Nuts and Bolts

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Dear Viewers,

Do you wonder why Susan Peters' interview was on tape Monday night? She is an anchor for KAKE-TV in Wichita who interviewed Stephen Relford who let the BTK (search) serial killer into his home when he was five — and his mother was then murdered. I would have preferred her in a live interview and we planned on it live, but she learned late in the day that her own network — KAKE-TV — needed her to work at the same time we wanted her on our air. So, of course, she had no choice and neither did we. We then went to "Plan B" and did a pre-tape. We taped her at 9:15 p.m. ET — 45 minutes before our show. We did it "live to tape" which means that we did not edit it, but simply taped it and turned around and dropped it in our show about an hour later.

Did anyone notice that I did not say good-bye to my legal panel last night? They were in segments A, B and C. I thought — mistakenly — that they were also in our D segment about the Michael Jackson (search) case. As soon as went to break after C segment, Ted said to me, "I thought we were done." I said, "What?" Ted repeated his statement. I looked down on my hard copy of the scripts leading out of the C segment and there was no mention of thanking the guests and saying good-bye. I then asked my producer ... and a few seconds later he agreed with Ted. So, rather than saying good-bye to the legal panel on the air, I said good-bye to Ted and Bernie who were with me on the set and I have no idea what was said to the remote members of the panel — Jeanine Ferris Pirro, Jayne Weintraub and Jim Hammer. It is good that at least Ted is not asleep and was there to help. Yes, I know ... I made a mistake. Did you catch it? I hope not.

Below are e-mails — several about the segment we did on smoking last night and the firing of those who smoke at home. For those of you who missed it, we have streamed the video on the show page today. Click on the link in the video box above to watch it. I could not find one e-mail that supported the company's actions. It does not mean that no one supports it, but rather that no one who wrote me and whose e-mail I could find.

E-mail No. 1 — Monday's poll asked about whether anything should be done, or attempted to be done about "hate" on the Internet. This is Betty's thought:

I don't search out the Web sites, but it's real interesting that everybody wants you to know that they have different views of what you should accept about them, but when you disagree its called a hate crime. I think I have as much right to not like or hate what they stand for as much as they have the right to shove it in my face.
Betty Washington

ANSWER: Betty, I don't know if anything can or should be done and we do have a strong commitment to the First Amendment, but there are things we can agree constitute hate — e.g. advocating rape and murder are right up there in my book as universal agreement for hate. Having different views on topics rarely constitutes hate — it usually is just good debate!

E-mail No. 2 — the following e-mails are in reference to the Michigan company that fired some employees for smoking at places other than work:

Did that company which instituted the "No Smokers" policy just step off the 'fruit loops boat?' Clearly what they have done is unconstitutional and a blatant violation of their employee's privacy rights. They will LOSE this fight in legislation, as they SHOULD!
Shani S.
New York, NY

E-mail No. 3

If smoking employees can be fired for their off-time, legal smoking habit, as this will create more cost to their employers, overweight and obese employees should also be fired, for incurring more health-related costs for their employers.
These are medical disorders and should be treated accordingly. No discrimination. Both should be equally covered in Employment Law under the Americans with Disabilities Act (search).
Please do not publish my name, just my opinion.

E-mail No. 4

First, let me say that I have never smoked and never intend to. However, I don't believe individuals should be told that they cannot smoke not only when they are not at work but also at home. The companies say their decision is based on loss of money because of their employees' absence from work and medical expenses because of that habit. I would be very upset if my company told me I could not have a McDonalds hamburger and fries when I was on my own time because I would get fat and cost them money. Likewise, I would love the companies to try to tell the gay/lesbian community that they could not indulge in sex for fear of getting sexually transmitted illnesses for which the company would have to bear the costs.
Pat Corbat

E-mail No. 5

Your segment regarding the two of four employees of a company that got fired for smoking cigarettes at home is truly cause for concern. The company's attorney stated that the women were participating in unhealthy behavior.
My question to the attorney would have been, what about those employees who overeat and are fat. Shouldn't they also be fired? How about those employees who drink alcoholic beverages. Shouldn't they also be fired? How about those employees who are diabetic, have MS, or have some other disease. How about an employee who has AIDS? Didn't someone who has AIDS practice unhealthy behavior?
I am no fan of the ACLU, but I think this should be a case right up their alley. I guess it is politically correct to discriminate against smokers.
If companies like their's that can fire an employee for doing something that is perfectly legal are allowed to do so, we truly are going to be living in a Marxist Society.
Henry Phillips
Powhatan, VA

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