Thursday, December 16, 2010

Spending Bill Yanked, Birther Sentenced, Checking In On Afghanistan, And Playing Tribute To Larry King

Hi everyone. Quite the historic night for CNN! Larry King will be missed. But we'll talk about that later. The bullet points first have other business to attend to, so pop on your solidarity suspenders and let's get this show on the road.
  • Hey, raise your hand if you hate Congress. It seems that these days our legislators aren't effective at anything...except sucking. See, they were supposed to get this spending bill passed (you know, to fund the government--important!), but Harry Reid had to yank it because some Republicans are going back on their word to vote for the thing because they're in a tizzy over earmarks. Sigh. Also? Senator Jim DeMint is kinda being a dick. I mean, I'm just sayin'.
  • Anderson Cooper: "We should point out that Senator DeMint was the star of tonight's game-playing, but there has been plenty of blame to go around on both sides of the aisle. What's amazing, though, is how many politicians on both sides of the aisle can stand up, that is when they're not playing games and speak out against -- wait for it -- all the game-playing." Balance! But the latter part of this statement was backed up with a montage showing legislators from "both sides of the aisle" talking about game playing. Good job. In this case they proved their balance-y statement. That's all I'm ever asking for.

  • For discussion, we were joined by Erick Erickson, Gloria Borger, and Steve Kornacki of Despite my rather strong dislike of Erick, this panel wasn't too bad. Well, it didn't make me want to jab something sharp in my eye, anyway. Improvement!
  • Our anchor: "This is probably a naive question, but, I mean, when it comes down to it, what's wrong with letting a bill come up for a vote?" Oh, honey...
  • Actually, there's nothing wrong with that happening. That would be great! But unfortunately, the Silver Fox is using the reasoning of a moral sane person, and, well, we're talking about the senate. Remember when you learned about Congress in your ninth grade civics class and you thought it was this noble institution? If you're a political junkie, eventually you learn how things really work...and you cry sad tears.
  • Anderson responding to Gloria's statement that the White House wants to get it all: "Yes. Well, I want a pony for Christmas. I don't think I'm going to get it. So, we will see." I don't know. I think you have a better shot at that than the rest of us.

  • Tonight we learned that Lieutenant Colonel Terrence Lakin--a birther previously humiliated by our anchor--was sentenced to six months in military prison for defying orders. Basically his distinguished career is now over, his pension gone. All because of a batshit conspiracy theory. Since feeling the heat, Lakin has done a 180, expressing his regrets regarding the entire thing.
  • This whole story is just sad. It's pretty obvious he was used by the birther movement, but it's hard to feel sorry for him. As Anderson said to his lawyer during that weird and contentious interview, "the guy's an adult."
  • We were joined by Jeffrey Toobin and JAG officer Thomas Kenniff for the legal lowdown.
  • Toobin: "Well, you know, you asked at the beginning, was he a pawn or he did get what he deserved? I think the answer is yes to both of them. I mean, he was a pawn. But I'm sorry. You know, this is not some 18- year-old private who had his head turned by some fancy lawyer. This is a doctor, 18 years in the military. He has to know that, in the military, you have to follow orders." Bingo.
  • We were then shown a clip of Mike Jones, the security officer who took down school board shooter Clay Duke. He sounds like a pretty humble and awesome guy. As for the 360 kids, they get points for foregoing airing the video during the teases as they had been doing the past couple days, but they still ran it too much as Mike was talking.
  • The "shot" tonight was a video that contained the Pope, and half-naked men eagerly demonstrating their flexibility. I gotta say, the watchful eye of His Holiness is a total buzzkill when you're trying to enjoy some good old fashioned softcore porn.
  • Afghanistan coverage! Is it my birthday? A new strategic review says things are not so bright and sunny in the country, and really, we didn't need a report to tell us that. To keep Obama honest, the 360 kids hit us with a montage that shows the Commander in Chief continuously talking about the war's progress. That was very finely edited, so I guess we'll just have to trust that he was really talking about Afghanistan in every one of those clips. Because seriously, in one clip he simply said, "I would add that." Um, okay. This isn't exactly a criticism, but more like a word of caution: don't fall into the trap of making the clips fit the agenda, 360. It might someday get you into trouble. Still love those montages though!

  • Great discussion with Peter Bergen and Sebastian Junger. I want to see "Restrepo."

  • Michael Vick earned himself a spot on the RidicuList tonight after expressing his desire to once again be a dog owner. Um, what? Yeah, that's not happening. The 360 kids suggested that he maybe start out with a goldfish or a Pepperidge Farm goldfish cracker. ("Friends" fan on staff? "That's not a fish. That's a goldfish cracker." Oh, Chandler.) They then introduced us to a German toy called the Cackle Dackle, and hilarity ensued. It's a toy dog that, well, does his business. "You see that? See that?" asked Anderson. The look on his face was priceless. Yes, we saw. And you are 12. Hilarious.

  • Tonight an icon left his chair. I've had my issues with Larry King (softball questions, occasional shocking tactlessness, promotion of unsavory figures, etc.), but you cannot deny that the man has had an amazing career. It seems that 360 had plans to go to Larry live at the party he was attending, though that apparently didn't work out. Instead they played this look back:

  • His last broadcast, like the man himself, contained a lot of awkwardness, but was ultimately pretty charming. Loved BriWi, Katie Couric's poem, and Cannon's impression. Also, our anchor succeeded in expertly sucking the snark right out of me. God damn, Silver Fox. God damn. Below is Anderson's very touching thank you to Larry, including words from his own father:

  • Still no Gary Tuchman in Haiti. Sad face.
  • The show was pretty good. Honesty-keeping. Variety. Some humor. No Loesch. Ahem. Yes, I'm fairly pleased.

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