Guest: Graham Allison, Jay Severin, Rachel Maddow, Max Kellerman
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST (voice-over): Just how vulnerable are we to a nuclear attack? The answer may terrify you.
The soldier shortage. Should our military be looking for a few good foreigners?
Plus, the political passion of Hillary and Dick. Do great minds think alike?
A chilling stunt proves size does matter.
And Dog the bounty hunter on the scent of the world's most wanted fugitives?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, absolutely. Where is he at?
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 THE SITUATION. I'm Tucker Carlson.
Tonight's show is jampacked with stories, including a Boston couple evicted from their apartment for smoking cigarettes and a Washington columnist who compares Hillary Clinton to Richard Nixon.
But, first, joining me once again, fresh off his one-day hiatus, New England talk show host Jay Severin, and, from Air America, the incomparable Rachel Maddow.
RACHEL MADDOW, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Tucker.
JAY SEVERIN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Good evening.
CARLSON: First situation, a statistical estimate of our very worst fears.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Richard Lugar says that there's a 70 percent chance that some weapon of mass destruction will be used in an attack somewhere in the world in the next 10 years and that at least five more countries will acquire nuclear weapons in that same period. The numbers are a result of a survey of experts conducted by the committee. They're actually much more precise of that. They go onto say the risk of a nuclear attack over the next five years is 16.4 percent.
Now, you know, obviously, I'm not mocking this, but it seems to me one of the real dangers of a terrorist attack is hysteria, especially with a dirty bomb, something that doesn't kill a lot of people, but that makes people afraid to go out of their homes or to be in a certain area. I wonder if this doesn't increase the hysteria, rather than tamp it down, Jay?
SEVERIN: I don't—it surprises me that you'd say that.
I think the problem is them killing us. I mean, I think disarmament is a poetic, but impossible idea. So, in a problem-solution model, what do you do? John F. Kennedy said to Russia, we don't care if the missiles are in Cuba. If they use them against us, we're blaming you. I think we need develop a contemporary JFK model and say to Arabic countries, if a WMD is used in this country, we're not going to have a blue-ribbon commission. We're coming after you.
CARLSON: Well, I we've—I mean, Bush, to I think his great credit, has said that pretty clearly in speech after speech.
My question is, what use is this information to the public? What are we supposed to do, other than be anxious?
MADDOW: Well, for me, the thing that this does is, it says, OK, 16.4 percent is probably ridiculous, in terms of coming to it for that much precision, that kind of prediction. But it does heighten my sense of how likely this threat is from any number of different places.
And you can't invade every country in the world with weapons of mass destruction. You can't even at this point invade every country with nuclear weapons who you don't like. You can't—we can't do this only through war. The threat is so widespread that we have to harden our targets here at home. And we do have to work cooperatively with other countries to reduce the threat. It's not soft to do that. It's the only practical way to approach it.
CARLSON: Well, speaking of working with other countries, the next situation involves a country that may already have nukes, poor but scary North Korea.
The U.S. State Department today pledged 50,000 metric tons of food to the North Korean people, who they say are literally starving. Also today, Assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill said he's—quote—“more than willing to meet” Chairman Kim Jong Il and hopes to meet him. The White House says the food donation is unrelated to coercion.
Of course, it's the result of coercion. There are a lot of starving countries in this world. We're giving the food aid to North Korea, as we've done before, since—for the last two years, because we fear they have nuclear weapons. This is an attempt to buy them off, which I don't have a problem with. You know, if this is the price of getting them to stop building nukes, it's worth it.
The question is, is it going to work? They've been shaking down South Korea for all these years, to no effect.
I think that the—it's—it's clear that the food aid has to do something with the negotiations about the nuclear issue. It has to. And for the State Department to say it's totally unrelated is a little ridiculous. That said, I don't have a problem with that either.
We've talked about this before. It has to be carrot and stick. It's been only stick as long as John Bolton has been in charge of it at the State Department. Now that he's out of the way, we can start to take a more rational approach.
SEVERIN: Is food aid the new concert series? I get a little confused about these things.
CARLSON: Bob Geldof producing, yes.
SEVERIN: I don't see how we can reach a reasonable calculus here, of course, without consulting Jimmy Carter, Madeleine Albright and Bill Clinton.
MADDOW: Do you think we should—do you think we should...
SEVERIN: The people who gave us—who gave us North Korea.
I think it's our policy. Well, I wonder what our policy is. Our policy is, we don't negotiate with kidnappers and terrorists. We don't bargain with them, so why should we pay them off? I just—I'm confused what our policy is.
SEVERIN: Either we bargain with them or we don't.
MADDOW: Is it—is it better for the United States and for our safety to make sure they starve?
SEVERIN: It is—whatever is best for U.S. safety is our best policy. If starving them is best, starve them. If bombing them is best, bomb them. U.S. security is the be-all and end-all of...
CARLSON: Well, and—but—I mean, just to clarify, just to clarify, in moral terms, we're not starving anybody.
SEVERIN: That's exactly right.
CARLSON: I mean, the totalitarian, Stalinist regime...
MADDOW: But we have an option to help. And if we shouldn't help, will because it's going to keep us safe, that's the question we have to decide.
CARLSON: Right. That's..
MADDOW: But if helping helps keep us safe, then you can't object to it on principle, by saying...
MADDOW: ... these people shouldn't eat. They're bad people.
CARLSON: I think the Machiavellian line is the clearest. If it's good for us, let's do it. If it's bad for us, let's not.
CARLSON: Very simple.
Next situation, at 9:30 Eastern time—that's 6:30 in the west—a public hearing will be held in Berkeley, California, about a proposed name change for the Jefferson Elementary School. The school, which, of course, is named after the third president, reportedly is considering its title to Sequoia Elementary after the large, but totally unoffensive tree.
The reason? Thomas Jefferson, though he helped found this country, also owned slaves. In a little under two hours, the school board will vote on this issue.
The deep—there are so many deep ironies here. Let me just propose one to you, Jay.
Berkeley, California, itself was named after a slave owner, named after an Anglican bishop who owned slaves, right?
CARLSON: I mean, they were—the school was considering naming the school after Sequoia, the Indian chief.
Problem: He owned slaves.
CARLSON: A lot of people, before slavery was abolished, owned slaves.
It's a pretty high standard actually to apply retroactively, isn't it?
SEVERIN: Well, I wonder whether I should recuse myself, because a branch of my family actually are descendants of the Jefferson family. So, let me disclose that, very proudly, by the way.
MADDOW: A branch of my family are Sequoias.
SEVERIN: And Jefferson was an imperfect man.
Headline: Jefferson was an imperfect man. He was also one of the greatest minds ever. His greatest work was to help found this country. It seems to me that it's an entirely appropriate name for a school. Now they'll name the school after an SUV or a tree.
SEVERIN: And it won't matter because the kids will never be able to plant one or buy the other. So, I, you know...
MADDOW: I mean, listen, it's Berkeley. And it's so easy to pick on Berkeley. These are public buildings.
Schools are controlled at the local level in this country. And they can name the building after whoever they want. They can name it after SpongeBob if they want to.
CARLSON: Wait a second. Of course they can.
MADDOW: They can do whatever they want.
CARLSON: No one is contesting their right to do it.
But, look, it's—first, it's an attack on the notion of the United States. Second, it's...
MADDOW: What are you talking about?
CARLSON: Of course it is.
The implication is that...
MADDOW: An attack on the notion of the United States?
CARLSON: Yes, it is.
CARLSON: Thomas Jefferson, who drafted the Declaration of Independence, I bet not one in 20 Sequoia Elementary School kids know that. They probably only know he's a slave owner.
But an attack on Thomas Jefferson is an attack on the idea of the country. The implication is, the whole thing is corrupt, when, in fact, the United States has been the driving force for human rights in this world for the last 200 years.
MADDOW: I think that's hysterical in—in both senses.
I think what these kids and what these parents have done out there is they have said, listen, we don't want to honor the name of our school with a slave owner. And if we have the choice about it, we'll pick something else. This is not crazy.
MADDOW: This is not saying that the United States needs to be thrown under a bus.
CARLSON: Wait. But, Rachel, Rachel, it's not just a slave owner.
It's Thomas Jefferson.
MADDOW: Thomas Jefferson.
CARLSON: The third president of the United States, one of the people who is responsible for the existence of our country.
MADDOW: You don't have to think Thomas Jefferson never did anything good in order to object to the fact that he owned slaves.
CARLSON: No, no, no, you don't.
MADDOW: And objecting to the fact that he owned slaves can be enough of a reason to object to putting his name on the school where your kids go to school every day.
CARLSON: I object to the fact that he owned slaves. I think it's terrible that he or anyone else has ever owned slaves. I'm not defending slave-owning.
I'm merely saying, if you're defining Thomas Jefferson's life by this fact that he owned slaves, you're missing the point of Thomas Jefferson.
MADDOW: They get to choose...
SEVERIN: It's also part of a movement—and you can tell me about this—maybe this is false—part of a movement of dead white European guys. It's a part of attacking our culture, derivative of dead, white European men. And Jefferson is where you start with that attack.
SEVERIN: It really is a political point.
MADDOW: I think that there's a little hysteria.
MADDOW: And I think that they get to decide the basis on which they name things in their community. And if they decide slave-owning is the litmus test, so be it.
CARLSON: And we get to criticize them.
MADDOW: Fair enough.
MADDOW: You can move to Berkeley and vote on it.
CARLSON: Next issue, nine months ago, Michael Kane was found not guilty by reason of insanity of the 2001 stabbing murder of 23-year-old John Trowbridge in Las Vegas.
Kane may be released from a state medical hospital next month because doctors there have judged him no longer mentally ill. The reason? He's no longer under the influence of LSD, the LSD that caused him to commit the crime in the first place.
I have to say, as you may know, I'm no liberal. I don't think this is the Twinkie defense, though. I actually think this is sort of an interesting defense, I mean, the idea that he was, you know, out of his head on LSD and committed this murder. You know, it's hard to feel sorry for a murderer. On the other hand, you can see why he got off.
CARLSON: If he had no conception of what he was doing, who he was, where he was and he committed this awful crime, it's sort of understandable why he got off by insanity. I don't think they should let him out, though.
MADDOW: Well, I think that intoxication and insanity are two different things.
And you shouldn't be able to walk scot-free and have an excuse for murdering somebody because you were intoxicated. That said, if we start to undermine the insanity defense, you end up with an 1800s kind of situation, where you just lock up everybody who is crazy.
SEVERIN: Well, now we know who the—who his dealer was. It was jury members. If they found this way, they're on LSD.
I think that—on the facts, that Tucker is right. And the fact is, you are insane when you're intoxicated to the point of that misjudgment.
SEVERIN: However, virtually all states, all jurisdictions in this country have always refused to allow intoxication to be a defense for violence against someone else.
SEVERIN: Well, I was drunk. I didn't know.
Well, too bad. You know, that was your negligence.
CARLSON: That's right.
SEVERIN: So, I think it's ridiculous.
Well, speaking of temporary insanity, the next situation comes from Boston. A housing jury there upheld the conviction of a couple who were evicted from their apartment because secondhand smoke coming from their rented condo entered the building's ventilation system. The couple, who each smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, say they repeatedly told their landlord that the building's age and structural problems were at the root of the problem, but he never bothered to inspect the apartment. And, in any case, they said, smoking was allowed in their lease.
But it doesn't matter. You know why? Because smokers are unpopular. And that's just the bottom line. When you're unpopular in this country, it doesn't matter. You have very limited rights. You have got much less rights than the average person if you're unpopular. And smokers right now are. And I think anybody who is concerned about the rights of minorities ought to be concerned about the rights of smokers.
SEVERIN: The remedy here is misguided. These people had in their lease the right to smoke. So that releases them, it seems to me.
But if your landlord is allowing what is, in the end, a tortious act, if you're harming others, if you're allowing by lease Rachel and I to have an apartment where we're allowed to build bombs—it's on our lease. But it's on our lease.
SEVERIN: We're allowed to build bombs. It's still committing a tort against someone else. If other people get sick because you did something that was in your lease in your apartment, you sue the landlord. You sue the owner of the building.
CARLSON: No one is getting sick from a pack of...
CARLSON: ... a day.
SEVERIN: Well, you don't know that. Well, you don't know that.
MADDOW: But the problem—the problem—the problem is here is that, it's not that they're smoking in their own apartment. They're smoking in the entire apartment building.
MADDOW: Because the apartment building is basically made of Swiss cheese. They have got open fourplex going up to the apartment next—upstairs. And so they're, in effect, smoking out their neighbors upstairs. I think it's the landlord's fault.
SEVERIN: Which the landlords are permitting. And, therefore...
CARLSON: Let me just make a prediction. I know—I mean, speaking of hysteria—look, I'm not defending smoking. It's wrong. I don't do it. I'm not for it.
CARLSON: However, smoking will end soon. Another group will become unpopular. They'll be hounded from their own apartments, right? And then you'll see that it's bad. The precedent is bad. Just because you're unpopular...
MADDOW: This is not a civil rights issue, though.
CARLSON: It is. It is.
MADDOW: It's a stink issue.
CARLSON: Still ahead...
CARLSON: That's pretty good.
Still ahead on THE SITUATION, a possible link between Hillary Clinton and Richard Nixon. Would Hillary's ruthlessness make her the next Tricky Dick?
Also, I'll speak with a terrorism expert who says he knows how to prevent a biological or nuclear attack. Our “Free Speak” segment is next.
CARLSON: The threat of a major nuclear attack within the next five years, that is the result of a congressional study released today. Next, I'll speak to an expert who believes he has a solution.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
As we mentioned, a new survey of experts said there's a 70 percent chance that weapons of mass destruction will be used in an attack somewhere in the world within the next decade.
Joining me now is Graham Allison. He's a professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Mr. Allison recently published a book called “Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe.”
Mr. Allison, thanks a lot for joining us.
GRAHAM ALLISON, PROFESSOR, HARVARD'S KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT:
Thank you for having me.
CARLSON: Now, for a nonexpert like me, reading this report, the headline seemed to be, don't panic. We're all about to die.
ALLISON: I think they should take away from it the fact that it's actually possible—indeed I, myself, believe it's likely—that, over the next decade, if the American government and the other governments just keep doing what they're doing today, so just stay on trend line, that a nuclear bomb explodes in one of our cities.
And this will be not the Armageddon that we feared during the Cold War, in which everyone is killed, but it will be a disaster, a catastrophe for a city in which hundreds of thousands of people may be killed. And it'll be an American-altering event. So, one is, it's a real danger. But I think the more important point is that it's preventable.
CARLSON: so, where is that bomb likely to come from, a terrorist group or a country?
ALLISON: I think the most likely deliverer of the bomb is somebody like al Qaeda. Bin Laden has said it's their religious duty.
So the perp will be al Qaeda or some equivalent. But where they'll get the bomb from or the material from which to make the bomb is from some country. And it may be stolen out of an arsenal like the former Soviet Union and Russia. It could be from a place like Pakistan, where there's a lot of ideological affiliation between some of the people in the Pakistani nuclear establishment and people like bin Laden and al Qaeda, or we've got a new entry into this game with North Korea.
CARLSON: So, the report said, I think there are eight countries now that we believe have—at least eight that we believe have nuclear weapons.
CARLSON: The report suggested there will be at least five more to get them within the next 10 years.
If we think a country, a hostile country, is about to acquire a nuclear weapon, why would that not be grounds for invading that country?
ALLISON: Well, it was in the case of Iraq, but it turned out they didn't have nuclear weapons. So...
CARLSON: That's right. But in the case of Iran, say. And I think there's probably a lot more evidence that Iran is...
CARLSON: ... close to getting a weapon than there was in the case of Iraq.
ALLISON: Well, I would say invade might be the absolutely last resort.
But, before that, you could imagine bombing the facility that would make the highly enriched uranium for which they could make a bomb. And, certainly, that's a target that the Americans and the Israelis have looked at very seriously. And I think, even one step back from that, there's a bargain to be made with Iran right now to get them to stop the building or the completion of those facilities.
But, in order to make that bargain, I think it takes a lot of carrots and a lot of sticks, including a credible threat to destroy the facility before it becomes operational.
CARLSON: Now, the report also talked about dirty nukes, a sort of suitcase-sized nuclear device, nuclear material surrounding dynamite, say. What kind of damage would that do if it went off in a city?
ALLISON: Well, it's—it's complicated.
But it basically needs to distinguish between two things. One is a nuclear bomb, which is defined by a fission event at which you have this huge explosion that produces a mushroom cloud.
ALLISON: That's one thing. And those can be in small packages, that is, packages as small as a suitcase. So, a suitcase bomb could be a real nuclear bomb.
The bomb that was thought to be in New York City a month after 9/11 would fit in one of those rolly suitcases that you see people, you know, rolling around the airport. On the other hand, there's something called a dirty bomb, which would simply be a package of dynamite with some radioactive material around it. That would then spew radiation, which could give us a dose of radiation.
But nobody would die from the radiation dispersal device.
CARLSON: All right.
ALLISON: Except for the people who died from the dynamite.
CARLSON: Oh, grim.
Dr. Graham Allison from Harvard, thank you.
ALLISON: The prevention—remember the proposition, the subtitle of this book is the ultimate preventable catastrophe.
ALLISON: This is a preventable catastrophe.
CARLSON: I hope so. We're all betting on that.
Dr. Allison thank you. Thanks for joining us.
ALLISON: Thank you very much for having me.
CARLSON: Coming up, is there anyone out there who can get his or her hands on Osama bin Laden? One op-ed writer has an unusual, very unusual, suggestion.
Plus, Arnold Schwarzenegger's poll numbers are sagging. So, is it wise to take on the tenured teachers of California? Details ahead.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Time now for “Op-ed Op-ed.” We've read nearly every editorial page in America, merely for the thrill of it, and we've chosen the three best, to which Rachel, Jay and I will offer our responses in 20-second portions.
CARLSON: First up, Tony Blankley writes in “The Washington Times” that Ed Klein's new book, “The Truth About Hillary,” provides an insight into the senator's mind—quote—“For people who like their presidents, ruthless, expedient and very smart, the portrait Mr. Klein paints may well not be seen as negative. In fact, as the author notes, Mrs. Clinton has more than a little in common with Richard Nixon.”
Tony Blankley actually doesn't mean this as an insult. He says she's a good politician.
CARLSON: This is an interesting review of a book I haven't read, but am going to after reading this review. And the point is this, we all think of Hillary Clinton as a left-wing ideologue, as a true believer.
SEVERIN: I certainly do.
MADDOW: You all do.
CARLSON: No, no, but truly.
CARLSON: I think that's as distinct from her husband, the kind of Machiavellian operator.
The point he makes is, she's actually more Machiavellian than her husband, but more self-disciplined and, therefore, more effective.
SEVERIN: I've been watching Hillary Clinton professionally since her career began, meaning her husband's. I said in 1998 on MSNBC she was running for president.
She's a committed socialist. She's very tough and smart. Unlike her husband, ideas do matter to her. She's absolutely sociopathic. And she has a 50/50 chance of being the next president of the United States, save McCain. She's the Manchurian candidate.
MADDOW: I'm blown away. I'm blown away, A, by the vitriol reserved for Hillary Clinton, because I think that you guys could do so much more with yourselves than just continue pouring on her all the time.
I'm also grossed out by the fact that we're talking about this book. The very first fact leaked from this book, fact, is that Daniel Patrick Moynihan wouldn't say Hillary Clinton's name when he endorsed her, he hated her so much. Factually untrue and checkable by any drunk, half-asleep fact checker.
He says that Bill Clinton raped Hillary and that's how he got Chelsea. He says that Hillary Clinton is a lesbian. Those are the claims in this book. If you think it's worth reading, read it. I'm going to stay out of it.
CARLSON: No, wait. Hold on. Wait. Hold...
CARLSON: Slow down.
MADDOW: Those are the claims this book is about.
CARLSON: And I absolutely agree with that. And I'm not, obviously, endorsing those claims, nor do I spend any time at all beating up on Hillary or even thinking about her.
I do think she's likely to be the next nominee of the Democratic Party for president. I think it's worth talking about her. And this book, very, very long, may contain interesting information. And I'm not going to be put off by the propaganda campaign against it. I'm going to find out for myself.
MADDOW: The propaganda campaign is for it. It's factually untrue.
It's a smear campaign. And I think it's gross.
CARLSON: Well, there's obviously a countercampaign going on right on this show.
MADDOW: It's right here. I'm the one. That's it.
CARLSON: Good luck, Rachel.
MADDOW: Well, in “The Philadelphia Inquirer,” Max Boot writes that to solve the shortage in Army recruiting, the government should consider recruiting foreigners—quote—“I would offer citizenship to anyone, anywhere on the planet, willing to serve a set term in the U.S. military. We could model a Freedom Legion after the French Foreign Legion.”
It didn't work out well, actually, for the French Foreign Legion, which is now regulated to guarding...
CARLSON: I think this maybe a little too cynical, actually.
You know, if our citizens support a war, they'll fight it.
SEVERIN: That's exactly right.
CARLSON: And so the answer may be, we do have a terrible problem with recruiting. The answer may be in fact to scale back our ambitions, maybe do a little less nation-building, because that is what Americans want, a little less nation-building.
SEVERIN: That this would be regarded as a serious idea is absolutely breathtaking. A foreign army equals a foreign army. Duh. You can't have foreigners in your army. YOU can't have hired mercenaries fighting in the United States Army. If we are insufficiently inspired by a war the United States is engaged in, then we ought not be fighting it.
MADDOW: That said, we do have foreigners in our Army. We have plenty of noncitizens fighting in our Army. There's all of these people who have been killed in Iraq who get their posthumous citizenship after being killed in a U.S. uniform.
CARLSON: Less than 10 percent.
MADDOW: Right. But fair enough. We've already got foreigners in the Army.
SEVERIN: It's still wrong.
MADDOW: That needs to be considered. The idea of having an on-purpose foreign mercenary Army that we need to pay to do our work because Americans can't support the foreign policy that our government gives us is a different story. I think that's a nightmare scenario.
SEVERIN: It means we're fighting the wrong wars.
MADDOW: It does. I agree.
CARLSON: Steve Lopez says in “The L.A. Times” that if CIA Chief Porter Goss is unable to capture Osama bin Laden, maybe the U.S. government should ought to sent bounty hunter Dog Chapman after him. Chapman, you will remember, apprehended fugitive cosmetics heir Andrew Luster in Mexico down in 2003, after Luster skipped the country in the midst of his rape trial.
Here is what the op-ed says—quote—“I say we get the troops out of Iraq and send them after the man we should have targeted all along with Duane Dog Chapman leading the charge. The Dog tells me he's ready to answer the call for his country. And, as we know, he already collared one international fugitive after the federal government lost the scent, lost the scent.”
You know, it's kind of a demented idea, also sort of a great idea.
CARLSON: This is something Americans could get behind. The president after 9/11 said every Americans ought to pitch in. I think there a lot of Americans would volunteer to go to Afghanistan to do this. If you want an involved citizenry, here's an opportunity. Probably catch him, too.
SEVERIN: If I may be the first to say, who let the Dog out, OK? Of course let him out.
One of the most tried and true remedies for finding bad guys is to put a bounty on their head. If bounty hunters who do this for a living can do it or some kind of soldier, fine. Let them do it. Go get him.
MADDOW: I think that we have put a bounty on these guys' heads. But we have done it in Waziristan in the border region, where we think they are. We tried to pay off all the local tribesmen to find him. That hasn't worked so well.
I think that, if Americans want to go find Osama bin Laden, they should join the military. I also think we should have assurances that the military is actually going after Osama bin Laden, instead of being diverted into adventures like Iraq.
CARLSON: They are. There are a lot of servicemen right now in Afghanistan.
MADDOW: They are looking. But why did the units that were looking for bin Laden literally get transferred to Iraq?
CARLSON: Well, because a lot of people in the armed services have been transferred to Iraq. But there are a lot of people in Afghanistan. I know a couple of them. There are a lot of people there looking for him and I hope they find him.
MADDOW: Me, too.
CARLSON: Still to come, does a married man really make more money than a bar-hopping bachelor? A situation sure to generate some hot and bothered housewives after this short commercial break.
CARLSON: Well, it's time once again to meet “The Outsider,” a man from outside the world of cable news who has agreed for the edification of all of us to become a permanent devil's advocate. Joining us once again, ESPN radio show host and professional contrarian, Max Kellerman.
CARLSON: I say it every night, Max, but I mean it more this night than most. You're a brave man.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is pleasing fewer people less of the time in California, but he is boldly taking on a pillar of the American educational system, teacher tenure. The “Christian Science Monitor” examined the situation today. Schwarzenegger wants to increase from two years to five years the amount of time the teacher has to teach before, in effect, getting the job for life, which is admirable, but he ought to move to eliminate tenure entirely.
Being a teacher is one of the most important jobs in American life. There's no reason they should have tenure. And in fact, it works against the students, because tenure removes the threat of failure. And it's the threat of failure that causes people—the threat of being fired—causes people to aspire and achieve greatness. Bill Gates never would have founded Microsoft had he had tenure.
KELLERMAN: You're talking about incentive, really.
CARLSON: It's an incentive to work hard and be a good teacher.
KELLERMAN: OK, but don't you think that teachers, potential teachers, need an incentive to become teachers in the first place? I mean, you don't get paid anything. You have to deal with 30 of someone else's miserable, screaming kids all day.
You know, what do you get? A little job security in return. Is that so much to ask for, that if you do a really good job, you can get some job security...
KELLERMAN: There's a teacher shortage.
CARLSON: That is a great argument for signing up to, say, sanitation department of the city of New York. But people with that attitude shouldn't become teachers in the first place.
The point is, tenure hurts kids. And why, for that matter, are teachers awarded tenure? Why aren't talk show hosts awarded tenure? Why not pharmacists? Why are teachers singled out for jobs for life? It's absurd.
KELLERMAN: Well, in my memory, actually—well, first of all, you just said it before, because it's the importance of teaching. Does not pay well, yet it's very important. You need to incentivize them. But my memory, in high school and elementary school, the best teachers I can remember were tenured teachers.
You know why? Because they were good. That's why they got tenure.
The bad ones didn't get tenure, so in fact, it weeds the bad ones out.
CARLSON: Tenure is not awarded on the basis of performance. It's not like the good teachers get tenure. It's everybody who hangs around long enough gets tenure.
KELLERMAN: But you can't hang around. You'll be fired if you're not good.
CARLSON: The Soviet Union never produced anything worth having because everybody had tenure, so nobody had to actually do anything. The same situation applies in our schools today...
CARLSON: No, tenure is anti-achievement, and that's the problem. And it hurts kids.
KELLERMAN: Well, actually, just the opposite way, Tucker.
CARLSON: A group of developers plans to build a hotel and casino less than two miles from the historic civil war battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Not surprisingly, the locals are steamed. A group of them, called No Casino Gettysburg, said the planned resort is a desecration. The National Civil War Preservation Trust has joined their effort.
In their defense, it should be noted the developers don't plan a civil war-themed casino. But that's really no defense.
KELLERMAN: It's very classy, though.
CARLSON: It's outrageous!
KELLERMAN: Very classy.
CARLSON: Fifty-one thousand Americans died at Gettysburg, right? Why not have a casino—why not have slots next to Ground Zero? I'll tell you why: Because it's wrong. It is a desecration. There ought to be some spaces in America and in American life that are free of commerce and casinos. And this is one of them.
KELLERMAN: You're right. It would be. It's two miles away. If they were saying, “We're going to build a casino on the site, on the battlefield,” of course, everyone would be against it. That is a desecration. But it's two miles away.
Two miles for you—go two miles in any direction. You can wind up in Pennsylvania or New York from here, and we're in New Jersey.
CARLSON: Now, wait a second. The point is, it's a Gettysburg casino. It will change the way people understand and remember Gettysburg. Ten years from now, kids will say, “You know, I'm feeling lucky. Let's get a twelve-pack and go to Gettysburg and play Keno.”
KELLERMAN: Well, think about it another way. What's Gettysburg about? What's any great American battle fought on this soil, civil war or revolutionary war, really about? It's about the American way of life, right? We kept it together.
Well, I mean, a casino is industry, isn't it? Isn't it a celebration of industry? And isn't it appropriate to have it two miles from an historic battle site?
CARLSON: That is so sick I stand in awe. I stand in awe. Those men died so some sleazy casino developer could put 3,000 slot machines?
KELLERMAN: A lot of people died in battles in New York City, too. We have commerce all over New York City.
CARLSON: Let me just say just one final point.
KELLERMAN: We should just preserve it as a museum? This whole country should be preserved exactly as it was!
CARLSON: No. But there ought to be spaces that are not ugly in this country. Increasingly, America is just, you know, sort of an endless Jiffy Lube, Applebee's, Circuit City.
KELLERMAN: That's true.
CARLSON: There ought to be some place that's quiet, calm, open, where you can think about the sacrifices Americans have made so we could have Circuit City and Applebee's.
KELLERMAN: Mandalay Bay? Mandalay Bay, that's a nice place.
CARLSON: You're sick.
Max, you and I love the “New York Post,” but if you missed the “Times” today, home school kids made the front page because in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, the local public schools do not allow home-schoolers to play on the high school athletic teams.
But Mrs. Mary Mellinger reluctantly allowed her kids to go to a public school just so they could play sports. According to the “Times,” she's one of an increasing number of home-school families who want extracurricular privileges of public schools.
And they deserve it. You know why? Because they pay taxes. They pay for those services whether they use them or not. The schools aren't very good, or they want to see their kids more, so they educate them themselves. But they have a right. They have a right to be on those teams.
KELLERMAN: Pass, pass.
KELLERMAN: All right, fine. You pay a school tax, it seems like you should be entitled to use the resources of the school.
However, look at it in a broader sense, Tucker.
CARLSON: Give it your best shot.
KELLERMAN: OK, fine. When you home-school your kids, it's essentially a rejection of the system. Oh, so you're a tough guy. Now the system's no good. You're going to do it your own way, until your own way doesn't work, then let's send them back to the system.
And another thing is, in many states, though not Pennsylvania, many school districts—you get funds from the state based on attendance. So if these kids don't count as having—as being students in the school, they're sucking resources out of the school without contributing anything.
CARLSON: Let me respond to both those points. Your first one was actually made almost out loud by the assistant superintendent in Pennsylvania, quoted in the paper this morning, who said, “Athletic teams are only for kids who comply with the school,” in other words, who buy into a system that clearly isn't working very well. In other words, they should be punished for not getting a bad education in our school.
Second, and I think more importantly, Max, home schooling sends a message to the schools, “You're not doing a good job.” Schools should respond to the phenomenon of home schools...
KELLERMAN: Oh, but now...
CARLSON: ... like changing and getting better.
KELLERMAN: But no, that undermines that your argument, because I was with you the whole time until you just said that. I was faking it, Tucker! But now muddling the message because you're saying, “This doesn't work, except in these areas where it kind of really works very well, so well, in fact, that we want to use your facilities.”
CARLSON: Yes, yes. You can have a great basketball team but a lousy math department. It's possible, in fact. It exists in a lot of schools in this country.
KELLERMAN: OK, fine, you're right.
Max Kellerman, thank you very much.
Coming up next, the situation involving the Unabomber and his personal belongings. Should they be displayed at a prominent Midwestern university? Debate ensues when we come back.
CARLSON: Welcome back to THE SITUATION. Filling in for Dr. Henry Kissinger, I'm Tucker Carlson.
Time to refresh our stack with the best remaining stories of the today. Joining me once again, Jay Severin and Rachel Maddow.
First situation, skyscraper safety. A government panel just finished an exhaustive three-year study of what caused the World Trade Center to collapse and what could be done to make our tallest building safer. Two hundred experts and 10,000 pages later, their recommendation is a nutshell:
Everyone should have a way out in an emergency.
You know, I don't want to mock this. I think it was, you know, done with the best intent. On the other hand, you'll never build a building that can withstand the force of, you know, a civilian aircraft hitting it at high speed ever. And so I wonder if this money wouldn't have been better spent trying to figure out how to keep terrorists from hijacking planes in the first place, or maybe even asking the ultimate question, why did they do it, which we still haven't asked?
MADDOW: But skyscraper safety, it's important for so many reasons other than the possibility of another 9/11. I mean, one of the things that I found most chilling about this is the idea that had the Trade Center actually been full on that Tuesday morning—it was about a third full—had it been full, 12,000 more people would have died...
CARLSON: Oh, yes.
MADDOW: It would have taken four hours for people to get out. And that's more than twice the time it took for those buildings to fall. I mean, you have to plan for the worst. Skyscraper safety is so beyond me, in terms of layman's understanding of engineering, I'm glad they're throwing the researches into it.
SEVERIN: Yes, headline, America, “There is no evacuation.” There is no tsunami evacuation route. There is no way out of a building.
Today's “New York Times” story said that after $800 million in four years, we are no safer, as aforementioned, about smuggling, the dangers of smuggling a nuclear bomb into this country. The answer here though—I'm neither an architect nor engineer, nor I do play one on TV or radio...
SEVERIN: ... the answer is better security and deader terrorists. We have to stop them from doing it, not worry about the buildings. There is no security in the buildings.
MADDOW: But listen, even if you're only talking about natural disasters, or fires, or things like this. I mean, you have to take this stuff seriously. I work on the 40th floor of a building in midtown Manhattan. I want this stuff to be taken seriously, whether it's for terrorism or for anything else.
CARLSON: Everyone takes it seriously. I promise.
Next situation, nukes make a comeback. Here's President Bush at a nuclear power plant in Maryland earlier today. He was there to push for a new era of nuclear power, saying it would cut air pollution and U.S. dependence on foreign energy.
It's been 29 years since a new reactor project has been started in the country, and that's a complete shame. And that's completely due to a very small group of very aggressive upper middle-class yuppie anti-nuke environmental activists who are afraid of nukes mostly for emotional reasons.
Nuclear power has some ugly components. The waste is, you know, problematic. On the other hand, it doesn't pollute the environment. And it produces a lot of electricity that we need, and it works in France, and in a lot of Europe and around the world. And it could work here, and it would be working were it not for this small group of people who are determining our energy policy and shouldn't be.
MADDOW: Can I just note that you just made a non-mocking reference to France? That's the first time.
CARLSON: Actually, I am objectively pro-France. You know, France blew up the Rainbow Warrior, that Greenpeace ship in Auckland Harbor in the '80s. And I've always respected them...
MADDOW: That made you like them?
CARLSON: Yes. Yes. It won me over.
MADDOW: Not steak au poivre?
CARLSON: I love steak au poivre.
SEVERIN: I dissent. Stick with me here. AIDS is to orgies as terrorism is to more nuclear plants right now. There was a time—and I'm not—believe me, I'm not...
CARLSON: Whew, took the SATs.
MADDOW: I'm still stuck on orgies.
SEVERIN: I'm not damning orgies, but times change. They're not as good an idea as they used to be. It really kills me to say that, but they're not as good an idea as they used to be. New nuclear plants in an age of terrorism is probably not the best thing to do since we have about 6,000 sites we can't protect now. Why build 500 more?
CARLSON: That's actually a thoughtful point.
MADDOW: I come at it from a different reason. I come at it from the old lefty perspective, you'll be happy to hear. But I think that, until we figure out what do with nuclear waste in this country, then fueling more nuclear power plants? I mean, at this point, we have got 50,000 tons of nuclear waste in this country, and we don't know what to do with most of it. This is like building a fire in your living room to keep warm and having no plan to put it out.
SEVERIN: But it only lasts 700,000 years. Don't worry.
MADDOW: So we can wait it out, right.
CARLSON: All right.
Senator Joe Biden returns from a fifth trip to Iraq saying the situation is, quote, “disastrous.” Biden says the insurgency is as bad as it was a year ago and that the entire rebuilding process is way behind. He adds that President Bush should level with the American people about the progress in Iraq.
Republicans immediately fired back, saying Biden should be called “Pessimist in Chief” for his gloomy view. Meanwhile in Baghdad today, four car bombings killed 23 people. I should note this is probably the first campaign speech of 2008. We'll have a long time to talk about this. Biden is probably running for president.
One interesting thing about the speech, I think, Rachel, is that Biden has been a hawk on Iraq, calling for sending more troops, something most people definitely don't agree with, including me. You see him now, I think, trying to move to the left of his chief opponent in this race, would be Hillary Clinton, who is—I think this is what he's doing. He's positioning himself to the left of her. She's been very hawkish.
MADDOW: I think this shows that the debate on the war in Iraq in this country is over, and that even people who voted for the war, even people who were convinced by the arguments before the war, realize that they were now wrong and the point now is to get out.
The fact that the Republicans responded by saying, “Oh, you're being negative, you're such a pessimist,” shows that they are completely off the chart on this.
SEVERIN: I think you're prematurely saying over, but it's certainly lost for the Republicans. I've got news for them.
SEVERIN: A lot more people will find Biden's message resonant than Bush's, as of like next week. The insurgency is not in its last throes. What is, is the Bush presidency and the Republican Congress, as people continue to look at this every day and see Vietnam, correctly...
CARLSON: Wait, but then aren't we leaving out a step here? Biden has been a—Biden, who I respect—but has been cheerleader for this war. Shouldn't he apologize?
SEVERIN: Well, it's a political thing. He's going to be the come clean for Eugene McCarthy. He's doing exactly what you say. He's moving to the left.
CARLSON: Well, he ought to stop and recant for his, you know, his previous statements about the war.
MADDOW: I'd be happy if everybody who supported the war did.
SEVERIN: Dream on, yes.
CARLSON: Well, next up, we've got a Unabomber situation. The man behind a bombing spree that lasted nearly 20 years killing three people, injuring 23 is back in the news. Ted Kaczynski, who is spending the rest of his life behind bars, wants to donate thousands of pages of his, quote, “writings in books” to the University of Michigan for use by researchers.
But the Justice Department is saying, “No dice,” arguing that a criminal like Kaczynski shouldn't have control of his own papers.
You know, I think he should have control. I don't really care. The interesting to me about this, though, is that a university wants to assign researchers to his papers. I mean, this says a lot about modern academia that they're going to study the ravings of a lunatic as if it were some primary important...
MADDOW: ... lunacy, though? I mean, what's wrong...
CARLSON: Well, I have got a lot of important nut mail from the UFO people and the Kennedy association buffs I could donate to the University of Michigan, if they're interested.
MADDOW: Send it over.
SEVERIN: There's absolutely nothing new, by the way, about most academic facilities now devoting their study time to the ravings of lunatics. I mean, I don't know what the headline is here.
MADDOW: The Jay Severin Institute being an exception.
SEVERIN: Did you read any of this stuff? I remember reading it, when it was published in the “Times.” This they should bring to Guantanamo. They either read it to the prisoners, or they flush that down the toilet.
MADDOW: The funny thing here, though, is that the federal government wants to sell this stuff for $5 apiece or something, because they think—they don't want to make a profit on it because Ted Kaczynski is a criminal. But local governments will sell drug dealers boats for the highest caller because they can keep that money.
CARLSON: Right. I wonder if they're going to put his papers in the ransom note section of the library at the University of Michigan?
MADDOW: They ought to sell it for the highest dollar. Give the money to his victims.
CARLSON: Next up, if you're a single guy, do you want to make more money? Then perhaps you should find a wife, a housewife to be precise. Britain's Institute for Social and Economic Research says a married man whose wife works at home earns about 3 percent more than a single man doing the same job.
The study suggested two explanations, one, that a marriage might allow a husband and wife to focus on tasks, quote, “most suited for them,” or two, that marriage increases the amount of time a man can focus on work. Well, maybe it's just men who can afford to have their wives stay home...
CARLSON: The one point I would make, I guess—we're a little short on time—is this: England is about 20 years, I think, behind us, in terms of social mores. That you can issue a report and say, “A marriage might allow a husband and wife to focus on the activities to which they are most suited,” and not get the office firebombed, you know...
MADDOW: It may yet happen. You never know.
I think the math on this is so weird. The idea that a 3 percent premium on the man's salary is a great deal with the woman earning nothing? That's just so—I know that women get paid less than men, but that seems like bad math to me.
SEVERIN: We missed the third option. The only man to have perfected this, known to perfect it, is Hugh Hefner. He works at home in his pajamas surrounded by lovely women, mostly naked, who work for him at home. This seems to me to be the ideal solution to this problem.
MADDOW: Yes, but he has to look in the mirror every day and see Hugh Hefner. That's the other problem there.
CARLSON: That's why he's a hero to many, a scoundrel to some.
Rachel, Jay, thank you both.
MADDOW: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Coming up, you know why the paparazzi aims at Tom Cruise every second he's in public? I guess it's in their brain chemistry, seriously, possibly. The latest in genetic coding is on the “Cutting Room Floor.” Stay tuned.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Time now to sweep up the “Cutting Room Floor.” Our producer, Willie Geist, has gathered all the stories we couldn't use during the show. And he's got them.
WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER: Tucker, I have an exciting update from our assignment desk. Dwayne “Dog” Chapman, the guy who is trying to track down bin Laden, eventually, on his own, the bounty hunter, probably going to be with us tomorrow night.
GEIST: We'll get a satellite truck. Yes, he's out in Honolulu, Hawaii.
GEIST: So you're going to want to watch tomorrow night. Snapple.
CARLSON: We should head out to Honolulu and do the interview in person.
All right. Snapple says its drinks are made from the, quote, “best stuff on Earth,” but the New York City Fire Department might beg to differ with that. Snapple was in New York yesterday attempting to set the Guinness record with a two-and-a-half-story, 20-ton popsicle, but the ice pop quickly melted in the summer heat, and the streets of New York ran pink with kiwi strawberry juice. Fireman were stuck with clean-up, as they always are.
GEIST: I think the lesson here, Tucker, is certain records just not worth breaking. Largest ball of twine, just let it be. Same thing applies, too, with the popsicle. I wouldn't have gone after that record.
CARLSON: Really? I like the largest ball of twine.
GEIST: Well, right, but you are not going to go trying to break the record.
GEIST: Respect the record. That's all I'm saying.
CARLSON: I've got a day job.
Well, British taxpayers must have been relieved to learn today that they are not, in fact, being screwed over by the royal family ski vacations and gilded toilet seats. Buckingham Palace released a report that reveals the royals cost each taxpayer a mere 61 pence. In real terms, that $1.12 per year. One official said, quote, “We believe this represents a value-for-money monarchy.”
GEIST: And you know who made the quote? The keeper of the privy purse, the guy who looks after the queen's finances. When will they quit this charade of the monarchy? I mean, it's like watching a bad play. It's boring.
CARLSON: It's the most successful theme park in the world. And for $1.20 a year per Briton, I think it's a pretty good deal. That's less than Euro Disney.
GEIST: I would pay $1.12.
Well, imagine the longest car trip you've ever taken. Now imagine taking it with a total stranger and not moving a single inch. That's the plight of two Ohio women who have been sitting in parked PT Cruiser for three weeks in the hopes of winning the car. The last one in the ride gets to keep it. The contestants eat and use the bathroom during scheduled five-minute breaks.
GEIST: Tucker, I don't want to pass judgment.
CARLSON: I do.
GEIST: These gals need to take a good, long look at themselves. They're sitting in a car in a mall away from their families, and there are medics monitoring their health. I mean, it's just—it can't be worth it. Let's have a bake sale or something, get some money together, and just buy them the PT Cruiser. Please, stop.
CARLSON: That's a cry for help. I agree with you.
Well, the paparazzi is vilified for its relentless pursuit of celebrities. But it turns out that slimy photographers—we're vilifying them here—are just using their special cognitive gifts. A new study suggests that certain neurons, like the ones in the brains of members of the paparazzi, are specialized to quickly identify specific people and things. Scientists say they believe they have isolated a Jennifer Aniston cell in some human brains.
GEIST: Now, why didn't they just say so? This completely excuses their hiding in celebrities' garbage cans and following them into public restrooms. It's all explained. It's fine. Paparazzi, go about your business now.
CARLSON: They can't help it.
CARLSON: Short of twelve-step program, there's no breaking them of it.
GEIST: That's right.
CARLSON: Well, there are a couple of ways to move up in the ranks of the Russian military, not that you would want to. You can work hard and impress a senior officer, or you could win the Miss Russian Army contest. Nineteen of Russia's finest servicewomen displayed their military skills yesterday, before showing off some singing and dancing for the judges.
The winner was a navy lieutenant who will be promoted and serve as an ambassador for the Russian armed forces.
GEIST: You know, Tucker, I think this captures the spirit of the military very nicely. Every man is equal, unless you're really hot, then it's a completely different story.
CARLSON: Well, then you're not a man.
GEIST: That's true. Every soldier is equal, I guess I should have said. But I think that's true. The hottest soldier should be promoted. It's a fine policy.
CARLSON: This actually changes my views. When I think of Russian army, I think vodka, cabbage, early death.
GEIST: “Spies Like Us.”
CARLSON: This is just a whole new sort of flavor to it.
GEIST: It's good P.R.
CARLSON: It is great P.R.
Willie Geist, thanks.
GEIST: All right, Tucker.
CARLSON: That's THE SITUATION. I'm Tucker Carlson. Coming up right now, a special edition of “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY,” featuring an exclusive interview with Michael Jackson's mother.
See you tomorrow night.
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