My new "Think Again" column about the proliferation of right-wing politicians being hired by network news and cable news networks to beat up on liberals, who when hired, also tend to beat up on liberals. It’s occasioned by Bush adviser’s Matthew Dowd turn as the host of ABC’s "This Week" and it’s here .

And I did a Daily Beast post this morning about that crazy Republican fund-raising memo which, if you haven’t seen, you really must. It’s here.

Finally, my new Moment column is on the web and it’s called "Is Judaism Becoming Less Appealing to Men?" and that’s here.

Now here’s Charles.



Hey Doc: "It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day/I was out choppin’ cotton and my brother was balin’ hay."

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "Oh, You Pretty Woman" (Washboard Rodeo) — I love New Orleans a lot more than New York ever loved Harold Ford. Just sayin’.

Part The First:

Just shut up, you FOOF. Nobody likes you Harold. Outside of the MSNBC Green Room, you have no constituency. Your ideas have even less of one. Go run for Mayor of Scarborough.

Part The Second:

The Landlord does a nice job at The Daily Beast with that completely predictable–if unutterably bizarre–RNC strategy memo. Of course, I have to give its anonymous author credit for one thing–as a political term of art, "visceral giving" is a goddamn keeper.

Part The Third:

Sometimes, I genuinely fear for the sanity of the people at Media Matters. This is a collection of quotes from a genuinely influential person in our national dialogue. Here is Pierce’s First Law Of The National Dialogue: "Nobody should be taken seriously if he regularly says things on television that would cause you to move away if you heard him say it on a crowded subway car." Yes, Newton was pithier. I’m working on it.

Part The Fourth:

If the Academy wants to give Jeff Bridges his Lifetime Achievement Oscar for "Crazy Heart", it’s OK by me. Movie’s not bad. Maggie G. (sigh) is superb. The rehab ex machina final third drags a little. I wish there had been more love given to "In The Loop", especially to Peter Capaldi’s spectacularly profane political fixer. Still the most fun I had at the movies this year.

Part The Penultimate:

OK, so my moles in Arkansas tell me a few things about this Bill Halter guy who’s decided to primary Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Footdragging) down in Arkansas. He’s talks pretty on TV and he’s certainly rolled out his campaign in a superbly professional manner. However, he apparently has what Woody Allen once called "a losing personality." He’s alienated most of the Arkansas political establishment, not because of his stalwart defense of progressive politics, but simply by being something of a dick. In other words, he’s not going to get a lot of help, even by those people who are disgusted by the fact that, on any issue worh a damn, Blanche Lincoln is pretty much a pillar of Maypo. (Added bonus – Lincoln is chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. And even though she’s so tied into big agri-business that she should be resting in a coop owned by Tyson Foods, that’s still a pretty decent amount of pork — literal and figurative — available to a pretty small state. She loses and away it goes.) What the hell, I don’t think either one of them beats whatever shoeless Christian yahoo the Republicans throw up there, anyway.

Part The Ultimate:

I was interested in reading that John Patrick Bedell, the guy who shot up the Pentagon yesterday before being shot and killed himself, turned out to have the same kind of free-floating, label-defying political motive as the one that drove Joseph Stack to fly his airplane into the IRS building in Austin. Bedell apparently was a Truther, but his conspiracy theories went back beyond 9/11, through the heart of the overheated pursuit of Bill Clinton in the 1990’s, and all the way back to the escapades of the Reagan Administration in Central America.

According to the AP, which was quoting a post on an Internet site, someone calling himself JPBedell was "determined to see that justice is served" in the death of Marine Col. James Sabow, who was found dead in the backyard of his California home in 1991. The death was ruled a suicide but the case has long been the source of theories of a cover up.

Colonel Sabow’s suicide happens to be one of the deaths cited in several iterations of the infamous Clinton Body count, the massive conspiracy theory promoted avidly by, among other people, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. Sabow’s death was linked to the alleged drug-running at Mena airport in Arkansas, one of the many branches of the various Clinton conspiracies that became articles of faith among the loopier of the anti-Clinton conspiracy crowd, and that became useful to mainstream Republicans of the time as low-level background noise with which to bedevil a Democratic president, but a branch that swept away, among other sensible people, Christopher Hitchens.

As it happens, Colonel Sabow’s family long has had serious doubts about the official verdict on his death. (And, I have to admit, I never thought I’d be writing even tangentially about Danny Sheehan and The Christic Institute ever again.) But those doubts somehow got lifted from the saga of government drug-running into the fanciful pursuit of Bill Clinton and now to a guy at a subway stop outside the Pentagon, opening up on passersby. The level of unmoored political lunacy in this country is getting dangerously high. The Republican party–and the movement conservatism that fuels it–seems quite willing at least to flirt with encouraging it for political gain. There may not be a place within the left-right, Red-Blue spectrum in which to place these murderous crackpots, but there is one side of that spectrum that seems to have a unique sweet-tooth for their kind of rhetoric

P.S. — Browsing the magazine rack down in the library at the day-job, I came upon the March 8 issue of National Review, which spent a lot of time back in the day defending the underpinnings of apartheid here in America. Anyway, the cover shows Lady Liberty — and she is a very white lady — holding the flag under the very large headline, "DEFEND HER." This is ostensibly to plug a defense of "American exceptionalism" written by Rich (Sparkle Pants) Lowry and Ramesh (I Meant Party Of Death In The Most Civil Way Possible) Ponnuru. Apparently, Barack Obama is a threat to American Exceptionalism as defined by these two brainiacs. And American Exceptionalism is represented by a very white lady whom we need to "DEFEND" from our African American president. And, no, you don’t need the Enigma Machine to decode this baby.