Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Dow Drops, Amazing Escape, Bagram Bombing, "The Secret", And Bob Woodruff Returns (Tuesday's Show)

Hi guys. We’ve got Anderson back in New York tonight. It’s been a while. We begin with the news that the Dow Jones average fell 416 points today. Yowsa! This is one of the very few times in life where being poor is actually an advantage. Well, sort of. I don’t have to worry about any of this because I’m guessing it’s not going to touch my savings account. Ali Velshi then joins us in studio for more. This must be a big day for him. I don’t imagine the financial guys have this much excitement a lot. For those wondering, Ali is an American Morning staple. He tells us that the whole thing started in Shanghai and then just triggered to everywhere else. I’m sorry, but the way Anderson and Ali are standing is kind of cracking me up. Don’t walk too close to each other guys. So what caused all this market chaos? A technical problem. That kind of makes you feel secure doesn’t it? We don’t even need terrorists to do us in; all we need is a glitch. Anderson mentions that Alan Greenspan was recently talking about a recession, but the people Ali has been talking to say it’s probably not a big issue. Don’t worry, be happy. Go shopping! Ali tells us the same thing might happen tomorrow. I guess we’ll see.

Transitioning now to a David Mattingly piece on the amazing escape of 13 year old Clay Moore. Clay was abducted at gun point while waiting for the school bus. His abductor then blindfolded, gagged, and tied him to a tree. But Clay here was thinking on his feet and put a safety pin in his mouth before he was tied. After the kidnapper left he was able to (slowly) use the safety pin to poke through the tape binding him to the tree. Amazing. We’re then joined by Family Safety Expert Bob Stuber. I can’t be sure, but I think this is the guy that has previously urged us to grab a trashcan if we’re being abducted. I know I always travel with a big trashcan. Bob does some talking about how kids seem to be more resourceful now, but he also urges parents to give their kids ideas on how to make these kind of escapes. Also, he’s a bit upset that Clay got in the car. You should never do that. Ever. Anderson points out that you should also run in the opposite direction of an abducting car. Then Bob talks about disconnecting the brake lights if you’re ever stuffed in a trunk. Man, the world we live in.

Up next we have a Tom Foreman piece on a suicide bombing that occurred at Bagram Air Force base. And guess who was there about a mile away? Why our own beloved VP. The Taliban is claiming they did it to take him out, but the White House is saying “nuh uh.” Tom then pulls out his maps (because it’s in his contract obviously) to show us that fighters have basically set up a trade route into Iraq. Also, we learn that these fighters are going into Iraq, studying the best way to take out Americans, and then going back to Afghanistan to try it out. Well that’s just awesome. We’re basically helping to show how to kill us. Hey, how about we not do that? Now if I could just get my time machine to take us back to March 2003. Screw that, November 2000.

On now to a Peter Bergen piece. Yeah, you heard me. Peter’s doing his own pieces now. He used to be a producer anyway, so I don’t know if this is a promotion, but I like to heap praise, so yay Peter! In his piece we learn that Afghanistan has gotten much more explodey in these recent years. In 2001 there was only one suicide attack, but last year there were 139. In the piece we meet former CIA Officer Art Keller and he tells us that what’s currently happening is the reverse of how the War on Terror is suppose to work. I’m telling you, we really are living in opposite world. Keller then talks about how all our resources went to Iraq, which made fighting and routing out terrorists in Afghanistan pretty damn hard. Thanks Bush. Thank you oh so very much.

Next up Anderson has an interview with the Pakistani ambassador to the U.S., Mahmud Durrani. Anderson talks about how crappy that peace deal was that Pakistan made and asks if he thinks the deal strengthened the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan. Mahmud then throws it all on Afghanistan and basically tells Anderson that he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. Because according to Mahmud, everything in Pakistan is peachy. Anderson tries again, relating his own experience of when he was in the region, noting that soldiers told him they saw people crossing the border. Mahmud says that about 200,000 people cross that border everyday and it’s hard to know who’s who. Well maybe you could, I don’t know, try to figure that out. He then once again throws it on Afghanistan.

Anderson tells him that no one is denying Afghanistan is part of the problem, but points out that Bush clearly thinks so is Pakistan. Then he asks if foreign fighters had actually been expelled. Mahmud tells him that most had been expelled. Uh, what? Who? What about Mullah Omar? Anderson does not ask this question, but he does follow up in a politer way, asking if he keeps track of the people expelled. Yeah, we want proof, man! Mahmud says he doesn’t have numbers (shocking!), but keeps involved. Right. Anderson would like to know why attacks are up 300% if the deal is going so well. Mahmud then metaphorically puts his fingers in his ears and screams, “Afghanistan, Afghanistan, Afghanistan!” Then he says Pakistan is maybe responsible for five of those percentage points. Bwah! Out of 300%? Okay then. This was a good interview. Well done, Anderson. Afterwards Anderson kind of gives us a little talk about Afghanistan. He’s obviously feeling bad about the lack of coverage (not just on 360).

Transitioning now to a Randi Kaye piece on “The Secret.” Apparently there’s this whole huge Oprah-approved self help phenomenon going on, complete with New York Times best seller and DVDs. I knew nothing about any of this until today when I pulled my Newsweek out of my mailbox, skimmed what was on the cover, and said, “What the hell is, ‘The Secret’?” And since I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, how convenient for me that 360 has decided to explain. Basically it’s all about the power of positive thinking. You can have anything you want if you just want it bad enough and think positively. Uh huh. Something tells me the Bush camp subscribes to this theory. They’re all about making their own reality. Okay, so this is all crap, but after the piece Anderson wonders what’s the harm really. Randi explains that the danger is that people might start to blame themselves if things don’t work out like they think they should. She then gives a counterexample of a woman who thought positively and then got a job. Well that’s because she went into the interview with confidence. Duh.

Next up we have Jerry Adler, the author of the Newsweek story and John Assaraf, who is a big believer in “The Secret.” I had to laugh looking at these two because it’s so obvious who’s the believer. John is all plastic smile and scary optimism. Anderson then asks Jerry what’s wrong with being optimistic. Jerry points out that you kind of need to take actual action to change your life-not just visualize it. Turning to John, Anderson wants to know what’s different about this than other self help stuff. John rattles off a whole bunch of crap about how this is actual science, but I’m not buying it. Neither is Jerry. He points out that real science would be a controlled experiment, such as taking two groups of women with breast cancer and treating one group with chemo and one with “The Secret.” Okay, that would be totally unethical, but I’m with you in theory, man. Anderson runs with this, and asks about the danger that people won’t get treatment. John then pulls out his medical chart and talks about how “The Secret” helped him. Enemas are mentioned. OMG, man. TMI! He goes on about this forever, with Anderson trying hard to interrupt.

Kiran’s doing the headlines tonight, which is weird, but, whatever. The Shot tonight is a car that crashes into the DMV. Ooh and there’s a twist! Superman was there! But he didn’t help. WTF? I bet you wouldn’t see Batman just standing there not helping.

Most of the second hour is a taped special, but we do have an Anderson piece on Bob Woodruff at the top of the hour. We all remember that he was seriously injured in Iraq last year, along with (not as seriously injured) cameraman Doug Vogt. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since this happened; it seems like just a few months ago. Woodruff was in a coma for 36 days and when he woke up he couldn’t remember his brother’s name or the fact that he even had twin girls. Part of his skull had to be removed, so his brain could swell and his speech function was damaged. We see an Oprah clip of his wife and I can’t help but chuckle. Oh Anderson and your Oprah love. We also see a clip of Woodruff’s young daughters helping him with his speech. He’s having a little trouble with the word “belt buckle,” but after much adorable patience from the girls, he finally gets it. Even cynical me had to “aw” at that . Woodruff says he’s ready to go back to work. I wish him well. After the piece Sanjay pops up to give us the medical lowdown. The show was pretty good. B+

What do you think of “The Secret”? Anyone watch Bob Woodruff before he was injured?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sy Hersh on Iran, Strained Troops, Car Insurance Hell, Sorority Scandal, And Oscar Winner Al Gore (Monday's Second Hour)

Hi guys. We kick off this hour with a taped interview that John Roberts did with Sy Hersh of the New Yorker. John points out that Sy has been writing about possible military action with Iran for over a year now and wonders what's changed. Sy says that now the planning has been brought inside the joint chiefs, Bush has asked for a 24 hour package (meaning we're ready for war in 24 hours), and the US is grabbing many more Iranians for interrogation. He thinks all of this is inching us closer to something. You know, I always love to hear from Sy Hersh, but everytime I see him I get this feeling that the world is ending. John notes that the White House is denouncing everything Sy says. But of course. Sy tells us that his sources in the military are nervous and we now have a carrier group in the Straits of Hormuz, which is very vulnerable to attack because it's hard to maneuver there. He also tells us, "They have anywhere from 700 to 1,000 little PT boats that they could turn into suicide boats tomorrow and go after our fleet." See why he gives me that 'end of the world' feeling? Please be wrong, Sy.

On now to a Jamie McIntyre piece on our stretched thin military. Okay so General Peter Pace says that our military is ready for whatever comes at us, but..."CNN has confirmed that recently General Peter Pace secretly upgraded to significant the risk that the U.S. would have trouble responding to a major new security threat." Uh huh. I think the fact that we're taking criminals now pretty much confirms the military is about broken. After the piece Kiran talks with Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen. Kiran asks what the upgrade means and William says that if we get in another conflict (another conflict?!) it will take longer to complete. Longer than forever? Because that seems to be how long Iraq is taking. William then says that actually we need more troops in the conflicts we're already fighting. He talks about how NATO needs to step up. Yes they do. After this we're got a Drew Griffin investigation on car insurance.

Transitioning now to Kiran introing aKeith Oppenheim piece on the Delta Zeta sorority. Kiran says that she was a sorority girl. Yeah, that doesn't surprise me. Sororities are a bit of a mystery for me because my university didn't have them. And I wouldn't have joined anyway. So okay, apparently Delta Zeta wasn't getting as many members as the national leadership wanted, so what do they do? Kick out two-thirds of the girls. And not just any two-thirds; these were the least attractive. That's lovely. Remind me why I never joined a sorority? Delta Zeta of course is spinning the whole thing, saying it was about commitment. Whatever. After the piece Kiran talks to Alexandra Robbins who went undercover for a year in sororities. Alexandra says that sororities are run like businesses and this is all about quotas. Is nothing sacred?! She thinks they should kick the Deltas off. Amen. Ah, your blogger is out of time. Next we had a Bill Schneider piece on Al Gore and then some blog comments.

Were you a sorority girl? Are we going to war with Iran?

It's Jesus Day On 360, Pakistan Being A Bad Friend, And Car Chases (Monday's First Hour)

Hey folks. I guess Anderson is recovering from an Oscar bender because we've got John Roberts and Kiran Chetry holding down the fort tonight. We begin with the news that James Cameron has found Jesus! Literally. Well, sort of. So okay, in 1980 this ancient tomb was discovered that people think held Jesus and now Cameron's doing a documentary on it. Why is this the top story? Well, God gets good ratings. No, really. Apparently everytime Time or Newsweek puts Jesus or something Jesus-like on their covers they sell like hotcakes. And for all intents and purposes we'll just assume that hotcakes sell really well. I guess we're suppose to be on pins and needles as to whether this discovery will change Christianity as we know it, but I'm pretty much feeling meh. We learn in a Tom Foreman piece that the tomb is suppose to contain not only Jesus but his wife Mary Magdalene and their child. Ooh scandal! Critics point out that even if the markings on the tomb are names, "Jesus" and "Mary" were pretty common. I'm a Christian, but I can't say that I'm interested in this at all. This is something that can't be proven, that's why it's called faith. I don't really get the hoopla.

John then has an interview with Bruce Feiler, author of "Walking the Bible" and "Where God Was Born." Bruce is pretty much with me in that he thinks this is all BS for publicity. John wonders how it would shake up the Christian faith if this was all true. Eh, we'd get over it. Seriously though, the only way for this to be confirmed true would be if Jesus himself came down and told us, which I think would be the bigger story. At least I hope if would get more coverage than Anna Nicole Smith. BTW, an interview with Jesus would be a huge "get," though I'm sure Fox News assumes they have automatic dibs. Our Faith and Values Correspondant Delia Gallagher then pipes up that Christians are used to people saying Jesus was married, but what would be troubling in this case is that bone residue is in the tomb. Christians believe Jesus arose and did not leave any bones behind. I'm wondering what CNN does with Delia when nothing's going on. I mean, does the poor woman just sit around waiting for the Pope to tick off Muslims or what?

Next Kiran interviews forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs for a little Jesus CSI. I can see the spin off now. So apparently they tested the bone residue and Jesus and Mary don't match and...I kind of wasn't paying attention. They may have said, but how do they even know what residue belongs to who? One interesting tidbit is that for some reason they didn't test the child. Hmm. Anyway, I'm done with this so moving onto a John Roberts piece about Noah's Ark. I'm sensing a theme here. Some believe it's on Mount Ararat in Turkey and others think its carcass is in the mountains of Iran. After the piece we get Bruce back and he tells us that we're not going to find Noah's Ark. He thinks we're asking too much of the Bible. Exactly. It's called faith for a reason, people. You're not going to find the real stuff. I'm looking at you too, Indiana Jones.

Up next we've got a Randi Kaye piece about...Jesus! Like you're surprised. This time we're focusing on the shroud that he was suppose to have been wrapped in before being placed in the tomb. Apparently it just showed up in the middle of the 14th century and nobody really knows where it came from and where it was before then. There are a few problems here. First off, forensic tests have found that the "blood" on the shroud is most likely some kind of paint. Also, the shroud has been dated at about 700 years old and if you've read your Bible you know that we're missing over 1,000 years. This is some other dude's shroud. Or drop cloth. After the piece Delia notes that it's not really about the shroud, but what the shroud represents. Okay. Is that why people freakout when they find Mary on their toast? And does Jesus approve of ebay? This concludes the Jesus coverage and I am happy. I have a church. I don't necessarily want CNN telling me this stuff.

Transitioning now to what should have been our top story. The VP made a surprise visit to Pakistan to put the smackdown on Musharraf since he's not doing the best job fighting terror in his country. I have to say, if the idea is to scare someone, Cheney was a most excellent choice. The guy makes flowers die and puppies cry. One of the scary things Cheney brought with him, besides his sneering face, is a threat to cut off aid if Musharraf doesn't get his act together. Peter Bergen then joins John to discuss all this. He states that Pakistan sent 7,000 troops to fight al Qaeda and the Taliban and that didn't work. And then they tried peace agreements and that clearly didn't work, so now they don't seem to know what to do. Pakistan is of course downplaying the whole thing, but Peter thinks it's a huge security issue for everyone and of course we all know a bloody spring offensive is coming. John wonders why we don't just send in some special forces to take these guys out. Of course it's not that simple. Peter notes that the camps are very small and then John brings up the fact that if the US pushed Musharraf too hard they could push him off the edge. However, he doesn't mention that this is important because if Musharraf falls the country will most likely go to a radical. And why would that be really, really bad? Because Pakistan has nukes. Say a little prayer for Musharraf.

Switching back to Kiran and she tells us that today the Supreme Court took up a case on a high speed police chase. Apparently one of the cops bumped the driver and sent him down an embankment. He's now paralyzed and claiming his civil rights were violated with unreasonable use of deadly force. This intros us into an old Randi Kaye piece about a 15 year old girl that was killed when another teenager slammed into her family van while being pursued by cops. The whole issue here is that people think these police chases are getting out of hand. They question whether the risk of a chase is greater than just letting the suspect get away. The family of the girl have been fighting to get Christy's Law passed in California, which would "restrict police chases to violent felons posing an immediate threat and make it a felony to flee police." However, they have yet to be successful.

Kiran then speaks with Jeffrey Toobin about the case the Supreme Court just took up. Well Toobin, it's not exactly the Libby trial, but it is better than Anna Nicole Smith. Toobin notes that usually the court is just working with paper, but in this case they actually have a tape to watch. Kiran wonders if the guy has a case. Toobin points out that obviously the fault is with him because he fled, but then again, he was fleeing for a minor offense. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Hey check it out! Anna Nicole Smith has been moved to the headlines! Hooray! Now watch, we'll get 30 minutes tomorrow since I just said that. The Shot tonight is a bunch of creatures off the coast of Antarctica, which is strange since it's suppose to be frozen right now. John tells us "So you lose a little, you gain a little because of this global warming thing." Um, no. I know you're just bantering, but don't make me call Al Gore. Do you have an Oscar? No, I don't think you do. The show wasn't all that great. I'm sure some people loved the Jesus stuff, but it's just not newsworthy because it's unproveable. C

So did they really find Jesus? Does the car chase guy have a case?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Out of Control Afghanistan, ANS Crap, More Obama/Clinton Tussle, Iraq Refugee Talk With A Smackdown (Friday's Show)

Hi everyone. This blog is coming at you from the Oscars. Okay, yeah, that's a lie. But I am watching the Oscars while I type this. Oh, Al Gore, your little gag was both predictable and a little me. Anyways, tonight we begin with a warning from the Taliban and a new terror tape from al Qaeda. Don't they know it's Friday? Stupid terrorists are bringing down my weekend. We then learn more about the al Qaeda tape from an Anderson piece. This particular tape is from al Qaeda in Pakistan along the Afghanistan border and was reportedly make in early 2006. That area, specifically Waziristan, is also a popular hang out for Taliban, who are picking up some nasty habits from their more explosive terror peers. So basically everything is going to crap there and one of the main causes is that deal that Pakistan struck with pro-Taliban militants. Oh the deal's going great...for the Taliban. Everybody else? Not so much. And what a great ally Pakistan is, huh? Love you like a cold sore, guys!

Joining us to discuss this more we've got Nic Robertson and Rick Barton with the Center For Strategic and International Studies. Nic notes that attacks are up and the deal Pakistan struck is not working. Uh, you think? And he tells us that sometimes security forces will have al Qaeda people in custody and Pakistani intelligence will let them go. Oh, WTF? Rick thinks we need double the troops in Afghanistan and more helicopters. Well the army's a little busy right now fighting a war we never should have started. Unless of course you want to send the Salvation Army, which actually, we're probably pretty close to doing. Rick points out the Afghans are noticing the insecurity in their country too. Yeah, that whole death thing is probably pretty hard to ignore. Anderson then talks about massive NATO red tape. I actually almost typed FEMA there. Habit I guess. So okay, NATO is all cool with sending troops, but apparently they have a problem with sending them where there's actual fighting. I know I'm a layman with all this, but that seems...crazy. Maybe they think this is opposite world. Nic confirms that that the red tape is a huge issue and even Bush apparently stopped clearing brush for a second (or biking or coming up with stupid names for the press) to complain about it. NATO members find it politically unpleasant to put troops in harm's way. Oh brother. Do they not understand what a war entails? I know the US leadership majorly blows right now, but the other countries could maybe step up a little. Lord.

Transitioning suddenly now to Anna Nicole Smith crap. Very suddenly. Man, it's like they're addicted. They could only make it through eight minutes of actual news before they needed a hit of their ratings smack. After all the crap we get a kind of meta "Raw Data" where we learn that "Over the last 24 hours alone, U.S. TV stationed aired about 148,000 segments about Smith. As for the name Anna Nicole Smith, a Google search came up with more than 22 million hits." Then Anderson literally promises us more coverage of it. So basically they're all, "OMG, look at how much air this thing is getting...still to come more Anna Nicole Smith!" Somebody kill me now. Oh, and if that doesn't make your head explode, check out the preview for the Clinton/Obama story coming up. I kid you not, they're actually using fighting sound effects. I would expect that from Faux. I think 360 needs a time out to think about what they've done.

On now to a Candy Crowley piece about the Obama/Clinton flap over David Geffens' comments. Now Obama is saying he didn't know his staff issued a statement. The Clinton team totally doesn't believe that and frankly I'm not sure if I do either. Also, I don't care much. This whole thing seems pretty stupid to me. Can we get on with saving the world please? Oh, that's not on the schedule? Bummer. David Gergen then pops in to give us the requisite political low down. He thinks Clinton is actually the big loser in this and should have just let Geffen's comments in Maureen Dowd's column go. He's probably right. I mean, who reads Maureen Dowd anymore? Even liberals are starting to hate her. Anderson notes that Clinton's critics say she's unelectable and The Gerg points out that this little incident reinforces her critics sterotypes about her. Although The Gerg doesn't think Obama came out clean in this either. Anderson brings up Obama's staff and The Gerg states that they're green. Actually I think they know exactly what they're doing. I guess only time will tell.

Next up we have the Randi Kaye piece on Iraq refugees and it's been re-edited with updates. Apparently Democratic Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio stated that Ohio doesn't want to take in any Iraqis because they've suffered enough for this war. Um, what? Yeah, that didn't really fly, so now he's back tracking, saying he was misunderstood. You see, he loves him some Iraqis. Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo also made comments against accepting refugees, but racism tinged comments from Tancredo aren't exactly news. Besides, he gets his in about 10 minutes. After the piece Randi tells us that the process for accepting Iraqis in the US is very complicated with those that have helped in the war effort getting highest priority.

On now to a debate about the subject with Tom Tancredo and Edina Lekovic of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Anderson points out that some Iraqis have risked their lives working with the US, but Tancredo is hung up on this law. See, apparently Iraq is refusing to take back their citizens that are deported from other countries for crimes. I can't imagine why. Everything seems to be so orderly over there. Surely they could handle it. Tancredo tells us that there's a law that says if they don't take them back, the US can't give out visas and he's all about the law, man. Well, he's good at hiding behind it anyway. Edina points out that, hello, there's a humanitarian crisis going on. Anderson wonders what Tancredo would think if they changed the law. Tancredo then says he'd be okay with it, but throws up all these conditions. Oh, and then he goes into BS about how it's not like these people are trapped in Iraq. Oh yeah, they're fine. WTF? Edina states that 100,000 Iraqis are fleeing each month and once again reinterates that this is a huge crisis.

Anderson then asks Tacredo what he thinks should be done and Tancredo states that we need to get the Iraqi government strong enough so the Iraqis can come back and feel safe. Um, have you checked out the Iraq government lately? Because people over there will tell you there basically is no government. I think you're going to need a plan B. It's at this point that Edina, who has been fairly reserved throughout this interview, suddenly goes nuclear, "Congressman Tancredo is the same man who a few years ago said that we should consider taking out Mecca in order to send a message to the terrorists. So..." Ohh, snap! I had forgotten about that. She was probably just quietly waiting to bring that up. Tancredo then goes ballistic. He starts bleeting that she has no respect and that he didn't say that. Um, yeah you did, I remember. He claims it wasn't to "send a message." Yeah, because taking out Mecca for other reasons is perfectly okay. Then Anderson does something amazing: He reads the transcript of the interview with Tancredo's Mecca comment:
When asked how he would respond if terrorists struck several U.S. cities with nuclear weapons, he said, quote, "If this happens in the United States and we determined that it is the result of extremist fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites."

Campbell said, "You're talking about bombing Mecca?"

And Tancredo responded, "Yes."
Busted! Fact checking? Oh, 360 you get a total gold star. I probably shouldn't get so excited about accountability and actual journalism, but that was awesome! Oh, but, apparently I'm not allowed to bask in the awesomeness for too long because we've got more ANS crap! Oh yay! Don't make me take away that gold star. Tonight's show was okay. B.

What do you guys think about the Obama/Clinton tussle? What about the Iraq refugee debate?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

More Iran/UN Talk, Dumping The Helpless, Wrongly Imprisoned, And ANS Crap With Even More Perspective (Thursday's Second Hour)

Hi guys. Sorry about the delay. We kick off the hour with a repeat of the Tom Foreman piece and are then joined by Abbas Milani, "the director of Iranian studies at Stanford University and co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution." Abbas thinks the UN resolutions have maybe gotten the Iranians to rethink their position, but Anderson points out that critics think the UN has failed when it comes to Iran. Abbas notes that now they seem more willing to negotiate. Also, in the past Iran had played the US against the rest of the world and now everyone is united against Iran. Anderson again states that Ahmadinejad is not the one with the power here. You just keep saying it Anderson! Abbas says that Ahmadinejad's small role is diminishing even more because he's failed on the domestic and economic front. Anderson then asks who would be hurt the most from an attack on the Strait of Hormuz, pointing out that Iran depends on the oil too. Abbas agrees, stating that shutting down that oil would bring every car in the country to a stop. Oh, the traffic jam from hell.

Next up we have repeat Michael Ware and then we move into a Randi Kaye piece on skid row. Hmm. Anderson's in LA, they do a skid row piece. It's like clockwork. I kid 360 though because it's an important topic. It's kind of sad that they keep covering this and it's apparently not getting better at all. What happens is that hospitals in LA are essentially dumping their patients when they can't find anywhere to take them. Sometimes they literally dump them in a gutter, which is what happened recently to a man who was wheelchair bound with a colostomy bag. He was found crawling disoriented in the gutter with his property bag in his mouth and covered in his own waste because the colostomy bag had broken. That is so entirely messed up. How could anyone just dump someone in a gutter? The city is now invesigating 55 cases of dumping from LA hospitals. But get this, it's not illegal to dump people. Why the hell not? Everything is for profit now: healthcare, news,...war. After her piece we get Randi live and Anderson notes that legislation has been introduced to make dumping illegal. Yay! Randi states that fines and possible jail time might deter some dumping, but the Southern California Hospitals Association is against anything that would criminalize hospitals. Well, maybe if they didn't act like criminals this wouldn't be an issue in the first place. Randi then points out that one wonders why the most recent case was released at 1:00 in the morning. Um, that's a good question.

Transitioning now to a Gary Tuchman piece on James Waller, a man falsely charged with the rape of a 12 year old boy. Yikes. Apparently the victim said a black guy did it and he was the only black guy in the complex. The jury only deliberated for 46 minutes. Damn that sucks. James did 11 years and then got out on parole. From there he worked to clear his name, but during that time life sent him an even bigger blow: his wife and unborn daugher were killed in a car wreck. So if you think your life sucks, just know that you could be James Waller. Man. At that point he wanted to die, but he kept fighting and eventually hooked up with the Innocence Project, who got him a DNA test that proved his innocence. So yay for him! But guess what that means? Yeah, somebody just got away with raping a 12 year old boy. After the piece we get Gary live and Anderson notes that the governor still needs to authorize James' exoneration, but he's taking forever. Why? Gary agrees the governor doesn't seem to be in a big rush. Okay, who is this govenor? Oh, Rick Perry. That explains it. Jerk.

On now to our requisite ANS crap. As per usual, I'm not blogging the content, but we've got some choice quotes here. First from Anderson, "As I said earlier, I've only watched a few minutes of this, but I had to turn it, because I wanted to scream at the screen every time I saw these people -- 'There's a war on! There's a war on! There's a war on!'" You sing it man! It's like he's in my head. We're totally soul mates. Okay, maybe not. Anderson, I hear you freaking about the courtroom drama, yet here we are talking about it and I don't see a gun to your head. Perhaps it's off camera. Oh there it is. It's shaped like a Nielsen box.

Okay, so then we get this from Toobin, "...there was something pathetic about Anna Nicole Smith's life that was on display here. Is that this woman was an ATM machine with big breasts." WTF, Toobin? No you didn't. Are you actually going to make me want to defend a dead slutty former playmate? Because that ticks me off. Don't make me put you on notice. Anderson again, "Well, I mean, and also, in terms of contribution to society, I mean, you know, I'm sure she was a nice person and she had children, and I'm sure she loved them and stuff. But it's not as if we're talking about something that really matters to anyone other than a -- or should matter to anyone but a small circle who stand to reap the benefits of this, but clearly people are fascinated by this." Exactly! This is my big beef with the news sometimes. James Kim. Runaway bride. Guy who flies small plane into New York building. So much coverage for people that are quickly forgotten. Oh, and I am not fascinated, Anderson. I'm pissed. After this there's repeat autism stuff and we're out.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Iran Defies UN, Iraq Chemical Attacks, Autism Explained By Amanda Baggs, And ANS Crap With Perspective (Thursday's First Hour)

Hi everyone! We've got Anderson back tonight and he's coming at us from Los Angeles. I bet he's happy to be in a nice clean suit, far away from sadistic Animal Planet hosts and things that jump. He starts off by talking about Anna Nicole and my heart sinks, but then says, "But we begin with news that actually matters, or should matter, to all of us." So you do get it! Thank God. The news that actually matters is that the UN gave Iran a deadline to stop enriching uranium or face sanctions. The thing is they haven't stopped...and the deadline was yesterday. Oh, here we go. Now there's major concern about the instability of the region and talk that Iran may be a bigger threat than al Qaeda. Oh, c'mon. Pick a boogieman and stick with it! I can't just transfer my fear on a dime, you know.

We delve into this issue further with a piece from Tom Foreman and he, of course, breaks out the maps. You may or may not have heard, but there's a lot of oil in the middle east and a great deal of that oil has to travel through the Strait of Hormuz. The fear is that Iran will somehow attack this strait, thus causing all hell to break loose. It's nice to hear the Strait of Hormuz being talked about in the mainstream media. Bloggers have been talking about this scenerio since Sy Hersh was writing pieces about possible war with Iran back in 2005. Also discussed back then was the fact that an attack on Iran would possibly result in massive attacks on our troops in Iraq as well as attacks around the mideast from Hezbollah. Just for the record. Twenty percent of the world's oil market flows through the Strait of Hormuz and shutting it down would basically cut off Saudi oil. Even if the US tapped its oil reserves we could be looking at $7-$8/gallon gas if an attack were to happen. It's noted that the Iranians are "staging naval maneuvers and testing weapons in the area." Not noted is the fact that the US itself has sent carriers to the area, which some believe are meant to provoke the Iranians into doing something. You reported this before 360. It's kind of an important piece of information to leave out here, don't you think? Look, the threat to the Strait of Hormuz is real, but I'm not entirely convinced that there's all of the sudden this immediate danger, especially with all the war drums being pounded lately.

To explore this further, we're joined by Military strategist Dan Goure and Anderson asks if Iran already has nuclear weapon capabilities. Dan thinks yes and maybe even actual weaponization. Anderson points out that though we tend to hold Ahmadinejad up as the bad guy, he really doesn't even have that much power. Dan admits that this is all being driven by supreme leader Khamenei and other parts of the government. I appreciate that Anderson brings this point up a lot because I don't think the majority of the US has any idea how little power Ahmadinejad has. Anderson asks about the US options and Dan mentions strong sanctions. Also brought up is the military option, which is pretty crappy because as Anderson points out, the nuclear sites are deep in the ground and all spread out. Plus Dan notes that the US doesn't have bunker buster capabilities at that level and there are probably sites that we don't even know about. Unfortunately, they're talking about this like the people making the decisions are sane and rational. They're not. We're dealing with, "I'm staying in Iraq even if it's just me and my God damn dog" guy. Feel safe? Anderson mentions that Iran must know how stretched our military is, but Dan notes that the Navy is actually okay and they're suited for operations around the Gulf. Yeah, and I'm sure everything will go exactly according to plan and we won't have to worry about any other divisions. I mean, just look at how according to plan Iraq went. Oh wait, that's right, we didn't have a plan. Unless of course the plan was to be as incompetent as possible. Because if that was the plan? Mission Accomplished baby!

On now to Michael Ware live to further discuss those chemical attacks he was telling us about yesterday. Anderson notes that Michael has said the chemical attacks have actually been happening since 2003-2004 and he wonders why the surge now. Michael says he doesn't know. I have to say, I appreciate it when someone doesn't know something and they actually say that they don't know. It would be nice if they all did that, but of course that would put a lot of talking heads out of a job. Michael tells us he has seen some of the insurgent's chemical arsenals and when he breathed in it burned his throat. I guess I've become a total Michael fangirl because when he said that I literally yelled, "Don't do that!" Anderson asks how successful the attacks are and Michael explains that it's hard to determine how many people are killed from the actual blast versus the chlorine. He notes the real number is the 200 people that have been hospitalized for respiratory problems. "Those people don't have to die to spread the fear amongst the community."

Transitioning now to another Sanjay Gupta piece on the autistic woman we met last night, Amanda Baggs. We learn that Amanda was diagnosed at age 14, but there were signs of the autism much earlier. She tried to fit in and even attended a regular elementary school, but ultimately found it easier to relate to animals. Sanjay notes that when he was with Amanda she could have cared less what he was doing in terms of body language and how he related to her. He could have just sat there the whole time and she would have been fine with it. I'm trying to imagine living in a world with no body language and I can't do it. I'm a people observer and am very attuned to body language to pick up how people are feeling or their motivations. Nervous ticks, voice tone, movement, facial expression. Imagine not having any of that. I can even read people on television if I've been watching them a while. For example, Anderson? Really excited at the beginning of the Amazon adventure, but not too thrilled by the end. I don't think people even think about body language that much until they meet someone who doesn't use it.

Next up we're joined by cognitive psychologist Morton Ann Gernsbacher and she's communicated with Amanda online. It's noted that Amanda guest blogged for 360 and people sent in their questions to her. Anderson is going to read some of those now. One of the emailers asks Amanda why she thinks it's important for autistic people to be around each other and Amanda states that autistic people can pick up things from each other that others can't. Morton thinks it's important for parents of autistic children to sort of know what to expect. Another emailer asks Amanda what she's feeling when she hits herself. Amanda replies that, "It's usually a reaction to stress or overload, or else something I'm compulsive about that has just gone wrong, and often a combination of the three." Morton thinks it's important to understand an individual's motivation. You know, I don't think we really need Morton. Amanda's getting it done on her own, though I understand why 360 doesn't want to just have Anderson reading these. Another question asks whether or not autistic people can show affection. Amanda says that they can and do, just not in typical ways. Morton tells us that every study done shows autistic children are just as attached to their caregivers as other children. Okay, I guess that was helpful information. We'll go ahead and keep you Morton. The last question asks, "How do you think an island, populated only by autistic persons such as yourself, would function?" Well that's pretty messed up. That dude's kind of sick...or he's just been watching too much Lost. Amanda says, "I don't know. I don't think I would want to live on an island with people of only one neurological configuration, no matter what it was." Seriously. If we were only suppose to deal with people just like us God would have made us all the same. Anyway, check out Amanda's website, though apparently all the attention has become a little overwhelming and she might not post for a while.

We end the night with ANS crap and tonight's edition includes a bewildered Anderson. He tells us he could only watch a few minutes of the spectacle before he had to turn it off. Good for you Anderson! But, uh, why were you watching at all? Okay, so blah, blah blah. Jeffrey Toobin thinks people will be talking about this case for years to come. "Well, I'm not sure I will be, but I'm sure a lot of others will be," says Anderson. Not me! Toobin then states that the real battle is going to be over the money, which people will be fighting over for years. This is the part where I smack my forehead and quietly weep. Erica does the headlines tonight and I get all excited for Anderson/Erica interaction, but...nothing. Well that was disappointing. They probably didn't even tape at the same time. In my alternaworld those two are totally prom king and queen. Also, Al Gore is working on his second term. Oh, and I have money. I love alternaworld. Obviously it's getting late.

The show tonight would have been pretty good if there wasn't so much Anna Nicole crap. Holy hell! They did upwards of 25 minutes (commercials included) in just the first hour. Bad 360! Bad! Don't tell us it's not news and then bash us over the head with it. C+

So what do you guys think about the new Iran developments? Any thoughts on the autism story and body language?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

JetBlue Mea Culpa, The Price Of Civil War, Delta Update, Pedophile Update, Incarcerated, And A Big Spider (Wednesday's Second Hour)

Hey guys. We kick off the hour with a big old apology from JetBlue. They are oh so very sorry for basically imprisoning people on a tarmac for many hours. Oh and they're also very sorry that their reputation is trashed. Isn't it crazy how one bad day can cause a company to crash and burn? Perhaps I shouldn't use the phrase "crash and burn" when referring to an airline. Anyway, in a Randi Kaye piece we learn that people are now talking about a Passenger's Bill of Rights. One woman who was stuck on an American Airlines flight has gotten thousands of people to sign a petition on her blog. So what are your rights as of right now? Uh, yeah, you basically don't have any. It turns out that Congress has previously pushed for an offical Passenger's Bill of Rights, but the airlines have always squashed any attempts. I'm shocked. I wouldn't look to Congress anyway. They're having enough trouble with the Bill of Rights. The airlines seem to think it would be better if they just handled this stuff themselves without being forced by Congress. Because that always works. No, wait, it never works.

Next up we have a Kiran piece on the JetBlue flight. I'm guessing the only reason for this piece is that now they have EXCLUSIVE video and pictures. Whoop dee doo! Yeah, not much point here since this story is a week old. However, we do learn that JetBlue has a new policy now that passengers should be moved off the plane if they've been stuck more than five hours. Five hours? Lord. After this we get a rehash of the Clinton/Obama/Geffen story.

Transitioning now to a Michael Ware piece that is prefaced with a major warning from John. This one is graphic folks. We see the fallout of the civil war through video clips...and actually I can't blog this. There is nothing I can say. You have to see it. Good on CNN for bringing a little reality, though I think we need a lot more. One thing mentioned in the piece that definitely caught my attention was that today is the one year anniversary of the Golden Dome mosque bombing in Samarra. If you're feeling a little deja vu, you're not the only one. See, on February 12, 2007, I blogged that that was the one year anniversary. In a state of comfuzzlement, this blogger went to the transcript. So as it turns out, February 12, 2007, was the anniversary using the Muslim calender year, so consider this a retraction. Thanks a lot to whatever producer wrote that line. Your cleverness confused me and resulted in truthiness. Bad producer! And for those wondering, I consulted with a Muslim friend and apparently the Muslim calender is in lunar months, thus the difference. There you go.

Next up we have Jeff Koinange with an update on his Niger Delta piece. We know Jeff went to the Niger Delta to talk with people involved with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) and while there he saw Filipino hostages. We also know that after the piece originally aired the hostages were released. Well tonight we get to see them reunited with their families. Yay! Jeff then joins us and he's wearing a suit. That's definitely a different look for Jeff than how I'm used to seeing him. Kiran asks if the issue is over with now and Jeff tells us no. Just recently two more Filipinos were kidnapped, as were three Croatian oil workers. Jeff doesn't think the battle for the delta will ever end until all parties sit down and talk together. I'm not holding my breath.

On now to a David Mattingly update on that 29 year old who posed as a 12 year old. I really see no purpose for this piece other than the fact that they now have tapes of the guy talking. Who cares? I know there's the freak factor that fascinates people, but after seeing the orginal piece I really didn't need to see anymore. So we'll move on to Sholah Lynch and another installment of her documentary film "Incarcerated." This portion is mostly about prison as a revolving door. On any given day one in eight black males are in jail or prison. That's a pretty bad statistic. Even worse is that the US is number one in incarcerations. Yay us? Being number one at something is nice, but I would have gone with something like, you know, health care. One of the reasons for the revolving door is when people get out there are no job opportunites for them because employers are usually loath to take the risk. The whole thing is one massively messed up situation and the system needs major reform.

Finally tonight we have a clip of Anderson and Jeff Corwin in the Amazon and by the way they've been freaking promo-ing this thing throughout the show you'd think we were getting naked dancing or something. Yeah, that's not what we're getting. I just hate the manipulation. I know 360 isn't the only show that does this because when Keith Olbermann does a special comment they preview it through the whole show and then air it last. It's annoying is all. Anyhoo, Anderson and Jeff have stumbled upon the Goliath Tarantula, which is one of the biggest spiders in the world. "That's huge," Anderson says. Jeff is just beside himself. Anderson? Not so much. "'I've got to tell you, I am shaking with excitement," says Jeff. Anderson replies that, "I'm actually just shaking." Heh. I knew he was going to say that...and not just because they aired that little portion last hour. Sometimes he's very predictable. As the guys move a bit the spider moves too and this causes Anderson to jump. It wasn't quite as bad as the frog freakout, but still funny. Jeff then goes off on an animated lecture all about this spider while Anderson keeps an eye on that sucker the whole time. I do not blame him. That's it for tonight.

Ever been stuck on a plane? What did you think of Michael Ware's piece? Are you afraid of bugs like Anderson?

Chemical Weapons In Iraq, Obama/Clinton Tussle, And Autism And Communication (Wednesday's First Hour)

Hi everybody. We've got John King and Kiran Chetry hosting for us again from New York and they begin the broadcast by undergoing one of the most awkward Larry King handoffs ever. And if you've ever watched Larry King you know that's saying something. First off, Larry calls them the "dynamic duo," which is what he always calls any two people that happen to be hosting. Then he starts in on poor Kiran's name, talking about how it sounds like a food or something. WTF, Larry? Go to bed! See, Anderson is a pro at these handoffs. He throws on a big grin and keeps it there no matter what crazy-ass stuff Larry says. But Kiran's a newbie, so she just looks horrified. John looks pretty uncomfortable too. This is why they should not let Larry stay up past five. Poor Kiran. I'm actually liking her.

Kiran then recovers enough to tell us that the terrorists in Iraq are now creating truck bombs by combining explosives and chlorine. That does not sound like a fun mix. Michael Ware joins us live to discuss this further. He tells us that if used properly, it's a horrific weapon that can cause a nightmarish death. Apparently the insurgents have experimented with chemical weapons before and this is just more evidence of how they adapt. Kiran asks if something like this is easy to do. As far as getting the supplies, Michael tells us it's extremely easy. However, not so easy is knowing the right mix. Kiran then points out that the attacks were actually on the outskirts of the capital and she wonders if maybe that means the new stategy is working. Michael quickly knocks out any optimism that might have been hanging around by flatly saying no. The terrorists adapt and the violence continues. Now it continues with chemical weapons.

Next up we've got some political sniping between Obama and Clinton. It all started when Hollywood producer David Geffen, who used to raise millions for the Clintons, gave an interview to the New York Times blasting them. Now Geffen is an Obama supporter. He's also kind of a jerk if you ask me and I'm not even a Clinton supporter. So anyway, the Clinton camp wants the Obama camp to condemn what Geffen said or something since Obama is suppose to be all about civility. But the Obama camp says no. Then both candidates give carefully worded statements to the press. Blah, blah, blah. Whatever. How many months are we going to have to go through this, again? Sigh. You know, people talk about Clinton's rapid response team, but I have to say I'm pretty impressed with Obama's. He's handled this and the madrassa BS really well. The guy's got a shot. John Kerry he ain't. Dana Bash then joins John King to discuss. I really think this story is more about the media having political controversy withdrawl and wanting to make a bigger issue that it is. John, however, disagrees. He thinks it matters because Geffen is putting issues on the public table that democrats have been talking about in private. Dana says the Clinton people are mad because they think Obama is getting a free ride. Yeah well, wait until the republicans get their attack dogs in order. The free ride will be over soon enough. Although the Clinton people are right in that the media clearly love Obama.

Transitioning now to a fascinating Sanjay Gupta piece on autism. I know a little bit about autism (I think I wrote a paper about it in college), but it's still such a mystery to everyone. In the piece we meet Amanda, who is severely autistic, but quite surprising. Amanda doesn't talk or make eye contact, but she has a keyboard and can communicate up a storm. She actually shot, edited, and put her own video up on youtube, which is how CNN found her. Amanda calls the rest of us "neurotypical," because she thinks in patterns and colors. Going out into the world is really overstimulating for her, so she prefers to spend her time at home, often on the computer on the website Second Life. When you hear a story like this it really makes you wonder how many people in the past that were locked up in hospitals or prisons were actually just unable to communicate the normal way.

When Amanda was younger she actually talked, but as a teenager she started regressing. One in 150 kids have autism or an autism like disease, which is kind of astounding. Amanda is guest blogging on the 360 blog and I wanted to ask her what her take was on the theory that vaccinations cause autism, but after reading her post it didn't seem like an appropriate question. Amanda thinks that autistic children should be exposed to autistic adults. That makes sense. After the piece we get Sanjay and Kiran asks what causes the disorder. Sanjay tells us it's still kind of a mystery, but there seems to be a genetic component. I'd like to see someone besides Robert Kennedy look into the vaccinations angle. I'm not saying I have anything against him, I'd just like more perspectives. Kiran also wonders who pays for Amanda's equipment and Sanjay tells us that the state does. The state of Vermont specifically. Actually some states don't offer any help, so yay Vermont. I'm guessing my state doesn't since my governor is a jerk, but who knows. Anyway, not exactly hard news, but I really enjoyed it. Maybe 360 can look into the whole vaccine thing and alleged coverup.

Next we have a clip from Anderson and Jeff in the jungle, but they play more of it next hour, so I'll deal with it then. And then we're on to more ANS crap. Over 15 minutes worth! What's really sad is that today I learned that CNN is actually taking the high road with this story when it comes to the amount of coverage compared to Faux and MSNBC. That makes me very sad because this is so not an actual high road. The Shot tonight is a cow loose on Route 140 in Upton, Massachusetts. Not all that interesting to me, but our co-hosts banter the hell out of it. They work well together. I think I approve. The show was fairly good. B

What do you think about the Obama/Clinton dustup? Have you heard about vaccines being linked to autism? Your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

More America The Vulnerable, Goodbye Amazon, Really Premature Baby, And Women In Prison (Tuesday's Second Hour)

Hi everyone. We begin the hour with Kiran live and she then intros us back into the taped special. Anderson asks Stephen if maybe they're actually giving terrorists ideas. I guess this is the part where 360 tries to preempt some angry emails. Stephen tells us that they're not bringing up anything that hasn't already happened in the middle east. Anderson then points out that critics will say that Stephen wants to turn the US into a police state, but that's not what Stephen wants at all. He explains that fear comes from feeling helpless and if we plan and prepare we won't feel so scared. Stephen also states, "As a society, the biggest danger we face is not terrorist attacks. The biggest danger we face is how we react to the terrorist attacks. It's not the damage that terrorists do to us. It's what we do to ourselves when we are spooked." Amen to that! I like this guy. But then Anderson asks, "What do you mean by that?" What does he mean by that?! He means the last five frickin years is what he means! He means preemptive war based on lies. He means sanctioned torture. He means them listening to our phone calls, reading our emails, and checking out our bank accounts. He means taking off our shoes at airports and carrying our liquids in plastic bags. He means shutting down a major American city due to Lite-Brites. That's what he means. Clear? To be fair, Anderson may have just been asking for the audience benefit. Anyway, Stephen says that bad things will happen, but if we have a plan we can "roll with the punches."

Next up we have another David Mattingly piece on another disaster scenerio. This time we're in Sacramento and it's raining a lot, which is a problem since the city is actually more vulnerable to flooding than New Orleans. Hmm. Maybe all those people who think we should just give up on New Orleans should direct some of their venom at Sacramento. Back in our scenerio things go from bad to worse because, oh no, now there's an earthquake! Man, that is like the worst day ever. In real life, some officials are trying to stop building by the levees and the state is begging for federal money because the levees are crumbling. Yeah, good luck with that. Well, at least the locals are trying. 360 needs to get an interview with the feds to ask why the money isn't there.

On now to a Jeanne Meserve piece on our collapsing health care system. Most of us remember the horrible Rhode Island nightclub fire that happened about four years ago. Besides the deaths, there were many, many injured and the medical system was just not prepared for what happened. And Rhode Island is not alone in being unprepared. There are three main problems with the nation's overall system: not enough beds, not enough equipment/supplies, and not enough staff. I've been sayng for a long time now that in regards to something like Avian Flu, a vaccine is a great thing to have, but it shouldn't be all we focus on. If a pandemic occurs there aren't going to be enough things like IV tubing. It's not that thousands of people will die; it's that thousands of people will die in the streets for lack of hospital beds. We are not prepared. Because of the fire, Rhode Island has improved their system, but I'd wager that it's still not great. After 9-11 there should have been massive planning, as well as investment in the whole health care system and there just...wasn't. God help us when the next disaster hits. 360 if you're out there, please follow up on this. You've seen the aftermath of Katrina. Next time it could be worse.

Back to David Mattingly again and this time he's taking us to New Orleans. We learn that Max Mayfield has quit the National Hurricane Center because he was tired of his warnings falling on deaf ears. Really? Oh man, that guy was awesome. That sucks. Also, well before Katrina, Disaster Expert Walter Maestri was laying out disaster scenerios, but apparently nobody listened. He says people ask him how it feels to be right and he says "horrible." I can relate to that. Critics of this administration have seen many of their predictions pan out, but I know all I ever wanted to be was wrong. So anyway, it turns out that people are being allowed to rebuild right where it flooded before, they're just raising the houses up a few feet. When asked how that will help when there's 12 feet of water, one official replies, "The levees, we pray, won't break this time. " Oh holy hell. Prayer is not a plan! It's back-up. After I beat my head on my desk a bit we're back with Anderson who points out that if this was an al Qaeda attack on the levees he's sure things would have been different. Well, yeah. Stephen points out that we tend to think of local governments as being responsible for non terrorism stuff when it's clear we need the feds to take a leadership role in that stuff too. Anderson notes that a lot of Stephen's solutions will cost a lot of money. But you know what else cost a lot of money? Iraq.

Transitioning now back to John and Kiran live. I wonder what those two have been doing. My guess? Playing Twister. They then intro us into a taped piece of Anderson and Jeff in the Amazon and I guess they're about to leave since there's a helicopter right there. They talk a bit about their experiences. Anderson totally signs Jeff's memory book and Anderson promises he'll call. Okay, maybe I made that last sentence up. Jeff still has really dark bands on his arms. He claims they must have used ink from a "sharpie tree". Ha! Anderson obviously found an SOS pad tree in the jungle because his markings? Not so much. The guys also chat about the ecosystem and everything, but honestly I just wasn't feeling this trip. Don't get me wrong, adorableness abounded, but as far as really getting into the issue of why our planet is in peril? The coverage was a bit too shallow. Maybe it will all come together further into the series.

I'm short on time, so we're in super speed now. Next up there was a Sanjay piece on the earliest premature baby to survive on record. 21 weeks and 6 days. Wow! And also? I've missed Sanjay. Remember when he was on almost every day? The last piece of the night is another section of Shola Lynch's documentary film "Incarcerated." This piece focused on pregnant women who are locked up. I liked this better than the last piece from the series. The War on Drugs is mentioned, but I'd love 360 to go into this deeper sometime. And yeah 360, I know you didn't make this film. I'm just saying.

What do you think about "Incarcerated"? The Planet in Peril series so far?

Iraq Increasing World Terrorism, Brits Leaving, ANS Crap, And America The Vulnerable (Tuesday's First Hour)

Hi everyone. See, I knew if I mentioned Anna Nicole they'd cover it again. Oh well. So tonight we've got three anchors again. Well, sort of anyway. We only have taped Anderson, so I don't know if that counts. What's weird is that both John and Kiran are together in the New York studio. I think the only people that can pull that off are the O'Brien twins. Otherwise...awkwardness. Our first piece of the night is from Tom Foreman regarding a new study that says Iraq is actually making world terrorism worse. Really? Now who would have guessed that? Tom explains that Bush subscribes to the fly paper theory, which is the retarded, "we have to fight them over there, so we don't have to fight them over here," talking point. I wonder how London or Spain feel about that theory. Oh wait, we know how Spain feels because they pulled the hell out of Iraq after they were attacked. So this new study out of New York University's Center on Law and Security found that from 9-11 to the invasion there were 30 terror attacks, but after the invasion there were 200. Plus, the terrorists are using Iraq to hone there skills, so they can then go to other places in the world to perform attacks. Oh awesome. I'm so glad we could provide them a realistic place to train. Tom notes the, "'flypaper may not be sticking." Oh Tom.

Next we're joined by Peter Bergen who happens to be one of the authors of the study, along with Paul Cruickshank. Peter explains that they only counted attacks that had one fatality or more and those attacks where there was a claim of responsibility. So really, the problem is actually worse than what the study reports. Paul notes that even taking Iraq and Afghanistan out of the picture there was still a 35% increase in terror attacks worldwide. Kiran points out that most of this violence is Muslim against Muslim and Paul agrees. However, he also notes that there has been an increase in attacks on Western targets and terror groups are becoming more globalized. Kiran states that critics have said the report blasts America and she wants to know if Muslim countries have a responsibility in all this too. Peter thinks that they do if they're involved. He also states that they're not trying to bash the US with the study; they just wanted to answer a question. He notes there were never any suicide attacks in Afghanistan before the US invaded and now they're learning them from Iraq. We're then shown some polls of Muslim's feelings about the US and, suprise, they don't like us very much since Iraq. I can't imagine why. Kiran tells us the study can be found in Mother Jones. Really? Cool. I guess I'll just wait for that in my mailbox.

On now to John with some important Iraq troop news: the British are...going! The British are going! Doesn't sound as exciting as when Paul Revere said the opposite, does it? Anyway, by the end of the year half of all British troops will have left Iraq. The White House, sick little deluded puppies as they are, have decided to spin this as a good thing. They say that Basra is stable enough for this to occur and this is what's suppose to happen. Oh give me a break. Basra is only stable because they've basically allowed Iranian allied forces to take over. Where is Michael Ware to give us a reality check on this BS? For the political angle, we then get a taped clip of David Gergen, who says this is a big story that will only isolate Bush even more. Pretty soon it is just going to be Laura and Barney in his camp and I hear tell that Barney's wavering.

Up next we have ANS crap. Oh joy. And Jeffrey Toobin again offers his legal expertise, though this time he makes sure he's identified as CNN's "crazy analyst." Well at least he knows this story is crazy. All in all there was 10 minutes of coverage for this tonight. I guess that's not too bad, though I would have preferred zero minutes. The Shot tonight is a tarantula and just as I'm thinking that Anderson would not like this shot, Kiran mentions that he actually found one of these suckers in the Amazon. Oh, man. If he freaked out I hope there's video. We also learn that some tribes roast the spiders and eat them for their protein. "Tastes like chicken." says Toobin. Ha! Hey, quiet over there you crazy analyst.

Big abrupt transition now to...Anderson in the studio? Okay, so I guess we're watching the special now. That wasn't awkward at all. So I don't know if you guys realize this, but our country is unprepared, basically for everything. Maybe Katrina clued you in. 360 is going to explore this over the next hour using Stephen Flynn's book "The Edge of Disaster," as kind of a guide. Already they've got out of control graphics going on, which let me tell you really sucks when you have a headache. David Mattingly gives us our first piece, which imagines a scenerio in which an oil refinery in Philadelphia is attacked. This then causes a toxic cloud of hydrofluoric acid to be released and travel to a packed stadium only two miles a way. Okay, first off, when they show video of hypothetical situations there needs to be some sort of acknowledgement on screen. Second, the music is way overdone. If this is suppose to be serious, the music choice shouldn't make me think of a cheesy action movie. Stop manipulating.

We learn that the Philadelphia disaster could be averted simply by having the refinery change to a less dangerous chemical. So okay, this is the good information here. This should be the focus of the piece; not setting the scene for the hypothetical disaster. I remember seeing something on PBS a couple years ago about how it was hard to get chemicals changed. Why didn't 360 interview the refinery or at least get a statement from them? Could local officials be doing something? Where are they in all this? There's very little substance here. After the piece Anderson asks Steven Flynn how it's possible we're still so vulnerable. Stephen explains that we really haven't focused on internal stuff; we're all about fighting off our shores. He thinks we need to analyze our vulnerabilities and make plans for potential disasters. Um, yes! It sounds so simple and yet here we are.

Next up we have another scenerio from David Mattingly. This time we take a look at Boston Harbor where a super-tanker delivers liquefied natural gas (LNG). Obviously this is an attack just waiting to happen because a terrorist would just need to get close and next you know you've got an uncontrollable fire. Now people have realized this, which is why the tanker has massive security and precautions are made. However, it still comes in close contact with a lot of people and Stephen says the precautions are not enough. In his eyes, prevention is the best line of defense. Yes, that would be nice.

On now to a Jeanne Meserve piece and she brings up the New York blackout that happened about three years ago. Oh, I remember that. It was the biggest blackout in US history and started due to a downed tree in Ohio. There's some talk of terrorists taking out the power grid, but the main thing that caught my eye (or actually ear) here is that our power infrastructure is old and overstressed. We learn that, "On average, transformers in substations have been online for 42 years, but they were designed to last only 40. To replace them takes months, because they're custom-ordered. Stockpiles are limited." That does not sound good. I've been telling people our infrastructure is falling apart. Now I guess I have proof. The American Society of Civil Engineers has given the nation's power grid a grade of a D. Massive updates are needed and after the blackout Bush even said it was a wake-up call. But he also said we'd rebuild New Orleans. So yeah, nothing's been done. There was good information in this piece, but once again, what's being done? Why did they not talk to adminstration officials about Bush's comments and what he plans to do? Why did no one talk to Congress about legislation? I'm not saying ask them to do it, but can someone please ask if they're thinking about addressing the problem? I mean, c'mon people.

Tonight was fairly good. The special actually continues, but since it goes on into the next hour I'll have the rest in my next post. This topic was a really good idea, but unfortunately they mostly treated it with the shallow gloves. I'd rather have them looking at this stuff on a continuous basis and giving it the real investigative treatment like how they dealt with the pensions for congressional crooks story. Because really, these are some of the most important issues they can cover. B-

Anybody shocked Iraq has made things worse? What do you think will happen when the British pull out? Your thoughts on the special?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

More Amazon, Pakistan Talk, Incarcerated Young Black Men, A Sloth Mishap, A Child Soldier, And More Britney (Monday's Second Hour)

Hi guys. We kick off the hour with Anderson and he rehashes a lot of stuff we already know from last hour before throwing it to a repeat taped clip. When we come back, Kiran asks what the punishment is for people caught in the raids. Anderson replies that there are fines and they confiscate their equipment, but really, the guys they're catching are low level. What they're trying to do is move up the ladder to get to the big fish. Kiran also wonders how the Brazilian government balances the economy with preserving the rainforest. Anderson says that there are a lot of good laws on paper, but not enough enforcement. Hey, isn't Brazil basically energy independent due to sugarcane? You'd think they'd mention that.

Next up we've got a taped interview Kiran did with Nic Robertson on the Pakistan situation. Nic tells us that al Qaeda has been able to set of camps there because the Pakistan government really doesn't have control over the whole country. Also Pakistani intelligence has been turning a blind eye to the situation and sometimes even helping al Qaeda. But they're our friends, so it's okay. Don't think about it too hard. Kiran asks if there's any push back from Afghanistan and Nic replies that there's lots of tension between the two countries. They're basically like two bickering siblings. Two bickering siblings with weapons. After this we've got Michael Ware live again, but it's basically all rehash from last hour. Then there's a repeat of the Dan Simon piece.

Moving on to a Kiran interview with Documentary Filmmaker Shola Lynch, who is going to show us a bit of her film "Incarcerated," about young black men. In the film we meet two teens: one doing time for a carjacking and the other for shooting someone. Basically the thesis of this piece is that these kids aren't hardened criminals, they're just boys who never got the structure and educated needed to make it in the real world. Ironically, prison is now providing just that for the teens we meet. Shola stresses that we need to focus more on prevention because some of these kids are on a track for prison rather than college. Okay, I can agree with all of this, but why doesn't anyone ever investigate the ever growing prison industrial complex. There are people who are making big time money off these kids (and adults) and actually want them there.

Transitioning back to an Anderson and Jeff clip where they attempt to liberate the sloth into a tree. I know a lot of people think it's so cute, but it's kind of creeping me out the way it crawls so slowly. Anyway, this was suppose to be a cool moment, but suddenly we hear a crack and...the sloth falls about 20 feet to the ground. Oh noes! The looks on Anderson and Jeff's faces are pretty funny. They're so shocked! And I swear Jeff almost said, "s***." But fear not readers, the sloth is okay. Jeff picks him up and gives him a good talking to. No, really. He lectures, "So you've learned your lesson. It's the first lesson you've learned. Now, remember, don't be like that joke. We don't want that joke, why did the sloth fall out of the tree? You know?" The sloth has no comment, so they just put him in another tree. Crazy sloth.

Next up we have a Randi Kaye interview with Ishmael Beah a former Sierra Leone child soldier and author of "A Long Way Gone". I like this guy. He was on The Daily Show last week and actually since they're in repeats this week you might be able to catch him. In 1993 when Ismael was 12, his village was attacked and his entire family was killed. The attack was brutal. Ismael says the rivers filled with blood and parents were running around carrying their dead kids. Since he had no one, government soldiers provided him with food, protection,...and a gun. They also forced him to use drugs and told him he was fighting to avenge his family. If he didn't join up with them he would have been killed by rebels, who he ended up fighting for more than two years. In 1995 he was handpicked by Unicef for rehab and in 1998 he was able to escape the country, eventually making it to the US. Once in the US he was adopted by one of his former aid workers. He even went on to college. It really is an awesome story. 360 should to a follow up about the situation in Sierra Leone now.

We end the hour with a Jeanne Moos piece on Britney Spears. Meh. Don't have Dr. Drew on and treat it all serious, only to give it the jokey treatment later. Pick a side, CNN. John's face afterward was funny though. That'll do it.

Screencaps by cskitten.

More Amazon Adventures, Iraq Attacks, Importance of Afghanistan/Pakistan, Lost Climbers, Political Pandering, And Bald Britney (Monday's First Hour)

Hi everyone. Now I don't want to jinx it, but did you notice we had no Anna Nicole coverage tonight? Last time when I got excited thinking they got rid of annoying announcer man they brought him right back the next day and I had to complain all over again. But now he's gone for good, so yay me. Yeah, perhaps a coincidence, but I like to think I have mad power like that. Although I'm not really going to celebrate our lack of ANS crap because they seem to have traded in her corpse for Britney's bald head. Sigh. So anyway, your humble blogger thought she'd take a little half hour nap an hour before the show started tonight. Well, next thing I know I'm popping out of bed all confused precisely at the top of the broadcast. I flip on the tv and Anderson I swear was talking about going out in the jungle with Obama and I'm all, "Wait, Obama went with them to Brazil?" Then I woke up a little more and realized he was saying "Ibama," which is the Brazilian equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency. Ohhhh. That makes much more sense.

Anderson can't tell us exactly where they are tonight since they're with Ibama and members of the Brazilian federal police, both of which are heavily armed. Dude, their EPA does not mess around. Meanwhile our EPA lies about the safety of ground zero air. Okay, the whole deal here is that they're doing raids against illegal loggers. Anderson then throws to a tape from earlier when he went out on patrol with them. We're told that if people learn that Ibama is there to make arrests then the illegal loggers will just flee. Anderson tells us that, "Ibama has been planning operations in this biological preserve for more than a year now." Two-thirds of the preserve have already been destroyed. Wow. I guess they better get on it then.

We then cut to Anderson on the back of a speeding vehicle. Ooh action shot! It actually looks like they're running from something, but really this is one of the few field trips he's gone on where it's really unlikely someone's going to shoot at/kidnap him. Oh, and hey look, Jeff Corwin is in the vehicle too. He's was being quiet for once. Jeff brings up the roads and notes that they are basically the pathway where everything comes out, thus leading to the habitat loss. Anderson notes that actually the guys who cut down the trees really don't make much money and Jeff states that, yes, it's really the ranchers and landowners that are making all the profit. Ah yes, exploit the little guy and rape the land for profit. It's pretty much the same song everywhere; just different lyrics. Anderson then shows us how muddy the roads can get. Pretty muddy. They're probably going to need to new shoes. Anyway, they were out on patrol for two hours, but it was pretty much a bust. Oh well. After the tape we're back with Anderson live and then he throws to John King in Washington.

So here's a riddle for you: how many big time CNN anchors does it take to host a primetime show? If you guessed three, you win the prize. Obviously Anderson is in the Amazon, but we've also got John King in Washington and newbie Kiran Chetry in New York. I do not know why we need both of them and I'm pretty sure we were just suppose to have Kiran like on Friday, but I love John King, so I won't complain. You people didn't send hate mail about Kiran, did you? Because she's already getting hated on pretty good by her former employer (Faux News). Such a horrid network in every way.

John talks about the string of bombings in Iraq today and then Michael Ware joins us live for more detail. Michael tells us that as many as three suicide car bombs plunged into a heavily fortfied former police station that was being used by US forces. As if that wasn't enough, the bombings were followed by an attack by 40-50 guys wielding RPGs, machine guns, and assault rifles. At least two US troops dead and 17 wounded. So...another fun day in Iraq. Victory is on the march. John wants to know if this sort of thing is done frequently and Michael says it's not everyday, but it has been done before. John also asks how the prime minister squares this violence with his recent statement that the security operation is a dazzling success. Michael states that there has been a dampening of sectarian violence in the capital. Instead of there being 40-50 tortured and executed bodies found every day, now it's about 10-20. Well, geez they should throw a party. Only 10-20 bodies filled with drill holes every day? The Iraqis must be thrilled. The subject of Muqtada al-Sadr comes up and Michael says that he's hearing his fighters have been told to keep a low profile during the US surge. However, Michael notes that, "it's classic guerrilla insurgent tactics: Only fight the fight you know you can win." Maybe we should try that sometime. Please stay safe Michael.

On now to John talking with Peter Bergen about Afghanistan. See, Bush continues to say that Iraq is the central front on the War on Terror (despite there being no terrorists there before we invaded), meanwhile Afghanistan is going all to crap. It's conventional wisdom that we kicked butt there and moved on, but we did nothing of the sort. And now we've got major problems with our "ally" Pakistan. Peter confirms there are training camps in Pakistan and as many as 2,000 fighters in tribal areas. John asks Peter to compare the pre 9-11 Afghanistan to the Pakistan of today. Peter believes it's still very hard for al Qaeda to attack the US because "the al Qaeda ideology has been really rejected by the American-Muslim community. Secondly, the United States government has done things to make us safer. And, thirdly, al Qaeda is weakened. But it is regaining strength." Uh Peter, have you met our government? Oh wait, we take off our shoes in airports and carry our mouthwash in little plastic bags. Oh I do feel safer! Yeah, you guys give me a call when you've got the loose nuke stuff secured. Peter also believes that Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri are still organizing things. Well they do make a lot of videos. If this whole terrorism thing doesn't work out they should totally go into producing. So to sum up, the Pakistan/Afghanistan situation? Crappy and getting crappier.

Transitioning back to Kiran in New York and she intros a Dan Simon piece on the three climbers and dog that were stranded on Mount Hood today. But good news, they've been rescued. Yay, happy ending for this one. So I guess those other three from December are dead. I know during that time I took a couple weeks off of watching 360, but did they ever update? One day it was wall to wall climber coverage and then nothing. I hate that. Give a girl some closure. Dan tries to talk to Kiran a bit, but he's having ear piece problems, so whatever. To people thinking about climbing Mount Hood maybe you could like...not. There just hasn't been a very good track record these past few months is all I'm saying.

On now to a Candy Crowley piece for I guess our only politics of the night. What's up with that 360? You're not even going to cover the Saturday Senate vote? I've basically given up on you for Libby trial coverage. And you call yourselves the best political team on television. Pshaw. Anyway, the piece is all about how republicans have to kiss Religious Right butt to get the votes they need. It's pander time! Ah, the smell of gay-hating is in the air. And who has figuratively sold his soul the worst to these crazies? Why, it's John McCain. See, not long ago, the sane McCain called Falwell and Robertson "agents of intolerance." But now he just lurves them. Lurves them so much he even spoke at Falwall's university. Looks like somebody's a flip flopper. Even Giuliani is trying to make his pro-choice and pro-gay rights stances look a little more appealing. He states that he doesn't like abortion. Yeah, because the rest of us would watch them for kicks if we could. I have to believe that someday the Religious Right will finally realize they're being manipulated. Can people really constantly be that stupid?

Transitioning back to Anderson live again and he intros a piece on orphaned manatees. Jeff and Anderson get in this little pool with the baby manatee and it really reminds me of the pool I had when I was a kid. Anderson feeds the manatee with a bottle. Aw. Too much cuteness. Oh, and this little baby has quite the sob story. First of all, it's mother was killed, but that wasn't good enough for the murderers. No, they also spiked a nail through the baby's fin and tied it to a stump, basically for kicks I guess. That is not cool. Luckily it was saved. Anderson and Jeff (with a little struggle) then lift the manatee out of the water for measurements and the worker says that they will try to release it back into the wild. You know, they really needed to explain better where the hell they are and who these people are taking care of the animals because at this point I have no idea. After the woman is done Anderson and Jeff attempt to put the manatee back in the water, but he's thrashing big time, so they have to wait a sec until he calms down.

Next up we're back to Kiran and she's got a piece on Britney Spears. No, I'm not kidding. Wish I was though. So apparently Britney shaved her head. I know, stop the presses! If this was a publicity stunt then mission accomplished because suddenly it's like a former playmate died or an astronaut drove cross country wearing a diaper. And because we so obviously need to explore this further, we've got Dr. Drew joining us. Oh yay. He speculates that she actually might be in some sort of dangerous situation. Well, if she is then I'm sure that people she doesn't know talking about all of this on national television is really helping her out. Kiran talks about how the people around Anna Nicole didn't stop her from downward spiraling. Oh c'mon! You know what's sick? There are people in news right now that are probably just salivating at the chance of Britney doing a major crash and burn. After all, it's their bread and butter as long as we idiotically continue to watch it. Dr. Drew notes that people ignoring problems is "how we lost Anna Nicole." Um, no. We did not lose Anna Nicole. You people exploited Anna Nicole and continue to exploit her decomposing body. If you want to help celebrities, do it in private. As far as the coverage for this, I didn't mind the mention of it, but the Dr. Drew speculation was ridiculous.

John King's doing the headlines tonight and he tells us of that India bombing that happened today. So okay, we get a piece on Britney Spears during each hour, but a 10 second soundbite on an act of terrorism that took 66 lives. Makes sense to me. The Shot tonight is new video of John F. Kennedy's motorcade right before he was killed. Apparently some guy filmed it that day and has just been hanging onto it all this time. Wow. Now it's going to a museum. At the end of the hour we get one more clip of Jeff and Anderson. Jeff is holding something I can't really see and he asks Anderson to give him his hand. Anderson does with a skeptical look, but then jerks it away. After this occurs again, Jeff yells, " Just trust me! Ready? " Anderson gives in and then sort of yells and jerks his hand back due to something obviously painful. What the hell? Oh, and now he's bleeding. Anderson shows the camera, "You're making me bleed. You said I could trust you and you make me bleed?" Bwah! I don't think Anderson is going to be trusting Jeff anymore. Jeff notes that the tree barb he just poked him with actually has bacteria in it that makes it sting badly. Oh well that was nice of you Jeff. You're a little sadistic, but I kind of love it. Anderson then turns to the camera and gives us all this look that says, "Can you freaking believe what I have to put up with?" So the hour basically ends with Anderson sucking the blood off his finger. I'm telling you, those two could have their own sitcom.

Okay so all the Amazon stuff is still more cute and cuddly than actually living up to the name "Planet in Peril." I still don't understand why we're not getting more environmental background pieces done from the states. I would think that wouldn't be that hard. As far as the rest of tonight it was pretty good. Too much Britney speculation obviously and they were lacking in some top stories, but still okay. B

Your continued thoughts on the Amazon coverage? Will the Religious Right fall for it again? Were you okay with the Britney coverage or too much? Am I sick, or are you also enjoying Jeff torture Anderson?

Screencaps by stillife.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Thursday's 2nd Hour Discussion, Fun With Animals, Iraq Resolution, ANS Crap, Pastor Sells Church, And Stupid Teen Sex Law Update (Friday's Show)

Hi everyone. Instead of making two separate posts I'm just going to put what I wanted to say about Thursday's second hour at the top here. Needless to say I'm not all that happy with what occurred. I had actually wanted to blog Michael Ware's piece on the Kuds force because it was very good,'s not in the transcript. It's seems 360 is not the only one doing a kind of cut and paste job. Anyway, I took notes, but I was counting on the transcript to double check my facts, so I'm not going to be able to do it for fear of truthiness. I'll leave that to Fox News. So I guess the question of the night is WTF happened? They promo-ed that Anderson and Jeff bug piece over and over-promised it was coming up in the second hour-and then...Afghanistan? What could they possibly be thinking? I know several people who stopped watching out of annoyance. Actually I was pretty mad myself. The issue with me is not missing the segment, but the manipulation. 360 needs to have better respect for their viewers. Because guess what? They have smart viewers and if they keep this up they're going to lose them in droves. So message to the producers: don't pull that crap again. And also? If you're going to run a five month old special about a war that is currently happening you really need to put a date in the corner of the screen or something because you're going to confuse people that aren't regular viewers.

Okay, now on to Friday's show. We begin with Anderson in the city of Manaus and he's holding a cute little critter. Actually it's pie-faced tamarind and it's one of the most endangered primates in the Amazon. Before we go any further though, Anderson has someone to introduce. No, not another animal-a new CNNer. Her name is Kiran Chetry and she's our New York anchor tonight. I hate change. I really hate change that comes via Fox News. But I like to think myself a fair blogger, so I will try not to hate her right off the bat. Kiran notes Anderson's tamarind and says, "and that's the cutest little thing I have ever seen -- the tamarind, not you." Okay, so I guess we're going with 'awkward' for the first impression. She then kicks it back to Anderson who intros a piece on all of the endangered species they encountered and others around the world. We learn that over the past 500 years humans have pushed 844 species into extinction. Way to go humans. We're then shown a bunch of species. Of note is that there are only 1600 giant pandas alive right now. I know my readers are panda lovers. Oh and that salamander? Ew, slimey.

After the piece we're back with Jeff and Anderson live and Jeff is holding a three-toed sloth. I have to say I'm completely tickled by how excited Jeff has been this whole trip. The words "incredible" and "amazing" are being used a lot. Anderson pets the sloth and notes that it's really soft. Jeff tells us that the sloths actually have trouble regulating their own body temperatures and as I sit here in the freezing St. Louis weather I dorkily shout, "hey, me too!" The whole time Jeff is giving us sloth facts Anderson is petting the creature...until Jeff gets to the fact that they have bugs in their fur. Bwah! Anderson's hand kind of stops and you can almost see the wheels in his head go, "Wait, did you say bugs?" He apparently gets over it though and good thing too because Jeff's handing the critter over, so that he can get another sloth. As Jeff gets the other sloth Anderson I guess gets nervous about the dead air and brings up the subject of their arm markings. At this point Jeff's are much more pronounced than Anderson's. Apparently Anderson scrubbed harder. I don't imagine WASPs like ink all over them for long periods of time. Anderson then tells us, "We literally were just out with Jeff in the rain forest, running around in the dark, and barely, actually, got here in time to do this program." Control room panic! Hee.

Transitioning back to New York where Kiran seems to be having problems already. I think she was suppose to start with a piece, but there must be technical difficulties, so we're suddenly joined by Amy Walter of the "The Cook Political Report." She's here to talk about the non binding resolution on Iraq that just passed in the House. Finally! Amy notes that while 17 republicans defected and voted for the resolution, it's not as many as they originally thought. Okay, Amy here has bought the republican spin hook, line, and sinker. Because it's pretty well known that they purposely inflated the numbers, so when the vote occurred it wouldn't look as good. Boo on both of them for not bringing that up. Oh, and now I guess Amy's going to have to cool her heels because Kiran's piece is ready. We get some clips of politicos debating and are informed that the Senate is going to debate their own resolution on Saturday. Then we're back with Amy, and Kiran asks why democrats haven't gone for more than just a symbolic vote. She actually uses a Wall Street Journal editorial to ask her question. We've got to shake that Fox Newsiness off you girl. Amy says that this is just the first step and down the road they might go for something binding, which will no doubt produce some nervous democrats. But it will be different this time because they found their spine. Right? Right?

Next up we've got our requisite Anna Nicole crap complete with Court TV chick. We're logging about 15 minutes tonight. Sigh. Then we're back to the rainforest where Anderson has a sloth attached to him. You just know that sloth is thinking, "WTF is this grey haired thing on me?" Anderson then intros another clip in which Jeff totally scales a tree to get the sloth. OMG! It kind of looked for a second there like Anderson was going to go for it too. Meanwhile the people back at CNN are watching the footage going, "they signed that release, right?" Winded from his amazing climbing, Jeff gives us some sloth facts. Next we're shown a pie-faced tamarind, which is 100% endangered. After the tape we're back with Anderson live and there's some discussion between Kiran and Anderson about how they were actually in a section of the rainforest maintained by a university to study the species. I thought this was way too brushed over. There should have been a piece or something to better explain what's going on. Kiran then asks about the markings and Anderson makes many a fan girl head explode, saying he keeps, "rubbing at them pretty aggressively in the shower." That's why his are faded. He doesn't think Jeff showers as much. Oh Jeff, even animals have a sense of smell. Well, most of them. Anyway, Anderson's been told he might be blue-manning it for about two weeks. Ha!

Transitioning now to a Dan Simon piece on a pastor that sold his church. Doesn't seem like much of a story right? Well, yeah, except that it wasn't his to sell. He did it by forging documents and then he bought a BMW! What would Jesus buy with money fraudulently obtained? He put money in his girlfriend's bank account too. Well, isn't that sweet. Anyway, the pastor has plead guilty to embezzlement and was to spend 16 months in jail. But wait! There's more. Apparently while in jail he befriends this murderer who confides in him and then the pastor uses this information to get out early. Oh WTF? This guy needs some smiting.

Next up we have an update to this Rick Sanchez piece. So to recap: Teen gets consentual blow job from minor. Teen gets slapped with a felony under stupid law. Up to speed? Now the Georgia legislature has changed the law, but not the teen's sentence because Georgia Senator Eric Johnson says the girl was raped while unconscious. Um...maybe he read the wrong case? Because seriously, what the hell? How can you be that wrong? The facts are standing all the way across the street from him. Hell, he can't even see the facts from where he is. So Rick confronts Johnson, who says it was a rape in his mind. Well maybe you should be charged with some kind of crime because you've got a violent mind. Apparently there are signs that he might change his position, so I guess we'll see. Meanwhile the poor kid still sits in jail.

The show tonight was just okay. Again we didn't get the bug piece. I really have no idea what to think about this whole Amazon trip. CNN obviously has spent a ton to send them there, yet it's not even being promoted that much. I mean, just look at the contrast between this and the Angelina Jolie interview or even the Oprah special. And though we're getting some good information, as someone pointed out in the comments, this could have been named "Anderson and Jeff's Jungle Adventure." To me it sometimes views more as a Tonight Show segment than CNN. Of course I can't comprehend the logistical hurdles they must jump through, so it's hard to criticize. I just hope they get it together a little better because I'd hate them to lose viewers over this. In terms of true newsiness, tonight gets a C+

Your thoughts on the whole trip so far?
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