Today: Dahlia Lithwick, Richard Engel, and several different flavors of fear.
The Way Forward?
Just forget about getting your outrage levels back down to yellow this week.
Rachel reported that a timeline released by Senate Intelligence Committee showed that Bush officials signed off on torture techniques before the composition of the memos that said they were legal. So it’s officially time to stop calling them OLC memos and start calling them CYA memos.
The Office of Professional Responsibility has finished its report on the crack legal team that wrote the memos saying it’s OK to hang people from the ceiling, but for some reason those very lawyers are being allowed to review the report before it is published.
One assumes they’ll give it two thumbscrews down.
On the upside, there is a growing movement to impeach torture-lovin’ Federal judge Jay Bybee, or at least make him deliver his verdicts from inside a box stuffed with horseflies.
Congressman Adam Schiff (D – California) of the House Judiciary Committee checked in to give Rachel the lay of the land and echo the hopes of Senator Patrick Leahy (D – Vermont) that Bybee might have enough good sense, perspective, and honor to resign. I’ll let you reread that last sentence and decide on the likelihood of that on your own.
Counting sheep. And then amortizing them.
Obama’s top economic advisor Larry Summers fell asleep during Thursday’s meeting with top credit card executives.
At least this time he only got his picture taken and splashed all over the national media. Last time he fell asleep during a big meeting, a bunch of bankers put his hand in warm water, shaved off one of his eyebrows, and deregulated the mortgage industry.
100 Days and Confused
Obama and his policies are popular enough that Representative John Boehner (R – Ohio) — who totally didn’t think Obama should have been nominated for Prom King in the first place — was inspired to give a progress report on Obama’s first 100 days a full six days early. Boehner said the exact same things he’s been saying for the last 94 days, in the face of which Obama retains his remarkably high approval rating. But this time Boehner is giving it six days to sink in.
In an even more politically effective move, RNC members from 16 states are calling for the Democrats to re-name themselves the Democrat Socialist Party. Mainstream Republicans, mind you, not the ones who are holed up with eight years’ worth of freeze-dried food in bunkers surrounded by punji sticks.
Governor Ed Rendell (D – Pennsylvania) stopped by to worry that Republican moderates and progressives are disappearing.
I get Rendell’s point, but I hope that demanding the other party rename itself becomes a trend. It’s really going to spice up the 2012 Presidential contest between the Creepy Old Stodgeballs and the Jerkface Toadies To Galactic Fascism.
Rachel reported that for the Chinese Navy’s 60th Anniversary, they’re showing their fleet of nuclear subs. No word yet on whether they’ll be showing off their skivvies.
Rachel also gave us an update on Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, who last week admitted he fathered a child out of wedlock. With a woman who was 16 when they began their relationship. While he was a Catholic Bishop.
You know what makes a true leader? A refusal to rest on one’s laurels when one has achieved greatness. Why stop at the most awesome religious-political scandal since the Borgias when you can aim for ancient Rome?
Monday a second woman came forward claiming to have borne one of Lugo’s children, and she must have been seriously pissed when she had her thunder stolen by another woman who showed up with yet another child on Wednesday.
Way to swing for the fences, sir. I salute you.
This Way Out?
Richard Engel dropped by the studio with his Magical Map Machine to frighten you.
He and Rachel are doing some excellent and important reporting on Afghanistan and Pakistan, but I would not be one bit surprised if they were both heavily invested in the teddy bear and security blanket industries.
GOP in Exile
Rachel gave us the results of a new poll of Texas Republicans, revealing that 51% supported Governor Rick Perry’s bluster about seceding and 48% thought Texas would do better as an independent state.
In a related poll, 93% of Americans who live in other states are currently holding up big, hand-lettered signs reading “SHUT UP OR FREAKING SECEDE ALREADY!”
Darkness Before Dawn
Rachel chatted with Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick about the confirmation woes of Dawn Johnsen, Obama’s pick for Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal counsel.
Republicans are considering a filibuster because Johnsen said long ago that the torture memos were exactly as stupid and horrifying as we’re now admitting they are. Which means that she may not be “qualified” to fill Jay Bybee’s old place.
Lithwick suggested that the Republicans may actually be warming up for harder confirmation battles, and are just taking a few practice swings on Johnsen. “Practice swings,” by the way, is how Jay Bybee used to describe the first 37 times you slam a guy into a wall.
Rachel showed us a picture of the baby robins that just hatched at the White House.
John Boehner immediately released a statement condemning Obama for forcing the mother robin to share her worms with baby robins who hadn’t earned them, and Michele Bachmann went on the radio to discuss her fears that the President would force the chicks into re-education champs.