The Wandering Eye: More batshit craziness from Michael Peroutka, a maglev train to D.C., and more

The week-long 2014 Burning Man Festival ended Sept. 1, and the best commentary from attendees may be coming from a most unexpected corner: Grover Norquist, the Republican anti-tax advocate known for adapting left-wing organizing tactics to advance the right-wing cause. Writing for The Guardian, Norquist extolled the Burning Man ethic, asserting that "a community that comes together with a minimum of 'rules' demands self-reliance—that everyone clean up after themselves and help thy neighbor," adding that "some day, I want to live 52 weeks a year in a state or city that acts like this." Sara Buhr at TechCrunch, meanwhile, writes that "the stories of billionaires flying into Burning Man on private jets with hired sherpas, body guards turning people away from VIP art cars and private glamp camps going for $25K in dues seems to be on everyone's lips at the annual festival in the desert. While this is not the norm, it's a reality and it has many asking if Burning Man has jumped the shark." No wonder Norquist had a good time—it seems only those with means can afford radical self-reliance. (Van Smith)


For those who think Maryland attorney Michael Peroutka, the GOP's candidate for Anne Arundel County's Fifth Councilmanic District, is a humorless paleoconservative with racist, secessionist leanings, think again: The man's column yesterday on—a conservative commentary site that currently is running banner ads for Republican Larry Hogan for governor of Maryland—was a joke. Literally. Here it is, in sum and substance: "Imagine yourself on a Saturday afternoon" at home, Peroutka begins, setting up for the punchline by describing a fight that breaks out between two men—"Lefty" and "Righty"—out on your driveway, and ultimately ends up in your living room, where it soon becomes apparent that it is all a set-up as Lefty proceeds to steal your stuff and give it away to others, while Righty, though not a thief, is wrecking the place. Then, someone else goes "out the back door with the contents of your safe, everything that you have ever worked for." Turns out, "a guy named 'Big Bro' from the Mob known as 'NWO' has robbed you blind," and "slowly, you admit to yourself" that "'Big Bro' has, of course, 'three stooges,'" who are "Lefty and Righty and... me." (For those not familiar with conspiracy-theory lingo, "NWO" stands for "new world order.") (Van Smith)


The future is about $5 billion closer to happening, thanks to Japan. Kevin Rector of The Sun reported today that the investment group behind the proposed maglev train—that stands for magnetic levitation—was revealed in a filing to the Maryland Public Service Commission to be the Japanese government. They had committed that amount in order to demonstrate the superconducting magnetic levitation technology, which would take us to Washington, D.C. in 15 minutes and from New York to Washington in one hour. Of course, it would probably be expensive and be reserved for the likes of Martin O'Malley and David Simon, but still. The trains haven't made any real progress since a hundred years ago, when H.L. Mencken and his father could get to D.C. from the Camden Station in the same hour it now takes. We haven't been this excited about Japanese technology since we were playing Pac Man and listening to our Walkmans. If only we could get our government to kick in a bit. (Baynard Woods)

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