Friday, July 31, 2009

About Sully

pardon me.

To read the comments at several blogs lately delving into the awfulness of Megan's work is to see many people expressing bewilderment that Andrew Sullivan frequently links to her. There's two obvious reasons. First, they work together and she's a huge ass kiss, so he's defending a friend against the rising tide of criticism she's facing.
And, probably more importantly; he's contractually obliged to do so.
Credit to Susan for finding that.

Oh yes, plus he's, at heart, a self indulgent and sloppy thinker and thus easily comforted by Megan's blizzards of strawbabies and false claims of fact.

And Then the Dinner Party Turned Awkward....

via Balloon Juice comes what was once impossible; Ezra pooping on Megan.
I'd give Ezra credit, but he's just jumping on the bandwagon at this point. If anything it seems like he's just getting in on the pile-on to stay part of the gang, but then I'm not inclined to respect him to begin with. I guess he means well, but he's a careerist, and railing on Megan now either makes him an opportunist or a past hypocrite.

Odds & Ends & Shorters

This is what happens when truly smart people make the mistake of actually reading anything Megan writes. (h/t Nils in comments) It's beautiful in its depth and skill, but she simply doesn't deserve the effort. I rarely even bother to debunk Megan's made up claims at this point because if you know who Megan McArdle is, you know she's full of shit about pretty much whatever she's saying, or you yourself are full of shit. (Or you're just far too generous of spirit in this particular case.) The problem is she's not being judged by truth standards, she's being judged by how well she pushes right wing talking points compared to Red State and Dan Riehl and Ross Douthat by an extremely limited group that ultimately boils down to David Bradley and the people who influence his decisions. I suppose I should give Megan some credit for finding a niche where being not quite abjectly stupid makes you above average. I think she can sleep well at night knowing her competition is Jonah Goldberg.
Changing topics, I haven't forgotten the "worst of" collection, just been busy and distracted by reality.
And yes, as we'll get to in just a moment, Paul Campos is being kind of an idiot. His intent might be good, but he's overcompensating and adopting unnecessarily extreme and dogmatic positions, which he's otherwise intelligent enough to recognize, making it infuriating. Our culture is too anti-fat, and the idea that we have total control over our weight is false. That doesn't mean obesity isn't a public health problem. But I'm skipping ahead, here come the shorters.

America's Moral Panic Over Obesity:

Megan: Aren't fatties really just going to be fatties and we shouldn't try to change the poor slobs? They aren't rich and white like me, they can't actually improve themselves.

Paul: Absolutely, and if we conflate societal pressures to be model thin and well-toned with the fact that industrial foods, and especially HFCS, have added a significant number of unhealthy pounds to the national waistline, making diabetes more common, along with fucking gout, just to name two conditions, then any attempt to respond to this actual problem is actually anti-fat bias. Saying maybe people should try to eat less and/or more healthily along with be more physically active is, in essence, a hate crime.

Megan: Well, I definitely agree that fatties will be fatties and we shouldn't try to stop them. After all, businesses make money selling fatties those excess, unhealthy, calories. But have you considered that when I'm your most vocal supporter, you're almost certainly wrong?

Paul: Nope, I'm caught up in self-righteousness. Maybe it's personal for me, but we won't get into speculating about that. Just know that saying the obese should consider trying to lose weight as part of becoming more healthy is akin to telling black people to act more like white people. And I'm just not going to talk about things like why we've gained this weight as a nation over the last few decades, because it might imply we could actually try to counterbalance that, which would be government sponsored discrimination.

More on Obesity: Is the Government to Blame?:

A long post wherein Megan tries hard to ignore the role our food industry has played in the poor nutrition which contributes greatly to our obesity problems by downplaying the role the subsidies given to agro-giants have played in reshaping the contents of our supermarkets. It's a complex situation, which means Megan can't even begin to understand it, especially because it might involve criticizing for-profit businesses.

Environmental Concerns:

So it seems that James Fallows and Marc Ambinder and I all agree that the increase in obesity in the American population is environmental, though they seem to think I disagree, despite my having made this point several times, and have thus spent a fair amount of time disproving a point no one has made. The very point of the height example offered in my first post was to note how environment interacts with genes.
Heehee, Megan was misunderstood again, because other people are dumb.
Also, since obesity is also rising outside the US it can't be the government, and since food companies are completely invisible to Megan's mind it must be that people are just magically getting fatter right now. Maybe we're absorbing some of that excess carbon we're pumping into the atmosphere.
Now read this, because if my brain has to bleed, so does yours:
We can eliminate agricultural subsidies. Great: high fructose corn syrup won't be so cheap! But total corn subsidies in the US are about $10 billion, or about $33 per American. Even poor households spend many multiples of that per capita for food. You're talking about a difference of less than a dollar a week per person in the food budget. Meanwhile, what else happens when we dismantle our ag subsidies? The price of sugar, which is kept high by that same farm policy, falls by about 30-40%. Perhaps you wanted to get rid of the corn subsidies while keeping the sugar price supports? But the politically impossible job of slashing corn subsidies (we've been trying since the Reagan administration) will become even more unlikely if you don't also cut the cost of sugar to keep corn syrup competitive.
If we don't work to undercut the effects of changing the way corn subsidies shape our national food system, then our national food system might actually change, which could mean reduced profit for some noble giant corporation. Think of the costs, people!
She keeps going into Meganfantasyland, where corporations don't mean to prioritize profits and cost savings over consumer health and the only way to accomplish anything would be to force the country to radically change in impossible ways no one anywhere would actually collectively want. It's like she's saying the only way to fix a broken arm is to create a world where the arm was never broken in the first place. Just don't mess with anybody's profits, ffs.

GDP Falls Less Than Expected:

I'd just like to highlight a comment chain:
RobM1981 (Replying to: jmo3) July 31, 2009 11:41 AM

Newsflash from Planet Obvious:

Thomas Blair and Claudius' numbers are numbers. They don't take anything into account, they simply are.

The fact that they have happened in the face of this "stimulus" shows that perhaps there's something more to the economy than repaving roads that don't need repaving.

What is next year's stimulus - mowing government lawns twice per week instead of only once?

It didn't take long for Obama's inner-Chauncey to become patently obvious.

Nero fiddled; Chauncey "has a beer."

jmo3 (Replying to: RobM1981) July 31, 2009 11:50 AM

repaving roads that don't need repaving.

They were in desperate need to repaving - FYI.

aMouseforallSeasons (Replying to: RobM1981) July 31, 2009 1:18 PM

If you want to oppose the ARRA projects on grounds of principle, go right ahead, but there's no need to accuse anyone of digging holes and filling them up again. There are several ARRA projects underway here in Colorado, and those are going into necessary work projects such as rebuilding very old bridges and repaving rotted-out road sections.

thomasblair (Replying to: aMouseforallSeasons) July 31, 2009 1:39 PM

And there's an ARRA project underway about 1/4 of a mile from my father-in-law's house where they're repaving a perfectly good road. Hell, it took them two days just to drive the mandatory signs into the ground.

What's the point? I'm sure everybody's got an anecdote.
I can't really add to that, can I?

Drug Wars:
I'm supposed to be on holiday. But everyone is linking to this post by Ben Domenech which, like, totally proves that I don't know what I'm talking about regarding pharma research, so I should probably point to this post by Derek Lowe, pharma researcher, which questions Ben Domenech's analysis. It's true that I oversimplified both pharma and academia's role: academia sometimes develops drugs, while pharma does basic research. Such is blogging. The broad point is that basic research and developing a working drug are two different activities, and neither is "real" innovation. I don't want to stop government from funding basic research, and never said I did. But producing drugs does not seem to be the government's core competence.
That's the entire post, links not reinserted. Sure, she's a lying propagandist, but she's relying on everyone who reads her to know she's lying and........... ummmmmmm, what the fuck is "real" innovation? All I know is that it certainly requires highly paid non-scientist executives to be produced. And a marketing department.
Btw, pharma rarely, if ever, does basic research, because the fucking government does it for them via the NiH. Or they buy it from academia. Megan knows this, but has an agenda to push. Plus it's Friday, and she doesn't work on Fridays. Like, totally.

Oog, that was long, but now it's over.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Title

Megan has a post up titled "Thining Thin" which is either the world's worst joke or the world's funniest typo. I'm going with the latter, but she's proven to be capable of both so...

Anyway, it starts off with something borrowed from Socrates (or I guess Plato). Socrates when he was drunk and/or on acid:

A typical dialogue on diet goes something like this:
Expert: We don't have any known way to make obese people thin except gastric bypass surgery, which has a 2% mortality rate by itself.

Thin person: But I am very thin!
Which is as WTF as I've seen Megan write. I'm not sure who thinks the only way to lose weight is to shrink your stomach, and why that person is telling some random thin person in a way that makes said person believe they are prescribing it to them. I think Megan is trying to make her "opponents" appear stupider than she is here. It's no wonder why the writing verges on meaningless grunting sounds. It's hard to be that dumb and stay coherent. Next, she hypotheticals:
Expert: We don't have any known way to make short people tall, except for extreme surgeries and hormone injections.

Megan: But I am 6'2"
Which is where the reader is supposed to wonder why she left the part out about falling down the rabbit hole or going through the looking glass because, seriously, WTF is she talking about. Next, we get to explore. Fun!
1. Obesity is increasing in the population, so it can't be genetic.

Well, average height is also increasing in the population. Does that mean that you could be as tall as me, if you weren't too lazy to grow?
Well, except, height increasED and is not increasING. See, back earlier in the century there was a sudden improvement in our diet and so you get this (yes, it's kind of a funny graph but it was the only one I could find quickly):A graph that, surprisingly, shows that Megan took a really fucking stupid analogy and made it that much dumber by being completely fucking wrong. I must say, she takes idiocy to new levels.

For some reason she keeps blathering about height and health, though it serves no purpose other than to show that she's easily distracted. Skipping over that:
Actually, this is rubbish: we don't know how to lose weight. Some of the things Paul Campos is saying about obesity are controversial, but this isn't. Every single study which has attempted to make overweight people get thin without very risky surgery has failed completely and utterly. Fewer than 1% of patients ever keep the weight off.
This is so obviously bullshit I can't believe it. I know anecdotes are usually worthless, but who doesn't know several people that have lost significant weight permanently? At 1%, you'd have to know hundreds of overweight people that have dieted and failed in order to know a handful of successes. That's fucking bullshit. I can think of three people off the top of my head that lost weight and kept it off from the Atkins diet alone. I know several more that have lost weight by other means. I also know at least a few people that went from thin to fat from eating junk food all day long (not saying that's the only reason to get fat, but there are plenty of people for whom that is the cause). So either I know thousands of fucking obese people, or she's full of shit.
Highly educated people who have managed to get their body weight down 5-10% from where their body naturally wants to be confuse what they are doing with what someone obese enough to cause significant medical problems would need to do, which is get their weight down 50% or more from where their body apparently wants it. They are not the same thing. The amount of weight loss that these sanctimonious slenderizers have achieved has no statistically significant health benefits. Let me repeat: losing twenty pounds will not make you healthier. If you have diabetes and high blood pressure, there is an extremely modest improvement in test results. Unfortunately, it's even harder for diabetics to lose weight than the rest of us.
I think the first part of that paragraph is actually a kind of ink blot test; essentially meaningless and meant only to gauge the psyche of the reader from what he infers. The last bit make perfect sense, in the sense that, yes, plugging the holes in the Titanic wouldn't do much at this point. No mention of how missing the iceberg altogether would've gone, though.
Fat tissue makes people want to eat--it sends out for takeout. And hunger is a signal on par with thirst or pain. You can ignore it, if you have sufficient willpower. But just as most people can't withstand torture (a minority can), most people can't ignore the constant demand from their body for food.
Wait, if being fat makes you hungry, why is it impossible to stay thin once you lose weight? Oh, right, cause she's retarded. Also, comparing eating healthy and exercising to torture.... wow. Awesome.

And you know what... it fucking goes on. For like EVER. Forget it. I thought I had the energy to do this but I don't. She is higher and for longer than ever previously recorded due to this fucking marriage thing (maybe one is on the way and so she's more keen on not getting fired.). I broke my fucking back on Saturday. I don't need to do this shit. I wish she could be pithy and stupid instead of long winded and stupid. It's too much work when her posts get so fat.

Fuck her.

"I know for a fact that people like you think you're pretty darned funny. But you aren't."

Nahgunna play my homeless card here; this commenter of Megan's spouts the party line as well as I can, & he gets apocalyptic!


Megan said:

"In practice, what are you going to do with a family that insists on waiting for the perfect Section 8 apartment or assisted housing option to emerge?"

The subtext of this statement is that people who can't get a job are "just lazy". Or, when a speculative bubble has raised the rent on a one-room shack in a crack neighborhood to a little more than you make in a month that something is "wrong" with you.

So, please tell the audience exactly how much time you have spent homeless.

(sound of crickets chirping)

Thought so.

It's real hard to find a job when you have no place to live. Hygiene problems as well as problems storing your stuff, what little you have left, become very serious. And then, of course, since we offshored all of our production and those mythical "information jobs" never appeared to replace them, there might not actually BE a job for you to get even if you could work out all of the logistics of sleeping in a gutter and somehow managing to look presentable enough to GET and KEEP a job. Not to mention GETTING TO A JOB. The public transportation systems in most parts of the country are laughable, assuming even that you CAN afford to use them.

All things you have absolutely NO direct experience of. Therefore you really have nothing to say about the subject that is worth listening to.

No, seriously. You don't.

I know for a fact that people like you think you're pretty darned funny. But you aren't. And the unfunny-ness of this situation is only becoming more apparent by the day. All of those homeless in NYC are about to have LOTS of company. People who have never had the experience of homelessness in their entire lives suddenly losing everything as jobs dry up and the balloon terms in their once so easy looking mortgages start slapping them in the face.

People who will never again buy the line that people who can't get work are "just lazy".

Tens of millions of them. And they vote.

The financial holocaust that was just triggered by the pigs in the financial sector is going to make the 1930's look like a beach party. "Temporary Shelters" will become permanent tent cities. The streets of our cities will be teeming with armies of the newly disenfranchised, all looking for someone to blame.

And as for you... I hope you put all that lovely cash of yours in gold. Because if you didn't, you'll be starving along with the rest of them. Because right-wing pundits who make a living by blaming the poor for being poor are going to go out of fashion faster than the hula hoop.

-Jay Randall

An Addition to the Preceding Shorters: "Excellent opportunity for Rehab potential."

Must add 2¢ worth on

Real Estate Moment of the Week

as I took a look at the advert for the $1,000,000 mansion Mlle. McA. was snickering at. id=Yes, it's 103 yrs. old & sold for $149,000 in 1996, but is now hoped to be worth a cool million. What the hell? How can you base an economy on something like that? Have tips, wages & income increased sevenfold or whatever in the last 13 yrs.? I think not.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More Shorters

of unnecessarily long posts.

Reputation and Insurance:

Complex stuff can be confusing and, well, complex, so who can really say that costs are going upupup because the medical industry wants higher profit margins? Maybe Viagra is secretly a vaccine for a deadly, deadly disease, or advertising hardcore motherfucking anti-psychotics as a prozac supplement is actually somehow ok.

It's Adverse. But Is It Selection?:

Sick people are to insurance companies as used car lemons are to car buyers.
That's her actual fucking argument.
She's basically blaming sick people for having to spend money on health care. If they would just get better on their own the medical industry wouldn't be able to charge so much.

Of course, as Alex notes, that doesn't mean that uninsured sick people aren't a problem. But as both he and Tyler have pointed out, they seem more likely to be a distributional problem than a market failure. In other words, the problem is not that the market cannot provide them insurance; the problem is that they don't have the money to buy it.
This seems meaningless, a distinction without a difference, to most people.
... just in case you thought I was being unfair.

The Real Mechanism:

Fatties are just meant to be fatties, if you try to do dumb things like make industrial foods less unhealthy the dumb piggies will just find more lard somewhere, snortsnortsnort.

Credible Threats and the Homeless Population:
The point is not to ever exercise this threat. Rather, it's to make sure they don't have to. If a family knows they can't stay in temporary shelter forever, they'll be more motivated to follow the rules, and help get themselves back on their feet. Without that, a dysfunctional minority can choke the system.
After all, they chose to become homeless. We have to incentivize them to choose something else.

Quote of the Day:

Even if we maaaaaaybe admit there might sorta be a tiny lil hint of a bit of a slight problem with our healthcare system, why does that mean the medical industry has to accept lowered profits? Can't we just spend less on roads or something?

A Long, Long Post About My Reasons For Opposing National Health Care:
I know, most of you have already figured out why I oppose national health care. In a nutshell, I hate the poor and want them to die so that all my rich friends can use their bodies as mulch for their diamond ranches. But y'all keep asking, so here goes the longer explanation.
I don't think you hate the poor, Megan, I think you're incapable of comprehending the slightest hint of what being poor actually entails which leaves you with shallow, callow, highly unrealistic conceptions of poor folk.
And I think you're against healthcare reform because your employment depends on trying to obscure the relation between rising health care costs and rising health care executive compensation (and rising marketing costs, the people who come up with ads for Abilifuckingfy need those expense accounts to soothe their consciences), Megan.
I don't think you hate poor people, Megan, I think you don't think about them at all.
The rest of her rant appears to be the same old rehashed delusions that only the American pharma industry can produce any innovations, and only if non-scientist executives who prioritize boner pills and new names for prozac over useful medicine make millions off it, so nothing can change, ever.
Also, there's a new talking point that this means the government will totally tell you what to eat and make you work out and institute forced colonics. And they'll let old people die!!!!!!!!!!
I now hope Megan doesn't reproduce because no child should have to inherit such a legacy of shame.

Real Estate Moment of the Week:

Getting married leads Megan to think of buying a house. This means the housing market is now healthy.

Department of Awful Statistics:

The saddest part of this post is Megan probably thinks she was being tricky with it. She's making fun of O'Reilly while saying he's actually right. She thinks she's covering all her bases, instead of basically being a hypocrite.

Incentives Matter:

Sure, I just said people are going to be the weight they are no matter what, but that was before I found a new anti- health care reform boogeyman. OOGABOOGABOOGA, they'll hit you with the fatty stick.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Cheap Shot At Non-Contrarianism


Why Marriage?

I am not being contrarian by needing a note from the gov't. telling me w/ whom I may sleep. Also, Mr. McSudelman (of the spotty employment history) has figured that if I haven't been fired by now I never will be, so I'm kind of a cash cow. Mooo.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Oh Yeah

I caved and finally bought a cb radio joined twitter. Blame Tbogg, there are just too many people I want to read using it now.
So here it is, if you really want to see how random I can get.

Hint: it's pretty random. And I doubt I'll mention Megan there.


Holyshit. Karl Rove is now following me on twitter. It's because I'm following his crazy ass and it looks like he follows almost everyone who follows him, but...

Ok, apparently this isn't new if you know anything about twitter, but I'm over 30, it takes me longer to hear about stuff like this.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Some Shorters

much stupidity.

Is Health Care Reform Falling Apart?:

I have opinions, which are important because I'm the one who has them. I'm like a sports writer. Hi Easterbrook.

What are You Saying, Paul?:

I'm not calling Obama a big stinky pants liar, Krugman is, so don't get mad at me. Sure, Reagan's welfare queen was entirely made up and Obama's examples involve people who exist, and Krugman knows that, shit, even I know that, but, ummmmmmm, my readers are morons so they'll eat this up. Plus I think I'm being witty.

Moral Quandaries that Aren't:

Roy Edroso unctuously asks for
Bwaaaahahahahahahahahahaa. Awwwww, poor Megan is the prototypical schoolyard bully. She'll twist that nerd Krugman's arm around and ask why he's hitting himself, or more precisely joke about doing so to her sycophants without ever getting near him, but the moment someone jokes about her they're a big mean sexist bully with no manners who should SHUT UP because it's not funny and she's a smart pretty princess and you're poor.
As for the chap in Brooklyn: he broke the law. I'm against that, even if the law is stupid, which is why I dutifully sign for my sudafed, instead of breaking into the pharmacy after hours. On the other hand, the law seems grotesque to me, possibly near the level where one has a duty to break it. On the third hand, he's clearly not acting out of any sense of moral duty. But I'm not going to celebrate the fact of one less live kidney donation in the world, even if the person who gets stuck on the machine is affluent and thus presumptively deserves it.
Ok, first off, there was no first hand in this fucking selection. Megan? Is there some sort of congenital condition in your family which prevents you from ever properly using this construction?
Second, a "duty to break it"? A duty to fucking profit off of selling another person's internal organs? That's too stupid for me to snark, because I simply cannot fathom how she got there, how she could possibly think this. She must be convinced she'll need a new kidney at some point.
And that third point... she really doesn't want to ask where the kidneys came from, how they were procured, does she? Someone got paid, somewhere, that makes it moral.

Department of Non-Leading Indicators: Special Health Care Reform Edition:

Sure, sure, I'm quoting a heavily Republican leaning pollster whose opinion polls show an even more pronounced lean, but because I like what it says it is still significant. Plus, here's some gibberish about stuff I really don't get to give my sycophants something to ape when I'm ripped to shreds in the comments. Maybe Nate Silver will take me to task and give me free hits. Can't I successfully troll anyone?

The Value of Transparency:
I know I said I wasn't going to blog about wedding planning. It turns out that this was a lie. The economics of the thing are just fascinating.
And everyone was shocked, SHOCKED, that I let the Atlas Shrugged Project wither on the vine, too. It's just so out of our respective characters to do that.
But everything that happens to Megan is fascinating and important and revealing. Thank Jebus she's gotten a dress already.

N that's that.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fucking Jews

From the comments:

Three New Jersey mayors and several rabbis were arrested on Thursday in a sweeping federal investigation into political corruption that also uncovered human kidney sales and money laundering from Brooklyn to Israel, authorities said.
This is why we don't let the goyim in on our organ selling schemes.

Thanks Dhalgren!

Megan Discovers Google, Not How to Use It

This is just amazing. She takes shallow-pretension to a whole new level. Is there a good word for when you try to be probing but fail to get out your front door, let alone under the surface? Educate me, minions!

Oh, right, the dumbass:

Here's one indicator that doesn't look so good: my Google News feed around 7 am this morning. (Followed by a screen shot of the top stories.)
Wow, did she call her mother, too, to make sure her poll had a representative sampling?
That's how a machine ranked the stories, based on reader response. The Gates story is sucking up the public's very limited attention span for health care.
Right, and the second article is about ObamaCare, central to the point of the universe, I s'pose. Even if it weren't, who the fuck thinks that this constitutes research? Does she have a weather blog somewhere which tells you what she saw out her window when she woke up?
I was already pretty skeptical that this was going to do much good. Outside of elections and wars, it's hard to get people to watch a presidential address at the best of times. Late July is not the best of times. You don't want to counterprogram a wonkathon when people can flip to "So You Think You Can Dance" or wander outside to drink in the summer evening. Maybe it will move the poll numbers, but frankly, I'd be surprised.
Um, right, it was short sighted of liberals and Obama to never ever ever mention health care until this summer. Everyone knows that if it don't got 'splosions no one will watch it in July. Why did Obama have to dick around messing with that whole "economic disaster" thing his first few months? Totally lost the momentum. Man, he sucks at making decisions crucial to people's lives playing the game.
So I think the left-wing pundits worrying about the performance are missing the point. The performance was, in fact, not all that good, especially by the high standards Obama set during the campaign. But I'll be shocked if the overnights beat Law and Order reruns. More than one journalist of my acquaintance skipped the thing. If a press conference falls in the summer doldrums, and nobody watches it, does it really matter?
Alas, do these things matter indeed? Obama should have just kept his mouth shut instead of trying to speak to hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people.

C'mon, Obama, your day is done. Give it up. No one wants health care. The country is conservative again. Just declare war on Iran and make things easier for all of us. THEN people will get behind you. We're always up for a good war.

brad adds:

In her screenshot, the number of stories about Gates is 2670. The number of stories about ObamaCare is 10,272. Ahem.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Unintentional Honesty

Department of Bizarre Arguments:

The following are things Megan apparently finds comparable to the idea of a business selling internal organs:

Having volunteered for Habitat Humanity several times in college, I am personally offended by the existence of Toll Brothers. Also, I've worked in a soup kitchen, so I'm suing Friendly's for defamation. As for hotels, as the former employee of an organization that provides homeless shelters, I can only say: have you no shame, sirs? At long last, have you no shame?
Because every hotel room used to be someone's home, but they had to sell it to pay off gambling debts.

Then Bill of What's?

I think Megan is trying to out liberal the liberals here, or something. I don't fucking know. She's just free associating as far as I can tell.

In a recession, the problem most people and organizations face is too little money. But clearly, that's not the case with the ACLU, which apparently has ample time and money to sue to prevent a charter school from unconstitutionally promoting Islam.
The ACLU litigating a case about religious promotion by the government. Jeez, they must be loaded to get involved with a case that relates to their core principles and widely affects lots of people. Crazy times. (Whattaredaodds that the ACLU got involved in this case before the recession. I'd say higher than "1.")
In a way, this is very good to hear, because it makes it easy to direct my giving to organizations with more urgent needs.
Uhhh, is Megan actually trying to get us to believe that she ever gave money to the ACLU? 'Cause I don't usually donate money to people that I whimsically pontificate annoying for fun.
After my much-regretted decision to vote for George W. Bush in 2004, I've kind of been sitting on the political sidelines. I'm pretty sure I'll hate whoever gets elected. Rudy might be funny just to see the ACLU get all misty and nostalgic about the current administration
That's just me, though.
On the other hand, what the hell is wrong with the leadership at the ACLU? In theory, for all I know, it unconstitutionally promotes religion.
Anyone who can tell me what "it" is wins a years tuition to the religious school of their choice. Also, in theory it's unconstitutional, but who cares about that little thing?
The establishment clause was supposed to prevent a minority from being oppressed by a majority, not to prevent a minority from oppressing itself.
Yeah, that's why it says right there in the constitution separation of church and state only the biggest religion in the country should be excluded from public education.

OK, wait, no, this one requires more time than that. I know I asked this two posts ago, but, seriously, HOW CAN SHE BE THIS FUCKING STOOPID??? "Separation of church and state" is like, the second fucking political thing we're taught after the Pledge of Allegiance. How can you be so fucking dumb as to add imaginary qualifying language like "the church that has the most influence?" How can you be so historically ignorant. She fucking blogs about politics when she's clueless about the meaning of what is commonly regarded as America's CENTRAL FUCKING TENET OF GOVERNING PHILOSOPHY. Who the fuck reads her shit and decides NOT to fire Megan? How can such a person exist? What's next, is she going to claim that right to bear arms means she can wear a fucking tank top? Where the fuck did she come from? She has to be a joke. This blog is actually the biggest sucker in the planet, falling for what is obviously an elaborate parody. She's not real. She's dumber than a random sentence generator. It would take her longer than a million monkeys at a million type writers to generate anything close to a coherent thought. WTF!!!! How is the earth that I live on?! How are there people whose DNA is essentially identical to mine and yet can barely figure out how to fucking fall down? This is like not knowing who fucking Obama is! For fuck's sake! WTF!?!?!? I can't take this shit anymore. The fuse on my head is just about up.
I admire a huge amount of the work that the ACLU does on issues like habeas corpus and wiretapping.
Oh shit.

<Head Explodes>
Why, then, do they so often seem intent on turning the organization into the highbrow edition of Stuff White People Like?

Dear Megan

Dear Megan,

Please say something stupid about Henry Louis Gates Jr. It's been a while since you pretended not to be a racist.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Many Shorters

little foreplay.

One Small Step For Man...:

One odd right wing meme that the Bush Admin's decisions regarding the space program somehow reflect a lack of vision on Obama's part.

What Did the American Taxpayer Get for its Billions?:

I try not to quote people by name if the conversation wasn't clearly on the record, because sometimes people get upset.
Apparently Megan relies on super secret high placed inside sources to be able to say people are telling her things that coincidentally always serve the interests of certain rich people, and if she named them she'd have to come up with propaganda on her own. Or we'd be able to recognize her sources as paid flacks, one or the other.

Waiting for the Mid-Session Budget Review:

Sure, Good Daddy Bush did the exact same thing, but Obama is delaying a report maybe in part because it has bad news. Good Daddy Bush ruthlessly suppressed bad news, Obama must be weak if he's going to let it come out eventually. But Megan isn't saying any of that, she's just wondering aloud.

How Much Does Central Bank Independence Matter?:

If we just let rich people get on with the business of being rich, wethey'll be happier and maybe give us more crumbs.

Why Health Care Reform Is So Troubled:
The commenters in Mark Thoma's threads seem to think that the administration erred in trying to modify the plan in order to buy votes in Congress. I take this as symptomatic of how the debate played out on progressive blogs, magazines, and columns; Paul Krugman is exhibit A. People were led to expect that Obama could pass a plan through mere force of will, "cracking heads" and bulldozing Congress into something close to the left-wing technocratic version of health care reform.
Or because health care reform was a major, primary part of the platform that won Obama a resounding mandate from the American electorate, and the Dems hold both Houses of Congress, now including a supermajority in the Senate.
This was never, ever going to happen. The Democratic conventional wisdom, true or not, is that Bill Clinton lost because the overwhelming majority of folks who have insurance, and are basically satisfied with their health care, freaked out when they realized that their coverage was going to change.
Who the fuck thinks this? The common wisdom I, a putative Democrat, have received is health care reform died because Clinton's Admin both underestimated the structural opposition to it in the political system and did a poor job managing the actual nuts and bolts workings of the political process. Megan means the conservative conventional wisdom, I guess. Or she's deliberately, if perhaps unconsciously, misstating what she's reading in a single comment thread to provide herself with an easily won argument. Six to one half dozen.

Department of Awkward PR Moments:

There is no inherent partisanship to my highlighting one honest if uncomfortable answer from Obama, but there is in me joining in the idea that health care reform is about Obama, personally. Honestly, I'm so self-blind I don't recognize that I let others determine how I'll frame an issue for me.

Reasons to Want to Be Rich:
I don't actually think there are that many; I'm pretty content on a two-journalist household income.
Is that the funniest thing she's ever written?

Stuff the Beast:

The failures of conservative economic theory and tax policy prove reforming these mistakes can't possibly work.
Thus I think that honest pundits, and voters, have to answer the question: is this program a good idea if it provokes a crisis, instead of much needed change? In the case of tax cuts, I think the answer is clearly not, which is why I think Republicans should lay off them unless they're planning to pay for them by cutting spending now. I also think expanding health care without a clear and immediate plan for costs is a huge mistake--but then, I don't like it anyway, so you'd expect me to say that.
How do I make fun of that? It's like she wrote it with her fingers and own poo instead of a computer.

And we're done.

Failing at Life

I don't understand how you can be this fucking stupid and have gainful employment of any kind, let alone moderate notoriety and perceived authority.

Well, my fourth bike was stolen this morning, out of our backyard, which has a seven foot stockade fence around it. I have never managed to hold onto a bike more than six months in an urban environment--the previous two times, they left the bike lock, as if to taunt me with its inadequacy. I think I'm done with bike commuting. I'd rather just hand out $100 bills to random people on the street; at least I wouldn't be rewarding theft.

It wasn't an expensive bike, either; it was the cheapest hybrid available in my size. But the fact is, if you own a bike in this city, it will be stolen. I'm willing to brave weather and entitled motorists. But I'm sick of funding donations to the bike theft brigade.
I bet ten million fucking dollars she forgot to put her bike away behind her "seven foot stockade fence." It's prolly sitting outside the bar she drunkenly forgot it at right now, taunting her in real life as the left behind locks taunt her imagination. (As if the thieves would take with them a lock they know first-fucking-hand is inadequate.)

You don't lose a bike every six months ANYWHERE unless you're too fucking stupid to lock it up properly. I've lived in urban environs most of my life as well, and had bikes stolen only when I did something idiotic. How does she get her over-sized pants over her gargantuan ass every morning without falling down and getting a concussion?

brad adds:

It would have clashed with the decor for Megan to bring the bike inside the house she rents, which would obviously be worse than needing a new bike.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Non-Megan Stupid

but funny.
(Warning: NYC-centric content ahead)

Punks invade Williamsburg as heroin-addicted hobos set up shop in trendy Brooklyn neighborhood

Heroin-addict hobos from around the country are overrunning hipster haven Williamsburg - living in stalled luxury condo projects in the trendy Brooklyn neighborhood.
The newcomers, who call themselves "gutter punks," are stirring outrage among residents and shopkeepers who charge the bums brawl on the sidewalk, shoplift and shoot heroin in trendy cafe bathrooms.
"It's like St. Marks in the '70s," said Williamsburg activist Philip DePaolo, referring to the notorious East Village hangout. "It's the bad old days all over again. There's crack and heroin all over the neighborhood."
Let's take this one step at a time.
It's "new" that there are homeless kids who do drugs in Williamsburg.... yes, if you mean white kids, maybe, and if you mean within the last 2 decades, give or take a few years.
They "call" themselves "gutter punks", because they were fucking with the idiot reporter trying to interview them. And there's a strict policy in Williamsburg since 2005 that if you're going to do a drug in trendy cafe bathrooms here it has to be cocaine. Maybe ecstasy or a vicodin if it's a weekend, but keep it clean, folks. Ask yourself, what would the Strokes do?
As for the St. Marks quote... well, folks, you can judge for yourselves if you've seen both "Midnight Cowboy" and "Flight of the Conchords", if you could tell the difference.
The vagrants - who also call themselves "crusty punks" - swarmed into Williamsburg this spring, drawn by open-minded young people and vacant lots.
Packs of punks and their mangy dogs clog Bedford Ave. in the evenings. They sprawl drunkenly on the sidewalk and heckle hipsters for money and cigarettes.
And may the FSM bless their little junkie hearts for it.
I could mock just about every single word in the damn piece, but instead let me explain how it happened.
One of the two reporters it required to produce this masterpiece moved into Williamsburg in the late winter/early spring, when the homeless kids were either in shelters or had drifted south to avoid the cold. Then, as it reached a temp at night where you can sleep outside comfortably, they magically appeared for the first time ever! This reporter, who had either lived in Manhattan or a dorm room previously, maybe both, was so amazed to see vagrants in Brooklyn (!!) s/he immediately started interviewing them and studying their habits, learning their secret lingo and the inscrutable names they give themselves.
But be warned, and frightened. This new wave of drugged youth is unstoppable in their not particularly violent or criminal.... ummmm, sitting around, the police are telling residents to stay inside and consider preemptive suicide:
Cops said they haven't seen an increase in crime or vagrants, but would monitor the area. "If someone is found trespassing or sleeping in [the lots] ... they will be arrested," said NYPD spokesman Detective Joseph Cavitolo.
Someone should just simply slap the people behind this piece.

(Via Roy's blog at the Voice, I closed the tab and am too lazy to find the url but you know who n what I mean.)

Pish Tosh

The Massachussetts health plan has been successful by some metrics--the recorded number of the uninsured has gone down--and unsuccessful on others.
Well, I'll be, the primary goal of a program has been achieved, although other imperfections in this still new and seminal initiative have yet to be worked out.

Sounds horrible.

Also, I agree with her, capitation is idiotic.

We Are Sisyphus

UPDATE: Apparently she placed "unknown" and not "23rd." Despite proudly proclaiming 25 winners and five honorable mentions, the list itself is in alphabetical order with no mention of earned rankings. Seriously, can't we get some smart conservatives in the mainstream, somewhere.

Megan is as subtle as ever:

The Wall Street Journal lists the top 25 economics blogs.
Wow, it's like, is she really this passive aggressive or just too stupid to understand how something looks from the outside? Go ahead and say it, dear. We know how proud you are to come in at 23rd place.
Megan McArdle
Originality: 5 light bulbs
Geekiness: 2 calculators
Readability: 4 reading glasses
Megan McArdle doesn't fit the typical profile of an economics blogger: she's a technology project manager-turned-freelance writer, a self-described libertarian who gained prominence when she began blogging about economics and politics under the pseudonym "Jane Galt," a reference to the protagonist of Ayn Rand's popular novel "Atlas Shrugged". She went on to work at the Economist, helping to launch its Free Exchange blog, and since 2007 has maintained her own blog with the Atlantic, gaining widespread media attention in May when she broke the news that New York Times reporter Edmund Andrews's wife had previously filed twice for bankruptcy – a fact he neglected to mention in his tell-all book "Busted," about his family's foreclosure and financial struggles.
Quibble: Ms. McArdle's libertarian views mean her blog -- and her take on policy issues -- can be fairly predictable, undercutting the audience her work actually merits.
I'm not sure where the praise in this review is, other than the implication that her audience should be larger. I also don't understand how one gets 5 light bulbs for being original yet is "fairly predictable." Oh well, I'll leave that for the geniuses at the WSJ. Maybe they can also tell us when the economics part of her blog happens and why we should care if her single accomplishment is to find out that someone who was obviously an ass has a wife who went bankrupt twice.

With friends like those, she don't need us.


someone has been making me feel all pleasant and non-snarky, but that doesn't mean Megan should get a pass.

More Thoughts on the Health Care Surtax:

But at some point, that changes. In the highest paying zip codes, the effective average combined tax rate (not the marginal rate) on many affluent people is already well over forty percent--I shelled out more than 40% of my really non-lavish journalist's salary when I lived in Manhattan. The repeal of the Bush tax cuts will push some taxpayers into the 50+percent total tax bracket. Is America ready?
For tax rates that were exceeded for roughly half of the last century? Yes.
She still thinks the fact that rich people try not to pay their fair share means they shouldn't have to pay, too.


Did you know this particular collapse of a financial giant might affect my holiday shopping options? Holy fuck!

On Income and Consumption Inequality:
I broadly agree with Will that consumption inequality, not income inequality, is what matters. If the rich have access to broad classes of goods that the poor can't have, I find this worrying. On the other hand, if the problem is that Bill Gates has a really awesome 80 inch flat panel television, while the poor have to be content with a 32 inch CRT, well, I can't say my heartstrings are plucked very tight by this injustice. So it's important to know what the real differences are.
Dear stupid, what about access to, say, the latest medical treatments, versus getting to die of cancer?
income inequality figures exclude both taxes and government benefits. Things like the EITC and Section 8 vouchers really have made a quite substantial improvement in the ability of the poor to consume.

Sorry, I blacked out after hitting my head too hard. Section 8 housing means poor people can live next to rich yuppies and totally live like them, because it comes with an extra 2 grand a month that, by law, has to be spent frivolously.
So I don't think we actually know how much of a difference consumer credit made to equalizing consumption between rich and poor. I suspect that the continued mechanization of formerly labor-intensive tasks has made a greater difference, but then you'd expect me to say that. The data we want will not be available for several years, especially since period immediately following the financial crisis will be very atypical*, and therefore not useful in assessing the longer term trend.
* Before you accuse me of cherry-picking, I expect that the data following the financial crisis will actually show income and consumption inequality falling, because financial crises tend to make bigger relative cuts in the income of the wealthy. That doesn't mean that they "suffer more" in any meaningful sense--losing 5% of a $30,000 annual salary is almost certainly a greater hardship than losing 25% of $300,000. But the numbers will still show shrinkage.
How charitable of her. Btw, my own anecdotal experience says that rich people are consuming about the same amount, while spending less, because prices on many luxury consumables have fallen. Cash is king at times like this, and who do you think has it?

Markets in Everything:
I'm skeptical of this, not because I feel that political groups are above selling their services, but because I'd be shocked if one of them was actually stupid enough to put it in a letter. On the other hand, crazier things have happened.
But it's a market, so it's ok.
Also, does that selection have three hands, or one?

Learning to (un)Love Leverage:

A story about Megan:
"Equity," he solemnly informed me, after a few minutes of bewildered guessing. "Debt payments are capped. Equity has unlimited upside, while debt payments are capped. [sic - close that quote, Megan]
This is conventional wisdom at America's business schools, and over the next few years, I definitely lived it. We borrowed money for school, for living expenses, for books. I bought a car, went skiing, went to Mexico on spring break. Why shouldn't we? We were "consumption smoothing"; in a few years, we'd be making more than $100K, so why not spend a little of that now?
Obviously, this was fucking stupid. Spending money you hope to theoretically earn in the future is idiotic enough, especially from people looking to manage money as a career, but to borrow that money at a high rate of interest from a credit card company? Jesus fucking fuck.
And then the plot thickens. Remember back when Megan complained about being poor after school and wearing clothes that weren't brand new high end labels while living at home in Manhattan, rent free, always with cash in her pocket?
I didn't get that $100,000+ job I was expecting; I ended up in journalism, making less than half that. My loan payments ate up something like 45% of my take-home, which made it extremely difficult to live.
Poor, poor wannabe yuppie. And still, she was cheerleading for an economy that basically ran on the same premises the whole time. What a trooper.
She has also called working in journalism a charitable endeavor, because it isn't paying her like the imaginary job she felt entitled to by dint of being Megan McArdle.
Thank god being wrong means you're an expert on the topic, otherwise it'd be the case that this woman has nothing to offer.

Bundles of Stupid

Making a Bundle Out of iTunes:

Well, she's got the capitalization down. Now only if she could make some sense.

I suspected that this was some sort of an elaborate troll, but no, this chap at PC inciter actually wants to break up Apple's monopoly over the iTunes store, the iPhone, and the iPod.

What monopoly, you may ask, and indeed, I did. Apple has a monopoly over these things only in the trivial sense that P&G has a monopoly over Charmin, and I have a monopoly over the chocolate cake I baked last night.
Megan is right, although the concept of her harping on someone else for misusing a word is pretty much the best Allaanniiss Mmoorriisseettee song, ever.
Well, I'd like to get takeout from Ray's Pizza and enjoy it in the stunning ambience of Cafe des Artistes. If the waiter refuses to let me do so, is that a monopoly?

No, that's what we call "bundling". Most people hate bundling. That's because most people are under the impression that they would pay less if things were unbundled. Sometimes this is true. But if you forced Cafe des Artistes to "unbundle" the location from the food, that doesn't mean I'd be able to enjoy a cut rate meal in a beautiful location. They'd just charge me $100 for the seat.
Well, yes, because they don't currently charge you for the seat, only the food. The seat is implied with the purchase. Totally like iTunes, which gives its phones and mp3 players away for free and then charges you only for the music. What an awesome analogy. It only fails almost entirely.
Similarly, people who want their cable unbundled because they only want to pay for a few channels are under the delusion that they could save huge bucks by cutting off the Golf Channel. But cable companies don't save any money when you drop the Golf Channel, because they stream all the channels down the coax at once.
Through a series of pipes and tubes..... O_o ???? ¿que?

I hate it when she gets technical.
Indeed, it may cost them money; the Golf Channel now has fewer potential viewers, and hence falling ad revenues, and they have to hassle around with custom packages for every customer, which is labor intensive, and thus extremely expensive (and also more likely to break).
Potential viewers, the dream of every advertising man. I love that she calls cajoling people into buying shit they don't need "labor."
Like cable, iTunes is mostly fixed cost, which means that unbundling would make their profit fall much faster than their revenue.
This is such utter horseshit and completely contrary to Apple's entire business model, which is to make things user stupid friendly and force brand loyalty down people's throats. Then, when they're scared to even look at a PC, the consumers are fed iLife. Give all your money to Apple. We'll be you for you!

Megan is too stupid to know about the plethora of other mp3 players, online music libraries and internet phones that are much cheaper and don't force you to buy your fucking groceries through the iMart. iPhone will make plenty of fucking money on its own, and iTunes will still be profitable if you can play that song about rain on your wedding day that bought from it on a fucking "Chocolate" (or whatever's the rage these days). See, selling things makes money even if people don't buy other things. iTunes is mostly in business because people like the iPod and it was the first one on the scene with a presence. That doesn't make getting rid of iTunes a catastrophe for Apple and it sure as fuck doesn't make Apple products the fucking pinnacle of consumer satisfaction anymore than Morton's salt really is the fucking salt of earth. It doesn't "just work." It's just fucking there and people don't think that they really have a choice.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This is Why We Can't Have Ni... Well, Things

Brandon, don't go!

I can tell from the tone--particularly the troll comments--that you guys don't want me here. I presented things pretty modestly, straightforwardly, and earnestly--i.e. in a fashion unbefitting a troll--and you jumped down my throat. Clearly, this site is not meant to be a place for exchange--more like group masturbation, if you want my honest opinion--so I won't post here again. Best of luck.
Listen here, commentariot. We've worked long and hard to get a troll here. Brandon may have sucked, but for one brief comment thread, he was ours. Next time someone comes around telling us that OUR arguments are poorly defended and that WE are biased, you'd better find a way to make him repeat himself, loudly and often. None of this making him take his bawl and go home.

I'm not sure why Brandon thinks we don't want this place to be an exchange. We would love to exchange insults with him any time. Oh well, back to the self pleasuring. Anyone got a tissue?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Are You Gonna Finish that Kidney?

The Gift of Life

Virginia Postrel has a terrific piece on organ donation in our pages. Long story short: don't count on cadaver organs, because there aren't enough of them, and organs from living donors last longer. We need quasi-market mechanisms to attract more living donors.
Yes. Yes we do need to start paying people money for their organs.
I confess, I don't understand the ban on paying for organs. We let eighteen year olds decide to go to Iraq in order to eventually pay for college, but we won't let a thirty-five year old sell off a part of himself that he probably won't need, and with which he could save a life?
I confess, I do not understand how someone could not understand a ban on BUYING KIDNEYS FROM DESPERATE PEOPLE! Oh ho, you may say, what if they're not desperate? Well, I'm gonna have to go ahead and surmise that people either donate kidneys out of charity (no money down!) or desperation (hey ma! We get to eat MEAT tonight! God bless the Slice and Sell!).

Oh wait, everyone's a rational actor and the only form of coercion is deceit money hunger sex power guilt social pressure the government and its evil evil threats of ripping out your organs so you can eat force.

Now if you'll excuse me, I really want an X-Box 360 so I'm going to sell my liver.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009



Jozef July 13, 2009 7:28 PM
As for "villany", I read the incoherent voice of the mob on the internet - places like seekingAlpha and RollingStone are given over to halfwits peddling anti-Jew Goldman Sachs conspiracy stories (Matt Taibi [sic] is an arab by the way - I can't help think that doesn't influence his narrative, that and all the ecstasy and cryst meth he's done)
Is Taibi [sic] fatty beast? IT IS MYSTERY.
These are the people who agree with you, Megan.
(And no, he doesn't finish his sentence.)

Monday, July 13, 2009

What Rhymes With Villian?

don't blame the rich, it was the one armed man!

The Price of Innovation:

Two pieces worth reading on health care innovation. First, Glenn Reynolds on his family:
*irrational gigglefit*
Veterinary spending is rising just about in line with human medical spending. Kudoes [sic] to AEI for publishing a graph that seriously undercuts one of the major conservative arguments about health care: that the main problem is consumers who don't bear their own costs. Veterinary spending is subject to few of the perversities that either left or right suppose to be the main problems afflicting health care spending. Consumers pay full frieght [sic] most of the time. They are price sensitive, and will let the patient die if keeping him alive costs too much. There is no adverse selection. There is no free riding on mandatory care. Government regulation is minimal. Malpractice suits are minimal, and have low payouts. So why is vet spending rising along with human spending?
I think my brain just broke. I... yep, broken. I try to begin to respond to the previous, but it's an infinite loop of uhhhhh, what?

Villains of the Piece:

We all know how this goes; Megan gets roundly mocked for writing something abjectly stupid, only recognizes she's getting attention for it, and tries to make it worse so she'll get more attention.
A woman gets into her car, and waves at her husband, who is crossing in front of the car. Pressing the pedal to the ground, she puts it into gear . . . and steams forward at full speed, crushing him against the wall of the garage.
Is she a villain? It rather depends, doesn't it?
Scenario #1: she's angry because she found out he had an affair, and decided to kill him "by accident" for the insurance. Scenario #2: she thought she was stepping on the brake, and stepped on the gas instead. The former is a crime, the latter a tragedy. But you can't divine which simply by knowing that something terrible happened.
So even if Goldman Sachs was in the driver's seat to some degree, it didn't mean to speed forward and crush the economy in the blink of 8-10 years, their collective foots slipped. And the personal wealth accrued along the way is like an insurance payout. Those brokers loved the economy, they need those townhouses and vacation homes and mansions in the woods to grieve in dignity and privacy.
Ritholtz is not, in many of these cases, describing villainy. He is describing "being wrong", which is not a crime, thank God. Villainy involves people who know, or should have known, that what they were doing was likely to lead to the awful results.
I mean, you can quibble and say "You should have known that that was the gas pedal", and indeed you should have, but if, for whatever reason, your senses deluded you, you're not a villain. No, even if you were thinking about the presentation you had due at work--or how angry you were at your husband for having a fling with his secreatary [sic]--rather than concentrating on your driving.
I'm embarrassed for Megan, this is so weak. I can't believe she put this up. Oops, their collective foots slipped for about a decade? What the fuck?
When something is common enough, I think it definitionally isn't villanous [sic].
Hi, genocide, racism, antisemitism, physical abuse in a family, and fucking etcetera.
I have no reason to love Goldman Sachs, and I don't. I didn't like them when I was interviewing for investment banking internships in business school (worst interviews by far were sponsored by Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns).
How about when they sponsored those Atlantic salons, Megan? (No, I don't know that they did so, specifically, but the odds aren't terrible.)
But while it is irksome that bankers thought they were geniuses who had somehow magically made risk disappear, while it is vexing that they made so much money taking so many systemic risks, none of these things are actually illegal.
... because Megan says so.
And while their arrogance and greed were certainly a necessary precondition of the crisis, they were not in any way sufficient. They needed cooperation from moronic Asian savers who lent them the money, regulators who thought--just as the bankers did--that they'd gotten too smart to have a financial crisis--and homeowners who had come to view homeownership as a way to get rich without working. Everyone who said "renting is throwing your money away" is a guilty party in this. And that's . . . almost everyone.
Everyone who bought a house is EVILBADGRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRYOUKILLEDMYBROTHER!!!!!!!! The bankers are blameless, the... Asians forced the executive class to do these things and become fabulously wealthy and enjoy a life of unimagined luxury and privilege. How can you not just pity these poor used bankers, you heartless bastards?
Stopped clock moment:
Oh, the crisis has produced villains, or rather, exposed them. Bernie Madoff, Allen Stanford, et al are genuine human sewage as far as I can tell. But the crisis would have gone on just the same without Bernie Madoff, and Bernie Madoff would have gone on just the same without the housing bubble. At any given time, there is a certain amount of garden variety financial fraud going on. It tends to emerge in financial crisis not because they're actually connected, but because falling asset values expose the con.
And yet these are the only people you've ever expressed any desire to punish in any way. Isn't ownership of a completely refurbished brownstone on 74th off the park punishment enough?
But I think the case needs to be a leetle bit tighter than the fact that bankers make stupid decisions, bankers get paid a lot, and we just had a financial crisis. I'd like to see someone make the case that they did things that were actively, knowingly, illegal and morally turpitudinous, rather than simply totally moronic. Because with the total moron thing, they had an awful lot of company.
Yeah, all these morons did was manage to personally enrich themselves while doing massive financial harm to millions of people, how could anyone think they knew what they were doing?
Dear David Bradley, can't you do better than this? You really think this is worth what you're paying? There are far better liars and cheerleaders for the rich in the world.

(ok, ok, quiet update in response to an email. yes, the [sic] in the title was intentional, but it's ok if you don't believe me, I'll make a genuine mistake soon enough.)

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I've been thinking of making a "worst of" post with a permanent link over in the left hand column, any suggestions?
Don't worry about it being too obvious to mention, I try my hardest to forget what Megan has written after mocking it.
Think spectacularly wrong and/or spectacularly shitty, like Dude, where's my recession or Jail the Jena 6.


Lots of suggestions, thanks all. My aim is a non-exhaustive list of the truly, unambiguously cringe worthy moments during our watch for relative newcomers to peruse. The 2x4 has to be mentioned despite predating us, of course, and I'm surprised no one has brought up "people who get something wrong therefore know more about the topic", yet. I'll take a week or two to build a list and throw up something preliminary for further input then.

More on Tyibee

Hooh, hoo, fun:

Megan McArdle (Replying to: NattyB) July 10, 2009 6:37 PM

As I say, I don't think that the message excuses incoherence on the details. I don't disagree that the banks need to be taken down about eighteen pegs. But I don't think that Taibbi's the man to do it. Or if he is, he's carefully hiding it.
To which I say:
Nutella on Toast (Replying to: Megan McArdle) July 12, 2009 2:48 PM

Cool, so how about making a single post about how they need to be taken down any pegs at all, let alone a dozen and a half.

Criticize them just once, place. I dare you.
God I wish that my back felt better so that I could go outside an play. Trawling for dumbass on the internet has gotten so dull. Is there any other place where the more fishermen there are, the larger everyone's catch is?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cottage Cheese

Not that I've been adding anything here recently, & there's no such thing as bad publicity (especially w/ a link) but

There’s an entire cottage industry dedicated to picking apart her posts and they do a pretty good job.
let's name some names here, people! Not merely FMM, but fellow cottage snark industrialist Susan of Texas.

At least this guy was kind enough to link.
Ted, here is a blog that chronicles McMegan’s insipidness.
Do read both the linked threads. Then no one here will have to waste time or keystrokes on the inspirational Megan posts.

Oh, we see it's been done. Have to do some catching up around here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Heh, Indeed

Megan says;

Megan McArdle (Replying to: Downpuppy) July 10, 2009 3:59 PM

Whether or not you agree with me, I am in fact required to get the details right in the pieces I publish in my magazine. There's no out for "truthiness".
Note the qualifier "in my[!] magazine". Not the blog, the magazine.
So there you have it, there is no requirement for Megan to get her facts right in her blog, by her own implicit admission. We all know this, but it's nice to have it confirmed.

And the comment just prior was a beaut, too;
Megan McArdle July 10, 2009 3:52 PM

I'm just not down with the idea that there's some sort of elusive "central point" to stories that permits you to write a bunch of total nonsense as long as the "central point" is good.
Well provoked and done, Downpuppy.

OMG. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

Funding Health Care With a Surtax
Little darling, it's been a long and stupid debate.

I'm afraid I gave the impression yesterday that I thought the fate of Manhattanites makes $200K+ was infinitely more tragic than the fate of single mothers making $20K.
Little darling, it seems like years since you made sense.
Not so.
Here comes the dumb.
The point wasn't that beleaguered Manhattanites are particularly worthy of our sympathy--though there really is a disconnect between the lifestyle being taxed in Manhattan and Omaha at similar levels of income.

Here comes the dumb.
Rather, it's that almost no one, including people who are quite affluent, seems to have realized that they're on the hook for the spending they support. Yet the more practical plans for funding Obama's expensive agenda involve things like a VAT, which will fall on the activists most enthusiastic about national health care. Yet none of the think tankers I know believes that they are undertaxed, or can easily spare 10% of their wages.

Why is that the most practical? Look at our current deficit. There's a reason that most countries do not attempt to fund large welfare states with a very progressive income tax, the way we do*.
She's so wrong, duh na na na na na na na na:

Wikipedia's info on French, Dutch and British tax rates. All of them are progressive. The only exception I could find was Sweden (maybe). Most other countries didn't have detailed info on their tax rates that I saw.

Also, obligatory mention of the fact that our top marginal rates used to be THREE TIMES HIGHER than they are now and we did not all die. SHOCKOLA.
Paying for a huge new entitlement which will, at best, grow steadily during downturns, should not be done with a tax that will plummet the way progressive income tax revenues seem to during a depression. See: California, State of.
Megan really loves to be ignorant of California. I find this hilarious. There are 8 million ways in which California is stupid but Megan can't correctly nail down one of them.

California is at war with itself and the referendum system has hamstrung the legislatures. I know I've mentioned this before so I'll just move on.
But at any rate, I was in no way trying to argue that it's unfair to raise taxes on wealthy people. Only that a) doing so seems to raise shockingly little revenue and b) fairly wealthy people seem to be getting a nasty surprise from this, and I expect that the surprises will get nastier as the administration is forced to dip into lower income quintiles who were told to expect a tax cut.
Her argument for why raising upper marginal tax rates is bad supposes that wealth mobility allows the wealthy to flee these tax rates, causing future economic losses. Her proof is that immediate increases garnered "only" $100,000,000,000. I predict that the sun will be up at midnight and offer as evidence that fact that it is up now.

Now, the asterisk. It's awesome.

* (Yes, yes, I know the liberals are squirming in their seats, waiting until they can tell me that it is a MORAL OUTRAGE that I called our system progressive. "Progressive" is a slippery term with many meanings, but in this case, I merely mean that our tax system collects a vastly disproportionate share of its income from the wealthier members of society. The individual income tax, which is the largest single source of revenue, collects 75% of its money from the top 10% of taxpayers. FICA is regressive in incidence, but still collects most of its income from the higher quintiles, for the unsurprising reason that higher quintiles have more income subject to the tax. Calculating corporate income tax incidence is functionally impossible, but one hopes it falls more heavily on the rich than the poor--if it doesn't, we ought to get rid of it.
I'm not sure what liberals get outraged over using the correct term for PART of our tax code. I think they might get mad about the parts that AREN'T progressive. Me, I'm more outraged that she uses bullshit numbers (75% comes from 10%! Wahhh! How much wealth does that 10% control, you disingenuous bitch?!?!). I get angry because she makes bullshit claims like that fucking FICA, which goes away above $100,000, is fucking progressive somehow. It drives me crazy that she totally ignores all of the tax shelters, incentives and other laws that make corporations better off than the humans of which they themselves are only a legal facsimile. Yeah, that kind of idiotic free-market cock sucking is what makes me morally outraged. I'm sure someone out there is cringing at the use of the word "progressive" though, and has absolutely no reason to do so. Megan was just using it's dictionary definition and inferring anything about her world view from her use (and vigorous, preemptive defense of said use) is something only poopy heads do.
"You are missing the point!!!" you want to say, but for this purpose I am not. I am not making a normative argument about the justice of American tax distribution. I am making a positive argument about the dependence of American tax revenue on the income of the upper quintiles.)
She still seems to be confused about the definition of the words "opinions" and "arguments." Opinions can be had for any reason, but arguments require evidence and precedent. Making shit up and referencing nothing does not constitute an argument. Talking about think tank people "I know" and imbuing them with such shallow idiocy that they don't know that health care will have to be paid for is called FUCKING BULLSHIT, not an argument.

Na na na. Na na na. Na na.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Looks like someone pissed someone else off with her review of Bruno.

That's the right link, but it won't get you anywhere. Still shows up in searches of Teh Atlantic Voices in Their Heads, though.

How many professional lapses does it take to get the tootsie roll center of a pink slip? Megan McArdle may never know.

h/t bulbul
Susan in comments here informs us of this from comments over there:

Megan McArdle (Replying to: Nimed) July 9, 2009 11:27 AM
I accidentally violated the embargo. It will be back up this evening.
I accidentally violated one of the most basic rules of the profession I purport to represent. My bad.

So Much for the Break

Megan has another question today:

So What About That Surtax?

A Democrat of my acquaintance, who makes something, but not a huge something, over $200,000 a year while living in Manhattan, was recently grousing to me about the surtax. "My taxes on a marginal dollar are going to go up almost 1000 basis points!" said he.

This is true, I agreed. And just what, I wondered, had he thought was going to happen if he elected Obama? Not clear. Our subject had listened to Obama talk about taxing people who made more than $250,000, which seemed entirely reasonable; he hadn't realized that being single, his tax hikes would start much lower than that--that he, too, was "the rich". Mentally speaking, the rich don't live in eight hundred moderately roach-infested square feet in an unfashionable neighborhood of New York.
Speaking of invidious comparisons, doesn't McHypocrite have a whole bunch of posts about people being stupid for living in NYC? Didn't she say once that people who advocated rent control were silly and "didn't have a god given right to a co-op in the city" or something quite similar? I'd give you a link, but we're blogging MM style.

I dunno, man, I grew up in central Jersey. It was a pretty awesome place to live, a popular commute was to the city, and my father's 100-200k a year was enough for a great 5 bedroom in a great neighborhood with great schools. It was walking distance to the train. I guess it pays to not be retarded.

Fuck, I know a waitress in NYC that is in a decent neighborhood and has more than 800sqft. It's called Brooklyn, Megan's stupid friend (or mythical taxicab driver), and it's not nearly as bad as it sounds.
A few readers emailed to ask me about the proposed 4% income tax surcharge on incomes over $250,000, and what I think is that this experience will eventually be renacted(for fuck's sake, woman, do you even KNOW what the red line under most of the words you type MEANS? -ed) down the income chain. What's really astonishing is how little money the thing is expected to raise: less than $100 billion a year over the next ten years. That's not even enough to cover the current static estimates of the health care plans on the table.
OMG, ONLY $100,000,000,000? That's a paltry 5% of all yearly healthcare costs FOR THE COUNTRY for a whopping 4% increase over the lowest top marginal tax rates that we've had in decades. WHAT WERE WE THINKING WITH THIS WHOLE IDEA OF PAYING FOR HEALTH INSURANCE FOR EVERYONE?!?!?!
Needless to say, I don't think the plan will cost as little as it is projected to, since virtually no US government health care plan in history ever has.
Love the two-fer here. Add the qualifier "US government" so that all the successful health care plans don't count and then provide no evidence for even her incredibly narrow claim.
Meanwhile, the gaping maw of Medicare opens ever-wider.
God I wish they still taught English majors the definition of a cliche.
Obama is going to have to push much farther down the income ladder to pay for it all,
If only he had thought to pay for things as he went, like some presidents that Megan voted for, supported for years and never criticizes in any real fashion.
This hardly dooms his electoral chances--my acquaintance remains a die-hard Democrat. But it sure won't be popular.
Megan's totally right. Rich Ordinary Joe's are going to be super pissed about slight tax increases to prevent poor people from living in squalor. They were all like "Obama's fairies will pay for health care" when they voted for him because they're stupid socialists who haven't read history like Megan totally has.

Best fact ever: The only numbers a quick googling can find for the total yearly cost of the Obama health care plan vary from 75-150 billion dollars. OMG! What will we do with the the adequate amount of money we have to pay for the very useful program????