Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Alabama Shooting Rampage, Madoff To Plead Guilty, Obama Gives Speech On Education, And Discussion Of Domestic Violence

Hi everyone. We're beginning things tonight on an even more depressing note than usual, if that's possible. There's BREAKING NEWS of a shooting rampage in Alabama, which at the time of this blogging resulted in the deaths of at least 11 people, including the shooter. So...this is pretty much completely horrific. *Sigh* I think we're in need of a picture of a puppy right about now. I'm not going to go into this in any detail since new facts are emerging and things could be different by morning.

What we know is that the shooter started his spree in the town of Samson and ended at Reliable Metal Products plant in Geneva, where he shot himself. It appears that at least some of the shooting was random. One of the initial victims was a child. *Sigh* You know, I don't think a puppy is going to cut it this time. For news like this, we need to seriously up the ante. This requires laughing baby. Oh also? The gun debate is temporarily renewed in three...two...one...

Next up, Anderson Cooper brings us the news that Bernie Madoff is set to plead guilty to all 11 felony charges against him. For more, we go to Randi Kaye, who is standing outside of Madoff's Upper East Side apartment, because...Randi likes to stand outside? Isn't it funny how they go through all the trouble for shots like these when we would get the exact same information if she never left the studio?

Anyway, Randi explains that Madoff actually didn't cop any plea deal or anything, but rather it appears that he is playing the role of fall guy to protect his family and those who worked with him. I'm sure all those people who lost their life savings will be impressed with his ability to put others before himself.

To delve further, we're next joined by Ali Velshi and Jeffrey Toobin, who I see has weathered his little PR controversy. Most of you probably know what I'm talking about. I'm not linking to a gossip blog. I don't know the truth of what happened, nor is it my business, but I was wondering if CNN would go knee-jerk with him as they have others. Going back to Madoff, the idea that the man did his deeds all by himself, "boggles" Anderson's mind and, according to our anchor, defies common sense. Silver Fox, is that opinionating that you're doing there? Better wash those sleeves if you want to stay pure. Heh.

Transitioning now to a clip of President Obama giving a speech on education. Man, if this guy accomplishes even half of what he seems to be laying out here lately, we should freakin chisel him onto Mount Rushmore. But anyway, this requires a panel. Rocking the seats tonight we have Steve Perry, founder and principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School, Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of Harlem Children's Zone, and Patricia Gandara, professor of education at UCLA. Whoa, whoa, whoa. We're talking about education with people who work in the field of education? That's madness!

What did our professionals think of Obama's speech? Nobody is panning it, but Patricia is wanting more details and Steve hopes the plan ultimately has a more focused approach when it comes to seniority and equal pay. As for Geoffrey, well, he's practically woo hooing over here, so I'm going to go ahead and say two thumbs up from him. Merit pay is then discussed and it's a really good conversation that subsequently starts to move into the subject of vouchers, but unfortunately there just isn't enough time. Really the only thing I would change here is that I would have liked to see some sort of primer or breakdown of the various educational options prior to the panel, so that I could understand the discussion better.

For example, I don't really understand the difference between charter and magnet schools. And though I'm fairly familiar with vouchers, I could probably use a little lesson on the arguments for and against them. Patricia actually started getting into some of that. I hope when they have them back (Anderson said they would and I'm holding him to that) we get to hear from her more. Again, great informative discussion. Hey 360, see what you did here? If you have to have the panels, do it like this. I could very easily have seen them ruining the opportunity by having on a bunch of pundits who concern trolled about Obama going up against the teacher's unions. You think this means the show is finally seeing the light?

After an update on the horrible shooting, we learn from Anderson that Chris Brown and Rihanna are working on a duet and Nickelodeon is going to let the alleged abuser stay nominated for a 2009 Kids Choice award. Way to be a role model there, Nickelodeon. You know what's coming, don't you? Panel time again! The second act of the evening is being played by Lisa Bloom, Faye Wattleton, and Dr. Michael Rodriguez, domestic abuse prevention specialist. You know how I've been giving the show props the past couple nights for not having on an "expert" for speculation? Yeah, well. But is this what I had feared? I honestly don't know. I think I was initially turned off by the thought of a segment like this because it reminded me of the atrocious coverage of Britney Spears.

Now that I think about it, though both cases involved celebrities, Britney's troubles were most likely at least partly brought about by the unrelenting media and there was really no benefit to anyone in picking the story apart in primetime. With what happened to Rihanna, it's not just about the singer, this is about all domestic violence victims. Is this segment being done for ratings? Um, duh. But is there a chance some battered woman out there is going to listen to this panel (or Oprah, who is inexplicably ALWAYS here) and be helped by it? I don't know. Maybe. And I guess that's reason enough not to roll my eyes and cry ratings ploy.

Joe Johns has the headlines tonight and we learn that Octomom was interviewed by Dr. Phil. Oh, of course she was. Somehow I feel this story has now come full circle. It's like a news nightmare realized. Anyway, we also learn she's moving to a new house. "Should point out that she can afford a new house because of all these TV interviews she's doing, which I guess she's being paid for by all these entertainment folks," says Anderson. Okay, Mr. Self Righteous. You might not have paid her, but you certainly helped her get famous. (He's totally right though.)

The "shot" tonight is the fastest undressing evah! If you ever need to get naked in less than five seconds, there you go. It can be done! Anderson says what I am thinking: "It looked painful."

The show wasn't bad. Anderson did a good job being cautious and diligent with the breaking news (as he always is) and I really appreciate that they told us what they knew and didn't linger around and speculate. When the story first popped on my screen at the top of the hour, after being horrified, I started putting away my pen and paper because I figured there went the hour and then some. So yay to being wrong. I think pretty much everything else I've already said. I am wondering what happened to Sanjay's report though. I guess it got bumped for shooting coverage. Hopefully we'll see it tomorrow. That'll do it.


Anonymous rosephile said...

(catching up a bit here...)
"For example, I don't really understand the difference between charter and magnet schools. And though I'm fairly familiar with vouchers, I could probably use a little lesson on the arguments for and against them."
BEHOLD, THE WEST WING (7 1/2 min, sorry). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uWGuIOKtis
I don't know if you've watched the show or not, but the guy in the clip, Sam, is a speechwriter for the Dem president, the rest is self-explanatory. It's an edit of just this storyline regarding school vouchers. (and I love the end!)

As for charter vs. magnet schools, I don't know much about charter schools but do know that they're somewhat separate from normal schools. Maybe some of their funding sources differ? They still must get federal money, since local conservatives have raised a stink about a MN charter school that has pretty much all Muslim students and has prayer time and a class on Islam after school that most kids take and the busses only take them home after that "afterschool" class. They also have less oversight, 'cause some local Native American charter school had troubles w/administration embezzling school money and the articles on that made it sound like the school was its own entity...maybe charter schools are not part of the normal school districts--maybe THAT's the only difference. Maybe they're just each their own separate entity with their own school board/whatever.

And magnet schools are normal schools, but they have a focus or theme (e.g. Capitol Hill Magnet School for the Gifted and Talented...the only one I know whose name is self-explanatory. We have an arts high school somewhere...is that considered a magnet school?) and they'll bus kids in from other parts of the city. I suppose the "rules" for different kinds of schools could vary widely though.

5:45 AM  

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