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Letters, we get letters, we get stacks and stacks of... ok, it might not be piling up in the corners, but the number of emails that show up in the in ye olde email box can be daunting.  While many of the letters are thoughtful and insightful, others are simply chock full of nutty goodness.  This is especially true of the attack waves sent by the fighting keyboardists at the urging of their favorite talking head.

A decade ago, UC Riverside physicist John Baez developed the crackpot index to help when sorting letters sent to universities that promised to revolutionize science.  His index (which was referenced in the Netroots Nation science panel by Ed Brayton) includes such items as 5 points for each mention of "Einstein," and 20 points for comparing yourself to Newton.

To bring the same sort of order to the missives that arrive at this site each day, here's the Daily Kos equivalent.  

The Wingnut Index

5 points
Each use of "Democrat Party."
Each use of "liberal elite."
Each declaration that kos readers should "leave America."

10 points
Each use of the phrase "hate site."
Each mention of Nazis, Commies, Reds, brownshirts or stormtroopers.
Each blind repetition of phrases provided by your close pal Bill, Rush, or Sean.
For contending that liberals are aiding terrorists.
Each time the writer insists that the recipient is "going to burn in hell."
Each physical threat to the recipient.

15 points
Including "San Francisco" in letters that have nothing to do with San Francisco.
Discussion of water / food additives and their feminizing effect on the men of America.
Insisting that liberals "want America to lose."
Each alternate theory for the death of Vincent Foster.
Each alternate theory for the death of Ron Brown.
Each alternate theory posed to replace evolution.
Each explanation for why global warming is a hoax.

20 points
Each use of "DemocRAT Party."
Each time the writer wishes the recipient would burn in hell.
Asserting the recipient belongs in Gitmo.
Each physical threat to the recipient's family & pets.
Each use of the term "Darwinism."
Each use of the term "algore."

25 points
Wishing on the recipient death, cancer, a stray bullet, or a visit from Bill O'Reilly.
Each use of "clearly" or "obviously" appended to any of the above. (i.e. "Since you liberals clearly want America to be defeated by the terrorists, obviously you belong in Gitmo" makes for a 70 point sentence.)

30 points
Each loving description of the torture the author would love to inflict.
Letters written IN ALL CAPS.

50 point
Each serious, affirmative use of the term PUMA.
Sending a letter complaining about how kos is censoring you because you can't post thirty seconds after registering.
Sending a letter complaining about how kos is censoring you, when you've been booted by the community for 101 crappy comments.
Sending a letter complaining about how kos is censoring you, when you haven't bothered to register at the site.

100 points
Each use of the word "Bush" in association with "unrecognized genius."

Special awards are given for creative use of grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.  (i.e. "u LIBURrrLLS, R D SuXeS!?!" hits none of the categories above, and yet, still has the toasty zing of nuttery.)

For those people still wondering how they might most curry favor with Bill O'Reilly by telling him about the mean, mean words they sent this way, don't think of these scores as restrictions on your speech -- think of them as a challenge.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Jul 26, 2008 at 06:50 PM PDT.

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