Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Public Option Has A Bad Day, Michael Moore Interview, More Polanski, Father Arrested In Japan, Job Scam, And Did You Hear CNN Has An iPhone App?!!

Hi everyone. Anderson Cooper is doing the new standing thing again. It's a nice change of pace, but I hope this isn't part of the solution to fix the ratings. Anyway, we're kicking off things with a recap of health care reform's no good, very bad day. The Senate Finance Committee quashed not one, but two amendments to add the public option to the health care reform bill.

Lest there be any confusion, the Democrats--the people we voted into office to fix health care--are the ones who just shot us in the foot (and that's not covered!). I don't think it can be said enough, but screw Max Baucus. And when I say "screw," I mean something else, but I'm trying to keep this place classy.

According to Candy Crowley, it's not over for the public option, except that it kinda is. She seems to think we'll be getting some sort of public option-lite. Until the proverbial fat lady sings, I'm not giving up hope. Jason Linkins over at Huffington Post isn't as optimistic, but he has a good write up of what happened today, and just why it's so infuriating. For my fellow public option supporters, if your senator is on the finance committee and voted no, tell them they suck! But, you know, politely.

Joining us for discussion of all this, is Michael Moore. Woo! Obviously I'm a bit biased here, but it's always nice to see a real progressive get teevee time. Michael is fired up and ready to go! He's planning on kicking ass and taking names, though actually probably not in that order. Time to challenge some of these spineless Democrats. Normally I'm not really much of a reactionary, but things have gotten ridiculous. If certain Democrats aren't going to deliver on the public option, vote them out.

Anderson seems to be perplexed by this, asking Michael if he'd really campaign for Republicans. Erm, there are these things called primaries that I think we'll start with, thank you very much. Ned Lamont ring a bell? Bueller? Sure, that didn't work out in the end, but it made Lieberman spend his money and gave him quite a scare. Michael stresses that at least two-thirds of Americans support the public option, so exactly who is Congress working for? He calls the public option, "absolutely make or break."

Then there's talk of a single payer system,which is what Michael really wants (as do I). He says that "any intelligent, or even half-intelligent, nation has either a single-payer or a national health care plan." Okay Michael, simmer down there. Needlessly inflammatory statements like that turn people off. But then he makes the very good point that despite all the calls to compromise on the public option, Obama already compromised on health care reform right off the bat by taking single payer off the table. In my opinion, a dumb move.

"Nothing is going to change. Trust me on this one thing," says Michael, referring to a bill without a public option. And I do trust him. Because as he points out, he's been right about basically everything he's been saying over the years. A lot of progressives have. Yet they are consistently marginalized and I am so friggin sick of it. Perhaps the only thing worse than living through a train wreck, is to warn that one's coming and have no one listen to you. A bill without a public option is a massive tax payer funded gift to the insurance companies. It's that simple.

Anderson wants to know why all the public option supporters aren't out at town halls making their voices heard like the opponents. Michael says he's going to do his part to organize people, but notes that probably most Americans thought that after voting in a Democratic president and a super Democratically-controlled Congress, we were kinda, you know, set. Apparently, democracy also requires batshit insane yelling.

Next, the whole vote count thing is brought up. Some senators (coughBaucuscough) are claiming they couldn't vote for today's amendments because they don't have enough votes, which Jason Linkins pointed out in the above-linked piece, is just about the most ridiculous thing ever. Michael thinks this is stupid as well, and puts on his faux "whiny Democrat" voice that I must admit is in of itself a little annoying. But I'm totally down with what he's saying. As Michael notes, this isn't how the Republicans would play this thing. They'd just do it.

"What is wrong with our side of the aisle? Where is the spine? Where is the courage?" he asks. Amen! Why is it presumed we need 60 votes? We don't. We need 51. Democrats like Baucus are really going to join Republicans and vote against cloture? Fine. Call their bluff. Make them do it. As Michael says, let the Republicans have their filibuster. We do not need 60 votes on the bill. If the Democratic caucus can come up with 51 votes for a bill with a public option there is absolutely no reason to surrender.

Moving on to some discussion with David Gergen and Candy Crowley. The Gerg is "mystified" by Michael's emphasis on the public option. I am mystified by how much the Gerg seems to not get it. He concedes that there is approximately 65 percent support among the public for the option, but then just as quickly dismisses the number, noting that you don't find that state by state. I guess we're supposed to assume that senators like Baucus who are in more conservative states are just doing right by their constituents. Yes, that must be it. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the millions he gets from health and insurance interests that are against reform.

More bizarrely, about a couple minutes later, the Gerg notes all the ways that this is now a weak bill. Uh huh. Once again, you can't mandate that people buy insurance and then not put into place anything (public option) to keep those insurance companies honest. Lots of new customers with nothing to keep down costs? I'm thinking those companies are currently saying, "yes, please." There must be a public option.

Transitioning now to talk about Roman Polanski with Jeffrey Toobin and Jeff Berg, Polanski's agent. I think this is just going to be one of those stories I skip. At least they didn't put it up top again.

So hey, did you hear that there's a new CNN iPhone application? No? Well, then you must not watch CNN, read anything on CNN's website, or follow anyone with any connection to CNN on Twitter. Yeah, me thinks there was a "promote me!" memo sent out today, because boy have they ever! And now it's Anderson's turn. So tell us, Anderson, how much is it? "Less than 2 bucks, $1.99. I mean, you can't afford not to get it. Am I right?" he says. Such a steal! Do you think that was painful for him? Eh, what's a little corporate whoring every now and then. Am I right?

We then move on to the case of Christopher Savoie, an American who had two children with a Japanese native. The couple divorced and the agreement was that Noriko (the ex-wife) could take the kids to Japan for the summer, but would otherwise live close to Christopher in the states. Things were going according to plan, until one day Noriko took the kids back to Japan. Christopher subsequently alerted police, a warrant was put out, and he was given full custody. He expected to get his kids back, but that's not how it works in Japan.

In fact, when Christopher traveled to the country himself to get his children, he was the one who ended up being arrested. Now he sits in jail, while his ex-wife has his kids. Way uncool. For discussion, we're joined by Jeremy Morley, Christopher's attorney, and his current wife, Amy Savoie. This case is pretty outrageous. I had no idea this was how Japan operates.

On now to a Drew Griffin investigative piece, but I missed some of it, so I think I'm just going to take a pass.

The "shot" tonight is a naked New Yorker with a fanny pack buying a taco from a food stand. There is so much wrong with that sentence I don't know where to begin. First of all, ew, unsanitary! And second, a fanny pack? Nakedness, fine. But a fanny pack? That's just tacky. Anyway, Anderson and Erica Hill share my revulsion and for a second there, I thought we were going to get a bastard version of "Really?!! With Seth and Amy." I think they could totally pull that off. I'd watch it.

Once again, 360 did the whole thing where they drop a good segment into the second hour. Tonight it was an interview with the mothers of those hikers being held in Iran. I'm still comfuzzled as to why they're doing the programming like this. Given the current cable news landscape, I would assume 360 is trying to build a base of loyal viewers. Yes, CNN gets mad ratings when events happen, but Michael Jackson can't always die. Cable news has changed significantly even since 360 has been on the air.

So...given that the segments they are dumping seem to be subjects that loyal viewers would actually be drawn to, and given that (I'm assuming) appointment viewers are more likely to tune in for the live first hour broadcast, I don't get their reasoning at all. Because hey, I'm a big fan, but even I'm not going to watch almost two hours of the same thing every night. The only reason I caught the segment tonight is because Colbert had a commercial. But, anyway, I guess they have their reasons.

The show was an improvement from last night.

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