RachelWatch: Health Care Reform Heats Up


Today: Sarah Vowell and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Whip It

After reiterating her colleague Keith Olbermann’s support for the National Association of Free Clinics, Rachel took a look at other ways to put the heat on Conservadems about health care reform.

Looks like a few top Democrats may have pulled their spines out of mothballs. Maybe.

This Way Out?

Rachel used a clip from Charlie Wilson’s War as a quick primer on why things are currently so wretched in Afghanistan. This week the actual Charlie Wilson, a former Democratic Representative from Texas, recommending getting the heck out.

Frank Rich of the New York Times dropped by the studio to wonder if it’s really the best focus for our anti-terrorism efforts.

“Fierce Advocate”

Rachel showed us foortage of Congressman Patrick Murphy (D – Pennsylvania) eloquently arguing for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Watching Murphy will do your heart good. He’s a straight Iraq War veteran who thinks Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is the dumbest thing in the whole wide world.

And then Representative Louie Gohmert (R – Texas) proved him wrong by being the actual dumbest thing in the world.

Gohmert, not even bright enough to be original about it, brought up the usual tired rigamarole about how anti-LGBT legislation is the only thing – the thing – keeping thousands of Americans from having sex with animals, demanding to marry those animals, and then cheating on their animal spouses with children and corpses.

Why is bestiality always the first place that far-right blowhards seem to go when they’re talking about scary scary gays?

Are they really so close to inappropriately fondling their pets that they need the entire LGBT community as a buffer zone? Should they be forced to register and stay at least 100 yards away from the Westminster Kennel Club show?

Rachel will be doing a special segment on Congressman Gohmert tomorrow night. I’m hoping it’s just an alphabetical list of things he’s afraid he’ll be compelled to have sex with if we repeal DADT.

Aardvarks, abalone, Abyssinian cats…

All of which was a prelude to Rachel noting that some LGBT activists feel that President Obama has perhaps not been charging ahead on the gay rights front. The President is scheduled to give the keynote speech at the annual Human Rights Campaign dinner, but is not scheduled to work on a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell until the time is right.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says he should maybe check his watch. She plans to hold a hearing on DADT this fall, and in the meantime you can sign her petition for a repeal.

… adders, admiral penguins, albatrosses…

Ms. Information

Rachel noted that when confronted with a camera crew outside his office yesterday, Senator John Ensign (R – Nevada) said that he and Doug Hampton, his mistress’s husband, never did any inappropriate lobbying or meeting before that pesky year-long waiting period was up.

Yes, of course they did. Does Ensign not know that people can check these things?

Senator Ensign should think about pretending to break his jaw and wiring that thing shut. He is not helping himself with the talking.

Speaking of things Senator Ensign should be very, very ashamed of, he was one of the Senate Republicans who voted against Senator Al Franken’s (D – Minnesota) amendment on Wednesday.

Franken proposed his amendment because of the case of Jamie Leigh Jones, a KBR/Halliburton employee who was gang-raped by her fellow employees in Iraq, then locked in a shipping container for 24 hours to keep her from getting help. The company threatened to fire her if she sought medical help and claimed that a clause in her employment contract took away her right to prosecute her attackers.

Senator Franken thought that our government shouldn’t do business with companies – any companies – that enable rape by trying to prevent employees who have been attacked from taking their cases to court.

And people actually disagreed with him on this point.

Thirty United States Senators voted against the amendment, somehow managing to do so without throwing up on themselves in disgust. Thirty Senators decided that KBR/Halliburton’s right to do business unimpeded by, apparently, anything was more important than an assault victim’s right to her day in court.

I notice that none of the female Republican Senators (Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska) voted against Franken’s bill. Here’s hoping their colleagues got an earful.

Rachel also reported the good news about a trial vaccine that dampens the high a drug user gets from cocaine. …And then the bad news that the vaccine doesn’t diminish the addictive cravings.

For the tiny slice of the population that has too much money and wants the reward of being incredibly irritating without the hassle of euphoria, it should be a real boon.

…alpacas, anacondas, andirons…

A City Upon a Hill

History nerds (and just plain nerd-nerds) rejoice: Rachel welcomed Sarah Vowell, author of The Wordy Shipmates, to talk about the Pilgrims and what was going through their heads.

…astringent wipes; astronomic maps; Austen, Jane, novels of…