Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Musings

Dubai is goodbye? Or just a Tokyo-yo? Let's muse.

Even more curious than the phenomena that is Thanksgiving dinner, which emphasizes symbolic comfort foods one would seldom consider eating on any other occasion? Thanksgiving leftovers, or, rather, those who are passionate for them. We're talking about the hardened, dry meat of a bird that doesn't rank among the tastiest to begin with.

My leftover turkey recipe? Leave turkey in refrigerator. Age three days. Toss.

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Remember Mike Huckabee, the perfectly nice but not so presidential candidate for the Republican nomination? Turns out he granted clemency to the guy who murdered four police officers in a Seattle coffee shop. Two years ago, I wrote this of Huckabee:

"Are the Republicans really going to nominate a Bush clone (one who draws arbitrary distinctions with Bush at that) who also has a Willie Horton problem?"

They did not, and they will not. Mike Huckabee is a nice person who lets his heart get in the way of his head. Giving power to such people is a dangerous thing. Who knows when God will call Huck's cell with another bad idea.

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So, it turns out that the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia decided to toss all of the raw data they had been collecting from various weather stations. Cue thousands of greenos hurrying to their keyboards to explain that it is perfectly normal for scientists to throw away large amounts of data used in their research.

(edit: scouring the web, I see that the left is starting to take this story more seriously. They are now throwing the entire institution under the bus, casting the University of East Anglia as a sort of glorified community college.)

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I am completely ignoring cyber-Monday. I'm also done blogging. Enjoy the sunshine!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thursdaytimes!

In honor of the White House, TPWK would like to dedicate this Thanksgiving to India, which kinda dodged a bullet with the whole Columbus thing, if you think about it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Musings

Do me a favor, will you? Wherever you are right now, stop what you are doing, throw your hands in the air, and shout "it's musing time, baby!"

Thanks... Let's roll.

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Too little has been said about the hacked e-mail from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. To those unfamiliar with the story: the e-mails reveal scientists exaggerating data, conspiring to suppress dissent (going so far as to redefine the much ballyhooed process of peer review), calling for the deletion of e-mails. They also reveal that scientists are as baffled as anyone as to why the Earth hasn't been warming (one prominent researcher, who contributed heavily to the IPCC report, calls this a "travesty").

This is damning evidence that scientists are more or less trying to invent a catastrophe out of whole cloth. The green movement has gotten as far as it has because the public regards scientists as benevolent Mr. Wizards who wear lab coats and fight for truth. Else, an appeal to "peer-reviewed" literature and "settled science" in the face of common sense (very few people actually think we are headed for a climate catastrophe) falls flat.

Absent this appeal, greens are left pointing to anecdotal evidence such as melting ice caps and "disappearing" polar bear populations (the polar bear population is actually increasing). This is the very behavior they decry in skeptics (global warming? This was the coldest summer in years!.

Before we enact any policy w/r/t global warming, I want to see research that is done honestly and transparently. To reject this demand is to treat global warming as a religion, and carbon emissions a God to be worshiped. No thank you.

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What the hell? It's like Ziggy Stardust, if Ziggy Stardust was actually Brittney Spears and not David Bowie.

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Can someone explain the appeal of Twitter? I've been blogging in some capacity for almost five years. I'm on Facebook daily. These things bring me joy. Twitter is the most boring thing on the planet. Worse, it seems to be entirely redundant if you are on Facebook. I'm not the type who starts accounts and promptly abandons them, but I'm not going to torture myself either.

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Visited Tea House in Plymouth, one of the few reasonably authentic Chinese places you'll find in this city. The food is extremely greasy, which I found odd, but the flavors were generally spot on. The dumplings and bamboo tips were standouts. My pork in szechuan sauce would have been better had the waiter remembered to bring rice. This is a place better suited for larger groups, as the portions are large and the flavors are pretty intense.

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Gotta run. Seasons 2 of Major Dad just came on Netflix.

Monday, November 16, 2009

McLaren Types Words Into His Computer

It’s been said that conservatives are people who honor the tombs of dead progressives.

I have never heard this, though I cannot dispute that it has "been said". Other things that have probably "been said":

This Leprechaun is ravishing my grandmother's ottoman.

Your kitten is waffles.

Whiskey is the truest form of religion.


If that’s true, then within the Democratic movement, even with its progressive reputation, there could be a wing of conservative progressives, those who remember the good old days and the great leaders who then presided.


Brian has no idea what conservatism is, what it stands for, or how to engage it. Instead, he muddles together some things he saw on Rachel Maddow.


What would a conservative wing of the progressive party stand for?


Abortion rights.

First, I think, they would be staunchly secular, deeply suspicious of progressive Evangelicals and Catholics being “out of the closet” about their faith in party circles.

Progressives are historically religious, dating back to the social gospel movement of the early 20th century, the wheel which McLaren is ignorantly re-inventing.

Second, they would be nervous about progressive religious Democrats who do not favor criminalizing abortion but are deeply committed to abortion reduction.

Does McLaren use the word "criminalizing" to describe the act of officially prohibiting anything other than abortion? But yeah, the conservative liberal would be pretty much about abortion rights, and I can't imagine why they would have any problem with a little bit of lip service about reducing abortions.


Third, they would be concerned if these Evangelical and Catholic Democrats wanted the same kinds of accountability for big government that they want for big business.


Fortunately, they'll never have to worry about that.

Most progressive Evangelicals, it turns out, are the sons and daughters of religiously righteous conservative Republicans,

They also use ridiculous phrases like "religiously righteous conservative Republicans". That's some bad writing, is what I'm trying to say.

so they have already learned how to break free from conservative strangle-holds. Wouldn’t it be ironic if they become the ones to help shift the center of gravity in the Democratic Party — not regressively, but in a freshly progressive direction?

It would not be ironic to anyone who understands the political history of this country. What would be ironic is if their kids saw through their theological and political piffle and became more conservative than their grandparents.

We need to realize this inconvenient but urgently needed truth: it’s not the 1980s anymore.

What? Who thinks it's the 1980s? Who is acting as though it's the 1980s? What planet does McLaren live on?

If we keep asking the same old poorly framed or unproductive questions — What is your position on abortion?

If this question is so unproductive, then why did McLaren introduce his position early on in this piece? This question is only unproductive for McLaren because it requires him to acknowledge that he is pro-choice, and therefore costs him credibility with moderate and conservative Christians who cannot tolerate the sanctioned slaughter of nearly half of our population.

What’s your position on gay marriage?

Apparently, direct questions are poorly framed and unproductive. Best to stick with innuendo and banalities - What is your modality?

Are you religious or secular?

How irrelevant, the whole question of whether one subscribes to a religion. Meaningless, religion, as a concept. Deep down, we're all the same.


Are you for or against big government?– whatever our answers are, we remain stuck in a past moment and can’t get out of it.


I have never been asked whether I am for or against big government, though I agree that it is a useless question, albeit for more precise reasons than McLaren. Also, Brian McLaren hasn't written anything compelling in nearly a decade. Who, exactly, is stuck here?

We don’t just need new answers to the same old questions; we need to raise new questions entirely, and in that way, change the conversation in both parties in a truly progressive way.


I'd ask McLaren to pose one such question, but I suspect this is just a setup to talk about his latest book.


Democrats and Republicans alike need to progress to a new list of critical issues, beginning with three emergencies I identified in my book Everything Must Change:


Yahtzee. Like clockwork, this guy.

1. The Crisis of the Planet: How can we reorient our economy around sustainability and regeneration rather than consumption and environmental degradation?

Why is this more important than the question of whether literally any human being in this country might be subject to execution prior to exiting the womb? Also, a planet is not a crisis. That is a categorical error.

2. The Crisis of Poverty: How can we address the growing economic gap between a powerful rich minority and the marginalized poor majority of our world’s people, especially when rich corporate elites have found ways to co-opt democracy and control political agendas here and around the world?

Answer, by extracting control from the democracies. By limiting government, you reduce the influence of corporate scoundrels on same. McLaren has never engaged this argument, and never will.

3. The Crisis of Peace: How can we move beyond the morally bankrupt and economically bankrupting endless wars of terrorism and counter-terrorism to pursue peace through justice and reconciliation in a world armed with too many and too-dangerous weapons?


Catch phrases. Catch phrases solve everything. Everything must change. Therefore, the catch phrases must change. Alternately, you could find military personnel to think through the issue and recommend... Ah, forget about all that.

Christians have every reason to address these three issues with faith-based energy and passion, whatever their party. I hope that Democrats will welcome a shift in focus to a new kind of question, and that progressive Evangelicals (and Catholics) will aid in that process.

And, we're done. Yes, let's all get together and ask mundane questions of each other. That will make everything better, and everything will change therefore.

And let's keep the Catholics in their place, enclosed in parentheses.

Monday Musings

I'm back in Minnesota with the rest of the plebs. Let's muse.

On airlines:

I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with Delta. Caveats about small sample size not withstanding, it seems like they're the kick in the ass Northwest needed. Consider this. All three of our mainland flights were on time, with flight entertainment (a rarity on NWA), and all of our stewards were friendly (ditto). Most impressive was the baggage claim turnaround. Checking bags with NWA used to add 30 minutes to your trip, minimum.

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I am somewhat less impressed with Go! Airlines. Operated by Mesa, they fly between the Hawaiian islands, sort of. For starters every flight out of Honolulu was delayed that day. Some flights to the big island were so delayed that other late flights to the same destination were departing before the other flights. Our flight only departed about 15 minutes late, but we were the exception.

I thought someone was going to pull a gun. It's not like security was going to stop them. On our flight to Kauai, the man sitting next to us successfully smuggled a live chicken on board.

Spring the extra $10 and fly Hawaiian.

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On Anita Dunn:

A few weeks ago, I speculated that Anita Dunn was being put front and center in the White House's weird battle with Fox News simply to provide a pretense for firing her. That was precisely the case. Smart move by the administration. She was abysmal at her job.

So what does Obama do? He elevates Dunn's husband. That is an unfathomable decision.

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On 9/11:

Politically, I understand the motivation behind bringing the 9/11 masterminds to civilian courts. It is a chance to placate the left-wing without making any substantial concessions to the idiotic cause of extending constitutional rights to internationally affiliated terrorists.

What I don't understand is the left-wing base, which is applauding what essentially amounts to a show trial. If these men are not convicted, what is the government going to do? Release them? Hardly.

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To that end, the White House might have a potential mess on their hands, in the event of a jury trial. At least 1 of 12 jurors is likely to vehemently oppose the decision to bring this to a jury trial. That person could make themselves very (in)famous very quickly by registering a protest vote against the whole dog and pony show. Joe the juror, anyone?

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On Hawaiian food:

The Hawaiian's get fast food right. Instead of the usual dog food on a donut, they favor "plate lunches", a meal paired with rice. I had one with fish, chicken and beef, and had it just as quickly as I would if I had ordered a Big Mac, and much MORE quickly than had I waited twenty minutes in line for a Chipotle burrito.

Also, hot dried cuttlefish, which is essentially squid jerky, is divine. Anyone know where I can get it in Minnesota?

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On Minnesota Food:

On the topic of decent fast food, Hook Fish and Chips is pretty good, if a bit pricey (and not really fast). I had fried shrimp and talapia w/fix. They have a few locations, mostly in lower income neighborhoods. So if you're in one, and you're hungry, go.

That's all for today. I have to go give someone a lot of sass.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nothin' Wrong With This

Look at this guy...



He's gonna gitcha. Don't worry though, he'll wait until you're asleep.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Can I Get a What, What?

No, no I cannot.

Apparently, it is more or less a figure of speech, is the reason, or so I have been told.

Ridiculous.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hawaii musings

Light blogging week, on account of I am on beautiful island. But here are some goodies.

Hawaiian food is a trip. Sausages, shave ice, funky donuts, moco loco (sort of a deconstructed scotch egg), and all things spam... It's like these people took the Minnesota State fair and internalized it.

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If you are ever in Oahu, by all means avoid the Dole Plantation. Trains, mazes, and horrendous food pineapples on top of it. What I thought would be kitschy fun wound up being as pleasant as having a baseball bat shoved into my eye socket. It's like if the Small World ride and the Wisconsin Dells got together and had a mildly retarded baby with jaundice.

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So, if you are in the Army, and you reveal you have attended a radical mosque, speak favorably of suicide bombings, oppose American military interventions in the Middle East... That's all cool? No cause for concern there?

Gen. Casey's commentary on the matter. "It would be a shame if you diversity became a casualty as well."

Would it? Even if it would, the fact that the Army Chief of Staff seems to think that hampered diversity should occupy the same psychic space as a terrorist attack that killed 13 people tells you a lot about how this came about.

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A restaurant reco on the mainland. I had been meaning to go to the Modern Cafe for quite awhile. I got around to it, and wished I had got their sooner. Excellent, fresh food, outstanding service. Top notch all around.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Top Ten Fridays - Lessons From Tuesday

I know it's Thursday, but I'll be on a plane tomorrow. If the cognitive dissonance is too much for you, you can wait until tomorrow to read.

The pundits have discussed Tuesday's election results to death, but I have seen very few interesting observations. Mostly, the analysis is drawn along partisan lines. The Weekly Standard thinks it was a referendum on Obama. Jim Wallis thinks it represents a nebulous rejection of the power of money in politics.

It's neither (though especially not the latter, which is a ridiculously self-serving conclusion). With that, here are my ten observations.

1) Re: NY-23. Very statistically minded sports fans, when attempting to predict future results, look beyond wins and losses. Games decided by small margins (e.g. 1 run in baseball) are essentially toss-ups, as the better team is no more or less likely to win a close game over a weaker opponent. The same can be said for elections.

NY-23 was, essentially a tie. What does this tell us? That a Democrat can win in a Republican leaning district? Yes. That a conservative movement candidate cannot? No. The truth is, both sides can take comfort in the fact that they identified ideologically viable candidates, and may feel free to anoint similar candidates in the future.

2) Low voter turnout once again favored the status quo in Minneapolis. Ironically, however, the variety of party affiliations has only served to reinforce the unilateral stranglehold of the Democratic party. Green Party candidates split votes with independents, Flag Party members, People Against Cats et al... Simply split votes. The lack of a real Republican presence in this city has allowed this to happen, and those residents who don't live on the Southwest side are getting the worst of it.

3) Whether or not Tuesday's election was a repudiation of Obama, it certainly heralds the return of ideological norms, or indicates that they never went away in the first place.

4) The Washington Post doesn't hold court over Northern Virginia the way it did even three years ago. Between their incompetently crafted opinion pieces and "straight" political reporting, they have usually managed to push the numbers. Not so in this case.

It's not that people aren't reading the Post. It's that people are contextualizing it. As a stand alone paper, it's a persuasive piece of work. Against the backdrop of a Google Reader or news digester (drudge, RCP), it is simply one voice in the choir. This is a great development, and its happening all across the country.

5) Just because poll numbers do not indicate that people cast their vote to repudiate Obama, doesn't mean this wasn't a repudiation of Obama's ideas. When people cite health care as among their top three issues (it hasn't been so in the past), and then vote for Republicans, there is some pretty easy math you can do, if you are willing to pick up a calculator.

6) California is still liberal. This will not change, especially when businesses begin to jump ship.

7) In response to the successful referendum against gay marriage in Maine, the gay power groups were understandably frustrated. Many have taken to op-ed pages to declare the inevitably of their cause, since those in opposition to the practice will be dead soon. Suffices to say, this is off the talking points. Those who eagerly anticipate the death of other human beings tend to float to the political margins in accordance with their viewpoint. Bloodthirsty gays are only popular in Twilight.

8) R.T. Rybak has precisely no interest in leading this city. If he is elected governor, he will have no interest in leading Minnesota. He's one of those types, which isn't necessarily awful, except that he isn't competent enough to pull it off. He can't campaign and lead at the same time. As such, his fallback is to make a big splash about irrelevant issues (see: bottled water).

9) Barack Obama is tone deaf. Clinton responded swiftly to the mere suggestion he might be souring the prospects of his party nationally. He took action, triangulated, and did his able best to grovel back into the good graces of American voters. The White House issued a press release about how unimportant the elections were .

10) People still don't pay attention. How many people didn't even know there were elections on Tuesday? 60%? That's terrible.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Minneapolis 4th Ward Endorsements

Today, Minneapolis residents have the opportunity to lodge protest votes against our incompetent city leadership. If you live in my neck of the woods, here's how you can vote, TPWK style.

Note: The instant runoff gives you the choice of up to three candidates. This will almost certainly not create any voting irregularities that inure to the benefit of incumbents.

Mayor


1st Choice - Papa John Kolstad

The Green party and the Republican party agree on him, for some reason. Kolstad is the only candidate who has even made mention of getting this city's fiscal ship in order.

2nd Choice - Christopher Clark


He's Libertarian, which means he probably won't spend all his time worrying about whether or not you are drinking bottled water.

3rd Choice - Joey Lombard


His mildly amusing ballot gag trumps the entirety of R.T. Rybak's accomplishments.

City Council - Fourth Ward


1st Choice - Grant Cermak

In addition to being conservative and actually caring about North Minneapolis, Grant also has the endorsement of the council to save happy hour. Cheers!

2nd Choice - Barb Johnson


She isn't particularly good at her job, but she did take my phone call regarding the ridiculous sidewalk repair estimates from home the day after having surgery.

3rd Choice - Marcus Harcus

Living in this city makes it very difficult to take yourself seriously. So don't! Vote Green.

Board of Estimate and Taxation (if it remains)

1st Choice - Michael Martens


He has earned the Strib endorsement, and has actually made a pledge to limit taxes. He is the only candidate for whom I am excited to cast a ballot.

2nd Choice - David Wheeler


Also at least claims to understand our problematic tax structure, though he seems inclined to pass the blame to the state legislature. The fact that he is moderate on the issue of preserving the board impresses me. People who run for office in this city are never moderate about anything.

3rd Choice - James Elliot Swartwood


A member of a party called the "New Dignity Party". Wants to lower taxes, and has absolutely no chance of winning. Why the hell not?

Park Board - 2nd District


1st (and only) choice - Michael Guest


The Park Board had a pretty disastrous summer, and the incumbents need to be held to account for a ridiculous and petty war with the city council.

Park Board - At Large


1st Choice - David Wahlstedt

A reformer with genuinely good ideas for incorporating the private sector into fiscal planning. His idea for "mini farmers markets" makes a lot of sense.

2nd Choice - John Butler

The New Dignity candidate. I think the anti-establishment zeal is better placed at this capacity.

3rd Choice - Nancy Bernard

She is running because she is concerned that people aren't using the parks, and wants to find out why. This approach almost certainly guarantees transparency, and her candidacy is a direct rebuke of an establishment that could care less whether people actually enjoy the parks we spend so much to maintain.

Amendment 168 - Yes

As much as I loathe the notion of rendering more power unto our ridiculous city leadership, the Board of Estimate and Taxation is a needless bureaucracy that has done nothing to assuage skyrocketing property tax rates or increase transparency.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Frank Rich Melts Down

This is the most poorly written, fundamentally unsound opinion piece I have read in a major daily in a long time. Naturally, it runs in the New York Times.

If you aren't up to speed, Barack Obama named Rep. McHugh (R-NY) the Secretary of the Army. A politically connected liberal named DeDe was anointed to run as a Republican in a special election. All was well until the Conservative party candidate, Doug Hoffman, started gaining momentum. In a fit of pique, DeDe quit and endorsed the Democratic candidate.

The lesson in all of this, according to Frank Rich, is that Republicans are just like murdering communists.

Title: The G.O.P. Stalinists Invade Upstate New York

Let's all settle in for a nuanced, well-reasoned piece of criticism, shall we?


BARACK OBAMA’S most devilish political move since the 2008 campaign was to appoint a Republican congressman from upstate New York as secretary of the Army.


Nothing like kicking off an opinion piece with a hacky Halloween reference.


This week’s election to fill that vacant seat has set off nothing less than a riotous and bloody national G.O.P. civil war.


If this is a civil war, it is the equivalent of South Carolina seceding, and Abraham Lincoln saying "whoa, didn't know you felt that way. That's cool, that's cool. We'll be up here if you need anything. Go slaves!" Followed with Kentucky being annexed by France.

No matter what the results in that race on Tuesday, the Republicans are the sure losers. This could be a gift that keeps on giving to the Democrats through 2010, and perhaps beyond.

Rich spends the rest of this paragraph in a furious defense his assertion...

Skip to next paragraph

...Or not. Will do, New York Times html guy.

But preposterous as it sounds, the real action migrated to New York’s 23rd, a rural Congressional district abutting Canada.

Why the reference to Canada? "Meh, NY-23? They're pretty much Canadians." Who cares?

That this pastoral setting could become a G.O.P. killing field, attracting an all-star cast of combatants led by Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, William Kristol and Newt Gingrich, is a premise out of a Depression-era screwball comedy.

This is exactly like the plot for Bringing Up Baby.



But such farces have become the norm for the conservative movement — whether the participants are dressing up in full “tea party” drag or not.

Drag? I think he's confusing the Tea Partiers with the Prop 8 protesters.

The battle for upstate New York confirms just how swiftly the right has devolved into a wacky, paranoid cult that is as eager to eat its own as it is to destroy Obama.

This is contradictory. Wacky, paranoid cults stand in unison against opposition. They do stuff like hide in basements together. That's why we call them cults. So you can call us a cult that wants to destroy Obama, or you can say we eat our own, but not both.

The movement’s undisputed leaders, Palin and Beck,

Rush Limbaugh would dispute this. As would John McCain. You know, the guy who ran for president on the Republican ticket? The guy who picked Palin? He's kind of a big deal. Also, Mike Huckabee? Mitt Romney? No?

neither of whom has what Palin once called the “actual responsibilities” of public office, would gladly see the Republican Party die on the cross of right-wing ideological purity. Over the short term, at least, their wish could come true.

Meh, NY-23? They're pretty much Canadians.

The New York fracas was ignited by

Don't begin your paragraph with the passive voice, Frank.

The 23rd is in safe Republican territory that hasn’t sent a Democrat to Congress in decades. And Scozzafava is a mainstream conservative by New York standards;

But not by the standards of her district, or the standards of any reasonable person, or at all.

But she has occasionally strayed from orthodoxy on social issues (abortion, same-sex marriage) and endorsed the Obama stimulus package.

Sure, she's fiscally and socially liberal, but she's a hawk when it comes ticket resale prices.

To the right’s Jacobins, that’s cause to send her to the guillotine.


Or just encourage Republicans to vote for someone else, an act which, I suppose, constitutes a metaphorical beheading.

When Gingrich dared endorse Scozzafava anyway — as did other party potentates like John Boehner and Michael Steele — he too was slimed. Mocking Newt’s presumed 2012 presidential ambitions, Michelle Malkin imagined him appointing Al Sharpton as secretary of education and Al Gore as “global warming czar.” She’s quite the wit.

Two sides of the same coin, dude. Remember the screwball comedy bit? Yikes.

The wrecking crew of Kristol, Fred Thompson, Dick Armey, Michele Bachmann, The Wall Street Journal editorial page and the government-bashing Club for Growth all joined the Hoffman putsch.

That's a hell of a lot of Jacobins.

Then came the big enchilada: a Hoffman endorsement from Palin on her Facebook page. Such is Palin’s clout that Steve Forbes, Rick Santorum and Tim Pawlenty, the Minnesota governor (and presidential aspirant), promptly fell over one another in their Pavlovian rush to second her motion.

Fred Thompson's rush was so Pavlovian that he beat Palin to the punch by 24 days. Also, I'm pretty sure Steve Forbes doesn't sit around waiting for Sarah Palin to tell him what to do.

Hoffman doesn’t even live in the district.

New Yorkers care deeply about this.

When he appeared before the editorial board of The Watertown Daily Times 10 days ago, he “showed no grasp” of local issues, as the subsequent editorial put it.


And if you disagree with the Watertown Daily Times (which endorses Owens entirely on the basis of his promise to deliver pork to the district), you are crazy and paranoid.

Last week it turned out that Hoffman’s prime attribute to the radical right — as a take-no-prisoners fiscal conservative — was bogus. In fact he’s on the finance committee of a hospital that happily helped itself to a $479,000 federal earmark.


Okay, we're to the point in the piece where Frank is regurgitating talking points the Owens campaign has provided him. Can we get to the part where I'm a Stalinist?

The right’s embrace of Hoffman is a double-barreled suicide for the G.O.P.

This sounds like a lyric from a Rage Against the Machine song.


Punch-drunk with this triumph, the right will redouble its support of primary challengers to 2010 G.O.P. candidates they regard as impure.


She's not impure. She's purely a Democrat.

That’s bad news for even a Republican as conservative as Kay Bailey Hutchison, whose primary opponent in the Texas governor’s race, the incumbent Rick Perry, floated the possibility of secession at a teabagger rally in April and hastily endorsed Hoffman on Thursday.

Well, if he did it on Thursday, then it wasn't hasty at all. Or did he just talk really fast and sound out of breath when he did it? Frank likes to play fast and loose with adverbs.

The more rightists who win G.O.P. primaries, the greater the Democrats’ prospects next year.

Care to back up this assertion, since it's carrying the lede of your paragraph? No? Alright, then.

But the electoral math is less interesting than the pathology of this movement. Its antecedent can be found in the early 1960s, when radical-right hysteria carried some of the same traits we’re seeing now: seething rage, fear of minorities, maniacal contempt for government, and a Freudian tendency to mimic the excesses of political foes.

I have nothing witty, except to say if you read this paragraph and nodded your head, you are completely and utterly ignorant regarding the 1960's political landscape.

Writing in 1964 of that era’s equivalent to today’s tea party cells, the historian Richard Hofstadter observed that the John Birch Society’s “ruthless prosecution” of its own ideological war often mimicked the tactics of its Communist enemies.

The execution of tens of millions of people, for example. Remember when the John Birch society did that? Lousy jerks.

The same could be said of Beck, Palin and their acolytes.

What same can be said of the acolytes? Frank didn't explain what the John Birch Society did. He isn't even using metaphors to explain himself now.


Though they constantly liken the president to various totalitarian dictators, it is they who are re-enacting Stalinism in full purge mode.


Which again, the blood purges involved slaughtering millions of people. Even as dysphemism, this is unhinged.

They drove out Arlen Specter, and now want to “melt Snowe” (as the blog Red State put it).

Let's reconstruct Frank's syllogism.

1) Most Republicans are conservatives.
2) Some Republicans are not.
3) Conservatives support conservatives.
4) Stalin murdered tens of millions of human beings.
5) Conservatives are just like Stalin in every way.

The same Republicans who once deplored Democrats for refusing to let an anti-abortion dissident, Gov. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, speak at the 1992 Clinton convention now routinely banish any dissenters in their own camp.

Routinely = Once

These conservatives’ whiny cries of victimization also parrot a tic they once condemned in liberals.

Argumentum ad dictatorum? I'm still condemning it.

After Rush Limbaugh

I don't really care what Frank thinks about Limbaugh. I just had a bet with myself that he wouldn't get through his piece without devoting a paragraph to him. I win. We lose. Besides, Glenn Beck is leader now. Who cares about Rush.

This same note of self-martyrdom was sounded in a much-noticed recent column by the former Nixon hand Pat Buchanan.

Who, for the record, has not endorsed Hoffman, did not win a nomination for office, and doesn't have anything to do with this op-ed.


The right still may want to believe, as Palin said during the campaign, that Alaska, with its small black and Hispanic populations, is a “microcosm of America.” (New York’s 23rd also has few blacks or Hispanics.) But most Americans like their country’s 21st-century profile.


NY-23 is not diverse, but some places are, and so this race is not a microcosm of anything, except for how dumb Republicans are generally, because of Rush Limbaugh, and Alaska is not diverse, so it is just like NY-23, so this is all a microcosm.


No wonder even the very conservative Republican contenders in the two big gubernatorial contests this week have frantically tried to disguise their own convictions.


But you said this wasn't about those races. Your changing the sub... This is bad writ.... GAH!!!!

But in this campaign he ditched those issues, disinvited Palin for a campaign appearance, praised Obama’s Nobel Prize, and ran a closing campaign ad trumpeting “Hope.”

And the conservatives have rushed to support his opposition, so I can see why he brought this up. Wait, no? They haven't? Then why did he bring this up?

Chris Christie, McDonnell’s counterpart in New Jersey, posted a campaign video celebrating “Change” in which Obama’s face and most stirring campaign sound bites so dominate you’d think the president had endorsed the Republican over his Democratic opponent, Jon Corzine.

Doesn't sound very ideologically pure to me. We Stalinists sure don't pay attention to much, which is weird, since we're so paranoid.

Only in the alternative universe of the far right is Obama a pariah and Palin the great white hope.

Nobody thinks this way.


But if curious moderate and independent voters are now tempted to surf there and encounter Beck’s histrionics for the first time,


What could possibly be crazier than comparing 40% of America to mass executioners? For posterity, I took a gander at a random Glenn Beck clip on Foxnews.com, and he was playing Connect Four. I have to admit that was the last thing I expected to see. Dunno if he was playing histrionically, though.

Okay, I can't stop. Seriously, after all this unhinged ranting, Frank is accusing someone else of histrionics?

There is only one political opponent whom Obama really has to worry about at this moment: Hamid Karzai. It’s Afghanistan and joblessness, not the Stalinists of the right, that have the power to bring this president down.

And Frank finishes by introducing an entirely new argument in his concluding paragraph. Perfect. Thanks for this, Frank.