RachelWatch: Big Change and Small Change

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Today: Obama’s Presidential memo and a way to protest without using your hands.

Goal in Sight?

Rachel led off with the best sports story I’ve heard all year: several members of the Iranian soccer team risked execution by wearing green armbands during their World Cup qualifying match.

Thanks to Representative Pete Hoekstra (R – Michigan), I now realize that I fully understand the bravery of the Iranian soccer players; I played goalie for the Screaming Yellow Zonkers in the 5th grade against the notorious Blue Flames, who wore metal cleats.

As scary as the government crackdowns on protesters are, however, there seems to be some real hope that these demonstrations are leading to a huge turning point for the people of Iran. Reza Aslan, author of How To Win a Cosmic War, dropped in to talk about how truly widespread the effects of the opposition movement are.

“Game Changer”

President Obama is still staying reserved about commenting on the Iranian election, Republicans are still pushing him to justify the Iranian government’s claims that the demonstrations are U.S.-backed by backing them, and Rachel and the TRMS staff are still trying to make my head explode by bringing on really interesting guests to whom I want to listen carefully and then running astonishing footage behind him.

It’s like they want the two halves of my brain to fight. Which is the story my left brain has been putting out all along.

Rachel welcomed Joe Cirincione, president of The Ploughshares Fund, to talk about how the social upheaval will affect Iran’s nuclear program – WAIT! Come back! You don’t have to be afraid of this one.

This segment is typical of Rachel’s Middle East coverage in that it is very, very interesting, but atypical in that it won’t have you up all night eating simple carbohydrates and singing lullabies to try to make the despair go away.

It’s safe to watch. I swear.

Ms. Information

Rachel gave us updates on Obama’s plan for financial regulation and Senator John Ensign’s (R – Nevada) failure at self-regulation.

I really could not care less about Ensign’s indiscretions, but I do care about his hypocrisy in getting so thoroughly up in other people’s business. Politicians, it’s an easy rule: Between mouth and pants, pick at least one to keep zipped.

As for your own business, here’s the link to Kevin G. Hall’s primer on Obama’s plan, courtesy of Will, Rachel’s amazing webmaster.

CIA CYA

Rachel reported on two Friday news items: The iffy one is that the CIA Inspector General’s report on the secret detention programs is supposed to be released.

The much surer item is that a fine selection of the D.C. and media elites are going to be good and thoroughly hammered, as Ms. Maddow is slated to bartend an MSNBC party after their live coverage of the President’s speech.

The report, said to contain incidents of “homicide, abuse, and misconduct,” is supposed to be so massively upsetting that the CIA is trying to block its release. Hope you didn’t throw those carbs away.

Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff told Rachel that he had spoken with the report’s author, Inspector General John Helgerson. Helgerson said that a great deal of the report contains information that doesn’t need to be classified and “ought to” be released.

Good luck with that.

Good luck also to the brave livers of MSNBC’s party guests on Friday. If you have to go, you might as well go down fighting the best.

“Fierce Advocate”

Obama took his first step in promoting equality for same-sex unions on Wednesday, signing a Presidential memorandum that granted some benefits to LGBT federal employees, though not necessarily the benefits you’d expect.

Obama also spoke in favor of the Domestic Partners Benefits Act and in support of repealing DOMA. Reactions in the LGBT community are, as you’ve doubtless noticed, mixed.

My own reaction is “It’s a start,” but I’ve said that in at least three very different tones of voice today.

I’m hoping that, if nothing else, President Obama has learned to be a little less tone deaf in dealing with the LGBT community.

And that the Democrats have learned that if they want butts in seats at their fundraisers, they’re going to have to put more on the table than overcooked chicken Kiev.

Representative Tammy Baldwin (D – Wisconsin) of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus joined Rachel for an interesting chat and a pointed reminder that it’s time to start putting the heat on Congress.

Cocktail Moment

Rachel served up the 48th annual Congressional Baseball Game. As of airtime, it was the top of the 6th and Democrats were leading Republicans 15-7.

POLITICAL BASEBALL SPOILER: The Democrats won, 15-10.

Brace yourself for a day of whining and bluster about how the right-wing team was oppressed and all the Democrat pitchers are southpaws which is THISCLOSE to Communism and whatever they’ve decided to do about designated hitters is both wrong and somehow engineered by ACORN and the refs only enforce the infield fly rule on Republicans until you never, ever want to hear about baseball again.

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