power.  What are you going to do? 

REP. TOM DELAY (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER:  Well, we’re going to follow through.  We’re not going to allow a state court judge to thumb his nose at Congress. 

But we’re going to set that aside while we’re still attacking the issue.  But we will follow through on this.  This shows the arrogance of the judiciary, whether it be in the state or the federal.  And it also shows what we’ve been dealing with for seven years in this issue.  We have a judge in Florida that has been spending 4 ½ years trying to kill Terri Schiavo and imposing his world view on Florida law. 

So, when that happens, and he’s doing this, then the United States Constitution comes into play, protecting the life of Terri Schiavo. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Tom, what do you say, though, to your critics that would claim that the United States Congress has no right to get involved in this issue, that this is the domain of the courts, the judiciary, and legislatures should just stay out of it? 

DELAY:  Well, what we’re doing in the bill that passed the House and a bill that passed the Senate is exactly what we’re we would do for death row inmates. 

It’s called due process.  And it’s giving another opportunity for Terri to have this reviewed by putting it into a federal court.  In the House bill, we took an existing statute that allows a federal court to take a case away from a state court and we just expanded that statute to include this situation.  It is common law.  It’s done all the time.  We just want it to apply to the situation that we find ourselves with Terri. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Final quick prediction.  What’s going to happen next? 

How do you save her life? 

DELAY:  Well, we will act Monday one way or another to set up the system to allow federal courts to review this case.  There will be a lot more litigation. 

Between now and then, we have a three-pronged attack, through the courts, subpoenas, letters of inquiry.  When they pulled the tube, it gave us another opportunity to put it into federal court.  So, we’re going to spend the weekend fighting that fight, while we’re negotiating with the Senate on a bill that will pass Monday. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks so much, Mr. Majority Leader.  We greatly appreciate you being here tonight.

DELAY:  Thank you, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  With me now to talk about today’s developments in the case are former Catherine Crier, who has a new book.  It’s called “Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation.”  We also have MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan. 

Judge, let me go to you first. 

Very interesting developments today, to say the least.  Here, you have the United States Congress issuing a subpoena.  And, of course, as you know, the rule is, you have got to do whatever you can not to impede witnesses that testify on Capitol Hill.  And, yet, a state judge in Florida says, big deal.  The doctors say, big deal.  The husband says, big deal.  Is this one more example of judges being out of control and not understanding who’s elected by the people? 

CATHERINE CRIER, COURT TV:  No, I disagree completely.  Sorry about that, Joe. 

This is a situation where the courts have reviewed, reviewed, reviewed.  Cases in the past have gone through the court system.  That’s the way this goes.  Congress, just like the legislature under Jeb Bush, is not supposed to make a bill that affects one single human being.  That is not what that political body was set up to do.  So, their intervention, I suggest, is inappropriate. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, what happens?  Even though it’s inappropriate, there are laws that say that, when Congress issues a subpoena, people have to abide by that subpoena.  Is this not creating possibly a dangerous precedent? 

CRIER:  Oh, I don’t think so, because this woman is incapable of testifying.  Now, if you want to say that her functions are testimony of some sort, that could be provided by videotape, if that’s what’s needed, if they want to review that sort of thing. 

But she—her presence in the halls of Congress will not result in a question and answer, which is the way we consider testimony in this case. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, Congress issues a subpoena. A judge basically just throws it away.  What do you say? 

PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  What I say is this. 

That judge, what he did is sentence this woman to death, even though she is innocent.  Congress has got an obligation to intervene to protect her constitutional rights.  Joe, this young woman is not dying.  This judge is going to issue an order which is going to result in her being starved to death and dying of thirst.  Now, you wouldn’t do that to a cat that you were putting down.  Why is it being done? 

Because there’s a dispute here.  Her husband wants her dead and her mother and father want her alive.  Any judge in his right mind would decide that the best interest of this individual are cared for by the mother and father.  Again, this woman is not dying, Joe.  She’s going to be put to death.

SCARBOROUGH:  Catherine, help me understand this, Catherine. 

CRIER:  OK.

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, the husband wants the wife to die.  The parents don’t.  This guy...

(CROSSTALK)

CRIER:  I think the way you’re phrasing—the way both of you are phrasing is incorrect, if you’re going to talk in terms of the dispute that is really there. 

This husband has been offered $10 million to give away the guardianship and he’s refused because he’s saying, adamantly, it’s not money.  He’s got another relationship.  He’s got kids from it.  But this woman wanted not to have extraordinary measures to keep her alive.  She...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Wait, wait, wait, wait.  We don’t know that. 

CRIER:  No, no, no.

SCARBOROUGH:  We don’t know that.

CRIER:  I’m not saying it’s true.  I’m saying, this is his assertion. 

BUCHANAN:  So what? 

CRIER:  So what?  If I...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  All right, he says that.  Catherine, he says that and they say, we’ll keep her alive.  What does a judge say when you have got one person who says I want her dead and the other two say I want her alive? 

CRIER:  He didn’t say he wanted her dead.  That’s a misstatement.

BUCHANAN:  What do you think he’s doing when he says take out the tubes? 

CRIER:  He says—again, I’m just repeating what his argument is.  He says that she told him—and I know if I was in that position—and that’s a personal call for everyone.  Once this case occurred I went around to everybody, my parents, my fiancee, everybody, going, don’t you do this.

And then I drew up a living will.  Don’t do this to me.  He’s rejected money.  What he’s saying is, I am trying my best to fulfill her request.  And I do ask you, he has not—he gains nothing from her death.  So, why is he doing this?  Why do you think he’s doing this?  He gains absolutely nothing, not monetarily, nothing.  I’m just curious. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thank you so much, Judge.  I greatly appreciate it.  That’s a great way to end it, with that question. 

Now, when we come back, it’s been two years since America went into Iraq.  Democracy is marching across the Middle East and liberals are still saying we shouldn’t be there.  We’re going to be talking about that, the so-called peace rally this weekend. 

And then, look out, 50 Cents.  The Reverend—I put an S. at the end of that.  I shouldn’t have.  The Reverend Al Sharpton in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  And rappers aren’t going to like what he has to say. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Saddam’s gone.  Democracy is on the march across the Middle East.  And, still, liberals and some conservatives are still angry.  I’ll tell you about that when we return. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  War leads to peace.  Now, if you don’t believe me, just ask the leaders of terror groups across the Middle East, who are now suing for peace.  It’s time for tonight’s “Real Deal.” 

This weekend anti-war activists are going to take to the streets of New York and across America to protest America’s war effort in Iraq.  Well, of course, this is happening despite the fact that there is no doubt among all neutral observers the fact that removing Saddam Hussein from power led to the first-ever free elections in Iraq.  Even the dazed and confused editorial page of “The New York Times” reluctantly had to admit that. 

Reasonable people simply cannot disagree on the fact, on the geopolitical reality that those successful elections led to freedom marches in Lebanon, where, this week, one million citizens demanded the end of Ba’athist rule and Hezbollah-sponsored terrorism in their country.  And, today, we learned that terror organizations Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are declaring an end to terror attacks while they seek, for the first time, for the first time ever, a peaceful settlement with Israel and the United States. 

Like President Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon has told the world that strength is really the only way to bring terrorists to the negotiating table.  He’s being proven right again.  Likewise, George W. Bush learned from Ronald Reagan that thugs just don’t respect concessions.  They respect strength.  That simple truth has led to free elections in Afghanistan and the inauguration of the first democratically elected president there in the nation’s history. 

American troops also ensured the same for Iraq, which led to the flowering of democracy in Lebanon, in Palestine and even Egypt, who responded to a scolding from America by promising free elections and the release from prison of its most well-known democratic activists.  Ironically, the same protesters who are going to be cursing this war of liberation, this president, and this country’s troops are many of the same force whose fought against Ronald Reagan’s liberation efforts in Central America and Europe in the 1980s. 

I mean, these people absolutely convulsed in protest when Reagan dared to call nuclear weapons deployed in Western Europe the peacekeepers.  Millions marched in the streets.  They predicted Reagan’s actions would destroy American alliances in Europe and could possibly lead to World War III. 

Sound familiar?  Well, if there’s any doubt that—these liberals had their way in the 1980s, I believe communists would still be ruling tens of millions in Central America and hundreds of millions in Eastern Europe and Russia. 

Now, freedom is on the march again in the most repressive region in the world, the Middle East.  It’s disturbing to me at least that many of these left-wing political types are going to take to the streets to condemn the very actions that have led to the spread of freedom across the world. 

Sadly, it proves to me once again that too many liberals and leftists dislike this president so much that it seems they would rather see American troops lose overseas than see George Bush win at home.  And that’s tonight’s “Real Deal.” 

With us to talk now about the historic events and the two-year anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion in Iraq and the protest that it is going to spark this weekend is MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan.  He opposed the war.  We got GOP strategist Jack Burkman, who supported the war.  And we’ve got Sarah Flounders.  She’s with TroopsOutNow.org.  She’s organizing the anti-war protests in New York City and obviously agrees with Pat Buchanan.  She think this war was the wrong thing to do. 

Sarah, you’ve heard my opinion.  Now tell America, what is your opinion?  Why you are holding these protests this weekend?

SARAH FLOUNDERS, TROOPSOUTNOW.ORG:  By every poll today, a majority of the population in the United States is against the war, is against the continued occupation. 

Tomorrow, there will be hundreds of demonstrations taking place across the United States and globally, including tens of thousands of people who will be marching here in New York from Harlem down to Central Park.  And their demand, the demand of all of these people, is troops out now.  Fund our cities.  We need money for health care, for education, for jobs programs, not endless war.  And we’ll be joined by G.I.s, by veterans, by military families, students. 

(CROSSTALK)

JACK BURKMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Let me ask you a question.  I’ve talked a lot of wounded troops.  I go pretty regularly to Bethesda Naval and Walter Reed.  Have you ever talked to any wounded soldiers?  I’m curious as to who you represent.

The wounded soldiers—I’ve seen people getting prostheses, people who lose arms and legs.  These guys can’t wait to get back to their unit;

99 percent of the people I’ve talked to can’t wait to get back there.  As for the American people, they reelected George Bush, a one-issue campaign.  It was John Kerry, the Democrats, you remember, who put it on the ballot, plain and simple.  I thought it was stupid.  He did it.  But by 3.5 million votes, they elected George Bush.  So, I’m curious, who do you represent? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Sarah, respond to that.

FLOUNDERS:  Enlistments rates are now at an all-time low, less than 30 percent below what it should be.  There’s more than 6,000 soldiers who have refused to return to their units and go back to Iraq.  This is a national phenomenon.  There are tens of thousands of people who will be marching tomorrow.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Sarah, there are—in a couple of services—hold on a second, Sarah.  Sarah, hold on.  Let’s take this one fact at a time.  In a couple of the branches of the military, recruitment numbers are lower.  In two other branches, the Navy and the Air Force, they’re higher. 

I want you, if you can—respond to what I said earlier, though.  Peace appears to be breaking out across the Middle East from Lebanon to Afghanistan.  Some incredible things are happening.  Terror groups are laying down their weapons, talking about democracy.  Isn’t that something we should all celebrate and continue to encourage? 

FLOUNDERS:  The whole world knows that this is a war for oil.  That’s why it was fought. 

SCARBOROUGH:  The whole world doesn’t know that. 

FLOUNDERS:  It was a war that was entirely based on a lie and a fraud. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Come on, Sarah.  Sarah, answer my question. 

FLOUNDERS:  It is a war that is not bringing democracy to the people of Iraq.  It is bringing endless occupation. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It’s not.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let’s bring in Pat Buchanan. 

(CROSSTALK)

FLOUNDERS:  ... tens of thousands of deaths to the people in Iraq.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.  We have got an ideologue here. 

Pat Buchanan, let me bring you in here.  You’re somebody who is known as a conservative.  You opposed this war.  I’m trying to talk reasonably with Sarah, asking her if she’s not excited about what’s happening, the spread of freedom across the Middle East.  And she says it’s all about oil.  Now, you opposed the war.  Do you agree with Sarah? 

BUCHANAN:  No, I don’t agree with went to war for oil at all. 

And I do think the election in Iraq was a terrific thing.  And I do like what the Lebanese are trying to do in forcing the Syrians out.  But I’m not all that terribly optimistic.  Hamas carried the elections in Gaza by 70 percent.  And I don’t agree with the earlier statement, Joe, that Hamas is really interested in peace.  Hezbollah...

SCARBOROUGH:  What are they doing? 

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  They want power first, Joe.  If you think they’re going to get—make peace with the Israelis, short of getting Jerusalem and the entire West Bank, you’re mistaken.  Secondly, if you...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second, Jack.  Hold on.

Pat, though...

BUCHANAN:  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  The fact of the matter is, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, these terror outfits understand that democracy is the wave of the future in the Middle East.  They cannot fight against the United States, Israel and a million people in their own streets protesting for democracy. 

BUCHANAN:  But, Joe, Joe, let’s take Hezbollah.  They want elections.  They have only got 12 seats in the parliament now.  You hold elections in Lebanon, they’ll get 40 percent of the seats in parliament. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What are you saying we do?  We keep the Ba’athists there? 

BUCHANAN:  No.  I think it’s a good thing.  I think it’s a good thing, but don’t believe that Hezbollah has given up this battle and don’t believe Hamas have given up the sword simply because they’ve put it down temporarily. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Jack Burkman—hold on a second. 

Jack Burkman, if we’re waging this war, though, at the ballot box, instead of in the streets, by blowing up 6-year-old kids and grandmas going to markets, isn’t that a positive thing? 

BURKMAN:  It’s a very positive thing. 

And I’m surprised by Pat’s continuing this argument that somehow there’s not a correlation, if not a causal relationship, between the American occupation in Iraq and all of the wonderful democratic things that are breaking out all over the Mideast. 

Pat, I’m surprised that a man of your great...

BUCHANAN:  Jack, let me explain it to you.

BURKMAN:  I’m surprised that a man of your great brilliance does not see.  This region has never been better and stronger in 150 years.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  All right. 

Jack, what happened in the West Bank was, Yasser Arafat dropped dead.  What happened in Lebanon was a horrendous assassination, probably by rogue elements in Syria, which killed the leader there.  And there are great demonstrations there.

BURKMAN:  Oh, Pat, it’s more than that. 

(CROSSTALK)

BURKMAN:  No, that’s not true.  That’s one—you’re looking at limited factors. 

The Syrians tried—the Syrians tried to organize a rally in Lebanon.  You know what happened?  The Lebanese came out with Lebanese flags.  That’s a symbol.  That’s a sign that they want democracy.  They want what Iraq has.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Hezbollah got 500,000 people out.  That was a pretty good rally when I was in Nixon’s day, I’ll tell you. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I’ll tell you what, Pat.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.  Hezbollah got 500,000 people out.

FLOUNDERS:  There are today 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.  Let’s discuss that.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Sarah, I’m going to ask you a question, OK?  But let me finish with Pat. 

Pat, Hezbollah got 500,000 people out.  The next week, the democratic forces got a million people out.  I would say they’re winning that battle. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Sarah, I’ll give you the final word. 

BUCHANAN:  I agree with you, Joe. 

But let me say this.  You hold elections in all these places, maybe even in Saudi Arabia.  And don’t be surprised with what comes out of the new democracy is something that says, Israel should be destroyed and the Americans should get out of the Middle East, OK? 

BURKMAN:  And that’s the argument for the war in Iraq is wrong? 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  No, I don’t...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me give Sarah the final word.  We got to go, guys. 

Let me give Sarah the final word.

Go ahead, Sarah.

FLOUNDERS:  It’s a criminal and illegal war.  And I urge people to protest it.  Come out tomorrow, strong forces.  Demand the money be spent here, not for an endless, unwinnable war in Iraq and not for new and wider wars, which is what President Bush is risking today. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know what?  I couldn’t disagree with Sarah more.  But go to her Web site if you agree with her, TroopsOutNow.  And they’re going to be protesting this weekend. 

Pat Buchanan, I know you’re not going to be in front of the lines, but I know you may agree with a lot of people in that march.  Thanks for being with us, Pat, as always.  Jack Burkman, we also greatly you being here.  And, also, Sarah Flounders, coordinator with TroopsOutNow.org.

Coming up next, the Reverend Al Sharpton is planning a hip-hop town hall meeting.  And he actually wants to ban rap or curtail some of the more violent lyrics.  And he’s going to be here to tell us why.

Also, military kids, they give up so much, time away from their parents or, worse, the loss of one.  Now, our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion comes here to explain his plan to give something back to those children. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  First he ran for president.  Then he hosted “Saturday Night Live.”  Now the Reverend Al Sharpton is trying to tame hip-hop.  Look out rappers.  Here comes the rev. 

But, first, here’s the latest news your family needs to know. 

(NEWS BREAK)

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  That theme song, definitely not rap. 

Has violence in the rap and hip-hop world gone too far?  Well, two week ago, gangsta rapper 50 Cent—or should I say 50 cent—and his posse were involved in a shoot-out outside a New York recording studio.  And a vitriolic war ensued in the highly visible rap community.

Yesterday, Lil’ Kim, the Grammy-winning petite rapper known for her revealing outfits, was convicted of lying to a federal grand jury about another shoot-out outside another radio station.  She could face up to 20 years in prison. 

Now the Reverend Al Sharpton, a man who needs little introduction, has called for a 90-day ban on radio and television for any performer who uses violence to promote their albums.  And he joins us here tonight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

Reverend Al Sharpton, thanks a lot for being with us tonight. 

AL SHARPTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  This is an intriguing mission you’re on.  Why are you going after this mission at this time? 

SHARPTON:  Well, I think that when you see a pattern of violence that has happened in front of radio stations that are FCC regulated and we’ve not seen the FCC or anyone step in to deal with this, then I think it’s incumbent upon those of us in the communities that are impacted that we have got to do something about it. 

I’m not talking about people’s right to free expression.  Though I may not like some of the lyrics, I may not agree with some, they have the right to lyrics.  They don’t have the right to shoot each other.  They don’t have the right to stab each other at federally regulated stations.  I don’t understand, Joe, how the FCC can step in when Janet Jackson’s breast is exposed or when you have a shock jock go on the air, Howard Stern, and curse. 

But when you have actual kids shooting each other at radio stations, disc jockeys inciting and encouraging—you heard what this guy said about you.  What do you think?  Where is the FCC now?  So, on Thursday, we’re going to meet with the FCC and talk about why we’re not regulating conduct to where, if an artist is engaged in a violent act, not just singing about it, not rapping about—I like a lot of rap.  But when you start shooting and you start doing it, something needs to be done to take the profit motive out of it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What specifically can you do?  What specifically can the FCC do to stop this type of violent behavior? 

SHARPTON:  They can say that, if there is an artist that in fact engages or permits a—violent acts around radio stations or in their career period, that they’re going to take their records off the air for 90 days.  No record company will want an artist that they cannot promote.  It’s almost like you have standards in sports. 

No basketball player or baseball player or football player could have a shoot-out and be on the field the next day.  We need to take the incentive out of those that engage in violence and the record companies and the radio stations that promote it.  You actually have disc jockeys that invite rival groups up at the same time as radio stations. 

Well, there’s no sanctions put on those stations.  There’s no FCC coming and fining them for saying, why did you instigate this against the other?  And the bad part of it is, the young people that look up to these artists then start copycatting and duplicating that.  If this was a situation of race, we’d be fighting it.  I think it’s a situation of wrong.  I’m going to fight it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Reverend, though, we can hear it right now.  You go before the FCC.  I think that’s very reasonable.  You think it’s reasonable.  I think 90 percent of Americans will think it’s reasonable.  But these radio shock jocks, as well as the rappers and people in sort of the hip-hop community will say, you are trying to stifle First Amendment rights.  You’re trying to squelch free speech.  What do you say to them tonight? 

SHARPTON:  Well, first of all, no one has fought for free speech more than I have.  But does free speech mean you have the right to shoot people in front of stations?  Free speech means you have the right to stab people?  Free speech means that you have the right to commit violent acts?  The’s not free speech.

And I think that, clearly, we need to separate and draw the line.  If that is the case, then people ought to have the right to free speech in baseball clubs, on football stadiums, on basketball stadiums.  How can we say that, in athletics, we can have standards, but, in music, we can’t have standard?  And I think that there’s a difference between imposing social standards and in telling somebody what they can say in their artistry. 

You can rap whatever you want and walk outside and not engage in violent acts.  We’re talking, Joe, about people shooting each other in front of radio stations, stabbing each other, people chasing radio announcers around the studio in Washington.  And FCC say nothing?  They may not care, but I care. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Reverend, this really started all the way back with “Cop Killer” back, I think, it was about 1991, 1992. 

But we’ve seen lyrics get more and more harsh through the years.  We can read 1,000 different examples of it.  No need to do that.  People have been there.  They’ve heard that.  I want you, as a leader in the African-American community, to tell us how destructive you think some of these artists are to young African-Americans that are growing up, trying to find examples, people that will help them get ahead the right way?  How destructive is this culture? 

SHARPTON:  First of all, let me say this.  This is not about “Cop Killer.”  That was about lyrics.  I’m talking about acts.

But let me do say this.  I do disagree with some of the acts, though I’m not calling for banning because of some of the lyrics, but I—as a person, I find that it’s very demeaning that we are in a climate where some people have tried to make it synonymous with African-American culture that we want to just be thugs or that our women are ho’s.  I think it’s very destructive when our young people are taught to aspire to go to jail or be shot or be a thug, and that’s the definition of success. 

And I think that when a Bill Cosby or someone says that, some people want to argue against that, to argue against that to say what?  You have the right to be decadent?  Yes, you do.  And I have the right to say you’re being decadent.  Free speech also means I have the free speech right to disagree with you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You’re exactly right.

SHARPTON:  So, I don’t have a problem with you saying it, but you seem to have a problem with me responding.  Let’s have free speech all the way around. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It goes both ways.  You’re exactly right. 

Now, final question.  Will you consider in 2008 taking Hillary Clinton as your vice presidential running mate? 

SHARPTON:  Well, I think that’s premature.  I just—this is my first visit to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  And I’m so nervous, I don’t want to answer a question that I’m not prepared to answer. 

(LAUGHTER)

SHARPTON:  But I will say that Condoleezza and Hillary will be interesting vice presidential choices for me or someone else. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Reverend Al Sharpton, he’s a uniter, not a divider. 

Thanks a lot, Reverend, for being with us tonight. 

SHARPTON:  All right, Joe.  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We greatly appreciate it.  And good luck in Washington. 

We’ll be following you. 

Now it’s time for a “Flyover” of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, those stories that the mainstream media misses when they fly from Manhattan to the left coast.  We begin in Delray Beach, Florida.  Spring breakers, beware.  Officials have cleared the beaches this week after spotting hundreds of sharks swimming right off the coast of the popular Florida beach town.  They say the sharks usually aren’t interested in humans, but they’re not taking any chances.  After all, these are spring breakers. 

Now, without being able to go into the water, all that’s left for these poor spring breakers, it seems, is to drink. 

Our next stop tonight, Newark, New Jersey.  A homeless man there has filed a lawsuit against the state’s transit system.  He’s seeking $5 million in damages for kicking him and other homeless people out of its train stations.  The man won $230,000 in a similar lawsuit against a New Jersey library, which, of course, begs the question, why is this guy still homeless? 

And, finally tonight, South Dakota.  Did you ever wonder what Jesus smelled like?  Well, even if you didn’t, we may have the answer.  A South Dakota couple is making candles called—quote—“His Essence,” inspired by a passage in the Bible, Psalm 45, to be exact.  And the answer is, Jesus kind of smells like cinnamon, they say.  And I bet you thought I was going to say chicken. 

Now, coming up next, Oakland, California, has a new way to cut down on prostitution.  Puts the customers face on a billboard for all the world to say.  Egad.  MSNBC cameramen are shaking tonight. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, Welcome back.  It’s time now for a segment we call the SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY “Hot Spot.”

In the “Hot Spot” tonight, Michael Smerconish.  He is, of course, the award-winning radio talk show host.  He’s also a great newspaper columnist out of Philadelphia.  He’s the author also of a book you have got to read.  It’s called “Flying Blind: How Political Correctness Continues to Compromise Airline Safety Post 9/11.”

Now, let’s get right to it with your take, Michael, on a recent report that uncovered the fact that, a full 3 ½ years after September 11, only 4 percent of airline pilots are flying armed.  Why can’t the FAA give these guys and women what they need in the cockpit? 

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  You know, Joe, I think a lot of us are sitting back in the cabin and we are assuming, A, they’ve weed out the terrorists or at least the people who have commonalities with the terrorists from September 11.  And you and I have discussed it.  We know that’s not the case. 

I think we also think, well, at least the pilots are armed.  And now comes this report that says only 4 percent of them are armed.  The question is, well, how many of them want to be armed?  And, according to the pilots organization, about 60 percent want to be armed.  So, why aren’t they?  It’s because the TSA is a bloated bureaucracy, making it difficult for pilots to carry weapons. 

How do they do that?  Well, No. 1, because the storage component up in the cockpit is a pain in the fanny for these pilots.  They say that it’s actually dangerous to keep the weapon in the storage container that’s prescribed for them.  And, second, Joe, they’re required to arm and then disarm for every leg of the trip. 

And gun advocates will tell you that the safest place for a weapon is in its holster.  And if you’re constantly removing it from the holster as you go through different legs of the trip, you’re making it a more dangerous condition for the pilots.  And they say, you know what?  Forget about it.  It’s not worth the hassle. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Michael, moving from air to ground, let’s go on to California, Oakland, California, in fact, where residents tired of hookers and their clients roaming the streets at all hours have come up with a unique way to punish those who solicit the world’s oldest professionals.  They’re putting their faces on billboards to shame them into going away.

Michael, what is your take on this on this story? 

SMERCONISH:  I’m going to surprise you, Joe.  I think it’s ridiculous and a waste of resources. 

We don’t put the mug shots of carjackers or drunks on billboards.  Why are we going to do it with johns?  Legalize it and zone it, that’s the direction in which we ought to head.  You know that, in my home town of Philadelphia, they started to print the mug shots of those arrested for solicitation in the newspaper.  All of a sudden, a couple of the guys were exonerated, but already their reputations had been ruined. 

You’re never going to solve it.  That’s why they call it the oldest profession.  Legalize it, derive tax revenue from it and zone it.  Put it in an industrial area.

SCARBOROUGH:  Michael, you want to legalize prostitution with AIDS rates skyrocketing? 

SMERCONISH:  Hey, if you legalize prostitution and you make these women come in for a test on a monthly basis, maybe you can eradicate the sexually transmitted diseases. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  How do you think that’s going to play in middle America? 

SMERCONISH:  Not so well in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But OK in Philadelphia?

SMERCONISH:  Not so well in Philadelphia either, Joe. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  We’re narrowing it down here. 

Finally, Michael the P.C. police has now got a group of Native Americans coming out and suing the University of Illinois, trying to end the run of the school’s mascot, which is an Indian chief, saying the 78-year-old mascot perpetuates a racial stereotype.  Do you agree with that also? 

SMERCONISH:  Come on. 

For 80 years, what do they call him, Chief Halftown?  I’m not sure.  Nobody has had a beef.  All of a sudden, the reason they’re going after the University of Illinois is because they’re the No. 1 team in the nation and people are trying to get some hay and make political waves over this.  You know, I think it’s a compliment.  When you call a team the Warriors or the Chiefs, you’re not demeaning them.  You’re saying they’re tough guys.  This is a group of folks you don’t want to go up against on the gridiron, on the hardwood, whatever the case may be.  Get over it already. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Don’t these people have anything better to do? 

SMERCONISH:  Apparently not. 

You know, they’re trying to eradicate all of those symbols that we rely upon for tradition and get them out of society.  They’ve been unsuccessful and they’ll continue to be.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, one final quick question.  I just want to ask you, I found out that the murder rate in Philadelphia has skyrocketed over the past couple weeks.  What’s going on in the City of Brotherly Love? 

SMERCONISH:  Families are breaking down, Joe.  You know, the mayor is writing to the governor and he’s saying that we need another gun moratorium.  It’s the guns, the guns, the guns.  It the families, the families, the families. 

They’re nonexistent, particularly in the minority community.  And that’s the root cause.  And a lot of resources are getting wasted focusing on Smith & Wesson. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, I’m sorry.  I’ve just got to ask you one more thing, because it just hit me that the P.C. police and politicians, instead of worrying about things like the murder rate, are actually trying to chase down the Easter Bunny. 

Of course, you know the Easter Bunny in Palm Beach, Florida, has been renamed the Garden Bunny, so they are not going to offend anybody’s religious sensibilities.  How far does this idiocy go? 

SMERCONISH:  Well, Joe, we have taken Christ out of Christmas.  We’ve taken pirates out of Halloween.  The Easter Bunny is going to get his just due.  And when we’re finished with him, we’re going to go after the Thanksgiving Day Turkey.  After that, I’m not sure in what direction we have left to travel. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK. 

Great thanks to Michael Smerconish for once again being in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY’s “Hot Spot.”

Now, coming up next, they’re the children of America’s military, and some of them pay a high price for that.  One school is giving back to them.  We’ll tell you how when we meet our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Military kids are getting a helping hand from a Pennsylvania college with a big, big heart.  Our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion is coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now it’s time for our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion. 

You know, as we have mentioned earlier tonight, the Iraq war began two years tomorrow.  And since then, we’ve tragically lost 1,500 brave men and women.  But now a college in Pennsylvania is doing something for the children of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for America. 

With me now Dr. James Harris.  He’s the president of Widener College in Pennsylvania, where this week they announced a full scholarship for students who lost a parent in the war. 

Dr. Harris, it’s a great idea and, as far as we can tell, you’re the first college to do this.  What has the reaction been? 

DR. JAMES HARRIS, PRESIDENT, WIDENER UNIVERSITY:  Joe, thank you for the opportunity to be with you this evening. 

Yes, indeed, we are the first college or university in the country to provide these kind of support funds for the children, dependent children of our military men and women that are killed in action.  The reaction has been quite positive.  We’ve had people such as David Christian, who is the most decorated soldier from the Vietnam War, who has told us that this is a wonderful gesture.

He made the point that, after the Vietnam War, our soldiers came home and our families of those soldiers who served their country honorably were not treated so well in college and university campuses around the country.  And we believe this is the right thing to do for military families. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Dr. Harris, it really is.  It’s a step in the right direction, a great step in the right direction, that college campuses are embracing these heroes, instead of rejecting them, as many did back in the 1960s and ‘70s.

Now, the children of the fallen, they can’t just walk in the door and sign up.  What are the stipulations that you all place on them? 

HARRIS:  Well, the stipulations that we place is that a child obviously has to be part of a family where they lost a member in service, in action in Iraq or in Afghanistan in service to our country. 

The stipulations would be that they have to qualify for entrance to the university.  And we’re a moderately selective institution located in Chester, Pennsylvania, where our main campus is at.  If it came to a point where we had to make a decision between which students would receive the scholarships, we would base it on two points.  One would be the need, the financial need of the parents or of the family. 

And, secondly, we would base it on the student’s responsible—the way they’ve acted in high school, their commitment to responsible citizenship, because I think they would want to carry on the legacy of their family. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, no doubt about it. 

Now, it’s been a few days since you have announced this, but have you had any interested calls, any takers yet? 

HARRIS:  Actually, we do.  We had one family that called who—a woman called and her husband had been killed in Iraq serving the country, and she has a daughter who is attending college right now.  They’re having a hard time making the financial ends meet.  And she’s considering transferring next fall to Widener University. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That’s fantastic. 

Dr. Harris, I can’t thank you enough for what you’re doing for this country, what you’re doing for the children of these troops that went over there and gave their all for us.  We just can’t thank you enough.  It’s a great, great idea.  And we hope other colleges will follow it. 

HARRIS:  Thank you.  That’s what we hope as well, is that others will follow our lead and we encourage others.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  All right.  Thank you so much. 

Now, that’s all the time we have for tonight.  We appreciate you being in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Have a great weekend.  We will see you on Monday. 

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

Content and programming copyright 2005 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2005 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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