Friday, April 04, 2008

Airlines And FAA Investigated, The Never-Ending Florida/Michigan Debacle, And Autism's Genetic Component (Wednesday's Show)

Hi everyone. We're beginning with BREAKING NEWS tonight, which Anderson Cooper tells us also contains EXCLUSIVE information. It's a twofer! Ladies and gentlemen, start your graphics. Apparently because I wasn't sufficiently scared enough of flying already, we're now learning that the FAA is investigating four major airlines (Southwest, American, Delta, and United). No major reason why, just, you know, they've been flying unsafe planes. Drew Griffin has been all over this story and he tells us this is all coming about because two FAA employees were so concerned about lax oversight that they went to Congress. You gotta love the whistle-blowers. It seems the main problem is FAA supervisors are too buddy-buddy with airline employees, thus helping them get around rules. So now planes are being grounded and inspections performed. And here you thought you only had to worry about terrorists.

But we're not done yet. In a Drew Griffin "Keeping Them Honest" piece we learn that jetliner windshield heaters have been overheating and causing the cockpit windshields to crack. That could probably be a problem. And guess what. A whole slew of people have known about this issue for years. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated, but while the FAA is too tight with the airlines, they don't seem to be cooperative at all with the NTSB. Sounds like a huge systemic problem to me. Congratulations to Drew on a job well done (beats standing outside a prostitute's apartment, huh?), but dude, this is not crap I wanted to hear a few weeks before I fly. I know, I know, it's still the safest way to travel. But I maintain that if you're not a bird, it's not natural to be up in the air.

Transitioning now to a Candy Crowley piece on the working class vote. And man, Obama's really busting his butt for it. "We visited steel mills and apparel factories. And I played basketball with Bob Casey, and I fed a cat milk. I visited a chocolate store/museum," he says in a clip. Adding, "So give me your damn vote! I even bowled; what more do you people want from me?" Okay, perhaps not, but you have to laugh at the ridiculousness. Like someone is going to watch Obama feed a cat and be all, "yep, that's the guy for me." So anyway, blah blah blah and then we have some discussion with Candy Crowley and David Gergen. Is it Pennsylvania yet?

In tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" a Russian tennis player participating in a Florida tournament takes out his aggression...on his own face. The dude, like, wallops himself with his racket to the point that blood is streaming down from his forehead. That's insane. Simmer down, son. "We should point out, he actually went on to win the match. Lucky for him he wasn't played darts," says Anderson. Yuk, yuk, yuk. Yeah, or competitive shooting.

Moving on now to Tom Foreman live to talk about Florida's delegates. You were hoping that disaster had just kind of disappeared, weren't you? Well, no. But Howard Dean is making noises like they're going to get it all wrapped up. Then again, it sounds like no one has agreed to anything, so...still a mess.

For discussion of the democrat's ongoing nightmare, we're joined by David Wilhelm (for Obama) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (for Clinton). Debbie is very enthusiastic when it comes to Florida and of course she would be because seating the delegates would help Clinton. Anderson asks her if a 50-50 split would be okay, but she dodges and says it's too early right now. David gets the same question and says it sounds fair to him. Then Debbie pipes up, saying, "Anderson, I can tell you that our delegation is united against a 50-50 split." He just asked you about that. What the hell? "So cutting through all the politics of this and the spin on this, I mean, for the Clinton side, basically, it seems like you don't want a 50-50, because that doesn't give any benefit to Senator Clinton, and she's behind. On the Obama side, it seems it's the status quo," says Anderson. Bingo. We don't even need these guys. Anderson gave us what's the what in about 10 seconds.

Next up we have a Randi Kaye piece on autism, as part of CNN's special autism day. Or something. I haven't been paying a huge amount of attention to their special coverage. It's a fascinating subject though with a frightening prevalence. In the piece we meet an adorable five-year-old named Dylan with autism who has memorized the New York subway grid. Man, I could have used that kid when I was there in November. Yeah, I got a little lost. Anyway, Dylan's mom had Dylan with a sperm donor and it turns out that out of 12 kids conceived from the same donor, three of them have autism and another is showing signs. So obviously there's a genetic component to autism, but unfortunately there's no way to screen for the condition yet. We've got pills for erectile dysfunction, but not a test for autism. Sure one's probably more complicated than the other, but you can't tell me our priorities aren't screwed up.

On now to a preview of the Soledad O'Brien's special on Martin Luther King's assassination. And now I'm singing U2: Early morning, April 4/Shot rings out in the Memphis sky/Free at last, they took your life/ They could not take your pride.

The Shot tonight is a painting elephant. No, really. Or, actually, maybe not really. Anderson and Erica are a bit skeptical. It paints better than me; that's all I have to say. Anyway, Erica then reminds us of that time Anderson got some lovin from an elephant while filming Planet in Peril (similar clip). " It's really weird. It's like someone is rubbing their nose all over your face," says Anderson. And when he's at a loss to describe the experience further, Erica helpfully suggests, "Maybe you should paint a picture about it." Bwah! Erica for the win. I have to say, after seeing Jeff Corwin's arm almost ripped off by an elephant, the trunk around Anderson's neck makes me retroactively nervous. After The Shot, Anderson gives his go-to-the-site-spiel, "You can go there to see all the most recent shots and the other segments of the program. You can read the blog. You can check out the "Beat 360" picture." Adding, " I'm exhausted by the end of this promo every time." Because they keep adding stuff! I'm tell you people, it's only a matter of time before we see Anderson and Erica spinning plates.

Hey, did you notice that they finally got Anderson and Erica authenticated on the blog? It's about time. Little pictures and everything. This is going to make things much easier on those of us that just want to see if they say anything interesting about programming and don't necessarily want to scroll through all of the (sometimes) inane comments. I don't know about you guys, but I find myself slowly giving up on the live-blogging. I never comment much anyway because I'm busy with my own blog stuff, but between not getting posted most of the time and all the commenters who seem more interested in their own agendas than an actual conversation, it's losing its luster. I'm really curious as to what the tone will be once the democratic nominee is decided. Maybe it'll be better then, or maybe it'll just be the same thing except with the general election nominees. Anyway, the show was okay. Really good stuff from Drew. B


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