Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Iraq, Midterm Politics, Iraq, Midterm Politics, Iraq, Midterm Politics...(Monday's Show)

Hi everybody. Did you enjoy your extra hour this weekend? We need to do that every weekend. Yes, I know, eventually we'll end up with daylight at three in the morning, but that's the price I'm willing to pay for extra time. We've got Anderson back and he's rocking the young republican tie. Also back is the annoying intro. Apparently what they're going to tell us about campaign contributions is "enough to give you heart burn." Oh my. I'm popping the antacids in sheer anticipation.

We begin with the news that CBS is reporting we might need an additional 100,000 more Iraqi security personnel to help get things stable in Iraq. Um, I thought the increased numbers of trained Iraqis weren't making any difference. I think the problem here is quality, not quantity. Jamie McIntrye and John Roberts (still in Iraq) join us live to elaborate on the topic. Jamie says that although US troops will need to train these new Iraqis it doesn't necessarily mean US forces will need to increase. A big problem with the Iraqi troops is that some of them are only loyal to certain areas. Remember when all those Iraqis ripped off their uniforms in protest over their assignment? Not good. John Roberts says that there are some cases where Iraqis take the lead, but they have a long way to go.

This intros us into a John Roberts piece where we learn there are complaints on both the US and Iraqi sides regarding how long it's taking to train these troops. Prime Minister Malaki is also complaining about the lack of weapons for the troops. The troops themselves are unhappy with their lack of pay, armor, and medical care. They're forced to go to civilian hospitals and apparently terrorists go there specifically looking for soldiers to kill. I can't even imagine what these guys go through. One of the major mistakes made was the disbanding of the Iraqi army, which is brought up by an Iraqi commander. Thanks Bremer. You did a heckuva job! After the piece John joins us live again to say that the US believes the Iraqi forces are getting better, but he's witnessed some eye rolling over their poor performance.

Transitioning now to a Bill Schneider piece that focuses on, what else, polls! The Poll Man informs us that democrats are more enthused about this election than republicans. You're dang right I'm enthused. I'm so enthused I even spent hours this weekend calling people to get out the vote. And I'm not really down with calling strangers, so that's saying something. Bill also talks about the fact that the Saddam verdict may come down right before the elections and could be an influencing factor. Before work this morning I caught some of American Morning and apparently people have been emailing Miles that Bush/Rove are going to fix it so the verdict happens on the eve of the election. Miles referred to the emailers as the "grassy knoll crowd," which both amused and offended me simultaneously. I don't know how likely that scenerio is, but I put nothing past these people. Nothing.

On now to a John King piece on a Kentucky race where Bush had been really popular in the district, but now the republican is running away from him. We've heard this before. Same story just different districts. Bush is toxic and the republicans will do anything to save themselves. We get it. Moving on now to a Candy Crowley piece regarding the abortion ban that's on the ballot in South Dakota. The interesting thing is that hardly any abortions take place in South Dakota anyway. There's only one clinic and that has to be staffed with doctors that are flown in because they can't get anyone in state to work there. If the ballot measure wins there will be a ripple effect that could go to the Supreme Court, but opponents are hopeful that the silent majority will come out and defeat the ban. For the life of me I will never understand this focus on banning. Abortions will still occur whether there's a ban or not. Why not focus on reduction instead?

After the piece we have Candy Crowley, John King, and Bill Schneider live and hey, Candy is in St. Louis and standing not far from where I just was yesterday. I wonder if she flew in today or yesterday. If yesterday, she got to see 500,000 St. Louisans in the streets. We're a baseball town, baby. Anyway the trio talk about how the republicans have more money and are more organized, but the democrats have more enthusiam and when it comes to enthusiam versus money, enthusiam wins. I'm not positive, but when everyone was talking I swear I saw Bill kind of raise his hand to make a point. That is too cute. However, that kind of politeness would get him squashed on Fox News.

Next up we have a Mary Snow piece on the Wolfbot's interview with Lynn Cheney about her lesbian book. Some background is probably required here. Okay, this all started when Virginia senator George Allen brought up the fact that his opponent, Jim Webb, wrote a book with some racy passages in it. Then during a news conference Webb brought up the fact that you could find lesbian love scenes in Cheney's book, "Sisters". I'm not exactly sure how it went down, but to me it looks like she was maybe already booked for the Wolfbot's show for her children's book and then the Wolfbot laid this stuff at her feet. Go Wolfbot! Cheney of course denies that her book has any lesbian love scenes because she has apparently forgotten that other people can read and actually check that out. And to their credit 360 has checked it out and guess what? She's a big liar. Of course you already knew that, didn't you? Also, for the record, Webb could have just as easily brought up Scooter Libby's book. We all remember this gem:
At age ten the madam put the child in a cage with a bear trained to couple with young girls so the girls would be frigid and not fall in love with their patrons. They fed her through the bars and aroused the bear with a stick when it seemed to lose interest.
And liberals are the perverted ones.

Transitioning now to a Barbara Starr piece, but first Anderson totally poses for us. He's working that new studio! In the piece we learn that an audit has uncovered 490,000 unaccounted for weapons that were suppose to go to Iraqi forces. Uh oh. You can pretty much guess where they are now. Sometimes I think they're actually screwing things up on purpose. As I've said before, either our leaders are evil or they're so incompetent that they're not even capable of flipping burgers at McDonalds. It doesn't matter what the truth is because either way we're pretty much screwed. This whole story reminds me of the big Al Qaqaa weapons cache controversy that broke right before the 2004 elections. It was a huge deal for those few days, but once the election was over, poof, down the memory hole it went.

On now to a Gary Tuchman piece on the little town of Bagdad, Arizona. Quite the name, huh? And yeah, it's basically the whole reason for this story. Not much here. Bagdad is a copper mining town that strongly supports the war and have sent a lot of their own. After the piece Anderson says, "that looks like a nice place to go." I'm sure it's a lovely town, but for some perspective, remember this is a guy who went to a genocide museum on vacation. Just saying.

Transitioning now to a Keeping Them Honest piece from Drew Griffin. Hey, are we done with keeping people related to Katrina honest? Because it's been a while. After the elections I'd like to see them go back. Anyway, this piece is about the exciting topic of campaign contributions. Apparently if you send a politician money they might use it to wine and dine people or even send it to a completely different politician that you might not like. Now I'm confused. Why is that stuff okay, but it wasn't okay for Harry Reid to use the money to give his doorman a tip? What's interesting is that even politicians running in practically unopposed races still raise the dough because money buys votes and access in Washington. Ahh, ain't politics grand? This is why we need clean elections.

Finally tonight, The Shot is a music video they found on youtube of Apache by The Shadows. And you're pretty much going to have to go to youtube and see if yourself because I've got nothing. It's...no, I have no words. Anderson is clearly amused and says he is reminded of Doug Henning. Erica has no idea who he is talking about and she shouldn't feel bad because neither do I. Anyway, he's having so much fun with this that he distracts himself and almost forgets to pimp the O'Brien twins. He also mentions he has a cold, which actually I didn't notice. Vitamin C drops, Anderson. They work, they're quick, and they taste good too. Feel better. Good show. B

Screencaps by bcfraggle and stillife.

Happy Halloween everybody! Anyone doing anything spooky? I have to say I'm probably going to find next Tuesday night much scarier than this one.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Potpourri for 200, Alex

Hi everyone. I thought I'd do a post that includes a little bit of everything. Just because. First off, there will be no review of Friday's show. I know, bad blogger. But I have a good excuse. I was watching the St. Louis Cardinals WIN THE WORLD SERIES!!! Woo hoo!

Actually that picture's from a playoff game, but the sentiments the same. It's funny because I'm not a sports person. At all. But it was quite the game. My mom is probably one of the Cardinal's biggest fans (and I'm not just saying that-she's crazy) and she and I will be going to the parade downtown on Sunday.

Moving on now to something totally different. If you haven't met him already, I'd like to introduce you fair readers to Richard Engel:

I had been watching him on NBC for a while and thought he was a great reporter, but knew nothing about his back story. Then I saw him on a talk show and learned that he and a certain silver haired reporter have a lot in common. Howard Kurtz breaks it down for us in a Washington Post profile:

Few would have predicted that Engel would become an intrepid war correspondent when he was growing up on Manhattan's East 86th Street. He suffered from dyslexia and struggled in school.

"He was down in the mouth and low on self-confidence," says his mother, Nina Engel. "He lived in the shadow of his older brother, Mr. Perfect," who is now a cardiologist. In fact, she had only "a very faint hope" that he would be able to go to college.

When he was 13, Engel asked his parents to send him to a wilderness survival program in Wyoming. Frustrated by his learning disabilities, he was eager to escape the comforts of Upper East Side life and try a tougher environment.


At 16, Engel spent a year as an exchange student in Sicily. After graduating from Stanford in 1996 with a degree in international relations, Engel says, he decided that "the Middle East would be the story of my generation." He announced to his parents that he was moving to Cairo, where the family had once taken a trip.

"Are you insane?" Nina Engel recalls asking him. "Do you remember what a hellhole it was?" When her son said he was also considering Damascus, she allowed as how Cairo was not really that bad.

The aspiring reporter took his $2,000 in savings, moved to Cairo, enrolled in Arabic classes and found an apartment in a neighborhood where donkeys and dogs roamed the dirt roads.


In 1999, Agence France-Presse hired Engel to go to Jerusalem and cover the Palestinians. As the intifada protests against Israel turned violent, he says, "I spent the next three years on my stomach, getting tear-gassed and shot at with rubber bullets."

Most people might consider that a miserable existence. But Engel brightens at the thought: "I was lucky enough to be on the fault line as history shifts and moves."

Friends were not surprised at his constant need for an adrenaline fix. "He has no interest in a 9-to-5 job," Peet says. "He's very much into living on the edge. I don't think he has much interest in having a normal life."

By late 2002, as war with Iraq loomed, ABC News and the BBC had hired Engel as a freelancer. But even though he spoke Arabic, Engel wasn't on anyone's list to get an Iraqi visa. The networks were concentrating their efforts on their bigger stars.

Undeterred, Engel took $20,000, went to Jordan and bought a human shield visa, meaning that he was pledging to chain himself to an Iraqi facility as a deterrent against U.S. bombing. Engel got the visa from an Iraqi official who knew full well he was a journalist but was swayed by a few hundred dollars and some baby clothing that Engel had bought for extra persuasion.

He's a younger Anderson! Go read the whole profile. I'm pushing fair use as it is. Anyway, I thought it was bizarre how two stories can be so similar like that. If you guys can't check Richard out on NBC, you can read his blog posts here. You know, just in case you needed another person to worry about over there.

And while I'm pimping, I'd like to urge you guys to check out my cousin's band Panic Attack . You might have noticed the link on the right side of the page.

Anyway, they're an alternative rock band from St. Louis and if they weren't really good I wouldn't be mentioning them. Their lyrics are clean and unspecific enough that everyone can relate to their songs. Oh, and here's the beauty part of this post, I can totally connect this to Anderson. While I was reading his book some of what he wrote reminded me of two of their songs. The first song is Down Below and the lyrics are as follows:
I lie awake in bed I can't sleep
Too much running through my head
Awake in a dream
You're always on my mind
What could have been
I've often asked myself, why?
Everyday I thought of how it could have went
I was so innocent
Maybe this will make me a better person
Here I am today on my own, surprise me now
I won't know your face in the crowd
It's been too long.
Gotta be on my way
Gotta be on my way now
Time will go on day by day
Still I wonder what would I say
If we were face to face
Time will go on day by day
Still I wonder what would you say
If you could see me from up above
Down here below
The song was written about my aunt (my cousin's mother) who died of MS when my cousin was only around two, but I think anyone who has experienced loss can relate. Another song that the book reminded me of, especially in reference to Anderson's shark analogy, is Driving Away and the chorus is as follows:
Driving away makes my troubles go far away
Seems to me it couldn't come at a better day
Some place different makes it all disappear
It's another day it's another day it's another day
You can listen to these songs on their website, which I linked to above. You won't be sorry! Well, that's it for now. Hopefully we'll see Anderson back on Monday, though I have to give it up to John King. Very nice job.

Iraq, Stupid Non Voters, and Foreign Adoption (Thursday's Show)

Hi everybody. You can probably guess by my lateness that I've been busy lately. Anyway, I am very sorry to report that announcer man and over-the-top music is back. Well that lasted long. Oh well. He wasn't really bad tonight, so I won't complain. We kick off things live tonight with Chris Lawrence near Palm Springs, Calfornia. There's a major wildfire raging and sadly four firefighers have died. To make matters worse, trace burn patterns confirm that this was an act of arson. I hope they catch them because they're murderers now.

Transitioning now to a Barbara Starr piece regarding Rumsfeld's recent press conference. The guy practically loses it, telling reporters inquiring about the benchmarks to "back off." He says the mission of the troops remains unchanged. Okay, but can you maybe tell us what the mission is now? I know we've given up on the democracy thing, but are we still hoping for a US friendly government or are we past that now too? This would probably be easier if you guys would stop moving the goal posts.

Next up we have a John Roberts piece on sectarian violence and he tells us that in one town alone half the people have fled. The troops are trying to tamper down the violence by working contacts that they have, but support for local militas complicates things. On one occasion US troops detained some men and practically the whole town came out to plead their case. I can see how that would complicate things. John joins us live after his piece and says that while things are bad, it has not yet come to family against family. Well, uh, thank God for small favors I guess.

Peter Bergen then joins us live to discuss his recent New York Times Op-Ed. Peter is very worried that foreign fighters are going to create a mini Afghanistan in Iraq and regroup and this is why he believes total withdrawl would be a bad idea. However, he does advocate a signifcant withdrawl in order to calm down the insurgency (the belief being that the US presence is actually fueling things). Peter thinks that the time for spreading democracy or even preventing a civil war has come and gone, but we can't just give the country to the jihadists. I like Peter's plan and I think we should probably give it a whirl, though I am a bit worried that a small force of troops would be especially vulnerable to a Tet Offensive type attack.

On now to a Dana Bash piece that completely ticked me off, so this might get ranty. Apparently 40 percent of single women don't vote, a demographic that is referred to as Sex and the City voters. Clever. Anyway, Dana's piece focuses on a single 27 year old non voter and, I'm sorry, but I just want to smack her. She whines that she's too busy and she's turned off by the ads. As a single female 27 year old voter all I can say is, "get over it." It really ticks me off that people don't vote, which is the absolute least thing you can do to participate in our democracy. I could get cheesy and point out that thousands of people before us were killed and had their asses beat down for this simple right. Or I could remind people that millions of Iraqis literally risked their lives last year to exercise this simple right. Or I could simply point out it only happens once every two years and rarely takes longer than an hour. All those are good points, but what gets me is that our government controls every aspect of our lives and people don't seem to care. It drives me insane. Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now, but I seriously hope that someone who knows that woman saw this and gave her a good whack.

Next up we have an interview with Andrew Sullivan and he thinks that the single women are mostly turned off by the ads. Isn't everyone turned off by the ads? You ignore them and seek out the real issues. Anyway, Andrew then goes on to get my hopes us about the possiblity of the republicans losing even more spectacularly than already thought. He thinks that because they never play to the middle the margin of error is very small. I really, really hope he's right.

Transitioning now to Madonna! Oh boy. I have to say I'm a bit shocked that Madonna went on Oprah and it didn't rip a hole in the universe. Aren't there rules that two women of that star magnitude can't be in the same room? Anyway, Jeff Koiange gives us a piece in which he has an exclusive interview with the father of the boy Madonna is trying to adopt. At first the father said he didn't realize he was giving his child away, but he tells Jeff that he knew all along and only changed his story under pressure from NGOs. However, when asked if the government pressured him he gets all defensive. So...hmm. That's interesting. I hope this guy really did wanted to give up his kid.

On now to a Carol Costello piece on international adoption and we get to meet a couple that has adopted four adorable little Chinese girls. We learn that not many people adopt from Africa because the rules are so restrictive. However, in China babies are plentiful. That kind of sounds bad, but I guess it's good for those wanting to adopt. And actually I am one of those people. I'm glad they're covering this subject-even if they had to take the retarded Madonna road to get here. And no, I don't mean Madonna is retarded (wanting to adopt is commendable), I mean the fact that this is a news story simply because she's a celebrity is retarded. Back in the piece, we learn that getting a baby from China costs $20,000 dollars and takes 12 to 18 months. I'm cool with the time thing, but I better start saving my pennies if I want kids in the next 10 years.

To stay on the international adoption subject, we have a taped interview with Dr. Jane Aronson, founder of World Wide Orphans Foundation. She says a lot of people look to adopt internationally because of those high profile cases of the birth parents taking custody back. The cost for adopting vary per country and though you have to jump through hoops to do it, the pay is great. Dr. Aronson also makes the great point that all the money used to cover the Madonna story could have literally saved kids lives in Malawi.

To end the night we have the breaking news that a state of emergency has been declared regarding the wildfires and flags will be flown at half staff to honor the firefighers. The Shot tonight is a 105 year old Iranian woman who has just become a new American citizen. When asked what she will do as a citizen she replied, "I'm going to vote." Hell yeah! Although a part of me wishes she would have said, "I'm going to Disneyland!" Because that would have been hilarious. Pretty good show tonight. B

Has anyone adopted or are thinking of adopting?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

It's Iraq, Stupid (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everyone. Stupid blogger's server went down during my blogging time and now I'm cutting into my quick nap time. Seeing as I got up at 5:30 today, this makes for a crabby blogger. Anyway, I paid specific attention to the intro of the show and announcer man is gone! No over-the-top music or sensational lines. Yay! John King actually did the intro, so I don't know if this a temporary thing or what, but if anyone in power is out there listening, this new toned down intro is much better.

We begin tonight with a Suzanne Malveaux piece on Bush's latest speech, which can basically be summed up as blah blah blah lower taxes blah blah blah security. He's playing his well worn hand of scarying voters into voting republican. Call me crazy, but isn't he the president for the whole country? Shouldn't he be like, I don't know, governing instead of campaigning? Although we've all seen him govern so maybe it is best he's out there stumping for people. Two thirds of Americans now oppose the Iraq War, so Bush is working on reframing the issue in terms of security. Uh, good luck with that. He also notes that accountability rests with him. What does that even mean? They always say stuff like that, but then nothing actually happens. Meaningless.

On now to a taped interview with Joe Biden and I really hate to say it since I love John King, but he interviews just like the Wolfbot and that is not a compliment (though the Wolfbot does have his moments). I hate it when reporters simply play a video clip and then ask the person to respond. It's lazy and when you have an interview such as this one you have the viewer sitting at home answering the questions themselves. Bush says we're winning. What the heck do we think Biden is going to say? "I agree with the president. Iraq looks great?" I don't think so. It's all very obvious and a waste of time. Ask questions that are going to bring forth things I don't know. See, I told you guys I was tired and crabby.

Next up we've got James Carville, who coined the phrase, "It's the economy, stupid," during Clinton's 1992 campaign. However, this year it's not the economy. It's Iraq, stupid. I don't really like Carville much. I basically take the Jon Stewart view on all those Crossfire guys. And I'm still waiting for CNN to ask him about the allegation in Woodward's book that he sold out Kerry in 2004. It's pretty ridiculous that they've remained silent on this.

Joining us live we have David Gergen and he's kind of dumbfounded about this whole Bush press conference. Apparently there was suppose to be a signifcant announcement, but it actually turned out to be Bush flailing around, trying to save his party. During his speech Bush stated that Maliki had agreed to benchmarks and that we have a plan for victory in Iraq. The Gerg points out that Maliki was angered about the benchmarks and if there's a plan for victory it must be hidden. Probably in the same place as the WMD's. And our country's moral standing. Also noted is that republican candidates in close races don't want Bush around, but when he makes these speeches he goes into every district. Sucks for them.

Transitioning now to a Randi Kaye piece on congressman Mark Kennedy who is currently trailing 16 points behind his opponent. He wants to distance himself from Bush so badly he's created an ad that basically plays like a mea culpa on Iraq, but reinterates that leaving there would create a breeding ground for terrorism. Randi thinks this is just extraordinary and totally presses Kennedy to agree with her. I admire the aggressiveness, but it wasn't really a point that needed to be stressed. After this piece we have a Tom Foreman piece that also focuses on Kennedy. About this time I asked out loud, "Geez, how much free ad time is CNN going to give this guy?" And it should be noted that this is not the last time they run the ad. Not even close. At one point John King mentions something about how the ad is like a theme for the show (although I thought the theme was "It's Iraq, stupid"), but the story doesn't happen until halfway through, so...They try, I'll give them that much.

On now to a John Robert's piece on Iraq's security. Experts believe as Baghdad goes, so goes the nation. John likens Iraq to a carnival game: you bop some insurgents down and they just pop up again somewhere else. He also points out some divisions between the US and Iraqi governments. After a recent raid and fierce firefight, Maliki was angered because he didn't give permission for the raid. Also when troops recently confiscated weapons from a tv station Iraqi officials made them give them back. Things have gotten so bad that Iraqis are turning to militias for their security.

Again we view that pesky ad and then move to a Michael Ware piece that looks at who we're actually fighting. Michael notes that the only thing that unites the insurgents is their readiness to kill Americans until they leave Iraq. The two main groups are of course Sunni and Shia, but then they break down to factions within factions. Most are Iraqi Sunnis and they contain nationalist secular Iraqis who are focused on liberating the country from the US and Islamists that are more moderate than Al Qaeda. Both of these groups are willing to talk peace with the US, but Al Qaeda and groups aligned with Iran are not. This was a nice piece. Very informative.

Next up we have a Dana Bash piece that focuses on Iraq veterans running for Congress, specifically Patrick Murphy. It's a neck and neck race that probably wouldn't have been so close without the Iraq cred. After the piece we have a guy from hotsoup.com to analyze the ads for us. He thinks Kennedy's ad is good and the race baiting Ford ad is horrible. Excuse me while I put my tin foil hat on, but I think the RNC knew exactly what they were doing. They got in the race baiting that they wanted and they make their candidate look noble for wanting it taken off air. Whatever. If that was the case I think it will backfire. The Shot tonight is a time capsule project yahoo is doing where they project pictures on a canyon wall. I'm not explaining it very well, but it looked cool. Just trust me on that. Tonight was okay. I like that they stayed away from fluffy stuff, but there's plenty of room to step it up. C+

I think the news networks should just stop covering Bush unless he says something significantly different. Think that would fly?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Iraq, Dirty Politics, And Warren Jeffs Is Back To Torture Us Some More (Tuesday's Show)

Hey everybody. Can I just say how not cool it is that Anderson, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert are all vacation right now? It's two weeks before the elections. I'm stressed out enough as it is. Thank God Keith Olbermann stuck around to keep me sane. Seriously boys, we're going to have to better coordinate this next time around. Also, after the show tonight I realized that the intro has not angered me lately. Now, this may simply be because I haven't been paying the proper attention and not because it's gotten better. So, what have you readers? I'll try to pay specific attention tomorrow, but has it gotten better in your opinion?

We kick off tonight with Iraq news. John King informs us that that soldier is still missing and this intros us into a John Roberts piece. We learn that the US is now pushing for a time table for bench marks to push to work towards a deadline and...this doesn't even make any sense. It's gotten to the point that I don't even know what the hell they're talking about half the time anymore. And what's sad is that I don't think they do either. What I do know is now they're talking about words that they tried to tar democrats with mere weeks ago. Hypocrites. John then joins us live where he admits that nobody is talking about what happens if the Iraqis don't meet the deadline. I'm guessing nothing, which makes this all completely meaningless. Also of note is that Britain is talking about wanting its troops out in 12 months. There goes the coalition of the willing.

On next to a Suzanne Malveaux piece on how the White House is using talk radio hosts to rally their base. They invited all these hosts to a tent on the White House lawn and then officials went around doing interviews. Democrats are mad because the White House grounds are being used for what is essentially campaigning. After the piece we get Glenn Beck in the studio. Okay, ew. Why, CNN, why? You know, about five or so years ago I used to watch CNN Headline News more than I watched regular CNN. I had it on in the background all the time. But then they went hiring people like Nancy Grace and Glenn Beck and now I never watch it. Anyway, Glenn says the main issue conservatives are mad about is the border and he thinks when Bushco talk about the border it's just for show. I think when they talk about everything it's just for show. Glenn also makes the completely delusional statement that the main problem with Bush is that he's just a poor communicator and that when you read his words it's different. Okay, we all know Bush can't talk, but first of all, those aren't his words. Someone wrote them. And second, the economy isn't crap for most Americans just because he's not speaking well. Bodies didn't rot in the streets of New Orleans because he can't speak well. Iraq hasn't dissolved into a civil war because he can't speak well. Those are all failures of policy. I think what Glenn is trying to say is that Bush can no longer get the American people to believe his lies. The facts on the ground have finally caught up to what he's saying. It should be noted that John King challenges none of this, but then again, this whole interview was probably just to promote Glenn anyway. Next time I want an interview like this identified as advertisement or I want John King to do more than lob softballs and nod.

Next up we have a John King piece on what would happen if democrats took control of Congress. We're shown some Bush fearmongering clips and then Howard Dean ticks off all the things the democrats would like to accomplish. However, it's pointed out that Bush still wields the veto pen. We also get a look at the people who will be running the important committees and I'm getting excited just thinking about it. In the piece John points out that John Conyers would be willing to impeach, but he doesn't mention that Nancy Pelosi is on record saying they will not impeach. John is kind of slacking tonight.

Transitioning now to an interview with David Gergen and he thinks that if the republicans stay in power they will escalate Iraq and if democrats take over they will begin withdrawl. Man, democrats need to get that escalation message out there because even though there are a lot of people unsure about withdrawl, some of them are against sending more troops. The Gerg points out that Bush will have quite a tough time if he has a divided government and he might need to eat some crow in order to get democrats to work with him to get things done. What's ironic is that Bush might actually be able to get some of his legislation, like immigration, passed through a democratic Congress easier than a republican one.

On now to some really dirty politics layed out in a piece from Thelma Gutierrez. It seems that a congressional candidate in California, Tan Nguyen, is being accused of sending letters to 14,000 people in an attempt to mislead and intimidate them. The letters state that you cannot vote if you are illegal or an immigrant. This is of course not true because naturalized citizens are allowed to vote and ironically, Nguyen is an immigrant himself. You can imagine how upset people are about all this and even The Governator himself has called it a hate crime. The GOP is urging Nguyen to drop out, but he insists he had nothing to do with the letters. However, they've been traced directly to his campaign, so me thinks he's a big liar too. Keeping with down in the gutter politicking, we've got a Tom Foreman piece on Rush Limbaugh's latest outrageous comments. Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, recently did an ad for Missouri senate candidate Claire McCaskill and Rush has accused Michael of exploiting his disease by acting like his symptoms are worse than they are or purposefully not taking his medication. There's really not much to say here other than that Rush is a disgusting idiot, but I would hope that was apparent long before this incident.

Transitioning now to a Gary Tuchman piece on polygamy. Why, CNN, why? This story JUST WON'T DIE. We even get the requisite clip of Gary getting brushed off by the locals. Poor Gary, it's like everytime the story seems to be over he just gets sucked back in. Anyway, the whole piece is basically about polygamist David Bateman and how he's in legal trouble for having sex with a 17 year old. After the piece we get Gary live and then cut to commercial. Upon coming back we get Warren Jeffs singing Oh hell no! Why does 360 hate my eardrums? After that trauma, we have an interview with Mike Watkiss. This was way too much time on polygamy for my tastes. The Shot tonight is a bed made by NASA that tests weighlessness. They need people to test it out, but volunteers are hard to come by because you would have to lie in it for 3 weeks and the whole time it spins around. Gee, I can't imagine why recruiting people is so hard. Not the best show tonight. C-

So what kind of dirty politics are going on in your neck of the woods?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Midterm Election Politics Galore And A Little Bit About The War (Monday's Show)

Hi everyone. We are Andersonless tonight. Apparently he's on vacation. Hopefully he's somewhere very far away and not listening to any of the fallout from the sniper story because things are getting pretty crazy. I wonder how many wingers will assume his absence is somehow related. Interestingly, while other cable shows covered the controversy, 360 itself was hands off tonight. Although I hear the Wolfbot interviewed that jerk Duncan Hunter. The whole situation is just ridiculous. Anyway, tonight we've got John King for a change because John Roberts is in Iraq and he joins us live at the top of the hour to tell us that an Iraqi American Army member has gone missing. JR was embedded and on a routine patrol when they got the call and they subsequently went on a house to house search. This eventually lead them to a tv station that is affiliated with the largest Shia group in Iraq's parliament. The soldiers then searched the station and confiscated a bunch of guns, which sort of turned into a bit of a diplomatic incident, but it's apparently all good now.

On next to a piece from Suzanne Malveaux about how 'stay the course' is, well, not working. Duh. And now Bush is trying to play it off like he never said that five zillion times over the past three years. These guys consistently forget the invention of videotape. So now Bushco is calling for bench marks for the Iraqi government, which sounds suspiciously similar to the democrat's plans. The dems call hypocrisy after being smeared as the 'cut and run' party and the repubs play innocent, but it all really comes down to semantics. What really matters is that October has been the deadliest month in two years. Following the piece we have Michael Ware live and he tells us that it's too early to tell if any new strategies are working. Although he thinks in regards to Maliki the US has invested "all its political capital in a toothless tiger." Also, we're only a few thousand away from having all Iraqi army/police trained, yet the violence remains. There's another failed policy.

For more politics we transition to a taped interview with Joe Klein, who thinks the shift in the stay the course rhetoric smacks of desperation. You think? I think everything they do smacks of desperation. Joe is tickled by the fact that normally the democrats couldn't win on Iraq with no plan, but that's exactly what they're doing. Except, hold up. Don't they have a plan? Call me crazy, but I remember months ago the democrats being criticized for not being unified on the issue-having too many plans if you will. John Murtha wants redeployment. Joe Biden wants to split the country in three. You can't have too many plans and no plan all at once. The media needs to stop switching narratives. Or, you know, they could not try to pigeonhole everything into a storyline and actually report what's true.

On now to a piece from Candy Crowley on the nasty battle for the retiring Bill Frist's senate seat. The mud is flying, people. It looks as though Harold Ford (D) crashed Bob Corker's (R) press conference and the RNC is running an ad against Ford that is so low that even Corker thinks it's over-the-top. Yet it's still playing because, as Candy points out, it may all come down to Tennesse. That state, Missouri, and Virginia are going to be the three that decide who gets the senate. And I just have to say that Candy just lost major points with me for pronouncing Missouri as Missourah. Everytime someone does that I die inside a little. Oh, also of note is that if Ford wins he will be the first African American senator of a southern state.

Next up we have a Gary Tuchman piece set in Montana that focuses on the youtubization (Did I just coin that word?) of the current election. We all saw how George Allen got burned for his Maccaca comment, though I'm going to have to disagree with Gary's statement that he apologized. Anyway, now some campaigns are being followed with video cameras whose operators are hoping to catch the next gaffe. Case in point: Conrad Burns. The republican incumbant from Montana is being trailed at every public appearance he makes and has been caught on video falling asleep at an agricultural policy meeting. Some may think the videotaping is going too far, but I like it because it makes it almost impossible for politicians to pander. In the age of youtube you can't say one thing to one group and then something completely different to another because there's a record out there.

To discuss all this we have blogger Andrew Sullivan and David Gergen. The Gerg is in the studio for a change and Anderson is missing it. Bummer. Andrew says that the youtube videos are "like crack to me and my readers." So true. He points out that the videos are like viruses that can't be controlled by one person, thus creating true democracy and the possiblity of changing the dynamics of a campaign. The Gerg agrees that we're coming up on a time where the internet will surpass television in importance for campaigns. He points out that every election we say it's the nastiest and every time we're right. He also indicates that it's always the party that's behind that stoops the lowest with attacks, which is what we're seeing from the republicans. Finally, The Gerg pronounces Missouri correctly. Oh how I love The Gerg.

After this we have a Joe Johns piece on Ohio's conservative problems. They've got all sorts of corruption going on with Bob Ney, Governor Taft and others. Social conservatives are also discussed and it's pointed out that they feel taken for granted with this White House. Um, duh. On the flip side, more conservatives are finally speaking out against the Christian Right, including former house leader Dick Armey. After the piece we're back with Andrew and The Gerg, who states that the conservative coalition is cracking up. Suddenly that fine oiled machine of libertarians, social conservatives, neocons, and fiscal conservatives is splitting up into every man for himself. Andrew says that it's funny because it's actually the conservatives that are really mad about everything that's going on. Uh, liberals are pretty pissed too, thank you very much. Due to their anger, The Gerg thinks some conservatives might vote democratic to send a message. John King then asks a very leading question that ticks me off. He wants to know if conservatives are different than liberals in that they're willing to lose because they have principles. Excuse me? As if liberals don't have principles? Please. Andrew then agrees, but to be honest, I think he was agreeing before John finished the sentence and I don't think he was expecting John to say liberals there. Just my reading on the whole situation.

On now to a Jeff Koiange piece about Madonna's African adoption. Okay WTF is up with this story? Madonna is everywhere yet I don't know a single person who actually cares about her adoption. Jeff's fallen a long way from his excellent Darfur reporting. Although really, with all the horror he sees he probably jumped at this story. I don't blame him. We end out the night with John Roberts live again and now he's got video. We get to see some of the search that John told us about at the top of the hour...and we're out. Not bad tonight. B-

Thoughts? What do guys think of Andrew Sullivan? And how awesome is youtube?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Reality TV

We Americans love our reality television. Celebrities pondering whether tuna is fish or chicken? Unruly children being whipped into shape by a British nanny? Pop star wannabies battling it out to be the next person we worship? We can't get enough. Yet when it comes to actual reality some of us can't take it. You've probably guessed by now that I'm referring to the sniper video that 360 aired last week. As I have stated before, I knew from the second they showed it that the hate mail was going to come flying in, but the reaction out there is ridiculous. The chairman of the US Armed Services Committee, Duncan Hunter, has called for the Pentagon to remove CNN embedded reporters, stating, "I think Americans like to think we're all in this together. The average American Marine or soldier has concluded after seeing that film that CNN is not on their side." So now CNN is with the terrorists just because they're trying to show us what is really going on over there? It's unbelievable.

Doing a quick scan of blog posts you can find numerous accusations of treason against CNN and I'd just like to know why these people are so afraid of reality? Why are we not allowed to see the bodies coming home?
Why do we hardly ever see the bloodied wounded?

Why, in January 2005, did the rest of the world see this little girl (splattered in the blood of her parents who were accidentally killed by US forces at a makeshift checkpoint) all over their news, but we in the US barely got a glimpse?

Why do we NEVER see anything like these pictures in our newspapers or on television? Are they pleasant to view? Of course not. But this is a real war in real life with horrible consequences for real people. Not only should it not be hidden from us, we should be forced to look. Because it's all being done in our name and it infuriates me when people get outraged or offended that the news might show something that makes them feel bad.

I don't understand why the right wing is so upset about CNN showing the video other than it makes them feel bad. They say it helps the terrorists, but how? Tony Snow thinks the insurgents are using the video to "break the will of the American people," but I've got news for him. If this was a just war with competent leadership and defined goals, no horrible insurgent video could "break the will of the American people." But this is not a just war, the leadership isn't even competent enough to flip burgers at McDonald's, and even most of the people doing the fighting don't know why the hell we're really over there. So you see Mr. Snow, the will of the American people has already been broken and though the insurgents are most certainly guilty of heinous crimes, it wasn't them that did the breaking. It was the administration you speak for.

It's not only the sanitization of the war that bothers me, it's also people's insistence on seeing good news on their tv screens. Months back I was reading Brian Williams' blog and he told of how when people recognized him in airports and whatnot they always complained about how the news was always so depressing. Out of this feedback, a segment entitled, "Making A Difference" was born and it now airs every Friday. Maybe it's just me, but I don't want to see good news on the national news. In fact, at this point in time I never want to see it. Now don't get me wrong, I like good news. Who doesn't? But for every feel good fluffy story they air, there is corruption remaining hidden and people in need going unhelped. I don't need the news to uplift me, I have Oprah and many other venues to do that. Why are we so afraid of reality? If we suddenly all learned we were living in the Matrix I fear most people given the choice, would opt to remain willfully ignorant. I for one would take the red pill. Always. Sometimes I feel like I already have.

Photos: thememoryhole.org/New England Journal of Medicine via thememoryhole.org/Chris Hondros

Saturday, October 21, 2006

North Korea Being A Pain, The Politics Of Seats To Gain, and Iraq Violence Fails To Wane (Thursday's Show)

Hello all. I guess it's a good thing we've had some shows preempted seeing as though I had a hard time keeping up this week as it was. We begin with breaking news involving North Korea. Jamie McIntyre joins us live to inform us that the US is tracking a merchant ship that in the past has carried military equipment...and that's about it. Jamie here doesn't actually know anything else, so all he can do is speculate. The ship's destination is unknown, but the US won't try to stop it because they have no probable cause. For all we know it could be filled with Chia Pets, North Korea's number one export. Kidding. I like to hear breaking news, but it's kind of annoying when the breaking news basically boils down to, "something important might be happening, but we don't really know anything." This sounds like something that should go on the crawl. I mean, what the hell is the purpose of the crawl anyway? Did you guys see how Cafferty took it over during his special? THAT was awesome.

Anyway, to get the South Korean perspective we go to Dan Rivers live, who also doesn't know anything. Although he does inform us that the US has a large number of Naval assets in the area. Anne-Marie Slaughter, Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, then joins us and indicates that if the US were to stop the ship it could provoke a crisis. She also points out that it is very important for the US to maintain the unity of the international community because North Korea is trying to drive a wedge between the US and other members of the six party talks. What's interesting is that if the ship ends up at the port of a country like China who isn't exactly on the same page as the US in regards to North Korea, they may actually refuse to inspect the ship's cargo and that would of course cause a big problem for the US, which is probably exactly what North Korea wants.

Transitioning now to more Foley fallout brought to us by Dana Bash. It's looking to be a showdown between the house speaker and house majority leader because their stories aren't matching up. Also, Jeff Trandall, the house clerk that oversaw the day-to-day operations of the page program and who confronted Foley about the emails last year, just testified under oath for four hours. Hmm, this should be interesting. Following this piece we have a piece from Susan Candiotti involving the sexual abuse suffered by Foley at the hands of a priest. The priest has finally turned up and let me just say the dude is creeeepy. He talks about going skinny dipping with Foley, giving him massages, and taking naked saunas. Okay, ew. Yet the guy doesn't really even see anything wrong with what he's saying. Disgusting.

Next up we have A.B. Stoddard ("The Hill"), Joe Johns, and Candy Crowley live to talk politics. A. B. has been a busy little bee. I just saw her on Countdown. Anyway, she thinks Hastert has to stay through the election, but after that he's gone and maybe even John Boehner too. It's noted that the scandal is hurting specific races significantly and also feeding into the election as a whole too, though not as much. Joe points out that this is an easy scandal for voters to understand, unlike some of the other scandals out there right now. Anderson thinks the new election theme song should be Mary J. Blige's "No More Drama". Well that just came out of no where. In reaction, Joe totally has "WTF?" face. Bwah! See, this is why I love Anderson. He keeps you on your toes because you never know when you're going to get a comment like that. I'll never forget when he was in New Orleans with this real estate agent and out of the blue asked her if it was hard to walk in her high heels.

On now to a Jason Carroll piece about the first possible indictment for a Bishop for failing to report abuse. And that's pretty much all I've got because I wasn't really that interested. Sorry. Moving on to a piece from Jamie McIntyre concerning the new somber assessments from William Caldwell, the chief US military spokesperson in Baghdad. We all know things are FUBAR over there, but it's rare to here a spokesperson say it on record. It's mentioned that even the usually calm northern areas of Mosul and Kirkuk have seen casualties rise. Although I wonder if that has to do with Kurdish separatists. I wish CNN would cover that angle because apparently Turkey is so angry about these separatists using northern Iraq to stage attacks that are later committed in Turkey, that the country has actually been threatening to invade the northern part of the country. Poor Iraq, everybody wants to invade them. Anyway, Tony Snow predictably downplays Caldwell's assessment.

Next up we have a Tom Foreman piece, which can only mean one thing: it's map time! Not to be confused with nap time. Tom analyzes the idea of splitting Iraq into autonomous states, which I have to say is a bad idea. Right now Sunnis are mostly located in the west, Shia in the south and east, and Kurds in the north. The problem is there is hardly any oil in the west, meaning that Sunnis would be cut out of the oil money. Even proponents of the split contend that there must be some sort of deal to make sure Sunnis get a piece of the pie. The White House is against splitting the country. Oh my God we agree on something! Hell freezing. Pigs flying. World spinning. Help me y'all, I'm scared. Anyhoo, the White House reasoning is that the Sunnis would most likely end up cozying up to Syria and the Shia to Iran.

Transitioning now to a taped interview with Michael Ware and Peter Bergen where...oh my God Peter what is up with your hair?! It's just...oh my. The poor guy has hair issues, doesn't he? Remember when it was all slicked back in Afghanistan? I swear, every time I see him it's like, "Holy makeover, batman!" Okay, I'll stop being shallow. And actually I feel a little guilty now, so I shall pimp his book. Buy, "The Osama Bin Laden I Know". All the cool kids are doing it! Okay, so Michael tells us that the battle of Baghdad they've been conducting for a while now is not working and Peter says that Al Qaeda's strategy right now is to make a mini state in Iraq into just like how Afghanistan was before. Anderson asks Michael if he's scared when he stops at Iraqi checkpoints and Michael admits you never know whether what you're getting into is legit or not. Man, Michael must be incredibly brave or incredibly stupid. Probably a little of both, but God love him for it. After the interview Anderson talks about the sniper video they aired the previous day and why they did so. It's pretty apparent they got a lot of hate mail. I couldn't bring myself to read the blog comments. I've spent enough time wandering around on the wrong side of the blogosphere to be well aware of how horrible people can be. Imagine what they're getting that they can't even post to the blog.

Finally tonight we have a Keeping Them Honest from Joe Johns on Kurt Weldon. The congressman is still in hot water over charges he steered contracts to his daughter's firm. Weldon is a big promoter of Russian relations and it seems that he met with a big Russian energy company and that same year the company became a client of his daughter's firm. Joe breaks it down for us further too and I have to say it was a pretty good piece. Tonight's show was fairly good. B

Screencaps by stillife.

Is it just me or is anybody else feeling kind of meh about all this North Korea stuff? I feel like I should be more nervous about it, but I'm just not. Also, admit it, who laughed (and then felt bad about it) when they saw Peter?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Iraq, Iraq, and More Iraq (Wednesday's Show)

Hi all. I know, I know, I'm a day late. I'm also a dollar short too, but that's probably here nor there. First I need to get a little business out of the way: the Cardinals are going to the World Series!!! Woo hoo!!! Man, what a nailbiter. The game caused me to miss half of the Caffety special. I hope they rerun again. Okay on with the show. We begin tonight with a very disturbing piece from Michael Ware. Through an intermediary CNN has obtained a video from the Islamic Army in Iraq of insurgent snipers shooting US soldiers. At the moment of impact the video dips to black (done by CNN), but the rest we see and I have to say my first thought when I saw this was of how much hate mail 360 was about to get. Anderson explains that they did not make the decision to air this lightly and I say good on them for showing what's really going on over there. I'm tired of the hidden caskets and the injured being transported in the dead of night. The public needs to see what is happening because as members of a democracy we are all responsible. There are 10 incidents in all on the tape and they appear fairly recent. It is suspected the snipers have been trained abroad. US officials refuse to discuss the snipers citing safety. I guess I can understand that, though I'm always wary when they bring up the security excuse. Michael then joins us live to tell us that these attacks are happening every single day and there is a question as to whether or not they might be increasing. Once again, US officials decline to comment because they don't want to let the enemy know their tactics are working. Michael tells us of one sniper who will wait for hours until a soldier shifts position, so that he can hit them between gaps in the body armor. That's unbelievably sickening, but you know, I actually think I read about this guy a couple years ago. Hopefully they've gotten him by now.

Moving on to a piece from Gary Tuchman in which the tape is shown to one of the top ranked US snipers in Iraq. The marine thinks the sniper is actually farther away than the camera man and he believes having US snipers hunt the insurgent snipers is the best way to combat them. People hunting. That's just really creepy, but unfortunately I guess necessary. After the piece we have Brigadier General David Grange live in the studio and he notes that the insurgent sniper actually missed several times in the tape. He also points out that it is apparent that the civilians were not in cahoots with the sniper because they are going about their business, unaware he is there. Finally, he tells us that the US doesn't talk about the snipers that are killed. We then get some Raw Data about attacks, which is preceded by Anderson mentioning Cheney's "last throes" comment. Finally some perspective, even if it subtle. Why that was almost Olbermannesque.

Next up we have another piece from Michael Ware regarding the tape and it is made extremely clear to us that this is a CNN exclusive. Okay guys, don't tick people off with excessive pimping. Michael informs us that the Islamic Army of Iraq is one of the most power insurgent factions in the country and they actually used to be US allies in the 1980's. Don't you love how we train people and give them money and weapons only to end up fighting them 25 years later? The nuts and bolts of how they got the tape is that CNN passed written questions through an intermediary and to their surprise, they got back two tapes. One tape was of the sniper and the other tape was one of the insurgent leaders (face blurred) talking about what they want. It turns out they would not reject negotiations as long as the US is serious. Probably most Americans don't know, but the US has actually been talking with some insurgent groups for quite a while now. The problem is that the insurgents don't want to deal with the Iraqi government because they think it is controlled by Iran. The insurgents are not the same as Al Qaeda, whose agenda is international. After the piece we have Michael live again and he tells us that in mid 2004 a US diplomat began talks with insurgents and they continue to this day.

On now to a piece from Elaine Qujano on Bush's recent comments about Iraq. Tom Friedman wrote a column that says in Iraq we might be about to see the equivalent of a Tet Offensive and Bush agreed that was possible. I'm not saying he's wrong, but why exactly are we listening to Tom Friedman? This is the same guy that for about three years kept saying that in six months Iraq was going to turn around. It got to be such a joke that some people on the internets now refer to a six month increment of time as "a Friedman". Anyway, Bush also acknowledges the bloodshed, but denies a civil war. Yada yada yada. Seriously, does anyone care what this man says anymore? Actually, The Gerg does because he joins us in a taped interview to talk about the comments. The Gerg thinks the Tet Offensive comment has now opened Bush up to Vietnam comments and Anderson brings up Cheney, who apparently thinks the war is going just peachy. Yeah, that sanity ship has sailed. Congress is at a 16% approval rating, but Karl Rove still thinks they'll win. That makes me wonder what he's got in store.

Transitioning now to a Jamie McIntyre piece with the Pentagon angle. Those Iraqi troops they've been relying on so much are still not ready and in fact, the US has had to take back control from some of them. Rumsfeld then says some stuff that is not worth typing. Of note is that there is much speculation as to what the Baker study group is going to come up with. After Jamie we move on to an Arwa Damon piece set in what is known as the Triangle of Death. Well that sounds cheery. The troops Arwa is embedded with are on a mission to locate and destroy bomb making material that is all over the area. It's extremely dangerous work and we see them investigating the area, pulling up wires, and digging up explosives. Mortar rounds are found under tumbleweeds and we learn that since the mission began they have found material for 1000 roadside bombs. Man.

Finally tonight we have Michael Ware and Hoover Institute and CNN fellow Larry Diamond live to discuss the whole Iraq situation and how to solve it. Larry thinks splitting Iraq is a terrible idea and Iraqis don't want it anyway. Michael informs us that the goal of US officials to separate insurgents from Al Qaeda is actually further away than when we started. So great, we're moving backwards. Basically Michael thinks at this point the US is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't and the decision to stay or go is a paradox. It is also brought up that things will most likely change after the midterm elections, which is completely disgusting. I'm really surprised that hardly anyone is pointing out just how horrific that notion is. There are soldiers and Iraqis dying there every day and they're going to wait to try to fix the situation until after the elections?!! W.T.F!!! What kind of people are running this country? Don't answer that. What's ironic is that the only reporter I know of that has pointed this out on television is Shephard Smith of Fox News. Now I don't watch that horrid channel, but I've read the transcript and you can too right here. Bravo, Shephard. People should be shouting this from the rooftops. Going back to the interview, Larry says that Bush needs to declare we will not seek permanent bases in Iraq. Amen to that. Of course I'm pretty sure that's exactly what they're doing. Permanent bases are in The Project for the New American Century's plan and this administration has pretty much followed the rest of the plan, so... Larry then leaves us terrified for the night by saying that basically this whole situation is up to Bush. Yep, the world is doomed. Pretty good show tonight, though kind of weird it was all about Iraq. It's like they were saving their news or something. B+

Screencaps by stormi0611.

I'll let "The Clash" help with my discussion question. In regards to Iraq, should we stay or should we go? Also, how disgusting is it that they're waiting until after the election to do anything about it?

The Death Of Habeas Corpus: It Was A Murder And Our Silence Allowed It To Happen

Hi everyone. I'm postponing the review for a bit to bring you the news, in case you missed it, that on Tuesday our country fundamentally changed. This is not hyperbole. On Tuesday Bush signed into law The Military Commissions Act of 2006, which does away with hapeas corpus and allows the CIA to use whatever interrogation techniques they want as long as they do not cause "serious physical or mental pain." For those of you rusty with your constitutional law, the writ of hapeas corpus is (well was) older than this country itself, dating back to the Magna Carta. Put simply, it is the right of terrorists or anyone else to know why they are being imprisoned. Under this new law Bush himself has the power to declare anyone he wants an enemy combatant, ship them off to Gitmo, and there's not a damn thing anybody can do about it.

Unfortunately, a lot of the media has mostly been silent on this enormous change to our democracy, including 360. Regular readers of this blog might remember me complaining about the noncoverage a couple of weeks ago when Congress first passed the law. However, there has been one bright exception: MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Keith has been covering this from the beginning. Last week or so he did a great segment highlighting how this new law basically does away with nine of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights. You can watch it here and I urge you to do so.

On Tuesday night, Keith had on George Washington University Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley and honestly I thought he was probably going to tell us that the Supreme Court would take care of this like with the Hamdan decision. However, what I got instead was a visibly upset Turley in an exchange with Keith that left me with chills. The following is a snippet from the exchange and the emphasis is mine:
OLBERMANN: Does this mean that under this law, ultimately the only thing keeping you, I, or the viewer out of Gitmo is the sanity and honesty of the president of the United States?

TURLEY: It does. And it‘s a huge sea change for our democracy. The framers created a system where we did not have to rely on the good graces or good mood of the president. In fact, Madison said that he created a system essentially to be run by devils, where they could not do harm, because we didn‘t rely on their good motivations.

Now we must. And people have no idea how significant this is. What, really, a time of shame this is for the American system. What the Congress did and what the president signed today essentially revokes over 200 years of American principles and values.

It couldn‘t be more significant. And the strange thing is, we‘ve become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. I mean, the Congress just gave the president despotic powers, and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to, you know, “Dancing with the Stars.” I mean, it‘s otherworldly.

OLBERMANN: Is there one defense against this, the legal challenges against particularly the suspension or elimination of habeas corpus from the equation? And where do they stand, and how likely are they to overturn this action today?

TURLEY: Well, you know what? I think people are fooling themselves if they believe that the courts will once again stop this president from taking over—taking almost absolute power. It basically comes down to a single vote on the Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy. And he indicated that if Congress gave the president these types of powers, that he might go along.

And so we may have, in this country, some type of ueber-president, some absolute ruler, and it‘ll be up to him who gets put away as an enemy combatant, held without trial.

It‘s something that no one thought—certainly I didn‘t think—was possible in the United States. And I am not too sure how we got to this point. But people clearly don‘t realize what a fundamental change it is about who we are as a country. What happened today changed us. And I‘m not too sure we‘re going to change back anytime soon.

After WWII, many people wondered how it was that a modern, educated, and industrialized nation could become what Germany eventually became. How could people let their country go so far down the wrong path? Milton Mayer explored this question in his book, "They Thought They Were Free". I have not read this book, but there is an excerpt from it that I read every few months or so to remind myself just how easy it is for us to lose everything. You may be shocked just how familiar some of it sounds. And lest anyone become angered that I'm making a Bush-Hitler comparison, I'm not. What I'm pointing out is that democracy is something that must be participated in to survive and that is not currently happening here. Though our current government might be worst than most we've had, perhaps the worst we've ever had, in the end all governments lie. Our fundamental problem in this country just might be with ourselves.

Going back to Keith Olbermann, he did another one of his great special comments Wednesday night on this latest power grab and it can be viewed here. I will forever be grateful for Keith's coverage. As for 360, I have this to say:

Combined time 360 spent on Karr on Monday and Tuesday: Approximately 60 minutes
Combined time 360 spent on the Military Commissions Act: Zero minutes
The value of a free press: Priceless
The value of our democracy after 360 and others shirk their journalistic responsibilities: Worthless

"When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
-Jonathan Simon, polling expert

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Continued Korea, Bloody Iraq, and Missouri's Senate Race (Tuesday's Second Hour)

We begin the hour on North Korea again and kick things off with a repeat of the Barbara Starr piece before moving to Dan Rivers live. Dan says that people in South Korea believe the North will conduct other nuke tests, but nobody really has any serious fears that they will invade. However, they are nervous that North Korea is now fast tracking their program and if Jung Il ever gets backed into a corner he will have his finger on the button. Yikes.

On now to a taped interview with Anderson's former Channel One colleague, Lisa Ling. Can I just say that Lisa Ling is awesome? She gave up a sweet job on The View so that she could cover real news. She may not be as high profile now (and I imagine she makes less too), but she has my respect. Anyway, Lisa actually went into North Korea, posing as an assistant to an eye surgeon. "Is it the freakiest place you've ever been?" Anderson so elegantly asks. Lisa explains that it's a beautiful country, but weird and extremely closed off. There is no advertising other than propaganda, no satellite dishes, and the few books and magazines they have are all about dear leader. Lisa believes that the people of North Korea really do believe what Jung Il tells them. Of note is that after the eye doctor she traveled with helped people they would rush to thank dear leader's portrait, not the doctor. This is interesting and scary all rolled into one. After the interview we have a rerun of the Tom Foreman piece about the Japanese girl that was kidnapped by North Korea.

Transitioning now to another Tom Foreman piece, this time about Iraq. Once again, whether or not they are in a civil war is up for debate. I can't believe we're still discussing this. It's a civil war. Period. Thousands of people are dying every month. They didn't call what happened in Rwanda genocide until after 800,000 were already slaughtered. It's a civil war. Of note in the piece is the fact that due to oil, Iraq has the potential to become a wealthy nation. The problem is there is lots of oil where the majority Kurds and Shia live, but not really any where the majority of Sunnis reside. Hence the fighting for power. This is why I don't think Joe Biden's proposal to split the country up is going to work.

Next up we have an interview with Anne-Marie Slaughter who joined us last hour and Somer Shehata of Georgetown University. Slaughter thinks we're already in a civil war. Thank you! She also thinks that the way to deal with this is through negotiation and Shehata agrees, saying we need to bring Iran in since they've got their fingers in everything over there anyway. Shehata also believes that by acknowledging how bad things are maybe that will then lead to change. Um, has he met Bush? Because that's totally not the way things work anymore.

Moving on to a John King piece on my own state's senate race. Republican incumbent Jim Talent is up against state auditor Claire McCaskill. Go Claire!!!! Seriously, Talent is a total rubber stamp for the Bush Administration. And he's kind of a jerk. And he keeps lying about Claire. What's sad is that he's the better of my two republican senators. Anyway, as luck would have it, my mother called me during this piece, so I really don't know what was said. Pesky parents, man. I kid. After John's piece we have all the Karr crap again. You know, just in case you couldn't get enough of it the first time through. I'm not kidding about those roaches, Anderson. To end the night, Anderson makes me love him again by calling Miles and Soleded the O'Brien twins and then dorkily adding, "they're not really twins." That's all folks.

Screencaps by sherynroyce.

Some Nukes, Some Congress Corruption, and Some More Anger At CNN (Tuesday's First Hour)

Hi everyone. We kick off the show with real news tonight. Feels good, doesn't it? North Korea is at it again. We get the lowdown from Barbara Starr who informs us that while North Koreans are partying it up tonight over, uh, how great they are or something, US spy satellites have detected small structures going up at two different sites. This is similar to activity observed before the first test. Right now our best hope is for China to use its influence. With more, Suzanne Malveaux joins us live to talk about the sanctions. She cautions that if we push too hard the whole alliance might fall apart. And on the flip side, if additonal test occur it might actually embolden the Bush adminstration's case that North Korea's neighbors need to get tough. Normally I'm not down with anything related to Bush being emboldened, but I think I'm on board with other countries being the tough ones for once. In the line of fire, we have Dan Rivers live in Seoul to give us the scoop on what Secretary Rice is going to say to the South Koreans. Apparently she's going to talk about shipping. Booring. You have to liven that speech up, Condi. Dan then mentions that shipping issues could lead to naval battles. Okay, not so boring. Sheesh. I'm sure it'll be all good with her there though. I mean, when has she ever failed before? It's not like she let an August 6, 2001 PDB entitled "Bin Laden Determined To Strike Inside US" get by her or anything. Oh, right.

On now to an interview with Anne-Marie Slaughter, Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She states that there are no good options with North Korea. Its neighbors don't want sanctions with teeth because Kim Jung Il could see it as an act of war and a destabilized country without Jung Il could be worse than what we've got now. Slaughter believes we must allow Jung Il to save face and engage in direct talks with him. Unfortunately that would mean Bush would have to give face and not only does it sound weird, it's also never going to happen. The man won't even change course on Iraq and we expect him listen to a little crazy guy? When pigs fly above a frozen hellscape, baby. When Anderson asks about being tough verus diplomacy, Slaughter urges we do both, saying we need to "talk and carry the big stick." I wonder what Teddy Roosevelt thinks about that.

Transitioning now to politics and a piece from Dana Bash on problems for Harry Reid. Apparently he bought some land and didn't disclose something and then he gave his doorman a big tip with campaign money that he later reinbursed and...yeah, that's pretty much it. Seriously, this is the big democratic scandal? On the other side of the aisle we've got predators, vote buyers, Congress ruiners (Tom Delay), CIA agent outers, and bribe takers. Jack Abramoff had to testify in a case where a guy got wacked for Pete's sake! To even begin to explain all the republican scandals I would need a powerpoint presentation. And yet, here's CNN throwing Harry Reid in there as if he is a "balance" to everything on the republican side. Look 360, I know you're probably getting hatemail from completely desperate righties, but that's no reason to shirk your journalistic responsibility. Stop it. Now money in the freezer guy? He's another story.

To continue with the political we next have a Joe Johns piece on Curt Weldon who is being investigated by the justice department on charges of steering contracts to his daughter. He, of course, blames the democrats. Because what other course of action would he take, really? I'm sure next we'll be hearing about Clinton and his evil penis and then Chris Shays can bring up Chappaquiddick again. Except there's a teensy little problem. You know that evil justice department that's running the investigation? Yeah, it's republican controlled. Oops. After the piece we have some politics speak with The Gerg and I have to say it's kind of freaky looking at little Anderson standing before this ginormous Gerg head. If I was some sort of science fiction geek I could probably come up with a good joke here, but I'm not, so no go. Anyhoo, this was kind of a let down because The Gerg goes into no specifics. Basically he just says it looks like a wave is coming, but the house republicans do enjoy a lead by two to one in cash. Stupid money.

And now we move on to my most favorite topic evah: John Karr. Seriously 360, you are KILLING ME. Before running a piece, Anderson gives us this disclaimer: "I'm about to whore myself out right now and air a non newsworthy sensational waste of time and energy so that my employers can get high ratings from brain dead Americans who eat this stuff up. Those of you that have standards and care about journalistic integrity might want to hit the mute. I say hit the mute and not turn it off because even though I'm serving you a plate of crap, you know I still look perty." First of all, Anderson that was a really long disclaimer. And second, yeah, he didn't really say that, but he should have. Instead we get the standard, "some may find this material disturbing" type of disclaimer. And I have to say, the piece can pretty much be summed up as, "Ew!!!" Excuse me while I go bleach my brain. After the piece we have the honor of seeing a Larry King clip and then we get Fred Berlin (from yesterday) and Jeffrey Toobin in a taped interview. Oh Toobin, not you too! I thought you were keeping away from this. For those keeping score at home, they wasted over 15 minutes on this story this hour.

On now to something lighter, we have a Jeanne Moos piece on Hillary's (Clinton) name. It (the piece) actually was better than it sounds. See, Hillary was told she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, this dude who climbed Mount Everest, but as it turns out, Hillary was born in 1947 and the climbing occurred in 1953. Apparently mommy lied. I'd be annoyed if my parents lied about my name. Of course I'm named after nobody, so I guess it doesn't matter. After the piece Anderson informs us that he bears his grandmother's Maden name. Yes Anderson, we all know you're a blue blood. No need to rub it in. I kid. The Shot tonight is fighting babies. Okay, not literally, but apparently there are three different sets of parents claiming their child was actually the 300 millionth born. Uh, I've got news for them, seeing as though it's a statistical estimation, there's a good chance none of them are the actual 300 Millionth American. The show was better tonight, but I'm peeved we still have Karr coverage. C+

Screencaps by liberation337.

Are you as annoyed as I am with the media's tendency to try to "balance" all the republican scandals with anything they can find on the democrats?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Big US Welcome To The 300 Millionth Person (Monday's Second Hour)

We begin the second hour with the information that at 7:46 AM Tuesday morning the US will welcome its 300 millionth person. Feeling crowded yet? I find it hilarious how they pinpoint it to the exact minute. There's no possible way they could know that. I guess it doesn't sound as cool if they include the words "statistical estimation." Anyway, we begin our coverage with a Rick Sanchez piece set in Dalton, Georgia, where 40% of the town is now Hispanic. The old time residents are not happy (and come off a little racist if you ask me), while the business leaders are loving it because of the source of labor. I understand resisting change and I understand wanting to make money, but there has to be a happy medium in there somewhere.

Since we're talking about immigration we have, who else, Lou Dobbs in a taped interview. You know how only dogs can hear really high pitched noises? I think Lou has that same ability whenever anyone anywhere talks about immigration because he always just appears. Lou starts talking about how we're running out of resources on the planet and I agree, but I'm kind of wondering what he's getting at here. Are you hoping for the Avian Flu to come wipe down our numbers or what, Lou? Although I do have to give Lou props for talking about how water is a limited resource and in the future there will be greater competition for resources, causing a continued gap between the haves and havenots. I actually agree with a lot of what Lou says on most topics, but I have trouble watching his show because he's so biased. I don't just want to hear what I already agree with. Oh, and then there's his whole mad dog approach to immigration. Not pretty.

Following Lou, we have an informative Anderson piece involving demographics. With graphics! Snazzy. Has anybody seen the Morgan Spurlock show "30 Days"? Their graphics are reminding me of that. At the end of the piece we learn that while we were watching, six more immigrants came to the country. We then have a repeat of the Randi Kaye piece involving racial tension in Georgia and we're on to a Tom Foreman piece. With maps of course. The guy loves his maps. You know he has all his cars decked out with the latest in GPS. Anyway, Tom gives us a crash course in how this great country of ours got to be. Americans of course started out on the east coast and slowly made their way inward, grabbing for land. Teddy Roosevelt had to create National Parks to actually protect the land from all of our expanding. The Depression kept growth down (probably because of that whole no food thing) and then people got to booming after WWII. In the 70's the birth rate declined, but it has never stabilized. We are currently the third most populous country in the world behind China and India.

On now to a Jason Carroll piece on a tale of two 13 year olds in two separate towns in Texas. One boy is poor and the other well off and because of this their lives are drastically different. Jason makes the poor kid cry over all the stuff he doesn't have. Way to go, Jason. What's telling is when the kids are asked about their futures. The well off kid is full of hopes and dreams that he believes he can achieve. The poor kids also has hopes and dreams, but believing he'll ever live them out? Not so much. That's so sad. We live in the richest country in the world. It shouldn't be like this. People like to say that money isn't everything, but frankly, when you don't have it, it is everything. Being without money makes life incredibly hard. Trust me, I know. And yet our president's solution is to cut taxes for the rich.

Next we have a Sanjay Gupta piece on another of America's shames: our healthcare system. 46 million Americans have no health insurance and a good deal of them are middle class. This is because healthcare costs are skyrocketing while wages have remained stagnant and employers have been cutting back on benefits. Sanjay profiles a couple that actually had to take out a second mortgage on their home to pay out of pocket for the birth of their child because they had no insurance. Not right. Not right at all. Millions of Americans shouldn't have to live their lives in fear knowing that they are only one accident or illness away from complete financial ruin. And the piece didn't even mention that even if you can afford to buy insurance for yourself, if you have a pre-existing condition, they probably won't take you. I'm lucky that I have insurance right now. For about three to four years I didn't, although I did buy crappy temporary insurance every six months or so in case I were to get in an accident. And actually, I did get in an accident, so even crappy insurance is better than no insurance. Say it with me folks: Universal Healthcare now!

Moving on to a Delia Gallagher piece about the next generation of Muslims that have been born in this country. They are the changing face of Islam and sometimes struggle between the two cultures. Our last piece tonight is by Tom Foreman and involves our ever lengthening commute. Basically the houses are so expensive in the cities where the good jobs are that people are forced to live way out in the burbs and commute in. Public transportation works in New York, but not really anywhere else. I'm glad my commute is only medium length and I only have to make it twice a week. I did the whole hour plus commute each way every day when I was going to college. Of course I don't exactly have an awesome job, so...Anyway, of note is that people think they're making these sacrifices to obtain the American Dream, but really the American Dream is more than just stuff--it's your relationship to your family and community too--things major commuters don't have time for. Ironic. Well folks, this was definitely better than last hour. B

A Freak Show...And Then Some News (Monday's First Hour)

Hello everyone. Did your week kick off to a rainy start too? What a mess. Well, let's get moving. We begin tonight with John Mark Karr. Wait. What?! Oh hell no! That's it. Hold up people, I've got to pause this review for a second. You know how on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart will sometimes ask someone to meet him at camera three? Yeah well I'd like to ask Anderson and Executive Producer David Doss to please meet me on my blog couch. Everybody comfy? Anderson would you like a Diet Coke? Okay, here we go. What the frack are you guys doing? I mean, seriously, John Mark Karr??!!! Are you kidding me with this stuff? I've got an easier question: What does CNN call itself? Anybody? CNN calls itself the most trusted name in news. How in the world am I suppose to trust CNN after what I just witnessed? You lead with John Mark Karr and don't even mention the earthquake that rocked Hawaii this weekend? Or what about the new explosive book from David Kuo on how some in the White House mock evangelicals? Either of these stories are a million times more newsworthy than what you just showed.

Look, I understand Larry King having the guy on. Larry is not a news show. Besides, I'm pretty used to that show being a bit of a circus anyway. You know what I'm talking about Anderson. How many completely bizarre handoffs have you had to endure? Plus those ties alone could scare small children. The thing is you guys are a news show and I therefore expect, well, news. Especially at the top of the hour. This was a disgusting ratings stunt and I'm disappointed in both of you. The last time John Mark Karr was discussed on the show was a few weeks ago during a sit down with Lisa Bloom and Jeffrey Toobin. I had this to say:
They sort of seriously discuss the case and then Anderson wants to know if this guy will write a book and do the tv circuit. This makes me want to cry. If 360 books him they are so on notice.
Okay, technically it was Larry King and not your show that actually booked him, but what you did tonight was pretty dang close, so you guys can consider yourselves almost on notice. If I see any more coverage of this freak, I will...I will...send you roaches. Yes, yes, that's right, Anderson. I will send you roaches. And David, I will...well I actually don't know what you're afraid of, but I have people who have a freakish amount of free time on their hands and they will find out. Live in fear boys. Oh and while I've got you here Anderson, dude, you have got to chill with the pen clicking. Seriously, take a Ritalin or something because you're driving my girl Liberation337 up a wall. Maybe she wouldn't have noticed the clicking so much tonight if you had been, you know, reporting actual news. Anyway, that's it. You're both free to go. Have a nice night and throw away your trash.

Alrightie, back to the review. As mentioned, we lead with John Mark Karr and some of his interview from Larry King. I try not to bang my head against the wall as I listen to the non killer of a decade old sensational non currently newsworthy murder story discuss (or actually not discuss) a maybe sex change. Arrgh!! I feel so informed! We then move into a David Mattingly piece on Karr and I will not be going into any details because it's pointless and unlike CNN apparently, I have standards. Oh, and for fun you can look at the corner of the tv screen and watch the last shred of CNN's credibility disappear. There they have a "John Karr speaks" graphic. Lord, help us all.

To completely waste everyone's time, joining us we have Lisa Bloom of Court TV, forensic expert Dr. Lawrence Koblinsky, and sexual disorders expert Fred Berlin. Geez, Lisa Bloom talks loud. Indoor voice, girl! We then have two Anderson pieces on the situation before going back to the panel. All in all this coverage comes to 32 minutes. Unbelievable.

Transitioning now to news on North Korea. I like how John Karr came first. Good to see CNN has its priorities straight. Anyway, Jamie McIntyre joins us live to inform us that US spy satellites have seen activity at nuclear sites, which may mean another test soon. We then move on to a Dana Bash piece on Kurt Weldon, a republican Pennsylvania congressman, who seems to be in some trouble. He's being investigated for possibly steering clients to his daughter's firm. That's a no no. After the piece Anderson talks about Harry Reid's land deal. I love how they feel they have to throw that out there to balance all the republican scandals. People on the right have practically been foaming at the mouth to get the nonstory out. I was on Brian William's blog earlier today and there were people accusing him of bias. I'm nonpartisan when it comes to corruption. I want that crook William Jefferson gone. But when it comes to Harry Reid there's nothing there.

On now to polls, polls, and more polls with, who else, Bill Schneider. I should just start calling him the Poll Man from now on. To summarize, things look bad for the GOP. Yay! But I'm not holding my breath. Of note is that the majority of Americans oppose military intervention when it comes to North Korea. Man, we think we have a quagmire now. Can you imagine that? Also, a small majority puts the blame for the current North Korea situation on the Bush Administration over the Clinton Administration. I'm not sure why we have to focus on blame here. It's a failure of policy, which is bad, but it's not anywhere near lying us into a war.

Previewing some of our next hour coverage, we have a piece from Gary Tuchman on children in a dual language immersion program. Basically the kids mostly learn in their native language (spanish) with english being slipped in a little more and a little more over time. The program of course has its critics. I don't know what to think. If it works than I'm all for it, but apparently the research is mixed. While chatting with the kids in the school, Gary registers his surprise to the claim that homework is fun. "What kind of school is this?" he asks, to the delight of all the kids. Seriously, he cracked those kids the hell up. So cute. Also extremely cute was at the end when one little girl waved and said, "thank you for coming." How polite. Aw, Gary totally deserved that after all those times being yelled at by fundamentalist Mormons. That's it for the first hour and since next hour is a special I'm going to grade each individually. This hour gets a D.

Do you share my outrage over the Karr coverage?
FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from freestats.com