Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Starting to catch up

Holiday plus heat plus humid plus busy plus sick makes for too drained to play with Megan. The problem with that is the poop really does pile up, and if I don't point out how poor Megan's work product is y'all might forget and go pick up a copy of Atlas Shrugged. See, I'm doing it for your souls, folks. Mhm. Part 1 of a series of shorters.

As easy as 1 . . . 2 . . . 87 Ways to Save the Earth:

So I have arrived safely in Aspen. I'm listening to Thomas Friedman urging America to lead the way towards "abundant, cheap, clean, reliable electrons".
Megan McArdle, listening to Tom Friedman speak. And it gets 'better'.
A government reorganization of the energy market might produce a fabulous new system that saves us ton of energy and money. It's much more likely, however, to become a sclerotic boondoggle that will soon spend most of its time in petty arguments between bureaucrats and regulatees over small rule changes. And it's not necessary.
Unlike scrapping and rebuilding the entire national school system.
Maybe it's just that I'm a natural pessimist, but these sort of optimistic attempts to change the world by easy fiat seem like cheap escapism to me. No one wants to write a book saying "Do this--it will really suck!" So instead we get promises that the whole thing can be practically painless. It won't be.
Vouchers, however, will be painless, at least for people who don't have kids.
(I'm tempted to take issue with Megan's claim that "We don't waste most of the energy we use.", but I'm not an environmental engineer, so I can't explain in detail how a large fraction of the energy we use actually is wasted as heat or other non-productive outputs.)

Highway to hell?: Yeah, the economy sucks, gas is approaching European price levels, and American automakers are entering a (largely self caused) death spiral, taking the jobs of millions of Americans down the drain with them, but Megan is getting a Cooper Mini, so what's the big deal? In similar logic, I'm going to get an IPhone3G, which proves you have disposable income.
N I can't ignore this
The delusion that SUVs languishing on the lot are the primary cause of America's economic malaise seems to come from the same kind of paltry economic logic that causes people to claim that America is doomed because it has stopped making stuff and now just produces services.
Methinks the character of Frank Sobotka in The Wire went over Megan's head. What was it Frank said? "Y'know what the trouble is, Brucie? We used to make shit in this country... build shit. ...*sigh* Now we just put our hand in the next guy's pocket."
(Yes, I searched the line out on the dvd.)

Brian Beutler is going to be fine: But Megan has a bit of a headache.
I thought this went without saying, but apparently not: divisive political issues. Not going to be debated. On my blog. In reference to the shooting. You are severely testing both my patience and the limits of my good manners. Liberals who want to make the point that health care is expensive can consider it made. Conservatives who want to make the point that national health care shouldn't be necessary can do so by sending Brian money to help cover his medical bills. End of discussion.
But slagging the police and wallowing in self-absorption to the point of not so much as mentioning the guy's name the first time are fine. Megan's friend is going to be ok, you can stop worrying about her.

House of cards: I trust the credit card companies. They have no bad debt, because they don't extend credit to people who can't afford it or understand they can't afford it. Credit card debt is, like, totally not a problem. For Megan.

Goolsbee is dodging and weaving like George Foreman at the Rumble in the Jungle.
*sigh* I'm not much for the so-called "sweet science", but that particular fight is a part of American history, and this is fucking stupid. Foreman was the Mike Tyson of his day; pure power. Ali, who traditionally was a more fluid boxer, won with the now famous "rope a dope", where he tired Foreman out to neutralize his power. There's even an Oscar winning documentary about the fight and the scene surrounding it. Get a goddamn clue, Megan. It's like confusing Michael Jordan with Shaq.

Tax cuts--they're what's for dinner!:
I love me some tax cuts--at least as long as they're accompanied by complementary spending cuts--but they've turned into the ginseng of the Republican party, a broad-spectrum economic snake oil that cures whatever problem you currently have.
Except ginseng is legitimately good for you, whereas spending cuts, which doesn't include military spending, let's be realistic, means gutting Social Security or the school system to suit Megan's ideological biases. Same shit, different name.

Health care: Here's a nice strong dose of stupid to close out on.
Kemp shocks me by pushing a project near and dear to my heart--switching America's government provided insurance to catastrophic income insurance, rather than the current screwed up system. My proposal is that the government should pick up the tab after you've expended 15% of your annual income.
Do you think Big Pharma and the other health care industries pay Megan a stipend, or is she just an asshole?

More to come. Too much more. Ugh.

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