Monday, May 02, 2005

Ruth's Morning Edition Report

Ruth: My youngest son is now married, for the second time, it was nice, nondenominational, and I've passed on some photos for Gina and Krista to include in the gina & krista round-robin. Did I miss anything last week? Was their a miracle, a parting of the ocean, and suddenly Morning Edition was a first rate program? If I was wondering that, the hard frosk from "political analyst" Cokie Roberts straightened me out right away.

Political Analysis: Social Security, Bolton and Judicial Nominees

Morning Edition, May 2, 2005 · News analyst Cokie Roberts previews the week ahead in politics. She discusses President Bush's ideas for changing Social Security, the nomination of John Bolton to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and the Senate dispute over judicial nominations.

"Politicial analyst" Cokie Roberts? Are you plotzing? You will be.

Here's a general question I'll toss out - Renee Montagne, exactly why are you there during Cokie's "analysis?" You serve no purpose.

She's like the usher at my son's wedding this weekend. She nods, she stands there. We were all saying, "Bernie, you're supposed to show people where to sit" but no matter how many times we explained his job to him, it still seemed too much. Renee is that usher only more so.

As one point in the "analysis," Cokie makes this statement regarding Social Security, "The Democrats are more nervous in a way about means testing Social Security which is what the president's plan is essentially proposing . . ."

Is that not the perfect opportunity for Renee to stop her? Shouldn't she say, "Cokes, means testing. I'm not sure all our listeners will grasp that. Could you explain it?"

Renee doesn't do that. Now maybe Cokie is glowering at Renee the entire time and Renee just wants her to get done with this bit and leave already? Well Renee is supposed to have a job to do. Her job is not to say, "Great Cokie!" Nor is it to wait for Cokie to finish speaking so Renee can ask the pre-prepared question from ahead of time. Renee is as useless as Bernie was Saturday. (People ended up sitting on the wrong side. I don't know how you can not know that there is a groom's side and a bride's side but with Bernie not doing his job, everyone was all over the place.)

Cokie can pipe off with statements (true or false) about anything because no one challenges her. It's like This Week during the nineties without visuals.

If CPB is worried about monies being wasted at either NPR or PBS, I'd suggest they start by cutting off Cokie's salary. This is the type of "analysis" our monies support from NPR's "political analyst"

* On Social Security, Cokie declares Bully Boy "has failed to rally the public!"

What a brave "analyst" Cokie is stating the obvious weeks and weeks after everyone knew it.

*"There are people in Washington who think the fact that the First Lady performed so nicely at the White House correspondent dinner Saturday night has softened up ... *Bully Boy*'s image somewhat going into this fight as well."

I'm sure "there are people in Washington" who say Cokie is toast. Will they be quoted as well? I'm missing how this rumor mill, blind item, quilting circle gossip not worthy of Louella Parsons or Hedda Hopper, is worth wasting NPR listener's time with.

I've substituted any term such as "president" or his last name with "Bully Boy" and noted it with astericks.

Now let's focus on this back and forth with Cokie and Renee.

Renee: The Democrats have yet to come up with a solution to the long term problems that social security will face are they starting for-to feel any heat about-about that?

Cokie: Again, not so far. But they can't be happy that the usually friendly Washington Post editorial page is now saying that they will have to come up with some specifics given the fact that the *Bully Boy* has. And people do seem to be taking something of a serious look at the *Bully Boy*'s proposal.

Who's taking a serious look, Cokie?

Who says that Washington Post editorial page is Democrat friendly?

Will anyone challenge Cokie or will she always just offer musings passed off as "analysis?"

We certainly can't expect Cokie to be held accountable by Renee who must be the only journalist in the world who hasn't heard that the Democrats say repealing the Bush tax cuts to the very wealthy would provide the funds for solvency.

What's the plan? That's what Renee wants to know. Instead of answering that, Cokie wants to say there's no plan. So Renee and Cokie both disappointed listeners this morning with almost five minutes of paskustva.

Maybe it was a case of the people with a plan being some of those "none that mattered" people that Cokie enjoys ignoring?

I'd suggest that everyone read Paul Krugman's column in The New York Times today because he answers the questions that you're wondering about but won't find addressed by Morning Edition as long as Renee and Cokie control the debate.

[From Krugman's column:]

The administration and its apologists emphasize the fact that under the Bush plan, workers earning higher wages would face cuts, and they talk as if that makes it a plan that takes from the rich and gives to the poor. But the rich wouldn't feel any pain, because people with high incomes don't depend on Social Security benefits.
Cut an average worker's benefits, and you're imposing real hardship. Cut or even eliminate Dick Cheney's benefits, and only his accountants will notice.
I asked Jason Furman of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to calculate the benefit cuts under the Bush scheme as a percentage of pre-retirement income. That's a way to see who would really bear the burden of the proposed cuts. It turns out that the middle class would face severe cuts, but the wealthy would not.
The average worker - average pay now is $37,000 - retiring in 2075 would face a cut equal to 10 percent of pre-retirement income. Workers earning 60 percent more than average, the equivalent of $58,000 today, would see benefit cuts equal to almost 13 percent of their income before retirement.
But above that level, the cuts would become less and less significant. Workers earning three times the average wage would face cuts equal to only 9 percent of their income before retirement. Someone earning the equivalent of $1 million today would see benefit cuts equal to only 1 percent of pre-retirement income.
In short, this would be a gut punch to the middle class, but a fleabite for the truly wealthy.