updated 11/8/2005 12:01:00 PM ET 2005-11-08T17:01:00

Guests: Ken Roth, Patrick Reynolds, Alan Skorski, Max Kellerman, Adrian Martinez>

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”:  That‘s all the time we have.  But stay tuned, because THE SITUATION with Tucker Carlson starts right now.  Hey, Tucker, what‘s THE SITUATION tonight?

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST:  Joe Scarborough, thank you. 

Thanks to you at home for watching.  We appreciate it, as we do every night. 

A return to state-sponsored racial segregation in Chicago, and a new innovation that could prevent millions of smoking-related deaths every year.  Couple of the stories we‘ll be covering the next 60 minutes, but we start tonight in Paris, where mobs of Muslim immigrants have been rioting in the streets for 13 straight days, burning cars and buildings and firing on police. 

Today, the French government reported the first death in the chaos, a 61-year-old man beaten to death by a gang of youths. 

NBC News reporter Don Teague joins us now live from France with the very latest.

Don, what‘s going on tonight?

DON TEAGUE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Well, good morning, Tucker. 

You made an interesting point, saying these were immigrants, because that‘s part of the problem here.  Most of the rioting youths aren‘t actually immigrants. 

CARLSON:  They‘re children of?

TEAGUE:  They are born here, first or second generation.  Their parents emigrated, generally from North Africa, and they say that‘s really the heart of the problem, because here in France, sort of once an immigrant, always an immigrant, in their view.  They say that they‘re not accepted as fully French by the French here, and that‘s one of the underlying problems that has caused this to now be the 12th night of riots and fires across France. 

They say they‘re just tired of this—what they perceive as second class citizenship, of pulling people with surnames from other countries out in the suburbs, denying them access to jobs and to housing in Paris and in the heart of other cities.  And it‘s really boiling over again into more violence tonight. 

CARLSON:  Well, can you tell us where it is?  We are getting reports that the violence has spread around the country, beyond just the suburbs, the very depressing suburbs on the outskirts of Paris.  Is it bubbling up in other parts of France tonight?

TEAGUE:  Well, it certainly has according to the police chief of this nation.  About 300 cities in total have been touched by this—this violence, and we are talking all the way from the very south of France to the north, to Normandy. 

It‘s been different on a nightly basis, so that doesn‘t mean 300 every night, but every night, it could pop up anywhere.  But clearly, the epicenter really has been surrounding Paris, and we know that, in the suburbs surrounding Paris again tonight, and in, you know, spots around the country, we‘ve seen more violence again. 

CARLSON:  Now, this all began, of course, after the deaths of two young men who were electrocuted, apparently accidentally, in an electrical substation, but it‘s clearly grown much beyond that.  Is there a political goal at the heart of this?  Has any spokesman for the rioters or the disgruntled people burning cars emerged?  Is anybody saying what these people want?

TEAGUE:  Well, you have to keep in mind that half of the people arrested so far in these riots, and according to the police, a large number of the rioters are under 18, so how do you have a spokesman who comes together and represents this whole group?

I can tell you I did interview a 21-year-old man yesterday, who admits to taking part in these riots.  In fact, he was at the riot yesterday in Grenier (ph), where they had the shots fired at police, and he said, well, what they want is for change. 

First of all, they want the interior minister, who sort of famously called these rioters scum earlier last week, they want him to resign. 

But beyond that, they say they want jobs.  They want all sorts of concessions from the government that recognize that—that they‘re facing this plight. 

You know, it‘s an interesting situation.  In sort of the opposite model of the U.S., the poor suburbs here in France aren‘t—the poor areas aren‘t in the middle of the city center.  The rich live in the city center.  That‘s where the main culture, the tourist attractions, everything are.  They put the poor, in general, in these large housing problems which I‘m sure you‘ve seen in the suburban areas. 

And they feel just ignored out there.  There are no jobs for them, nothing to do, no place to go.  They want that addressed, and the government has promised to begin addressing those concerns. 

At the same time, though, last night the prime minister promised

curfews and more police officers, some 1,500 more on the streets of France

Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Oh, we‘ll see if it works.  Don Teague in France for us live.  Thanks, Don. 

TEAGUE:  Sure. 

CARLSON:  On the same day the military announced five members of the U.S.  Army have been charged with kicking and punching detains in Iraq, President Bush was vigorously defending American interrogation tactics. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We are gathering information about where terrorists may be hiding.  We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans.  Anything we do to that effort, to that end, in this effort, any activity we conduct is within the law.  We do not torture. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  The Senate apparently agrees with the president.  It passed legislation banning torture, but Vice President Dick Cheney has been pressing for a CIA interrogation exemption. 

Here to talk about torture, whether the U.S. practices it and whether it ought to be legal, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, Ken Roth.  He joins us live from New York tonight.  Mr. Roth, thanks for coming on. 

KEN ROTH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH:  Thanks for having me. 

CARLSON:  Nobody is for torture.  I think it hurts America.  It hurts the fabric of the country, the way we see ourselves, the way we‘re seen abroad. 

On the other hand, can‘t you imagine situations where a known terrorist, not someone who we pull off the street, but someone we know to be a terrorist, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, for instance, has information we need to prevent imminent terrorist attack, and pressure is applied on him to divulge that information?  That‘s in our interest, is it not?

ROTH:  See, that‘s the classic ticking bomb scenario...

CARLSON:  Right.

ROTH:  ... that everybody trots out to try to say why can‘t you just torture in this situation?  The problem is...

CARLSON:  Well, it‘s happened before. 

ROTH:  ... the typical interrogator, you don‘t really know what the person sitting before you knows.  And so as a result, what happens is you begin to use circumstantial evidence.  Is this man a Muslim?  Is he of a certain age, 20 or 30 years old?  Is he maybe from the Middle East or North Africa.  And you use those criteria, and very soon you have a justification, on the basis of the circumstantial evidence, to torture a lot of people. 

This is exactly what we saw in Israel, where they said, in this supposed ticking bomb situation, you can use so-called moderate physical pressure, and very soon that narrow, narrow exception became 80 percent to 90 percent of the Palestinian security detainees being tortured.

CARLSON:  Right.

ROTH:  It was such a disaster that finally the Israeli supreme court had to come in and say none of this. 

CARLSON:  Yes, I know.  And I agree with a lot of what you‘re saying, but you can‘t discount the fact, the reality, that there are ticking bomb situations.  There was one a number of years ago in the Philippines where a man was caught making bombs in an apartment in Manila, and it turned out he had information on a plot to bring down 10 airliners over the Pacific. 

And he was threatened with torture.  They actually threatened to send him to Israel.  And he cracked immediately and divulged this plot, and it stopped.  So what‘s wrong with that?

ROTH:  The problem is, if you start, you know, trying to legislate on the basis of these little exceptions, you end up basically inviting interrogators to find this or that suspect that perhaps had information about, you know, maybe some terrorist down the road, and soon you‘re authorizing torture left and right.  Actually, in historical experience, we‘ve had... 

CARLSON:  Hold on.  I think that maybe historical experience we‘ve witnessed.  That‘s not a historical experience we‘ve had in this country.  B, that‘s not what we are talking about here. 

The vice president‘s office is pushing for exemption just for the CIA, or for agencies outside the Pentagon, not U.S. soldiers, but for people who deal in intelligence.  Presumably, you‘re not pulling people off the street randomly and making the assumptions you describe, but people who are acting on real evidence to use not torture but coercive methods.  Again, this is not what you are describing. 

ROTH:  Well, first of all, I this you have more confidence in the CIA than I do.  In fact, just today there was a report, three people in the clandestine custody, presumably subjected to course of interrogation, were just released and sent back to Yemen.  It turns out that the CIA made a mistake. 

And you‘re going to find that over and over again because they make their arrests on the basis of, you know, information that may well have come out through torture or through some kind of subterfuge, and it‘s not always reliable. 

The United States today, what‘s interesting.  You heard President Bush speak.  He says we don‘t believe in torture, but the Bush administration is pushing to create an exception to the equally prohibited cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment prohibition.  The United States, if the Bush administration has its way, would be the only government in the entire world that claims the right, as a matter of official policy... 

CARLSON:  Please. 

ROTH:  ... to use cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.  That is an outrage.

CARLSON:  Mr. Roth, I don‘t know if you‘ve ever actually been outside the United States. 

ROTH:  Yes, I have. 

CARLSON:  Then you know full well that there are countries around the world, many countries, scores of countries that use literally dehumanizing tactics to gather information.  Whether they admit it or not. 

ROTH:  Let me say, there are many governments that torture.  They do it clandestinely; they‘re ashamed of it.  The Bush administration would be the first government to openly proclaim the right to use cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment as a matter of official proclaimed policy. 

CARLSON:  Right.

ROTH:  That has been—that has been the policy since January.  Senator McCain is trying to close that loophole, say that a prohibition is prohibition; absolute means unconditional. 

And frankly, to the shame of this administration, President Bush has threatened to use the first veto in five years to block that legislation, and sent Vice President Cheney up to the spectacle on the Hill, and had him beg to create a CIA exception...

CARLSON:  Right.

ROTH:  ... to the prohibition on inhumane treatment.  That is not what America stands for.  It doesn‘t help the fight against terrorism, because. 

CARLSON:  Well, I mean—on that point, I think that‘s quite a subjective point and maybe unprecedented.  But whether it helps the war on terror, people who are fighting the war on terror seem to think so.  We‘ll see what happens.

ROTH:  The reason I say it doesn‘t, is because if you talk to law enforcement and security experts they say by far the most important way to fight sort of conspiracy, like terrorist plot, is not through interrogation but tips from the general public. 

CARLSON:  ... hold on, I‘m sorry.  On that point, we‘re going to have to end there, but let me just make the obvious point.  We get most of our information in the war on terror from two countries, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, both of which use torture.  So it doesn‘t come from the public.  It comes from the intelligence services of countries that use barbaric tactics.  I mean, that‘s just a fact. 

I‘m sorry to end like that, but we are out of time.  Mr. Roth, thanks a lot for coming on. 

ROTH:  Thank you.

CARLSON:  I appreciate it.

Now to Rachel Maddow, a woman who would not think of using torture and I‘m sure disapproves of its use, as do I. 

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA TALK SHOW HOST:  Only on the radio. 

CARLSON:  However, that is—I mean, I hate to point out that I made a good point, but I did, actually.  I mean, I‘m sorry to say it, but it is true that that our most valuable information—I don‘t know how widely known it is—but I believe it‘s true, comes from the ISI in Pakistan and from Saudi intelligence.  OK?

Now, those are both creepy regimes that do a lot of bad things, but they are helping us a lot, more than most people know, in keeping terrorist attacks from occurring on our soil.  Both use torture.  I‘m not endorsing it.  I‘m only saying it‘s more complicated. 

MADDOW:  Do you want us to become like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and do what they do?

CARLSON:  Absolutely, of course not.  And no one is suggesting that we would.  I‘m merely saying before we get filled with childish moral outrage about torture, it‘s important to recognize, torture‘s not the worst thing that happens in this world. 

MADDOW:  Well, torture is also, if you make the argument, we need to torture, the benefit from being a country that tortures with, outweighs what it costs us as a nation, if it puts our members of the U.S. military at risk in terms of retaliation and those sorts of things.

If there‘s this great benefit from torturing people, you kind of need to prove that point, and I think that it matters that people like John McCain, who knows something about torture... 

CARLSON:  Having been tortured, right? 

MADDOW:  Not going to be torture.  The Army field manual, a lot of the people who are directly involved in interrogations at high levels of this country say, you know what, torture gives you really unreliable information. 

CARLSON:  But look, let‘s be totally real.  There are many forms of coercive interrogation, OK?  Not all of them are torture. 

I mean, you have to—define what torture is, is the most difficult part of all of this, which is why the convention on torture—against torture describes it as something that is an affront to your conscience, whatever the hell that is. 

But the point is, coercing people into giving you information actually does work.  Maybe extreme torture doesn‘t, but pushing people, not letting them sleep or ask—you know, threatening to send them to Israel, it works.  That‘s how people do it. 

MADDOW:  Treating people in cruel, inhuman, and degrading ways makes people who you‘re doing that to want you to stop doing that.

CARLSON:  Right.

MADDOW:  So they‘ll you what you want to hear to make you stop doing that.

CARLSON:  Yes. 

MADDOW:  That‘s why the Army Field Manual, 3452 chapter 1, says if you use force in interrogation, that means that you are getting unreliable results.

CARLSON:  Right.

MADDOW:   It is a poor technique, according to our own interrogation manuals. 

CARLSON:  That‘s...

MADDOW:  So wanting to justify doing it, you need to make a case that it‘s going to get us good information.  That‘s not proven.

CARLSON:  But it has given us good—first of all, let‘s point out the military does not allow torture.  It never has.  Members of the military who engage in torture are prosecuted.  Many are being prosecuted now.  So that‘s not even a question about the military.  It‘s a question of other agencies. 

MADDOW:  CIA, should they be allowed?

CARLSON:  Namely the CIA.

MADDOW:  Right. 

CARLSON:  But again, the fact is that the information we get, the intel that is of most use to us, almost invariably comes from places where torture is routine.  It‘s not a moral defense of torture, which is repugnant.  I‘m not defending torture.  I‘m just saying, it does work. 

MADDOW:  You may think that it works.  I think that the cost to us outweighs whatever benefit we may get from it.  And I think the CIA shouldn‘t be allowed to do it legally. 

CARLSON:  OK.

MADDOW:  Most Americans think that. 

CARLSON:  Well, on the White House, where you had announcement Friday, but I don‘t think it came to the papers until this weekend, that the president has ordered people within the White House who have security clearances to attend ethics classics, led by... 

MADDOW:  Harriet Miers. 

CARLSON:  Harriet Miers, which is really a “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE” sketch, if there ever was one. 

MADDOW:  I wonder if they‘re going to cover how to unload your super fund property in Texas, like she did.  Right?

CARLSON:  Oh, please.  Now here—OK, look.  Here‘s what‘s bad about this, in my opinion, just as a pure political matter.  This is bad politics.  This is admitting, conceding, at a time when you should be doing no such thing, that what you‘ve done with Valerie Plame‘s identity was somehow wrong.  Now, if it was wrong, they ought to can Karl Rove immediately.  Right?

MADDOW:  Right. 

CARLSON:  And if it wasn‘t wrong, which appears to be, by their actions, their position, then why do people need a refresher on ethics?  You know what I mean?  It‘s just dumb. 

MADDOW:  It‘s embarrassing in so many ways.  I mean, the reason—I think it‘s also embarrassing, and bad politics, but for a different reason.  I feel like they‘re using these classes as their excuse for why they‘re not going to fire Karl Rove.  Karl Rove appears to have lied, whether or not you believe that he leaked about Valerie Plame. 

CARLSON:  It looks like a lie. 

MADDOW:  To have lied to the American public, to—Scott McClellan, possibly to the president. 

CARLSON:  Right.  I agree. 

MADDOW:  And so, rather than firing him, they‘re saying, “We‘re going to send him for remedial anti-lying classes.”  It‘s just embarrassing that we have this straight shooter president, and that‘s his response to this political problem. 

CARLSON:  But that is kind of your straightforward, sort of clean no drinking Texas approach to it: we‘ll take classes.  But I agree with you.

MADDOW:  It‘s embarrassing. 

CARLSON:  Rachel Maddow, thank you. 

MADDOW:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Still to come, can you smoke cigarettes without risking lung cancer?  Possibly, says one company.  Not everyone is impressed.  More on that in just a minute. 

Plus, Chicago officials consider opening an all-boys, virtually all black high school.  Wait, isn‘t state-sponsored segregation illegal, not to mention immoral?  That‘s what you thought.  We‘ll explain when THE SITUATION comes back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Up next, meet a man who has penetrated a music audience not even Casey Kasem can reach. 

Plus, no monkeying around in Maryland.  That state considers a ban on all exotic pets.  We‘ll open the cage on that debate next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back. 

A British tobacco company says cigarettes can be safer.  Next year, the company hopes to launch a cigarette it says cuts the risk of smoking-related diseases by up to 90 percent. 

Here to talk about whether that‘s a good idea, Patrick Reynolds.  He‘s the grandson of tobacco company founder R.J. Reynolds, and an opponent of the tobacco industry and smoking.  Mr. Reynolds, thanks a lot for coming on. 

PATRICK REYNOLDS, FOUNDATION FOR A SMOKEFREE AMERICA:  Glad to be on board. 

CARLSON:  Sir, we don‘t know if this cigarette works from BAT, the British tobacco company.  But there‘s no reason to think it might not kind of work.  I mean, tobacco companies famously have a lot of control over—over what‘s in their product.  There are a lot of chemists on staff. 

Why couldn‘t they figure out a cigarette that‘s less harmful?

REYNOLDS:  Tucker, the tobacco industry is in the job of selling cigarettes and selling a product. 

CARLSON:  Sure.

REYNOLDS:  And they want their customers to go on using it. 

CARLSON:  And to go on living, though, because dying smokers don‘t help the tobacco industry.  People who get emphysema and lung cancer, hurt the tobacco industry. 

So they have every incentive to try to figure out a cigarette that delivers the nicotine but that doesn‘t cause these illnesses.  Why isn‘t that a good thing?

REYNOLDS:  Understood.  We don‘t know if it‘s a good thing.  It takes about 25 or 30 years on average to get the lung cancer and heart disease that smoking causes, so we won‘t have reliable data for at least 30 years on whether this thing works or not, and honestly, you know, so maybe it‘s like jumping out of the 15th floor instead of jumping out of the 20th floor, to smoke these cigarettes. 

CARLSON:  Yes, but here‘s what we do know.  We know a couple of things.  We know people keep smoking almost no matter what the evidence is.  They know it‘s terrible, and keep doing it.  We could talk for an hour, Al the bad things smoking does, but they smoke.  We also know 160,000 people die of lung cancer in this country every year, so why aren‘t we declaring a war not just on smoking but on the carcinogens in cigarettes? Why don‘t we have some massive federal program devoted to making a safer cigarette? That is such an obvious choice, I don‘t know why it hasn‘t been made so far, do you?

REYNOLDS:  Well, the point is that smokers are going to keep smoking.  A lot are.  I was a smoker, and I smoked for gosh, 17 years.  They want to keep smokers smoking.  If they think there‘s a safer cigarette out there, maybe I can go on smoking, but we don‘t know how safe it is.  That‘s the problem. 

Sure, fine to take some of the carcinogens out, but smoke going into your lungs, burnt particles in the air, is probably a problem here.  And we won‘t have any reliable data on this new cigarette for decades to come. 

CARLSON:  Right.  But I was kind of surprised by the response from anti-smokers.  I mean, I understand why people are against smoking, absolutely, because it kills so many Americans. 

On the other hand, you‘d think anti-smoking groups would be thrilled by the news.  You‘d also think those same groups, your group among them, would be pushing for more funding for lung cancer.  Here you have every lung death in the country gets about $1,700 in funding, for lung cancer, per death.  AIDS, $163,000 per AIDS death.  This was last year‘s number.

Now, I‘m not saying AIDS funding should be cut.  I‘m merely saying, shouldn‘t there be a movement, led by people like you, to fund lung cancer research so we can stop all these deaths?

REYNOLDS:  Well, I think there is a movement to fund lung cancer research, of course, but to make a cigarette, no, I don‘t think that that‘s necessarily appropriate.  To help a corporation make a product, which on it‘s going to make billions every year.

Tucker, around the world today, one out of every three adults living on the planet smoke. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

REYNOLDS:  We have a one in five smoking rate, give or take, but in Japan and Asia and China, when you average those in, one in three adults on the planet are addicted to tobacco.  Almost all of them started as children, as teenagers. 

CARLSON:  Right. 

REYNOLDS:  And now, to get them to stop is practically impossible, and this is a product which, when used as directed, causes mass death.  We expect that of the one-third of the world pastor population now addicted to tobacco, 40 percent is going to die because they‘re smoking. 

CARLSON:  I absolutely believe that that‘s true.  And if you can cut the carcinogens in cigarettes, by even a small percentage, you could save millions of lives.  That is just—that is great news.  I hope it‘s true. 

REYNOLDS:  We encourage people to go on to smoke a so-called safer cigarette is just inappropriate, helps these companies continue selling their deadly products, making money.  We don‘t know, Tucker, how much safer it really is. 

CARLSON:  All right.  Thanks for joining us. 

Up next, find out who is calling liberal commentator Al Franken a big fat liar.  We‘ll tell you when we come back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Former comedian Al Franken has made a pretty good living attacking prominent conservatives like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O‘Reilly, mostly by calling them dishonest.  The irony, says my next guest.  Alan Skorski has just finished a new book that claims Al Franken is himself a liar, and a big one.  The book is called “Pants on Fire: How Al Franken Lies, Smears and Deceives.”  Alan Skorski joins us now live in the studio.

Mr. Skorski, thanks. 

ALAN SKORSKI, AUTHOR, “PANTS ON FIRE”:  Well, thank you for having me.  And if I may add, he does a lot worse than call his opponents a liar or dishonest.  He engages in the most vicious smear merchantry, as I call it, character assassination. 

CARLSON:  Well, I haven‘t even—I haven‘t even read your book, I‘ll admit.  I just got it today, and I have no idea if what you say is true.  It just dawned on me, you know, Al Franken has a book come out.  He‘s on all the morning shows.  Everyone books al Franken.  He‘s welcome on this show, incidentally, anytime he wants.  And I thought, you know, it might be worth giving someone who doesn‘t agree with Al Franken a couple minutes to present the other side.  Why did you devote a year and a half of your life to writing this book?

SKORSKI:  I‘ll tell you, I am a political activist.  And Al Franken is possibly one of the most vicious and dishonest political pundits in the arena today. 

CARLSON:  Well, give me two examples of his dishonesty. 

SKORSKI:  Well, I‘ll give you a perfect example.  He made his career, if you remember, at the book expo a couple of years ago, when he attacked Bill O‘Reilly over this whole nonsense Peabody, Polk Award nonsense. 

O‘Reilly had done an interview a few years earlier.  He had claimed it won a Peabody.  They had actually won Polk.  And Franken made a whole big stink about it. 

To make a long story short, because I‘ve got two chapters on this one subject alone, what Franken used to attack O‘Reilly was a news column that had nothing to do what with Franken claimed it did.  And furthermore, he had never even read that column. 

Here‘s what happened.  When Franken attacked O‘Reilly, I had actually sent an e-mail over to Franken asking, what‘s the big deal about a misstatement over an award?

CARLSON:  Right.

SKORSKI:  And he told me, “Well, it‘s more than that.  After O‘Reilly admitted making the misstatement, he attacked another columnist for writing about his admission.” 

So I just archived the article, because it didn‘t make sense that O‘Reilly on one week would admit something and then would deny it.  And after I saw the article, I said, this doesn‘t say anything that Franken claimed it did.

And then I even e-mailed the article to Franken himself.  And he wrote back saying, “Well, you know, now I‘m reading the article for the first time.” 

So here‘s this guy who rose to super stardom by, not only claiming to expose conservative liars, but promoting himself as the super truth teller of America. 

CARLSON:  Wait, but first, Franken was already famous.  I mean, I‘ve known him for a while. 

SKORSKI:  But not in political punditry.  He was, you know, the guy from “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.”  He had written a book about Rush Limbaugh.  Today, he is a headliner for Democrat fundraising events.  He is quoted by newspapers all around the country.  He had been given legitimacy by media like the “New York Times,” like Mike Wallace, who was interviewing Bill O‘Reilly a few years ago, and brought up Al Franken‘s name.  Al Franken on the surface doesn‘t have credibility until the media elevates him and gives him the credibility. 

CARLSON:  I think to some extent, you‘re right.  However, as I remember, Bill O‘Reilly actually did misstate the award.  Whether or not it was a lie, is another question.  We all make mistakes. 

But give me example of a hard lie, something he said knowing it was not true. 

SKORSKI:  OK.  I‘ll give you a great example.  Al Franken‘s No. 1 favorite lie is an attack he made on Rush Limbaugh, and it‘s been going on over a year now.  And this is Franken‘s favorite story.  It goes back to over a year ago.

CARLSON:  You just got a minute, so hit me with it. 

SKORSKI:  Real quickly, Al Franken—Rush Limbaugh had said that majority of minimum wage workers in America are teenagers.  Franken says that he did the research with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and says that, no, the majority are adults. 

Long story short, I spoke to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  It‘s in my book.  And Franken made up all of the data.  He cited a credible source, used it to smear Rush Limbaugh.  This is his modus operandi.  He cites a credible source, distorts the data and then uses that to attack, whether it‘s Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O‘Reilly, that‘s what he does.  Because people figure if you cite a credible source...

CARLSON:  Right.

SKORSKI:  ... you‘re not going to lie about them, because then they say, we never said that. 

CARLSON:  Right.  Also, honestly, apart from you, Alan Skorski, who is going to call the Bureau of Labor Statistics?

SKORSKI:  Exactly. 

CARLSON:  Not many people. 

The book is “Pants on Fire.”  It comes out Monday.  Thanks a lot for joining us. 

CARLSON:  Thank you for having me. 

CARLSON:  Appreciate it.

Still to come, a deejay for dogs and cats.  That‘s right, a radio station that caters to your pets.  How‘s that for weird?  What do they play?  THE SITUATION cranks out the tunes, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  The German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche once said: “It is hard enough to remember my opinions without also remembering my reasons for having them.”  Though he may well have said that in German. 

Joining me now, a man who has opinions in every language, the Outsider, ESPN radio and HBO boxing host Max Kellerman.  Unlike Nietzsche, who had syphilis, you‘re a healthy man.  That may be why he had trouble remembering his opinions there. 

MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO:  Affects the brain. 

CARLSON:  Yes, it does. 

First up, what could be the return of the segregated school.  Chicago‘s Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men, an all-boys public high school for black students.  The founder of the school says black males do better in single-sex schools.  Currently black males are graduating from Chicago‘s schools at the lowest rate of any group.  Urban Prep would focus on literacy, requiring kids to learn public speaking skills.  Juniors and seniors would spend one day per week in a professional setting to increase their understanding of the business world. 

It sounds like a great school.  I think all those are worthy goals.  There‘s a huge problem with graduation rates, not just among black males, but among every group in cities. 

I am not against what the school is doing.  I just don‘t think the government should ever, ever, ever be in the business of segregating people by race, or even taking account of race.  It‘s immoral, and on the week that Rosa Parks died, and we are all like getting into this lather about, you know, the civil rights movement, to ignore the basic lesson of the civil rights movement is kind of weird. 

KELLERMAN:  Yes, it‘s easy to oppose this on ideological grounds. 

Segregation, bad, no. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

KELLERMAN:  However, let‘s look at it in two different ways.  First, ideologically, and then empirically, if we can get past the ideology. 

CARLSON:  Right.

KELLERMAN:  Sure, on the surface, it seems like, yes, we should be color-blind.  However, that ignores the reality where there‘s serious inequity between the races, among races.  The darker you are, the worse you got it, basically, and we all know what that stems from.

So the question is, because that is the case, can we address it without being racist?  I mean, people who like affirmative action, I know you are not one of them, and you will say, well, it doesn‘t work.  That‘s the empirical argument—say this addresses inequity.  We can‘t just be colorblind because the status quo remains the same.  And...

CARLSON:  No, actually...

KELLERMAN:  ... fate is not in favor of the minority that‘s suffering. 

CARLSON:  Affirmative action does work, it absolutely does work.  I just think it‘s racist for the government to favor one racial group over another. 

KELLERMAN:  But then that‘s ignoring the inequity.  How do you get past the fact that inequity exists based on policies of this government going back hundreds of years? 

CARLSON:  That‘s part of the reason there—it‘s a very complicated subject, it‘s been studied by a lot of smart people, and we don‘t actually know the full reasons, the bottom line, in my view.  But look...

KELLERMAN:  We got a pretty good idea, that starting with the middle passage... 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Nobody is contesting the great injustices done to black people in this country, and I am certainly not.  My only point is that the sin of slavery and segregation is so profound that to replicate it in any way is just wrong.  That‘s like saying, you know, we know for a fact that if I rob a liquor store, I‘d be richer.  And he doesn‘t need the money, and I do.  My kids will eat, and everything will be great.  I‘m still committing a crime.  (INAUDIBLE) still a crime.

KELLERMAN:  I understand.  In that case, we come to an impasse on ideological grounds.  Then the next argument, if you can get past the ideology, is empirically, would this work or not?  And because it hasn‘t yet been done, we don‘t know.  And so I would argue, if you can get past ideologically an ideological opposition to this idea, why not, you know, roll the dice, see if it works? 

CARLSON:  Look, I think it‘s totally immoral to segregate.  I still hope the school works, because I hope the kids succeed. 

Next, crocodiles, monkeys and snakes.  Oh, my.  Maryland legislators want to ban exotic pets in the name of safety.  A Humane Society spokesman says, quote, “when you are walking your bobcat, your mountain lion, your tiger, taking your crocodile out for a swim in your pool, there is never a safe moment when you‘re doing things like that.”  Referring to an organ grinder‘s monkey, he went on to say, quote, “just because it sits on somebody‘s shoulder and dances when he turns the crank doesn‘t mean it‘s not going to rip your face off, to be perfectly blunt,” end quote. 

Look, he‘s got a way with words.  Unlike most bureaucrats, this guy has got the ability to turn a colorful phrase. 

Here‘s the point.  Most exotic pets don‘t harm anyone.  Most people who own exotic pets are weird.  And that‘s the problem.  You have a Richard Jewell problem.  People just don‘t like the kind of weirdo who would have an ocelot in his garage, you know what I mean?

KELLERMAN:  Right, sure.

CARLSON:  Or some sort of poisonous snake collection in his living room.  They think, oh, that‘s weird.  You shouldn‘t be allowed to do it.  I say, let the freaks be freaks.  OK?  You can‘t criminalize freakiness. 

KELLERMAN:  The promise of American cinema when I was growing up is that one day I would be able to go to a strip poker party, and have a monkey get drunk on tequila and pass out.  I mean, I have never been at a party like that.  I feel like I‘ve never been at a real party. 

Here‘s the problem that I have with you.  I don‘t care about the organ grinder‘s monkey, those are not really that dangerous.  But how about the people who put the python around their neck?  Now, think about this, a boa constrictor, it‘s evolved as just this huge muscle that contracts around an animal‘s wind pipe. 

CARLSON:  Exactly. 

KELLERMAN:  And then swallows them whole.  And yet you see people walking through Washington Square Park, with boa constrictors around, of all places, their neck. 

CARLSON:  But you are making my point for me.  The boa constrictor‘s ability and its instinct to constrict is a Darwinian function, it‘s a function of evolution.  This is our Darwinian process too.  Anyone dumb enough to put a boa constrictor around his neck shouldn‘t be reproducing.  So therefore, don‘t stop people from getting boa constrictors.  Anybody who wants one, here‘s one. 

KELLERMAN:  Well, yes, from a practical point of view, I guess you are right.  You brought up Nietzsche before, I suppose—I suppose an uberman, who would not have a conscience about those sorts of things, would say, fine, but I say we are better than that, Tucker. 

(CROSSTALK)  

KELLERMAN:  We have to save the stupid also. 

CARLSON:  You can‘t save people from themselves, Max Kellerman, despite much effort. 

Great to see you.  I‘m glad you are back. 

KELLERMAN:  Thank you.  It‘s good to be back.

CARLSON:  Thanks.

Stay tuned.  Still plenty more ahead on THE SITUATION.   

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON (voice-over):  The risky business of nepotism.  Has bad press forced Tom to sever family ties? 

TOM CRUISE, ACTOR:  You don‘t know, and I do. 

CARLSON:  Then, we tap the light side of beer.  Why health conscious Americans might soon be saying, pour me another. 

Plus, a peek inside California‘s newest luxury hotel, where the policy is, no shirt, no shoes, no problem. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Whatever it costs, it‘s going to be worth it. 

CARLSON:  And, a painful lesson on why you should never interrupt two cheerleaders having sex in a bathroom stall. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And she reared back and hit me. 

CARLSON:  It‘s all ahead on THE SITUATION.

CRUISE:  I‘m excited.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Cats and dogs and other household pets have been at the mercy of their owner‘s musical tastes for far too long.  We can all agree on that.  Now, there‘s an Internet radio station called DogCatRadio.com that caters directly to pets.  Complete with deejays introducing records like the Baha Men classic, “Who Let the Dogs Out?” DogCatRadio.com is designed to keep pets company when they are home alone. 

Adrian Martinez is the founder of the radio station.  He joins me now live from Los Angeles.  Adrian Martinez, thanks a lot for coming on. 

ADRIAN MARTINEZ, FOUNDER, DOGCATRADIO.COM:  Thanks, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Now, this is pretty weird.  Where did you get the idea for this? 

MARTINEZ:  Well, Tucker, first of all, it‘s not weird, because I don‘t think the pet community thinks it‘s weird.  They love their pets.  And as far as the idea—as far as the idea goes, it was just a great opportunity to reach an audience that wasn‘t really being reached, you know what I mean? 

CARLSON:  Of course I do, and I meant weird in the best way, weird as it‘s an unusual idea.  Let‘s think of, you know, a radio station for pets, amazing. 

How do you sell ads on a radio station where only pets, who don‘t have credit cards, are listening? 

MARTINEZ:  Well, just this week, we opened our doors to advertisers, but the response we have gotten from the pet community has been overwhelming.  We have people tuning in from almost every continent, with the exception of Africa, I believe, and Antarctica, of course, but it‘s just been great.  We‘ve been getting hundreds of e-mails from people who are sending the pictures of their little furry pets, and letting us know that they‘re listening to us in the kitchen with their cats, in bed with a dog.  You know, the demographics are just amazing. 

You know, kids love pets, grandparents love pets, parents, you know, couples, you name it.  So I love pets and I love music, and I thought this was a great way to reach an audience that wasn‘t really being reached. 

CARLSON:  Well, I love pets and I love music, but how do you know the pets love the music?  Aren‘t they kind of a captive audience?  You could be playing some pretty crummy stuff, and they wouldn‘t know how to complain, would they? 

MARTINEZ:  You know, Tucker, we are actually being prescribed by veterinarians to listen to DogCatRadio.com, because there‘s a big issue with pet anxiety, pet separation anxiety.  And pretty much, a lot of people who love their pets, you know, they really feel bad when they leave for work.  And I know I used to do that.  And I felt bad, so of course, I got a companion for my dog, but you would be surprised how many pet owners out there really feel bad about leaving their pets at home alone. 

So we just try to provide entertainment for them.  But it‘s become—it went from geared towards pets, now we have a pet owner saying, listen, my cat fell asleep, but I am still listening. 

CARLSON:  So what kind of music do pets like?  Like what‘s a dog favorite? 

MARTINEZ:  A dog favorite might be like “Who Let the Dogs Out?”  You know, we have been getting e-mails from people left and right. 

CARLSON:  That‘s pretty literal for a dog, don‘t you think? 

MARTINEZ:  Yes.  Cats seem to like the Stray Cats, that sort of stuff. 

I mean, we‘re getting e-mails from—I got an e-mail the other day from Fido@Firehydrant.com.  I don‘t know if that was a real e-mail, but whiskers@catlitter.com, so go figure.  I don‘t know whether to take it seriously or not, but we try to accommodate our listeners with a variety of upbeat music. 

CARLSON:  It‘s like that “New Yorker” cartoon with one dog turning to the other and saying, “You know, on the Internet, nobody knows you are a dog.”  Amazing. 

So what kind of advertisers are advertising on pet radio? 

MARTINEZ:  Well, we just got first PetLife.com, which is our first advertiser.  We are really happy about that.  They came in and they said, listen, we want to come in and join you, because they can see it‘s a great and attractive idea.  And we want to be the Yahoo of the pet industry, or bow-wow in this case. 

CARLSON:  Do you have any talk shows? 

MARTINEZ:  I‘m sorry? 

CARLSON:  Do you have any talk shows, you know, talk radio for pets? 

MARTINEZ:  Yes, well, we try during the segments, between songs, we like to direct the dialogue toward our pets and say, you know, hopefully you are having a good time, and enjoying the music, try to stay cool or warm during this hot summer season, or whatever. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

MARTINEZ:  SPCA reminds you to drink plenty of water.  That sort of thing. 

CARLSON:  Yeah.  And I know pets across America appreciate that. 

Thank you, Adrian Martinez, from Los Angeles. 

MARTINEZ:  Thank you, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  DogCatRadio.com, your spaniel is crying out for it. 

Coming up, what‘s really behind the violent chaos in France?  Is it culture, is it religion, is it socioeconomics?  No one seems to agree, but one fired up caller certainly thinks he knows.  We check THE SITUATION voicemail next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Looks like some of you got ahold of our super secret unlisted phone number, and you are calling at all hours, leaving messages.  Let‘s listen to some. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE:  Hey, Tucker, listen, this is Mike from Bobtown, Pennsylvania calling you again.  Listen, you know, the frogs probably deserve everything they are getting, but if those were two white kids electrocuted while running away from the police, all anyone would be talking about is a couple of kids who are criminals, trying to elude the police.  But since it‘s white cops and they are chasing any minority group, all of a sudden, it‘s about race, and you get riots. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  I don‘t know.  I don‘t know exactly if that‘s true or not.  I don‘t know enough about France—the French culture, to tell you the truth.  I will say, though, that the reluctance of French authorities to say that burning cars is bad and burning down schools is bad and the tendency, the instinct to make apologies for that kind of behavior is unbelievable.  This French minister, interior minister, who called the people doing this scum was absolutely right, and somehow he is a bigot for saying that?  It‘s obvious, if you are burning other people‘s cars and shooting at people with shotguns, yeah, it‘s a scummy thing to do. 

Next up. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANONYMOUS:  Lots of Democrats voted against the war.  No Republicans did. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  That‘s a good point.  You are absolutely right.  I never denied that.  Everyone who voted for the war, I believe, made a mistake, and everyone who did, particularly those who thought better of it, ought to apologize as far as I‘m concerned.  I don‘t care what party you‘re in.  But you‘re right.  That‘s right, it was a party line vote among Republicans, and the majority—actually, the minority of Democrats voted for it.  Those are the facts. 

Next up. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSH:  Tucker, what‘s up?  This is Josh in Georgia.  Hey, man, the ‘70s called, and they want their answering machine back.  How old is that thing anyway?  Don‘t you think NBC can spring for something a little bit more modern?  Thanks. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON:  Well, apparently not, because they haven‘t.  This is a Channel Master.  It‘s got a footage indicator.  It‘s a reel-to-reel model, and it still works.  And waste not, want not.  That‘s our motto here at MSNBC.  If it works, we are going to use it.  But thanks for noticing. 

Let us know what you are thinking.  You can call 1-877-TCARLSON.  That‘s 877-822-7576.  You can also send me your e-mails.  The address, tucker@msnbc.com.  I will respond every day to anything you come up with, no matter how bizarre or inciteful, for that matter.  For the responses, log on to tucker.msnbc.com.

Still to come, Tom Cruise cut ties with reality quite some time ago, but now he is cutting ties with a member of his own family.  We will tell you who got the ax and why, when we visit “The Cutting Room Floor.”  Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON:  Welcome back.  Time for “The Cutting Room Floor.”  Joining us as always, newly back from successful gastric bypass surgery, Willie Geist. 

WILLIE GEIST, THE SITUATION:  Thank you.  I am feeling—I am feeling thin.  I wasn‘t—didn‘t know we were going public with that. 

CARLSON:  You look great, Willie. 

GEIST:  Thanks a million.  I actually resent the criticism of our answering machine.  It works, it gets the job done.  And the amazing thing is...

CARLSON:  Of course.

GEIST:  ... it‘s not even plugged into anything.  It just detects that there are messages. 

CARLSON:  It was really one of the first wireless devices.

GEIST:  Cutting edge, it really was. 

CARLSON:  Pretty good for 1973.  Thank you.

GEIST:  There you go.

CARLSON:  Well, since Tom Cruise hired his sister to be his publicist last year, he has quickly gone from Hollywood icon to deranged figure jumping on Oprah‘s couch and lecturing women about postpartum depression.  Apparently, even Cruise now recognizes his public image needs help.  He has relieved his sister, Lee Anne De Vette, of her duties as his publicist.  Cruise says his sister did, quote, “a wonderful job,” and the move is just part of a reshuffling of the staff. 

GEIST:  Yes, because it was definitely his sister‘s fault.  You know?  Lee Anne was not the one jumping on the couch.  You know what‘s hilarious about this?  They say when he fired his original PR person and he hired his sister, that‘s when it all came crashing down.  So if he doesn‘t have a professional around him, wrangling him, he can‘t act like a civilized human being.  It‘s amazing.

CARLSON:  I think it‘s fair to say he is not alone. 

GEIST:  No, no, he is not alone, but he leads the pack, I suspect. 

CARLSON:  Yes, I think that‘s right.

Well, a couple of NFL cheerleaders showed a little too much spirit for each other in a bathroom stall.  Now they have been arrested and kicked off their team.  That seems a little harsh, frankly. 

Two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders were allegedly having sex with each other in a stall at a Tampa, Florida bar late Saturday night.  Women waiting in line for the bathroom began to complain.  That‘s when one of the two female cheerleaders allegedly came out of the stall and punched one of the women who was complaining.  The cheerleader was charged with battery.  Both women have been booted from the team for conduct embarrassing to the Panthers organization. 

GEIST:  Embarrassing? 

CARLSON:  It‘s the best thing that‘s ever happened to the Panthers, and they ought to recognize it. 

GEIST:  This is reprehensible, because you shouldn‘t punch people, that‘s true.  Let me just throw this out there.  Isn‘t it, or is it not, the job of a cheerleader to inspire his or her team? 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

GEIST:  I‘d like to read you a final score from yesterday‘s NFL action.  Panthers 34, Bucks 14.  So inspiration comes in different ways.  I suspect some of the players were very inspired by their performance. 

CARLSON:  Let me put it this way: I literally never heard of the Panthers until this morning‘s story. 

GEIST:  That‘s a bigger problem. 

CARLSON:  Well, I don‘t know. 

GEIST:  For another show. 

CARLSON:  It brought the team to my attention.  I‘ll put it that way. 

Well, Busch Stadium in St. Louis is a cathedral to Cardinals baseball fans across the Midwest.  Well, it was a Cathedral.  The stadium that was home to the Cardinals for 39 years met the wrecking ball today.  The new $400 million ball park is being built in the old stadium‘s place.  It will be ready for the Cardinals home opener April 10th

GEIST:  The dirty little secret about Busch Stadium, despite the Midwest sentiment, it needed the wrecking ball.  It was a relic of the ‘60s that was not pretty.  Although there were some big moments there.  Mark McGwire hit his record-breaking home run.  They won the ‘82 World Series.  And last year, they became the only team in World Series history to never hold a lead.  So congratulations on that. 

CARLSON:  Wow. 

GEIST:  Right there at that stadium. 

CARLSON:  Wow.  Kind of weird they tore it down. 

GEIST:  Our old executive producer, Bill Wolff, I think can appreciate that. 

CARLSON:  He can.  The uber-fan.

Pet pampering took another turn for the absurd over the weekend, with the opening of Wag—that‘s a luxury hotel in Sacramento—for dogs and cats.  Dogs stay in 8 by 10 suites, complete with leather couches and flatscreen televisions.  Cats get two-story condos with aquarium entertainment.  There are even Web cameras in the room, so you can check on your pet from your computer.  The rooms go for 55 bucks a night.  No word on whether they are wired to cats and dogs radio. 

GEIST:  I was going to say, dogs now officially have it better than humans.  This is it right here.  That‘s much nicer than the place I went on my honeymoon, much nicer.  And actually, if you go on vacation... 

CARLSON:  Did you go to Sacramento for your honeymoon, Willie? 

GEIST:  I did, as a matter of fact, I did.  No, but seriously, if you are watching your pet on a Web cam while you‘re on vacation, you have a problem.  Enjoy your vacation. 

CARLSON:  Actually I would watch my pet on the.... 

GEIST:  I know you would.  It‘s so sad. 

CARLSON:  Well, it‘s almost midnight on the East Coast, so I have a feeling our next story will resonate with many of you right about now.  New research has revealed that drinking beer doesn‘t just make you fat and obnoxious, as originally believed—it does do that in many cases—but it may also save your life.  Study shows that hops in beer may prevent cancer.  There‘s a micronutrient in beer that inhibits cancer-causing enzymes, scientists say. 

GEIST:  Don‘t tell people this.  Why tell people this?  This is a blank check. 

CARLSON:  Well, we report, Willie, you decide. 

GEIST:  Oh, but how can the medical community—this is so irresponsible.  It‘s a (INAUDIBLE) keg stands and beer bongs.  Don‘t tell beer drinkers that it saves your life.

CARLSON:  It‘s medicine, Willie. 

(CROSSTALK)

GEIST:  Bad idea.

CARLSON:  Willie Geist.

That‘s it for THE SITUATION.  I thank you for watching.  As always, we appreciate it.  Next, “COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN.”  See you tomorrow.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mmmm, beer.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

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

END   

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