updated 6/21/2005 10:18:05 AM ET 2005-06-21T14:18:05

Guest: John McCain, Jay Severin, Rachel Maddow, Max Kellerman


TUCKER CARLSON, HOST (voice-over):  Are we being told the truth about Iraq?  Senator John McCain levels with us. 

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA:  We've made serious mistakes. 

CARLSON:  And Saddam's addiction, not your typical confession. 

O.J. and G.W. sharing more than just a love for the links? 

And should the feds pull the plug on this? 

Plus, war of the words.  Tom looses his cool. 

TOM CRUISE, ACTOR:  You're a jerk.

CARLSON:  Yes, I've got a problem with authority.  I'll admit that, in a cheery way.  Not everyone likes the bow tie, I'll be honest.  But I like the bow tie.  I respect people who believe something, even if I don't agree with them.  It's my opinion, wrong as it may be. 


CARLSON:  Welcome to week two of THE SITUATION.  I'm Tucker Carlson. 

Time to unveil tonight's stack of stories, which include Saddam Hussein's Doritos obsession, as well as the most violent video game of all time. 

But, first, our distinguished panel.  From the Air America Radio Network, the great Rachel Maddow.  From the airwaves of New England radio, the equally great Jay Severin. 

Thanks for joining us. 


CARLSON:  First up, the ongoing Osama bin Laden situation. 

CIA Director Porter Goss put the world's most notorious bad guy back in the headlines by telling “TIME” magazine that he has—quote—“an excellent idea” where bin Laden is.  Goss didn't get any more specific than that, but attributed our failure to kill or capture bin Laden to the complex diplomatic in South Asia and the Middle East. 

Translation:  He's probably in Pakistan.  And we're probably not going after him, sending Apache helicopters into northwest Pakistan, because we don't want to destabilize the government of General Pervez Musharraf, to which I say, amen.  In other words, we're helping prop up a dictator and that's good for us.

JAY SEVERIN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  This is why it really stinks to be in power.  Sometimes we have bad choices.  All of them are bad. 

We should go after bin Laden.  He's the most wanted guy.  We can drop a bomb on him.  We can go in there with a Delta team.  If we do that, maybe we hand a nuclear arsenal to al Qaeda in the form of Pakistan's government.  The amazing—the most astounding thing about this is that the statement this morning by Porter Gross is a total refutation of the Bush doctrine, which is, we'll locate you.

CARLSON:  Exactly. 

SEVERIN:  We'll eradicate you.

CARLSON:  That's exactly...

SEVERIN:  And borders don't mean anything.  We'll go get you.  Well, we're not.  Bush says, we'll go get you.  And he said this morning, we're not.

CARLSON:  Totally smart point. 


MADDOW:  See, I think what this—the way I read this is that this is the next explanation for why we don't have bin Laden. 

I mean, I—I believe—I honestly believe the reason we don't have bin Laden is because we've got 146,000 troops in Iraq getting shot at for no good reason.  And if we were actually devoted toward getting him, then, you know, whichever dictator we had on the right side or wrong side of us, be damned.  We'd have bin Laden. 

CARLSON:  But wait.  Wait a second.  If it—if we knew that he was in Pakistan—and there's some evidence that's been in the press publicly that he may be in...

MADDOW:  For years.

CARLSON:  For years.  That's right. 

MADDOW:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  In Pakistan, if we knew that he was there, sort of where he was, but we knew that our presence there would destabilize the government, it would be the wise thing, wouldn't it, would it not, not to go in with helicopters?

MADDOW:  Well, the Pakistani government has been willing to do a lot for us.  And the Uzbekistan has been willing to do a lot for us.  I mean, there are a lot of bad guys all over the world who are having their palms greased.  They're having air bases.  They're getting military aid. 

We're sending fighter jets.  We're doing all sorts of stuff.


MADDOW:  That we wouldn't do if we weren't engaged in this war on terror. 

SEVERIN:  We're reduced to a really lousy choice.  Either we decide whether he's better and more use to us as a bogeyman or whether as a martyr for al Qaeda.  And that's a really lousy choice. 


MADDOW:  If we caught him, we'd still be at war with terrorism.  It's a tactic, right?

CARLSON:  Speaking of bogeymen, next situation, Saddam Hussein prefers Raisin Bran, Raisin Bran Crunch, in fact...


CARLSON:  ... to Fruit Loops, loves Doritos and suggests that a man needs a woman who is not too smart, but not too stupid. 


CARLSON:  Those fun facts come courtesy of the American soldiers who guarded Saddam after his arrest. 


CARLSON:  The soldiers were interviewed by “GQ” magazine and on “The Today Show.”  Saddam also expressed at least mild admiration for Presidents Reagan and Clinton and, not surprisingly, not a big fan of either President Bush.  Just goes to show, dictators don't like it when you go to war against them.

CARLSON:  But it also goes to show the kind of banality of evil, to steal a phrase.  It's like Idi Amin spending his waning days by the pool in Jeddah. 

It always turns out, when you get close enough to these guys, yes, they like Raisin Bran Crunch.  They don't like Fruit Loops.  They're all germ freaks.  It turns out Saddam Hussein washes his hands endlessly.  No surprise there. 

MADDOW:  The thing that is surprising to me about this, I have to say, a little bit, I do kind of relish the fact that Saddam Hussein loves Reagan, like there's just something kind of beautiful about that in a political pop culture sense. 

SEVERIN:  I thought you would like that, yes.

MADDOW:  Yes. 

But he also likes Clinton, too.  I'll give you that. 


MADDOW:  But there is—this is kind of about something we've talked about before, which is that there's no difference between fame and infamy in our culture. 

Like, these soldiers get booked on “The Today Show.”  And they get booked to talk about this thing.  And there's an article about it in “GQ.”  And we all care about Saddam Hussein in his underpants and what he eats for breakfast and what he tells you about dating.  It's just—he's a celebrity now. 

CARLSON:  And we know this because the Army allowed these guys to talk. 

SEVERIN:  Exactly so.

MADDOW:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Which tells you a lot about the U.S. Army, actually, that they're far more transparent than any other military in the world.  I think it's nice. 

SEVERIN:  And the most validating fact we have here is that nothing quite soothes the savage beast as salty snack foods. 


SEVERIN:  We have the Doritos man of Alcatraz here.  And that's what we're reporting. 


SEVERIN:  What does he eat?

CARLSON:  How would you like to be...


SEVERIN:  Boxers or briefs? 


CARLSON:  Well, how would you like to be head of the marketing team for Doritos at this point?

MADDOW:  Right.  Yes. 

CARLSON:  When it turns out, you know, the favorite of Saddam Hussein?

MADDOW:  I think that they could make something of it. 

SEVERIN:  You go with it.

MADDOW:  We love celebrity too much. 

CARLSON:  Oh, right.  That's bold, even for snack food. 


CARLSON:  Well, our next situation is video game violence.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer is trying to block a game called “25 to Life” from hitting the stores in September.  The game allow players to attack police with baseball bats and Molotov cocktails.  And if that doesn't work, they use civilians are human shields. 

Schumer is calling on Sony and Microsoft to cancel their licensing agreements with the game's creators.  And, at this point, that's all he's doing.  I don't think he's introduced legislation to ban it.  And good for him.  I never agree with Chuck Schumer, but this is the right tack.  Don't go Congress to ban it, but use moral suasion. 

This game is repulsive.  It's bad for kids, obviously.  It's insulting to people who live in the inner cities, obviously.  And so, it's better just to go right to the corporate creeps who are sponsoring this stuff, Microsoft and Sony.  Good for him. 

SEVERIN:  I concur. 

To use moral suasion here is right thing.  Governmental action is censorship.  And this all falls into a category that's very troubling.  And it's about baby-sitting.  Contemporary baby-siting is, what can you give the kids, latchkey kids and others, when mom and dad aren't around?  It seems to me, with any responsible supervision, the deal would be, what is that?  What's that garbage?  Get rid of it.  That's not allowed in this house. 

MADDOW:  Right. 

SEVERIN:  But we don't have that. 

So, the government is taking the place of nanny.  And that's a bad thing. 

MADDOW:  The thing that's interesting to me is, I see kind of a correlation between this, or at least an analogy between this and porn.  And it's a sense that we have something bubble up in the culture that's something that turns us off for some reason.  We wish it wasn't there, but it's there.  And so, how do you come up with a cure that's not as—not worse than what ails you?


MADDOW:  No, but there are certain forms of porn that freak people out.  And there are certain forms of porn that are illegal.  What's the form of violence that will be illegal to depict?

CARLSON:  Well, it's a lot easier to make things illegal than it is to convince the population that they're bad. 

SEVERIN:  Absolutely.

MADDOW:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  And so, for instance, if Jesse Jackson wanted to earn an honest living—this is a big if, obviously—but he'd organize some sort of boycott of the companies involved in this and of the rap musicians who provide the soundtrack to this garbage, right?

SEVERIN:  Commercial pressure, yes.

CARLSON:  That works.  It worked in the civil rights movement.  It would work now.  It's easy just to go to Congress and...


MADDOW:  Well, you have to—but you have to—we have to deal with the culture, the bigger issue of why there's a demand for this stuff.  And that is something that is bigger than any boycott.


CARLSON:  People have base desires.  I'll tell you about it after the show. 



CARLSON:  Next situation draws a line between a political statement and political bashing.

Live Aid founder Bob Geldof is reportedly telling performers of his worldwide benefit concert, which include U2, Madonna, Paul McCartney and 50 Cent, to stay focused on the plight of Africa's poor, not to get involved in Bush bashing or in global warming rhetoric.  Concerts will be held in Philadelphia, London, Paris, Berlin and Rome. 

I have to say, Geldof, to his great credit, has pointed out that Bush, whatever you think of Bush and whatever mistakes he's made, has been a friend to the continent of Africa.  He's pledged more money for AIDS research and relief in Africa.

MADDOW:  Pledged.

CARLSON:  Pledged.  Well, $15 billion, not so bad. 

MADDOW:  Yes, pledged.  Hasn't been followed through.

CARLSON:  It's not just for Africa, but it's mostly for Africa. 

MADDOW:  Right. 

CARLSON:  Than any—certainly than Clinton did.  Not to beat up on Clinton, but it's just true.  Actually, you know, it's—it's counterproductive to trash Bush in an event like this. 

MADDOW:  I—I—I do think that Bush gets more credit for what he's done for Africa than he's actually done. 

When you look at what happened to that $15 billion of AIDS funding, it's a pledge.  It's not become reality.  So, just as a side note.

But on the Bob Geldof issue, I think that it's hard to talk about poverty and it's hard to talk about the issue of there being poor people in the world without talking about the politics.  And, no, people shouldn't be bashing Bush and Blair.  But to say it's going to be an apolitical event is kind of... 


CARLSON:  But the idea that poverty in Africa is the fault of Bush or Blair or any Western leader is just—it's just not true.

MADDOW:  No it's not the fault of.  But he's talking about how to make it go away.  And to do that, it's a political solution, even if it's not a political problem.


SEVERIN:  May I suggest, it's a bit ungracious to be talking about how much he should be blamed for giving someone a gift.  It seems to me giving a gift alone gives him—earns him praise. 

And, secondly, I'm a little curious about why there wasn't an equal warning not to bash, say, Hillary Clinton?  If there is not an innate default position that the industry, the entertainment industry, is liberal, why did they warn them not just to bash Bush? 

CARLSON:  Because there's an innate default position. 

SEVERIN:  Exactly so.  Exactly. 


CARLSON:  Of course.

MADDOW:  If Hillary Clinton was president, we would apply...


MADDOW:  ... as well.

CARLSON:  And that may happen. 

MADDOW:  Yes.  You guys think that will happen.  Sure.


CARLSON:  Well, still to come on THE SITUATION, what do President Bush and O.J. Simpson have in common?  Not much is the short answer.  But a columnist in Georgia believes they have a lot in common.  We'll bat that around in a minute. 

Also, possible 2008 presidential contender John McCain joins us to discuss when our troops are coming home and also the possibility of a military draft.  

All that and more next. 


CARLSON:  John McCain joins me to discuss the war in Iraq, the situation at Guantanamo Bay and a lot more next. 


CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

We're joined by—now by a man who needs so little introduction, we're going to skip that part entirely, Senator John McCain of Arizona. 

Thanks a lot, Senator, for joining us. 

MCCAIN:  Thank you, Tucker, and congratulations on your new show. 

CARLSON:  Thanks. 

You said—you said this weekend—on NBC, you said that America would likely be in Iraq for at least a couple more years and described the situation there as difficult, pretty different from the way the White House has been talking about Iraq.  Is it your impression that the people who are managing the war from the White House in Washington don't know what is going on in Iraq or why do you suppose their sense of it is so different than yours?

MCCAIN:  I'm not sure their sense of it is that much different from mine.  I think it's a matter of how you describe it.

As I went onto say on Sunday, there are some hopeful signs.  There's been an increase in these attacks by outsiders, rather than Iraqis.  We now have Sunnis in the government.  They've finally come to—to some agreement on the drafting of the constitution.  But I think it's far better to say this is a long, tough, hard slog that we have to win.  We must win this.  And we'll do what is necessary to win it and make people pleasantly surprised when good things happen, rather than say, look, things are—without real authentication that things are a lot better.  I think it's a matter of delivery of the message.  And that is what I think the primary difference is about.

CARLSON:  You said after 9/11 that Americans should serve their country in some ways, and young Americans should be especially encouraged to do that.  Why shouldn't there be a draft? 

MCCAIN:  Well, first of all, I don't think it's politically viable.

And, second of all, in today's requirements for the capabilities of a soldier or Marine or airman or sailor, for that matter, but particularly for the first two, it requires an intensive level of training.  That doesn't lend itself to a short enlistment.  We have got to do two things, Tucker, one, appeal to patriotism.

And that always gets a certain segment of Americans.  And a lot of us who lead have got emphasize that.  And the second thing, it's a marketplace.  You have got a pool of young Americans who are going to make decisions about their futures based on their interests.  You are going to have to raise the enlistment bonus.  You are going to have to raise, increase educational benefits, make it more attractive, so we can compete for this part of the labor pool, a combination of the two that we can do it. 

But, look, I'd also—could I just finally say...


MCCAIN:  The Guard and Reserve are overstressed and overstretched.  Many of us said that years ago.  And I think that presents a serious problem right now. 

CARLSON:  I think a lot of Americans, including me, definitely, are confused by the situation at Guantanamo Bay, namely this question:  Why haven't, after three-and-a-half years, a lot of these guys had their cases adjudicated?  We know they're bad, I guess.  But do you know the answer to that question?  Why haven't they been classified as people headed to trial or not? 

MCCAIN:  I'm sure that you would get from the Pentagon and members of the administration that it's difficult to determine their exact status and what rules would apply and whether they're prisoners of war or not, all of that kind stuff. 

But, look, it's a failure of will.  It's a failure to move forward with either releasing or trying these individuals.  And no human being, no matter how terrible or egregious they are, can be kept indefinitely incarcerated without some addressing of their case. 

I was there in Guantanamo Bay a year and a half ago.  And I said then and along with two other senators.  And we wrote a letter.  Try them, set up or adjudicate—I'm not even saying that they may—they need a trial.  Adjudicate their situation or release them.

Now, you'll hear, again, in response, well, some of these people, we already released and they went back fighting for the Taliban or the bad guys or al Qaeda or whatever.  Look, I think that's terrible.  And I hate to see that happen, but you also have to balance that against the image of the American—of America in the world and how much Guantanamo—quote, unquote—and Abu Ghraib—unquote—affect recruiting for terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda and others. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

MCCAIN:  And that's—that's—that's—I think that, on balance, it means disposing of these cases in some way. 

CARLSON:  I want to ask you about legislation you sponsored with Joe Lieberman of Connecticut that would reduce C02 emissions in the United States. 

There's no provision that I'm aware of in that legislation as it stands now, anyway, to force other countries to do the same.  China and India and Russia, for instance, produce more C02 collectively than the United States does.  It's a global problem.  Doesn't it make sense to handle it globally and force other nations to do what we're asking that we do? 

MCCAIN:  Yes.  There's 24 nations that are members of—or signatories of Kyoto, I believe.  The Europeans have a cap and trade program in existence as we speak, which is a marketplace-based proposal, where you trade emissions capabilities or capacity as you gradually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

I'm all for the United States renegotiating Kyoto, only on the condition that China and India be included, two of the greatest greenhouse gas emitters in the world. 


MCCAIN:  Are we going to wait for China and India? 

Tucker, we're the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases. 


MCCAIN:  We're the ones that are responsible for it. 

CARLSON:  Absolutely.

MCCAIN:  Go ahead. 

CARLSON:  Absolutely, partly.  But, I mean, together, they produce more than we do.  But doesn't it put American industry at a huge disadvantage if we have to abide by these restrictions and they don't? 

MCCAIN:  Somehow, it's not putting the Europeans at a disadvantage.  In fact, they're finding that it works and it encourages development of technologies which reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

And they are providing cleaner air for their people.  And it's also a source of great friction between our European friends and the United States.  And for us to do nothing, which is what we're doing now, or buy into some proposal such as the alternate proposal, which is over time maybe reduce the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, I like to look my grandchildren in the eye. 

I'm telling you, climate change is real.  We have not done enough about it.  We need to act.  Our proposal is a market-based one on cap and trade.  The one that everybody is pushing as an alternative is a government-mandated program, which I strongly oppose as a conservative. 


Senator John McCain, look forward to covering your 2008 presidential race. 

MCCAIN:  Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Hope you run. 

MCCAIN:  Thank you. 

And, Tucker, I thought you would have seized this opportunity to change your neckwear.  But I guess that's...



CARLSON:  The opportunity has come and gone.  I'm stuck with it again. 


CARLSON:  Senator John McCain, thank you.

MCCAIN:  Great to be with you, Tucker.  Thanks.

CARLSON:  I appreciate it.  Thank you. 

MCCAIN:  Thank you. 

CARLSON:  Coming up, road safety.  It's a big issue.  Thousands die on the roads every year.  But can the government do anything about it? 

Plus, at least one state is planning on restoring voting rights to felons.  Do they have the judgment to cast an informed vote?  That's our debate.  We'll bring it up when we return. 


CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time now for “Op-ed Op-ed.”  We've read just about every editorial page in America.  Yes, it took a while.  We've chosen three of the best, to which Jay, Rachel and I will offer our 20-second retorts.  Ready? 

MADDOW:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  All right. 

In “The Banner Herald” of Athens, Georgia, Steven Sacco writes that there are striking similarities between President George W. Bush and O.J.  Simpson—quote—“When you think about it, O.J. and G.W. have a lot in common.  Simpson didn't the tell the truth about things that got people killed.  President Bush didn't tell either.  We still don't know exactly why Americans are fighting and dying in Iraq.”

This editorial goes on.  It's so over the top, it's almost unbelievable.  He compares Bush voters to suicide bombers.  On and on.  The implication is, Bush not simply wrong, but evil.  A lot of Bush haters feel this way.  It's not enough that he made a mistake with Iraq, but he must have been driven by some evil desire to subvert democracy around the world.

This is why Bush got elected, people like this. 

SEVERIN:  What was your—what was this name again?  Is your nom de plume?

MADDOW:  No. No.


MADDOW:  That's not the point of this. 

The point of this is not to say—he does use over-the-top language.  The point of this, to make the connection with O.J. Simpson, is to say, listen, it's magical thinking if you're supporting this guy.  You're supporting this guy for thinking that is not supported by the facts.  And so, I've never been a conspiracy theorist for Iraq.  I don't think we're there for Halliburton.  I think that's a side effect that's kind of a bonus for these guys. 

But I don't know why we're in Iraq.  We're not there because of a threat.  We're not there because of weapons of mass destruction.  Nobody really knows why we are.  And so, to that extent, there is some magical thinking in terms of supporting this guy for something he still can't explain. 

CARLSON:  Jay Severin.

SEVERIN:  Ludicrous non sequitur that passes for thinking on the contemporary left, with my apologies.

Similarities, neither studied in college.  But have good lawyers.  Differences, Bush is commander in chief of the United States.  O.J. Simpson is a cold-blooded not guilty murderer.

CARLSON:  All right, succinctly put.

On Friday, MasterCard disclosed that personal information belonging to 40 million cardholders had been compromised.  Today, “The Reno Gazette-Journal” in Reno, Nevada, says: “New, stronger regulations are needed to ensure that private companies and government agencies better protect that information.”  They writes this: “Congress needs to crack down on every company that handles large amounts of sensitive data.  The effort should begin with large fines against any company that is unable to keep information secure and out of the hands of crooks.”

You know, it's hard to know where to begin with this.  If my MasterCard number is stolen and somebody buys 10 grand in electronics, I don't pay for that.

MADDOW:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  MasterCard pays for that.

In other words, when they screw up and let their numbers be compromised, they pay the price, right?  It hurts them.  So, the idea you need to penalize them in addition to that, to keep them from losing more money is stupid.  They have a built-in incentive not to let this happen.

MADDOW:  But it's not just MasterCard.  Can either of you guys keep track of all of the various personal data lost stories from the past six months?  I mean, it's just one after another after another after another.

Frankly, you and I have an interest in keeping our personal information private.  These companies have an interest in profiting from our personal information.  We'd be better off setting up fake public identities to buy stuff, rather than using our real names, rather than trusting these companies to keep it safe.  They just can't do it.

CARLSON:  Though don't try that at home.



SEVERIN:  No.  I have tried the fake identity thing.  It works really well, so I do endorse it.


SEVERIN:  If I can spin this off another way for a second, you know, the terrorists we all think are going to use planes again, drive into buildings. We're always—the guerrillas are always one step ahead of the bureaucracy.

My fear here is that this sort of computer deal, that one person, one terrorist somewhere in an apartment in Berlin is going to take down all the bank accounts, all the planes, everything. 

CARLSON:  Well, the U.S. Department of Transportation said that 42,800 people died in traffic accidents last year.  That's a statistic that “The Kansas City Star” argues could be greatly reduced if the government and drivers cared more.

Quote: “Traffic accidents that kill and maim tens of thousands of Americans every year don't get the attention they deserve.  If they did, more public officials would pay greater attention to road safety and perhaps we'd all drive with greater care and fewer dangerous distractions.”

You know, this is, I think, misplaced.  There are a lot of people who die in car accidents.  And it's always a tragedy.  But American roads are one thing that actually work in America.  The road system is a modern marvel.  It's amazing.  It's remarkable.  And yet, some people hate driving.  Too much freedom.  Too much autonomy. 

They're the same people who want to force you to protect yourself by wearing seat belts, right, keep you from hurting yourself.  This editorial went on to say, we all should be required to wear seat belts, upon pain of prison.  Ridiculous.

MADDOW:  The thing that is interesting to me about road safety is that, one, you can come up with some creepy partisan argument about it that makes me feel guilty about it, oddly, even though I have nothing to do with this argument. 

But you make it seem like this is liberals behind this.  But, in any sense....


CARLSON:  No, driving is about freedom.  And some people hate it for that reason. 

MADDOW:  Freedom.  They hate our freedom.  That is what it's about.


MADDOW:  I work at the most dangerous pedestrian intersection in New York.  They changed the intersection.  And over the course of the year, people stopped getting hit by taxies every morning.  You can do something about fatalities. 

SEVERIN:  Incidentally, that's between Chuck Schumer and a television camera, that intersection.


SEVERIN:  Driving isn't what it was 50 years ago.  Everyone thinks they're born drivers.  It's actually a hand-motor eye skill thing that you have to learn. 

The only thing scarier than the minimal qualifications to drive a car are the total absence of qualifications to having to raise children.  They both frighten me. 


CARLSON:  That's true.  But you can't regulate that stuff. 

Thank you, both. 

Coming up, a very wise man once sang that women are smarter.  We could never argue with Jerry Garcia about Condoleezza Rice or Martha Stewart, but we have no problem taking on the outsider next. 


CARLSON:  Welcome back.  It is time once again to meet “The Outsider,” a man from outside the world of cable news who has agreed to become a permanent devil's advocate, willing on occasion even to defend the indefensible. 

Joining us now, ESPN radio host and professional contrarian Max Kellerman. 

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO HOST:  I think at times I'm the angel's advocate, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  You know what you are, Max?  You're a brave man...


CARLSON:  ... to defend stories such as this one. 

First up, the question of proselytizing at the Air Force Academy led to hard feelings in the House of Representatives today.  There's a provision in the defense spending bill that, quote, “condemns abusive enforced proselytizing at the academy.”  Though Republicans want that language out of the bill understandably, Representative John Hostettler of Indiana started his floor speech with a reference to, quote, “the long war against Christianity.”  He accused Democrats of denigrating and demonizing Christians.

The question here though, Max, is should you be allowed to proselytize, however aggressively, at the Air Force Academy or anywhere else?  I understand that proselytizing, especially aggressive proselytizing, makes people uncomfortable.  Tough.  Deal with it. 

You've got a right to do it.  And people ought to stop complaining about it, or proselytize back, or don't listen. 

KELLERMAN:  Sure, you know what?  Right.  If it's just—you're freedom of speech, right?  Even though you always argue the military is different, but now it's the same, OK, fine.  So there's a freedom of speech.  There's a First Amendment. 

But there's a difference between that and saying—here's a quote.  One guy was called a “bleeping Jew,” and I mean bleeping in the biblical sense of the word, “who executed Jesus.”  I mean, this is... 

CARLSON:  Well, hold on, hold on.

KELLERMAN:  There's an implicit threat in that. 

CARLSON:  Well, there's not an implicit threat.  That is a threat. 

And it's disgusting.

KELLERMAN:  OK, call it is explicit.  But that's not—that's what they're talking about.

CARLSON:  And no one would describe that as proselytizing.  However, what people are objecting to is not anti-Semitic remarks.  Nobody defends those, and nobody ought to.  But the idea that you can aggressively talk about your religion. 

We're not Saudi Arabia.  We're not Israel.  We're not—there are a lot of countries in this world where proselytizing is illegal or semi-illegal.


CARLSON:  We're not one of them.

KELLERMAN:  That's not the issue.  The issue is simply evangelical Christian proselytizing, that's fine.  But frog marching cadets who fail to attend chaplain to their barracks—I don't know what frog marching is, but it doesn't sound good.  It doesn't sound uncomfortable.  It sounds pretty bad to me. 

CARLSON:  It doesn't.  But let's be honest.  You and I both know—and the language of this bill demonstrates, I think, that people are just uncomfortable with other people talking openly about religion. 

I guess I'd submit to you that if there's any group in America that needs a religion, any religion, it's soldiers, because it reminds them, faith in God reminds them, despite the fact they hold guns and are making life and death decisions, they're not God.  They need to be reminded of that, and religion reminds them of that. 

KELLERMAN:  But this is not “Full Metal Jacket” where the sergeant goes, “Do you believe in the virgin Mary?”  And the guy goes, “No.”  And he goes, well, “You might be stupid, but, shucks, you're brave,” and now the kid gets a promotion.  No.

People are going to be passed over promotion.  They're going to be discriminated against.  They're going to be intimidated.  So there's a difference between just espousing your religion and intimidation.  And this is about intimidation. 

CARLSON:  Those are huge, huge, and I think correct, suppositions. 

But on to the next story.

CARLSON:  Yes, I did.  Great film.

But see if you can defend this.  The governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack, plans to reinstate voting rights of felons in that state.  There are many convicted felons in the state of Iowa.  After they served their prison terms, Governor Vilsack will allow them to vote.  He signs the new law (INAUDIBLE) July 4th eliminating the current application process which requires ex-cons to be allowed by the parole board to vote again.

Here is the problem I have with this.  Convicted felons by definition

·         literally by definition—have bad judgment.  I take voting too seriously.  I'm uncomfortable—I'm repelled, in fact—by the idea of turning our voting system over to people who have been proved to have bad judgment. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, except they did the crime, they did the time.  And now you want the punishment to extend after the time they served.  It's not fair.  I mean, why should—why are you not allowed to vote?  Should you take a test?  If it's based on judgment, should there be tests given at the polls? 

CARLSON:  I'm glad you asked for that question.  I'm glad you asked that question, Max, because there are a lot of so-called rights that convicted felons don't have.  They don't have the right to own guns, for instance.  Should they get that right if they serve their time?  Convicted child molesters have to register with the state after they served their time. 

KELLERMAN:  I set you up.  That was just a jab.  Here's the knockout punch.  You ready?

CARLSON:  I'm ready.

KELLERMAN:  Do you recall the Boston Tea Party? 


KELLERMAN:  Are we taxing these ex-cons?  Are they being taxed? 

CARLSON:  Yes, they are. 

KELLERMAN:  Because I mean, this country is founded, “No taxation without representation,” right?  So they shouldn't be represented in the government, but they should be taxed? 

CARLSON:  And that's a very solid point. 

KELLERMAN:  Oh, oh, Tucker is back on his heels. 

CARLSON:  There are times when people need to pay taxes or required to pay taxes but don't have the right to vote.  For instance, Alzheimer's patients, people who are non campus mentis, who can't discern between candidates or issues, are not allowed...

KELLERMAN:  Are Alzheimer's patients taxed? 

CARLSON:  No.  Yes.  All American citizens are taxed.

KELLERMAN:  How are they earning a living? 

CARLSON:  From their investment income or whatever.  But you don't want them voting, because voting is too serious to turn over to people who have got bad... 


KELLERMAN:  Alzheimer's patients are not allowed to vote?

CARLSON:  They shouldn't vote.

KELLERMAN:  Well, I don't know about that.  I believe they are allowed to vote.

CARLSON:  I think people who are non campus mentis are not allowed to vote. 

KELLERMAN:  But criminals are not necessarily non campus mentis.

CARLSON:  Yes, but, you still don't want them...

KELLERMAN:  I'd argue that argument might be.

Next up, the question of the natural aptitudes of women and men.  Harvard University President Larry Summers caused an uproar this spring when he suggested that women might not be as naturally proficient as men in math and the sciences. 

Today's “L.A. Times” note that Cal Tech's 2005 class of chemical engineering was comprised of six women and zero men, the first in the history of that school, which I say, “Great.  Who cares?” 

I could care less about the gender or the ethnicity, for that matter, of America's scientists.  It just doesn't matter to me.  Do they do the science well?  Do they not?  But (INAUDIBLE) this is some advance for women?  No.  Who cares? 

KELLERMAN:  Well, let me give you two reasons it's a good thing. 

Let's take either premise. 

First, the premise that it's not true.  The stereotype is not true.  Women are not in an inherent disadvantage at science or math.  Now, this is good, because you're busting the stereotype.  That's always good in an effort to seek the truth about the situation. 

Let's say, take the opposite premise that, in fact, men are innately better at math and science.  Then it's the triumph of the individual over an inherent disadvantage.  Either way, it's something to celebrate, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Really?  The women I know are far too sensible to get into, say, chemical engineering.  Right...


KELLERMAN:  The women I know are too hysterical to get into it.  Oh, sorry, was that...


CARLSON:   You're not allowed to say that, Max—outliving their lives.  I just don't see this as an advance for women.  I think men and women are completely difference.  Women are underrepresented, say, in sewer maintenance crews or in Delta Force. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, and there's also—I mean, the primary male hormone is testosterone.  The primary female hormone is estrogen.  There's difference in male and female behavior.  But this is something to celebrate.  A group that is typically considered not as good at something, whether it's true or not, is something to celebrate.  Either it busts the stereotype or it's a triumph of the individual over adversity.

CARLSON:  As long as they engineer the chemicals correctly, I'm satisfied.

Max Kellerman, you're a great debater.

KELLERMAN:  Well, thank you very much.

CARLSON:  Thanks for joining us.

Ahead on THE SITUATION, is Delaware Senator Joe Biden ready to challenge Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic spot in 2008?  He seems to think so.  We'll discuss the spicy combatants after break.

Furthermore, did you know that Tom Cruise is dating Katie Holmes?  If so, did you also know that Tom Cruise hates getting squirted in the face by undercover pranksters?  Yes, it's all true.  More details on “The Cutting Room Floor.”


CARLSON:  Welcome back to THE SITUATION on MSNBC.  Let's unveil another piping hot stack of stories.  Joining me once again, Jay Severin and Rachel Maddow. 

First situation, President Bush's choice for U.N. ambassador smacked down again in the Senate.  Senate Democrats have blocked the voting on John Bolton's confirmation as U.N. ambassador.  Democrats say Bolton is too brash to be a diplomat.  They want specific files on the former State Department official from the White House.  So far, the administration is refusing to hand them over, saying it's all just a stall tactic, which, of course, it is. 

And I could, you know, get all outraged about how they haven't allowed a vote on John Bolton.  But I'll suggest this:  What if they never confirmed the ambassador of the U.N. and nobody noticed? 

SEVERIN:  Exactly right. 

CARLSON:  What if people considered the U.N. so fraudulent and useless that nobody really cared?  I think that's where we are now.

MADDOW:  My issue with John Bolton is not even necessarily what he can do wrong at the U.N., it's the fact that this guy should not be getting a promotion.  What's John Bolton's last job?  Deputy undersecretary of state for arms control. 

He's the reason—he's been the roadblock for us not cleaning up the plutonium in Russia that's not under lock-and-key.  He's the reason we haven't had a coherent policy towards stopping North Korea from having nuclear weapons.  He's the reason behind all of things that keep me up at night.  He has been incompetent at the State Department and I don't want...


CARLSON:  This one man embodies all of that evil? 

MADDOW:  He was in charge of the plutonium thing that—literally the thing that keeps me up at night.  Enough plutonium to make thousands of nuclear bombs unlocked in Russia.  We're supposed to have a deal with them to lock it up, and we can't get around our little arcane legal issues on this because of John Bolton.  He's incompetent.  He needs to be fired, not promoted. 

SEVERIN:  It's a job.  It's a job that the president gets to hire for his administration.  He doesn't keep me up because, as Tucker said, and I agree, the U.N. really doesn't matter to us.  We have to stop them from doing stuff to us, not what they'll do with us.

But it is a political gift that keeps on giving for the Democrats.  The Republicans don't know how to use power.  The Democrats drag out the hearings, they embarrass the president, they force him to make a recess appointment, and then say he doesn't respect the Senate and the Constitution.  It's win-win-win for the Democrats. 

CARLSON:  If they had a substantive point, as I think you made—I'm not sure I agree with it, but it's a real point—they ought to make it.  Instead, they're complaining that he doesn't have the temperament to be U.N. ambassador.  I want a U.N. ambassador with a bad attitude.  That's what the U.N. needs.

MADDOW:  That's the Republican mischaracterization of the Democratic opposition.  That's what they've tried to make it seem.  John Bolton is incompetent. 

CARLSON:  I wish they'd say that out loud and back it up. 

MADDOW:  Everyday on Air America. 

CARLSON:  Well, next situation previews a possible opponent to Hillary Clinton's expected march toward the White House, or at least the attempt for the White House, in 2008.  Delaware Democratic Senator Joe Biden, who sought the presidential nomination in 1988 before bowing out, said he might try again if he can raise enough cash. 

It's interesting to me.  I don't think—I think Joe Biden is a serious guy, smart guy, eccentric guy.  But it's interesting.  I think he will be not be not taken seriously by the Democrats in favor of Hillary.  And if you think about how insulting that is—here is a guy who was elected to the Senate at 29, has worked on foreign policy issues all that time, to be ignored in favor of this brand-newcomer, totally unproved, says a lot about the Democratic Party. 

SEVERIN:  When the history of 2008 is written, we will look back at this moment.  If Joe Biden, who is a perfect alternative to Hillary Clinton in terms of electability, if you don't want to go with Hillary and you're a Democrat.  If Joe Biden cannot find support and money within the Democrat Party, there is nobody else.  This is the last speed bump between Hillary Clinton and the Democrat nomination. 

MADDOW:  It's “Democratic,” not “Democrat”... 

SEVERIN:  No, it's “Democrat.”

MATTHEWS:  “Democratic.”

SEVERIN:  “Democrat.”

MADDOW:  I hate that little linguistic trick.  I hate it when you guys do that.

CARLSON:  You better get behind Joe Biden.  He's your last hope.

MADDOW:  OK, first of all, you guys know that I don't think Hillary Clinton is going to be the nominee.  I don't think that any member of the U.S. Senate is going to be the nominee, let alone the senator from MBNA. 

I mean, Joe Biden has been smart on some foreign policy issues.  But if you look at economic populism, which is the direction the Democratic Party is going toward 2008, towards coming up with an electable candidate...

CARLSON:  I noticed that.

MADDOW:  ... the guy who is Mr. Bankruptcy Bill, Mr. Credit Card Gouging, Mr. Everything the Financial Industry Wants, he is not going to be nominee. 

MADDOW:  Well, I think that it's the future of the Democratic Party. 



SEVERIN:  The distant future. 

MADDOW:  Does that make you happy?  That's not going to happen? 


MADDOW:  I mean, everything the Republicans have done on economic issues that hurts working Americans can potentially help the Democrats if we spin it that way. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  Good luck.  It hasn't worked so far. 

Next situation, a new study by the University of Washington and Columbia University suggests that states with tougher child support laws and stricter enforcement of those laws see up to 20 percent fewer children born out of wedlock.  That's good news for everyone, since children born to unwed mothers are far more likely to bail out of school and live in poverty, among many other problems.

One-third of all births in this country out of wedlock.  Much bigger deal that gay marriage or any other threat to marriage, in my view.  Bigger than drugs, I think, in the way that it influences children.  Kids born out of wedlock really are at a profound disadvantage.  And if this is true, if these laws forcing fathers to pay up work, I think they ought to be just enforced in a draconian way in every state. 

SEVERIN:  Well, I happen to agree.  Look, I love when these studies come out that say, “Men are attracted to attractive women.”  You know, we spent millions of dollars in years doing a study on this.  Of course, the family structure, and the parental supervision, and the father's contribution all work. 

But what I'm really curious about is, what is the contemporary acceptable term for “bastard”?  We don't say “bastard” anymore.  We don't say illegitimate child anymore.  Is there a term anymore? 

MADDOW:  “Democrat,” as you guys will come up with.


SEVERIN:  Perfect.  I mean it, though.  I mean, can you imagine using, in mixed company, say, “Well, of course, the child is, you know, a bastard.”  We don't say that.  We can't say “illegitimate,” because we might hurt self-esteem.  I mean it.  Is there a contemporary, acceptable social...

CARLSON:  I have no idea.  Bastard does seem a little rough. 

MADDOW:  Out of wedlock seems a little weird.  First of all, the idea of wedlock being attractive to anyone, that just sounds a little uncomfortable, even to me. 

But the thing that's interesting to me is that all of this social engineering that we've tried to do around birth and marriage and stuff has always been, if you have an out-of-wedlock child, the opprobrium and the responsibility is going to come down on the mother.  And this is trying to make something come down on the fatherhood.  This is trying to do social engineering laws, in a way, that affect fatherhood.  And that seems to...

CARLSON:  Millennia-old traditions of making the father accountable. 

We ought to reinstate them. 

Next situation highlights the amazing progress with the detection of Alzheimer's disease.  Scientists believe they have found the earliest predictor of Alzheimer's and can now identify victims nine years before symptoms appear.  This test is not yet available to the general public.  But it still begs the question, would you want to know you have Alzheimer's when nothing can be done to slow it down? 

And my answer is absolutely not.  I want to find out, you know, the first time I lose my car keys or drive to West Virginia by accident or something.  I don't want to know nine years ahead of time. 

SEVERIN:  I would.

MADDOW:  You would want to know ahead of time? 

SEVERIN:  Time management.  Time is the most precious asset there is.  To know and to have certain things you could do, and know that you could do them before you are inflicted, yes, I'd want to know. 

MADDOW:  See, I wouldn't want to know.  I wouldn't want to know unless there was something that I could do about it, or at least I would want the option to know.  It's kind of things—do you want to know the sex of your baby before it's born?  I want the option to decide for myself.  I just hope that finding out this much about it helps gets them closer to a cure. 

CARLSON:  Next up, the dicey situation of Spokane Mayor James West.  West suffered the indignity of having his online exploits at a gay Web site reported by a local newspaper.  In an e-mail to the city's committee on race relations, the mayor asks, quote, “Should we all fear our private conversations will be splashed publicly and out of context for all in our sphere to see?”

West refuses to resign in the wake of accusations he was offering city jobs to young men he met in a gay dot-com chatroom. 

Look, I'm obviously against offering jobs to people you meet on gay.com or any dot-com, or to anybody outside the civil service procedures.  However, this guy's real sin is being conservative and backing laws that gay activities were against. 

And the idea is, it's OK to out him because he's, quote, “anti-gay,” to which I say, look, gay people have the right to have heterodox opinions.  They don't have to, you know, follow the party line.  This guy's personal life should not be in the paper. 

MADDOW:  This guy was not outed because he is conservative who is also closeted and gay.  This guy was outed because he was offering jobs to 19-year-olds he met in a chatroom.  I mean, anybody who has the expectation of privacy in a chatroom and is doing something that stupid is too stupid to be a mayor.  This is not about him being gay. 

SEVERIN:  I think the issue to reasonable people is, this is not about him dressing up like Julie Newmar and singing show tunes in the privacy of his own home.  It's about offering jobs.  It's the public domain.  He either did it or he didn't.  If he did it, it's wrong.  It's criminal.

CARLSON:  Yes, but they shouldn't—I mean, his, you know, creepy online comments ought to be his creepy online comments... 

SEVERIN:  Absolutely.

CARLSON:  ... and kept private, I think.

MADDOW:  Unless he was abusing his office in doing it, in which case it should be exposed.  I'm happy that this guy has been embarrassed.  And I don't care that he's gay. 

CARLSON:  Rachel, Jay, thank you both. 

MADDOW:  Thanks, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Next up on the SITUATION, no, this guy didn't just take a bowling ball to the grin.  So what is this southern gentleman hollering about?  The answer lies on our “Cutting Room Floor.” 


CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time now to sweep up the “Cutting Room Floor.”  Our producer, Willie Geist, has dredged up the best stories of the day and has brought them to us. 

WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER:  Tucker, a good night on THE SITUATION.  Let me ask you a question:  Do you find you need to bathe after you argue with Max Kellerman? 

CARLSON:  I feel cleaner at the end than I do at the beginning.

GEIST:  I always feel cheap when I talk to him.

I've got a nice stack of stories for you.  Go get 'em.

CARLSON:  Excellent.  Thanks, Willie.

Well, the most elaborate publicity stunt in the history of show business continued Sunday when Tom Cruise was sprayed in the face with water during a London premiere of his movie, “War of the Worlds.”  Cruise was speaking to reporters on the red carpet when a phony correspondent from a British comedy show shot water at him from a fake microphone.  Cruise, not amused. 


TOM CRUISE, ACTOR:  You're a jerk.  You're a jerk.  You know what? 

You're a jerk.


GEIST:  That guy is a jerk, isn't he?  I wouldn't be surprised the way we're going with Tom Cruise if this was a publicity stunt, too.  He gets engaged, he gets humiliated in public.  I think his next move is to find bin Laden.  I think he's just going to close it up.

CARLSON:  You know what?  If Tom Cruise had punched that guy out, or if caught bin Laden, all the rumors put to rest. 

GEIST:  He would have been a hero.

CARLSON:  I know.

Well, it appears as though those odd people outside the courthouse were not Michael Jackson's only supports.  He had some fans on the inside, too.  One of the jurors from M.J.'s child molestation trial showed up at a Jackson family picnic casino party on Saturday night—a party we told you about last week—to celebrate Michael's acquittal.  The juror said she almost cried when they played “Beat It.”

GEIST:  Aw, that's sweet.  Now, I'm no Dan Abrams—I'm no Dan Abrams

·         but I'm pretty sure it's inappropriate for jurors to be shooting craps with the family of the defendant after his trial.  Maybe I'm old-fashioned. 

I don't know

CARLSON:  Yes, I'm not Mr. Uptight Ethics Guy myself.  I agree with you. 

GEIST:  It's a little inappropriate. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  Well, modern art hit a new low in Switzerland over the weekend, and that's saying a lot.  A bar of soap allegedly made from the remnants of a liposuction procedure performed on Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi sold for $18,000 at a Swiss art fair.  The artist, if you will, says he got the leftover fat from the clinic where Berlusconi reportedly had some lipo done. 

GEIST:  That is gross.  But I will say, if you're going to bathe in the excess fat of a European head of state, you could do a lot worse than Berlusconi.  I'm just saying.

CARLSON:  Chirac?  I think it's Berlusconi tallow. 


GEIST:  Human lard.  Not good for bathing, in my experience. 

CARLSON:  Not that I've tried. 

This is not a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than to round up the family and have people scream at you in public.  That's what they've been doing for 37 years at the National Hollering Contest in Spivey's Corner, North Carolina.  The top screamers from across the country assembled on Saturday for some championship hollering. 

GEIST:  That guy is an amazing talent, isn't he?  As you can see, there were literally tens of people on hand for that event.  That was an impressive turnout.

CARLSON:  Dozens, even.

GEIST:  You know, they tell me that hollering, or hollerin', is the oldest form of human communication.  Did you know that?

CARLSON:  Is that true?

GEIST:  It's true.  Now we know why they quickly moved on to grunting from there.  It's pathetic.

CARLSON:  You haven't heard our next story, though.

Speaking of hollering, and we warn you, this is the R-rated segment of the show, a new study finds that segments of a woman brain shut down completely during orgasm.  A study conducted by Dutch scientists reveals that parts of the female brain that control fear and anxiety are completely switched off when a woman is having an orgasm, but they remain active if she's faking. 

GEIST:  I wouldn't know anything about that, Tucker.  But the best part of this study—and this is true—they could not get accurate data on the men because they needed at least a two-minute climax and none of the men in the study could last that long.  And that's a true fact.  That's in the study.  I'm not making that up. 

CARLSON:  So if there are fewer female physicists out there, they more than make up for it in the end.  Is that what you're saying? 

GEIST:  That's right.  That's absolutely right.  We are a pathetic group, we men. 

CARLSON:  By that measure, yes.

Willie Geist, thanks.

GEIST:  Good show, Tucker.

CARLSON:  That's THE SITUATION.  Thanks for watching.  I'm Tucker Carlson.  “SCARBOROUGH COUNTY” is next.



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