Guests: Steve Reynolds, G. Gordon Liddy, Rachel Maddow, Max Kellerman
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: I‘m joined tonight by two people with about exactly two things in common. They‘re both radio stars. And both are as interesting as they come.
They‘re Rachel Maddow, here at the world H.Q., and the great G. Gordon Liddy, joining us from Washington, D.C.
It‘s a huge show tonight. We‘re going to compare the Natalee Holloway case to the case involving Latoyia Figueroa, an outcry on the World Wide Web about that.
CARLSON: Then we will go to a case of a woman burned on a Denny‘s toilet seat. It may be the only personal injury lawsuit I‘ve ever agreed with.
RACHEL MADDOW, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Really?
CARLSON: Oh, yes.
MADDOW: Oh, I can‘t wait.
CARLSON: But, first up, slightly heavier fare, the fluid situation in Iraq.
The Iraqis writing the country‘s new constitution have announced that Islam will be—quote—“the main source of the nation‘s laws.” The constitution will also stipulate that no law will be allowed to contradict Islam. It points to something the U.S. distinctly didn‘t want when it ousted Saddam Hussein, another potential fundamentalist government in the Middle East.
Is this, I wonder, G. Gordon Liddy, what 1,700 Americans have died for, the possibility that Iraq will become an Islamic state, that it will not respect the rights of the minorities that live within the borders, and that it potentially will become hostile to the United States, like every other Islamic state? Is this what we‘re doing there?
G. GORDON LIDDY, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, look, this—we freed them.
And freedom means self-determination. And if they to have want an Islamic state, they‘ll have an Islamic state. I think that they‘ll be grateful to the United States. And I think that we can probably count on the traditional enmity between Iraqi Arabs and Iranians Persians, not to have it become a bloc state along with Iran.
MADDOW: My point...
CARLSON: But it kind of raises the deeper question, is democracy necessarily the best for us? Our foreign policy ought to revolve around what is best for us, no?
So, Rachel, don‘t—I mean, don‘t you think you can imagine a situation where democracy, while preferable, isn‘t the best in the interests of the United States?
MADDOW: Yes. This to me goes back to square one. This to me goes back to, why are we in Iraq? It‘s not for a nuclear threat from Saddam. It‘s not for weapons of mass destruction. It‘s not because he is a bad guy. He was a very bad guy before. It‘s clearly not to liberate the Iraqi women, if they‘re going to end up having a Sharia law constitution.
Why are we there? And we know the neoconservatives wanted to go to Iraq before the Bush administration. We know they wanted to go before 9/11. And why are we there? And I think that we really need to consider that now.
Now, I think that we‘re there because we want a permanent presence in the Middle East. I don‘t think that was sold to the American public. And I think they should start trying now, because I don‘t think we‘re going to buy it.
CARLSON: But, Gordon, would it be so bad if we were to say to the developing Iraqi government, look, we want you to be free, but within certain perimeters and those perimeters exclude Sharia law; I‘m sorry; you can‘t have it; you may want it, but there are limits to democracy, and this is one of them?
If we do that, then we become an imperialist state. We don‘t want to become an imperialist state.
MADDOW: I think that that‘s—you‘re on it. I think that that‘s the question. We become an imperialist state.
And if we are going to have a permanent presence there or if we‘re going to continue to exercise authority over the Iraqi people‘s future, then we‘re going to be an occupying power. And that means we‘re going to be permanently at war with some sort of insurgency.
CARLSON: No. I mean, we—we—we could be a power that influences the goings-on in Iraq, as we are in many countries. And, you know, look, all these people died to create a new government in Iraq. And the idea that it could be anti-American, unacceptable.
MADDOW: Our influence there will be enough to drive a permanent insurgency and permanent war.
CARLSON: Well, that‘s...
MADDOW: And I don‘t think the American people have signed on for this.
CARLSON: I hope that‘s not true.
The next situation involves a woman who was a fixture at the White House a decade before even G. Gordon got there. Columnist Helen Thomas told the Washington newspaper “The Hill” that if Dick Cheney were to run for president, she would—quote—“kill” herself. According to the paper, Thomas added, “All we need is one more liar.”
Well, Helen Thomas fans, both of them, can rest easy.
CARLSON: Dick Cheney isn‘t running again.
MADDOW: There‘s three of us.
CARLSON: There‘s three.
MADDOW: We meet on Tuesdays.
CARLSON: But I hope at least now we can stop pretending she‘s a national treasure. I mean, the amazing thing to me—and, Gordon, you live in Washington back me up here—about Helen Thomas is how long she‘s been able to exist without being exposed as the ideologue she is. You often hear her referred to as a reporter. That‘s because nobody reads her copy. People who do know that it‘s just editorial after editorial and kind of far-left editorial. Why doesn‘t—why doesn‘t anybody say that out loud?
LIDDY: Well, she‘s one long op-ed piece every day. But, you know, I‘d be eternally grateful to Dick Cheney if he did run.
CARLSON: Run, Dick, run.
LIDDY: She‘d kill herself and we‘d be rid of her.
MADDOW: I like Helen Thomas. I feel like Helen Thomas doesn‘t care what you think about her. She doesn‘t care what I think about her. She doesn‘t care what anybody thinks about her. She‘s writing a column. She‘s saying what she thinks.
CARLSON: Good for her. I like that.
MADDOW: And she called Dick Cheney a liar. And you say that is out of bounds, but more than half the American public thinks that the Bush administration deliberately lied leading up to the war.
CARLSON: Oh, no, no. But—but I am not saying that is out of bounds. It‘s not out of bounds. That‘s totally a fair thing for her to say. It‘s her belief.
CARLSON: What I object to is not what she said. It‘s how she‘s described in the mainstream press. She‘s described as a hard news reporter who has been there on the scene asking the tough questions.
MADDOW: Oh, come on.
CARLSON: She‘s grinding an ax. That‘s all I want...
MADDOW: You‘re going to...
CARLSON: ... is someone to acknowledge the fact that she‘s not a straight news reporter.
MADDOW: But, Tucker, how can you draw the line at Helen Thomas in the era of Jeff Gannon?
CARLSON: You can‘t.
MADDOW: I mean, come on.
CARLSON: No, no. That‘s—that‘s exactly my point.
CARLSON: She is held up as a holdover from the Edward R. Murrow days, when reporters didn‘t let their views intrude on news. She has let personal views intrude on her coverage for many years. And nobody has said anything.
MADDOW: She‘s a columnist. She gets to do what she wants.
CARLSON: Yes. But, you know, we can point it out when she does it.
And I hope people will.
Next up, an inky situation in Houston. The Houston Police Department has declared that its officers can no longer display tattoos while on duty or while wearing department-approved uniforms. The policy takes effect January 1. It requires either laser removal of body art or the art being covered by a uniform, not a patch or a badge. Have you ever worn long sleeves in Houston in the summer? Of course not. Gordon, you were around law enforcement. I believe you were in the FBI...
CARLSON: ... for many years. It seems to me, this is an effort to pretend that all cops are college-educated art history majors.
CARLSON: A lot of them are right out of the service. They have tattoos. There‘s nothing wrong with that. Leave them alone.
LIDDY: No. It‘s unprofessional. And the Houston Police Department is correct.
A tattoo socially in this country is a self-identification with the lower classes. And the police are supposed to be professional.
CARLSON: But wait a second.
I mean, cops at least the ones who stop me, you know, they‘re bruisers. They are people who use their bodies for a living. Some of them are very smart. But they are people who have a very physical job. I mean, it‘s a blue-collar job. And there is nothing wrong with that, but why not just admit it?
LIDDY: Well, because it—it is actually more than a blue-collar job very frequently.
Look, some of the lightweight guys, nonbruisers, really know how to use themselves. And you wouldn‘t want to tangle with them.
MADDOW: I think that tattoos, say in the ‘40s and ‘50s, and tattoos now are a different thing. And I think that this is kind of the first policy skirmish in what is now going to be 30 years of policy skirmishes over tattoos, because every minivan-driving, pleated-pants-wearing, Frito-eating guy has a tree frog on his leg.
And if we are going to start regulating this thing, there are going to be a lot of guys in nursing homes in 30 years covered head to toe in tattoos. And we are going to start changing about it socially.
CARLSON: Very, very, very hard to get them off.
MADDOW: And not worth it.
All right, now to the only personal injury suit I personally have ever supported. Kathleen Williams (ph), an Army nurse from Leavenworth County, Kansas, filed suit Wednesday against Denny‘s Corporation and the Denny‘s franchise in Lake St. Louis, Missouri, because, she claims, cleaning chemicals on a Denny‘s toilet seat burned her buttocks three-and-a-half years ago.
Ms. Williams is seeking more than $25,000 in damages for what she describes as her near constant pain.
She has to, G. Gordon Liddy, now wear special undergarments designed for burn victims. Now, leaving aside the fact that no one should ever sit down a Denny‘s toilet seat—and she probably should have known that...
CARLSON: ... she did anyway. She‘s only asking for $25,000. Don‘t you think Denny‘s ought to pay up?
LIDDY: Yes. If they left a caustic or acidic material on a toilet seat and a woman or a man, for that matter, was injured by it, why, then, they should be liable. But most women that I know never actually sit. They just sort of squat over it.
CARLSON: So, you think it‘s, user beware? If you are going to use a Denny‘s ladies‘ room, you ought to know better than to fully sit down?
LIDDY: Yes, absolutely.
MADDOW: But if you do, you shouldn‘t be blamed.
I—I—I want to say that I think this is a landmark moment. We‘re all agreeing that this is a personal injury lawsuit. That can be OK. So, when it becomes an urban legend that this woman was scratched by Comet and needs $250 million, the way these things always get totally blown out of proportion, we‘ll refer people back to the transcript of this evening‘s broadcast to say that it was right that she sued.
CARLSON: Well, but the beauty is, she‘s only asking for $25,000, not $400 million. I mean, she‘s not trying to, you know, get an award...
MADDOW: But she was actually hurt by corporate—by the corporation doing something wrong. And she should be compensated for it.
CARLSON: The corporation. I think it was more likely a janitor.
MADDOW: Yes, but Denny‘s has to pay, because the janitor screwed up.
And that‘s why we have lawsuits in this country.
LIDDY: Respondeat superior.
CARLSON: What does that mean, for those of us who didn‘t grow up with Latin?
LIDDY: What it means is, that, if you‘re working for the superior in the capacity for which you were hired, the superior is liable for your actions.
MADDOW: Take that, Dick Cheney.
CARLSON: Take that, Dick Cheney.
CARLSON: Right, even when it applies to toilet seats.
CARLSON: Rachel Maddow, G. Gordon Liddy, please stick around. Much more coming up.
MADDOW: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Discovery, we have contact.
CARLSON (voice-over): Pushing the envelope. Are human lives worth the risk of another shuttle mission?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It‘s just the nature of the business.
CARLSON: Sex, lies and video games.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How about a little coffee?
CARLSON: One irate granny fires back. Collaring animal abusers. Is it time to put a few more teeth into the law? Plus, a progress report on one heavyweight road warrior.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It‘s crazy. It‘s an extreme way to do it.
CARLSON: It‘s all ahead on THE SITUATION.
CARLSON: Still ahead, what should happen to someone who hurts a dog, jail time or something much worse? We‘ll bat it around in “Op Ed Op Ed” next.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
It‘s been a long, fruitful day of reading op-eds for us. We‘ve read almost every op-ed in this country. We‘ve picked the three most interesting. And the three of us will respond to those in short bursts.
First up, the Russian—as the Russian space program considers sending up commercial spaceflight, $100 million, civilians can wander around the International Space Station, “The L.A. Times” says our own government-funded program, the space shuttle, should never fly again—quote—“The aged shuttles are already at more than twice their intended design life. Engineers are sometimes reduced to hunting for obsolete hardware and electronic on eBay.”
In other words, it‘s too dangerous. And I—I absolutely agree with that. I mean, these are old. We have done it over 100 times. It seems to me it‘s time to move on to something new. I personally would settle for e-mail on domestic flights. I think that would be a huge improvement.
The problem with this idea, however, is that there are two astronauts, one American, one Russian, still on the International Space Station. And someone needs to go get them and bring them back. So, it looks like we may have to send another one up. G. Gordon Liddy, what do you think?
LIDDY: I agree with you.
The space vehicle is obsolete. That platform up there is just studying how moss grows or something under conditions of weightlessness. John F. Kennedy inspired us to go to the moon. We should already be on mars, not just running this shuttle back and front up to—you know, the international space doorknob up there.
MADDOW: The international space doorknob. That‘s very good.
The reason I am of two minds about the space program is because I do think that it drives basic science. It gives us a big project to work on that inspires high-end science. And we need that in this country. And, in this country, it‘s a big problem that we‘re falling behind in, science education and high-end technology research. We shouldn‘t—we should be leading the world in that. And if we need a space program do that, we need a space program. I‘d prefer we just fund science.
CARLSON: But we—A, we are leading the world in that in a pretty uncontested way.
MADDOW: We‘re falling behind in science education.
CARLSON: Whether the trend is on our side is another question.
MADDOW: That‘s right.
CARLSON: But people have been saying that for 20 years. Remember, Japan was going to be running this country. That didn‘t happen. I suspect we‘ll be—we‘ll be at the leading edge of technology for some time.
But the question is, how does the space shuttle contribute to, in a useful way, our understanding of the natural world? I‘d like to see the case made.
MADDOW: I‘d be lost without Tang.
MADDOW: Absolutely. And Velcro, we‘d be totally lost.
CARLSON: Well, next, a Pennsylvania man who pleaded guilty to animal cruelty for neglecting his dog, refusing to take it to the vet, and then strangling it to death was punished. He was forced to stand outside with a sign admitting what he did. He said: I plead guilty. Animal cruelty is a crime. Well, “The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette” thinks that‘s not enough—quote “So-called shaming penalties, which seek to humiliate someone convicted of a crime, are not a favorite of ours. If someone deserves to go to jail, send him to jail. If he deserves a fine, make him pay.”
This guy should have been forced to stand outside with a sign after he finished serving his 15 years in the penitentiary. We can mistreat animals. We‘re allowed to. They don‘t fight back. Therefore, we shouldn‘t. It‘s a measure of our decency and our humanity, how we treat our animals. And people who strangle dogs ought to be punished in the most, most severe way. Gordon Liddy, what do you think?
My dog wandered off and someone threw a rock at him and almost killed him. And I—I‘d like to find out who that guy is. And I think 15 years piping daylight to him would be just about right.
With respect to the humiliation stuff, that‘s historically accurate for this country. We used to put people in stocks in the colonial days and everybody would yell at them. But I think that‘s much too easy for somebody who does something like this guy did to a defenseless animal.
CARLSON: Well, just—just for interest‘s sake, Gordon, what would you do if you found the man who threw a rock at your dog?
LIDDY: I would try not to kill him, because I don‘t want to spend my remaining years in prison, but I would hurt him pretty bad.
CARLSON: That‘s the spirit.
MADDOW: I—what—I do think—I think he actually kind of got the op-ed wrong. I don‘t think “The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette” said he got off too lightly.
What they said was, it‘s a little bit strange—if the goal is to end animal cruelty, to create a society in which being kind to animals is what we do by default, then it‘s weird to come up with a penalty that depends on members of the public, passing motorists, screaming abuse at this guy in order for him to get his punishment. That‘s kind of a weird way to end up with a decent society.
I mean, the way we punish people says as much about who we are as the person who we‘re punishing. And so, I think they were taking issue with its being a shaming policy that depends on us, rather than authorities...
CARLSON: I think the average American—I think what sets us apart from savages is, we love animals and we treat them well. And I think the average person is so appalled by animal cruelty that it‘s probably an effective technique. It‘s just not mean enough. It ought to be really, really mean.
CARLSON: You hurt a dog, go to jail. I‘d like to see a bumper sticker to that effect.
Well, in “The Charlotte Observer,” Bill Reeside Jr. takes issues with our government leaders wanting to free us from cars by cramming us into apartments and shoving the light rail down our throats. Nobody wants light rail—quote—“Deep down, we know why wheels are irresistible. It‘s the freedom they bring, freedom from the crib, from the family room, from the classroom and eventually from mom and dad. I have news for those who want to free me from my cars. It won‘t work.”
And that‘s true. Cars do represent freedom and individualism. And there‘s a certain sort of person, usually the kind of person who favors collectivism...
CARLSON: ... who resents the idea of cars, because you can‘t control someone in a car. He can go wherever he wants. You can‘t tie him down. You can‘t keep track of him. It‘s inefficient to have individuals driving cars around. And that‘s why it‘s beautiful.
Gordon, what do you think?
LIDDY: Well, if you count the speedboat, I have 10 motor vehicles.
LIDDY: Two Harley-Davidsons, three SUVs, one 200-mile-an-hour sports car and so on. It just goes on and on.
LIDDY: And it does mean freedom.
LIDDY: And you go ahead and try to take that away from me. You won‘t be successful.
CARLSON: Good for you.
MADDOW: I am a car person. I‘m a car-loving liberal.
If I had infinite resources, I would spend it all on really junked-out old vintage cars that I would make somebody restore for me. I mean, I love cars. At the same time, I love driving into the city and locking my car up in a lot and leaving it for the day.
MADDOW: And I think that cities that have people with a lot of foot traffic, places like New York and San Francisco, are more interesting than cities and places where everybody is in their car all day. And so, yes, you can call it freedom, but there is some freedom from cars, too, that also...
CARLSON: Yes, there is.
MADDOW: ... is a good thing for American citizens.
CARLSON: I—and I agree with you that New York and San Francisco are interesting cities because they don‘t have cars. That‘s absolutely right.
CARLSON: However, the idea that government would discourage people officially from driving cars makes me just want to hoist the middle finger toward government. I mean, mind your own business. I like...
MADDOW: No, I think we—I think that the best cities, the best way to have a good time in America is when, yes, people can have cars, but you can also have a life that doesn‘t depend on it.
CARLSON: Right. But that‘s my decision to make, not any bureaucrat‘s.
MADDOW: That‘s fair enough.
CARLSON: All right.
MADDOW: But it‘s weird that, in Atlanta, you can‘t walk anywhere. There‘s no sidewalks.
LIDDY: It‘s freedom.
MADDOW: That‘s weird.
CARLSON: It‘s freedom, says G. Gordon Liddy. That‘s right.
LIDDY: The—the day after tomorrow, I‘m hopping on my Harley and I‘m driving 2,000 miles to Sturgis, South Dakota. And I‘m going to love every minute of it.
MADDOW: Very good.
CARLSON: You—you‘re a great man, G. Gordon Liddy.
CARLSON: Still to come, a tale two of missing young women. Natalee Holloway and Latoyia Figueroa still haven‘t been found. Coming up next, I‘ll talk to a man who believes race is playing a major role in the media coverage of those two stories.
Plus, why is an 85-year-old New York grandma taking the maker of the video game “Grand Theft Auto” to court? A pornographic situation ensues when THE SITUATION rolls on.
CARLSON: Late today, the FBI announced that strands of hair found Aruba didn‘t come from missing U.S. teenager Natalee Holloway, another false lead as investigators continue to search for the missing girl.
The constant spotlight on Holloway has some bloggers mad at the press. Here‘s why. Latoyia Figueroa, a 24-year-old pregnant woman from Philadelphia, has been missing since July 18. She hasn‘t received any attention—or didn‘t, anyway—until bloggers on allspinzone.com started getting the word out. Who is to blame? Joining me now, allspinzone.com blogger Steve Reynolds. Now, Mr. Reynolds, summarize for me why you think there‘s been this disparity in coverage between the Holloway case and now the Figueroa case?
STEVE REYNOLDS, BLOGGER, ALLSPINZONE.COM: Well, West Philly isn‘t quite as exotic as Aruba. And I‘m not likely to take a vacation there. But Latoyia Figueroa is one of our neighbors. Philadelphia is a town that gives back. We wanted that kind of coverage that was given to Natalee Holloway to be given to Latoyia Figueroa.
REYNOLDS: That‘s all there is. Now, is it race? Is it socioeconomic reasons that she didn‘t get covered? I‘ll leave it to you. You‘re the media expert.
REYNOLDS: I‘m just a blogger.
CARLSON: I mean, it seems—it seems—well, I suppose you watch the press probably more carefully than I do. It seems to me obvious that one some in—one of these women, Natalee Holloway, comes from a more affluent background than Ms. Figueroa does. And I think it‘s obvious that does play a factor, that the people who make these decisions about news coverage decide their viewers have more in common with Natalee Holloway than with Latoyia Figueroa. I think you‘re right. However...
REYNOLDS: Last night...
REYNOLDS: ... you said that you don‘t know whether it‘s a matter of race, right or wrong, whether it‘s a matter of race. Probably wrong. Those are your words. And I would say, you‘re one of the people in the media who makes these decisions, right or wrong. Probably wrong.
CARLSON: Actually, that‘s—that‘s—that‘s not at all what I said. I said...
REYNOLDS: Actually, I just read those words.
CARLSON: I have them—I just read them right before I came on. REYNOLDS: OK.
CARLSON: My—my point was that I don‘t believe it is a racist decision on the part of the press, though, I do think...
REYNOLDS: I don‘t either.
CARLSON: I do think that the background, including the race, of the victim or apparent victim does make a difference. Of course it does.
CARLSON: Here‘s my question to you, though. This is a woman who is missing in Philadelphia. Why not alert “The Philadelphia Inquirer” or “The Philadelphia Daily News”? Do you think—do you think national news coverage is going to make a difference in the hunt for her?
REYNOLDS: Local news coverage was already covering it. So were the local television stations.
We wanted a larger audience. There are many stories, going back about three or four years, that‘s been focusing mostly on middle-class or affluent women who‘ve gone missing. The media doesn‘t seem to want to focus on any other woman going missing who‘s outside of that demographic. So, that is a problem, I would say.
CARLSON: Hold on.
REYNOLDS: National coverage could help here.
CARLSON: Just for one moment, let me just make it absolutely clear that we haven‘t covered the Natalee Holloway case at all on this show.
REYNOLDS: Not on this show, you‘re right.
CARLSON: Apart from mentioning it perhaps once or twice. So, it‘s not a question of me making the decisions to favor one missing woman over another. We don‘t cover missing women generally. We‘re not against it. We just haven‘t. But...
REYNOLDS: And we didn‘t—and we didn‘t focus on you at all, Tucker.
CARLSON: Right, right. But—but why is this a...
REYNOLDS: But you‘re one of the people in the media who makes decisions like this.
CARLSON: Well, we‘ve made the decision to devote a lot more airtime to Latoyia Figueroa than we have to Natalee Holloway. What does that tell you?
But here‘s my—here‘s my question. Why is this a political issue? You get the sense reading these overheated blogs, almost all of them, for some reason, left-wing blogs—why do you get the sense that they‘re angry at the press about this and that it‘s a political issue? I don‘t see the political connection at all.
REYNOLDS: The political connection? We don‘t only focus on political issues.
CARLSON: Right. But you...
REYNOLDS: I‘m not sure what your question is.
CARLSON: Well, you get the sense reading blogs on this subject that there‘s a belief on the left that the press, owned and run by corporations, is intentionally ignoring the plight of the downtrodden as a policy, and that that is somehow—you know, it‘s part of some right-wing conspiracy.
REYNOLDS: No, I wouldn‘t—I wouldn‘t say that.
I would say that it‘s a marketing decision by the press, likely, and that is—just as you said earlier, that it‘s probably, they—they gauge that a middle-class or upper middle-class white woman missing is likely going to get more viewers more excited.
CARLSON: All right.
REYNOLDS: And—and we—I would speak for myself. I would say, that‘s not what the press should be doing. The press should be reporting news. They shouldn‘t be trying to get viewers.
CARLSON: Yes. Well, before you continue to lecture me on what the press ought to be doing, Mr. Reynolds, let me remind you that there are a lot of crimes committed in this world every day, right?
CARLSON: And so, at some point, if you‘re making decisions about what to cover, you need to favor one crime over another. We‘re picking from not an infinite, but a very large number of crimes, right? That‘s the decision you have to make. There‘s a lot of news. You can only cover so much.
REYNOLDS: What kind hysteria can you possibly create if all you focus on is upper-middle-class people as victims of crimes?
CARLSON: Well, actually, I—I absolutely agree with you. I do agree with you. And, in fact, I think it‘s disproportionate and it‘s not representing reality. And on that...
CARLSON: ... we agree.
REYNOLDS: We agree.
CARLSON: But to get high-handed and say, your job is to report the news, indeed, we do report the news, including this.
So, we sure appreciate, Mr. Reynolds, you joining us.
CARLSON: Coming up, bare-knuckle, no-holds-barred, steel-cage brawls are making a huge comeback in the Midwest. Great entertainment or an assault on the senses, that‘s a question to be answered by the Outsider next.
CARLSON: Welcome back to THE SITUATION. Sitting in for Jackson Pollack, I‘m Tucker Carlson. Time to welcome back G. Gordon Liddy and Rachel Maddow.
Gordon, you heard the contempt dripping from the lips of the blogger guy we just interviewed, mad at the press because he thinks there‘s disproportionate coverage of Natalee Holloway. Sort of hard to argue with that. There is.
But why do you—I mean, what do you think‘s going on here? Why does this break down along left-right lines? If you scan the Internet today, it‘s liberal bloggers who are upset about the Natalee Holloway case. Nothing on the conservative blogs. Why is that?
LIDDY: Well, I think people are missing what‘s going on here.
Philadelphia is hardly an exotic locale. Aruba is.
But the big story here is the woman missing from Philadelphia is an adult, a pregnant adult, and the woman down there in Aruba is a teenage girl. And the real story here is, what kind of parents send 124 teenage boys and girls down to Aruba with seven adults who are not even charged as being their, you know, supervisors.
And she‘s drinking, she‘s having sex, and all the rest of it. And now the parents are down there screaming bloody murder. If parents had been acting as good parents, she never would have been there.
CARLSON: Well, let me just say, we don‘t actually know what Natalee Holloway was doing before she disappeared. And I also want to say, I think that‘s pretty common. I mean, I don‘t think it‘s that uncommon for parents to send their kids chaperoned by just a couple of adults to vacation spots like Aruba, is it?
MADDOW: Well, I don‘t know. I never went. But the observation here is that the media coverage is disproportionate. And whether that‘s justified or not is something that we need to grapple with, because the facts are that covering the Natalee Holloway case to great effect translates into ratings, that people do want to watch it, that that is rewarding news, and TV news and radio news and newspaper coverage, when you cover it, people pay attention to it.
It gets covered. So, therefore, what do you do about wanting other stories to be covered as much?
CARLSON: Well, and not just ratings. I mean, people who don‘t follow television ratings—and that would be most normal people, I hope—probably don‘t know that this case actually has driven ratings in a dramatic way.
You do a Natalee Holloway show—this is not a criticism at all. Many friends of mine, good friends, do—but you get a lot of people watching. People are genuinely interested. Now, whether the press ought to let the interest of viewers drive coverage or not is sort of an academic discussion.
But in real life, you know, people put on TV what people are interested in watching. And there‘s nothing wrong with that.
MADDOW: But that‘s—I mean, I think that applies to all of us. If you want to know why there‘s so much Natalee Holloway coverage, it‘s because the Natalee Holloway coverage is selling really well. And so now we need to decide, well, if we think we‘re morally culpable for that, how do you get around the fact that the press is for profit?
CARLSON: Well, we on this show are not morally culpable for that. I can say that with certainty.
Next situation, granny theft auto. An 85-year-old Bronx grandmother suing the maker of a top-selling videogame, “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.”
Florence Cohen says she bought the ultra-violent game not knowing it also included secret sex scenes. Say that ten times fast. Now she wants her money back, as well as unspecified damages from the manufacturer.
OK. Gordon, this—I don‘t know if you have grandchildren—I hope you do—I hope you‘re not buying them this game. She bought it for her 14-year-old. It says it‘s only for 17-year-olds and above, for one thing.
But the real story here is an 85-year-old grandmother is attempting to start a class action suit, a frivolous lawsuit, against this video game manufacturer. I thought the elderly were immune from embarrassing behavior like starting frivolous class action lawsuits but they‘re not, are they?
LIDDY: No. I have 10 grandchildren. And none of them have purchased that particular ultra-violent piece of pornography. The embarrassment there should be giving children that kind of violence where you‘re killing police officers and things like that. And the least offensive part of it is probably the sex.
MADDOW: I think I agree, to a certain extent. I mean, we ought to be as upset by the killing prostitutes part of this game as we are of the having sex with them part of this game. But there‘s a big moral panic over this issue now.
And the fact that the manufacturer‘s actually going to be held liable for the hack, for the thing that they didn‘t deliberately put in the game, that that‘s the thing that...
CARLSON: I think the allegation is they did deliberately put it in, but it was not available, except for those that downloaded the key to unlock it.
MADDOW: That‘ll be decided in the...
CARLSON: But still, the idea that if you buy some creepy video game for your grandson knowing it‘s a creepy video game, it turns out to be even creepier than you thought, then you‘re owed thousands by the people who made it? Ah, no!
The situation is serious for an immigrant from Honduras. Twenty-four-year-old Isaias Arita-Bueso got a life-saving kidney transplant from a San Antonio ophthalmologist, Dr. Peter Speicher, who donated the kidney himself, by the way.
But now the young immigrant can‘t get back into the U.S. to get the medication he needs to stay alive. Immigration officials turned him away when he tried to return after visiting his family in Honduras. They said his student visa was about to expire.
You‘ve got to kind of wonder—I mean, there are a couple of things to say about this, Gordon, I think—one, just because you‘re sick, doesn‘t mean you get to get into the country illegally. Obviously, I feel sorry for this guy. But you also got to wonder, a, where‘s the government of Honduras?
Why aren‘t they helping out? I mean, this has gotten a lot of press.
You‘d think the government of Honduras would step in.
And, b, an American giving his kidney to someone who‘s not even a citizen of this country just points up the profound, the deep niceness of average Americans. You don‘t see a lot of Hondurans donating their kidneys to Americans. I mean, truly, American people are decent, good people. It‘s nice to be reminded of that.
LIDDY: Well, indeed it is. But the story here is that tens of thousands of Mexicans are, you know, pouring throughout border. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans care to do anything about it, although they‘re charged with doing something about it. And along comes this fellow who needs this medicine, and they go bureaucratic on him. And I think that‘s a little ridiculous.
MADDOW: Well, I do think, though, that to bring illegal immigration is a hot button topic, but it‘s not actually the subject here. He was not an illegal immigrant. He did have a legal visa. He has a valid student visa. He has a host American family. He‘s been accepted to college here.
His visa wasn‘t expired. They thought it was about to expire. Basically, he got caught in a bureaucratic snafu. And I think that, if you knew this kid, you‘d be trying to...
MADDOW: ... for him, too.
CARLSON: But Gordon makes a good point. He should just fly to Tijuana and walk across, like everyone else. You know what I mean? I mean, it‘s pretty easy to sneak into the country.
MADDOW: Dragging his oxygen tank with him?
CARLSON: No, exactly. I mean, yes.
Finally, the security situation in Canada. That‘s a large, uneventful country just north of here.
The Canadian government has announced that water pistols and toy guns no longer allowed in airports or on airplanes. Canadian baggage screeners apparently cannot tell the difference between a Super Soaker and an AR-15. In the words of a spokesman, quote, “We cannot take any chances.”
Because you know why, Gordon? People could get wet, very, very wet. I mean, this is exactly what happens when you turn a country over to a bunch of—this is basically if my hometown in southern California became a country, you know what I mean? All the wheat bread-obsessed yoga people.
You know, if lifestyle liberals all of a sudden had one of the largest countries on Earth, they‘d be banning Super Soakers.
MADDOW: But, Tucker, you can‘t bring a toy gun onto an American airplane, either.
CARLSON: You can bring a squirt gun.
MADDOW: You can‘t bring a gun that looks like a real gun.
CARLSON: Well, my kids bring their squirt guns on the plane all the time.
MADDOW: But you can‘t—but listen, you can make a big deal about this. But remember a couple of months ago there was that story about the person who not only tried but succeeded to get a chain saw through the San Francisco airport security?
MADDOW: And the woman who went on the date and ended up with a butcher knife in her purse, didn‘t realize it until she got on the plane at Newark airport?
MADDOW: I mean, yes, maybe the Canadians don‘t want Super Soakers, but we‘re not exactly on the high ground here for...
CARLSON: As we pointed on in the show...
LIDDY: Wait, wait, wait, before we dump all over Canada, let‘s remember that the late Joe Foss, who got the Congressional Medal of Honor for shooting down 26 Japanese aircraft in 30 days over Guadalcanal, had it in his pocket. And they wanted to take it away from him because it‘s pointy. And this was at an American airport.
CARLSON: They wanted to take the actual Medal of Honor away from him?
LIDDY: Yes. They didn‘t even know what it was. It took 45 minutes, and they had to get the manager of the airport. And someone finally figured, “Gee, this is the Congressional Medal of Honor.”
And Joe Foss is standing there saying, “Look, Franklin Roosevelt gave me this, you know, back in 1944, or whenever it was, and you‘re not taking it away from me.”
CARLSON: That is amazing, yet in every detail, completely depressingly believable. Amazing.
G. Gordon Liddy, thank you very much.
Rachel Maddow, as always, thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you, Tucker.
LIDDY: Rachel should be in television.
MADDOW: Same to you, Gordon.
CARLSON: We agree with that.
Coming up, from the whorehouse to the big house, Manhattan‘s friendliest madam gets busted. Justice or tragedy? Find out when the “Outsider” returns.
And by using high-tech DNA technology, scientists are solving the world‘s most important mystery. While they have not found Jimmy Hoffa, they may have discovered the true identity of the Sasquatch. The hairy situation still ahead.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Time for the nightly incursion of the “Outsider,” a man who trespasses from his world over the border into the news world for a bout at devil‘s advocacy with me on the pressing stories of the day.
The name of this illogical, if not illegal, immigrant, ESPN Radio and HBO Boxing host, Max Kellerman.
MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN RADIO HOST: Hello, Tucker.
KELLERMAN: See how civil I am?
CARLSON: Nice to see you.
KELLERMAN: You, too.
CARLSON: Well, I know you‘re a big fan of Ultimate Fighting Championship. So am I. So here‘s one for you.
The “New York Times,” of all places, reports that one-on-one, bare-knuckle, steel-cage brawls are making a huge comeback in the middle-west of this country. They‘re apparently drawing thousands of fans to fairgrounds, small arenas, and, my personal favorite, the parking lots of bars.
This type of fighting was banned in New York City in 1997, with some critics referring to it as human cockfighting, which it is. But here‘s the point: These are guys who would be fighting anyway.
In fact, the guys who were starring in today‘s story in the “New York Times” were discovered picking fights outside a bar, OK? So the point is that men need an outlet for their energy, right? And it‘s better that they do this and do something destructive, like drunk driving, or going to law school, or all the things people with do with excess energy, right? This is good.
KELLERMAN: Yes, I agree, but I‘m going to figure out the devil‘s advocacy point in one second. Let me just say first, the ‘97 ban in New York of this kind of fighting was outrageous.
I mean, they allow football in New York, high school football in New York. Kids die playing high school football every year. I‘ve never heard of a death in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC, but that‘s my point.
Cage matches, that‘s not regulated, like Ultimate Fighting Championships, which is a brand. The UFC submits to state athletic commissions, so it‘s safer, it‘s regulated. No one‘s ever been killed, anything like that.
CARLSON: Exactly, you‘re getting right to the heart of it.
KELLERMAN: But that‘s different than just cage fighting.
CARLSON: No, but, see, that‘s why the cage matches preferable.
They‘re cooler. They‘re more interesting, because they‘re not regulated. The “Arms are for Hugging” people haven‘t descended and told them what to do. They can do whatever they want, and it‘s voluntary, so they should be allowed to do whatever they want.
KELLERMAN: Well, yes, the libertarian point of view, which is very difficult to argue against, is two consenting adults in the United States of America should be able to do whatever they want to each other.
In reality, it doesn‘t always work out that way. And if something is seen to be extremely dangerous, and people are seen to either be coerced into doing it or don‘t know any better, there are regulations against it. For instance, you‘re not allowed to commit suicide.
CARLSON: Well, that‘s true. I think your argument is these people are too dumb to be allowed to make their own choices.
CARLSON: In fact, you may be right.
KELLERMAN: ... except that I don‘t really believe it. But go ahead.
CARLSON: Well, I sort of do. Maybe we should switch sides.
KELLERMAN: UFC, that‘s what you want to be watching.
CARLSON: All right. A novel approach to the problem of panhandlers in Minneapolis is dead for the moment. Police Chief Bill McManus had proposed that panhandlers in the city be required to apply for and wear licenses to beg.
It works for cabbies and hot dog vendors, but the chief had backed down because he says, in perfect cop-ese, nobody wants to touch it at this point in time.
Here‘s a problem with giving licenses to panhandlers. It not only regulates panhandling, but it sanctions it. Government should be embarrassed of begging. Beggers should be embarrassed of begging. Sometimes it can be necessary, but it‘s embarrassing, OK?
It‘s a sign that we have failed, that the panhandlers themselves have failed, and the second you regulate it, you license it in some immoral way.
KELLERMAN: You know the argument that there‘s no such thing as a real philosophical debate? Is there any such thing as real altruism, true altruism?
In other words, don‘t you alleviate guilt, don‘t you feel a little better about yourself when you give charity? I mean, there‘s a philosophical argument about that.
Let‘s just assume for a second that there is no such thing as true altruism, which perhaps there isn‘t. Well then, actually what‘s going on is a business transaction. The panhandler is getting money. The service he‘s providing is alleviation of guilt. So it‘s a business, and you need a license for a business.
CARLSON: Yes. Here‘s where your theory falls down: Outside of certain precincts in New York City, people aren‘t very guilty in America. They‘re just not. Their guilt is not alleved (ph) by throwing a quarter to some aggressive panhandler. They want him to go away.
They have jobs. He doesn‘t. And incidentally, when was the time you saw an illegal immigrant panhandling? Let‘s see, never.
KELLERMAN: Well, I don‘t know. How would you know?
CARLSON: No, but that tells you everything you need to know. It tells you everything you need to know. People who are panhandling, some of them are needy and deserve the money. Most don‘t.
KELLERMAN: Even if it doesn‘t alleviate guilt, it makes you feel better about yourself often when you give to charity. Look, organized charities send you something in the mail. You give to the animal, you save the whales, you save everything in the world, right?
You feel better. You write a check. You feel better about yourself.
Panhandling is even more immediate. You have that human interaction. They‘re providing a service. It‘s a business in exchange for money. They need a license.
CARLSON: Cheaper than your shrink.
Well, speaking of loving animals, it was a good run for the Menagerie Madam, the pet-collecting New York woman who ran a lucrative downtown brothel, but now it‘s all over.
Julie Moya got 2 ½ to 5 years for promoting prostitution. She says she innocent of having pimped-out Russian virgins. She‘s been accused of it, but she says, “I‘m a good person. I save animals.”
And here‘s what else she does. And I know it‘s going to be very hard for you to argue against brothels, but let me just, this woman is providing a service in that she keeps street walkers off the street. The problem with prostitution—the biggest problem is it‘s ugly and disruptive when conducted outside, OK?
You don‘t want to see women soliciting. It‘s bad for kids to see that. They make a mess. They snarl traffic. It just makes the quality of life less, OK? So a woman who conducts it inside and allows it to take place hidden is actually doing a service to the rest of us.
KELLERMAN: Not only that, but the libertarian position—I mean, I don‘t see how anyone can argue against this. You can barter all kinds of things for money, but not sex? I mean, why is sex sanctified by law in this way? It shouldn‘t be illegal, is my point.
However, it is illegal. There‘s a rule of law. The woman is only getting two years, Tucker. I mean, what are they supposed to do, charge her but then not send her to jail?
CARLSON: However, there are all sorts of crimes that we overlook, right? Many, many crimes in this society we overlook because we don‘t have enough people to enforce the laws that make those things illegal. It‘s a matter of selective policing. And in this case, they‘ve gone after someone who isn‘t hurting anyone, who, in fact, is performing a public service.
KELLERMAN: Well, I can‘t argue against that logic. You had me. What do you want me to tell you?
CARLSON: Air tight. I‘ll pick a new one tomorrow. Maybe you can argue.
KELLERMAN: I‘ll try my best.
CARLSON: Max Kellerman, thank you very much.
Coming up, diamonds are a girl‘s best friend. But apparently, for Paris Hilton, size does matter. The terrible truth. We‘ll tell you why everyone‘s favorite heiress wants a new engagement ring. It is, of course, on the “Cutting Room Floor,” next.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Time for dessert, the “Cutting Room Floor,” where we‘ve swept up all the odds and ends of news we couldn‘t use and brought them to you.
In fact, Willie Geist is going to do that.
WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER: Hey, Tucker. Good show, my man. Want to start the block off with a little dedication to Steve Vaught. He‘s the guy who‘s walking across America. It‘s called “Fat Man Walking.” There he is. He started the walk at 400 pounds. He‘s down to 350 now. He‘s somewhere in Arizona, and he left his home in San Diego April 10th. He‘s going to end up in New York in a couple of months.
CARLSON: He‘ll be fit by Oklahoma. That‘s my prediction.
GEIST: Absolutely. So good luck to you, big man.
And to you, as well.
CARLSON: This one‘s for you.
Well, you can‘t win with Paris Hilton. Sources tell “US Weekly” magazine, which incidentally is never wrong, that Paris has been complaining about her 24-caret engagement ring. Apparently, it‘s too heavy and it‘s hurting her finger. Her fiance, Greek shipping heir Paris Latsis, reportedly bought her a more manageable Cartier ring for everyday wear.
GEIST: Oh, boy. Paris Latsis just got a glimpse into the future.
GEIST: ... Paris Hilton. You bought her the Hope whole diamond, and she‘s complaining. Good luck, pal.
CARLSON: It‘s going to be a living hell.
GEIST: He may want to reconsider this.
CARLSON: And he‘s doing it with his eyes open, so he has no one to blame but himself.
Well, people who believe in Bigfoot woke up in their mothers‘ basements today for some disappointing news. And I resent that script, by the way. I did not write that. I believe in Bigfoot.
GEIST: My bad.
CARLSON: DNA testing showed that a hair sample found in Canada‘s Yukon territory, and believed to have come from Bigfoot was, in fact, from a North American bison. The sample was found by people who saw a large human-like creature, crashing through the back yard and left hair behind.
GEIST: Let me ask you exactly, how does this work? How does DNA testing for Bigfoot work? Do you have previous Bigfoot DNA to compare it to?
CARLSON: Well, just his ancestor, like his grandfather, right. Or any relatives.
GEIST: Tooth fairy, whoever else you have on file there.
CARLSON: Loch Ness monster, Abominable Snowman...
GEIST: Right, it‘s all in the same file.
CARLSON: Exactly right.
Well, proving once again that the Guinness Book of World Records has way too many categories, South African Maurice Creswick broke his own record this week by making his 350th blood donation. The 79-year-old Maurice Creswick gave his first pint of blood in 1944 when he was 18 years old. He originally broke the Guinness book two years ago.
GEIST: Maurice looks a little peckid (ph) there, doesn‘t he?
CARLSON: I was about to say he looks a little pallid.
GEIST: Is it possible this guy just doesn‘t want to live, since he goes in and has his body drained of blood three times a week? Keith Richards hasn‘t had as many needles in his arms.
CARLSON: Get this man a glass of orange juice.
GEIST: Help him out.
CARLSON: Well, everyone enjoys an afternoon of museum looking at nude paintings, but imagine how much more fun it would be if you were nude, too. The Leopold Museum in Vienna, Austria, is offering free admission tomorrow to anyone who shows up in the nude to check out the Naked Truth exhibit that showcases nude portraits. Visitors who don‘t want to strip all the way down are invited to wear their bathing suits.
GEIST: Now, we should warn our viewers, Tucker, that this does not go over well everywhere. I walked into the Guggenheim nude last weekend, and I was not admitted.
CARLSON: How was Rikers?
GEIST: It was good.
CARLSON: I‘d rather see nude people at the Met than nude Austrians.
GEIST: Yes, I guess that‘s fair. Have to think about.
CARLSON: Just a personal preference.
Well, Dan McKay is a Microsoft computer analyst from North Dakota. He is also the world‘s worst writer. McKay officially earned that title by, quote, “winning” a San Jose State University contest that sought out the worst writing in the English language.
Here‘s a sample of McKay‘s prose. Quote, “As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire.”
One San Jose State English professor said Dan‘s entry was just ludicrous. I disagree. Look, I was a writer for many years, and I think that‘s a pretty good sentence, actually.
GEIST: I‘ve heard much worse. And I just want to quickly—the runner-up, I think, was better. “The rising sun crawled over the ridge and slithered across the hot, barren terrain, into every nook and cranny, like grease on a Denny‘s grill in the morning rush, but only until 11:00, when they switch to the lunch menu.” That‘s better.
CARLSON: See, I dare any San Jose State professor to write a better sentence. That‘s a great sentence. Here‘s to you, world‘s worst writer.
All right. That‘s THE SITUATION for tonight. Thanks for watching. Have a terrific night. “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” is next with Joe Scarborough -- Joe?
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”: Hey, thanks a lot, Tucker. I‘ll tell you what. I had a speechwriter my first term in Congress. Could easily put both of those bad writers to shame.
CARLSON: But you won anyway.
SCARBOROUGH: Exactly. Exactly. I was able to rise above.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks a lot, Tucker. We greatly appreciate it.