Guests: Tyson Slocum, Connie Hach, Stephen Moore, Melissa Rollins, Wendy Murphy, Ronald Richards, Clint Taylor, John Fund, Michael Gross, Belinda Luscombe, Megan Basham, Richard Walter
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: Right now, in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, big oil under oath. The nation‘s top oil CEOs get hauled before Congress and harassed (ph). Are record profits proof of price gouging? And the Taliban‘s man at Yale. The elite East Coast university embraces America‘s enemy. So why should they get $450 million in federal aid that you‘re paying for? Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. No passport required, no price gouging allowed.
Thanks so much for being with me tonight. I really appreciate it. We‘re going to have that story in just a minute. Plus, new information about that Ohio judge who let a child molester walk with no jail time. And now two young people killed by a drunk driver. Was this caused by the same liberal judge? We‘ll have that story.
Plus, it‘s a major motion picture. “V for Vendetta.” But many say it‘s one more example of Hollywood glorifying terrorists. That is going to be tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown.
But first, friends, big oil executives were dragged to Capitol Hill today to be grilled about soaring gas prices at the pumps. And also record profits in big oil‘s corporate boardrooms. Now the public‘s angry, and the politicians are taking notice, and for good reason. Big oil cleaned up in 2005. Last year alone, ExxonMobil cleared over $36 billion, Shell Oil and BP made almost $23 billion. Chevron had over $14 billion in profits and ConocoPhillips pulled in $13.5 billion in profits.
Meanwhile the average gallon of gasoline has rocketed to $2.37 a gallon. That‘s up $0.11 in just the past 14 days. Now two years ago, it was only $1.85. And five years ago, $1.42. That is a 60 percent jump in just five years.
And while Americans like you were getting hammered at the gas pump last year, Congress spent last year passing almost $3 billion in federal subsidies for these same oil companies who have been posting record profits. Big oil apologists don‘t want you to hear that any more than their enemies want Congress to pass common sense measures that would actually cut America‘s dependence on foreign oil while defunding terrorists who want to kill you and your family.
How do you do it? How do you cut dependence on foreign oil? Well you can do it but you do it through nuclear power or drilling in Alaska or drilling off of California‘s coast off of Florida‘s coast. Are they ready for that? No, absolutely not.
So while merger mania is leading the breathtakingly massive oil monopolies, Congress is passing subsidies and tax breaks for these behemoths that they now claim to be investigating. Confused? You should be.
But NBC‘s Chip Reid was up on Capitol Hill today and he was following all the festivities and tonight he brings us the very latest. Chip?
CHIP REID, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Unlike the last time they testified before Congress, today the nation‘s top oil executives had to swear to tell the truth to frustrated senators who are getting an earful from constituents about the high price of gas. Now at $2.37, up $0.11 in the past two weeks.
SEN. MIKE DEWINE, ® OH: There is something wrong when they‘re paying record prices at the pump while oil companies are making record profits.
REID: Some senators argued that high gas prices are caused in part by what they call merger mania, the creation of behemoths like ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil, which they said can control supplies and therefore prices.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) NY: It‘s simply naive to think that massive consolidation of the industry has no impact.
REID: But the executives insisted mergers have nothing to do with high gas prices, which they blamed on tight local supplies of oil. They did, however, concede that those baring the brunt of the problem are at the end of the pipeline.
REX TILLERSON, PRESIDENT, EXXONMOBIL: The high price of crude oil has been passed ultimately along to the consumer.
REID: But they also suggested that gas prices are not really as high as consumers think they are.
DAVID O‘REILLY, CEO, CHEVRON: Over the last several decades, gasoline prices have increased at a lower rate than many other staples like food, housing, and health care.
REID: As for the mammoth size of their companies, the executives said they have no choice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For an American company to succeed in this enormous industry, it needs sufficient scale.
REID: It‘s the only way, they said, to afford the massive costs of exploration.
(on camera): Some members of the committee said today they want new legislation to tighten oversight of oil industry mergers, but they concede there‘s little if anything Congress can do in the short-term to bring down the price of gas. Chip Reid, NBC News, the Capitol.
SCARBOROUGH: With me now we‘ve got Tyson Slocum, he‘s of the Public Citizens energy program. We have also got MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan and we‘ve got Stephen Moore of “The Wall Street Journal.”
Tyson, let me begin with you. Big oil getting bigger by the day. How does that impact American consumers like you and me?
TYSON SLOCUM, PUBLIC CITIZENS ENERGY PROGRAM: First of all, there‘s no question that all of the mergers we‘ve seen have created these oil companies that are too big. They control way too many assets. You know a decade ago the largest five oil refineries controlled one third of the U.S. market. Today 56 percent of the market. And that translates into huge profits. I was taking a look at ExxonMobil‘s annual report they filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Their U.S. profit margin on capital investment for their U.S. drilling was 46 percent greater return in 2005.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. But Tyson, I have got no problem with these companies making a big profit. I got a problem with them gouging us at the pumps. Do you think the bigger the company is, the more we get gouged at the pumps?
SLOCUM: Well, yeah, because when these companies become so large, they control a very significant share of the market. Which makes it much .
SCARBOROUGH: Almost like a monopoly, right?
SLOCUM: That‘s right. And remember a company like ExxonMobil, they have got drilling facilities in the U.S. and around the world. They own and control oil refineries where that crude oil is turned into gasoline. They even own franchise rights over the retail gas stations on your street corner. So there‘s no question that bigger is not better for consumers.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Buchanan, should Congress be holding these hearings?
Can Congress do anything to help consumers?
BUCHANAN: Yeah. Congress could certainly allow drilling off Florida and drilling of California, drilling in the ANWR. Congress could be more supportive of nuclear power. If they really want power and prices down, they could build hydroelectric dams.
They could go and, as I said, work with nuclear power.
But let‘s take a look. Joe, I was campaigning in West Texas, Midland Odessa, the president‘s area out there in 1999, and prices were $10 a barrel. That wasn‘t because of magnanimity or charity on the part of the oil companies. The world was swimming in oil.
Let me tell you what the problems are, you have a war going on in Iraq. You‘ve got an attack in Saudi Arabia. You have problems in the Nigerian delta. You have got neocons talking about a war with Iran which will send oil prices up to $200 a barrel. That‘s why the price of oil is going up and down the way it has.
SCARBOROUGH: But Pat, this is what I don‘t understand, and I have asked oil executives that have come on this show and explain it to me time and again. If we got a problem with the supply of oil and we have got too much demand for oil, I understand gas prices going up. Because oil prices are going up. What I don‘t understand is why oil company profits are skyrocketing at the same time? It sounds like we‘re the ones getting stiffed at the pump.
BUCHANAN: I don‘t think the - let‘s take the $36 billion for Exxon. The federal government, which didn‘t do a darn thing to produce a teaspoon of oil and is a problem, took $12 billion of that right off the top. One third. Corporate taxes. They get $0.18 for every gallon you and I buy, Joe. They got state governments and everybody else in there. If you take a look at the profits of Exxon, based on their sales, my understanding is it‘s about 10 percent on sales.
I mean, when Americans see their houses go up 10 percent a year, do you think we ought to have an excess profits tax to scoop that off? Look, I don‘t think these guys—I don‘t think they‘re heroic people. I think these are guys just doing their job, following the market, basically.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Stephen Moore, I want to ask you, why conservatives are so distrustful of big government. We have got no problem with big oil and other big corporations.
STEPHEN MOORE, “WALL STREET JOURNAL”: Well, Joe, I just don‘t happen to believe that the word “profit” is a dirty word.
SCARBOROUGH: I don‘t think it‘s a dirty word, but I think gouging is.
MOORE: I‘m not saying you do. But when I listened to those hearings today, there was a lot of grandstanding by Republicans and Democrats basically brow beating the oil companies for making a profit.
SCARBOROUGH: Do you know what bothers me about Congress, Stephen? Is
here they bring the oil company executives in, and they are acting like
they are all shocked and stunned. At the same time, this is same congress
and you know where I stand on this—I have always been consistent—I hate corporate subsidies. These same congressman and senators have given big oil a $3 billion corporate subsidy while they‘re making record profits. Why?
MOORE: Are you talking about the royalty subsidies?
SCARBOROUGH: The royalty relief subsidies.
MOORE: Let me explain that because I am not a huge defender ...
SCARBOROUGH: You don‘t have to explain it to me. It‘s a corporate subsidy.
MOORE: Here‘s what is happened just so people understand. About 10 to 15 years ago when oil price as Pat Buchanan was saying were down to $10 or $15 a barrel and oil companies weren‘t making any money drilling oil, the federal government did give them a subsidy to go out and drill for oil when prices were low.
Now that the oil prices are high, they want to come back and say, we want to take that away from you. The contract has already been made. You can‘t break a contract 10 years after it was made. Now the real problem is something that Pat said. I just want to repeat this. We cannot drill any new oil in the United States because of all of the environmental regulations. Congress won‘t allow us to drill in Alaska. They won‘t allow us to drill offshore. Joe, we have more oil offshore in America than there is in Saudi Arabia. We just can‘t get at it.
SCARBOROUGH: Tyson, let me ask you, Tyson. Obviously, you want to cut America‘s dependence on foreign oil because as we both know it feeds terrorism. You have got no problem with this drilling in Alaska, do you?
SLOCUM: Well, I do, because drilling is not the solution here. We are already .
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second, Tyson. I‘m not a geologist, but I think if you drill, that‘s how you get oil, right?
SLOCUM: Yeah. But the problem is we are already the third biggest crude oil producer in the world. If we doubled our oil production .
SCARBOROUGH: Why don‘t we try to be second? I‘m all for—if we have oil in Alaska let‘s get oil in Alaska.
SLOCUM: Because it‘s .
SCARBOROUGH: If we‘ve got oil off the coast of California, why don‘t we do that so we‘re not dependent on foreign oil?
SLOCUM: Joe, it‘s unsustainable. What is a much more realistic scenario is doing something to reduce our demand, because while we only have about .
SCARBOROUGH: But Tyson, I‘m for that too. I have no problem with reducing our demand. We can also reduce it by .
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s support nuclear energy also, right? There‘s tons of ways to do it.
SLOCUM: One point two percent of our electric power is fueled by oil.
Nuclear power is totally irrelevant. That is a different debate.
MOORE: But Tyson, if you want people to consume less oil, why are you so angry about high prices? I mean, the best way to regulate supply and demand is to allow the price to fluctuate. And right now, the price is rising because you have high demand in places like China and India, and so it‘s perfectly appropriate for the price to rise.
BUCHANAN: Joe, let me get in on this.
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s go to Pat Buchanan. Go ahead, Pat.
BUCHANAN: Steve Moore is right. If you want people to get out of their cars and get on buses, let the price of a gallon of gas go up to $5, Joe. That will be the end of all of the traffic jams. Your friends over there, the environmentalist, look, you can go to all of the conservation you want, but you will run out of supply eventually unless you create new supplies. And frankly, rising prices for oil tell guys with lots of money, go find oil because you can make a bundle like Exxon. That‘s how eventually it got down to $10 a barrel. The country was swimming in oil.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thank you, so much, Pat, thank you, Tyson, thank you, Stephen, I appreciate it.
Friends, let me tell you something. Here is the problem with what‘s going on in Washington, DC. Conservatives will tell you that the way we take care of this problem is by drilling in Alaska, California and Florida. Guess what? I‘m for that. Environmentalists will tell you the way we take care of it is by reducing the demand for it. I support that too. Why can‘t we come together and say, OK. You know what we‘re going to do that, we‘re going to get more supply, we‘re going to cut back demand, and we‘re going to do what‘s right for this country.
But we need to break down the walls. We have to get some leadership in Washington, DC that can bring both of these sides together and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I think the future of our country depends on it.
Coming up next, the Ohio judge who refused to send a child rapist to jail. Now a stunning case where his soft sentencing may have led to the deaths of two young teens. Why is this man still on the bench?
And, later, the Taliban on campus. We haven‘t forgotten about you, Yale. And now a new fight to get this Taliban spokesman out of the classroom.
SCARBOROUGH: Welcome back. Two young Ohio people tragically dead from a drunk driving accident that should have never happened. You know, there‘s a growing sense of outrage over the Ohio case, and guess who is at the centers of this story? None other than Judge John Connor. This, my friends, the same judge who recently let a child rapist off the hook with no jail time.
Now in this latest Ohio outrage. The walking judge sent an armed robber to jail for four years but then let him walk away after only nine months. Judge Connor‘s decision to have Jose Sanpallo released early from prison resulted in the drunk driving accident that killed 19-year-old Ashley Hach and 20-year-old Scott Rollins.
Now, as you know from our reporting on this story, this is the same judge who has admitted to being arrested eight times for DUIs. Judge Connor claimed he let the rapist off - the rapist of a five-year-old boy off because like the judge, he thought the rapist had a disease.
So what‘s up with this judge and will the people of Ohio and America rise up and get him impeached? Let‘s talk right now to Melissa Rollins. Her son, Scott Rollins, was tragically killed in that accident. Also we have with us Connie Hack, she is the mother of Ashley Hach. Also tragically killed. Connie, let me begin with you.
Can you tell us how this judge—there are so many people who are just learning about this judge. Can you tell us how he has impacted your family‘s life?
CONNIE HACH, DAUGHTER KILLED IN DUI CRASH: Yes. After she was killed, I found out that he did release Jose Sanpallo early. And then I found out after, you know, looking into his documents that he also had eight DUIs. And he also had three convictions on those. A cocaine involved in one of those.
And I did wonder how his judgment would be skewed, and if he would have sympathy for criminals that did things like that. And I would have to say yes. And the more I talked to people and tried to get it out, that this judge had this many DUIs and things, they couldn‘t believe it, and I can‘t either. And I—in the back of my mind, I think that if he had still been in jail, Ashley would be alive. And I believe that‘s true.
SCARBOROUGH: I was just going to ask you that. Do you believe that because of this judge‘s decision that your child died?
HACH: I believe that because of his own disease, his alcoholism, and when somebody has that many DUIs and has shown that it‘s chronic, that he was sympathetic and this last event with these two boys, he was sympathetic and he‘s not doing what the public deserves.
SCARBOROUGH: He is sympathetic to this child rapist.
SCARBOROUGH: Melissa, let me ask you the same thing. Do you believe that your child is dead tonight because this judge had eight DUIs, a cocaine arrest and he basically was sympathetic not only with other people that had DUIs but also sympathetic to this child rapist that we‘ve been talking about for the past several nights?
MELISSA ROLLINS, SON KILLED IN DUI CRASH: Yes. I do. I feel if they‘re still behind bars, how could they do it?
SCARBOROUGH: So what can be done? Are you all trying to get this judge driven out of office?
ROLLINS: I would like to see that happen. For one thing, I think awareness. I think the public should know about this judge. See what he‘s doing.
SCARBOROUGH: Wendy Murphy, let me bring you in here. And I want to ask you what people in Ohio can do to impeach this judge. I mean, this really - remember we talked about that Vermont judge and how outrageous it was. I think this judge may be one of the worst judges in America.
Eight DUI arrests. This cocaine arrest. Not only these two young boys that have been raped, a five-year-old boy raped for several years and the rapist let off. Now we find out he is letting off these drunks that are going out and killing young people. I mean .
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: You know, it‘s hard .
SCARBOROUGH: Isn‘t that really—I mean, aren‘t those grounds for impeachment?
MURPHY: Let me tell you something. It‘s hard to believe there‘s a judge that makes the Vermont Judge Cashman look good. But comparatively, this guy is a monster. Not every guy sitting on the bench because he has a drunk driving record is unqualified to sit. That‘s not why we‘re passing judgment on him. It is because he‘s looking at the cases in front of him, doling out justice, through booze colored glasses and he thinks apparently
SCARBOROUGH: And speaking of booze colored glasses, Wendy, I want you to look at this exclusive video we got from Judge Connor‘s 2002 DUI arrest. And can you believe after this, this guy is still on the court?
MURPHY: Look it, here is the thing about his record. He apparently thinks that as long as you compulsively commit crimes, if you commit lots and lots and lots of them, then you get to be like him, a compulsive criminal, and he decides you‘re sick and you need treatment and a big bear hug instead of incarceration.
So the people who only commit one offense, what do they get? A kick in the butt. Go to jail. This guy has it ass backward. And I‘ll tell you what the people in Ohio should do. They should rise up right now. How many people in California rose up to defend Tookie Williams so that he wouldn‘t be sent to the death penalty?
The people are allowed to rise up. It is an American responsibility to rise up when your government isn‘t doing its job. And guess what, the judiciary is the government. The people of Ohio have two choices. Move to another state. Not Vermont. Or go to the courthouse with a picket sign tomorrow and do not leave until he steps down. He can have a job. Let him go work in the A.A. clinic. Let him go work in a flower shop for all I care. He cannot be a judge. He cannot dole out justice. He is not doing justice.
SCARBOROUGH: Connie and Melissa, thank you. Go ahead.
HACH: I just want to say that judges need to be honorable. They always put “honorable” in front of their names. And I would like to ask everybody who I‘m speaking with tonight who can hear me that if it was your child, and you found out the judge had eight DUIs, a cocaine charge, how would you feel about the fact that he did let this man out early?
Would you feel like he was sympathetic? Would you feel that he did everything he could to protect the public? Now maybe he did, maybe he didn‘t, but my point is normally, you know, you can‘t drive a bus. You can‘t do hardly anything with one or two DUIs, let alone eight. What is wrong with his peers? What is wrong with people around him that we don‘t see there‘s a problem here? It‘s obvious. It‘s obvious to me there‘s a big problem. And I don‘t know why we‘re not doing anything about it.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I tell you what, we are now. And Connie and Melissa, thank you for being with us and letting the rest of America know about this judge. And I want you all to know that our thoughts and prayers are going to be with you all not only tonight and your family but as we move forward. This has got to be a terribly difficult time for you. I appreciate you being with us.
I want to bring in right now criminal defense attorney Ronald Richards. Ron, you got any problem with impeaching this judge?
RONALD RICHARDS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yeah, I have a big problem. I think what‘s going on here is you‘re attacking the independence of the judiciary. If we .
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m attacking a judge with eight DUIs.
RICHARDS: But listen, Joe, if we impeached every judge that let someone out on probation or early parole because then they go and unfortunately go behind the wheel and drink and drive and kill somebody, we would have a very bad system and I feel terrible for those two mothers.
SCARBOROUGH: I tell you what. Why don‘t we do this? We‘ll tighten up the standards a little bit. And we‘ll only impeach judges that have eight DUIs and a cocaine arrest. You‘ve got a problem with that, Ron?
RICHARDS: Well, look, the president of the United States has admitted to doing cocaine.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m sorry. He has not. The president has never admitted to doing cocaine. He certainly hasn‘t had eight DUI arrests or a cocaine conviction. I don‘t understand. What does a judge have to do to be impeached in your eyes?
RICHARDS: Well, I think that in this case, he let the person out for early release on a robbery charge. The DUI came two years later, and there was no nexus. He is making rulings based on real people in front of him. And to go backwards and take his record now and run it through a microscope because of his collateral issues I think is very unfair to this judge.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on, Ron. This is the same judge that allowed a child rapist to walk free because he said, that child rapist had a disease just like he had a disease. My feeling is, if this judge has a disease, he needs to get off the court and get fix the. It‘s not a collateral issue, Ron. He is letting these people go because he thinks they have a disease just like him.
MURPHY: Hey, Joe, can I ask Ron a question? We‘re talking about the independence of the judiciary. That‘s Ron‘s position, right? We have got to respect the independence of the judiciary. Let them render their judgments and leave them alone. So you would be opposed then to the public protests for Tookie Williams that cried out for saving his life and not sending him to the death penalty, which is the just result in that case, that the legal judicial system gave him. So you would argue that people shouldn‘t protest against the death penalty now, would you, Ron?
RICHARDS: Well, it was up to the governor to decide whether to give him a pardon, and that was the protest to commute his sentence and the governor chose not to. I had no problem with them protesting but I didn‘t like the Terry Schiavo case when they tried to attack the judiciary by creating laws at the last minute. You need to let judges make decisions based on the facts in front of them and not try to shot call cases after the fact four years later.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Ron, we are going to have to leave it there. Thank you, Ron Richards and thank you Wendy Murphy. I have to tell you, I think not only do we have to take cases as they come, friends, I think we also have to look at judges as they come.
And people of Ohio, people of America, if a judge who has got eight DUIs and a cocaine arrest, who let a child rapist who raped a young five-year-old boy for two years walk out any jail time and also allowed somebody else to get out on the street, get behind the wheel of a car and kill two young Ohio kids, if that is not the basis for an impeachment charge, I don‘t know what is. People of Ohio and America, you need to stay tuned because coming up, I‘m going to tell you what you can do to help get Judge Connor off the bench.
We‘ll be back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY right after this.
SCARBOROUGH: A new movie where the hero says he can change the world by blowing up buildings? What‘s going on? It‘s a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown tonight. But first, here is the latest news you and your family need to know.
SCARBOROUGH: Welcome back. Tonight, Yale University is remaining silent. While it continues to embrace this man. Former spokesman for the tyrannical Taliban. He is now a student at Yale, and the university is refusing to emerge from its cone of silence. But after two Yale alumni wrote about their concerns over Yale celebrating the Taliban, a school official anonymously sent an email saying to them, quote, “What is wrong with you? Are you retarded? This is the most disgraceful alumni article that I have ever read in my life.”
With me now, the two Yale graduates who were accused of being retarded in the email. We have got Debbie Bookstaber and also Clint Taylor. Debbie, are you retarded?
DEBBIE BOOKSTABER, YALE ALUMNA: Hi, how are you?
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m doing fine. What do you think about being called retarded by the politically correct Yale official?
BOOKSTABER: I‘m very disappointed. I‘m disappointed that Yale is keeping silent on this and I‘m also disappointed that there are some that would paint this as a partisan issue. This isn‘t a partisan issue. This is a common sense issue. Yale needs to explain why it is they made a decision to recruit a spokesman for one of the most misogynist regimes in history.
SCARBOROUGH: And talk about some of the specifics. Again, I thought that Yale was a university that promoted the rights of women, the rights of minorities, the rights of the oppressed, and yet the Taliban in some ways has been one of the most oppressive regimes in modern history towards women.
CLINT TAYLOR, YALE ALUMNUS: Joe, that‘s absolutely right. They have done awful things to women. They‘ve pulled out their fingernails for wearing fingernail polish. They have had mass executions in stadiums. They have done all kinds of awful things to women, to homosexuals, to people of different origins. They were making them wear badges, people from different religions were forced to wear badges for a while as well, that was right toward the end of the Taliban. They run drugs. Really a bizarrely evil regime.
SCARBOROUGH: So, John Fund, let me bring you in here. The “Wall Street Journal‘s” John Fund. What do you make of this official from Yale University accusing these two alumni of being retarded for simply opposing the policy of embracing this Taliban spokesman?
JOHN FUND, “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL”: Well, I‘m disturbed because I called him up and he regretted almost nothing. He kept defending his actions and kept defending apparently what he did, which is go into the private records of these two students at Yale University, finding out their donor records, finding out their private email and maiden name and making use of it. This is not a .
SCARBOROUGH: Wait a second, John. You‘re telling me that this Yale official actually defended his statement that these two students that were concerned—these two alumni members who were concerned about their university embracing the Taliban, that he basically said it was OK that he called them retarded?
FUND: He said that was a poor choice of a word. However, in subsequent emails, he has gone back to defending his use of that term. So this is bizarre.
But here is the real reason why people in your audience need to be concerned. Four Americans were blown up. American soldiers were blown in up Afghanistan on Sunday by the Taliban. They are still with us, they are still running guerrilla operations, they are still killing Americans and their former deputy foreign secretary is studying at Yale.
In addition, Joe, tonight I spoke with Sharon in Brooklyn. Sharon was a victim of 9/11 at the World Trade Center. Sharon had her back broken, her leg broken, her foot crushed at 9/11.
I talked to her tonight about her feelings that Yale, 80 miles up the road, is harboring this Taliban spokesman and official. And she said.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, a lot of people right now out there may be saying how does this affect us? As we know the leaders of America—you go to Washington, DC, you go to Wall Street, you go to Hollywood, America‘s leaders, more and more, every day, they‘re coming from universities like Yale.
I want to bring in right now attorney Michael Gross. Michael, are you offended at all by the fact that Yale has embraced the spokesman of the Taliban and allowed him to come on campus?
MICHAEL GROSS, ATTORNEY: I‘m offended by your characterization of admitting a student as embracing whatever his religious faith might be. You know very well that .
SCARBOROUGH: Religion? Religion? He is a terrorist.
GROSS: . Yale has not embraced the Taliban.
SCARBOROUGH: Wait. You‘re saying that if somebody blows up an abortion clinic and they‘re a Christian, then you have no right to attack these abortion clinic bombers because that would be attacking Christianity?
GROSS: That‘s what you got from what I said? How did you figure that out? Yale has—as the State Department has given this man a student visa to study here. And why your xenophobic attitude about anybody from the Taliban .
SCARBOROUGH: He is a member of the Taliban!
GROSS: This man left the Taliban long before .
SCARBOROUGH: What you‘re xenophobic if you‘re opposed to the Taliban?
If you‘re opposed to one of the most oppressive regimes in modern history.
GROSS: If you‘re opposed to somebody studying here. Please, this is not al Qaeda. This man has nothing to do with Osama bin Laden. They are not at war with us. They harbored Osama bin Laden, and so we bombed them.
SCARBOROUGH: How can you say that a member of the Taliban has nothing to do with Osama bin Laden? When Osama bin laden was for the most part the de facto leader of the Taliban until we drove him out of Afghanistan?
GROSS: Oh, please. The Taliban is terrible. They made a horrible error. They don‘t know how to handle their women. And they .
SCARBOROUGH: What was the horrible error?
GROSS: They harbored Osama bin Laden when we warned them don‘t harbor this man or we‘re going to bomb everybody in your country. And we did. And if that‘s the way you think you win hearts and minds with guns and bombs ..
SCARBOROUGH: Oh good Lord. You know what? John Fund, I need you to do me a favor, John Fund.
GROSS: (inaudible) the truth will emerge.
SCARBOROUGH: You need to teach Mr. Gross a history lesson. When he says that the Taliban has nothing to do with al Qaeda .
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s like saying Adolf Hitler has nothing to do with Nazi Germany. Isn‘t that the case, John?
FUND: I agree with him. Excuse me.
GROSS: You bring out the old photograph of this man because you want to make out that he still has the beard, that he still has the turban, when the fact is that he‘s here studying.
SCARBOROUGH: You made him a material mistake.
Hey, guys, come on. We‘re going to John Fund now. John, we had a material misrepresentation made on the air. I don‘t want Americans to be confused tonight by what they just heard, because it‘s just patently false. Talk about the Taliban. Talk about bin Laden. And talk about how this man has not renounced what he did. While he was a spokesman for the Taliban.
FUND: Osama bin Laden paid Mullah Omar, the head of the Taliban $3 million in a personal bribe in order to stay in the country. He was there because of the Taliban. In addition, the reason why we show the photograph of the turban is the man is in hiding for the past 15 days. We don‘t have an extant picture of him .
GROSS: You did. You just showed it a second ago, Mr. Fund. You didn‘t notice that. The fact is that you‘re showing the old photograph because you‘re xenophobic. We are trying at Yale, which has produced only three of the last five presidents, including the president now and the vice president, I think they know more about who to admit than you do. Fortunately you don‘t decide who goes to school or anything else.
FUND: Let me agree with Mr. Gross on one thing. The State Department is not blameless here. I think they made a terrible mistake, and several congressmen have demanded an explanation of the State Department. Both the State Department and Yale made a mistake.
GROSS: What about all of the Arabs? Should they be thrown out of colleges here .
SCARBOROUGH: Let me go to Debbie for a second. Debbie, are you ashamed of the school that you graduated from?
BOOKSTABER: I love Yale, and I also want to note that this has nothing to do with religion. If anything, I actually think that Yale should be making more aggressive efforts to recruit the people in Afghanistan who want to rebuild their country. People like the women who were denied an education during the Taliban. And let‘s not forget that. Women were denied an education. This was a misogynist regime that sheltered terrorists. This isn‘t about religion. This is about the Taliban.
SCARBOROUGH: There is no doubt about it. Thank you so much. I want to thank all of my guests. I must say I‘m shocked at what Mr. Gross said. Maybe the Taliban made a mistake. I would ask Mr. Gross to go on the internet tonight, to Google the Taliban, and see all of the mistakes they made.
Now friends, here‘s what you can do to make a difference. Listen, I agree with Mr. Gross. If Yale wants to admit spokesmen for the most oppressive regime in recent world history, they can do that.
But you can make a difference too. You can email Richard Levin, he is the president of Yale. And we‘re going to tell him what we think about a member of the Taliban being on his campus. And we‘re going to email the department of education, and also going to tell the secretary of education there. We don‘t want our tax dollars, $415 million, going to Yale University if they are going to embrace a spokesman for the Taliban. It‘s that simple.
Yale, admit who you want to admit. That‘s your business. But it‘s also our business and our right to say we‘re not going to send our $415 million up to you if you do it.
Now when we come back, a new movie that some say paints a pretty picture of terror. Is it Hollywood at it again, or just more Chicken Littles out there saying the sky is falling.
And seeing who wants to ban drivers from doing anything distracting, even tuning in to the radio.
SCARBOROUGH: Coming to a theater near you, a movie where the hero is a masked terrorist plotting to blow up London. The movie, “V for Vendetta,” and some say it‘s one more example of Hollywood glorifying terrorism.
In the movie, a masked terrorist who goes by the name of V plots to destroy London, saying, blowing up a building can change the world.
Now “Vendetta” opens up this Friday. My sons are look forward to it. It‘s made by the same people who made “The Matrix,” but it‘s already stirring controversy, and here to talk about it we have “Time Magazine‘s” Belinda Luscombe and we also have townhall.com‘s Megan Basham and also UCLA film professor, Richard Walter. Megan, let me begin with you. What‘s your problem with “V for Vendetta”?
MEGAN BASHAM, TOWNHALL.COM: Well, basically, Joe, just what you said. This is a movie that glorifies terrorism. It specifically references America‘s war. It uses an acronym for USA that I‘m not even sure I can say on the air. It has references to Abu Ghraib. It has references to faith in negative ways. A totalitarian regime that uses a crucifix as its symbol. And in general, it‘s very anti-American. It‘s obviously an assault on the Bush administration, and I don‘t think they could be any more obvious about it.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Belinda, the buzz out there right now that this movie does glorify terrorism. You saw the movie. You aren‘t concerned by it but you do agree with that depiction of the movie, that it is certainly anti-Bush, anti-American, right?
BELINDA LUSCOMBE, “TIME MAGAZINE”: Well, yeah. To me it doesn‘t glamorize terror because it‘s such a silly movie. It‘s so bad. And sort of ham fistedly done. That I don‘t see how you could glamorize anything out of it. It‘s just too stupid of a movie. But it does have these big, wide swipes at America, but they‘re very easy to duck. It‘s not like a pointed attack at all.
SCARBOROUGH: What about the part where the guy says you can change the world by blowing up a building? Obviously a lot of Americans offended by that post-9/11. And apparently it was when this comic book was made up, it was supposed to be an indictment against Thatcherite Britain, right?
LUSCOMBE: That‘s right. It was originally a comic book before it was a movie. And the guy who wrote the comic book actually took his name off the movie. I don‘t think that was because of politics. I think it‘s just because he thought it was a bad movie.
SCARBOROUGH: Richard Walter, Hollywood as you know has been criticized of late by conservatives as if not glorifying terrorism, preaching a moral relativity whether you‘re talking about “Paradise Now,” or “Munich” or “Syriana” and now this movie. How do you respond to that?
RICHARD WALTER, UCLA FILM PROFESSOR: I have so much faith in America, I don‘t believe she can be hurt by a mere movie based on a comic book. Joe, nobody wants to see the village of the happy, nice people. Rational, intelligent, balanced discourse has its place in our lives, but the movie theater is not that place.
Movies are wacky and crazy. Good movies disturb us, provoke us, upset us. I‘d rather be upset and disturbed, frankly, than bored. The worst that will happen is we‘ll have one more bad movie. If it‘s a bad movie. People I know and love and trust who have seen it have said it‘s really quite a good movie.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Richard, don‘t you agree, though, that movies also shape our impression of the world? And certainly people overseas seeing these type of movies, whether it‘s “Paradise Now,” or whether it‘s “Syriana” or whether it‘s “V for Vendetta,” their viewpoint of America will be impacted by this? Movies are powerful, right?
WALTER: They are powerful, but they are more a reflection, I think, of attitudes across the globe than they are a shaper of those attitudes. And you look at the movies in past the world has complained whether about. I‘m sure the world is going to survive this. As far as blowing up a building and changing the world, that did happen, didn‘t it? My own cousin was killed on September 11 in the World Trade Center. So I know all about terror. I worry about terror. I do not worry about a movie, a fanciful, wild, imaginative and crazy, bizarre movie.
SCARBOROUGH: Megan, what‘s your viewpoint? Richard says that America is strong enough to withstand a movie. Is this much ado about nothing?
BASHAM: Well, obviously, I think that something this obvious isn‘t going to really influence a lot of people except maybe teenage boys, which is their target audience, and that‘s a shame, because we are already dealing with so much violence with that particular group, and obviously this is for them. But I don‘t think that really a lot of people are going to react in outrage over the movie. Just dismissively.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thank you all so much.
BASHAM: And I do think it reflects a lot of the point of view that‘s inaccurate.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. Thank you, Belinda, thank you, Megan, and thank you, Richard. Greatly appreciate it. Let‘s go right now to Tucker Carlson. Hey, Tucker, what‘s THE SITUATION tonight?
TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST: Hey, Joe, tonight, the outrage over a 7-year-old girl reading a black separatist poem at a public school in New York. We‘ll talk to a member of the New York City council who will defend her right to do that. We‘re also going to have - we‘re not pandering here, but I‘ll tell you the truth. A cat circus. Live in the studio tonight, in just a few minutes .
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m sorry. What are you having?
CARLSON: We‘re having a cat circus. It‘s a circus comprised entirely of cats, the animals. They ride bicycles, they‘re on a high wire. It‘s all set up right to my right. You can‘t see it here. We‘re going to be a live cat circus in the studio.
SCARBOROUGH: I wouldn‘t miss that for the world, Tucker.
CARLSON: Thank you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘ll be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: Time for another flyover of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. These are stories, of course, that may have fallen under the mainstream media‘s radar but certainly not mine.
First stop, Winnetka, Illinois, where the chief of police is proposing a distracted driving law. Now he says that people who talk on cell phones, fix hair, and eat return while driving are a danger on the roads. I do all three at once plus read the newspaper. But the chief wants to take it one step forward. He now says drivers should be banned from tuning their radios on when they‘re behind the wheel. Adding new meaning to don‘t touch that dial.
Next stop, Minnesota, where they figured out a way to turn government pork into oxen. Lawmakers in Washington, DC, authorized $68,00 to repair a concrete statue of Babe the Blue Ox. The statue of Paul Bunyon‘s closes companion was built in 1937. The town fathers say most of the money will be spent on stabilizing the ground beneath the blue ox, which shifts with freezing temperatures. Boy, that‘s good to know.
We‘ll be right back. And I‘ll tell you how you can make America even better tonight. Plus, THE SITUATION with Tucker Carlson is just minutes away. So stay with us.
SCARBOROUGH: Before I leave you tonight, I want to tell you how you can make America even better. Tonight, let‘s get Ohio Judge John Connor off the bench. And here‘s how you can do it. Look at your TV screen.
You can write or call the Supreme Court of Ohio Disciplinary Council, you can also contact Ohio Governor Bob Taft, tell him why you think the judge should be impeached.
And remember, this is a guy, eight DUI arrests, so many things wrong with him. Make a difference.
Right now you can also make a difference by staying with us and watching THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON. Tucker, what‘s THE SITUATION tonight?
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