Thursday, April 30, 2009


Last evening I saw this post about Ken Lewis's change in responsibilities at a sight called "LOLFed." It went up around 6pm.

This morning, our muse puts up this on the same topic. You might want to give her some slack because, hey, she had to think of something interesting to say! Seriously, have you been here before?

I don't find it hard to believe that Ken Lewis genuinely believed that he was singlehandedly saving the US financial system--though it is also true that he probably couldn't have gotten out of the merger agreement by the time he (and Merrill) knew about the losses, even if he wanted to. But that doesn't really matter. If my husband sacrificed our child to save thousands of people, I might recognize, at some abstract level, that he had done the right thing. But we wouldn't stay married.


Scooped by a site whose tag line is "makin ur economy betters." They've got more interesting analysis, too.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Vaguely Implied To You So!

Megan wants to know if there's a doctor in the house. She hints (but does not link) to an NYT article (presumably this) about a shortage of doctors. She then modestly states "Gee, where have I heard this before?" Luckily, she didn't forget to link to herself.

The link is to a post "Is there a better way?" which attempts to address this comment:

You're a long way from establishing your critical point, focusing only on the downsides of unionism to productivity. What about the downsides of focusing only on the next quarter's return? Any individual corporation would be best served by a return to servitude (company towns, anyone?). The system as a whole may well be better served by having a systematic counterweight to maximizing short-term profits.

Just curious. Are you paid on a piece-work basis or do you draw a salary? Given what you do here, shouldn't you be paid on a piecework basis?

As you think about that, remember that there are other values in this world than maximizing short-term productivity, like treating people with dignity. Who knows, maybe the people who get paid a little more can actually afford to buy the products that the economy generates.
Strangely, it doesn't mention health care at all.

I think she's patting herself on the back for saying this in reply (amongst a host of other "points."):
On the fourth point, this is a silly canard. On an economy level, we cannot produce more by paying workers more, any more than you can increase the height of your house by calling the basement the first floor. The amount of stuff everyone has is determined (more or less) by the productive capacity of the economy. You can redistribute that stuff between people, and you can change the mix of stuff that gets made. But you cannot make more of it by changing the nominal price of labor. The only way to get more stuff as a society is to improve our productive capacity, mostly by research and capital investment.
Which is, of course, total fucking bullshit. If we pay people who do useless shit like being lawyers a shit-ton and our productive members nothing, then we will produce less. Also, she isn't talking about fucking health care. She's stating a simplistic Econ 101 principle that applies TO THE ENTIRE ECONOMY and not A SPECIFIC PROFESSION. Naturally, it bears only a passing relation to the real world like all simplistic Econ 101 principles.

So, this is Megan's life these days. She finds a current topic vaguely relevant to some bullshit econo-crap she has recited previously in an entirely unrelated context and we're all supposed to be like "ZOMG, how does she predict these things?!?!?!??!"

Gather round all and listen to the great Nutstradamus. When you pay CEOs a shit ton of money to account for only stock holder considerations, then they will do things that may cause great harm to non-stock holders. Next time a large corporation cuts a corner and causes significant harm to random people, be sure to check back here to see me saying "Gee, where have I heard that before?"

On to Megan's "points" about health care.
The core problem is that we don't actually have a ton more doctors and nurses. (...) But when I look at the numbers, I don't see all that much room to believe that getting rid of the AMA would let a thousand flowers bloom. In 2008, 42,000 people applied to medical school, and 18,000 enrolled.
Hm, well, I see about 24,000 people's worth of wiggle room, myself. I also see that the focus of the NYT article is a lack of primary care doctors, not total doctors. It briefly mentions a lack of specialists but only cites examples of people having trouble getting access to them in rural areas -- an entirely different story.
Another problem is that a teaching hospital is a hard thing to construct--given how much training doctors need, we won't do that overnight. Teaching hospitals are very expensive, and receive heavy government subsidies. Obviously, we could increase the number of doctors by some amount, but it wouldn't take care of the supply problem.
No! What will we do?! Not "very" expensive and "heavy" government subsidies! That sounds "really" hard! We can only increase doctors by "some" amount! That clearly won't be enough!
It's more reasonable to note that reimbursement structures are creating an undersupply of primary care physicians, compared to the number of specialists.
Right, which is why the article focuses on that. I like how she destroys a strawbaby and then takes her "opponent's" actual argument as her own.
We reimburse for procedures, not wellness, so surgeons are well paid and GPs aren't.
For someone who is an "economist" you'd think she would understand that we always reimburse for "things" rather than "intangible bullshit."
First of all, thanks to previous generations of these reimbursement policies, the AMA is dominated by specialists. It's a democratic organization, and there are more specialists than GPs, so guess who wins? They will launch an all-out war against any politician who changes the reimbursement policy, and the politician will lose, because they can't fight ads featuring sad, sick, telegenic grannies.
Don't you love how when it comes to things like health care she's so pragmatic, always addressing the political reality rather than any flaws in that reality? I love it almost as much as I love how thoroughly she ignores those same realities when talking about things like invading countries, destroying medicare/social security etc.
Second of all, it's actually really, really hard to pay GPs well, at least in the context of cutting overall costs. Note that private insurers, who are presumably not attempting to ingratiate themselves with the AMA, also reimburse procedures, not wellness.
I must be atypically smart because I can think of a million and one things that might be easy to do and involve paying GPs more money. One of them involves handing them some money. The rest are even more complicated. Also, procedures are given more money because they cost more. Specialists take as profit a certain percentage of that higher cost. Naturally they are paid more. This has fuck all to do with "wellness" or "paying for procedures" or whatever. It's a fucking consequence of everything in capitalism. There is more money to be made per capita in high cost goods. Whoops! I'm getting into advanced economics here which is over our poor woman's head.
Pay for office visits, and you will get a lot of unnecessary office visits. As David Cutler once told me, it's no coincidence that health care and education are the two fields where outcomes are hardest to monitor, and where costs are growing uncontrollably.
No, the first is only true if the doctor's are struggling to fill their schedules. If they can already fill them with legitimate office visits, they won't prescribe extraneous ones.

The second is, again, completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. GPs don't provide "more wellness" than other doctors. They just provide different services which aren't be funded as highly.
Nor can you simply slash specialty reimbursements as a way of herding people into general practice, because med school applications are already declining; they're down 3.5% since 2001. Doctors are not, by and large, altruists who dream of living on a GS-13 wage. Nor can I blame them.
But we're only enrolling 40% of applicants, and there are major opportunities for overhauls such as increasing care from less trained workers such as LPNs. As for wages, my father is a psychiatrist; one of the lowest paid branches of medicine. He probably doesn't know what the fuck GS-13 is, but I'm sure he's making more than it. He's not complaining about his pay. Frankly, I'd rather not have doctors around who are in it for the money. If you only care about money, then you will do what is profitable rather than what produces "wellness." Naturally, Megan doesn't blame them for that.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Great Republican Hope

Douthat has his debut over at the New York Times, whose motto seems to be "We're going to push newspapers into irrelevancy as fast as we can!" I mean, don't get me wrong. It's a far better paper than a lot of others, but well, it's hard not to question its sanity when it publishes this:

Watching Dick Cheney defend the Bush administration’s interrogation policies, it’s been hard to escape the impression that both the Republican Party and the country would be better off today if Cheney, rather than John McCain, had been a candidate for president in 2008.
Actually, Asshat, I find that quite EASY to not believe that, but, then, I'm not completely fucking insane.
We tried running the maverick reformer, the argument goes, and look what it got us. What Americans want is real conservatism, not some crypto-liberal imitation. (Italics in original... for some reason.)
Um, hmm, interesting point. I think it may have something to do with how shitty McCain's campaign was. It might have been because of his absurd choice of running mate. Now you could argue that Palin was a maverick reformer, or you could say something relevant to reality. Something like "Palin was an idiot first class of the extreme insane right-wing style. People hated her because of everything of GWB that they saw in her." I dunno, that might have explained why even Peggy fucking Noonan said it was over after she was picked.
[Cheney] was for tax cuts at home and pre-emptive warfare overseas; anything else he seemed to disdain as sentimentalism.

This is precisely the sort of conservatism that’s ascendant in today’s much-reduced Republican Party, from the talk radio dials to the party’s grassroots. And a Cheney-for-President campaign would have been an instructive test of its political viability.
If only McCain hadn't been so "pro-torture" and "pro-foreign war." What would've been much more successful was Cheney. The public clearly wanted someone who was PRO-torture and PRO-foreign war. Yup, people love those things. People are all like "tax cuts and war are awesome! That's what's done America so well these past few years!" By people I mean the retarded 29-percenters who have more paint chips in their veins than blood.

I'd go on, but what's the point. Rossie does a bit of backtracking, trying to state that the debate about torture should have happened during a presidential campaign so that we could reach a consensus. Yeah, that would've been awesome. A two point torture and foreign wars campaign. The public benefit from that kind of discourse would be immeasurable. It is, after all, hard to measure ridiculously small quantities.

So glad Rossies around. It makes the flailing death of the Republican Party that much more amusing.

What's the over-under on him having misattributed a quote or something equal ridiculous in his very first column? I feel that should become a tradition.

Update: Because I realize this post is as vague as Douthat's: it's true that Douthat's point is that a Cheney loss would jolt a conservative reawakening, but he posits that so vaguely and halfheartedly, it's as if he's afraid to just come out and say that Cheney is a monster. He wants conservatives to get away from the pro-torture and pro-foreign wars stance and writes an entire article about that. In that article, he fails entirely to actually decry torture and foreign wars. Instead he thinks we need to "discuss them."

Maybe if he forgot his fairy tales of a Cheney presidential run and instead dreamed fairy tales of getting Cheney and his evil minions of all the fucking TV and newspapers blasting people with their lies and aggression, it might make him appear less like a wannabe-contrarian idiot.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Completely Obvious Stance of the Day

Megan on the auto industry:

The creditors get a deep haircut on their debt, the US government bails out the UAW retirees, and the taxpayers get . . . nothing, not even a complimentary hood ornament.
For those keeping score, that's: "thousands of jobs saved in auto bailout = worthless to tax payers" versus "100 times as much money given to Wall Street so they can make good on their retarded bets = BEST GOVERNING EVAR!"

Do I get a cookie for my prescience? Who am I kidding, anyone can see through this idiot.

Bonus idiocy:
The idea seems to be to keep Chrysler operating at all costs--at least until the current administration is safely out of office.

Yup, Megan, Obama's whole "concern for working Americans" thing is just a cynical ploy. He doesn't care about everyman like you do, you giving little altruist, you.

Double Bonus:
I'm having a very hard time figuring out what Fiat has done to deserve this largesse.

Whereas what the banking industry has done to deserve its largess is self-evident. Also, [sic].

On Outrage and Annoyance: Twisting a Thought Pretzel

There's been a number of them lately; the ones that just scream at you from their titles alone. Here we have "Fair Pay" which is, amazingly, properly capitalized. Way to go, hardworker! I know that shift key has been giving her trouble since she became dimly aware of the English language. It's good to see she's making progress.

Speaking of hard work:

One of the dividing lines between me and a lot of the commentators on the Wall Street crisis is that I am not outraged by their pay. If any of my classmates are left on the Street, I'm well aware that they mortgaged their last ten years in order to bet on a directorship that's now at best a badly tainted prize, and at worst just evaporated beneath their fingers. I work 60 to 80 hour weeks doing something I love. They've been working 30-50 hours a week more than that, doing work that no reasonable human being could claim to enjoy the mechanics of. I do not resent the difference between their well-located New York co-ops and my tiny row house in an "emerging" neighborhood in DC. I'm only thankful I'm the one in the row house.
The avalanche of stupidity comes quickly these days. Seems like every post I take a look at has an opening paragraph so choc full o' crap I can smell it through the screen. Rundown time:

1) She's not outraged that people are taking millions of tax payer money because they completely fucked up after having already collected millions while in the process of fucking up? Yet she complains about the horrors of welfare and food stamps as if we should allow people to starve to death so that they don't get soft. Huh, interesting point of view.

2)Hm, herself and her classmates mortgaged "ten years" (that's a long time to get a fucking MBA) to get to the point of wreaking havoc on our economy. Yeah, that's swell. I personally have lots of respect for those who think of education as "mortgaging" their time. I know that when I finish my PhD, if I'm not making 100k right off the block I'm going to rue all of that damn time I spent "educating" myself. Seriously, who the fuck demands sympathy for choosing a job they're essentially admitting is complete bullshit? These people "mortgaged" their time because they wanted to be, and felt entitled to be, masters of the fucking universe. I suppose we should laud Stalin the many hours he put in trying to kill all these people. I mean, c'mon guys, look how fucking hard he worked?

3) She works 60-80 hours a week? Put that one in the "claims unsubstantiated by evidence" file.

4) Again, not sure why we're supposed to feel so bad about people who work really hard doing something of use to no one just because they work hard.

So she quotes someone who makes a point that these people are pretty much brainwashed. It's a fair point. I'm not sure why Megan brings it up, though, because her next libergraph introduces itself with:
The difference between me and them is that I don't think they deserve their pay, either. Now it may be that I, in my position as taxpayer, have to continue to pay these guys their huge salaries, because the unintended consequences of trying to regulate their pay will make it harder to get the banking system back on its feet.
Oh, so people are getting undeservedly rich while billions starve, but that's not outrageous. Again, point taken, McArdle. Glad that she's willing to take one for the team by paying them with her taxes. We wouldn't want to destroy the fabulous banking system. I mean, it's been keeping us out of depressions for decades at a time at only the cost of a few S&L type scandals in between. That's only a major scandal/screw up every 10-20 years! It's a fucking peachy keen organization that one is, the banking system. Gotta pay to keep it healthy! Fuck getting people to the doctors. I want my tax money going to the banking system!

I don't know how much more of this I can actually address directly. She futilely tries to pump her argument but somehow manages to start talking about herself again. Guess who's not at all outraged by their inability to get a job in 2002 after getting their MBA. Not Megan, that's who. After picking out the narcissism, her argument is almost a thing of beauty. She's essentially saying that the rules are totally arbitrary and no one is entitled to anything. Yet, this is the system for which all attempts at correction are misguided government coercion. Unless of course it's the banking system which needs a bailout in which case open up Treasury's coffers, already! Can't you see the investment bankers are behind on their boat payments? I love libertarians. "Life sucks but I got mine. Whatcha gonna do? PS The other people who got theirs are gods!"

Towards the end, she clarifies a point on her outrage (Only 20 million paragraphs into another one of her "Me me me" screeds).
So for all the bankers annoy me, their pay--and its difference from mine--doesn't outrage me. The difference between their pay and that of a physical therapy assistant or an auto line worker doesn't outrage me.
Ohhhhh. It's just annoying. Yeah, I see. The exploitation of the productive members of society by the members who merely push paper around is a mere annoyance. Silly me. Once I realize that the people whose time was spent in the pursuit of money at the expense of life, relationships, and any sense of having made a meaningful contribution have made sacrifices for their money, suddenly I don't see them in such a low light. If they love money so much they're willing to sacrifice their fucking soul for it, well, hey, I guess they deserve it, right? Oh wait, then she says "No one deserves their pay so I can hardly be angry at blah blah taking what they can get." so they don't deserve it. And if we're angry it's not because there's a shitfest of a system that needs to be fixed. We're just jealous. Or something, I dunno. The mobious strip that is this woman's thoughts is far too twisted in on itself for me to follow.

She closes with some bullshit about how she's not angry at anyone, which is completely congruent with her constant backing of those with whom she identifies while she tears down those with whom she does not. The reason she didn't frame her whole spiel from the POV of the autoworkers? Coincidence, I'm sure.

Friday, April 24, 2009

So Yeah

it's my birthday tomorrow, and I've really just not wanted to deal with being here or Megan this week. I'll be back next week. Hopefully things will be less annoying here then.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

FMM Wins the Lottery-Megan McArdle Discusses Torture

Update:Just to be clear for anyone who might second guess; yes Megan was not originally anti-torture.

Megan's talking about torture. Read the post or just use your imagination. It's all the same.

I've long said that we shouldn't waste time arguing that torture doesn't work. For one thing, the evidence for those arguments seems empirically shaky, especially since many people employing them insist on arguing that torture basically never works, rather than that it doesn't work very often and therefore has a bad cost-benefit ratio. For another, arguing that something doesn't work isn't necessarily an argument for not doing it--it could just as easily be an argument for improving our technique. And if advances in brain scanning research let us develop a reliable lie detector, as seems possible in the relatively near future, then torture will work very, very well.

If that happens, we're in a nasty spot. Most people who make this argument do not, in fact, care whether torture works. They would still be every bit as much against it if waterboarding worked perfectly. Yet when they argue about whether torture works, they're conceding that torture's effectiveness is relevant to the question of whether or not we should engage in it.


Thus I think it is much safer to keep arguments about torture on solid moral ground: we shouldn't torture because it's wrong.
Megan's stupidity checklist:

Claim that opponent's arguments are invalidated by evidence she makes no attempt to cite: Check.

Claim that even if opponent's arguments are right, they are still wrong because of something that hasn't ever happened but could conceivably happen in a fantasy world that she periodically visits: Check.

Claim that opponent's response to counter arguments of her side undermines opponent's own arguments because their position is not based around her presumptions: Check.

Statement about her positions which matches none of her arguments and is clearly designed only to make her seem like less of a monster (Fat chance, bean pole): Check.

Oh, and, uh, dear, the people who supported torture don't get to become the "we" who are opposed to it later on. It's like how you don't get to be an Obama supporter when you never say anything positive about him, ever.

She closes with a long blockquote to which she offers no commentary (Check!). You can read it yourself, if you're looking for one of the lamest anti-torture arguments ever. Needless to say, the guy who wrote it is as shallow as you'd expect from someone that gets linked to by Megan.

He claims that the non-torturers won WWII (I guess the Soviets lost?) so torture doesn't work. He doesn't really back that up with any evidence of course, which is hilarious given how easily the argument can be made -- provided one makes even a cursory attempt to learn about spying during WWII. The espionage successes of WWII are almost certainly the best examples of how good intelligence can be without coercion. By the end of the war, German espionage in the UK was completely co-opted. Many historians believe there wasn't a single German spy that wasn't compromised to the point of uselessness, or an outright double agent. A man in Spain actually completely fabricated a network of English spies and convinced the Germans that it was authentic. He then used his imagined network to feed them false information throughout the war. There wasn't a single piece of information the Germans were getting through back channels that wasn't either wrong, or provided intentionally by the English.

This is one of the principle reasons that D-day was successful. Misinformation kept German reserves away from the actual landings because they believed they were only feints for the "real" landings coming at other locations. Naturally, these same double agents made gathering intelligence on the Germans relatively easy. It's pretty much a classic example of how easy it is to attract people to your side when your opponents are complete monsters. But of course, why would we ever want to win the hearts and minds when we've got so many bombs?

Megan Goes Out on a Limb

Woah there cowboy:

The acting CFO of Freddie Mac has been found dead in his basement, an apparent suicide.


But there's no reason to blame either the regulators, or some dark scandal, as I imagine some commentators will try to. Kellerman wasn't tainted by the entity's earlier problems, and you don't commit suicide because you're mad at regulators. You commit suicide because you have deep mental health issues.
Look at our go girl, bravely telling her fans not to be complete assholes. Maybe she learned something from the Ledger affair? Stop laughing! That wasn't a joke!

I'm not sure what's worse, the fact that she alludes to some "dark scandal" in order to try and show that there are others equally as crazy as the loons on her side despite all evidence to the contrary, or the fact that she is now acknowledging how rabidly insane her fan base is and yet it does nothing to change her course.

If people as off the fucking wall as Megan's commenters started showing up here, I'd start a Fire brad, Nutella, and M. Bouffant blog. Heh, there I go again, futilely trying to contrast Megan with someone who has some smidgen of a conscience.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

They Are Easy, Aren't They?

Blogging For Big Bucks

Paragraph One:

Like basically every other blogger whose [sic] seen it, I think this article from the Wall Street Journal on how hundreds of thousands of bloggers are making solid incomes is addled.
Paragraph Six:
Believe me, I'd love to think that blogging is a surefire path to riches and job security--but I'm afraid all most people get out of their blogs is the satisfaction of a job well done.
Good that she's paid for her blog, then. (Although under the "free market," shouldn't she not be rewarded for a job not well done?)

Added blather:  What the hell does this say about the WSJ? This is not standard WSJ op-ed page idiocy, this is from the (once somewhat respected) news part of the operation. Is this how they cover the world of business & the economy, w/ ass-stats? 

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Easy Ones are Easy

Ho hum:

Question of the Day: Bank Robbers!:
Reader Ben writes:

How has it been lost on people that Citi's new CFO (Ned Kelly) has the same name as an infamous Australian bankrobber?

I don't know, but what once was lost, now is found.
Yeah! How has an obscure piece of trivia from a continent on the other side of the planet been lost on us? We are such fools.

Like fools gold...

...and all that glitters is not gold.

Woah, .... so deep.... mind blown... again....

Oh yeah, and Robbers!11!1!1twelve!!!!!


Seriously, look at me. Come on, look at me. LOOK AT ME. WTF?!?!?1 WHY WON'T YOU LOOK AT ME?!?!?!?:

A close brush with almost notoriety:
A friend informs me that on my favorite ever television show, The Wire, one of the main characters was originally going to be named McCardle.
That's it. That's the ENTIRE FUCKING POST.

Hey, guy, on House the other week there was a patient with my last name! Also, I'm kind of smart and have chronic pain so I take narcotics all the time right in front of people and I'm inconsiderate so sometimes people compare me to House! Oh, and I was House for Halloween the other year! Oh, and a blogger that is pretty famous and liberal has my last name (but he's gay and I'm not). Oh, and that guy on House that had my name, I can't believe I forgot to mention this, OMG, his affliction was that he said things without thinking and like, OMG I DO THAT ALL THE TIME!

Isn't that really interesting guys? Seriously, I'm like, almost notorietyious! It's like that movable "Almost Notable!" only I'm not a hot chick. Oh, but guys, I totally once dated this girl who some people said was "pretty cute" which is like close to hot, so really, IT IS JUST LIKE ME!

Oh, and usually I get mad when people put an extra "C" in my name but it's ok when you're "The Wire" which is like, about drugs, which, cause I'm a libertarian (did you know I'm a libertarian?) are like totally OK (but not as OK as being ridiculously wealthy and owning 56 houses while other people starve to death!)


Fuck Do, fuck Re, fuck Fa, Sol, La, Ti, and Do gets fucked again! It's all ME!ME!ME!ME!ME!ME!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

It's Been Nice Here Too

Doesn't, however, mean I'll be going outside or anything rash like that. Alas, even w/ the opportunity to sit here for 16 or 18 hrs., the muse has been w/holding her inspiration, & I just don't care about anything recent of hers (or much else, really) anyway. One can only keep the outrage fueled for so long.

Maybe we can top off the tank tomorrow, though.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


no playing with Meganpoop today.

The only way I've kept this going as long as it's been is by taking a lot of vacation breaks.
Hell, even Megan needs frequent time away from herself.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fun with Hypotheticals

Megan is too lazy to construct her own straw people these days, so she's outsourced to Arnold King:

Next, imagine that the best hope is a treatment that costs $100,000 and offers a chance of success of 1 in 200. Would I want her to get that treatment? Absolutely.

But look at the issue from a rational, bureaucratic perspective. You have to treat 200 patients at a cost of $100,000 each in order to save one life, for a cost per life saved of $20 million. Is that what a rational bureaucracy would do?
Yeah, that must happen all the time. Just recently drug trials showed that a new controversial treatment, which involves the killing of 100 kittens and has a one in a million chance to spontaneously reverse Earth's gravitational field, cures athletes foot for 1 in 12,354 people. They had a REALLY large sample size.

Of course, most of us would unhesitatingly take this risky treatment to cure athlete's foot. Sure the chances are slim, but wouldn't you do ANYTHING to alleviate the uncomfortable itching and burning sensation. Now, a one in a million chance of killing all life might not seem like a lot, but let's imagine a hypothetical. Imagine that every person on earth has athletes foot. Now imagine that Earth has 1000 times more people than it does. That would mean that 6 trillion people would need this treatment. Not only would we be forced to farm kittens (at the expensive of world saving tobacco peanuts wheat!) but the chance of catastrophic gravity reversal becomes almost certain. Clearly, if we had universal health care, gravity would reverse itself.

Megan realizes the direness of the situation and asks the tough questions:
Unless we're willing to let health care expenses grow unchecked, someone is going to have to think about costs. But so far in America, I see no means to develop a culture which will allow bureaucrats to deny potentially life-saving treatments simply because they're costly--either in the free market or in a single payer system. Thus, I predict, costs will continue to grow.
OK, there are no actual questions. I forgot she's an expert and hence all questions have been answered. It's true, though. I mean now, we don't worry at all about cost effectiveness. I went to the doctor for an ulcer the other day and he said that it was stress induced. When I told him that the stress in my life was due to work, family issues, girlfriends, friendships and the weather, he quickly wrote me a prescription for 50 actors/actresses to take over the roles of my personal network. He also got me on full disability and paid for a house in a small Caribbean island. It was a bit costly but since we never worry about the price of treatments, my HMO immediately authorized the procedure. Now my life is totally stress free and my ulcer is cured. I'd hate for socialized medicine to come in and start performing some kind of ridiculous "cost analysis" and ruin this all for me.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Teabagger Pr0n

Ace of Spades! (Not the man himself, tho.)


See? She walked by me multiple times at different ends of the teabagger party. I think Pammy wants me. Not gonna happen, tho. She looks ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooold.

Some of my fav signs.

Newt gave us a history lesson, after making us wait 5 mins so his intro could go live on Hannity.

A funny unphotographic moment occurred when an aged guy with a beard and ponytail almost started a fight, then threw his bag to the ground and stalked off, causing the crowd to freak out, make a 15 foot bubble around the bag, and go for multiple cops.

I never did quite figure out what was being protested, but I have several Ron Paul fan anti-tax flyers to chuckle over.
All in all, it felt like a pep rally, which is what it basically was. Go team conservative movement, we have too many rich people counting on us to fail!


Pam took some pics of her own.
One note, to my recollection the NYPD were too busy laughing to be directly rude to the teabaggers, but Pam wouldn't feel ok without some pretense of persecution.

oh, wow. I'm not going to identify myself, but I'm clearly visible in the background of Pam's video on that page for an extended period.

It's Teabag Day!!


Sorry, too stoopidsilly to read Meganpoop right now.
If anything fun happens at the Tea Party I'll post about it later, tho.


Best photo so far;


(h/t to nils in S,N!'s comments)

New best;

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to the teabagging party I go.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Beautiful Words of the Week

Oh, it's so poetic:

But he's also been handed a really lousy hand.
Do you suppose she realizes how terrible her prose is? I don't. I think it heads straight over her head.


Teabag Love

in case you didn't get the memo from your ACORN handlers, the time and location for your local teabagging party can be found here.
I will most definitely be at City Hall Park at 7 on Wed, unless I forget or there's a woman involved or summin.
The real question is whether the teabaggers will outnumber the people there to laugh at them.


Megan is worried about what will become of rich old executives who lose their jobs.
No, really.
UAW workers should quit for the good of the nation, so we can all chip in and give failed execs a hand up.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Back To Megan

to quickly update, everyone arrested on Friday was released with no bail, and Kerrey seems to have stopped trying to control the narrative, at least for the moment. So let's see what I missed last week.

What's the Real Price of a Toxic Asset?:

This is why I'm still having trouble wrapping my brain around the notion that even a very large increase in the default rate can wipe out something like 2/3 of the value of these assets. Most of these loans will perform. And in the case of those that don't perform, while the value of the underlying collateral has fallen, it hasn't fallen to zero.
It's called a "real estate bubble", Megan. Read about it. There have been pieces on it in every major publication in the country.

The Problem with Chris Dodd:
I have to say, the worst allegation I've heard about Chris Dodd is not that he's in the pocket of banks and insurers--financial companies naturally seek to curry favor with the Senate Banking Committee, but I don't really see the case that he's sold us out for his benefit. No, the more damning case is that the Senate Banking Committee was basically non-functional in the early part of the crisis, because Dodd was running for president. Even if early action could have saved us money and pain later--and that's a big if--I recently heard a plausible case made that such action was made impossible by his presidential campaign. But somehow, no one finds that offensive, or even notable.
Plausibility, in this case, depending on your willingness and desire to find ways to blame Democrats for Bush's mess. If only Dodd had acted boldly in unspecified ways back when people like Megan were still claiming there was no recession in need of a response there would be no financial problems now.

Streetcar Desires:

What's the advantage of a system of public transportation that doesn't require massive tunneling projects or add directly to the smog problems faced by most major cities?

Most Unnecessary Health Story of the Day:

Who the fuck cares that the economic turmoil is impacting the mental health of a wide swath of people across the nation and not just the newly unemployed? Duh, and so? It's not like we're talking about the self-esteem of banking executives.

Historical Interest:

Man, people are whiny today, what with all the "I've been evicted" and "I can't afford lifesaving cancer surgery" and "I just lost my job and have three kids to feed and clothe at home in a house I haven't finished paying for". Shut up already! People had it worse in the past, you spoiled brats.

The Incredible Shrinking Public Pension Funds:

The partial collapse of the global financial systems shows that any particular governmental initiative which Megan is ideologically opposed to is a bad idea, because if the markets collapse those initiatives could be badly underfunded.
But it would still be a good idea to privatize Social Security.

N that's enough of that.

Why Must they Ruin Everything that I Love

When I was a freshmen in high school, my brother was a freshmen in college at U Pitt. He discovered Michael Chabon and introduced me to The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. It has been one of my favorite novels ever since. 6 years later I ended up transferring to Carnegie Mellon and found myself living down the block from the "cloud factory" (A major plot point in the book). It's actually the steam plant for CMU.

Pittsburgh is an awesome city with the shittiest weather I've ever experienced (300 days of clouds, literally, but hardly ever more than drizzles).

I was fucking PYSCHED when I found out they were making the book into the movie. Then I saw the movie. Movies are almost never as good as the book (Fight Club being the sole exception I've encountered) but this went far beyond that. Ignoring the fact that entire characters disappeared and that the peripheral characters (who represented much of the MYSTERY) were suddenly the only characters in the fucking movie, it was fucking horribly executed. Ridiculously overwrought and pretentious--with Art Bechstein walking around permawearing the same expression of half confusion, half trying to squeeze out a turd that made Keanu Reeves famous--I had to force myself to watch the entire fucking thing.

It made me think of the time that Megan completely mischaracterized the town I live in now, Berkeley (Pittsburgh's polar opposite-nice weather but, god, do I want to burn this place and its inhabitants to ashes).

The writers and directors of this movie fail entirely to capture the essence of the city. Its total fucking shame because the movie is set from June to August, the only three months of the year da 'Burgh can be cast in an entirely positive light. Why would you do that? Why would you write about something of which you are completely uniformed? Why must these people ruin things for me?

Why, God, why?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sooner Than I Thought

We all knew it would happen sooner or later:

What we know about Madoff suggests that he may have become an almost accidental crook, like many of the accounting fraudsters of yesteryear: take big losses, cook the books to cover them until he could "catch up", and when you realize you're too far behind, simply ride the fraud as long as you can.
I don't care how tepid it was. She actually defended Madoff. My usual crazed righteousness is not there. I'm somehow completely calm, as if all is right.

For years I've struggled with the notion that these people with whom I disagree so heartily can't possibly be THAT insane. Surely, I must be missing something key to their point or engaging in the same knee jerk biases but from the other side. No.

Megan has defended Bernie Madoff. I know now with an unequivocal certainty that it is not me who is the crazy one.

Her absurdity just never ends and yet there are no repercussions for her. She never questions the mindset that could make her say such ridiculous things. Makes me wanna give up. Fuck it, grab a lawn chair and some popcorn and watch the chaos from my backyard. With stupidity like this on their side, what good does our reason do us?

Wildly Off Topic

but shit, I have to say something somewhere about all this. As probably none of you know, I go to the New School in NYC for grad school in philosophy. As some of you may know, things are going a bit crazy at the New School. I'm not directly involved with the craziness, but I have friends who are, especially among the faculty.
The problem, in a nutshell, is school president Bob Kerrey. I was getting my first MA when he was hired in 2001, and controversy and shitty decision making immediately followed when Kerrey's involvement in the Thanh Phong Massacre was publicly revealed. The New School has an extremely international student body, especially in the grad school, and there were a number of Vietnamese students in the Political Science department in particular. I cannot speak for these people, but it rankled me when Kerrey issued a statement claiming the New School student body was united in support of him, considering at least a handful of those students may well have lost family in similar atrocities. He did not meet with either the student body or any individual Vietnamese students before issuing this statement.
More substantially, Kerrey has been a total failure as an administrator, which is what has led to the current ongoing crisis, which began in proper in December. There are many, many poor decisions by Kerrey to question, particularly his desire to repurpose the school away from its original aim of giving European thought a home in America towards competing with the Learning Annex for NYC yuppie adult education dollars. But the crisis of the moment began when the fourth provost of Kerrey's reign left, and, having realized he made the position one no one wants to hold, Kerrey tried to make himself his own provost. This triggered a faculty meeting where a vote of no confidence was held, with Kerrey losing by 74 to 2. (Another of his poor decisions has been to make the salary structure extraordinarily top heavy, and give the adjuncts and TAs that do the real teaching a pittance even by academic standards.)
This led to the scheduling of a school wide meeting, but the meeting never happened, because of a nearly violent confrontation between Kerrey and students just prior which led to him being chased up Fifth Ave. (I shit you not.) The cancellation of the meeting led to the first takeover of the Fifth Ave building, which was resolved much more peacefully than the pepper spraying police assault of today. (See Update below) Since that time I've received more or less daily emails from Kerrey and his board allies crowing about how much money we have, because of major reductions in financial aid packages, particularly for grad students, and basically saying he doesn't give a shit about anything but remaining in office despite the wishes of everyone but him and a handful of Trustees. As today's events show, that hasn't been a particularly successful tactical choice, and the question now becomes whether the New School, as an institution, can survive, at least in some recognizable form. More than a few faculty members have already retired or moved on to greener pastures, and about the only person I still know in my dept is the student advisor, so many students have transferred. I, myself, am leaving as well, in large part because of this crap, though not solely.
The Fifth Ave building is a particular symbol of Kerrey's mismanagement because it used to be the heart of the school, and the home of the graduate departments which founded the institution. It was campus, to me. However, Kerrey and his allies decided the real estate value of almost a full block on 14th and 5th was more important than providing their students with quality facilities to learn in, and moved us into 3 floors of an office building a few blocks away, which we only have access to at certain times of the day. The business schools that advertise on the subway have better facilities than we do. The library was moved into an administrative building and exists in a tangled maze of multiple floors and side stairways. And, over a year later, the building on Fifth still stands, almost empty, because, despite our supposedly enviable cash position, there are insufficient funds for demolition. It's publicly claimed a new building will be built, but even in the pr you can see an admission the new building will have a smaller footprint, meaning it will be squeezed between as much commercial space as possible.
This rant is running long, and probably isn't terribly interesting for most of you, so I'll try to wind down. I can't ask anyone reading this for help, unless you have a strong personal relationship with any New School Trustees. All I can say is Bob Kerrey doesn't give a shit about anything but himself and his own personal interests. That may seem unfair, but there's concrete evidence. You, the one person still reading, may recall that a few years back John McCain spoke at commencement and was received very poorly. What you might not know is that Bob Kerrey was the only reason McCain was there. The search committee never even suggested McCain, and the student body made amply clear he was not wanted. Commencement is supposed to be about the achievements of the students who are graduating, but Kerrey turned it into a self-serving sideshow, ruining that day for the students who he is supposed to care about first. Kerrey got free publicity for the New School as a bastion of the kind of liberalism he himself doesn't share in, and McCain got a chance to play the victim of uncivil libruls for the conservative base. The students got the shaft, not that Kerrey noticed. He and McCain are pals, eff the students.
The one thing I can say is that if you want to heckle Kerrey, it's real easy, he has a blog, and he pays more attention to online correspondence than to his actual duties.
It's really a shame. I came to the New School because it's one of a very small number of places in the US where you can study philosophy without being dominated by the influence of the British and Berkeley, and some extraordinary minds have taught and learned there. Bob Kerrey is on the verge of destroying that tradition, if he hasn't already. He should be ashamed, but first he'd have to care.


To explain what you're seeing, the door at the beginning of the video opens onto 14th between 5th and University, much closer to 5th. Some of the students who had taken the building were trying to get out and the police were pushing to keep the door closed so the protesters could be arrested inside. You can see the officer use the pepper spray and the door close shut immediately after. Then the video turns to document officers' responses to protesters who were outside the building. Note this means they had not committed any crimes, unlike the technically illegal seizure of the building. The video follows an officer east on 14th, towards University, and the bulk of the following action happens in front of a combination Taco Bell/Pizza Hut in the very middle of the block.

Update II:

More details are emerging. The police are claiming they were provoked into the arrests outside the building documented above, but the NYCLU is, thankfully, not happy and getting involved. Lots of details can be found here.
There's also a blog run by the protesters, which suffers from the kinds of flaws you'd expect.
Kerrey has expelled the protesters arrested inside the building, though I don't know the university procedure for this and whether he has yet replaced the people responsible with his own lackeys. This is yet another tactical mistake on his part, but one I'm almost glad he's made. It will not be received well within the school community, suffice to say.
Lots of video and more info here.

"Occupy everything right now".

Final Update:

I'll leave it to the sites linked above for further coverage, but Kerrey has sent another school wide email out attempting to control the narrative, and it contains some interesting further details. Kerrey has had to accept and admit he doesn't have the authority to unilaterally expel the arrested protesters, and offered as explanation for the video above the following; "At approximately 11:30 a.m. a group of students tried to escape through an exit on 14th Street. It is estimated that eight participants escaped down 14th Street. Three were caught by the NYPD and resisted arrest. ... These protesters hurt two police officers and face charges of assault in the 2nd degree. One protester, a New School student, was hurt in the altercation." That's probably the young man shoved to the ground by the face then group tackled and handcuffed. He was clearly not being pursued and was only taken into custody after the officer used force on him. Thankfully, to say again, the NYCLU has gotten in on this, and I've also seen mention of the national office.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dear Inmates,

Please run the asylum.

Thinkin 'bout you,


Today's Lesson In Alternate Reality History

What Makes a Good Pharma CEO?:

What strikes me is the oddness of having lawyers in the top slot; the legal department isn't such a big customary route to the top job. But the environment has changed greatly. Fifty years ago, with the FDA pressing ever harder on efficacy, the most important thing in a pharma chief was probably knowing what went into making an effective drug. Twenty years ago, you needed to know how to market it to get the most money out of a very narrow patent window. These days, you need to be able to negotiate a fearsome political and regulatory environment.
Instead of responding directly to this gibberish, I'd like to quote something from the wiki for the Advisory Board Company;
The company was founded in 1979 as the Research Council of Washington by David G. Bradley. In 1997, the Corporate Executive Board was spun off from the Advisory Board Company[1], and the Advisory Board Company focused its business exclusively on the healthcare industry. In serving the healthcare industry, the Advisory Board Company primarily serves hospitals and health systems, but also offers niche programs to pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. In 2006, the Advisory Board Company employed more than 900 staff members, the majority of whom are located in the Washington, D.C. headquarters.
Now, naturally this is completely irrelevant to anything Megan has ever said or written, completely and utterly and totally, but it's still good to know in just, y'know, an abstract way.

Shorter Douthat

Is Feminism The New Natalism?:

Sure, Sweden does a better job taking care of its citizens in every imaginable way, the welfare state turns out to be a good economic engine for job creation, and the women there find it possible to have both a career and a family, but where's the fear?
If we ignore the constant chirping of the nativists that America's population growth is driven by immigrants and them damned non-whites then we can pretend the mommy track and layoffs are just as viable means of encouraging women to have families as Sweden's policies.
And do you realize they actually pay for these wonderful benefits with higher taxes? The fuck is that, giving money to your government and getting value back for it. They really are communists.
Also, it's all on the women to juggle career and family, this has nothing to do with men.

Remind me not to click over next time.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Neither Shorter Nor Longer

The Odyssey of Larry Summers:

Glenn Greenwald once lashed out at me for asking an "ignorant" question on a topic I admitted I didn't understand. A petty person would point out that his post on Larry Summers displays not only ignorance, but a total lack of awareness of any gaps in his understanding. And there, I guess I just did.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my.
Let's begin with the phrase "lashing out", shall we?
Glenn Greenwald presents a thoroughly incoherent response in which he professes not to understand why Dan Drezner and I might be offended by his saying:
What really underlies the mentality of people like McArdle and Drezner are two pervasive though toxic afflictions — a drooling, self-loving American exceptionalism, along with a self-interested refusal to acknowledge that there is anything truly wrong with our political and media establishment because they both support and are part of that establishment.
I certainly hope for the same forbearance when I argue that Glenn Greenwald is a self-serving media hound with a size-twelve ego squeezed into a size-four soul, and that the root of his rage is less a profound moral grievance than a narcissistic belief that his ideas are of such transcendant clarity, his concerns of such monumental importance, that any failure to obey his dicta can only stem from the most base of motives.
I mean, I'm not saying that or anything. I'm just saying that I'm glad to know that if I did utter the above, Greenwald wouldn't take it the wrong way.
Clearly, Megan knows what it is to lash out. What she's forgotten is GG is pretty much done with her, and there will be no Bloggingheads to follow this particular cry for attention, probably not even any notice.
The rest is such a weak attempt to distort GG's post I have to wonder whether Megan even finished reading it before gettin on her horse. Ignoring GG's actual gist that a revolving door between Wall Street and Treasury is arguably a bad thing in and of itself allows Megan to act all mystified. The only ones who will be able to truly understand how Wall St and the Treasury Dept interact will be those alien archeologists from the end of AI. Megan isn't getting paid to acknowledge the realities of crony capitalism, so some things are just unknowable.

Oh, Wow

so I was readin some TBogg, followin some links, n one of the links led to something quite extraordinary. I'm sure TBogg noted and had much mirth about it back in the day, but somehow I missed it.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present Dan Riehl calling TBogg "a somewhat homophobic racist blogger".
I'm still having trouble catching my breath.
Dan Riehl and Pam Atlas should have a tv show.
On Adult Swim.
To replace Robot Chicken.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Eine Kürzerer

Why don't we have more green products?:

Cuz it's cheaper for manufacturers to not change their industrial practices and instead put out literature for hacks like Megan to gleefully regurgitate?


Linking to your boyfriend's crap is the kind of thing that would get you in trouble at an organization that had actual editors and some concept of ethics. It's just obvious considering you could have embedded the video in your post, but instead chose to link. If you had the slightest respect for the imprint you've ruined you wouldn't be so blatantly self-interested, but there's no reason to expect any better from you, is there?

You've Got To Be Fucking Kidding Me

Cuomo goes after Merkin:

It seems to me rather likely that J. Ezra was just doing what most of us do when it comes to investing in the market: figure it must be safe, because otherwise we'd have heard of it. I've never checked out the auditors of any of the firms in the indices I buy, because I figure that someone else has. Probably, J. Ezra thought the same thing about Bernie Madoff. Thus do frauds inflate to really amazing proportions. [Emphasis added]
To sum up, Megan's failure to do the kind of research you'd expect a supposed business and finance journalist to do, even when it comes to her own money, excuses laziness or incompetence by someone trusted to manage billions of dollars of other people's money. And it's just beyond the pale to even contemplate the idea he was corrupt.
Good grief.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Off Topic

n possibly mostly for Susan, in case she wasn't aware.
Dave Neiwert's new book The Eliminationists is out, and it's very good. Regular readers of Orcinus won't have their minds blown, but it's more organized and comprehensive than the usually scattershot work at the blog, and Neiwert has retained his accessible but concise and detailed authorial voice. I might order a copy for my parents, so they have some idea what I'm on about.
No snark, just the heads up.

Friday, April 3, 2009

I Like It When She's Lazy

makes it easier for me to keep up in a sort of timely manner.

Department of awful statistics:

I know more about formal logic than Megan, but does anyone know if it's possible to ad hominem a statistic? Sure, at heart she's engaging in standard issue sophistic false equivocation, but this goes deeper. It's like she's personally offended by the simple fact that in recent history Democratic Administrations have, with the somewhat qualified exception of Carter, been generally better at not fucking up the economy, and she's going after that fact personally. Megan might as well be talking about Naomi Klein in the following, she's so rabid;

But I expect that four years from now, we'll still be having the same conversations with proponents of "cancer clusters" and Democrats convinced that they can scientifically prove that Democrats are better for GDP by doing ham-fisted regressions of Democratic presidencies with a few tightly correlated economic variables. What's the mechanism? What makes electric power lines cause cancer, but not the earth's vastly more powerful magnetic field? What policies did Harry Truman and Bill Clinton have in common (but not with Richard Nixon) that caused this marvelous confluence? Well, maybe we don't know the mechanism exactly, but never you mind: just look at that bee-yoo-ti-ful correlation!
Yes, Megan is now an expert on the contributory causes of cancer. No, I didn't know she went to medical school and/or has a research PhD, either. Maybe she went MD/PhD and is just too humble to mention it.
Also, Megan? Truman and Clinton didn't enable the rich via targeted tax cuts and turning a blind eye to their financial shenanigans. (Ok, Clinton kind of did.) Truman went after war profiteers. Clinton kept the flat tax from becoming a reality, at least. If you let Federal money enter the economy as a whole, instead of going straight into the pockets of the already rich, the economy will tend to improve. I guess the obvious nature of this is what pisses Megan off so. Even she can clearly see how wrong she is.

Why Did so Many UAW Workers Stay?:

I can't even... wha....
Obviously, there's one big reason: few of them could earn comparable wages anywhere else. But there's also the problem of worldview. Management's fractious relationship with the unions over decades had built up a huge reservoir of distrust among the workers, as one of my commenters points out:
I've worked at UAW assembly plants as a supplier and the average UAW worker gets their news through "the grapevine." Up until recently one of the popular views was that the big 3 weren't actually in trouble and that management was cooking the books to show a loss in order to demand concessions from the workers and break the union. It may seem silly but I have heard this from several workers at several plants. I don't know how to explain it other then most UAW workers have an absolute distrust of management.
Yes, why didn't these unionized workers walk away from their jobs? Don't they realize they're in unions?
Shit, why don't restaurant customers get up and walk away from their tables when their entrees are brought out?
I'm dumbfounded. What is it Megan thinks UAW workers should do? Move to India and learn IT?
Oh, right, she thinks they should curl up and die. Because she's an asshole, and she's empty inside.

More Media Meltdown:

The ongoing implosion of the media is only funny when it doesn't involve members of Megan's network. These are her future career options going down the tubes, people! What if David Bradley's helicopter goes down? Can't you see Megan doing a Hudson from Aliens impression? It's game over, man!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Trickle Down Economics Cannot Fail

they can only be failed.

The rich really are different:

Matt Yglesias considers, and rejects, the notion that taxes on the rich impede capital formation:
Remember, folks, Matty Y. exists for two reasons; to put a 'liberal' seal of approval on war, and to be a punching bag for the likes of Megan. And to be cited by otherwise good lefty blogs because he makes weak versions of common arguments for websites that get lots of hits. Bah. Anyway, Megan.
It sounds deep and smart when you call it "capital formation", and stupid and crazy when you call it "the rich uncle argument", but they're essentially the same thing. And it should be noted that many, even most, liberals believe that this is true--or at least, they used to, back when they were discussing the Bush tax cuts. At the time, the ground was thick with liberals complaining that it was a terrible idea to cut taxes on the rich during a downturn, because the rich save their money, while the poor and the middle class spend it.
Nope, I didn't fail to reinsert links. Shockingly, Megan is making this ludicrous claim without the slightest bit of documentation, because documentation doesn't exist. Matty Y. and Ezra agreeing to stop her spazzing out at the lunch table doesn't count.
The only possible explanation is Megan, being a movement conservative at heart, thinks the MSM talking heads promoting tax cuts that benefited them, and the people signing their paychecks, personally a great deal counts as a liberal anything. Of course, this is a woman who thinks complaining about how gender based pay discrepancies affect her personally makes her a feminist, so let's not pretend to be surprised.
*Update* - I shouldn't have written this so late. I have to be honest, I effed up and misinterpreted what she wrote. Somehow I morphed what she was arguing into a claim that some liberals were in favor of the tax cuts, instead of opposing them because of some bizarro half belief in trickle down theory. My bad.
Then or now, saved money is where all the capital that funds startups--or any other sort of investment activity--comes from.
Of course, if we will have a government, we are going to have to tax someone to fund it, and the rich have more spare cash in their possession than anyone else. But of course, when we tax the rich, they don't just cut back on their yachts; they also cut back on their saving and investment activity, which in the long run means that we will all be a little poorer. Life is full of tradeoffs that can not be vanquished with even extremely biting sarcasm.
I guess it's biting sarcasm to state that trickle down economics demonstrably don't work. She takes it as a given, which must mean it is one. After all, Megan is on the cusp of being a homeowner, and it's thanks to the charity of a rich person, so that would work for everyone if they'd just work hard as an ass kiss for a decade or so so, like she has.
The sad part is that last bit isn't really snark. It's quite possible she believes such a pile of mush. I've known heirs of name brand fortunes who believe they earned their vast inherited wealth with hard work. Never underestimate the capacity of a human mind to contort itself to avoid self-recognition.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

First Quarter Wrap-Up

Rehoused, in a working-class neighborhood. Where AT&T does not yet provide DSL service, but will charge your ass twice as much for dial-up as for their "new customer" DSL offer. Therefore, don't expect squat from this direction for another wk. or so. (Minimum.) Cable DSL, here we come!

And what has Ms. McArdle come up w/ of late? Nothing that founding ed. brad has not thoroughly covered (w/ the exception of Unemployment Continues Its Upward March) and no one could blame brad for such an omission, as it's about the least pointed thing on which Megatron's ever wasted electrons. (Does she think she's CNBC now, updating her legions of day trader viewers?)

Essence: Jobs lost, market not like.

No crap, cretin?

More Marathon Shorters

this will be most of Megan's output from Friday to today, with one post reserved for a longer look.

The LA Times copy desk is officially too small:

Megan still hasn't gotten around to reading up on the psychological concept of projection.

Rick Wagoner is stepping down:

On one hand, we should never blame any of the masters of the universe for the results of their actions, but on the other hand auto company executives have union cooties and David Bradley doesn't play golf with any of them so they're useful to bash now and then, like Madoff.

Whither GM?:


Megan McArdle has used the underpants gnomes analogy. It is now dead, may it rest in peace. Jonah Goldberg will be by to violate its corpse presently.

More secret bonuses:

As Susan noted, Megan has voluntarily forfeited any pretense of credibility she ever hoped to hold by uncritically citing Red State. That's actually mildly worse than Dan Riehl, maybe.
Of course, the cited words are bullshit, trying to compare required buyouts of many thousands of car dealers across the country who, notably, are not executives of the car companies in question to the AIG bonuses given to the people in the division which fucked the world economy.
Unions are such a bad thing it's worth it to sacrifice the American auto industry to kill the UAW, to conservatives.

Just say no to F-Bombs:

It seems economists in general, and not just Megan, don't know what the words fascism and socialism mean.
And only Megan gets to use "F-bombs", anyways.

The liberals who think that "Liberal Fascism" is somehow more definitionally stupid than "Conservative Fascism" are, I think, patting themselves on the back a little too hard. They didn't call themselves "National Socialists" for no reason, and pointing this out is, so far as I am concerned, God's work.

House prices: still free fallin':
30% of New Yorkers is a lot of people. And a fair number of them probably need to sell their largest asset so that they can get the heck out of New York, and the finance industry, and start over with a more sustainable life.
Of course her concern is misplaced, but I have to come out in favor of anything that gets current or former members of the financial industry "the heck out of New York". As many as possible. I'll chip in for a U-Haul rental fund.
No offense to those few such folk who read this blog, of course.

Department of non-leading indicators:

Megan should start a personal website like Gwyneth Paltrow, they're both like, totally awesome people with all sorts of, like, totally awesome advice to help people be just like they are, which is, like, totally something people actually want.
Also, because they're so awesome and important, everything that happens to them is meaningful.

Why we won't get an awesome appetite suppressant any time soon:

It's unfortunate Megan doesn't tag her posts according to categories, because it would have been useful for how I'd like to mock this one if she'd put it under "women's issues".

More Media Meltdown:

I know Megan's employment depends on David Bradley's whims and not the market, but how does she not realize that the pool of people waiting to swoop in and displace her is ever-growing? Eventually someone who can actually write is going to steal a moment with Mistah Bradley. There's far, far better liars than Megan out there.

Europe Free Rides, Again:

When Megan agrees with Paul Krugman, he's a brilliant Princeton Professor of Economics and winner of many prestigious awards. When she disagrees, his Nobel wasn't really a Nobel and the fact that it took a few years longer than he originally estimated for the Bush Admin to implode the economy shows he's a dummyhead. This time he's mostly a dummyhead.
Also, what the fucking fuck is this?
We pay for [Europe's] military protection, we pay for the profits that develop the drugs and consumer goods they happily consume, and now we're supposed to pay for their economic bailout too.
I'd snark it but I don't know what the hell that's supposed to mean. Does she think Europe doesn't have... ummmm, medical scientists and researchers and pharmaceutical companies and so on? It sure sounds like it.

Should I have called the market bottom last month?:

Oops, Krugman is smart again. Also, Megan's inability to get anything right, ever, about the financial markets which she is paid to cover means nothing. It's not even worth noting, especially in her own mind.

Fiscal Matters:
More support for Amity Shlaes: a New Yorker of my acquaintance who works with the finance industry reports that the massive fiscal crisis, and regulatory uncertainty, are having a big impact on how he invests for the future:
"Now when I buy Mega Millions tickets, I pick the lump sum option rather than the 26 annual payments"
... huh?
Also, her acquaintance who works in the financial industry plays the lottery regularly?
And only now has recognized that the one time lump sum is better than the installments which are not adjusted for inflation as time passes?

The Bankrupt Future of the Auto Industry:

It's odd. Megan, obviously, isn't a guy, yet somehow she's getting an erection at the thought of the death of the UAW. Good for her?

Now a pause while I consume calories, then a look at another post which deserves an extended response. And then we'll be all caught up.

Kissing Ass Isn't a Career Move, It's a Lifestyle

Please, take the "Work" out of networking:

Cliff Mason argues that while networks matter, networking doesn't. Amen. People with great networks aren't people who maniacally collect business cards while pumping every random acquaintance for possible signs of a career advantage. They're people who like other people, who talk to other people because they are interested in them, who seek to help other people because, well, that's just what a decent chap ought to do.
Let's ignore the issue of whether Megan actually knows what "chap" means and focus on the bullshit. Megan thinks not being a blatant careerist, which is to say a bad one, means she's not really one at all, she's just a people person. A fake polite people person who passive aggressively expects the people around her to kowtow to her definition of polite, most likely, but I'm just being a grump.
Other peoples' lives are interesting, even if they themselves aren't fabulous raconteurs. A good networker is someone who starts out on the presumption that you must be interesting, and looks for the things that make you so. Along the way, they naturally find out quite a bit about you--and because they genuinely care about other people, they will remember three months hence that you said you wanted to move into new media when their friend the new media consultant starts hiring. Maybe five years down the road, you'll help them out. And you will genuinely be glad to, because they were glad to help you.
Yep. I'm always finding jobs for my friends, and vice versa. It's just about all we do together. Oh, wait, she didn't say friends, did she? She's not talking about actual interaction between human beings, but careerists networking amongst themselves. There's no concept of knowing someone simply because you enjoy their company here, because where's the money in that?
The problem with most fake polite people is they don't really give a shit about the people around them, they just want to feel good about themselves via their own reflected glow. After all, it's Megan's network, not her community. But I'm still just being a grump.
In other words, it can't be faked, it can't be hurried, and you can't strip out the part where YOU are a person worth knowing. All the business-card warriors would do themselves a lot more good in the long run by focusing on getting good at their jobs, and helping other people when they can just because it's nice to be able to help.
In other words, you can't let the mask slip in public for even a moment, lest the people around you realize they're mostly being used. And remember, a good network is just testament to the fact that MEGAN is worth knowing. Isn't that what's really important?

Marathon Shorters

time to get off my ass and on Megan's case. I'm going to try for genuine shorters, if possible.

Institutional investment:

It's so much more fun for Megan to force people to play by her rules than accept the negative consequences her poorly considered and written output generates.
Or pointing out rank hypocrisy, like now claiming there isn't a "liberal gleichschaltung" in the university system. Or not, clarity and consistency aren't her goals or particular strengths.
Then she spends several hundred words on how because she was a bad student and knew nothing about the field she was trying to enter we have to retain the people who fucked up the global financial system to fix their mistakes, obviously.

Markets in everything:

Y'know, if you ignore the fact that actual people's lives are being fucked up and destroyed by the various economic crises, it can be fun to abstractly consider the shitty situations produced as reflections on the all powerful market which is the one true god praised be Greenspan before he fell into heresy.

AIG gets a French kiss-off:

The fucking French are trying to hold people at an AIG subsidiary responsible for their mistakes. Thankfully, these folk wrote convoluted contracts which are voidable if new management is put into place, and their cronies on the other ends of these bad deals have their backs. In no way does this resemble extortion, and all fault here rests with the French government for daring to interfere with these economic masters of the universe, and, somehow, the US Congress for (mostly pretending to) act on the outrage against the undeserved AIG bonuses.

What does a million dollars mean to you?:

A trillion is, in some sense, a meaningless number.
It's meaningless when it's part of the debt rolled up by Republican Administrations, but when it's a number involving Democratic economic plans, it's a monstrosity that will rape and kill our children.

GM gets a reality check:

Apparently Megan thinks the auto companies don't realize they're in dire straits, because they're trying to paint a rosy picture for the market. No company anywhere has ever engaged in such behaviors, because executives outside the auto industry are moral giants whose ethics will be studied as models for good behavior for centuries to come, as we now study the examples of such wise men as Socrates and the Stoics.

Foreigners + Money = Crisis?:

Let's skip the glaring editorial failures in this post and get to the meat. If I noted every copy mistake by Megan I'd never get to her claims and views.
The article she linked to reads as intelligent and reasonable, if you ignore one thing; it was written by a former IMF agent, a fact which should make the ears of anyone who's read The Shock Doctrine perk up. Of course, it turns out the countries the IMF was trying to help bungled that help and made things worse on their own. The former IMF agent then goes on to rail against the financial elites in the US and call for nationalization of banks, which sounds like something people should be saying. But you have to note that Megan is endorsing the conclusions in the article, which offers two paths out of our current crisis. The first is taking on the oligarchy and nationalization of banks. The latter might happen eventually, the former obviously never will. So, the second option is to let things collapse, then take advantage of the chaos to institute new models.
And once again, Shock Doctrine readers go hmmmmmmmmmm.

Next, a post which deserves individualized treatment. I will be caught up by the end of the day, dammit.