updated 8/12/2005 9:39:15 AM ET 2005-08-12T13:39:15

Guest: Edna Buchanan, Sonya Thomas

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”:  You loved him as a kid. 

You trust him as a mother.  Ladies and gentlemen, Tucker Carlson. 

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Joe Scarborough, I didn‘t even know you were talking about me.  I‘m so impressed.  Thank you very much. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I was.  Have a great show, Tucker, baby. 

CARLSON:  Thanks, Joe, you‘re the best.  Appreciate it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You too. 

CARLSON:  Well, welcome to THE SITUATION, to discuss our favorite topics of the night.  It is 11 p.m. in Scranton, Pennsylvania, 8 in Tarzana, California.  It is brunch in Hong Kong.  We are live with the latest news in between. 

That includes tattoo haters getting their way in the state of Illinois.  That includes Saudis getting their way in Virginia.  And the speed eater having her way with bratwurst, live on this show.  You won‘t want to miss that.  But at this moment, here‘s THE SITUATION. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I would recommend the death penalty. 

CARLSON (voice-over):  If you kill a cop, don‘t expect mercy from the cops.  George and Jennifer Hyatte were captured last night in Columbus, 36 hours after a deadly courthouse shoot-out.  In 11 hours, they‘ll face an extradition hearing in Ohio that likely will send them home to Tennessee for what ought to be harsh justice. 

The rector of New York‘s famed St. Patrick‘s Cathedral is throwing in the frock.  Monsignor Eugene Clark resigned today amid allegations he‘s involved in an affair with his married secretary.  Both deny any wrongdoing, but a private detective did videotape the pair leaving a hotel together in the Hamptons. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Is it true?  I mean, is it just a fabrication?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think it would be a shame. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It would have to be proven first, and it is upsetting. 

CARLSON:  They were not there to minister to the poor.

(END VIDEOTAPE) 

CARLSON:  The battle of the sexes is raging at Virginia Tech University.  It was sparked by a summer program from visiting faculty from Saudi Arabia.  The classes require separate rooms for men and for women.  The problem, Virginia Tech is a state-sponsored university.  And the U.S.  government is not Saudi Arabia.  We let women drive, for one thing, and go to class with men. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON (voice-over):  A new proposal in Dallas would require school administrators to learn Spanish if their schools are more than 50 percent Hispanic, which is a great idea.  We want to be the Balkans or Quebec or some other hell hole where bilingualism has torn one country into two. 

This Oklahoma man was taken into custody after airport screeners detected a crude home-made explosive device in his luggage.  FBI investigators say this did not appear to be a terror attempt, proving that while all terrorists may be stupid creeps, not all stupid creeps are terrorists. 

Well, you can vote and join the army if you‘re under 21 in the state of Illinois, but you can‘t get a tattoo.  At least not legally, because Governor Rod Blagojevich just vetoed a law that would have made it legal.  The question is: who over 21 is short-sighted enough to get a tattoo?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hey, whatever. 

CARLSON:  Be careful to be attentive and interested in your phone call, gentlemen.  Researchers at MIT are hard at work on crucial research on the jerkmeter.  That‘s a cell phone technology that can detect in your voice your level of interest in a phone conversation.  At the very least, it will save blind daters time and effort. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  Well, to discuss our favorite topics of the night, welcome to my favorite Air America radio host, the ever effervescent Rachel Maddow. 

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO HOST:  Thanks, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  So Rachel, the Saudis want to impose their mores on Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, segregating men and women, and my feeling is, tough.  We have no—we are not bound to respect your traditions, especially when they‘re repugnant and they go against our basic values. 

And one of our basic values is, you know, women ought to be allowed to drive.  Men and women ought to be allowed to go to class together.  I don‘t have respect for that custom, and I don‘t think we should abide by it. 

MADDOW:  I think we actually agree to this—agree on this to a point.  I mean, they wanted to come here to send their faculty, to have an American educational experience.  Right? 

And guess what, in American colleges, we don‘t segregate the faculty by sex, and so you can‘t do that here.  And I think that Virginia Tech should have seen that coming. 

But where we probably disagree here is that I think that it‘s weird that this isn‘t a bigger deal.  How can this just be a learning moment for Virginia Tech, which is how they described it?  This is an outrage, and it ought to be an outrage.  And if it were somebody other than Saudi Arabia, it probably would be. 

CARLSON:  Well, I‘ll tell you why it‘s not, because America isn‘t confident enough in its own culture.  This is what we‘re fighting for.  It‘s our culture that we‘re—that we‘re fighting for.

MADDOW:  I totally disagree. 

CARLSON:  When the British came to India, they said, “I‘m sorry if it‘s your tradition to throw widows on the funeral pyre.  You can‘t.  You‘re not allowed to do that.”  And we should have the same culturally jingoistic attitude that the British have. 

MADDOW:  We should have—we should take a hard line attitude towards Saudi Arabia on some things.  Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil seller in the world.  We‘re the biggest oil customer in the world.  And so we excuse everything from Saudi Arabia.   We excuse them on cultural issues.  We excuse them on political issues.  We excuse them on terrorism and military issues. 

Saudi Arabia gets a huge pass in the U.S. because we need their oil, and that‘s an embarrassment and it hurts our country. 

CARLSON:  I do think the Saudi royal family is our ally on terrorists to the extent they‘re threatened by al Qaeda, as well.  And they genuinely are threatened.

But I think you‘re absolutely right in that we kowtow to their mores.  Again, we didn‘t allow female enlisted personnel in Saudi Arabia when they were stationed there to drive.  And I think our attitude should have just been, we‘re protecting you in the region, and our women are going to drive.  And if you don‘t like it, tough.

MADDOW:  I wish we did take harder line on that.  That said, Saddam Hussein, also enemy of al Qaeda, not protected.  Not particularly an ally of ours because of it.

CARLSON:  A whole another conversation. 

MADDOW:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Now on to Dallas school administrators that are being told they need to learn Spanish.  Talk about getting it exactly backwards.  Teachers being told they need to learn Spanish.  No, teachers need to teach English to the kids in the school. 

Bilingualism is the fastest possible way to split your country.  Quebec did this in Canada 26 -- 36 years ago, 1969.  They required members of the government, certain members of the government to be proficient in both French and English.  And they almost immediately had a separatist movement on their hands.  There is no bilingual country on this planet I‘m aware of that has a placid domestic scene.  Bilingualism, ultimately, will rip your country into two. 

MADDOW:  But consider the fact that in Texas, a lot of kids do speak Spanish.

CARLSON:  Yes.

MADDOW:  A lot of their parents do only speak Spanish in some cases. 

And yes, you want them to be able to speak English. 

But this local school board has made the decision that it would be better for the kids in the school board if the teachers in these schools, where it‘s a majority, non-English speaking, could speak Spanish. 

And you like when local school boards want to make decisions about—that favor teaching religion. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

MADDOW:  I like local school boards to have any—to have the right to do anything they want except teach religion, because I think that‘s unconstitutional.  This local school board has made the decision about what‘s best for teaching kids there locally.  Let them do it.

CARLSON:  Well, I‘m not contesting the right.  I‘m contesting the wisdom.  I think they ought to be allowed to do it.  I just don‘t think they should.  And the reason is language is culture.  We‘re bound together not by race or ethnicity or religion in this country, but by language.  English is what holds us together, and when you dilute that, you fall apart. 

MADDOW:  I want teachers to be able to communicate with kids and their parents.  Dallas, they‘ve decided this is the best way to do it.  I‘m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, because I don‘t live there. 

CARLSON:  I‘m not. 

If you think that‘s terrible, Illinois, where under 21 kids still can not get tattoos.  Talk about an abridgement of our basic freedoms, the freedom of young people to deface their own bodies.  This is fundamental to what it is to be American. 

Look, kids can -- 18-year-olds can go to war, 17-year-olds, in fact, can go to war, and they do.  They ought to be allowed to tattoo themselves.  And the beauty of tattoos is, when you‘re older, they remind you that you were under 21 once.  Because only a person under 21 would be short sighted enough to have “death before dishonor” tattooed on their shoulder.  Right? 

MADDOW:  Right.  But at the same time, I feel like this is we‘re starting to see the opening salvos in what‘s going to be the great “Reefer Madness” panic about tattoos.  We‘re starting to see tattoos be banned from certain workplaces.  We‘re starting to see tattoos being made illegal in specific places. 

And you know what?  There are a lot of really boring people in this country, who have really bad tattoos, and that‘s the best deterrence ever.  There‘s no statute.  There‘s no imprisonment that can do more against you, that can do more to deter you from tattoos than having Clay Aiken on your chest.  I mean, you‘ve got to live with that forever. 

CARLSON:  That is certainly quite—in other words, like getting a tattoo is equivalent.  It‘s about as dangerous as going to Applebee‘s.  At that point, people aren‘t going to want tattoos?

MADDOW:  Tree frogs with pleated pants.  You know, this whole—anybody with an arm band.  That‘s the Honda accord of tattoos, and every accountant in the country has one.  It‘s not dangerous anymore.  It doesn‘t hurt you anymore.

CARLSON:  It is dangerous in some places.  I believe it‘s the Houston police department that has now disallowed police officers from having visible tattoos. 

MADDOW:  Which is such a bad idea because if there‘s anything that makes a Houston police officer look tough, it‘s a Clay Aiken tattoo on his forearm. 

CARLSON:  I suspect they‘re not Clay Aiken.  I think they‘re, you know, barbed wire, growling bull dogs.  Do you know what I mean?

MADDOW:  Even that‘s been ruined.  Barbed wire tattoo?  Everybody thinks, Pam Anderson.  I mean, it just doesn‘t seem tough anymore.  Doesn‘t make you dangerous.

CARLSON:  That‘s a good point, Pam Anderson, not so dangerous. 

MADDOW:  Yes, fair enough.

CARLSON:  Can be dangerous.  Speaking of dangerous, Rachel Maddow.

MADDOW:  Thanks, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Dangerous, but welcome on this program.  Thanks. 

Still to come, “The Outsider,” Max Kellerman, joins us me to debate three scintillating topics.  The question, Max, have you honed your arguments to razor sharpness?

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN:  No, I haven‘t, Tucker, but I‘m going to do my best anyway. 

CARLSON:  Good.  I like that.  You‘re so eager, Max.  Thank you.  I hope they remain dull. 

Right after a break, a crime expert who believes long missing Natalee Holloway could very well still be alive.  You may be surprised where the expert thinks she may be. 

Plus, there are news-makers, and then there are news-makers who are also competitive eaters.  We‘re joined by the latter, world record holder in the ultra competitive bratwurst category.  Sonya Thomas, sausage eater, will demonstrate her remarkable talents on this show as THE SITUATION rolls on.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  After the break, Pulitzer writing crime author Edna Buchanan joins me to discus why some women are attracted to the most violent men in America.  The “Crime Blotter” is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  It‘s time for the seamiest part of the show, our journey into dark alleys and tough neighborhoods.  It‘s time for THE SITUATION “Crime Blotter.”

Some days, it seems like every other story in the blotter involves illicit teacher-student sex.  This happens to be one of those days. 

Twenty-eight-year-old Pamela Rogers, a Tennessee elementary school teacher, pleaded guilty today on four counts of sexual battery by an authority figure for having a sexual affair with a 13-year-old student.  Rogers, a former homecoming queen, got 270 days behind bars and will surrender her state teaching certificate for life.  And the obvious point, she‘s pretty good looking, too. 

Next, the dramatic capture of suspected rapist in Pembroke Pines, Florida, today.  A woman who is now in good condition at a local hospital told police she was raped after a man followed her off a city bus this morning.  Police locked down six schools in the area as they searched for the subject.  The schools have since been reopened. 

In the annals of crime, this one just leaves you scratching your head.  Two armed masked men held up a Waffle House restaurant in Georgia before dawn Wednesday.  They took cash, employees‘ jewelry, as well as two Waffle House aprons, leaving the perplexed employees locked in a storage room.

We are honored to be joined by not simply one of the best crime reporters of this age, but one of the best of any age.  Edna Buchanan won the Pulitzer Prize for her crime reporting for “The Miami Herald.”  She now is a best selling crime novelist.  Her latest is called “Shadows.”  She joins us.

Edna Buchanan, thank you. 

EDNA BUCHANAN, AUTHOR:  You‘re welcome. 

CARLSON:  Tell me, the most interesting thing to me about this Tennessee fugitive story is why Jennifer Hyatte, who had been married, had children, was a nurse, not a loser, would marry one, would marry a prison inmate.  What‘s the psychology there?

BUCHANAN:  When I was a reporter, every week we‘d have some new woman come walking into the newsroom with stacks of legal files, looking for help for the man she loves, trying to have him released from prison and wanting help from reporters.  And it was never some long suffering sweetheart who had known him since childhood.  It was never a loyal wife.  It was always some new woman who met him in prison and fell for him there. 

And I think it‘s because women are nurturing and they think they can help him, they can change him.  Or maybe it‘s just that they‘re more compassionate.  Because male prisoners—male citizens don‘t—aren‘t groupies for women in prison. 

CARLSON:  No, you don‘t see that very often. 

BUCHANAN:  No, but Scott Peterson has had marriage proposals.  And it seems like the worse the crime, the more the groupies flock to a serial killer or a wife killer or a child killer.  It‘s really difficult to believe. 

CARLSON:  Now, this guy, George Hyatte, had been arrested for aggravated rape, and like a lot of prisoners who end up marrying women on the outside, he had displayed signs of violence against women.  I mean, that just strikes me as completely bizarre. 

BUCHANAN:  Yes.  Well, we even have had a murderer who escaped with the help of the warden‘s wife, and the warden‘s wife ran off to Mexico with him and was living there with him for years until “America‘s Most Wanted” or someone tracked them down.  So it‘s really common, more common than most people realize. 

CARLSON:  Completely bizarre. 

BUCHANAN:  They write letters all the time.  They have nothing else to do but write romantic love letters. 

CARLSON:  Well, you think of all the sort of decent unmarried men in the world.  Why would you want to give your heart to some creep in prison?

The Arkansas school shooter was released today, he was, as you remember, 13 when he committed those killings.  I think he shot and killed five people, wounded a number of others, and he‘s out.  Today is his 21st birthday.  What do you think of that?

BUCHANAN:  It‘s absolutely horrendous, and you know that because he served his time as a juvenile, now when he commits his next crime, he will be tried as a first offender, and he‘ll get another break as a first offender.  And if he kills his parents, he‘ll probably ask for leniency because he‘s an orphan. 

I mean, it‘s ridiculous because—and horrendous because of these five families.  It‘s never over for them.  Think how they feel watching this young man be released from prison and live a life.  And it‘s almost certain that he‘ll do something like this again.  That was a terrible crime. 

CARLSON:  But don‘t we hope that he can be rehabilitated, that people can get better? I mean, you‘ve watched a lot of crimes over many years.  Do people get better?  Are they rehabilitated?

BUCHANAN:  Very, very rarely, and people who are that evil at that age, I would like to know what happened to the grandfather whose high-powered weapons were used by these children?  There‘s a law in Florida against—that would put a gun owner in jail if he lets his gun, any weapon fall into the hands of a child.  Was that grandfather ever charged?  Did he go to jail? He was indirectly responsible for the killing of five people.

CARLSON:  Interesting.  Now, what about Natalee Holloway?  What is your theory?  You construct very complicated crime stories in your novels, and of course, you have covered complicated crime stories.  What‘s your guess about what happened in this one?

BUCHANAN:  Well, common sense tells you that she‘s dead.  The lies that the boys have told tells you that she‘s dead. 

But we don‘t have forensics, a bloody crime scene or a body to tell us that she is dead, and in these kinds of cases, I always like to hold on to some little ray of hope. 

I think that‘s why I enjoy writing fiction now, because journalism so rarely has happy endings.  When you‘re a fiction writer, you can write the happy ending.  I tend to hope, even if it‘s 99.99 sure she is dead, I like to think that there‘s a possibility, a slim thread that she might come home alive. 

CARLSON:  Where would she be, do you think, if she were still alive?

BUCHANAN:  Whoever would have thought that Elizabeth Smart would come home alive?

CARLSON:  That‘s a good point. 

BUCHANAN:  She could be in Venezuela. 

What about if one of the stories that Joran told about how he walked away from her and left her on the beach, what if that‘s true and someone else spirited her off the island?  It‘s entirely possible, not probable, but it could be. 

Miracles happen.  Happy endings do occasionally happen in real life and in journalism.  And no one expected Elizabeth Smart to come alive. 

CARLSON:  That‘s true. 

BUCHANAN:  And miracles do happen. 

CARLSON:  That‘s true.  And not everybody who is accused is guilty, Gary Condit, great example, for which we still have not apologized here in the press. 

Edna Buchanan, something who has nothing to apologize for. 

BUCHANAN:  Security guard. 

CARLSON:  That‘s exactly right.  Richard Jewell, who just looked like the kind of guy who would set off a bomb but in fact, didn‘t. 

BUCHANAN:  Exactly. 

CARLSON:  Thanks a lot for joining us.  Edna Buchanan, her new novel, “Shadows.”  Thanks. 

BUCHANAN:  You‘re welcome. 

CARLSON:  Coming up, the problem with food that is bad for you is that it tastes so good.  Does the government have the right to make it less deadly if it‘s less tasty?

Plus, what happens when kangaroos fall off the marsupial wagon and take a drink of the hard stuff?  They go hopping across the “Cutting Room Floor,” of course.  Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Some things are just inevitable: Rolling Stones tours traffic and weather together, and the nightly appearance of “The Outsider,” a man so news averse he considers “Beetle Bailey” heavy reading.  Here he is.  And his resume literally reads, “I talk, they pay me, what do you want?”  ESPN radio and HBO boxing host, Max Kellerman. 

KELLERMAN:  Who gave you a copy of my resume?

CARLSON:  It was online, on your Match.com profile. 

All right.  Just when you thought life in America couldn‘t get more dangerous, or any scarier, there‘s a new and terrible threat to the republic, and it‘s lurking right in your supermarket.  It‘s called transfat.  It comes from some hydrogenated cooking oils.  Some say it‘s bad for you. 

Now the New York City Health Department has officially requested that restaurants remove artificial transfats from their menus, and also the food suppliers go transfat-free. 

I got a lot of things to say about this, here‘s the first one.  How wimpy can New York get?  New York used to be a tough, you know, people would eat steaks and smoke camels.  You‘d have to fist fight to get a cab, and you‘d have to fight your way through muggers and rats.  And you know what I mean?

Now it‘s New York.  Cut my crust off.  We‘re sensitive in New York. 

No transfat.

KELLERMAN:  Tucker, it‘s just a suggestion.  You know, I remember as a kid, I used to like to go to the Museum of Natural History here in Manhattan to look at the dinosaur bones.  And I‘d go with a friend, and there would be a suggestion, suggested donation to enter the museum, three bucks.  They didn‘t always get three bucks.  Sometimes red penny.  Just a suggestion. 

CARLSON:  But the suggestion is not only annoying on principle.  Government shouldn‘t—unless you‘re serving rat poison, government has no business getting involved in what‘s on your menu.  You know what I mean?  Like your souffle isn‘t high enough.

Here‘s the real problem, though.  New York has something like 165,000 restaurant and bar workers in this city of New York.  OK?  Suggesting, as the city is now doing, that the food in those restaurants is deadly, will strike a serious blow against this industry.  What are you going to say to all those out of work waiters and bus boys?

KELLERMAN:  Well, in the first place, McDonald‘s.  Take McDonald‘s and their documentary, how bad it is for you.  McDonald‘s is actually very good for you. 

The vast majority of people who ever lived on planet Earth would have lived much healthier, longer lives had the only thing they eaten been McDonald‘s.  It has carbohydrate, fats, protein, vitamins.  I mean, it has things that most people who have ever lived on planet Earth haven‘t gotten enough of. 

However, there are healthier alternatives.  It‘s one of the great things about living in America in the year 2005, Tucker, and what‘s wrong with suggesting that people choose THE healthy alternatives?

CARLSON:  Because I‘ve already got one mom.  I‘ve already been in kindergarten.  I don‘t want Mayor Bloomberg telling me what I ought to eat.  Back off, pal, I can make my own decisions.  How‘s that?

KELLERMAN: That‘s fine. 

CARLSON:  All right.  To Cleveland, now.  It‘s not New York, Max, as you know, but it‘s one of those cities that gets a bad rap.  And it might some take a blow in its struggle against migration to the suburbs.

As it stands, people who work for the city of Cleveland --- that‘s teachers, cops, firemen, and all the rest—must live within the city limits.  Legislators in Ohio are close to repealing that residency restriction. 

City officials say it helps maintain neighborhoods with middle class citizens.  In other words, they want to trap people in their city.  Right?  They want to do it by coercion, by force. 

But here‘s the point.  They‘re missing the point.  The point of city services is to serve the people of the city, with the best cops, the best firemen, and God knows you want the best teachers.  Who cares where they come from?  The point is, you want the most effective services you can get because people pay for them. 

You can also look at it from the other point of view, people have the right to live where they want to live. 

CARLSON:  Exactly. 

KELLERMAN:  Municipalities also have the right to say we will only employee our own residents.  If you think about it, there are financial incentives all the time for business.  Business, corporations gets tax breaks in order to entice them to come and do business.  This is the same thing.  It‘s a financial incentive for people to live where they work. 

CARLSON:  Yes, but maybe people don‘t want to live in Cleveland.  Maybe the city is having to force to live in Cleveland because services are so bad. 

KELLERMAN:  And this is a way to improve them right?  You‘re getting a certain kind of person that you feel is desirable, with a steady income, you know, because it‘s coming from the state—from the city, living in those neighborhoods, making it a better place to live. 

CARLSON:  You‘re narrowing the pool of prospective employees, saying only this tiny group can work for the city.  They should say, anybody can work for the city as long as he‘s a U.S. citizen and can speak. 

KELLERMAN:  There‘s an up side and a down side.  As Yogurt said in “Space Balls,” Tucker, there are two sides to every Schwartz.  That‘s the down side. 

CARLSON:  OK. 

All right.  Moving on, a lot of people see this country as a battle between conservatives and liberals.  And a new study by the Bay Area Center for Voting Research in California, has determined that the capital city for each camp exists. 

As measured by voting patterns, Provo, Utah, is America‘s single most conservative city.  Detroit, Michigan, meanwhile, the most liberal.  Here‘s the real question, where would you rather live?  Let me bring up a couple of statistics for you, Max. 

KELLERMAN:  Go ahead. 

CARLSON:  Detroit, Provo.  Provo, the most conservative city in America.  Last year, they had zero murders.  Not one.  Detroit, by contrast, last year, 385 murders.  Detroit‘s unemployment rate, more than twice that of Provo‘s.  Provo, voted one of the nicest places in America to live, Detroit, no. 

KELLERMAN:  You know what else they didn‘t have any of in Provo last year or this year or any year, Tucker?

CARLSON:  What?

KELLERMAN:  An interesting conversation. 

Let me tell you something about Detroit, Michigan, OK?  They make things in Detroit.  Cars, music, prize fighters.  Detroit is the city of the Cadillac.  Detroit is the city of Stevie Wonder, of Sugar Ray Robinson.  They make things in Detroit.  It‘s a classic American city.  You want to compare Provo to Detroit?  Are you sure you want to do that?

CARLSON:  A lot of computer software is made in Detroit—in Provo, rather. 

The point is, I agree with you, there probably are more interesting conversations in Detroit.

KELLERMAN:  Yes.

CARLSON:  “Give me your money.”

“No, don‘t hurt me,” things like that. 

But the bottom line is if you‘re more likely to get killed in a city, right, you don‘t want to live there.  OK?  So that is the fruit of the politics of Detroit, 385 murders.  Provo, zero murders.  That tells you all you need to know.

KELLERMAN:  But the population of Detroit is so much bigger than Provo.  And you know what?  I‘ll bet you, and it‘s sad, but I‘ll bet you there‘s correlation between how interesting a place to live is and the murder rate.  I mean, I hate to say it, but it‘s probably true, right?

CARLSON:  I think if by interesting you mean terrifying and life-threatening, I don‘t think there‘s any question.  Baghdad, one of the most interesting cities in the world. 

KELLERMAN:  You want to live forever, Tucker?  You want to live forever?  Have you been to the river walk?  They‘re supposed to be revitalizing the river.  It‘s beautiful.  You‘re looking right at Canada.  It‘s beautiful.

CARLSON:  They‘re trying.  The renaissance center, waiting for another renaissance. 

Max Kellerman, thank you. 

KELLERMAN:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Still ahead, Willie Geist joins us next with tomorrow‘s headlines tonight.  Will, what do you have?

WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER: Hello, Tucker.

Now I know Max is playing devil‘s advocate because he loves Provo, Utah.  He gets out there whenever he can. 

Tucker, we‘ve got some late breaking terror warning here at home, and we‘ll tell you where you should be at 4:18 this morning. 

CARLSON:  Goes without saying, we‘ll be there. 

Plus, speed eating champion Sonya Thomas, standing by just waiting to demonstrate her bratwurst munching ability.  You‘ll only see it here.  Don‘t change the channel.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.

As parents we teach our children to eat slowly to help digestion and it appears mannerly.  However, there are no blue ribbons for table manners.  To get a prize, you have to eat like it‘s your last meal and very few do it better than Sonya Thomas.

Last weekend she won the Johnsonville Brat Eating World Championship in a world record time and a grilled cheese eating contest in San Diego.  The woman known as the Black Widow is currently ranked second in the world by the International Federation of Competitive Eating.

She joins me now. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  Sonya, thanks a lot for joining us.

SONYA THOMAS, COMPETITIVE EATING CHAMP:  Hello.

CARLSON:  The obvious first question, Sonya, is how did you get involved in competitive eating?

You know what exactly about two years ago, a little over two years and then when I was watching the TV and they were showing eating contests on TV and then I said, “Oh, maybe I can try out and so I can see on TV my face.”  So, I just tried out and it came out good.

CARLSON:  But you weigh 99 pounds.  Why did you think you‘d be good at eating the most bratwurst in the world for instance?

THOMAS:  You know the size doesn‘t matter because it‘s all your mind, mind and a little bit of a physical too.  And then, my weight is only 99 pounds but that is just body.  I can stretch my stomach, you know.  I can stretch my stomach to like about, I can hold for about, you know, like over 15 pound of food.

CARLSON:  Fifteen pounds of food in your stomach.  How do you stretch your stomach?

THOMAS:  I drink, I drink a lot of, you know, like liquid, like a Diet Coke or water to (INAUDIBLE) so it can stretch the stomach.

CARLSON:  So when you‘re not competitively eating what do you eat? 

What‘s a normal day for you?

THOMAS:  A normal day is I work at a fast food restaurant so I have to eat there because I cannot go anywhere, so I eat their food, you know, like kind of a chicken sandwich with the fries and big drinks, a big Diet Coke.  That‘s my regular meal I eat.

CARLSON:  Do you ever—do you ever practice competitive eating at work to see how many fries you can eat say?

THOMAS:  No.  No, no, not there, no.  At work it‘s just—I‘m just like normal.

CARLSON:  It‘s not just grilled cheese.  It‘s not just bratwurst.  You ate 65 hard-boiled eggs in six minutes.  You ate 167, 167 chicken wings in 32 minutes.  What‘s your favorite thing to speed eat?

THOMAS:  Speed eat I think is, I think one of them is Johnsonville brats and I think oysters.  Oysters is best to eat and eggs, hard-boiled eggs too.

CARLSON:  Do you taste any of it?THOMAS:  I‘m sorry?

CARLSON:  Do you taste the food as you eat it or it just goes straight down?

THOMAS:  Yes, straight down.  You know actually you cannot taste the food when you eat, do eating show time contest.

CARLSON:  Well, I know that you have an EMT with you in the studio there.  What are the risks associated with competitive eating?  What can go wrong?

THOMAS:  What can go wrong is sometimes, you know, like if you don‘t, like this is—if you do it every day I don‘t think it‘s not good.  It‘s heavy.

CARLSON:  I don‘t want to put you in peril but I think it‘s time now to see what you do best.  Sonya Thomas, would you mind eating those bratwurst in front of you for our viewers?

THOMAS:  Yes.

CARLSON:  You ready?

THOMAS:  Yes.  This is what I ate last time contest.  This is 35 Johnsonville brats.

CARLSON:  All right, now very quickly are you sponsored by Johnsonville brats?

THOMAS:  No, there was an eating contest event that‘s why, yes.

CARLSON:  OK.  OK.  All right.  Sonya Thomas, go to it.

THOMAS:  OK.

CARLSON:  Ladies and gentlemen, here she is.  The world speed eating champion.  No one can eat brats faster than Sonya Thomas.  There she is (INAUDIBLE).  She breaks it in half.  She stuffs them in.  Can we turn up our audio a little bit?  There you go. 

Notice the concentration.  Nothing I getting between her and the brats.  That is remarkable, the well timed sips, enough to lubricate but not too much, not enough to fill her up, a lot of chewing involved, more than you would expect.

You would think given the shape of a brat you could suck it on down like a sardine but she doesn‘t.  She chews them.  That‘s legitimately eating.  That‘s not just scarfing (ph).  That‘s not inhaling.  She‘s eating those brats.

Look at that.  She doesn‘t slow down though, breathing through her nose of course.  Look at that.  That is incredible.  That is incredible.  I believe she‘s on her fourth brat but you know the plate doesn‘t even look any smaller.

Uhm, there‘s a grunt of satisfaction there. 

Yes, Sonya?

THOMAS:  Uh huh.

CARLSON:  That‘s incredible.  I think I‘d feel a little guilty if I asked you to keep going but at that pace I have no doubt you‘d be able to finish that plate like that.  You‘re incredible.  How do you feel?  Give me the after action report.

THOMAS:  It‘s good.

CARLSON:  Is it really?  You like the brats for real?

THOMAS:  Yes.  That‘s why I eat so many.

CARLSON:  Really, so it really is an act of love.  It‘s not just, you don‘t just do it for the competition?

THOMAS:  Yes, this is really delicious and this is sweet so that‘s why I ate so many.

CARLSON:  Sweet.

THOMAS:  Yes, a little sweet.

CARLSON:  Now I know that you‘re sort of locked in this, I don‘t want to say death throws, but I mean in this very intense competition with the great Kobayashi, maybe the best known competitive eater in the world, I believe he‘s number one, do you know Mr. Kobayashi?

THOMAS:  Oh, yes, of course.  I competed one on one, yes.

CARLSON:  One on one.

THOMAS:  Yes.

CARLSON:  Do you think at some point you‘re going to overtake him?

THOMAS:  Yes, that‘s my goal and I‘m going to take him down.

CARLSON:  Are you really?

THOMAS:  Oh, yes, that‘s my goal.

CARLSON:  Good for you.  Sonya Thomas, I hope you do.  And, by the way, we should note that you‘ve been in this country only ten years.  This is an only in America success story.  Welcome to our country, Sonya.

THOMAS:  Thank you very much.

CARLSON:  We‘re really glad to have you.  Thanks so much.

THOMAS:  Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON:  We‘re glad to report that Sonya is OK now.

Well now it‘s time for some news you‘ll be talking about tomorrow.  Let‘s welcome our producer Willie Geist, normally seen on the “Cutting Room Floor” for some breaking stories—Willie.

GEIST:  How about you, Howard Cosell on the play-by-play there?  That was impressive.

CARLSON:  It was easy.

GEIST:  Didn‘t anyone ever teach you not to ask a lady a question with her mouth full?  She‘s got 18 sausages in her mouth and you ask her a follow-up question.

CARLSON:  I couldn‘t help it.  That was one of the most compelling things I‘ve ever seen.

GEIST:  Unbelievable.  That was the best segment we‘ve done and we may ever do, so good. 

Now I hate to de-mystify television...

CARLSON:  Yes.

GEOIST: ...but I don‘t know if our viewers may have noticed I think you made a quick change in between those two segments.

CARLSON:  That‘s the magic of television.

GEIST:  You during the interview on the right, you currently on the left.

CARLSON:  Yes, I think I got a haircut and lost about nine pounds too.

GEIST:  You did.  We must admit it was taped a little earlier in the day.  There was an incident in the cafeteria and he was forced to change clothes.

CARLSON:  I think it was taped a little earlier in the year.

GEIST:  He‘s a messy eater.

CARLSON:  So, what‘s been, what‘s happened since we‘ve been on the air Willie?

GEIST:  Well, from the smooth transition department, the New York Times is actually reporting just now that the FBI is warning about potential attacks involving fuel tanker trucks around September 11th involving New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.  So, they‘re going to make some announcement about that tomorrow, so we‘ll keep our eyes on that.

And here‘s the rest of your business.

CARLSON:  All right, thanks.

NARAL Pro-Choice America said late tonight it‘s pulling a TV ad that links Supreme Court nominee John Roberts to violent anti-abortion activists.  That ad, of course, criticized Roberts for briefs he wrote when he worked as a government lawyer.  A lot of Republicans, even pro-choice Republicans like Arlen Specter, attacked the ad as inaccurate, outrageously so.  This is one of those spots, you know, all political ads are over the top by definition, right?

GEIST:  Right.

CARLSON:  But this is one of those ads that was so over the top I think it was counterproductive.

GEIST:  Yes.

CARLSON:  It actually helped Roberts.

GEIST:  Well it was interesting.  They were still defending it on Hardball today and they pulled it just a couple of hours ago.  But, I mean, you know when Schumer and Leahy and those guys are not pouncing on this, you know there‘s probably nothing to it.

CARLSON:  Well, yes.  I mean you look at John Roberts and it‘s just impossible to imagine him bombing an abortion clinic, plus he was actually on record as saying bombing abortion clinics is wrong.

GEIST:  That‘s right.

CARLSON:  Next up, Perseid, that‘s the best known meteor shower, I never heard of it I‘ll confess, but it‘s very well known.  It appears every summer and it‘s expected to be exceptional tonight.  You can see it this very evening at 4:18 Eastern Time.  That‘s less than five hours from now.  I guess my pitch should be if you stay up this late to watch a show, you can stay up for Perseid.

GEIST:  Sure.

CARLSON:  The shower is expected to produce a meteor every minute.

GEIST:  It‘s supposed to be cool.  If you‘re outside of a city, you should check it out.  I‘m just trying to think where I‘ll be at 4:18.  I wonder if you can see it from the 24 OTB?  Do you think you can see it pretty clearly?

CARLSON:  I doubt you can.

GEIST:  Because that‘s where I‘ll be playing at about that time.

CARLSON:  In Hoboken, now here‘s a sad story, British Airways stranded 20,000 passengers at London‘s Heathrow Airport tonight.  They cancelled all flights until 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  It turns out a caterer was on strike and then the baggage handlers and bus drivers walked out in solidarity, 120 British Airways flights cancelled, 100 planes stuck around the world and not just in places like Heathrow, I would imagine.

GEIST:  No.

CARLSON:  But in places like Wagadugu Burkina Faso, right?

GEIST:  Right.

CARLSON:  You know in Nairobi and other places where you don‘t want to spend the night at the airport.  This is pretty outrageous.  I personally would be happy to, you know, go buy some snacks at the commissary at Heathrow and get on the plane.

GEIST:  Right.

CARLSON:  You don‘t need the caterers.

GEIST:  Right, well the fact that this is over food is ridiculous.  It sounds to me like the boys in baggage just wanted the day off.  “Oh, the food guys are striking, yes, let‘s get out of here.”

CARLSON:  No, no, this is international worker solidarity. 

GEIST:  Oh.

CARLSON:  Anything that gets in the way of fluid inexpensive airline travel I‘m violently opposed to.  This is worth going to war over in my opinion.

GEIST:  I agree.  Hopefully this is resolved tomorrow.

There‘s one last important note.  Tomorrow potentially, she denies it, but we‘re hearing the runaway bride, Jennifer Wilbanks, may walk down the aisle tomorrow night.

CARLSON:  For real?

GEIST:  Yes, we‘re reporting it here.  She‘s still denying it but...

CARLSON:  I believe she‘s registered at Bed, Bath & Beyond or something.

GEIST:  She was registered at Pottery Barn.  Actually, sadly I have a copy of her registry if you‘d like to get her something.

CARLSON:  Yes.

GEIST:  But they‘ve pulled that off the Web site so I don‘t know.

CARLSON:  That‘s too bad.

GEIST:  She‘s leaving some mystery.

CARLSON:  If you want to buy her a gift, you‘re just going to have to be creative.

GEIST:  That‘s right and there‘s still time to run Jenny.

CARLSON:  Willie Geist, see you on the “Cutting Room Floor.”

GEIST:  All right.

CARLSON:  Coming up, just when you thought the world couldn‘t get anymore interesting there‘s now a way to learn the innermost thoughts of “The Donald.”  Get your pen and paper ready for news you can peruse.

Plus, it‘s got to be difficult being as tall as this guy is, can‘t buy clothes off the rack, coach class is a physical impossibility and you always bump your head on the way to the door to the “Cutting Room Floor.”  Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.

Sitting in for Meadowlark Lemmon I‘m Tucker Carlson; this week we begin a new segment “Voicemail.”  We want to hear exactly what you have to say about the show, topics in the news, if you can‘t control yourself, even me.  First up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE, WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Hi, this is Grace calling from Washington, D.C. and I just wanted to comment on the four-star general who was dismissed for having an alleged affair.  I am completely outraged by this.  Why is it any business of the military what this person does in his private life?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Grace, you make an excellent point.  You got to think there‘s more to this story.  This guy is in charge of training for the Army.  We have a war going on.  You got to think there‘s something appalling that has not reached the newspapers yet.  If what we‘re reading now is true, this man was already separated from his wife, about to be divorced.  He had an affair with a civilian, who he didn‘t work with, and he got fired.  It‘s an outrage—next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEL, REDDING, PENNSYLVANIA:  Hey, Tucker, this is Del calling from Redding, PA.  I recently read an article in the Washington Post about boredom at work.  Let me tell you I‘m so bored at work I can barely stay awake.  How about you?  The shows I‘ve been watching you look pretty bored.  What‘s the story?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Well, thank you Del.  I appreciate that.  No, look, reading the reviews of the show alone is enough to keep me excited and awake.  This is the least boring job you can imagine—next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY, SOUTH BEND, INDIANA:  Hi, my name is Henry.  I‘m calling from South Bend, Indiana and I got to tell you I saw yesterday that bathroom blogger on your show and he is so right.  I can‘t stand that a lot of these public bathrooms don‘t have doors to the stalls and the urinals don‘t have dividers and they‘re all too close together and I can‘t stand getting sprayed on my leg.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  So your point is what public bathrooms are nasty?  Of course they‘re nasty.  They‘re public.  Do you expect them to be nice?  Look, if they were nice you‘d spend way too much time in them and that would be wrong, so it‘s good that they‘re nasty and they‘ll never change.  They‘ll always be bad.  They‘re public restrooms—next up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KOLMER, PEIOIA, ILLINOIS:  Hey, my name is John Kolmer, K-O-L-M-E-R, Peoria, Illinois.  Listen, the appearance of an astrologer on what is otherwise a very fine program really drags the whole concept down.  I mean I can‘t believe it.  I mean Tucker Carlson is a smart guy.  He runs a pretty crisp show but I mean I have no idea what this woman is doing on TV.  I mean astrology for gosh sakes?  I mean I thought this was a news program.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Well, John, you‘re talking about a segment we had last night where we had an astrologer on to talk about the news and I bet you‘re expecting me to defend it but I‘m not going to because it would be pretty hard to defend.  Next time we have an astrologer on we‘re going to have a gypsy, complete with a rag around her head, a long nose with a wart on the end and you‘ll be able to very clearly see what the purpose of the segment is.  But, yes, I‘m not going to defend that—next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ASHLEY, ANAHEIM, CA:  Hi, this is to Tucker.  This is Ashley from Anaheim.  I wanted to let you know that some of my friends and I traded a drinking game for the show and we love to thank you for the awkward pauses and miscues while reading the teleprompters and thanks for the hot producer Willie for making jokes that go over your head, happy drinking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  OK, Ashley.  If you‘ve devised a drinking game around all the awkward pauses and all the misreading of teleprompter on this show, you‘re going to be hammered by midnight when we get off.

GEIST:  Ooh, beer.

CARLSON:  When we get off the air because if there‘s one thing we specialize in, it‘s awkward pauses and miscues on the script.  As for Willie Geist, I agree with you. 

All right, that‘s it for that.  Let me know what you‘re thinking.  Call me, 1-877-TCARLSON, numerically that‘s 877-822-7576.  Tell me your thoughts on this show, something in the news, Willie Geist and his hotness or whatever.  We‘ll actually play it on the air.  We‘ll bleep out the profanity.

Coming up, a violent collision in the world of Major League Baseball caught on tape.  These two Mets are OK but the damage certainly would have been lessened if they‘d landed on the soft, cushy, plush “Cutting Room Floor.”  That‘s exactly where they‘ll be next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.

Time for the after dinner drink we call the “Cutting Room Floor.”  Willie Geist joins us with all the odds and ends of news we couldn‘t pack into an otherwise packed show.

GEIST:  Hello, Tucker.  I‘d like to thank my mom first of all for leaving that last message.  I knew she was into cable news drinking games.  I didn‘t know she thought I was hot so that‘s nice.  I appreciate it mom.

CARLSON:  That‘s deeply creepy, Willie.

GEIST:  Thanks, mom.  Go ahead.

CARLSON:  Thank you, sir.

Well, as he will surely remind you, Donald Trump has conquered the worlds of real estate, reality television and more.  Now he‘s out for complete and utter domination of the blogosphere too.  Trump has a new blog at his online Trump University that offers business analysis and advice.

Just yesterday, Trump blogged about corporate corruption.  He writes, “My career is a model of tough, fair dealing and fantastic success without shortcuts, without breaking the law.” 

GEIST:  God, my love for Donald Trump cannot be put into words.  He is so great.  He also last week wrote one called “Success with Style” saying the importance of style in business he says, “The glamour and grandeur of my buildings and life are no mere trappings.  They‘re there for a reason.”  I love it.

CARLSON:  All the faux gilt and mirrors?

GEIST:  Yes, exactly.

CARLSON:  It‘s all real.

GEIST:  I love you, Donald, God.

CARLSON:  Now, to a scary situation in this afternoon‘s Mets/Padres game in San Diego.  New York outfielders Mike Cameron and Carlos Beltran collided head-to-head while running at full speed and diving for a line drive.  Both players lay motionless for several minutes before Beltran got up and walked off the field.  Cameron had to be carried out on a stretcher.  Remarkably, neither player was injured seriously.

GEIST:  Tucker, you know I worked in sports.  That‘s one of the worst baseball collisions or sports collisions I‘ve ever, ever seen.

CARLSON:  Scary looking, I agree.

GEIST:  I know you‘ve got some concerns, if Cameron‘s hurt in right field, what that means for the Mets.

CARLSON:  How are they going to make it to the Stanley Cup?

GEIST:  That‘s right.

CARLSON:  I mean that‘s always my concern.

GEIST:  The sports guy, Tucker Carlson.

CARLSON:  As a long-time sports guy that‘s my concern.

Well, see if you can tell which man in this picture holds a Guinness Book of  World Record, give up?  It‘s that tall drink of water there.  He stand 7‘9” and he is now officially the tallest man on the face of the earth.  He‘s a Chinese herdsman who says he wasn‘t especially tall until the age of 16 when he went on an incredible growth spurt.

GEIST:  Whenever I see these guys all I‘m thinking to myself is develop a 15-foot jump shot.  You‘ll be making $10 million a year, sign up.  Stop shepherding. 

CARLSON:  I know.

GEIST:  Come play for the Knicks.  We need a big man.

CARLSON:  He hasn‘t caught on to that whole globalization thing quite yet.

GEIST:  No, why would you shepherd when you could play in Madison Square Garden?  I just don‘t get it.

CARLSON:  I totally agree with that, the life of the herdsman, though, quite appealing to some.

GEIST:  It is.

CARLSON:  Well, I‘ve been in a lot of bars and I‘ve seen a lot of things but I have to admit I‘ve never saddled up next to a kangaroo.  That‘s probably because I don‘t spend a lot of time at the Comet Inn in Mt.  Victoria, Australia, though I plan to now.  That‘s the favorite watering hole of Baby Boomer.  He‘s an 18-month-old kangaroo.  The bar‘s owner takes are of boomer and that care includes feeding the marsupial‘s constant thirst for ice cold beer.

GEIST:  Kangaroos are known to be mean anyway, so a drunk, mean kangaroo, I don‘t think I would want to cross.  And, look, he can‘t hold his liquor, did you see that?

CARLSON:  Passed out by the fire.

GEIST:  Passed out in the middle of the bar.

CARLSON:  Hitting on some of the ladies.

GEIST:  That‘s weak.

CARLSON:  Unbelievable.

Well, here‘s some advice for all you polygamist viewers.  I know we have a lot of them so pay attention.  If you‘re having heart surgery and you don‘t want your various wives to know about one another, stagger their hospital visits.  That‘s polygamy 101, a lesson that comes courtesy of Melvin Reed (ph). 

He‘s a British man whose three wives showed up at a London hospital to offer him support after his triple bypass surgery.  The women spoke briefly and realized they were all married the very same man.  Reed turned himself in to police and confessed to bigamy an illegal offense in England, probably to get away from his wives.

GEIST:  Yes, I would think so.

CARLSON:  Protective custody.

GEIST:  Is it me or are these gals a little slow on the uptake?  He was living with two other wives.  I‘m just fascinated by the mechanics, the logistics.

CARLSON:  The timing of it.

GEIST:  How do you have three wives?  I‘m totally impressed.

CARLSON:  The traveling salesman cover.

GEIST:  I am totally impressed.

CARLSON:  That‘s the only one that works.

GEIST:  That‘s a lot of travel three wives.

CARLSON:  But you know for all the fun it has been up to this point he‘s about to pay the price.

GEIST:  He‘s going to the slammer.

CARLSON:  Yes, he is.

That‘s “The Situation” for tonight.  Thanks for watching.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Content and programming copyright 2005 NBC.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2005 Voxant, Inc.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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