Guest: Lawrence Korb, Rachel Maddow, Max Kellerman
MONICA CROWLEY, GUEST HOST: And Tucker has got a day off situation. But we've got new information coming out of Aruba; plus, a 7-year-old boy charged with killing his mother's boyfriend.
But, first, let me introduce tonight's panel. He is the co-host of CNBC's “Closing Bell,” Tyler Mathisen, and, from Air America, Rachel Maddow.
Thanks, guys, for being here.
RACHEL MADDOW, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hi, Monica.
CROWLEY: Nice to have you.
Well, first up, the terrorism situation in London and around the world. The already jangled nerves of English commuters were further frayed today when police chased, tackled and shot a man to death at the Stockwell tube station. The man was reportedly wearing a heavy overcoat, very odd for mid-July. But it's not yet clear if he were a suspect in Thursday's bombings, suspected of terrorist intent or mistaken for somebody else.
And late news from Egypt tonight, that as many as seven explosions, three reported car bombs, rocked a tourist resort on the Red Sea, killing at least 31 people and wounding at least 136 more.
So, we have quite a terrorism situation here. Today, British authorities shot to death one of the suspected bombers, somebody that they had in their sights, somebody that they had been profiling in this specific case. So, what is wrong with shoot-to-kill orders? Why not approach these suspected terrorists in the way that they approach us, in other words, kill them before they have a chance to kill you?
MADDOW: Well, hopefully, the—the—the practical reason you don't necessarily always want to shoot them first is because you want to get some information out of them.
I mean, the bright spot in this whole second bombing attempt is that it failed and that it opened up a lot of evidence that hopefully can help unravel this entire plot. There are unexploded bombs. They've got clothing. They've got one dead suspect. They have got a lot of stuff to work with in terms of trying to unravel this plot.
TYLER MATHISEN, CNBC ANCHOR: I think in this case, the guy was fleeing a police command. And it probably—he didn't obey. He ran onto a train. And he was garbed in a way that caused people to have an awful lot of suspicion.
This is a war. And I think, in some cases, while police certainly do make a lot of mistakes—don't get me wrong. I don't always think that they're always right in these situations. In a situation like this, you have to realize when a police person gives you an order, you have to comply with that or you run the risk of...
CROWLEY: Isn't—isn't that right, though, Rachel, that if—if it looks like there's an imminent threat coming from somebody who behaving, as Tyler said, very suspiciously, why not take them out before they have a chance to do more harm?
MADDOW: I don't think there's a controversy about that in this case. I mean, there's a witness report that said it looked like he was possibly wearing a bomb belt. The police shot him in a way that looked like they were trying to avoid a detonation. I mean, if a person is a human bomb and about to set themselves off, nobody is willing to say that they shouldn't be killed in that case.
CROWLEY: Do you—do you think this is coming too late, Tyler? Do you think the U.K. has a radical Islamist problem, that, in fact, they've coddled these extremists for far too long and these kind of shoot-to-kill orders are coming too late?
MATHISEN: Well, I think that—I think what needs to happen is that the more moderate Islamic people in London, wherever they are, need to step up and—and put a stop to this kind—to the behavior that leads to—or the rabble-rousing that leads to—to bombings.
It seems clear to me that, in this case, this was a person of interest, of suspicion who acted suspiciously, disobeyed a police order. And at that—who knows whether he spoke English, too. We don't know that, which could cause a real problem. He may not have known what the commands were. I don't know that. But, in this case, it seems to me that, in likelihood, the police acted reasonably.
MADDOW: I don't believe the shoot-to-kill orders are the situation here. I mean, if you—if you know the person that you need to shoot at who is an imminent suicide bomber, nobody is going to have any controversy over that.
The question is whether or not they're going to be able to unravel this plot.
CROWLEY: But there is a little bit of controversy here on whether or not this guy was actually a suicide bomber.
CROWLEY: These four bombers took off. Maybe they didn't intend to commit suicide.
MADDOW: Right. We'll know.
CROWLEY: So, we'll have see if shoot to kill comes to the United States.
Coming up, next situation, Hillary Clinton's vote on John Roberts for the U.S. Supreme Court. She hasn't made it yet, of course. But a piece in “The New York Daily News,” one of Hillary's adopted hometown papers, says that the senator's vote will say a lot about her presidential bid. A vote for Judge Roberts could alienate pro-choice advocates. But the piece points out that Mrs. Clinton is nothing if not Machiavellian and has moved right as 2008 approaches.
MADDOW: You have to get Machiavelli there. You have to get it in there.
CROWLEY: But we've seen this slow tango on the part of Hillary Clinton, moving to the center. She clearly wants to run for president.
She understands that, in order to win a national election in the United States, you win to the right of center. She's going to vote for this guy, isn't she?
MADDOW: Well, I think that the idea that the 2008 election is going to be decided on the basis of a 2005 vote on a Supreme Court judge is a little bit nuts. I mean, obviously, a lot of is going to happen between now and '08.
This is probably not the only Supreme Court justice she's going to be voting on. You can use this story to paint her as Machiavellian and turning her into George W. Bush, but this is a nonstory.
MATHISEN: She would have—she would have nothing to lose in New York by voting against him. But she would have a lot to lose by voting against him in other states, like Tennessee, like Ohio.
MADDOW: But do you really think that, in '08, this is going to be the first thing on people's minds?
MATHISEN: No, I think there will be several other Supreme Court votes that probably will come up before now and then and other issues.
MATHISEN: So, I don't think this would be anything more than one of the pieces of a puzzle that conservatives would use, should she decide to vote against him, against her.
MADDOW: It's not like they have any shortage of...
MATHISEN: No, they don't.
CROWLEY: Does she risk—does she risk vote—alienating pro-choice voters if she votes against the guy? If she votes for the guy, is she going to alienate the other constituency? She's trying to court pro-life voters. She's trying to court—really court Christian right voters. And if she, you know...
CROWLEY: ... really going to matter to the votes that she needs in middle America if she intends to win a presidential election?
MADDOW: Monica, I feel like that's become the common wisdom about what Hillary is doing about abortion issues in a way that is not necessarily rooted in fact.
What she said about abortion is that, you know what, people who are pro-life aren't necessarily bad people. We all share an interest in reducing the numbers of abortions in this country.
CROWLEY: Doesn't that mean she's trying to have it both ways?
MADDOW: No. It means—she says, we want to increase federal funding.
She's—what she's done is, she's refined her position on abortion in a way that sounds good to most of the country. She hasn't actually changed anything at all.
CROWLEY: Sounds like a politician to me, Rachel.
MADDOW: Well, it sounds like smart politics. There's nothing wrong with that.
CROWLEY: Got to move on.
New developments in the stabbing of a man by his girlfriend's 7-year-old son. The boy will be charged with murder, but will likely receive therapy and counseling away from the state juvenile prison. The central question of this case is his capacity to determine right from wrong.
Asked if the boy understood why he was jailed, the public who interviewed said, that's the $1-million question.
And isn't that the central question? Can a 7-year-old really understand right from wrong? I say you bet, because you don't see a lot of 7-years-old killing living things, never mind a person. There's a sort of inherent sense of morality and right and wrong, even in very young children.
MATHISEN: I think so. I think you're right on that.
But I think that it's too much to imply that a 7-year-old knows exactly what they're doing. I don't—I have a 12-year-old boy. When my son was 7, I'm not sure that he would have known. I think he would have known not to stab somebody, but this little boy grew up in a house it was alleged that the mother was out smoking crack in a crack den while this took place. Who knows what the upbringing and—and—and the circumstances were here.
I think the question is, certainly, he would be reasonable—you would think that he would know right from wrong, but we don't know what the other circumstances around this child's upbringing are and whether there are—I don't think that you want to charge this person as an adult, in effect, if that's what you're saying here.
CROWLEY: Well, even if there are mitigating circumstances here that we're not—not aware of yet, Rachel, this was a very manual crime. This was a personalized crime. This 7-year-old took a knife and sunk it into the body of this man. That indicates—that would indicate rage in an adult.
CROWLEY: So, how do you deal with a child that young who engages in that kind of...
MADDOW: I think that's a really central issue in this case.
When I first heard about it, I assumed it was a shooting. And I was thinking, this was going to be a case of an unlocked gun or something. But this was a case where it was a stabbing. And that's a very, very direct crime. To take a 7-year-old—and imagine yourself as a—with a 7-year-old mind being capable of doing that—we need to figure out what is going on in this kid's head and you need to figure out what has happened in his upbringing that made him capable of this.
CROWLEY: Do you do jail or just rehabilitation and therapy?
MADDOW: Well, if you're saying that...
MADDOW: ... he knew right from wrong, that's the adult standard of legal right and wrong. I mean, do you really want this kid to be on death row for doing this? No, he's 7.
CROWLEY: Well, but if you jail the child, obviously, it's not deterrence, because a not a lot of 7-year-old kids are going around killing people. But it would be punishment, which I think would be appropriate.
MATHISEN: I think, the child is going to be in—certainly in a rehab situation for years and years to come. This isn't a case where it was bang, bang, you're dead. He wasn't playing.
MATHISEN: This was sort of a different level.
But I'm not ready to leap to the thing that—to the—to the conclusion that the child really knew exactly what he was doing and that there was mortal intent when he did it.
MADDOW: Yes. They need to figure out what is going on in his head.
CROWLEY: All right, next up, a situation at the United Nations, no, not an oil-for-food situation or kickbacks or even John Bolton. It's a Donald Trump situation, inevitable, I guess.
CROWLEY: The U.N. building over on the East Side of Manhattan is in dire need of renovation. And the current plan calls for a $1.2 billion project funded by American taxpayers.
Trump went before Congress on Thursday to say he could get the job done better for half the price. Of course he could. And he offered on the record to waive his fee. Of course he did.
Well, if nothing else, this guy certainly knows how to sell.
CROWLEY: And I say, you know what? If trump can do it better and cheaper, let him at it.
MATHISEN: Can't get enough of Donald Trump, you know? I just want to wait for the moment when he goes to the delegate from Namibia and says, you're fired.
MATHISEN: That's going to be a beautiful moment. I mean, the guy has nothing if not chutzpah.
My taste isn't for gold leaf. So, I'd rather not go that way.
MATHISEN: But, you know, if he says he can do it, if he's the right guy to do it, lord knows he knows the inside of the building business in New York City.
CROWLEY: Well, I'd love to see him tear down the United Nations.
MADDOW: Of course you would.
CROWLEY: But that's just my opinion.
MADDOW: You could probably be ambassador, if they can't get John Bolton in there.
CROWLEY: Hey, listen, I think Donald Trump—I think Donald Trump should turn it co-op. I mean, that's a lovely piece of real estate on the East River.
MADDOW: Well, that's what they—it's going to make it much easier to sell to the U.N., this big U.S. idea, if we tell them, listen, it's going to be bronze-plated.
MADDOW: It's going to be very tasteful. They're going to be very overpriced condos on the top, and the United States diplomats will never show up for work. There's going to be plenty of space. It's going to be easy to sell.
CROWLEY: Well, do you think that Trump should try to enter the bidding here?
CROWLEY: Try—try to get the contract?
MADDOW: Sure. Why not.
The thing that is weird is that he's making this case to the U.S.
Senate for the United Nations?
CROWLEY: And you know what? A Democratic senator said, when can he start?
CROWLEY: I love that attitude.
CROWLEY: OK, Rachel, Tyler, please stick around.
There's so much more ahead on THE SITUATION.
CROWLEY (voice-over): A violent video game ignites a firestorm. But wait until you see what's really got some parents up in arms.
Stress on the beach, why tropical getaways aren't what they used to be.
Picked up for not picking up, proof that good fences do make good neighbors.
Plus, hail to the chief's mom. Barbara Bush give her “hair apparent” the brush-off.
It's all ahead on THE SITUATION.
BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY; I just don't like having an almost 60-year-old white-haired son.
CROWLEY: Coming up, ever get the wrong side of your head drilled into? How about having your esophagus ripped out for no reason? Doctors under attack for botching surgeries, that's next.
CROWLEY: Welcome back.
Time now for “Op Ed Op Ed.” Our crack staff has read just about every editorial page in the country again today. And we plucked three of the best, to which Rachel, Tyler and I will offer our considered replies.
You guys ready?
CROWLEY: All right, first up, today's “New York Times” discusses how the controversial video game “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” has a lot to tell us, unfortunately, about American culture.
A recent modification to the game allowed players to watch explicit sex—quote—“Without the modification, all you could do in the fictional territory of San Andreas was engage in explicitly sociopathic, not to say psychopathic, criminality. With the modification, you get all that and a little virtual sex as well.”
All right, so, this is one of the most violent things out there. And now, all of a sudden, they throw in a little explicit sex, and now, now, lawmakers like Hillary Clinton are all up in arms. What's that about?
MATHISEN: We get overly freaked out about sexual topics. Just think back to Janet Jackson a year ago, when she revealed her—or Justin Timberlake kindly revealed her left breast. I don't allow this game in my home. My son loves these kinds of games. I don't allow it in.
The thing that bothers me about it is the violence, period.
CROWLEY: Well, where were all of these lawmakers, including, yes, Hillary Clinton, who has been talking about this video game, where were all of they, Rachel, when it was just about shooting cops?
MADDOW: Well, listen, there's—there's video games out there put out by—like there's a game out there by Resistance Records called “Ethnic Cleansing,” which is a first-person race war game, where you put on a Klan outfit and go shoot black people.
I mean, there are video games out there that will actually, actually curdle your minds. I mean, it's really—there's a lot of horrible stuff out there. What's happened with the “Grand Theft Auto” is now it's adults only, which is probably right. But the tricky thing here is that the explicit sex part of it was not added by the manufacturer. It was a hack.
And so, the manufacturer is in effect being penalized for something that some hacker did to the game. It's a little bit tricky there.
CROWLEY: Well, I think it's about time we summoned some outrage over the violence in these video games, rather than just the sex.
All right, “The Tampa Tribune” now calls today for sharper penalties for surgical mistakes, the kind that are on the rise in the state of Florida. In the last year, 38 doctors have been fined for operating on the wrong body part and face fines ranging from $10,000 to $20,000. Florida Board of Medicine members are now studying if they should begin suspending the licenses of doctors.
Well, you go in for a tonsillectomy and you come out with one leg.
CROWLEY: I mean, I'm exaggerating here.
MADDOW: But do you still have your cough? That's the question.
CROWLEY: You—you know, it doesn't happen all the time. These things are relatively rare. But the question is, do you trust your doctor?
MADDOW: We have a giant lumbering health care system that costs a mint, leaves 45 million people without health insurance, and still produces doctors who are cutting off a leg, instead of taking out tonsils.
I mean, our whole health care system, it's—it's like a Rolls-Royce trying to drive across the desert, has all these nice luxury things, but it fundamentally doesn't drive. It fundamentally doesn't work.
MATHISEN: I think that the professions generally, doctors, lawyers, accountants, CEOs, they are all too clubby. I have no problem with removing the protections that doctors hide behind. I think more of them ought to be brought up on charges. More of them ought to lose their license. And the medical boards ought to have some teeth, which they do not so far seem to have.
CROWLEY: Do you think that doctors are increasingly negligent or are we just hearing more about it?
MATHISEN: I think we hear more about it. And I think the system is -
· is—is creaky and breaking. I think that's part of the reason why the doctors make these kinds of mistakes. They're overtaxed. The checks and balances aren't there. And things get messed up. And there are bad doctors out there.
CROWLEY: And malpractice now is out of control. So, good doctors are opting out.
In “USA Today,” Desda Moss says our attachment to technology is to blame for the fact that even vacations have become stressful and exhausting: “As the boundaries between our work and personal lives grow blurrier, getting away from the demands of our overscheduled multitasking culture seems to get harder every day.”
Why can't we just chill out on a vacation? What's wrong with us?
MADDOW: When you go on vacation, do you? You don't even go on vacation.
CROWLEY: The BlackBerry, the cell phone.
CROWLEY: What's wrong with us? What is it about our culture that sort of instills this work ethic that you take along, you pack with your bikini, and you bring it on vacation with you?
MADDOW: It's the rat race thing. I mean, I went on vacation last week, for the first time in a long time. I brought a to do-list a mile long. And I came back and worked during the middle of the week.
And I was thinking, why am I still so fried this week? It's this rat race culture that we have that doesn't actually help us get more work done, because we're fried all the time. And so, we're never efficient.
MATHISEN: We have become addicted to work. We have become addicted to our technology. I feel lost, naked, if I don't have my cell phone with me. I—I freak out if I can't find it.
But, when I go on vacation, I turn it off.
MATHISEN: I don't log in all that much, if at all. I'm ready to sit back, have a gin and tonic and enjoy.
CROWLEY: The only person in America.
CROWLEY: Ladies and gentlemen.
MADDOW: But do you notice he said not much? I don't log in...
MATHISEN: Not that much.
MADDOW: Only six or seven times a day on the BlackBerry. I know.
CROWLEY: I just—I don't think it's healthy for any of us. I mean, you take a look at the Europeans. And they certainly have their issues. And I certainly have my problems with a lot of those member countries, but they know how to take a break.
MATHISEN: A month off is a nice thing.
CROWLEY: We need more of it here in this country.
MADDOW: Who do we talk to about that?
CROWLEY: Get the boss on the phone.
CROWLEY: Coming up, after yet another incident in London, isn't it about time we step up racial profiling in this country? A terrorism expert who says no joins me right after the break.
Plus, an update on the Natalee Holloway search situation in Aruba. Is the FBI about to step in?
Details coming up.
CROWLEY: Welcome back.
Well, the London bombings have police in New York City now searching bags on subways. But they're doing it at random. Mayor Michael Bloomberg says police will not racially profile subway passengers because terrorists come in all shapes and sizes. But is this just political correctness run amok? Should police be on the lookout for young Muslim men, like the ones who appear to be responsible for the London bombings?
Joining me now is Lawrence Korb. He is a senior fellow at the Center For American Progress.
Great to see you, Larry. Welcome.
LAWRENCE KORB, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Nice to be with you, Monica.
CROWLEY: So, let me first ask you about this now standing policy in the United Kingdom that essentially says, if there's a suspected terrorist who is on the run posing an imminent threat, that British authorities now have the authority to shoot them to death on the spot. Good idea?
KORB: Well, if it's an imminent threat, and I think that's the key thing. And who's to decide whether it's an imminent threat? If you're going to shoot to kill, you better have darn good information, because, if you make mistakes, you're going to cause more problems than you solve.
CROWLEY: Well, what about taking them out? What about the general concept of taking out these terrorists before they have the opportunity to kill a bunch of innocent people?
KORB: Well, again, if you have, you know, what Don Rumsfeld here would call action—elegant intelligence or actionable intelligence, certainly, you can do that. But the burden of proof has got to be on the government or the people who are doing the shooting.
CROWLEY: Now, today, the New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, said that he was not going to endorse a policy of racial profiling, at least in the city of New York, because he said profiling isn't fair.
And I want to make two points here. Certainly, terrorists certainly aren't fair. And, number two, just about every act of international terrorism we've seen since the 1960s involved the same person. And, by that, I mean Arab men, Muslim men between the ages of 17 and 34. Shouldn't we be directing our resources really at that profile of person?
KORB: No, I think Mayor Bloomberg is correct, for two reasons.
Number one, this is not who we are in America. We do not profile. We do not discriminate on the basis of anything. But, more importantly, this is a war of ideas that we are having with these radical jihadists. And the last thing you want do is confirm in their minds that it's us—us against them. They're pretty smart. They'll figure out. If you're going to profile and just go after Muslim men or, you know, South Asians, they'll get other people they will hire to do these things.
CROWLEY: And we do have some evidence, Larry, to suggest that al Qaeda may be thinking out of the box in the way that you're suggesting, trying to recruit African-American men, even women.
But, for the most part, we—the general profile does seem to still exist that we are talking about certain individuals from a certain part of the world with a radical Islamist fanaticism. And shouldn't we really—I guess it's a question of resources. Shouldn't we be directing our resources to that group of people, even if it's not politically correct to do that, rather than try to strip-search the little old lady from Pasadena?
KORB: Well, yes.
But if you look on the Homeland Security Web site, I think they have a very good way to do it. You look at people who are acting suspiciously. They may be sweating. They're whispering. They're, you know, carrying stuff that you wouldn't expect them to do. I think that is going to be much better in the long run than picking out people because they happen to represent a group which we think poses a threat.
I mean, after all, if we were after the IRA, you know, years ago, would you stop all Irish-Americans, for example? I think you really have to be careful when you go down that track. And I do applaud what Mayor Bloomberg is doing.
CROWLEY: Well, Larry, there's a wire report coming to us tonight that a U.S. government source now reports that uncorroborated information obtained in early July, of this month, suggests that al Qaeda has planned to attack Los Angeles and San Diego, the targets, in this order of priority, nuclear facility, military airport, civilian airport, and a large hospital.
How do we go about preventing that kind of attack, if we have this uncorroborated information and we do know about terrorist chatter to suggest this kind of thing? How might we go about preempting that kind of thing, if we're not going to profile?
KORB: Well, I think what you have to do is, you have to share intelligence with other agencies, other countries and get these people before they came.
You know, President Bush in his State of the Union address a couple of years ago made a tremendous point. He said, you know, working with intelligence agencies around the world, we've arrested over 3,000 people. No telling what they would have, you know, would have done. And if you look at, you know, in terms of Richard Reid, the shoe bomber who would have blown up a plane over the Atlantic, he was not a Muslim. He had to be converted to the Muslim faith.
But he wasn't somebody you would look at and say, you know, this is somebody from—from South Asia. The way to preempt is share intelligence, dry up their financial assets. We need to be much more vigorous about—about that, so that we can stop these people before they can get here.
CROWLEY: Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg in New York also announced that individuals riding the buses and the subways and the train systems in and out of New York City might be subjected to random searches of their knapsacks and their coats and their bags and so on. I guess this raises the big central question for us in an open society about how best to protect ourselves. Are we willing to give up certain rights in order to be safer?
KORB: Well, you're going to have to give up certain rights. But you have to be careful you don't give up too much.
I mean, to miss a subway, you know, and to get the one that comes three or four minutes later I don't think is a great imposition. And if the police are looking at you for lots of reasons—I have been stopped lots of times at the airport when I buy a one-way ticket or I don't go, you know, from one place, you know, back to another. And I understand. That's what they're looking for. And I have no—no problem with that.
I don't feel that's giving up, you know, any type of—of—of liberty, even if I'm—you know, show up an hour or two late to where I'm going.
CROWLEY: All right, the questions still remain. We're still grappling with all of this.
Larry Korb, thank you so much for your time tonight.
KORB: Nice to be with you.
CROWLEY: Thank you.
And still ahead, an 88-year-old Minnesota man jailed for having a junk-filled backyard. We dig up the dirt on this messy situation with Outsider Max Kellerman coming up next.
CROWLEY: Welcome back to THE SITUATION. Filling in tonight for Tucker Carlson, I'm Monica Crowley.
Plenty more on the docket, so let's get it started. Joining me once again, CNBC's Tyler Mathisen and Air America host Rachel Maddow.
Welcome back, guys.
MADDOW: Thanks, Monica.
CROWLEY: All right. So you just heard my conversation with Larry Korb about profiling. I'd say absolutely, why not? Why should we be in the position of wasting our resources profiling people who clearly don't pose a threat to this country?
MADDOW: Because you're then going to telegraph, “Here's what you have to avoid in order to not be caught.” I mean, it does send a message to say, “Listen, this is who we're going to be looking at that. That means we're not going to be looking at other people. That makes it easier for you.”
MATHISEN: I agree with...
MADDOW: Also, it's easier said than done.
MATHISEN: I agree with Larry Korb on that. I think good police work trumps racial profiling anytime. And I'll bet you the good police work leads them to infiltrate the very groups that are perpetrating these crimes.
CROWLEY: But if we're talking about a group of individuals across the world who do fit a certain ethnic, religious profile, why not call them out for special attention?
For example, if the 9/11 hijackers all had long blond hair and blue eyes, I would expect to be profiled. I would be expected to come out of a line at the airport. And you know what? I wouldn't have any problem with that.
Anything to make this country safer. So why not do it?
MADDOW: Sure. If it were that simple, if it were your hypothetical situation, then we'd probably be having a different discussion. But for 9/11, we'd stopping Saudi Arabians. For the July 7th bombings, we'd be stopping Jamaicans. For the Murray building bombing in Oklahoma, we'd be stopping white guys. I mean, the racial profiling methods aren't that simple.
CROWLEY: So why not then profile from a religious angle, which I know is politically incorrect to say. But if we're talking about radical Muslims who may be of different ethnic backgrounds, why not profile them?
MADDOW: So you can definitely get Tim McVeigh.
MATHISEN: Because it's a violation of your civil rights, basically.
CROWLEY: But, Tyler, isn't the ultimate civil right the ability to live free and stay alive, even in the face of radical Islamic terrorism?
MATHISEN: I think your civil right to live safe can be ensured in other ways. And what matters is not what you believe, or what you look like, where you come from, but what do you. Your behavior is what really matters here.
CROWLEY: All right.
Next situation, what could be the outbreak of peace in one of the unlikeliest places in the world, Korea. North Korea is calling for a peace treaty with the United States, more than 50 years after the end of the Korean War.
That war ended with an armistice, so the two Koreas are still technically at war. Now Pyongyang says a peace treaty would, quote, “automatically result in a denuclearization of the peninsula.” And if you're buying that one, I have a bridge to sell you.
Kim Jong Il playing us like a Stradivarius, trying buy time and stall to get his nuclear weapons program.
MADDOW: If you believe what Korea says, I mean, you can make beautiful haiku out of what Korea says. I mean, Japan's going to be a nuclear sea of fire if we believe them by now.
I mean, their rhetoric is obviously always over the top. But we have learned recently that semantics really do matter to them. There was this big cool-down in our conflict with them recently simply because Bush called Kim Jong Il “Mister.” I mean, if this kind of stuff matters, fine.
CROWLEY: It's ridiculous, though.
MADDOW: Who cares?
CROWLEY: It's all words that don't matter.
And, Tyler, don't you think Kim Jong Il is playing on our wishful thinking that we desire them to give up their nuclear weapons, and they're playing us?
MATHISEN: He thinks we're naive. And we're not naive. It'd be silly for us to go along with something like that.
I think the six-party talks resume, what is it, next week? And I don't think complimenting Kim Jong Il on his bouffant hairdo or his platform shoes is going to get us anything. What really counts here...
MADDOW: But maybe we should try.
MATHISEN: Maybe we should try. I don't know.
CROWLEY: But I mean, the North Koreans have no incentive whatsoever to give up their nuclear weapons program, none.
MADDOW: No. We have no cogent policy toward North Korea, so we're not exactly helping them toward that end. I mean, John Bolton's been in charge of disarming North Korea as the undersecretary of state for arms control. That hasn't been going very well.
CROWLEY: Well, the Chinese have also been less than helpful.
MATHISEN: Got to get the Chinese on that.
MADDOW: I wouldn't appoint them to the U.N., either.
CROWLEY: The situation in Aruba may be heating up. With duct tape DNA evidence already being examined, there are now reports that the country's prime minister is asking the U.S. FBI to get involved in the investigation of Natalee Holloway's disappearance. The bureau will apparently have access to all evidence in this case, but almost two months after the American teenager vanished, has the trail gone cold?
Well, I'm very sorry for Natalee's family. I really feel for them. However, as we're discussing all hour, we are in a war on terror. I don't want the FBI spending precious resources going to investigate this case when they should be focused on domestic terrorism and threats here at home.
MATHISEN: I drove down here today. And I passed on the New Jersey Turnpike a bulletin board for Aruba. And it said, “It's different in Aruba.” And I thought, how ironic is that? You've got that right.
CROWLEY: Yes, it certainly is.
MATHISEN: It certainly is different. I think the Arubans probably have all the resources they need to solve this crime. And I kind of agree with you there. I don't see why we need to get involved in it. It's their matter.
MADDOW: This is one of those situations where we wouldn't even be talking about the FBI putting extra resources into this, were it not for the heavy media coverage on this case. It's not to say that the case isn't important, but when you're talking about scarce resources, and we know what they're going to come at the cost of, it's hard to say that the U.S. FBI should be devoting so much time there.
CROWLEY: Yes. I mean, we were just talking about the new threats, apparently, coming into the state of California, apparently, from Al Qaeda. I want every FBI agent and every precious dollar going into the FBI focused on that kind of threats, and let the Arubans deal with the Natalee Holloway situation.
All right, the situation in Texas. The jury's out of line. A convicted murderer's death sentence was thrown out on Wednesday because one of the jurors brought a gun to court during the trial.
The juror was charged with a misdemeanor. And his case was later closed. Now the appeals court says his vote during the penalty phase might have been influenced by his own pending case. The D.A.'s office insists there's no evidence that the juror changed his vote to get off the hook.
Well, I mean, this guy, how stupid can you be? You're bringing your gun to court. There are metal detectors everywhere.
MADDOW: He said he wanted to get it repaired. Where were you going to get it repaired in court?
CROWLEY: It makes no sense whatsoever. But the bigger question is, bringing a gun to court is dumb, but does it really prevail on your thinking, whether or not you were going to sentence somebody to the death penalty?
MATHISEN: I think this is political correctness run amok here, or legal correctness run amok here. They're so careful not to make a mistake in this case. They fear that this guy would possibly be more inclined to go along with the prosecution's point of view because it might curry favor with the prosecutor in his own case, which was later dismissed, as it turns out.
I mean, it's silly. It's a waste of money, and a waste of time.
MADDOW: I think that if this were some sort—if it was a shoplifting case that he was on the jury for, or if it were something—you know, if it were something that was a lower-level case, then I'd probably go along with you.
But the fact is, this was a capital case. And this guy did have a pending criminal matter while he was deciding the penalty phase of this case.
CROWLEY: But why wouldn't that be vetted ahead of time? Why did one of the attorneys—the prosecutor or defense—say, “I want this guy off,” kick him off the jury before he has a chance to get on it?
MADDOW: Because they screwed up. And then when they did figure it out, what happened is—it's not like the guy's conviction was overturned. He's going to be re-sentenced.
MATHISEN: That's true.
MADDOW: And probably should be.
MATHISEN: It's only the sentencing that was involved here, so they don't have to go through a whole other trial on this, but...
MADDOW: You don't want to taint the penalty phase of a death trial, I think.
CROWLEY: By bringing a gun to court. That's the lesson here: Don't bring a firearm into any U.S. courthouse.
All right, coming up, German women get their wigs paid for, but German men don't. Is the toupee situation fair or unfair? Well-coiffed Max Kellerman pits his logic against mine. So get ready.
Plus, there's very little in the world scarier than an enraged grandmother. And there's a brigade of them ready to load up and go to Iraq. Why, do you ask? Well, the answer lies in the “Cutting Room Floor.” Stick around.
CROWLEY: It's time now for the nightly intrusion of the “Outsider,” a man from outside the news business who's either brave or fool enough to play devil's advocate to the unassailable logic of the seasoned and nimble host.
Here he is, a man who spends about as much time on his hair as I spend on mine, ESPN Radio and HBO boxing host, Max Kellerman.
MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO HOST: Not nearly to the same effect, though. You have to be nice. I filled in for you on the radio, Monica. Be nice.
CROWLEY: Yes, you did. And you did a fine job.
KELLERMAN: Thank you very much.
CROWLEY: But your hair still doesn't look as good as mine.
KELLERMAN: No, clearly not.
CROWLEY: All right, Max. Well, I can tell from the shape of your beard that your yard is probably really tidy. Not so?
KELLERMAN: Yes, I keep it very clean.
CROWLEY: Well, not so for 88-year-old Robert George Schulze, who spent the last two nights in a St. Paul, Minnesota, jail for missing a court date and failing to clean up his backyard, which is what the court date was about in the first place.
On Thursday, friends, neighbors and even Cub Scouts pitched in to clean things up. That wasn't enough for the judge who made the old timer serve night number two of his 30-day term.
Well, you know, I took a look at this guy's backyard. And it did look very “Sanford & Son.”
KELLERMAN: That's a perfect soundtrack. So are you saying it's good that they put the 88-year-old in jail?
CROWLEY: I cannot believe that a judge will put an 88-year-old man in jail. My grandfather's 88. He's in great condition, but I would not like to see the man in jail.
However, his yard was an eyesore. And he had been warned many times
by the town, “Clean it up, or ship out.”
KELLERMAN: So you think it's OK—now, from a conservative point of view, individual's rights, right, that it's OK for a government to tell a person how to keep their property?
CROWLEY: Well, here's the situation, Max. The backyard was a safety hazard, OK? Small children walking by, they could be cut. I mean, this guy collected empty cans, cut all kinds of metal. I mean, it was actually a danger to the neighborhood children and others who happen to be walking by.
KELLERMAN: Do you know why he missed his court date? He said he confused it with his doctor's appointment. He's 88 years old.
CROWLEY: Yes, I know.
KELLERMAN: You've got to cut him some slack. By the way, I barely made it here. I don't know where I'm supposed to be half the time. This guy is 88 years old. They're hauling him off to jail?
CROWLEY: Well, he had been repeatedly warned to try to get the act together and clean up this safety hazard posed by the yard. And he didn't do it, so, sadly, he had to go jail.
KELLERMAN: I'm very interested that you think it's OK for the government to tell people how to keep their private property. Private property!
CROWLEY: When private property starts to spill over into the public domain and pose a health and safety risk...
KELLERMAN: So they claim.
CROWLEY: ... then the government has the right to step in. You know what was very sweet, though? All these cub scouts getting together to help him clean up his yard.
KELLERMAN: Yes, once they dragged him off to jail. They wouldn't help him before that. They should have been doing it all along.
CROWLEY: Exactly right.
All right, our next situation concerns a bad apple spoiling the mood of some nutritionists. A new advertising campaign by Apple Jacks cereal stars an animated apple who is sour and grouchy. His counterpart is a sweet, laidback cinnamon stick called Cinnamon, who saves the cereal from bad apple flavor.
Health groups say that the ad teaches children that apples aren't fun to eat. And Kellogg's, for its part, they make Apple Jacks. And they say the campaign is, quote, “not intended to disparage apples.”
I can't even read that with a straight face. Max, all these people have way too much time on their hands. And you know what? These nutritionists who are afraid that apples now are going to get a bad image and a bad name, they need to lighten up.
KELLERMAN: There's so much here. First of all, let me just say, anything that draws attention to this delicious, delicious cereal is a good thing. My mother would never let me have it. Apple Jacks is like the best thing ever, next to Cocoa Krispies.
Let me just say this. The apple always had a bad rap. From the Garden of Eden, it's had a bad wrap.
KELLERMAN: What do people have against the apple? And by the way, are the apple people saying cinnamon is bad for you now? Is the combination not delicious? The combination is delicious, and the apple has a bad rap.
CROWLEY: Let me tell you something about Apple Jacks cereal. That is a giant box of refined sugar, and I'm all for it.
CROWLEY: And do you know what's the key? The key is to allow the Apple Jacks to marinade in the milk just a little bit, and then you get that lovely Apple Jacks' milk.
KELLERMAN: Yes. However, what they really should be concerning themselves with is not letting all the sugar powder fall to the bottom. Because when you get that little last bowl, and it gets covered in that little sugar pile, it kills the whole thing.
CROWLEY: Well, here's the key to that...
KELLERMAN: That's what they should be focusing their effort on.
CROWLEY: Let me just teach you a little something. When you get that box...
CROWLEY: ... and you're ready to have your morning breakfast?
CROWLEY: You take the box, you turn it upside down, and you shake that sugar from the bottom to the top.
KELLERMAN: You are wise.
CROWLEY: I'm telling you.
KELLERMAN: You are both beautiful and wise, Monica Crowley.
CROWLEY: You stick with Crowley. I won't give you a bum steer.
I can't imagine—listen, apples are fine. Nobody's going to turn off from apples because Kellogg's has a new advertising campaign for Apple Jacks. That's ludicrous.
KELLERMAN: But why are they against the apple? Why in the New Testament—why the Garden of Eden? What's so bad about biting the apple? Clearly, somewhere, there's a negative association with the apple.
There must be like an anti-apple group somewhere putting out this propaganda, because it's consistently being...
CROWLEY: Well, now I want to see a special interest group, pro-apples. That's coming up next.
KRAUTHAMMER: How about the Big Apple?
CROWLEY: Coming up next, our next situation comes to us from Germany where a court ruled that bald men cannot have their toupees covered by insurance. The lawsuit was filed by a follically challenged 46-year-old who said that the state health insurance system was guilty of sex discrimination because it covers the cost of wigs for women but not for men.
A statement released by the court said insurance could only be used when a bald head disfigures a person so severely that they would be ostracized from public life.
Ouch. Well, that hurts. I mean, I think bald men are quite sexy.
KELLERMAN: Why are you giving me all the hard-hitting topics? OK, I want to try to stay away from controversy.
CROWLEY: You still have your hair, Max Kellerman.
KELLERMAN: Yes, I do. Wait, are you saying that they should be covering—I'm trying to play devil's advocate. I'm not sure what your position is.
Should they or should they not be covering women's wigs?
CROWLEY: Germany's socialized health system, if they want to be covering wigs for people, they should be covering both sexes. Look, if they're going to go there—if they're going to go there, then make it gender neutral.
KELLERMAN: But even though the cultural norm—I mean, a bald man, you just said you find attractive. I don't find bald women attractive. It's nothing against them. It's just that I don't find them attractive. I don't think most people do.
Even Sinead O'Connor, who's a pretty woman, you know, she shaved her head, didn't look so good.
CROWLEY: But, see, guys have all the advantages. They can walk around with no hair. We can't. They can walk around shirtless. We can't.
KELLERMAN: Agreed. And I think you should be allowed to walk around shirtless.
I will fight for that right, for you, Monica, until the end of time.
CROWLEY: Well, I'm not going to do it on this program. That's for sure.
KELLERMAN: OK, fine.;
CROWLEY: So what do you think? They should be allowed to have wigs for everyone or not?
KELLERMAN: Well, first of all, I'm not an expert in German law. I mean, second, Germans also have funny laws. See the late-'30s, early-'40s. It's not always very consistent, not always the best law to follow.
But I suppose—no, no. I believe in cultural norms. Absolutely.
You can cover men and not women, sure.
CROWLEY: Well, I say no. I say, you're going to cover the ladies, cover the gents, as well.
All right, still ahead on THE SITUATION, tickling is supposed to make you laugh, but what happens when it involves a naked person sneaking into your house to tickle you in your sleep? It ends up on the “Cutting Room Floor,” that's for sure. Stay tuned.
CROWLEY: It's time now to sweep up the “Cutting Room Floor.” Our producer, Willie Geist, has collected the very best of the stories that did not make the cut tonight, and he's here with them now.
WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER: Monica, very well done. Thank you for loaning us your services, from “CONNECTED COAST TO COAST,” noon and 5:00 p.m. Eastern every weekday on MSNBC.
CROWLEY: Thank you for that shameless plug.
GEIST: I have to point out—Max Kellerman said he was running late tonight. And I'd like to tell our viewers why. He works for a radio station, as you know. He was judging a Perfect 10 contest at a Hooters in Union, New Jersey.
CROWLEY: This, by the way, is true story.
GEIST: So I would like to thank Max for carving out a little time for us in his very busy schedule.
CROWLEY: You know, I don't think Max is embarrassed about that at all, that you just put that on national TV. I think he's proud of the fact that he's at a Hooters tonight.
GEIST: In fact, he asked me—he just asked me to mention it. It's a little plug.
CROWLEY: Well, everyone knows it's rude to discuss a woman's age, although I have no problem telling you I'm 26.
GEIST: Is that right?
CROWLEY: President Bush forgot his manors today while speaking with his mother, Barbara Bush, at an event in Atlanta.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Turn 80 and all of a sudden, you run out of things to say. It's amazing.
Wait a minute. She looks great at 80.
BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I just don't like having an almost 60-year-old white-haired son.
G. BUSH: Yes, well, you can see where I got my white hair from.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEIST: Oh, Mama Bush looked none too pleased there, did she?
CROWLEY: She gave it right back to him, though. I love that.
GEIST: Georgie's definitely going to get a time out for that.
CROWLEY: Yes. I wouldn't want to be in George W.'s shoes tonight.
GEIST: No, no. It's funny to see the most powerful man in the world reduced to a child by his mother. It's great.
CROWLEY: Everybody is at some point.
Well, the Pentagon is pushing Congress to raise the maximum age for military enlistees to 42, but if some angry grandmas in Tucson, Arizona, get their way, the age is going to have to be boosted a lot higher than that.
The anti-war “Raging Grannies” want to enlist in the U.S. Army and go to Iraq so that young soldiers can come home. Five members of the group face trespassing charges after trying to sign up at a military recruiting center last week.
GEIST: Ok, Monica, no matter how you feel about this war, I think we can all agree we don't want the Golden Girls on the front line. Although, wait a minute, Bea Arthur? I'd like to see her with an M-16.
CROWLEY: Wait, I like that show. What are you talking about?
GEIST: No, the show is terrific. I just don't want them on the front lines in the trenches.
CROWLEY: Yes, OK. Somehow, I don't think al-Zarqawi is shaking in his boots tonight.
GEIST: No. Estelle Getty does not scare al-Zarqawi.
CROWLEY: Well, just when you thought we'd explore the outer limits of bad reality TV here in the United States, Indonesia comes along and sets a brand-new standard. A new show there has contestants vying to become the personal maid for an Indonesian television star. 18,000 people lined up for the chance to clean up after the actor.
GEIST: OK. Let's not get all high and mighty, Monica. We have reality shows where people eat pig's rectums. So I think we win that debate.
CROWLEY: Yes, but I'm not quite sure how that would play here in the United States, you know?
CROWLEY: You know, go through and clean up, you know, Bruce Willis' mess or something.
GEIST: Although we do have the “Surreal Life,” where Bronson Pinchot and slugger Jose Canseco live in a house together, so...
CROWLEY: And people watch it.
GEIST: Let's get off our high horse.
CROWLEY: Well, Jennifer Aniston's big breakup is making headlines again today. I'm talking, of course, about her split 21 years ago from a high school summer fling.
The “New York Post's” Page Six reports the fling in question plans to sell memorabilia from their romance, including a mashed note and a piece of paper with Aniston's phone number written in lip stick on eBay next week. He's reportedly looking for $100,000.
GEIST: That's a real class move by that guy. Now, let me ask you something, from the women's point of view.
GEIST: The Brad Pitt conundrum, Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie?
Where do you stand on this?
CROWLEY: Oh, that's very—no, I think he should have stayed with his wife.
GEIST: I agree with that.
CROWLEY: Obviously, he should...
GEIST: And I'm in the minority in this office.
CROWLEY: He had made a commitment to this woman. Stay with her. I don't care what kind of temptations he's thrown in his face.
GEIST: Totally agree.
CROWLEY: Go with Jennifer.
Well, that's THE SITUATION for tonight. Thank you so much for watching. And have a great weekend.
Up next, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” with guest host Rita Cosby. Good night.
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