Today some moronic conservative called up and accused Brian of left-wing bias and lumped him in with Chris Mathews and the MSM. I always cringe when I hear someone from my side of the political fence say something that stupid. Of course, Brian was unflappable, patiently hearing him out, and then: "Peoria, Illinois; you're next. What do you think about...."

The truth is, of course, Brian Lamb and C-SPAN have provided the most unrestricted forum for conservative intellectualism in the brief history of electronic media. All the while, they have provided a similar forum for liberal ideas, but with much less impact, as liberal thought already had numerous esteemed channels to disseminate messages.

Today the topics on the viewer call-in hour were the detainee deal and Hugo Chavez. I tend to use C-SPAN calls as a barometer of the radically misinformed in America; that is, citizens who are fully engaged (bless their hearts) but dangerously misguided.

Random thought: kudos to Charlie Rangel for not hugging Chavez.

Even so, as a string of African American callers chimed in to praise the Venezuelan president and agree vehemently with his characterization of George Bush, I had to wonder if Bush's numbers with black voters would appreciate noticeably, if he had run against Hugo Chavez. Maybe not. My guess: Chavez could have done better among African American voters than John Kerry (88 percent) but probably not as well as Al Gore (92 percent).

And, of course, there were the usual number of shaky-voiced zealots calling in to endorse websites offering "the truth" about the Bush conspiracy that organized the attacks of 9-11. "What about Tower #7? Coincidence? I think not..."

Yesterday on C-SPAN, I heard an interesting twist on the usual tale of 9-11 intrigue, which involved the President building a mansion in Jerusalem in which he would await Armageddon. The coverage of "Christian Dominionism" and "Christian Nationalism" and "Christian Zionism" seems to be increasing (at least on NPR's "Fresh Air"). Perhaps we can look forward to a whole new strain of paranoia.