Well, it’s Monday, and that means that its time to catch up on the events of the weekend and today. This past weekend was a bit busy, focusing mainly on the CBS "docu-drama" and politics. However, today's events and news seem to indicate that this will be a busy week for us all. Let's take a look at some of the highlights to date:
First, the CBS DocuDrama
, also known as RatherGate
. Lots happened with this over the weekend, culminating with Don "The Don" Rather eating crow and apologizing for the use of the fraudulent documents that were provided to them by Democratic activist and career Bush detractor Bill Burkett. But then, in a bizarre twist, CBS came out and said that they approached Burkett, not the other way around, and that they we're deliberately misled by Burkett. CBS and Rather are trying to dance around this issue as best they can since it has destroyed Rather's career and CBS's reputation as a reliable news source, but they are having little luck since this issue is still only at the early stages of discovery. There is much conjuring in the blogosphere that Democratic strategists such as Carville or McAuliffe are behind this whole affair; it will be interesting to follow this as it unfolds and see just where the trail leads.
Talking about trying to dance the last dance, CBS is still out on the floor hours after the band has gone home and the cleaning crew is in the dance hall. Rather needs to announce his resignation this week, Heyward also needs to go and a general house cleaning needs to occur if CBS is serious about rebuilding its image as a news leader and its trust with the American people as a reliable news source.
Next, let's take a look at the current poll results
from this weekend. Most polls are giving President Bush anywhere from a one to thirteen point lead heading into the final 42 days of the election cycle. While these numbers are great news for the President, there is a lot of confusion about the wide disparity in poll numbers. In Wide gap among poll results mystifies campaigns, pundits
, the Washington Times is also at a loss for the wide variations in poll numbers and so are many pundits and political analysts, myself included. Usually by this time in an election cycle, the polls are relatively stable and returning similar results across the board, with only a minority amount of undecided voters still holding out. Many factors are being debated, including the fact that fewer people are willing to participate in polling, despite more people being directly involved with this election cycle.
In my opinion, most voters have already made their decisions about who they're going to vote for. What's not being taken in to account in these reports are the numbers being siphoned off by the Nader camp, which usually tends to hurt the Democratic side of the ticket. Because of this, the poll numbers tend to look skewed, but when added back in, these missing numbers add clarity and complete the story. Either way, these numbers are indicating that the Kerry campaign is loosing popular support quickly and that the Bush campaign could be looking at a resounding victory this November.
Continuing in the political vein, the Daschle-Thune
race is heating up into a pitched battle, with John Thune coming out swinging in their first debate yesterday on "Meet the Press". Mr. Thune called Sen. Daschle a "flip-flopper" and the "chief obstructionist" on the Hill, opposing the President at every chance but then "running out of the arms of Michael Moore into the arms of the president in South Dakota." Sen. Daschle responded in turn, calling Mr. Thune 'a "follower" who would "rubber-stamp" the president's policies. ‘Both agreed on some points, such as 9/11, but those were few and far between.
What I don't understand is why the people of South Dakota, which is solidly in the Republican camp, keep sending Sen. Daschle back to Washington. Having spent some time in Rapid City this summer, I was able to catch snippets of the race and am still confused about Mr. Daschle's tenure. Having discussed the race in passing, it seems that some folks prefer to send Daschle back since he's one of the most powerful senators on the Hill and they don't want to lose the clout that he wields up there, even if his views are in direct conflict with the majority of the state's population. For a state like South Dakota, that is a big issue since that only have new representative to the House. Even so, this might be changing since Mr. Thune has come from behind and is running neck and neck with Daschle, even besting him in some polls. This will be a close race and one that I'll continue to watch from the East Coast as this could help to upset the balance of power in the Senate on the minority side.
And finally, just when you thought it was safe to go back to McDonald's, here come the trial lawyers looking to line their pockets from the profits of the food and related industries.
In Lawyers see obese U.S. ripe for fat lawsuits
, the Washington Times reports on a meeting of lawyers, public health advocates and nutritionists and the happenings there. Apparently they trial lawyers want to target and pursue the food industry and related businesses due to the "obesity epidemic" that is sweeping the nation. This is based on the 2001 Surgeon General's report which classified obesity as an "epidemic", thus opening the door for all sorts of frivolous lawsuits reminiscent of the tobacco lawsuits of the 1990's.
Folks, I'm going to jump on the "I told you so" bus along with all the others who saw this coming, especially after the tobacco companies caved in and reached a settlement that promised much but did little other than line the attorneys' pockets. These proposed lawsuits threaten to touch every facet of our lives since food consumption is a daily requirement and a multi-billion dollar industry. The attorneys will cloak these suits in moralistic shrouds claiming that they are acting for the benefit of the general public's health and welfare. In fact, they are pursuing the same types of policy change that they achieved with the tobacco suits: the attempted destruction of an industry by deeming it the cause of a societal health problem.
Unfortunately, I don't feel that these suits will be as successful as the tobacco suits. Tobacco was already falling out of favor and general mainstream use when the tobacco suits kicked off. In contrast, the food industry is constantly trying to reinvent itself and is currently on a campaign to become healthier in preparation for these impending lawsuits. Even so, there will always be a market for food that might not be the best for you but is within you right to consume, and no amount of lawsuits will stop that. I think that the trial lawyers might finally meet their match since the food industry has the time and money to fight a protracted battle in court.
As educated adults, we know how our food choices will affect us, and we don't need the food police or health nannies to tell us how to eat. And as for the obesity "epidemic", we have no one to blame but ourselves; McDonalds's doesn't force us to supersize our food orders any more than R.J. Reynolds forces you to smoke a cigarette. Here's an idea: go outside and take a walk or run to burn off that Big Mac and fries. So instead of suing for baseless claims that they made you fat, choose to exercise and cut back on the fattening food and see what happens. You'll be amazed at the results and find that you didn't need a lawyer to make you feel better.
Well, there's my recap of the weekend's news, with some obscure issues thrown in for good measure. Enjoy, and check back doing the week for more insightful analysis of the week's news events.