Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Florida! Florida! Florida! (Tuesday's Show)

Hi everyone. Out of curiosity, how many seasons did your neck of the woods go through today? Because I think my area went through about all of them. Early this afternoon we were literally breaking records with a high of 73, but mere hours later it plummeted 50 degrees. No, not to 50 degrees; by 50 degrees, with a final low eventually getting down to about 12. Brrr. And of course during that free fall we had storms that were accompanied by snow flurries, sleet, and hail, not to mention the 50 to 60 mile per hour winds that went on all day making it sound like someone was determined to huff and puff and blow my house down. I actually took some video of the hail, and considered sending it to CNN as an I-Report, but eh, it didn't impress me enough. Granted I've seen some massively lame things make it onto CNN, but I don't really need to add to that. Besides, once you've been in a storm with softball-size hail (I wish I had video of that one!), everything else seems piddly in comparison.

You might be wondering right now, Eliza why are you giving us a weather report? Well, it's because quite frankly I'm running out of things to say about these damn primaries. I suspect our friendly punditry is also suffering from this problem, which would account for the sporadic bouts of retardness. I probably only watched half the coverage-if that, but when watching Anderson Cooper's panel, did anyone else find themselves distracted by the big frickin plane behind them? Do all presidential libraries have planes (provided of course that there were planes at the time) or is Reagan just special? You know, with him being one rung below Jesus and all--at least according to conservatives. I guess tomorrow night the candidates will be tripping over each other to prove that they are in fact the most Reagany. Reagantastic? Reaganiferic? Submit your own!

So anyway, the night came to a close with a real win for McCain, a symbolic win for Clinton, and one sad little man by the name of Rudy Giuliani quietly crying in the corner. I almost even feel sorry for the guy (I said almost, let's not get crazy). His campaign was nearly more pathetic than Fred Thompson's and that's saying something. As we all know, the Giuliani plan was to tell all the other states to suck it and then clean up in Florida, which, obviously, didn't happen. Mr. 9-11 was also counting on being able to scare everyone into voting for him, but I think the sucky economy came to bite him in the butt by way of monopolizing the news cycle and pushing terrorism into the background. Both horrible strategies. Sorry, Rudy. Thanks for playing. As for the republican winner, it was a tight race between two creepy smilers, but McCain eventually emerged victorious (and if reporting is correct, will soon be picking up a Giuliani endorsement). I was kinda hoping it would be Romney. I'm fairly confident both democratic front runners can beat Romney. McCain? I'm not so sure. But believe it or not, it's still early, and Super Tuesday can change the story all over again.

On the other side of the aisle, Clinton's win wasn't near as newsworthy. Due to the Florida state party being stupid, or the democratic national party being mean, or both, or something that I don't understand, Clinton will go home with no delegates. So essentially the win doesn't really count, but she was all "yay me!" anyway. And, hey, good for her. And speaking of Clinton, today it seems there was a mini uproar on the 360 blog regarding a perceived pro-Obama/anti-Clinton bias. Usually I don't read that many comments, but since it still has that fresh new blog smell, I've been perusing a little longer these past couple of days and was surprised to see so many people angry at 360/CNN's coverage. It's kind of ironic that the channel the right-wing lovingly anointed the "Clinton News Network" is now being accused of having an anti-Clinton bias, but here we are. I'm not really sure what to think. I've never been one to see an ideological bias in the news (excepting of course Fox News) for ideology sake--though sometimes the very real bias to their corporate ownership can manifest itself as conservative bias.

There are biases sure, but I think sometimes people see partisanship when the true culprit is simple laziness or the desire for get the picture. And while it's true that some--even a lot--of the campaign coverage has been unbelievably stupid (and I believe I've pointed out some of those instances on this blog--Clinton almost-crying coverage, for example), it didn't occur to me to think that the network as a whole had any kind of agenda. So tonight I decided to watch closer and the first thing that caught my eye was that they cut Clinton's speech off. To be honest, I didn't watch any of the other speeches. Maybe they did that to McCain too, I don't know. What I do know is that if Obama had given a victory speech, I really doubt they would have cut it off. Does that mean I think there's some kind of anti-Clinton thing going on at CNN? No, not necessarily. But it does mean I'll be watching closer now. Because I'm probably going to be undecided up until the minute before I vote on Super Tuesday and I want to make sure I go into that booth undistorted.

Some randomness: Tonight I wanted to strangle Huckabee (note to government lurkers: uh, just kidding). Why? Because he continuously called my state Missourah. It's like nails on a chalkboard, people. And, and, he did it while he was in Creve Coeur, which is a St. Louis suburb. Not smart. Anyway, you might be laughing at me and my pet peeve, but that seriously annoys people here. It's okay though. Later in the broadcast, John King made me feel better by saying it the right way. Thanks, John! Another piece of randomness is that I totally cracked up when Bill Bennett simply sincerely asked if Ron Paul would be in the debate tomorrow. I don't even know why it made me laugh, but I think it's because Paul has become like the crazy uncle that everyone has to invite out of obligation and just kind of puts up with. Also? Of course Ron Paul is going to be there. Ron Paul is everywhere! Or at least his supporters.

The other day when I was complaining to 360 about their missing "Blog From the Back Row" (which has since returned-yay!), it occurred to me that I basically stopped doing "News You Might Have Missed" posts with no explanation. I think my new strategy will be just to not make any promises. It's not like you haven't missed news; I'm just missing time to do those posts. So I'll try to do it sometimes--or at least when there's something big. Besides, the 360 "Morning Buzz" ain't too shabby now is it? But I do have something for you today. Have you ever wondered just exactly how many lies we were told during the run-up to the Iraq war? Well, it turns out somebody counted. According to the Center for Public Integrity, the magic number is 935. My first reaction? Seems a little low. But anyone who feared this stuff would quietly slip down the memory hole can now breath a little easier. There's even a searchable database! A searchable database of lies. The idea of that should probably make me sad, but I'm just happy to have the tool. Oh, and speaking of lies, Think Progress, has been in a fact checking tizzy regarding Bush's SOTU address, if anyone is interested. Finally, for some comic relief, we have the Daily Show and Colbert Report writers in a mock WGA debate:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Post State Of The Union Address And 2008 Discussion (Monday's Show)

Hi everybody. Break open the liquor cabinet because it is that time of year again. Tonight America sits though what has become somewhat of a tradition of seeing how much BS our current prez can fit into a 90 minute period of time. Turns out? Quite a lot. With all the focus on who will be the next leader of our great nation, a part of me forgot about him. So tonight was a jarring little reality check that, oh yeah, he's still there. And while some may celebrate the fact that this was our last SOTU from "the decider," I'd like to remind everyone that we're still stuck with him for a whole year. There is a lot you can screw up in a year. Granted, at this point we're running out of things to be destroyed (hey, they still can't make you quarter a soldier in your house, that's something, right?), but I can't exactly say that helps me sleep at night. Have you ever babysat a really bratty, rowdy kid that you end up chasing around all night and watching like a hawk to make sure they don't break anything? This is the situation we're in now. We're running out the clock, praying that the adults are back in charge of the house before the kid breaks a lamp.

Anderson Cooper picks up CNN's coverage about 25 minutes past the hour and we go straight to Ed Henry, who really has nothing to report. There was nothing significant about the speech at all, other than the unmistakable sound of quacking. Can you say lame duck? From here we go to a panel with John King, Gloria Borger, Jeffrey Toobin, and David Gergen. It's weird to listen to them discuss the speech as if anything Bush said actually mattered. I mean, at this point we all know that everything out of the man's mouth is just a crap sandwich. The speech was good for mocking and drinking games, but little else. And actually, 360 must sort of agree since there's not much more talk about the SOTU related to Bush.

We then move on to an interview with Mitt Romney and Anderson asks what he would do to stimulate the economy. Hey, an actual policy question. Part of Romney's plan would involve lowering the corporate tax rate (big surprise) and getting rid of payroll taxes for those 65 and older. When asked about immigration, he differs with Bush in that he doesn't support a guest worker program and he thinks they need to go home and get in line. Because getting 12 million people to go home will be easy. We're then played a clip of McCain calling a Romney a flip-flopper and Anderson wonders if he ever changed positions when it didn't help him politically. Mitt cites his health care plan and his hate of the Department of Education. But that doesn't matter because McCain is desperate and he's a flip-flopper too, doncha know? And McCain is just all kinds of bad things, but Romney here is such a swell guy that he's not going to attack him personally. At least that's what he said...right after attacking him.

Next up, it's Barack Obama's turn and Anderson again begins with the economy. Something Obama noticed in Bush's speech tonight was that there was no urgency, while on the campaign stump he's finding people are very anxious about their finances. He thinks we need a bolder plan than what Dubya is peddling--a long term solution that includes tax breaks for the middle/working class and an aggressive energy policy. Anderson points out that Clinton has similar ideas and wonders what the difference is between them. Obama says that on this issue it's going to come down to who can deliver a consensus by bringing people together. Well, seeing as though the two parties won't even play softball together anymore, good luck with that. Anderson then brings up the Ted Kennedy endorsement and wonders how he reconciles getting an endorsement from such an establishment member of the party and being the candidate of change. Ooh, good question. Basically Obama says they might not always agree on policy, but share a common "can do" spirit. From here they move onto CNN's favorite topic of late, Bill Clinton's involvement in his wife's campaign. Did he cross a line? Obama says he only has a problem with inaccurate statements, but you know he totally wishes the big dawg would disappear.

Speaking of disappearing, next 360 was supposed to have an interview with Hillary Clinton, but she canceled at the last second with no explanation. According to TVNewser, she canceled on everybody but Brian Williams. Damn that Brian Williams! He steals their announcer idea and jacks their Clinton interview. I do believe Anderson has a new nemesis. Anyway, so we're going to John McCain instead and, whoa, that is some scary smiling he'd doing. Again they start with the economy, but I kind of missed it. After that, Anderson brings up Bush's SOTU statement about how he's all about killing earmarks now, though he sure didn't mind them when the republicans were in charge. McCain did though. That's actually an issue he has credibility on. The dude has always hated the pork. Then Anderson asks if he actually thinks they're making political progress in Iraq and McCain is all, sure! Okay. Time out. All I hear lately is how the surge is working and I know that's crap. It doesn't mean it's not working, but I know it's a lot more complicated than that and I'm not really sure why the media has pretty much just decided to stop fact checking on that stuff. What happened to the on-the-ground reporting? Where is Michael Ware? Arwa Damon? Surely CNN has someone there? C'mon. After this there was a little issue over a Romney quote, but I was too distracted by more creepy smiling to properly get it down.

The interviews were actually better than I thought they were going to be. I went in with really low expectations, thinking it was going to be like when Anderson interviewed Edwards on the fly not that long ago. But there were actually policy questions and everything. Although McCain seriously needs to called on some of that crap he was spouting. Anyway, then Anderson starts talking about Obama and throws back to a clip from the interview he just did by saying, "We just spoke a short time ago." Uh, yeah, a very short time. After that, the panel talks about the Kennedy endorsement. Then they spice things up panel-wise, and have Gloria and Jeffrey pass the baton to Dan Schnur and Amy Holmes. The Gerg and John King stay put. This new panel basically talks about how Giuliani is a total loser. Okay, mild editorializing there. After a McCain clip, Dan tell us that if the debate is about Iraq, McCain will win and if it's about the economy, Romney will win. Interesting. Since I think Romney is the weaker candidate, c'mon economic talk!

Next up, we have Tom Foreman to explain how the whole delegate thing works. So far Obama has the most, but then there are these super delegates that count more. There are 1700 democratic delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday and it's actually possible for a candidate to lose the state but get more delegates. Basically? Democracy is confusing. After Tom, we play musical panel again, with Gloria and Toobin rotating back in, but Bill Schneider kicking out The Gerg. Toobin thinks it's possible that Super Tuesday could end the republican race, but probably not the one for the democrats. That one is going to go on for the rest of our lives, apparently. They talk a bit about how the super delegates are lobbied and Anderson wonders if those conversations might ever be recorded. Heh, you wish. Toobin says the super delegates are the opposite of profiles in courage. Ouch. From here we go to a Suzanne Malveaux piece (I think) about the Kennedy endorsement. Every time I see Kennedy giving a speech now I always think of Jon Stewart doing Mayor Quimby, essentially doing Kennedy. Kinda hard to take him seriously.

The panel then gets mixed up again. And good lord my head hurts. Anyway, they talk about the Florida race. The sister called me this weekend from work to tell me that Giuliani was across the street from her store. His mic was loud enough that she could hear, but surprisingly, she reports "9-11" was not repeatedly heard. She told me that at first she could only make out a bald guy and figured that might be him. It was. Heh. While Florida is make or break for Giuliani, it really doesn't matter to the democrats, since there are no delegates to grab. But since Clinton is ahead, now she's on the "Florida matters" train. Anderson wonders if the press is going to buy into that. Dude, one more time, you are the press! Well, he's part of the press. Don't want Anderson getting a big head or anything. This leads them to all talk about what they think they'll be paying attention to and it kind of makes my head spin around. The media is always distancing themselves from themselves.

It wasn't really a normal show, so I think I'll leave off the grade and just let my commentary stand. Did you guys check out the blog? It's gotten even more fancy-pants. And apparently it is "more interactive and more custom fitted to your daily blog needs." I didn't even know I had daily blog needs. Lookin good.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bill Clinton's Influence, Rezko Dealings, Economic Stimulus Package, HGH, And Post Republican Debate Discussion (Thursday's Show)

Hi everyone. We're kicking things off with the BREAKING NEWS that the New York Times is endorsing John McCain on the republican side of the 08 race and Hillary Clinton on the democratic side. What about "America's Mayor," one Mr. Rudy Giuliani? "Mr. Giuliani's arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking," says the Grey Lady. Whoa. Suck it, Mr. 9-11! Anderson Cooper then throws us to a Candy Crowley piece on the final days of the South Carolina campaign. Hillary Clinton is now back in the state and Bill seemed to concede that maybe he should stop the bickering with Obama. Of course that didn't stop them from continuing to go back and forth. Whatever. Can we all just vote tomorrow?

For discussion on the Clintons, we're joined by Carl Bernstein, author of "A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Clinton." He's been talking to Clinton supporters and people in the party that feel Bill is now out of control and destructive to the party. On the other hand, he thinks what Bill is doing is working because it's knocked Obama off his 'hope' game. But you know what? I want Obama to get knocked around a bit. Because if he can't survive this now, there's no way he's going to be able to get through what's coming with the general election. And we may as well find that out early before democrats once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Cynical? Yes. But also practical. We can wish for cordial campaigning all we want, but it's never going to happen. Anderson then brings up an ad that the Clinton's ran, falsely accusing Obama of saying he supported republican policies. They pulled it after 24 hours, but of course now it's out there. Very Rovian. Not cool. Clinton will make my choice easier if she keeps up that crap.

After Bernstein, we learn that Kucinich has dropped out of the race, a fact that Anderson deems "a footnote, really." Ouch. Damn Anderson, that's cold. Aw, buck up Kucinich! At least you still have a really hot wife. Ahem. From here we go to Drew Griffin live, standing in the freezing cold. Why? Not why are we going to Drew, but why must he stand in the cold? In these circumstances you all can do live shots from your hotels or wherever sometimes. I don't think many of us would actually care...or notice. Just saying. Anyway, Drew intros into a "Keeping Them Honest" piece he did on Tony Rezko and his connection to Obama. Drew tells us Rezko is like the Jack Abramoff of Chicago politics and his name was brought up by Clinton in the debates. Apparently one of the other candidates has to say something before we get any honesty keeping going on. The deal with Rezko is that he's a slum lord. The deal with Obama is he worked on some of the low income housing deals as an attorney and supported deals as a state senator. There's also an issue with land, but it doesn't seem like any of this stuff has a gotcha in it. Besides, as David tells us later, Clinton has had her own questionable dealings. Obviously two wrongs don't make a right, but one wonders what she's thinking.

Speaking of what people are thinking (my best transition ever! heh), it is time to pause the serious news for our nightly dose of "What Were They Thinking?" We all know how 360 loves their foreign television and someone over there has discovered a new soap opera from Thailand called "Battle of the Angels" that's all about flight attendants...constantly slapping each other around. Oh, the TSA would not like that. Also not liking it, is the Thailand flight attendants union, who feel the show is ruining their image. Though not my thing, I'm going to have to note that women in short skirts fighting each other is an image that some people probably quite like. But anyway, this has all caused such an uproar that the Thai government has stepped in to call a meeting. This causes Anderson and Erica to muse about what something like that would look like here. Well, hell, if Congress is going to debate resolutions over ads, why not?

On now to a Tom Foreman piece on the Bush stimulus package that is supposed to save us from a recession, unless of course we're already in one. Basically what's going to happen is people making under 75,000 will get a $600 tax rebate. But not everyone. And not everyone will get the same amount. Just be happy with whatever comes in the mail, people. There were disagreements all around in Congress, with some people in both parties not wanting to run up the deficit even more. Hey, it's only your grandchildren's future; what are you worried about? But I'll take $600. You don't have to offer it to me twice. Of course the problem is, as Anderson notes after Tom's piece, that some people won't spend the money. That would be me. Heck, I still have gift cards from Christmas...2006. My love of shopping was pretty much killed dead the first day I ran a cash register. Tom tells us that the government not only wants us to spend the money, but to be excited about it. Good lord. Fine. My next purchase I will give a "Woo hoo!" and end with some jazz hands. Happy?

In tonight's "Beat 360" Anderson gives us an impersonation of Queen Elizabeth...that should never be done again. Heh. Just saying. We then move into a David Mattingly piece on human growth hormone or HGH. Apparently it's not just for baseball cheats anymore. Now Hollywood stars and rappers are requesting the treatment. And they are stupid. Because, duh, there are serious side effects. Seriously, what's wrong with people? It's like with Botox. Yes, let me inject botulism into my face. WTF?

Moving on now to discussion with John King, Amy Holmes, and Gloria Borger, all part of "the best political team on television." Because if they say it enough, pretty soon it has to be true. They're here to use their punditry skills on the republican debate that just wrapped up over on MSNBC. Apparently the consensus is that it was pretty polite. This did not please Amy. "I was disappointed that it was so civil. Where were the fangs? Where were the claws?" she asks. Whoa. Someone needs to take two steps out of the beltway and take some deep breaths. But then again, she's just being honest about what we all know the media wants to see. Conflict sells, baby! There's more discussion, but I think that's going to be all from the "best blogger on the interwebs."

The Shot tonight is Jerry O'Connell doing an impression of Tom Cruise's Scientology video. And it is awesome. Jerry's Q rating just skyrocketed. This launches Anderson and Erica into a discussion about movies, since Cruise and O'Connell were both in "Jerry Maguire." "I'm like one of the only people on the planet who doesn't think that's the best movie ever," says Erica. No you're not. I didn't like it that much either. You know what else I didn't really like? Forrest Gump. There. I said it. Shun me if you must. Anyway, then they're talking about babies in movie theaters and slasher movies and it just kind of goes on and on, leading Anderson to say, "God, when -- when is this segment going to end?" That would be now. Except then there's something wrong with the prompter. Anderson: "Coming up on the program, the "Beat" -- the prompter just has to move, because I don't know what's coming up unless I'm told by a machine." He's really only here to look pretty, people. Kidding, kidding.

Okay, so yay for foregoing any Ledger speculation. But moving into the future, boo to Friday's Peterson speculation. So for those keeping score at home, in terms of speculation that's one 'yay' and one 'boo.' And did you notice the "Blog from the Back Row" is back? Ask and ye shall receive! Next I would like to ask for a pony. Or, um, some war coverage. The show was okay. B

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ledger Update, Smearing Obama, Race Versus Gender, And Huckabee's Money Woes (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everyone. We begin tonight again with the tragic death of actor Health Ledger. A live shot reveals a makeshift memorial has sprung up outside Ledger's apartment. Anderson Cooper then throws it to Jason Carroll, who is apparently still on the celebrity death stakeout. Of note in the information he gives us is that the initial autopsy was inconclusive. We also see video of poor Michelle Williams getting swarmed by cameras. Disgusting. She may be a celebrity, but she didn't sign up for this. The rest of Carroll's report is basically stuff that was reported yesterday, though now they have it in pointless timeline form. Because we really need to know what time the masseuse arrived.

They then talk about some of the rumors swirling around his death and how there actually weren't pills strewn about as some had claimed. Jason tells us that "many erroneous reports were out earlier when this story broke." Well, maybe if people would freakin chill out and worry more about facts than being first, this wouldn't happen. I mean, according to In Touch, Ledger's family learned of his death on the news. That's unacceptable. After Jason, we're joined by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who explains that an inconclusive autopsy means they've looked into obvious causes of death and didn't find anything, so will have to look further. Okay, that was actual medical expertise. But what follows is just a bunch of speculation. Really, people. Stop.

Transitioning now to politics and we get our usual rundown of what's up with the candidate's on the campaign trail. And it's getting rough out there, folks. At least, according to CNN. Funny story. See, CNNer Jessica Yellin asked Bill Clinton about charges that he's been campaigning for his wife by making appeals based on race and gender. According to Anderson, Clinton then gave her a "piece of his mind," by calling out the media on his perception that they'd rather cover the horse race than the issues. Says Clinton: "And what they care about is not going to be in the news coverage tonight, because you don't care about it. What you care about is this, and the Obama people know that." So, to break this down, Clinton calls out the media for not covering issues. Media gets indignant. Media centers story on Clinton's response to the horse race question. Oh, irony.

Next up, we have a Candy Crowley piece on some really nasty smear emails that are going around about Obama. If you haven't gotten one of them already, you probably will. I just got one about a week ago. The emails contain a whole lot of crap that isn't true. Like how he's a Muslim and swore into the senate on a Koran--stuff that plays into terrorism fears. I'm actually a little surprised to see the media doing a story about this. Their coverage regarding the issues might be fairly poor, but maybe they're going to come through on the fact-checking. Anyway, if you get the Obama email, don't just let it go. You can't stop it, but you can maybe stop a few people from sending it further (or at least get them factual information) if you 'reply all' with a link to or, who have both tackled the smear. Interestingly enough, the email I got actually said it had been checked by and found to be true. I guess they're counting on the fact that most people will take their word for it, and unfortunately, I bet most do.

In Tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" we learn that it's perhaps best not to leave a phone message when you're feeling like a Ms. Crankypants. Okay, so, we all know that when you're a kid one of the best things about winter is the possibility of a snow day. Last week a snowstorm hit Fairfax County, Virginia, but school remained in session. None too pleased to have a snow day opportunity snatched away from him, one of the high school seniors called up the school system's chief operating officer to ask what was the what. But head guy wasn't in and the senior had to leave a message. This is where the story takes a turn. Because his message was returned, but not by head guy, but by head guy's wife, who left her own message. And boy was she angry! "Don't you ever call here again!" she screams. And where has her husband been lately? Apparently dealing with "snotty-nose little brats." Yikes. That message was then, of course, promptly put on the Internets. And here we are. Anderson warns us that "whatever you can say, it's going to end up on the Internet." Then he laments to Erica Hill: "If only everyone else was on TV, and had learned the hard way, as we know." And exactly what are you referring to there, Mr. Cooper? A certain Loveline episode perhaps? Or maybe this. Hey, at least you didn't volunteer to be tasered.

Right before going to commercial, Anderson teases the upcoming story on race and gender, noting that the prior Randi Kaye piece caused a little commotion on The View. "We're digging deeper -- coming up," says Anderson. Um, I don't think The View and deeper are two things that go together. That set is strictly for your shallow swimming. By the way, why is it that though I've never seen an episode of that show, I always know what's going on there? It's kinda disturbing. Anyway, apparently Randi Kaye's piece on the black woman voter touched a nerve. Many people thought it was demeaning to black women to even ask the question of whether race or gender played a bigger role in their electoral decisions. Whoopi Goldberg told her View co-hosts she was "pissed" off about the situation. Can you say "pissed" on morning network television? I guess you can if you're Whoopi Goldberg. They're just happy that's all she said. It's gotten so crazy that people are even calling Oprah a traitor against her gender for her Obama support. Huh? Roland Martin, on the other hand, thinks the question was legit. Of course, as far as I can tell, Roland Martin is not a woman. What a mess. Uh, vote Edwards?

Next up, we learn that 360 was barraged with emails after Whoopi's View rant. The problem is that she relayed the story as if they were saying black women were going to decide how to vote based only on race or gender. Not really how it went down, but people interpreting their reporting wrong is not a shocker to me. It seems to happen quite often actually, but by people a little less famous (read: random bloggers) than Ms. Goldberg. If everybody reviewed the show like me there wouldn't be these problems. Heh. Anyway, we're then joined by Paula McClain, co-director of the Center for the Study on Race, Ethnicity and Gender in the Social Sciences, and a professor of political science at Duke, and Faye Wattleton, co-founder and president of the Center for the Advancement of Women. Faye thinks race and gender are important because black women look at issues from the perspective of being a black woman. Paula thinks the question CNN asked was too simplistic and it shouldn't have been an 'either/or' because they experience the issues through a prism of both their race and gender. Basically both of the guests aren't offended necessarily, but just wish CNN would be more nuanced when reporting about this issue. Yeah, good luck with that ladies.

On now to a John King piece on the financial troubles of Huckabee. Huck needs a buck! The magic is fading, people. Disappointing finishes lately have seriously strapped the Huckster's fundraising abilities and now he can't even buy major ads in Florida. And the timing of Fred Thompson dropping out didn't do him any favors. It ain't over until the fat lady sings, but it's looking like an evangelical will be the next to fall.

The Shot tonight is a continuation of last night. You remember that pic from Mars where it looks like there's a dude--or Sasquatch, as Anderson likes to call it/him-- there, right? Well, apparently Sasquatch gets around. We're shown a picture of him at a football game, at the YouTube debate, and even in the 360 studio! Anderson's so dedicated to his work he didn't even notice. Oh, how 360 loves the Photoshop. You might also remember that yesterday Erica told us about her friend Scott Harriott, who is totally into the Big Foot hunting. And guess who's here? It's Scott! He then very seriously starts to explain his craft, but I have to say, Erica and Anderson's faces are priceless. They're not exactly believers. And Scott knows how this game is played: "And I've only got, what, a minute and a half to defend myself, and my hair looks like hell." Ha! Anderson wants to know the difference between a yeti, a Big Foot, and a Sasquatch. "About six inches," says Scott. Bwah! Scott apparently brings the Big Foot knowledge and the funnies.

Hey, 360, what happened to the "Blog from the Back Row"? I know mystery blog person said they needed to work on another show for a couple days, but that was like a week ago. Why you gotta tease us so? And while I'm on the subject of things that have disappeared, is that whole Voice of 360 thing over or what? Just wondering. I mean, I think we've all accepted that the Political Theme Song contest is something we're all just going to pretend never happened, but I thought you were still milking the announcer gag. I personally don't care much about that, but bring back the back row blogger! Please? Oh, also? Remember when 360 featured a local station's dance party Friday as The Shot? Well, they've responded:

The show was okay. B-

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

RIP Heath Ledger, Post-Debate Fact Checking, And More Marine Coverage (Tuesday's Show)

Hi everyone. We begin tonight with the really shocking BREAKING NEWS that actor Heath Ledger is dead at the age of 28. Anderson Cooper tells us he was found in his apartment and we're shown a live shot of all the vultures now congregated outside. There's even a video of his body being removed. That's just...unnecessary. We then go to Jason Carroll, who has joined the masses in the celebrity death stakeout. He tells us that Ledger was found by his housekeeper and massage therapist, who unsuccessfully tried to revive him. A deputy says there was prescription medication found in the room, but these are all very early reports, so don't be surprised if things change. It is reported there was no sign of foul play. Anderson asks about the reaction to the death. Jason tells us about various celebrities that have commented and then proceeds to tell us about some woman that texted her daughter during a movie and made her cry. Um, is this news?

On now to a Gary Tuchman piece that is basically a cable news version of Heath Ledger's Internet Movie Database page. Of course "Brokeback Mountain" is brought up, since that really heightened his profile. But Ledger had actually been around for a while. There was the teen comedy "10 Things I Hate About You," which was a take-off of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew;"the big war epic "The Patriot"; and more indie fare like "Monster's Ball." He only has a small part in that last one, but wow, he leaves a very upsetting impression. Not mentioned in Gary's piece is "A Knight's Tale," which I think brought him onto the scene more than his other movies of the time. It's a cute movie and I know it made my sister quite the fan. Anyway, we also learn that he met Michelle Williams (of Dawson's Creek-fame) on the set of "Brokeback" and they got together and had a daughter, who has now lost her father. Very sad. Speaking of sad, next we see video of Ledger's father making a statement about his son's death, ending with: " Please now respect our family's need to grieve and come to terms with our loss privately." Okay media, ball's in your court.

Next up, we're joined by Dr. Drew Pinsky for exploitive discussion. Argh. He seems like a decent man and everything, but I really do not like what he does. Have you seen his reality show "Celebrity Rehab"? I caught it a week or so ago and had to flip off after about 10 minutes because it made me feel like a voyeur. A dirty voyeur. I mean, these are not the crazy-but-happy-go-lucky Osbournes here; these are people that could very well die, and I don't see how showing that to the whole world helps anyone, especially them. Anyway, Drew and Anderson then go through all the things that could have happened. Anderson: "I don't really want to go down the road of speculation, but..." Too late! They then get into how maybe Ledger had bipolar disorder and Drew says, "we are into wild speculation now." No kidding. They keep saying they don't want to go into speculation, but is that not basically the point of this segment? Then Drew pimps his research. Good lord.

Jarring subject transition now to tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" It seems Republican hopeful Mitt Romney is more than just a really wax-like rich white dude--he's a man of the people who knows who to get down. At a recent Martin Luther King event he showcased this "downness" by inexplicably and without prompting saying, "Who let the dogs out? Who? Who?" while posing for a picture with event participants. That's Mitt Romney, totally on top of the pop culture from 2000. At least he didn't say "wazzup." But oh, it gets better. Later he starts admiring a child's necklace and I'm literally sitting here going, "don't say bling. Don't say bling. Don't say bling." Says Romney: "You have got some bling-bling here, too." Bwah! Is that how he thinks you're supposed to talk to black people?

On now to politics and Anderson Cooper gives us the usual rundown of what the candidates did today. I'm assuming this was the lead prior to the Ledger news, but more on that later. We then move into a Joe John's "Keeping Them Honest" piece regarding some of the statements made during last night's debate. Basically there was a lot of context left out of both the charges and defense of those charges. Obama accused Clinton of sitting on Wal-Mart's board (Wal-Mart is evil, fyi) and Joe tells us this is true, but last night she left out how she promoted things like environmental issues and gave back their campaign contributions. What's interesting to me is Joe words this as "she says" she did these things, which leads me to wonder if CNN just talked to her office. Anyway, Clinton accused Obama of working for the slum lord Rescoe. He says he merely worked for a church that partnered with him on a project. But he left out the part about a land deal and some other stuff, but it's all a little confusing and since his name didn't even come up in the investigation I'm not going to worry about it. As for all those votes of "present" when he was in the Illinois legislature? Apparently that's pretty common.

Next up, we have "Beat 360," which I usually don't mention, but it sort of annoyed me. The staff quote makes a funny at Mike Gravel's expense and that's fine, but this from Anderson kind of bugged: "Julia is referring to former Alaska senator, Democrat Mike Gravel, who is also allegedly running for the White House. " Yes, admittedly the dude is crazy, but this brushing off of everyone but the front runners or media favorites is uncool. I mean, Ron Paul (another crazy one) has beaten Giuliani in some of these races, but it's like pulling teeth for him to get serious media coverage. I don't support these people. I don't want them to win. But I also don't want the media choosing for me.

Moving on to a Tom Foreman "Keeping Them Honest" piece on the candidate's promises. First up, the economy, which sucks, in case you haven't been paying attention. The democrats don't like Bush's stimulus plan, but Tom tells us that his plan is larger in sheer dollars and he's "signaling he will discuss ways to include those folks that candidates insist are being cut out." Oh, well, if he's signaling then I guess we're saved. Because if anything, Bush is a man of his word. Try again, Tom. Also, Tom tells us the democrats are all changing their timeline for getting out Iraq, but you know what? I kind of feel like I need more context or another source on this because this piece very much feels like they were trying to find a gotcha. And that's not how you keep people honest.

For discussion, we're joined by Candy Crowley, John King, and talk radio host Joe Madison. Anderson wonders if the issues are getting lost in all this campaigning. Um, you think? Candy basically says that the issues come out in town hall meetings and whatnot. I guess those of us that don't get to go to those just get the bickering. Apparently John McCain's name came up in the debate last night and we're played a response from him that includes the following: "I'm always flattered to be mentioned in a Democrat debate." Did you catch the insult? Classy. We also learn that Fred Thompson dropped out. Oh, what a shame. Dun-dun!

Next up, we have a Candy Crowley piece on how Bill Clinton is in major campaign mode for his wife. In fact, it looks like she's quietly conceding South Carolina, but she's leaving Bill behind. They're a force to be reckoned with, those two. After Candy's piece we have Randi Kaye live with news on Marine Corporal Cesar Laurean...and I really didn't pay much attention.

The Shot tonight is a picture of what looks like a guy walking around on Mars. Hm. Anderson then proceeds to say the word "Sasquatch" an insane number of times, because that's what he thinks it looks like. Heh. The show tonight was sort of disappointing. They broke their consistency and led with celebrity news. Celebrity news that was shocking and absolutely deserved to be covered, but celebrity news nonetheless. Before the show aired, I was talking with a friend online and said, "I guess we're about to see if 360 has really changed. Because the old suckier 360 would totally lead with Ledger's death." So, I guess they haven't changed. After the show, this same friend and I got into a debate about it, she of the opinion that they had to in order to keep people from fleeing to Greta.

Now, I don't get all their many ratings numbers and whatnot, so maybe she's right, but if they're the kind of viewer that would flip so quickly, didn't they just flip right after the coverage was over? For contrast, Countdown covered it as the last story of the broadcast, but it was included in the rundown, so you knew it was going to get mentioned. As I said to my friend post-show: "If someone watches a program consistently and is comfortable with that host, they will stick around to hear it from him/her rather than go to another network. The people that would have migrated to Fox are the people that are only tuning in to see that story in the first place. These are the people that only watch the news when something happens. CNN has a bad habit of catering to these people instead of building a loyal viewership. Fox has loyal viewers. Their viewers would not leave them for CNN."

When big news happens, most people who don't normally watch the news tune in to CNN. And that's great for them. But when big things aren't happening they routinely get their butt massively kicked by Fox because Fox has a large loyal viewership that watches when things aren't happening. Much has been made of their ideology and that attracts conservatives no doubt, but the simple fact that they have an identity and know who they are I think also draws in the viewers. CNN tries to be everything to everyone, and their numbers reflect how well that's working. It's sad since their resources are unbelievable. Anyway, I've gone on way to long about this. Like I said, I don't know what their numbers tell them. All I know is human nature. People like routines and consistency because they're comforting. If viewers know what to expect from a show because it's consistent, they're more likely to grow attached to it; and attached viewers do not flip to Greta.

Back to the topic of celebrity death, man, I guess nobody cares about poor Brad Renfro. They didn't even mention his recent death in the Ledger coverage. He wasn't as well known, and his history of drug abuse make it not as shocking, but he was still tragically young. By the way, I highly recommend "Telling Lies in America." I first heard about his death on a message board, and because I believe nothing I read from people on the Internets, I clicked on the link and found myself being taken to TMZ. You might find it shocking, but it was the first time I had ever been there. Next to the blurb about Renfro's death was a box where one could check "yes" or "no" as to whether the media was to blame for this young actor's passing. As I sat there staring at that box, I thought about movies like "AI" and "Minority Report"--movies set in worlds that seem surreal...or off somehow. Sitting there, I suddenly felt like I was in a scene in one of those kind of movies. We now live in a time where, by a simple click of the mouse, we can vote for who is to blame for a young man's death. It's the real world, but it feels off. What are we doing?

The show gets a C+

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Post Republican Debate Coverage And A 360 Special: Race And Politics (Monday's Show)

Hi everybody. Happy new week! So, did you watch debate #2493? I had to get up pre-dawn today, but I told myself I was going to try to refrain from a much needed nap and actually watch the whole thing. Unfortunately, I failed. I saw about the first third and then woke up to John Edwards pronouncing my state's name "Missourah." Oh, hell no! This is a major pet peeve of mine (and most of the people I know who live here), but since he was talking specifically about rural voters I suppose I won't hold it against him.

Anyhoo, we're kicking things off at about five minutes past the hour with Anderson talking up a storm, but all we see is post-debate footage. I guess it's time to play "Where in the World is Anderson Cooper?" If you said New York, you win! Apparently it's not a very exciting game. We then go to Candy Crowley live and she gives us a brief little recap of the night's more lively moments. From there Anderson tells us they're going to be playing extended clips of the debate throughout the rest of the hour. I'm guessing the fact that there's airtime to fill and they are so clearly running out of punditry steam has a little bit to do with that.

Our first clip plays out as follows: Clinton accuses Obama of liking icky Republican ideas and then they go back and forth about whether the name Ronald Reagan was mentioned. Obama says he thought Reagan was transformative in that he got people to vote against their economic interests; that doesn't mean he liked him. Then he's all, "Because while I was working on those streets watching those folks see their jobs shift overseas, you were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board at Wal-Mart." Zing! But, oh, Clinton ain't having that and the motherload of snippy interrupting breaks out, with poor Edwards going, um, hello, there are three people in this debate.

After Blitzer finally gets a hold of the reigns of this thing, Clinton again goes back to Reagan and says she never mentioned his name. Obama says her husband did. "Well, I'm here. He's not," says Clinton. Replies Obama, "OK. Well, I can't tell who I'm running against sometimes." Zing squared! But Clinton is so not going to be outdone here. She says it certainly seemed like Obama was praising Republican policies that she believes are bad for America. "I was fighting against those ideas when you were practicing law and representing your contributor, Resco, in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago." Oh, no she di'int!

For discussion, we're joined by Mark Halperin of Time, radio host Carl Jeffers, Amy Holmes, and Roland Martin. We get our usual speculative type stuff and of note is that John Edwards, being the only one that didn't act like a child, came out smelling like roses. Speaking of the fragrant one, next up John joins us live and unsurprisingly indicates that the other candidates got their bickering on a little too much. " We're not going to get kids health care and do anything about New Orleans by this little petty bickering," he tells us. And to give you an idea of how cynical I am, I totally believe he threw New Orleans in there right now to suck up to Anderson. Not that he doesn't really care, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Anderson notes John hasn't been doing so well and the former senator concedes that he got his "butt kicked" in Nevada. Then he lays claim to the "underdog" status and...that's it. Well, that was brief.

Next we're on to another clip regarding Obama's votes, or rather, his kind of non votes. Clinton accuses him of not taking responsibility for his votes because he has a record of voting "present" 100 times. Then Edwards decides to latch onto Clinton and gangs up. Obama is not pleased and notes he voted for 4,000 bills. Apparently the deal with the "present" votes is there was something technical wrong with them. Okay then. After this we're back with the panel and then we go to a commercial where I get my first Obama ad. Here we go! We then have our last clip, which is about health care and that's followed again by the panel. Erica Hill then shows up with dial-testing results, but, meh. That'll do the first hour.

Transitioning now, on this Martin Luther King Day, to the 360 Special: Race and Politics, co-hosted by Soledad O'Brien. And it's live, which I actually wasn't expecting. We begin with a Randi Kaye piece on the black woman voter. They're going to have a lot of power in South Carolina and with it comes pressure. Will they vote for their gender or their race? I guess poor John doesn't figure in. But really, it should be about the policy. After Randi's piece, we're joined by Roland Martin, Amy Holmes, Leslie Sanchez, and Matt Barretto. Roland tells us that most of his black female listeners proclaim themselves to be black first--as in, before being female. Also of note is some talk about a black/brown divide, but Matt seems to think that people are making a bigger deal out of that than they should.

Next up, we have a Soledad piece on black churches. You see, in 2004 the republicans reached out to this normally democratic-voting constituency and got a lot of support. This time around? Not so much. A lot of promises, but none of them delivered. The churches finally realized they'd been snuckered. What a shocker. Back with the panel, Soledad notes that a lot of black women she knows are furious that the media is basically saying they only have two choices. Well, because the media choses the front runners, doncha know? If Edwards wants some press he has to pay $400 for a haircut. Anyway, we also learn that after Hurricane Katrina, Bush had an approval rating of two percent in the black community...and that was with a margin of error of five percent. Bwah! Now that's sad.

On now to a Candy Crowley piece on our first "black" president and potential First Gentleman, one Mr. Bill Clinton. Blacks love him because he's done a lot for their community and also because he's got that somethin somethin. Who can forget him playing sax on Arsenio? Stiff-as-a-board John Kerry, he ain't. After Candy's piece, Anderson wonders if African Americans will support Clinton or Obama. Then he throws in Edwards as an afterthought. As the panel laughs, Anderson notes, " I have to be welcoming of all." Poor Edwards can't catch a break. I'm sure the media has absolutely nothing to do with that. No sir.

We're then shown a clip of Obama making a funny when he's asked to respond to a Toni Morrison quote about Clinton's blackness. Apparently Obama wants to check out his dancing skillz before he makes a determination. But Roland Martin is not laughing. He looks right into the camera and tells Toni Morrison (who I guess we're going to assume is watching) she needs to apologize to America for her stupid comment. Dayum! Toni Morrison actually doesn't seem like somebody you'd want to mess with. But Roland totally has a point. "If he was the first black president, he wouldn't have let 400,000 people in Rwanda die," he says. Amen to that. Anderson, who knows a thing or two about Rwanda, then corrects him and says that it was actually 800,000 slaughtered. Hm, I was so busy agreeing, the inaccuracy of the number got past me.

Finally tonight we have a Gary Tuchman piece on illegal immigration and charges of racism. Basically it breaks down like this: The people that don't want the illegal immigrants here say it's all about the law and has nothing to do with racism, while some immigrant activists see a hatred of Brown people playing a role. I think this issue will never be solved, because the rhetoric of the debate is too polarizing. The diehards on both sides need to chill out. Do I think, say, Lou Dobbs is a racist? No. Do I think he's purposely playing to racists to further his cause (and get ratings)? Probably not. But do I think the rhetoric of him and others does play to racists? Yes. We can't deport 12 million people. We just can't. And building a fence is pointless because they'll find a way to get over. It's time for the two sides to come together, but they never will. Anyway...that's going to do it for me. I'm just going to leave off the grade since it wasn't a regular show.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dirty Political Tactics, Clinton Talks Monica, The "R" Word, Marine Death Update, And Scientology--Or Tom Cruise Is Crazy (Thursday's Show)

Hi everyone. Well, I'm a few news cycles behind, so some of this stuff is moot, but we'll make do. Anderson Cooper kicks things off with a run down of what the candidate's have been up to today and then we go right into a Joe Johns piece on the smears McCain is enduring in South Carolina. We all remember the Rovian crap that took him down in 2000 (accusations of fathering an illegitimate black child among others). Now there's a cartoon making the rounds that attacks his POW record in Vietnam. That sounds Rovian too. Attack them where they're strongest. Are we sure that guy really left?

Anyway, Romney's also getting slimed for being a Mormon. And you remember how Obama was accused of being a madrassa-attending Muslim extremist, which lead to CNN sending a reporter to Jakarta, which lead to a debunking, which lead to Fox News going crazy (well, crazier), which lead to an unbelievably immature cable war, which somehow ended up with Anderson being labeled the Paris Hilton of television news? Remember that? Well, the charge is back. Or rather, it continues. Now it's an email, which I just received a few days ago.

All this negativity is depressing, but if you'd like to jump into my Delorean and have a seat next to Marty McFly, I shall zoom you into the future for a second (even though it's really the past now--don't think about it too hard) to inform you that McCain won South Carolina. Yay, McCain! I'll probably never vote for the guy, but I did really want him to win this one, so he can tell all those slime balls to suck it. As for Nevada and the democrats, it looks to be a win for Clinton. Funnily enough though, Obama is the one walking away with more delegates. Democracy, she's such a trickster sometimes.

Next up, we go to an interview that Joe did with McCain about how he responds to the smears. Then we're on to an interview with former smearer, Stephen Marks. Stephen explains that he's hired by campaigns or outside groups to do "opposition research," which means digging up anything he can on the opponent. Anderson asks about some recent ads that have worked well and Stephen get all nostalgic over the Willie Horton and Swift Boat ads. Classy. Anderson asks if he feels guilty, seeing as a lot of these things aren't true. Stephen then proceeds to compare the process to buying a used car. No, really. He's just doing us all a service, you see. So, no, he doesn't feel guilty. And how does he sleep at night? Just fine, thank you very much. But Anderson, being the crazy kid that he is, is hung up on that whole "not true" aspect and brings it up again. That's not Stephen's fault though. No sir. He's only providing campaigns with the smearing-potential. Why should he have to actually take responsibility for his actions? Besides, Stephen tells us that when your campaign is behind you have to go negative. Because obviously there's absolutely nothing else you can do. Integrity? What's that? Stephen's world view makes me very sad.

On now to a Candy Crowley piece on how Hillary got her groove back. You might remember a little incident about a decade ago with Bill Clinton and an intern named Monica. Well, since that time, Hillary hasn't exactly been chatty about the situation...until now. That's right, the former first lady has finally opened up and she did it on the set of, and you might want to sit down for this, Tyra Banks. Yes, the model. Tyra Banks got the get. I am boggled. Anyway, nothing groundbreaking was said, but Hillary got to show off her softer side. But Bill apparently has his softer side put away in Al Gore's lock box. After Candy's piece, we're played a clip of Bill getting into it with a reporter over the Nevada caucus casino sites lawsuit. And Bill wasn't the only one wanting to play beat the press. Mitt Romney also got called out by a reporter for having a lobbyist run his campaign, which Romney denies. 360 only gives us the end of this tussle though. The whole exchange is longer and contains double the scary smiling.

If the reporter is right, then three cheers for him. Telling someone to their face that they're spouting BS is like the best thing ever. Although, if he's going to confront a presidential candidate, he could be a tad more respectable and, you know, stand up. So, does Romney have a lobbyist running things? Per 360: "The staff member is a senior adviser, one of many. Technically, he does not run Mitt Romney's campaign. So, you can make up your own mind about whether Mitt Romney was being accurate when he said he doesn't have a lobbyist running his campaign." Thanks guys. That was unbelievably helpful. Sigh.

I'm going to do a little time saving and skip over "What Were They Thinking?" Then we're on to a Tom Foreman piece on the ever-sucking economy. Is it a recession? Does it really matter what we call it? From Tom's piece we go back to the interview Joe did with McCain and we get to hear about how he wants to make the tax cuts permanent. Because they've been working so well for the poor and middle class so far. Whatever. After McCain, we've got Randi Kay live to talk about that Marine's death.

Transitioning now to a David Mattingly piece that should be named, "Tom Cruise is frickin scary." In case you haven't heard, a little video starring one Mr. Cruise exploded on the interwebs this week, chalk full of his Scientology musings, all set to a Mission Impossible soundtrack. It is craziness at its finest and no explanation will do it justice. You must simply watch. We then take a trip in the way-back machine to June 29, 2005, when Anderson put away his opinion-less sleeves and interviewed scientologist Bruce Wiseman. Bruce thinks psychiatry is a fraud. Like, the entire field. He tries to tell us that psychiatric drugs are tied to suicide, but Anderson points out that "factually speaking, though, the actual number of suicides or side effects is actually quite small, compared to the number of people who say that they derive very real life-saving benefits from these drugs."

Bruce then says that twice as many people on the drugs commit suicide as those not on the drugs and Anderson points out you can't draw correlations like that--those people might have committed suicide anyway. After this they kind of get stuck on electro-shock therapy for a bit, with Anderson making the point that it's not even all that common. He wants to know what's so bad about talk therapy, which sounds a lot like what Scientologists do anyway (you even have to pay for it). "Scientology addresses the spirit. Psychiatry damages the brain," says Bruce. "Let's get away from bumper-sticker slogans and let's actually talk," replies Anderson. Oooh. Bruce has it in his head that every psychiatric patient is getting pumped full of drugs or shocked, which Anderson rightly points out is "not true." And I have to say, hearing the words "not true" when confronted with BS, happens all too rarely in our media. I only wish Anderson would get that riled up when interviewing people that are a little more important than some dude from a minority religion. After the interview Anderson tells us: "Again, we're really just looking for facts, not opinion." Okay then. Whatever you say.

The Shot tonight is a 14 year old that used a bat to fend off a guy breaking into his house. Not bad. But I think I have something better. We know how 360 loves Japanese tv. Via, I give you this awesome video:

The show was fairly good. B

Friday, January 18, 2008

South Carolina Primary, Nevada Caucus, Giuliani's Florida Plan, Con't Marine Coverage, OJ, Tiger Attack 911 Tapes, And Kenya Unrest (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everyone. The campaign season continues at warp speed and tonight we're kicking things off with eyes on South Carolina. Michigan is so yesterday. Like, literally. Anderson Cooper gives us a rundown on what's been up with the candidates since last they graced our television screens, and then intros us into a John King piece on the coming South Carolina primary. For this race, our ever-changing candidates are trotting out the really conservative versions of themselves, because South Carolina is all about the fetus, the military, and keeping the brown people out. Of course I get this information from the same people who have been consistently wrong through this whole season, so I don't know, maybe South Carolina is really all about attaining civil rights for gays. Yeah, probably not.

Following his piece, John joins us for discussion, along with David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network. John notes that South Carolina is about 40 percent evangelical, which sucks for McCain. David thinks that, like on the democratic side, the change versus experience argument is starting to emerge on the republican side as well. Anderson then brings up the nastiness that's going on between the campaigns and with surrogates, which I will go into more indepth in Thursday's review. Oh, also? Apparently everybody hates Romney, which, by the way, sounds like the title of a tv show I'd probably watch.

Following the discussion, Anderson notes that he talked with Glenn Beck about the republican race and you can find it online. Originally this talk was supposed to be on the show. Does that mean my Beck-hating succeeded?! Erm, I'm guessing that's a no (but I'm going to imagine I have that kind of power). It was probably a time thing. Look, I think Glenn's habit of being offensive and divisive is probably related more to deep personal issues than him just simply being a horrible person, but I still don't think a credible show should be giving airtime to someone that pollutes the airwaves with the kind of stuff he spouts. And what makes it worse, is 360 is lending their credibility to him when they have him on. I don't see how it's different than having on Ann Coulter, except she's not employed by CNN.

Next up, we have a Candy Crowley piece on the upcoming Nevada caucuses. It ain't all just about South Carolina, people. We gotta start getting all these puppies in. But, ruh roh, controversy! Okay, see, the Democratic Party set up nine caucus sites at casinos so that the workers could more easily participate. Yay, convenience, right? Wrong! Now there's a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the set-up and one of the suers is a Clinton supporter. But the more democrats that participate the better, right? Yeah, you would think. The thing that has tongues-a-wagging here is that the Clinton camp thought Hillary would be getting the Culinary Union endorsement. She didn't. Obama did. Where do many of those union members work? At the casinos. Getting clearer? For their part, the Clintons deny any involvement in the suit and those that put it forth say it has nothing to do with the endorsement. In any regards, many of the casino workers are minorities, and after getting disenfranchised by the republicans for years, I'm sure they'll appreciate their chance to finally be disenfranchised by the democrats as well. Aw, who says the parties aren't united?

Tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" comes to us from the land down under (where women glow and men plunder). The topic is a house party thrown by a kid that got out of hand. Just how out of hand? The kid advertised on the interwebs and 500 people showed up (where did they all park?!). Chaos, and partial nakedness, ensued. The best part is the kid that threw the party has not answered his parent's phone calls, but oh, he is talking to the press. Decked out in sunglasses and an open shirt with nipple ring (ew), young Corey seems quite proud of his party accomplishment, deeming it the "best party ever so far." And what will he tell his parents? "Um, sorry?" The line to smack the snot out of this kid starts behind me.

On now to a Tom Foreman piece on Giuliani's Florida strategy. You forgot about him, didn't you? Yeah, he's still in it to win it. The deal is that Florida has 57 delegate votes, so whoever can grab those will be doing pretty good and Giuliani has called dibs. He's popular with Cubans and Northeasterners that now reside in the state, so things are looking good for him. But then again, he's completely sucked so far and has little money. I guess we'll see. Frankly I don't understand why we're still trusting Florida with important elections.

Transitioning now to what Anderson dubs an EXCLUSIVE interview Randi Kaye had with a woman who worked with that murdered marine and the suspect. In his next sentence, Anderson tells us we will not hear this story anywhere else and then he intros us into the "360 exclusive." I'm sorry, three times in 10 seconds wasn't enough. Did you say this was an exclusive? Anyway, the friend, who we will call "Lisa", basically contradicts what the military is saying. Sorry to be defeatest or whatever, but I don't see anyone in the military ever being held accountable for this.

We've got BREAKING NEWS now and it's about...OJ Simpson. Oh, for the love of...the man is like a virus you just can't shake. And like a pavlovian response, when there's OJ news, Jeffrey Toobin suddenly appears in studio for discussion. But I think I'm just going to move along to the David Mattingly piece on the newly released 911 tapes from that zoo tiger attack. David tells us the tapes report a "time line of terror." Dun dun dun! Apparently, at first zoo workers didn't even believe that the guys were attacked by a tiger and on the tape we can hear that they had to wait a while before it was safe for emergency services to come to their rescue. Not a great situation. Following David's piece, we have Toobin again for more discussion.

Our final piece of the night comes from Zain Verjee in Kenya, a country that has proven that elections can go bad. Their disputed presidential election has spawned massive protests and violence. Zain got a very personal taste of that violence when she was hit in the back with a teargas canister shot by police and paramilitary forces. She's fine except for some bruising, but obviously it was a scary experience. What's been happening in Kenya has kind of been pushed to the edges of the news cycle because of the 08 race, but if the country descends into chaos it could take down all of eastern Africa. Definitely something to keep an eye on. Stay safe, Zain!

The Shot tonight is a UFO over Texas. Maybe. The guys who shot the video sound drunk and I don't really believe what anyone is saying about the mysterious lights. But who knows? The show was fairly good. The consistency continues. (Yay!) They even seem to be trying to put "The Shot" and "WWTT?" basically in the same spot every night. It sounds silly, but people like that kind of thing. B

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Michigan! Michigan! Michigan! (Half of Tuesday's Show)

Hi everybody. I have to say, this whole primary thing is starting to lose its shine. I think I'm going to have to break into my excitement reserves for this one. Yay Michigan! Woo hoo? So anyway, I flip on CNN to find Blitzer totally bogarting 360's time. Like three hours a day and a show on the weekend isn't enough for him. So I flipped back to the debate on MSNBC. But don't worry, I came back just in time to find Anderson Cooper hanging in the Election Center with John King, Gloria Borger, and Jeffrey Toobin, all part of the "best political team on television." If he says it; it must be true. Asks John: "Can you be on the best political team on television when you keep saying, I don't know what is going to happen?" Anderson says it's been working for him so far. What he doesn't tell us is that Jon Klein makes them say that under penalty of tasering. Just ask Rick Sanchez.

I guess I skipped over that whole winner part, didn't I? Drum roll please: It's Romney! Yay, I guess. Everyone gets to win at some point, apparently. As for the democrats, well, democracy is a tricky thing and because Michigan moved their primary up (violating party rules), the democratic leadership has basically told the state's party to suck it, and took away all their delegates. But anyway, back with our political team that has deemed itself the bestest, John tells us that after this new win, the last two weeks don't even matter now. The whole two weeks? But I thought every single thing the candidates did (including, oh my God, almost shedding a tear) was, like, the most important thing ever. But apparently now it's all about money--at least that's what John choses to talk about.

Anderson wonders if all this will help out the quietly dying Giuliani, who apparently has his heart set on Florida. "Sure. Whatever you say, sure," says Gloria. Bwah! Oh, c'mon! You're not even trying. Look, we know you're serving us BS, but at least dress it up and make it taste good. Or, you know, you could have a discussion about substance. But I wouldn't want you to hurt yourselves. "Nobody knows anything anymore," says Anderson. Well, I suppose there's always the "be quiet and look pretty" option. Toobin thinks tonight was a disaster for McCain and Anderson starts asking what he did wrong. Wait a second, we were just talking about how he's the comeback kid and now things are a disaster? Stop. Reboot. New narrative.

John tells us that Romney changed from how he ran in Iowa and New Hampshire. Anderson: "Wait. Did you say Mitt Romney changed?" I do believe that was subtle snark. Or maybe just wishful thinking on my part. It is at this point that it dawns on me that this is not going to be a regular 360. Yeah, I'm slow tonight. So the rest of this is going to be a little less indepth. We next go to our poll man, Bill Schneider, who breaks down the Romney votes, and then we're back with our political team. Once again, the talk turns to money, specifically how the republicans don't have any. Except for Romney of course. He can buy almost anything--though surprisingly, not an election. From here everybody laughs over how much Giuliani is sucking. Anderson tells us the campaign says they're happy with the three percent Giuliani got tonight. "But there's no way they're happy with tonight," he says. "Capital S-P-I-N," says John, and he draws the letters in the air with his fingers. Meanwhile, at the White House, our current prez is complaining to Laura that the evil liberal media is trying to hide things from him again by using spelling.

Next up, we mosey with John over to what we're going to call the big map/calender screen. He then goes through the schedule coming up. I hope you had your date books ready. When he gets to Super Tuesday, all the participating states turn orange and it looks like the country's on fire. Hm. After we get all politically organized, Anderson teases that they're going to see what bloggers are saying about Romney's win. I took this to mean that they were actually going to talk to bloggers, but nope. When we come back from break it's just Abbi Tatton, blog-reading fixture of The Situation Room. I'm just saying it would have been nice to have discussion with actual bloggers. But maybe they couldn't get them booked. I don't know.

Anyway, Abbi's got her own screen and she's been checking out one of my favorite blogs, dailykos. The Kossacks (as we're called) thought it might be a little fun if the Michigan members actually crossed over and voted for Romney, seeing as it creates chaos for the GOP and the democrats get no delegates anyway. Abbi's got dailykos up on the screen and notes the celebration going on, but then explains the shananigans probably didn't sway the election. Hm, the partial tongue-and-cheekness seems to be lost on Abbi. The Kossacks were pleased to be on CNN though, (the video is worth the click). John King seems kind of pleased too. " I think it's fun, and it's great mischief," he tells us. John is totally that guy who tee-peed your house in high school.

After some more talk from our superior political team, we go live to Mary Snow, who is hanging with the McCain campaign. They're understandably playing down the Romney victory. Anderson notes that McCain kind of got knocked off the air when he was giving his speech because Romney came on to give his own speech. He doesn't think that was an accident and neither does Mary, but apparently no one is really talking about it.

Up next, we have a Tom Foreman piece on the race part of the race. We all recall the little back-and-forth that Clinton and Obama had over the weekend. Well, now they've both decided to simmer down, but that's not going to stop race from being a big factor in South Carolina, where half of democrats are black. Of those voters it's pretty much split between the two candidates. African Americans love the Clintons and Bill has even been dubbed the "first black president." These feelings have lead some black leaders to proclaim Clinton more electable. But then again, after Iowa, people are taking a second look at Obama. It's anybody's game.

Following Tom's piece we're joined by Roland Martin and Glenn Beck for related discussion. Well, I see that someone left the door unlocked between the real CNN and it's baby sister, Headline News. And now look what's happened. Next we're going to have Nancy Grace barging in, accusing people of crimes. Seriously, what qualifies this man to talk about race? Speaking of Glenn, have you guys seen this video he made? I don't even remember how I got to it--probably just random clicking (it's a sickness), but I watched the whole seven-plus minutes and afterwards I didn't have the slightest idea what I just watched. It seemed like maybe I was supposed to feel bad for him or be angry at somebody, but man, talk about comfuzzling. The video got traction though, and some press, and apparently he had a botched surgery for hemroids or something. I'll just go ahead and let you write your own joke for that one.

Anyway, back in the discussion, Glenn has his boxers in a twist because he thinks everyone is past all this race stuff anyway. Glenn: "Haven't we gotten to the point yet where it doesn't matter if you're a woman, a man, a white person, a black person? " Yeah! And haven't we got to the point where it doesn't matter if you're a Christian or a Muslim? Oh, wait, apparently that still matters to Glenn. Glenn tells us that he doesn't know anyone that would not vote for someone because of race. "But that -- those are often the kind of things people don't say, but that's not what people do...," says Anderson. Exactly. Glenn doesn't want to talk to black or white people, he just wants us to talk to people. Roland tries to bring it back to the reality of politics, but Glenn has his heart set on buying everyone a Coke.

"Glenn, you seem to be talking about the way things should be or you want things to be. Roland seems to be talking about more the way things, he thinks the way things are," says Anderson. Pretty much. And Roland is right. I'd wager that Anderson agrees, seeing as though he added the "he thinks" in there kind of late. This doesn't stop Glenn from spouting his fantasy though. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice fantasy, but it's coming out of the mouth of a total hypocrite. Glenn talks about how he wants the country to be united. This from a guy who has pondered killing Michael Moore, called Katrina victims "scumbags", and proclaimed he hates families of the 9-11 victims. And if the server at wasn't down right now, I'd have plenty more for you. "Just about everybody we have elected in recent years has said that they are a uniter, not a divider," says Anderson. Bingo. Empty rhetoric from them; empty rhetoric from Glenn Beck now. Seriously CNN, you already gave this guy his own show; please keep him away from the real news. Thanks.

And...that'll do it for me. I know they went another hour, but this is what happens when you train your audience to flip over at 10:00 (central). No grade tonight. Wednesday's review will be up late Thursday.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Race Card And Continued Primary Coverage, Murdered Marine, Wesley Snipes Evades Taxes, And Pakistan Discussion (Monday's Show)

Hi everybody. Happy new week! I, for one, am very happy it's a new week. Sorry for flaking on some posts, but last week was kind of high in pain for me. It happens. Anyway, before we get to 360, did anyone else catch the last minute of Larry King? The panel was talking about Britney Spears (insert requisite eye roll here) and their pessimism about her situation. I'm sure a panel of people discussing her life on national television and coming to the conclusion that they are pessimistic about her future is just what the woman needs right now. Jesus.

Anderson Cooper begins the broadcast with some rowdiness from the democratic campaign trail. Sniping. Verbal punches. And the accusation of throwing down the race card. It's getting ugly out there, folks. A Candy Crowley piece breaks down the pettiness, beginning with Clinton (as in Bill) smacking Obama on his experience. Clinton (as in Hillary) then made a comment about Martin Luther King and Obama took the opportunity to slam her with the charge that she was diminishing Dr. King's influence. And of course there's only one place to go from there: race card accusation! Clinton pointed the finger at Obama. Obama pointed the finger at Clinton. The surrogates hit the scene. Good lord. I think somebody needs to call a time out because it is clearly nap time. There's nothing I like in my candidate more than the maturity of a five year old.

Next up, we're joined by Candy, David Gergen, and Roland Martin for discussion. Candy predicts that the candidates will scale back their rhetoric and attacks, but no one can control the surrogates. Roland interviewed Bill Clinton on his radio show and he tells us how the potential First Gentleman arrived with his offense game. The Gerg points out that all this squabbling isn't in anybody's interest, but stopping it may be more difficult than it sounds. "You have to bring out the peace pipe, but then they have both got to inhale," says The Gerg. Silly Gerg. You know Clintons don't inhale. After this there's talk of how the polls are going to play out. How wrong will they be this time? Place your bets!

On now to a Dana Bash piece on the GOPers campaigning in Michigan, site of the next primary. So where can you find your friendly conservative hopefuls? At the Detroit Auto Show, of course. Because in Michigan it's all about the automotive industry and you needn't have read a Michael Moore book to know that it's not going well for the people. But it's okay, because the republicans are here to the rescue. For, like, a whole day and everything. Romney is totally pumped. "I have got Michigan in my DNA. I have got it in my heart and I have got cars in my bloodstream," he tells us. That sounds like something you should have looked at. Does your state's mandatory health insurance cover cars in the bloodstream? Romney says he's the one to get the state back on track. But McCain thinks he's Detroit's solution too; only he thinks the jobs are gone and wants to focus on retraining. Huckabee uses the situation to pimp out his sales tax plan and his dream of nixing the IRS. Because that won't be a disaster for the working poor.

Back to the panel now, they talk more about the horse race. Of note is when The Gerg brings up how Romney is going after McCain for his support of higher CAFE standards. Stupid McCain and his stupid climate change. I'm an American! I have a God-given right to drive my Hummer to my mailbox. (I love my Hyundai.) So anyway, The Gerg thinks this could turn into a battle between the economy and the environment and creating that kind of match-up is not really something the republicans are going to want to do. Roland then kind of disses on Romney a bit, noting he seems to be having trouble with that whole winning thing. And as for Giuliani, who has apparently been off practicing how to insert 9-11 into unrelated conversations, he may not do as well in Florida as he's banking. The Gerg tells us the support seems pretty soft. Well it is Florida. Anything can happen.

Erica Hill has the headlines tonight and our latest edition of "What Were They Thinking?" is pretty disturbing. A drag race in Birmingham, Alabama resulted in a man being killed and then a fight broke out over whether to help the man, which resulted in a second guy getting shot and killed. And a whole bunch of people just stood around and didn't do anything. Lovely.

Transitioning now to a "Keeping Them Honest" piece from Randi Kaye on that pregnant Marine that was murdered. So okay, this woman got raped by a fellow Marine and filed for protection from him with the Marines, yet they didn't see fit to mention this when she went missing. So would sharing the information have made a difference? Who knows? But it couldn't have hurt. After Randi's piece, Jeffrey Toobin joins us and gives us that same old tale of how agencies don't cooperate. This seems to be systemic. Like, everywhere. Anderson points out that the woman even still had to work with the guy, even after filing charges against him. Which is ridiculous. You hear stuff like this that's going on here and you have to wonder what horrors are getting covered up in Iraq. Speaking of Iraq, where has that coverage gone?

On now to tonight's "Beat 360," which is a new caption contest they're doing on the blog. I'm a little lukewarm on this specific addition, but I just wanted to say that overall the blog keeps getting better and better. I don't know what happened. Not long ago it was practically dead. Even I had stopped reading it. Now it's exploded with life. And I really hope they keep up and expand this new "Blog from the Back Row" thing. I'm surprised they didn't try this earlier. Not only does it give them something to post, but the more viewers are informed as to what goes into a broadcast, the more empathetic they'll be towards the show. Let's face it, right now everyone hates the media--they need all the help they can get.

Next up, we have a Gary Tuchman piece on Wesley Snipes and his tax cheating ways. No, I'm not kidding. And no, I have no idea why they're doing this. Just like I had no idea back in 2006 when they basically did the same story. 360 loves to give me deja vu. So anyway, Wesley owes a cool $38 million in taxes, but he ain't paying because he believes there is nothing in federal law that says you have to pay. Oh, please. Just pay them! I'm so sick of these celebrities. And you know, I can't even think of anything he's been in.

After Gary's piece, Toobin returns again and he tells us that if you honestly believe you don't have to pay your taxes, you won't go to jail. But he also says that you still have to pay them. This confuses me. If jail is off the table, can't you just say no? What are they going to do, flip him upside down and shake the change out of his pants? Maybe they can garnish wages. Toobin explains that some people think they can just not file a return and slip through the cracks. But Anderson points out that Wesley also allegedly sent the government millions in bad checks. "This is where his defense is a problem," says Toobin. Bwah! You think?

On now to Fareed Zakaria in the studio to talk about his recent interview of Pervez Musharraf. It's about time we see Fareed on 360 again. He's a crowd pleaser. Just ask Jon Stewart. Anderson begins by noting that half of Pakistanis believe that their government had something to do with the Bhutto assassination. Fareed explains that Musharraf is not popular and Pakistan is rife with conspiracy theories, but it's really not likely the government was behind her death. The family wouldn't allow an autopsy, which Fareed thinks is due to the desire to keep her death a mystery and paint her as Kennedy-like. He also thinks incompetence prevented Musharraf from simply ordering the procedure. Moving on to the topic of nukes, Fareed helps us all sleep a teeny bit easier, by stating that the Pakistan army has pretty good control over them. Let's keep it that way.

The Shot tonight is Florida, the trick-performing turtle. I like turtles. The show was alright, though I'm still scratching my head over Wesley Snipes. As I said further up, we could use an Iraq update sometime. Just because the politicians aren't talking about it doesn't mean the media's hands are tied. Also, I know we're in super busy election mode (and will be through November), but I'm a little disappointed in the lack of New Orleans coverage. I expect it from everyone else, but not 360. I don't think the show has even gone back there since the anniversary. But I am excited about the whole consistency issue--at least in terms of the rundown. I don't want to say this too loud (and I'm knocking on wood as I type this), but I think they're getting better. No, I know they're getting better. How long it will last is anybody's guess. B-

Friday, January 11, 2008

New Hampshire Analysis: What Happened? (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everyone. You're going to have to bear with me and my lateness. The freaky weather changes have not been kind to Eliza's back pain. Anyway, I hope everyone enjoyed their big helping of New Hampshire primary coverage, because tonight we're having leftovers. But first, Anderson Cooper informs us of the BREAKING NEWS that Bill Richardson will be dropping out of the race. Bummer. He would have been a good president, but never got a chance. Oh well. You keep truckin, Bill--there's always Veep. Another little smidgen of news we have up top tonight is that while Richardson is pulling out of the running, Michael Bloomberg is possibly maybe sort of going to throw his hat in. Don't tell me he lied to Ryan Seacrest! John King then joins us live with more and we learn that Bloomberg has apparently been laying the groundwork for a run for a while now. Well, that would definitely shake things up in an election that's already very much shaken.

After John, Anderson give us a rundown on how the candidates spent their day today. Guitar hero and dance dance revolution! Okay, no, just more campaigning. But my way would have been much more fun. He then intros into a Candy Crowley piece on the Clinton comeback. Our narrative tonight is that it was all about the woman voter, who was feeling sorry for her or was ticked at her treatment. I'm wary of anything they say at this point, but when we're shown a clip of two yahoos screaming "iron my shirts" at her, I have to admit, yes, I'm a bit ticked. We're played a few more moments that supposedly lead women voters to put her over the top (yes, the almost-tears clip is included), but no mention of Obama saying "you're likable enough" during the recent debate. Seems like that's a pretty big one.

Next up, we have discussion with Candy, David Gergen, and, ugh, Ralph Reed. Him again. I don't get this. Are there not enough honest conservatives out there? Reed is dirty and should not be rewarded with face time on the national news. So anyway, I'm going to kind of blow through some of this since we've already established that no one knows what they're talking about. The Gerg thinks we'll see more emotional moments from Clinton because she's learning that it's just as important to speak from your heart as your head. Ah, but does her heart want to bomb Iran? That would be good to know. Ralph brings up the possibility of coming out of super Tuesday with no front runner on either side, which, as you know, would cause the world to end. Or at least cause seizures in our country's most hot-aired pundits. Hm, something to hope for.

On now to a John King piece on McCain's victory and how that shapes the race on the republican side. Oh yeah, he made news too, didn't he? I couldn't see him standing there behind all the coverage of Clinton's almost-tears. Okay, so, Romney is freaking since he's 0 for 2 now. He's pouring money on the problem--like usual. Giuliani is apparently just play-acting or something until Florida, where Mr. 9-11 thinks he has it locked up. Huckabee may be an outsider, but he knows how to tailor his message to a crowd; talking up his anti-abortion stance in the more conservative South Carolina. It's anybody's game.

After John's piece, he joins the panel for discussion, stating South Carolina is where McCain went "off the rails" last time. Um, hello, no mention of the horrible Rovian smear job he endured in that election? Kind of a big deal. Anderson asks if South Carolina is Fred Thompson's last stand. Good lord, this isn't the Battle of Little Bighorn. I will have the metaphor police take you away; don't think I won't. Ralph thinks the Thompson campaign has been a huge implosion, but c'mon, who didn't see this coming? Hell, read the back posts of this blog. The Gerg says he has a soft spot for John McCain, but really, he seems to have a soft spot for anyone that's been around a while. How he's worked in the beltway for this long and remained this sunnily optimistic is beyond me.

Transitioning now to Erica Hill with the headlines and then "What Were They Thinking?" Apparently two upstanding citizens were caught wheeling a dead dude in an office chair to a check-cashing store so they could cash his Social-Security check. They left the dead dude outside the store and a cop eating nearby noticed and they were promptly busted. I'm guessing the cop lost his appetite. "They now face check fraud charges, and could star in a revival of the movie 'Weekend at Bernie's,'" says Anderson. What is wrong with people? "Only in New York," says Anderson. Yeah, like you guys have a monopoly on weird crap.

Back with the politics now, we've got Jeffrey Toobin manning some of the new technology and he's using the big touch screen to show us what's coming up on the calender, election-wise. Actually, he's kind of struggling a bit. When Super Tuesday comes up, Anderson has a little panic attack. "I don't even want to look at that." Man, that night all their heads are going to explode. It'll be great-heh.

Next up, we have our poll man, Bill Schneider, "Keeping Them Honest" about why the predictions in New Hampshire turned out so horribly wrong. Theories abound, but basically? The media and pollsters were just stupid, is all. Okay, maybe stupid is a bit harsh. Overly excited to the point that it effected their judgment, might be a more kind way to put it. Because Obama's percentages were pretty spot-on. Clinton was the one that surged ahead and it's because everybody, duh, forgot about the undecideds and the soft-supporters, who obviously mostly broke for Clinton. At least the media have now learned their lesson. Hahaha. Eliza made a funny.

Moving on now to a debate with Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson and Amy Holmes. One of the theories of why Obama lost New Hampshire was that people told pollsters they were voting for him, but behind the private curtain, couldn't bring themselves to vote for a black man. Not out of the question, but did it happen here? Eh, maybe. Michael would like us to be open to the possibility, but Amy is all, denied! I should probably note that Amy and Michael have made this difficult for me by speaking at the speed of, well, at the speed of Anderson. And that's fast. It gets heated and interrupty pretty quick. Amy needs to give lessons or something because, damn, the woman knows how to shut a man down. "Are you saying that there's no way that race was a variable in this?" Amy says no. And Michael doesn't necessarily believe race was a factor, he's just open to it. Okay then, so basically you're very passionately almost saying the same thing. And this is only the primary. If Obama gets the nomination, just wait for the race issue to hit the general election. Harold, call me!

Next up, we have a Tom Foreman piece on the speechifying by our fine candidates. Obama channels Martin Luther King and Kennedy, McCain channels Reagan (though he apparently needs crib notes), and Clinton channels, well, Clinton. Erica then returns with more headlines and she is quite upset by a story about a doggie stealer, who ridiculously put the dog under her shirt. And also? "And the other thing is $1,600 for a dog?" Get Fido at the humane society, people. That's where I got mine. The Shot tonight is a dude surfing an 80 foot wave. Whoa! That reminds me of "Point Break." Let's just say I've seen that movie a number of times. And it totally has nothing to do with Keanu Reeves in a wetsuit. Ahem. Erica then shows us some glacial-wave surfing and we're out. Okay show. Yay for the politics, but heavy on the horse race and speculation. B-

For fun, CNN getting the mocking they deserve (Yeah, I feel a little guilty posting this--support the writers!):

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