Guests: Ken Timmerman, Lou D‘Allesandro, Susan Lask, Sean Allen, Susan Shapiro Barash
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”: That‘s all the time we have for tonight. I want to go to Tucker Carlson, because THE SITUATION starts now. Who is this Mary Carey lady?
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: I don‘t know. But her quote that she gets hit on more frequently by drunk Republicans than she does by porn stars in Vegas—or porn fans in Vegas, it‘s unbelievable. I don‘t know if it bothers me or gives me hope for the Republican Party. I don‘t know.
SCARBOROUGH: I don‘t know. I think it‘s pretty cool myself.
CARLSON: They‘ve still got some life in them, though, Joe. I guess it is kind of reassuring.
SCARBOROUGH: Woo-hoo! Well, you know what? And that will help them out through those cold long nights when they‘re in the minority for the next 30 years. Right, Tucker?
What‘s the situation tonight, buddy?
CARLSON: Thank you, Joe.
And thanks to you at home for tuning in. We appreciate it.
Tonight, should girls receive their parents‘ permission before getting the so-called morning-after pill? A bill pushing for parental consent is shot down in New Hampshire. I‘ll speak to a state senator who opposed it.
Also, controversial high school teacher Jay Bennish, now infamous for comparing President Bush to Adolf Hitler, is back in the classroom in Colorado. So why is the student who captured his rantings on tape being forced to transfer schools? The student in question joins us to give us his side of the story.
Plus, if “Desperate Housewives” have taught us anything, it‘s that the only thing women dislike more than men is other women. We‘ll bring you the truth behind female rivalry with the author of “Tripping the Prom Queen” in just a few minutes.
We begin, though, tonight with a frightening and suddenly pertinent question: are we on the verge of a war with Iran? This question comes as the war in Iraq currently going on, three years old this Sunday, suddenly has escalated.
Just this morning American forces launched the largest air assault there since the invasion. By any measure, the U.S. military is stretched thin.
Yet earlier today the president reaffirmed his 2002 doctrine of preemptive war. Here‘s White House press secretary Scott McClellan, responding to heckling on the subject from reporter turned propagandist Helen Thomas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Are we supposed to wait until a threat fully materializes before we respond?
HELEN THOMAS, JOURNALIST: Threat?
MCCLELLAN: September 11th taught us...
THOMAS: That was not a threat from Iraq.
MCCLELLAN: ... some important lessons. One important lesson it taught us was that we must confront threats before they fully materialize. That‘s why we are working to address the threats when it comes to nuclear issues involving Iran and North Korea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: He‘s pathetic, but she‘s awful.
Well, so can our military be preparing to preemptively take out Iran? If so, would that be a wise move? To answer those questions, we welcome author of “Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran”, Ken Timmerman. Mr. Timmerman is also the executive director of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran. He joins us live tonight from Washington.
Ken Timmerman, thanks for coming on.
KEN TIMMERMAN, AUTHOR, “COUNTDOWN TO CRISIS”: Thanks for having me on, Tucker. It‘s a pleasure.
CARLSON: So all the signs seem to be there. I mean, we‘ve accused Iran of supporting and arming the insurgency in Iraq, of building a nuclear weapons program, of ignoring international law and standards, of plotting against Israel. And now the president is reaffirming our preemptive war policy that he wheeled out four years ago. This looks like preparation for war. Is it?
TIMMERMAN: Well, I acknowledge that it does look like it‘s preparation for war, but remember, there‘s a great deal of preparation has to be done.
I would point to another part of that national security strategy, which is the support for democracy and Democratic movements. I have always argued—I‘ve been urging this administration and the administration before, that our secret weapon in Iran and our best strategy is to help the pro-democracy movement to get rid of this regime, which they hate. The people of Iran hate this regime.
If nuclear weapons were the problem, Tucker, we‘d be worried about Great Britain. The problem is a terrorist regime armed with nuclear weapons.
CARLSON: Right. Well, of course. Right. The question is not the weapons themselves.
CARLSON: But who has them and what‘s the intent. But I mean, do we all agree—I think we do—that Iran getting nuclear weapons, a nuclear armed Iran, would be terrible for the world?
TIMMERMAN: You bet. And the Iranians, I can tell you, are preparing themselves for war.
I was able to obtain about two weeks ago, from a source in Iran, their contingency plan for defeating what they believe is going to be a U.S. military invasion of Iran in the Strait of Hormuz.
They will use nuclear weapons, radiological weapons, chemically and biologically tipped missiles. They will use suicide cub marines and swarms of small patrol boats, bottom tethered mines. They believe they can sink one of our aircraft carriers. They want to close the Strait of Hormuz to oil traffic and to shipping traffic in general.
CARLSON: Which would be a disaster. I don‘t think most Americans even appreciate the scope of the disaster that would be for energy.
TIMMERMAN: Twenty percent of our oil -- 20 percent, not of our oil, but of the world‘s oil, transits every day through the Strait of Hormuz, and it‘s a very tiny strait. I‘ve been on the other side of it, on the UAE looking across to Bandar Abbas. On a clear day, you can see the mountains behind the city.
CARLSON: So if Iran is preparing for war, presuming Iran doesn‘t want war, but why is Iran acting like it does? Why the provocations? Why the sticking its finger in the eye of the United States and of Israel, sponsoring these Holocaust denial conferences, really doing everything they can to offend the international community? What‘s the strategy there?
TIMMERMAN: Well, I wouldn‘t assume that they don‘t want war. When I mean “they,” I mean the regime, and I mean in particular the Hojatieh sect and the current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
This is the man, when he first took power in August of 19 -- 2005, said his goal was to hasten the return of the 12th imam of Shia Islam. Now, this messianic figure only returns, in their theology, after a worldwide devastating war, destruction everywhere. So essentially what he‘s saying is, “My goal is to destroy as much of the world as possible.”
CARLSON: So essentially, they‘re crazed religious fanatics who are soon to have nuclear weapons. At what point does the Bush administration give up on diplomacy and decide we have to attack preemptively?
TIMMERMAN: Well, I think we‘re ratcheting this up slowly. I think the administration is doing a very, very good job at a difficult task. Condoleezza Rice brought the Russian foreign minister onboard last week. We have a terrific ambassador in Vienna at the IAEA, Greg Schulte. And John Bolton is doing the behind-the-scenes work today at the Security Council up in New York.
This is going to ratchet up bit by bit, Tucker. You‘re going to get a, maybe a statement from the U.N. Security Council next week. Then perhaps a resolution, when the Iranians don‘t comply with the first statement. When they don‘t comply with the first resolution, then you‘ll get a second resolution with the chapter 7 use of force invoked.
CARLSON: But if we think—if we think that Iran, if we have knowledge, specific knowledge that Iran is, say, six months away from having nuclear weapons, are we going to actually do something about it physically? Are we going to bomb Iran? Do you think that is a possibility?
TIMMERMAN: It could be a possibility. I believe it‘s our last option and our worst option. And we need to exhaust every other option, first.
Look, let‘s not forget the Iranians in this equation. This regime, I believe, is going to be the first one to blink. I believe the regime in Tehran will be the first one to use military force. I think from what I‘ve seen of the contingency plans, and I‘ve published this at NewsMax.com two weeks ago, I think that they are going to try to close the Strait of Hormuz. And that is what‘s going to be the trigger of a military conflict.
CARLSON: There‘s no question: they do that and there will be war. I hope that‘s not true.
Ken Timmerman, thanks a lot for joining us.
TIMMERMAN: Thank you.
COLMES: So is the president‘s reaffirming his doctrine of preemptive war against a hostile nation a smart political move? The answer: we‘re joined by MSNBC political contributor Flavia Colgan. She joins us live tonight from Burbank.
FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Good evening, Tucker.
Thank you for having me.
COLMES: Well, we‘re glad you‘re here. I am, anyway.
I—I think this is a smart political move, leaving aside the other -
I mean, the geopolitical considerations. Whether it‘s, in fact, a smart move politically, I think it—I think it‘s defensible. I think it makes sense intuitively to most Americans. If you think someone‘s going to shoots you, you shoot first. I can‘t imagine that people who might vote Republican are going to be put off from doing so by this?
COLGAN: Well, I don‘t know, Tucker. I disagree. I mean, today I think you saw a lot of different polls come out, which—I mean, forget about just the ones that say Bush isn‘t, you know, doing very well. We all know that. Or the country‘s going in the wrong direction or that he doesn‘t have a plan in Iraq.
I think some of the most troubling ones for him where, and it shows, really, what a difference a year makes, the top four words that Americans used to describe him, when asked, were incompetent, liar, not honest, and good. That was one.
And last year the most common word they used for him was honest.
And the reason I point that out is to just say that the sort of tough cowboy talk, our way or the highway, I think does have resonance. However, it doesn‘t have resonance if you haven‘t delivered or if people don‘t feel that you‘ve been competent or effective.
And I think that the American people are really just not willing to take things on blind trust anymore. And when you listen to this rhetoric about Iran, it really does feel like deja vu all over again.
CARLSON: It does.
COLGAN: And it really doesn‘t seem—yes.
CARLSON: You‘re absolutely right. And we have seen this movie before. And part of the movie is a massive spike in the polls for the president. I mean, that‘s just—that‘s axiomatic. When the president takes the country to war or even prepares for it or even talks about war a lot, his numbers go up. I‘m not suggesting he‘s doing this to boost his numbers.
CARLSON: He‘s not running for anything ever again. But I think that‘s the effect of it. I mean, it helps him. When people feel threatened, they look to the president. Whether they like him or not, they have to put their trust on him.
COLGAN: Well, typically, Tucker, I would absolutely agree with you.
I mean, that‘s conventional wisdom.
Again, I mean, I was very stunned when looking in depth at a lot of those numbers today. I mean, for the first time, no matter how much he‘s bungled in Iraq, we still have seen Americans back Republicans. This time today for the first time they said no. They think Democrats would handle Iraqi more effectively.
So I don‘t necessarily—I think that the country really has a tremendous amount of Bush fatigue, whether it‘s the scandals, whether it‘s the talk of civil war in Iraq, whether it‘s wiretapping. And I think that this—the normal reaction would be go towards the president. I think that it just feels like one more problem, one more big—you know...
CARLSON: I‘ve not—I‘ve not seen that poll. I‘ve not seen any poll that suggests the public would trust Democrats over Republicans in Iraq.
COLGAN: Well, the few...
CARLSON: That‘s the one thing the Republicans have going for them is that people believe they‘re better at national security.
COLGAN: Six—I can look for—it‘s a five-point spread. We saw the Pew Research Poll come out today, also the Survey Group report, which was stunning to me. Because that was a state-by-state. You had six, I think maybe seven states that Bush even has positive numbers in. So you‘re talking ceding position even in the reddest of the states.
But I want to go one moment, because I care about politics a lot, but I really do care about policy.
CARLSON: OK. If you...
COLGAN: On the Iran issue...
CARLSON: Wait. Wait, hold on. Before you address the Iran issue, whatever that is, let me just get back here to the question of preemptive strikes.
CARLSON: You heard earlier today Helen Thomas, this former journalist, now really an appalling blowhard, going after the White House press secretary and saying, “Look, this is a violation of international law, this preemptive war doctrine.”
I don‘t think anybody outside The real hard core left cares what international law specifies about preemptive war. I think the average person really believes that if we think we‘re going to be hit, it‘s totally within our rights, in fact it‘s probably our moral obligation to hit first, don‘t you think?
COLGAN: Yes, I do agree with that. I mean, I do happen to care about the Geneva Conventions, which at certain times this administration hasn‘t. But no, I agree with you. I have no interest in France or an international court, telling me, as an American, what we should do.
However, in terms of preemptive strikes and unilateralism, which is what Bush, you know, and his cabal essentially did, are two different things. And I do think that, if we do anything with Iran, it will have to be with the support of the international community, and we‘re going to have to do this very differently.
The one thing that the former guest brought up that I think is very important is what we have to do from within. And when the Iraq Survey Group report came out two years ago, you know, everyone was talking about the most obvious thing in there, which was there were no WMD‘s. That we had the biggest intelligence failure, basically, since the Trojan horse, you know.
But what people didn‘t see, because apparently people have more of a life than me and didn‘t spend time reading the whole 100 pages, but the part I found most interesting was Saddam Hussein had less capacity—nuclear capacity and otherwise in 2003 than he did in 1998.
Now, what does that mean to me? What that means to me when I look at that is sanctions, international pressure, limited military operations—all of those things actually did work. So I think strategically, in terms of preemption, we need to have a balance between carrots and sticks.
CARLSON: And also—also—sorry to cut you off.
COLGAN: And right now...
CARLSON: Slow down. Slow down.
COLGAN: ... you‘re using stick.
CARLSON: And a huge amount of bombing. I mean, we over flew Iraq for years, almost the duration of the Clinton administration. We had fighter jets in the air over their country. I mean, right? It wasn‘t simply a bunch of Belgians, you know, using moral authority to keep them under control. We had military hardware doing that. So I think it‘s an important lesson to remember, also.
In any case, Flavia Colgan, sadly, we‘re out of time. Have a great night in Burbank.
COLGAN: You do the same, Tucker.
CARLSON: Thanks, Flavia.
Still to come, contraception controversy. Lawmakers in New Hampshire decide parents don‘t have a right to know when their underage daughters get the prescription morning after pill. We‘ll talk to a state senator about it.
Plus was Colorado student Sean Allen banished from his own high school? The sophomore who recorded his teacher comparing President Bush to Hitler leaves the school. We talk to the 16-year-old who kicked off the controversy when THE SITUATION continues.
CARLSON: Still ahead, it‘s been a nightmarish couple of weeks for the makers of Ambien. Does the popular sleep aid really cause its users to take off their clothes in public and eat butter-covered cigarettes? We‘ll ask the lawyer behind some very bizarre lawsuits when we come back.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
Teenagers need their parents‘ permission to go a field trip or to play sports, so why shouldn‘t someone tell their parents before they take the morning-after pill? Good question. Today the New Hampshire Senate voted 14-10 against a measure that would have required teens to get parental consent before taking emergency contraception.
State senator Lou D‘Allesandro was one of the people that voted against the bill. He joins us live tonight from Manchester, New Hampshire.
Mr. D‘Allesandro, thanks for coming on.
LOU D‘ALLESANDRO, NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE SENATOR: My pleasure.
CARLSON: So why shouldn‘t parent have the right to know what medications their kids are taking?
D‘ALLESANDRO: Well, I think 60 percent of the time in terms of emergency contraception, a youngster does talk to a parent. But there are times when that can‘t happen.
And certainly when we passed Senate bill 30 last year, that was the original emergency contraceptive bill, it passed the House, passed the Senate, was signed by the governor without parental notification.
There are—there are many times when that—when that just can‘t happen.
CARLSON: I don‘t understand what you mean, that can‘t happen.
D‘ALLESANDRO: We‘ve taken a lot of precautions in terms of this piece of legislation, by training pharmacists through our board of pharmacy, so that you don‘t do this in an indiscriminate fashion.
CARLSON: But wait a second. Excuse me.
D‘ALLESANDRO: When it can‘t happen are things like this: rape, incest. These are times when, obviously, you can‘t talk to somebody and you need the emergency contraceptive within 24 hours.
CARLSON: You can‘t talk to somebody? You can‘t treat a child for strep throat without his parents—or her parents knowing about it. I mean, it‘s not legal, as you know. I mean, parents have a right and an interest here, that you seem to be ignoring.
D‘ALLESANDRO: Sure. Well, I‘m not ignoring anything. I think, as I said, 60 percent of the time youngsters do talk to their parents, and I think that‘s a good thing.
CARLSON: Well, first of all, you don‘t know that.
D‘ALLESANDRO: I happen to have two daughters. I happen to have three granddaughters, so I‘m very concerned about the situation. But I think that young women, you know, and actually older women—it isn‘t just confined to young women—have this option. And I think this option is a viable one and one we should—we should use.
CARLSON: I totally agree with that. Older women have nothing.
D‘ALLESANDRO: You don‘t ask men—you don‘t ask men to get a prescription for Viagra and give the pharmacist the opportunity to refuse it.
CARLSON: That is—I cannot take that talking point seriously. If 14-year-olds buy Viagra. Hold on.
D‘ALLESANDRO: You should take it seriously, because I think it‘s the facts...
CARLSON: Because the distinction here is not between men and women, it‘s between juveniles, underage people, and adults. That‘s a distinction. This is not a gender question. It‘s an age question. And people....
D‘ALLESANDRO: It certainly is a gender question and people make it a gender question.
CARLSON: We would absolutely require, and I‘m positive the state of New Hampshire would require, a 14-year-old who wanted Viagra to get parental consent before getting it. No? Yes, of course, as you know.
D‘ALLESANDRO: They don‘t have to get parental consent.
CARLSON: In order to get Viagra in New Hampshire?
D‘ALLESANDRO: That‘s correct. You know that. It‘s an over-the-counter—it‘s an over-the-counter drug.
CARLSON: I‘m impressed.
D‘ALLESANDRO: And I think we put together a fine piece of legislation that answered three basic issues.
CARLSON: When did Viagra get to be an over-the-counter drug?
D‘ALLESANDRO: It was a health issue. It was an economic issue and it was an issue that helped prevent abortion. That‘s good quality health care. That was the genesis of the passage of this bill...
CARLSON: It seems to me that the state...
D‘ALLESANDRO: We worked out of—we worked out of...
CARLSON: You‘re a filibuster. I can see how—why you‘re in the Senate.
D‘ALLESANDRO: We worked with pharmacists.
D‘ALLESANDRO: We get things—we got things done.
CARLSON: It does seem, though, and I understand your interest in preventing pregnancy, preventing abortion. I‘m of course, completely on your side. I‘m not even arguing against the morning after pill. I‘m merely saying it seems to me an example of the state moving in and saying to parents, “We know better than you. We know better for your kids than you.”
That is absolutely what you‘re saying right now, that you know how parents should raise their kids better than they do.
D‘ALLESANDRO: I‘m not saying that—I‘m not saying that anybody knows that. I‘m just saying it‘s good public policy. It makes sense. This pill is only really effective 24 to 48 hours after an unintended event. And I think it‘s...
CARLSON: Then why not—why not require parental notification?
D‘ALLESANDRO: ... that policy is an economic policy. Because—because sometimes the parents are not available. That‘s one issue. Sometimes the parent may be the culprit. That‘s another issue. So I think...
CARLSON: That is so...
D‘ALLESANDRO: ... it makes a great deal of sense and it‘s good public policy and health policy.
CARLSON: You‘re repeating a bumper sticker, but you‘re not answering the question. And I‘m sorry you‘re not, but I appreciate you came on anyway. Lou D‘Allesandro, thanks for joining us.
D‘ALLESANDRO: Thank you very much, and have a great American day.
CARLSON: OK. I will.
Up next, is the popular sleeping drug Ambien turning Americans into zombies? Could you wake up next to a pile of chicken bones if you take that pill? We‘ll meet someone who says yes when THE SITUATION returns.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
If you found yourself driving on the wrong side of the road, shoplifting or ransacking the fridge in the middle of the night, your sleeping pill may be to blame. So says my next guest. She‘s filing a class-action lawsuit against the makers of Ambien. Attorney Susan Chama Lask says the popular drug has turned her clients into virtual zombies. She joins us tonight from New York City.
Susan Lask, thanks for joining us.
SUSAN CHAMA LASK, ATTORNEY: Hi, Tucker. Thank you.
CARLSON: So what are some of the weird things you claim Ambien is making your clients do?
LASK: Well, my clients are telling me that they‘re eating gallons of ice cream at night, gorging their faces to the point where they have food stuffed in their mouths and their spouses have to shovel it out of their face. Eating raw eggs, raw rice, raw vegetables from the can. It‘s this bizarre, like carnal eating that they do, that‘s—it‘s just grotesque.
CARLSON: Maybe they‘re just hungry.
LASK: Night bingeing, a sandwich, a Coke, but not like this, no.
CARLSON: Do you have video of this?
LASK: No. But we‘ve spoken to spouses who‘ve witnessed it or when we‘ve talked to the people that have been experiencing this, they wake up and find the evidence of it all around, like cereal bowls. I‘m talking, like, four or five. Milk spilled all over. They have fudge on the face, fudge on the fingers.
CARLSON: So you can, while sleeping, pour a bowl of cereal?
LASK: Sloppily, but you can do it, yes.
CARLSON: Now there have been, as I‘m sure you know, reports for many years, long before Ambien was invented, of people night eating or claiming to night eat, anyway. Claiming they weren‘t aware of the fact they ate a dozen brownies and saying that they were asleep when they did it. How do you know Ambien is responsible for this?
LASK: Because these people that have been doing it haven‘t—they haven‘t had this phenomenon before. And then once they stop Ambien, they don‘t have the bizarre behavior afterwards.
CARLSON: Well, I mean, no offense to your clients. I know a lot of people who are taking Ambien, by the way. And I don‘t mean to denigrate people who are taking Ambient. But you don‘t take Ambien if you‘re entirely shipshape. I mean, you‘re taking it because you have a problem. You can‘t sleep. And so maybe preexisting psychiatric problems are to blame for this. Have you considered that?
LASK: Yes, I have considered that. And we weed people out and ask them if they do have a history of psychiatric problems, this and that. And some people might.
But the situation still is that Ambien does—is highly related to the sleep eating disorder. And the logic is, once they stop the Ambien, they don‘t have it. And you know what? Personally, if there are—if there is anybody with a mental problem, which none of my clients so far, you know, have we discovered that, they still shouldn‘t be taking Ambien and, you know, having the eating disorder.
CARLSON: Why don‘t they just stop taking Ambien then? I mean, look, the larger question is, if I take Ambien and I eat two dozen eggs and spill some milk and Cap‘n Crunch in my bed, I mean, that‘s embarrassing. But how much money do you think I‘m entitled to for that?
LASK: Well, whatever their damages would be. I mean, I couldn‘t even tell you. I‘m more concerned right now, we‘re all very more concerned with getting the warnings out there, you know, and to stop it. And just...
CARLSON: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a second. I mean, with all due respect, you‘re a lawyer. I mean, you‘ve got to eat yourself, hopefully while you‘re awake. And so you‘re, you know, at least partly motivated by money here. And so how much do you think a person who sleep eats is entitled to?
LASK: First of all, I‘m absolutely not motivated by the money. I‘m motivated by the cause for these people.
LASK: And all these people...
CARLSON: Are you doing it free?
LASK: At some point my attorney fees will be paid, and they might not. When you do class actions, sometimes it doesn‘t work out.
CARLSON: How much are you asking for?
LASK: If you read the complaint, which it doesn‘t say that at all.
We‘re asking for money. We‘re asking for the warnings.
CARLSON: OK. So you‘re not going to take any money from the drug maker, Ambien?
LASK: Every person that did suffer, and you‘re completely correct, does deserve to be compensated. Everyone‘s going to have their own individual problem. Some people suffered severe problems like stomach disorders and they‘re taking medication. And you‘re absolutely right, they will be compensated. It‘s just a matter of figuring out what the amount of damage each person is due.
CARLSON: What‘s the weirdest food you‘ve heard of an Ambien user eating?
LASK: Buttered cigarettes.
CARLSON: How were they? Menthol or regular? King size?
LASK: I would suspect they were king size. But no, I didn‘t ask.
CARLSON: Did the person—had the person ever eaten butter-covered cigarettes before?
LASK: No, not at all. NO.
CARLSON: How were they? Did you ask?
LASK: Look, the visualization, myself, thinking about it, makes me want to throw up.
CARLSON: Yes, me too.
CARLSON: All right. Suzanne Chama Lask, thanks for joining us.
LASK: Thank you very much.
CARLSON: Still to come, a teacher who compared President Bush to Hitler is back at school, but the boy who reported him is out.
Plus if you thought the cola wars were bad, wait until you see the showdown between coffee makers. We‘ll tell you which fast food giant has Starbucks steaming, next.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
Most 16-year-olds have to be prodded to pay attention in class, much less take notes. Sean Allen tape recorded his. We‘re glad he did.
Sean taped his geography teacher, Jay Bennish, comparing President Bush to Adolf Hitler and making excuses for the 9/11 hijackers. Bennish was put on paid administrative leave for just over a week and returned to work Monday to a hero‘s welcome, but Sean, who‘s received threats for what he did, won‘t be going back to Overland High School in Aurora, Colorado. Sean Allen joins us live tonight from Denver to tell us why.
Sean, welcome. Thanks for coming on.
SEAN ALLEN, STUDENT: Thanks for having me on.
CARLSON: I just want to thank you for doing this. I remember so well what it felt like to be a powerless 16-year-old, sitting in a class I had to be in, listening to a person who had control over my life ramming his political views down my throat, and I hated it. And I wish I had done what you did. So good for you.
Now, why are you not going back to school?
ALLEN: Well, it‘s—you know, I received a lot of threats and, you know, even though I do have a lot of support at the school with my friends and, you know, just people who support me, I drew the line at the point where the people that started supporting me starting getting threats. And so, you know, I decided that it would be better to sort of change schools.
CARLSON: Threats from whom and for what? What did you do wrong?
ALLEN: I think a lot of the people that are giving me threats and a lot of the people that are criticizing me for what I did, know Mr. Bennish on more of a personal level. Again, he‘s only 28 and, you know, the students kind of sympathize with him as a teacher.
So they know him on more of a personal level, and they kind of hate me, because they think I was trying to get him fired. And just things like that.
CARLSON: He said—I mean, reading—and I know a lot of this has been discussed on television pretty extensively, but just reading again the transcript of his remarks, which are filled with grammatical errors, by the way. It‘s kind of hard to believe he‘s a teacher.
“The United States is probably the most single violent nation on earth,” he said. And then he goes on to, of course, compare the president to Hitler, and then he goes on in this kind of extended apology for the 9/11 hijackers, talking about how the FBI had an office in the World Trade Center. “We portray the victims as innocent because they‘re our friends, neighbors, family, loved ones,” as if they‘re not really innocent.
I mean, this is over the top. Did he talk this way a lot?
ALLEN: Yes, he definitely talked this way. You know, he was—he was pretty much every day or every other day that he would get on these kind of political rants.
CARLSON: Were you encouraged to disagree with him?
ALLEN: You know, I was—I was encouraged to disagree with him, but a lot of the lectures, you know, he would give rhetorical lectures to, where no one in the class could ever question anything. And you know, he‘s also kind of holding my grade in his hands, so if I did question him negatively in front of the class, you know, he‘s holding my grade, basically holding my future in his hands.
So I think a lot of kids—a lot of students in the class, as well as myself, didn‘t really question him on a lot of the stuff.
CARLSON: What is all this stuff—what is 9/11 and the crimes of the United States? What does that have to do with geography? Like, how did he fit that into a geography class?
ALLEN: I mean, absolutely nothing. I mean, me and a couple friends of mine, we would joke outside of class before class each day, you know, like, what‘s going to set him off today? And you know, someone would say something and he would go completely off topic, basically completely off of geography and just go on one of those political rants.
The day that I recorded the class we were talking about definitions of government, and then he went on to capitalism and then he moved on from there.
CARLSON: What a loser this guy sounds like, to sit and pontificate before a group of captive kids. I mean, you know what I mean? This little Napoleon figure. God, I‘m so glad you got him.
Now do you—do you think you‘re going to be hassled in your new school over this?
ALLEN: You know, I think it‘s going to be—I‘m going to get criticism wherever I go, no matter if I go to a public school, private school, if I‘m home schooled. I‘m still going to get criticism. But I think it will be less, because students at a new school won‘t know Mr. Bennish on a personal level and they won‘t, you know, really know him.
CARLSON: Well, you should just repeat, you did not slash the tires on his car. You didn‘t burn his house down. All you did was record his own words, and that‘s somehow wrong.
Finally, did any teacher in your old school, the school you just left, pull you aside and say, “I‘m glad you did what you did. I sympathize with you. Bennish is out of control”? Display support for you in any way?
ALLEN: You know, a lot of teachers—I‘ve spoken with a couple of teachers that have approached me directly, and you know, they said there‘s no bad blood. But I think, you know, with—with being teachers and him still teaching at that school, I think they‘re—they can‘t really say a lot of those things. But I‘ve been approached by teachers who are neutral, but no teacher that have, you know, come out in praise of me.
CARLSON: I think we should put web cams in every high school classroom in the country. You know, just so the rest of us can find out what‘s going on.
ALLEN: Absolutely. Because if you‘re teaching a class, I mean, if you‘re teaching a geography class, you should have nothing to hide if you‘re teaching the right curriculum. That‘s why I think it‘s ridiculous to say...
CARLSON: That‘s exactly right.
ALLEN: ... to criticize me for bringing in a tape recorder.
CARLSON: Right. He‘s afraid of other adults finding out what he‘s saying. Gosh, what a creep.
Thanks very much, Sean, for coming on. I appreciate it.
ALLEN: Thank you for having me on.
CARLSON: Stay tuned. There‘s still plenty more ahead tonight on THE
CARLSON (voice-over): Failure to launch. What‘s the truth behind those fledglings who refuse to leave the nest?
MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, ACTOR: Is that a problem?
CARLSON: Then tripping the prom queen. We expose the dirty little secrets of female rivalry.
Plus, body of evidence. The bizarre tale of how this man‘s stint in a county jail turned into a death sentence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He‘s been very quiet and peaceful.
CARLSON: And we‘ll tell you why Jessica turned down a Bush request.
JESSICA SIMPSON, SINGER/ACTRESS: It was truly unbelievable for me.
CARLSON: It‘s all ahead on THE SITUATION.
SARAH JESSICA PARKER, ACTRESS: I see incredible potential here.
VANESSA MCDONALD, PRODUCER: Coming up, are you 30 years old and still living in your parents‘ basement? Good news. It turns out you may not be a loser after all. We‘ll explain in a minute.
CARLSON: OK, Dad. I‘m going to move out any day now. I promise.
THE SITUATION returns in just 60 seconds.
CARLSON: Welcome back. In honor of the first day of the NCAA basketball tournament, tonight we quote the great lyrical poet Kurtis Blow. Mr. Blow once wrote, “Basketball is my favorite sport. I like the way they dribble up and down the court. I like the pick and roll. I like the give and go. It‘s basketball with Mr. Kurtis Blow.”
Joining me now, a poet in his own right, “The Outsider,” ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing host Max Kellerman.
MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO: Are we talking NCAA tournament today?
KELLERMAN: That‘s a great song. “Basketball” is a great song. Great song.
CARLSON: Yes. It‘s on my iPod. I never heart of Kurtis Blow until about 20 minutes ago.
KELLERMAN: That‘s great. These are the breaks. Kurtis Blow, he‘s the old king of—they call him the king of rap.
CARLSON: I missed that.
Well, some people might call a 20-something who still lives with his parents a loser. These days, the more appropriate label might be “financial wizard.”
In the movie “Failure to Launch” features a 35-year-old character played by Matthew McConaughey who drives a Porsche, lives at home with his parents. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people aged 18 to 34 who live with their parents has increased 48 percent in the last 36 years.
Experts say many of those people are wisely living at home to save money to buy their own homes and to erase debt they‘ve incurred.
But they‘re still losers, Max. I‘m sorry. They may be making the right financial decision, strictly speaking, but in their turn, they are giving away their dignity and also their dating lives. I mean, you can‘t pick up women if you‘ve got to bring them back to your mom‘s house.
KELLERMAN: Well, actually, “Failure to Launch”, he picks up—a friend of mine, the girl who he picks up, it‘s in all the promos, that‘s actually a friend of mine. All right? How do you like that?
CARLSON: In real life?
KELLERMAN: Yes, in real life.
CARLSON: But in real life, OK, so she‘s happy to date Matthew McConaughey in the movies.
KELLERMAN: Katheryn Winnick.
CARLSON: Maybe in real life, but would she really date a guy who‘s living with his parents? Of course not.
KELLERMAN: Here‘s the problem. The reason the answer is yes, is because since 1970 -- since 1970 the real estate market has outpaced the stock market by so much in metropolitan areas especially. I mean, if you look at 1970 an apartment that was $30,000 is today a million dollars.
KELLERMAN: So you know, it‘s a percentage of—a much higher percentage of income is now being spent on housing.
KELLERMAN: What are you going to do?
CARLSON: Look, I understand. Look, I‘m 36, I understand completely the problem. Absolutely. I‘ve faced it.
However, I didn‘t live with my parents. I mean, the answer, of course, is to live with your friends, is to live in really cheap housing...
KELLERMAN: Be homeless.
CARLSON: Right. You know, live in the slum, but live in a way where with you preserve your dignity and your self-respect and where your mom‘s not washing your jockey shorts, OK? That‘s so essential to be an adult.
KELLERMAN: Why wouldn‘t you want that? It‘s very comfortable to live at home with your parents, compared to living by yourself, especially as a bachelor. Especially as a bachelor.
Incidentally, once upon a time, first generation kids were considered good, the sons especially. Good boys if they stayed at home with their parents until they were married.
CARLSON: That‘s absolutely true. Once upon a time people ate each other and threw widows on funeral pyres. But that was once upon a time; this is now. You‘re a loser if you live at home. Just my view.
KELLERMAN: Got to move out. Got to move out of the parents‘ house.
CARLSON: Look out, Starbucks. McDonald‘s is coming for your premium coffee crown. McDonald‘s has declared all-out war by announcing it will soon begin selling premium roast coffee in its 13,700 U.S. restaurants.
Ready to drink coffee industry has been dominated until now by Starbucks and Dunkin‘ Donuts. But Mickey D‘s is ready to snag its share of the $8 billion annual business.
Industry experts are comparing the new coffee competition to the great cola wars of yesteryear.
I think McDonald‘s has no shot at all. Because Starbucks is not selling simply coffee but coolness, ambiance, atmosphere, a place to sit with your—you know, your apple and write noir poetry, right? And hang out with your friends with piercings.
I mean, McDonald‘s is a down market restaurant. Pretty good French fries, but still down market.
KELLERMAN: They‘re better—a little better than pretty good, Tucker. You‘re damning them with faint praise.
CARLSON: They‘re good.
KELLERMAN: They‘re great French fries.
CARLSON: But you‘re never going to go there with your hip friends to write screenplays, ever.
KELLERMAN: No, that‘s right. Because Starbucks is, indeed, not selling coffee. They‘re selling lifestyle.
KELLERMAN: McDonald‘s is selling fast food. However, Dunkin‘ Donuts is not selling lifestyle, but Dunkin‘ Donuts is selling coffee, pretty good coffee, considering it‘s Dunkin‘ Donuts. And that‘s who McDonald‘s is competing against.
CARLSON: See, McDonald‘s is missing it, because Starbucks in the Pabst Blue Ribbon of coffee retailers. It‘s kind of retro-cool. You know what I mean? It‘s so dorky, it‘s cool. It‘s got the kind of orange and brown logo from the ‘70s. Right?
CARLSON: I mean, it‘s clunky.
KELLERMAN: Starbucks or Dunkin‘ Donuts?
CARLSON: Dunkin‘ Donuts.
KELLERMAN: Yes. No, but Dunkin‘ Donuts actually sells coffee not because of any lifestyle they‘re selling but because it‘s pretty good, cheap, fast coffee. And McDonald‘s is better at cheap and fast than anybody.
CARLSON: Yes. But you will—but the people who go to McDonald‘s aren‘t going to pay $1.95 for a cup of coffee. They‘re just not. It‘s the wrong demographic.
KELLERMAN: They don‘t need to charge $1.95 for the coffee. That‘s what McDonald‘s is good at. You know, approximating real food and selling it cheaper. It‘s not going to be great coffee, I‘m sure. I bet you it will be pretty—have you ever had the coffee at McDonald‘s? I‘ve had coffee at McDonald‘s. It‘s OK. It‘s not bad now.
CARLSON: Yes. Yes, I kind of like it. I just don‘t think you‘re ever going to get the coveted, you know, heavy coffee spenders showing up at McDonald‘s.
KELLERMAN: Not until you have wireless Internet in McDonald‘s.
CARLSON: I‘m not hanging out.
CARLSON: See you Monday.
Coming up, if there‘s one thing women despise more than men, it‘s other women. But you knew that. We‘ll tell you why “Desperate Housewives” is a lot more real life than you may think. The culture of cat fighting when we come back.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
My next guest says girl power, “Ya Ya Sisterhood” and the entire “you go girl” culture of female solidarity is a heaping bunch of nonsense. It turns out relationships between women are slightly more complicated than a catchy slogan. Female rivalries are, in fact, more intense than they ever have been, and the situation is getting worse.
Susan Shapiro Barash is the author of the book “Tripping the Prom Queen: The Truth about Women and Rivalry”. She joins me live from New York tonight.
Susan, thanks for coming on.
SUSAN SHAPIRO BARASH, AUTHOR, “TRIPPING THE PROM QUEEN”: Thanks for having me on.
CARLSON: It‘s the greatest book title maybe ever written, I have to say.
BARASH: I appreciate that.
CARLSON: It‘s just fantastic. What about, though, the idea of female solidarity? I mean, it‘s kind of true, isn‘t it?
BARASH: Well, you know, we believe we‘re in it together, but the truth is it‘s sort of a myth, that when our friends tell us their good news, we become jealous. We‘re not always so happy for friends.
CARLSON: Why is that?
BARASH: I think that women have always had to compete with each other. And when you compete only with one another, it‘s very intense. We‘re fighting over men, jobs. We‘re competing over our children, lifestyle, our looks, our age.
CARLSON: But men compete with one another, primarily, too. I mean, in sports, in the workplace. I think most men see their rivals as other men.
BARASH: But men have a much healthier competition. Men are competitive over what they do, and women are competitive for who they are. So it‘s really quite totalizing.
CARLSON: Boy. What a—do you have any sense—I mean, this is inborn, it sounds like. I mean, this is worldwide. It‘s not just confined to our culture, is it?
BARASH: Well, I—my study is based on American women in a very capitalistic society. But most women do feel some kind of envy or competition or jealousy toward other women, at least in some aspect of their life.
CARLSON: Where are the aspects where it‘s most intense? Where do women compete most intensely?
BARASH: Well, lately we‘ve been hearing some much about mothers, about stay-at-home mothers vs. working mothers and why one faction is judgmental about the other.
And I found that in my study that‘s really very true, that there is a huge competition with our children, and that makes it really difficult for not only the mothers, but for the children, themselves.
CARLSON: Are there such things as uncomplicated female friendships? I mean, men have, I think, most of the time pretty uncomplicated friendships: “You‘re my friend.” “Oh, my friend.” You know, people—men are pretty loyal to each other and like each other in a pretty basic simple way. Does such a thing exist among women?
BARASH: Men are much healthier at it. I really do believe that‘s true. Yes, it does exist between women, but only when the women are really ready to accept their differences, to understand that you‘re not your best friend‘s identical twin, that you have different strengths, different weaknesses, different ways of living your life.
CARLSON: Is it bad? I mean, is it—if it—my suspicion is this probably is natural, inborn, and a worldwide phenomenon. So why it is it necessarily bad?
BARASH: Well, I think it‘s partly intrapsychic and partly cultural. I mean, our culture makes women feel less on every level. I mean, we get to look at beautiful glamorous women on billboards and magazines. Then we watch the competition between the women on “Desperate Housewives.
I mean, it‘s just time to sort of spill this dirty little secret, that we pretend that we‘re in it together, and oftentimes we don‘t feel that way.
CARLSON: Yes. It‘s not much of a secret. Anybody who‘s ever lived with a woman knows about this, that there is an awful lot of, frankly, cattiness that goes on.
BARASH: Yes. But women are very covert in how they behave toward one another. I mean, you sit down with your best friend, and she tells you her great news, and oftentimes we say, “How terrific,” but you‘re sort of seething inside.
CARLSON: Wow. A lot of—there are a lot of “Desperate Housewives” out there, aren‘t there?
BARASH: I think so. I think it‘s a tough time. But things can improve.
CARLSON: Tell me the one thing that would improve it?
BARASH: The most?
BARASH: I think really taking those expectations and bringing them down a notch. And also mentoring. You know, if women can mentor their daughters, mothers to daughters, aunts to nieces. In the workplace for certain we really need mentoring of younger women by older established women who are really good at it and have been there for awhile. That‘s an answer.
CARLSON: Good luck with that. Susan Shapiro Barash, thanks a lot for coming on.
BARASH: Thank you.
CARLSON: Still ahead on THE SITUATION, how bad are things for President Bush right now? Let me put it this way. Even Jessica Simpson doesn‘t want to be seen with him in public. Details of Jessica‘s shocking presidential snub are, of course, on “The Cutting Room Floor.”
CARLSON: Welcome back. Time for “The Cutting Room Floor,” and that means, of course, Willie Geist is here—Willie.
WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER: Hello, Tucker.
I want to let you know, they‘re not paying attention whatsoever to the show in the control room. Syracuse in a late battle. Our executive producer, Brad Cuomo (ph), graduate, not paying attention to the show at all.
CARLSON: Syracuse in a late battle. What‘s going on in Syracuse?
GEIST: Texas A&M, basketball tournament.
GEIST: Right. It‘s not going well. So...
CARLSON: I heard that.
GEIST: Let‘s be gentle.
By the way, women are terrible people, aren‘t they?
CARLSON: I like them. I still like them. They just don‘t like each other. But...
GEIST: As long as they like us.
CARLSON: That‘s kind of my feeling. I like them.
Jessica Simpson is one tough chick to please. First, she decided her husband, Nick Lachey, wasn‘t good enough for her. Now it appears the president of the United States does not meet Jessica‘s lofty standards, either.
The singer and reality TV star has turned down an invitation to attend a Republican fundraiser with President Bush. Jessica‘s father says it‘s nothing personal but Jessica, quote, “loves the heck out of the president.”
GEIST: You talk about a wake-up call for President Bush? Yikes. This chick prances around in public with Johnny Knoxvile; she won‘t be seen with the president of the United States. It‘s the Jessica Simpson bellwether: if she won‘t be seen with you, you‘re in deep political trouble.
CARLSON: As goes Jessica Simpson, so goes America.
GEIST: Exactly right. America‘s in bad shape by that measure.
CARLSON: Well, McDonald‘s probably thinks it‘s tough with its Big Mac. Burger King likes to brag about its Double Whopper with Cheese.
Well, trust me, those too lightweights want no part of Denny‘s Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, Pennsylvania.
CARLSON: Denny‘s Pub has added a 15-pound burger to its menu. It‘s called the Beer Barrel Belly Buster, and it‘s officially the biggest burger in the world. It comes with a cup and a half each of mayo and ketchup, an entire head of lettuce and 25 slices of cheese.
GEIST: A nice little snack. You could end famine in sub-Saharan Africa with that thing. That‘s unbelievable. That same restaurant, by the way, held the previous record at six pounds. So they went from six pounds to 15 pounds.
CARLSON: I love America.
GEIST: So good. And you get—if you finish it in five hours, you get a T-shirt, your name on a plaque and a couple hundred bucks.
CARLSON: I‘m not bragging. I‘m not bragging. I could easily do that.
GEIST: No, you could not.
CARLSON: Yes, I could. Yes, I could. I eat the cheeseburger almost every single day. I mean, a cheeseburger, maybe not that big.
GEIST: A cheeseburger. Maybe a Quarter Pounder.
CARLSON: I‘ve been training all my life. Look at that.
GEIST: You can‘t eat that.
CARLSON: I could eat that. Five hours.
GEIST: Twenty-four hours.
CARLSON: Willie, I can do it. Trust me.
GEIST: All right. We‘ll give you a shot at it.
CARLSON: Thank you.
It‘s often said in death the bodies return to the earth whence it came. Well, occasionally, the bodies return to the prison, whence it spent a good part of its life.
Bruce Straight (ph) died six years ago, but his ashes were recently abandoned by his family. That‘s when the Hancock County, Ohio, sheriff stepped in and brought Straight‘s (ph) remains home to the local jail.
Straight (ph) apparently was a favorite prisoner there during his stints for DUI, and the sheriff thought Straight (ph) would be at peace back in the slammer.
GEIST: I think we found the root of the prison overcrowding problem, if we‘re putting ashes and bodies into prison cells. This is actually—you know what? This is the ultimate deferred sentence. Like when he was getting sentenced. “I don‘t have enough time to fulfill my duty right now, but when I‘m dead, lock me up for as long as you like.” Really good legal strategy.
CARLSON: I don‘t know why I find this story so sweet. His family abandons his ashes, which is the worst thing I‘ve ever heard.
CARLSON: And then the jail takes them.
GEIST: But apparently, it‘s one of his cousins come to claim the ashes after he heard about this.
CARLSON: I hope so. That‘s a shame.
GEIST: All right, Tucker. We‘ll see you Monday.
CARLSON: Have a great weekend. Good luck to your teams.
CARLSON: That‘s it for us tonight. We appreciate your watching.
We‘ll be back on Monday. Meantime, Keith Olbermann is next. See you then.
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