Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Saudi Rape Victim Sentenced to Whipping; Obama vs. Clinton
Aired November 19, 2007 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez.
There is a secret about Barack Obama that we all seem to need to know about. Or is this really about some dirty political trick that he's getting caught up in somehow? Either way, it's got Washington abuzz. And Hillary Clinton's camp is saying, look, we have got nothing to do with this.
Here's how this all starts. Conservative columnist Robert Novak reports that Mrs. Clinton knows something about Obama that she's not revealing yet -- quote -- let put this up -- "Agents of Senator Clinton are spreading the word in Democratic circles that she has scandalous information, but has decided not to use it."
Well, this word of mouth among Democrats makes Obama look vulnerable and Clinton look prudent. Again, the source is Robert Novak on this. Now, Obama reacted almost immediately, demanding that Clinton either release the information or admit that there's no truth to Novak's story. And then he used her own words against her.
Quote again -- let's show this. Here's where the story gets thick. "We heard Senator Clinton rail against the politics of throwing mud. She of all people having complained so often about the politics of personal destruction should move quickly to either stand by or renounce these tactics."
And there were more bare-knuckled jabs between the two today. Talking about the economy, Clinton took what's viewed as a shot at Obama's inexperience. Listen to her words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is one job we can't afford on-the-job training for. That is the job of our next president. That could be the costliest job training in history.
OBAMA: My understanding was that she wasn't treasury secretary in the Clinton administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: On-the-job training.
Republican strategist K.T. McFarland and Democratic start Julie Roginsky, both are joining us. I guess the first thing that our viewers want to know -- and it's a very good question -- is, what's the secret about Obama?
K.T., what do you know?
KATHLEEN TROIA MCFARLAND, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I don't know a darn thing, but I suspect there's no secret.
SANCHEZ: You don't?
MCFARLAND: Because otherwise Obama wouldn't have come out and challenged Mrs. Clinton to reveal the secret.
SANCHEZ: Oh, surely there's something. Robert Novak wrote about it.
SANCHEZ: Julie, what do you think?
JULIE ROGINSKY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Richard Armitage leaked this to him? Who leaked this is Robert Novak. This is...
SANCHEZ: To be fair, Robert Novak says, I did not get this from Republicans. I got this from several Democrats. He's on the record saying that.
ROGINSKY: But he said not anybody directly affiliated with the Clinton camp. He heard it from somebody who heard from it somebody from the Clinton camp. This is like Six degrees of Kevin Bacon. I have no idea whether this is true or not.
SANCHEZ: But wait. And this is important, and here's why. You have got a guy whose middle name is Hussein, who apparently has been known to light up a cigarette from time to time, who has talked about his past
MCFARLAND: And I bet he's got a couple of overdue library books from third grade, too.
SANCHEZ: You got it. There you go. There's got to be something going on out there.
ROGINSKY: Can I tell you something?
SANCHEZ: Yes. But, see, that's the trick here. You see, I'm playing along with this, because I'm trying to get you guys and our viewers at home to understand that this kind of stuff becomes incendiary. It's attack by innuendo.
ROGINSKY: Let me explain something, though, as somebody who has done a bunch of campaigns. If I wanted to really...
SANCHEZ: You have done this?
ROGINSKY: I have never done this, because if I have ever wanted to leak anything negative against an opponent, it would land on your desk without any fingerprints on it and you could take full credit for doing the research on it, and I would have nothing to do with it.
Hillary Clinton is more professional than this. If she has something to leak, she's going to leak it without her fingerprints on it. She is not going to say, oh, I might have something, and I might look really negative. If I do it, I might look really negative. If I don't do it -- I mean, this is ridiculous. There's no way.
SANCHEZ: K.T., how about you? You're from the Republican side. Do you think that the Hillary camp would be capable of doing something like this?
SANCHEZ: Where they would leak to it Robert Novak so that it would get out, so they could bait him?
MCFARLAND: But it's not just the Hillary Clinton campaign. This is emblematic of politics today.
You know, I ran for public office. And you know what happens? You go to a political consultant, and he says, raise a lot of money and I will run some negative ads about your opponent and you're going to win. That's the system.
And that's I think why Obama's politics have taken off. He doesn't really have anything to say on the issues, but he's talking about a different kind of politics. I think it's going to backfire.
ROGINSKY: No. That's...
SANCHEZ: Against Hillary Clinton?
MCFARLAND: You bet.
SANCHEZ: But wait a minute. Hillary Clinton is the one who looks prudent here. A, there may be some stuff out there about Obama. That hurts him. B, she may know about it. But she's too high-minded to say anything about it, so she's keeping it under her vest.
MCFARLAND: I think the American public is smarter than that.
ROGINSKY: But if there's something really good on Barack Obama, don't you think Hillary Clinton would send it to you or another reporter? And I don't think Robert Novak would be that reporter by the way. He's not really part of the Democratic demographic.
ROGINSKY: So you leak it to the reporter and you have no fingerprints on it. They torpedo your opponent for you. Why in God's name would Hillary Clinton ever say publicly to somebody through a second-degree source, well, I have something, but I'm not going to use it?
Either you have it and you give it to somebody, without your fingerprints on it, or you don't have and you keep your mouth shut.
SANCHEZ: But here's another important question that I'm sure our viewers want to know, because they're all trying to decide who knows what here. Barack Obama, was he wrong to get baited and call a news conference and talk about something that maybe doesn't even exist?
MCFARLAND: No, he's smart to do it.
MCFARLAND: Because he's showing her as a typical old mud- slinging politician. He's the new guy in town. He's play by different rules.
SANCHEZ: But there's no facts on the table that there's any mud- slinging that she even knows about. It's Novak saying this.
Julie, to you.
MCFARLAND: Time will tell.
ROGINSKY: You know who benefits? John Edwards in Iowa or the Republicans, because neither Hillary nor Obama look very good here.
Obama, there is a shred of people's doubt. What? Is there really something or other going on here? Hillary looks like she's maybe mean-spirited. The person that benefits is clearly somebody who's either trending in the right direction in Iowa, who is a close front-runner, or more likely the Republicans. Again, I don't think a Democrat would leak to Bob Novak. Look at the source.
SANCHEZ: So you think these two guys going after each other helps the rest of the parade?
ROGINSKY: Of course. It helps the rest...
SANCHEZ: Good stuff. All right. Interesting comments.
Julie, K.T., thanks for being with us. We certainly appreciate it. Interesting conversation.
SANCHEZ: Next story is going to seem just impossible to believe, at least by out standards in this country. It's about a young woman who's gang-raped by seven men.
And, remember, she's the victim. But she was sentenced to 90 lashes, not for being raped, but for being found with a man who wasn't a relative at the time. Now, this happened in Saudi Arabia. And there's more. Her attorney complained about this. He said, why would you punish my client in this case?
So, the judge more then doubled her sentence. Now she's getting 200 lashes, instead of the 90 lashes. And she's getting another six months in prison. Remember, this is the victim of a gang rape in Saudi Arabia. And, remember, Saudi Arabia is supposed to be a U.S. ally.
Here's what she said in an interview with Human Rights Watch. The first man -- quote -- "with the knife raped me. I was destroyed. The fifth and sixth were most abusive. After the seventh one, I couldn't feel my body anymore."
Joining me now is Saudi scholar and activist Ali Al-Ahmed. He was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. But he and other members of his family were imprisoned there for political reasons.
What kind of legal system would punish a young woman after she's been gang-raped? I just don't get it and I doubt you could find an American who does.
ALI AL-AHMED, SAUDI SCHOLAR AND ACTIVIST: Well, thank you very much for having me.
The Saudi justice system is a medieval system. It does not belong to our world. It is found in a few hundred, even a few thousand years old relics. It does not follow any of the standard that you and I know about court system or judicial process.
SANCHEZ: Can you explain to us why she would be punished first of all for being with a man who apparently wasn't a relative of hers? So what? First of all, just so the viewers know, it's not like she was doing anything with him. Apparently, they were exchanging photographs, right?
The Saudi system punishes women and men who mix with each other if they were not relatives. This case gives you an indication of how the women of Saudi Arabia are treated. The status of a woman in Saudi Arabia is exemplified by this case, where women are not considered to be a human being but a property of other men.
SANCHEZ: A property. A property.
SANCHEZ: Yes, that's maybe the key word here. And by the way, let's remind our viewers once again these are allies of the United States. She's punished even further now for complaining about this to the media. That just seems absolutely preposterous. She has every right, doesn't she, to complain about this?
AL-AHMED: Absolutely. She have every right to complain about what happens to her.
But Saudi Arabia, let's remember, this is a dictatorial government. It is an absolute monarchy that has all the money, that uses the oil money to control the society and pushes our society backward.
SANCHEZ: Yes. And you know what the problem is here? Look, I remember as a correspondent in South Florida, that I would see these sheiks from Saudi Arabia take over parts of hotels, and I was told by law enforcement officials that the amount of booze and cocaine and many other things that would go on there was really, you know, jaw- dropping.
And these are guys coming from this system that's not supposed to allow this. So is there one set of rules for the corrupt cousins of Saudi Arabia and their friends, and another set of rules for the rest of the people there?
AL-AHMED: Absolutely. This is the story from the beginning.
The Al Saud ruling family has been using all kind of violations to Islam and the tradition of the people. But they enforce most strict -- the strictest rule. Most of the Saudi cabinet, for example, drink alcohol and consume alcohol, some on daily basis. However, you are not allowed to drink alcohol in Saudi Arabia.
(CROSSTALK) SANCHEZ: OK. So, here's -- I'm just going to interrupt you, because, before we run out of time, here's the question that a lot of our viewers are thinking about right now as they watch us have this discussion.
We attacked Iraq because Saddam Hussein, his henchmen and his sons were doing things like this to the people there. If this is going on in Saudi Arabia as well, why do we have war with one country, and yet we put our arms around another country, if the same type of thing is being felt by the poor people who live in that country?
AL-AHMED: I think this is an opportunity to link the arms deal that has been proposed, billions of dollars to Saudi Arabia, with the emancipation of women in Saudi Arabia. This is an opportunity that I hope the Bush administration could take advantage of and use and protect the good name of America and the good name of democracy, so women in Saudi Arabia could see a brighter future in exchange of the arms that are being sold to Saudi Arabia in the coming months.
SANCHEZ: Geopolitics is a funny thing, my friend.
Ali Al-Ahmed, thanks so much for being with us and thanks so much for sharing us your perspective on Saudi Arabia.
AL-AHMED: Thank you. Thank you very much.
SANCHEZ: There is another crime list out, and it's got Detroit at the very top once again. And the chief of police of Detroit is going to be joining us right here to answer some tough questions about it.
Also ahead, we have got this guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRENCE LEE, ALLEGED VICTIM: ... and cried, you know. I'm a man, but I can cry too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: He's crying. What's he crying about? What's got him so upset? We're going to show you in just a little bit.
And then "Rick's Pics." we have got the best pictures all over the world. And this is tough. You see that little kid right there on the woman's back? What she's fighting for has already got a situation where some 3,000 people are dead. We're all over it. We're coming right back. We will take you to Bangladesh.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez.
Should I apologize to John McCain? The definitive question asked of two definitive guests here tonight.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): Do you live in one of America's most dangerous cities? Hint: There are some angry mayors out there.
Should you go to jail for not vaccinating your kids? This is happening. And some parents don't like it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And even now to jail the parents. What are you going to do with the child?
SANCHEZ: One storm, thousands upon thousands dead. Survivors fighting for food. How did it happen?
And these two, birds of a feather?
And these two walking together.
It's OUT IN THE OPEN.
SANCHEZ: There is a controversial new report that lists the most dangerous cities in America. On its face, you would think this would be a good thing, right, a way to pick out where you might want to live or work in the future.
But the American Society of Criminology is attacking this report as -- quote -- "irresponsible" is the word they're using.
Detroit Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings is here to defend her city's reputation.
In fact, let's start with the list of the most dangerous cities. We can put it up for you. Detroit right there at the top of the list. Been there before. It's followed by Saint Louis, Missouri, then Flint, Michigan, not too far away, Oakland, California, Camden, New Jersey, and Birmingham, Alabama.
We're going to have this on our Web site, by the way, if case you want to see the full list.
The chief joins us now.
Chief, how are they wrong?
ELLA BULLY-CUMMINGS, DETROIT POLICE CHIEF: They're wrong because the data is placed in an improper context.
SANCHEZ: You have been vying for Saint Louis with the number one or the number two spots in one ranking or another, according to our research, for the city with the biggest crime problem in the country. Is that not a fact?
BULLY-CUMMINGS: You know, I don't dispute our crime numbers that we submit. What I am taking exception with is how these numbers were manipulated.
And when I say manipulated, what I'm saying is, you cannot compare a major city in the United States of America with a small town of 75,000 people. You cannot weight homicide and larceny or auto theft the same. You have to...
SANCHEZ: No, you're right. You're right. And I understand that. And I have been a cop beat reporter for many, many years and I have been at your side and I have been out there on the streets, and I know what these guys have to go through. And I know how hard they work and I know how easy it is to manipulate numbers.
And that's important for our viewers to understand that, because there is no definitive answer when you do statistics on crime like this.
But I'm interested in what harm this is to the city. I mean, so what if you're one or two or three or four? Why should it matter?
BULLY-CUMMINGS: It's a perception issue. And it places an undue burden on any city. Today, or this year, it's the city of Detroit. Last year, it was Saint Louis. We don't know who it will be next year. Hopefully not Detroit.
But this is an issue that any city in the United States of America should be concerned about. It shouldn't be because it's the chief of police or the city of Detroit today. We all should be concerned about making sure that information that is put out that can do damage to a city's reputation, to a city's community, to a city's police department, that at least the information be placed in its proper context.
SANCHEZ: Let me ask you one more thing. Should this also be treated as a call to action by you and other city officials, to try and see if you can put your hands around this thing, put your arms around this thing, and try and reduce the crime some way, no matter what your number is?
BULLY-CUMMINGS: Rick, that's assuming that we're not working very hard with our community and the men and women in the police department and our other law enforcement partners here in the state of Michigan. We are doing that.
There are challenges that we're facing as, you know, some other cities across the United States of America. I'm -- so it's not that we're not trying to put our arms around it.
BULLY-CUMMINGS: We're working very diligently and we're going to continue. And what I will tell you is that as long as I am in this position, I will continue to do the very best job I can. And I can tell you that the majority of the men and women on my department are doing the same thing. And we have a tremendous community that works hand in hand with us also. SANCHEZ: Chief Ella Bully-Cummings, I know you have got your hands full, and I think you certainly understand that and will rise to the task. We appreciate you taking time to talk to us about this.
BULLY-CUMMINGS: Thank you, Rick.
SANCHEZ: By the way, here's the list of the safest cities in America, Mission Viejo -- not far from those fires that we were covering just weeks ago -- in California tops that list. Clarksville -- or -- pardon me -- Clarkstown, New York, then Brick Township in New Jersey, Amherst, New York, and Sugar Land, Texas.
A noose and whipping post. Whose office is this? Is it motivation or racial intimidation? We're looking into it.
Also, double trouble. What are these guys up to? Oh, no.
We will be back.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back to OUT IN THE OPEN, 23 minutes after the hour. I'm Rick Sanchez. Thanks for being here.
We have been telling you a lot about hate crimes on this particular newscast. The question is, are they really going up? Or are they just making a lot more headlines lately?
Well, there's a new FBI report just out today that says reports of hate crimes were actually up by 6 percent last year. Now, these are the crimes that target victims for their race, their religion, or their sexual orientation. Lately though it's all been about the noose, first the tree in that Louisiana schoolyard that we told you about first, again, at New York's Columbia University, and now in a New Orleans suburb.
Our story tonight from CNN's Sean Callebs.
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A noose, a bullwhip attached to something labeled "Bill's Whipping Post," not relics tucked away in a museum, but actual items, allegedly displayed in a white supervisor's office at the Jefferson Parish Sewerage Department.
Terrence Lee, a 13-year sewerage employee, says he put up with seeing what he describes as racist symbols for six years before finally blowing the whistle on his boss.
LEE: I'm beat. I'm broke down. And I cried. And, you know, I'm a man, but I can cry, too.
CALLEBS: Lee is represented by attorney Danatus King, who says he will file a civil suit against the parish. King is also head of the New Orleans NAACP. DANATUS KING, ATTORNEY FOR TERRENCE LEE: The terminology I use for them are really tools of terrorism, because that's what they are. They're designed to instill fear.
CALLEBS: Lee says he took these photos two years ago. But the items were apparently still around as recently as last week when they were seized by Jefferson Parish officials and turned over to the FBI.
Investigators from the parish have identified six supervisors, in addition to the supervisor Lee first accused, who they say fail to uphold Jefferson Parish policy prohibiting the display of offensive material. The seven are now undergoing disciplinary hearings, according to parish president Aaron Broussard, and expect the results this coming Monday.
AARON BROUSSARD, JEFFERSON PARISH PRESIDENT: I am not going to tolerate any of our public workplaces being playgrounds for prejudice at Jefferson Parish.
CALLEBS: But there's more. The FBI is investigating whether hate crimes were committed.
JAMES BERNAZZANI, FBI: We're going to ask the question why? How did it get there? Was it a gift? Did the alleged subject bring it himself? Did he use it during performance appraisal periods?
CALLEBS: There are other factors to consider, according to the parish. For one, whistle-blower Terrence Lee had just been suspended for insubordination. And while Jefferson Parish says he can return to work, he hasn't.
Additionally, Lee says he filed a number of earlier grievances regarding his supervisor's office paraphernalia. Parish officials say they have found none. Still, disgruntled or not, a whip, a noose, and a whipping post? The parish now says the wooden device found in the supervisor's office is something called a butt-kicking machine, not a noose. When this rope is pulled, a boot swings up.
Nonsense, says Lee's attorney.
KING: There would be no question about interpretation if that office, instead of having a noose, if it was adorned with swastikas.
CALLEBS: Investigators must now decide whether all this was more than a very bad joke, and instead fostered an atmosphere of intimidation and hate.
Sean Callebs, CNN, New Orleans.
SANCHEZ: We have stayed on top of these stories in the past and we promise we will do the same thing with this one. As the developments come in, we will share them with you.
Now I want to bring you another one of those video pics we like to choose out for you. This is almost kind of funny. We start with the community Christmas tree lighting. This is in Conroe, Texas. And what could possibly go wrong? The kiddies are there. They have got the balloons on their head. They're all excited. Santa's trying to make a big, grand entrance by rappelling down the billboard.
Uh-oh. You know those little snags on the rope? When they're made of metal, sometimes they can get filaments and stuff stuck in there. Well, Santa's beard got stuck on the robe. Santa ends up taking off the beard. He can't get -- he's stuck, by the way. He starts asking for scissors. They try to throw it up to him, but he can't. He's embarrassed. The kids are like, what in the world? Takes the whole beard off, takes the wig off, comes down without it.
Finally, paramedics have to be called to get Santa down. Look at the kids. They're the only ones who seem to be able to know what's going on.
Yes, more "Rick's Pics" on CNN.com/Rick for you.
They came to witness the end of an historic hotel, but the wind was blowing the wrong way. We have got a shot of them running after this happens. You will see it right there.
Also , later, Barack Obama losing his cool? I'm going to ask some red state Republicans about this one. That's right, red state.
We will be back.
SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back. I'm Rick Sanchez. Imagine what it would be like to be an Arab-American actor or actress trying to get a job as a leading man or woman in a movie or a television show these days.
Do you take the role of a terrorist or Islamic radical that you're offered? Or do you say, hey, no thanks, and hope that good guy role is going to come along anytime soon. A lot of actors are saying that those are the tough choices that they are facing, and they're blaming Hollywood for putting them in this predicament. Here's our entertainment correspondent Brooke Anderson.
BROOKE ANDERSON, ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Terrorist. Terrorist. Terrorist. Arab-American actor, Sayed Badreya. For much of his career, Hollywood offered him one kind of role -- terrorist.
SAYED BADREYA, ACTOR: That's the only role that was available for me. Fourteen years I have one line. "In the name of Allah I will kill you all." That's it. Every movie I go in and somehow I end up with that line.
ANDERSON: Arab characters have long been Hollywood's stock villain all the way back to the silent era with "The Sheik" to today's post-9/11 world, where the number of terrorist roles has only increased. With films like "United 93," "Munich," "Syriana" and "The Kingdom." That's created more employment opportunities for Arab actors but at what cost?
MARC CASABANI, ACTOR: Oftentimes, they play terrorists. The material that was available was very one-sided or very -- that was pigeonholed.
ANDERSON: Mark Casabani, who like Badreya is of Egyptian descent played a terrorist in season two of "24" but has turned down parts he feels perpetuate a harmful stereotype.
CASABANI: I remember my niece writing me and saying, "Uncle, are you still playing a terrorist?" Because someone in school today said, "You know what, I saw your uncle on TV and you must be a terrorist too."
ANDERSON: Alicia Fasano was the casting director for Showtime's terrorism themed "Sleeper Cell." She says she understands the Arab- American actor's dilemma.
FELICIA FASANO, CASTING DIRECTOR: If these jobs come up, if you don't feel comfortable with it, don't take it.
ANDERSON: And Fasano asserts, typecasting isn't unique to Arab- American actors.
FASANO: For years, that's what we've gotten with the Latino actors. It was -- I don't want to play a maid. I don't want to play a gang banger, but that's what all the roles are. Most stories about Italian-Americans are about the mob, and they keep making them. And actors get jobs.
ANDERSON: Casabani and Badreya are working independently to change the Arab stereotype.
BADREYA: Ninety-five or 100 percent of movie done about Arab is written by a white guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MOVIE CLIP)
BADREYA: Do you want to talk about it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Hoping to present a more balanced view of Arab- Americans, Badreya co-wrote and stars in the upcoming feature film "American East" which isn't about terrorists, but an Arab family man who opens a Middle Eastern restaurant with his Jewish friend. Likewise, Casabani is developing a sympathetic comedy called "The Rules of a Muslim in Love." Brooke Anderson, CNN, Hollywood.
SANCHEZ: And you would recognize our next guest as the quirky detective Monk. He's Tony Shalhoub. Before that, he was the American-born actor played the good guy FBI agent with an Arab background in "The Siege." And a very different type, he was also an Italian-American taxi driver in the long-running TV series "Wings." There he is.
Tony Shalhoub is good enough to join us now. You know, as I was watching Brooke's report, I was thinking to myself, I bet you there's a real hunger or thirst out there and Hollywood's maybe not smart enough to figure it out. But wouldn't it be neat to know the back stories of a lot of Muslims or Arabs that we don't know? Because if we only know one side -- I bet you a lot of Americans would like to know, what are these people really like, right?
TONY SHALHOUB, ACTOR: Well, that's true, that's true, Rick. As Sayed was saying, and that's kind of what we set out to do with this film "American East." It's a story that takes place in present-day Los Angeles...
SHALHOUB: ... in the Arab-American, Muslim-American community, and post- 9/11 of course. And it's just a kind of slice of life story. It's got great, you know, it's got romance.
SHALHOUB: It has humor. It has violence. It has all of that. But it's not a story that's just about, well, just about terrorism.
SANCHEZ: Well, you know what's interesting, though, as you look at these stories that are out there, where Arab-Americans are always playing, you know, what does he say, "In the name of Allah, I'm going to kill you." You know, it's always the same line. Are they being a little too sensitive, though? After all, hey, you know, as my dad would say, son, work is work.
SHALHOUB: Well, there is that side of it. And you know, Hollywood takes a lot of heat, and everybody wants to blame Hollywood for everything.
SHALHOUB: But the reality is, you know, it's really about -- it's about the appetite of the viewers. It's about the fact that, you know, the Arab-American community, the actors, the writers, the directors, have to be proactive. They have to maybe initiate some of their own work, which is again what we tried to do with "American East."
Sayed and the director of "American East" and myself put together the Arab-American filmmakers award a year or so ago...
SHALHOUB: ... to try to encourage Arab-American writers to submit short screen plays. And --
SANCHEZ: Yes, stuffs that's nuanced. Stuff that --
SANCHEZ: For example, you're Lebanese, right? So I just happen to know if you're Lebanese, chances are you're not even a Muslim, right?
SHALHOUB: Well, I'm not. But there are Lebanese Muslims, of course.
SANCHEZ: Of course. Yes, but there's huge Christian -- I guess the point I'm making is there's all this nuance. There's all this layer in the Arab and Muslim communities.
SANCHEZ: Different people, different ideas, but we don't get to know that. You would think -- you talk about the American appetite. There is an American appetite for knowledge. But all too often, the people in charge of doing TV and the people in charge of doing movies, don't meet, don't satisfy that hunger because they're too busy just doing the periphery stuff.
SANCHEZ: Am I wrong?
SHALHOUB: Well, no, that's true. Again, I hate to keep invoking this movie "American East" but it speaks to this very issue. There's a group of -- well, for you know, Arab-Americans in this movie.
SHALHOUB: But you know, we talk about -- we use this phrase, and it's so overused. And I think in a lot of people's minds, you know, it's just -- what is that? What does that mean? It's just this vast, you know, group of people. It's a blanket statement, kind of blanket phrase.
SHALHOUB: And really, in our film, for example, there's an Iraqi-Christian, there's a Jordanian, some are Muslim, some are Christian. They're from all different parts of the Middle East, and you get a peek at all of these different characters. Some are in conflict with each other. Some are, you know, friendly with each other. And I like this part of the story because it brings us some real --
SANCHEZ: When is this? Tell us more. When are people going to be able to see this movie?
SHALHOUB: Well, we're doing the festival circuit now. It was at the Hampton Film Festival last month. We're going to Dubai, actually, to film festival there early in December.
SHALHOUB: And we hope to get it mainstream.
SANCHEZ: Well, we'll get you back, and maybe we can show a clip and have another discussion about this.
SHALHOUB: I'd love it.
SANCHEZ: By the way, you make a great cop.
SHALHOUB: Well, thank you.
SANCHEZ: See you later. Tony Shalhoub, thanks so much. We appreciate it.
"LARRY KING LIVE" is coming up in just a couple of minutes. And Larry's off, but he's going to -- but we've got somebody who's going to tell us what's coming up.
JOY BEHAR, HOST: Hi, I'm Joy Behar. Coming up at the top of the hour, to nip tuck or not to nip tuck? Plus, the tragic death of Kanye West's mother has more people asking, are the results of plastic surgery worth the risks? What do you need to know about the costs, the potential complications, and the possible outcomes of cosmetic procedures?
Joining us tonight, the one and only Joan Rivers and Rock legend Gene Simmons. He had a facelift and taped it for his reality show. This is an hour you won't want to miss, next on "LARRY KING LIVE."
SANCHEZ: I guess that someone was Joy Behar. I knew that going in, by the way. I knew that.
Also, more "Rick's Pics" are coming up in just a little bit. What are these two guys cooking up? Chavez, Ahmadinejad? Could be good.
Later, I'm going to ask some Red State Republicans if I should apologize to John McCain. Good question, right?
SANCHEZ: We welcome you back. It seems these days vaccines for kids are getting more and more controversial. It used to be a pretty simple thing when we were growing up, right?
One school system just outside of Washington, D.C. stirred up a real firestorm on getting those shots. Schools in Prince George's County in Maryland threatened parents with $50 a day fines and even sending the parents, the parents to jail for 10 days if they don't get their kids vaccinated right away.
Now the threat got a lot of kids vaccinated as you might imagine. Some of them even lined up at the courthouse. See those pictures for free vaccines over the weekend? But it also gave a lot of parents, bad attack of anger. The threat came after more than 2,000 students were barred from school for not having chicken pox and some hepatitis B vaccines.
So this is the question. Is this a case of the public officials going completely out of control? Are they overreaching? Or is this a public health crisis that required some drastic action in this case?
You know, this is a tough one. Joining us now is the chief of student services for Prince George's County public schools. Betty Despenza-Green is good enough to join us. This is our "Vital Signs" segment on this night.
You know, one does wonder if the school system's being a little heavy-handed when they start talking about sending parents to jail. I mean, that does sound like they're overreaching a little bit. As a matter of fact, the parents, some of them, have said this is medical tyranny. How do you respond to that?
BETTY DESPENZA-GREEN, PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY SCHOOLS: No, we certainly don't believe we're overacting -- reacting in this situation. Because it is so important that our students are in school on a daily basis. And in order to be in school on a daily basis in Prince George's County, Maryland, students are required to be immunized. And we've been working with our parents, we've been working with our students for the past two years.
SANCHEZ: What are parents concerned about? What are they telling -- why would a parent not want their child to be immunized?
DESPENZA-GREEN: No, I don't believe that. I don't believe that parents don't want their children to be immunized. I think we get --
SANCHEZ: Well, obviously some -- obviously, some of them are feeling like, hey, I don't want the school system telling me what I have to do with my child.
DESPENZA-GREEN: Well, no --
SANCHEZ: Have any of them expressed that to you?
DESPENZA-GREEN: No. No. Those parents know the procedures to follow if they want -- if they're looking to get an exemption. But basically, we're saying that all children are entitled to a quality education. And to get that quality education, we need you in school every day.
SANCHEZ: What about the parents who say, you know, I'm a little concerned about these vaccines? There have been many reports out there about an increase in autism, for example. And there are some unsubstantiated reports, we should say, that seem to indicate it could have something to do with the vaccinations, with immunizations.
There's also this one -- there's also this one chemical out there, thimerosal, that people have been talking about that they don't want their kids to take. Apparently, it has something to do with mercury. What do you say about those situations?
DESPENZA-GREEN: None of our -- not the immunizations that our children are required to take, none of them have the mercury thimerosal. In fact, they're all mercury thimerosal-free.
SANCHEZ: What about the autism question?
DESPENZA-GREEN: If you check with CDC, you will find that none of those immunizations have been proven. None of them have been proven to be harmful to our children.
SANCHEZ: You're right. You're right.
DESPENZA-GREEN: And so we simply follow --
SANCHEZ: And as I said, it's unsubstantiated. It's only a question at this point, but I'm just wondering if parents have raised those questions and if you as an administrator feel that they have a right to raise those questions?
DESPENZA-GREEN: But what we are concerned about, that is the law. That is Maryland State law. And all of our children must be immunized. And so what we're doing is simply ensuring that our children are able to attend school on a daily basis.
SANCHEZ: You're right. And everything -- and you know what, you make a real good argument. You know, I am left wondering about the jail question, though. Have you actually sent anybody to jail as a result of this? Would you actually think about doing so?
DESPENZA-GREEN: Well, as of today, we've not sent anybody to jail. However, what we are doing now, we're taking steps to any student who has not been immunized to date. We'll take steps now to prepare a packet.
DESPENZA-GREEN: We will go and take a look at the attendance record. We will look at the immunization record, and we'll present it to the state's attorney's office.
SANCHEZ: All right. Listen, you have a right to do so.
DESPENZA-GREEN: But I want to make -- but I want to make it clear.
SANCHEZ: Go ahead. You have 10 seconds to do so.
DESPENZA-GREEN: I want to make it clear that the state's attorney's office is going to look at each case very carefully. They're going to interview the parents, to speak with the parents regarding this again.
SANCHEZ: Well, I imagine -- I imagine, of course. We imagine that they will. And we'll have you back and we'll talk about it and hopefully it won't come to that. If it does, we'll be talking about it again.
Betty Despenza-Green, thanks so much for being with us. We appreciate it.
SANCHEZ: And the question that we asked last week, John McCain wants an apology. So to be fair, should I apologize to John McCain? Who better to ask than some good old red state Republicans and some friends of the show.
And at the top of this hour on "LARRY KING LIVE," the risks and the rewards of plastic surgery.
SANCHEZ: We welcome you back. Always one of the highlights of the CNN YouTube Democratic debate a few months ago, it was the question from the Red State update guys. Remember them? Here it is in case you can't.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DUNLAP, RED STATE: Mainstream media seems awfully interested in old Al Gore these days.
JACKIE BROYLES, RED STATE: Is he losing weight? What's it say in his book? Is he still worried about our lives?
DUNLAP: They interpret all these signs that he may or may not run. They really want to know if Al Gore is going to run again.
BROYLES: Yes. All we want to know if does that hurt y'all's feelings?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think, yes, the people of Tennessee just had their feelings hurt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: All right. We like these guys so much we're making them some regular political contributors to our show or commentators. And there they are once again.
Do you guys have more than one outfit that looks like that? I hope you change it as my wife would say to my kids and washing that stuff all the time. Mr. Dunlap, Mr. Broyles?
DUNLAP: This was hard to find, Sanchez. I mean, and I'm proud of it and I like to show it off.
BROYLES: It's my work clothes. I'm comfortable in this pants.
DUNLAP: How many blue shirts and black jackets do you have?
SANCHEZ: Oh! Oh! I can't believe you're going there. That hurts.
BROYLES: What? Hey. SANCHEZ: Well, hold on a minute, I've got a question for you because we've got to talk serious politics here.
SANCHEZ: First, let's talk about Mr. McCain. Mr. McCain as you know last week, had somebody come and up they called Hillary the "b" word.
SANCHEZ: And he didn't -- he laughed and he also said it was an excellent question. And he's got a lot of heat for it. As a result, I've got a lot of heat from him. He says I should apologize for airing that.
I asked our viewers, well, what if a Democrat had allowed somebody to say that about Laura Bush and they'd laughed? So my question to you, should I apologize to Mr. McCain?
DUNLAP: Well, McCain is going around demanding apologies? It seems like you would be further back down the apology line.
DUNLAP: Like you'd start off with like George W. Bush and the black baby stuff.
BROYLES: Yes, then the Vietnamese.
DUNLAP: Then the Vietnamese and then Rick Sanchez.
BROYLES: Vietnamese and Rick Sanchez.
DUNLAP: So you'd be like third in line. I mean, do you want to apologize? You want practice? You want us to be me and Jackie will be John McCain, you can practice --
BROYLES: I don't want to be John McCain.
SANCHEZ: You don't want to be John McCain?
BROYLES: I'll be Fred Thompson. Yes.
DUNLAP: All right, you go to sleep. OK, Sanchez. I'm John McCain. Where's your apology? Come on, let me have it.
SANCHEZ: I'm not sure I need to apologize, Mr. McCain. After all, you're the one who made the comment.
DUNLAP: I have a House party. Look, there are three people waiting on me at a House party in New Hampshire, and I cannot keep them waiting.
SANCHEZ: Hey, by the way --
DUNLAP: Now, look.
SANCHEZ: Wait, wait. There's another Republican we've got to talk about now. And it's Mike Huckabee. You know, he's gotten some -- he's hot.
DUNLAP: He is hot. Yes.
SANCHEZ: People are giving him a real good look. So he puts out this ad where he's with Chuck Norris, right? This tough guy thing. I want you guys to look at it and then critique it for me.
BROYLES: All right, then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MIKE HUCKABEE CAMPAIGN AD)
ANNOUNCER: An important policy message from Governor Mike Huckabee.
GOVERNOR MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My plan is secure the border. Two words. Chuck Norris.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Again, this is like the Hillary joke last week. And I ask you the same way. Do you get it?
DUNLAP: You know, Huckabee is likeable. I mean, everybody likes him. He's funny. He's likeable.
BROYLES: Everybody likes him. And, of course, people who want an abortion don't.
DUNLAP: Yes. Unless you need an abortion, you don't like him. But, yes, I mean, you know, it's Chuck Norris. I mean, he's cool.
BROYLES: I like old Chuck Norris. They say it's Chuck Norris watching the border down there. And I remember on old Walker "Texas Ranger." Yes, Chuck Norris used to beat the hell out of some Mexicans on that show. Yes.
DUNLAP: Bad ones. Bad ones.
BROYLES: I hope so. Yes.
SANCHEZ: Right. Right.
DUNLAP: He knows the difference. He even trained a law enforcement officer and a damn minuteman.
BROYLES: Yes. No. No, he ain't. SANCHEZ: I'm glad you cleared that up. He went after bad people. It doesn't matter whether they're Mexican or whatever they are, right?
BROYLES: Yes, that's right. Yes.
DUNLAP: Yes, Walker. He knows in his mind, his Walker mind.
SANCHEZ: Thanks for clearing that up, fellas.
DUNLAP: Just like you know who's good and who's bad, Rick Sanchez.
SANCHEZ: Yes. And we're going fishing together, the three of us, and we're going to catch us an enormous bass. Just want to put that on the record.
DUNLAP: All right. OK. You bring the bait.
BROYLES: Yes, sure.
SANCHEZ: Jackie, thanks so much. Jackie Broyles and Dunlap, thanks again. We'll keep talking to you as long as you'll keep talking to us.
Republican candidates are going to answer your questions on November 28th during the next CNN/YouTube debate. If you got a question for the candidates, send video to YouTube.com/Republicandebate.
"Rick's Pics" now. Let's show you this. Iran's President Ahmadinejad welcoming Venezuela's Hugo Chavez to Tehran. Chavez, thank God for the decline of the dollar's value. It worked. There are quotes.
Chavez arrived after attending the OPEC meeting in Saudi Arabia predicting that oil could top $200 a barrel if the U.S. will attack Iran. Find all of our pics at CNN.com/Rick, by the way.
Coming up right here, top of the hour, "LARRY KING LIVE" tackles plastic surgery. Guests include Joan Rivers, Gene Simmons and Joy Behar.
SANCHEZ: One of the big stories video lives that we've been following today are the pictures that have been coming in from Bangladesh. This is remarkable. Take a look at this.
This is after a huge cyclone came through the area. They're saying about 3,000 people so far have died. They're saying it could go all the way up to 10,000. So they came in today and they started bringing food. This is incredible shot I want you guys to watch. This is a shot of a mother, and she started to receive some of the food. It's coming up right about now. There she is right there. See the baby on her back right there? And she's got the child. So we'll be following this story, and as it happens, we'll bring it to you. Here's "LARRY KING LIVE."
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com