Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dem debates today still on CSPAN, pre-empted and delayed on MSNBC by baseball steroid scandal


Six of the Democratic presidential candidates for the 2008 election are debating today. This is the last televised debate before the Jan. 3, 2008 Iowa Caucuses. CSPAN is carrying the debate on live broadband connection here. The connection may stall occasionally because so many users are watching it.

MSNBC had promised to broadcast the debate today at 2 PM EST, but it was pre-empted by the announcement of the baseball steroid investigation, headed by former Senator George Mitchell. As of 2:53 PM the pre-emption "Breaking News" was still in progress. Roger Clemens, Mo Vaughn and Gary Sheffield, Andy Pettitte, Eric Gange were named as an abuser (CNN story). The Barry Bonds fiasco (and obstruction of justice indictment) have been widely reported. Steroid use in baseball, making statistic records meaningless, is symptomatic of what Princeton Professor David Callahan calls "The Cheating Culture" of extreme capitalism in his 2004 book.

Mitchell suggested that current violators not be punished, but Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig (who spoke on the air at 4:30 PM EST) took a wait-and-see attitude. The "Report to the Commissioner of Baseball on Independent Investigation into the Illegal Use of Steroids and Other Performance Enhancing Substances by Players in Major League Baseball" is here (pdf).

CNN, however, was also carrying the debate on its "Newsroom" program (the main CNN channel, like 29 in DC), at least by 2.55 when I checked. MSNBC got back to the debate by 3 PM. It seems to be playing it one hour behind.

So far the candidates have debated the usual energy independence and education issues. Senator Edwards proposes setting up a "Teachers Academy" rather like a military service academy (I hope no "don't ask don't tell"). The candidates say, scrap "no child left behind" if necessary because it is an unfunded mandate.

Senator Biden warned that average American consumers could face sacrifice over energy and global warming issues, but Hillary Clinton wants to set up pollution or carbon footprint debits that will be somewhat transparent to consumers.

Later, Sen. Edwards said that "George Bush is not King."

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