Guest: Mark Mazetti, Lindsay Moran, Richard Daynard, Carey McWilliams, Max
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”: THE SITUATION with Tucker Carlson starts right now. Tucker, what's THE SITUATION tonight, buddy?
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Joe, I was in Alabama today, and you have many fans there. I'm not kidding. People came up to me, I'm not exaggerating, and said, “I love that Joe Scarborough. He went to college here.”
I said, “Yes, he did. He's a good man.”
SCARBOROUGH: Roll Tide, baby. Roll Tide.
CARLSON: Right. Thank you, Joe.
Thanks to you at home for sticking with us. We appreciate it, as we always do.
Tonight stretch limousines, booze, and sex, three reasons why yet another Catholic high school has decided to cancel the prom. We'll bring you all the details.
Also, it is the season to be politically correct. It is? When did a Christmas tree suddenly become a holiday tree? Why hasn't someone stopped the madness?
Plus, should a blind man have a concealed weapons permit? Well, Carey McWilliams of Fargo, North Dakota, does. We'll talk to the skilled marksman, who just happens to be blind, in just a few minutes.
But we begin tonight with allegations that the military has been paying Iraqi news outlets to run positive stories about the war. They're more than allegations, in fact; it appears to be true.
The White House now demanding information from the Pentagon about the propaganda. Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia, who serves as the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has asked Pentagon officials to brief his panel on the matter.
We're joined now live by the man who broke this story, “L.A. Times” reporter Mark Mazetti, joining us live tonight from Washington.
Mark, thanks a lot for coming on.
MARK MAZETTI, “L.A. TIMES”: Sure, thanks for having me.
CARLSON: I'm a little confused about the White House response. The White House seemed to have reacted in horror, real or phony, to your story. “Oh, my gosh, we can't believe this. We have to find out more.” Is that the reaction, the White House is trying to distance itself from this? Is that your read?
MAZETTI: Yes, I think—I think that the White House is trying to distance itself and sort of pass things to the Pentagon. But as we saw today, the Pentagon actually is trying to distance itself and pass things over to the military in Iraq. And actually, the only people who are coming out and saying, “Well, maybe this is not such a bad thing, in fact, we support it,” is the commanders in Iraq. That was through a spokesman today.
So the White House and the Pentagon want more information, and they hope to get it tomorrow.
CARLSON: We want more information. That is the ultimate Washington buck-passing phrase. But here's my question, why doesn't the White House just say, “Yes, our government is paying to place stories in the Iraqi press because we're trying to win the hearts and mind of the Iraqi people and counter their lies with our truth”? Why don't you say it?
MAZETTI: Well, because I think they probably—they see it as coming into conflict with the central mission in Iraq, which is building up democracy, propping up democratic institutions. In fact, not just in Iraq, it's really the theme of the second Bush administration.
And so anything that looks like it's subverting the democratic process or subverting the free press, then that's something that they have to be concerned about, or at least profess that they're concerned about.
CARLSON: Now what about the stories themselves? You took a look at them. Are they accurate? Are they spun? I mean, what—are they real news stories?
MAZETTI: They are accurate, as far as we can tell. And they're basically press releases. The military press releases about whether it's a raid in western Iraq or a thwarted attempt to—by a suicide bomber to blow up an Iraqi installation, that type of thing. And they're written by U.S. soldiers.
And so they're not disinformation. They're not inaccurate events. They're certainly spun in the sense that they only portray one side of events.
CARLSON: Well, from what I could tell of the Iraqi press when I was in Iraq, that would probably—that would make them the most accurate things to run in an Iraqi newspaper this month. I mean, Iraqi papers are famously full of lies and rumors and, you know, scandalous accusations. Has anybody in the military conceded that, you know, inaccuracies were put into these stories?
MAZETTI: No, actually, and we didn't allege that in our stories. We didn't allege that they were false stories.
The—the concern among people in the military that I talked to is that the—you know, credibility is the coin of the realm here. And a lot of people I talked to who got into the military right after Vietnam, when the military's reputation was at its low point, saw the military's reputation in subsequent decades really build up. And so we see the military as one of the most respected institutions in America right now.
And they fear that things like this will lead us down the path back to where they were in Vietnam, when people didn't listen or believed what the military was saying.
CARLSON: I think that's an absolutely fair concern. Now it seems to me, if you're going to do something like this, basically run Psy Ops against your enemy, you can't let anyone find out. So the big screw-up here, from my perspective, anyway, is letting you, the intrepid reporter, you know, come across this information. I don't want to put you on the spot, but how hard was it to dig this up?
MAZETTI: It was—it took a little time, but it's something that we've been looking into. We've written several stories about information operations and psychological operations, and started to look into some of the country's—sorry, the companies and the contractors that do this type of thing. And as we dug a little deeper, we saw that there was concern in the military and the military was—some people in the military were helping us out in the story.
CARLSON: Interesting. To their detriment in the end. Mark Mazetti, the single best reason to read the “L.A. Times,” thanks a lot for coming on.
MAZETTI: Thanks, Tucker.
CARLSON: Well, Democratic Congressman Jack Murtha, who called for an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq two weeks ago, made another news grabbing statement just this afternoon.
While speaking to a civic group in Pennsylvania, Murtha said most U.S. troops will leave Iraq within a year, that the Army is, quote, “broken, worn out, and living hand to mouth.” Murtha also conceded he made a mistake when he voted for this war. Good for him for admitting that.
Rachel Maddow joins us to discuss these comments and much more.
Rachel, welcome back.
RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA TALK SHOW HOST: Thanks.
CARLSON: Here's what I—I'm not going to call into question the congressman's description of the condition of the armed services. He knows a lot about it.
CARLSON: And I've heard other people say the same thing, or at least they were moving in that direction. Here's what I object to. This is a statement that Jack Murtha made today, about the president.
Quote, “I predict he'll make it look like we're staying the course,” Murtha said, referring to Bush, and withdrawal from Iraq. “Staying the course is not a policy.”
In other words, Murtha has called on the administration to bring troops home from Iraq. Now that it looks like that's going to happen, he's criticizing the administration for bringing troops home from Iraq. What does he want, and why can't the left be happy with what it gets?
MADDOW: I think that he's criticizing the credibility gap in the administration on what the administration is planning on doing. Bush gave this big speech in front of another uniformed audience yesterday where he said, “We're going to stay the course. We're going to stay for the ultimate victory. We're going to stick with our mission. We're not going to cut and run.” He used that phrase again.
And then he talked about changing the goalposts for what counts as ultimate victory, what counts as achieving the mission. It used to be that we were going to defeat the terrorists. Now it's going to be that we need to stand up the Iraqi security forces.
CARLSON: That is so disingenuous.
MADDOW: It's not.
CARLSON: It's so disingenuous. Because Jack Murtha and Nancy Pelosi and others are calling for immediate, and that's a quote, withdrawal. Bring the troops home. It's a disaster. It's not worth fighting. Let's end it.
To criticize Bush for ending it too early or ending it before we achieve ultimate victory, I mean, talk about a—that's more than a double standard. That's like a quadruple standard. That's...
MADDOW: No, it's not talking about—I'm not going to criticize Bush for bringing the troops home.
CARLSON: I'm not saying you are. I'm saying that Murtha—this is an outrageous thing to say.
MADDOW: No, it's not. What he's saying is, listen, the Bush administration is trying to convince us that they've had this plan all along, and it's doublespeak. And they need to be straight up about what they're going to do with the troops and what the mission is in Iraq, and they haven't been.
He's criticizing the fact that what used to count as victory, now isn't victory anymore. What used to count as cutting and running, now is the Bush administration strategy.
CARLSON: But why does he care about...
MADDOW: He won't talk straight about it.
CARLSON: In his original statement, a week and a half ago, or two weeks ago, there was no reference, so far as I remember, to victory or cutting and running. His point was, bring the troops home. It's over. This war is a disaster. We're not going to win.
So for him now to complain about the fact we're not going to win, I mean, come on.
MADDOW: No. That's absolutely untrue. What Jack Murtha said a week ago was we won in Iraq. What our mission was in Iraq was to topple the government of Saddam Hussein, which we did in less than two weeks.
Now our mission is apparently indefinitely occupying that country, which was never sold to the American people. It's wrong, and it can't be won, because there's no end point to that. So therefore, we need to bring the troops home as soon as possible. I think it can be done within six months. That's what Murtha said.
CARLSON: So—well, first of all, it can't physically be done. Let's just be totally clear about this. I've talked to a number of active and former military officers in the last couple of days, and there's a complete consensus that you can't physically move 160,000 people, men and materiel, out of that country in six months.
MADDOW: You can start with it.
CARLSON: Yes. But you can't do it in six months, and he must know that. But I just think, you know, the president and administration are clearly responding to—to this public sentiment we have to pull out.
CARLSON: And that is what is starting to happen. We are going to pull out of Iraq sooner rather than later, and it seems to me Bush's opponents ought to be honest enough to say great.
MADDOW: Well, I'm happy they're pulling them out. I would like to hear some straight talk from the administration about what's going on there, though.
CARLSON: All right.
Chaminade High School. We'll switch topics, very dramatically, on Long Island, yet another school, another Catholic school, canceling the prom. Why? Because the head of the school believes that the prom has become too much captive to American consumerism.
Let me quote Father James Williams. He's the president of the high school.
“It's all the over-the-topness that takes place: who has the biggest limo, who has the most elaborate weekend planned, that the prom is no longer the focus.”
As if the prom is supposed to be the focus of the prom in the first place. Like—I guess why I think this is an interesting story, is because again, it points up the low motives and envy that drive some of our august educators. This guy is just mad because he doesn't have the longest limo and the best weekend plans ever. And to attack these kids for having a fun weekend, come on.
MADDOW: Do you think it's because he's a priest. It's a celibacy, jealousy of the sex...
CARLSON: If I did think that, I would not concede it on live television. It's something that did cross my mind, frankly, yes.
MADDOW: I mean, the idea that sex and booze and limousines are somehow some new foreign influence on the proms, that that didn't happen in the 1980's, for example, or this is something that's just happened now, that Paris Hilton has had a parasitic effect on our culture. It's kind of this “Dirty Dancing” panic thing. It's a little—I feel like it's a little...
CARLSON: Yes, but it's also an attack on America. I should point out that Father James Williams, who as we point out, is the head master of the school, will be coming on our show tomorrow to explain himself. But when...
MADDOW: And you're going to tell him he's making an attack on America? I want to watch that!
Kellenberg Memorial High School, also on Long Island, a couple of months ago, did the exact same thing. And the principal of that school said, “Trappings of excess in American culture”—it's a verbatim quote—
“are the problem with the prom.”
They're just mad about the way American society is ordered. Now, there's some reasons to be mad about that possibly, but to take it out on the high school kids and not allow them to have a prom and do all the kind of fun things people do. I never went to a prom, but I believe they do fun things. I think it's very small minded.
MADDOW: Why didn't you ever go to a prom?
CARLSON: We didn't have a prom at my school.
CARLSON: It was a prom free school.
MADDOW: That's so weird that I went to a prom and you didn't, given how—who we turned into in our adult lives.
MADDOW: I think they should—if he's upset about the over-the-topness, they should ban limos, and let the kids do the prom and all the other things they do. Attack the problem; don't attack the kids.
CARLSON: See, I knew deep beneath your political exterior beat a heart of reason. Rachel Maddow.
MADDOW: I love that we had to find that common ground talking about the prom.
CARLSON: Yes, yes. Yes, exactly. We can find common ground. Thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Still to come, the seamier side of espionage. We'll talk to a woman who dreamed of being Harriet the spy, but is now telling the world about the dirty business of the CIA, her former employer. It's an amazing story. You'll hear it next.
Plus, the dangerous world of high calories and caffeine. Do soda machines belong in high school cafeterias? We'll tell you who's ready to take Coke and Pepsi to court when THE SITUATION returns.
CARLSON: Up next, armed, dangerous, and blind. A sightless man gets a concealed weapons permit after passing the shooting test. Now he's taking on North Dakota's gun laws. You'll meet him when THE SITUATION returns.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Books and the big screen may glorify the world of espionage, but my next guest says being a spy, not as glamorous as it sounds. Lindsay Moran worked as a case officer for the CIA for five years and wrote about that experience in a book called “Blowing My Cover:
My Life as a CIA Spy.” Lindsay Moran joins us live tonight from Washington, D.C., to talk about her experiences.
Thanks a lot for coming on.
LINDSAY MORAN, AUTHOR, “BLOWING MY COVER”: Thank you for having me.
CARLSON: It's a good book. I read a lot of it on the plane today. I thought it was excellent. What stuck with me most, though, the feeling you come away with after reading it, is the CIA is sort of sloppy in ways that people like me who haven't worked there are kind of surprised by. Is that the impression you meant to leave?
MORAN: It is the impression I meant to leave. I mean, I didn't mean for the book to be entirely a critique of the CIA, although I know that some people at Langley have head it as such.
But before I joined the agency, I had revered this organization. I thought of it as a mythical and omnipotent organization. And then as you read in the book, and as I try to describe, I got there, and I found that it was, in some ways, kind of like a confederacy of dunces. It was not at all the organization that I thought it was going to be.
CARLSON: Yes. A lot of very pale people in orthopedic shoes shuffling around a maze of cubicles, it sounds.
MORAN: Yes. Anybody who joins us the CIA with sort of visions of Sydney Bristo is going to be sorely disappointed.
CARLSON: You have a really interesting chapter, a series, quite a long section on the training at the Farm, the fabled farm in southern Virginia, where you underwent paramilitary training. And I was struck by how old fashioned the training sounded, really kind of Cold War stuff. Did that change after 9/11? And in what ways did the operations side of the agency change after 9/11?
MORAN: Well, sadly, I don't think it has changed after 9/11. And this is one of my criticisms of the agency, that they're still using a paradigm for training that they've been using since before even the Cold War.
And when I went through training, which was in 1998, even then we were aware that the training methods that we were using were kind of archaic in a way. At that time, Osama bin Laden was not a household name, but certainly at the CIA, we knew that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were our primary threats, and still we were being trained to troll the diplomatic cocktail circuit. And anybody with common sense can tell you that you're not going to find Osama bin Laden or any cohorts on the diplomatic cocktail circuit.
CARLSON: Sadly not. Right, very anti-cocktail, among other things.
The CIA, of course, has been in the news for a lot of different reasons lately, but the Valerie Plame case has kind of put it front and center, and there's been a lot of talk about Valerie Plame's status at the time that she was outed by Bob Novak. And you've heard the claim often, and many people have repeated it on this show, that her life was in danger when every when her name appeared in the “Washington Post.”
I want to read you a quote from you. It was a speech you gave at the University of Virginia last July.
“Most people who knew Valerie Plame knew at that point in her life—her life as a covert officer was over for the most part before her name was revealed. How it impacted her career was not so much an issue. How do you know that?
MORAN: Actually, I don't think that that's—that was the intent of what I was trying to say. Probably what I was trying to say, which is true, is that most covert officers at some point during their career will have a stint at Langley.
So to say that Valerie Plame wasn't in danger, she wasn't in danger probably because she happened to be in the United States at the time. But just because she was working a desk job at Langley for a period of time does not mean that she couldn't have gone overseas again.
MORAN: So I think that her status as a covert officer was ruined by her name being leaked.
CARLSON: Without question. It does seem, though, from your descriptions of the way you were treated by the agency and the way you lived while you worked at the agency, it wouldn't be all that hard for someone who was interested to figure out who works there and who doesn't. At least to some extent. Do you think that's fair?
MORAN: I think that's fair. One thing that you learn very early on in your training is that you can't rely entirely on your cover to do your job. That is you should be practicing good trade craft, so that even if you—even if someone does suspect you of being a CIA officer, that they can't actually catch you in the act of meeting an agent, or communicating with an agent.
MORAN: So your cover is important to your job, but it's not the be-all, end all. Your cover is naturally going to erode over time, although I would add that I was under what is called official cover. Valerie Plame was under non-official cover, which is a far riskier situation for the CIA officer.
CARLSON: Right. In other words, not posing as an employee of the U.S. government in any way.
MORAN: Right. You know, ostensibly, the worst that could have happened to me if I were caught, I would have been declared persona non grata and sent home. For someone using nonofficial cover, they could be arrested, incarcerated. There are a number of hard line possibilities.
CARLSON: Right. And finally, tell me, was this book vetted by CIA?
MORAN: It was. I mean, when I joined the CIA, I signed a secrecy agreement, as everyone who joins the CIA does, and I took my secrecy agreement very seriously.
And in—to the credit of the CIA, or more specifically, the prepublication review board, which is the entity that vets written material written by former covert officers, they were very fair in allowing me to keep in a number of kind of funny anecdotes that don't necessarily portray the agency in most flattering light.
CARLSON: Don't necessarily portray the agency in the most flattering light, that right there, the understatement of the week. Lindsay Moran, joining us tonight live from Washington, thanks a lot for coming on.
MORAN: Thank you for having me.
CARLSON: Up next, a faster way to go through airport security, but it's going to cost you. We'll tell you how much when THE SITUATION RETURNS.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
Class action lawsuits just about took down the tobacco industry, and now some of those same lawyers who litigated those cases are out to can soft drinks in schools. My next guest says selling high-calorie caffeinated drinks in vending machines is, quote, “a little like having a cigarette machine in a school.”
Richard Daynard is the associate dean at Northeastern University Law School, also the chairman of the Obesity and Law Project, the Public Health Advocacy Institute. He joins me now live from Boston.
Mr. Daynard, thanks a lot for coming on.
RICHARD DAYNARD, CHAIRMAN, OBESITY AND LAW PROJECT: A pleasure.
CARLSON: Now, it sounds like you know quite a bit about obesity. Enough to concede, I hope, that these lawsuits will not prevent a single kid from becoming fat.
DAYNARD: Well, it's not clear that they—that that's true, actually. We do know that they have been identified, soft drinks in schools have been identified as being directly related to increasing the probability that a kid who consumes, for example, if you consume an average of one soft drink a day in school, you have a 60 percent greater chance of becoming overweight or obese.
CARLSON: Right, but that's not...
DAYNARD: The kid sitting next to you who doesn't.
CARLSON: The causal relationship has not been proved. Because you drink soda, you are going to get fat.
DAYNARD: No, no.
CARLSON: I'll just say, “You know what? What you just said is factually true and everyone knows it.” If that is true, however.
DAYNARD: How can you concede—how can you concede that everybody knows it if you just denied it?
CARLSON: I don't think it is true. I'm just saying for the sake of argument, let's pretend it's true.
DAYNARD: OK. Fine.
CARLSON: Then why not sue the schools? Because it's the schools who are allowing these drinks to be purchased by kids. I'll tell you why no one is suing the schools, because the schools don't have money, and the soft drink companies do. And this is about lawyers getting rich.
DAYNARD: Well, if that were true, we would have a lot more lawyers chomping at the bit to bring these lawsuits. It's very hard actually to recruit lawyers to bring these cases because they are very difficult cases to bring. They face public skepticism from folks you and many others, and they're really path-breaking cases.
If you're a lawyer and you want to get rich, and you're pretty good at it, being an effective lawyer, you're going to bring cases like these drug cases.
DAYNARD: The Vioxx cases, because those are easy.
CARLSON: These cases have been compared by you, as well as others, to the tobacco cases. There were lawyers in the tobacco settlement who are claiming over a billion dollars in fees, as you know. I mean, these are guys who buy private jets sticking up corporations. That's got to be one of the goals here, if not the main goal.
And if it's not the main goal, then why don't the lawyers agree to do this for cost? Or pro bono, better? If it's really about protecting kids.
DAYNARD: Well, first of all, lawyers have to eat, too.
CARLSON: They don't need a billion dollars, though.
DAYNARD: No, no, no, quite right.
CARLSON: And the scale.
DAYNARD: Absolutely, no, you're exactly right. I think they absolutely don't. But they do need to at least be able to recover the opportunity costs for their time, if they're actually successful on this.
If they're not successful, they get nothing, and these cases, the case we're thinking about, and cases like it, actually are likely just to be—the lawyers' fees are likely to be limited to whatever the court thinks the plaintiff's attorneys should get, and that's only if the plaintiffs win.
CARLSON: OK. Right. As usual, here's my problem, though. Here are the two problems that I have. See if you can address them quickly.
One, there's no evidence that caffeine is addictive or bad for you. There's no warning on the can, and there would be if there were evidence of it.
Two, Coke and Pepsi give millions of dollars to schools. That money is used to buy computers, help the sports programs. Trial lawyers, so far as I know, don't give any money to needy school districts. You are, in effect, going to prevent soda companies from helping kids in schools. I don't understand how that helps America.
DAYNARD: OK. Quick answers. First, on the warning label, there are no warning labels on cigarettes, saying that they are addictive. Jesse Helms lobbied against that and filibustered. It didn't happen. Everybody knows at this point that nicotine is addictive. Everybody didn't know that at one point. Caffeine is addictive.
CARLSON: But there's no evidence it gives you cancer or that it's bad. It's been studied endlessly. It's not bad for you.
DAYNARD: No, no, no. Well, nicotine doesn't give you cancer either.
CARLSON: I know.
DAYNARD: It's the fact that nicotine hooks you on the cigarettes, and the tar gives you cancer.
Similarly, the caffeine helps hook you on the Cokes and the Pepsis, and the sugar, or high fructose corn syrup, gives you obesity. So it's—there's a similarity there.
Secondly, on the notion that the soda companies are giving anything to the schools, they're not. You know what they're doing is all of the money that goes to the schools from the soda companies comes from the parents in that school, who give the money to their kid.
CARLSON: All money comes from someone else, and my point, I mean...
DAYNARD: Yes, but it comes from—very directly, it comes from the parents. The parents give them...
CARLSON: So very directly, the money you're hoping to get from the soda company also comes from parents. I mean, all money comes from parents, come on.
DAYNARD: Well, that may come—it may come from the shareholders, which is why they're worried. If they thought they could get it all from the parents, they wouldn't be worried about these cases.
CARLSON: Seems like another greed-based shakedown to me. And I...
DAYNARD: No, it's not. What we're really looking is we're really looking for an order from the court, requiring the companies to stop, and if the companies were to stop now, the case would be over before it began.
CARLSON: All right. We will follow it assiduously. Thank you very much, Mr. Daynard, for joining us.
CARLSON: Still ahead, I think just about everyone in America ought to own a gun. I am pro-gun. But even I have questions about a blind man with a concealed weapons permit. We'll talk to one and see what kind of shot he is as the situation rolls on.
CARLSON: Welcome back. You know, it was Aristotle who once said, “Wit is educated insolence.” Joining me now, live from Las Vegas, a man who is witty, educated and occasionally insolent. He is the Outsider, ESPN radio and HBO boxing host, Max Kellerman.
MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO: Much as our producers—much as our producers don't want me to bring it up, Tucker, Aristotle, that's the guy, man. What an impact on thought that guy had.
CARLSON: You prefer him, you were saying during the break, to Plato and Socrates.
KELLERMAN: Superior. To this day...
KELLERMAN: ... if you see the Coyote grab an anvil, you expect him to fall faster. That's not true. It's Aristotelian thought.
CARLSON: You need a show deeper in cable, like on Discovery Channel or something. I hope you get it.
First up, a driver who put the big in big rig takes his bosses to court. A truck driver who's 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs about 450 pounds was suspended by his company after he complained about a seatbelt that was too tight. David Mankey (ph) is the second obese truck driver to file a discrimination complaint against Interstate Distributor Company in Tacoma, Washington. The other driver won his case in October. Mankey (ph) had no significant accidents, and never took a sick day.
Not for the first time, Max, I am going to defend the least among us.
The fat. Nobody...
KELLERMAN: Or the most among us, Tucker.
CARLSON: The most among—no—very good. But they are, in some deeper sense, the least. They are the most despised people in this society. I actually think they draw more contempt than child molesters, fat people do.
I am not defending obesity. It's a sad thing. However, it shouldn't get you fired. And I just feel sorry for this guy. I think it's pure aesthetic snobbery.
KELLERMAN: Tucker, of course he never took a sick day. He is too busy eating. What, he doesn't have time to take sick days.
CARLSON: See, there you go.
KELLERMAN: He is—this guy is complaining that his seatbelt is too tight? At 450, you know what's too tight? His apartment. I mean, what's he going to do—at 450, if you're a shut-in, what's next, you are going to sue the condo because you can't leave the apartment?
CARLSON: But that's the point. This is a guy who was not a shut-in, who did not call Richard Simmons, right? This is a guy who was actually leading a productive adult life with a job. I am sure now he is holed up in his apartment with bucket after bucket of church's fried chicken, but then, before he got canned, I am serious, though, he was actually doing the right thing. And I...
KELLERMAN: Yeah, now he is depressed (INAUDIBLE)...
CARLSON: ... just because he is fat. There is no justification.
KELLERMAN: He's going to go on an eating binge now. He is depressed. Look, I can't believe you. He is suing, Tucker, you are always talking about this society is too litigious.
CARLSON: That's right.
KELLERMAN: The guy—use some common sense. The guy is 450 pounds.
The truck is too tight. What do you mean, forget about the seatbelt...
CARLSON: No, but that's his problem, not the truck company's problem.
And you make a very good point. I am not in any way endorsing his lawsuit. I disapprove of his lawsuit. People ought to be—you know, employers ought to decide who works for them. I am merely saying, the employer made a moral mistake in canning a guy simply because he is fat. His fatness hurts no one.
KELLERMAN: In this case, it's not the employer who is deciding who works for them so much as his environment is deciding for him. You know, when seatbelts don't reach across, the world is trying to tell you something, Tucker.
CARLSON: Yeah, that's true, but it's not trying to tell you you're fired, in my opinion.
How much is it worth to you to get through an airport screening line in under a minute? About 80 bucks. Officials in San Jose, I'm sorry—something in my throat—say that's what it will cost per year to buy your way onto the express line. Travelers will have to submit 10 fingerprints, photographs of both eyes and pass the Federal Security Threat Assessment—all part of a national effort to speed up screening at the nation's airports. And I support it. This actually, Max, not only does it make life a lot easier for those people who fly a lot, a lot of flying is done by a very small number of people, who help keep this economy in this country going, and I think anything that makes our lives easier is a good thing.
But this actually allows the TSA to focus on real threats. Some people give up some of their civil liberties, voluntarily, they are fingerprinted and have a background check or whatever done on them, so the TSA is free to look at people who really are a threat. This is a great idea.
KELLERMAN: Well, except that how, you know, terrorists who are exceptionally well funded, this is an express line to get them onto the plane. I am going to give the Bush White House some credit right now. As many things have been said about Iraq and everything about the Bush White House, 9/11, Tucker, 2001, was the last major terrorist attack on this country. It's been four years, and there hasn't been another one. That is a tremendous accomplishment, a nearly impossible accomplishment, when you think about the odds. It's time to stay vigilant and do everything in our power.
Look, you are always talking about, for instance, speeding, how it's quality of life versus quantity, versus length of life.
CARLSON: Right, that's right.
KELLERMAN: And how you (INAUDIBLE).
CARLSON: The risk is worth it if you get home to have dinner with your family. That's right.
KELLERMAN: In this case, though, I don't believe this is one of those instances, not when there is an external military threat against this country. We have to remain vigilant, and even if that means it's a little inconvenient for us.
CARLSON: But this is expression of our vigilance. Presumably, a single man from Yemen, you know, with no known occupation but lots of cash, is not going to get the pass required to skip to the front of the line, right? There is going to be a background investigation of some kind done into these people, and only people who are deemed very low threat will be allowed to get the expedited trip through a security line.
KELLERMAN: In theory, it's a good idea. My devil's advocate position is, that system could be corrupted with enough money, and one thing the terrorists are is extremely well funded. So it worries me. That's my devil's advocate.
CARLSON: Our system is already corrupt by its own dumbness. That's all I am saying. Max Kellerman...
KELLERMAN: Well, inept. By its own ineptness. Though no attacks since 2001! You know, I'm not...
CARLSON: I agree with you. I don't think they get credit for that, and I think they do deserve some.
Max Kellerman, live from Las Vegas, good luck at the tables tonight.
KELLERMAN: Thank you.
CARLSON: Stay tuned. Still plenty more ahead on THE SITUATION.
CARLSON (voice-over): Licensed to thrill. A blind marksman aims to prove why it's not always necessary to shoot on sight.
Then, Affleck rocks the cradle of love again. Wait until you hear about the new girl in his life.
BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR: That's an interesting movie story.
CARLSON: Plus, why lonely guys in Japan may soon be dumping their inflatable dolls for this high-tech dancing queen.
And Argentineans erect a tribute to safe sex, or maybe they just like to brag. It's all ahead on THE SITUATION.
AFFLECK: Funny and great. I mean, I think that's sort of how it should be.
CARLSON: Welcome back to the show. Five years ago, Carey McWilliams became the first completely blind person ever to obtain a concealed weapons permit in this country. Sounds a little scary, yes, but McWilliams passed the required written and shooting tests in his home state of North Dakota. We hear he's a pretty good shot, and I bet he is.
Carey McWilliams joins me live now from Fargo, North Dakota tonight.
Carey McWilliams, thanks a lot for coming on.
CAREY MCWILLIAMS, BLIND MAN WITH GUN PERMIT: Thank you.
CARLSON: I should tell our viewers that I received a letter from you two weeks ago, which is how we came to know of you, and why I wanted to meet you so much. Complaining, saying I am a totally blind marksman, I have a concealed weapons permit, but I am horrified, you wrote, about the lax gun laws in your state of North Dakota. You are worried that people who should not have concealed weapons permits are getting them, is that right?
MCWILLIAMS: Yes. The legislature went ahead and, without consulting me at all, just decided that if a lowly blind person can pass their shooting exam, which I have heard from the police officers that were around me when I was shooting, they said that they dread that kind of test. Even though I passed that, they were just going to toss it, and throw it away, and then everybody and their brother-in-law can just pretty much show up and don't know anything about firearms, but feeling macho that day, they just show their driver's license, and there they are.
CARLSON: So the idea was, in the legislature, that if a blind man could pass the shooting test, the shooting test isn't worth much. But how did you pass the shooting test, since you are blind?
MCWILLIAMS: Well, I had plenty of training. At age 14, I shot an M-16 as part of an Air Force auxiliary unit, at an Army National Guard base, and then later at 18, I went ahead and took a course through the Army ROTC, and I received an A in basic pistol marksmanship.
MCWILLIAMS: And I have that up on my Web site, www.careymcwilliams.com, and hopefully that will prove it.
CARLSON: Well, it sounds, you know, indisputable that you passed the test, but if you can't see the target, how do you know you are hitting the target and not a crowd of people, say?
MCWILLIAMS: Well, it's the same way that snipers in the military work. They—anti-sniper patrols are, of course, going to try to get a sniper who wants to remain hidden to pick off soldiers, so, therefore, they have to operate guns, and so forth, without being able to see their target. And the way I do it is I use body positioning and gravity, which are always constant to everybody. And then I also use what's—basic sound, if I can get it, would be fine, but I visualize the target in my mind, and I can actually see it then in front of my eyes, and I visualize where the gun is in relation to the target. And with that, I was able to place 10 out of 10 in a half-silhouette from seven yards away.
CARLSON: That is amazing. You have a concealed weapons permit. Do you carry a concealed weapon?
MCWILLIAMS: Yes, most of the time I do. .38 special. I also defend my home with a 12-gauge shotgun and shoot AK-47s on occasion.
CARLSON: So when—do people know that you are carrying the .38, and where do you bring it? When you go to the store or go to church?
MCWILLIAMS: Well, I just bring it—no, no, you can't—it's illegal to carry anywhere in the restricted areas—the churches, the ,schools bars—but I am not a big fan of bars. I don't go to school, and when I go to church, I don't see any need to bring a gun when I have God on my side.
CARLSON: Yeah. All right. Carey McWilliams, have you ever pulled it on anyone?
MCWILLIAMS: I have had some instances where I have had to make sure that it's there and stuff, but basically the whole issue, the reason why I sent you the letter in the first place is because governments shouldn't be allowed to use stereotypical bigotry to go ahead and make their arguments to change laws based upon their personal agendas.
CARLSON: Right. I see your point, though. I must say...
MCWILLIAMS: (INAUDIBLE) law was a piece of work.
CARLSON: ... in defense of the state of North Dakota, I bet there are not too many other blind people who could pass the shooting exam. But you are obviously the exception.
Carey McWilliams, thanks a lot for joining us. We appreciate it.
MCWILLIAMS: Well—thank you.
Coming up, when you look at this tree, what do you see? Looks an awful lot like a Christmas tree. So why are some people refusing to call it what it is? You weigh in when we check THE SITUATION voicemail, next.
CARLSON: Welcome back. A lot of you on the friends and family plan. We know that because a lot of you call. It's time for our voicemail segment. First up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHANEY: Hi, Tucker. This is Shaney from Brooklyn, New York. A Christmas tree in and of itself is a pagan symbol, and is not really representative of the Christian value or of the Catholic value or any other kind of religious value.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Yes, it's a tree with lights on it. I agree. But the point is, it's a Christmas tree. That's what it is. It's a Christmas tree. You bring it out at Christmastime. It symbolizes the celebration of Christmas. It may not be religious, it may be secular, but it's still a Christmas tree, and to call it anything else is a lie. And therefore I'm against it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN: Yes. This is Sean from Vancouver. And no, it's not scratchheads cutting those poles down. They're called tweakers. It's methamphetamine. And yes, it's running rampant in my neck of the woods here. People are taking down anything made of aluminum. They're selling it for scrap, and it's going to methamphetamine. You can count on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: I just have to point out what a weird country Canada is. Sean, you ought to move here. Really. A lot of Canadians have. I still don't think that what happened in Baltimore was done by crystal meth addicts, though. Some very, very organized people did that. They get about $100 for one of those poles. Hardly worth the effort. Probably costs more in materials to take one of these out. You have to know a lot about how electrical lines work not to kill yourself doing it. Nobody is going to convince me drug addicts did that. Somebody else did it, for reasons that are clearly beyond me, and we are going to get to the bottom of it here on THE SITUATION.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS: This is Chris from Springfield, Massachusetts. You said that Harry Truman didn't have a middle name, but he always had gone by the name Harry S. Truman. And by the way, you make the bow tie look really cool.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Well, that's awfully nice. No, he did not have a middle name. He had a middle initial. The middle initial stood for nothing. Harry S. Truman. As I pointed out the other night, Max Kellerman does not even have that. It's just Max Kellerman. It's not Maximillian Soltensdahl (ph) Kellerman, just Max Kellerman. So you know.
Let me know what you're thinking. Call 1-877-TCARLSON. That is our number. 877-822-7576 is the numerical equivalent. You can also e-mail email@example.com. And finally, you can read the daily column that I write every night. Tucker.msnbc.com is the address.
Still ahead on THE SITUATION, Tom and Katie's love child is stealing all the headlines these days. Let's not forget about that other important bun in a celebrity oven, Ben and Jen deliver on “The Cutting Room Floor,” next.
CARLSON: Welcome back. The skies parted, a beam of light shone down to Earth, and poof, there appeared Willie Geist. Here he is.
WILLIE GEIST, THE SITUATION: Thank you, Tucker. What an introduction. Do you mind if we make this quick? I have got to run out and catch Max's lecture on Greek philosophy over at the community college. He's unbelievable.
CARLSON: Thank you, Willie.
Let's hope Ben Affleck is more comfortable in the role of father than he was in his last few movie roles. Affleck's wife, Jennifer Garner, gave birth last night to a little girl named Violet. It was fist reported by guess who—“Us Weekly.” They are good. Garner delivered the baby at Los Angeles Hospital with Affleck by her side. It was the first child for both. Congratulations for them.
GEIST: Congratulations. They say little Violet is adorable. She has her mother's eyes, and her father's box office poison. It's very sweet. It's really a nice combination.
CARLSON: I like Ben Affleck.
GEIST: I do, I know. I like him.
CARLSON: I bet he would be a good father.
GEIST: You know, it's embarrassing to tell your kids, though, you met on the set of “Daredevil,” one of the worst films ever produced.
CARLSON: Not only have I not seen it, I've never heard of it.
GEIST: You shouldn't.
CARLSON: I'm proud to say. Prosecuting a major war is tough, granted, but it can't be as bad as jury duty. President Bush was among the 600 people summoned to report to jury duty on Monday in McLennan County, Texas, where his ranch is located. The commander in chief was a no-show, but he insists he will reschedule. The local judge said I don't think we will be sending the sheriff out to bring the president in.
GEIST: You know, he's got the best excuse. Some people have those lame—those lame doctor notes they bring in. But he just went—could be straight with them. I'm leading an international coalition of the willing in a global war on terror, I can't make it. That's an excused absence any way you slice it. Don't you think?
CARLSON: I like the Larry David take. You show up and start throwing a racial epithet.
GEIST: That's right. That works too.
CARLSON: Nobody does creepy futuristic like the Japanese. The latest example is this waltzing robot, unveiled in Tokyo yesterday. The partner ballroom dance robot uses chilling technology that anticipates human intention and predicts its partner's next move. It uses wheels and sensors to glide around the dance floor. No word yet it also controls your thoughts and your dreams.
GEIST: Wow. OK, Tucker, let me get this straight. We have the technology that accurately anticipates human intention, and we're using it on ballroom dancing. Could we get like inside bin Laden's mind, for example? Could we see what he's up to?
CARLSON: Come on, this is the creative process, Willie.
GEIST: Oh, this is where we begin.
CARLSON: Remember, were it not for Pong, we would not have supercomputers.
GEIST: We wouldn't have “Vice City” on the Xbox.
CARLSON: That's a good point.
If you were vacationing in Buenos Aires, Argentina today, you might have been surprised by the 230-foot red monument that definitely was not in the guidebook. What you were looking at was actually a statue covered in a giant red prophylactic. Makes sense now? Does it? The huge rubber was put there to commemorate World AIDS Day.
GEIST: And the nice part of the story, the rubber was actually on loan from the Milton Berle Museum, which I thought it was nice of his estate to share a family heirloom.
CARLSON: That is just disgusting. (INAUDIBLE) roll it all back up again.
CARLSON: How would you like that job?
There was a bomb scare last night at Philadelphia International Airport that forced the evacuation of dozens of passengers. And by bomb scare, we mean of course garlic scare. Checked bags set off alarms (INAUDIBLE) a chemical screening machine. Fire trucks and the bomb squad quickly moved in. After two hours of careful inspection, authorities determined the suspicious substance was garlic paste. Not a garlic bomb, garlic paste.
GEIST: OK, I want to know, who travels with garlic paste? Put that guy on a watch list. Because if there's somebody on my plane who travels with garlic paste, I want to know about it, because there's something deeply wrong with them.
CARLSON: Parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, basil. All of that is fine.
GEIST: Any spices.
CARLSON: Exactly. Any kind of garlic paste, anchovy, anything from the stinky family of spices...
GEIST: These are dangerous people. I agree.
CARLSON: I agree with that.
GEIST: All right, Tucker, see you tomorrow.
CARLSON: See you Friday.
That's SITUATION for tonight. Thank you for watching. As always, “COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH” is next. Have a great night.
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