Wednesday, February 03, 2010

James Arthur Ray Finally Arrested, More On The Christian Missionaries In Haiti, The Latest Politics, And Anderson Cooper Disses Snooki (ZOMG!)

Hi everyone. Am I the only person who flipped over to CNN a few minutes early and had the bejeezus scared out of them by an Avatared Larry King? I mean, good God! It was made all the more jarring because I had just been watching Rachel Maddow, who was torturing us with demon sheep. Yes, demon sheep. Why is the news trying to TERRIFY me?!

We kick things off with the totally awesome news that douchebag snake oil salesman James Arthur Ray has been arrested. Woo hoo! (I was going to switch to 'asshat,' but then I thought, no, 'douchebag' is still working for me here.) You will remember Ray as the self help guru who held sweat lodges that resulted in the deaths of three of his followers. Gary Tuchman has been on the case for us since day one, and he now joins us live to report that Ray has been charged with three counts of manslaughter.

For those of us following the story, most of what come next we've already heard, and even seen, such as an interview clip that's played of former Ray employee Melinda Martin. In these sweat lodges, people became very ill to the point that they were passing out and hallucinating. And Ray did nothing to help, either during or after--hence my name-calling. Anderson Cooper notes that he would have thought that after the deaths Ray would have at least stopped holding his seminars. Clearly our anchor is overlooking the whole douchebag aspect.

The seminars actually were stopped eventually. Gary retells the story of when he and his team went to a one of the seminars in Colorado. They tried to get in, but Ray's people were like, no, we're on to you Mr. Newsman. They were not, however, on to Mr. Newsman's non recognizable producer Ismael Estrada, who proceeded to crash said seminar and ask Ray directly how he could hold the event when people just died. Suffice it to say, Ismael was not given a warm welcome--actually he was booed out. But a week later, the seminars stopped. I like that story.

Next up, we're joined by sweat lodge participant Beverly Bunn by phone and Jeffrey Toobin in the studio. Beverly is stoked that Ray is finally being held to account. Anderson reads us an excerpt from an interview the guru did with "New York" magazine in which he details everything he did to help the sick victims. Beverly calls BS on all of it. She tells us that the medical doctor on scene wasn't even an employee, but rather just another sweat lodge participant. Wow. Obviously, Ray's defense is going to be that this was all just a terrible accident, but things are looking pretty bad for him. This guy needs to go down.

Transitioning now to a Karl Penhaul piece that updates us on the American missionaries charged with child trafficking in Haiti. Now the Dominican consulate is saying they warned the group they didn't have the right paperwork. Ruh roh. I feel the tide turning on this story. In fact, now there's a question of whether or not they bribed a police officer. When CNN then attempted to ask them about the newest allegations, they sang hymns instead of answering the questions. There's definitely something wrong here.

Kiran Chetry has the "360 Bulletin" again, because, I guess her bosses don't want her to ever sleep. We're informed that contrary to popular belief, the kids don't Twitter. Actually, weren't we told this, like, three months ago? What evs. (See! I'm still young. Look at me using the slang!) Anyway! Kiran's all, "I'm very uncomfortable around teenagers. I feel like they're just sitting there thinking, 'What is this old bag trying to say to me right now.'" Yes, Kiran. That is EXACTLY what they are thinking when they look at you. Especially the boy teenagers.

Back to Haiti now, and a question that I asked about a week or so ago: What is the Haitian government doing? Like, exactly? For discussion, we're joined by Joe Johns in Port-au-Prince, and Professor Ludovic Comeau, an economics professor at DePaul University and former chief economist of the Haitian Central Bank. The professor points out the government clearly has a public relations problem. Joe actually did some investigating and was told things are quietly happening behind the scenes.

But! The person he talked to was the Haitian Information Minister, who happens to be the same woman who told Anderson there were no uncovered mass graves. So there's that. Bottom line: the government is doing some stuff (inoculations, working with new orphans), but they're broke and can only do so much. The professor thinks other countries should get involved in the rebuilding, which I think should be watched carefully.

From Anderson: "It also seems like over the years there's been a lot of foreign groups that have come in and kind of put their ideas of, well it should work this way, as opposed to kind of a Haitian solution bubbling up or coming from the diaspora." Yes, remember Naomi Klein.

On now to Dana Bash telling us about the little Q & A Obama had with Senate Democrats today. It was live and on television and six senators were chosen to ask questions. The six chosen are all up for re-election, so you can pretty much guess how that went. Look constituents! Look at me fighting for you! I'm got respect for Obama for doing these things.

For discussion, we're joined by David Gergen and that centrist dude John Avlon. Anderson starts by trying to somehow compare this to Bush, saying 43 got flack for his scripted questions and wondering why "not just have actual impromptu questions." Dood, really? Did you not see that hour Obama spent taking questions from Republicans? Because it was AWEsome! If you think Bush would have ever done anything close to that, there's a bridge I'd like to sell you.

But I'm with our anchor on the whole impromptu question thing (the Bush comparison just rubbed me the wrong way). In fact, John brings up Question Time that they have in Britain and proposes we should to that here. Have you ever seen Question Time? It's AMAZING. If they had that here I'd watch it like it was the season finale of Glee. Can we start by doing Bush like they recently did Blair?

The "shot" tonight is the 360 kids once again introducing me to terrifying reality stars that I don't want to meet. This time: Snooki. She apparently has gotten herself a makeover. I would describe the before and after, but it's much more fun to let Anderson do it. He's never seen the Jersey Shore, mind you, just clips from The Soup. It seems even the Silver Fox has a reality show line. Who knew?! Good for him, but please, Anderson, never use the phrase "Kim Kardashian-esque" again.

Kiran (oh yeah, she's there too!) proclaims Snooki very down to earth, which sets off our anchor, who I guess has seen many hot tub scenes. "It's like a Petri dish," he tells us. Adding, " I don't know what that means." Oh, you know exactly what that means! (Pssst. I think you just called her a skank.) "I'm going to be in trouble with 'The Situation,'" says Anderson. I don't know what that is but I'm guessing it's a male person. Which, you know, seriously? Someone goes by the name "The Situation"? And I thought "The Donald" sounded douche-y.

The show was good. I guess Anderson is going to be in another celebrity feud now. After seeing that clip, Snooki just might be more terrifying than demon sheep.

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