updated 8/19/2005 10:44:56 AM ET 2005-08-19T14:44:56

Guest: Jonathan Alter, Max Kellerman, Dani Merlino

ALISON STEWART, GUEST HOST:  It‘s 11:00 o‘clock in the East, 10:00 p.m. in Wichita, 7:00 a.m. in Gaza, and we are live with remarkable developments from both locations, as well as the rest of the world, including Crawford, Texas, where anti-war mom, Cindy Sheehan had to leave her vigil.  And from California, Snoop Dog making a bunch of kids really mad at him.

And then from Philadelphia, a live demonstration of yoga, dog yoga—by a real dog.  To help us put all these stories in perspective, we welcome one of the great minds and the great people in the journalism business, “Newsweek” senior editor and columnist, Jonathan Alter.  Hi, Jonathan. 

JONATHAN ALTER, SENIOR EDITOR AND COLUMNIST, NEWSWEEK:  Hi, Alison. 

STWEART:  Well, since you and I have been friends for something like 13 years now... 

ALTER:  That‘s right. 

STEWART:  I just want to talk to you as off-duty reporters now. 

ALTER:  All right. 

STEWART:  Let‘s just talk about some of these stories as we would if we were just sitting around having a cup of coffee.  Let‘s start, first up, with Wichita, Kansas—a gut wrenching day in Wichita.  Dennis Rader, the BTK killer, was sentenced to 175 years in prison for the 10 murders he confessed to committing between 1974 and 1991.  Prosecutors revealed gruesome details, and paraphernalia from his killing spree.  Rader spoke, and spoke, and spoke 30 minutes or so, in open court, almost lecturing about his crimes.  Families of his victims were given five minutes each to speak.  Here are excerpts of their speeches. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEVERLY PLAPP, MURDER VICTIM‘S SISTER:  This man needs to be thrown in a deep, dark hole and left to rot.  He should never, ever see the light of day.  And I have some afterlife scenarios for him on the day he dies.  Nancy and all of his victims will be waiting with god, and watching him as he burns in hell. 

STEPHANIE CLYNE, MURDER VICTIM‘S DAUGHTER:  My mother begged for her life.  Yet he showed no remorse.  He saw that she had a family and a little boy right there in the house with her, yet he continued with his sick plan.  I ask you today, your honor, to show no remorse for him.  Don‘t let this monster have any comforts as he lives out his remaining years in prison.  He isn‘t worthy. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART:  Jonathan, earlier today, all the cable news networks carried Rader‘s 30-minute speech, his ramblings.  Was there any news value in having that televised?

ALTER:  I don‘t think so.  I think they could have run some excerpts of it, and run more from the families of the victims.  They tend to get under-covered in these kinds of stories.  I mean, the level of depravity here is just mind-blowing.  You know, if you ever want to have a debate about whether there‘s true evil in the world, just look at this case.  The particular murder of Josephine Otero, the 11-year-old, is so disgusting that we can‘t even talk about the details on TV.  It‘s just beyond belief how bad this was.  And, you know, fortunately, the judge made sure that he will never see the light of day again. Parole is simply impossible, given the consecutive 10-year sentences, adding up to, I guess, about 175 years. 

STEWART:  But the judge also allowed this to have television cameras, and for this to be broadcast.  There must be some sort of benefit from that. 

ALTER:  Well, I think the benefit is that it does give—because there is this law that allows the victims to make—families of the victims to make a statement, there is a little bit of—catharsis might not be the right word, Alison—but a little sense that they can speak to the American public, and let people know just how evil Rader was. 

STEWART:  And from a journalism point of view, one last point.  I remember reading somewhere, I think Michael Kingsley said, sometimes stories are important, but maybe not necessarily interesting, so we cover them.  Sometimes they‘re interesting, but not necessarily important.  Is this interesting or important, or both, or neither?

ALTER:  Well, you know, crime has always been a staple of news.  In fact, you could argue that it was the very first news thousands of years ago, so I think it‘s a little ridiculous to try to pretend this is not news.  Is it of earth-shaking importance?  No.  But the challenge for us in the news business is to make the important interesting and the interesting important.  So in this case, it‘s interesting. 

We want to lend a little bit of importance to it by focusing on the victims and also by talking about the death penalty, and the fact that this was not possible in this case because it wasn‘t legal in Kansas at the time the crimes were committed.  And I think there is a little bit of a sense that, you know, justice can be done without the death penalty.  I know a lot of people would like to see it in this case, but he will rot in jail forever. 

STEWART:  We will have more from Wichita...

ALTER:  And in hell. 

STEWART:  ... in just a few minutes.  But right now, it‘s just after 7:00 a.m. in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, where the evacuation of Jewish settlers continues.  Thursday afternoon, some hard-liners were evicted by the Israeli army.  The video tells part of the story—soldiers hugging settlers, some resisting, pelting troops with eggs and bricks from a synagogue roof.  Five more settlements were emptied.  The army will continue the evacuation from now until sundown Friday, then resume its work next week. 

Jonathan, I had this circled on my calendar as such a big news day, such an important news day—I really thought a historic news day.  Am I over the top with this?  I mean, is this up there with the Berlin Wall?

ALTER:  This is very important, and you could make a good argument that it is much more important than the BTK situation.  The real question, though, is not so much what happens this week.  We know that the settlements will be dismantled, even if you have them, in some cases, pouring acid on the Israeli soldiers who are trying to remove the Israeli settlers.

But the real question, Alison, is what happens now?  Because if you have withdrawal from the Gaza settlements without withdrawal from the West Bank, can you have peace?  Will the Palestinians credit the Israelis and say, “Ok, finally, they‘re gone, now it‘s up to us to build a new society in Gaza?”

I‘ve been to that place.  It is really a pit.  And it‘s up to the Palestinians now to make something of Gaza.  But if they don‘t get that withdrawal from the West Bank, or at least probably more than the four settlements that Ariel Sharon has agreed to dismantle, I don‘t think you‘re going to have the progress on what they call the roadmap to peace.

So the question is whether this is the end of the Israeli concessions or the beginning of the concessions.  And if it‘s the end, if Israeli society says this and no more, then you probably won‘t have peace in that region.

STEWART:  Let‘s head back to this country.  Cindy Sheehan‘s antiwar protest outside President Bush‘s Crawford, Texas ranch will go on without Cindy Sheehan, at least for a while.  Hours ago, she announced that she was leaving the Lone Star State due to a family crisis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CINDY SHEEHAN:  I‘ll never get to see him again.  I‘ll never get to hear his voice again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART:  For those of you that didn‘t know, Cindy Sheehan‘s mother apparently suffered a stroke, and she left Texas to go be with her family.  Jonathan, would it be wise for President Bush to extend well wishes to the Sheehan family at this point?

ALTER:  Well, I think it would be wise for him just to meet with her, as she‘s requested, even though they‘ve met before.  You can make all sorts of arguments that, you know, it‘s not necessary for him to do this because he doesn‘t meet with families twice, and so forth.  But as a political matter, Alison, it would just be smart for him to do it, because all she‘s doing is rallying the antiwar efforts.

She‘s a real burr in his saddle, and he doesn‘t need this right now.  He‘s way down in the polls.  He‘s less popular than any second term president, except for Richard Nixon.  So why does he need this?  He‘s just being stubborn about it.  And the easiest thing for him to do, the smartest thing for him to do is when she comes back from attending to her mother, he should just have a meeting with her.  And then, at that point, she can go home.  And if she doesn‘t, the press will legitimately be able to ask her, “Look, you got what you came here for.  Isn‘t it time for you to go home?”  And then, she‘ll move offstage.

STEWART:  Something I‘ve been sort of noodling about when I think about Cindy Sheehan is that folks who were antiwar are likely still antiwar.  At least when John Kerry was running, they had somewhere to channel their anger.  They had a voice for it.  And then, after he lost the election, there seemed to be nowhere to express themselves.  And I‘m wondering if Cindy Sheehan is becoming that person for the antiwar movement.

ALTER:  Absolutely.

STEWART:  They haven‘t gone anywhere.

ALTER:  Absolutely.  There really hasn‘t been much of an antiwar movement, and she became a symbol, a kind of catalyst for that antiwar movement, which doesn‘t really have very coherent goals right now.  It‘s not as if everybody wants an immediate pullout from Iraq, or some sort of fixed timetable.  What they do want is a sense of the president playing that more traditional role for a president of public mourner in chief.

In private—we‘ve got an article in “Newsweek” about this this week he‘s been very helpful to a lot of families, and shown a lot of compassion in private.  But that‘s not really the role for a president in the 21st century.  That‘s not enough.  And I think that part of the attention that Cindy Sheehan has gotten is just a kind of a cry from a certain segment of the American public for the president to be more publicly responsive to the suffering.

STEWART:  I‘m going to lighten this up a whole lot.

ALTER:  Ok.

STEWART:  There are a bunch of youth football kids and parents who are very down on hip-hop hero and youth football coach, Snoop Dog.  Last year, Snoop formed an all-star team of 10 and under kids, won their league championship, traveled in a custom tour bus and won the inaugural Snooper Bowl.  This year, Snoop has infuriated parents of his old league by forming his own Snoop youth football league, which has siphoned most of the players in the old league.  Jonathan, the parents say that Snoop has lured away six of the nine squads in one area.  They used to have 80 cheerleaders; now they have only nine.  Is he abusing his fame—his hip-hopness?

ALTER:  Yeah, yeah, I think he is.  This is Snoop Doggie Hot Dog, you know.  I mean, this guy kind of moves in with his entourage, he upsets a lot of efforts by hardworking parents to try to get their kids a good sports program.  And then, he‘ll move on.  You know, he‘ll be on to making his next movie, or commercial, or whatever it is, and they‘ll be left to pickup the pieces...

STEWART:  But he could be ahead of the curve.  Hip-hop is often ahead of the curve.  Maybe this is the next way.

ALTER:  Well, that‘s great.  But does he have the follow through?  Does he have a record of when he commits to something like this, staying there for 5 years, 10 years to really build the program?  I wouldn‘t hold your breath, Alison.

STEWART:  Well, hopefully, I‘ll be able to talk to you about it in 5 years.  Jonathan Alter from “Newsweek,” always a pleasure, thanks a lot.

ALTER:  Great talking to you.

STEWART:  Still to come, the outsider, Max Kellerman, rumor has it he is ready to rumble.  Max, anything you want to say to the viewing audience?

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO AND HBO BOXING HOST:  Well, despite my stunning physique and backne, I have never taken steroids.  I want you to know that, Alison.

STEWART:  Oh, we will discuss.  And just after the break, we‘ll take you to Wichita for more reaction to the sentencing of Dennis Rader, the BTK killer.  Rita Cosby has been on the scene all day, and she‘ll check in right here, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEWART:  And first up on THE SITUATION CRIME BLOTTER, lawn mowing—lawn mowing which led to kidnapping.  In Martinsburg, Virginia, 39-year-old Tracey Lynn Clinton is behind bars for allegedly hiring a 12-year-old and 13-year-old to mow a lawn and maybe do some gardening, and paying them with a fake $50 bill and holding them hostage when they caught on.

The boys told police—Ms. Clinton—that they were terrorized by her for more than an hour before they escaped without serious injury. 

And a case where mother definitely does not know best, and does not behave in the best interest of her child, a woman stole her young daughter‘s settlement checks the girl received after a plane crash 15 years ago.  Lea Russo Gomez and her daughter, who was nine at the time, were in on an Avianca Airlines plane that crashed on Long Island in 1990, killing 73 people.  Ms. Gomez stole more than $240,000 from her daughter, and now will spend a year in jail.

And, of course, the most striking crime story of the day was the sentencing of the BTK killer.  Dennis Rader had his say in court in a bizarre rambling statement, but he did not get the last word.  That was reserved for the families of his victims.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF DAVIS, SON OF RADER‘S FINAL VICTIM:  For the last 5,326 days, I have wondered what it would be like to confront the walking cesspool that took my mother‘s precious life.  Throughout that time, I always envisioned this day as being one for avenging the past.  I could think of nothing but savoring the bittersweet taste of revenge as justice is served upon this social sewage here before us today.

Sitting here before us is a depraved predator, a rabid animal that has murdered people, poisoned countless lives, and terrorized this community for 30 years, all the while relishing every minute of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART:  MSNBC‘s Rita Cosby is live in Wichita with more on today‘s dramatic courtroom confrontation.  Rita, do us a favor.  Get us up to speed on the nuts and bolts of what happened in court today.  What‘s in your reporter‘s notebook?

RITA COSBY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  You got it.  Well, first of all, you just heard from Jeff Davis, and the day started out in a very stunning manner, hearing about BTK‘s last killing in 1991, which was Jeff Davis‘ mother.  It was atrocious, just sitting in court and hearing the details, Alison.  This poor woman was strangled with her own pantyhose, then she was brought under a bridge, her body dragged, left for the animals to eat, and the family had to sit there and listen to this.

Then, after that, the family members, as you said, got to have their say.  This was just a tremendously powerful moment in court.  Twelve family members—remember, he had seven different crimes, murdering 10 people in total—but 12 family members each got up consecutively, looked Dennis Rader in the eye and told him what a devil he was.  And then, Dennis Rader got up, as you can see some pictures here.

He spent about five seconds apologizing to the victims, and then, sadly, spent some 30 minutes or so talking about himself, correcting the cops for behavior, and just talking about things that went on in his life, things that people could care less about, just reinforcing how sick this man truly is.  Alison...

STEWART:  Rita, so many people have been asking this question this evening.  Why was he allowed to go on for 30 minutes or so, and the family members limited to those five minutes?

COSBY:  Well, I will tell you, first of all, I was quite stunned that the judge didn‘t cut him off, because it‘s understandable if this was a moment where he was going to beg for mercy, if he was going to just, you know, ball up and also say, “I‘m so sorry.”  He didn‘t do that, and I think the judge was hoping that we would have seen that moment at some point out of him.

He spent maybe about, literally, at one point, maybe at the beginning and one point at the end, probably about five, ten seconds total.  I was stunned that the judge didn‘t cut him off.  The judge, at one point, on the other hand, did cutoff the DA when she got very passionate, saying this man never should walk free. 

The reason the family members only got the limited amount of time, Alison—as pointed out, there were 12 different family members, and the court really wanted to make sure that all of them had a time, so that it didn‘t drag on too long.  On the flipside, I can tell you I did talk to a lot of the family members.  I‘ve had the pleasure of getting to know a lot of these people in the last few months, particularly the last 48 hours, and all of them felt that they had sufficient time.

Some of them went over their time limits.  The court didn‘t stop them.  Some of them just could barely speak.  They felt that their time was appropriate.  They just wanted to have that moment to look him in the eye and say, “You should basically burn in hell.”

STEWART:  And Rita, with our remaining 30 seconds, what was the most memorable thing about today for you, the thing that you‘ve been telling your friends when you call home that you saw that really moved you?

COSBY:  You know, I talk about those family members.  This was not Dennis Rader‘s day.  He‘s going to spend the rest of his life now rotting in a prison cell, which is where he belongs.  I would tell you that these people, just the courage, the fortitude of these people—I don‘t even know how to express it on-air.

After I‘ve been on-air—I‘ve been hugging with them and crying with them.  For these people to have the guts after what this guy did to their mother, their sister, their brother, to get their in court and have the courage and the strength to go up and look him in the eye and talk to him is really amazing, just the human courage and the human strength.  That‘s going to stay with me forever.

STEWART:  Rita Cosby live and direct from Wichita, thank you so much for sharing your reporting with us on THE SITUATION.

COSBY:  Thank you, Alison.

STEWART:  Still ahead, I think we all know what Tony Blair, Jude Law, and Austin Powers have in common.  But would they have passed an exam testing their Britishness?  I‘ll ask Max Kellerman what he thinks after the break.  Plus, we gave you a brief glimpse of it last night, but it‘s almost time to unveil right before your very eyes the complete dog yoga demonstration.  It will happen live in our CURIOUS SITUATION, so stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEWART:  It is that time again to welcome the outsider, a man who‘s only ever read the red and purple sections of the “USA Today,” but willing to play devil‘s advocate in any discussion in the blue and green sections, wherein he‘s supervised by one of his many employers, it‘s ESPN Radio and ESPN boxing host, Max Kellerman.

KELLERMAN:  There are blue and green sections?

STEWART:  This is going to be a long night.  If you‘ve ever heard of Randy Moss—I‘m sure you have, I‘m sure you have.

KELLERMAN:  The best wide-out since Jerry Rice.

STEWART:  There you go, one of the best football players in the world.  It says right there on the teleprompter—equally well known for his misbehavior.  Today came news that he told HBO‘s Real Sports that he has long smoked marijuana and still does, “Every blue moon.”  That‘s more bad PR for the sports world, still reeling from baseball star Rafael Palmeiro‘s flunking a steroid test last month.  Which one‘s worse, Max?

KELLERMAN:  Steroids.

STEWART:  Steroids.

KELLERMAN:  Well, steroids are performance enhancers.  Marijuana is not a performance enhancer.  And the performance enhancers affect—if anything, marijuana, the team should be down on marijuana because it will detract from the players‘ performance.  It will lessen their value to the team.

STEWART:  All right, marijuana, illegal.  Steroids, not necessarily illegal—against the rules.

KELLERMAN:  However, the only reason marijuana‘s illegal is because a notorious racist named Harry S. Anslinger, the first federal narcotics chief, lied to Congress, made remarks saying that marijuana causes insanity, it‘s the most violence causing drug of all time, said that it makes the darker races feel they are equal to the white man, things like this.  And it‘s really—you know, I mean, there are alcohol commercials, Budweiser, Miller beer, there are all kinds of beer commercials during the Super Bowl, and kids watch the Super Bowl, right?

STEWART:  Marijuana, illegal...

KELLERMAN:  However—it is illegal.  However, so is jay walking.

STEWART:  Jay walking on marijuana, doubly illegal.

KELLERMAN:  Yes.

STEWART:  Starting November, applicants for British citizenship will have to pass a new Britishness test.  No, they won‘t have to show off their funky teeth like Austin Powers, drive a Jaguar, or commit violent acts in soccer matches.  They will have to demonstrate a minimum standard of English and knowledge of government practices.  The new test is part of the UK‘s tougher citizenship standards as part of their own domestic war on terror.

So I‘m not really sure how being more British makes your less apt to be a terrorist.

KELLERMAN:  Well, not being British enough is illegal.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART:  Ok.

KELLERMAN:  Look, it‘s their country.  You can run your country the way you want.  And the reason there are people who want to become British citizens is because the system of government in Britain is superior, oftentimes, to the system of government where these people are fleeing from, or leaving.  And so, they‘re entitled to run their business how they see fit.

STEWART:  But this is sort of an argument about assimilation.  Should I become like the place where I‘m going to live and take on my citizenship?  But I‘d also like to retain some of my ethnic character.

KELLERMAN:  Fine.  But actually, in order to become a British citizen, if that‘s really what you‘re interested in, you have to swear allegiance to the queen.  I mean, you have to do it.  All British citizens—you‘re not actually a citizen in Britain.  You‘re a subject.  You‘re a royal subject.  And if you want to be a royal subject, there are certain things you have to do.

STEWART:  Some person called it—a liberal—said it was silly and snobbish.  Those were his words.

KELLERMAN:  I don‘t know.  I mean, well, I guess you could argue that you‘re actually just educating potential terrorists if you‘re actually worried about that.

STEWART:  Too symbolic a move?  I mean, is it really going to curb terrorism?

KELLERMAN:  Make it more difficult for people to become citizens?  Probably, yes.  Fewer people emigrating to the country, and fewer—a smaller pool of potential terrorists, I suppose.

STEWART:  September 6 will be a big day for you, Max.  No, we don‘t expect you to watch every second of day one of the Roberts confirmation hearings.  We would expect you to race out, purchase, and curl up with the first issue of “Men‘s Vogue,” a glossy...

KELLERMAN:  Who‘s this Roberts you‘re speaking of?

STEWART:  ... masculine version of the glossy women‘s fashion magazine.  Oh, our reenactment is fabulous.  It‘s not George Clooney photo shoot for the first cover you see right there.  Repeating—it‘s just a dramatization.  I have to say, I‘m sort of please to see men dragged into all this.  When “Men‘s Fitness” came around, I did the golf claps, because you guys have to worry about your abs flab the way we have to worry about cellulite on our hips.  Now you have to worry about looking good and spending exorbitant amounts of money on designer clothing.  Or else you‘re inadequate, Max.

KELLERMAN:  Let me just get this straight.  Is Vogue the one with 80 pages of perfume ads you can‘t find the table of contents?  My wife gets a lot of these magazines.  I‘m not sure—is that Vogue?

STEWART:  That‘s the one, you stub your toe on that magazine.  Yes.

KELLERMAN:  Yeah.  I‘m trying to find, what is it about?  Is there anything in here?  And all you see is advertising, and it smells perfumey.  I mean, I guess the rise of the metrosexual gives rise to a magazine like “Men‘s Vogue.”  I suppose there‘s a market for it now.

STEWART:  Would you subscribe?

KELLERMAN:  No.  Although, it‘s difficult for me, who wears product in my hair and gets makeup applied to my face nowadays to argue that I‘m not metrosexual.  So I suppose I‘m in the demo.

STEWART:  What is the best thing that could happen from this “Vogue” magazine, and the worst thing that could happen to your gender?

KELLERMAN:  The worst thing that could happen?  Anytime one of these magazines comes out, and all of those little cards that fall out—you know, she reads it, and I find these little cards all over the house.  I can‘t take it.  If they don‘t put too many of those in there, I suppose it will be all right.  Also, I don‘t want to raise the standard for appearance in men.  As you say, you applaud that.  But it makes it more difficult for men.

STEWART:  It just levels the playing field for us gals.

KELLERMAN:  Yeah.  Nothing that gives me more work.

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART:  Max Kellerman, thank you so much.

KELLERMAN:  Thank you.

STEWART:  Good luck tomorrow night.  Max is going to host this here show.

KELLERMAN:  You know, nice for someone to tell me.

STEWART:  You‘re going to have to read the blue, green, red, and purple sections, Max.  I fought the law, and the law one.  Actress Sienna Miller back in the sight of the law.  More is ahead.  Actress Sienna Miller back on the side of the law?  Hey, Jude, this time, let her hire the nanny.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEWART (voice-over):  Girl Scout leaders caught with their hands in the cookie jar.  And it‘s no laughing matter.  Wait until you hear what one wayward clown‘s been peddling.

Plus, a heated response to last night‘s Tuck and cover.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘d love to have it.  Tucker is hot man.

STEWART:  It‘s all ahead on “The Situation.”

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There is a tragedy to it and a drama to it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEWART:  Here is a multiple choice pop quiz.  Which of the following things is not just a punch line to a joke, a kickstand on a Sherman tank, a screen door on a submarine or yoga for dogs?  If you answered screen door on a submarine, have someone you love move all sharp edges out of your way. 

The correct answer is dog yoga and because as far as we know it didn‘t really exist until recently and is technically a growing trend in the canine set, now from the renowned yoga hotbed of Philadelphia, PA, our instructor Dani Merlino and her yoga pup Mary, Dani, thanks for being with us.

DANI MERLINO, CREATOR, PUP YOGA:  Thank you.

STEWART:  All right, tell me how dog yoga started.  How did these classes start?

MERLINO:  Well, the classes started when we decided that some of our members, I have an all female facility and some of our members decided that we wanted to try a new type of class.

So, a lot of women actually spend a lot of time with their dogs or their children, so we tried a dog yoga class and it worked very well with about ten dogs and ten women.

STEWART:  Now, I know a lot of people at home are sitting there asking themselves why would a dog need yoga?  Dogs seem to have pretty great lives as is, pretty stress free.

MERLINO:  Well, a lot of dogs are very hyper.  A lot of dogs don‘t get along with other dogs and what we did was we had a class where we brought other dogs in and it seemed like all the dogs got along great together and it actually relaxed all the dogs and the members.

STEWART:  Now, how do you know it‘s actually working this yoga?

MERLINO:  Well, when we brought Mary home, Mary was very relaxed and actually ended up coming home and she got very tired and she was—went right to sleep.  I have two other dogs and she didn‘t even bother with the other two dogs.  And I went home and I was exhausted afterwards, so it kind of relaxed everybody.

STEWART:  Now is it the same principles as people yoga?

MERLINO:  It‘s similar to the principles of people yoga and Pilates. 

STEWART:  All right, well the question is, you know, whenever I take a yoga class a lot of it is about breathing, about centering, about finding a third eye, all those kind of things.  People talk you through it.  I‘m not really sure I understand how a dog understands all that.

MERLINO:  Well, the dog doesn‘t do a lot of the breathing exercises unless we‘re doing an open chest move and we do a couple different moves and the one move that we do is called a cobra and we open up the neck.  It opened up the chest wall and the dog is able to breathe.

STEWART:  I got to tell you Mary is looking pretty chilled right now.

MERLINO:  Yes, she is.

STEWART:  I‘m not so sure.

MERLINO:  She‘s ready for her yoga class.

STEWART:  All right.  Well, I‘m going to ask you to run through a couple of yoga moves with Mary, if you can narrate along the way.  Is that her mat or is that your mat?

MERLINO:  That‘s our mat.

STEWART:  Our mat, I see, and she has...

MERLINO:  Yes, we share it together.

STEWART:  No yoga pants for Mary?

MERLINO:  No.  She‘s got her nails painted today.

STEWART:  All right, well I‘m glad she‘s had a good day.  Why don‘t you roll through some positions for us.

MERLINO:  OK, come on up Mar, come on up, good job.  Come on turn around.  OK.  The first position basically is what we do is called a cobra pose.  Come on up, Mar.  Sit up.  Sit up, Mar, good, OK.  And we stretch up their neck and hold their neck up.  We also rub down their spine.  It actually relaxes their spine and actually relaxes their whole body.

And, as she‘s sitting still, she‘s actually opening up her chest wall and breathing.  Then we bring her down, come on down, and we lay her down and she does a pup‘s pose.  We call it a pup‘s pose and she actually relaxes.  We take both of her paws and we turn her to the side.  Now, this is where the Pilates actually comes in.  So, we do arm circles and a lot of times the instructors or myself we can actually do it together.

STEWART:  And, I got to tell you this is so sweet but it kind of just looks like you‘re really petting your dog.

MERLINO:  No.

STEWART:  Your dog‘s really happy about it.  I understand that.  She‘s adorable.

MERLINO:  She‘s actually relaxing.  We also, we‘ll do the leg and it‘s great (INAUDIBLE).

STEWART:  Here‘s my other question about this.  I‘ve taken a fair amount of yoga classes myself and we do the down dog and the up dog.

MERLINO:  Yes.  Right, we have the upper dog and the down dog.  Right now we‘re just doing a couple of ones that she‘s able to relax until I get her into that position.

STEWART:  Have you ever tried this with cats?

MERLINO:  We haven‘t tried it with cats.  I don‘t know if a cat would work.  Cats are a little bit more hyper and the dog seems to relax, like right now she‘s very relaxed.  Her eyes are closed actually.  We turn her on her back.

STEWART:  The dog is so mellow.

MERLINO:  And we do a happy dog pose and we do the arm stretches for flexibility.

STEWART:  She looks like a happy dog.

MERLINO:  Oh, she is and that‘s what the pose is called happy dog.

STEWART:  All right, how much a class, I got to know?

MERLINO:  Well, we‘re doing, starting in September 15th we‘re doing $20 a class and we‘re doing about...

STEWART:  Whoa.

MERLINO:  No, we‘re doing an hour and a half and we do a lot of meditation with it.  We‘re going to be doing some exercising.  We‘re going to try to do some body sculpting with the dog too.

STEWART:  All right and are you certified instructors for your dog yoga?

MERLINO:  I‘m a certified, I actually am an instructor for Pilates and yoga and I have my Bachelor‘s degree and my Master‘s.  I‘ve actually been teaching college for 18 years in this field.

STEWART:  All right.  Well, I think Mary has gone into (INAUDIBLE).  I think she‘s out.

MERLINO:  This is the corpse.  Well, actually this is the corpse pose.

STEWART:  Well, we hope that she has a wonderful relaxing evening.

MERLINO:  Thank you very much and thanks for having us on.  I think she‘s going to sleep here at the studio tonight.

STEWART:  All right.  Good luck getting home.

MERLINO:  Thank you.

STEWART:  Still to come, I‘m being told our News From Tomorrow segment features Courtney Love facing new drug allegations.  Not all the news from tomorrow is all that shocking.

The horrifying crime involving Girl Scout leaders, Samoa cookies and a whole lot of cash, the despicable details lie, as always, on the Cutting Room Floor.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Coming up, a disabled child gets kicked out of a movie theater for laughing too loudly, which has one angry voice mailer loudly objecting.

STEWART:  “The Situation” returns in just 60 seconds, one, two, three.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEWART:  And welcome back.Time to get tomorrow‘s news right now and for that we turn to our enterprising producer Willie Geist, hi Willie.

GEIST:  Hello Alison.  You weren‘t mocking here were you when you said you‘re just petting your dog?  How dare you mock the fine art of dog yoga.

STEWART:  I was just clarifying.

GEIST:  Can people enroll...

STEWART:  I‘m a paid professional.

GEIST:  I want to know if people can enroll in dog yoga because it seems to me you just sit there and a woman rubs your belly, so it‘s a lot better than human yoga.

STEWART:  It‘s going to cost you more than $20 for that Willie.

GEIST:  That‘s right.

STEWART:  Tomorrow is the one year anniversary, thank you, of the legendary Google IPO that raised $1.6 billion for the Internet search company.  To commemorate the occasion, Google plans to make itself even more fabulously rich by offering the public another 14 million shares currently valued at $4 billion.  Google stock has more than tripled since the last year‘s IPO.  It closed today at about $280 a share.

GEIST:  You know what, if you ask me, these guys deserve every penny because I cannot begin to conceive of how this works.  You put words in and then a quarter of a second later and now it‘s to the point where just I want it to govern my brain for me like what are we having for dinner and you just—you Google it and somehow it tells you what you‘re having for dinner.  It‘s like, it‘s like a microchip in our minds.

STEWART:  In about .05 seconds I found out Willie Geist, 21,000 hits.

GEIST:  That‘s right.

STEWART:  You‘ve been busy.  The raging grannies will be in a Tucson, Arizona courtroom tomorrow for a pretrial hearing on trespassing charges.  The antiwar women who range in age from 55 to 81 have been trying to enlist a military recruiting center for the past three years.  They said they‘d rather be fighting and dying in the Middle East than watching young men and women die there.

GEIST:  You know how you handle this, Alison?

STEWART:  Please.

GEIST:  Let them enlist.  Give them an M-16 and put them on a foot patrol in Fallujah.  Oh, you‘re not so tough now granny.  Let‘s see.  Think they might back off pretty quickly.

STEWART:  That‘s Williegeist@msnbc.com

Courtney Love will also be in court tomorrow but not for protesting a war, more like protesting her probation.  Love will answer to allegations that she violated her probation in an assault case by being under the influence of narcotics.  In July, a different judge praised Love for cleaning herself up through a court-ordered drug treatment program.

GEIST:  And she has done a heck of a job cleaning herself up.  Did you see her at the Pam Anderson roast the other night?  I‘ll tell you.

STEWART:  Was it a Pam Anderson roast?  I thought it was a Courtney Love roast.

GEIST:  Clean as a whistle.  Clean as a doggone whistle.  The real trick is finding her not violating her probation.  That would be impressive police work.  When is she actually sober?  If you can find that, I tip my cap to you.

STEWART:  Let‘s Google it.

GEIST:  Good idea.

STEWART:  Ahead on “The Situation,” thank you Willie Geist for news of tomorrow, as Jude Law‘s manhood was subject to worldwide ridicule he apparently isn‘t really sweating it because he‘s back with Burnt Sienna.  Clearly he‘s doing something right.  Find out what when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEWART:  Welcome back.  Sitting in tonight for Alex Van Halen I‘m Alison Stewart.

Time now for our voice mail segment where we encourage you to share your thoughts about a story in the news, the show itself or even Tucker, if you please, let‘s take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN, WICHITA, KANSAS:  Hi, my name is Kevin Brown.  I‘m from Wichita, Kansas and I‘d like to say that Wichita, Kansas is about Wichita State baseball, the Jim Ryan and B-29s, the (INAUDIBLE) Pizza Hut to the birthplace of White Castle burgers, Joe (INAUDIBLE), Kirsty Alley, Wyatt Earp, Perry Mason, Big Dog Motorcycles, Coleman coolers and tens of thousands of more wonderful people.  This is Wichita, Kansas not the evil and disgusting animal that is Dennis Rader. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART:  Well, Kevin, point taken.  A former beau of mine is from Wichita, Kansas and he is a pretty good egg, so we appreciate you calling in and telling us all the good things about Wichita—next up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRISCILLA, RENO, NEVADA:  Hi, this is Priscilla from Reno and I hope you call attention to the story in New York about the despicable people that run the movie theater that kicked out a 7-year-old boy who is autistic and has cerebral palsy because apparently he was laughing a little too loud while he was watching “March of the Penguins” with his family.  I think this is unbelievable, outrageous, unacceptable and these people should be ashamed of themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART:  Well, Priscilla, apparently a lot of people agreed with you and the Lowe‘s chain is now eating a bit of crow.  We just got this in here at “The Situation.”  According to the senior vice president of marketing for Lowe‘s Cineplex Entertainment, here‘s a quote.  “We may not have exercised the best sensitivity in handling the situation,” you think—next up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN, NEW YORK:  Hello, this is Ben from (INAUDIBLE) New York and I could not believe yesterday that they actually said that a bomb was part of art.  It is very distasteful to me not to mention dangerous that someone would actually consider putting a suitcase bomb, not to mention any other weapon, in an art museum.  Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART:  Well, thanks so much for your call.  Of course, a lot of people out there are probably screaming at their TVs now.  What about freedom of expression?  But the kind of interesting thing about that call is that viewer sounded like he might be a kid and he sounded a little bit scared so a (INAUDIBLE).  Let‘s take a listen to the next one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL, LAWTON, OKLAHOMA:  Hey, Tucker, this is Bill from Lawton, Oklahoma.  You‘re making a big mistake, bud, by not being there and letting the two smartest and best-looking women on MSNBC take your place.  I‘m referring, of course, to Alison Stewart and Rachel Maddow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART:  I‘m sorry.  I hope somebody star-69‘d that so I can get old Bill‘s number.  The MSNBC jet‘s ready.  I‘ve got ten more minutes on the air.  I‘m headed your way, pal.  Thanks for the nice words by the way. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELISE, FLORIDA:  Hey, this is Elise in Florida.  I was wondering about that Playboy thing.  Can they really make a cover like that?  I‘d love to have it.  Tucker is hot, man, the bow tie too, just the bow tie, I mean you know.  Thanks, bye.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART:  OK, the best part about that is all of her friends laughing in the background, the best of that (INAUDIBLE).  And just, I hope you know Elise that wasn‘t really Tucker, hate to burst your bubble but thanks for calling anyway.

Hey, let us know what you‘re thinking, call 1-877-TCARLSON or 877-822-7576.

Still ahead on “The Situation,” some clowns make balloon animals that are beat up (INAUDIBLE).  A crying on the inside kind of clown brings his act to the Cutting Room Floor.  That is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEWART:  It is time to sweep up the Cutting Room Floor.  As always, producer Willie Geist has collected the very best of the odds and ends that didn‘t make it into the show and he‘s back to bring them to us now, hi Willie.

GEIST:  Hi, Alison.

First of all, we want to thank you for doing a little spot duty for us the last couple days.  You‘re welcome back.  You have an open invitation anytime.

STEWART:  Oh, it was my pleasure.

GEIST:  We‘ll send Tucker home and work with your schedule, whatever you want to do.

And we have an important update on my Google hits.  You said earlier I had 21,000.

STEWART:  Five hundred.

GEIST:  Research says 90.  We put it in quotes where it was actually me, down to 90 and most of them are hateful chat room stuff.

STEWART:  I was trying to pump you up man, just trying to give you a little love.

GEIST:  Thanks anyway.

STEWART:  Thank you.

Maybe (INAUDIBLE) Miller was reminded of what she had been missing when she saw that full frontal photo of her estranged fianc’.  Do we have the picture?  Dang it.  The couple was photographed yesterday walking the streets of London and it was the first time they‘d been seen together since Law was caught having an affair with his children‘s nanny.  That was Ms. Daisy, I believe.

GEIST:  Ms. Daisy.

STEWART:  Driving Ms. Daisy.

GEIST:  That‘s right he was.  No, you know what, this is a smart play by Jude because you have to go back.  Now that the whole female world has seen what he‘s packing he better go back to somebody who‘s already accepted him for who he is because that‘s not impressive.

STEWART:  Really you didn‘t find it so?

GEIST:  Well, I took a few glances and I didn‘t find it.

STEWART:  Oh, who are you kidding.  It‘s your screensaver.

The Girl Scouts of America of which I quit after three weeks and apparently I was a wise 12-year-old, I knew something just wasn‘t right, get this.  Two Pennsylvania troop leaders have been charged with pocketing the proceeds from Girl Scout cookie sales.  They (INADUIBLE) more than $800 for themselves while all those pre-pubescent chubby girls in ill-fitting outfits were out pounding the pavement and moving merchandise.

GEIST:  You‘re not bitter about that are you?  May I ask why you quit?

STEWART:  Because they made you do things like in Brownies you just showed up.

GEIST:  Oh, no!

STEWART:  And you ate cookies and sat on (INAUDIBLE) and sang songs.

GEIST:  Now you had to go identify leaves and you couldn‘t handle it.

STEWART:  You have to go work for badges.

GEIST:  That‘s ridiculous.

STEWART:  That‘s not happening.

GEIST:  As far as this story goes, I don‘t care where the money is going just keep the thin mints coming.  If it‘s going to the mob or like a cockfighting ring I don‘t care just keep them coming.  That‘s fine.

STEWART:  Frozen.

GEIST:  Yes.

STEWART:  Frozen.

GEIST:  Has to be frozen.

STEWART:  An angry clown has been fined and sentenced to three year probation for beating a man and stealing his bicycle in Nevada.  The clown attempted to steal the man‘s bike and when the victim resisted, Bozo handed him a clown style beat down.  These happy clowns were in no way involved in the incident but at this hour this is the best clown file video we could muster, so we‘re basically sticking with it.  The disgraced bike-stealing clown is a nursing student in Washington.

GEIST:  Oh (INAUDIBLE).  This guy, you know, I hear he does children‘s birthdays.  He comes, beats the crap out of your kid and steals his bike.  It‘s non-traditional but it‘s, I don‘t know, you mix it up a little bit.

STEWART:  Mommy, thanks for the new bike.  Oh, there it goes.

GEIST:  Yes.  That‘s not good.

STEWART:  All right, having a hairy back can be a real burden in life. 

Just ask our executive producer Bill Wolff.

GEIST:  Oh!

STEWART:  (INAUDIBLE) a shag run on your shoulders.  Well, the...

GEIST:  Potomacs.

STEWART:  (INAUDIBLE) nationals, a minor league baseball team in Woodbridge, Virginia are holding a hairiest back at the ballpark contest next week.  The fan with the most impressive back hair will win a complimentary laser hair removal service.  That is valued at $2,500.  I was highly distracted by the B-roll, so sorry.

GEIST:  Well just some hairy backs.

And you ain‘t lying about Bill Wolf‘s back.  He needs a park ranger for that, man.  And you know what?

STEWART:  What do you guys do up there if you know that?

GEIST:  We hear it.  Actually it bleeds through is dress shirts, so we can‘t help but notice.  But you know what, Bill took a personal day next week and now I know where he‘s going.

STEWART:  Exactly.

GEIST:  The competition better run for the hills.

STEWART:  You‘re talking about the ATM, ten times, $250, $250.  All right.

A farmer in upstate New York has been so busy working the fields that he hadn‘t had time to work the ladies, so he decided to kill both of those birds with one stone.  Peter, we think it‘s DeHon (ph), planted his corn to make a giant personal ad that reads, “Single white female, got to love farming.”  Underneath those words he planted a giant arrow pointing to this house.  The 41-year-old divorced father of two says he‘s already received several phone calls about that ad.

GEIST:  Alison, it seems to me, this is a nice story, but he‘s sort of limiting himself to women who fly crop dusters during the day and that‘s not to say there aren‘t some beautiful, beautiful women who fly crop dusters.

STEWART:  Well, see the thing for me about this he never said women really.

GEIST:  No, he‘ll take, at this point he‘ll take whatever he can get.

STEWART:  Single, someone who likes farming.

GEIST:  No, it‘s a nice story.

STEWART:  That is “The Situation” or tonight.  Thank you so much for watching.  Thank you so much Willie.

GEIST:  Thank you, Alison.

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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