RachelWatch: Rachel Breaks out the Bubbly

Today: Paul Krugman gets a serenade and torturers get a free pass.

Response Ability

Former Bush administration members have shown that they’ve missed the point of releasing the torture memos, saying that Obama has tied his own hands by making them public. Since the implication is that torture is something that we might want to use again, we can be comfortably certain that they have also missed the point of life.

Obama says he won’t prosecute torturers who were following the revolting memos “in good faith” — apparently good conscience isn’t at issue — but that does leave the people who did the authorizing open.

Rachel had an idea about where to start. Federal Judge Jay Bybee wrote memos of such casual and dispassionate evil that Count Rugen has released a statement of disgust.

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D – Florida), of the House Judiciary Committee started looking around for wiggle room immediately after the word “hello”. Rachel, to her credit, pointed out that someone with prosecutorial power needs to relocate the courage of his or her convictions soon or we’ll start running up against the statute of limitations.

Is every single one of our elected officials really that big a coward, or is there some sort of creepy political professional courtesy that our politicians are valuing over war crimes?

Stand Burr Your Man

Senator Richard Burr (R – North Carolina) told Chamber of Commerce group that he responded to the financial crisis by telling his wife to max out their ATM withdrawals.

Rather than admit that this was a boneheaded panic response from which we can all learn something, Republicans have closed ranks and begun issuing statements that bank runs are just smart financial planning. I mean, for the funds you don’t have invested in Beanie Babies and ways to make money by stuffing envelopes.

Craig Crawford of CQPolitics.com dropped in to try to diagram Burr’s amazing if-he’d-just-kept-his-mouth-shut implosion.

Rachel handed him the most blatant setup for a spike that I’ve ever seen, noting that the only way the situation could get worse is if Burr had issued some sort hypocritical public statement asking his constituents to behave differently. Guess what?

Ms. Information

Rachel gave us on an update on Governor Mark Sanford (R – South Carolina), who wants to turn down hundreds of millions of dollars of Federal stimulus money that could, among many other things, prevent teacher layoffs.

South Carolina’s new favorite18-year-old has filed a suit with the State Supreme Court to establish the right of the legislature to accept the money and keep a full staff of teachers.

Sanford calls the suit a “politically driven press spectacle,” just in case you were wondering who the mature one in the situation is.

On a past episode of TRMS, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (DFL) predicted that her state would have a second Senator by the time the ice melted on Lake Minnetonka –a wildly inaccurate prediction that was off by a full 42 minutes.

If you go by the court’s ruling, that is. Based on Norm Coleman’s plans for appealing to the Supreme Court and maybe beyond them to the Justice League, a more accurate prediction might be “by the time the sun burns out.”

Immod Squad

Rachel gave us a recap of the many tea partiers, birthers, and secessionists we’ve heard from in the past week or two and wondered if the Republican party is really going to swing to the far right in spite of all political logic.

Rachel welcomed James Mann, author of The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan, to talk about the way Reagan unified diverse conservative groups, which everyone remembers. Mann also spoke about the way Reagan infuriated conservatives, which makes many current Republicans blink their eyes prettily and say, “Where am I?”

GOP in Exile

Newt Gingrich, who for some reason is still giving speeches, called Jimmy Carter an Anti-American President. At least you can’t fault him for going after the low-hanging fruit.

Anybody can take a swing at the Unabomber. Going after an octogenarian who’s spent the last couple of decades working with Habitat for Humanity in the United States and for peace the world over takes some real mettle.

10 points for difficulty, 0 for execution.

Krugman Unplugged

Rachel summed up Paul Krugman’s latest New York Times column in which he took our economic optimism to the woodshed. She then thanked him for “shaking us out of our undeserved contentment.” Has she not seen her own Afghanistan segments?

Nevertheless, she and musician Jonathan Mann brought the joy with an ode to Krugman that is pretty great.

Cocktail Moment

Rachel reported that thanks to an amendment to Canada’s Citizenship Act, many people woke up Canadian on April 17.

If you think you might be Canadian, call your consulate. Symptoms may include curling, increased politeness, and sudden cravings for poutine.

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