Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Drug Trouble, Gas Prices, Congressional Junkets, Lebanon Violence, Raw Politics, Carter Comment, And Michael Moore's "Sicko" (Monday's First Hour)

Hi everybody. And a new week begins. Tonight we kick things right off with Anderson telling us that the FDA has put out a safety alert on the type II diabetes drug Avandia because it has been found that it raises the risk of heart attack and possible death. For more, we're joined by medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. I guess Sanjay Gupta was busy with one of his other 500 jobs. Elizabeth says that people should not stop taking the drug, but should consult with their doctor. She also tells us that Glaxo makes Avandia and they say the drug is safe. Right. Sorry if I don't believe a drug company. Anderson notes that we seem to hear about this kind of thing a lot lately (Vioxx, anyone?) and wonders what the heck is going on. See, this is why I don't trust medication. Elizabeth tells us these kind of things are because drug companies only test the drugs on a much smaller percentage of overall people that take them and the charge now is that the FDA is not doing it's job in keeping track of side effects once the drugs are on the open market.

Next up Anderson tells us what anyone who has a car already knows: gas prices are out of control! This is the part where I thank God that I work at home three days a week. Because back when I was driving an hour to college each way these prices would have killed me. So anyway, the price right now is $3.18/gallon, which is a new record even for inflation. For more, we've got Joe Johns filling up his car at a gas station because, uh, we don't know what that looks like? Joe tells us that everyone is looking to Washington now, but where they should really be looking is places like Nigeria where there are refinery problems. Supply and demand, people. You can't change that. We also learn that there's evidence gas prices are causing people to spend less money at places like Wal-mart. Hey, a positive! Yeah, I hate Wal-mart. As if you didn't already know that by looking at the right side of the blog. Doesn't it feel like we're just stuck in some sort of deja vu cycle? Every year we do this. People start talking about cutting back and buying hybrids and then the prices go back down and that all goes away. We never learn.

Transitioning to a Drew Griffin "Keeping Them Honest" piece on how your stupid Congress is rolling around in your hard earned dough. Okay, most of us know members of Congress go on "fact finding" missions and stuff like that, but did you know they're doing it on very expensive decked out military jets? First class. Full meals. Conference areas. Movie screens. It's how your elected representatives roll. "A lot of taxpayers are going to look at this and go, what the heck?" says Drew. Well, you're close there Drew, but you can't say on CNN what a lot of taxpayers are yelling at their tvs right now. Drew's taxpayers are from the 1950's apparently. Okay, so the rules are that you have to take members of both parties on junkets, but both Eliot Engel and Barney Franks took seperate trips sans republicans. I don't know the Engel guy, but, oh Franks you disappoint me. Drew then did that whole reporter thing and actually talked to Pelosi's office, but they told him that she doesn't approve that kind of stuff. Who does? Committee chairmans. You know, like Eliot Engel and Barney Frank. Sigh. Meet the new crooks, just like the old crooks. Well, not just like the old crooks. You can't compare anybody to the true suckitude of those guys.

On now to a Nic Robertson piece about new violence in Lebanon. We learn that a hard-line Muslim group called Fatah al-Islam is trying to radicalize the Palestinian cause in a Palestinian refugee camp in the north of the country. The group models itself off of Al Qaeda and has been sparring with the Lebanese army. Shaker al- Absi leads the group and claims to have helped Zarqawi plan the killing of U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley. So far about 50 people have been killed and it's getting pretty bad in the camp because a deal to get food and water for the needy has fallen through and the camp itself is very densely populated. Following the piece we have Nic live and Anderson asks if al Qaeda is hiding out in the refugee camps. Nic says it looks that way and it's a good place for them because the Lebanese government can't get in. Anderson wonders how long the government can sustain what's going on. Nic tells us that if the government were to accidentally kill a huge amount of civilians that would put pressure on them and also Hezbollah, even though they're not connected to Fatah al-Islam, could take political advantage. Do you think if we asked really nicely these guys will chill out until we're done with Iraq and Afghanistan? I know the US isn't involved (yet), but seriously people, take a number.

For more on this we're joined by CNN Beirut Bureau Chief Brent Sadler in studio and Fawaz Gerges, professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Sarah Lawrence College. Oh, do you guys remember Fawaz? The lover of Anderson's name. He doesn't say it that much this time, but I'll never forget that one appearance. He must have said his name every other word. Anyway, Anderson asks how big of deal the whole Lebanon thing is and Brent thinks it's a crisis, especially since Syria seems to have their hand in it. Anderson asks if it could destabilize the country. Fawaz notes the multiple fault lines in the country, such as between the Lebanese government and Hezbollah and then the Lebanese government and Syria. He fears the fighting will spread to the rest of the country and in the Palestinian camps. Anderson asks what the camps are like and Brent notes they are " laws unto themselves." However, Fawaz wants to point out just how hellish they are to live in and he's not surprise al Qaeda was able to infiltrate, but he is happy not that many Palestinians are joining up. It's always something.

Erica's got the headlines next, one of which includes the info that David Hasselhoff has gotten custody of his kids because apparently his wife is abusive. Damn. How bad do you have to be when drunk-off-his-butt Hasselhoff is the good parent? "Just when you thought the story couldn't get any sleazier," says Anderson. Seriously. Though I'm starting to learn it can always get sleazier. Today's "What Were They Thinking?" is the news that Sylvester Stallone got busted for trying to import human growth hormone into Australia. As Erica tells us this story, Anderson does a Stallone impression, which, BTW, should never happen again. Love you Anderson Cooper, but no. Just...no.

Tom Foreman with the "Raw Politics" tonight and we begin on the immigration legislation. Basically a lot of people aren't happy. This will probably never end. Next Tom tells us McCain wants to promote better ethics and Clinton wants to make sure all pre-kindergarten kids get an education. "Smart kids, good government? No one's going to go for that," says Tom. No, they're not going for the easy stuff at all. We also learn that democrats are kicking republican butt when it comes to fundraising online. Those pesky "insiders" say it's because people have greater access to the Internets in urban areas that lean democratic, but maybe the progressives are just more motivated. We want our country back, dammit and we can taste it. Finally, some Obama lovers are showing their support by selling "'I love B.O.' backpacks, doggy shirts, teddy bears, even a thong." A thong?! Um, maybe it's just me, but I don't think anyone really wants the words "I love B.O." on their nether-regions.

Next up we've got some political talk with David Gergen, John King, and Candy Crowley. We begin with Jimmy Carter's recent comments that Bush has been the worst president evah. Except now he seems to be back tracking, saying he was just comparing him to Nixon. Although anyone with listening comprehension knows thats not true. Stick to your guns, Carter! The Gerg thinks Carter has decided to be all diplomatic now, but still really believes Bush is the worst. Well, don't a lot of us. Anderson notes that the White House hit back hard (big surprise there) after the comments, calling Carter "increasingly irrelevant." John doesn't think Carter's comments will have that much impact politically because he's more of a moral figure.

Hey, you know what would be crazy? Like if when someone made a comment we actually discussed what they said instead of the political impact of the person that said it. I'm out of my mind, I know. Sure it's a big deal that a former president said that, but are we going to actually talk about what he said? I guess we're not. Yeah, let's just talk around things because talking about actual issues would be too helpful. The panel then transitions to talking about McCain taking potshots at Romney and The Gerg doesn't know what's up with that. What's up with that is there's something wrong with McCain. But nobody listens to me. It's also brought up that Florida is moving up their primary, which might actually push the first primary up into 2007. In fact, yep, they just moved it. Actually it was yesterday. That's right folks, at this point you need a Delorean to vote. Anderson then brings up the fact that Richardson officially announced his candidacy today, even though, um, he was in the debate. I think he kind of got that out of order. Anderson wonders how Richardson's Hispanic pride is going to fit in. Candy thinks it plays well with democrats and that's who he's talking to. Or, some of us are looking at how messed up the world is right now and we're looking at Richardson's foreign policy experience and thinking he might be a good guy to have around. Just a thought.

The final piece tonight is from Brooke Anderson. Yeah, I know, but it's actually an okay one. Michael Moore has a new documentary coming out called "Sicko" and it's about the health care industry in the US. He thought there wouldn't be any controversy with this one because he's in it a lot less. Oh, silly Michael. You will never be able to make anything without controversy. The big thing right now is that he's under investigation because he took some 9-11 rescue workers to Cuba and you're not suppose to do that. However, he says he was on American soil because he took them to Gitmo to try to get them the same health care as the detainees. Also, Michael says he went as a journalist, which you're allowed to do. Eh, this is all just an excuse to go after him. I'm excited about this movie. Maybe it will actually start a conversation about health care in this country. Because things are HORRIBLE! Or, you know, the media will just be lazy and report all the "controversies" Michael's critics can fling at him. But health care is not republican or democrat and it's not red state or blue state. Maybe they'll surprise me.

The Shot tonight is...like thunder, lightening. The way you love me is frightening. Okay, no, it's actually not the song "Knock on Wood," but it is a gnarly storm. The song's just what popped into my head when I saw it. Because I'm weird. In terms of variety and what was covered the show was excellent. Lots of hard news. I was a little annoyed with the Carter stuff, but honestly every news show did it that way...so they all suck I guess. Heh. I also have some problems with the armor piece next hour, but still good show. A-


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