Sunday, November 06, 2011

"60 Minutes" gives Andy the last word on Nov. 6, 2011

Lesley Stahl interviews Jack Abramoff in "The Lobbyist's Playbook." Today, he is a symbol of how money corrupts Washington. Jack: I was so far into it I could not tell where right and wrong was. Jack: First, most Congressman don't believe they are being bought. Free meals at his restaurant: Signatures. Jack spent over a million dollars per year for tickets to sports events. Jack: offer staffers a job at like triple the salary. Neil Voltz (Bob Ney) said Jack could talk a dog off a meat truck. "We were guilty of engaging in a corrupt relationship." Own the office by offering a job to the chief of staff (on K Street). Staff of Tom Delay were hired. Jack: we had influence on a hundred offices. Bob Ney was interviewed by Lesley Stahl. Voltz at the time a lobbyist approached his former boss Ney about public law 100-89 (striking section 71), which in effect allowed a casino. Jack: "members don't read the bills." Ney eventually served 17 months in prison. The bribery/corruption involves giving a gift to someone who makes a decision. The Washington Post published on Jack in 2004 that he charged his clients 10X more than other lobbyists. Jack went to a facility in Cumberland, MD. He is now paying off $24 million in restitution to Indian tribes. Jack: the reform efforts are faux reform efforts. The people who make the reforms are the people in the system. Most important objective: prohibit staffers from later being lobbyists. Jack wrote: Capitol Punishment.

Morley Safer noted that tonight (Nov. 6) we ("60 Minutes") give Andy the last word, for the last time. The Rooney story was third on the list on Nov. 6, and included a clip from Andy's farewell on 60 Minutes. Then, a clip from a Safer interview of Andy. Then, a clip from cotton in pill bottles. America's favorite grouch-in-chief. Our junk yard poodle. Dogs are nicer than people. Is Rooney really like that? Prickly about autographs. I don't sign autographs. My father made $18,000 per year. Went to Albany Academy and then to Colgate University. Rooney worked for Stars and Stripes. Met Walter Cronkite; was one of Rooney's best friends. Venus schnitzel. Of Godfrey: he was nasty sometimes. Rooney was making $500/week. Safer referred to Godfrey as a "fake good guy." Harry Reasoner was a real good guy. BUT Harry Reasoner was a lazy guy. Reasoner drank a lot. 60 Minutes: A Digression had Rooney's profile in shadow. In 1978, Rooney became the "last word" on 60 Minutes. Challenger disaster in 1986. In 1995, Oklahoma City bombing (I could kill the bastards). Rooney on shock and awe. In 1990, a suspension from CBS related to remarks about gays. Who would answer an idiot who has the bad sense to write me a letter.
[By in large the piece on Nov. 6 was a recycle of the previously broadcast Safer interview.]


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