Guests: David Clohessy, Drew Pinsky, Max Kellerman, Fred Risser
MONICA CROWLEY, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”: That‘s all the time we have for tonight. I‘m Monica Crowley in for Joe. THE SITUATION with Tucker Carlson starts right now.
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Monica Crowley, thank you very much.
And thank you at home for joining us. We appreciate it.
On the docket tonight, a sex scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church in L.A. A former U.N. weapons inspector claims conspiracy behind the war in Iraq. And Dr. Drew Pinsky will let us know why so many Americans are engaging in risky sexual behavior.
First, a new development in increasingly turbulent Harriet Miers saga. Facing a new NBC News/”Wall Street Journal” poll that shows only 29 percent of Americans believe Miers is qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, President Bush told members of the White House press corps today that religion did, in fact, play a role in his selection of his long-time friend and lawyer.
Meanwhile, Focus on the Family leader James Dobson revealed today on his radio show details about his conversations with Bush advisor Karl Rove about the nomination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES DOBSON, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: What did Karl Rove say to me that I knew on Monday that I couldn‘t reveal? Well, it‘s what we all know now, that Harriet Miers is an evangelical Christian, that she is from a very conservative church, which is almost universally pro-life, that she had taken on the American Bar Association on the issue of abortion and fought for a policy that would not be supportive of abortion, that she had been a member of the Texas Right to Life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Here now to help me make sense of this, Rachel Maddow of Air America Radio. Rachel, thanks.
RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO: Hi, Tucker.
CARLSON: This just gets more depressing every day. The right, the conservative intellectual for this country, finally found their voice and their backbone and I think are standing up against what is increasingly looking like a pretty bad idea. But it gets more embarrassing every day for the Bush administration.
I want to read you—and I take no glee in this, but I just compare my own genuinely conservative beliefs against their not conservative actions and it blows my mind. Here‘s what the president said today about Harriet Miers.
Quote, “I remind people that Harriet Miers has been rated consistently one of the top 50 women lawyers in the United States.”
Talk about damning but faint praise. How about one of the top 50 lawyers in the United States? How about one of the top three lawyers in the United States? One of the top 50? Like, what does that mean? And who cares? And that‘s a liberal argument. He‘s basically saying she‘s a qualified woman. How about a qualified person?
MADDOW: I do think it matters that she‘s a woman. This is the one thing, I will argue for the Bush administration on this.
CARLSON: Yes. I like this.
MADDOW: Here‘s me in favor of the Bush administration‘s position on this one thing. It is good that he wants to appoint a woman. Harriet Miers, not the right woman to be appointed.
It matters that there‘s diversity on the court. I think it makes for better lawmaking, because you have people with more diverse range of judgment and who are going to make a better decision on the law. We‘ve argued this before.
The problem is, one of the 50 most influential women lawyers on the country, that‘s what “National Law Journal” did call her in 1998. You want to know the basis on which they called her that? Because she was very close to George W. Bush.
So he‘s saying, “Listen, you should—you should support her because she‘s very close to me. She‘s influential because she‘s very close to me. Therefore, she‘s influential.” I mean, you end up on this merry go round.
CARLSON: Also—also the idea that you would cite some dumb ranking like this, that‘s like saying, “Well, actually, you know, I‘m in Who‘s Who Among Nurse Practitioners in the Milwaukee region.” You know what I mean? It‘s irrelevant. It‘s one of these dumb magazine listings, and that‘s what they fall back on. It just absolutely drives me bonkers.
MADDOW: Well, they‘re trying to make her seem qualified. They‘re trying to make her seem more accomplished than she is. Because really, what she is, is the president‘s personal lawyer. And he has decided to appoint her, because he doesn‘t appear to have much respect for the court to which he was appointing her. So why the heck not? Just catch some political—and reward a friend.
CARLSON: Well, I‘ll tell you who he doesn‘t have respect for is evangelicals, Christian conservatives. That‘s the group for whom he obviously has the most contempt, because he‘s feeding them the dumbest lines of all time. The White House is saying, “Look, she‘s very religious.” Suddenly, that‘s an important criterion for this job. Right?
MADDOW: That‘s a test.
CARLSON: And second, she‘s against abortion. That‘s irrelevant. If you take a poll, you know, 90 percent of Americans are against abortion. That‘s not the question.
MADDOW: Not true.
CARLSON: Yes it is. It‘s totally true. The question is, should it be legal or not? The question is, Roe v. Wade a legitimate decision or not?
MADDOW: Most think Roe v. Wade should not be overturned.
CARLSON: OK. But that‘s a totally separate question from, “Is abortion a good thing?” A lot of people believe abortion is wrong but want it to remain legal. But they‘re convincing these Christian leaders, who I think are decent people who represent things that I believe in, most of the time, anyway, and they‘re falling for it.
MADDOW: Well, they‘re arguing this on the basis of, “Trust me. I‘m George W. Bush. Have faith in me. You‘re people of faith. Have faith in me.” So it‘s kind of an insulting argument.
And there‘s this flattery that goes along with getting a personal phone call from Karl Rove or other White House officials that makes you feel like you‘re an insider on this. It‘s making people not actually look for anything verifying her record.
What‘s insulting to the American people, the Senate, to this whole process is that the Republicans, with all other nominees, have said Democrats are being obstructionist for wanting to see documents, for wanting to see a paper trail, for wanting to get questions answered in the judiciary committee hearings, and now all of a sudden, the Republicans want those things for this.
CARLSON: Well, 99 percent of the time that‘s a fair charge. Democrats have been obstructionist. In this case, that‘s a ridiculous charge. It‘s actually conservatives who are being obstructionist, and good for them.
Now, as if Bush administration couldn‘t be any more liberal this week
it‘s almost not possible—they came out, and are forcing now FEMA to set aside a large portion of the contracts going to companies to rebuild the gulf region for minority owned businesses.
Here‘s my question. Why not, at a time when we‘re all worried about the money involved in this, the massive expenditures, set aside all the contracts for the lowest bidder and the best companies?
MADDOW: Well, they have—that‘s what they would argue they were doing before when they gave it to the four big companies that all have ties to Republican lobbyists and former Bush administration officials. I mean, for me, this is the poster child case for affirmative action.
Bush went down to Jackson Square in New Orleans on September 15. He gave the big speech that you hated, where he talked about minority owned businesses being part of the face of rebuilt New Orleans. And then his government suspends affirmative action rules. And for the Katrina rebuilding contracts, a whopping 1.5 percent of the contracts go to minority owned businesses, and only 2.8 percent of the contracts go to firms that are even headquartered in Louisiana.
MADDOW: It‘s bad for Louisiana.
CARLSON: ... here‘s the bottom line for me. I want a color blind society. I want a society in which we don‘t ask the skin color of the man who owns the paving company, because we don‘t care.
MADDOW: But when...
CARLSON: Because we don‘t care about that. Here‘s my question, too. Let‘s just go back to first principles. As you would expect a conservative administration would, but again and again doesn‘t. Here‘s my question: Why should the color of your skin give you preference on a paving contract, or a demolition contract or a mobile home contract? That‘s total out and out racism.
MADDOW: It‘s out and out racism when you only talk about it that way, but when you talk about the way the country actually works when you don‘t have affirmative action rules, that‘s also racism. You‘re choosing between two different things. What happens without affirmative action rules?
We‘ve seen with the Katrina contracts, where they suspended affirmative action, is that you end up getting white companies who are given the contracts because they‘re connected to the Republican donors and the people making the decisions.
CARLSON: What does it mean to have a white company? I mean, there are people of all colors and races and religions, and ethnicities and creeds, and sexual orientations in every company.
MADDOW: Right, but 98.5 percent of the contracts after Katrina went to companies that were run by white people. That‘s because...
CARLSON: Run by white people. Who keeps track of this?
MADDOW: Minority owned businesses...
CARLSON: Is this—is this the Third Reich? We keep track of who owns companies? I‘m just opposed to all of this.
MADDOW: Well, listen...
CARLSON: When I voted for Bush in 2000, I thought he was opposed to it, too.
MADDOW: If the House of Representatives was 100 percent white, would it be racist to acknowledge that?
CARLSON: No. That‘s different from a company, which is made up, in some cases, of tens of thousands of people, again of all colors. To say it‘s a white company is...
MADDOW: No. It‘s a white owned company. It‘s a minority owned company. Those things matter. Right now the Bush administration gave all the contracts to white owned companies and to companies that were headquartered out of state. There should have been affirmative action on that, too.
CARLSON: Yes, because Louisiana is quite an efficient state. We noticed that during Katrina. Look, I just don‘t want to—I don‘t want to pay any more than is necessary. That‘s fair.
MADDOW: But the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast is going to have to be done as part of the Gulf Coast economy. And so you‘ve got to have Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama companies getting part of the rebuilding contracts for their own communities.
CARLSON: All right.
MADDOW: That‘s not—that‘s smart.
CARLSON: When they show they can do a good job, we‘ll give them tax dollars. Until then, no dice.
Rachel Maddow, thank you, as always.
MADDOW: Tucker, you‘re simplistic, but still a pleasure to talk to.
CARLSON: Yes, but telling the truth, as always.
Another sex scandal, abuse scandal brewing in the Catholic Church tonight. This time in Los Angeles. Some 560 cases now headed for the courts.
The L.A. Archdiocese trying to head off major shake-up like Boston by posting summaries of 126 priests‘ confidential files, spanning 75 years, right on the front page of their web site.
Here to talk about the move is David Clohessy. He‘s the executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. You know it as SNAP.
He joins me now like from St. Louis. Mr. Clohessy, thanks for coming on.
DAVID CLOHESSY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SURVIVORS NETWORK OF THOSE ABUSED
BY PRIESTS: My pleasure, Tucker, thank you.
CARLSON: So is the church doing the right thing in putting—I mean, this seems like semi-full disclosure to me.
CLOHESSY: Well, emphasis on the semi. These are documents that the court ordered Cardinal Mahoney to turn over. He is a master at public relations, and these are highly sanitized summaries of truly horrific documents that really should see the light of day. I mean, the church heals and victim heals—victims heal when the truth emerges.
CARLSON: Well, what are they holding back? What specifically are we not going to find on their website?
CLOHESSY: Well, in 10 cities around the country, there have been grand jury reports that have actually looked at the physical documents. What these are, are two and three-sentence summaries of correspondence, and it‘s just...
CARLSON: Why don‘t they put those up, then?
CLOHESSY: Well, that‘s a good question, because frankly, they would show horrible, horrible patterns of secrecy involving even Cardinal Mahoney and the other high officials in the diocese.
CARLSON: So you think Mahoney is implicated in this, too?
CLOHESSY: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. I mean, he let three known molesters live in a rectory with him, even after they—reports of their abusive crimes surfaced.
CARLSON: It‘s just disgusting. Let me ask a dumb question, but one that‘s always occurred to me every time I read one of these endless Catholic priests molesting people stories. Why didn‘t someone call the cops? Isn‘t all this illegal?
CLOHESSY: It is illegal, and we urge victims and witnesses to call the police. On the contrary, church officials urge victims and witnesses to come and talk to church officials. We think that is a recipe for disaster.
CARLSON: Is that official policy of the church or of different dioceses now?
CLOHESSY: Well, on paper, they all claim they cooperate with law enforcement. But you and I both know that cooperating with law enforcement can simply mean responding to a subpoena. It doesn‘t mean taking the initiative and turning over documents to law enforcement, which is what we think really, really needs to happen.
CARLSON: This also is a question I‘ve been wondering about the past couple of years. Do we have any reliable numbers on the effect on the Catholic Church in the United States these scandals have had? Is giving down? Is church attendance down? It seems I know a lot of people who no longer go to Catholic Church, sadly, because of these scandals. Do you have reliable numbers on that?
CLOHESSY: No, unfortunately, you know, it‘s all self-reporting. Church—church officials claim that giving is down only somewhat, and that mass attendance is down only a little bit. We have no idea what the true financial cost is, but certainly it‘s very clear that thousands and thousands of Catholics have simply walked away from the church in disgust over the way their leaders have covered this up.
Not so much over the crimes themselves, because everybody understands that molesters will go into the ministry. They‘ll go into teaching. They‘ll go into coaching. That‘s not the problem. The problem is the church hierarchy that insists on trying to keep these out of the hands of law enforcement, and keep these horrible secrets deeply hidden.
CARLSON: That‘s just awful. David Clohessy, fighting for openness in the church, which is, in fact, the Lord‘s work. Thanks for doing that. Thanks for joining us.
CLOHESSY: Thank you. My pleasure, Tucker.
CARLSON: Up next, former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter says the CIA sabotaged the search for WMDs so the U.S. could get rid of Saddam.
Plus, risky business in the bedroom. A new survey suggests men and women are taking their chances with complete strangers. Seventies fashions are back. Have the sexual practices of that era returned, as well? We‘ll dive into that, head first, next.
CARLSON: Still to come, brain cells going up in smoke. Do Marlboros make you dumb?
Plus, a New Jersey football coach throws Hail Mary that lands him in trouble. Prayers and sports when THE SITUATION continues.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
In just three days, Iraqis will head to the polls again, this time for a referendum on their constitution. But according to our next guest, writing a constitution or even building a democracy was never the real reason we invaded Iraq. Weapons of mass destruction had nothing to do with it either.
According to former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter, the U.S. government decided to overthrow Saddam almost 15 years ago. The fix was in, he says. The rest just window dressing. Ritter is the author of the newly released “Iraq Confidential: The Untold Story of the Intelligence Conspiracy to Undermine the U.N. and Overthrow Saddam Hussein.” He joins us live from Washington, D.C.
Scott Ritter, thanks for coming on.
SCOTT RITTER, FORMER U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: It‘s a pleasure.
CARLSON: So is that fair characterization of your thesis, that we were always planning on overthrowing this guy?
RITTER: Yes, it‘s not my thesis, it‘s a matter of public record, if you look at statements made by George Herbert Walker Bush, and Secretary of State James Baker in the summer of 1991, they said that even if Iraq complies with its obligation to disarm, those sanctions would never be lifted until Saddam Hussein was removed from power.
CARLSON: Well, there was a congressional resolution, of course, that called regime change the policy of U.S. government, but the idea was, as far as I understood, anyway, that we weren‘t necessarily going to act on that.
Why—the missing piece in the puzzle here for me, and I haven‘t heard you explain it either, is why? What would be the motivation? What drove people who wanted to overthrow Saddam? What was the purpose, the point, the strategy?
RITTER: Well, again, it goes back to October 1990 when then President George Herbert Walker Bush was trying to sell a war to the American people. Iraq had invaded Kuwait, and the international community was rallying behind Kuwait in an effort to muster military force to liberate that nation.
The president, however, talked about Saddam Hussein, who just in March of 1990, he characterized as a true friend of the American people. He now had to cast him in different light. He called him the Middle East equivalent of Adolph Hitler, and he spoke of the necessity of a Nuremberg-like retribution. The war ended in March 9...
CARLSON: Wait. You‘re leaving out one step. I mean, with all due respect, you left out one step, which is Saddam actually did invade Kuwait, and nobody defends that.
RITTER: Actually, I didn‘t leave it out. I mentioned that Saddam invaded Kuwait.
CARLSON: Presumably his views on Saddam changed after he invaded his neighbor and destabilized the region. That‘s fair, isn‘t it?
RITTER: Well, again, if you‘re going to sell war to the American public and you‘re going to cast this as battle of good versus evil, when the war ends, evil cannot continue to reside in Baghdad.
And when the war ended in March 1991, Saddam Hussein still existed. And this represented not a national security threat, but a domestic political threat, a threat to the credibility of George Herbert Walker Bush, who needed Saddam to be gone.
And this is where the CIA stepped in and said, “Look, this man is not going to last more than six months. All we have to do is contain him.” And the vehicle of containment was continuation of economic sanctions. And it was justified by this new resolution that linked sanctions to disarmament.
RITTER: And as I said, President George Herbert Walker Bush had no intention of ever allowing sanctions to be lifted.
CARLSON: You know, I‘ve got an open mind on this. Believe it or not, I really do, because I am confused why we invaded Iraq. I don‘t fully understand it. So I‘m taking what you say seriously, but there seems to be at least two problems with it. One, if the first Bush wanted to get rid of Saddam, why didn‘t he keep going to Baghdad? He could have. And two, if this was a policy that originated in the first Bush White House, why was it continued under Clinton?
RITTER: Two easy answers. First of all, the Bush administration didn‘t want to occupy Iraq. If you recall, Colin Powell, who was then the chairman of joint chiefs of staff, and others said that if we removed Saddam Hussein in 1991 and don‘t know who‘s going to replace him, Iraq will be devolve into chaos and anarchy.
The idea was to get a Sunni general, whose name was not Saddam Hussein, to assassinate Saddam Hussein.
RITTER: ... to move in, and maintain the secular Sunni domination of this country, which is proof positive that it wasn‘t Iraq that posed a threat. It was just Saddam Hussein.
RITTER: Who proved to be inconvenient. Now why did Clinton carry on? Look, Clinton inherited this policy when he was elected, but in defense of the Clinton administration, it‘s very rare that I speak out in defense of the Clinton administration.
In the interim period, between being elected in 1992 and assuming
office in 1993, the Clinton administration actually put out a number of
feelers to the Iraqi government to talk about the conditions under which
sanctions could be lifted, a direct contradiction of what the first Bush
administration said. I
Immediately politicians, both Republican and Democrat, came to Clinton and said, no, this man has been characterized as a Middle East equivalent of Adolph Hitler. You don‘t do business with the devil.
CARLSON: Wait a second. Right off the top of my head, I can think of at least one other person in the region to whom all of that fits. And that‘s Gadhafi, of course, in Libya, who was actually characterized in much harsher terms even than Saddam. And now we‘re dealing with Gadhafi.
So the idea that we went to war in 2000, you know, two years ago, three years ago simply to continue a policy from 1990 and 1991, still just doesn‘t really make sense.
RITTER: No, again, let me finish, because the Clinton administration was compelled to continue this policy, which was passive regime change.
But as you are well aware, the Republicans, who were ousted by Clinton, festered for eight years. And they were looking for any excuse to beat Clinton up. And the fact that Clinton was unable to deal with the Saddam problem became the perfect foil.
And in 1998, as you rightly mentioned, when Congress passed public law calling regime change the law of the land, allocating $100 million of U.S. taxpayer money to support opposition groups to overthrow Saddam Hussein, Clinton did not follow through. Thereby, only confirming in the minds of the Republicans that he was incapable of carrying out effective policy and regime change in Iraq became a cornerstone of the 2004 campaign.
CARLSON: I must say, if he was opposed to regime change as policy, he should have said so. He was the president. Anyway, Scott Ritter, thanks for coming on. I appreciate it.
RITTER: Thank you.
CARLSON: Up next, a sex survey that will blow your mind. We‘ll try to get to the bottom of why most married couples, brace yourself now, most married couples don‘t sleep together anymore. Is the passion gone, are there just better options available, maybe online? Dr. Drew stops by to explain all the details. Be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back.
Over 56,000 Americans responded to a recent MSNBC/Zogby poll regarding safe sex, and the results were, in a word, stunning. Joining me live from California tonight to discuss the findings, the host of “Strictly Sex with Dr. Drew,” which you can see at midnight Eastern on Discovery Health Channel, and also the nationally syndicated “Love Line” radio program, Dr. Drew Pinsky. Dr. Drew, thanks for coming on.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST, “STRICTLY SEX WITH DR. DREW”: My pleasure.
CARLSON: So the headline for me out of this, everyone is upset about the safe sex numbers, which I‘ll ask you about in just a second, but the thing that popped out at me, in a really disturbing way, and may answer the question as to why there‘s so much divorce in this country, the frequency with which married couples have or don‘t have sex. How often are they having sex, do they say, and what does it mean?
PINSKY: Well, married couples—you pulled the number out, which actually is accurate. It says here married couples are one, two, or three times a week, only 20 to 25 percent of the time, which means that the other two categories, which is twice a month or once a month, is primarily where married couples fall. And that‘s not a good thing.
CARLSON: Sex, it‘s jut totally immoral and wrong and repellant.
PINSKY: It‘s sad, right?
CARLSON: Yes, it‘s awful.
PINKSY: The fact—yes, that people, that studies have shown—you got to remember, what we‘re studying in this group, people all the way into your 70‘s. So it‘s natural as you age for things to drop off. We‘re not talking about 30-year-olds or 25-year-olds, exclusively, although in fact younger people are the predominant population of this study.
We‘re talking about people. As they age there is a drop off. That is natural. But studies have shown clearly that if people are going to report satisfaction, happiness in their relationship, at least once a week, at least once a week.
CARLSON: Is that—so there is a direct—I guess this is such an obvious question, duh, but there is—it‘s been proved, anyway, a correlation between frequency of sex in marriage and happiness with the marriage?
PINSKY: It has been observed. None of these studies are scientific studies, right? This is a self-selecting population that comes to the Web, so it‘s predominantly people with computers, with education, with money. It‘s people who, you know, hopefully are answering honestly. And it‘s not scientifically, statistically analyzed. These are just observations.
HANNITY: I‘ve observed it. I can tell you that. I think it‘s true.
PINSKY: That there‘s a drop off.
Yes, it‘s sad, it really is kind of sad, and to me, it‘s a greater indictment of what intimacy is in our culture. We have lost sight of how important relationships are.
We‘ve lost sight—listen, why deal with death and dying? I‘m an internist by trade. I deal with people that die all the time. When people are trying to make meaning of their life, the one thing they always come to is that important relationships are the things that make their life meaningful. If those relationships aren‘t fed and nourished and paid attention to, it‘s bad times. It‘s not good for people.
CARLSON: Well, no, it‘s just awful. Speaking of relationships, the numbers here seem to show that people are still having a lot of risky sex. I mean, they‘re going out and sleeping with people they don‘t know very well, not asking about whether that person is infected with something.
Why, after 25 years of this relentless propaganda about safe sex are people still ignoring the propaganda?
PINSKY: It‘s hard to understand, Tucker. It is hard to understand, that people do have a great deal of knowledge. In fact, I was sort of impressed with fundamental knowledge that was sort of exemplified in the study. They seem to understand their risk. They seem to understand to talk about it and yet, weren‘t.
There‘s something about that moment, that we‘re not giving people skills to negotiate that, to really get in there and really do this important kind of investigative work. They may spend more time figuring out what they‘re going to buy for a car and who they‘re going—less time on—more time on a car, less time on who they‘re going to use for their doctor and who are going to e their sexual partners. It‘s ridiculous.
CARLSON: That‘s so strange. So all this talk we often hear about people just don‘t know, they don‘t know how HIV is transmitted. They don‘t know how you get herpes. They don‘t know about condoms.
I mean, that‘s all totally untrue. People do know. They‘re just ignoring it, it sounds like.
PINSKY: Well, it‘s not they‘re ignoring it. There‘s a big disparity, between knowledge and behavior. Knowing what you ought to do and doing what you need to. The question for those who are educators is how do you get that gap closed, how do you get people to do what they need to do. With young people, what works the best, is creating a relatable source. If you have had young people with consequences not paying attention to this.
CARLSON: What about scaring the hell out of them? What about fear?
PINSKY: Well, scaring the hell out of them is, you know, time honored.
CARLSON: It works.
PINSKY: Well, it works about six months. You can suppress their behavior for six months. And then what you typically see, whether it‘s drugs and alcohol or sex or fast cars, speeding, wearing seatbelts, whatever it is, after the fear wears off, you see them rebound beyond above their baseline. You actually end up worse off than where you started with these sorts of things.
And I would just—I call it the “Reefer Madness” mentality, you know, from the ‘70s, the whole “Reefer Madness.” I can‘t even have a reasonable conversation with a young person about marijuana to this day because of the overstatement about that drug 30 years ago. Even though we know about the risk, we know how profoundly problematic the drug can be, young people just don‘t want to hear about it.
CARLSON: It just makes them totally cynical. I know exactly what that‘s about. Dr. Drew Pinsky, thanks for coming on. Appreciate it.
PINSKY: My pleasure. My pleasure.
CARLSON: Coming up on THE SITUATION, the health police have tried everything else to get you to quit smoking. Now they‘re resorting to saying it makes you dumb. And maybe it does. Something tells me “The Outsider,” Max Kellerman, thinks so. Don‘t miss it.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Joining me now, an all-star in the annals of argument, contrarian‘s contrarian, defender of the indefensible, advocate for the devil‘s own position. It‘s the Outsider, ESPN radio and HBO boxing host Max Kellerman.
MAX KELLERMAN, ESPN: I am feeling good about my arguments today.
CARLSON: Oh, Max, are you really?
KELLERMAN: I believe two of these.
CARLSON: Well, let me destroy your confidence right off the bat.
First up, a New Jersey high school vows to pressure pregame prayers out in East Brunswick high school. Football coach Marcus Gordon was told to stop leading or taking part in prayers because, according to a spokeswoman for the district, prayer must be initiated by students. Otherwise, it violates the law. Gordon stepped down as coach, and his team lost 21-0 that very night. OK, look, the school district issues a statement saying...
KELLERMAN: Implying, by the way, because they didn‘t pray, they lost am.
CARLSON: No, because he was their coach. To stand up for principle, and I mean, I actually admire people who decide to quit over things they believe in, and...
CARLSON: ... I think he‘s done an honorable thing.
But the school district issues a statement. Some students felt uncomfortable with the prayer, and their concerns should be treated with respect, which I agree with. Treating it with respect is not the same as imposing on everybody else. This is what we have talked about before: The tyranny of the disgruntled few. I believe in rights of the minority, whoever that minority might be. However, an individual eccentric view on something shouldn‘t determine life for everyone else.
KELLERMAN: OK. Yes, and that‘s a pet peeve of yours. You don‘t like the tyranny of the minority. But what America is really all about, more than majority rule even, is that we protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority.
Now, how is prayer tyranny of the minority? Well, there may be some people who feel uncomfortable with it, don‘t pray to the same God, don‘t believe in God at all. It‘s very difficult in this country to come out and say, you are an atheist, for instance. I haven‘t seen too many people do it in public life. I am one of the few. And in a locker room full of people who are praying, it‘s even more difficult.
CARLSON: I am sure it‘s uncomfortable. I‘m sure you don‘t like it. I‘m sorry. There are a lot of things I don‘t like. I don‘t like—you know what I mean? I don‘t like certain color combinations, I don‘t like it when people drink white wine, OK, it bugs me. But I don‘t try to impose it on anyone else.
KELLERMAN: But there‘s the First Amendment, establishment clause, --
OK, whether or not you agree with the interpretation—has been interpreted as separation of church and state at a public school.
CARLSON: But there‘s a flip side to the First Amendment, which allows people to say what they believe. And I think this is protected speech.
Moreover, if this guy was getting up and saying, you‘ve got to be bathed in the blood of Jesus to be saved, I would be the first one saying, come on, knock it off. That‘s sectarian.
KELLERMAN: But I think they actually came to a good compromise. If it‘s student-initiated, that‘s OK. But if it‘s initiated by someone who is paid by the state, essentially, that‘s not OK.
CARLSON: One last point. Football is dangerous, even at the high school level, people do get hurt. I think it‘s a good idea to pray before the game. I would, it‘s like being in turbulence on an airplane. You know what I mean? Go ahead and pray. Good for you.
KELLERMAN: Like a dozen kids die every year playing high school football.
CARLSON: Yeah, exactly. Say prayers.
All right, that‘s not the only jaw-dropping story from our nation‘s schools tonight. The parents of several middle school students accused of bullying have settled a lawsuit filed against them in a California school district. That‘s right, they were sued because their kids supposedly bullied. The suit allowed the district—alleged the district allowed a boy who was a competitive dancer to be taunted for two years, supposedly in violations of federal laws forbidding harassment and discrimination. Parents of the six bullies have settled, but the school district is still fighting, and they should still fight. The idea—this is so problematic...
KELLERMAN: There should be a federal law stating that you must tease someone who is a competitive dancer.
CARLSON: Of course you should. If you‘re taking interpretive dance in high school, I don‘t know, you should get endless noogies. You should be hung on the wedgie nail. OK? Because I‘m sorry, that‘s what you get. And you should learn to deal with it. It will make you a tougher, better person, maybe you‘d give up dancing, go to something decent, like squash.
But here‘s my point. To sue because your kid is being bullied is repugnant. To have a federal law is totally wrong. And to sue the parents of the bullies is like insane.
KELLERMAN: Yes, that all makes sense. That‘s common sense. You ever see Martin Scorsese‘s “Gangs of New York?”
KELLERMAN: Apparently I use films a lot as references, you don‘t seem to see many. Tucker, you got to get out to the movies a little bit.
CARLSON: But I am outside enjoying life.
CARLSON: Right, no.
KELLERMAN: OK. I thought it was an underrated film. Really, what that film was about was this 18th century ethical code being replaced by this post-industrial rule of law.
KELLERMAN: And how people from the old way of doing things find it uncivilized.
KELLERMAN: Find it flies in the face of common sense.
CARLSON: Exactly. Suddenly (INAUDIBLE) are mad, like me.
KELLERMAN: Yes. Right. However, the rule of law works. We are—we are—you know, just like the last argument. We are a secular state. You know? We are not run by the Taliban. You are not—if your kid is causing harm to another kid, you can be sued.
CARLSON: No, no, I‘m sorry. Things like honor and self-restraint and just being cool and just letting, you know, the natural order take its course, those are still valuable. And...
CARLSON: And some laws are dumb laws and they should be ignored.
KELLERMAN: Yes, they are. In personal life, they are valuable, and you wish people would conduct themselves that way, but if they want to take it to the courts, that‘s why you got laws.
CARLSON: Makes me want to just—someone should bully the parents.
KELLERMAN: They have a great “South Park” about this, by the way. It was great.
CARLSON: I missed it. I should watch more TV.
More bad news for smokers. It just never ends for them. A new study suggests long-term cigarette smoking associated with diminished thinking skills and with lower IQ. While researcher noted that, quote, “we can‘t say we found a cause-and-effect relationship between smoking and decreased thinking ability,” the theory is that smoking may damage the blood vessels that supply the brain.
I am not defending smoking anymore. I don‘t do it. It‘s bad for you.
And—let‘s just stipulate that this is true. Right?
CARLSON: That means that not only are smokers at risk for living a lot shorter, a lot less healthy lives, but they are also dumber. OK?
KELLERMAN: And yet they‘re persecuted.
CARLSON: Exactly. Exactly. We have to replace the scorn we have for smokers with help. OK? They need to be a protected class. I think 20 percent of all contracts to rebuild the Gulf after Katrina ought to go to cigarette smokers. These people need our help. Next time you see someone, and say, oh, he is a smoker, say, stop, that‘s bigotry.
KELLERMAN: You know what, I agree. Let me take the devil‘s advocate‘s position from this point of view. It‘s correlation, it‘s not causality.
CARLSON: I agree, in fact, I totally agree.
KELLERMAN: So the study (INAUDIBLE) maybe it‘s that the type of person who is likely to smoke...
CARLSON: Of course.
KELLERMAN: ... is more likely to be dumber, they are more likely to have that sheep mentality.
CARLSON: That‘s exactly—like, 84 percent of people who get drunk and take their clothes off in public have reckless personalities.
KELLERMAN: Yes. So maybe that‘s it. Maybe the study, the correlation really has to do with the type of person who smokes, and you should take pity on them. That kind of person needs help.
CARLSON: Exactly, smokers and fat people. I‘m totally...
CARLSON: I‘m on a jihad, and dogs, for that matter. All of them get the short end...
KELLERMAN: But how come they don‘t get tough love? You give so many others tough love. Why don‘t they get tough love?
CARLSON: Because everybody else is mean to them. And I just hate that. I got to stick up for some underdogs.
KELLERMAN: A kinder, gentler Tucker.
CARLSON: Not an underdog. But still a great man. Thank you.
KELLERMAN: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Still ahead on THE SITUATION, are you offended by women who breast-feed their babies in public? I will be joined next by a legislator who says if you are, you ought to keep your opinion to yourself or face a fine. The great public breast-feeding debate when we return.
CARLSON: Welcome back. We have all been in that awkward position. You‘re at a restaurant or the airport, and you look over and there‘s a mother breast-feeding her baby. My next guest says there‘s nothing wrong with public breast-feeding and he wants to make a law to punish those who think there is. I am joined live tonight from Madison, Wisconsin by State Senator Fred Risser. He‘s proposed legislation that would protect women who breast-feed in public from harassment. Senator Risser, thanks for coming on.
STATE SENATOR FRED RISSER (D), WISCONSIN: Glad to be on your program.
CARLSON: So do I understand this correctly, that not only does this legislation would, I suppose, allow public breast-feeding, but would penalize people for criticizing it?
RISSER: Under the bill that we have drafted, the court could award a fine of up to $200 to someone who interfered.
CARLSON: So essentially you are attempting to criminalize an attitude? People who don‘t like breast-feeding, and express it are somehow now criminals? Isn‘t that kind of wrong?
RISSER: It‘s not really criminalizing. It‘s a fine for interfering with some woman who is breast-feeding her child. My bill would permit a woman to breast-feed her child in any public or private place that she is authorized to be in.
RISSER: And it would eliminate harassment.
CARLSON: But what do you mean by interference and harassment? If a woman is breast-feeding her child, and incidentally for whatever it‘s worth, I am strongly pro-breast-feeding, very pro-breast-feeding. But let‘s say I wasn‘t, and I think I have a right not to be, and a woman was breast-feeding, and I said, why don‘t you knock it off and do that somewhere else. Would I be interfering?
RISSER: Well, if that the woman felt that you were harassing her, she could accuse you of harassment, and it would be up to the court to decide whether or not that was sufficient harassment.
The purpose of this bill is twofold, not only to give support to a woman who is breast-feeding her child, but to aid in the health of the child. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast-feeding for at least the first...
CARLSON: Of course. Look, I have got four kids, all of them breast-feed. You don‘t need to sell me on breast-feeding. It‘s great. It‘s great in the effects it has on kids. I am just troubled by the First Amendment implications of what you are saying. I mean, people have a right to express dissatisfaction with other people‘s public behavior, don‘t they? So what is allowed speech?
RISSER: Certainly they do.
CARLSON: OK, so what is allowed? What can I say to a breast-feeding mom and not get fined?
RISSER: I suppose that‘s quite subjective. It depends. Some women probably wouldn‘t pay any attention to someone who spoke to them the way you suggest. Others might feel very upset, and it would be up to the court to finally determine if the woman pursued her complaint.
CARLSON: But why tie up the courts with something this frivolous? Why can‘t—I mean, for thousands of years, people have gotten along on a system that kind of works, where women sort of know that people will be offended in this circumstance and not in this one. And it‘s worked. I have seen it, and it works. Why get the courts involved? Aren‘t there real crimes we need to be bringing to court?
RISSER: I think it works too, but a constituent contacted our office, and she was breast-feeding a child in a shopping mall, and she was asked to leave. And she came to me and asked whether there was any law that said she had to leave in a case like that. We checked the law out, and found out that the law was silent on this, and therefore, we have drafted the bill and we have introduced it.
CARLSON: Wouldn‘t it be—don‘t you think better if you just told your constituent, listen, lady, government can‘t solve all your problems. I‘m sorry you are offended, but you know, there‘s a limit to what we can do, we are not God. Don‘t you think it would have been better?
RISSER: Well, some women are offended by the attitude of others, and as I say, it‘s a subjective situation.
RISSER: All a law is, it codifies the mores of a society at a given point in time, and I think this codifies the feeling that you and I have.
CARLSON: Boy, it just makes me want to criticize breast-feeding, the thought of this law. Much as I like it. You know, there are certain people like me—next time I go to Wisconsin, it‘s going to be very difficult for me not to criticize it, even though I support it, just because it‘s against the law. I hope the law fails, but I appreciate you coming on anyway to tell us about it. Mr. Risser, thanks.
RISSER: Thank you, thank you for having me tonight.
Coming up, last night, the daughter of Sam Giancana, the fabled Mafia boss, told us her dad arranged the murder of JFK. Some of you, including one skeptical caller, don‘t buy that at all. I‘ll check THE SITUATION voicemail next.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Voicemail time. You know the number. We know you know it, because you call every day. Here‘s some of what you say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN: Tucker, you were shameless when you were speaking to my Muslim brother tonight. You accused him of semantics, but you were the one who was really just trying to spin the issue and distract the issue. (INAUDIBLE) is offensive. Guns in a mosque goes beyond offensive, but the two have nothing to do with each other. It‘s ridiculous. You should be ashamed of yourself.
This is Kevin from Virginia, by the way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Kevin, I don‘t agree with you at all. Of course they are related. I mean, that ad showed a military helicopter over a mosque, not even defending the ad so much as I am pointing out it reflects a reality on the ground in Iraq and around the world, and that reality is mosques, places of worship, are being used as military installations. And it‘s wrong. And if you run a group that purports to speak for Muslims, you ought to speak out against that. That was merely what I was saying to our guest last night. This ad may be offensive. It‘s not nearly as offensive as what is happening every day in the Middle East, and that is in places where there‘s conflict, and that is people are using mosques to stockpile mortar tubes and TNT. And that‘s just—that‘s over the top. All Muslims ought to be offended. I certainly am.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRY: Hi, Tucker. This is Carrie in Parkersberg, West Virginia. First of all, I do want to say, I do think we have a moral obligation to help other people. However, right now I think our money needs to stay in the United States. We have several towns we need to rebuild, from hurricanes and flooding, and I just don‘t think we should be promising other countries money right now in this situation we are in. And by the way, love your show. Love you. Love the tie. Bye-bye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Well, I like you too, Terry. Anyone who likes the tie, there are so few and far between. Boy, it goes direct to my heart.
I don‘t think we have a moral obligation to help anyone outside our borders. We do it not because we are obligated; because we‘re really nice people. And I think it‘s worth doing, if only because it reminds us of who we are, and that is people who are spontaneously generous.
I do think we ought to give a lot less money to countries that hate us, people who are ungrateful. All that aid we‘ve given out over the years, around the world, it has not brought us a lot of love. At some point, why do it? Why give money to people who hate you? That‘s my feeling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LISA: Hey, Tucker Carlson, this is Lisa from Sanford, North Carolina. You should have stuck it to that (INAUDIBLE) lady like you stuck it to the Muslim guy. Her story just was incredible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Story wasn‘t credible. Yes, it wasn‘t that credible. I agree with you. Maybe I should have stuck it to her a little more. She was a nice old woman. And it was kind of interesting, but I agree. I think the truth of it was what the Warren commission determined. There was one lone nut, a left-wing crazy, by the way, Lee Harvey Oswald, who killed the president. It was an unlikely shot, but all the evidence points to the fact it was the shot that killed the president. So yeah, I probably should have been a little tougher. Sorry about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELANIE: Hi, Tucker. This is Melanie Duncan (ph) from Macon, Georgia. I am a librarian, and I completely disagree with what you said, librarians are not out to destroy all books. We‘ve converted quite a few of the older ones into an electronic format, to permit their preservation. You may have heard of that word. If we don‘t preserve them, then they will be lost for future generations. See how you would like having a bunch of moldy books in your library.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Well, I have a bunch of moldy books in my library. In fact, I have a lot of books at home that I have read, enjoyed, loved and saved, that have been discarded from libraries. And it just makes me sad, in some cases literally thrown out, or buy, you know, $1 for a big box of books. And it just makes me sad, the cavalier attitude of a lot of librarians, who have what I consider a sacred charge, to take care of America‘s books, and keep them open to people who can‘t afford to buy them. It makes me sad their attitude, the anti-book attitude I pick up from a lot of librarians. Not all librarians, but a lot of librarians. It‘s distressing. Save the books. Yeah, digitize them, great, but save the actual books. They are worth saving.
Let me know what you are thinking. You can call 1-877-TCARLSON.
That‘s 877-822--7576. You can also send your questions via our Web site. E-mail me at email@example.com. I will respond every day on our Web site, anything you come up with—politics, culture, anything. Gardening, fishing tips, I got a lot of those. Whatever is on your mind. Send the questions, I‘ll respond.
Still ahead on THE SITUATION, we humans hate going to the dentist, but how do groundhogs feel about it? We‘ll tell you why on Earth this rodent is getting braces when we visit “The Cutting Room Floor,” next.
CARLSON: Welcome back. A little breaking news now. The AP is reporting just now that apparently there has been a mass shooting at a school in Beijing, China. A man entered a Chinese language school and opened fire, injuring at this point the total is 16 people wounded. We don‘t know more than that, but we‘ll tell you everything we know when we find out, which ought to be soon.
In the meantime, Willie Geist and “The Cutting Room Floor.”
WILLIE GEIST, THE SITUATION: And a smooth transition from that to me. We have got some good stuff tonight. We start with technology at its finest. The new iPod to get excited about.
CARLSON: Oh, excellent.
CARLSON: Well, just when you thought you had the newest, coolest iPod available, Apple comes along and puts you in your place. The company introduced a brand new iPod that allows you to watch television and music videos. You can download the video, just like you would a song, from iTunes, for just $1.99 an episode. You can instantly put your favorite shows on your iPod. The new models starts at just 299 bucks.
GEIST: Great, so I should throw out the iPod I got like six months ago?
GEIST: It‘s amazing how they do this, isn‘t it?
CARLSON: Yeah, but iPods—it‘s a little bit like FedEx. It‘s a huge success because it is actually a great product.
GEIST: It is. It is. It‘s one of the coolest things to come along in a while, and hipsters everywhere will be watching THE SITUATION in the palm of their hands.
CARLSON: Of course they will.
GEIST: So cool.
CARLSON: I haven‘t even thought of that.
CARLSON: I got to have more self-interest in it.
Everyone knows how much groundhogs hate going to the dentist, but I think this little fellow will be glad he made the trip this time. Five-year-old Stormy was fitted for a set of braces at the Brookfield, Illinois zoo yesterday. He needs the braces to fix the crooked incisors that are preventing him from chewing his food properly. Stormy will have to have regular checkups on his new dental work. No word yet on whether he is getting head gear to go along with it.
GEIST: I know, that embarrassing head gear.
CARLSON: I hate that.
GEIST: You know what, though, Tucker? At five years old, Stormy is a full grown adult groundhog, and the decision to get adult braces is a very difficult one.
CARLSON: It really is.
GEIST: So I‘m not going to make some wise cracks to make it even more difficult. Good for you, Stormy.
CARLSON: Really? You applaud him for his courage?
GEIST: I totally applaud him, and I think if it gets him more dates, it‘s good.
CARLSON: But he really is an inspiration for dentally challenged groundhogs everywhere.
GEIST: Everywhere, and there are plenty of them.
CARLSON: This is getting...
GEIST: He is a trailblazer.
CARLSON: He really is. I think he is on the list of the 50 most influential groundhogs, actually, yeah.
Well, the birth of a 7-pound, 6-ounce baby normally wouldn‘t be worthy of “The Cutting Room Floor.” We have high standards here. But there is one small detail that makes this newborn different from the rest. She is the 16th child born to Michelle Duggar of Little Rock, Arkansas. Joanna Faith Duggar joins her 15 brothers and sisters, all of whom have names that start with the letter J. The 39-year-old Michelle and her husband are already thinking about their next child. They say, quote, “we both just love children.” I guess.
GEIST: I think the Duggars are trying to field a standing army here.
CARLSON: I think that‘s right.
GEIST: They‘ll invade North Korea in a few years.
CARLSON: Or at least Oklahoma.
GEIST: Right. You know, I was doing a little math here, crunching some numbers. She is 39. She had her first kid when she was 21, she‘s had 16 kids. Carry the one. Is that even possible?
CARLSON: Here‘s one thing I know for certain, I bet you 20 bucks they don‘t have cable, because at that point, it‘s just a hobby. That‘s where you‘re spending all your (INAUDIBLE) time. Yeah, you don‘t.
Well, you really have to be unhappy in your marriage to beg a judge to throw you in jail so you can get out of the house. That‘s exactly what one Italian man has requested. Ahmed Sali (ph) was sentenced to nine months house arrest for an immigration violation. But after one week of his wife‘s nagging, he went back to the court and pleaded with the judge to throw him behind bars. Sali (ph) said, quote, “I need some peace.”
GEIST: That must be one awful woman. But let me point something out. If he thinks his wife is a nag, wait until he meets his new spouse in the slammer. It will be a bit more than a nag.
CARLSON: Wait until he becomes the wife.
GEIST: He‘ll be crying for his old wife.
CARLSON: He can put it all in perspective.
Willie Geist, thank you.
GEIST: All right, Tucker.
CARLSON: That‘s it for THE SITUATION. I thank you for watching. Up next, “COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN.” I‘ll see you back here tomorrow. Happy Yom Kippur.
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