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John Stewart opened last night’s The Daily Show with a flashback to 2008, when risky investments triggered the downfall of America’s largest financial institutions. It seemed like no one did well . . . except for JP Morgan. The bank, headed by so-called superhero CEO Jamie Diamon, emerged from the economic downturn on top.
But recently, lawmakers have taken a closer look at JP Morgan’s staggering losses. Reports suggest that the company lost at least $2 billion dollars on risky investments, probably closer to $7 billion.
But when Diamon testified before Congress on Wednesday, congressional leaders showered him with praises. As one senator declared, “You’re amazing . . . you’re just huge!”
As Stewart pointed out, the panel of senators seemed to be sucking up to Diamon like as if they were on JP Morgan’s payroll. Oh wait. . . turns out JP Morgan is one of the biggest campaign donors to a number of causes and candidates. Go figure. Six or seven figures, at least.
In the next segment of the show, Stewart took a second look at an age-old maxim. Are two heads really better than one? When it comes to double-headed fish in Idaho’s rivers, perhaps not.
Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi traveled to the gem state to chat with conservationist Mark Hoyt. According to Hoyt, Idaho’s fish are suffering gruesome deformities that just don’t occur in nature – like two heads.
Hoyt attributed the mutations to water polluted by selenium- a toxic product of phosphate mining. According to him, Simplot, the company that operates six phosphate mines in the region, is responsible for selenium contamination in local rivers.
Ironically, these two-headed fish were discovered by Simplot during an ecological survey of the water supply. The company released this report to federal and state regulatory agencies to prove that phosphate mining had minimal impact of surrounding ecosystems.
“I’ll bet the EPA’s pissed!” declared Mandvi.
Not so. In fact, the EPA called the report “outstanding.” To understand how a federal agency could overlook so many Franken-fish, Mandvi showed up at the EPA office donning a two-headed fish suit.
As he sauntered through the doorway, an incredulous employee angrily asked, “Where are you from?!”
“I’m from the river,” Mandvi explained. The man wasn’t buying it.
When the EPA refused to talk, Mandvi dug a bit deeper . . .and discovered that Simplot essentially owns the entire state of Idaho and has connections with the EPA. Perhaps all this fishy business is a conspiracy engineered by big agribusiness to maintain its stronghold on Idaho farm country.
“I’ve received threatening phone calls telling me to keep quiet,” Hoyt revealed.
Aghast, Mandvi replied, “Next time a fake reporter comes to you with questions about Simplot, you should lead with that.”
In the show’s final segment, Stewart sat down with actress Catherine Zeta-Jones to discuss her latest film, Rock of Ages.
The two discussed Zeta-Jones’ theater background and her first experience performing as a child.
“When did you learn that your ability exceeded that of other nine-year-olds who were still dealing with cooties outbreak of 1982?” Stewart asked.
Zeta-Jones laughed, saying, “I can’t remember a time when I did not want to perform. It wasn’t about being famous.”
Stewart then quizzed her about father-in-law Kirk Douglas. While many people have trouble with their in-laws, “You’re up against Spartacus! Dude, what do you do?” he asked.
“I know!” said Zeta-Jones. “Imagine being Michael. People ask, “Who’s your dad?’ He’s like, ‘Spartacus.’”