Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Everybody Hates Congress, Interview With Ron & Rand Paul, Bill Maher Riffs, Hamas Leader Slaying, And A Visit To The Ranch For Kids

Hi everyone. We begin tonight with the news that Congress is a sad, sad little body of government. Why? Because its members are leaving. Aw, cheer up Congress. You're good enough, you're smart enough, and gosh darn it...actually, strike that, everyone hates you. Yes, dear readers, it is about that time again for a rallying cry of "throw the bums out!" Interestingly, this seems to occur...oh, about every two years. Who would've thunk it?

We're then segued into a Tom Foreman piece that is all about that icky partisanship plaguing the beltway. Hm, can you tell the 2010 election season is now full steam ahead? Tom tells us both parties claim to want cooperation, yet neither seems to be delivering. Props to him for noting that Republicans have hit crazy epic levels of filibustering, but a major demerit for painting both parties with the same balanced brush.

Take health care reform for example. You want compromise? The White House did it right off the bat by not even attempting to put single payer on the table. Democrats then added amendment after amendment in an attempt to appease the obstructionists across the aisle. After all that compromising, what was the Republican response? Nooo! Not a one of them would vote for the bills put forth. For the love of God, please stop with the fake balance. Seriously, this is why people hate CNN.

Moving on now to an interview with Congressman Ron Paul and his son Rand Paul, who I was unaware existed. Anderson Cooper brings up the partisanship thing, but Ron actually thinks the problem is people compromise too much, thus throwing away their principles. Right on! Of course, Ron is arguing this from the opposite side I am, so there's that. Rand shares a similar sentiment. I think the problem here is that no one has defined compromise. From my vantage point throughout recent history, Democrats seem to think it means roll over completely, and Republicans think it means they should get everything they want.

It's about this time that I start wondering why this father son duo is getting this unopposed publicity, which is followed by the announcement that Sarah Palin has endorsed Rand for senate in Kentucky. Oh. That would be why. Oh media, you're so predictable. Anderson asks Rand if she would be a good president, and the candidate amusingly bobs and weaves. Our anchor ain't having that: "The question, though, is, do you think she would make a good president?" Good job there. Rand admits he thinks she would. Oookay, well, have fun with that Kentucky.

On now to some talk with Bill Maher. He was on Larry King Live too, so I guess, I dunno, they're getting their mileage out of him. No complaints here. I'm a pretty big Maher fan, though I'll concede he can be a bit of a dick sometimes. Speaking of that, I really wish this segment was live because Maher said some things to Larry about Haiti coverage (it's too much, it's disaster porn at this point) that I think Anderson would have liked to address. Anyway!

The Maher segment was actually fairly cathartic for me since it was like he was reading my mind. He starts off by trashing the beltway notion that people like Evan Bayh are who Washington needs right now, noting he's nothing more than a corporatist. Then there's ragging on Obama, including his compromises to nowhere, and the Democrats are rightfully trashed for being sad little cowards who couldn't even sell legislation that would give everyone a free pony. Plus? Tea party mocking. Yes, this was quite enjoyable. (Update: video!)

Transitioning now to a Paula Hancock piece about a hit that occurred in Dubai on a top Hamas official. There is an arrest warrant for 11 suspects, all of whom were caught on tape--some in disguises. Intrigue! This is pretty much a visual piece, so there's not much more for me to say. You can watch it here. Afterward, Anderson talks with former CIA officer Gary Berntsen and they speculate who conducted the slaying. My guess? Mossad.

Next up, we have a piece from Gary Tuchman on a ranch in Montana that takes adopted kids who have become too violent to live with their parents. Some of you might remember this piece was set to run the day of the Haiti quake. I guess we've come full circle now. But anyway, Gary sits down with 11-year-old Alec, who was adopted as a toddler and freely admits he threatened to kill his adoptive parents. We see video of him completely out of control, but sitting with Gary he seems very calm and even sweet. In fact, when questioned about how his actions make him feel, he starts to cry. So sad. Also? Gary's pretty amazing with him. I can't imagine anyone doing better.

We meet Alec's parents as well, who clearly love their son very much, but could no longer have him in the house, especially since they have another child. Children at the Ranch for Kids receive education and therapy, with the goal of reuniting them with their parents. Due to their adoptions, the children often have attachment issues to work through, as well as might suffer from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Unfortunately, not all of the children improve, and even sadder, sometimes parents don't want them back.

One wonders what happens if they don't reach Alec and children like him soon. Right now he is an 11-year-old child, but in a few years he'll be a much harder to control teenager, and then...a legal adult. Will Alec be in prison before he reaches the age of 20? It's a scary thought. For more, you can read Gary's blog of the story and there is video at the link.

Following Gary's piece, we're joined by Dr. Jane Aronson for discussion. Okay, yes, this is admittedly shallow, but I cannot get past her blue glasses. I don't remember her having those the last time. As if the cable news screen isn't distracting enough. Anyway! She talks about the organic and physical damage that can occur to a child's brain during infancy due to a myriad of factors, such as exposure to alcohol, malnourishment, smoking, drugs, environmental toxins and infections. This can lead to reactive attachment disorder, which as we witnessed with Alec, can have devastating effects on a family. Very sad.

The "shot" tonight is AC360's Best in Show. Okay, see, it's Westminster Dog Show time, but the 360 kids can't actually show us any of that because they'd prefer not to get sued (Anderson's had enough of that lately). So! They put their own pooches on the interwebs and had we the viewers vote. Behold the cuteness! And the winners are...(drum roll please): Second runner up goes to Buddy, who is owned by associate producer Devna. First runner up honor is held by Sugar, pooch of executive administrative assistant Joey. And finally, the prize goes to Tom Foreman's dog Nola. Congrats to all!

The show was pretty good, with Paula and Gary's pieces standing out. It'd be nice if the media could take Maher's views on corporatists to heart, but I won't hold my breath. I can feel the dreaded campaign coverage beginning to creep in. Do. Not. Want. You think it'd be too much to ask that the media focus on facts and policy this time and not the horse race? Yeah, that's what I thought. That'll do it.

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Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza,

Great post with a lot of acute observations. I bypassed the fake balanced political coverage. I say who cares who the half-term gov. endorses, that makes me run from any candidate who thinks her endorsement is grand. Rand is a weasel, he knows he didn't mean it about Palin, already on his way to becoming a typical lying politician. Yes, indeed Maher was fresh air after all that. The Democrats tremble way, way too much at everything. I agree with you about Gary Tuchman's coverage of the orphans. I remember this issue being covered on an old show, The Practice, it also was covered on 20/20 some time ago. They had frightening stories of neglected toddlers in Russian orphanages, some can't escape the attachment disorder problems that come with this. Dr. Jane Aronson covered a lot of heavy issues with AC regarding this topic. When the dreaded campaign coverage goes in overdrive, I will tune it out. Heck, I already am. Anne D.

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