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Joy Behar Page

Sheen Mania; The Unpredictable Andy Dick; Guests Discuss Corporal Punishment in Schools, the Shakeup at NPR, and the 2012 Presidential Election

Aired March 09, 2011 - 22:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Coming up on THE JOY BEHAR SHOW, Charlie Sheen`s bizarre behavior continues as he takes aim at his former co-star, calling him a traitor. Is the A-list star shedding a solid support system in favor of D- List enablers? Joy asks Hollywood insiders about the culture of fame and if it`s partly to blame for Sheen`s undoing.

Then, as Charlie Sheen spirals downward, a person who`s hit rock bottom weighs in. Comedian Andy Dick tells Joy about his own struggle with addiction and offers his advice to other troubled Hollywood stars.

And spanking your kids; teachers in 20 states are allowed to physically discipline students. Joy is outraged. She talks to one young honor student who`s faced the paddle.

That and more starting right now.

JOY BEHAR, HLN HOST: Charlie Sheen spent last week blasting almost everybody in his life except his co-stars, but that honeymoon is over because now Sheen is unloading on co-star, Jon Cryer. He tells E! Online, quote, Jon has not called me. He`s a turncoat, a traitor, a troll. Clearly he`s a troll. I guess he`s never been to the Poconos on singles weekend.

Ok. Here now to discuss this are Peter Guber, author of Tell to Win and chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group; Ben Lyons, E! Network correspondent; and Dr. Julie Holland, psychiatrist and author of "Weekends at Bellevue".

Ok, now Sheen sort of apologized then. He said, I`ll apologize to Jon Cryer, right. I was in a mood and I was through that -- I threw that out there. It`s a half apology. It`s an apol (ph). He`s kind of funny.


BEHAR: So are you surprised that he even went this far to apologize?

BEN LYONS, E! NETWORK CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean actually no, to be honest Joy. Nothing surprises me at this point with Charlie Sheen. Who knows how he feels when he wakes up in the morning. Who knows what`s going through his mind, if it`s an apol, if it`s just a gy.

BEHAR: It`s an apol.

LYONS: Whatever -- I don`t think Jon Cryer is losing sleep over it.

BEHAR: Well, Jon Cryer, for the record, Peter, Cryer says he did call him. He did call Charlie and he -- but do you think maybe Charlie didn`t hear him with all the voices in his head? Peter?

PETER GUBER, AUTHOR, "TELL TO WIN": Well, listen. Charlie Sheen`s an equal opportunity abuser, you know. He`s really spreading it around the whole cadre of people that have been involved with him. And you know, the idea is he`s really telling to lose. This is going to be an expensive sojourn for him in his career.

BEHAR: It is. I know. And for all the people who are losing money also because of this debacle.

But would you blame Cryer for not really -- if he didn`t reach out to him. I mean who wants to talk to him after what he`s really done to the show?

LYONS: We don`t know the inner workings of their relationship. They might not have been the best of friends before all this happened or how. Despite the fact they worked together for so many seasons on that show. If he says he reached out to him, I think in this case, I have to believe him. I don`t think he has any reason to lie about that.

BEHAR: Let me talk to the doctor here for a second. He`s a victim. In all of this, he`s a victim. He didn`t call me, poor me. Right? What is this?

JULIE HOLLAND, PSYCHIATRIST: Right. Well, we saw this with Lindsay Lohan, too. You know, the dog ate my homework. I mean she takes no responsibility for her addiction or her behavior. And Charlie`s doing the same thing, but Charlie`s even sicker than Lindsay.

BEHAR: I think so.

HOLLAND: There is really something going on here.

BEHAR: We keep going back and forth, is it the drugs or is it mental illness. Peter, what do you think?

GUBER: Doesn`t really matter what it is. His behavior is out there. And the problem is, is that he can`t escape his own story. This is what he`s written. This is what he`s telling. This is what he`s going to live. And it`s going to trail after him.

Every major person that`s going to be involved when they`re making investments of huge amounts of money is going to hear this story. Is going to know this story and they`re going to be very -- it`s a cautionary tale - - they`ll be very careful.

Maybe he`s immune to the vicissitudes his reputation, but this is a reputation in Hollywood that will cost him real dollars. It`s fun, it`s on the news, it`s right up there with Libya -- why, I don`t know -- but the truth is, this is going to be an expensive party that he`s hosting.

BEHAR: Yes. It`s true. We talk about this more than Libya. But that happens in pop culture a lot, Peter, because people are overwhelmed by the world`s problems, you know. So we concentrate on silly stuff.

And he`s a very important person in the media at the moment. So let`s just go there and cop to it.

GUBER: Is he important or is he a clown?

BEHAR: Well, I don`t know. People are interested in train wrecks and he`s one of them. That`s the best I can explain it.

Now, he did his nightly broadcast last night on Ustream and he blasted the show`s creator, Chuck Lorre, again. Let`s watch it.


CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: Hi, Chuck E Cheese ball. Where are you hiding, silly clown? Behind your narcissism, your greed, your hatred of yourself or women -- which personality are you cowering beneath the transparent cover? I see you, you little worm.


BEHAR: Dr. Holland, I mean what is he -- what is going on here? He`s -- first of all, he`s been on everything besides Al-Jazeera and THE JOY BEHAR SHOW.


BEHAR: Where does he get all this energy?

HOLLAND: Well, that`s a good question. You know, the $64,000 question here is, is he manic or is he high?

BEHAR: Right.

HOLLAND: Or, is it both? And you know, I`m not his doctor but he`s looking more like a manic patient than like a speed freak or a coke head (INAUDIBLE). We know he uses stimulants. He says he`s not using right now, but he`s got a lot of narcissism and you know, he`s got a lot of grandiosity. And maybe you could get someone who`s sober and also narcissistic and give them speed and coke and they would look like they`re manic. But he`s really just looking like he`s in a manic episode more than anything.

BEHAR: Well, Dr. Drew Pinsky said he was a hypomaniacal.

HOLLAND: Hypomanic, right.

BEHAR: Hypomanic.

HOLLAND: So hypomanic is a little under manic. You know, they`re not totally, grossly delusional, disorganized, psychotic --

BEHAR: I think he`s getting there.

HOLLAND: -- but he`s flirting, you know, he`s flirting --


BEHAR: What`s with the machete on the roof?

LYONS: You know, he played into this whole Charlie Sheen bad boy image for years now. Back in, I think, 1999, he did a cameo in "Being John Malkovich" playing himself and doing drugs in the movie. That was in a film, in a safe environment and I guess somewhat ok, but now he`s out in the real world doing this, not on a movie set. This is real life.

BEHAR: Right.

LYONS: That`s why it hits a little closer to home.

HOLLAND: He`s hurt people before. You know, he shot people before by accident. He`s --

BEHAR: A regular Dick Cheney.

HOLLAND: He`s dangerous. He`s dangerous to other people, he`s dangerous to himself. I said this before, if he came into my E.R., I would absolutely admit him against his will. And, you know, he needs treatment. He needs to be confronted.

BEHAR: Why isn`t there like a -- Peter, why isn`t there a major intervention in the business at this point?

GUBER: Because mud splatters and very few people want to get in the middle of this mud bath and they`re going to be splattered. And they know that somehow, you know, whatever they do, they`ll be drawn into his comedy, his tragedy, I should say.

And the reality is, whether it`s the studios or networks who are carefully quiet about it and I think appropriately so, and smartly so, and even the handlers can`t handle him. All of his posse who have made all of his money around him can`t even protect him.

He is a train wreck that`s already wrecked. The question is, are we watching for victims? Are we watching for deaths? What are we watching for as a mad crowd? It feels like the coliseum where we`re really actually habituating ourselves to these kind of stories.

BEHAR: What about his family? What about Martin Sheen? Can he stick his two-cents in here? I mean, Peter, why can`t the family -- they`re in show business. They know what`s going on with him. Why don`t they step in and do an intervention?

I know that Martin Sheen is worried because he issued some kind of a statement about it.

GUBER: Well, I think that that`s true. The idea is who gets killed. When somebody`s drowning, a person goes out to save them, they`re the one that gets killed. And believe me, everybody knows that. And so you can say the father should take that role. Yes he should. But I can`t comment.

I wouldn`t know to comment or what their history was before. How close they were. What their relationship is. How they`ve done this before. One thing is for certain. Anybody that gets close to this, they`ve got a problem, too, because everything anybody says about him somehow gets turned into the story.

BEHAR: That`s true.

GUBER: I would stay 1,000 miles away from it.

BEHAR: You`re absolutely right. That has been what`s happening.

LYONS: I was here on your show about two weeks ago, we were talking about how Martin Sheen reached out and comparing addiction to cancer.

BEHAR: Yes. Yes, that`s right.

LYONS: And that that was the right thing to do. So he`s made those initial efforts and Charlie, in one of his first interviews, completely pushed him away, said he was a grown man and could take care of himself.

BEHAR: He`s 45.

LYONS: There`s only so much that a father can do, I would imagine, but he did make that initial attempt to reach out.

BEHAR: Ok. Now, one more thing, it gets a little sad because in one of the interviews, he said, "I`m really starting to lose my mind. I`m ready to call anyone to help."

I mean this is one of the statements that`s coming out lately. So, this is the first time we`ve even heard him acknowledge anything is wrong.

HOLLAND: Right. Well, you know, one thing that happens when you`re manic is you feel invincible. You know, you`re grandiose. He`s got tiger blood, he`s like he`s from another planet.

BEHAR: Yes, I know. Winning. Winning.

HOLLAND: But you know, at some point it`s like surfing, you know. And you can be hypomanic, you can be manic, but at some point, that wave crashes and you fall. And he -- you can`t sustain this. Whether you`re using stimulants or you`re not.

GUBER: He`s not on a regular wave. He`s on a tsunami. A tsunami will sink everybody else on the wave

BEHAR: And I don`t think he`s acting because if he`s acting this is an Oscar-winning performance.

HOLLAND: No. Exactly. This isn`t River Phoenix.

BEHAR: Thank you guys very much for joining.

Up next, actor Andy Dick joins me. He`s been there. He knows.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up later, teachers allowed to hit your kids. Joy talks to a young honors student, who was disciplined with a paddle, about his ordeal.


BEHAR: While Charlie Sheen continues his very public meltdown in front of an audience of millions the often-troubled actor Andy Dick is quietly trying his best to stay sober and out of trouble. And he`s here with me now.

Welcome to the show Andy. Good to have you back here.

ANDY DICK, ACTOR: I love being here. Thank you so much. How are you?

BEHAR: I`m just fine, thank you.

Now, Andy, before we talk about Charlie Sheen, I need to ask you about this RadarOnline photo thing from last week. You -- you in your parked car outside a bar snorting what looks like cocaine off a CD case.

DICK: Was that what it looked like?

BEHAR: That`s what it looks like? And do you want to explain it to me? Is that what -- do you remember taking the picture? That picture being taken, I mean?


DICK: No. Let me -- let me tell you something. This is -- the -- I -- I went, there`s a -- there`s a Web site called Rumor Fix because they fix the rumor because it`s the rumor, because you know, possibly that might be me in the car but a long time ago. I`ve been clean and sober for a while now. I did have a slip up at the porn awards, who wouldn`t, Joy? If you were at the porn awards with me, we`d be partying.

BEHAR: That`s true. So -- so it was you, or it wasn`t you? I mean, do you remember what CD it was?

DICK: I don`t know, I`ll tell you what.

BEHAR: Anything.

DICK: I`m going to you -- I`m telling you, sometimes I do when it -- when the wheels fall off, they fall off and I can go into what`s called a black out and I don`t -- I -- I tell you one thing that my hair does not look like that anymore and -- and also I don`t -- I don`t even own that shirt anymore.

I don`t know if I lost it that night. But either way, the thing is, is I took a drug test and -- and they proved that I was clean. I -- I think you have a clip --



DICK: -- of the -- can you please show that? So that I can clear up my -- I`m trying to --


BEHAR: There.

DICK: -- you know, get on -- I`m trying to get on "Two and a Half Men" here, please.

BEHAR: Really, why? There is an opening and I heard that you`re actually in contention for that. Is that true?

DICK: I am -- I`m on the short list supposedly: me, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, some guy that I had not heard of and -- and Heather Locklear.

BEHAR: Heather Locklear.

DICK: And me, and me.

BEHAR: Ok, well you know if you want to go over there, you`re going to have to work with this guy, Chuck Lorre.

Now, what are you doing? What are you reading? What are you looking at?

DICK: I`m texting about you -- I`ve -- I just got the iPhone, I love it and I`m -- I`m literally tweeting about you --


BEHAR: I know but --

DICK: -- that I`m here, I love it.

BEHAR: -- why do you do it right in the middle of the interview? Why don`t you finish the interview?

DICK: Well, I can -- I can -- I can -- I`m multitasking.

BEHAR: Ok fine.

DICK: Keep asking me questions -- what do you need?

BEHAR: All right, what I`m going to -- what I`m asking you -- what I`m asking you is this guy Chuck Lorre, if you get the job at "Two and a Half Men", Chuck Lorre has a history of -- of difficult times with his stars.

For example, he was the executive producer with Roseanne Barr. He was fired and there was a lawsuit. He was the executive producer --


DICK: Really?

BEHAR: -- with Brett Butler, and also I understand with Sibyl. So he has problems with his stars. Do you want to get into that?

DICK: You know, I -- I welcome a challenge, I`ve worked with very difficult producers as well, ranging from Ben Stiller to Paul Sims on news radio. And I`m talking with Brett Butler from "Grace under Fire" via the - - the Twitter. I`m going to be talking to her. I didn`t know that -- that -- that Chuck was -- was her producer as well.


DICK: So I tweeted us. I tweeted us. Oh I have to --


BEHAR: She was on the show the other night and she shared with me some of her issues, you know, with sobriety that she`s trying -- she`s been very sober for a long time?

DICK: Oh she has. She has, how long has she been sober?

BEHAR: Look at me, look at me. Look at me, sweetie.

DICK: You look good, you look good.

BEHAR: Make me -- make believe I`m your therapist. You have to sort of look at me. Unless you want to lie down and I`ll just talk over you. You want to do that?

DICK: I`m -- I`m -- I`m great. I`m great. You -- you do, by the way, remember when we did "Celebrity Poker".

BEHAR: Yes. I do. Let`s not go down memory lane. I lost.

DICK: You`re right, you`re right, you`re right.


BEHAR: Ok, now how -- so you say you`ve been sober since January 8th, is it?

DICK: I don`t know the exact date. Whenever the Porn Awards were? You know --

BEHAR: Yes, that was it. In January --


DICK: And -- and -- and like I -- and like I said, if you go to you can actually see a long segment of -- of -- of me and what`s called a urine collection specialist, by the way.

BEHAR: Oh I can`t wait.

DICK: He -- he`s not -- he`s not -- he`s not -- he -- he can`t collect stool samples or semen samples or blood samples. He specializes in urination, which is interesting.

BEHAR: Well, yes, there`s a specialty for everything, I guess. Now, when you said -- when you drink, it turns you into a moron and makes you act like a retarded person. I have to tell you that`s in --


DICK: I`m sorry, I`m sorry, wait, wait, wait.

BEHAR: That is -- what did you say?

DICK: I said that? Or you say that?

BEHAR: Yes, no, no, no. I`m quoting you right now, but you can clear it up. That`s what you said because I think it`s a little insulting to retarded people to associate your behavior with people who are actually challenged and that you`re not even supposed to say retarded anymore. I`m saying mentally challenged people. That`s not nice to say that. What were you thinking?

DICK: Well, when I -- when I drink excessive amounts of beer, by the way I mostly -- when I -- when I do, I just drink beer, I become mentally challenged.

BEHAR: Ok. Now you know and now you`ve also in the past, you blamed your troubles on your upbringing. You said quote, "Nobody taught me boundaries." Let`s really get on the couch now. Make believe I`m Anna Freud.

DICK: Sure, sure.

BEHAR: What happened to you sweetheart?

DICK: Anna -- Anna Freud.


BEHAR: Anna --

DICK: But what about -- well, that`s just the daughter. She isn`t -- didn`t she -- didn`t -- didn`t Sigmund screw her?

BEHAR: No. Stop it.

DICK: She didn`t become a -- I don`t know, I don`t know.

BEHAR: She`s a -- she`s a very famous psycho analyst, also. But what happened to you as a child that you say that they screwed you up when you were kid?

DICK: I did -- I never, by the way for the record, blamed my parents. I was adopted. That right away tweaks the brain. You`re just -- you`re with -- you`re with a woman for nine months sharing a heartbeat, sharing bodily fluids, you`re -- you`re -- you`re pooping and urinating inside of her and then you come out and you`re immediately taken away and you never see that woman ever again. Although I did, I`ll get in touch with her in - - in my 30s by the way --


BEHAR: You never seen your biological mother? You never met your birth mother?

DICK: No, no, I did. I did. I finally --

BEHAR: You did and what was that like? What was that like?

DICK: It was -- it was definitely a closure. I -- I flew her out here. We walked along the beach. We saw whales, which I`ve never seen in the wild before or since. It was very magical. And -- but that was it, it was like, ok now what? You know my mom and dad were the ones that raised me.


DICK: And I -- and I miss them both. They`re -- they`re not alive and I miss them both.

BEHAR: Well, a lot of people don`t ever want to meet their biological parents. So it`s interesting that you did. What -- what motivated that?

DICK: I thought it would help. I thought it would help, because I obviously you know, everybody thinks I have issues -- I think I`m fine, by the way, Joy.

Maybe I`m a little bit of an excitable boy and I get excited about things, but other people say, just like you. You want to lay me down on this table and psychoanalyze me. I think I`m fine. When I drink, I think I`m fine. Just seems like everyone else around me is not having a good time.

BEHAR: Do you plan on staying sober now? You want to stay sober -- clean and sober?

DICK: I really, really, really do.

BEHAR: I hope you do.

DICK: Mostly for my kids and I`m living with my kids now. I don`t know if you know but I live in a shed, but I pimped it out. Don`t get me wrong. I pimped the shed out. I`m going to post pictures this week on Twitter #andydick.

I live in the back of my ex`s house in a shed.

BEHAR: Ok. Stay right there, Andy. We`ll be right back.


BEHAR: I`m back with Andy Dick,

Ok. Andy, we have a couple of minutes here.


BEHAR: So let me talk to you about Charlie Sheen a little bit only because you -- you know, you know where he`s at.

DICK: Yes, yes. Exactly. Exactly. Let me tell you something. I tried to call in to Howard Stern the other day when he was calling in because I wanted to thank him because I was on a show called "Less than Perfect". And I was having a hard time. And I think it was -- it always - - by the way, to backtrack, I never blame by parents. I never blamed my social -- my upbringing. It`s always me. I know it`s me, it`s me, it`s me, it`s me.

But the thing is, doing another office comedy, I did news radio for five years and now, here I am playing the mentally challenged office homosexual again for five years. I felt confined and trapped. I wonder if Charlie feels that way. He`s on the show. It`s been -- I don`t know how many years. He`s pigeon holed and now, he`s just this guy. And he wants to break out and show everybody that he`s a bad ass.


DICK: But the thing is here`s my point. He came to me when I was in one of my darkest hours of that show and he helped me get sober. So I was calling him reaching out saying, I`m supporting you. If you need anything, I`m right here. I was one of the ones like Tom Arnold, saying, here I`m here to help because I`m sober. But then, you know, he shuns that right now. He`s not in that --

BEHAR: A lot of people are saying that it`s not drugs anymore. Now, it seems like mental illness. What`s your diagnosis?

DICK: Well, I know that when I drink a lot, in the past, when I drink a lot there is a recovery time. There is a period, but for me, it`s only like one to three days of deep, dark depression. But I`m talking about like sometimes, it can be suicidal. I think that there`s something is a little bit off, a little bit off kilter, a little tweaked.

And it`s just -- it`s going to take -- because you know, he doesn`t just drink beer. He admits it. Seven grams of crack-cocaine, smoking it? Are you kidding me? If I did -- if I smoked one puff, I`d be out. I`d be dead. Gone. Dead gone dead.

BEHAR: Different constitution but you know -- just one more question then I have to go. People are talking about these enablers that he has. That he has this team --

DICK: That`s what I`m talking about. I`m talking about he shuns -- to me, he`s like, oh, how you doing, and then nothing. He doesn`t reach back. You know, I gave up.

BEHAR: Do you think that people because they`re making a lot of money off him, have any responsibility in prolonging this craziness?

DICK: That`s exactly it. He`s paying people to be his friend. I think that, yes.


BEHAR: That`s a little sad. It`s sad. I think you can get out of this, so I really want to thank you for doing this again. I`m glad we could spend a little more time.

DICK: Me too.

BEHAR: Ok. Bye-bye, Andy. Thanks.

We`ll be back in a minute.


BROOKE ANDERSON, HLN HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Tonight on "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT", Charlie Sheen money shocker. Is he really broke? 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on HLN.



JOY BEHAR, CNN HN HOST: If you thought spanking in public schools was a thing of the past, think again. Now 200,000 students receive corporal punishment each year. In 20 states it`s perfectly legal for a parent to hit a child. And if you live in those states there`s nothing you, as a parent, can do about it - or is there?

Fashion designer Marc Ecko has launched a campaign to end spanking in schools and is here with me now along with Melissa Lewis and her son Payton, an honor student who said he was spanked after failing a science test. We`ve reached out to Payton`s school for comment, but they haven`t gotten back to us.

Now, let`s talk to Payton first. You were paddled for failing a science test. Tell me what happened, Payton.

PAYTON LEWIS, SPANKED IN SCHOOL: We had went through the day and we were going through our tests and they said, if you didn`t make high enough on your test, go out in the hall. So my name came up. I went out in the hall.

And I waited for a little while and he came out there with his paddle. Well, he started talking about to us about how he was going to beat us and how his dad beat him. He was threatening this one boy, Brian, about taking his football away. After he gave us a long lecture, he took us into another teacher`s classroom and paddled us.

BEHAR: Really? Where did he hit you? How many times? There are some of the bruises you got.


BEHAR: Was that on your actual skin?

PAYTON LEWIS: No. I had my jeans on.

BEHAR: OK, so how many times did he hit you? I missed that.


BEHAR: One swat. It was a good one. Did you cry? Did he hurt you?


BEHAR: When was the first time that you got hit in school?

PAYTON LEWIS: In kindergarten.

BEHAR: How many times did they hit you then?

PAYTON LEWIS: It was once.

BEHAR: Just once. But they give you a good swat. Now, you`re five years old in kindergarten, I believe.

Melissa, when your son told you what happened, what did you think?

MELISSA LEWIS, PAYTON`S MOTHER: I didn`t really know what to think. At first, I was so angry. As a mother, whenever you see your child`s been abused, you just don`t know what to do, so I just started thinking that I need to take the right steps and not do anything crazy.

So I called the school and the school principal. I spoke to him and he just told me to meet him in his office the next morning. Then, a called the SRO officer from the school and he told me there wasn`t really anything I could do but make a report at the sheriff`s office. They pretty much told me it wasn`t worth making a report, but they couldn`t do anything because he`s a teacher.

BEHAR: Because it`s legal in your state. Has anyone said to you, this is child abuse?

LEWIS: Oh, yes. I don`t agree with paddling at all, but there`s a difference between moderate force and a beating. Moderate force wouldn`t leave you black and blue for a couple of weeks.

BEHAR: Would not, yes.

I think it`s unconscionable, Marc, I think it`s unconscionable that they would paddle a five-year-old child in kindergarten. I`m so against any kind of corporal punishment. I think it damages the child`s psyche and does not do any good. I get constant criticism for this.

MARC ECKO, CAMPAIGNING TO BAN CORPORAL PUNISHMENT: When we, Payton`s story is -- unfortunately it`s not that rare. It`s not an outlier. Folks don`t -- and what`s interesting is folks are shocked to hear about it. And they get kind of fired up, but when we take an inventory, just get sober for a moment and the fact that a third of our kids are dropping out of high school.

This was designed in a unlimited justice and the platform and if you go to, you can get all the data, the clearinghouse. Get directly in touch to Facebook connect to every single legislator, e- mail to e-mail. Hopefully, we could try to raise the consciousness on this conversation.

BEHAR: I think it should be outlawed. The statistics are falling. Just for example, in all 50 states, it is illegal to hit a prisoner or animal, and yet, you can hit a child. This is what the paddle looks like.

ECKO: This is a paddle that I brought. This is where you can order them online. You could feel that one strike, you could understand why this is one strike.

BEHAR: Yes, it`s terrible.

ECKO: In some instances, there are some in Louisiana where they pinch, they use a belt, and they do it more than once.

BOLLING: I don`t want to blame teachers too much. I think it`s the system.

ECKO: That`s exactly it. We can`t agree on a lot of things. We`re going to start debating education reform, two people can have 28 opinions. This isn`t right and left. This isn`t red and blue. This is right and wrong. This is a quid pro quo conversation. How could we talk about this and talk about education innovation?

BEHAR: It says most people in the United States don`t realize it remains legal in 20 states. I didn`t know it until you brought it to my attention and I thank you for that.

ECKO: Hopefully -- thank you, first of all, Joy, for letting us come on here, because it`s our goal to raise awareness. I`m not a legislator it later. I`m a marketer. It`s incumbent on folks out there to make a fuss. Have your voice heard.

BEHAR: Don`t you think these states, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Wyoming, South Carolina, Mississippi, and you can see the map there. People who are watching now, you should be aware of this, that in your child`s school, this could be going on. And you should really need to take action. Should not sit back and let this happen.

ECKO: No, go to Go to your legislators. Right here I can fax Senator Dan Patrick in New Mexico, putting a big focus. I`m going to send it right there.

BEHAR: So, you can tell that.

ECKO: It`s auto written for you. You could add your own content.

BEHAR: Now FYI, the school that Payton was going to says they have stopped paddling.

MELISSA LEWIS: They haven`t.

BEHAR: That`s not true.

MELISSA LEWIS: No, ma`am, they have not.


MELISSA LEWIS: I think that was just to try to cover their butts for a minute.

BEHAR: What`s the name of the school?

MELISSA LEWIS: It`s Plainview high school in Alabama.

ECKO: This isn`t designed to be a witch hunt against teachers. It`s a mess kitchen, but we need to reimagine education. You can`t learn in a hostile learning environment.

BEHAR: That`s right. I think some is sadistic behavior towards children, because a lot of times you hear about getting the strap, but I think they enjoy it, some of these people.

MELISSA LEWIS: I think he really enjoys it. No man could paddle a child every day and not even it.

BEHAR: I understand you`re schooling the school, Melissa.

MELISSA LEWIS: Yes, and the teacher.

ECKO: They`re covered. The great number of students unfortunately don`t have a mom like Melissa to be brave enough and to come out and a student like Payton, I give you guy as lot of prop to come out.

BEHAR: This is an important segment, so I want to thank you all for doing this. And good luck with your lawsuit, Melissa.

MELISSA LEWIS: Thank you, Joy, thanks for having us.


We`ll be right back.


BEHAR: The CEO and a major executive at National Public Radio are out of a job today after a sting video caught the executive calling the Tea Partiers racist. The controversy came at a bad time for NPR as conservatives are trying to strip the organization of federal funding.

Here to talk about this about much, much more is the fantastic Frank Rich, a "New York Times" columnist who has just announced that he will soon be taking his talents to "New York" magazine. I`m going to get to that in a second because we`re upset around here that you`re leaving the times. But let`s talk about this NPR thing. Republicans want to strip them of funding. Does this tick you off?

FRANK RICH, COLUMNIST, "NEW YORK TIMES": Sure, but they would have wanted to do this whether this incident happened or not. A lot of the cuts are idea logically based. It`s always Big Bird, National Endowment for the Arts, NPR.


RICH: Because they`re sort of political hot points for their own base. The money for all these things is trivial. It`s a way to look as if they`re cutting while ignoring the big things and also ignoring the issue of corporate tax breaks and Bush tax cuts and all that. It`s easy symbolism.

BEHAR: Right. And it seems to work.

RICH: It does. In the case of public broadcasting, it seems to backfired. In fact Gingrich in the `90s, Big Bird whopped him because there are people who like public broadcasting who are conservative or Republican.

BEHAR: Are there enough to really take them on?

RICH: I think so. And when the boards of public stations or all sorts of pillars of the community, I think it`s a bunch of theatre.

BEHAR: These executives were brought down by a sting operation, or a prank almost.

RICH: This is a new thing going on. There was the ACORN.

BEHAR: Then there was the Koch prank, also, the guy who called the governor of Wisconsin.

RICH: That was a prank call from the left. And the fact is no real news organization would do it. CNN wouldn`t do it. "The Times" wouldn`t do it. It`s like WikiLeaks. Things are changing in the world of media.

BEHAR: Is it good or bad?

RICH: I think WikiLeaks with you know, exceptions and some from the times ran they ended it out saying things they thought they were harmful to national interest, is a good thing. I think we want transparency in government.

Where you lie to get people to misbehave in opportunities is not at the same level. That`s different from exposing diplomatic documents or the Pentagon Papers or whatever. It`s game-playing and I think it taints it in all cases, whether on the left or the right.

BEHAR: The Koch brothers thing, that was interesting because he got the governor to basically agree with him and say these people were basically the scum of the earth. And the guy says, oh, that`s fantastic because we could get rid of these union people. That showed you where his true colors were.

RICH: Right, although I do think you can say in defense of Walker, that he had said as much in the public.


BEHAR: That`s funny.

RICH: what I found most shocking is that they just get through to this guy in the middle of a crisis right before he was going to give a fire side chat to the state, somebody could just get it and shoot the breeze for 20 minutes with no verification.

BEHAR: Got some time on his hands.

Let`s talk about the GOP, does it have anybody who can take seriously to go up against Obama in 2012?

RICH: No. Unless someone comes up -- for all the Republicans and conservative vilification of Obama and the feeling that, oh, he`ll be impeached, his personal approval ratings have never gone that far. And you can`t fight something with nothing. Mike Huckabee, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney? Mitt Romney is the establishment candidate. He only has one problem -- nobody likes him, including Republicans.

BEHAR: Including his wife, maybe. I met him. He`s very likable and nice. Why don`t people like him?

RICH: Because he comes across as phony. He changes positions too much. And now, he has a problem with the conservative base in his own party because the Massachusetts health care plan he put through is a version of Obama care as Obama getting reminding him with great glee.

BEHAR: I enjoy that too.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck on "The View" today was saying that she didn`t understand how the left is not all over Obama for going towards the left and the right. He didn`t put through the public option. He`s not closing Guantanamo. He`s not forcing the tax cuts for the rich to be eliminated. So is the left angry enough with him and will it matter?

RICH: He has some strong critics on the left, but he never in my mind was a man of the left, Obama. He was to the left of Hillary on the Iraq war when he ran for president, but he has ended the Iraq war. He`s ruled on things like gay civil rights obviously, a lot in the past few months. He failed on gitmo. The attacks irritate a lot of people.

BEHAR: And the banks things.

RICH: But the fact is, he`s still basically a centrist political president and I don`t think there`s enough in the Democratic Party to really threaten him. And when they look at the alternative --

BEHAR: Right. And he has to get the memo.

RICH: I don`t think he`s moved that much to the center. I think he`s moved a little bit.

BEHAR: OK, we`re going to take a break. Stay right there. We`ll have more with the great Frank Rich when we come back.


BEHAR: I`m back with "New York Times" columnist Frank Rich. I have a couple of things that just broke. Before we get to that, I want to tell you I really will miss you at the "New York Times." You`re going to be writing a column once a month for "New York" magazine?

RICH: That`s not quite the whole thing. I`m going to do a long sort of essay, a much bigger version of my column. I`ll also be doing other commentary. You`re just not going to hear from me every four weeks.

BEHAR: We have to hear from you.

RICH: You`ll hear from me so much and to the point where you`ll get sick of me.

BEHAR: I will not get sick of you. I look forward to your column every Sunday.

RICH: Thank you.

BEHAR: It was total buzz.

RICH: Well, 17 years of doing the same thing --

BEHAR: You wanted to change it?

RICH: Yes. Shake it up and do more and better, and fresher.

BEHAR: This just came through in the break. Julianne Moore has been son and to HBO to do the movie there`s the part of Sarah Palin in the movie version of the book "Game Change."

RICH: I know about this because I for the past two, three years have been working as a consultant to HBO in programming. This should be a very exciting movie. It`s done by the same team that did the movie "Recount," about Florida in 2000. A wonderful writer named Danny Strong and jay roach will direct it. It`s been in the works for a while. If the casting has been resolved, that`s great.

BEHAR: Did you think Julianne Moore has been in Central Park feeding pigeons to prepare for the role?


RICH: I hope so. Let`s hope all of that wrapped into it, you know.

BEHAR: The other thing I want to talk to you because you used to be called the butcher of Broadway, which by the way, I happen to know the butcher of Broadway and he look anything like you. He has great meat by the way. Why do they call you that?

RICH: Because I panned early on a British comic, Rowan Atkinson --

BEHAR: Mr. Bean?

RICH: Yes. He did a one-man show and the press conference called me "The Butcher of Broadway." It never left me. This is 25 years later.

BEHAR: And look at what`s happening to Spiderman.

RICH: At least they`re not flying in here, as far as I can tell.


I have not seen it but if you don`t open the show and keep postponing the opening and charge full price, you are telling the entire world you don`t believe in your own show, no matter what the critics say. "The Times" have already panned it and so have others. So now the business has started to sink and they`re talking about personnel changes and new directors, but as a student of Broadway history, it wouldn`t work.

BEHAR: But it`s $65 million. By the time they make it up, it will be on Social Security.

RICH: They would have been better off doing "Springtime for Hitler" with a flying Hitler.


BEHAR: Is there any show that you could recommend to people to go to see right now?

RICH: Yes. There`s a play that actually is going to come back, I think it`s just ending called "Other Desert Cities."

BEHAR: I saw it. Robbie Bates. Fantastic. You loved it?

RICH: Yes.

BEHAR: I got to go. I could talk to you for hours and hours. You`re going to have to come to my house.

RICH: Absolutely. Call that butcher.

BEHAR: I will.


OK. And thank you all for watching. Goodnight, everybody.