updated 4/25/2005 8:55:09 AM ET 2005-04-25T12:55:09

Guest: Aren Almon-Kok, Pat LaLama, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Jerry Taylor, Sharon Burns, Cary Verse, David Winston, Willie Brown, Richard Shenkman 

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight‘s top headline, the Governator, Arnold Schwarzen-blunder.  With poll numbers falling, Arnold calls on some of that old Kennedy magic to save the day.  But can Maria do the job? 

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

He was California‘s new hope.  But with poll numbers falling and political miscues on the rise, the Republicans‘ rising star is now on the political rocks.  And “The L.A. Times” is reporting that his Kennedy wife is stepping in to save his career.  But is it too little too late? 

Then, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY turns up the heat on sexual predators, taking the fight to Florida and beyond.  Jeb Bush may sign Jessica‘s Law and lock them up and throw away the key.  But some still say sexual deviants can live safely among us—that SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown straight ahead. 

And, on this Earth Day, I am going to be asking Bobby Kennedy why politicians, corporations and environmentalists refuse to do what it takes to break our dependence on foreign oil.

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

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, good evening. 

               

Tonight, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is live from California, where “The L.A.  Times” is reporting that America‘s best-known governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is facing sagging poll numbers midway through his first term.  Now, just months ago, Republicans were talking about a constitutional amendment to allow the foreign-born actor to run for president.  Now many are suggesting he may not even win reelection in his own state. 

An explosive article on the front of “The L.A. Times” says—quote—

“Schwarzenegger is reeling after successive policy reversals, gaffes and clashes with well-organized opponents.  They‘ve deflated his once buoyant approval ratings.  People with ties with the administration use words like dysfunctional and civil war to describe the atmosphere within his office.”

The problems have gotten so serious that a Kennedy is coming to his rescue.  Maria Shriver his wife is no stranger to politics.  “The Times” is reporting that she is very unhappy and frustrated and has been working with consultants to clean up his message and act and to stop the in-fighting in his inner circle.  But can Maria stop the bleeding?  Will Arnold be a footnote in California history or save himself to become a historic force in American politics? 

With us now to talk about it, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.  We also have presidential historian Richard Shenkman.  And we also have Republican pollster David Winston.  He‘s a Republican pollster and president of the Winston Group and a columnist for the Capitol Hill newspaper “Roll Call.”

Mr. Mayor, let‘s start with you.  Like I said before, not long ago, Republicans were saying we are going to change the Constitution so this guy can run for president.  What has gone so terribly wrong over the past six months?

WILLIE BROWN (D), FORMER MAYOR OF SAN FRANCISCO:  Over the past six months, Governor Schwarzenegger has decided to in fact govern, rather than continue to run for office, as was the case when he defeated Gray Davis and got himself elected governor in that recall election. 

As long as he stays focused on the idea of communicating directly with people, his poll numbers would be OK.  But when he decided to get into the mix, start taking on nurses, teachers, firefighters and others, he began to sag.  And that sagging has continued until the present time.  All he has to do, however, is just leave those people alone, and his numbers will be OK. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Richard, obviously, a lot of people are talking about “The L.A. Times”‘ story that says Maria Shriver is stepping in.  We have heard stories about the Kennedy women before.  They are tough.  Talk about their role in politics behind the scenes through our recent history. 

RICHARD SHENKMAN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN:  Well, the Kennedy men wouldn‘t be much help to Arnold Schwarzenegger.  But the Kennedy women?  Well, they tend to stay out of trouble, out of scandal, and they have been fairly savvy. 

Maria Shriver has been known for months and months and months for being savvy behind the scenes.  “The L.A. Times” has run stories over the last year saying that she helps out in arranging his media schedule and his media appearances.  She‘s kind of Schwarzenegger‘s Nancy Reagan in that sense, although I don‘t know that she‘s interfering with the actual Cabinet appointees.  But she seems to have a real hand in media management. 

And, of course, as a former NBC reporter and person who has been on television for 20 years, she knows something about the media. 

SCARBOROUGH:  David Winston, poll numbers go up; poll numbers go down.  But if you read “The L.A. Times” today, they say that Arnold is in big trouble.  What do you say? 

DAVID WINSTON, “ROLL CALL”:  Well, first, you have to realize how he came into office. 

I mean, he came in after Gray Davis, who was clearly a disaster, and I think, to everybody‘s surprise, performed extraordinarily well.  And so, in terms of the whole context so far of his governorship, I mean, I would have to say that everybody has viewed him as a significant surprise. 

Now, as you said, everybody runs into those sort of patches where things are difficult.  He clearly made a blunder this week in terms of talking about immigration.  And, also, you have rising gas prices, which has been particularly unsettling.  California, with their boutique gasoline, that has even impacted them more so.  So, I mean, the dynamic here is, maybe there is a tough patch here.  But, over the longer term, he has done very well. 

The last time in terms of staff, any time you have this sort of dynamic where you hit a rough patch, people start pointing fingers.  And he clearly has to work through that and get the staff back in line. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Willie Brown, in a speech to the annual meeting of Newspaper Association of America, this is what Schwarzenegger said.  Take a listen . 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER ®, CALIFORNIA:  Close the borders, close the borders in California and all across Mexico and the United States, because I think it is just unfair to have all of those people coming across and to have the borders open the way it is and to have this kind of a lax situation. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  But he got in trouble for that, as you know.  And this is what he said at a news conference on Wednesday. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHWARZENEGGER:  The bottom line is, I misspoke.  And I‘m sorry if that, you know, offended anyone.  But it was a language problem, because I meant securing our borders, rather than closing our borders. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Willie, don‘t you wish we could have used that in politics, a language problem?

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Are people buying that? 

BROWN:  No, I don‘t think so.  And not only that; I think he waited too many hours.  I mean, there have been too many people who have jumped on him for that comment. 

Out of the box, his spin doctors, before he even left the place where he was making the speech, began to say, well, that is not really what he meant.  Then they had to concoct what he in fact did mean and they have to do it in the context of believability.  And, obviously, the language item becomes a potential believable method and a believable means. 

However, I don‘t think most of the people will ever hear his explanation.  They have all heard, however, close the borders. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, I‘m going to try that, though, just say—next time I get in trouble, I‘m going to say it‘s because I‘m from the Redneck Riviera. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Richard Shenkman...

BROWN:  And I‘m going to say I speak Ebonics. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  There you go.  That will work for both of us. 

BROWN:  Absolutely. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Richard, if you will, let‘s compare Kennedy women, strong Kennedy women.  You, of course, had Jackie.  You had Ethel.  You had Rose.  And, of course, you had Maria Shriver‘s mother, Eunice.  How does Maria line up with all of them historically? 

SHENKMAN:  She‘s the most active politically. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Really? 

SHENKMAN:  Except for Kathleen Townsend in Maryland.  Maria is actually the most active.  I mean, Jackie would deliberately distance herself from the politicians.  She wanted to hang out with literary people. 

Maria apparently likes to hang out with political people and certainly media people.  And politics today is all about media.  So she hangs out with the right crowd.  If you look back at her wedding with Arnold Schwarzenegger, look at the media people who showed up there.  It was Oprah.  It was Tom Brokaw. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, very media savvy.  And, again, that‘s surprising.  You say, of all the Kennedy women, she may—again, she may be, as a spouse, may be the most active of them all, huh? 

SHENKMAN:  Well, take a look, for instance, at just the way in which she has stepped in, in the last week while she is on a book tour.  She has got a book tour going.  She‘s going around giving interviews, and she‘s using her opportunity here to help out her husband in California. 

Now, who ever would have thought that, you know, Arnold Schwarzenegger needed the help of his wife.  But he apparently does.  And she‘s apparently doing a fairly good job about it.  You know, this is all about—and, again, I‘m a historian.  So, let me provide some historical perspective here.  This is all about the transformation of politics in the television age. 

In the television age, politics is all about personality.  And that means, if you have the Kennedy charisma and you can somehow use that to reach out and connect to voters, that is going to be very helpful.  Arnold has his own charisma.  So, he reaches out to voters and connects with them one way.  Having Maria Shriver there has been very helpful in reaching out in another way. 

I don‘t know if Arnold Schwarzenegger could have been a credible candidate for governor without her, because he needed Democrats to vote for him.  She was there, just symbolically, giving the Kennedy, Democrat stamp of approval to this guy, who really was an unknown quantity politically. 

SCARBOROUGH:  David Winston, make a prediction for us, if you will.  Obviously, Arnold Schwarzenegger came in, as you said, a very difficult time in California politics.  Do you think this is “The L.A. Times” making much ado about nothing or do you think there are very real challenges here that will stop this man from succeeding in California‘s governor and possibly taking a run for president of the United States? 

WINSTON:  Well, the president of the United States is obviously a whole different question, Joe, because, obviously, there is a constitutional amendment that would have to intervene.  So, that is a whole different element. 

Having said that, clearly, he is going through a very challenging part of his gubernatorialship and probably at this point the most difficult moment he has faced.  And going back to the remark, as Willie said, he made a poor remark.  However, he apologized for it.  And one of the things that people like about this guy is that he is a very candid fellow.  And he apologized for it, and moving on. 

Now, his job approval being in the mid-40s, again, remember, George Bush had job approval in the mid-40s and won by a relatively comfortable margin.  I think they should look forward in terms of the campaign with some confidence.  But, clearly, they are going to have to retool a bit here in terms of getting back on their, which they have been knocked off on a bit. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Willie, I‘ll give you the last word.  Make a prediction. 

Is he going to be reelected? 

BROWN:  I think at this moment, yes.  I don‘t see anyone frankly able to challenge him in terms of star quality and in terms of attractiveness, with so many different collection of voters. 

However, if the slide continues, I may run. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  I was going to ask you, Willie, I mean, why don‘t you jump in there, like you have said before? 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know?  If any problems come up, use Arnold‘s excuse. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Hey, thanks a lot, Mr. Mayor.  We appreciate it. 

Richard, as always, we appreciate it.

And, David Winston, thanks for coming to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

WINSTON:  Pleasure.

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up next, Americans call for castration, incarceration and death for sex predators.  But some are saying they can still be cured.  We‘re going to be talking to one repeat offender who says he will never hurt a child again.  And that‘s because he‘s castrated.  Others saying that is not even enough. 

And police put a 5-year-old in handcuffs.  Friends, I‘ve got issues. 

Stick around.  SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY‘s just getting started. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Can sex molesters be cured?  We‘re going to be talking to a repeat offender who has been castrated and says he‘ll never hurt a child again  But is that enough?

Coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back. 

Now, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY‘s campaign to get tough on sexual predators is starting to pay off.  Today in Florida, the legislature passed Jessica‘s Act, named after the 9-year-old who was kidnapped and murdered by a registered sex offender.  Governor Jeb Bush is expected to sign that tough bill into law in the coming days.  And the new law calls for a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years for those who molest children under the age of 12, in some cases, could result in life in prison, require them to wear GPS tracking devices also for the rest of their lives.

And it‘s not only lawmakers in Florida who are listening.  Middle America is upset, too.  Jessica Lunsford‘s father, Mark, was on Capitol Hill Thursday pushing Congress to make Florida‘s bill the law of the land. 

Now, your response to this Capitol Hill campaign has been overwhelming.  We have received floods of e-mails on the issue.  And I want to read you a few.

First of all, Candice in Long Island wrote in to ask: “How come none of the legal analysts in all the political shows ever mention castration?  I am sure it will deter those who are about to commit any sexual offenses.”

We will get back to that in a second.  And, like others, who say our show has altered them to check into predators in their own neighborhood, Leigh wrote in to say: “I have a beautiful park in my backyard.  But I let my children play back there since I found through the sex offender registry that one of these repulsive individuals lives nearby.”

It is a sad story.  But you know what?  It‘s better to be safe than sorry.  Still, many are asking if sexual offenders can be cured or will they always be a danger to our children?  And is branding them publicly the best policy? 

You know, just yesterday, convicted sex offender in Northwest Florida Clovis Claxton apparently committed suicide in despair over signs in his neighborhood branding him a child rapist.  He was not that. 

With me now to talk about this are Clint Van Zandt. He‘s a former FBI profiler and founder of a Web site called LiveSecure.org.  Also with us, Sharon Burns, a professional counselor who treats sex offenders, and also Cary Verse, a convicted sex offender from California who underwent voluntary medical castration after serving two sentences for sexual crimes. 

Clint, let‘s begin with you. 

CLINT VAN ZANDT, MSNBC ANALYST:  Hi, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about all this activity in the past week.  It seems like all of America has suddenly taken note and are forcing state legislatures to get tough.  Talk about it. 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, I think why we want to get tough, Joe, it‘s your kids.  It‘s my grandkids.  It‘s all of our kids.  We‘re afraid. 

And I think America, rightfully so, says, if in fact the Justice Department suggests that a child molester may molest up to 380 times, if someone who offends a child may do it up to 50 times, a girl, if someone who offends little boys may do it up to 150 times, now, these statistics, the government comes up with them somewhere.  But they have basis in fact. 

If in fact we have these repeat offenders who are doing this over and over again, if, like we have seen in Florida, we have offenders who are out on the street and who reoffend.  And, Joe, the facts of some of these crimes are so horrific that, I mean, we can hardly talk to them, talk about them on TV.  But you and I, we want to protect our kids.  We want to protect our grandkids. 

And the balance has to be, we have to do it in a way that‘s right, that‘s fair, that‘s just, and we have to be able to pay for it.  And, as you and I talked on your program before, whatever it takes, I will write the check.  I had someone said, let‘s put a little block on our income tax return that says, I‘ll give $10 to deal with child offenders.  Well, you know, I will check that block. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Clint, can they be cured?  Can they be brought back into society? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, you know, I have sat and talked to child molesters.  I have talked to child killers who have told me, I will do whatever it takes.  I will undergo castration.  I will undergo any type of therapy you want to put me under.  All I want to do is get back on the street and reoffend. 

And I‘m sure one of your guests may say, that is—you know, that is not necessarily typical.  Joe, I‘m not willing to take the chance to have somebody decide, well, this person is a child offender; he has offended; he‘s raped; he‘s murdered a child, but now we think, after therapy, they are safe to go back on the street.  I‘ve seen statistics and studies that say offenders—this is in Europe—that offenders who have undergone therapy programs, when they come out, they are even worse offenders when they went in. 

So, there are statistics and there are lies and, somewhere in between, the truth.  My basic premise is, I‘m not willing to take the chance with your kids and my grandkids.  I will pay what it takes to get the offenders off the street.  I don‘t want to give them two strikes or 380 strikes.  You get one strike in a ball game in which I would be the umpire and you wouldn‘t come up to bat again. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Cary Verse, you‘re a convicted sex offender.  You voluntarily decided to undergo chemical castration.  Why? 

CARY VERSE, CASTRATED SEX OFFENDER:  Well, it‘s part of the process. 

I decided to do whatever it took to get myself back on the right track.  And chemical castration is one of the tools that I‘m using in those efforts. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Is it working? 

VERSE:  Yes, it is.  It‘s a very powerful tool.  I also do polygraph testing and under GPS monitoring 24 hours a day. 

And I‘m part of a program called Liberty Health Care Corporation here in California.  And it‘s been very powerful and very strong since I‘ve been out.  And I feel very confident. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Cary, we have had a sexual offender on before that has told us, you can never be cured.  He said that he just—he has to stay away from young children.  It‘s like alcoholism.  It‘s a fight minute by minute, second by second.  Is that the same case with you? 

VERSE:  Not exactly.  I have never been diagnosed with pedophilia. 

My crimes were pretty much people close to my age.  So, my is more psychological as far as dealing with relationship issues, those kind of things.  But, at the time, the word cure is so vague.  I think mine is like managing.  You have to make sure you don‘t put yourself in bad situations and make sure you don‘t fall back in the same category.  Mine is more anger, depression, a lot of resentment toward a lot of things going on that I had to deal with.

And I also was sexually abused myself.  And I never told anybody, so I was carrying that burden around.  So, I had to start learning how to be honest and open and clear with people, so that I could start living a decent life. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Sharon Burns, you have treated people that have these problems, that have been sexual offenders before.  You don‘t believe they can be cured.  But you believe they can be brought back into society.  You know, there are a lot of Americans out there that simply don‘t believe it.  Tell us why you think they can be brought back into society.

SHARON BURNS, COUNSELS SEXUAL OFFENDERS:  I think there is a certain percentage of them that can.  It depends on what the offense was and what their level of deviancy is and what type of deviancy. 

But there is—the way the risk assessment is set up right now in the state of Texas, it‘s biased against a young offender that might have done what we call down-dating and been 19 and had sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old.  And that is an illegal offense.  And he gets the sex offender label. 

There is a whole different set of offenders out there that are very predaceous and do have hundreds of victims.  And even two is too many.  And there needs to be more study in the area, and hoping that—I did hear some good news on that.  There is research money coming up.  But the numbers of them, the sheer numbers of them—for every registered offender that we have, I think we have about 10 times that many that are not identified yet. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Clint, you were rolling your eyes, didn‘t agree with a lot of things that Sharon was talking about.  Why? 

VAN ZANDT:  I will tell you why.  We have done studies, Joe.  We have done studies and studies.  If people are going to spend my tax money, I don‘t want to do another study.  I want to build more prison cells and I want to put these people away. 

You know, I mean, in all deference to your guest, I‘m not willing to take the chance with America‘s children.  But, you know, part of the challenge is, you know, as your last guest just said, there are so many offenders out there.  You know, that is one of the things we need and you‘re advocating is some type of a national sex offender, predator registry. 

You know, on our Web site, LiveSecure.org, we try to let people do that.  I mean, no cost, no names, no credit cards.  Go to the Web site, click on the sexual predator register.  Go to every state in the union and all the counties that have sexual predators listed.  You do it free.  You don‘t pay a nickel.  That is what people need to do. 

But part of the challenge, too, Joe, is, how do we characterize this?  You know, I was looking today.  And I find sexual offender, child sexual offender, pedophile, sexual predator, child sexual predator, child molester, child rapist.  If different states use different terminology, how do we all get together and call the same person who commits the same offense the same thing? 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  All right, Clint.  Thank you so much.  We‘ll be right back with Bobby Kennedy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Today is Earth Day.  And a lot of people think our planet is in terrible health.  Well, I have got a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY solution I will tell you about.  And I will tell Bobby Kennedy, too, see what he thinks. 

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

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  As I said earlier, tonight, I‘m coming to you live from Los Angeles.  And it‘s Earth Day.  But take a look at this shot.  It‘s a picture of the thick blanket of smog that covers Southern California all too often.     

So, on this Earth Day, we are asking, are our skies cleaner?  Is our water more pure?  Is global warming a fantasy?  Will Congress do anything to lower gas prices brought on by a lack of a national energy policy?  You know, gas prices are at an all-time high, 50 percent higher than two years ago, and we are more dependent on foreign oil than ever.  But there is a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY solution that I am sure is going to anger politicians on both sides of the aisle in Washington.

First, we have to have higher fuel efficiency standards.  I say start at 40 miles per gallon.  Second, clear up the smog by embracing safe nuclear energy.  Third, cut corporate subsidies to oil companies.  All we‘re doing is encouraging them to invest in old energy sources.  Fourth, increase our national reserve by drilling in Alaska.  Fifth, have a national campaign to have all Americans conserve energy at home.  Let‘s face it, friends.  It starts with you and me. 

Here to clear up the skies of political pollution on this Earth Day and to talk about the SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY solution are Robert F. Kennedy Jr.  He‘s a renowned environmentalist and the author of a great book called “Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy.”  Not sure I agree with the subtitle.  Laurie David, an environmentalist and founder of Virtual March on Washington to Stop Global Warming.  It is going to be big, friends.  And Jerry Taylor, the director of national resource studies for the Cato Institute.

Bobby, let‘s begin with you. 

You say George W. Bush is going to go down as the worst environmentalist president in our nation‘s history.  And yet, some people are telling us that the skies are cleaner than ever before and our skies are cleaner than ever before.  How do you square that?

ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR., NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL:  Well, water and the air are cleaner, have gotten cleaner since Earth Day.

But because of the rollbacks—there‘s over 400 major environmental rollbacks that have been promoted or implemented by this White House over the last four years.  And those rollbacks are already beginning to show.  For example, EPA announced this year that, for the first time since the passage of the Clean Water Act, sulfur dioxide levels in America‘s air, the material that causes acid rain, are actually going up, and astronomically, a full 4 percent in one year. 

And if you look at those criteria, the mercury levels are going up. 

In 19 states, it is unsafe now to eat any freshwater fish in the state.  One out of every six American women now has so much mercury in her womb that her children are at risk for a grim inventory of diseases, autism, blindness, mental retardation, heart, liver, kidney disease.

And this White House has changed the mercury standards, so that the emitters, the people—that coal-burning power plants that are emitting it will literally never have to—effectively never have to clean up their mercury. 

But I just want to respond to one thing you said, because, as usual, Joe, you‘re half right. 

(LAUGHTER)

KENNEDY:  Fuel economy standards, if we had fuel economy standards, if we raised fuel economy by one mile per gallon, we can get yield twice the amount of oil that is in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  If we raise few economy by 7.6 per gallon, we can eliminate 100 percent of Gulf oil imports into this country.

That is a real national energy policy that would—that would rescue us from these entanglements with the Mideastern dictators, spare us from adventures like the Iraq war, insulate us from price shocks on the international oil market and, you know, lower our deficit.  That is a good not only environmental policy.  As you point out, it‘s a good foreign policy; it‘s a good energy policy; it‘s a good domestic and economic policy as well. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Bobby, thanks for the compliment, I think. 

Jerry Taylor at Cato, respond on this Earth Day to the president‘s environmental policy.  Obviously, Bobby Kennedy and a lot of people out there don‘t like it. 

JERRY TAYLOR, CATO INSTITUTE:  Well, the president‘s environmental policy is somewhat all over the lot, as all presidents‘ are.  There are some things that I‘m sure Mr. Kennedy would look at and applaud.  His rule regarding sulfur and diesel fuel, for instance, was credited by NRDC as being one of the most important advances in environmental protection in decades. 

And then there are other things that Mr. Kennedy would look at and, of course, not care too much for.  But the bottom line here, I think the difference between me and Mr. Kennedy is that, when it comes to the decisions consumers make, Mr. Kennedy thinks the government ought to step in and tell people what they can and can‘t buy.  And I think the people ought to make their own call. 

When you, for example, mandate increase in corporate fuel efficiency for cars, what you are essentially doing is telling Americans that they can‘t buy what they otherwise would have bought absent those standards.  And you‘re telling carmakers they can‘t make what they would have made because the government‘s telling them to make something else.  In other words, don‘t please the consumer.  Please the government. 

So, your standard for example, Joe, would essentially run SUVs out of the market.  About half the people who buy cars kind of like buying those SUVs.  As long as they are paying the full cost for the SUV, I really don‘t have a whole lot of complaint. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, let me ask...

(CROSSTALK)

TAYLOR:  But the idea that you would find political capital out of that or that you would have all this environmental gain I think is nonsense. 

One thing, for instance, we know is that, if you increase CAFE standards, one of the secondary consequences of it will be a modest increase in pollution, because we regulate cars based on the miles they travel, not so much the fuel they consume.  And there have been several studies. 

(CROSSTALK)

TAYLOR:  Let me finish.  There have been several studies, one by a professor of Penn State.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  We have got three guests.  And you have brought up a lot of things that we can talk about.  And we‘ll get back to you. 

TAYLOR:  Well, if you can, I would just like to finish the point. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, hurry up.

TAYLOR:  There have been a number of studies which have demonstrated that, if you increase the fuel efficiency of cars, you are going to increase vehicle miles traveled.  And that is going to increase pollution.  And that is something that makes these sorts of standards rather problematic.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Laurie David, this is why I said 40 miles per gallon.  First of all, it really would decrease our dependency on foreign oil from places like Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East. 

But, secondly, Detroit has always fought us.  They said, we can‘t put air bags in the car. 

LAURIE DAVID, NATIONAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL:  You can‘t put seat belts in every car.  You put those type of standards on us, Detroit is going to go belly up. 

In fact, what is happening right now is, GM is reporting the worst losses ever.  Respond to what Jerry said. 

DAVID:  Absolutely.  You are totally right. 

And if you look at the headlines this whole week, all GM had to do, all Ford had to do was come up with one great hybrid car right now and they would look like heroes and everybody would be buying those cars.  But they didn‘t do it.  And so they resist everything.  And this is where they end up. 

SCARBOROUGH:  There‘s actually a waiting list, isn‘t there?  If you wanted to go out and buy a hybrid car right now, you would have to sit and wait. 

DAVID:  You have to sit and wait.  And no one is saying don‘t—nobody can have—should have SUVs.  All we‘re saying is, make SUVs that get 40 miles to the gallon. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Can you do that though?  Because Jerry said, if we have 40 miles per gallon fuel efficiency standard, that will drive SUVs off the market. 

DAVID:  Well, that is a beautiful General Motors‘ talking point and he says it very well, but it is not true. 

SCARBOROUGH:  How do you say that?  Has anybody made a fuel-efficient SUV yet? 

DAVID:  Well, yes.  In fact, Toyota is coming out with the Lexus hybrid, which is going to be the hottest car on the market, because everybody is going to want it.  And it is an SUV.

TAYLOR:  And what is its fuel efficiency, Laurie? 

DAVID:  I believe it will be somewhere between 40 and 45. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s move on.  We will find out about that in a little bit. 

Let‘s move on, though, right now, Bobby Kennedy, to the debate over global warming.  This is like the debate over evolution.  It‘s like the debate about where life begins.  It‘s hard to get a straight answer.  On this Earth Day, is global warming real? 

KENNEDY:  Well, there is no debate that it is real in the scientific community.  There is a few kind of holdouts, these industry-paid junk scientists.  We call them biostitutes.  There‘s a couple of them left who will say that there is no such thing as global warming. 

But they have to have their head in the sand.  The ice caps are melting.  The Northern ice cap, the North Pole, has lost 40 percent of its ice within the last 20 years.  It will be gone within 20 years.  The sea levels are rising.  Coral reefs are dying.  We are subjected—that deserts are growing.  Glaciers are melting, withdrawing on every single continent in the world. 

You know, there‘s mass extinction of species going on today.  There is no debate about global warming.  The only debate is really about what we are going to do about it.  And, you know, the thing is, Joe, is that all the things that we need to do to avert global warming are things that we ought to be doing anyway to improve our economy, our prosperity, our quality of life in this country. 

I pointed to CAFE standards.  One of the things that, the argument that Jerry has is that we should have free market economies governing this.  I agree with that.  I wish we had a free market economy, because the true free market would eliminate—encourage efficiency.  And efficiency means the elimination of waste. 

But you show me a polluter; I will show you a subsidy.  That is what pollution is.  And, in this case, the automobile industry is inefficient because we are pumping in huge subsidies, as you pointed out, to the oil industry.  We are giving $65 billion a year of direct and indirect subsidies to the oil industry.  And that doesn‘t include the $300 billion that we are pumping into the Gulf, or their infrastructure there. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

(CROSSTALK)

KENNEDY:  But that allows the industry to artificially lower the price of gasoline to $2.40 a gallon.

If we were paying the true cost of gasoline, consumers would be screaming at Detroit to give us cars that get 40 miles per gallon.  And guess what?  Detroit would be making SUVs that have the same power, performance and safety as the ones they are making now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Jerry Taylor, I‘ve got to give you the last word.  Is global warming junk science, as a lot of conservatives claim it is? 

TAYLOR:  Well, I don‘t think so.  I do agree that we have seen a warming trend in the last century, about a degree Fahrenheit. 

The rest of the parade of horribles that Mr. Kennedy discussed, however, is certainly in dispute.  According to the U.N.‘s IPCC report, or at least the last one—and this is, of course, the coalition of 2,000 of the world‘s leading scientists who periodically report on the state of the environment—their last report told us that there was no clear trend in ice cap behavior.  There was absolutely no clear trend in sea level. 

They got mixed evidence on that.  These parades of horribles, there is some evidence for them and there‘s some evidence against them.  And, right now, scientists say that we can‘t really tell where the trends are at the moment.  So, it‘s something that we need to keep an eye on.  But let‘s think about what has happened. 

Over the past 100 years, we have seen some warming.  What else have we seen?  We‘ve seen the greatest expansion of living standards in global history.  We‘ve seen expansions in—we‘ve seen a reduction in environmental-related mortality.  We‘ve seen increases in crop yield.  We‘ve seen a boon in the economy.  We seem to be able to live quite reasonably with the sort of the very modest we have seen so far. 

And given the pattern of warming which we are seeing, which is primarily a nighttime phenomena, not a daytime phenomena, a winter phenomena, not a summer phenomena, largely in far northern latitudes, I see no reason why that‘s going to change. 

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

DAVID:  Thank you so much, Joe. 

He is completely wrong; 2,000 scientists from 100 countries all agree.  Global warming is here.  It‘s now, and humans are causing it.  And we better do something to stop it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, last word.  Thank you so much. 

We appreciate all of you being with us, Laurie David, Jerry Taylor and Bobby Kennedy.  Thanks a lot. 

And still ahead, I‘ve got issues with Florida police handcuffing a 5-year-old girl.  We‘re going to show you this unbelievable footage. 

And I‘m here in California, just in time for a sex scandal at “American Idol.”  Egad.  You‘re going to see who‘s singing now, baby.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, I‘m Joe.  I‘m in L.A.  Still haven‘t had any star sightings.  Maybe that is why I have issues. 

First of all, I have got issues with the St. Petersburg Police using excessive force on a 5-year-old girl.  That‘s right.  The child threw a fit in her kindergarten classroom, tried to punch the school principal.  But when the police arrived, the girl was sitting calmly in her chair, and then this happened.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)        

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No.  No.  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hold her hands together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Go ahead.  Don‘t worry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Good lord.  Call in the SWAT team.  The Girl Scouts are on a rampage. 

The attorney for the girl‘s mother filed a complaint with the police, though he says the school is also to blame for overreacting.  The school board says the principal called the girl‘s mother first.  But when they couldn‘t control the kindergarten, they had no choice but to call in the police, three officers to restrain a 5-year-old girl in handcuffs?  There are going to be lawsuits here.  And there should be.  These guys should be spending more time out on the street writing tickets. 

And I‘ve got issues with America‘s biggest talent competition.  Former “American Idol” contestant Corey Clark claims he had a secret affair with judge Paula Abdul and that Abdul promised to pay him $2 million, help his singing career.  MSNBC‘s Jeannette Walls and “The Globe” reported that the alleged affair is the subject of a book that Clark is now shopping around to publishers. 

Clark‘s claims, along with a planned “American Idol” expose that is working over at ABC, it could spell doom for what has been Fox‘s biggest hit and a pop culture phenomenon. 

Now, to talk about it with me and all the wild scenes behind America‘s most popular TV show is “Celebrity Justice” correspondent Pat LaLama. 

Pat, Paula Abdul, spontaneous combustion?  I mean, what is going on here? 

PAT LALAMA, “CELEBRITY JUSTICE”:  Well, just to show you how naive I can be, I‘m reading this article in “People” magazine, where she—it‘s a litany of 25 years of chronic pain and suffering and crying, depression.  bone spurs, neck problems, operations, car accidents. 

It has been bulimia.  Let‘s not forget that.  And she is revealing all of this because she says that people wrote on message boards that she is acting very strangely, and that hurt her, that she wanted to set the record straight that she is not taking drugs, that she‘s just had this 25 years of horrific existence, and she is finally getting it under control. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But why is it all—I mean, we are having all of these events happening one after another after another. 

LALAMA:  I know.  I‘m getting to it.  Then she settles a hit-and-run with a no contest.

Then she settles a small claims with a guy who said she owed him money for wardrobe styling.  Then there was an issue with a nail salon.  There‘s all kinds of things that she seems to be settling all of these.  And then it hit me, expose.  It‘s coming out, all these allegedly scandalous things she was involved with.

And this, Joe, to me is the new trend in Hollywood, preemptive strike.  The say, let‘s huddle.  Let‘s get it all out there, and you look like such a good person, just pouring your heart out to America.

SCARBOROUGH:  So, when the ABC expose comes out, people say, big deal. 

This is old news.

LALAMA:  Ho-hum.  On to the next. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  So, does this spell trouble for “American Idol”? 

LALAMA:  Are you kidding?  Honey, you need to stay in Hollywood a little bit longer. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me play devil‘s advocate.

(CROSSTALK)

LALAMA:  Books.  There is going to be all kinds of things.  There‘s going to be shows.  Are you kidding?  I might even get a job on one of those shows.  Just kidding. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Yes. 

LALAMA:  Harvey, just kidding.  That‘s my boss.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Maybe the rights to—for the record and the book shares. 

So, you think that all this is going to do is just gin up the P.R.  machine even more.  If there is an expose on ABC, that drives up the ratings more. 

LALAMA:  Listen...

SCARBOROUGH:  This is a P.R. machine that can only help “American Idol.” 

LALAMA:  Absolutely.  We live now in a society where Paris Hilton does a sex tape and now she is the hottest thing in the world. 

Now, that just gives you an example of where we are morally, ethically, what our culture is about.  The badder you are, the better it gets. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Only in America, only in L.A. 

LALAMA:  Yes.  And thank God there are shows like “Celebrity Justice” to tell you all about them. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly. 

Pat LaLama, thanks a lot, as always. 

LALAMA:  My pleasure.  Thanks for inviting me. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And great to see you here on the set. 

LALAMA:  Hey, and welcome to Tinseltown. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s great to be here.

LALAMA:  I will see if I can get a star to, like, you know, saunter by at the restaurant, some restaurant for you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That would be awesome, Pat.  Thanks a lot. 

Hey, coming up next, this week‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY hero. 

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up next, we‘re going to be meeting this week‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion. 

And be sure to check out my Web site, Joe.MSNBC.com.

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s time for our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion. 

And, as you know, Tuesday was the 10th tragic anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.  And the world took time out to honor 168 souls who were murdered at the federal building there.  One of them, little Baylee Almon, came to represent all of the victims because of this photo.  But to one person, she‘s much more than a symbol.  To Bailey‘s mom, it is her baby. 

Aren Almon-Kok has taken her grief and turned it around, campaigning for safer buildings.  And she is this week‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion. 

Aren, thank you so much for being with us tonight.  I know this has had to be a difficult week for you. 

How are you doing? 

AREN ALMON-KOK, MOTHER OF OKLAHOMA CITY VICTIM:  I‘m doing pretty good.  Thank you for having me, by the way. 

I‘m doing pretty good.  It has been a long week.  But I think we are starting to bounce back and getting our lives back again.  It‘s kind of nice. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

You know, that picture, when it first—when everybody saw it on TV, it just broke so many people‘s parts.  And I know with—I have got a baby girl myself.  And so many parents, when they see something like this happen, they say, you know, I could never live through that.  I could never get by if that happened to my daughter. 

How have you gotten by, and not only gotten by, but how have you turned around and taken a positive angle on this and say, you know what;

I‘m going to save other people‘s lives?

ALMON-KOK:  Right. 

Well, first of all, I mean, people would be surprised when they‘re faced with it what you can do with it.  I remember when Baylee was little and she got sick.  And I remember thinking, I don‘t know what I would do if something happened to her.  I don‘t think I could go on. 

But you do.  I mean, you give yourself reasons.  And, I mean, it does take a conscious effort, but you do go on.  And my best—the best thing I could think of to do, in her honor, was to start the foundation.  And we make basically the public aware of technologies that are out there to make safer buildings, and safer environments for them to be in and their children to be in.  So...

SCARBOROUGH:  And it has made a big difference. 

If you could, tell us about what happened after the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon.  And you had somebody come up to you and thank you for your work. 

ALMON-KOK:  Right. 

Well, in the year 2000, I testified in front of Congress to have safer federal buildings implemented.  And whenever—on 9/11, when the plane hit the Pentagon, they—they were able to get out alive.  And when I went back afterwards, after the Pentagon had rebuilt, there were some gentlemen there.  And they were like, you know, if it weren‘t for you, we wouldn‘t be here, because the work you fought so hard for in Congress was able to hold up the building for 35 extra minutes and we were able to get out alive. 

And, I mean, that right there made it all worth it, all the work I‘ve done and all the times I‘ve looked at that picture and wish it weren‘t around.  Putting up with it makes it worth it if I know I can save people‘s lives. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, Aren, because of that, you are our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion. 

And we thank you.  We want you to know, as you go forward, you are certainly going to be in our thoughts and our prayers.  Thank you so much for all you have done. 

ALMON-KOK:  Thank you very much.  I appreciate it. 

Just to let you know, the Web site for my foundation, Protecting People First Foundation, is www.ProtectingPeople.org.  People can go and check out the awareness that we give.  

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  And we will put that on our Web site, too. 

Thank you so much.  We greatly appreciate it. 

That is all the time we have for tonight.  Good night from Los Angeles.

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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