Thursday, August 30, 2007

Katrina: Two Years Later (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everybody. We've got Anderson Cooper back tonight for the two year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. He's got his live shot set up outside and it seems he's made a few friends. Volunteers from the relief effort have got him surrounded with signs. It's like "The Today Show." Woo! I can't quite believe it's been two years already since the storm. At this time exactly two years ago I was sitting down to watch Aaron Brown, and Jeanne Meserve would soon be calling in to let me and thousands of others know that it was much much worse than initially thought. Anderson kicks it off with a piece that recaps the hurricane and the criminal incompetence that followed. Included is a clip of his famous interview with Senator Mary Landrieu, which I still hold in my top five live tv moments.

We're then shown some clips from Waveland and from there go into another Anderson piece in which he meets up with Bill and Myrtle Kearney, two completely awesome survivors. Remember them? Anderson, did you give Myrtle her rocks? I'm not quite sure why, but Myrtle had hidden her rocks (actual rocks) before the hurricane and then Anderson found them on one of his repeat trips. So now I'm sitting here wondering about rocks. Heh. Unfortunately the Kearneys have yet to rebuild due to high costs and not enough labor. And then there's the whole issue of people getting screwed by their insurance companies. Speaking of insurance companies, when the hell did Jonathan Freed become a State Farm spokesman? Hmm. I guess that kind of thing happens, but, yeah, I still googled to see if he had ever investigated State Farm for CNN. Doesn't look like he did. Drew Griffin, don't you go getting any ideas.

Next up we have a Randi Kaye piece on Dr. Edward Blakely, the so-called "master of disaster." Blakely was hired by Ray Nagin as the city's recovery czar, but he doesn't seem to be living up to his nickname. To hear him tell it though, he's saving the city all by himself. Apparently Blakely has a habit of taking credit for things he's got nothing to do with. Oh and he called Katrina survivors "buffoons." Classy. Anyway, the guy is getting full time pay, yet goes on all these speaking engagements and even teaches in Australia. You've picked a winner there, Nagin. Randi tells us Blakely promised cranes in the sky, but when she goes to where he told her . . . no cranes. What a surprise. After Randi's piece Anderson talks to Jared Kahan, a very optimistic AmeriCorps worker. Anderson notes, "You know, I have had people who haven't been here who have said, you know what? I'm tired of hearing about this." Man, people suck. Also? I would have loved to see Anderson's face when someone said that.

Coming back from commercial, we're played a Katrina clip of a helicopter churning up the nasty water, which subsequently got all over Anderson and crew. Including in their mouths. I remember watching this live and having a little freak out at the television that went something like this: "Oh! Gross water. Close your mouth. Stop talking. Stop talking! Stop talking!!! Ahhh! I just started liking this guy and now he's going to die of typhus. Dammit." I don't think I was the only one freaking out though because the next day they all had masks. Okay, so next we have a Randi Kaye piece and this one focuses on Habitat for Humanity. Apparently when it comes to this charity, New Orleans is getting shafted. Out of $150 million raised, the city is only getting $15 million. Keeping with the New Orleans getting shafted theme, a Times-Picayune editorial has charged that Mississippi got more aid and the reason may be political. Definitely something people should be looking into.

Moving on now to Anderson introing one of his pieces, saying, "
You're not going to believe this." Wanna bet? This is pretty horrible, though. This poor woman put $5,000 into repairing her house, even made sure it wasn't on the list to be demolished, and still they tore it down. Without telling her! And she's not the only one. A community activist has taken it upon herself to try to notify all the homeowners who are about to have their homes demolished, but it's tough with everyone still scattered. A notice is sent by the city, but it's not certified, so a lot of them aren't received. Also, some of the homes don't seem to have that much damage. So what's the rush? "FEMA will stop picking up for the Corps of Engineer's work to demolish houses in September." Ah, I see. The city denies that's the reason, but whatever.

Coming back from another commercial, Anderson talks a bit about the French Quarter and asks the crowd, "Do you guys ever get to go out to any of the bars here in New Orleans?" Some of them look pretty young, so I'm hoping not everyone answered yes to that question. Partay! Anyway, we're on to yet another Randi Kaye piece (busy little bee is she), this time about the New Orleans murder rate. In the piece we meet Father Bill Terry who is keeping track of the murders by writing the names of all of the victims on a board, a murder board, outside. And that board is getting crowded. To also bring awareness to the crime, Father Bill has roses delivered to Ray Nagin and Police Chief Warren Riley each weekend, one rose for each victim that week. That's kind of awesome in a really morbid way. Nagin, as usual, isn't talking. Riley says he's aware of the problem. Well, I think we're all aware of the problem, but it's your job to fix it.

Transitioning now to New Orleans resident Julie Reed of "Newsweek" and "Vogue." She's here to talk about what's working. She explains that the murder rate was high in the city even before the storm, but now they have a real opportunity to change things. She's also optimistic about the citizen involvement she's seeing, something that was absent before the storm. From here we go into a Sanjay Gupta piece where we learn that deaths in the city are better recorded by the newspaper than by the state. Unbelievable. Oh, and also? Health care in New Orleans is still in shambles. But you already knew that.

As we wind down for the evening, Anderson talks with AmeriCorps worker Arielle Davis, and then reads us his blog post. Anyone who watches 360 regularly has heard Anderson rail against "Katrina fatigue." I'll never have Katrina fatigue, but I am definitely suffering from a bad case of, pardon my language, "fuck-up fatigue." A friend tells me this is also known as "Bush fatigue," so there's that. I always love when they cover New Orleans, so A- for the show. Be sure to check out Douglas Brinkley's editorial in the Washington Post. Also, back when 360 did the Comic Relief special for Katrina, I included a bunch of Katrina related links at the end of the recap. Here's the last few paragraphs of that post for anyone interested:

I've read a lot of stuff related to Katrina and some of it has really stayed with me and I'd like to share. First off, there is the piece "Being Poor Like the Nolas" by Boyd Blundell, which imagines New Orleans as the equivalent of a family (the nolas) living in a very affluent neighborhood (Bush Gardens). We follow the nolas through their trials and tribulations and end with their heartbreaking suspicion that there is no neighborhood. Another tearjerker is "They Are Not Coming...A Katrina Diary" from luckydog at dailykos. This is but one of many personal stories. Then there is this post from Bob Geiger, titled "I Know This Little Boy in New Orleans", which simply points out that the children of New Orleans are the same as all our children. Keeping with the tone, Times-Picayune reporter Chris Rose recounts how his Katrina induced depression brought him to the brink in "Hell And Back".

Then there is this diary on dailykos that recaps the Aaron Brown broadcast (with crawl) in which I and many others learned just how bad things were. And if you'd like to get your outrage on, here is a compilation of idiotic and offensive quotes said by our leaders and others in the days surrounding the hurricane. If animation is your cup of tea you should check out this from Mark Fiore, which was posted on September 7, 2005. And finally there is the music video The Saints Are Coming by U2 and Green Day, showing how it all should have been.

Back in July of 2006, St. Louis was hit with two unbelievably strong storms within two days of each other that brought hurricane force winds and knocked power out to half a million homes and businesses. To make matters worse, the area was also under a severe heat advisory. A state of emergency was declared, The Red Cross set up shelters, and FEMA was sent. It was the worst disaster the city had seen in a long, long time. If you're wondering why you didn't hear about this, it's because it happened at the same time the Israel/Hezbollah war was starting. Anyway, there was no where to get food or supplies because most everything was closed at first and the roads were dangerous anyway because the lights were out and there was debris everywhere. Some people didn't have water service and some that did were under a boil order (including me), which is hard to do without electricity.

I'm telling you all this because as I sat by candlelight listening to a mother call into the radio desperate to find somewhere to buy diapers for her baby, I couldn't help but think of New Orleans. What St. Louis went through isn't comparable at all. The heat wave lifted quickly, the debris was picked up, and in a little over a week everyone had their power back. But it was a reminder how easy it is for a city or town to suddenly find themselves in a heap of trouble and needing someone else to help. If we abandon New Orleans then that means any city can be abandoned. And if we let that happen then those nolas in Boyd Blundell's piece are right, there really is no neighborhood.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Senator Craig Sex Scandal, Owen Wilson, Raw Politics, Teaching in New Orleans, And Homelessness After Katrina (Tuesday's Show)

Hi everybody. Soledad O'Brien is hosting in New Orleans again for Anderson Cooper and tonight she's got a live shot outside. We're kicking it off with news of another conservative republican falling from grace. We've got a regular collection of those at this point, don't we? As we learned in last night's "Raw Politics," Idaho Senator Larry Craig was arrested and plead guilty in connection with cruising a dude in an airport bathroom. And yes, Soledad actually uses the term "cruising," which kind of cracks me up. Anyway, the twist here is that Craig really didn't mean to plead guilty, but unfortunately for him, there are no take-backsies when it comes to propositioning an undercover cop and then pleading guilty. Last night I urged the senator not to make this worse for himself than it already is, but, oh, he so did not listen to me. Today he gave a press conference in which he expressed that he is not gay. Totally, totally, not gay. He didn't do anything wrong. It was all a mistake. And he is not gay, people. Are you hearing this? Not gay. Um, Senator Craig? It's actually not the being gay part that you should be ashamed of (and legally punished for); it's the sexin in the public restroom.

Next up we have a Candy Crowley piece where we get to read a little snippet of the officer's report of the incident. There was stall peering and foot tapping, signs to the officer that Craig wanted to get friendly. Oh, but that was all just misconstrued. He was just feeling musical and decided to tap out a diddy while he did his business. Alright, I made that part up, but, seriously, it doesn't even matter at this point. Oh, and 360 left out the best part! What excuse did Craig offer as to why his foot touched the officer's foot? He has a "wide stance when going to the bathroom." Bwah! Hmm, I'm probably getting a little too much amusement from this story. But, see, I don't feel bad about that because Senator Craig here is another one of those family values, anti-gay rights dudes we all know and love. In other words, a hypocrite. I've said it many times and I fear I'll be saying it again for the next one, but the louder these guys proclaim family values or an anti-gay agenda, the more likely they're getting gay sex on the down low or doing something very anti-family values.

Moving on now to some discussion with Jeffrey Toobin. Soledad wants to know why Craig would plead guilty since he claims to not even be gay. Toobin is all befuzzled. In fact they're both pretty much sitting there with "WTF?" faces. Indeed. But we do learn from Toobin that Craig's chances of withdrawing the guilty plea are not looking good. From here we go into a Tom Foreman piece that's basically about how celebrities and public figures become such big narcissists. What happens is these people get surrounded by yes men. Hmm, I can think of a certain fake cowboy that has this problem. After Tom's piece we're joined by Dr. Drew Pinsky to continue with the narcissism talk.

Transitioning now to a David Mattingly piece on the actor Owen Wilson's hospitalization. There are reports that he tried to commit suicide, though there has been no confirmation of that fact. Details, details. But hey, let's report it like that anyway. Nothing less for the most trusted name in news. Apparently Owen issued a statement that reads, "I respectfully ask that the media allow me to receive care and heal in private during this difficult time." And, wow, CNN, way to totally respect that. To make this even more disgusting, we're again joined by Dr. Drew, who I'm assuming does not actually know the actor, but still has the gal to speculate about him, even musing that it was really a reaction to addiction. Am I the only one that thinks this coverage is totally not helping at all? Look, I know there's gossip about Owen Wilson all over the Internets right now, but this is CNN.

Next up we've got some "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman. First up we learn that all the politicians are all about Katrina recovery. Well, they're about it right now, anyway. Get back to them in a few months. Next, there's something about Fred Thompson, but I am so done with him and his stupid non campaign. Um, let's see, we also learn that the republicans have found that nothing unites their party like Hillary-fear. Oh, and apparently Castro has endorsed a Clinton/Obama ticket. Dude, nobody asked you. Tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" was actually viewer submitted and it's a slide that goes from the top of a house roof and into a pool. The requisite "kids, don't try this at home," is given, but, I don't know, I think it looks fun. C'mon, you can only be young and stupid once. My friends and I used to jump off swings and into trees - well, attempted to, anyway.

Moving on now to a Soledad piece on Alex Perlman, a kind of Katrina hero, if you will. He's come to New Orleans out of college through Teach For America and he's going to teach math. As you might imagine (or remember, actually), the New Orlean's school system isn't doing so hot. There's not enough books, teachers, and the kids can be rough, especially now after all the trauma they've gone through. So good luck to Alex. Hopefully he's able to stick it out. After Soledad's piece we're joined by Pastor Robert Brown of the Ray Avenue Baptist Church. Pastor Brown is tired of hearing people say that the people of the region are just waiting around for someone to give them a handout. He wants people to know that there is lots of work being done by the community itself. Well, I hear you, Pastor Brown, but unfortunately people believe what they want to believe.

On now to a Susan Roesgen "Keeping Them Honest" piece on the homeless in New Orleans. Their numbers have doubled since Katrina and there's a feeling that the city isn't doing enough, so some of them have set up a kind of camp across the street from City Hall. Many of them even have jobs, but the problem is that housing is in short supply and rent has skyrocketed. Susan sits down with Mayor Nagin about this and asks him to go out and take a look at the camp, but he won't. That's pretty much all we get of the interview, so I don't know if we'll be seeing more later or if they literally didn't get anything out of him. Is he actually solving any problems or what? Sigh. The Shot tonight are pictures of the lunar eclipse. The show was okay. C+

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Vick Pleads Guilty, Gonzales Resigns, And Raw Politics (Monday's Show)

Hi everybody. Happy new week. Anderson Cooper is still MIA and in his place tonight we have Soledad O'Brien bringing us the news from CNN's New Orleans studio. I'm not quite sure why, given the only New Orlean's related coverage we have tonight was filmed in January, but perhaps she's prepositioning. Anyway, two big stories went down today. One involves the plea of a professional football player who committed a crime that was in no doubt horrific, but probably won't be affecting your life in any way. The other involves the nation's top law enforcement officer, which, you might guess, is a pretty important position. Hmm, which story will 360 pick to lead? Yeah, that was pretty much a rhetorical question. Vick it is!

In a Jeffrey Toobin piece (hey, look at him doing pieces) we learn that football player Michael Vick has plead guilty to conspiracy and we get a clip of him giving a mea culpa for the dogfighting. Oh, and wouldn't you know, he found Jesus. Funny how that guy is always getting found in these types of situations. Next up for Vick is the requisite stint in rehab. Okay, I'm kidding, but, seriously, I would so not be surprised. I'm not even saying he has any substance abuse problems, but this is how it works with famous people, right? You screw up, you say you're sorry, and you hide in rehab. It's the same for everyone whether you're hooked on OxyContin or just happen to be a homophobe. I'm pretty sure this is all in some kind of manual. Anyhoo, Vick could get up to five years in prison. We also learn that Bush just made dogfighting a felony (OMG, he did something good!) and all states already make it a felony except for Idaho and Wyoming. What the hell, Idaho and Wyoming? Do I have to put you on notice?

After his piece, Toobin joins us live and states that Vick's apology was a good start. We're also joined by Court TV's Jami Floyd and sports agent Leigh Steinberg. They talk about the case, which Leigh coins "puppy-gate." Bwah! Aw. After this discussion we move into a repeat Drew Griffin piece on dogfighting that's so disturbing I never really recapped it the first couple times they ran it. Then we're on to an interview with John Goodwin of the Humane Society to answer the question of whether or not pit bulls are evil. Yeah, that's pretty much how the question was phrased. So we've got ourselves a nature vs. nurture question here. John thinks pit bulls can be sweet dogs, but if they're bred to be aggressive they can't be rehabilitated and need to be put down. Soledad brings up how some cities have banned the breed and John finds this upsetting. Apparently dogs were taken away from families that had them for years. That's not right. Sigh.

Transitioning now to . . . goodbye Gonzo! That's right, today Alberto Gonzales finally pried his death grip off the job of attorney general and resigned. Oh, Alberto, I think I shall fondly look back at our time together as "quaint" and "irrelevant" and when they ask me what you accomplished during your tenure, why, my answer will do you proud: I cannot recall. In totally unsurprising news, Bush is still standing by his man, even as his man slinks out of the administration with his tail between his legs. He believes this was all just political (I'll let the irony of that statement stand alone), you see, and poor Alberto has had his name dragged through the mud. Oh yes, damn those democrats and their insistence on adhering to the constitution.

Next up we have a Kelli Arena piece that gives us Gonzos greatest hits, if you will. Let's see, he was way too chummy with Bush, he authored the torture memo, he tried to get a drugged-up Ashcroft to sign off on the unconstitutional wire-tapping program, he lied that there were no disagreements about said program, he was behind eight attorneys being fired for political reasons, and he can't even keep his own story straight when lying, ahem, testifying under oath. Basically, this guy was such a screw up that he made the boob-fearing Ashcroft look appealing. And now he leaves behind a completely demoralized department. Another Bush crony strikes again. After Kelli's piece we're joined again by Toobin, who is surprised at the resignation, mostly because nothing new had come out lately. Well, there's a reason. Anybody care to investigate? Toobin reassures us that the people who do the work at Justice are doing fine, but when it comes to the top positions they've got the 'help wanted' signs out. That could be a problem. As far as replacements for Gonzales, Michael Chertoff's name is now being floated around. Oh, yay. Because he didn't screw up Katrina bad enough. Let's give him the whole Justice Department. I swear. . .

On now to a John King piece on how all of Dubya's friends are leaving him. Also, his domestic policies crashed and burned (as did his foreign ones-in a literal sense) and his approval totally sucks. What's that I hear? I believe it's the unmistakable sound of quacking. We've got ourselves a lame duck. Now if only we didn't have over a year to go. Hey, 360, where's David Gergen for our Gonzales analysis? Oh, wait, I know where he is; he's totally cheating on you with Brian Williams! Gasp! Whoda thunk The Gerg would be such a political playa? On now to some "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman. Okay, we've got some Bush bashing, Maliki is ticked at Levin and Clinton for wanting him ousted, and Chris Dodd had his office broken into. But the money shot is Larry Craig. Larry Craig is a republican senator who plead guilty earlier this month to misdemeanor disorderly conduct stemming from some lewdness in a bathroom. Apparently if you're into gay sex in public bathrooms there's a little routine that you do that involves foot tapping and hand swiping. Ahem. Unfortunately for senator Craig he was tapping at an undercover cop. Oops. The kicker is that now Craig says the whole thing was misconstrued and he never should have plead guilty in the first place. Dude. Don't make it worse.

Moving on now to a snippet from Soledad's special airing on Wednesday regarding the children of Katrina. If the whole show is as sad as this clip I'm going to need to bring tissues. The Shot tonight is a kid giving his dog his former prized possession, a football autographed by Vick. Aw, that's kind of sad actually. It would be nice if role models could actually, you know, be role models. The show tonight was okay. I guess I should be happy they covered Gonzales. C+

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Wet Weather, Iraq NIE, Raw Politics, Catholic Town, Mother Teresa, Polygamy, And CNN Heroes (Thursday's Show)

Hi everybody. We've got John King doing hosting duties tonight. Perhaps Anderson Cooper is preparing for the Katrina anniversary. I hope they do a better job than last year. Anyway, we begin with David Mattingly live in Ohio where it is wet, wet, wet. He then intros into a piece about the flooding in the region. Craziness. Front-end loaders and boats are now the popular mode of transportation. What a mess. After David's piece, Chad Myers joins us live for the latest in weather and he's also brought some iReport pictures of downed trees. Man, Mother Nature needs to take a pill or something. We surrender, okay?

On a lighter note, we move on to...Iraq. Okay, yeah, that's totally not a lighter note. But it is where we are. We learn from a John King piece that the new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) has basically deemed the situation sucko. I believe that's the technical term. Democrats are of course pouncing on this, but the twist is that Republican Senator John Warner wants to start bringing the troops home by Christmas in order to send a message to the Iraqis. For discussion, we're joined by Michael Ware, who does not believe Warner's kick-in-the-pants plan is going to work. As always, Michael reiterates that there really is no Iraqi government in the first place-just factions jockeying for power. John points out that the NIE doesn't seem to show much faith in Maliki, yet at the same time says an alternative would paralyze the government. Michael totally agrees with this, so . . . bummer. So he's a lame duck, but we still need him? This does not look good for us. John and Michael then talk a bit about how Ayad Allawi has his eye on Maliki's job. Not really a surprise there. I'm pretty sure Allawi was always supposed to be our puppet. Darn that democracy and those pesky purple fingers voting for their interests and not America's interests.

Next up we've got some "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman. We begin with Bolivians beating the crap out of each other. Well, okay, just their government. Is "Raw Politics" jonesing for Romney to smack McCain upside the head? Anyway, we begin with all the 08ers suddenly talking about the economy. It's the economy, stupid! Next Tom tells us about dueling war ads: pro against anti. Let's see which side exploits the soldiers the best, shall we? On now to the news that Edwards is taking shots at Clinton and Russian President Putin was photographed on vacation sans shirt. Wait, what? Oh my. He's, too sexy for his shirt. Too sexy for his shirt. So sexy it hurts. And now I'm trying really hard not to think of Bush sans shirt. Oh man, now I have to bleach my brain. Quickly now, we're moving on to "What Were They Thinking?" In tonight's installment we learn that the FOX reality show "Anchorwoman" has gone kaput. No, really? C'mon, ex WWE diva and "The Price is Right" girl just screams journalist. "You know, everything I'm thinking would get me in trouble, so I'm going to let you finish this one up," says John. But Erica would like to keep her job also. Hey, nobody can fire me. You want me to say it? Eh, nah, too easy.

Transitioning now to a Randi Kaye piece on the quaint little town of Ave Maria in Florida. But this just isn't any little town--it's founded by Domino's billionaire Tom Monaghan. Yes, the pizza. Oh, and uh, it's a town for Catholics. Now, Monaghan says that anyone of any religion (or lack of religion) can move to the town, but if it was legal, he'd be banning birth control and porn. No porn?! But seriously, I do not understand the no birth control thing. But that's something that's been argued a zillion times over, so we're moving on to talk with Senior Vatican Analyst, John Allen. I'm not kidding, I think that's his actual title. Anyway, he talks a bit about Ave Maria, but mostly he's there to talk about the recent revelation that Mother Teresa actually questioned her faith. It's pointed out that even Jesus questioned God on the cross, so this isn't completely unheard of or anything. I gotta say, there's a little part of me that would like to hear Christopher Hitchens' take on this. Yeah, I hate the guy, but who doesn't love a cable train wreck every once in a while? I guess I'm bored.

Moving on to a taped Anderson interview with Irene Spencer, author of "Shattered Dreams." She used to follow a polygamy sect, though not FLDS. Her husband ended up marrying nine other women and had 58 children. Wow. Anderson notes that all the wives they interview always say they're happy, but Irene says she was never happy. She felt jealous and all the things you would expect a person to feel. Sad. We're moving on now to "CNN Heroes." Tonight's hero is Dr. Randy Christensen and he provides free health care to kids living on the streets in Arizona. That's awesome. The Shot tonight is people glacier surfing. Yes, glacier surfing. So global warming does have an upside. Hang ten, dude! Too bad about those polar bears. The show tonight was fairly good. Well, started out strong anyway. B

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Utah Miners Update, Flooding, Raw Politics, Latest From Iraq, And 360 Takes Calls Again On Vick (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everybody. Christiane Amanpour is still doing her "God's Warriors" thing, so once again we start an hour later. We're kicking off with the latest from Utah and it's really not looking good, people. It was previously reported that the rescue effort inside the mine had been halted and now we learn from Anderson Cooper that this sixth hole that they're drilling will be their last, whether the miners are found or not. This news moves us into a David Mattingly "Keeping Them Honest" piece on Bob Murray. Finally. Okay, to be fair, in the beginning they did do a little digging on this guy, but then it became all about the rescue and Anderson even had at least two interviews with him where basically no hard questions were asked. Anyway, Murray is actually head of 19 mining operations in the US and apparently has paid a bunch of fines due to safety violations. Not surprising. But Murray's a relatively small part of the overall problem. Hey 360, how about a look at MSHA? Hint: Talk to Jack Spadaro.

Next up we have Dan Simon with the family angle. Obviously, they're devastated and mad. It's hard to get any closure when they leave your loved one in a mine. Dan talks with the son and daughter-in-law of one of the miners and they do not paint a great picture of Murray. They say he yelled at them (What?!) and they're also suspicious that he's hiding something because he's going to seal up the mine without retrieving his equipment. Hmm. Yeah, somebody needs to look into that. After Dan's taped interview we go to a live interview Anderson has with Bob Murray himself. And what does Murray do? Denies everything. Then he goes on about the other miners and their families...and on...and on. Seriously, I thought he would never stop talking.

Anderson then tries to confirm that Murray is shutting down the mine. Murray gives us this long explanation that would imply he is, but then he mentions reserves and states, "I have not had time to think about that." Um, yeah, obviously you have, since you mentioned the reserves days ago. So I'm guessing you thought about it then. (And dude, 360, where is our clip that catches him in this lie?). So basically I have no idea whether he's shutting down the mine or not. Anderson notes that the governor wants to inspect two of Murray's other mines and Murray, surprise, surprise, is not down with this. He starts talking about the hero miners and all that jazz, which is just a way to get people to shut up about things. The Bush administration loves that tactic. Don't question the war because you'll hurt the troops! Next Anderson brings up reporting from the "Salt Lake Tribune" (yay, research!) that found Murray's company petitioned the government to perform mining that the previous owners felt was unsafe. Murray has no knowledge of this change and though Anderson tries his hardest, it's obvious this guy has been hanging with Gonzales. He can't recall, you see. He don't know nothing!

On now to a Randi Kaye piece that leads one to wonder if, hmm, maybe we ought to be gathering up two of every animal. Flooding, flooding, all over the Midwest. It's looking like '93 out there. So many homes damaged. Just don't drive through the water, okay, people? You can get swept away really fast. Trust me, I've seen it happen. After Randi, Chad Myers joins us with the latest. Then we're on to "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman. I've got nothing particularly amusing to say, so I think I'm taking a pass to save some time.

Transitioning now to...OMG hard news! Where have you been? From Anderson we learn that even Bush is starting to make Iraq/Vietnam comparisons (though not exactly the logical kind). But he's still pushing his strategy, even as General David Petraeus is lowering the bar. For discussion we're joined by Michael Ware and David Gergen. Anderson asks what officials are trying to achieve if not democracy. Michael tells us democracy is still the official policy, but maybe not the kind they were hoping for in the beginning. Right now the talk is more about locking the country down to achieve security and stop the violence. They then talk a bit about Maliki and how he has no power, with Michael noting he can only rely on three of his cabinet ministers. That's pretty sad. After that, Anderson tries to bring The Gerg into the conversation, but oh noes! No sound. Aw, and he looked like he was saying something optimistic. I need The Gerg's unwarranted optimism to cushion the blows of Michael's disturbingly accurate pessimism. Anderson and Michael then talk about Bush's Vietnam comparison and Michael says people on the ground are wary about mentioning it. The Gerg is tried one more time, but, oh...denied. No punditing for him tonight, unless he's analyzing in mime. Hey, next time can we make this happen to Bush?

Next up we're back talking about Michael Vick again. Really? Once again, 360 is taking your calls. I like the call-taking, but how about doing it about something that really matters? And before I get emails, yes, Vick is disgusting and should be punished, but to quote somebody else, "there's a war on, there's a war on, there's a war on." Anyway, we're joined by Jeffrey Toobin and Court TV's Jami Floyd. And just when I was getting used to Lisa Bloom. We learn that for some reason the NAACP has decided to throw their support behind Vick...because there were no murderers to defend? Seriously, what the hell, NAACP?

The trio discuss a bit about whether or not Vick's guity plea was some kind of strategy and then they go into the callers. Of note is caller Uganda, who wonders why people aren't showing the same outrage over Darfur and genocide (and he could have even mentioned his namesake) as they are over dogfighting. Thank you! Our perspective is so screwed up. Jamie thinks if Vick killed someone the outrage wouldn't have been as much. Anderson seems skeptical, but I'm totally with Jamie on this one. But then Jamie loses me by basically saying dog racing is the same as dog fighting. What? She also says Vick was just staying true to his culture and "keeping it real with his people." Hmm. After the discussion winds down, it's pointed out that Toobin is getting slammed with emails inferring he's a dog hater. Saw that coming. So in his defense, Toobin has brought his dog Thunder (accompanied by daughter Ellen) to the studio. Bwah! Okay, see, people, he likes dogs. Now leave him alone. Heh.

The Shot tonight is video of 98 crocodiles found behind this dude's home in Mexico. Erica Hill points out the guy wasn't even a breeder. "Maybe they were going to make some shoes," says Anderson. Oh great. Now you're going to get email. Don't underestimate the lobbying power of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Crocodiles (PETC). Anderson then randomly asks Erica if she remembers the song "99 Luftballons" because I guess he's reminded of it. Since I'm blogging this a day late, guess what song I had stuck in my head as I tried to go to sleep last night? Thank you, Anderson. Thank you very much. We then get a cute animal picture from a viewer. The show was better, but, uh, are we done with Vick yet? B+

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Continued Hurricane Dean Coverage, QuickScat Satellite Update, Raw Politics, 360 Takes Your Calls On Vick, And RIP Miles Levin (Tuesday's Show)

Hi everybody. We're starting an hour later tonight because Christiane Amanpour has stolen half of 360's time. But we forgive her due to her awesomeness. Unfortunately I missed the special because I was doing an airport pickup of a family member, so I'll have to catch it during one of the zillion times it is sure to be rerun. Que sera, sera. Anyway, tonight 360 again begins with the latest on Hurricane Dean, which has already made landfall. Anderson Cooper informs us that though it was a Category five storm, at this time there are no reported fatalities in Mexico. Happy dance! That is what a blogger likes to hear. In a Gary Tuchman piece from Tulum, Mexico, we learn that one of the reasons for the no-death toll is most likely because the strongest part of Dean hit an unpopulated area. After this piece, Gary then joins us live to say that the storm actually came ashore at a wildlife sanctuary and they also apparently had a really good evacuation. Hmm. Unlike, say, US cities.

But don't take a nap yet, people. Dean still has some oomph in him and he's aiming for a second landfall. Chad Myers is on top of it, explaining that the hurricane will mostly likely next land in a more mountainess region of Mexico. From Chad we check in with Carl Penhall who is live in Nautla, awaiting Dean round two. There's a nuclear power plant there (which they'll be shutting down), so, um, lets keep our fingers crossed on that one. Because Dean came ashore as a Category five storm, 360 would like to take this opportunity to educate us on Category five storms that have hit the US. You know, in case you're playing trivia later or something. Anyway, there have been three in the past 100 or so years: a nameless one that struck the Florida Keys in 1935, Camille hit the Mississippi coast in 1969, and of course Andrew in Florida in 1992. I remember Andrew fairly well because it coincided with major surgery I had. Not a good week for me or Florida.

Next up we have a John Zarella "Keeping Them Honest" piece on the QuickScat satellite. At first I thought this was a repeat because it was intro-d like this is the first time 360 has ever mentioned it (when in reality John filed a package in June), but no, no. It's actually recut to include the bummer news that Bill Proenza's reprimand has turned into a full-out firing. It sounds like he might try his luck at claiming the firing violated the Whistleblower Protection Act, but last I heard that had been gutted pretty well, so...good luck with that. I'm sure it'll be fine. It's not like we need accurate weather predictions or anything, right?

Transitioning now to some "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman. First up we learn that Obama wants to ease the Cuba embargo. I don't see why not. I mean, we have full on trade with the Chinese "commies" and they're currently poisoning our pets and children. And they own us, so there's that. Tom also tells us that Romney is talking smack about New York City, calling it a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Giuliani, the real target of Romney's blows, is fighting back, bringing up the fact that Romney's landscaping company doesn't hire people on the up and up. Oooh. I swear, why don't they just scream "I know you are, but what am I?" and be done with it? Next up we learn that Fred Thompson...wait, you know what? He needs to officially get in the friggin race if he wants me to keep talking about him. That's it. Finally, it seems "Obama girl" has caught the attention of one of the little Obamas. And hopefully that's the worst that she'll be exposed to.

Tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" was something about a gunman helping customers during a holdup, but it all kind of fell out of my head when Anderson noted that it looked like one of the scenes in "Superbad." Anderson saw "Superbad"?! Bwah! I am amused. I myself haven't seen it, but I did just see "Knocked Up," which is Seth Rogen's last film (I'm one behind, apparently). I have to say, Paul Rudd on mushrooms, tripping out because there's five different kinds of chairs in his hotel room? Funniest thing ever. Oh, did I mention I'm 12? Anyway, "Superbad" is a teen sex comedy, hence my amusement at Anderson's viewing. So okay, after that discussion we've got some V-mail and hey, this is actually the first time I've seen this since I always just watch the first hour. Interesting. Anderson says he's liking the V-mail, but he said that about the blog at first too and now he's rarely on it. These kids today. They lose interest in their toys so quickly.

Transitioning now to an Anderson piece on Michael Vick and his probable looming jail time. Apparently his teammates are being supportive. Oh, well, isn't that sweet. And the Knicks' Stefan Marbury has gone so far as to defend Vick by saying dogfighting is a sport. After his piece, Anderson then repeats this line using the Anderson-Cooper-disapproves-of-this voice inflection. Yeah buddy, I got your number. Anyway, apparently 360 is into this story because they're taking your calls! For discussion we're joined by our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and ESPN's Stephen Smith. Okay, let's see, the first caller pretty much thinks Vick is scum and the second caller thinks he needs a second chance. Toobin hammers home the point that dogfighting is a crime, while Stephen spends time on cultural issues.

In my last blog I pointed out that Toobin noted how people seem to freak out more about a dog being abused than a woman being beaten. Tonight Anderson notes that they got email about that. I feel like I should be shocked, but I'm not. Toobin reiterates his point that though he's a dog lover, he finds it disturbing that more people are upset about the Vick case than athletes that beat their wives. Oh, and in regards to the emails, Toobin says, "I love our viewers, but some of them are out of their minds." Bwah! It's funny, because it's true. And oh you've done it now, mister. That inbox is going to be full. But seriously, people, Toobin is totally right. I love my dog, but let's have some perspective. The next caller brings up how athletes are role models and she says she won't watch football anymore if Vick plays again. This causes Stephen to flip out. I don't know what his deal is. These guys are enormously overpaid for doing something they find fun. Sorry if we also expect them to act like human beings.

Next up we have a Carol Costello piece on Miles Levin who sadly passed away from cancer this weekend. Miles was just shy of turning only 19 years old. He had become an inspiration for many while blogging about his experience with the disease. There's not really much I can say here. A part of me hoped that maybe they would find out his cancer really wasn't terminal. But life doesn't work like that, does it? You should check out the blog post written by Miles' mother. After the piece, we learn that Anderson was able to briefly meet Miles and he says some words of his own. We then fade out with no sound on a picture of a healthier Miles. Classy. And for once I say that without sarcasm. Godspeed, Miles.

The Shot tonight is a doggie rescue in West Virginia. It seems a man's Dalmation pooch got himself (herself?) trapped in a storm drain for four days. And boy was that owner happy to get him back. I'm guessing Anderson likes this video because he's on "aw" overload over here. Erica Hill then whips out the Dramatic Animal Video! graphic (the most awesome graphic evah) for a video of a Rottweiler that adopted a kitten. Aw, this video is so sweet it's giving me a cavity. What's freaky is that the dog is also nursing the kitten. Yeah, weird, right? Anderson is boggled too. Okay, well, at least I found this show entertaining, but seriously 360, what have you done with the hard news? I'm about to put out an APB. B-

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hurricane Dean, Continued Utah Mine Coverage, Michael Vick Pleads Guilty, And Raw Politics (Monday's Show)

Hi everybody. Well, it's time to whip out the red slickers because tonight we're starting with the BREAKING NEWS that Hurricane Dean is a-coming. Oh, and he does not look friendly. Anderson Cooper informs us that Dean is currently a category five storm and is already responsible for at least seven deaths across the Caribbean. Jamaica has just gotten their share, but fortunately it looks like no lives were lost. We've got severe weather expert Chad Myers in the house (well, in Atlanta's shiny new weather center, anyway) and correspondents in Dean's path: Gary Tuchman getting wet in Tulum, Mexico; Harris Whitbeck in Chetumal, Mexico; and Jason Carroll in Cancun. We get updates from everyone and because sometimes CNN confuses themselves with the weather channel, we'll be going back for more throughout the hour. I actually like hurricane coverage (though obviously not the hurricanes and the destruction they cause). I mean, who isn't entertained by a wind-whipped, rain-soaked, sleep-deprived reporter that's run out of things to say and gone a bit loopy? It's good tv. Oh, and don't they know it.

Next up we have a piece from Susan Candiotti on the damage Jamaica suffered from Dean. It looks like they got lucky, though it was still obviously a big deal. A curfew is now in effect. From here we go back to Chad and then into a Susan Roesgen piece on the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Erin. Yep, the weather is attacking from many different fronts, people. Tis the season. In the piece we're also shown a water rescue by a helicopter crew that had never done one before (which btw is exactly what you want to hear when you're about to drown). So anyway, the couple end up falling back into the water, but they're okay and hella lucky that copter was there, rescue experience or not.

Transitioning now to a Dan Simon piece regarding the six trapped Utah miners. It's not good news. Now the mine company is making noises about not continuing the search because they're probably no longer alive and given what happened Thursday, it's too dangerous. The families are of course furious because Bob Murray promised to get them out dead or alive and now he seems to be distancing himself from them, though he did send a letter saying the company wouldn't give up. Besides not getting even the slightest bit of closure, the families are also extremely mad because the mine company is talking about continuing to mine there. After his piece, Dan joins us live with the news that the underground rescue will not resume and while they're going to drill a fifth hole, they might not continue with a sixth. Sad.

Hey, remember the craziness of the iPhone release? Well, party's over and the bills have been sent. In tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" we get a gander at one of these bills. It's a little lengthy-300 pages, actually. The thing came in it's own freaking box. The big to-do here is that each time the phone was used it got recorded, hence all the dead trees. I swear, we buy these gadgets to make our lives easier and this is what happens. After this we go back to Chad and then on to Gary who continues to get wet and tells us a bit about the quality of the homes in Tulum. Hint: not good. Hang in there, Tulum.

On now to an Anderson piece on Michael Vick who seems to have changed his tune and has plead guilty to running dogfights. Prison time is a possibility, but obviously Vick's lawyer is going to try to avoid that and save his career. Of note is a comment in the piece from Jeffrey Toobin who points out that people freaked more about this than athletes beating on their wives. I don't know what that says about society, but probably nothing good. Next we move to "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman and I don't really have much here because I barely jotted anything down and the transcript seems to be sleeping in. We learn that some military analysts are discussing the Joe Biden route of partitioning Iraq, but we don't hear what analysts or what the Iraqis think about this, so, meh. Tom also tells us that Karl Rove seems to have an obsession with Hillary Clinton and the footage subsequently turns into a perfume commercial. "Obsession." Get it? Yuk yuk. Oh, 360. Your cleverness amuses me.

Next up we have Chad again and then we check in with Jason. The Shot tonight is an exploding Taiwanese airliner. Whoa. Yet everyone got out okay, so yay for that. I kind of thought the second hour was going to be live because Anderson said they were coming back with more. Running a tape during a hurricane without having a "previously recorded" bug up is fairly not cool. Most regular viewers don't pay attention to whether it says "live" or not, they just assume. So, I have to say, I'm getting a little worried here. The show has really been lacking in hard news (and in my opinion hasn't been all that great) for a few weeks now. In terms of quality, 360 is always waxing and waning, so usually I wouldn't think about it, but they've been cleaning up in the ratings. So I'm praying to the News-Gods that this isn't a new trend. Hopefully all the breaking news is the main cause. Anyway, I don't really know how to grade tonight with the hurricane and all, but whatever. B-

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Utah Miner Story Takes A Tragic Turn (Thursday's Show)

Hi everyone. You might have noticed I slacked on Wednesday's show. I wasn't feeling well and the breaking nature of the news didn't make it very bloggable anyway. Speaking of breaking news, man, we've got some tonight. And it's of the actual variety too, which is why I'm forgoing my sarcastic all caps (although the "breaking news" tab AND the "breaking news" graphic together was kind of ridiculous). I'm also foregoing the standard review due to the circumstances. I'm sure most everyone has heard by now that during the search for the six trapped miners a seismic "bump" occurred, resulting in another collapse. At the time of this blog posting, three miners have been confirmed dead and another six injured.

We had Anderson Cooper covering four live hours as events unfolded. Now, I know some might argue that it was ridiculous to stay live the whole time when a lot of coverage just involved waiting to get things confirmed. I somewhat agree with this, but, you know, this is the nature of cable news. It's a 24-hour news channel and if you can't find breaking news on a 24-hour news channel, well, where are you going to find it? Besides, no way were they giving up those ratings (they'll be huge, trust me). The issue I've always had with things like this is that in another news cycle this may have just been a headline. There's such a randomness to it all.

Usually during breaking news my main criticism involves the requisite endless speculation, but given that this was four hours of nothing but breaking news, I thought CNN actually did an okay job with holding back. In fact, Anderson was extremely cautious, which is an apparent reaction to what happened at Sago. He got burned in the press a bit, though in my view his only crime was being the last man standing to cover the story. He probably felt singed on a personal level too because, man, it was quite a sucker punch to those us of just watching at home, so actually being there must have been horrible. Anyway, back in the current tragedy, I'd say CNN really didn't jump the speculation shark until they brought in Sanjay Gupta to, well, speculate. It was fairly ridiculous.

One of the things Sanjay talked about was what they saw going on in ambulances that drove past. I have to say, I found looking into the ambulances pretty exploitive, but I am going to have to give it up to CNN for at least hanging onto some respectability and keeping it at a wide shot. If you were watching CNN's wide shot, you could actually see people from other networks stick their cameras right up into the ambulance window. Completely disgusting. And while we're on that subject, at one point I flipped over to MSNBC to see how they were covering the situation and was horrified to find the camera stuck right in front of two extremely distraught people. Contrast that with CNN, who left out the exploitativeness and had Dan Simon only tell us about this scene. You can see why I only watch MSNBC for Olbermann. Props to CNN.

While, I'm giving out praise, I should mention that incorporating viewer emails was a nice touch. Props should also be given to Dan Simon, Gary Tuchman, and last but not least, Anderson. Our anchor handled an incredible amount of fast-changing information for over three hours with no commercial breaks (but they made them up in the last hour, let me tell you) and was somehow able to keep it all straight. But perhaps his finest moment was when he made a judgment call on air regarding disclosing one of the miner's names:
I've just been told the name of one of miners who has been taken to the hospital. This information came from the hospital. This is one of the rescue workers.
Before I say the name, though, I just want to confirm with our producers, and I want them to just double check that this information was intentionally released by the hospital, this was not just something overheard. Because I'm not about to say someone's name if their family hasn't been notified.

So I just want people at CNN here who are listening just to make sure this information is supposed to be released.
CNNers then check and we learn that:
Fine. It came from a producer on the ground at the hospital. But I just want to double check -- I just want to double check that it's not just an overheard conversation. So I'm just going to err on the side of caution on that. I'm just going to wait on that.

But we are anticipating a press conference from this hospital, literally, in the next two or three minutes. And I hope you at home at least appreciate the caution I'm trying to take, because I just don't want some family hearing the name of their loved one read out correctly, or incorrectly, even worse.
Then Anderson gets word on where the name really came from:
OK, it hasn't been officially released from the hospital. And it came from a hospital worker. I'm just going to err on the side of caution and not -- not announce this person's name. Clearly, there is at least one person now at this hospital. We don't -- we don't know this person's condition, but we do know the name of this person. But I'm not going to release it until it's official from the hospital, just out of respect for the family.
Now, imagine if he'd said it and the family hadn't been notified yet. They could have found out by watching tv, which would have been horrible. Good job, Anderson. I would have hoped the producer wouldn't have passed the info on if it wasn't officially released, but whatever.

Okay, I'm done with the praising. The only other thing I want to mention is that in hour two of the coverage Anderson speaks with a woman whose father and brother were in the mine. She implores that something really needs to be done about the safety of mines and as I listened to this, I couldn't help but think of how much coverage this past week-plus has focused on the mechanics of the rescue, and how little has focused on why mines are so unsafe. 360 has been all over the miner story, yet why is it that I had never learned the following about Richard Stickler until I read the Huffington Post?:

The man who will oversee the federal government's investigation into the disaster that has trapped six workers in a Utah coal mine for over a week was twice rejected for his current job by senators concerned about his own safety record when he managed mines in the private sector.

President George W. Bush resorted to a recess appointment in October 2006 to anoint Richard Stickler as the nation's mine safety czar after it became clear he could not receive enough support even in a GOP-controlled Senate.

Where was the coverage of this? Where was the indepth coverage of the legislation proposed and then passed after Sago? Yeah, coverage of that kind of stuff isn't sexy. Not ratings grabbing at all. But if it catches on it can produce real change. The woman on the phone with Anderson was right, we really need something done. So c'mon media, how about you do your part.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Imus Is Back, Celeb Comebacks, Toy Recall, Raw Politics, 360 Takes Your Calls, And Hurricane Flossie (Tuesday's Show)

Hi guys. Tonight we're beginning with a story that I thought was dead. Oh, naive, Eliza. It seems Don Imus is getting himself another news cycle. Anderson Cooper tells us that today Imus reached a $20 million settlement with CBS. You might remember he had been making noises about a breach of contract lawsuit. Also today, one of the Rutger's players, Kia Vaughn, filed suit for defamation of character. So I guess this is one of those 'you win some, you lose some' days for Imus. Anderson then intros into one of his own pieces that recaps the whole affair. We remember this, right? Imus calls Rutgers players something sexist and racist, media slowly picks it up, media explodes, Imus fired, everybody acts like they're going to talk about deeper issues of race and sex, the news cycle ends, everyone forgets, the end.

For discussion, we're joined by Roland Martin, Lisa Bloom, and Michael Medved. And if you watched this with a sense of deja vu, you're not alone. They're literally using the exact arguments we heard the first go-around. Oh how the media likes to talk about itself. Roland still keeps trying to get it through to people that it was black journalists, and not Sharpton/Jackson that started the whole thing and Michael Medved thinks what Imus did isn't a big deal. Lisa's got the legal angle (where's Toobin?) and she's not so sure the defamation suit will hold up. Kia Vaughn's attorney, Richard Ancowitz, then joins the conversation, but he really doesn't say much of substance and seems to like to say the "words speak for themselves," regarding what Imus said. I'm not sure I really agree with this lawsuit. Why not just let it go? At some point during the talk, Lisa wonders why they didn't just use the kill switch to stop Imus' comment in the first place. I think I shall use the kill switch on this segment.

On now to a Gary Tuchman piece about celebs who have come back from doing something idiotic. I guess we're framing Imus as the comeback kid here, so that's the reason for this. Let's see, we've got Isaiah Washington fired from Grey's Anatomy for using the "F" word. No not that one. The other more hateful one. But apparently he's bouncing back with new work. Then there's Rush Limbaugh, who got fired from ESPN. Of course he still has his radio spot and listeners will probably stick around even if he eats a puppy on air. Michael Richards had some sort of racist breakdown and he may overcome that, but I'm guessing he won't overcome the Seinfeld curse. Then there was Mel Gibson and his anti-semitic rant. He'll work as long as he makes money and most people will see the films if they're good. And especially if they're a rallying cry for the Christian Right. I'm skipping the guy I don't know and have saved the best for last: George "Macaca" Allen. Of course all that comment did was open the door to all of the rest of his racist past. But I don't think I need to tell you that life is more complicated than the tv version.

Transitioning now to Anderson telling us about a big recall of Mattel toys. This is the second one this month and the toys were made in...wait for it...China. Are you surprised? Anderson also tells us that the Consumer Product Safety Commission has been scaled back under recent administrations (though they claim that's not the issue) and that totally sounds like something worth looking into, but apparently not tonight. Right now we're all about the safety stuff and I guess that's actually how it should be. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is back from China and he will be playing the role of our toxic toy expert. The issue with the toys is lead poisoning and small magnets that can be swallowed. Lead isn't good for anyone, but it's especially bad for kids because it messes with development. The poisoning can be detected by a blood test, but its early stages are asymptomatic, so that poses a problem. Sanjay then talks a bit about the magnets, which I find fascinating. Apparently they can actually come together in your intestine and pinch a part so that it dies. This is of course not good because it traps bacteria, but still, interesting.

On now to a Batman-themed version of "Raw Politics" with Joe Johns because the "caped crusader's been sidelined in the Mattel toy recall." Aw, the writers ate their Wheaties today (or a lot of sugar). Anyway, we've got the music going on, as well as the graphics. Hey, it's the onomatopoeia I asked for yesterday. Heh. "Bam!" "Pow!" "Ooff!" First up, we learn that Bloomberg and Giuliani, "Gotham's dynamic duo," are taking on Romney over immigration. Then we've got Elizabeth Edwards calling out Obama for his "holier-than-thou approach to the Iraq war." Well, hey, better he be pretentious than a smearer. And finally, we learn Patrick Leahy is going to be in a (assumingly batman-related) movie next summer. Don't these people have to, like, work? Joe then throws us back with what we all knew was coming: "...tune in tomorrow for more "Raw Politics". Same bat time, same bat channel. " Erica Hill brings us tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" and it's sure to give you the heebie jeebies. You may of heard about this self-proclaimed pedophile that ran a website on where to find little girls. Anyway, he got arrested near a daycare center, which is a no no for people like him. And he had a camera on him, but claimed it didn't have batteries. So, you know, ick.

Back to the whole Imus thing now and 360 is taking your calls! It's been a while. The first caller is an Imus lover and then they start talking about all his charitable work, like that's supposed to okay everything. As Roland sarcastically says, "Wow! The sexist raised lots of money for kids." Whatever. There's some other callers, but I'm going to skip to Andrew, who I believe was my favorite because he took things in another direction:
My final comment is that, you know, you sort of brought the news up a notch. I've noticed, and what do you think about this hype news, you know? It's just -- it's all about ratings. It's all about the money. Even this show, it's about, you know you're going to get people fired up, you know, know, so that will bring people on and that will bring you more money from investors.

I want your answer on that. What do you think -- what do you think? Go ahead.
Okay (minor) ambushes aren't nice, but I still kind of want to give Andrew a high-five. Because why are we talking about this so indepth? It has to be about ratings. If it was about something deeper than that would have taken hold the first time we went through this story. Everything seems to be about ratings. For his part, Anderson does answer, but it's mostly a deflection:
I appreciate your call. One, on this show we try not to, frankly, have people yelling all the time, which is, frankly, what just about every other cable show traffics in. And we try to have people with different viewpoints, which is what we're trying to have now
Not that I would expect any different from him. What's he going to do, use the rest of the hour to explain how large corporations have ruined the news? I don't think so. Oh, and Mr. Cooper, you have had on the yelling people before. Not your fault, but I'm just saying. Different view points are great. No yelling is really great. But let's have the different view points and no yelling tackle something a little more substantive than Don Imus. Unless of course your going to look at deeper issues.

Moving on now to Reynolds Wolf updating us on Hurricane Flossie, the wimpiest named hurricane ever. Hmm, I wonder if Anderson is jonesing for some hurricane action or if he's tired of being that guy. The Shot tonight is extreme aerial bow fishing, an alcohol-inspired sport that will no doubt lead to many injuries and possibly it's own cable show. And if we're talking about fish, you know what's coming next. David Mattingly hit by a carp! I knew they couldn't resist. Erica then raises and shows Anderson the clip of that woman with a bazillion cats. Okay, I have two cats, which some days is two too many, so I can't even imagine. Anderson wonders why we're not seeing the dramatic animal video graphic. Hey, yeah, get on that, control room. Anyway, Erica doesn't know. "Listen, I just read. OK?" she says. Aw, but you look pretty doing it. The show tonight was...a time warp. I know new stuff happened regarding the case, but man. Hey, tomorrow maybe we can see what Paris is up to. I'm kidding. I am so so kidding. C+

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Karl Rove Resigns, Utah Miner Update, Raw Politics, Iraq Reality Check, And Newark Murder Coverage (Monday's Show)

Hi everybody. We've got Anderson Cooper back with us tonight and he brings us the totally awesome news that Karl Rove has resigned! Although actually, I'm having trouble getting into a full-on happy dance because, well, I'm suspicious. It's just that I've been paying attention, you know? Upon hearing the news, I literally had not even completed my thought of "yay!" before I was immediately wondering what he's going to be up to next. Stick a tinfoil hat on my head if you must, but I don't trust that guy. At all. Oh, sure, the staple excuses have been given--he wants to spend time with his family, and Josh Bolten told staffers to decide to leave by Labor Day or stay until the end--but I, of course, believe none of it. He's evil, dang nabbit! That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Next up we have a John King piece on Rove that really only brushes the surface of the entire career, basically focusing on the Bush years. We all know Bush and Rove are tight and we're told that together they were able to get the tax cuts passed, but failed at the big goal of a permanent republican majority. "Highlights" of the last few years include leaking Valerie Plame's name (though John doesn't mention that Rove was fired from the elder Bush's re-election campaign for leaking) and being involved in attorney-gate. Yet he's never been charged with anything, which only proves that life isn't fair. Oh, and from John we learn that Rove is a bit of a prankster. Hardy har har. Look, this guy was a total Machiavelli. His strategy has always been to hit his opponent where they're strongest, using any means possible. Whether it be swift voting Kerry or a whispering campaign about McCain's mental heath, you can bet behind the curtain you'll find Rove. It's widely believed he once even bugged his own office and blamed it on his opponent. He's a class act, that guy.

For discussion, we're joined by David Gergen and John King. Anderson wants to know just how all powerful Rove really was and how much was myth. John says his power has been exaggerated because, really, he didn't have that much say in foreign policy. But I'm not sure who actually claimed that he did. Rove has always been about domestic policy, selling the message, and winning elections. None of this John disputes. Anderson wonders if it was a mistake to have such a political guy working on policy. Um, yeah. The Gerg tells us we haven't had somebody like this in a long time. Rove's strategy was to smash the opposition and win by the slimmest of majority, which is how he governed too, and that didn't work out so well seeing as there's a whole other half of the country. Anderson then asks who will take over and John in so many words says Rove was irreplaceable-the last of the Texas mafia. I don't think I've ever heard them called that, but boy it's fitting.

Moving on now to an interview with Joshua Green regarding his "Atlantic Monthly" piece on Rove in September's issue. Anderson notes that Joshua said in his piece that Rove's worst days in the White House might still be to come. So, um, oops. Guess Joshua didn't see this coming. Joshua points out that the captain usually goes down with the ship, but Rove obviously had other plans. Don't captains usually have, like, integrity and stuff too? Anyway, Joshua thinks the jumping ship is an admission of failure. Yeah, well, you'll never get him to say it. Anderson then asks what went wrong with the big plan to realign the GOP. Joshua believes Rove's big mistake was governing like he had a large majority with him when he only ever won with a razor thin lead. In other words, saying screw you to almost half the country kind of made some people mad. Next, Anderson reads a quote from Joshua's piece regarding how Rove steered the White House to disaster. Joshua thinks Rove failed to lay the groundwork for getting the country to move toward big policy changes and he also fell into the trap of believing his own hype. Forgive me if my heart doesn't bleed for Karl Rove.

Transitioning now to those poor Utah miners who still haven't been brought out one way or another. We're into the eighth day and honestly, it's not looking good. In a Gary Tuchman piece we learn that they sent a camera and listening devices down the hole they dug, but they don't see or hear anybody. They're still working inside the mine and they're going to drill a third hole now, but again, not looking good. After his piece, Gary explains that they can't just send in more workers to speed things up because there's literally no room for them to work. From there we're joined with an update from mine owner Bob Murray who seems to be fixated on calling Anderson "Mr. Cooper." A lot.

Perhaps it's now vacation time for Erica Hill and Tom Foreman because we've got Joe Johns for tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" And this is a good one. Okay, so this Texas dude is suing 1-800-FLOWERS because he ordered flowers from them and they sent a thank-you note to his house, which was seen by his wife. Why is this even an issue? Because the flowers were for his girlfriend. Busted! Apparently the man was already separated, but now his wife is demanding more money in the divorce settlement. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Next Joe brings us some "Raw Politics" and first up we learn that Tommy Thompson did so poorly in the republican Iowa straw poll that he's dropping out. Aw, buh bye. Speaking of that poll, to really no one's surprise, Romney won, but to a whole bunch of people's surprise, Huckabee came in second and hardly spent any money to boot. Joe also tells us that Obama is now getting asked the totally ridiculous question of whether he is black enough. I mean, what the hell? C'mon, people. Also, when it comes to who is most electable and who is most likeable of the democratic candidates, Clinton corners the market on the electable, while Obama finds himself most liked.

On now to the news from officials that al Qaeda attacks are declining. Sounds great, right? Well, it's meant to. Although, sounding great and being great are two different things. But fear not, we've got our walking talking reality check, otherwise known as Michael Ware, here to explain. Actually, everything he says, loyal viewers of the show have heard before (that's what happens when you're stuck in an intractable quagmire), but it's worth another go-through. From Michael we learn that, yes, the surge is providing some successes, but the real story is the deals the US is making with Ba'athist insurgents. That's what's really cutting down on the al Qaeda attacks, not so much the surge. And while it may be providing results right now, long term it is doing nothing but entrenching a civil war. Michael then brings up that touted "New York Times" editorial by Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack (which is pretty much dismantled by Glen Greenwald in Salon) and says that even they say America is not headed towards victory. Oh, and you know how occupiers shouldn't pick sides in a civil war? Well, by making deals with the Sunnis, we just did. Finally, Michael talks about how the sectarian violence is down simply because a lot of Iraqis have left and the whole place has been segregated and ethically cleansed. He tells us the real battle will begin when the Americans leave. Are you sure maybe they won't want to just have a party instead? Sigh.

Next up we have a Jason Carroll piece on those Newark murders. It seems the suspect from Peru is an illegal immigrant who has a rap sheet and was out on bail when he allegedly committed the murders. 360 talked to different officials from different places and surprise, surprise, no one knows why this guy was out on the streets. Well, while they all figure that out, four families are changed forever.

The Shot tonight is the tallest man in the world. At 8 foot 5.5 inches tall, he towers 8 inches above the previous record holder. And he's got huge hands! Freaky. Anderson then tells us that up next "Bush's brain bails." And then, " A lot of alliteration for a nervous network newsman." I love fun with literary terms! Tomorrow let's do onomatopoeia. Bam! So hey, it seems the hard news has returned with Anderson. Did it go on vacation with him? I know the show can't exactly control the news cycle, but there was hard news stuff that happened last week. I shall cross my fingers for tomorrow. B

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Continued Mine Coverage, Newark Murders, Crazy Hot Weather, Bob Murray Interview, And Raw Politics (Thursday's Show)

Hi everybody. We're mixing it up tonight with Soledad O'Brien doing Anderson Cooper's hosting duties. Wha? I guess John Roberts got tired of doing double duty. But it's nice to have some girl power on 360 for a change. Anyway, we begin again on the subject of those six trapped Utah miners and Gary joins us live to let us know they're still drilling, but that's as far as I'll go into that since I'm a day behind. Next we get a piece from Gary of when he was allowed to actually go down into the mine, which is a pretty big deal for a reporter. Looks pretty scary in there and Gary tells us they're 30 minutes from the nearest exit. Oh, hell no would I go down there. Okay, maybe if I were a journalist, but I'm not, so my 'hell no' still stands. As if being way underground isn't scary enough, while they're down there there's some kind of seismic activity that freaks everybody out. Man.

For some randomness, I actually caught Gary's piece on this on American Morning too and during that run his safety course was 45 minutes long, yet about 15 hours later during 360, he gained 15 more minutes. Magic! And that, children, was your random trivia of the day. After Gary's piece, we learn that he felt going in the mine was as scary as going to Iraq because there's no way out. I can see that. Being trapped underground not knowing if anyone is ever going to come for you must be one of the worst feelings ever. The mine coverage then continues with an interview with Dennis O'Dell of the United Mine Workers Union and Ted Rowland follows with the angle on the miner's families.

Transitioning now to a Deborah Feyerick piece that updates us on the Newark murders. Jose Carranza, a 28 year old from Peru, surrendered to the mayor himself and a 15 year old is also in custody for the murders. We're then joined by James Harvey, father of one of the victims. He blames the parents of America and urges everyone to instill good values in their children. He also tells us he's letting the police handle the matter of the murders and believes they're doing a great job. James has an amazing attitude for someone that just lost his son to horrific violence. After this interview we go into another with Newark Mayor Cory Booker and he talks a bit about how the suspect turned himself into him personally. They're still looking for other suspects.

In tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" Erica Hill tells us of a Texas school that just suffered about $1 million in damage due to vandals. Who were the vandals? Well, one was a kid that just graduated with a baseball scholarship. And we know this because the idiots obviously forgot their school has cameras. Guess that diploma didn't come with common sense. Anyway, next we're on to a Reynolds Wolf piece on our wacky weather. It's hot! Oh so hot. The mayor of East St. Louis is going door-to-door to check on people and for good reason; I know there's been at least three heat related deaths in my area so far. But heat isn't so weird. What is weird is that apparently New York has stolen the Midwest's weather. There was a tornado in Brooklyn! What the hell? See, this just leads me to believe that Mother Nature is up to something. Don't be surprised if we have raining frogs come fall.

On now to a live interview with mine owner Bob Murray. I was actually expecting some sparks to fly here given his history, but we just get a general update. Then we're on to "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman. First up, we learn that the primary dates are getting out of control. If states keep moving their primaries up like this, pretty soon the vote is going to be held in the past. Next Tom tells us that Clinton is criticizing Obama for something she herself said in the past. Ah, politics. Also, Cindy Sheehan is running for Nancy Pelosi's seat. Oh, Cindy. I don't think this will end well for you. Finally, we learn that contempt of Congress proceedings might begin in September if the White House doesn't answer questions on warrantless wire-tapping. Well, at least 360 is mentioning the subject. I mean, c'mon, people. Kind of important, don't you think? For those that aren't up to speed, let Snuggly the Security Bear help you out.

Next, Soledad tells us that because of the mine stuff, they're bumping the previously promised exorcism story. Oh, I'm crushed. Besides being spared a sensational piece, I now don't have to spend three minutes watching the tv through my fingers. I actually love horror movies and am usually no wimp, but there's just something about the exorcist that FREAKS ME OUT. Probably because I watched it when I was like eight and then had people tell me that it was based on something that happened here in St. Louis. I'm scarred, y'all. The Shot tonight is a zoo in Taiwan where the crocodiles are allegedly all mellow because the zoo plays Buddhist prayers. Yeah, well, we'll see how that works out for everybody. The show, again, was meh. What's going on? No coverage of the Bush presser and his remarks about Pat Tillman and Scooter Libby? Sigh. C-

I'm not sure if you guys saw it, but I thought you might be interested in this Newsweek piece on the gorillas in the Congo. Four were recently found slaughtered. So sad. And since that's a bummer, check out this "press conference" video of Bush explaining the threat of...zombies!!!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Mine Story Continued, Raw Politics, Newark Murders, NOLA Murders, And Chinese Medicine (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everyone. We're doing the abbreviated recapping tonight because I am tired and in pain. Just one of those days. Anyway, John Roberts continues to keep the chair warm for Anderson Cooper and we're kicking it off with more coverage of the trapped miners, even though they don't actually have much to tell us. As of this blogging, they still don't know whether the miners are alive or not, though Ted Rowlands joins us to say they're inching closer. We also learn that Gary Tuchman is in the mine with owner Robert Murray at that moment. John hopes we'll get to hear from him later, but, SPOILER ALERT, we don't. But I think I saw him on American Morning and he said people got freaked out because there was some seismic activity. Or that didn't happen at all and I dreamed it. My memories of what I watch on American Morning are always kind of vague. It's early, people!

So no live Gary, but we do get a piece from him where we get to see the outside of the mine and he walks around and shows us stuff like we're used to Anderson doing. Murray is still holding onto the earthquake theory regarding why the mine collapsed, so next Tom Foreman brings in his maps (it's good to see Tom get his maps back) to shoot that nonsense down. From there we have a Joe Johns "Keeping Them Honest" piece on retreat mining and Murray is mad mad mad that they're calling it that. Actually he's just mad. Did you hear that he called John Roberts an asshole? Pshaw. Apparently John asked him about his prior safety violations, or in other words, did his job. Murray claims he didn't get to respond or something. Whatever. Now, I don't know John Roberts (or Murray for that matter), but I don't think I'm going out on a limb to say that if there's an asshole in this situation, it's not him. After Joe's piece John has an interview with Dennis O'Dell of the United Mine Worker's of America.

Transitioning now to some "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman. We begin with Iowa primary talk and learn that Romney is pouring money into ads while Ron Paul lags near the bottom. But don't count out Paul; his supporters are freaky dedicated. Next we're told Elizabeth Edwards thinks her husband is trailing behind Clinton and Obama because, "we can't make John black, we can't make him a woman." She thinks they're getting a social first bump. Interesting. Let's see, Gravel continues to be kind of nutty, Thompson still hasn't declared, Colin Powell has taken pity on McCain, and Huckabee (who I forgot was even running) has acquired Lonestar's (country group) tour bus. " Interesting choice, because if Huckabee doesn't start doing better, he will be singing the blues," says Tom. Groooan. In tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" Erica Hill brings us the story of the "Botox bandit" a none too smart woman who thought she could get cosmetic procedures and stiff the bill. Except, um, they take pictures, so...What an idiot.

On now to a Deborah Feyerick piece on the three murders in Newark. There's still not much known, but we hear from the father of one of the victims. Obviously, he's devastated and Deborah kind of annoyingly goes all dogged reporter over stuff the man shouldn't even be thinking about right now: "What do you want to happen to these guys, whoever did it? What do you want to happen?" she asks. And then presses, "The death penalty?" His son just died. C'mon. After Deborah's piece John has an interview with Newark councilman Ron Rice.

Next we move to the topic of the New Orleans' murder rate and John tells us there have been four more killed in four days. This then intros us into a Randi Kaye piece filed back when they were in New Orleans on July 16th, but that's not made clear by John's intro. I know they repeat pieces all the time and that's fine and they repeat them without telling us they're a repeat and most of the time that's okay too, but sometimes the piece contains something time sensitive, as I've pointed out before. In this particular piece we're told a murder occurred "last month," when in reality it happened in June. Now, okay, it's only the 9th of August, so that's an extreme nitpick, but we're also told of something that happened "just last week," when of course it really happened in early July. Even that's kind of a nitpick because most people aren't going to notice, but they're leaving themselves open for accusations of inaccuracies. Editing the pieces would probably be too much work, but I don't see why they can't intro them with their original air date. Just a thought.

Transitioning now to a Sanjay Gupta "Planet in Peril" piece on Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM. Sanjay blogged about this a long time ago, so I'm guessing they had this in the can. Couple that with filling up time with the repeat Randi Kaye piece and, why, it's almost as if our friends at 360 were distracted by something. Anyway, this TCM stuff is trippy. Sanjay shows us a prescription for nausea and vomiting that takes up a table. If I had to eat/drink all that I would get nausea and vomiting. The concern is that they're using endangered species, but Sanjay doesn't really find that where he visits. And then he kind of gets cut off. Bye, Sanjay. The Shot tonight is a view from the stands of Barry Bonds' home run. Cool shot, jerk player. They're on a roll with the meh shows lately. And it's got nothing to do with the host. Where has the hard news gone? C-

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

More On Utah Miners, AFL-CIO Debate, Raw Politics, New Jersey Murders, And Connecticut Murders (Tuesday's Show)

Hi everybody. I'm guessing Anderson Cooper is going to be out all week because we've got John Roberts doing hosting duties for us again. I wonder if he had to rearrange his whole sleep schedule. Anyway, we begin with the six trapped Utah miners and the news that recent seismic activity has knocked the rescue back to square one. In fact, the mine owner, Bob Murray, is saying now that it could take a week to get the miners out. Well, that sucks. Murray is also clinging to the notion that it was an earthquake that caused the initial collapse. Gary Tuchman joins us live from Utah to say that actually the United States Geological Survey found no evidence that an earthquake is to blame. And I think they would know over a mine owner. Hmm. Me thinks someone realizes that no one can be blamed for an act of God. I don't think that's going to fly. John also talks a bit with Mine Safety Expert Kim McCarter and by phone with Walter Arabasz, director of the university of Utah's Seismographic Station. A lot is what we already know and speculation.

Next up we have a Gary Tuchman piece that's mostly about Murray, the mine owner and how he's a piece of work. Well, that last part is just my assessment. We're played a sound bite of Murray saying only the Lord knows whether or not the miners are alive or dead and then Gary says, "Of course, if they're alive, the miners know that, too,..." That probably wasn't supposed to be as funny as I found it, but seriously, what a dumb thing to say. Murray, not Gary. We also learn that Murray isn't happy with the media coverage (boo hoo) and back in June he tangled with Senator Barbara Boxer on Capitol Hill regarding his safety record. I know you shouldn't make snap judgments about people, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that, Murray? Not a great guy. There's a bit more discussion and then we move on to Ted Rowlands and a piece he has about the families who now must wait maybe a week before their loved ones are out of the mine.

Transitioning now to coverage of tonight's ALF-CIO debate from Soldier Field in Chicago. It aired on MSNBC, but CNN didn't mention that part. Heh. Keith Olbermann was moderating, so I had to watch, but actually, I kind of thought he just did a meh job. The candidates shirked so many questions and I was hoping he'd press them more in follow ups, but he didn't that much. Although I'm sure time was a big factor. Anyway, we've got Candy Crowley and David Gergen for discussion, but I've decided I'm not blogging their analysis indepth. Why? Well, because when I flipped to CNN immediately after the debate ended (and then flipped right back), they were already discussing it, which leads me to believe they didn't watch the whole thing. Plus, not once do they mention Kucinich, who admittedly hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of getting the nomination, but who totally had the 12,000-15,000 people at the debate eating out of his hand. And they didn't even mention the most poignant part of the debate, which resulted in a standing ovation (most of which is edited out of the linked clip) and almost made me cry. So basically, if you wanted to know how the debate went, I hope you watched it yourself. Or at least got the wrap up from MSNBC.

On now to some "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman. It seems Giuliani has hit a little snag on the campaign trail. Some people don't think his Catholicism and his stance on abortion really jive. But Giuliani wants to refer all that to a priest if we don't mind. I guess not. Still don't like you though. We also learn that the troop surge is gaining support, which I totally don't understand. Or actually, I think it's the supporters that don't understand. Those people need to watch them some Michael Ware, is all I have to say. Tom also tells us that Richardson now has a universal health care plan and the economy isn't performing so well for the middle class. You don't say? The economy sucks for the middle class, huh? Next they'll tell us we're addicted to oil. Oh, wait.

Erica Hill joins us next with the headlines and, aw, she looks and sounds like she should be in bed. I hope the husband is on baby duty because she is sick. But she's a trooper and one of the headlines she tells us about is that beaches across the country are contaminated in part due to aging water and sewage infrastructure. "It's all part of that same old story. It's the same thing with the bridge...And the city pipe explosion in New York. Aging infrastructure, it's causing problems across the country," says John. Yes! That's what I've been saying! Now please, cover it. I'll be waiting here, not holding my breath. Anyway, in tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" Erica tells us about this dude that stashed a monkey under his hat during his flight from Florida to New York. Oh, was it a terrorist monkey?! Apparently the little guy crawled out during the flight and was spotted by people, so now man and monkey are being dealt with by the authorities. So how come people freak the hell out over bringing on, say, a juice box, but a monkey is a big joke? I mean, am I the only one that has seen "Outbreak"? Just saying. (And yes, I'm kidding.)

Next up we have Gary back with an update, except if you've been watching since the top of the hour it's just stuff you already know. And that's fine, but they've pulled out the BREAKING NEWS graphic again and John tells us about "bad news," so I'm sitting here thinking they found the miners dead. I should know better at this point, I suppose. On now to a Rick Sanchez piece on four friends in Newark, New Jersey that were hanging out in a school yard one night and three ended up dead. They were shot execution style and the fourth person is in the hospital. All of them were good kids and no one knows what happened exactly. Pretty horrible. Hopefully the survivor can help them find the people that did this. After Rick's piece we have a Randi Kaye piece that's kind of a time line of those Connecticut murders. The Shot tonight is a German woman who finally had a pencil removed from her brain after more than 50 years. Until now it was too dangerous to remove, so the woman has endured decades of headaches and nosebleeds. Wow. Pencils are dangerous, kids. Let that be a lesson to you. As we go out, John tells Erica, "Chicken soup with matzo balls." Aw, feel better, Erica. The show was meh again. I'm thinking more people are on vacation than just Anderson. C

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Mine Collapse, Bridge Investigation, Raw Politics, Missing Weapons, Earmarks, And Murder Investigation (Monday's Show)

Hi everybody. I guess you've noticed I didn't do the second hour from Thursday. Hey, I said no promises. Anyway, we've got John Roberts holding it down for us tonight. Anderson Cooper's current location can be pinpointed to somewhere on the globe. We begin with the news that a mine collapse has trapped six miners in Utah. From a Gary Tuchman piece we learn that officials know exactly where the miners are, but they haven't been able to contact them. John then has a few interviews related to the story and we get Tom Foreman explaining the logistics with his maps, but I'm not going indepth. These mine collapse stories have always kind of puzzled me because I'm interested to know why some are news and others aren't. It seems like the amount of resources they put towards a collapse depends on what else exciting they've got going on or what the other networks are doing. Obviously Sago was a little different due to how it all went down, but when it comes to these types of stories, what gets covered and what doesn't seems pretty random.

Next up we have an Ed Lavandera piece on the Minnesota bridge collapse. They're trying to answer the question why, but it's going to take a while. To get to the bottom of it they're going to reassemble sections of the bridge, like they do after plane crashes. From Ed we learn that construction workers had actually felt the bridge wobble before the collapse. Um, did they tell anybody? It's possible weight distribution might have had something to do with it, but that's just one theory. For now, they're going to need to bring in heavy machinery to remove the large debris from the water and try to get to the rest of the victims. Not a fun job, I imagine.

On now to "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman and this is the phoning it in edition because I'm working sans transcript. One of the republicans is touting positive headlines regarding Iraq and terrorism, but, um, what is he talking about? Seriously, just today more ministers pulled out of the Iraqi cabinet. And this is positive? We then get a clip of Hamid Karzi thanking Bush. Wow, what a shocker. We also learn that Giuliani's daughter has, like, totally endorsed Obama on her Facebook page. At first she wasn't sure about his views on nuclear proliferation, but his stance on FISA really sealed the deal. Seriously people, she's 17. I can't believe this is even a news story. Um, let's see, we then get John speaking some French, which he likes to do, and then we move on to "What Were They Thinking?" In tonight's edition we learn from Erica that Thailand police who are caught committing misdemeanors will be forced to wear a Hello Kitty armband as punishment. No, really. That's hilarious. Those are going to be some well-behaved cops.

Transitioning now to a Joe Johns "Keeping Them Honest" piece, which John tells us we might find shocking. A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 weapons that were supposed to go to Iraqi forces. Now where could they have gone? Hmm. Hell, we don't need Iran to arm the enemy; we'll do it ourselves, thank you very much. Apparently this occurred because we didn't have enough manpower to do the paperwork to keep track. Okay, so I'm totally not shocked. But it's not because at this point we've seen too many similar screw ups before; it's because we've seen this exact screw up before. If you're feeling a little deja vu and like you might be going crazy, there's a reason. Back in October, Barbara Starr reported pretty much the same thing, though it was actually more weapons back then. So did they account for some of them? Is this a whole other instance? Who knows? I hate it when the news reports this stuff like there is no past. It makes me feel like I'm going nuts.

Moving on now to a Drew Griffin "Keeping Them Honest" piece that pretty much recaps all his prior earmark reporting and then states that the new legislation amounts to same old, same old. Awesome. Then we're on to a Randi Kaye piece that I didn't really watch that closely. Sorry. The Shot tonight is an Indy crash. And man that cars goes airborne. But somehow he walks away. So 360, Congress just signed a law expanding the Bush Administration's power to wiretap without warrants and you're not going to cover that? Seriously? Bueller? I'm not saying the mine collapse isn't big news, but this is about our fundamental rights as US citizens. You couldn't squeeze that in? Some days I'm not sure whether I watch this show to be informed or entertained. And I'm not sure what that says about the show. C-
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