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Lou Dobbs Tonight
U.S. Against Iran's Nuclear Plans; Latest On Samuel Alito Confirmation Hearings; Congress Pushes Lobbying Reform In Midst Of Abramoff Scandal; Burbank Officials And Home Depot Making It Easier To Break Immigration Laws; Alberto Gonzales Says Judges Too Harsh On Illegal Immigrants; Officials Ignore China Trade Deficit; Intelligent Design Not Yet Defeated; Ohio Board of Education Calls for Evolution Analysis; Bird Flu Threat May Be Growing; War Critic Running for Kentucky Congress
Aired January 12, 2006 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody.
Tonight, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accuses Iran of deliberately escalating its nuclear confrontation with the West, as Europe abandoned its nuclear talks with Tehran. We'll be going live to the White House. We'll have a special report.
And the rising backlash against the culture of corruption on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers rushing to consider new laws on lobbying. But critics say major reforms remain highly unlikely.
A grateful nation acknowledges the end of three days of Senate questioning of Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito. We'll have a live report for you on the next step for the judge's confirmation process.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has stern words for immigration judges. But his comments have nothing to do with tighter border security of stricter enforcement of our immigration laws. We'll have a special report.
And a city in revolt in California after Home Depot is forced to pay for a day labor center at a new store, a center that will attract hundreds of illegal aliens.
Those stories and much more ahead here tonight.
We begin with a showdown with Iran over its escalating nuclear program. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today declared Iran has chosen confrontation over negotiation. Britain, France, Germany saying negotiations with Iran have reached a dead end and called for the issue to be referred to the United Nations Security Council.
But it is far from clear that the United Nations can do anything at all to stop Iran.
Suzanne Malveaux has the report from the White House -- Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, U.S. officials are saying that if Iran does not close its nuclear facility, it could face a possible travel ban, as well as a cut in foreign investments and diplomatic isolation.
But, Lou, the big question tonight, of course, is whether or not Europe is going to impose the kind of economic sanctions, particularly on oil, that will really make a difference.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): Talks with Iran over halting its nuclear program are dead.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: What the Iranians did was to unilaterally destroy the basis on which the negotiations were taking place.
MALVEAUX: Since Iran reopened its Natanz nuclear site Tuesday, defying an international agreement, world leaders have become alarmed.
RICE: There is simply no peaceful rationale for the Iranian regime to resume uranium enrichment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have now to consider the next steps before us.
MALVEAUX: Those steps compromise of a call from the U.S. Great Britain, Germany and France for the International Atomic Energy Agency to haul Iran before the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.
RICE: The Council should call for the Iranian regime to step away from its nuclear weapons ambitions.
MALVEAUX: But Iran's chief nuclear negotiator tells CNN it has a right to resume its nuclear program.
ALI LANJANI, IRAN'S NUCLEAR NEGOTIATOR (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Our intention is to do nuclear research. It has nothing to do with the enrichment.
MALVEAUX: But some political analysts see Iran's move as a critical test.
KEN POLLACK, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: This is a major challenge to Europe and this is a moment when the Europeans are going to have to stand up and say to the world that there is another way to handle these problems other than American unilateral military efforts.
MALVEAUX: Now, while U.S. officials say they're keeping all of their options open, including the military one, Secretary Rice made a point today to say the United States is involved in this new intense diplomacy -- Lou.
DOBBS: Suzanne, thank you.
Suzanne Malveaux from the White House. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, however, doesn't see much of a problem, apparently. Annan today declared Iran remains interested in what he calls "serious and constructive" negotiations about its nuclear program. In making his remarks, Annan merely seems to be adding to the belief of many critics that the United Nations remains incapable and unwilling to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions.
That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. Do you have any confidence that the United Nations will be effective in dealing with the Iranian nuclear challenge? Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results later on in the broadcast.
Today on Capitol Hill, senators completed three days of questioning of Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito. December senators launched a new barrage of hostile questions, but failed again to unsettle the judge or undermine his credibility. Republican senators are now predicting Judge Alito will be confirmed by the full Senate later this month.
Ed Henry reports from Capitol Hill.
ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If there was any doubt about how thrilled conservatives are about Judge Samuel Alito's prospects, arriving on Capitol Hill for a rock star's welcome said it all. And another boost about the extent of his involvement with Concerned Alumni of Princeton, a group that opposed admitting more women and minorities. Alito touted his membership in a 1985 job application. But Chairman Arlen Specter revealed that after poring through four boxes of records...
SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R-PA), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Judge Alito's name never appeared in any document. His name was not mentioned in any of the letters to and from the founder, William Rusher.
HENRY: Another brick wall for frustrated Democrats.
SEN. TED KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We started these hearings seeking answers. We've come with even more questions about Judge Alito's commitment to the fairness and equality for all.
HENRY: Much ado about nothing to Republicans.
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: So I think it's just wrong to keep bringing these phony issues up.
HENRY: The nominee stuck to praising the woman he hopes to replace, Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been moderate on issues like abortion.
SAMUEL ALITO, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: I would try to emulate her dedication and her integrity and her dedication to the case by case process of adjudication.
HENRY: Democrats insist despite Alito's talk of having an open mind on abortion, the paper trail suggests otherwise.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: It's a record that contains evidence that you believe the constitution does not protect a woman's right to choose.
HENRY: Another boost today from Democratic Senator Ben Nelson, a key member of the gang of 14 moderates, saying he does not believe a filibuster would be needed. This follows on the fact that two Democrats on his committee, Biden and Feinstein, both told CNN yesterday they also do not see the need for a filibuster.
To state the obvious, Judge Alito speeding toward confirmation -- Lou.
DOBBS: Ed Henry, thank you very much, from Capitol Hill.
Members of Congress tonight are also pushing to reform lobbying laws, as the Jack Abramoff scandal escalates. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi exchanged more charges on that issue today. The critics say those strong words don't necessarily mean major or significant reforms are likely.
Bill Schneider reports.
BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Columnist Michael Kinsley once wrote: "The scandal in Washington isn't what's illegal, it's what's legal." Like what lobbyists do, according to Fred Wertheimer of the non-partisan group Democracy 21.
FRED WERTHEIMER, PRESIDENT, DEMOCRACY 21: They hold fundraisers which raises far more than they can give. And they get their clients to pay for trips, campaign contributions, lavish parties for members of Congress.
SCHNEIDER: Now that lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Congressman Duke Cunningham have pleaded guilty to giving and accepting gifts that really are illegal, Congress is saying they did that? How shocking! Let's declare more things illegal so we'll stop doing them.
Speaker Dennis Hastert is considering a ban on travel paid for by lobbyists. You know, those golf tournaments.
Representative John Boehner, who's running for majority leader, wants to ban earmarks in spending bills.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: Lobbyists get members of Congress to take their special projects and bury them in bills and pass them.
SCHNEIDER: The Democrats have their own agenda.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: We must kill the K Street Project. SCHNEIDER: The K Street Project was Tom DeLay's idea.
WERTHEIMER: It was designed to increase the responsibilities of Washington lobbyists to support Republicans and provide increased influence for those lobbyists in Congress in return.
SCHNEIDER: Everybody has a proposal, including Boehner and Roy Blunt, the two leading contenders for majority leader.
But how credible are they?
WERTHEIMER: Both Representative Boehner and Representative Blunt are deeply tied into K Street and the Washington lobbying community. They were principal players in this during their careers.
SCHNEIDER: Represent Boehner just released a statement saying: "If I'm elected majority leader, there will no longer be a K Street Project or anything like it."
In other words, Lou, me, too.
DOBBS: And the fact is it's worth reporting, as Christiane Romans did here in the past week, it turns out that just about half of those people leaving Congress, retiring from Congress, whether they're defeated at the polls, which is usually not the case, but at least leaving Congress, well, they decided to become lobbyists.
SCHNEIDER: That's right.
DOBBS: Do you think we can do anything about that?
SCHNEIDER: Well, actually, they might be able to do it. They might be able to lengthen the period of time after a person leaves Congress before he or she can lobby Congress. Yes, they can do something about it.
DOBBS: It is a stinking mess.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, it is.
DOBBS: Bill Schneider, thank you very much.
DOBBS: Still ahead here, outrage in Burbank, California over yet another new day labor site. Protesters say helping illegal aliens find work has got to stop.
And Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, he says federal judges overwhelmed with immigration cases are being too hard, even rude, to illegal aliens. We'll have that story.
And communist China's aggressive push into this hemisphere. Communist China is now gaining key military footholds in Latin America. A special report just ahead.
DOBBS: In Burbank, California tonight, residents, many of them, are in open revolt over a new day labor site at a new Home Depot. Those residents say it's outrageous that Burbank's city officials and Home Depot executives are making it easier for illegal alien day workers to break the law.
Casey Wian reports.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The grand opening of Burbank, California's Home Depot. Police were on hand in case border security activists and illegal alien supporters clashed over the store's day laborer center. They didn't. Still, many residents remain outraged.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You, as public officials, are sworn to uphold the law. I think you made a terrible, terrible mistake when you coerced Home Depot into building this center and you coerced them basically into aiding and abetting the hiring of illegals.
WIAN: The city forced Home Depot to build the center and pay $94,000 a year to operate it.
KATHRYN GALLAGHER, HOME DEPOT: That was a requirement in order to get the store up and running and serve the community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there going to be an INS agent there? An ICE agent? This is insane.
WIAN: Insane, perhaps, but increasingly common. Neighboring Glendale also required Home Depot to pay for a day laborer center and Los Angeles is considering a law requiring all home improvement stores to open them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the last three years, the number of illegals in front of day labor centers in southern California have doubled.
WIAN: Home Depot transferred ownership of the center to the city and management to Catholic Charities, one of the largest advocacy groups supporting expanded rights for illegal aliens. Catholic Charities runs several day laborer centers nationwide.
One city council member blamed residents for Burbank's day laborer problem.
MARSHA RAMOS, BURBANK CITY COUNCIL: You can choose to employ a day laborer or not. You also have a way of checking on documentation, to some extent, or you can choose not to employ them or you can choose not to shop at Home Depot. Those are all decisions of personal responsibility. WIAN (on camera): Those city council members admit that about 80 percent of the day laborers at this site will be illegal aliens. They say it's needed for public safety.
Casey Wian, CNN, Burbank, California.
DOBBS: Well, many American citizens are outraged about the rising population of illegal aliens in their communities and this country, the attorney general instead focuses on immigrants, including illegal aliens, and the lack of respect with which they are being treated. That's right, our nation's top law enforcement official, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who refuses to enforce immigration law, has written a memo blasting immigration judges for being too tough on illegal aliens.
Lisa Sylvester reports.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's highly unusual for the attorney general to level such public criticism at Justice Department employees. The memo describes the conduct of some immigration judges as "intemperate or even abusive." Gonzalez is now insisting that aliens be treated with courtesy and respect.
But critics worry his message will undermine immigration enforcement.
MARK KRIKORIAN, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: When the immigration judges read this memo, what they're seeing between the lines is go easier on illegal aliens, approve more illegal alien appeals for asylum or whatever they're asking for.
Clearly, that's the message that the White House is sending to the immigration judges.
SYLVESTER: The attorney general's memo comes after several appellate judges who review the immigration courts' work have criticized the handling of cases, some saying it has fallen below the minimum standard of legal justice.
Immigration judges respond by pointing to the increase in illegal aliens crossing into the United States and the corresponding spike in their case load. The nation's 215 immigration judges handled 254,000 cases and other matters in 2000. By 2005, the number increased to 350,000, a 27 percent increase.
And resources have not kept up. Immigration judges act as their own bailiff and court reporter. They don't have their own law clerks and work with outdated equipment.
JUDGE DANA MARKS, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF IMMIGRATION JUDGES: We are now being asked to create a district court like trial court transcript and hearing on a shoestring budget of an administrative agency. And it seems as if some of the discrepancies that would arise with that kind of budget shortfall are finally catching up with us.
SYLVESTER: The National Association of Immigration Judges says their members do the best they can. And statistics show that even with the resource shortages, more than 90 percent of cases decided by immigration judges are ultimately upheld in federal appeals or circuit courts -- Lou.
DOBBS: Lisa, the immigration judges are the most overworked judges in the country. It is remarkable. And I, and I think any other American citizen, would want anyone before a U.S. court of any kind to be treated with respect and with courtesy.
But the fact is for the attorney general to focus on this while allowing his Justice Department to completely ignore the enforcement of immigration law, sends a loud, clear statement about the sorry state of our immigration law enforcement and the critical, critical immigration emergency this nation faces.
SYLVESTER: Indeed, Lou. In fact, that's one of the reasons why many groups say, you know, if this was just a personnel issue, a problem with a handful of judges, it could have been dealt with that way. But by sending out a memo, it is essentially signaling a policy change. And that's where you get critics saying he's essentially saying go easy on these aliens.
DOBBS: And one wonders how easy this administration could possibly go on immigration and refusal -- an abject refusal to enforce our laws, either at the border or in terms of immigration law itself.
Thank you very much, Lisa Sylvester.
The governor of Texas is speaking out against a proposed fence along our border with Mexico. Governor Rick Perry calls it "a silly idea." The governor says a fence won't do anything to stop illegal aliens and drug and human smugglers from crossing our border with Mexico. Governor Perry says instead the federal government should spend more money on manpower to secure our border.
Still ahead, our nation's so-called free trade agreements. They've cost us so far about $4 trillion. And they've cost millions and millions of jobs. A special report coming up.
And a report on China's new imperialism in this hemisphere. How communist China is gaining new military influence in Latin America.
And the intelligent design movement -- it's down, but it's certainly not out. We'll have a special report on intelligent design and we'll have a debate, as well, on the issue.
And Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, his new slam against the United States is next here.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DOBBS: Our nation's trade deficit with the rest of the world is expected to top an astounding $700 billion for 2005. The trade deficit in November, over $64 billion, the third highest monthly deficit ever. And our deficit with communist China is growing to -- will top more than $200 billion for last year.
While our trade deficit with China continues to rise, this administration remains in denial and Congress asleep. China poses a new threat to our international trade routes, as well. China has taken control of several strategic waterways and ports in our very own hemisphere.
Christiane Romans reports.
CHRISTIANE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chinese companies control both ends of the Panama Canal and the largest port in the Bahamas.
LARRY M. WORTZEL, U.S. CHINA COMMISSION: They're really at the key strategic waterways. Now, the United States has the military power, if it had to, to force all these strategic waterways. But certainly we would not want to have to be in that situation.
ROMANS: Concerns in the past about China's moves on key seaways were dismissed by many as cold war paranoia. But today it's becoming increasingly clear China has a Latin American plan.
RICHARD FISHER, INTERNATIONAL ASSESSMENT AND STRATEGY CENTER: China has a strategic agenda that is potentially harmful to the United States. It is working to strengthen Cuba, our enemy, and it is working to strengthen leftist regimes that are declaring their opposition to American values.
ROMANS: National security experts say there's little doubt China is spying on the United States from former Soviet eavesdropping facilities in Cuba. And according to research from the Heritage Foundation, quite possibly from its port facilities in the hemisphere, where Chinese agents could easily conduct military and industrial espionage.
At the same time, China is forging military ties with regimes increasingly unfriendly to the United States, giving China huge opportunity to acquire sensitive technology.
FISHER: Brazil has been a conduit to China for very important satellite technologies that are now being incorporated into Chinese intelligence satellites.
ROMANS: And he fears a potential source for missile technology and, worst case, nuclear technology.
ROMANS: What was once dismissed as cold war paranoia, national security experts say, is now shaping up to be a real threat. China's methodical and unwavering focus on retaining the resources and the assets of this region -- Lou.
DOBBS: And to be clear, the Bush administration and this government, which George W. Bush leads, is not focusing at all on any of these threats to this nation's national interests.
ROMANS: To a person, these national security experts say they'd like to see more of a focus, more of a focus on Latin America and China's influence there.
DOBBS: Christiane Romans, thank you very much.
Communist China's rising military and economic power is not an issue in Canada's election campaign. But some Canadian politicians, nonetheless, are suggesting the United States is a threat to Canada.
The charge, leveled by Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin. He's trailing badly his conservative rivals in the latest opinion polls in Canada. Martin declared the conservatives plan to make Canada a bastion for what he called the conservative right in the United States.
Strong words, indeed, from a man whose own supporters are admitting that Martin faces defeat on January 23rd.
Still ahead, the confrontation over intelligent design, over god and politics in something called education. We'll have that special report.
And new fears about a global bird flu pandemic as the virus is spreading in Turkey. One of this country's leading authorities on bird flu joins us.
And one state's fight to force Wal-Mart to spend more on health care for its employees.
We'll have that story and a great deal more, coming right up.
DOBBS: Still ahead here, a special report on the changing tactics of the intelligent design movement in public education. We'll have a debate on intelligent design.
But first, this hour's top news stories.
A major setback for Wal-Mart today in its efforts to contain health care costs in its operations. The Maryland state senate and house overrode a governor's veto, approving a bill that forces Wal- Mart to spend more on employee health care. This is the first ever law of its kind to pass in the United States. At least 30 other states are considering similar legislation.
President Bush traveled to storm ravaged New Orleans and Mississippi today, promising a Gulf Coast building boom. President Bush also predicted a strong business-led recovery. But only a quarter of New Orleans' residents have returned since hurricane Katrina. And tens of millions of tons of hurricane debris still have not been removed across the Gulf Coast.
And entertainer Harry Belafonte tonight said he has no intention of apologizing to President Bush after his outrageous comments last weekend. Belafonte said in Venezuela that President Bush is the world's greatest terrorist. Belafonte talking to Hugo Chavez, the leader of Venezuela. Belafonte said he could have used even stronger words. He says he'll have more to say about President Bush soon. He didn't say it. We will. Stay tuned.
The intelligent design movement suffered a setback last month when a Pennsylvania judge ruled the concept unfit to be taught in state schools. But intelligent design supporters, who believe in a master plan for the universe, will not admit defeat. They're regrouping and they're rethinking their challenge to evolutionary theory in the classroom and the court.
Bill Tucker reports.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For some people, the subject of intelligent design is not simply a matter of faith.
GOV. ERNIE FLETCHER (R), KENTUCKY: So I ask, what is wrong with teaching intelligent design in our schools? Under CARA (ph), our school districts have that freedom and I encourage them to do so. This is not a question about faith or religion, it's about self- evident truth.
TUCKER: The federal district court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania strongly disagrees with Kentucky's governor. Last month, that court found against the school board of Dover, Pennsylvania and its policy on intelligent design, citing: "The board's I.D. policy violates the establishment clause. In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether I.D. is science. We have concluded that it is not. And, moreover, that I.D. cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and, thus, religious antecedents." Strong clear language, but hardly a death knell.
KRISTI BOWMAN, PROFESSOR, DRAKE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: This really must slow down the momentum of the intelligent design movement, but it certainly does not stop the movement in its tracks.
TUCKER: Intelligent design is currently an issue either as legislation being discussed or where policy is being considered in at least 10 states, which are spread all across the geographic regions.
In California, the fight centers on a philosophy class, not a science class, where intelligent design is being taught. Some parents have sued to stop the teaching in the class, alleging that the teacher, a local minister's wife is advocating I.D., not taking an objective critical look at the subject. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, the history of this issue is that creationism doesn't go away. And so what scientists and educators and members of the public who care about science education have to do is simply pay attention, and watch for this issue in their own state, in their own school boards, because it's just a matter of time before it pops up in a region near you.
TUCKER: The evolution of the intelligent design debate can be seen very clearly in Ohio, where the language has changed from teaching intelligent design to describing how scientists today should continue to investigate and critically analyze the aspects of evolutionary theory, which opponents say is nothing, Lou, but an attempt to introduce intelligent design back into the science classroom.
DOBBS: It really begs the question, why talk about intelligent design at all? Why not simply talk about the introduction of classes on religion into public education, straightforwardly and forthrightly?
TUCKER: And that is exactly what's at issue in California, where the parents are saying, "You introduced a philosophy class but it is a class advocating a particular religion."
DOBBS: Bill Tucker, thank you.
The Ohio Board of Education narrowly voted this week to keep its controversial language on evolutionary theory in place. But school board members who say those guidelines leave the door open to the teaching of intelligent design, they are vowing to fight on.
Two members of the Ohio State Board of Education now join me. They're on obviously differing sides of this debate. Joining us tonight from Cleveland, Robin Hovis, who voted to throw out the state guidelines, critical of evolution. Deborah Owens Fink, who voted in favor of those teaching rules. Thanks for being with us.
DEBORAH OWENS FINK, OHIO STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: Thank you.
ROBIN HOVIS, OHIO STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: Good evening.
DOBBS: Let me begin first, if I may with you, Deborah. Is this really about just teaching religion in public schools?
OWENS FINK: Let me just be really clear that what we did in Ohio was the correct strategy, which is to have students critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory. Merely looking at five aspects that are really debated within the scientific community.
We did not mandate specifically say, we do not mandate the teaching or testing of intelligent design, that was never our intent. And indeed what we're doing is good science.
DOBBS: So in point of fact what you're saying is, apply critical judgment, as any scientist would, any reasonable, logical, person would, to the science of evolutionary theory.
OWENS FINK: That's correct. And all of our resources, we give to students are from indeed scientific journals, like zoology and nature, and that's very different from what they did in Dover. I'm not familiar with the book "Pandas and People," but that's not a scientific journal.
We're having students debate those same discussions that are debated within the scientific community itself, very specifically, not about evolution in general but very specific aspects of it.
DOBBS: Rob Hovis, that sounds like an intelligent, if I may use the expression, approach.
HOVIS: It does. Scientists analyze the theory of evolution every day. There's no argument with that. The controversy arises when we try to confuse high school students about what science is by introducing non-scientific, faith-based concepts in science class.
DOBBS: All right now, where is there in this language the suggestion that it would be all right to introduce, for example, is applying critical judgment to evolutionary theory in Ohio, that you could introduce a religious explanation for the origin of species or the origin of life.
HOVIS: The five subheadings in the lesson plan "Critical Analysis of Evolution" come directly from four different books that have been written by known advocates of intelligent design.
DOBBS: And are they required as adjuncts to the curriculum?
HOVIS: Well, they form the body of the lesson plan, the five subheadings.
DOBBS: Well, that's troubling, Deborah. That sounds a little bit like intelligent design, doesn't it?
OWENS FINK: It is not intelligent design. We are asking students to look at articles such as "Limits to Knowledge of the Fossil Record." We're asking students to look at "Scientific America," "Uprooting the Tree of Life."
Mr. Hovis has evidently, not himself perhaps read this lesson, but we're asking students to look at things such as macro-evolution is more than repeated rounds of micro-evolution.
And let me emphasize too, our student are learning an awful lot about evolution. We have 10 contest turns (ph) on evolution and our standards got an "A minus" from quality counts and a "B" from Fordham. And the evolution got a three out of three.
Last time Fordham did this, they gave us an "F." You know why? Because we didn't use the word "evolution." The challenge is not what to teach but how it's taught.
DOBBS: Well, Rob, do you agree with that? It seems to me in any classroom, inspired teachers seeking to stimulate their students, should examine evolution, quantum-physics, critically. And to look at all of the changes and the evolution, if you will, of our knowledge. Does that make some sense?
HOVIS: The statement you just made makes sense, but the fingerprints of intelligent design are all over this lesson plan. Back through the paper trail, it leads right back to the earliest versions, which were submitted originally by the writing team, which contained in its bibliography, references to creationist Web sites and books from the Discovery Institute and known advocates of intelligent design.
There is no argument with bringing in scientifically-based challenges to any scientific theory. But intelligent design has been found by the courts not to be science. It is religion.
DOBBS: And religion, Deborah, Rob, let me ask you both as we are running out of time here. What would be wrong with teaching religion in our public schools?
OWENS FINK: I'm not an advocate for teaching religion in our schools. To be very honest, I'm a mother of four, my kids attend public school, I don't want the classroom, the public school classroom to teach my children religion.
DOBBS: When I say teach religion, let me back up and talk about comparative religion.
OWENS FINK: In a philosophy class that would be appropriate but certainly not in science.
DOBBS: How about you, Rob?
HOVIS: Dr. Owens Fink and I agree on that. I'm a Christian believer myself. And I think that American teenagers need more religion in their lives, not less. But it does not further that agenda to introduce non-scientific subject matter into science class and confuse them about what science is at a time when our country should be worried about its competitive position in the world economy. We need to be strengthening the integrity of our science education, not weakening it.
OWENS FINK: And that's exactly why students should learn to critically analyze every subject, particularly one that's taught so dogmatically.
DOBBS: Deborah Owens Fink, you got the last word. Robert Hovis, we thank you being with us. The Ohio State Board of Education well served by both of you. We thank you very much for being here tonight.
OWENS FINK: Thank you.
HOVIS: Thank you.
DOBBS: Just ahead, new signs a deadly bird flu is mutating and could turn into the feared global pandemic. We'll have a special report and I'll be joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health.
And then, a critical battle for Congress in Kentucky. A Marine reservists who fought in Iraq taking on a die-hard supporter of President Bush. We'll be joined by Andrew Horne here next. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Tonight, fears of a global bird flu pandemic are rising. Turkey today confirming several new cases of this disease, including a third person who has died. Kitty Pilgrim reports.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Turkey, chickens are being killed by the hundreds of thousands, scores of people in the hospital are being tested, and the virus is mutating. One of the mutations was the kind seen in Hong Kong in 2003 and Vietnam in 2005.
DR. DONALD LOW, MEDICAL DIR., ONTARIO PUBLIC HEALTH LAB: It continues to adapt and that's obviously worrisome because even if it's just increased transmission between birds and humans, that increases the likelihood that we'll see more further mutations, which make it -- might make it more infectious in humans.
PILGRIM: World health officials today said the 18 cases and three deaths in Turkey were the result of contact with sick birds, but they said they are still collecting samples from dozen of patients in hospitals with flu-like symptoms and trying to piece together data to find out if the virus is becoming more contagious.
MICHAEL PERDUE, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: We don't know enough about the cases in Turkey yet and to rule out completely human-to- human. We know that in a couple of cases in Asia where there was very close contact, say, between a mother and a daughter, there appeared to be good evidence of human-to-human transition.
But in terms of the standard type of transmission that influenza viruses -- the standard influenza viruses follow, we certainly have not seen that kind of human-to-human transmission yet.
PILGRIM: World health officials say Turkey ranks with Thailand and Vietnam in severity of the outbreak. In Vietnam, bird flu occurred in 62 of 64 provinces and killed 42 people.
The Centers for Disease Control Web site now reads, "no one can predict when a pandemic might occur. However, experts from around the world are watching the H5N1 situation in Asia and Europe very closely, and are preparing for the possibility that the virus may begin to spread more easily and widely from person to person.
PILGRIM: Now because of outbreak in Turkey, world health officials are talking about quickly coming up with funding to help fight the disease. World Bank member countries are putting up $500 million, and next week, at a meeting in Beijing, will attempt to raise possibly another $1 billion in additional funds, Lou.
DOBBS: The decision by the World Health Organization not to report entry dates into hospital for these victims of H5N1, what's the reason?
PILGRIM: It's difficult. There is no stated reason given, and there is ...
DOBBS: What is the suspected reason?
PILGRIM: Well, the problem is that if the dates are staggered sufficiently, there would be human-to human transition. So that -- you have to see how it how these dates space out to determine whether there is human-to-human transmission.
DOBBS: And we have no indication as to why they've chosen to do that?
PILGRIM: There are no dates given and no explanation.
DOBBS: Kitty, thank you very much. Kitty Pilgrim.
Joining me now, Dr. Anthony Fauci. He's the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, one of the world's leading authorities. And it's good, Doctor, to have you here. Thanks for being here.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATL. INST. ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASE: Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: Let's start with this, the situation in Turkey, because the number of cases obviously is spreading, the number of cases rising. What's your judgment about what is happening there now?
FAUCI: You know, it's impossible to tell. The conditions that are going on there with the direct contact of individuals, particularly children, with documented sick chickens that had H5N1 is very, very clear. So there's no doubt that there is dumping the virus from the chickens to the humans.
There have been, as you mentioned, three deaths and 18 confirmed cases by the Turkish authorities, still yet to be fully confirmed. Some of them have been fully confirmed by WHO.
The issue is now whether or not this is a manifestation of its ability to do it better or whether or not it's just because of the conditions of the close proximity. It's winter there now. It's very cold.
The chickens are being brought into the homes, into the places where there are warmth, so that could be one the explanations. However, you must assume, and that's what we do as scientists, that in fact it's getting better and better, although it might not be the case. DOBBS: When you say getting better and better, you mean the virus and its ability and to mutate.
FAUCI: The virus is adapting itself. Yes, for example, there was a report from Turkey today that there was a mutation in the virus that was isolated from an individual which would allow it to adapt better to bind to, for example, human cells, epithelial cells as opposed to bird epithelial cells.
What that means is that it's adopting more to do well in humans. But that particular virus and that particular mutation has been described in 2003 in Hong Kong, and that exact mutation was described in 2005 in Vietnam. And there was not a noticeable increase in transmissibility from chicken-to-human, or from human-to-human.
Now that doesn't mean we take that lightly. We take that very seriously, but just the presence of this mutation that has hit the press and hit the newspapers and the TV shows doesn't necessarily mean that there's going to be a functional change. It's something you need to follow very carefully and get other isolates from chickens and humans.
DOBBS: Let me ask you the same question I asked Kitty Pilgrim. The fact that the WHO has removed the requirement for entry dates on the victims of H5N1. What is the import of that to you, and why would the WHO do that?
FAUCI: I don't know why they did it but, you know, I really am not sure there's as much importance as people are putting to it. If people come in staggered, it could be that are there sequential exposures to chickens.
Obviously you are saying, well, maybe that's because one family member is giving it to another, is giving it to another. I doubt, Lou, really very seriously, whether there is any intrigue here with the WHO. That's just not the way they act.
DOBBS: One would hope and with your assurance, I will accept your word ...
FAUCI: OK, thank you.
DOBBS: ... on the issue. Thank you very much, Dr. Anthony Fauci. We appreciate you being here.
FAUCI: Good to be here.
DOBBS: Coming up at the top the hour, THE SITUATION ROOM with Wolf Blitzer. Wolf, tell us about it.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Lou. We're following several stories.
More on the nuclear fallout issue -- Iran accused of blowing up negotiations. Tough talk from officials here in Washington. We have the latest on the escalating tensions. Plus, he said he was innocent. The state said he was guilty, and he was executed 13 years ago. But today, we got the results of a DNA test which settled the issue forever.
Also, baby in a car jacked SUV -- find out why one cell phone provider wouldn't use its GPS locator to track down the baby and the crooks. It's a case that could end up changing the way everyone handles emergencies.
And tainted dog food. It's already killed dozens of dogs and fears that many more may be at risk. We'll find out why vets are trying to get the word out to pet owners.
All that, lots more coming up, Lou, right at the top of hour.
DOBBS: Looking forward to it, Wolf.
A reminder now to vote in tonight's poll. The question, do you have any confidence the United Nations will be effective in dealing with the Iranian nuclear challenge? Cast your vote at loudobbs.com The results are coming right up.
Just ahead, one Iraqi war veteran taking a stand against the war, and stepping into the political arena, trying to win an election to Congress. That story and a great deal more coming right up.
DOBBS: My next guest is one of several Iraqi war veterans now running for Congress in opposition to the war. Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Horn, a marine reservist and attorney from Louisville, Kentucky, who is challenges five-term Republican Congresswoman Anne Northrup, a strong supporter of the war and President Bush, who went to Louisville yesterday as you may recall.
Lieutenant Colonel Horne joins us tonight from Louisville. Now, we want you to know we invited Congresswoman Northrup to join us here as well. She declined our invitation. Andrew Horne, you're critical of the president's handling on the war in Iraq. Why so?
LT. COL. ANDREW HORNE (D), KENTUCKY CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Well, Lou, I went to Iraq because I was concerned about the safety of my children and the security of this country. And that's the same reason I'm in this race.
When I got to Iraq, I realized the administration really wasn't focused on doing it right and wasn't being forthcoming with the American people as the true situation there. And or forthcoming of what it's going to take to be successful there.
DOBBS: Is it your judgment that we should then withdraw from this war as Congressman John Murtha recommended?
HORNE: Well Lou, again, what we need is a full and frank discussion with the American people about what's going on there and what it will actually take to be successful. I personally believe that if, we either have to do it right or we have to get out. And if that's the judgment, after full-and-frank discussion. And if we get out, we need to do it expeditiously.
DOBBS: So your opposition is not simply in terms of -- opposition to the war. Your opposition is to the way the war has been conducted?
HORNE: Yes, it is. I had some very serious misgivings about the war when we were in it. But once we were there, I believe what Colin Powell said, we had a moral responsibility. We owed it -- you know, we broke it, we own it.
But then I realized we're putting Americans at risk. We're putting Iraqis at risk without sufficient forces, and we need to decide what we're going to do. We need to either decide, you know, after full discussion, full honesty to the American people, are we either going on commit to what it's going to take to be successful or get out?
DOBBS: Well, let's talk about a number of the other issues. Let's talk about free trade. Congresswoman Northrup, a vigorous supporter of free trade. Are you?
HORNE: I lost -- Lou, I can't hear. I don't have any feed in my ear piece.
DOBBS: Well, I'm going to try one more time. Congresswoman Northrup is a vigorous advocate and supporter of free trade. Are you?
HORNE: Excuse me. I can't hear you, Lou.
DOBBS: Well, it looks like -- it looks like we lost our connection, and I want to apologize to all of you. We'll try to restore that. Can you hear me now?
HORNE: Hold a second, Lou.
DOBBS: I said Congresswoman Northrup is a supporter of free trade, are you?
HORNE: I think free trade itself has got some issues. I mean free trade and opening the borders, allowing value to cross back and forth is good.
However, we need to balance that with what NAFTA and those agreements were intended to do is also increase the conditions for workers and the environment in other countries. It wasn't intended to be a situation where we have a race to the bottom of, you know, the benefits to workers and the environment and those countries participating in it.
DOBBS: And border security, and immigration reform?
HORNE: On border security, obviously, given the war on terror, we need to really concentrate on that. And be aware of what the situation is. And what was the second one, Lou?
DOBBS: It was related, immigration reform. But we're out of time and we thank you for being here, Andrew. And again, we just appreciate your time and apologize again for these technical problems we have.
HORNE: Not a problem, not a problem.
DOBBS: There in Louisville, Kentucky. Still ahead, more of your thoughts and the results of our poll tonight. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Scientists in Alaska tonight are anxiously awaiting a volcanic eruption. The scientists say a volcano on an uninhabited island could erupt for the first time in two decade. The volcano is already spewing ash and steam. Scientists say the eruption could happen, literally at any time.
The results of our poll tonight. Again, overwhelming, 84 percent of you say you don't have any confidence that the United Nations will be effective in dealing with the Iranian nuclear challenge.
Taking a look now at many of your thoughts. Many of you wrote in about President Bush's comments yesterday in Kentucky, comparing our country's illegal alien crisis to bootlegging illegal liquor during the prohibition 1930s.
Jim in Virginia, said: Lou, not let me get this straight. President Bush defends his guest worker program by comparing our illegal alien problem to prohibition? The next we'll hear will be that we should reduce narco-terrorism by legalizing drugs and having a guest drug dealer program.
Charles in North Carolina, said: Lou, when Mr. Bush compared protecting our borders and stopping illegal immigration to prohibition, he forgot an important point. During prohibition, we had a real mandate forcing the law. Elliott Ness (ph) didn't stand by and do nothing.
Brenda in Tennessee, said: Lou, I think President Bush is right. IU want to relax some of our laws, like filing and paying income tax. I could go along with this way of thinking in a lot of areas.
A lot of people could, I imagine, Brenda.
Charles in Colorado, said: Lou, the president's comparison of illegal immigration to prohibition is typical of the hypocrisy of many politicians. Perhaps I grew up in a different part of Texas than the president, where it was considered common wisdom on that any unenforced law is worse than useless, since it encourages the disregard of all laws.
And Joyce in Florida, said: Gee, if the president thinks we should make it easier for people to obey laws by making more illegal things legal, does that mean that we should legalize pot? How about other drugs? We sure spend a lot of money fighting those drug wars.
And Dean in Ohio write in about our reporting on cheap Chinese cars that are said to flood this country. He suggests dealers selling those cars should borrow the same language used to sell the president's guest worker program. Dean says it would go something like this: We need cheap Chinese cars in America, because there are transportation needs that U.S. automobiles simply refuse to fill.
And Jack in New Mexico, says: I don't believe you should berate China because of the stupidity of this administration, our Congress and the WTO. At least China has a more intelligent plan.
Jack, I never said a bad word about China, but I have had, you may have noticed, some strong words for this president, his administration, this Congress and more than a few congressmen and the WTO. And all of us who look like fools who tolerate.
We love hearing from you. Send us your thoughts at loudobbs.com. Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow evening. Congressman Curt Weldon joins me. We'll have the very latest for you on when the American people can finally hear some of the answers about the Able Danger controversy. I'll also be talking with former presidential advisers David Gergen and Ed Rollins and John Fund of "The Wall Street Journal." Please be with us.
For all of us here, thanks for joining us. Good night from New York. "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer begins right now. Wolf?
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