Guests: Frank Fernandez, Chip Franklin, Max Kellerman, Tim Sanders
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”: Let‘s go now to Tucker Carlson and THE SITUATION. Tucker, what‘s THE SITUATION tonight.
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Thanks, Joe. And thanks for the show you just did. It was excellent.
Thanks to you at home for tuning in, as always. We appreciate it.
Tonight, we‘ll investigate a mysterious situation in the city of Baltimore. A hundred and thirty lamp posts, each 30 feet long, 250 pounds, made out of aluminum, have suddenly disappeared. Who‘s responsible for this? How‘d they do it, and most important, why‘d they do it? It‘s a pretty disturbing story.
We‘ll also tell you about a new punishment for students who swear at their teachers. Plus an inquiry into what makes a person likable. Why does everyone love, Martha Stewart, for example, but despise me? It‘s an important question. Answer.
Plus, more on the outrageous PETA ad we showed you last night in just a few moments.
But we begin tonight with President Bush‘s vow to keep our troops in Iraq until the job is done. The president, speaking from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, refused to set a time table for troop withdrawal. He said Iraqi troops are becoming more capable of fighting terrorists, but that the situation, quote, “will take time and patience.”
To accompany Bush‘s speech, the White House also released an unclassified 35-page document entitled National Strategy for Victory in Iraq. Here‘s some of what the president said earlier this afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Many advocating an artificial time table for withdrawing our troops are sincere. But I believe they‘re sincerely wrong. Pulling our troops out before they‘ve achieved their purpose is not a plan for victory.
To all that wear the uniform, I make you this pledge: America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins, so long as I am your commander-in-chief.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Some Democrats trashed the president‘s speech even before he finished giving it. Harry Reid of Nevada issued a statement, claiming that Bush, quote, “just recycled his tired rhetoric of stay the course.”
Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, meanwhile, backed Congressman Jack Murtha‘s plan for a speedy and complete withdrawal from Iraq.
Here now to discuss the president‘s address and the Democratic rebuttal to it, MSNBC political contributor Flavia Colgan, joining us from Los Angeles tonight. Flavia, thanks for coming on.
FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Good evening. Thank you for having me.
CARLSON: I don‘t often like the president‘s speeches about Iraq. I don‘t agree with the underlying point, that the war was justified. However, I thought it was a good speech for a couple of reasons.
Most important: he did what he rarely does, he explained. He told us a lot. He gave us information we didn‘t have. He told us who we‘re fighting. He told us a lot about the condition of the all-important Iraqi defense forces. And I thought he gave pretty good justification for keeping the troops in, until as he put it, you know, Iraq can protect itself.
I thought the speech made sense. I didn‘t agree with a lot of it, but it was a presidential speech.
COLGAN: Well, I agree and disagree. In terms of substance, or shall I say lack of substance, I would—on the Flavia report card, I would give the president a D.
In terms of delivery, I thought he looked presidential. He‘s not often a friend of the English language, and he managed to get through it without fumbling any words. And I thought that his delivery was very strong. He didn‘t have his smirk, and again, he did look presidential, so I would give him an A minus on delivery.
In terms of the politics and how this will result in, I think, somewhat of an uptick in his poll numbers, which will then force a lot of people, lemmings and others, to reconsider their position on the war, I think that he‘ll be helped by that. But I have to say...
CARLSON: Wait, hold on. I‘m not sure.
CARLSON: Is he attempting even to change people‘s minds on the war? That is why we went to war. It seems to me he said relatively little about that. That‘s a debate that is going to continue, but it‘s kind of unwinnable for both sides.
CARLSON: Doesn‘t he he need to convince people, on the end, that we need to keep the troops there until there is a stable Iraqi government, in order to keep the whole region...
CARLSON: ... from collapsing around this vacuum that Iraq will become? That‘s his goal, right?
CARLSON: Keeping people on board until we finish the job, whatever the job is.
COLGAN: The president‘s goal, as I saw it in this speech, was to speak to the former choir, if you will. People who believe in the war in theory but have left the president‘s side in the last couple of months because they felt execution of it was poor.
I think what he wanted to show them is, you know, reassure them that the execution would get better, and therefore, like I said, bring some of those people back into the fold.
CARLSON: But that‘s—but hold on. That‘s most people, though.
Keep in mind, I mean, no matter what...
CARLSON: ... everyone you know or maybe everyone I know thinks about the war, the majority of the country, according to every poll, up until pretty recently, supported the war in Iraq. They supported it at the beginning. They supported it, again, until not that long ago. So if you win those people back, you‘ve got the majority of the country.
COLGAN: Right. But that‘s changed—but Tucker, that‘s changed significantly, and I do think that this speech will help him. I mean, the president is having a terrible time, not just on Iraq. I mean, the trip to China, you know, Cunningham, you know, the culture of corruption.
The only thing that has gone right for this president lately is that, when he pardoned the turkey on Thanksgiving, it didn‘t gouge his eyes out. So let‘s not, you know, over blow how great this can be for him.
CARLSON: Wait a second. This—this is the bottom line, though, for the Bush presidency, for the Bush legacy, for the history of this era, is Iraq. I mean, you know, Duke Cunningham—and I‘m not defending in any way what he did or is accused of doing—but he will not be remembered. Iraq is what this whole time, this decade is about. And if he gets the public on his side on that, what else matters?
COLGAN: True, and I want to get to some of the things I felt were lacking in the speech, namely metrics and a time table.
But I do want to say, before I give what will be a very critical analysis of his speech, I want to remind you and the viewers that I am equal opportunity basher, when it comes to—for the complete lack of vision, both on the Democratic and the Republican side for Iraq.
And over the holidays, a very brilliant Robertson (ph) professor told me something that on its face seemed simple, but I hadn‘t thought of it. He said, “You know what, Flavia? We need a lot less politicians on this issue and more people that are experts in the region,” more military brass, presumably, I suppose, retired people so they‘re more free to speak, more people that can sit around a table, Tucker, like you have done, actually, and try to come up with serious solutions to what is a serious problem, as opposed to politicians on both sides giving...
CARLSON: I don‘t know.
COLGAN: ... statements.
CARLSON: I don‘t buy that.
COLGAN: And leading statements and pointing fingers, you know, across the table.
CARLSON: Maybe. I mean, there‘s political element to everything, and there ought to be. It‘s what a democracy is, you know.
But on the other hand, there are a lot of smart people who spend their lives thinking about this, and it‘s just complicated.
COLGAN: Then we should ask them.
CARLSON: Since you brought up politics, I want to ask for the Democratic response. The significant event, I thought, politically today was Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, coming out and saying she agreed with Jack Murtha.
I think that Jack Murtha is honorable guy, and I‘m not even attacking his idea to withdraw the troops as fast as we can. I think as a political matter, thought, this is a mistake, for this reason: the White House will convince the majority of the public that an early withdrawal is humiliating.
And the one thing I think people really don‘t want is a humiliating end to the war in Iraq, even if they oppose the war in Iraq. And I just think this is a sort of a big deal moment, where the leadership of the party all of a sudden comes over to a side that just last month was considered kind of a fringe position.
COLGAN: Well, this is a very complicated question, Tucker, and I‘ll tell you why. We discussed this a little bit a few weeks ago.
It is my belief, you know, as a Pennsylvanian, I certainly follow Congressman Murtha‘s career very closely, and I did his statement. I believe that the way his position has been characterized, both by the media and politicians, has been an oversimplification. I think what he said was rather nuanced and sophisticated. We‘re talking about strategic redeployment.
And I think that the Republican canard, and frankly, canard on the part of a lot in the media, that—that having a time table means cutting and running or leaving immediately is simply not true.
CARLSON: It may...
COLGAN: Nancy Pelosi, you‘re right, made a mistake, because I think right now people don‘t understand...
CARLSON: Answer this simple—if you would answer quickly the simple political question. If the leadership of the Democratic Party is tied in the public mind anyway to the position withdraw the troops as quickly as we can, don‘t you think that‘s politically problematic for the party? Or do you think the public is behind that idea?
COLGAN: No. I think—I think that that is problematic. I think that the public is behind what Murtha, in fact, said, which is that we need clear discernible goals, for how—how we can fulfill our commitment, both to the Iraqi people and also to help those who are serving in uniform better prepare for when they‘re going to come home. So that they have clear, definable goals.
Also, I want to read a very important quote. Because you led in with a very interesting part of the president‘s speech. It was about time table. And I want to read this quote to you.
“The president should also have a time table for getting American troops home,” and then it goes on to say that “Gore seems to have a vision of indefinite involvement in the Balkans, which will hurt our morale, undermine our core mission and will hurt our...”
CARLSON: I covered the 2000 campaign. I‘m familiar with that quote.
COLGAN: Who said that?
CARLSON: I believe that was George W. Bush talking about Kosovo.
CARLSON: Right. I knew it was.
COLGAN: Well, I agree with George W. Bush, circa 2000. I agree with Bush circa 2000...
CARLSON: I would say...
COLGAN: ... for the very reasons he stated, to give a clear defined time table, whether it‘s one year, two years five years.
CARLSON: All right.
COLGAN: I believe that that is necessary.
CARLSON: I guess—I guess the obvious rebuttal, Kosovo, not Iraq.
We‘ll have to save it.
Flavia Colgan from L.A., joining us live. Thank you.
COLGAN: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: For more on what the troops think about all this, we welcome retired U.S. Army Colonel and Medal of Honor recipient. We are honored to have MSNBC military analyst Jack Jacobs joining us in the studio live.
JACK JACOBS, MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST: Good to be here.
CARLSON: So it seems the bulk, not the bulk, a large portion of the president‘s speech was about the Iraqi defense forces. And that‘s kind of the key question. Are they ready to take over? When will they be ready to take over? There‘s all this debate about how many battalions are, in fact, ready to fight on their own. Congress, congressional hearings come up with one battalion. You‘ve heard other people say dozens of battalions. What‘s the real answer?
JACOBS: Well, like most things in life, the truth is somewhere in the middle. It ain‘t zero, and it ain‘t 112, or whatever it is that‘s being proffered by the administration.
There are probably about 30 battalions that are ready. They don‘t fight by themselves. They‘re not prepared to fight by themselves. And it will be a long time before they can fight by themselves.
Once we leave, the bulk, we remove the bulk of our conventional forces, you can expect that we‘re going to have lots and lots of advisors still with Iraqi forces for a long time to come.
CARLSON: Do you—what about the argument that the Iraqi defense forces will never stand on their own as long as we‘re there in great numbers, and that they need the threat of our withdrawal in order to get their act together?
JACOBS: Oh, I think that they may or may not get their act together whether we‘re there or not. I think that our being there does not necessarily motivate them to sit on their backsides. I think they would—the bulk of them would like us to go home in any case.
I think we provide a lot of needed security over there, and that‘s not going to change the near future.
But we are going home. The administration has established internally a time table, and I think we‘re going to start withdrawing troops. So whether the Iraqi forces want us there or don‘t want us there, I think we‘re leaving.
CARLSON: If the whole country doesn‘t want us there, and we‘re facing this insurgency that is primarily local Iraqis, it sounds like, at least according to the Pentagon, some people are saying you can never defeat an insurgency, or at least we can‘t. Do you think that‘s true?
JACOBS: No. I mean, insurgencies have been defeated before. The British did a great job in Malaya.
But you approach the defeat of an insurgency very much differently than you approach the defeat of a conventional force. We started out in Iraq with the objective of defeating a conventional force, bring large numbers of troops in there, not as many as I thought we needed, not as many as a lot of people think we needed. As a matter of fact, I think we need more there now than we have there now.
But we go in there with large numbers of troops. We have enormous numbers of precision guided munitions and so on. We blow these guys all to pieces, and then a miracle would happen, and there would be a Democratic country.
Well, life is not like that. And the insurgency is certainly not like that. And insurgency takes a different kind of force. It takes a measured response to a wide variety of challenges, and it takes a long time.
We never, ever approached the war in Iraq from the standpoint of fighting an insurgency, and we‘re not doing it now either, which is one reason why I think ultimately...
CARLSON: What‘s the first thing we‘d do if we were approaching it as a war against an insurgency?
JACOBS: Well, for one thing, we‘d have to have much better intelligence than we have now. We‘d have to focus our intel—our efforts on gathering intelligence, on using special operations forces, and not conventional forces.
We‘d have to isolate pockets of where the enemy, pockets of resistance, and move outward, secure them. You know, we went into Fallujah several times. We‘ve been up in the northwest part of Iraq near the...
JACOBS: For a long, long time. You can‘t go into someplace and leave. We found out in Vietnam you can‘t do that. You don‘t go into someplace and then leave, because the bad guys come back again. You establish a base. You eliminate the bad guys. And then you move your security operations outward from there.
That‘s how to defeat an insurgency, and there are lots of other things you have to do too, but from the security standpoint, that‘s what you have to do. We didn‘t do that. We have never done that in Iraq. And quite frankly, it takes lots more troops than we have there, and a focus on doing counter insurgency operations, and we don‘t have—we‘re just not going to do that.
CARLSON: Well, speaking of Vietnam, where you obviously spent a lot of time, you heard similar arguments then, as you‘re hearing now, that people everywhere, regardless of culture, creed, religion, yearn for freedom, almost above all. You heard the president say today, the insurgency will fail because will to power is no match for the universal desire to live in liberty. Do you think that‘s true? Is it your experience that people everywhere yearn in the way we yearned for liberty?
JACOBS: Well, I think everybody yearns for freedom and liberty, especially people who are oppressed. But the real question is not whether or not people want liberty, but how much they‘re willing to pay for it. There‘s a high price for it. And if it‘s too high a price, you‘re not going to—you will not pay the price.
Look at Iraq itself. Saddam Hussein was in charge of that joint for, you know, three decades, 35 years. Well, you didn‘t see much liberty taking place there.
If they really wanted liberty enough to pay for it, they would have done something back then. The fact of the matter is, that everybody yearns for liberty. There‘s no doubt about it, but you have to be able to—you have to be willing and capable of paying the price to achieve it, and not everybody is willing to do that.
CARLSON: Pretty radical thing to say, I am glad you said it. I agree with you. Colonel John Jacobs, thank you.
JACOBS: Well, it‘s good to be here.
CARLSON: I appreciate it.
Still to come, the heat is on in Miami, as police begin a random shock and awe operation to combat possible terrorists. I‘ll speak with Miami‘s deputy chief of police about this controversial new in your face strategy.
Plus, we‘ll have more on the outrageous new PETA ad that depicts fishermen as killers. Should kids even be allowed to see a cartoon entitled “Your Daddy Kills Animals”? It‘s all ahead when we come back.
CARLSON: The Miami Police Department announced a new shock and awe plan this week to fight terrorism in that city. The police are hoping to catch terrorists off guard with random displays of force. For example, the cops might surround a bank unannounced in the hopes of spooking potential al Qaeda members.
It‘s a novel approach to homeland security, but will it actually scare more law abiding citizens than it will terrorists? Here to explain the department‘s new tactics, Miami‘s deputy chief of police, Frank Fernandez.
Mr. Fernandez, thanks a lot for coming on.
FRANK FERNANDEZ, MIAMI DEPUTY CHIEF OF POLICE: Thank you for having me.
CARLSON: So if you‘re not targeting locations in the city of Miami where terrorists are suspected of actually being, won‘t this scare more citizens than it will terrorists?
FERNANDEZ: No, I don‘t think so. I think actually it‘s going to reassure them that we‘re out there. We‘re providing the highest level of public safety.
But I understand the concerns that some people may have. But this is not intended in any way, shape, or form to infringe on their freedom of movement. We do not intend on stopping people or checking for identifications.
Let me repeat that again: we do not intend on stopping people and checking for identifications. Basically, as you just said, we‘re working at hardening our soft targets. We want to keep it random. We want to be frequently out there, so that they can‘t identify what our flaws are in the security.
Every plan has a flaw, and they identify our vulnerabilities.
CARLSON: Well, the...
FERNANDEZ: We know by the past—I‘m sorry?
CARLSON: I just want—I just want to make sure that‘s absolutely clear to viewers. You‘re quoted in an Associated Press story, where your remarks are paraphrased in the A.P. story, saying you will ask for the I.D.‘s of people on the street. You don‘t plan to do that?
FERNANDEZ: No. Absolutely not. And I think they corrected that today. That is not accurate.
CARLSON: So then what exactly is the point, then? If you see people who you think might be terrorists but you don‘t actually stop them and ask them for their I.D.‘s, how are you stopping terrorism?
FERNANDEZ: Well, you know, you‘re not going to see a terrorist walking by and say, “Oh, that‘s a terrorist.”
FERNANDEZ: We don‘t profile people that way. We‘re going to be looking for behavior patterns, the type of things that may allow suspicion for other criminal activity.
So basically what we‘re going is highlighting areas that are soft targets, increasing our visibility out in the field, and that‘s one of the components of Operation Miami Shield.
But the most important component is the educational component, whereby we‘re going to educate the business people and the community on how to help us, in assisting us in identifying potential problems or potential terrorists.
CARLSON: I think that sounds really...
FERNANDEZ: The crime watch—the crime watch programs around the country have been very effective.
CARLSON: Right. No, I think that makes total sense. But why aren‘t you profiling people? I mean, terrorists have a very specific profile: 100 percent of al Qaeda members are radical observant Muslims. Why aren‘t you spending more time, taking a time look at places where radical Muslims congregate, like mosques?
FERNANDEZ: That would be inappropriate, and it‘s not our intention.
CARLSON: Why would that be—why would that be inappropriate? I mean, you can think of terror suspect after terror suspect apprehended in the last five years in Europe and in the United States. And almost all of them congregate around a very small number of mosques where this radical brand of Islam is being preached. Why not target those? That‘s where the terrorists are likely to be.
FERNANDEZ: Well, you know, not all Muslims are terrorists.
CARLSON: Nobody is suggesting that. But I am suggesting all al Qaeda members are Muslims. And so why wouldn‘t you narrow down the set of potential terrorists pretty radically? Miami is a big city. Why not just look at the people who are most likely to commit acts of terror?
FERNANDEZ: Because we don‘t want—we don‘t want to jeopardize those that are not, and group them all into one category. What we want to do is go out there and heighten our visibility, so we keep them guessing, whether we‘re at one place or another, whether we‘re in plain clothes, or undercover, or whether we‘re riding in a transit, undercover, or in a uniform.
The idea here is that we know for a fact that their behavior patterns, and what they‘ve done in past history is that they have identified flaws with the security plan of a building and try to seek in through that flaw to attack the infrastructure. We want to keep the security random.
CARLSON: Right, but you also know they hang around with other radical Muslims, but you‘re ignoring that on purpose because of why?
FERNANDEZ: We‘re not saying we‘re ignoring it. We have many initiatives in place. Some are covert, some overt. This is one of our overt operations. But certainly, I don‘t agree with you in the fact that we are not going to go out, just because we have a Muslim community, not all of them are terrorists.
CARLSON: Nobody is suggesting that, least of all me. Of course not.
Nobody is—nobody has said that. I don‘t know anybody who believes that. Most Muslims are law-abiding good Americans, of course. But again, the overwhelming majority of the terrorists our country is facing right now are Muslims. And why not just say that out loud?
FERNANDEZ: That would be inappropriate. And I‘m not going to go that angle. I‘m going to go with the fact that we‘re going to go based on facts, based on evidence, based on reasonable suspicion and probable cause.
FERNANDEZ: And when those things come up is how we‘re going to...
CARLSON: All right. Deputy Chief of Police Frank Fernandez, joining us from Miami. Thanks a lot.
FERNANDEZ: Thank you.
CARLSON: Up next, if the P.C. Police get their way, and we pray they won‘t, you might be singing different tune, to classic carol, “Oh, Christmas tree.” THE SITUATION not on the holiday spirit this time. We‘ll explain when we come back.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
Something genuinely strange is going on in the city of Baltimore. Streets are getting darker because someone is stealing light poles. So far, about 130 aluminum light poles towering 30 feet weighing 250 pounds stuffed with live electrical wires have been disappearing in broad daylight. Amazingly, police have no suspects. Here to talk about the disappearances, Chip Franklin, radio talk show host for WBAL in Baltimore. He joins us from Washington, D.C.
Chip, thanks for coming on.
CHIP FRANKLIN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: It‘s great. Finally I‘m not the weirdest thing in the city anymore.
CARLSON: No, you‘re not. This is one of the weirdest things I‘ve ever heard. So they just make—so recap very quickly: 130 of them disappear, some in broad daylight. Sophisticated operation, people see men dressed in hard hats, faux utility uniforms, cutting these things down with circular saws. They clearly understand how to tie off the electrical lines inside without getting electrocuted, and then just disappear. Nobody knows where they went. Nobody knows why this is happening.
FRANKLIN: That should have been the first clue. When was the last time you saw a utility crew actually working?
CARLSON: Good point.
FRANKLIN: You know, right then, somebody should have said, something is wrong.
CARLSON: But the conventional explanation is they are crack heads selling these for scrap. That doesn‘t hold up. I mean, as far as I can tell, you can‘t get that much money for a light pole. It‘s a lot of effort to go to. Do you believe it?
FRANKLIN: Well, if that‘s true, that puts a whole new spin on the war on drugs. Think how bad we‘re losing the “war on drugs,” if crack addicts are cutting down light poles to get a fix.
CARLSON: It‘s—I don‘t believe that‘s what it could be. What are theories people are batting around in Baltimore?
FRANKLIN: You know—I mean, I don‘t know. I think we can rule out al Qaeda because last time I checked, they still have light poles in Iraq.
CARLSON: That‘s true.
FRANKLIN: So—I don‘t know. I mean, really—we really don‘t know, but I think most people are leaning toward the drug angle, you know, and 130 light poles, I mean, did you see how tall and skinny? It looked like Ann Coulter‘s legs. There‘s these strange looking...
CARLSON: Even more fetching, I have to say.
FRANKLIN: They‘re huge. I mean, when you get—when you stand next to it, 250 pound, you think, that doesn‘t sound that big, but they‘re huge. I mean, they‘re really big. And how somebody could cut one down and nobody see it, it‘s hard to believe. Somebody must have seen it happen, and they‘re just not talking. I guess fear of they‘ll come to the neighborhood and cut down their light poles. I don‘t know.
CARLSON: But you can‘t throw a 30-foot light pole, you know, on the back of your bicycle. You need a pretty sizable truck to get that thing around, a big truck, and where are you going to sell it? Who melts down 30-foot aluminum poles? There can‘t be that many aluminum melting facilities in the state of Maryland, and nobody has been able to find where these things are being sold? I mean, the story just does not make sense.
FRANKLIN: Well, they‘ve got to chop—you knock it down. It‘s going to make a lot of noise. I went to a couple of locations.
So they‘ve got to chop it down. Bang, big noise, right? And then they‘ve got to chop it up into segments, what, 5, 6 feet, put them in the truck. And they‘ve got to do all this before a cop happens to come by, or somebody looks, and says, “You know, that‘s—I think I read about that. I think I heard about 130 light poles being cut down.”
You know, Baltimore has a lot of crime problems. But this is the strangest one of all.
CARLSON: So how bad—I mean, you know, not to cast aspersions on the great city of Baltimore, which is a great city, actually.
FRANKLIN: It is a great city, and we have great criminals, too.
CARLSON: You certainly do. It sounds like you don‘t have a great police department, though. How lame are your cops if they can‘t find the people doing this?
FRANKLIN: No, you can‘t blame—you can‘t blame it on the cops.
Cops can‘t be everywhere, everywhere in big cities.
If you‘ve really got to blame—you‘ve got to blame anybody, you should blame it on the numbskulls that see it happening and don‘t call the cops. I mean, cops—chances of a cop riding by a crime anywhere in any city in the country, are remote.
You know, most detectives will tell you, they get there afterwards and they talk to regular citizens. So people just aren‘t speaking up. And you think—you know, you‘re standing there. It‘s dark outside. There‘s a pole on the ground. I should call somebody.
CARLSON: So you‘re looking for a roving band of crack addicted electricians with fake lineman‘s outfits, a circular saw and a truck. There can‘t be too many of those.
FRANKLIN: I think they should put that crew up against “Saturday Night Live” and they‘d have a hit.
JOHNSON: Amazing. I‘d watch.
Chip Franklin, Baltimore. Your hometown, an amazing city, an amazingly interesting place. Thanks for coming on.
JOHNSON: It‘s fun, Tucker, thanks.
CARLSON: Still ahead, kids probably shouldn‘t be cursing in school. But is it fair to charge them a hundred bucks every time they do? We‘ll debate that with “The Outsider,” Max Kellerman, when THE SITUATION rolls on.
CARLSON: Still ahead, kids probably shouldn‘t be cursing in school. Is it fair to charge them a hundred bucks every time they do? We‘ll debate that with Max Kellerman, when THE SITUATION rolls on.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Harry Truman once said, if you can‘t convince them, confuse them. Joining me now, a man who, like Harry Truman, has no middle name, a man of convictions who rarely stoops to confusion, the outsider, ESPN Radio on HBO Boxing host Max, no middle initial, Kellerman.
KELLERMAN: I don‘t know if I can follow all that, but I like the way it sounds.
CARLSON: The intros gets more complicated.
KELLERMAN: Yes, literary flare.
CARLSON: There was a time when kids who used foul language might get their mouths washed out with soap. Several Connecticut high schools have gone a step further, they are fining students who curse at teachers $103. They have fined about two dozen students so far.
Parents are required to pay the fines if they are kids can‘t. We shouldn‘t be swearing at teachers. I almost always take the side of students over teachers, but I think a lot of teachers are mediocre, but that‘s like a bottom line bedrock rule.
CARLSON: No swearing at adults. No swearing at teachers. You ought to be bounced out of school, first, you ought to beaten, and then bounced out. If you actually swear at a teacher, come on.
KELLERMAN: It‘s obnoxious, distasteful.
CARLSON: Beginning of the end, when everything falls apart.
KELLERMAN: First of all, I think back on my school experience, and my school days. There were a couple of teachers I wished I would have cursed at.
CARLSON: A lot of them deserve it, that‘s not the point.
KELLERMAN: It kind of is, it‘s distasteful when you see a kid cursing at adult, whether they‘re a teacher or not.
However, there‘s this feeling that the child isn‘t a person, and the thing, the motivation for the kid to curse is the same as an adult. You see adults cursing at children, and it doesn‘t feel the same way, but still two people.
CARLSON: If you don‘t have a job, you are not allowed to curse at someone who does. I‘m serious. You are living on the dole in your parents‘ house. You haven‘t earned the right to swear at an adult. You be quiet.
KELLERMAN: You have no choice. First of all, I would like to know where they came up with the fine $103, but what did the teacher do to the kid? The kid is cursing at the teacher, bad boy, how dare they. What motivated that behavior?
CARLSON: It doesn‘t matter.
KELLERMAN: Maybe the teacher cursed at the kid.
CARLSON: It doesn‘t matter, with teacher‘s unions, no matter what the teacher did, he won‘t be fired. Another example.
KELLERMAN: Curse at teacher, smack them in the head. I agree.
CARLSON: About the head and shoulders.
Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace on earth, but this year, it‘s shaping up to be a battle ground. At issue, Christmas trees. Boston recently faced a furor when some suggesting renaming tree holiday tree. House speaker Dennis Hastert, meanwhile has taken a stand, insisting the Capitol Holiday Tree be renamed Capitol the Christmas Tree.
Now, two Christian affiliated legal groups say they have 1,600 lawyers ready to defend Christmas trees against public officials who would name them something else, and good. It‘s time the ACLU had a little competition.
It‘s not a religious question so much, as it is a semantic question. I am for calling things what they are. Use the real names. Right? A Christmas tree is literally a Christmas tree. A Hanukkah Menorah is literally a Hanukkah Menorah, it‘s not a holiday Menorah.
KELLERMAN: You even got the cha in the ch.
CARLSON: Thank you.
Look, come on. I like language. The point is, call it what it is.
CARLSON: Not holiday tree.
KELLERMAN: It‘s not a holiday tree, and therein lies the problem. I was once in a lecture at Columbia, my alma mater, pretty good.
K; There was a professor, a great astronomy teacher, and he was saying, there is Jewish holiday coming up, and he was telling the class, I expect you all to be here because, believe it or not, there are a few Jews at Columbia as it turns out.
I raised my hand and said, you know, I understand this is a secular country. You have to show up if classes are scheduled, even if there‘s Jewish holiday. Classes never seem to fall on Christmas. He said, that‘s a good point.
His response, he puts on suit and tie and goes to work on Christmas, just to make everything fair. Not everyone operates like this. This is a secular country.
You don‘t know this guy. But it‘s really a Christian country. That‘s a problem, because the majority of the population is Christian, we are a Christian country.
Call things what we are, that‘s what we are, but we are not supposed to be. We are supposed to be a secular country. And the fact is, there‘s never any school on Christmas, never work on Christmas. On all other religious holidays, there might be. But not on Christian ones. I think that‘s a problem.
CARLSON: We are not a Christian country. We are secular country, populated by mostly Christians.
CARLSON: So a Christmas tree in the end is not imposition of anyone‘s religion upon anyone else. It‘s not. A Christmas tree is not, in effect, proselytizing. Nobody has come to Christianity by staring at a tree or looking at Santa or opening presents or skipping school on Christmas. It has never happened. It is not a means by which the religion expands. Therefore it‘s not a threat, not actually very religious.
KELLERMAN: I would agree with the objection, if they say, look, this is called a Christmas tree, there is a movement afoot to call it a holiday tree. What if it‘s already called the Capitol tree, now you want to change the name?
CARLSON: No, change it back, because a bunch of creepy, weak-kneed politicians in years past under pressure from small group of loud mouths in New York City changed the name, and politicians with courage are changing it back.
KELLERMAN: What is the sub text, small group of loud mouths from New York City?
CARLSON: No sub text.
Honestly, I was thinking of Barry Lynn, who is, I believe, a Lutheran minister who hates Christmas.
KELLERMAN: I can tell you, loud mouths from New York City, a lot of them celebrate Hanukkah.
CARLSON: You‘re not going to pin that rap on me.
KELLERMAN: I will bring it up. I am one of them, and proud to be one.
CARLSON: I still think you support Christmas trees deep down.
KELLERMAN: I have no problem.
CARLSON: In far recesses of your dark heart.
KELLERMAN: I have no problem with Christmas trees.
CARLSON: Max Kellerman.
KELLERMAN: Tucker Carlson.
CARLSON: Thank you.
KELLERMAN: I‘ll see you tomorrow.
CARLSON: Stay tuned. Still plenty more ahead on THE SITUATION. on
top of the world
Grateful Dead‘s head goes on sale. You may soon own the best seat in the house, if the price is right. Plus.
Tom‘s slow cruise to China. Why setting a wedding date with Katie might be mission impossible.
From Japan, definitive proof 90-year-old guys do look cool in rugby shorts. All ahead.
MEG MEEHAN; “SITUATION” PRODUCER: Coming up, do you consider yourself likable? If so, you are probably an egomaniac. If not, we will introduce you to a man, next, who helps people raise your likability factor.
CARLSON: I‘ll be watching, I need all the help I can get.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Likability is a fun concept. It literally refers to your ability to be liked by others, and, yes, it is an ability, according to our next guest.
He says like any ability, likability can be honed and improved. So if you are not very likable, it‘s not too late for you. That‘s good news. Tim Sanders is the author of the new book, “The Likability Factor: How to Boost Your L Factor and Achieve Your Life‘s Dreams.” He joins us live from, where else, Los Angeles.
Tim Sanders, thanks a lot for coming on.
S: Hey, thanks for having me, Tucker.
CARLSON: I like you already.
S: Hey, I‘ll reciprocate.
CARLSON: Isn‘t there something kind of a little synthetic about the idea of learning to be likable?
S: Actually, the idea here is you learn how to be emotionally intelligent. When I say someone is likable, all I mean is they have this consistency in their ability to produce positive experiences for other people, emotionally. I am just saying that people can work on their emotional intelligence. That will result in them being more likable.
CARLSON: I am going to read you a list of five names of public figures. I want you to tell me quickly, each one, is the person likable, not likable, and what makes him or her so? Ready?
S: OK. Let‘s do it.
CARLSON: President Bush.
S: President Bush, won the last election due to his likability factor. The barbecue test poll in Ohio proved it. It was only a point off the actual results a week later. His likability factor to his fans has been high. Obviously his approval factor has suffered recently, but he was more likable than Kerry.
CARLSON: Dick Cheney, lowest approval ratings of any human being currently living. People don‘t like him. Why not?
S: Yes. Most people, because what they see, there is a look on his face that basically tells the world he doesn‘t like people. And that is the root of the unlikable personality. If he would just learn to tell his face how happy he seems to be inside, at least when he is with Barbara Walters, I think it would completely change the way people see him.
Hillary Clinton, not liked, either loved or hated. Do you think she is fundamentally likable?
S: I think she can work on it. In my message to Hillary is please learn how to tell a joke, preferably about yourself, because your husband can‘t.
One thing I heard a political consultant say a few weeks ago, when it comes to personality, Hillary ain‘t no Bill. But, when it comes to finishing the job and process, in Congress Bill ain‘t no Hillary.
A lot of people, conservatives, have been very impressed when they worked side by side with her. If she could just learn to be a little bit playful, a little bit friendly, it could make a big difference overall.
CARLSON: There‘s no question Bill Clinton is likable. I can tell you he is likable in person. People like me who don‘t like him, like him when they are around him. What is the root of that? Why do people like Clinton?
S: Bill Clinton has probably got more connected emotional intelligence than any other politician we have seen since Ronald Reagan. He is absolutely aware of his emotional state.
He is absolutely aware at the same time of your emotional state when he is with you, and it‘s this presence that he has that really, really pulls us in. He also has tremendous empathy. That‘s one of the things a lot of people lack, when they have a low likability factor.
KELLERMAN: I am total confused by this next one, Martha Stewart, is she likable?
S: Post-prison Martha is becoming much more likable. I think she had a scrooge like Dickens experience in the big house, and she realized long after people forget what she did they were going to remember how she made them feel. She got off her arrogance high horse, she‘s looking more like Rachel Ray every day.
CARLSON: Let me ask you about me, since I have your attention, and honestly I like you. I want to put a quote up. This is The New York Times sort of take on me. Some moron from The Times, Alessandra Stanley, a critic there, apparently still employed, described me as “surprisingly churlish. His opinions are loud, but ever more vaporous.”
What can I do to make her like me?
S: You may not be able to do anything. There are certain people in the world that just aren‘t going to like you. Think politics. There‘s always people that, you know, the liberals, they hate the conservative examples I use, and vice versa.
Here‘s what I have learned, Tucker. Your life is full of undecided people that haven‘t quite figured out how they go about you, and life is all about undecided, and the likability factor is the tie breaker.
Here is my quick advice for you. Don‘t lose that bow tie. Keep telling us the truth. And every day when you go to work, just ask yourself, do you really like people. If you let it show, no matter what kind of show you do, people are going to come around to you eventually.
CARLSON: Tim Sanders, I like you. You have succeeded. Very good.
S: Thanks for having me.
CARLSON: Thanks for joining us. I appreciate it.
Coming up, how do you defend a cartoon that tells kids if their fathers fish, they are murders who may slay the family dog. A PETA representative tried to defend that last night. We will hear your big, loud reaction when we check THE SITUATION voice mail next.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Time for a voice mail segment where you get to tell us what you think. You have many thoughts, particularly about PETA. First up.
CALLER: Hi, it‘s Mike Bernie from Springfield, Oregon, again. I just wanted to invite Mr. Bruce Freydrich to go fishing with me.
CARLSON: That sounds kind of ominous, Mike. I think Bruce, if he knows what‘s good for him, is not going to go fishing with you. You‘re one of many, many hundreds of people who called about our PETA segment last night. You all agreed with me, I‘m glad to see. My likability going up already. Next up.
CALLER: This is Ginny from South Dakota. I notice you often cut voice mail. Last night, your side bar was the Jesus Christ voice mail following the one on Bill Clinton. But after the commercial break it disappeared, I think this is false advertising. You should go back to your earlier practice of listing voice mail No. 1 and voice mail No. 2 and so forth.
CARLSON: Ginny, you win today‘s careful, not to say obsessive, viewer award. I‘m impressed. The sad truth is I talk too much and sometimes we overshoot our time mom dramatically, we have to trim voice mails. Sorry about that and the graphic guys can‘t keep up. But thanks for noticing. Next up.
CALLER: This is Kevin from Arlington, Virginia. As a funeral director, I can‘t believe that the greedy NFL hasn‘t figured out that all of that wasted space up in the rafters above their stadium can be used as column burials instead of having idiots run across the field and get arrested. But if they do it in the future, make note. I said it first.
CARLSON: You‘re suggesting the NFL line their stadium with human ashes. And you‘re calling them greedy? My gosh. They‘ll probably do it, though. Well, feel free to call us anytime. Operators standing by. The number 1-877-CARLSON.
Still ahead on THE SITUATION how far will deadheads go to own a piece of Jerry Garcia? All the way to his bathroom. We‘ll get a chance to sit on Jerry‘s throne when we visit “The Cutting Room Floor”.
CARLSON: Welcome back, his pilgrimage complete, Willie Giste has returned to bring us “The Cutting Room Floor.”
WILLIE GISTE; MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I find you likable as hell, my friend.
CARLSON: We‘ll, thank you, my friend.
GISTE: He scored a 9.3 out of 10 on Mr. Sanders‘ quiz.
CARLSON: But I cheated.
GISTE: That‘s an A. Good for you. Boy, you are likable.
CARLSON: Today wasn‘t the first time Tom Cruise has been confused about something in his personal life. It‘s just the latest.
While holding a press conference in Shanghai to promote Mission Impossible III, Cruise struggled to answer a reporter‘s question about the date of his own wedding with fiancee Katie Holmes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM CRUISE: It‘ll happen this year.
QUESTION: This year?
CRUISE: No, next year. Next year, next year. It‘s November, December? Next year, next year.
GISTE: Wow. That must make Katie feel special about her big day. I‘m glad he‘s going to be administering ultrasound tests to his child. He doesn‘t know what planet he‘s on.
CARLSON: That‘s the slowest motion car wreck I‘ve ever seen. It‘s delightful. Fills our hour.
Fans of the Grateful Dead have collected almost every piece of memorabilia. So it was just a matter of time before it came to this. Fans will have a chance to own Jerry‘s toilet, his dishwasher and freezer, among other appliances from the Garcia home. Those choice items will be auctioned for charity on eBay, from December 18 through December 24. They‘re expected to fetch at least $75,000.
GISTE: Full disclosure, Tucker, you yourself are a Deadhead and you already went on eBay. May I ask what you plan to do if you get Jerry‘s toilet?
CARLSON: I actually was going to bid on his fridge, to be honest with you. Totally cool, totally worth buying.
Any successful sports team has veteran leadership. Just not usually the World War II veteran leadership. Satayoshi Morita (ph) is still playing rugby in Japan at the very ripe old age of 90. He joined the university‘s rugby team in 1934 and hasn‘t stopped playing since. He was recognized as the world‘s oldest active rugby player.
GISTE: That‘s a nice story but look at him, he‘s useless out there. There comes a time in every veteran athlete‘s life when he has to look in the mirror and realize you have to hang up your cleats because you‘re hurting the team.
GISTE: You are not likable. Now for a couple of thieves caught with their pants down. Actually it wasn‘t just their pants. They were totally naked. The two men were tunneling into a bank vault in El Salvador. As you know, if you‘re tunneling into a bank vault in El Salvador it can get pretty hot. The men shed their clothes. They were caught and arrested in the nude before they made it into the bank.
GISTE: I know it‘s hot down there. I grant them that. But did they have to take their pants off?
CARLSON: There was more going on there.
GISTE: I think that was actually an underground Nightclub.
CARLSON: What do you get the man who has absolutely everything this Christmas? May we humbly suggest a county jail. Specifically the Randolph County Jail, in Huntsville, Missouri. It‘s up for bid on eBay. The auction will begin at $32,500. It‘s not clear whether the inmates are included in the purchase price. Willie, do you have a contact with eBay?
GISTE: Yes. Two for two tonight. I got to say though, $32,000 for a jail? It must be on a busy road next to power lines or something, because that seems very low. Also, we have a little office secret Santa thing. My recipient is very lucky this year.
CARLSON: Of course, you have to move to Huntsville, Missouri. That‘s our SITUATION for tonight.
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