Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Details Of Health Care Reform, An Obese Teen's Struggle, And Violence Continues In Juarez

Hi everybody. It's official! Sorta. Today President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and he did so using 22 pens. POTUS don't play, yo. It was a very exciting moment. The vice president perhaps actually got a little too excited. But more on that later.

For now, we're kicking things off with Anderson Cooper doing his now nightly gig at the Magic Wall, this time to check out poll numbers. Well, what do you know! Public opinion on the health care reform bill? Now that's it's passed, people seem to be changing their tune in a positive direction. Gee, who didn't see that coming?

On now to Dana Bash to tell us the Republican's latest move at obstructionism. As you know, fixes to the bill still need to be passed in the Senate. This means the Republicans have the opportunity to offer up amendments that could knock the process backwards, which just so happens to be their exact plan.

The Democrats have vowed to stay together and vote any and all amendments down, but if my experience watching them over the years is any guide, there's still a chance they will royally screw this up.

Back to the Republicans, an obstructionist example Dana gives us is an amendment introduced by Senator Tom Coburn that prohibits providing erectile dysfunction drugs to sex offenders. Obviously, that's going to be hard to vote against, which is exactly why it was introduced. Clever move. And kinda douchey. Tomorrow look for an amendment that declares puppies adorable and candy delicious.

Next up, Tom Foreman has a piece that explores how families from three different income brackets will fare under the bill. Some good info here. Also, when Tom rhetorically asked "What about grandma?" I know I can't be the only one who yelled "death panels!" Because seriously, too easy.

On now to the inevitable panel (though not a death one), tonight being rocked by Sanjay Gupta, Dana Bash, Paul Begala, and Reihan Salam of the New America Foundation. It was a decent conversation, but nothing jumped out and screamed "blog me!" Honestly, when they've got upwards of four people in the little talking head boxes, my brain goes to automatic zone out. But I do remember being pleased at Anderson challenging Paul on the CBO numbers. What can I say, I'm a sucker for accountability.

It was also during this segment that they played the bit of awesomeness that went down with Joe Biden today. It seems our veep both couldn't contain his excitement over the new legislation and forgot that he was standing in front of a live microphone. The result? We got to hear him declare the health care reform bill a "big fucking deal." Bwah!

That's right. America, fuck yeah! And that's at least one too many "fucks" than what I like to include in a single blog post (I keep this place PG13 for the kiddies!), but hey, the vice president started it! For the record, CNN bleeped out the offending word. Because they are no fun.

Transitioning now to the revelation that America is fat. But a specific growing problem is obesity among children. In a Randi Kaye piece, we're introduced to 14-year-old Maria Caprigno who weighs 445 pounds. For her, this has gone past the teasing that overweight children often endure--her health and life are at stake.

After a search, she and her family were able to find a surgeon who would perform weight loss surgery on someone her age. The procedure she underwent involved removing 80 percent of her stomach. The subject is not without controversy. What I don't understand is that it sounds like the entire family was eating poorly until around the time Maria underwent the surgery. Were such drastic measures really her only option?

Following Randi's piece, we're joined by Sanjay for his doctoring skills. The name of this series by the way (yeah, I guess it's a series) is "Kids in Peril." Really, 360? Originality in naming is apparently not their strong suit.

Finally tonight, Gary Tuchman is reporting for us from Juarez, Mexico, a place Anderson said he was warned not to go. What?! Well, that's...unsettling. Oh Gary, are you going to make me worry about you? In a piece from our correspondent, he witnesses the aftermath of a whole mess of drug cartel-related killing.

It's actually a little hard to get a handle on because one gets the sense that almost everywhere you turn there's word of another body or incident. On just one sunny Saturday there is a body in a river, then a shooting in a pickup truck 10 minutes later, and an execution style murder of an electrical store worker 30 minutes after that.

No one talks. Everyone is scared. The drug cartels rule. Says Gary: "No matter how nice the neighborhood is or how light the sky is or how many children are out on the streets, if these narco traffickers are targeting you, or they mistake you for someone they want to target, you're almost as good as dead." What a way to live.

After Gary's piece, Anderson acknowledges that CNN has received some kudos in the form of the National Headliner Awards. Team 360 along with Team Gupta won for their coverage of Afghanistan in the category of Continuing Coverage of a Major News Event. Well deserved! Also, Team Gary picked up a second place win in the Investigative Reporting category for his piece "Texas Highway Robbery?" Congrats!

The "shot" tonight is a video of a howling dog soothing a crying baby. That's exactly how my dog sounds when the tornado sirens go off, which let me tell you, is awesome. Because that's what you want to deal with when your house is about to get sucked up Dorothy-style.

The show was alright. What's with dropping Gary's piece at the end? Kinda important, no? Also, while there's still lots to report on regarding the health care bill now, I'm a little concerned that in the future they're going to take it too far. That's kind of their thing. Learn when to let go, 360. That'll do it.

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