Saturday, January 06, 2007

Democratic Plans, Harry Reid, John Edwards, War Contractors, Drug-Addicted Rehnquist, And We're Being Invaded! (Thursday's Second Hour)

Hi everyone. We begin the hour with an Andrea Koppel piece that retreads the day's Congress stuff. There's nothing really here that wasn't already covered in pieces from the first hour. In fact they could have just repeated them and saved Andrea the trouble. Of course then I'd have to complain that they were repeating pieces. What can I say? I'm tough.

Moving on to a Randi Kaye piece on the democrat's plan to cut interest rates on student loans. This is a crowd pleaser. Unforutnately it will only effect new loans, but still, yay! I'm five years out of school now and still paying off my loans. Luckily I was never that much in debt, so my payments are small. I couldn't imagine having to pay $400 a month like the woman in the piece. The student loan business is quite the racket. Many loans are through Sallie Mae and 60 Minutes did a good piece on them last May. Anyway, back in Randi's piece we learn that conservatives are against the cut because it shifts the burden from college students to workers. Excuse me, but aren't these the pull yourself up by your bootstraps people? Getting an education is a major way to pull yourself up and you can't do that if you can't afford to go in the first place. It's like we can't win with these people. One good point they do make is that the skyrocketing cost of college is just as much as an issue as student loan rates. The democrats don't officially have addressing that on their plate, but I hope they do. When I started college in 1997 my tuition was about $10,000 a year (not counting room/board or books or anything) and now it's about $18,000. If I was just starting school now I don't think I could afford to go to the same university. The worst part when I was in school was that tuition climbed every year, but my renewable scholarship did not.

Next up we have a Candy Crowley piece on raising the minimum wage. It hasn't been raised from it's level of $5.15 since 1997, though Congress has generously given themselves raises. After the piece we go back to the panel from the first hour and Candy states that 85% of Americans want the wage hike, but small businesses want tax breaks. The Gerg informs us that the plan to negotiate drug prices might be tough to get through because some democrats in the senate might not be on board. Sounds like they're in the pocket of the drug companies. Hey 360, maybe you can look into that and "keep them honest." Candy notes that the democrats have a short time to get stuff done before the 2008 race starts. Better get cracking then.

Transitioning to a Dana Bash piece that is basically a profile of senate majority (damn that feels good to type) leader Harry Reid of Nevada. To the average person, Reid probably comes across as soft spoken and a little boring (though not quite John Kerry boring). However he's kind of a total badass. We learn from Dana's piece that his parents drank a lot, he hung out in brothels as a child, and his father shot himself to death. So basically he's been through a lot of crap in his life. Though he says he's a pessimist, he enjoys keeping up with People Magazine and rocking out to the Cowboy Junkies, much to Dana's amusement. For more info on Reid, check out this piece . And who could forget when he completely shocked Bill Frist and shut down the senate? That was a cool day. Give 'em hell Harry!

Throughout the show we've been hearing banging noises and Anderson chooses this time to inform us that what we've been hearing is construction going, "in case you were wondering." Why yes I was. Although honestly, after that month he spent in Israel I'm not really fazed by loud noises going on behind him. We then move on to an interview with John Edwards. Yay! Edwards says that if he was still in Congress he would want the top three priorities to be oversight, health care, and energy security/global warming. Well that sure as hell beats war for no reason and banning gay marriage. Anderson wants to know whether or not there is a political solution for Iraq and Edwards thinks it's up to the Iraqis. Anderson then gets his outrage on about Katrina (Edwards announced his candidacy in the region). Edwards personally thanks Anderson for his reporting on the continuing tragedy and then sucks up a bit, saying things we know Anderson wants to hear. Okay John, that's enough. He then gets on to the real answer, saying that he thinks the problem with Katrina is that a lot of money has been given, but it's not being used right on the ground and that this is a "failure of presidential leadership." Anderson asks about the mayor and governor (both democrats) and Edwards acknowedges that they are to blame too, but not as much as Bush. I totally agree with that. They suck, but this is beyond them. Where the hell is Nagin these days anyway? Anyway, as Edwards is still answering this question, Anderson abruptly cuts him off and moves on to another topic. Were they short on time or something? It's not like they were talking about something Anderson doesn't care about. Weird.

Back to the panel now and Joe Klein thinks Edwards has a real shot at the presidency and will have the support of the trade unions. The Gerg thinks McCain is staging his political future on the whole surge nonsense. Well I hope his political future bursts into flames. And to think that about six years ago I liked him so much that voting for him wasn't out of the question. The Gerg also believes that Edwards is a threat to Obama, while Joe thinks Obama is a huge threat to Edwards. John clues us in that Clinton is working aggressively behind the scenes, while Obama is more subdued. Candy brings up Obama's experience and points out that in the post 9-11 world, experience means more. She indicates that if Bush ran today with his 2000 credentials he wouldn't win. This then briefly makes me think of what it would have been like if Bush didn't win in 2000 (I'm using "win" loosely here). Suddenly I am very sad. It's like when Al Gore was on SNL. It was suppose to be funny and in a way it was, but in another way it just made me want to cry.

Transitioning now to a really good Randi Kaye piece on contractors in Iraq. The woman in the piece is very sympathetic and I feel terrible for the loss of her husband contractor, but let's not kid ourselves here. This is war for profit. A very large profit. Private contractors (or mercenaries) earn much much more than our troops in the field and monitoring them is next to impossible, which means they often run wild. Custer Battles anyone? And who could forget the contractors randomly shooting at civilian Iraqi motorists to the soundtrack of Elvis's Mystery Train? There are currently about 100,000 contractors in Iraq, which is an astronomical number if you think about it. Our military seems to be being privatized, just like everything else. It's also impossible to know how many have died, which I'm sure is another plus for those promoting this war. After all, they don't get added in the death toll and you won't see their picture on the news.

Though I'm not down with going to war for profit, my anger lies mostly with the contracting firms and not the individual contractor. They treat the people that work for them terribly to a criminal extent. I'm sure we all remember the four Blackwater contractors that were killed, burned, and strung up in 2004. Here is a very good piece on how that happened and why the families sued. Rolling Stone also had a great piece on contracting that even appeared in 2005's issue of The Best American Nonrequired Reading.

On now to a Kelly Arena piece on how former supreme court chief justice William Rehnquist was apparently majortly addicted to sedatives to the point that he had instances of paranoia. Dude! WTF? Why the hell was this kept a secret? And even now, 200 pages of the report have not been released. This is unbelievable. He headed the highest court in the country and everybody just kept their mouth shut. He made decisions that affected our whole country! Ugh. I don't even know what else to say about this.

Moving on to something lighter, we have a Jeanne Moos piece on how the aliens are coming! There's been some strange stuff going on lately. A metallic lump fell from the sky in New Jersey and a Russian rocket broke up upon reentry over Denver. However, most interesting is that a bunch of United Airline employees swear they spotted a UFO over O'Hare airport. What Jeanne's piece doesn't mention is that officials denied this until someone actually issued a FOIA request. Hmm. Why the secrecy? Maybe there really are aliens out there in search of intelligent life. When they find it, I hope they come back to earth and let us know. We humans will be waiting. After this piece we get a preview of Monday's Oprah special and I'm really hoping it's not going to just be a lovefest, but I have a feeling that's what we're going to get. Anderson is so under her spell. I'd like to take this time to commend 360 for not going nuts over the lost at sea guy story. That stuff is better left for Larry King...and they did. Yay! I'll have Friday's review up sometime this weekend. I haven't watched the show yet (taped it), so hopefully I'm not going to be regretting the praise I just gave them. That'll do it.

Screencaps by stormi0611.

What's your take on Edwards? Reid? The Rehnquist reveal? Does the concept of contracting bug you as much as me? Are aliens real? Abduction stories encouraged.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have a personal abduction story (ha ha), but I know a couple of people that I strongly suspect were abducted and sent back to earth (not naming any names [bush/cheney]) - how else can you explain the administration the US has right now! (Nobody can be that stupid w/o having had some probing experiments done on them that went horrbily wrong!)

Great post. And that 360 show was really good (finally!).


2:30 AM  
Anonymous Patty said...

Glad that you are back! This is a great blog. Please keep it up. Really enjoy your reviews. And I have also really enjoyed 360 the past week, although I had a hard time staying up to watch everything. I hope that I would be able to watch some of the taped interviews this afternoon and fully catch up.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Sharla Dawn said...

Aliens? Nope, don't believe in aliens. And if there were aliens, I'd bet that they looked just like US. But maybe that's because I like human beings.

I am SO missing having a TV. I read Anderson's transcripts and this review and stare at YouTube a lot to make up for it. Actually I just wrote Anderson an email. I wonder what'll happen?

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eliza--That was a really good report that Dana Bash did on Harry Reid. I am sorry to say until he was elected Majority Leader, that I had not heard of him. He sure pulled himself up by the boot straps and made something of himself. Lets just hope the Dems can do something about Bush.

The verdict is still out on the aliens topic.


1:05 PM  
Blogger midnite6367 said...

The Harry Reid piece was really good, his background is so surprising and interesting, he should write a book if he hasn't already.

The revelation that Rehnquist was addicted to Placidyl was mind boggling, it does make me wonder who else on the court is making decisions under the influence of god knows what. We won't know until its too late.

Thanks for the contractor links, I have to check them out. I guess I shouldn't really be surprised that they are paid more than the troops.

Edward's is right to point the blame of the Katrina disaster at Bush who failed the Gulf citizens in every possible way. Anderson needs to head back to the Gulf area again.

4:40 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@cskitten-Of course the aliens had to send Bush/Cheney back. After all, they were looking for intelligent life. ;)

@patty-Thanks! I'm central time zone, so it's not as hard for me to stay up as some of the east coast viewers.

@sharla-Oh, I feel your no-cable-having pain. That would be awful. Although truthfully sometimes not having cable is a blessing. I remember mine went out for a day a couple weeks ago and I was actually (temporarily) relieved I couldn't watch the news.

@Jan-Yeah, Reid isn't perfect, but he seems pretty cool. Hopefully he can whip the new dem majority into shape.

@midnight-You're welcome for the links. I think the whole contracting aspect doesn't get enough press. Obviously there's the accountability aspect, but I'd really like there to be a public dialogue on whether it's even a good idea to be privatizing our military like this.

I agree Anderson needs to go back to NOLA and I'm starting to wonder why he hasn't. It's been a long time and the place is falling apart.

10:30 PM  

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