Tuesday, June 12, 2007

An Update From New Orleans, Paris Hilton Continues To Be On My TV Screen For Some Reason, Raw Politics, And Drought In Nigeria (Monday's First Hour)

Hi everybody. We've got Anderson Cooper live in New Orleans tonight. Take that Obama! I have no idea if this trip was originally scheduled, but it's fun to think of the 360 gang sitting around their meeting table or whatever going, "Oh yeah! Let's go there Monday! See what he thinks about that." Anyway, Anderson's got his live shot set up in front of the 17th Street Canal levee and he reminds us they were in the same spot about a year ago and got to actually go up in a scary little contraption for a view from up above. I remember this pretty clearly, especially Anderson's get-up (helmet and vest for safety). I wasn't sure if he was there to show us the levees or audition for "The Village People." Speaking of New Orleans memories, remember that poor man Robert Davis who had the crap beat out of him by New Orleans cops? One of the cops that was set to face trial next month was found dead of a bullet wound to the head, consistent with suicide. Damn. That's just all around sad. It'll probably sound weird, but I think of Mr. Davis several times a week and then subsequently think of New Orleans...and it's "Journey's" fault. See, "Lights" by the band "Journey" was playing in the background of that tape when Mr. Davis was beaten, so the two are forever connected in my brain and I hear the song almost every day at work, so there you go. BTW, this has been a very "Journey" heavy day, what with everyone playing that "Sopranos" ending a million times. For more randomness, I'll add that I thought the dissection of the beating tape by Anderson and Aaron Brown was the first time the "fire and ice" team really meshed...and then Aaron was gone a short time later. Aw, Aaron. You're missed.

Our first piece of the night is from Susan Roesgen concerning the fact that there are still 100 victims from the hurricane that have yet to be buried. They lie in plastic wrapped caskets in an unmarked warehouse near the Superdome. Thirty of the bodies have yet to be identified and the rest are there because for whatever reason their family has been unable to bury them. This is just ridiculous. I realize there's still some remains issues with 9-11, but can you imagine the reaction if there were 100 bodies still not buried going on two years after the terrorist attacks? People wouldn't stand for it. Susan tells us, "the New Orleans coroner, Dr. Frank Minyard, has a plan, but not yet enough money to pay for it. Minyard wants to put the bodies in mausoleums in a memorial designed to look like the shape of a hurricane." The shape of a hurricane? Uh...why don't they pick something more New Orleanian? Although right now it doesn't matter because that would cost about $1.5 million and so far Minyard's only got $250,000 raised from private donations. I don't suppose he could ask the government...oh who am I kidding?

For discussion on New Orleans crime, we next up we have an interview with Leslie Crocker Snyder, former New York prosecutor and judge, who is currently working in New Orleans in the district attorney's office. Anderson notes that witnesses of crimes being afraid to come forward is a problem, but according to Leslie the real problem is lack of leadership. She then does some comparisons with New York and indicates that in New Orleans there is no cooperation or coordination. Anderson plays a clip of Nagin boasting about all the people the city has indicted. However, he points out that an indictment is not a conviction and there were 162 murders last year with only three convictions. That sounds like a problem. Leslie says there are a lot of reasons for this, including inexperienced DA's. She also explains that the way things are run now there is a lot of wasted time and a lot of wacked out priorities. Also, in New York the cops have to write their police report before going off shift and that's not true in New Orleans. So basically, it sounds like the whole system has rotten from the top down. We seem to be getting a lot of that lately.

Moving on now to a David Mattingly piece on frickin FEMA trailers! Ah! What is up with these trailer problems? There are people at FEMA who probably have nightmares about trailers. The issue this time boys and girls, is that Katrina victims are taking their nice government provided trailers and trashing the hell out of them. Okay, if I had been through what a lot of those people have been through (especially with the government) I'd probably want to go all psycho on a trailer too, but c'mon, people. And it's not that they're just trashing them, they're stripping them bare too. It's estimated that about 10 percent have been trashed. Your tax dollars at work. Although for a little perspective, that means 90% have been returned just fine. Katrina victims as a whole already have an unfair rap of being leeches on the government, so it's important to point out the majority aren't like that. So what will happen to these trailer trashers? Well, probably nothing. It's been determined that prosecuting probably won't be worth it. Well, it's not like their justice system is working anyway. Sigh.

Transitioning now to she who shall not be named (by Anderson, anyway), the sucker upper of actual news. In a Dan Simon piece we learn that Paris Hilton just had to be taken out of jail because she was suffering from attention deficit disorder and claustrophobia. Oh the humanity! Quick, somebody host a telethon! Please tell me I accidentally hit my remote and am now watching Punked. Anyway, we learn that during her many few days in the slammer, Paris has been a busy girl. She's gabbed with Babs (Barbara Walters, for those not in the know) and gosh darn it if she didn't find God too. Yes, I'm sure her life is completely changed now. Of course there will always be critics. Al Sharpton, who has made it his mission in life to somehow be involved in every media frenzy there is, thinks that Paris got special treatment because she's a celebrity. Special treatment for celebrities? Wha? Say it isn't so. At the end of the piece we're told Paris is a changed women. "Hmm. Do you believe it?" asks Anderson afterwards. Um...no.

Next up we've got Dr. Drew to, I kid you not, discuss poor Paris and her illnesses. But we're skipping through all that crap to where Drew talks about the narcissism of celebrities and some people's fascination with it. "But, I mean, in truth, we should be sort of -- these people are warped," says Anderson. Bwah! I think he's been holding that in a while now. Drew says we like to take people like Paris and elevate them just so we can knock them down-like our own little human sacrifices. Speak for yourself there, Drew. I would be content for them to disappear off the face of the earth-or at least my tv screen. " I just wish they weren't paid so well to be, you know, annoying and crazy," says Anderson. Ha! Anderson's all perplexed. Well, annoying and crazy gets the eyeballs. After this we've got Lisa Bloom for the legal analysis...and I am so not blogging that. Okay, so all that coverage was about 10 minutes long and we got 13 minutes of New Orleans coverage before it. Hmm. Also, Anderson, dude, the whole not saying her name thing is kind of dumb if you then still continue to cover her! It's not much of a protest is all I'm saying. Look, I know you have a Nielson Box-shaped gun to your head (Friday's ratings probably made 360 very happy, but they made me feel sick), but c'mon. You too, David Doss.

On now to some "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman. First up we learn that Clinton is pulling away from Obama to solidify her spot in first place so far. Also, 360 goes creative crazy with the graphics. Somebody's been having fun. We've got Obama lifting weights and Clinton on a Wheaties box. Those crazy kids. Next, we're still talking about Fred Thompson. Just declare already! Tom tells us that Harry Reid is proposing a bill to cut oil consumption and finally, we learn that Ashley Judd was supposed to go to this global poverty thing, but she got sick. So they replaced her with Connie Barton. Who, you ask? Exactly. "Not really a household name, that Connie. So the whole event wasn't exactly "The Sopranos" season finale, but it's good enough for 'Raw Politics,'" says Tom, and they do a little fade to black thing like from the finale. Heh. I've probably seen more of "The Sopranos" today than I've seen ever.

Moving on now to a Sean Callebs "Keeping Them Honest" piece about the pumps and levees in New Orleans. Okay, so the Army Corps of Engineers says the system is stronger than before Katrina, but they won't state what category hurricane it could survive. However, awesome hurricane engineer guy Ivor Van Heerden thinks there are still weak links that could sink the whole city again. The new pumps at the 17th Street Canal aren't working (though the Corps says it's under control) and the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet or MR. GO is a major flooding threat. We learn that some think anything stronger than a Category 3 would once again flood the city, but the Corps disagrees. You know what? Seeing as though the Corps built the levees in the first place and Ivor was right about everything, I think I'm going with Ivor on this one. Pray for New Orleans, people. Seriously.

Finally tonight we have a piece from Sanjay Gupta on our "Planet in Peril." Sanjay is expanding his medical horizons and has gone on a field trip to Nigeria, where it is very, very dry. Oh, and hot. Sanjay says it was 113 degrees there today! And I'm guessing there's not much air conditioning. So here's the deal, Lake Chad, previously one of the world's largest lakes, is practically all dried up. Sanjay stands in a spot that he says used to be six feet high and there's nothing there. Of course a lack of water leads to a shortage of food...and you can begin to see how this is a massive problem. Sanjay tells us the irony that, "Africa produces less carbon pollution than any other continent, but it faces maybe the greatest impact from climate change and is the least equipped to deal with it." Looks like they drew the short stick again. Too bad there isn't some big powerful country that could take a real leadership role regarding this problem. Oh, wait. The Shot tonight is people who got stuck hanging upside down on a roller coaster when the power went out. That would suck. I wonder if anybody puked. On second thought, don't tell me. Anyway, I love when the show goes to New Orleans; I hate stupid celebrity non news. Not much else to say. B-


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