Rachel started us off with the important public service of testing our outrage circuits. A lot of people have been running heavy loads on them what with the AIG thing, and it’s important to make sure you can still withstand a surge.
Thursday was the 6th birthday of the Iraq war, which we started to confiscate dangerous weapons that did not exist and punish a country that had not attacked us. I have taken part in Dungeons & Dragons campaigns with more tangible purpose.
And if you haven’t tripped your outrage circuit breakers yet, Rachel pointed out that the architects of the war are still telling great big bald-faced lies about it. Do they not know that video archives and the Internet exist?
Or there’s the more intriguing idea that these guys are actively trying to see if it’s possible to change reality by saying what one would like to be true in a public forum enough times. Just in case you can, I’d like to mention my famously tidy apartment and mysterious ability to summon tigers to my aid.
Laura Rozen of Foreign Policy Magazine joined Rachel to talk about why people are fighting against confirming Chris Hill as ambassador to Iraq in spite of the fact that he’s been endorsed by everyone from General Petraeus to The Lorax.
One More Thing
The Pentagon didn’t like all the dangerous toddler- and pet-based footage our soldiers were being exposed to on YouTube, so they banned access and set up TroopTube, to which they are now restricting access. Is it the word “tube” they don’t like? Do they think it means something else?
And White House CIO Vivek Kundra took time out to give our young people a chilling reminder: If you must get arrested, make sure it’s for something cooler than J.C. Penney dress shirts.
More than half the House Republicans voted against the bill to tax the AIG why-not-we’re-already-going-to-hell bonuses. Rachel mentioned that part of the problem is that the screamy pundits she usually gets to ignore are taking over the argument. Nothing like rich people who pretend not to be rich trying to get The People fired up by defending the rich. Why does that work on anybody?
Greg Sargent of The Plum Line checked in to explain the tough choice Republicans had: Infuriating their constituents or voting for a bill that contains the word “tax” without the word “cuts” being comfortingly near.
The Korean Central News Agency has posted its propagantastic press archive, which Rachel accurately described as a “treasure trove of slack-jawed wonder.”
It takes a little work to find the shiniest crazy diamonds, but it’s worth nosing around before and after February 16 each year. This isn’t the only year nature has joined in on Kim Jong-Il’s birthday celebrations.
The releases on these days are an intriguing mix of rainbows, mysterious bursts of birdsong, and a sad little tally of foreign leaders allegedly sending birthday greetings. It’s epic mythology meets Valentine’s Day in the third grade.
As an introduction to all the filibluster that’s going on, Rachel took another opportunity to Schoolhouse Rock out. If she ever does “Sufferin’ til Suffrage,” I will pretty much be able to die a happy woman.
Rachel noted that the filibuster was designed as a way to give power to the minority in urgent circumstances. As opposed to a way to routinely be a complete a pain in the butt, which is how the Republicans have been using the filibuster since they lost power.
Republicans are furious about a move to use the budget reconciliation process avoid the filibuster on important bills, but seriously, guys: If you call 911 because you are dissatisfied with your Happy Meal enough times, they’re going to start hanging up on you.
Eight “moderate Democrats” have signed a letter agreeing that they would also like every last bill to be a Sisyphean nightmare to pass, please, and Conservadem Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska) joined Rachel so she could ask him what the hell.
Rachel called Begich out on the fact that forcing 60 votes on the big bills he claims to support puts them in jeopardy, and if you thought Rachel’s “I’m Just a Bill” dance was awesome, you’ll be blown away when Begich starts dancing the sidestep.
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Don’t Work
This segment was shaping up to be awesome. And it was, but in a different way than you expected.
Iraq combat veteran Dan Choi joined Rachel to talk about Knights Out, a group of openly gay and lesbian West Point grads. Choi pointed out that he risked being discharged from his current National Guard position just for saying he’s gay.
He was building up to what sounded like a really great point about how Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell forces soldiers to lie to their superiors and each other when his audio went out.
This segment wasn’t posted on MSNBC’s site, and while I understand that decision, it’s a bit of a shame because Rachel handled it with humor and aplomb.
Best quote: “We could have him mime it out, but I think that would be awkward.”
Word is that Mr. Choi will be back tomorrow — one hopes with his job still intact.
If you didn’t see Thursday’s Cocktail Moment, believe me when I tell you that you do not want to.
I’ll see the rest of you at the support group meeting.