Friday, October 31, 2008

God, She's Such an Idiot

I present to you, in full, "All sugars are equal, but some are more equal than others":

I've long been skeptical of the claim that high fructose corn syrup was especially evil; too many of these diet claims are the nutritional equivalent of "electromagnetic fields are giving me cancer!" But Derek Lowe makes a convincing case that it's at least possible.
First, we get the usual idiotic and uncapitalized title. Note to Megan: Taking some completely irrelevant well-known phrase and replacing one the words in it with what you're writing about does not produce a clever title. At all. Just stop. For the love of fucking God, just stop!

Then, she goes on to compare the belief that fructose is worse than sugar to the belief that electromagnetic fields cause cancer. Where to begin? Let's start by asking "How stupid do you have to be to flippantly dismiss that your body weight might be affected by THE FUCKING SHIT YOU PUT IN YOUR MOUTH?!?!?!?!" After we've asked that, let's go on to point out that electromagnetic fields don't exist. There are electric fields and there are magnetic fields, but there are no electromagnetic fields. Assuming she meant electromagnetic radiation, well, she's still being stupid. EM radiation encompasses all forms of light. That includes, among others things, X-rays, Ultra-violet light, microwaves and gamma rays. Those are just some of the kinds of EM radiation that CAUSE FUCKING CANCER.

As you were.

Althousian randomness

back to Megan in a moment, but Ann Althouse, who I am not, said something.

You know, (unless I'm mistaken) I had not blogged any endorsements until now. But this one impressed me and really hit home. It did not feel like the usual liberals doing what liberals do. [Emphasis in original.]
Furthermore, Ann, a person I am not privileged enough to be, felt fairly well when she came to this realization. Her core body temp was a healthy 98.6 degrees, no headache of any kind, but her left knee was a little sore. She was a little hungry, but not famished, and would next go to the bathroom about 2 hours and 7 minutes later.
Further bulletins as details warrant.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Peak wingnut

for both of you who read us but not S,N! and/or Whiskey Fire or the other 20 dozen liberal blogs that have covered this, or will, Pam Atlas has won the wingnut internets, and has decided Obama is the secret child of Malcolm X. (It's a long and crrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrazy post, the win is down at the end.)
Sure, it sounds batshit insane, but how do you know? The one person who really knows, Obama's mother, is conveniently dead. Pam's next scoop will be the details of B. Hussein X's murder of his mother to silence her. Genetic tests of Obama and Malcolm X's relatives would reveal the truth, but they'd only lie about the results anyway.
I hope Pam has anti B. Hussein X protests in NYC soon. There's one in Boca tomorrow, which my friend down there already refused to attend. I want to meet Pam Atlas in person, and make certain she's not Ziggy Pop in drag in an incredibly extended gag. That softcore porn video in the surf proved nothing, they can do anything with special effects.

Shorter

Shorter Thai-Nesse Coats: Fag.

Update:




Sheer fucking awesomeness

this is what win looks like.


(Original here, via Boing Boing.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Apparently Hereditary

This item's been covered, but there was a little something that was missed.

[D]ue to apparently hereditary stupidity, the entire McArdle clan missed the deadline for transferring their voter registration to DC, and therefore will not actually be voting in the election.
Besides the obvious, does this mean that Megan somehow moved her mother as well as her sister to D. C.? And that all three of them are, for politeness' sake, a bit scatter-brained?

Or is this passive-aggressive behavior? "Oh, I'm sort of for Obama and sort of against McCain, but as far as actually voting, well..."

brad answers:

It's laziness squared. All they'd have to do to would be come up to NYC on election day and vote where they are still registered.

Dear Fred

please become the FMM troll. You're a goldmine.
From the same comment thread as below,

"I fundamentally do not understand this pervasive belief."

Real simple: Gay men dominate fashion. Gay men prefer boyish-looking women as the next best thing to boys.

"Google stress, obesity"

There's more stress among those in the upper middle class than among the poor. When you're unemployed and living on welfare, you don't have the stress of worrying about losing your job, not getting that project in on time, studying for the LSATs, etc.

Posted by Fred | October 28, 2008 6:10 PM
I wuv woo.

Very, very stupid

The end of the war on fat?:

John Tierney asks how long it will be until we have a drug that can make everyone thin. I wonder whether, if we got one, everyone would still want to be thin. The obsession with thinness is a wealth marker. Just as it only became cool to get a tan when most working stiffs were pasty white from long hours indoors, the easier it is for poor people to get fat, the harder rich people work to get thin. The rate of obesity is twice as high among the poor as among the rich.
Obsession with being thin is NOT a wealth marker. Being able to afford it is. Few people are genetically thin no matter what, especially not in a context of non-nutritive caloric overabundance such as we live in here, today. One of the many reasons poverty and obesity are linked in the US is cheap food lacks the nutrients we need to be healthy and thrive, so our bodies don't stop being hungry for them after eating overprocessed industrial food. All calories are not created equal, but you won't hear Megan acknowledge that. (Forgive me for not tracking down a reference for this claim, but I lent out my copy of Omnivore's Dilemma.) Speaking of Megan, I interrupted her in mid stupid.
I confess I still don't understand why poverty is so increasingly linked with obesity. The common explanation is to blame the paucity of excellent cheap grocery stores in urban neighborhoods. But poverty is not exclusively an inner city phenomenon; poor people in more rural areas share grocery stores with the rich. Besides, while this explains the latitudinal data, it does not account for the longitudinal issue. No one thinks that New York's grocery stores, even in poor neighborhoods, have gotten worse since the 1970s; the evidence is that they've gotten better. But the obesity rate has gotten much worse.
What evidence is there the supermarkets in poor neighborhoods in NYC have gotten better? My own anecdotal experience of living across the street from an extended area of huge projects is that the supermarkets and delis are pure crap. If they've gotten better it's in the sense that they're not selling brown, expired meat anymore, not that their selection is any healthier for the people eating it. Besides which, back in the 70s you could get grass fed beef at non-premium prices, and that's quite probably a great deal healthier for us. And the soda was made with sugar, which is practically a health food compared to high fructose corn syrup.
But Megan has been told not to worry about what her maid's kids are eating anymore, and to blame her maid for their poor nutrition if she has to lower herself to thinking about it. Businesses and the market can't have a role in this problem, obviously, so it must be the fault of the people suffering, not the ones providing them the means to suffer.
Megan dribbles out much more stupidity in the rest of the post, but I'd like to close with a pair of comments left in support of Megan's argument. Fred is a regular, and an asshole
...
Welfare mothers don't have a "$0 budget". They have free cash flow thanks to transfer payments and having the necessities of life (housing, medical care, food) provided for them either heavily subsidized (housing) or free (medical care, food). And walking is a great form of exercise that's free.

Posted by Fred | October 28, 2008 3:54 PM
MikeF is new, to me at least, and seems not so much an asshole as truly ignorant (if you care to make a distinction).
Megan points to gyms as one luxury that the well-off can afford to help stay thin. But I wonder if that isn't offset by the fact that a disproportionate number of poor people work at manual labor jobs - I bet a day on a construction site burns way more calories than a 90-minute gym session.

Posted by MikeF | October 28, 2008 4:51 PM
These are the people Megan is writing for, when it isn't David Bradley. Birds of a feather.

Stupidest thing ever said, non-Megan division

There's a true gem in the comments to her monstrously stupid post arguing recessions hurt the wealthy more than the poor. Megan did not say this, but someone who actually agrees with her claims did.

"They just want people to pay in proportion to the benefit they derive from society."

By that logic, the poor should pay the most, while the rich the least

Posted by ken magalnik | October 27, 2008 1:03 PM
Yeah, that homeless guy gets a lot more from society than, say, the sports team owner who was given a half billion dollar new stadium for free on the taxpayer's dime. I like this man's arguments and would be interested in subscribing to his newsletter.

Update:

It appears possible ken might have meant that sarcastically.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Marathon shorters

this will be a long batch.

How dare he point out my error?:

The title is meant to be sarcastic, and not about her.
I know.

McCain worker "victim" of self-hatred:

Is AFAIK some sort of organization that tracks faked bizarre mugging stories nationwide? Megan wouldn't lower The Atlantic with chat speak, of course.

The pain spreads:

We may be headed for the first truly global recession.
We also might invade Iraq.
She's only going to acknowledge the recession when it impacts her personally.

LIRR goes on disability:
But then, I doubt the government will go after [LIRR workers using disability as early retirement]. They'll get the doctors, the officials, the consultants, but the people who actually committed the fraud? Time consuming and unpopular.
But don't blame any bankers. We failed them.

Kindle forever . . . :

I'll admit the Kindle is starting to sound interesting, but how tone deaf is it to sing the praises of a $359 piece of plastic that requires you to spend ten bucks more per book? Y'know what's a lot smaller than the Kindle, free, and doesn't require recharging? A library card.

America grows closer:
Recessions are bad for everyone, but they're worse for the wealthy, at least in some sense. The wealthy have more assets to lose, and their income is more dependent on volatile sources like bonuses and stock options.
And here we have yet another entry in the dumbest fucking things ever said contest from Megan. Having to sell your 3rd home in Boca is totally like being evicted and moving to your Mom's couch. It's possible Megan was paid more than the hourly minimum wage just for writing those two sentences. It's a good thing the only audience she's really writing for is David Bradley.

Be kind to chickens week:

Susan covered this well. I'd just like to add that "impecunious students" don't have to pay rent, or at least not the kind Megan was.

Persecute or prosecute?:
Mark Kleiman is angry because I accused him of wanting to prosecute the people who exposed the hole in Obama's credit card system.
...
I am happy to say that I was incorrect, but this seems to me like a distinction without a difference.
So if, say, Nixon had turned up evidence of massive fraud by Democrats as a result of the Watergate break-in, it'd be all good.
Also note that Megan was right, despite being wrong.

Thought for the day:

Surprisingly, Megan's thoughts involve herself. How do non-baby boomers manage to be this narcissistic?

Update from the swing voter:

Since Megan is the center of the universe it would behoove us plebs to closely watch the comings and goings of the galaxies closest to her. We may gain insight into her inscrutable genius from their variations.

Braking the banks:

Just because it's clear Greenspan, Gramm, and Megan were wrong now doesn't mean they weren't still right then. And remember, don't ever blame a banker.

Phew. All caught up. The Peggy Noonan non-narcissistic mask seems to be slipping. Megan may complete her Althousian trajectory yet.

Oh my

Why ask why?:

But what's the point of disagreeing with Naomi Klein? It's like having an argument about economic policy with an eight year old. To have an interesting discussion, you would have to explain too many facts to the eight year old--facts that the child does't have any interest in learning. And the eight-year-old lacks a coherent intellectual framework into which to fit those facts; his reactions are pure instinctive emotion.
Oh, wow.
I'm just... overwhelmed. We could talk about who has actual respect in their sort of shared field and the greater world or compare career book reviews and sales to not having been offered a single book contract in her life or even general attractiveness as a person (by which I mean a lot more than merely the physical), but what's the point? Ms. Klein needs neither a defense nor anyone to speak for her. I just wanted to point to this extraordinary moment of catty projection, and laugh.
Naomi Klein has, not surprisingly, taken over the top spot from Hillary Clinton in the "female I hate most for being far more successful than I ever could be" space in Megan's mind. This is yet another reason to wish Ms. Klein continued and ever growing success. Megan rarely has the courage to be this dismissive of someone whose ass she might someday have a chance to kiss, to provoke such an angry (non)response is an achievement.

Back to work

if Megan can have a paid vacation in the middle of a crisis, I can take a few days off to savor the election. But holy fuck have I let the crap pile up. Shorters, marathon style, for the next few posts.

Stuffing our faces:

That Michael Pollan fella isn't mediocre enough, and it frightens me. Do you realize he doesn't like processed simulated food products?

Libertarianism is dead . . . vive le libertarianism!:

If I drown you in words, libertarianism can mean anything I want, including support for torture and reduced civil liberties. Just don't take away the guns I don't actually own.

Blessed are the poor . . . :

I've heard that being challenged in life builds character, but I've never experienced it so I wouldn't know.

Quiet in the peanut gallery:

I just wish that when he has no idea what he is talking about, he would shut the hell up, rather than making an awkward public.
Is that a British idiom I don't recognize or a sentence fragment?
Also, there's this beaut;
This brings me to a pet peeve that has been increasingly irritating me as the crisis wears on: people with little or no understanding of markets confidently opining on the causes of the crisis. Funnily enough, the cause of the crisis is always exactly what they happened to be against before the crisis happened, and the solution is for the people they disagree with to be banned from polite society and exiled from the political process.
The experts fucked up, so listen to them. This is Megan's argument of final resort. We were wrong, so do what we say now to fix the problems we caused.

Memewatch:
I used to call it NYRB syndrome: the mysterious process by which everyone in Manhattan read all the books reviewed in the NYRB, and also, agreed with the reviewer.
You see, only Megan has noticed this, ever.
Now it seems like the disease may be multifactorial, and more prevalent than previously expected. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing--at least until you learn enough to know how much you don't know.
To Godwin myself, this is like Hitler counseling against being an anti-semite.

The evil man theory of failure:
Gramm/Greenspan haters from the left: If regulation is so impotent that a single rule change, or even two, can leave the system vulnerable to this kind of collapse--indeed, make it worse with other rules that are still there--then why the hell do we bother regulating?
If breaking the system makes it unable to function, then why the hell have a system in the first place? If I shoot you and you die, why the hell did you bother living to begin with?

Break time. Much more to come.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Yet more off topicacity

Stella is going on tour.
Go see them, if it is an option.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sick Sick Sick!

I've been sick myself, but didn't feel it had to be shared w/ the blog-o-sphere.

I'd just like to point out that after a fairly reasonable (& delightfully short) piece by Our Muse concerning Sen. Obama's granny (the white one, who gets nervous when colored gentlemen get near her) the very first comment concerns the Senator's place of birth. Hawai'i? Kenya? Mecca? Mars?

Will she live long enough to shed some light on whether Obama was actually born in the U.S., or in Kenya, as his paternal grandmother has said? By the way, when will Obama produce proof of his American citizenship, as this lawsuit in U.S. District Court requires?
Man. I'd be a bit more concerned about McCain's birth in the Canal Zone (or was it Gitmo?) if questioning citzenship is the way to go.

An admission

I was glad when Megan wasn't posting, because I don't really feel like paying attention to her right now, not when the BEST ELECTION EVER is taking place. For the last month all I think I've really done is look at the daily polls and the Corner and cackle. And read Nixonland, which feels like an obituary. Megan just doesn't rate.
All of which is to say posting will probably continue to be light from me for the next 12-13 days. Megan will, unfortunately, still be there after the election, ready to act disappointed by the vast majority of what President Obama will actually do. I'll try to get back to a daily post or two, but no real promises till the hangover is gone on the 5th. This is just too good not to soak in.

For example;



(via firedoglake)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Shorter

Shorter Megan McArdle: Don't worry, I'm not sick. I'm not just a lazy *cough* lying sack of shit on the internet. I'm also one in real life *cough* too.

Shorter

Shorter Megan McArdle: Since I have no idea what the fuck I am talking about, I'm just going to pretend that everyone else doesn't either.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just a reminder

we haven't gone dark or lost our sense of purpose. Megan is sick, which means she gets to take 5 day weekends for the time being, and post sporadically the rest of the week. If she's so ill she should be seeing a doctor or in the hospital, I hope she gets better, but otherwise goddamn, she's overindulged.
On one hand I'm glad she's not posting and that we have so little to work with, but on the other hand it's annoying to see a rugged individualist put so little effort in. All Megan has to do to show up to work is type on a laptop. It's starting to seem as if she's trying to dodge having to write about the crises her belief systems have helped to create and admit her utter lack of a clue of what to do about it, except to weakly argue against reregulation of the banking industry because it'd be icky. But I'm being too cynical, I'm sure. She's just very sick.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Off topic

I'm sure everyone who reads us knows about the "Michelle Obama called a fake African news agency no one has ever heard of to complain about their coverage of him" story going around the right blogosphere by now. (Roy covers it in his latest piece for the Voice if you haven't heard it yet.) It's beautiful to see how many wingnuts are so desperate they'll believe anything, and it leads me to ask myself how I can get in on this action. We've got two weeks left to really fuck with their minds, and it'd be a shame to let that chance go to waste. The people behind the API now have a lifetime supply of lulz stockpiled, thanks to a great idea and a well executed plan.
I want Corsi and PUMAtards emailing me begging for help, too. Don't you?
The challenge is finding the right idea, one good enough to be worth actual effort. Maybe a new witness to Larry Sinclair's "Obama smoked crack and had hte gay buttsecks with me" story. Maybe a claim that Biden was in on the Congressional aides scandal and has a thing for 15 year old boys. Maybe Obama had an affair with Barney Frank. Let's have some ideas.

Moar randomness:

The face of PUMA.


From here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

OT, Powell Reaches a Startling Conclusion

The NYT has an article about Powell's recent endorsement of Obama. That's pretty neat, but the interesting thing is in the video they embed from "Meet the Press" in which Powell makes his announcement. Check out what he starts to say at the 4:28 mark:

It's just amazing. The dude is talking about how it disturbs him that his party members are ok with saying things like "he's a Muslim" as if this is NEWS to him? How the fuck do you get to be one of the most prominent figures of the Republican party and NOT notice that there's a SHIT FUCKING LOAD of racism in it? What, did you think they just all happen to think affirmative action was bad because they really, truly, believed that equality was letting the down trodden fight for themselves? Did you really think that the war on drugs was about keeping us safe and not locking up darkie? Did you honestly believe that we'd be bombing the fuck out of France right now if 9/11 had been committed by the Quebecquois? How far up your ass can your head fucking be?

Seriously, it takes you until now to make a statement about racists undercurrents in the GOP? Now, after MONTHS of emails, robocalls, and fucking POLITICAL SPEECHES BY THE VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE THAT CALL THE NATIONS FIRST BLACK PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ALL BUT A TERRORIST??!?!?!?!? What else were you waiting for, a fucking signed declaration of racism by the top officials of the party? Had you NOT FUCKING HEARD OF JESSE HELMS?!?!?!

Seriously, right wingers are the most deluded people on the planet.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'd call myself lazy

but it's not like Megan has posted since yesterday either. A shorter and a longer.

Debate liveblogging:

We have to remember Megan is sick, so her concern trolling and jokes left over from Saget's run on America's Funniest Home Videos aren't quite up to their usual level. I guess that also excuses this instance of her continued failure to provide any post debate conclusions with her liveblogging. Many pundits like to provide their opinion of who won a debate, oddly enough.

Paul Krugman: brilliant economist != clairvoyant:

Just because Krugman was right and Megan was wrong doesn't make him right and her wrong, silly not as-good-as-Megans. Didn't the Iraq War and torture and voting for George Bush and 2x4s n all the rest teach you anything? One of the reasons Megan chose an MBA is because of a genetic incapacity to self-reflect. She was wrong because she's right, and anyone who disagrees is only right because they're wrong.

I don't know how [a critical blogger] can quote me on Krugman almost a year ago, while somehow not noticing that I myself have been predicting that there would be economic trouble when the housing bubble popped. Almost every commenter who is not named David Lereah both recognized that we were in a housing bubble, and expected that when the housing bubble popped, the economic results would be ugly. My personal history with this prediction starts in 2004, when I started doing economic analyses for The Economist. But others, such as The Economist's Pam Woodall, have been saying it even longer.
Megan, we know you're a conservative when you blatantly lie about your record like this. "Don't listen to what I said, listen to what I'm saying I said." Don't, for example, look at this post, which I mentioned recently, where Megan echoes another in asking if there even was a housing bubble. Doing that might make Megan seem foolish to you, and she's supposed to be a expert.
What I--and, as far as I know, Paul Krugman--did not expect was the magnitude or the direction of the problems it would cause. We expected...
Krugman was Chicken Little, always predicting gloom and doom, but he didn't predict enough gloom? I doubt that's factually accurate for Megan to claim, but you've got to love her attempt to wrap herself in the authority of the very person she's trying to tear down in this post. "He's an idiot for making a mistake I also made, that he probably didn't actually make!"
I, and possibly Krugman--I don't really have time to comb through every column he's ever written right now--further expected...
It's much easier to criticize someone if you don't get hung up on what they actually said. Politicians and other liars have been proving that for centuries.
So the idea that Krugman has somehow won one for the team by predicting something that libertarian/conservative/free-market commentators didn't see coming is either misinformed, or lunatic.
...
Krugman also thought we might be about to get into a recession several earlier times, when I was more skeptical; in that sense, I called it better than he did. My care about calling a recession earlier in the year was not because I thought the economy was in fine fettle.
I wasn't wrong, YOU WERE. So there. I win, end of discussion.
(At this point, let me point out the obvious: a recession is, to a virtual certainty, either underway or about to hit. But in January, we hadn't had a banking crisis yet.)
..."or about to hit".
This is her job. I know I keep saying this, but I remain incredulous. She gets paid for this.
The belief that Paul Krugman is some sort of singularly talented prognosticator on matters of policy and the economy is almost entirely found among people who do not spend a lot of time reading the financial press
who, of course, have been spectacularly vindicated by recent events.
Krugman is a great popularizer of economics, but his writing is not filled with unique insights that cannot be gleaned elsewhere. He is a participant in arguments that range throughout the economics pages in more than a dozen publications, such as my old employer, the FT, the Wall Street Journal, Barrons, Bloomberg--plus economics blogs, a bunch of expensive newsletters you've probably never heard of, and the coffee machine of every economics department in the country.
Odd that this crisis came as such a surprise when everyone in the world knew it was coming, isn't it?
For those who follow baseball, this reminds me of old school sports journalists hating on Baseball Prospectus for being far more accurate in their predictions by pointing to, say, Detroit this year and saying "we all whiffed on them, what do they know", while ignoring Tampa. There's a reason Krugman is a noted expert in the field and you're a joke, Megan, and it isn't sexism. Y'know what was missing from this dissertation on why Krugman was only right when Megan blazed a path for him to follow? A single link or quote. It's much easier to show how someone said and thought exactly what you want them to when you don't get hung up on what they actually said and thought. Poor StrawKrugman, you never really had a chance.

Obviously, She's Still Sick

She must be delusional from fever. There is no other plausible reason for her to actually title a post "2-4-6-8! Time to overregulate!" The second line of the poem, is of course, "and now I'll go regurgitate!"

This poetically titled word-turd is about government regulation, so you know that it will be fun. Let's see where she starts:

Freddie has a typically thoughtful post on financial regulation:
Freddie, as you may know, got his start as a commenter on MM's blog. Now, for the second time, she's all like "look at my baby!" Proud parents can relate.

While Freddie may or may not be "typically thoughtful" by pointing out that greedy people will do anything for money (no really, that's what was so thoughtful), Megan's thoughtfulness is, amazingly, even shallower. To wit:

As libertarians go, I'm relatively in favor of financial regulation. But I think there are two ways to think about financial regulation:
Right, that's because she's NOT, I repeat, NOT AT FUCKING ALL NOT EVEN A FUCKING TINY BIT a libertarian. She's a ridiculous conservative hack that is too chickenshit to admit that she's a conservative, and so instead calls herself a "libertarian" while backing all conservative positions and criticizing liberals no matter how right they turn out to be (see previous post). So, with that out of the way, let's take a look at the exactly TWO ways... two ways.... two fucking ways! She thinks there are only TWO FUCKING WAYS to regulate. How can she write that thought down and not fucking start bleeding from her ears as her brain wilts into a pool of soggy dog shit? This idiotic woman actually wants to boil down a concept as broad as "regulation" into TWO fucking things. I swear, this women has the most binary grasp on the world EVER. She fucking HEARS in black and white.
1) Wall Street people are tricky bastards who spend almost all of their time thinking of how they can best maximize their profits by screwing The Little People.
Yes, that's right, liberals dehumanize everyone. That is not at all, BTW, Megan dehumanizing liberals. It's just true true fact. I'm not even going to quote the fleshing out of this tremendously idiotic stance because the stupid is already raising my blood pressure, so let's get right to number 2:
2) There are multiple possible equilibria in financial markets, and one of the problems in those markets is that decisions which are individually highly rational can, in aggregate, move society to one of the bad equilibria. Worse, those decisions may be sticky--it may be much harder to get out of the bad equilibria than into them. The government should act to mitigate the systemic risks by doing the things that only it can do: enforce transparency, solve collective action problems, and analyze the system for systemic rather than local risk. This will necessarily involve sacrificing some potential upside in order to insure against catastrophic downsides. But the government must remain aware of its own tendency to be excessively risk averse, because regulators are punished for visible failures, but not invisible lost benefits. It must also worry about the way that the very regulations intended to ensure safety can create or enhance systemic risk, as has happened in this crisis with rules such as the mark-to-market rule, and various institutional requirements for high credit quality in investments.
Blah blah jargon blah bullshit blah, so basically the two avenues are either "You're a stupid, shallow, knee-jerk liberal that hates anyone who make money" or "You agree entirely with Megan and are therefor wise, and good looking, and totally modest." Gee, which would you choose?

Yup, I'd rather be a stupid knee jerk liberal than anything resembling Megan McArdle, too. PLAN A WINS AGAIN!
Needless to say, I think the second approach is better. Unfortunately, in crises like this, the general political attitude is closer to the first one.
OMG why, oh WHY won't she SHUT THE FUCK UP? I'm putting her back in her cage. "Needless to say, I prefer the one that I painted in bright, rosy, smarty pants colors to the one in which I dogmatically attack my opponents and accuse them of dogmatism!" WHO THE FUCK WOULD'VE THUNK?!!?!??! THANKS FOR THE POST, MEGADOODLE!
Moreover, it seems to me that at least some of the people who are tremendously excited about the prospect of regulation are not excited because they are worried about the health of the financial system so much as they are intoxicated by the power that greater regulatory authority might give a liberal government to advance other goals, such as redirecting capital flows to more "deserving" uses, or reducing income inequality.
Hmm, and it seems that at least some libertarians are pedophiles, rapists, and murders SO THEREFORE MEGAN MCARDLE IS TOO! OMG, HOW COULD SHE RAPE SMALL CHILDREN AND THEN MURDER THEM?!!?!?!?!?!!?!?! And note how she basically says it's terribly horrible for liberals to take this latest power grab to do things like give money to poor people, ignoring that the latest conservative power grab was used to bomb the brownies, keep the gays from marrying, increase income inequality, etc etc. It's almost as if she's a one sided shill for pack of soulless, greedy, assholes who are, don't forget, raping and killing children.
I think this is a very good time to strip down our regulatory system to its bare bones and rebuild it into something more effective: streamlining regulatory authority, refocusing it on systemic risk and giving it the power to pursue those issues more effectively, purging the overreliance on single models that make things more convenient for the regulators, and figuring out how the hell Basel II went so deadly wrong.
I think now would be a very good time for Megan to tell me WHAT THE FUCK BASEL II IS!
But I do not think that this is anything close to what we will actually get. We will get piecemeal patches designed to prevent the problems that just occurred without much attention to future issues (see, Enron and mark-to-market accounting). We will probably see restrictions on various types of activity, without regard to lost upside from that activity. There may well be some dramatic and pointless gesture, such as Glass-Steagall's drive to split off investment banking from commercial banking. I expect some populist measures like letting judges rewrite mortgages in bankruptcy, which look swell until the cost of a mortgage goes up.
Omg, preventing the same economic collapse from happening again!? Keeping your money safe and making investments transparent?!?!?!? Judges letting people keep their houes?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!! CATS AND DOGS LIVING IN HARMONY!!!!!!!! THE LIBERALS ARE ON THE LOOOOOOOOOSEEEEEE!!!!!! AHHHHH!!!!!!!!
This will make happy those who are definitionally in favor of more regulation.
What kind of person is definitionally [sic] in favor of more regulation? Are there people that just get a boner every time the government tells them what to do? Megan thinks that people are just like "Yeah! More laws! I'm so happy for economic catastrophe because now I get to follow more laws!" How can she not see that THESE ARE THE EXACT FUCKING CATASTROPHES THAT MAKE US WANT A PRO-FUCKING-ACTIVE GOVERNMENT TO BE-FUCKING-GIN WITH?!?!!?!

I think this metaphor perfectly describes McBinary's view of the world; People are cold, so they start a fire. Then it's nice and warm. Some people are like "Awesome, we're warm. Let's save some firewood and keep this fire going nice and toasty forever" and then others, let's call them, I dunno, flibberglarians, they go "No way! This fire is great so a bigger one is better! Let's throw everything on there! Our food! Our houses! Yeah! Fire is awesome!" Afterwards ,that flibberglarian looks around at all their possessions all burned up and blames the people who aren't retarded and accuses them of hating fire all along.
A lot of people writing today seem to think of regulatory agencies as quasi-prisons for Demon Finance, and think that the main problem with the current system is that it's mollycoddling the inmates. Bankers are not criminals.
I'm sorry, WHAT? Does that make sense to anyone? Is that even remotely true? Is she talking about the little gremlins that live under her bed or something? She really feels the need to tell us that "Bankers are not criminals?" wow, whodathunkit. Bankers aren't criminals guys. Man, my ideology is in fucking TATTERS because of this woman's intellect.
As a class, they are exactly as self-interested, self-destructive, and short-sighted as other classes of people that liberals want less highly regulated, such as unions and community organizers.
Right, as a class, those bankers, who act individually and do their best to increase their profits from 1 to 2 gagillion dollars a year no matter what the consequences, are EXACTLY the same as the community organizers who are people the go around, generating collective action so that people can NOT LIVE IN SQUALOR. I-fucking-dentical.

I love Megan.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Credit where it's due

The Atlantic as it once was is irretrievably gone, but they still produce the occasional nugget.
This clip of McCain speaking to ACORN in 2006 is a good find. He comes on at the 90 second mark, if you haven't already seen it.



"What makes America special is what's in this room tonight".
Trying to accuse ACORN of fixing the election is just as wrong as quietly inciting the extreme right against the coming Obama presidency, and McCain deserves the scorn his campaign will receive in the history books.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Stealing a page from Susan

I linked to it down below, but I think this post from last year deserves to be revisited, even considering that both M. and I covered it at the time. The wrongy wrongness of it is astonishing, and relevant.

I recently overheard someone bashing Alan Greenspan for not doing something about the subprime mortgage market. That something seemed a little fuzzy, but seemed to involve stopping banks from offering those dreadful, dreadful loans.
Take a big breath, we're going in deep.
This seems to be a fairly common sentiment, so I think it's worth pointing out that the latest data we have shows that the overwhelming majority of subprime loans are still in good standing. Subprime securities are taking a bath because defaults are higher than were expected, not because everyone who got one is in trouble. The 85% of homeowners with subprime loans who are currently making their payments might not agree that Alan Greenspan should have, in his ineffable wisdom, prevented them from getting loans.

Nor, so far, is there much evidence that the subprime problems are causing much fuss in the broader financial markets. So it's far from clear to me that Alan Greenspan should have acted--and indeed, far from clear to me that Alan Greenspan could have acted effectively.
Let's ignore Greenspan and just savor this line; "Nor, so far, is there much evidence that the subprime problems are causing much fuss in the broader financial markets". And she's not done yet, not by a longshot.
There's a disturbing tendency to think that every problem is the result of inadequate regulation. In fact, America's bank industry is, as Tyler Cowen points out, one of the most heavily regulated in the world. And not every problem can be solved by better regulation--some things simply can't be regulated without causing bigger problems than they solve. There is no perfect regulatory state that will allow us all to live in a serene economic paradise, and the sooner we stop looking for one, the more effective our regulatory state will actually be.
How wrong can she get? Well, she ain't quite finished.
Update In calmer consideration, that was too flip. But the financial holocaust that was widely feared has not come to pass, and is looking less likely to occur with each passing day.
Oops.

Working for David Bradley means never having to say you're sorry

I'm not quite sure where to begin, so let's just get to it.

Future shock:

Several liberal blogs are chortling over this statement I made early in the year:
Will the economy decline in 2008?

Paul Krugman is voting for doom. It's worth keeping in mind, however, that Paul Krugman has predicted eight of the last none recessions under the Bush administration.


I think it's obvious we're in a slowdown, and a recession seems likely-ish, but Britain's skirted recession for over a decade now, so I can't be too fatalistic.
This is obviously hilarious--if you have an incredibly shaky understanding of statistics, and also, no knowledge of decision science.
Y'know what'd be nice? Links. To see in greater detail how and why you're being criticized for this, Megan, and by whom. It'd also be nice to have a link to your original post, so we can know when you said it. Y'see, most of the country seemed to believe we were already in a recession when the crisis hit, but because them people were actually feeling the results of said recession they lacked the perspective necessary to make glib jokes about whether their pain was sufficient for the "r word".
Anyhow, I'm not going to jump on this particular bandwagon against Megan, because I think they're taking her to task for the wrong thing.
About a year ago Megan claimed there was no real subprime crisis. 85% of subprime loans weren't in default, then, so it was no big deal. Hell, she even argued against any changes in the credit system unless more than 50% of subprime loans went into default. (And even then we have to remember it's the fault of those receiving the loans, not the bankers giving them out.) She even claimed there there wasn't really a housing bubble.
But these posts are from long ago, Feb of this year at the earliest. Surely Megan has come to recognize her error since then.
Or not.
So, yeah. It's easy to point out the dishonesty of Megan's post from today as a non-response to her critics, or how she's, once again, criticizing others for getting something right which she was wrong about, but in a strange way she has a point. Megan has fucked up in much bigger ways than that quote reflects, and will proudly keep doing so.
Also, all those people who have been saying fault lines cause earthquakes are just lucky when those quakes finally happen. Pointing to a fault in the earth's crust and saying "this will inevitably cause problems" is too easy to give someone credit for.

Heh, a bit more;
Paul Krugman has argued that we might be going into recession multiple times since Bush came into office, often right before record growth. The tendency of people to forget the failed predictions is the reason that they hail various pundits as geniuses when some predictions pan out. It's not as if he predicted the current crisis; he just said the fundamentals didn't look so hot. But after eight years of growth, it's a good mathematical bet that the economy is going to go into recession, no special genius required.

Posted by Megan McArdle | October 15, 2008 11:50 AM
No special genius required to be right where Megan was wrong, nope. On this I actually agree.
But, um, Megan? You do realize you just called yourself an idiot?

Back on topic

Megan decided to work. David Bradley must be so pleased. A couple shorters now, a longer post on deck.

Paul Krugman wins the Nobel prize:

After grudgingly admitting that she can't argue against the judgment of her betters, Megan admits she's not so good at the math involved in real economics. Is this because she's a girl? Megan's not sure. On one hand, she doesn't like it when other females make counting errors, but she is willing to dismiss criticism from feminists on the grounds that their vaginas get in the way of adding correctly. I guess this means Megan really is a feminist?

College bound:

Why should I care if a bus driver is educated? Learning has no intrinsic value, especially not for proles.

Next up, a trip down memory lane.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wildly off topic

As many of you know, certain right wing bloggers have taken up a National Enquirer story as the basis of accusing Obama of being the victim of pedophilia. (Yes, I said accuse. Here's a good summary and set-up for those who haven't read about it yet.)
You'll note, if you follow that link, that Dan Riehl thought it'd be fun to joke about this topic, and said

No wonder he says "Pakit-stan" in that funny way of his! heh!
cuz raping kids is FUNNY.
This, however, is not the point of my post. The point of my post is a comment added to Dan's post that is, to me, at least, truly wondrous. I give you... riggword.
This post gives me new understanding of the Obama phenomenon. He is playing the deviant card. His followers, many of which believe in accepting deviant lifestyles, are engaged with this man. Your post has confirmed something that I have always felt intuitively. Obama is an attractive deviant sort of guy. He attracts that primal instinctual lust for the odd. Humans are a lusty animal. Inside we feel things that cannot be explained but must be controlled and resisted. Obama makes it Ok for us humans to explore our lusty deviant side. Obama gives us comfort with our odd inner thoughts. Unfortunately if he gains power he will release and make acceptable many of our deepest deviant lustful thoughts and then more people will act on what they use to resist and conquer.

God will allow a nation to stray into deviancy, look at Sodem and Gamora. God will allow American to go down that path to teach us a lesson, "Obama May be God's Choice for America, riggword letters" at: http://riggword.wordpress.com/2008/10/12/obama-may-be-gods-choice-for-america-riggword-letters/

Thank you for your post and video and this space to write,
riggword
Let me make one thing clear; I'm leaving that link in, and putting it there, in the hopes of leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for riggword to follow back here. That fellow would be a a wonderful pet troll, and I hope he comes to visit.
I also hope he seeks some form of treatment. The overwhelmingly vast majority of us do not harbor barely contained lust for children, because we aren't pedophiles.
He might just be gay, though, in which case all I can say is it's ok.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Recommended Reading

How I Caused the Worst Economic Crisis Since the Great Depression, by any number of rich white guys, edited by Alan Greenspan.

To the people of Washington, DC: Don't panic.

That awful bellowing cough in the distance is not the Cloverfield monster: It is Megan McArdle, learning that Paul Krugman has won the Nobel Prize.

Happy Columbus Day, McArdle. Cover your mouth.

Clem


brad adds:

Megan might be too sick to post about this, but Ann Althouse, a person whose self I do not share in, isn't, and boy, are her readers pissed off about it.

Clem suggests:

McArdle, I know that you're sick, lazy and dumber than a giant clam, but the fact that your bĂȘte noire has been awarded a Nobel ought to have galvanized you into some modicum of action writing some fucking thing. You should be mortified that an alcoholic law blogger made out of uncooked meringues blogged it first. She'll brain you with a frozen bottle of Chardonnay the first chance she gets. What's it going to take, McArdle? FUCK!

Clem imagines:

"Because my sputum persist in being a vile colour, I don't have time to blog about Krugman's Nobel in even cursorily pissy terms, nor do I have time to take note of the Federal government nationalizing the banks, but my friend Ann Althouse is doing a good job of discussing the implications of both. She likes me, you know. Do you think if I tell Clive I'm consumptive he'll find me droll? I think I just broke a rib."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Y'know

we try to stay out of the personal here, but I can't help but note Megan has basically only worked 2-3 days over the last week. Sure, she's sick, but she also has a job that can be performed from a bed and the biggest crisis of her lifetime in her supposed field going on right now. N while I'm not going to go back and count, it seems to me that in the year or so we've been covering her Megan has been sick or on vacation a good two months total, at least. And she only has to work on weekends if she feels like it, which she rarely does, yet she probably makes Lumberg jokes all the same.
It's fortunate for her that her employment depends on David Bradley's opinion of whether she's a useful idiot, most people wouldn't still have jobs if they tried showing up only when they feel like it.

Megan's not the Only One Feeling Under the Weather

Some of you may not have been around for it, but we used to do some "cat porn" on this blog. What with Megan recuperating from her horrible brush with death cold, I thought I'd share this bit of "cat torture porn"

This morning I got the following email from my roommate:

From: Brad [not brad of FMM]
To: Stevie
Subject: Cats

We need to talk

-Brad
Attached were the following pictures:






I'd seen them chasing the buggers around, but for the life of me, I never thought one of the bastards would catch the damn things.

Squirrels, be afraid.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A quick batch of shorters

Bailout busts?:

Was I wrong to support the bailout? Hard to say. For one thing, it matters whether the alternative was doing nothing, or doing something better; for sure, it was not a very good design, and the bill that actually passed was worse than the one the House voted down. For another, I was not positive that the bailout would solve things; it's just that it seemed like the best shot. Since I can't compare the current world with some alternative in which it failed again, I need to think about what my metrics for assessing the decision should be.
In other words, by next week Megan will have convinced herself she was always against the bailout.

Quotes of the day:
My cold having gone, like all my colds, directly to my chest, I'm slightly more worried about continuing to breathe than the continued solvency of the markets. Evolution is a harsh mistress. But still--only slightly.
Megan cares slightly more about her sniffles than the world financial market which reporting on is supposed to be the primary aspect of her employment. Also, she actually wrote the following;
Now to go off on a tangent: fun uses of the word "literally". I get a ton of blast emails from various PR people, publications, and random pundit larvae. My personal favorite came in today, headlined: "Barney Frank was in bed with Fannie. Literally."
This was too marvelous to actually read the email, so I don't know if he was notifying me that Barney Frank has come out as a heterosexual, or implying that Barney Frank had required the entire staff of one of our GSEs to sleep with him in exchange for his protection.
This woman actually thinks there was a reason for her to type that all out.

How to handle the crisis in your 401K:
Don't look. Seriously, don't look. I have no idea what's going on with any of my equity investments, because that is not short term money that I need to keep my eye on.
... wow. In a time of financial crisis, Megan is advising people to not pay attention. Brilliant.
If you look you will get upset, and you will be tempted to do something stupid. I can't guarantee that the market won't drop further and you won't regret having held on.
Nor can I legally be held responsible for what happens to anyone who actually takes my advice, no matter how bad it is.

She gets paid for this.

Fucking stupid

The five is alive:

John McCain regrets the Keating 5. Indeed, you could say that his entire subsequent career has been one long apology for it. Repudiating what happened has formed the cornerstone of his current career; in a very real sense, it was the father of McCain-Feingold.
You could also say he regrets being caught as part of the Keating 5, and only made a public show of contrition to preempt the release of evidence of his guilt, but that would require knowledge of what happened, as opposed to reading off a blast fax. You see, in Megan's world the Keating 5 scandal didn't really involve McCain, but Obama's "ties" to Ayer, in the sense of having met the guy a few times, are a real problem.
Now, I don't like the lessons that McCain seems to have taken from his extremely minor connection to the events of the S&L crisis (even Democrats from the time seem to admit that he was basically just thrown to the wolves to make it look like the Democrats weren't the only ones who had screwed the pooch). [Who, Megan?] And in fact I think that the Ayers connection is too tenuous to be interesting. But there is a nugget of a real critique at its heart, which is that the academic culture Obama belongs to thinks its just fine to be a former active terrorist who has refused to renounce support for the violence committed by his group; that culture has rewarded Bill Ayers with prestigious employment and other positions in a way that it wouldn't dream of rewarding a similarly "idealistic" abortion clinic bomber. I know it's hard to imagine, but if you're conservative, that seems like a real problem.
Yes, Obama has refused to apologize for the actions of a man not connected to the Obama campaign which were committed when the candidate was 8 years old. How dare he.
Megan clearly knows absolutely nothing about the Weather Underground, particularly the fact that the only people they ever killed were two of their own. Ayers blew up public buildings after giving authorities several hours warning so as to clear the buildings. I'm not defending acts that are easily read as moments of boomer narcissism, but they have almost no connection to abortion clinic bombings, which typically target human lives.
Also, Megan is ignoring the fact that Ayers' current position is based on his accomplishments since going back to school following his decade as a fugitive. Academia, that apparently monolithic entity with a hive mind, did not reward acts of terrorism, but instead did not blacklist a qualified individual for youthful mistakes. I thought Christian forgiveness was a good thing, but I guess that's only for conservatives. Liberals are never forgiven.
The problem Obama's critics have is not that he once spent some time talking to Bill Ayers; it's that he refuses to apologize for it now. That refusal to apologize is why the charge has proven hard to counter. You can argue that it isn't a big deal, but you can't argue it isn't true, and unfortunately for Obama, some voters think it is a really big deal.
If I were the McCain campaign, I would be throwing a hell of a lot of resources into making my own video. They have an actual factually accurate and coherent narrative about how McCain has spent the last 20 years atoning for the Keating 5; I would tell that story. I would ask why Obama is choosing to bring up this 20 year old scandal without mentioning that McCain has repeatedly regretted it. And then I would throw in Ayers and Rezko and ask when Obama's going to apologize for his lapses in judgement.
Some voters think Obama is a Muslim, too, you fucking asshole.
I don't know how to snark this post, as you may have noticed. It's too... propagandistic. Megan, a putative Obama supporter, is blithely dismissing McCain's documented Federal crimes and attacking Obama for not leaning into McCain's thrown punch and agreeing Ayers matters. It's such a politically biased post that one of her more conservative commenters said
I've almost stopped reading your blog several times in the last few months, but this is why I keep coming back. In spite of your strong, very emotional dislike for McCain, you're still capable of some balance and insight.
Maybe we'll see the same balance soon regarding Palin. Peer pressure is hard to resist, as you've argued many times, but you don't have to lose your objectivity just because the people around you have Palin Derangement Syndrome.
Posted by Ann | October 7, 2008 8:35 AM
So at least Megan is doing well with the Malkin thing's readers.
I'm too peeved to keep going. I'll pretend to be funny again later.

Ahhhhhhhhh

There I was, minding my own business, browsing through some blogs over my morning cup of coffee, when POW! some random web designer shoots me in the fucking face with this horrible shit:
WTF IS WRONG WITH THIS PUBLICATION?!?!?! I haven't seen so many glaring pastels since the last time my 6 year old niece showed me one of her latest paintings. Megan's last post may have stupid that burns, but this shitty new layout will put a hole right through your retina.

Seriously, where are the unicorns, stars, and rainbows to go with this wonderful new theme? It's like the designer of the Miami Dolphins' jersey was reincarnated as a teenie-bopper and Teh Atlantik decided he was the man to remake their website.

This pretty much proves that they're just not going to bother with even thinnest veneer of professionalism. They draw you in with their pre-adolescent color scheme, and keep you with their pre-adolescent thinking.

Oh, it hurts.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The stupid

it burns us.

How did it all happen?:

Fuck if Megan knows, but she's going to try to bury her readers under all the economics jargon she ever half absorbed to keep them from noticing she really doesn't have the vaguest idea what's happening in her supposed field of expertise.

Meanwhile, across the pond ...:

Europe's ongoing disaster is starting to match ours. This not only seriously challenge the idea that the main problem is American bank regulation--everyone is having the same problem, despite different regulatory regimes--but also puts us in much deeper jeopardy.
Yeah, it's not like financial markets across the globe are linked such that tremors in one location can produce aftershocks on the other side of the planet. Europe, like, isn't the US, so it's not our banks' fault for self-immolating. I blame Jimmy Carter.

Palin's "racist" comments:

If I leave out the fact that an AP piece was titled Analysis: Palin's words carry racial tinge I can get more points for my "Blame the MSM" merit badge by playing on my core readership's bias against news sources which don't openly propagandize for movement conservativism, especially if I selectively quote the piece so as to leave out the actual argument contained in it. My readers won't click through, they're lazy and intellectually dishonest like I am. Here's what I intentionally cut out;
Palin's words avoid repulsing voters with overt racism. But is there another subtext for creating the false image of a black presidential nominee "palling around" with terrorists while assuring a predominantly white audience that he doesn't see their America?
In a post-Sept. 11 America, terrorists are envisioned as dark-skinned radical Muslims, not the homegrown anarchists of Ayers' day 40 years ago. With Obama a relative unknown when he began his campaign, the Internet hummed with false e-mails about ties to radical Islam of a foreign-born candidate.
Whether intended or not by the McCain campaign, portraying Obama as "not like us" is another potential appeal to racism. It suggests that the Hawaiian-born Christian is, at heart, un-American.

The war on naked shorts:

Heehee.
Naked shorts.

Kindle 2!:

My advice to people in this time of crisis is to keep buying useless shit. I already have an iPhone and a first gen Kindle, but I'm rich, fuck you. Savings are for suckers, plus who knows if your bank will still be open next week. I can't give you any help, I'm too busy shopping to be paying real attention.

Another way to understand the crash:
Is by looking at another kind of crash: exploding Space Shuttles.
NASA officials ignored warnings about technical problems, just like banking officials and I ignored warnings about our abject stupidity.
The logical conclusion: it's no one's fault.
Distressingly, this appears to be exactly what happened with the Columbia. Foam had come off the shuttle before, but never with disastrous results; NASA accordingly seems to have decided that it must therefore be safe to have the insulation break free. This heuristic was probably the best we could do as East African Plains Apes. In the modern world, however, we have better substitutes, like reason, if we'll only use them.
Of course, engineering a space shuttle, like the financial markets, is so complicated that we may never gain full understanding. The most dangerous thing is that we are so confident in our assessments of the uncertainties.
Apes built machines that can fly to the Moon, but we can't understand how they work, because we only have our capacity to reason and ability to build such machines in the first place to rely on. In the end, the Space Shuttle is magic, just like our incredible vanishing banking industry.

One thing is clear; it's poor people's fault.

Damn, she's good

Megan sez:

As I write this, the dow is down 430 points, below 10,000 for the first time in four years. [My emphasis]
The NYTimes sez:
The Dow Jones industrials finished more than 360 points lower, dropping below the 10,000 mark for the first time in five years, as markets around the world spiraled downward in the face of a banking crisis that has tightened its grip on the global economy. [Again, my emphasis]
It's good to know we can rely on Megan to have a firm grasp of the facts and to double check her work in a time of crisis.
Does this mean girls are bad at math, Megan?

More to come.

Update:

Wow. It pains me greatly to say, but it appears Megan was right and the Times was wrong, so I was more or less wrong by extension. I could have checked for myself, I suppose.
I'm dismayed that the Times would make such an error.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sexy Women Getting Waterboarded!

Not really our turf, but Glenn Greenwald has officially jumped the shark. Here, he writes bout a man who is being sent to federal prison for making pornography. Pretty ridiculous, to be sure, and, though somewhat strange topic or him, certainly something you would expect Glenn to be upset about. He really starts to grasp at straws, though, when the article takes a strange turn:

But for our highest government officials, including the ones responsible for this prosecution, we have a different story altogether. In 2002, the Bush DOJ radically re-defined "torture" and illegal treatment of detainees to exclude anything that falls short of "the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death." The DOJ's John Yoo even decreed that the President could legally order "'scalding water, corrosive acid or caustic substance' thrown on a prisoner" and possibly even "slitting an ear, nose or lip, or disabling a tongue or limb."
Uh, Glenn, that's not really what they had in mind when they were talking about S&M.... For those of you who think I might be exaggerating, here's Glenn:
So, to recap, in the Land of the Free: if you're an adult who produces a film using other consenting adults, for the entertainment of still other consenting adults, which merely depicts fictional acts of humiliation and degradation, the DOJ will prosecute you and send you to prison for years. The claim that no real pain was inflicted will be rejected; mere humiliation is enough to make you a criminal. But if government officials actually subject helpless detainees in their custody to extreme mental abuse, degradation, humiliation and even mock executions long considered "torture" in the entire civilized world, the DOJ will argue that they have acted with perfect legality and, just to be sure, Congress will hand them retroactive immunity for their conduct. That's how we prioritize criminality and arrange our value system.
Yeah, not quite the parallel I would've drawn, but I guess it gets lonely in lawyer land....

Seriously, has the election made EVERYONE lose their mind?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Megan decided to work a little today

yay us. In reverse order.

Media bias?:

Soledad O'Brien polls the 32 "persuadables" by asking them to indicate, by a show of hands, who they thought won. She calls the vote for Biden "overwhelming". The magic of Tivo allows us to freeze frame and count: 11 or 12 for Palin, 12 or 13 for Biden (some people are hard to see). Thanks, Soledad, for giving credence to everyone who thinks women are bad at Math.
Megan? Only you made that connection.

Three . . . two . . . one . . . . liveblog:

Oh, fuck.
9:18 Joe Biden is moving into full throated contempt mode. The look on his face when Sarah Palin talked about being a member of the middle class all her life was one of the most condescending things I've ever seen, and he starts off his rebuttal with a fairly snotty-sounding "I don't even know where to start". I suspect this was a bad mistake.
Sarah Palin is not middle class. It sounds like she comes from the middle class, but she isn't feeling this crisis personally the way the real Joe Six Pack alcoholic wife beating douchebags are. (I know, many better people than me are suffering from this wave of problems, I just couldn't help myself.)
9:22 Gwen Ifill asks, as Lehrer did of the presidential candidates, what plans the candidates are prepared to give up on in order to finance the current problem fixes. Joe Biden's answer: we might have to slow down on doubling foreign aid. Are the American people really prepared for this kind of fiscal sacrifice, Senator? Oh, also, cutting wasteful spending! We're saved!
Whereas Palin effectively answered "nothing". No top notch, creative and witty sarcasm for that answer, Megan? We're saved!
9:38 Joe Biden just claimed that the right of same sex partners to visit their partners in a hospital is in the constitution. I'm all for gay marriage and all, but I'm pretty sure that the Founding Fathers didn't put that in there, or even intend to.
Is it [sic] not to capitalize the Constitution? Especially when you capitalize Founding Fathers in the next sentence? Any English majors around?
9:45 The incestuous nature of this race is causing problems for everyone. Joe Biden has to deal with the fact that he and Obama are from opposite wings of their party, and hence have fired a bunch of pot shots at each other--I'm reminded of the line about Lloyd Bentsen (Mondale's Dukakis' VP [oops, was watching the old Ferraro-Bush debates this morning and appear to have Mondale on the mind], for the young or forgetful), that he was only in the Democratic party to keep the Republicans from being embarassed by his ties to big business. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin has to bash Obama on votes that McCain supported. It's like watching an election for president of my grandmother's DAR chapter.
Holy shit.
Megan corrected herself. Also, what?
10:00 Joe Biden: "John McCain voted against the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty that every Republican supported". I can't quite put my finger on it, but I think the math is off somewhere . . .
Wow, he forgot a word, and it's still obvious what he meant. Boys must be bad at math.
10:12 Joe Biden says, in re economic problems, "All you have to do is walk into Home Depot with me, where I spend a lot of time . . . " Me Big Man! Me Like Big Power tools! Did I mention I have some REALLY big tools?
I thought that was Joe Biden I saw regrouting the Capital Hill masonry last week . . .
Fail.*
10:26 After this election, I am going to have to hit myself in the head with a small hammer to get the monotonous thrum of the word "maverick" out of my head.
Oh please oh please oh please oh please.
10:30 After running ahead for most of the debate, the Sarah Palin has now fallen narrowly behidn on most of the analyst scoring. Suspect last impressions are most important. I sure can't remember what we were talking about an hour ago.
Or be bothered to scroll down my own post.

And that, folks, is her final word on the debate for the night.
That's quality analysis. I iz learned muchly.

*- I know I used it before, but it remains perfect.

Dear Sarah Palin,

stop fucking smiling.

Shoulda Been a Sports Commentator

Ezra Klein is making sense:

And while a week ago, I would've given Ohio to McCain, the economic crisis has cemented Obama's leads in a lot of traditionalist Midwestern states that McCain could otherwise have contested (...) The map is shrinking for McCain. But polls are coming out in places like North Carolina and Indiana that suggest Obama is surprisingly viable. So his map is expanding. And he has more money. That, fundamentally, is the position you want to be in right now.
Yes, my son, a shrinking map for McCain surprisingly corresponds to an expanding map for Obama. However, it isn't that McCain is losing in Midwestern states while Obama is winning in Southern states. In reality, McCain is losing Southern states while Obama is winning in the Midwest. The conclusion that winning states is good for Obama is completely sound, though you may want to provide more evidence for the true skeptics.

I'm so glad there are people being paid to tell me these things. And I love how good at writing they are.

Zach Galifianakis is funny


This looks amazing.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I will not watch another Bloggingheads. I don't care if Megan mentions me specifically and claims I follow Heidegger's mistaken interpretation of Nietzsche's thought, I'm not watching.

In the meantime, while Megan takes a midweek break, we can all interview Sarah Palin. (via LG&M)

I might poke at Ann Althouse, the person who is Ann Althouse, the un-me, in a few. Or not. Depends on whether I can stomach reading the whole post.