Thursday, June 21, 2007

Refugees in Crisis, Jessie Davis Update, Bloomberg, Madagascar, And Jumping Fish (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everyone. So okay, I'm having a bit of a blogging crisis here. The transcript service has died! I don't know what's going on, but there are no more new transcripts. Oooh, perhaps this is all a diabolical plan to get me to stop blogging while they're covering missing white women. Sneaky little devils. Anyway, when I started this blog I actually didn't use the transcripts at all, but then people started telling me they were learning things from my posts and I freaked a bit because, dang it, I could be spreading truthiness! I was a great little note-taker in the beginning, but blogging has gone a bit how I handled college. I started out my freshman year trying my hardest to keep up with all the assigned reading and by senior year I was lucky if I had even taken the plastic off the book by the midterm. The problem here is I didn't know I wasn't going to have the transcript to rely on, so...oh noes. Therefore this blog comes at you with me flying by the seat of my pants.

Tonight is the Refugees in Crisis special and interview with Angelina Jolie. Remember last year's interview? Man, the lead up to that was quite the newsgasm, wasn't it? I couldn't even watch CNN for the week before because they were promoting my brains out. Stories were written up, accusations of payments were made, David Doss had to take to the blog to defend...what a spectacle. This year, things were thankfully much quieter. I'll try to go through the special in a second, but I want to say that I thought overall this interview was much better than last year's. Anderson Cooper came off a bit star struck last time and I think the intense pressure of the whole situation for both of them came across. This time things were more relaxed and informative. Also, in case I forget later, Angelina Jolie is awesome.

We begin by learning that there are almost 10 million refugees in the world, as well as many internally displaced people. Then we cut to the Angelina interview and she tells us that it was a trip to Sierra Leone that really opened her eyes. She states that seeing that kind of brutality made her feel unaware and want to educate herself about what's going on in the world with refugees. This leads us to an Anderson piece on Angelina and her work for UNHCR. We learn that she pays her own way for her trips and also donates a third of her own money. Some of the places she's visited include Pakistan, Namibia, a Chad camp, and Kashmir after the 2005 earthquake. On the personal side, she's got four children-three of which are adopted from other countries. Her biological child she had with her partner, who happens to be Brad Pitt. Not too shabby.

Next up we have a really good piece from Michael Ware about Iraqis who are trying to come to the US, but having a hard time. Basically all Iraqis who want to come here are having a hard time because the US has let in less than a thousand since before the war and most of them were fleeing Saddam, not the mess we caused. What's particularly infuriating is that a lot of the people trying to flee to the US worked for them in Iraq, which basically marked them for death, and now when they need help to save their lives, the US has turned its back. I mean, even Sweden and Australia have taken in thousands. Also, even though the US has spent billions on the war, we've only offered $150 million to other countries taking in refugees. This year the US has pledged to take in 2500 Iraqis (though previously the number pledged was about 7,000), but last month we only let Fears about terrorism shouldn't be discounted when taking Iraqis in, but as Angelina notes in the interview segment following the piece, vulnerable people are ripe for getting sucked into terrorism. People we don't let in today, may turn to a terrorist organization tomorrow because they're providing social services. Angelina is also very practical about needing to support Syria and Jordan. Then she tells us the sad fact that when she went on trips six years ago everyone wanted to come to the US. Now? Not so much.

On now to a Nic Robertson piece on Afghan refugees, which is the biggest population of refugees in the world. Most of them are living in Iran and Pakistan, but now those two countries want them gone. This is troubling because the expulsions could lead to Taliban recruiting and an increase in violence. In fact, some believe Iran is kicking people out for that very reason. After Nic's piece Anderson asks Angelina about the Afghan camps she saw and wonders why there's no stability. She explains that we have strategies to go to war, but not for reconstruction and peace. Amen to that. When she was in Pakistan she saw refugees being sent back to Afghanistan and she notes it was very upsetting for people because they were going back to a place that was not stable. Next there's some talk about Angelina's children.

Moving on to a Sanjay Gupta piece from a Darfur refugee camp. Hopefully most of us know the background here, but the nuts in bolts is that the janjaweed and rebels have been battling it out and now 200,000 are dead, not to mention all the displaced. It's a horrible, horrible situation and the Sudan government is part of the problem. Of course they won't admit to that. And hey, check out Sanjay doing a mildly confrontational interview with Sudan's Ambassador. Dr. Gupta is really branching out lately. Anyway, the UN won't call what's happening in Darfur genocide or level sanctions because of China. What's the deal with China? Sudan has oil, China wants it, end of story. Morality need not apply. In the interview segment after this piece Angelina talks a bit about a traumatized boy she spent time with and then gets her anger on when talking about how as a world community we don't hold people accountable. Anderson brings up the China and oil thing and Angelina stops using words and just communicates in frustrated noises. If you ever wonder what Eliza sounds like while watching the news, she pretty much has me down.

The last piece of the hour is from Jeffrey Toobin on the International Criminal Court (ICC). We learn that there are 51 charges against two janjaweed guys, but a trial may not even happen because the guys aren't in custody and the prosecutor has no police. Another big hurdle is, well, the US. Guess what. The US doesn't support the ICC. So there you go. Much like that general Anderson interviewed in the Congo, I think these janjaweed guys are, unfortunately, sitting pretty. After Toobin's piece, Anderson asks how all this has changed Angelina as a wife and mother. She then corrects him, stating she's actually not a wife. Whoops. Faux pas. A wee bit embarrassed Anderson then tries to cover with a "maybe someday," but it doesn't really go over. And yeah, I feel kind of bad that I basically haven't mentioned Anderson at all and now I'm pointing out his screw up, but, well, no one ever said life was fair.

The top of the next hour begins with an Anderson piece that recaps everything and I'm fairly impressed with hour they've managed to widdle down a whole hour to less than five minutes. Next we're on to a Christiane Amanpour piece on refugees in Jordan. We meet an Iraqi translator that fled there for her life and is now hoping to move to the US. But as we learned earlier, the going is slow. Very slow. Jordan is now asking for help due to the 750,000 Iraqis that have fled there. After the piece, Angelina talks a bit about a Miramar refugee named David and how much he wowed her. I was a bit skeptical of David's awesomeness living up to her praise, but in a Dan Rivers piece we get to meet David, who is living in a Thai camp, and he really is just that awesome. David is all about Agro forestry and recycling waste. Basically, he's using the tools he has to survive in an environmentally friendly way and then teaching everyone else. I mean, the dude's even fighting global warming. David is very cool.

Transitioning now, kind of abruptly actually, to the latest on Jessie Davis. And okay, as Anderson introed this he really inferred that Cutts was now a suspect, but he's not. I mean, maybe he is now as you're reading this, but he wasn't at show time. So that wasn't cool. What happened is that the guy had his house searched and they brought out bags. Oooh, bags! Yeah, I'm done with this. Next we're on to Anderson telling us that Hillary Clinton has chosen "You and I" as her campaign song, which they then play. This leads into a little gag where Anderson gets mad at Renee in the control booth for playing the song too long. Oh, sure, you can't stand Celine Dion, but you think it's just find to torture us with the song stylings of Warren Jeffs. Just saying.

Next up we've got "Raw Politics" with Joe Johns, most of which I will be skipping because of the no transcript thing. But I will tell you that Bush vetoed (will veto?) a stem cell bill. Because he's all about life, people. You know, except when he was executing people in Texas. Oh, and then there's that whole war thing...On now to a John King piece on a possible Michael Bloomberg run for president. Because obviously there aren't enough candidates yet. Anyway, Bloomberg has dropped his Republican Party affiliation, so we know he has some brains and he also has liberal views and digs balanced budgets. Plus he seems pretty rational. Hmm. I do like rational people.

On now to an Anderson piece on our "Planet in Peril." Tonight we're focusing on Madagascar where 90% of the country's wildlife cannot be found anywhere else. It is also one of the poorest countries in the world, which has led to deforestation-there are only 10% of forests left. The environmental crisis has also led to 550 species being threatened (threddened), including the lemur. After the piece we're supposed to go to Jeff Corwin for a live shot from Madagascar, but the satellite is down. Bummer. I'm having Jeff withdrawal. He's so enthusiastic! After we come back from commercial Anderson shows us the shot they have and...oh noes, Jeff is a blue blob! In other words, no Jeff tonight. Sigh. Technology giveth and technology taketh away.

Next up we have a David Mattingly piece on jumping fish, but I have to say, this one had Rick Sanchez written all over it. Okay, so there's some environmental information here, but we're skipping all that because the money shot is poor David getting whacked by the jumping fish. Twice. What's particularly hilarious is that by his reaction it clearly got him really good, but you can hear someone in the background (probably the producer) say "keep filming." That's right, pay no mind to poor David. Just get the shot! Ha! I'm not a reporter, but I imagine when they think about the dangers of their job, they maybe worry about being kidnapped or shot or blown up-not so much whacked by a fish. After the piece Anderson's got some time to kill due to no Jeff, so...we're watching David get hit again. Bwah! As the hour ends we then watch it one more time in slow-mo with Anderson providing the sound effects. I think getting hit by a fish just might be the new tasering.

The special tonight was really good and the rest of the show was just okay. A- for the special.


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