Says GOP Senate candidate Curtis Coleman:

“Embryonic stem cell research is taking the concept of taking a life and using it to conduct experiments so we can temporarily extend somebody else’s life. Let me tell you what I just described. I just described what the Nazis did to the Jews in the death camps of WWII.”

And yet again, we find that a government program is being compared to Nazi Germany. As Godwin’s law implies, every person and thing in politics gets compared to Nazis in general and/or Hitler in particular eventually. Here is an interesting examination of this phenomenon. As the author of that piece notes: “Everyone calls everyone a Nazi when they want to win a debate.”

I suppose it’s good that everyone is still so horrified by the atrocities of the Nazis that they keep worrying about it. Still, I can’t help but wonder if, as Godwin warned, this trivializes the magnitude of their crimes.

I will close with a quote that is often attributed to Senator Huey Long:

“When Fascism comes to America, it will be under the name of anti-Fascism.”

So argues Joan Williams:

“Here’s my take on why(Palin made notes on her hand): she knew that they would be visible when she gave the speech. And she knew that she would be made fun of — as so stupid that she needs to write notes on her hand. And that’s one of her most effective tactics — to be made fun of. It’s an integral part of her strategy of standing in for hardworking, Middle Americans, derided by the condescending, know-it-all liberal elites.”

It’s possible, but I doubt it. I think she just wanted to remember the correct order for the Q&A session. And frankly, nobody needs to be convinced of Palin’s folksy charm anymore–it’s her policy credentials that are perceived as her weakness. This is a needless move if indeed it is a calculated strategy.

The Wall Street Journal notes:

“The President’s changes in antiterror policy have never been as dramatic as he or his critics have advertised. His supporters on the left have repeatedly howled when the Justice Department quietly went to court and offered the same legal arguments the Bush Administration made, among them that the President has the power to detain enemy combatants indefinitely without charge. He has also ramped up drone strikes against al Qaeda and Taliban operatives in Pakistan.

However, the Administration has tried to break from its predecessors on several big antiterror issues…”

(Italics mine.)

Maybe I’m crazy, but the italicized portion seems to be implying that this is in keeping with Bush’s policies, when, in fact it is a break from them. “Ramping up” means changing the policy. It’s not as drastic, I admit, but nevertheless Obama and Bush are not the same when it comes to the drone policy. Obama is more aggressive. This probably part of the reason Obama’s track record vs. Jihadism compares favorably with G.W. Bush’s and Clinton’s over their first terms.

Michael Wolff says:

“But capturing it all—the clichés, vapidness, illogic, inversions of reality, Cheneyisms, and her (Sarah Palin’s) constant whacking at Obama’s legitimacy—he (Andrew Sullivan) yet misses something.

He misses how really compelling she is. Unaccountably amazing. It could be the meaninglessness itself, and her confidence in it, that is so riveting. But I think it’s something else.”

In the immortal words of Paul Graham: “It’s charisma, stupid.Charisma is just that powerful. It is a hard to define thing, and yet when someone has it, they have it, and it makes them seem inexplicably compelling.  

P.S. The title of this post is a reference to the musical Fiddler on the Roof. It occurred to me when I read the above quote. FYI, it’s actually not true in the lager context of the song, though; because charisma is a destabilizing element in politics. This guy named Max Weber will explain it to you. 

Should they make a movie of the Mass Effect video games

No. As that pro-Mass Effect movie article says: “The relationships Shepard (and in turn, us) forms with his crew take on the audience-friendly tone that defines the best men-on-a-mission movies.”

The only thing I’d change with that assessment is that the tone is better  than the best such movies. We feel more involved in Mass Effect (especially ME 2) than in a movie because we’re doing things. We’re making the tough choices, and deciding which characters are friend or foe. And while you could boil a 20+ hour game down to a two-hour movie, the sidequests are part of what gives RPG’s their depth and richness.Mass Effect isn’t even the best video game when it comes to this, (Try Knights of the Old Republic I & especially II) but it’s better than the movies could be.