Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Hurricane Katrina Myth And Our Nation's Levees

Hi everyone. As Hurricane Gustav turns into a monster and puts the city of New Orleans again in the forefront of our minds, I want to share a must-watch video with you regarding why the city flooded during Katrina and why New Orleans' vulnerability is not as unique as we might think. The fact of the matter is that our nation's levees are in very sorry shape. So much so that a grassroots organization called has been founded to inform the public on levee issues and to push for an independent investigation of the flood protection failures we witnessed during Hurricane Katrina. Along with the economy and war, our nation's levee infrastructure should be at the forefront in this election season. Please watch:

"Most people think that it was Katrina that brought about the devastation to New Orleans. But it was a breaching of the levees that put 80 percent of the city under water.

It was not the hurricane."

Spike Lee

Friday, August 29, 2008

Remembering Hurricane Katrina Three Years Later And Preparing For The Looming Threat Of Hurricane Gustav

Hi everyone. Have you recovered from the convention yet? Today is the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and Anderson Cooper came at us from New Orleans for a special two-hour live 360 broadcast. Unfortunately, the majority of the show was dedicated to covering the surprising (and seemingly very political) choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as McCain's Veep. Yesterday, McCain supposedly held off on making the announcement in order to let Obama have his moment. Why he thinks it is okay to then trot out his pick on a day that should be reserved for remembering a tragedy is beyond me. Of course, not that McCain has ever really showed he cares about the lives ruined by Katrina anyway. After all, three years ago when the storm was pounding the Gulf, he and his BFF George Bush were yukking it up over a birthday cake.

The show tonight was pretty good, considering Anderson Cooper (and most likely others) just came from Denver last night. The Anderson piece on NOLA's readiness for Hurricane Gustav was particularly noteable. Even the political coverage kept me engaged, though that's probably because there was actual news, instead of pundits trying to pretend there's news. But while events of the day pretty much meant 360 had to spend the bulk of their show covering politics, quite frankly, I do not. In honor of this anniversary, I'd like to bring you my memories of watching Hurricane Katrina play out. Because while some have moved on, we should never forget.

I had vaguely been paying attention to Hurricane Katrina as she formed and subsequently hit Florida as a category one storm, but it wasn't until that Saturday that it really dawned on me that New Orleans was in big trouble. The warnings on TV were becoming more dire, but I have to say it was the blogs that really made me start to panic. A poster at Daily Kos was relaying information from a meteorologist at Weather Underground and the things he was saying were terrifying. From that point on, the people on progressive blogs began to organize and offer up their homes to residents fleeing the soon-to-be-hit area. Those that said they wanted to stick it out were begged not to. Lives were no doubt saved. I went to some other less political and newsy forums that I frequented and made sure people there knew how bad it was. Mind you, this was Saturday. How the hell a person from the middle of the country knew of the severity of the disaster two days prior to it hitting, and our president didn't is beyond me.

That Sunday morning I prayed for NOLA in church and that evening I watched "The Day After Tomorrow." The movie choice seemed so inappropriate it suddenly became perfect. The last post on Daily Kos that I read before landfall went something like this: "If this storm hits the way it's predicted and you're still in NOLA, you will die. Get the fuck out now." At the time I thought it was a bit dramatic. I went to bed that night with fingers crossed that the Superdome would hold. The next day I woke to the news that the Superdome roof was coming off. Brian Williams reported from inside.

To be honest, most of the actual landfall coverage is a blur to me. I remember a reporter hiding behind a mailbox during the height of the storm and I remember yelling at him. I also remember Anderson's reporting during landfall, but not that well. I actually don't remember 360 from that Monday, but I'm sure I watched it. What I do remember from Monday night is NewsNight with Aaron Brown and the reporting of Jeanne Meserve. Her description of people crying for help and dogs being electrocuted by live wires . . . I'll never forget that. After the show I wanted to tell people how bad it was, but found I couldn't even talk about it. Throughout Monday afternoon there had sort of been a sense of relief that NOLA missed a direct hit, but after that NewsNight broadcast I knew things were worse than could be imagined.

Over the next few days I did nothing but work (at the time I worked part-time at home) and watch coverage. Mostly I watched CNN, but I also tuned in for NBC Nightly News and Countdown with Keith Olbermann. We all know what went down with the looting and the horror and the violence and the complete government failure. I don't really need to recap that. I also spent a lot of time on blogs where unbelievable amounts of information was coming in. I watched 360 every evening and also watched the expanded NewsNight where Anderson would check in. It was the most I had ever watched Anderson and I was riveted to the coverage. Everyday he looked a little bit more upset, which was exactly the way I was feeling.

The interview Anderson conducted with Senator Mary Landrieu is what made me a fan and stands out as one of my favorite moments of live TV ever. I heard the Senator say that she wanted to thank the former presidents for their strong statements of support and I just lost it. I literally experienced a buzzing in my head. It was like something snapped. Who the hell cared about a statement unless it came with water and shelter? I thought the interview would end up being like all the rest I had witnessed over the past few years--a politician spouting stupid talking points and easily getting away with it.

But this time was different. Suddenly there was this voice. This really upset, angry voice that was saying all the things that I wanted to scream from my living room. It was like Jon Stewart on Crossfire. It was one of those moments. George Orwell once wrote said, "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." And that's what it was. Anderson Cooper wasn't doing anything spectacular--he was just pointing out what was in front of him and what all of us regular people at home wanted to say. But due to massive media submissiveness during the Bush years of deceit, suddenly he had committed a revolutionary act.

Thursday night seemed to be when everything came to a head. I was about to go to bed and was just checking the blogs one more time when I saw a posting about explosions in NOLA. I immediately turned on CNN and saw Chris Lawrence in the dark with some cops. He was standing against a wall, explaining that they had to point the camera light inward, so they wouldn't attract shooters. At that time, they thought the building explosions might be releasing toxic chemicals. I needed to work the next day, so I turned the TV off and tried to go to bed. But I couldn't. Even lying in the dark silence I could still feel the fear in NOLA. It was one of the weirdest feeling I've ever had and I had this dread that when I woke up, everyone in the city would be dead. So I got back out of bed, turned on the TV, and watched for the rest of the night and into the morning.

Very early Friday morning CNN got a hold of Ray Nagin's infamous radio interview. They played it in full. I know parts of the interview were played in clip form over and over, but that was the only time I heard the full interview and it was the only time I heard the ending. The palpable hopelessness of both Nagin and interviewer Garland Robinette was just devastating. As the interview wrapped up, there was nothing but silence. And then crying. Both men crying. To hear an official put the unraveling of our government into words was beyond upsetting. Later that morning, Soledad O'Brien absolutely took FEMA head Michael Brown to the cleaners over the horrible response. To hear him try to say that things were okay, while the horrors were shown to us on the split screen was unbelievably surreal. I can still hear a completely shocked Soledad saying, "but it's Friday. It's Friday."

Of course Bush and the "calvary" came photo-op ready later that day and blah blah blah. By the weekend I was so angry about the situation I was literally experiencing severe headaches and had to take a break from the news. Instead, I spent my time writing my Congressional Representatives a three page letter that detailed my utter disgust with the government's response. (In case you're wondering, yeah, they responded with form letters.) Because the disaster is still ongoing, this post could go on forever. Not to mention all the early memories I've left out. And I would be remiss if I didn't note that many towns besides NOLA were completely decimated by the storm. In the days and months following landfall there was Celine Dion breaking down on Larry King, Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard's heart wrenching appearance on Meet the Press, Bush's speech of lies from Jackson Square, and one of Keith Olbermann's first ever commentaries. And so much more, including finger pointing and a nation dealing with the largest displacement of people since the civil war.

Hurricane Katrina and particularly its aftermath was one of this country's greatest disasters. To this day I'm sickened by how little we seem to honor the victims and remember what
happened. September 11th, 2001 is a day every American knows, but what about August 29, 2005? To me, Hurricane Katrina is in some ways actually more painful than September 11th. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." The fact that terrorists would cause terror is not exactly shocking. It's what they do. But our own country's government is not supposed to stand idly by while citizens rot in the streets. The fact that this particular government would completely fail us actually wasn't too surprising, but to watch it play out was incredibly shocking and painful.

As you've already seen, I've included a lot of links to the things I was talking about. Hurricane Katrina also spawned a lot of moving blog posts and essays, many of which I linked in my post on the second anniversary of the disaster, if you'd like to check them out. Like many of you, my thoughts will once again be with NOLA this weekend. Hopefully come Monday I will be bringing you wackiness from the RNC and not something more dire involving Gustav.

Never forget Hurricane Katrina.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Democratic National Convention Day Four: Was It Good For You?

Greetings Americans! Obama! Obama! Obama! Woooooo! Can you tell I liked the speech? That was awesome. This has really been an amazing convention. Usually when I look forward to something of this nature I always end up getting disappointed. Not this time. The Democrats brought it and they brought it good. I'm guessing there are a lot of Republicans going to bed nervous tonight. As for the coverage, today was one for the history books and Eliza was not gonna play around--I just went ahead and started out at C-SPAN. To their credit, it seems that CNN aired the majority of the festivities and I of course made my way to The Best Political Team on Television (TBPTOT) after the convention was over. Right now though, it's time for those unpredictable bullet points. Will they be serious? Will they be fun? You just don't know!
    • On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I have a dream" speech. Exactly 45 years later a major political party in the U.S. just nominated an African American to be president. Tonight transcended politics. Those watching just witnessed something historic.
    • The crowd at Invesco Field was simply amazing. The last I heard reported, they were trying to get upwards of 90,000 people inside. Awe-inspiring.
    • Bill Richardson did a pretty good job slamming McCain, but he didn't wow me. Of course, after Obama's speech, you almost have to feel sorry for the warmer-uppers--they're all but forgotten now.
    • Stevie Wonder! Did Wolf Blitzer rock out? You know he wanted to.
    • The man who used to be the next president of the United States is always a welcome face these days. After Republicans ridiculously tried to compare Bush to great leaders, I was glad to see Al Gore stealing Lincoln for Obama. And he got in some jabs too: "John McCain ... is now openly endorsing the policies of the Bush-Cheney White House and promising to actually continue the same policies over again? Hey, I believe in recycling but that's ridiculous." Should we call that a green zing?
    • Did you catch Wolf Blitzer forgetting Amy Holmes' name? Who does he think he is, Larry King? I guess one of his circuits shorted. Good thing he had Anderson Cooper for the assist.
    • Too bad we couldn't have Ray Charles doing "America the Beautiful" instead of Michael McDonald. I used to have my alarm set on a radio station that played that like clockwork and I woke up to it every morning. It's a good song to get you going. (Er, uh, yeah, I just remembered Ray Charles is dead. That really would have been an appearance!)
    • Okay, TBPTOT. It is really uncool to commentate on the Democrat's military cred, yet not air the Generals' tribute.
    • Jeffrey Toobin redeemed himself to me tonight when he pointed out that Obama didn't have enough room for all his supporters, while McCain was having trouble even getting 10,000 people. Perhaps I will not have to make him cry sad, sad tears after all.
    • More Joe Biden?! Yay, surprise!
    • Call me cynical, but I say the McCain VP dance was all just a BS ploy. Oh, he's decided not to leak because it's Obama's night. Riight. I'm sure this was in no way completely orchestrated to make him look like a good guy.
    • CNN totally missed the boat by not airing the speeches of the regular-Joe Republicans. My favorite was Barney Smith: "We need a president who puts Barney Smith before Smith Barney." Golden.
    • How cool was it that there were people watching the convention in Times Square? CNN really had all of their bases covered. Well, except the whole not airing half of the speeches thing.
    • Oh, Dick Durbin. I am sorry to report I remember nothing of your speech. Hey, at least you didn't have to follow Obama.
    • Our next president gave one of the best speeches I've ever heard a politician make. The entire thing is quoteable. "John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell -- but he won't even go to the cave where he lives." Oh, snap! I believe the question as to his ability to fight has just been answered.
    • Obama on McCain's very similar voting record to Bush: "I don't know about you, but I'm not about to take a 10% chance on change."
    • "What the nay-sayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you." And that folks, pretty much sums it up. Regular readers of this blog know that I was torn between Obama and Clinton right up until Super Tuesday. I didn't vote for Obama because I think he will save us. He won't. I'm not naive. He is not my friend; he's a politician. There will be disappointments in the future. But he won my support because this isn't about him anymore. This is bigger than one man. Tonight's stadium full of people is a testament to that.
    • I'm not sure what TBPTOT did as soon as Obama's speech ended because I stayed with C-SPAN for a few minutes to take in the moment. The fireworks. The streamers. The screaming crowd on its feet. History before our eyes.
    • Even C-SPAN has bloopers: A few of the streamers landed directly on one of their cameras. Now that's a party!
    • Anderson Cooper again had some fun teasing Blitzer about his band days, suggesting that the gawkers hanging around their set-up were just waiting for him to go to town on the keyboard. But, oh! Apparently the Wolfbot got a little sass programmed into him because he shot back that it was more likely they were waiting to get their picture taken with Anderson, which quieted him down good. Hm, I think our silver surfer has been one-upped. Aw, Anderson is so embarrassed of his sought-afterness.
    • Whoa! Gratuitous pimping alert! Don't ever say Blitzer's not a company man. He used the last minutes of their coverage to sing CNN"s praises like nobody's business.
You know what time it is, don't you? That's right, here come the weird and wacky behind-the-convention-scenes tidbits that Eliza found on the Internets. Let us begin with a little reporter rundown. There are 15,000 journalists in Denver, and according to Fishbowl New York, 1,026 of them are drunk. They're just blowing off steam, people. Because as it turns out, reporting is, like, hard. Just ask ABC News producer Asa Eslocker. He just wanted to take some pictures of Democratic power players and instead got his cute self (just saying) man-handled across the street, culminating in an arrest (be sure to watch the linked video). Can we say over-reaction? Bail has been posted. With the company credit card, thank you very much.

What do condoms, biking, and yoga have to do with the Democratic National Convention? Brand spanking new CNNer Dana Milbank explains in this video. And he wears pig ears and a snout while racing to glove up a banana. Didn't see that line coming, did ya? As to Mr. Milbank's recent employment switch, whoa Nelly, it's looking like he jumped off the MSNBC train just in time. I noted the other day that Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews seemed raring to kill each other, but since that time the crazy has spread to other MSNBCers! Jon Stewart brings us the meltdown, throwing in a dash of literary flavor. Because that's how he rolls.

Remember how after the first day of the convention I deemed the Huffington Post Oasis as the best answer to the question, "where the party at?" I think I might need to reassess. Because all evidence points to the CNN Grill being the hottest spot at the DNC. No really, this article even says so in their lede. (Also noted, is Anderson Cooper pondering temporary kleptomania.) Producer Kay Jones again showers us with some Grill behind-the-scenes info, noting that Roland Martin and Donna Brazile totally got their dance on. Does she have video of this? No, she doesn't. No camera. What the hell, CNN? Lucky for her, the two pundits are apparently quite fond of busting a move and she had some previous video to post. Now, those that don't know what they're missing might be satisfied with that video, but though CNN did not have a camera in the Grill, someone did (way to get scooped in your own party spot, CNN), and if you think you were amused before, you ain't seen nothing yet. Check out that hip action! Did my drunk pundit wish just come true?

Our Anderson Cooper was also video-ed in the CNN Grill, but sadly, there was no dancing involved (I'm pretty sure hell would have to freeze over first, people). Instead, he sat down with Campus Voices to talk about the youngins and how they fit into this whole democracy thing. From a media perspective, he loves the kids because they help them tell the story. (Also? Demo ratings, baby! Just saying.) And according to this non CNN Grill video, Anderson can't walk more than a few steps without being accosted. The DNC loves him so.

That about does it for me. Whew! What a week. It was actually a lot of fun. A big shout out to all those bloggers and journalists who made me feel like I was there. And I didn't even have to go through massive security! Anderson will be coming at us live from New Orleans Friday and I'll be blogging. As for next week, I'll probably be a masochist and at least attempt to stomach some of the RNC. But if Gustav gets bad my focus will change whether the coverage does or not. In any regards, according to this, Anderson will not be going to St. Paul.

Goodbye, Denver! And congrats on being a part of history.

The Democratic National Convention Day Three: Okay, Who's Hung-Over?

Woooo hoooo!!! Hey there, readers. What's the haps? Another great night in Denver! Not so much though for The Best Political Team on Television (TBPTOT). Maybe last night I was too nice (too much virtual CNN brew?) because tonight I had to make my home at CSPAN. I loves me the pundits because they're all unique in their own special ways (aw), but sometimes you just want to scream at them to shut up, you know? And sometimes you even want to add a couple of words between the "shut" and the "up," though you don't, because your mother might be reading (hi mom!). Anyway, that sometime was tonight. So leave them I did. Don't worry, I flipped back a bit and caught some chuckles that will be coming up shortly. But as always, let's get on with our usual bullet-pointed list of convention seriousness, randomness, and outright wackiness:
    • It wasn't all crap on the CNN stage. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin stopped by to chat about the looming threat of Gustav and we were treated to TBPTOT in tag-team interview mode. Now that's what I'm talking about! That's right Anderson Cooper, you bring it! Oh and Nagin, it's three years later and you're "hoping" the levees will hold? Are you kidding? For those that missed this Hurricane Katrina-like flashback, the interview is up on CNN's site. Now with the ability to embed! That's CNN, rocking the technology that other networks had over a year ago.
    • About that Gustav? Hopefully he'll decided to take a little chill pill soon, but if you want to follow the forecast, there's no better place than Weather Underground. No, sillies. Not the radical terrorist group; the totally awesome weather blog. I was hooked on it about this time three years ago and they turned out to be right about everything. Seriously.
    • Dudes, I can't believe I forgot to put this in my opening paragraph: Obama is now officially the nominee! Yay! Hillary Clinton cut the roll call vote short. Sorry PUMAS.
    • Bill Clinton gave a good speech, but honestly, I was a little underwhelmed. Maybe it's because Hillary's was so good and I guess I was comparing them. For once Hillary outshines her husband. The DNC is a magical place.
    • Why does CNN hate the troops? There were several great speeches on military issues (stay-at-home mom Beth Robinson being my favorite) and CNN didn't air a one. Instead, they jabbered to each other. This is why God invented CSPAN.
    • In fact, TBPTOT were still talking during the beginning of John Kerry's speech! What a difference four years makes, huh? From star of the show to a guy who can't even get proper airtime on cable.
    • It's all good though, because for a guy who usually comes off as entertaining as watching paint dry, John Kerry totally rocked the house! I loved his Senator McCain versus Candidate McCain bit (and you know he stole that idea after watching The Daily Show's Bush versus Bush).
    • John Kerry on McCain's flip-flopping: "Are you kidding me, folks? Talk about being for it before you were against it. Let me tell you, before he ever debates Barack Obama, John McCain should finish the debate with himself.” Bwah! Oh, snap!
    • The Steven Spielberg military tribute video was really good, but man, could Wolf Blitzer have hyped that thing any more? Seriously, guys, if you don't have anything to say, just let us watch the speeches. Because it's completely obvious when you're just filling time.
    • And while I'm ragging on TBPTOT again, dudes, shut up about John McCain! Oh my gawd, he's picked his VP . . . but you don't know who it is, so please stop! Just because he's being a dick and is trying to steal some Democratic thunder, doesn't mean you have to talk about it, especially since there is no "it" to talk about. Really, were you not mocked enough during the waiting for Godot text message coverage?
    • Beau Biden? Best intro-er ever. I'm sold! That was a great speech. I knew a lot about his family's tragic history, but Joe getting sworn in at his son's hospital bedside? Damn. That's not a tear, people; I have something in my eye.
    • Beau must get his speechifying genes from his father, because Joe Biden hit it out of the park. Not a barn burner, but incredibly moving. His description of the "kitchen table discussions" was right on the mark and no doubt struck a chord with many Americans. "It's about whether or not you can look your child in the eye and say 'we're going to be alright.'" Game. Set. Match. He gets it.
    • Hey news nets, a surprise is not a surprise if you report it to us. Sometimes we don't need to know everything. As cool as his appearance was (and it was very cool), it would have been even better if I didn't know it was coming. Just saying.
    • Jeffrey Toobin, were you dissing Biden's speech? Don't make me call you an out-of-touch elitist because I totally will. Oh, it may not sting now, but trust me, later, you'll cry sad, sad, tears.
    • Wolf "roady" Blitzer's love of the band was kind of hilarious. Who knew robots could appreciate music?! And Anderson Cooper was completely tickled with this development, mocking him every single chance he got. Thing is, with the Wolfbot, sarcasm and mocking don't even register--they just kind of bounce off. We also learned the Wolfbot used to be in a band called the Monkees (no, not those Monkees) and TBPTOT might be able to convince him to rock out at the CNN Grill. Oh. My. God. There are some things the world is just not ready for.
The show stuff has endeth and it's now time to dive into the convention behind-the-scenes goodness. Our vlogging blog chicks are back and this time they've gotten themselves dressed, out of bed, and moseyed into the CNN Grill, which seems to be quite the happening place. The CNN Grill: Come for the political discussion, stay for the cupcakes! Seriously, make sure you watch to the very end.

Our trio of Twitterers (I totally just came up with that) weren't the only ones hanging at the cable net's hot spot, TVNewser sat down with CNN prez Jon Klein over breakfast. During the convo, the honcho of "the most trusted name in news" chewed a piece of gum (or maybe just a really tough piece of bacon), schmoozed with the always snazzy Roland Martin, played show-n-tell with swag, and explained why the heck Campbell Brown was flow out to Denver after anchoring one day in New York. Guess Anderson better pack his bags for St. Paul.

Speaking of Anderson, we learn from CNN Producer Kay Jones that he spent some time in the CNN Grill as well (and made some friends). The thing I love about big events where there's lots of media, is that you can usually find more than one perspective on any given situation. For example, Kay also notes that Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend rocked the Grill too, but the details end there. However, take a quick hop and a skip over to AMERICAblog and John Aravosis has a story for you.

See, John Avarosis doesn't know who Charlize Theron is and, quite frankly, what he does know about her he doesn't quite care for. His mission, as it were, was to get some pictures of our own silver surfer chatting it up with Theron's boyfriend, Stuart Townsend, who he also doesn't know, but does helpfully identify on the picture as "hot guy" (he identifies Anderson too, you know, in case you need him pointed out). The snafu comes when Theron's polka-dotted handler gets all up in John's shot, totally blocking the hot guy action. Oh noes!

Ms. Polka-Dot was under the impression that he wanted a shot of Theron. She obviously does not know John Aravosis. But shots were gotten anyway and thus pretty much endeth the story. Upon complete reading of the situation, it sounds like the ire should be directed at Ms. Polka-Dot and not Charlize. So, in conclusion: Charlize? Probably still nice. Ms. Polka-Dot? Pure evil. Anderson? Fetching as always. And John? Might want to, like, join Netflix or something. Seriously dude, she's won an Oscar.

Finally, old media meets new media and the outcome ends with Katie Couric upside down. (C'mon, with a tease like that, how can you not click the link?)

That's going to do it for me. I should have something for you tomorrow, but I'm not exactly sure what. I'm taking my mother out to dinner for her birthday, and though I should be home to catch Obama, the DVD recorder will have to pick up some of my slack. I know, I know, it's the last night. But seeing as though I almost died on Mother's Day, my mom totally deserves this. But anyway, in case my post is delayed, yay Obama!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Democratic National Convention Day Two: Are We Drunk Yet?

Wheeee! What a night! We're starting to get into the really good stuff now. And what's even better is that the CNN coverage came at us with a lot less suck than last night. In fact, they tempered down on the eye roll-worthy analysis enough that I stayed with The Best Political Team on Television (TBPTOT) most of the night. Oh sure, we had some of our requisite "moments in annoying punditry," but you can't really fault them for that; it's all they know. Poor things. Anyway, on with the random, amusing, and totally awesome convention noteables (in bullet form, as always)!:
    • Donna Brazile thinks primary campaigns and Las Vegas are totally the same. "What happens in the primary, stays in the primary." Is this why she has so many boos?
    • Nastiest metaphor award goes to John King: "peel the skin off the other candidate." Uh, ew. At least he didn't say "take the wood to McCain," because, no. Just no.
    • TBPTOT needs to step it up because I think Roland Martin wins snazziest dressed pundit two nights in a row.
    • From Kathleen Sebelius: "John McCain's version: There's no place like home...or a home...or a home...or a home...or a home..." Ha! (h/t to Daily Kos because I totally missed this one.)
    • From Bob Casey: "John McCain calls himself a maverick, but he votes with George Bush more than 90% of the time...that's not a maverick, that's a sidekick." Zing!
    • From Mark Warner: "In four months, we'll have an administration that actually believes in science." Science! Woo hoo!
    • From Brian Schweitzer on the futility of offshore drilling: "If you drill in all of John McCain's backyards, even the ones he doesn't know he has...that proposition is a dry well." Oh, snap!
    • Even the pundits had some quotable smackdowns. Paul Begala with a head fake on Clinton campaign strategist Mark Penn: "She would not be where she is tonight if not for Mark Penn, . . . she'd be the nominee." Booyah!
    • Hillary Clinton shouts out to her, "sisterhood of the traveling pants suits." Bwah!
    • From Hillary Clinton again: "It makes a lot of sense that next week John McCain and George Bush will be together in the Twin Cities, because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart." I'm running out of comments. Have I used "booyah" yet? Yes, I think I have. Yowza!
    • Why does it look like Bill Clinton's speech-watching face is probably the same as his stoned-face?
    • I have yet to witness my aforementioned request of drunk pundits (though apparently Denver's high altitude gives my dream a little more potential), but dancing pundits? Almost as good. Go Roland, it's your birthday. We gon' party like it's your birthday. We gon' sip Bacardi like it's your birthday. Eh, you know the rest.
    • Hey, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann haters! This is your lucky week. Because they damn might kill each other by the end of it. Seriously.
    • Someone tell me why, WHY must people stand behind TBPTOT and act retarded?
I thought the speeches tonight were really good. Bob Casey got people warmed up, Mark Warner got people pepped up, and Brian Schweitzer got people absolutely riled up. What a barn burner! Schweitzer might not be a familiar face to a lot of people, but his ability to bring progressive ideas (specifically on energy) to a red state has made him a rising star in the party. I think after tonight that star is going to get a little higher.

That brings us to Hillary Clinton. Truth be told, I was fully prepared to roll my eyes through her tribute video. I've been so disgusted with the PUMAS, and though it's harsh, have gotten to the point where I pretty much agree with those crazy kids at 23/6 about the situation. So I was a bit surprised when I actually found the video pretty inspiring. (and a rockin soundtrack to boot!) The speech was just as good. No, it was better. She was gracious, she threw her support to Obama, and pounded on McCain.

It was a great moment for her and for the entire convention. Now, if only her supporters will follow her lead. The interview Suzanne Malveaux had with the very emotional delegate following Clinton's speech was interesting to watch. I don't understand her feelings, but I was able to sympathize instead of just be angry she couldn't so easily jump on the Obama train. And I have to admit, I might have grinned when she called Suzanne out on the inevitable future analysis. I didn't feel bad for Suzanne either, seeing as though she asked the delegate the same obvious questions twice. I don't know about everyone else, but I heard the answer the first time.

Now let's have a little fun with some behind-the-scenes goodies, shall we? Rachel Sklar is political vlogging with her buddies Glynnis MacNicol (Fishbowl NY) and Ana Marie Cox (Radar) again and this time they're in bed. Blogger slumber party! Will Obama girl join them for a political pillow fight tomorrow? Thousands of men can only hope.

When not playing the role of one-third of a Canadian sandwich, Ms. Sklar bides her time eating the most important meal of the day at the CNN Grill and rubbing elbows (almost literally!) with one Mr. Anderson Cooper, "he of silver hair and eyes of blue." During their short confab, Anderson notes a personal space violation (any penalty being totally worth it) and shows us his inner Jew. Oy Vey!

It seems our silver surfer spent his afternoon taping something for The Daily Show. This blurb shows some exercise going on with Rob Riggle. Will our anchor's guns be on display? One can only hope. Perhaps the extra pick-me-up he got today will help get him in the exercising mood. According to Anderson's blog post, he's been doing some oxygen hits. Dude, that's my thing. If you like that Anderson, you can come to my place. I have a whole machine that makes oxygen. It's totally what brings the boys running.

Finally, do you Twitter? If you have no idea what I've just asked you, well, sadly, you are not one of the cool kids. Because apparently Twitter is all the rage with some of these media types. The aforementioned Rachel Sklar and Glynnis MacNicol are doing it, and bringing us all those convention tidbits you ain't going to find on CNN. Speaking of CNN, it seems Rachel cornered CNN president Jon Klein and got him to sign up for a Twitter account. And judging by his quantity of tweets (that's what the kids call it), he's totally into it! Or, you know, not.

But it seems there are a couple of CNNers that are down with the twittering. Miles O'Brien lets us know what he's up to (psst, Miles, that Bill Clinton you're following? So not the real Bill Clinton) and Rick Sanchez is a twittering fool! He's actually much easier to take online. My favorite tweet from him, "want irony? my direct tv signal just gave out, only one news channel coming in... FOX. true dat!" True dat, indeed. Oh, and in case you're wondering, yes, a certain primetime anchor is signed up. But judging by the tweets, I'm guessing if you were to try to talk to him about his twittering, he would look at you blankly and nervously back away.

Oh my. That's enough from me tonight. The party continues tomorrow.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Democratic National Convention Day One: Get Your Party On!!!

Woo hoo! Hello fellow convention watchers! This blog is coming at you from St. Louis, but my spirit is rocking it out in Denver. I've spent an unhealthy amount of time on the Internets these past few days and am excited to report that all this newfangled technology makes it feel like you're there with the rest of the delegates. But I'll get to that stuff in a minute. First, the big show (with bullet points!):
    • I really liked the Jimmy Carter video, mostly because I think Jimmy Carter is a great human being, but also because there was a big focus on Hurricane Katrina. This Friday will mark the third anniversary of the tragedy and unfortunately with all the political hoopla, I'm afraid the date is going to come and go without much notice. So it was nice to get the reminder that though the people of New Orleans are helping themselves, the disaster goes on.
    • Happy birthday to the 82-year-old delegate with the bathroom hat! I had to giggle when Anderson Cooper noted people in Zambia were probably watching the convention and wondering WTF is up with us Americans, but then I remembered they no doubt wonder that even without people running around with plumbing on their heads. And yeah, obviously I spiced up Mr. Cooper's language.
    • The Ted Kennedy speech was amazing. I don't know what I was expecting; probably someone who looked sick and frail. He was nothing of the sort. I've got kind of a weird connection with Kennedy now. He and I were both in the hospital at the same time (different hospitals, obviously.) I literally had nothing better to do, so I followed the updates on his condition obsessively. I remember chuckling to myself when I heard that he was getting very frustrated with being stuck there. It was about the same time I myself was threatening to escape through the window. I never thought I'd be able to relate so closely with a U.S. Senator.
    • Don't you wish you could pick your pundits a la carte? Like, you know, trade in a James Carville for a Chuck Todd. Because Chuck Todd is awesome.
    • What's with CNN not showing Claire McCaskill's speech? Did they think we actually wanted to hear them pontificate instead of hear the speeches? Hello! Luckily, I was reminded of the existence of CSPAN and switched over. And honestly, that's mostly where I stayed. It was so much better, which brings me to the next bullet point.
    • The Best Political Team on Television? More like the Bitchiest Political Team on Television. What was up with that coverage? Because it kind of sucked. I'm going to have to agree with Hillary Rosen's comment about the "negative analysis." Maybe they were all annoyed that they didn't have any PUMA-related (Clinton supporters) drama to get in a tizzy about tonight, but the harping on the "no message" was really annoying. McCaskill sure seemed to be bringing a message with her. Oh wait, they didn't air that speech.
    • Even David "the glass is always half full" Gergen was complaining about things. Now, maybe I'm way off here, but it seems to me that the majority of people watching these conventions on cable news are political junkies anyway. Those viewers that need to hear a "message" to be swayed are the ones who are just going to randomly come across the convention on the regular networks, which were only airing one hour. And those viewers saw a kick ass speech from Michelle Obama, which you can bet was also the speech (along with Kennedy's) that was soundbyted on all the local newscasts. So, I'm not getting the problem here. Maybe The Gerg needs to come out of the beltway bubble and take a breath of fresh air. Or maybe I'm wrong. Only time will tell.
    • Speaking of Michelle's speech, how awesome was that? And the girls? Cuteness overload! Did anyone else notice Obama didn't know quite where he was? First he said Kansas City, then St. Louis, and then Kansas City again. Can we forgive him? Yes we can! (Yeah, okay, I won't do that anymore.)
    • Even though Nicole Wallace is an evil Republican (I say this with concern and love), I have to say, her comment about Wolf Blitzer sleeping upside down softened me a bit. Except, Nicole, he's not a bat; he's a robot. Really people, how many times to do we have to go over this?
And now it's time for weird and cool stuff found on the interwebs. During these days in Denver we'll be hearing lots of questions, but as the attendees with no doubt note, perhaps one of the most important questions will be: "Where's the party?" Well, it looks like we have a few places to choose from. It seems most of the bloggers will be hanging in the unimaginatively named Big Tent. I can't say I'm all that impressed. Okay, yeah, they've got beer, but look at all those computers. There's a big whiff of work going on there. And we can't have that.

So moving on to the CNN Grill, a place CNN producer Kay Jones has deemed a place to see and place to be seen. Again there is beer, so that's a plus, and apparently they've graffitied a building, but I don't know. I'm not entirely convinced this is "the place to see." I mean, c'mon girl, you're CNN. Where's the video? I want to see drunk pundits.

This brings us to the Huffington Post Oasis, a place that will serve you interesting looking food and then contort your body. No, really! For the amusement factor alone, I'd say this one takes the party cake (step it up, CNN Grill!). Check out all the Eat the Press posts for behind-the-scenes fun, specifically the V-Log, where Rachel Sklar talks up some politics before she's even showered. Now that's dedication!

Also found on the tubes, CBS catches up with Anderson Cooper at the convention to ask him his favorite part of the Constitution. Surprisingly, it's freedom of speech! Here I thought it'd be the third amendment. Anderson doesn't seem to be down with unexpected house guests. Or maybe he just has a problem with the ones that bring six bags. Geez people, pack lighter. And on that note, I'm not quite sure what to think about this guy, but I believe AC360 Review's official stance is going to be, good God, run, Anderson, run!

That's it for me. The party continues tomorrow!

Democratic National Convention Flashback: What's Happening To The Balloons? We Need More Balloons!

Are you psyched for the convention?! Though I'll definitely be tuning into the speeches, perhaps what excites me most about this little upcoming political exercise, is the sheer magnitude of potential unpredictability that can occur when you take an entire political party, along with the country's media movers-and-shakers, and stick them all in one fishbowl for the gawking pleasure of the unwashed masses. Will there be harmless unintentional hilarity? One can only hope. To wet your palate, let us take a trip in the wayback machine.

Allow me to set the scene: The year is 2004. John Kerry has just accepted the Democratic nomination. Van Halen is rocking out. And convention producer Don Mischer is having an absolute coronary over the quantity of balloons being dropped. Unfortunately for him, his displeasure was not only piped to those wiley balloon-horders up top, it also went out live on CNN. Oops. This alone is amusement inducing, but perhaps even better is the surreal commentary on the incident that follows. Do you think we can count on similar mock-worthy ridiculousness this time around? I'm not a betting woman, but I'm going to go out on a limb and quote someone who is sure to be very popular this next week, "Yes we can!"

Sunday, August 24, 2008

WATCH: Obama, If You Don't Text Us Soon, CNN Will Go Insane!

Obama is so mean to the TVnewsers! He made them wait and wait and wait, with nothing to report on! And, actually, it was sort of hilarious. The crazy kids at 24/6 edit the slow descent into insanity and come up with an amusing minute and a half of desperation:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

CNN: Obama Chooses Delaware Senator Joe Biden As Veep

Hi everyone. Well, it looks like it's all but certain; Joe Biden will be Obama's running mate. FINALLY! Maybe now the madness can end. You think the press is going to act like this for McCain's veep pick? Anyway, I didn't watch the regular hour of 360 tonight because I just couldn't take any more speculative insanity. If Biden can control himself and stay away from unwanted controversy, I think he's a great choice. He's got lots of experience (specifically in foreign policy) and he knows how to play the attack dog role. I really hope the Clinton supporters don't go crazy over her not being chosen. I've said this before and I'll say it again, she'd be wasted as VP. There's more power for her in a cabinet position or, heck, even as senator. Hillary Clinton for Secretary of Defense! So please, people, let's keep our eye on the ball: defeating McCain.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Obama Teases Press, McCain Has More Money Than You, Chinese Cheaters, And Tropical Storm Fay Is One Stubborn Chick

Hi everyone. John King returns to play the Anderson Cooper role tonight and we are beginning with big BIG news! Obama has, oh my God, picked a running mate! Granted, he's not telling us who it is, but this announcement requires graphics! Because now we are able to speculate on a whole other level. I swear, people, it's like watching a comedy show sometimes. And I wasn't kidding about those graphics. We've got "clues" going up on the screen right now.

This then leads us into a purely speculative piece from Candy Crowely as to just who Obama might have chosen. Focus is put on Hillary Clinton, not so much because they have an inkling that it might be her, but because the press just really likes talking about Hillary Clinton. There's also mention of the other short-listers with poor Joe Biden continuing to be hounded by the mediarazzi. After her piece, Candy joins us live and pronounces my states as "Missourah," which means I now must strangle her. With concern and love, of course.

Next up, we've got speculative discussion with Hilary Rosen and Kiki McLean. And they are excited! There's office pool talk. Presents under the tree talk. This is going to be the bestest text message evah! And I am underwhelmed. You know, I think all the political speculation of late has sucked away all my news junkie joy. Damn you, pontificating media! I hope that text message comes at 3 AM! Okay, I'm better now. I'll be pumped in time for the conventions, don't worry. And in the meantime? There's a suggestion that the media should be sent to do public service while they wait for real news to happen. That is the best suggestion I've heard all season. There's way more speculation, but do yourself a favor and read this instead. Seriously. It's hilarious.

On now to an Ed Henry piece on how McCain is filthy rich, possibly senile, and has trouble counting. Long story short, the straight shooter gives an interview to Politico in which he's asked the very difficult question of how many houses he owns. McCain then goes all Alberto Gonzales on us and suddenly can't remember. It's okay though, people, his staff will get back to you. I hate it when I can't remember all my houses. No, wait, I'm confusing myself with Donald Trump again. Man, this really gives him that "man of the people" vibe, doesn't it? Really though, both candidates are rich. The way the system is set up, you have to be. Or you have to know rich people. Sad but true. Ed then brings up McCain's recent comment that you're rich if you make $5 million, which his camp claims was just a joke. You know, this is the point where it might have been helpful to viewers to actually play McCain saying that in context. I mean, I know they have the clip--their network aired the forum.

It's panel time! Tonight's contestants are Joe Klein, Tara Wall, and John Podesta. Look who's defending against the elitism charge now. Yep, it's McCain. Pretty soon they'll have him eating arugula. Anyway, blah, blah, blah, Tara pulls the POW card, blah, blah. Then we have a John King piece on how it's Obama's election to lose. T. S. Eliot might have deemed April the cruelest month (look at Eliza pulling out the literary references!), but for the Democrats, it seems August is their Achilles' heel. We then get a history lesson of all the previous blowups. This piece makes me sad. But like a really sobering sundae, it's topped with some irrelevant cherries in the form of discussion. Yeah, my metaphors are going over the edge, but I am bored, people.

Transitioning now to a John Vause piece on the controversy over the age of the Chinese gymnasts. It seems the bloggers have gotten on the case and you know when that happens, it's over man. They'll find everything. And they've already found a lot, specifically cached documents online showing one of the gymnast's date of birth as 1994. For those rusty on the math, that makes her only 14, two years shy of qualifying to compete. What makes this interesting is that this gymnast took the gold on the uneven bars due to the way the computer system is set up. She and Nastia Liukin had identical scores, but the American was given the silver in what I thought was a totally messed up way of doing things. I wonder what happens now. It's unfair that they broke the rules, but it also seems unfair to strip the girls of their medals when they were the best.

Moving on now to Gary Tuchman still STILL chasing Tropical Storm Fay. Tonight he's coming at us from Neptune Beach, where a woman got caught in the undertow while swimming and later died. Another woman drowned in a different location while surfing. That's horrible, but what were these people doing out in the storm? Poor Florida is really having a time of it. Gary tells us they're experiencing "epic" flooding the likes of what we saw in the Midwest. Oh, and he says my state's name right. Thanks, Gary. (I'm looking at you, Candy Crowley.) Funny thing is (or actually not so funny), Florida would probably be getting a lot more media attention right now if it wasn't for the anticipated VP announcement and upcoming conventions. I guess people need to learn to plan their disasters during non election years.

Erica Hill has our headlines and they include Casey Anthony making bail. Thank you 360 for not having someone stake her out. The Shot tonight is a guy on a motorcycle speeding and crashing into an SUV. The SUV, which contained children, then bursts into flames. Thankfully they're okay. Motorcycle idiot says he was acting out a video game. Needless to say, he's going to jail. Man, that was no monkey in a subway! Keep it light, dudes. The show was just meh. I suppose it'll be like this until something actually happens. I've noticed the webcast is getting better with the delays, so there's that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Stupid Media Narratives, Veepstakes, Time Filling, And Gary Tuchman is Soggy

Hi everyone. Anybody else longing for last Thursday's show? Sigh. Apparently this is what happens when the media feels they must cover politics, but there's actually not that much to cover. Remember during the primaries when we had ever-changing narratives and they just ended up looking stupid? Yeah, we're edging on that kind of ridiculousness here. John King is our master of ceremonies tonight, filling in for the MIA Anderson Cooper. So, did you hear the news? Obama is in major trouble y'all! Oh, sure, McCain is still losing in most polls, but not by as much. Not as much, people! This is a death blow! The election is over two months away and they haven't even debated yet, but still, like, oh my gawd, Obama should just hang it up now.

Don't you just love media narratives? So, if McCain starts actually winning, does the media pontificate about how he should worry because Obama could overtake him, or does McCain just always get to be seen as winning--even when he's not? Anyway, we get a Jessica Yellin piece on how Obama is getting fed up with McCain being a jerk (my word) and painting him as unpatriotic.

Moving on to an Ed Henry piece that hits on the Veepstakes--specifically focusing on Joe Lieberman. No, he's not on the short list for Obama; rumor has it McCain might be eyeing him for that number two position. He's got the buzz, if you will. Besides being McCain's apparent BFF, Lieberman has just been chosen to speak at the Republican National Convention. Hm, too bad he's not a Democrat anymore. Because then I'm pretty sure he would be required to give an insane rant and challenge Chris Matthews to a duel. Good times. Anyhow, no one seems to be happy with the speaking decision, specifically the Republican base, who fear this signals a pro-choice VP. You know, how is it that McCain is seen as so unfalteringly pro-life, when his statements on the issue have been inconsistent in the past? Where's that coverage?

On we go to the dreaded "strategy session," with tonight's contestants including Joe Klein, Hillary Rosen for the Democrats, and Alex Castellanos for the Republicans. Of note is Hillary pointing out that the American people agree with Obama on the issues and he needs to get back to talking about them. Amen to that. Alex thinks Obama's message is conflicted, which is kind of ironic seeing as though McCain has flip-flopped on literally almost every issue. Alex also thinks Obama hasn't lived long enough to have firmly formed his beliefs. What? That's just . . . stupidity.

Okay, I'm sick of the punditry, so we're moving on to John King and . . . the Magical Map Wall is back! Yay! John then does his thang, while bringing in Joe Klein and Bill Schneider for discussion. Our poll man, Bill, points out that Obama leads on the issue of the economy, but not by much. Oh, here we go again with stupid media narratives. In the latest New York Times/CBS poll, McCain has the same lead on foreign policy issues that Obama has on the economy. Does that mean McCain should be worried he's not far enough ahead on his signature issue? Where's all the doomsday chatter about him? This coverage is so frustrating. I'm not so much bugged that it's slanting McCain as I am with the fact that it's so mindless. Anyway, John continues with his map fun, telling us that women voters in the St. Louis suburbs could be key. Hey, that's me! John just touched me. How did it feel? Magical.

We next get the very sad news that Congresswomen Stephanie Tubbs-Jones died today. RIP, Stephanie. Then we're shown clips from the candidate specials that were run earlier. Again. I didn't watch, so I can't really say anything about the full specials. I am, however, getting sick of the whole John McCain as war hero thing . Refusing to accept the special treatment of an early release is indeed commendable, but has nothing to do with leading the free world of today. If the McCain in his 70's had the same character as the man who refused special treatment, it might be relevant, but it's pretty clear that the show of character from those years ago has been sacrificed in the name of becoming president. Oh, and what's with having an interview after the McCain piece, but not the Obama one?

Transitioning now to our poor Gary Tuchman still braving the elements to bring us the latest on Tropical Storm Fay. Well, I mean, he hasn't been standing outside since the start, but, you know. I think Gary totally gets dibs on the next cool assignment. So anyway, Fay has apparently taking a liking to Florida and decided she's going to stay around a bit. She's set to make her third landfall tomorrow. Gary is in Marineland where workers are doing their best to make sure that dolphins Nelly and Lily don't find themselves swept out to sea. Gary reminds us that very scenario happened to other dolphins during Katrina. I remember. To see Gary's reporting on those dolphin's you can go here. Is it too late to tell Gary to try to stay dry? Yes, I think it is. Hopefully Fay will be satisfied with only three landfalls and dry clothes are in Gary's future.

The Shot tonight is a monkey in a Tokyo subway. A monkey in a subway! That's just craziness. Okay, so, you can probably tell I was none too thrilled with the show. And so I'm clear, this isn't a partisan thing. I've in no way hidden the fact that I'm for Obama and yes, I think these current narratives are unfair to him, but mostly I'm annoyed because it's all just ridiculousness that I think does a disservice to the viewers. All this strategy talk and polling and hot air from the pundits . . . how is that helpful? How is that helping those serving in Iraq or those without health insurance or the kids in the crumbling schools? Obviously 360 is not the only show guilty of this horrible coverage; they all are. But what happened to the fact-checking? (And is nothing else going on in the world?) Sigh. The most trusted name in news my ass.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Veepstakes! Veepstakes! Veepstakes, Galore! Also, Special Pimping (And Time Filling) And Drew Griffin Makes Some "Terrorist" Friends

Hi everybody. We've got Campbell Brown keeping the anchor chair warm again tonight, and I'm guessing for the rest of the week, unless they drag Anderson Cooper back for Obama's supposed forthcoming VP announcement. Speaking of the number two position, apparently it's all anybody can talk about. The subject kicks off the hour in the form of BREAKING NEWS that Biden has buzz! So much buzz in fact, that the press corp have seemed fit to stake him out while he's in his car, like he's Britney Spears and they're the freakin paparazzi. For his part, Biden says he's not their guy.

Now, I'm not saying the VP pick isn't important, but this is ridiculous. The pundits can bloviate all they want. At the end of the day they still know nothing. Anyway, John King joins us live and then we get David Gergen by phone and Mark Halperin. I'm not going in depth on any of this because by the time most of you read this on Wednesday it may very well all be moot. Although it would be kind of funny to be able to go back and point to how completely wrong they were.

Next up, we have a Joe Johns piece on McCain's attacks against Obama. The theme here is that Hillary Clinton basically handed McCain a plan of attack on a silver platter because he's just taking what she did further. I can somewhat agree with that. I know I was none too happy with how she ran her campaign, with one of my chief concerns being she was hurting the democrats' chances if he were to get the nomination. That being said, you cannot tell me that McCain wouldn't have pulled this crap on his own even if Clinton played Pollyanna. Republicans attack. It's what they do. Don't call it the Clinton playbook; call it the Bush or Rove playbook. McCain should know; he's was on the receiving end of their nastiness in 2000.

Moving on now to discussion with Mark, The Gerg, and Suzanne Malveaux. The reason this is becoming an issue now is because McCain is gaining traction in the polls, which is apparently being attributed to his attacks. But man, it is still very early, people. Calm down. Clinton's attacks during the primaries are again brought up and Campbell wonders why, after going through that, Obama isn't more prepared for McCain. The Gerg thinks it's not in Obama's DNA to go on the attack.

This whole conversation makes my head explode. It's discussions like these that are the epitome of why some people believe the media is out of touch. They're talking like attacks are a good thing and the fact that Obama doesn't want to engage in that kind of behavior is some kind of minus against him. What is wrong with these people? Look, I get how the political world works. He needs to fight back. I want him to fight back. But shouldn't this conversation have focused on the character of John McCain? Even Joe Klein can't ignore McCain's seemingly "severe character defect." Everyone seems to be blinded by the war hero sparkliness. The media likes McCain. Fine. But might I remind them that they liked Bush in 2000 too. Do not do this to us again.

On now to Suzanne Malveaux previewing a special on Obama that is to air tomorrow. I think we've seen this before. Or if not, we've seen something similar because I'm definitely getting deja vu. The clip we see touches on Obama's stint in the world of Chicago politics. After Suzanne, John King previews a special on McCain and we get a clip that's all about McCain the hero. Big surprise. Afterwards, John notes McCain's infamous reputation for being a hothead, and then quickly brushes the subject away. My guess is the horrid Chelsea Clinton joke will not be mentioned. Also, about those horrors McCain endured as a POW? As Andrew Sullivan fantastically points out, according to the Bush administration, no torture ever took place.

Transitioning now to a piece from our favorite little "terrorist," Drew Griffin. You might remember that after filing a critical report on the TSA, Drew found himself on the Terror Watch List. And now it seems he's started himself a "terrorist" club. Apparently a lot of viewers contacted Drew to tell him they were in the same inconvenient boat. Three of these enemies of the state are named James Robinson and they include an airline pilot who is licensed by the TSA to carry a gun in the cockpit (something you probably wouldn't want a terrorist to have), a former assistant U.S. attorney general and Washington lawyer, and . . . a third grader. Drew makes sure to give that last one a good grilling. "Are you a terrorist?" he asks. "I don't know," the boy replies. Don't take that for an answer, Drew! You hold his little feet to the fire! So anyway, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says it's easy-peasey to get off the list if you follow their procedure. But this is the same guy that said no one could have predicted Katrina, so yeah, they're still all stuck on the list, no doubt forever.

The scary part is that the list is apparently pretty easy to get around. The mother of third-grader James Robinson simply tipped a sky cap and Drew Griffin has combined his first and middle names to avoid the list inconvenience. So . . . wow, that's unsettling. And before everyone emails Drew with shrieky "why are you telling the terrorists how to get around the list" emails, you have to ask yourself why we haven't caught Bin Ladin yet if the terrorists are too stupid to not have already thought to change their name or tip a sky cap. Drew did another Terror Watch List related piece that aired on Election Center a bit back, but I don't know if it ever aired on 360. Worth a watch.

I missed "The Shot" tonight because I was busy listening to Erica teach me things on the webcast. Thanks a lot Erica. Okay, perhaps the blame should go to the delay, which is really annoying. I'm liking the webcast itself and have geeked-out on all her little "how things work" tutorials. Erica also talked a bit about the behind-the-scenes "Beat 360" animosity that sometimes goes on. Man, I'd love to hear more about that, but I'm thinking that's not going to happen. She then tries to convince us that Anderson loves the t-shirts. Suuure he does. Riiiight.

The show was waaay too much politics--and not even politics that contained fact-checking. Honestly, besides Drew's piece, I would have rather watched Erica do a webcast for the hour. But anyway, I shall leave you with some Olympic and newsy fun:

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tropical Storm Fay, Veepstakes, Saddleback Forum, Musharraf Resigns, Grand Canyon Flooding, And Meghan McCain Blogs

Hi everybody. Happy New Week! We've got Campbell Brown doing hosting duties tonight for Anderson Cooper, who is . . . somewhere, possibly racking up frequent-flier miles. It looks like Mother Nature is going to kick things off for us because we have the BREAKING NEWS that Tropical Storm Fay has crossed over the Florida Keys and is making her way over the Gulf, with the expectation of becoming a hurricane. Like last time, we've got Gary Tuchman playing the role of our "hurricane guy," slickered-up and having a wet-n-wild time on Marco Island. The storm isn't suppose to be severe, but the conditions still look pretty miserable. Poor Gary. He gets yelled at by polygamists, pelted by rain . . . being a correspondent can be a hard knock life. Anyway, the main concern right now is flooding because they're at sea level . After Gary, Chad Myers joins us for the latest. Stay safe, everybody.

Moving on now to the endlessly-speculated-upon second-in-command position and just who might be vying for that role. The press corps is all a-twitter because the New York Times is reporting that Obama has made his decision and will be text messaging it to the world in a couple days. He's so down with the technology! In a Candy Crowely piece, the media-concocted short list is once again given a run through: Richardson, Bayh, Kaine, Biden, blah, blah, blah. They don't know. Flipping to the other side of the partisan divide, the chattering class is talking up Crist, Romney, Jindal, Ridge, and Pawlenty, whose soundbyte makes him my favorite: "I don't talk about the vice presidential stuff, because I think it's mostly speculation. And I just have stopped talking about it." Word.

For discussion about this--oh, you knew it was coming--we're joined by Candy and David Gergen. Of note is The Gerg pointing out that the McCain camp is probably going to announce the VP pick on the candidate's birthday, which is a smooth move because it will distract from the fact that, you know, he's frickin 72-years-old! Ever the man of unfaltering optimism when it comes to the integrity of others, The Gerg also states that, "I think the one thing that is sort of etiquette in politics is, you don't do your vice presidential candidate in a way that competes with the other guy's convention. You don't do it in a way that sort of rains on his parade." So that terror alert at the start of the 2004 democratic convention that turned out to be completely bogus was because of . . .?

Keeping with politics, next up we've got coverage of Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Forum, which McCain and Obama both participated in over the weekend. You know, I have to ask, who the heck anointed Rick Warren this country's values chief? And what happened to the separation of church and state? I'm a Christian, but this whole thing was just weird. Anyway, we're played some long clips from the forum, one of which has McCain claiming to be pro-life. McCain is not pro-life; he is pro-life with an asterisk. You cannot be pro-war and pro-death penalty and call yourself pro-life. I respect real pro-lifers, though I disagree with them on some of the issues.

We then move on to discussion with Tony Campolo and Tony Perkins and the first question that pops into my head is "why?" Why should I care one iota what these people think? Of note is Tony getting his boxers in a twist over tax payer funded abortion. Because I'm just loving my taxes going to that whole unjustified war thing. Life's not fair, Tony. Deal with it. And that's enough of that. I'm glad that they decided to spend their second hour more on the forum and not do blanket coverage in the first hour because that would have sucked. Although the fact that the "cone of silence" controversy never made it on the air in any meaningful way and was only brought up on the blog by The Gerg, makes CNN seem kind of cowardly. It's a legitimate part of the story and I have to wonder if their silence is because they don't want to receive any letters like NBC.

Transitioning now to the news that Musharraf is resigning as president of Pakistan, which feels like it should be a huge story, but when Peter Bergen joins us live, he's pretty much all, "meh." His opinion is that the move won't change anything because Pakistan's economy is in a free fall and everything is in a state of chaos anyway. Uh, yay? So, same old, same old, apparently. Except now there's probably going to be a power grab. I guess as long as the nukes are secure we should be happy.

Moving on to a Kara Finnstrom piece on flooding in the Grand Canyon, but I got distracted, so . . . sorry.

The last piece of the night is from Gary Tuchman and it's actually one that's been getting bumped for quite a while now. Anyway, it turns out that McCain has a daughter. And she blogs. Because she's, like, young and hip and stuff. All the cool kids are doing it! Meghan has a degree in art history and I was about to say, "good luck with that," but then I remembered her dad is John McCain. So, yeah, she's going to be okay. I actually read through her blog a bit last week and it's cute. It sounds like she's having a blast. And the fact that she voted for Kerry in 2004 is a definite plus in my book. Okay, so she seems very likeable. But does her blog make me want to vote for her father? Not a chance in hell.

The Shot tonight is a plane that gets caught in power lines. The surely-terrified pilot and passenger are then rescued by way of a cherry-picker. The show was just okay. Too politics-heavy for my tastes and the Saddleback controversy could have been addressed. Plus, if this is truly a 360 degree all-the-angles kind of show, where was the voice of those that are against the mixing of religion and politics?

I'm liking the webcast, but hate the delay. You can't watch without missing some of the broadcast. Oh, and let me do what I can to help out Erica: Dear powers that be, get the woman a new laptop!!! Thanks. Erica had said that she'd be talking to Campbell, but I don't think she ever did. I don't know if she's really shy or what, but to each their own.

Over the weekend I posted about a profile of Jon Stewart. And tonight AC360 Review has a special little Moment of Zen for you courtesy of those awesome folks at the AP, regarding McCain's possible VP picks (I hope they don't fix it):
His top contenders are said to include Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Less traditional choices mentioned include former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, an abortion-rights supporter, and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential prick in 2000 who now is an independent.
Who says the news never gets it right?!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Is Jon Stewart The Most Trusted Man In America?

Hi everybody. Since I know a lot of 360 fans also watch The Daily Show, I thought I'd give you a little weekend reading. The New York Times has a pretty good profile of Jon Stewart in Sunday's Arts and Leisure section. I've been watching Jon and company since 2002, a time when the only guests they were able to book were B-list celebrities. To watch them evolve into such a political and cultural tour de force has been quite the trip. I will forever be indebted to them for helping me to hang onto my sanity during these mind-boggling and soul-crushing Bush years. I'll never forget discovering this little show and realizing that it wasn't just me who thought the world had gone completely insane. And of course, given my feelings about the news media, Jon's Crossfire appearance was a kind of catharsis like no other. So anyway, give the profile a read. A couple of my favorite paragraphs:
Given a daily reality in which “over-the-top parodies come to fruition,” Mr. Stewart said, satire like “Dr. Strangelove” becomes “very difficult to make.” “The absurdity of what you imagine to be the dark heart of conspiracy theorists’ wet dreams far too frequently turns out to be true,” he observed. “You go: I know what I’ll do, I’ll create a character who, when hiring people to rebuild the nation we invaded, says the only question I’ll ask is, ‘What do you think of ‘Roe v. Wade?’ It’ll be hilarious. Then you read that book about the Green Zone in Iraq” — “Imperial Life in the Emerald City” by Rajiv Chandrasekaran — “and you go, ‘Oh, they did that.’ I mean, how do you take things to the next level?”

TO the former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, Mr. Stewart serves as “the citizens’ surrogate,” penetrating “the insiders’ cult of American presidential politics.” He’s the Jersey Boy and ardent Mets fan as Mr. Common Sense, pointing to the disconnect between reality and what politicians and the news media describe as reality, channeling the audience’s id and articulating its bewilderment and indignation. He’s the guy willing to say the emperor has no clothes, to wonder why in Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “It’s 3 a.m.” ad no one picks up the phone in the White House before six rings, to ask why a preinvasion meeting in March 2003 between President Bush and his allies took all of an hour — the “time it takes LensCrafters to make you a pair of bifocals” to discuss “a war that could destroy the global order.”

Thursday, August 14, 2008

More Russia/Georgia Conflict, Convention Talk, Wal-Mart Under Scrutiny, Gymnastics Controversy, Julia Child Was A Spy, And 360 Gets Their Fun Back

Hi everybody. Wow. What a show, huh? I am pleased. So let's get on with this puppy, shall we? We're beginning with the BREAKING NEWS that all hell of not good things are going on with this whole Russia/Georgia conflict. And who do we have coming at us with the lowdown from Georgia's capital, Tbilisi? Why, it's our Iraq expert, Michael Ware. Somebody's branching out, I see. I gotta say, seeing my Iraq guy in that part of the world leaves me feeling a little discombobulated. Of course, this whole extra war going on makes me feel that way as well, so there's that.

Anyway, Michael tells us the Russians have launched a two pronged attack: going into not only pro-Russian enclaves, but also pushing into undisputed Georgian territory. Apparently the troops are pretty relaxed because they know there's no real threat against them. We also have Jill Dougherty back for the Moscow perspective and we're played a clip of Mikhail Gorbachev from his stint on Larry King Live. So much news coming at me! This is great; though hard to blog. Michael reminds us that the US is pretty impotent in this situation because all our troops are currently occupado. Jill gives us the interesting tidbit that the mood inside Russia is that they're feeling a bit surrounded. Weird.

From here, Elaine Quijano joins us live for the skinny on what our dear leaders are doing about all this. The answer? Not much. Sure, they're puffing up their chests and talking tough, but have nothing to back up the bluster. Makes you glad we invaded Iraq on false pretenses, doesn't it? Hey, at least the whole so-called war on terror is going good. Oh, wait. Say it with me now: "Thanks Bush!" Oh, and to throw you a bit of random, Elaine calls Anderson Cooper "Russia." I wonder if that's the first time he's been confused with a whole country.

They're still running that #1 at 10:00 ad. Not to rain on the parade of a really good show, but that's a bit of false advertising going on there. Anyway, we're then on to Anderson introing a Tom Foreman piece by use of the phrases "shout out" and "diss." Yeah, that's how you bring in that younger demographic. Oh, 360, you're adorable sometimes. But enough mocking; Tom's got some important news. It seems the democrats have kinda sorta maybe worked that whole convention thing out. It has been decided that Hillary Clinton's name will be put in nomination. This means there will be a roll call vote, which apparently will let her delegates be heard. Hey man, they can dance the funky chicken at the thing for all I care just as long as we're inaugurating Obama come January.

It is at this point that Eliza finally gets the webcast doohickey working. I had clicked on what I thought was the right link at the top of the show, but the next thing I knew I was watching a fire, so I'm not really sure what happened there. Anyhoo, Anderson, despite having his name in the show title, still does not have a microphone. I smell a conspiracy. So it is up to Erica Hill to run this thing. She does a little interviewing of Anderson while he's trying to blog while at the same time having people talking into his IFB. So hey, are we trying to kill Anderson? I mean, it's very enjoyable for me to watch, but I imagine he feels like he's on some kind of warped reality show. Survivor: Multi-Tasker.

The online Anderson and Erica are still talking when I turn my attention to the TV and see that the television Anderson is back and there seems to be all kinds of drama going on. Oh noes! I shake my fist at you, evil time delay! So okay, they're just getting in this truly upsetting video of some Turkish press under fire in Georgia. You do not shoot at the press. Horrible. We learn that one reporter was hit in the eye and taken to a hospital. Later in the broadcast, Erica tells us that this actually occurred on Sunday and all are safe. Still really scary.

Glancing back at the webcast camera, it's going crazy! Don't know what's going on there, but just thought I'd throw that out. On now to discussion about the Clinton news with Candy Crowley, David Gergen, and Mark Halperin. I didn't follow this too closely, but there was some speculation over the convention deal details, which apparently have yet to be worked out (or announced at least). Of comical note, is when Candy Crowley mentions Clinton's "dead-enders" and Anderson asks, "Haven't I heard that term somewhere before?" Following with, "It wasn't true the last time." You can't go wrong with Cheney mocking, in my book.

When last we left our heroes on the webcast, they were, well, pretty much in the same place. Poor Erica is taking some heat from Anderson regarding a joke she made up on air on the fly. Aw. Boys are such meanies sometimes. To see if anyone is backing Erica up on her comic stylings, they both check out the blog to see what the chattering class is saying. This is kind of surreal, but cool. We learn that Erica and Anderson are both con "LOLs". Thank God! Maybe people will stop that now. (Of course, then they both post--possibly ironically--with smiley faces, no doubt ushering in a live-blog era of that. Not helping.)

Once again, the webcast is still going on, when I turn back to my TV to see that Randi Kaye has a piece on Wal-Mart's possible violation of election law. Ah! I want to watch both. It's like Sophie's Choice here, people! In the end, even though I'm very happy they're covering this story, I stick with the webcast until it stops. I am shame-faced.

Moving on, we're joined by Olympic gold medalist Shannon Miller and Sanjay Gupta to talk about the age controversy of the Chinese gymnastics team. I have to say, seeing Shannon Miller is bringing on some major nostalgia for me. When I was a kid, my friends and I would watch her compete and then run out and perfect our back bends and cartwheels. She was definitely someone we all wanted to be. Shannon tells us that younger gymnasts have an edge in that they can flip around more, but the drawback is that they're less experienced. We also learn that in 1991 she lost the gold to an athlete that was violating the age rules, but Shannon maintains the younger athlete deserved it because she was the best. She thinks the rules need to be changed so all ages can compete. Sanjay gives us the medical perspective (duh), noting that sometimes the rigorous training of a gymnast can cause changes in a person's hormonal balance that can actually make them appear younger longer. Interesting.

Next up, we have an Erica Hill piece on today's confirmation that Julia Child worked for the OSS, the precursor to the CIA. You know, when I sleepily logged onto the 360 blog this morning (as I totally always do-heh) and read the headline, "Julia Child a Spy?," I initially thought it meant she had been a spy for the Russians and the whole cooking thing was just a cover. Then I woke up a bit and coherent thought took over.

On now to some fun with the 360 floor crew. Yay! Our star of the show is Frank, who is here to read us a little something from San Jose State University's "Annual Bad Writing Contest." By candlelight. Oooh. Except he initially reads from the prompter. Oops. But with script finally in hand, he makes it up with a stellar performance. I have to say, Frank puts the 'steam' in 'steamy.' For a second there I thought this segment was going to require a disclaimer, but then he brought in a little Joisey accent for the finish. Ta da! Give this man an Emmy! (Hey, Anderson can spare one.)

It is at this point that our train really starts to come off the tracks. The Shot tonight, because they are obsessed, is a Yeti (or Bigfoot or Sasquatch). Actually, it's a dead Yeti in a freezer. Oh noes! That's disturbing on many levels. The dudes who took the picture allege to have found it in "an undisclosed location in north Georgia." "We're not sure if that's also where Dick Cheney stays," says Anderson. Two Cheney jokes in the same broadcast? Anderson, you spoil me. Erica reminds us that her friend Scott is a Bigfoot hunter and true believer, but is also apparently MIA. Perhaps he's hunting right now. Anderson wonders if this discovery will take away the meaning of Scott's life. Oh Scott, I may have only seen you for 30 seconds on TV one time . . . but you have so much to live for! Besides, somebody still needs to figure out what the hell that Montauk Monster is.

So wow, really good show. Started out with good coverage of hard news, didn't go overboard on politics, did a good story on Wal-Mart, a few interesting and lighter segments, and ended with some fun. And man, they take "extras" to a new level. I didn't realize that on top of the webcast, they're still doing the webcam. You have to have three web browser windows open to fully participate! They still want us to watch the show, right? Craziness. But if they can keep it all up like tonight, I'm definitely not complaining. I actually felt tired after the show was over. Granted, I always feel tired (not being able to breath will do that to you), but that was multi-tasking to the max. So okay, 360, don't look at the ratings okay? Because Greta was all over that Caylee Anthony story, so. . . just don't look. Because you did really well and deserve a big cookie.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Russia/Georgia Conflict, Swiftboating Obama, Reverend Wright Back In The News, Allegations Chinese Gymnasts Are Underage, and Kathy Griffin Live!

Hi everybody. You know that cease fire that Russia and Georgia agreed to? Well, we've got some BREAKING NEWS tonight that apparently that didn't take. Because Russia is pushing its way deeper into Georgia right now. In an Ed Henry piece we learn that the US is sending Condi Rice to see what she can do to fix things. Why don't I feel reassured? Actually, that region is supposed to be her area of expertise, so we shall see. The US is also sending aid to Georgia, which I think is nice of us. I guess I'm just happy when we're not the ones blowing things up. Obviously the Bush years have lowered my bar.

Anyway, there's a question as to whether Russia is even going to let the US help. And if they don't? I don't think we really want to know the answer to that, though I'm sure it doesn't involve hugs and candy kisses. Not that we really have a moral or military leg to stand on. I love McCain's recent quote on the conflict: "In the 21st Century, nations don't invade other nations." Maybe he thinks we invaded Iraq last century. It has seemed to just go on and on. Also? Kudos to Ed for bringing up the Putin's soul stuff. Our president is quite clairvoyant, huh?

We then move on to a clip of Mathew Chance from the region, pondering where the Russians might be going exactly. And then it's on to Zain Verjee covering the State Department angle. Russia's message seems to be "we're back, deal with it." Well! This takes us into a discussion with Anne Marie Slaughter of Princeton and Jill Dougherty in Moscow. This was a good discussion and much too involved for me to try to blog it. I'm glad 360 has mostly gotten away from covering the Russia/Georgia conflict strictly from the perspective of the US election.

I do kind of wonder though why we're not getting more on the ground stuff. Where are the interviews with the troops or civilians? If there's a reason they can't bring that to us (like maybe the Russians won't let them), they should tell us that. Also, I have no idea what's going on behind-the-scenes booking-wise, but it would be great to see Anderson Cooper in true interview mode about the conflict. It's been a while since he's interviewed a foreign leader, or really, anyone--not counting the panels or friends of missing girls.

Transitioning now to a Jessica Yellin piece on how that jerk Jerome Corsi is taking another stab at swiftboating--this time the smear is aimed at Obama. You might remember Corsi as the waste-of-space that was behind the infamous Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads that ran before the 2004 election. He's got a book of lies out on Obama and we're informed it's number one on the New York Times bestsellers. This makes me cry sad, sad tears. But my sadness doesn't last long because 360 is being awesome in that they're totally calling this book out on the inaccurate piece of crap that it is. Cookie for them. Quite the contrast to four years ago. Oh sure, Corsi was eventually shown to be a fraud, but when it mattered, the media mostly acted as enablers. Yay for getting it right early this time (assuming everyone else is on the same page as 360 of course). John Kerry is in on the game too--he's launched a website to hit back against the smears.

After Jessica's piece, we have discussion on the issue with Candy Crowley and Steve Kornacki (he's been on a lot lately). The topic then changes to the rumor that Colin Powell is going to endorse Obama. Wha? I don't think it's mentioned, but this rumor comes from William Kristol, a man who has been wrong about I think literally everything these past few years, so, you know, grain of salt and all. I'm not saying he couldn't be right; I'm just saying I think Bill Kristol is an idiot. Colin Powell makes me sad. I used to have such respect for him. I don't think he's evil like the rest of that bunch, but that UN speech is not easily forgiven. I think he's probably a man that confused integrity with loyalty. Although really, he's not totally wrong in that aspect; he just seems to have forgotten that being loyal to the president and being loyal to the country are not always the same thing.

Moving on to Roland Martin joining us to talk about Reverend Wright. Ahh! Just when you think the story's dead, it sucks you back in. Okay, so rumor has it that Wright is writing a book and going on a book tour right before the November elections. Now that would really make me cry sad, sad tears. But Roland says it's not true. Okay then. I appreciate them debunking this (and Roland taking New York Magazine to task for lack of attribution of the rumor), but couldn't this have been taken care of with the last panel. I'm just saying there's a whiff of Wright-ratings nostalgia (although good on them for not taking it out of control).

Next up, we have a Randi Kaye piece on some gymnastics controversy brewing at the Olympics. Last night the Chinese women's team took home the gold, but were they all even old enough to compete? The New York Times and famous gymnastics coach Bela Karoli are saying no. In fact, it's believed that three girls (or half the team) are under 16, which is the minimum age to compete. I watched the coverage and a couple of them did look pretty young. Of note is former Olympic gymnast Amanda Borden bringing up the fact that probably no one would be talking about this if the US won. It does sort of make it seem like sour grapes, doesn't it? Because the Americans had a fair number of falls and step outs. Then again, I heard of this controversy before last night, so there's that. The sport is amazing to watch regardless.

Finally tonight, we're joined by Kathy Griffin. Live. Oh boy. This was actually a great segment. She and Anderson start off serious, discussing her recent visit to Walter Reed. Fisher House is mentioned, a great place that I've supported in the past. Kathy talks about how hard things can be, not just for the soldiers, but the soldier's families. And, uh, she manages to bring up the Lohans and her Emmy. In fact, Anderson is ready for that last part and they have themselves a little Emmy-off. Bitter at being beaten (he's got four of those puppies!), she storms off camera. Bwah! This, naturally, leaves Anderson in a fit of giggles. They need to have her on more often. Seriously, this was a great idea because not only did they get to have some fun, but a really important subject that has been recently criminally neglected actually got a little airtime. Maybe next Kathy can go to Darfur.

The Shot tonight is preceded by the dramatic! animal video graphic. Hey, where's that been lately? They even have a new dramatic! kitty. And it's a good thing too because tonight we've got a snake in some pants and that definitely requires two dramatic animals. And get your minds out of the gutter people; I mean actual snake. So. Many. Jokes. Actually, Erica and Anderson note there are jokes they could be making, but they're "too classy" for that. Bwah! You are so not! You know they had themselves some office fun with that one. That's something you won't hear on the webcam.

Speaking of the webcam (like my transition?), just when you thought their online goodies couldn't get any more fancy-pants, oh, you would be wrong my friend. Because tonight they busted out some sound on the webcam during commercials with Erica revealing super-seekret show tidbits. And . . . I don't get it. I mean, I'm not knocking it--it was nice/interesting (except for the part where I had to download another plug-in. Grr!) , I just can't pin down the motivation. I don't mean to be so cynical and I'm sure the people of 360 are very nice, but that being said, I don't really see them or any show taking on extra stuff for the sole purpose of doing more for their fans.

Let's face it, the live-blog is to drive up web hits. I don't get the motivation with the webcam though. I guess it might be because they don't want people flipping somewhere else during commercials, but I really doubt the flippers are going to be watching the webcam in the first place. Heck, most of the fans I know don't even watch the webcam. I'm pretty sure the kind of people that do, are the kind of people that would never think about changing the channel. So . . . if anyone has any idea, I'd love to hear it because I sure don't. Unless it's simply them copying everything that Greta does because she has the ratings. And if that's the case, oh man, they've got problems. Anyway, it was fun to watch tonight. It should be interesting to see if they can come up with stuff to talk about every night.

The show was pretty good. A fair amount of topics, solid lead story, good debunking, and even some fun. And while I'm being complimentary, good on 360 for not going crazy this week with the Edwards story like I feared they would. Oh, and no missing girl non update! An all around pretty good job.
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