RachelWatch: Doc Blocked


Today: Rachel looks at the hubbub over a city councilman’s swearing in as Joe Lieberman makes everyone want to swear. Plus 22,000,000 Bush administration e-mails!

The Party of Joe

Rachel started us off with the maddening news that the proposal to let people under 65 buy into Medicare — which was already a compromise — may have been dumped from the health care bill.

For that, you can thank Senator Joe “The Immovable Obstacle” Lieberman (I – Aetna), who isn’t even pretending to have principles anymore. Though for some reason he still has a committee chair.

Just in case you were wondering if this is just about legalized bribery in the form of campaign contributions or if it also has something to do with Lieberman being an attention-hungry jerk, you’ll notice that in one of these interview clips he refers to himself in the third person.

50 Sense

Speaking of topics about which Lieberman has no apparent scruples, Jammin’ Joe also used to be dead-set against the filibuster. Now he just can’t wait to use it.

It’s like his brain has been completely wiped. He should get that checked, what with his awesome government health plan and all.

Rachel moved on to the subject of the filibuster in general, which has become a true pain in the legislative butt now that the conservatives use it to block absolutely everything, including the suggestion that everyone break for lunch.

Last week it took Democrats upwards of six hours just to get permission to go to the little Senators’ room.

Steve Benen of Washington Monthly dropped in to talk about getting rid of the damned thing (the filibuster, not the little Senators’ room), but then there’s the problem of it being really useful when it isn’t being abused.

On the other hand, as Benen points out, under this system, the minority actually holds more power. As long as they’re willing to be jerks. Which, let’s face it, does not seem to be losing its charm for them.

Democrats, quit playing into their hands. Turn this Party of No thing to your advantage.

Propose legislation that’s the opposite of what you want. When the Republicans reflexively filibuster, compromise it back to what you do want, giving the occasional hand-wringing press conference so they don’t get wise. It’ll work for at least a couple of years.

You’ve Got Mail

Rachel reminded us that members of the Bush administration, famous for routinely strapping brooms to their waists to obscure their footprints and blacking out portions of the White House lunch menus, were not so great about archiving and handing over their e-mails.

I’ll give you a moment to collect yourself after that shock.

However, the new sunshiny post-Bush world has allowed the release of — holy bandwidth — 22,000,000 Bush administration e-mails.

The restored e-mails span March 2003–Oct 2005, which covers a whole lot of scary modern U.S. history. Not to mention about 40,000 e-mails reading “Whut up K4rl? ZOMG did U s33 Jeff G4nnon in presser 2day? ROTFLOL burn on mainstr33m media! L8r!”

Rachel chatted with Meredith Fuchs of the National Security Archive and I don’t think I am out of line in describing her as super-stoked to see what these e-mails contain.

So am I, for that matter.

Shhh — If you listen very carefully, you can hear Dick Cheney trying to invoke executive privilege.

Ms. Information

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted that he still would have gone to war in Iraq even if no weapons of mass destruction had been found. And, as Rachel noted, several people in the Bush administration seemed to think that the whole invading-Iraq-for-made-up-reasons thing worked out just swell, so, yeah, bummer that we didn’t find any WMDs, but isn’t it great that we ended up going?

Because preemptive wars are about the journey.

The current U.K. government is conducting an “aggressive” Iraq War investigation, and there are calls for Tony Blair to be tried as a war criminal.

Whereas we give our war criminals big chunks of national air time to trash the President.

Rachel also gave us an update on our elected officials’ slow but steadier attempts to respond to the repellent kill-the-gays bill in Uganda (which, sickeningly, has not had the death penalty dropped out of it after all).

The National Security Council has raised concerns “at the highest level” in Uganda, the White House has released a statement of disgust, and, as Rachel pointed out, Senator Ensign (R – Nevada) seemed delighted to be able to be on the right side of an issue and not talking about his parents bribing his mistress.

Family member Senator Sam Brownback (R – Kansas) tried the “I don’t know anything about it lemme alone lemme alone lemme alone” tactic, but he gets points for admitting to watching TRMS — but not listening to it — while working out.

I have a feeling Rachel will be holding up informative little signs during her next C Street segment.

So Help Me…

Cecil Bothwell, a newly elected city councilman for Asheville, North Carolina, was sworn into office with a solemn affirmation instead of “…so help me God” or “…in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ the Redeemer Who Will Definitely Return To Fight The Antichrist within Our Lifetime” or whatever the hell it is the War on Christmas people are demanding you say nowadays.

The exact people you would expect started flipping out, and Rachel took a look at the states that require you to pass a religious test before you can hold public office and whether they can really do that. (Hint: No.)

Still, you can see why those pious Ashevillians are freaked. It’s a well-known fact that the minute atheists get into office, they start enacting mandatory casual sex laws and issuing resolutions in favor of International Cursing Day.

Oh, my, speaking of which, is it that time of year already? International Cursing Day sneaks up on you so quickly.

Cocktail Moment

I am in favor of Cocktail Moments that come served in coconut shells, especially when they also involve octopi.

(When you’re done with Rachel’s cool clip, you may be craving more octopwnage. Check out National Geographic’s “Shark vs. Octopus” clip and enjoy the badassery.)

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