Saturday, March 22, 2008

Passport Breaches, Michigan Delegates, And More Discussion About Obama And Race (Thursday's Show)

Hi everyone. We begin tonight with the BREAKING NEWS that Obama's passport records at the State Department were breached three times, resulting in the firing of two employees and the disciplining of another. I'm going to be glossing over these next few segments because, as many of you know, at the time of this blogging the story has changed. It seems both Clinton and McCain have also been victims of breaches. The assuming-individual would allow this information to take the wind out of the story's sails, and brush away the possibility that this was anything but "imprudent curiosity." But I think there are way too many unanswered questions to automatically label this a "whoops." Actually, if one wanted to do opposition research on the democrats, it might make sense for that person to also look at McCain as well, in case they were caught. Of course, that would imply smart planning and when it comes to the republicans/Bush Administration? Yeah, not so much.

So the bottom line is that at this time, despite what the State Department feeds us, we have no definitive answer regarding what happened. I just hope our friends in the media keep their skeptic hats on and stay on the story. Also, it seems there are some people who think this shocking breach of privacy is a-okay. Already they're throwing out the familiar, yet fundamentally flawed retort: "If you aren't doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?" I've always hated this line. Putting aside the fact that some people value their privacy, it's completely false to believe that when a government is given absolute power they will use it justly. Who will watch the watchers? And sure, maybe you're not doing anything "wrong" now, but you've just given the government the power to define what's "wrong" and, hey, guess what? They never promised not to change the definition on you. Why people will so easily give up their rights I will never understand. Because once they're gone, they're almost impossible to get back.

Anyway, the show kicks off in a BREAKING NEWS tizzy. The number of guests/contributers during this broadcast was kind of insane. Booker gone crazy! I'm not even going to try to recap the first segment, but I will say that Anderson Cooper did a good job asking important questions without getting too speculatory. Oh and I like when he said he didn't want to sound too cynical. Anderson? We don't mind. In fact, we encourage it. Just saying. From the guestapalooza, Anderson moves on to a phone interview with Larry Johnson, former CIA and State Department official, who totally downplays the whole thing. Of note is when Larry points out that the contractors likely had republican ties and it's important to make sure the snooping wasn't political. Anderson wants to know how Larry knows the contractors have republican ties. "Well, you have had the last eight years under the Bush administration, and I'm not aware of them awarding contracts to Democratic firms," says Larry. "So, these kind of contracts go to friends and cronies?" asks Anderson. I really hope he's asking that for the viewer's sake, because otherwise, dude where have you been? Heckuva job Brownie and Erik Prince say hi.

Next up, we have a panel on the subject with Carl Bernstein, David Gergen, and Roland Martin. These guys basically agree that everyone needs to wait for more facts to come out. Roland thinks the story will cause a bloggers-gone-wild phenomenon to hit, with those on the Left reveling in crazy conspiracies and those on the Right trying to downplay, downplay, downplay. Okay, those on the left are kind of busy right now ripping each other apart over our democratic candidates, thank you very much. And sorry if we have a tendency to assume the Bush Administration is the culprit and the motive is evilness. We're just going by, you know, history. Anderson then latches onto Roland's point and notes that he was watching some of the more conservative networks and they weren't talking about this story at all and some of the liberal ones were doing a whole bunch of speculating. Dude, are there news networks I don't know about? There are only four cable news networks, right? And two of them belong to CNN. Where are all these networks coming from? Obviously Fox News is conservative, but I don't think you can classify MSNBC as one or the other any more than you can classify CNN. So let's just assume he meant shows (and who's liberal besides Olbermann?) and not networks. Otherwise I think I need to call my cable provider.

Transitioning now to Obama being embroiled in another race controversy. We get played a clip where he tries to defend his comments about his grandmother being afraid of blacks, and in doing so he refers to her as a "typical white person," which causes people to claim he's calling all white people racist. Oh good lord. I don't know why he had to defend the grandmother comments in the first place, but can we frickin stop this? Seriously America, WTF? I thought we actually wanted to elect someone who was open and honest and took their time really thinking about the questions posed to them. But apparently we don't. Apparently we like our adviser-approved sound byte-speaking photo-op ready candidates who tell us what we want to hear and don't lose any sleep lying to our faces. Because if we want a real person we can't keep jumping on every little thing. Context is nice. Are you listening, media?

We then go back to our panel for discussion of this new race kerfuffle. A good quote from Anderson: "It's interesting, Roland, because these are not the kind of conversations that -- that television or radio programs -- well, maybe radio does it better -- but, in this heightened atmosphere, does very well, that this is the kind of -- I mean, it's a difficult conversation to have, and it's a very nuanced conversation to have. And we live in an environment which is all about sound bites and -- and people yelling on television." Pretty much what I've been saying and why I think this whole race discussion thing will all but be forgotten in a few months. Also, of amusing note in this panel is when Roland relays that when he tells white people he went to Texas A&M they always ask if he played football. "I'm 245 pounds. I'm overweight. I didn't play football," says Roland. Ha! His point here of course is that the white people assume he was in school to play sports and never ask about a major. Roland, I could not be more disinterested in football, so I would not ask you if you played, but, uh, now that you mention it, I could picture you on the field.

Race is such a tricky issue. When I was 19 I worked at an all black daycare (I'm white). All the kids were black, as were the rest of the teachers and director. I didn't know this completely when I went for the interview, but I pretty much guessed it based on the location (things have gotten more integrated in recent years, but there's still a lot of segregation among neighborhoods). The director loved me and hired me on the spot, but right before I accepted the job, she lowered her voice, leaned in and said, "You realize all the children here are black, right?" The question was a little shocking. Did she think that would make a difference to me? But I suppose for some people it would have. Anyway, I mumbled something about kids being kids and worked there the summer. And although those little handfuls jabbered my head off about everything, never once did my skin color come up.

Transitioning now to a Candy Crowley piece on Michigan delegates. Hey, you remember how Florida just kinda rolled up into a little ball and declared it wasn't doing anything about its delegate problem? Well, Michigan just did the same thing. Annnnd the Obama/Clinton sniping continues. Will this ever end? I'm skipping over the discussion since I just love this story so much. I'm not saying they shouldn't cover it; I'm just particularly annoyed by the infighting, is all. Then there's a Tom Foreman piece on what Clinton needs to win, with discussion that follows, but is everyone kidding themselves here? There's a great piece on Politico that really breaks the situation down. Basically Clinton can't win unless superdelegates decide to take it from Obama, thus ripping the party apart. Man, we went from such a wide open and exciting this. How did that happen?

Erica Hill has the headlines tonight, one of them being Midwest flooding. My basement is all wet! And I'm going to have to whip out the Mapquest just to get to my family's house for Easter because my alternative interstate is under water (the main route is closed for construction). Already they're sandbagging and my local weather people are saying they haven't seen conditions like these since 1993, so heads up to the CNNers--some of you might be spending spring in the Midwest. The Shot tonight is Obama filling out his NCAA bracket during Anderson's day with him. Obama asks who he should pick. "You're asking the wrong guy. I know nothing about sports," says Anderson. Eh, just randomly pick one; that's what I'd do. Obama then jokes that he'd post his picks on the Internet for transparency, but then he actually did it. Hillary? Your move. Heh.

The show was alright. Breaking news, what are you going to do? Since I'm enjoying a glorious three day weekend I might actually do a post on the Iraq War special. We'll see. But for now I'll leave you with Michael Ware on Friday's Real Time With Bill Maher. Bill actually asked him some stuff I've wanted to ask. It's a good interview. As for the show, B


Blogger said...

Barack Obama called his Grandmother a 'Typical White Person'. Now you can get it on Shirts, Stickers, Hats, Buttons, Mugs and More from

12:05 PM  
Blogger Pati Mc said...

Thanks for posting that vid of Michael Eliza. God, I love that man. That was the best interview I have seen with him yet. Awesome!

Now if we can just get the government to heed what Michael says we may be somewhere. Yeah, right! LOL.

12:46 PM  

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