Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Latest On Health Care Reform, Goldman Update, Texas District Attorney Indicted, & 360's Favorite Moments of 2009

Hi everyone. Erica Hill is once again holding down the fort for a vacationing Anderson Cooper. I have to say, our 360 peeps are really using that wall technology of theirs. Like, a lot. So, can you guess what we're starting with tonight? Can you? Can you? Yep, health care reform. Things are still slowly inching along here, people.

Jessica Yellin pops in to tell us that, actually, the next vote has been moved up to Christmas Eve morning. I guess some of us will be wrapping presents by light of CSPAN. Bottom line: POTUS wants this finished up before his State of the Union address, which upon returning from their break, will give Congress about a week to reconcile the Senate and House bills. This is going to be fun.

Moving on to Randi Kaye, heavily using the Magic Wall to show us how lobbyists have basically just written our health care reform. There are facts and figures, and Senator Max Baucus's extreme douchebaggery on this topic is pointed out, though, uh, not quite in those terms. This is all very good. It's the kind of reporting we need. Yet I can't help feeling it's a little late. I mean, a focus on Baucus would have been nice when the bill was still in his committee. Just sayin.'

Next up, Tom Foreman gets his turn at the Magic Wall. The subject: who this bill actually helps. It turns out it's pretty progressive. The less you make, the less you pay. Even better, in the end everyone saves some. At this point, I'm not sure how anyone can say that status quo is adequate.

It's that time of year again, people. The holiday season, when everyone seems to be drinking the egg nog. Now, our Congresscritters practically live and die for political stunts, but for some reason it's this time of year that they start rhyming. Case and point: Senator Roland Burris, who took the beloved "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and gave it a pro-health care reform twist.

Now, we all know 360 doesn't take sides (not even with new interpretations of classic holiday stories!), so what did they do? Got former Bush speech writer Matt Latimer to give us another perspective. I'm not sure a professional speech writer was really required to write that thing, but I digress. The highlight is that it's dramatically read by Floor Crew dude Bob Angle (hope I have that name right). Loved the delivery; not so hot on the poem. After his reading, Bob appears to dance himself out behind Erica. Now there's a guy who knows how to get airtime.

Moving on to our requisite talk with David Gergen, who makes me smile by giving a shout out to "Twitter King" Jack Gray. Unfortunately, my joy is short-lived. I think I might have to break up with our Gerg, and I am sad about that. As regular readers know, I've been growing more and more disillusioned with his analysis, and Sunday night might have been the last straw. He was live for CNN's coverage of the Senate cloture vote, and as tonight, noted that no Republicans voted aye.

The Gerg then went on to concern troll about what a terrible thing that was, but the kicker was when he said both sides were to blame for the lack of bipartisanship. Excuse me? He can't be serious. Obama and the Democrats have continuously reached out to try to placate the Republican babies. What have they gotten in return? Nothing. I'm tired of the media elites worshiping at the alter of the almighty center. The bill does not suddenly become better just because a handful of Republicans vote for it. That's ridiculous. Newsflash: they were never going to vote for it.

Transitioning now to an update on the David Goldman case. Good news, the court has ruled in his favor. However, there are still no details on when he gets to bring Sean home. I can understand why he's being cautiously optimistic. Erica talks with David's father Barry, and also Representative Chris Smith (via phone), who is in Brazil with David. Fingers crossed.

Next up, we learn the news that former Kimble County DA Ron Sutton has been indicted on charges of misapplication of fiduciary property. Gary Tuchman has been covering the corruption coming out of Texas for a while now, and this new development leads us into a background piece from him on the situation. The gist: in Texas (and other states) police are allowed to pull over drivers and seize their valuables if they're suspected of a serious crime. As you might imagine, this has opened the door to mass corruption, and even uglier, the targeting of minorities.

Sutton got himself into hot water because of how the seized money was used. If you guessed a week-long all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii (spouses included!), you win the prize. The former DA defends himself by claiming the trip was for a work-related conference, but Gary tells us there were only 10 hours worth of seminars. Oh, also? The people on the trip got $6,000 in spending money. Our intrepid correspondent actually tracked Sutton down, and when asked about that piece of information, we're fed some bull about cost of burgers and drinks in Hawaii. Seriously.

I haven't even gotten to the judge part yet, people. See, one year a man named Emil Prohl was invited on the Hawaii trip. Who's he? The judge who hears forfeiture cases. Good lord. And wait! Wait! It gets better: Team Gary found that there were checks written directly to the judge from the forfeiture account. They really do do everything bigger in Texas. Even, apparently, corruption.

After Gary's piece, he joins us live for discussion. Actually, Gary's head is joining us for discussion, as he's being Skyped in from--wait for it--Hawaii! It's a Christmas Irony miracle! Hey mister, who's paying for that trip? Erica assures us that our correspondent is vacationing on his own dime. And he's nice enough to take a break and talk to us? Aw. News is being stubbornly inconvenient this holiday season. Enjoy your fun in the sun, Gary.

The "shot" tonight is 360's favorite 2009 moments, most of which feature the Silver Fox in some stage of humiliation. This will teach him not to go on vacation. Should I drop some bullet points on this bad boy? I think I shall:
  • Number Five: Kathy Griffin and Suze Orman surprise Anderson with Happy Birthday wishes, complete with balloons and crayon cake. As Anderson birthdays go, I rather liked this one. Less awkward than the Wii gifting and less traumatic than the clowns. I mean, it's his birthday, let's not give him nightmares.
  • Number Four: Anderson meets Nancy Grace's twins. Personally, I find Nancy Grace terrifying, but her kids are cute, and Anderson is very cute with them. Okay, yes, he made the boy cry. But he makes a mean paper fish.
  • Number Two: Richard Simmons visits the 360 set, dances to Lady Gaga, and terrifies everyone. Okay, maybe he just terrified me. Anderson, as per usual, just did his giggling thing. But seriously, nightmares, people. Nightmares!
  • Number One: The 360 Crew dances to Single Ladies. Destined to be a classic. What can I say, those crew guys know how to shake it.
I guess that about wraps things up. The show was pretty good. It was nice to have some fun. When the bosses are away, the children will play. This is my last review of the week, but I'll be doing my annual Festivus post tomorrow. If I don't catch you then, happy holidays! I might also try to get a post done this weekend about Tom Foreman's special. You know I have to weigh in on our Jack Gray! See you on the flip side.

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