Violence In Burma, Insurance For Kids, Homeland Insecurity, More Joe Cool, Chicago Cop Issues, Raw Politics, And Gray Wolves (Thursday's Show)
Next we're joined by Dan Rivers live from Bangkok because no reporters can actually get into Burma. Anderson reminds us that the last major uprising in Burma was in 1988 and Dan tells us the military dictatorship has been in place for 45 years. Dan goes on to say that the government is currently cracking down in a horrendous way and the death toll may very well be higher than reported. Anderson's been reading reports of monasteries being ransacked and people being beaten and taken away. Dan tells us they don't know where the monks are right now. This is horrible. It was so cool to see all those monks marching and now they can't even find them?!
Moving on to a phone interview Anderson did with a European diplomat in Burma. They're keeping his name on the down low for safety reasons. AC360 Review will refer to him as "brave diplomat dude" or BDD. Okay, so BDD tells us the violence is clearly escalating and that everyone participating is putting themselves at risk to be harmed now or from action to come in the future. Also, the monks are gone from the demonstrations and the protesters have been cut off from Aung San Suu Kyi. Unfortunately, BDD thinks the government is determined to clamp down on the protests and international pressure is needed. Yeah, well, effective international pressure is needed. And that seems hard to come by. Just ask Darfur.
Transitioning now to the BREAKING NEWS that Congress just voted to expand a health insurance program for low income kids. And we can't have that. That's right folks, that compassionate conservative we all call our prez, has decided this looks like a bill he needs to veto. Anderson notes that the program was actually created by Republicans and Bush has even supported expanding it in the past. We then delve further into the issue with a "Keeping Them Honest" piece from Jessica Yellin, formerly of ABC. Welcome. Anyway, we learn that the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, helps 6.5 million kids around the nation and the vote was to increase the program by $35 billion, so that four million more children could be included. Bush is vetoing because he thinks it's a step toward federalized health care. Good! I'd like that please. We're then shown some clips Daily Show-style, of Bush actually speaking out in support of S-Chip before the 2004 election. Okay, that was awesome. Jessica is making a very good first impression. "It seems the president was for expanding the program before he was against it," she says. I think I just may love her.
So, why is Bush going to veto now? Well, some feel he's trying to get back his fiscal conservative cred. But dude, that ship has totally sailed. It's not only sailed, it's docked, and the tourists have walked around and bought some souvenirs. Roy Blunt thinks it's all about politics and getting people to ask him why he's against health insurance for poor kids. But, um, why are you against health insurance for poor kids? Blunt's whole reasoning is he thinks it expands the program to middle class kids. Oh, my bad. I guess I should be asking why you're against health insurance for middle class kids. Bottom line here, people, is Bush, Blunt and the like think this is socialized medicine, which apparently scares the crap out of them. After her piece, Jessica tells us that if Bush vetoes, some kids might lose their coverage if an agreement isn't made. So, sorry poor kids. No health care for you. But hey, let's keep throwing billions at a quagmire. Makes sense to me. Meanwhile, New Orleans says, uh, guys, we're still waiting down here too.
Oh, look, we're back to the short commercial breaks with the weird graphics again. After they didn't do it Wednesday night I was sort of under the impression that 360 had just decided to enter into a little silent we-shall-never-speak-of-this-again agreement with their viewers, but guess not. Everyone I know who watches the show hated it. And the graphics. Some of them are . . .This one in particular: "They pay our bills. Watch this . . ." Oh my. Is it that bad over there, 360? Do you have enough money for food? Do we need to hold a telethon or something? Seriously though, what the hell? Oh, and I don't for a second believe this is all about them responding to viewer emails. People email about everything under the sun, so sure, I bet they've gotten a few over commercial length, but last week angry viewers almost set the blog on fire over the OJ coverage and their response was to basically say, "we hear you, but we're still going to cover it." My cynical speculation is that this is all about ratings and possibly related to the changes Neilsen has been making. But we'll never know for sure.
Moving on to a Jeanne Meserve piece on our-least discussed border, the one with Canada. Okay, so say you want to take some radioactive material into the US from Canada. You know, just for kicks. How do you think you'd go about doing that? Well, apparently you can just pick it up and freaking walk over. That's right, Government Accountability Office (GAO) inspectors succeeded three out of four times in bringing simulated material into the US. A citizen even tipped off Border Control after seeing one of the crosses, but they couldn't find him. My instinct is to make a sarcastic comment about Border Control, but they're undermanned up there. Yet another way we're being retarded about homeland security. Anyway, Jeanne also tells us that they talked to a professional hacker in relation to that cyber attack story from yesterday. He tells us that when hackers are hired to test a company's software they always win. And then he yells , "Mwahaha!" Okay, no, I'm lying about that last part. Anderson then does the CYA thing again to try to prevent you're-giving-ideas-to-the-terrorists hate mail, but he'll still get some. After that he accidentally identifies John McLaughlin as a former head of the CIA. Whoops. I always wondered how he kept people straight without taking time to think about it. I guess sometimes he doesn't. Heh.
Next up we have a David Mattingly piece on the two dudes from the Joe Cool boat. We then move on to tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" and Erica Hill brings us video of a woman using her child to steal a purse. Classy. Anderson can't believe what he's seeing, but I spent over five years in retail, so I can believe it all too well. You wouldn't believe how many people steal. It's pretty depressing.
On now to a "Keeping Them Honest" piece where Randi Kaye takes on Chicago cops. We meet Robin Petrovic, a woman who allegedly got the crap beat out of her by a cop for no reason. It sounds pretty brutal. And to make matters worse, the complaint she filed with the Office of Professional Standards was deemed to be unfounded. Robin and her lawyer then discovered that between 2002 and 2004 there were over 10,000 complaints filed against Chicago cops. Wow. That's pretty disturbing. Even more disturbing is that the cop that beat up Robin had 50 complaints against him and he finally resigned after stealing a bust's credit cards. There are also other officers with loads of complaints who go on with their job undisciplined. And the mayor won't make their names public. Sounds like they need to clean up their whole department.
Moving on now to a piece from David Mattingly that I guess is supposed to provide balance and help them not get branded anti-cop--or at least anti-Chicago cop. Basically, an off duty Chicago cop goes to Iowa and gets into a fight with a drunken 19 year old. The cop punches the kid, allegedly in self defense, the kid goes down, and now the cop is facing up to five years in prison. The prosecutor believes the kid's injuries were too severe to have been from one self-defense punch, but the cop claims all of that occurred when the kid fell. Who knows what happened. But five years for one punch is pretty harsh.
Next up we have a clip of Chris Dodd from the recent Democratic debate and he gives us a funny: "I walked in here this evening, and a fellow walked up to me, and he said, "Anderson Cooper, what's happened to you?" here, with this white hair." Heh. I knew they would run that clip. This, of course, moves us into some "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman. Not much really of note, but we do learn John McCain is "dissing the front-runner as weak on security." I'm just amused when news people say "dissing."
On now to an Anderson "Planet in Peril" piece on the gray wolves at Yellowstone National Park. We've actually seen another version of this, but what we've got tonight is a fully produced and fancied-up segment to preview the approaching special. No repeat complaints here. This one's a crowd pleaser. And it has nothing to do with the appearance of the tight black tee. No sir. I just really like wolves. Ahem.
The Shot tonight is pigs on the lose! Erica thinks they're kind of cute, but I don't know that I have her back on this one. I like bacon; that's about all I'll say. "You could just grease that pig up and you know -- have you ever been to one of those things, like at a state fair or county fair where they, like, grease up the pig and you've got to run around, trying to get the pig?" asks Anderson. Erica has not, but she has gone to a Connecticut fair. Anderson then proceeds to mock this, but you can't tell me he's ever greased a pig. Now that would be a "Shot of the Day." The show was really good. Lots of variety. B+