Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Haiti Orphans, Underpants Bomber Update, Admiral Mullen's Awesomeness On DADT, Visiting A Haitian-American Community, And Joel Osteen Interview

Hi everyone. Tonight Anderson Cooper resumes his position in the anchor chair, no doubt a strange feeling for him. We kick things off with Karl Penhaul updating us on the American missionaries who have been charged with child trafficking, but I unfortunately missed most of what he said. What can I say, interruptions happen. From what I can ascertain, Team Karl was able to talk with the missionaries' interpreters, who believe the Americans did know all the children weren't orphans. It sounds like much of this story is still up in the air.

We next go to Meridian, Idaho, where Dan Simon awaits with the stateside angle of the story. The Americans are from Central Valley Baptist Church and according to Dan, they have no experience running an orphanage. Nor were they registered as a non profit or international adoption agency. This is beginning to look like some sort of negligent situation at best, or even something shady at worst.

On now to a Joe Johns piece on the difficulties of determining which children in Haiti are orphans. Do they have family members? Are they a street kid versus a child who just lost their parents in the earthquake? Many questions to be answered, a task made even more daunting due to distrust of those wishing to help orphans. This is a crisis that won't be solved any time soon.

Kiran Chetry has the "360 Bulletin" tonight, because apparently they just want to keep us on our toes. Anderson muses that she popped some NoDoz to get through the gig. The CNNers love them the amphetamines. Kidding! So anyway, it's Groundhog Day! Yes, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, which means six more weeks of winter, God damn it. Can I say 'God damn it' when there's a preacher coming up on the show?

Transitioning now to Ed Henry and Dana Bash giving the latest lowdown on the Underpants Bomber. It seems the government has been having super-seekret meetings with bomber dude's family in order to gain his trust and get him to spill the history of his combustible drawers. This is all being officially leaked now because Team Obama is none too pleased with the Republicans talking smack about the terror investigations.

You know, a few years ago the press would have just breathlessly reported the terror meeting stuff without even bothering to think about the timing of the leak. Yay for no BS. Well, at least when it comes to reporting. BS does in fact exist in this story, and it's coming from the Democrats. Many of them are butting up against the administration's policy of trying terror suspects because they'd rather save their political skin than stand up for the rule of law. Lord, sometimes I hate my party almost as much as the Republicans.

On now to coverage of my new military crush: Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Today he spoke out against "don't ask, don't tell," deeming a repeal "the right thing to do." For more on this, we get an "Insider Briefing" from David Gergen, who was in the Clinton White House during the policy's inception. I have to say, the graphics for this segment are out of control! Kiran's not the only one drinking the Red Bull, apparently.

So okay, according to the Gerg, Clinton announced he was going to end the prohibition against gays in the military and everyone subsequently went craaazeh. The Big Dog then decided on the compromise of DADT and got his inner circle together to given their opinions. Everyone was in support of the compromise, except Al Gore who wanted to go all the way, so to speak. I'm kinda loving Gore right now too.

The Gerg tells us that back then times were different and everyone was against gays openly serving in the military. He assures us that most people in that inner circle--himself included--would have different advice for the president today. This is probably unfair given that I'm not taking any of the politics into account, but the Gerg's statement here annoys me. We're supposed to be happy and relieved that the majority of the group would now do the right thing now that it's easy? Sorry kids, integrity is when you do what's right, even if it's hard.

Next up, we have an Anderson piece in which he goes into a Haitian-American community in Brooklyn. Everyone there knows someone who was lost in the quake. Hopefully they will help keep the media coverage on the ongoing humanitarian disaster.

The "Big 360 Interview" tonight is Pastor Joel Osteen. Before I get into it though, some disclaimers: I'm a Christian, but mega-churches scare me and I don't trust TV pastors. I don't know much about this particular pastor, though his unrelenting smile is a little unnerving and makes me feel like he's hiding something. He doesn't seem like a real person, actually--very plastic. As you can tell, I obviously already have my ticket booked for hell.

Anderson begins by asking a variation of the age-old question of why God lets bad things happen. There's no point in typing Osteen's answer, because there is no answer. My general feeling about things is that sometimes life just really sucks and there is no why. The challenge is learning to be okay with that. Anderson goes on to lament how unfair it is that one's life can be determined by the randomness in which zip code they were born. He also talks about the mystery of why some people survive and others don't.

Sometimes I'll hear other 360 viewers claim that Anderson is personalizing an interview and asking questions for his own benefit, and I'll think they're looking into things way too much. Tonight, however, I would agree with that assessment. I'm not really sure how to classify my feelings about that other than to say it made me a little sad, and I hope a TV preacher is not the only person he's going to with this stuff. As for Osteen, the dude is happy. Or so he seems. Be positive! I like a positive attitude as much as the next guy, but this feels a little too much like "The Secret."

For another take on all this sunshine-y self helpiness, you should read this piece about Barbara Ehrenreich, author of “Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America." Yes, Mr. Osteen is (briefly) mentioned. Maybe this guy is the real deal. But when I think of my pastors, I think of people who visited me for hours in the hospital when I was kid, called me after my car accident, sat with me in the waiting room of the ICU the day my dad died. Between books and TV appearances, when does Joel Osteen have time to do those things?

The "shot" tonight is a dude named Mark Malkoff who decided to get New Yorkers to carry him from one end of Manhattan to the other. Just cuz! To make this all more hilarious, Mark is actually in the studio--and he's being carried by the crew guys who play a game of tag-team hand-off. So, the whole time this guy is just being held while Anderson asks him questions. Awkward!

For those wondering, no, our anchor would not have carried him. He claims it's because he doesn't weigh that much more than Mark, but c'mon, we all know he's packing the guns. I guess the Silver Fox actually isn't one of those nice New Yorkers he likes to talk about. Kidding! Also? I agree about residents of the Big Apple being nicer than their reputation. This Missouri girl got good and lost a couple of years ago in my quest to get back to New Jersey (was staying with a friend) and people were quite helpful. Well, most of them.

Anyway! Apparently, a bet went down among the 360 kids that producer Diana Miller could not carry Sean Yates. We're then played video of Ms. Diana doing exactly that. You go girl! But oh, that is totally a workman's comp claim waiting to happen. The show was good, though the whole Osteen interview situation was a tad strange. That'll do it.

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