Saturday, March 31, 2007

More Iranian Hostage News, Anbar Insurgents, 2008 Talk, Raw Politics, Dumped Babies, And Zimbabwe Unrest (Thursday's Second Hour)

Hi everybody. This hour begins with Nic Robertson live to talk about the British hostage situation. He covers the second letter allegedly written by Faye Turney and Anderson asks what the reaction has been like in Britain. He tells us it was the number one story yesterday, but newspapers seem to be following Tony Blair's lead in downplaying the situation. Nic also notes that the British wanted to get a strongly worded statement from the UN that demanded the hostages release, but the Russians blocked it. See, I said yesterday good luck with getting their help. It's all about the oil, people. Anderson points out how the British have asked the US not to get involved and Nic tells us he was watching a debate on tv of a whole bunch of politicians and other leaders and all of them thought it would be bad if the US got involved. And remember, these guys are America's closest ally. Laugh so you don't cry, people. Laugh so you don't cry.

Next up we're joined by Retired Air Force Colonel David Roeder, who was a hostage in Iran back during the big 1979 crisis. David believes that Faye Turney is being leaned on very hard and is under tremendous pressure. Anderson asks about his first couple of days and he said they were blindfolded and tied to chairs. David stresses that the marines and sailors have nothing to do with their country's decisions and that we are not without responsiblity. He thinks that after they were released the US really didn't pay attention to Iran anymore and that has been a big mistake. I wonder who we're not paying attention to right now that's going to be a big problem in a decade or so. And we'll probably still be in Iraq then too.

Moving on now to a Michael Ware piece on some unlikely people who have taken up arms against al Qaeda. In Western Anbar province Sunni tribes composed of Baathist and nationalist insurgents have formed the Anbar salvation council and are on a mission to crush al Qaeda, with American support. In the piece these insurgents explain that they originally fought the Americans, but are now sick of al Qaeda and want them out. The Americans want al Qaeda out too, but they can't do it themselves and have turned to the council, members of which, "carry weapons, launch operations against targets they select, make arrests and conduct interrogations. All with American acquiescence." However, it might not be a match made in heaven. There are charges that the council has been given free rein to assassinate people, something Iraq ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad isn't loosing sleep over. Well aren't you sweet? Hey, I don't mind so much if al Qaeda get there's-as long as they are actually al Qaeda and this doesn't turn into US backed revenge killing. We're playing with fire here. We don't really have any choice at this point and it could turn out to be a great thing, but it's still fire.

After his piece we get Michael live and Anderson asks how successful the Anbar salvation council has been. Michael tells us that it's hard to tell because the tribes tend to inflate their numbers, but because Anbar had basically been taken over by al Qaeda this is going to take a while. Adding, "But at the end of the day, this is how America is going to get its troops out of this country. America cannot win. So this part of the political solution we hear the generals talking about, cutting deals with people like these Baathist insurgents and ultimately people like Iran and the groups that Iran supports." As I hear him say this I realize this is how we're going to get out. This is exactly how we're going to get out. Also, Michael loves the phrase "at the end of the day." Just something I've noticed. Anderson then asks Michael to clarify why the insurgents are doing this in the first place. Michael tells us that they realized they had more in common with the Americans than al Qaeda because they are against the Islamic agenda. What's particularly infuriating is these guys were actually prepared to host US bases back in 2003, but our lovely president had to paint them as evil and now here we are.

Transitioning now to a repeat of the Gary Tuchman tornado piece and then on to a Candy Crowley piece on a possible presidential run for Fred Thompson. Yes, "Law & Order" Fred Thompson. See, conservatives are in a minor panic because so far they don't have any candidates that they're really happy with. All of their top tier has problems: "Giuliani, off the reservation on social issues. McCain, unpredictable. Romney, flip-flops. " Thompson on the other hand seems to be a solid conservative. Although he's going to have to win over James Dobson because apparently he's not pushing his Christian credentials hard enough for his taste. Can actors just stick with acting please? What qualifies this guy to be president? I'm still wondering what qualifies Dubya to be president.

Next up we have a Tom Foreman piece on billionaire Michael Bloomberg maybe throwing his hat into the presidential ring too. He's seen as more of an independent than Republican because he not really all that partisan. I don't know much about Bloomberg, but now that I think about it, it might be kind of cool to have a strong third candidate. Not saying he'd have my vote, but the donkey and elephant need to get shaken up. After Tom's piece we're joined by republican strategist Karen Hanretty. She doesn't take Bloomberg too seriously and thinks he needs to spend some time away from the east coast. Karen has a point. The guy is a billionaire New Yorker-what could he possibly have in common with me and my fellow red staters? And I think that's the first time I've ever referred to myself as a "red stater." Anderson then brings up Fred Thompson and Karen thinks that him jumping in the race would hurt Mitt Romney the most. Did Romney have a shot anyway?

Moving on now to Joe Johns with "Raw Politics." First up, as we know, Bush is going to veto the Iraq war spending bill since it has a withdrawl timeline in it. Bush has talked about how important this money is to the troops, but who's denying them now? Congress has provided the money, he's the one holding it up. Next we get a short recap of how Kyle Sampson's testimony contradicted the statements of Alberto Gonzales. Finally tonight, Giuliani is stating that if he's president he would let his wife in on cabinet meetings. That would be his third wife for those keeping score. Hey man, I'm all for more women in important places. We need as many checks on male stupidity as we can get. Sorry fellas.

Transitioning to a Dan Simon piece on three babies that have been dumped all in the same neighborhood over two years. The first two survived, but the latest didn't make it. DNA tests were performed and wouldn't you know it? Same mother for all three. Two even had the same father. People are sick. And stupid. It's called a condom. Look into it. Sigh. Moving on now to a Jeff Koinange piece about a growing crisis in Zimbabwe. One of the founders of the opposition movement to President Robert Mugabe's regime was beaten by police and put in the hospital. Oh, and she's 64-years old. Nice. Mugabe thinks they had every right to beat her. What's crazy is that Mugabe was this hero who led the country to independence in 1980, but now he's a ruthless dictator. As they say, power corrupts. In 2000 he order the invasion of white commercial farms and after that he clamped down on basically everyone. Zimbabweans are now fleeing to South Africa with 100,000 doing so in the last few weeks alone. Jeff demonstrates how easy it is to get into the country. So okay, this is not good. It seems there is another refugee crisis and possible failed state in the future. People really need to take a number at this point. And on that less than cheery note, that'll do it.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Iran Versus Britain, Attorney-Gate, Tornados, Iraq Withdrawl Talk, And ANS Crap (Thursday's First Hour)

Hi guys. We begin again tonight on the subject of those British hostages and in an Anderson piece we see new video released by the Iranians, this time of the British boats before they were seized. The Iranians also released maps, GPS coordinates, and a second letter by Faye Turney, the only captured female. All of this is an attempt by the Iranians to show that the British were in their waters. Turney was suppose to be freed this week, but the Iranians have changed their minds. Tony Blair thinks taping Turney and releasing the tapes is a disgrace. We get a soundbite of John Bolten trying to ratchet up the conflict and I have to wonder why this man is even relevant. Who cares what he says; he couldn't even get confirmed. Apparently the British asked the US Navy to help look for their boats after communication was lost, but obviously they never found them.

Next up we have a live interview with Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Anderson wonders what happens now. Albright notes that it would be very easy to escalate this. You don't have to tell me twice. Anderson asks if maybe the Iranians could be right about the British being in their waters. Albright doubts it, but acknowledges that some of those waters are under dispute. She again mentions how easy it would be to ratchet this thing up and would like to see another country like Russia get things under control. Yeah, good luck with that. Anderson then asks how high up she thinks the decision was made to seize the boats. Albright tells us she is hearing there are divisions in Iran and it's possible that the Revolutionary Guard did it and is now being backed up by the powers that be. Basically she's very concerned here, people. "We do not need another war at this point," she says. Hell, we don't even want the ones we've got. Albright thinks Iran is feeling empowered by the war in Iraq, but they're inexperienced at these kinds of things, so it would be very easy for this turn into another war. Okay, let's not do that.

Next up we have a Dana Bash piece on more attorney-gate fallout, but before I forget I need to note that the sound effect from hell is still torturing us. Please 360, you're killing me here. So anyway, today Former Chief of Staff to Alberto Gonzales, Kyle Sampson, testified about the whole situation and wouldn't you know it, what he and Gonzales are saying don't exactly match up. Shocking. Gonzales has claimed he wasn't involved in any discussions to fire the attorneys, but Sampson says that conversations about the subject took place with Gonzales two years ago. Oops. Gonzales' credibility at this point is about nil. After this we have two pieces from Gary Tuchman and Ed Lavandera on all those tornados that touched down. This is making me nervous. Last year was pretty bad in terms of storms and I'm not looking forward to what this year holds. No hail please. If I have to make another claim State Farm is going to drop me.

Transitioning now to a Tom Foreman piece, which is introed by using a clip from The Daily Show. I find that amusing. Anyway Tom looks at what a deadline oriented withdrawl from Iraq would actually entail. It's not going to be easy folks. First off, as if you hadn't noticed, we've got a whole bunch of people over there and all those people are using a mess of equipment. To make it more complicated, all that equipment and those people are spread out all over the country. Tom demonstrates this with his maps. It's required. When it does come time to leave, most Americans will probably do so through Kuwait and then get on ships. The Pentagon says leaving would take months. What I don't get is the argument that we shouldn't set a date because then the enemy would know and just wait for us. Okay, that sounds valid, except for the fact that if the whole process of leaving is going to take months, don't you think the terrorists would, I don't know, notice. They're going to know we're up to something anyway. I don't see how you get around that.

For discussion about leaving we're joined by retired Brigadier General James "Spider" Marks, Steven Simon of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Michael Ware. Steven is for a timeline and Spider is against. Steven is also wearing a big honking bow tie, which basically makes me unable to listen to him. Never trust a man in a bow tie. Would you trust Tucker Carlson? No, you would not. Anderson notes that some think Bush could use a timeline as a way to threaten Maliki into acting. However, Michael thinks that whole argument is a falsehood because Maliki knows the deadlines aren't real even if set. Then Anderson brings up Tal Afar and how it was cleared, but now once again rocked by violence. Spider claims this is because the US didn't hold the area like we're doing now. Okay, but are we going to hold forever? Because with that strategy is seems like we can never leave and seeing as though the army is on the verge of being broken, I'm thinking that's a problem. Does anyone perhaps have a plan C? Anderson also points out that there seems to be differing timelines when it comes to the generals on the ground and the politicians in Washington. Spider says the timetables may not mesh and this is a time when we need Congress to be quiet. Um, no. That's how we got into this mess. They've been frickin quiet for four years now. Finally, Anderson asks Michael how it feels on the ground. Michael then gives a long and impassioned answer, but I am tired, so I shall sum it up like so: it still totally sucks. And yeah, I guess I really did freeze out Steven because of his bow tie.

Transitioning now to some Anna Nicole Smith coverage regarding her son. Ugh. Whatever. I guess they got the shakes last night when they didn't mention it. Before going out to commercial Anderson gives us a little tease of tonight's The Shot, which is Karl Rove rapping at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Dinner. "It's kind of going to leave you speechless," says Anderson. Um, scarred would be more accurate. When we come back Erica's got the headlines and hey look, my former employer TJX lost 46 million of your credit card numbers. Oops. Then we're shown The Shot and it's Rove and he's rapping and he's dancing (is that dancing?) and... I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. And is that David Gregory doing backup moves?! Oh hell no. Ed Henry this is your lucky day because you've just been given the role of my White House reporter boyfriend. David Gregory has been filling this role for about two years ever since he did the totally awesome thing of actually asking follow up questions. But we are so over now!

The whole dinner annoys me anyway because these people should not be friends. As totally awesome blogger Rachel Sklar of Eat the Press points out, "stuff is going on with Rove right now. You know, stuff about testifying and subpoenas and transcripts and non-oaths — shouldn't someone be weirded out by that? Shouldn't dancing with him feel inappropriate? Or is that just What We Call The News?" Amen! Anyway, Anderson tells us that he went to the dinner once and didn't dig it. "I don't think all these people should be, like, hanging out, putting on little skits. It's like -- and playing with each other. Like why should the press...," then adding, "Why should the press be hanging out with the president and Karl Rove and, like, you know, schmoozing behind the scenes? I don't get it." This is the point where Eliza yells at her tv, "OMG, exactly!" Those weren't all complete sentences, but point made. Oh Anderson Cooper, sometimes when you do half a show on something like Anna Nicole Smith I forget why I love you, but then you say stuff like that and I remember. Yeah, I am easily won over. Anderson and Erica then show us a clip of the 360 crew showing how real men get their celebration on. Erica notes there's always something to celebrate at CNN and wishes Anderson a "happy March 29." Anderson is confused at the signficance. Uh, catch up Anderson. These two, I tell ya. Anyway the show was good tonight! There was news in my news. Awesomeness. B+

Screencaps by floating petals.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

British Hostages, Raw Politics, Oprah Controversy, And Electrical Shock For Autistics (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everyone. We kick things off tonight with a first look at those British sailors and marines that were seized by Iran. In an Anderson piece we learn that state run Iranian tv aired video of them eating and they actually look okay, but looks can be deceiving. The only female of the group is wearing a head scarf and she states that they crossed into Iranian waters. This is reminding me of that Jill Carroll interview, so I'm thinking this woman was coerced. Tony Blair is of course ticked about the whole thing and is moving to freeze all of Britain's (or Bridden's if you will, seeing as this is an Anderson piece-hee) official bilateral business with Iran. Uh, shouldn't that business already be frozen? Apparently the White House is taking notice of the whole situation (oh noes!), but Britain/Bridden is asking the US not to make a lot of noise over this. Ha! The Brits are finally learning.

Next up Anderson has an interview with Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations, but first I need to once again complain about that God awful sound effect. Seriously 360, what do I need to do here to get that thing killed? I'm just going to keep complaining about it until it goes away. After all, I complained continuously about announcerman and now he's gone. Coincidence? Well,..yeah...actually probably just a coincidence, but I'm not giving up. That sound effect must go! ANYway, Anderson references something from "The National Review Online" that says seizing the hostages was Iran's way of sending a message. He also notes that NRO is a conservative publication and I appreciate that. Steven's not sure that the situation is an act of war by Iran, but he does think they're sending a message that they won't be pushed around. Anderson wonders if it was also an "attempt to weaken British resolve." Steven agrees that demoralizing and pushing out the Brits was definitely a goal. Anderson then points out how low-key the Brits are being. Ha. As I said before, the Brits are calmer than Americans. Steven thinks that if the US gets involved then the hostages will be held longer. Hmm, another reason to not get involved. Anderson asks Steven what he thinks of the video and Steven sees nothing positive. He believes the woman was coerced. Hopefully they'll let her go soon. Hopefully they'll let them all go soon.

Moving on now to an interview with Barry Rosen, a former hostage from the 1979 Iranian crisis. Anderson brings up the woman again and Barry thinks the fact that she was singled out was all PR to show they respect women. Anderson notes he's torn about even showing the tape because it plays into the Iranian's hands. Eh, don't beat yourself up, dude. It'd be all over the Internets whether you showed it or not. Barry tells us he definitely thinks the hostages were coerced and the fact that the video shows them eating is all a set up. He also informs us that the first days of his own experience were the worst because they were all blindfolded and seperated for a period of three months. Apparently the Iranians had seen to many "James Bond" films and thought they were all CIA agents. Damn you 007! Anderson asks if he was forced to make a confession and Barry says he was. In fact, they even put a gun to his head and started counting down. Damn. That's hardcore. Needless to say he signed the confession. Yeah, I think I would have too. After the interview there's an Amber Alert for Remi and Lars Baugher.

Transitioning now to some "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman. First up, we learn that when it comes to politics, money talks. Rudy Giuliani is picking up some dough from billionaire Steve Forbes and Hillary Clinton is shelling out dough to Tom Vilsack-$400,000 to be exact. The amount is campaign debt that she is paying off for some reason (why?) and Tom Foreman tells us that's about $40 for every Vilsack supporter. Ouch! Next up we find out that The General Services Administration is in trouble because the administration's head, Lurita Doan, is accused of using her office to help republicans. Can't say I'm surprised. Tom tells us, "That would violate the Hatch Act," and then melodramatically adds, "Oh, that sounds bad." I believe that was an oversell. We're shown a clip of Doan using the old 'I can't recollect that statement' line and Tom yells, "Huzzah!" Bwah! Seriously, who gave Tom the joint before he filmed this? Afterwards, guys. After. Then we learn that Sam Fox will not be becoming ambassador to Belgium as planned because "he took too much heat for his connection to the Swift Boat ads and inadequate knowledge of waffles." Ha! I'm an idiot because I totally didn't even get that waffle line until just now as I'm doing this review. Finally tonight we get to see (actually are forced to see) Giuliani in drag, which is now forever immortalized on YouTube. Too bad about that whole wanting to be president thing.

On now to a Jeff Koinange piece on controversy swirling around Oprah's $40 million girl's school. Apparently there's been some newspaper articles where parents are quoted as saying the school is too strict and more like a prison. Yikes. So what makes it prison-like? No junk food is allowed and cell phones and email access are denied during the week. Plus the girls are only allowed to have visitors once a month with up to four people...and that's pretty much it. Gasp! OMG, somebody call UNICEF! Damn. I had all this Oprah hate ready and now I have nothing to do with it. Seriously, no junk fund? I'm playing a tiny little violin for them. They're going to a much better school than I went to. Anyway, none of the complainers will talk to Jeff, but he does sit down with another parent who is glad the school is strict and isn't mad about it at all. This all sounds like people trying to make something out of nothing. Or else it's people hating on Oprah just because she's Oprah. There's no reason to embellish; there's plenty of legitimate reasons to be annoyed with Oprah (I actually don't hate her at all). For example, she unleashed Dr. Phil on the world. Enough said.

Next up we have a Randi Kaye piece about parents that use a cattle prod to shock their severely autistic and mentally retarded adult son, Bradley, when he gets violent with himself. Bradley lives in a group home and the state of Illnois has made the use of the prod illegal in facilities like where he lives. Now the parents are sueing to continue with the shocking. The cattle prod gives off 4500 volts of electricity and Randi demonstrates by allowing them to use it on her. Oh Randi. Don't be Rick Sanchez. She's actually let herself be shocked before too, so that's the second time. I definitely don't like the idea of anyone being shocked, but maybe that's the only way. I don't know. For discussion we're joined by Sanjay Gupta (who else?). Anderson notes that Randi got shocked and didn't think it was that bad. However, Sanjay points out that pain threshold is subjective and it might be doing more harm than good. Plus there's the emotional factor, meaning that Randi knew why she was being shocked, but a mentally retarded individual wouldn't. Good point. I don't think Sanjay is in favor of the shocking.

On now to Lou Dobbs pimping his special on the middle class. I like it when he tackles those issues. Unfortunately he's going up against Countdown, so...sorry Lou. Anderson asks what's going on with the minimum wage increase and Lou tells us it's bogged down in the Senate. Argh. Stupid Senate. Erica with the headlines and The Shot tonight is the world's tallest man finding true love. Bao Xishun is almost eight feet tall and his new wife is 5'6''. Oh that's a lot of awkward. Erica reminds us that this is the same guy that saved dolphins by using his long arms to pull plastic out of their stomachs. She wonders if Anderson would do that for a dolphin. "Sure, if I could, but my arm -- I've got a little, you know, little tiny arm," he says. Anderson Cooper you may not have arms long enough to save a dolphin, but they are so not tiny. Yeah, I've noticed. Ahem. Erica is pleased with Anderson's pledge to save a dolphin. "And that's why people around the world love you, Anderson, because you care." That's actually about right. That was cute. Oh, and The Shot speech is still fixed! I continue to claim victory!

The show wasn't amazing or anything, but much much better than the last couple nights-even with the repeat second hour. B-

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Breaking News Speculation, Iranians Seize British Sailors, And More ANS Crap (Tuesday's Second Hour)

Hi everyone. Well, there's not going to be much of a blog for this hour because there was a whole lot of BREAKING NEWS coverage that would be incredibly pointless to recap seeing as the situation is over now. So anyway, we have approximately 26 minutes of speculation before moving on to a Tom Foreman piece about Iran. Does he have maps? Well, of course he does. In the piece we learn that "two U.S. aircraft carriers are now conducting exercises off the Iranian coast." Oh that cannot be a good thing. Also mentioned is those 15 British sailors and marines that the Iranians seized. The British say they were in Iraqi waters while the Iranians say they were in their waters. In any regards, Tony Blair has said that the situation will move into a "different phase" if the sailors and marines are not released. Another phase? No, no more phases please. I am so happy it wasn't 15 Americans because if it was we'd probably be bombing Iran right now. The British are calmer. Tom points out that the big issue here is the Strait of Hormuz. Remember that? Whole bunch of oil goes through there and since Iran has been out doing their own exercises there's speculation they might try to shut it down. That would be bad. That would be very bad. Sigh. Can everyone please calm the hell down? No more wars until you've finished the ones you've started.

Next up we have Christiane Amanpour live from from London and I must say it has been too long. Christiane tells us that Blair is playing down his next phase comments and the implication that he was talking about a military option. She thinks that he could have been talking about making evidence public that proves the British really were in Iraqi waters. Anderson wonders what the next logical step would be. Christiane tells us there has been some diplomatic contact and she also notes that there is one woman being held, with the Iranians claiming she's being treated well. Anderson then asks if there's any linkage between this situation and the five Iranians that were captured by the US in Iraq in January. Christiane says the foreign ministry said no and she points out that even the Iraqis are saying the British were in Iraqi waters. Okay, so just no war, alright? No war.

After this we've got a hat trick of non newsiness: Anna Nicole Smith coverage, breaking news filled with speculation, and even some Warren Jeffs. Awesome. Wednesday's review will be up Thursday afternoon.

Senate Timeline Vote, Michael Ware Smacks Down McCain, ANS Crap, Raw Politics, Polygamy, And A Sex Addict Priest (Tuesday's First Hour)

Hi guys. We're starting with real news tonight. Yay! Anderson tells us that the Senate has voted 50 to 48 to keep the timeline for withdrawl in the Iraq spending bill. Hey, they actually did something. Suzanne Malveaux then joins us live for more and we learn that Bush is ticked. Oh, big surprise there. He's painting this as the democrats against the troops. Whatever. Republicans Gordon Smith and Chuck Hagel voted with the democrats and I think that makes it bipartisan. After all, that's what they always say when Lieberman is the only one that crosses over. And besides what position are they in to say that anyone is against the troops? Or are we forgetting about Walter Reed and all the other facilities? Grrrr. Anyway, Bush will veto of course because God forbid he listen to anyone besides the voices in his head and Dick Cheney.

Next Anderson tells us that this month was the first time the Pentagon called the sectarian violence in Iraq a "civil war." Wow. Nice of them to catch up a year too late. We're then shown a clip of Kyra Phillips in Iraq interviewing Admiral William Fallon. It's kind of surprising to see Kyra over there and it seems like she's been there for a while. I don't know for sure though since I usually can't watch during the day. I don't even know exactly when she's on. Anyway, this Fallon dude is in some serious denial because he says there is no civil war. Mmmkay. Kyra asks if this conflict could go on for generations and Fallon notes that we've had troops in places around the world for decades. Well, yeah, but they weren't being blown up every day. Then there's some talk about Iran, but I'm totally distracted because of that damn sound effect. Anderson Cooper make it stop! Seriously, it's like a cross between a metal noise and a bird squawking. Again, worst sound effect evah.

Moving on now to a live interview with Michael Ware and Anderson begins by playing him a clip of John McCain saying there are some places in Baghdad that are secure. Apparently Michael was on The Situation Room this afternoon to call BS on this statement and his response has now been spread all over the Internets. This I suppose is a repeat performance. Anderson asks Michael if what McCain said is true and Michael is all, "absolutely not!" He thinks McCain has gone way out on a limb with this and what he said is "ludicrous." Michael's not playing here, "If he knows any part of this city where Americans can walk, then I would appreciate the senator coming and telling me that, and we will go and take that walk together." Oh, snap! Have I mentioned lately how much I love Michael? He then explains that sectarian violence is down because the death squads are all members of the Iraqi security forces, which are with the Americans all the time now. Also, the violence might be down in Baghdad, but it's spreading now to places like Diyala. Anderson then gives Michael some stats that show violence is decreasing and he wonders if they're legit. Michael thinks they could be, but right now it's way to early to make any comments about the surge. Finally, Anderson asks Michael if there is anywhere in Baghdad he could go without his security for more than 10 minutes. "No. I'm afraid to say there isn't," says Michael. Well that's depressing. Stay safe Michael.

Transitioning now to...Anna Nicole Smith crap! Oh joy. I guess I should be thankful we got about 11 minutes of actual news first this time. So anyway, tonight we're talking about her son. I think. Can't say I was really paying attention. There's a Rusty Dornin piece and then Court TV's Lisa Bloom and forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht are back. After all that garbage we've got BREAKING NEWS out of the Philippines in Manila. Two gunman have seized a bus filled with 32 children and two teachers. Oh! C'mon, not kids. Sigh. Well, nobody knows anything right now so we're moving on to "Raw Politics" with Joe Johns. First up, trouble for Hillary Clinton. Apparently about half the adults in the US say they won't vote for her. I guess I'm included in that statistic-for the primary anyway. Next Joe tells us that the "FBI got a spanking on Capitol Hill today." Oooh, sounds kinky. Or not. It seems Director Robert Mueller is in some trouble over the agency taking shortcuts. Arlen Spector has his boxers in a twist over Mueller giving inaccurate data for surveillance warrants. Seeing as though Spector's MO is to get riled up and then roll over, I really wouldn't worry about that if I were Mueller. Finally, Jim Webb explains that whole gun thing. The story is he was going to get on a plane, so he left it with his staff. Okay then.

Next up we've got some polygamy. Seriously? Anna Nicole Smith and Warren Jeffs in the same night? Well, now I think they're just messing with me. Okay, so Gary Tuchman is on the case again (who else?) and he gives us a piece on Warren Jeffs' court hearing. Apparently Jeffs has become a sad little shell of a man and he tried to say something in court, but the judge wouldn't let him. We also get a lot of the requisite footage of nice as can be Gary getting shunned by Jeffs' followers. Poor Gary. If he ever comes here for a story I promise not to shun him. In fact, I will make him cookies. Or, okay, buy cookies. After this piece we get Gary live and Anderson notes that Jeffs' demeanor is different now. Gary agrees and tells us that one time they even saw him drooling. What? Ewwww. From here we're on the phone with a hostage negotiator for more coverage of that breaking news. They still don't know anything, so yeah, we take a trip to speculation city.

Finally tonight we have a Drew Griffin piece on a sex addict priest. I didn't pay very good attention to this story, but from what I gather that's about what it boils down to. He's a priest! He's a sex addict! OMG, he's a sex addict priest! Meh. Okay, so he did steal church money to pay for prostitutes and he has a secret son, but whatever. The show was again pretty crappy. Maybe there was a lot of good stuff that got bumped for the breaking news or maybe we would have been subjected to more polygamy and ANS. I guess we'll never know. During the breaking news I checked the other networks and CNN was the only one covering it. So I guess tomorrow we'll be reading about how they owned the story. However, what did we really learn? We got a bunch of speculation and Anderson "uhing" his way through the same little bit of information over and over.

CNN is great with breaking news because they have people everywhere, but I wish they would just give the facts and that's it. Once the facts are reported they can then go back to their regular news and have the breaking news continously on the crawl (you'd think that would be the crawl's purpose) until there's more information for them to report. Of course that will never happen because it's all about being first. What cracks me up is that throughout 360 they were all over it and then as soon as 360 was over they went to taped Larry King. This is by no means the first time they've done that. You think if it was important enough to bump half of 360's stories it would be important enough to actually stay live. Although maybe they came back live after a bit. I don't know. I turned it off. So anyway, it was great they started with real news and Michael Ware was awesome as always, but D+

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Even More ANS Coverage, Pat Tillman Investigation, Heaven's Gate Cult, War Resisters, And Inmate Idle (Monday's Second Hour)

Hi everyone. Like last hour, we kick this hour off with my favorite subject: Anna Nicole Smith! We gets some repeated stuff and OMG Anderson even has a timeline of her death. With graphics. That's almost past mockable at this point. It's just sad, really. After that there's a Susan Candiotti piece, an interview with Harvey Levin who is the managing editor of, and even more repeated garbage. All that was 20 minutes of your life kiddies. I hope you were multi-tasking.

Transitioning now to...OMG real news! We've got a "Keeping Them Honest" piece from Jamie McIntyre regarding a new report released on the death of Pat Tillman. You might remember that Pat was a big football star that gave up a lucrative contract to fight for his country. He was then killed in Afghanistan and the adminstration proceeded to use him as the poster boy for their cause. There was one problem; Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire and none of what the Pentagon told us was true. And that "us" included Pat's own family. Three previous investigations into his death were found to be deficient. This investigation found that nine officers are at fault in regards to the false information, including four generals. This whole story just sickens me. He died for his country and they used him. They made him into some Rambo-like hero to help sell their war and it was all a lie-just like everything else regarding this war. The thing that gets me is that they had to make up this big story even though Pat Tillman was a guy who gave up millions to serve. Was that not enough?

Next up we have a Dan Simon piece on the 10 year anniversary of the Heaven's Gate mass suicide. Heaven's Gate was a cult that believed earth was a garden to grow souls and by killing themselves they would be moving on to a more developed kingdom. One guy, Rio DeAngelo, is the only survivor of the cult and he actually still believes. That's craziness. After the piece Anderson has an interview with Steven Alan Hassan, cult expert. From Steve we learn that the pull of a cult can last decades and a perfect cult candidate is going through a life transition, is off balance, and lacks street smarts.

Moving on now to a piece from Thelma Gutierrez on war resisters living in Nelson, British Columbia. Eliza paid special attention to this piece. If things get drafty now I know where I'm sending the 20 year old brother. Thanks CNN! I'll totally think of you when I'm breaking the law. After this we have a Gary Tuchman piece on "Inmate Idle." The story has graduated from The Shot I see. Anyway, the winner sang "My Girl" and he and his cell block were rewarded with pizza and McDonald's. Erica then gives us the headlines and we learn that OK Go's treadmill video won one of the YouTube awards. I love that video! Erica does too. She tells us she tried it at the gym and fell. Bwah! Oh Erica, I would totally do the treadmill video with you. At this point I'm wishing I had a treadmill and then I remember, wait, I do have a treadmill. Guess you can tell how much I exercise. That'll do it. I think I took care of all my yelling at them last hour.

Anna Nicole Smithapalooza, Raw Politics, Anderson's Simon Cowell 60 Minutes Interview (Monday's First Hour)

Hi everyone. So I watched the show on Friday and took notes with the full intention to blog, but...the weekend just got away from me. Sorry. It was a time thing; not a no Anderson thing. Wouldn't want John to think I didn't love him too. Heh. According to Larry King we've got Anderson in Gotham City tonight and he promises us some Simon Cowell. However, our top story is the cause of death of Anna Nicole Smith. Noooo!!!!! I probably should have seen this coming. Anyway, from Sanjay Gupta we learn that Anna Nicole died the way pretty much most people figured she died: from prescription drugs-nine to be exact. So now we know and we're moving on, right? Oh silly Eliza, we are so not moving on. Nope, apparently we need some discussion with Court TV's Lisa Bloom and forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht. As per usual, I'm not blogging it.

Throughout this segment I find myself yelling, "what the hell is that noise?" It sounds like a sqawking bird, which is confusing seeing as though Anderson is back in the states now and, uh, not even outside. After hearing the annoying thing a few more times it dawns on me that it is coinciding with graphics up on the screen. Oh my God it's a sound effect. That has to be the worst sound effect evah. And suddenly I'm realizing that this isn't new; it's just that when Anderson was in Cambodia I thought it was an actual bird. Bwah! Seriously 360, lose the sound effect from hell please. So anyway, after the discussion we have a Sanjay piece about human growth hormone because Anna Nicole was using it so now we have to know all about it. Obviously. The hormone is often used to combat aging, but it's illegal in the states unless being used for a deficiency. Following Sanjay's piece Anderson gives us some "Raw Data" on how people are cashing in on Anna Nicole's death by selling stuff on eBay. Hmm, what about ratings? Do those count as "cashing in" because you might want to add yourself to that "Raw Data."

Still going strong with this Anna Nicole stuff, next we have a piece from Rusty Dornin on the death of Anna's son Daniel. Then we're joined by private investigator Jack Harding , who suspects foul play. Ooooh scandal! This is never going to end, is it? Anderson brings up the fact that apparently Daniel had a dream about his mother dying. Oh c'mon. Seriously? I mean, are we going to be hearing from Sylvia Browne next because that's pretty much the road we're on here. This interview concludith the Anna Nicole coverage. Well, for the first hour anyway. For those keeping count that was just 30 minutes (with commercials) of your life. All for a woman who did...what exactly?

Transitioning now to some "Raw Politics" with Joe Johns, who I have never been so happy to see. First up tonight we've got Senator Webb's aide packing heat into the Senate office building. Wha? Apparently it was Webb's gun and he gave it to his aide who then in turn forgot about it in his briefcase. Oops. Maybe the NRA will shut up now about democrats and gun control? BTW, their title for this is "Oh, that gun." Totally cracked me up. We also learn that the DNC so enjoyed getting George Allen's "macaca" moment on video that they're tryinig to raise money to pay for video crews to track republican candidates. Youtube waits with anticipation. Finally tonight we're told that Monica Goodling, counsel for Alberto Gonzales will be pleading the fifth in the congressional investigation of attorney-gate. Oh, so we get 30 seconds of this and 30 minutes of Anna Nicole. Yeah, seems about right. Sigh.

Moving on now to the interview Anderson did with Simon Cowell for "60 Minutes." Anderson has a deal that he can show these pieces on 360, but for some reason 360 never aired the Kenny Chesney interview. And of course that's the one I haven't seen all the way through. I recorded it because I was spending time with my adorable two year old cousin and then delayed golf caused the recording to stop literally 1 minute after the piece started. And I should have known that was going to happen since I usually watch "60 Minutes" anyway. I was totally fine with missing it except then I was all intrigued by Anderson in a box. I mean, who's not going to have their interest piqued by Anderson Cooper in a rolly box? So I ended up downloading the first section of the interview, but that's as far as I got, because Kenny Chesney? Meh. I wonder if Anderson wants the puff pieces or if this is some sort of hazing for the youngin. All I know is that if he did the Edwards' interview I bet there wouldn't be all the criticism like Katie Couric is getting.

But enough about all that. In this piece we learn that Simon is mean. Or maybe that's just my opinion. I don't watch American Idol. I saw part of the first season, but in general I have a no reality tv rule for myself. I've never seen Survivor or even The Mole. These days you don't even need to watch American Idol to know all about it; you just need to be conscious. Because it's everywhere! Basically Simon's whole schtick is he guesses what will be popular and apparently he's pretty good at it. Simon thinks everything should be on tv. "Public executions?" asks Anderson. "Why not?" says Simon. "With commericals?" Anderson wonders. "Sponsership," replies Simon. Good Lord. Pepsi: the official sponsor of justice by death. Back in college, my Ethics in Media class was asked if we would air an execution and I was the only one who wouldn't do it under any circumstances. Seeing as though I also knew I was the only one who had no plans to actually go into news, it made me very sad. Anyway, if there's money in it, Simon will do it. Thanks for holding that culture bar high, man. Stay classy!

If you think American Idol is what brings home all of Simon's bacon you would be very wrong. The dude is like a music empire. Not only does he have other shows, he's a record executive for Sony BMG and has sold more records than Bruce Springsteen. In the piece Anderson also jets off with Simon, Randy Jackson, and Ryan Seacrest. Though on the show it looks like they might possiblly hate each other, we learn, really, they're total BFFs. Another little disturbing tidbit we learn is that Simon was once offered $100,000 to critique a couple having sex. Okay, ew...just ew. Simon loves to race go-carts, so Anderson takes him to race indy cars and they both get decked out in the proper attire. I totally don't get the whole driving fast in a circle thing, but whatever. After racing, Anderson surprises Simon with a panel of famous drivers/racers and they proceed to shred his performance. Bwah! At the end of the piece we learn that Simon really doesn't feel he's humiliating people and even thinks he's doing them a favor. Yeah, okay. You can give people a reality check without destroying them. Though he does make a good point when he says, "at the end of the day, if you've decided that you want to enter "American Idol", you want a short circuit to be rich and famous. If that means you take a couple of bits of criticism along the way, tough." Judging by the ratings, I guess America agrees.

The Shot tonight is a trekkie's dream come true. Some guy designed his apartment like the set of Star Trek and now he's trying to sell it on eBay. Anderson notes that the guy did the remodel after his divorce and now he wonders if he's remarried. If a guy brought me to that apartment I would burst out laughing. That's taking fandom to the extreme. Oh, and check it out. They changed The Shot speech. I'm totally claiming this as a victory...which means it will be back tomorrow. Tonight's show was bad, bad, bad. I realize they're getting creamed by Greta and probably don't want to do all this crap news. Anderson, bless his heart, has done his best to make it clear that he doesn't care about the story and I'm sure (hoping) David Doss and the other producers feel the same. The thing is, I really do think 360 could get some solid ratings without this crap if they would just get more consistent. The viewers are confused, people.

When I tune into 360 on any given night I never know if I'm getting an excellent news program or a night like tonight, which was (for the first hour anyway) essentially super-sized Entertainment Tonight. I didn't mind the Simon Cowell piece, but it should be pointed out that besides the few minutes of "Raw Politics" there was no actual news in the whole first hour of the show. How is that possible? I know putting together two hours of news a night must be amazingly difficult, which is why I always feel a little guilty criticizing. However, I also know that 360 is capable of a great show and there is an audience out there that is looking for that great show on a consistent basis. If only the two could come together. D+

I know the comments have been quiet lately, but if you're pulling your hair out over this Anna Nicole coverage now would be the time to let them have it.

Macro by merry_fitzmas.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

More Edwards News, Pork-Filled Bill, Raw Politics, Animal Talk, Discovery Channel Special, Child Slave, And Atlanta Shooting (Thursday's Second Hour)

Hi everyone. We kick off the hour with Anderson throwing it to John Roberts, who in turn shows us an extended clip of the Edwards' press conference. After this we have a repeat of the Elizabeth Edwards profile piece and interview with her brother, Jay Anania. The interview is extended further this hour and we learn that Elizabeth had a scan because she was having some rib pain. Jay says they had both been complaining about bad backs and now he feels silly about his mere bad back. John notes that the whole thing must have been tough for him, recounting his own experience when his brother told him he had incurable cancer in 1981. Unless there's a big age gap his bother must have been pretty young. That's sad. Man, cancer sucks. I haven't had too much of it in my family I guess. Three people so far. It's one of those diseases that touches everyone. We put a man on the moon, but we still can't cure cancer.

Next up we have Anderson introing us into a Joe Johns "Keeping Them Honest" piece about the Emergency Supplemental Spending Bill. In last hour's review I sort of implied that they didn't cover the Iraq withdrawl measure, but it is mentioned in this piece. I guess I was looking for more than a sentence. Anyway, that's me keeping myself honest. This piece is all about how a bill that's meant for emergencies is stuffed with pork-filled goodness. For example, spinach growers in California can look forward to getting a $25 million bailout. Republican Activist Darryl Howard doesn't think spinach growers should be rewarded after they unleased e coli on the public, especially since it killed his mother. Oh, I can see why he might be against that. Damn. The bill is also packed with $21 billion of other stuff that Bush didn't ask for, most of which have nothing to do with emergencies. As you might remember, democrats were all anti-pork during election season. Why the change now? Well, they're essentially buying votes because they've got that Iraq war measure attached. They're sweetening the deal if you will. Republican Zack Wamp calls them out on this and I'm just about to agree with him (a republican!) and then he totally loses credibility by calling the whole thing unprecedented. Dude, did you just suffer a head injury that caused short term memory loss? Gotta love the politicians.

Next up we have Raw Politics with John and first up we've got Tony Snow actually being genuine. I'm glad they have this on video. Snow was praising Elizabeth Edward's courage...and then he went back to calling the democrats defeatists. Or, you know, something like that. We also learn that as it turns out, Rudy Giuliani is not down with this whole war on terror thing. If you're wondering if it's because he figured out you can't fight something that's not even a noun; nope that's not it. He thinks that war on terror might hurt America's image and we should instead call it the war on terror against us. Uh huh. Will someone please tell Giuliani that it is way way too late for that? Hey, remember when it was the global struggle against violent extremist or GSAVE? Fun times. Finally tonight we learn that Mitt Romney and Utah Mayor Rocky Anderson used to be BFFs and this is problematic because Rocky is all "let's impeach Bush!" Uh oh. Rocky is so off the Christmas card list. And I have to say that I enjoyed it very much to hear the words, "Anderson is a democrat," even though John wasn't referring to 360's Anderson. Damn you Anderson Cooper and your opinionless sleeves!

Speaking of Anderson, we're transitioning back to him now for a repeat of the elephant piece. Then we're joined by Suwanna Gauntlett, the Cambodia director for Wildlife Alliance. Anderson asks what the greatest threat to animals is in the country. Suwanna tells us it's the wildlife trade and owning and eating endangered animals was a way of life in the country when she arrived, even a symbol of status. By working with law enforcement she was able to cut wildlife consumption in restaurants by 95%. Wow. That's impressive. Anderson notes that the trade is big business and Suwanna agrees. She tells us that the people behind it are often high-ranking officials and rich businessmen. Anderson wonders what has shocked her most in her seven years there. Suwanna is most aghast that traditional medicine belief is not changing.

Moving on now to an interview with Jonny Keeling a producer for "Planet Earth" on Discovery Channel, which coincidentally (or not so coincidentally) they just ran a really cool commercial for a few minutes ago. I wish I could figure out Time Warner's relationship with Discovery. I don't think it's direct ownership, but it's definitely something, since Discovery even has a whole channel connected to the "New York Times." Anyway, there's not much I can blog here because it's pretty much all about the awesome video. We see lions attacking elephants, polar bears coming out of hibernation, a snow leopard hunting, and camels. Apparently Jonny was pretty close to the action. I doubt I'll have time to watch the series, but it looks really good.

Next up we have a Dan Rivers interview with Somaly Mam, who you might remember is a former prostitute that set up a charity rescuing children from brothels. One child, Shray, particularly touched her. Shray was sold by her parents and working in a brothel at the mere age of five. She's six now and has HIV, TB, and pneumonia. That's horrible. I really don't understand how a parent can sell their child. Most parents would lie in front of a bus for their children. Anyway, you can help out Somaly's charity by going to (or here if you prefer english). Unfortunately, going by the transcript, it seems Dan spelled her name wrong, so hopefully people aren't having too much trouble finding it.

The final piece tonight is from Rick Sanchez on that Atlanta shooting from a couple of years ago. I didn't really pay attention, though I did catch some of his um, presentation. Okay then. In the spirit of differing viewpoints, I thought I'd give you some opinions from Cambodia on 360's Cambodia coverage. It seems not everyone is happy. That'll do it.

Screencap by stormi0611.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Elizabeth Edwards Battles Back, An Elephant Scare, And Polar Bears In Crisis (Thursday's First Hour)

Hi everybody. Maria Shriver hosting Larry King? Wha? Anyway, we're still in Cambodia and 360 has some video from their day that they must show us right now. Apparently Jeff Corwin got a bigger animal adventure than he bargained for. We're shown a clip of Jeff and Anderson standing and talking in water with elephants around. Suddenly one of the elephants wraps its trunk around Jeff's left arm and pulls hard, sending him flying back. OMG, Jeff! From the sound of his screams it did not feel good. Anderson and some other dudes who pop out of no where then quickly help Jeff out of the water. Geez. Cameraman Neal gets critter-attacked in Brazil and now Jeff gets flung by an elephant. What's going to happen in the next location and to who?

Transitioning back to New York with John Roberts and he talks about the horrible news that Elizabeth Edwards' cancer is back and it has spread to her bones. This intros into a Candy Crowley piece where we learn that John Edwards' campaign will go on because Elizabeth doesn't want him to quit. Elizabeth was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 at the time of the election and then went into remission. However, now it's back and at stage 4. This means that while the cancer is treatable, it can no longer be cured. The Edwards are fighters though, having survived the death of their 16 year old son in a car accident. For now they soldier on. After Candy's piece we get a profile piece on Elizabeth from John. We learn that Elizabeth was a military brat and spent much of her childhood in Japan. She then went to law school and married John. Elizabeth practiced law until her son Wade was killed in 1996. After some intense mourning she and John decided to get on with living and they had two more children with the help of hormone treatment. A recurring theme here seems to be that Elizabeth is a fighter. I haven't seen/heard anything that would make me disagree.

Next up John has an interview with Dr. Eric Winer, director of the Breast Oncology Center at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. John wonders what it means that the cancer is treatable. It means they can hold it at bay and even make it better. Well that actually sounds better than what I thought. They then talk about treatment and related issues. After the interview we're joined in studio by Elizabeth's brother, Jay Anania, and John asks how Elizabeth is doing. Jay says she's holding up really well and her sunny disposition at the press conference and in general is discussed. It is also noted that while this news is bad, Elizabeth originally thought her diagnosis was going to be much worse. Thank God it wasn't.

Moving on now to an interview with democratic strategist Paul Begala and he and John talk a bit about Elizabeth's grace and poise. Honestly, I have never heard anything bad said about this women. She really does seem to be as great as everyone is saying, which makes the fact that this is happening to her seem even worse. John then reads a snippet from Time's website that wonders if Edwards will be able to stay in the race to the end. Paul says that staying power is a question with every candidate and he thinks that Edwards is the one to watch. I wonder if Paul has always been on the Edwards bandwagon or if he just jumped. Paul also thinks that Edwards was the winner of the week simply because it came out that Obama's campaign was behind the anti-Clinton ad. Uh, wait. Is that even true? I thought the guy who made it worked for a company that was affiliated with Obama, but they did not know he was making the ad. How does that translate to him being behind the ad? Let's keep 'em honest here folks. We then get a clip of Anderson trying to throw us out to commercial as an elephant plays with his head. Okay, that was hilariously adorable.

Transitioning now to Anderson and he intros us into a piece of him and Jeff Corwin at Cambodia's Phnom Tamao Rescue Center. We meet a young Asian elephant named Chook who had his foot ripped off, probably by a poacher's snare. Chook's injuries are severe and in order to perform treatment and dress his wounds workers have to sedate him with a blow dart. When they're done they give him another shot to wake him up. It is unclear whether he will survive. In another clip an elephant uses it's trunk to smell Anderson and then proceeds to try to strangle him. "All you have to say is uncle," jokes Jeff. Anderson giggles and so do I, but there's another part of me that is remembering the footage we saw at the top of the hour and realizing that elephant could have just as easily snapped his neck into Anderson Cooper 180. We also see Jeff talking with a man in front of a tiger cage when the tiger decides it does not wish to be filmed today. Since it can't get out and eat them it settles for some peeing. Yeah, the cameraman gets it. Was that you Neal? Poor Neal.

Our adventurers then move on to a pond where they help bathe the elephants. This is where Jeff almost gets a broken arm, but first Anderson gets it a little too. I don't know if he got kicked by an elephant foot or what, but suddenly he goes flying back in the water with a "whoa" sound. Elephants are strong. Right after Jeff's incident we get a clip of him wet and frazzled, but still eager to show his wounds. He thinks he's okay, but now he knows "what it feels like to be a circus peanut, going down the gullet of an elephant." Back live in Cambodia we have Jeff joining us in a sling. He tells us that he has some crushed (possibly torn) tendons, but it could have been so much worse. Yes it could, but tendon injuries are nothing to sneeze at. Jeff jokes about having a six week vacation on behalf of CNN. Dude, Jeff, I can totally do your work comp report for you. After the recounting of injuries there's some endangered species talk. I wonder how Jeff feels about his injured arm being their hook for the night. They must have played that clip almost a dozen times.

Next up we have a cute clip of Anderson and Jeff playing with a bear and then live Anderson intros us into a piece he did on an adorable polar bear cub named Knut that one animal rights activist wants killed. Wha? The mother rejected the cub at birth and the German Zoo he was born in has decided to raise him in captivity because polar bears are under threat of extinction. However, animal rights dude doesn't care about this. All he cares about is that it's not natural and now he won't be able to live in the wild. Well, duh. Anyway, as you might guess, proclaiming something that adorable should be killed has been quite controversial. Now the guy is kind of backing down. Whatever. You know, I would think one of the main animal rights would be the right to not be killed.

Moving on to an interview with Steve Lehr, caretaker of two popular polar bears at SeaWorld in Orlando. Anderson wonders if animal rights guy makes sense at all and Steve is as comfuzzled as the rest of us. Anderson asks if it's difficult to raise a polar bear in captivity. Steve doesn't think so, though it seems he wishes he could try. We also learn that polar bears are almost classified as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. Steven then tells us a little bit about the polar bears he cares for. Then we're onto Kiran with the headlines. The Shot tonight is "Inmate Idle," the "American Idol" for the prison crowd. Oh you've got to be kidding me. They're even going to have celebrity judges Alice Cooper and Charles Barkley. Good Lord. John says he "can only imagine what Simon would say." Probably something like, "how much am I getting paid for this?" Just a guess. Oh and rewrite that "Shot" copy, 360! Even John's having trouble.

I had mixed feelings about the show tonight. The entertaining/cute factor was through the roof, but I'm not sure why Jeff's injury suddenly became the main story. As for the New York coverage, I am deeply saddened by Elizabeth Edwards' diagnosis, but I think some of the coverage could have been consolidated to make room for other stories. What's going on with attorney-gate? How about the House withdrawl plan that might pass? B-

Screencaps by stormi0611.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Sad Breaking News, Kids As War Pawns, Hazardous Fires, Raw Politics, Phil Spector, And Tennis In Wartime (Wednesday's Second Hour)

Hi guys. We begin the hour with Anderson throwing to John Roberts, who is not at all ready for us. Seriously, he's putting in his ear piece and isn't even all the way in the shot. This makes me think that the phone we heard ringing at the end of last hour was actual breaking news. You know, unlike normally when we have breaking news that really occurred hours before, but they still call it breaking news so they can use their graphics and sound effects. Unfortunately, the news is not good...or specific. Apparently John and Elizabeth Edwards have called a press conference for the next day in order to make an announcement related to her health. Nobody knows anything for sure, but it does not sound good. And now I'm going to pause this little time warp thing that I'm doing to say that obviously we all know now that Elizabeth's cancer is back and it really sucks. My thoughts and prayers are with her.

Next up we have Michael Ware live and he tells us that an American general is claiming that US troops let a car bomb go through a checkpoint because they saw kids in the backseat. Michael can't confirm this claim himself, but obviously it's horrific if true. He also talks a bit about just how hard it is to be a child in Iraq. Anderson wonders how you can fight against something like that and Michael thinks it's almost impossible. He notes that these kind of things are done by al Qaeda in Iraq who are even more hardcore than Bin Laden. They believe that any innocents they kill are going straight to heaven, so they're actually doing them a favor. This is why this war can never be won militarily.

On now to a Dan Rivers piece on fires that are out of control in Thailand. Every year Thai farmers set fire to last season's crop, but this year the fires have spread to the forests and have left hazardous smoke across the countryside. People are becoming ill and it's causing a huge problem. They're attempting to use sodium chloride to bring on rain, but so far it doesn't seem to be working. After the piece Dan joins Anderson live and notes that he himself, along with his producer, became sick from the smoke. It's apparently so bad that the UN is thinking of pulling out their staff. Man.

Transitioning back to John Roberts who talks a little bit about Elizabeth Edwards and then moves on to Raw Politics. This completely cracks me up because he basically went from concerned reporter voice to peppy reporter voice with the snap of a finger. So versatile. Okay, so in Raw Politics tonight we begin with The Terminator and Rush Limbaugh duking it out because Arnold has gotten sane lately and Rush can't have that. They've apparently patched things up though. As John notes, "But a good cigar, it seems, can heal all wounds." Next up we learn that James Inhofe got his "ears boxed" today by Senator Boxer. Oh, bad pun. Bad pun. The clip is pretty awesome though. Global warming denier Inhofe tries to take control of Gore's hearing and Boxer is like, "You don't make the rules anymore, bucko!" Uh, she might have used more senatorial language. We also learn that, "Gore refused to take a pledge that Inhofe proffered to use no more energy than the average American household." I'm sure Gore has a good reason, but now I'm wondering what it is. After this, things get weirdly disturbing. John tells us that Robert Reich, Labor Secretary under Clinton, is v-logging about a date he had in 1966 with Hillary. Apparently she wanted a lot of butter on her popcorn. A lot of butt4er. Says John, "May we say that there are some things so raw in politics that you just don't need to know. " Well that just got downright naughty, didn't it? Oh my. Don't let the kiddies watch Raw Politics!

Next up we have Candy Crowley on the phone with John, speculating about Elizabeth Edwards even though they said they weren't going to speculate. Okay then. John gives a nice little antedote though about how she's a great person. Then we transition to a Dan Simon piece on Phil Spector, very successful music producer and...accused killer. The alleged murder happened four years ago and the only reason I kind of remember it is because this dude has hair like he just stuck his finger in a light socket. And...I don't really care. But we're going to discuss it dammit because Jeffrey Toobin apparently wants in on everything this week. John laughs about Spector's hair, but Toobin notes that if he let his hair grow out it would probably look the same. Ha! It probably would. Apparently Spector is claiming the girl died due to accidental suicide. Yeah, let that one sink in for a minute. John laughs about the bizarreness and then apologizes, "I don't want to make light of this." Oh c'mon, might as well go the distance at this point. After this the conversation turns into a music debate. No, really. For the record, Toobin was okay with the "Let it Be," album, but John? Not a fan. I swear to God, almost every conversation with Toobin dissolves into craziness. He must be great at parties.

Moving on to more bartender stuff and John interviews Eugene O'Donnell, former NYPD. I don't see the point with this either. John seems all shocked a cop would do this. Well, they're not all winners. Some cops are jerks, to put it mildly. After this we go back to Anderson, who I was beginning to think had been sold into slavery. He then intros us into a Brent Sadler piece on two Iraqi families now living in Lebanon. One of the men actually gave tennis lessons to General Casey inside the Green Zone. Now he and his family are refugees. And they blame America. Great. After the piece Anderson reads blog comments, one of which warns him against eating a certain kind of pepper. "I wish I had read your e-mail just a little bit sooner," says Anderson. Oh noes! Anderson Cooper you are such a bad liar. Heh. I just realized I didn't give a grade during the first hour like I normally do. Pretty good tonight. There was some stuff I could have done without, but it's a two hour show. There was some speculating with the breaking news, but I've seen them do much worse when it comes to that. B.

Subpoena Approval, Cambodia Sex Trafficking, Al Gore And Global Warming, Bartender Attack, And UFOs (Wednesday's First Hour)

Hello all. We're in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, tonight, but Anderson begins by throwing it back to John Roberts in New York for a piece John did on attorney-gate. Today a House committee approved subpoenas and John tells us that the democrats see Karl Rove as a political pinata. They want to whack him until all his secrets come out. I'd watch that. Bush is of course resisting because the White House believes his executive power is being eroded. We get to see Tony Snow getting hammered, which is always fun, though interestingly we don't see any Ed Henry. I say that because MSNBC of all places played a long clip of an exchange between Ed and Snow. One thing he questioned Snow on was all the pages that are apparently missing from the documents, which you think would be a big angle in their coverage tonight, but no. Hmm.

Next up Jeffrey Toobin (who they're keeping very busy) joins John for discussion. John wonders who has the upper hand in all this. It's not clear to Toobin, but he seems to think it's the democrats since Bush is looking like he has something to hide. They then go into some talk on executive privilege and John asks if the document dump itself could be seen as a waiver. Toobin points out that that's exactly what the democrats will most likely argue. John mentions a couple of cases where privilege was denied, but in those cases there was a crime. So far there doesn't seem to be a crime in attorney-gate, but Toobin notes that might not matter because courts don't like privileges. I guess we'll see. Bring on the subpoenas!

Transitioning now to Anderson Cooper walking around a red-light district. I'll forego the joke. He then intros into a piece he did on Cambodian sex slavery. We learn that in the capital alone there are 10,000 to 20,000 prostitutes and at least 25% are children. The prostitutes are often uneducated, poor, abused, and forced to work long hours. Nicholas Kristoff of the "New York Times" points out that there is a belief there that sleeping with a virgin can cure AIDS and Cambodia now has the highest HIV rate in Asia. We then move on to a Dan Rivers piece about how Cambodia is a pedophile haven. He introduces us to Amit Gilboa, an author who wrote a book about sex-crazed expatriates, or sex-pats as he calls them. One of these sex-pats is Graham Cleghorn, who was actually convicted in 2004 of raping five teenagers. Unfortunately conviction of sex-pats is rare. Also, during Dan's piece there was this really annoying graphic that took up like a fifth of the screen. Seriously 360, why must you do that?

Next up we have a Candy Crowley piece, which is basically about how Al Gore is cool now. Today he returned to his old Capitol Hill haunt in order testify about global warming. Last time he was there he was certifying the 2000 election. I'm guessing this time was better for him. The will he or won't he run question is bantered about, but Gore remains coy. After the piece Anderson tells us, "You have probably heard or read reports that downplay the threat, and even question whether it's happening at all. It can be confusing. And what often gets lost in the debate is a simple fact: The vast majority of scientists believe, without a doubt, that global warming is real." Thank you! 360 has actually been pretty good with the global warming stuff (when they cover it) since I've been watching. I know it used to drive me crazy when shows would have debates between an actual scientist and some guy working for an Exxon-Mobil backed think tank.

And this segways us nicely into a Joe Johns "Keeping Them Honest" piece on how people have been trying to cloud the global warming debate. This info is old, but always worth a mention. You see, Philip Cooney was hired by the White House to muddle up the facts. He's not a scientist, but that didn't stop him from editing scientific reports to make it look like warming was not a big problem. We get to see some of these documents in the piece (good job guys). I'm pretty sure Cooney had a hand in the Kyoto decision too, but that's not mentioned. Cooney isn't with the White House anymore. Where did he go? Exxon-Mobil of course. For great coverage on how the global warming debate has been purposefully muddled, see Mother Jones.

On now to a repeat of the Jeff Corwin piece from the other day and afterwards he's live with Anderson. Jeff is very disturbed about the tiger furs he saw and he notes there are many more endangered species in southeast Asia than other places. After this we go back to New York and John Roberts tells us all about this woman who was attacked by an off duty cop while she was tending bar. There's a tape of course and I'm wondering if they just released it today or something because apparently this attack took place a month ago. So...why are we talking about it now? John then interviews the woman and her lawyer and I still don't get the point here. Whatever.

Next up we have a Gary Tuchman piece on, well, UFOs. Back in 1997 there were unexplained lights over the sky in Phoenix and we're talking about it again now because the governor at the time has come forward and admitted he saw them. At the time he tried to humorously downplay the lights in order to prevent panic. Now that he's out of office he's not only publicly acknowledging what he saw, he thinks the lights came from aliens. Ooookay. Well, it would be comforting to know there's intelligent life somewhere. The Shot tonight is of two cops who pull a man out of a burning van. And he's on fire. Oh! We end the hour with a ringing phone. Apparently John was expecting a call.

Screencap by stillife.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Attorney-Gate, Missing Boy, Human Trafficking, Tax Cheating Doctors, And Raw Politics (Tuesday's Second Hour)

Hi everyone. We begin with Anderson in Bangkok and he throws it back to John Roberts for some attorney-gate redux. From there we have a Tom Foreman piece about Karl Rove's role in the whole issue. I was wondering when they were going to hit on this indepth. Basically what happened was attorney Bud Cummins was kicked to the curb to make room for Tim Griffin, a well qualified, but very politically connected attorney. Hmmm. He spent years working for Rove, so yeah, he's most likely a little evil. This could cause some trouble for Rove, but I don't know, the guy seems to be made of teflon. Maybe the 58th scandal is the charm.

Next up we have John Roberts and Jeffrey Toobin again, though this time not discussing ANS. I'm going to have to skip it though. Sorry, no time! Afterwards we have a repeat Anderson piece and then Randi Kaye joins us live with new details about the missing boy. Except, um, she has no new details. I guess they meant new details for those who weren't watching during the first hour. Anderson then interviews her a bit and when they have their two shots up together Randi's suddenly freezes-in mid sentence. Well that was weird. And highly ironic since Randi's all frozen in the states and Anderson is fine half a world away. Ahhh, technology. The shot then quickly goes just to Anderson, who does his snapping thing to someone off camera. Yeah, we know about that. Wake up off-camera person! Charlie Moore are you napping? Oh and, Anderson Cooper it is not polite to snap! I swear, they entertain me so.

Transitioning back to John in New York and he has a completely unnecessary interview with one of the rescuers of Michael, the missing boy. Seriously, why? And for more why, we're then joined by Sanjay Gupta because apparently Michael had ADHD and now we of course need to learn all about it. Look, I'm not saying there's not good info here, but I'm still rolling my eyes because if Michael had epilepsy that's what we would be learning about right now. Why throw this info at us so randomly?

Moving on to a Dan Rivers piece that I was going to link to because I thought I blogged it before, but apparently I skimped, so sorry. Next Anderson has an interview with Lisa Rendy Taylor, technical adviser to the U.N. interagency Project for Human Trafficking. They cover a lot of stuff we've basically heard before, but Lisa points out that a lot of people think this problem stems from poverty and lack of education when actually the problem is there will always be people that exploit. In fact, Lisa tells us that sometimes the people that fall victim to human trafficking exploitation are the most educated because they are the ones who thought they had a shot to get out of the situation they grew up in. Interesting...and sad.

Back to John in New York now and he intros us into a Joe Johns "Keeping Them Honest" piece. It seems that 21,000 doctors paid by Medicare are tax cheats and they're using the money to buy things like cars and boats. What, do they think they're politicians or something? The Duke Cunninghams of the medical field apparently. And these doctors aren't even good. Yet they still get paid even though some have been reprimanded or had their liscense suspended. The Health and Human Services Department reportedly has a way to collect these taxes, but they're just not for some reason. Probably incompetence. Joe tells us this problem has been going on for 10 years now. Yeah, well, apparently we like to take our time with problems.

After the piece we've got John doing the "Raw Politics" and now there's music. Was there always music? Anyway, first up we learn that the filing deadline for first quarter fundraising is less than a month away and John McCain "played a little ba da bing" with contributors in Alabama. Yep, "Johnny Mac" is hoping to bring in the cash to gas up that straight talk express. Next up, we've got some anti-war squabbling between Obama and Clinton. They're both vying for the title of anti-war-est of all. There's some sparring with Obama coming out on top when his people point out he spoke out against the war when it was unpopular to do so and she voted for it. Oooooh. "Take that, Senator Clinton," says John. Indeed. Finally, Edwards is following Al Gore's lead in going carbon-neutral and he's going to buy carbon credits on the market. John wonders where one might buy carbon credits because he hasn't seen them at "Tarjay." And yes, that's how he pronounced it. John is so down with the hip retail lingo. Aw, "Raw Politics" was all punchy again. It comes in cycles I suppose. Kiran then gives us the headlines and we're out.

Screencaps by cskitten.

Attorney-Gate Continues, Missing Boy Rescued, Sex Slaves, Injured Elephants, And Anna Nicole Smith?!!!! (Tuesday's First Hour)

Hi everybody. We're kicking it off from Bangkok again tonight and Anderson has ditched his usual field shirt for one of the tighter variety. And yeah, okay, that's all I'm going to talk about the man's shirts for now since this isn't that kind of blog. Right off the bat Anderson throws it to John Roberts in New York for more on attorney-gate. In a John piece we learn that Bush is digging in his heels. He warns the democrats against handing out subpoenas and threatens a constitutional showdown. Bush also tries to spin the whole thing in partisan terms, as if his own party isn't in disarray over this. The administration has actually given the okay for Karl Rove and Harriet Miers to testify. There's just a couple of catches: no public, no oath, no recordings, and no transcripts. Uh, yeah. That doesn't sound fishy at all. Senator Charles Schumer is not sold and wonders why there can't be a record and an oath if there's nothing to hide. Oh, c'mon Chuck. You let the oil company heads forego an oath and that situation is all better now, right? Anyway, the conservative base is all beside itself because they think the republicans need to get a spine. Welcome to the minority with an unpopular president. For now Bush stands behind Gonzales, but his "heckuva job," could be coming at any time.

Next up John has an interview with Senator Patrick Leahy and he begins by asking if he takes Bush at his word that nothing improper was done. Leahy reminds John he said there were WMD's in Iraq too. Bwah! That is exactly how I would answered that question. They need to keep saying that over and over. John asks Leahy if he thinks anything illegal went on and Leahy says that's what they're trying to find out. John then point blank asks if Gonzales should stay or go. Leahy squirms a bit and still doesn't give a straight answer, even when pushed by John. He tells us he will be issuing supoenas (thank you 2006 election!) and John wonders if he's ready for a constitutional showdown. Leahy says he just wants the truth. Then John yells, "you can't handle the truth!" Or, um, okay, maybe that didn't happen. They then talk a bit about the supoenas and Leahy states that he wants these guys under oath. To which John replies, "You're not concerned that they would not tell you the whole truth and nothing but the truth in these off-the-record briefings, are you?" Oh John, that question was just dying for a sarcastic delivery. Because hell yes he's concerned! These guys like to have people lie for them. Just ask Scooter Libby.

Moving on now to some discussion with David Gergen. John says that he hasn't seen Bush worked up like this in quite a while. And he would know since I'm pretty sure he covered the White House for CBS. The Gerg is all confuzzled about why the Bush camp is pushing this so hard. He tells us that Gonzales and Miers testifying under oath would not be unprecedented and thinks they could compromise by having it be private, but with a transcript. Sounds fair to me, but The Gerg and I are rational. John wonders what would happen if this got taken to the courts. The Gerg says they might win, but it would be a big media circus and he doesn't get why they would want to go through that. You know, sometimes I don't think The Gerg gets these people at all. I sure don't understand them, but I know you're not going to figure out their next move by assuming they're rational. John then notes that he's been reading conservative blogs for a few weeks and the base is mad that the administration is rolling over. Oh John, why are you torturing yourself?! The Gerg thinks it's a terrible mistake to play to the conservative base. And yet they continue to do it for six years running. "Welcome to the NFL," says The Gerg. Heh. Seriously.

Transitioning now to Anderson Cooper popping out of no where already talking about attorney-gate. Okay. Anderson then intros us into a Randi Kaye piece on Michael Auberry, a Boy Scout that was missing for four days in North Carolina's Doughton Park. A search and rescue dog found him today. Michael was disoriented, hungry, and dehydrated, but for the most part okay. So, yay! Much better ending than James Kim. I actually turned on CNN earlier today and they were saying they had located him and he was going to walk out on his own. To me that sounded just like what we were told during Sago, so I decided not to be happy until I saw the kid. We find out that he survived by sleeping under rocks and stuff and he wandered away in the first place because he was homesick and was looking to hitchhike out of there. Um...that's not good. He's lucky he only got lost in the woods for four days and not ax murdered by a crazy that picked him up. Kids today, man.

Next up we have an interview John Roberts did with "Hatchet" author Gary Paulsen because it seems it was Michael's favorite book and he drew on it to get him through his ordeal. I have to laugh here, but I'm sorry, this is kind of a ridiculous reason to have this guy on. Also, I am totally having memories right now of being in grade school and trying to get that book read before it had to go back to the library. I think every kid read that book at some point. John asks what Michael would have learned from the fiction book and Gary says he would have learned not to panic. Gary then basically points out that it was Michael that saved himself and I have to say, even he looks a little unsure as to why he's being interviewed. He's probably looking forward to that Amazon rank bump though. So anyway, not much here, so we move on.

Transitioning back to Anderson in Bangkok and he talks a little bit about why they're there. He then intros into a piece he did on sex slavery. It seems it's a booming business, with the State Department estimating between 600,000 and 800,000 people trafficked across borders every year. Half are children and 70% are female. These crimes are seen the most in Thailand, Cambodia, and Burma-all in southeast Asia. People fall victim to the sex trade because they're promised something better. Governments are trying to crack down, but obviously it's a huge international problem to overcome. So sad.

Next up we have Dan Rivers leaving his perch at the DMZ to give us a piece on elephants injured by land mines. We meet Matada, who had her foot blown off by a mine and now they're trying to fit her with a prosthesis. That's kind of cool actually. We also see a little baby elephant that has been mutilated by a land mine. Ohh! It will probably have to be in an animal hospital for the rest of its life, but really, I guess it's kind of lucky since many elephant land mine victims are shot by their owners. The elephants sustain the injuries because the border between Thailand and Myanmar is littered with land mines and the owners use them as workers. Poor elephants.

Moving on to an interview Anderson did with U.S. ambassador to Thailand, Ralph Boyce. Anderson asks why the trafficking of animals matters. Man, I wonder if they're getting email complaints about the animal coverage or if he just really wants us to care, because he's been all over that question these past couple days. I care, Anderson. I swear! (I know, most people aren't freak news junkies that watch every night). Ralph mentions the things we've heard before: spread of disease, extinction, messing with the whole ecosystem and the fact that it's illegal. Anderson wonders how the trafficking can be stopped. Ralph thinks we need an alliance between governments. Oh bummer, we're not very good at those. He also points out that a lot of people in the US might be buying illegal animals and not even know it. Anderson brings up the fact that if you look at the money you find that the same groups trafficking other things are also trafficking animals. Ooh look at you Mr. Reporter, following the money. Anderson is then momentarily out of questions and needs to pause to think one up. On the fly. I like it! He don't need no prompter!

Transitioning back to New York where Jeffrey Toobin joins John Roberts to talk about...Anna Nicole Smith. Oh noes! The 360 team has fallen off the no-ANS-coverage wagon! Oh guys, if you were feeling the urge you totally should have called me. I would have gotten you through your moment of ratings coveting weakness. Sigh. You're going to feel like crap in the morning. Anyway, Toobin has decided to sport the new title of "Bahamian legal analyst". Hell Toobin, might as well go all out: "Senior Bahamian legal analyst." Okay, as per usual, I'm not blogging this junk, but I will say it's a little comforting to know that it's obvious John and Toobin think this is stupid. Actually they're almost having too much fun with it. Kiran Chetry then brings us the headlines and afterwards Anderson has to make a clarification to the Anna Nicole story. It seems John got his facts wrong. See, this is what happens when you have too much fun covering a story that shouldn't be covered in the first place. I don't know whether to give John a gold star or a demerit. If you're going to get a story wrong, that was the one to do it.

The Shot tonight is an adorable little polar bear...that animal right's activists think should be killed. Wha? Yeah, that's not going to happen. This bear was even photographed by Annie Liebowitz, who Anderson calls a, "fantastic photographer." And you wouldn't be biased or anything. Heh. The show was pretty good tonight, though I think they spent too much time on missing boy related stuff and then of course there was the ANS relapse. B

Screencaps by cskitten.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

More Attorney-Gate, Iraq War Anniversary, Animal Trafficking, Raw Politics, And Iraq Discussion (Monday's Show)

Hi everyone. Anderson has dug out his trusty field shirt and we're beginning the show in Bangkok, Thailand tonight to continue the "Planet in Peril" series. Is it sad that that shirt is better traveled than I am? Anderson starts by bringing in John Roberts, who is holding down the fort in New York, and Joe Johns in Washington to discuss the BREAKING NEWS that there's just been a big document dump related to attorney-gate. We learn the 3,000 some odd documents are not in chronological order (oh, sucks for them), so obviously they don't have much to tell us yet. Joe informs us the democrats will be looking for evidence that the attorneys were fired for political reasons and the job of Alberto Gonzales is on the line. John points out that actually the republicans are fighting among themselves about whether or not the AG should get the ax, with the democrats doing their usual sitting back and watching the situation implode thing. He also indicates that the DC rumor mill is busy churning out possible replacements for Gonzales, including Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Okay, no! That guy should have been canned along with Brownie after Katrina. They cannot make him Attorney General. I thought we were moving away from rewarding incompetence.

Next up we've got even more BREAKING NEWS (when it rains it pours) this time out of Iraq. The AP is reporting that Saddam's former VP was executed by the Iraqi government. I can only guess the cell phone video will be hitting the net shortly. This info then intros us into a Michael Ware piece on the fourth anniversary of the Iraq War. By some estimates there are still 20,000 Sunni insurgents alone and attacks have almost doubled from two years ago-up to 100 per day now. What it's all coming down to is the battle for Baghdad and this current surge is make or break time. Early signs are good, with violence down and not as much fighting on Haifa Street. However, Michael tells us that the insurgency is always evolving. Now with more troops in Baghdad the violence is spreading outside of the city and the insurgents are also now adapting their weapons, using chlorine bombs. Four years and here we are. As U2 once sang, "How long? How long must we sing this song? How long? How long?"

Moving on to a Tom Foreman piece that kind of recaps the war in polls. Oh 360, you're messing with my head. Bill Schneider does the polls; Tom deals with maps. Next you're going to tell me they can walk and chew gum at the same time. Anway, Tom shows us that as the war has gone on and the cost in both lives and dollars went up, Bush's poll numbers took a hit. What's really cool is that Halliburton's stock price is also included. We learn that at the beginning of the war a share was about $10 and now it's up to $35. That's pretty disgusting and so awesome that they pointed it out. Have you guys seen those signs that are supposed to be from Halliburton? They say, "Thanks for everything. Sorry about your kids." Pretty much sums it up, doesn't it?

Transitioning now to Anderson standing in an animal market and giving us a rapid fire recap of their trip there, making me totally want to give him an inhaler. Breath, dear. He then intros us into a piece he did in Bangkok's Jatujak Market with a hidden camera. Ooh, Anderson Cooper, undercover! We learn that the illegal trafficking of animals is an $8 to $20 billion a year business, with a lot of the animals being smuggled to China and America. Damn. We see several different species, including turtles and birds. Anderson tells us that authorities have begun to crack down, but unfortunately when police show up at the market the word spreads fast and traffickers just close their gates. On this trip with Anderson and crew is Steve Galster of Wildlife Alliance and he tells us that the law is set up so that once the gates are closed the police can't get in. Well, that's stupid. And that's exactly what happens when Anderson and crew are out with the police. Anderson asks Steve why people should care about this. Steve tells us that these animals could spread disease (oh, bird flu!) and when you take one species out of the ecosystem it really messes with everything. Sigh. Stupid humans.

Moving on now to a "Keeping Them Honest" piece from Jeff Corwin. That's right. Check him out! Aw, he's been temporarily adopted by CNN. Jeff and Steve also do the hidden camera thing, wiring up cameraman Neal and using " techniques of espionage." Jeff is really into this. I guess Neal is all better now since his critter problem. The men then easily cross the border into Myanmar and we're told that the government doesn't really get involved in the trafficking because they don't have control of the area. Once in the market Jeff immediately And he has to pick it up too. Just like a man. "Welcome to the land of the black market," he tells us. It doesn't take long for Jeff and Steve to find endangered species being sold, which violates Convention for the International Trade in Endangered Species or CITES. They're even offered to buy leopard pelts and not once do they see a cop. After the piece Anderson again asks why we should care about all this. Jeff then basically repeats what Steve said, noting that humans are connected to the rest of the world and all species.

Transitioning back to New York for "Raw Politics," which John Roberts has apparently wrestled back from the hands of Candy Crowley. Good for you, John. First up, we've got Bush promising progress in Iraq. Yeah, I believe that was evidence of progress exploding a little while ago. Then we hear some clips of war protests that went on around the country today. Next we learn McCain spent the day at an opening of an apartment building for homeless vets in New Hampshire. It seems he's vying for the primary vote there. So, if it was say, Florida, that mattered does that mean he would screw the New Hampshire vets and do something there? Classy. Then we hear from Clinton, I guess to keep this thing balanced. She's not really saying much she hasn't already said about the war. Finally, we're told that the democrats won't use their power of the purse to cut war funding. Wimps. The graphics for this segment are still a little crazy, but I think they toned down the sound effects. Or I'm just hallucinating, which is entirely possible.

Next up we have a clip of Shock and Awe from the beginning of the war. "Remember that?" Anderson asks. Um, yes. Actually MSNBC did a whole living history thing today, replaying much of that first day. I don't have plans to watch it, but I recorded it anyway. I've kind of become a horder of history since I'm sure this will all be rewritten someday. I imagine myself giving my grandkids a trunk full of 8 years of Newsweeks and a bunch of DVD news footage to explain what the hell happened. And then they will pick up one of the DVDs and say, "What's this thing?" Heh. Anyway, moving on now to a taped interview Anderson had with Michael Ware and Michael Gordon of the "New York Times." Two Michaels. Guess I gotta go formal with the last names. Anderson notes that al-Maliki has said that the sectarian violence is over and he wonders if that's true. Ware is all, "uh, no." See, there's that whole civil war thing still playing out, so...Anderson notes that attacks are down and asks if the militias are lying low. Gordon thinks so to a certain extent and says that in the short term al Qaeda is the cause of most violence.

Anderson then brings up the fact that General Petraeus has said there is no military option in Iraq, so he wonders if anything else is going on. Ware tells us they've been saying that line since Saddam's statue fell and at the end of the day all the political power is carved up by Shia militias. Petraeus even had to rush a battalion to Diyala province due to increased violence. Anderson also notes that military commanders and US politicians seem to have dueling timelines. Gordon tells us there is a disconnect between on the ground and in Washington. Um, you think? What's really sad is that I can imagine this same conversation taking place in another four years.

Transitioning back to Joe Johns now who I assume has furiously been going through the 3,000 pages of documents. He once again notes they were not in chronological order and I'm sensing a tone here. I take it Joe is not happy about that. And yeah, he hasn't really found anything either, so why you keeping Joe up? CNN should outsource some bloggers and have them on call. They love the data mining. The Shot tonight is a viewer pic sent in from Jose Barientos, who served two tours in Iraq with the Air Force. The pic is of two adorable children playing on a Hummer. Aw. The second hour tonight is the Sins of the Father special. The show was really good. A-

I know some of my readers are fans of Richard Engel. A head's up to you guys because MSNBC is going to air a documentary about his war experiences on Wednesday. Looks good.
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