Monday, January 30, 2006

Street Talk news

Ron Davis over at Chatter broke the news that STREET TALK will debut Wednesday, February 1 at 6:30 p.m. on Mediacom Connections Channel 14. Subscribers in southwest Missouri will be able to watch the public affairs program Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m., Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., and/or Sundays at 12:30 p.m. One new show each week.

I've spent a great deal of time planning this program, with a great amount of help from many people, all of whom will be revealed during the program. I promise you won't see anything like this anywhere in southwest Missouri. My philosophy is that discourse is good and necessary for democracy. But it needs to be civil. I also believe individuals are smart enough to make up their own minds when provided with the necessary information.

STREET TALK is not about pushing a political agenda. Those who have read Lost Chord know I'm a lefty, a liberal, a progressive. I disagree with most conservatives, but not on everything. I find nothing wrong with that. We're supposed to have debate in this country. We're supposed to remain "unfinished." Yelling at one another solves nothing and certainly doesn't move our country forward.

I want different points of view to be heard. I want to be willing to listen to opposing points of view and, possibly, to be swayed by them. And I want others to do the same. Alan Haworth, in his book Free Speech (1998), argues that John Stuart Mill's classic defence of free speech, in On Liberty, does not develop the idea of a market (as later suggested by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes) but essentially argues for the freedom to develop and discuss ideas in the search for truth or understanding. In developing this argument, Haworth says, Mill pictured society, not as a marketplace of ideas, but as something more like a large-scale academic seminar. This implies the need for tacit standards of conduct and interaction, including some degree of mutual respect.

That is the foundation for STREET TALK. Not every show will be about controversial topics. Not every show will be about politics. But I hope every show makes viewers think. We'll have some fun along the way. And we'll likely ruffle a few feathers. You're invited to participate, or just come along for the ride.

Granny Geek has generously donated some server space for podcasts of our shows, which should be available sometime on Thursdays. We'll be publishing a blog, we'll have email accounts for audience comments, and we'll even be inviting you to some of our tapings.

If you're a Mediacom subscriber, tune in Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Otherwise, check out on Thursday. Agree, disagree, listen, learn, think. We think you'll like what we're doing.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Coincidence? Prophesy?

Steve Jobs introduced Apple's new products Tuesday, including its first Intel processor-based computers. Apple's stock closed that day at $80.86.

To a techie (or geek), that is an interesting coincidence. Or perhaps a prophesy? Intel introduced a processor in 1978 that spawned the x86 architecture PC users are familiar with, the 8086.

Wonder if that's why Tuesday's weather was so crappy?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

No Language Skills Required

Dubya marked the fourth anniversary of the "No Child Left Behind Act" with a speech at North Glen Elementary School in Gen Burnie, Maryland. He done hisself proud speechifying.

The blog First Draft has details:

Brownie Watch, Part I

I want to thank you for your leadership, Margaret. You're doing a heck of a job as the Secretary of Education.

Brownie Watch, Part II

Again, I want to congratulate Julie and Maurine for leading this school. You've done a heck of a job, and we're proud -- we're proud to honor you.

Brownie Watch, Part III (!)

One of my predecessors as the governor of Texas was Sam Houston. You may have heard of him, may not have heard of him. Interesting old guy. He was the President of the Republic of Texas. He was a United States senator. He was a congressman from Tennessee. He was the governor of Texas. He had done a lot of things. He led the battle of San Jacinto. I mean, he was a heck of a guy.

Has Thee Got Thee?

And we'd better make sure the future of this country has the got the capacity to compete in that world.

Come Make Sense

And the best place to start is to make sure every child can read and write and add and subtract. And so that was the spirit behind proposing the No Child Left Behind Act. And as I mentioned, there was a lot of non-partisan cooperation -- kind of a rare thing in Washington. But it made sense when it come to public schools.

I Before E Except After Wha???

Laura and I's spirits are uplifted any time we go to a school that's working, because we understand the importance of public education in the future of our country.

Once again, Dubya proves that even a C-student can be (a bad) president. Wonder if he knows how to spell potato?

Monday, January 09, 2006

"US troops seize award-winning Iraqi journalist"

That's the headline from a story in "The Guardian," a British newspaper with a long history of editorial and political independence. Many stories about the Iraq war have been printed in the Guardian long before showing up in the American news media, if at all.

American troops in Baghdad yesterday blasted their way into the home of an Iraqi journalist working for the Guardian and Channel 4, firing bullets into the bedroom where he was sleeping with his wife and children.

Ali Fadhil, who two months ago won the Foreign Press Association young journalist of the year award, was hooded and taken for questioning. He was released hours later.

Dr Fadhil is working with Guardian Films on an investigation for Channel 4's Dispatches programme into claims that tens of millions of dollars worth of Iraqi funds held by the Americans and British have been misused or misappropriated.

The troops told Dr Fadhil that they were looking for an Iraqi insurgent and seized video tapes he had shot for the programme. These have not yet been returned.

The U.S. military isn't teaching Iraqis much about democracy with these actions. The International Federation of Journalists has accused the Bush administration of hiding behind a "culture of denial" over the deaths of at least 12 journalists who may have been killed by US military in Iraq.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says that while there is no evidence the US military is targeting journalists, too journalists are dying "at the hands of US soldiers because of negligence or indifference ... And when journalists are killed, the military often seems ... unwilling to launch an adequate investigation or take steps to mitigate risk."

Reporters Without Borders made the following comments in their on media in Iraq
As guerrilla attacks increased in Iraq during the summer of 2003, US soldiers became more aggressive with the media, especially Arab journalists, who were accused by the US of sympathizing or even collaborating with the attackers. US obstruction of journalists reached the point where on 12 November, the US media expressed their joint concern about it to the Pentagon. A press spokesman for the US-British forces, US Maj. William Thurmond, said 'guidance' had been given to military units "explicitly stating that reporters are not to be interfered with" but he admitted that 'individual soldiers' had not followed these instructions.

Is the military targeting journalists? I don't know for certain. But it wouldn't surprise me, given the revelations about the Bush administration's actions against US citizens. Certainly some of the 76 reporters who have been killed in Iraq since the start of the war have died at the hands of the insurgents.

Still, we know what Bush supporters are willing to do to those who disagree with Bush. Think Swift Boat Veterans.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Another Brownie-Like Appointment

In their quest to turn the U.S. into a dictatorship, the Bush administration has made a recess appointment of someone with no experience and no qualifications to head the nation's immigration enforcement agency. Kind of like Michael Brown being appointed to FEMA.

From the New York Times:

Senate Democrats this week sharply criticized President Bush's decision to install Julie L. Myers, a White House official, as head of the nation's immigration enforcement agency despite concerns on the part of some about her qualifications for the job.

Ms. Myers, a 36-year-old lawyer, will be sworn in on Monday. She currently serves as the president's special assistant for personnel and previously worked as an assistant secretary at the Department of Commerce. She has never managed a large department or dealt extensively with immigration issues.

When Mr. Bush nominated Ms. Myers last year, Democratic and Republican senators raised concerns about her lack of experience, and her Senate confirmation appeared to be in doubt. Some critics said they feared that her political connections, rather than her qualifications, had driven the decision to select her to lead the bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has 15,000 employees and a budget of about $4 billion.

If she was so qualified to lead why not follow the democratic route and let the Senate decided? If the GOP couldn't even muster support from its own members, she obviously had problems. Remember, the GOP controls all branches of government.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Your Phone Records Are For Sale: $110

According to a Chicago Sun-Times story, anyone can buy a list of your incoming and outgoing phone calls, cell or land-line, for $110 online.

John Aravosis decided to try it out:

So I went to their site, plopped down $110, and within a day I had a list of every single phone number that called my cell, or that I called from my cell, for the month of November. I even had the dates the calls were made, and for a premium I could find out how long the calls were.


Now, before you write this off as just another sad story, let me explain to you just how serious the situation really is - not just to your own personal privacy, but to law enforcement, every politician in DC and around the country, and to national security.

1. Are you an FBI agent with confidential sources?

Again, I quote the Sun-Times:
To test the service, the FBI paid $160 to buy the records for an agent's cell phone and received the list within three hours, the police bulletin said.
2. Are you a police officer with confidential sources?
The Chicago Sun-Times paid $110 to to purchase a one-month record of calls for this reporter's company cell phone. It was as simple as e-mailing the telephone number to the service along with a credit card number. The request was made Friday after the service was closed for the New Year's holiday.

On Tuesday, when it reopened, e-mailed a list of 78 telephone numbers this reporter called on his cell phone between Nov. 19 and Dec. 17. The list included calls to law enforcement sources, story subjects and other Sun-Times reporters and editors.

3. Are you a journalist with confidential sources?

Do you think anyone in Washington, DC would like to know who James Risen of the New York Times, the reporter who broke Bush's domestic spying scandal, has been talking to over the last year? Well, just plop down a few hundred bucks and buy his phone records. Kiss his sources goodbye. Or how about Bob Novak? Be fun to find out who he was talking to, oh, around the spring of 2003... Or the phone records of any US reporters - imagine the fun the Bush administration could have LEGALLY getting a record of every single phone call you've ever received or made. Spying on Christiane Amanpour? Who needs to! Her phone records are available for $110 and the click of a button.

4. Are you a Democratic or Republican member of Congress?

Imagine the fun should some rich Democratic or Republican donor plop down $1 million to get the phone records of every single member of Congress from the other party. Who have they been talking to? George Soros? Pat Robertson? Their mistress? Did any of them talk to any reporters on or around the day that any big leak came out of Congress? Did you ever have a phone conversation with Jack Abramoff? I do oppo research for a living - I would give my right thumb to have a list of every phone call made or received by a member of Congress from the other party on their cell phone. Go ahead, make my day.

5. Are you a Bush administration official?

Imagine the fun should someone get Karl Rove's phone records, or Dick Cheney's, or President Bush's.

6. Are you a special prosecutor by the name of Patrick Fitzgerald?

Love to see who HE's been talking to?

7. Are you an Al Qaeda terrorist?

Don't you think they'd love to pull up the phone records of FBI, CIA, and Homeland Security officials to find out if any other Al Qaeda "affiliates" are snitches, or at least to see who they're talking to. Or pull up the records of their own people to see if they've been talking to reporters or FBI agents?

8. Are you a regular old American criminal, a member of the Mafia for example?

Think they'd find it useful to check who among their associates has been talking to reporters, politicians, or law enforcement?

9. Are you someone who's being abused by your spouse?

Wouldn't it be great to have your partner find out you're talking to an abused women shelter or to the police?

10. Got AIDS, cancer or any other disease you might want to keep private?

Imagine the fun should your employer find out you call the AIDS hotline every week, or the women's breast cancer clinic.

My point here is that this is incredibly dangerous, our government has known about it for a good half year or longer, and no one has done a damn thing about it.

11. Are you a woman who ever has, may, or will get an abortion?

Do you want everyone knowing you made a few too many phone calls to the Planned Parenthood clinic?

The list goes on and on and on.

So not only is our government spying on citizens, phone companies are providing phone logs to a company to sell on the Internet.

Has your privacy been trampled upon enough yet?

Curious Questions

Upon hearing that the Missouri State Lady Bears were losing to Drake Bulldogs this afternoon, the wife wondered why the the women's teams at my alma mater weren't called the Bullbitches. Or the Cowdogs. I had no answer. I do know Drake's athletic teams were originally called the Ducks. Quack.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Homeland Security in Opening Private Mail

I confess I'm not sure how to feel about this story. On the one hand, I'm not happy that private email is being open and read by the government. On the other hand, I know that bombs and chemical agents (think: anthrax) can be mailed from outside and inside the U.S. I'd be much more comfortable with this if the parameters were known. What does "when it is determined to be necessary" mean? How is that determined? Who makes that determination? Under what guidelines do these people act? And couldn't officials determine if a dangerouse substance was inside the letter/package without actually opening and reading the material?

I'd also be far less uncomfortable with this latest discovery if it didn't come from the same administration that has announced the president is king and can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. And if it didn't come from the administration that seems to enjoy using torture just for the sake of using torture. And from the administration that has so openly thumbed its nose at the Bill of Rights.

I'd like to believe my government is trying to protect me. But I don't like the measures they've taken, and I am beginning to feel far less protected than before Dubya took office.

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, c. 1759

Thursday, January 05, 2006

NSA Confirms Bush Broke Law

A question posed by NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell regarding NSA wiretaps of a CNN journalist got a lot of blogging attention the past two days, including here on Lost Chord. CNN decided to ask the NSA directly if they had been wiretapping correspondent Christiane Amanpour. And the NSA official's response clearly says Bush broke the law.

CNN's national security correspondent David Ensor gave this report (via AmericaBlog):

Now, the NSA as you know is the eavesdropping intelligence agency, the US government's big ear, and from time to time, the official says, wiretaps overseas or other intercepts turn out to include Americans, or what they call 'US persons', which includes people who works for US companies, it does so inadvertently. But if the NSA finds it has tape and transcript of such a person, by law, it is required to be immediately erased, deleted, gotten rid of.

I'll let John Aravosis provide the rest:
Well, CNN reports that the administration told them today that "by law" NSA has to destroy any wiretaps that inadvertently pick up conversations with Americans or people who work for US companies "by law" it is required to be erased.

Ok, stop right there.

By law? You mean the same anti-wiretapping law that George Bush just broke and just told us he doesn't have to abide by because we're at war and he's commander in chief? Come on guys, I can't believe no one at CNN cracked a smile when they heard this. And please don't present this as definitive proof without noting the fact that the administration says it can break the law and many think they have broken it already. Not to mention, this totally contradicts what the president told us about taping conversations of 500+ American who have supposedly spoken with Al Qaeda affiliates - he's already admitted that Americans can be taped.

So you mean if Christiane spoke to a source who was an Al Qaeda affiliate the administration would NOT tape the call and if they did accidentally, they'd delete it? Give me a break. And in any case, Bush already admitted to tapping Americans so this defense is already moot. Unfortunately, CNN didn't mention that fact either.

And finally, while I'm glad CNN dug into this, asking a "senior intelligence official" to look into this - then having him get back to you and say "nope, nothing there, we didn't break the law" isn't really very conclusive evidence, don't you think? Did you expect him to get back to you and say "yes, we are tapping journalists?"

I'll admit that if I were conducting a live interview for television I might not think to jump on incorrect or inaccurate statements. Lots going on. But Ensor's interview with the NSA official wasn't live. He had time to think this through and follow up. Perhaps another reporter will do Ensor's unfinished work. But I'm not holding my breath.

Bush/Rove Critic Put on No Fly Watch List

James Moore is the author of the rather well-known book "Bush's Brain." Later turned into an independent film, it's an in-depth look at Karl Rove. Understandably, Bush & Rove weren't real happy with Moore's work. Guess who got put on the no-fly list?

Moore writes at the Huffington Post:

This week last year I was preparing for a trip to Ohio to conduct interviews and research for a new book I was writing. My airline tickets had been purchased on line and the morning of departure I went to the Internet to print out my boarding pass. I got a message that said, "Not Allowed." Several subsequent tries failed. Surely, I thought, it's just a glitch within the airline's servers or software.

I made it a point to arrive very early at the airport. My reservation was confirmed before I left home. I went to the electronic kiosk and punched in my confirmation number to print out my boarding pass and luggage tags. Another error message appeared, "Please see agent."

I did. She took my Texas driver's license and punched in the relevant information to her computer system.

"I'm sorry, sir," she said. "There seems to be a problem. You've been placed on the No Fly Watch List."

"Excuse me?"

"I'm afraid there isn't much more that I can tell you," she explained. "It's just the list that's maintained by TSA to check for people who might have terrorist connections."

"You're serious?"

"I'm afraid so, sir. Here's an 800 number in Washington. You need to call them before I can clear you for the flight."

Exasperated, I dialed the number from my cell, determined to clear up what I was sure was a clerical error. The woman who answered offered me no more information than the ticket agent.

"Mam, I'd like to know how I got on the No Fly Watch List."

"I'm not really authorized to tell you that, sir," she explained after taking down my social security and Texas driver's license numbers.

"What can you tell me?"

"All I can tell you is that there is something in your background that in some way is similar to someone they are looking for."

"Well, let me get this straight then," I said. "Our government is looking for a guy who may have a mundane Anglo name, who pays tens of thousands of dollars every year in taxes, has never been arrested or even late on a credit card payment, is more uninteresting than a Tupperware party, and cries after the first two notes of the national anthem? We need to find this guy. He sounds dangerous to me."

"I'm sorry, sir, I've already told you everything I can."

"Oh, wait," I said. "One last thing: this guy they are looking for? Did he write books critical of the Bush administration, too?"

I have been on the No Fly Watch List for a year. I will never be told the official reason. No one ever is. You cannot sue to get the information. Nothing I have done has moved me any closer to getting off the list. There were 35,000 Americans in that database last year. According to a European government that screens hundreds of thousands of American travelers every year, the list they have been given to work from has since grown to 80,000.

I haven't attempted to fly anywhere for several years. Wonder if I'm on the No Fly list? Are you?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Did Bush Spy on Reporter? has posted a transcript of an interview between reporter Andrea Mitchell and New York Times reporter James Risen. Two weeks ago Risen broke the story that the National Security Agency began spying on domestic communications soon after 9/11. Earlier today, NBC edited the site to remove a question and response regarding the NSA spying on CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour.
Here's what the NBC "official" transcript used to say (courtesy of Atrios and Aravosis):

Mitchell: Do you have any information about reporters being swept up in this net?

Risen: No, I don't. It's not clear to me. That's one of the questions we'll have to look into the future. Were there abuses of this program or not? I don't know the answer to that

Mitchell: You don't have any information, for instance, that a very prominent journalist, Christiane Amanpour, might have been eavesdropped upon?

Risen: No, no I hadn't heard that.

Here's what it says now:
Mitchell: Do you have any information about reporters being swept up in this net?

Risen: No, I don't. It's not clear to me. That's one of the questions we'll have to look into the future. Were there abuses of this program or not? I don't know the answer to that

Mitchell: You are very, very tough on the CIA and the administration in general in both the war on terror and the run up to the war and the war itself Â? the post-war operation. Let's talk about the war on terror. Why do you think they missed so many signals and what do you think caused the CIA to have this sort of break down as you describe it?

Risen: I think that, you know, to me, the greater break down was really on Iraq. It's very difficult to have known ahead of time about these 19 hijackers. They were, you know, probably lucky that they got through and they did something that no one really assumed anybody would ever do. And I think that made 9/11 a lot like Pearl Harbor. That even when you see all the clues in front of you that it's very difficult to put it together.

NBC has released a statement on why they're editing transcripts, from TV Newser:
Unfortunately this transcript was released prematurely. It was a topic on which we had not completed our reporting, and it was not broadcast on 'NBC Nightly News' nor on any other NBC News program. We removed that section of the transcript so that we may further continue our inquiry.

So is Bush listening in on reporters' phone conversations? Is that important? You bet it is, especially if it involves Christiane Amanpour. Aravosis explains why:
1. Such a wiretap would likely include her home, office, and cell phones, and email correspondence, at the very least.

2. That means anyone Christiane has conversed with in the past four years, at least by phone or email, could have had their conversation taped by the US government.

3. That also means that anyone who uses any of Christiane's telephones or computers (work or home) could also have had their conversation bugged.

4. This includes Christiane's husband, former Clinton administration senior official Jamie Rubin, who was spokesman for the State Department.

5. Jamie Rubin was also chief foreign policy adviser to General Wesley Clark's presidential campaign, and then worked as a senior national security adviser to John Kerry's presidential campaign.

6. Did Jamie Rubin ever use his home phone, his wife's work phone, his wife's cell phone, her home computer or her work computer to communicate with John Kerry or Wesley Clark? If so, those conversations would have been bugged if Bush was tapping Amanpour.

7. Did Jamie Rubin ever in the past four years communicate with any elected officials in Washington, DC - any Senators or members of the US House? Any senior members of the Democratic party?

8. Has Rubin spoken with Bill Clinton, his former boss, in the past 4 years?

Hopefully, NBC will not bury this story. Its implications are huge. More from Attytood. Go read the whole thing.

Bush Dissolves Congress

It would certainly appear that way, reading the news release about King George's recess appointments. As kos notes:

Who needs the pesky Senate for "advice and consent" when a recess appointment will work just as well?

Recess appointing Assistant Secretaries of Defense and DEPUTY Secretaries of Defense? General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence? Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security? Executive Director of the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness at the Department of Homeland Security?

Yeah, those positions aren't important. Why not give them to those known only for the asskissing abilities and unwavering loyalty to King George.

Another Take

Here is another take on the LIVE coverage of the mining tragedy. It gets to the heart of the matter: Who Asked The Basic Reporter's Question: 'How Do You Know?'"

And here is another:

CNN had showed the problems with going live with a story – with Cooper constantly talking on camera, he was prevented, of course, from doing any actual reporting.

He was at the mercy of people who happened to come up to him and give him the news – from the good old boy who ran up and cried “we got 12 alive!” at 11:49 p.m. to the woman who took it upon herself to set the record straight at 2:45 a.m.

“There’s only one person alive,” said the woman, looking like Sissy Spacek in “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” who woke her kids up in the middle of night so they could witness the miracle of the miners’ rescue. “The word has to get out.”

And Aaron Barnhart wants CNN to apologize:
Seeing how CNN relentlessly promotes its coverage of the mine tragedy -- and would no doubt have been running highly emotional ads today linking itself to the "miracle in the mine shaft" had the miners been found alive -- I find it disingenuous, at best, that it is only obliquely admitting to being part of the problem.

Read them all. Then remember this the next time the news media report without confirming.

Stop It!

The stupidity continues on the cable nets. Both CNN and MSNBC keep repeating that the mine company knew about 20 minutes after the "miscommunication" the 12 miners were dead, but didn't tell the families for nearly three hours.

Too bad CNN in particular doesn't read its own web site. There they would find this:

Hatfield said he knew within 20 minutes that an error had been made and that not all 12 were alive, but said he did not inform jubilant family members.

"We couldn't correct the information without knowing more about it," he told reporters. "Let's put this in perspective -- who do we tell not to celebrate? All I knew is, there weren't 12 people that were alive. It was somewhere between 12 and zero."

While I do think there was a better alternative than saying nothing, I empathize with Hatfield. Who do you tell not to celebrate? It was certainly a very difficult situation. And perhaps the country, if not the immediate family members, would have been spared a "roller coaster ride" if the cable nets had been responsible and noted that there was no official confirmation of the 13 miners being found alive.

Secondly, MSNBC keep emphasizing that the serviving miner is "heavily sedated," as if there is something terribly significant or telling about that statement. If they truly had listened to the medical professionals (or would bother to ask their own consulting doctors) who have been briefing the media they would know that a person on a ventilator is almost always sedated for their own safety. Being on a ventilator means you have a tube stuck through your mouth, down your throat, into your lungs. Can you imagine what that would feel like? Physical damage may result if the person on the ventilator moves too much. Thus, the heavy sedation.

And a correction. The town is Tallmansville, West Virginia.

Journamalism (Long Post)

I was fortunate enough to catch the live coverage of the West Virginia mine incident late Tuesday/early Wednesday. Hadn't been paying much attention to the story beyond knowing that 13 miners were trapped after an explosion and rescue efforts were underway. The whole thing is certainly a tragedy. But the "journalism" I watched this morning sickened me.
As has become far too typical, the cable "news" networks were LIVE on the scene in Tallsman, West Virginia attempting to fill lots of time between official briefings. Denied access to the families of the miners (a wise decision) gathered to wait out the rescue efforts, the cable guys kept repeating the same tidbits of information they had been given, speculated on what it all meant (a dangerous thing to do when you don't really know anything), and talked to their hired experts.

What I didn't see was any real explanation of what was going on. Surely at some point someone could have explained how the mine was laid out, what the rescue workers had to do, or provided explanations of some of the terms being tossed about. For example, reference was made to the "curtains" the miners could close to help seal out dangerous gases. What are those curtains made of? What size are they? Where are they located? How are they closed? Is any of that relevant to the ultimate outcome? No. But those are the types of questions I kept thinking while waiting for the next official briefing. And something that could have helped fill all that air time.

At one point on CNN, Anderson Cooper interviewed a mother and her two middle-school aged children live. They weren't related to any of the miners, were just residents of Tallsman who wanted to "join in the celebration" of the announcement that 12 miners had been found alive. The daughter had a "deer in the headlights" look, possibly from being yanked out of sleeping, possibly due to cameras and microphones being shoved in her face. Still, Cooper decided to ask her several questions, including how she felt.

(Side note: I'm watching CNN and MSNBC where reporters keep asking people in Tallsman "How did you feel when...." It's always a cheap, lazy question. And it never need be asked.)

A while later, this same family came running out to Cooper to tell him only one miner survived, that the mining company had lied and the families were all royally ticked. Cooper just stood there and let the mother blather. He made no effort to clarify what this woman was saying, or to caution that nothing had been officially confirmed. He even allowed the woman to "release" the name of the one survivor. At least she thought it was his name. We later learned she was half right.

Flipping to MSNBC we heard someone on a cell phone saying similar things, although there were no children to ask "how did this make you feel?" That was left to Anderson Cooper.

A bit later, mine company officials confirmed that "miscommunication" had occurred, and noted there had never been an official confirmation that 12 miners were alive. Some will say that was just "spin" and perhaps it was. Still, no one had video of anyone officially stating there were multiple survivors. And the networks all admitted they learned of the "miracle" after cheers erupted in the church and the church bells started ringing. Why didn't they call for caution at this unconfirmed news? I can understand being caught up in the jubilation of the moment, but somewhere in the course of the nearly three hours between announcements it would be wise to point out that no official had confirmed this report? That the source of the report was, in fact, unknown?

CNN anchor Daryn Kagan just said ". . .lost their lives buried in the earth." NO! The miners were NOT "buried in the earth." There was no cave in. The mine is still open. No one was "buried."

I'm also amazed at the continued speculation based on an unofficial, unconfirmed report that the one live miner's breathing apparatus was still "working" given the reliance on an earlier unofficial, unconfirmed report that 12 miners were alive. What does "still working" mean? That there was still air in the apparatus? Or that the device was still functional, but its supply of air was exhausted? Why assume it is the former? Why not attempt to confirm that?

This is not a bright shining moment for the cable nets.