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Dana Milbank looks forward to the greatest speech of all time -- Rand Paul's acceptance speech in 2016.
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, I proudly accept your nomination for president of the United States, in the name of all those who do the work, pay the taxes, raise the kids and play by the rules, in the name of the hardworking Americans who make up our forgotten middle class.

Tonight, to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans, I ask for your support. I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

That last part should really be "Nameless, unreasonable, unjustified terror which I and my fellow conservatives have worked long and hard to foster so that we can still pretend to relevance in a time when there's not one thing we support which is popular beyond our own core pool of delusional loons." But that would require two things that Paul lacks: 1) honesty and 2) originality.

Chris Cillizza handed Paul his "worst week" award.

First, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow showed that a speech Paul gave supporting Ken Cuccinelli’s Virginia gubernatorial campaign contained lines cribbed from a Wikipedia entry on the film “Gattaca.” Then BuzzFeed and Politico got in on the act, noting that Paul had taken chunks of text from publications by the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, among other sources.

Paul, who is expected to compete in the 2016 presidential primaries, initially responded with umbrage: He said he wished dueling was legal in Kentucky so he could challenge those accusing him of plagiarism to a face-off.

Then came a not-quite mea culpa: “Senator Paul also relies on a large number of staff and advisers to provide supporting facts and anecdotes — some of which were not clearly sourced or vetted properly,” senior adviser Doug Stafford said in a statement Tuesday.

Then came some more umbrage. “To tell you the truth, people can think what they want, I can go back to being a doctor anytime, if they’re tired of me,” Paul told the New York Times. “I’ll go back to being a doctor, and I’ll be perfectly content.” Very presidential of him.

But hey, I think this is kind of unfair. After all, the Affordable Care Act borrowed heavily from the "alternative to Hillarycare" produced by the conservative Heritage Foundation in 1994, and you don't hear Heritage saying that Obama just stole their ideas for his plan!

Come on inside. Let's see what else people have looked up in Wikipedia this morning.

The New York Times editorial board has some suggestions when it comes to belt-tightening.

With the Iraq war over and troops coming home from Afghanistan, the military budget must be reduced. The question is whether we can be smart about it. The across-the-board approach dictated by the budget reductions known as the sequester — rapid, steep, indiscriminate cuts to both bloated programs and essential ones — is the wrong way to go, causing chaos and turmoil in defense planning. Commanders say the sequester has already affected military readiness.

The Pentagon’s base budget was cut $37.2 billion in April as a result of the sequester. Barring a compromise deal between Republicans and Democrats, the Pentagon will face an additional $52 billion cut in January, bringing the total budget for 2014 down to about $475 billion. Through 2023, the cumulative defense cuts could amount to more than $1 trillion, including the reductions already made.

Well... it's a start. How is the budget affecting Pentagon planners?
...the Air Force told The Wall Street Journal that it is now determined to build a new long-range bomber, a replacement for the storied B-52s and B-1s, on a “budget.” The Journal reported that an Air Force manager for the $55 billion project killed a $300,000 kitchenette for the plane because the feature was too expensive.
Good lord. We're going without kitchenettes on our bombers? Clearly it's time to take away some more health care, education, and food stamps to pay for essentials.

Ross Douthat has suggestions for how Chris Christie should operate in the future.

I know, governor, I know: It’s still too early for presidential speculation, you’re just focused on the job at hand and any talk of 2016, while flattering, is purely hypothetical.

But just in case you do have some faint, slight, extremely modest interest in parlaying your landslide re-election into a presidential bid, here are four 2016 “don’ts” to keep in mind:

Don’t be Jon Huntsman. This sounds easy enough, but obvious pitfalls are still worth pointing out. For the next two years, you’re going to be hailed up and down the Acela Corridor as the Great Moderate Hope, the anti-Tea Party candidate, the Man Who Is Not Ted Cruz. But you can’t actively embrace that part, or give off the impression — as Huntsman did, obviously and fatally — that you agree with the media that your party’s full of rubes and cranks.

Let me join in heartily with Ross Douthat here. Yes, Chris Christie. Don't by any means admit that your party has plunged off the deep end, babbling gibberish all the way down. No, sir. Embrace the Tea Party. Share the stage with birthers, racists, and whatever other -ists your party can crank out. Publicly state your opposition to the 17th Amendment, the 13th Amendment, and hell, throw in three through eight for good measure. Don't be Jon Huntsman, be the new Newt Gingrich. Remember: if you're crazy enough, there's a talk show in your future.

Carl Hiassen joins the "hold an imaginary conversation with President Obama" Club, a club populated with damn near every pundit having a Sunday where they are too lazy to think of anything to write. In this case, Carl revisits the old joke that Obama is just too cool.  Frankly, I expect much better of Hiassen.

Leonard Pitts looks at the perils of doing research in the age of unlimited surveillance.

I need to know how to build a bomb.

This is not, I hasten to add, for my use or, indeed, for the use of any real person. Rather, it is for Clarence and Dwayne, two hapless wannabe terrorists in a novel I’m writing.

In researching a novel, you often find yourself going places you would not ordinarily go and asking questions you would not ordinarily ask, seeking details that lend verisimilitude to the narrative. For Before I Forget I sat in on an Alzheimer’s support group. For Freeman, I visited a horse farm catering to disabled riders.

For Grant Park, I’m trying to figure out enough of fertilizer bomb mechanics to describe what such a device looks like and give my characters some realistic stuff to do as they discuss their nefarious plot. Failing that, I’ll have to fake it with passages like the following:

“Our nefarious plot is really going well,” said Clarence as he connected the frammistat to the hornuculator.

“Yes,” said Dwayne as he tested the level of tetratrygliceryde in the doohickey tanks, “it is really fun to be nefarious and have a plot.”

OK, so the dialogue could also use some work. The point is, I know squat about bomb building. Ordinarily, that’d be no problem. Helping writers do their research is the whole reason Al Gore invented the Internet.

As it happens, Leonard, I spent a year blowing things up using the ingredients of a fertilizer bomb (for legitimate, if not exactly admirable purposes -- I was the blast driller at a coal mine). So call me.  But the problem Mr. Pitts brings up is a real one for authors. It's hard to do accurate Bad Guy Stuff without researching... bad stuff. And sometimes talking to bad guys.

Doyle McManus revisits the all too well known problems at the VA.

Just in time for Veterans Day, the embattled secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric K. Shinseki, announced last week that his department had reduced its backlog of overdue disability claims from more than 600,000 in March to about 400,000. ...

With hundreds of thousands of cases still unresolved, Shinseki hasn't gotten much credit so far — but to the surprise of his critics, he's on track to achieve his goal of eliminating the backlog by 2015.

Which is certainly good news (someone call Jon Stewart), but there are other problems at an agency that's still designed to deal with the issues of the previous century.
Many of these new veterans are struggling with problems that were either unknown or neglected in earlier generations, such as traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. They're quicker to request benefits than their elders; more than half of returning Iraq and Afghanistan vets have already filed health or disability claims. And they are understandably impatient with a VA bureaucracy that was designed to serve the citizen army that fought in World War II.
Stephanie Pain is one of several writers this week urging us to remember that it took two people to change the world.
Yesterday I met someone who had never heard of Alfred Russel Wallace. They were as amazed by my enthusiasm for a long-dead collector of beetles, butterflies and birds as I was by their admission that, really, they had no idea who he was.

What made the hole in my otherwise well-informed friend's knowledge even more surprising was that this year, the centenary of Wallace's death, has seen an outbreak of what could almost be called Wallacemania. Reprints of his books have been published, there are conferences and websites galore, and there is even at long last a statue at the Natural History Museum in London.

My admiration, and that of so many biologists, ecologists and natural history enthusiasts, is easy to explain. Wallace was a self-taught naturalist, who despite lacking the usual advantages of the Victorian gentleman scientist became one of the most revered men of his age. He had little formal education, no family wealth to draw on and no friends in high scientific places. But he did have passion, perception, and the resourcefulness and resilience to survive 12 years in the remote and dangerous tropics.


The fact that Wallace isn't a household name is harder to explain. In 1858, he prompted one of the most famous and controversial events in the history of science: the hurriedly arranged reading of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection at the Linnean Society of London. During his travels, Wallace had independently reached the same conclusions as Darwin, and in March 1858, he sent Darwin a paper explaining his thinking. In it he wrote: "The life of wild animals is a struggle for existence and the weakest and least perfectly organised must always succumb..."

This is you're read it all choice of the week because, damn it, Wallace should be celebrated.

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 09:36 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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