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+


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