Monday, March 31, 2008

Batting practice


Why not Justice League?:

[Peter Suderman]

Jeffrey Overstreet and Peter Chattaway are both dismayed by the rumor that Hayden Christensen, otherwise known as Stephen Glass, might play Superman in George Miller's upcoming Justice League film. In fact, they're more than dismayed. Chattaway wants the project to just go away entirely.

I'm not sure the casting Christensen, if confirmed, would be particularly good news, but I don't see why this project ought to be sunk. Yes, it's low on star power, but the first X-Men film showed you could make a fine superhero picture without any A-list performers. (Hugh Jackman, an unknown at the time, was catapulted to his current status by that film's success.) And I'd rather see something made rather than nothing at all. More than that, I'm just curious what would happen if you gave the director of Mad Max and The Road Warrior $100 million and said "Go make a superhero movie!" Sure, it might be terrible; but it might not be either -- directors who start doing gonzo, low-budget genre films have a history of coming through on big-budget projects. Just look what happened when the guy behind Army of Darkness was put in charge of Spider-Man. Miller's got a great eye for action and archetypal characters (Max was essentially a comic book anti-hero). I see no reason not to give him the chance on this one.
Peter? Jeff Albertson thinks you need a life.

He'll get it. Hint: Android's Dungeon.

Doing our job for us

Tim Lambert at Deltoid shows why we don't bother to take Megan's work seriously here. She doesn't even understand how the Iraq Body count works.
Also worth a look is Lambert's take on Megan's prior annual attempt to discredit the Lancet studies, The macaroni and cheese argument. Oh, how I wish she'd use that argument again.

In a similar vein, occasional FMM visitor, and partial creator of the shorter format, D-Squared has a couple great posts on how monumentally stupid, and intellectually dishonest, Megan genuinely is.

(h/t LGM)

I need to stop looking in the mirror.

"I recall reading an interview with a film critic (which I’m unfortunately unable to find) who said that, for all practical purposes, he now considers himself a citizen of the web."

Says one of our guest bloggers.

People actually CHOOSE to live on the internet? My god, I rue every second I spend treating this place seriously. I really am starting to feel sorry for these shit-wads.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The face of Hell

At this very moment, George Bush is sitting in the broadcast booth with Joe Morgan on Sunday Night Baseball.
I'd tell you what they're talking about but I'd rather hear Megan sing Radiohead songs than watch or listen to this.
FJM just got a lot of emails, that's for sure.


Motherfucker. He stayed after the commercial break. Bush is just hanging out. The President of the fucking United goddamn States is chillin with the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball crew. I'm trying to watch baseball, you assholes. Joe Morgan is bad enough. Next they'll call up Camille Paglia.

He stayed through a second commercial break. I can't even mute it, they keep showing the shit eating twins grinning at each other in the booth.
This is proof God does not exist.

Definitely cut from the same cloth

Well, I'd add this as an update but apparently I'm not allowed so it gets its own post.

Suderman tells us a little about himself, but before that he gives us some trenchant social analysis:

Introductions are inherently awkward, even in the very best circumstances. How does one decide what to say about him or herself without sounding pretentious, obtuse, doltish, obsessive, or just dull? And how do you then say whatever you’ve just decided on in such a way that doesn’t give away the fact that you’ve given it a good bit of thought? It’s like that great Michael Cera line in Juno, “Actually, I try really hard.” Yes, but you’re never supposed to let on!

On the other hand, introductions are also an integral part of most important social activities — business, friendship, house parties. Barring any strong Unabomberesque proclivities, you’ll have a rough time in life without introductions. And since Megan has asked us to make them, I feel obliged. So here are a few informational tidbits. (Feel free to use them as talking points.)

Still there? Yeah, I fell asleep, too. While I slept, I had a nightmare that someone with a pretentious and boring writing style was lecturing me on some trite observation of face to face interaction that everyone has already come to on their own and trying to apply it to blogging.

I woke up screaming. I looked at my screen and started screaming some more. It was fucking horrifying.

In his next post, the douchebag shows us how brilliant he is by pointing out that the internet is new. He then speaks of how old media are like nobles and new media are like serfs. Self aggrandizing much? Of course, that doesn't make sense at all because serfs were taken out of bondage and given equal rights, whereas new media didn't exist, and now does. that's like drawing an analogy between discovering the new world and abolishing slavery, ie FUCKING RETARDED.

Oh lord, two posts in and I'm already cursing in all capital letters. This is going to be a strenuous 5 days.

I never thought I'd say this, but I miss Megan.


Oh yeah, and I'd comment on this Drezner fellow, but I've used up all my "you're not funny jokes" on McDrole, so he gets a by.

Fire these other guys

Megan is giving us a semi-vacation.

I head off to the airport at an absurdly early hour tomorrow, leaving you in the hands of my extremely capable guest-bloggers: Daniel Drezner, Peter Suderman, Mindles H. Dreck, Jon Henke, and new blogger Tristan Reed. I'm going to be trying a brand new experiment: unplugging from the internet for an entire five days.
Daniel Drezner is the guy whose work Megan cuts and pastes when she doesn't feel like working. We already know Dreck, Megan's old partner at Jane Galt. Henke is, according to Wikipedia,
an American political blogger. Currently, Henke serves as the New Media Director for the Republican Communications Office (an office of the Senate Republican caucus under the leadership of United States Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) ).

Henke [is] a proponent of the modern American political philosophy of neolibertarianism...
During the 2006 Senate Election campaign, Henke served as Netroots Coordinator for George Allen. Henke also has 11 years of experience in talk radio.
so, let's just get it out now. MACACA MACACA MACACA MACACA.
Tristan Reed is
a fourth-year economics major with a minor in mathematics. This year, he is an Undergraduate Research Scholar in the College of Letters of Sciences
according to his bio at UCLA's Daily Bruin, where you can read some of his work, if you care more about it than I do.

Careful readers will note I skipped Peter Suderman, because he's already provided introductions.
• I contribute semi-regularly to a number of blogs, most notably The American Scene.
• I review movies for NRO.
• My favorite song this week is “Nylon Smile,” which can be found on the excellent new Portishead album, Third.
• I’m an editor of Doublethink, which not too long ago profiled this blog’s proprietor.
• I am an unabashed D.C. partisan, and as far as city rivalries go, I think of New York more or less the way a Texas A&M fan thinks of UT.
• John McCain reminds me of Worf.
in other words... Dear co-bloggers at FMM, I dibs Suderman this week.

Random unanswered questions; are these guys getting paid, ifso, by whom, and how does Megan continue to find new ways to sully the once proud name of The Atlantic such as giving the NRO's movie critic the ability to blog under its name?
FFS, he already has a post up asking what Tocqueville can teach us about the web.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Bob Odenkirk: "There will be a tv show."

David and I wrote it. We're casting it now. We'll be shooting it on May 9 at a studio with a LIVE audience.
It will be on HBO, meaning there will be cursing.

Now bring back Bill Hicks.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Shorter MM: It'd be a lot easier for me to keep defending Wal-Mart if they didn't keep doing this stuff that makes people with a conscience wanna barf.

A response

Megan thinks we're not funny (see update), and is trying to lay down some rules.

I'll do what you say, Megan, if you admit you are nothing more than a conservative and discontinue disingenuous attempts to discredit and slander your ideological opponents, discontinue your own attempts at humor, admit that enabling corporate misbehavior is something you see as a positive for your career prospects and discontinue doing so, and apologize for being a horrible narcissist.

Also, if you quit your job and never blog again, then I'll definitely stop.


I shouldn't blog in the early morning. That link above should be to this. Doy. Now this post will be coherent. I made a mistake, I apologize.
(See how it's done, Megan?)

Kill 'em with boredom

I can't be creative in response to the body count article. It's just another one of Megan's tours through why everyone else is fallible. It also features this

Witness the Johns Hopkins team’s critics, who triumphantly waved the WHO results at their opponents. But even if “only” 150,000 people have been killed by violence in Iraq, that’s a damn high price. Conversely, few of the study’s supporters expressed much pleasure at the news that an extra 450,000 people might be walking around in Iraq. After a year and a half of bitter argument, all that anyone seemed interested in was proving they had been right. In counting, we somehow lost track of the mountain of dead bodies piling up beneath our numbers.
"extra 450,000". Yeah, that's the right way to look at it, asshole.
Oh, and Megan? I remember this, as do all the rest of your readers. You're the kind of person who, back in high school and college, would get something wrong, then loudly question how anyone could make that mistake a year later.

Then there's this, which can be shortened to "Yeah, it was a shitty article, I know."

Megan has not had a good week.

The following people hate women

Tbogg: The Atlantic Prison Experiment

Roy Edroso: Whoops! Back to the slaughtering board!

Brad Delong: Stupidest Woman Alive Nomination: Megan McArdle
(As blake notes in the comments to the post just below, Delong is in Megan's blogroll. Me likey.)

Thers: Roll Out the Pain Killers

Hilzoy: "Seriously Misguided"

IOZ: The Evidence of Absence

I'm sure there's more objectively misogynist bloggers out there, feel free to share the links. A look at the body count article remains on deck.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Everybody has to die of something

Iraq Body Count: Introduction:

In some sense, I don't think knowing the number matters. The lower bounds of reasonable estimates are still high enough to make me think our involvement in Iraq was a bad idea, especially when considered in conjunction with the various other problems we know about, like the attacks on key infrastructure and the refugee crisis. So debating whether the number is 100,000 or an order of magnitude higher than that doesn't change my basic assessment of the situation.
As to whether it matters to the up to half million or so Iraqis who might also have died, or to their family and friends, well... they need to email Megan and include some kind of proof of their loss, like before and after shots pictures of the corpse. Besides, Megan did a bunch of research from her place in DC. She's now an expert, so shut up. (Delete THAT, Megan. Hah. I win.)

Iraq Body Count: Why is it so hard to count, anyway?: Because girls are bad at math.

Oh, she meant to count the Iraqi dead. If you can't figure that one out for yourself, you're a regular reader of Megan's work, non-masochistic division, so she's probably showing good awareness of her audience with this post, at least.

The article is short enough I'll deal with it later. I'd be surprised if there's anything new in it. Her conclusion will be "it's impossible to know the number for sure, but the Lancet is definitely wrong".

Happy, happy, joy, joy

Oh, man, I got some sleep, Megan appears to have redrawn into a tight ball of self-loathing (yet she still troopers on), and it's a beautiful out. Today looks to be a great improvement. Sorry about yesterday. Hopefully the frantic ravings of a sleep deprived lunatic amused you. If not, tough shit. Don't get uppity with me or I'll break out the f-bomb again.

Anyway, here's some cat porn for ya: Samus with one of her favorite toys. She freaks out with these things, but there's not cat nip in them or anything like that. I don't know what her deal is. Enjoy!

How do we not have a "Cat Porn" label until now? Baffling...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mah hole

Can you dig it?

Time for some shorters, tho some may run long.

Are you talking to me?: Yes, we are. Now read the comment Nutella posted. Freddie is allowed to speak for the rest of us.

Anger Management:

Once more into the breach, and then I will go back to more pleasant topics, like how we know how many people have died in Iraq (answer: we don't. But that's a long story.)
Megan is never too angry to make jokes about death counts. What a trooper.
Obviously, I have a temper. I am slow to anger, but once roused, I as well as anyone know the delights of unloading one's accumulated venom on richly deserving targets. It is not my most attractive quality, and I do strive to control it, but there you are; one does not achieve perfection in this vale of tears. My only defense is that I almost never direct my verbal ire at anyone who has not put in hours of solid work being nasty, rude, and otherwise intolerable.
Megan, Megan, Megan. It really doesn't take that long to be harsh to you.
There is a culture on the internet that prevails in certain areas of both the right and left blogosphere, of using insults and incredulity as a substitute for thought. Sadly, the assumption in both corners is that the reason the people they are provoking do not respond in kind is that they are simply not bright enough to muster the devastating weapons of personal rudeness and sarcasm to their side. It is thus useful and more than a little satisfying to occasionally demonstrate that no, the politer quarters aren't forgoing these things because we can't, but because they're both counterproductive, and not quite nice. All right, maybe more satisfying than useful. As I say, I have a temper. Also, if I do say so myself, I'm rather a dab hand at sarcasm, and it's a pity to have a skill one can't use.
Shouldn't you at least say your mom thinks you're smart and pretty Megan? This whole thing is kinda about how your opinion can be monstrously wrong.
Well, now that I've gone through the exercise and thoroughly expelled the remaining poison from my mandibular venom sacs, I do want to say something seriously to both sides: the anger is making things much, much, much, much worse.

I don't want to hear about who started it. Believe me, in 2003 many on both sides were acting like complete . . . well, I can't say what they were acting like, because this is a family blog. But you know what I would say, if I weren't a lady. Neither side's manners have improved noticeably since then. The very same people who were calling names and accusing those who disagreed with them of stupidity, poor judgement, immorality, and bad faith, are still saying exactly the same things. I'm now on the receiving end of all of it, so don't try to tell me that your side doesn't bear part of the blame.
Now she's going to lecture us. Oh, boy.
War supporters: in November, it is extremely likely Barack Obama is going to win the presidency. If you continue to respond to the war's critics with "lalalalalalalala I can't HEAR you!", you are going to be completely shut out of the discussion come November. Demanding, incredulously, of me or anyone else, whether we seriously think it would have been better to leave a murderous dictator in place is not going to help. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 125,000 to 150,000 Iraqis have died since we invaded, each of whose heart beat and eyes blinked and minds dreamed as yours do right now staring at this computer screen.
Actually, I got enough waspy passive aggression growing up on the fringes of New England, and this thing just keeps going and going and... Besides, it's mostly a recap of her comments in the "Note to opponents of the war" post, minus the Althousian personal attacks at Rea. Megan projecting blame for the effects of her faults isn't worth further attention.

A method to my madness:
One thing that I didn't make sufficiently clear--for which I, yes, apologize--is that I'm making a methodological argument about learning, not a play to exclude war opponents from the nation's op-ed pages and blog comments sections.
Once they apologize for having been right, that is.
Obviously, there are people who were right about the war for the right reasons, and we should examine what their thought process was--not merely the conclusions they came to, but how they got there. Other peoples' opposition was animated by principles that may be right, but aren't really very helpful: the pacifists, the isolationists, the reflexive opponents of Republicans or the US military. Within the limits on foreign policy in a hegemonic power, these just aren't particularly useful, again, regardless of whether you are metaphysically correct.
Sure, you might have been right, but you were probably just a hippy. A mean hippy.
"It won't work" is the easiest prediction to get right; almost nothing does.
On the other hand, "I thought it would work for X reason", when it didn't work, is, I think, a lesson you can carry into both decisions about what to do, and what not to do.
I agree, and like to test birth control methods the same way.

Whither Iraq?:
A friend asked me today what I thought we should do in Iraq. Answer: I think at this point we have a moral obligation to do whatever is best for the Iraqis. I have no idea what that is.
See how much you can learn from your mistakes?

Doing Our Job for Us

Megan's latest self-insult:

Failure, and how societies handle it, is a topic that I happen to be deeply interested in, so I've done a fair amount of research on it.
The only research Megan admits to is being a complete embarrassment.

Would you like to hear my poem?

I'd continue this 'debate'

but it's the first day of spring outside.
I just came back in to smoke some marijuana and have a little late lunch. I'll point and laugh at Megan digging a deeper hole later.

I feel like the cop in the movie that's about to retire and then there's this really important case that pops up...

I can't help it. She is so mindfuckingly infuriating. She, and all her fucking co-war cohorts, fucked up huge and got almost all of America to go along with her. Now, she looks back on the smoldering shit pile she helped create and says "well, what have we all learned today, children?" with a smug air of infallibility, and only ever so faintly veneered loathing for those of us who manged to come down from 9/11 mania before Bush started showing everyone his raging hard on for Iraq. Fuck you so fucking hard, Megan. there's no point in saying anyhting else. I don't care where I'm sending the discourse and how juevenille it seems. The only thing the words can do anymore is serve as a vent for my thoroughly deserved, self-righteous anger. you want some fucking eloquence? I give you Freddie, from the comments. He's a less disallusioned and far stronger man than I (see, some of us can admit our mistakes even while we make them without bullshit ass qualifications. Yes, my patience is completely into the negative and my desire to even pretend to approach this with any kind of respect or intelligence is out the window. I know I'll regret this post tomorrow but I don't give a fuck. I just want to type the word "fuck" at you until my fingers bleed. FUCK FUCK FUCKITY YOU TYOU GFUCKING FUCKITY STUPID FUCKING FUCKITY WHORE. FUCK YOUR FUCKITY SELF IN THE FUCKING FUCKITY ASS WITH SOMETHING MORE PAINFULLY FUCKING SHAPED THAN THE FUCKING FUCKITIEST PAINFULLY FUCKING SHAPED OBJECT ONT HE FUCKING FUCKITY FACE OF THE FUCKITY PLANET.) Any typos in this post can be deleted and replaced with the word fuck, for clarity:

Look, I'll make this simple: saying things like "I am not a senior member of the Bush administration"

or "Even if I felt moved to apologize for the unmannered as if I were their mother, it wouldn't make you feel any better, because all the people you actually argued with would remain unrepentant."

or "I do not claim that the McArdles are totally above sacking the city, sowing the fields with salt, and leaving the bleached white skulls piled up at the gate as a warning to others."

or "But I am mostly mistaken for a fourteen-year-old boy, not the 70-year-old architect of our Iraq War strategy."

-- these statements have one purpose. And that is to make a joke of what you're saying. You say that of course you weep for the people killed and blah blah blah, but what possible reader could believe that this is anything other than an exercise in belittling and mockery? This is why people are angry with you, because you are making a (multiple post) show of apologizing while making it abundantly clear that you aren't. I mean, this:

If you want to be congratulated on getting it right on Iraq: congratulations.

is explicitly denigrating the people who you are ostensibly saying got it right. You are saying that war opponents are more interested in getting credit than in doing right. And this:

But if you had to pick only one, listen to the one who went wrong. They're far more likely to be able to accurately pinpoint their errors than the opponents are to usefully identify their strengths.

explicitly says that we should continue to ignore war opponents, as they were ignored before the war, because... what? War supporters have the lesson of getting it wrong? We've all had to learn that lesson thank you. But of course, the only operative point is that no matter how many times they get it right, principled war supporters cannot be listened to on foreign policy, because they aren't Very Serious.

The reason all of this matters is because it was precisely this kind of "politics of personality" that got us into this mess in the first place. You claim that you got it wrong because of bad information. But I suspect that isn't true. I suspect that, like so many others, you wanted to distance yourself from the weak-willed pacifists you made out war supporters to be. I suspect that you enjoyed the thrill of mocking "paleoliberals" and the old guard of the left. I suspect that information had nothing to do with it; I suspect that personality did. And thats what makes your continued, unapologetic mocking of the anti-war side so dangerous. Because it simply continues the cycle of the politics of resentment.

The fact is you know why people are mad, and when you write a post like this you know what you're doing. No one with a better than 3rd grade reading level could mistake this for anything other than derogatory towards the anti-war side. Can you really deny that, Megan? Can you read this back and claim it doesn't continue to treat war opponents as a joke? This post has a non-apology, a catalog of the reasons you were right to get it wrong, finger-wagging at those who criticize you, and the assertion that even now its best to trust those who failed so utterly to predict what would happen in Iraq.

And, for all that, you seem to expect sympathy. Sorry. I don't tolerate backhanded apologies from children and I won't from you.

Come for the 2x4 jokes, stay for the high minded discourse

In the comments section of her latest threat of censorship:

I do not concede that profanity and name-calling are vital parts of the public discourse; if you require them in order to have a good discussion, then this probably isn't the blog for you.
I do not concede that you are not a fucking retarded bitch who needs to have her head examined so we can figure out "what mistakes were made" in creating such an awful, empahtyless, egotistical steaming pile of dogshit.

Couple other things I want to point out to our gargantuan mistress:

1) Just because you don't say "ass" doesn't make you civil

2) Being in your thirties and claiming to not know just how big a 2x4 is, is REALLY FUCKING STUPID

3) Saying a blog is a "family blog" doesn't mean there is reason not to curse there. Most of my family is already innured to the effects of the f-word, because we don't live in the clouds. If your family is of the age for when such an expression is inappropriate, they're smarter than to read your drivel.

4) Saying that you have a high IQ does not shield you from being called a moron. Smart people are morons all the fucking time. GW got a 12 or 1300ish on the SATs before they were recentered, which puts him in the 80th percentile at least, I'm sure. If you operate based on bias rather than reasoning, you're still a moron even if you can suck yourway through an MBA program at UChicago. (I'm getting fed up. I'm going there again).

5)Finally, and this is for all the libertarians out there, when you have the solution before you know the problem.. YOU'RE A FUCKING MORON

Solution: Less government interference
Problem: Coal miners are forcing 12 year old immigrants to work 3,000 hour weeks

Solution: Less government interference
Problem: My wife is sleeping around

Solution: Less government interference
Problem: A financial crisis similar to what caused the great depression is pending due to the banking sector's ability to find end-arounds for the regulations put in place to prevent future occ... oh fuck it.

Be nice to me or I'll kill again

Now that Megan's faux mea-culpa, which only mentioned being empirically wrong about the claims being used to justify the war as a way of saying it was Saddam who fooled her, is out of the way, let's get to her "Note to opponents of the war". (Warning, long ass post ahead.)

Want to know why people won't come out and say they were wrong? This is why. If you are obnoxious to people who admit you were right, you guarantee that doing so is one mistake they will never make again.
I'm not sure what she thinks linking to the post I just covered proves in this case. It seems as if maybe she was looking for a post where she passive aggressively blames the left for being dirty and hairy and smelly and all uppity for having been correct in the most important test of political judgment in a generation. I'm not going to look for it for her, but I think we all know it must exist.
Anyhow, that little note is just the beginning. Next comes
Update To everyone who asked "Why would the behavior of the people you're arguing with matter?" I can only respond: so what have you learned during your visit to our planet?

I have no particular interest in the opinions of my harsher critics on this topic; the only interesting criticisms of my thought process so far have been made by me. But surely you have noticed that America has now hardened into two opposing camps who are often less interested in getting the right answer than in sticking it to the people on the other side? Both sides are guilty of this, and I wish it would stop, because this isn't improving matters in Iraq. Indeed, if you want us to stay there for another hundred years or so, the best way to do it is to completely alienate the moderates.
Every time I say "fuck you", an Iraqi gets shot. Megan is trying to help improve things now, by minimizing the number of reported human lives lost in the war and reflexively supporting anything the military command says. It's those of us who opposed the war from the beginning who are the real impediments to progress now, umm, cuz we're vulgar. And rude.
I am not immune to the charms of unleashing your fiery sense of righteousness upon the sinners of the world, but I try to limit my outbursts to largely lost causes. If I were that sure that I was a foreign policy genius, I would probably try to avoid doing things that manufacture more McCain voters.
Now I'm costing Obama the election. Please, kill me before I kill again. I can't stop.
Something else to keep in mind is that unless you are planning to die soon, you are going to get some major policy question badly wrong in the future, because no one is as smart as some of the war opponents have decided they must be. And every word that you type mocking the repentant supporters of the war will, I guarantee, be hauled up and thrown in your face. It is best not to fling calumny about other peoples' decisions unless you are very confident that you will be able to bat a thousand for the next forty years or so.
Know what I do when I get something wrong, Megan? I admit the mistake to myself, and any wronged parties, and try to learn how not to make the same mistake again. I don't blame the mistake on folk who inspire pangs of guilt in me for it, perhaps by not having made that same mistake. In fact, I might just inquire as to why those folk didn't make the mistake I did. Might just teach me something.
Now, I could waste time explaining to Megan that the folk who got it right were largely called traitors and worse in public for about... 3 years from 2002-5, give or take 6 months, and that that would make anyone testy, but Megan only fully participated in that with shit like the 2x4 crack, it's not relevant.
If there's one thing life has taught me, it's that when you fuck up, it's on the people who didn't fuck up with you to apologize for that and wait for you to show them why they got it right. It's only natural.
But wait, it doesn't end there. Megan is in the comments on this one, and some of her words are just too peachy keen to not note. First, a response to Nutella (I'm not going to link the comments, just include the time if for some bizarre reason someone wants to look them up.)
I didn't say they'd only been made by me; I said that so far, my critics haven't come up with anything I haven't said to myself, many times.
11:57 AM
Dude. Megan is telepathic. She knows what we did last summer.
Well, I can hardly apologize for the dirty hippy calumny, because in 2003, I was saying that both sides should be civil to each other, rather than accusing the others of being venal morons. On that, I haven't changed my mind and that's because I was right.
12:06 PM
And in 2002, mrgphfurcking 2x4s....
Now some meat
Thoreau, I'm not quite sure what any of the critics in these threads want, except perhaps a full throated grovel where I roll about on the floor and take personal responsibility for every one of the Iraqis who died, while proclaiming that I grievously wronged each of the commenters, personally.
(As an aside, Thoreau and liberalrob and newcomer, to me, rea, all deserve credit for fighting the good fight in this thread, tho I'll admit I mostly just scanned it for Megan's contributions.) Now then, Megan, I don't want an apology. I haven't been harmed, I'm not an Iraqi or a vet or the family of one. I want you, and your ilk, to stop acting as if being wrong was right, and that your mistake should be learned from instead of the reasoning which led a good number of us to get it right. John Cole has the strength of character to have the humility to do this, but most of you follow in Yglesias's footsteps and say, "well, at least I wasn't a DFH." Yeah, our extreme elements aren't always pretty. Jesus Camp is better? Conflating millions of people with token stereotypes of vegan patchouli wearing dreadlocked phish fans is just lazy, but if anyone gets upset with this they're automatically in the wrong. Manners, people. But I digress..
It seems to me that the only worthwhile thing to do with the current disaster in Iraq is to figure out how not to do that again. The way to do that is to look at the decision process that led to it. And decisions consist of forumulating hypotheses, and then acting on them. And then, hopefully, examining your actions to see whether your hypothesis was right.

I don't view this as an intellectual excercise. But you seem to have me confused with Jesus. I don't have the power to cause Iraqis to rise from the dead through my repentance; if I did, you can be sure that I would repent as thoroughly as required. In fact, I am immensely saddened that I supported a war that has caused all this destruction. But my actual contribution to the deaths of those Iraqis was extremely marginal, since I did not have any decision-making or even opinion-making power. I did not engage in the various name-calling and well-poisoning activities that y'all are taxing me for. I am not willing to be the target of your rage merely because no one else will listen.
Ok, credit where it's due, that made me laugh, hard. Megan, you can be funny, very, very rarely.
I think that figuring out what went wrong in Iraq is so important that it surpasses even the need of those who opposed the war to believe that anyone with two brain cells to rub together and an ounce of moral fiber would have come to exactly the same conclusion they did. I understand the frustration at arguing with the war's nastier supporters. But the insane arrogance displayed in these threads, wherein everyone congratulates themselves that there was no uncertainty, just blind malice and stupidity on the part of the war supporters, just sets us up for some equally catastrophic failure elsewhere.
Ladies and gentleman, we have a first. On March 25th, 2008 at 5:37 PM, Megan McArdle found something that is not about her. When I said a few posts ago that people I'm close to were wrong about the war, I meant to say I view them as blindly malicious, stupid people who wanted brown people to die. (Of course, those relative few I knew who did have all taken the Cole route since.)
That is, after all, how the neocons got where they were--by observing the colossal fuck-ups of people who disagreed with them, and concluding therefrom that they must be infallible. Since they never actually tested any of their counterfactuals, they grew more arrogant with each of their opponent's mistakes, and hello, Iraq. I think many of those who opposed the war are taking a dangerously wrongheaded lesson from its aftermath.
5:37 PM
*sigh* Well, at least she didn't Godwin us. Not quite done, I know it's hard but y'gotta see this.
Rea, first of all, if you'll go back and read that post, instead of what other people wrote about it, you'll see that it was a joking comment about violent response to people who were protesting with violence. Protesting, mind you, the WTO, not the war. It was in no way a call for people to beat up peaceful protesters. I think protests are pointless, but the right to have them is a precious civil liberty. Also, I have been a peaceful protester who almost got hit in the head, so I have a particular sensitivity to this danger. I think people who behave violently should be violently restrained, but not with a 2X4, which sounded smaller than it turned out to be.
Y'know, that's almost a good job of ass covering, even with the final touch too far. Except, well, for this.
And I think some in New York are going to laugh even harder when they try to unleash some civil disobedience, Lenin style, and some New Yorker who understands the horrors of war all too well picks up a two-by-four and teaches them how very effective violence can be when it's applied in a firm, pre-emptive manner. [Emphasis in original]
(Side note, if you have trouble accessing that link, you're not alone. I had to use a proxy, plus it appears to have been scrubbed from the monthly archives at jane galt, tho this piece of quality work remains.) Returning to the topic at hand, Megan might have a point in her self-defense if not for the emphatic "pre-emptive".
Second of all, I wasn't incivil. I am not going to apologize on behalf of those who were--any more than I expect you to apologize for the people who called me a fascist and worse. The delusion that they are the only ones who were called names during the run-up to the war is one of the more inexplicable plaints of the war opponents, particularly the ones who themselves called me names. (You know who you are--or ought to.) The incivility was a process, not a universal victimization of war opponents as "dirty hippies", a phrase I never would have used because I am a hippie.

Ok, I'm back. Sorry about that, but it had to be done. Where were we?
Third of all, if you think that a) I was actually calling for us to invade France and b) that if I did call for us to invade France, this would actually have any consequences (other than making me a laughingstock)--well, I'm certainly not going to concede that your mental powers are better than mine.

Fourth of all, the irony impairment on both threads is amazing. The title of that post was a joke--at the expense of weaselly "I wasn't really wrong" people. The comment about France was a joke--at the expense of the crazier war supporters. You are firing on your own side.
Just for the record, Megan, when I say "fuck you", I don't mean that's something I'd like to do. I prefer not going there, but apparently it needs to be made obvious.
Rea goes on to do a good job of irking Megan and causing an Althousian tantrum, but I can't go on, and I doubt too many of you made it all the way through this, either.
I'm going to sleep now.

I admit it

I caused all the evils in the world by swearing at Megan for having supported the war and physical abuse of those who opposed it. If I hadn't said "fuck you", Megan might not have agreed with causing the pointless deaths of hundreds of thousands. My bad.
But, before we get my responsibility for Megan's mistakes, let's see what she has to say of her errors on the war.

1) I lost my normal scepticism about the government's ability to make things better. This is not a "I trusted Bush too much"; perhaps the Bush administration is really the reason that everything went wrong, but I am not in a position to evaluate that. I simply forgot to be skeptical that we could build a functioning nation in Iraq.
"... not in a position". Why not? Does The Atlantic not pay well enough to tackle controversial issues like the relative competency of the Bush Admin?
Also, the primary mistake was not supporting an action which has led to nothing but loss of life and money based on faulty premises which were demonstrably false at the time, it was believing in big gubbermint. Yep, lesson learned.
She continues
2) I paid too little attention to how the Iraqis would feel.
M. covered this well, but I gotta add that this not an error so much as concrete proof of Megan's abject stupidity. She forgot to consider that people might not like being invaded by a country dominated by a rival religion whose intentions are probably more related to the invaded nation's massive oil reserves than any altruistic concern for the actual welfare of its citizens. Oops. She forgot to get milk, too. Next?
3) I overestimated my ability to interpret Saddam's behavior. I genuinely believed that he had WMD--the main reason I favored invasion--because he was acting exactly like I would if I'd had WMD.
I.... my brain hurts.
4) I forgot that institutions matter. The experience of Eastern Europe after the fall of the Iron Curtain revolutionized our thinking about markets. We used to think that they were the natural occupant of any space left free by the government. Now it turns out that they are supported by a dense network of custom and law that is largely invisible to us for the same reason that you can't tell someone how to ride a bike.
How to ride a bike. 1. Sit on it. 2. kick the kickstand up. 3. place your feet on the pedals. 4. maintain your balance. (Steps 2-4 need to be performed in rapid succession.) 5. pump your legs to move the pedals. 6. move forward. 7. steer. I guess I'm special.
5) I failed to consider who would come after Saddam.
Because you are clinically retarded.
6) I paid too much attention to the French. While in general, "Whatever France is doing, don't do that" is very good policy advice, it is not actually true that everything the French oppose is therefore a good idea.
Well, at least you were wrong because you carefully considered a critical topic based on mature, rational, well-informed premises.
7) I fell prey to the notion that we had to do something about Islamic terrorism. This was something. In retrospect, there were many better somethings to do. For example, we could have invaded France.
My response.

I'll be back with a second post before I go to bed tonight, but breaktime. We come next to her monumental piece, a new companion to "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", "Note to opponents of the war".

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Just Plain Reprehensible

When I started typing here at FMMcM, I sometimes thought that our founder, brad, was being a bit too harsh on our target. The longer I dare to dip my toe into the fetid waters of Lake McArdle, though...

So I moved to a city where the income distribution is flatter, there to bring much hilarity to my liberal friends who do not seem to understand that I can find income inequality aesthetically displeasing without wishing to make a law against it. To be sure, if America's income distribution looked like Manhattan's, even I would think that there was a problem. But despite--or perhaps because of--having grown up there, I do not think there is a civil right to live in Manhattan, nor find it particularly troublesome that 36 square miles of real estate have gotten awfully pricy [sic].
"Aesthetically displeasing?" Christ on a crutch, we're talking human lives here, not aesthetics! How about a civil right to make enough money to survive, or to better oneself, or at least to better the lives of one's children? How about the chance to live w/in a reasonable distance of wherever one must work, so that one might have more influence on one's children on a daily basis than merely tucking them into bed?

And just one extreme comment from one hell of an asshole:

The real lesson here is that you chose horrible careers. You are not remotely adding the value that you could to society and should really look to maximize the value you provide so that you can live the life that you want. Getting priced out is a big flaming sign that your values are out of whack with the larger population and you either need to accept poverty or shape up and get your act together. It's sad that Megan isn't getting her act together, as I do still like her, but it makes me happy to see Kate's tears.

As to journalists not pricing people out. HA. Compared to the welfare queens, crack-hos, and the janitors that used to makeup the population of "trendy" DC neighborhoods, politicians and journalists are even richer than i-bankers vs journalists. What will hopefully happen is all the whiners will be forced to move to Detroit or Haiti for their failures and wallowing in leftist politics.

Note the clever equation of "welfare queens," crack-hos, & janitors. Any idea what color the commenter imagines all these people to be?

I repeat this part, because it sounds more like "leftist" centralized planning & Soviet Russia than anything I've heard lately:

You are not remotely adding the value that you could to society and should really look to maximize the value you provide so that you can live the life that you want. Getting priced out is a big flaming sign that your values are out of whack with the larger population and you either need to accept poverty or shape up and get your act together.
These people are the absolute scum of the earth.

The Kind One Drinks?

Hope I'm not stepping on the toes of the other contributing editors here, but this cannot go unremarked:

2) I paid too little attention to how the Iraqis would feel. Despite my core belief that I live in the best country in the entire world, I'm basically a cosmopolitan. I should have realized that the Iraqis would find it humiliating to be conquered by an outside power, even one that was (as we are) one of the best-meaning occupiers in human history.
This is the sort of thing one would expect from Britney Spears, for gawd's sake. "He's our president so we should respect him."

Can any resident of This Great Nation of Ours™ really look around & think: "We live in the bestest country in the whole wide world, ever?"

And then claim to be "cosmopolitan?" So "cosmopolitan" that nothing but the "well-meaning" desires of Americans are all that matter? No occupation can be well-meant.

Ms. McArdle, maybe the person who stole your bicycle a few mos. ago had the very best intentions, after you published those shots of your road rash, of protecting you from yourself, but you surely didn't interpret it that way did you? Why would the Iraqis be any different?

Basically a "cosmopolitan?" Basically an appletini, more like it.

Placeholder post

Megan proved, once again, that she reads us. I'll respond to her totally not in response to me posts sometime tonight, perhaps late. I have a presentation to give in a couple hours and I'm only finishing my script for it now. Reality must always be prioritized, especially when I put it off till the last minute.
In my defense, it's for a class I'm unofficially auditing, with a prof I've had many, many classes with, and it's on Nietzsche and an essay I've read several dozen times. Not exactly a high pressure situation, tho I really should shut up here and get it done.

That's it, Megan, feel the narcissist flowing through you.

I have no particular interest in the opinions of my harsher critics on this topic; the only interesting criticisms of my thought process so far have been made by me.

Off topic

Robot Chicken on Adult Swim is the most godawful piece of crap this side of Carlos Mencia. There's no joke too easy or too obvious for it to make, and while that sells, I guess, it's not funny if you can see it coming from two time slots away. Kevin Costner movies have more subtlety and creativity.

Please, come back to us Tad Ghostal. And bring Brak with you.

(Tim and Eric do make Awesome Show, Great Job!, tho.)

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Megan mea culpa?

That's unpossible.
Which is to say it didn't happen. She decided to visit the topic of Slate's "Why did we get it wrong?" series, but not in the way you'd expect. This is not Megan saying why she got it wrong, maybe finding a chance to apologize for the 2x4 crack about people who understood the situation better than she did. Instead, it's all depersonalized, as if the people who got the war wrong are bacteria specimens being studied with a microscope. But the underlying idea is clear; just because she was wrong doesn't mean she can't still lecture about the topic. Y'know, like Cheney.

The universe being a complicated place, you can usually tell multiple stories from the same pieces of evidence. We learn by gambling on what we think the best answer is, and seeing how it turns out. Most of us know that we have learned more about the world, and ourselves, from failing than from success. Success can be accidental; failure is definite. Failure tells us exactly what doesn't work.
Megan failed so the rest of us can succeed, don't you see? Just think, maybe her public support for the war gave someone else the necessary impetus to doubt it.
And "success can be accidental".....
Those of us who were not fooled and were empirically correct were just lucky. Yglesias, probably not coincidentally, struck a similar tone in his otherwise early and respectable mea culpa.
I will now admit, I was wrong. Neither the policies being advocated by Bush nor the policies being advocated by the anti-war movement (even at its most mainstream) were the correct ones. What I wanted to see happen wasn't going to happen. I had to throw in with one side or another. I threw in with the wrong side. The bad consequences of the bad policy I got behind are significantly worse than the consequences of the bad policy advocated by the other side would have been. I blame, frankly, vanity. "Bush is right to say we should invade Iraq, but he's going about it the wrong way, here is my nuanced wonderfullness" sounds much more intelligent than some kind of chant at an anti-war rally. In fact, however, it was less intelligent.
The dirty fucking hippies were right, but at least he wasn't one of them. And they weren't that right, just less wrong. Granted, that piece is from 4 years ago, but Yglesias seems still not to have learned us DFHs have a bit more on the ball than... he does.
But back to Megan, and one of the greatest category mistakes I've ever seen.
Failure tells us more than success because success is usually a matter of a whole system. And as development economists have proven over and over and over again, those complex webs of interactions are impossible to tease apart into one or two concrete actions. Things can fail, on the other hand, at a single point. And even when they fail in multiple ways, those ways are usually more obvious than the emergent interactions that produced a success.
Failure is better than success, you dead Iraqis, you. And economic success or failure is identical with success or failure in every other context. If you made more mistakes in your thinking you'd know that, too. Plus, then your thinking would be worth studying, because why would we want to know why someone was right when we can understand why someone was wrong. Can't you learn more from someone telling you the sky is orange than from someone who says blue? No? Well, you're just not willing to be wrong enough to learn. Hmph.
Think I'm being unfair to Megan?
At the decision point where we decided to go into Iraq, there were two hypotheses we could have tested:

1) Something terrible will happen if we leave Saddam in power 2) We can depose Saddam and leave the world a better place

We chose to test hypothesis number two. So far, it looks like a dud.

Since it failed, the more interesting question is not what did you get right, but what did you get wrong. The people who were right can (and will) rewrite their memories of what they believed to show themselves in the most attractive light; they will come to honestly believe that they were more prescient than they were. This is not some attack on people who were against the war: I was wrong, they were right. But everyone does this with almost everything--indeed, not rewriting memory in this way is so rare that there's a clinical term for it. We call it "major depression". They will also quite possibly simply be wrong about how they got it right; correct analysis often operates at a subconscious as well as a conscious level.
I.... good god. Every time I think I'm being unfair to Megan, she comes back with something like this. Let's read the underlying context of that passage, shall we? If Megan were to accept how wrong she was, she'd have to face "major depression", which would prevent her from finding ways to try to fault people for getting the most important (non-environmental) issue of the last few decades right. And I'm just deluding myself that I sat there watching Powell's presentation and asked myself "this is it?", or that I never once fell for the claim that Iraq had a damn thing to do with 9/11 or was the least bit of a threat both because it was well established Bush wanted to invade prior to the election and because experts on the topic were loudly screaming in public that there were no WMD. That's a happy fiction I've created for myself.
The people who failed will also do this. But unlike the people who were right, there is a central fact stopping them from flattering themselves too much: things are blowing up in Iraq and people are dying. Thus they will have to look for some coherent explanation.

To be sure, many of those explanations are wan and self-serving--"I trusted too much." But others of them aren't. And the honest ones are vastly more interesting than listening to a parade of people say "Well, obviously, I'm a genius, and also, not mean."
And there you have it. It's MEAN to have been right about the fucking war. It wasn't mean to wish harm by 2x4 on those who were right about the fucking war, because they were being mean. Be polite, support mindless slaughter.
In the end, it's on the DFHs to learn proper manners, not on those who supported a huge and obvious mistake to try to learn something from the folk who were right the whole fucking time.
Fuck you, Megan. You know what's worse than being mean? Supporting the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands. Your continued kneejerk attachment to the lowest possible Iraqi death figures isn't one of those pathological tics helping to protect you from the depression you should feel for your past choices, is it? You are a loathsome person, Megan.


Read the comments. Roughly half are from people disputing the notion that the invasion of Iraq was a failure. This is Megan's audience. High quality people all around.

Update II:

Since I'm being self-righteous, let me make one thing clear. I don't think I'm a genius because I wasn't fooled about Iraq. People I'm very fond of were fooled, because they were still suffering from emotional trauma post-9/11 and because they hadn't been paying too much attention to politics prior to that point, or because they were of an earlier generation who didn't understand the degree to which the Bush Admin would openly lie. I don't expect or demand abject apologies, ultimately it's between the person and their conscience. But when someone who was wrong addresses the topic, they better have the courage and class to admit not simply that they were wrong, but that there were good reasons for those of us who got it right to have done so. Yglesias explicitly tried to tar all who opposed the war as anti-war, which, while literally true, implies we were all dedicated pacifists, as opposed to informed realists (in the non-polisci jargon sense) who were against that war. Megan seems to be trying to operate under this same general delusion, and acts as if there were no good and legitimate reasons to have opposed the war in the first goddamn place. There were, and accepting this needs to be part of admitting you were wrong about the war. I don't demand you join me in DFHland, but I do demand you admit we had a point, and listen to us more seriously. We were right, for the right reasons.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Oy, religion

Today is zombie Jebus with chocolate flavored horny rabbits who lay eggs Day, apparently. (Aka the day Christianity celebrates the vernal equinox.)
Tho Megan observes Lent so she can brag about it, she claims not to be religious. Or rather

Being an agnotheist I have no deep theological insights to offer.
Yes, agnotheist. Megan took a word a poet created for the title of a poem and gave it a nice, bullshit definition.
It's an agnostic who puts a very, very low--yet non-zero!--value on P(God).
I doubt Megan actually knows what she meant by this, either. Does P stand for probability? I assume so, but then she's simply an agnostic, and lord knows Megan wouldn't needlessly complicate an issue with an attempt to create new jargon based on misapplied jargon. P must mean something else, in which case Megan is an agnostic who believes in God, multiplied by whatever P is. Power or popularity, maybe. There must be a way to make sense of it. Megan wouldn't be incoherent.

For the record, in case it's not glaringly obvious, I'm an atheist, tho I don't like that word. Atheist kinda sorta implies theist is the norm, and it's not normal to believe in invisible sky fairies. You gotta be taught that shit, when you're young enough to swallow it. So yeah, happy Easter, you necrophiliacs.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Evil Empire Notes From All Over

From the AP:

The Yankees announced that right-hander Chien-Ming Wang would be their opening-day starter at Yankee Stadium against the Toronto Blue Jays on March 31.
Huh? What? Who?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thanks, Megan

Oh, boy:

We entirely discount the role of luck, aka random chance.
Wow, Megan is so smart, aka intelligent.

How to lie poorly

Step 1, be Megan McArdle.

Indeed, one thing that might worry conservatives is that this would work. That would leave activist group power--which tends to rest on their mailing list--intact, while eliminating the countervailing force from industry. I'm not siding with business here--I don't like the business lobbies any better than anyone else. But they do provide a check on activist groups which, left to their own devices, would ignore the practical questions about the consequences of their programs.
Step 2, hit "publish post".

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Extended delay cat porn

I tried to take more pics of my parents' kitten Sasha while I was in Florida, but cameras think kittens are made of blurs. Still, there's a couple shots that prove he is, indeed, a cat.

You talkin to me?

The light in my parents' bedroom was weird, plus we already know my old digital camera ain't the greatest, but here we have a rare shot of the three tenors together in repose.

My parents' other cat, Mac. He hates me, deeply.

Another group shot, obviously.

And finally, love

and there would be play/war as a counterpoint, but Blogger's video uploading thingie doesn't like me, again, so that's that.

Wait, what?

Megan says

I assume the world supplies of bird guano and horse manure are shrinking, not increasing.
Megan is the anti-Confucius. If you spend too long pondering her sayings, your brain will implode.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

On the five year anniversary of the Iraq War, in which 150,000 600,000 people died, Megan decides to post about white people and her dumb ass interpretation of Twenty Years at Hull House.

In addition, we lucky readers are treated with an outdated video containing bodies representing three data points from the tail ends of the population's body mass index.

Things I learned in Community College: How to be Megan McArdle

Our oh so balanced econo-Englishcist decides it's been too long since she wrote a book report and, after the usual long winded and pointless anecdotal preamble, decides to go ahead and give us her thoughts on her current read. (Question about those preambles; why do you have to tell people WHY you're making a post? If it's not apparent from the content of the post, the post prolly wasn't worth writing. Then again, none of your posts are worth writing so... nevermind. Carry on.)

So how does she start this return to her undergrad days? Why, with shit ass freshmen level writing that looks like a perfunctory attempt at summarizing a book that was merely skimmed so that adequate time for preening and getting drunk was still had, of course. Megan strive for authenticity, if nothing else. I must say, this is the one area in which she succeeds. Everything she produces is authentically and unabashedly, Megan McArdle.

The first thing that strikes you is her hero-worship of her father. Modern people don't write like this; we want to see parents as people. In Addams' portrayal, her father comes across as a sort of Christ-like figure--endlessly patient, kind, generous, modest, and so forth. The childhood she describes in a small Illinois town is so perfectly idyllic that you can't help but wonder what dark secret she was hiding
Now, let's play "you're a TA teaching freshmen comp"

The first thing that strikes you (uneccessary) is her hero-worship of her father. Modern people (who?!) don't write like this; w. We want to see parents as people (we do? citation! provide examples!). In Addams' portrayal, her father comes across as a sort of(if he's sort of christ-like, why not skip that and tell us what he actually is?) Christ-like figure --(. He is)endlessly patient, kind, generous, modest, and so forth. The childhood she describes in a small Illinois town is so perfectly idyllic (idllyic means perfect! don't use words you don't know!) that you can't help but wonder what dark secret she was hiding( awkward. also provide examples from the text!).


Please see me after class.

your professor, who writes crap like this for his second semester community college English class, but knows better than to be proud of it (or even think that anywhere else it'd get anything other than a gigantic freaking F and the continuous scorn of anyone who ever gazed upon it)

Rapid Fire Retard

Megan just unleashed a triplet of banal observations on the topics of soy milk, Cambodian techno, and acupuncture.

When did the Atlantic start hosting livejournals?

Current mood: 82% aloof

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Keeping up with trends

rickm debuted below with Megan's tone deaf initial take on Obama's extraordinary speech, but she's not done with the topic. Having decided to completely misrepresent the content of the speech because he said something she disagreed with, Megan kinda missed the forest for the trees. Even Pat Buchanan thought it was an amazing speech. We have to see how it plays with the people, but it looks like Obama has turned a bad situation into a net win. About the only people who agreed with Megan's first take were freepers. The media, at least, is back in love with Obama, so Megan was really out on a limb with her take on his speech.
And so....

I should say, now that I've cooled off a little, that Obama's speech was brilliant. This was the speech we've been waiting for him to give: a thoughtful, brutally honest, and deeply respectful treatment of a major issue. This was the best political speech I've ever heard a politician deliver--admittedly a low bar. I would be happy to have that in the White House.
And then he has to go and make possibly the stupidest remark in this entire campaign--or at least, Best in Class (you can't really expect him to outdo a television anchor.) "This time we need to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you will take your job, it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit."

This is jaw-droppingly, head-shakingly, soul-cringingly, "Oh my God, maw, I think my eardrum just exploded" stupid.
This is jaw-droppingly, head-shakingly, soul-cringingly, "Oh my God, maw, I think my eardrum just exploded" stupid.
You can actually see Megan physically attempting to cover her pale white ass with the later post. "Oops, the whole media thinks it was a brilliant, perhaps even transcendent, moment, better jump back on the bandwagon." I'm surprised she didn't quote Yglesias or Ezra on the topic to mend fences.
I bet Megan called herself a Mets fan in the late 80s. Bandwagoneer.

Obama=still black

We all know Megan's favorite pastime is wrestling with straw men--it always reminds her of the pastoral plains of ol' granpappy's farm and Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes.

Megan plants a great big X and O on the putative 'argument' that its silly for Obama to repudiate his pastor, despite the fact that he publicly, and humorously, 'rejecte[d] and denounce[d]' his pastor's statements on the tele. Maybe she liveblogged her post on that debate into the land of unreadable blog posts.

So its no surprise that Megan turns this statement by Obama: "This time we need to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you will take your job, it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit."

Into this: "Don't be afraid of the people who don't look like you--be afraid of the people who don't look like you, and have the nerve to live somewhere else."

First of all, Obama didn't use italics. Secondly, Megan didn't preface her comment with "shorter Obama", nor did she express gratitude to Daniel Davies and Elton Beard. Where are her manners?

For Megan, a corporation shipping jobs overseas translates into "having the nerve to live somewhere else." Telling people they shouldn't fear people who don't look like you translates into "be afraid of the people who don't look like you." And pandering to peoples fears of losing their job transmogrifies into "urging Americans to hate and fear people who are different from them." Ugh.

The only thing that could top her inane complaint is if she inserted an unfunny hackneyed attempt at humor at the end... ya know.... for the children.


She does it again, accusing Obama of "demagogu[ing] foreigners as the source of our national problems." Again, ugh.

Megan McCarthy?

WTF? Is Megan doing a Cormac McCarthy impression by using truncated half sentences like "Highly recommend that you listen to it"?

Her next post: "An exegesis on how the spraddlelegged Bear Stearns fares in the autumnal wake like some wretched mendicant fumbling through the autistic dark"

It lives

sick day became sick leave, but I'm pretty much back now, and a new contributor will be in action as soon as I reply to his email and give him posting permission and he posts.
And I'll put up some cat porn sometime tonight. I'm going to give myself one more Megan-less night, tho.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I'm shocked!!!

Megan, today, admits that she doesn't feel that icky libertarian itch with the Bear bail-out. SHOCK-O-FUCKING-LA.

I actually kind of agree with her; it'd be pretty awful if the Bear shit hit the fan in the woods and all of the credit industry went to pieces. Of course, she can make me hate her even when we agree. How come she knee jerk says "the borrowers must lose their homes or else ARMAGEDDON SOCIALISM STARVATION EVERYONE DIES OMG PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY" but is only mildly qualmed by the bailout of a large corporate entity, the brunt of the pain of which will be felt by people other than the ones who created the gigantic fucking mess? I think this is the point where Brad w0uld use the words "shill," "corporate" and "whore" in a sentence. Usually, when he does that, I think he might be going a tad too far. Now, I'm starting to see what the smelly hippie is saying.

No links, cause I allegedly quit.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Not Holding Our Breath

Not to give any one (Megatron) any ideas, but we anxiously await Ms. McArdle's long post concering Bear Sterns Cos. & how awful it is that the Federal Reserve & BSCos.'s competitors are bailing it out, & the horror of this perversion of the "free market," rather than piling on Elliot Spitzer. Also waiting (still) for the impassioned pleas for Sens. Vitter & Craig to resign. Megan?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Blake, you're my hero.

I don't know why I ever wrote a word myself. There are plenty of people out there that are writing that I can just block quote. This is an awesome job.

Megan says she doesn't want to be a prostitute. Commenter Blake suggests that she reconsider.

I'm with Will and Kerry, I think you need to rethink your career opportunities vis a vis prostitution. I know here at The Atlantic you love shilling for Wall Street and the Republican party, and I hope it pays off for you so you end up at Cato one day. But why not go all the way? If you really have no principles, which you don't, why bother going to all the trouble of writing your hare-brained opinions down--usually full of typos and non sequiturs--and start making money with your body rather than your (feeble) mind?

The masses are catching on

Update I:

Ohh, and brooksfoe, a perennial favorite, comes in with a blow:

Your gut is not a good replacement for reasoning from first principles.

"Reasoning from first principles" is not a good way of going about thinking about human sexual relations. I reasoned from first principles about sex when I was 19. It made me an asshole. By the time you're in your thirties, hopefully, you've started to figure out how people work a little better. One of the things you discover is that actually, in this particular arena, men and women are rather different, and being "fair" means trying to accommodate those differences, not treating everyone alike.

Update II

David Ross says:

I invoke Godwin's Law on this: "White people in the south were also genuinely repulsed by the idea of drinking from a water fountain that a black person had touched."

If you have a point to make, Ms McArdle, then make it. Don't insult us by making Jim Crow comparisons.

Oh, and you're Hitler.

Update III

Miande magnanimously decides to educate Megan on why prostitution can't be "reasoned from first principles"
Meagan: if you authentically require instruction on something so elementary, first spit out the chewing gum

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sick day

oogy oogy ooo.
Also, if there's anyone out there who wants to take up Nutella's slot raging against Megan's quenching of the light, drop a line. In non tortured terms, that means we could use another contributor, maybe even two.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spitzerwatch concludes

The second time's a charm,
Eliot Spitzer resigns: And there wasn't much rejoicing, except among the corporatists. Sayeth Megan,

I read liberal blogs defending Spitzer and spinning conspiracy theories about his downfall, and all I can think is "Really? You really want to hitch your wagon to this fallen star?" Why on earth?
Can anyone show me someone defending Spitzer? I was going as easy on him as anyone, n I kinda made a point not to say he shouldn't resign. I don't know that he should have, but I don't have a problem with it having happened. Politics is a contact sport.
In any case, in continuing her descent into being an honest right wing corporate whore Megan has decided to go with the classic move of misconstruing disagreement with her as support for the unsupportable. Questioning the motives of the Justice Dep't doesn't change Spitzer's misdeeds or the need for him to pay the price for them, but it does raise the question of whether there were more serious misdeeds underlying the discovery of Spitzer's. Targeting your political opponents is among the worst possible abuses of the Justice Dep't. That matters, but not to Megan, not when she's rid of a pest.
They were investigating him for a perfectly legitimate reason: he had a suspicious pattern of withdrawals from his bank account, and the Feds are supposed to keep an eye on that sort of thing in people who are elected to public office, because we all have a legitimate public interest in clamping down on official corruption. I think "structuring" and "money-laundering" charges are repugnant. The Mann act is garbage. Prostitution, drugs, and arranging homosexual liasons should be legal, though the airports have a perfect right--and good reason--to keep it out of the restrooms.
Which is why they should be used as tools to take your political opponents out of office, naturally. If, say, Alan Greenspan had been targeted by a mythical Admin that wasn't adoring of him you think Megan would have dropped empty platitudes about it being illegal if he'd been caught smoking a jay?
Hell, at least yesterday Megan was willing to tacitly admit Spitzer was targeted by trying to brush it off as something he should have expected considering his clashes with the banking industry, which remains willfully ignorant of the concept of prosecutorial misconduct by anyone besides Spitzer, but is slightly more honest than the "gee, garsh" pose of today.
To be sure, many people--including, yes, me--are taking glee in Spitzer's downfall even though we think all his actions should be legal. There you are: having people you disagree with revealed as stunning hypocrites is emotionally satisfying. Plus there's a positive side (I mean, beyond New York State possibly getting a decent governor). If this makes everyone rethink our nation's ridiculous prostitution laws, Eliot Spitzer will finally have made a lasting positive contribution to his country.
In other words, maybe so many people will think this is a farce something will change? And stunning hypocrites? I was a genuine Spitzer fan, and I'm apparently far less disillusioned than Megan is by this. Rich, powerful men frequent expensive prostitutes. That's kind of a truism. That's why there are expensive prostitutes in the first place.
But I also think that many of the reasons people are defending him--that he was a good governor and took on Wall Street--are fundamentally wrong. Eliot Spitzer was a terrible AG, and a terrible governor. He had even more difficulty than Rudy in understanding that the executive office does not simply confer more power than that of prosecutor, but different power; he treated those who disagreed with him as perps.
He was very effective at going after entrenched interests who don't like having their misdeeds aired out in public. He put public good ahead of corporate good, and that violates everything Megan believes in. BURN HIM!
His attacks on Wall Street, meanwhile, were more about grabbing headlines than catching criminals. Some of the things he took on were real abuses, like the disgusting abuse of equity research and retail networks to pump up the stocks of investment banking clients. Others were much more dubious--a pointless-seeming war against insurance brokers for wrongs that were at best trivial. Some of his more bizarre prosecutions, and the weird settlements he demanded, made it clear that he didn't have the understanding of markets to effectively be the financial regulator he set himself up as.
Sure, he did real good and addressed fundamental problems at times, but sometimes he hurt profits, too, in industries Megan views as sacred. Burn him!
Worse was how he did it. He couldn't make cases--the highest profile case he brought to trial basically ended with an acquittal on all counts. Yes, securities cases generally settle, but not like Spitzer's--precisely because the cases are generally a hell of a lot stronger than any of Spitzer's, cases where the prosecutors had some hope of proving that someone had actually done something illegal. Spitzer was able to do this through the power of the Martin Act, which gives the New York State attorney general practically despotic powers to go after fraud. Among the provisions: the prosecutor does not have to prove that there was intent to commit fraud, that any transaction took place, or that anyone was actually defrauded; he can interrogate potential defendants with no rights to an attorney or against self incrimination; he can keep the investigation secret or make it public, just as he pleases; and can subpoena just about anything. Practically the only limitation on the AG is his goodwill and sense of fair play. Eliot Spitzer was not overgenerously endowed with either.
There are a total of three links in this entire post. One is Megan linking to herself on Spitzer's good deeds. Another is a Wall Street Journal Opinions piece, which means shite all in the rational world. The final is a piece by a self-described personal enemy of Spitzer. None of those links come in the section I just copied, which is to say we have to take Megan's word for every element of the facts in that section. Nope.
Banks and others came to the table because Spitzer would launch these investigations and then use a carefully orchestrated series of press releases and leaks to torpedo their stock price. But many of the more spectacularly incriminating sounding excerpts from subpoenaed documents were so misleadingly taken out of context that they would have been grounds for a libel suit if he'd been a journalist. Don't get me wrong--many of them were guilty. But this kind of tactic doesn't distinguish between the guilty and the innocent; anyone in a credit-dependent industry whose stock value is plummeting would have to negotiate, because Spitzer's inquiry could shut them down. (Can and did, in some cases--indeed, he apparently nearly shut down Merrill's asset management business until a judge reversed the order.) Often, these shaded into personal vendetta--Dick Grasso's pay package seems like he was grossly overvalued, but what business is it of Eliot Spitzer's how much a private body pays it's CEO? This has nothing to do with the reasons we regulate financial markets.
Diggin a hole, don't mind me, doo doo doo.
Megan is quite monstrously stupid, it only goes to show, yet again. Let's skip to the end, this is long and painful.
Felix Salmon argues that it was a good thing that Eliot Spitzer put the fear of God into Wall Street, and I take his point--the cozy practices that had become common by the end of the nineties needed to change. But it's not clear to me that these prosecutions gave them anything but a fear of Eliot Spitzer. Whoops. In a liberal democracy, it matters how you punish people for their crimes--"they got Al Capone for tax evasion" is not a triumph, it's tyranny.

And yes, that applies to Eliot Spitzer too--now that he's resigned, I hope he gets off with community service and a fine. Though in a slightly more perfect world, the johns would serve time and pay fines at least as stiff as the prostitutes get.
Megan McArdle, arguing taking Capone off the streets was a bad thing, but that taking Spitzer out of office is good.

The sky is falling!

Capitol hill being evacuated:

Apparently this is because an unknown plane has entered DC air space. The CNN anchor clearly knows more, but isn't saying.

Yeah, the anchor's totally got a secret about an impending terrorist attack but he's not gonna tell cause he still remembers that time you told Michelle Malkin about the crush he had on her.

If this blog suddenly goes off the air . . . well, it's been nice knowing you all. And America: please avenge my death by taking out whatever coffee-shop and thrift-store hating terrorists drove a plane into U Street.

If the terrorists are after you, Megan, I'm on their side.

Seriously, who the hell is this self centered?!?!!

Oh, also, who the hell is this NOT FUCKING FUNNY AT ALL.

She sucks at comedy. She sucks at economic analysis. She has the moral compass of... something without a moral compass, I guess. I dunno. Anyway, she can't write. She can't proofread. She doesn't know how to use Google let alone do any legitimate research. What purpose does she serve again?

Sorry, I quit for real this time.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spitzerwatch, Day 1

Megan's first post of the day was about Spitzer. Despite legit questions coming up about whether Spitzer was targeted for a political hit by Bush's critically compromised 'Justice' Department, see Scott Horton for a good summation of reasons to question what's going on, Megan is still out for blood. Spitzer fucked up, should be ashamed, and will never rise any higher in politics now. He had a legit shot at the national AG in a Democratic White House, now he's fighting for his life. That seems like quite a punishment, but Spitzer did things Megan disagreed with. Motherfucker should be in jail. Plus he still refuses to resign and validate her words. Let's not ask whether people actually go to jail behind this kind of shit, that'd require a hint of intelligence.
Here's a few shorters of Megan's Spitzer posts and a couple other gems.

Buy local:

I have to tell you, there's a lot of indignation in Washington DC about the Spitzer mess. I went to see the Pogues last night, and then caught some drinks with various friends, and everyone was talking about it with varying degrees of outrage. We always knew that the man had a size twelve ego in a size four soul, but this really does take the cake. We welcome Governor Spitzer into our city, and he imports a prostitute from New York? That's the kind of regard in which he holds us? Who the hell does Eliot Spitzer think he is?
How long have you lived in DC, Megan? Do you have anything in your possession that you brought with you from NY that you could have purchased in DC? Maybe a functional sense of humor?
You aren't funny, Megan. Your attempts at jokes have been found to cause pregnant cats to spontaneously abort their litters. Do you understand what I'm saying, Megan? When you try to make a joke, you kill kittens.

Hillary's VP claim: how should Obama respond?: Compare and contrast:
You can shift the focus of the debate to some extent, but voters are not actually completely stupid.
A couple weeks back
The problem is, voters bore journalists. Not because we're elites and they're proles, or we're smart and they're stupid, or however you want to frame it. Voters bore journalists because we are supposed to find out what they think about policy--and they don't, much. We, on the other hand, spend all of our time immersed in this stuff. Talking about politics with your average voter is, for most journalists, like an engineer trying to explain to his mother how a television set works.
No, these statements are not directly contradictory. Yes, they still contradict.
Btw, when did the econoblogger MBA former english major lady become such an expert on politics as to contradict a cute guy like Tyler?

Why don't they just arrest Spitzer?:
I'm told it's because impeachment can take months, so they'd like to resolve this . . . well, not amicably, but peacably, if they can. Still, if he's convicted of a felony, he will be impeached, and meanwhile, as soon as he goes to jail the Lieutenant Governor can step in with almost-as-good-as-permanent temporary powers. I don't see him having a lot of leverage.
Since Megan is now a legal expert, I'd like to know what she'd like to charge Spitzer on. If she comes back with the Mann Act, she needs to go to that Scott Horton link I posted earlier. It's very libertarian to want your ideological opponents jailed. Spitzer derangement syndrome seems to coexist with the Clinton variety. You've taught us that much, at least, Megan.

Your vegan convenience food update: Vegan sloppy joes? Megan likes sloppy joes? That's disgusting.

A desire named streetcar:
You go, mass transit! ... I understand the love for light rail (aka trolleys and streetcars). They feel way cuter and more hip than riding a bus. But I don't think this is exactly heralding the new light rail revolution.
Does this mode of public transportation make my ass look fat?

I could make fun of the Pogues post, too, but what's the point.

Suspicious Activity All Over

One wonders what Megan thinks of the gov't.'s Suspicious Activity Report:

The bank then, as is required by law, filed an SAR, or Suspicious Activity Report, with the Internal Revenue Service, reporting the transfer of the money that exceeded $10,000, but had been broken down into smaller amounts, the sources said.

"The bank did the right thing," said one source familiar with the situation. The name of the bank could not immediately be determined.

But the source added that "we then got lucky" in singling out Spitzer and the prostitution ring.
After all, it's Spitzer's money, he should be able to do what he wants w/ it. Same w/ women willing to be honest about what they'll do for money, etc. If Spitzer hadn't threatened Wall St. con artists & cheats, I doubt Mlle. McArdle would have a word to say on the subject. How painfully obvious.

Megan goes up, Megan goes down

(Travel day redux makes me late to the party.)
Before we get to Megan's words on the topic, since I've defended Spitzer in the past it'd probably be good to say I have a problem with him here for two reasons. One, prostitution involves giving money to women, and here at FMM we recognize this as a bad thing. Two, as a former AG Spitzer should know that prostitution in the US is fundamentally exploitative of women, primarily but by no means exclusively because it's illegal. One detail that will matter to me is the nature of the prostitution ring, whether the pro was one of those mythical empowered Whores of Mensa or a Wire season 2 style all but sex slave. Prostitution should be legal and very carefully regulated for the welfare of the women involved, so what matters to me is the individual situation, whether the woman is there of her own free will, working for her own financial betterment, or is being used by someone besides the john. We'll see what the case is here.
M. covered round one of Megan's extended "Spitz takes" (Her failed joke, plz don't kill me.) but unfortunately there's several dozen more, or at least it feels that way. She even reduced herself to copying my poor copy of a format S,N! more creatively copied from a guy who copied and refined the work of another guy. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, don't worry, not that important, except right this moment.) And so we have...

Shorter Spitzer takes: Fuck the brief and desperately unfunny content of the post, why are you still reading FMM, Megan? Are you that narcissistic? We genuinely don't think well of you.

Spitzer resigns:

Or so say various websites, reporting what they've heard on Fox News and the radio. No wire service reports yet, but I expect there will be in a few minutes.
Another milestone in the storied history of The Atlantic. She hasn't even updated the post, as of about 9 hours later.

Best Spitzer Instant message: Apparently lacking a soul gives you a shallow, hacky sense of humor. ... Yeah, fine, then you explain it.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Spitzer: Megan might be onto something here. Maybe Spitzer was being influenced by the whores he frequented to bust their competitors. He's always working against the free market, it seems.

Eliot Spitzer not resigning--yet:
He was supposed to submit his resignation letter to the state senate at 7:00, but now his attorneys are demurring--Fox News says that they don't want to give up "their biggest bargaining chip". Divine: Sir Spitzer, Protector of the Individual Investor, thinks the governor's office is a bargaining chip. And federal prosecutors are supposed to make a plea bargain to let him off in exchange for his resignation. This does not seem like a good negotiating tactic with an office that has the power to march you out of that office in cuffs.

Update The more I think about this, the more horrifying it is. If he'd just resigned, I would have said they should let him go with community service and his everlasting humiliation--but now I kind of think they should frog-march him out with his hands cuffed behind his back and throw him in the cooler for whatever the maximum penalty is.
None of this rancor is because Spitzer is making her look bad by having the temerity to not resign when she said he did. How could Megan and Fox News both be wrong?

Okay, just one more Spitzer post: One more until you wake up in the mornin and he still hasn't resigned and you go into Nixonwatch mode, giving hourly updates and quoting Britt Hume frequently, you mean, Megan.

Fire Megan McArdle, for her own sake. She's just embarrassing herself.