Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fighting Stupid with Stupid

Another quote of a quote of a quote in a string of stupid not seen since the last tug of war in special ed class. Let's break it down!

First, David Brooks writes an op-ed about education which isn't as stupid as he usually is, but still makes the ridiculous claim that America's rise to super power status was due to an "unparalleled commitment to education, hard work and economic freedom", ignoring the fact that the rest of the world was mostly worried about killing their neighbors from 1910 to 1945 while the US sat comfortably isolated atop a vast array of natural resources. Ya think we might've improved our educational infrastructure faster than Europe because we weren't constantly having the rest of our infrastructure bombed to cinders, Davie? Nawwwwwww, couldn't be.

Laura at 11-D responds with another smart but stupid post in which she rightly suggests that there are large improvements to be made by fostering expansion of early age eduction. Seems like a good idea, but Laura's post is full of a a bunch of know-it-all bullshit and stereotype. She apparently knows the goings on of all of her neighbors, describing with authority the daily routine of the families living nearby:

In some homes, the kids are sent to summer camps or swim lessons early in the morning. The parents establish routines, keep bedtime hours, supervise outside play, and take the kids on trips to mall or the beach or the swim club. In other families, the academically struggling kids are allowed to skip summer school classes, are in no activities, sleep until noon, and never leave their homes. There are no books in the house. They curse up a storm. They have hours and hours of free time where they absentmindedly throw rocks at a fence. Broken toys litter the backyard and new ones are provided freely. The kids power up on sugar cereal all day. The parents are overwhelmed and stressed. In one case, a parent was told by the school that her nine year old will never go to college, so she's entirely given up.
Jesus fucking Christ women! You're either the world's largest busy-body or are one of those people that feels that can extrapolate everyone's entire life from the way they say "hello!" Then she follows up with:
And, yes, it is very clear who's going to college and who's going to end up as a pole dancer.
Just to show that she's not just a nosy know it all, she's judgmental, too!

But, of course, Megan gets the last stupid in the argument. See, while Laura's heart is in the right place when she suggests:
This is where the schools have to step in. They have to level out these differences. All day nursery schools. Free books for toddlers.Towns need to offer parenting classes and organize babysitting cooperatives. Churches have to organize parent groups.
Megan can see through it all. After all isn't it obvious that, as Megan says:
The problem is, parents who let their kids cut summer school probably aren't going to force them to go to all day school programs. Or read to them. Or show up for parenting classes. The parents are choosing to let the kids do what they want either because they don't value school, or because they are too stressed or exhausted or possibly too lazy to engage in the confrontation and micromanagement required to force their children onto a different path.
That's right, Megan. The reason they have a problem now is because they suck! It has nothing to do with a lack of resources available! They're just stressed, exhausted, or LAZY!!!!!!!!

But don't worry. It's okie that these people's children aren't getting the help that they need, after all:
High income parents do these things because a) they view them as their own path to success b) their social circle values these activities, and punishes parents who do not do them and c) people with more satisfying jobs have more emotional energy for the unpleasant work of parenting--they have room left in the mental "chore" basket. I don't know what sort of social program can change any of these factors.
Everything's fine! It's only the black poor families that are like this! The rich are doing swell so all is good. Just stop worrying your pretty little heads, David and Laura. Megan McArdle's on the case and, as she proves time and time again, the status quo is just fine thankyouverymuch now take your liberal socialism parenting advice and run along now.


The authorities at Fire Megan McArdle would like to pass on the following public service announcement:

Beware of blog posts that fraudulently claim to offer you a "Morning Smile"

Several unsuspecting Americans have contacted the FMM authorities to report one Megan McArdle (who is not an employee of Fire Megan McArdle, despite persistent rumors to the contrary) is posting videos on her blog "Asymmetrical Information" under the above mentioned heading. We believe her plan is to attempt to get readers to view the video embedded into said blog post thinking that they would be viewing something entertaining. The truth is, the video contains a disturbingly unfunny clip of a man (or possible women, FMM has been unable to verify) pretending to cry in distress about the attacks ads recently posted by the McCain campaign against Barack Obama.

We warn you that said clip is nauseating and not at all clever. Some claim that this is evidence of McArdle's completely skewed sense of humor (a phenomenon that has been thoroughly document by FMM before) but there is a second opinion held by respected FMM authorities. High ranking members of FMM fear something more nefarious is at foot.

Said authorities believe that McArdle's post is an attempt to weaken potential readers of her blog. Her idea may be to intentionally present something stupid and annoying that is not her own work at the start of the day. This tactic is designed to leave readers of her later blog posts inured to stupid and annoying ideas. Such inoculation to idiocy and cruelty is designed to make McArdle's own moronic and evil ideas look intelligent and benevolent by comparison.

FMM has assembled a full investigative team to look into this issue. Until a conclusion can be reached we highly recommend that McArdle's blog be avoided at all costs. If it cannot be avoided, we warn you NOT TO CLICK any embedded video or to read anything that McArdle calls funny, says will make you smile, or otherwise endorses in the name of entertainment.

Your brain may be at stake. Reading such poorly thought-out and inhumane posts as those provide by McArdle is not recommended for most people. FMM are trained professionals hand selected for their ability to resist dumb and self-centered ideas. Do not attempt at home!



Director of Long Winded Curse Filled Vitriolic Rants
Fire Megan McArdle Inc.


Shorter Ross Douthat: Only crazies would suggest that the Republicans hint that Obama is Hitler. After all, Obama is Hitler.

Ok, I lied

I can't ignore this. I know I saw that recession around here somewhere...:

The economy grew at 1.9% last quarter. Two thoughts. First, the American economy is simply amazingly resilient--1.9% is cause for exultant celebration in a lot of European finance ministries. And second, Barack Obama's campaign team is probably doing some serious rethinking this morning.
Here's the NYTimes headline on the same topic; G.D.P. Grows at Tepid 1.9% Pace Despite Stimulus.
The economy grew less than expected from April to June despite a huge booster shot of tax rebates, the government reported on Thursday, dimming the outlook for a quick recovery.

And more bad news may lie ahead: new claims for unemployment benefits jumped to a five-year high last week, an ominous sign for the ailing labor market that could signal a further decrease in spending in the months ahead.
Megan McArdle is quite literally incompetent at her job.

Sick week continues

I thought I shook whatever was ailing me this weekend, but it's back this morn n feels like a fever is comin on now, so I'm going to leave it to the co-bloggers again today. Feel free to help me think of a new poll, too.


Megan begins to make sense!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Russian Dolls of Incoherence

Megan quotes Arnold Kling quoting Marc Pesce who says:

Somewhere in the last few months, half the population of the planet became mobile telephone subscribers. In a decade's time we've gone from half the world having never made a telephone call to half the world owning their own mobile.

...fifty thousand years of cultural development will collapse into about twenty...each behavioral innovation is distributed globally and instantaneously...Any fringe (noble or diabolical) multiplied across three and a half billion adds up to substantial numbers. Amplified by the Human Network, the bonds of affinity have delivered us over to a new kind of mob rule...the more something is shared the more valuable it becomes...All of our mass social institutions, developed at the start of the Liberal era, are backed up against the same buzz saw. Politics, as the most encompassing of our mass institutions, now balances on a knife edge between a past which no longer works and a future of chaos.
Arnold wonders what this means for "educational and political institutions."

Megan wonders what this means for "social institutions."

I just wonder what the fuck it's supposed to mean at all. It's hard to think, though, with the sound of the buzz saw I'm backed up against. I'm also really tired of balancing on this knife edge. I wish I could get the past working and then maybe we could sort out the chaos over in the future.

God damn it, if someone would just turn the damn amplifier on the human network down I could maybe get a coherent thought going! How else am I going to stop the collapse of 50,000 years of cultural development? Am I the only one who realizes how important it is that we prevent the fringe from multiplying?!?!?!?!?!!!?! THE FRINGES ARE MULTIPLYING PEOPLE!!!!!!!!! DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS!??!!?!?!@?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!

Oh, well, neither do I.

Just fucking stupid

Obama's economic plans: just say no (to much of it):

I hear disquieting rumors that Obama is not just saying he wants to revisit NAFTA in order to pick up a few votes--apparently he is really serious about this. Nor is his support for letting employees bully their coworkers into joining unions exactly putting a spring in my step and a song in my heart.
Fuck you.
As if those things weren't enough, he wants to raise the capital gains tax. There is a reason that most companies tax capital lightly--actually several reasons. The first is that capital is mobile, and the second is that capital means new investment, which gives us shiny new things we like, such as fMRI machines and electric cars and yes, iPhones. Savings represents a tradeoff between current and future consumption. Given that peoples' time preferences are biased towards the present, we want to make the payoff to deferring consumption as attractive as possible.
Obama wants to make her pay her fair share. He's a Nazi.
Equity capital is taxed twice in this country--once when the company makes a profit, and a second time when the capital is distributed to its owners as dividends or capital gains. The combined rate is 15% + 35%=50%, or a whole lot higher than the personal income tax rate. This is not optimal for savings.
Fuck you.
Ah, you will say, but corporations actually spend an enormous amount of time structuring their income to avoid taxes, so the rates aren't that high. But this is an equally big problem. All of that activity is an economic loss--it consumes resources that could be put towards something useful, like erasing all traces of the Neil Diamond box set from the face of the planet.
If we didn't force corporations to try to avoid paying their taxes, they could be slightly more productive, so don't tax them. The sheer stupidity of this argument is offensive even without the logo on the top of the webpage it appears on.
I know what you are thinking, my little chickadees--the corporations shouldn't do that. And perhaps you are right. But when you set up systems that cost people a great deal of money, they will go and try to minimize their tax bill, no matter how earnestly you explain that they are shirkng their social duty. And there is no government failure more dismal and glaring than the eternal attempts to "close the loopholes" in the corporate income tax. That's because most of the loopholes are actually there to alleviate valid concerns. Moreover, attempts to "close the loopholes" end up making the tax code vastly more complicated, which increases compliance expense, administrative expense, and uncertainty--and in many cases, actually create more loopholes than they closed.
None of these problems are by the design of corporate lobbyists to frustrate the intent of the system.
Worst of all, the corporate income tax and the capital gains tax aren't really very good at doing what they are supposed to do, which is make sure that the bulk of our income tax burden falls on those who will miss the money the least. Let me posit something which isn't very controversial among tax professors no matter what their political party: you can't tax a corporation. That's because corporations have no feelings, and no assets, of their own. Ultimately, the money always comes from some person: customers, employees, owners, or even suppliers. But the corporate taxes are not targeted by need; they come from whoever the corporation can best squeeze the money out of. The old lady in Dubuque with 100 shares of AT&T pays the same 50% rate on corporate profits as Warren Buffett.
I know I'm quoting big chunks, but I want you, dear reader, to feel assured I'm not unfairly representing Megan's offensive stupidity. She's now claiming the tax burden causes corporations to seek to screw over their own investors, particularly the smallest of them, as part of an argument against taxing corporations. Don't punish or kill, say, a lion that's begun preying on humans, blame nature for making the lion hungry and spray napalm all over the place. She keeps going on, but I can't. Still, there's this.
But the trade and capital gains components are bad enough to make me take a long, loving look at Bob Barr.
Megan had to support Obama over Hillary, but her heart was never in it. She wanted Hillary to suffer for.... petty personal reasons that don't rise to the level of legitimate grievances, but she could never support a candidate who's only partially in the pocket of large money interests for long. Can't the highest paid CEO just be President?

Oh boy

a a long-ass post on health care. With all sorts of bullshit premises underlying a completely fatuous argument. Fun, and long.
To begin, Brad Delong sez

(1) We as a country seem to believe in a relatively small government. (2) We also seem to believe that health care should be provided on the basis of how dire your need is rather than how thick your wallet is. (3) And we have good reason to suspect that our health care capabilities will become larger and better as time passes. (2) and (3) are inconsistent with (1). (1) and (3) are inconsistent with (2). (1) and (2) can go together only if (3) is false. I think that (3) is true. That leaves us with a societal choice to make: do we abandon (1) or abandon (2)? I favor throwing (1) over the side, but this is an important issue we can talk about.
I don't know about number 1. The leading "small government" rhetoric hawking politicians tend to also be the biggest big government proponents, unless you want to distinguish the military industrial complex from the government, so the electoral success of Reagan and Gingrich doesn't really tell you much. It seems you can win some elections railing against humanitarian government spending and the press has largely accepted the position they're paid to advance that corporate crony capitalism = freedom, but since we all know Delong doesn't want to challenge that portion of the narrative it seems he has to drink some Kool-Aid. But I digress.
Megan responds
I agree with the good professor that (3) should be off the table as an area to "improve" on. But I think that at least some of the conflict between (1) and (2) comes from the way that America--and indeed, the rest of the industrialized world--approaches the problem of (2). That is, we target welfare problems directly, with service provision or vouchers, rather than with a comprehensive income strategy.
There's a shocker. Megan will have no part of reforming the way medical science is practiced, because rich old white men need to have billions spent researching redundant treatments to get them erect and keep their hearts from bursting when it happens. The profit motive aligns 100% with humanity's best interests here, so STOP CRITICIZING BIG PHARMA. THEY'RE GREAT, AND NO, MEGAN DOES NOT RECEIVE ANY KIND OF COMPENSATION FROM THEM SO STOP ASKING.
And now, a very bad idea, indeed.
Imagine if, rather than giving people food stamps, Section 8 vouchers, welfare payments, public schooling, and so forth, we simply had an incomes program to boost the wages of those whose productivity is not up to providing them a basic, decent standard of living? Leave the justice issues aside--I am not going to try, in this short post, to persuade commenters who disagree that all Americans should have the opportunity to avail themselves of things like housing and healthcare even if they haven't any particular skills. Just accept for the nonce that politically, America is not going to let its poor, elderly and disabled sink into the muck of immiserated poverty, and focus on more efficient ways to do what we are so obviously determined to do.
Note, first off, that public fucking schooling is included with welfare and food stamps and section 8 (essential programs all), because teaching kids to read is the same thing as.... no. That's worse than including stealing food with rape and random violence. She has brain damage. That's just not a coherent or rational association. Read some Aristotle, Megan. Learn what a category is. I must also note the sly rhetorical trick of contrasting her position with an even worse one, making herself seem like she gives a shit about the people whose safety nets (and right to learn) she wants to blithely dissolve.
As for the idea itself, let's give Megan a chance to finish showing how stupid it is, herself, before responding to it directly.
This would have a couple of salutory effects. For one thing, it would tie welfare to work (except for those who are genuinely too disabled to do anything.) That would add at least some small boost to the labor force, and hence GDP, thus reducing the cost of caring for those who can't quite care for themselves. It would also keep people on the employment train, a vehicle that can lead somewhere a lot better than a welfare check.
Forgive me for being a foolish (also) non-economist, but isn't our economic system currently designed to maintain a certain percentage of the populace as unemployed, so as to keep the salaried folk's sense of their own rights in check and to maintain a labor supply? Isn't the economy contracting, and shedding jobs? Where are these folk going to work? Has Megan not heard the horror stories of the welfare to work programs? How many rhetorical questions can I ask in a row?
But that's not all it would do; it would put choice back in the hands of the consumers. Do poor people want more car and less house? Great; why not give them that choice if it doesn't cost us anything? They could even (whisper it) save the money and do something really important with it at a future date.
And hey, if we end up subsidizing crack addicts or child porn fans (or people who steal food), their kids have the choice to try to survive it or to lay back and give in to despair and death.
Now, healthcare is a special case, because unlike most of the other "basic goods" we think everyone should have, the costs can vary widely from person to person. But there are ways to deal with this--alter the income transfer for different diseases, and then let people decide how to spend the money.* Maybe some of them will spend their healthcare money on a fabulous car and let their diabetes fester. This violates a lot of intuitions: the intuition that we only want to help people have medical care, not fabulous cars; the intuition that we have to protect people from themselves by ensuring that they spend the money on what they need, not what they want.
The intuition that we're not well served letting people slip into diabetic comas while they're out on public roads driving the Hummers the government bought them; the intuition that right now poor diabetic people have neither a big car nor sufficient treatment; the intuition that unless we're going to allow people to start dropping dead in public they're still going to be treated for their illnesses eventually; the intuition that Megan would be ok with letting people die at random in public of preventable causes provided they chose to spend a weekend in Vegas over living. Did I say intuition in that last one? I mean confirmation
As a radical anti-paternalist, you can imagine I don't have much patience with the latter argument. Who am I to say that your life is not better with a sports car and five years to live? And to the former argument, I point out that in fact, you'll probably end up giving the wastrels less money if they do fritter it away. Because once you've actually provided people a minimum income that is adequate to take care of their basic needs, there's no moral reason not to turn away those who decline insurance from the emergency rooms. Giving people more choices also means allowing them to live with the consequences of those choices.
Let them eat cake... they'll choke on it eventually.
This will not be perfect, of course. We'd still need the annoying healthcare administrative apparatus to determine, for example, how much to pay for diabetes care. But with a market in place, this isn't as hard as it is when the government is setting all the prices, because it won't be a brute force negotiation between providers and the government, with both lying and bullying the other. We'll have prices from the private sector set by the competitive action of a lot of brains trying to determine a fair price.
Holy fucksticks. I keep trying to wind this neverending post up, and she keeps writing something so stupid I have to quote it. The problem with the medical industry's costs today is that the government doesn't allow Big Pharma to charge whatever they damn well please. Fuck you, Megan.
She closes with a quote by The Sacred A. Smith, thus consecrating the sermon. Sure, the quote seems to suggest he would have found Megan's idea as stupid as the rest of us do, but she means it to dismiss the ideas of everyone else, not hers, so there.

*- This means Megan wants to turn cancer or AIDS into some kind of lottery/Russian roulette dilemma of treatment versus a brief period of fabulous wealth. You'd have people faking expensive conditions for money and the government would be all but forced into a defensive stance whereby it challenged each claim, such as with worker's comp. It'd be just like insurance based health care today, only the government would be trying to kill you, instead of your insurer. Great fucking plan.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dep't. of Paranoia

McA claims there is trouble w/ the spam filter, but I've been prevented from posting a comment twice today.

Too many comments have been submitted from you in a short period of time. Please
try again in a short while.

The Return of Grammar Boy, Or: What a Difference a Comma Can Make

Megan sez:

Ta-Nehisi Coates is going to be joining the blogging team at The Atlantic. I've made no secret of my belief that he's one of the most brilliant new bloggers out there, as well as a great person in realspace, so I'm pretty thrilled to welcome him aboard.
Please. please, please, Ms. McArdle, I'm begging you, don't ever type "realspace" again. "Real life," "in person," "in the flesh," "when we're hanging out & he's kissing my ass in order to get his typing into The Atlantic," fine, but not "realspace." Was your English major in writing for video games?

Mr. Coates will be replacing "Matt," as he is known around the Atlantic water cooler, &, apparently, throughout cyberspace.

And here's a sample:
For what we do, in our way of thinking, there really isn't anyone better than Matt. Anyway, I know I'm not the most reliable lefty, and a lot of you have beef with me from time to time. But I do try to shoot straight guys. It's really all I know how to do.
Emphasis mine. Meaning that either Mr. Coates is at about the same skill & ego level as McMegan ("I'm perfect. I don't have to proof anything I've ever written. Nyah!") or that all he is capable of doing is attempting to murder or at least maim straight guys!! And, that he enjoys sharing an occasional 'burger (we assume) w/ his readers. Sign me up for some of that, Mr. One of the Most Brilliant New Bloggers Out There!! (As opposed to the "brilliant new bloggers" inside Megan's head, or wherever not "out there" is.)

P. S.: As "not the most reliable lefty," he's just about perfect to replace "Matt," at The Atlantic or anywhere in realspace. (See how stooopid that is?)

Only Mirrors in Megan's House, what Prettier Thing Might There Be?

Here we go again! Megan looks in a mirror, sees something ugly, and seems to either convince herself that it's actually pretty, or convince herself that it's not really her. I'm not sure which it is, but it's just astounding.

Our story starts with Our Stupid Lady quoting a study about food preference. The pith of the study is that the taste of food is subjective and based on your ideology and your understanding of where the food came from. It showed that - no matter what the contents of the food actually were - right wing type personalities liked the ones labeled "meat" while left wings like the ones labeled "vegan." This phenomenon extends beyond politics of course (People who live exciting lives always like the cola labeled "Pepsi!").

Megan starts her post with:

I stand vindicated. Sort of:
Though she doesn't refer to what she is vindicated about. Perhaps this? Or this?
The thing is, I hate vegan sausage. Of course, I wasn't super fond of non-vegan sausage, but vegan sausage is a mealy mess.
So here's the time-line, for those who got lost along the way:
Megan starts a weblog. Said weblog attracts a lot of critics that accuse Megan of being a right wing hack with a strongly authoritarian personality. Megan dismisses said critics. Megan posts about a piece that claims "people with trait x tend to be authoritarians." Megan admits to trait x. Megan feels vindicated.

She really is deepening in her spiral of right-wing punditry. She is no longer using the tortuous and intractable paths in order to try and prove that "up is down." She is not flat out saying "up is down" and expecting us to believe her.

Now, what's the kicker? Of course there's a kicker. The kicker is the last paragraph:
On the other hand, this strikes me as broadly true. I've cooked vegan food for a number of people who liked it as long as they didn't know it was vegan, but nonetheless look skeptical when another vegan meal is proposed. Most of those people seem to have a sort of determination not to like anything except meat, as if one bite of tofu might send them skipping out into the woods to dance round the meadows with the twee fairies.
She closes with a criticism of people who don't like vegan substitutes.

No, you're not dreaming. This is reality and it's staring you in the face, laughing its ass off at your stunned expression.

Yes, it is true. This woman is fucking PAID for her insight. This woman, who thinks the sky is orange and the grass is purple, is allegedly a great mind of the internet.

I weep for you, blogosphere. You're actually worse than your caricatures make you out to be. That is a tall feat indeed.

I Just Learned a Neat Trick!

Wow, it turns out you can just make shit up about things you don't like and then insult them for it! Check it out!

Jane Dolt quotes a bit about a man who stole city buses just so he could drive them on their routes and pick up passengers. Then she cracks wise (grab your sides in anticipation).

Why are they charging this guy? It seems like they ought to hire him. If only so that he can get the therapy he needs through Miami-Dade's no-doubt generous benefits package?

HAHHAHAHAHAA! Look! I made a joke about government benefits based on pure speculation. If only she was near a computer with internet access when she made this blog post. Then she might've been able to look up said "benefeits package" and confirm whether or not her knee slapper is really a based on anything close to reality. Alas. It doesn't matter. We all know that the government is capital "S" stoopid for giving it's workers cushy perks like "health care" and "a living wage"

So now that I've got my new trick, I think I'll try it out. Megan McArdle is such a shitty incoherent writer that she no-doubt must be employing child labor to ghost write for her. HAHAHAH! Megan employs child labor! See, that's totally funny! All I have to do is say something absurd and attach it to some made up fact that fits my previously held beliefs to a T and blam-o! Megan McArdle is actually an evil person!

Man, I'm really starting to get the hang of this punditry stuff. Maybe I'll see if Teh Atlantic needs a liberal blogger to replace Fatty Wrong-on-the-war.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Humorless Section

Alright, Megan McA. has just about completely lost it.

Your afternoon smile 28 Jul 2008 03:57 pm
Here. No, I can't explain. Just click.
Your click will lead you to this:Enough commenters didn't get it that she felt obliged to do an update.
Update Okay, for those who totally didn't get the joke, perhaps this will explain:
"This" is an imbed of the Baha Men's snappy & popular "Who Let The Dogs Out?" video. I'm either too smart, too stupid, or have no grasp of the obvious, because I "like totally" don't get it. It's a map of the United Snakes, w/ each state given a color on the spectrum between common sense, decency & humanity (New York, Vermont & Jersey) to the aggressively retarded guns & gawd group (Idaho & Utah). And?

Humor Section

rickm brought to our attention, in the item below, that Ms. McArdle is just a bit humor-deficient.

Now I'll note that she is very humor-deficient. Whining about the budget deficit (What does any of this crap mean? Many of the commenters take it as a reason to cut "entitlements," which they of course follow w/: "But I couldn't get elected if I ran on that platform, har har." Oh, what a pain it is living in a democracy, when people are just crying out to be forced to live correctly.) she comes up w/ this attempt at humor:

Either way, we're in for a bumpy ride. Can America get a second job?
In case you haven't noticed, Ms. Megan, much of America is unable to find even a first job. But that's good, as it keeps wages down & the proles scared. (See, I'm learning something about econ from constant reading of Our Muse's web log.)

Elements of Style©:
Nonetheless, this sends a rather clear message: danger, Will Robinson!
Not really funny, because the robot has the voice of a buffoon, & was almost never believed when he used the phrase. And, when following a colon w/ a phrase or sentence, one capitalizes the first word. Especially when the sentence/phrase is a quotation. (We're not sure if it should be in quotation marks in this case, so we'll let that slide.)

P. S.: Megan, getting a second job does not mean flying to a conference somewhere, blathering for 30 mins., taking a few questions, & then retiring to the bar for appletinis before passing out in your free hotel room.




I think I'm going to leave it to Kathy G. and/or Susan to take down Megan's post on gender and privilege. I'm not sure if I'm fond of the blogger Megan is at least partially missing the point of in quoting, so I'm going to not walk into that particular minefield.
I would like to say I like the word kyriarchy, as opposed to patriarchy, a lot. The idea of a patriarchy blends too easily with misandry and reactionary positions, while yet encompassing some very real and important realities. Kyriarchy doesn't lend itself to the limiting binary dialectic inherent in patriarchy, instead encouraging a more detailed, nuanced, and realistic understanding of the manifold nature of human existence. Yes, I'm a guy so I have a stake in this, but I'm also a quasi-Platonist, so I appreciate good dialectics. Binary, bifurcatory, Hegelian dialectic seems, I think, to have a strong influence on some feminist thought, probably primarily through Marxism, and is something I'm very strongly opposed to, philosophically speaking. I could go on, but I don't know that anyone reading this would really want me to. Anyhow, sorry to pass it off to Kathy and Susan, but one has to know one's limits.

Ann Althouse, Jr.

before we delve into the oh so fun issues of gender and privilege I'd like to just note the following.

Yes, I google myself. It's perfectly natural and healthy, folks.
And she can quit drinking any time she wants.
It is perfectly natural to Google yourself, the question is how often. Ann Althouse, who I am not, is infamous for having Google alerts set for any mention of her name (Everybody say "Hi, Ann! Why do you look so much like Edgar Winters?"). Megan has not gone that far, but she does it often enough she feels she has to reflexively defend it, which is obviously the first sign of a problem. The fact that the post I'm quoting went up at 8:06 AM leaves open the possibility Megan begins her day by Googling herself. The real question is how often she does this, and whether it's progressed to the point that Ezra and theGarance need to plan an intervention/themed dinner party. Megan can't be the first horrible narcissist to have achieved a tiny enough portion of fame that they become addicted to the 'rush' of seeing their existence acknowledged by some random other person on the internet. There must be treatment options. Maybe mannequins with tape recorders can be placed around her house and set up to constantly repeat her name.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Defending America's Image

So I was up at Yosemite this weekend with my father.

After he'd gone to bed I went out and made friends with a couple of Germans I found at a bar.

We talked a bit about politics and I found myself embarrassingly telling tem about how one of our presidential candidates had been made fun of for daring to suggest that Americans might be better off if they bothered to learn a foreign language.

They were shocked.

Fortunately, I did learn that Americans are still considered the epitome of cool in Germany, despite how much Bush is hated over there. Which I guess makes sense. The cool kids always pick on the nerds.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pure Comic Genius

This is the song Pam Atlas featured specially in her recent dj gig for a Phoenix radio station that wants to go out of business. The band is called Weapons of Musical Defense, and they describe themselves as

a group of concerned rockers and rock stars. We’ve studied and read since 9-11 and found out some facts that are pretty hard to find out. We want to share these with a wider audience. We know many people are reading blogs and web sites about these topics but we want to reach out to those who don’t or won’t read the books and blogs on Jihad and Islam.

You have to listen to it in the right frame of mind. It's terrible, and that's the point. It's the Battlefield Earth of music. I especially love the repeat of the chorus "evil will live on" sung like a cry of love at the end.

How Dare You Lose Money?

Short Megan McArdlge:

To whom should coporate boards be responsible?:
Companies that try to do good at the risk of even the smallest amount of profit are unAmerican and selfish.

Small is beautiful:

People that are buying small cars are irrational to think that they may save money from reduced fuel usage.

BONUS STUPID: Megan is saying people are putting too high a premium on small cars, but for some reason is flying all the way to Florida to pick up her small car.

Shallow and Racist, a McArdle Double Play


So speaking of guilty pleasures,
Oh, Megan, I love your conversational tone. You make me feel like we actually were just speaking of guilty pleasures. Such a joy.
one of mine is "So You Think You Can Dance", the dance version of American Idol. I don't watch any of the other reality shows, the ones that bloggers proudly lay claim to, like Project Runway or Top Chef. No, I just like watching people dance, mostly because I don't Think I Can.

"Guilty pleasures" is such a god awful ridiculous phrase. She was just recently mocking the pretension of those who don't own a TV. Why in the fuck would she feel bad about liking something simply because it's not high brow enough? I guess you're only allowed to be condescending about your entertainment in certain ways around Megan. It's okie, honey, you're allowed to like stupid things. We won't judge for that. Well, we will, but not the dancing.
What's struck me about this season is that with eight contestants left, three out of the four men were black.

1) I love how often Megan gets struck. If only she'd get struck by something larger occasionally.

2) I also love the giddy sense of foreboding I feel every time she starts to talk about race. What amusing bits of clueless derision will our heroine put forth next?
For the last three seasons, the show has tended to be very, very white by the time it gets down to brass tacks. This may be because the black dancers are very disproportionately hip-hop dancers, and don't have the technical skills of other contestants. Or it may be racism.

How magnanimous of her to allow for both the possibilities that black people may be inferior, or people may just think that black people are inferior. Her worldview is all encompassing!
Or it may just have been a fluke. But it's interesting to see this turn around, at least temporarily.

Yes, I always think to myself "Wow, here's an example of cultural if not overt racism playing out. How INTERESTING!"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

We really need to spend more time with her friends

Megan is boring today, but I managed to run across flabtastic following the link train of another site. Check out this wonderful foray into the world of the English language:

The main problems here would be that nobody uses "surge" that way (indeed, John McCain has a long history of using the term "surge" the same way as everyone else) and also that the short form of counterinsurgency the abbreviation-mad military uses is "COIN." But of course maybe McCain will say that he has a private language in which "surge" means "counterinsurgency" and it's therefore wrong to bother him about this. In which case, I suppose it's hard for anyone to ever prove that he's wrong. But on the other hand if that's what he means, then it's hard to make sense of the claim that McCain was "right about the surge" whereas Obama was "wrong" since if "the surge" is just a generic term for the use of counterinsurgency tactics the I don't think McCain and Obama ever really disagreed.

I can't believe these people get paid to write. I don't notice any typos (though I admit that I can't look at it too carefully or else my eyes start to bleed) so he must've proofread it. How did he not notice that horrible string of horrible transitions and run on sentences slamming into each other from behind like a 100 car pile up after a flash fog over the freeway? Seriously, dude, sentences are supposed to be short and sweet, like that candy bar you're munching on right now. They aren't supposed to be a gigantic pile of lard that present an imposing challenge for us to get through, like your regular meals surely are.

I am at such a loss over these people. They clearly aren't paid for their writing - which is shit. I sincerely hope they aren't paid for their ideas - which are standard shallow tripe. What, in God's fucking name, ARE they being paid for? I understand that The Atlantic was purchased to give a right-wing idiot a respectable name to sit behind, but didn't said idiot realize that hiring a bunch of barely literate monkeys would sink that name faster than a tsunami hitting a swift boat? For fuck's sake, couldn't this dipshit at least put aside some of Fatty Matty's candy allowance for a fucking proofreader?

Maybe he's looking for one. I bet I could fleece the bastard. I'll send in a resume and tell him that, for a mere 50 dollars a blog post, I'll proof everyone in the black hole of talent amd ideas they call "The Voices" section. If he's stupid enough to hire these clowns, he'd probably think that that was a bargain.


A typo has been brought to my attention in the comments, but I don't give a rats ass. I take time off my paid work to write, my paid work isn't writing.

brad adds:

I ain't paid for this, either, but I fixed a few things. I don't want this place to suffer from internet semi-literacy. Fix your oopsies, co-bloggers. All of yah.

Nutella gets all huffy:

Damn it, I do proof read! So a couple things get past. That just means I'm retarded not a bad writer. Oh, wait....

Off topic randomness

What the fuck is going on in New Zealand? I'm all for creative forms of child abuse, but damn.

A judge in New Zealand made a young girl a ward of court so that she could change the name she hated - Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii.
Judge Rob Murfitt said that the name embarrassed the nine-year-old and could expose her to teasing.
He attacked a trend of giving children bizarre names, citing several examples.
Officials had blocked Sex Fruit, Keenan Got Lucy and Yeah Detroit, he said, but Number 16 Bus Shelter, Violence and Midnight Chardonnay had been allowed.
One mother wanted to name her child O.crnia using text language, but was later persuaded to use Oceania, he said.
I'm not sure if I want to party with these people, or if I'm very, very glad they're on the other side of the planet.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Ah, ever the insightful. What incredible things hath our lady observed today?

Did you know that open mic nights tend to have low quality poetry? I know, it doesn't seem like when you offer a small venue to anyone who wants it that untalented people might partake, but our muse has seen a pattern! Let's hope no one points out to her that the same is true of blogs and that in the electronic case, the really sucky ones even get popular sometimes. Of course, she also admits that she might be somewhat jaded - jaded to the point that she would miss good poetry even if it were shoved down her throat.

In other words, never mind, as usual, her post is just a whack you in the face of waste of time.

Bonus fun:
Her closing paragraph (yes, she penned multiple in her take down of these pernicious coffee house occasions) starts off with these two wonderful sentences:

Which led me to realize that I have never heard good poetry at an open mike night. Which leads me to wonder if it is possible to hear good poetry at an open mike night.
Which left me on the doorstop of the best writing on the internet I've ever seen!

Ah, The Atlantic; the open mic night of political blogging.

And while we're insulting people who are at least trying to be meaningful and take a break from the mundane superficiality that has drenched the entirety of American culture, do you know who else are obnoxious?!?! People who don't own televisions! That's right, because there's nothing more annoying than anyone who dares suggest that there are better things to do than sit in front of the idiot box all day. To be fair, our muse didn't make this scathing criticism of those pesky "intellectuals" all on her own. She is, however, one of the very few to realize how important it is to spread this observation around.

The author she links doesn't have the terrible wit of McTwain, who unleashes this bomb!
Remember, these days, when you say "I don't own a television", you're not just misleading people into believing that you spend all of your spare time reading Proust in the original Sanskrit; you're also signalling that you don't have a Wii. This is a major social liability.
OH, Megan! You're such a card.

Unfortunately, that card is the deuce of shit.

UPDATE: Fixed broken link

This is a tough one

lessee, now.

Al Gore- Former US Senator and Vice President. Winner of the 2000 Presidential Election. Winner of a Nobel Prize and an Oscar. Respected worldwide as a leading figure in the effort to respond intelligently to the prospect of global warming.

Megan McArdle- thinks well of herself.

and, ummm


is good at projecting her own flaws onto others.

Don't get me wrong, I think that Al Gore has a hobby. I just think it's a pity that hobby is making a fool of himself in public. His speech on global warming is full of misstatements, exaggerations, and outright untruths. What's worse is that I'm sure he believes every word of it.
She continues
Al Gore's program for energy is not merely costly, it's impossible. Electric power needs several different sources: baseload generation, and peak capacity generation. Alternative energy sources are iffy for this. Wind is not reliable, and the places where it is more reliable tend to be either rather far from where the power is needed, or smack in the middle of the view from Robert F. Kennedy's vacation home. Solar requires vast land area to work, which is its own sort of environmental problem, and again, the best sites tend to be in the middle of the Arizona desert, which means large new investments in transmission. To replace our current, mostly coal fired, fossil baseload generation would involve the construction of massive new nuclear capability. This is a) blocked by Al Gore's friends in the environmental movement b) going to get you into a nasty fight with Harry Reid and c) not feasible in a decade in the current regulatory environment. Forget the price. Where are you going to put hundreds of new nuclear plants?
See, Gore may know more about the technologies involved, have access to and interest in the work being done to solve the feasibility issues involved in alternative energies, and the public stature to be able to push society, at least a little, towards speeding up the development processes, but he can't convince Megan to disregard the literature she gets from energy lobbyists, so what has he really accomplished?

In defense of clear cutting drug kingpins

no, really.

Black market, black heart:

Another reader asks my opinion of Hilzoy's piece on Cambodian destruction of the environment to produce ecstasy.
Apparently, the workers who distill the sassafras oil also eat and sell endangered species. Great.
Back in the day, when I was more attuned to these things, people didn't seem to think much about the social and environmental effects of illicit drug use. That always seemed to me to be an odd blind spot: I knew plenty of people who worked for various good causes by day, and supported organizations that helped to destroy inner-city neighborhoods by night, for instance, without noticing the conflict between their principles and their use of cocaine. I suspect that that has changed. I hope so.
This is an easy one, right? E is a very bad drug, in that it's really fucking bad for you, albeit fun, and destroying endangered forests and critical habitats so South Asian drug gangs can make a few more bucks is kinda easy to take issue with.
But not for Megan
More to the point, it's not enough to note that this is bad; you need a reasonable picture of the world absent the drug trade. And it's not clear to me that it's better. First of all, the high profitability of the sassafrass oil is undoubtedly making some Cambodians richer. I've been to Cambodia. They live in dire, appalling poverty, and making them richer is something we should all be trying to do by whatever means come to hand. So I'd say you have to weigh their welfare against that of the rare trees. My instinct is to side with the poverty-stricken humans.
Fuck you, you stupid asshole. The Cambodians being made richer are quite certainly the ones who were already wealthy thanks to illegal and exploitative business ventures. As with coca and opium the real money is unquestionably made by everyone but the people doing the actual physical labor. It's more likely than not that working conditions in this "industry" are beyond appalling.
Second, you went to Cambodia as part of your tourist trip to Vietnam sponsored by businessmen looking for seed money to further exploit the locals, Megan. And you were dismayed by how few sweatshops there were in both countries. Fuck you a whole bunch more. Finally, what do you think happens to those poverty stricken humans when the rare trees run out? I don't think illegal drug cartels offer pension packages. Stupid asshole.
As to whether one should trade in US black markets for drugs, knowing that those markets create violence--well, I'm somewhat skeptical that Hilzoy is acquainted with many of the people who frequent the really violence-prone drug markets, which tend to specialize in crystal meth and crack. I know people who have done both, but not more than once or twice, because they had plans that didn't involve sleeping in a squat in West Baltimore. The market for marijuana, the drug of choice for most well meaning young leftists, is not quite the same as the drug markets in The Wire.
The stupid just won't stop. To begin, neither crack nor meth play any role in The Wire. It's heroin and cocaine. Crack is much less common these days because the cost of powder cocaine has plummeted post 9/11, for whatever dark, backroom deal, reasons. How the fuck can you watch the whole run of The Wire and get that wrong? Most of the drug world plots in the damn show revolve around the heroin supply.
But Megan knows the drug world, through thrill seeking friends who spent a night slumming, and us foolish pot smokers need to recognize we're not in the same market as homeless junkies, despite our desire to glam up our toking with the scent of urine and scabies.
The stupid keeps flowing, but I can't keep going. Don't take E, folks. It's an amphetamine, and it's really bad for you. Go with some shrooms or acid instead, whichever your stomach prefers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I don't know why, but you're wrong

you might call that a bad argument, but what if I told you Megan is the one making it? Do you dare doubt her?

Now suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Senator . . . but I repeat myself.

There's a good chance that this is what the speculative premium in the marketplace is doing now--forcing us to hoard a resource that is about to get even scarcer. There's also a good chance it's not, of course. But my guess isn't any better than theirs--and at that, my guess is a lot better than the idiots in Congress sponsoring this legislation, since they aren't even trying to make a reasonable estimate. They're simply pandering to constituents and consumer groups who think cheap gasoline is a civil right. Pandering is only what I expect, of course, but in this case, their proposed reforms are aimed at making the market work less well--making it less liquid, and blunting the valuable information that high prices are giving us.
Y'know what, say, James Surowiecki would do in a situation like this? Take a paragraph or two to explain both sides in depth, with the jargon digested into normal vocabulary. Then he'd explain his own views with a carefully constructed argument expressed in non-dogmatic terms, allowing non-economists room to disagree insofar as they follow. Megan gets indignant that something in the world would dare displease her, and basically argues Congress shouldn't be willing to offend her sensibilities.
The first thing I think is that my liberal friends should stop saying their party is more credible on economic issues. Because this is even stupider than McCain's doubling down on the gas tax holiday--and McCain's gas tax mania is plenty stupid. At least McCain's gas tax manipulations won't actually do something except give a small amount of additional money to oil companies and loathesome [sic] governments. This monstrous bill, on the other hand, might actually do some damage.
She explains that final claim by actually praising the speculators in the American Confederacy, those grand folk who helped produce hyperinflation and made those necessary staples unaffordable for those who actually needed them by the end of that era.
Up next, a post celebrating those noble Indian Agents of the American frontier, who dared to make markets more efficient back when all they had to justify it was racism.

Business major?!?!?!?

Megan knows that the economy is bad because:

When even Apple, which can't keep the new iPhone 3G on the shelves, is warning that it expects lean times ahead, you know things are pretty awful.
Yeah, I mean, how can Apple be expecting loss when they have a succesful product! < Matt whispers in ear > You mean Apple makes more than one product?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Now, her failure to understand economics is understandable since she never went to school for it, but she's a fucking MBA!!!!!!! How in the hell does she fail so completely to understand business?

Megan, you really are a moron.

Onto the outer fringers of libertarianism

Occassionally, Reason Magazine's blog, Hit & Run, publishes an interesting post. This means that I have to subscribe to the blog with my RSS reader in order to avoid missing said monthly post. Yesterday, I encountered this.

Basically, the post excerpts a review in the NY Times of Mark LeVine's book, Heavy Metal Islam, which is about, um, Heay Metal in the Islamic world. And about how awesome metal is and how it transcends boundaries of class, culture, race, language, religion, etc. Then I read this from the poster at Reason:

I'm not sure if the guys in Slayer have ever been called agents of tolerance and goodwill before, but there's no question that openly listening to a Slayer classic like "Altar of Sacrifice" might get a young Iranian in some trouble with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. But, as Hampton argues in his review, LeVine is on pretty shaky ground describing Slayer and Metallica as alternatives to "ruthless corporate" globalization rather than as explicit products of it. Who does he think releases and distributes their records, anyway?

First of all, the singer for Slayer is a Christian. The fact that he has shared a stage for decades with the man who wrote the riffs to "Raining Blood" should prove that Slayer isn't filled with intolerant assholes. See image below.

I have a point to make here. How badly is your personal life infected by your ideology that you can't listen to Slayer or (old) Metallica without immediately thinking about how an awesome huge corporation packaged the CD that you are listening to?

None of this matters because Reason is retarded, and those poor kids listening to "Mandatory Suicide" in Baghdad probably listen to metal on a bootlegged casette, DRM free of course.


Shorter Megan McArdle:

The Bush Administration and the Obama Campaign are exactly alike because Obama's plane to Iraq is booked.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Stupid word of the day


Who knew that the internet would make the English language so much stupider and uglier? I bet Mrs. Eloquence says "BRB" in real life, too.

If She Were An X-Man, Ya Ha Deedle Deedle, Bubba Bubba Deedle Deedle Dumb.

Note: This actually happened, in "The Uncanny X-Men" #196. Easily one of the worst ideas writer Chris Claremont ever had, this was probably the low point of his risible campaign to equate the put-upon mutants with other historically oppressed minorities. To buy that conceit, you had to forget that all superheroes are marginalized freaks, not just the ones who were born that way, and ignore the fact that "mutie" is about as ugly an epithet as "Princess Sparkle Pony." More to the point, how oppressed can you really be when you have the power to rip the planet in half, or dematerialize in the face of mortal peril? So, fuck you, Chris Claremont, for being a pretentious wank who really, really wanted to put the word "n****r" in a comic book, and fuck you McArdle, for reminding me of Chris Claremont on my birthday.

Soup crackers

Humans are complicated, part 11,284 in a continuing series:

I'm also completely flummoxed by the people saying a consecrated host is JUST A CRACKER, so why is everyone getting all upset?
Would it be okay if I spraypainted obscenities on your mother's grave because it's just a piece of highly compressed igneous rock with some lines chiseled into it? How about if I photoshop your a photo of your now-grown child onto a piece of child porn, because after all, no one's actually hurt by this--it's just a piece of paper.
I'm of two minds, here. On one hand, I'm past the reactionary phase in my atheism, mostly, and if people want to be superstitious in ways that don't harm me or others I feel they should be allowed to do so unmolested. Kids can play in sandboxes, religious folk can play in churches.
On the other hand, it is just a cracker. If the Catholic Church is going to make such a big deal out of this aspect of their make believe, they need to think it through more and come up with better rules. For example, make the cracker revert to being just a cracker if it's not consumed at the location of worship, or say Jebus can see into the heart of everyone and knows whether to merge with the cracker based on their intent. It's the Catholics' own made up bullshit, so it's their own fault if they left a way for someone to fuck with them in it. People are always going to rebel against authority, and by literally deifying a fucking cracker Catholics have made it incredibly easy for people to play with the body of Jebus.
Anywho, just like a libertarian is a republican who's ashamed to admit they're a republican, apparently an agnotheist is a Catholic who's ashamed to admit they worship Cathol, as Megan seems personally offended, to the point she misses the forest for the trees multiple times. To begin
Atheists have done better out of America's committment [sic] to pluralism than any other religious group, so it's hard to see why any of them would now condone an attempt to break down the social compact that demands that we mostly leave other peoples' religious beliefs alone.
Mhm, that's why there are so many atheist politicians. Megan has literally no idea what it means to be an atheist in the US. We are not tolerated, we are condescended to, ridiculed, and frequently forced to partake in religious acts we want no part of. And that's the atheists who live outside the Bible belt. I can't imagine how bad it would be to grow up/live as an atheist in the land of Megachurches.
She concludes the post by saying
When you catch Bill Donohue pissing on PZ Myers' grave, come back and we'll talk.
How about trying to get him fired and encouraging a deluge of emails that unquestionably would include direct threats? Does that count as being impolite, you asshole?
It doesn't end there, tho. After a commenter called out Megan's piss poor attempt to analogize the cracker and your mother's (future) grave
So a better analogy, while we're talking about mothers' graves, might be this: if someone told you that a piece of stone was actually his mother, would it be OK to desecrate the piece of stone?
I suspect you would answer that the person himself would be clearly crazy. I couldn't agree more. The question then becomes, what do you do about crazy people, who after all have feelings too?
she responded with offense that any one would imply Catholics could be construed as crazy in any of their crazy beliefs, and a lack of recognition that she was just pwned.
Crazy is a pretty strong word for something that is believed in by hundreds of millions of people. Obviously, if you think that there is no God, a belief in the mystical transformation of an ordinary object is odd--but it doesn't seem all that much odder to me than the belief that a rock becomes, with the addition of some spit polish and a little writing, a tombstone which it is profane to deface. Most people live in both the physical and the symbolic world.
How, exactly, using a tombstone to record the name and lifespan of the person whose grave it marks is a mystic process is so obvious as to not need explanation. (And what is spit polish?)
And now, today's dose of monstrous stupidity.
If you understand that a tombstone is more than a rock, that a flag is different from a sheet, that money is more valuable than copy paper, and that smearing excrement on the side of someone's house is more offensive than smearing pungent dirt, then you, too, are giving symbolic values precedence over the merely physical. As you should, since this is an important part of what it means to be human.
Money is symbolic? Of what?
The really amusing thing is Megan's pretense of a personal remove. She's offended because she's Catholic, but admitting that would mean admitting agreement with her parents, which calls to mind something Susan said over at her place.
As an authoritarian she repeats what she heard, but as an angry, resentful child, she chooses the opposite ideology out of an attempt to assert herself against her parent(s). So she declares herself a libertarian, not conservative, and feminist and racial liberal, while her actions and words say the opposite.

Here we go again

weekend's over, and she's still in sooper-stoopid mode. Two shorters, and a big ole longer on the Catholic cracker post on deck.

The N Word, revisited: Didn't Megan's black friend say "the n-word" also bothers them? Good to know Megan cares enough to change her vocab.
And Megan? You'd benefit from listening to what Richard Pryor had to say about this word and how both races use it. I'd tell you which performance to watch, but you should probably just go with all of 'em.

Exurbs delenda est:

I had my first taste of a collapsing exurb last night.

This is the housing bubble made visible--the hope with which developers built shiny new communities for people with modest incomes, and the swift ferocity with which credit contraction and high gas prices crushed those happy hopes.
"The housing bubble". As opposed to an economy in recession. She's going to "debate" whether we're in a recession right up until it ends, or the economy collapses. Then she'll start wondering whether the recession has become a depression.

A ranty piece on religion is, as said, imminent.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hat Tip

To our partner in obsession, Susan, for this find.

The theme of the party was Republicanism, given the convention for which several of the bloggers were in town. In keeping with the theme, Megan (who bills herself as a “libertarian,” which as someone at the party noted is what Republicans call themselves when they’re embarrassed to admit they’re Republicans) did all the cooking and waited on the mostly male assemblage hand and foot — barefoot, at that — and clad in a ’50s-housewife-style blouse and skirt and lace apron, the table decorated with two lilac blooms and a small American flag, and so on. The meal, along the same lines, consisted of glazed chicken, homemade dinner rolls, potato salad,
homemade peach pies and, the pièce de résistance, jello salad.
She thinks she's making fun of others, but she's making fun of herself. It's brilliant.

Ezra, stupid enough to believe a sound-byte

I don't know why I'm so eager to insult people today, but if I can't insult Megan I'll insult her friends.

So I strolled on over to our favorite ambiguously gay blogger's house and, like the lazy ass that I am, took a gander at a few of his most recent posts

This one caught my eye. He quotes Al Gore saying "Here's the difference, when the demand for wind and solar goes u, costs go down. When demand for oil and gas goes up, prices go up." and gives an enthusiastic "True dat girlfriend!" before ducking his head, checking to ensure that no one saw, and typing a muted "True enough."

You know what's also true? The difference between driving to work and skydiving to work is that when demand for skydiving goes up, prices come down! We should totally invest in skydiving, ASA-FUCKING-P.

You see, dipshits, oil is an entrenched part of our economy and there are not many easy ways left to utilize it more efficiently (and no, fuck nuts, replacing the entire US fleet of cars with slightly more efficient models isn't actually easy), which is why its demand is inelastic and supply is limited.

Renewable energies are a fringe market, not even close to fully implemented that hardly even glimpse the economies of scale that oil does, let alone have seen the hard core research that oil has seen for like the past million fucking years.

If we had a renewables based economy and there was a demand spike, guess what, PRICES FOR ENERGY WOULD STILL GO UP.

I'm all for renewables, but let's try not to muck up the cause with a bunch of "being a fucking moron" along the way, eh?

Let's look at her friends.

I'm bored. Let's see what rolly-ygolly is up to on these chuboriffic days.

Hmm, what's got him sparked up?

Know Your Right-Wing Intellects:
God damn you, fatass. Stop referencing things I like. You are not cool enough to like The Clash. Face it, any self respecting punk would've taken you flabby frame to town for a myriad of reasons. Stop it! You're not hip! You're a fat whiny geek who was among the very ordinary rank of citizen to be for the war. You're neither pretty in mind nor body. Get the fuck out of my face blubber butt.

Oh, sorry, onto the article. Mat feels that the ridiculous assertions of the writers over at NRO, who state that the entirety of conservatism can be summed up in Milton Friedman's pithy statement that “nobody spends somebody else's money as well as he spends his own.” need to feel the full crushing weight of his hefty belly wit.

He then spends two full paragraphs (that fill over half of my laptop's screen) striking down this ridiculous claim. Thanks for that, you mouth breathing pile of lard! Two fucking paragraphs to explain that you can't sum a worldview up in ONE PITHY FUCKING LITTLE SENTENCE.

Brilliant, Matty. Give yourself a donut.

I guess he took our muse's advise about how shooting fish in a barrel was pointless. No, much better to nuke fish in a barrel.

Bonus Dumbfuckery: That stupid fucker may actually be looking to our muse for writing tips, seeing as how he mentioned one of her favorite buzz phrases "negative externalities." He even put his own optimistic little slant on it and used the more upward looking "positive externalities." Note to Fatty-Y (OMG, that one has been sitting in front of me for this long and I haven't used it?!?!?!?!!) taking prose style ques from Ms. McTypo isn't exactly a good career move.

Dear Jebus,

every day you make it above 90, you make me even gladder you are dead. I hate you, and I hope your mom dates Jimmy Kimmel.
And yes, the heat makes the wimmin go practically naked, but that just makes it worse when you're single n there's no one to drag in a cool shower with you when you get home.
The Taliban had it right. Wimmin should be forced to risk heat stroke by covering themselves in layers of black wool, no matter the weather.
Oh, and Jebus? You didn't exist.



Saturday, July 19, 2008

Yum Yum!!

The above is currently appearing in the upper right hand advertising space on the Queen of The Vegans' web log. Does she know? Does she care? Would we get one of those "I really don't care what other people do, my constant babbling about what I eat is just because everything I do is fascinating, & is in no way shape or form to be construed as a suggestion as to how to live your life, because I'm all about freedom, not horrid nanny-statism!" posts?

P. S: Bugger™ doesn't respond well to .gif, & while the advert was cycling through its various pix when I first added the image, it seems to be stuck now (or not) which means we don't get to see the Naked Lunch shots of the real beef. But you get the idea.

Immediate update:

Seems to be working just fine now. Why doesn't my Bugger™ web log work as well? brad, any hints?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Damn you Ezra!

This post really pisses me off.

I loved that shirt! I have been thinking about buying one for years. Now I can't! Motherfucker!

Insert some joke about Matt's being an XXXXXXXL.

Hmmmm....... this post leaves me feeling a bit....... um... what's the word? Oh yes, childish.

Hahahaha! TAKE THAT MEGAN!!!!!

What the fuck is going on

please make her stop posting. I think I might black out.

The happiest day of your life . . .:

children don't make you happy, even though society tells you it does.
Ladies and gentlemen, we now present a stark display of Megan's disturbing lack of humanity!
It's probably also true that in a pure state of nature rape is fun, stolen food tastes just as sweet, and hitting other people in the head is a pleasurable activity.
Please don't, in your undoubted revulsion at this statement, fail to notice that she includes stealing food with rape and random acts of violence, because sometimes you have to rape and beat someone else to keep your family alive.

Click here for fun...

Megan's commenters are now arguing that descerating a Jewish tombstone with a swatstika is equivalent to...making fun of a cracker.


This post is just too much for me to process. Megan attempting to act as an intermediary for her newest bestest black friend's post on a word I'm too white to type out is way beyond my pay grade. TBogg or Roy need to dig into this one.
At least there's a heartwarming tale of child abuse tucked in there, too. Y'know, for kids.

as far as I can remember, I've spoken the actual word aloud exactly once, when I was in kindergarten, and my mother slapped me so hard that my head fell off and I had to carry it with me to school like a lunchbox for three weeks.
It would appear that Megan thinks this was the proper response by her full grown adult mother to her five year old daughter doing something she quite possibly did not realize was wrong. I refuse categorically to in any way explore the potentially quite disturbing psychological implications of this.

Just... wow

No, really, tehre's [sic] no justification for descreating [sic] commyunion [sic] wafers: I stared at that title for a good 30 seconds trying to convince myself it's some kind of old Catholic school in-joke.
Then I scrolled down to this

Lost my glasses yesterday. Supposed to pick up the new ones today . . .

Posted by Megan McArdle | July 18, 2008 8:32 AM
I... make the fonts bigger... my brain hurts. She's posting while blind. For The Atlantic.
If I ever end up stoopid rich, I'm buying The National Review and turning it into a gay porn mag, in revenge.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sweating the small stuff

Megan really has been on fire this week. Let no post go unshorterized, semi and not so shorter.

Dark Knight is great: You heard it here first: Remember folks, when talking about someone whose tragic death you blithely mocked, make sure to use lots of inappropriate constructions.

And what about Heath Ledger? ... But I wouldn't be indignant if he walked away with [the Oscar].
The only movie I've ever seen him in was "10 Things I Hate About You" (yes, yes, I've never seen Brokeback Mountain). I mostly knew him for being extremely pretty. So I was surprised to see him be so good in an adult movie.
The comments to this post are a treat.

Her voice sounded like money . . .:
It's odd that an entire American accent disappeared virtually overnight: the upper class American accent that covered not only the northeastern seaboard, but California as well.
It wasn't an accent, it was an affectation. It went away because most of my parents' generation realized how fucking stupid it was. One of my aunts had that accent, despite neither my grandmother nor any of her other children having it, and I'd mock her but for an unwillingness to speak ill of dead relatives.

Ground Zero: If you build it, they won't come:
When we started talking about what to rebuild at Ground Zero, there was a strong faction urging us to "build them back, taller" or some variant thereof. As many of you know, I started this blog when I was working down at Ground Zero for one of the recovery company [sic].
Yes, Megan, and "Live from Ground Zero" was a classy, tasteful choice that was not at all potentially offensive to anyone. And yes, you knew people who died. Tell us about that again. No one else knew people who died, it was your national catastrophe.
Tall buildings don't work that well--above about fifty stories, the elevators needed to transport the people start crowding out the usable office space. This is why the WTC had those ridiculous "sky lobbies" where you had to change elevators to get to the top floors.
Actually, no. They were there for efficiency, but Megan's ownership of 9/11 and related topics retroactively changes that fact. She cannot be wrong, she worked across the street.
It seems to me that it's time to rethink the whole project of putting more office space there, and turn the area into a national monument. If you're worried about losing commercial space--though this is hardly a current issue for New York's beleaguered financial industry--there are green spaces and low rise in the surrounding area that could be bought with eminent domain and built up.
Fuck the parks used by the people now living down there, drawn by incredible rent subsidies in the years immediately following 9/11, let's maintain a huge chunk of downtown real estate as a memorial to death, so that jingoistic conservative politicians will always have a backdrop for their speeches accusing their liberal opponents of not having sufficient blood lust. Hell, why not let Bush move his Presidential Library there?

Grow the hell up, internet: (I know it's been covered, but I want a crack at it, too.)
I've been thinking recently about the tendency of bloggers and commenters to take a post they don't like and say "I don't even need to bother to refute this because it's so self-evidently stupid". No, actually, you do. That technique may have worked on the C String of the high school debate team, but it hasn't since. What that statement screams is "I can't refute it, and it's a really good point, so I'm just going to assert that I don't need to and hope you don't realize that I'm an idiot."
Having been criticized by a variety of feminist blogs, Megan can no longer dismiss her critics as misogynists, so she needs a new tact tack (doy). Now she's going to tell all the people calling her an idiot that they lose because she's declaring "no calling me an idiot" and that's now a rule so hahahaha.
But wait, you say, she is an idiot, and a hypocrite.
There's a lot of idiocy on the internet that I, like every other blogger, look at, recognize as unbelievably flawed, and toy with the notion of refuting. Then I realize that shooting fish in a barrel isn't really very much fun, and annoys the fish, so I go find something more productive to do. This mental scenario is repeated millions of times a day by all of your favorite bloggers.
So you're allowed to think someone is an idiot and dismiss them in your mind, you're just not permitted to say it out loud. Be polite, people. (Also, "shooting fish in a barrel... annoys the fish" is a wonderful Meganism. She can't even use cliches properly.)
The thing is, when I encounter someone whose argument really is so boring that it isn't worth refuting, I don't refute it. I don't link to it. I don't say anything about it, because I feel my readers probably have enough idiocy in their lives. If I link someone, I am conceding that they are worth arguing with--that their argument is worthy of refutation. This is what intellectually confident people do. Only people who are pretty sure they can't win try to claim a moral victory--the blogging equivalent of standing at the Olympic starting line and saying, "Well, I could outrun everyone, but that's so obvious that I needn't bother getting my shoes dirty."
When half a dozen blogs point and laugh at Megan, they look foolish for lowering themselves to the level of noticing her. Also, they lose, because they didn't take her argument to jail the Jena 6 seriously and respond with carefully considered positions.
Additionally, the fact that she repeatedly misspells the name of a blogger whose name is in the chunk of text she then quotes, while claiming to like said blogger, in no way is indicative of why Megan finds mockery to be her most common response.
I'm thinking of declaring August "Grow the hell up, internet people" month. Who will join me in my crusade?
Megan is, like, soooooo much more mature than all you baby 6th graders internet people. Her boyfriend is a high school freshman, and they've gone to second base. Like, grow up.

Megan smells.

Grand Illusion

In its entirety:

Safety first
This is eminently sensible, eminently frightening, and eminently unlikely to be acted upon. People need the illusion of saftely [sic] when the real thing isn't available.
Compare & contrast: "I'm buying a gun so I may prance around my living room w/ it & show those awful city council people that I'm free!!" (Accurate paraphrase. I'll not bother to look it up.)

And, for a change, the item to which she links is pretty interesting, & as La McA. says, sensible, true & will never get done. Just like weapon regulation. (Note that w/ the word "weapon" I open the floodgates of potential repression to include kitchen knives & baseball bats, to mention two of my favorite weapons.) And checking her spelling. Or typos. Or whatever they are.


blank stare







oh sorry... I um.. I'm supposed to say something here....

Um... hold on...




here latest post...



it's a recipe for macaroni and cheese...

blank stare



but... but... it's really good macaroni and cheese...???...

or something....

Cheesy Is Right

The entire blog-o-sphere has, of course, been waiting w/ bated breath, & at last it's here!! Approx. 39 lines (not counting ingredients) of Mlle. McArdle's New Improved Mac & Cheese recipe. (May I point out that we're discussing macaroni & cheese here, in case any one's lost sight of that fact?)

Also, it will give you an opportunity to use your scale [sic]

If you don't have a food processor with a grater attachment, grate the gruyere and chedder, [sic] and chop the other cheeses fine. [sic]

Seriously, if you don't have a food processor, you lousy rotten poor person, it's no wonder you're as fat as a fucking pig!!

There's higher-dollar Mac & Cheese w/ white cheddar or something that the good folks (as they used say in the advertising business) at Kraft distribute, if one insists on gourmet fucking everything; I've even seen packages of non-Kraft M&C at places like Trader Joe's that probably are a big improvement on the Kraft crap. Therefore, why the hell anyone would waste an extra 30 seconds of his/her time on making a child's dish from scratch is a total mystery. I thought we weren't supposed to be childish any more.

Elements of Style©:

Velveeta™ is a trademark, & should be capitalized. Please show some respect for the property rights of others, Ms. McArdle. You don't want to have a letter from the house counsel @ Kraft on your permanent record.

And you might want to learn how to spell "cheddar," if you wish to be taken seriously as the world's tallest female food blogger (your future career) or at least click spell check w/ a bit more abandon. (BTW, Blogger's™ spell-check suggests Gruyere should be capitalized as well. One would expect a big ol' free-marketer to be big on capitalization, but such are life's little ironies.)

P. S.: Could anything be more pretentious than crust on M&C?

Dep't. of I Don't Know What

Ms. McArdle wants people on the internet to stop acting childish. I, for one, refuse. And I am completely behind Prof. Myers in his attempt to desecrate anything he can find. Perhaps it would be a better idea to ask people not to throw a hissy fit every time someone mocks their precious dogma.

And to compare Prof. Myers & Scare-Monger/Fund-Raiser Bill Donohue (or to link to a post that does so after making a big deal about how you never link to anything easily refutable) is not worth the effort to refute, is it?

Ask the expert!

Megan is s-m-r-t smart, lately.

I've been taking notes that she's so informative.

Pondering the iPhone:

Since Reihan already had an iPhone, and I don't, he's choosing between the marginal upgrades--mostly the GPS and the 3G network, and his old phone. I, however didn't have one before, so I get to be all gee-whiz about features the rest of you have had for a year.

Tranlsation: Reihan is giving you new information whereas I am going "aw-shucks, ain't that something" about features that, if you've any interest AT ALL in an iPhone, you knew about years ago.

Here, let me recap what every other review of the first iPhone said because, while I in fact don't know shit, I assume that you know even less.

Weights and Measures:
I rarely endorse conspiracy theories, but this one I believe. Mr Morrow, tear down this wall!

The article linked is, of course, kind of stupid. It complains about the conspiracy to leave weights out of cookbooks. Of course, this has nothing to do with the fact that this is how people have been measuring shit for fucking ever (see, digital scales are new).

Hey dipshits, if you're such an advanced cook that you weigh instead of measure by volume, maybe you should memorize some fucking conversion factors. I don't bitch about the fact that rulers are mostly in inches. I remember that it's 2.54 centimeters to an inch. Sigh.

Mr Bernanke, tear down this inflation:
Megan is worried about inflation. Anyone remember when she was talking about how "core inflation was low" so everything was fine? Yea, good call there, Megan. There was definitely no reason to think that core inflation wouldn't catch up with the rest of the shit out there. Nope, none whatsoever.

I hope she starts giving stock tips. It'd be so easy to make a killing shorting what she says to buy and buying what she says to short.

Get on the scale:
And last but not least, our muse tells us that if we really want to be good cooks we should get a scale.

Thanks for the tip, McObvious. As has been pointed out in the comments, every fucking person in the planet that needs a scale to cook the recipes they make already knows enough about fucking cooking to know that they need a scale. That's like telling a fucking engineer that hey, man, you really need to get you one of those calculators before you start engaging in academic research.

Thanks, Megalicious! Should I buy a knife too, or is that only for the truly advanced chef?


Did Megan just deploy an already overused phrase in consecutive posts? I think she did!


Reminder: She's paid to write.


While I don't doubt that this is heartfelt, I have a funny inside story I can't resist telling. So when Sullivan switched over to his Atlantic blogging post (this was before Yglesias was there) any link to Matthew Yglesias was removed from Sullivan's blogroll. I emailed Sullivan and asked him why the link was removed. Sullivan's response: "he bored me."

I swear.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The thing about DC

is that it literally exists because there is a Federal government. You know that, I know that, homeless people in Indonesia know that. Megan, however, has lived there almost a whole year, but she seems to be having trouble remembering that basic fact.
The war on drivers, continued:

Just kidding. While out with a bunch of friends last night, I realized that the real friction is not between drivers, bikers, and pedestrians; it is between commuters, and people who live here.
Commuters into DC do not even have the excuse for their sense of entitlement that commuters into New York or San Francisco have: that without them, the businesses wouldn't be there, and the economy of the city would drastically suffer. The business of DC is mostly various non-profit, or very thinly profitable, entities that do not pay significant taxes--only a quarter of DC's revenue comes from sales and business taxes, and of course a lot of those are paid by the residents. The business that does bring substantial revenue into DC, tourism, is not going anywhere, because they're not going to move the Washington Monument to Silver Spring.
Or Congress, or any of the number of important Federal Departments and Agencies which require staffing.
And, to ask again, does Megan not realize that a significant percent of those commuters are probably lifelong DC residents who left the city to raise a family or escape rising rents? No? Oh, ok. Cause in NYC it's the same way and.. No? Alright.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's like she wants me to feel better

about my silly fuck-up earlier.

Are Obama's supporters trying to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat?:

Obama's supporters are far too cocky right now. They're already celebrating their coming trampling of booboisie. And methinks that glee is not playing well in middle America.
Even her commenters picked up on it immediately.

The reason people like my red-county aunt are thinking of voting Obama is that they find him inspiring. If this election turns into another round of "Whole Foods versus those obese louts at the Piggly Wiggly", people like her will hasten to vote against Whole Foods.
Yeah, remember how Nixon used to demonize "those elitist 'Whole Foods' types" and talk up the noble middle class Trader Joe's shopper?
Btw, as I'm sure many of you know, the CEO of Whole Foods is a libertarian, and anti-union. Megan just called herself an elitist.

Oh, and there's also this
As we all know, I will not be voting for John McCain (though this does not mean that I will be voting for Obama).
Yep, she's been giving herself credit for being an Obama supporter for months now, but that doesn't mean she's going to vote for him. She can't even change her mind honestly.

Megan is oppressed

You know . . .:

I wasn't going to buy a gun, because, hey, what would I do with it? But the chicken guano rules that DC is imposing make me want to buy a handgun just to annoy the twopenny tyrants who thought them up
I... How exactly is Megan going to use her unnecessary deadly firearm to annoy "tyrants" concerned with not having people killed? Is she going to go down to City Hall and wave it around?
May I really carry it inside my home without a license, just as if I were a free citizen in a country that respects individual liberty? I am overcome with gratitude, really overwhelmed with the state's generosity . . . permission to cry, sir?
You have to admit, it's pretty courageous of Megan to question the King's decrees with passive aggressive sarcasm.

Megan hates Naomi Klein

sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much. Partially for being smarter, a better writer, more successful, far more respected, prettier, and probably a better cook, but mostly for having written The Shock Doctrine, which is only arguably the most important non-fiction book of this young century. Any one random paragraph from the book will probably teach you more than Megan has in her entire career. Go read it, along with The Omnivore's Dilemma, they're more important than me mocking Megan.
Anywho, for those who don't know, the gist of The Shock Doctrine is that Milton Friedman and the U of Chicago Economics Dept were, and are, a crucial part of American economic colonialism and active enablers of the brutal, repressive regimes we helped establish across the globe to protect our financial interests in other nations. There's a hell of a lot more to it, I haven't even mentioned the shock doctrine itself, but a book report is not needed here.
The point is that The Shock Doctrine has done a lot to publicly discredit views which are very close to those held by Megan as part of its surprising and welcome success, making her a very frustrated glibertarian. How is she supposed to pretend to be nice to the lesser, fruit hatted, peoples of the Americas if everyone knows she's enabling their exploitation?
And so we come to this post, where Megan calls a whole host of U of Chicago academics proudly ignorant for saying something she doesn't like. Here comes the stupid

Where to start with this festival of willful misunderstanding? I was surprised to hear that Milton Friedman is reviled in "The South", since I follow the Argentinian, Venezuelan, and South African economic press closely-ish, and I've never once heard the man's name mentioned. The only country that seems aware of his existence, or that of the "Chicago Boys" is Chile, and they kind of like him.
Y'hear that? The papers owned by those who benefited from repressive regimes dedicated to the economic advancement of the American companies paying them think it's all good. The people of those nations, who suffered kinda mightily, don't count. Megan doesn't run into them at glibertarian think tank functions, fuck'em.
Second, their assessment of the effects of the "neoliberal global order" is forehead slapping, head shaking, did-they-really-say that? stupid. I haven't heard such transparently wishful claptrap since my fifteen-year-old boyfriend tried to convince me that sex provided unparalleled aerobic exercise. If you put all 100 in a room with unlimited access to Lexis-Nexis and a mountain-sized peyote stash to bring their quasi-communist fantasy life into 3D technicolor, they still couldn't name a country where neoliberalism has undermined a vibrant democracy. Nor where Demon Capital has made things worse. The worst you can say for the neoliberal order is that it doesn't make things better the way we hoped it would. Any place you can name that has been deeply screwed up since global capital arrived was at least as corrupt and otherwise awful before the capital swooped in to plant garment factories in the edenic swamps of rural poverty.
Yep, all those dead people in Chile sure did benefit from Pinochet's rule. And those stupid brown people are stupid stupids anyway, they need white people to keep them in line. They were all living in the jungle in chaos without us. Megan hates Naomi Klein, because thanks to Naomi even someone as unschooled in economic history as me has some idea of how much blood was on Friedman's hands, and that drives Megan crazy, and makes her really stupid. The following quote is from the letter Megan is raging against.
Following Friedman’s lead, the design and evaluation of economic policy requires analyses that respect the incentives of individuals and the essential role of markets in allocating goods and services. As Friedman and others continually demonstrated, design of public policy without regard to market alternatives has adverse social consequences.[My emphasis]
How would you interpret that last sentence? It seems pretty clear to me that it means they think Friedman and his acolytes ignored market alternatives to the detriment of the countries they were helping to govern. Megan disagrees.
Or perhaps they merely think that we should design our policies without regard to market alternatives.
Yep, Megan got herself so worked up she forgot how to read, folks.
Update: As is gleefully pointed out in the comments, I done put my foot in my mouth here and been stupid my own self. The quote was something the group letter was citing negatively, in a jargony way that I'll admit uncertainty about. Megan did not forget how to read, I did. Doy.

She closes with more assholery designed to test my dedication to the rules about language I've put in here.
It's foolish to get enraged at these powerless twits. But someone has to writhe in shame at this folly, and clearly, their intellects aren't up to the task.
Says Megan in a post where she argued against a carefully crafted academic letter by getting indignant. Shit, she didn't even mention that the main point of the letter was to argue against letting Friedman's theories become all that's taught in the Econ dept via the muscle of his posthumous institution. Maybe there's an argument against the positions established in this letter, but Megan hasn't provided any of them. Clearly, her intellect isn't up to the task.
Nevermind that all the letter is asking for is that the school maintain academic openness in the Econ Dept. Their critique is grounded in facts Megan finds distasteful, they should be ashamed.