RachelWatch: Pulling the Fun out of Fundraisers

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Today: Obama stays cautious on Iran, regulates Wall Street, and throws a bone to LGBT federal employees — sort of.

Diplobamacy

Rachel led off with the story that President Obama is getting pressure from Republicans to back the protesters in Iran. Which does make him sound like a big old meanie until you think about the fact that our history of, um, toppling the occasional Iranian government tends to make people over there a little skittish.

The Sanctity Sanctimony of Marriage

Senator John Ensign (R – Nevada), an opponent of gay marriage who demanded that President Clinton resign over the Monica Lewinsky scandal, has just admitted to having an affair himself.

Maybe he loves the sanctity of marriage so much he wanted to share it?

The affair only rates about a 3 on the Foley Scale, but Ensign did go for special bonus points by snogging a staffer. Who was married to another Ensign staffer. Now there’s a comfortable work environment!

Rachel correctly emphasized the hypocrisy in this story, but what fascinates me is the inevitability.

Congressional spouses, if your loved one takes to the airwaves to loudly denounce someone else’s infidelity, don’t even bother going through his or her pockets for the phone numbers. Just spare yourself the embarrassment and leave.

Breaking the News

The Iranian authorities, as you’ve gathered, are not crazy about the “whole world is watching” concept.

Rachel checked in with NBC News Tehran bureau chief Ali Arouzi, who, in a stark illustration of the predicament of reporters in Iran, pointed out that the closest he could get to on-the-spot reporting was sitting in front of a picture of Tehran.

Reporters have been barred from photographing or filming, and are all but confined to home and office.

That has to be the closest thing I can think of to Reporter Hell – one of the biggest stories of the decade going on outside and you’re stuck in your hotel room doing hard investigative work on thread counts and hanger allotments.

The Revolution Will Be Digitized

In a gracious nod to the fact that some of the best information on the Iranian election and protests is coming from the Web, Rachel invited the excellent (and very tired) Nico Pitney, whose blog I reloaded about 15,000 times over the weekend.

Thanks to Mr. Pitney for the great reporting and careful curating of raw information. Let’s all hope he got some sleep.

More-than-Friends with Benefits

After the Obama administration’s appalling killing-a-fly-with-a-sledgehammer brief on the Defense of Marriage Act that compared gay marriage to incestuous marriage, much of the LGBT community went from disappointed to full-on pissed, cranked up “I Will Survive,” and did some serious looking into changing that stupid lock.

And – oh, yes – many also pulled out of a major Democratic fundraiser. Which, yeah. If the Democrats are going to keep trying to hang on to their centrist street cred by throwing us under the bus, it might be time to stop expecting us to buy shiny new rims for it.

In a remarkable coincidence of timing, the Obama administration has suddenly announced that on Wednesday the President will be signing a Presidential memorandum to extend benefits to same-sex partners of Federal employees.

Rachel got Chuck Todd on the phone to try to sort it all out.

While I appreciate this start, it is only a start, and arguably one that should have been made months ago. Obama is giving benefits to a tiny slice of the LGBT community, and the New York Times is speculating that those may not even include full health benefits. (Thanks to GrrrlRomeo for pointing me toward that article.)

As an indication of the direction he’s thinking in, great. I’ll need to see a little more motion in that direction before I get my wallet out for the Democrats again. And they’d better not be driving a bus.

Regulator

Remember how we talked about killing flies earlier? Let’s get this out of the way: Obama swats a fly in this clip, and it’s an interesting combination of badass catlike reflexes and, well, adorable.

But I’m seeing that swat all over the news, and waaaaay less about the interview itself. Thank you, Rachel, for covering the fact that Obama is trying to put in some rules to keep the same damn guys from swatting your pension fund again in ten years.

Wall Street is going to pitch an absolute fit about this. Ignore it. If they are truly unable to make money without paying each other for top ratings and using algorithms that even they don’t understand, then it’s time to just say the hell with it and start bartering chickens and tobacco leaves again. (It’s cool if you don’t smoke – I hear tobacco is exactly like lettuce.)

Or maybe we should all keep giant Yap Islander stones for money. I don’t care. If it means I can stop hearing rich guys whine about how this is COMMUNISM because if we put the dumb old regulations back in they’ll only be able to get obscenely rich instead of astronomically rich, I am willing to give up my floor space.

Just Enough Smelling the Glove

Speaking of filling your home with rock, Kent Jones gave us the wondrous news that Spinal Tap is releasing a new album.

I could not be more excited. Though I was disappointed to hear that the Unstoppable tour has been canceled. I was really looking forward to seeing Stonehenge.

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