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1) Assessing Hillary Clinton's strategy at the State Department.

2) Superheroes photoshopped into old war pictures. Better, and less cheesy, than it sounds.

3) Bruce Bartlett argues against cutting the payroll tax.

4) Some serious climate change/CBO wonkery from David Roberts.

5) The Glenn Beck spectacle gets weirder and weirder. It's becoming clear that this guy is headed for a very ugly sort of meltdown, and it's going to happen in public.

Weekend recipe: Here's a food description you don't often hear: a potato chip that sushi lovers will thrill to.

Olympia Snowe broke with her party to vote for you to have a good weekend.

By Ezra Klein  |  October 16, 2009; 6:42 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Olympia Snowe's Conservatism -- and Ours
Next: Getting Specific About Transportation


Glenn Beck, one !@*?ing nut case! How did he convince anyone to pay him to treat the public like his personal psychiatrist?

Furthermore, how does anyone deny the pure, crazy, unhinged lunacy of this producer of so much noise pollution?

And who really thinks Glenn Beck would share his Coke with anybody?

Posted by: bcbulger | October 16, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Glenn Beck. Really. Aside from the truly meta moment where he shows us that our past was so wonderful only feel good TV commercials can describe it, he is right.

We have been at a bad party. We did know we shouldn't have been there, as Dad said. We do know that the only way out is to work hard and do hard things. It's really incredible how perfectly he captures the emotional truth of the Great Recession and the Bush Hangover, and how painful it is - "the party is over. We have to start making the right choices now, the hard choices." Perfect.

Now, those hard choices are: completely redo health care, turning all insurance companies into nonprofits and separating health insurance from employment. Cut our per capita energy consumption by 50% over 20 years. Raise the education level of every person under 30 by at least 1 year, and every person under 10 by at least three. Dramatically reduce rent-seeking of all kinds in health care, defense and finance. Enforce fair trade. Break up all media conglomerates and get the money out of politics.

Do those hard things against the screaming, manipulative resistance of the media, corporations, Republicans and 30% of the Democrats, and our children WILL be proud of us. But Beck doesn't want to do any of those things.

Posted by: Dollared | October 16, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Dollared, I agree.

We should all just kill ourselves right now. That would cut human carbon output by 100% and would protect our future for... well...

Ok, wrong idea. Just cut human food consumption and profitability by 100%. That would cut carbon output and energy consumption by 100% and would protect our future for... well...

Yes, do that cutting by 100% against the screaming, manipulative resistance of the media, corporations, Republicans, and Democrats, and our ....

Woops, I suppose we DO need to eat and generate income for our children.

Posted by: rmgregory | October 16, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

RMG, I guess I should bother to point out you make no sense. If you have a response to my suggestions, I am all ears. Otherwise, you appear to be in the "screaming, manipulative resistance" category.

Posted by: Dollared | October 16, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

What a stink of hypocrisy. Glenn Beck crying for unity, while doing his best to fracture the country. The party really is over, Beck.

Posted by: davemaz | October 16, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

I read the piece on Hillary (couldn't face the Beck thing but thanks for the synopsis Dollared)

So I wonder about Hillary Clinton, really. I like Drum's point, but it's not very well documented, and his commenters make a lot of sense with several alternative futures, as well as plausible criticisms of her performances that I'd like to see more analysis on.

I just think, as busy as Obama is, and as much as the Middle East is disappointed that we've done nothing about Israel - maybe she could have stepped out a little more.

This is ironic because I always plead for the longer view in other posts. Maybe I'm too impatient here, and maybe it really does take her team building for a while.

But we seem so quiet on foreign policy. Just saying.

Posted by: rosshunter | October 16, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Dollared that rmgregory appears to be part of the extreme wrong group.

Perhaps, if you can get around to it someone could explain to me how people like rmgregory reconcile their call for people to be responsible with their shedding responsibility by essentially saying "I can't do anything. My hands are tied. [Just call me the fly in the open jar.]"

Mr. rmgregory, I really wish your family's future was independent of mine. That way I could hope that you get the inaction you want which is what people like you deserve.

Posted by: bcbulger | October 17, 2009 12:56 AM | Report abuse

"Olympia Snowe broke with her party to vote for you to have a good weekend."

and spike jonze created a true masterpiece, "where the wild things are," for you to have a good weekend!

Posted by: jkaren | October 17, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

--"The Glenn Beck spectacle gets weirder and weirder."--

Wrong again. Public emotionalism has been Glenn Beck's thang for years. He especially turns it on around the holidays, but it comes in regular cycles.

Which isn't to say that the man never makes any good points, or that he doesn't provide a public service uncovering sex-slave-promoting ACORN workers, or ferreting out Marxists amongst the czarina, or digging up tongue-chewing Maoists hiding in Obama's inner circle. Those, of course, are the things the Klein's of the world don't want to talk about. Instead, put the word out through Journolist: Glenn Beck is *weird*.

Posted by: msoja | October 17, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

--"Cut our per capita energy consumption by 50% over 20 years. Raise the education level of every person under 30 by at least 1 year, and every person under 10 by at least three."--

And you would do these things, how?

Wait, I have the answer. How about turning the power off to your house twelve hours of every day. And don't drive anywhere during that time, either. Etc. I predict that in a few short days you'll be at least one grade level smarter than you are now.

Posted by: msoja | October 17, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I think it's all a big act, personally. He's realized the fake tears play well with his easily fooled audience, and so periodic fake tear flood.

So I don't think he'll have a meltdown, as fun as that would be. I think eventually his ego will be the thing that takes him down. Someday he'll say something so outrageous even Fox will have to retaliate, because he'll think he can get away with it. Because while the tears are fake, the true thing about Glenn Beck is that he is one vicious hatemonger.

Posted by: tracy2 | October 17, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse


maybe you need a history lesson.

what simpler, "connected," times is glenn beck talking about?
the sixties?
the fifties?
glenn beck is lying.
i grew up in newark, new jersey.
in the fifties, jewish people couldnt buy houses in the outlying suburbs. they were banned from neighborhoods and country clubs.
there was a city on the new jersey shore, called ocean grove. jewish people were not even allowed to go into that city. it was actually cordoned off from strangers on the weekend.
in the sixties, white people fled out of newark.
african-americans had been misled into buying homes that they couldnt afford. they were living without heat....many had come from the south and found terrible prejudice and little opportunity. there were riots and streets were burned, in anger.
the prejudice in the white community against african-americans in the fifties and the sixties was a nightmare.
it was a time of turmoil.
is this the connected america of the fifties and the sixties that glenn beck is referring to?
is a nutritionally empty soft drink that has come to represent the united states, the iconic symbol that glenn beck says represents, "his america?"
those commercials meant nothing.
kodak cameras, and "polaroids" were used to capture happy moments of birthdays and christmas.....but there were plenty of other times that were not caught on camera.
america was seething in those generations.
there were never simpler times. there were never more connected times, except in enclaves where people lived separately and tried to keep out anything that was "different" or "strange."
that is not way to live.
you cannot just hold on to the parts of life that are easy and comfortable, and turn your eyes from the rest.
it is the sick perpetuation of a fantasy.
glenn beck, with his own background in dealing with drugs and alcohol, should know this. you cant not face your own demons.
well, he is not helping his audience to deal with their own demons. he is trying to pretend that there was a time that they didnt exist.
the things we fear have always been with us.
change, mostly.
things that are beyond our control.
there are no simple answers. there were no simpler times.

Posted by: jkaren | October 17, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I think Beck is way cleverer than Ezra gives him credit for. He is tapping into a sense of "malaise" and will then accuse the "liberals" for being primarily responsible for it. He is right about the malaise.

What is sad is using those cheezy commercials as representatives of "when America was together".

Your ignorance is stunning with regard to energy efficiency and clean energy. Just stunning. If I were you I would keep away from these subjects until you actually knew something about how we can cut emissions and maintain a decent lifestyle.

Posted by: michaelterra | October 17, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

--"glenn beck is lying."--

Tell you what. I'll allow you to change the channel when Glenn Beck comes on, and you allow me to opt out of whatever passes as federal health care "reform". Deal?

Oh, that's right, Glenn Beck can thrive without your patronage, but your stupid socialist schemes can't make it for very much longer unless you FORCE people with threats of impoverishment or incarceration to pay for your health care. And you don't care if it actually ruins health care in the process, ruins whatever comity existed in America, or ruins whatever thin notions of freedom and personal responsibility that people clung to the last couple hundred years.

Posted by: msoja | October 17, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"We have to start meking the right choices, the hard choices."
I hope this means he's finally going to see a psychiatrist.

Posted by: callingalltoasters | October 17, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

--"Your ignorance is stunning with regard to energy efficiency and clean energy."--

That's what you think. I've already started stockpiling 40, 60, and 100 watt incandescent light bulbs ahead of the phase out. I'm not sure how many I'll need over the next thirty years, but I don't plan to run out.

Posted by: msoja | October 17, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

"That's what you think. I've already started stockpiling 40, 60, and 100 watt incandescent light bulbs ahead of the phase out."

and i'm stockpiling beeswax and essential oils for my handcrafted candles.
reminder to self: matches.

Posted by: jkaren | October 17, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

You're stockpiling lightbulbs.

Hooo-kay then ...

How's that fingernail clipping collection coming along?

And since you're opposed to people being required to pay for insurance, I suppose you don't drive, huh?

Posted by: tracy2 | October 17, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Re: "I've already started stockpiling 40, 60, and 100 watt incandescent light bulbs ahead of the phase out."

I genuinely hope your stockpile is huge. A larger pile makes you a bigger chump as you'll [*might] see when the new LED lamps become available.

*I write 'might' because of the likelihood that people with your delusions suffer from denial and repression.

Posted by: bcbulger | October 18, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Glenn Beck's tears are as phony as he is. Haven't you seen the video outtake where he uses Vicks under the eyes to induce tears and complains that it isn't working well because he has "become too used to it"?

Posted by: murphyfromcincy | October 18, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

--"when the new LED lamps become available"--

They already are available, but they're too expensive for most people. I'm planning to buy some for the running lights on my sailboat next year, but they won't be cheap.

And I've been a long time buyer of the compact fluorescents, but I don't think they live up to the promise. They don't last as long (in my experience) as they're touted to, and I've had more than one blow up, which ain't supposed to be too healthy, if you know what I mean, and one time, could have started a fire had I not been right on it.

On top of that, there are lots of places the new bulbs just won't go. I predict there will be a few unpleasant surprises when people find they can't get good old incandescents because the stupid collectivist government banned 'em.

As cheap as they are, stocking up is a no brainer.

Posted by: msoja | October 18, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I love that Beck uses the Mean Joe Green Coke ad as an example of the simpler time he wants to go back to, since that ad aired in 1979, when Jimmy Carter was president. I never figured Beck for a Carter fan, but I guess you learn something new every day.

Posted by: Refidnas | October 20, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

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