Monday, March 02, 2009

Dow Takes Big Tumble, Rush Limbaugh Vs. Michael Steele, Madoff Greedier Than We Thought, Living On Food Stamps, And Clinton Takes On The World

Hi everybody. Happy New Week! So, have my East Coast readers dug themselves out from under the white stuff, yet? I do not envy you. Anyhoo, we begin tonight with the no good, very bad day on Wall Street. Down goes the Dow! Again. By 300 points this time. They actually didn't make it "breaking news." Color me shocked and somewhat suspicious.

Ali Velshi is manning his usual perch at the Wall of Doom and he intros into a piece about AIG and their apparent continued sucking, which has lead to the government about to hand them over another $30 billion. See, funny thing about AIG is it's one of those lovely "too big to fail" companies. They insure everything, including as luck would have it, millions of mortgages. What does that mean for the taxpayers? It's suck it up and bend over time.

For discussion of all this, we have David Walker, Joe Johns, and a tardy David Gergen. He's arrived with an excuse letter from technical difficulties, so I guess we'll let it pass--this time. Of note is Anderson Cooper asking whether we could be in a depression. Dude! Shhhhhhh! If you're going to say that, at least follow it up with a picture of a puppy or something. While we're on the Bummer Train, the Gerg is continuing in his role of Debbie Downer concerning President Obama's bold plan to tackle healthcare reform while he's dealing with the economic disaster.

This, by the way, has been chosen as 360's narrative for the night: Is Obama losing focus? Oh noes! Meh. Is taking everything on at once risky? Probably. But all our problems are connected and quite frankly, if healthcare doesn't start getting tackled right now, I don't think it's going to happen. Maybe Obama thinks the same thing, hence the not-waste-a-minute stance. Somebody needs to tell the Gerg to chill out. And maybe give him a lollipop. Who doesn't feel better after a lollipop? No one, that's who.

On now to a Candy Crowley piece on the further implosion of the Republican Party. I'll pause so you can get some popcorn. Ready? Okay, so we know that the conservativiest of the conservatives all recently gathered for their little conference thingee, in which crazy people said many crazy scary things. One such conservative was Rush Limbaugh and the crazy scary thing he said is that he wants Obama to fail. Because he loves America, you see. Loves it so much, apparently, that he'd rather see it collapse than see Democratic economic principles succeed.

Limbaugh sees nothing wrong with his comments, stating that liberals wanted the last guy to fail. That is such BS. I never wanted to be right about Iraq. Screw him. Limbaugh saying offensive things is not new, but there's a twist to this story. You know that comedy show D.L. Hughley Breaks The News?

Well, apparently whoever came up with that title was not playing because D.L. got newly-elected RNC chair Michael Steele to state Limbaugh is just an entertainer whose act is ugly. Oh snap! It's on now. As a liberal, my reaction to this is: yay! The next step in this saga was of course for Limbaugh to throw his weight on Steele (which is, ahem, a lot), resulting in the ultimate wussing out. Limbaugh emerges victorious, the GOP is now playing wounded.

Our second panel of the night consists of Roland Martin, Tony Perkins, and, of course, more Gerg. When they were first introduced, my initial thought was, "ooh, this could get interesting," but they were all surprisingly on their best behavior. Probably because Anderson layed down the law a week or so back. Don't mess with the Silver Fox, people.

I always have mixed feelings when Rush and his ilk are in the news. On one hand, I think they should be ignored. But on the other hand, they're followed by millions and I think light should be thrown on their crazy, so that all of America can see and be frightened. Anyway, the Gerg seems to kind of brush aside Limbaugh's statement about wanting Obama to fail. I get that there's nuance in the quote that's being lost in soundbite form, but the Gerg is overlooking the fact that at this particular time in history, if Obama fails, we are screwed! Is that what Limbaugh wants?

This isn't like not getting to privatize social security. The stakes now are high. But the Gerg thinks the real story here is how well the Democrats played this thing. Roland thinks Limbaugh can say whatever he wants; the problem is when politicians endorse the fail stance as well. Anderson asks Tony if Limbaugh is the leader of the GOP and we're met with some hedging: "I don't think -- I mean, he's technically not the leader." Particularly amusing are the smiles from the Gerg and Roland.

Back from commercial, we've got round two with the panel and the Gerg talks a bit about Rush's influence. Then Roland attempts to throw down some cool kid cred: "And, Anderson, let me go Ashton Kutcher and MTV here. Michael Steele punked out." Duuuude. That is not how Ashton uses the word "punked." Cool kid cred fail! Anderson next reads us an excerpt from David Frum that posits Limbaugh's popularity is actually helping Democrats.

"Have the Republicans fallen into a trap set by the Democrats on this?" asks Anderson. He makes it sound so nefarious. Yes, the Democrats have formulated an evil conspiracy to take down the Republicans. Mwahahaha! Or, you know, maybe they just said, "hey, look at how crazy stupid Limbaugh is being. Let's say that's the direction the Republican party wants to go." Of course, I'm sure they wouldn't mind being thought of as diabolical masterminds.

On now to Joe Johns live giving us some awesomely outrageous news about Bernie Madoff. Okay, first of all, the guy is "under arrest" in his $7 million penthouse pad. I'm playing my tiny violin for him right now and I haven't even gotten to the real outrage yet. See, the apartment and tons of other stuff are actually owned by Madoff's wife and they're trying to say she should get to keep it all. Good lord. Her side claims none of the items were purchased with fraud money, but c'mon. Grrrr.

Transitioning now to a Sean Callebs piece that wraps up his adventure with living on $176 worth of food stamps for one month. We meet son Ryan and see Sean do some cooking. Calleb home movies! It seems like he did pretty well except at the end when he ran out of money. It should be pointed out that February is the shortest month too. After his piece, Sean joins us live and states that he actually lost weight during the month, but he was pretty active. In reality, a cheap diet is carb heavy, which is why many people on food stamps are actually overweight.

Sean also shows us a picture of the cheeseburger he was finally able to indulge in when the month was over. It is a reminder of the unavoidable flaw inherent in experiments such as this one (see Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days as well). Sean always knew that cheeseburger (or something similar) was waiting for him at the end of the month. The open-endedness and uncertainty is not something a reporter jumping into the role could ever truly understand.

But I give him a lot of credit for trying and hope CNN attempts similar undertakings in the future because it's much better than nothing. It's nice to get a reminder that this economy is affecting people at the most basic levels--not just their stock portfolios. I've stated before that I thought 360's coverage was pretty biased towards those with money. This piece was a step in the right direction. Much better than a stupid "ask the TeeVee expert" segment, that's for sure. (By the way, if you're wondering, no, I am not now, nor have I ever been on food stamps.)

Next up, we have a Tom Foreman piece on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's (ooh, that felt weird to type--in a good way) efforts to make the world love us again. We haven't been nicely sharing our toys in the playground these past eight years, but that's about to change. At least, hopefully. The election of Obama was a huge boost to our imagine. Now Clinton has to seal the deal. Easier said than done. As they say, the whole world is watching. No pressure!

Erica Hill has our final piece of the night, which I'm going to slip. I always seem to do that to her. Anyway, the "shot" is one of the funniest they've had in a long time. Sleep walking dog. It's mean, but when he runs into the wall, I totally crack up. My dog growls in his sleep. I often wonder if he's dreaming about being in some sort of Sharks and Jets type brawl. If that "shot" isn't enough for you, I've found the motherlode (via Andrew Sullivan). Perhaps hours of time wasting fun!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

God,could things be any more depressing?Where is all this going,it is scary to think of the D word here,not recession.

Then we get to see jerk Limbaugh in all his glory,what a complete waste of space.He is so full of it,and full of himself.
Why must they discuss HIM in a panel,or at all?
Between him and wishy washy Michael Steele,no wonder these Republicans are in trouble!

Then there is Mr. Madoff.I wish someone would have 'made off' with him to jail by now,already.
Gee house arrest 'aint what it used to be in some cases,huh?

How many times will AIG and a lot of other companies be going ''back to the well'',as they say.
When does the time come to say,enough is enough,and draw the line with further bailout funds?
Isn't there going to be some point where they can see it is not working,and it seems as if it is NOT.
What about the accountability for all the funds AIG ALREADY got?Where did THAT go?
Any of that bailout money happen to go to hiring some accountants,maybe-looks like it did not.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Arachnae said...

This isn't like not getting to privatize social security. The stakes now are high. But the Gerg thinks the real story here is how well the Democrats played this thing.

Can you imagine the mess we'd be in now if BushCo had succeeded in throwing all the social security funds into the stock market? No one could ever retire again. We'll be seeing eighty-year-olds unwillingly working in Walmart soon, if we're not already.

And of course the story is winners versus losers - I've about given up expecting them to cover the substance rather than the politics.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG,if we want something from the rest of the world with regards to news,we will have to go elsewhere,it is not on this show anymore.I am assuming the rest of the world is still out there,of course.
Heck,we could not even get a mention of NOLA during Mardi Gras,let alone somewhere else,like the DRC,Myanmar, or the aftermath of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav.
I thought Anderson said he was supposed to be there(NOLA) ''in a few weeks'',according to something he said on his NYE show.
If I want to know anything about the Gulf Coast anymore,I go to the site,Anderson seems to have given up on down there altogether.
Well,I guess you COULD count the ''blink you might miss it'' news bulletins Erica does,that is the only international news we are getting.
Must there be a panel every single night on 360?
Hard to believe,this was a show that was once two hours not so long ago,with plenty of news and topics,from ALL OVER.
Gee,those were the good old days.

4:47 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anonymous 8:51 AM: Well, I suppose it can ALWAYS be more depressing. As for Limbaugh, I wish he'd just disappear, but his influence can't be ignored.

@Arachnae: Oh, I know! Dodged that bullet. Thank you AARP and your scary ads.

I've about given up expecting them to cover the substance rather than the politics.

Yeah, but in a way this isn't new. I bitched about this same issue during the 2008 election...and the 2006 get the idea. *sigh*

@anonymous 4:47 PM: Yikes. I'm sensing some discontent here. I'm totally with you though in that I'd like less panel and more international news.

As for Anderson's comments about NOLA, I usually don't hold him to every off-handed comment he might make. It's very possible he did plan to make the trip and something came up. It's also possible he was referring to a personal trip. Of course, if that's the case, he needs to stop (mentioning them) because it's not relevant to viewers.

6:23 PM  

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