Paul Murray's weblog, with news you may have missed and my $0.02 worth on a number of topics.

"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it."
- Art Buchwald

I bet you don't have a friend who's an acupuncturist

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010
There's nothing new under the sun, example 413.
This week's New Yorker magazine has an article ("Confounding Fathers") by Princeton history professor Sean Wilentz that provides an interesting look at the roots of today's far-right "tea party" types and their relationship with the Republican party:
[C]alling Obama a socialist in the tradition of Woodrow Wilson is audacious enough to seem like the marker of a new movement—or, at least, a new twist in the nation’s long history of conspiracy-mongering. In fact, it marks a revival of ideas that circulated on the extremist right half a century ago, especially in the John Birch Society and among its admirers.

[Glenn] Beck’s version of American history relies on lessons from his own acknowledged inspiration, the late right-wing writer W. Cleon Skousen, and also restates charges made by the Birch Society’s founder, Robert Welch. The political universe is, of course, very different today from what it was during the Cold War. Yet the Birchers’ politics and their view of American history—which focussed more on totalitarian threats at home than on those posed by the Soviet Union and Communist China—has proved remarkably persistent. The pressing historical question is how extremist ideas held at bay for decades inside the Republican Party have exploded anew—and why, this time, Party leaders have done virtually nothing to challenge those ideas, and a great deal to abet them.
Highly recommended. You can also listen to Prof. Wilentz being interviewed by Terry Gross on today's installment of "Fresh Air."

And for about Glenn Beck's bizarre ideas of history, read Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank's essay "Glenn Beck is obsessed with Hitler and Woodrow Wilson. (I'm just saying.)"

I hate to say it, but this upcoming election makes me recall the words of H.L. Mencken: "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

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