Thursday, July 05, 2007

Commutation Fallout, Journalist Released, Terrorist Doctors, Speaker Speaks...Again, And Protecting The Canadian Border (Tuesday's Show)

Hi everybody. Sorry I disappeared there for a bit. I decided to try out that whole having a life thing. Anyway, as per usual lately, we're beginning with BREAKING NEWS. As you might imagine, when the Libby commutation came down, the general reaction of the democrats was "oh hell no!" And now we learn they're going to investigate that bad boy. Er, the commutation, not Bush. Candy Crowley is on the campaign trail and she joins us by phone. She tells us it's becoming quite the issue with the democratic candidates due to the belief that Libby was spared to protect Cheney. Candy notes that this campaign tactic is a good way to stir up the base. Oh, I'm stirred baby, I'm stirred! So anyway, in reality there's not much the democrats can actually do besides vote to disapprove of the commutation, but it will keep all this stuff in the news. Well, you know, unless Paris goes to jail again or something. We're then played a clip of Bush leaving the door open for a pardon (argh!!!) and several clips of Tony Snow getting pummeled by the press over the whole Libby situation. Good times. Though not probably for Tony Snow.

Next we're joined by Jeffrey Toobin for discussion and he and Anderson Cooper talk about the possibility of a pardon. Toobin totally bums me out by saying it seems likely now, but then again, he was surprised by the commutation, so what does he know? Anderson notes that a pardon wipes everything clean and Toobin points out that Libby doesn't even qualify for a pardon, but "if you have enough friends in high places, you can go around the system." Ah, yes. We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal...except when they're not. Anderson plays a clip of Tony Snow spouting lies and then says, "the notion that this was just a routine commutation of a sentence defies any reasonable explanation. I mean, that's just not possible." Yay! Pointing out the BS. That's all I ask for. "One of the great things about Washington is, you can say basically anything, and someone is going to believe you," says Toobin. Yes, and that "someone" seems to usually be about 30% of the country.

Anderson notes that the notion that Libby didn't get the commutation due to connections is impossible. Whoa, easy there. I don't know if I can handle all this truth telling in one segment. You're not going to do the fake balance thing? Don't think I won't do a happy dance, Anderson Cooper. I'll totally do it. Anderson then gets all frustrated, pointing out that Bushco wouldn't talk about the whole matter while it was under investigation and then when the appeals process was going on, but now that it's all basically over they won't talk about it because it's still in the courts. Ah, on to their game, are you? Toobin thinks that the strategy is "basically to just ride it out" even though there is no "comprehensive defense." That seems to be their strategy for, well, everything.

Transitioning now to the news that "kidnapped British journalist Alan Johnston has been released, after nearly four months of captivity in Gaza." Good news! We don't get much of that, so let us savor. Ben Wedemen then joins us for more and explains that Tuesday morning Hamas built up their forces in the Gaza City neighborhood that they believed Alan was being held and they were basically all set to go in by force, when another faction stepped in and apparently did some fairly awesome diplomacy with them and the Army of Islam, the group holding Alan. So yay for that because they had been warned if they tried to free him by force it would not be a happy ending. Ben also tells us that everybody pretty much knew where Alan was, but the real issue was getting him without a bloodbath because the Army of Islam are probably al Queda influenced and therefore not people you'd really want to hang with. So yay for happy endings. I think this deserves a woo hoo. Woo hoo!

Okay, so now that you're feeling all good, next we have a piece from Kelli Arena regarding the threat of terrorism. Anderson intros by telling us that only about half of the 9-11 Commission's recommendations have so far been enacted, which is so completely ridiculous. But we're safer you see, because we put our shampoo in clear plastic bags when we fly. In the piece we learn that Homeland Security is actively "monitoring" people in the United States, with the unofficial number being about 300. What that really means is anybody's guess. What's amusing and extremely disturbing at the same time is they can't monitor these people all the time because they don't have enough agents. So instead they go through their trash. No, really. I remember actually reading some article about a guy from one of those hardcore animal rights groups that knew the FBI was going through his trash, so he started mixing in litter box contents. Ew. But apparently the trash sifting has had mixed results because, yeah, they uncovered some plots, but it's stuff like those yahoos from Miami who thought they were going to blow up the Sears Tower. And I half to say, there's a whiff of entrapment there, since my understanding is the agent was the one who put a lot of the ideas out there. Whatever. Just remember to be afraid, comrades.

Next up we have a Nic Robertson piece that goes more into the UK plot and how doctors were involved, but really the only thing I'm getting is, "OMG, doctors!!!!" They're quiet and they keep to themselves. We're all going to die! The best part is the graphic: "Rx for terror." That's not sensational at all. Good Lord. Okay, maybe I'm being a little unfair here because the piece does explain that Britain relies on a lot of foreign doctors and there's a possiblility al Qaeda is using this to establish sleeper cells, which, you know, is serious. But I still can't stop chuckling over how we're apparently supposed to be terrified of doctors now. I mean, what kind of reaction do they think they're going to get with that graphic?

Transitioning now to some news that should probably be delivered by Emily Litella. Hey remember how that guy Andrew Speaker had like super TB and flew on several planes and then everybody freaked out? Yeah, well, nevermind. It seems he actually has a much less deadly strain and the CDC probably made a mistake. Anderson tells us that, "the CDC is still defending its actions, but failed to fully explain why he was ever diagnosed with the deadly strain XDR-TB." This intros into an Anderson piece on the whole Speaker saga. You know, I gotta wonder, if the CDC can't even handle the diagnosis and handling of one infected dude, how are they going to handle, say, I don't know, the mutation of the Avian flu causing a global pandemic? Just wondering. Because I'm thinking the answer is not so well.

After Anderson's piece he has an EXCLUSIVE interview with Andrew Speaker and his wife. Anderson begins by playing a clip from a CDC official and asks if what they did was appropriate. Speaker points out that now they're talking about a "predominant strain," which was never mentioned before. So basically they're using semantics and moving the goal posts to cover their butts. Yep, sounds like a government agency to me. Anderson asks if the CDC owes him an apology. Speaker says yes and they owe an apology to everyone they scared. And you know I think maybe the media owes a little apology too after they turned this guy into Public Enemy #1. I'm just saying that 360's initial coverage was not kind. Anyway, this interview is fairly long, but unfortunately Speaker isn't the most articulate right now, so that's about it for me. Oh, but I'll add that Speaker hasn't considered legal action yet (Riiight), but points out that the Speaker name is now tarnished. Yep, he'll always be the TB guy. Good going, CDC.

Our final piece of the night is from Gary Tuchman on our unprotected border with Canada. Gary goes to Derby Line, Vermont, where you can just drive down the street and end up in Canada. You're supposed to go to border checkpoints if you do that, but, yeah, many don't. Therefore border officials from both countries are talking about blocking through traffic, but that idea is not going down so well with the locals. The main idea for blocking the roads is to put flower planters in the middle of them. No, I'm not kidding. That's so diabolical it just might work! Gary talks with a woman who has lived there 27 years and she can't even tell him if they're standing in Canada or the US. That's craziness.

After his piece, we're joined by Gary live and check it out, he's posing for us. Hey, I thought Anderson Cooper had dibs on all the posing done on this show. You better watch it Anderson, someone is giving you a run for your money. Anderson asks about the effectiveness of the border cameras and Gary tells us that they're at least somewhat effective because he's accidentally driven into Canada twice and had border control come up on them with lights up. Heh, accidentally driving into another country sounds like something I would totally do. I'm a good driver, but directions? Not really my thing. Gary also tells us that he's actually had border control tell them if they go into Canada again they're getting a $5000 fine. Oh, banished from Canada! So anyway, he doesn't really want to dig into petty cash, so he's being careful. In fact, if he even steps back three or four steps and stands there, they're gonna be in trouble. Man, them Canadians don't mess around (I love my Canadian readers!). Oh, so maybe Gary's not posing, but just trying really hard not to step in Canada. The Shot tonight is a crane falling on a moving car. That would suck. But everybody's okay. The show was okay. B-


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