Gentlemen… BEHOLD!

As we now embark upon, well, whatever the hell it is that John Boehner is planning, it is time to introduce a new feature: The Psychometer.  It is intended to serve as a chronicle of the House’s descent into The Crazy.

The concept, in its purest form, is simple.  Every time somebody in the GOP Caucus in the House of Representatives says something stupid, or insane, or wildly false, it gets logged on a purpose-built Twitter account.  With a running count, we can track how crazy things are getting, from day to day — thus educating the world as to where things stand.

But, almost instantaneously, the concept runs full-speed into the brick wall of reality.  The latest example of the problem came this morning, with Michelle Bachmann’s performance on Face The Nation.  Bob Schieffer (probably nursing a huge hangover after TCU’s win in the Rose Bowl yesterday) picked a good day to be away, as Michelle was dropping one bomb after another.  So, how does one score that?  Does the appearance count as one event, or does each wild-eyed statement?

Statements on the House floor pose similar problems.  There are one-minute speeches at the beginning of the day, and special order speeches at the end.  In the official record, this is where nutjobs come to party — the province of the Steve Kings of the world.  Do those count once, or many times?  And what about statements on actual legislation?  A floor manager can speak many times over during the course of debate, giving him or her a fresh opportunity to become totally unglued every few minutes.

Then there is the more practical matter of actually doing this.  I, like many of you, have a real job.  Spending two hours every night logging every instance of insanity would be simply exhausting.

It was suggested that the Psychometer start off with no rules, with the standards evolving as things go along.  But, as just shown, that is unrealistic.  And, since I’m going to need a lot of help from all of you, some guidelines are necessary.  So, if you want to play, follow me post-jump for The [proposed, provisional] Rules.  Suggestions are most welcome, also.

PSYCHOMETER RULES [as of January 2, 2010]

1. In order to count, a particular statement must (a) come from a member of the GOP House delegation, (b) be made on the floor of the House, and (c) be crazy.  If we included Senators, presidential candidates, pundits, and state-level officials, then the work would never end.  And this is supposed to be both educational and fun.  So it’s limited to House members, as they are actually in charge of that sub-branch of government and, thus, could do real damage.  Also, statements to the press are hard to catalog completely.  Somebody could say something positively loopy for a podunk newspaper, but it doesn’t get noticed as much as another loopy statement for another podunk paper.  The Congressional Record makes everyone equal, and is easily verifiable and accessible.  As for “crazy” — that is in the eye of the beholder, but instances of stupidity, ignorance, hypocrisy and similar fouls will be more than eligible.

2. To submit a statement for consideration, tweet your nomination to @psychometer.  Your submission must include the name of the Member of Congress, the date of the statement, AND a citation to the page of the Congressional Record where it appears.  The point of this exercise is to have something that people can point to and say to friends and enemies the following: “holy God, how are these people are in charge of anything bigger than a lemonade stand?”  The Congressional Record does not discriminate between one crazy statement and another, and is unimpeachable.  An exception to this rule: if somebody says something outlandish enough to its being stricken from the Record, that statement not only can be nominated but, also, will presumptively count.  Press accounts of such incidents will be accepted.  (FYI: the Congressional Record is made fresh daily at

3. The form and content of nominations is up to you.  One or two quotable words is nice, but not required.  Snark within nominations is welcome. Sample nominations could look like this:

@Psychometer: L Gohmert proposes 20ft wall from S.D. to Brownsville. Lowe’s stores in Mex. have run on 21ft ladders. CR 3/14 H2374

@Psychometer: P Ryan sez “people say that they want SocSec privatized.” Did not say which people he asked.  CR 3/14 H2382

@Psychometer: Bachmann drops all pretense, says that Dems will “kill America dead.” CR 3/15 H2426

Try to keep your tweets to well within the 140-character limit, though, to allow fans and friends to retweet and spread the gospel to all people.  And bring the funny.

4. Nominations will normally close for the week on Saturdays at 1700 ET.  Generally, you should limit your suggestions to the prior week or two.  But if there is a glaring one that gets missed, feel free to suggest it.  Major changes to this deadline will be announced.

5. Worthy nominations will be posted on on late Sunday morning, for debate and slander against the authors.  Those who are Twitterless, or have a sudden rush of energy, can also make late nominations in the comments.  Decisions on what makes the cut will be based in part on comments, but the decisions of Chicago Bureau Enterprises, Ltd. and its employees will be final.  (Unless they are completely wrong, in which case appeals can and should be made.)

6. Confirmed acts of crazy will be announced Monday evenings.  Slight editing to nominations for style may be made.  The winning entries would appear in following form on Twitter and Stinque:

PM0126 L Gohmert proposes 20ft wall from S.D. to Brownsville. Lowe’s stores in Mex. have run on 21ft ladders. CR 3/14 H2374

PM0127: P Ryan sez “people say that they want SocSec privatized.” Did not say which people he asked.  CR 3/14 H2382

PM0128: Bachmann drops all pretense, says that Dems will “kill America dead.” CR 3/15 H2426

7.  By the nomination process, one may make the case for (a) one set of remarks counting once or (b) each crazy remark within a speech counting separately.  The jury (that is, all of you) can deliberate on whether the speaker is merely trying to run up the score, or legitimately deserves multiple hits.

8.  Rules subject to change as events / whims warrant.

9. Clock starts running at 12:00 p.m. (ET) on January 5, 2011.

10.  No wagering.

[Appendix — A word to hate-mailers of the future…. There are real reasons why we are focusing on the GOP and not the Democrats.  For one thing — and as you have probably told us IN ALL CAPS several times — we are generally speaking in the tank for Obama (or Obummer, or Odumbo, or whatever misspelling is de rigueur at the moment) and the Democrats (Dumbocrats, Democraps, etc.).  We do criticize them sometimes, but for not being liberal enough.  With that in mind: nominations for Nancy Pelosi statements, and submissions screaming about socialism, and ACORN, and birth certificates, and whatever batty thing you’ve seized on this week, will normally be ignored — unless they are really loopy, in which case they will be highlighted and laughed at.  Also, for those of you leading off your submission with “I’LL TELL YOU WHAT STINQUES” — yes, yes… you are very clever.  Now, go away.]


You librals is all the same. Nancy Pelosi will pay. Obambi is toast.

@Mike Lee: I’m going to wake up one morning to discover that everyone has changed their commenter name, and have a major freak-out.

@Mike Lee: I forgot “Obambi” for a moment. That might be one of my faves.

Incidentally, everybody who posts a comment on and intentionally misspells “Obama” or “Democrats” should be banned from the internet FOREVER. Not for being stupid, but for being unfunny — which is the truly important thing, of course.

@Michael Lee: I have a lifelong distrust of Michaels. Fucking snobs who can’t deal with their nicknames.

@Michael Lee: All you commie fags is gonna git some.

@Michael Lee: Ha ha ha. Hah ahhahahhah. I hate librals. I just smeared bear fat all over my belly. I am the man! Damn!

I have to go do the laundry. I’ve been soaking the kitchen towels in Borax to get rid of the icky grease smell.

[sighs] [returns to his Christmas copy of Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit]

@nojo: Better?

@Mike Lee: And the NEA! And the EPA! And the Dept of Ed! But keep pumping those dollahs inta DHS!! Moosleems! Mooslems all around us!

@Mikey Lee: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Life Cereal.

I’m just thrilled that the House will be reading the Constitution (minus the Bill of Rights, the 14th, 15th, 16th and 19th Amendments) before each session. That’ll give us time to sleep in hear the Const. for the first time in our lives, remember our roots. Only landed white males will have the franchise, NDNs not taxed (stupid Cherokee) will not be counted, Negroes count as 1/5th, and with the way those wetbacks are breeding, I say we count them as 1/20th unless they’re landscapers.

@Mike Lee: I prefer to wrestle. Got anymore of that bear fat?

@nojo: He washed down pop rocks with Coke and is day-ed.

@Mike Lee: In the C Street house, dude. Where you been?

@Mikey Lee: Woo hoo. C Street. Where Christian men can get together in the basement for some bear-fat rasslin’. Winner gets to fuck the loser read the sacred Constitution next day.

Utah is awesome! You think you seen crazy? You aint seen nothin yet.

(I have to go eat pasta with arugala salad.)

I see Benedick’s been at the sherry again.

@Mike Lee: LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLet’s get ready to rumbllllllllllllllle!

@Mikey Lee: We got Wutahn Klan for the Inauguration to play sum down home Utah music. Then on to DC to pound on them elites!!!! I pledge allegiance to Michelle Bachmann’s tits the flag of the greatest country ever was and ever will be!!! Plus, I can hardly wait to get to the Phillip’s Collection I hear they’ve got The Boating Party Luncheon back up on the wall and it makes you like totally gasp as you walk in the room. Oh and also the Ingres. I am like so into how he defined volumes using just like one stroke of the pencil! We didn’t see anything like that again till Picasso’s neo-classical phase.

Look. I’m a hometown kinda guy. I gotta home in every town, and moar bitchez than an FLDS profit. Little House on the Prairie like.

@Mistress Cynica: Or X? Either way I’m impressed with Benedick’s way with the avatars and names. Guess the musical is in the bag ready to go.

@SanFranLefty: I’m offended by the reference to Michelle Bachman’s tits.

Good lord. RML, do you have any tranquilizer darts? I’m thinking rhino or elephant dose should do the trick. We need to dispatch you to New Yawk for some “hunting.” Unless you have something with 2,000 mile range.

@flippin eck: This should be observed in the wild. Order up some polar bear cams.

Fuck Tweet. I’m not a Tweet Twit, fuddermucker. At 70, too old for this shit.

@RevZafod: My AARP-qualified arse was Twitter-resistant at first, mainly because I thought it was nothing more than an endless stream of self-involved Facebook status updates. But, as it’s evolved — and depending on whom you follow — it’s more like an endless stream of witty commenters. The enforced 140-character brevity is the secret weapon.

Introducing The Mike Lee Players:

Benedick as Mike Lee, That Asshole

JNOVJr as Mic Lee, The Emcee

JNOV as Michael Lee, Mikey Lee, Michalangelee and Mike Ang Lee

Images manipulated through Gimp. (Some better manipulated than others.)

Try the veal!

@JNOV: I suspect that’s the first time Mike Lee has ever been called a Player.

@nojo: Mike Lee is so fucking awesome, he’s Legion. We are all Mike Lee. (Been hunting like crazy for the post with the Malkovich pic. Why does Google hate me?)

@JNOV: Aha. I–and obviously several others–were wondering why Benedick was posting like a hamster on crack. I was actually starting to get a little worried.

@JNOV: You just need an encyclopedic memory of headlines.

@nojo: Right. Once upon a time I had total recall…

@Mistress Cynica: Heh. Yeah. I thought people would pick up on the sock puppeting because of the time stamps, and I was going to let you guys keep thinking it was him, but I can’t let him have all the glory didn’t want you guys to think he was a genius nuts.

@JNOV: The avatars tipped me off. Oh, and “moar.”

@mellbell: Thought they might. Once Benedick gets block text down (he’s done a great job with linking!), then we’ll get him into Gimp.

That’s George C. Scott’s hand from Patton. Doesn’t look quite right on David or Ang, but I was working under pressure (ETA: Maybe I’ll mess with them some). Jr’s mic head is fab.

@JNOV: Haven’t used it in a while, but it’s a pretty excellent bit of freeware.

@mellbell: Indeed. Last night was my first experience with it. Sadly, I flattened the layers when I saved the images as jpgs, so I’m going to have to do it all over again if I want to fix the salutes so it doesn’t look like they’re patting themselves on their heads.

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