COMMENTS: If it is Friday, There Must Be Features…

For CBS' Follow the Money feature, Sharyl Attkisson profiled an investigation headed by Sen Tom Coburn (R-OK) into the "popular resorts and exotic locations" selected for conferences and conventions by the Department of Agriculture for its bureaucrats. We grant Coburn that a surf resort in Australia and a pollution study of the Virgin Islands and the Hilton Hotel in Honolulu sound like sweet junkets--but it seems a stretch to get exercised about being sent to Las Vegas or Disneyworld. Coburn's solution, in the latest federal farm bill, is some sunshine about all that sunshine: it "requires USDA to post on the Web all the conferences it attends and sponsors."

NBC's In Depth had Janet Shamlian tell us about the latest shopping trend. Twice New, Second Childhood and Fashion Recycler are among the stores that are growing the fastest, "the new darlings of retail." Call them second-hand stores or thrift stores or resale stores, they are selling "what you might call pre-selected" clothing and furniture at a quarter of the original price and so many more people are looking to raise money from consignments that their selection is improving even as prices stay low.

ABC's The Power of 2 series concluded with Steve Osunsami's advice on easy daily charitable giving. For our local food bank, he suggested buying just a single extra item each time we visit the supermarket. A box with a 30 extra cans can feed a hungry person for a week. As for the poor of the Third World, Osunsami followed that saw about not donating fish, but teaching someone how to fish. He recommended CARE's farming program that provides seed plus training and Heifer International, which pays for cows, chickens and goats, to be a source of milk and eggs.

Steve Hartman for CBS' Assignment America went to Washington Mo to check its high school's senior prom. It really is a senior prom, since the graduating teenagers invite local retirees to boogie on down with them until curfew at 9:30. Hartman could not resist teasing Couric, his AARP-qualified anchor: "Anyone fifty or older is eligible to go to the senior prom. So, Katie, if next year you are not doing anything, you might want to go and check it out."


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