Friday, May 29, 2009

Let's Not Get Crazy Here, People!

Yeah! She's talking up affirmative action!

But hey, we all get things we don't deserve. I'll go further: almost all of us get something we don't deserve as a result of our race, including white people. Perhaps even especially white people.
Yes, perhaps. It might be that white people are overwhelmingly represented disproportionately in the ranks of the privileged. Or, maybe black people are just stoopid, too. I dunno. Too hard to tell, really.
If you don't believe it, ask yourself why repeated studies show that resumes with identifiably black names get fewer interview offers than identical white resumes.
Which is why she modifies her statements about racism? Wait, when she says "if you don't believe it" is she implying that she's trying to convince someone that racism exists? Perhaps not.
Sonia Sotomayor is not manifestly unqualified to be a Supreme Court justice, so focusing on affirmative action is completely irrelevant.
But the fact that your cohorts are doing it is only maybe, kind of, and indication that they're racist, short-sighted dicks. Perhaps.
You can argue with her politics or her legal judgement, and hey, I'm all ears.
But the affirmative action complaints aren't advancing our quest to find out whether or not she'd be a good justice. They're just alienating the people you want to convince.
Megan, consistent with her uncanny ability to be about one or two years behind the conventional wisdom of even the most stubborn moron, is just now realizing that Republicans have gone insane. Perhaps.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

On the Lighter Side...

This is so cute I almost cried.

When the Tide Goes Out, The Ocean Sweeps Itself Back, I Guess.

No words, just stupid.

Read for yourself. She's actually playing neutral on the "republican car dealership closures" scandal.

Yes, Megan, it does look bad indeed. It looks very bad when you're a total moron who doesn't understand simple statistics even when Nate Silver explains them in kindergarten style.

Oh, and read the comments if you really want to die. You will either explode or collapse from despair at the stupidity of the world.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quiet on All Fronts

I'm on vacation this week, so blogging will be light. GM will have to have its death throes largely without me.
So it goes, so shall we all.

I wish I had as much vacation time for as little work as our muse, but we've said that before. Then again, what's to be said that hasn't been said already? How oft have that question itself been asked? Like a Tootsie-Pop, the world may never know.

UPDATE: It's gotten to the point where I post without even reading her all the way through. So I put that up without reading on, figuring it'd be a boring bit that wouldn't interest me. I was wrong:
But I do want to point to two articles that point to a growing problem that the Obama administration has failed to address in any serious way: the exploding deficits, and the resulting need to borrow heavily.
Um, that's only one problem. I posted the following comment over there, which may finally get me banned. I'm so tired of sweeping back the ocean. I am not reading any further for this particular piece.

We will "cure" the budget problem by not passing a 800 billion dollar stimulus in the future budgets. We will raise revenues by not having our economy in the crapper in the future.

If either of those don't happen, we have bigger things to worry about.

Unless of course you're talking about the pre-stimulus deficits, which are somehow Obama's failure. I couldn't think of anyone else to blame that one on. Of course, we must think forward, so I guess we'll blame Obama for not fixing the economy AND the problems we had before the economy tanked?

You are seriously the world's worst econoblogger. Seriously, do you ever think? That's not trolling. It's backed by fact. You are a horrible blogger and you never think. We've documented this for a while now. Perhaps your desire to do a job with a modicum of competency would cause you to pay us heed?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Burr Beneath Her Mini-Cooper Upholstery

Absolutely w/ NutellaonToast on this. Bored, & unable to deal w/ econo-blogging. Saw this mess on memeorandum, & was depressed by the mere idea of dealing w/ it. (brad?)

However, working from the comments to NoT's item immediately below, & some other assumptions, I can only conclude that Ms. McArdle prefers researching the intimate details of someone's life, Michelle Malkin-style, to statistical research on econo-facts. (Especially when you can make the facts make the victim look like a perp.)

Correct me if I'm wrong, or assuming something not in evidence.

Also referring to the comments below (Being a contributing ed. has its privileges: Imagine the indignity of being forced to reply in the comments!) I thank Dillon for clearly stating my, at least, attitude:

Similarly, FMM's mission is to cause Megan to be fired with extreme prejudice, or failing that, to marginally irritate her to the point where she does some research.
Hey, what's important is that it piss off the liberalslibertarians, right?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mission Accomplished

I'll leave the inanity of the post for someone else to cover. Frankly, I'm bored with McMegan lately and kind of busy, so whatevs. I would like to take this moment to modestly state that this blog kicks ass! Though we've not gotten McConomist fired, we've certainly made her feel the pressure. She felt us nipping at her heels and put it in overdrive. Look at her output, lately. It's fucking Foster-Wallacian!

See, we had to fight her over there in order to prevent her from fighting us over here and we've taken care of all the bad guys while winning the hearts and minds of the general citizenry!

Yes, it is clear victory for us today. Why, look at this post. It contains actual, independent research! Can you fucking believe it? Our muse actually searched through PRIMARY documentation! At first I thought she must be plagiarizing someone else's work, but she confirms in the comments that it's her own! Hallelujah! Praise the lord! Freedom marches on!

Now, if we could just get her to stop being stupid.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Trying Too Hard

Megan again tries to be cute. It barely works for her appearance, & it never works when she types.

Whatever you think of, say, children who decided to be born poor,
One can only assume (or hope) that she is, in her sad way, actually mocking those who think po' folks are completely responsible for the situation they find themselves in, but when she qualifies it w/ "whatever you think," as if those who think the poor deserve to be screwed on a daily basis have a point somewhere besides the tops of their pinheads, she manages to undercut whatever point she may have been trying to make.

Self-loathing? Just plain dense? World's worst typist? I neither know nor care any longer. My only hope is that The Atlantic will be out of business soon. Then she & her insignificant other can spend all their time sleeping on the streets, except w/o a new iPhone waiting for them every morning.

Let justice be done!

Also: As a California native & resident, I'd just as soon we secede from your United Snakes. Unlike shitholes like Texas (no offense to those few rational beings still living there) we can do just fine w/o the rest of you. Maybe Oregon, Washington & British Columbia will join us, & we can give the finger to East Coast elitists, Midwest morons & Southern shitheels.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

How Brave of Him to Go Broke

Megan has kind words for the bankrupted Times reporter:

This is the bravest thing I've read for a long, long time. For a reporter--an economic reporter--to admit that he's been in the hell of excess debt and unpaid bills that he reports on is a major statement in middle class America.
Lemme guess, that statement is something along the lines of "it's his fault for purchasing what he couldn't have afforded?" or is it "the free market would have ensured that he made an educated decision. It is only regulation that causes problems!"

Oh, but she's sympathetic for some reason:
And so the debts creep up, one happy hour or Colorado backpacking adventure at a time.
Or from purchasing a half million dollar home on an income of 40k a year. Six pack of one, pallet of the other. Let's have some appletini's! Drinks are on my trust fund!

Remember, though, being a writer living paycheck to paycheck is a noble pursuit of greatness. Poor people living paycheck to paycheck made really bad decisions for which they are paying.

I don't mean to moan about how terribly hard it is to be a writer. Being a writer is great. It's the best job I've ever had,[sic] and it's only by a most unlikely chain of coincidences that I get to do it,[double sic] so I'm well aware of just how lucky I am.
Which explains the non-stop bitching, haughty superiority, and disdain for anyone with whom she doesn't identify that has made a mistake. To be so enlightened! Also, she's a very good writer.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pinch Megan

she must be dreaming.

for one class of citizen, housing costs are undeniably going up: the city is starting to charge the working homeless rent to stay in the shelters. Now, if you're on the bum but trying to save up a little something to better your life, you can forget about it -- you will be told, as one shelter resident who somehow found work as a cashier was told, to fork over $336 of the $800 a month you make to the authorities.
Now if the city could only begin a program to make beggars repay their 'victims', we'd have real social justice. I want my quarters back, with interest.

Bad Influence

Hey, we're on the McArdle schedule. No work on the wknds. (8 May @ 1516, then 11 May @ 1032. Bankers hours.)

Which is fine for us in the forcibly retired field, but not a good thing for Megan. If The Atlantic ever wises up & lets her go, the 40-hrs.-a-wk. thing isn't going to look too good on the resume. That's not the dedication required from someone whose issues require that she be successful & known.

Debt Service

Again, I don't know jack about economics (Unlike economists, I'm both willing to admit that it's a  bogus "science," & that you can't calculate human cupidity & ignorance. If it were real, & worked, we wouldn't be having these problems, would we?) but I've a vague memory of certain (political) elements saying recently that "deficits don't matter."

When a non-Republican takes the presidential oath, however, reality does a 180° turn & all the "spend 'off-budget' money on war forever" fans start whining about deficits, their grand-children's debt, & teabags.

So we're proud of Mlle. McA. for typing that

Congress and the administration can act as if the deficits don't matter--right now, they don't. It's practically free money.
Megan may be going a little far w/ this "free money" thing, but as always, she qualified it ("practically"). Maybe she can explain all this stuff the next time (if there is one) the tea-partiers assemble to whine about things.

Imagine Megatron lecturing the angry white people about what a collection of ninnies they are. And the rain of teabags aimed at her. And maybe some good ol' patriots w/ 2x4s.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Be Vewy Vewy Upset, I'm Hunting Unions

Yes, Megan likes vouchers, & is "very, very upset." Tell us how you really feel, Megatron. Because "very, very upset" sounds like a mother who wants to murder her offspring, but is barely holding her rage in. Seriously,  for once she commits to something here. Increasing right-wing looniness, yeah, but it's not like wading in the usual mushy opinions. W/ this exception: 

I think the most hard-core voucher advocate would have to admit that its modest gains are not what we had hoped.
where she forfeits the game before it even gets underway. And she's kind enough to give President O. the benefit of the doubt, in the first clause of the very same sentence:
the possibility that Barack Obama genuinely believes that the DC voucher program is not helping the students.
The good vibes don't last forever, though. 

Education gets Mlle. riled up. She's so ideological on this that I can engage w/o knowing squat about what's really wrong w/ education. (Like economics, a nebulous field, in which many differences seem based on ideology rather than the real problems.) I need only look for the dog-whistles.
I think that there is probably a special place in hell reserved for politicians who betray our nation's most helpless children for the benefit of a sullen and recalcitrant teacher's union.
See? Those teachers & their unions are just stubborn children, all sullen &c.

Of course, if glibertarians are mostly interested in union busting (just on an ideological basis, of course) so potential voucher school operators will have a larger pool of incompetents to under-pay, there's little to engage.

And if things haven't turned out as even the hard-care voucherites (Voucherians?) had hoped, well, climb on the class/culture war wagon & see if resentment can be stirred up against those snooty spicy mustard eaters from "good" schools.

Bingo! The political is rendered personal, & the "Obama Girls" attending a private school is, while not accompanied by shouts of "Hypocrites!!" a good excuse to bring up some of those words:
[T]he Obama girls would do just as well in ordinary, democratic, thoroughly American public schools as in an elitist Quaker institution.
The best of the words is "elitist." (Where & why would Our Muse have ended up w/o her parents sending her to private, "elitist" schools? Should she have been deprived of that?) 

Though the phrase "thoroughly American" just leaped out at me. I have to give Ms. McArdle credit here. She's coined an elegant, sophisticated way to express the ever-popular Sarah Michele Palin-Bachmann "Real America" concept. Quite the dog-whistle. We didn't just hear some, we found a brand-new one. Congrats, Megan McArdle!! 
What is it about the Obama girls that enables them, nearly uniquely, to benefit from school choice?
Well, I think it might be that their parents have a pretty good pile of money. Is McA. now suggesting that the Prez be punished for being successful? (Is there anyone in the United Snakes who earned several million last yr. who isn't sending their spawn to private schools?) 

We might say something about security considerations (If I were president I probably wouldn't let my children out of the White House.) but who knows w/o actual research? Just sayin', if you know what I'm sayin'.

And it's worth noting that no Republican Prexy since Teddy Roosevelt (no research, just our looooong but fading memory) has had high school-age or younger children while in the office. Maybe no prez at all between Teddy R. & Kennedy had young sprats. How many R-Anywhere offspring in Wash. go to public school? Blah blah.

P. S.: What the hell, & for what it's worth, the solution to the schools/education problem is more involved parents & less ideologues involved. Blah blah blah.

Elements of Style©:
how come the Obama girls benefit from leaving the DC public school system?
"How come," in speech, makes you sound like a mouth-breather who's sucked in too many fumes pumping gas. In typing, it reads the same, & "why" is three keystrokes as opposed to eight.

More Elements: As typed, that sentence asks why leaving the D. C. schools is benefits the girls. (The schools stink because Congress doesn't want to spend money on educating D. C. residents is my answer.) I think she really means "Why do they get to leave (& thereby benefit, allegedly)?" Whatever. Some people just won't learn. Or can't learn, & should go to a vocational school.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Shut Up!

If I see one more fucking commenter say "Don't hold back! Tell us how you really feel." in response to a curse filled rant, I'm going to fucking snap someone's neck. Then I'm going to ask them how they feel about THAT.

UPDATE: Anonymous asks me how I really feel and that makes it damn doubly annoying. How the hell am I going to ring his neck? Do I have to choke everyone or do I start choking invisible people in mime?

UPDATE II: I just realized that, because this is a blog post, it looks like I'm talking to the commenters here. I'm not. I wrote a post about blogposts, yet forgot to think of it in the context of what it would sound like as a post on a blog. That is fucking hilarious, and that's how I really feel.

UPDATE III: It occurs to me that update number two is the kind of thing that only I will find funny, so I suggest that you don't read it.

UPDATE IV: This seems as good a post as any to randomly update for a while. It's kind of a thing I've always wanted to do, but never really had the inclination. Wait, that doesn't make sense.

UPDATE V: Today I'm planning to start jumping out of airplanes again. This should be fun.

Update VI: Oh man, that was fucking awesome. I love skydiving!

UPDATE VII: People who slurp their coffee are annoying. I'm going to start hitting them with a shovel and then slurping their blood up with a straw to show them how annoying it is.

Which Side Is She On? The Fence, Of Course. If We Understand Her Correctly.

At last, something not drowned in high-finance house-of-cards bullshit. This reporter does understand class struggle. An excerpt from a Foreign Policy article about middle-class Thais rioting against the rural poor, & she's off to the races.

But before we follow her out of the gate, let's examine part of the excerpt provided by Ms. McArdle about what's claimed to be up in Thailand.

One former U.S. ambassador to Thailand puts it bluntly: The middle class "disdain[s] the rural masses and see[s] them as willing pawns to the corrupt vote buyers." Instead of fighting for democratic rights, in other words, the People's Alliance is protesting against them.
Megan's reaction to this is a vaguely historical  recap of the "progressive era" which stops somewhat less than a hundred yrs. ago, though not by much.  No mention of more recent anti-democratic attitudes & initiatives, from her side of the aisle. Or that Sammy-Joe the Ex-Plumber is espousing this very line:
But, you also have to take into consideration that the Democrats say they are for people in poverty.


People in poverty keep them in power—that's what people have to understand.
The same sentiment, better-expressed than Sammy-Joe, from the comments, as well:
After reading the whole article, it seems like the middle class is weary/leery of a democracy with voters that don't respect property rights.
You know you're in for it when "property rights" are invoked. Watch:
Now that the population seems to be less committed to the idea that anybody has a right to keep what they own, and that everybody has some sort of implied right to the property of anybody that is well off, I'm not sure you won't see more of a backlash against democracy here.
All of the above, of course, a direct result of the election of Barack Obama. What else has happened to bring about this sudden sea-change in public opinion? Maybe the discovery that we're not anywhere near Egypt, 2000 BCE. But that's far enough in the past for historian McArdle to start (Hell, we're surprised she she got as far as the early 20th century, except to explain how FDR made it all worse.) reminding us how capitalism has made the world a better place in the last 4009 yrs.
The poor benefit from the capitalist system, probably more than the rich--compare Pharoah [sic] to Bill Gates, then compare a standard Egyptian peasant around 2000 BC to, say, a minimum wage worker in America.  But if you don't have the social capital to make it to the top, at any given time, it may look like it pays off to undermine or overthrow the system.  Naturally, the middle class, which preserves the system, will be averse to any system that gives them the power to do so.
Ai yi yi, Ms. McArdle, it wouldn't be quite as bad if you could write clearly. Then we could deal w/ your silly ideas straight on. Please explain the last sentence. Diagram it, even. Who is "them" in that sentence? The middle-class? In which case the sentence makes little sense. Or (I'm really trying to help you be comprehensible here, Megan, stop fidgeting) to make sense, "them" would have to be the poor people you mentioned. At the beginning of the paragraph, two sentences ago. Now do you see the problem, dear?

As to the ideas, isn't it the principle of the thing? Whether the peasant of Egypt had to support his betters & earn his grain carrying Pharaoh around in a sedan chair, or has to slave on her feet eight hrs. a day behind a cash register while repeating "Have a nice day" to assholes to keep her betters from the necessity of work, what fucking difference does it really make?

And this "social" capital you speak of? Being white & well-off? Really, it's just capital that gets you to the top. Why not say it out right?
And if you're sitting there, feeling all superior to those benighted bourgeois, consider all the things you want to take out of the hands of ordinary Americans because otherwise those amoral toads will do the wrong thing.  Gay marriage. Or prayer in school. Immigration. Trade. I've no doubt that you have some very compelling reason that these things are entirely different from support for the rule of law or a standard liberal economic order. The point is, no one's really comfortable with letting the majority set all the standards.
There is a point. I recognized it because Megan pointed me to it. And now that I get it, I could send her an e-mail explaining the Constitution, civil rights, tyranny of the majority, that sort of thing, but as her actual point seems to be anti-democratic (&, we could say, anti-free market) why bother? Ms. McArdle either can't type clearly enough to get her point across, doesn't want to reveal her thoughts on democracy, or is just floundering, nothing at all occurring between her elf-like ears.

And we enjoyed her defamation of "progressives" (granted, a collection of Mid-Western Protestant dickwads)
Think of some of the signal accomplishments of the Progressives:  Planned Parenthood.  Immigration restrictions.  Civil service reform.  Massive campaigns against the corruption of the urban machines.  "Mental hygeine[sic]".  Spot a trend?
and the insertion of the phrases "classical liberal" & "standard liberal economic order" in opposition to Progressives & their shameful ideas. My gawd, Planned Parenthood & Civil Service reform. What's she mean there, huh? Who determines that this is the "standard" (or "liberal") economic order? Of course, we know what these people mean when they say "classical" liberalism, & that the capital "P" Progressives are not today's America-hating so-called progressives. But clam up w/ the "classical liberal" crap. Try to get your philosophy from at least the twentieth century, not a collection of weasels in powdered wigs & breeches.

Blockquote: 16 lines
McArdle: 26 lines

Almost a two to one ratio. Much better, but we're still not there yet.

Elements of Style©:
Ever read anything by even a semi-pro that was any sludgier, clunkier, or incomprehensible than this?
This is pretty much exactly the story of the Progressive movement in the United States, which was a backlash against the corrupt hoi polloi. Rent-seeking populists, backroom-dealing political machines--these were both inimical to classical liberalism, and also the voice of minority-majorities, who used favorable local demographics against members of the national elite.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

But, I Can Only be Ugly on the Inside!

McMegan talks about America's first face transplant. I know, I love it, too.

There's been a sort of fascinated repulsion surrounding these transplants, but severe facial disfigurement is probably the worst accident that can happen and still leave you alive.
Who wants to give the odds on whether or not she is being hyperbolic here? And who the fuck are the people that say that people whose faces have been horrible disfigured shouldn't be able to have skin transplanted to repair them? Does Megan think those people really exist and/or represent some kind of mainstream "revulsion?"

Still, that sentence is funny as hell. Seriously, read it again, "severe facial disfigurement is probably the worst accident that can happen and still leave you alive"

Yes, that's right, "severe facial disfigurement is probably the worst accident that can happen and still leave you alive"

Not going schizophrenic, which leaves pretty much unable to form any meaningful relationship at all. Not Alzheimer's, which makes you shit yourself and forget the names of your wife and kids. Not brain stem injury (or whatever it's called) which leaves you unable to move any part of your body save your eyes. It's the ones that make you ugly that really get you.

Oh, boy, I can't stop reading it.

"severe facial disfigurement is probably the worst accident that can happen and still leave you alive"

"severe facial disfigurement is probably the worst accident that can happen and still leave you alive"

"severe facial disfigurement is probably the worst accident that can happen and still leave you alive"

I'd rather be dead than ugly! WOOT!!!!

The big question, of course, is whether or not it's worse than being poor.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Up to the Hilt in Missing the Point

"Why is This Bubble Different From All Other Bubbles?" Megan asks. Someone wrote a story about how wealth creation should be centered around making actual wealth instead of cardboard houses hours away from any urban center and Megan goes all "That doesn't make any sense! Let me put on my thinking cap and think a hole through their argument!" Well, there's a hole in something. We do, as usual, marvel at her decision to properly capitalize the title. She does do brief flings with minimal competence.

James Surowiecki has a very interesting column arguing that this bubble was different because unlike the earlier banking booms, there was no point to the wild spending. The bubble didn't bring us railroads and electrification; it brought us . . . houses. Lots and lots and lots of houses.

I'm of two minds on this. On the one hand, I think that this is an interesting point. On the other hand, of course, the bubble in the 1920s was not limited to electric stocks, or even stocks. Lots of money was wasted on railroads, Florida real estate, mining concerns, and many other unrelated phenomena. And if you look at the history of the 1920s, you see the same thing we see in the 1998-2008 era: markets awash in too much money.
This is a stellar fucking point. I'm sure Surowiecki (Whose name can be only cut and pasted, not spelled correctly on a whim) was thinking as he wrote this article that all previous bubbles were based around only one stock. It's like those crazy people that say crack had something to do with the crime rates of the 80's. What they don't realize is that other, non-drug related crimes were also committed in the 80's so crack obviously had nothing to do with anything.

Megan seems to fully fail to comprehend the expression "irrational exuberance" and can not understand why a reasonable increase in one sector might fuel reckless optimism in all sectors. All booms show markets expanding rapidly in many areas. The question is what fucking PRECIPITATES that expansion. When it's the advent of the personal computer, well, it's a bit less retarded than when it's the belief that houses will double in price every 10 years no matter what.
So I wonder if there isn't a sort of post-hoc, ergo propter hoc reasoning to these "explanations" of the previous booms and busts. A market bubbling over wtih too much credit will end up plowing a lot of money into some technology or industry which ends up being really, really important twenty years later. (The electric revolution continued, surprisingly rapidly, in the 1930s). We look back and interpret the bubble as having been "about" that technology. But at the time, when it's not obvious what the big winner is going to be, it just looks like a giant mess.
That last little bit is almost certainly how the people who hired Megan are feeling right about now, assuming they feel things.

The Dickipedia pages for her little foray in the dead language says this:
Post hoc ergo propter hoc, Latin for "after this, therefore because (on account) of this", is a logical fallacy (of the questionable cause variety) which states, "Since that event followed this one, that event must have been caused by this one."
So either she's arguing that it was a coincidence that rapid expansions preceded booms and were concomitant with the introduction of technology that radically increased productivity or she doesn't know what the fuck post hoc blah de blah means or when to properly invoke it. That is, she is not arguing that what goes up must come down, but rather coming down is a naturally occuring phenomenon which happens without warning, regardless of height. Things flat on the ground have been known to come down spontaneously all the fucking time. While there is apparent correlation between being up and then coming back down, this does not imply causation. It is certainly possible to come down without having first attained some height above the ground. Ipso facto QED E pluribus unum, BITCH!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Not Very Subtle.

Oh uh, Suderman, you'd better run.