Thursday, March 19, 2009

Live From Hofstra University, STILL With The AIG Bonus Outrage, Madoff's Cell, Richardson's Cause Of Death, And National Women's History Month

Hi everyone. Our traveling newsies are still in the field, but the road tripping winds down as they make their way back to New York, tonight coming at us live from Hofstra University in Long Island. Hm. Didn't Hofstra get to host one of the presidential debates? Spread the love, people. Also, I think they're fairly expensive. Odd choice given the theme of the week, but apparently, practical. Anyhoo! The college kiddies love them their Anderson Cooper, so I'm guessing this broadcast was a probable lovefest behind the scenes.

We begin with a Dana Bash piece and it seems the country--or at least Washington--is still all about those AIG bonuses. Pretty soon I'm going to be outraged over the outrage. I am in no way supportive of these payouts, but once again, we've all got a laser-like focus on a very small part of the overall story. Meanwhile there's a whole mess of crap related to this crisis that no one is talking about. I mean, as reported by Ali Velshi, this bonus thing isn't even new. Sigh.

Okay, so now the House Democrats have passed a 90 percent tax on the bonuses of employees making over $250,000. It applies to not only AIG, but also other companies that got at least $5 billion from us. Whether this is even legal is up in the air, so...yeah. But we're not done here. Not until we sprinkle in a little hypocrisy, anyway. The Republicans are OUTRAGED! It's all the White House's fault. Except, um, many of them voted against limiting the bans. Gotta have that free market and all. And now they're getting bitch slapped by the invisible hand.

As for Senate Dems, we already know Dodd tried to do his part, but then caved to supposed pressure from the Treasury Department. Now Senator Ron Wyden says he tried to stop the bonuses too and was rebuffed by the administration, who for their part, give legal reasoning. Good lord, my head is spinning. It's quite possible that all of these people are playing each other. The only thing I know for sure is that the Republicans are idiots, and that's pretty much where I start anyway.

I've got a skeptical eye on Treasury, that's for sure. Good piece from Dana. There's been a lot of screw ups by others (I'm looking at you, New York Times) in reporting the basics of this story, so it was nice to see them get in right. The fact that I'm pleased about that is probably all you need to know about the state of journalism in this country. (I still wish CNN would start looking around the trees to see the forest though.)

Moving on now to an Ed Henry piece on the President Obama perspective. Like everyone else, he's mad about the bonuses too, though again reiterates how his administration totally didn't write the contracts. He's also taking some hits from the Republicans, who are becoming downright sadly pathetic in their criticisms. Oh noes, Obama is going on a talk show! Good God, he filled out an NCAA basketball bracket! Doesn't he know he's supposed to be fixing the economy even when he's going to the bathroom?! I'm clutching my pearls over here.

Yeah, this is all very stupid. It's the really petty version of the he's "doing too much" argument. Newsflash, the problem isn't that our prez is doing too much. The problem is that his Treasury Secretary appears to be either incompetent or corrupted by the banking industry. After Ed's piece, he and Anderson discuss a little whoopsie Obama made during his Jay Leno appearance. While discussing his bowling skillz, he joked that he could only compete in the Special Olympics. Ohh...crap. That's going to leave a mark.

Lots of excitement from the crowd now. Wooo hooo! Then we get a short clip of Ali Velshi's interview with Tim Geithner. And when I say short, I mean short. They cut it off before we even got the full answer to Ali's question as to who pressured Dodd. This interview was promo-ed and that's all we get? WTF?

Moving on to some discussion with Gloria Borger and Joe Johns. Of note is Anderson wondering why Dodd didn't say no when Treasury asked him to do away with his bonus ban, stating, "It's not like his arm was being twisted, for all we know." You sure about that? Last I checked, Dodd was politically vulnerable and I'm guessing his arm isn't feeling too great right about now. Anderson also brings up the taxes on the AIG employees and their unprecedented-ness. Joe hits on my point about seeing the forest, noting that the larger issue is accountability regarding the money already given out. And Geithner? Gloria thinks he's safe for now. Well, duh. Obama isn't going to chuck a Treasury Secretary lightly. Big political mess involved there.

It's about that time for our nightly game of "winners and losers" with our rockin' host, Tom Foreman. He's rockin' because this is the college edition of this game. Woo! If you earned a degree, yay for you. But I hope it wasn't in an outdoorsy field because if it was, you're a loser! The winners are those who studied anything related to health care. As boomers get older, the industry is, well, booming. Yay for people getting old and sick!

Then there's manufacturing, a definite loser, seeing as how we don't make anything in this country anymore. Service jobs, however, are going strong. Finally, if you're a youngin, I hate to break it to you, but you're a loser. It's all the baby boomers' fault. They're not retiring! Stupid boomers. Hurry up and need health care. (Yes, I am of course kidding.)

Question time! No, not the amusing British version. We've got innovation dude Frans Johansson and "Money" magazine dudette Donna Rosato talking with the crowd of kiddies. First off, they talk to an investment banker wannabie. Bad timing for him. Frans wants to know why investment banking is his goal and the guy starts talking about how it's his passion or whatever, but Anderson is putting the kibosh on this BS: "Come on, you want to make a lot of money, " he says. Bingo.

Frans give him advice, which I'm not sure was all that helpful and then we're on to another student who is very clearly of the girlie variety, but Anderson's all, "Your name is Sean?" Um, no. That would be Melissa and his little blunder causes a chuckle through the crowed. "Hey, hey, it could be," Anderson says. He is correct, it could be. But that does not make it less funny. For the record, the first guy was named Sean. Anyway, just a bit of amusement there.

The girl's question makes me cringe though because apparently she's drowning in student loan debt--tens of thousands of dollars. Anderson says, "wow," but unfortunately that's getting to be the norm these days and as with Melissa, it's factoring into future plans. "How many folks in this crowd have debt, like thousands?" asks Anderson. You all can't see me right now, but I'm totally raising my hand. And I'm several years out of school. (It's almost paid off though.) Also? I love how the crowd is cheering loans. Yay debt!

The last question is about diversification of skills and Frans makes the important point that many jobs the students are training for right now might not be around in the future. Yep. When my college-aged brother decided to change his major a couple years ago to a much less employable field, I told him to study what he likes because there are no guarantees the job market will be the same when he graduates. And guess what? It's not. You may as well enjoy getting the education. This segment ends with Anderson walking by one of their cameras before they get a chance to switch to his camera at the stand up spot. Extreme closeup! Heh.

Breaking news: the Obama administration likes the Special Olympics. I repeat, the Obama administration likes the Special Olympics. Yeah, they had to put out a statement to quell criticism over his Leno comments. Live and learn.

Next up, we have a Randi Kaye piece that gives us a sneak peak of what the rest of Bernie Madoff's life is going to look like. Gotta say, not pretty. He's reportedly being housed in a special unit where he has to stay in his cell for 23 hours per day, there's hardly any human contact, and even the windows are coated so he gets no natural light. Ever. Lisa Bloom thinks this is cruel and unusual and though I'm torn here, I think I agree with her somewhat. I mean, give the guy some sunlight sometimes, you know? After Randi's piece we learn the unit is supposedly infested with mice and roaches. That's disgusting. I see we're still rocking with our human rights record.

Transitioning now to the sad story of the death of Natasha Richardson. Oprah has weighed in and 360 is apparently legally obligated to play us a clip. Liam Neeson went to a vigil in the theater district. Very sad. In a subsequent Gary Tuchman piece, we get the official cause of death: blunt impact to the head resulting in an epidural hematoma, a rare and not usually fatal condition. We also learn that paramedics were initially turned away, but honestly I don't think it would have mattered.

We're then joined by Dr. Neil Martin for the medical perspective and Anderson asks if epidural hematomas are always fatal. Hm. Someone wasn't watching Gary's piece. They then talk diagnosis (with a CT scan) and treatment (surgery). It's noted that even a minor fall can cause a clot (which is scary) and helmets are brought up. Always wear one, people!

On now to a Joe John's piece on National Women's History Month, which honestly, I'm not sure I knew existed. Ladies, we have our own month! Does this mean we can make the men do the dishes? Anyway, this is actually about Michelle Obama's trip and subsequent talk at Anacostia High School. They're all just sitting around in a circle, chatting it up with the First Lady. Very cool.

The "shot" tonight is filled to the brim with adorableness. Many of you know that our own Silver Fox was on "Ellen" today and we get a clip of him playing the "celebrity game," which is pretty much a TeeVee version of Taboo or Catchphrase. Ever played those? Ever played with people who throw the disc thingee? Board games have never been so violent. Heh.

They're tons of stressful fun though, as too is the "celebrity game." Anderson did really well, though I'm a little disturbed he knows that John Mayer is dating Jennifer Aniston. Ellen's brain freeze on Chris Matthews was hilarious. And who can blame her for blocking his name out? The man molested her for Pete's sake! Seriously, no one let him near Obama because we already know there's thrills going up the leg. God knows what would happen. Oh, also? When Anderson came out, Ellen attempted to get him to dance and he would not. You stay strong, Anderson! But the hug? Not. Smooth. Just saying.

That'll do it for me. The show was pretty good. Don't forget you can follow me on Twitter. All the cool kids are doing it.


Anonymous pebbles said...

In case you don't know there's a link on TV Newser of Youtube clips of AC's speech and behind the scenes of AC360 yesterday posted by a former Hofstra student.

In one of the clips, he was memorizing the names of the students who were asking the questions. Well, I think he got confused. It was also good to see him interacting with the students later on, and I think he looked shy at first when he arrived, which was cute.

12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am tired of being outraged

11:18 AM  

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