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Posts Tagged ‘The Daily Show’

*sigh*

I have been trying to decide on a proper title for this blog.

“The Irony of Massachusetts”?

“The Perils of Parliamentary Procedure”?

“How the Cockiness of Politicians F*ed Up Another Election”?

“Health Care Reform Now!?!” ? 

“What the TV Show “West Wing” Taught Me About Congressional Shenanigans”?

Fox News would tell you there is a lot at stake today with the special-election vote for US Senator to take the seat of the late Ted Kennedy.  I’m guessing this because of the disparity I’ve noticed this past week in the content of CNN versus Fox News.  Since the earthquake in Haiti, CNN has been spending a lot of time on the aftermath of the tragedy.  They have their first-string reporting crew on the ground in Haiti.  As do CBS and NBC.  However, every time this past week I have turned to Fox News it has been politics politics politics.  Oh, except for the one report from some correspondent I’ve never seen in grainy video in front of a gas station somewhere in Haiti.  Turn on the TV to CNN – they are interviewing former Presidents Clinton and Bush (the second) about their combined efforts to spearhead an aid campaign to Haiti.  Turn to Fox News and, once again, I am faced with the butt-ugly, caked-on-make-up, plastic face of Charles Krauthammer talking.  And talking.  And talking. 

ABC, CBS, NBC- on the ground in Haiti.  Fox News – Krauthammer in the studio.  CNN – Anderson Cooper in Haiti.  Fox News – Krauthammer in the studio. MSNBC? – well, I have no idea.  I never watch MSNBC for fear of Keith Olbermann yelling at me. 

Then, *ding* I suddenly remember that the Massachusetts special election is coming up.  I learn  that the race is pulling closer and closer with the Republican candidate Scott Brown suddenly ahead of the Democrat Martha Coakley.  I realize that one party in the Senate is in danger of losing their supermajority of 60 seats.  And then I understand why Fox News seems to feel they cannot waste any time on some humanitarian tragedy in a developing country when there is a possibility that Republicans in Congress may once again be free to wage a filibuster war without fear of cloture.  A-ha!  

Well, not to worry Fox News.  Maybe there will be another devastating natural disaster next month and you can cover it with some amount of respect.  Maybe it will happen in a more glamorous spot than Haiti. 

So, all this bruhaha for the Republican candidate who has vowed to fight President Obama’s health care agenda.  And a few other domestic issues.

And can he do it if elected? 

Can the Republicans in the Senate torpedo the health care legislation that has already been passed in the House and passed in the Senate by the existing members of Congress?  Ummm……possibly yes if the House has any changes to the Bill that would require the Senate to vote on it again. 

Funny how quickly things can change.  Vote in the Senate in December with 60 members who would not allow a filibuster to delay the process.  Vote again in January with 41 members who will allow a filibuster on the floor.  And Bam! all the pundits are discussing the death of health care reform in the United States.

And so…………not unusual…………my brain starts working overtime.

The Irony of Massachusetts?  That would be the irony of Ted Kennedy being the champion of health care reform and having his death be the potential sticky widget in the works that kills health care reform.

The Perils of Parliamentary Procedure?  That would be the fact that the practice of delaying the vote has been carried forward in certain types of governments since ancient Rome.  Caesar faced it in 60 B.C., so garsh darn it, we Congress members are going to uphold the right and tradition.

How the Cockiness of Politicians F*ed Up Another Election?  That would be the complete inability of certain campaign managers to learn to NEVER TAKE AN ELECTION FOR GRANTED.  Hindsight commentators criticize Hilary Clinton’s primary campaign for being so sure of a win they had no strategy for a prolonged primary contest.  Seems that Martha Coakley let her lackadaisical campaign get a little too self-assured for their own britches. 

Health Care Reform Now?!  The reason I care about this issue at all is because I do believe that some health care reform is needed in the United States.  I’ve been trying to explain to people my feelings on the difference between Universal Health Care and Government-Run Health Care.  I support the former, oppose the latter.  I think that those of us who pay for health care ultimately pay the higher costs of a system that takes care of the uninsured.  I think that those of us currently covered by a health care plan should be able to transfer from one state to another as I face the specter of searching for a new health care carrier if I move back to California without finding a full time job.  I think that people who are searching for a health care provider shouldn’t be afraid to seek medical help for fear of suddenly being denied coverage because of an “existing condition.”  I have seen mandates for health care coverage work in other countries that provide public and PRIVATE health care options.  I do not advocate that the whole system be government-run.  What a disaster that would be. 

What the show “The West Wing” Taught Me About Congressional Shenanigans.  I think about certain episodes where staff members kept running to Josh Lyman, the Deputy Chief of Staff, for ideas on how to delay a vote (can’t remember if it was House or Senate).  Josh would pull archaic parliamentary rules from his memory that members would use to take up time on the floor.  Or the episode, The Stackhouse Filibuster.  When the White House staff realized why a particular Senator was waging a filibuster, they tried to help him out by enlisting the aid of other Senators via a rule that allows him to yield the floor without abandoning his delaying cause.  Of course, that seems to promote the nobility of the worthy filibuster. 

So, I decided on “Don’t Fear the Filibuster.”

Because right now, I’m a little pissed about the whole idea of a worthy filibuster.  But I’m more pissed that the Democrats and Republicans and pundits seem to think that a filibuster would kill the entire months-long effort of passing a health care reform bill.  It all comes down to votes in Massachusetts today because without a supermajority to end a filibuster, the Senate is doomed to not pass a bill?  What am I missing?  If you  have the votes to pass a bill, you have the votes?  How long, in the history of our government, did the longest filibuster last?  Hours?  Days?  Weeks?  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t weeks.  In fact, it was a 24-hour and 18-minute-filibuster conducted by Strom Thurmond in 1957 arguing against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.  He read Washington’s Farewell Address and talked about his mother’s biscuits.  What happened to the Bill?  It passed.  Eventually.

So, my question is “Why Fear the Filibuster?”  So the vote is delayed.  Yes, it sucks.  It delays the work of the Senate on other important matters.  But maybe the Senators’ constituents will be upset enough to call filibuster shenanigans on their Senators.  Ultimately, won’t a vote still be made?  And if there are enough votes to pass the bill, it will pass.  Why does the entire health care initiative have to die if Scott Brown is elected?  Why are we being told the stock market is up today on expectations that health care reform is dead.

Seriously, someone help me out here.  Are filibusters that effective?  Can’t the other Senators hold their ground?  Or do we just ask the House to ok the bill as put forth by the Senate, negating another Senate vote, and hope adequate changes are made afterward?  When are the Democrats going to grow a pair?

I seriously understand how Jon Stewart feels here at about 8:22.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
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ok, someday I will actually weigh in a little bit about my opinions on the attempts to reform health care in this country.  They are something along the lines of – Duh, socialized health care can work in some places.  Let’s move on.  It probably won’t work in the US.  I’m not advocating it here.  But stop saying it’s a failure everywhere in the world.  Just stop. 

I think a debate on health care does need to include some ideas for tort reform.  I’m not sure what the President’s reasons are for not advocating caps on liability lawsuits.  I think they should be considered.  Not happy with the idea that no tort reform may happen, given that I think that (most) lawsuits suck. 

As far as end of life counseling, I’ve had “the talk” with a parent.  That parent then became incapacitated and died.  I’m very thankful we had the end-of-life talk so that I, my mother, my sister, and my brother-in-law understood exactly what my father did and did not want to happen as he died.  We did it on our own as a family, with some help from an attorney years ago who helped mom and dad draw up some legal papers.  If the new health care reforms include reimbursements for families to have these discussions ahead of time, I say – Hoorah.  How you twist that around to then propagandize that the health care reforms will result in killing infirm people involuntarily…….I’m not sure.  Oh wait…….I do understand how that happens – IT MAKES FOR GOOD TV.  Bravo. 

For the moment, I have to applaud the archivists (again) over at the Daily Show for pulling together this little gem of old footage to display Glen Beck’s hypocrisy when debating health care issues in the United States.  I do think Jon Stewart gets a little overly snarky here, but then – the bad rhetoric is rising in this country these days.  Not a good thing.

<td style='padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;' colspan='2'Glenn Beck’s Operation
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One of the reasons my Sweetie likes The Daily Show is because of the time the staff takes to show political pundits contradicting themselves.  They manage to find material/quotes/video of pundits who say one thing on one day and something else on another day.

Now, this is not a big surprise to me.  I came to a revelation years ago listening to Rush Limbaugh.  Rush got his talk show start at a Sacramento radio station and there used to be huge billboards around Sactown promoting him.  I have been a listener of KFBK News Radio for years, partly because they had the best traffic updates in the morning.  So, I’ve listened to a lot of their shows.  Tom Sullivan (who was, I think, best man at Rush’s wedding) is the afternoon host these days.  I know people who used to be devout listeners of his show when he made the Big Time and who became (for a while) huge dittoheads of Limbaugh.  They would use Rush’s latest rants to argue political issues with me.  So, from time to time I would listen to Rush so that I could hear for myself what he was saying.  And I made two observations:  1) Rush gets so worked up with his rants that I am convinced he is going to give himself a heart attack on the air someday, and 2) Rush is, first and foremost, an entertainer.  He, like many TV and radio talk show folks, is not working for a non-profit.  So, at the end of the day, what is the bottom line?  It is NOT – hey let’s look at the opinion polls and see if we swayed anyone on this issues.  The bottom line at the end of the day is: What were my ratings today?  It’s all about being fiery enough and holding people’s attention enough to keep them listening.  That fattens the ratings and the paycheck.  I’m convinced that if you talked to most partisan commentators and told them “Starting tomorrow, you have to switch views to keep your job” (with no repercussions – like – the audience wouldn’t even remember what you said today, ala 1984) – I think a large number of them would.  Do you listen to these people rant?  Limbaugh, Keith Olbermann, Ann Coulter, anyone who ever uttered one word on Air America (yuck).  Pretty useless, all of them, as far as productive commentary.  Give me NPR any day of the week. 

So, given that partisan pundits just want exposure and ratings, it doesn’t surprise me that they can spin any story to support their rants.  Even if it contradicts yesterday’s rants.  What surprises me is that more of their listeners don’t call them on it. 

Now, the hypocrisy that I am speaking of today was pointed out on the Daily Show a while ago.  I sent the clip to my Sweetie (who had already seen it), but I did nt distribute it anywhere else.  I figure – there is so much political hubris floating around, people would get sick of me adding to it.

But today, again, I read someone’s blog who is complaining about anyone making a fuss over Sarah Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy.  And who complains about anyone passing judgement on Palin because of it.  Now, that statement I agree with – AS LONG AS WE DON’T KNOW THE FULL STORY.  Sure, there are probably times when parents make crappy decisions for their kids (hi – I hired a hooker for my 16-year old son).  But, isn’t it a wee bit hypocritical when these complaints come from people who talk all the time about their conservative Christian values and who make judgements about people who take a stand on more liberal issues (as this blogger did just a few days before – he made a judgement call against people who stand up for an issue without knowing anything about them). 

Well, I call shenanigans hypocrisy on you!

And everyone else who does the same thing for the sake of partisan politics.  Just cut it out, will you?

Because I see this issue is still coming up, I am finally going to share this clip for anyone who has not seen it.  The Karl Rove part about experience and the O’Reilly part about teen pregnancy are brilliant and hilarious.  The last part is ok, but I would mainly recommend the first three minutes. 

I think the takeaway lesson here is – don’t use these people to help you make your own arguments.  And – watch out for hypocrisy in your own rants.  I know we can’t always avoid it.  I admited when I was so passionate about an issue here on this blog that my logic and reason could be compromised.  But I can also admit when someone with a different political conclusion has some good/great/valid points in his/her arguments.  Does that invalidate my opinions?  No.  It informs them.  Is that so bad?

For the record, O’Reilly responded to the clip on his own show.   He is correct that The Daily Show edited his comments to fit their mocking point.  But when I hear so many people out in the world doing the same thing (condemming one group of people and supporting another ON THE SAME ISSUE- based on politics), it irritates me.  You can see his response here: 

http://blog.indecision2008.com/2008/09/09/bill-oreilly-slams-jon-stewart-sometimes-a-teen-pregnancy-is-just-a-teen-pregnancy/

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