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It is Friday, which means it is time for some Ask Me Anything About Daily Kos-brand goodness. Today's victim on the ol' calendar is … hmm. Ah, crap, it appears to be me. So here I am!

My nom de plume (from the French, meaning "name you can see a column of smoke rising from") is Hunter, and I've been a writer for the site for the pass half-decade plus. Along with Meteor Blades, I share the distinction of being one of the few site writers who still go by their early nicknames, though we're certainly not anonymous since you can read all about us on the site's masthead. (You can even see a picture, thus demonstrating that nobody looks quite like you expect them to look on the Internets.) So why go by pseudonym? Habit, mostly (as a few coworkers have said, "You'll always be Hunter"), but with a twinge of personal pique directed at punditry in general. Yes, punditry denizens of Washington, what you do is very important and special—but it ain't that special. Look, a guy out on the opposite coast can do the same thing, and he'll add swear words and point out that people in positions of high authority denying or lying about basic facts is not, in fact, the mark of "bold leadership" or whatever the stale breadsticks of the Sunday shows want to call it. It's a sign of being either dishonest or stupid, which continue to be the precise two things you are absolutely not supposed to say about a politician or a member of the press.

If the name bothers you, think of it like "Scooter" Libby. Why do they call him Scooter? Because shut up, that's why. His friends could have dubbed him Big Wheel, but it was trademarked. Also, David Waldman will always be Kagro, and I expect you all to back me up on that one. And if Meteor Blades ever changes his username, there would be riots. He's been warned.

In addition to being a writer for the site, I am also a long-time software designer and programmer, having done work for everything from one of the very first World Wide Web-premised startups to Pacific Bell, back when Pacific Bell existed, and was a member of the team that developed the current version of this Daily Kos site. Our team added group blogs, reworked the back end, and generally strove to keep the (surprisingly complicated) site going through ever-increasing user numbers and traffic. I am now retired from programming, at least for the indefinite time being; I don't miss it. As a programmer I'd been tired of the machinations of the tech sector for a very long time.

As a writer, I suppose you could call me a satirist or political humorist much of the time. Not all the time, and much of what I write are dubbed rants by readers, meant in a positive sense; I don't quite think of it that way myself, though I can see why others might. For the record, I'm almost never truly angry when penning something. I might be unusually blunt. I might use a few Words People Use In The Real World, which we have been repeatedly noted by national power brokers as something far more uncouth than condoning torture—real Americans write legal opinions supporting the right of the executive branch to treat prisoners in the same manner that resulted in the soldiers of other nations being convicted of war crimes, but the real villain in the political sphere is someone who uses the word shit in a sentence—but it is in service of cutting to the chase. We have a culture in this country of being respectful to truly horrible people, so long as they have been given a position of power. We shouldn't.

The other question I frequently get is this: Why focus so much on Republicans? Why focus so much, specifically, on crackpots? It's a good and valid question. The short answer is that it is the crackpots that are governing not just discourse in this nation, but actual law. Fox News may say astonishing things on a daily basis, but they are also an immensely powerful media vehicle capable of swaying public opinion on any topic they wish. If in service to an ideological goal they elevate conspiracy theorists, or paid liars, or unpaid liars, or serve up talking points delivered directly from the posteriors of any of those groups, that's important. You might not listen to them and so might not care, but a great deal of Americans do. The same goes for a host of prominent religious, media, or other political figures, even state politicians of particularly ridiculous nature. The story of the last two decades has been the steady march of the conservative movement and Republican Party into extremism. Full stop. And it's important.

Also, and thank God for this one redeeming feature of the char-broiled hell that is our national political landscape, it is frequently hilarious. I'm not sure if there was much fun to be had when the Roman Empire fell, but the day one of the two major parties looked to Sarah Palin for leadership? You'd have to be dead to not think that was funny. The rise of crackpot loonery and subsequent inability of the media to process that into anything less than a crackpot-stuffed circus tent topped with a satellite dish is what has given rise to current satirical staples like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. I don't particularly think that biting-but-humorous political commentary is the wave of the future, but boy howdy, it is a target-rich environment. So we can at least laugh about it, and hopefully laughing about it will give us the strength to see the current political landscape for what it is: A collection of morons and nitwits, led by crooks, reported on by the self-obsessed.

At least it's funny. Well it's not funny, when you put it like that, but you know what I mean.

All right, enough introduction: Ask me anything.

Oh, and you can follow me on Twitter as @HunterDK.

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