Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Stimulus Deal Made, Bank CEOs Get Grilled, Stewart Parnell Is A Horrible Human Being, Suze Orman Gives Awful Advice, And Omigod More Octomom?!

Hi peoples. We have a deal! The stimulus bill seems to be a go. Well, sorta. The House and Senate have come to an agreement, but lawmakers still have to do the actual voting, so there's always the chance things could get freaky before that time. The legislation isn't even written yet. Dana Bash joins us live with that little tidbit and then intros into a piece that details what's in the $789 billion bill. As it stands now, there's lots of money for infrastructure and money for states, but the House Democrats are not thrilled that money for new schools didn't make it in. It's great that Dana gave us this breakdown, but again, where is the analysis from an economic standpoint? This is getting ridiculous.

We then go to Ed Henry live for the "raw politics" even though what we need is the "raw economics." Anyway, he talks about the lack of TARP II details.

Next up, we have Tom Foreman babysitting the Wall of Doom while Ali Velshi is gone, but he's not so much bringing us doom, as he is a bit of amusement. We get us a little show called, "Mr. Bank CEOs Go To Washington." And they make Congress very, very angry. Oh, and you won't like Congress when they're angry. No wait, I'm confusing my elected leaders with the Incredible Hulk. (Again!) I love when Congress is angry! Because we get to watch them yell at the douchbags who took our money and spent it on jets and commodes instead freeing up credit like they said they would. Unfortunately, much like with the auto CEOs and the oil company CEOs that came before them, this is really just a cathartic exercise. We yell, they say they're sorry, they do it again.

Moving on to the inevitable panel, with David Gergen, Joe Johns, and Candy Crowley rocking the house. This is all about politics, which is completely unhelpful, and getting close to just plain bad. Take this from Anderson Cooper, for example (regarding the stimulus bill): "Joe, I guess there are some who would say, if liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans both are upset by it, then this is sort of maybe somewhere in the middle, and maybe that's not too bad a thing." That's asinine because it assumes that both groups are making proposals that are equally stimulative and that's simply not true.

The only idea the Republicans even have is tax cuts, something we've tried for years and which has not worked. Also, since the whole if-both-sides-are-mad-I-must-be-doing-something-right thing is one of Anderson's favorite arguments, perhaps he could man up and not hide behind, "some who would say." That's right, Eliza's not playing any more on this. Continuing on, Anderson again flummoxes me by stating the following: "Well, David, economists are still arguing about the Great Depression and what really brought us out of that." Um, no. Seriously, Anderson? Look, I'm not going to deny that you can find a whack job making that argument and calling themselves an economist, but you can also find the rare scientist that denies global warming, or says homosexuality is a choice, or any number of off the wall and untrue claims.

Perhaps some pictures would help. Here is a graph detailing GDP at that time. Hm, it seems the New Deal was pretty helpful. Or here's a visual of employment from 1920 to 1940. Looks like a lot of growth to me, and that's before we entered WWII, which is what conservatives are trying to claim actually got us out of the depression. But wait a second, what happened in 1937 you ask? See, that's the year that FDR decided to listen to conservatives and attempted to balance the budget. In other words, FDR did then what conservatives want us to do now (to have this explained to you by a cute sarcastic anchor of another network, click here.)

And since conservatives now don't want this spending because it goes against their ideology--their wrong ideology--they have to smear FDR. According to Media Matters they've been quite the busy little bees at this. After all, they even apparently got to our anchor. Anderson, I don't know who you've been talking to, but uh, stop. Anyway, I also thought the Gerg and Joe came off very much like concern trolls when talking about the trouble they apparently think Obama is in. Thanks to Candy for the sanity. I'd go into it more, but I'm spent after calling out Anderson. And I haven't even mentioned Suze Orman yet. Yeesh.

Transitioning now to a Joe Johns piece about how Merrill Lynch used our money to pay out huge bonuses when it was broke and the government was paying for a merger with Bank of America. They were even sneaky about it too: first failing to give the New York Attorney General info he asked for and then moving up the date the bonuses were to be paid out--right before the merger. Times like these I have to remember I'm against torture. Then there's Morgan Stanley who has promised their financial advisers "retention awards." Not bonuses people, retention awards. Hm, well, as stated, I'm against torture, but in the fun-with-semantics-spirit, I wonder how they'd feel about a little enhanced interrogation...

Next up, Anderson plays us some clips from Capitol Hill of testimony involving that national salmonella outbreak. For those not up to speed, people have died due to eating contaminated peanut products, and we hear from some of the victims' loved ones now. But this situation is not just a tragedy; it's an outrage. Because the president of Peanut Corp. of America, Stewart Parnell, knew his product was bad (as did Sammy Lightsey, manager of the plant in Blakely, Ga) and shipped them anyway to save profit. This man has blood on his hands. After the clips, Anderson tells us this: "Stewart Parnell pleaded the Fifth on every question asked, but we wanted you to see that, because we think you should see what he looks like and you should know his name." For those not fluent in WASP TV anchor, I believe he just said, "f*** that guy." And I couldn't agree more.

Transitioning now to a segment with Suze Orman, which Anderson intros by saying, "to survive the crisis you need the best advice around." So you're having Suze on...why? Ugh, I do not understand why a news show is giving us this self promoter over a real economist. Yeah, in case it isn't clear, I'm not a fan. But I didn't always feel this way. Initially, I just thought, wow, she's got a big kinda scary personality that trends toward condescension. Then I realized half of her answers involve promotion of some product or service of which she is currently connected (to be fair, I don't recall her pimping anything in this segment--though her book got mentioned by Anderson and on the blog). Also, all of her answers are either out-of-touch or completely common sense anyway. As I said yesterday, if this write up on her is even half accurate, she's much worse than I thought.

Anyway, I'm not going through all the questions, but I'm still completely floored by Suze telling that student with the loan trouble to stop going to school. I mean, what the hell?! Even Anderson gave us a shocked, "really?" but that's all we got from him. To be fair, she did say, "If you don't know what you're going to do, if you're at all confused, stop going to school right now and accumulating student loans until you're clear about your future." Now, if someone is willy nilly bouncing around at a $30,000/yr university and can't afford the loans, then yeah, I'd say they might want to think about a community college or something while they get a plan together, but if that is at all what she was trying to say, it very much got lost behind the whole quit school thing.

Plus, she mentions people going back to school after they lose their job and states, "The answer, if they have to go back with a student loan, not here, not now. Not in this economy." This is terrible advice. Suze bases her career on helping people plan for their future and she tells people not to go to school?! It's called retraining and making yourself more employable. That's planning. When it comes to this subject there can be vastly different situations. What if the student loan is only for a few thousand dollars, yet it will allow a single mom to obtain an Associate's Degree in Nursing, thus qualifying her for an in demand occupation that she will be able to begin in a couple short years? The economy is going to suck for a long time and that was some shockingly bad advice.

When reading another question, Anderson says, "...these all make me so nervous." From Suze: "Are you sure it's them or me?" Bwah! It's you! Naw, Anderson says it's because there are so many people going through this stuff, but I'm not really sure what his deal is because most of these questions aren't even from people hurting the most. Don't get me wrong, some are really hurting, but I didn't hear anyone saying they can't feed their kids, and unfortunately there are a lot of people in that situation right now. In fact, if anything, I'd say 360's coverage has been skewed to people who have money. There's no advice for the working poor, or even a mention of them. Anyway, I didn't watch, but apparently Suze was answering more questions on the webcast. That's actually a good use of that. Having her on the show just feels like they needed filler.

Moving on to a Randi Kaye piece and if you can believe it, we're still talking about the octuplet mom. Now she's got a website and is requesting donations. Ha! Good luck with that. After Randi's piece, she mentions the family and publicist have gotten some death threats. "That's what they say," says Anderson. Ouch. He's right to question, but I'm not sure he would if it was someone else. Then there's talk of an Angelina Jolie connection because the woman looks like her and...Jebus this has gotten bizarre. How much longer are her 15 minutes going to be? Is this like a media relay race? Did Joe the Unlicensed Plumber tag her and now we have to wait for her to pass the baton to someone else?

Randi Kaye's putting in a full day's work because she's up again with a piece on Michelle Obama in Vogue. She's looking good.

The "shot" tonight is video of a loopy seven year old after having dental work performed. My favorite part is when he's all, "is this real life?" Ha! Aw. Anderson likes the part where he screams, noting during one of the teases, "That's how I feel. Don't you feel like that?" Well, I felt like that during much of this broadcast. Just saying.

Okay, so the show I even need to say it? My commentary pretty much speaks for itself, but I want to add that I thought Joe Johns' piece was good. I swear people, I don't get this coverage. And why isn't Anderson interviewing any of the players? All of his colleagues interview news makers all the time. The Obama interview was the exception, not the rule. I realize they're on late, but that didn't stop them in years past. It's baffling. But that'll do it for now.


Blogger SLJubilee said...

I think that Suze Orman's angle was that student loan debt can never be discharged.

She has said that we need congressional action to freeze interest and penalties on student loan debt if a person does not have an income.

If such legislation existed, Suze would probably encourage people to go back to college.


11:48 AM  
Blogger Sammem said...

*sigh* bankers, crazy moms, and peanut butter homicide... What a crazy country it is right now.

Parnell is despicable. I couldn't even believe his rebuttal. And when Anderson said we should all see what he looks like I thought lets grab Dick Cheney and give this guy a taste of his own medicine.

Speaking of wanting to do harmful torture, did you read David Gewirtz blog "When it comes to bankers, I so miss hanging". Crazy but agreeable, especially after learning about how much money they were giving themselves, ...No, they weren't giving themselves 'bonuses', we have to call it 'awards'... I'll just call it 'my money'!

I was completely surprised at Suze Orman when she said to stop going to school. And I agree with your that there are worse scenarios than the ones AC360 brought up last night... How bout those Henrietta Hughes who haven't been given a helping hand yet...

And of course Quattuordecim-mom... As much as I despise her I couldn't help but talk about her in my own blog. ...Ridiculing the whole time, of course.

3:40 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@SLJubilee: If you have to guess at the angle of her advice, it's bad advice.

Look, I agree that it'd be great to get some congressional help on student loans and as stated in my post, I also believe there are certain situations that a person should rethink where and why they are attending college, but to just make the blanket statement that people should not go to school if they need a student loan is ridiculous. I mean, hell, at least direct the student to scholarships, make sure they understand FAFSA, and suggest career paths that will actually forgive student loans.

@Sammem: Parnell is awful, but if we think he's the only executive that will allow people to die to save a buck, we're sorrily mistaken. I was talking to my mother the other day about how when the Pinto came out they knew if it was hit a certain way it would sever the fuel line, but they decided it would be more cost effective to leave it on the market and just settle the lawsuits that would occur when people died. Ah, business.

I didn't read Gerwitz's blog. I'll have to check it out...when I want to get my rage on. Heh.

6:06 PM  
Blogger Sammem said...

yes, well doing harm to others for the sake of money seems to be a trend among bankers and the peanut butter executive. i'm sure we will see more however I hope suffrage for money doesn't become too common, especially if the economy gets worse.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Mike-American said...

This question is for this news media from one American. It is not intended to be party biased. I just want an answer to my questions.

I came across this Canadian news broadcast and I want to know if it is a real not faked broadcast. Please view it and if it is true, America has been lied to again everyone should be outraged most of all with the press. Reporters are supposed to report the news and be the citizens voice holding Government accountable while keeping the public informed. My question is why did this story air only, if it is truly a real story, in Canada and who is responsible for stopping it being aired in the U.S.A. I am not targeting any one new media but I do want to know if this really happened and is an accurate story. I will be sending this same question to as many news media companies as I can to get an answer.

You probably won't let me post the link to the video but it is on You know it Tube and it is called Timeline shows Bush, McCain warning Dems of financial and housing crisis; meltdown

6:23 AM  

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