Friday, April 27, 2007

First Democratic Debate, Michael Ware Talks Iraq, Raw Politics, More 'Stop Snitchin', And Richard Gere Offends India (Thursday's Show)

Hi everyone. Yay! 360 leads with the Democratic Debate. Because you know if they didn't Eliza would have to throw a kiniption fit. So of course I watched. Actually I watched while I was blogging up Wednesday's review. I've got mad multi-tasking skills. Usually I blog the second hour while I'm watching Countdown. Don't tell Keith! And I know, I know, that means I watch news while blogging other news. There must be some kind of pill for this. So anyway, we begin with a Candy Crowley piece. A very quickly filed Candy Crowley piece. I wonder if they had some of this written before the debate even took place. Not that I don't believe they could put a piece together that fast, but at least part of what went down was easy to guess. What went down was that there weren't really any losers, winners, or zingers. However, at some point everyone watching must have thought to themselves, "who the hell is this Mike Gravel?" After her piece Candy comes to us live from the appropriately named spin room to report that there's really no chest beating going on in terms of declaring winners. Actually most people just think their guy (or gal) didn't get enough time to really flesh out their stances.

Next up we're joined by Paul Begala representing the democrats and Terry Holt for the republicans. Wait, this was a democratic debate, why do we need a republican? Whatever. It's not like I'm a fan of strategists from either party. Paul thinks Obama did fine, but Clinton is a great debater. Terry basically agrees with Paul. Hey look, Anderson's a uniter! However, I guess I disagree with both of them. She didn't wow me. And actually neither did Obama. Anderson brings up how Bill Richardson talked about blow dried candidates and wonders if that was a jab at Edwards. That was totally a jab at Edwards and his pretty, pretty hair. Begala is annoyed Edwards, when given the opportunity, didn't jab Clinton over her war vote. He wants to improve these debates by getting the candidates liquored up beforehand. "I want to see Hillary calls Barack an egg-sucking dog, or Richardson calling Dennis Kucinich a little hobbit or something," he says. Dude, I think Paul is liquored up now. He does realize that many perfectly relaxed candid people still aren't going to resort to that kind of name calling, right? Perhaps Paul would rather be watching Jerry Springer. After this discussion CNN runs a little debate promo that may or may not have been a big technical difficulty. And the fact that I can't tell the difference should tell you all you need to know when it comes to CNN and their graphics/sounds.

Moving on to a Dana Bash piece on the Congress showdown with the administration over Iraq. Today the senate passed a bill that contains an October deadline to begin withdrawing. To be specific, "the $124 billion emergency spending bill would fund the war, but order U.S. troops to start coming home October 1, with a goal of withdrawing all combat forces by this time next year." The republicans call this a surrender date and that democrats are being irresponsible. Because sending too few troops to fight a war of undefined mission without the proper equipment is the height of responsiblility. The rest of this piece harps on how the democrats have to be careful because it could hurt them politically. I guess we're not doing the balance thing here, because if they were, they might point out that by not signing the bill it is Bush himself that's holding up the money for the troops. The fact of the matter is that Americans want us out of Iraq. This piece is about politics, so whether withdrawing is right or wrong is irrelevant (that part is for Michael Ware). The White House is in a difficult bind too you know. But there is a little hope for a compromise, "Democratic sources say one leading idea is setting a series of benchmarks Iraqis must meet for U.S. troops to stay. Surprisingly, senior Republicans said that's a concept they could support."

Now on to Michael Ware sitting with Anderson in studio and he doesn't think the bill with the deadlines is a positive thing for the troops. He says they know support for the mission is waning and those that have been on several tours are growing cynical. Anderson asks if a withdrawl would send a message to Iraqi politicians. Michael basically thinks that whole line of reasoning is a myth because Maliki doesn't have the true power. Anderson points out that while it doesn't seem like the US has a Plan B, it seems like the militias do. Michael thinks we do have a Plan B-a non democratic state. They're going to have to change the talking points for that though. Fighting for non democracy just doesn't have the same ring to it. Anyway, Michael tells us that, "we're still not fundamentally addressing the true dynamics of Iraq. And that's the militias and the foreign interference, principally Iran and Syria." Sigh. Suggestions, Michael? They should offer Michael the War Czar job. Of course he probably wouldn't want it either.

Next up we've got Tom Foreman with "Raw Politics" and since he's sitting in front of his computer again I decided to try and make out what he's reading (assuming that's even his desk). Looks like maybe email and another browser I couldn't make out. Sorry I don't have something more exciting to report. First up we learn that Bush will be getting the war bill around the fourth anniversary of strutting on that aircraft carrier. Aw, look at the democrats playing with symbolism and photo-ops. They grow up into their majority party clothes so fast. Next Tom tells us that republican Jim Gilmore is throwing his hat into the presidential race. Jim who? "Remember the name Jim Gilmore," says Tom. "This may be the only time you hear it." Ouch. After that we learn Michael Bloomberg wants Al Gore in the race and Bill Clinton did some cooking with the way too perky Rachael Ray.

Transitioning now to Anderson informing us that Cam'ron has apologized about his stop snitchin comments. I guess he learned that spouting idiocy on "60 Minutes" can hurt his business too. Anderson points out that everything contained in his apology statement could have been said during the interview. I'm guessing at this point Cam'ron is not an Anderson Cooper fan. Anyway, this intros into an Anderson piece on witnesses that have been killed for speaking up. One problem is that it takes a lot of money to protect witnesses and the states don't have it. In fact the grant that funds the program in New Jersey is about to expire. Another problem is trust, which is lacking in neighborhoods where people haven't gotten the best treatment from the police. After the piece Anderson talks with John Walsh. Actually John does most of the talking and at first I'm wondering if there is actually going to be more than one question asked. Sorry. I have a John Walsh bias. He works for a great cause, but he's way too certain about what is going on in other people's heads.

Moving on now to an Anderson piece on Richard Gere. Yes, Richard Gere. But hang in there it's better than the Rosie stuff. Anyway, Richard Gere was at this AIDS event in India and I guess decided it would be funny to kiss Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty. But it wasn't just a kiss. He was all up on her. And because PDA is taboo and a kiss like that is seen as obsenity, now there's a warrant for both of their arrests. Oh, way to go, Richard. Giving the world "Dr. T and the Women" wasn't enough, now you gotta go and cause an international incident. So some people in India are all up in arms over this kiss. Effigies were burned. Because that's always helpful.

But 360, in an act of actually living up to that whole 360 degrees thing, is not going to let us sit here and think India is just one big country of uptight crazies. Joining us for discussion is "Time's" Bobby Ghosh, who was born and raised in India. Bobby doesn't think this is serious at all and actually thinks it's about politics. He tells us "It is a reminder that, while India may be at the cutting edge of information technology, once you get away from the big cities, India is a deeply conservative, deeply traditional and, if I may say so, old-fashioned place. But this is an issue that is being politicized, that a small town judge is getting a little publicity out of it. Political right-wing -- political sort of loony groups are getting a little publicity out of it. It is the silly season in India. There's not a lot of other news going on. And something like this sometimes can run and run for days and days." Whoa. That sounds familiar. Small world, huh? So to summarize, Richard Gere can go to India and he's not getting thrown in jail. But I still want my money back for "Dr T..."

The Shot tonight is Stephen Hawking in zero gravity. That's awesome he got to experience that. I didn't plan on watching the second hour tonight. 360 has me pretty well trained to go for the remote whenever I hear the words "special hour" because let's face it, I've usually seen everything contained in them. But I was pleasantly surprised to see them stay live and there were some nice fairly long panel discussions. I'm not sure why, but it seems like some news shows are scared to let a discussion go on for more than five minutes, but I still contend that one of the best hours 360 ever did was the hour long talk with Michael Ware. Anyway, I watched, but wasn't prepared for blogging, so sorry. I do however have to comment on the following Dana Perino quote from the Joe Johns' piece regarding the bill with the Iraq deadline: "It is very troubling that Democrats would be so cynical to use our troops in that way, to use troops for a political P.R. stunt and to withhold money from the troops and their families." What balls she has. The administration does nothing but use the troops as P.R. stunts. I mean, we just learned about how they did that with Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch. Do these people have no shame? The show was pretty good tonight. B+

Thursday, April 26, 2007

World's Worst Dad Caught, Iraq Talk, More 'Stop Snitchin', Rosie Quits, McCain Goes Official, And Stalkers (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everybody. I'm just going to combine both hours tonight-makes it easier. We begin with BREAKING NEWS that again, is not really BREAKING. Know how I know? Because they've had time to prepare a bunch of stuff for us. But anyway, the rarity tonight is that the BREAKING NEWS is actually good. Remember that dad that was let out of prison to donate a kidney to his very sick son and then instead of doing so he skipped town? They finally caught him! Yay! Worst dad ever. Susan Candiotti fleshes it out further live and with a filed piece. Then Anderson talks with the son, Byron Perkins, over the phone regarding how he feels about the news. Anderson says, "You must have been angry." Eh, you shouldn't really tell people how they feel. After that Anderson talks with Deputy U.S. Marshal Dawn Izgarjan, who lead the search...and I think has a little crush. She's not alone. Just saying.

Next up we have a taped interview with Michael in the studio and he's looking good. Hanging out without the very real threat of death really relaxes a person. Michael tells us that the debate on Iraq right now is almost delusional it's so out of touch with the reality on the ground. He then goes into how Iran has their fingers in the sectarian violence and how Zarqawi's plan goes on-even after his death. Anderson asks if there are other options besides putting pressure on Maliki, which, BTW, Michael thinks is an excellent question. He states that the idea seems to be moving in the direction of a strongman to provide security before considering democracy. So basically like Saddam-lite. Great. Though at this point, that's what I'd go with. Anderson then brings up the surge/escalation (and yay to him for pointing out some view it as an escalation). Michael says it's too soon to tell if it's working, but before the surge/escalation he basically said it was going to fail because we surged before and that failed. So, what's up with that, Michael? Although he does say that to win in Iraq we'd have to surge the whole country, which we won't. Well no, not unless we magically find about 150,000 extra troops.

Transitioning now to more 'stop snitchin' coverage with an interview with Stephanie Hires, partner of Busta Rhymes' slain bodyguard, and Al Sharpton. Man, Sharpton latches onto everything! So obviously Stephanie is upset that no one has come forward to report who killed her son's father and Sharpton is alarmed about this code too. Anderson tells us he's been getting lots of emails telling him that he doesn't understand the distrust of the police in the community. However, he points out that this message is actually being marketed by corporations. They discuss this a bit and Sharpton states that he agrees there is mistrust of police, but that's no excuse to let the neighborhoods be the "prey of bad cops and robbers." Anderson asks Stephanie what she would ask Busta Rhymes. "I would like to know what can he tell my son when he wants to know what happened to his dad," she says. After this Anderson says the phrase "shaking his booty" in reference to Bush. This should never happen again.

Moving on now to some "Raw Politics" from Tom Foreman who for some reason now does the segment at his computer. Hey man, if he doesn't get to use his maps, he's not getting up! We learn that Pelosi skipped a meeting with General David Petraeus in order to instead rally votes, but talked with him on the phone instead. I'm guessing at least a third of that story isn't true. Next we find out that McCain is running for president. No, really? Well, apparently it's official now. Good for stop being crazy. Rudy Giuliani then takes a page from Bin Laden's playbook and tries to terrorize the American people into doing for him. Stay classy, Rudy! Finally we've got Bush boogying down because it's Malaria Day. Or something. Can someone tell me what disturbing presidential dancing has to do with malaria?

Next up we have very important news: Rosie is leaving The View! Oh noes! Oh wait, for a second there I mistakenly thought I care. Anderson then gives us a piece that recaps all the controversial things she's said and all the people she's got into it with. And then we hear The Donald's take because...I don't know, he has a lot of money? Seriously, why the hell is this man on my tv screen (on CNN!) right now? Tom Foreman gives us the headlines and The Shot tonight is more video of Bush getting his groove on. Anderson asks Tom how he rates and Tom holds up an eight. Ha, they brought props. Then Tom decides to be very cruel to the viewers by playing Rove's infamous "dancing". Anderson shields his eyes from the horror and rates it a one. "...he kind of danced like a broken lawn chair," says Tom. Finally, Anderson makes everything okay again by showing us the dancing of the 360 production crew. The consensus is tens all around, but, um, they don't actually have tens. An oversight by the props crew I'm sure.

Hour two begins with more coverage of the dead beat dad and then the Michael Ware interview. Oh, and there's a new Dana Bash piece on mixed progress in Iraq. After that we've got a Candy Crowley piece on John McCain, since he's now officially running. Again I need to ask what is wrong with John McCain? He's all delusional now. Oh, did you guys watch his interview on "The Daily Show"? He can't even hold his own with Jon and Jon likes him. So anyway, McCain's running behind Guiliani because of his war stance, but his people say they aren't worried. Right. Following the piece we have all the 'stop snitchin' stuff again.

Moving on now to a David Mattingly piece on stalking. They're doing this because of the two women that Cho stalked. Anyway, we learn about stalking at colleges. Then after that we're joined by Rachel Solov, deputy D.A. in San Diego County and head of the sex crimes and stalking unit. Anderson is surprised that stalking is so prevalent in college. I had a sort-of stalker once, though not at college. Actually, I guess I kind of still have a stalker since I'm still all nervous sometimes when I go to a certain retail store. Long story short: I work at retail store. Guy takes my job-required niceness as interest in him. Guy comes to store a lot and hangs around me asking questions. A lot. Unbeknownst to me, guy applies for job at the store. I quit for unrelated reasons at same time guy is hired (yay timing!). Guy is not happy. Guy tries to convince me to hang out at the store. Guy creeps me out. And now I can't shop for toothpaste without looking over my shoulder. The end.

I'm lucky though in that he never found out my last name or any of my personal information, so the issue only comes up if I go to that certain store or if I run into him somewhere else (which has happened). Plus while strange, he seems to be harmless. So anyway, that's nothing compared to what Anderson's got. "I've got a woman who, you know, believes she has a relationship with me." Oh, I think I know of her! She's insane. I'm actually glad he said that though because while one would assume he and CNN are aware (and hopefully watching) the crazies, it's nice to have some confirmation. See, this is why I'm glad I'm not famous. The nutjobs an average person deals with are plenty for me. Okay show. B-

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Lying About The Troops, War Bill Debate, And Stop Snitchin (Tuesday's Show)

Hi everybody. Ah, Larry King's tie gave me a headache. We begin tonight with testimony on Capitol Hill from Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman's family. You might remember the story of Jessica Lynch: pretty young private attacked , fought back like Rambo, was taken captive, and then rescue in a daring military mission worthy of a made for tv movie. Actually there was a movie. And it was a great story, but none of it was true. Also not true, was the story of Pat Tillman battling the enemy like some kind of superhero. A Jamie McIntyre piece takes us further into the Tillman story and we also get some nice long testimony clips from both Lynch and the Tillman family. We learn that one soldier who was there when Tillman died was ordered not to tell Tillman's brother it was friendly fire. No criminal charges have been filed and still it is not known who started the lie or why.

Although the why is pretty easy to guess. They needed these stories to sell their war. There are plenty of reasons to hate those behind Iraq, but I think the lies about Lynch, Tillman, and God knows who else are near the top of my list. It just kills me that these soldiers gave their all and it obviously wasn't good enough for them. They had so little respect for them that they made something up. They used them. It reminds me of that movie "Flags of our Fathers". It should also be pointed out that this testimony wouldn't have happened with the republicans still in power. These lies have been well known for years, yet we still don't have answers. But the administration really supports the troops.

Next up we have a Dana Bash piece on the war of words over that pesky Iraq bill. So okay, in the lastest round Harry Reid said the war is already lost and that then caused Cheney to go crazy. Well, crazier. Then he had to come and drag out that old talking point that the democrats are defeatists and blah blah blah. Isn't he like -20% in the polls? Ultimately it doesn't matter what either of them say because everybody already knows Bush is going to veto the bill. You know, because he supports the troops. That's why he's blocking their money. Wait, what? And of course Congress doesn't have the votes to override the this isn't going away folks. Stay tuned.

Transitioning now to Anderson's "60 Minutes" piece on the "Stop Snitchin" phenomenon. It's kind of a shame the Imus thing didn't break at the same time this thing ran because those two stories would have really been great together. Close, but no cigar. Oh well. So basically now in some African American communities there's this kind of code that you don't talk to the police about crime you've witnessed. Any crime. This is being lead by rappers who are in turn marketed by corporations. A guy from the entourage of Busta Rhymes was gunned down and even Busta won't talk about it. The general feeling is talking to the police destroys one's street cred. Anderson talks with the rapper Cam'ron and hypothetically asks him what he would do if a serial killer lived next door. Cam'ron tells us he sees no point in telling the police, but he'd probably move. Did that cause anyone else to burst out laughing? Apparently this whole thing is so bad in some neighborhoods they've basically lost the rule of law. I believe it, actually.

For discussion about this we're joined by Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of the Children's Zone in Harlem. Anderson notes that "Russell Simmons has now proposed eliminating the word bitch, ho, and the N-word from the so- called clean versions of rap songs." Hmm. It's okay to say the misogynistic words, but not the racist one? I'm actually not picking on Anderson here. I would have said it that way too, but isn't that interesting how our cultures does that? Anyway, Geoffrey isn't really down with Russell's idea because he thinks that the kids already know what word goes in there anyway. He also points out that he's not talking about older teens, but rather eight, nine, and ten year olds. He's right. I used to work at a daycare and was blown away when one of my barely four year olds sang TLC's "No Scrubs" to me. Anderson asks if people should target the records companies to fix the problem. Geoffrey notes that these records are probably the cheapest way for the companies to make money. Then Anderson informs us that an off the record source told him that the record companies actually encourage beefs to make sales. What?! That is so messed up. I guess the rappers are living such a high life now that they don't notice or don't care that they're nothing but pawns. It's also brought up that Geoffrey's family was worried about him speaking out like this. I don't blame them, but I hope he doesn't stop. He's obviously very passionate about the issue, as evidenced by the way he talks.

The "Raw Data" tonight is who's hot on the rap charts. And I'm tragically unhip I guess because I haven't even heard of these people. Akon? The Shot tonight is Nora the cat playing us a little diddy on the piano. Crazy cat. After all that we've got an interview with Russell Simmons who attempts to defend rap lyrics by throwing every world problem he can think of onto the table. Mmmkay. Anderson says the last time he checked, 50 cent wasn't rapping about the environment. I guess Anderson missed his new hit single, "Recycle, yo!" "It's like a battlefield," says Russell. "Wait a minute. He lives in New Jersey. He lives in New Jersey in a gated community. That's a battlefield?" says Anderson. Ha! Oh, I guess I should point out that somebody apparently ate their Wheaties before this interview. Anderson is ready to go! Russell says 50 cent is a product of his environment. "But you know what?" says Anderson. "We all are a product of where we came from, and we evolve." Then Russell starts talking about charities rappers are involved with (and brings up Alicia Keys for some reason), but Anderson wants to know if that's enough.

Russell's whole thing is that people are blaming the messenger and rappers are just reflecting the streets. He mentions Run DMC and Anderson notes, "But Run-DMC wouldn't get a contract today because the language he was using isn't rough enough." Big Run DMC fan, Anderson? He's right though; rap back then was much milder. Anybody remember Kris Kros? Anderson brings up the stop snitching stuff and what Cam'ron said. Russell thinks he was just making a point and he himself would personally snitch in a second. Right. So anyway, wow, I guess we know how Anderson feels about this. Afterwards he tells us that we'll hear more from Russell and Geoffrey next hour and if he means "more" as in basically the same thing, then he's not being deceptive. And that's it for the hour. I'm skipping next hour because there was a lot of repeat stuff and a storm prevented me from blogging last night.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Mental Health System, Gender Inequality, Rove/Crow Tussle, Boris Yeltsin Dies, And Horrible Skating Accident (Monday's Second Hour)

Hi everyone. This is going to be quick. We start the hour with a bunch of repeat stuff from Michael Ware and on Virginia Tech. Anderson asks Gary about the student's reaction to the media at the school. It's time to move on, guys! After all that we're joined by Pete Earley, author of "Crazy: A Father's Search through America's Mental Health Madness." They must like him because this is at least his third appearance. Actually I like him too because he's talking about actual issues and not just what a psycho Cho was. Basically our system for dealing with the mentally ill is messed up, people. Anderson points out that it all boils down to money because insurance companies don't want to pay the expensive cost of mental health treatment. Everything's about money, isn't it?

Next up we've got a Randi Kaye piece on a new study that states women earn 80% of what men make a year out of college and 69% a decade later. Outrageous yes, surprising no. Oh, Randi should totally find out what Gary Tuchman makes and see if she's getting shafted too. After the piece we're joined by personal finance expert Suze Orman. Anderson is all stunned about the study, but he's a man, so forget him. The girls know the score. Suze very much has the girl power thing going on. She thinks the whole problem is that women aren't aggressive enough and she tells Anderson all women should demand equal pay. And if they don't get it? Well she would leave the job. Easy for you to say. We can't all be tv finance experts. Anyway, I know I'm not making less than the guys in my office...because there are no guys in my office.

Moving on to a Tom Foreman piece about how Sheryl Crow and Laurie David got into it with Karl Rove at the White House Correspondants Dinner. Laurie by the way, was a guest of CNN and I want to know how that works. Does CNN just call up celebrites and ask them to be their guest? Hmm. Basically the story is that Crow and David went up to Rove to talk about global warming and according to them he brushed them off and was rude. No! Karl Rove rude? I can't even imagine. Rove said they came to insult him and were successful. The White House even gave a statement and I'm thinking with Iraq and Gonzales, they're pretty pleased to be talking about this right now. After the piece we have an interview with Sheryl and Laurie in New Orleans. Hey, look, it's the interview they promised us a week or so ago. It's kind of weird though actually. Anderson's not on camera and the two women are just standing by their bus. Did they just run into each other or something? Anderson tries to be all "fair" by bringing up critic's arguments, but to me he's putting in too much effort to bend over backwards. Laurie very passionately states the debate IS OVER! That's right! I like her.

Next up we have a David Mattingly piece on the death of Boris Yeltsin, fighter for democracy and lover of boos. Then we're on to a Sanjay Gupta piece on a horrible figure skating accident. What's funny is that beforehand Anderson gives us a warning that it's disturbing to see...even though they've already shown it like five times. Okay then. Anyway, while the skaters were spinning they got too close and the guy sliced open the girl's face with his skate. She had to get 80 stitches and they both needed PTSD counseling. Horrible. And we're out.

Nine Soldiers Killed In Iraq, Virginia Tech Students Return, Raw Politics, Accused In Nicaragua, And Pet Food Recall Fallout (Monday's First Hour)

Hi everyone. I didn't do Friday's show because I missed half of it and I really didn't feel like it anyway. To be honest, I think I might be getting a bit burned out with the reviews and actually, with the show itself. Part of it is me, but I think 360 is in a bit of a slump themselves. As of now I'm not making any decisions to quit, but a fair warning, my blogging might become more inconsistent. Hey, just like the show itself, right? Anyway, we begin the hour with Michael Ware and the BREAKING NEWS that a suicide car bomb in Diyala killed nine US soldiers. I appreciate that they're beginning with Iraq; I really do, but what is up with CNN and BREAKING NEWS? I learned this two hours prior and I bet it wasn't breaking at that point either. When does BREAKING NEWS become just, well, news? I swear they've got their graphic up there half the time I'm watching CNN, which pretty much defeats the purpose, doesn't it? Pretty soon we'll need REALLY BREAKING NEWS alerts. Michael tells us that Diyala is the new front line in the war with al Qaeda, they even collect taxes there. Man, I guess that whole 'death and taxes' thing is true. You can't escape either anywhere. Iraq of course has the 'death' thing down pat.

Next up we have a Gary Tuchman piece on the Virginia Tech students going back to class. We learn that a bell tolled for those lost and balloons were released. Also anyone who didn't want to come back could have taken the grade they had at the time of the shooting. And what else more is there to say? I'm sorry, but the media really needs to move on. I mean, according to this item CNN even went around VA Tech's media rules to air the memorial service. If true, that's pretty disgusting. After Gary's piece we've got some discussion and then an Anderson piece on some of the funerals and Cho stuff. Following that there's a clip from Gary's EXCLUSIVE interview with Cho's suite mates, which they're running for the upteenth time. That leads into a new interview Gary did with one of the guys and in it they bring up the girls who didn't press charges for stalking. Anderson actually brought this up before too and it kind of annoys me because those girls probably feel guilty enough without the national news speculating that they could have prevented the shooting. Obviously they didn't ever think Cho was capable of something like this and they definitely aren't alone in that regard.

Transitioning now to Anderson intro-ing "Raw Politics," with the following: "As the president's top political adviser, Karl Rove prefers to stay in the shadows. He likes to keep a low profile, except when he's rapping." Ha! Oh, Anderson. Please don't remind me. Nighmares people, nightmares!!! Candy Crowley has the honors tonight and we begin with a veto threat from Bush over the bill with the Iraq time tables. Then we learn Chuck Schumer thinks Bush is in a bunker in regards to Gonzales. Dennis Kucinich is making steps to ride the impeachment roller coaster, ...but he's not tall enough to get on and Edwards has a sense of humor about his pretty, pretty hair. Lastly Rove and Sheryl Crow got in a global warming tussle, but we'll hear more about that later.

Moving on now to a Rick Sanchez piece on Eric Volz, an American accused of a murder in Nicaragua. Probably not the first place you'd want to be accused of murder. Anyway, Eric went to the country to start a magazine and while there he dated Doris Jimenez, who later turned up strangled to death. However, this was after they broke up and at the time he was no where near where she was murdered. He even has 10 witnesses to prove it. Unfortunately, a mob mentality outside resulted in a guilty verdict for murder AND rape, which might not even have occurred. Rick and crew tried to see Eric in prison, but weren't allowed in even though they had the proper documents. This reminds me of that movie "Brokedown Palace." The US legal system might suck, but man, you don't want to mess with some of these other places. Oh and thoughout this whole story I had major deja vu. So either this is a repeat or I've seen this same story done somewhere else. It drives me nuts that I can't remember. That dreadful sound effect is back too.

Up next we have a Joe Johns "Keeping Them Honest" piece on the pet food recall. Yep, that's still going on. Remember when they told us that the contamination definitely would never get in the human food supply? Yeah, well, it's in the human food supply. Oh, like you're shocked. Don't freak though, it doesn't seem to be that much and no one's sick yet, so that's good. Apparently some pigs ate some of the contaminated feed. From Joe's piece we also learn that federal budget cuts have made it hard for the FDA to do its job and the Chinese are still being uncooperative. I caught a little bit of Lou Dobbs and he was all over this. It is pretty disturbing we import all this stuff, stuff we consume, and there's no cooperation.

After the piece we're joined by Senator Dick Durbin and Anderson basically asks what's up with China. Durbin doesn't know exactly, but he thinks the melamine was added to jack up the price, which would be economic fraud. Anderson notes he's getting emails everyday from people saying they have no confidence in the FDA. Oh Anderson, I've had no confidence in the FDA way before this thing. He then asks if we now have a handle on the situation and Durbin says we do not. According to him the FDA is the weakest link (goodbye!) in a weak chain and the whole system needs to change. Yeah, good luck with that. But seriously 360, if you want to look further, see who works at the FDA. I guarantee there's at least one "Brownie" in there. The Shot tonight is a raccoon loose in an Ohio house. That would totally happen to me. Too bad I don't have any film of the bird flying around my house. How did it get in?! Sigh. So I take it Anderson is not going back to Afghanistan-at least that's the impression from his latest blog. So he rushed back to stand on a campus for two days. How pointless. The show tonight was okay B.

Oh, I got a press release from CNN today. Vote for the AC360 fansite in the Webby Awards

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Shooting At Virginia Tech: Day Four (Thursday's Show)

Hi all. Well once again the show was pretty sucky, so let's just speed through with another sort-of review, shall we? Anderson is still on the campus, and I'm still not quite sure why. We begin with a piece from him on Cho that informs us he purchased the handgun online. Then we move on to a John King piece that shows us new pictures of Cho's suite. I don't know why that's necessary, but they've stopped with the constant pictures of him with the guns, so I guess I'll just be happy. Next it's "expert" time! Dr. Helen Morrison seems to want to blame this on repressed homosexual urges. I swear, it alway falls on the gays, doesn't it? I mean, the guy was stalking girls, not guys. Anderson makes that point and she gives us some psycho babble, which might be true in this case or might be complete crap, but we'll never know. Dr. Gail Saltz takes the play angle and speculates he might have been abused since he wrote about molestation. And I've written about a woman who shoplifts, but I'm no thief. Although to be fair, she does basically state it might just be a delusion.

Next up we have a Tom Foreman piece on getting the mentally ill help in college and then there's an expert on what the university can do. Okay here's my question: what if next time it's not a student? We're going to have to think broader. Moving on to an interview with "Electroboy" author Andy Behrman about his struggle to get diagnosed and treated as bipolar. It's a really interesting story, but bipolar disorder is different I think that what Cho was suffering from. After that there's even more coverage on Cho and then we have a Matthew Chance piece on the reaction in South Korea. Yes, they actually did a piece from Korea. I mean, it made news there, so I guess that makes it legitmate news here, but it still boggles the mind. The hour ends with an Anderson piece that is a tribute to the victims. Now this they did a nice job on. Respectful at least. I especially like the way they went out to commercial-no annoying graphics or sound effects.

The second hour starts with a whole bunch more Cho stuff, most of it repeat I think. Next there's an author that I mostly missed (sorry, snack time), but it sounds like he was talking about some social issues that I'm interested in, like the fact that we have more mentally ill in jails and prisons than treatment centers. After that we have a Tom Foreman repeat and then OMG other news! In a Candy Crowley piece we learn that the Supreme Court made the landmark decision today to uphold the partial birth abortion ban. The previous court went the other way, so it's safe to say that Roe is now officially threatened. So that sucks. I'm actually not as pro-choice as one might assume, but banning abortion is just something we can't let happen. I really wish both sides of the debate could come together to work on preventing unwanted pregnancies before they happen, but I guess I'm just a dreamer. Anyway, the 2008 candidates are already all over it, playing to their bases. It looks like come election time this issue will be more important than ever.

For discussion about this and Alberto Gonzales' testimony (in regards to attorney-gate) today, we're joined by Jeffrey Toobin. Anderson asks how big the Supreme Court decision was and Toobin says huge. He notes that the previous court said the ban was unconstitutional and now it seems Justice Kennedy sees this as an invitation to restrict other abortions too. See that's the thing, I might be okay with this ban, but it's a slippery slope. Toobin thinks one more vote and Roe is gone. Anderson seems a little shocked about this and asks if he's sure. Toobin's pretty sure. Let's hope Toobin's wrong. Next we're played a clip of Arlen Spector getting all up in Gonzales' grill and Gonzales answers just about every question with a version of, "I don't recall." Anderson asks if Gonzales will keep his job. "I don't recall, Anderson," says Toobin. Bwah! Aw, Anderson is no fun. He doesn't even crack a smile. Of course he is in the middle of a tragedy, so yeah, there's that. I thought it was funny, Toobin. Oh, and for the record, Toobin does not think our pal Alberto will make it. Pity. Actually out of a lot of them I don't mind Gonzales so much. Except for the whole torture thing. And Lord, you know you're way through the looking glass when the torture guy is looking okay to you. After this there's more Cho stuff and repeats. Anderson says he'll be there tomorrow. Argh. Go home, Anderson!

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Shooting at Virginia Tech: Day Three (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everyone. We've got Anderson back tonight and he's wearing a suit. Hmm, was John King wearing a suit? I don't even remember. I guess they're trying to go for repectful, but if that's the case it would have been better if they went for respectful with their coverage, not just their clothes. Tonight I bring you a sort-of review. I'm fairly disgusted by the coverage, so I only halfway paid attention. The big news that came out today is of course the videos and pictures that Cho Seung-Hui sent to NBC. 360, BTW, shows the pictures continuously throughout the broadcast, which I find completely irresponsible. I agree with NBC's decision to release what they did, but then the news organization is suppose to be sensitive in how they use them. We're totally not seeing that here (and to be fair many other shows were way out of line too). In fact a lot of the time they run the pictures on a split screen. I can't imagine what this is doing to some of the people at Virginia Tech-not to mention it's giving Cho exactly what he wanted.

So anyway, in a Gary Tuchman piece we learn that Cho actually mailed the package in that two hour gap of his murder spree. That's pretty disturbing. Afterwards Gary says, "but you can imagine, for the parents at home who lost their children, watching this, this has to be so painful." You think? Then we're on to a Randi Kaye piece that goes more indepth on the stalker situation. We learn that two women actually contacted police over his behavior, but did not press charges. After that we're on to the requisite speculation with a couple of "experts," and Anderson becomes fixated on Cho's hat (or actually lack there of) in the pictures. In the center of what turns out to be an "expert" sandwich we have a piece from Anderson on Cho's treatment (or actually lack there of) and his hospital stay.

Moving on to a John King piece that explains that initially the police went after the wrong man, thus allowing Cho to roam free for that two hour gap. The guy that they actually went after was the first victim's boyfriend, which must have been devastating for him. I mean, his girlfriend is just murdered and then he's getting interrogated about it. For some reason John needs to be at all the places mentioned in this piece. See John at the shooting range. See John in front of the poor boyfriend's house (I'm sure he appreciates that, BTW). See John knocking on the boyfriend's door and getting ignored. Love you John, but I wouldn't answer either. Can we not leave people alone? After John's piece we have a piece from David Mattingly all about Cho's second killing spree. There's even a computer animation. Is this necessary?

At this point we're at the hour mark, so they repeat Gary's piece. Then Anderson talks with an FBI profiler and asks him the question I've been wondering: "...who is the "you" he's referring to? Is it just society as a whole? " The profiler says yes, but I'm still wondering. Not to go all Bill Frist or anything, but Cho definitely rings schizophrenic to me. We've already been told he had an imaginary girlfriend. Assuming he really did believe he had a girlfriend (and wasn't just saying bizarre things to say them), it's not a stretch to assume there might have been other "people" in his life and maybe he's talking to them in the video. Of course I'm only speculating, which I hate, but whatever. Then FBI guy (actual name: Gregg McCrary) says, "And I think it's -- the responsible thing to do is to back off on showing these videos and these pictures. You can certainly report the story and that needs to be done, but I think the danger here is that we're energizing some other killer and that we may have some other events that follow in the wake of this." Exactly. Speaking of copycats, there was a shooting near the brother's university today, but it was reported as at the university. This caused the mother to immediately think "copycat" and thus freakout. I learned this all separately and called him because he does live near the unversity. Besides being asleep at six at night (slacker!!!), he's fine. So anyway, 360, please listen to FBI guy. Because a copycat false alarm is scary enough.

Next up we've got more pieces about Cho and then a lawyer women. Gary even has a whole piece that ponders the meaning of the phrase Cho scrawled on his arm. Sigh. Then we've got Candy Crowley with a piece on the gun control debate, which started up mere hours after the shooting broke news. Classy. Hey, remember how a couple days ago I said we would be seeing talking heads shout at each other about gun control. Well, here they are! Joining us is Erich Pratt from Gun Owners of America and Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Erich goes off about how gun control is the problem and blah blah blah. Yeah, well other countries with stricter laws don't have our gun violence. Paul thinks we need to prevent people like Cho from getting guns in the first place. Then Erich implies that Cho chose the university over downtown Blacksburg because he knew people would be defenseless. What the hell? Yeah, and I guess the fact that he was a student there had nothing to do with it. Then Erich states that England has a gun ban and their crime rate is the highest in the western world. I could be wrong, but that sounds like total crap to me. Anyway, there's arguing and Anderson weakly tries to jump in, but he pretty much never had control to begin with. Probably shouldn't have on the loud people when the anchor no doubt has the mother of all jet lag.

Moving on to some new video shot by two guys visiting the campus from Sweden. Man. Welcome to the US! We're usually an okay country, I swear. After talking with them we get some headlines where we learn that other stuff actually happened in the world, such as some massive chipping away at Roe vs. Wade and Baghdad imploding. BTW, the 30 minute evening broadcast by NBC went into both of these stories longer than the two hour broadcast of 360. Just saying. After the headlines there's a piece about one of the victims who was shot in the leg and at the end of the show Anderson, as if prompted by an email (ahem), notes that one of Cho's writings that they mentioned was actually lines from "Romeo & Juliet". There were blog comments somewhere in there too and I have to wonder if 360 notices that it's the same people over and over again. I mean, I don't even read the comments the majority of the time and I'm noticing.

I'm going to hold off on grading until some normalcy takes hold, but let's just say if I was grading it wouldn't be pretty. Watching tonight I have no idea why we needed Anderson Cooper for this. John was doing fine and it will be a really big shame if they don't get to go back to Afghanistan now. I hope Anderson at least moves back to the studio soon because the campus needs to be left alone. I also really hope 360 tones down their coverage because I actually found myself watching Lou Dobbs tonight and realized I'd rather be watching that than 360. I guess we'll see what happens.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Shooting At Virginia Tech: Day Two (Tuesday's Show)

Hi everyone. We've got John King anchoring for us again because Anderson is apparently still stuck in limbo. I guess it takes two days to travel from Afghanistan to the states. That must be one frustrated reporter. I still can't quite believe he turned right around. It seems like a crazy decision. But whatever. It does, however, beg the question: Is the most immediate always the most important? Last week Don Imus was the most important thing in the world, now it's as if he never existed.

I've been having some difficulty watching a lot of the television coverage (specifically cable) of the shooting because quite frankly it's making me feel a little dirty. The tasteless graphics. The tragedy theme music. It's a massacre packaged for a viewing audience. It's obvious a lot of the students want to tell their stories and they should definitely get the opportunity, but I'm sure many just want to be left alone. I can't imagine what the media circus must look like. CNN alone apparently has 120 people there. And over and over again we're told that this is the worst shooting in US history. Now obviously that's true, but should people really be making such a big deal about that fact? What if there are copycats? And I'd rather not give the next wacko any motivation to break the record.

As you've probably guessed by now I'm not doing a regular review. I don't know why I thought coverage might be anywhere near normal today. After all, I clearly remember the Columbine coverage still going strong three days after the shooting happened. So this is going to go on a while. Plus information is still coming to light and other information is changing. For example, yesterday we were told that we shouldn't compare this shooting to Columbine because the shooters were nothing alike. Today we learn that-scratch that-we should totally compare the two shootings because they were a lot alike. The shooter was actually a South Korean student at Virginia Tech named Cho Seung-Hui who had been in the country since he was eight, and not a Chinese National as some had reported. It seems he was a loner. Shocking I know.

A majority of 360's coverage tonight was an EXCLUSIVE interview Gary Tuchman did with Cho's roommates. In this EXCLUSIVE interview we learn that Cho was a pretty weird and messed up guy who stalked girls and caused people to actually notify the authorities. Gary's EXCLUSIVE interview also informs us that Cho hardly ever talked and had an imaginary girlfriend. Did I mention the interview was EXCLUSIVE? I wouldn't want to shortchange CNN in their sole claim over a part of a, you know, tragedy. Okay that lack of tact aside, I actually thought Gary did a really good job. Though I am a bit biased. I loves me the Gary. So what else do we learn about this mass murderer? Well, it seems he was a big fan of the song "Shine Down" from Collective Soul. Apparently poor Collective Soul is the new (or would that be old?) Marilyn Manson.

One thing that bugged me about this interview is that they nickpicked this guy's life apart. Don't think I mean that in sympathy to the shooter; I'd just like to point out that if you look at anyone that closely they're going to look crazy. When these things happen we always are looking for a reason. Sometimes I think there isn't a reason and I'd hate for any of the freaky little irrelevant things he did (like leaving the lights on at bedtime) to suddenly become warning signs or whatever. Now the stalking? That was definitely something to be concerned about. Big red flag there. But sometimes quiet kids are just quiet.

Another thing we learned about Cho is that he wrote plays. Very bad and disturbing plays. So disturbing in fact that the professor pulled him out of class. Obviously she was right in that this guy was definitely dangerous, but I'm trying to decide how I feel about the overall idea of scrutinizing people's writing. People write disturbing things all the time and they don't go out and kill 32 people. Hell, I remember reading a story in my college writing class in which a whole extended family of children was abused and/or murdered-each in a different and twisted way. And this was in an anthology. I myself write fiction and have been known to kill a character or several, though not all violently. Creative writing is suppose to be, well, creative. I really hope there's not going to be a chilling effect on what people write because they're afraid of being referred for counseling now.

Ultimately, hindsight is 20/20. A terrible thing happened. Could it have been prevented? Maybe. Maybe not. Sometimes bad things just happen. However, we're wired to need a reason. Because reasons make us feel safer. If there's a reason we can stop it from happening again. And maybe this will cause schools to put more precautions into place that really do stop the next school shooting. Of course that will be of no help when the next big shooting is in a mall. Or in a park. get the picture. For now we have to sit though all the "experts" who are unapologically certain about what was going on in Cho's head and his motivations for doing what he did. In reality, only one person can ever know that. And he's dead. So now we're left with that unanswerable question we're always left with: why?

I'll post something at my usual time on Thursday evening, but whether it's an indepth review or not remains to be seen. Thoughts on the whole situation?

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

At Least 33 Dead In The Worst Mass Shooting In US History (Monday's Show)

Hi everyone. Well, what a sucky Monday, huh? I have to say, this shooting does nothing but reinforce my belief that this period in April is just not a good time. Let's see, there's been Waco, Oklahoma City, Columbine, my own personal family tragedy, and now this. I don't know about you, but I'm totally down with skipping straight to May. So anyway, the blogging won't be the norm tonight because 360 was essentially two hours of BREAKING NEWS. We know that this morning someone shot two people in a dorm at Virginia Tech University and about two hours later someone opened fire at Norris Hall in the university, killing 30 more and then turning the gun on himself. Besides that, we don't know much more. Authorities won't even confirm that the two shootings were done by the same person. This leaves a lot of time for speculating, inferring, and of course hearing individual stories. To recap all of this would be pointless because some of what we think we know now will be different tomorrow. That's the MO of the breaking news story.

Also, there's not really anything for me to snark or call BS on right now. In the coming days the ridiculousness will take hold (actually it's already starting). We'll hear from "experts" that will drag out the same tired possible reasons for the shooting: video games, movies, tv, music. Marilyn Manson's image might find it's way back onto all our tv screens. Talking heads will shout back and forth over a renewed guns rights debate and some might even go as far as to advocate guns at school. Oh, too late. Politicians will then trip over each other as they rush to Virginia and show that it is they that are most empathetic and somber. And gosh darn it, isn't that a great quality in a president? Finally, everyone who was clutching their pearls last week over Don Imus and the nasty things that rappers say will this week be fretting a-new about how we keep our kids safe from random acts of violence. Don Imus, BTW, will spend the week recovering from being sucked in, spun around, and spit out of a news cycle. As for 360? My friend Arachnae has a prediction for them: second hour on Friday, a Very Special AC360: A Nation Mourns. Complete with montages and tasteful music. But that will all be for another blog. For right now it's all too sad and tragic. I would however like to thank Tom Foreman for making me laugh tonight when he pulled out his map of the university. Always with the maps!

You might have noticed we had John King filling in (and getting blown around) for our intrepid anchor tonight. So where in the world is Anderson Cooper? Well, somewhere between Virginia and Afghanistan. And I have to say my mind is boggled. Anderson was suppose to be anchoring live from Afghanistan all this week, but it seems that due to this shooting story they had him turn right around and come back. If he was in New Orleans or something like that I could understand bouncing back. But Afghanistan? A trip like that takes months to plan and I imagine is an enormous effort by tons of people. For them to just throw that away is pretty shocking to me. Of course I don't know the reasoning or who even made the decision. Was Anderson dying to come back to cover the big story or is there one ticked off anchor on a plane right now? Who knows? I do know that when I read Anderson's blog about how the soldiers in Afghanistan feel they have been forgotten it made me feel pretty crappy knowing they'd essentially been bumped for more immediate fare. I suspect I'm not the only one that feels crappy about that. Hopefully they'll get to go back soon.

I just honestly don't understand why they couldn't have stayed a few days to at least file a bunch of stories. Obviously they couldn't air any coverage from there tonight because though I hate speculation even I can agree that would be ratings suicide. But if they wanted their big anchor on screen they could have had him intro packages... or not even. John did fine by himself. Anderson is my favorite anchor, but he's not CNN. I don't get why they can't live without him in Virginia. Of course I suppose they are going to need someone to take over after all of the other anchors are hospitalized with pneumonia. I should point out though that while 32 people lost their lives to horrific violence today, more US soldiers lose their lives to violence in Iraq and Afghanistan every single month. But I guess we're used to that now. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who's lost someone.

I will leave you with a story that's kind of funny, kind of stupid, and fairly disturbing. My siblings and I all went to the same public high school, with my brother being the last one to graduate in 2005. When I was in high school we dealt with violence and fights, but it was pre-Columbine, so talk of school shootings wasn't the norm. However, after all that happened the school apparently worked on prevention and then eventually drills. When my brother got to high school they one day decided to practice their "school shooting drill." One of the main things the students were suppose to do in this drill was to push all their desks and chairs up against the door so as to keep the shooter out. Sounds like a pretty good plan, right? One problem: the doors opened from the outside. Your public school system, ladies and gentlemen!

I expect to resume regular blogging tomorrow, but it will depend on the coverage. Any thoughts?

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

More on Imus/Rutgers Meeting, Rap Discussion, Raw Politics, Giving 360, Aging, And Ashley Judd Fights Malaria (Friday's Show)

Hi everyone. I almost skipped this, but since I didn't do last Friday I'll give you a quickie. That sounds dirtier than it's meant to. Anyway, Anderson is off to Afghanistan (yikes!), so tonight we've got Kiran Chetry in New York and John Roberts in Washingon hosting for us, as well as practicing for their new gig. Once again we lead off with the Imus controversy (still!!!!) and in a Kiran piece we learn that the meeting with the Rutgers players and Imus lasted three hours and tears were shed. Also, the players have accepted Imus' apology. Thank God! Can we move on from the meeting now (which should have been private anyway)? Apparently no we can not. Next we're joined by the coach's pastor, Reverend DeForest Soaries. He tells us that most of the time Imus just listened to the women. Kiran notes Imus actually learned about his cancelation right before the meeting, so the pastor was put in the position of doing the Christian thing and being supportive. That must have been awkward.

Moving on now to a Tom Foreman piece about rap artists. Because we're all about being shocked about rap and hip hop now. Once again CNN has raided MTV's smuttiest for our viewing displeasure. In a statement, producer Russell Simmons tries to distance hip hop/rap from the Imus thing, saying "hip-hop artists rap about what they see, hear and feel around them." Right. We learn in the piece that, actually, studies show kids who listen to rap are more likely to drink, do drugs, and be violent. Though I suppose that could be correlational. Tom tells us, "if the issue was Don Imus and a few ill-chosen words, the story is done. But, if the issue is many others saying the same words and worse to much bigger audiences, the story is just beginning." Yeah, the story is done. Unless media companies are going to start talking about their own people without prodding. What say you CNN? Do you support everything out of Glen Beck's mouth?

Next we have an interview with Al Sharpton, who John describes as both "a player and player hater." Ha! Oh my. There's something about a middle aged white guy saying "player hater." John asks why there's not the same outrage over rap lyrics as there has been over Don Imus. Sharpton says that there has been it's just that the media hasn't been there. John then asks, "but, if you, Reverend Sharpton, were out protesting in front of 1755 Broadway, the home of the Universal Music Group, this weekend, don't you think that that would get the coverage?" Well, depends. Has there been a development in the Anna Nicole Smith baby daddy money debacle (or whatever the hell it is they're fighting about)? Sharpton says he has protested outside places before. "I should ask you why you guys have not covered that," he says. Seriously. John tries to argue that they have been covering it-at least this week. Well, duh. That's his whole point isn't it? The media runs around like they collectively have ADHD. This week it's those nasty rap lyrics; next week it will be something else. John then plays us a clip from a Nelly video and let me just say how thrilled I am to have him representin' for my city. After some more discussion John tells us, "I just want to read a quote from Snoop Dogg," and I bust out laughing. We're really through the looking glass at this point aren't we? I'm actually glad to finally be hearing from the rappers, but it's still completely bizarre.

Moving on to an interview with "Vibe" editor in chief Danyel Smith. Basically this whole interview is about the question of why it's okay for rappers to say what Don Imus said, but not Don Imus. Danyel thinks it's the way he said it and because he was in a position of power. She seems to think it was even worse that he didn't say it in anger because at least if he did he would have that to fall back on. According to her, rappers have their art to fall back on. Huh? John asks her if she thinks this will be a flash in the news cycle. At first she says she would hate for it to be Don Imus to change rap, but then she says that if he does cause the lyrics to improve she would shake his hand. So...okay. After this there's "Raw Politics", a David Mattingly piece on the preacher's wife, and weather stuff. However, I'm skipping it all to save time.

Transitioning now to a "Giving 360" piece from Randi Kaye. Hey, is this consistency? From 360? The mind boggles. Readers might remember that the show started this segment last Friday and quite frankly I was skeptical that we'd ever see it again. Maybe they will actually keep up with it. Anyway, Randi's piece is about Aaron Dworkin, a violinist who founded the Sphinx Organization, which provides classical music programs to minority kids. Aaron, an African American, was adopted by white parents and raised in a mostly white environment, which made him feel like he didn't fit in. He credits classical music with saving his life. For more info you can go to

Next up we've got some aging talk and Kiran notes 60 is the new 40. Hey, remember when you were a kid and 40 just seemed soooooo old. Not so much now, huh? Anyway, we're introed into a Sanjay Gupta piece and he shows up an age progression of him from his current age of 37 to 100. "Handsome, right," he asks. Uh, okay. Actually Sanjay doesn't look too bad at 100. And I think how he's looking now goes without saying. Sanjay wanted to know if he'd make it to a handsome 100 years old, so he had an expert follow him around. His day starts at the crack of dawn and, aw, there's Sanjay walking his dog. The expert says we're suppose to get at least eight hours of sleep, so Sanjay totally flunks that part because he only got four hours. Is there anyone who actually has time to get eight hours of sleep? Sanjay gets props for not being a coffee drinker, but the expert is a bit concerned that he has two full time jobs. I'm a bit concerned too. It's not like he's stocking shelves at a Wal-Mart, he's operating on people's brains. I wouldn't be too happy to know my surgeon was running on only four hours of sleep. Plus he's got two little kids. And he just wrote a book. And now I'm sitting here wondering how the hell he even did all this. Sanjay must have superpowers. So will Sanjay make it to a 100? Well apparently you have to watch his special to find out. Oh, cliffhanger! And oh noes, I didn't watch, so now I'll never know. Seriously though Sanjay, take a nap or something sometimes.

Transitioning to an interview John did with Ashley Judd on her fight against Malaria. She doesn't have it herself, she's trying to help others not get it. Ashley took up the cause because "3,000 children dying a day of a mosquito bite is not acceptable to me." Amen to that. The charity involves buying $10 bed nets that keep out the mosquitos that carry Malaria. Oh, and Ashley brought props. She shows us the net and states that April 25th is Malaria Awareness day. There's a day for everything. Check out and to help. After the interview John and Kiran talk a bit about their new American Morning hosting gig. Kiran notes they probably won't be watching 360 anymore because it's past their bedtime now. She asks what time John will be getting up and he says about 2:30 AM. Ugh. That's way worse than my sometimes 5:30 AM. John tries to be an optimist about it though, noting there's nothing like seeing the sun come up. Kiran thinks that's sweet, but points out they'll be locked in a studio and won't be able to see the sun. Ha! I'm liking her. That'll do it. This actually wasn't quite as quick as I thought I was going to make it. The show was just okay. C+

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Imus/Rutgers Non Meeting, New Orleans Update, Preacher Murdered By Wife, And Herbert Gettridge!!! (Thursday's Second Hour)

Hi everyone. We kick off the hour with Deborah Feyerick outside the governor's mansion with the news that the meeting with Don Imus and the Rutgers players is over. Deborah then recaps everything and informs us that right now the players are deciding whether or not to accept Imus' apology. I'm on the edge of my seat here, people. Will they? Won't they? The world hangs in the balance apparently. Good Lord. Don't you love how you can always count on cable news to take a news story like this and turn it into satire? But blessedly we leave the mansion cam and move onto discussion again with Amy Holmes and Jason Whitlock. Jason thinks the whole thing is an embarrassment because Imus does not define those women. Well, I agree with the embarrassment part, though I think it should be directed more at the media and their parent companies. Let's face it, there are many more where Don Imus came from-he was just unlucky enough to get caught up in a news cycle. If he said those comments back right when Anna Nicole Smith died this story wouldn't exist, though he would still be worthy of losing his job. But now the media has latched onto the story and they're going to take it to the level of absurdity that only they can. There's some more discussion then about the War on Drugs and black men and prison-social problems we will discuss to death, but never do anything to actually solve.

Transitioning now to Anderson who states that the New Orlean's neighborhood where he is standing is mostly full of empty houses, except for one-the home of Alfred and Lois Vance. Anderson then proceeds to walk up to their house and walk right in without knocking. Bwah! Okay, seeing as though there's a camera set up inside, the Vance's were probably cool with the whole just walking in the house thing. BTW, Anderson Cooper can totally walk in my house without knocking anytime he wants. Just putting that out there. So what are the majority of the Vance's doing? Just chilling. Watching some tv. Themselves on CNN I think, though it's hard to tell. Anderson then talks with Alfred who is pretty optimistic about the whole situation, though he finds it lonely. Alfred says he just rebuilt with no help because none of the programs came through. Anderson notes that people aren't having much luck with the road to home program. Still? Sounds like we need a "Keeping Them Honest." Anderson asks Alfred if he feels people have forgotten about Katrina and Alfred thinks they have. "You know, this is a country that nobody looks out for you, you know?" he says. Well, it is now, isn't it? Anderson starts to wrap it up and then Alfred suddenly asks if he wants to see his kitchen. Aw, he's all proud of his kitchen. And wow, he should be. That's pretty snazzy. Anderson is impressed too. It's just sad that 20 months later he's the only occupied house on the block.

Next up we have a Gary Tuchman piece on homelessness in New Orleans. Gary introduces us to Larry Lawler, a balloon man that works with his wife outside the famous Cafe Du Monde. By day Larry delights kids; at night he sleeps in a box under a bridge downtown. Prior to Katrina, Larry and his wife used to pay $35 a night to stay in a residential hotel, but now that same hotel costs $75 and they can't afford it. Larry isn't the only one having trouble. We learn that "a consulting firm has estimated about 58 percent of the city's housing supply suffered major damage from the storm." And that's why the prices are so jacked up. Gary talks with some squatters in an abandoned church and now I'm guessing that place is going to get raided. Although who knows? The NOPD seems to have enough problems to deal with. Anyway, since Katrina the homeless population in NO has doubled, even though half the people haven't come back. And the rest of the country continues to turn its back and let the city slowly die. After the piece Gary talks about how HUD expects to occupy 1000 public housing units in the next few weeks, but even ever-cheerful Gary can't get too optimistic about this. "But you know what, Anderson? As you well know, nothing will be easy in this city for a long time."

Moving on to a Susan Roesgen piece on a hint of hope coming to the city. In the piece she profiles three individuals who felt a calling to come to New Orleans and make it a better place. Sharrita Bishop came from New Mexico to be a cop. John Alforfd is a Harvard MBA that has come to open schools. Ray Cannatta is a pastor that came from New Jersey to take over a church that was down to just 15 members. After the piece Anderson notes that these people are the hope of the city, but Susan wonders if they'll stay. She thinks that they will if they're not rebuffed, but if God forbid there's another hurricane all bets are off. If another hurricane even comes near New Orleans I think that will be it. If we think people have turned their backs now, that will be the official death of the city. It's sad seeing Susan because you can tell she's becoming pessimistic about the situation. Hell, you can feel it from Anderson too and he doesn't even live there. And unfortunately all evidence points to that pessimism being completely warranted. We're then promised an upcoming segment with Sheryl Crow, which we totally never get. Aren't you glad we spent that time looking at the mansion door?

Transitioning now to "Raw Politics" with Candy Crowley. We begin with the news that the White House has "lost" a whole bunch of emails related to attorney-gate. First of all, you can't lose emails. Second, nice of 360 to finally cover this-if you call 10 seconds of coverage, coverage. The White House claims they're doing gosh darn everything they can to find the emails, even calling in a forensic expert. "CSI, the White House," says Candy. In other news, Hillary Clinton only came in fifth in's recent 2008 straw poll. "Virtual ouch." Another poll shows that John McCain can't even beat Fred Thompson, a guy that isn't even running yet. "Another ouch." Howard Dean is in some hot water with union leaders because the convention area the Dems chose for their convention is non union. Uh oh. Lastly, Mitt Romney YouTubed himself to have an online discussion. Will other 08's follow suit. If Romney's numbers go up they will.

Next up we have a David Mattingly piece on a wife that shot and killed her preacher husband. And that's about all I've got. Sorry. Just not interested. Following that we've got discussion with Vivian Berryhill, president of the National Coalition of Pastor Spouses. I didn't even know there was a group like that. Vivian talks about how pastor wifes are expected to be perfect and all the stresses that go along with that. I guess I never thought about it. Over the years I've never expected my pastor's spouses to be perfect. Maybe it's different in more conservative churches. Anyway, after Vivian we're back to the lovely live shot and oh! There are some motions at the door! And...that's about it. Thank God they know when to move on.

On now to an interview Anderson did with Herbert Gettridge. Herbert! Yay. I wonder if Herbert knows he is totally my adopted grandpa. Herbert tells us he has been working on his house since March 2006 and not many people are back yet. Anderson asks if looking around at everything makes him sad, but don't worry about Herbert, people, because he's used to be alone. Anderson points out that Herbert is trying to get the house so his wife can come back and Herbert says that's why he's "scuffling so hard." Anderson asks what he's going to do when he gets his wife back. What's he going to do? Partay! And Herbert wants everyone who helped him to come, though he knows that's not possible. Then they talk a bit about the volunteers and Herbert notes he never experienced an outpouring like that before. He tells us he is 88% done with his house. 88%? Ha! Herbert is very specific. Right now he needs some curtains and screen wires. Oh, Herbert, use your gift card. Herbert tells us his wife's name is Lydia and Anderson notes that, "all right, Lydia, you heard it yourself. He's almost ready for you." Then they God bless each other and since Herbert has a tendency to bolt after an interview, Anderson preempts him by asking him to wait right there. Aw, who doesn't love Herbert?

Next up we've got Deborah on the phone regarding the Imus/Rutgers meeting. Oh noes! Did someone steal your live shot? What the hell? Anyway, funny story. You know how they've had their camera fixed on that door for the last two hours waiting for a press conference? Yeah, there's not going to be one. Apparently the Rutgers women are tired and you know, maybe they don't want to deal with press right now that is practically stalking them. Just a thought. I kind of hope they took one look at all the yahoos with their cameras set up and decided to purposely screw them over. Ah, the media. You gotta love it-even when it goes retarded.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

A 360 Stakeout, Imus Fallout Discussion, Paul Gailiunas Interview, A Green Zone Iraq Attack, And HGH (Thursday's First Hour)

Hi everybody. We're in New Orleans tonight, but Anderson doesn't let us in on the location because we've got BREAKING NEWS. The Rutgers players are meeting with Don Imus RIGHT NOW at the New Jersey governor's mansion. Also CBS radio has joined MSNBC in kicking Imus to the curb. Outside stalking, er, covering the mansion for us we've got Deborah Feyerick, who tells us that CNN has a spy, er, contact inside the meeting. Riveting. She also tells us that the New Jersey governor got in a serious car accident on his way there and is now in surgery. OMG. Oh, but CNN totally doesn't care about him right now. Their bread is buttered by Imus. The assumption is there will be some sort of press conference since all those reporters went through the trouble of spying on their private meeting and everything. Dammit, doesn't that obligate these young women to say something? But for now we're moving on. Don't worry though, we'll be back.

Next we've got an interview with Al Sharpton and Tom Delay. And guess who Tom Delay thinks is at fault here. Liberals! If I ever see Tom Delay I'm totally running up to him and going, "I'm a liberal. Boo!" He starts going after Rosie O'Donnell and pimps his campaign to get her fired. Oh boy. Anderson piggybacks off of some of Delay's other comments and asks Sharpton if he's the PC police. Sharpton is comfuzzled about why this is all of the sudden a partisan debate. Seriously. Do we even know Imus' political affiliation? Or does the Right just automatically claim the racists? Anderson then turns back to Delay and asks what's up with the left/right debate. Delay claims that it's because it's the Left that carpet bombs. Whoa. Projecting much? You are "The Hammer," are you not? Then he brings up the fact that he and Sharpton are both Christians and how they're suppose to love their enemies. Just, you know, not the liberal ones apparently. Sharpton notes that they can forgive and it's not like they're throwing him in jail or something. After the interview Anderson tells us, "We will have more of their conversation, which got heated later on, in the next hour of 360." Liar. Maybe if we didn't waste so much time staring at a damn mansion door...

Moving on now to an interview with Bruce Gordon, CBS board member. Like with MSNBC, he says CBS's decision was at least partly based on maintaining the company's reputation. Anderson wonders if the media companies even really know what they're putting out into the public arena. Bruce says there's so much content out there that it's impossible to absorb it all and he also thinks we've become too tolerant. Wait, what? Actually I pretty much agree with him. Obviously the culture didn't turn to trash overnight. We didn't go from The Andy Griffith Show straight to Pants Off Dance Off. When you take a slow slide into cultural crap you tolerate things that maybe you wouldn't have previously. Speaking of cultural crap, we learn in "Raw Data" that Rush Limbaugh has 13.5 million listeners. God that's depressing.

Transitioning back now to their governor's mansion live shot, which they've been going back to every chance they get. Oh look, a door! I'm on pins and needles here, people. Seriously, the future "Daily Show" jokes will practically write themselves. Anyway, we learn from the spy that inside tears are being shed. And just so we're clear, all of my sarcasm is directed at the idiotic coverage of this meeting, not the meeting itself. Moving on to an Anderson piece on hip hop and its double standard. Parents get the kiddies out of the room because we're currently seeing clips of the worst MTV has to offer. This is why I rarely watch the video channels anymore. This crap is disgusting. Why any girl would want to be in those videos is beyond me, but many many do.

After the piece we're joined by Amy Holmes, who is practically a member of the 360 family at this point, and Jason Whitlock, columnist with "The Kansas City Star." Jason has written on the Imus flap and he believes that the real problem is prison culture in the African American community and this is being avoided. He doesn't think that Imus is so powerful that he can steal anyone's joy and he wishes African American's would stop playing the victim. Amy disagrees, stating that Imus is powerful due to the people he had on and that 80% of the people that are buying into that prison culture are white. That stat always throws me. Maybe I'm looking at this wrong, but in regards to overall US demographics, isn't that about right? Jason points out that there is a difference between listening to the music and living the lifestyle. Anderson then brings up his point he loves about the corporations. I'm telling you Anderson, a "Keeping Them Honest." It'll make you feel good.

Transitioning now to Anderson acknowledging that he's actually in New Orleans, specifcially in the Gentilly section. Most of the homes around him have not been rebuilt and he tells us that "normally, there would be people playing on the streets, kids and families." At 10:30 at night? Kids? We're then introed into a Randi Kaye piece on the murder of Helen Hill. You might remember 360's coverage of this story before. Helen was a filmmaker who was gunned down in her own home as her doctor husband, Paul Gailiunas, protected their infant son. Paul himself was also shot, but survived. He has since left New Orleans and moved to Canada. This is his first time speaking publicly about the incident. This whole story is so horrible. They sound like they were a wonderful couple and the person that did this is still on the loose.

Next up we learn there was a "suicide bombing in the Iraqi parliament, in the heart of Baghdad's Green Zone." Oh, so that war is still going on? Because watching before I wasn't sure. Anyway, we then go to Kyra Phillips live, and she tells us this was unprecedented because the bomber had to get through six checkpoints. Her sources are telling her that it was infiltration, maybe through the kitchen help. Anderson notes that the Iraqis had been responsible for security and he wonders if that will now change. Kyra thinks it will and she states that it used to be that when you went through the checkpoints you had all US people checking you, but now it's Iraqis and even hired contractors. Anderson points out that other explosives were found too and Kyra explains that that's standard operating procedure in case something goes wrong. And...we're right back to the mansion live cam. Apparently the hard news junkies were just thrown a bone. But don't worry, we've got important news here too. Don Imus is getting into his car! OMG, look at him walk! Oh, and we learn that his wife hugged every player. Every single one of them! I mean, news like that deserves it's own graphic. Wait, why am I encouraging them?

Our last piece of the hour is from Sanjay Gupta on human growth hormone (HGH). I'm pretty sure this is a repeat from the Anna Nicole Smith coverage. Anyway, I hate to skimp on Sanjay, but I'm giving this a pass. I hope people who were excited to see Anderson in New Orleans stuck around for the second hour because after watching the first hour I wondered what the point was of him even being there. Tonight's show contained quality mixed with utter ridiculousness. I always appreciate when Anderson goes to New Orleans and I think the debates over race and sexism are important. However, can we please move past Imus now? Let's keep discussing the issues, but the man has now been fired (as he should have been), so it's time to leave it alone. Staking out a non press conference? How pathetic. That part of tonight's coverage was cringe inducing. Oh, and it was nice to see Iraq make it back into the news, but how sad is it that it took the freaking parliament getting blown up to do it? And still with the sound effect. C+

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

More About Duke Case And 360 Again Takes Calls On Don Imus (Wednesday's Second Hour)

Hi guys. I'm still not feeling well, so this is going to be short. We start with a repeat of the Jason Carroll piece on the Duke rape charges being dropped and then move into an Anderson piece on how the arrests affected the guys. Afterwards we're joined by their attorneys, Jim Coony and Wade Smith. A lot of repeat ground is covered here. They blame the prosecutor and indicate there is no way to know why the woman made the charges. Afterwards we have Jeffrey Toobin back and I have to say, he always looks guilty for some reason when they first introduce him. Maybe it's because half of the conversations with him end in craziness. Both he and Anderson note how one of the guys pointed out that if they didn't have the resources to hire good lawyers they might be rotting in a prison cell. Toobin then mentions the Innocence Project. 360 needs to do a "Keeping Them Honest" on our prison system. Unfortunately it's a big industry that is making a lot of people money.

Next we're joined by Amy Holmes, Roland Martin, and John Fund. John Fund? Man, that third position is like musical chairs. John thinks we have a problem with white guilt in this country and that's why people rushed to judgement in the Duke rape case. Hey, I rushed to judgement in the case, but white guilt had nothing to do with it. I'm biased against the frat-boy type party culture. Sorry. And when a woman says she was raped I believe her. The races could have been reversed and I would have felt the same. Anderson tells us they've been getting a ton of emails and sorry to take you out of the review for a second, but I just have to share some transcript hilariousness. On the broadcast Anderson tells us that they've been getting a lot of reaction to the Imus story. However, the transcript seems to think they're been getting reaction to the "Amish store." Bwah! That's almost as good as when the transcript had Anderson and Jeff Corwin out "haunting" with the Brazilians.

Moving on to a Joe Johns piece about the advertisers pulling out and then we're taking your calls. Things start smoothly, but then a caller is missing and there's some technical problems. Uh oh. That would be the downside of the call-ins. It's okay though. No harm, no foul. The phone calls lead to more talk about gangsta rap and now I'm wondering if anyone has actually talked to any of these rappers about this scandal. Yeah, it's the corporations that push the music, but rappers do have a say. What do they think and will they make a pledge to stop? I'm not really into rap, but I do like Kanye West. However, I don't like that he uses the 'n' word. He decided not to be homophobic in his music; maybe he could decide to stop using that word too. But somebody needs to bring them into the conversation. Later on Roland tries to counter the cynics (and that would include me) that say this won't change anything. He brings up Rosa Parks and states that "it is always the major developments that are started by a very small issue." Yes, but Rosa didn't have to contend with a 24 hour news cycle. John Fund thinks we need to broaden the people that get on televison...and that's probably the first and last time I will agree with John Fund. That's all folks.

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Still More On The Imus Flap, Duke Rape Charges Dropped, Chasing Life With Sanjay Gupta, And Raw Politics (Wednesday's First Hour)

Hi everybody. Okay, we'll see how this goes. Your humble blogger is in fairly extreme pain, I'm guessing due to the weather. So there's going to be some skimping. Hopefully it won't end up sounding all bitter. We kick things off with the news that Don Imus has been fired from MSNBC. It seems there was a bit of an internal pile on and it was determined he had to go to save their brand. For discussion on the decison we're joined by former Frist speechwriter Amy Holmes, radio host and CNNer Roland Martin, and... radio host Michael Medved? Dude, what have you done with Robert? Aw, and I thought we had totally bonded. For those not familiar, Medved previously got his ire up over the perceived homosexual agenda of the movie "Happy Feet." No, I'm not kidding. Anderson asks about the firing decision and Amy is down with it. Roland notes that the advertisers pulling out was a major contributor in the sacking. Not surprisingly, Medved thinks the firing went way too far and then says something nonsensical about people saying 9-11 was an inside job. This prompts Roland into interrupter-guy mode, which seems to be his default setting. Amy brings up the fact that Medved often talks about raising standards in a our culture. However, Medved thinks people just shouldn't listen to Imus. Then he brings up someone saying the "f' and "s" words and I'm sorry, but that is so not the same thing. There is no group of people connected to those words. Following this there's more discussion that covers a lot of things we've heard before.

Next up we have a Tom Foreman piece on any legal aspects of the Imus case. It doesn't look like he will get sued for defamation because he can just claim he was kidding or it was his opinion. For now it looks like the FCC isn't going to get involved. After Tom's piece we're joined by writer and critic John Leo. Anderson notes that a lot of powerful people go on the Imus program. John thinks they are enablers because they let him get away with saying horrible things. Anderson points out that people go on to sell their books. Dude, go on The Daily Show. Their viewers are major book buyers and Jon's not a racist. Anderson wonders if people who go on the show should be held accountable and John thinks they should. Hey, speaking of enabling and being held accountable, two words for you Anderson: Glen Beck. Seriously, he's said things just as horrible as Imus has and you enabled him by allowing him to come on a respected show and act half reasonable. That's how they do it. They pull out the "average Joe" personality for the mainstream appearances, but then when they get back to the safety of their radio show they spew garbage and most of America is none the wiser. John agrees with me in that most of America doesn't know about these people. He tells us it took him a day and a half to come up with six horrible things Imus has said because radio has no hard copy. Oh, John, you obviously have not met my pal David Brock and the good people at . Trust me, next time you'll find what you're looking for in 10 minutes tops.

Transitioning now to a Jason Carroll piece on the other racially-tinged story of the day, the Duke rape case. The North Carolina Attorney General has proclaimed the Duke guys innocent and the charges have been dropped. He says there was a rush to condemn and he slaps the media around a bit, which is perfectly warranted here. Also, the District Attorney is in major hot water. After Jason's piece we've got Jeffrey Toobin for the legal lowdown and he is completely shocked by how outrageous the prosecutor was. However, I'm going to move on to the Jesse Jackson interview. Apparently Jackson had offered to pay the woman's college tuition since she was making money by stripping. And actually this interview pretty much becomes all about the naked dancing-at least on Jesse's end. Oh and sorry that's actually nakid dancing. Anderson asks if the offer still stands and Jackson's all, "I don't even know her." Oh good Lord. In fact, when he's not talking about nakid dancing that's basically how he answers every question. He didn't know her. He's never seen her. He doesn't know where she is now. He doesn't know why he's even here. Duke rape case? What Duke rape case? Suddenly he's got her playing the roll of Jack Abramoff to his Bush.

Transitioning now to some talk with Sanjay Gupta. He's got a new book called Chasing Life about the search for immortality. We get a Sanjay piece and then in studio discussion about different ways other cultures are living longer. The Seventh-Day Adventists are mentioned and actually 360 has covered a lot of this kind of stuff. You can search this blog if you're interested. Anderson tells us he will be reading the book this weekend. Anderson Cooper: wild and crazy anchor of CNN. Don't party too hard there, buddy. You might hurt yourself. Anyway, buy Sanjay's book. Because you love him. You know you do. After this there's some "Raw Politics," which I'm skipping tonight...because I can. The Shot is a crazy driver on a highway. In regards to to the show, there were call-ins again, which is great and really good discussion, but no hard news! C'mon guys! C

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

More Imus Fallout, The Art Of The Apology, And 360 Takes Your Calls (Tuesday's Second Hour)

Hi everyone. We're kicking off the hour on the Imus story again and Anderson starts by showing us an extended clip of the "Today" show appearance. Then we're joined again by Amy Holmes, Roland Martin, and Robert George. Anderson notes Al Sharpton is calling for Imus to be fired and wonders if he has any clout. Robert admits he can get attention, but Sharpton certainly doesn't speak for him. Then Robert and Amy start dissing on Sharpton, which is fine by me. However, as Roland points out, this isn't about Al Sharpton. In fact, it was the National Association of Black Journalists that first called for Imus to be fired, not Sharpton. Roland also makes the point that Sharpton being the 'go to' guy is partly the media's fault because when something like this happens they always, well, go to him. Anderson then switches back to talking about the double standard with rappers. Apparently he's getting emails.

Next we get an extended clip of the Rutgers player's press conference. They should actually do the extended clips more often. People like to see things unfiltered and plus? Takes up time, so not as much work for them. Afterwards we're back with Amy, Roland, and Robert. Anderson asks if this will "begin an actual debate about language and about what is appropriate and about this society, this culture which we now clearly have in which, you know, denigrating others is a way to make profit?" Stand down guys, I've got this one. That would be a big fat no. Is this important and should there be a debate? Absolutely. Will this story be down the memory hole three months from now? Absolutely. As I said yesterday, I'm still waiting for that big debate on poverty that we were suppose to have after Katrina. Anderson notes that Imus was talking about having a regular African American contributor, but Robert isn't into it. He thinks that will be like a token hire and now I'm thinking of Stephen Colbert and his picture of him and his "black friend." Maybe that's what Imus needs.

Next up we have a Tom Foreman piece on apologies. There have been a lot of those lately, most insincere. But for any of you that are planning on making some racist/sexist/bigoted comments in the future you're in luck because Tom's got a "how to" guide on how to get people to forgive you. Step one, make it quick. Okay, Imus already screwed it up. Step two, take your medicine-meaning take responsibility and don't put it off on other people or circumstances. And we're looking at you, Alberto. Step three, no sugarcoating. This means don't suddenly develop an alcohol problem because you're a racist. Finally, step four, change your behavior. Pretty self explanatory and if my viewing history is a guide, also the hardest to do.

Moving on to a repeat of the Whoopi Goldberg interview and then we bring in Amy, Roland, and Robert for some call-ins. Yay! My friend Arachnae was very excited. Did you try to call? I did not. Eliza has no desire to be on television. But I like listening to other people. The first call is from New Jersey. New Jersey, hello!! Oh, wrong show. And actually I'm not blogging these individual calls because it's kind of a pain to do. I'm not complaining, just stating a fact. Also, one issue I noticed is that a lot of the callers had questions that were already covered by the panel before the call-in segment. Obviously they have to let the viewers email and start calling early, so I'm not sure exactly how they could fix that other than just always making sure they do the calls before the panel. And then of course if they do that it could leave Anderson without anything to ask later. Anyway, it's a kink that I'm sure the crack 360 staff can work out. Before the last commercial Anderson tells us to stick around so we can "find out who is and who isn't the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby, if you care." Bwah! As it so happens, I do not care. And that'll do it.

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Continued Coverage of Imus Comments, Raw Politics, and Anna Nicole Smith's Baby Daddy (Tuesday's First Hour)

Hi everybody. CNN's PR people sent me a press release on their new Anderson Cooper 360 Daily podcast and apparently Anderson will taping a little intro especially for each one. I'm going to kind of call their bluff here and state that I bet that won't be the case a few months from now. All I'm saying is that when the blog was new he was a blogging fiend. Now? Not so much. Anybody checked out the podcast yet? I'm on dial-up, so I probably won't even try until this weekend. Anyway, the PR person said let her know if I had questions, so I guess let me know if you have questions. Hey, am I the only one who thinks those Larry King text vote questions are completely pointless? Tonight's was "Can a comedian make it in politics?" When I heard that I immediately said (to no one in particular), "Aren't they pretty much the same thing?" Cut to Anderson who practically echos me. Bwah! So apparently we're on the same page.

Tonight we lead with more of the Imus flap. I guess they're trying to hang onto that Larry King lead-in. As I said yesterday, while this story is important, it shouldn't be the lead. First up we have an Anderson piece that focuses on Imus and Al Sharpton's "Today" show appearance. There Imus tried to deflect attention off himself by noting that the phrase he used originated in the black community. Yeah, he sounds real sorry. Why doesn't he just claim an addiction to Ambien and go to rehab? After the piece we learn that advertisers are starting to drop his show. Good. Not good is the fact that that horrible sound effect is still here.

Joining us to talk about Imus is Rutgers basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer and player Essence Carson. Anderson asks Essence how she felt hearing the comments and she was of course saddened and angered. Anderson wonders if the two week suspension is enough. Vivian isn't sure yet. She points out they'll be meeting with Imus and will see what happens there. Anderson asks Essence if she's nervous about the meeting, but she's not. In fact she's looking forward to hearing him out and hearing his side of the story. Wow. I'm not sure I could be so classy about it. Anderson asks if she thinks Imus is racist and again she states that she first needs to meet with him. Anderson points out that Imus seems to be making excuses now. Vivian has noticed too and she resents it. He may be sorry, but he clearly doesn't get it and I think anyone who thinks he won't do it again is fooling themselves. Anderson wonders what's the first thing Essence is going to say to Imus. Mostly she just wants to listen, but she will be asking him why. Why indeed.

Next up we have more talk with...Whoopi Goldberg? Huh? I actually like Whoopi a lot, but I have no idea why she's on my tv screen right now. Anderson mentions something about her being in similar trouble before, but they never go into it. Whatever. Anderson asks his standard, "is two weeks enough?" and Whoopi says they'll see. She then goes through a list of a bunch of other people that have been fired for comments they made and notes that a precedent has been set. Anderson points out that Imus said he was doing comedy. Whoopi says she didn't know he was a comedian. Me either. When's the part of the show where he's funny? Anderson wonders if Imus even gets it. No, he does not. We're then played the clip of Imus whining that the black community does it too and Whoopi points out that that is not a new argument by any means. Black leaders have been complaining about song lyrics forever. Anderson asks if it would have been okay if Imus was black. Whoopi thinks no and people would have been on him even faster. Her advice to Imus would be to make some allies with the Rutgers people and be honest. I have a feeling that latter thing is going to be a tough one.

On now to a David Mattingly piece where we learn that, gasp, "ho" is being thrown around all over the place. Good thing he didn't look into the word "bitch" because that would be a real shocker. We all know this stuff is ingrained in our culture now and David says as much in his piece. It's sad, but honestly I don't know how you fix it at this point. I mean, look at the women that the younger generation follows in the news: Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan. I mean, just last month CNN's own Glen Beck (gotta love that guy) called Hillary Clinton a "stereotypical bitch." And BTW where was the big flap over that? Does it have to be sexism and racism to merit wall to wall coverage and a suspension?

Moving on now to a three-way. Get your minds out of the gutter, people. Joining us for discussion we have Amy Holmes back from yesterday, radio host and CNNer Roland Martin, and Robert George of "The New York Post." Anderson notes that comments like Imus made are thrown around in the black community and he wonders if there's a double standard. Amy thinks there is and talks about some of the commentary she's seen about herself on websites. Oh hon, don't read that crap. I'm really liking Amy, but I have to say it completely boggles my mind that she worked for Bill Frist. Does not compute, you know? Because she is way too cool for Frist. Again Anderson asks if two weeks is enough and Roland says no. He also notes that we seem to have forgotten about the producer (hey, that's right!). Roland points out that it's ridiculous to compare Imus to rappers because he works on a different platform; one which has him talking with the country's top movers and shakers. "You don't see Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton sitting down with the Ying Yang Twins. You don't see Senator McCain rapping with Snoop Dogg," he says. Oh, there's some images I didn't need in my head. Robert then piggybacks off Roland's point and reinterates that the power structure is completely different because Imus has all this influence.

Anderson then points out that it's the big corporations that are making the money. He's actually hit on this before in relation to other stuff. So, Anderson, do I smell a big investigative "Keeping Them Honest"? How is the money broken down and where does it go? Do the people at the top have morals? What kind of sway do they have with the FCC? What kind of sway to they have with Congress? Remember, media has changed drastically over the past couple decades because media laws have changed drastically due to fierce lobbying. Anyway, Robert points out that Imus can't act like rappers gave him permission to make those comments because he made similar comments 15 years ago. Roland notes that it's not just a racism issue, it's a sexism one too and the discussion and outrage needs to broaden. He's right. I didn't even note the sexism angle yesterday. Amy agrees with Roland and brings up the comments Donald Trump made about Rosie O'Donnell. Anderson points out that people make money off of all this ugliness, "On television, on radio, getting people to yell at each over and argue with each other, that's part and parcel of -- frankly, of most cable news stations." Whoa, careful there, buddy. You're on a cable news station. But you're also right. Roland then makes the great point that there have been no national statements from any moral groups like Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, and Concerned Women for America. Don't hold your breath there, Roland. Their definition of morality is very very narrow.

Transitioning now to "Raw Politics" with Candy Crowley and guess what. It's all about Imus. You have to be kidding me. Okay, since most politicians have gone on Imus, now they're all trying to lie low until this thing blows over, lest they step in a mine. Although the suspension and apology have made things easier for them to speak up. The White House made a comment, Obama issued a statement, Chris Dodd issued a statement...McCain says he believes in redemption. Dude, I guess so seeing as how you planted your lips on Bush's behind not that long after he smeared your family. Giuliani said he'd even go on his show again. Eh, what does he care I guess. I mean, there's video of him dressed as a woman on YouTube. He's got other problems. Clinton came closest to saying he should be kicked off air. In the end it doesn't matter what they think on this one. But seriously, there was no other political news today?

Next up we've got Anna Nicole Smith crap. Today the answer to the question everyone has been waiting for has finally been answered. And yes, children, that was sarcasm. So anyway, who da baby daddy? It's Larry Birkhead! Yay? Is this the least sleazy one? And is that the press cheering? What the hell? Anyway, you know what's coming, don't you? That's right, we're joined by Jeffrey Toobin and Court TV's Lisa Bloom because we need some discussion, yo. Toobin is all bummed because, "people have certain obligations, and in this case people have obligations to act like tabloid trash, to be a circus." Something tells me Toobin was a big Springer fan. So anyway blah blah blah. Actually all the coverage on the topic wasn't too bad. It clocked in at eight minutes, which means I lost the bet. That's right, Eliza and some people she was talking with when the news came down placed bets on how long 360 would go with it. I had 20 minutes, so yay for proving me wrong. No money to win, just bragging rights.

Anderson is very excited about The Shot tonight. Why? Because it's a new Seamanship commercial! Squee! It's chalk full of goodness, but no dancing this time. They then of course have to play the old one and Erica tells us to "check out that hip -- that hip action." Oh, I have. That will never stop being funny. So okay 360, I don't know what to do with you tonight. Using the second hour for a call-in was awesome and my friend Arachnae even contacted me after the show to urge me to be nice since coincidence or not you pretty much did exactly what she suggested in her guest blog. However, besides Erica's headlines there was no hard news in the entire two hours. It's like you can't walk and chew gum at the same time. Because there is important stuff going on right now. There's the Iraq war bill showdown, attorney-gate (which I see you're giving the same crappy inconsistent coverage you gave Plame), and just recently the news that 13,000 Guard troops are probably going to be deployed to Iraq. Now people are saying the Guard is broken. What happens if there's another hurricane? Look, I thought the show tonight was interesting, but please remember that what you choose to make important has consequences. C

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