Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Obamas in London For G20, Foreign Adoptions, Unprotected Drug Trials, World Leader Gift-Giving And Queen-Meeting Etiquette

Hi everyone. I'm just going to get right to it. We kick things off with an Ed Henry piece on the G-20 Summit. The Obamas have arrived in London, ready for some meetin', greetin', and economy fixin'. The obligatory contrast with our prez's last overseas visit is painted, with Ed reminding us he was a rock star back then when he was a candidate. Now? Well, now he's really got the job and the whole global recession thingee has changed the tone a wee bit.

See, our foreign friends don't take too kindly to our capitalism, nor are they all that thrilled about Obama's request that they lay down stimulus cash. German Chancellor Angela Merkel especially didn't like that last part. Aw, c'mon Merkel. At least this guy didn't touch you inappropriately. That's something, right? Anyhoo, Obama is actually more popular than some of these naysayers are in their own countries, so there's that.

Ali Velshi at the Wall of Doom/Explanation now and there are percentage points and arrows and other numbery type things, but at this point all I'm hearing is the Charlie Brown teacher. Sorry.

Panel time! Tonight we're being rocked by Ed, Ali, and our man David Gergen. Not much of note here. The general consensus regarding whether or not anything will actually happen at the summit? "Eh." Well then. I'm glad everyone got all gussied-up and flew across an ocean. As reported yesterday, the possibility of France's president walking out in protest is again brought up. "France's president seems to walk out of a lot of things," says Anderson. And yet he sat through the entirety of Gigli.

Moving on to Tom Foreman at his wall in order to give us the low down on the summit security situation. Lots of world leaders, one location, throw in some protesters, and you have the recipe for someone getting an ulcer. As for our prez, he'll be traveling in the cool comfort of his limo, "The Beast," which can fight off chemical, biological, rocket, and one would assume, zombie attacks. Because really, if you're not protected against zombies, you may as well just pack it in. Besides our commander in chief's wheels, officials also have the water covered and they're all over protecting the poor bankers from the evil protesters as well. Plus? There's a "ring of steel," which is a big-ass system of cameras. Unclear as to whether there is also a "cone of silence."

Erica Hill has the news bulletin tonight and she puts the kibosh on some "over- the-top headlines" that have been trumpeted regarding a new sex scandal at Oprah's Africa school. Turns out no adults were involved and it was just kids being, well, kids. Anderson Cooper has his boxers in a twist over the ridiculousness of it all. It is ridiculous. And it is because she's Oprah. But that didn't stop me from cracking up as soon as the story was mentioned. Not because of the subject matter, but because oh my God, can Oprah do anything that 360 will not deem worthy of a mention? Anderson loves her so. Get a (platonic) room you two!

Transitioning now to Madonna news. For serious. Okay 360, you can't go from Oprah to Madonna. That's, like, too much female iconage at once. Plus, I'm pretty sure you just broke about five news laws. Anyhoo! We all know the Material Girl is trying to adopt a kid from Malawi and since she is Madonna, everyone has to be very concerned about this. Or something. For discussion, we're joined by ethics dude Randy Cohen and adoption dude Adam Pertman.

They start out by talking about Madonna's case and Adam says, "I just simply don't have -- none of us has enough information yet." Exactly. Moving on. Except we're not moving on. The rest of the segment is actually better because they broaden out away from Madonna and talk optimal environments for children and how hard it can be to domestically adopt. So, that wasn't too bad. But if she goes for a third kid, can we please ignore it next time?

Moving on now to Anderson introing a Joe Johns piece by saying, "You won't believe what a sting operation commissioned by Congress has found." Duuude. Quit telling me what I won't believe. If it's about the government screwing us over, I will believe anything. This is a doozy though. Okay, before a drug can be approved by the FDA, it has to go through a clinical trial, performed on living people. To ensure the safety of these people, the trials are monitored by institutional review boards (IRB). The little rascals at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) decided to test how this whole system was working by setting a couple of stings. The GAO has all the fun.

In the first sting, they set up two completely fake review boards with no real people, and registered online using a pet's name and the address "1234 Phulovit Lane in Chetesville, Arizona." Clever. Yeah, nobody at HHS caught that. In the next sting, the GAO went to already established IRBs, wanting to use a gel called "Adhesiabloc"on women's abdominal cavities. The proposal left out 97% of the products ingredients, which got it rejected by two IRBs, but not a third. The CEO of that IRB swore up and down to Congress that the gel wouldn't kill anyone...even though he had no idea what was in it. And, in fact, it didn't even exist in the first place. Lordie. Good rule of thumb? Don't let people experiment on you unless you're dying anyway.

Moving on to an Erica Hill piece that brings us back to the G20 and the Obamas. There's much focus on the economy during this trip, but apparently, the gift-giving is where the real action goes down. What are they going to get the Queen?! Man, and I thought my grandma was hard to buy for. One thing Obama won't be picking up is some electronics. Been there, done that, faux pas lesson learned. See, when British Prime Minister Gordon Brown came to visit in early March, he gave our prez "a pen holder, carved from the sister ship of the vessel whose wood was used to make the desk in the Oval Office." Ooh, snazzy. And Obama gave him...25 DVDs. Oopsie! I did kinda dig the adorable cluelessness though. Hey man, if bad gift-giving is our president's biggest fault, I think we're doing good. (Though I am sorta hoping for a pony at some point.)

After her piece, Erica talks a bit about curtsying and a few members of the 360 crew demonstrate. I liked Adrianna's. Very nice. This brings us to an amusing talk with etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore. I was sorta expecting Richard Quest, since he gave this talk the last time people were meeting the queen. But perhaps he was otherwise engaged. Ahem. Anyway! Our anchor got quite a kick out of this. Not much news value, but fairly amusing. Referring to Michelle, Anderson asks, "would it be a mistake for her to wear a sleeveless dress while having tea with the queen?" I'm sure he's been dying to ask that question all day.

They then get into the topic of food, and Jacqueline suggests they might serve, "some petit fours. Maybe scones with clotted cream." Anderson wonders if clotted cream might be like Cool Whip because he "likes Cool Whip." Bwah! Well, good for you. Discussion then moves on to conversation topics, with Jacqueline musing that the Obamas dog search might be a good place to start, since the queen loves dogs and horses. " Yes, that's the perfect conversation starter," Anderson says with amusing enthusiasm. Then goes all Valley Boy on us: "Totally. I hadn't thought of that. You're brilliant. Yes. They can talk about the dog, and she can talk about how great corgis are." Did he just sip the spirits in between questions or what?

Now Anderson's telling us that he's never seen a corgi, but he likes dogs. Again, good for you! Jacqueline wraps up by saying that one should never turn one's back to the queen. No, you don't have to walk out backwards, but you do have to wait for her to leave first or walk out together. "You know that as soon as they exit the room, they're going to, like, look at each other and be, like, you know, that was that. That was interesting. You know?" says Anderson. No hon, I don't know. Bwah! Also? Anderson thinks the queen can drink anyone under the table, and the Obamas shouldn't be intimidated because he's, "sure the corgis will loosen it all up." That was hilarious, but um, please keep Anderson away from the queen.

The "shot" tonight is a 911 call from a dude reporting that another dude injured himself falling off a motorized bar stool. Yes, motorized bar stool. I have to say, Rachel Maddow totally bested the 360 kids on this story. She had on the bar stool maker and he rode around in circles for her. Heh. I love the 911 operator's total non reaction, like he hears about motorized bar stool accidents everyday. What's with comparing the operator's drawl to producer Charlie, who I'm assuming to be Charlie Moore? I don't recall him having a southern accent. Oh Charlie Moore, why must you hide from us? Anyway! This can only be followed up with the classic pot brownies tape, which we are played while we watch Anderson and Erica laugh. Love it.

The show was a bit on the light side tonight, BUT on the plus side, it's alive! They finally have their energy back, which was lacking for weeks on end and made the show so boring sometimes it was like watching paint dry. I'm not advocating getting cutsie every night, but it's nice when they're into what they're reporting. My only real beef is that there was no mention of the North Dakota flooding. Last night they were all over it. Tonight, not so much. Follow up fail! Bueller? Bueller?

It seems the Silver Fox is on his way to London, which should be interesting. I just hope that their ratings solution isn't to spit Anderson all over the world. Field trips are a great start, but they can't always be in the field and it's sorta like putting a band aid on a deep laceration. At least it appears they're moving in the right direction. That'll do it.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your writing style. great insight with a good dose of humour.
Well, Anderson in London. Interesting. I hope he goes to visit a pub and gets to mingle with the rest of us. (yes I am in London).

6:50 AM  
Anonymous cindy lamb said...

will he arm wrassle he queen during or after a drinking bout?

9:36 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anonymous: Thanks! I'm jealous that you have the opportunity for stalking, I mean, mingling, with Anderson. :P

@cindy lamb: I believe protocol requires that all royal wrassling occur only after the spirits are imbibed. But I'll have to check, "Arm Wrestling With the Queen For Dummies" to be sure about that.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Arachnae said...

(Though I am sorta hoping for a pony at some point.)


2:50 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Arachnae: Did you check your PO box? No? Check it! He's hungry!

2:59 AM  
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