RachelWatch: Enter Bandman


Today: Heavy metal and light panic

Crisis Management

Rachel led off with an update on the swine flu scare, reporting that Mexico City is in shutdown due to fear of the virus.

She reassured viewers that there is no need to panic because we do have plans in place to deal with potential pandemic — and then mentioned a few Senators who had an active hand in making us less prepared.

Attention elected representatives: Will you for crying out loud stop announcing that we don’t need to prepare for major disasters? The universe has a sense of humor. The sooner you figure that out, the sooner we can stop getting whomped with bat swarms and Jellonados.

Rachel welcomed Robert Bazell, chief science correspondent for NBC News, to discuss whether we need to panic (not yet), what level of annoyed we should be about the downscaling of prevention funds (medium pissed), and whether the virus is mutating. (Senators and Governors, please, for the love of God, do NOT announce that we don’t need to prepare for mutants.)

One More Thing:

Lebanon, China, Russia, and Indonesia have banned pork imports from countries that have been affected. They have also banned roofing materials as a precaution against shingles.

Dose of Reality

Texas Governor Rick Perry, who less than two weeks ago was Mr. Secession and kept going on TV to sing both parts of the Streisand/Summer “Enough is Enough” duet, just asked the Centers for Disease Control for thousands of courses of flu medication. But not the oppressive doses, or he is out of here!

San Francisco Mayor and California gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom (D) joined Rachel to talk about how political posturing can get in the way of doing the job you’ve been elected for.

Ms. Information

Air Force One and its escort of fighter jets circled low over Manhattan for a photo op on Monday, understandably freaking city residents the hell out. The director of the White House military office has issued an apology and is said to be “re-thinking” next week’s full zombie gear photo op at Hutcheson Elementary School.

Juliano Verbard, convicted sex offender and leader of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary cult, was broken out of prison on the island of Reunion by two of his followers. If your office is running a Future Upsetting News betting pool, I think you know which square to fill in.

Oklahoma picked an official state rock song! State residents voted overwhelmingly for “Do You Realize” by The Flaming Lips! But then the bassist wore a hammer-and-sickle T-shirt to the ceremony! Which made the legislature so angry they voted down the measure that would have made it official!

But now the Governor has stepped in and oh, my God, PULL IT TOGETHER, OKLAHOMA! You want something official? You are officially the only state in the nation doing something less productive than threatening to secede.

The Elephant Not in the Room

Rachel noted that this whole sickening institutionalized torture thing has Republicans in a bit of a muddle.

They don’t want to appear to condone monstrous cruelty to fellow human beings, but they also don’t want to open the door to getting fellow Republicans convicted, so they can’t admit that the torture was torture. Or, um, if it was, it was the kind of torture that a truly civilized nation lets slide.

But then again, they don’t want to be too closely associated with Bush torture policies, because who knows what revolting memos will get released next week? So they’re forced to make noncommittal statements in every possible direction, which gets exhausting because they miss their naps. Not that sleep deprivation is torture or anything.

Rachel welcomed Senator Ron Wyden (D – Oregon) from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who reassured us that his committee’s investigation is rolling and he supports transparency and prosecution. Which is nice to hear, but I’ll believe it when I see some high-level perp walks.

GOP in Exile

Senator Judd Gregg (R – New Hampshire) is back in the news! God, I’ve missed him. It’s the little things, like the way he loves alligators but hates crocodiles, and can’t stand hugs but loves a good cuddle.

Another reason to look forward to him making the news is that he’s inspired Rachel to a new imitation. She makes him sound like an adolescent weasel.

Gregg is angry that Obama’s health care reform might be brought up in the Senate under budget reconciliation rules, which means the Democrats would only need a majority vote instead of the 60 votes needed to get past a filibuster.

His opinion was the exact reverse back in 2005 when the Republicans were in control. Which seems surprising because he hates contradictions, but actually makes sense because he loves opposites.

Precious Metal

If you want to see what Rachel is like when she goes just a wee bit fangirl, this is your chance.

Lars Ulrich, regular TRMS viewer and drummer for a little band you may have heard of called Metallica, dropped in to talk about music, tolerance, the San Francisco state of mind, and Norwegian death metal.

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