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The March 6, 2013 episode of the Daily Show discussed filibusters, the sequester, Puerto Rico and space with Neil Degrasse Tyson.
The episode opened with a new introduction. In the past, Neil Degrasse Tyson pointed out to Jon Stewart that the earth in the opening spins the wrong direction. The last time he was on the show, Stewart had not fixed it. So, for this episode, there is a very impressive new introduction. I recommend watching the episode for the introduction alone. Stewart quickly moved on from this topic, though, to discuss congress’ continued inefficiencies. Congress is currently in the process of appointing a CIA director. Their nomination of John Brennan seemed like it was going through without a hitch until Congressman Rand Paul started to filibuster. He does not have an issue with Brennan’s appointment, Stewart reported. His issue is that he sent a letter to the director of the FBI asking if the President had the ability to execute using a drone on American soil. The letter he received in reply did not directly answer the question, but implied that it was a possibility. Paul decided to use a filibuster of the CIA appointment to talk about the dangers of drones. Stewart’s reaction to the filibuster was that drones are an important issue, but further clogging up an already constipated Congress was not the way to go about the problem.
All Paul’s filibuster does, Stewart said, is distract from Congress’ failure to deal with the sequester. Stewart’s summary of the sequester was that it is all a result of Democrats and Republicans being unable to agree on what the best ways to spend government money are. The examples Stewart used were the President’s desire to get universal preschool and the Republicans’ pushes for increased military spending. Stewart played some clips that explained the arguments for and against the preschool idea. One study, that said there was a benefit from Headstart programs, but the benefit disappeared after third grade, was the go-to study. Stewart said that if people continued to read the study, they would see that Headstart programs correlated with a number of positive results, such as lower crime rate and higher graduation rate. Plus, Stewart did not see why the response to the benefits tapering off was to throw out the program and not include the beneficial activities in the third grade and beyond. As for military spending, the United States is far beyond any other country and Stewart indicated that this left plenty of room to invest in education. As the nail in this particular coffin, though, Stewart references some retired generals who said that one of the greatest threats to national security was future lack of qualified young people to join the military.
The second segment was Al Madrigal covering a protest in Washington D.C. At first, Madrigal said that the protest was the result of people’s discontent in regards to the sequester. However, it was a protest to get Puerto Rico included as the 51st state. The joke the whole segment was why Puerto Rico would want to hitch itself to the United States when Congress has been so ineffective. The people he interviewed were pretty amusing and I think the jokes played well. It is not their best out-of-studio segment, but it was pretty good.
The interview with Neil Degrasse Tyson, on the other hand, was awesome. Tyson was promoting his book, Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier. They started the interview talking about the new intro and Tyson’s new complaints about it. Stewart asked him why asteroids are trying to kill us and Tyson told him that asteroids have always been trying to kill us. There are just more of us now to notice and more ways for us to see the results. There were a lot of little things in the interview. If you are a fan of Neil Degrasse Tyson or Stewart’s interviews this is a great one to watch.