Look! There on her arm! That's not a bruise, it's a tattoo! ZOMG, can you even be a Senator with a tattoo? Can two strong women work together at the State Department without a catfight? Was it ever possible that power would not corrupt powerful Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel? Can the Huffington Post's Jason Linkins answer all these questions and talk about puppies without having to leave his computer to vomit from the flu? Those queries and many others, answered after the jump.
JASON: Ugh. I am awake.
MEGAN: I feel you there. I was about to say how it gets worse the longer the week goes on, and then I realized it's only Tuesday. I might cry now.
JASON: Both of us are home sick today. It's a Christmas miracle.
MEGAN: Oh, damn, that sucks. I'm glad I didn't ask you guys if you wanted to get dinner last night.
JASON: We would have declined politely, but it's always nice to have someone thinking of you when you're sick.
MEGAN: I have a biohazard suit somewhere in my car, I think, let me know if you need a chicken soup delivery or something. Otherwise, we should probably discuss Caroline Kennedy's tattoo, which I think — despite being published in the New York Post — is another piece of annoying evidence of how conservative D.C. really is. Also, sexist: tell em Ben Nighthorse Campbell didn't have a tattoo or two.
JASON: Well, remember how worked up everyone got about Elizabeth Kucinich's piercing? Didn't she have a navel piercing or something? You note how I barely remember? That's because I lived in Richmond, WHERE EVERYONE HAD A TATTOO OR A PIERCING.
MEGAN: Tongue piercing. At least then the subtext was that Dennis was getting more blow jobs than the average male D.C. political reporter, present company exempted since I'm sure you and your wife have crazy hot sex all the time. Except when you're sick.
JASON: Not tongue studded sex, and I'm fine with that. My wife has a tattoo on her back (of Eve sitting naked bestride a giant apple) and a navel piercing. Both obtained in Richmond. (My friend Amy gets credit for the art of the tattoo. I was at work one day when our manager Dave came in on his day off, and he was all: "I have to SHOW you something!" And I said, "What, what?" And he lifted up the leg of his pants to reveal a tattoo of a flaming spork on his calf. And I said, "It's a flaming spork." And he looked at me and said, "It came to me in a dream!" Capitol Hill's culture is more conservative, yes. But it's also the culture of a unfrozen idiot caveman. Everything terrifies it. About the only thing it's okay to be out of the closet on is sci-fi fandom. And of course, it's not okay to be out of the closet on being gay.
MEGAN: Flaming spork, huh? Is "dream" some sort of Richmond code for "LSD-induced haze"? But, to the point, I know people in D.C. that speak of their love of sci-fi in D.C. in hushed terms more befitting an admission of a love of S&M at a White House Christmas party. Actually, that probably happens a lot.
JASON: At least on the GOP side.
MEGAN: But no one admits to being gay in D.C. — you can catch a Hill staffer with a dick in his mouth and he'll still try to tell you he tripped.
JASON: Generally speaking, yes, most significant Richmond dreams are chemically induced. Well, it's like that dude who paid a cop twenty dollars to have it off. What was his name again?
MEGAN: Bob Allen. God damn, why do I remember these things? Let's not forget Larry Craig, though.
JASON: You remember those things because you used to write for Wonkette. But, yeah, Bob Allen. This guy will take his whole insistence on not being gay all the way to the Supreme Court. He'll be gobbling Alito's dong, and testifying, "I hate this! I don't know why it's HAPPENEEEEENG!" But, look, I think we all got a little covered with spermatazoa yesterday... Can I just mention that we live in a world of HERO PUPPIES?
MEGAN: But what a great transition to the Supreme Court non-case over Barack Obama's citizenship. I'd bet more than a few not-gay Republicans would've gobbled Alito's dong to get that case heard. Yeah, I'd rather talk puppies, too.
JASON: Just leave that link there for the Jezebel Nation (who got a shout out in the Peanuts Christmas Special) to click on when they need to feel like secret, cuddly, heroic forces are at work in the world. The Obama citizenship case proves just how far you can come in life when you have the right motivation. The folks behind these suits are hopeless, paranoid, dumbasses, and Clarence Thomas was there for them in his hour of need. You know Souter, I think, originally denied the petition. Thomas was all: "You know? I'm going to allow this!" Antonin Scalia probably got misty-eyed: "Look at my idiot protege, he's gettin' to be all grown up!" Then he probably babbled a few sentences in Latin to the false gods of his Opus Dei crackpot religion. "Semper ubi sub ubi!" Then he was wracked with Saint Vitus Dance. AND IT WAS ANOTHER TYPICAL DAY AT YOUR SUPREME COURT!
MEGAN: You know what's hilarious? One of my friends was trying to argue to me that if they had just shown the crackpots his original birth certificate, none of this would have happened and I was like, they're crazy. Are you kidding me? They probably would have lit it on fire, run out of the room and begun screaming about how they now had evidence that it doesn't exist.
JASON: Or they would found something, anything to brand it counterfeit. You see, evidence does not shut these dimwits down. Adding exculpatory material to the pile just excites them anew. They need to be ignored, or sent out to sea on ice floes (which is currently illegal, I think, or they'd have solved social security by doing it with retirees).
MEGAN: Mike Madden took one for the team and went to their press conference yesterday. His reporting, I think, proves your point.
Two and a half hours later, as dentist-slash-lawyer Orly Taitz harangued reporters for not investigating whether Obama's mother was actually dead, that hope had been obliterated. It was crushed by a torrent of half-baked legal theories, vague platitudes about the Constitution and sinister "facts" assembled by a collection of true believers so extreme that even Michelle Malkin wants nothing to do with them.
JASON: I'm sure Malkin wavered for a second or two.
MEGAN: Dude, seriously, Latoya and I were talking about this last week! We're not sure whether the other commentators on the right are just so crazy now that her crazy seems reasonable, or if she's actually been becoming somewhat reasonable lately. It's a little scary. I'd ask you to hold me, but you're sick. I mean, when this is the competition:
At one point, [Taitz] asked why the government had fined broadcasters for Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction," but didn't intervene to force the media to report on Obama's allegedly phony birth certificate. She claimed Obama holds passports from at least four countries, compared him to Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver, equated the "controversy" about Obama to Watergate, and finished her tour-de-force presentation by saying that if Obama can claim he's a U.S. citizen and win an election, then so could just about anyone. "If a person can become a presidential candidate only based on his own statement," she said, "then somebody like Osama bin Laden, theoretically, can come and write a statement, 'I'm eligible,' and we should put him on the ballot, too?"
JASON: It's an airtight case! OF UNSHUNTED HYDROENCEPHALITIS, anyway!
MEGAN: You know the world's gone mad when the AP is reporting that Susan Rice is trying to set up her own fiefdom at State, which is just, like, either Susan Rice has gone completely insane or Ron Fournier is typing while giving Cheney a rim job again.
JASON: Wha? Susan Rice?
As Secretary of State-pick Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.N. envoy-choice Susan Rice separately visited the diplomatic agency's headquarters in Washington's Foggy Bottom neighborhood, persons familiar with the transition said that Rice wants to install her own transition team inside the department.
Such a move by an incoming U.N. ambassador is rare, if not unprecedented, because the job is based at the United Nations in New York, where Rice already has a small transition staff, the sources familiar with the incoming administration.
The push by Rice, an early Obama supporter whose position the President-elect wants to elevate to a cabinet post, is also a signal that she intends to use her influence with the new president to play a more significant role than previous U.N. envoys, they said.
You'd think Rice might know things like that it doesn't work that way, having worked at State before.
JASON: Interesting. I'm afraid I haven't the knowledge on hand to grasp the full implications of that. The Obama administration has a different conception of U.N. Ambassador. The article casts this fundamentally at odds with Clinton. And it may! Of course, I suppose Clinton can do little else than accept the way Obama chooses to set his foreign policy team up. I take issue with "cracks" in that they've actually not yet appeared, figuratively.
MEGAN: Well, but if it's just two people having meetings, there's no story! There must be a fight! They have to still hate each other! What else will they talk about?
JASON: I'm afraid that this probably goes back to what Media Matters calls the Clinton Rules For Journalism. Say, a house burns down in Clinton's neighborhood, but firefighters manage to save everyone inside. The headline the next day is supposed to read, "CLINTONS NO HELP AS FIRE CAUSES EXTENSIVE PROPERTY DAMAGE."
MEGAN: For real, though, what else aren't they going to talk about? Charlie Rangel's new ethics problems? Ha! He paid his son $80,000 for doing nothing? So what!? Not going to step down from his Chairmanship because, he says, "I don't think reporters should be in the position of removing Chairmen."
JASON: Getting your son money for doing nothing is an ethics violation? For white people, it's called Late Night Shots.
MEGAN: Hey, Doolittle took heat for it. (His wife, not his son). And so did DeLay. From Rangel, even. When did the lions of the Democratic party start emulating the Republicans we all despised 4 years ago?
JASON: When they took power!
MEGAN: Damn Lord Acton for nailing that one.