Guests: Eugene Brown, Lisa Bloom, Yale Galanter, Michael McDermott, Fred Phelps, John Gleason, Katie Youmans, Dana White, Mike Swick, Michael Kopko, Kenneth Hoagland
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, GUEST HOST: Stay where you are everyone. We‘ve got a big show tonight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
In a moment, I‘m going to talk with a pastor. This guy is leading protests at military funerals. But, listen, it‘s got nothing to do with being against the war.
Also we‘ll take you live inside the world of the ultimate fighting championships. You‘ve never seen anything like this before.
And meet the principal who is so fed up with his school‘s out-of-control prom, that he canceled it.
But first, new twists and turns in that Duke lacrosse rape investigation. Today, the Durham D.A. made it clear that members of Duke‘s lacrosse team are still under investigation for an alleged gang rape, even though the DNA tests have not linked any of them to the crime. The case has shaken two college campuses. It‘s divided a city. And today an angry community gave the Durham D.A. an earful at the alleged victim‘s school.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE NIFONG, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA: My presence here means that this case is not going away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My understanding from this family, this young lady has identified the three men who have raped her. They should be in jail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those lacrosse players met the profile. Why weren‘t they arrested?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did the accused rapists get a chance to chill out at the Duke University the moment that the accused—they were accused, there should have been an arrest. And I want to know why were they not arrested?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have minimalized my sister to a stripper and an exotic dancer. You don‘t identify her as a mother. You don‘t identify her as a student. You don‘t identify her as a woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Do these players stand a chance in the court of public opinion? Let‘s bring in Durham councilman Eugene Brown.
Mr. Brown, welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
EUGENE BROWN, COUNCILMAN, DURHAM: Thanks. It‘s...
SMERCONISH: Sir, I‘ve got a quote in front of me attributed to you published in “The Raleigh News and Observer.” “It‘s this preppy arrogance that they will never be held accountable for what they‘ve done, that their daddies will get them out of it.” Were those your words?
BROWN: Oh, yes, absolutely. And I think there‘s a great deal of truth to that. I‘ve lived, along with my family, for 25 years in Trinity Park. And so this is what some of us have been putting up with. All the...
SMERCONISH: Well, the preppy arrogance to which you refer, how many of these 45 or so lacrosse players do you know personally?
BROWN: Well, I‘m talking about the response from the—from our neighborhood and from my neighbors who have had to put up with this.
SMERCONISH: Well, I take it the answer is, you don‘t know any of them?
BROWN: No, I don‘t know any of them. But I mean, I think I can make that statement based upon living there and enduring what we‘ve had to over the years.
SMERCONISH: Well, would you make a similarly disparaging comment about the alleged victim in this case? I mean, you don‘t know her either, presumably.
BROWN: I‘m not making a connection between the alleged rapist and the behavior of the lacrosse players.
SMERCONISH: But I‘m concerned that these fellas...
BROWN: I‘m simply saying...
SMERCONISH: ... can never get a fair break if you as a member of city council are typical of the community—and I imagine that you are given that you are an elected official. It sounds to me like you‘ve already judged the case. You‘re holding them accountable, because they‘re a bunch of prepsters. But there‘s no DNA, there‘s no evidence to connect them.
BROWN: I‘m absolutely not passing judgment. That‘s not my role as an elected official. I was speaking too as a neighbor in that neighborhood with a constant battle that‘s been going on for a long time. I‘ve also tried to point out that Duke had made very positive steps, ironically, just in the last two months, in the fact that they purchased 13 houses for $2.7 million. And these were primarily student houses. And they were trying to eliminate part of what‘s been going on here.
SMERCONISH: It seems from afar, sir, as if the lives of these men have already been ruined. Their season‘s been canceled. They‘ve been painted now with that broad brush forever. They‘re going to be known as members of that infamous Duke lacrosse squad. And yet they‘ve been charged with no crime. And frankly, sitting here, it doesn‘t look like any charges will be brought.
BROWN: Well, time will tell, and hopefully justice will be served. But let me suggest to you that the president of the NCAA, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, also came out after President Brodhead—whom I support in his actions—said that there were three things that went on in that house. Number one, there was underage drinking that started perhaps around noon for at least—for 10 or 12 hours. Secondly, the team captains called and got an escort service. And thirdly, there were racial insults that were used.
SMERCONISH: Well, I think the racial insults—
BROWN: Regardless—Excuse me, regardless, regardless of...
SMERCONISH: ... are indefensible. But let me just say to you if you‘re going to start locking folks up—you know, guys for drinking beer and hiring strippers, there are going to be a lot of us you‘ll have to put cuffs on. Thank you councilman, Eugene Brown...
BROWN: Are you going to let me finish?
SMERCONISH: We appreciate you being here. Go ahead and finish.
BROWN: Are you going to let me finish Michael, my comment please?
SMERCONISH: Go ahead, sir. Yes.
BROWN: Yes. The president of the NCAA said what the president of Duke did was correct. And I support his actions.
SMERCONISH: We appreciate you being here.
BROWN: I think the rape issue is a different issue.
SMERCONISH: All right. Thank you, sir.
BROWN: Thank you, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Joining us now, Lisa Bloom from “COURT TV” and criminal defense attorney Yale Galanter.
Lisa, I know from our prior conversations, you and I are going to butt heads on this one.
LISA BLOOM, ANCHOR, COURT TV NEWS: Oh, yes.
SMERCONISH: In my view, these athletes are easy targets. And oftentimes claims get made against them. They fall by the wayside, months thereafter, but after their lives are ruined.
BLOOM: Michael, you don‘t see the arrogance in someone who would send an email out to a group of people talking about the sexual thrill he would get killing and skinning a stripper? You don‘t see any arrogance in a team that one-third of them has arrests for disorderly conduct...
SMERCONISH: I think, I think, Lisa...
BLOOM: ... public urination or breaking the law by drinking.
SMERCONISH: Lisa, I think they call it drailing. Lisa, they call it drailing.
BLOOM: When you have a beer, it‘s different than a teenager having a beer.
SMERCONISH: It‘s—timeout. It‘s drailing. It‘s called drunken e-mailing. The guy said something goofy. It doesn‘t make him a rapist. Everybody wants to lynch this entire squad so far.
BLOOM: You think that‘s goofy? You find that goofy? You think discussion of murdering a woman and getting a sexual thrill out of that is simply goofy?
SMERCONISH: Should we lock him up?
BLOOM: You think an 18-year-old who‘s breaking the law by drinking beer is the same as you having a beer, Michael?
SMERCONISH: What evidence is there of rape if all the DNA has come back negative?
BLOOM: There is the woman‘s story. There is the corroboration by her friend. There are the injuries to her genitals, which a forensic nurse says that she saw. You know, we‘ve had rape prosecutions for hundreds of years without DNA evidence. Nobody‘s being charged yet, and I think that‘s wise...
SMERCONISH: But Lisa, you would...
BLOOM: Let the prosecutor investigate and find the evidence before any of us jumps to a conclusion.
SMERCONISH: Lisa, you would have to believe in this case. I mean, this would have to be a conspiracy of O.J.-like proportions. You would have to believe that these 45 individuals—they hold more dearly their lacrosse association than some kind of a moral code—that they‘d be willing to cover for one another in a rape context just to protect what, their Duke sweaters? I mean, come on.
BLOOM: You don‘t think members of a team would protect each other? I mean, it happens every day.
SMERCONISH: With a rape?
BLOOM: It‘s happening in Milwaukee, Wisconsin right now among police officers protecting their own in a brutal case that we‘re covering on “COURT TV.” Wake up, Michael. It happens every day. Now, we‘re not saying 46 people committed a rape. Perhaps, and we don‘t know, perhaps three did.
SMERCONISH: No, but you‘re saying they‘re all covering for one another.
BLOOM: No, they may not all have any information about what happened. It happened supposedly in a bathroom. They may not all be aware of what happened.
SMERCONISH: Let me bring in Yale Galanter. Yale, this D.A. seems to have dug in his heels, even though the evidence thus far has come in unsupportive of the prosecution‘s case. Why?
YALE GALANTER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, quite frankly I don‘t think he‘s very savvy. And I think he‘s probably one of the most unethical prosecutors that the media has ever covered. This guy gets on television a week and a half ago. And he gives a personal opinion about how he believes that a rape occurred, how he believes DNA will, you know, inculpate the people. And what he ends up with a week and a half later is absolutely nothing. There is no forensic evidence. There‘s no DNA evidence. We now know things about the woman‘s prior criminal history that calls her character into question. And look at all that has happened to that community.
SMERCONISH: Well, the coach. I mean, the coach is gone...
GALANTER: The team‘s season has been canceled...
SMERCONISH: The season‘s been canceled.
GALANTER: The coach had to resign. Players have been suspended. There‘s heightened racial tension in that community. Because why? Because a prosecutor opened his mouth before an investigation was finished, before DNA evidence was had, before the scientific experts got to look at this.
SMERCONISH: Hey, Lisa. Let me go back to Lisa Bloom for just a moment.
I mean Yale brings up the point—and it was an NBC station, WNCN, which broke the story that this woman had apparently given a lap dance to a taxi driver, then stole his cab, and then tried to run over someone in law enforcement. That story hasn‘t gotten major play across the country. Instead, everyone is running to convict these 45, 46-year-old (sic) white lacrosse players.
I mean, you know if the roles were reversed, that story would be everywhere. I had to work Google hard to find that, Lisa.
BLOOM: Well, I‘ve heard that story a number of places. Let me say this. A woman doesn‘t have to have a perfect history to make an accusation of rape. Most of us have a past. And guess what? The law still protects us from violent crime. One-third of the members of that lacrosse team have convictions for disorderly conduct or other violations of the law...
SMERCONISH: But that‘s my point. Those stories...
BLOOM: So there‘s dirt on both sides of this case.
SMERCONISH: Wait a minute. Those stories of 15 guys drinking underage, public urination—they‘ve been everywhere. But the story of her trying to run down a cop after stealing a taxi, that hasn‘t been anywhere.
BLOOM: Well, that‘s not true. I mean, we‘ve been reporting that on “COURT TV.” We‘ve been talking about it. But guess what? A victim‘s history is different than the history of the criminals on the lacrosse team in this case. And it‘s all going to come down, I think, to the forensic evidence in this case.
You‘re right. Look, a lack of DNA—that‘s a problem for the prosecution. But it depends on what her story is. Is her story that bodily fluids were exchanged—to put it euphemistically, for the purposes of TV. Or is her story that she was raped without any semen, without any saliva, without any blood being exchanged? We really don‘t know. But if that is her story, there still can be a rape without DNA.
SMERCONISH: But Yale Galanter, Yale...
BLOOM: I think we should all sit tight and see what the investigation reveals.
SMERCONISH: Yale, doesn‘t common sense dictate that, if they were taking a DNA test from 45 guys, that her story to the police had to have been—and I hate to be graphic on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, but that there was some kind of an exchange of bodily fluids? Because if there were not, presumably they wouldn‘t have done that. Or am I wrong?
GALANTER: Well, it‘s not necessarily the bodily fluids, but it‘s the whole, you know, scientific body of evidence called serology—pubic hair, saliva, skin, her fingernails allegedly fell off during the struggle. They examined the fingernails for the players‘ DNA. And there‘s nothing. If she was in a struggle, there would have been some transfer of skin, blood, pubic hair, some type of bodily fluid, and not necessarily semen. I don‘t mean to get graphic on the show either. But what she‘s alleging is that three men forcibly violated her...
BLOOM: That‘s true.
GALANTER: ...and there wasn‘t any DNA. There wasn‘t any serology.
There wasn‘t any body fluid that ended up on her body or in that house?
Not a shot in a million, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Listen, I know that Lisa believes that these athletes are coddled. In my view, college athletes are—to the contrary, they‘re easy targets. And here‘s a case in point. Two La Salle University basketball players were charged in this highly publicized rape case in my hometown, in Philadelphia, only to later be acquitted. Let me bring in defense attorney Michael McDermott who represented one of those fellows.
Hey, Michael, in a nutshell, that case came down to what?
MICHAEL MCDERMOTT, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That case came down to consent as to whether the sex between the two athletes and the victim was consensual or not.
SMERCONISH: And what happened was she was inebriated. She never voiced or through physical actions said no. True?
SMERCONISH: Those two fellows were dragged through the mud for a period of months. Her identity was kept out of the media. And then, in the end, they were exonerated. I mean, from afar, do you see going on in the Duke case what you experienced in the La Salle case?
MCDERMOTT: To be honest with you, I think that the prosecutor in the Duke case has come forward much too quickly, not having all the facts or the evidence, and making allegations that he cannot support. And within a week‘s time, he‘s not been able to support them.
SMERCONISH: Lisa, would you respond to that, because it is a mindset out here among many of us that the election calendar weighs heavily with this D.A.
BLOOM: Well, I don‘t think a prosecutor should be vouching for the victim. And I think he has done that here. And that‘s a mistake on his part. But I think it is appropriate for him to say I‘m going to do an investigation. I care about this victim. A prosecutor is a member of that community. He‘s supposed to be standing up for crime victims. So he should go forward and continue to investigate this case. That‘s all he‘s doing.
SMERCONISH: I agree. And by the way, if there was a rape here, Lisa, you in particular, you know me. I want those fellows to fry for it. But in...
BLOOM: Good. Glad to hear that.
SMERCONISH: No, but in similar fashion, if she made up this allegation, she needs to be prosecuted. You agree with me, right Lisa?
BLOOM: Well, I don‘t know. It depends. We have to get more facts on that.
SMERCONISH: Come on. Drag these guys through the mud.
BLOOM: No, I mean, it‘s not—you know what?
SMERCONISH: She filed a false police report?
BLOOM: No, it‘s not necessarily a crime to falsely report something.
It‘s certainly not a good thing to do...
SMERCONISH: To be...
BLOOM: ... but I wouldn‘t say she should be prosecuted.
SMERCONISH: To be continued.
BLOOM: It‘s not perjury.
SMERCONISH: To be continued. Thank you Lisa Bloom, Yale Galanter.
BLOOM: Thanks, Michael.
SMERCONISH: And Michael McDermott.
GALANTER: Thanks, Michael.
SMERCONISH: I appreciate it very much.
Coming up next, the battle over protesting military funerals. Should scenes like this be allowed? We‘re going to debate it with the pastor who organizes these protests.
And still to come, I love this—“The Ultimate Fighting Championship” coming to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Go inside one of the hottest and most brutal sports around. We‘ve got a demonstration coming up. Stay with us.
SMERCONISH: It‘s supposed to be a final farewell for America‘s bravest. But military funerals are becoming the latest battle ground for the First Amendment, believe it or not. Protesters, unhappy about the military‘s “don‘t ask, don‘t tell” policy have been protesting at military funerals. Now lawmakers want to stop scenes like this. Congress is looking at legislation banning protests at national cemeteries. And 27 states are looking at some kind of legislation to keep protesters away from funerals.
Joining me now, the organizer of the protests. He‘s Pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
FRED PHELPS, PASTOR, WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: I want to show you, Pastor, and show the country some of the signs that have popped up at funerals where you protested. “Thank God for 9/11.” “Thank God for I.E.D.‘s,” improvised explosive devices. “Thank God for maimed soldiers.” “Thank God for dead soldiers.” Consider yourself a good American?
PHELPS: Yes. And that‘s good Bible preaching. And I‘m a Bible preacher. This nation is under the wrath of God almighty, and this nation needs to be told that.
SMERCONISH: And you think that part of...
PHELPS: That‘s the message and that‘s the only important—
SMERCONISH: You think a part of being a good American is to have signs like those that we‘ve just shown?
PHELPS: I‘m telling you that that‘s the only righteous message for this evil nation that has gone the way of the Brokeback Mountain. God‘s wrath is upon this nation. And he‘s pouring out that wrath by killing these soldiers and maiming these soldiers in Iraq and sending them back in body bags. And it‘s only going to get worse.
SMERCONISH: Pastor Phelps...
PHELPS: The metaphoric language of the Scriptures is that smoke is coming out of the nostrils of God...
SMERCONISH: Pastor Phelps...
PHLEPS: ... and fire is coming out of his mouth.
SMERCONISH: I think it‘s already...
PHELPS: And that means that God is cursing this nation.
SMERCONISH: I hear you. Listen...
PHELPS: ... And this nation must be told that. And anybody that has just a little teeny-weeny knowledge of the Bible knows that that‘s the truth.
SMERCONISH: Listen, I...
PHELPS: And this nation is only be going from bad to worse under the wrath of God almighty.
SMERCONISH: I think that folks already recognize exactly...
PHELPS: Now all these efforts to stop us you understand...
SMERCONISH: Now, hold on. Just hold on for a second and let me get a word in.
PHELPS: ... are a clear violation of the First Amendment.
SMERCONISH: Pastor Phelps, I think folks already know...
PHELPS: I said all these efforts to stop us are a blatant...
SMERCONISH: ... exactly what—You‘re just going to have to let me talk, sir.
PHELPS: ... a blatant violation of the First Amendment.
SMERCONISH: I think people already know what I‘m dealing with here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY with Pastor Phelps. But just in case, I want to show everybody what the Web site of this fellow says about September 11. You‘re not going to believe this.
“Thank God for September 11th. Thank God for those planes. God ordained and decreed these acts. He determined in eternity to hurl those airplanes, like fiery darts out of the sky. He used the evil followers of Osama bin Laden to punish even more evil people.”
You can defend that, sir. You‘re going to put us on the same plane as Osama bin Laden...
PHELPS: Defend it?
SMERCONISH: ... and it‘s all about gays in America?
PHELPS: Defend it? I‘m proud of it. And that‘s the only thing that can be classified as gospel preaching. And the trouble with the nation right now is there‘s a national movement to blot out the First Amendment—a national movement to criminalize gospel preaching...
SMERCONISH: Your argument is that September...
PHELPS: ... And that‘s what you ought to be worried about, and not the gospel preaching itself.
SMERCONISH: Your argument is that September 11 occurred, so that God...
SMERCONISH: ... could seek retribution against the United States, because we‘ve become supportive of gay rights?
SMERCONISH: If an individual should...
PHELPS: And it‘s those—and it‘s not far...
SMERCONISH: If an—Wait a minute. I‘ve got a question for you. If an individual should die in urban American tonight...
PHELPS: No, all you want to do is all this talking. Now you‘re going to have to shut up and let me do a little bit of the talking.
SMERCONISH: You‘re not sounding like a man of God.
PHELPS: Of course it‘s the wrath of God that‘s poured out on this evil nation.
SMERCONISH: Is every murder...
PHELPS: And more is coming.
SMERCONISH: ... that‘s committed in the United States today a result of the same policy?
PHELPS: It is a very serious crime against God almighty for this nation to say that it‘s OK to be gay. And that‘s the straits that we‘re falling upon, as it was in the dates of Lot...
SMERCONISH: Ooh, I‘m having a Rod Serling moment here, sir.
PHELPS: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built...
SMERCONISH: Joining me now—All right, enough of you.
PHELPS: ... but the same day Lot went out of Sodom...
SMERCONICH: Hey, zip it.
PHELPS: ... it rained fire and brimstone from ...
SMERCONISH: Cut his microphone. I‘ve heard enough of this guy with the fiery eyes. Enough of him.
Now, joining me on the phone from Michigan—someone far more sane—a state representative by the name of John Gleason. He‘s sponsoring some legislation that would put a stop to these protests. I think it‘s grotesque. And Katie Youmans, her husband‘s funeral was actually victimized by one of these protests.
Mrs. Youmans, let me start with you. And I apologize for our technical issue. I wish we could show you on camera. Ma‘am, would you tell us a little bit about the loss of your husband, and what happened at his funeral? He gave his life for his country, true?
KATIE YOUMANS: Yes, he did. We were at the funeral. We were told earlier in the week that we would have protesters at the funeral. Basically what happened—the community came out, the patriot guard, and showed their support and shielded us from the protesters.
SMERCONISH: How close did they get?
YOUMANS: Within 50 feet probably.
SMERCONISH: You know, ma‘am, I don‘t believe in anything that those people claim to stand for or represent. But I‘m obligated to play devil‘s advocate—truly devil‘s advocate—and at least offer you this question. Some would say that your husband gave his life, so that they would have a First Amendment right in a circumstance like this. To that argument, what would be your response?
YOUMANS: There‘s a time and place for everything. There is a right to protest and everything else, but a funeral is not a time to do it. A funeral is a time to mourn, pay respect and to celebrate the life of this American hero.
SMERCONISH: Well, I think I can properly say God bless you, and God bless the memory of your deceased husband. State representative John Gleason. What can we do about this, sir? What can we do about it that‘s not going to get overturned by the courts?
JOHN GLEASON, STATE REPRESENTATIVE, MICHIGAN: Well, we‘ve had a great history in America of offering opportunities for change. We‘re offering one here in Michigan. We are demanding that these sick individuals stay at least 500 feet away from the funeral setting. I have...
SMERCONISH: Is it a nationwide movement that that knucklehead has launched? Is it going on all over the place?
GLEASON: It seems to be. I think it‘s really reviling. Number one, I think, as Ms. Youmans had stated, these young men and women have paid the ultimate sacrifice to make sure that our country is given the opportunity for personal and community voices, such as protests. However this is completely irresponsible, way out of line. This is the most opportune time now, I think, to step forward because of the movement across the United States. Michigan is not alone in their effort to try to restrict these protesters.
SMERCONISH: May I ask you this, State Representative Gleason? Where does the ACLU stand in all of this?
GLEASON: Right now they are neutral in the Michigan Legislation. Obviously it has many steps and hurdles to go through for the legislative process before it sits on Jennifer Granholm, our governor‘s, desk. But we feel that we have got the support, not only of the Michiganians, but across this great country—people are paying attention closer. We have to remember at one time the Supreme Court authorized and allowed slavery. They authorized and allowed women not to have the vote. They authorized and allowed to have separate but equal facilities across our country.
SMERCONISH: Hopefully they‘ll support what you‘re doing now. Katie Youmans, you get the final word. What is it that you want folks around the country to know about this controversy?
YOUMANS: I just want them to know that behind these soldiers there were sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives. And we need to show our support and give them the respect they deserve as serving as American heroes.
SMERCONISH: It‘s a privilege for SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to host you, Katie Youmans. And thank you State Representative John Gleason. We applaud your good work in this regard as well. Thank you both very, very much for being here.
GLEASON: God bless America.
YOUMANS: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Still to come, “The Ultimate Fighter.” It‘s the hottest new reality show that‘s coming to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. We‘re going to talk to one of the fighters and the president and get a demonstration right after the break.
And wait until you hear how far one couple went for a few days off from work. That‘s all coming up in fly-over country. So stay with us.
SMERCONISH: It‘s the hottest reality show on T.V. Get ready to be knocked out by the stars of “The Ultimate Fighting Championship.” That‘s live.
But first, here‘s the latest news from MSNBC world headquarters.
SMERCONISH: Lavish dresses, limos, hotels, proms, they‘re getting out of control. Now one principal is so fed up, he canceled the whole shebang. Will his bold move spread to other schools?
And you want to hug it out? Well, not in one school. Why one girl was forced to apologize, yes, for a hug.
Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I‘m Michael Smerconish, in for the big guy tonight.
Those stories in just a couple of minutes, but, first, it‘s the newest sensation in reality TV. And it‘s crushing the competition. Spike TV‘s new show, it‘s called “The Ultimate Fighter.” It pits 16 mixed martial artists against each other, all vying for the title of the ultimate fighter.
Thursday‘s season premier on Spike TV, it drew record ratings. It was the highest-rated original series premiere in Spike TV history.
Here to take us inside the world of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Dana White. He‘s the president of Ultimate Fighting Championship. And UFC seen middleweight Mike Swick.
Gentlemen, welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
DANA WHITE, PRESIDENT, ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP: Thanks for having us.
SMERCONISH: Dana, let me start with you. What can you not do in the octagon? Because it seems like, man, it‘s truly no holds barred.
WHITE: It is not. It used to be no holds barred. There‘s a lot of rules now. It‘s sanctioned by all the top athletic commissions in this country. You know, we basically follow the same rules and regulations as professional boxing.
SMERCONISH: Bert Sugar, you know, that old boxing curmudgeon, he said it‘s like a bar fight without beer bottles.
WHITE: Well, we‘re hitting the 18-to-34 demo. We are not worried about Bert Sugar.
SMERCONISH: And anybody...
SMERCONISH: Anybody ever...
WHITE: I think Bert Sugar is 90.
SMERCONISH: Anybody ever die in—in the octagon?
WHITE: In the 12-year history of the company, there has never been a death or serious injury in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
SMERCONISH: Mike Swick, what—what is the deal, man? You get in that octagon, and you just beat the bejesus out of one another.
MIKE SWICK, MIDDLEWEIGHT FIGHTER, ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP:
Well, I mean, it‘s a sport, so it‘s a competition. And you go in there to
to win. And, you know, you want to do it by knockout or by submission.
SMERCONISH: And how do you refer to yourself? You are what, a mixed martial artist?
SWICK: Yes, ultimate fighter.
SMERCONISH: I remember in one the “Rocky” movies, where Rocky is the boxer, and they had Hulk Hogan as the wrestler. And, you know, that age-old question, like, who wins, a boxer or a wrestler? Is that what you are trying to solve, you know, to finally figure out what form of combat is victorious?
SWICK: Right. You‘re trying to be the ultimate fighter, you know, and—and that covers all genres of fighting. And, so, you know, the guys in the UFC, the top—the—the champions are the best in the world at fighting.
WHITE: But, originally, that is how the concept was started.
The—the original concept for the UFC is, you know, let‘s answer that age-old question of which fighting style is the best. And the answer is, none of them are. You need a little piece of everything to be a complete fighter. And that‘s—really, how the UFC was created.
SMERCONISH: And—and how does someone win, Mike Swick? I mean, you
you win when, what, they can‘t get off the—the canvas for anymore?
SWICK: You win by tap-out. The guy can tap out at any time if he‘s in danger.
SMERCONISH: All right. Tap out means...
SMERCONISH: ... surrender.
SWICK: He can surrender if he‘s in a joint lock.
SMERCONISH: Sort of the French solution?
SWICK: Right. Yes.
SWICK: So, he can do that at any time, which you—you don‘t do in boxing.
So, in ultimate fighting, you can quit at any time, the knockout or the ref stoppage. So, the ref can stop the fight any time that he sees that, you know, the person is not legitimately defending himself.
SMERCONISH: Now, I—I have been reading up about you. You have got a great record. And you‘re known for, you know, like under-one-minute victories.
What‘s your secret? What—what are you doing to win these battles?
SWICK: I train hard. And, you know, I see these—these fights that go the distance. And I want to get in there and get it over with as quick as possible, so I put a lot of aggression and a lot of explosiveness right when the....
SMERCONISH: But you‘re not, like, you know, Stan “The Man” Stasiak with one heart punch or something like that from the old WWF?
WHITE: These guys are athletes. They—they—they train. And he‘s a great athlete. So...
SMERCONISH: What you‘re telling me, Dana, is you‘re no Vince McMahon?
SMERCONISH: All right.
SMERCONISH: Let‘s take a—let‘s take a look at a clip from the—this season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER”)
KEN SHAMROCK, ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP COACH: Right now is the time for me to make sure that I‘m making these guys do everything they need to do, and that I‘m understanding every person. I‘m just getting to know them. And I need to know them. And I need to know what their capabilities are.
Come on (INAUDIBLE) work for your submissions.
You‘re a coach. You have got to watch what‘s going on around you. And I‘m in there rolling with these guys, I‘m not understanding what else is going on around me. I believe that you need to stand back and watch the whole picture, instead of being in the picture.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Dana, why so popular? Why—why is this show setting the world on fire?
WHITE: What this show really was created for, it gives us an opportunity to bring in these young, talented guys, who should already be in the UFC, but we didn‘t have enough slots for them, and they get trained by the best coaches in the world, and we end up, at the end of the show, with—with two stars, who will move on to pay-per-view or on—to fight on our Spike show.
SMERCONISH: Mike Swick, what—what‘s the worst thing that‘s happened to you, in terms of physical injury in “Ultimate Fighting Champions”?
SWICK: I really haven‘t had any—any serious things, just tweaks and bruises and stuff that heals up. I mean, I haven‘t had any...
SMERCONISH: What have you done to the other guy?
SWICK: Well, I mean, I—I have won by knockout a few times. And I don‘t—I don‘t think any of my opponents have had any serious injuries or nothing like that.
SMERCONISH: What—what are you actually wearing? I mean, I‘m looking—I‘m looking at the graphic here. What—what‘s on your hands?
SWICK: We wear four-ounce gloves, which protect our knuckles from getting busted up and the face from getting cut as well.
SMERCONISH: So, you can punch, you can kick. Can you head-butt?
SWICK: No. No head-butts.
SMERCONISH: Can you—can you bite?
SWICK: No, of course not.
WHITE: You can punch, kick, knee, elbow, slam to the ground. You can use submissions. Basically...
SMERCONISH: What can‘t you do?
WHITE: Basically, what it is, is, you take all—all the combat sports that are legal, that are already happening, kickboxing, muay thai, wrestling, jujitsu, which is a form of judo, and boxing. You combine them into one. And—and that‘s what these guys can and can‘t do.
SMERCONISH: All right.
Is there like some move that you‘re known for that you can demonstrate on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY?
SWICK: Sure. I mean, I—I can show you...
SMERCONISH: All right. Don‘t make me kick your butt.
SWICK: I will show you a...
SMERCONISH: What do you want me to do?
SWICK: ... a rear naked choke. So, I‘m going to behind you.
WHITE: Well, actually, he would like to put Reverend Phelps in one of the moves, yes.
SMERCONISH: Yes, would you do that? Can we go back to that guy who protests at the military funerals?
SWICK: Bring him in. Bring him in.
SMERCONISH: Go ahead.
SWICK: So, I‘m going to put you in a rear naked choke. So, when you feel the—the pressure getting tight...
SMERCONISH: In a rear naked choke?
SMERCONISH: Do I keep my clothes on for this?
SWICK: Yes. You keep them on for this.
SMERCONISH: All right. Go ahead.
SWICK: And, then, when you feel the pressure getting tight, then tap.
So, you just...
SMERCONISH: I hope MSNBC has got that liability policy.
SWICK: I‘m going to come right here.
SWICK: Tap when you feel it.
SWICK: So, you feel the pressure getting tighter and then eventually it would—it would suck the air...
SMERCONISH: Now, what—you would—you would—I mean, you would knock—you would put a guy down with that, right?
SWICK: Yes. Right. If you tap out...
SMERCONISH: If he doesn‘t tap out, he‘s...
WHITE: Or he will go to sleep.
SMERCONISH: But he‘s going to have oxygen.
WHITE: He will go to sleep.
SWICK: He will tap out or go to sleep.
SMERCONISH: So, it‘s a sleeper move.
SMERCONISH: All right.
SMERCONISH: What do you call that thing?
SWICK: A rear naked choke.
SMERCONISH: A rear naked choke.
It‘s illegal in 37 countries.
SMERCONISH: Hey, thank you to Dana White and to—to Mike Swick. I appreciate it very much.
Tucker Carlson is coming up in just a—a moment.
SWICK: It‘s great being here.
SMERCONISH: Hey, Tucker, you want—you want him to put a couple of...
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON”: No, not at all.
SMERCONISH: You want these guys to put a couple of moves...
CARLSON: I‘m impressed, though.
SMERCONISH: Here‘s—here‘s Tucker Carlson over here. Maybe you want to, you know, put a move on him. I‘m not sure.
CARLSON: Be merciful.
CARLSON: I‘m impressed, though guys.
SMERCONISH: Come on up.
CARLSON: ... we have, believe it or not, the greatest—and I can stay this without reservation—the greatest dwarf tribute band in America, Tiny Kiss. They are going to be live on “THE SITUATION” tonight.
CARLSON: We are also going to be discussing a new proposal out in California that would force teachers to teach gay history in class in a positive way, propaganda—no matter how you feel about the gay question, propaganda. We will debate it with one of its supporters.
SMERCONISH: Quite a—quite a politically incorrect night.
CARLSON: It‘s going to be good. No tossing, though just music.
SMERCONISH: Nothing wrong with that.
Be sure to tune in to “THE SITUATION.” It comes up next at 11:00.
And next on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, it‘s a teenage rite of passage, but one principal says the prom is out of control, so he has canceled the whole shebang.
SMERCONISH: Welcome back. I‘m Michael Smerconish.
You may have seen me last week right here with Joe, when he interviewed me about my recently released book called “Muzzled.” In “Muzzled,” I tell two dozen stories, true stories that I say should be fiction. And I argue that political correctness is like a cancer that has now metastasized in to the war on terror.
Well, tonight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, I want to share another of the stories from my book “Muzzled.” And this one comes from the big H. We are talking Harvard. You‘re not going to believe this.
Michael Kopko is a Harvard undergraduate. He‘s also an entrepreneur.
Love the shirt, by the way.
MICHAEL KOPKO, CEO, DORMAID: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: At Harvard University, everybody, like where I went to school and everybody else went to school, with dirty dormitory rooms, you wanted to start a room cleaning business, and you wanted to call it what?
KOPKO: Well, initially, the idea was, it was going to be DorMaid, because we were going to be doing room cleaning for kids that just don‘t get around to keeping their room clean. And they‘re—they‘re pretty filthy rooms in general for college students.
SMERCONISH: So, contrary—and it‘s spelled the same that you have ultimately spelled it, but with an emphasis on the capital M., instead of a capital A.
KOPKO: Right. That‘s how it first started out. That didn‘t work out too well for us.
SMERCONISH: Why not?
KOPKO: In general, the term maid was considered condescending to...
SMERCONISH: To who?
KOPKO: ... that—that form of work.
I don‘t know exactly who found it offending. But they thought, politically, it would be better to use it. It has been a blessing in disguise for us, because we‘re doing all kinds of college services now, laundry services, you know, grocery delivery. So, it has helped us think a little larger.
SMERCONISH: But you‘re—you are telling that you—you go to Harvard and you say, hey, we have got this idea; it‘s a room cleaning business. And—and you were going to employ who to keep these rooms?
KOPKO: We were going to hire professionals in the local area. A lot of them tend to have troubles getting jobs. You know, we are at 5 percent unemployment in the country. And it‘s tough to get jobs all the time. We were going to be employing them.
And it was—the goal was to kind of increase jobs in the local area by helping students out.
SMERCONISH: And—and Harvard, they say to you, maids are sexist and demeaning. So, instead of calling it DorMaid, call it DormAid, A-I-D?
KOPKO: Yes. I mean, our country is about getting to business, so we didn‘t want to argue with them. If that‘s the name, you know, we will run with it.
KOPKO: We will take some free press along the way, and we will get into business. That was our objective.
SMERCONISH: But now you‘re like a concierge. So, it‘s cool and it has all worked out?
KOPKO: Exactly. Now we are a concierge service. And we are looking to kind of just serve students across the nation.
SMERCONISH: “The Harvard Crimson,” the newspaper of record on campus, said—this became such a—a hot potato—said—quote—“By creating yet another differential between the haves and the have-nots on campus, DormAid threatens our student unity.”
They advocated a boycott of DormAid? Why?
I mean, the—the boycott didn‘t really make it through. And I think
I think for, you know, Harvard kids, a lot of time is spent writing and kind of thinking in that ivory tower about how they wish the world would be. We‘re about creating jobs. We‘re about serving students. We‘re about gaining practical business experience. And they haven‘t stopped us yet. So, we thank them for the press, and we thank them for the customers.
SMERCONISH: You know, I was out promoting the book. And, among other things, I did Colbert‘s show.
And he says, give me an example of political correctness killing America.
And I told him yours. And he—you know, he had some deadpan funny reaction to it.
SMERCONISH: But I told your story, because I think it‘s typical of the insanity going on across the country.
You‘re a hardworking guy, an undergraduate. You want to be an entrepreneur. And—and Harvard is now telling you, maids are sexist and demeaning, so, please, men, would you stay away from—from that word?
KOPKO: I mean, the reality is, it‘s tough enough for the small businessmen. And I would appreciate it if you kind of—people make it a little easier, because it‘s a real uphill battle for the small guy to make a business. The corporate brands have it made.
And we‘re trying to start it from the beginning. And that kind of stuff doesn‘t help in general, but we have been supported by the press and everyone else.
SMERCONISH: Give everyone the good news. You have branched out where?
KOPKO: We are at 15 campuses. We are serving, you know, major campuses like NYU, Boston University, Babson College, Princeton University, Pennsylvania. And we‘re coming to a lot more next year and a lot more after that.
And it‘s been a—a blessing in disguise. And we thank Harvard and all the political mumbo jumbo, because it has really helped kick us off.
SMERCONISH: Good for you.
Hey, I want one of the shirts, but, on mine, capitalize the M., not the A.
KOPKO: All right.
KOPKO: We will make sure we do it the right way for you, Mr.
SMERCONISH: Michael Kopko, thank you, pal. Appreciate it. And best of luck to you.
Designer gowns, $20,000 beach house rentals. The prom isn‘t what it used to be, but are TV shows like MTV‘s “Super Sweet 16” to blame? The show features teens throwing parties with price tags well into the six figures.
And the high school high spending is making its way to the time-honored tradition of the senior prom.
Joining me now, Brother Kenneth Hoagland. He is the principal at Kellenberg Memorial High on Long Island. And Kellenberg has canceled its prom, but I think now is about to reach an accommodation.]
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
And tell us, first, why was the prom initially canceled?
BROTHER KENNETH HOAGLAND, PRINCIPAL, KELLENBERG MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL:
The prom culture became really excessive.
The students were really involved in a whole series of activities before, during, after that were really way over the top. The money that was being spent was really not the type of responsibility we‘re trying to teach our students.
SMERCONISH: Brother Kenneth, in—in—in my day, you know, it was
it was renting, I think, an—an awkward brown tux and buying a corsage. You are telling me it has gotten out of hand since then.
Give me an example.
HOAGLAND: It would be typical to spend anywhere between $1,000, $2,000 on preparing for the prom, what you‘re wearing. The limousines have to get bigger and better every—every year. Then, the prom would spill over into a whole weekend, or maybe even a week activity afterwards.
SMERCONISH: So, what‘s the solution? You have decided to do what at your school?
HOAGLAND: We‘re totally canceling the prom. We‘re not having a senior prom, because the prom just has too many things associated with it that we really don‘t want our students involved with.
SMERCONISH: Why not impose a restriction, no tuxedos, maybe the limit the way in which you arrive, say, you know, guys, you show up in a—in a suit or a sport coat and a tie, and impose some kind of a financial restriction? You would be doing everybody a favor.
HOAGLAND: The whole prom culture is so out of control that, even if you try to compromise or accommodate it, it‘s just going to go way beyond.
Most—most of the problems occur actually after the prom. And, so, it‘s just better to get out of the whole prom business.
SMERCONISH: I‘m interested to know what the parental reaction was. And I want to take a look at part of a letter that you sent to parents, explaining why you canceled the prom.
You said—quote—“Each year, the prom gets worse, becoming more exaggerated, more expensive, more emotionally traumatic. It would not have gotten this far if a significant portion of parents, either explicitly or tacitly, did not accept it or tolerate it.”
It sounds like you‘re pointing a finger in their direction. How was that received?
HOAGLAND: Believe it or not, a number of parents would—have contacted us. They agreed with the letter. Some even would admit that they dropped the ball on this, and that they could have controlled the spending. They could have controlled the post-prom activities, but they were under the same pressure that their children were under.
SMERCONISH: Brother Kenneth Hoagland is our guest on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, talking about his decision to cancel the—the prom at the high school where he‘s in charge.
Are you a trailblazer? Is this going on across the country?
HOAGLAND: Well, we received 5,000 correspondences through e-mail...
HOAGLAND: ... and—and letter mail. And only 19 were negative.
So, we see this as a problem throughout the country. We have received letters even outside the country, Australia, England, Canada, South America. They all see this as a problem, that the prom culture has just gotten out of control.
SMERCONISH: The sad part about this is that the students in your school, they—they lose an important rite of passage. How do you make amends for that?
HOAGLAND: First of all, I—I think we spared them a—a rite of passage that, what do you want to pass into?
SMERCONISH: A big bill.
HOAGLAND: We spared them that.
And they came up with a great solution. They read the letter. They understood our concerns. And they proposed an alternative event that had no dates, no tuxedos, no gowns, no limousines, just a dinner cruise around Manhattan, $130. And it was a great solution. And they came up with the idea. So...
SMERCONISH: So, that‘s the—that‘s the accommodation; that‘s the way it‘s all going to be resolved?
HOAGLAND: That‘s right.
SMERCONISH: It‘s a—a—a prom story with a—a happy ending, no pun intended.
HOAGLAND: Yes. It‘s a—it was a learning moment, and I think they learned the—learned what we were all about. And I think we‘re all better off, students and teachers.
SMERCONISH: All right. Well, it‘s a great story.
And, hopefully, it‘s—it‘s something that will get reined in all across the country, because of what you‘re doing, Brother Kenneth Hoagland. We appreciate you being on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
HOAGLAND: Thanks very much.
SMERCONISH: All right.
SMERCONISH: Up next, a 5-year-old gets in trouble—You ready for this? -- for hugging on the playground. That‘s next in “Flyover” country.
And what in the world is going on here? Find out in “Must See S.C.”
Stay with us.
SMERCONISH: Time now for my favorite part of the show, “Flyover” of
First stop, it‘s Maynard, Massachusetts, where a teacher made a 5-year-old girl apologize—get ready for this—for hugging another student. The two girls hugged on the playground, but the teacher wasn‘t happy. And she made the 5-year-old write a letter apologizing. The school says the hugs were too rough. The girl says she‘s sad because she got in trouble for hugging. The girl‘s parents, they are not happy either. They say their daughter shouldn‘t be punished for showing affection. They want an apology and are planning to send their daughter to a new school.
Next stop, it‘s Augusta, Maine, where a new law will gives pets protection when their owner leaves an abusive relationship. Maine is the first state to allow pets to be included in a restraining order. State officials came up with the idea after noticing a link between domestic violence and animal abuse.
Advocates for women say that abused spouses often stay in the relationship because they don‘t want to leave their pet. Anyone who violates the new law faces fines or jail time.
And, finally, it‘s Waterloo, Iowa. Two people are under arrest there, accused of filing a fake obituary—Are you ready for this? -- so, they could get off from work. James Snyder and Mary Jo Jensen—are these rocket scientists—they wanted a few days off from work. But instead of taking a couple of sick days, they submitted a death notice to the local newspaper for Jensen‘s teenage son.
They got caught after the teen was seen at a local restaurant. The couple put the obituary in the paper after their employer requested proof that they had taken time off to attend his funeral. Jensen says, it‘s all a mistake. He blamed the obituary on bad Chinese food or something.
And one more thing to show you. At this year‘s Kentucky Derby, a $1,000 mint julep is going to be served in a golden cup with a silver straw. This pricey cocktail will be made from only the finest ingredients, including mint from Morocco, ice from the Arctic Circle. Only 50 cocktails will be made. All proceeds, they will go to charity.
We will be right back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
And, don‘t forget, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” is just minutes away. So, stick around.
SMERCONISH: Take SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY on the road wherever you go.
Just go to iTunes and get your free podcast.
We will be right back.
SMERCONISH: Spring may be just around the corner, but not in Norway. And that‘s where we find tonight‘s “Must See S.C.” Video. You have just got to see this.
There‘s no official world record for how many people can slide down a hill on a giant piece of plastic, but that hasn‘t stopped the people of Lillehammer, Norway, from beating their own record. This year, 245 people made the slide.
The idea started when a group of people wanted some cheap entertainment. They got a big piece of plastic, called their friends, and slid down a hill.
That‘s all we have got for tonight.
Hey, I‘m Michael Smerconish, with the privilege of sitting in for Joe Scarborough. I will be back here tomorrow night.
“THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON,” it starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.