Thursday, October 22, 2009

H1N1 Vaccine Debate, Hate Crimes Bill To Include Sexual Orientation, (Very Short) Pervez Musharraf Interview, And Immigration Limbo

Hi everyone. Well, this is getting ridiculous. Last night my Internet went down, and then tonight I not only had satellite problems, but Blogger decided to crash and burn for a while. Obviously the technology Gods are trying to tell me something. So anyway, it is now very late, but the show was good and I really wanted to blog. I think you know what that means: one super-abbreviated post coming up!

We kick things off with the news that New York has suspended its mandatory swine flu shot order for health care workers. Tom Foreman joins us with more, stating that though some objected to the mandatory-ness, officials say things were shut down mostly because there's not enough shots anyway.

Next up, we have discussion with Dr. Jorge Rodriguez and Registered Nurse Lorna Patterson, who actually sued in order to not have to receive the shot. She doesn't trust the vaccine, while Jorge thinks her view sends a bad message. I'm pretty much in the middle here, but it was hard to know how to take the discussion given we have no idea how many health care professionals hold Lorna's view. Is she the rare exception or the voice of a substantial percentage? Just because you have two views, doesn't make them equal.

On now to the excellent news that the Senate has voted to add sexual orientation to hate crimes protection and Obama has pledged to sign the provision into law. About time! This segues us into a Dana Bash piece, in which we meet Todd Metrokin, a gay man who was brutally beaten for nothing more than being gay. This will now be a federal offense. Not everyone is cheering, however. Many Republican are unhappy (surprise, surprise) because they think the legislation will be like charging people for thought crimes. Okay, someone smashed their foot on Todd Metrokin's face after calling him a gay slur. Yes, they may have thought about it first. But then they DID IT. That's a crime.

For discussion of this we're joined by one of my favs, Dan Savage, and Corey Johnson, Political Director of (a site with homosexual tendencies-heh). Whoa, whoa, WAIT! Did we just get sucked into some alternate cable news universe where we're not forced to endure stupid fake "balance" regarding every discussion? Two gay guests and no representative from an organization with a family friendly-sounding name with a viewpoint bordering on homophobic? This pretty much never happens.

But anyway, alternate universe is awesome! We get a nice intelligent conversation about how, yes, the hate crimes addition is a "yay" moment, BUT Obama still has a long way to go when it comes to actually addressing issues important to the gay community (and the rest of us who support human rights). They also talk a bit about how the Obama situation has fostered a divide between gay rights supporters. And aw, it's kinda cute how they seem excited to actually be agreeing with each other. Like I said before, two gay guests at the same time without a Tony Perkins-like foe doesn't happen very often. I also had to slightly chuckle over Dan pointing out that the new legislation is in fact not magical. Gay people aren't suddenly invincible. You gotta be bitten by a radioactive spider or something for that.

Transitioning now to the "BIG 360 INTERVIEW" with Pervez Musharraf. How do I know it's "big"? Well, because the former president of Pakistan and Anderson Cooper are sitting at the "map table" in front of a graphic that looks like it's about to swallow them both up. Subtle, and not at all distracting. There's talk of Mullah Omar and Musharraf tries to deny he's in Quetta, but Anderson's not having any of that and presses. Then they move on to the subject of US aid. After that they play us a clip of Cheney, who has apparently slithered out of his lair again to criticize Obama. Stop giving him airtime!

And...then suddenly we're talking to Michael Ware and Peter Bergen, so apparently interview over. Well, that was shockingly short. Later, Anderson tells us that there's an extended interview online and I was floored to find a discussion that is almost 30 minutes long! Honestly, I'm not sure what to say about this, or if I would do things differently. The full interview is good, but from a strictly TV perspective, Musharraf doesn't have the same magnetism that, say, Michael Ware does to get the viewer through a long complicated discussion. Airing the whole thing probably would have been a ratings killer.

But why pimp out the interview so much if you're only going to show a few minutes? I think Anderson should have at least stressed how much more was left online because I was expecting maybe an extra five minutes at most--not an extra twenty five. As for Michael and Peter, I'm definitely not complaining about their sudden appearance. Always love them. They hit on the subject of troops for Afghanistan and then move on to discussing some of Pakistan's issues. A good talk.

The final piece of the night is from Soledad O'Brien on the immigration limbo that some children find themselves in when they cross the border on their own or have a parent go to jail. The kids are detained in shelters. It must be terrifying for them. After Soledad's piece, Erica Hill talks with former Senator Mel Martinez, who came over legally from Cuba, but also initially spent some time in a Boys Town shelter. They discuss immigration.

That'll about do it. Good show.

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