RachelWatch: Rachel Gets a Burr under Her Saddle

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Today: Turns out war crimes are no big deal.

Reflection, Not Retribution?!

Does Obama have an evil twin or what?

Inspiring, Hope-and-Change Obama scored a blow for transparency by releasing four Bush-era memos justifying the use of torture. And then Upsetting, Sympathy-for-the-Devil Obama released a statement that seemed to indicate he’s not interested in prosecuting anybody.

Jay Bybee, now a Federal judge, wrote a memo on waterboarding that essentially says that since the prisoner only thinks he’s drowning for a little while, no real harm is done. So I guess you can do pretty much anything to a prisoner as long as you eventually stop.

Rachel channeled and articulated the outrage with the help of legal scholar Jonathan Turley, who suggested that maybe being a swell, popular guy should not take priority over prosecuting the people who decided it’s OK to stuff insects into our prisoners’ confinement boxes.

If At First You Don’t Secede…

As Rachel reported yesterday, Governor Rick Perry (R – Texas) is a total stud and the Federal Government can’t tell him what to do or he will totally take his ball and secede just as soon as he deposits that massive Federal aid check.

Thomas Frank, author of The Wrecking Crew, joined Rachel to talk about how the phrase “Civil War buff” has taken on a new, super-creepy meaning and why so many mainstream Republicans seem to have forgotten that there was a wrong side to be on.

Ms. Information

Speaking of the right and wrong sides of the Civil War, California decided that Ronald Reagan would be a more neato representative of the state for National Statuary Hall collection than Thomas Starr King, who helped keep California in the Union.

Which would annoy me if I weren’t comfortably certain that the Gipper will one day be bumped by Arnold Schwarzenegger or Mischa Barton or somebody.

On to the good stuff.

I have some friendly advice for Senator Richard Burr (R – A World of Hurt) should he wish to take issue with Ms. Maddow’s reporting again:

1. Don’t let your intern write the e-mail. Or at least make sure he or she looks up the impressive-sounding legal terms before hitting “send.”

2. Do NOT tell a die-hard academic nerd that she didn’t get her facts straight unless you are very, very sure that she didn’t. If you know she’s not wrong but think you can bluster her into submission, duck.

3. Rachel values good manners. You should let go of that snotty tone for the same reason you should let the Wookie win at chess.

This Way Out?

Rachel has noted in past episodes that you almost can’t talk about the mess in Afghanistan without talking about the escalating mess in Pakistan.

Journalist Ahmed Rashid joined Rachel to help you turn those vague anxieties into specific, well-founded fears.

GOP in Exile

Rachel reported that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R – Minnesota) is still pursuing her intriguing strategy of bolstering her political positions with stuff she makes up. The latest instance occurred during a radio interview, in which she claimed that the “flying Imams” from an airport incident in 2006 were attending a victory party for Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison (DFL – Minnesota) and had shouted anti-Bush and anti-American slogans.

Which is entirely accurate except for the part where they weren’t and they didn’t.

In other news, Michele Bachmann got many of her intriguing political opinions from the family of Sasquatches that raised her from infancy.

While she has mostly adapted to our modern ways, she usually has to be served a special meal at State dinners because she still prefers her fish alive and flipping. Seeing her slam her face into a bucket of smelt is nothing short of inspiring.

State of Play

Every last newspaper in the country stopped being able to make money all at once this year. Which is sad for people who like to read while they eat their Wheaties or make fetching Admiral’s hats, but downright scary for people who like in-depth investigative reporting.

In the hopes of ushering in a Newsprint Renaissance through the magic of cinematic inspiration, Rachel welcomed Ben Affleck to talk about his new film State of Play.

Affleck actually got into a little back-and-forth with Rachel, noting that newspapers began to decline during that frustrating period when people noticed that the only media outlet asking tough questions of the Bush administration was The Daily Show.

Rachel shot back with the remarkable reporting the New York Times has just done on government surveillance of American citizens and my God, were they flirting?

Have a great weekend and try not to get too competitive with your friends about those screenplays you’re all working on now: The world has room for lots of movies about collateralized debt obligations.

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