updated 6/30/2005 9:14:04 AM ET 2005-06-30T13:14:04

Guest: Max Kellerman, Jay Severin, Lory Manning

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST (voice-over):  The high court hands down a legal commandment.  But will it fuel more fire over church and state? 

Safe sex behind bars, one state‘s arresting proposal.

Plus, beauty contestants take a walk on the wild side—the stunt everyone‘s buzzing about. 

And battle of the sexes.  Should women answer the call to arms? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I want to be part of the fight. 

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. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  Welcome back to week three of THE SITUATION.  I‘m Tucker Carlson.  Hope you had a great weekend.  Hope you enjoyed “King Kong.”

A lot on the docket tonight, including women in combat, a home blood test that indicates a baby‘s gender and a dirty-dancing, short-skirt-wearing, middle school principal in Indiana. 

Joining me once again from the airwaves of New England talk radio, it‘s Jay Severin.  And from the hallowed halls of the MSNBC Worldwide Headquarters here, special guest star Alison Stewart. 

Welcome. 

ALISON STEWART, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Thanks. 

CARLSON:  The first situation was the historic day at the U.S. Supreme Court.  A huge crowd showed up to witness what might or might not have been Chief Justice Rehnquist‘s last day on the bench. 

And among other things, the crowd saw a split decision on the Ten Commandments on government property.  On the question of the Kentucky courthouse, a 5-4 decision ruled against the commandments‘ presence in court because—quote—“A sacred text can never be integrated constitutionally into a government display on the subject of law.”

On the question of allowing the commandments to appear in front of the

Texas State Capitol, the court ruled in favor on the grounds that they have

·         quote—“undeniable historical meaning.”  It should be pointed out those these decisions were decided or argued in a room that contains a painting of Moses holding the Ten Commandments. 

CARLSON:  Irony of irony. 

But I‘m not quite sure, Alison, what the principle is here.  It seems

·         they seem to be saying, you know, the Ten Commandments are fine, unless they‘re too religious.  But they are religious, innately.

STEWART:  Well, I think it‘s two things.  It‘s location, location, location, and it‘s context, context, context. 

As were sitting waiting for this to come down, all us news geeks this morning, 10:00, looking at our computers, we expected a thud to one side, a thud to the other side.  But it was sort of this nice raining down on both sides, the idea that you can, of course, understand that there can be religion in history.  And that can be outside.  And this monument is part a larger historical context, the one in Texas, vs. the one that‘s behind the judge, and I don‘t believe in God, but there‘s a big Ten Commandments standing above me and the judge in front of me who is about to tell me about the rest of my life. 

CARLSON:  Oh, Solomonic.  Pardon the biblical reference there. 

JAY SEVERIN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Thank you for that segue. 

CARLSON:  The court split the baby, but not the electoral vote.

I‘m interested in the political dimension of this.  And there always is one.  It‘s a zero sum game.  This, by reflection, hurt somebody.  And I think it hurt the Democrats.  It could be wishful thinking.  But I think a lot of people will say, gee, are we really that offended by the Ten Commandments in public?  I didn‘t realize.  Maybe I‘m behind the times.

And I think it looks to a lot of people—and I‘ll admit to me—like an attempt by the left to continue to eradicate the traditions of sort of Western European culture and religion.  And, as a political matter, that‘s a loser for Democrats. 

CARLSON:  Well, I—I think you‘re right as a general matter.  I‘m not sure if they lost on this one. 

I have to say, though, it seems to me that the underpinning of all law is religion.  The idea that some things are absolutely right, some things are absolutely wrong, like it or not, we get that from the idea that God exists. 

STEWART:  I like the idea from the ruling that you can look at religion in a historical context.  I think that was the important part. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

Well, from the situation in the Supreme Court to the situation in Iraq.  After saying over the weekend that insurgency against the new Iraqi government could last as long as 12 more years, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld confirmed that U.S. leadership in Iraq has had more than one meeting with insurgence leaders—insurgent leaders—in the past month. 

In other words, Jay, they‘re—you know, if they have leaders, it‘s more than just a group of guerrillas.  This is essentially an army we‘re fighting.  People were outraged about this.  Some people on the right were outraged about it.  I‘m not bothered by it.  If this helps us win or defeat or at least subdue the insurgency, it seems worth it to me. 

SEVERIN:  Again, one of the things that‘s confusing, disorienting is, we do not negotiate with terrorists is our policy, always has been, like kidnappers and terrorists.  We don‘t negotiate with them.  We give them money, food, nuclear technology.  We take meetings with them.  We‘ll go to breakfast with them.  We take lunches with them, but we won‘t negotiate with them.  We are negotiating with them.

CARLSON:  Yes, but why not?  If it helps our aim, which is to subdue...

SEVERIN:  I‘m not saying we ought not to.

CARLSON:  Right. 

SEVERIN:  I‘m strategy it‘s confusing, I think to people, to be told on the one hand we don‘t negotiate with terrorists and then to do so.  STEWART:  I‘m confused about, as a reporter, as I‘m sitting here trying to figure out this story, that Rumsfeld on the morning shows, we do talk to the insurgents.  General Casey today in a Pentagon briefing literally said, no, we‘re not talking to insurgents. 

And I sat there and I went.  And I thought, God, is this going to come back to bite him in the rump at some point?   You know, no, we‘re talking to tribal leaders; we‘re talking to Sunnis.  And I‘m thinking, is this code for something else?  This back-and-forth, insurgents, not insurgents, we are talking, we are not talking, has got me confused.

CARLSON:  Yes. 

Well, I still think it‘s worth it if it helps us.  But President Bush may address it tomorrow night.  This show will not be on tomorrow night.  We‘re going to be down in Nashville with Chris Matthews at a town meeting listening to the president‘s speech.  And maybe he‘ll explain who we‘re talking with and why.

Our next situation involves a home blood test that helps a woman identify the sex of her baby as early as five weeks into her pregnancy.  The test, which is called Baby Gender Mentor, costs just $275, analyzes fetal DNA floating in the mother‘s blood.  It‘s currently being marketed at an online pregnancy store. 

Ethicists are concerned that women who want a certain gender could abort the baby if she wants a child of the opposite sex.  And there‘s no question that that is going to happen.  It happens widely in China and in India.  My question is, if you‘re pro-choice, how can you say that that‘s wrong or should be banned?  I think most people look at that and feel revulsion.  But how can you say it should be illegal?  Can you?

STEWART:  Well, first of all, I want to know who got the Amy Grant record for the background music. 

CARLSON:  I couldn‘t hear the background music.

STEWART:  But the second thing is, I don‘t understand, as I look at this—and we talked about this and read up on this—why there‘s that immediate jump that figuring out a gender, the immediate jump to the abortion issue.  We do so many other tests for people...

CARLSON:  Well, that‘s true.

STEWART:  ... about birth defects and Down‘s syndrome.  And people don‘t make that immediate jump...

CARLSON:  Well, in the case of Down‘s syndrome, for instance, the—the incidence of Down‘s syndrome hasn‘t disappeared, but it‘s coming close to it.  Something like 95 percent of people who learn their child has Down‘s syndrome abort the child. 

So, I think there is real concern, because it happens in Asia so often, that at least Asian immigrants in this country will do it.  Should it be legal?

STEWART:  I don‘t know where you get your numbers.  But I just don‘t understand...

CARLSON:  “The Washington Post” two weeks ago.

STEWART:  I don‘t understand the immediate jump.  That‘s all. 

SEVERIN:  If we‘re looking to motive, it‘s unrealistic, I think, and really even naive to assume that the manufacturer and the consumer of this product don‘t have in mind, am I getting the boy I wanted or the girl I wanted and that they might exercise an option.  Now, this is skeevy, but it‘s a right.  I‘m pro-choice, reluctantly, but I‘m pro-choice. 

CARLSON:  So, you‘re willing to stand up and say directly...

SEVERIN:  I am. 

CARLSON:  ... if parents or a woman want to abort her child because she doesn‘t like the sex, because it‘s a girl, that that is OK, that that should be legal? 

SEVERIN:  At an early term, I am. 

CARLSON:  Well...

SEVERIN:  Because I don‘t see how the government can grant that as an individual right under certain circumstances the government defines, rather than.... 

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART:  I just think it‘s skeevy to make that immediate...

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART:  ... on it.

CARLSON:  Well, sure.

(CROSSTALK)

SEVERIN:  It‘s undoubtedly skeevy.

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART:  As opposed to just, like, oh, do I want to paint the room blue or pink? 

CARLSON:  And I think that is the overall...

STEWART:  Why don‘t we—why don‘t we go there first? 

CARLSON:  Because I think the majority of people...

STEWART:  I don‘t understand that.

CARLSON:  The majority of people will do that, of course, just like the majority of death row inmates executed are guilty.  But you worry about the one who is innocent and you worry about this happening.  I think it might. 

Next situation, a Selma, Indiana, middle school principal will not be fired after engaging in a sexually suggested dance routine with male students at the school‘s talent show.   Alice Mehaffey, who is also an assistant superintendent, wore short shorts, danced around to such Village People” hits as “YMCA” and “Macho Man”—let‘s rephrase, the only Village People hits—and ripped open the T-shirt of one of the boys as he tried to handcuff her.  Ms. Mehaffey later apologized. 

The superintendent says, it‘s time to move on, to which I say, no. 

It‘s time to stay right there. 

STEWART:  We‘re having a really weird iPod night on THE SITUATION.

CARLSON:  I know.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  We always do. 

But this is every eighth grader‘s fantasy.  The first thing that occurred to me when I read this story was, had this been a male assistant superintendent doing this to a female student, to a girl, he‘d be in prison now.  Because it‘s a woman, let‘s be honest, kind of titillating.

STEWART:  Now, the first thing I thought about was that it‘s probably the school principal.  She‘s probably someone of a certain vintage. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

STEWART:  So, that‘s probably the joke of it. 

(LAUGHTER)

SEVERIN:  Well said.  Very well said.

STEWART:  That the principal, this nice blue-haired lady—that‘s why I was trying to (INAUDIBLE) pictures—with her cat-eye glasses is dancing to gay men singing “Macho Man.” 

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART:  That‘s the joke. 

CARLSON:  Well, good for her.

STEWART:  And that‘s funny. 

CARLSON:  I agree with that.

SEVERIN:  This reminds me of lot more of people I know in the broadcast industry, I must say, than of teachers.

But my lament is, all of these stories about the young attractive teachers seducing young boys, none of these remotely reminds me of any of my teachers.  And I just—it seems to me...

CARLSON:  Sadly.

SEVERIN:  ... wrong era.

STEWART:  And I love how you two immediately decided it was a young, hot teacher. 

SEVERIN:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Well, that‘s because we were in eighth grade once and boys.

(CROSSTALK)

SEVERIN:  And there‘s a string of them.  There‘s been a string of them.

CARLSON:  But this is a great development in America, that this can happen and no one goes to jail and there‘s no moral outrage.  Maybe we‘re lightening up a little bit.  I hope so. 

See you both in a minute.

Coming up on THE SITUATION, should prison inmates be given condoms to promote safe sex, or it would just promote more sex?  Also, is it big business or Big Brother?  Surveillance cameras in small-town USA have civil libertarians outraged.  We‘ll bat that around with our outsider next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Should prison inmates be given condoms in the name of safe sex?  I‘ll battle it out with out outsider, Max Kellerman, after these commercial messages. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Time to bring back the outsider.  That‘s the man from outside the world of news who bravely, if foolishly, volunteers to play devil‘s advocate to my reason on a series of stories. 

Joining us now, ESPN radio and HBO boxing host, the fearless Max Kellerman. 

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  And you should know, I‘m feeling especially brave and foolish today, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Well, you‘re going to—you‘re going to need both those qualities in abundance, Max.  Prepare yourself.

According to researchers, Americans‘ battle of the bulge is also becoming a weighty problem for the nation‘s health care system.  A new study in the online journal “Health Affairs” says that not only are more Americans showing signs of obesity, but the cost of treating obesity-related ailments has risen 1,000 percent over a 15-year period.  That‘s up to $36 billion a year.  On average, treating an obese person costs $1,200 more a year than a healthy weight person. 

Look, this is all a way for society, elite society, to justify the loathing of fat people that‘s now fashionable.  For thousands of years, obesity, being heavyset, was a sign of wealth.  If you were rich enough to eat well, you were fat.  About 30 years ago, being fat became associated with poor people.  It‘s unfashionable.  Now it‘s an epidemic.  This is just a justification for aesthetic concerns on the part of the rich. 

KELLERMAN:  That is a very interesting take.  And when I saw this topic in the show, my first thought was—and I think we can agree on this from the right and essentially from the left—what a great country.  I mean, all the criticism that American takes.  Obesity is a sign of poverty?  Do you have to say anything else?  

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly right.  No, it‘s totally true. 

KELLERMAN:  What a great country.

However, obese people, by and large, aren‘t obese because of a genetic problem or because a pituitary problem.  They‘re obese because they eat too much and don‘t exercise.  And it is literally taxing our health care system.  They should take some—some responsibility.

CARLSON:  Oh.  Oh.  I see what you‘re saying. 

What you‘re saying, Max Kellerman, a self-described atheist, is...

KELLERMAN:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  They‘re sinners.  They‘re sinners.  They‘ve done something wrong.  It‘s their fault.

KELLERMAN:  No.

CARLSON:  But what you‘re really saying...

(CROSSTALK)

KELLERMAN:  I‘m saying we have to literally carry the weight. 

CARLSON:  No, no.

KELLERMAN:  Everyone should—it‘s not fair. 

CARLSON:  It actually turns out to be a little more complicated than that.  I‘ll explain that in just a second. 

But, first, what you‘re really saying is, they‘re lazy.  They‘re indolent.  They‘re unattractive.  They wear cheap clothes.  They shop at Wal-Mart.  They‘re like nobody I know in my fashionable Hamptons neighborhood.  They‘re repulsive.

KELLERMAN:  Oh, no.  I don‘t like the fat people in the Hamptons either. 

CARLSON:  OK.

CARLSON:  Look, the CDC came out with a study last month.  They revised a former study and they concluded that moderately fat, not morbidly obese, but moderately fat people live longer than skinny people. 

KELLERMAN:  Listen, I don‘t—I‘m not—we‘re not talking moderately fat people. 

You know, someone who is a little bit overweight, that‘s fine.  I‘m talking about the shut-ins.  We‘re talking about the people where you‘re like, whoa, how is that—how do you let it get that far?  Now, sometimes, serious psychological trauma or a real genetic predisposition to being fat, fine.  But the vast majority of fat people need to stop eating so much and start exercising. 

CARLSON:  For which they have Richard Simmons. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  Here‘s a story that puts the con into condoms. 

In Tennessee, some HIV prevention advocates want prison inmates to have access to condoms to curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.  Prison officials disagree, saying dispensing condoms would encourage sexual activity, which of course is forbidden among prisoners, though common.  The Tennessee Department of Corrections report that there were 1,600 incidents of sexual misconduct last year. 

They also say there‘s no evidence that HIV is spreading amongst inmates through sexual conduct.  They don‘t know because they don‘t actually require testing in the state of Tennessee, as I think they don‘t in other states, which is the first outrage in this story. 

But the fact is that sex in prison of any kind of is bad, because it‘s usually not consensual.  How can it be consensual in a prison?  Prison is a controlled environment.  Prisons could do a lot to reduce the incidence of rape in prisons.  But it‘s really expensive to do that.  So, instead, they want to buy condoms, which is a cheap way that doesn‘t solve the problem. 

KELLERMAN:  OK.

I think we‘re taking different presumptions.  We‘re coming from a different premise here.  Yes, most, I assume, sex in prison isn‘t consensual.  It‘s rape.  It‘s gang rape.  But do you think, during a gang rape, someone is actually going to say, hold on one second, let‘s put on the condom before we—no. 

This is going to be—this is primarily for consensual sex, not for situations where it‘s not consensual.  And so, if the sex if consensual and HIV is a problem, condoms seem to be like a cheaper solution than eventually dealing with it again later on in the health care system. 

CARLSON:  I‘ll concede that‘s actually a very smart point.  I would, I guess, just counter by saying...

CARLSON:  It is—no, it is a smart point.

I would just counter by saying look, very hard to tell what‘s consensual in prison.  Why not just eliminate all sexual activity?  It is prison, after all.  You‘re not supposed to be having a ton of sex in prison. 

(LAUGHTER)

KELLERMAN:  Yes.  Or any sex. 

CARLSON:  You could—you could do it, but, again, the problem is, it‘s really expensive, the manpower required, the space required to separate prisoners from one another, the amount of supervision required.  And they just don‘t want to deal with it. 

KELLERMAN:  One of the greatest outrages I think in this country right now—and a lot of people think, oh, they‘re just prisoners.  This is what you have to deal with in prison.  Rape?  Homosexual gang rape, you should just have to deal with?  No.

You‘re absolutely right—that should be—and how hard is it to really try to control that? 

CARLSON:  I agree. 

KELLERMAN:  It just costs a little money. 

CARLSON:  Attention, people of Chelsea Massachusetts, and Schenectady, New York.  Smile.  Your government is watching you. 

Theses small cities are installing round-the-clock surveillance cameras as a crime deterrent and anti-terror strategy.  It could, unfortunately, be a model for larger cities.  The digital cameras will be used as a routine part of daily police work as officers watch in real time and even call up images on their laptops in their police cars. 

Critics say the project could become an Orwellian abuse of power. 

Actually, it already is.  The very idea is an Orwellian abuse of power.  The idea that you can‘t walk around a city without being watched by people, do you know what this will do to the paranoid schizophrenics in those towns? 

KELLERMAN:  Yes.  

CARLSON:  This will confirm their worst fears.  And it should.

KELLERMAN:  OK.  It‘s creepy. 

But you know what is more creepy?  A nuclear bomb detonating in Manhattan.  That‘s more creepy.  Since post-9/11, the quote that keeps coming back is Benjamin Franklin‘s quote, those would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

OK, fine.  So, the trick is, how do you maximize personal liberty without infringing on people‘s civil liberties and yet keep them—excuse me—and yet keep them safe?  It seems to me, cameras, which are not invasive—it‘s not going into your home.  It‘s a public place.  Cameras don‘t seem to infringe on civil liberties in a literal way.  And yet they seem maybe to...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I have an—I have an answer to your question.  Well, I mean, they‘re watching you at all times, which is a violation of your personal liberty right there. 

KELLERMAN:  Not in your home. 

CARLSON:  But the answer to your question, how do you keep the bulk of people safe by infringing on the rights of a very small group of people?  By profiling.  If you‘re interested in stopping terrorism, you know young Muslim men are the ones most likely to commit acts of Islamic extremism in this country. 

KELLERMAN:  OK.

CARLSON:  So, you profile them.  But, because of political correctness, we don‘t.  So, the rest of us have to deal with cameras. 

KELLERMAN:  Well—well, of course, you can get—you can get blond-haired, blue-eyed terrorists hired out by—as a contractor from a Muslim nation and...

CARLSON:  Where would you find those?  On the Internet? 

KELLERMAN:  No, in an Eastern Bloc country, where there‘s a Muslim population at unrest. 

CARLSON:  OK.

KELLERMAN:  Tucker, so profile them on the camera. 

CARLSON:  OK.

KELLERMAN:  Profile them.  Do it on the camera. 

CARLSON:  Well, I don‘t want to be profiled. 

Max Kellerman, you‘re a great debater and a great man.  See you tomorrow. 

KELLERMAN:  I agree with both points. 

KELLERMAN:  Coming up, are America‘s retirees getting a bad rap as leisure geezers?  A columnist in the deep part of Texas defends the silver set and we bat it around in “Op-ed Op-ed.”

Plus, yes, it is a sweaty situation outside, but what kind of simpering wuss complains about it?  One great American editorial page takes a swipe at the “Hot enough for you?” crowd right after the break. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Time now for “Op Ed Op Ed.”  We‘ve read almost every editorial page in this great country.  And we‘ve chosen three of our favorites, to which Alison, Jay and I will over our own 20-second opinions. 

Ready? 

SEVERIN:  Ready. 

CARLSON:  Well, nearly 90,000 Americans are on a waiting list to get transplants. 

In today‘s “Chicago Tribune,” Steve Chapman weighs in on one controversial proposal to address this problem—quote—“Socialist and communist governments have nationalized all sorts of things, oil and gas fields, phone companies.  Now the American Medical Association, which generally does not favor collective ownership of the means of production, has proposed to go even further.  It suggests nationalizing corpses.”

This is the idea of presumed consent that, unless you say otherwise, when you die, government gets access to your organs and can do what it wants with them.  In other words, the state not only gets to, you know, take part of your paycheck, but it actually owns your body. 

I can‘t imagine a more totalitarian idea.  I can‘t believe this is going to get anywhere.  It‘s so personal and creepy.  I also think that even asking drivers when they apply for driver‘s license whether they want to be organ donors or not is too personal.  I can‘t imagine this is going to go anywhere.

STEWART:  After reading this op-ed, I think this gentleman really wanted to write an op-ed about government being invasive.  And he used a really unfortunate and serious situation, like organ donation, to do that.

He should have written that op-ed perhaps when you have all these people who need these organs.  He offers all these reasons, all these ways that we can increase organ donation.  One of the ones we can—the most way we can do it is through education, through health classes, through kids.  If you know someone who needs an organ, you might have a very different opinion. 

SEVERIN:  The notion is absolutely ghoulish and therefore absolutely consistent with the confiscatory taxes the government already takes from you. 

They believe they owe—they own what we earn, what we make each week.  Now they believe they own our body.  At least it‘s consistent.  And, by the way, the death tax now literally becomes true. 

CARLSON:  Well, Ellen Goodman worries in “The Houston Chronicle” about efforts to cut Social Security benefits by raising the retirement age.

She writes: “As if it weren‘t bad enough to see the image of senior citizens transformed into greedy geezers, now they‘re morphing into lazy geezers.  It seems that Social Security recipients are gradually being redefined as members of the leisure class.”

Well, they are the richest people in the country, old people are.  I love, though, how the baby boom, now getting old, has decided that it‘s immoral to criticize old people now that they‘re getting old and that it‘s just—there‘s something, you know, beyond the pale about suggesting that maybe we ought to raise the retirement age, since life expectancy has gotten so much higher over the years.  But now that the baby boomers are there, that‘s just wrong. 

STEWART:  Well, as someone who buys into that 40 is the new 30...

STEWART:  Because my 39th birthday is next week.  Buy me a present. 

CARLSON:  Happy birthday.

STEWART:  Thank you very much.

Every baby boomer I know doesn‘t want to retire.  You can‘t—Bill Clinton, you can‘t get him to sit down.  The Rolling Stones, you can‘t get them off the road.  I don‘t know who these baby boomers are who want to retire.  I think raising the age is OK. 

CARLSON:  Amen. 

SEVERIN:  This again is beautiful.  It‘s right out of the playbook.

Let‘s not redefine retire.  Let‘s redefine the rich.  And let‘s tax the rich, because what Ellen Goodman says in here is, let‘s just tax the rich to make up for the difference.  Well, we‘re going to redefine the winners of life‘s lottery now.  So, let‘s redefine rich, grab them, whack them.  That‘s how we‘ll pay for... 

CARLSON:  Well, it also changes the notion behind Social Security, which was originally the idea that you put money aside for your own retirement. 

SEVERIN:  That‘s right.

CARLSON:  It was like a forced account.  Now it‘s...

STEWART:  It also doesn‘t take into the account the idea that chronological age doesn‘t equal biological age now with medicine.

CARLSON:  That‘s right. 

Not here at MSNBC, it doesn‘t, anyway.  I‘ll tell you that. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  Ever notice how people always find a way to complain about the weather? 

This is “The Dallas Morning News”‘ take on that phenomenon—quote—

“There it goes again, knee-jerk, involuntary, dramatic panic over the weather.  Like schoolgirls revving up a scary rumor, we break into a sweat over the mere thought of 100 degrees.”  It goes to say, this is Texas, stop whining, which is a good point.

But there‘s a lot of talk about not just how hot it is or how cold it is, but the heat index, the windchill factor.  I mean, it‘s hype.  It‘s weather porn. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  It seems to me, unless you‘re on the top of your house, which is floating away in a flood, you shouldn‘t complain about the weather.  It‘s wasted time. 

STEWART:  But it couldn‘t help in some way to have these weather indices?

I don‘t you on the street.  It‘s mighty hot.  You might not make any new friends. 

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART:  Boy, is it cold in here?  Everyone likes to have a collective thing to complain about.  It‘s one of the great introductory lines in modern culture.  What about that weather? 

CARLSON:  I thought it was, can you spare a quarter for a cup of coffee? 

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART:  No, not for you. 

SEVERIN:  It strikes me as the logical—the logical evolution of the sort of primordial interest that everyone has every day.  First thing, look out the window.  Stick your head out the window.  You know, what it‘s doing?

But, also, it‘s sort of raising daily life into an extreme sport or adventure, even for the sedentary.  I mean, behold the residue of the great American pioneers.  Look at the Weather Channel.  What‘s it doing? 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.  If we could sort of redirect the energy spent talking about the weather, we would have colonized Mars by now. 

CARLSON:  A lot of wasted time. 

STEWART:  It‘s a good way to make friends, talk about the weather.

CARLSON:  Coming up, more and more military women find themselves on the front lines and in the line of deadly fire in Iraq.  Is it a necessity of war?  And, also, is it good public policy?  Retired Captain Lory Manning of the U.S. Navy joins us when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Last Thursday in Iraq was the deadliest day for American women in uniform since World War II.  A suicide bomber hit a convoy and killed three women, injuring 11, near Fallujah, which raises the question, should women even be in the line of fire? 

Joining me now is retired U.S. Navy Captain Lory Manning.  She‘s director of Women in the Military Project at Women‘s Research and Education Institute in Washington. 

Thanks a lot for joining us, Captain. 

LORY MANNING, DIRECTOR, WOMAN IN THE MILITARY PROJECT:  Oh, it‘s great to be with you. 

CARLSON:  So the military has admitted that essentially standards have been lowered for recruits because of the problem recruiting soldiers and marines.  And that people without high school diplomas are being taken, and people with medical problems.  And from my perspective, it seems like that recruitment problem has led the military to put women in the line of fire.  Is that the way you read it? 

MANNING:  No, that‘s not it at all.  The choice to have women in the kinds of jobs they‘re in now was made back in the mid-‘90s, and it was based on how well they performed in the last Gulf War.  Many Marine Corps and Army jobs were open to them.  Those are the kinds of jobs they‘re doing now. 

And with respect to the women that were killed in that terrible attack last week, they‘re doing jobs that no man could do.  Their brother marines couldn‘t have done those jobs. 

CARLSON:  Well, but if—I mean the question here is about whether women ought to be in the line of fire in ground combat, I think.

MANNING:  Well, this is not ground combat...

CARLSON:  OK. 

MANNING:  ... by the technical definition.  I mean, most people think they‘re getting shot at, it‘s ground combat.  But we do not have women in the infantry.  We don‘t have them in tanks.  We don‘t have them in special forces. 

CARLSON:  But women are getting killed in Iraq.  And why shouldn‘t the U.S. military take every measure it possibly can to protect these women from being killed? 

MANNING:  We should be protecting the men from being killed, too. 

CARLSON:  Right, but it‘s...

MANNING:  Men and women are soldiers.  And we have never, ever tried to protect women more than men.  Any bars to what they have been allowed to do in the military have been based on any lack of real experience on whether they had the physical strength or mental stamina, that kind of thing, not protection.

CARLSON:  Right, but the physical staminas for men and women are, I think, dramatically different in the military.  And so...

MANNING:  You‘re talking about P.T., physical testing standards. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right.  Exactly.

MANNING:  And that‘s, you know, that‘s not much of anything for either sex. 

CARLSON:  Well, wait, why have those standards at all in the first place if they don‘t mean anything? 

MANNING:  Well, they do mean something, but it‘s a measure of basic health, not a measure of, are you ready to hit the beach? 

CARLSON:  Well, if men in the Army, say, are carrying 50- or 100-pound packs, that‘s going to be a difficult for the vast majority of women.  I mean, that‘s a significant difference, isn‘t it? 

MANNING:  Well, the women carry 50-pound packs, too, quite frankly, over there.  And most of them are pretty fit. 

CARLSON:  What about the problem—people who study this often point out that men can‘t handle the sight of women being mutilated in war.  I mean, and it seems an obvious point that that will destroy morale, watching a woman get her legs blown off, say. 

MANNING:  That was a theory.  There haven‘t been that many women in these kinds of wars, so it‘s what people sort of speculated about, but...

CARLSON:  Well, hold on, it‘s more than a theory.  I mean, any man can tell you it‘s devastating to watch another man being injured, but it‘s incapacitating to watch a woman, say, get her face blown off.  Most men couldn‘t handle that. 

MANNING:  Well, then we‘d better keep women off jet planes and out of office buildings, too, eh?  Maybe they shouldn‘t drive cars. 

CARLSON:  I think you‘re much less likely to get...

MANNING:  The men over in Iraq are handling that.  I mean, nobody wants to see that happen to another human being.  But the women and the men over there right now are handling it.  And if you pull them out of Iraq, you yourself better be ready to go and enlist, because we‘ll be in a mess. 

CARLSON:  Or we can change our foreign policy goals.  Don‘t you think there‘s something barbaric, though, about taking mothers away from their children in order to fight a voluntary war? 

For instance, Jessica Lynch, who was captured and survived, but was captured with another enlisted woman in the Army, who was a single mother of two.  She was tortured, apparently sexually assaulted, and then killed by Iraqi captors.  I mean, that‘s barbaric.  Why are we doing that? 

MANNING:  What woman are you talking about? 

CARLSON:  I‘m talking about, it was an Army...

MANNING:  No, she was not tortured and killed or raped by—she was released.  And she‘s home in Oklahoma.  And I‘ve spoken to her...

CARLSON:  I‘m talking about a woman who was with her, a Hopi woman in her mid-20s from Arizona who was killed.  But the point is, why are we sending mothers or single mothers over to Iraq to fight a war that is voluntary in the first place? 

MANNING:  Because they‘re volunteers.  They‘re volunteers.  And if we don‘t let the people who volunteer serve, then we‘re going to have to bring back a draft.  We can‘t protect one sex or the other. 

If we had a draft, we could (INAUDIBLE) mothers and fathers.  One of the people killed in that recent attack was a father of a very young child. 

CARLSON:  Wait a second, Captain.  We recognize in American society, and almost every society, a difference between violence against men and violence against women.  That‘s why we use the phrase “violence against women.”  They‘re not the same.  We don‘t think they‘re the same.  Do you think they‘re same?

MANNING:  We‘re usually talking about domestic violence or rape against women. 

CARLSON:  Well, there‘s rape against men and domestic violence against men.  But we don‘t see that as big a deal.  There‘s something different and especially appalling against physical violence against women.  Do you not recognize that?

MANNING:  I think it is—I recognize being appalled with physical violence against anybody, particularly when it‘s perpetrated by their husband or wife. 

But that‘s not what we‘re talking about here.  We‘re talking about women working in the combat zone and being able to shoot back, as opposed to the women in World War II where we lost over 200 to hostile fire.  They were there in combat zones.  And they were mostly Army nurses. 

CARLSON:  Well, it‘s over complicated...

MANNING:  Do you think we shouldn‘t have medical people over there? 

CARLSON:  I think it‘s a little more complicated than just shooting back.  We‘re talking about women getting mutilated in horrible ways.  I mean, let‘s not—you know, use euphemisms here.  They are getting physical mangled.  That‘s terrible.

MANNING:  And they got physically mangled in the Pentagon on September 11th.  They got physically mangled in the World Trade Center.  You know, let‘s not privilege women. 

Women are citizens.  And when they volunteer, we ought to be able to let them to use all their abilities to defend this country, not sequester them and put an extra burden on the men who are over there. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Mutilation as a woman‘s right.  All right, Captain Lory Manning.  I appreciate it.

MANNING:  You‘re going to join up, I guess, to save a woman from fighting. 

CARLSON:  I‘m going to keep speaking out against something as barbaric as that.  But I appreciate your coming on. 

MANNING:  You‘re welcome. 

CARLSON:  Coming up, the Reverend Billy Graham makes an amazing if offhand endorsement for American leadership the reverend sent the senator.  The ironic situation.  Stay tuned for that conversation. 

Plus, we go to the holy to the, well, to an Indonesian transvestite beauty pageant.  The gender-bending contestants take to the runway on the “Cutting Room Floor.”  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back to THE SITUATION.  Filling in for the former Olympian Mark Spitz, I‘m Tucker Carlson. 

A lot more in the stack tonight, so let‘s dive back in with Alison and Jay, and to add perspective and a unique physical presence, we welcome back our “Outsider,” Max Kellerman. 

All right, first up, we just spoke to—I spoke to Captain Lory Manning who explained that women getting their faces blown off in Iraq in what appears to be an unwinnable war is actually a great leap forward for women‘s rights.  This is really the cutting edge, this after, you know, getting the vote. 

KELLERMAN:  Let‘s face it.  What that‘s really about is you, as a libertarian, you know, you like the male-female status.  It‘s a little uneven.  Men have a little more power. 

CARLSON:  That‘s total crock.

KELLERMAN:  And in order to keep that status quo, you have to acknowledge that women don‘t get to fight in the war. 

CARLSON:  That‘s so absurd that—I don‘t even know really how to respond to it.  First of all, I would say women have more power than men in this country.  But the bottom line is, any civilized nation doesn‘t allow mothers to go get blown up in a war, any war, but to protect our homeland.

KELLERMAN:  The military will only let people do a job who can do a job.  If the woman can‘t do the job, she won‘t be there.  If she can, she will. 

CARLSON:  Look, we‘re in charge of the military.  It‘s a civilian-controlled military.  We decide what the military does, not the military, sorry. 

SEVERIN:  I‘m with Brother Kellerman on this.  By choice and qualification, if the woman wants to and she‘s qualified for the job, alongside any man—I think that‘s one out of every 10,000 women for combat roles—but if she‘s choosing to do it and qualified do it, she does it.  And by the way, civilized governments let people, man or woman, decide what they want to be, if they can do it, if they are qualified to do it. 

CARLSON:  Alison? 

STEWART:  I have to admit, when I saw the headlines and the way people led with this story, that “Women Killed in Iraq,” I was puzzled by it, because we don‘t see “Single Father Killed in Iraq.”  You don‘t see “Black Soldiers Killed in Iraq.” 

You don‘t said you don‘t want to send—civilized countries don‘t send single mothers into war...

CARLSON:  Yes.

STEWART:  ... what do you think about all those single fathers?  What about Iraqi families?  I mean, in terms of it all, I mean, I think all lives are equal. 

CARLSON:  There‘s absolutely no question, all lives are equal.  But not all deaths—but not all deaths...

STEWART:  Why would a female soldier‘s life be a bigger tragedy than a male soldier‘s life?

CARLSON:  I‘ll tell you exactly why.  Because every life is equal in the eyes of God, but not every death has the same effect on a society.  And the death of a mother of small children has a much greater on society than the death of a single man with no kids.  Sorry.  It‘s just true.

STEWART:  I don‘t think it‘s true, but I think it‘s indicative of a perspective, yours.

CARLSON:  My patriarchal perspective.

STEWART:  Perhaps.

CARLSON:  The next situation is a grizzly one.  In Wichita, Kansas, today, Dennis Rader, the man accused of being the BTK Killer, confessed to being the BTK killer and ten murders.

As his trial began, he went on to describe in chilling detail how he carried out those killings, which he called “projects.”  Here‘s an excerpt in which Rader describes an attempted murder that thankfully failed.  His matter of fact, chilling and intended for mature audiences.  Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENNIS RADER, CONFESSED BTK KILLER:  If I brought my stuff and used my stuff, Kevin would probably be dead today.  I‘m not bragging on that.  It‘s just a matter of fact.  The bonds I‘ve tied him up with, he broke them so...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  You know, there was criticism that that ran on MSNBC and I think other news outlets today.  And there was some criticism aimed at us in the press for running that giving this guy a platform.  You know, it‘s a sickening story, but it‘s news.  And I think we did the right thing. 

KELLERMAN:  Yes, I don‘t know.  This is how I feel about the entire subject. 

The categorization of information bothers me.  Jon Stewart was wrong, for instance, when he said that he‘s allowed to be entertaining because sock puppets lead into him, but you‘re not allowed to be entertaining because you‘re on a particular network. 

That‘s ridiculous.  Entertainment is entertainment.  News is news.  Graphic violence is graphic violence wherever it occurs.  If you‘re going to allow something like this to be shown on television, then I don‘t see how the FCC bans other kinds of violence on other cable outlets.

CARLSON:  I don‘t think they do. 

SEVERIN:  Maniacs want exposure.  This was pretty much the orgasmic moment of this psycho drama from this psychosexual sickness.  He got to tell millions and millions of Americans how much he enjoyed doing this. 

He got to strut his stuff.  And I wish we would deprive people who do these things of that final platform, that final moment of triumph to show, to brave their sickness. 

STEWART:  Well, I‘ve got to take it back to the nuts and bolts of the situation.  I was here at 11:10 in the morning when the people in the control room said, “Hey, that‘s happening.  Pop it up.” 

No one knew he was going to do that.  No one knew he was going to say that.

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

STEWART:  But as it unfolded, producers and people in this industry made decisions.  And perhaps the decision was, in retrospect—we can all 20/20 hindsight it—but at the time, it was breaking news, it was happening, it was riveting.  And not only that, it also showed us the image of the killer next door looks like your mailman, which is a valuable lesson. 

CARLSON:  Yes.  He actually looks like the code enforcement officer, which he was, and a dogcatcher.  No surprise there. 

The next situation is a sticky one for us, rising dissatisfaction with the news media.  If there‘s one thing the right and the left can agree on, it‘s apparently their dislike of the press, unfortunately for all of us here. 

The latest Pew survey finds 67 percent of Republicans think the press is too critical of the United States, 54 percent of Democrats say coverage of the Bush administration is not critical enough. 

You know, I can‘t speak—you know, left and right are always mad at the press.  Everyone‘s mad at the press.  I do think the press is too critical of America, not of the Bush administration.  They should be more critical sometimes, less at other, but of the country. 

They don‘t give perspective on stories.  You never saw explanations—three weeks ago, we were talking about aid to Africa—of the fact that the America is the single largest donor to Africa.  Stories about Gitmo give you no perspective on human rights in other countries.  You get the feeling that like the abuses at Abu Ghraib are the worse human rights of the century.  It‘s just not true. 

KELLERMAN:  Agreed.  And I think that has to do, again, with—well, what are we doing here?  We‘re selling Budweiser.  We‘re selling Toyotas.  I mean, that‘s what—so whatever gets people‘s attention is what‘s going to be pushed, what‘s going to be the story that‘s going to be told. 

However, the greatest celebration of this country is the fact that our media could be as critical as they are.  It‘s the same with the flag-burning issue.  You cannot celebrate this country anymore than by having a media that‘s hyper-critical of the country.

CARLSON:  Yes, it‘s really a celebration of America.  I agree with you, Max.  Oh, please.  I mean, look, no one is contesting their right to do it.  The question is, is it right to do it?  No.  It‘s not. 

SEVERIN:  Sorry.  I think if you follow it every day, and we all do, there‘s no serious question that by population and inclination the establishment media sees the world through the same roughly liberal prism. 

I think this may be as much, though, a generational problem.  Younger people—I mean, people under 50, say, even—don‘t accept the voice of God, a single anchor anymore, as all the other generations did since TV started.  And they have other places to go.  They go to the Internet.  They have other places for their news.  I think it‘s a combination. 

CARLSON:  I disagree.  People watch Alison Stewart and they believe what she says.

STEWART:  Well, this is what this poll number is telling me, is that there has been a blending and a bleeding of opinion talk radio, talk TV, and what news is, and people have them often confused. 

CARLSON:  I agree with that.

Next situation, is Hillary Clinton—is her presidency divinely ordained?  It hasn‘t quite come to that, but the senator from New York did get a ringing endorsement from Billy Graham.  At a rally Sunday in New York City, Senator Clinton and the former president sat on the stage while the 86-year-old evangelist recalled once saying, “Bill Clinton should become an evangelist himself,” and, quote, “Leave his wife to run the country.”

I think it was a joke.  What were the Clintons doing at this rally?  It just brought me back.  You know, I‘ve never been a Hillary Clinton beater-upper.  I‘m not a Hillary-hater.  Her husband does bug me though, for this reason.  He‘s always running around being the holy-roller bible thumper guy.  That guy quoted scripture more than any other president in my lifetime by far, and here he is at a Billy Graham rally.  You know, enough!

KELLERMAN:  I don‘t know.  I mean, to me it feels like that the outrage is because Billy Graham set it about a Democrat and not a Republican.  And had he said it about a Republican, it wouldn‘t even be a news story. 

CARLSON:  No, because Clinton was up there saying, “I‘m a man of faith.”  Oh, leave it alone.  You know...

SEVERIN:  Divine ordination would be tremendously novel in as much as Hillary is the devil. 

STEWART:  All these people who keep talking about Hillary Clinton running for 2008 need to get out.  They need to get off it.  Get a life. 

CARLSON:  You think so?  She‘s going to run though.  She‘s going to run. 

STEWART:  We‘ll worry about that then.  We‘ll worry about that then. 

There are other things to do.

SEVERIN:  I‘m worrying about it now. 

CARLSON:  And I‘m going celebrate it now. 

All right, thank you, all. 

STEWART:  You need to get out, too. 

CARLSON:  I know I do. 

Coming up, if you‘re going for the Guinness Book of World Records with being covered with the most bees, you really ought to make it.  Did this maniac achieve his twisted dream?  If it was to wind up on the “Cutting Room Floor,” the answer is affirmative.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time now to sweep up the “Cutting Room Floor.”  Our producer, Willie Geist, has gathered all the stories we couldn‘t fit in and has brought them to us. 

WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER:  Hello, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Willie!

GEIST:  First off, we have some breaking news into the SITUATION.  The Walk of Fame is getting a few new people on it.  Number one, Vanna White is getting a star. 

CARLSON:  And she deserves it. 

GEIST:  Number two, Judge Judy.  So the apocalypse is upon us.

CARLSON:  I‘ll withhold judgment on the second. 

GEIST:  A couple more signs of the apocalypse, a transvestite beauty pageant, and Elton John‘s party for Africa.  Good luck. 

CARLSON:  That‘s what I missed this weekend. 

The Guinness Book of World Records makes people do some pretty stupid things.  The latest example is this guy‘s attempt to break the record for most bees on a body at one time.  Wearing only underwear and a pair of goggles, Irishman Philip McCabe hopes to attract 500,000 bees.  But he bailed out with only 200,000 bees because he thought he was going to collapse under the weight of all those bees. 

GEIST:  You know, if I were a bee, Tucker, I wouldn‘t be attracted to that guy, either.  Did you see the pasty, white thighs on that gentleman?  It seems to me, if you‘re going after the record for the most bees, you have to least knock on the door.  He wasn‘t even halfway there.  That‘s a very weak effort. 

CARLSON:  I can almost smell the beer on that man. 

Well, Shaquille O‘Neal makes $28 million a year playing for the Miami Heat, but he‘s beefing up the old resume in case the whole basketball thing doesn‘t work out for him.  Shaq donned a cap and gown over the weekend to receive his MBA after completing a year of online graduate courses for the University of Phoenix.  The seven-footer says he‘s preparing for the day when he has to, quote, have regular 9:00 to 5:00 like everybody else. 

GEIST:  Tucker, an MBA is not a guarantee of anything in this job market, so it‘s tough going out there, big fella.  My fingers are crossed for you.  I hope it works out.

CARLSON:  Even an MBA from the University of Phoenix?  You don‘t think that will... 

GEIST:  The Online University of Phoenix, no less. 

CARLSON:  All right.

Well, here‘s what you missed this weekend:  Elton John‘s white tie and tiara party.  It had an African theme this year in honor of the upcoming Live 8 concerts.  There were giraffes, zebras, and men dressed in gorilla suits. 

But that‘s not the weird part.  Reports say guests were told not to speak to Sir Elton himself unless they were spoken to first.  The Rocketman‘s partner, David Furnish, calls the report deeply offensive. 

GEIST:  I‘m not sure what‘s offensive about that.  But one note I take from the story, though, the men in the gorilla suits, they weren‘t part of the party.  He actually just always has men in gorilla suits. 

CARLSON:  Does he really? 

GEIST:  I think so.  He seems like that kind of guy, anyway.

CARLSON:  It‘s kind of a Siegfried and Roy scene over there. 

GEIST:  He‘s eccentric. 

CARLSON:  Nicely put, Willie. 

Well, no, these are not guests leaving the Elton John party.  They‘re contestants in Indonesia‘s transvestite beauty pageant.  Thirty finalists came to Jakarta yesterday in the hopes of being judged the country‘s most beautiful transvestite.  While the contestants were being fabulous inside, hundreds of Muslim protesters were outside demanding the event be stopped. 

GEIST:  You know what‘s hilarious about this?  If you read further into the story, they had very strict rules about this pageant.  Only true transvestites, no cross-dressers, because they really don‘t want to compromise the integrity of the tranny beauty pageant.  That would be...

CARLSON:  They sort of have an unfair advantage though, with the headscarf and everything.  You know, it‘s a lot easier to pose.

GEIST:  That might have just been the host of the show.  I don‘t think the actual trannies were wearing the head scarves. 

CARLSON:  Thanks for clarifying.

Now for tonight‘s “Greatest Story Ever Told.”  A Nebraska man was messing around and accidentally swallowed the key to his friend‘s truck.  Doctors told an x-ray and told him the key would pass in the two to three days.  The problem was his friend needed to use the truck right away. 

So the men took the x-ray to a local locksmith and asked him to use the image to make a duplicate key.  In one of the great moments in locksmithing history, the locksmith was able to do just that.  He made a duplicate.  The truck started right up.  Incredible. 

GEIST:  There‘s a lesson here.  Always keep a spare key in your stomach. 

CARLSON:  In your stomach.  You have to keep replacing it, though. 

GEIST:  No, I started doing it today.  I have my debit cards in there, too, identity theft.  That‘s a smart play. 

CARLSON:  Thanks, Willie, news you can use.  Willie Geist, thank you. 

That‘s THE SITUATION for tonight.  I‘m Tucker Carlson.  Thanks for watching.  “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” is next.

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