RachelWatch: Hang on to Your Hats

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Today: Justice Souter is retiring and Congresswoman Foxx should.

Going Viral

Rachel started us off by answering some important questions on whether we should be calming down about swine flu or studying 28 Days Later for survival tips. (Hint: This is the segment they cut in the later broadcast to make room for breaking news.)

To aid her in panic assessment, Rachel choppered in Dr. Michael Osterholm, one of the nation’s leading infectious disease experts. I bet it’s fun to watch people’s faces when they take his business card.

Rachel fired up the official TRMS “Worry Meter,” which rated possible swine flu responses from “prudent” to “hysterical”. Osterholm rated closing the borders “hysterical” (not to mention stupid and impossible), and Obama’s advice about careful hand-washing “prudent.”

In a nutshell, you don’t need to worry about swine flu until the spider on your ceiling starts spelling out compliments.

One More Thing:

Michael “Brownie” Brown, famous for allowing New Orleans to turn into a giant aquarium decoration, did not see anything wrong with appearing on the Fox Business Channel to say that Obama was overreacting by preparing too much for a possible swine flu epidemic.

Maybe he thinks it’s better business to let things go and then get in on the ground floor when the cockroaches take over.

Waterboardinggate

Rachel treated us to footage of Condoleeza Rice responding to questions from a student at Stanford by saying that torture is neither torture nor illegal if the President says so.

I am both excited and terrified to learn of the Presidential power to create reality. I hope Obama doesn’t accidentally say anything about giant spiders.

Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff dropped in to discuss Ali Al-Marri’s guilty plea in a real criminal court, just like a person with real rights.

Turns out Al-Marri is a very bad man who might be a very good witness against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. All of which we’ve learned in the past two months, and none of which came up during the previous five years.

“Effective.” Cheney keeps using that word. I do not think it means what he thinks it means.

Ms. Information

Chrysler went bankrupt, but Obama expects a “better, stronger” Chrylser to emerge from the ashes. Chrysler will be partnering with Fiat. One hopes that the Italians will help Chrysler become more stable. Or at least design moderately less fugly cars.

AIG made the devilishly clever move of changing the name of its biggest division during the height of their negative publicity. For some reason that didn’t work, so now it’s planning on an even newer, re-brandier, harder-to-connect-to them name.

Since the American public owns 80% of AIG, shouldn’t we get to pick out the new name? I’m still spitballing, but I’m leaning towards Clusterbonk Unlimited.

Rachel also did a PSA for some new PSAs that Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America has launched with the help of the Ad Council. Well done.

Hate Crime

The hate crimes bill passed by a hearteningly wide margin in the House, but not before Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R – North Carolina) had the chance to go Bachmann all over the place. In front of Matthew Shepard’s mom.

Dear Representative Foxx: There is a reason why most people don’t do all their research on Conservipedia.

After doing a tidy job of carving up the “special rights for special people” argument, Rachel welcomed Judy Shepard, who displayed the kind of calm grace that Foxx can only dream of. Shepard founded the nonprofit Matthew Shepard Foundation and Matthew’s Place.

In a related story, the ghost of Redd Foxx has released a statement to make sure everyone knows he and Virginia Foxx are not related.

GOP in Exile

Michael Steele dropped by MSNBC’s terrible, embarrassing Morning Joe show to have a terrible, embarrassing talk about Republican diversity. Turns out they all wear their hats different ways.

GOPlasty

Rachel reported that an ABC News poll shows that only 21% of Americans identify as Republicans. On the upside, it’s easier to identify them because apparently they all wear hats.

Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R – Virginia) has decided to make Republicanism cool again by packing up their fedoras and Stetsons and Carmen Miranda hats and going on some kind of rock ‘n’ roll National Conservatism Tour and oh, God, I am already so mortified for everyone involved I almost can’t stand it.

I would also like to offer my sincere condolences to their roadies.

The National Council for a New America is apparently meant to be some sort of town hall meeting thingy, and the list of speakers already suggests an important topic: Learning To Tell Which of Us Are Abrasive and/or Ridiculous.

The excellent Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post dropped in to try to help Rachel figure out what on earth Cantor and friends are thinking.

Breaking News/Justice Souter Retiring

Word is that Supreme Court Justice David Souter plans to retire. Rachel checked in with NBC News’s Pete Williams to elaborate on what mostly seemed to be a solid government rumor.

On her later broadcast, Rachel brought in NBC News’s chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd via phone. Todd speculated on possible replacements broken down by race and gender — and not one word on judicial skills or integrity — until I had completely lost faith in, oh, everything.

Cocktail Moment

I never thought I would type this, but it’s time to give some props to Miley Cyrus. Ms. Cyrus has rebutted Miss California USA’s objection to gay marriage with sweetness, good sense and way more maturity than Perez Hilton did.

Billy Ray, you raised her right. Six more good deeds and you will be totally forgiven for “Achy Breaky Heart.”

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