Tuesday, July 29, 2008

California Quake, Ted Stevens Indicted (woo!), New McCain Attack On Obama, AIDS In The Black Community, And PIP Great White Sharks

Hi everybody. We've got Campbell Brown doing hosting duties again while Anderson Cooper does his Planet in Peril thang with the great white sharks. But he's missing some action back stateside. We kick things off with the whole lotta shakin going on in Southern California. A magnitude 5.4 earthquake hit the area, frightening residents and TV judges alike. We get video of the quake interrupting a Judge Judy taping. I think that was the most interesting Judge Judy ever. And I love how the defendant and plaintiff stand there dumbfounded while everyone else is fleeing for cover. Ted Rowlands is in Pomona, California, and he gives us the low down on what exactly happened, while we watch clips of swashing pools and a burst pipe at LAX. Ted sounds a little freaked, actually. He's doing that Anderson-style rapid-fire delivery with the quick breaths. Having never been in an earthquake before, I'd probably be a bit freaked myself. Anyway, this, of course, all culminates in talk of the inevitable "Big One," which is set to destroy California any day (or year) now. Sleep tight, guys.

Okay, so last September when the news broke that the FBI was eavesdropping on Alaskan senator Ted Stevens (R), I crossed my fingers for indictments under my Christmas tree. Well, December came and went with no dice. But guess what. It's Christmas in July! Today Ted Stevens was finally FINALLY indicted on seven counts of making false statements related to thousands of dollars in house renovations and gifts he received from an oil contractor. Long time readers of this blog know that I have, shall we say, a strong dislike for the senator from Alaska. In the past I may have referred to him as corrupt, insane, and, uh, a dick. And those were the compliments. Normally I don't like to celebrate the misfortune of others, but man, it is so happy-dance time.

A Joe Johns piece breaks down the technicalities over what went down with VECO, the oil services company at the heart of the matter. Not mentioned in his piece, was Joe's own little personal run-in with Stevens. See, back in 2006 Joe wanted to get an interview from Stevens, but had the gall to request said interview while not in the hallway normally used for addressing the cameras. How dare he?! Stevens then reacted like any normal power-mad insane person would and promptly filed a formal complaint against Joe for "ambushing" him. So how'd that turn out? Joe Johns 1, Ted Stevens 0. Aw, and he's not even gloating.

Jeffrey Toobin then joins Joe and Campbell for discussion of the case. His opinion is that Stevens could face jail time if convicted, but probably not. Kill a girl's dreams why don't you. We also learn that Stevens is the overwhelming favorite to win the republican primary. Alaskans, what is wrong with you?! Campbell then tells us that Joe "went digging for sleaze. And you're about to now see the mother load." Ooh, I'm intrigued. What follows is a package that again goes into the VECO stuff. The infamous bridges to nowhere are also mentioned. Not mentioned is how Stevens blew a freaking gasket when someone noted his bridge money might be better spent helping the victims of hurricane Katrina. Did I mention that Ted Stevens is a dick?

For even more discussion on this, we're next joined by Roland Martin and Ed Rollins. Ed tells us that he knows Stevens and thinks he's a man of integrity. Um, I don't think integrity means what you think it does. Oh, Ed. I like you. Don't do this to me. There are only so many republicans I can stomach. It's bad enough I'm terrified to Google Amy Holmes, lest I find out she's got some evilness lurking on her resume. So anyway, I'm going to just pretend Ed's comment never happened. Man, that beltway protect-their-own pull is strong.

I would be quite remiss if I didn't note that while Ted Stevens at this point is the poster boy for democracy gone wrong, he is also a bottomless well of unintentional hilarity. From manic screaming on the senate floor, to incomprehensible ramblings about how those darn internets get to him late because his tubes are clogged, you'd be hard-up to find another senator that inspired a techno remix. In fact, the Guardian's Deadline USA blog has compiled a whole list of these gems and more for your reading amusement. And speaking of amusement, Jon Stewart has gotten much mileage out of the senator's antics these past few years. I was going to dig up some clips for you, but then I discovered that Rachel Sklar has done all my work for me. Yay! If you only watch one, make it be "Who the F**k is Ted Stevens?" One of my favorite Daily Show segments ever and totally worth it for the last line alone.

Transitioning now to the news that McCain's biopsy was clean. Good. And see? All that speculation yesterday for nothing. Well, not nothing, I suppose. It was a perfect excuse for Sanjay to come flash us that toothpaste commercial-ready smile. Just saying. We then get a Dana Bash piece on how McCain is trying to make people believe that Obama is like this with unpopular Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, with the idea being that the voters will then realize that the country could end up entirely in the hands of democrats like them. Oh noes! What if they start a preemptive war, tank our economy, and shred the constitution?! Oh, wait. Yeah, I don't think that's going to work as well as the McSame thing.

Next up, we have a Randi Kaye piece on an arrest regarding that murdered marine, but I'm going to move on to Sanjay in the studio talking about HIV/AIDS in the US African American population. The stats are fairly mind-boggling. There are more blacks with HIV/AIDS in this country than there are in some African counties, such as Rwanda. Judging by some of the comments on the blog, this is a hot topic. Yes, personal responsibility is a big factor here, but what about the fact that blacks with HIV are two and a half times more likely to die than their white counterparts? That's a huge problem, no doubt encompassing issues such as education, poverty, and our profit-centric and ineffective health care system.

Our last piece tonight is from Anderson, as he continues his work for PIP. They're out on a boat and their mission is to tag great white sharks. We're "treated" to video of these said sharks murdering poor seals. Aw. This is why I don't watch those nature shows. Soon the sharks venture closer to the boat, leading Anderson to crack, "There's a nine-foot shark circling the boat, and for some reason I'm the only one who seems concerned." And now I'm thinking of "Jaws." I wonder if he whipped out the "we're going to need a bigger boat" line. They probably hear that a lot. Also, for those keeping score at home, Anderson is not afraid to be actually in the water with sharks, but is a bit "concerned" with them swimming around his boat. Don't try to understand him, people. The mystery of the gray-haired anchor can never be cracked!

Gary Tuchman has the headlines tonight and he brings us the tale of a man who stole a 40-foot long street light. To recycle. Gary tells us the motive was cash, but I think it'd be more amusing to call this environmentalism gone wrong. "The Shot" is a poor woman getting attacked by a kangaroo at the Atlanta zoo. Don't mess with kangaroos. Speaking of the marsupials, Gary tells us that actually, "Atlanta is a hot bed for kangaroos," which kind of makes me crack up. Apparently there's a kangaroo habitat not far away, but all I can think of is nefarious kangaroo activity going on all over the Atlanta hot bed. The show was good. Heavy on the punditry as always, but several topics.


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