RachelWatch: The Man Behind the Grassroots Curtain

Today: The interview you’ve been waiting for — Rachel has a friendly chat with lobbyist Rick Berman.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Reform

Shhh. Nobody move. Everybody just act real casual. Rachel started us off with the news that progressives might actually be making bold moves and thus some real gains regarding health care reform and DON’T EVERYBODY LOOK AT ONCE! You know they get shy.

Rachel tried – gently – to give some positive reinforcement for the “full-court press for health reform,” including some highly satisfying footage of professional liar Betsy McCaughey being asked to bag and remove every last bit of what she’s been shoveling.

Rachel also chatted with the excellent Connie Schultz of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Enjoy.

Meet Rick Berman

These two segments were absolutely fascinating. Rachel welcomed lobbyist and horseman of the apocalypse Rick Berman, who runs a bazillion websites, all of which seem to contain the word “scam” in their names.

The websites are a part of Berman’s altruistic nonprofit endeavors; he specializes in setting up fake “grassroots” organizations that happen to reflect large corporate interests.

Rachel wanted a word.

I’m surprised that Berman is not more directly involved in the debate over health care reform, since he seems to have a chronic condition that renders him unable to answer questions.

As interesting as their verbal sparring is — they don’t actually get very far because Rachel keeps roping him and dragging him back to the original question he never answered — I’d say that Berman’s face alone is a close second.

He’s definitely had some of that weird P.R. guy training where they learn to keep their faces Botox-still while being questioned to avoid giving anything away, but it fails him once or twice.

I’m a particular fan of the restrained terror that registers the first time he realizes that Rachel won’t be diverted away from her questions.

Rachel is great with him, but you may still need a shower after these clips.

(And, yes, Berman is full of it when he says trans fats aren’t much worse than saturated fats and aren’t especially bad for you. Well, assuming you want to believe those hacks at the Mayo Clinic.)

To Catch a Senator

Oh, Dear. Remember when it looked like Senator John Ensign (R – Nevada) and his sordid little affair were going to get completely obscured by Governor Sanford’s majestic plume of emo-crazy?

I bet the Senator looks back on those days with fondness.

Now that more details of the lobbying job Ensign got his mistress’s husband are emerging, the Senator is involved in a bit of a tomato-tomahto debate as to whether it was not at all illegal (Senator Ensign) or really super-duper hilariously illegal (everybody else).

Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, dropped in to discuss.

Bonus: Boy, do Melanie Sloan and Rick Berman hate each other.

Moment of Geek

You thought you were living in real life, but no: Rachel informed us that we are now living in a poorly-premised disaster movie. NASA is going to bomb the moon’s south pole to see if there’s water in the debris.

Will we knock the moon’s orbit all silly, drawing all the world’s water into one big Supertide on one side of the globe? Will we draw the attention of pacifist aliens who nevertheless possess advanced planet-destroying weapons? Or will we awaken Angry Moon Lizard Anti-Santa?

Should be exciting to find out.

Year Nine, Day One

Did you need some grim realities to consider about our involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

Oh, good, you’re in luck.