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Monday, March 26, 2012

Does the Mittster get a Rise out of Being Hugged by Southern Girls?

Read this piece and determine for yourself:

In an attempt to reach out to Southern voters, Mitt Romney found a way to mix age, women and hugs all in one.

At a campaign rally in Mobile, Alabama, Romney emphasized that he wants voters -- specifically the female contingent -- to embrace his White House run.

"Please give us a big hug, that's the girls," he said, according to Politico. "I've been getting hugs from the Southern girls … from 12, to well, a lot more than 12."

While Mitt touted these lovable moments, he and the rest of GOP field have been criticized for their stances on contraception. Rick Santorum called out his rival for switching positions on the Blunt Amendment. Romney also faced some heat for not directly denouncing Rush Limbaugh's "slut" outburst. When asked about the explosive remarks, he said they were "not the language" he would have used.

So, Mitt gets a rise out of being hugged? Well, if he loves generic southern girls hugging him, then I know he'd LOVE to be hugged by the 2 southern girls I'm interested in. Could this fellow become the GOP's equivalent to Bill Clinton? Don't know, but it looks that way. The only question left is this: How will “Hug-gate” affect Romney’s showing in the April 3 Wisconsin Primary? Again, don't know, but it definitely wasn’t a smart move for him to say that. Shows how he thinks of women.

(PS, may God forgive me for linking to HuffPo)

CNN News Programming Grades as of 3/26/12

These are my grades of the weekday programming on CNN, the network I go to for news.

Erin Burnett OutFront-98%(A+)
The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer-95%(A)
CNN Newsroom(as a whole, 9 AM-4 PM)-95%(A)
Anderson Cooper 360-91%(A-)
John King USA-90%(A-)
Starting Point-81%(B-)
Piers Morgan Tonight-79%(C+)
Early Start-51%(F)

My notes on the grading of the 8 shows.

1. This show continues to reign as the top show on CNN. Recently, Burnett gained publicity for decrying the war on women in both parties. At first, I was inclined to be dismissive about it. After actually watching the segment, I can say she made her points clearly and coherently, and I agreed with her. Erin Burnett's a great journalist, without question, and the show is poised for international acclaim.

2. "The Situation Room" continues to be the one-stop-shop for news and Opinion. Wolf, however, is still trying to hit the 21st century sprinting. He tries talking up things of the modern day, but it just sounds so deadpan in the delivery. Kinda like Larry Kudlow's shouting at Jim Cramer at the end of "Mad Money." What will he do next? Don a hoodie for Trayvon Martin? Yeah, that should go over well. Like a cat in a sweater.

3. I freely admit to only watching when Brooke Baldwin(my favorite) is on, but what I do watch of her show, plus tidbits of the other shows, is quality news programming, nonetheless. Decked out with reporters/anchors who ask the tough questions, there's a reason these shows are the big ratings draw on CNN. And Brooke and her show are just amazing!

4. Don't watch him much. Haven't heard of any "Starting Point"-style scandals, so that's good. He's no doubt been all over the Trayvon Martin case in recent days, as someone of his caliber should be. AC360 holds steady, grading-wise.

5. King's show remains a quality news show, though not a ratings draw by any means. He and his sidekick Kate Bolduan continue to deliver the news we need to know as it happens. One recommendation: Since John King and Dana Bash are going their own ways, she needs to stop appearing on shows he anchors. Avoid the cringe-fests at all costs! CBS had rules opposing this kind of practice back in the days of Edward R. Murrow. Why should we not prohibit this practice today?

6. Now that the fallout from "Race-gate" has subsided, we can get back to reviewing the show on its own merits. I've not watched it lately, so I cannot say for certain whether they've improved. Let's just say their avoiding controversy for this short space in time is a plus.

7. Had the opportunity to, in between watching weeks-old airings of CNN Newsroom, see Piers Morgan's end of-show "editorial" regarding the issues on his mind. Pretty good, I must say. His show has improved, going from straight-up entertainment to a blend of entertainment, news, and opinion. Like Anderson Cooper plus the accent. This show(and, for that matter, OutFront) will continue to be a fixture on the CNN Primetime scene, even after Cooper is canned.

8. Wow, I thought Ashleigh Banfield was bad. I recently got the chance to watch Zorabia Sambolin's interview with Joe the Plumber, and GOD is she awful. An ambush reporter in its worst form, she wouldn't let him get a word in. What king of reporting is that? These shallow fools are a disgrace to CNN and journalism as a whole. "Early Start" sucks. Period. End. Of. Story.

Some other musings:

1. I take to my absolute favorite CNN female talents the way die-hard Led Zeppelin fans take to "Stairway to Heaven."

2. Lizzie O'Leary's usage of literal fairy tales to explain HCR is about as comical as Tom Foreman's Virtual Convention.

3. Wanna know how I knew Brooke wouldn't be on CNN today(3/26)? She didn't tweet today. She doesn't tweet much on days she's not on.

4. (Tweeted 3/25)I'm just elated that UNC beat OH. Brooke doing a cheerlead tomorrow for OH would have epitomized a "Hazards of Live TV" moment. Not that I wouldn't have found humour in it. I'm just looking out for the ratings. Some people just don't go for that. Not on par with Erin Burnett's "I'll Stop the World and Flick With You(or whatever the hell that was)" moment, but still...

5. (Tweeted 3/24, night of the LA Primary)Tom Foreman is on. Another virtual convention? Another journey to the center of his mind?

6. Have to say I prefer "John King USA" when John King is on.

7. Back in '08, Ben Stein said we weren't in a recession. Why should I listen to him? At least Brooke didn't ask him to say "Bueller, Bueller."

8. (Tweeted 3/24)Yuck! Don Lemon's trying to be Brooke Bakdwin. "Come on, you know you have." Have what? Thrown the remote through the TV? Yes, I just did. CNN's got the worst substitute anchors of any network. I can count only 3 or 4 that ever did a decent job.

9. (Tweeted 3/20, night of the IL Primary)Why's everybody not congregated at the CNN Center in Atlanta?

10. She's a great journalist(and nothing can change my view there), but the more I see of Erin Burnett, the less I like her.

11. Jimmy Carville is a "great Western Philosopher?" Could've fooled me.

12. I'm spectacularly amused at the Mediaite commentor who called the fellow, who called Erin Burnett a "little lady," a "little boy." +1! Little boys ain't got no influence over nothin'!

13. On 3/8, OutFront did a segment on...rap music! Jesus Christ, guys, stay on course. You're becoming more popular. There is no room for error!

Monday, March 19, 2012

CNN News Programming Grades as of 3/19/12

These are my grades of the weekday programming on CNN, the network I go to for news. This post also includes how they fare in comparison to last week's grading.

Erin Burnett OutFront-98%(A+)
The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer-94%(A-)
CNN Newsroom(as a whole, 9 AM-4 PM)-92%(A-)
Anderson Cooper 360-91%(A-)
John King USA-89%(B+)
Starting Point-81%(B-)
Piers Morgan Tonight-78%(C+)
Early Start-53%(F)

My notes on the grading of the 8 shows.

1. "Erin Burnett OutFront" continues to remain the top show on CNN, and of all time. She continues on with the in-depth reports on Iran, flying in the face of her critics, who couldn't give any less of a damn if major cities got wiped out with the bomb. I also learned earlier today that US taxpayers did, actually, make money off the bailouts, as Erin Burnett had claimed in her OWS segment. Always knew that she knew what she was talking about, as she was a CNBC business reporter and on the "front lines" during the 2008 market meltdown. This vindicates her and adds further credibility to what she has to say. Her critics can now drop out, as they've done all the turning on and tuning in we want them to do!

2. "The Situation Room" adds one point, which stems more from the Wolf's masterful coverage of elections than any greatness the show has. I've said this before and I'll saw it again: Wolf needs to stop ad-libbing! Heard him congratulating the dogs on their performance in the Alaska Iditarod Race, and I giggled. And you just know that, had he been on for that broadcast, he would have extolled the greatness of the rock group "KISS("KISS, great band. 'I...wanna rock and roll all night and party every day!'")." Wolf "Night Fever" Blitzer belongs under a disco ball the way Tom Foreman belongs in a photo shoot with the Disney character "Goofy." I level no qualms at Blitzin' Blitzer's journalism. It just amuses me how a Rather/Jennings-style journalist such as he is trying to be modern these days. I'd love to see the Blitzer that tore Newt to shreds again.

3. "CNN Newsroom" continues to reign as the top news programme on daytime TV. Of course, it helps that they've got 7 hours to themselves with the addition of revolving personalities. Just like the "FOX Business" series on the Fox Business Network that way. Decked to the rafters with quality journalists and reporters, this show(aside from the aforementioned OutFront) rounds out a regiment of quality afternoon programming on CNN.

4. "Anderson Cooper 360" continues to be CNN's ratings waterboy. The show continues to be a conglomeration of regular and international news which is focused on the bigger picture, spiced with some humourous flavouring. A weekday version of "Global Public Square," if you will. With that said, OutFront is catching AC360 in the key demographic, and sometimes even passes them. Not a good sign for the future.

5. "John King USA" remains a good show, but I have a recommendation as to how to make this show better. As you know, I enjoy seeing the "news you may have missed" segments with him and Kate Bolduan. If those two could host the show together, that would be great. The show will have to be renamed, however. Perhaps "Politics USA" would suffice. Or, hey, they could dump King all together and just utilize his talents on segments with the magic wall(pending TM). I don't care either way.

6. Like I said last time, I liked what little I saw of "Starting Point." That said, the way they handled the Breitbart video story brings out the unprofessionalness in them. Whether it's from having partisan hacks on the show to prove your point or shouting down someone who disagrees with your irrational, racist, closely held beliefs. They can turn this ship around, but the window of opportunity is closing rapidly.

7. "Piers Morgan Tonight" has improved dramatically over the past few months. Right now, I will talk about his substitute hosts. Arsenio Hall did a passable job substituting for him. Donny Deutch was more of a radio host-type than a TV host-type. Rosie O'Donnell got canned by Oprah so soon after that I wonder if her one-day reign of terror over PMT had something to do with it. Didn't watch Wolf. Jane Lynch was a goof. All in all, it makes one appreciate Piers more.

8. "Early Start" is a flop. They'll be gone soon enough. Enough said.

I'd also like to list a recommendation for what CNN can do to make themselves a better network. They need to ditch the "Your Money" weekend programme and replace it with an aviation and travel programme. Call it "Flight of Fancy." I quite fancy the idea, myself. Don't quite know who should host it though. The best suited choice would probably have to be someone like Bloomberg TV transplant and CNN aviation and travel correspondent Lizze O'Leary. Would be an interesting programme. Most importantly, "Your Money" needs to go.

I'd also like to see a Crossfire-style debate show featuring James Carville and Dana Loesch, airing during the times when AC360 and OutFront re-runs would usually air. Call it "Special Forces with James Carville and Dana Loesch." It would be the ratings equivalent to dynamite.

In regards to news, CNN means business. FOX is more about their bottom line and this than anything else:

Monday, March 12, 2012

CNN News Programming Grades as of 3/12/12

I'll try to make this a weekly feature on here. These are my grades of the weekday programming on CNN, the network I go to for news.

Erin Burnett OutFront-98%(A+)
The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer-93%(A-)
Anderson Cooper 360-91%(A-)
CNN Newsroom(as a whole, 9 AM-4 PM)-90%(A-)
John King USA-86%(B+)
Starting Point-83%(B-)
Piers Morgan Tonight-76%(C+)
Early Start-56%(F)

My notes on the grading of the 8 shows.

1. "Erin Burnett OutFront" consistently proves itself to be the gold standard in cable news, dispatching everyone else by a wide margin. If she could just stick to regular and business news and not veer off into entertainment and sports news, the show would be well on the way to 100%. The show may not be getting the best of ratings, but I believe she'll go far and fly high. She'll make it if she tries hard, and the people are gonna love her when they see her.

2. "The Situation Room" proves to be the definitive afternoon news program(minus Brooke Baldwin's "CNN Newsroom," but I chose to grade "Newsroom" on all 7 hours, and not just the 2) on CNN. The only 2 hour program, outside of "CNN Newsroom," on CNN, it brings to the fore the big news stories of the day and features perhaps the only man who can replace the late, great Andy Rooney, Jack Cafferty, who delivers opinion and invites the audience to comment on it. My big problem is with some of Wolf's lame attempts at being modern(talking up Lynyrd Skynyrd, OutFront, March Madness, I-Pad's, etc. All of which are only one tier below Larry King's going to Snoopville.). I often wonder how an interview with Hugh Hefner would go("I read your magazine every single week," perhaps?).

3. "Anderson Cooper 360" continues to be the show CNN is raising the stakes on. AC360 is a wide assortment of news stories(regular, business, entertainment, global, etc.) designed to inform. It is a decent alternative to the O'Reilly Factor and the Ed Show(I'm not saying I particularly dislike either one), which seem to focus more on entertainment(O'Reilly) and Liberal politicking(Schultz). My main point of contention is the volume of entertainment reporting, but that is just Cooper's style, I presume.

4. This long series of news programs constitutes 7 of CNN's 17 hours of news programming. I admit I only regularly watch when Baldwin is on, and have occasionally caught "Newsroom" when Costello is on, but those times I have tuned in, it is decent news programming which leans more heavily upon their on-the-scene news reporters than other shows. And "Music Monday" is always a good segment to watch!

5. The one CNN show that leans heavily upon political news, John King delivers the news in a fair and balanced fashion, in spite of his admitted Liberal bent. The segments where he and Kate Bolduan get down in the weeds regarding "stories you may have missed" is always a good watch and is laced with good humour. My main problem with the show is how he and his wife, Dana Bash, toss reports off to each other. Does that not scream conflict of interest?

6. What little I've seen of "Starting Point" was all right. They've just got the worst problems with ratings. Doesn't help that O'Brien got into it with a Breitbart associate on Friday's program. That said, I grade based on what I've seen myself. I give this program until around the fall to turn the ship around. If they can't, then we need to look for new morning programming.

7. Passable programming. It's an entertainment show, for the most part, which isn't really my thing. He's gotten better with political commenting as of late. This one will be on for a while yet, as it is, unfortunately, the top view-getter in all of Primetime.

8. Absolute dreck. Need I say more? The show's probably got less time than "Starting Point" to prove itself worthy of continuation. Do you smell what I smell? I smell something rotting, and that's never good. And it's quite telling that CNN doesn't seem to be promoting "Early Start" these days. Stop, children. What's that sound? Everybody look what's going down.

As if I didn't already imply such, CNN is fair and balanced. Fox is not.

(Notice: Any and all nasty comments will be removed.)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Argument: Why Prospects of a Brokered Democratic Convention are High, Part 2

Last Tuesday, President Obama scored an underwhelming victory in the primaries in the state of Oklahoma. Obama won 57%(64,257 votes), versus Randall Terry's 18%(20,291 votes), Jim Rogers' 14%(15,536 votes), Darcy Richardson's 6%(7,193 votes), and Bob Ely's 5%(5,320 votes). The fact that he lost 12 counties(including the ENTIRE panhandle of Oklahoma) to a heap of no-names should, and probably does, have the White House and the DNC pissing potatoes, as their beloved leader has shown time and again that he is fallible against even the slightest of challenges(his scant, no-name opposition routinely gets, on average, 10% in primaries where they are on the ballot). Another matter of pivotal importance is the unemployment rate. According to numbers released Friday morning, the unemployment rate has remained in a relative holding pattern at 8.3%. Only 227,000 jobs were added to the economy during the space in time in which these numbers were taken. Propaganda organizations like Current TV(who's about as no-name as Obama's opposition, I might add), Daily Kos, MSNBC, among many dozens of others, have spun this as a plus. After all, we did create 227K jobs, didn't we? Yes, point taken. 227K is better than the zero that the Obama economy fostered into existence in August, 2011. But exactly how does a mere 227K jobs affect the unemployment rate? That's right, not in the very least. Oh, and you know what else is in a relative holding pattern? The Presidents' job approval rating. His approval's have remained steady at 49% approval, versus 47% disapproval(some polling outfits have the disapproval rating higher). This has to be disconcerting for the Obama Administration, who are sporting the deaths of Bin Laden and Quaddhaffi and an economic recovery as they go into the November elections. These next paragraphs will present the clear, cohesive argument for why a brokered Democratic convention, which I touched on last time, is the route of most sensibility.


THE ROAD TO 270 WITH OBAMA/BIDEN

Given said economic numbers and recent Primary blunders, the re-nomination of Obama/Biden could prove apocalyptic for the Democratic Party as a wholesome whole. Obama under-performing in OK diminishes his chances of winning the midwest, which contains 62 electoral votes{one of which(Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District) he won last time around}. Obama/Biden's Progressive/Regressive ideals have sealed his fate in the South, which contains 135 electoral votes{57 of which(FL, NC, and VA) he won in 2008}. Add that up with Bush/McCain states, and you get 227 electoral votes in the GOP's column. Gore/Kerry/Obama states without a chance of a GOP victory account for 167 electoral votes. That leaves 144 electoral votes in the undecided column(CO, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, OH, OR, PA, WA, WI). We can safely take IN, IA, and MO off the table for Obama, bringing undecideds down to 117 electoral votes and the GOP nominee up to 254 electoral votes. MN and OR will probably go to Obama regardless, bringing undecideds down to 100 electoral votes and Obama up to 184 electoral votes. All the other states hinge on the economy(though NM could probably go for the candidate most likely to allot fundage for research into UFO's). Given current market indicators, the economy won't improve by much, if at all. If these indicators are correct, Obama is travellin' down the lonesome rode toward a horrific, landslide defeat in November, which, in and of itself, is a strong argument for a brokered Democratic convention.


THE CONVENTION

So let's say Democrats have the brass balls to take it to the convention. The ticket they choose will have to be a unity ticket, as the grassroots will be agitated at what they perceive as the Washington Democratic establishment paying off delegates in the choosing of their nominee. Who will they choose? I don't know, but I have some ideas.

Barney Frank/Al Sharpton
Wesley Clark/Russ Feingold
Tom Vilsak/Roy Barnes
Bill Richardson/John Hickenlooper
Janet Napolitano/Al Franken
Brian Schweitzer/Jay Nixon
Jerry Brown/John Lynch
Tim Kaine/Sheldon Whitehouse
Steve Beshear/Deval Patrick

All of these tickets would unarguably, undoubtedly, and unquestionably fare better than Obama/Biden, and the Democrats know this. That is why chatter regarding a brokered Democratic convention has been on the uptick since my last post hit the blogosphere sprinting. The next big, pressing question is this: How would they fare against Santorum?


THE ROAD TO 270 WITH BROKERED CONVENTION NOMINEE

So the Democrats have picked a unity ticket in their brokered convention. For this article, we'll say the choice was Clark/Feingold. It's time to campaign for the General Election, slated to be held on November 6, 2012. Clark/Feingold is holding onto Obama's 184 electoral votes. With Obama gone, we can add IA and MO to the undecided column, and NM, OR, and WA to the Democratic column, bringing the undecideds down to 99 electoral votes, Republicans down to 238 electoral votes, and Democrats up to 201 electoral votes. With the economy improving over the thought of no more Obama, we can also move CO, MI, NH, and WI into the Democratic column, bringing undecideds down to 60 electoral votes and Democrats up to 240 electoral votes. Santorum's social conservatism and grassroots appeal would give him back IA and MO and win him NV, bringing undecideds down to 38 electoral votes(OH and PA) and Republicans up to 260 electoral votes. Grassroots appeal and favorite son status would give Santorum the United States Presidency by a 298-240(50.5-48.2) margin. A brokered convention for Democrats may not help them in 2012, but it would build/construct them a road to victory in 2016 or 2020.

In conclusion, Democrats are in desperate shape if they keep Obama/Biden as their standard bearers. In fact, a Rasmussen Reports poll has Mitt Romney leading Obama by his largest margin yet(48-43) and Rick Santorum leading Obama by one point(45-44, I believe). A brokered Democratic convention is not a natter of expediency anymore. Rather, it is a matter of pure necessity if they are to stand a fighting chance against Santorum and the average, everyday Americans who will high-power his campaign into over-drive. Should they stand with Obama/Biden, they will be flirtin' with disaster every night and day. This much I do know: It's over for Obama, and it will be for the Democrats if they fail to utilize a brokered convention for the purpose of dumping him and saving themselves from themselves.

Friday, March 2, 2012

March 2, 2012, Severe Weather Outbreak: Take Cover or Die!!!

On the weather map today, a Cold Front stationed around the Mississippi River Valley is spreading out wind shear across the entire Southern United States, paving the way for a massive, large-scale severe weather outbreak today, tonight, and tomorrow morning. The main threats from this storm system are violent, long-track tornadoes, large hail, straight-line winds, and torrential rainfall. Ahead of the Cold Front, severe thunderstorms have been reported across the Carolinas, the Virginias, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Missouri. Damage from severe weather has been reported across Alabama, Tennessee, and Illinois. This is only the beginning, folks. Here are the current risks for severe weather:

General Risks:


Tornadic Risks:


Wind Risks:


Hail Risks:



As you can see, North Central Tennessee, Central Kentucky, Southeast Central Indiana, and Southwestern Ohio have a high risk of seeing destructive, supercell thunderstorms. Northeast and Central Mississippi, North and Central Alabama, Northern Georgia, all of Kentucky and Tennessee, extreme Southeastern Missouri, South Central Illinois, the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, extreme Southwestern Virginia, Western West Virginia, South Central Indiana, and South Central Ohio are under a moderate risk(some areas are already under a high risk). If risks are updated again, I expect Eastern Kentucky, Central and Eastern Tennessee, Southern Ohio, Western West Virginia, Southwestern Virginia, the Great Smokies of North Carolina, Northwestern Georgia, and Northeastern Alabama to be moved into a high risk area. Particularly Dangerous Situation Tornado Watches have already been issued for Southeastern Missouri, Southern Illinois, South Central Indiana, West and Central Kentucky, and Southwest and Central Ohio. I expect many, many more to be issued today. Tornado Watches have been issued out ahead of the Cold Front for Northeastern Alabama, Northwestern Georgia, Western Tennessee, extreme Western North Carolina, and Southwestern Virginia(Northeastern AL and Northwestern GA have since been removed from the watch area). This is a dangerous storm system, and you are advised to spend the day in a place of sturdy and safe shelter as these storms converge upon the Southern United States. The Weather Channel's Dr. Greg Forbes' "Tor:Con" Index has East Central Kentucky and Eastern and Central Tennessee at 9/10, Southern Illinois, Southern Indiana, and Southern Ohio at 8/10, and Northern Alabama and Norhern Mississippi at 7/10 chances of seeing tornadoes within a 50 mile radius. This is a dangerous day. Take cover or die, because this is an urgent situation!