RachelWatch: Droning On


Today: The secret war in Pakistan, Howard Dean on the new health reform compromise, and Rick Warren would like you to believe that he is less awful. He is not.

Heavy Medal

Rachel started us off with a look at President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance – a delicate trick when you’ve just escalated a war. Sort of like giving a wedding toast just after you’ve announced your divorce.

Rachel noted that the situation gets well beyond awkward when you take our nation’s secret war in Pakistan to account.

Noah Shachtman of Wired.com’s Danger Room blog dropped in to make you realize that there are actually phrases more upsetting than “we’re running a secret war”. So thanks for that, I guess.

One More Thing:

Obama reportedly ruffled a few Nobel feathers by skipping some traditional events, like lunch with the king, dinner with the Nobel committee, and — What?! — a concert with Toby Keith.

Which President were they trying to make comfortable again?

Oh, I see: If you’re not careful with the online translation software, “We’ll put a boot up your ass” becomes “We hope to feed and shoe your livestock” in Norwegian.

Uganda Be Kidding Me

Rachel gave us the joyous news that Rick Warren finally found time in his busy schedule to ask Uganda not to go through with the plan to kill off or imprison all of its gay people.

His video message is pretty amazing. Warren makes sure to cover his ass about failing to step up for what’s right days ago and say that homosexuality is wrong before he finally gets around to the actual compassion for others part.

He say there and on his Twitter page that the reason he didn’t publicly do the right thing early on was that he was doing some super-duper top secret stuff to help defeat the bill all along, so aren’t we all big meanies for misjudging him?

Since Rachel opened the segment with footage of him lying and lying and then for a change of pace doing some lying, I’ll hold off on ordering my “I heart Rick Warren even when he makes me cross” T-shirt.

You’d think such a terribly holy man would have trouble with lying, maybe blush or stumble or something, but there he is, glib and comfortable, just prevaricating away like he doesn’t know videotape exists.

Yes, it’s better to have released a belated, gays-are-still-bad-but-please-don’t-kill-them video than to have done nothing at all.

But since we’ve already seen that he and his pals love to talk about tolerance in forums that they think will be seen in the states and change up to a very different kind of rhetoric when they get back to Uganda, you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t build up any calluses patting him on the back.

Optional Illusion

Rachel walked us into the swirl of controversy over the latest Senate health care reform compromise.

It continues to be either the worst thing ever, bought and paid for by the insurance companies, or a surprisingly progressive workaround that will save us all.

Former Governor of Vermont Howard Dean dropped by to try to explain things well enough to coax everybody out from under the bed.

Ms. Information

Rachel brought us the strange case of Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri, who disappeared during a pilgrimage to Mecca.

The Iranian government says it’s “quite clear” that the United States and maybe Saudi Arabia abducted him. What? No one even suspects the Norwegian fireballs?

Come on. It’s not like we have clandestine agencies that are known for abducting people and whisking them away to secret foreign pris — oh, dear.

Rachel also pointed us towards a story on Astrotruth.org that examined an image from an American Petroleum Institute pamphlet. Apparently petroleum products are loved by a very diverse group of people. So diverse, in fact, that they sometimes have faces and hands of different races.

That is one powerful example of working together and getting along.

They also used the same stock photo that the coal industry used to show some Faces of Coal. Does anyone want to tell the energy industry lobbyists that sometimes stock photo searches produce more than one page of results, or is it more fun this way?

And just because shady financial practices nearly caused our economy to collapse and make us go all Tank Girl doesn’t mean we should be so radical as to try to regulate the financial industry. Madness! Just tell them that we are very disappointed in them and trust that they have learned their lesson.

Fortunately, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R), the Great Orange Hope, is on the case.

Boehner met with 100 corporate lobbyists to lead the charge against financial regulation, which Rachel helpfully dramatized with scenes from 300.

Oh, Rachel. Any excuse to show men with their shirts off.

The Law Against Terror

I really hope there’s a follow-up on this next segment. There’s a lot more that I want to know.

It’s intriguing as it is, though, and manages to inspire equal parts “Gracious, that’s scary,” and “Phew! Good catch!”

Five young men from the Washington, D.C. suburbs have been arrested after they ran off to Pakistan to try to find a terrorist organization to join.

Doesn’t anybody listen to heavy metal music and phone in prank pizza orders anymore?

Cocktail Moment

In a Very Special Cocktail Moment, Rachel announced the winners of MaddowQuest, who combed the show’s website and video archives to find three hidden balloons in more than a year’s worth of clips.

The bragging rights went to devoted, intrepid, and just a teeny bit nutball Maddow fans Allie Feiwell (@mallieable) and Elizabeth Rockett (@erockett98). Congratulations, ladies!

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