Guests: Savannah Guthrie, Cindy Sheehan, Mike Papantonio, Jack Burkman, Geoffrey Fieger, Candice Delong, James Hirsen
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: And right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, breaking news tonight. The Senate kills a flag burning ban. Even though the majority of Americans report it. Is Washington ignoring Middle America or protecting our Constitution? It‘s tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY “Showdown.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are worrying about some freak that burning a flag out in some plaza somewhere.
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SCARBOROUGH: Then, Cindy Sheehan takes on the president, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Congress and Jon Stewart once said “Crossfire” was bad for America. Now a team of scientists are say saying the same thing about Mr. Stewart. We‘ll tell you about it straight ahead. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. No passport required and only common sense allowed.
We‘re going to have all those stories straight ahead but first, the Senate has just finish finished a heated debate over flag burning. An act that some Republicans say is an attack on America‘s troops.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which you disrespect the flag, you are disrespecting our men and women in uniform.
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SCARBOROUGH: But Democrats blasted back, saying the constitutional amendment to ban flag burning was pure politics.
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SEN. DICK DURBIN, (D) IL: We are not setting out to protect Old Glory. We are setting out to protect old politicians. That‘s what this is about.
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SCARBOROUGH: A good line, but whether Republicans are playing partisan politics with the flag issue is open to debate. Few can argue tonight that this constitutional amendment would actually impact many Americans‘ lives.
Last year, there were only four reported cases of flag burning. The year before that grand total, three. In fact, incidents of torch torching Old Glory have plummeted ever since the Supreme Court ruled that it was OK torch Old Glory.
Still, if the White House and congressional Republicans pulled off a political stunt, it was a popular one. A CNN poll released this month shows that is 56 percent of Americans support a flag burning amendment while 40 percent oppose it. And like the marriage amendment that went up in flames last month, this flag burning proposal is an example of George Bush and Karl Rove setting political traps for the Democrat who can now count on being painted as the party of gay marriage and flag burning. Not exactly the best way to win back red state America whether it‘s true or not.
With me now to talk about it, Court TV‘s Washington correspondent Savannah Guthrie, who has been following the ups and downs of this Senate debate from the start. Savannah, this measure failed by only one vote. Tell us about the debate.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, COURT TV CORRESPONDENT: That‘s what you call a squeaker. I think all of us were on the edge of our seats to see how it would turn out today. It was the rare occurrence in the Senate where there was actually some suspense. And a lot of senators took the floor today and there was a lot of swelling rhetoric and even those who oppose this flag burning amendment, wanted to get their flag credentials on the table, saying they wore an American flag. They learned how to protect a flag as a Boy Scout and nevertheless, rhetoric aside, the amendment fails again and this probably was the best hope its supporters had, at least in a long time.
SCARBOROUGH: Who is claiming victory tonight, Savannah? Talking to people out there—Are Democrats going around with their fists up in the air thinking they got the better of the Republicans or do they understand that Republicans are just going to use this as a political issue this fall?
GUTHRIE: If this is a victory, it‘s the quietest victory you have ever seen. You know how it works in Washington. Usually you get the flood of e-mails from both sides after an issue like this. Especially one as close as this vote was. But I haven‘t seen a peep out of Democrats tonight in terms of press release releases and public statements. I think they may be happy to see this issue go away, but nobody is going to be putting this as issue number one on their political platform this fall.
SCARBOROUGH: No doubt about it. Any word from the Republicans, are Republicans pleased that the Democrats may have played right into their trap?
GUTHRIE: The only thing I saw was statement from Senator Frist, who of course championed this and made it possible for this to come to the floor for a vote. And he talked about the momentum that the flag burning amendment that it gathered over these last few years. And it‘s true. There three more votes for it this time than there were last time.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. There sure were. And like you said, a real nail biter on Capitol Hill. I really didn‘t think it was going to get that close. Thanks so much, Savannah Guthrie, Washington correspondent for Court TV. Greatly appreciate that report on, again, this amendment that just went down to defeat by one vote.
Now I want to know what you think. Please go to my Web site, take part on tonight‘s live poll question. Should it be illegal to burn the American flag? You can vote by going to joe.msnbc.com. And we will have the results at the end of the show. And also we are going to have our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY debate straight ahead, but turning from flag burning to the red hot issue of activist mom Cindy Sheehan and whether her antiwar protests have gone too far.
Now last week, Sheehan, whose son was killed two years ago in Iraq, followed President Bush to Vienna, Austria, protesting the U.S. president in Europe by carry carrying a sign that called George Bush, quote, “the world‘s number one terrorist.” I talked to Sheehan earlier and asked if she stood by those words.
CINDY SHEEHAN, ANTIWAR ACTIVIST: His definition of a terrorist is someone who kills innocent men, women, and children. There was a very interesting article in the “L.A. Times” on Sunday that said 50,000 innocent Iraqis have been killed by violence since our invasion and that doesn‘t even count the Iraqis who have died from starvation, lack of clean water, lack of medical help. Lack of medicine. And it numbers in the tens of thousands. And we had unfortunately 3,000 citizens killed on September 11th and if you take 50,000 then, that‘s over 10 times more than Osama bin Laden killed.
SCARBOROUGH: If you look, though, at World War II, for instance, a war that most people think was a legitimate war against Nazi Germany, if you look at the firebombing of Dresden, American bombs certainly killed more than 50,000 Germans. Was World War II a just war?
SHEEHAN: I believe no, it wasn‘t a just war. I believe World War II happened because of World War I which was not a just war. And we have to - - let‘s look forward and how to end Iraq which is clearly an illegal and immoral war. Let‘s look forward and see how we were talking about earlier about how to find common ground to solve problems without killing people, without this discourse that leads nowhere.
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s talk about what you did when you went up to Canada. You went up there and gave a speech and talked about supporting American troops that were deserters to Canada. Why did you do that?
SHEEHAN: Well, I like to call them war resistors. And our children who are going to Canada are having to make a decision between going Iraq and killing innocent people or perhaps dying themselves for an illegal and immoral war. And I don‘t believe they should have to make the decision between going to Iraq and committing murder for George Bush or going to Canada. They have the obligation to resist unlawful—or disobey unlawful orders. And Iraq is unlawful. It‘s illegal by all international standards and by our own Constitution. And it‘s not a moral war by any just war standards.
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s play a clip of your speech, part of your speech when you were in Canada.
SHEEHAN: Our soldiers should not have to go over and fight in this illegal and immoral war. And that we would hope that Canada would open its borders again to our soldiers who need this refuge and sanctuary.
SCARBOROUGH: Do you think your son would be proud of you going up to Canada and taking this position that you and I both know many sort of gung ho military types would find repugnant?
SHEEHAN: My son was not a gung ho military type. He didn‘t‘ didn‘t want to go to Iraq. I begged him not to go, I begged him to go to Canada and he said mom, I don‘t want to go, but I have to go. That was Casey‘s decision to make. To go to Iraq instead of going to Canada. And I wish every day he would have been one of the soldiers standing behind me.
SCARBOROUGH: I supported this war from the beginning and I still do, but this is what I don‘t understand. The Democrats—and I know the type of people that help you win elections, they are the Democrats that lick the envelopes and stamp the letters, that go door-to-door and contribute—that fill the churches and schools and town hall meetings.
These people, these Democrats want America out of Iraq. Again, 60-70 percent of Americans agree there needs to be a timeline. My question is, why does Hillary Clinton in a state that clearly supports withdrawal from Iraq and why do all the Democrats in the Senate, why aren‘t they listening to their Democratic base? I don‘t understand it.
SHEEHAN: That‘s a very good question, but when you point out that 60-70 percent of America wants a solution to Iraq and they want a timeline, that crosses all demographics, Joe, that‘s not just Democrats .
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, I know.
SHEEHAN: That‘s Republicans, that‘s old and young people and red state, blue state.
SCARBOROUGH: This is actually a popular issue. If a Democrat got out on the campaign trail this year and said, you know what, I supported this war in the beginning, but 2,500 Americans have died, 50,000 Iraqis have died and we spent a trillion dollars. It‘s time to turn it over to the Iraqi people.
That would be a very popular position.
SHEEHAN: We would overwhelmingly support that person. There are people saying that. And we are supporting them. Look at John Murtha from Pennsylvania. He has done a total 180 on this war. He going around and handling the Democrats raise money. But I just want to say to the 70 percent of people who disagree with the war, get off your couches.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. And thanks to Cindy Sheehan.
And you know, Americans may not be getting off the couches and joining Cindy‘s hunger strike, but many may make it to theaters to see this upcoming movie version of “Miami Vice” based of course on that dynamic South Florida duo, Crocket and Tubbs.
They spend steamy days and sweaty nights chasing down drug runners. Well, South Florida vice struck it big again last night, busting radio talk show God Rush Limbaugh for the possession of a bottle of Viagra. For this shocking defense Limbaugh was detained for over three hours and of course for those of you watching at home know, the condition is persistent for over four hours, Mr. Limbaugh would have needed to call his physician.
Instead, the grand spectacle proved once again just how little work Palm Beach authorities have to do when it comes to fighting the drug war down there. Rush was take together all in stride on his talk show.
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RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I still—I have been racking my brain. I‘m trying to figure out how Bob Dole‘s luggage got on my airplane. At any rate, ladies and—I told the doctor look, I‘m worried about the next election, not—he misunderstands me.
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SCARBOROUGH: Here to discuss the rush to get Rush, let‘s bring famed criminal defense attorney Geoffrey Fieger. Now, Jeffrey, isn‘t it pathetic that South Florida officials have nothing better to do than continue the campaign to bust a radio talk show host instead of going after dangerous criminals when all he is possessing is Viagra.
GEOFFREY FIEGER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, if you are asking about the so-called war on drugs, I agree with you because it‘s a pathetic waste of time and a horrible waste of money. But the problem is now that Rush is a convicted drug felon. So he is like a sex offender. He is well-known in the community and they‘re going roust him. And he should understand that because he would advocate it.
SCARBOROUGH: He is a convicted drug felon? I thought he didn‘t confess to any crimes. That was part of the plea deal.
FIEGER: Yeah, it was part of the plea deal, but every policeman knows he got off easily and it‘s like a diversion program. But he is going to be recognized by every officer as a potential druggy.
SCARBOROUGH: There is a double standard here, though.
FIEGER: No there isn‘t. He is being treated .
SCARBOROUGH: Palm Beach pulled over a truck driver, would they frisk him and detain him for three and a half hours in a rest stop for having a bottle of Viagra?
FIEGER: No, it wasn‘t for having a bottle of Viagra. If they knew the truck driver had previously gotten off very easily and had previously been involved in drugs, you are darn right they would do it.
SCARBOROUGH: Oxycontin. Versus Viagra.
FIEGER: Forget the Viagra.
SCARBOROUGH: You can‘t forget the Viagra. It‘s part of the double standard. The cops would laugh and wink and send him on his way.
FIEGER: No they don‘t.
SCARBOROUGH: And they hold him for three and a half hours for a bottle of Viagra.
FIEGER: You are wrong. Every day in America as you know, the cops roust people who they know are previous abusers. And Rush is one of them.
SCARBOROUGH: There is a difference between Oxycontin and Viagra, is there not? Not that I have ever taken either.
FIEGER: I don‘t think the cops necessarily said we are going to roust you for Viagra, they are not sure what he has on him. He may have Oxycontin.
SCARBOROUGH: Jeffrey. If Limbaugh were your client and he had been smear smeared in the press for two years by a zealous prosecutor and had to endure two years of false and misleading leaks in the press, had struck a deal without admitting guilt and then got too shook down for possessing a single bottle of Viagra, you would be going through the roof.
FIEGER: No I wouldn‘t. I would say kiss the ground you walk on, Rush, because you are walking a free man and they could have done a whole heck of a lot worse to you. Leave them alone. Because you don‘t want to stir up a hornet‘s nest. That‘s what I would say to Rush Limbaugh.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s what Rush Limbaugh is doing right now despite the fact that Jeffrey, it‘s absolutely ridiculous what the cops are doing. Geoffrey Fieger, thank you so much for being with us.
FIEGER: Thanks, buddy.
SCARBOROUGH: We greatly appreciate it. Still to come tonight, Andrea Yates breaks down in court. Tell you what, friends. I say she should pay the ultimate price for killing her five children and I can‘t understand why everyone doesn‘t agree with me on that issue.
And is Jon Stewart corrupt corrupting America‘s youth? That‘s what two political scientists are saying. Stay with us. More SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY straight ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: In tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY “Showdown,” the battle over flag burning.
Now, the Senate vote that just concluded is only the opening chapter in this story that is sure to shape the coming political season, the season where Republicans will surely use tonight‘s vote to cast Democrats as unpatriotic de defenders of flag burning. Will it work or will Democrats finally figure out a way to fight back?
SCARBOROUGH: With me now is Republican strategist Jack Burkman and Mike Papantonio, he is co-host of “Ring of Fire” on Air America and my former law partner.
How do you put this constitutional amendment, it‘s sort of a two on one here. I admit, Jack. But how do you put this constitutional amendment which I think is just a political hacks idea to win a couple of votes next to the 13th and 14th amendments that banned slavery, next to the amendment that allowed the women the right to vote. It seems.
JACK BURKMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: We are not risk weighting constitutional amendments. They are all important. You can have a different perspective on all of them. But let me ask you this. Can you ban—what if somebody wants to ban somebody from urinating on the Lincoln Memorial. What if somebody wants to ban graffiti .
SCARBOROUGHY: Would you make a constitutional amendment for that?
BURKMAN: But it‘s legal. You don‘t have to. My point is why is it illegal .
MIKE PAPANTONIO, AIR AMERICA RADIO: Republicans always have such little faith in the American public, they really don‘t get this.
SCARBOROUGH: I am a Republican and I have faith in the American public. I think this is a stupid idea.
PAPANTONIO: Listen to this. OK. You know what, most Republicans agree with you on that. Here‘s the point, Jack. We fought back Hitler, we fought back Japan, we fought back Stalin, we fought back Mussolini and you are worried about a freak that is burning a flag out on some plaza somewhere.
You don‘t have enough faith in the American democratic process to know it doesn‘t mean anything. The truth is most .
BURKMAN: I‘ve been asking my questions for a long time. Let me see if I can .
PAPANTONIO: Most Americans—be polite here, Jack. I have got something to say, too. Most Americans would never stand for an American flag being burned.
SCARBOROUGH: Listen, I understand your point. I want to get to your point for a second. You keep talking about Republicans, Republicans, Republicans, Hillary Clinton and Democrats are going to be supporting this. So it‘s not just the Republican Party.
PAPANTONIO: Of course.
SCARBOROUGH: Are they not craven politicos too?
PAPANTONIO: They are politicos, but you know what? They are politicos that still don‘t know what the people really care about. That‘s the problem.
SCARBOROUGH: Jack Burkman, let me ask you this one. Back in the 1980s it seemed like every two weeks some freak was on TV burning the American flag. Nobody burns them anymore.
BURKMAN: You know why? Because we had eight years of Ronald Reagan, we‘ve had 13 years of a Republican Congress.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s the thing though. If they aren‘t why - that‘s great, but if they are not burning the American flags, why do we need a constitutional amendment?
BURKMAN: Listen, Joe. Your book is the answer. “Rome is Burning.”
This country is not going to fall in battle. We are not going go broke. Our economy is not going to fall down. The way we are falling, and you know this, you wrote about it, we are falling from within. We are falling morally. Nothing is more important and Mike knows this. Nothing is more important to this country than morals.
SCARBOROUGH: Here‘s the bottom line. Americans think that Republicans are using this issue like they used the gay marriage issue to distract from these bigger issues. Sell me on it. Because I actually voted for the flag burning amendment back in the 1990s because we have so many military men and women in my district that told me it was important to them, they fought in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and they asked me to do it. I deferred to them. I wish I hadn‘t. I respect them and love them and I owe my freedom to them, but I just think it‘s too small of an issue to put in the Constitution.
And I guess also, like Mike, if I see somebody doing it, I‘m going to stomp out the flag and beat them up.
BURKMAN: The sales pitch - here is the answer. It‘s very simple. You have a right to go outside at the top of your lungs in front of this building in Secaucus, in New York City, in Pensacola and Pittsburgh, anywhere and say, I hate the American flag. You can stand on the street corner and do that all day long.
You can say I love Adolf Hitler and Saddam. You can do anything you want. But because it‘s a symbol and the legislature has the interest in - but I‘m going to tell you something with work, you just heard a national spokesman, you have a huge national audience and I want to make sure you understand what they heard tonight.
You just heard a national spokesman for the Democratic Party say that he doesn‘t think the congress of the United States should be permitted to ban urination on the capitol of the United States.
PAPANTONIO: Jack, let me tell you where you are going to move us with this amendment. You know the countries in the world that have an amendment that said you can‘t burn their flag. Cuba, Red China, Iran and Iraq. And that‘s it.
And you know what? Now it‘s going to be the USA if jack gets his way.
The truth is this. Jack understands that 73 percent of the American public
know that this Republican Congress is an absolute disaster. Jack knows
that the only way you can turn this attention from this disastrous Congress
is to get them thinking about things like gay marriage and the flag
amendment. Jack knows they don‘t have a chance in November unless you can
SCARBOROUGH: You know what I can still do with my young girl if I‘m trying to get her mind off of something else, I can say look over there, Kate, she‘ll turn her heard I can get my wife to move it away. That‘s what the Republicans are doing, isn‘t it? It‘s sort of a bait and switch.
BURKMAN: This is SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I always tell the truth here to your audience, Joe. The reality is there is a political component to everything done in Congress. There is nothing wrong with that. That‘s part of the game. You were there for a number of years. You know that. I don‘t apologize for that. Bill Clinton did it. All presidents do it. Nothing wrong with it.
But here‘s the question on this. A series question. We are in a time of war. What is it that a guy like Mike is really willing to sacrifice? He doesn‘t want the government looking in his bank records .
PAPANTONIO: I‘ve got to say. I would sacrifice you.
BURKMAN: And doesn‘t want to give up - What Mike‘s message when you boil this down, what freedom does he want to give up? He doesn‘t want to give up anything. He wants to live in utopia.
SCARBOROUGH: We have to leave it here. Good to see you guys. Jack Burkman, thank you so much. Mike Papantonio and the Pap Attack. Thank you for being with us. We‘ll be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: And it‘s time now for another fly over of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. First stop, New York where the state‘s P.C. police are rolling to their own tune and all over music at a local roller rink. That roller palace, the Skate Time 209 Rink hosts a Christian music party every Sunday.
But now the state agency is saying that playing only Christian music is discriminatory. So if you‘re keeping score at home, Britney Spears and Lady Lumps, OK. Uplifting music about Jesus, bad.
Next stop, Berkley, Michigan where a $10 parking ticket can turn into 30 days in jail for a local resident. The man enraged by the fine wrote an obscene note on the check and the local judge is not laughing. He ordered the man back to court tomorrow where he now faces 30 days behind bars. But don‘t worry for him. The ACLU is on the case, arguing the Constitution allows a man to write anything he wants to write on that check.
And finally, Salem, Oregon, you‘re not going to believe this one, firefighters are being fired for only speaking English. State officials there passed a law that actually required all firefighter bosses to speak English and the language of any other member of their crew.
The result is demotions and layoffs for longtime fire captains all across the State of Oregon. The next time fire breaks out in the state, the best and the brightest and the most experience firefighters will be sitting at home staring at their pink slips.
And when we come back, Andrea Yates murdered her five children and cried today in court at her retrial. You know what? I think she should face the ultimate penalty, but my guest thinks she‘s just misunderstood.
And the list of rock‘s best conservative songs. What does it take to make the list? I will tell you and I‘ll tell you what think about some of those classics when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, go to our Web site and take part in tonight‘s live question and it‘s - Should it be illegal to burn the American flag? You can vote by just going to joe.msnbc.com to vote. We‘ll have the results at the end of the show.
Also, political scientists say Jon Stewart is bad for America, and they‘re not talking about his lousy Oscar performance. We‘ll tell you all about it straight ahead, but first here‘s the latest news you and your family need to know.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, you know what? Jon Stewart may be funny, but a team of political scientists say his “Daily Show” is no laughing matter. We‘ll tell you why, straight ahead.
And rock ‘n‘ roll is for rebels and renegades, right? Well, why has a magazine compiled a list of the 50 best conservative rock songs? We‘ll talk to the author, and I‘ll play for you the most subversive line in rock history.
Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Those stories straight head.
But first, Andrea Yates who killed her five children in 2001 broke down in court today as prosecutors played crime scene videotape showing her 7-year-old son floating facedown in a bathtub and the bodies of her four younger children laid out on a bed.
Now, this is the second murder trial for Yates. Her 2000 conviction was overturned last year because of erroneous testimony. With me now to talk about it, Candice Delong. She‘s a former FBI profiler who‘s also been a psychiatric nurse. She is the author of the book, “Special Agent: My Life on the Frontlines as a Woman in the FBI.”
Candice, thank you for being with us.
CANDICE DELONG, FORMER FBI AGENT/PROFILER: Thank you for having me, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, I have long been torn over the issue of the death penalty. But as a father, there‘s just no question in my mind that anybody that murders five of their children should face the death penalty. Why do you think I‘m wrong?
DELONG: I think you‘re wrong because Andrea has a history of mental illness, the most severe mental illness known to mankind. She was psychotic. She was floating in and out of a condition that caused her to have delusions and hear voices. Her delusion was that she was a bad mother and the devil was going to get her children.
Andrea was compelled to commit these horrible crimes—and I‘m not saying they weren‘t horrible—because of her mental illness. I‘m not saying something shouldn‘t be done with Andrea, but I do not think that any just society should execute the mentally ill when they commit a crime.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. She killed her children in cold blood, her 7-year-old, 5-year-old, 3-year-old, 2-year-old and 6-month-old baby.
DELONG: Yes, right.
SCARBOROUGH: A lot of Americans—you know, they‘ve got to be asking, how do these acts not call for the harshest punishments or laws allowed? And then, when you add on top of that that she knew exactly what she was doing, she waited for the exactly period after her husband left for work, and the time before her mother-in-law came in to take care of those kids, that that‘s when she killed them. So how can you say she didn‘t know exactly what she was doing?
DELONG: I didn‘t say she didn‘t know what she was doing. I think she didn‘t fully understand that what she was doing was wrong. Andrea was not in her right mind when she committed this crime.
One of the people who worked with her after she was incarcerated and was in the psychiatric section of the jail, who had 30 years experience of working with the mentally ill, made the comment at her first trial that she was the most seriously ill person he had ever worked with.
It took six to eight weeks before they were even able to clear her mind up. She was not in her right mind when she committed these crimes. She didn‘t try to hide these crimes. After she was done, she called her husband and she called the police.
SCARBOROUGH: But at the same time, isn‘t there a concern that if Andrea Yates can kill five of her children that any child abuser who accidentally or intentionally kills a child can simply follow her path, calculate, kill and then say that she has a mental defect?
DELONG: Well, Andrea wasn‘t saying that she had a mental disorder as a defense that she cooked up. Andrea had a history of a severe mental illness that started, probably, as I understand it, long before she started having children, but was brought to a very serious head after the birth of the second child when she had her first very serious postpartum depression that slid into postpartum psychosis.
She and her husband were advised by her psychiatrist not to have any more children, that it could induce another postpartum psychosis that they might not be able to get her out of. Joe, it happened.
Randy, her husband, admitted on “60 Minutes” that he talked her into having that last child. She became psychotic; look what happened. And now the prosecutor, and I guess people like you, want to see her dead because of what happened. I don‘t. I want to see her in a mental facility for the rest of her life. I don‘t think Andrea Yates should be running a nursery school, if that‘s where you think I‘m coming from.
SCARBOROUGH: No, that‘s not where I think you‘re coming from. I think, though, and you talk about a just society, I think, if we have the death penalty, I think anybody that kills five of their children, drowns them one at a time the way she did, if that person doesn‘t deserve the death penalty, then I just don‘t know who does.
And I‘m not being Tom Cruise here. I know there‘s such thing as postpartum depression. But at the same time, it is perhaps one of the most heinous crimes that, you know, we‘ve reported on the past several years.
Candice, thank you for being with us. I know—go ahead, I‘ll give you the final word.
DELONG: Well, what about somebody that has diabetes but takes too much insulin, their blood sugar drops, they‘re driving in a car, their blood sugar drops so low they accidentally run over 10 people and kill them? What do you think should happen to them?
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thank you. We‘ll leave it there. You know, they‘re not death penalty, but I would say that that‘s different from taking your first child, drowning them, your second, your third, your fourth, your fifth, in what appears to be a cold, calculated way, and, you know, then calling the police and telling them exactly what you did.
But, Candice, thank you so much for being with us again. I appreciate it.
DELONG: You‘re welcome, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, going from the very serious to the very sublime, is Jon Stewart bad for America‘s youth? A team of political scientists think so. They claim young people who watch “The Daily Show” become cynical about politics and are less likely to vote.
According to their research, 54 percent of the young people reported getting at least some of their news about the 2004 presidential election from “The Daily Show.” The studies also finds that “Daily Show” viewers are more likely to think political leaders are incompetent—what‘s wrong with that? -- the Electoral College is flawed, and they distrust the mainstream media.
Now, that‘s just plain wrong. Take a listen to what Stewart had to say recently about Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, HOST, “THE DAILY SHOW”: They did vote themselves a pay raise, but they didn‘t vote to raise the minimum wage. I believe they were going to raise it to $7.25. So if you‘re working 40 hours a week, you‘d be making $280 large.
Or maybe $300 large. And I just want to say: Good. I‘m glad they didn‘t do it, because, you know, the lower strata of American society has had a free ride for too long.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: With me now, James Hirsen. He‘s from Newsmax, also the author of “Hollywood Nation.”
Now, James, do you agree with these political scientists that Jon Stewart is a danger to America?
JAMES HIRSEN, NEWSMAX: Well, I don‘t know if I would use that kind of language, Joe, but I think it‘s clear—and their studies were scientific studies. They divided college students into three groups. They had a control group. They showed one group campaign coverage from “The Daily Show,” another group campaign coverage from CBS News, and they found that it increased the college student‘s cynicism about the candidates...
SCARBOROUGH: But haven‘t comedians been doing that forever?
HIRSEN: Well, they have, but what was interesting in the study is it showed a distinction between those comedians like Jay Leno and Dave Letterman, the late night comedians, that admittedly a lot of these students get their information from.
These two guys, similar to me, found out from their classes that they weren‘t getting their information from newspapers or text books. They were getting it from late night comedians, including those.
But what the distinction was that, like Jay Leno, David Letterman, those kinds of comedians poke fun at public figures, but Jon Stewart creates what these researchers called a theater of the absurd.
SCARBOROUGH: But, you know, Jon Stewart never claims to be anything other than fake news.
HIRSEN: Yes, that‘s true.
SCARBOROUGH: So what‘s the danger? When he says at the top of every show, basically, that he‘s full of it, that this is a fake newscast.
HIRSEN: Well, I‘ve written about this.
SCARBOROUGH: How does anybody conclude that this is somehow hazardous to American democracy?
HIRSEN: We have a generation, Joe—and I‘ve written about this at Newsmax and in my book—we have a generation that‘s been raised in an aura of infotainment, where it‘s more difficult to distinguish between entertainment and news, between fantasy and reality.
And so many of these students, their exclusive source—and that‘s the key thing—their exclusive source of information are shows like Jon Stewart, and they clearly take it seriously, and these studies show it.
As a matter of fact, during that same campaign that these two professors did their study, Baumgartner and Morris, the audiences that “The Daily Show” had were larger than any in the 18-34 bracket than any of the evening news shows.
So it‘s kind of an amazing influence that Jon Stewart has, to the point that CBS actually considered—and publicly said so—using Jon Stewart as a co-anchor on the “CBS Evening News” before they decided on Katie Couric.
So Stewart may say that he‘s fake news, but Stewart‘s own disillusionment, particularly with Republicans, comes through. And that cynicism is contagious, and cynicism leads to nonparticipation. And, therefore, the conclusion is that many of these young people that the Democrats have sought after are not going to vote, despite Rock the Vote, the New Vote, and the Vote or Die, Diddy‘s program, or Cameron Diaz‘s equating a lack of a vote with the legalization of rape.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. We‘re going to have to leave it there, James.
That‘s a debate for another night.
But, you know, friends, I just got to tell you, whether it‘s Jon Stewart or “South Park” or “The Simpsons,” or Stephen Colbert, it seem that all of these cynics that go out there and poke fun usually poke fun at both parties. Certainly, Jon Stewart is more left-leaning than the rest, but at the same time, you know, as this study shows, it just doesn‘t turn them off for Republicans. It stops them from voting for Republicans and Democrats, or at least to be more cynical.
I‘m joined now by Rita Cosby, the never cynical host of Rita Cosby “LIVE & DIRECT.” Rita, what do you have coming up for us at 10:00?
RITA COSBY, HOST: I agree I‘m never cynical. And tonight, Joe, why is Congress stepping in to stop sexual predators online? Today some dramatic testimony on Capitol Hill. Find out why some members of Congress were so stunned that their jaws dropped.
Plus, a new arrest in the Natalee Holloway case. What did this man see the night she vanished?
And you may remember him as Screech from the famous TV sitcom “Saved by the Bell.” Tonight, he‘s going to join me live pleading for your help. Find out why. We‘re going to have that and a whole lot more, Joe, “LIVE & DIRECT” at the top of the hour.
SCARBOROUGH: Rita, you‘ve got Screech?
COSBY: I know. He‘s going to be pleading for help. He‘s in dire need.
SCARBOROUGH: Screech in dire need? You know I‘m not going to miss that one, Rita. Thank you so much.
And when we come back, we hit the Internet to see “Must See TV.” Is it for real? It really doesn‘t matter.
But first, no sex, drugs and rock ‘n‘ roll here. The most conservative classic rock songs ever. Is that Mick Jagger prancing around? You‘ll be surprised, I promise.
SCARBOROUGH: I recently talked to John J. Miller from “The National Review,” and asked him to take us through his list of the most conservative songs ever. Watch what he says.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, I‘ll tell you what. Let me play conservative Casey Kasem, and we‘ll start with number five on the list. Let‘s take a listen to the Beach Boys, “Wouldn‘t It Be Nice?”
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
THE BEACH BOYS (singing): Maybe if we think, and wish, and hope, and pray it might come true. Maybe then there wouldn‘t be a single thing we couldn‘t do. We could married. We could married. Then we‘d be happy. And then we‘d be happy. Oh, wouldn‘t it be nice?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: See, here‘s the problem: It‘s hard to separate the acid-dropping Brian Wilson in 1966-1967 from this James Dobson line about getting married.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s what makes it so conservative, isn‘t it?
MILLER: Well, it‘s a claim about the song, not about the guy who wrote it or sang it. It‘s a claim about the song. And this is a wonderful little love song. It‘s about the value of abstinence and the importance of marriage.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Let‘s go to number four, a song that you called a tribute to the region that liberals love to hate. And I‘m from that region. Let‘s play a clip of one of my favorite songs.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
LYNYRD SKYNYRD (singing): In Birmingham, they love the governor. Now we all did what we could do. Now Watergate does not bother me. Does your conscience bother you? Tell me true.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s really got to be the most subversive line in rock ‘n‘ roll, actually, a song that‘s in support of George Wallace and Watergate in 1974-1975. Talk about that song.
MILLER: Well, I think it‘s fundamentally about regional pride. It is a southern rock classic, of course. And, Joe, you know that a lot of people love to sneer at the South. They choose to do that. This song says that we‘re proud of who we are, we‘re proud of our home, and you‘re no better than we are.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, and, of course, one of the great back stories of this is when Lynyrd Skynyrd attacked Neil Young for attacking Alabama and the South. Neil Young actually became great friends with the band, because he loved how the guitarist sounded in there.
Now, also on the list, a group that nobody‘s ever accused of being conservative, the Rolling Stones, number three, “Sympathy for the Devil” from “Beggar‘s Banquet.” Let‘s take a listen to that.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
THE ROLLING STONES (singing): I stuck around St. Petersburg when I saw it was a time for a change. Killed the czar and its ministers;
Anastasia screamed in vain.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: “Sympathy for the Devil,” a surprise. What‘s conservative about that?
MILLER: Well, I love the line you just picked out to play there, which, of course, is the devil. Mick Jagger speaking in the voice of the devil, taking credit for the Communist Revolution in Russia, which leads to the Soviet Union, one of the great monstrosities of the 20th century. He is the devil taking credit for the rise of the Soviet Union.
This song is the screw tape letters of rock ‘n‘ roll. And you have another great line in it about every cop is a criminal and all the sinners saints. Well, this is the devil lying to us, and this is the devil telling us that we should be moral relativists. We‘re supposed to reject this, of course, but it is a fundamentally conservative song for those reasons.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s fascinating. Again, and from Mick Jagger, a guy that nobody would consider, at least in ‘68 when he wrote that, conservative.
Number two, now this song-no one can listen to this song by the Beatles and not say that it‘s an anti-tax, pro-Reagan song. Let‘s listen to “Tax Man,” from “Revolver.”
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
THE BEATLES (singing): If you drive a car, I‘ll tax the street. If you try to sit, I‘ll tax your seat. If you get too cold, I‘ll tax the heat. If you take a walk, I‘ll tax your feet.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MILLER: Joe, that‘s a great song by a great band. The lyrics are clever and they‘re funny.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, and they go after actually specific former prime ministers, taxman Mr. Wilson and taxman Mr. Heath. Let‘s go to number one, one of my favorite songs, with one of the great lines of all time, the Who “Won‘t Get Fooled Again.” Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
THE WHO (singing): There‘s nothing in the streets looks any different tome. And the slogans are replaced, by the by.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And, of course, the killer line that I‘ve used in political campaigns from the time I ran in college, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” John, talk about the Who.
MILLER: This is a counterrevolutionary song. It is about the failure of revolution. It is about the futility of radical activism, because the new boss is always the same as the old boss. It‘s about the disillusionment that follows, and it‘s about the resolution not to get fooled again.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thank you so much, John.
MILLER: Thanks, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘ve got to give you credit, buddy, you‘ve got guts. And it‘s a fascinating list. And you can find a link to the National Review‘s complete list of the top 50 conservative songs on our Web site, Joe.MSNBC.com.
SCARBOROUGH: And coming up next, “Must See SC.” And, friends, you got to see where this python is living.
SCARBOROUGH: Wake up Aunt Ethel. It‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See SC,” video you‘ve just got to see.
First up, San Diego, California. We won‘t tell you what “Anchorman” says that means, but it‘s not the Fourth of July there yet. But that didn‘t stop the city‘s bomb and arson crew from blowing up a huge supply of illegal fireworks they confiscated over the last six months. The officials held the explosions in public to demonstrate just how dangerous fireworks can be.
Next up, straight from the Internet, so we can‘t really be sure it‘s real, but you can see it looks real, like this giant whale jumped out of the ocean and lands on a kayaker paddling by. Real or not? Only the Internet knows.
And finally, meet Muffy, this country‘s largest python. Now, Muffy measured more than 22 feet long and it took four grown men and a woman to measure her. Now, Muffy is nine years old and lives in the Florida‘s Everglades Safari.
We‘ll be right back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in a minute.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, guess what? We got the results back from our live SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY poll. The question: Should it be illegal to burn the American flag? Twenty percent said yes; 80 percent said no. It‘s shocking! SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY‘s audience leads wildly to the left.
That‘s all the time we have for tonight. Rita Cosby “LIVE & DIRECT” starts right now.
Rita, what do you have for us?
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