updated 4/22/2005 2:30:57 PM ET 2005-04-22T18:30:57

Guest: Michael Smerconish, Andy Kahn, Amy Welborn, Bob Jensen

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight‘s top headline, pope bashing seems to be the latest sports for some elites, as the media‘s war against religion picks up steam. 

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  No passports required, and only common sense is allowed. 

Open season on the pope.  Headlines scream about God‘s rottweiler and the Nazi pope the same day literary elites call the anti-church book “Da Vinci Code” novel of the year.  Has the assault on religion gone global?  That‘s our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown. 

Then, the epidemic of repeat sexual predators going after our children. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIZABETH RECTANUS, NEIGHBOR TO SEX OFFENDERS:  I have got to be proactive, so that no other children are harmed. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY campaign to fix the laws governing repeat these offenders, and we will tell you what you need to do to keep your kids safe. 

Plus, the mysterious story of a Texas politician who disappeared, sort of, and now is in double trouble.  

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

SCARBOROUGH:  Good evening, and welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Glad you‘re here. 

Now, I am sure you have recognized it already.  The election of Pope Benedict has revealed a great divide in a global, cultural conflict.  And it‘s a war, a cultural war that pits secularism vs. faith.  The vitriol seems to be breathtaking, as you can see in these two tabloids.  But a more controversial attack on the church was launched a few years back by “The Da Vinci Code,” just named book of the year at the British Book Awards. 

This anti-Catholic and anti-church book sold 17 million copies worldwide is now coming to Hollywood, “Da Vinci”‘s director is going to be Ron Howard, and its lead actor will be Tom Hanks. 

With me now to talk about it is MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.  We also have Amy Welborn.  She‘s the author of “De-Coding Da Vinci,” and we also have Robert Jensen.  He‘s a professor of journalism at the University of Texas. 

Pat Buchanan, I have got to go to you first, because you are the man who, in 1992, caught a lot of grief for talking about a coming cultural war, a coming religious war.  And here you have—I will just ask you, what do you make of juxtaposing these two media responses to the pope and to the “Da Vinci Code”? 

PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, Joe, there is a culture war going on in this country and in the Western world.  And it has its roots in a religious war. 

This book is a deeply, viciously anti-Catholic book, which says fundamentally that Roman Catholicism is a lie from beginning to end, that the Holy Grail was actually—wasn‘t the chalice that was used where Christ consecrated wine into his own blood, but the real Holy Grail was Mary Magdalene.  And Jesus had—was married to her.  They had children, and this is the root of all this religious faith, but it was somehow quelled by this cynical church. 

It‘s got Opus Dei in there as a sinister, murderous force.  It is as anti-Catholic as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is anti-Jewish, that fabrication.  And for Hollywood to make a movie out of this I think is on a par with Hollywood saying, look, you know, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are false, but this will make a terrific movie.  Why don‘t we go ahead and do it?

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat, let‘s go through a couple of claims that the book makes.  First of all, it says that Jesus was actually married to Mary Magdalene.

BUCHANAN:  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  That he wanted her to run the church instead of St.  Peter, that the divinity of Jesus Christ was a myth, a fabrication, a lie, and that this—a lot of Catholics obviously upset about this, that conservative Catholics and popes throughout the ages have been killing and bribing people for centuries to hide the real facts about Jesus. 

And this is the quote by Dan Brown himself.  “Every faith in the world is based on fabrication.  That is the definition of faith.”

Well, Pat Buchanan, that offends a lot of people, and yet it sold 17 million books. 

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, doesn‘t that say that this is a message that people want to hear, that people want to read? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, listen, “Mein Kampf” sold books in the millions.  The Protocols sell books.  Books like this will sell.

And, of course, it‘s a novel.  And I understand it‘s very, very entertaining in its aspects.  But let‘s go back to its basics, what it says about Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene.  There is not a scintilla of truth about that, Joe, or backing for it, in the four Gospels, whereas “The Passion of the Christ” were all rooted, everything in there was rooted in the Gospels.  That was attacked by Hollywood, even though it was rooted in the Gospels. 

This has no such backing.  It is a horrendously outrageous assault on Catholicism, and yet Hollywood is going forward with it.  This tells us about Hollywood. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Bob Jensen, I have got to tell you, I have read the book.  It is an entertaining book.  You have to understand that, if you are a Christian, that you are going to be offended about every two pages of what you read about it, because it does make some claims.

But I am—I am fascinated by the cultural cross-currents here, where you have got a pope being elected.  You have got a great outpouring of support from the people, but you have attacks on the church in this book.  It‘s recognized in Britain.  This pope is attacked in some of the British tabloids over there, and yet it‘s extraordinary popular.  Should people that live around you, really in Austin, Texas, which is the belt buckle of the Bible Belt, should they be offended by this?  Should they be concerned? 

DR. BOB JENSEN, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS:  Well, I think there are several fallacies in what you all are saying. 

First of all, lots of Christians read “The Da Vinci Code” and found it quite entertaining and were not offended on every page.  This is being framed as some sort of secular vs. religious war, when, in fact, there are divisions within Christianity as well.  I am a secular person.  I just came back earlier this week from a monthly screening of a documentary film at a Presbyterian church, where I am welcomed in to lead discussions about politics.  And I don‘t see any war there. 

The fact is that there are divisions within the religious as well.  And I think to frame this as some sort of attack on Catholicism is actually quite silly. 

(CROSSTALK)

JENSEN:  Let me finish. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Professor—hold on, Professor.  Have you actually read this book? 

JENSEN:  No, I haven‘t, because I am not interested in it, because I don‘t find the whole thing very intriguing.  My point is...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, if you had read the book—wait.  If you had read the book, then you wouldn‘t be hear saying you can‘t understand why people aren‘t offended by it in the church.

JENSEN:  No.  I am telling you I have Christian friends who have read the book and are not offended.  My point is, there are divisions within Christianity. 

If the Catholic Church is going to operate in the world politically the way it does, to imagine it is somehow immune from critique when it is making pronouncements about things like birth control, about the role of women, about homosexuality, it‘s taking a political stance in the world.  It should be critiqued.

BUCHANAN:  Let me respond to this fellow, Joe. 

Look, look, if they did this to Muhammad in Hollywood, what they are doing to Jesus Christ, they did it to Muhammad, there would be a fatwa out on the people doing it out there, because the Islamic faith does not take this kind of abuse and assault upon its founding fathers.  When you say this about Jesus Christ, that he was married to Mary Magdalene, and then the chalice in which the wine was turned into Christ‘s blood, that‘s all phony, the Holy Grail was Mary Magdalene, who is portrayed by John in that da Vinci picture, that—all this is a direct assault upon it. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.  Hold on.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Go ahead.  Professor, go ahead.  Respond. 

JENSEN:  You know, I find it funny.  First of all, are there elements in the Muslim world that would attack?  Yes, because there are fundamentalist elements in the Muslim world.  There are fundamentalist elements in the Christian world. 

But, Pat Buchanan, is your faith so weak that any...

BUCHANAN:  Mine is not. 

JENSEN:  ... any critique—is any critique in the public sphere of your religion...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  My religion is strong enough that I stand up. 

(CROSSTALK)                   

BUCHANAN:  No, no.

JENSEN:  I am really shocked that you have no sense of faith in your own traditions. 

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t accept—look, if somebody says something about your family or your mother that is a direct insult—this isn‘t a question of, look, the historical Jesus, an argument on like—this is a direct attack on Roman Catholicism, and it is a vicious attack.  That‘s why it‘s being given all these awards. 

That‘s why Hollywood is doing it.  They know it will provoke and it will offend, and that, therefore, it will sell, and the greed out there will drive that.  But they keep doing this.  And they are making mistakes.  And the fraudulence and hypocrisy is when Mel Gibson does a film, which is directly, every single piece of it is right there in the Gospels, they go bananas out there in Hollywood.  They almost destroyed his career. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Amy, let me bring you in here.

AMY WELBORN, AUTHOR, “DE-CODING DA VINCI”:  Thanks.

SCARBOROUGH:  Because Professor Jensen was talking about how there are divisions in the Christian church, and there certainly are.  But you read a book like “The Da Vinci code,” and it very specifically says that everything that is in the Gospels about Jesus Christ is, in effect, a lie, that he wasn‘t the son of God, and that he had a relationship with Mary Magdalene. 

And, also, I think most importantly to this point, where there can‘t really be good-natured division within the Catholic Church, they talk about how popes and other Catholics throughout the centuries have killed people to hide the real nature of Jesus.  Talk about what you have written in your book. 

WELBORN:  Well, I think it‘s important to know that I don‘t exactly get quite as upset as Pat does about this.  I get upset enough about it, enough to write a book, but I don‘t like to take the anti-Catholic tack, so much as to take just “The book is stupid” tact. 

Any historian, whether they‘re secular or religious, can look at this book and tell you that it‘s nonsense.  And I think, when you approach it that way, it makes a lot more sense.  And what it reveals to me is this tremendous ignorance among readers.  But it also reveals an opportunity, and that‘s why I try not to get too negative about it.  I mean, there‘s a lot to get negative about, and it‘s worrisome in a lot of ways.

But, on the other hand, it shows us that people are really interested in these issues.  They are interested in spirituality and Jesus.  And so I like to take them by the hand and embrace that interest and engage that interest and lead them in the way of the truth.  So, everything is either an opportunity for censorship and haranguing or an opportunity for education.  And I try to look at it in the latter way. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I want to play you a clip, because, again, I wasn‘t greatly offended about it, because I read it a year and a half after it came out, and I knew what to expect.  And it is a very entertaining book, but, again, if you look at it factually, and you read it, you can be greatly offended.  A lot of people say, well, it‘s just a novel. 

Well, I want to play for you what Dan Brown said on “The Today Show” in 2003, Matt Lauer interviewing the “Da Vinci Code” author.  Take a listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TODAY SHOW”) 

MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, “THE TODAY SHOW”:  How much of this is based on reality in terms of things that actually occurred?  I know you did a lot of research for the book. 

DAN BROWN, AUTHOR, “THE DA VINCI CODE”:  Absolutely all of it.  Obviously, Robert Langdon is fictional, but all of the art, architecture, secret rituals, secret societies, all of that is historical facts. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, historical fact? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, look, Opus Dei exists.  It‘s historical fact.  You have the picture of the Last Supper. 

The point is what he takes is actual facts and then he imposes upon them a pack of lies.  Now, with regard to your other guest—with regard to your other guest, look, I am a little bit—mildly concerned at this.  There‘s a lot of probably devout Christians and Catholics who are going to have their faith shaken by reading this book and say, is it all a fraud?

Now, if you believe faith and belief in Jesus Christ are the way to eternal life and you see the damage a book like this can do, I don‘t take it as just a funny little exercise in instruction. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Bob Jensen, Bob, I‘ll give you the final words. 

JENSEN:  Listen, if I were to reinterpret Greek mythology, would it be an attack on Greeks?  No. 

Throughout human history, people have told stories about the origins of the universe, about the origins of people.  This is how human beings struggle.  And they struggle by contesting each other‘s stories.  And if your particular faith can‘t stand up to that kind of challenge, it strikes me, the faith is weak. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Bob Jensen, we are going to have to leave it there. 

It‘s a fascinating story.  I‘ll tell you what.  It‘s a fascinating book. 

I appreciate all of you being with us.  Pat Buchanan, appreciate it. 

Amy, Bob, thank you for being here. 

Coming up next, a lot more tonight.  We are going on a campaign to protect your children from repeat sexual offenders.  That‘s coming up next, the three things that Washington can do to make sure that your neighborhood is safe. 

And, later, more than meets the eye in this parade.  SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is just getting started.  We will tell you about it when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It won‘t cost politicians a dime and could protect your kids from sexual predators, so why won‘t Washington politicians allow it to happen?  A SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY campaign next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, last night, we told you that there are more than a half a million known sex offenders in America.  More than 100,000 of them are roaming free.  And police have no idea where they are.  Take a look at this statistic.

In California, 44 percent of registered offenders—that‘s 33,000 people—are missing, are lost, are unaccounted for.  Wisconsin has lost track of 29 percent.  Minnesota just can‘t seem to find 20 percent of their sexual offenders.  And Michigan has lost track of 1,313 registered sex offenders.

Your response last night to this story was overwhelming.

Susan e-mailed us from California, to say that our segment about sexual predators and our kids prompted her to check California‘s registry, and she found her gardener—quote—“I actually let this child sex offender into my home and my neighborhood, where my children play.  He has not worked for us in a year, but I will be wise to look those who work for me up on the Web before I let them into my neighborhood.”

Can you believe that story? 

And Bill in Massachusetts, he writes: “Can something be done now by the citizens of this country to start a campaign, state by state, to put an end to this perverted behavior?  Also, how can I help?”

Thanks for asking.  And, Bill, this is what we are going to do and how you and I can help.  We are going to Washington next week.  I am going back there.  And we are going to bring all of your e-mails with me, because I am making it a goal to do what the politicians aren‘t doing right now.  First, let‘s get Dru‘s Law passed.  I don‘t see why law enforcement‘s national database of sexual offenders is not available to all Americans.  It‘s not going to cost a dime to make it available online.  And it will save some lives.           

Second, we did the math here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, figured it will cost about $4 billion to put ankle bracelets on all released sex offenders.  Now, that‘s not a lot of money when our kids‘ safety is at risk, especially if you look at some of the other things Washington spends money on.  And, third, I think it‘s time we change the length of time that we lock these guys up. 

Maybe we extend the sentences.  We certainly have to be a lot tougher, a lot tougher with repeat offenders and those that violate probation.  You know, in Florida, the four young girls that have been publicized—their deaths publicized this year—would all be alive today if repeat sex offenders who violated probation were thrown back in jail. 

Now, some people are already fighting to evict these dangerous predators from their neighborhoods.  Here‘s NBC‘s Don Teague showing us what they are doing. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DON TEAGUE, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford murdered after being kidnapped from her bedroom, 13-year-old Sarah Lunde killed in her home allegedly by her mother‘s former boyfriend.  In both cases the suspects are registered sex offenders living in communities largely unaware of their past.  Now outraged neighborhoods nationwide are fighting back.

In Florida, residents are displaying names and addresses of sexual predators, even protesting in front of this home rented by a pair of registered sex offenders.  The message, you‘re not welcome.

ARTHUR LINDNER, NEIGHBOR OF SEX OFFENDERS:  I‘d like to see them move into a place where there are no kids, you know, that they can‘t get a hold of.

TEAGUE:  In an upscale suburb of Cincinnati a different tactic, residents here are pooling their money to pay a sex offender $20,000 to move somewhere else, a fix some experts say is shortsighted, particularly those who could be the sex offender‘s new neighbors.  Many parents feel they must do something.

RECTANUS:  I thought I‘ve got to be proactive so that no other children are harmed and it can really devastate a whole community. 

TEAGUE:  When they discover a potential predator next door.

Don Teague, NBC News, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  With us now is Andy Kahn.  He‘s the director of Houston‘s Crime Victims Department and former probation officer for sex offenders.  We also have Dr. Fred Berlin.  He‘s the founder of Johns Hopkins‘ Sexual Disorder Clinic. 

Thank you, gentlemen, for being with us. 

Andy Kahn, let me begin with you.  What can be done, do you believe, what can be done, the first step to protect our children, to stop the events that we are seeing in Florida and across the country, to stop that from continuing to happen? 

ANDY KAHN, DIRECTOR, HOUSTON CRIME DIVISION:  Well, Joe, it‘s great to be here. 

We need to really change our mind-set of how we deal with sex offenders, particularly those that are serving their sentence in the community.  They are extremely adaptive.  They are cunning.  They are devious.  And we have to think along those levels as well.  And one thing that we are pushing particularly here in Texas, and that is publicizing when sex offenders who have violated their parole and/or probation and have essentially escaped.  They are missing in action. 

We publicize then, get the word out to the public that these offenders are missing.  There shouldn‘t be any difference between how we treat an offender who breaks out of prison and they are charged with felony escape.  And, generally, the whole world knows when someone breaks out of prison, but when that same sex offender breaks out of his parole or probation in the community, for whatever reason, we treat it like night and day. 

It‘s time we bring the pictures of sex offenders who are not abiding by their rules and conditions and have them picked up and sent back to prison before they harm another child. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Dr. Fred Berlin, will that work? 

DR. FRED BERLIN, JOHNS HOPKINS SEXUAL DISORDER CLINIC:  Well, I don‘t have any problem with that. But that alone isn‘t going to be sufficient. 

We were talking, for example, about community notification.  And I think we don‘t yet know.  The jury isn‘t in on that.  If we think about it for a moment, if I am a sex offender who wants to commit an offense, you notify community A about my presence, I am just going to go underground or go to community B. 

On the other hand, if I‘m a sex offender who is really trying to make it—and there are sex offenders trying to do that, if I can‘t get a job, if I feel disenfranchised, if it‘s a we vs. they mentality, have we really made society safer?  So, we are all on the same side.  We want to make society safer.  But we need to take a cold, hard look at what is working and what isn‘t working. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  What do the stats show?

KAHN:  Yes.  One thing, Joe, we need to do is look at how we actively use our limited resources.  We shouldn‘t be treating all sex offenders under the same lump and barrel, particularly offenders in the so-called Romeo and Juliet scenarios.  We have to really target the high-risk, hard-core offenders, the repeat offenders, and throw the book of our resources at them. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Doctor, that‘s a good point.  There are the Romeo and Juliet offenders.  There are some guys who are 19 years old that may have a relationship with a 15- or 16-year-old.  We have seen it.  I saw it on “Real Sports,” this young, 18-year-old guy that is getting sent to prison for five, 10, 15 years. 

Is there any way that we can focus our efforts on these most heinous crimes and make sure that these people, these repeat offenders are thrown in jail and stay there at least until they serve out their whole sentence? 

BERLIN:  That‘s an extremely important issue, because whenever we have this discussion, it seems it occurs in the context of horrible, horrible tragedies, like the ones that have just occurred in Florida.  And every one of us reach out for the families.  And there‘s nothing you can say to minimize how awful that is.

But the fact is, that represents less than a fraction of 1 percent of the big problem of sexual offenders.  And you‘re absolutely right.  On the registry is a 17-year-old who may have had sex with a 13-year-old.  On the registry is someone who has done something within the family.  The whole family wants him to get help.  There‘s no evidence he is a threat to others in the community.  We absolutely need to get away from this broad-brush approach and start to make relevant distinctions. 

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

KAHN:  It‘s time that we change our mind-set.  We have to divert our resources properly.  We have to start publicizing when a sex offender is missing.  They are fugitives. 

In Texas alone, you have over 13,000 parole fugitives.  In Houston, we have 300 sex offenders whose whereabouts are unknown.  Now, we did start a program with our local crime stoppers program where we publicize through local media.  Out of the 41 sex offenders that we have shown whose whereabouts are unknown, that are not at their current address, we have captured 12. 

We need to start focusing on offenders who are not abiding their rules and conditions and get them snatched up before they harm another child. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  You are exactly right, Andy.  Thank you for being with us. 

KAHN:  You bet.

SCARBOROUGH:  Dr. Fred Berlin, thank you for your insights.  We greatly appreciate it. 

Coming up next, do more abortions mean less crime?  One author says yes.  That‘s coming up next, plus, Michael Moore‘s latest outrageous prank. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  So, I am reading “The New York Times” this weekend, and I actually hear that an author is claiming that abortion reduces crime.  You are not going to believe the story.  That‘s coming up next. 

But, first, here‘s the latest news that you and your family need to know. 

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, I‘m Joe and I‘ve got issues. 

First of all, I‘ve got issues with the controversy surrounding the president‘s selection of U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.  Now, as you know, the president‘s nominee is in jeopardy because of a self-described liberals stepping forward, claiming that Bush‘s U.N. choice acted in bizarre manner while in Russia, 11 years ago.  It‘s a he-said sort of story, kind of like Paula Jones and the story she told about Bill Clinton back during the 1990s.

But back then, Democrats and senators media types asked, with no independent witnesses, how could anyone judge a public figure by a single person‘s claim?  You know, that was an issue that didn‘t bother them when Anita Hill almost destroyed deep-sixed Clarence Thomas‘ elevation to the Supreme Court with tales of stray hairs on Coca-Cola cans.  You know, it‘s funny how politicians in both parties swallow whole tall tales that feed their own political appetites. 

And I‘ve got issues with Michael Moore.  Once again, the Democratic director, demagogic director is offering up a $2,500 award for any student at California State University, San Marcos, who defies the school‘s administration and causes trouble on that college campus.  Moore was banned from speaking at the same school last fall, which sparked student protests. 

I have got to say, $2,500?  I mean, come on.  This is a multimillionaire who pollutes the Earth every day by flying around on private jets.  At least he should make it $2,500, so these poor kids one day can afford respirators when they get old. 

And I may work for them, but that doesn‘t mean I can‘t have issues with brass at NBC.  This week, the network announced that it was going to be the new home of Sunday night football, airing NFL games on Sunday nights beginning with the 2006 season.  So, what‘s my issue?  Hey, what is a guy like me supposed to do when you have two of the biggest events on television colliding, NFL football and “Desperate Housewives”?  They‘re in direct competition.

But you know what?  I can predict the final of this game.  My wife is going to win, and I am going to be upstairs watching NBC football alone in the attic. 

Now let‘s bring in another guy who never shows up without issues, Michael Smerconish.  He‘s the host of the top-rated morning show in Philadelphia, writes a syndicated column, and is author of “Flying Blind:

How Political Correctness Continues to Compromise Air Safety Post 9/11.”

Michael, welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Great to have you here. 

Let‘s start with a column that you wrote today which focuses on a new book that claims abortion is directly linked to falling crime rates.  Talk about it. 

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  It‘s unbelievable. 

This book is about to take the nation by storm.  I think it‘s going to day buy on “The New York Times” best-seller list.  It‘s called “Freakonomics.”  And it‘s written by a University of Chicago economic professor who likes to question the bizarre.  And he has focused on the issue of why crime dropped in the 1990s.  And he goes through all the usual explanations, like creative policing solutions, you know, using COMPSTAT.

And, one by one, he rules all of them out, and then he focuses on abortion.  And, lo and behold, he finds that there‘s a correlation between legalized abortion and declining crime.  And when you think about it, it makes perfect sense, because legalized abortion in the early 1970s with Roe vs. Wade means that when a population would have come of age, it would have been the 1990s, individuals in their criminal prime.

And what he finds, Joe, is that the same people who would take advantage of Roe vs. Wade, the legalization of abortion, meaning the unmarried, the teens, the poor, are those most likely to raise the criminal element.  I need to say one other thing about Steven Levitt.  He is not here to weigh in on side of pro-choice or the pro-life community.  He‘s just a numbers cruncher extraordinaire and those are his findings. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Michael, I don‘t buy it, though.  I got to tell you why.  Roe was passed in 1973.  Crime rates skyrocketed in the mid to the late 1980s.  Why?  I say it‘s because of crack, not because of abortion. 

Early 1990s, the crack epidemic leaves New York City.  The crime rates go down.  Giuliani becomes mayor.  You are not willing to give Rudy Giuliani any credit for this?  It all has to do with abortion and Roe vs.  Wade? 

SMERCONISH:  Come on, I love Rudy, but that‘s one of the myths that he debunks in the office.  Rudy doesn‘t take office until 1994, and the decline is already taking place. 

And it‘s because, Joe, someone who would have been born in ‘74 or ‘75 is someone who would have been in their criminal prime in those early 1990 years. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I don‘t buy it, but, Michael, great to hear your side of the story.  We are, in fact, going to have the author on, so I will take him on, too.

But let‘s move on from abortion to anti-aircraft guns.  How about Michael Smith, the Vietnam vet who showed up at the one of Jane Fonda‘s book signings, waited in line for an hour and a half just for the opportunity to spit tobacco in her face? 

SMERCONISH:  He doesn‘t even use chew.  I mean, are you aware of that?  This is a guy who puts a wad of chew in there, like he‘s playing in the Major Leagues, just because he doesn‘t want to have cotton mouth when he finally gets his moment to spit on her. 

Look, she—man, I don‘t like her.  I know you don‘t like her, but I have to come to her defense.  It‘s gross.  He shouldn‘t have done it.  And he gives Vietnam veterans a bad name with his behavior, because it‘s such a dominant story today. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, that‘s the thing.  I agree with you completely.  I agree that Vietnam vets have got a bad rap since they came back in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s, bad rap.  They were spit on.  That‘s right. 

But, at the same time, there are so many Vietnam veterans who were quiet, work hard, you know, and they just keep their head down and say, I don‘t care what Jane Fonda said about me.  I don‘t care what anybody else says about me.  I know what I did.  I served my country, and I am proud of it.  I think you are exactly right.  I think he gives these Vietnam vets a very bad name. 

SMERCONISH:  You know what, Joe?  You are going to find this analogy crazy.  But it‘s like in the gay community, when they have a parade, and the leather crowd takes over and leads the parade.  So, they are the ones that you show on TV. 

You have a parade of Vietnam veterans, and it‘s the scruffiest of guys who are always leading the parade and giving the vets a bad name.  I am for all those stable, clean-cut Americans that you were describing a moment ago. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, no doubt about it. 

Now, Michael, you are the expert on airline security post 9/11.  So please help me out here.  Can you explain why we are almost four years out from that horrible day and still some countries are balking at providing America with passenger lists as a way to keep potential attackers off flights in American airspace? 

SMERCONISH:  This is mind-boggling, and you are referring, of course, to the front page story of “The Washington Post” today. 

April the 8th, Joe, a flight is headed from Amsterdam to Mexico City. 

And we get tipped off, the United States, that there are two guys on board.  They‘re brothers.  They‘re pilots.  And listen to this.  They trained with one of the 9/11 hijackers in Arizona.  So, what does the United States do?  Exactly what you would want us to do.  Hey, get that plane out of here and turn it around. 

Well, the shock is that manifests of flights flying over the United States, but not landing here, are not routinely handed over to the United States.  So our government is now saying, if you are going to enter our airspace, we want to know who is on board that aircraft, which is totally reasonable in light of 9/11.  And these foreign carriers are balking, and they‘re, saying, well, you know, you make mistakes.  And we don‘t want to turn around a whole airplane. 

To heck with them.  If you are flying into the United States, landing here or not, we have a right to know who is on board. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Michael, are we safer today than we were on 9/11? 

SMERCONISH:  In light of this, absolutely not.  It‘s all window dressing.  And the terrorists, I think, are going to figure it out sooner or later. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, I‘m afraid so. 

Now let‘s move on and talk about the two people who were killed last week because parents were teaching their kids to drive.  One dad, whose daughter hit the gas instead of the brakes, killed another mother and almost killed her baby as well.  The dad now faces manslaughter charges.  Do you think that‘s right? 

SMERCONISH:  No. 

And the Philadelphia district attorney, Lynne Abraham, who is a pretty good egg, has not yet decided what she is going to do with the case.  But, Joe, it wouldn‘t surprise me to hear that this is the way that you learned to drive, because it‘s the way I learned to drive.

It‘s a Sunday afternoon in the spring.  A father, 46-year-old dad, takes out his daughter, who is 15 going on 16, nobody around.  He is teaching her how to drive.  Apparently, she mixes up the gas and the brake, goes barreling out of this school parking lot, crosses a street.  And you are right.  An 18-year-old mom is there with her 1-year-old child, gets the kid out of the way, but gets run over.

And now the issue is, should the father of the drivee being charged criminally?  You know, I say somehow you slap his wrist, but, man, don‘t give him any jail time, because stuff happens, and it‘s not all criminal. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, stuff happens, but, again, this mother is dead.  And a lot of people would say, you know what?  She was 15 years old.  In Pennsylvania, she needs to be 16 years old to drive legally.  The father broke the law.  And because of it, this mother is dead.  What would you say to them? 

SMERCONISH:  I would say to them that there are generations of us out here who learned to drive in a similar fashion.  Come slap the cuffs on me. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Michael, let‘s move on to Google.  The world‘s most popular search engine is now trying to figure out how to use a new feature that is going to allow them to track any hacker and find out what Web sites we have all been visiting.  Tell us about that. 

SMERCONISH:  All right, Joe, if you had tapped into my computer at 3:00 this morning at work, you would have found me searching on Google words like copulation, sodomy and intercourse. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Just another day at the office, right, Michael? 

(LAUGHTER)

SMERCONISH:  No. 

I was doing research on this change in policy down at the Pentagon.  But I am thinking to myself, whoa.  If somebody from the outside looking in like adds up the cookies on my computer, they are going to think I am in here loafing and looking at porn sites.  I don‘t like it.  I don‘t want anybody looking at what movies I rent, what music I listen to, what TV I watch, and certainly not what Web sites I visit. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But that‘s the future, isn‘t it, Michael?

SMERCONISH:  It might be the future.  And, you know, Joe, I like it for solving crime.  But I get nervous when people have access to that kind of data.  And I don‘t trust the government to keep it under wraps, or Google. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, who has access to it? 

SMERCONISH:  Right.  Well, some geek, some guy who spends too much time in front of his computer is the one who is going to get access to that data sooner or later. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll tell you what.  You know, Michael, thanks a lot.  I appreciate you being with us tonight, greatly appreciate it.  We are going to stay on these issues.  And we look forward to having you back here again. 

I have got to tell you, so many people think, when they go on the Internet, that nobody knows where they are going, what they are doing.  I‘ll tell you what.  Big Brother may not be watching, but big business is. 

Now, still to come, this man is running for the mayor of San Antonio, or is he actually a Texas state representative?  It‘s a very complicated question, a lot more complicated than you could imagine.  We are going to be sorting it out coming up in a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, do you ever feel like you just don‘t have enough time in the day to get everything done?  Well, San Antonio mayor candidate Julian Castro, he feels your pain.  And he‘s found the answer.  He had his twin brother, Joaquin, stand in for him at the Texas Cavaliers River Parade while he was busy working at another event. 

And here with us tonight, we have Julian Castro and his twin brother, Texas State Rep Joaquin Castro.

Now, listen, guys, I have run for office before.  I know you got to be in a million places at one time.  You only have 24 hours a day, but I would never have had my twin stand in for me, because, of course, he always had that stupid little TV show on. 

But, seriously, guys, I got to ask you, everybody on the staff wants to know, what were you thinking? 

JULIAN CASTRO, SAN ANTONIO MAYORAL CANDIDATE:  Well, actually, this was at the Texas Cavaliers River Parade.  We were both going to be there. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.  Julian, am I—who am I talking to? 

JULIAN CASTRO:  I‘m—yes, this is Julian.

JOAQUIN CASTRO (D), TEXAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE:  He is running for mayor.  That‘s right.  

(LAUGHTER)

JULIAN CASTRO:  I‘m running for mayor.  I‘m Julian.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Red tie, mayor, blue tie, state rep. 

JULIAN CASTRO:  Yes.  Greetings from San Antonio.

JOAQUIN CASTRO:  That‘s right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Go ahead.

JULIAN CASTRO:  We were both going to be there.  We can invite family members on to the barges that float down the San Antonio River.

JOAQUIN CASTRO:  Right. 

JULIAN CASTRO:  And Joaquin usually goes with me.  So...

JOAQUIN CASTRO:  He stood me up this time is what happened. 

JULIAN CASTRO:  Yes.  I intended to go, but I didn‘t show up because I had to go to a neighborhood leaders meeting.  Joaquin went, and he told everybody on the barge that he was Joaquin.  He didn‘t fool anybody. 

JOAQUIN CASTRO:  Right. 

JULIAN CASTRO:  We weren‘t doing anything on purpose.  However, nobody told the announcers of the River Parade that I wasn‘t there, so when they announced everybody, he got announced as me.  And so everybody figured that it was me, but it was actually my brother. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Joaquin, let‘s go ahead.  I am going to play what the parade announcer said that night.  Take a listen. 

JOAQUIN CASTRO:  Sure. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

ANNOUNCER:  The crowd, you see—but you see on this boat the San Antonio City Council, Roger Flores with one family member, Ron Segovia, Richard Perez with his wife and three kids, Patti Radle,  Enrique Barrera,  Julian Castro, a mayoral candidate. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

JOAQUIN CASTRO:  You know, it was kind of odd that night because you almost want to say everybody on the barge knew that it was me and not him.  And I almost wanted to say to the crowd, it‘s Joaquin and it‘s not Julian.

Usually, during the day, I have to explain myself 100 times probably and tell people that I am me.  But it‘s pretty hard to tell a crowd of 200,000 people as you‘re passing by that it‘s you and not your brother. 

JULIAN CASTRO:  Yes.  Like many twins, we have gotten so used to every single hour of the day that we are out and about, people confuse us.  So we are used to that. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, that does, though, work in your favor.  If you‘ve got 200,000 people, I am telling you, if I had a twin, I may have tried this one or two times myself. 

JULIAN CASTRO:  Well, it wasn‘t intentional, though.  And I think that that is the main point.  Sure, I think that Joaquin is not good looking enough to impersonate me.  But that‘s my personal opinion. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, your opponent disagrees. 

Phil Hardberger said this about the innocent—quote—“If you‘re 18 years old and having a date, it might be a youthful prank when you swap out your brother, but when you‘re running for mayor of a city with 1.3 million people and sending in your brother as an impersonator, I do see a problem with that.”

What is your response? 

JULIAN CASTRO:  Oh, you know, you are talking about a gentleman who is 15 points behind in the polls right now.  We are trying to focus on the issues of San Antonio.  And I intended to be there.  And he was there.  And they didn‘t tell the announcer.  And, for that reason, there was a mistake. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Has this hurt your campaign?  You say that you are 15 points ahead.  But now with this big incident going on, do most people in San Antonio look at it seriously?  Or they‘re just kind of laughing it off? 

JULIAN CASTRO:  Oh, no.  I think people will understand that...

JOAQUIN CASTRO:  Yes. 

JULIAN CASTRO:  ... the announcer made a mistake, that people on the barge knew that it was Joaquin because he said it was Joaquin. 

JOAQUIN CASTRO:  And, actually, 90 percent of the people in San Antonio know that there‘s two of us.

JULIAN CASTRO:  Yes. 

JOAQUIN CASTRO:  So I don‘t think they‘re very surprised that—you know, we campaign with each other and I campaign for him sometimes. 

I have never impersonated him, but that night, I was campaigning for him. 

JULIAN CASTRO:  Yes.  And we have said that, right now, Joaquin has made it clear that we campaign—or he campaigns for me.  He doesn‘t campaign as me.

So, in the future, maybe we‘ll have to wear name tags or T-shirts or something to make it clear.  

JOAQUIN CASTRO:  Something. 

JULIAN CASTRO:  Just so everybody knows 100 percent of the time that -

·         who is who. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Or, actually, you can just wear the red tie for the rest of the campaign. 

JULIAN CASTRO:  That‘s right. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And Joaquin can wear the blue time. 

OK.  Here we go.  So, you have got the T-shirts now that you‘re breaking out.

Let me ask you, Joaquin.  You are a state senator right now. 

(CROSSTALK)

JOAQUIN CASTRO:  State representative. 

SCARBOROUGH:  State representative. 

JOAQUIN CASTRO:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Has this had any detrimental impact on your political career?  Are you catching a lot of flak? 

JOAQUIN CASTRO:  No. 

SCARBOROUGH:  With the legislators? 

JOAQUIN CASTRO:  No, not so far.  I think maybe when I get a chance to talk to them a little bit more, they will probably rib me about it, but I think that‘s about it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, any predictions, Julian?  How is the election going to turn out? 

JULIAN CASTRO:  Yes.  We feel good, feel good.  We have an election down here on May 7.

In the meantime, we want to invite all your viewers to San Antonio.  We are having Fiesta this week.  And it‘s a great event down here in San Antonio, a very charming city.  And I feel good about the May 7 city elections. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, very good.  And I will tell you what.  If you are in San Antonio, make sure you catch these parades and try to pick out which one is which. 

(LAUGHTER)

JULIAN CASTRO:  That‘s right.  We will have our shirts on this time. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Wear your shirts from now on. 

JOAQUIN CASTRO:  We‘re going to get it right now.

SCARBOROUGH:  Or the color coding works, too. 

Julian, Joaquin, thanks a lot for being with us.  We greatly appreciate it.  And good luck to both of you.

(CROSSTALK)

JULIAN CASTRO:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  When we come back, we are going to have a lot more details on our next SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY campaign.  We are going to Washington.  Now, this is serious business.  We are going there to protect your kids.  And we want you to go with us.  E-mail us at Joe@MSNBC.com on how you believe we can take this campaign to D.C. and make your children safer in your homes and in your communities. 

We‘ll be right back in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m heading back to Washington and SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is going with me, this time to protect your kids.  We‘ve got details coming up. 

But for more info, check out my Web site at Joe.MSNBC.com.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, being in the news business, it‘s easy to get desensitized.  And just, after a while, you hear all this bad news and you just sort of brush it away. 

But I got to tell you, I heard how poor Jessica Lunsford was killed earlier today and it broke my heart.  I had to call my wife up and talk to her about it.  It made me sick to my stomach.  Of course, she was raped.  Then she was buried alive.  She was found clutching a stuffed animal.  She had been suffocated, again, four feet underground. 

That‘s why I am going to Washington next week.  And I will tell you what.  We are going to push politicians to pass legislation that will protect our children from repeat sex offenders.  I know you care about this issue a lot because I got flooded with e-mails last night. 

Gloria from Massachusetts wrote this: “No bracelets on these murderers.  Put all the criminals that violate children away for a minimum of 25 years and life without parole for egregious cases.”

Gloria, I couldn‘t agree with you more. 

And another suggested solution came from Ron in California.  He wrote to us saying, “Sexual predators should be offered castration if they want to walk free or they get life in prison.”

I think that‘s even too good for some of these people.

But, listen, I want you to keep sending your e-mails to me, your suggestions, your stories, your ideas.  Together, we can do something real to save our children from these sexual predators.  You can e-mail me at Joe@MSNBC.com.  Together, friends, I promise you, we can make a difference. 

That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  We‘ll see you tomorrow in

SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

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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