updated 7/19/2005 8:35:42 AM ET 2005-07-19T12:35:42

Guest: Ellis Cannon, Andrew Jacobs, Peter Beinart, Kellyanne Conway, Larry Pozner, Candice DeLong, Paul Reynolds, Suzanne Somers

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight‘s top headline:  There is a new clue in Aruba that could be the answer Natalee‘s family has been waiting for. 

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required and only common sense allowed.

Four strands of hair now being analyzed by Dutch authorities and the FBI, could they break open the mystery of Natalee Holloway‘s disappearance?  Plus, this dramatic encounter between Natalee‘s dad and the parents of prime suspect Joran Van Der Sloot.  We‘re live in Aruba.  And we are going to have all the details. 

And did a T-ball coach pay a 7-year-old boy to throw a ball intentionally to hurt a disabled teammate?  The coach is now charged with a crime and parents are outraged.  But are we getting the full story?  And what does it mean in a community out of control with competitiveness? 

And her one-woman show is shaking up Broadway.  Now Suzanne Somers is coming to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  And, friends, no topic is off-limits, not even the Thigh Master. 

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

SCARBOROUGH:  This is a remarkable story.  Good evening.

You know, it has been seven weeks since Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway disappeared from her high school trip in Aruba.  Now there is what some are calling a potentially major find in this case. 

Let‘s go live to Aruba right now and talk to NBC News‘s Michelle Kosinski. 

Michelle, good evening.


SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about the latest developments in Natalee‘s case. 

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, we know investigators here and in the states are testing strands of hair found on a piece of duct tape in a national park by the park ranger.  He said he saw it in a cove by the water. 

When he looked at it, it had four strands on it, two of them blonde and two a bit darker.  Usually, he said he would throw something like this away.  But, in this case, given what has been going on, on this island for weeks, he just couldn‘t ignore it this time. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, there is—there is actually, also, some reports coming in.  You were talking about—or, we talked about at the top a meeting this weekend between the prime suspect‘s father and Natalee‘s father.  What can you tell us about what went on? 

KOSINSKI:  It was really remarkable to see this happen, and it was completely unexpected. 

Dave Holloway, Natalee‘s father, left the island this afternoon.  But he said, before he left, he had one thing in mind that he wanted to do, given there is no sign of his daughter.  He wanted to talk to the key suspect in her disappearance, Joran Van Der Sloot, face-to-face.  So, he heads down to the jail, tries to gain access.  And, as he is there, Joran‘s parents are coming out. 

So, they meet.  They clasp hands.  And the whole time, they are holding hands and talking to each other.  Dave Holloway told us that Joran‘s parents, actually, the mother wanted him to talk to their son and she said that Joran wanted to talk to him.  But the father didn‘t want that to happen until after the investigation is over. 

And he says that they started talking about their son‘s mental state, that he feels tortured.  They said he hates himself, that he cries and that he feels stupid for leaving Natalee alone on the beach the morning she disappeared.  But they say that he denies hurting her in any way.  Dave Holloway also told us that Paulus Van Der Sloot, the father, denies ever telling any of these three suspects, no body, no case, and that he denies that anybody in his family had anything to do with Natalee‘s disappearance. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, I want to ask, if my staff can once again role those images, because, Michelle, while you were talking, we were seeing pictures of the meetings between the fathers.  And it looks like—we saw hugs.

But, also, the father gave Joran‘s father, I understand, what, a Bible and “The Purpose-Driven Life,” gave him a couple of books. 

KOSINSKI:  Right. 


KOSINSKI:  Go ahead.

SCARBOROUGH:  Go ahead.  Tell us—no, tell us about that.

KOSINSKI:  Well, he brought the books with him, wasn‘t sure how that would go over.  He brought three books, one of which is the Bible and “A Purpose-Driven Life.”  Another is a book written by a spiritualist.  And he offered these to the parents.  And they willingly took them and thanked him. 

And, at this point, Dave Holloway said, Paulus Van Der Sloot had broke down and cried.  They hugged each other, as you saw.  And then he offers them these books.  And they said, well, Joran already has a Bible in jail and he has been reading it.  But they accepted the other two books and said thank you very much. 

And then these two families just walked their separate ways.  But Dave Holloway did tell us, he is not done trying.  He still wants to come back to this island and try once again.  That would be the fourth time now to try to talk to Joran man-to-man, as he put it. 


DAVE HOLLOWAY, FATHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY:  The last word was, you got have to understand, this is my son, and I will do anything for my son.  And with that, you know, my confidence level was not very high with him. 


KOSINSKI:  Of course, any bit of evidence that is presented, whatever it will come to, is very important to the Holloway family.  They are really desperate for any clues in this case. 

So, when this tape turns up with hairs on it, yes, that could be something significant.  And that is why it is being tested as we speak. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks so much, Michelle.  We always—we always appreciate you coming on and getting us up-to-date in this case that so many Americans are following. 

We really appreciate it.

I want to go now to Natalee‘s uncle, Paul Reynolds.

Paul, thanks a lot for being back with us today.

I‘ve got to ask, what is the family‘s reaction to this evidence found on the beach that actually could lead you all to at least give you some insight on what happened to Natalee? 

PAUL REYNOLDS, UNCLE OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY:  We are certainly very interested in the evidence, or finding out if it is evidence. 

But we are not—we‘re not sure where it will lead us.  But we want to follow up on every lead and every bit of information that we can find and see where it leads us.  The main thing is that we are just very encouraged by the fact that people are still looking, and that the park ranger was looking, that he is thinking about it.  And we have heard reports that tourists are still looking. 

So, we are encouraged by—by the fact that everyone wants to find her and wants to find out what happened. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Have you talked to Beth recently, since they found this evidence? 

REYNOLDS:  I spoke to her this morning.  And, you know, of course, she is also interested in it.  We are anxious to find out, you know, what is determined after it has been researched and tested. 

But we are trying to avoid all the highs and lows that we have experienced over the last seven weeks.  We are trying to stay level-headed and focused on our objective.  And that is finding out where Natalee is. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Boy, that has got to be so tough, having the ups and the downs and, again, finding yourself in this catch-22 position, where you want to know what happened to Natalee.  But at the same time, when you open up a barrel, you certainly don‘t want to find Natalee inside of there dead. 

And, in the case of the hair, obviously, if it‘s her hair on the duct tape, also, that is very bad news.  But, again, at least there is possibly some closure there.

I have got to ask you a question.  You know, you have been critical, as I have—I have been a lot more critical than you and just about anybody else following this case—about Dutch authorities, about Aruban authorities and how they have handled this case, how they have botched it, how I think that they have actually engaged in a cover-up. 

Do you trust the Dutch authorities to handle this evidence carefully and to have a thorough investigation to see if it is in fact Natalee‘s hair on that duct tape? 

REYNOLDS:  Well, as we have talked about, we have had some concerns about the investigation. 

You know, this—that has nothing to do with the Aruban people, who have been overwhelmingly gracious to us, who have helped in the searches.  You know, I think the spirit of the island is a great force. 

But we have been concerned about certain things in the investigation.  But, you know, at this point, I‘m optimistic about some of the things I‘m seeing.  We are seeing an increase in responsiveness.  And we‘re hoping that what we see is a dedication towards resolving this case.  And we are going to try to keep our hopes up and hope that we can make some progress here. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I‘ll tell you what, Paul.  That is great news tonight, hearing that you are feeling a little more positive tonight about the way the investigation is moving forward. 

Obviously, we have all been greatly concerned.  Thank you for being with us again tonight.  Look forward to getting an update tomorrow with you.

Let‘s bring in now criminal defense attorney Larry Pozner and former FBI profiler Candice DeLong.

Candice, I want to start with you.

You know, I remember when the runaway bride got out of town, went to Vegas.  We didn‘t know where she was going, but they found some hair cut in a parking lot.  Remember, everybody just laughed when people were trying to tie that with her.  It ended up—it ended up actually it was her hair.  This obviously also is a long shot.  But let‘s just assume—let‘s just assume this is her hair on the duct tape.  What does that mean? 

CANDICE DELONG, FORMER FBI PROFILER:  Well, if that is her hair on the duct tape, and the police—well, one thing that occurred to me is that, possibly, if those hairs indicate that they were pulled out and they are on the duct tape, you know, as if the duct tape was being removed from her and got some of her hairs, that speaks to premeditation.

Someone brought duct tape with them to do whatever it was, whatever interaction they were going to have with her is one possibility.  If the police can tie that duct tape to the suspect in any way, his home, his car or himself, case over. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I was just going ask—I was just going to actually ask you that, because, obviously, what the Dutch authorities, what the FBI are looking at right now, is, they are looking to see if this is Natalee‘s hair. 

But if it is Natalee‘s hair, that really doesn‘t nail Van Der Sloot, doesn‘t nail the two Kalpoe brothers. 


SCARBOROUGH:  How do you tie the duct tape together with Van Der Sloot or the Kalpoe brothers? 

DELONG:  Well, it would be easy to do if, in their searches, they found duct tape in the car or the home or anything, anyplace where they were able to put any of the suspects.  But let‘s not...


SCARBOROUGH:  It is a fairly—obviously, it‘s a fairly common household—household possession that you have. 

DELONG:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, what—you do—what do you do, duct tape testing? 

DELONG:  Yes. 

And duct tape can be—there‘s a variety of ways they can test it.  If they find the original role, if they find other pieces of duct tape that match that type of duct tape that they found—whoever this forestry officer was that found on the beach.  There is a variety of things they can do, not the least of which there may be there—you said there were two blonde hairs on the duct tape and two dark hairs.  Who are the two dark hairs? 

Are they able to—it is not an identical match, by the way, not like a fingerprint.  The best they can say is similar, dissimilar, inconclusive.  If they were to find a fingerprint on that duct tape belonging to any of the suspects, once again, case closed. 


DELONG:  And, like I said, that would speak to premeditation. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It is all over.

Candice, stay with me. 

We are going to be bringing in Larry Pozner when we come back in just a minute, as we continue our conversation. 

Also coming up, the Karl Rove controversy continues, with the president going on record today.  We are going to be telling you all about that.  But does this whole mess really hide the true story?  I am going to give you the “Real Deal” on hypocrisy in Washington, not just from powerful politicians, but also from the media. 

Also, did a T-ball coach try to injure one of his own disabled players?  Wait until you hear why the police arrested him. 

SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is just getting started.  Stick around.  We‘ll be right back.


SCARBOROUGH:  The political scandal of the summer?  Maybe so.  It‘s heating up.  And her one-woman showing is opening on Broadway.  Suzanne Somers is in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight. 

We‘ll give you that and a lot more when we come back.



SCARBOROUGH:  Volunteers continue to search for Natalee Holloway, now missing for seven weeks.  Will some strands of hair be a potential break in the case? 

I am back with a criminal defense attorney Larry Pozner and also former FBI profiler Candice DeLong.

Larry, let me go to you. 

Let‘s talk about this tape.  How significant could it be? 

LARRY POZNER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, this could be the most important thing in the case. 

Clearly, the case has not come together or there would have been charges by now.  So, let‘s assume the worst in one respect, that the tape verifies the hair of the missing woman.  We have to presume at this point, seven weeks into it, that she is dead.  Now, the question is, is somebody else‘s DNA on this tape?  Can they tie the tape to a particular person? 

If they can tie it to one of the suspects they currently have, then they are getting very close to a case.  But until we know, first, is it her hair and can they tie it to a person, without the two things coming together, we are nowhere. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Larry, and, of course, what we have here is physical evidence, something that has been missing obviously over the past seven weeks.  Without—without—without this sort of physical evidence, do they have a case against Van Der Sloot?  In fact, would Van Der Sloot still be in jail were he in America instead of Aruba? 

POZNER:  No, Jim (sic).

If he were in America, undoubtedly, he would have been released now, released reluctantly, for sure, but released nonetheless.  In America, we say, if you have it, file it.  If you don‘t have it, we will give you a brief extension.  But there comes a point where we say in America, look, you can‘t hold a citizen just willy-nilly, with no rules, until you—you are ready to charge him. 

In America, clearly, this case would not have come together.  He would be out right now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Candice, let me ask you, what do seven weeks in the Aruban sun or the saltwater or the sand and the heat do to duct tape, do to hair, do to physical evidence?  I mean, it has got to be—it has got to be in terrible shape by now.  Can you get anything out of it seven weeks later? 

DELONG:  Sure, should be able to get quite a bit out of it.  Of course, it would be degraded and soiled, but that doesn‘t mean it would beyond—be beyond redemption. 

And I would like to clarify something that I said earlier about, they wouldn‘t be able to DNA-type the hair.  They will if part of the hair follicle or root is still attached to the hair.  And then that, it would be mitochondrial DNA testing.  And it would show—for example, they did it in the Laci Peterson case and were able to say that the hair found in the boat, it was someone who was very likely the offspring of Sharon Rocha. 

It is through the—it‘s a gene passed through the mother. 


DELONG:  But this happens all the time, where evidence is found very, very much after the fact and they are able to get quite a bit of good stuff from it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Candice, thanks so much.  I appreciate you being with us, as always.

Candice DeLong and Larry Pozner, thanks a lot. 

POZNER:  Thank you.


SCARBOROUGH:  Now, today, President Bush again refused to answer questions about the White House CIA leak case.  But he did have this to say. 


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I don‘t know all the facts.  I want to know all the facts.  The best place for facts to be done is by somebody who is spending time investigating it. 

I would like this to end as quickly as possible, so we know the facts.  And if someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Ah, nuance.  I love nuance.  Before, it was, if somebody leaked this information, they are not going to work in the administration.  Now it has been elevated to, if somebody committed a crime, they are not going to work in our administration. 

Now, a far cry, obviously, from what the White House had to say back in September 2003.  Listen to what White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan had to say back then. 


SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Big difference. 

With me now to talk about this boiling Washington summer scandal are Peter Beinart—he‘s the editor of “The New Republic”—and also Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway. 

Peter, I have got to start with you. 

You know, I have been saying all along that somebody lied to George Bush, because George Bush would not have gone out a year ago and said, hey, if somebody was involved in this leak, they wouldn‘t work in my administration, if he knew that Karl Rove was involved.  Now we‘re talking about obviously an indictment.  Does this mean the White House now understands they are going to have to backtrack?

PETER BEINART, EDITOR, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”:  They have already started backtracking. 

I mean, Scott McClellan said the idea that Karl Rove was involved with this was—quote, unquote—“ridiculous.”  Now, of course, it is undisputed that Karl Rove was involved in this.  That alone seems to me is reason for Scott McClellan, if he has any dignity at all left, to resign. 


SCARBOROUGH:  You think he should quit? 

BEINART:  Absolutely. 



BEINART:  Because once a press secretary loses all credibility by being lied to by his bosses and then lying to the press as a result, the only honorable thing to do is resign.  It‘s pretty well—it‘s pretty—because has no credibility left.  He is now basically a walking pinata.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Peter, let‘s talk about what we know.  Let‘s talk about what we do know, Peter. 


SCARBOROUGH:  We know that either Karl Rove or Scooter Libby or the president or somebody in the Cheney-wing of the White House lied to Scott McClellan.  Is that safe to say?  Somebody is lying here.


BEINART:  Yes.  Someone lied to him, because he would not have gone out and said it was ridiculous that Karl Rove was involved without someone telling him that. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Kellyanne, I will you the same way. 


CONWAY:  Sure.  There‘s no..

SCARBOROUGH:  I will ask you the same question. 

There is no way this guy would have gone out and made the statement that he made last year had he not been lied to, right? 

CONWAY:  There is no evidence that anybody lied to Scott.  And there is certainly no evidence that Karl Rove was a producer of any information. 

If anything, the two most recent news accounts about this issue suggest that Karl was the recipient of the information from a media source, not the producer of that information.  And, look...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, he produced—he produced it to “TIME” magazine and Cooper, didn‘t he? 

CONWAY:  No.  There is no evidence of that.  In fact, when Joe Wilson himself testified before the..

SCARBOROUGH:  Where have I been?  CONWAY:  Pardon me?

SCARBOROUGH:  Where have I been?  I mean, I am sorry.  I thought I read the “TIME” magazine article.  I thought I saw Matt Cooper on “Meet the Press” this weekend saying that he got the information from Karl Rove. 

CONWAY:  And...

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, was I—was it all a dream?  Was it like the last season of “Dallas”? 

CONWAY:  No, Joe, it wasn‘t. 

But that—again, when you are the subject of a grand jury investigate, as it is going on now, you are not allowed to discuss it.  So, Karl can‘t really defend himself. 

What other reports have suggested is that, perhaps, immediately, perhaps, hypothetically speaking, someone in the media called Karl and said, I have this information.  I am going to do a story about it. 

Now, letting it fly out there in the ether does not mean that Karl provided the information.  Nor does it mean that he corroborated, verified or encouraged it.  If anything, he may have tried to kill it on the—on the—with the inference that the person not go out and use inaccurate information. 

Now, let‘s remember what this information is about, serious stuff, that the vice president allegedly sent Joe Wilson over to Niger to check out the uranium story.  And then, when Joe—when Joe Wilson, the same guy, testifies to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, he says, I may have used a little bit of literary flair, the same guy who poses in “Vanity Fair.”  This is not a credible person.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me ask you this, Peter.  I want to bring this up.  The thing that I found very interesting—and, obviously, I respect Kellyanne and have for some time and agree with her a lot more than I disagree with her. 

But it seems, in this Karl Rove case—if we want to call it a scandal, we can call it a scandal—that if every time you start talking about Karl Rove, Republicans start talking about Joe Wilson.  Now, I think Joe Wilson is a liar.  I think he is a joke.  But it seems to me he is not relevant to this leak, is he?

BEINART:  No, he is not relevant at all. 

What Kelly is doing is repeating exactly the same talking points that every other Republican has been repeating all week. 

CONWAY:  That‘s not true.

BEINART:  And the point is, I happen to think Joe Wilson has a lot more credibility than Karl Rove.  But it is totally irrelevant. 

The question—even if you think that Joe Wilson is the biggest liar in Washington, it is absolutely sleazy to go after him by going after his wife.  That is not...


CONWAY:  Who is going after his wife? 


BEINART:  The people who went out and said, who said that his wife is a covert operative for the CIA, which got the CIA so upset that they asked the Justice Department to do an investigation, those people.

And is very likely those people are either Karl Rove, Lewis Libby, Ari Fleischer, or all of the above. 

CONWAY:  It is not very likely.  We don‘t know that.  You have to be careful. 


BEINART:  We don‘t know that.  Of course we don‘t know.

What we do know is that—is that there was a State Department memo which had this information.  We know that Fleischer was reading that memo. 

And we know that this information got to Robert Novak.  It is conceivable -yes, I will grant it is conceivable that, somehow, some reporter got it and spit it back to these guys in the administration.  But it is more likely that they got it from the State Department memo and then they fed it to Novak in an effort to discredit Wilson. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Kellyanne, let me ask you a question.

CONWAY:  Please.

SCARBOROUGH:  Kellyanne, let me ask you a question here.  I am just curious.  And I have been asking my Republican friends this question for the past couple weeks.  Let‘s say Bill Clinton‘s top political adviser had decided to reveal the identity of a CIA agent to a reporter from “TIME” magazine to get back at that person‘s spouse?  What would you be saying?  What would Republicans be saying about Bill Clinton and Bill Clinton‘s top political adviser? 

Let‘s just assume...

CONWAY:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... that what everybody in Washington knows is actually the case, that this was passed on from Karl Rove to Matt Cooper at “TIME” magazine.  What would you say if the Clinton administration had engaged in this type of activity?

CONWAY:  I would say exactly what I said when the Clinton administration was engaged in far worse, something called Whitewater, which Peter was against investigating, even though people...


SCARBOROUGH:  I am not talking about—I am not talking about Whitewater.


SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m talking about the outing of a CIA agent in a time of war.  That is all I‘m asking.

CONWAY:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What would you say if they did that?

CONWAY:  And my answer is what it was then, which is that I respect the rule of law enough to allow the investigatory process to work its way out. 

If we all respect the law as it is written and the investigatory process that is currently undergoing, Joe, then the facts will be known.  And the president will keep to his commitment that anyone who broke the law will be out of there, including—anybody.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, that is a different commitment from what we heard in the fall. 


CONWAY:  Pardon me?  No, it is a commitment.  But, guys...


SCARBOROUGH:  The commitment that was made before was anybody that revealed the identity of a CIA agent would be fired. 

Peter, I want to ask you this question in closing. 

And, Kellyanne, I love you, just like I love Peter. 


SCARBOROUGH:  I am not beating up anybody tonight. 

CONWAY:  Joe, Karl beat the Democrats twice now, though,  Karl has beaten the Democrats black and blue in two presidential elections.

SCARBOROUGH:  It is irrelevant.  I don‘t care.


CONWAY:  They want him out of Washington.


SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s irrelevant.

The bottom line is that a CIA agent has been outed.  I don‘t care whether a Republican did it. 

CONWAY:  She posed in “Vanity Fair.‘

SCARBOROUGH:  I don‘t care if a Democrat did it. 


SCARBOROUGH:  She went to “Vanity Fair.”  And, again, I think Joe Wilson and his wife are shameless.  But they did that after they were already revealed. 


SCARBOROUGH:  So, I just—again, I don‘t like—I think Joe Wilson is a joke.  The fact that this guy lied about just about everything involved in his African trip and then wrote a book called “The Politics of Truth” is shameless. 

But he is irrelevant.  His wife is irrelevant. 

Peter Beinart, final question to you. 

Now that I have preached, the question is this.  Is somebody going to jail over this?  Is somebody going to be indicted? 

BEINART:  I think it is—I would say the chances of someone being indicted are a bit better than 50-50.  The chance of someone going to jail I think are relatively low.  I would say less than one in four.  That is my guess. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  I will play McLaughlin here.  Wrong! 


SCARBOROUGH:  Nobody is going to jail.


SCARBOROUGH:  Karl Rove is keeping his job.  Nobody in America cares. 

But I do. 

Thanks a lot, Peter Beinart.  Greatly appreciate it. 

Kellyanne, thank you so much for being patient with me tonight.

We will be right back in a second in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 


SCARBOROUGH:  She is accused of having sex with a student, and now a major development.  Is this teacher in trouble who rejected a plea deal today?  We‘ll give you that story.

But, first, here‘s the latest news that you and your family need to know. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Hurricane Emily, she is the latest and the greatest in this early and active hurricane season.  Emily slammed into Mexico with winds up to 135 miles per hour, tearing through vacation spots in Cancun and Cozumel.  Thousands of residents and tourists tried to ride out the storm in sweltering shelters set up in local schools and hotel ballrooms.

Now, luckily, the resorts have seemed to sustain only minor damage.  Emily is now considered the strongest July hurricane on record.  The second strongest, Dennis, last week of course slammed into my home town of Pensacola, Florida.  Emily has now weakened to a Category 2, but is expected to pick up strength as she moves along the Gulf of Mexico. 

This is a live look at Emily‘s location right now.  Forecasters are saying the hurricane could hit the northeastern coast of Mexico as a major hurricane as early as Tuesday night.  And, of course, you are seeing this storm.  It goes over land, just like Dennis did going over Cuba.  It weakens.  And when it gets back into the Gulf, gets into the warm weather, it starts strengthening again. 

Remember, last week, Dennis was a Category 4, went over Cuba, went down to a Category 2.  And by the time it got close to Pensacola, back up to a Category 4, before calming down and lowering, I believe, to a Category 3 before it slammed onshore. 

Now, the storm is not expected to land a direct hit in Texas.  But the National Weather Service has issued a hurricane watch up part of the Texas coast just in case.  You never know where these storms are going.  We will, of course, continue tracking Emily.  And you can stay with MSNBC to get the very latest. 

Now to a story that a lot of people are talking about.  This is one of those talkable stories again.  And I will guarantee you, more people in middle America talked about this one over the weekend than they talked about the Karl Rove case when they are sitting around their tables, they‘re having barbecue or hanging out at a local swimming pool. 

Get this.  If you haven‘t heard, you‘re not going to believe this story.  A T-ball coach in North Union, Pennsylvania, allegedly offered to pay one of his 7-year-old players $25 to hurt an—to intentionally hurt a mentally disabled child, so that kid wouldn‘t be able to play in the game and hurt the team‘s chances of winning. 

NBC‘s Mike Taibbi has the story. 


MIKE TAIBBI, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  The headlines are shocking, that a little league T-ball coach in suburban Pittsburgh paid one of his players to intentionally injure another one, a teammate with autism, to improve the team‘s winning chances. 

THOMAS BROADWATER, PENNSYLVANIA STATE TROOPER:  The child was warming up with another player.  He got hit in the head pretty hard with a baseball. 

TAIBBI:  T-ball is little league‘s low impact minor league, the first step in organized ball for the smallest and youngest kids.  The alleged victim in this case is 8.  And it was a 7-year-old who reportedly blew the whistle on his coach, Mark Reed Downs. 

BROADWATER:  The coach had coached him, asking him to hit the boy in the face with the baseball and he would give him $25. 

TAIBBI:  The coach faces charges of criminal solicitation and assault. 

He has denied the allegations. 

ERIC FORSYTHE, PRESIDENT, R.W. CLARK YOUTH BASEBALL:  Surely, he wouldn‘t want to do it just for—to be vindictive towards the child.  It had to be because he wanted to win. 

TAIBBI:  But the idea that, even at this level, winning can be that important has been raised again. 

Mike Taibbi, NBC News, New York. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Boy, thank you, Mike. 

I‘ll tell you what.  That really is—that is about as disgusting, especially when you consider that this child was mentally disabled. 

With me now to talk about this troubling story are Ellis Cannon.  He‘s a Pittsburgh radio talk show host.  He‘s also the publisher of “The Pittsburgh Sports Report.”  And, also, we have Dr. Andrew Jacobs, a sports psychologist in Kansas City. 

Dr. Jacobs, let‘s start with you.

Has it really gotten that bad in little league baseball and sports that you now have 7-year-old kids that are taking out mentally disabled children to help the team win? 


You know, winning is all out of perspective now.  It is all about being number one.  And youth sports, little league, T-ball should be about having fun, enjoying yourself and having fun with your teammates and just the experience.  We have too many coaches, too many parents who want to live vicariously through their kids. 


SCARBOROUGH:  These kids are 7 years old.  They are 7 years old. 

JACOBS:  I know.

SCARBOROUGH:  And what?  What?  Some dad is trying to relive his glory days because things didn‘t go well in high school, and so he is telling these kids to bean a disabled kid? 

JACOBS:  You know what?  It is happening more and more often, because people are seeing, hey, if my son does really well, he might get a scholarship to college.  And, gosh, you know, maybe he can make it in the Major Leagues.

We are seeing all kinds of venues being set up in cities all over the country to help kids get better in sports.  There are all kinds of different avenues for these kids to get better.  And the parents are getting hooked in that, to the point that they are so focused on winning, they are not caught up in the fun of the game anymore. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Ellis, I saw a “Real Sports,” a Bryant Gumbel report on “Real Sports” about this very thing, about kids who are starting to get trained at 7, 8, 9 years old, throwing up their arms at 10 and 11, because their parents are pushing them so hard.  Do you think that may have been the case here, if in fact these allegations end up being the truth? 

ELLIS CANNON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, they could be, if in fact they are going to be true. 

I talked to people here in the medical community just in the last two or three weeks.  And they tell me, Joe, that in fact there are kids that are coming in with these types of injuries, shoulder and arm injuries.  And we were coming up, I don‘t remember it quite like that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No, not at all. 

CANNON:  I actually disagree a little bit with the doctor.  I truly believe that the T-ball process is about having fun.  It is about introducing kids to sports and teams and to team sports, and ultimately to competition.

I think that there is an evolution in all that.  And learning the fundamentals is perhaps the most important part.  Socializing, which the mother of the alleged victim here says was an important factor in her getting her son involved, those are all legitimate factors.  And, ultimately, they do get to a case, whether you guys want to accept it or anybody else does, that, by 9 years old in little league, we are going to start keeping score.  And there is nothing wrong with keeping score in that world, in my estimation.  There is a balance you can reach.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know what?  Listen, Ellis.  I will tell you what.  I don‘t think there is anything wrong with keeping score when they are 5 years old.  In fact, I don‘t want my kids playing in leagues where they don‘t keep score. 


CANNON:  My kids in the same environment. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I like there to be winners.  I like there to be winners. 

I like there to be losers. 

But when you have got mentally disabled kids taken out with a bean ball, obviously, that is out of control. 

Tell me, what has been the climate on the Pittsburgh talk show stations where this happened?  I mean, are people pretty outraged by it? 

CANNON:  Oh, I can tell you, on my program, there‘s been a big mix.  And, yes, there is a emotional end.  There‘s three parts of your brain at work here.  There‘s the human, the parental part.  And then you have the attorney, at least in me, that looks at this as, well, defensible.  Anything is, I suppose, whereas a parent doesn‘t think that this would be defensible. 

And, then, ultimately, you have a talk show.  And that reaches the emotional component.  And, Joe, there is a lot of emotion out there.  And certainly, tonight, there was emotion, with people reacting, and a lot of that, as you just put it at the outset, over the weekend, with people reacting emotionally. 

Tonight, I noticed some people were pulling back, saying, wait a second.  There is a process here.  This is one of those stories that is so incredible that either it can‘t be believed or, if it is to be believed, it is a very, very sickening thing.  And it is ultimately indefensible.

SCARBOROUGH:  It is sickening. 

CANNON:  But the people have been very emotional. 


JACOBS:  Joe, can I say something about the... 


SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Go ahead.

JACOBS:  About the winning and losing, I disagree with you about winning and losing at 5. 

I think kids need to learn to have fun.  We have gotten to the point in our society now where everything is organized.  I know, when I was growing up, after school, my friends and I would go up to the grade school.  We would play baseball, we would play basketball and we would play football.  We did not have organized practices.  We didn‘t have parents and coaches watching over us.  We were able to just go play.


JACOBS:  Now, I think one of the problems we‘ve got today with youth sports is, everything is organized. Everything is organized controlled.  And everything is written down.  We don‘t give kids enough opportunity anymore to just go and play and enjoy themselves.  And that‘s something we need to look at in our society.

SCARBOROUGH:  Go have a great time.


CANNON:  I agree with you on that, Doctor.  

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, you are exactly right, Andrew.  Unfortunately, we have got to go. 

But, Ellis and Andrew, we‘re going to ask you back, as this case obviously being heard in court next week.  I want to invite both of you back to talk about it then.


SCARBOROUGH:  Thanks for being us with. 

JACOBS:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And I‘ll tell you what.  We have got a lot more coming up in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight. 

And, up next, a woman who has overcome adversity of her own, Suzanne Somers, is going to be with us in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to talk about how she turned all of those struggles into a one-woman Broadway show, which, of course, just opened. 

That‘s next.


SCARBOROUGH:  You‘re looking at Suzanne Somers in her one-woman show, “The Blonde in the Thunderbird,” obviously a reference to “American Graffiti.”  But Suzanne takes everything that has been horrible in her life and turns it into a touching, humorous Broadway show. 

Now, I recently talked to her about it.  And she told me all about being the blonde in the Thunderbird. 


SUZANNE SOMERS, ACTRESS:  It‘s my Broadway debut.  I have been asked to—to go on Broadway many, many times.  But it was always to revive something or replace someone. 

And my husband said, you should really wait until you have something truly original.  And this is truly original.  It is the story of my life.  And I kind of liken it to—my brother used to have this punching bag.  I don‘t know.  Maybe you had one when you were a kid.  It is about life-sized and it has sand on the bottom.  And we would punch it and it would come back up.  And you would punch it again.  It would come back up.

And if even we laid down on the floor on top of it, when we got off it, it would still bounce back up.  And that is kind of what my life has been like. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Isn‘t it fascinating?  There is such a disconnect between what America‘s image of Suzanne Somers, the Hollywood star, the TV star—and it is not just with you.  I am always struck by how, when you talk to people in middle America, they really think that people in Hollywood, people that have been on TV shows, that have been in movies—and, of course, you started as the mysterious blonde in “American Graffiti.”

But they think that you are powerful, you are wealthy, you‘re famous, and you basically—you sit by the pool all day in this eternal bliss. 


SOMERS:  You know, Joe, we are all the same.  We all just have different jobs.  But we are all the same and we‘re all trying our best. 

And these—these homes that so many of us come from, you can either choose one of two things.  You can either choose to be a victim—you know, why me; why do bad things happen to me? -- or, if you get somebody who mentor you, like I found, you take it and say, all right, this is the curve I have been thrown.  How can I learn from this?  And how can I grow spiritually and emotionally. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You took all the bad things that happened and you‘re like, OK, you know what?  I can‘t control everything, but I can control my career. 

SOMERS:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, What type of message do you have for people out there that say, you know what, my life is really—it‘s just at the whim of all these other people and I have no control over it?

SOMERS:  Right. 

And, one day, I‘m sitting in my house feeling sorry for myself, still the victim.  And a little voice in my head—and I listen to this voice all the time—in fact, this voice is the other character in my one-woman show.  I am all by myself on that stage, but the other person that is there is the voice in my head. 

And the little voice said, why are you focused on what you don‘t have?  Why don‘t you focus on what you do have?  And I sat there and I thought, what do I have?  What do I have?  What do I—Wow.  I have visibility.  Everybody in this country knows my name because of “Three‘s Company.”  That is something.  That is tangible.

SCARBOROUGH:  Everybody talks about life being a journey and you have got to enjoy the trip.  It sounds like you have done that, despite the fact, again, that you have been knocked over time and time again. 

SOMERS:  You know, I‘m not—I have no bitterness at all, at all. 

SCARBOROUGH:  How important is that, for you not to look back in anger?  I mean, like, for instance, John Ritter.  I know that there had to be a falling-out when you left the TV show, but, at the end, obviously, a tragic death with him.  But you didn‘t look back in anger and actually had made up with him by the end. 

SOMERS:  You know, I would sure like to say that I was the one who made the call, but it was John who called me. 

We went so many years without talking to one another.  I—what a waste of time.  The problem with John and I was that we loved each other.  And I see his wife all the time, because his daughter now goes to school and they are in the same class as my granddaughter.  I mean, think of the irony of that.  And I see Amy Ritter all the time.  And I was talking to her the other day. 

And I said, you know, I‘ve been watching Nick at Nite and I‘ve been watching the reruns.  And I said, John was remarkable, just a remarkable talent.  And I said, and our chemistry together was remarkable.  And it was.  When I watch it now, I can watch it objectively.  And especially—not the first couple of years.  I have always—I walked into that show and I said, I have to tell you all, I have never had an acting lesson. 

I don‘t know if that was a good thing to tell them or not.  But in the first couple years, I am trying to feel my way through.  But if you watch “Three‘s Company” from years three, four, five and six, the Chrissy character just—I got what I call an aha moment.


SOMERS:  And I remember one day watching John.  I would say he was my teacher.  And I watched him.  And one day, I went oh, oh.  I get it. 


SCARBOROUGH:  I am still waiting for that aha moment in television. 

Suzanne Somers on Broadway, I‘m sure you are not going to want to miss it, if you get out to New York. 

Now, a teacher is accused of having sex with a student.  And she has a surprise for the court today—those details coming up next.  You will hear her when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.  And, no, she wasn‘t wearing that in court.  That would have caused a problem for her, also. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, if you want to be the smartest person at work and actually read some stories I‘ll guarantee you most other Americans don‘t get a chance to look at, like one out of Seattle which I‘ll be posting tomorrow morning, check out my morning read for the latest hot stories of the day.  You can find it at Joe.MSNBC.com.

We‘ll be right back with a thoroughbred of a story.


SCARBOROUGH:  You may remember Debra Lafave.  She‘s the Florida middle school teacher who had numerous sexual liaisons with a 14-year-old student last June. 

Well, now she has broken off plea negotiations and claims that she was insane at the time of the affair insane, and insane due to stress.  Obviously, she was also insane when she took those pictures on that motorcycle, or else got really bad fashion advice. 

Anyway, we will be following the story for you as it progresses.  Now, take that down.  That is just ugly, ugly, nasty stuff. 

Friends, that‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Make sure to watch Imus tomorrow morning.  His guests are going to include Senator Joe Biden, a guy who is going to be running for president in 2008. 

If you got something to say, e-mail me at Joe@MSNBC.com.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.


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Watch Scarborough Country each weeknight at 10 p.m. ET


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