Thursday, November 29, 2007

The YouTube Republican Debate: The Day After

Hi everybody! Have you recovered from last night? I don't drink, but I think alcohol consumption will be required with any future republican debate watching that might occur. I mean, what was that? A stage full of people (and by 'people' I mean non diverse white guys) and not a one of them that didn't have something scary/crazy/bigoted to say. Maybe if I was able to pick and choose stances from all of them I could form one single non nightmare-inducing republican worthy of support, but that's not how it works.

I had been planning on doing a post about debate coverage and media synergy and blah, blah, blah. Forget that. There's controversy to cover! And that's so much more fun. Watching the debate, I took a guess that the future hit pieces against CNN (oh, you know there have to be hit pieces) were actually going to involve Anderson and his intermittent loss of control (still love you, Anderson!), but oh no, the haters have bigger fish to fry.

To me, one of the most poignant moments (okay, the only poignant moment) of the debate was when openly gay retired Army general, Keith Kerr asked why gays can't openly serve in the military. Well, it turns out that Kerr isn't just any retired Army general, he was a member of Hillary Clinton's steering committee (here's the video of Anderson getting semi-ambushed by Bill Bennett with the information and then our anchor's explanation after some digging). Now, that information takes nothing away from the question. It was perfectly legitimate and needed to be asked.

However, disclosure is very important when it comes to these issues and for CNN to say they didn't know this guy's affiliation with the Clinton campaign, well, it's a little hard to swallow. Don't get me wrong, I completely believe they didn't know, but man, how did that happen? They're a massive news organization for Pete's sake. As a liberal, my initial pre-thought gut reaction to every political situation that occurs is to defend against whatever the crazies on the Right are saying. Except this time I'm agreeing with what they're saying (okay, well, some of what they're saying) and, dang it, that kind of pisses me off.

Thursday morning, John Roberts interviewed Kerr himself and told him, "Now, perhaps our bad for not further investigating your background..." Um, yes CNN, your bad. Go to the cable news network corner! Anyway, James Joyner of Outside the Beltway gets to the root of the issue:
They simply should have known. If lone bloggers can vet these people in less than half an hour, surely CNN’s crack journalistic team should have been able to do so between the time they selected the pool of questions and the airing of the debate?
Bingo. And you know, maybe this was explained, but I'm wondering why the whole selecting of the questions had to occur up until the last minute. Why couldn't they make the cut off a couple of weeks before the debate? That would give them plenty of time to vet the questions...and keep the egg off their faces. Because according to their statements, it does seem CNN really wishes they looked at this guy closer. Which makes this answer from an interview Anderson did with all the more curious:
Q: There’s been a bit of scandal about the screening that CNN did on its “undecided voters” for the last Democratic debate. The diamonds-and-pearls question was attacked by the questioner herself. There were some allegations that several of the voters were in fact liberal activists on quite a few issues (and one Democratic Party operative). What’s the process for checking these YouTube questioners and their affiliations?

“Well, campaign operatives are people, too. We don’t investigate the background of people asking questions…that’s not our job. Last time around (in the Democrat CNN/YouTube debate), there were questions from Joe Biden’s campaign…and we had some fun with that (disclosing who they were posed by). Things like that are generally pretty obvious. In watching these videos after a while, you can kind of tell, who’s really serious about an issue and who’s just parroting a press release or a talking point.”

So okay, to wrap this up, my view is that CNN made a pretty big fumble here. And reportedly Kerr isn't the only problem. Michelle Malkin has herself in a tizzy, outing "plants" left and right. It looks like some of her claims might have an air of legitness, but I am so not linking to that pile of crazy. Also, as I noted in my last post, I'm a little annoyed about the Grover Norquist question. I thought the YouTube debate was supposed to be about the average citizen getting their chance to question the candidates. Since when is Grover Norquist an average citizen with no access? C'mon. I feel a little bad about my harshness in this post, but CNN does call itself the "most trusted name in news." After last night, Jay Tea of Wizbang has a new slogan ( which he states was "
shamelessly stolen from WKRP In Cincinnati") that might be more appropriate: "CNN: “If It’s News To You, It’s News To Us.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Random Comments Said To My TV During the Republican YouTube Debate

  • A photo-op? Well this is a great start.
  • I like that they're on the "honor system." Because that always works out with republicans.
  • A sanctuary mansion? Oooh, no Giuliani didn't! And what's with Romney talking about people with "funny accents"? Way to show your true colors, Mitt. Those two are going to rip their heads off. Fight! Fight!
  • Anderson's going to get slammed for his non cracking of the whip.
  • I kind of like Huckabee. Never vote for him though.
  • Annnd...Anderson hits his exasperation point at 8:31 with a an irritated, "Please." Heh.
  • Oh, it's exploit the troops time! McCain thinks we should "Let them win," but Paul's got their money.
  • Grover Norquist? Oh why not? It's not like he's got other platforms to get his views out, right?
  • These ads are incredibly lame. Did they even watch the democratic debate?
  • Oh, good on Anderson for the Giuliani question regarding the Politico story, but no good follow up? Hello?
  • Yes, Duncan, Americans have helped all over the world...and the world offered their help during Katrina.
  • McCain rocks on the torture issue.
  • Oh, it's time to hate the gays. Man, that was a big old FU to that questioner. Cohesion my ass.
  • Hillary to Mars? The Hillary hate is getting ridiculous.
  • They're over time and trying to cram in questions.
  • Baseball is the new diamonds or pearls.
  • Huckabee is the winner. Romney is the loser. That was a painful two hours.
I'll try to have something a little more substantive for you guys tomorrow when I get home from work.

Republican Identity, Mideast Peace Talks, NFL Murder, And Chicago Doctor Murder (Tuesday's Show)

Hi everyone. We're kicking things off tonight in Saint Petersburg, Florida, with Anderson Cooper coming at us from the stage of Wednesday's YouTube debate. After the recent changes the party of the elephant has gone through, tonight's question is "what is a republican?" Oh man, they really don't want me to answer that. These ponderings move us into a John King piece that focuses on the republican chaos. They're having an identity crisis, it seems. Will they go the moderate route and rally around the Giulianis of the world to keep the party viable with independents...or is their key to survival a continued lurch to the right? They better figure it out because two dozen republicans in Congress are retiring and voters are fleeing. This is what happens when you mix greed, power, incompetence, general suckiness, and then sprinkle it all with a dash of evil and crazy. I wonder if the democrats will ever become effective enough to be evil...

After John's piece, he and Gloria Borger join us live for discussion. John tells us there's a debate going on in the republican party right now concerning what they really stand for. Gloria then talks about how the candidates are trying to differentiate themselves from our current commander in chief "because nobody wants a third term of the Bush administration." Amen to that! Just thinking about it is enough to give me nightmares. Anderson then points out that the democrats have a lot more money than their friends on the other side of the aisle. Gloria chalks that up to democratic enthusiasm. Yeah, baby! care! John then gets all jealous of Anderson, saying he has the "best job in politics tomorrow night" because apparently the republicans are expected to start ripping each other's heads off or something. Sometimes I don't know if I'm blogging about politics or Jerry Springer.

Transitioning now to coverage of the Mideast peace talks in Annapolis. Last night Anderson promised they'd cover this today and I am now pleasantly surprised. Let's just say I had my doubts. Anyway, after ignoring the region for basically his whole presidency, Bush has decided to give Mideast peace the old (half-hearted) college try. First thing to master? Name pronunciation. I know everybody flubs, but the name butchering he did today was just embarrassing. Anyway, we're joined live by Tom Foreman, who gets the fun task of distilling an intractable several-decades old conflict into about two minutes. Actually, they did a fairly nice job with this. It's like Mideast Crisis 101. In regards to the current talks, Tom tells us most Mideast analysts don't believe there will be a deal. Also, Hamas was not invited, so even if a deal is struck, they'll just blow it apart, perhaps literally. Tom also tells us that feelings run so deep that some people at the conference won't even shake hands. That's probably not a good sign.

If you're wondering why you should care about any of this, CNN's own Ben Wedeman breaks it down for you (and after reading his last paragraph I kind of heart Ben now). Given our little adventure in Iraq, I've never understood Bush's totally hands off approach to the Mideast conflict (one of many things I don't understand about him). The fact of the matter is that much of the Arab world sees what's happening in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as one and the same. You can't ignore one and solve the other. This becomes clear in a fascinating discussion that takes place between an Al Jazeera journalist and an American Lieutenant in the documentary Control Room (watch here for free). It's also why the Iraq Study Group strongly recommended active negotiations toward peace in the Middle East. Not that the administration listened to them about anything anyway.

For more discussion of what went on in Annapolis, The Gerg joins us live because he's been in those conferences before. He'd like to give Bush credit for getting this whole process started. What the hell? Yeah, it only took him seven years. But then Anderson's like, isn't Bush the same guy "who basically wrote this off years ago?" Thank you, Anderson! Man, I would have been ticked if everybody was just going to play like they have amnesia. "Come on, Anderson. You are in the state of South Carolina. People believe in redemption down there," jokes The Gerg. Hey, you're not allowed to be charming when you almost let history be rewritten--even if accidentally. Anyway, then they discuss how the leaders are weak on all sides and this thing is probably going to collapse into one big suckfest. Yay?

Erica Hill brings us the headlines and they contain something about Natalie Holloway. And it's only in the headlines. Yay! Let's keep it that way. Pleeeease. Okay, now onto tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" Remember last night's story about Miss Puerto Rico and her composure despite dealing with a pepper spray-spiked gown and make-up? It turns out she might have made the whole thing up. Gasp!!! How very Rovian of her. Police want to know how she stopped crying between camera appearances. "...for me, when I cry between camera appearances, it is very hard to recover," deadpans Anderson. Bwah! Aw, he's so very emo. Sometimes he just sits in the dark and plays track four of REM's "Automatic For the People." You know the one.

Next up, we're joined live by John Zarella who tells us about an NFL player that was shot by an intruder and later died. He was only 24, so that's pretty sad, but that's about all I really took in on this story. Is it completely horrible that every time I see John I think of drag queens named Sushi and dropping shoes? If you have no idea what I'm talking about, watch New Year's Eve. Anyway, we're then joined by Roland Martin live for discussion. Anderson lists some other NFL violence and basically asks what's up with that. Roland explains that pro-athletes are increasingly being seen as targets. Not to blame the victim or anything, but if it was just about robbery, wouldn't we see this just as prevalently across the board in other professions that make a lot, like actors? Just wondering out loud.

Moving on now to a Randi Kaye two-parter piece on the murder of a Chicago doctor. The twist in this case is that the killer fled to France, became a French citizen, and now they can't extradite him. Of note is that the dude says he didn't plan to kill the doctor, but rather was going to just cut off his hands and feet and then close the wounds with a blow torch. Because that's much better. After Randi's piece, we're joined by Jeffrey Toobin who tells us that the guy could be tried in France, but he'd only get a maximum of 20 years. Dude. Are we going to need to change the name of our fries again?

On now to some pimping of newbie Campbell Brown's attack ad special and then Erica is back with more headlines. We learn than according to the UN, Iceland is the bestest place to live in the world. Anderson does not concur. Apparently his night spent their was cold. I'm guessing the Icelandic Tourism Board will not be nominating Anderson for most favorite anchor. The Shot tonight involves hockey. Erica tells us that she went to a big hockey school, but did not play because she needed to keep her teeth. " I didn't know those are real," says Anderson. Ouch. Iceland and now Erica. Anyway, apparently a bunch of teddy bears were given out as a promotion and all these hockey fans got ticked and threw them on the rink. Or something. Basically, we're seeing a lot of flying bears. Oh, and Erica would like to make a clarification: "The teeth are real. I never even had braces. OK? OK. " Okay. She then plays us a clip from 1979 where White Sox fans watched disco records get blown up. This is followed by some talk that Lou Dobbs and the Wolfbot were actually there. "Well, Dobbs and Blitzer back in the day, they were big into the whole mosh pit scene," says Anderson. Oh, now that's a disturbing image to leave us with. Thanks a lot, Cooper. The show tonight wasn't bad. Yay for the Mideast coverage. I guess I'll see if I can get through the republican debate and I'll have something up for you on Thursday. B

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fact Checking 08ers, Giuliani's Abortion Stance, Denying Birth Control, MySpace Suicide, And Raw Politics (Monday's Show)

Hi everyone. Happy new week! We're easing into things tonight by beginning with the political. Anderson Cooper intros us into a Candy Crowley "Keeping Them Honest" piece on the reality behind some of the "facts" the presidential candidates have been spouting on the stump. We learn about Romney and Huckabee's tax plans, as well as where Obama and Clinton stand on where they want to go with health care. While I really do appreciate the attempt to focus on actual policy over the horse race, that was a lot of info quickly squeezed into a short little package. In other words, I'm not sure anyone actually learned anything. But at least they're trying. Now would probably be a good time for me to bring up what was one of my must-read sites during the 2004 campaign season: It's non-partisan and an essential tool in finding out the straight scoop on what's really going on behind the candidate's statements. I mean, what else do we have to rely on? The media? Ha!

Next up, we've got discussion with Ed Rollins, David Gergen, and Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation. I missed most of this (sorry), but I got down the stuff about Oprah. Apparently the queen of daytime television will be going on the campaign trail with Obama. Look under your chairs, America. You get a president! And you get a president! And you get a president! Anderson wonders if Oprah can do for Obama what she's done for books. Ed is totally down with the Oprah-love. But then Anderson brings up the fact that Oprah's presence could have the opposite effect because people sometimes resent celebrities popping up. The Gerg doesn't think this will happen and his interest seems piqued over a possible surrogate battle, pitting Oprah versus Clinton's slightly well-known husband. Katrina says it will be like two rock stars--one without baggage. Um, which is the one without the baggage?

Moving on now to a John King piece on how Giuliani's been a-flipping and a-flopping around the abortion issue. Funny story. See, back when he was mayor, Giuliani was all, woo hoo, yay women's rights regarding abortion! Now? Not so much. It seems he's gotten a wee bit more conservative on the issue. Why ever would that be, I wonder. Sure, taking a harder stance on a woman's right to choose would make him more palatable to the Christian Right, an important block of voters for republicans, but a candidate would never toss aside what he believes in just to get elected, right? Right? Anyway, in the piece we get some old Giuliani clips, which I love. Well, I don't specifically love Giuliani clips, but you know what I mean. It's just nice to be reminded that there was a past, because I think sometimes cable news forgets. In any regards, I bet Romney's happy right about now that he's no longer the only one holding the flip flop title.

Transitioning now to the Randi Kaye piece that the website has advertised about a million times. I get that breaking news occasionally knocks stories back, but I don't understand why they even bother previewing the show on the site because it seems like 9 times out of 10 it's not what ends up airing--even when there's not breaking news. But whatever. Not a huge deal. Anyhoo, the piece is about the increasingly prevalent practice of religious doctors refusing to prescribe contraception or the morning after pill because it contradicts with their personal moral beliefs. Sometimes even in cases of rape. Surprisingly, the American Medical Association sides with the doctors and maybe even more surprisingly to some of you, so do I. In my opinion, no doctor should have to do something they're morally opposed to. That being said, if a doctor has a moral objection to something, it should be their responsibility to make sure they seek employment in places where there will always be another doctor there to step up. Because a rape victim having to travel to another doctor for the morning after pill is unacceptable.

Erica Hill brings us tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" and we're shown a picture of a nice Iraqi bride and groom . . . hey, that's not a bride! That's right, the female half of this couple is not a female at all, but a wanted militant. The two were busted at a checkpoint. It looks like the militants are getting more creative, or more desperate. Anderson tells us they're now honeymooning behind bars. "Probably not what they had in mind," says Erica. "Probably not. Or maybe," replies Anderson. Ha! I'm actually not completely sure his mind just went to the same place as mine, but we'll just assume it did.

On now to a Gary Tuchman piece that actually ran on a Friday a little over a week ago, but I don't blog Fridays, so here we are. In the tease, Anderson says there's a new twist in the case, but after watching the whole story, I have no idea what he's talking about. This is actually a really horrible story. Megan Meier was a teen with low self esteem, who under the supervision of her parents, created a MySpace page in order to make friends. And she did. It wasn't long before she met a boy named Josh that changed her world. Then one day Josh was calling her names and saying horrible things, which sent Megan into a tailspin. Unable to take the cyberbullying, Megan hung herself in her closet and died the next day. This alone is horrific, but unfortunately kids being cruel like this is not uncommon. What makes this story worse is that after Megan's death, her parents found out that "Josh" never even existed--his account was nothing more than a sock puppet that was created by the neighbors down the street who were trying to get information from Megan. Adults. Adults did this to a kid. It's sickening.

In the piece, Gary goes to the offending family's house and the woman's father answered the door, but really didn't say much. CNN is not releasing the name of the family that did this to Megan in order to protect their daughter. I respect that (why ruin another kid's life, right?). But, um, in the future, if CNN wants to keep a name under wraps, they probably shouldn't put the police report with the name on screen. Just saying. Since the last airing of this piece the family name, address, phone number, business, you name it, is all over the Internets. And no, I'm not linking. I have no idea if the sleuthing originated with the police report screen grab (it may have even started before the story aired), but honestly I'm sure it would have made it out there anyway. This story definitely touched a nerve, though I have to say, the mob-like thirst for revenge is more than a little disturbing. Anyway, after his piece, Gary talks a little about the new law being passed in response to this incident. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it will bring justice for Megan.

Continuing with this story, we're joined by Toobin and Dr. Drew Pinsky for discussion about the evils of the Internets. Anderson notes that kids often give out more intimate information online than they would face to face. Dr. Drew chalks that up to the anonymity of the web. I can see that and I can understand how hard it must be for a kid navigating the web. Every once and a while I'll have a mini debate in my head over whether I should include a piece of personal information in my posts. I'm not sure a kid would give it much thought. With regards to MySpace, Dr. Drew recommends contacting the social networking site itself if there's a problem, rather than the cops. I wouldn't think they'd be helpful, but apparently they are. So, uh, yay, MySpace! On the legal end, Toobin thinks it would be really hard to prove Megan's suicide was caused by what happened. Hopefully the law will help future kids that are harassed.

Tom Foreman now brings us our "Raw Politics" and we learn that Trent Lott is retiring to begin a life as a philanthropist. Oh, no, wait. I meant lobbyist. We also learn that Bush just made a long-term commitment to Iraq. Um, hold the phone! Okay, I love "Raw Politics" with its wacky delivery by the lovable Tom Foreman, but this kind of thing is a little annoying. The segment is light-hearted--great for the bickering of annoying politicians. A new commitment to Iraq is not lighthearted--that's big news. News that's worthy of a piece, not a laugh. People need to know when something is serious. Rant over. Tom also tells us that Bush and Gore spent some time together at the White House to celebrate Gore's Nobel Prize (awkward!), Oprah is campaigning for Obama, and the owner of the Moonlight Bunny Ranch is endorsing Ron Paul. I guess you take what you can get. You know, I'm going to go out on limb and say Paul might just surprise us all.

The Shot tonight is some dirty hijinks going down at the Miss Universe pageant. Apparently, someone spiked Miss Puerto Rico's gown and make-up with pepper spray, causing her to break out in hives. But a beauty queen is always a professional (except when she's, um, spiking the competition's gown with pepper spray) and composure was kept. Man, pageants are brutal! Erica thinks this is a good time to break out the clip of Tara Connor crying and promising to be the "best Miss USA that you've ever seen." This is then sufficiently mocked by Anderson, as it should be. Erica notes that Tara now has her own reality show. Oh good lord. Anderson wonders if it's like that Tia Tequila person, but Erica doesn't think she's looking for love. "I'm not sure what she's looking for, other than some sort of rash," says Anderson.

Okay, I don't have any idea who this Tia Tequila person is, but I think Anderson just kind of called her a whore. Also? I find it a little disturbing that a guy that has over a decade on me is more versed in the current offerings of MTV than I am. Heh. And while we're on the subject, why doesn't MTV play music anymore? Video killed the radio star and then apparently was murdered itself by the reality show. I'll stop whining now. I'm just saying sometime a girl just wants to watch a video. In regards to the show, not stellar, but at least no missing white girls or celebrity crap. B-

Sunday, November 25, 2007

News You Might Have Missed

Hi everybody. Welcome back to my weekly attempt to bring you the news that you might have missed. I hope everyone is recovering nicely from their turkey coma. Every week needs to end in a long weekend. Because this work stuff? I really don't care for it at all. There should be a law or something. Anyway, while I was very busy not blogging for you, I was also busy not watching the show (hey, everybody needs a break). So I don't really know exactly what 360 did or didn't cover (though I suspect the shows were of the same meh-quality we've been getting for a while), which means maybe they actually hit on some of the following. As always, some of this stuff broke later than 360 could cover it.
  • Is our children learning? Americans are not only reading less; their reading proficiency levels are dropping as well.
  • Left behind again. The commission that selects sites for presidential debates has rejected New Orleans as a host, stating that the city has not recovered enough since Katrina.
  • Red tape continues to hurt the troops. After soldier Jordan Fox brought media exposure to the fact that the military was asking for signing bonuses back from wounded soldiers (because they couldn't complete their tours), the Army assured those involved that it was all a mix-up. Nevertheless, senators Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton are introducing legislation to make sure this doesn't happen again. Keep an eye on this one. It's not over.
  • Okay, so the senate doesn't suck all the time. Due to Bush's penchant for recess appointments, the senate is going on a preemptive strike by having individual senators gavel 30 second sessions every couple of days while everyone is on break. That's amusingly diabolical. Now fellas (and ladies!), how about ending that war?
  • Fudging the numbers? The official Pentagon tally of wounded does not reflect injuries discovered after a soldier returns home, thus resulting in 20,000 troops with brain trauma not being given a casualty classification.
  • Turning a corner. Amid the overall decreased violence, women in Iraq are finding life increasingly difficult.
  • Crikey, that's embarrassing. Conservative Prime Minister John Howard goes the land down under, suffering a big defeat to the Labor Party.
  • Let's just keep on doing nothing about that global warming. A new study has found that natural disasters quadrupled over the past two decades.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Hi everybody. With our anchor gone for the week and a lot of people busy with holiday festivities (including me), I've decided to not worry about reviewing. But I'll probably do a newsy post or two before the weekend is over. I hope everyone has a nice time with your families or whatever you're doing. I leave you with a Thanksgiving entertainment staple (I tried to find you guys a clip of the actual video, but The Man took them all down):

Sunday, November 18, 2007

News You Might Have Missed

Hi everybody. Welcome back to my weekly attempt to bring you the news that you might have missed. Sorry about skipping out on the post-debate coverage, but I was tired, and really, what more could I have said? Anyway, 360 has been trending toward the non newsy lately, so you missed a lot!
  • One step forward, two steps back? The income gap between black and white families has grown.
  • The poor continue to be left behind on the gulf coast. Congress required Mississippi (and other states) to spend half of their federal grant money related to the hurricanes on low-income citizens, but to date, the poor have only gotten about 10 percent while the upper-class and business community have received the majority.
  • Not a good time for a math mistake. When working on new gate and levee repair data, someone at the Army Corps of Engineers put a minus sign when a plus sign was needed, putting them off by five feet. Now the flood protection in Lakeview and Old Metairie has only improved by a half a foot since Katrina.
  • Perhaps the fire response wasn't the perfect anti-Katrina as so many tried to spin it. Documents show that aircraft were not grounded by high winds as previously reported, but in some cases due to the failure of state officials to request them.
  • And to think there are still deniers. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issues scary new report. Yes Virginia, our Planet is in Peril.
  • Out of sight, out of mind? There is stew of plastic trash that is twice the size of Texas floating between San Francisco and Hawaii.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Lax Security, 2008 Talk, More OJ Crap, Missing White Girl, Alzheimer's Heartbreak, And Raw Politics (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everybody. We're kicking things off tonight with BREAKING NEWS that's actual real news. Well, sort of. It's not OJ, anyway (that comes later). You know that whole airport security thing? Turns out, still not so secure. I know, not a shocker, but it's still good to know. Jeanne Meserve joins us live to report that Government Accountability Office investigators were able to get IED components past the TSA. Yet when I flew a couple of weeks ago they made sure they went all the hell through my stuff. So anyway, the TSA is going to do new testing now, but, yeah. . .I mean, when they're not even checking all the cargo, this pretty much all just becomes for show.

Next up, we're moving to the political, specifically the stage in Vegas where John King, Gloria Borger, and Wolf Blitzer are gearing up for the Democratic Debate. They look weird just sitting there all alone on stage, but whatever. The discussion begins with Anderson Cooper bringing up Clinton's apparent flip flop on supporting drivers licenses for undocumented workers and John King notes she's going to be accused of being poll tested. You know, I don't know why people are freaking about the license thing. I support it--specifically because a few years ago a guy who didn't speak English, didn't have insurance, and didn't have a license, plowed into me, totaling my car and sending me to the hospital. I was never able to find out for sure if he was illegal, but he wasn't evil or anything. He just didn't understand the concept of yielding. Giving them licenses isn't ideal, but maybe it will prevent some crashes.

The talk then turns to electability (apparently both parties want their candidates to win--imagine that) and the Wolfbot stresses the importance of Iowa. I can't believe this is going to go on for a whole other year. More BREAKING NEWS now. The House has just passed a war funding bill with a timeline for bringing the troops home. Hm, I wonder how that will work out. But at least they're trying. Also? It seems Denny Hastert has had enough. The longest-serving Republican Speaker is apparently going to retire. Buh bye!

Transitioning now to . . . OJ! Yeah, you knew it was coming. A Ted Rowlands piece recaps the testimony and, hey, guess what. The case is going to trial! That cheering you hear is from the White House because they know they're about to get by with all hell of crap while they got The Juice covering the news cycle. After Ted's piece, we have Jeffrey Toobin in the studio and Linda Deutsch from the AP. Of note is Anderson talking about OJ's many facial expressions, which we're then played on a loop. Is this why my news totally sucks? You people are watching OJ make faces all day? Good lord.

Following the OJ crap, Anderson says, "So, where can you go from there? How about Pakistan? There's news out of Pakistan tonight." And Eliza gets all excited because I think they're about to do a story on Pakistan, but it's just the freakin bulletin. Oh, ten seconds. Thank you very much! That was cruel, Cooper. Anyway, Erica Hill then brings us tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" (this segment disappeared for a little bit, didn't it?) which involves a thief who tried to escape the cops by jumping in an alligator-infested lake. Ouch.

Moving on now to an Anderson piece on this missing white girl, Stacy Peterson, that may or may not have been murdered by her husband. Stacy Peterson. Laci Peterson. Even the names are becoming the same. After Anderson's piece, there's discussion with Toobin and Dr. Cyril Wecht. Can we leave this story for Nancy Grace? Please?

Next up, we move to the subject of Alzheimer's disease. Anderson informs us that last year, Sandra Day O'Connor retired from the bench to take care of her husband who was suffering from the disease, but now he's found a new love in his assisted living facility. It sounds horrible, but the family is happy for him and apparently this kind of situation is more common that one would think. A Gary Tuchman piece delves further and he introduces us to a husband with Alzheimer's disease, the wife who takes care of him, and . . .the husband's girlfriend who lives in the facility. The wife seems remarkably okay with it. But what are you going to do? It's not like they're cheating exactly.

Back to the studio now and we're joined by Sanjay and his poor little hurt hand. Did you know Sanjay broke his hand? That's not why he's here though, but I just want to take the opportunity to tell Sanjay he needs to sleep more. Being so tired you fail to see a flight of stairs is a little disconcerting coming from someone who, you know, cuts into brains. But get well soon! So anyway, Sanjay explains that even as late-term Alzheimer's will begin to rob a person of their long term memory, they still have a desire for intimacy. This relates to one of my favorite stories I have of my grandfather. One day near the end of his battle with Alzheimer's, he was sitting around with the family and kept grinning at my grandmother. Finally, he turned to my mom and said, "I'm going to marry her, someday." Aww. The disease had robbed him of the life they lived together, but he still knew he loved her.

I'm going to pass over Tom Foreman's "Raw Politics, so I can wrap things up. The Shot tonight is a freaky weird glow on a security camera at a gas station. Ooooh. Is it a ghost? Anderson doesn't think so. "But I think it's a scam to get people into the store," he says. Such a cynic. In other news, Happy Birthday (It was Thursday) to 360 subber and AMer, John Roberts! The show was eh. C

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

OJ Again, The Power Of Prayer And 360 Takes Your Calls, Bad Plastic Surgeon, Lou Dobbs, And Raw Politics (Tuesday's Show)

Hi everybody. We're beginning tonight with OJ, which . . . why, Anderson Cooper, why?! Sob. I don't get it. Is he really still bringing in the ratings? In any regard, we get a Ted Rowlands piece on some of OJ's posse testifying against him. Or something. Apparently OJ told these dudes to come and pack some heat and they were all just, like, "okay." And when one dude worried about the cops coming, OJ went N.W.A. circa 1988 and was all, "f*** tha police." Classy. After his piece, we get Ted live for a bit and then he goes off to contemplate and drown his OJ sorrows. Or who knows. Maybe Ted's all, "I'm covering OJ! Woo hoo!"

Next up, we're joined by two people who do in fact seem to suspiciously enjoy covering OJ: Linda Deutsch of the AP and 360's own lovable OJ expert, Jeffrey Toobin. Toobin is finding this testimony all kinds of amusing. He especially liked when one dude was asked if he was a pimp and the dude replied that that wasn't relevant. Okay, yes, that is rather comical. Later, Anderson throws down the line, "it's hard out here for a pimp," which is ever-the-more amusing coming from our very waspy anchor. Also? It totally reminds me of the snippet of CNN I caught on Easter where a peep (the candy) fell on the floor or something and the anchor was all, "it's hard out here for a peep." Cracked me up so much I still remember it. Yeah, that's neither here nor there, but really, is any of this at this point? Let's see, what else? Oh, Anderson notes that if he told his friends to come and pack heat they'd think he was crazy. Eh, lightweight. Eliza's posse would be totally down with that. It's how I roll.

Transitioning now to the Atlanta Governor praying for rain. Literally. Okay, if I lived in Atlanta that would not be making me feel all that secure right about now. Prayer is fine and dandy, yes, but you kind of want your elected officials, you know, fixing the problem. Plus, if they're going to get all metaphysical or whatever, wouldn't a rain dance perhaps be more efficient? Just a thought. Anyway, we then get a piece from Anderson about the power of prayer and learn that it can lower stress and increase immunity. Of course the dude from "Skeptic" magazine (I totally need a subscription) isn't so sure that prayer is all that. Now there's a shocker. After Anderson's piece, we're joined by Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. Mehmet Oz of Oprah-fame. They discuss a bit and then go to commercial, where I take the opportunity to pray that the rest of the show will look at serious issues related to our democracy and how our country is being governed. Spoiler alert! My prayers were not answered.

So okay, I'm not really sure what the whole purpose is here. It's not an uninteresting topic, but there hasn't been any real new ground covered lately (these discussions randomly pop up in different places every so often) and the whole thing feels way more Oprah than CNN. If you want to pray, pray. We're never going to be able to scientifically quantify whether or not it "works" or not. But anyway, 360 is really into this--so into this that they're taking your calls. The first call is actually kind of cool. It's from a man named Barry Ballister who had a bunch of heart attacks and was initially denied a heart transplant because he was too old. Upon receiving this news, he randomly flipped to a bible verse about the heart and decided to put it on his wall for everyone to read and pray. Three days later, a doctor came and promised him a new heart.

Though touching, this call was also amusing because you could kind of see an internal struggle going on in Anderson, who was obviously feeling the need to cut Barry off, but was too polite to do it. Barry was very articulate and spoke quickly, but well, his story was still long. And 30 seconds in the real world is like five hours in cable world. You could tell Anderson was getting that internal flashing "too long, TOO LONG!" sign and he tried to sneak in there with some "wows". But how are you going to cut off a story like that? The perils of anchoring. Another caller worth noting actually wasn't a caller at all, but emailer Barbara, who goes all practical on everyone's butt and ponders why we're not working on that pesky global warming problem. You know, one of the causes of droughts. Thank you, Barbara! One might also wonder why a news show is investigating prayer rather than, oh, I don't know, why Atlanta wasn't better prepared for this. Just a thought.

Moving on now to a David Mattingly piece on the death of Kanye West's mom. Apparently it's been confirmed she underwent plastic surgery with this very popular, but possibly shady, plastic surgeon. He's got two DUI's and sounds like maybe someone you wouldn't want cutting into you. And I'd like to note that I caught the tease for that entertainment show that Headline News does and they were going to pretty much do the same story that David here just did. Where's that line between entertainment and news again?

Up next, we've got BREAKING NEWS that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is dropping his plan to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. And I kind of get the feeling the only reason they're mentioning this is so they can play a Lou Dobbs clip. Anderson obviously sat down with him at some point and Lou got all crazy-excited about people identifying themselves as Independents. He doesn't believe any candidate currently running is going to win the presidency. Oh, Lou. I don't get it. What does it matter how I identify myself? I'm still going to end up voting for a democrat because they're the best option I've got. Poor Lou is holding onto the dream that there's someone coming to save us. I let go of that hope long long ago. Anyway, Lou then yells a lot and watching Anderson keep his smile in check is kind of funny.

Finally tonight, we have our "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman. First up, we learn that Bush is vetoing a health and education bill because he is just that evil. Okay to be fair (and I always try to be fair) he claims it's full of pork. And you know, maybe he'd actually have some credibility on this if he ever vetoed a pork-filled bill from the republican-lead congress or if maybe his wars weren't going to cost us over a trillion (with a "T") dollars. Next, we get a clip of Edwards stating that as president he will take away congress's health care if they don't give it to all citizens. Hm, cool, but probably not the way to make friends. Tom brings us a few other things too, but I'm going to wrap it up with Tom Tancredo, who I think we can now all finally officially put into the bat-shit insane camp. Are you scared yet? Pay no mind to some of those attacks being homegrown. Facts have no place in fear mongering.

Okay, so, 360, I'm getting a little concerned here. Do we need to have "the talk" again? The inconsistency in content quality waxes and wanes. Fine. It's something I and others have grown to accept. But PiP is over now and I kind of thought we'd maybe be in an upswing at this point. Not so. As my friend Arachnae commented tonight, "Well that was the most content-free 360 in living memory - OJ, prayer and plastic surgery. Is Anderson trying out for The View?" Skimming my archives of this time last year, it seems 360 was covering harder, more relevant stories. Since there was an election last November, I skimmed December too and the case was pretty much the same. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like the content of the show is slowly changing towards more fluff. There's less and less stuff out of Iraq and we haven't had an update from New Orleans in forever (unless they just did one when I was gone). Opinions, readers? D+

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Obama versus Clinton, Kanye West's Mom Dies, Plastic Surgery, UFO Conference, Raw Politics, And Extraordinary Rendition (Monday's Show)

Hi guys. Happy new week. We're kicking things off tonight with Anderson Cooper informing us of some speechifying that Obama and Clinton partook in this past weekend, and apparently Obama hit it out of the park. Both presidential candidates took shots at each other (oh, can't we all just get along? No? Okay then.), but it seems that Obama has the honor of being painted with the "most awesome" brush this time. Although personally I think the press is tired of the conventional wisdom that Clinton has this thing in the bag (conventional wisdom they themselves created, I might add) and now they're switching back to the the underdog narrative.

David Gergen and Roland Martin then join us for discussion and Anderson wonders why Obama was all fiery when he gave his speech, but more muted on Meet the Press. Roland explains that they're different venues. Why are people suddenly talking about Obama's fiery speeches? I saw the guy speak about a year ago and it was also very fiery. It's kind of his thing. They are so running out of things to talk about. Anderson then asks The Gerg if Clinton is really vulnerable or if that's just the latest narrative the media is running with. See! Anyway, I miss what the Gerg said because I'm all shocked about Anderson freakily reading my mind. But I did here him say Clinton will not go quietly into that good night. And who doesn't love a good Dylan Thomas reference? Well done, Gerg. How many more months of raging against the dying of the light, again?

Transitioning now to the news that Kanye West's mom died, possibly due to complications from plastic surgery. But they don't know for sure she even had surgery or what surgery she might have had. Details, details. We've got enough info for speculation, so here we are. When I heard the 20 second report of this on Countdown I said, "oh, that's sad." And then that was it. And that's all that was needed. This is not the kind of story that needs the "360" treatment. So now instead of saying "oh, that's sad," I'm sitting here rolling my eyes. Anyway, Anderson has a piece on Kanye's mom and then we have a piece from David Mattingly on how plastic surgery is, like, actually surgery and may be like, you know, actually serious. Are people really that stupid to think it's not a big deal? It's surgery! I mean, seriously?

On now to discussion with Dr. Seth Yellin, plastic surgeon, and Huffington Post blogger, Irena Medavoy, who had complications from Botox. Anderson brings up the fact that another surgeon wanted Kanye's mom to get a medical clearance before he would perform surgery and Anderson wonders why one would need a clearance. I don't really understand the nature of this question. If he's asking it straight, the answer seems obvious: surgery is surgery and can be dangerous. But he might have been fishing for what might have been wrong with her and if that's the case, why? Do we need to know that? Just let it go. Anyway, also of note in this discussion is that Irena's dentist (I think) told her she had the first natural lips he'd touched in a month. Oh my God. And then Anderson talks about people having procedures done in the mall, leaving me to wonder what malls he's been walking around in. Not in the midwest, apparently.

From plastic surgery, we're moving on to UFO's. No, really. Anderson informs us that the majority of Americans believe the government has not been totally forthcoming when it comes to the unidentified objects in the sky. Our government lying to us? Why would we think that, I wonder? Anyway, we then have a Gary Tuchman piece on a little meeting that went on in DC amongst non crazy and possibly respectable people who happen to believe they have seen UFO's. But unfortunately for them, the FAA will not investigate. After Gary's piece we're joined by panel organizer James Fox and astronomer and skeptic, James McGaha. We start with Fox who talks about all the UFO evidence that's out there and then Anderson cuts to the chase with McGaha: "I know you're skeptical, why?" Then the two James' waste a lot of time interrupting each other and I have a weird little moment where I realize I'm actually watching two people debate about UFO's on CNN. Uh huh. Yeah.

Next up we have our nightly "Raw Politics" with Tom Foreman. First up we learn that Edwards is working to help veterans with PTSD and Romney is working the veteran education angle. Both noble efforts, but what about the fact that more than 25 percent of the homeless in this country are veterans? I'd say that's an unacceptable statistic. In other news, McCain is getting a loan and Clinton got busted planting a question. Presidential.

The final piece of the night is from Jason Carroll, who brings us the terrifying tale Maher Arar, a Canadian engineer who was born in Syria. Arar was on his way back to Canada from a vacation when he was detained at JFK airport because he was on the terrorist suspects list. From there, he was for all intents and purposes, disappeared. This is when that cuddly little phrase "extraordinary rendition" comes in (for more see this New Yorker piece). Arar was accused of being affiliated with Al Qaeda and sent to Syria where he was horrifically beaten and threatened with electric shock. After enduring this for a while, he couldn't take it anymore, and finally signed a false confession to terrorist training in Afghanistan, a country he had never been to. The Canadian government has compensated Arar for his ordeal. The US government on the other hand, has not only failed to apologize, Arar is still on the watch list. He still waits for his apology, but I wouldn't hold my breath. This is our government now. This is who we are now. Until we change it.

The Shot tonight is a kangaroo freaking out all over Melbourne. Too much sugar, perhaps? Then Erica Hill shows us a clip of a deer that jumped into a zoo pool. Of course the clip is made less fun when she informs us the deer had to be put down. Way to bum me out, Erica. Also? Someone's playing with some God-awful sound effects and apparently they're really loud in Anderson and Erica's earpieces. This of course makes sound guy turn it up even louder and well, hey, we don't need anchors that can hear, anyway. As long as they look pretty while reading a prompter, right? Kidding, anchors, kidding. But where is the dramatic prairie dog graphic? Aw, you guys haven't tired of that already, have you? This is why I call 360 my friend with ADHD. Anyhoo, the show was, um, weird. Plastic surgery and UFO's? Really? I would have much rather seen discussion about the extraordinary rendition piece and not plastic surgery. C+

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Things That Make You Go Hm...

Hi guys. Normally about this time I'd be bringing you the "news you might have missed," but after being out of town and being sick, well, I have no idea what you missed because I missed it too. I'm sure we'll survive. Anyway, I'm making this post because I'm quite comfuzzled over Friday's show. Okay, it's no secret to regular 360 viewers that Friday is kind of a dumping ground for the show. We've been trained to know that we're either getting an old, much viewed special, or if the show does happen to be live, it pretty much can be filed under the label "phoned in." It's something we've accepted and one of the reasons why I don't blog the show on Fridays.

Besides Anderson actually being there live, last Friday did not begin out of the ordinary (OJ, hello!). But then out of the blue, I suddenly found myself watching "Al Qaeda: The Looming Terror", a brand-spanking new 360 special filled with informative awesomeness. What? So basically, CNN took a great special and dropped it on a Friday like an afterthought with no promotion, leading one to wonder, what is up with that? Yet Thursday's "Planet in Peril" special, which I didn't think was all that good (sorry), got plenty of promotion. CNN makes no sense to me sometimes. Okay, a lot of times.

Friday, November 09, 2007

OJ (Yes, OJ) And A "Planet In Peril" Hodpodge (Thursday's Show)

Hi everybody! Did you miss me? One of the souvenirs I brought back from my vacation seems to be a nasty cold, so you're going to have to bear with me here for a bit. Also? Apparently I have the worst timing ever because I have chosen to resume reviews on a day when 360 is mostly a special. Oh wells. Anyway, before moving into "Planet in Peril" discussion, we get the top story of the day. Pakistan? Perhaps an update on the writer's strike even? No sillies. It's OJ of course! Perfect. Because the whole time I was on vacation I couldn't help but wonder, hey, what's going on with OJ? Sigh. Ted Rowlands then joins us live from Vegas and he talks a bit about the tape where OJ can be heard, um, urging people to not leave. After Ted, we've got our "Simpson Scholar" Jeffrey Toobin and the AP's Linda Deutsch for more. They talk about stuff I neither understand or care about. Toobin also notes there's enough stuff here for an actual trial. Good lord, I need to be on medication for this.

Transitioning now to a taped special that includes V-Mail, "Planet in Peril" clips, and discussion. We begin with a summary of the documentary and then move straight into an outtake. Hm. Filler, perhaps? (BTW, all outtakes can be seen here.) We're also treated to the clip where Anderson shows off his potty mouth because he's scared to rappel. Hey man, no judging here. I probably would have said worse. After the random clips we're back in the studio with James Hansen of NASA and Patrick Michaels of CATO. Gee kids, which one of these guys do you think is advocating we do nothing to combat climate change? If CATO threw up a red flag for you, you get a cookie! Patrick is all about passing the buck to future generations apparently. But he's not nuts. He wants to know exactly how we're going to decrease emissions and that's a legitimate question. Too bad I can't trust CATO.

Next up we have a clip of Senator James Inhofe, saying the following: "I have been personally attacked by -- by Anderson Cooper. It's taking place right now, even this week, calling me every kind of name, all kinds of threats." Bwah! As you might imagine, Anderson is pretty much all, WTF? "For the record, I never called the senator any names at all or ever made any threats toward him. The idea that I would make threats toward him is simply bizarre. I, frankly, have no idea what he's talking about," says Anderson. Hahaha! I'm sorry, but that's fairly hilarious. I told you guys that dude is crazy. You pretty much have to laugh at our elected official's bat-shit insaneness because otherwise, well, it's kind of scary.

Moving on now to Jeff Corwin talking about drowning polar bears (aw) and then we're back in the studio with Patrick and James for some polite passive-aggressive arguing about carbon reduction. From there we're played an adorable V-Mail that comes at us all the way from Japan. Normally I'm not really a fan of what one might call "squee", but, really, how can you resist Mio Bella? Let's see, from there we get another outtake clip--this one mentioning bear vagina. Oh my!

Next up, we get a clip from Sanjay Gupta involving the dirty water in China, as well as a short clip from the body burden testing piece. This leads us into a studio discussion with Sanjay, Shawna Swan of the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and Elizabeth Wheelan, president and founder of the American Council on Science and Health. Elizabeth thinks fears of chemicals in our systems are overblown and apparently she wasn't all that thrilled (at least initially) regarding how she was treated by CNN. You can read about that here. Anyway, apparently her organization gets most of its funding from the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, which probably is something that should have been brought up. Sanjay points out that just because we're not seeing effects from all these chemicals now, doesn't mean there's not one--science may need to catch up. Good point, Sanjay.

The rest of the special really isn't all that worth noting. Anderson wraps things up by asking the rest of the three musketeers what they'll take away from the experience. Sanjay says he realizes that these environmental changes are actually happening now. Jeff jokes that his arm stripes finally went away. See, what happens when you shower? Heh. Then he gets all serious regarding the perfect storm of "climate change and habitat loss and human population growth and overexploitation of species." And...REM takes us out. Maybe it's because I'm sick, but that hour kind of felt thrown together to me. The discussions were so short they were almost rendered meaningless and the outtakes felt kind of random. I'm wondering how many V-Mails they got for this. Maybe not enough? Who knows. B-

Friday, November 02, 2007

Drew and the Mule Museum

Edit from Eliza: Hi guys! I'm back and so very tired. I need a vacation to recover from my vacation. Think my boss will go for that? Yeah, probably not. I see Arachnae has kept the blog alive. Anyway, reviews will resume with Thursday's show.

Drew Griffin is getting a lot of mileage out of the Earmarks Beat; his current objet du scorn is a 50K earmark for a mule museum in Bishop, California. But you know what? I just can't get too exercised over the whole issue.

Yeah, it's easy to make jokes - the very phrase "Mule Museum" seems to have 'punchline' pre-stamped on it. But fifty thousand dollars? Yeah, they're certainly tax dollars, but come on - we're burning billions in Iraq every month.

The whole Bone of Contention vis a vis earmarks, as I understand it, is that they creep into the budget under the cover of darkness, with no names attached. So why is this 50,000 so noisome? The sponsor makes no attempt to hide his involvement in getting it into the budget. (I can't believe I'm defending a member of the GOP, but come on...) So why is this any worse than, say, handing out huge tax breaks to your corporate campaign donors?

Yeah, yeah - the public's money. The old saying goes: Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves. But you know what? That's not remotely true. You can balance your petty cash drawer to a faretheewell, but if the CEO is offshoring all the profits... Congressional earmarks make up a paltry fragment of the federal budget, and compared to what we're blowing in Iraq, a Mule Museum is the equivalent of change found in the sofa cushions.

But this all is beside the larger issue, which is: where were the watchdogs of the press when we were being lied into a war that is ultimately going to cost us two trillion (with a T) dollars? You remember, the war that would 'pay for itself' out of oil revenues from the oil we apparently were planning to rip off?

Sorry, but I can't take Drew seriously as a Truth-Speaker to Power until he shows me how he challenged the overwhelming stampede to war in '03.

Memo to Soledad O'Brien - It's pronounced a-RACK-nee. Isn't that simple?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Today's lesson: The Strawman

Hi, Readers - I'm Arachnae, the sub. Eliza left me the keys to this place to keep you entertained while she's out gallivanting around. She told me I didn't have to write reviews, which is good, because I did one for her once, and it's a lot of work. And I already have a job. So think of me as like the 'cool sub', the one who throws the lesson plan away and let you write that paper on Tattoo Art Through the Ages for a history credit.

So let's talk about the recently aired Planet in Peril documentaries. It's interesting to me to see the reaction from the environmental-denialists on the Right. Here's an informative example from Rush Limbaugh, Dean of Bombast, who didn't bother watching because:
RUSH: Nope. I know what it's going to be; I know what it's going to say; I know how they're going to lie; I know how they're going to get things wrong. I know what Anderson Cooper did the other night claiming 40% of Greenland is melting, when it's not. So no, it's a propaganda series. It's no different than a Michael Moore movie.
Wait. What? Anderson said 40% of Greenland is melting? I don't remember that. For those of you similarly perplexed, here's what he really said:
COOPER: You have to be very careful when you're walking on a sheet of ice or a glacier in Greenland because there can be hidden crevices that open up. You could fall right through, and that will be the end of you. The thickness of the ice in Greenland has been changing over the last few decades. It's of great concern to scientists who are studying it. They found that in some spots, ice thickness has diminished by as much as 40 percent in the last 40 years.
Do you read that to mean that Anderson is claiming that Greenland is forty-percent gone? No, I didn't either.

This is a fine example of the Strawman logical fallacy - when you can't refute facts you dislike or positions you disagree with, misrepresent them until they become something you can attack and then refute that.

Of course, the only use Limbaugh has ever had for logic was to provide Professor of Logic Ray Perkins with examples of every logical fallacy ever defined. Sadly, pointing out the faulty logic in Limbaugh's reasoning will not alter a dittohead's opinion one iota - they believe because they want to believe; don't confuse them with facts. (See: Fox News. In fact, more on them later.)
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