Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stimulus Signed Into Law, Auto Bailout Talk, States In Trouble, More Troops To Afghanistan, TV Station Founder Beheads Wife, And Chimp Attack

Hola people. I'm feeling multicultural today. John King continues to keep Anderson Cooper's seat warm while our anchor is absent. Speaking of absences, no BREAKING NEWS? Could it be so? Weird. Don't worry, it'll be back tomorrow. Anyhoo, we're going straight to Ed Henry live, who talks a bit about how our prez is kicking ass and taking names. According to one senior administration official, Obama has made three times as many accomplishments in 28 days than what FDR did in a year. Oh really now? Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

In a subsequent Ed piece, we learn that the stimulus has finally FINALLY been signed into law. It is the largest economic recovery plan in U.S. history. Try not think about that part, people. Obama is not naive enough to think our economic problems will soon go away, but he declares this the beginning of the end. The show is officially on the road regarding infrastructure projects. They've already started work on a bridge in my state of Missouri. We do not mess around. Now that the economy is getting all stimulated, the Republicans want Obama to tackle the housing crisis and we are assured that is totally next on his to-do list. Our leader isn't just juggling the domestic issues either--he just sent 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. Quite a couple weeks, huh?

Next up, we have a Joe Johns piece on the failing auto companies. General Motors and Chrysler have their hands out for over $21 billion of our money, claiming that without it they'll go under. The companies warn that bankruptcy would be a disaster in terms of jobs, but the new efficiency they're promising us would also involve slashing upwards of 50,000 jobs, as well as cutting back on production. On the union angle, the UAW has claimed to have reached an "understanding," but as of now we are detailess. After Joe's piece, he and John talk pros and cons of just letting the companies go into bankruptcy. To quote the Notorious B.I.G. (as I often do), "Mo money, mo problems," though I'm guessing this isn't quite the right context.

Our inevitable pontification session tonight has a slight whiff of new panel smell. Sure, we've got stalwart David Gergen, who always rocks the joint with an aroma of sandalwood and optimism, but we're also joined by only occasional guest Pamela Gentry (BET) and newbie (to my knowledge) David Walker, former comptroller of the United States. The Gerg starts off by handing out some stimulus praise, but he's not down with the aforementioned FDR comparison. Yeah, I think I'm with him on that one. I'm also with him in that I think another stimulus is very possible, and unfortunately probably quite necessary. This one was good, but not big enough.

Walker seems not at all pleased with the stimulus, ranting about how less than a third is even truly stimulative in the first place. One thing I hate about newbies is I have no idea where this guy is coming from. Does he lean left? Does he lean right? Everybody has an agenda. Or maybe he's crazy. Hey, don't think just because he's on the TeeVee he's a sane individual. I mean, have you met Congress? I'm just saying it's hard to take in what he's dishing out when I don't know if he's a credible person.

Anyway, there's also auto bailout talk and the Gerg points out how whatever decision is made, it is going to result in pain today, whereas the stimulus money we won't feel for a while. Speaking of the stimulus, the Obama administration has launched recovery.gov so we can keep an eye on where that money is going. Pretty cool. I can remember when people would have to sue under the FOIA to get that kind of information.

On now to a Tom Foreman piece, regarding another fine mess California has gotten itself into. But this ain't no Laurel and Hardy sketch, and actually, California isn't the only state with big budget troubles. While it's true that they have 20,000 state workers facing layoffs, in Kansas people might have to wait to get their state tax refunds, Medicaid reimbursements, and school money. In fact, 43 states started this year short on funds, so the stimulus didn't come a moment too soon. Unfortunately, when it kicks in is another matter. Sorry Kansans, I hope you didn't need those checks immediately. Good job, Arnie.

After Tom's piece, we bounce back to the panel and the only thing of note is when David Walker starts whining that the only part of the economy that has been growing lately is the government. Cue the Gerg: "David, if the private sector could do this, it would be fine. But the private sector can't. The government has got to grow. It's the only institution we have left to help put some steam back in this economy right now." There's that reasonableness we all know and love.

Transitioning now to discussion with Peter Bergen regarding those 17,000 troops Obama just sent to Afghanistan. Apparently, generals on the ground wanted 30,000, but Peter thinks these numbers right now are reasonable given what a task it is to bring troops in country. We're also informed the increased military presence is no doubt related to the upcoming presidential election. Peter doesn't think Obama will be successful in getting NATO countries to help with the manpower. C'mon, Germany, France, man up. John then brings up how Pakistan is negotiating with the Taliban (oh yay), but Peter points out that the US was thinking of doing it too in Afghanistan, so there's that. Of course, those peace agreements from a couple years ago or so could pretty much be filed under "unhelpful." What a mess.

On now to a Gary Tuchman piece that covers the news of a husband beheading his wife. Lovely. But that's not even the half of it. Muzzammil Hassan is the founder of Bridges TV, a television station in Buffalo that aims to counteract negative Muslim stereotypes. His wife, Aasiya, recently filed for divorce and he reacted to this news by...beheading. Maybe it's just me, but that seems like a negative Muslim stereotype. This story is the definition of irony. Alanis Morissette could write a song about it. Perhaps most tragic is that the couple has two young children. How do you get through life after your dad has beheaded your mom?

Finally tonight, we have a piece from David Mattingly on a chimp attack. The chimp's name was Travis and apparently he had done commercial work, but on Monday he almost killed a woman as she got out of her car. Travis's owner then ran out and started stabbing him with a butcher knife and he was then shot by police before succumbing to his wounds. Good lord. We get a clip of our old pal Jeff Corwin, who pretty much says these animals should not be pets. Legislation is currently going through Congress.

The "shot" tonight is the Japanese finance minister plastered. Or is he? You be the judge. For his part, the guy claims he was tired, but resigned anyway. The tired excuse isn't completely out of the question. It can happen. Like, say you're on TV for a bazillion hours over a really important couple of days, get no sleep, and then go back on TV. Youtubable stuff can happen. Aw Anderson, I link with love.

The show was pretty good, though I'm still comfuzzled over David Walker's deal. Always good to see Peter Bergen. Last night I gave you guys some links to some newsies who have gotten on board the twitter train. Well, some more have joined the fray, but I want to specifically point out Ann Curry because she's currently sending out tweets and blogging from Chad, so I thought some of you might be interested.

The whole twitter thing is kinda exploding among our journalist friends. I predict many more will join up within the next month. Our anchor might even feel pressure to actually use his account. Also of possible interest to you, Dubai is collapsing. Craziness. I guess the dream couldn't live forever. Finally, poor Zain Vergee. Poor, poor Zain Vergee:


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