updated 7/1/2005 1:32:42 PM ET 2005-07-01T17:32:42

Guest: Mark Hatfield, Jay Severin, Rachel Maddow, Max Kellerman

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST (voice-over):  Diplomatic whodunit.  Is Iran‘s new leader a former embassy captor? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He was one of the captors. 

CARLSON:  Iraq‘s hostile witness.  What embarrassing secrets might Saddam‘s trial expose about D.C.?

Pitcher-turned-slugger Kenny Rogers hits foul.

A fish tail about two that didn‘t get away. 

Plus, are the feds feeding us bull about mad cow? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  U.S. beef is safe. 

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 to a very special Thursday night edition of THE SITUATION.  I‘m Tucker Carlson. 

A ton of stories tonight, including the latest mad cow scare and the bang of marijuana-flavored lollipops in the Midwest. 

Joining me to break it all down, former political adviser and current talk radio host Jay Severin and a former American teenager and current Air America hostess Rachel Maddow. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  Welcome.

RACHEL MADDOW, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  The first situation is the possibility that recently elected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was among the revolutionaries who held 52 Americans hostage for 44 days in 1979 and 1980.  Though friends and associates of the hard-liner say he didn‘t participate in the hostage taking, several former hostages say they remember him and he did.

One of the hostages...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m 99 percent sure the picture I looked at Tuesday was one of our captors. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  It was, needless to say, 444 days, not 44 days. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  And because it was 444, it‘s still a big deal. 

MADDOW:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  One of the hostages, former hostages, said today, the leader of Iran is now a terrorist. 

My first thought was, of course the leader of Iran is a terrorist. 

JAY SEVERIN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Exactly. 

CARLSON:  I mean, you know, what do you expect? 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  They likely were behind the barracks bombings in Beirut in ‘83. 

But here‘s my question, Rachel.  If he was one of the revolutionary guards who was a captor in 1979, would not he admit it?  That‘s—would be a badge of honor, would it not be, in Iran?

MADDOW:  Well, I think that he‘s been a revolutionary his whole life.  He‘s been a hard-liner his whole life.  That‘s part of the reason that he‘s popular, part of the reason he was mayor of Tehran. 

And so to—it‘s a badge of honor.  But does he need to flip that in the United States‘ face right now?  I‘m not sure that he does.  I mean, there‘s still a factual question about whether the hostages are right.  Not all of them say they recognize him.  But if it is true, this is a real pickle for the United States, how we‘re going to respond to it. 

CARLSON:  Well, wouldn‘t we know?  I mean, wouldn‘t the CIA know? 

Wouldn‘t you expect...

MADDOW:  It seems like they...

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW:  ... figure the out.

SEVERIN:  We haven‘t known much recently. 

CARLSON:  Well, that‘s a good point. 

SEVERIN:  This is a wicked shocker.  We now learn that—that this guy is a terrorist.  Either he‘s a newly-minted dangerous religious fanatic terrorist or he‘s a veteran religious fanatic terrorist. 

Either way, what‘s the big deal?  And, by the way, do you say you were there?  Did you say that you were involved in the hostage taking?  That‘s like saying you were at Woodstock.  Of course.  You brag about it.  It‘s a revolutionary regime.  You would lie about it.

MADDOW:  But if he is not bragging about it, and so you guys think that maybe it wasn‘t him, then, does the United States investigate this and change our attitude towards Iran because of it? 

SEVERIN:  It depends on motive.  It‘s a bloody shirt.  And it‘s...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  It did bring it all back, though, today.  I mean, that was a terrible thing.

MADDOW:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  I mean, some of those were Marine guards.  Some were CIA officers.  A lot of them were just random people, agricultural attaches and secretaries and...

MADDOW:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Held for more than a year. 

MADDOW:  That was 14 months.  Yes.  It was really atrocious.

CARLSON:  Terrible. 

The next situation, a chilling one for journalists.  Against the stated wishes of its reporter Matt Cooper, “TIME” magazine will yield to court pressure and turn over Cooper‘s notes about the leak that exposed CIA officer Valerie Plame.

The magazine explained that the Constitution both protects freedom of the press and requires obedience to the court.  “The New York Times” continues to resist the court‘s order pertaining to their writer Judith Miller.  And good for “The Times” in this case. 

I mean, this is a complete outrage.  Neither of these reporters had anything to do with the story itself.  It‘s not even clear that the leaker, whomever he or she is, even committed a crime.  I feel sorry for Matt Cooper.  He‘s got a 6-year-old son.  He doesn‘t want to go prison. 

I think both of these reporters have a right to flee the country.  It‘s an out—I do.  It‘s an outrage.  I don‘t think that they should obey the court in this case.  It‘s—it‘s illegitimate, I think, what the court is trying to impose on them.  And I think they should take off and be proud of it. 

MADDOW:  I think that the court has a right to impose this sentence.  I mean, the court—if this is the way the court sees it.  I think that Cooper and Miller saying they‘re willing to do jail time is the noble thing to do. 

CARLSON:  But what did they do wrong? 

MADDOW:  They didn‘t do anything wrong.  And that‘s why they‘ve been fighting it.  But if they‘re convicted, there is a rule of law in this country.  I think “TIME” should have done what Cooper and Miller are doing, which is saying, we disagree with this.  We‘ll fight it every step of the way.  But we‘ll take the punishment and we will say that we disagree—disagree with it.  I think “TIME” should have paid the fine. 

SEVERIN:  Not withstanding that I trained as a journalist and function as a journalist and believe in the First Amendment and Judith Miller is a friend. 

The fact is that, the government‘s role as protector, which means having a CIA and undercover agents, trumps the media‘s role as informer isn‘t an unreasonable notion. 

MADDOW:  But, you know...

SEVERIN:  If someone is leaking vital national security information, the government has a compelling state interest to get to the root of that act of treason. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  As a principle...

MADDOW:  As a principle.

CARLSON:  ... I think what you just articulated is absolutely true. 

But, in this case, these people did nothing wrong.  Norman Pearlstine, head of Time Inc., said today—quote—“My hope is that the special counsel concludes he doesn‘t need Matt Cooper‘s testimony and does not need his incarceration.”

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Need his incarceration?  It‘s an outrage.

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW:  Fitzgerald already filed with the appeals court that he knows who Cooper‘s source is.  He doesn‘t need this information.  This isn‘t going to...

(CROSSTALK)

SEVERIN:  But this is not—it‘s not a journalist‘s call to make. 

MADDOW:  No.

(CROSSTALK)

SEVERIN:  A federal grand jury is trying to get to the root of what may be a treasonous act. 

MADDOW:  The prosecutor already has the information.  This doesn‘t help them solve the crime. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right. 

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW:  The crime is very important.  But jailing Cooper and Miller does nothing toward that end. 

CARLSON:  OK.  If—if Judith Miller leaves and flees to Paraguay, rather than goes to jail, I will send her a check to help sustain her there, because I think she has a right to do that.  This is such an outrage.

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW:  I think she should do the jail time, but that it never should have been imposed. 

CARLSON:  No.  This is horrible.

Well, welcome to the neighborhood.  An ABC reality show that was set to test the issues of racism and anti-homosexuality, it turned out to be too controversial for the network.  ABC decided to pull the program, which was set to debut July 10 after the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, GLAAD, objected to the show‘s premise, conservative white families having to choose their neighbors from couples who were either black, Hispanic, gay, tattooed, pierced or poor.

MADDOW:  Poor.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  Another show that points up the bigotry of conservative white people in America.  It sounds kind of, you know, like everything else. 

What I was really struck by in this story was that GLAAD, an interest

group—agree with them or not, they‘re still a political pressure group -

·         was given a pilot or a version of the show before it aired.  They were allowed to vet it, in other words.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I don‘t know when this became a policy.  But I think it‘s outrageous that a network would bow to pressure in this was way from an interest group, from the right or left. 

MADDOW:  Oh, come on.  No.

I mean, they obviously gave the pilot to GLAAD because they expected there was going to be a furor about it and they wanted to get a leg up on what was going to happen in response to this show. 

The real problem with the show is that...

CARLSON:  But they‘re canceling the show because of pressure, though. 

MADDOW:  Well, but there‘s also the aspect that they may have actually violated federal law in the creation of the show.

It‘s a reality show.  It‘s not a sitcom.  There‘s allegations that they actually violated the Fair Housing Act in the creation of the show.  I mean, what they did, they should have made a documentary out of it and air it.  They shouldn‘t put it on as a reality show. 

SEVERIN:  I‘m stupefied.  Reality, indeed.  Now I understand why it‘s a reality show, the reality of violating federal laws by putting together a television program.

And, by the way, ultimately, Ph.D. in duh, we will choose the people who are most like we, whoever we is.  So, if this had gone to fruition, we would have seen people more comfortable, whatever their particular group, with whoever is more like the choosers. 

MADDOW:  But the people in this show actually got a house to live in as their permanent home.  It wasn‘t just a send-up.  It wasn‘t just a sitcom.  And so, there are actually housing laws about this show that... 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Well, that doesn‘t sound like a crime to me. 

But I want the record to reflect and our viewers to know that the script of this show isn‘t given to any pressure group before airtime. 

SEVERIN:  To vet.

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly right.  We say what we want. 

Well, remember When Mikey from the LIFE cereal ads washed down his pop rocks with a can of Coke and exploded like a human IED? 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  Scary situation.  Well, even if it was total nonsense—and it was—the story sent some parents into a panic. 

Now a new generation of parents is concerned their children will be adversely affected by marijuana-flavored lollipops that recently went on sale nationwide.  In fact, the City Council in Chicago passed a law Wednesday banning the sale of such hemp-injected items, even though they don‘t, surprise, surprise, get you high. 

Now, I have taken a, I think, a pretty aggressive stand in favor of letting people smoke pot if they want to.  But I would be offended if someone sold one of these things to my kids. 

MADDOW:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  I‘m pro-sex.  I‘d be mad if someone gave one of my kids pornography.  I‘d be infuriated, actually.  And so, while I‘m sort of against anti-drug hysteria, in this case, it strikes me as reasonable. 

SEVERIN:  I think that is true, too.

Look, nostalgic as I am for days when we gave overactive children laudanum to keep them quiet—it seems to me a perfectly good idea—this is the ugliest face of capitalism, you know, that someone—there‘s always someone willing to do anything, literally anything, for a buck, including exploiting kids.  It‘s really shameful. 

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW:  I think that I can agree with both of you and also come down on the other side of the issue.  I don‘t want kids being given pot-flavored anything at this point. 

But I also think that, you know, if adults want lollipops that taste like pot, if you can age-restrict them, I‘m kind of OK with it.  I‘m kind of OK with candy cigarettes even still being around...

CARLSON:  Well, sure.

MADDOW:  ... as long as they‘re age-restricted. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Well, I‘m OK with cigarettes being around.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Yes.  I mean, I guess it‘s just—it‘s too open for me.  I mean, if you‘re a kid and you want to smoke pot, you should be sneaky about it. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  I mean, really.  And that should be our marijuana policy in general. 

MADDOW:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  You know, if you want to do it at home, it should be illegal, but we are not going to enforce the law, as long as you don‘t bother anyone while you do it.  This is just too in your face.

MADDOW:  I just think that it‘s a little bit weird that we are going to start calling certain flavors evil.

CARLSON:  Well, that‘s a good point.

MADDOW:  You know, that that‘s an evil flavor, so you therefore can‘t use that.  I just think we age-restrict it.

CARLSON:  Well, it sounds like a disgusting flavor.  Hemp-flavored candy, no thanks.

MADDOW:  Then you need a piece of gum afterwards or something.

CARLSON:  Yes. 

MADDOW:  Or a bag of Doritos.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  Well, coming up, most Americans figure that the trial of Saddam Hussein will be an open-and-shut case.  But two Boston columnists say we might be in for unpleasant surprises about our own government. 

Plus, America‘s largest newspaper says that men and women are closer to equal in the workplace than they are at home.  Men and women who are equal on television hash it out in “Op Ed Op Ed” next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Mad cow disease in the U.S., what you don‘t know may actually be more frightening than what you do know.  Details when THE SITUATION continues. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time for “Op Ed Op Ed.” 

We spent the day reading just about every op-ed in this country.  And we‘ve picked three we think is the best.  We‘re going to read them and offer our 20-second retorts to each. 

Ready? 

First up, in “The Boston Globe,” Robert Weiner and Alexis Leventhal say that the trial of Saddam Hussein could actually prove disastrous for America.  All sorts of secrets are going to spill out during the trial, they say—quote—“Saddam‘s trial may not be great news for the United States.  In fact, it may allow the former Iraqi dictator to publicize some obscure but extremely sordid aspects of the U.S. relationship with him.”

In other words, the CIA supported him at various times in his life, going back to they say the 1950s.  This is not that obscure.  A lot of people know it.  The point is, we supported Saddam when he was helping us when he was opposed to Iran, which we thought was a big threat, and the Soviet Union, which we thought was a big threat.  And we opposed him when we thought he was a threat to us.  And in fact, we overthrew him because we thought he was a threat to us.  That sounds like sensible foreign policy to me.  There‘s nothing to be ashamed of. 

(CROSSTALK)

SEVERIN:  Exactly right.

Look, we did what was right at the time.  We all have embarrassments.  Granted, old girlfriends are not quite as embarrassing, doesn‘t rise to this level, almost. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  Well, it depends who you dated.

SEVERIN:  I‘m kind of—I‘m kind of disappointed they didn‘t save us the expense of a trial when they found him in the spider hole. 

But, yes, this is the cost of having a democracy and legal system.  There will be embarrassing revelations, maybe.  But that‘s not a defense and it‘s not even mitigating circumstance.  This guy is a genocidal maniac.  And so good.  Put him on trial.  Let‘s go. 

MADDOW:  I think that the United States needed to characterize Saddam as a demon in order to convince the United States to go to war against him.  We didn‘t have real reasons, so we needed to make him out to be some sort of Hitler character.  And so we did that.

CARLSON:  Why would we do that?

MADDOW:  That‘s what we do, right.

CARLSON:  I know, but...

MADDOW:  But that means that, at the trial, what is going to happen is that we‘re going to have pictures of shaking hands with Rumsfeld, the CIA pay stubs.  We‘re going to have the arms deals during the war with Iran.  And we‘re going to have to come up with the fact, we‘re going to have come face to face with the fact that he used to be just another dictator to us on the payroll.

SEVERIN:  I assume...

MADDOW:  ... and that he—we only had to make him into a demon to gin up reasons to—going to war. 

(CROSSTALK)

SEVERIN:  I assume we‘ll also see entered into evidence the films of mothers clutching their babies dead, 400,000 of them mass-murdered by Saddam Hussein. 

MADDOW:  But so many of the things that we think are so awful about Saddam happened before the first Gulf War.  So, to justify why we went to war against him the second time is going to be a little awkward. 

CARLSON:  No, but that‘s...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I mean, that‘s a fair point.  There are a lot of genocidal maniacs in this world who we don‘t topple and replace. 

MADDOW:  That‘s right.  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Right? 

But you still haven‘t answered the question which I‘ve challenged you on I think every day, which is, what was the reason we overthrew him? 

MADDOW:  What was the reason that we went to war?

CARLSON:  Yes.  This is a much longer conversation.

MADDOW:  You‘re asking me? 

CARLSON:  No, I know.  You‘re...

(LAUGHTER)

MADDOW:  I have a guy who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue we ought to ask that question, because we still don‘t have a straight answer.   

CARLSON:  I think we went because we really thought he was a threat and we were wrong.

MADDOW:  We were absolutely wrong.  I‘m with you on that.

CARLSON:  All right. 

Well, “The New Orleans Times Picayune” says consumers ought to be very afraid of their meat.  It could be tainted with mad cow disease.  Here‘s what they say: “The discovery of another case of mad cow disease in the United States isn‘t nearly as frightening as the fact that test results showing the animal was sick went undisclosed for seven months.”

It was a cow who was tested three times, I believe.  It turned out to have mad cow disease.  It should be pointed out that this cow wasn‘t destined for consumption.  He was or she was wobbling around, couldn‘t stand.  So, she was never going to wind up at McDonald‘s. 

The point is, the American food supply is pretty safe.  I don‘t often defend the government, but I think the USDA does a pretty good job protecting us from food-borne diseases.  And I don‘t think there‘s any reason to be paranoid about it.  And I hope we‘re not. 

SEVERIN:  Pretty safe is a standard that I would hope we wouldn‘t settle for. 

CARLSON:  I‘m happy with it. 

SEVERIN:  The fact is that people should be worried about their meat. 

They should be worried about their government. 

I mean, there are a few things, as a pure libertarian, I think the government should be in the business of doing, inspecting a plane before I get on it, which I can‘t do myself, inspecting the meat before I eat it, which I can‘t do myself.  There are certain things they ought to do.  And the fact that they did and it was hidden for seven months, while I‘m worrying about my meat, I‘m also worrying about my government, thank you.

MADDOW:  I think that the worry about hysteria on food or anything else is often that we‘re going to unnecessarily curtail the rights of industry, that we‘re going to unnecessarily hurt business. 

In this case, it‘s in consumers‘ interests and it‘s in business‘ interests that USDA have incredibly strict standards on food safety, because consumers have to believe that meat is safe, or, when something happens, we‘ll panic.  And we need to have—we need to have faith in the USDA. 

CARLSON:  Well, I eat a lot every day and I never, ever get sick. 

So...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  There‘s a testimonial for you right there. 

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW:  Let‘s close the USDA, then.

CARLSON:  OK.

(LAUGHTER)

SEVERIN:  Are we going to moo-ve on now?

CARLSON:  I think we‘re going to moo-ve on.  Good point.

SEVERIN:  Sorry.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  Ginny Graves writes in “USA Today” that, while corporate America has become increasingly gender blind, the American family is actually mired in old-fashioned gender stereotypes.  It‘s a pretty interesting story, actually. 

She writes: “While men do more housework than ever before, women, whether they work or not, still spend 13 hours a week more on chores.  Indeed, a wife‘s income may even have a negative effect on her husband‘s willingness to do chores.”

She goes on to write, the more a woman makes, the less housework her husband does.  It‘s very interesting.  And one of the lessons you can draw from this is, traditional gender roles actually work pretty well.  It‘s not even a defense of that.  It‘s just an empirical observation that, if a woman makes more than her husband, the husband tends to get very insecure and do less housework.

The other point I‘d make very quickly is, it‘s bad to politicize American family life.  It‘s bad to intrude on it and tell people what sort of standards they ought to be adhering to.  We tried that in the ‘70s.  It didn‘t work at all.  Back off.  Let families be what they are.

SEVERIN:  And so the controversy here is exactly where? 

Yes, I also understand, shockingly, that women are more getting pregnant than men.  They persist in having more babies and they persist in doing more breast-feeding than men.  This is a wicked shocker.  I think we should stop the presses.  There were gender roles since we crawled, since, on that little chart in high school, we went from being mud to mud with eyes and then the mud got feet.  And then the mud...

(CROSSTALK)

SEVERIN:  ... walk.

CARLSON:  If you buy that theory, Jay. 

SEVERIN:  And I do.  There‘s nothing unusual here.  There‘s nothing to get excited about.

MADDOW:  Jay Severin, you‘re making the case that housework is as biologically relevant to women as breast-feeding and pregnancy? 

SEVERIN:  No, not biologically.  No, not biologically.

(LAUGHTER)

MADDOW:  I mean, hello?  We‘re going to put up that 1-800 number up quick. 

SEVERIN:  No, not -- 900, by the way. 

(LAUGHTER)

SEVERIN:  Not biologically, no.  Role models and role—role patterns here with men and women. 

MADDOW:  Which—which maybe sets off the clarion call even louder than what you just said to women all over America. 

SEVERIN:  Good.  Good.

(LAUGHTER)

MADDOW:  The idea that housework is biologically or culturally relevant to women more than it is to men is absolutely a clarion call. 

This is not a political issue.  This is a cultural issue.  And I‘m hoping this is going to affect your dating life, because that is a really obnoxious conclusion. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  All right. 

SEVERIN:  You‘re assuming facts not yet in evidence. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  Though it may be true. 

CARLSON:  Coming up, what in the name of love is going on between President Bush and do-gooder rock icon Bono?  Nothing chummy, that‘s for certain.  We‘ll explain.

Plus, what costs $443 million and does nothing for you?  Apparently, transportation safety.  A TSA official joins me next to explain an outrageous report of your cash being confiscated by airport security. 

Stick around. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

Five hundred twenty-six dollars for one phone call, $1,180 for 20 gallons of Starbucks coffee.  Of course, only the government would pay those prices.  But what do they have to do with airport security?  A federal audit of Transportation Security administration which came to light today in “The Washington Post” turned up over $300 million in misspending in the name of improving security at America‘s airports. 

Joining me now is TSA spokesman Mark Hatfield.

Mark Hatfield, thanks a lot for joining us. 

I should point out that that audit was secret.  The government didn‘t want us to read it.  And “The Washington Post” got its hands on it somehow.  Thank God they did.

The obvious question is, how is spending $1,180 on Starbucks coffee keeping me safer at the airport? 

MARK HATFIELD, TSA CHIEF SPOKESMAN:  You know, it‘s not.

And, in fact, those kinds of details—I‘m a taxpayer like you and like the viewers of this show.  Those kinds of things make my blood boil.  And it‘s exactly why we called in the third-party auditors, stopped payment on this contract about halfway through it, and didn‘t release another dollar of taxpayer money until we got the results of the contract and negotiated out unauthorized or inappropriate or simply bad charges, like some of the ones detailed in “The Post.” 

CARLSON:  But, apparently, it didn‘t end there.  Last month, the Department of Homeland Security found that TSA, in building a—what—what—what they described as a lavish new security center in Northern Virginia, spent $500,000 on artwork and silk flowers.  They also bought a subzero refrigerator. 

HATFIELD:  Let‘s keep the two stories—yes, let‘s keep those separate.  And I‘d be happy to address that one. 

But today‘s story was really important, because “The Post” listed a lot of detail.  First of all, those were charges, not payments. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

HATFIELD:  They—they aggregate to about $140 million of charges that we rejected, that we said, with the backup of this audit, that they just weren‘t appropriate charges or they weren‘t properly documented or they simply were out of whack with what is market cost for the item delivered. 

So, the good-news story here is that TSA self-policed, called in the auditors and, in the end, took an $800-something bill, took it down by over $140 million, and got a value at a reasonable price for what was delivered. 

CARLSON:  Well, OK.  And—and good for you. 

But I guess the point is, most people who fly in this country want to think that TSA is run by people who are precise, right, or who have accountant-like personalities, who aren‘t sort of, you know, writing large checks for Starbucks coffee.  I mean, it makes you nervous. 

HATFIELD:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Doesn‘t it?

HATFIELD:  And they weren‘t, because we dealt with a single prime contractor in that case and in most of those early startup days.

We had a couple of big prime contractors that, in this case, had 168 subcontractors.  The relationship between those subcontractors with the outrageous charges was with the contractor, not with us. 

CARLSON:  All right.  Now, let‘s talk...

(CROSSTALK)

HATFIELD:  So, what we did was, we told the contractor, look, you have got to back up these charges, explain them, show us the market value, show us the deliverable.  And, in $140 million worth of those charges, we said, rejected.

CARLSON:  Well, let‘s talk about, then, the new—TSA‘s new crisis center in Virginia.  How can you justify spending $500,000 on artwork and silk flowers? 

HATFIELD:  You can‘t.

And, in fact, again, in one of our audits that followed—you know, these things were taking place in a wartime environment right after September 11, when there were literally dozens or scores of people...

CARLSON:  No.  That‘s not so.  Apparently, that was 2003 that the $500,000 was spent silk flowers and artwork. 

HATFIELD:  Well, again, within that first year after TSA got started, I‘m telling you in the—in the—in the first—“The Post” story refers to a period where there were literally only scores of people on staff for the TSA, not nearly enough to manage a contract of this size. 

So, we relied on the—on the prime contractors to police the subcontractors.  And in cases where we found out they failed that, we took action. 

For the crisis center, or the operation center, that you refer to, it‘s a critical piece of our operation and control infrastructure.  It‘s a very vital and appropriate facility that we built.  We found through the audit that some of the people involved in that did misspend the money, did waste, did make some bad choices.  Actions were taken, including perhaps a Justice Department investigation in a couple of cases. 

CARLSON:  Well, I—bad choices?  I mean, they apparently bought $3,000 subzero refrigerators.  I‘d like to have one. 

Why—why weren‘t the people who run TSA aware that this kind of purchasing was going on?  Why didn‘t they do something about it at the time? 

HATFIELD:  Well...

CARLSON:  Why did they have to wait for an audit to find out? 

HATFIELD:  You know, if we had the luxury of a full infrastructure and a fully staffed organization, that might have been the case.

But I can tell you, very frankly, we didn‘t have the best environment or the best conditions to put some of these facilities or contracts together.  But what we did do was, as good stewards of the taxpayer dollar, go back and audit those contracts.

CARLSON:  All right. 

HATFIELD:  Go back check the work and make sure that money was paid for value and services delivered and that the taxpayer didn‘t get rooked. 

CARLSON:  Well, then why—answer this question.  Four years, almost four years after 9/11, why do noncitizens, people who are not citizens of this country, still have access to restricted areas in airports? 

HATFIELD:  Give me a little bit more detail on that when you say noncitizens.  I mean, if you buy a ticket and you‘re traveling on an airplane...

CARLSON:  No, no, no, no.  I mean—I mean employees of the airplane, of the airlines, of the federal government still have access to restricted areas that flyers can‘t—that travelers can‘t get to.  They still have access to those areas.  And they‘re not citizens of this country.

Doesn‘t that just strike—it seems to me is an obvious risk. 

HATFIELD:  Well, if—if you‘re talking about people who have SIDA badges, which are those employee airport badges, it‘s a standardized system that every one of the 450 airports in this country has to use.

There are very strict requirements.  In fact, the TSA has upped the ante on what is required three different times, to where now you have to have lengthy background checks, name-based, fingerprint-based, criminal history checks. 

CARLSON:  Oh, come on. 

HATFIELD:  You‘re checked against...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  I‘m sorry to interrupt you.  You can‘t do an adequate background check on someone who came here relatively recently from a foreign country.  If I move from Pakistan, right, you can‘t do a background check on me.

HATFIELD:  Well, actually, you can do background checks based on names, based on fingerprints.  You can do checks against a variety of terrorist watch lists. 

We do extensive background checks.  And, in many cases, we find people who are either working or living here under falsified documents, if you‘re talking about foreign...

CARLSON:  Right. 

HATFIELD:  ... workers or foreign residents here. 

And in—in those cases, action is taken. 

CARLSON:  Why even take the risk of having a noncitizen in an airport... 

(CROSSTALK)

HATFIELD:  If somebody is in this country legally—but, Tucker, if someone is in this country legally and they have proper work papers and visas and documentation, our laws, you know, give them the right to work. 

CARLSON:  But they don‘t give—our laws don‘t give them the right to work in a sensitive area at an airport, though, do they? 

HATFIELD:  Well, again, depending on what part of the airport you‘re talking about, we‘ve looked at all of the critical areas.

We‘ve looked at the risk areas.  And we‘ve taken, I think, very appropriate steps in making sure that those workers are screened, that there are access controls, that there are video monitoring, that there‘s enforcement, that we have TSA inspectors...

CARLSON:  All right.

HATFIELD:  ... who go through and check the compliance, which is so much a responsibility of the airlines and the airport operators, is actually being followed. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Mark Hatfield of the TSA, thanks a lot for coming on. 

Appreciate it. 

HATFIELD:  Thanks for having me. 

CARLSON:  Coming up, political correctness runs completely amok in Northern Ireland.  Find out who is offended by the term brainstorming.  No, it‘s not middle managers stuck in long meetings. 

Stay tuned. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back to THE SITUATION.  Filling in for Gene Rayburn, I‘m Tucker Carlson.  Time now to refresh our stack of stories for today‘s best news.  Joining me once again, Jay Severin and Rachel Maddow. 

All right.  The interview with Mark Hatfield I thought was interesting in that he showed up for it, and I thought did a pretty game job.  It‘s kind of hard—impossible to defend buying $300,000 refrigerators for the break room at TSA crisis headquarters. 

But one thing I didn‘t get to, and I wish I had, was the obvious point.  People think airport security is a joke.  Taking your cigarette lighter away, but letting you walk on with matches.  Stopping my 8-year-old toe-headed son, as if he‘s a terrorist and searching him.  I mean, people think it‘s a joke.  And it is kind of a joke. 

MADDOW:  The thing that I think is most interesting about this story -

·         first of all, if I ever do something really stupid, I want Mark Hatfield as my spokesman. 

CARLSON:  Yes.

MADDOW:  Because he can make even the worst thing sound maybe not so bad.  I mean, he‘s very good at what he does. 

But I also think the main story here is, why do we always think that contracting out is the most efficient way to do things?  Why do we always think that the private sector is the cheapest and best way to do this?  This contract went from $100 million to $700 million in 14 months, and they rented extension cords for three weeks at a cost of $1,500.  The private sector doesn‘t always do things better. 

SEVERIN:  This is the answer:  If you want to improve the efficiency of any business, you let the federal government do it.  This is the key.  The only mistake they made is they didn‘t get the IRS to manage this, because they never miss a dollar.  They never miss a thing. 

This is so damaging to our confidence that we still, four years later, haven‘t improved things.  And we keep thinking that government is the solution.  This is a small part of a very big problem. 

CARLSON:  Well, let me just answer part of your question.  You‘re right.  I mean, there are government—you know, government contracts given to private contractors that are outrageous, obviously.

However, if TSA was run by the private sector, as it was pre-9/11, you can just fire the contractor if they behaved in the lame and untrustworthy way some screeners do now.  You can just fire them.  You can‘t fire these people.  You have no recourse.  And that‘s bad. 

MADDOW:  I think it‘s a false efficiency.  I think that saying we need to spend $700 million to hire federal employees is stupid.  We should have just hired them ourselves. 

CARLSON:  All right, next situation, in this case, “situation siguiente.”  I‘m trying.

Spain says “si” to gay marriage.  Today, the Spanish parliament legalized same-sex marriage, making Spain only the second country in the world to eliminate all legal distinctions between same-sex and heterosexual unions.  According to the supporters of the bill, this in a country that, not so long ago under Francisco Franco, was one of Europe‘s most Catholic and most conservative, at least by reputation. 

It is sort of shocking, on the other hand, Rachel—I guess my view on this is gay marriage will become the law of the world sooner rather than later because there is no really good argument against it.  Most people in the world, overwhelming majority of the people in the world, are against it on a gut level, but there is no sort of higher rationale reason to be against it.

And until someone thinks of a good argument, it will always win.  I just wonder—the unanswered question is, what is the affect on children?  I actually don‘t think we know.  And I do think we could all benefit by slowing down a little bit and figuring that out before we take the next step.

MADDOW:  I think the study—we‘ve talked about this before.  But I think that the studies on gay marriage and on same-sex parenthood actually showed that kids are fine in that sort of situation.  I mean, we have got a lot of kids with same-sex parents, and they‘re fine, and the data bears that out. 

CARLSON:  I have not seen that.

MADDOW:  That‘s just a factual difference between us and the way we understand it.  But I think it‘s interesting that two-thirds of Spaniards, however you think about the country, two-thirds of Spaniards are in favor of gay marriage.  It‘s not something that people necessarily are automatically opposed to. 

SEVERIN:  Unlike Justice Stephen Breyer, I don‘t look to foreign countries, particularly the Spanish, for guidance as to what is a good idea in this country. 

MADDOW:  Heaven forbid foreign logic, yes. 

SEVERIN:  That‘s right.  With the possible exception of sangria.  In this case, though, the political dimension of this, if I‘m for same-sex marriage or if I‘m gay, I‘m very much cheered by this, because, as you suggest, this is a validation of a worldwide acceptance of something.  And it‘s certainly no less than that. 

CARLSON:  But the people who are opposed to same-sex marriage... 

MADDOW:  You‘re opposed to it, aren‘t you?  You‘ve said before that you are...

SEVERIN:  I‘m opposed to the state giving a certificate to straight couples or gay couples.  I‘m opposed to the state involvement in the validation of marriage at all. 

MADDOW:  Fair enough.

CARLSON:  Huh.  Well, you are a libertarian. 

But who are opposed to it—and there are a lot of decent, thoughtful people who are opposed to it, including me, on some days—need to come up with a real argument though.  And that‘s what they haven‘t.  It‘s not enough to say, “We have never done it.”

MADDOW:  Right.

CARLSON:  Right?  You have to explain why it‘s bad. 

MADDOW:  And the argument that it somehow hurts other people who are married, that it somehow hurts straight marriages, is patently ridiculous.  That‘s as far as you can go in the marriage...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Well, I don‘t know.  I‘m not sure it‘s patently ridiculous. 

But you need to explain why it‘s not patently ridiculous.

MADDOW:  If I got married, would it hurt you and your wife? 

CARLSON:  I‘m not saying it would.  I‘m merely saying people who are opposed to it—and not all of them are antigay bigots, contrary to the propaganda we hear from gay groups.  They‘re not.  But they do need to articulate themselves, or think of a better reason. 

MADDOW:  They need a better reason than somehow it hurts straight people.

CARLSON:  Next situation, the Bush administration between the rock and a hard place and it‘s all because of rock star Bono.  A State Department press release quotes the U2 front man praising President Bush.  But apparently, Bono was not so much quoted as misquoted.

According to the State Department, Bono said Bush, quote, “has already doubled and tripled aid to Africa.”  But actually, Bono told “Time” magazine, quote, “Bush feels he‘s already doubled and tripled aid to Africa, which he started from too low a place.”

This is such an interesting story on so many levels.  Here is the most interesting level, as far as I‘m concerned.  The Bush administration feels compelled to twist Bono‘s words.  Why do they care what Bono thinks?  Bush actually has dramatically elevated aid to Africa to a much higher level than Clinton ever even thought about bringing it. 

The United States is the largest donor to Africa far and away.  We have no moral obligation to give anything to Africa.  We do it because we‘re decent.  Isn‘t that enough?  The front man from U2 has to approve?  Why are they lying about this?  It‘s bizarre. 

SEVERIN:  This is very sad.  By the way, Bono has an “r” missing from the end of his name.  I just wanted to report that on this program. 

Secondly, you know, how can I know what to think about world affairs until Bono and the Edge weigh in?  What about the Backstreet Boys?  What do they think today?  I mean, this is really sad that we care about what “Bonor” thinks about anything. 

MADDOW:  Well, fine, you can be upset that they quoted Bono.  But the fact is, they misquoted Bono. 

CARLSON:  No, but that makes me more upset.  Why are they doing that? 

Why do they care?

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW:  ... get out there and say that Bono, who they respect for whatever reason, he‘s actually made himself into a voice on debt issues...

(CROSSTALK)  

CARLSON:  Well, I‘m sure he‘s a great guy and very smart.  I mean, still.

MADDOW:  Paul Wolfowitz thought he was worth, you know...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  That‘s right.

MADDOW:  ... long phone call before he took the head position at the World Bank. 

SEVERIN:  I knew we‘d get you to say something nice about Wolfowitz before the year was up.

MADDOW:  Exactly.  But the fact is, the State Department, like they‘re doing—like the Bush administration is doing on way too many things, just overreach.  They not only had to quote Bono, they had to lie about what Bono said.  It‘s embarrassing.

CARLSON:  But why not just tell the truth about their own record?  It‘s compelling enough.  It‘s amazing.  Here‘s this purportedly mean, right-wing administration sending huge amounts of aid to Africa. 

MADDOW:  Well, yes, they‘ve promised—they asked for $4 billion for the Millennium Challenge.  They‘ve actually spent $4 million.  So we‘ve got a difference of opinion on that.

CARLSON:  The fact is, in money spent already, they‘ve elevated 56 percent over the final year of the Clinton administration.  It‘s a lot of money. 

MADDOW:  Yes.  But you can‘t take credit for more than you‘ve done. 

SEVERIN:  Yes, but they‘re Republicans.  That‘s why. 

CARLSON:  All right.

Onto a silly situation out of Ireland.  Civil servants there have banned the word “brainstorming” replacing it with “thought-showers.”  The reason?  Buckle your seat belts.  Concern in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investing that the saying “brainstorming” may offend people with epilepsy, brain tumors, or brain injuries. 

This is what happened when your country gets rich.  Ireland used to be a poor country.  It‘s now one of the richest in Europe.  You get very, very sensitive.  “Chewing the fat,” offensive to cannibals.

SEVERIN:  Too much time on your hands.

CARLSON:  “B.S.ing,” offensive to cattle farmers.  I mean, you sit around thinking about ways you, as a privileged person, might be offending the less privileged.  You ought to just lighten up and say what you think. 

SEVERIN:  I think you‘re being way too frivolous about this.  MSNBC must change its name because “M.S.,” of course, is the name of a serious disease.  TV itself, TV.  Transvestites are deeply offended.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  That‘s right.  That is offensive.

SEVERIN:  So we need to go down this list and root this out.  I‘m the new Pol Pot.  We‘re going to find some words... 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  By the way, Jay is now transgendered, so it shows what a bigot you are. 

SEVERIN:  Oh, sorry. 

(CROSSTALK)

SEVERIN:  Excuse me.  Yes, TG.

MADDOW:  I spent a lot of time in Belfast around the time of the Good Friday agreement.  That‘s when I was living overseas.  And I feel like the fact that Belfast gets to worry about this now is very heartening to me.  And it may be ridiculous, and offensive, and all these things, but really, the fact that they‘re worried about the offensiveness of “brainstorming,” I think is great. 

SEVERIN:  A sign of sophistication?

CARLSON:  No, that‘s right.  It means they‘re rich.

MADDOW:  Yes.  Let them worry about it.

CARLSON:  Rich people, very frivolous.  Thank you both very much.

SEVERIN:  Tucker.

MADDOW:  Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Still ahead, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are back in the news, but why?  Did Ben gamble away his fortune?  Did Jen get impregnated by aliens?  The real answer lies on our “Cutting Room Floor.”  Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  It‘s time to welcome back the “Outsider,” a man from outside the news world, a guy who thinks the beltway is a store between the Rack and the Sharper Image at the airport.  His brave soul has agreed to play devil‘s advocate to common sense himself. 

It is ESPN radio and HBO boxing host Max Kellerman.  Bless you, Max. 

You‘re a brave man. 

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO HOST:  And you are the embodiment of common sense.

CARLSON:  Well, thank you.  I like to think that.

Well, it started with restaurants.  Then it was bars.  And starting Friday, there will be no smoking anywhere in California state prisons.  The ban will apply to guards and prisoners alike, depriving the population and the country‘s largest prison system not only of nicotine and tar but of a primary system of currency behind bars, (INAUDIBLE), Max. 

This is cruel and unusual.  And it‘s also stupid.  And here‘s why.  Maine tried this five years ago in 2000.  They banned all smoking.  Do you know what happened?  Assaults quadrupled.  Why?  Because inmates need to smoke.  This is an incredibly tense, physically aggressive, grouchy population prone to violence.  That‘s why they‘re there.  You deprive them of tobacco, they go completely bonkers.  Prison inmates and schizophrenics ought to be allowed to smoke. 

KELLERMAN:  However, you could take assaults into the entire health care costs, right, because it costs money.  Someone‘s assaulted.  They have to go to the hospital.  And health care costs have dramatically fallen in Maine since the smoking ban. 

Basically, what this is about—again, I know, it‘s trite, but the right to swing your fist ends at my nose.  And what smokers never understand—I don‘t think smokers do—how noxious the smell of secondhand smoke is to nonsmokers?  It is an invasion of...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  You have got to be kidding.

KELLERMAN:  Absolutely.

CARLSON:  These are...

KELLERMAN:  You just like smoking.

CARLSON:  These are felons, OK?  Smoking outside in the rec yard.  I don‘t think they‘re bothered by the stinky smell of smoke.  These are not people sitting in some cafe in Greenwich Village where you live.  These are bikers.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLERMAN:  No, no, wait a minute.  You‘re against prisoners rights in every—they shouldn‘t vote, they shouldn‘t be able to have sex, they shouldn‘t get—they can‘t look left without being told so, but they can smoke cigarettes, because you like smoking cigarettes.

CARLSON:  No, do you know what I‘m against? 

KELLERMAN:  What?

CARLSON:  And I don‘t smoke, incidentally.

KELLERMAN:  Yes, I understand.  I understand.

CARLSON:  Just so you know.  I think that we ought to reduce violence in prisons.  I think it‘s immoral that prison inmates, as much as they don‘t have a lot of rights—I agree—are subject to violence.  I think it‘s terrible.

KELLERMAN:  Yes.

CARLSON:  If you want to reduce violence in prisons, you make smoking a right that is granted to people who behave.  You use it as an incentive for people to follow the rules.  But that‘s not—they don‘t care, because people who administer the prisons in California think of smoking not as a health risk but as a sin.  They have a moral problem with smoking, and that‘s insane.

KELLERMAN:  You‘re really on this sin thing.  Every time we talk about smoking, you turn it into a moral issue. 

I don‘t like smoking.  It‘s not a moral issue for me.  I wish smoking didn‘t smell bad to me and that everyone could smoke in bars and restaurants wherever they want.  But it‘s an awful smell.  It‘s suffocating.  Your eyes water, your nose runs, it‘s terrible for not smokers. 

CARLSON:  I think that‘s totally...

KELLERMAN:  I don‘t like it.  It‘s in the ether.  It‘s in the air. 

CARLSON:  I think that‘s totally rational.  But as a country, as the country becomes less religious, it replaces traditional religion with health.  We worship physical health.  And so in place of the traditional sins, we have sins against the body.  And smoking is the key one. 

KELLERMAN:  I‘m a sinner. 

CARLSON:  And I think they‘re stupid. 

Well, not looking forward to the long drive this holiday weekend?  Having better highways may cut some of that time.  Congress is set to pass a proposal encouraging private ownership of new toll roads.  Private companies would be allowed to raise up to $15 billion for highway projects with federal tax exempt bonds.  Already some states with tight budgets have turned to corporations to build their roads. 

Now I always say to myself, Max, the only good things government does is fields an army and it builds the roads.  But in this case, private companies do a better job, almost always and everywhere.  Which are cleaner, public men‘s rooms, restrooms, or bathrooms in a restaurant? 

Of course, bathrooms in a restaurant.  Which are better, apartments or public housing?  Apartments, because they‘re privately owned.  Privately run roads will be better, and the people who pay for them will be the people who use them, and that‘s fair.

KELLERMAN:  I‘m glad you have such extensive experience in public bathrooms. 

(CROSSTALK)

KELLERMAN:  That depends on the restaurant.  You ever been to McDonald‘s—or I shouldn‘t say that.  McDonald‘s people get angry.  But have you ever been in a fast-food restaurant bathroom? 

CARLSON:  They‘re still better than any restroom...

(CROSSTALK)

KELLERMAN:  I don‘t know.  You know what makes me shudder?  The idea of eminent domain, which has been discussed on this program recently.  You know, “This in the best interest.  We‘ll just take your house.”  I mean, this is what happened when they built the railroads.  Yup, your house is in the way of the railroad, you‘re out of your house.  Now private corporations are going to build the roads and tell you, “You know what?  The road wants to twist this way.  Leave.” 

You‘re comfortable with this idea? 

CARLSON:  No, I‘m not comfortable with the concept of eminent domain, except when it‘s in national security interests.  I‘m totally opposed to it. 

KELLERMAN:  Also, the idea that the federal government can‘t build the roads, maybe if Bush doesn‘t give the second tax cut, there‘s some money in the federal budget for the roads. 

CARLSON:  OK.  You live in New York, correct? 

KELLERMAN:  Yes, I do. 

CARLSON:  How is the federal government doing with those roads around where you live, pretty well? 

KELLERMAN:  The state ain‘t doing too well, either. 

CARLSON:  That‘s my point. 

Well, Max, you and I both know that public access television is a home of misfits, medium-core pornographers, and a loud-mouth teenage boxing expert, but the right to swear in their humble airwaves is now in the jeopardy in Houston, Texas. 

There, a city councilman flipped past Media Source—that‘s the city‘s public access channel—heard obscene language, and now the city government is holding back $800,000 of funding while it tries to formulate decency standards.

I‘m generally against decency standards.  But the fact is, if this is run by the government, as public access airwaves are, then they have a right to do it.  This is why government ought to get out of the media business in the first place, because the second they‘re in it, they can control it.

KELLERMAN:  You‘re right.  And the problem is—The reason the FCC exists—I mean, it‘s just an arm of the government—the reason it exists at all, and at least has any domain over cable television, was an intentional misinterpretation of the nature of cable technology by the courts. 

I mean, the reason they have domain over broadcast TV is that TV waves go through the airwaves, the airwaves belong to everyone. 

CARLSON:  The spectrum is limited, right.

KELLERMAN:  But cable television is piped into your house.  If you don‘t want it, don‘t have the cable put in your house.  And because the government controls that, it‘s only right that they allow a couple of channels for the public to express themselves. 

CARLSON:  That‘s right, but once the public expresses itself, it‘s subject to the whims of the government that controls it.  That‘s exactly the point. 

You can never have freedom of expression in any organ or channel owned and administered by the government, period, because it is by nature political.  So in other words, the second I‘m paying for your station, I get to tell what you to say.  That‘s why it‘s a bad idea. 

KELLERMAN:  No, I think the very idea of public access is that the public can do—look, the government has—it controls all of these channels, but here are the couple of channels that the public can do with what they wish.  And whatever they do, they do.  I mean, that‘s another way of looking at public access.  I prefer to see it that way. 

CARLSON:  People don‘t—and I know you were on cable access for many years as a boxing analyst. 

KELLERMAN:  Yes, I was.

CARLSON:  People don‘t have a right to their own TV shows.  They don‘t have a right to their own newspapers, or their own magazines, or their own radio stations, right?  Every person doesn‘t get his own media outlet.  Sorry.  That‘s just—it‘s not guaranteed in the Constitution. 

KELLERMAN:  Do I get to respond to that? 

CARLSON:  No, you don‘t.  We‘re out of time. 

Max Kellerman, thank you. 

Well, I know this is not a sports show, unless you consider attacking a helpless photographer a sport, and we do.  The details on why Texas pitcher Kenny Rogers threw a cameraman‘s gear right down onto the “Cutting Room Floor,” next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time now to sweep up the “Cutting Room Floor.”  All the stories we couldn‘t pack into the show, our producer, Willie Geist, is here with those stories—Willie? 

WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER:  Hello, Tucker.  I‘ve got an update for you.  You remember Ms. Betty Dick, the 83-year-old woman, Rocky Mountain State Park, they were going to kick her out of her house?

CARLSON:  Yes, I was against that. 

GEIST:  You spoke out against that.  And today, the United States House passed a bill that says she can stay for life.  So, Tucker Carlson, voice of the people.

CARLSON:  The big house, the House of Representatives? 

GEIST:  That‘s right.  Congratulations to you.  You made that happen. 

CARLSON:  This show has got a lot of power already, only our third week. 

All right.  We start with the most important story in the entire universe.  Ben and Jen are getting married.  The publicist for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner confirmed today the couple is married and expecting a child.  “US Weekly,” which is never wrong, reports Affleck and Garner tied the knot yesterday on the Caribbean island of Turks and Caicos.  They met in 2003 while shooting the movie “Daredevil.”

GEIST:  I‘m just glad some good came out of that movie, because it was so hurtful to the rest of us, “Daredevil.”  Did you see that thing? 

CARLSON:  I did not. 

GEIST:  It was dreadful.  Let me ask you, upgrade or downgrade from J-Lo for Affleck? 

CARLSON:  Oh, huge upgrade. 

GEIST:  Upgrade, is that right?

CARLSON:  Oh, huge in every way.

GEIST:  That‘s incorrect, that story. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  It‘s time for our freakish marine life update.  The first stop is a remote part of Thailand where villagers hauled this 646-pound catfish out of the Mekong River.  To give you some perspective, that is bigger than Michael Moore.  Wildlife officials hope the fish could be returned to the river, but it died and was sold for food. 

GEIST:  Oops. 

CARLSON:  And then there‘s the piranha that took a wrong turn somewhere along the Amazon River.  Four-year-old James Weaver fishing in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania—that‘s in this country—just the other day, when he hooked one of the ferocious two-feet beasts.  Piranha are usually found only in the warm waters of South America. 

GEIST:  You know, I think little Jimmy Weaver needs to stop fishing in the exotic tank at the Lancaster pet store.  You didn‘t catch that in the river.  I‘m on to you, kid. 

CARLSON:  You are so sinful, Willie.

Well, “The New York Times” revealed some stunning information in today‘s editions.  Women like good-looking, rich guys. 

GEIST:  Huh.

CARLSON:  The “Times” is reporting on a recent study of online dating that found looks the most important variable in choosing an online mate.  In another complete shocker, men who reported incomes of more than $250,000 a year received 156 percent more responses than those who made less than $50 grand. 

GEIST:  That is amazing.  It flies in the face of all that other research that told us women love fat guys who can‘t hold down a job.  I‘m stunned. 

CARLSON:  They love them.

Texas pitcher‘s Ranger, Kenny Rogers, is perhaps best known for sharing a name with a country music legend.  But after last night, he‘ll be known as the guy who beat up the cameraman.  Rogers was walking onto the field before the Rangers game when a TV cameraman got a little too close to him. 

Rogers shoved the camera to the ground, kicked it, and threatened to break other people‘s cameras.  Rangers General Manager John Hart said, quote, “Kenny is having anger issues right now.” 

GEIST:  You think?  That behavior is reprehensible, but Kenny Rogers is 9-3 with 2.46 ERA for my fantasy team this year, so he can do whatever he wants.  Go ahead, lefty. 

CARLSON:  Whew. 

I wish this story weren‘t true, but, sadly, it is.  Karolyne Smith of Salt Lake City, Utah, has tattooed the name of an online gambling site on her forehead in exchange for $10,000.  (INAUDIBLE) 30-year-old Smith auctioned her forehead on eBay and GoldenPalace.com scored the winning bid.  Smith says she got the tattoo so she could send her son to private school. 

GEIST:  Oh, if someone had just told her about student loans she could have saved herself the trouble.  You know when that‘s really going to look good is during needle-point class 50 years from now at the nursing home, GoldenPalace.com. 

CARLSON:  Ten grand a year for private school?  I think she should have done a little research. 

(CROSSTALK)

GEIST:  What traffic school are we talking about? 

CARLSON:  Exactly.

All right.  That‘s THE SITUATION.  I‘m Tucker Carlson.  Thanks for watching.  “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” starts now.  See you tomorrow.

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