Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Financial Crisis Goes On, Suze Orman Answers Your Questions, Palin Continues To Astound America, And You Really CAN See Russia From Alaska

Hi everybody. Well, yesterday the Dow was down over 700 points and today it's up almost 500. Is there such a thing as financial sickness? Can we take Dramamine for this? Jebus. But don't let out a sigh of relief just yet. Because we're still at DEFCON 5 when it comes to our economy. If Tom Ridge was Treasury Secretary, he'd have us at code red. But anyhoo, the real BREAKING NEWS tonight is that the Senate has decide to step up to the bailout bill plate.

We learn from Jessica Yellin that the more mature house of Congress is set to vote on legislation tomorrow, and they're hoping that deal sweetners, such as an increase in bank account insurance and other add ons, will convince the crazies of the House to give their support. Whether that will work out remains to be seen because constituents are still very much against any bailout, and vocally so. I'm confused as to why there is no mention of the bailout alternative offered by House progressives. It doesn't look to have gotten much press. Whose fault that is, I do not know.

Ali Velshi joins us next, instructing us to not focus on the Dow because the "stock market is a weak barometer of the economy." He's worried about the credit market, which is apparently already seeing some issues in regards to major corporations raising money. Obviously, if this continues, the problems will trickle down with disastrous results. So, uh . . . hey, at least we're not North Korea, right?

Moving on now to an Ed Henry piece that teaches us that today's word is "bipartisan." Can you say "bipartisan," children? I think you can. Because see, McCain is all about coming together and being bipartisan to solve this dilemma. Sure, he was Mr. Blame Game before, but that was so yesterday. Now he's one step away from friggin singing Kum ba yah, yes siree. Except, er, he's got his surrogates out there attacking Obama and, uh, while he's preaching togetherness on the stump, there are attack ads running on the TV, so . . . yeah. For his part, Obama has also decided to don his nicest rhetoric, but he's not the loser in this situation. After his piece, Ed drones on about some "maverick" and "country first" BS that is becoming increasingly difficult for the country to swallow.

For discussion, we're next joined by David Gergen, Ed Rollins, and Hilary Rosen. I've noticed that Anderson Cooper is getting even more specific with introductions lately, being sure to note all the political leanings, which is good. I bet this crazy election has caused an eruption of batsh*t insane emails to them. Anyway, Ed makes the same point that I did last paragraph regarding McCain playing nice, while at the same time running attack ads. Anderson does the balance thing, pointing out that Obama didn't call up House members to try to sway votes. Hilary reminds him that it was the Republicans who failed in delivering the votes they had promised. She then makes the very good point that ultimately, this falls at Bush's feet, because he didn't do a good job convincing the American people this bill was needed, which led to them rising up and putting the fear of God (or losing an election) into a lot of the House members. The Gerg notes that McCain has a lot of work to do because momentum is now on Obama's side. Fingers crossed, that's where it stays.

On now to Suze Orman answering your questions, and continuing to scare the ever-loving crap out of me. Okay, she seems nice and smart, but I think I would develop an ulcer if I had to see her about my finances on a regular basis. Simma. Down. Now! People shouldn't feel like they're being berated when they're receiving advice. The questions and answers are up on the 360 blog (sans overbearing personality and scary pointing--scratch that--there's some pointing), if anyone is interested. My favorite is Chelsea. Only 14 and already learning about student loans? Who says kids aren't responsible?

Transitioning now to more Sarah Palin absurdity, because the 360 kids just can't help themselves. I'm loving how they are so clearly as flummoxed by this woman as I am. We're first played another Couric/Palin clip in which the VP hopeful completely obliterates the McCain camp's experience argument . . . and reminds us all that McCain is really old. She's like the gift that keeps on giving--I just hope we can return her come November. We're then joined by James Carville and Bay Buchanan, before being played another clip. In this little gem, Palin is asked what newspapers and magazines she reads to form her world view. Her answer: "any of 'em," and "all of 'em." Oy.

Anderson can barely contain his bogglement as he notes she couldn't name a magazine or newspaper. Bay, unsurprisingly, thinks it's no big deal. She then tries to spin things as though the question was somehow a put down to Alaska. But Anderson is on his toes and doesn't let that fly, noting that there were no implications to the question and he's been asked the same thing a million times. Bay concedes that Palin could have been more specific, but keeps up her defense by trying to tell us Palin said she reads lots of them (them meaning newspapers/magazines). "I believe she said all of them," Anderson says, and then says it again after Bay tries to brush it off. Bwah! He is so on with this subject.

James is worried about Palin because he thinks she's "supremely uninterested in the world around her." This doesn't bother Bay one bit. She then goes into the whole "she's one of us" BS argument. You know what? I don't want my president (or VP) to be like me; I want them to be better and smarter than me, and with this ticket, I'm beginning to think it's the other way around.

Anderson brings up the fact that a couple of years ago, Palin barely even knew about the surge. He points out that he's sure Bay herself would have been able to give an opinion on the surge when asked. Then Bay spouts quite possibly the most jaw-dropping reply of BS I've ever heard: "I'm sure I did, because I do this for a living. I read the issues and study them. And I have strong opinions, and I come on CNN and I express them. But that's not what she did for a living." Oh. My. God. I read the issues and study them too and I'm a friggin nobody from the middle of the country. Newsflash: This woman is running to be a heartbeat from the presidency! Wake up! Anderson has this one too: "She was commander in chief of the National Guard." Seriously.

The final clip is Palin hedging and hawing when it comes to the morning after pill. Ultimately, she comes out against. James points out that the issue should not be Palin's personal position on the pill, but whether she'll prevent other women from having access to it. Amen to that. Bay tells us that she's opposed to the pill because she believes life begins at conception. This might shock my readers, but I actually respect Palin's position here, though I add the caveat that I am strongly against any attempts to push her beliefs on others. There has been much hay made over her opposition to abortion even in cases of incest and rape, but I think any pro-lifer (I'm pro-choice) who allows the exception is a hypocrite.

If the issue is truly about unborn life, then it shouldn't matter how that life was conceived, because the life had no choice in the matter. Having these exceptions makes it about the actions of the woman, as though she is being punished for consenting to sex. If you're going to be pro-life, be pro-life. Oh, and that means no death penalty or support for war either. Hypocrites all. Anyway, back with James and Bay, they argue back-and-forth for another minute or two while Anderson, I don't know, takes a nap or something.

Keeping with the Palin news, we move onto a Gary Tuchman piece that has become quite popular on the progressive side of the Internets. Remember how Palin hilariously claimed she has foreign policy experience because you can see Russia from Alaska? Well, Gary trudged all the way up there and found out that, hey, you can really see Russia from Alaska. (Sorry, Jeff Corwin. Tis true.) Provided he can also wrestle a moose (and really, who can't these days?), I think our Gary has just qualified himself to be vice president. Okay, the deal here is that there's an island that's part of Alaska called Little Diomede and then only two and a half miles away there is Big Diomede Island, which is a Russian military installation. Between the two is the international dateline, meaning the two islands are about a day apart. Pretty trippy.

There are only 150 people on Little Diomede and Gary talks to a good portion of them, including adorable children. So, how many times has Palin visited to keep an eye on those wiley Russians? Uh, zero times. Oh, way to keep us safe from the commies, Palin! What's funny is that most of the residents of the island hadn't even heard she had been selected for VP (or even knew her name for that matter) because they don't have television. The mayor knows who she is, but even he can't swallow her foreign policy claim. This just keeps getting more and more sadly hilarious. Although, what's just plain sad is the poverty these people are living in. There's little running water and sometimes they even dump their trash into the sea, which inevitably finds it's way to Russia on occasion. Gary's piece ends with, "So far, no international incidents. " Heh. Oh, and those Russians living suspiciously close to our country? Yeah, the Little Diomede residents aren't so much worried about them. In fact, I'm guessing that whole lack of running water thing is more of a problem.

The Shot tonight is . . . well, someone has named their dog after Anderson Cooper. And not just any dog. This is one of those dogs that you look at and just laugh out loud. Sorry, I don't have a link/cap for you. So, uh, nice compliment? I myself have named my hamster after Anderson. Kidding. I've never owned a hamster. I find it a little weird to name your animals after famous people, though I will admit that my childhood dog was named Cagney after James. As you might imagine, it wasn't my choice.

Trying to watch the webcast is becoming increasingly frustrating and I'm about to give up. I'm being webcast blocked! It worked fine before. I don't know if it's my computer or their links (I try them all). It'll load up, but there will be nothing there. Or the link will just take me to some completely unrelated video. Anyway, technology is being mean to me and I've about had it with all the bells and whistles anyway. Just throwing that out there. No reason, really. The show was pretty good. They're handling the financial stuff better than I thought they would.

Finally, some good news! The Baghdad government is going to start paying the Sunnis when we stop. Thank you to commenter rosephile for the link. That'll do it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bailout Bill Fails Amongst Partisan Bickering, And Sarah Palin Starts Losing Conservative Support Amongst Being Totally Unqualified

Hi everybody. Oh, dudes. Normally this is the part where I wish you a happy new week, but I think we can probably all agree that initial reports show this week isn't going to shape up to be all that happy. Where to begin? You know that big bailout bill that Congress was supposed to come together on to save us from financial ruin? Yeah, well, that didn't happen. And while that was not happening, the Dow tanked 778 points, losing us $1.2 trillion. Good lord. I think we should all just go back to bartering.

A Jessica Yellin piece breaks down the House's no good, very bad day. In a vote of 228 to 205, the bailout bill died a sad death in the House of Representatives, not even getting a chance to be voted on in the Senate, where it was expected to pass. Two-thirds of Democrats supported the legislation, while only one-third of Republicans wanted their name attached. Let's be clear, the bill was fairly sucky, and I'm way too confused and way too inexperienced on economic issues to really give any analysis on whether we just got screwed over, but I think I've finally been convinced that this bailout is necessary. More on that later.

So what the heck happened? Well, it depends on who you ask. The general rule is not to hold these kind of votes unless you know the legislation is going to pass, and apparently, House leadership thought they were good to go. The problem is, at some point during the process, 12 Republican votes they thought they had, poof, disappeared. (Although wouldn't they have needed more than 12?) According to House Minority Leader John Boehner, this is all the fault of Nancy Pelosi, who made an, oh my God, partisan speech, and hurt the Republican's poor widdle feelings. I'm playing a tiny violin for them right now. Seriously, what the hell? Is everyone five years old? Barney Frank treats us with an excellent smackdown. Way to put country first, Republicans. After her piece, Jessica tells us that the Republicans aren't giving up the names of the 12 vote-changers. I'm so very shocked.

Next up, Anderson Cooper notes that representatives who currently hold unsafe seats were more likely to vote against the bill. They have to face angry voters in November and if there's one thing Congress knows how to do, it's cover their own ass. Makes me want to, like, wave a flag or eat apple pie. From here we're thrown to an Ed Henry piece, which details how McCain's campaign seems to be paralleling the country's financial meltdown. The dude is all over the place on this! First he takes credit for the bill before it loses, and then he turns around and blames Obama of all people. All the while, the Republicans are praising his leadership on this issue, when in reality, he literally phoned it in. This stuff would be hilarious if he wasn't running for president and the country wasn't falling apart before our very eyes. After his piece, Ed tells us that no one knows what happens next and pretty much everyone is scared. Sleep tight, kids.

For discussion of the disastrous vote, we're joined by Ed Rollins, David Gergen, and Roland Martin. The Gerg thinks the Democrats who voted against this bill should feel shame, but it's the Republicans who get to wear the albatross of blame. He scoffs at the notion of Republicans changing their vote because of feeling slighted by Pelosi, and gets himself so worked up that he almost gets into the vicinity of thinking about raising his voice. Whoa, steady there, Gerg. Ed blames the poor leadership of Bush, which is pretty much, you know, duh. I guess it's still a revelation for Republicans.

Roland thinks most Americans are against the bailout because they don't truly understand all of what's happening. Being an American, I can back him up on this--I am without understanding. But you know what? I don't think this is my fault. I've been waiting for someone to get on the teevee contraption and do some splaining, but all I get is, "The sky is falling! We have to do this now, now, now! Oh, you want details? Er, come back later." Anderson is all disturbed by the fact that many in Congress are putting their own re-election ahead of the country. Aw, he's so principled. Somebody's gotta be.

Moving on now to Ali Velshi and Suze Orman joining us to lay down their financial expertise. And ruh-roh, Ali is at the big graphic wall again, which lately has not meant good news. Not near as fun as John King's Magic Map, I'll say that. Anyway, he's showing us the Dow drop, but what I take particular interest in is his explanation of the effect of the credit market freeze. Ali actually did a short blog post about this today, and the subject is pretty much why I think I'm now behind the bailout, though reluctantly. This diary on Daily Kos further breaks down just what a mess we're in and how the crisis can easily touch those not even invested in the stock market.

Suze gives us the same advice she's related the last few times she's been on the show (stay in the market if you don't need your money for a long time) and also notes that we might not recover from this disaster until about 2015. *gulp* And for those that have their money in safe places, like a savings account, the interest rate now blows. Anderson then reads Suze some financial questions from viewers and she reminds me why she kind of scares me a little. The first question is from someone named Mickey who fails to give enough information about his/her personal situation and whoa, Suze goes off. Damn. Poor Mickey is never going to ask another question again. There's a couple more questions after this, and in all honesty I think she gives some good advice, but man, if she was sitting across from me as my adviser, I would so be backing away from her right now. Intense.

Transitioning to the news that Sarah Palin is dropping in the polls. Gee, I wonder why? Perhaps it's because Caribou Barbie can't even articulate a coherent thought. A Randi Kaye piece details her fall from grace. It's not just liberals anymore who are wondering what the hell John McCain was thinking. Even conservatives like George Will and David Brooks are turning on the hockey mom, with Kathleen Parker going so far as to say she should step down. And can you blame them after that Katie Couric interview? (The SNL parody is, of course, mentioned. For more fun, check out John King and the Wolfbot having a chuckle over it.) Plus, now Palin is going around contradicting McCain on Pakistan. The campaign must be pulling their hair out.

Not all of the GOP is abandoning their VP pick though. Anderson reads us a quote from Bill Kristol, and I know I've said this a billion times, but why do they keep rewarding that idiot by airing his thoughts? He has been wrong about literally almost everything. Most people with that track record would be shunned . . . or hired by the Bush administration. Anyhoo, we then bounce back to our panel, where the general consensus between Ed and The Gerg is that Palin has lost her confidence because she's being overly coached. I don't understand why they can't admit that she's just not that bright. Now there are reports that there is more of the Couric interview in which Palin couldn't name any Supreme Court case besides Roe vs. Wade. Seriously? Brown vs. Board of Education? Plessy vs. Ferguson? Bush vs. Gore? Bueller?!

Next up, we get a clip of someone who actually has credibility: Fareed Zakaria. He believes Sarah Palin is "utterly unqualified," and "it's not that she doesn't know the right answer; it's that she clearly doesn't understand the question." I love Fareed. Be sure to check out his great piece in Newsweek. So anyway, if you can believe it, Palin actually sat back down with Couric, this time with McCain playing chaperone. This has reached levels that are beyond weird. The whole Pakistan controversy comes up and what's their excuse? Well, gotcha journalism of course! This is particularly amusing because the original question had been asked by a voter at a town hall. Are they even listening to themselves anymore?

Even The Gerg can't help but shake his head at that. Ed thinks the scenario looks like a father taking care of his daughter. Exactly. They're in the principal's office, where Ms. Couric is sternly explaining how little Sarah is falling behind in her studies. It's ridiculous. Roland wants them to stop friggin blaming the media, especially when the media isn't even who asked the Pakistan question. Honestly, in their heads, I don't think it matters anymore. The talk then turns to Thursday's debate, which will be held here in St. Louis and I sooo want to go. I've been trying for weeks to figure out how I might get tickets, but ultimately it looks like scoring one of those is going to require killing a man. And hey, I'm not ruling that out. Right now though it looks like I'll be watching on my boring TV just like everyone else. So close, yet so far away.

"The Shot" tonight is Tina Fey doing Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live, which I've already mentioned and linked to further up. Anyway, while we've all been pitching a fit over our looming financial doom, there's a bit of disturbing news you might have missed. You remember how we're paying Sunni insurgents to play on our side? Yeah, well, the money stops on Wednesday. Whether Maliki will do the right thing and continue on where we left off remains to be seen, but if they feel slighted, well, our economy might not be the only thing that implodes this week. Man. You know what? I think this news requires an animal video. I give you Ninja Cat. That'll do it.

American Children Gassed; Nation Yawns

Hi everyone. I couldn't let this story from the Dayton Daily News fade into the ether:
Baboucarr Njie was preparing for his prayer session Friday night, Sept. 26, when he heard children in the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton coughing. Soon, Njie himself was overcome with fits of coughing and, like the rest of those in the building, headed for the doors.

"I would stay outside for a minute, then go back in, there were a lot of kids," Njie said. "My throat is still itchy, I need to get some milk."

Njie was one of several affected when a suspected chemical irritant was sprayed into the mosque at 26 Josie St., bringing Dayton police, fire and hazardous material personnel to the building at 9:48 p.m.

Someone "sprayed an irritant into the mosque," Dayton fire District Chief Vince Wiley said, noting that fire investigators believe it was a hand-held spray can.

Chris Rodda has more disturbing back story. If this had been Muslim men attacking children in a church, the country would be going insane and McCain would be pledging to invade Yemen.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sarah Palin . . . Or The South Carolina Beauty Queen?

Just some weekend fun for you. And make sure you check out Saturday Night Live's take on the Palin/Couric interview too.

Friday, September 26, 2008

First Presidential Debate (Oxford, Mississippi)

Hi everybody! Woo! Tonight was a political junkie's dream. Tons of wonky goodness to be had. I realize that at this point I'm pretty biased when it comes to the candidates, but I still have the ability to have some objectivity and it was pretty clear to me that Obama won this debate hands down. Actually, even a poorer performance from Obama might have been considered a win because tonight was supposed to be McCain's debate. The conventional wisdom has always been that his big strength is foreign policy, though I've actually never bought into that whole line. In any regards, debate reactions are now pouring in from all over and the initial snapshot is that Obama took the prize. Whether that narrative sticks through the weekend remains to be seen. Anyway, I had planned to give you my thoughts in full fleshed out form with, like, actually paragraphs and stuff, but I am tired. So bullet points it is! Enjoy:
  • Kudos to Ole Miss, Jim Lehrer, and everyone else involved in the execution of this debate. It was excellent. There were no idiotic questions (flag pins, anyone?), no frustrated moderator cutting off nuanced explanations, and no gimmicks. The audience was politely silent and the candidates were allowed to actually, well, debate. Perfect.
  • McCain was way too hung up on earmarks, while Obama talked about kitchen table issues. Yes, earmark spending is important, but I think most people view it as something more abstract and not directly related to their lives. Big blunder there. It's been reported that McCain didn't even say the words "middle class" once.
  • The creepy smiling! My God, the creepy smiling.
  • Excepting some annoyed nodding, Obama remained cool and focused throughout, while McCain was continually condescending and would not even look in Obama's direction, much less reciprocate his eye contact.
  • Obama talked in specifics, sometimes even answering a question with verbal bullet points. McCain dealt in generalities throughout.
  • I was a bit disappointed in how Obama talked about the surge. He did not mention the other numerous reasons for the decrease in violence. It was unclear if the omission was purposeful or if he was slightly knocked off his game.
  • Obama bringing up McCain's "bomb Iran" diddy got a laugh from me.
  • Though it was hilarious when Obama gave McCain a little smack down by saying "I have a bracelet too," my heart stop beating for a second because Obama paused in such a way that I thought he forgot the name of the deceased soldier. Luckily, it was just his speaking style. Oh, that would have been bad.
  • Man, McCain is a name-dropping fool!
  • It was great to see Obama noting that Ahmadinejad isn't actually the most powerful person in Iran. McCain's laugh in response to the statement was bizarre and a little frightening. Was he not aware of the fact?
  • Ha! McCain got in a POW reference at the very end. Well played, sir.
  • Switching to the post-debate coverage now with The Best Political Team on Television (TBPTOT)
  • If this is 360, why is the Wolfbot all up in Anderson Cooper's airtime? Blitzer has to be dragged off at night, doesn't he?
  • Analysts galore! Jeffrey Toobin, John King, Christiane Amanpour, Michael Ware, Gloria Borger, Campbell Brown, David Gergen, and Anderson Cooper. Great table. (Sorry if I left someone out.)
  • Aw, Anderson sounded and looked a little sick, though the latter might have been due to bad makeup. The Gerg gave his analysis in such a whisper that I'm wondering if he's sick too. Stock up on the Vitamin C, boys! We're in the home stretch of this thing. No one gets sick! (And if neither one of you actually are sick, er, nevermind!)
  • The fact-check on Obama regarding speaking with our enemies leaders seemed a little nitpicky, but whatever. And I actually don't remember them fact-checking anything McCain said, though I might have missed it.
  • Michael Ware and Christiane Amanpour were criminally underused. They got themselves all prettied-up for that? C'mon, you don't just let awesomeness sit there and say nothing.
  • Anderson responding, "Don't hold your breath on that one," after the Wolfbot noted they had invited Sarah Palin on the show was priceless.
  • The real time dialing thing CNN had on their screen during the debate was kinda cool to watch, but was it really only 32 people? That's pointless.
  • Some awesomeness to end the post:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bailout Deal Stalls And Sarah Palin Talks To The Press, Scares America

Hi everybody. We're kicking things off tonight with, you guessed it, BREAKING NEWS. You know what? It would actually be breaking news if we weren't starting with breaking news. But I digress. The big to-do tonight is that the huge expensive bailout deal that everyone hates has stalled. See, there was a deal, and then there wasn't a deal, and it's all the fault of conservative Republicans. Or something. Oh, and Washington Mutual, the largest savings and loan evah, has just been seized by the feds. So, yeah, nice to see things turning around for us, huh?

An Ed Henry piece breaks down the day. It all seemed to start off pretty good. McCain and Obama joined other leaders in a meeting today to try to hammer out a deal. They were all smiles and congeniality until the cameras left, and that's apparently when things went Jerry Springer. There had actually been a tentative deal, but then House Republican Leader John Boehner threw his own deal down and everything exploded. Paulson deemed it unworkable and various members of Congress went whining to the cameras, as is their wont. So I think that went well. *sigh* We also learn that the Republicans are standing behind McCain's campaign suspension, but as my peep Jeffrey Toobin awesomely points out, the media should really stop calling it that.

Next up, we have a Tom Foreman piece that really delves into what the tentative agreement entailed. You know, before it all fell apart. The Republicans always ruin everything! Actually though, as much as it pains me to be all, "Yay, crazy Republicans!" I might have to root for them on this. I'm not sure. It seems that the Democrats were able to get a lot of what they wanted, and the deal is certainly more attractive than initially proposed, but I still don't understand why we have to rush. I do not buy the Bush line that the world is going to fall apart if things aren't decided right this instant. And how far are we down the rabbit hole that it's the Bush administration that's trying to turn us socialist? If we're going to keep nationalizing all these financial companies, I want my damn universal healthcare. Now.

Jessica Yellin now joins us live to talk about how the deal got derailed, and for some reason, McCain is suddenly right smack in the debacle's center. The Republican's are claiming that the Democrats tried to rush the deal through before McCain got to Washington and the Democrats are charging that their deal-making had saved the world, until McCain ruined it all. I'll take option C for $200, Alex. Obviously, McCain dramatically suspending his campaign was one big political ploy, but Washington is full of a lot of crazy (and a lot of ego), and I doubt that just one dude killed this deal.

On now to Ali Velshi telling us more about the demise of Washington Mutual. Another one bites the dust. The largest savings and loan in the country has just been seized and had its assets sold to JP Morgan Chase. But the good news is, no panic attack required. Apparently, everyone's money is safe. Well, unless you're a shareholder. That'll leave a mark.

Our inevitable "Strategy Session" on the day's insanity is staffed by Ed Rollins, Gloria Borger, and Paul Begala. But they don't get very far into their discussion before we cut to Brianna Keilar on the phone in Washington, where another meeting has just ended. It seems a little progress was made and there's going to be another meeting tomorrow . . . without the House Republicans. Oh, what the hell? What's the point then? Also? Everyone keeps using this weird three-legged stool metaphor. Just throwing that out there. Anyway, Ed thinks the House Republicans might be using this as an opportunity to take a stand and rebuild their party. "It is pretty scary stuff, though. They're thinking about party right now, not country?" asks Anderson Cooper. Pretty ironic when the party's nominee is running on a platform of "country first," huh?

Paul thinks the Democrats are saddled with the "do-the-right-thing gene" (discovered by Spike Lee), which is why they're quickly agreeing to this bailout plan. Ed says that Skippy (otherwise known as Bush if you have any respect left for him) gave the most gloom-and-doom speech last night that he's ever heard in his life. "I have got to tell you, watching the president last night give that speech, it was like watching him in Jackson Square in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I mean, he did not seem to be there," says Anderson. Heh, he didn't, did he? Of course, that's been par for the course for years now. And hey there, silver fox, you didn't note that back in 2005.

"He is a high-functioning moron, and that is what Congress treats him as, both parties," says Paul. Bwah! And what's even funnier is that no one on the panel disagrees with him. But be careful there Paul, don't underestimate Skippy--especially his ability to make our lives miserable. Anderson wants to know why Americans should trust any of these people after they've been screwing us over for years. "It turned out they had no sight. I mean, it wasn't oversight. It was no sight," he says. And this, in a nutshell, is why I get so mad about stupid news coverage. We need the fourth estate to be constantly digging into things and holding these idiots accountable. I am so sick of letting problems (like this one) just fester forever, until it gets to the level of, oh my God crisis, before we all pay attention.

Next up, we have a Dana Bash piece on McCain's day of looking really busy. Did he actually do anything besides walk a lot of places and snub reporters? Remains to be seen. What we know is that he arrived just when the deal was being successfully wrapped up. And we couldn't have that. So then McCain went to talk to the House Republicans and everything fell apart shortly thereafter. Damned if I know what happened. I don't even know if McCain supports the bailout. His official position? He has no position. Yeah...

Apparently, Obama also had a day today and we get to learn about it in a Candy Crowley piece. What we learn is that he spent time on the phone, is cool and nuanced, and is letting his surrogates hit McCain. And...I still don't actually know what he did. But Friday he might be debating himself. So there's that.

Transitioning now to some clips of the interview Katie Couric did with Sarah Palin. Oh, dudes. I...I just...don't even...holy hell, just watch it yourself. And after you get over being terrified, give yourself a chuckle watching Palin's life story hit theaters. So anyway, we have our panel back and the consensus seems to be that Ms. Hockey Mom has lost her confidence. Best line goes to Paul: "I can see the moon from my backyard, so I'm an astrophysicist." Going back to the clip, all that "good guy" and "bad guy" talk sounds a little familiar, doesn't it? And not in a good way.

"The Shot" tonight is 360 taking an opportunity to embarrass Anderson. Its seems Sharon Osbourne was on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and they played a little game in which Ellen held up celebrity pictures and Sharon gave her opinion. And we all know how Sharon is just a shy little flower. Wouldn't you know, our own silver fox's mug comes up, causing Sharon to blurt out, "You see, I'd like to have sex with him. " Bwah! Oh my. Get in line, honey. (And keep dreaming.) She then goes on to elaborate: "I think he's so hot! And he's bright and smart and gorgeous." I like how she made sure she got the sex part in right off the bat. Anderson is predictably flustered: "I really don't know how to respond to any of that," he says. So...should we place bets on when this little exchange hits the gossips?

The show was fairly good, though I would have liked less panel--it makes me feel like I'm watching an opinion show. I have no webcast stuff to report because it wouldn't work for me. Eliza was denied! Technology can be mean sometimes. That'll do it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain Presses Pause On His Campaign, The Preznut Gives Us A Little Talk, More On The Bailout, Hanging In Montana, And Palin Speaks!

Hi everybody. You know, I've been watching this campaign for, oh, about 35 years now, and recently I've been thinking, it's just not weird enough. Well, today is my lucky day. Anderson Cooper tells us the BREAKING NEWS that John McCain has decided to suspend his campaign. A week ago the dude thought the fundamentals of our economy were strong . . . and now he's rushing back to Washington to save us from impending financial collapse. Our hero! Except, well, Washington doesn't exactly want him, and if you watch this hilarious Letterman video, you'll see that he didn't exactly take the express into town. Also? It makes me feel so safe to know that when the going gets tough, my potential president calls a timeout.

Next up, we're played a clip of Skippy because, well, the networks are required to acknowledge that he is unfortunately still president. Bush is like that kid with his eye on graduation day, who just found out he has one more big paper to do. The object here is to explain to the American people what the hell is going on with our finances, but when the Decider speaks, I mostly just hear the "whaa-whaa-whaa" of Charlie Brown's teacher. I did catch a little bit though. Apparently, if this bill doesn't get pushed through, banks could fail, businesses could close, home values could plummet, Saddam Hussein could provide hidden weapons to terrorists or help them develop one of their own . . . wait. Sorry, I'm getting my fear-mongering statements mixed up. Congress pressured into quickly voting on massively important issues always works out great for us, doesn't it?

On now to a Candy Crowley piece on McCain's decision to suspend his campaign. She informs us that McCain is down in the polls. What a coinkidink. And, of course, if he suspends his campaign, that means Friday's debate will be postponed. And if Friday's debate is postponed, that means the VP debate will be postponed. And if they then never get to the VP debate, well, I'm sure the McCain camp will be really broken up about that. Obama, on the other hand, is basically like, "dude, I can walk and chew gum at the same time." No suspension for him. It's on! The two candidates actually do manage to come together to put out a joint statement that pretty much says the bailout sucks, but the financial crisis is real. And hey, I actually agree with that. Though I've been a little flippant about the meltdown, make no mistake, we're in big trouble here, people. But this bailout on the fly is insane.

Moving on to discussion with David Gergen, Candy Crowley, and John King. The Gerg thinks McCain's decision to stop campaigning is political. You think? And Candy tells us that the Obama camp unsurprisingly thinks the same thing, though the whole decision initially threw them for a loop. Anderson points out that neither candidate is even on the committee that's doing the bailout negotiations. Maybe McCain is hoping most people won't find that out? Then Candy notes that it's actually the Republicans that are holding up the bailout negotiations and John King, who is traveling around the country, let's us know that the little guy, i.e. you and me, is pissed. So there you go.

Next up, we have a Tom Foreman piece on Henry Paulson again pleading his case on Capitol Hill. Paulson's hair is totally on fire over how much we're in trouble and specifically how much he really needs everyone's money. But details? That's not how this whole fear-mongering thing works. Luckily Congress seems to have learned, if only a little. The Bush administration might even cave on executive compensation. It's the baby steps that warm the heart.

For discussion of the bailout, we're now joined by Jessica Yellin, my PBS peep David Brancaccio, and Ali Velshi. Ali actually seems a little frazzled, and I gotta say, it's freaking me out a tad. He was calmer during Gustav. David is happy to bring us some actual optimistic news. You see, he was a bit bummed because he doesn't understand this whole bailout, but it turns out the Congressional Budget Office doesn't understand it either and that's, like, their whole thing. Isn't that great? Um, do the people at PBS know what "optimistic" means? Anderson wants to know where all these ticked off politicians have been the last 20 years. Probably counting their campaign donations.

Next up, 360 goes Daily Show on us! Woo! I love it when they do that. We're played old clips of Bush saying that our financial institutions are strong and we shouldn't bail companies out. You know, the opposite of what he just said in his little speech tonight. Good on 360 for pointing that out, but as a friend noted to me after the segment, "What's sad is it's like we're excited they're doing as good a job as the fake news for once." Sad indeed. (Do it more!)

Even more discussion now, this time of the crazier variety because we're joined by Paul Begala and Bay Buchanan. Really though, they keep it mostly sane. As expected, Bay pretty much backs McCain's decision to go back to D.C. Paul's just boggled and thinks the whole thing is weird. Me too. Something is off here. Are we sure McCain is still healthy? Anyway, the best part of this segment is learning about how many votes the candidates have missed while campaigning. It turns out that John McCain has missed more votes this year than anyone in the senate, including stroke victim Tim Johnson. Says Anderson, "
So basically, John McCain has missed more votes than a guy with a stroke, and Obama has missed almost as many votes as a guy with a stroke." Bwah! Tim Johnson's looking pretty good right now, isn't he?

Erica Hill has our headlines tonight and we once again get thrown a tiny morsel about the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. Today residents returned to the decimated town of Galveston. Brian Williams anchored Nightly News from Houston and you can see his interview with the mayor and another package on Galveston at the MSNBC site.

Moving on now to a John King piece coming at us from Montana. He's still doing his U.S. tour and this time we get a little interview with Governor Brian Schweitzer (and Mr. Ed!), who relays that his constituents are none too happy about this bailout. After the piece, John and Candy break down the battle ground states for us. From there the discussion turns to Sarah Palin and we're played a clip of her interview with Katie Couric. Yes, she actually talked to another member of the media. Katie asks her about campaign head Rick Davis and his connections to Freddie Mac. Palin answers with some blather about him recusing himself, which is crap. To her credit, Katie presses, and we're met with an awkwardly long silence, followed by almost the exact same line Palin just gave us. Okay, that's mildly terrifying. It's like the woman is a wind-up doll with a handful of phrases. And her boss wants to press pause on his campaign. Jesus. Will someone please, please tell me that this is just all one massive punking and we're not really considering a ticket that is looking worse than Bush and Cheney.

"The Shot" tonight is a YouTube clip of a dude in a banana costume chasing a dude in a gorilla costume at a high school football game. Slightly amusing. The not amusing part is that school officials actually had the suited trouble-makers arrested. Oh, c'mon! Where's the fun? Man, those uptight officials should be grateful that all they had to deal with was primate-related hijinks. Because my former high school has recently had a sporting event or two end in gunfire. It's a hard knock life, people. No need to freak over running bananas.

The webcast continues to hold my attention and I'm bemused by Erica's range. For example, during one commercial break, she's hard core pimping the website (which is annoying, by the way) and doing her job for "The Man" by talking up The Best Political Team on Television. "It's not just a phrase. It's true," she tells us. "You gotta admit it." Uh, no, actually I don't. But anyway, in the next commercial break, she spends the whole time talking about smelling burnt popcorn in the studio. Bwah! Oh, and should be noted that Kevin thinks the smell is more like burnt toast. And Ali Velshi? Well, Ali just wants some food and a nap. Financial crises are hard!

I caught one other webcast too where Erica says that Tony is no Kevin. Oh, harsh! It's okay Tony, I still love you. There's also David Blaine talk and I have written in my notes that "they have a PA," but for the life of me I have no idea what that means. Shorthand fail! Also? Psst, sometimes we can hear you when I don't think you mean to be on. Just saying. I await the accidental spilling of juicy gossip. And while I'm prattling on about non important stuff, Anderson, dude, just because you say you're blogging, doesn't make it true. It's not the no blogging that's annoying; it's the claiming every single night that you are, and then, not. Nobody likes a blogging fibber. The show was okay tonight. Really heavy on the discussion. But so I end on a positive note, yay to 360 for using the blog and only the blog to cover the OJ trial. That'll do it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

FBI Investigating Wall Street, No Money For Campaign Promises, Palin At The UN, The Road To Nowhere, And Drew Griffin Investigates Biden

Hi everybody. Larry King interviewing Ahmadinejad? Really, CNN? Look, I like Larry King. He's like your old uncle who tells goofy jokes and always has hard candy in his pocket. But you don't go to Uncle Larry for help with your calculus homework; know what I'm saying? Say what you want about the perceived horribleness of Iran's prez, he's a force to be reckoned with during an interview. He's known to give questioners a run for their money and these are people that can usually remember all of their guests names. Don't waste the big fish. Just saying.

Anyway, when last we met our heroes, the economy was collapsing and everything sucked. And yeah, that's pretty much still going on, but now we've got some extra BREAKING NEWS sprinkles on our clusterf*ck sundae. It seems the FBI is now investigating 26 companies for possible fraud. You know, those same companies the Bush administration wants to bail out with all our money. Because that's fair. Ali Velshi joins us for discussion on this, as does John Fund, who is annoyingly becoming a staple lately (no locker for him, that's all I have to say). The talk starts off with the question of whether or not there was any criminality and wrong doing. And I have to ask, was there ever a time when we thought there wasn't wrong doing? I kinda thought that was a given. C'mon people. Financial tsunamis don't just happen.

John heard that Frannie and Freddie were cooking the books, which he thinks they got away with because they gave campaign contribution to the majority of Congress. "Unbelievable," says Anderson Cooper. No, actually, sadly all too believable. Though time will tell if that's how it really went down. John seems to think people will go to prison over this. I'm not holding my breath. John also takes us back to 2005 because he totally saw this mess coming, doncha know. He tell us that HUD had introduced a zero-down payment mortgage and that's when every started. I too, remember 2005 and John is correct about the mortgages, but he left something out.

See, back then public perception about the Bush administration's awesomeness was starting to change to the point that people were thinking, meh, not so awesome. To combat this, they pimped out every good thing they had going for them--one of these good things being high home ownership. They were all, "Look at how many people own homes under us!" And liberals were like, "well, yeah, but those people can't afford those mortgages and this is all going to bite us down the road." And then the Bush administration was all, "shut up, commies! Why do you hate America?" And so it goes.

Next up, we have a Tom Foreman piece on the bailout. Basically, Henry Paulson wants a deal now, now, now! Oh, you want details of the deal? He'll get back to you on that. Congress, as you might expect, is not pleased with this. But don't worry though, people. If history is any indicator, they'll roll right over in no time. Yay? Also? Um, this whole crisis thing, turns out, isn't so much of a must-act-this-second crisis. Hm. Now, some might think this bailout has the markings of the Bush administration doing one more massive power grab and transfer of wealth for their friends on Wall Street before the eight year party ends. But that's just crazy talk, right? I mean, lying and manipulating to get what they want? That would never happen.

Ali returns again and he's here to, well, quite frankly, bum us the hell out. But he uses snazzy wall graphics, so, you know, there's that. Anyhoo, what we're seeing on screen is all the debt that Obama and McCain's campaign promises are going to add to our existing debt. And what about the bailout, huh? Yeah, more debt. In fact, the bailout money is probably going to mean that some of the candidate's plans are going to go by the wayside. Don't worry though, I'm sure it won't be anything important. Just insignificant stuff like health care and infrastructure repair. But really, who needs things like safe bridges? Just drive slow, people, you'll be fine.

Moving on now to discussion with David Gergen, Candy Crowley, and David Brancaccio. David Brancaccio?! My PBS anchor boyfriend and CNN anchor boyfriend collide! I'm all a-twitter. Seriously though, any PBS addition to CNN is fine by me. I'm also reminded that I need to watch NOW more (great show, by the way). Anyway, there's some good discussion here, with perhaps the best point brought up by Anderson: "...for years, they have talked about health care. For years, they have talked about crumbling infrastructure. For years, they have talked about a crisis in education. But there's no money for it. But, all of a sudden, there's $700 billion for something that, oh, we can't do without." Exactly. No money for the little guy, but plenty for Wall Street. At the end of the segment Anderson tells David B. that he's a big fan, and then adds he's a big fan of The Gerg's too. And that's where the fanning stops. Sorry Candy, thanks for playing.

Transitioning now to an Ed Henry piece on Sarah Palin's excellent photo-op adventure at the UN. This is so ridiculous. Did you guys see Campbell Brown talking about Palin's sequesteredness? For a second there I thought I was watching a "Special Comment" from Olbermann. But I concur. Stop being sexist! Free Sarah Palin! Anyway, at the UN the McCain camp wouldn't even let reporters in the room with her at first. Then when the press pushed back, they gave them like less than a minute. This is so completely unacceptable. Good on the press for pushing back. I hope they keep it up.

After Ed's piece, he joins us live, so that Anderson can be totally boggled about Palin's whole not talking to the press thing. It's a little amusing how he's so clearly annoyed. Ed makes the inane statement that the public doesn't care that she's not talking. Hello, I care. And I'm not alone. Anderson thinks it makes Palin look bad, like she can't handle world leaders. Exactly. He also notes how they've even rigged the VP debate to make it easier on her. "It appears they are trying to protect her from something which I don't quite understand, because she appears very capable," says Anderson. Well, yeah, appearances can be deceiving. (And when has she appeared capable?)

Next up, we have an Abbie Boudreau piece on a continuation of the Bridge to Nowhere story. It appears there's also a Road to Nowhere that's actually already built. My regular readers already know this because I chided Anderson over two weeks ago for not noting the road with his fact "clarification." But I didn't have video and stuff, so, uh, we'll call it a draw. Anyway, the road was supposed to go to the bridge, but then there was no bridge. Palin's mouthpiece claims that she still had to build it because the contracts were already signed. I say that's crap. It's a pretty road though. Even has its own toll collector, which amuses Anderson. "Does she actually collect any tolls?" he asks. Abbie tells us that she collected their tolls. Heh, suckers!

The last piece of the night is from Drew Griffin on Biden's earmark record and that pesky Bridge to Nowhere. It seems the VP candidate is using the pork project in a lot of his stump speeches, but the funny thing is, he actually voted for the bridge. Twice. Being the good news watcher that I am, I went searching for the story behind the story. Apparently, when Tom Coburn offered that amendment to strip the money away from the bridge, he was breaking an unwritten senate rule that you don't mess with other state's projects.

Now, you can argue how much BS that is all you want (and it is kinda BS), but I think it's worth noting, which, Drew did not. This piece also hammers on Biden for his earmarks, which are always good to point out, but a part of me thinks the point is being missed here. The Bridge to Nowhere is so currently ripe for attack because Palin is touting a blatant lie. Repeatedly. Is Biden lying about his earmarks? Also? Lamest line in a piece ever: "Senator Biden must really like bridges..." You know, I'm sure there really is stuff to bring up about Biden, but this whole piece smacks of fake balance and general lameness. And Drew delivering it like he's local reporter Skip Skiperson of the generic "You Paid For It" team is not helping matters. Just saying.

"The Shot" tonight is more fun with David Blaine. Because Anderson hates him so. Our anchor ticks off some of Blaine's stunts, adding, "having all the blood drained from his body and replaced with the blood of a small animal." Actually, doing that would give Blaine some cred with Anderson. But dude, Anderson, did you just suggest emptying all of the blood out of a small animal? Somebody's getting emails. Maybe the crazies didn't notice. He said it kinda fast. But back to David Blaine, who apparently, is a liar! He's supposed to be hanging upside down in a death defying stunt for 60 hours...and he's taking breaks. There are no breaks when you are defying death! And I suppose old timey magicians actually didn't cut people in half. I'm so corrupted now.

I caught the webcast during three commercial breaks tonight. There might have been more. Sometimes it doesn't work for me. Anyhoo, we got to hear from The Gerg being his normally awesome self and then things got a little weird. Ed Henry stepped up to the mic to tell us amazing things like Dick Cheney likes Diet Sprite (dammit, don't humanize him!) and Ed used to buy soda for 70 cents, but it made him all jittery, so now he drinks water, but not warm water, which is what Erica Hill likes. So, yeah, a lot of nothingness, though slightly amusing. It's like Seinfeld in webcast form, though not as funny. I mean, I'm generous, but not that generous. The last bit I saw was with Anderson and, hey, Erica actually had a chair (provided by the awesome Kevin). Plus there is promise of a mic for Anderson. So aw, does this mean I can't call it the ghetto webcast? Also? Erica sings. Seriously. That'll do it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

More On The Bailout, The Candidates Weigh In, Lobbyists In The Campaigns, Palin Meeting The World (Leaders), And A Rich Bitch

Hi everybody. Happy New Week! Grab your Paxil (non official sponsor of tonight's review) because we're starting things off with a massive panic attack. Everything is imploding! The economy is falling apart! It's the Great Depression! Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God! Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. I would like to offer the collective world a really big paper bag to hyperventilate into. Everyone chill! Because when we don't chill, then crazy stuff could happen, like, I don't know, throwing $700 billion of our money at a plan that no one seems to like, understand, or even know for sure will work. Crazy stuff like that.

In a Tom Foreman piece, we learn that neither side of the partisan divide is all that happy with this proposed bank bailout. The Democrats want some crumbs for those poor souls on Main Street and they're pushing hard since the American people seem to actually be clued in on the fact that they suck less on this issue. The Republicans, on the other hand, are having a little hissy fit, because oh my God socialism!!! The government is killing the invisible hand! Oh noes! If any of their heads explode, CSPAN better totally get that on tape.

Moving on now to discussion with Marcus Mabry, business dude of the New York Times; John Fund, conservative guy I don't like; and Peter Schiff, crazy Ron Paul guy. Hm. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Fund and Schiff have got to go. Marcus tells us that the Democrats and Republicans actually both agree this bailout sucks, but they disagree on the reasons. Well, tiny steps? Then John says something about people "panicking like wildebeests confronted by lions across the plain." Okay, I'm being unfair, since he said other stuff too, but fer serious? Dude's a big lying jerk. I don't really feel like being fair. Peter still hates everything about the government stepping in and practically starts praying at the alter of the free market right there.

Marcus brings up how Democrats want the taxpayers to get a stake in the companies they're helping to bail out. John doesn't like this at all and you can practically hear the, "oh my God, socialism!" being screamed in his head. Then the bailout of foreign banks is brought up because we are, after all, a globalized world. Oh my God, socialism for foreigners! The one positive in all this is watching the free market purists freak out. At the end of the segment, Anderson Cooper comments that he wishes they had been talking about something more uplifting. You mean like war or natural disaster or corruption? Dude, are you new here?

Next up, we have a Candy Crowley piece on how our impending financial doom is playing out on the campaign trail. It can be broken down pretty simply between the two candidates. Obama: They made this mess and now want us to let them fix it? That's some messed up stuff. McCain: I'm a total populist now. Pay no mind to the man behind the curtain who has been pushing for deregulation for years.

The inevitable "Strategy Session" hits us next, the seat-warmers being Joe Klein, Ed Rollins, and Jennifer Donahue. My cable kept going out during this, but I don't think I missed anything all that interesting. The only thing that caught my attention was Anderson saying neither candidate has given specifics on the bailout. Obama has issued seven principles. Their specificness can be argued, but they're not nothing.

Tonight's "Beat 360" is a picture of David Blaine doing his latest stupid stunt. Anderson then tells us he's sick of David Blaine, but really, he introduced the picture with such a sigh of contempt that I don't think anyone was really wondering about his feelings on the matter. Also? I'm totally with him on this. Blaine used to be kinda cool, but now he's just weird. He's the Michael Jackson of magicians. I'm bringing this up because, well, I wanted to rip on David Blaine, but also because the Blaine talk continues on the webcast. I may have to start calling it the ghetto webcast due to their overall lackingness of furniture and technology. "You need a chair. I need a mic," Anderson says to Erica Hill. I half expect him to go full blown diva and yell, "I can't work like this!" But sadly, no. Maybe next time.

Transitioning now to a Randi Kaye piece on lobbyists infecting the campaigns. Basically, both candidates are accusing each other of having ties to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. McCain attacks Obama for having Franklin Raines (Fannie Mae) advise him, but turns out, uh, he's not advising Obama. McCain lying? Shocker. On the other hand, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis really did lobby against regulation for the companies. But Obama doesn't come out of this smelling like roses. He's got lobbyists too. That being said, I think he wins this one.

Moving on now to a rare Anderson piece. He profiles Treasury Secretary Paulson. Okay, the gist here is that since last year Paulson been saying the economy is good, the economy is good, the economy is good, and then, oh my God, everything's falling apart and you must give me massive unprecedented power to fix it! With no oversight. K? Thx. Bye. Seriously people, this power grab is insane.

Next up, we have an Ed Henry piece on Palin taking a crash course in getting to know her world leaders by meeting them all at the UN. Ed likens it to speed dating. Gasp! Sexist! Oh, you're on their list now, buddy. So okay, there's photo-ops and yada, yada, yada. I don't know why she needs this. I mean, she can see Russia from her state, people. What more do you want? Last week, someone jokingly wrote that Palin would meet with Bono to bone up on her foreign policy cred, and I kid you not, today she met with Bono. Satire is dead. At the end of his piece, Ed notes Palin won't be taking any questions from the media. "No questions from the media. That, of course, should not be a surprise," says Anderson. Bwah! Oh, so bitter.

On now to Jeffrey Toobin joining us to discuss what just might be the most awesomely titled New Yorker piece ever. Okay, so this really horrible, horrible, but rich, human being named Leona Helmsley left her dog Trouble $12 million. Because $13 million would have just been ridiculous. There's not really anything to learn here. I'm pretty sure the whole purpose of this segment is for Anderson and Jeffrey to laugh about what a horrible woman Helmsley was . . . and I'm okay with that. Anderson tries to preempt any email he might get from crazed dog lovers, but Toobin is all, bring it on! Heh. They're dog lovers, people, let it go. Maybe get a hobby. Also? Cody, I love you, but you are totally not getting any money. If it makes you feel any better, neither are the cats.

"The Shot" tonight is an animal escape. Ooh, action! Drama! Erica randomly brings up the fact that the dog escaping in the video looks like her sister's dog and his name is Cooper. Naturally, Anderson assumes the dog was named after him. Because he's an "egotistical anchor." Hey, his words, not mine. They then do some riffing on magicians. You know, because of the David Blaine hate. "Coming up on the 360 Magic Hour," says Erica. Oh, is it sad that I would totally watch that? Wait, don't answer. That's it for me.

Taking A Break With Josh Groban And Some Emmy Awesomeness

Hi all. I thought I'd give you a little fun to kick off your work week. I think it's safe to say I now officially have a crush on Josh Groban. I saw him in a new intriguing light after his hilarious cameo in "I'm F*cking Ben Affleck," but Sunday night's TV medley performance was a whole other level of awesome. Oh, also? If you're not at least a little moved by his rendition of "O Holy Night," well, you're just dead inside. Anyhoo, enjoy:

And how much did that opening suck? Seriously.

Friday, September 19, 2008

More On The Massive Bank Bailout, Fact-Checking The Candidates On Economics, Meet Jill Biden, And Women Voters

Hi everybody. As per usual, we're beginning tonight with BREAKING NEWS involving the nation's financial health. It probably goes without saying, but at this point, we're on life support. According to the chyron, the Bush Administration is seeking new powers to take over bad mortgages. I have to say, the phrases "Bush Administration" and "new powers" together in the same sentence sends a pretty big chill up my spine. Ali Velshi, who deserves his own 360 locker at this point, bottomlines it for us: the financial big wigs, who hopefully know what they're doing, are going to try to figure out where all the bad debt is and then clean it up all at once. Although as Ali notes, even doing that won't get us out of the woods. So, yay?

For more discussion of this, we're joined by Peter Schiff, financial adviser to Ron Paul, and John Fund of The Wall Street Journal. Interesting booking there. I just watched John on Real Time with Bill Maher last week and even Bill, who usually bends over backwards for his outnumbered conservative guests, couldn't stomach the unbelievable lying from this guy. Let's just say I'm not a Fund fan. Anyway, Peter is not happy about this bailout. Really? The Ron Paul guy is not happy about more intrusion from the government? I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you! At least he's not going on about Anderson Cooper being CIA. John thinks the bailout is a necessary evil. I do not like it when I agree with conservative liar guy. It makes me feel icky.

Anderson notes that the Homeland Security Department (a massive sham!) was created during a crisis--though the parenthetical is strictly my opinion and not mention by him. The point here being, uh, should we be making big decisions in a political crisis? Peter brings up the fact that the government loves crises because they get more power and then never cede that power when the turmoil is over. Word to that. Can you say Patriot Act? Peter also notes that basically our whole economy is massively injured and the proposals are nothing but a band-aid. Anderson piggy-backs on this, bringing up all the money we're borrowing from overseas. John then makes the laughable statement that we are not in a recession. Oh, dude. "There is nobody who is left in America who believes that," says Ali. Seriously, just because a guy's from the Wall Street Journal doesn't mean he has the slightest bit of intelligence to bring to the table. Paul Krugman wanted. Just saying.

Transitioning now to Anderson telling us that today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Dammit, I forgot! I could have been talking like a pirate this whole time. Arrgh! And yeah, I have no idea why he's telling us this. Also? Erica Hill has the night off, so it's Floor Crew Friday when it comes to the webcast. I have to say, it took me pretty much the whole hour to figure out that he had said "Floor Crew Friday," and not something in another language. Even the transcript was apparently confused, simply going with "inaudible." Anyhoo, I'll tackle more of the webcast stuff further on in the hour, but I will say right now that fun was had.

We move on to a piece from Dana Bash on the candidates . . . and I am so burned out on this stuff. So, let's move on further, shall we? From here we go to Tom Foreman live, giving us a semi fact-check on how the candidate's plans will effect the economy. I threw a "semi" in front there because it's pretty broad. Bottom line? Both candidates are most likely going to hike up the deficit because they want to cut taxes while increasing services. That doesn't mean they're the same though, people. Pay attention to who benefits from those cuts and services. Afterwards, Anderson notes that, "for all the talk over the last couple years of Republicans cutting the size of government, we have a huge government, probably bigger than ever before." Word. Party of small government my ass.

On now to discussion with Ed Rollins, Hilary Rosen, and Candy Crowley. Of note here is Ed saying he's scared about the government rushing this bailout deal through. I'm with Ed. That doesn't happen often. The topic then changes to the election and Anderson notes that Missouri is leaning McCain now. I cry sad tears and also try to ignore Candy's pronunciation.

Moving on to a David Mattingly piece on Jill Biden. Last night we learned about shadow governor Todd Palin, so now it's Jill's turn. But she's not nearly as nightmare inducing. In fact, she teaches at a community college. And . . . that's really all I need to know. Seriously, I don't want their life story; I want health care and the end to the war.

Next up, we have an Erica Hill piece on women voters. I bet you thought we were finally done with all that demographic crap, didn't you? Wrong! So okay, apparently according to some poll or study or something, 20 percent of women could still change their mind on their vote. The GOP was hoping to get more women with the addition of Sarah Palin, but it's not clear that's going to come to fruition. And major women's groups like NOW are endorsing Obama. Because they're not distracted by shiny things. After Erica's piece, there's more discussion, but nothing really of note.

Okay, on to the webcast stuff now, which they just ran on the show, so again, I don't get the motivation for watching online. But whatevv. It's all good because it's Floor Crew Friday, meaning tonight's webcast MC is the awesome Kevin, who sporadically leaves his floor directing position to grace us with his presence in front of the camera. Kevin likes nicknames, and he starts right off on Anderson, dropping the "gun metal grey" and "silver fox," as well as implores our anchor to "show em the guns!" Yes, Anderson, show us! Ha! This guy speaks my language--he's a keeper.

Kevin then takes us on a little behind-the-scenes tour, where we are introduced to a bevy of nicknamed characters. There's Angry, Bob the Bus, birthday boy Tone Dog, Joe "Nookie" Chinooky, and Eddie the Finger. It's like the mob, except with technical equipment and snark. I think my favorite is "Nookie" who according to Kevin, is "pulling on his cable" and he means that "in the best possible way." Bwah! Oh my. That almost had me spitting water on my computer screen. Do we need a rating on this webcast? Anderson got a kick out of that line as well. Speaking of Anderson, we also learn that the silver fox is not, I repeat not, the new Oprah. Also? Kevin is totally gonna party it up at Anderson's pad this weekend. Tis true. They terrorist fist-bumped on it and everything.

"The Shot" tonight is an interesting little 911 call placed by a Special Agent from the air conditioner unit of a museum. Wha? The fact that this guy then claimed to work for the United States Illuminati Order might clear things up a bit. See, the dude had to break into the museum to disarm a nuclear device, which was inside a sculpture of a blue plastic cow. Man, I hate it when terrorists hide nuclear bombs in cow sculptures. Surprisingly, blue cow did not go kaboom, even after Special Agent dude experienced mission failure by getting stuck in the ventilation system. Now he's getting charged with burglary. And you just know that's going to make him miss his next 9-11 Truth meeting.

The show was actually pretty boring tonight, save the very fun webcast. The business stuff was of course very important and relevant, but the other stuff? Meh. But wow, Anderson apparently ate his blogging Wheaties or something. Granted he still only left a handful of comments, but he said more than "good evening," so I say good for that. Of course, I've always been one that thought the live-blogging was too much to ask of him anyway. Aw, we know our silver fox is anti-social and we're okay with it. Well, some of us are okay with it. Anyhoo, I'm not going to get off the "where is the Hurricane Ike coverage" train. But I'm very happy to report that somebody is getting with the program. Brian Williams will be taking Nightly News to Galveston next week. Hooray! Ball's in your court, CNN.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Financial Turmoil Continues, Candidates React To The Crisis, Meeting Todd Palin, Negative Ads, And A Smidgen On Hurricane Ike

Hi everybody. Once again we kick things off with BREAKING NEWS, and tonight that news can most simply be described as, well, a big ass bailout. Our money woes have gotten so bad that financial leaders in our government, and the heads of Congress from both sides of the partisan aisle, are coming together sans squabbling (for now) to try to fix this mess ASAP.

Ali Velshi and Suze Orman join us to try to make sense of the developments and we learn that essentially the government is buying up trillions of dollars of bad debt. Anderson Cooper notes that seeing all those leader together really points to how bad things are and Suze adds that it's even more remarkable that they're doing it at 7:00 at night. Seriously, right? You'd swear a brain dead Florida woman was about to be taken off her feeding tube.

We're next joined by Andy Serwer, who bylined a really good article in Time with Allan Sloan, regarding how Wall Street totally screwed us over. I still don't have a handle on this stuff enough to do my usual reworking and then spitting it back to you. Perhaps I need to invest in a copy of "The Economy For Dummies." There's some talk about how this crisis is similar to the Great Depression, which of course is rather unsettling. One bright spot is that Ben Bernanke at the Federal Reserve and treasury secretary Hank Paulson actually appear competent. So wow, that's a nice change of pace, huh? Anderson notes he felt better when he read that Bernanke's expertise is the Great Depression. Expertise related to his field? You mean he didn't head the Arabian Horses Association? Craziness.

Moving on now to a Candy Crowley piece on how the candidates are handling the financial world crumbling around them. McCain says that if he were president he would fire the chairman of the SEC. About that? Funny story, see the president actually doesn't have the authority to do that. Oopsie. Does Candy note this very big blunder? No she does not. Unbelievable. Anyway, Obama says we should throw all the bums out and then he hammers McCain on his regulation and AIG bailout stance flip-flops. McCain hits back, accusing Obama of taking too long to make a statement about the bailout. My view? I'd rather have my president take a little time to learn the facts and make an informed decision before he shoots his mouth off. After Candy's piece, she and John King talk polls and stuff, but it's mostly irrelevant. This election will turn on a dime.

Up next, we have a Randi Kaye piece on the "first dude," Todd Palin. Yes, that is actually what they call him. Palin is a stay-at-home dad, which I sincerely applaud, but can I just point out that if he was a Democrat you know the Republicans would be calling him stuff like "Mr. Mom" and worse. Perhaps they'd even call him "worse than an infidel." But anyway, apparently he's not just working on getting one of those "Number One Dad" mugs; he's playing the role of shadow governor--at least that's what some charge. It seems Mr. Dude here is all up in Sarah Palin's business, even getting copied on emails about state business. Oh, and he's refusing to testify in Troopergate. How very Cheney-like of him. Hey America, can we, like, not do this again? Please? After Randi's piece, Anderson gives us the news that Sarah Palin's emails were recently hacked, which brings up the issue of using personal email for state business. Okay, I admit, the hacking made me laugh a little, but seriously? So uncool. Gawker has more on the group taking responsibility.

Once again, Erica Hill has the headlines with a brief mention of Hurricane Ike's aftermath. There's more later in the show, but this is still ridiculous. The Gulf is in a state of devastation, there are possibly God knows how many bodies swept out to sea, and the show that made its name with Hurricane Katrina doesn't seem to be all that interested.

On now to a Joe Johns piece on negative advertising. I guess the big deal here is that McCain used to be the one doing the most negative advertising, but post-conventions that distinction has switched to Obama. My view? Negative advertising isn't a bad thing if it's true. Look, we all know negative advertising works. Obama is outspending McCain in this area? Good! I don't understand the purpose of this piece and I don't really remember them making a big deal about it when McCain was the negative one. There might be some relevancy here if Joe noted that the tone of Obama's campaign was supposed to be above the fray, but there's no mention of that (and it should be pointed out that McCain promised to run a clean campaign as well). After Joe's piece there's more discussion of this stuff with Candy and John. It seems to me this time could have been better used for Ike.

Speaking of Ike, we actually do get a tiny bit of coverage in tonight's "Shot," but it's not what I had in mind. We're shown the picture of a single house in Gilchrist, Texas, that survived the storm, while all the other houses around it were decimated. It's an amazing picture, to be sure. We then hear from Pam Adams, the owner of the house, who unfortunately has found out it's in really bad shape. Of course this is all heartbreaking, but where's the on-the-ground coverage of this story? During their conversation, Anderson notes that, "And I know a lot of the country has moved on, but folks there are just devastated." Yes, a lot of the country has moved on--like your show! Seriously people, I don't get this.

They're still majorly pimping their webcast, and even show some of it on the show, which sort of seems to defeat the purpose. I mean, if you can see it on the show or even watch it later on the blog, why drive yourself nuts multi-tasking when it's happening live? And it was kind of hard to tell exactly what Anderson was talking about, but I think they're trying to name their webcast. Apparently "inside and out" was suggested, but that sounds a little dirty to me, quite frankly. Or maybe that's just my dirty mind. But anyway, duuuudes, you should make it a contest. Hello! Web hits! Finally, while I'm talking about the webcast, tonight we learned that it is cameraman Tony's 30th birthday. AC360 Review loves all the 360 kids--even the behind-the-sceners, so happy birthday Tony! Apparently Anderson and Erica were well aware this day was coming and did they get Tony a present? No they did not. Because they're meanies. But Anderson did note that he was thinking of bringing in coconut cupcakes because Tony likes coconut, so I shall pick up his slack. Because I'm awesome like that. Here you go, Tony, happy birthday!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Markets Still Tanking, Candidates On The Trail, Democrats Going For Florida, Another Reason Not To Support Palin, And Attack On Yemen Embassy

Hi everybody. We're beginning things tonight with the BREAKING NEWS that, financially speaking, things are still bad. Very, very, bad. In fact, you know what, don't even look, people. Because investors just lost $700 billion dollars today. Billion. Like with a "B." Everything is falling apart! Ali Velshi, who is no doubt having one of his busiest weeks evah, returns to 360 to tell us the markets are still freaking out, even after yesterday's AIG bailout. And, AND, apparently Wachovia might take over Morgan Stanley. Good lord. That's it. I'm putting all my money under my mattress.

Next up, we've got some bytes from the campaign trail and then some new polling data to throw us into a tizzy. Remember how a while ago McCain seemed to be ready to overtake Obama and everyone was clutching their pearls? Well, since last week Obama has gained seven points. Yay! Except, well, I'll say now what I said back then: it's still meaningless. The election may be mere weeks away, but it's still way too early to hand wring over polls. We've got a zillion more news cycles to go before people step into the voting booth. Last week we were talking about sexism charges and how Palin was a rock star. Now her numbers are down and all anyone can think about is the economy. Next week might be another story still. It ain't over till it's over.

Moving on now to a Candy Crowley piece that follows Obama on the campaign trail. Not much of note here, but Obama does have a new great zinger regarding McCain's promise of taking on the "old boy's network": "The old boys' network, in the McCain campaign, that's called a staff meeting." Oh, snap! After Candy's piece, Anderson wonders what the Obama camp says to Democrats who are worried about the closeness of the race. "You know, the one word, chill," says Candy. You mean like this?.

On now to a Dana Bash piece that tackles the other side of the partisan divide. McCain and Palin are back together again and the girl wonder is actually taking questions from the audience at town hall meetings. An extremely friendly audience, of course. Another little tip no doubt picked up from Bush. So yeah, this is mostly sycophantic and useless, but what caught my attention was a woman asking about economic improvement for women. Palin takes this very important question and uses it to start talking about sports, which she almost implies got her where she is today. What the hell? Maybe things would have been clearer if she had the opportunity to elaborate, but McCain had to butt in with stupid Palin trivia. Or maybe CNN cut off the real answer. Either way, not impressed!

Up next, we have John King continuing his battle ground state travels and tonight he comes at us from the trouble-making state of Florida. The Democrats are on a mission for the Jewish vote and it sounds like they have a real chance of getting it. In the piece we see video of home school kids working a Republican phone bank. Child labor! Okay, I'm exaggerating, but that is pretty messed up. After his piece, John tells us it's looking like Florida could be close enough that we might hear the word "recount." And then I cry sad, sad, tears.

We're moving to our nightly panel now, with tonight's seats being warmed by Gloria Borger, David Gergen, and David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network. There's a lot of strategy talk here related to the economy and the candidates. Of note is The Gerg going off on Bush for not sitting down and explaining to us what the hell is going on with the markets and whatnot. Frankly, I can't believe The Gerg is surprised about the inaction. It's kinda Bush's thing. I say we just put him in the corner with a Game Boy or something until January. Less things get broken that way.

Ali Velshi is back again, this time to give us some terrifying statistics: unemployment is 6.1%, inflation is 5.4%, and home prices are down 20%. Oh, and if any of those look okay to you, Ali reminds us that raises and investments aren't keeping up with the rate of inflammation. Also, I'd like to point out that they don't count you as unemployed if you've given up looking. So yeah, that number's actually worse too. Uh, sleep tight, kids.

Erica Hill has our headlines tonight and I am ticked. During the past couple segments, Anderson Cooper has been teasing information about Hurricane Ike's aftermath, leading one to believe we were actually going to get a story on the ongoing disaster. But no, just a headline. Put the teases of the story together and they're longer than the frickin story itself! This is ridiculous. I don't understand. Some of the same things that happened after Katrina are happening right now. Back then Anderson Cooper didn't even want to leave the area--and he didn't for a whole month. Now the show is like, meh, whatever. I know we're in the home stretch of an election and the country is currently financially imploding, but c'mon media. At least MSNBC seems to be waking up a little (it was one of their top stories).

Moving on to a Randi Kaye piece about a sports complex Sarah Palin pushed for when she was mayor of Wasilla. Apparently she mucked the deal up so bad that it cost the city millions. I'm not going to go indepth on this because I don't see it becoming a huge issue. Don't get me wrong though, I'm very happy 360 is investigating this stuff and doing these kinds of pieces. If she left tiny Wasilla in debt, how much debt would she leave the entire country?

Transitioning now to Peter Bergen joining us to talk about the attack on the embassy in Yemen. This is a pleasant surprise. I mean, you know, not the whole attack part, but that we're actually getting coverage of it. And it's alway nice to see Peter. So anyway, the conventional wisdom here is that the attack was perpetuated by al Qaeda. The 2000 USS Cole attack is mentioned and Anderson brings up a recent jailbreak. Peter isn't sure how connected al Qaeda in Yemen is to al Qaeda in Pakistan, but he tells us the Yemen based group is thriving. As for al Qaeda on the Afghan/Pakistan border, there's a resurgence going on. But hey, according to McCain the real battle is in Iraq and we're winning. Don't worry about a thing, kids.

"The Shot" tonight is an elephant supposedly helping to clean up the zoo after Hurricane Ike, but it looks like he's engaging in some social loafing to me. Then we meet Izzy the baby squirrel, rescued by a family in Houston. Kinda cute. "Beat 360" tonight results in a surprisingly decent Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation from Anderson. I'm not sure why, but suddenly 360 is all about pimping their webcast. I guess not enough people are watching. Truth be told I don't watch it that much myself, though I do find it enjoyable. It's just that there's the actual show, and the blog, and I'm taking notes, and sometimes eating, and I got my own online stuff going on, and . . . too much!

But anyway, the highlights of tonight were Erica playing with the Palin kid name generator, which I was fooling with myself last night, and we also got to see Anderson looking completely uncomfortable. Me thinks he's liking that he doesn't have a mic yet. We see him fake pass out at his desk too. Being an anchor is tiring, people.

Okay, so the show was pretty good, but again, where the hell is the Ike coverage? That being said, I have to give massive, MASSIVE props to 360 for so far relegating the OJ Simpson trial to the blog. Now watch, tomorrow they'll run a piece. That's it from me.

PS: Did John McCain just cause an international incident with Spain?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Financial Crisis Continues, Fact-Checking Obama, Indiana Maybe Turning Blue, And More Troopergate

Hi everybody. Before we get to 360, I have to ask, why is Dr. Phil talking about Sarah Palin? And how the hell can he still be undecided? He says he still needs to learn more about the candidates. Apparently, Dr. Phil has been in a coma for the past 18 months or so. Also? Dr. Phil is a huge tool.

Now that we have that out of the way, we're kicking things off tonight with the BREAKING NEWS that our downward financial tumble is not taking a pause. Today the feds bailed out insurance giant AIG. American Morning financial dude (and hurricane veteran!) Ali Velshi, joins us for discussion of this, along with Diane Brady of "Business Week." The general consensus from our financial gurus here is that AIG is just too huge to allow it to go under. So now the tax payers get to save it. Yay! Tell me, if I need saving in the future will AIG bail me out? Anderson Cooper notes the prior Fannie and Freddie bailout. "How many bailouts can our government do?" he asks. Good question. Couple this with the energy crisis, and Mad Max is beginning to look more like prophesy, than just a weird Aussie movie with Mel Gibson.

Up next, we get some clips of the candidates talking economics. McCain just gives rhetoric with no substance, while Obama provides specifics. To be fair though, the clips are heavily edited and I didn't see the full speeches. From here we go into an Ed Henry piece that follows McCain and Palin on the trail. Though Palin's star seems to be falling a bit as people actually learn more about her, the faithful aren't swayed. In fact, it's becoming clear that some of them come to the rallies only for Palin because Ed tells us some women left while McCain was still talking. Bwah! That's embarrassing. Don't worry about that whole economic problem, people, because McCain's got it covered--he's going to appoint a blue-ribbon panel to investigate Wall Street. Because that always fixes the problem. Obama, naturally, laughs at the cluelessness. Yes, McCain will save us all.

On now to a Candy Crowley piece on the goings-on with the Obama campaign. He, of course, is all over that line of McCain's about the fundamentals of our economy being strong. McCain would defend that by saying he also said we're in a difficult time, which I'll totally give him, and that he was actually talking about workers, which I totally will not give him. Who does he think he's kidding? Obama also put out a six principle plan to prevent future financial crises, and talked up McCain's support of deregulation. We get soundbites and voice overs from Candy regarding candidate claims about each other. They're all just screaming for a fact-check, but instead the charges are left hanging in the air. Where's Dana Bash when you need her.

Next up, Ali Velshi returns, along with Suze Orman, to try to help the panicked masses figure out what to do with their finances. I have to say, Suze Orman scares me a little. She's . . . quite a lot. Anyway, they talk a bit about today's bailout and then move into what average Americans should be doing. Anderson notes these situations cause many people to freeze up and he doesn't even want to look at his stocks. Somehow, I think he's going to be alright. Bottom line from Suze is that if you're going to need your money in a year or two, pull it out of the market now, if you're in for the long term, let your stocks ride. But Suze's real issue seems to be with credit card debt. She wants you to pay it off now, people! Apparently the interest rate is something God-awful like 18 percent. Daayum! I'm suddenly feeling very proud of myself for paying off in full every month. Suck it, MBNA.

Suze then warns us of an impending credit crunch because credit card companies are going to start closing down credit cards with no balance that people aren't using. Ruh-roh. There goes some of mine. And that of course will decrease your credit. Man. So basically, even if you do everything right, this is still going to hurt. From here we move into what the candidates have been saying (they both want better regulation, even John "fundamentally, a deregulator" McCain) and Ali brings up how messed up the regulation is right now. "But if everyone says they know we all need more regulation, how come we have all been sitting around? Just because everyone -- people have been making money?" asks Anderson. Pretty much. Not everyone has been making money, but the right people have. Like I said last night, I would love, love, to see an investigation into exactly who has been doing the regulation, or more likely, preventing it. Is there a "Brownie" in our midst? And where's the coverage of Phil Gramm's role?

Ali then gives a little summary of the candidate's tax plans, which I appreciate, though I'm annoyed that he says McCain wants to cut taxes for everyone, and then leaves it at that. He does not note that lower and middle class Americans would benefit more under Obama's plan, while McCain's plan gives the biggest breaks to the wealthy. Of course, neither plan will help the deficit and will in fact make it worse. "So, I mean, you talk about personal finance and people paying off their own personal debt, I mean, our government has got a huge amount of debt. We're borrowing money from -- from China and just about everyone else," says Anderson. Heh, good point. It's like how people freak out about a single mom on welfare, but don't bat an eye over corporate welfare, which is so much more money. Suze thinks we all need to do a "Keeping Them Honest" on corporations and the SEC. Sign me up!

Transitioning now to a Joe Johns piece that fact-checks Obama, just like they did with McCain yesterday. Okay, first off the Obama camp has put out an ad with McCain's line about the economy being strong, but they fail to add the other stuff McCain said. Truthy, but not egregious. Then there's an Obama ad that claims McCain cut education funds five times, when he only did so once. This one is harder to swallow. Thumbs down, Obama. Still another ad claims McCain adviser Charlie Black lobbies for oil companies, when really everyone on the campaign has taken leave from lobbying (if that's what they did previously).

But hold the phone, if they're just on leave, they're still lobbyists. If Black was actually, say, a dentist, then yeah, Obama would be a liar, but you know the dude is going to lobby again. Just because he's not lobbying right this second, doesn't make it okay. I call BS on this one. The final ad in the piece claims McCain refused to support loan guarantees for the auto industry, which is true, but then he changed his mind before the ad even aired. So yeah, that's not exactly copasetic, but not a lie pulled out of thin air either. Also, it makes McCain a flip-flopper. Then there's McCain's 100-year war remark, that apparently Obama is taking out of context because McCain never said he wanted 100 years of war, just that we should stay "as long as it takes."

You know, I don't even know what that means. It seems to me that once people stop getting killed, we should be able to come home, no? If Iraq is able to function well enough that people aren't fearing for their lives, aren't we done? So why would we stick around for 100 years? This piece was fine, I suppose. Does Obama stretch the truth, take things out of context, and omit pertinent information? Of course he does. Does he blatantly (and continually) lie like McCain? Not even close. And I really wish instead of doing one candidate one day and the other the next, they would have compared them and pointed out that when it comes to negative campaigning and factuality of statements, they are clearly not equal. It's a disservice to pretend they are.

Following Joe's piece, we're joined by Candy and John King for discussion, but I mostly zoned out because I didn't find it all that interesting. Sorry. Though we do learn that everyone in the McCain camp is ticked at Carly Fiorina for saying McCain and Palin (and Obama and Biden) aren't qualified to run Hewlett Packard. Oops. Needless to say, she's getting disappeared from the limelight. From here we go into a John King piece on Indiana and how it just might swing blue. Fingers crossed!

Erica Hill has our headlines tonight and first up she tells us about the devastating aftermath of Ike. I can't believe this was relegated to a headline. Look, I am no one to say where a specific reporter should be, but a part of me feels like Anderson and 360 should still be down there. I'm hearing all kinds of rumors around the web that some places in Texas are reaching post-Katrina like levels of crisis. And is there restricted media access or isn't there? A local reporter called out Governor Rick Perry for not allowing them to fly over places like Bolivar Peninsula, yet Susan Candiotti filed a (must see) report from there. And now the Galveston mayor has ordered a virtual media blackout. What is going on? After Hurricane Katrina we had wall-to-wall coverage. After Gustav and now Ike, the majority of the media just picked up and left. I'm not saying CNN doesn't have people there, but the commitment seems to be lacking. This is a major disaster and there are not enough eyes watching to make sure things are done right. And I have to say, something about the situation feels very wrong.

Next up, we have a Randi Kaye piece on Troopergate, but I'm actually going to skip that for now. I'm sure I'll get another crack at it later.

"The Shot" tonight is a pizza dude getting caught on camera dropping a pizza and then picking it up off the ground and putting it right back in the box. Ew. I don't believe he could get away with that; the cheese would be all over. Speaking of cheese, Anderson tells us he goes through "an elaborate removal of cheese process," with his pizza. Oh. You're one of those people. This, coupled with the webcast revelation that he keeps his Blackberry in eyesight when showering, kinda makes me wonder about our silver-topped anchor. Oh, Anderson.

The "Beat 360" winner tonight is actually a team, which causes some controversy on whether two t-shirts should be sent out. Anderson and Erica think it should be two, but producer Ted (Fine?) puts the kabash on that. One t-shirt for you! Ted's such a hard-ass. Anyway, then there's some giggling over Zagnuts, a topic obviously talked about off camera. But whatever, according to Anderson this show has "gone to pot" anyway. Well, somebody's definitely smoking it.

The show could have been worse. There was some good financial coverage, but I'm slightly miffed about how they handled the candidate fact-checks (though fact-checking as a concept is always smiled upon) and I can't believe how little Ike coverage there has been. It was a pretty packed show, but they could have fit in hurricane coverage by just having Anderson give us the pertinent stuff from the trail--the Ed Henry and Candy Crowley pieces weren't really needed. That'll do it for me.
FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from freestats.com