Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tentative Senate Agreement On Public Option, Massive TSA Security Breach, Greenland's Melting Ice, & More On James Arthur Ray

Hi everybody. We've got "breaking news" tonight. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says they now have a broad agreement on health care reform, as the "Gang of 10" (five liberal and five conservative senators) have reached a deal on the public option. But hold onto that "yay!" or expletive you're about to utter, because this information is coming at us sans details. Basically? We don't really know what the hell just happened.

Dana Bash then joins us to share her insider-y insider-ness. She's hearing that the senate has tentatively decided to drop the public option and instead set up a not-for-profit private insurance plan, as well as allow people to buy into Medicare at the age of 55.

Since we're talking politics, David Gergen is brought in and he sagely notes, "the devil is in the details." Word. Dana also points out that not all the liberals have signed onto the agreement, and everyone is still waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to take a look at things. So this is all very up in the air right now. But some good news? The Nelson abortion amendment was defeated. So yay for that.

Unfortunately, I'm going to have to bring you right back down. The Gerg reminds us that basically this whole healthcare bill now rests on the votes of three senators: Ben Nelson, Olympia Snowe, and Joe Lieberman. Two out of the three are needed. Isn't it absolutely disgusting that the healthcare of millions of people is now in the hands of only three senators? They probably can't even remember what it's like to go without, if they ever even experienced it at all. Sometimes the system sucks.

Moving on to the totally amazing (in a really non-good way) story of how the TSA just accidentally put all their secrets on the interwebs. Seriously. This is what went down: the TSA posted a bunch of documents on another government web-site for would-be contractors to read. Now, they weren't completely stupid. They did redact the super-secret parts, but they did so in such a way that pretty much anyone can undo the redactions. So...wah lah! The biggest security breach since 9-11. Great job, guys. Why don't you just give terrorists a manual on how to attack us? Oh wait, you just did.

By the way, as Anderson Cooper is relaying all this information, he's holding (and waving around) some of the documents in his hand. He's been doing a lot of document-waving lately for some reason. This might sound stupid since it's such a small thing, but I kinda like it. I don't know, it makes him more life-like or something. Anyway, our anchor is also sure to note that he's not going to tell us anything in the documents--no doubt wishing to deflect any angry emails, as well as, you know, not personally endanger national security.

For discussion of all this, we're joined by Clark Kent Ervin, former inspector general for the Office of Homeland Security, and former TSA air marshal Robert MacLean. Robert was actually fired from the TSA for going public with the fact that the agency was cutting corners on flight security. You'd think there'd be some sort of whistle-blower protection for him. An interesting discussion follows based on a lot of WTFing from everyone. Seriously, TSA, WTF?

Speaking of WTF? You know that whole "climate-gate" thing? Well, the Washington Post recently got a great scientific mind to opine on the subject for the paper. Who you ask? Sarah Palin of course! Yes, she who shoots wolves from helicopters was asked to pen her thoughts on the environment. Kill me now.

Anderson then tells us that they "...want to kind of go beyond just the talk and discussion among scientists..." Well, good. Because as evidenced last night, you suck at that. This of course is all just leading up to a re-running of a 2007 Planet in Peril piece,which did not suck at all. Before I get into it, here are the two blog posts I did on the special back then, and here is an extra bonus post with pretty pictures and tongue-in-cheek fangurling (you know you love it). Back in 2007, PIP was a very big deal for CNN. They even made a freakin trailer and had a song done by REM (which has a rather amusing back story involving one Mr. David Doss and one Mr. Charlie Moore). Ah, memories.

In the piece, Anderson and Jeff Corwin check out the melting happening on Greenland's ice sheet, with Dr. Konrad Steffen of the University of Colorado as their guide. Much of this I've already recapped at the above link, including the rappelling into the moulin, which is a deep hole made from rivers of meltwater. Our anchor is NOT a fan of rappelling, though one really can't blame him given that they set it up in a way that he had to free fall. Not cool, guys. But anyway, if you thought Mr. Wasp was cussing a lot (aw, he was scared!) in the clip they showed tonight, wait until you see the outtakes.

After the piece, Dr. Steffen joins us for discussion about the hacked emails. Hey, look at that: no fake balance. While a part of me feels like they're laurel-resting by running footage that's two years old (especially given that poor PIP seems to be dead), I'd rather them do that than subject us to the crap we had last night. Besides, they're tying it in nicely by having Dr. Steffen back now. Resourceful! Anyway, the doctor is not at all surprised that climate critics have resorted to breaking into computers. He then goes on to do some brief debunking, basically noting the "scandal" is much ado about nothing.

Anderson tells Dr. Steffen that he hopes to see him in Greenland sometime, but I totally don't believe him. Why? Because despite his desired studio temperature, our anchor does not like the cold. At all.. I still don't understand why he didn't brush his teeth. Also? Shigloo! Anyway, Anderson says he'll have to work on his rappelling. Says Dr. Steffen: "OK. Come back. And then lean back," Ha! Aw, everybody likes to mock the Silver Fox.

Moving on to the continued saga of snake oil salesman James Arthur Ray, who much to my chagrin, is still out there making money. Gary Tuchman has discovered that before the loss of life in the sweat lodge, there was actually another Ray-connected death. Back in July, Colleen Conaway attended a three-day seminar in San Diego entitled "Creating Absolute Wealth." One of the exercises of the seminar involved being dropped off in the middle of the city with no phone and no I.D., as if they were homeless. The idea was to teach self sufficiency.

For unknown reasons, alone in the city, Colleen Conaway jumped off a ledge and fell to her death. Without identification, she was labeled a Jane Doe. In fact, participants of the seminar seemingly had no knowledge she was with their group. The bus left without fanfare. About seven hours later, Ray's people reported her missing. The guru himself never contacted the family. A sympathy card was sent later. When asked why a refund had not been given for the seminar fee, Ray's group said no request had been made. I'm not sure Ray is as at fault in this case as the others, but he's consistent with the callous bastard streak, huh? This is all going to catch up with him at some point. You know what they say about karma...

After Gary's piece, Anderson talks with Deepak Chopra about the self-help industry. There's not really much of note here.

The "shot" tonight is more mocking of our anchor for his Battlestar Galactica love. Dudes, why?! I stand by my assertion that his love of the Real Housewives is much more mockable. Anyway, the Silver Fox only has four episodes left, so DO NOT EMAIL HIM WITH SPOILERS, PEOPLE! Oh man, I feel him on this one. Every Sunday night I find myself yelling at people not to spoil Dexter for me. Dexter, by the way, is the most awesome show about a serial killer ever. And yes, spoilers will cause me to hunt you down and go all, well, Dexter on you. But I digress.

The big to-do here is that director Eli Lazar found a framed print of the show. I've actually never seen BSG (but I've heard good things), so I pretty much have no idea what's going on here. Thirteenth cylon? My knowledge of all this basically begins and ends with "frak." What's funny is that Eli is not actually giving Anderson the print (hey man, that might be worth money some day!); he's just lending it to him for his viewing pleasure. That's...nice?

"Now that I'm a complete nerd," says Anderson. Dude, what is with this complex? You are not a nerd. You're a dork. Let's get it straight. Then from our anchor: "I'm glad at least the director of this program is also a complete nerd." Finally, he jokes that the print had actually been hanging in Eli's bedroom "on the wall next to his big 'Star Trek' poster." Oh, don't go after the Trekkies, man. You don't want that kind of trouble. (Edited to add: Video!)

Wow, what a difference a day makes. The show was newsy, not annoying, and actually quite enjoyable. Hey, let's do this again, shall we? Also? Did you have fun going on that little nostalgic PIP trip with me? Lots of fun links for you guys tonight. Enjoy!

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Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

The public option is obviously as dead as a doornail. My advice to the progressives is to take what they can get now.

I don't know what kind of health care reform will come out of this session, but I strongly suspect it won't be much. There is, however a silver lining behind this very dark cloud. I am reminded of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Don't be embarrassed if you've never heard of it, there really isn't a hell of a lot to remember about it; a mere pittance, really - a scrap of leftovers tossed out to "American Negros" (in the parlance of the age) in order to appease them. But it made the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - the one we remember - all the more easier seven years later.

We'll live to fight another day.


Tom Degan

10:37 AM  
Blogger Britt said...

I agree with your take on James Arthur Ray's inability to easily reimburse. Seems incredibly callous.

See my blog for a longer opinion.


A suicide, by definition, is a self inflicted event. I'm not looking to blame anyone. What I am looking for is compassion. That Colleen Conaway paid for courses after her death, which were not reimbursed, seems cold to me. That only one out of the three Sedona deaths received a partial reimbursement (5,000) seems callous.

For someone who makes millions of dollars a year, you'd think that these reimbursements are but a drop in a bucket. But what I'm seeing is a stingy man who is teaching abundance for all, to all who can afford it.

For a man banking on the Law of Attraction, you'd think paying out would be the fastest way to solicit a return.

Those are my short and quick thoughts on the matter. See my blog for more.


11:36 PM  

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