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+


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