Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Live From Warren, Michigan; RIP Natasha Richardson; More AIG Related Idiocy; And Artists Attempt To Remake Their Neighborhood

Hi everyone. The road tripping continues, tonight's location being a pub in Warren, Michigan. Good thing this wasn't their location yesterday. Lots of drunk people and talk of the economy don't really mix. Just ask Jon Oliver. Anyway, we kick things off tonight with "breaking news" and I'm foregoing my normal ironic use of all caps because this is pretty close to actually breaking. Sadly, the unconfirmed reports from last night were true and it is now official that actress Natasha Richardson has died at the age of 45.

In a subsequent piece from Gary Tuchman, the basics from yesterday are covered: she fell and suffered an apparent head injury while skiing on a beginner's slope and initially seemed fine, before everything took a big turn for the worse. She was then flown from Quebec to New York, where reporters played vultures outside the hospital. (Seriously, why?) Natasha leaves behind her husband, actor Liam Neeson, and 12 and 13 year old sons. When I heard she had sons, I was hoping they were adults. Not that it's easy to lose a parent when you're an adult, but 12 and 13? That sucks.

Natasha performed on Broadway and was also in movies such as "Maid in Manhattan" and the 90's version of "The Parent Trap." I'll always remember the latter because it is one of only two movies I've ever seen at a drive-in. To be honest, I haven't seen much of Natasha's work or know that much about her, but it's still very sad. Anderson Cooper, who knew the actress, follows Gary's piece up by saying some very nice things and noting that while some "people light up a room when they walk into it. Natasha Richardson knocked the room out when she appeared."

For the medical angle, we're next joined by Dr. Wendy Wright. Anderson states that he doesn't want to speculate, but when you don't know what happened, well, it's inevitable if you do an interview like this. It's likely that Natasha suffered an epidural hematoma. Dr. Wright notes that normally when someone has a fall and it doesn't seem like a big deal, it's really not a big deal, though she suggests getting checked out anyway. This could actually tie into all the heath care talk going on lately. I mean, if you're uninsured and you initially feel fine after hitting your head, are you really going to want to spring for an MRI/CT just to make sure? Bottom line is that anyone who has numbness or slurring needs to get to the hospital immediately.

Transitioning now to a clip of our prez reaching down into his resources and pulling out a little "Campaign Obama" regarding this mess with the AIG bonuses. He notes that Washington is in "a tizzy" with fingers being pointed every which way, but he wants us to know that the buck stops with him. This notion is immediately followed up with the statement that his administration didn't draft the contracts. So...our commander in chief, like, totally takes responsibility, just so it's known it's not his fault. Hm. To be fair, I pretty much like what he's saying, but hey man, I'm an equal opportunity mocker.

I think Anderson is on my page with this because after the clip he notes that both the Obama administration and Congress could have fixed this. This leads us to a clip of major grandstanding that occurred on Capitol Hill today as AIG CEO Edward Liddy got raked over the coals by lawmakers. I think this clip was supposed to be longer because Anderson seems a wee bit surprised to find that they've cut back to him already. I love his "caught" face. He hid it well, but yeah, there was a half smile there.

For a few days now, the talk of the town has been the identity of the person who added a loophole to the stimulus bill that allowed for the bonuses to be paid. We next have a piece from Dana Bash that finally lays it all out. Okay, so, Senator Chris Dodd had actually attached a measure to the stimulus bill to limit bonuses. Yay Dodd! BUT then at the last second, some mysterious person slipped in an exemption. Everyone wanted to know, who WHO was this person? Well, turns out it was frickin Chris Dodd! Boo Dodd! To make it all worse, up until the reveal, Dodd had been channeling Joe Biden pre-VIP pick, telling everyone he wasn't the guy.

The Treasury Department, however, told CNN he was the guy, and they had asked him to do it because they were worried about legal challenges. Man, I don't even know where the line of this BS ends. All this time Dodd has been LYING (that's right, lying) to reporters, and by extension, us. He has apologized, but c'mon. Now, to be clear, though Dodd is a liar, he's obviously being used as the fall guy for Treasury. The big question now is who specifically in that department pressured Dodd. Your move CNN.

After Dana's piece, she joins us live and tells us that she was told that at the time of the negotiations, no one thought AIG bonuses is what we'd be talking about right now. Oh, so as long as it's not starring in the news cycle, it's okay? Ahhh! Anderson unfortunately kind of misses that point, probably because he's got his own point. He wonders if it might be hypocritical to grill the AIG CEO when Congress is at fault here too. Well, he's definitely no victim, but yes, the grandstanding is idiotic. CNN did some good reporting here. I hate that it's my party being stupid, but this is what happens when you're in charge.

On now to a clip of Obama at a town hall and then we go to Ed Henry live who talks more indepth about the provision to keep the bonuses. Time will tell if this hurts Obama. My money is on no. Treasury however? I'm getting pretty close to thinking that Geithner needs to start spending more time with his family.

After Ed, Anderson makes a point I'd like to quote in full: "I have got to tell you, there's a lot of people right now in Detroit, and right now in this bar here in Warren, Michigan, right across from a GM facility who will say that Washington was very quick to have the auto industry and unions here renegotiate their contracts, but, when it comes to fancy companies and corporate bigwigs renegotiating contracts, they seem much more reticent and, in fact, seem to interfere in that process." Um, yeah. Funny I don't remember this being discussed much when everyone was bemoaning how much autoworkers make (and even that figure was reported incorrectly). I know the AIG thing hadn't happened yet, but the fact of the matter is the two industries have been treated much differently. I hope he remembers this angle to the story if it comes up again.

Ali Velshi at the Wall of Doom is up next and he talks about the Federal Reserve, but I gotta say, though I'm fairly fond of our little financial guru, at his point I'm just hearing the Charlie Brown teacher. Anderson does that whole taking questions from the crowd thing again and it's utterly hilarious how everyone he's talked with lately makes him look like he could fit in my pocket. But not funny is this question: "How upset does it make you when you see AIG executives giving out these bonuses?" Wow, lead the question much? What if he's not upset at all? Reporter fail!

On now to an Anderson piece on artists who are investing in Detroit's north side by buying and rehabbing cheap homes. And when I say cheap, I mean cheap. Couple Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert bought their home three years ago for $1900 dollars and are using the money they saved to make it self-sustaining. A green home. This isn't about investing money-wise, it's about community. One of their plans is to build a community art center. They're encouraging more artists to follow their lead and some have. This was a really cool story.

After Anderson's piece, innovation guy Frans Johansson is back and he answers a question from the crowd . Well, sorta. Look, I've no doubt this guy does right by his clients, because otherwise he wouldn't be successful, but this venue clearly isn't working for him. Lots of words and none of them are anything but generic statements.

Time to play "Winners and Losers" with our host, Tom Foreman. Tonight's theme: transportation! Automakers? Losers! Oil business? Losers! Airlines? Losers! Buuut Zip Cars, public transportation, and railroads are looking at brighter futures. There's actually good info in this segment every night. I just wish it wasn't framed in a kinda ridiculous way. Oh, also? If you're like me and had never heard of a Zip Car, apparently they're "shared" cars that are used and then dropped off in designated spots. Weird.

Finally tonight, we're joined by Jess Cagle of "Entertainment Weekly" and he and Anderson say nice things about Natasha Richardson. This is followed up by the "shot" which is a clip of the actress in "Cabaret" on Broadway.

The show was fairly good tonight. I don't think the questions from the crowd is really working, but all in all not too bad. It's a shame too because 360 is getting stomped in the ratings, even with being on the road. Last night they got beat in the demo by Olbermann's repeat and they were in New Orleans, which is, like, their thing. Or it used to be, anyway. I actually felt pretty bad for them when I saw that. I've been watching the show for going on four years now and given Jon Klein's feelings about the broadcast, I have always assumed them to be safe. Today, for the first time, I'm not so sure. I mean, no one should worry just yet, but this is not a good situation and changes obviously need to be made.

My guess is that they've actually lost a lot of their loyal viewers, which might be why the New Orleans show tanked. Or not. What I know for sure is that the idea is to try to gain viewers, not desperately scramble after the ones you already had. Like I said, not a good situation. Also, not a surprising situation. Many longtime viewers saw this coming back before even the election. The show needs to embrace some outside-the-box thinking. They've gone from 'quirky and hip' to 'one of the same' and now even sometimes flirt with 'part of the problem.' It should be interesting to see how this plays out. But that's it from me for tonight. According to Kay Jones, the Miami shoot is canceled. I guess the road trip is over.

Follow me on Twitter, yo!


Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza,

Please clue me in about Twitter, I don't understand it. Are you newsjunkie 365? Where do the comments to you come from?(are they in response to what you wrote them) I saw a story on Twitter this morning on Today show, I'm still clueless. I accept the premise there are two standards; one for the rioh and another for those who are not. It was o.k. for auto workers to cut back, redo their contracts but oh no, not for Wall Street. I agree with your comments in the last paragraph. Anne D.

11:32 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

Hi Anne. I actually joined Twitter not that long after the 2008 conventions, but only now do I feel like I totally "get" it. Yes, I am newsjunkie365. If you click on my link, that's my page and those are all my tweets. If you see the "@" sign and another name, I'm responding to someone else.

Basically, once you join Twitter, you start "following" people, which is essentially like friending people on FaceBook. All the tweets of the people you follow will then come up on your homepage and you can reply to them if you wish. If you "follow" me, anything I say, including replies to other people, will come up on your homepage, along with the tweets of everyone else you're following.

I hope I haven't confused you even more. Heh. It's really not that complicated, but I know it probably all looks Greek to you right now. I'm happy to answer any more questions.

I've gotten some feedback on the comments I made in the last paragraph. I might do a post to expand my thoughts this weekend. Days seem to get away from me lately, so I'll have to see if I have the time.

1:16 AM  

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