Wednesday, August 01, 2007

More On The Home Invasion, Farm Subsidies, Cheney Interview, Iraq Reality Check, Raw Politics, And Former FLDS Follower (Tuesday's Show)

Hi everybody. We've got Anderson Cooper from the Los Angeles rooftop again. Larry still has him locked out apparently. But Larry, what if it rains? Okay, kidding over, because we're beginning serious with a Randi Kaye "Keeping Them Honest" piece on that Connecticut home invasion. People want to know why suspect Joshua Komisarjevsky was paroled after only serving five years of his nine year sentence for a previous burglary. Apparently the parole board was missing a whole lot of information when they made their decision, such as pre-sentencing reports, psychological evaluations, and sentencing transcripts. You know, stuff one might need to make an important decision like whether or not to put a criminal back on the streets. The reasons given for the lack of info include people not wanting to make copies and paying for postage. Good Lord. So now it's being mandated that the parole board be provided the police reports, but too late for that family.

For legal discussion, we're joined by, who else, but out senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. Anderson wonders if it's common for people that have been arrested as many times as the suspects, to get out early. Toobin explains that we just don't have the room. During the 80's they tried getting rid of parole all together and had no where to go with the criminals. I think we need to think about why we have so many people in prison in the first place. Anderson then brings up how parole boards don't have all the facts sometimes just because people don't want to make copies. Toobin finds this "so believable." Hey look, Toobin isn't shocked about something! Anderson asks if there are clear changes that need to be made to the system. Um, yeah. And not just regarding this either. Toobin then reminds us that people are fallible. Yes, yes. But there seems to be a lot of fallible people lately, doesn't there?

Transitioning now to Anderson giving CNN/360 a big pat on the back. He tells us about some lobbying legislation that has passed that mandates earmarks be made public before the vote. We're then reminded about prior reporting done on this and similar topics. What do you say readers, should we give them a cookie? Aw, I kid 360. They know I love them keeping people honest. Speaking of which, next we have a Dan Simon piece on farm subsidies. The long and short of it is these subsidies were a product of the Great Depression, but now, well, a lot of people really don't need them anymore. I mean, Scottie Pippen is getting $289,000 and I know what you're thinking: Scottie Pippen has a farm? Apparently he does and he's getting your money. Not cool. David Letterman is getting your money too. So is Ted Turner, who they note is the founder of CNN. Yeah, like they'd be including him in this story if he still owned CNN. Oh and also? Apparently the government has gone all Haley Joel Osment because they're paying dead people too. The bigger the farm, the more money. Though one does wonder if maybe some of these big farms actually lost money. 360 doesn't mention profits at all. And a rice grower in support of the subsides has a good point: "When you look at defense, when you look at all the other issues, I mean, it doesn't even make a line. " Word to that. But defense is a big old pandora's box . I think my 360 peeps need to warm up to that. (Though I would LOVE it if they took that on.) For now though, let's make the subsides the new earmarks, shall we? Ooh maybe they'll tick off Letterman. That could be fun.

Next up we've got some clips of Dick Cheney being interviewed by Larry King. He looks like he wants to reach over and rip Larry's heart out. Actually, if that really happened, I don't know that I would be that shocked. Dude makes puppies cry and flowers die is what I'm saying. Anyway, I am so glad I didn't watch this interview because I probably would have injured myself banging my head against the wall. Larry, it is called a follow up! Cheney talks about the elections and Larry does not note that the idea of a central government is a myth Cheney talks about the Iraqi army and Larry does not bring up the militias and death squads. Cheney tries to paint Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack (authors of a recent "New York Times" piece proclaiming progress) as war critics and Larry does not bring up how their "war critic" label is BS. Sigh. Imagine if Michael Ware interviewed Cheney . Man, I would pay to see that. Like for real. I would actually pay. Not a lot because I'm broke, but still. Because you know that would be a two-men-enter-one-man-leaves kind of situation.

Speaking of my fantasy interviewer, we're joined by Michael Ware and he's coming at us through a nightscope camera because he's in Diyala Province and it's too dangerous to use regular lights. But progress is being made, you see. This has shades of Nic Robertson in Ramadi in December 2005. And he actually had to flee his live shot, so, yeah, I'm a little nervous. Anderson asks what Michael thinks about Cheney's assessment. Michael agrees that they are seeing some stability, but these successes are coming by cutting deals with insurgents. Yeah, Cheney didn't mention that. Michael notes that the insurgents actually offered to do this all the way back in 2003, but we're only taking them up on it now. Oh well. No rush, right? It's not like people have been dying in the meantime or anything. Michael also tells us that the people we're backing now are the same people that are against the government we helped install (don't think about that too hard) and one of the reasons the death toll is dropping is people are fleeing, making less people to kill. Anderson then brings up the Ken Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon piece, which Michael proceeds to pick apart. Thank you, Michael. And for the love of God, stay safe.

So, remember how yesterday I wondered if maybe 360 had just decided to quietly forget about the whole political theme song contest? Well ask and ye shall be answered. A friend pointed me to this post on the 360 blog by writer Gabe in which he tell us they're still all tied up and stuck twiddling their thumbs in legal limbo. I kind of wonder why they didn't anticipate this, but whatever. At least now we know. And I think I might have a solution: 360 band! I know there's got to be some musical talent hiding there somewhere. BTW, Gabe channels Anderson really well. Good job, Gabe. I'm trying to give him a better shoutout than that other one a kerfuffle ago. Ahem.

On now to "Raw Politics" with Tom Foremen and we begin with Giuliani trying to scare us away from universal health care. Oh, socialized medicine! Boogidy boogidy boo! Yeah, I'll take my chances. Next up Tom tells us that Fred Thompson's non campaign is starting to run out of steam. This is like a tree falling in the woods kind of deal. If a politician drops out of a race before he declares, did it even happen in the first place? Finally, we learn that republicans are pushing a ballot proposal to split up California's 55 electoral votes, which would basically suck for the democrats, so somebody better be on that. This is going to be a long election. Moving on to tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" and we learn a car dealership owner actually killed two of his employees because they asked for raises. Damn. Why didn't he just, you know, say no. That's craziness.

Transitioning now to a Gary Tuchman piece on former FLDS follower Kathy Jo Nicholson. Yes, it's the polygamy again. Major thanks to 360 though for not traumatizing us with Warren Jeffs singing. Okay, so we all know Jeffs was known as the prophet, but Kathy takes us further into his warped world. She tells us that men in the cult are told they need to have at least three wives to go to heaven...and own their own planet. Oh my. We also learn that before Jeffs became prophet he was actually the principal at Kathy's high school and apparently his creepiness was prevalent back then too. It seems he liked to rule by humiliation. Anyway, Kathy actually got married and left the church, but being away initially made her a mess. Her marriage fell apart and she turned to drugs and alcohol. Then she had a child with another man, but the father died of a staph infection. That really sucks. But this story actually has a sort of happy ending because she ended up getting married again and now her brother and birth mom have left the church and joined her. So yay. Though I'm still not into this topic. Oh, also? We get played a kind of greatest hits of Gary getting shunned. Poor Gary.

The Shot tonight is the 14th Annual Wiener National. Aw, look at them run on their short little legs. Erica then raises and shows a video of a dog loose on the track of a car race in Bucharest, Romania. Anderson then raises right back with the video of that poor dog getting run over during the Tour de France. Oh and they're using the dramatic prairie dog again, cracking up at it every time. "That squirrel never gets old, by the way," says Erica. Well, I'm not sure it's a squirrel, but otherwise I totally agree. Anderson's not so sure, "Oh, I know. It will soon, though, trust me." I don't know. I've watched it dozens of times and there's not a one I didn't laugh. Best. Video. Ever. The show was okay. What's with the tendency toward the softer news lately? Would we even have had Iraq without Larry King getting the Cheney interview? I guess it's more glaring with the one hour format, but with them getting creamed some nights by the stupid doc-block, I'm a little worried they're trying to get those viewers. B-


Anonymous Rickman said...

I totally agree with you about the whole "soft news" thing--360 has some great weeks and some really shoddy ones; this one's somewhere in the middle, but I hope it's not indicative of a larger trend, especially given some of the changes going on at CNN right now.

This subsidies story . . . I think the story clearly has merit, but I was pretty bothered by them not mentioning profits for any of these farms. Just because someone owns a multi-million dollar farm doesn't mean a single year's drought won't wipe out a decade's worth of profits. Nor does it mean that their multi-million dollar farm doesn't break even or lose money without the subsidies. And let's face it, that land is worth a TON of money (where I'm from in NJ, there's still thousands of acres of farm land, and some of it is worth as much as $150,000 an acre, even given current zoning laws that prevent it from being developed any more densely than one home on every one to four acres); if we don't want them to sell it off to some developer, they need an incentive to keep it. And farmer-guy was right--it's critical to our environment, our nation's beauty, our economy, and our national security to keep these farms operating.

Also, when they said that 75% of the subsidies are going to 10% of the people, that's not because people are getting some imbalance of subsidies; it's just because 10% of the people own 75% of the farmland.

Lastly, they had nobody in the piece suggest any way in which the system might be fixed to prevent money from going to people who no longer need it.

And one other thing about what farmer-guy said . . . Sure, this is a "drop in the bucket" compared to defense. So is a lot of pork barrel spending. So is education, and programs to prevent teen pregnancy, and federal campaign funding, and everything else people always justify allowing by bringing up the magnitude of defense spending. But if you add all those drops in the bucket together, you get a pretty full bucket. Just because it's only a billion dollars, or ten million, or whatever, doesn't mean you shouldn't save where you can if you can legitimately. I'm by no means saying that farm subsidies should be cut (in fact, I think I sort of argued the opposite, or at least the potential for the opposite, in the above paragraphs), but just that I think the "it's a drop in the bucket" argument is patently absurd.

4:16 AM  

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