Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mystery At Sea, Vulnerable Power Plants, Unapproved Drugs, Bill Clinton Interview, Raw Politics, And Ahmadinejad Interview-Sort Of (Wednesday's Show)

Hi all. As per usual, my work schedule makes the Wednesday review late. But the good news is that I am at least 85% awake, despite running on less than four hours sleep. Yay for me! We're kicking it off tonight with Anderson Cooper telling us about a mystery at sea. Um, what? This is the top story? See, this is that consistency thing I was talking about before. 360, don't make me feel like I just accidentally flipped to Greta. Because I want to watch you guys. So okay, Anderson breaks the boat thing down for us in a piece. These two dudes charter a boat to the Bahamas, but it didn't show up at its designated time. The Coast Guard then finds the boat, amusingly named Joe Cool, but it's empty and looks like something shady went down. The Coast Guard later finds the two dudes in a life raft, but the captain and crew are no where to be found. According to the dudes, Joe Cool was hijacked and everyone but them were killed and thrown overboard. Uh huh. Authorities ain't buying it--especially because the dude's have shady pasts.

Next up we're joined by Nick Spangler of The Miami Herald. They always do this. Why do we need this guy, exactly? No offense to him or anything, but I doubt he knows anything CNN can't tell us themselves, so basically he's just here to speculate. Anyway, Anderson asks why the dude's lives were spared. Nick doesn't know, but he does tell us that they had their luggage with them. So the hijackers not only didn't kill them, they also let them take their luggage? Hmm. These dudes are not the sharpest knives in the drawer now are they? Oh, also? One of them said he'd never seen Joe Cool before, yet . . . his Florida identification was found on the boat. Genius.

Transitioning now--abruptly transitioning--to the sudden "terrifying" possibility of month long blackouts. Man, I was still thinking about the stupid dudes on the boat and now we're in the middle of a potential nightmare scenario. In a Jeanne Meserve piece we learn that the big to-do involves a recently unclassified video of a cyber attack on a power plant control system. Basically? Everything went kablewy! Not good at all. And this could leave us in the dark for months. My city had a couple of instances recently where a large percentage of people were out for around a week and it was a huge deal, so what we're talking about here would be devastating. We're told that people in Iran and Pakistan know the same systems we use, so, uh, be afraid, I guess.

But really, we need to be looking at China. They're the ones getting all cyber attack-happy lately. So what's being done to correct the problem? Well, DHS is on it, so, my guess? Nothing. Eh, I'm being unfair. The truth is, their budget has decreased. Oh, but we've got all the money in the world for the missile defense shield that has yet to work. Don't you love how smart we are? We also learn in the piece that, "in 2002, the current director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell, and former CIA Director James Woolsey were among more than 50 computer and security experts who begged President Bush for a massive cyber-defense program to avoid a national disaster." And where was this story then? After her piece, Jeanne joins us live and Anderson does a little CYA, allowing her to explain that CNN isn't giving the terrorists ideas. You know he's still going to get emails, though.

Moving on now to that big (it's a two-parter!) investigative piece on prescription drugs they kept promising, yet never delivered. Well, tonight, they deliver. Gary Tuchman is on the case, and he's discovered that apparently all the drugs on the market have not been approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Um, what? (It's funny, as I was sitting there watching this I was literally mulling over whether I was surprised or not. I finally decided, no, I am not.) This is kind of disconcerting, especially after hearing the horrible story of a baby that died after receiving one of the unapproved drugs, but I'm not clutching my pearls here because quite honestly I've never had much faith in the FDA anyway. Hello, Vioxx? Plus, we're always hearing about them being pressured for some reason or another.

Don't get me wrong, given the choice, I'd much rather have my drugs FDA approved. And the fact that a lot of doctors and pharmacists aren't aware this is going on (since the 1960's!) is fairly mind boggling. In the piece we hear from a man who makes some of the unapproved drugs. He claims they're safe because he has the moral obligation to make them safe. Oh, well, then everything's fine then. Sorry if I don't take you at your word. Call me protectionist, but I like a little regulation when it comes to things I'm ingesting. So anyway, in case you're wondering, Congress is aware of the problem, but since they like to occupy themselves with voting to condemn rhyming ads, I wouldn't count on them. So how did this whole situation happen in the first place? Well, the FDA gives out these 10-digit numbers to drugs before they're approved and these are the same numbers that allow pharmacists to order the drugs. Awesome. The FDA says they're cracking down, so I guess we'll see, but they still won't give us one single list of which drugs aren't approved. You're going to have to do that legwork yourself, apparently. Thanks FDA! So helpful.

In tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" Erica Hills brings us the news that Michael Vick has tested positive for marijuana. Wow. That guy is not . . . smart. But, aw, he's stressed. You know, from being indicted on felony charges for dog fighting. And yes, I'm being sarcastic. I loves me the puppies. "Why not take a toke? Sure, hey," says Anderson. "Fire up the bong. Whatever." And then, "I don't know what those things are anyway." Riight. You just never inhaled, huh?

Transitioning now to Anderson's interview with Bill Clinton. And, oh! It's the return of angry Clinton! We last saw angry Clinton when he was brought forth by the dickishness of Chris Wallace. No such jerkitude from Anderson (like he's even capable of that). Basically what happened is Anderson brought up the Republicans losing it over the Betrayus ad and Clinton got angry because they're being total hypocrites. It actually wasn't that big of deal. But angry Clinton gets ratings, so here we are. Anyway, Clinton brings up the ad they ran against Max Cleland, the whispering campaign against McCain, and the swift voting of John Kerry. All very classy stuff. He points out that the fake outrage over the ad is just a distraction. Duh. The interview then moves on to Clinton's Global Initiative and he gets to briefly talk about how he's a "bleeding heart cheapskate," meaning someone that wants to give, but make sure the money is working. You can watch a whole video of Anderson moderating a panel at Clinton's Global Initiative here.

Next up we have "Raw Politics" and Tom Foreman is still on the CNN bus. Not much interesting going on. McCain is actually gaining in the polls, Bush needs things spelled out for him phonetically, Larry Craig is holding off on that resignation, and Tom sounds different to me. Yeah, that last one is probably neither here nor there.

By this point, I'm all annoyed because we haven't gotten the Christiane/Ahmadinejad interview yet and I'm thinking it got bumped or something for the stupid boat story. But no. Turns out that Mr. There-are-no-homosexuals-in-Iran canceled. Well, sort of. Christiane did get to sit down with him, but they said she could only ask one question. But she squeezed out two because she's Christiane Frickin Amanpour. Nothing new or interesting is said. Bummer. You know what would be cool? We need a long panel discussion on mideast issues with Christiane, Reza Aslan, Juan Cole, and maybe Fareed Zakaria. Okay, probably not Fareed, because he works for GE owned Newsweek and an appearance on CNN would probably make the synergy gods cry. Anyhoo, after all the Ahmadinejad hubbub, Anderson gets his feathers ruffled a bit because apparently people are emailing in, saying CNN was the one that canceled the interview. "It's absolutely ridiculous. Christiane, myself, everyone at CNN was eager to hear what the Iranian president would have said," says Anderson. Well. He told us, didn't he? That is weird though. I can't even think of any grassroots or political group that would have a motivation to start that rumor. Faux playing dirty, perhaps? They currently have their panties all in a twist over CNN taking on O'Reilly, so anything's possible.

The Shot tonight is a Google Earth view of a Navy building in the shape of a swastika. Oops. They're gonna fix it. The show started out bizarre, but turned out pretty good overall. It's a shame about the Christiane interview. You win some, you lose some, right? B


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