Tuesday, December 30, 2008

There's Always Next Yr.

Megatron takes third at Roy Edroso's Top Ten Typing Turkeys Tournament in the Voice.

Better luck next yr., Megan, we know you can be #1!

Uh Oh. Competition. Won't Be Able to Make It in The Free Market

FMM seems to have acquired at least one very, very sincere flatterer.

Fire Mickey Kaus

A Blatant Rip-Off of FJM. And Alicublog. And anything that isn't nailed down.

Two points:

A) Could we get some fucking credit here? All well & good that you credit FJM, whence brad got the idea, but c'mon! What are we, chopped McArdle?

B) I discovered FMK via MK. Whatever the "irresponsible-not-to" speculation about Mr. Kaus's relationship to non-human sectors of the mammal world (& his non-stop union-bashing) he at least opens the flood-gates of free speech, unlike Ms. McArdle, from whom we're lucky to get an unlinked "ur-troll" shout-out.

I'm off to thoroughly research this Fire Mickey Kaus thing, & may (but, let's face it, probably won't) return w/ further aggravation & righteous dudgeon.

How's The Weather Up There?

Say what you will about me (& they do!) I'm eco-friendly. So, I'm recycling this, from the Asymmetrical Info comments to an item about a statistical correlation between "intelligence" & (wait for it ...) height

(Do note "Fred," who, shark-style, senses "intelligence + height," & seizes the opportunity to remind all how stupid groups X, Y, & Z are, statistically.)

There's a Fred in every woodpile around here, isn't there?

That aside, Megan, we get it already. You're 6' 2" or whatever. If it's that important to you to share it w/ the world, go to the nearest 7-Eleven & have your mugshot taken next to the height indicator on the door. Or borrow the line-up room at the nearest police precinct. Or get The Atlantic to spring for a professional shoot in a fake police station. Then put the picture at the very tippy-tip-top of your blog. For extra emphasis, you could put a shot of yourself stretching to hold up the picture of how tall you are atop the sidebar.



it's not 2009 yet, so I didn't break my resolution by not finishing the catch-up last night like I said I would. Mhm.

Weird bailout rumor of the day:

I just heard a plausibly sourced rumor that Chrysler is changing its name. That sounds like a merger, but maybe they just want to put the past behind them . . .
One thing I don't get. If the big three have been so wrong, aren't they, according to Megan's twisted, self-serving logic, therefore best positioned to fix their mistakes?

Can we hold off excusing Clinton's egregious pardons on the grounds of Bush's pardoning all of his subordinates for horrible crimes until Bush, y'know, actually pardons some subordinates for horrible crimes?
More concern trolling of Obsidian Wings. Poor Hilzoy, though they bring it on themselves by taking Megan seriously.
Also, the probably illegal commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence like, totally didn't happen.

Hypocrisy, or rationality?:

Heh, heh, heh.
Freddie accuses me, again, of a double standard on Detroit and Wall Street. I don't know what not wanting to bail out Detroit is supposed to make me want do to Wall Street. I don't have any ideological interest in saving Wall Street jobs, no matter how devastating that may be for the local economy of my beloved hometown. I don't think the CEOs, or any of the financial workers, are entitled to a damn thing beyond two weeks' severance. I don't want to save the banking industry, except insofar as we can't get along without it.
Please believe her lies, folks. They're all she's got in these difficult times.
In my judgement--and the judgement of most economists--a massive banking industry failure has the potential to take down the real economy into a Great Depression like death spiral, and the failure of even a large single non-financial industry does not.
Is that a lie or just stupidity? Something like three million people are employed by the Big Three auto companies. Putting three million people out of work in one fell swoop is precisely the kind of thing that causes Great Depressions, you stupid asshole. Also, it kinda sucks for those three million people and their families, though that concern is erased by Megan saying "sorry".
We do not need an American auto business, and in fact old line industries have collapsed in America before (see Steel, Bethlehem and US) without wreaking the destruction that their CEOs also promised would inevitably follow.
Yeah, remember how in the late 70s things were so great Carter was reelected in a landslide?
She keeps going, but it's basically a long argument premised on the the idea that lead floats in air. Financial jobs are more important than industrial jobs, because she's been told so by people with financial jobs, who wouldn't lie and have never been wrong.

It's hazard, but is it moral?:
For example, if I am a bus driver, the negative externality of my suddenly jerking the steering wheel to the left and driving the bus off a cliff is much higher than the cost to me--many lives against my one. But my own life is very valuable to me. The threat of its loss is enough to deter such behavior 99.9999% of the time.
This is how she thinks, folks. Megan thinks self-interest is altruistic. It's one of her fundamental stupidities.
Bankers take risk in order to make money, and they control risk in order to avoid losses. But the losses they are most interested in are not to their shareholders. Rather, they are worried about the loss of their jobs. As long as the bank regulators fire any managers who put the bank in receivership, I can see no difference between an unregulated private system without deposit insurance, and a system with.
And I can see no difference between a bookie and a casino.

The kitchen gear that wins Christmas:

Dear everyone who had a rough Xmas thanks to the economy,

Megan got lots of expensive useless pieces of plastic crap, so it's ok. Maybe your kids can watch a video of her playing Guitar Hero soon. That should be fun.

Bad news for retailers, and credit card companies:
Retail sales plummeted in November and December.
But it seems to me that this is actually good news for consumers and, in the long run, the economy. Americans are massively over their heads in debt, and have been consuming beyond their means for a long time. The data shows them cutting back their spending to more reasonable levels, and cutting back the most in the most discretionary categories. I feel bad for Hermes and all, but we couldn't keep propping them up forever.
Bad economic news is good for the economy. People are saving the money they don't have, in Megan's world, and not being able to afford Xmas is needed belt tightening for the disposable non-Megans of the world. Can you imagine the whining if she'd had to forgo the slightest thing this season?
Lots of folk couldn't even afford to travel to be with family this Xmas, you selfish bitch, but of course you're worried about the airlines, not the people who would have flown on them.

Tall people are richer because they are smarter:

Megan can't quite give up on the idea of there being a God because who else could have decided she was so much better than everyone else and thus given her the appropriate superior qualities? Someone had to recognize she was deserving of the advantages she's had in life, otherwise it's just the random deal of the cards and she's an arrogant self-entitled piece of shit, and that can't be it. Megan likes herself.

That explains a lot:

Maybe if I pretend I was critical of the financial industry as it was destroying the global economy people will believe me, and I won't have to admit I was completely wrong about a major issue yet again. I'm still pissed at liberals for getting Iraq right, dammit.

Back later with her work from today.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm back

I'm resolving to stop slacking off so much in the New Year, and both get back to daily posting and actually begin the currently stillborn Atlas Shrugged Project in proper. I like this little hobby and don't mean to drift from it, but it's been a busy season of ups and downs. Fortunately I have cobloggers, and Susan, to keep Megan from feeling too secure about herself in my absence. So let's do some shorters, see what I've missed. (Apologies ahead of time if I overlap prior coverage.)

Big Three get a deal to save the day --but not the year:

I will now attempt what I think is a fair rendition of Detroit's history over the last fifty years.
Oh, goody.
In the early 1950s, for various reasons Detroit developed a cozy three-way oligopoly. The UAW developed a cozy monopoly on supplying labor service to that oligopoly. In some ways, the UAW helped sustain that oligopoly. If you're a big company whose quality suffers, you have problems. But if you have a union making sure that labor quality cannot vary across the industry, you don't need to worry that your competitors will make a better car.
How the fuck is this woman employed? The UAW hurt the American auto industry by providing it with equal access to quality labor, according to Megan McArdle. What the fucking fuck of a fucked fucko fuckery fuckawoo fuckadoo?
She then accuses the unions of forcing the big three to make cheap, shoddy cars by... ummm.... vulcan mindmeld. Then the government forced the big three to make cars that explode, and so on. Now the only solution is for the union to actually pay the big three for the privilege of making cars for them, unless you want executives to live slightly less well or something barbaric.

Help us save our homes!:

Eventually so many homes will be foreclosed on that homelessness will be the norm and it won't be a problem anymore, so let's just wait for the market to sort it out.

Just say no to drug laws of all sorts:

Here we see Megan make the devil's advocate argument that maybe drug laws are justified as a secondary means to jail the really bad people who just happen to be overwhelmingly black or hispanic, and universally poor. If we're not going to let black men have jobs we might as well find some way to make them economically useful, right?

Kennedy yesterday! Kennedy today! Kennedy forever!:

I like getting self-righteous about nepotism and undeserved career advancement in political groups I oppose because I enjoy being a hypocrite.
Btw, I voted for George Bush, twice.

Riding to the rescue!:
Nor did anyone mention the seemingly even more obvious step of shutting off the water main for an hour, or at the very least, dropping sandbags over the break--though the Post claims crews found the water too turbulent to get to the valve.
Her official title includes the word "Editor".
Methinks the emergency responders may have had a lot of shiny new equipment, funded by the federal government's post-911 spending spree, that they wanted to try out. But maybe there was something I was missing.
Heh, indeed.

Are we targeting the symptom or the disease?:

Megan is a disease vector for the twin cancers of greed and stupidity that have undermined the world financial system. She will never take even a moment's responsibility for this, however, which means her work will only grow more infuriating in the months to come. This post is a good example.
You've heard me say here that many of FDR's schemes were lunatic and probably helped prolong the depression. (If you're a liberal, you have probably spent more than a little time in the comments screaming that I'm a heartless and innumerate fool who wouldn't know good economic policy if it bit me in the aggregate demand.)
Or maybe we're saying that you're a liar who consciously ignores reality in favor of comfortable lies and delusions. Either/or.
Thus, I naturally wonder if fighting to keep the housing market from falling might, like the NIRA, actually make things worse.
Trying to help people will just make things worse, guys. The fact that Megan has been wrong in every possible way up till now only means she's better positioned to fix things than, say, some Krugman guy who accurately predicted what's happening based on common sense and intelligence. Duh.

Madoff feeder fund: buyer beware:

If I cover a handful of the worst excesses of the criminal class responsible for the economic crises we face maybe I can distract from my cheerleading for the same folk the rest of the time.

Invidious comparisons, part II:

Megan has been concern trolling Obsidian Wings frequently of late, possibly because someone there made the mistake of trying to be polite to her, a depressing error to see them make.

Anyhow, Hilzoy said
* The financial executives helped cause the present meltdown. Auto workers did not.

* The financial executives run their firms, and are responsible for their troubles.
among other reasonable things, which Megan calls "bizarre", because she's an insane asshole enabler. So Megan invents a world where the 50,000 jobs being shed in the financial industry are all executive positions, and where the millions in ill gotten gains those few actual lords of the realm who lose jobs have to fall back on don't fully cushion their pride, meaning they're in just as bad a position as millions of potentially unemployed blue collar workers.
She tries to justify this, but I'm not going to read it. You shouldn't either.

I'll have a second round of shorters later tonight, but for now I need to calm down a bit. Ye gods, she's an asshole. At least someone like Dan Riehl knows he's a piece of shit, and goes with it. Megan wants to, and probably does, believe she's a decent person, at least at heart.

If you haven't yet

read this.
It's the terrible reality Megan flees from laid bare.

Blame It On The Bossa Nova

Megan  is (not the only one) always willing to blame symptoms rather then get to causes of problems; in this case, unmitigated human greed. (Should drug tests be made mandatory for financial sector wage-slavers?)
Two years ago, like many somewhat financially literate readers, I was perusing newspapers stories about crazy negative amortization  mortgages and exclaiming, "What are they, on crack?"  Now we have our answer.
Yes, we do, in an unattributed blockquote. Imagine that from Megan. I'll grant it's amusing in the way that I like my amusement, but for our "somewhat financially literate" (& tall) econo-blogger essentially to dismiss this as a by-now-ancient joke at last come to life when serious questions about WaMu's culture/legal responsibility could be raised is par for the course.

(All WaMu questions so far avoided by the bank going under & selling out to JP MorganChase.)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

It's a Crazy Kind of Season/There Really Is No Reason...(to the tune of "Let It Snow")

It's difficult to believe that Ms. McArdle is as dense as she often makes herself appear, but today's Commercial Christmas item (Do not click. All six lines are here.) ventures far, far into the land of self-parody. Indeed, if I could determine whether she's trying to be (& thinks she is) funny, or is trying to be self-deprecating via self-parody & thinks that's working, or if she's really so tax-ticked that her title's the only part of the Jeezis legend she wants to know from, I could give up this gig & retire on the royalties.

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Cæsar Augustus declaring all the world should be taxed . . .
25 Dec 2008 01:21 pm

Despite a crazy kind of season, I'm having one of my best Christmases either ["Sic," or is she answering voices we can't hear?]. I hope all of y'all can say the same.
Whereas I'm about to have one of my "best Christmases" ever. Whatever. Whatever her fuzzy religious stance, is the title her favorite line from the Bible? An indication of gawd's thought on just what should be rendered unto Cæsar, & what should be tithed to the church? Perhaps not; the "X" seems to be out of Megan's "Strictly Commercial" holiday, as she posted a picture of many large presents under a large, traditionally decorated, Norse-stolen "tree of life." But not all the goodies can be for her, & while she surely doesn't rate the season by racking up gift value, it might be irresponsible not to speculate why this is one of her "best either" Christmases.

Elements of Style©:
When doing the rural, cracker, hick, yokel, Klansman & so on shtick, one must get it right. A simple "y'all" (that's it, second person plural, all that's needed) "all y'all" for the huge audience surfing by, but no "of" there. (Unless that's said in Western N. Y State, w/ whose speech I am not familiar.)

And, mlle., your last line was redundant:
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good day . . .
Why not try something like this: "Hope your New Year's misery is less than this year's."

As I hope for our multiude of readers. Best to all twelve of ya!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I Told You So 3: The Told You So-oning!

Apparently someone is fed up with nepotism.

Let us mince no words: the idea that Caroline Kennedy might be nominated to the Senate is embarassing. I come from a state that has given its fair share of bad ideas to the world. Punitive drug laws. Pennies ground into a medal with the Empire State Building on it. Rudy Giuliani for President. But this goes beyond that into a zone previously occupied only by the inventors of Pepsi Clear. We fought a whole war and everything to get away from political dynasties. Why are so many brain dead boomers avid to reinstall the talentless byblows of their bygone youth?
Caroline Kennedy is the child of some politician and we know nothing about her, so it's a terrible idea to let her be a senator for a short period of time.

Contrast that to GWB, who was the child of a politician that had a track record of running every company he was ever a meaningful part of into the ground. Him, we gotta vote for him twice.

I love how she claims that she's NOT a Republican.

Also, what the fuck is she talking about with "Pennies ground into a medal with the Empire State Building on it?" Is she talking about those souvenir things that squish a penny? Does she think those are only in New York? Does she realize that grinding and pressing are two separate things? Does she ever stop smoking crack? Ever?

Monday, December 22, 2008


We just knew blogging would be light, as stated two items below.

so blogging will probably be light today.
Why do these bloggers always say "probably?" They know bloody damn well they're going to be cheating their employer for the next two wks., until the post-New Yr.'s Eve hangover is gone. 

Wouldn't you love to see a parasite like McArdle trying to hold down an actual job, as most wage-slave Americans must? Have to be at the same place, at the same time, five days a wk., & don't get paid if you don't show up. Would that change her attitude towards the parasites who live on the work of others? Probably not, as her identification w/ the oppressor class is probably unshakable at this stage in her existence.
We're embarking on an extended haul to New York City and then Western New York
"We?" Fleas back? Extended haul? What, is she a truck driver now?


Well, either it was completely idiotic not to realize that a car company OF COURSE was going to get hit hard by a financial crisis, or else Toyota took on some unions and fast. Over at NYT the have an article up today about the super company that is profitable only 'cause it doesn't have this horrible obligation to pay people actual money for actual work. Unfortunately, the article is titled "Toyota Expects its First Loss in 70 Years"

I haven't read the article yet, but I'm gonna go ahead and guess that the words "legacy cost" and "70 dollars an hour" are conspicuously absent.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Blessed Relief

I'd give Mighty Megan credit for posting as late as she did yesterday (a Friday) but must offset it w/ the realization it'll be the proverbial light posting next wk., as the crush of consumption crescendos, & we're all re-united w/ family friends.

Fine by me. No vague point, then no counterpoint. No ur-trolling needed. Stay away until mid-January, Ms. McA., then come back & tell us how your mother's retirement fund has been wiped out & she'll be staying w/ you for...Or not. Why wish ill on anyone at this time of festive cheer?

On a personal note, a digital telebision set has been installed in my motel room, so I'll be devoting a lot of time to examining the scores of extra infomercial channels that this modern techno-wonder has brought us, & bringing you a post-holiday (It's not "Christmas," damnit!) sales gift list, a la Megan. (Like hell!)

And if Megan (or anyone else) doesn't cause any more trouble, I may not have to open the laptop & register my displeasure for a while, so, w/ fingers crossed for more off-time, we wish all a cheerful "Bah! Humbug!!" & Solstice Greetings. The days are getting longer.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Let's finish this

I want to be rid of Megan tabs in my browser.

Holiday Gift Guide: Girl Stuff:

Believe it or not, I'm something of a girly girl. I like high heels, makeup, and loving rituals involving gentle exfoliants and moisturizer. Having been told that this makes me look unserious, I have refrained from putting up this sort of guide in past years. But applying makeup is no more unserious than playing video games, and, one might argue, is at least as much fun. So: the official Megan McArdle guide to girl stuff. If nothing else, the trolls will enjoy sniffily declaring that this doesn't belong in the same magazine that published Mark Twain, (you know, the one who wrote lengthy essays about serious topics like cigars).
Again, plz beat her up, Susan and CP.
She compared her post to the work of Twain. I hope The Atlantic ceases operations very, very soon.

Medical prime:
The insurance companies have just as little incentive to fix the problem. After all, if it's hard to find a doctor, and your doctor makes you wait a long time for your appointments, you use less healthcare. Brilliant, eh?
But the solution isn't for the insurance companies to change, but for already too rare and overburdened nurses to take up even more of the primary care responsibilities.

Oil falls below $40 a barrel:
The stock market isn't looking so hot either. Both are essentially guesses about the economic future. And the guess is pretty grim.
Wow, she noticed the Dow Jones has lost about a third, give or take, off its peak average. I'm proud of her.
Does Megan calling things grim mean it's worse than that, and we're going to end up zombie cannibals in ruined wastelands?

Bet Ron Gettlefinger is kicking himself:
Bush weighs "orderly bankruptcy" for the Big Three.
This is the option that's always seemed to make the most sense to me.
Aka fuck the unions and pension obligations, pay the rich people.

And we're caught up. Yay and shit.
Do you think exposure to reality would cause Megan to melt like the Nazis at the end of the first Indiana Jones movie?

So much stupidity

so little time. More catch-up shorters.

The death of a bailout:

I am in receipt of an email yesterday, asking that conservatives and libertarians recognize that the unions have, indeed, made concessions in order to make the bailout work. Sadly, I had not had time to write a post about this before the UAW tanked the Senate bailout.
Uhhhhhh, fuck you.
I know, there is some argument over how much more US auto workers actually get paid. But if the wage differential is small, then the auto workers aren't really being asked to give up much, are they?
Dear Susan and CP,

Please beat up Megan for me. I can't do it, I'm a guy. Thanks.

Just desserts:
I'm hearing the truly bizarre argument that the UAW didn't scuttle the negotiations; it was the Republicans unreasonable insistence that they cut their wages to levels comparable to that of their competition. After all, the UAW was perfectly willing to negotiate their compensation package--in 2011, when their current contract expires.
Why acknowledge the role your ideology is playing in precipitating the second Great Depression when you can flat out lie?

Invidious comparisons
If I'm so fond of workers taking haircuts, why not at AIG and the banks, huh? huh?
Ummm . . . .
Helllllllo? The auto workers aren't rich?
For starters, I am not trying to punish the UAW.
That's the most obvious and blatant lie I've seen from Megan, amazingly.

Holiday Gift Guide: Electronics edition:

Roy covered this one.

Grim tidings for the news biz:

Does Megan have an altar to David Bradley at her new house?

How did Bernie Madoff get away with it?:
The preferred explanation of many of my interlocutors, that this was somehow a result of Bush's deregulatory mania, won't do, and not just because there's not really all that much evidence of Bush's financial deregulatory mania. Tax cuts and financial regulation, however tightly coupled they may be in your mind, are neither substitutes nor complements.
Madoff took advantage of the market's basic incompetence at policing itself, not its unwillingness to be policed. Totally different things. Dontblamerichpeople.

L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace!:
I've made this the comment of the week, because it's exactly right:
On a somewhat related tangent, here's the question that really bothers me about Blagojevich: what if the reason that he thought he could get away with it is that a lot of other politicians he knows about have?
It's cute, watching Megan try to think.

Horlick's memory hole:
I am willing to extend some sympathy to fund managers who are properly embarassed [sic] at having been rooked.

Where's the indignation?:

Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaa. That's like asking where's Nixon's shame. Dontblamerichpeople.

The brazenness of it all:
An exchange with a reader reveals that what he got from this post was not the possibly interesting theory that blatant fraud maybe harder to uncover than envelope pushing, but that I'm excusing the SEC. I'm not. It's early days yet, but I'm going to go ahead and assume that at least several people at the SEC deserve to be fired for their pitiful oversight.
(No, I didn't leave out a link. Megan did.) Just be sure they're low level employees who draw salaries, not any masters of the universe. Dontblamerichpeople.

Holiday gift guide: DVD/Blu-Ray edition:

I think she literally just wrote about whatever was on the front page of Amazon's Blu-Ray section. Aside from fucking Point Break. She actually told people to buy Dark Knight.
And remember, Heath Ledger's death was funny, but Patrick Swayze's illness is not.

Getting long, back with the final catch-up and today's posts in a few.

Fan Fiction

From my latest book Titan Stood Comfortably Without Wavering:

"Captain, the seas look clear sit!"

"Keep an eye out, ensign. There's rumors of enemy vessels in this water."

"Captain, you couldn't mean..." Ensign Moocher Lazypants brings the binoculors to his eyes "wait, sir, what's that... It's... It's... the SS McArdle."

"That's the plain old 'McArdle, ensign"

"But, sir, she is an American ship"

"No, ensign, she's a 'libertarian.' She flies under no flag"

"But sir," the ensign said trying not to betray his shock at the captains naivety "she clearly just says that to be contradictory. I mean, theoretically she engages in some libertarian ideas, but that for which she argues strongly is always thinly veiled neoconservative boiler plate ... [note to self: Fill in 40 page rabmling take down of MM here] .... Can't you see, she's as American as they come! Republican is Republican!"

It was no use, the captain stood their, slack jawed. Whether stunned by the impenetrable logic of the ensigns argument or bored into a coma, no one could tell. The blind blew faintly through his hair as he stood, motionless save the gentle rocking of the boat. Suddenly, a loud boom startled them both and the captain stirred again, as if woken abruptly

"Ensign you fool, she's firing on us! How'd she get so close."

"What are you talking about, sir? I interrupted my monologue several times to tell you that she was fast approaching."

"Monologue, ensign? WHAT MONOLOGUE? Have you gone insane?" screamed the captain with a bewildered look on his face. He'd no memory of the past few hours of the ensign's speaking.

"Dammnit," cried the ensign in despair "I've made someone black out again." But the captain heeded him not, assuming the young cadet had gone insane with fear as so many did during the first stages of battle.

"BATTLESTATIONS!" cried the captain. The ensign looked around surprised, wondering what the threat was. He frantically scanned for another enemy vessel. When he saw that the only ship on the horizon was the McArdle, he calmed slightly but remained tense. "Sir, why are you so alarmed? The only ship I see is the McArdle."

"Fool, can't you see she's firing on us?" the captain cried as he screamed frantic commands to take evasive maneuvers and ready the guns. The ensign was beside himself "But sir, the McArdle is notoriously armed with the poorest weaponry. Her volleys infallibly miss the mark all together, reeking havoc on some random bit of the ocean upon which no one is sailing. Those rounds that do hit are often found to be of the poorest construction. They're usually bits of macaroni, toothpicks and glitter held together with rubber cement. It's as if a four year old made them. Her only function seems to be to act as an annoyance. Though she's unable to harm a flea, she somehow manages to deflect all arsenals aimed at her. Some say that she has a shield that is fueled by her own feeling of superiority. Others say that at the time of impact she instantly tele-ports her ship to another universe in which the steel we use is soft and light and the weapons of cotton candy and my little ponies that she herself employs destroy whole mountains. She is but a nuisance unless you yourself inhabit the fairytale world from which she hails."

But the ensign's words bounced off the captain as McArdle's armaments bounced of, well, just about anything. Just then there was the faint sound of something wet an insubstantial striking something hard. "WHAT WAS THAT?!?!" screamed the captain. The ensign jumped for a moment, before collecting himself. "I barely heard anything, sir. I think it was a blog post directed at us, sir."

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" cried the captain. "We're doomed!"

The ensign grabbed the captain by his shoulders and slapped him. "Get a-hold of yourself, sir! We don't even know the damage yet!" The captain stared into space for a moment before collecting hist wits. He smoothed out his button downed coat and, while still noticeably shaken, managed to add a touch of steadiness to his voice as he said "You're right, ensign. Go inspect the damage."

The ensign hopped down to the lower deck and raced to the side of the vessel. It did not take long, for the Navy did not bother sending a large ship to hunt something as perennial and pointless as the USS McArdle. Reaching the railing, he leaned over to see where the volley had struck. "It IS a blog post, sir!" the ensign called out to the captain, who tensed slightly. "It's stuck just above the waterline. I think I can reach it an peel it off." The captain was about to stop him, but the ensign leaned over and deftly peeled the soggy, smelly piece of paper off the hull before the captain could speak. "It's mostly about stupid holiday crap, sir. Another of her lists of 'gifts' compiled by looking at the belongings in her own house and trying to convince people that they should all own them." The captain's eyes widened slightly and a small smile pierced its way through the dueling emotions of fear and agony on his face. "Hmm, I wonder if there's anything on there for my dry skin.." he said to no one in particular. The ensign resisted the urge to slap the captain a second time.

"Sir," he said with a touch of frustration in his voice "shouldn't we read the bit pertaining to us?" The captain's emerging smile disappeared at these words and he returned to his previous, tense state. "You're right. If she's going to sink us, we might as well get it over with." The ensign did not bother to reassure the captain that no damage was done. He knew that surely this assault was as poorly constructed and half-heartedly propelled as all of the others that their ship had faced. Instead, he straightened out the crumpled paper, which appeared to be an old napkin from a bar on U-street, held his nose, and began to read the words scrawled in lipstick (Wondering whether it was McArdle's own hue, or perhaps a shade borrow from Ezra during one of their weekly "girl's nights.")

"Ah, yes sir, here is the bit about us. It's right at the begininning. Allow me to blockquote it for you:

Believe it or not, I'm something of a girly girl. I like high heels, makeup, and loving rituals involving gentle exfoliants and moisturizer. Having been told that this makes me look unserious, I have refrained from putting up this sort of guide in past years. But applying makeup is no more unserious than playing video games, and, one might argue, is at least as much fun. So: the official Megan McArdle guide to girl stuff. If nothing else, the trolls will enjoy sniffily declaring that this doesn't belong in the same magazine that published Mark Twain, (you know, the one who wrote lengthy essays about serious topics like cigars).
The ensign's voice had started cracking after only the first sentence, and his voice was clearly straining by the end of the passage. As he came to the end, it was all that he could do but to keep from bursting out laughing.

The captain, meanwhile, remained stony throughout the entire reading of the passage. He stared off into the horizon, betraying nothing of his inner workings. It was obvious that the situation was serious. Finally, his mouth moved slightly. By now the ensign could not contain himself and was laying on the ground in hysterics, cackling to himself while holding his sides and rolling gently back and forth. The captain pounced on him and slapped him, screaming at the young seaman to compose himself. "Can't you hear me?" called the captain "I said abandon ship!"

The ensign continued to laugh but managed to throw the captain a quizzical look. "Yeah, right!" The captain slapped him again "Ow," exclaimed the ensign, who had not stopped laughing "what the hell is your problem?" he said in between giggles "I'm fine. Man, I fucking love this job. This shit is He-lar-i-ous!" The captain continued to slap his underling until the ensign's pain overcame. He pushed the captain off him and rose to his feet, patting his uniform off. "Way to be a fucking buzzkill" he said irritably. The captain looked at him in disbelief.

"You need to get a hold of yourself, man! We've got to save ourselves! Perhaps if we abandon ship McArdle will take pity on us and allow us to join her crew mopping decks!" Implored the captain. "Surely, that is all we're fit to do! I hope that she has but the pity to pay us enough so that we may eat, though surely the market deems it an impossibility that we may have such worth."

The ensign sighed. He'd seen this before. Occasionally McArdle, or perhaps some random force of nature, managed to teleport the brain of an individual into the parallel universe she herself inhabited. Usually, it was a week brained recruit or some self-absorbed admiral back on shore. It was odd to see it happen to a captain. He wondered if perhaps the ship hadn't been put in charge of some important politician's undeserving son.

How it unfolded from here on out was certain. Pointing out to the captain that the argument was ridiculous would be of no use. No matter how much the young man explained that those essays of Twain's were written AFTER he'd achieved fame for his incisive novels; that they were crafted with the same care and cleverness that characterized his other workz and not spit out daily without so much as a second-glance; that they likely didn't appear in the pages of The Atlantic; and that these essays didn't compromise the vast majority of Twain's work. No matter how much he did any of that, it wouldn't matter. The captain's mind was gone.

To save time, the ensign pushed the captain overboard. Without hesitation, the captain began swimming towards the McArdle. Through he binoculars, the ensign surveyed the waters surrounding the enemy ship. He could see a couple dozen other victims of McArdle's mind-destroying fantasy ray gun. They swam in circles around the vessel, heaping praise upon it. He saw a few noble soles in small craft darting between the swimmers, imploring them to come aboard so that they could be taken back to dry land - and sanity. McArdle regularly fired her munitions at these boats, too, her smaller ballistics made mostly of those plastic figures with long spikey hair called "Trolls." The small craft were in no danger, though, as these arms were just as harmless and juvenile as those which he and the captain had faced earlier. But, the brainwashed swimmers were as immune to conventional reason as the McArdle was herself, warm under the protective glow of whatever delusional power kept McArdle safe from the onslaughts that would have bowed any self respecting intellect decades ago.

The ensign sighed, and thought of something insightful to end the chapter with.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Digging out

more catch-up shorters.

Who told on the Blagster?:

"The Blagster". Woof.

The latest rumor is that Rahm Emmanuel is the one who narc'd on Blagojevich. Clive Crook makes a point I hadn't thought of: given that we know that Blagojevich demanded pay for play from them, it had better be someone from the Obama campaign who snitched, or it's going to look very, very bad for the President-Elect:
Concern troll fail. There is no "could", there is only "is". This is an Obama scandal, because the right is mentally ill and inflict their pathology on the national discourse. Megan knows this, and both participates in and profits from it, which means she truly failed in this post.

Chuck Colson: should there be second acts in American life?:

Ladies and gentlemen, gather 'round for one of the stupidest things ever said. I have to quote the entire post.
Hilzoy is mad that he's getting the Presidential Citizens Medal. She offers a highlight reel of his offenses during the Nixon administration and then concludes:
The one episode that will always sum up Chuck Colson for me is his plan to firebomb the Brookings Institution. Imagine: a Special Counsel to the President of the United States actually proposing to firebomb a centrist political think-tank.

When I think of "U.S. citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for the nation", Chuck Colson is not exactly the sort of person who leaps to mind. But then, when I think of "good judges of people's exemplary service", George W. Bush doesn't exactly leap to mind either.
This seems, perhaps, just a trifle incomplete. This biography ends in 1975. Surely, Chuck Colson has been up to something since then?

Well, just experiencing a genuine jailhouse conversion, and spending the rest of his life building an enormous prison ministry that has done amazing work on prisoner rehabilitation and prison reform. I don't share his faith, but I recognize that the guy has dedicated the larger portion of his life to helping the most reviled members of society.
I'm too out of practice to snark this. Colson wanted to blow up the fucking NYTimes building in Times Square, but he redirected his authoritarian instincts away from trying to control people via literal force to using God's name to tell them what to do so it's all good now. And why'd they have to persecute poor Eichmann, too?
(Colson cannot be Godwined. It's a fair comparison.)

Entirely too glib:
I don't understand what Mark Kleiman is trying to get at here, either by labelling Glenn Reynolds a "Glibertarian"
Heh, indeed.
There is often an operating assumption that failing to vigorously suggest regulation, or to preface/postface any post about a problem in the world with a sarcastic remark about how if it weren't for all the jerks who don't vote for Democrats, this never would have happened, is actually equivalent to stating that anarchocapitalism works.
Oh, goody. A word she doesn't actually know the meaning of.
I also really, really wish that liberals would drop the "Glibertarian" label. First of all, I don't like any variation on political labels designed to insult, and I doubt that Mark thinks the use of "Dimmocrat" reflects well on the person who employs it. And second of all, on the internet the label is usually deployed by liberals who have taken it upon themselves to define what a "real" libertarian is, i.e. a libertarian who has never publicly much disagreed with said liberals. We don't go around writing people out of the progressive movement, or putting block quotes around "progressive", no matter how foolish we think the people are, or how badly we think their stated positions betray the true goals of the movement. Why not put aside the juvenile name-calling and engage the arguments?
If you had an argument, Megan, maybe we could engage it. You don't successfully mask your inherent selfish, greedy nature with your pretend regard for others. Ezra and Matt are fooled, but they're career minded tools.
In summary, you, Megan, are a glib asshole, and therefore a glibertarian. Whine about it some more, though, I love Miss Preemptive 2x4 calling for civility.

Holiday gift guide: Cookbook edition:

Wouldn't it be easier just to post the contents of the package every time you get a box from Amazon than writing up these lists, Megan?

Criminal non-conspiracies:

Gotta just put up the whole post again;
A reader sent me this, regarding the post about how few crimes have so far been uncovered:
Well, since that post was written, we've found out about a potential $50 billion fraud at Bernard Madoff, a mere $100 million alleged fraud by Marc Dreier, and some dude in Miami who was rewriting the value of mortgages to make the associated securities more valuable. And that's just in 2 weeks with the limited resources that the FBI and SEC have to find this stuff relative to the total scale of what was going on.

Various things went wrong to produce the current financial shambles. But one of them was an "if it feels good, don't stop it" regulatory ethos that came straight from the top of government. That ethos attracts particular kinds of people.
This is convenient, since I was about to write a follow-up post on the same topic. The recession is uncovering a lot of shenanigans, as recessions usually do.
Nonetheless, I beg to differ about his interpretation. First of all, all of these things, while nasty, are sideshows; the economy would have fallen exactly as far and fast without them. P. O'Neill is confusing correlation with causation. The normal amount of fraud that pervades society is easier to uncover when bubbles collapse and con men are left short. The more interesting sort of fraud, which we may or may not find, will come out of the big banks and Frannie Mac.
Second of all, all of the stuff detailed in this post is very, very illegal. It isn't something that regulators nod and wink at. It isn't the kind of thing that Bush directed his SEC to go easy on. No one, at any time, in any regulatory agency, changed their opinion about the virtues of counterfeiting securities and impersonating pension officials.
People who make more money than Megan do so because they are fundamentally better people, and she simply will not hear them spoken ill of. To paraphrase Nixon, it's not a crime if a rich person does it.

Break time.


I've been slacking, obviously. Probably will continue for a while, but I can't sleep, might as well get some shorters in. Let's begin reliving the last week through the lens of stupidity.

Pardon me?:

Pardoning Nixon may have been a bad idea, but I tend to think not--the country would not have benefitted [sic] from a lengthy trial, especially since I think it very likely that the defense would have managed to get quite a bit of testimony on Johnson's behavior, which I've heard credibly argued, at least equalled [sic], and inspired, Nixon's own. Arguably, the reason the Democrats made so little fuss is that they knew they could not further destroy Nixon's name without also destroying Johnson and the Great Society.
... what?

Tribune considers bankruptcy:
I'd just like to point out that this proves Megan is aware she can edit her posts after they've been published on the site, and chooses not to, not even for basic grammar.

I would personally be pleased to see Ingrid Newkirk appointed to head the USDA.
How does she come up with this shit? Newkirk, as many of you probably know, has turned the leadership of a group dedicated to a worthy cause into a cult of personality centered around her belief that she is fucking awesome and shits gold. A rational animal rights activist (or maybe Michael Pollan) would be a fantastic choice, but they probably threaten Megan with their competence and sanity.

Sign of the times:
I've blogged before about the tendency for groups to manufacture money out of whatever happens to be closest to hand.
She's too lazy even to cite herself. What is it about search boxes that scares her?

And now, for some actual good news:

A long overdue malaria vaccine is in the works. This means the pharmaceutical companies continuing to spend huge amounts figuring out how to give old men erections is the best possible way to advance our medical technologies.

Women's work:
I've always thought that Linda Hirshman had a tenuous grasp on reality, but not this tenuous.
Girls will be girls, I guess.
And, of course....

Apologies to Linda Hirshman:
First, for spelling her name wrong in the previous post,
and second, because someone impersonating me has been incredibly rude in the comments. I've deleted the comments and banned the commenter. Sorry on both counts, Ms. Hirshman, though if it makes you feel any better, you misspelled my name in one of your replies. [Emphasis in original]
Now that's substantive debate.

And I think I can go back to bed now. I'll do some more catch-up shorters tomorrow, try n clear the way to actually getting in gear with Atlas Shrugged.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How'd He Do It?

Megan, all over the latest Ponzi scheme, explains why rich people should be respected, & left alone to run the world of finance.

The market failed as badly as the government. The people he bilked weren't unsophisticated consumers of the sort that we assume need regulatory protection. They were extremely rich people, many of them with backgrounds in finance.
We'll just add that the entire world of money manipulation is a Ponzi scheme to begin w/, a house of cards dependent on the faith & trust of suckers whose greed virtually forces them to participate unquestioningly in these frauds.

Blogger Spell-Check Doesn't Recognize "Objectivist"

Of course when the Muse of all Muses headlines something "Conspiracy theory of the week," she's mocking it.

As a supremely rational objectivist, it wouldn't be possible for her to have any truck w/ conspiracy. 

Plain dumb ignorance & ideology? That's different.

I don't know that bankruptcy will destroy the UAW, but they probably won't have a lot of members and money left to campaign for Democrats in 2010.
That's all that counts, natch, because the union is completely political, regularly defies its members, & has no interest in the working conditions & pay of said members. When one really thinks about it, it's quite annoying that these workers are banding together to contract for their labor, as if there truly were a free market.

Also, fool that I am, I wondered a bit about the basis of the item: "Did the White House fake out Gettlefinger?...by signalling they were ready to tide GM over, and then pull the deal?" as there'd been no reports of this I could recall. What do I know, I modestly thought, & went on w/o Google™. Her commenters, not lazy oafs like me, had bothered to ask the same question:
Have I missed something? Is there breaking news that the government isn't going to bail GM out?

What makes you think the Bush administration isn't going to bailout the automakers?

I agree with CAL and DaveinHackensack -- I feel like I missed something here. I can't find any newsreports saying the White House is backing out of the stopgap plan announced last week.
That was the last comment. No wonder the post racked up a mere 10 comments. Would have been a great opportunity for the anti-worker elements of the A. I. commentariat to sound off, if it hadn't turned out to be a McArdle fever dream that somehow reached web publication. (Caused by the side-effects of her recent moving/cleaning binge? I very much sympathize w/ Ms. McArdle; it can't be easy to be an OCD-powered cleaner, yet allergic to everything this consumer society drives one to purchase & use.)

Note: Above analysis of Ms. McArdle is dime-store psychology, formulated by a two-bit typist. So prove in court you aren't, sister!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Don't hate me

my time n focus keep getting... well, stolen ain't the right word since I'm giving em quite freely, but claimed by someone who gives a lot more back than Megan. I'll get back to jackassing soon, right now I'm enjoying feeling human.

Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don't

There has been an historic event over at The Atlantic. Our "Eloise at The Atlantic" (as Roy Edroso puts it. I've never read Eloise but apparently it's very clever.)- well, it's truly astonishing - I... I... I'm getting choked up here.... she... she... she properly capitalized a title.. There's even grammar and shit in that thing. "Preach it, Brother Sanchez"... the phrase has just become the prettiest on record. Why, our muse,after years of badgering, may have finally listened to a critic. Could such a thing have happened? If so, I think we can likely head over to, uh..., somewhere in Europe and tell them not to bother powering the LHC back up. The Standard Model has been proved. The world is in harmony. We an all sleep at night, safe and sound, comfortable in the knowledge that terrorism has been defeated and that the economy is back on the up and up. Hold your breath, people. It might just be the greatest time to be alive.

While we can rest comfortably in the knowledge that the writers of the day are taking the 5 seconds necessary to make sure their articles are properly introduced, there's still work to be done. Though our pupil's post may have finally been begun in a competent manner, that which follows still reeks of hackdom, shallowness, and bias. I give you the "I know you are but what am I argument":

Julian points out that authoritarianism isn't some exclusively Republican vice:
Failing to funnel billions to a failing business is a form of authoritarian punishment. As an alternative, we're offered the proposition that we "want affordable, safe, fuel-efficient, environmentally sound cars built by committed workers who are rewarded for undertaking this task on our behalf." I think it's a lot more revealing to contemplate the sort of mindset that insists on seeing every economic outcome as a political "reward" or "punishment."

This whole familial frame seems to amount to an inverted Gospel of Wealth: Where the 19th century claimed that financial success was a reflection of moral worth, the function of public policy in the 21st century will be to create that symmetry. The only question is whether workers in a particular industry are naughty children who need to be sent to the corner for a time-out, or well-behaved children who should get a gold sticker for effort. This is, as I hope goes without saying, a pretty authoritarian frame on either side. It also seems like a manifestly awful way to make economic policy choices. Barring some marvelous Lebnizian coincidence, the answers to questions about the moral desert of workers in particular sectors are unlikely to consistently match the answers to quesitons about what's in the long-term interest of the economy as a whole.
Julian incredulously asks how failing to give away billions is a sign of ideology. That's a fair point, if not for the fact that Republican's were busy gleefully rejoicing that the auto-bailout gave them a chance to "take their first shot against organized labor." If there's anything that screams well reasoned consideration, it's failing to back a bill intended to aid the economy during the worst blah since blah because you have a chance to stick it to those pesky blue collar workers and their whole "treat us fairly" bullshit. But, I digress.

Apparently, the fact that Congress is making sure the money is being spent on something reasonable rather than keeping a failing business alive to continue to fail is a evidence of "mindset that insists on seeing every economic outcome as a political 'reward' or 'punishment.'" (YEAH SCARE-QUOTES!) It's not like when we wrote a blank check for the financial industry they didn't just blow it on expensive spas in California or use it to buy up other companies rather than lend it to people like we wanted.

Yes sir, either you agree with ole' Jules about how, as usual, the government should stay away or you're an authoritarian. Also, if you tell Jules that blindly following the same rules in all situations is, at least, dogmatism and almost certainly authoritarianism, then he's rubber and you're glue.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm Busy Too

Brad's not the only one with finals, but some of us still feel obligated to fill our duties. So, though, I have a final tomorrow, I'll take over.

If you follow this fucking link you'll see that McFuckingMoron continues to be a complete fucking idiot without a trace of self-awareness, compassion, intelligence or even the capability to use correct fucking gramar.

fuck whore shit fucking asshole piece of shit fuckadiddle-ding-dong.

There. I'm done. I'm such a good blogger!

I live

sorry for yet another extended absence. Been very pleasantly distracted, not fully possessed of my critical powers. I'm also, of course, falling further behind on Atlas Shrugged. I'm going to try very hard to get myself to type up my notes on the second half of chapter one today, and have chapter two and the first part of chapter three done by Monday morn, which will be the new day for it to run.
Only 38 more days of Bush, smile.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Spiky Gray Hair Salon®

Re: brad? Finals? End of semester something or another?

brad mentioned when he started this lovely web log what an admirer of Camille Paglia he was. Here's her latest typing, as first noted at the inestimable TBogg's. We're only sorry it was published just before The Ill. Gov. was arrested. Think what she could have gotten out of that.

A short enough example:
Because seven years have passed since 9/11 without another attack on native soil, many Americans, particularly urban professionals, seem to have been lulled into a false feeling of security. 
Oh, those Uppies. They've let themselves be lull-a-bye-ed. Those city dwellers [Who are, essentially, the target class. — Ed.] should be just as scared as all the hicks out in the middle of Heartland nowhere.

Calling Brad....

Dude, where brad at? Has Atlas Shrugged eaten him whole? I don't like having to work this much. Plus, there's a lot of stupid not getting the scrutiny it so deserves. Oh well.

For today's tidbit, let's take a look at one of McNotbasedinreality's latest pile of bullshit:

Alex Massie on the bailout:
The perception that GM and Ford and Chrysler build crappy cars is just another obstacle to recovery. And of course it's a perception that, even if out of date, is predicated upon the bitter memories of the crap cars they really did build. Turns out it takes a while for that perception to fade. One more reason why you shouldn't crap on your own brand. So the current crisis, driven by poor management and stupid unions, is also built upon the junk they spent years selling to gullible consumers taken in by the faux-patriotism of "Buying American".
Hmm, the perception is out of date, huh? Well, anecdotal evidence sure doesn't help that out. My 1996 Thunderbird was falling apart at the seems before it got totaled, with a new tranny, head gasket (twice), and other expensive repairs all before 80k miles. Compare that to my 1982 Integra which made it almost to 200k and then died when routine maintenance costss surpassed its worth. It was still getting 33 mpg highway at 13 years old. Now my 2003 Saab (now a GM company) is falling apart with less than 50k on it. Consumer Reports can give you so more concrete examples but it's pretty safe to say that American cars have been shit for the entirety of my 26 years. Maybe the new ones aren't going to get shredded by a stiff wind, but it'll take 10-20 years to find that out. So, yeah, she's starting off strong with her usual quoting-someone-who's-full-of-shit style. I swear she does this just to make what she writes look less stupid by comparison. Speaking of stupid:
That's one thing the "Car Czar" can't fix: the perception that the company apparently needs nearly unlimited access to government funds in order to prop up its failing operations is hardly going to restore America's faith that its automakers make good cars.
Um, by perception, you mean "actuality," right?
On the other hand, maybe people will buy them just to stop the tax drain. If they're going to take the money one way or another, you might as well get a car out of it.
Yeah, people might do that. There is a chance that people are as mind numbingly stupid as Megan is. Certainly could happen.

In another post, she rolls in some more bullshit:
One thing is clear about the bailout: congress intends to use it to push GM et. al. into manufacturing more fuel efficient cars.
Yeah, that's a horrible idea. Who the fuck wants a fuel efficient car these days?
When gas prices were high, a lot of people blamed Detroit's troubles on the fact that they hadn't learned to make awesome small cars. But Toyota isn't so successful in the US because of the Yaris and the Corolla; its core business, like Honda's, is American-sized sedans, station wagons, luxury cars, and so on.
But they're not making their money on gas-sipping hybrids and compacts, either. They, like Detroit, are making their money by selling cars that will need a pretty big refit to pass the new CAFE standards. The top selling cars in the US last January (midway through the price spike in oil, before the financial crisis):

1. Toyota Camry: 31,601
2. Honda Accord: 23,957
3. Nissan Altima: 21,635
4. Honda Civic: 20,993
5. Toyota Corolla: 20,736
6. Chevrolet Impala: 17,544
7. Chevrolet Cobalt: 17,310
8. Chevrolet Malibu: 14,105
9. Pontiac G6: 13,942
10. Ford Focus: 11,600

The Impala gets about the same MPG as the Camry, the Accord, and the Altima--actually, slightly better (32 rather than 31 highway).
Anyone that can tell me what the fuck she's talking gets a free referral to a psychiatrist. She's saying they aren't making money on fuel efficient cars because their top sellers are getting 32 mpg??!?!??! And what fucking CAFE standards is she talking about? 32 is as high as shit gets when it's not a hybrid. Her Mini only gets 34!!!!! As a side note, including a number on those cars in a top ten listy is complete bullshit. People aren't buying those cars because they're any good. They're getting bought by rental companies and government agencies who get great deals for buying in bulk and don't give a fuck if their cars perform like shit.
It is true that when gas prices rose, there was a temporary surge in the prices companies could charge for hybrids and small cars, but though I think that the memory of recent price spikes will offer some support to the smaller car market, I also think we'll see that market head back down along with oil prices. In short, the small, fuel efficient car market is still not some sort of gold mine that the Big Three have stupidly overlooked.
Right, cause the recent surge in oil shows us that oil is always cheap. I'm sure the downturn of its price recently is proof positive of that and not the overreaction to the burst of a bubble combined with the crashing of an economy. No sir. Cheap oil is here to stay forever. The fact that oil is still twice as expensive as it was less than 10 years ago is completely irrelevant and you're a NAZI for mentioning that. OIL IS OUR GOD GIVEN RIGHT AND WILL ALWAYS BE THERE!!!!
The question is, when the desire to make the companies refocus on fuel efficiency conflicts with the desire to make them profitable, which way does the Car Czar go? Because those goals are only reconcileable[sic] if oil prices shoot back up and stay there.
Duh, cause, people will always hate fuel efficient cars and not pay any money for them forever and ever and that's why GM is making so much money these days. They smartly realized this fuel efficiency thing is just a fad and that the real money is in the gas guzzlers.

For fuck's sake, she can't even be right about the fucking PAST! She's still clinging to the notion that GM can't make money on fuel efficient cars. How dumb is she? If that were true, their sales figures wouldn't be slumping like the fucking Hunch Back Of Notre Dame. WHAT IN THE FUCKING HELL IS WRONG WITH THIS STUPID WOMAN?

Cripsy Fried Funny

I'm not sure if she's joking or not, but apparently Megan thinks it's a good idea to take electronics into the bath.

Though plastic gloves aren't enough to save Megan from the horrible effects of household cleaners, she thinks a Ziplock bag is enough to keep you safe in the tub with a Kindle.

I'm don't know if there's enough juice in one of those batteries to do any harm, but this blog may become a memorial sometime soon.

At least she'd die happy, clutching the useless consumer crap of which she is so fond. That's like a normal person dying in the arms of a loved one.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What's Zero Divided by Two?

Apparently Megan's been sick(er than usual) lately, and hence her productivity has decreased. Somehow we didn't notice, which I guess shows that, to the human eye, 0.01 looks just like 0.001.

I've been told by my endocrinologist that it's time to give up being a vegan. One of the major reasons that I have, as you have possibly noticed, been sick for months, is that my thyroid has been in parlous condition. This wasn't exactly unexpected, because I have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis that slowly kills your thyroid. Because of that, I was very careful about supplementing my soy intake with iodine, because soy can interfere with thyroid hormone.
Yet another disease to add to the McArdle DSM: Vertigo, chronic breathing problems and now some rare thyroid thing. One is tempted to feel sympathy for her. Then one remembers that "her" is so full of shit in all other ways, she may well just be a hypochondriac. After all, if one can convince oneself that the invisible hand NEVER curls all its fingers save one to turn in the invisible middle-finger (or, for that matter, curls them all into the invisible fist), one could prolly convince oneself to be sick.

Anyway, all the usual comments about the extreme length of a post about her as compared to a post about anything else; the woe-is-me-ism, the blogging about shit no one cares about, etc. apply. So let's just point out the obligatory self contradiction. She introduces with "I have, as you have possibly noticed, been sick for months" and then concludes with:
I've actually been really sick for the last five months, though I didn't blog about it
Deary, you've blogged about scant else.

What the fuck is wrong with her? That is; actually wrong with her, not made-up-in-her-own-head wrong with her.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Liberal Fascist Economics

Was Nazi science good science?

Not the newest question under the sun. Not as if mlle. was sitting around wondering about it all day long. She finds the post she's referring to "disturbingly persuasive." The fun is from the commenariat.

What about Nazi economics? Militarization, mass infrastructure spending, removing Jews from top positions in the economy, and autarky -- seemed to work pretty well for them in the 1930s, no? Would a similar policy work here? Now that free trade/globalization/open borders immigration has taken us to the brink of a Great Depression 2.0, maybe it's worth considering.
Whooo. And Fred doesn't know when to stop.
Why not? Think about it: we run massive trade deficits. While other countries would reciprocate against our tariffs, on balance, the U.S. economy would benefit, as we are now net importers. Our manufacturing sector would expand, creating new high-paying blue collar jobs. At the same time, enforcing our immigration laws would raise wages for unskilled workers by reducing the supply of unskilled labor from Mexico and points south. And I don't think the economy would skip a beat if folks like Robert Rubin were asked to bow out.

Some more militarization wouldn't hurt either. Why not expand our ground forces by a couple million men? That would take a bite out of unemployment, and help raise civilian wages, by tightening up the labor pool, and with that many men we could finally clean out the nest of vipers that is the Pashtun areas of Pakistan.
Indeed. Ask Robert Rubin (& "folks" like him) to bow out, not on the basis of whatever the hell his/their policies might be, but because he's one of the "chosen people." There's pragmatism at work.

Sinking Further Away from Being Deep

The magazine that was founded on fostering probing analysis and new ways of thinking has the following ad blinking below Ms. McVapid's blog:

Oh, please, wise sages of The Atlantic, provide insight into the ever inscrutable problem of why people whose job it is to get you to like them would lie to you. This question has plagued man for ages and only you can provide the answer.


McArdle at 1335 EST:

Being that I have recently purchased a car, lost half my retirement savings, and rented a house, I feel poor right now.
Then, at 1737 EST:
It does not make me happy that I can't privatize social security and eliminate the corporate income tax, and it does not make me happy that I can't have radical agricultural reform and a stiff carbon tax.  But the universe is not here to please me.
(Emphases ours, in case the readership is too dense to get it.) But what is she complaining about? That she can't set it up so that she can lose the rest of her retirement funds?

Also: No, Megan, it's not you against the universe. It's you versus the people who disagree w/ your ideas. The corollary to the unpleasant universe complaint/rationalization is "life isn't fair," or "screw you Jack, I'm alright." Life, however, is merely arbitrary. It is people, & the systems they establish, that are not fair.

Tee Vee Eye on Me(gan)

Here, Ms. McArdle finds herself inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates, who wasn't typing about anything funny, but the humor kicks in immediately at Asymmetrical Info:

Being that I have recently purchased a car, lost half my retirement savings, and rented a house, I feel poor right now.  And yet, like the rest of America, I am feeling the powerful lure of the ridiculous sales our nation's merchants are putting on. 
"Oh, I feel a bit faint...&...&...what is this feeling? Poverty? I'm pooooor? Oooooh..." Fortunately, it's all feelings, it will pass & the unsinkable Megatron will survive to retire.

Perhaps w/ yet another television set, which seems to be the entirety of the consumer desires manipulated w/in her & T. C. by the merchant classes.
Between the two of us, we already have five televisions (including one that, bizarrely, comes with the house, being affixed to the bathroom ceiling.  No, I'm not kidding.)  But they're SOOOOOOOOOOOOO cheap!!!
I'd feel poor too, w/ a mere five sets. Now, please stand aside, here's the "econoblogging."
The problem with this is that utility is a relative, not an absolute.   The market price is (sort of) an average of the item's utility, not a measure of its utility to you.  For us, the utility of another flat screen television is almost certainly less than almost anything else we'd spend the $400 on.  We didn't get the television.  But I still feel kind of like I'm missing out.

But you can't base an economy on this feeling (though Lord knows, we've tried!)  I'm sure all the bargains and loss leaders are generating some consumer spending.  But I'm still willing to bet that most retailers will report horrific margins and a terrible year for profits.
You can't base an economy on this feeling? It worked so well for so long on so many consumerist sheep, Megan. Like the one in your mirror. You can still barely keep your wallet in your pants, "feeling poor" or not. 

And while I, a partially home-schooled, multi-college drop-out & auto-didact have managed never to take an economics class, or read anything on the subject deeper than a book review, I'm still willing to bet that what Ms. McA. typed above is about as simple as it gets. We thank The Atlantic for keeping it on our level.

A Blockquote is a Blockquote is a Blockquote is a Blockquote is a Blockquote ...

Update II: Fixed the title typo, too. God, I suck today.

Zounds, she's thrown a lot of idiocy at the wall today. Let's see if any sticks...

Some progressives apparently shocked to discover that they elected a politician, not (awesomely wise secular teacher!) Jesus. Clip at eleven.
That's her title. I wish I were making shit up. This women is to pith what the galaxy is to a muon.

I don't understand why these articles keep getting written. Moreover, I don't understand why they can keep getting written. Did progressives really think they'd woken up in Sweden on November 5th?
Ahh, Megan and I share something at last. We're both confounded as to why certain things keep getting written. Next she quotes:
Liberals are growing increasingly nervous - and some just flat-out
angry - that President-elect Barack Obama seems to be stiffing them on
Cabinet jobs and policy choices.

Obama has reversed pledges to immediately repeal tax cuts for the
wealthy and take on Big Oil. He's hedged his call for a quick drawdown
in Iraq. And he's stocking his White House with anything but stalwarts
of the left.

Now some are shedding a reluctance to puncture the liberal euphoria at
being rid of President George W. Bush to say, in effect, that the new
boss looks like the old boss.

"He has confirmed what our suspicions were by surrounding himself with
a centrist to right cabinet. But we do hope that before it's all over
we can get at least one authentic progressive appointment," said Tim
Carpenter, national director of the Progressive Democrats of America.

OpenLeft blogger Chris Bowers went so far as to issue this plaintive
plea: "Isn't there ever a point when we can get an actual Democratic
Hmm, that's sort of a weird voice for an post about how horrible Obama is. It's detached and objective like a news article rather than an opinion piece. Oh, wait, that's because IT IS A NEWS ARTICLE. Megan, complaining about how "articles like this are getting written" links to an article about how other articles are getting written. It's like Cerberus (Update: Yes, I meant Ouroboros. I'm retarded.) combined with a Mobius strip where it goes around twice and somehow it's eating it's tail both times. We need to commission Escher to make sense of that shit.

Of course what she meant to say was that she doesn't understand how progressive articles about how Obama isn't progressive enough can keep getting written, which doesn't change the irony any. You mean, the most liberal people in America are complaining that America isn't liberal enough? SHOCK OF THE FUCKING SHOCKS! Her next post is about fish complaining of the dryness of land.

Amazingly enough, she has some words of her own to share:
For a movement that grew out of the anti-corruption campaigns of the late nineteenth century, and was nurtured in the hothouse built by domestic Communism and Socialism, modern progressivism seems curiously unwilling to think about, much less cope with, institutionalist models of politics.
For a movement that is vested in radical change, it sure does complain a lot about the fact that radical change isn't happening. STOP SHOCKING ME!!! IT HURTS!!!! Also, love the equation of progressives and Communists. I guess her note about the misuse of Fascism was about the details and not false analogy in general. She blahs for a bit and then posts another blockquote:
Liberals are growing increasingly nervous - and some just flat-out
angry - that President-elect Barack Obama seems to be stiffing them on
Cabinet jobs and policy choices.

Obama has reversed pledges to immediately repeal tax cuts for the
wealthy and take on Big Oil. He's hedged his call for a quick drawdown
in Iraq. And he's stocking his White House with anything but stalwarts
of the left.

Now it's Obama's Cabinet moves that are drawing the most fire. It's not
just that he's picked Clinton and Gates. It's that liberal Democrats
say they're hard-pressed to find one of their own on Obama's team so
far - particularly on the economic side, where people like Tim Geithner
and Lawrence Summers are hardly viewed as pro-labor.

"At his announcement of an economic team there was no secretary of
labor. If you don't think the labor secretary is on the same level as
treasury secretary, that gives me pause," said Jonathan Tasini, who
runs the website workinglife.org. "The president-elect wouldn't be
president-elect without labor."
No, that's her mistake, not mine. Yes, she posted the same fucking blockquote twice. No, she has no plans to go back and fix it despite the error being identified in comments. Yes, she is the laziest, stupidest, and most self-unaware blogger ever. What else is new?
He also wouldn't be president-elect without the drivers who piloted the campaign bus, but this is not a reason to make bus drivers the central concern of his new administration. Frankly, the knowledge that there are such lunatics out there, but that Obama is ignoring them, has heartened me greatly.
Ummmm, yeah, great analogy. The person paid to drive Obama around is exactly like the millions of people that worked their asses off for free to get people to vote for him. I love how progressives are lunatics here, too. Yeah, we're the lunatics. Only crazy people want the poor fed, the children educated, the minorities treated equally, the earth not to be destroyed by pollution etc. The sane ones just want to shoot privatize them all and let God The Market sort 'em out.

Finally, after an interminable amount of bullshit she closes with this:

The other group who is in denial, of course, is the conservatives. While the progressives are shocked, shocked that Obama hasn't made Bill Ayers attorney general and Ingrid Newkirk Secretary of Agriculture, many of the conservatives who were mad about my supporting Obama continue to assure me that he is making card check and confiscatory taxation the centerpiece of his administration. Maybe the hard conservatives and the progressives should be consoling each other.
Yeah, right, the progressives totally loved Bill Ayers. Hahahahahahahha! She's so funny! See, the funny part of that controversy wasn't the conservatives pulling their hair over a man Obama barely knew, it was all those progressives who were loudly claiming that Ayers wasn't a terrorist but was totally awesome and should be in the cabinet. That's the way I remember it going down, anyway.

This woman calls herself independent, and then writes hundreds of words about how stupid the lefties are and for balance, includes a sentence or two vaguely eluding to the crazy people on the right. All the while, she ignores the fact that crazies right wing idiots have been running the government while the lefties are confined to blogs that no one but other lefties read.

Most. Un-Self-Aware Person. Ever.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dear Amy

Submitted to The Atlantic's new advice column. We kid you not, they're starting an "advice" column.

I have long been a reader of an American magazine that has published continually for well over 150 years. Around a year and a half ago, this magazine's Internet presence took on a "blogger" who apparently cannot be counted upon to use spell check, & who has yet to be introduced to the concepts of research (This blogger may be taking "Is Google™ Making Us Stupid?" a bit too literally.) proofreading, or clear concise writing.

Granted, there are a fair amount of comments at this "Voice," most of them attempting to inform/educate the blogger or each other, or asking whatever in the world was meant by that last post. I suppose this sort of thing does attract "clicks" or whatever the gold standard of Internet advertising is, but still...

Should I sever all connections w/ this magazine until they come to their senses? Is this the sort of thing about which one should complain directly to the publisher?

P. S.: This magazine's website has recently begun pleading for "fans" to "join them on Facebook," and is about to launch a new advice column. Considering these developments, do you think a letter to the publisher would be a waste of electrons?

No, no, it's not Amy. Someone named Jeffrey Goldberg.

Sore Loser Dep't.

From comments (So as not to provide The Atlantic & Megatron w/ any more clickings than necessary, the subject is rentals — for B. O.'s inauguration — in very southern New Jersey, claiming D. C.'s a 90 min. drive):

Soooo.......this enterprising individual is..... what.......guilty of lying to prospective Obama inauguration attendees?

.....and this is different from The One's campaign promises to prospective Obama voters how.....?

Posted by jwh | December 5, 2008 4:15 PM
Just stop it already. It wasn't funny the first time.



Blogging is not the same.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Remember, Megan

there is nothing people want more of in their media diet than rich white people complaining about the slight drawbacks of being rich. Megan bought a relatively exotic car model which only has one very busy dealership in the area, and now that it needs service, she can't legally drive to the dealership.

This leaves me with two choices: spend hundreds of dollars and leave my car parked for at least another month, or fix it myself.
Fun, huh? This is what my whole month has been like, friends. It's just one damn thing after another, and funnily enough, almost all of it the product of some useless bureaucratic innovation designed to convenience the designer at the expense of a "customer" they don't care about.
Nobody knoooooows the trouble she's seen, nobody knows, but Jeeeeeeeebus.
She's a trooper, our Megan. Despite it all, she carries on.

Atlas Sat & Atlas Shat

And so it begins. We'll start with a few words that will be repeated at the top of every subsequent post in the series, so as to spare me from finding ways to constantly rephrase a point which will hold true throughout.

**Holy shit this is bad writing. It's as if Rand decided to replace every word in her first manuscript with its extended dictionary entry, or it was written in German then translated too literally. And the constant hamfisted imagery and analogies suggesting obvious and repugnant underlying theory make my inner editor weep. That people enjoy Ayn Rand's work is unfathomable to me, much like Dane Cook's success. I understand, theoretically, the allure of being a selfish asshole objectivism, but I don't understand how someone could find 1000+ pages of this crap to be a work of art. You have to be inherently twisted, which is why I think Rand's most analogous contemporary is L. Ron Hubbard, though he was a marginally better writer.
In any case, it's a huge steaming load of crap I decided to read in public, and it's time once again.**

I've debated how much homework to put into this, but the problem is extra preparation would involve reading even more by Ayn Rand and/or one of her acolytes and/or Megan. There's only so much punishment I can take, so we're going in cold. You all seem to be academics or autodidacts, so if you want more background you're perfectly capable of finding it. I vaguely recall Megan trying to wiggle out of the seeming endorsement of Rand that is titling your website/blog "Jane Galt", but the underlying ideological affinity is too obvious to deny. Megan tries to disguise her belief that the rich are entitled to eat the poor a little, so that Matt and Ezra and the like will continue to be free press agents for her, but that's their problem, not ours. Our problem is Atlas Shrugged, so let's get to it.

Part 1: Non-Contradiction
Chapter 1: The Theme
Subclause 1a: Sign here, initial here.

"Who is John Galt?"

Atlas Shrugged was published in 1957. Hardboiled pulp detective novels, the stuff of film noir, were an established genre by this time. Opening a 'serious' work of art with the equivalent of "Who is.... the Red Bandit?" is like beginning a full classical orchestra performance with Yakkity Sax. And yet, it is the perfect opening, in that it captures the tone of the book in microcosm; false depth. On one hand, this is supposed to be a catchy opening, one that draws you in. "I don't know, who is John Galt?" And on the other hand, it suggests the question "who is John Galt really" so immediately that you don't have to already have read the book to know he's a perplexing sort. And that's it, that's as far as the "depth" goes, but it's enough of a pretense for shallow idiots to mistake their own mirror image for wisdom from the depths. "Call me Ishmael" it is not.
And, of course, we don't get John Galt for a while, so as to build anticipation. First we get Eddie Willers and his overwritten ennui, and a nameless bum we'll call Hack Literary Device. Hack asks the opening question to Eddie, and the magic begins. Even Eddie doesn't know why Hack asked that, but Hack is just there to set the stage (and show that bums are just losers who gave up on themselves. "The face was wind-browned, cut by lines of weariness and cynical resignation; the eyes were intelligent"), so he doesn't answer. Eddie may have pages of overwritten ennui and hack metaphors for industrial decay to struggle with, but he's not a loser like Hack; he has a job and can at least cheer himself by looking at stores full of things that he can buy. The sad thing is Eddie is, it would seem, supposed to be troubled but likable. Rand all but screams to her reader "You're supposed to identify with Eddie" and then begins the underlying attempt at ideological conversion that this text is really about. I'm no kind of expert on cults, but I find them very interesting, and AS instantly reads like an attempt at indoctrination. Something is deeply wrong in Eddie's life, it's clear, but he's not a total loser like the cynical bum. Eddie still has a chance in life, so maybe his potential redemption can be ours. (Or so Rand is obviously hoping her reader will feel.)
Or maybe Eddie just needs a more energetic and charismatic boss to bask in the glow of. Eddie works for a dying railroad company and has bad news for its president, the comatose James Taggart. Taggart is a tired aristocrat running the business into the ground based on quaint notions of loyalty to established partners and not necessarily jumping at every loose dollar on the ground. Business ethics are thus summarily dismissed as slow suicide and almost buffoonish, probably not for the last time. Taggart even says there's more important things than money, sealing the deal that in Rand's world, he's an idiot. Taggart lives in a bizarre fantasy world where a business is measured by more than simply its profits, where its place in society and effect on it are considered in its practices and motivations. Rand, Eddie, and the competition, the Phoenix-Durango line, know this is childish, and are just in it for the money. Rand portrays the decisions to be made that would change TI's fate as blameless and harmless except in forcing old business partners to face competition, which is just the nature of business.
Eddie and all right thinking people understand this, but James Taggart is, by dint of birth, in charge, and the company is his to ruin. This, apparently, is the root of what troubles Eddie, as opposed to something legitimate. The scene having served its purpose, Eddie leaves, whereupon he notices a similarity between an ancient clerk and Hack the bum and spares the old man a few words of disdain. This, of course, is heavy with symbolism, because poor people aren't really people in their own rights, but only have value insofar as they can momentarily mean something to their betters. Then the old man concludes his babble by asking who John Galt is, scientifically proving the question is deep and important.

From here we shift to a new character, which gives me an opportunity to pause. I'll be back with a post on the second half of the first chapter later tonight, but this is already long n I need to eat.
And feedback is welcome and wanted. I'm going to try to transition away from just recapitulating the plot as soon as I can, but right now it's kind of mandatory. Hopefully things will streamline a little as we progress.