Monday, February 22, 2010

Cheney Hospitalized, CPAC Talk, The Silsby Effect Reverberates For Haiti's Orphans, Firing Teachers In Failing Schools, & Our Broken Government

Hi everyone. We're kicking things off with the news that Dick Cheney has been hospitalized for chest pain. Again. I am trying so hard right now not to say something snarky. As your momma says, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. So...yeah. I was really shocked to find out that he's only 69. I thought for sure he was at least, I dunno, what's the average age of evil these days? Okay, okay, that's one. I'm allowed one, right? I'm only human...unlike Cheney. Yeah, that's two. I better stop.

Anyhoo! Apparently, we need the cavalry for this thing. We've got Sanjay Gupta giving us the former veep's heart history, Candy Crowley on the phone talking politics, and Gloria Borger...doing something. I don't know, I pretty much tuned out for this whole segment. Cheney's up walking around. He's probably going home tomorrow. That's that. I'm sure we'll do this again someday.

Keeping on the Cheney wagon, you know how he's quite fond of telling us Obama will eat your babies has made us less safe? Well, Colin Powell ain't having that. We get a clip of him on Face the Nation, explaining that Cheney's talking crazy. Except, he says it all professional like. Then there was Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on This Week, agreeing with the notion that the Republicans are the Party of No. From there we get a clip of Glenn Beck at CPAC ranting at the Republicans. Dudes, there's a reason I don't watch Fox News.

All this clippage moves us into Bill Bennett taking on what Beck just said. Somebody shoot me now. The topic is thrown to James Carville as well. Because that's so much better. We also get more clips of Beck. It's like they just discovered the guy is connected to stories they cover. Interestingly, there are no clips of Ann Coulter's rousing speech. I can't imagine why. She's always so classy.

One of the main topics of discussion during this segment is the differences between Republicans and Democrats among our elected officials. Let me break it down for you through my eyes: Republicans? Crazy evil. Democrats? Ineffective whiny losers. Questions? Also, from Bill: "There was some speaker, apparently, who made some anti-gay remarks, and was booed off the stage, which is fine. I think that's perfectly appropriate for those young people to do." How nice that he thinks it's "fine" and "perfectly appropriate." Don't praise their actions too much there, Bill. You might strain something.

From irrelevant absurdity we next transition to Haiti, where things are all too real and everything is important. In a Gary Tuchman piece, we learn that the actions of those American missionaries continue to have consequences far and wide. Case in point, Sarah Thacker, a woman who was all set to take her adopted son Reese (along with two other women and five other little boys) to the states, when they were suddenly detained by Haitian police. Actually, when they showed up with the boys at the Port-au-Prince airport they were surrounded by Haitians who started screaming at them about taking their children. No doubt terrifying.

Thing is, their situation seems pretty copasetic. But the Haitian police do not believe it was really the prime minister that signed their paperwork allowing the children to leave. Now the children have been taken to a new orphanage. What a mess. Gary tries calling the prime minister, but is only able to leave a voice mail. No one has heard from him as of yet. C'mon man. Check your messages. Turn on the TeeVee if you can. Sigh. Poor kids. Constantly uprooted these days.

In other Haiti news, once again there were large aftershocks tonight (after the broadcast). So horrible. The people just keep getting traumatized over and over again. For those trying to keep up with the news, I just updated my Haiti Twitter list. Except for a few exceptions, it only consists of people who are actually on the ground in the country. It was pretty depressing how many journalists I recently had to remove. Also, check this out from Soledad O'Brien.

Following Gary's piece, we're joined by Dr. Jane Aronson. The glasses are growing on me. She and Anderson Cooper talk about international adoption and how the process in Haiti needs to be normalized, which will benefit everyone.

Moving on to the news that the superintendent of Central Falls High School in Rhode Island has doled out termination recommendations to the school's 74 full time teachers due to poor student performance. Yikes. The teachers currently make at least $72,000 a year and this decision came after the teachers' union failed to accept a deal that would have involved spending more time with students. Hm. That actually sounds like a pretty good salary for a teacher. I guess that can be taken in more than one way.

For discussion, we're joined by CNN Education Contributor Dr. Steve Perry and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. Steve explains that the teachers can't be compensated for their extra time because the district simply doesn't have the money and the teachers are under-performing anyway. Randi says the situation is different than just simply staying late, and then starts going on about mediation that really makes no sense. "What does that mean?" asks Anderson. Thank you! I hate when people say things that only sound good.

Randi then actually does try to explain, but our anchor cuts her off and throws to Steve. Oh, uncool Cooper. The rest of the conversation is okay. I got the distinct impression that we weren't getting the full story from either side, which makes it hard for me to opine. From my vantage point--much like a political debate--both panelists seemed to go in with their talking points all lined up and ingrained world view. I'm guessing the solution isn't as easy as either thinks, and probably can be found somewhere in between their two styles. These kind of debates are way too surface-y. Was any progress made? Doubtful.

In other news, the White House has finally put out their own health care plan. It's not horrible, but no, sadly no public option. This segues us into CNN's new series on broken government, and we go to Ali Velshi at the Earmark Desk. Whoa, wait! What have you done with the Stimulus Desk?! Is it just me, or do you get the impression that CNN has a whole warehouse out back full of desks just waiting to be named?

Ali introduces us to four congresscritters (Bill Shuster, Dennis Kucinich, Chris Lee, and Harry Teague) who voted against the health care bill, but took money for the health care of their constituents. Hypocrisy! Or is it? Two of the representatives are Republicans and two are Democrats (gotta have that CNN balance!). I don't know Teague's deal, but Kucinich surely voted against the bill because he felt it didn't go far enough (not even a public option). I mean, he's definitely not a compromiser (CNN has him there), but is his stance hypocritical? I dunno. But it's poor form of Ali to not even mention that there's two ways opposition can go.

Next up, we're joined by Time's Joe Klein for more broken government talk. Kudos to him for noting the Republican's unwillingness to negotiate and the apathetic citizenship of the country. Also, I liked this: "Democrats have a big problem when they come into office. They actually believe in government." Yeah, stupid Democrats! Stop trying to "govern" and "fix problems." Meanwhile, Republicans want to be in charge of government so they can destroy it. And half of the country still doesn't seem to get this. Sometimes I wonder how we've gotten this far.

Brianna Keilar has the "360 Bulletin" tonight and we learn that the Vatican's official newspaper has put out its list of best rock albums of all time. There is so much hilarity in that sentence I don't even know where to begin. Yes, that Vatican. But rock is devil's music! Anyway, if you're wondering, you can go here to find out what the Pope and his posse are jamming to after mass.

In that blog posting, we were asked to guess Anderson's favorite rock album. Drum roll, please...Elvis Costello, "Armed Forces." Okay, not bad, I guess. "Some of the people on the blog thought that maybe you were a Motley Crue fan. Or an Abba man," says Brianna. Really? Yeah, because when I think Anderson Cooper, I think Motley Crue. As for Brianna? "I like Smashing Pumpkins." Excellent choice.

Of course, this is all generational. I'm guessing that like me, Brianna rocked out her teen years in the 90's. I couldn't even begin to pick one album. Music--predominantly rock--was always very big in my house growing up. I love all different eras. As an alterna-kid, Nirvana is a good choice, but there are so many others. Sigh. Oh well, whatever, nevermind.

The show was okay. Gary rocks it as always. The education segment was definitely worthy to explore, I'm just not sure the debate set up really works to further any kind of conversation. The other stuff felt kind of rushed. The conservative coverage I hate because, well, I'm biased and that's going to happen. But it wasn't like it was a hack job or anything. I thought they were going to cover that story about the school spying on the student via a webcam. Maybe I hallucinated.

Anyway, hey, if we're going to have Cheney coverage, could we maybe get a mention of how the former veep is on record confessing to a war crime? Kinda seems like an important story, no? Does anyone in this country still care about the rule of law?

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