Today: Rachel helps us relax with Kal Penn and then tense right back up with the Planet Money guys.
Pirates of the Indian Ocean
Rachel led off on with an update on the hostage situation with the brave Captain Richard Phillips. Captain James Staples, owner of an amazingly wonderful sea captain beard, joined Rachel to talk about how not fun lifeboats are and what the Navy’s options might be.
Since the show, Phillips has been rescued and, holy teabags, apparently the Navy was done screwing around. One pirate had already surrendered. The Navy hooked a line to the lifeboat to keep the others from getting to shore. When the remaining pirates looked out to see what was going on, sharpshooters killed them.
Yikes. Looks like piracy just stopped being a fun ‘n’ easy way to pick up a little cash.
Kumar Goes to White House
Rachel welcomed Kal Penn of House and the Harold and Kumar movies. He’ll be joining the Obama administration as the associate director of the Office of Public Liaison.
Penn has a long history of public service, and seemed more than willing to take big a pay cut. Not to mention dealing with thousands of prank calls to his office at 4:20 every afternoon.
Rachel reported that Condoleeza Rice, Karen Hughes and other former Bush administration luminaries are planning a reunion in Dallas to talk about the George W. Bush Policy Institute. It’s taking a lot of willpower to stop myself from littering that last sentence with quotation marks, but I think if I eat a protein bar I might pull through.
Next, Rachel brought us up-to-date on the National Organization For Marriage and their important work of warning us that gay marriages cause hurricanes.
In addition to calling for a “rainbow coalition” to help save straight marriage in their commercial, NOM has now named their new “Two Million for Marriage” campaign 2M4M. This is a joke, right? Some kind of genius joke?
I’m going to guess that their support group for women who have the blues about gay marriage is called Indigo Girls and their online forum for young men who want to start families is called Truly Wed, I Need Kids.
Job One: Jobs
Adam Davidson and Alex Blumberg of NPR’s Planet Money joined Rachel to talk about consumer debt and the national debt and generally make the financial crisis even more complicated than you thought it was.
The good thing about having a DVR is you can pause it while you take a little time out for soft weeping.
Davidson and Blumberg also said that it wasn’t so much deregulation as uneven regulation that blew over our financial house of straw, prompting Rachel to say, “So all the explanations I liked are useless.”
(How many news commentary hosts deliberately invite guests who disagree with them in the hopes of learning more instead of screaming more? Or are the other ones learning while screaming? That Russian class I’m thinking about taking just got way more interesting.)
The Planet Money guys also said there are fewer villains in the situation than we think. Thanks for destroying my startup effigy business, jerks.
Rachel Re: Tea-Baggin’
Rachel expanded on teabagging, but with less stuff that you have to explain to Grandma or someone from NOM.
She gave a masterful breakdown of the themes behind the movement, with helpful illustrative clips. For example, in talking about the people who hate Obama so much that they can’t believe he was born in the U.S., she gave us some footage of Cleveland teabaggers. And, yes, they are steaming mad.