Friday, September 18, 2009

Possible Terror Plot Uncovered, More Tea Party Talk, Michelle Obama Takes On Health Care, Teen Traces His Roots, And Blitzer Is No Jeopardy Champion

Hi everybody. Anderson Cooper is once again coming at us from Los Angeles, and we begin with some nice scary terrorism news. An Afghan national living in the U.S. is being questioned by federal authorities regarding a possible terror plot AND he has admitted ties to Al Qaeda. Awesome. From Jeanne Meserve we learn that the guy's name is Najibullah Zazi, but she really doesn't know all that much else.

Peter Bergen then joins the conversation and Anderson says the following: "I have got to say, I am, and I think there's a lot of people who are very skeptical when they hear about these kind of raids or arrests. Oftentimes, kind of on further inspection, it turns out to be just a couple guys sitting around talking, who never had any access to any weaponry or anything." Bingo. I am definitely one of those skeptical "lot of people."

Time and time again we hear about some plot, everyone freaks out, and then later we find out it was just a couple of yahoos who thought they could actually take on a whole army base or something. So while I definitely think this is important for 360 to cover, and though Peter seems to think this one is the real deal, I'm still going to let this thing percolate before I expend any real blogging energy.

Transitioning from one kind of craziness to another kind of craziness. Yeah, we're still talking about the controversy over the protests over health care reform. The POTUS could really use not having to deal with this right now, but deal with it he must. Media blitz! In a Joe Johns piece we get a sum up of our prez talking to the media, broken down by network, which is sort of weird and amusing. On a related note, while we're talking about networks, did you guys see Rick Sanchez taking on the lies of Fox News? Booyah! Now that's what I'm talking about.

Back in the piece, we also learn that Joe Wilson speaks! What does he say? Meh. Nothing that interesting. He claims that if he could do it again he wouldn't. Whatever. For discussion of this, we're joined by Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Jennifer Palmieri of the Center For American Progress. Honestly, there is nothing of note here, though Tony does manage to bring up Prop 8. Quite the one trick pony, isn't he? Well, if you count abortion too, I guess he's two tricks.

On now to an Erica Hill piece on the Obama administration's latest move in the health care reform debate. Time to deploy the misses! They're hoping she'll be a force to be reckoned with. After all, she brings to the table a 75 percent approval rating among women, personal health care stories, and fantabulous arms! Unlike with Hillary Clinton, Michelle will mostly just be playing the First Lady role in this situation. I wish her good luck.

Next up, we have a Randi Kaye piece on the murder of Annie Le, which is followed by discussion. But I can't take this coverage anymore, so I switched to Jay Leno. Drew Barrymore was on. She drove a car around a track that had a cardboard Ed Begley Jr. It was weird. So...there's that.

Moving on to a cute Soledad O'Brien piece, in which we follow 14-year-old Donovan Rogers on his journey to trace his genealogy. Malaak Compton-Rock (wife of Chris) started this really cool program called Journey for Change, which took Donovan and 29 other Brooklyn kids to Africa, so they could learn to appreciate and take advantage of the opportunities they have. One part of the program is DNA testing.

The idea is to help the kids learn where they come from. When the big reveal finally comes, we learn that Donovan has roots in Sierra Leone. "I'm complete now. I know more about me and where my ancestors come from. And now that I know this, I'm going to take it further and discover more of that culture, because that's who I am," says Donovan. Cool kid. I hope Malaak is able to expand her program in the future. I really liked this piece, and judging by the look on Anderson's face when it was over, he did too. Yeah, I might have aw-ed. Sue me.

For the "shot" tonight, this just in to The Situation Room: Wolf Blitzer, like, really sucks at Jeopardy. That's right, the Wolfbot came face-to-face with one Mr. Alex Trebek and the result was humiliating, crushing defeat. The most winceable part is when he's informed that even though he's in the negative, it's celebrity Jeopardy, so they're going to make an exception and let him keep playing. Man, that had to burn his beard. So, Anderson and Erica Hill are sympathetic to their colleague's public embarrassment, right? Oh hells no! They're loving this.

To be fair, our anchor (who is a Jeopardy champion himself, thank you very much) somewhat has the Wolfbot's back, noting that it's really more about the buzzer than what you know. Uh huh. Right. And if anyone thought they were getting out of here without seeing a little of the Silver Fox's appearance, well, you don't know him that well. "Oh, you have tape. Excellent," says Anderson, as Erica intros. Yeah, because he didn't know that was coming.

Anyhoo! You can check out Anderson's big win here. If you're like me, you will be amused by the combination of overly intense seriousness mixed with that quirky dorkiness we all know and love. Also? "They told me I might be able to come back on this year," says Anderson. That would be really cool. But are there really that many celebs waiting in the wings that Anderson Cooper has to wait and see if he's been picked to come back on? I guess Alex Trebek really is our overlord.

Finally, goodbye to producer Jason Rovou, who is headed to the home of the suspendered-one. Good luck, Jason. I did not know you, but you rock a bee suit like nobody's business. On a related staffer note, don't forget Jack Gray's live-blog on Sunday! Fun will be had.

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