Guest: Arthur Hayhoe, Dennis Baxley, John Hurley, Larry Bailey, Laura Berman, Jennifer Berman, Raoul Felder, Richard Shenkman
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight‘s top headline, a sad tale from the family of Camelot, trouble in the Kennedy family, as Joan Kennedy‘s children try to take control of her affairs.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required and only common sense allowed.
The Kennedy kids try to take legal custody of their mother after a painful history of alcoholism. Some say she is trying to get back at them by putting the family‘s Cape Cod home up for sale. They may be the most public family dealing with this guardianship issue of a parent, but they are not alone. We will talk about it tonight.
Then, despite losing to President George Bush, John Kerry is still making good on his campaign promises. A bill that he is backing to help out military families just passed the Senate today, so why does it have some vets fighting mad? We‘ll ask.
Plus, ever feel threatened when you were vacationing in Florida? Well, good news. Next time, you can legally stab or shoot the person who you feel threatened by. Governor Jeb Bush says this new law will make the Sunshine State safer. But will it really turn Florida into a new wild, wild West?
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Welcome to our show.
More heartbreak for the Kennedys as a family feud starts to erupt. A few weeks ago, Joan Kennedy, the first wife of senator Ted Kennedy, was found by a neighbor on a Boston sidewalk in the pouring rain. Reports were that she was intoxicated, unable to stand on her own, bleeding from a cut to her head, and she had injured her shoulder. Last July, her three children, Kara, Patrick, and a congressman—who is a congressman from Rhode Island—and Edward Kennedy Jr. were named their mother‘s temporary guardian to help ensure that she received treatment for her alcoholism.
The three adult children have since had their custody order extended
90 days, and according to today‘s “Boston Herald,” the kids will be seeking
· quote—“permanent, irrevocable guardianship of their mother at an upcoming trial.” Joan Kennedy‘s children say they want to save their mother‘s life, but some are saying in the family that the mother is so mad, she is now trying to sell their family home on Cape Cod just to get back at them.
With me now is Mike Barnicle. He‘s from “The Boston Herald.” We also presidential historian Richard Shenkman. And we also have celebrity attorney Raoul Felder, who represents the ex-wife, represented the ex-wives of Martin Scorsese, Johnny Carson, Frank Gifford, and Mike Tyson.
Mike Barnicle, let me ask you. You are from Boston. It seems to me that the Kennedy family is a lot like the royal family over in England, where, whatever they do, all of Boston, Massachusetts, New England, turns and looks. Here, we have another very painful private episode. But the Kennedys aren‘t alone in this, regarding guardianship. What are the people in Boston, who have always loved the Kennedys, saying about this?
MIKE BARNICLE, NBC ANALYST: Well, Joe, you know, as you alluded to up top of the program, this is a very sad story.
And, obviously if Joan Bennett Kennedy‘s last name were not Kennedy, we wouldn‘t be talking about it this evening. I don‘t think we would be talking about it if the disease that she was afflicted with was ALS or muscular dystrophy or cystic fibrosis. Her disease happens to be alcoholism, and she has had it for a long time.
This is a tragic aspect of it. It‘s clearly a tough thing for the family to handle. But, as you said, I mean, it‘s more than just the Kennedy family. Now, the focus on the Kennedy family is enormous around here still. People around the country might find that hard to believe, but it is still a celebrity family, a royal family, in New England. I don‘t think the tentacles of their fame extend the way they did 15 or 20 years ago.
But in New England and on the East Coast and because of the name and because of her former husband, Ted Kennedy, it‘s still a huge story. Too bad.
Richard Shenkman, let me ask you. There‘s actually been a long history of Joan Kennedy being in the news; 1980, in the presidential run, I remember reading Gary Wills‘ book “The Kennedy Imprisonment” talking about Ted Kennedy, showing Roger Mudd, who was interviewing him for “60 Minutes,” Joan Kennedy actually in the back of an automobile, again, trouble with alcoholism. Talk about this long, troubled life, this tortured history of Joan Kennedy, and by extension, obviously, the Kennedy family.
RICHARD SHENKMAN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, you know, there‘s the famous Kennedy curse, and Joan Kennedy has, unfortunately, been cursed as much as any of the star-crossed Kennedys. She had three miscarriages when she was married to Ted Kennedy. She lost a couple of brother-in-laws to assassination.
She had two of her children who came down with cancer. She has had a rough battle with booze and alcohol for 30 years. In 1978, in “McCall‘s” magazine, she did kind of one of these tell-all accounts, where she talked about her problem with alcoholism. And here, more than 30 years later, it‘s still a problem for her. So she, has had a very, very difficult life.
And, you know, it used to be that, with the Kennedys, they could keep these kind of things secret or private. They no longer can.
SCARBOROUGH: Mike Barnicle, I want to go back to you for a second, because I want to read you what Ted Kennedy Jr. said of his mother‘s fall, said: “She tripped and fell because she was intoxicated. That is just exactly what we‘re trying to stop.”
He is talking about it in the press. I find it interesting, Patrick Kennedy, though, has been very quiet. By all reports, this is a guy who really could probably be senator, but apparently, at the time that she fell down, Patrick put his Senate ambitions aside to take care of his mother. Talk about that side of the story.
BARNICLE: Well, Joe, I have seen all three of these kids—they‘re no longer kids, obviously, Patrick, Congressman Kennedy, Ted Kennedy Jr., Kara Kennedy. I have seen them with their mother. The mother, it‘s a sad story, and it‘s a story that has played out in many hundreds of thousands of families in this country.
Joan Bennett—that was her name prior to her marriage to Ted Kennedy
· was a beautiful, beautiful young woman. This is a hideous disease that has clearly affected the Kennedys and Joan Kennedy in particular. It can affect anyone. But these kids—and, again, they are no longer kids—their principal—one of their principal missions in life at this point is to save their mother, to protect their mother, to protect their mother from herself, and that‘s what they continue to do.
SCARBOROUGH: Raoul Felder, how hard is it for children to take custody of their parents? You know, we were talking about guardianship over the past several weeks in the Schiavo case. How difficult is it, for instance, Kennedy kids in this situation to take legal custody of their mother?
RAOUL FELDER, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: It is usually quite difficult, Joe, but the odd thing here is, they are not helping to save the mother‘s life, when you analyze it. There‘s a question of adversity of interests and self-interest.
They say she is doing it to retaliate against them. What is she doing? She is selling her home. She wants to sell her home for $6.5 million. It‘s valued at $3.7 million. That‘s not saving this lady‘s life. That‘s saving a summer place for these kids. One thing has nothing to do with another, and I think that, when a court looks at it, they may lose their guardianship, because it has nothing to do with saving this lady.
SCARBOROUGH: you know, you are an attorney. Let me ask you, though. You‘re an attorney. If the children have legal guardianship of their mother, how does she have the legal right to sell a home?
FELDER: Well, she doesn‘t, but now the court should be looking at it in a very searching fashion to see, what does this have to do with saving her life?
You know, a guardian is supposed to protect the principal. Here, they are protecting themselves here. They want a summer home. If I were a judge, I would look at this very carefully and say to myself, if this is what guardians do, should these kids really be guardians of their mother?
BARNICLE: Oh, man.
SCARBOROUGH: Mike Barnicle, Ted Kennedy...
BARNICLE: Joe. Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Ted Kennedy Jr. said this. I will let you respond. Ted Kennedy said this of his mother: “She‘s basically trying to retaliate against her own children by taking one of the things we love the most, which is Cape Cod. It‘s very sad. This is the house we grew up in. It‘s our family home.”
Mike, you live right down the street from that home, do you not? You know better than anybody what the kids are trying to do here. What are they trying to do?
BARNICLE: Well, the last thing they are trying to do is cop a summer place for themselves through their mother‘s misfortune.
FELDER: Well, they said it. They said. Nobody else said it. They said that this home they love, and she is retaliating against them. She has every right to retaliate.
BARNICLE: Attorney Felder, I would tell you this. Having witnessed your career only in the public print, as it has played out in divorce case after divorce case, if Joan Bennett were on the stand against your client, you would move to have her ruled incompetent, and you would win in any court it in this country.
FELDER: That‘s not the issue, though.
BARNICLE: No, I think it is the issue.
FELDER: The issue is, do the wards, do the guardians here have any adverse interest to their principal? And here they seem to, because this has nothing to do with her, with protecting.
BARNICLE: The key word there is seem to, because you don‘t know and I don‘t know. And only Joe Kennedy‘s doctors know.
FELDER: Well, but, Mike, I know what they said.
BARNICLE: And only Joan Kennedy‘s doctors know.
BARNICLE: And the judge, if they put her on the stand, the judge would surely know.
FELDER: Again, Mike, we‘re zeroing in on the wrong thing. There‘s no question that she has a problem. There may be no question that she should have a guardian, but is the fact that she wants to sell her own home for an enormous profit, is that a reason for guardians to prevent it? Now, why do they want to prevent it? They tell you, Joe. They tell you why they want to prevent it. Because it‘s their summer home.
BARNICLE: You just threw piece of completely twisted logic out over the airwaves. She has a problem. If she has a problem, is she competent?
FELDER: I am not getting through to you. The issue is not her competency. The issue is whether these guardians are the proper guardians and whether their interests are adverse to her.
FELDER: And the best witness is what they said. They said she wants to sell it, so that they won‘t have—they love the place and they want to have a place for the summer. That has nothing to do with Joan, whether they are going to have a place for the summer or not.
BARNICLE: The issue with regard to the sale of her home will come down to her competence to put the home on the market.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, whether she has the ability to do that.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me bring in—Richard, let me bring you back in here.
I want to go back to what Mike Barnicle said at the very beginning. Obviously, if her last name were not Kennedy, we wouldn‘t be talking about it tonight. Americans wouldn‘t be fascinated about it.
I want to ask you, after all these years, after, what, 45 years after John F. Kennedy became president of the United States, why is America—because you show those old black-and-white images of the Kennedys, Joan Kennedy, Teddy Kennedy, just, Americans are drawn to it like royalty. What is it about the Kennedys that still intrigues us after all these years?
SHENKMAN: You know, when the Gallup poll people and other poll people go and ask the American people, who is your favorite president, they are still saying Franklin Roosevelt, maybe Lincoln, John Kennedy. So, 45 years later, they are still fascinated with the Kennedys and with Camelot.
And the media certainly are still fascinated with the Kennedys. You can always get a crowd if you start talking about the Kennedy family. So, it‘s not surprising that something like this comes along, and it gets people‘s attention.
What is politics all about? It‘s about finding issues that are susceptible to public debate. This is one of those issues that is susceptible to public debate. You don‘t need to have a Ph.D. in sociology to understand this family tragedy. So, everybody has an opinion about it.
SHENKMAN: Back in the 19th century—I have got to bring up a little history, since you got a historian on here.
SHENKMAN: Abraham Lincoln is assassinated. His wife is Mary Todd Lincoln. She remains in the public eye.
And in the 1870s, 20 years after her husband was president, all of a sudden, she is declared incompetent by a jury at the insistence of her son, Robert Todd Lincoln, who takes over control of her affairs. And then she goes off and lives with a sister, and they go back into court a year later, and this time, he loses. But it‘s another family drama played out. And why? Because she was famous and people cared about her husband.
And, you know, the amazing thing about the Kennedy family is this. I have always thought people have related to this family so much because, with all the wealth, with all the power, with all the trappings, there are so many tragedies running through this family‘s life, through their saga, that so many Americans can relate to. It makes them so human.
Mike, Richard, Raoul, thank you so much.
Mike, go Sox.
We appreciate you being with us.
Coming up next, John Kerry helped pass a military family bill of rights, but can you believe some vets are still mad? We are going to be talking about why coming up.
And, also, later, our kids bombarded every day with images that are disturbing and destructive. Does it have an impact on their health? We will be talking to our experts, Dr. Laura Berman and her sister, Dr. Jennifer Berman.
All that and much more straight ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: The Senate passes a bill to help military families. That‘s what we in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY demanded a year ago. So, why are some vets so made about it? We‘ll talk about that in just a minute.
SCARBOROUGH: You may remember, last summer, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY started a campaign to improve the quality of life for our men and women in uniform fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now, I know how Congress works. Too many members salute the troops when they go overseas, but when it comes time to improve soldiers‘ quality of life, well, that salute drops and senators guard their wallets. That is until today, when the Senate passed an amendment that addressed many of our concerns in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
First, the Senate increased death benefits, so the family of a young soldier killed in Iraq won‘t be stuck with the bills to bury their son or daughter, husband or wife. Second, families of those killed in action cannot be kicked off of military bases immediately after their family member‘s death.
And who is the senator leading the charge for those of us demanding change in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY? None other than Massachusetts Senator John Forbes Kerry. This is what he had to say today on the floor of the Senate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Now, no one can ever put a price on the loss of any loved one. It‘s up to us to try to be generous and I think correct in helping them put their lives back together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Now, his efforts have predictably sparked controversy.
And with us to debate the senator‘s efforts are Captain Larry Bailey. He‘s a 27-year veteran Navy seal who served in Vietnam and president of the Vietnam Vets For Truth, and also John Hurley, you may remember, the former national director for Vietnam Veterans For Kerry.
Captain Bailey, let me start with you. Gee, this bill sounds, well, exactly like what I have been asking for, for years, and I am sure people like you have wanted for years. What is wrong with what Senator Kerry did today?
RETIRED CAPT. LARRY BAILEY, U.S. NAVY: Joe, there‘s absolutely nothing wrong with the bill itself.
What I object to is senator cynic himself coming out and getting at the head of the pack, ostensibly becoming the hero of the military, which he clearly would have liked to have done in 2004. And I have no objection at all to him voting for the bill. I take great exception to him going out and trying to gin up family stories on his Web site. And I would dare say that a lot of people gave him some family stories that he wouldn‘t like to hear.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Captain Bailey, you are talking about—he put on his Web site, JohnKerry.com, a request for military families to write into him and tell him basically all of their horror stories that they have had on quality of life issues while serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and across the world. What do you find offensive about that?
BAILEY: I just find it offensive that John Kerry would run point on that.
We have, Senator Kerry and I—and, of course, he doesn‘t have a clue who I am, but I certainly know who he is. We have what I would characterize as irreconcilable differences. And I wouldn‘t accept an ice cream cone from him because of what he has done in the past. He has—as far as I am concerned, in 1971, he betrayed every U.S. serviceman and servicewoman who was in Vietnam by the lies he told before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And I just characterize him as a liar then, and he is a liar now.
John Hurley, I want to read a part of the e-mail for you and also our audience that is sent out and posted on JohnKerry.com. He said: “Why do some in Congress, including those who are most vocal with their support-for-our-troops rhetoric, want to hold back on our soldiers and their families?”
SCARBOROUGH: Sounds a lot like what I said in the intro.
“Those who have stood for us should know that we stand for them today and always. Share the story of a family you know that has endured hardship in service to our nation.”
You know, John, a lot of people would say that John Kerry is using this to try to gin up support for an upcoming presidential campaign, and instead of looking at the negative side, trying to get horror stories, he should have people instead e-mail talking about the good things that are going on out there. How do you respond to all of this criticism from today‘s action?
JOHN HURLEY, NATIONAL DIRECTOR, VIETNAM VETERANS FOR JOHN KERRY: I
don‘t understand, Joe. I don‘t understand it at all.
John Kerry has been a hero to veterans since he came back from Vietnam. And what he was doing today, fighting for active-duty military troops, fighting for military families, fighting for veterans, is exactly what John Kerry has been doing for 35 years and what you expect of him.
That one phrase in the letter, that is making mountains out of molehills, which Captain Bailey and the Swift Boat Veterans are very good at. John Kerry has served the veterans of this country, has served the active-duty veterans of this country. Today, what he is doing is, he‘s increasing to $500,000 the death benefit for an active-duty troop who dies on active duty, whether it‘s in Iraq or Afghanistan or any place in the military.
And he‘s extending the housing allowances for widows and families from a minuscule 90 days to a full year. Those are things that people who care about veterans should be cheering about. I don‘t understand Captain Bailey‘s petty politics and why he would allow his strong distaste for John Kerry to so damage veterans‘ issues. This is very strong pro-veteran.
SCARBOROUGH: Captain Bailey, are you engaging in petty politics, as you have been charged?
BAILEY: Well, yes, I am, because petty only in the eyes of people like John Hurley.
What I am trying to do—and I am quite open about it—I fought John Kerry tooth and toenail in 2004, and I am leaning forward in my seat to get after him in 2008. As I said in the e-mail that I sent to him in response his request for a family story, I said let, that putrid little lawyer from North Carolina get the nomination, or let Hillary Clinton get it, or let Barbra Streisand get it, but you‘re sunk.
The veterans—far from being a hero to the veterans, far from being a champion of the veterans, 80-something percent of the Vietnam veterans, according to the polls I have read, voted against him.
So, don‘t try to portray yourself, John Kerry, as a hero today, when you have never been.
HURLEY: Joe, that‘s ridiculous. Eighty percent of the Vietnam veterans did not vote against John Kerry. I don‘t know what polls Captain Bailey has been reading, but that‘s ridiculous.
We had one million veterans signed up on John Kerry‘s campaign. John Kerry recognizes the loyalty, the service, the dedication, the honor that those men and women bring to active-duty military service, and he is honoring that today. His amendment today was supported by John McCain, supporting by Chuck Hagel, supporting by countless veterans organizations.
And for someone like Captain Bailey to be coming forward now and playing games with this is a dishonor to veterans, and it‘s wrong, and he should not engage in it. He should be supportive of this. He should be leading the cheering.
SCARBOROUGH: John Hurley...
HURLEY: Sorry, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, John Hurley, let me play you a clip from “Meet the Press.” This is when Tim Russert interviewed Senator Kerry back in January.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “MEET THE PRESS”)
TIM RUSSERT, NBC WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Thus far, you have gotten the record, released them for your campaign. They say you should not be the filter. Sign form 180 and let this...
KERRY: Be happy to put the records out. We put all the records out that I had been sent by the military. Then, at the last moment, they sent some more stuff, which had some things that weren‘t even relevant to the record. So, when we get—I am going to sit down with them and make sure that they are clear and I am clear as to what is in the record and what isn‘t in the record, and we‘ll put it out. I have no problem with that.
RUSSERT: Would you sign form 180?
KERRY: Yes, I will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Captain Bailey, several others believe that John Kerry should go ahead and sign this form, as he told Tim Russert he would on January 30. When is he going to do that?
HURLEY: I don‘t know. I‘m sure it‘s soon. He said he would sign it.
He is going to sign it, Joe, and I am sure it won‘t take that long.
You have to remember that John Kerry disclosed, put out for the public record, more of his military records than any candidate in presidential history. I mean, it is all out there, his fitness reports, his medal citations. I mean, every bit of John Kerry‘s military record is already out there. And he will sign this 180, but his record is already out there.
And, more importantly, and what this is all about is fighting. This is not campaign. This is balderdash that Captain Bailey is engaged in. The campaign is over. There‘s no self-serving motivation on the part of John Kerry with this legislation. This is because he feels so vitally strongly about the rights and benefits that should be awarded to veterans and military families, and that is why he is fighting for this.
This is part of his military families bill of rights, which he advocated during the campaign. And now he didn‘t win the presidency, but he is delivering on his promises. That‘s the John Kerry that we all know.
BAILEY: Mr. Hurley, you believe in the Tooth Fairy, too? HURLEY: Are you speaking to me, Captain Bailey?
BAILEY: Yes, I am, because everything you are saying tells me that you don‘t understand where John Kerry is coming from.
HURLEY: I understand very well. I have known him 35 years, sir. I also know that John McCain supported this legislation. I know that Chuck Hagel supported this legislation. I know that veterans organizations around this country supported this legislation.
BAILEY: How do you like this, Mr. Hurley?
HURLEY: And I don‘t understand why oppose it. This is pro-veterans.
BAILEY: I support the legislation. What I object to is John Kerry putting himself on point, as if he were the hero from 1969.
And when the vet—you mentioned one million veterans signed up on his Web site. I was explicitly talking about the Vietnam veterans who voted against him in great percentages and great numbers. You haven‘t addressed that.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, gentlemen, we are going to have to leave it there. We have been around that track already.
Captain Bailey, John Hurley, thanks for being with us tonight. I greatly appreciate it.
I just got to say, very quickly, two points in closing. First of all, so much of this still goes back to 1971 and the testimony. John Kerry needs to get that behind him if he ever does want to run for president of the United States again. And, secondly, I don‘t care why he did it. I think all politicians I know, because I have been in Congress, and I know all politicians have some motivation for everything they do. As my first law partner told me, the proof is in the pudding. It‘s what you actually pass.
And I think what was passed in the United States Senate today goes a long way to addressing a lot of the concerns that we have had in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY now for several years.
Coming up next, a new law in Florida has some worried that the Sunshine State is about to become lawless wild, wild West.
And the Berman sisters are with us tonight to talk about their new book and the effect of sex on our teenagers.
Don‘t go away. We‘ll be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: Coming up straight ahead, are the “Desperate Housewives” detrimental to the health of America‘s housewives? That and much more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
But, first, here‘s the latest news that you and your family need to know.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, I have been very lucky in my life to not only be a member of Congress, but also to be a newspaper publisher and to be an attorney. So, when I go in and read newspapers, obviously, I study the headlines. I study the stories. I see if people are being treated fairly.
Well, we‘ve, of course, been using recent media watch segments to talk about the intense scrutiny surrounding Tom DeLay from the mainstream media, while at the same time, the same media seems to have given former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger a walk, after he pled guilty to stealing top secret documents from the National Archives. Berger called it big misunderstanding, the act of an absent-minded professor, who somehow ended up with top-secret documents stuffed in his socks and stuffed in his shirt.
Well, this is our view from SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH (voice-over): But now he admits to stealing five classified documents and destroying three of them. Cutting them into little pieces in his Washington apartment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you swear or affirm to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
SAMUEL BERGER, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I do.
SCARBOROUGH: All of this on the eve of his testimony before the 9/11 Commission, the most important intelligence hearing in U.S. history. President Clinton laughed it off, just saying Berger was sloppy and messy.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that the innocent explanation is the most likely one, particularly given the facts involved. And I know him. He is a good man. He has worked his heart out for this country.
SCARBOROUGH: Not surprising from a president whose administration was notoriously lax in the national security department.
When the CEO of Loral, one of the Clintons‘ biggest campaign contributors, wanted to sell highly sensitive missile technology to China, the Pentagon said no. Anthony Lake, who preceded Berger, said no, the State Department, no. But former DNC Chair Ron Brown said yes. So, Bill Clinton justified the sale.
While Berger was destroying top-secret documents that he had stolen, the 9/11 Commission was uncovering other documents written by terror chief Richard Clarke, complaining that Sandy Berger‘s NSA group didn‘t do enough their final years in the White House. Then, last week, under protective P.R. cover of the Schiavo and pope stories, Sandy Berger pled guilty to stealing and destroying classified documents.
“The New York Times” reported it deep inside the front section. Their headline: “An Episode Damaging to a One-time High Official Is Effectively Laid to Rest.” Effectively laid to rest? This written by “The Times,” despite the fact that we still don‘t know why Bill Clinton‘s top-security official stole and destroyed classified material. Was he protecting Bill Clinton? Was he doing John Kerry‘s bidding in the midst of a heated presidential campaign, where the 9/11 hearings were seen as the Democrats‘ best chance to beat Bush?
Was he trying to cover up embarrassing revelations about his own mismanagement of the 9/11 debacle? And why would an esteemed Washington figure, who was in line to be John Kerry‘s secretary of state, risk destroying his career and landing in jail for 10 years by shoving documents down his undergarments?
If left to “The New York Times” and mainstream media, the world would never know. But while “The Times” was laying the Berger case to rest, they dumped an avalanche of Tom DeLay stories on their readers, considering legal payments to his wife and daughter to be more important than getting to the bottom of a scandal that goes to the heart of America‘s national security. And the question remains, why?
SCARBOROUGH: And, you know, as an attorney, there have been times when I have had depositions that I have gone through boxes after boxes of documents. And you always try to figure out the motivation of the person who either broke the law or did something wrong. That is the question. Why? Why did he do it? Why would he take this gigantic risk? Why would he ruin his reputation? Who was he trying to protect? We still don‘t know the answer, but we are going to keep digging.
Now let‘s turn to another story. People are now talking about what is going on in Florida. But, before we get to Florida, watch this video from an Akron, Ohio, pizza parlor. Now imagine that you are the man being beaten. How would you defend yourself? Well, a new law in Florida says that, even before being hit, this victim would be within his legal right to use deadly force against his attacker.
In fact, the law would make it legal for people to shoot or stab someone in a public place if they feel they are in danger. This includes, of course, little league games, hospitals and playgrounds.
Now, Governor Jeb Bush calls it a good commonsense anti-crime bill, while opponents say it‘s going to turn Florida into a new wild, wild West. And, of course, that could mean your state also.
Here to talk about it is Florida State Representative Dennis Baxley, who sponsored the bill. We have Arthur Hayhoe, of the Florida Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. We also have Bo Dietl. He‘s a former New York City homicide detective and the host of MSNBC‘s “DIETL & DANIELS.”
Baby, that sounds good, Bo, doesn‘t it, “DIETL & DANIELS”?
BO DIETL, CO-HOST, “DIETL & DANIELS”: She is a lawyer from Harvard, and I am a detective. It makes us pretty good.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
Well, as a detective who has worked the streets, how would you like this bill to pass, let‘s say, in New York City, while you are doing detective work?
DIETL: Joe, we are police officers. Police officers go out there. They are highly trained to use justifiable and necessary or even deadly physical force. They are trained to do this.
And we come up on a scene, and there‘s self-defense or whatever someone says. We investigate it. We bring it to the district attorney. They make a determination if, in fact, it was justifiable or not. What you are having here now—and this is opening this up. Here‘s an example, real quick example. A guy is cheating on his wife. His wife is cheating with somebody.
All of a sudden, the boyfriend gets a call. And the husband says, I am going to kill you if you see my wife again. No, but the boyfriend goes and kills the husband. And he goes to the court and says, underneath the new Florida law that these bingos are doing down there, I had to kill him because I was in fear of my life. He said he was going to kill me.
This is crazy. Instead of these guys passing these idiot laws down there, why don‘t you get the pedophile laws or get these pedophiles registered down there in Florida, like this other little girl that just disappeared. You know who that is? That‘s one of the 150,000 pedophiles that they don‘t know where they are. That‘s what you should be doing in Florida, instead of ludicrous and ridiculous law. And Jeb Bush must be smoking a crack pipe.
SCARBOROUGH: Representative Baxley, you are the one that wrote this law that Bo Dietl—well, I‘ll tell you what. We will put him down as undecided on it. But you wrote this bill.
DENNIS BAXLEY ®, FLORIDA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: It sounded like he‘s out of control.
DIETL: No, I‘m not undecided about it.
SCARBOROUGH: You wrote this bill, and a lot of people think it‘s going to turn Florida into a new wild, wild West.
Let‘s say, for instance, somebody yells at an umpire, starts screaming because he doesn‘t like a call in a little league game. The umpire might feel, like, as he walks off the field, the guy comes up and charges him. He may say, hey, you know what? I feel like my life is at risk, takes out a gun, kills him. I mean, there are a lot of scary scenarios that can be attached to your bill, aren‘t there?
BAXLEY: This is a bunch of irrational stuff. We had the same thing in 1987, when we passed the right to carry.
In fact, we know that Florida is going to have a good home protection, self-protection bill that will stop crime in its tracks. And the only way this law protects you is if you are under a violent attack and you are in a place that you have a lawful right to be, you are not violating a law, you have a right to have a weapon because you are permitted, and you stand your ground, instead of running away. That‘s the only time.
DIETL: Well, that‘s self-defense.
BAXLEY: All this other stuff is absolutely irrational. And I would bet this detective has never read the bill.
DIETL: Do you carry a gun?
BAXLEY: No, sir. I do not. I don‘t need to.
DIETL: All right. But my point is, that‘s self-defense. If someone is beating my kid up, I have a gun. I carry a gun. If somebody is shooting at my wife or kids or something, I will shoot back at them.
But I‘m talking about, does this law state that, if you are in fear, like, I just gave an example—if someone says, I am going to kill you for cheating with my wife and then, all of a sudden, he reacts first and kills the husband, is that when what this law means? Is this going to be encompassed into this law? If it is, it‘s a silly law.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, let me read the law, OK, Bo? Hold on a second.
According to the law, it‘s known as the Protection of Persons and Property Bill. It says this—quote—“A person may use deadly force in a public place if they have a reasonable belief that they are in danger of death or great bodily harm.”
Now, Arthur Hayhoe, you think that this bill is irrational. You think it‘s going to cause a lot of people to be shot. You think that the NRA put this representative up to it. A lot of people out there say, hey, you know what? Hit sounds like self-defense to me?
ARTHUR HAYHOE, FLORIDA COALITION TO STOP GUN VIOLENCE: Well, to begin with, I represent the victims that will be created by this new law that the legislature and the NRA want to abandon to this gunplay this bill is going to create.
I don‘t think it will create blood in the street, but some innocent people are going to be hurt. More than 30 years ago, our legislature decided what? Guess what? They decided too many Floridians were killing each other, shooting each other. So they passed the Jack Hagler self-defense law. And that basically says, you must retreat if you can safely in your home, your car, or wherever you are at.
If you can do it safely, you need to retreat. And we have had that law for 30 years. It‘s worked well. And it‘s now—I am sure it‘s saved a great many lives. Now, what are we going to do? Now we are going to abandon all this. Now...
BAXLEY: We are going to meet force with force. That‘s what we‘re going to do.
HAYHOE: That‘s right.
HAYHOE: It says, we‘re going to meet force with force. We do not have to retreat if I feel threatened.
BAXLEY: And that‘s a limiting factor.
DIETL: Let‘s get rid of the police department.
BAXLEY: If somebody pokes you with their finger, you can poke them back.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second, guys. Stop.
Bo Dietl, I want to ask you, Bo Dietl, is there a problem?
BAXLEY: ... this great idea, and I am not getting a chance to explain to you why it‘s a great idea.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, we are going to—let me ask you, Bo Dietl, you know, we are talking about retreat. Should somebody be forced to retreat? Should you be forced to retreat if your family is in danger, if you sense that you are in danger?
DIETL: No, I don‘t believe that.
And I think we are missing the point here. I think, in a self-defense issue, if your family is being attacked, you take a bat. You take the guy‘s head off. Or if you have a gun and they are trying to attack your kid and stab your kid, you can shoot them. You do that and I am supportive of that.
HAYHOE: You can do that in Florida.
DIETL: Because that is self-defense.
But I am talking about this. If you have a feeling, if you have a belief or that you are threatened, that you can react and react first, then you open up a whole Pandora‘s box here. You have got to be careful when you pass these laws.
SCARBOROUGH: Representative Baxley, go ahead.
BAXLEY: This is going to be a safer state because you are going to have the presumption of law, that this state is behind you if you are protecting yourself from deadly attack.
You know, running away from a person that is attacking you is a good way to get shot and killed in the back. And the presumption—sure, the prosecutors would rather decide, when they have got 20-20 vision to look over the thing after the fact. But you only have two seconds. Now, what are you going to do? Are you going to protect yourself, your family, or are you going to run away and get shot from behind and have other people hurt? This crime will help stop—this bill will help stop crime in its tracks.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks for being with us.
Arthur, thank you.
Bo, as always, thank you. We look forward to seeing your show coming up.
And also, coming up straight ahead, “Desperate Housewives” is just a comedy on TV, but the sexual images that bombard our teens every day is no laughing matter to parents. Here to talk about it coming up next are Drs. Jennifer and Laura Berman with their new book, also.
Don‘t go away. That‘s coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, American teens are inundated with sexual images every day. The news of teen idol‘s Britney Spears‘ virginity, marriage, quickie divorce and now pregnancy is everywhere. Sunday‘s prime-time hit celebrates a desperate married housewife having sex with a 17-year-old.
A lot of people are asking, is nothing out of bounds, and why are these shows so popular with Americans?
With us now are Dr. Laura Berman and Dr. Jennifer Berman. They‘re the authors of new book out today, “Secrets of the Sexually Satisfied Woman.”
First, Jennifer, let‘s start with you.
Other than staying away from men like me, what is the big secret of your book?
DR. JENNIFER BERMAN, FEMALE SEXUAL MEDICINE CENTER: I think really what we delineated in our book, as well as the Lifetime special, which is airing on the 17th, is that there are certain factors that sexually satisfied women have in common, one, be it having a satisfying relationship, positive body image and self-esteem, a life, hobbies, diet, exercise, nutrition, general health and wellness, a sense of spirituality and connectedness, not to mention understanding their sexual anatomy and being able to communicate that to their partner. These are some of the secrets that we learned from our sexually satisfied women.
SCARBOROUGH: Jennifer, you know, we are showing clips right now of “Desperate Housewives.” And, obviously, it‘s just a runaway hit. A lot of people—I think it was No. 1 rated show this week.
Tell me, do shows like this actually, like, for instance, having an exciting life, running around with teenage boys, cheating on husbands, are these the secret to being sexually satisfied, or is it a dead-end road?
DR. LAURA BERMAN, DIRECTOR, BERMAN CENTER: I don‘t think it‘s necessarily the secret to being sexually satisfied, but it‘s something that appeals to all of us on one level or another, appeals to our innermost wishes or fantasies, things that we would never do in our real life. We can live vicariously through these characters.
And I think, for most women who are watching—and I know they have a huge female audience, as well as male audience—we see pieces of ourselves in each one of the characters. Each one of the characters is sort of a caricature of a part of ourselves that kind of appeals to us.
J. BERMAN: That‘s not giving permission, but it‘s certainly, as Laura said, pointing out the importance of fantasy and novelty.
Now, when—we don‘t act on those things and we are certainly not condoning acting on those impulses, but it‘s natural to have those thoughts, if not even fantasies.
L. BERMAN: And fun to watch them acted out on television, which is why the show is so popular.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me ask you.
I will go to you first, Jennifer. You go into—I go to Barnes & Noble on the weekend. I look at all the magazines. It seems like every woman‘s magazine has a story about sex, how to satisfy your man, how to satisfy yourself, whether it‘s “Cosmopolitan,” whatever it is, “Home & Gardens,” how to have sex with a gardener in the begonia bed.
SCARBOROUGH: I mean, every single magazine is about sex. And yet I hear every day on this show what a prudish country we are, how we need to be more open about sex, how we need to be more like France. There‘s such a disconnect here. Explain that.
J. BERMAN: Well, I mean, clearly, sex sells.
And from our perspective as researchers and health care providers in this field, sexuality is an essential part of general health and wellness, just as we care for our bodies, we care for our hearts, we care for our cholesterol and our blood pressure. Tending to sexual health is an essential part of health and wellness, and having a sexually fulfilling life leads to a happier life. We‘re going to the gym more. We‘re stopping smoking. We‘re connecting with our partners. We‘re living longer.
So, sex is emotion. Sex is happiness, and sex is obviously, you know....
L. BERMAN: And it‘s something that fascinates us all. I think it‘s something that we love to talk about, we love to think about, but we don‘t necessarily put into practice the most effective way. So, that‘s where it gets tricky.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Stay with us. We‘ll be right back in a second. We‘ve got to take a quick break.
Be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘re back with Dr. Laura Berman. And we‘re also back with Dr. Jennifer Berman.
Laura, let me go to you.
For parents who are concerned about their children being bombarded with all these sexual images on TV day in and day out, movies, magazine stands, day in and day out, what advice do you give them?
L. BERMAN: Well, I think the most important thing is to understand that you are not going to be able to put your kids in a plastic bubble and protect them from all of the sexualized images they‘re going to be exposed to. Whether you like it or not, they are there.
So, the best thing to do is take advantage of them as teachable moments and take advantage by talking to your kids about what they are seeing, bringing it up, using those moments in those television shows, in those magazines in the magazine aisles and those cover stories that they are seeing, and ask them what they think about it. Use it as a chance to impart your own sexual values to them and use it as fodder for conversation, because the sexual talk should not be one big talk. It should be an ongoing dialogue that you have on an ongoing basis with your kids.
SCARBOROUGH: Drs. Jennifer and Laura Berman, thanks a lot for being with us tonight. We appreciate it.
The book again, “The Sexually Satisfied Woman.” And they have a Lifetime special airing on the 17th. You don‘t want to miss that.
You also don‘t want to miss “HARDBALL” coming up next. Chris is going to be talking about the secrets of the sexually satisfied male, or politics, one of the two. I‘m not sure.
We‘ll see you tomorrow night. Have a great night.
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