Sunday, September 30, 2007

Off topic Fanboyness

NEW RADIOHEAD NEW RADIOHEAD NEW RADIOHEAD
10 days. Their website has the details.
I am big on rh. Seen em live 14 times. Several on the rail. Me happy.
Also, Lucy, Daughter of the Devil is the bestest. Watch it. Adult Swim, sunday nites.

Another Apology Is Required

When I worked for a living, the corporate bible, employee handbook, or that ring binder from which they pulled never previously enforced regulations in order to fire you should the word "union" ever escape your lips always had a paragraph to the effect of: "Don't use the phones for personal business, unless the day-care center just called to say your baby's dead," sometimes qualified w/: "We understand you may have to use the corporate phones once in a while, but let's not get carried away."

Is there an Atlantic "Voices" web logger handbook? They may need one. And one of the suggestions should be:

"Don't type crap like this:

Apology
26 Sep 2007 10:15 am
It has come to my attention that I neglected to use the BCC feature on the mass email I just sent out asking people to change their address books.
Rather than abuse peoples' mailboxes again, I'm posting my apology here.

I am scum. However, luckily you're all very nice people and you should be friends with each other. I feel a facebook group coming on . . .

Ever."

Crummy writing section: Is there a phrase more pompous (or less meaningful) than "It has come to my attention?"
Is "sent out" so we won't think she sent something "in"? Next week (as predicted in my previous post): Megan asks someone to "return back" the sweater she borrowed last weekend.
Did Megan ask people to "change their address books" just for the hell of it? Or did she mean she was "sending out" a new e-mail address? Inquiring minds want to know, but we'll never get anything clear from Ms. McA.
We know you're posting. It's what you do there. Therefore: "I apologize," or "I'm apologizing" will suffice.
"I am scum" is a lovely sentence. No, not the content, it's short, simple, clear, & declarative. More like this, please.
"However" doesn't mean a thing in there. The prior declarative sentence is not changed by the fact that "luckily [for her, she might add] you're all..."
Gee, Megan may I be a kewl kid too & join your facebook™ group? What a great way to make friends! The singularity is almost here!! Transhumanists unite!!! Beep.

Sweet fucking Jebus

Every time I wonder whether my own occasional oopsies mean I'm perhaps being too hard, Megan comes back with a whopper.

But the subtler problem is that because Europeans are the major market, most drugs are designed for Europeans; and it turns out that there are races, at least as far as medicine is concerned. Blacks are more prone to diseases like diabetes and hypertension, and they tend to get more difficult to treat forms of some diseases such as artery blockage. While some of the medical differences are due to poverty, education, and possibly to racial disparities in treatment, many of the differences persist even when things like income and education are controlled for.
Do I even need to add anything?
Megan, dear, black people diabetes is the same disease as white people diabetes. And black people HIV doesn't go around yellin "where's my m-f'in iced tea". I..... how many ways can one person prove they are not qualified for their job? Her and GW must have some private contest going.
Fire me, but fire Megan first.

Update:

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Quick Answer to a Quick Question

What the hell, rather than respond in the comments to brad's item below, why not use my posting ability?

The questioned passage:

It is, however, a very good argument for federalism--devolving power down to the level of the states wherever possible. That makes legislators much more directly responsive to their constituents.

Please note that I've not read Ms. McArdle's item, & might not in any way, shape or form agree w/ whatever she's espousing. I'm offering a lesson in clarity, & in not writing like a high school freshman trying to increase the word count. And my clearer, simplified version may be wrong. She may well believe that the result of federalism, as she wants it defined, will be more responsive legislators, rather than thinking that this devolution of power is good because state legislators are already more responsive.

Imaginary speech from high school teacher: "Now do you see where sloppy writing gets you, Miss McArdle? I'm afraid that this paper only deserves a 'D,' but since you're such an overgrown elf, I'll let you slide with a 'C-,' and the advice to get a copy of The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White."

Simple, clear version:
But it is an excellent argument for federalism — as newly defined by The Federalist Society, not the traditionally understood definition — that is, returning power to the states, whose legislatures are usually more responsive to their constituents than Congress is.

I mean, "devolving power down to the level of the states" is about as awkward & redundant a construction as could be imagined from any one being paid for their typing. (Believe me, I've seen worse from Internet amateurs.) Next thing I expect from McMegan is the use of "returning back" or some other such redundancy.

And in passing, let's add that state legislatures & executives may be more responsive to their constituencies than Congress & the executive branch are, but they're also much more responsive to bribery, & excessively responsive to the interests of businesses & industries that may already dominate the economies of individual states. Note that even U. S. Senator Biden had to vote for the bankruptcy "reform" bill a couple of years ago, because of the influence of credit card companies headquartered & operating in Delaware. Or note the dominance of my own state of California at the turn of the last century by the Southern Pacific railroad, as shown in Upton Sinclair's The Octopus. Indeed, the SP's ownership of the state's gov't. was one of the reasons we have the statewide ballot initiative to this day.

This reporter may be back later w/ some clear & simple Megastats, & exciting links, depending on the how game is going between one of his many alma maters, the University of Spoiled Children (well, at least my father graduated there, even if I didn't) & the University of Washington, on whose campus he used to smoke reefer way back when. Ah, nostalgia.

Quick question

Can anyone explain what Megan thinks "devolving" means in the following?

It is, however, a very good argument for federalism--devolving power down to the level of the states wherever possible. That makes legislators much more directly responsive to their constituents.
Also..... what does she think federalism means?
The full post.

Update:
Looks like Megan finally added me to the list of them whut she has to approve the comments of, aka the ban list.
Pansy.

Update 2:
Yet again, oops. Fire me.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Driving Miss Lazy

McArdle today, on a Vanity Fair piece by David Margolick:

Amazing, disturbing piece on the Little Rock nine from Vanity fair. The sadness of that girl's subsequent life, in stark contrast to the usual story we get--music swelling to a crescendo as the nine march past the guards, and then fade to black--is awful to bear. [Emphasis added]

Margolick, from "Through a Lens, Darkly:"
In all the documentaries over the years, it is invariably at this moment, when Elizabeth and the other eight ascend Central's stately stairs and walk through its grand wooden doors,that the music swells and the credits begin to roll: the story is over.

McArdle liked Margolick's cinematic image, stole it and performed a piddling rewrite to make it her own. What manner of lazy mind plagiarizes someone else's work and then directs readers to the scene of the crime? Did she honestly believe that the link to the VF article was attribution enough?

What a dope.

Update: McArdle continues to bring out the best in her readership:
When will the supporters of integration apologize to those white children who have been physically harmed as a result? [...] When will they bow their heads at the sight of white people enduring ever longer commutes in order to enable their children to attend schools that have not yet been destroyed by mobs of unruly black savages?
And:
Unlike Megan who went to an upscale high school where the Blacks were probably motivated and cooperative, I went to a school with real Blacks. Let me assure you they did more than their share to drag the entire school down to their level.


Updated Update: Huh. McArdle hasn't deleted the racist trolls. Must've been a Nyquil Friday. Oh well, I had a Letters to the Editor Saturday:

To the Editors,

Please be aware that in a recent post by Megan McArdle ("A Picture and a Thousand Words," September 28, 2007), Ms. McArdle appears to plagiarize a portion of a recent Vanity Fair essay by David Margolick.

McArdle: "Amazing, disturbing piece on the Little Rock nine from Vanity fair. The sadness of that girl's subsequent life, in stark contrast to the usual story we get--music swelling to a crescendo as the nine march past the guards, and then fade to black--is awful to bear."

Margolick: "In all the documentaries over the years, it is invariably at this moment, when Elizabeth and the other eight ascend Central's stately stairs and walk through its grand wooden doors,that the music swells and the credits begin to roll: the story is over.

I do not believe that Ms. McArdle's link to Margolick's essay constitues sufficient attribution, and her superficial rewrite of the original phrasing suggests an attempt to efface authorship. Bottom line: there is no good excuse for Ms. McArdle's failure to properly quote another author's formulation.

I hope that the editors will encourage Ms. McArdle to follow standard editorial practices.

Sincerely,
Adam Clem


Hey, you never know.

She's on a roll today

I have to begin with an admission. I own a copy of The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein, but I haven't read it yet, and I still haven't gotten around to No Logo. *insert mandatory Chait/TPM Book Cafe reference here* That said, I'm inclined to like Naomi Klein, if only for her willingness to question accepted truths, and her success in doing so. Megan, apparently, hates Ms. Klein, for reasons that are 100% divorced from professional jealousy and resentment. Naomi Klein is one of those dirty hippies who try to make people aware of the realities underlying the policies people like Megan blithely support. Megan has lived 37 years without a fully developed conscience, and damned if she's gonna start on one now. Plus, Megan should be the one writing books. She, like, totally could document white people coffee cafe culture.
Now, I could try and respond point by point to Megan's little diatribe against Klein and in defense of Greenspan. (It's totally coincidental that Greenspan was a member of Ayn Rand's inner circle, btw. Megan was being ironic with the choice of Jane Gault, and the whole libertarian/Randroid connection has nothing to do with her defense of the sacred Alan here.) But I'm not trained in economics, and Megan's responses seem to amount to "Oh no she diiiiiiiiii'int!", so there's not a hell of a lot to respond to on any front. Instead, I'd just like to point out that rather than an expansive post, enumerating her problems with Klein's positions and providing arguments for why those positions are mistaken, she put up something that reads like a transcript of a sports fan yelling at their tv during a game. For non-economists, like myself, there's nothing to be learned here, except that Megan thinks the west coast offense is a gimmick.
This is one of those cases where the politics can be put aside, and the simple sloppiness and lack of professionalism Megan displays is ample cause for her termination.
FMM

Megan Defends Wal*Mart

I'm not kidding.

Wal-Mart is selling more and more incredibly cheap generic drugs, now including $9 a pop for generic tri-cyclic birth control pills. Their prices are cheaper than the prices I got through my old health insurance. (Haven't filled anything up on the new insurance yet.)

At teh same time, they take a huge beating for the wages they pay their workers, and the alleged stinginess of their health care plans. But these two things are flip sides of the same coin: they can afford to provide cheap drugs in part because they have a flexible and inexpensive labor force.
That is the entire post. I'd [sic] the "teh", but maybe it was intentional, to clue in the cool kids that what came after was a joke. Cuz, well, you don't have to be an econoblogger to see the problem here. Allow me to translate Megan's words to honest english. "Who cares about paying what things actually cost when so much of the burden can be shifted downwards?" If Megan doesn't see it, it didn't happen.
You think Wal*Mart employees can afford to take advantage of these everyday low prices? Or are they waiting for the 99 Cent shops to get expired Chinese birth control?
Selfish, myopic, spoiled, rich... unpleasant woman. Ugh.
Fire Megan McArdle

Actually, in our last contract, we traded the Election Day holiday for a free keg of beer at our union meetings

Today, Megan attempts to answer John Quiggan's question about why, exactly, we in the US vote on a Tuesday. Her two-pronged answer:

1. Religious reasons, since there are so many weekend sabbaths; and

2. Public employees get Election Day off, and are so powerful that they are able to maintain this crucial perk through sheer force of political will, or something.

Never mind that the first prong only answers why we don't vote on the weekend (a point made by one of Meg's readers). Do public employees really get Election Day off? My mother has been a public librarian since my early childhood, and she has never gotten Election Day as a paid holiday. My wife? Public schoolteacher for 10 years. No Election Days off. I myself have spent a decent chunk of time working on university campuses in various capacities. And I always work on Election Day.

But as it turns out, she's correct. Sort of. According to uselections.com, Election Day is an official holiday . . . if you happen to live in Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas or West Virginia. There are 11 others that apparently give public employees the day off, but I have to say that I am very skeptical about the accuracy of that list. Why? Because one of the states on that list is Florida, where I have spent a large chunk of my life and where I have spent a few Election Days in the office while an employee of the state university system.

Happily, some of Megatron's commenters are calling her on her laziness. One Katharine Harass sums it up, as far as I'm concerned:

Conclusion: The Atlantic Monthly has reached a new low.

Katharine's words, not mine . . . well, this time, anyway.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Can't sleep

... you know what's coming,
Clown'll eat me.
Anyhow, this is old, but worth a half-conscious response.

I am still bemused by the childish hysterics that have attended Megan's arrival here. I mean even the "fire Megan" blog linked above. I found it interesting how the history of The Atlantic is rewritten there to portray it as a left-wing magazine that has recently been repositioned as a DLC-centrist organ. To read that you'd think it used to be The Nation. I'm sure the ghost of poor Michael Kelly is having a good laugh at that one. I've subscribed for over 20 years and always liked The Atlantic for this "centralism" and for the well-written articles on non-political subjects.

Ross Douthat is seemingly far to the right of Megan but doesn't receive anything like this abuse. The only difference I can see in the commenter's reactions to them is that Megan is female and Ross isn't.

Just sayin'

Posted by Campesino
(From Megan's Comments Policy Redux post.)

To begin, yes. I hate women. They should be seen and not heard, like children. I hate everything that is not me, in fact, but women in particular, because they won't let me touch them.
Further, though it seems as if I pick on only Ann Althouse and Megan, the truth is they just happen to be good targets. I've been banned from the comments of more than a few male wingnut bloggers' places, some more than once*. Ok, also Debbie Schlussel's blog, but she doesn't count in sexism charges. That woman is just plain batshit crazy with hate. But Sadly, No! handles the wingers, and with more skill and humor than I could ever manage.
As for the "centralism", there's more to the left than DFHs and The Nation. Also, if you avoid the political pieces in a magazine, it'll tend to seem a lot less political to you. (Not that there wasn't an equal or greater focus on the literary over the political in the good old days.)
Finally, I really hate women, but if there's a lady out there who wants to throw me a mercy fuck and end my reign of terror, well, no fatties or sammiches.
...
For the record, that last joke/desperate and pathetic plea leaves me very morally conflicted.
...
Does that increase my odds of getting some?


*- Rick Moran and I will be together someday. You'll all see.

I'm not even going to begin to try to diagram this

Regular S,N! commenter J-- directs us to a post at The Garance where the clique that vexes us so is explained. *

For anyone who ever thought the blogosphere was insular, I’d like to lay out all the relationships behind today’s D.C. cafe society contretemps, because it’s actually kind of funny. Brian is/was Ezra’s roommate. Sommer is Matt’s friend. Ezra is staying with Matt here in NYC while we are all up here for the Clinton Global Initiative. Alex and I are friends, as are Alex and Megan. Matt and Ezra and Megan went shooting together on Yom Kippur (bad Jews!), along with Dave, who is throwing a joint birthday party with Brian later this week. Also, Megan and Matt work together. And I used to work with Matt and still work with Ezra. And I think we are all Facebook friends.
I have to admit, it's difficult to effectively mock that. I could date myself with a 90210 ref, but David Spade did us the service of playing those out. I could mock Garance, and there's plenty of material to work with here and elsewhere, but she's not really worth it, and if I say her name one more time Ann Althouse will pop up and demand I apologize.
Ah hell, I give up. It's late, and it's too depressing to think that with corporate ownership of all media, everywhere, that little circle is going to end up going far. Good journalists should be poor ass kissers.

*- Embedded links to the various blogs in original post not reinserted because, well, fuck that.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The gift that keeps on giving

The greatest thread that ever shall be has struck again.

Dreck, every time I worry that you've died or something, you come back with another spectacular class act. Bravo!

Angie:

Adolph Hitler would say, "If you don't want to see me slaughtering Jews, look the other way."

Nah. Hitler would have just said, "Criticizing my policies, eh? Only Jews do that!" and then summoned a few SS guards. Kind of like what FMM is doing, except that Hitler actually had money, influence, and a woman for a while.
Posted by anony-mouse

I almost suspect that of fakery. It's just too good.
Die Megatron ist verboten!

Megan's new website

which totally disproves the "Megan has subtle racial biases" meme we're oh so unfairly developing here.
See? We're just mean spirited and petty.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Give Me a Break, Or Give Me Death

"Ezra" (by which McMegan means Ezra Klein, but of course you're supposed to know that, after all he's part of the careerist trap shooting clique) starts it, & Megatron keeps it going.

EK:

Why can't DC have all that. [sic] There are, after all, lots of young, computer savvy white people in Mt. Pleasant, but nary a coffee shop to serve them. It's barbaric!
[...]
Namely, educated, young, white people.
[...]
So the character of the city actually does more to represent its inhabitants.

Could he perhaps mean that the city's character is a good representation of its inhabitants? And if that is what he means, could he have stated anything more obvious? Yes, blogging is allegedly semi-conversational, but put the emphasis on the "semi," & realize that we have the opportunity to review what we've typed.

Megan jumps in:

[R]ental competition from young white people who like bookstores, cafes, and wireless hotspots.
Only one of the commenters even calls her on this, and is "refuted" by this comment:

You are more likely to find an educated white person at a bookshop, on a biking trail or in a Starbucks-type coffee shop than you are to find an average black person.
(All emphases added.)

Or an average white person. But of course to this clown, the average white person is "educated." Oh, why even attempt to understand these people? Most of them are working on assumptions that remain firmly lodged in their minds, despite the "diversity & multiculturalism" agenda w/ which those liberal professors have been ruining Americans since the '60s.

I've no idea how Ezra Klein makes his money (his web log seems to stand on its own) but let's fire him too.

UPDATE (26 September 2007 @ 4:25 P. M.): On the other hand, some of Megan's best neighbors may be black:
I'm listening to This is Madness by The Last Poets while sitting in a black-owned coffee shop in my heavily mixed-race neighbourhood, one of the historic center's [sic] of Washington, DC's sizeable black middle glass. [sic] I'm surrounded by young hipsters and middle-aged black families, nodding my head in time with the beat, and really enjoying the music--when it suddenly occurs to me that if they could see this, the men who cut that album would probably be quite horrified.

And since she had headphones on:
I was listening to it with surround headphones; no one else heard it.

she may not have heard any one using any of those words.

How Bad Can It Be? This Bad.

The Atlantic has come to this:

So I am informed that Okkervil River tickets for this Sunday are sold out. This is a pretty thin hope, but does anyone know where I can acquire one or two?
Please refrain from starting items w/ "So." Thank you.

Brad adds:

I disagree. It's this bad.

MB comes back: Saw that too, but it didn't seem as pathetic/trivial as "any one got any tickets?"

Fire Yglesias's ass, too

This is just plain old fucking stupid.

Everyone, including Ahmadenijad, has a right to speak his mind in this country, but nobody has a right to a specific platform at a major university. I, after all, haven't been granted such an invitation and there's no particular reason he should have gotten one either.
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Now why would Columbia invite the president of a foreign nation we're currently being prodded towards going to war with, who is also a figure of much controversy in his own right, to speak? Tough question, I know. It's almost as if they want to expose their students to controversial views and provoke critical thinking on their part. And, since Columbia has a long standing policy of not accepting Jews, Ahmadenijad was clearly agreeing to speak where he'd only be cheered and supported.
And while he may not have meant it as egotistically as it sounds, wtf is going on with the personal comparison? Matt, you aren't as important as Ahmadenijad. You are not going to be cited as a reason for going to war. And no, Ahmadenijad isn't really in charge of Iran, but is more of a rabble rouser and salesman for the Clerical Council's decisions. How is that different from what Bush does for Cheney?
Ban Bush from public speaking engagements!

Update:

Ah duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh.

Monday, September 24, 2007

From another web log, Ways to End the World:

[A]pparently there’s a blog almost exclusively devoted to getting Megan McArdle fired.
[...]
This is stupid, nasty, and uncalled for. I hate the woman’s work, think she’s a pox on the discourse with almost no redeeming qualities as a writer, but I wouldn’t actively campaign to get her fired — and I don’t even begin to know how you get multiple posts on the subject every day.

It helps to have five contributors, one of whom (me!) is unemployed. And Ms. McArdle helps, as you say:
She really is truly awful, and if she did happen to lose her job, I would feel bad for her as a human, but not too bad. The sheer laziness the blog documents is pretty stunning.

But I wouldn't say we're "actively campaigning to get her fired." That would probably involve, well, a campaign, with petitions, & appeals to Atlantic subscribers to cancel their subscriptions, etc. Check our founder's Mission item. The blog title is based on the Fire Joe Morgan web log, which probably doesn't think it's going to get Joe kicked to the curb either, but is a popular spot for baseball blather as well as anti-Joe Morgan sentiment.

As Ms. McArdle is the most recent addition to the Atlantic Online's "Voices" section, we just thought it would be a good idea to try to nip her in the bud. Sullivan, as you say, "has a devoted audience, books published, a long career behind him, and access to the TV." We certainly won't get him tossed out. My fondest hope would be for someone at The Atlantic to sit McArdle down & explain journalism, accuracy, writing, and at least the concept of proofreading her items. Certainly what you refer to as her "sheer laziness" would be an impediment to success in the dog eat dog libertarian world she (rather half-heartedly) embraces. I, at least, am not too sure Ms. McA. truly understands the libertarian philosophy (other than her desire not to be bothered or inconvenienced, after all her time is precious) but is, in the words of Albert Brooks, "still trying to show Mommy something," by being contrary, & because she had a bad experience w/ a "leftist" group:
McArdle signed on to work as a canvasser for the Public Interest Research Groups, the nonprofit founded by Ralph Nader that raises money for causes like the Sierra Club and the Human Rights Campaign. Her experience there hurried along her “transition from ultraliberal to libertarian.” The organization was, she says, “the most deceptive, evil place I’ve ever worked.” And that’s not all: “PIRG acted like PIRG accuses other employers of acting.” The entire thing, she writes on her blog, was a scam designed “to collect your name so that they can sic telemarketers on you several times a year.”

There's a good reason to go from "ultraliberal to libertarian." "Gosh, Ralph Nader isn't the secular saint he's portrayed as, & now that I think about it, I don't want any of my privilege reduced."

Thanks for the mention, and by the way, you don't really want to "end the world," do you? So leave our title alone.

Brad adds:

I have to run to class so I have to be quick, but two things:
1. This isn't "Silence Megan McArdle", not that we were accused of such, but it's a relatively important distinction. Megan has every right to be an idiot careerist who spends more time sucking up than researching her work. That doesn't mean she has a right to help destroy The Atlantic. And no, we're not likely to have much effect, but it's a good way to blow off steam.
2. I worked for NYPIRG one summer, and Megan is full of shit, as usual. Then again, I doubt she was a very good canvasser. Part of the gig was listening to people and then addressing their concerns. Asking them "what do you think of my feet?" isn't a good strategy.
Also, she's lying. They make a point not to sell your info to telemarketers or the like. Maybe Megan just pissed off the wrong person.
That's not to say NYPIRG is perfect, by any means, just that Megan is full of it.

High School Gun Club

Well, the entire D. C. blog-o-sphere was all a-twitter w/ their exciting trip to the Trap & Skeet Center this weekend. McArdle did two items on it, as did Matt Yglesias, & an editor of Reason, David Weigel, who had only one item (& of course a picture of himself holding a gun). He really has a great "web log;" the comments are all closed, all the time. Even better is one Matt Fricke ("Awesome," Megan calls him) whose "web log" is closed to any but the invited. Really makes you wonder what goes on in there. However, his Flickr™ pages are available, if you want to see more ugly people standing awkwardly w/ shotguns. Ezra Klein, also at the skeet fest, resisted the urge to post anything about himself, but that may be because he seems to turn his web log over to others for the weekend, and is in New York today.

Two comments from Yglesias' web log:

Shooting would be much more fun if I didn't have to spend so much money and schlep out to a range or some deserted public land. I'm assuming those shotguns are rentals. Add shells, clays, and range time, it really adds up. Most of the time, I'd rather plink with a .22 and a brick of ammo at my leisure.
Posted by shecky


shecky, I'm w/ you on the .22 & a brick, but you must remember these are the children of the upper-middle class having a lark, fantasizing that they are the children of the wealthy class.
Posted by
M. Bouffant

Of course real shooters, like shecky & this correspondent, either go to ranges & shoot at human silhouette targets (w/ our own damn guns, not rentals) or do indeed schlep out to public lands (I guess Megan would consider herself an immoral parasite/freeloader to make use of "the commons") &, in my case at least, shoot the crap out of the detritus of consumer society, especially electronic equipment.

And isn't it just like high school, when all the bloggers refer to each other by first names, as if all & sundry should just know who the "kewl kidz" are?

"Ezra's Got a Gun" "Matt seeks to avenge his parents." "Dave has also posted a picture..." "Matt, obviously, would play the forbidding enforcer. And Ezra, of course, is the idealistic young kid who is sucked into the blogger army by an urge for adventure and better health care policy, only to become disillusioned, giving us a thrilling plot as he fights to escape."

A bonus from Mr. Yglesias:
•Thursday: confused about all these signs and buttons in my neighborhood about the "Jena 6."
•Friday: reading some stories about the case and pondering the matter.
•Saturday: trying to decide what I should say in my blog post on the matter.

So there you have it, consciousness raised. Unfortunately, I do think there's a lot of truth to what McMegan says here, namely that the best resolution of this situation would be to go back in time and have the school board and the district attorney not handle the early days of the situation much more responsibly. Obviously, though, that's not an option.
Maybe he didn't catch McArdle's sloppy habits, I seldom peruse his web log, but is the word "not" in that paragraph really what he intends? Or did he intend to type "so irresponsibly" rather than "much more responsibly?" And did he know nothing of the Jena 6 before last Thursday?

"Consciousness raised," my ass! Sweet blood of jeezis, you fool, you don't have to spend more time at the fucking Olive Garden, but try to pay attention to whatever the fuck-tuck-tucking hell is actually occurring in the country!!

Fire them all, starting w/ Sully!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Priorities

Important: Detailed coverage of an afternoon at the firing range.

Not Important: Apologizing for ignorance that verges on racial insensitivity, particularly when expressed on the website of a magazine with 150+ years of history of fighting racial bias.

But hey, at least she poorly paraphrased a wiki article!

Also,
I have to respond to this comment.

I'm not sure what role I'd be cast in, except that I'm fairly certain I'd die horribly in the second reel.

At this point, a million bloggers instead thought of Carrie Fisher in Return of the Jedi.

Posted by Tom

And then a million voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.

Breaking News


Associated Press (AP)

In a bizarre incident at a Washington, DC area gun range, famed author Ayn Rand rose from the dead and menaced patrons before being shot down by a popular blogger.

Originator of a philosophy known as Objectivism, the Russian-born Rand died in 1982. Author of the popular novels "The Fountainhead," "Atlas Shrugged" and "We the Living," the un-dead Rand emerged from the ground on Saturday afternoon.

"She kind of got her head and shoulders out of the dirt and then just waved her arms around," said an employee of the gun club. "She was all messed up." Other witnesses reported that Rand seemed to focus on one patron of the club, Megan McArdle, who is a blogger for The Atlantic Monthly's web site. Witnesses say that it was McArdle who finally dispatched Rand.

The local Sheriff's office declined comment on the specifics of the bizarre incident, but confirmed that McArdle was being held for questioning as a witness. "She is not being charged with any crime," a spokesman said, adding that McArdle was "very distraught. It's not something she wanted to do." McArdle, who was uninjured by the zombie, was examined by paramedics and treated for an existing cold.

Witnesses were stunned.

"It was horrible," said Amedee Greene of Silver Hill, MD. "Thank God that girl pulled the trigger, but it was like they knew each other."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

No Information Available

There's just no info about this "Jena 6" thing anywhere. Well, there is an entry on Wikipedia, but it only has 43 references. Google™ News? "About 8,261" for Jena, "about 1,840 " for Jena 6. Yahoo!™ News? "About 5,331" for Jena, "about 1,429" for Jena 6. Where, oh where, can one find information about this case? Quoth Megan McArdle: "As everyone notes, it's hard to get information on the case, which is trickling out..." Quoth Andrew Sullivan, also of The Atlantic's "Voices":

What The Hell Happened in Jena?

I haven't commented because, frankly, I am still unsure of all the details of the case, some of which may never be known.
I've no idea what "details" may never be known (other than who started the fire that burned down the high school) but the legal case in question, of the "Jena 6" (there've been other incidents, and certainly the impression of pervasive racism in the high school & the town as well) is pretty damn clear, & I'll go on record that the charges of attempted murder against the six, especially when compared to the wrist-slaps handed out to white people in earlier incidents, are ridiculously overblown. Especially when the beatee is up & attending a fuction the same evening, not lying in a coma. Not that hitting a guy from behind, knocking him down, and kicking him when he's down shouldn't be punished (no matter what the victim was saying or calling the attackers) but calling an athletic shoe a "deadly weapon" in order to bring charges of attempted murder is, in this case (and in this David Duke-voting parish) racially motivated. So there. Wasn't that hard, was it, intellectual lazyboneses?

Enough w/ serious commentary on the sad state of America today. Let's talk about how lazy Andrew Sullivan really is. I've long suspected that much of his "web log" is intern (or perhaps well paid flunky) powered. Or he's just lucked into a gig where he need only wander the Internet all day long & link to whatever, and while Glenn ("Ai kn b robut?") Reynolds has a paying gig outside of Instapunditry, Sullivan, w/ no fall-back, works hard enough for the money to wrap more text around his links, & often provides a "money quote."

My first clue that Mr. Sullivan might be the tip of an editorial iceberg (Other than sheer volume: Today is Saturday, he has 16 items & "The View From Your Window" available for your reading pleasure. Yesterday it was 26 + TVFYW.) was when he moved to The Atlantic from TIME & his portrait changed a bit:
Note that @ The Atlantic, on the right, the dog is no longer giving him the fisheye, but the woman in the background is. As I wrote then (a mere 223 days ago, in my first Internet appearance as more than a commenter): "4) Atlantic provides googly eyed staffer/intern (to replace no longer googly eyed dog at Time?)"

On to Althouse, who agrees w/ Sully that there's just no information. A modest proposal: Look at some of the references from the Wikipedia entry. Here's one from NPR. From 30 July of this year!!

Divine Ms. A., you're an attorney & a law professor. Can't you even make a statement to the effect of: "I'm unable to determine the merest facts in these events, because there's been absolutely nothing on it in the mainstream media, but It Seems To Me™ that attempted murder charges might be a little excessive in this case." Would that be too damn much?
Crap on a crutch. Fire everybody, & let's start over from the Big Bang!

Accuracy in Media:
"(Psst! Ann: It's McArdle not McCardle.) 10:26 AM"
Remains uncorrected.

Clem & brad have been pulled into the Alt-Vortex, demands for abject apologies have been issued. Life goes on.

Who's Lazier Than Megan McArdle?


That would be Andrew Sullivan, blogging on the Jena 6.

I haven't commented because, frankly, I am still unsure of all the details of the case, some of which may never be known. But Megan has a useful timeline.

The "useful timeline" being McArdle's Wikipedia grab.

Between-the-lines Sullivan: "I'm not touching this one. Why? See McArdle's comments section."

If McArdle is lazier than Reynolds, and Sullivan is lazier than McArdle, who could possibly be lazier than Sullivan?

Sullivan links to Megan McCardle's [sic] summary of the Wikipedia article on the subject, which she understands is "pretty authoritative." It's pathetic that we're reduced to going to Wikipedia because the mainstream news of a current event is too skimpy.

No, Ann, what's pathetic is your reliance on a Matryoshka structure of like-minded hacks.

Who's lazier than Ann Althouse?

Brad adds:

Let's not forget, Ann Althouse was a guest columnist for the NYfuckingTimes. And the only way she can find out info is via third-hand wikipedia references. I.... don't know what to say. That's just... monstrously stupid. Nazi enabling stupid. (Yeah, Godwin, but c'mon, how ignorant and accepting of whatever is set in front of you can someone be?)
Oh, and don't let Glenn Reynolds off so easily. Lazy, or complicit?

Clem responds:

Lazy or complicit? I haven't commented because, frankly, I am still unsure of all the details of Reynolds' case, some of which may never be known until he uploads his brain into a publicly accessible external storage device. But Wikipedia has a useful illustration.

Brad adds more:

It appears I'm being too hard on Instapundit, amazing as that is to say. I went back and read his post that Megan half-based her initial post on, and I'm left to wonder if Megan actually read anything, anywhere, before posting. Reynolds provided a reasonably fair summary of the case, or rather quoted one at length. Megan came up with "jail the Jena 6" all on her own, based on an uninformed knee-jerk response to dirty hippies claiming black "criminals" had been victimized.
It's actually worse than I thought.
Jesus.
Fire Megan McArdle

Saturday Morning McArdle: "Music! Wiki! And Lazy!"

MCardle finally got off her ass, deleted a few comments on the Jena 6 boards, and got down to the hard business of having no real opinion.

I've now listened to the new Beirut album four times, and it's disappointing. Not bad, exactly, just . . . fine. The sound's evolving, which is always interesting, but the direction in which it's evolving isn't, very. I'm all for more listenable style--I have too many albums right now that I can't really listen to at work, because it's too distracting--but somehow, it doesn't quite make it. If after four plays nothing's leaped out at me, it seems rather likely that nothing will.

"Actually, I've been dissuaded from listening to music at work by my colleague Marc Ambinder, who threatened to catapult poo into my cubicle if I played Tegan & Sara again."

On an unrelated note, I listened to Hem's Rabbit Songs for the first time in months, which was a great album.

"I'd be mightily entertained if someone challenged my claim that these sequential musings on bands I enjoy are unrelated. It seems clear to me that, given that one band is named Beirut and the other band is named Hem, with one being slightly better than the other, these notes are entirely unrelated. But soft."

And as I was listening to "Half Acre", it suddenly occurred to me that I've listened to a lot of hard-core copyright advocates complaining that "fair use" might let someone ruin a song by, for example, turning the Ride of the Valkyries into a laxative commercial. How come none of these sensitive-eared music lovers get upset when bands ruin their own songs by, say, licensing them to egregiously overplayed insurance commercials?

Those sensitive music lovers probably aren't in your orbit, Megan. If they do number among your friends, they keep their feelings to themselves, with good reason:

Obviously, I'm a libertarian; I think the latter should be legal. But can't we at least make fun of them, hard?

"Hmmm. I wonder if there's anything on Wikipedia about..."

The truly shocking news is that Wikipedia claims the insurance commercial gave Hem a boost. It couldn't have happened to a nicer band, of course, but do people really buy music off commercials?

"Of course, Wikipedia entries should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism, as I've maintained all along."

Cue McArdle's commenters, who have indeed purchased music licensed to commercial advertisments. With a bit more research, McArdle might even have located Adtunes, a site devoted to charting the use of new music in advertising and the effect such use has on music sales. To wit:

Responding to "popular demand" for the previously unreleased Chevy Cobalt song, Lily Frost's Aporia Records label has released a compilation album of her session songs called Flights of Fancy, with the Chevy ad song "The Two of Us" included as a hidden track on the release.

Man, Wagner's Walk├╝renritt is such a great song.

McArdle in microcosm

Meg's post on the Jena 6 (so ably dissected by clem and M.Bouffant below) is a perfect example of why she has no business blogging for the Atlantic, or indeed any organization that wishes to protect its good name. It's not her blithe indifference to the injustice of the situation (yeah, the white kids who stomped some of these black kids at a party got probation instead of being charged as adults, but whaddaya gonna do?), nor is it her complete lack of interest in actually trying to put forth a solution she would consider fair (I don't know what the answer is, but those black kids should do time). No, it's her eager willingness to pontificate on a hot-button current event far outside her alleged area of expertise . . . without first having the goddamned common courtesy to do even a modicum of research into the event itself.

This kind of behavior is appalling. It's lazier than Glenn Reynolds, which is saying a lot. And it is far, far below the standards of The Atlantic (or at least, below the standards they seem to want everyone to think they have).

Fire Megan McArdle.

Getaway Day

An uneventful Friday @ The Atlantic's "Voices" section. Megan McArdle regales us w/ a drug scoring story: "...on the way to meet a friend in order to pick up a little cold medicine" (never heard it called that before) that ends w/ her in a bit of a tizzy: "I stomped out in a huff, proclaiming that 'this is not how people in a free society should live.'" See Clem's fine take on this, if you haven't already.

Then it's on to the world of some sort of sexism, involving Elizabeth Edwards talking about Sen. Clinton. McMegan's reaction?

"There's a weird, protective, send-a-woman-to-attack-a-woman vibe about this. What's next? Des [sic] she sue Ms [sic] Clinton for alienation of affections [sic] ?"

It's not as if John Edwards has ever said anything about Senator C., I guess. Except when he's accused the Senator of being in the pockets of industry & lobbyists & all that. But it's, like, weird vibes, man. Speaking of sexism, a suggestion to Matt Zeitlin: Impetuous Young Whippersnapper & all others typing or speaking: Could we put a moratorium on the use of "shrill?" I doubt if Ms. Edwards was actually strident or intemperate, & the next time the word is applied to a man, candidate or otherwise, will be the first.

But then all hell broke loose, @ 1248 EDT. See Clem just below, or look for yourself if you dare. I'm just going to note that Ms. McA. went off half-cocked, perhaps thinking that her iconoclastic, shocking title, "Jail the Jena 6" was the only work she had to do, besides linking to Instapundit. Heh. Indeed.

(Why do people think they're being so wild & shocking & radical & non-PC when they are merely mouthing the power structure line? Are they really laboring under the impression that we're living in a socialist paradise, where no hard-working honkie w/ an Ivy League degree can get ahead because of "diversity," "multiculturalism," & affirmative action hires, while the Property Police are working their way down the list of assets to be seized & handed over to welfare mothers?)

Whatever her Friday afternoon desires, she was back @ 1436 EDT, after doing some research:
As everyone notes, it's hard to get information on the case, which is trickling out and heavily influenced by where you got your facts. My understanding so far is that the Wikipedia entry is pretty authoritative, and the basic facts are as follows:

I'll accept Wikipedia for birthdates (if not years) & general non-controversial information, but if it says at the top of the page (& it does): "Editing of this article by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism," I'd question any one's understanding ("So far?" What the hell does that mean? That someone told her it was "pretty authoritative," & until someone else tells her differently she's going w/ that? Trust me, there's a better way to express that. I suppose it's really just another pre-emptive weasel.) of any authority it may have. Google™ News, by the way, has "about 8,514" results for the word "Jena." There may not have as many when Megan was buckling down for her research. And the story's been national for at least a week, all over the tube & the tubes. Wait, no, it's been trickling out, & information (or the case itself, bad syntax there) is heavily influenced by where you got your facts. Or, they might not be "facts" at all if they're heavily influenced by where you got them. (Can you imagine the laughs at the literary agency if she'd actually written some fiction & sought an agent?)

We then get 43 lines of re-phrased Wikipedia entry. How do we know it's re-phrased? Wikipedia uses the word "principal." Megan?
A black kid, who may or may not have been new to town, asked permission to sit under the tree. The principle said "of course you can sit anywhere you want.

The way to tell which one to use, if you're not sure, is that the "principal" is your "pal." My sixth grade English teacher thought that was pretty funny, if not ironic. Maybe Ms. McA's confused by principal (which you don't touch, while living on the interest from your trust fund) & the "first principles" so popular w/ people who think they're principled. Andrew Sullivan likes the phrase a lot.
And close those quotes, it's getting cold in here.

One other difference, & we're out of here. Wikipedia says the now cut down tree in question was referred to as the "white tree." According to Megan:
Jena is a town with racial issues. There was a special tree at the high school that white students sat under to read.

I checked three sources from the Wikipedia entry & found absolutely nothing about the white students sitting under it to read. Are we just winging it here, M?

Wikipedia:
At Jena High School, students of different races seldom sat together. Black students traditionally sat on bleachers near the auditorium, while white students sat under a large shade tree, referred to as the "white tree", in the center of the school courtyard.[3]

It's not explicit anywhere, but I'd suspect a lot of this has to do w/ lunchtime seating. We see who gets the shade tree & who gets the bleachers. Separate but equal, right? That is, if the bleachers are shaded, & not farther away from the main building than the "white tree" in the courtyard.

OK, final note:

The Wikipedia entry consistently refers to those involved in the various incidents as students, black students, or white students. In the Fair Barn party incident, the participants are identified as black youths & white males or white men.

In Ms. McA.'s recap & final paragraph there are two mentions of "white student(s)," two of "white kid(s)," three of "kid" (whom we know to be white) & seven of "black kid(s)." Not once does Megan use the phrase "black students." I doubt that this is deliberate (Hell, I might not even have noticed, but I've a pet peeve about the use of the word "kid" to refer to anything other than young goats, and there are a lot of "kids" scattered about.) but it could raise some questions, couldn't it?

Megastats:
# of items: 4
Posted between: 1154 EDT & 1536 EDT, w/ comments @ 1428 & 1512 EDT.
Nice work if you can get it. Another late night @ the Wonderland bar trivia w/ Ezra Klein?
Line Count:
McArdle: 113, including comments & 43 lines of re-worked Wikipedia entry
Copied & Pasted: 33
Ratio: Better than 3:1 in favor of Ms. McA.

Friday, September 21, 2007

"But...but it was Friday night!"

Until yesterday's posts about the Jena 6, McArdle's blog had been a fairly quiet place. Comments tended to come from her dedicated coterie, whose comments were often better informed and more literate than the posts that inspired them, with regular incursions by a few detractors. Some of us have posted there, with one or two still enjoying the dubious privelege of being allowed to comment; I was banned for questioning her claim to have read a certain book, Fishbone was banned for some other infraction and Brad was, presumably, banned for starting this blog. Though it is The Atlantic's property, Asymmetrical Information is McArdle's fiefdom and she has the right to run it as she sees fit. For the most part, she's run it well and kept it clean.

The barfight that erupted in her comments section yesterday was ugly, with open expressions of appalling racism, calls for vigilante violence and at least one entreaty to McArdle to commit suicide. The brawl spilled from her first Jena post to the second and didn't slow down until the evening. As of 12am Saturday, none of the comments had been deleted, the worst offenders were still posting and, despite a few pleas for moderation, McArdle was nowhere to be found. Never one to engage frequently with the hoi polloi, she's decided that discretion is, truly, the better part of valor, and run away.

For all of McArdle's faults as a writer, I'd always assumed that she would have some atavistic regard for her employer's hallowed reputation, and that even if that reputation didn't inspire her to become a better, more disciplined and engaged writer, she would at least honor that reputation by not falling asleep at the switch. Failing to take note of one racist's trolling because she'd taken ill was excusable. Allowing Sambo-speak, apologies for vigilantism and exhortations to suicide to go unchecked would be considered negligence from an independent blogger; for it to happen under The Atlantic's aegis is a bloody disgrace. The excuses she may cook up for her inattention will, in all likelihood, be as pathetic as the defenses she offered for her ignorant, lazy posts on the Jena 6; on a matter of lesser import, they might have been amusing. This cock-up isn't funny, and her self-deprecatory charm, if it was ever genuine, shouldn't save her.

Fire Megan McArdle.

Now this is just disrespectful to M.Bouffant, Fishbone, Clem, and Tau*

*- Listed, I believe, in the order in which they signed on.
From the greatest thread that shall ever be, over at Janegalt.net,

Tom T. says,

What an awesome site! One can't help but wonder what drives a person to do something so laughable. Is the writer (presumably all the aliases are the same person) a jealous ex, a frustrated competitor for an Atlantic job, a paid political operative, or just very lonely? I'm sure we'll find out eventually; this sort of thing never stays anonymous forever.

I simply cannot begin to count how many ways that makes me want to marry Tom T., but I do have to insist any and all detractors refrain from tarring the rest of this blog's fine contributors with my glaring flaws as a person. Keep this in mind in the future, plz, kthxbi.

Apparently Megan doesn't read Orcinus

Shocking, innit?
Not that Orcinus is the only place one could learn about the case of the Jena 6, but, well, I at least first heard about it there, sometime last fall, not long after the case began.
But Megan needs wikipedia to tell her the basic facts of the case. Fine. She's an "econoblogger", and it'd be somewhat unfair to single her out solely for the failures of the MSM to remember race relations remain an important issue in America...
Oh, wait, singling her out for journalistic failures is what we do here. Ok.

Dear Megan,

Next time, please, at least read the wiki page before you start blogging about it.
Otherwise, you end up making very uninformed arguments that come, via right wing transmitters, straight from racists. Remember that guy who posted about miscegenation in your comments? Right now he is very, very happy with you for saying "jail the Jena 6".

Aren't you bad enough without becoming a useful idiot for racists?

Love,
brad

New Poll

As you can see.
As before, vote for as many as you please.
I'm surprised Lou Dobbs managed second in the last poll, but pleased.
Lou Dobbs is a real piece of shit. Go visit Orcinus to understand why.

McCarded

Generalissimo Megan McArdle still has a cold.

The other day, I stopped in the drugstore on the way to meet a friend in order to pick up a little cold medicine. I stomped out in a huff, proclaiming that "this is not how people in a free society should live." In order to obtain a little Sudafed, I had to produce a photo ID and sign for it. Is shutting down one of many avenues of meth production really worth the price of treating every American citizen with a stuffy nose like a drug dealer?

Megan: "Hi, I'd like a little Sudafed, please."
Clerk: "Sure, um...do you mean you want the lowest dosage or the smallest bottle?"
Megan: "Eek! What I really meant was I'd like to obtain the most economical means for discongesting my nose."
Clerk: "Alright, that'll be be $14.95, may I see your ID?"
Megan: "Excuse me?"
Clerk: "Sorry, it's the meth-heads, they use it to make meth, you know, that preacher Haggard and all."
Megan: "MY FREEDOMS ARE BEING TRAMPLED! GRRAAHHHH!"

(Stomps out in a huff.)

Megan: "THIS IS NOT HOW PEOPLE IN A FREE SOCIETY SHOULD LIVE!"
Homeless woman on sidewalk: "Oh, thank you Dear, bless you, you're beautiful."
Megan: "I DON'T BELIEVE IN HANDOUTS!"

(Stomps into liquor store.)

Megan: "I''d like a little Absolut Watermelon, please."
Clerk: "That's $32. Can I see some ID?"
Megan: "WHAT!? OH, COME ON, I'M OBVIOUSLY OVER THHHhank you, sure, here you go."
Clerk: "Alright."
Megan: "Yeah, I get carded all the time. Must look really young."
Clerk: "Here's your change."
Megan: "I write for The Atlantic. Do you snore?"

Foreign Policy, The McArdle Way

For all I can determine, "Jane Galt" may be be the greatest "econoblogger" of all time, although the term "econoblogger" makes me think cut-rate, shoddy, or, "You get what you pay for." So let's examine her foray into foreign policy, or world events, or whatever "Osama Bin Laden declares war on Pakistan" is. First, proving once again that the political is personal, she brings her college paramour, Scott, into it. (See brad's item right underneath this'n.) Or was it John, the college boyfriend referred to in "Live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse?"

Since I just know we would have hit the big time had we not been torn apart by the fickle hand of fate, I suppose I have to thank said boyfriend for saving us both from a life of glamour, hard living, and premature death.

Thank you, John, wherever you are. I think.
Perhaps she had more than one collegiate affair, & just didn't want to use an awkward phrase like "one of my college boyfriends." But w/ us stalking your every word, Megatron, you'd better start watching every one of them. Including "fickle hand of fate." It's "fickle finger of fate," or something else entirely. The concept is alliteration. Maybe one of Megan's readers can look it up for her.

...Oh, yes...makes the political personal...So either this Scott, w/ his brooding anger, was a Bin Laden in the making, or Bin Laden is just some angry college boy who's filled w/ non-specific rage & shooting his mouth off. (By the way, we have a good idea where Ms. McA. stands vis-à-vis the "white male bourgeois power structure," don't we? Or, indeed, any power structure.)

Now Osama has declared war on the government of Pervez Musharraf in the run up to the elections. This would make sense if Pakistan had any sort of reputation for being the sort of stable and open representative democracy whose government could be ousted by grand emotional proclamations. But it seems rather mad in the current circumstances.
If Megan has typing problems, it may be the result of reading problems. From the item she linked to:

Bin Laden declares 'war' on Pakistan in new tape

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden called on Muslims in Pakistan to wage holy war against the government of President Pervez Musharraf in a new audio message issued on Thursday.

See those little squiggly things on either side of the word "war" in the title? They mean something, Megan. We'll let you look it up yourself, you may remember the meaning rather than just resent our telling you.

Ahem. So OBL didn't exactly "declare war," he called on Muslims to wage holy war. And while Pakistan may not be the most stable, etc., gov't., there are open elections, it's just that the military reserves to itself the right of final decision. It Seems To Me™ that the less stable & whatnot the gov't. is, the more likely an OBL fatwa would have some serious effect. A bit more from The Link She Didn't Read™:

In another video released by al-Qaeda's media arm, Bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri also warned that Musharraf would be "punished" over the killing of leading rebel cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi in the storming of the Red Mosque in Islamabad in July.
Pakistan, which became a US ally after the September 11 2001 attacks, has suffered a dramatic upsurge in Islamist violence since the siege and storming of the al-Qaeda-linked mosque, which left more than 100 people dead.
Oh look. There's already a freakin' "holy war" going on. You don't think OBL is just trying to get ahead of the trend here, do you?

But why would Osama do this? Previously, he had a fairly stable arrangement; Musharraf couldn't root him out of the tribal areas for various military and political reasons, and Osama couldn't bring on the Caliphate just yet. [...] Meanwhile, he has just given Pervez Musharraf and any waverers in his government a much stronger incentive to find Osama and his merry band of cave-dwelling madmen.
Musharraf has virtually no control over the tribal areas. If he were able to do anything against Bin Laden, he probably would have, as his "alliance" w/ the U. S. is based on financial incentives & threats made to him post-9/11 by the U. S. gov't.
And here's where Megan makes her biggest mistake. She's willing to dismiss OBL as a "cave-dwelling madman."

This is the kind of overreach that has caused every government that has ever offered him shelter to ultimately kick him out, except for Afghanistan, which didn't have much of a government. Even so, he went and found another government
to kick him out. And where will he go this time? He's running out of lawless quasi-states to hide in.
I don't know the story behind Bin Laden leaving Sudan for Afghanistan (Can Any of My Readers Help Me Out W/ This?™) but the Taliban, however much of a gov't. it may have been, was completely on his side, & lawless quasi-states are the best spot for him. But to equate Bin Laden w/ a crazy frat-boy ("I didn't need behavioral economics to tell me that people don't always act in their rational self-interest.") is foolish. Unfortunately, he is an intelligent, wealthy, person, the head of an organization skilled in propaganda & using the strengths of an opponent against that opponent (let alone the weaknesses of the opponent; note Bin Laden's recent goading of the U. S. into staying in Iraq as long as Bush can get away w/ it) who may be religiously, rather than economically or politically, motivated, but cannot be dismissed as a "cave-dwelling madman."

Gaarrrgh!! Hair hurting again.

Megastats for 20 September 2007:
#of items: A mere six.
First item: 1206 EDT
Last item: 1732 EDT
Late night?

Line Count:
McA: 153
Copy & Paste: 53
Ratio: 3:1

Silliest item:

What a snore
Oh, this takes me back, it does. To the earth shattering booms and irritating whistles, the sleep-deprived nights, the frantic rib-poking, the ever-so-temporary relief. Why is it that snorers can always fall asleep faster than you can?
Well, who was it? Scott or John? Inquiring minds want to know.

Hey, can I turn this into complaints about the poor women who've been merciful enough to put up w/ me over the years?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

In defense of Scott

Scott was Megan's college bf. We also know that he dumped her right about the same time her college band got sick of dealing with her. (Yes, I realize it was 100% her decision in both cases and she still gets calls from both parties begging her to take them back and she just lets them pretend to have been responsible to salvage their piddling egos.)
Megan remains unhappy with Scott, however, to the point she quasi-Godwins him with this: "Osama Bin Laden is starting to remind me of my college boyfriend, whose brooding anger at the white male bourgeois power structure quickly disintegrated into anger at the non-Scott power structure."
Lady, Scott had the good taste to stop being in a relationship with you. That means he's better than The Atlantic, which also means he's better than Bin Laden. Radical claim, I know, but I think the logic of saying The Atlantic > Bin Laden is, even with your employment there, unimpeachable.
Now, it's true he also had the bad taste to be in a relationship with you, but let's not judge people for mistakes they've probably learned from.

Update:
This is right on the border of too mean, so let me pretend to apologize and say we (I) will focus on her professional failures from here on out.

Update 2:
I can has a fan!
He even implicitly criticizes my grammar. In a sentence missing a comma. Me likey.

The Ann Althouse Taser Challenge

Too much McArdle leads to Nyquil abuse, so let's see what Ann Althouse is up to.

Let's see, sentimental photos of Brooklyn and Manhattan, willful misrepresentations of the behavior of museum goers...causing outbreaks of "bloofer lady" sightings...sucking up to The New York Sun...failed pledge drive for a second egg-salad sandwich challenge...

I wonder what she thinks about that kid who got tase-

Speaking of upstart Taser-boy Andrew Meyer, how many Americans do you think would agree to get tased if it would get them the attention it got him? By chance, I was just listing [sic] to #340 of "This American Life," called "The Devil in Me."

[...]

There's a scene in there where American soldiers in Iraq are tasing each other for fun. You can hear them screaming and laughing in the audio. So, if guys with nothing else to do submit to the Taser for fun....

"...and, since people were willing to pay me $200 to eat an egg-salad sandwich..."




Brad adds:
Ahhhhh, Ann. Truly, she is my greatest, or only, hit.

We seem to be having an effect

Meg is peeved.
"I have to admit to a bit of private hilarity at the multiple accusations that I couldn't possibly have read Jon Chait's book because a mere thirty six hours before I posted my review of it, I complained of not having a copy."
She's off by about an hour, by my math. (The TPM post isn't time stamped but the post where she admitted not reading the book was stamped 9:12 AM, Sept 10, and she posted at 8 the next day to tell us the TPM post was up. So that's 35 hours. Minus approximately 8 for sleep, say roughly an hour for bathrooming and showering, another 2 hours for eating and grooming, an hour for travel to and from 'work', totals 12 hours, leaving her 23. She also posted 5 times, so, being generous and saying she averages roughly an hour's work per post, we're down to 18. However, that Tuesday was 9/11. She doesn't say whether she took any time to mark the unfortunate anniversary, but considering how loudly she proclaims her NYC roots (and folks, there's 12-20 million of us here, depending on how you define a New Yorker, so don't give her credit for being representative) it seems safe to say she might have taken an hour or so to think about it. So we'll give her 17 hours to read and prepare. Back to you, Meg,
"I hadn't realized that so many people considered reading a 250-page book, set in the EZ Reader Xtra Large typeface popular among political polemics, such a heroic feat. I'm sorry to disappoint, but shortly after that post, I borrowed a copy from my colleague Matt Yglesias, then sat down and read the book."
I don't consider reading a 250 page book in 17 hours to be difficult. It could probably be done in 5 hours or less, but let's say it took her about 7 hours, with breaks for stretching and getting a new Diet Coketini. That leaves a solid 10 hours for research and preparation and writing. And remember, that's with ample time for sleeping, eating, grooming, and etc factored in. In undergrad terms, 10 hours is a lifetime.
Her finished piece was 1750 words, which is 5 pages, give or take half a page or so. 2 hours a page. If this were an undergrad reaction paper she'd be golden.
But, well.....
It ain't an undergrad reaction paper. Sadly, it reads like one, but this is supposed to be the work of a..... damn this is hard to write.... professional journalist. These are people who are paid to be informed about a topic, so that they can help inform others. To Megan, that means talking about herself, and then talking about what people are saying about her. The TPM piece does not contain a single quote from Chait's book. I'll repeat that, because it bears repeating. In 1750 words about a book, Megan does not quote it a single time. That would make this a failing undergrad paper. There's a link to a goddamn PJ O'Rourke piece, but not a single word from the text in question. Her Works Cited page would consist of a picture of her ass.
So, Megan, let me help you out. It's not that we don't believe you read the book, tho, frankly, I still doubt your word on that, it's that you didn't actually talk about the book. You failed to contribute to the discussion, in ways that suggested you didn't properly prepare. That you've chosen to revisit the issue 9 days later and try to prove you did read it doesn't help your case. If anything, it suggests you recognize the validity of the criticisms leveled against you, and they stuck in your craw. We've moved on, as you provide ample new material every day. (Except on Fridays and weekends.)
But getting back to this book discussion, as I said earlier, the job of a professional journalist, or critic, is to be informed about the topic at hand. Simply reading the book may be enough for undergrad papers, but adult professionals are expected to genuinely know what they're talking about. As in reading the book a couple times, reading the reviews of the book, reading scholarly pieces responding to the economic content, reading related texts on the topic, maybe even, and I know this is mindblowing to you, emailing the author questions to make sure you understand him properly. Your kneejerk response, Megan, is worth jack shit. Even if you did read the book, you failed to meet the standards millions of undergrads manage every day, and you're no undergrad.
This, just maybe, might be an example of how you're dragging The Atlantic into a pit of sub-mediocrity. You're not even adequate. (And yes, I know TPM isn't The Atlantic, but let's not quibble.)
But hey, you know Matt Yglesias personally!
Ugh.
Fire Megan McArdle.

That's her story, and she's sticking to it - for now

Today, Megan revisits her TPM Cafe "review" of Chait to defend herself from the likes of Sadly, No! in her own inimitable style:

I have to admit to a bit of private hilarity at the multiple accusations that I couldn't possibly have read Jon Chait's book because a mere thirty six hours before I posted my review of it, I complained of not having a copy. I hadn't realized that so many people considered reading a 250-page book, set in the EZ Reader Xtra Large typeface popular among political polemics, such a heroic feat.


Well actually, Megan, it was partially that, and partially the fact that your review itself provided no evidence that you'd actually read the book. And just an FYI - nobody really believed your claims of reading 1700 pages of Stephen King over the course of a weekend anyway.

Then, reminding me of sooooo many of the undergrads I've taught over the years, she goes on and provides a (small) bit of belated evidence that she's read the book now, and acting like that proves she read the book at the time it was assigned.

Megastats & Goofy Language

Megastats for 19 September 2007:
# of items: 11
Items well distributed throughout the day.

Line count:
Strictly by eyeball today, but we give our muse an approx. 1:1 ratio for Copy & Paste vs. original typing. One complaint: the last item, in its entirety, is this:

Half of all French children under five have never brushed their teeth.
Dep't. of WTF?:
Either the government, or private insurers, are self-evidently willing to pay for couture medicine in a way that other countries are not.
"Couture medicine?" (Not to mention the use of "self-evidently.")
The EITC seems to function less as a wage boost than as a system of forced savings for the poor.
How libertarian. We'll just force the poor (Note that it's never "poor people," simply "the poor." Except when it's "marginal members of the labor force.") to save. After all, they're poor, they really don't deserve any of the personal liberty to decide for themselves what to do w/ their money that the wealthy have earned.
[P]oor people who were overpaid the credits in the beginning of the year are vanishingly unlikely to have the money to cover a shortage at year's end.

Entirely new use of the word "vanishingly." I might go out on a limb and think she meant something like, "Funny how the poor's money just vanishes, what w/ their quaint habits of paying utility bills & rent, & eating, & all the other things they do, instead of saving for a better car so it'll be easier for them to get to their soul-crushing, low-paying, dead-end job six days a week." And then she goes ahead & says it:
[M]oney that would otherwise trickle away on small sundries can instead be put towards a reliable car to get to work, a rental deposit, or something else that measurably improves their lives.
Thank goodness for libertarians, who want us to be free of interference in our lives. Unless they're "measurably improving" other peoples' lives.
[T]the vast majority of law-firm associates I know are actively looking for jobs that will require less work. Raising the tax on their extra income by ten percentage points might well make that decision much easier.

What? Looking for less work? But, but [sputters, makes cartoon noises of astonishment] isn't the whole point of lower taxes that more people will work harder, if they get to keep more of their ill-gotten gains? (Of course, never mentioning how much of the wealth you create is siphoned off by your parasite employer before taxes even enter the "you're getting screwed" equation.) Are you saying, Ms. McArdle, that perhaps people would like not to work 80-hour weeks, or might like to spend time w/, well, anything or anyone but their fellow wage-slaves in their cubicles? That they might give up a little money for some time of their own? That perhaps this Marxist economic determinism you libertarians subscribe to might not be the perfect way to solve the problem of not enough wealth creation? Or what?
Yet another reason that I think my European friends, if they know what's good for them, will stop extolling the virtues of a cheaper single-payer system to us, and start telling us how awful it is, nothing we'd ever want to try.

Well, if they know what's good for them (even if they are European) maybe they will start telling us. Where's that Euro groundswell for letting HMOs & insurance cos. run health care in Europe? My ears are cocked.
[S]preading the risk has also made it difficult for strapped borrowers to obtain workouts...

Please, please, Megan, you're writing for The Atlantic, you're not some ninny who has a B. A. in English from Podunk State Teachers College & was lucky to get a job writing for the HR Dep't. Newsletter @ Fly-By-Night Mortgage, Escrow & Real Estate ("Your One Stop Shop For All Your Property Needs"). "Obtaining a workout" is done by dragging your ass to the fitness club. If you fucking mean "re-negotiating the terms of your mortgage, so you won't default," or "getting some debt relief," say so, damn it!! I'm a hell of a lot more worried about Ivy League graduates not being able to write jargon-free & idiocy-free English than whether or not they can answer set up questions (Megan's crappy "web log" doesn't link directly to the comment I intend it to, it's the third one down, from Mike Earl) on a test (Now that's a site where when you link to a comment, you link to a comment!!) from a Right Wing classicist whiner organization.

Last one, all praise to Jah Ras Tafari:
And having forced the reform down everyone else's throats, the government may be in a better public position, since now other civil servants will resent the special privilege.
You'd have to read the whole thing, but the "everyone else's throats" who are having pension reform forced down them are civil servants (specifically, railroad & utility workers, who were exempted from a previous "pension reform") so what special privilege are the "other civil servants" going to resent? And I will add that one reason (in the United Snakes, at least, can't speak for the French situation) public employees have good pension plans is that public sector pay is generally less than in the private sector, keeping public sector employees from doing the responsible, moral, libertarian thing of saving for the future, therefore a pension plan that acknowledges the disparity is necessary to attract non-marginal wage-slaves members of the labor force to the public sector. So there!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Yesterday's Silly Questions & Megastats

Megastats for 18 September 2007:
# of posts: 9
First post: 0906 EDT
Eighth post: 1206 EDT
Ninth Post: 1946 EDT
Long lunch? Nyquil™?

Line Count:
Megan McA.: 86
Copied & Pasted: 155
Ratio: Approx. 2:1 Copying & Pasting

Videos Embedded: 1

Silly Questions: 2

Does anyone know why I can't reach Crooked Timber, Mark Kleiman, or my old site?

Can someone explain why eMusic doesn't seem to know that Tegan and Sara exist?

Mostly off topic ego-massage & blog-pimping, w/ a slight connection to all this:
Today is the birthday of Tegan & Sara. To see what other births, deaths & events occurred today (including G. Washington's Farewell Address, which appeared in the quiz mentioned in Fishbone's item immediately below) visit this pointless excuse for a "web log."

Miscellania: The "Comment of the Week" & "Gadget/Object of the week" remain unchanged. Get off the Nyquil™, girl!!

You're going to break your neck if you keep trying to do that

Oh yes, they're all pretty impressed with themselves over at Meg's Place:


A friend emails:

Students at many of the country's most prestigious colleges and universities are graduating with less knowledge of American history, government, and economics than they had as incoming freshmen, with Harvard University seniors scoring a "D+" average on a 60-question multiple-choice exam about civic literacy. According to a report released yesterday by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the average college senior at the 50 colleges and universities polled did not earn a passing grade.

The quiz is here. I scored 100%. Take the quiz yourself; if incoming Harvard students are really scoring in the sub-70% range, I'd be shocked. Although it is heavy on economics, so I might be biased.


You must be very proud, Megan, since you're only 15 years older than a typical Harvard senior. But then Just Another Greg chimes in with this gem:

I don't believe it either. When I completed the test, it gave the overall average score as 74.7% (since we're comparing, I got 95%). I find it hard to believe that Harvard kids are scoring lower than the general average for the test, unless all the smart folks here have jerked the average way up.


You know, Greg, just because you see your dog doing it, doesn't mean it's something you should try yourself. Especially in public.

Completely off topic

Dear Boston,

*jaws theme*

Love,
NYC

Condensed* Meggie-poo

If R&D executives can't buy new cars every year, no one will ever cure cancer. Furthermore, by test marketing unnecessary medical procedures we totally get bragging rights.

*- Condensed concept created by me and me alone and is absolutely not a cheap rip-off of a bit used by others. At all. In the least.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Impress Women the Sociopathic Way

False-flag troll, or earnest suitor with a collection of 1940's-vintage
German "novelty" lampshades? Commenting on McArdle's latest clarification of her clarification of her views on fertility promotion ("No, no, no, I never said no such thing nohow."), Mr. Nigel Witherspoon parts his hair and clears his throat:



Update: At dawn she slept:

Update MM: Sorry, I took a Nyquil and was out like a light by the time that was posted. Now removed.

Liquid, gel-cap or Jello? Ginger or watermelon-flavored?

Condescension Goes Both Ways

From one of today's items:

But color me skeptical.

That is why Megan is fortunate she didn't go the novel-writing route.

Then there's this:
Internet advertising is still sufficiently problematic that anyone who can charge for a web subscription will probably be better off than getting a lot of low-quality eyeballs from search engines. Low-quality, that is, in terms of ad rates--no apersions [sic] on my googling readers.
No, she wouldn't want to cast any aspersions on her Googling readers. It might force her to do some Googling herself. Doesn't virtually everyone using the internet use Google, or another search engine? Or do most of her readers not search anything?

And could we declare a moratorium on use of the word "problematic?" The definitions in my Webster's Ninth New Collegiate don't fit too well w/ the word's use above. Google (It Seems To Me) is doing alright, no matter how "problematic" Megan seems to feel internet advertising is.

On to the next example:

That's why classifieds and personal ads from people looking to meet other poor people tend to dominate the revenue stream of free weeklies.
Huh? Poor people? Before I decided to waste the rest of my life reading the internet, I used to waste my life reading free weeklies, including the personals (good for a laugh, & I was hoping to get some renewing, revitalizing schadenfreude from the sad, lonely, desperate losers looking for love). But poor? Besides the "college girls" hoping to pay their way through college w/ help from a "sugar daddy," & the "former Playboy/Penthouse models" looking for a free ride, the one constant in personal ads (here in Southern California, at least) besides "no smokers" is "financially secure." Not everyone is looking for a zillionaire, but it's not poor people looking for "other poor people."

And commenter Peter refutes (or at least disagrees w/) Megan's claim:

Free weeklies (allegedly) get the bulk of their advertising revenues from ads for escort services and massage parlors.
I am not an economist, nor an accountant, but It Seems To Me that Peter is correct. There has to be more money in the prostitution ads than the inexpensive personal ads in the backs of all those free weeklies. Note also that Peter can turn a phrase: "...(allegedly) get the bulk of their advertising revenues..." Compare that to Megan's "...tend to dominate the revenue stream..." I still have no idea why The Atlantic needs an "econoblogger," but if they must have one, can she type in English, rather than the sadly devalued language of the business world?

Well, she's not not making sense, exactly

Well, I am now officially feeling the pressure of being a contributor to this blog, thanks to Brad nudging me to get over to McArdle's site and pick some low-hanging fruit. Apparently I have inherited the role of shoddy economic analysis watchdog, based on the MA I earned from a third-rate department at a second-rate university some years back. I always knew that degree would take me places . . .

I have to say, I was a bit disappointed, since there's nothing in her recent posts that seems screamingly wrong to me - I thought her housing post made sense, even if it wasn't very interesting. Her post on German unemployment made the points you'd generally expect her to make, but I think she gets one thing wrong (emphasis mine):

Likewise, though Germany's OECD harmonised unemployment measure is lower than the official measure, it's still much higher than the level in the US: 6.4% vs. 4.6%. In a country with a population the size of Germany's, that's an extra 1.8 million people out of work. And if anything, that understates the problem, since America's social safety net is structured to inflate the stated size of the labor force (and thus the unemployment figure): for many benefits, you can only qualify if you are actively looking for work.


It seems to me that this is more or less backwards. US unemployment statistics are very particular in who shall and shall not be considered unemployed. For example, someone who has stopped looking for work after a long and fruitless search will not be counted in the unemployment statistics (see http://www.bls.gov/cps/cps_htgm.htm; scroll down to the "Who is not in the labor force?" heading). But that doesn't mean he's not unemployed anymore - just that he's reached the conclusion that there just aren't any jobs for him. He's still there. He's still not working. But we just pretend not to see him. How removing certain types of unemployed people from the official definition of the labor force acts to inflate the stated size of said labor force is beyond me.

Also, as a native Detroiter, I bristled at this:

And while Eastern Germany is a problem, it's been almost 20 years since unification; at some point, you have to acknowlege that, whatever its historical problems, Eastern Germany is now part of Germany. America does not, after all, get to throw out Mississippi and Michigan because historical forces have caused them to underperform the rest of the country.


It's cute, sure, and could even be an arguable point if (as one of her commenters pointed out) Mississippi and Michigan contained one-fifth of the US population, or if the "historical problems" faced by Detroit were anywhere near as complicated as those faced by Eastern Germany. But then, I'm sure she's seen "8 Mile," so she's no doubt an expert on the history of Detroit as well.

Yeah, I know - it's a thin gruel today. Unfortunately, I have deadlines in the real world this week; but with any luck, I will soon be able to give Megan's postings all the attention they so richly deserve.