Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Slacking: Now With Eye Candy!

Hi everybody. For those of you that celebrated Thanksgiving, I hope your day was filled with good food, good company, and perhaps a good nap. I'm still working my way through leftover turkey and sweet potatoes. Mmmm. Anyhoo, I'm sure most of you have already seen the 60 Minutes video that's been making its way around the Internets these past few days. You know, the one where Anderson squares off against Michael Phelps in the pool. Sans shirt (ZOMG!).

Now, this is not normally something I would blog about. Oh sure, I'm known to make little tongue-in-cheek references to Anderson's (and others'--Charlie Moore I'm looking at you) aesthetically pleasing attributes here and there, but it's been over a year since I did a full-on fangurl post. I like to leave that to other blogs.

Thing is, if I were to do a post on the horrible situation in Mumbai, or maybe one on how that poor man was trampled by rabid Black Friday shoppers, well, that would require, like, thinking and stuff. And really, who wants that? Especially on Thanksgiving weekend. So yes, that's right; I am exploiting Anderson Cooper's partial nakedness in order to keep my blog alive over a long weekend. I am shame-faced, but I know a money shot when I see one.

So anyway, back to the video, Anderson challenges Michael to a race, which means they have to get in the pool, which means they have to put on swimming suits, which, quite frankly, is pretty much all you need to know when it comes to motivation for watching the damn thing. And it contains the answer to the ever-burning question of, "hey there Anderson, whatcha hiding under those tight black t-shirts?" Looking good, Cooper.

Speaking of looking good, wow, our anchor is a pretty good swimmer. Color me impressed. I mean, yeah, he still got his ass handed to him, but c'mon, he was racing Michael Phelps. Also? How does he swim a lap and his hair still looks all perfect? That kinda makes me hate him a little. Just saying. Alright, I'm running out of fangurliness. You can watch Anderson's full 60 Minutes report on Sunday. I'm sure there'll be talk about, like, swimming and medals and stuff. Enjoy:

PS: Um,...sorry, Anderson. I promise that in future posts I will try to focus on your journalistic skillz.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More Obama Cabinet News, Bailout Talk, Farm Subsidies, MySpace Suicide Trial, Obamamania, And Inspiration From The Congo

Hi everybody. Soledad O'Brien continues to hold down the fort for a vacationing Anderson Cooper and after a day of quiet respite, the BREAKING NEWS is back! Did I call it or what? Not really a tough call. The subject of our annoying red banner tonight is that Robert Gates will most likely stay on as secretary of defense for the first year of the Obama administration and possibly beyond. That's cool, I suppose. I never had a big problem with Gates. Donald Rumsfeld, however, don't get me started.

Anyway, Ed Henry then joins us live for the lowdown and we learn that Obama was looking to promote continuity and include a Republican in his cabinet, so there ya go. A subsequent piece from Ed has a big focus on Obama's economic team and what the prez-elect has planned in regards to getting us out of this massive financial black hole. He's stepping up, but since it unfortunately is not yet January 20th, he being careful not to step on Bush's toes.

Speaking of that big black soul-crushing hole, Soledad breaks down all the billions of dollars that we're shelling out to try to stop the bleeding. Let's see, first there was the original $700 billion, which to me doesn't seem to have done anything. Then there's the proposed Obama stimulus of $500 to $600 billion. Oh, and did we mention we need $800 billion more to free up credit? You know, just a little chump change.

Ali Velshi then takes his position at the big wall to do a little splaining with graphic help. The feds seem to be changing their plans. Again. I'm not even recapping. It'll just be different tomorrow. Does anyone know what they're doing? But it's cool. We'll just keep throwing away our money. Because apparently we mere proles don't have a choice.

It's panel time! Because 360 without a panel would be chaos. Or, you know, better. Whatev. Our contestants tonight include David Gergen, Candy Crowley, and Ali. The only one mentioning anything of note is The Gerg, because he's awesome and all. According to him, Obama has put together one of the most impressive economic teams in a long time. So yay to that. Also? Our new banker will be China. I'm going to go with a 'boo' for that one.

Transitioning now to Tom Foreman doing some honesty-keeping regarding Obama's campaign promises. The big question is how Obama is going to pay for everything. The prez-elect says he'll do it by trimming waste, but he really doesn't give out specifics. It's pretty much conventional wisdom that he's going to increase the deficit. At this point it's inevitable. I'm not sure anyone was kept honest here. I mean, Obama hasn't even started yet. They've kinda lowered the bar for using that slogan.

On the other hand, Joe Johns next has a piece on farm subsidies that I think better falls in the category of honesty-keeping, or at least calling out. See, farmers aren't suppose to get subsides from the government if they make over $2.5 million, but some still are. This is something Obama wants to look into and was mentioned by him today. Why does it seem like we always have to wait for a politician or news-maker to mention something before the media does a story?

Moving on now to a Soledad piece on the case of the MySpace suicide. You all remember this, right? Lori Drew posed as a teenage boy named Josh on MySpace, so that she could find out what 13-year-old Megan Meier was saying about her daughter. Megan then fell for "Josh" and when he suddenly became hostile to her, she killed herself. Soledad tells us, "Drew is charged with one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization to obtain information to inflict emotional distress."

Now Drew could face 20 years in prison. I'm glad to see 360 following up on this. It's been in my local news (it happened here) and I wondered if they'd just let it slip by. The outcome of the trial could be important to us all regarding where our new online world leads us. The situation is much more important than your normal sensational crime story.

For the legal ramifications of all this, we're joined by none other than CNN's senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. Jeffery thinks what Drew did was appalling, but he's not sure it was a crime. Apparently she's basically being charged with defrauding MySpace because she didn't abide by their agreement, though Jeffrey notes that no one reads those. Tis true. No one reads those. It's also noted that Megan was known to be depressed before this all happened and causation is very hard to prove. Lori Drew is a horrible person, but she shouldn't go to jail for this. It would set up a slippery-slope precedent. She should be fined, put on probation, and given community service. Just my two cents.

Next up, Obamamania!!! In an Erica Hill piece, we learn that tickets for the prez-elect's inauguration are in high demand. Unfortunately, there are only 240,000, which sounds like a lot, but totally isn't. Even though no tickets exist yet, people are already selling them on line--for a pretty penny. This angers some lawmakers. But that's not the only Obama-exploitation going on. People are selling anything they can to make a buck off his name and message. Even "hope-on-a-rope." Okay, that's funny.

Finally tonight, we're joined by Anderson Cooper in tape form, doing a little promotion for CNN Heroes by talking about one of his heroes. Her name is Angela and he met her two years ago when covering the horrible situation in the Congo. Angela had been gang raped and thrown out of her house by her husband due to fears of HIV, yet she still carried on, taking care of her children. Kinda makes you feel like a jerk for complaining about your own stupid little problems, huh? Maybe in the coming year Anderson will be able to follow up with Angela. Here's hoping.

The shot tonight is Roomba cat and then shrimp on a treadmill. Oh those crazy animals.

Randi Kaye manned the webcast tonight and she don't play around, people. She came prepared with turkey facts. Speaking of turkeys, we've got some gobbling going on from the crew, those nutty kids. So anyway, did you know that the best time to see a turkey is in light rain? And that if they look up they'll drown? Dude, turkeys are kinda stupid.

Tom Foreman then joins us and though he refuses to gobble, he does know his turkey facts, like how they sleep in trees. Later, Randi quizzes Soledad and crew in a speed round of turkey facts. In honor of one such fact, I leave you with a little video:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Are We At The Bottom Yet?

Hi everyone. Happy new (short) week! Tonight Soledad O'Brien is rocking the house for Anderson Cooper. I knew our regular anchor would be itching to use those frequent flier miles sometime. Apparently, I was a week off. Anyway, no offense to Ms. O'Brien, who I happen to like very much as a sub host, but I am tired. I think I'm going to give you guys a ghetto version of a review because I'm not quite sure my brain is alert enough right now to make our continued financial collapse an amusing read. So, a couple notes for you--in pretty bullet points as always:
  • No "breaking news"?! No annoying red banner?! I can almost see my whole screen. And it is glorious. I hope you savored, people. Because you know that eyesore will be back tomorrow.
  • I thought the panel should have been two financial analysts to one political analyst instead of the other way around. Just a nitpick. Campbell Brown had Jeffrey Sachs on tonight. I'd love to see him on 360.
  • It was great to see Jeffrey Toobin talking about the pardons. There's been so little coverage of what our still-president has been up to lately. Also? The possibility of a preemptive pardon of interrogators is disturbing.
  • Good Randi Kaye piece on Michelle Obama, but did anyone else notice that they initially identified overweight black women as a stereotype, and then went on to report that the majority of black women are overweight?
  • Heroes has gone Hollywood! It's become quite the star studded event. Looks like a great show.
  • I'm with Erica Hill and Soledad, no monkey is touching my food. Unsanitary!
  • Maybe I'm crazy, but I could have sworn that the webcast opened tonight with somebody screaming. Anyway, Erica talks with Ali Velshi and they both start bitching about Citi. Then Ali starts to get really riled up and . . . the commercial is over. Curses!
  • Erica also talks to Soledad, who is apparently up past her bedtime. She's cool with the subbing though because it's like a vacation from the kiddies. Also? Erica looked at her 401K. Oh, don't do that. It only ends in sadness.
  • Since I've barely given you anything tonight, here's a fact-check on CNN president Jon Klein, who just hit his four year mark with the network. Interesting, though the American Morning segment either has some mistakes or is just poorly written. I give Klein credit for getting rid of the ridiculous Crossfire, but I can't say I'm a fan. He seems to value the new and shiny over good journalism. Hence we get holograms.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Katrina Kids: Sickest Ever

Even before the storm, they were some of the country's neediest kids. Now, the children of Katrina who stayed longest in ramshackle government trailer parks in Baton Rouge are "the sickest I have ever seen in the U.S.," says Irwin Redlener, president of the Children's Health Fund and a professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. According to a new report by CHF and Mailman focusing on 261 displaced children, the well-being of the poorest Katrina kids has "declined to an alarming level" since the hurricane.

(Read more)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Timothy Geithner Picked For Treasury Secretary, Clinton Reportedly Says Yes To SOS, Suze Orman Takes Your Questions, And The Obamas Choose a School

Hi everybody. Well, guess what? We're starting with BREAKING NEWS, that's what. I know, you're totally surprised. Obama has tapped Timothy Geithner to be his treasury secretary, which is certainly very important news, but not exactly breaking. I mean, at some point a story needs to just be deemed broken, and the banner must go. But anyway, Ed Henry joins us live with the details and we're also informed that sources are now saying that Hillary Clinton will accept the secretary of state position. So, it's still not completely a done deal, but we're pretty dang close. I swear, most tedious cabinet position picking evah!

We then move into a Tom Foreman piece all about, what else? Hillary Clinton. There's a sum up of her foreign policy experience, which is actually a completely legitimate thing for them to spend time covering. And then they of course have to get into the whole Obama versus Clinton primary squabbling. Even that would have been fine if they hadn't been annoying the hell out of us with speculative coverage for days now. But for all intents and purposes it was a good piece.

I think you know what's coming next: time for the panel of speculation! Rocking the house tonight are Marcus Mabry, David Gergen, and Ed Henry. It's funny, only now are we almost at the point where this Clinton story is confirmed fact . . . and I'm completely burnt out on it. The 360 kids and the media at large, however, will apparently never be burnt out. There was really nothing of note during this discussion. I pretty much zoned out, actually.

On now to an Anderson Cooper piece--yes, an Anderson Cooper piece--that focuses on . . . the Clintons. *Sigh* Specifically this is about their relationship and how she used to support him and now he supports her and aw, isn't that sweet. Or something. Sorry for being flippant, but she is not the only person being chosen for an important job in the administration. Compared to the Clinton news, I've barely heard anything about the probable new attorney general and we all know that the justice department was pretty much destroyed under Gonzales--it'd be nice to get a piece or two on that subject.

Up next, Ali Velshi and The Gerg talk about the pick of Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary. Ali explains that the markets weighed in on the decision, and what was their assessment? They likey. The Dow closed up. Anyway, Geithner was a treasury official under Clinton and The Gerg thinks the pick was purposefully leaked because of all the extreme financial turmoil that we've been dealing with lately. Now everyone knows that leadership is coming. Also? This guy is totally Gerg approved. And if he's good enough for The Gerg, he's good enough for me.

Transitioning now to Suze Orman live taking your phone call and email questions. For two whole segments. I'm not going to recap this, but I have to say I was mildly horrified by the person that has $100,000 on their credit cards. That is . . . not good. I suppose a lot of that could be medical bills, but otherwise I don't understand how a person gets into that situation. I was pleasantly surprised, though, to see that Suze didn't get all scary and berate the poor person. She actually wasn't scary at all tonight, though I still think this kind of stuff should be relegated to a web extra. It'd be different if 360 was still a two hour live show. But too much news gets edged out when you take up time with call-ins during an hour broadcast.

Our final piece of the night is from Joe Johns regarding the Obamas choice to send their girls to Sidwell Friends School. It's a Quaker school that's 40 percent minority and all about peace and service. Sounds nice, though it costs a pretty penny. It's going to set Obama back about $28,000 for Sasha alone. Yeesh.

The Shot tonight is a follow up on that hilarious yet disturbing Palin turkey video. I swear, I think this woman is like some kind of crack to the 360 kids. Anyway, now the Palin camp is all upset about the bad publicity and her spokesperson is claiming the governor had no idea a turkey was being slaughtered behind her. I don't think I've ever heard a public official have to deny knowledge of a turkey slaughter.

Okay, that's it for the show, but I actually got the webcast to work for me and I'm so excited because it's Floor Crew Friday! Oh boy, tonight was a doozy. See, Anderson is I think in Los Angeles, and Erica is off probably getting her beauty sleep for her CBS morning gig, so that left Kevin all by his lonesome in the New York studio. And he is lonely, people. Oh, so lonely. What's hilarious is that the webcast is so dark (for me anyway) that I didn't notice he started out sitting on the floor right by the desk. Then he gets up and, hey, Marcus Mabry is just quietly sitting there minding his own bidness. Bwah!

So anyway, the boys talk a little Thanksgiving and Marcus is excited, y'all. He's ready to blow the joint. Then Kevin tells us a story of his Thanksgiving childhood past and how he and his peeps used to make big leaf piles and then climb up and jump into them, which always resulted in someone getting hurt and missing their turkey dinner. Or, you know, not. Because apparently that story is totally BS. Oh, that Kevin. I shake my fist at you!

Seriously though, when he was telling that story I was madly scribbling it up the side of a piece of scratch paper (cuz that's how I roll) and then when he said it was all a lie, I literally exclaimed "oh f***," as if he'd just been giving us a thesis on the meaning of life or something. And then I laughed at myself because, uh, taking the webcast way too seriously. You can laugh at me too if you wish. I'll wait.

In the next webcast, we open with Kevin standing behind a monitor that is displaying a picture of Anderson from when he went on that "To Tell the Truth" show when he was a kid. Kevin then proceeds to talk to us as if he is Gun Metal Grey himself and notes that he wears the outfit on every Thanksgiving. Okay, Kevin is apparently on crack. Orrr, he's broken into Anderson's gin stash. This is what happens when the parents leave the kids home alone.

The final webcast opens in chaos because Kevin is on the move with camera dude (Tony AKA Tonedog I believe) on his tail. We're running through CNN! Action webcast! But commercial breaks are only so long, so we ain't running that far. Our journey ends in a small control room where we meet Phil, controller of the Big Wall. Oooh, Phil has powers. Kevin isn't so much interested in Phil's expertise as he is in hooking him up with the webcast watching ladies. He gives out Phil's digits and it's a shame that I forgot them (they were fake, people--don't worry) because Phil is definitely meeting CNN's hotness standards. Oh wells. There's always the next webcast. And a terrorist fist bump from Kevin takes us out. Peace.

A couple things before I wrap up. First of all, I would like to thank 360 for not touching the Diane Sawyer interview with Ashley Dupre. I mean, obviously it's kind of a no-brainer, but this is the show that literally staked out her apartment, so you know. Also, I caught some of Rachel Maddow's show today and she had on one of my favorite Iraq reporters, Richard Engel. It seems there's an important vote going on there soon, so I thought I'd share the segment. I'd love to get Michael Ware's take on all this. Here ya go:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Clinton For Secretary Of State Obsession Continues, Breach Of Obama's Cell Phone Records, And An Interview With Malcolm Gladwell

Hi everybody. Ooh man, it has been one of those days. My morning began with me sleeping right through my alarm--both alarms. Then somehow one of my appointments turned out to be scheduled two hours earlier than I thought. So of course my whole day ended up being me being late and me not getting enough work done and me, apparently, being very tired. Once most of my drama was over, I thought I'd give myself a break and take a nice short mid evening nap.

Well, it turned out to not be so short, because the next thing I knew, I was waking up and 360 had already started. Just call me "spaz." Anyway, I was able to watch most of the show, but was in no mood to immediately jump in with the note taking. With the help of my memory and the trusty transcript, I'm going to forgo the recapping and just hit on the stuff that stood out to me. And perhaps this weekend I will buy a louder alarm.

The show is continuing to do a good job keeping on all the financial news and I like that they've been putting it in its proper place up top. Remember the days when they actually led with crap like Britney Spears and Anna Nicole Smith? Granted, we're in a massive crisis right now and just had a historic election, so showcasing that kind of non-news would be demonstrably idiotic, but still, it's been a long time since I've thought their lead story was completely ridiculous. Maybe it's just circumstances or maybe it's general improvement.

I'm beginning to wonder if there's any rhyme or reason in what gets teased and what doesn't. I'm guessing a lot has to do with what subjects they think will get people to stick around, but sometimes it gets ridiculous. For example, tonight Anderson Cooper teased this: "Up next: Is now a time to buy stocks? Hear what Suze Orman is doing -- that and what might happen if Detroit goes under." This tease amounted to what was literally about a three sentence soundbite. The tease was almost as long as what was being teased!

They do this a lot with stories they have in the headlines, which can be really annoying when you're looking forward to an upcoming story, only to find out all you're getting is about 15 seconds of copy and b-roll. Remember when they kept doing that with Hurricane Ike coverage? Grrr. It's occurred to me that if they got rid of half of their teases they'd probably have time for a whole other piece.

Of course, they'll never do that because they want to do everything they can to keep the fingers off the remote. I get that. I also realize that sometimes they're going to tease something that then gets cut or cut down. I just wish they'd at least attempt to only tease stories they're going to spend a fair amount of time covering. Oh, but fer serious? I was happy the Suze Orman thing only turned out to be a little clip. (She's scary!)

When a story has been dominating the news forever, at some point it becomes clear that the news peeps are running out of interesting angles for their coverage. We saw this a lot during the election. Well, tonight Tom Foreman's piece on our financial woes had, "I am out of ideas," written all over it. Okay, I admit that his blog post regarding the ahead metaphoric economic woods kinda worked. (Though his opening line had me thinking Robert Frost and wondering what the road less traveled might be.) But seeing the same concept in package form with the moving shots of the woods was, well, comical. Just give us the facts. Really, it's okay.

"Gobble, gobble -- when we come back." Heh . . . no.

The show tonight was actually an interesting example of "breaking news" gone wrong and "breaking news" done well. My regular readers know that the BREAKING NEWS graphic and identifying a story as such, is one of my favorite things to mock. Over the past few years it has gotten to such levels of ridiculousness that the whole concept of "breaking news" has been rendered utterly meaningless. I actually blogged about this subject a year ago and I think things have only gotten worse since then. I can remember a time when "breaking news" was actually, well, important news and was, um, actually breaking. Now it can be something completely mundane that happened eight hours prior.

Anyway, tonight we were informed that Obama is "on track" to confirm Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, news that Anderson Cooper tells us, "just happened literally during the commercial break." Much speculation from a panel followed. So, to sum up, we still don't know for sure what's going on with Clinton and the position, yet here we are, listening to pundits pretend they know. Completely ridiculous. Tell us about the "on track" part. Fine. That's news, I suppose. But then move on until you have something concrete. My God, they're obsessed.

On the other hand, there was another "breaking news" story that was done quite well. This is what we got from Anderson:
Attorney General Michael Mukasey has collapsed while giving a speech tonight in Washington, D.C. This is file footage of him. We don't yet have the video of the speech he was making, though we do anticipate that.

He was speaking at the Federalist Society dinner at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. We understand he is still on site. EMTs are there. That's, frankly, all the information we have -- Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsing while giving a speech a short time ago.
And then they moved on. We got a story that was actually literally breaking, it was important (the man is attorney general), we were given all the facts available, and that was that. Why they can't do this all the time, I do not know.

Poor Obama. Not even president yet and already people are snooping in his business. I guess that BlackBerry ban he's about to undergo really is necessary. As pointed out, this latest breach of cell phone records is very similar to the prior breach of his passport information. Probably this kind of stuff happens more than most people know. And, hello, it's not just workers with access that are sneaking peeks into our lives. We already know our government is spying on us.

Anyway, this quote from Anderson stood out to me: "You've got to wonder, if these workers are doing this to incredibly famous people, are anybody's records safe? If Barack Obama's records can be looked into by workers at Verizon, who knows who else has their records being examined?" I wonder if he's wondering about his own records. Unfortunately, I'd probably wager that someone has seen something of his. I'd wager that regarding any celebrity. With the amount of information that's collected on people and the amount of people with access to that information--some of them low wage workers with no big incentive to maintain privacy, I imagine breaches happen left and right.

I'm not just talking about phone companies. We live in a world of databases. There are companies that have information on you that you probably don't even know about. Even when it comes to your medical records, sure, you can probably count on the professionals to be discreet. But most people don't think about all the clerks and temps and other people only making a couple bucks above minimum wage who are the people that do the majority of the handling of your very personal medical information. Breaches of celebrity's info are not uncommon.

I see 360's obsession with Sarah Palin continues. But then again, how could they not play this clip? I'm beginning to think the woman isn't even real, but a walking and talking definition of irony.

I really enjoyed the interview with Malcolm Gladwell and in fact wish it had been longer because I feel like he didn't quite get to flesh out his thesis enough. It's nice to see 360 mixing it up. I actually have "Tipping Point," but haven't read it yet. Now I want to get "Outliers." It's great to see someone finally pointing out the fallacy of the self-made man/woman. I hate to turn this political, but one of the reasons I get so annoyed with people bemoaning the rich being asked to pay more taxes is because they didn't get there on their own, you know?

The argument is that people shouldn't be punished for working hard and achieving success, but I'm sorry, no man is an island. Someone with a successful business who came from nothing no doubt took advantage of some of society's resources along the way--public transportation, student grants, low interest loans, and so on. Sometimes you need more than just hard work. This from Malcolm sums it up: "what I really want people to do is start thinking about how can we, as a society, build institutions that provide opportunities to work hard."

I'm not so sure I buy into the 10,000 hour rule though. It's no doubt true in some cases, but haven't there been actors who gained the biggest accolades of their careers right off the bat? And haven't there been authors who've seen their first book climb the best seller list? Wait, actually I can point to one--he's anchoring the show!

The shot tonight was . . . oh my. 360 played us a little of Beyonce's latest single called "Single Ladies," and then we got some clips of scantily and leotard-clad fellas taking on the moves of Ms. Knowles. It was, uh, disturbing. I haven't really kept up with Beyonce since back when she was being all bootylicious with Destiny's Child and I have to say, I was so not ready for this jelly. That came from Second shout out to them in a week's time. Yeah, I noticed.

Anyhoo, they played a clip of the recent Saturday Night Live sketch with Beyonce and Justin Timberlake too. Anderson kinda joked that maybe we'll see the floor crew getting in on the action in the future. Uh, no. No offense to the hotness of the floor crew, but I do not want to see that. I don't know any guy that can rock a leotard. Also? Oh my God, did I really just watch a half naked man shaking his groove thing on CNN?

Well, that's about it, but I wanted to give my regular readers and any other news junkies out there a head's up about a new series called the IFC Media Project on, duh, IFC. I missed the first episode, but I think it repeats this weekend. The series looks pretty cool, so check it out if you have time.

Finally, an AC360 Review recommendation for you. Right now I'm reading, "I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story" by Michael Hastings. So far, it's really good. I've often found that I get a better understanding of the war from journalists' own personal reflections, than I do from their reporting. Pick it up if you're so inclined.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Automaker Bailout Stalled, More Obama Picks, Lobbyists Unleashed On D.C., Interview With Gavin Newsom, Zawahiri Goes Racist, And Abandoning Kids

Hi everybody. Like usual, we're starting things off with BREAKING NEWS--so much of it that the chyron doesn't seem to know what to do. Seriously, it's changing as Anderson Cooper is talking to us. Should we be freaking out about plunging markets? The automaker bailout stall? Or whatever else it said that I didn't catch? I don't know! The answer, children, seems to be all of the above. Ali Velshi has already manned his position at the financial wall of doom, and given that we're only about one minute into the broadcast, you know that ain't good. Okay, apparently the Dow did a little diving today, closing below 8000.

This is most likely due to the automaker CEO's crying some "woe is me" and not finding any sympathetic ears in Congress. In fact, it's looking like this bailout might not happen, which is what sent the markets a-rumbling. Ali tells us the CEO's seem to be very certain about what will happen if we don't fork over some cash, yet they're not being very specific regarding exactly what they're going to do with said cash and how they're going to ensure they don't have to trudge back with their hands out again in the future. Accountability. Apparently it's a novel concept.

If you're already annoyed with our car-making CEO friends, well, next up Joe John's has a piece that's sure to full on angry up your blood. Pop quiz: how did the broke-ass CEO's get themselves to Washington? Train? Maybe a carpool? If you guessed gas-guzzling luxury corporate jet, you win the prize! Yeah, that looks a little bad. The corporate welfare queens say it's for security reasons, but seeing as though the companies are about to go under, I fail to see why the CEO must be protected. We get a clip of Representative Brad Sherman addressing the CEO's and amusingly showing his ire about the topic: "I'm going ask you to raise your hand if you're planning to sell your jet in place now and fly back commercial. Let the record show no hands went up." Ha! Commercial? Perish the thought!

Switching things up now, Jessica Yellin joins us live to bring us the news that Obama is bringing a bit of girl power into his administration. The current governor of Arizona, Janet Napolitano, has been tapped to head up the Department of Homeland Security and Penny Pritzker will most likely be commerce secretary. Awesome. We also learn that Tom Daschle is Obama's leading choice to head up Health and Human Services. These all sound pretty good, but . . . what about Hillary Clinton?!!

I swear people, I think the media is going to pee themselves over this story. I feel like I should be laying down newspaper. Okay, so we still don't know what's going on with her and the secretary of state position, though things just got more complicated. It seems Harry Reid is now talking about making a special role for her in the senate. Dude, he must really hate it when people leave--even if they totally should. CoughLiebermanCough.

You didn't think that was it for the Clinton talk, did you? No, our media is obsessed and therefore they must beat the subject to death until our ears bleed and we want to poke something in our eyes. You know, like usual. So . . . moving on to a Tom Foreman piece all about the Clintons--the ultimate power couple. They've both done good work and Hillary is certainly capable of holding an administration position, I just wish she didn't have a cloud of retardedness that followed her everywhere. Thank God she wasn't chosen for Veep. Just thinking about that potential coverage gives me nightmares.

Panel time! The seat-warmers tonight are David Gergen, Paul Begala, and Jamal Simmons. Lots of Clinton secretary of state speculation here. Of note is when Anderson (again) hammers on the point that Obama might not be appearing changey enough: "You know, Paul, for all the talk, though, that we have heard about Doris Kearns Goodwin's book and the team of rivals and stuff, I don't see many Republicans up to this point. And it is a lot of people with ties to the Clintons."

To which Paul replies: "Of course, who would want to have people who actually know something about peace and prosperity?" Bingo. "I knew you were going to say that," says Anderson. Well, then why'd you ask it, smarty-pants? Seriously though, as Paul later says, dude, it's early! Let the guy at least get inaugurated. Because you know what? Having a president that quite possibly isn't going to flat out lie to America's face every day is a pretty damn big change.

Transitioning now to a Drew Griffin piece on how lobbyists are latching onto newbie congresscritters. There's insinuations made in the piece and Drew kinda does some semi-staking out, but I think I'm going to forgo recapping this. The sad truth is that Drew has lost complete credibility with me. Maybe it was a good piece, I don't know. But I can't believe anything he reports, so I'm certainly not going to spread it.

Erica Hill has the headlines tonight and we learn that, hey, my state has finally pried its hands off our 11 electoral votes. I'd rather they not be going to McCain, but whatev. Guess we're not the bellwether anymore. I was kinda hoping no one would notice we hadn't ponied up our votes yet and we could just hold onto them and double down next time. Also, Larry King is a year older. Happy birthday, Larry! I wish you many new colorful suspenders.

Moving on now to a taped interview with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Hey, lookee there. Just a couple days ago I was complaining that Anderson hardly ever did interviews anymore with newsmakers and now here he is (coincidentally) doing an interview. Ask and ye shall receive. Next I shall request in depth Iraq coverage. Or, you know, a pony. Anyhoo, today California's highest court decided that Prop 8 can be enforced, but they also noted that in March they'll be looking into its validity. The interview starts off with some technical law stuff, but I'm going to slack and skip over that.

Anderson then notes that it all boils down to this decision either being made by the people or a judge. Newsom brings up the Loving decision in 1967 that got rid of the ban on interracial marriage that still existed in 16 states. He notes that at the time, the people still supported the bans. "Should we go in front of the voters every time there is an adjudication in the courts that we don't like and submit the rights of minorities to the whims of the majority, based upon the morality of the day?" he asks. No. Slavery was popular at one time as well. Doesn't mean it was ever right. Sometimes the people are wrong.

Anderson plays devil's advocate pointing out that critics will say the people have spoken. But Newsom wonders what other rights the majority might decide to take away from the minority. Finally, Anderson asks if he's disappointed in Obama's silence on the issue. "I'm a pragmatist," says Newsom. Good answer. Yeah, it's disappointing he's wasn't out there campaigning against Prop 8, but we all know what would have happened: it would have energized the haters against him even more and turned the national conversation from the economy to "Obama's going to turn your kid gay." There are some battles you have to go in surrendering in order to win the bigger war.

Next up, Peter Bergen joins us because Ayman al-Zawahiri released an audio tape today (authenticity not yet confirmed) in which he gets all chatty and, well, kinda racist. The term "house negroes" is used, which might be shocking if it wasn't coming from a guy that helped kill thousands of people. Now it just seems like he's grasping at straws. What's interesting, and to me, a little amusing, is that Peter tells us Al Qaeda is reading things like Malcolm X and Noam Chomsky, making them sound more like college freshmen than terrorist masterminds.

Peter also notes that because Obama's father is Muslim and Obama is not, Zawahiri feels that he rejected Islam and that's like the biggest sin of all. So that's kind of disturbing. The upside is that there doesn't seem to be much he can do about that right now. Says Peter: "Al Qaeda's ability to attack the United States right now is pretty much close to zero." Sweet.

Our last piece of the night is from Sean Callebs on Nebraska's safe haven law, which was designed for overwhelmed and incapable parents. The idea is that they could drop their kid off at the hospital, no questions asked. The problem is that no one thought to put an age limit in the law and the kids that have been being dropped off are well beyond infancy. Lawmakers are working on fixing the oops.

No word yet on whether anything will be done to help alleviate the much bigger problem of parents being so overwhelmed by their children's problems that they have no other option than to give them up. This whole thing is all around sad. I think most people's instinct is to be horrified by people that would do that, but then again, I'm sure every circumstance is different. I can't imagine that being abandoned by your parents would make a kid's life better.

The shot tonight reveals that John King is the star--the evil star--of a Magical Map conspiracy! Dun dun dun! I always thought he looked a little shady. Poor John Oliver never stood a chance.

What I learned on the webcast tonight: there is more than one angle on the corporate jets story and Erica Hill aims to bring us all of them. It is freezing in the studio, which is not helped by a vent blowing cold air. The vent problem is not concentrated to New York. In Atlanta they used to whack on them with ghetto broomsticks. Mmhm. Also? Oh my God, Anderson actually said stuff on the blog. Somebody ate their Wheaties today. That'll do it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ted Stevens Defeated, Attorney General Tapped, Bailout Coverage, Obama's Reading List, And An Eight-Year-Old Murderer

Hi everybody. We're kicking things off with the BREAKING NEWS tonight that Ted Stevens is going down! Okay, it's not official, and there will be a likely recount, but for all intents and purposes, Mr. Tubes will lose his senate seat to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. Woo hoo! If that news is our sundae, Jessica Yellin joins us live to report the cherry on top. See, with Stevens' defeat, the Democrats are now a mere two votes away from that magical filibuster-proof number of 60. Thanks Alaska! And for once I really mean that. I mean, you're still insane and all, but hey, if you manage to keep Sarah Palin from the lower 48, there might be hope for you yet.

The big BREAKING NEWS doesn't stop with corrupt old senators prone to rants. It seems that while everyone was speculating over the idea of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, Obama went and picked himself an attorney general. The man in question is Eric Holder, and if confirmed he will be the first African American to hold the position. Word on the street is Holder is wildly liked and is known for his high degree of integrity. But Jessica notes he's a Clintonite and wonders, "is this change or more of the same?" Hm, wildly liked? Integrity? It's change, hon. It's definitely change.

For discussion of all this, we next move into a panel consisting of Marcus Mabry, David Gergen, and Jeffrey Toobin. Jeffrey tells us that Holder actually has the same temperament as Obama, but differs politically and The Gerg thinks he will bring a high class of professionalism to the post. It's also noted that Holder is totally against things like torture and Gitmo and . . . oh my God, yes please. That's a long way from quaint and irrelevant, isn't it? Anyway, something else of note, just because it makes you go "WTF?", is that Jeffrey tells us Bill Clinton and Janet Reno hated each other and never spoke. These people are children.

Transitioning now to Ali Velshi at his wall of financial doom, tonight with bonus video clips. See, Paulson's been doing some testifying because, well, we're giving him zillions of dollars and we'd like to know some stuff about where it's going. For example, that whole bailout thing he suddenly switched up? What's up with that? Apparently the facts changed and they had to implement a new strategy. But, uh, what facts changed? Because when I go online, flip on the tube, or crack open a paper, it's the same thing everyday: bad, bad, bad. We also get a clip of Ali interviewing Ford CEO Alan Mulally. Alan thinks it's very important that the government makes sure the big three don't fail. Shocker, I know.

Moving on now Andy Serwer live in the studio because things are so bad, one financial guy is not enough. So okay, there's some technical bailout talk and then Anderson Cooper notes that a great big chuck of our money has already been spent and, well, things still seemingly suck. Andy tells us that things are a little better behind-the-scenes, but ultimately they don't know if all those benjamins really did anything. Excellent. Next time I'll just flush my share down the toilet. Faster and more efficient that way.

On now to a Tom Foreman piece on what we can expect if the big three automakers were to fail. The world would end! Or I might be exaggerating. I certainly wouldn't be the only one. Apparently General Motors is claiming that without government help, 13 million jobs will be at risk. Sounds bad, but then you listen to Chrysler and they're only claiming a third of that. When it comes to these numbers, it seems the source is key and General Motors is using a study with a pretty broad focus. Bottom line is, if the big three tank, we're probably looking at about three million jobs at risk--definitely nothing to sneeze at. Most people seem to be grouping the automakers together, but it looks like GM is a lost cause, while Ford is at least trying to innovate. I say let one fail and bailout the other two with massive preconditions. Not that I know what I'm talking about.

Next up, Drew Griffin joins us live to remind us that even though Ted Stevens will no longer be able to scream, "No!" on the senate floor, he's still getting the last laugh. You see, he's going to be collecting a cushy $122,000 a year in pension money. To start. That whole felony conviction thing? Not a problem, apparently. Oh, sure, Congress knows the dirty masses get outraged about this sort of thing, so they passed themselves a little ethics-related bill . . . that has absolutely no teeth. Now we get to pay money to criminals! Ain't democracy grand?

Transitioning now to a Samantha Hayes piece (who?) about how Obama is totally the new Oprah when it comes to the book reading. Remember how I mentioned in a previous post that Doris Kearns Goodwin was totally the winner in the will or won't Clinton be secretary of state speculation? Well, now her book "Team of Rivals" is number two in Amazon's Biographies and Memoirs. It seems our prez to be is a big FDR fan too and is currently reading two books about the man. Move over Stephen Colbert, I think authors these days are going to be jonesing for the Obama bump.

Our last piece of the night is from our anchor himself, regarding that horrible story of the eight-year-old accused of killing two men, including his father. Tapes of the boy's interrogation have been released and we can see that he was questioned without a lawyer or guardian present, which seems like a pretty big no no. We also see the officers pressuring the boy and telling him they knew he did it. The kid is eight. You can't do that. After Anderson's piece, Jeffrey returns and notes that the interrogation was unconscionable and probably unlawful. Yeah, it's probably not going to hold up. Good job, guys. *Sigh*

The Shot tonight is a CNN iReporter with a 27 inch do. Now that's a mohawk. What's cool is that it's for charity. Good deal. And this of course gives Anderson the excuse to share Erica's old school picture. Because boys are annoying like that. Watch it buddy; revenge is coming.

Okay, so last night I got about a minute of the webcast and tonight I got about 30 seconds. Pretty much all I saw/heard was Erica talking with Anderson across the studio. Of course, I couldn't actually hear what he said because he still doesn't have a microphone. Erica notes this and sends out a plea to Jim Walton and Jon Klein, but I'm kinda not buying that. You have to go through Jim Walton to get one piddly microphone? Me thinks Anderson is perfectly content with his microphone situation. Anyway, that'll do it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Obama Meets With McCain, Vetting The Clintons, Saving (Or Not Saving) The Big Three Automakers, And The California Fires

Hi everybody. Happy New Week! I'm back to reviewing, but I think some of my future posts are still going to be a bit lighter than usual. I've added some stuff to my schedule, so we'll see how this goes. Plus, the show hasn't exactly been giving me much to work with anyway. I was kinda expecting our anchor to be off somewhere using his frequent flyer miles. Not that I'm getting tired of his mug, but the election is over and it's been awhile since there's been an absence. Anderson Cooper does not like to be predictable, apparently.

Anyhoo, we're kicking things off with an Ed Henry piece on the slightly uncomfortable--okay, probably more than slightly uncomfortable--meeting that Obama had with McCain. Man, wouldn't you love to have been a fly on that wall? I can see it now: Obama was all, "dude, your VP pick? What was up with that?" And then McCain was like, "I knoooow. Don't even get me started." Or, you know, they talked about working together on immigration and closing Gitmo. Whichever.

This moves us into a Tom Foreman piece on Bill Clinton's charitable foundation. See, you may have heard that there's been a little talk lately of Hillary becoming secretary of state. Just a little talk. But before any official offers can be made, both Clintons need to be throughly vetted. You know what that means, right? Vetting is that thing that McCain didn't do with Palin. The issue with Bill is that his charity raises gobs of money, some of which comes from foreign interests, and as secretary of state, well, Hillary's whole thing would kind of revolve around foreign interests. The Obama camp is looking out for conflicts of interest. On the flip side, connections with foreign leaders could actually be a plus. We shall see.

Throughout the hour 360 plays us clips from Obama's 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft. I guess I'm glad I didn't watch it then. Anyway, the night's inevitable panel consists of Mark Halperin, Errol Louis, and Jennifer Donahue. There's a lot of speculation here about the possible Hillary Clinton pick. The only thing of note is Errol bringing up the fact that after William Seward was brought into Lincoln's cabinet, he went on to buy Alaska, which was known as Seward's folly. "It worked out in the end, I guess," says Errol. I'm sure he didn't mean anything by it, but the "I guess," cracked me up.

Yeah, I'm thinking of Palin. Like you're not. Speaking of Caribou Barbie, this from Anderson had me giggling through the whole commercial break: "some words that excite book publishers, but may strike fear into the hearts of copy editors everywhere, Sarah Palin, author." Bwah! That book is going to need a hoard of copy editors.

Transitioning now to Andy Serwer in the studio, doing his best to scare the crap out of us. Okay, people. Unemployment is bad and it's going to continue to get worse. And then we're got the big three automakers to deal with. Obama wants to save them, but not give them a blank check. Andy thinks that General Motors has a systemic problem that's been lingering for decades. He absolutely is against a blank check, but disagrees with Obama in that he thinks bankruptcy should still be on the table. Ugh. Whatever decision is made, it's going to suck astronomically.

On now to Chris Lawrence live from Sylmar, California, where a fire still burns and homes have been destroyed. Lots of mobile homes have been lost and Christopher Lloyd's house burned to the ground too. Poor Doc Brown. And I'm guessing those mobiles weren't exactly vacation homes. So sad.

Back to the panel now and the discussion focuses on the deficit and the possible bailout of the auto industry. Economists are referenced and it makes me wonder why we're not hearing from one of them. Nothing against this panel, but I don't particularly care what any of them think regarding the crisis and what they think Obama will or won't do. What do they know? So basically all we have here is essentially speculation, which quite frankly, isn't even interesting speculation.

The only thing that got my attention was Anderson noting Obama looking older and had more gray hair. I had just been wondering if it seemed like he was getting grayer. After Anderson's comment, Mark asks, "What's wrong with gray hair?" To which Anderson replies, "No, nothing's wrong with gray hair." Did we just get sucked into an alternate universe for a second there? It's like they were saying each other's lines.

We're next told the news that there's a possibility Palin is getting a $7 million dollar books deal. This is in no way confirmed, but the 360 kids are obsessed with the woman, so not only did they have to mention it, they had to tease it throughout the hour too. Also? I totally should have seen a book deal coming, but surprisingly, I did not. Yeah, I just died inside a little.

On now to an Erica Hill piece on how the Obama family will deal with their new presidential life. The loss of unanimity is mentioned. Barack hedges on whether Michelle's mother will be living with them and they also discuss the most important subject of all: the puppy! It seems they're getting lots of suggestions. This is going to be the most popular dog ever. Sorry Taco Bell chihuahua; a new pooch is about to steal our hearts.

Our final piece of the night is from Randi Kaye on the United Auto Workers and their big fat contracts. The complaint is that the union is bleeding the auto companies dry because workers are getting paid up to $75 an hour, including pension and health care. Some are even drawing 96 percent of their salary after being laid off. That last thing is pretty ridiculous, but most of this story has me torn. People in these jobs are often low skill, but they're able to work hard and achieve middle class status. A strong middle class makes a strong country. On the other hand, the contracts are causing the companies to go under. Yet another reason why this country needs universal healthcare.

The shot tonight was some dancing lady. I don't know. It wasn't that amusing. I was able to get the webcast to work for about one minute tonight. What did I learn? Erica broke her $7 necklace and Tony was wearing a new--scratch that--old hat. So . . . yeah, life changing stuff. But actually, my logging on was made worth it when Erica, apparently wanting Frank to help her fix her necklace, yelled, "McGruber!" Bwah! I'm not sure she even knew that the webcast was still live. So, did "McGruber" fix the necklace? Dun dun dun! Tune in tomorrow and possibly find out (though probably not).

Okay, about the show. I guess I'm just wondering if this is how it's going to be now. Throughout the election, I often wanted to complain about things they weren't covering, but I decided to not even mention that stuff until after the election. Then the election came and went and now there is a cabinet to fill, so I thought, well, I'll wait until that's done. But you know what? There will always be something. After the cabinet is picked, there will be the inauguration. Then after the inauguration, there will be the first 100 days. And so on and so on.

Obviously I want them to cover all that stuff, but at some point this show changed from being majority news to sometimes majority speculation/discussion. Don't get me wrong, I do like to hear from the panels sometimes. And if they take away my David Gergen, I'll be pissed. I'm not even playing. But every night? Many nights I get the feeling that the panels are nothing more than filler. It's kind of ironic because this is a show that prides itself on being about facts. If they looked closely, they'd realize that a good portion every night is nothing but speculation. Some nights it's more educated speculation than others, but speculation none the less.

I guess I'm wondering why so many things seemed to have been dropped: New Orleans/Gulf coast, Iraq, Afghanistan, pretty much any international news at all, anything the current administration has been doing, and so on and so on. What about our troops? Do their issues only get a mention on Veteran's Day now? I do think the show has become tighter and more consistent over the last year or so and I do think they're doing a relatively good job with this bailout stuff, but I'm wondering if this formula they're now using is going to be what they stick with.

Why doesn't Anderson do any real interviews anymore? I see all the other CNN shows having on news makers left and right, but 360 rarely has on anyone besides panel guests (I guess I'll give them Perkins and Savage). I realize the show is broadcast late, but they can't do tape? Anyway, by the looks of it, the election ratings party might be over. I hope 360 does a little retooling. That'll do it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Secretary Speculation Heats Up, The World Is Going Bankrupt, California Is On Fire Again, And A Hilariously Annoying Dog

Hi everybody. As previously stated, I'm on a bit of a reviewing break. But snarky comments never go on vacation. On to the bullet points!:
  • I'm fairly frustrated with all the breathless reporting regarding the possibility of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. I know it will eventually become news, but right now it just seems like a time waster. I was really hoping once the election ended the show would move away from the speculation. Last night wasn't that bad, actually. Tonight they did 20 minutes. I understand they have to cover it--gotta get those ratings. But a third of the show on something that may not ultimately happen? (And that criticism is for all cable--not just 360.)
  • The big winner during this speculation marathon? Doris Kearns Goodwin. I think I've heard the punditocracy mention her book, "Team of Rivals," more lately than they've mentioned our current president. Free plugs galore, baby!
  • I had to shake my head at Randi Kaye's piece about the Obama and Clinton differences on foreign policy. Another retread through the primaries? Please 360, stop.
  • And of course they have to play up the Clinton versus Obama angle. I can understand that though. After all, the media was totally right on the money when they did that during the primary. Because remember how Clinton caused all that trouble trying to steal the nomination from Obama at the Democratic National Convention, and then remember how all her supporters wouldn't vote for Obama? Oh, wait . . .
  • Anderson Cooper is very hung up on whether or not Obama is going to live up to his change promise. Hey, accountability is a beautiful thing. But, you know, maybe wait until he's at least announced his cabinet choices before you wonder if he's backtracking.
  • Now entire cities are asking to be bailed out? Good lord. That's pretty much all there is to say.
  • Richard Quest talking about the economy? Really? I'm sorry, but I can't take him seriously on serious issues and that's how I felt BEFORE he was caught with a sex toy in his boot.
  • So, apparently the European Union is in a recession now and the world blames us. Awesome. But, but, we elected Obama. That counts for some points, right?
  • I thought we might actually get through a broadcast without Sarah Palin, but the 360 kids must have been getting the shakes and had to throw in a quick clip of her dissing on Bill Ayers.
  • Speaking of Ayers, I gotta say, nothing about him screams "scary" to me.
  • Poor California. Always on fire. And please tell me they did not do that piece because it sort of involved Oprah. Her home is in danger. Okay, we get it. I mean, I don't want anything bad to happen to her property, but whatever the outcome, she's going to be okay. Other homeowners may not be.
  • Scruffy Dan Simon! The look works for him. Also? His piece about people losing their homes was very sad.
  • I don't know if there was a webcast. All I could get to come up was the shuttle launch. Cool and all, but I wanted my Floor Crew Friday. *Sigh*

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Secretary Speculation, Bailout Bait And Switch, Calling Out Rick Wagoner, KKK Still Around, And Bonus Leno Bullet Points!!!

Hi everybody. As stated yesterday, I'm on a bit of a reviewing break. But snarky comments never go on vacation. On to the bullet points!:
  • Oh my God! An anonymous person leaked the news that Barack Obama might be possibly thinking about maybe asking Hillary Clinton to be secretary of state! Sure, we don't know if the leak is accurate, if he'll choose her even if it is accurate, or if she'll accept even if chosen, but let's discuss!
  • I've been advocating (well, in blog form) for Clinton for secretary of defense and Bill Richardson for secretary of state since before Biden was even chosen VP. But now that I've gotten a little taste of the retardedness we can expect from the media if Clinton is chosen for any position, I almost hope she just stays in the senate. Nobody wants to go down memory lane of the primaries, 360. Time to move on.
  • Ali Velshi, why do I want to have a panic attack every time I see your bald little head? Some day you will come bearing good news, right? I await the day where you stand at the graphic wall, proclaiming, "there's too many jobs!"
  • Good on 360 for keeping up with this bailout stuff and trying to explain the current switcheroo. The coverage could sometimes be meatier, but major points (or perhaps a cookie) for a good attempt.
  • So wait, am I understanding things right in that the plan is to help businesses and then expect them to turn around and help consumers? Yeah, because that's always worked out so well in the past.
  • Pssst, Anderson, no, the experts don't know what they're talking about. But given, you know, history, I don't think that's much of a revelation.
  • I love how Anderson Cooper was all adamant in making sure we knew he wasn't accusing anyone of flip-flopping. Someone might think he has an opinion, oh noes!
  • Sarah Palin. Again. She's going to wear us down Big Brother-style, isn't she? It certainly feels like torture.
  • It's funny that Anderson pointed out that they showed a Wal-Mart when talking about the VP residence during the headlines. I don't know that I could pick out the VP house, so I was sitting there going, "wait, does the vice president live in a shopping center?" By the way, in the past, Joe Biden has referred to Dick Cheney as the most dangerous vice president in American history. Today Biden went for a visit at Cheney's house. Awwwkward.
  • I'm glad they're continuing with the Culprits of the Collapse series. General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner, I shake my fist at you!
  • I do, however, wish that when 360 is thinking about who they want to keep accountable, that they consider maybe looking into people/companies that haven't completely destroyed everything yet. It's great to call people out, but Rick Wagoner's damage is already done, you know? Like, perhaps if an enterprising journalist had decided to take a look at some of Bush's appointments back in the day, maybe they would have discovered that, oh my God, this FEMA dude used to head up a horse association. Sometimes bringing things to light before-the-fact can be, shall we say, helpful.
  • So the KKK is still going strong, huh? *Sigh* It's kind of hard to feel bad for that murdered woman. Not saying I'd wish it on her, but you know.
  • Anderson got in a good subtle burn regarding KKK leader guy: "I'm surprised he knew how to use the Internet."
  • What Ann Mahlum is doing is really cool. I've seen that segment before. She might be my favorite "hero".
  • This was obviously a night for amusing b-roll mishaps. Not only was there the Wal-Mart thing, but as Anderson teased "the shot" he told us, "you want cute babies? We got em. two in fact." And then who do we see? Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Hee.
  • After 360, I flipped right over to NBC and who did I immediately find on Leno? Why our anchor. Very convenient. So hey, I'll bullet point that too. Why not?
  • Of course they had to talk about Palin. Ugh. But I like that Jay pressed Anderson on his talking points. He's always saying things like, "people from both sides of the aisle have good ideas" and I'm always sitting there going, "who? what ideas?" So when Anderson stated that Palin was "capable," I was pleased to see Jay follow up, especially since it resulted in my new favorite quote: "capable is a broad term." Bwah!
  • Speaking of Jay being awesome, he makes a good point about bailing out the big three auto companies. I guess I hadn't thought that not bailing them out could mean losing an entire industry that we will never be able to get back and may need again in the future. Jay could be a pundit! And the fact that he doesn't mind paying taxes if he knows it will help someone else out is very cool. Also? Socialist!
  • Okay, hold up, there are other housewives?! I know there's the show set in Atlanta that Anderson has been talking about recently, but tonight he mentioned two other locations. How many of these things are there?! Oh, and thank you Anderson for alerting me to their existence in the first place. Now my life is complete.
  • I'm not sure Anderson anticipated the trajectory of the NeNe banter. When they put up a picture of her looking very voluptuous, Jay noted, "I see why you like her for obvious reasons." Bwah! Er, guess Jay isn't a Gawker reader. So then Anderson goes for the subject change by commenting on the guest mugs. Smooth. I'm guessing this appearance will get some play on the Internets tomorrow. The world loves its silver surfer.
  • That's all folks.
Updated with Leno interview video:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bailout, Gay Marriage Debate, And Puppies, Oh My!

Hi everybody. You might have noticed my absence yesterday. Sorry about that. I've been tired and I've got stuff to take care of in my three-dimensional life, so I think this is as good a time as any for a reviewing hiatus--for the rest of this week anyway. But fear not, dear readers. I'll still be watching the show (it's my entertainment!) and think I should be able to give you a little somethin' somethin' to get you through the lonely nights. Can I interest you in some bullet points? You know you love them:
  • Okay, it's mildly disconcerting that Paulson is all like, "hey, you know how you gave us all your money for that big bailout deal? Yeah, well we're totally going to change the plan. No biggie." Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that we're all going to be using Monopoly money in the near future?
  • The election is over. WHY is Palin still on my television?!!! Make. It. Stop. What does she have to say now? Will she run in 2012? I don't care! It's 2008. Barack Obama hasn't even been inaugurated yet. Geez. And why is the media catering to her like a bunch of pathetic love-sick teenagers who are now ecstatic that their crush has just asked if she can copy their homework? All through the election she shunned them. Now that she needs an outlet, I say they should shun her right back.
  • I do have to admit, though I won't miss Palin, I will miss Anderson snarking on her. Tonight I was particularly amused when he noted she gave a shout out to Bush. "Her words," he told us. It's all in the tone, people. Speaking of all that, I had to laugh when Anderson said they had tried to get Palin on 360. Please. After all his snarky comments? I believe I said on this blog a long time ago that he was so never getting an interview with her. And that is okey-dokey with me. Now watch, he'll have one tomorrow.
  • Dan Savage! I always love him on Real Time with Bill Maher. Nice to see him on 360. Since the current demonstrations against Prop 8 were directed at the Mormon church, I would think that they'd put Savage up against one of their representatives and not Tony Perkins, but maybe that booking wasn't possible. Update: Dan's take on his 360 appearance, including musings on his shirt, David Gergen, and CNN urinals.
  • It was a great debate, but oh my God, the interrupting! At one point they were both talking over each other for so long it was like I was watching two separate shows. Multi-tasker that I am, I was able to pay attention to both of them, but oy, it made my brain hurt. Mr. Moderator was a little slow with the refereeing.
  • As Dan stated, and I've said on this blog, banning gay marriage is the same thing as when we banned interracial marriage. I do not understand how Tony can deny that.
  • Quote of the night goes to Dan after Tony complained about his interruptions: "You strip me of my rights and I interrupt you. Who's suffering here?" Oh snap.
  • Tony was seriously pissing me off about all his "think of the children" crap and how this whole issue is about how a family needs a mom and a dad. BS. There are all kinds of families raising perfectly respectable children. My dad died when my brother was only 12, leaving him to go through his teen years in a house full of women. Did he turn into an ax murderer? Hardly. He's a college student with a job, a good GPA, and a nice girlfriend. And that story isn't unique. Why does the gender of the parents even matter?
  • I love how Tony just completely denies reality when both Dan and Anderson note that young people voted against Prop 8. Sorry Tony, as I've stated before, you've already lost. Gay marriage will be legal in this country. It's inevitable. Someday we'll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. And people like Tony will have to live with the fact that when it came to standing up for human rights, they chose the wrong side.
  • No "Beat 360" from the CNNers? Those kids are a bunch of slackers, I tell ya.
  • As much as I have to roll my eyes when CNN uses one show to pimp another, Soledad O'Brien's special on Jonestown looks intriguing.
  • Puppies!!! Aw, that one in studio was so adorable. 360 should adopt it and make it their mascot.
  • Hounderson Cooper cracked me up because that dog totally has the Anderson Cooper pose down pat. Aw Anderson, I kid because I love.
  • Anderson said that a Saturday Night Live appearance is not in his future. To which I say, but Brian Williams did it! Also, the political comedian is funny, but not that funny.
  • That'll do it. This bullet point can be anything you want. Make of it what you wish.

Monday, November 10, 2008

President-Elect Obama Goes To Washington, Touring The White House, Fixing The Financial Mess, And More From Sarah Palin

Hi everybody. Happy New Week! This time seven days ago I was a nervous wreck. My how things have changed. Today our future prez got a looksee at what will be his new digs. Oh, and he talked to that Bush guy too. In an Ed Henry piece we learn that both Bush and Obama played nice during their hour-long visit in the Oval Office, which was Obama's first time there. They're pledging to cooperate during what will be the first hand-off since 9-11. Following Ed's piece, he tells us of a super-seekret meeting that Obama attended at a firehouse at Reagan National Airport. Ed's sources are giving him bumpkis, so I guess we'll just have to speculate. Oooh, maybe he's going to surprise us: hypoallergenic puppies for everyone!

Next up, we have a Tom Foreman piece that gives us a little White House tour. See, while Bush and Obama busied themselves in the Oval Office, Laura showed Michelle around the place. And to fully get our 360 degrees out of this story, I guess we need to get showed around the place too. We're shown pictures of the Cabinet Room, Diplomatic Room, Blue Room, Red Room, Map Room, and State Dining Room. All in all the White House has 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms. Man, how'd you like to dust that place? Of course, it's not all for the first family--they get 16 rooms they can call their own. After Tom's piece, Anderson frets over whether the alloted $100,000 for redecorating will be enough. Dude, you could buy a house with that, I think they'll be okay. Goodbye cowboy pictures!

We now move on to an audio clip from Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope," regarding the first time he met Bush. The fact that he sort of does a Dubya impression is both surprising and hilarious. It almost makes me want to get the audio book, but I won't. I bought Anderson's audio book and never finished it. That's no knock against him--I loved the content. But apparently I am a person who needs to see the words and have the book in my hands. For some reason I like that experience more than having the book read to me by the actual author. Anyway, I also loved the part where Obama accepts the hand sanitizer because he doesn't want to seem "unhygienic." Perish the thought!

As we go out to commercial, Anderson tests our White House knowledge. Ooh, I love quizzes! The question: What did Nixon have built in the White House? The choices: a tennis court, a movie theater, a bowling alley, or a basketball court? I was stuck between movie theater and bowling alley, but then Anderson kinda gave it away by noting that when they came back they would show Nixon having some fun. Because what are they going to show, a picture of Nixon sitting and watching a movie? Nope. Bowling alley it was.

What time is it? Why, it is inevitable panel time of course! Tonight's seat-warmers include Mark Halperin, Candy Crowley, and Joe Johns. Wow, David Gergen actually got a day off. There's really not all that much of note here, though Mark does amuse me by beginning his analysis with some off-topic praise, "First, can I pay homage to your transitions, the bowling, the juggling?" he asks. See, after the whole Nixon bowling thing, Anderson noted that Obama sucks at bowling, but would probably be doing more juggling of our country's problems anyway. "Well, it was written by Marshall. So, I will pass it along," says Anderson. "All right. But you read it very well," says Mark. "Well, that's the most important thing," says Anderson. Bwah! Okay, this is just getting weird.

But, uh, yay Marshall! Your writing prowess has been acknowledged by a pundit. What that means, I do not know. Also? My birdie is a big fan of Marshall, describing him as occasionally grumpy, brilliant, snarky, quiet, patient, and helpful. Well, she was either talking about Marshall or some warped version of the seven dwarfs. Anyhoo, back in the panel, Anderson points out that the White House was built by slaves and now an African American will be moving in as president, which just kinda makes you go "wow." The rest of the discussion is all speculation and second guessing of what Obama's going to do even though he hasn't done any of it yet. Please tell me we won't be doing this up through January.

Transitioning now to Ali Velshi at the big financial wall of doom. Ruh-roh. This actually isn't completely bad though. Basically Ali goes though Obama's promises and what needs to be done to save this ever-flailing economy. It all comes down to tax cuts, fixing the mortgage crisis, and creating jobs--that last one being the most important. Ali tells us Obama is going to have to pull out all the stops for job creation by not only initiating infrastructure projects, but also maybe even cutting taxes on businesses. Anderson then brings up the complete and total WTFery of the fed refusing to identify who is getting the emergency loans that are paid for by tax payers. Transparency, hello! Ali tells us that Bloomberg is actually suing to find out. More power to them.

Moving on now to a clip of Sarah Palin cooking up some moose chili. Seriously. This moves us into a Gary Tuchman piece on the return of Alaska's "maverick" governor. She was greeted at the airport by fans who have their hearts set on a 2012 run. Palin 2012! Woo! Yes, make the GOP even more irrelevant. Please Anyway, some of Gary's interview with her seems deja vu because we've heard it before, but there's new stuff too. Like apparently she's disappointed about the criticism, "
because this is Barack Obama's time right now." A couple of weeks ago she was calling him a terrorist sympathizer and now she wants to sing kumbayah. Yeah. Right.

Palin also expands on the sexism charge, pointing out that no one asked the guys about their makeup and hair spray and stuff like that, while her campaign routinely fielded those type of questions. I will concede her half of this point. Yes, there is a double standard, but then again, I bet John Edwards' hair would call partial crap on that statement. And it seems Obama's suit is quite the hit. Following his piece, Gary joins us live to report that the Alaskan senate race still hasn't been called, but Ted Stevens is actually ahead right now. Alaska, what the hell is wrong with you?! That's it. I'm bumping Florida and promoting Alaska to the most insane state in the nation. Congrats Sunshine State. There's someone crazier than you. Anyway, this is relevant to Palin because if Stevens wins, he's probably get kicked out, and a certain mavericky governor just might have her eye on the seat, though she's not saying. Craziness.

Moving on now to a Randi Kaye piece that gives us another tour of the White House, this time focusing on style. Not sure why we needed this and Tom's piece. Anderson then notes that a couple of the live-bloggers discovered that Nixon is totally stepping over the line in that bowling picture they showed earlier. Nixon cheating? Who'd a thunk it? This is followed by another quiz question, asking us the identity of the first occupant of the current White House. "Don't check Google," warns Anderson, prior to rapid-fire delivering our choices. Turns out it was John Adams. Not my guess. Oh, history fail!

Randi Kaye's making her money tonight because she gives us our next piece too, detailing how the first family will energize Washington. The city has hopes that they're looking at the new Kennedys. Randi lunches with Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn, and they talk about hot places I've never heard of and will probably never go. The public versus private school debate is touched on and it's noted that there's an expectation that the Obamas will be pretty social. Apparently the Bush peeps were pretty big party poopers, only hosting six state dinners. Of course, that might have something to do with the world hating them. After her piece, we learn the secret service names of the new first family, which we are assured are not actually a secret. Barack is "renegade," Michelle is "renaissance," Sasha is "rosebud," and Malia is "radiance," though the girls names aren't confirmed yet. Cute.

We then get a clip of Obama taking his kids to school and it is filled with aw. I swear, this is going to be the most adorable first family ever. This moves us into a Jessica Yellin piece on how Obama's neighborhood of Hyde Park is dealing with their new crazy security situation. There is high hopes for tourism there and the city of Chicago as a whole, which is now the country's murder capital. Will Chicago be the new Crawford?

The Shot tonight is reality TV meeting, well, reality. See, on election day, Anderson went on Ellen DeGeneres' show, where he discussed, among other things, his love of the Real Housewives of Atlanta. We're played this clip, which includes Anderson giving Ellen an "oh honey." Cracks me up. So anyway, it turns out he mispronounced the name of the housewife he referenced, calling her "Nay-Nay," when really it's "NeNe," and I'm sure your life is better now that you know that. Anderson blames the error on his Ellen-excitement.

But we're not done here, people. NeNe has responded and is thrilled to have been mentioned by the silver fox. In the clip we're shown, she ponders Anderson's comment on "the fullness of NeNe," and with great amusement, wonders if he was talking about her boobs. I can honestly say I would have never guessed that's what he meant by that because, um, obvious reasons. So now in a comic twist, we get to see Anderson Cooper deny that no, he is not fascinated with her boobies. "I was so not talking about that!" he tells us. Oh this crazy world . . .

No webcast tonight. I know Randi Kaye did it, but my computer apparently said no. Actually, I'm hearing other people having problems too, so this might be an "it's not me, it's you" kinda issue. The show was okay. I really hope at some point they start moving back to other news. That'll do it.

Goodbye To All That

Obama Positioned to Quickly Reverse Bush Actions
Stem Cell, Climate Rules Among Targets of President-Elect's Team
Transition advisers to President-elect Barack Obama have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse White House policies on climate change, stem cell research, reproductive rights and other issues, according to congressional Democrats, campaign aides and experts working with the transition team.

A team of four dozen advisers, working for months in virtual solitude, set out to identify regulatory and policy changes Obama could implement soon after his inauguration. The team is now consulting with liberal advocacy groups, Capitol Hill staffers and potential agency chiefs to prioritize those they regard as the most onerous or ideologically offensive, said a top transition official who was not permitted to speak on the record about the inner workings of the transition.

In some instances, Obama would be quickly delivering on promises he made during his two-year campaign, while in others he would be embracing Clinton-era policies upended by President Bush during his eight years in office.

(Read more)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Words Matter

Sarah Palin blamed by the US Secret Service over death threats against Barack Obama

Sarah Palin's attacks on Barack Obama's patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign.

The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of "palling around with terrorists", citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.

The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.

But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to go even further.

The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin's attacks.

(Read more)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Obama's First Press Conference As President-Elect, Honesty-Keeping Gone Wrong, Palin Loves Reporters Now, And A Prop 8 Debate

Hi everybody. The work week ends in a different country than it began. I'm still savoring the win. Can you tell? But unfortunately I also have to live in reality and in reality there is suckiness. Anderson Cooper is coming at us from Washington D.C. tonight for unknown reasons and we begin at the financial wall of doom, with no Ali Velshi to comfort us. It's bad, people. Job losses out the wazoo. If it gets any worse, I'm going to have to watch this segment through my fingers.

But BUT maybe help is on the way. A Candy Crowley piece brings us the lowdown on Obama's first press conference as president-elect and he indicates that the financial crisis will be priority numeral uno. If Bush doesn't pass a new stimulus package, he will. The press also holds Obama's feet to the fire on another very important issue: what kind of puppy are they getting?! What's hilarious is that he answers with almost the same seriousness you'd expect from diplomacy talks. See, Malia is allergic (oh noes!), so they need one that's hypoallergenic, but they want to get a shelter dog, which he notes are often, "mutts like me." Okay, so he wasn't all serious.

Next up, Tom Foreman is here to keep Obama honest regarding what he said on the trail versus what he said during the press conference. My regular readers know I love me the fact-checking, even when it's my guy getting checked. But I did have to shake my head a bit, given that the show let McCain get away with the socialism BS forever and this is literally Obama's first presser. But whatever. That's small fry compared to the contents of the segment. Because when it comes to honesty-keeping, what we have here is a massive fail.

Tom begins by noting that Obama has been preaching tax cuts for the middle class during the campaign, but states that when he was asked directly about tax reform today, he dodged. We're then played a clip in which Obama says he's going to need to look at the economic data to know how to proceed. This alone is pretty nitpicky and eye-rolly, but unfortunately for Tom, it's not even the worst part of the report. You see, Obama wasn't even asked about tax reform, he was asked about raising taxes on the upper class. Listening to Tom, you'd think he was backing off his promise of middle class tax cuts, which is completely untrue.

If you can believe it, thing get worse from here. Tom next reminds us that during the campaign, Obama called for talks with Iran. Then we're played a clip of Obama that seems to show him hedging. But in reality, the clip we're played is an answer to a question regarding how he's going to handle the congratulatory letter sent to him by Ahmadinejad. This is all nicely broken down in this Daily Kos diary (and I'm all over the comments, by the way). At the end of his segment, Tom notes that circumstances might cause Obama to change his campaign promises and that's a good thing to point out, but it does nothing to excuse the extreme hackery we just witnessed.

The obvious question here is: WTF, Tom? Like, how does something like this even happen? Did no one read the whole transcript? If you read the comments of the linked diary you'll find a lot of hate for Tom and CNN, and even though I think this segment was atrocious, I did a lot of defending there tonight. I'm not into reactionary responses and I don't put much merit in blanket statements not backed up with facts. I don't know what happened here. I've been watching Tom for years now and unlike a certain investigative colleague of his (ahem), there is no pattern of hackery. My only guess is they simply screwed up. And hey, it happens, they're human. I'm just sad that even if I don't specifically set out to, I know I'll now be scrutinizing him closer in the future. My hope is that they will correct this report because it's the right thing to do, though I won't hold my breath.

Moving on now to some discussion with David Gergen, Marcus Mabry, and Christine Romans. Nothing much of note here. The Gerg thought Obama did well during the press conference and the panel does a lot of talking about what we might expect from him regarding our tanking economy.

We then swap that panel out for a new one, consisting of Christiane Amanpour, Jill Dougherty, and Peter Gergen. No offense to the last guys, but seeing our international-covering peeps made me smile. They start off with the subject of Ahmadinejad's letter, which is apparently freaking out Israel. Christiane notes that while Israel is skeptical of Obama, there is also a lot of support for him. Anderson points out that Ahmadinejad doesn't even have true power and Christiane tells us there's a growing sentiment in Iran that would like to restore relations with the U.S. That would be a nice item for Obama to cross off his to-do list.

Jill then gives us the scoop on our Russian friends, who are threatening to put missiles on the border with Europe, which actually isn't a very friendly thing to do. From there, Peter bums me out on the subject of Afghanistan, because the country is going to crap and we don't have many options. As we wrap things up, Anderson asks everyone what they think is the most pressing international issue. Peter says Pakistan, Jill says Russia, and Christiane says Iran, Iraq, and climate change. And I'm sure the fact that everyone picked the focus of their own work is just a coincidence.

Transitioning now to Alaska where our Gary Tuchman has been braving the cold for (I think) quite a while now. Before the election, the cold I mentioned might have referred to the brush off Gary got when trying to ask Palin a question. But my how things have changed. Now that she's back to work as governor, she's become just a regular chatty Cathy. Palin tells Gary that the anonymous quotes claiming she didn't know about NAFTA or that Africa is a continent are lies, all lies, and the people behind them are "jerks." She also notes that those expensive clothes everyone got worked up about are the property of the RNC and she's never asked for anything more than a Diet Dr. Pepper. A Diet Dr. Pepper? Not a Coke or Pepsi? How mavericky .

Palin cries sexism too and, of course, criticizes the media. But seeing as Gary is a member of the media, and probably a wee bit tired of being blamed for everything, he tells us he gave her a little challenge. Palin then conceded that, yeah okay, not everyone was a meanie, though apparently she noted that, "one bad apple spoils the whole bunch." Hm, kinda like how one unqualified vice president can ruin the whole country? But I digress. I'm not even sure what she's talking about in regards to the sexism charge. As far as I can tell, the McCain camp started shrieking that when reporters dared to want to speak to her. Gasp! But whatever. She's back in Alaska, America. We're safe.

On now to discussion with Lisa Bloom and Tony Perkins on the passage of Prop 8. Oh, this should be good. By the way, Anderson refers to this as their "Uncovering America" segment. Last night Prop 8 fell under "Nation Divided." Oh, 360. Consistency! Anyway, Anderson starts off by noting the same thing I have previously: that all the same excuses about why gay marriage needs to be banned used to be made when it came to the subject of interracial marriage. But Tony's not following him. He's all, think of the children! Lisa reminds us that every minority group has gained their rights through the courts and she believes the measure will be overturned.

Also? She rips Tony a new one over his concern about the children because she's a single mother who has raised two kids, there are many families that do fine without a mother and a father, and a child growing up in a gay family deserves a home that's treated equally to that of heterosexuals. Lisa no doubt is unaware of my existence, but total cyber high-five to her! Since Tony's so bent on kids having married parents, Anderson asks if it might be beneficial for kids raised by gays to have their parents married. Tony then starts blabbing about how California played by the rules and you don't change public policy to benefit the minority. Oh, BS. Some things are just wrong.

Tony then wonders why the "homosexual activists" won't quit rioting. What?! Is he watching the same thing I'm watching? "That doesn't look like a riot to me," says Lisa. "Where have the riots been? Tony, where have the riots been?" asks Anderson. Excellent. It's nice to see total absurdity being challenged. Tony claims they've spray painted churches and jumped on cars, which I bet in reality is one crazy dude that painted one church. Lisa then says that you don't have to be gay to support gay rights. Damn straight! Er, no pun intended. And she also wonders why gays don't get a tax discount since they're getting the sham when it comes to equality and all that.

Then there's some legal talk, which leads Tony to claim that when it comes to denying people the right to marry, there's no oppression going on. I'll let you think about that one for a second. Anderson must be bit boggled as well because he brings it up again, "Tony, you don't feel this is oppression on any level? You don't feel there's any discrimination?" Tony then hides behind civil unions, saying they give gays the same rights, which prompts Lisa to ask why heterosexuals can't just have civil unions too. Hint: because they're not really the same thing as marriage.

Anderson wraps things up by asking Lisa why marriage is more important than a civil union. Her answer in full: "Because it's about basic decency and respect. And people who have had those rights now in California for the last five months feel so affronted that they're being taken away. In the midst of all of the inclusion this week, gay people were excluded. I think that's sad. I think it's going to change over time. If you don't believe in gay marriage don't have one, but don't keep other people out of the process." Amen. "Don't redefine it for everybody else," says Tony. "It's been redefined many times," replies Lisa. Okay, can I just say that Lisa is kind of awesome? She was a good booking for this, though I suspect they were well aware of that.

Moving on now to . . . doggies! Okay, so we all know that the Obama's are getting a puppy. Well, apparently the 360 kids will take any opportunity to show off their own furry friends. Erica Hill is back in the studio in New York with her pal Jake, though she insists on being referred to as Jake's mom. Tom Foreman and his dog Nola are hanging with Anderson. They discuss hypoallergenic dogs and Jake shows us a few tricks. I am impressed by the high-five. My dog knows the basic commands, along with the more unusual, such as, "Did I invite you in here?" which means leave. And, "That is so rude!" which also causes him to leave and is usually uttered after he runs up and burps in my face. Seriously. But he's a good dog. Nola seems pretty Zen. Just saying.

The Shot tonight is backstage photos of the Obamas on election night. The webcast wouldn't work for me tonight. I'm not even sure there was one, which would make Anderson's suggestion for us to check it out kind of not cool. I leave you with some great pictures that sum up what happened this week. If you don't get teary, well, you're a little dead inside. Have a good weekend.
FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from