Posts tagged ‘CBS’

Judge Finds That NSA Domestic Spying Likely Unconstitutional

And the Insurance-Loss Spin Will Be....

I try to read a couple of team-politics blogs from both the red and blue side, to stay in touch with what they are saying and stay out of an echo chamber.  Also, of course, libertarians make common cause with both parties on various issues.  But the mindless team politics angle can really be a bore.

One of the reasons I like to read Kevin Drum on the left is that his initial reactions to things often seems pretty honest.  When his side really screws up, like the IRS scandal or failing Obamacare exchanges, his initial reaction will generally be to honestly critique a bad situation.  And then about 3-5 days into the scandal or crisis or discussion of an issue, he will catch on to and adopt the party line on an issue and then become incredibly tedious (for example, on the IRS scandal, he was honestly critical for a while and then adopted the silly "leftish groups were equally targeted meme" and has stuck to it by rote since).  But at least there are those few days of honesty, which separates him from a lot of the left and right team politics blogs.

So the timing is just about right for the Left to pick a meme to explain away the millions of people who are getting their policies cancelled despite being told that they could keep their health insurance.  Mainstream outlets like CBS and NBC are pushing the story, not just right-wing and libertarian blogs, so the Ezra Klein's of the world must be working diligently to pick a meme and then enforce it.  It will be interesting to see what they choose.

Update:  Well, here is an early entrant from Valerie Jarrett:

FACT: Nothing in forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans.

This is hilarious.  Technically true, since my cancellation came from Blue Cross and not the government, but obviously the Blue Cross decision to cancel me was forced by the terms of the law.  This is obviously absurd, but is it too absurd for the media?  I don't know, and of course it gets extra lefty bonus points for blaming government-caused problems on private businesses.  Next up, Exxon to blame for gasoline taxes!

Obamacare's Negative Sum Economics: Pediatric Dental Care

From CBS

Obamacare forces them to drop many of their plans that don't meet the law's 10 minimum standards, including maternity care, emergency visits, mental health treatment and even pediatric dental care.

For those of you who are on corporate health plans and do not participate in the individual market, here is something that those of us who do so participate learn early:  Unless you are really, really, really adverse to the smallest unpredictability in expenses, don't buy dental coverage.

The reason is that for the vast, vast majority of people, dental costs are entirely predictable.  Let's say for the average person they are X per year.  For most people, the costs don't vary very far from X.   While certain dental procedures can be expensive (and remember, dental plans do not cover orthodonture), they are seldom if ever catastrophically expensive.  Few people have been bankrupted by an insurable dental problem.  This is particularly true in kids with pediatric dental care.

So for most people, dental insurance is just pre-paid care.  All it does is add cost.  There is no free lunch.  The insurance company knows your costs are likely to be X.  So they are going to charge you X + a markup.  Actually, it is worse than this.  Because I pay cash, I get a lower price from the dentist.  So in fact with dental insurance you are paying X + dentist insurance markup + insurance company markup.  All this does is add costs.  I have happily paid my kids' dental costs out of pocket their entire life and have saved a fortune over what 18 years of pediatric dental care would have cost.

But now, courtesy of Obamacare, we are forced by law to buy this unnecessarily expensive product.

Update on the Economic Story of 2013

Yes, more evidence that the PPACA is ending full-time work in the American retail service sector

Circle K Southeast joined a growing list of national companies shifting workers to part-time status this week, in order to avoid paying Obamacare’s mandatory benefits, CBS-WTOC reports.

The alternative is to pay a $2,000 fine per fulltime worker who is not covered, leading Circle K to become the latest in a long line of companies to slice employee hours to avoid increased costs.

Here was my article several weeks ago in Forbes, though I have been predicting this since last year (when my own company started planning for the same change).

Let Them Eat Tofu

This is just amazing -- Bloomberg has become too nutty even to caricature.  From CBS NY via Overlawyered

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s food police have struck again!

Outlawed are food donations to homeless shelters because the city can’t assess their salt, fat and fiber content, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

Glenn Richter arrived at a West Side synagogue on Monday to collect surplus bagels — fresh nutritious bagels — to donate to the poor. However, under a new edict fromBloomberg’s food police he can no longer donate the food to city homeless shelters.

It’s the “no bagels for you” edict.

“I can’t give you something that’s a supplement to the food you already have? Sorry that’s wrong,” Richter said.

Richter has been collecting food from places like the Ohav Zedek synagogue and bringing it to homeless shelters for more than 20 years, but recently his donation, including a “cholent” or carrot stew, was turned away because the Bloomberg administration wants to monitor the salt, fat and fiber eaten by the homeless.

CBS Anchor Suggestions

These were the suggestions I made 6 years ago to replace Dan Rather.  Some of the names are a bit dated, but I think many would have worked out as well as Couric.  I think the last suggestion is, if anything, even more timely.

Improve ratings approach #1:  Finally get rid of the pretense that anchors are journalists rather than pretty talking heads.  Hire Nicollette Sheridan, or maybe Terri Hatcher.  Or, if you feel CBS News deserves more gravitas, in the Murrow tradition, how about Meryl Streep?

Improve ratings approach #2:  Go with comedy.  Bring in David Letterman from the Late Show to anchor the evening news.  "Tonight, we start with the growing UN oil for food scandal.  Uma – Anann.  Anann – Uma."  Or, if you want to segment the market differently, how about Tim Allen and the CBS News for Guys.  Or, if CBS wants to keep hitting the older demographic – what about Chevy Chase – certainly he already has anchor experience from SNL.

Improving Credibility Choice:  No one in the MSM really has much credibility left after the last election, but there is one man who would bring instant credibility to CBS News — Bob Costas.  CBS should hire him away from NBC, like they did with Letterman.  Make him the evening news anchor.  Heck, if Bryant Gumbell can make the transition to the news division, certainly Costas can.

Become the acknowledged liberal counterpoint to Fox:  Hire Bill Clinton as anchor.  Nothing would generate more buzz than that hire, and he is at loose ends anyway (and think about all those wonderful business trips away from home…)  If Bill is not available, try James Carville.  I might even have to watch that.

Let the public decide:  Forget making a decision, and just create a new reality show like ESPN’s Dream Job to choose the next anchor.  Each week the 12 finalists can be given a new task.  In week one, they have to pick up incriminating evidence about the President at a rodeo.  In week 2, they have to forge a believable set of documents from the early 70′s, and survive criticism from about 10,000 bloggers.  They can kick one off the island each week based on the viewers votes.

If Joe Arpaio Says Your Guilty, That's Good Enough For Us

This is kind of scary -- shoplifters denied trial by jury.  A judge seems to think its too much of a hassle to do follow that old Sixth Amendment thingie. We've gutted the rest of our constitutional protections, why not jury trial too?

An Arizona appeals court is set to issue a ruling today about whether people accused of shoplifting are entitled to a jury trial. The decision stems from a Peoria woman who got pinched for shoplifting and was wrongly denied a jury trial by a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge last year, CBS 5 (KPHO) reports.

Because the penalties for shoplifting are often relatively minimal -- probation, or community service -- the judge seemed to think calling in a jury wasn't necessary and said a jury trial for shoplifters was open for debate.

Not Good

From CBS News, Via Matt Welch:

In a case that raises questions about online journalism and privacy rights, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a formal request to an independent news site ordering it to provide details of all reader visits on a certain day.

The grand jury subpoena also required the Philadelphia-based Indymedia.us Web site "not to disclose the existence of this request" unless authorized by the Justice Department, a gag order that presents an unusual quandary for any news organization...

The subpoena (PDF) from U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison in Indianapolis demanded "all IP traffic to and from www.indymedia.us" on June 25, 2008. It instructed Clair to "include IP addresses, times, and any other identifying information," including e-mail addresses, physical addresses, registered accounts, and Indymedia readers' Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and so on.

This is remeniscent of the indimidation subpoena and later arrests at the Phoenix New Times orchestrated to stop the paper from criticizing Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

76% Vote to Live off the Other 24%

Via CBS:

Almost three-quarters of Americans think it is a good idea to raise taxes on people making more than $250,000 per year, according to the latest CBS News/New York Times poll.

In fact, two-thirds of Americans think the tax code should be changed so that middle-class Americans pay less than they do now, while "upper income" people pay more.

Imagine three quarters of the diners in a restaurant suddenly standing up and walking out the door.  As they leave, they announce that the remaining patrons should pay their tabs for them.  Fair?

Extrapolating From One Data Point

I had a friend in the consulting business that used to joke that he preferred to only have one data point when he had a point he wanted to make.  "If you only have one data point, you are free to slam a line through it in any direction and at any slope you want.  Once you have two, you are more constrained."

I am reminded of that story reading Trevor Butterworth's fabulous take down of typically bad media "science" scare story, this one on fireproofing materials in mattresses.  He has a lengthy fisking, but concludes:

What CBS produced is an advertorial for ABC Carpets and Homes, more
suited to a shopping channel. By failing to test any of the claims for
a risk against the science, by using a sample of one self-diagnosed
couple, by testing nothing, and not even bothering to interview someone
from the CPSC, let alone an independent toxicologist, the viewer is
left with the message: buy a bed at ABC if you want to be safe.

Antarctica

On Sunday, CBS claimed that Antarctica is melting.  In fact, once small
portion of the Antarctic peninsula is warming and may be losing snow, while the
rest of Antarctica has not been warming and in fact has been gaining ice cover. 
The show visits an island off the Antarctic Peninsula which has about as much
weather relevance and predictive power to the rest of Antarctica as Key West has
to the rest of the United States.  Absolutely absurd.

Unfortunately, I have a real job and I don't have time to restate all the
rebuttals to the CBS show.  However, I took on the Antarctic
issue in depth here
, and this post at NC Media
Watch
has more.

Show a Little Backbone!

This is pretty funny:

A labor dispute which has darkened US light entertainment and chat
shows claimed another victim on Wednesday, forcing the cancellation of
a CBS News debate among Democratic White House hopefuls.

The debate, scheduled for Los Angeles on December 10, was nixed
after candidates including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama said they
would refuse to cross a picket line that the Writers Guild of America
Union had threatened to set up.

"CBS News regrets not being able to offer the Democratic
presidential debate scheduled for Dec. 10 in Los Angeles," CBS said in
a statement.

"The possibility of picket lines set up by the Writers Guild of
America and the unwillingness of many candidates to cross them made it
necessary to allow the candidates to make other plans."

Since the writers have nothing to do with the debate (presumably, unless Hillary's question-writing shills are part of the guild) then their picketing the debate makes no more sense than if, say, the meat packers were picketing.  Is the winning candidate going to refuse to enter the White House if any union is picketing out front?  As Ed Morrissey points out, this does not bode well for any of the candidates being able to stand up to special interests as president.

Update:  Next up, Democratic candidates to commit to not hire anyone for their administration who did not attend a government-run, NEA-unionized high school.

I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

I don't think CBS understands the word "plagiarism."  Apparently, they are arguing that Katie Couric is not guilty of plagiarism because her on-air diary about her personal thoughts on her own life experiences was ... not written by her and she apparently never saw it or discussed it before she read it on-air.  It was those other writers who are at fault for wholesale lifting from a WSJ piece.  Apparently Couric's portrayal of other people's experiences written down by third-party writers as her own work and own life is A-OK.

What If They Had Asked the Question This Way?

A CBS poll says about 2/3 of Americans think the government should provide health care for all.  Many in the poll think the government would suck at it (about half said the government would do a worse job, and less than a third think it would do a better job). 

Given how important health care is to people, I find it hard to reconcile these two opinions.  If I had to guess, most people who say they are for government health care implicitly imagine a two-tier system, where they would still get the good care they have today, but poor people who people imagine are without care today (actually they tend to be without insurance, not without care) would get a suckier second tier of health care run by the government.

But I don't think this is a realistic view of what they will get with universal health care.  No government-run universal health care system is ever going to be politically stable with two tiers.  You are going to have to end up with a system that some poor people get better care but the rich and middle class end up with a worse system.  That is the reality of every government run health care system in the world.

I would love to see the answer to this poll question:

"Would you support a system of government-run universal health care that guaranteed health care access for all Americans, but would result in you personally getting inferior care than you get today in terms of longer wait times, more limited doctor choices, and with a higher probabilities of the government denying you certain procedures or medicines you have access to today."

Dang, I missed this

CBS's venerable television newsmagazine 60
Minutes
on Sunday will focus on Arizona Republican Rep. Jeff
Flake
's battle against "earmarks" and congressional overspending and
government waste.

CBS News veteran Morley Safer is the correspondent on the piece, which is
expected to include interviews with Flake and his uncle, state Sen. Jake
Flake
, R-Snowflake, from August.

The Flake segment is scheduled to lead the program, which airs locally at 6
p.m. Sunday on KPHO-TV (Channel 5).

For a summary of the segment, which will run on Sunday, November
5th, please click on:
 

Update: A bit of the video is here in the Buried in the Fine Print section about 3-4 videos down.  Go, Jeff, go.

 

Do US Soldiers Need Better Weapons Training?

Italian communist Giuliana Sgrena claimed to have been specifically targeted by US troops, and had hundreds, perhaps thousands of rounds shot at her oncoming vehicle from a US checkpoint.  She even claims to have been shot at by a tank.  We mourn the loss of and the needless death of her translator, but must observe that, based on her story, US soldiers don't seem to be able to hit the broadside of a barn.  Courtesy of LGF, here's her car:

Sgrenacarap1lgclick to enlarge image

Note that the front end, which should have taken the brunt, looks almost pristine.  One hit in the windshield, one in the left-front tire, and one or more in the drivers side window.  More pictures here.  More too at Captains Quarters.

Further, Ms Sgrena

said her car was hit by 300 to 400 bullets from an armored vehicle. She said she
was picking up handfuls of spent rounds from the seats.

OK, maybe I was wrong.  If hundreds of rounds went into the car, they must have all gone through that same single hole on the windshield.  That's GREAT shooting.  So I guess what is really needed is better weapons penetration.  Its a pretty pathetic bullet from an armored vehicle that would enter a car and have so little energy left that it would just land on the seats in piles.

Look, here is some advice.  Take it from the CBS memo forgers.  If you are going to make something up, know your subject.  If you are going to forge a memo from a typewriter, make sure you know how typewriters worked.  And if you are going to exaggerate a story about military weapons, make sure you understand weapons.  Rounds entering the car would not build up in a pile on the seat so that she could scoop them up - they would have embedded in things.  And, if enough rounds were fired that they started building up on the seats, then no one would be alive to scoop them up. 

I have no doubt that this was a harrowing experience for all concerned, especially in the midst of their exhilaration at being released.  It was a tragedy that neither the drivers nor the Italian government knew enough about the rules of engagement on that road to recognize that speeding toward a checkpoint might be dangerous.  But it is also clear that Ms. Sgrena is exploiting the death of her comrade for personal and political gain, just as the Italian government is exploiting the incident to take attention away from the fact that they basically just established a bounty for kidnapping westerners.

 

Great Moments in Media Fact Checking

Via Wizbang, who helped point the finger at the CBS forged memos, comes this story about an AP Report of a American service man supposedly held hostage:

Iraqi militants claimed in a Web statement Tuesday to have taken an American soldier hostage and threatened to behead him in 72 hours unless the Americans release Iraqi prisoners.

The posting, on a Web site that frequently carried militants' statements, included a photo of what appeared to be an American soldier in desert fatigues seated with his hands tied behind his back.

A gun barrel was pointed at his head, and he is seated in front of a black banner emblazoned with the Islamic profession of faith, "There is no god but God and Muhammad is His prophet."

It even is accompanied with this picture:

Soldier_held

Only problem is that this is actually a photo of a GI Joe doll. 

Bd0450_1

The "professionals" at the AP were taken in hook line and sinker, leaving it to "amateurs" on the web to debunk the hoax in about a half and hour.  Read all about it at the Wizbang link above.

Update:  CNN has caught up on the story

Great Moments in Media Fact Checking

Via Wizbang, who helped point the finger at the CBS forged memos, comes this story about an AP Report of a American service man supposedly held hostage:

Iraqi militants claimed in a Web statement Tuesday to have taken an American soldier hostage and threatened to behead him in 72 hours unless the Americans release Iraqi prisoners.

The posting, on a Web site that frequently carried militants' statements, included a photo of what appeared to be an American soldier in desert fatigues seated with his hands tied behind his back.

A gun barrel was pointed at his head, and he is seated in front of a black banner emblazoned with the Islamic profession of faith, "There is no god but God and Muhammad is His prophet."

It even is accompanied with this picture:

Soldier_held

Only problem is that this is actually a photo of a GI Joe doll. 

Bd0450_1

The "professionals" at the AP were taken in hook line and sinker, leaving it to "amateurs" on the web to debunk the hoax in about a half and hour.  Read all about it at the Wizbang link above.

Update:  CNN has caught up on the story

Dan Rather Replacement

Apparently, CBS is still mulling over candidates to replace Dan Rather.  Apparently, they have reduced the candidates of a "short list" of the people who might improve ratings over those garnered by Rather.  Unfortunately, this criteria has limited the list to ... just about everybody.  While this and other articles bandy about candidates, I still think my list was pretty good:

Improve ratings approach #1:  Finally get rid of the pretense that anchors are journalists rather than pretty talking heads.  Hire Nicolette Sheridan, or maybe Terri Hatcher.  Or, if you feel CBS News deserves more gravitas, in the Murrow tradition, how about Meryl Streep?

Improve ratings approach #2:  Go with comedy.  Bring in David Letterman from the Late Show to anchor the evening news.  "Tonight, we start with the growing UN oil for food scandal.  Uma - Anann.  Anann - Uma."  Or, if you want to segment the market differently, how about Tim Allen and the CBS News for Guys.  Or, if CBS wants to keep hitting the older demographic - what about Chevy Chase - certainly he already has anchor experience from SNL.

Improving Credibility Choice:  No one in the MSM really has much credibility left after the last election, but there is one man who would bring instant credibility to CBS News -- Bob Costas.  CBS should hire him away from NBC, like they did with Letterman.  Make him the evening news anchor.  Heck, if Bryant Gumbell can make the transition to the news division, certainly Costas can.

Become the acknowledged liberal counterpoint to Fox:  Hire Bill Clinton as anchor.  Nothing would generate more buzz than that hire, and he is at loose ends anyway (and think about all those wonderful business trips away from home...)  If Bill is not available, try James Carville.  I might even have to watch that.

Let the public decide:  Forget making a decision, and just create a new reality show like ESPN's Dream Job to choose the next anchor.  Each week the 12 finalists can be given a new task.  In week one, they have to pick up incriminating evidence about the President at a rodeo.  In week 2, they have to forge a believable set of documents from the early 70's, and survive criticism from about 10,000 bloggers.  They can kick one off the island each week based on the viewers votes.

CBS, and in fact all the network news programs, have a problem which caused me to rename them from the Tiffany network to "the Buick network":  Their median age news viewer was born while Hitler still ruled Germany.  As I wrote in that article,

It turns out that the network news programs have exactly the same problem, though none of them profess to be worried, despite the fact that the networks are losing share to competitors at a much faster clip than are US auto makers.  Journalism.org reports that the median age of an ABC News viewer is about 59, of an NBC News viewer is 60 and of a CBS News viewer is over 61.  Everyone who is younger has switched to cable, switched to the Internet, or switched off altogether.

More here.

Is CBS For Executive Accountability or Against It?

Its amazing to me that Andrew Heyward still has his job at CBS.  Many others are asking the same question, including Ernest Miller, Rathergate & Captains Quarters.  The overriding question is this one:

The report clearly shows that the head of the embattled news organization did not perform as one would expect the head of a news organization to perform. Though Heyward clearly realized that there were problems with the reporting on the segment and issued a directive to clear up the matter, he does not appear to have provided sufficient overview or leadership to ensure that his directive was followed promptly and systematically. Instead of focusing on good reporting, as the head of a news organization should, he seems to have been primarily interested in damage control and not following up on his own directive.

Here is CBS's opinion of Heyward's performance in this matter, from Les Moonves:

But Heyward is an executive of integrity and talent, and the right person to be leading CBS NEWS during this challenging time

OK, so their position now is that the subordinates are at fault, and that the leader is not responsible for their actions or for the climate and controls in the organization that allowed the problems to occur.

This is really, really different than CBS's editorial position on OTHER organizations and leaders.  Check out the CBS editorial here on Enron.  Should Ken Lay be held accountable or was he an innocent dupe?  Hah, the editorial jumps right past this question, moving up a notch and asking why the board of directors weren't being held accountable. 

Ken Lay argues that he was duped and didn't know what was going on.  Note that this is his criminal defense - which may or may not work - but it certainly would not have worked to keep his job, even if Enron were alive today.  In Heyward's case, he admits he knew what was going on, but didn't get things fixed.  Heyward had his chance in the first 24 hours to save the credibility of CBS News and he blew it.

Doctored Han Solo Memos, errr, Evidence

This (Link courtesy Professor Bainbridge) is a pretty funny parody based on a scene from the original Star Wars movie that has famously been changed a couple of times by George Lucas in reissuing the movie.  It is especially funny in light of today's CBS memogate report.  If you don't know the story behind the changes to the movie, they are summarized in the intro page, or you can just dive into the comic by pressing "1".

CBS News: The Buick Network?

For years, any of the network news programs would love to have been referred to as the "Cadillac" network, implying high-class quality in a similar way that the "Tiffany" Network always did.

However, it appears that NBC, ABC, and CBS news have something else in common with Buick, Cadillac and Lincoln:  Their customers base is aging. Rapidly.

The median age of the average Buick owner is 67, for Cadillac is 65 and Lincoln is 63.  Excepting Escalades and Navigators, when was the last time you saw anyone in one of these cards who did not have gray hair (and perhaps a handicapped tag)?  This aging has the auto makers panicked.  Unless it is reversed, in 20 years these brands will be history.

It turns out that the network news programs have exactly the same problem, though none of them profess to be worried, despite the fact that the networks are losing share to competitors at a much faster clip than are US auto makers.  Journalism.org reports that the median age of an ABC News viewer is about 59, of an NBC News viewer is 60 and of a CBS News viewer is over 61.  Everyone who is younger has switched to cable, switched to the Internet, or switched off altogether.

In some sense, the network news problem is worse than the auto makers'.  If the auto makers can find compelling new designs to appeal to younger folks, younger buyers will come back - the brands are tarnished, but the basic business model is OK.  In the case of the networks, not only are their brands tarnished, but it is not clear that the business model of 30 minute evening news broadcasts can ever be revived in the face of a huge proliferation in news sources.

But, it is still entertaining to see who will replace the current anchors, the single best tool the networks have to reposition their broadcasts.  I wrote about Dan Rather's potential replacements here.

UPDATE:

What is it about the previous generations and the number 3?  Three big networks, three major automakers, Avis-Hertz-National, McDonalds-Burger King-Wendy's, etc.  Has there been a technology change to break up these oligarchies and provide more choices, or was there an inability by a couple of generations overwhelmed with change to digest more than 3 choices?  Update to the Update:  Virginia Postrel actually has a related post here about choice.

Good Stuff at Scrappleface

First, Scrappleface reports:

After a week of tough negotiating by France, Germany and Britain, the Islamic Republic of Iran has conceded to reduce the size of nuclear warheads it will use in the eventual bombing of Paris, Berlin and London.

I might have thought this was humor until I read this line, which seems all too real:

Iran has pledged to stop enriching uranium, while retaining 20 operating centrifuges, and continuing to process plutonium

LOL.  Even better, Scrappleface also reports that CBS is considering emulating recent moves by the Ukraine press to abandon bias:

Inspired by a public pledge from Ukrainian TV journalists to provide unbiased reporting from now on, CBS News has launched an internal investigation to assess the potential impact of such a move.

Go read it all.

Help Choose Dan Rather's Replacement!

Dan Rather will be leaving his anchor position at CBS Evening News.  I haven't really gloated about this online, despite my dislike for what CBS News has become, mainly because I don't see any evidence that CBS is really going to fix anything.  I mean, one clue that they are not really serious about change is that Dan Rather will be refocusing his time on 60 Minutes, the very forum that caused many of his most recent troubles in the first place.

Anyway, who should replace Dan?  My gut feel is that they will choose some stiff who has put in his time for decades at CBS, but I don't think that will do much to improve ratings.  What would?  How about these suggestions:

Improve ratings approach #1:  Finally get rid of the pretense that anchors are journalists rather than pretty talking heads.  Hire Nicollette Sheridan, or maybe Terri Hatcher.  Or, if you feel CBS News deserves more gravitas, in the Murrow tradition, how about Meryl Streep?

Improve ratings approach #2:  Go with comedy.  Bring in David Letterman from the Late Show to anchor the evening news.  "Tonight, we start with the growing UN oil for food scandal.  Uma - Anann.  Anann - Uma."  Or, if you want to segment the market differently, how about Tim Allen and the CBS News for Guys.  Or, if CBS wants to keep hitting the older demographic - what about Chevy Chase - certainly he already has anchor experience from SNL.

Improving Credibility Choice:  No one in the MSM really has much credibility left after the last election, but there is one man who would bring instant credibility to CBS News -- Bob Costas.  CBS should hire him away from NBC, like they did with Letterman.  Make him the evening news anchor.  Heck, if Bryant Gumbell can make the transition to the news division, certainly Costas can.

Become the acknowledged liberal counterpoint to Fox:  Hire Bill Clinton as anchor.  Nothing would generate more buzz than that hire, and he is at loose ends anyway (and think about all those wonderful business trips away from home...)  If Bill is not available, try James Carville.  I might even have to watch that.

Let the public decide:  Forget making a decision, and just create a new reality show like ESPN's Dream Job to choose the next anchor.  Each week the 12 finalists can be given a new task.  In week one, they have to pick up incriminating evidence about the President at a rodeo.  In week 2, they have to forge a believable set of documents from the early 70's, and survive criticism from about 10,000 bloggers.  They can kick one off the island each week based on the viewers votes.

Leave your own ideas in the comments section!

UPDATE #1

I want to expand on the idea in the comment below.  I think it would be a great idea to just run "best of" news broadcasts when Dan is out, like they did during Carson's frequent nights off late in his tenure.  The interesting part would be to see if anyone noticed.

UPDATE #2

Welcome Carnival of the Vanities.  If your missed our Carnival of the Capitalists posts on reverse auctions and why Priceline really succeeded, see here.  Or just browse around our most recent posts hereAnd, don't forget to vote in the 2004 Weblog Awards!

UPDATE #3

For a more serious handicapping of replacements, check out Rathergate.com and at RatherBiased.

Caveat on Social Security Reform

I had some links on Social Security reform here

One thing I forgot to mention -- No matter what we decide to do, please, please do not let the government invest social security funds in private equities.  I am all for giving individuals control of their social security funds and allowing these individuals to make their own investment choices.  But, allowing the government to invest in equities will lead to all sorts of problems:

  1. The most obvious is creeping socialism and regulation, particularly of companies that are not well-loved by the intelligentsia.  Mad at Dick Cheney?  Pass a law that the trust fund can't invest in Haliburton.  Don't like Dan Rather?  Pass a law that the trust fund can't invest in CBS.  You get the idea.  The mere threat of disowning the company's equity from the trust fund investments portfolio would force companies to kowtow to the populist notion of the moment.
  2. If you worry about private individuals manipulating the stock market, just wait until the government has the incentive to get in the game.  The government has all kinds of ways, from small (control of economics data) to large (interest rates and SEC regulations) to manipulate the market for short term gain. 

Marginal Revolution also has an interesting post on whether the historic equity premium would still exist if the government invested massively in equities.