Monday, August 31, 2009

Susan is Awesome

further proof everything Megan says is a lie based on the biased distortions of others.
If, somehow, you read us but not her, fix that, now.

Quick Shorter

before I mock, let me know if you've blogrolled us and I haven't done the same in response. I tend to rely on my infrequent visits to the "came from" page at statcounter to know who has, which seems not to be a totally successful method. And now, the stupid.

The New, New Thing:

Megan prides herself on learning from her mistakes, and the mistakes of others she supported. It seems that what she always learns is that she didn't make a mistake, reality did. Her principles are sound, and trying to get in the way of financial wizards would totally be worse than teetering on the precipice of a second Great Depression.
After all, without our techniques financial industry thieves and idiots in the rest of the world would have no new methods with which to fuck up their home nations. It took being educated here for the young turks of Iceland to learn how to destroy their economy. America is the land of innovation, the world needs us to show them what mistakes to make.

My New Favorite Comment

From the post on financial regulation:

I think the Colonel should stick to making chicken, as one does not "ask" for mafia protection, by fucking definition.

A bird in the hand... (???)

The Commute's a Killer, Eh?

It's 9:11 am, so we can charitably assume Megan's been burning the canola oil for at least 5 minutes. Better take a break.

Hahahahah. Mock iPhone advertisements! And the guy is stalking his ex-girlfriend! And there's an "ap for that!"

I must tell the whole internet!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

An Inopportune Time to Bring Up a Long Standing Peeve

Not to speak ill of the dead, but what is with Ted Kennedy getting lionized? I've never understand why he was allowed to continue being a senator after essentially committing involuntary manslaughter, and now people want to name universal health care after him? I prolly agree with most of his politics, but, fuck, Chappaquiddick was as fucked up as any other political scandal of which I'm familiar.

I really wasn't going to say anything, but then this post at GG's came up talking about dynasties. Anyone notice a couple of names missing from the list?

Again, I know, it's the wrong time to bring it up, and I wouldn't if not for the fact that everyone is being more than just deferential to the deceased and instead praising Kennedy as if he were some spotless hero. I really hate that people on my side can be as blind as people on the other side.

Am I missing something here?

brad adds:

I've seen very little praising as a spotless hero. No, they did not mention Kopechne at the funeral, but that would have been inappropriate. But I've seen plenty from both left and right reminding us of that evening and his failure. And, frankly, there are a lot of dead hookers in the past of a lot of politicians, not to slander Kopechne*, but Kennedy is merely the one who got caught. And if you think you know everything about that night you're fooling yourself. Nothing is simple when a Kennedy is involved.
Whatever the man did, the political entity Ted Kennedy was the head of liberalism in the US government for decades. His staff was a force to be reckoned with on the Hill, and he was a playboy drunk who made pretty for the cameras but used his position to put people who actually could do good in place to do so. Love him or hate him, we're better off for him having been there, and that's the legacy we're remembering and mourning. That multicultural Berkeley you live in wouldn't be there if he hadn't modernized immigration law, for example.
Honestly, I don't agree with this post at all, I just don't see where the indignation is justified.

*- this means I wasn't calling this poor woman a whore, 'k anon? Neither am I saying whores are somehow less human than a woman who didn't work in that industry, which I mean nonsnarkily.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fire Sully, Too

Next time someone says anything the least bit positive about Andrew Sullivan, make them read this.

Charles Murray responds to my small riposte to him on the question of torture. I should say I am second to few in admiring Murray's work. I risked my entire career to bring his brilliant book, The Bell Curve, into the bounds of respectable conversation because I believe his intellectual honesty is self-evident, even if you believe he is wrong about everything.
Note the weaselly phrasing, making it seem as if Sully might disagree with the unambiguously racist idea that black folk are genetically inferior.
The Bell Curve effectively invalidates everything else Sully does. Glenn Greenwald is wrong to link to him. This is a bright line in the sand.

And the Internet Recoils in Horror, Again

as you might have noticed, Megan's offensive stupidity this week has brought her lots of mocking. I won't link to them cuz they give us no credit for working this beat every day, sniff sniff. You guys say fuck, too. Is it because I told Kathy G to stop being so bossy? (I can be immature, too, dammit.) (And just to be clear, I'm 99% kidding, I'm not faulting anyone.)
But this, via CP in Susan's comments, is too good to be immature about. If I were a more dedicated student of logic, or not a Nietzschean, that's the kind of post I would write. However, giving that much attention to the specific nature and structure of Megan's "arguments" would probably cause me to punch my laptop screen, which I would consider counterproductive. I love when folks do heavy lifting for us, but, as always, I have to counsel them not to linger on Megan's work. It takes a special kind of masochism and anger at over entitled children of privilege to survive reading her work regularly, and a willingness to swear a lot.
A whole fucking lot.


I'm back. Australia was fun. I got to pet a fucking Koala. Awesome. Also, a wallaby tried to eat my chicken schnitzel and I almost ran over 7 baby emus. Australia is fucking tits (but not titty fucking, of which I'm not particularly fond). It's like a whole nother continent.

I had a funny post planned where I acted like Megan in discussing Oz. I was going to "accidentally" use Australian words, speak out of both sides of my mouth, and sound like an idiot. Highlights would have included a libertarians take on the cane toad and... other shit that I forgot. Frankly, though, I'm not feeling Meganocity today. I think I'll go back to my coffee.

PS If you ever go to Australia, go for months not weeks, if you can. And rent a 4WD.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Peak Stupid?

Megan McArdle (Replying to: RIRedinPA) August 28, 2009 9:37 AM

Yes, yes my liberties and freedoms would be endangered. Most basically, because nothing should be forbidden unless it is extremely dangerous to others, which gun ownership by non-felons is not.
There's more.
Megan McArdle (Replying to: RIRedinPA) August 28, 2009 12:35 PM

Yes, seriously. If you can't do something that I can do, you have less liberty and freedom. (They also have a lot fewer procedural civil rights, but that's another issue)
I cannot ovulate.

And I'm done. I'll leave the remaining expansion of her totally relevant Black Panther analogy for Susan, if she wants it.

I'm Not a Conservative, I (Theoretically) Like Pot!

Megan McArdle (Replying to: Stephen B) August 28, 2009 9:35 AM

Liberals tend to confuse libertarians with kinder gentler conservatives. We disagree vehemently with them on many issues--drugs, social issues, etc--but we are in complete agreement on guns.

What these threads have made clear is that a number of liberals are simply unable to comprehend that anyone genuinely believes in an important right to bear arms for self-defense. Obviously, if you think I'm making it all up for some obscure fetishistic reason, this all seems kind of crazy. But the overwhelming majority of libertarians believe in a right to bear arms that is as important as the rest of the bill of rights. The philosophical and practical aspects of this are at least as well thought out as any liberal position, precisely because we're constantly challenged on it. Aside from drugs and civil liberties, this is the area where we are most in agreement.

This isn't the place to go into the very long arguments about guns, but this has nothing to do with any attempt to reaffirm my place as a staunch American conservative, which I am not in any way. Rather, I'm reaffirming something that I actually believe, which is that the second amendment protects an important individual right, and that people legally exercising that right do not pose any significant threat to others. Doing so in some circumstances may be a bad idea, and I think that this is one of those circumstances, just as there are many forms of speech that I would fight to the death to protect, even though I think they are wrong. But demanding that we restrict that right because of a trivial increase in an already small relative risk is the same sort of thing that had us gutting the bill of rights to go after drugs (Clinton) or terrorism (Bush).
Brandishing a LOADED FIREARM at peaceful public meetings does not make you a threat to other people, because it's totally a form of speech. Sure, Megan doesn't know what it's saying, because she can't acknowledge the weapons are being brought as implicit threats, but it's still totally protected.
And it's a trivial increase in the danger of gun violence for extremist militia supporters and members of an eliminationist church to bring LOADED FIREARMS to peaceful public meetings, especially when it has become an article of faith among said armed folk that their opponents are gonna beat them up, like they did a black guy who totally wasn't hamming it up for propaganda purposes and hadn't helped push over someone he disagreed with before being knocked down by someone trying to aid the person already on the ground.

Oy Vey

Megan McArdle (Replying to: nickzi) August 28, 2009 9:55 AM

Well, I'm a libertarian, and I don't think that important civil rights get protected, or not, on the basis of whether your government, or even your fellow citizens, thinks you "really need them".

But I don't take these folks to be saying anything about health care. I'm sure if you look in that crowd, you will find signs about all sorts of things, because hey, Americans don't all care about the same stuff. I took them to be demonstrating in favor of the second amendment.

Go back to the Democrat who came to protest in favor of healthcare reform, with a sign, and also in favor of the second amendment, with a gun? Are you arguing that what he was really trying to do was signal his willingness to shoot people who disagree with him? Should conservatives be terrified for their lives?
So they're protesting about an issue that's not at all relevant to the peaceful public meetings they're bringing LOADED FIREARMS to. And the fact that some asshole on the left felt that the threat of armed opponents meant he should escalate things and give the paranoid fantasists more ammo for their delusions means, retroactively, that they're right to come armed.
Megan views guns the way french chefs view butter and chocolate; there's nothing in the world that can't be improved by adding one or both.
I wonder how Megan would take it if pro choice counter protesters showed up to anti-abortion rallies packing heat.

Still Right About the War

it's not nutpicking when I'm only quoting Megan.

Megan McArdle (Replying to: nickzi) August 28, 2009 9:15 AM

The people opposing national health care believe it will be a giant clusterfuck that will, one way or another, kill millions of people. Your inability to imagine any possible legitimate disagreement with your position is part of the problem.

Yes, some of the people who worry are idiots. Trust me, so were some of the Iraq war opponents I argued with. They were also right, and I vastly underestimated the difficulty of achieving the good ends I genuinely believed the Iraq war would bring about. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
Refusing to acknowledge that death panels might somehow be real makes you PART OF THE PROBLEM. Acknowledging that the insurance companies kill people makes you PART OF THE PROBLEM.

But hey, Megan supported the preemptive invasion of a foreign nation for only the best reasons, and not at all because of an impotent blood lust, she's soooooooooooooooooooo sorry. That n the preemptive 2x4 are irrelevant to asking whether we can trust reactionary extreme right wingers with LOADED FIREARMS in peaceful public meetings where every aspect of reality is in opposition to their illogical and indefensible position. Bullies take losing arguments very well.

Misplaced Anger

Megan McArdle (Replying to: eric) August 27, 2009 6:31 PM

And maybe you like silencing those you disagree with with outrageous accusations of horrific motives because you're too dim to come up with any rejoinder more sophisticated than "You are a pottyhead!" Maybe you have a size twelve ego stuffed into a size four soul, and enjoy unleashing your petty fits of juvenile righteousness upon people who have the temerity to not recognize the overwhelming genius of everything you say.

Or maybe you just lost your temper.

Which should I assume?
from her last word on guns.
I think I'm just going to pick out her comments from that thread today. Susan already beat me to one good one.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kitten Purge

Megan's been offensively stupid lately, necessitating lots of angry words. To prove I'm not really an angry person, here's an old but still fun video featuring kittens playing musical instruments, and a bald Stephen Malkmus.

What an Asshole

My Last Word on Guns:

Liberals are to blame for all of this. Carrying a LOADED FIREARM to a peaceful public meeting is a form of free speech, akin to telling someone to shut up or you'll punch them. Totally protected.

Jason Zengerle indicates that the real point is that openly carrying weapons at a protest makes it harder for the Secret Service to do their job. Probably. On the other hand, lots of things make it harder for the Secret Service to do their job. Protesting is much harder on the Secret Service--almost certainly harder than one guy openly carrying a gun, because the protesters are a crowd of people who have to be watched constantly for suspicious movements. Should we ban protesting? Or force the people who do it off the premises and into a park eight blocks away? [Like Bush did?]
Dear Jason Zengerle,

You're not helping. Maybe if you left eventheliberalnewrepublic you might make better arguments.


The point, Megan, is that people who are bringing LOADED FIREARMS to peaceful public meetings are wrong to do so. You can't even argue against that point, so you spend hundreds of words dancing around it and pretending they're not at least seeking to make use of the threat of violence against those who disagree with them.
Of course not. Expression in a free society is important--important enough even to let us risk the president's life, as we are indisputably doing every time we allow a protest, or for that matter a crowd, near him. You can say, well, free speech is really important, and carrying a gun isn't, but that's begging the question. I'm going to stop discussing this after the post, because what it comes down to is liberals saying, "Conservatives with guns make me extraordinarily anxious and upset," and clearly, they're right. Nonetheless. Carrying a gun is clearly an attempt to make some sort of political statement, though we may not know what--rather like flag burning. And the supreme court takes a very dim view of "Fighting words" type excuses to limit constitutional rights.
Her royal highness is finished with us lowly commoners who dare to question her word, but she will remind us to learn our place.
Btw, that's not begging the question. Begging the question is saying that since murderers are criminals only criminals use guns for murder. In my limited knowledge there is no legal precedent for calling bringing a LOADED FIREARM to a peaceful public meeting a speech act. If anything, it is constrictive of free speech, as the threat of violence is now being offered to those who might disagree with the armed man. An armed man who even Megan seems to have finally noticed attends a church led by a man who has called for Obama's death. (Which is negated by Obama's former scary black man pastor, of course.)
Nonetheless, I take the narrow position: openly carrying a gun to a protest is idiotic. Our president isn't the only one who has had a totally lunatic pastor. But there's really very little statistical evidence that it's likely to cause anyone any problems except their own stress. People who are planning to commit violence are probably going to try to conceal it until the last moment. And the other people aren't going to pick fights with the guy with the gun. Furthermore, these protests are hardly some variation on the Seattle WTO fights. They're small and, other than the gun freak show and the LaRouchies with Hitler signs, pretty boring. [My emphasis]
Whoops, there it is, the point. They brought guns to intimidate their opponents, Megan. And yet you think liberals are committing hate crimes by suggesting people who "debate" in this manner might take that weapon off their shoulder or out of the holster at some point. People who consider a pastor who's called for Obama's death and the death penalty for ALL gays and lesbians a great American couldn't possibly be capable of eliminationist acts. Stats she made up and didn't ever actually cite sources for totally prove it won't happen, because the extreme right has never engaged in acts of violence against people in the US. The KKK and militias don't count, because.
Notice also that she's now only speaking of acts of planned violence. Push them goalposts back, this kicker has a strong leg.
People carrying guns are acting like jerks. So are the liberals who have created a giant scary amalgam of a right-wing protester, who has done every bad thing that every protester has ever done. More than one person has now asked me how I can defend someone who shows up at a rally holding a gun in one hand and a picture of Obama-as-Hitler in the other, and starts screaming about death panels?
Moreover, having created this horrifying bogeyman, the next rhetorical move is to claim that this constitutes the whole of the opposition to your program.
A boogeyman based merely on what these actual folk are actually saying. How dare we slander them with their own words and professed beliefs. It means Megan has to deal with people asking her how she can defend them, and that pisses her off. Remember, Megan's mood is what's important here.
Does any of this sound oddly familiar? Wait a second . . . it'll come to you . . . yes, that's right, it's 2003 all over again! Coldplay's on the radio, Elizabeth Smart is being reunited with her family, and the rest of America is trying to rip each other's throats out, rhetorically speaking. The party in power is busy branding the opposition as something close to traitors because they are skeptical about a speculative venture that the majority just knows is going to turn out beautifully . . . Meanwhile, the opposition is staging increasingly freakish demonstrations, while the loud lunatic fringe starts looking for fascist jackboots and death squads behind every tree. The party labels have switched, but the vitriol, and the emotional tenor of the debate, seems very much the same. You'd think that the various players would have learned something from our last outing.
Wow, fuck you too lady. We who were RIGHT about the Iraq War are the same as people who bring guns to meetings about fucking health care reform and claim all sorts of crazy shit about Obama. Sure, we had truthers in our mix, but so does your fellow libertarian Ron Paul, Megan, and we were not being led by them. And just because WE WERE FUCKING RIGHT and thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died needlessly doesn't suggest we had any reason to be upset. After all, if Obama wins thousands of lives might be saved, we're still trying to get in the way of the great American death machine, fuck us.
I'm done talking about this now. To me, liberals sound like the pro-war crowd did in 2002--positive that they're right, and constructing a lot of arguments around their ability to imagine what is going on in the heads of people they don't know very well, and like even less. Too many conservatives sound like the lunatics heading the ANSWER brigade, who were not content to say that Bush et. al. were really, really wrong about invading Iraq--no, nothing would do but that they also be secret fascists looking for ways to increase the net stock of suffering in the world. And too many on the right are letting these morons talk uninterrupted, including me, I suppose, because I can't bear to spend any of my precious life moments listening to Rush Limbaugh or someone even worse.
They are the right, Megan. You're not "letting" them talk, you're enabling their worst impulses because you have to to stay in their good graces. You went straight from calling them idiots to blaming the left for having been FUCKING RIGHT ABOUT THE WAR. And our passions resulted in massive non violent protests, which you were so willing to tolerate you only suggested preemptive violence against us. But that was our fault for making you think about things you don't like.
I hated it then, and I hate it now. This country can survive Bush, Obama, or anyone else who is likely to get elected. It cannot survive the moral equivalent of civil war.
Which would be the fault of the people disagreeing with her even after she's taken her ball home.
Update: I should add that Zengerle asks me what, besides a bet, I would take as proof that liberals are 100% serious in their beliefs about protesters. Well, I think revealed preference is the best cue, but I would take a non-bet bet. That is: what would falsify your belief that these people are the vanguard of a rising tide of dangerous right-wing militia action?
My belief could be falsified in many ways: on the record statements from the protesters, a shooting incident started by someone who arrived at a rally openly carrying, a plot uncovered by a law enforcement agency. Obviously, I hope it's not the case.
Two of these things have happened. She really doesn't care about reality, she just wants to be able to think her stupid thoughts untroubled. Maybe we should get shot at once or twice, to learn our place.

Mah Goalposts

where should I put em?

The Power of the Gun:

A lot of commenters seem sure that having a legal gun around substantially increases the likelihood that someone will, in a moment of rage, shoot someone--so sure that they are clearly convinced I am a lunatic for even suggesting otherwise. I understand the intuition, and maybe it's right. But the evidence for the proposition is not all that strong.
Here's a little take home experiment for Megan the social scientist; try shooting someone without a gun.
First of all, as it shows in the articles I linked earlier, something like 90% of homicides are committed by people with criminal records, i.e. people who probably cannot legally own a gun. A lot of the rest are committed by juveniles, or mentally unstable people, who also cannot legally own a gun.
This is highly relevant to concerns that right wing extremists bringing LOADED FIREARMS to peaceful public meetings may end up shooting someone. After all, tea baggers, birthers, and deathers have all shown that they are clearly in full control of their faculties and are in no way mentally unstable.
It is perfectly true that adding a gun to a dispute involving violent criminals increases the likelihood that someone will be shot. But violent criminals are not like the rest of us. They have very poor impulse control, and, well, a demonstrated willingness to use violence. They also are not likely to apply for a permit before packing heat.
But people who bring LOADED FIREARMS to peaceful public meetings show fantastic impulse control and no possible tendency towards violence. Neither are they likely to be the type who get their weapons via loopholes like gun shows, as no documented militia supporter could possibly have a criminal record.
Murder is not something that usually just happens, even among family members. The people who do it are usually abnormal in some way, and it shows.
For example, they might bring LOADED FIREARMS to peaceful public meetings while spouting off about how Obama is a Muslim socialist from Kenya who intends to kill their grandmother.
For all the fears that allowing concealed carry would lead to murderous road rage and bar fights, these incidents have failed to materialize. I have managed to find one murder in Florida that was even arguably the result of having a gun available in a heated moment--the few others were either clearly premeditated, or involved a weapon other than a handgun. Given how small the number is, as far as I can determine, the good done by defensive uses of concealed weapons would virtually have to outweigh the harm, since several concealed carry holders have stopped violent crimes.
She read an NRA pamphlet, so there. But you'll have to take her word on it, admitting that's her source might make her argument seem less valid.
And if you think about it, you already know this. You have access to fatal weapons every day. How often, after a fight with someone, have you been seriously tempted to run them over with your car? Or grab a knife from the rack in the kitchen and brandish it at them? Put rat poison in their morning coffee? Or take an exacto blade to their throat while asleep? The men in the readership, at least, could be fairly confident of their ability to stab their spouse to death whenever she says something really awful. Yet none of you have done it. Virtually no one else has done it, either, except for people who were already clearly deeply troubled--either abusive, or mentally ill. That's why not a lot of hunters report getting into disputes with their friends or family that suddenly, unexpectedly, and tragically, turn violent.
Ohhhhhhhhhhh, the people bringing LOADED FIREARMS to peaceful public meetings were hunting deer. And again, there's no reason to doubt the mental health of these folk, so stop it.
(And yes, she compared a gun to a car. I did not make that up, you can click the link and verify it. We have cars, so we might as well have guns. Same difference.)
It would be a very good thing if we could take guns out of the hands of criminals. But they really don't seem to make ordinary people any more murderous.
Ummmm, if someone commits murder, they're a criminal. Non-criminals, by definition, don't commit murder. This, Megan, is called begging your terms.
There is more we could be doing to keep criminals from getting guns--unlike most second amendment supporters, I would support extending the requirement for background checks to private sales. And perhaps there should be a presumptive temporary revocation for those who have restraining orders out on them. But with 220 million people in this country and a very long border, no gun control scheme is going to make much difference in the availability of guns to people who really want to have them.
220 million? Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Wow, with a mistake like that how could anyone doubt any other factual claim she might make? And, of course, let's not forget that most of the guns in the US were smuggled across the border from Mexico and Canada and Bermuda. There's nothing we can do until the rest of the world stops flooding us with cheap handguns.
Can anyone tell me what it is she thinks she accomplished with this post?

Oh, she pleased her batshit insane commentariat, duh.

Someone Tell Megan About This

I doubt she'd read any email I send, buuuuuuuuuut it seems that Rachel Maddow reported at Alternet that

We‘re now learning about actual, direct links between the gun stunt this week at President Obama‘s event in Arizona and a militia group that was convicted in the 1990s of conspiring to blow up federal buildings.
Ernest Hancock, the right-wing online radio host who carried a .9 millimeter pistol himself at the Phoenix protest and who interviewed the other people who were carrying guns -- he used to work for a group that defended a violent militia group called the Vipers. It was a group that called themselves the Viper Reserves and they formed to defend the Viper Militia.
What was it that Megan said? Oh yes
I think that the left should also stop claiming, on little evidence, that [the people openly carrying firearms] are crazed militia members.
But hey, maybe the Vipers weren't that bad. The name doesn't exactly suggest creativity.
The Viper Militia said they were opposed to what they called the "new world order.” They practiced advanced weapons training, including exploding rockets and making fertilizer bombs in a desert town about a hundred miles from the one-time home of Timothy McVeigh. Twelve members of the Viper Militia were charged in 1996 with plotting to blow up at least seven government buildings.
Hopefully most of you already know most of this because you watch Maddow regularly and saw this report as a video piece, but obviously Megan doesn't and didn't, which is why she was accusing the people disagreeing with her of manufacturing facts she didn't bother to find out. She'll probably just call Rachel Maddow names, tho.


Mark Ames is Still Smart

The thing that’s starting to irk me is that I think these Establishment ass-sniffers really believe this line about “it’s wrong to bring up her father.” It’s like we’re all still in a civics class, and there are rules you’re supposed to follow–because the substance of the debate isn’t nearly as important as following the polite rules of the debate. Violate those rules, and you’re out. This obsession with following polite civics-class rules–from the left with Ezra Klein to the freakish-right with Amanda Carpenter– only confirms our worst fears about the mainstream media today: it’s just an entrenched, corrupt Soviet-style nomenklatura looking out for its own interests, a place where the elite sticks its kids to look after their business interests as their offspring mouth all kinds of bullshit about free markets or defending the vulnerable uninsured American underclass. The point is to protect the nomenklatura’s privileges, and talking about one of their member’s privileged/corrupt upbringings threatens to blow the guild’s stranglehold.

Remind me to read him more often, plz.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Guilt By Association

By way of THE EXILED, a photo of Megan close to kissy-kissy w/ the typist of this, which has already been well handled (facts, research, blah blah) by Sadly, No!'s Tintin & noted (Facts, research, well ... no.) by others.The moment she's gotten Jonah Goldberg to recant "Liberal Fascism" she may want to call her acquaintance Vadum & ask him to cool it w/ the "In other words, nihilistic liberals are planning to drain 9/11 of all meaning," & "the administration's plan to flush 9/11 down the memory hole just as it has tried to do by rechristening the Global War on Terror the "Overseas Contingency Operations."

Because if that's not the moral equivalent of slinging "fascist" around, what is?

And a tip of the Bouffant chapeau to Euripides, who linked THE EXILED to our attention, while commenting @ S,N!

About the WaPo Chat

I'm tempted to let Susan have it, in large part because she asked one of the best questions. (No, that Brooklynite wasn't me. I couldn't figure out how to pretend to be civil towards her.)
But there are a few general points worth making. First off, when asking how she got that platform, look to Ezra. I strongly suspect this has something to do with them making nice with each other. Maybe theGarance stepped in as peacemaker, if only for the sake of the clique's dinner parties being happy places. I could be completely wrong, but it seems a bit too much of a coincidence.
Second, note that every single number she came up with to support her argument was hypothetical, and based on willful ignorance of reality, like her earlier drastic underpricing of coverage from Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which she tried to paper over as somehow a well intentioned mistake. People being denied coverage or care within their coverage isn't, to her mind, a serious problem, only maybe 2% for the latter. Sure, that 2% represents MILLIONS OF PEOPLE, and doesn't include the millions more in family who also are very directly impacted, but she has AmbienCR to help her ignore that fact when trying to sleep at night. And the uninsured are kids and (illegal) immigrants, who only get hurt in accidents which are probably their own fault to begin with. Megan is a true libertarian, she thinks if people want to get sick we should not stop them.
The take home message is she has no argument, she just has a handful of wishes and a bookshelf full of literature from the health insurance industry she's paid to restate the conclusions of.

She Really is an Asshole

More on Guns:

Jason Zengerle says that the idea of betting on an outcome like the discharge of a gun at another human being is "offensive". Well, I'm betting on good behavior, which doesn't seem that offensive to me. Zengerle et. al. are the ones claiming that people openly carrying guns have a significant probability of hauling off and shooting someone for no good reason.
And you're trying to coerce your opponents into betting for gun violence, which is to say you want to be able to say libs want someone to be shot for propaganda purposes, because you think everyone is as dead inside as you are, Megan. I wanted to be wrong about Iraq. I wanted to be wrong that Bush was torturing people. Personally, when I predict bad things, I want to be wrong. Sadly, when predicting extreme, unAmerican, behavior from the right, I'm rarely wrong, and the experts, like Dave Neiwert and the SPLC, I listen to get it right even more often.
I find that rather offensive, given how little the people saying this sort of thing actually know about the protesters. They may, to be sure, be gun-mad lunatics dying for a chance to shoot some random stranger. Me, I'd expect the gun-mad lunatics are probably carrying their gun concealed somewhere on their person, the better to use it without being stopped. But I don't know. The point is, neither does the other side. All these confident predictions of impending violence do not, to me, seem to rest on much more than the belief that people who openly carry weapons near a rally must be gun-crazed lunatics who want to intimidate Democrats with threats of violence. This is somewhat circular to say the least.
No one is making confident predictions of violence. We're saying we fear that it has become far more likely. This is something even Megan could understand, if she had the least bit of intellectual honesty. The distinction between openly carrying and concealed is disingenuous, just to begin with. Bringing a gun to a peaceful public forum is bringing a gun to a peaceful public forum. If you think it's a good idea, I don't trust you. Even Megan can't pretend it's a positive development.
Zengerle also conflates this with presidential assassination, as have many other commentators. As far as I know, only one chap has been near the president, and he was a publicity stunt. The others seem to be at less august meetings. If a gun nut wants to assassinate a minor Senator or Congressman, he doesn't need to carry a rifle to a protest somewhere. They're not that well protected. And also, not that frequently attacked.
Great, now she's advising nuts on who to target. And btw, Megan, YOU WERE THE FUCKING ONE TO CONFLATE THIS WITH ASSASSINATIONS. But let's move on, there's plenty of offensive stupidity still to cover.
Do I think guns should be near Obama? I think that is for the Secret Service to say, and I would support whatever decision they rendered. But we don't know where this guy was, or if he ever even saw Obama.
What a load of shit. Is it good symbolism to bring guns to outside of events where a black President who's already been the target of admittedly inept assassination plots is speaking? She dunno, guhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
But if I had to guess, I would say that I do not think that anyone openly carrying a weapon is likely to pose much danger to the president. Why? Because the Secret Service knows he is there. You can bet they have at least one guy watching the fellow with the AR-15, and that if he had taken it off his back and begun to raise it to firing position, he would have been immediately taken out. The people who I worry about are the ones who carry concealed weapons, the better to get a shot off before the Secret Service notices. Or the ones who have found a good hiding place with a sightline to the president. Etc.
Apparently Megan literally has no idea what the Secret Service does, such as predetermine locations with sight lines and place agents there, or use metal detectors to screen the people coming in to see the President. I'm not one for a slippery slope, but is it really so hard to foresee a situation where a gun nut is asked to turn in his weapon before going in to see the President and the gun nut responds by seeing gubbermint agents after his gunz and starts shooting?
It is entirely possible that some nut will shoot someone at a protest, or try to shoot the president (indeed, I expect at least one assassination attempt, as that seems to be par for the course). But I have no reason to think that the fellows brazenly carrying pistols on their hip will be among those nuts. Nor, I think, do the people hysterically accusing them of some pretty evil intentions.
Besides the stupidity of accepting assassination attempts as par for the course, which is to say she knows she's wrong and is splitting hairs, this is flat out empirically false. The gun nut outside Obama's event specifically quoted the (shortened) Jefferson quote favored by militiamen, the quote which, if memory serves, McVeigh had on a tshirt he was wearing when arrested. That, my dear, is a concrete reason to be disturbed by the potential intent of that particular nut. But Megan doesn't know this, because she can't be arsed to do anything but worry about whether that particular nut was black, which would make the wholllllllllle issue moot, for no particular reason. I'm not kidding, she specifically doesn't know about this connection.
To be clear, as I said in my previous post, I think carrying a gun to a protest is at best stupid. Whether or not they intend to provoke hysterical fear among a substantial portion of the population, they clearly are doing so, and that is not how you make your best case for the second amendment. It's also not very nice, even if you didn't mean it. So I think they should stop. Meanwhile, I think that the left should also stop claiming, on little evidence, that they are crazed militia members. Doesn't that seem like a reasonable compromise?
No, because it's not a compromise, it's you seeking to get everything you want. Spoiled brats think that indulging them is a public service.
Sure, it's nice she said they should stop, but it's obvious bullshit that she only said to cover her own ass. She's spent at least three posts now defending the good natures of these folk bringing LOADED FIREARMS to peaceful public events, but she's gently asking them to cut it out, almost like she's scared to get directly in their faces.
They are armed, after all. You don't wanna provoke them too much, do you?

On Fascism

Megan today:

Are we ever going to retire the F-word? You know what I'm talking about: fascist. It seems that we can't go more than a few months without someone leveling this accusation at a president from the opposition party.
This is beyond moronic. The Bush administration did many bad things. But to call his administration fascist is both to completely abuse the term, and to belittle the millions of victims of fascism. Fascism is not just something of which you disapprove . . . nay, not even if that something involves the military.
Similarly, the fact that Hitler liked government health care is really totally irrelevant to this discussion, thank you so much for not bringing it up. Hitler also liked cream puffs and dogs. Shall we get rid of anyone who shows similar predilictions? Not all forms of state intervention in the economy are fascist. Fascism is a particular thing, not the amalgam of everything you happen not to like.
Megan last January:
I think Goldberg is actually making a valid point, which is that Fascism!=Conservatism. Fascism was a compendium of left and right wing ideology; part of what gave the movement its power was its co-option of (to my mind) some of the most appalling elements of each. 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.
Consistency is not her strong point, if she indeed has a strong point.

Depths Of Despair (Fascist Division)

Like Megan, I often despair.

Would it be too, too trite to say that some days I despair? Because I really do.
She could start by telling Jonah Goldberg to admit his book was full of crap. And she could try to enlighten her commenters. (This one was Frist!)

Funny that nobody ever likens a politician they hate to Stalin. Maybe they don't think of it as an insult.

This one's fun too.

Obama's policies to date resemble fascism more so than any other president before, except perhaps for FDR. This does not mean his policies are like the Nazis, who are just one example of fascism.

FDR is probably the only president whose policies can be said to be close to Nazism, if you consider his national socialism economic plans combined with his use of concentration camps for certain racial minority groups (codified in our law and upheld by a Supreme Court largely packed with his supporters).

It remains to be seen whether Obama's fascist-resembling economic policies will combine with other fascist policies; but the fact that he has now expanded rendition and created a torture regime targeting white collar criminals is certainly not promising:,0,1840939.story?track=rss

A Lebanese citizen being held in a detention center here was hooded, stripped naked for photographs and bundled onto an executive jet by FBI agents in Afghanistan in April, making him the first known target of a rendition during the Obama administration.

Unlike terrorism suspects who were secretly snatched by the CIA and harshly interrogated and imprisoned overseas during the George W. Bush administration, Raymond Azar was flown to this Washington suburb for a case involving inflated invoices.

If arresting someone in Afghanistan & flying him to a Washington, D. C. suburb to undergo a public trial for theft is "a torture regime targeting white collar criminals" I'll eat my grubbiest baseball cap. The concept of a "leap of the imagination" is rendered trivial by such a fanatsy. Yet we're expected to reason w/ such paranoids. As we like to say in show bidness, here's the rest of the story. Literally:
Their case is different from the widely criticized "extraordinary renditions" carried out after the Sept. 11 attacks. In those cases, CIA teams snatched suspected Al Qaeda members and other alleged terrorists overseas and flew them, shackled and hooded, to prisons outside the United States without any arrest warrants or other judicial proceedings.

The FBI arrested Azar and Cobos with warrants signed by a federal magistrate. And the State Department, Talamona said, asked the government of Afghanistan "for its consent in advance to take these two individuals into custody and return them to the United States to stand trial. They consented to our request."
One might imagine that Psycho Jenni is more troubled by her white-collar criminal heroes being treated roughly ("Oh, goodness, they're just trying to compete in a difficult environment.") than anything else.

We think it's an excellent idea. The economic terrorists responsible for the state of the world economy should be snatched from their playgrounds & rendered wherever for prosecution.

Disingenuous? Stupid? Ignorant? Liar? Low-Information? All!

Teachers Unions: Bane of the Universe.

In comments:

Megan McArdle(Replying to: LizardBreath)

Did you read the article? The union claimed she was being fired for seniority reasons until the teacher herself made them take it off their website.

The hearings are run by an arbitrator jointly approved. Since the arbitrator knows the union will veto anyone who rules too severely against them, they tend not to fire teachers, and they have no incentive at all to speed things up.

Funny, you'd think someone so concerned about the horrors of "big government" would realize that this is two-way street, & it may be possibile that the arbitrators ("jointly appointed, " even Mlle. admits) are equally concerned w/ being perceived as unfair to their other boss, the school system.

Here we have a perfect example of a "market" at work, but she denies the very existence of half the market forces involved. It would almost be worth registering there to point this out, but just like the gun aficionados that she mentions in the item brad dissected below,
this is for most people what Julian Sanchez calls a symbolic belief. They don't really believe that these people are thugs intent on murder--not in the sense that they have, with careful thought, arrived at a conclusion that they are willing to defend vigorously. But it is pleasurable to tell yourself you believe terrible things about your enemies, and so you don't examine the thought until someone says, "Well, how about $500 on it, then?" and you think about how much it would hurt to lose $500 on, and realize that you don't actually have any reason to believe it's all that likely.
(Our emphasis.) Empty "symbolic" belief. Seem familiar? Should someone offer to put $500.00 on the proposition that arbitrators have two employers they must please? How soon will that shut her up?

Whenever it is, it's certain it won't be soon enough.

Dear Asshole

You are a repugnant human being.

I think carrying guns to protests is entirely counterproductive. Indeed, I'm not sold on the general virtues of protesting, which worked for Gandhi and the civil rights marcher, but has a dismal track record on other concerns. But I think people have a perfect right to do it, including with guns, though I also think the secret service is within its rights to ensure that they don't have a sight line on the president.
But the hysteria about them has been even more ludicrous. Numerous people claim to believe that this makes it likely, even certain, that someone will shoot at the president. This is very silly, because the president is not anywhere most of the gun-toting protesters, who have showed up at all sorts of events. It is, I suppose, more plausible to believe that they might take a shot at someone else. But not very plausible: the rate of crime associated with legal gun possession or carrying seems to be very low. Guns, it turn out, do not turn ordinary people into murderers. They make murderers more effective.
Remember, Megan totally participated in a protest for something she doesn't remember once in college, so she knows what she's talking about. And the passionate emotions whipped up in protests, where people who hold perhaps slightly more extreme beliefs than most can be found, in no way argues that LOADED FIREARMS are not a good thing to have at them. But hey, if the hippies outside the '68 Dem convention in Chicago had been armed they could have shot back, right?
Megan knows what eliminationism is, even if she wouldn't recognize the word. She reads Red State and Dan Riehl, she knows full well that "jokes" about shooting liberals, which means anyone who disagrees, are quite common on the right, and that the paranoid fantasists of the right have already begun to shoot people, like cops in Pittsburgh. Having been to a tea party my own self, I can tell you there are people there with whom simply making eye contact can be a risky, and frightening, thing. But Megan thinks she wouldn't be at risk, so it doesn't worry her. Besides which, she'll never go to one of these protests or town halls, that's what a journalist would do.
Instead she goes back to showing that while girls aren't bad at math, she is.
So perhaps unsurprisingly, when offered the opportunity to put some money down on the proposition that one of these firearms is soon going to be discharged at someone, they all decline.
Remember the Cheney Doctrine, Megan? The one which helped you think of the Bush Admin as a good daddy after they almost got you killed? Saying that bringing LOADED FIREARMS to peaceful public events where there are already police officers and maybe even Secret Service agents providing security for one and all is a bad idea that increases the chances of violence does not equal saying these things are guaranteed to happen. But an increase from, say, 1% to a 10% chance is very significant, and worth concern. Further, Megan is blithely assuming that because she's in ideological agreement with these GUN NUTS they are reasonable people who were simply doing some fashionable accessorizing. After all, there's countless legitimate reasons to bring LOADED FIREARMS to peaceful public events monitored by law enforcement.
Megan? Guns are built to shoot bullets. That is what they are used for, that and to threaten others with the possibility of being shot. What's the "political" message these GUN NUTS are sending? That if we extend health coverage they'll shoot the newly insured?
They're bringing guns because the people Peter used to work with have done a bang up job of scaring them shitless. They think ACORN will physically attack them because some black guy got pushed after helping to push someone else. They think a simple measure to give people more control over the end of their life is an effort to kill their parents. They think Obama was born in Kenya. These are not reasonable people, Megan. You don't bring a gun to a debate, unless you are unwilling to accept that your ideas might prove lacking, or utterly, completely, wrong, and want a penis extension to grab and point in the face of those who can out think you.
By simple fact if there are loaded firearms in a location the chances are significantly higher that they will be used. This is not complicated. When those weapons are in the hands of people who hold extreme, irrational beliefs and who appear to be emotionally unbalanced, the chances are even greater. And as people like you, Megan, justify this behavior it becomes more likely that more people will bring more weapons to more town halls, further increasing the possibility of violence.
This blithe, stupid, shallow, fucking asshole move of a bet is a non sequitur, Megan. To begin, you're trying to get someone to potentially profit off of gun violence. We, on the left, leave that to the gun makers. Then there's the weaselly qualifications you attached which Susan covered, basically saying that anyone who does use a weapon is breaking a law, and therefore not a law abiding gun owner and not part of the bet, which is to say you're loading the dice, Megan. The issue, you stupid asshole, is not whether it is certain to happen, but that it now could happen.
But she's actually got something more offensive to say, you have to see it to believe it.
I suspect that, like the notion that Obama is not a US citizen, or that George Bush either planned the 9/11 attacks or allowed them to happen, this is for most people what Julian Sanchez calls a symbolic belief. They don't really believe that these people are thugs intent on murder--not in the sense that they have, with careful thought, arrived at a conclusion that they are willing to defend vigorously. But it is pleasurable to tell yourself you believe terrible things about your enemies, and so you don't examine the thought until someone says, "Well, how about $500 on it, then?" and you think about how much it would hurt to lose $500 on, and realize that you don't actually have any reason to believe it's all that likely.
Unfortunately, these sorts of fun pastimes are horribly corrosive to civic society.
No, I don't think she's aware of the irony of her closing line. I do think she's aware of the incredibly dickish nature of what she said, and thinks she's being clever by couching it in not directly aggressive language. Megan just equivocated fearing gun violence from these armed extremists with being a birther or truther. If you're afraid of being shot by the kind of mentally unbalanced person who feels a need to bring a LOADED FIREARM to a peaceful public discussion, you're a paranoid conspiracy theorist. (Though she, of course, went on to defend deathers in her WaPo chat, as we'll get to later.)
Megan once counseled preemptive violence against those with whom she disagreed because someone told her those people were bad. She claims to have sobered up since then, not that she even admits to what she actually said, but she can't see where someone might, now, be of a similar mindset. She's a fucking moron, and I need to stop talking about her for the moment.

Somewhat Off Topic

inre: health care reform

Can we, the left and those who actually care about other human beings and want a public option, please stop getting caught in right wing talking points and focus in on the basic simple fact that this is about whether rich people should get richer or human lives should be saved and made livable?
Rich people's money versus lives. It really is that simple. It's executive bonuses or care for sick people.
Let's take off the damn kid gloves and drag reality into this. Besides being a calculated distraction, death panel talk is projection. Insurance companies are death panels.

< / minirant >

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

For Those Who Are Interested

Megan Live!

25 Aug 2009 01:16 pm

I'll be doing a live chat on the Washington Post tomorrow. Those who are interested can participate, or view it, here.
Fire Megan McArdle supports engagement in public discourse.

Here's What She Pooped Out Today

shorters, cuz I don't feel like delving into any of this crap.

Looking Back at the Bailouts:

Don't you love it when I tell liberals, who think in ways I'm literally incapable of comprehending, what they should have thought or done? The reason no one "groks" libertarians is because we're the next step in human evolution, thus we can encompass past stages of development while those still trapped in them can't comprehend our higher natures. Libs are all like, I give a shit about other people, and while conservatives at least have gotten over that empathy crap they still make the mistake of believing in what they say, at least at the rank and file level. Libertarians have the courage to lie about our convictions, because we don't really have any, we just want money to buy shit.

How Sweet it Is:

Uhhhhhh, what? People won't eat less sugar because some home owners overprice their homes when putting them on the market, obviously.

Megan Live!:

This sounds good, but the questions will be moderated, so we'll have to pretend to be respectful. I'm sure you all have questions for our muse, especially those of us banned from her sandbox, but I think the big question of the moment for her to pretend to answer is why she thinks Europe doesn't do medical research. It's not like she's popular enough for the chat to be crowded, so stick to it and press her as much as possible. If we're lucky she'll be provoked into a series of posts for the entire internet to mock.

Facts I Did Not Know:

There are more asses for me to kiss in this world than I could ever have imagined. So many business interests to dishonestly defend, so little time.

What Really Matters In Health Care Reform:

is breaking Obama, of course. Remember how this is supposed to be his Waterloo? Well, unlike every other president, ever, Obama's numbers have dropped a bit since taking office as the Republican Party has made it their purpose to obstruct and slander his every action and the compromises forced upon him alienate the base. Fuck helping millions of people being royally screwed by a broken health care system, let's play some politics. All that's been needed are monstrous, ridiculous lies and the constant elevation and support of the most extreme, genuinely mentally ill portion of the conservative movement. There will be no price to pay in politically motivated violence or new beliefs so extreme even Newt and Sarah won't be able to make use of them.
The fault for provoking the next McVeigh will totally be on Obama for not indulging these spoiled brat bullies having temper tantrums in public and trying to help them despite themselves. And Megan will be among the first to say so, when the Ambien wears off, if only to protect her self image and fantasy world.

Bernanke, Again:

This soft, jobless, recovery our economy is experiencing is actually the best possible outcome, because only the "right" people are benefiting. With un- and under-employment still high bosses still have extra leverage and ability to exploit their employees, which makes every MBA's heart beat faster, but they're the only ones seeing more money, too. It's win-win, which means Obama has nothing to do with it and his name ist verboten in this topic.

Megan McArdle is a bad person.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Question of the Day

is this the most hackish thing Megan has ever written?

It seems like progressives are conceding the ground war and wondering if they can't just get away with a fabulous new paint job on their bombers. But I don't see how you can do this without winning the actual battle: persuading Americans that they want this bill. Which right now, they don't seem to. Yes, I understand that if you word the question just right, you can get a majority of americans to proclaim their support for some provisions of the bills on the table. Unfortunately, this is true of virtually every bill.
And if you call harmless consultations about end of life care "death panels" you can scare the stupid people into having public tantrums.
I'm actually glad Megan is acting slightly triumphant, that means we'll probably get health care reform.

Btw, why has no one said that the real reason reform opponents are against the so called "death panels" is that without them the default state is heroic efforts to keep the body alive indefinitely, as in Terry Schiavo, which costs a looooooooooot of money? People who choose DNR cost the health care industry very real dollars, and if more people did it they'd be out a significant sum. And since Medicare ends up covering most of those costs, because we're mostly talking about the elderly, hey, there's some of those needed cuts in Medicare spending just by respecting people's most personal decisions. The ridiculousness of the death panel claim is distracting from what's actually going on, by design.


I hate when we have a mild spike in traffic with no links to explain it, because it means she's written something driving people here to visit.

A Strategic Split for Healthcare Reform:

Some guy in a comment thread says the Dems can't do something that might push the public option through, phew. This is Megan's version of being a sports fan, go team health insurance industry!
Then again, she is being paid by them, via various industries propping up the corpse of The Atlantic with those paid, off the record, "talks".

Was There a Second Gunman In Phoenix?:

This whole post is basically Megan continuing the argument with a critical reader behind her would be bet M. covered earlier about whether random people bringing loaded firearms to the immediate vicinity of or into public meetings with elected officials makes it more or less likely for violence to occur. The sad thing is she thinks she's found weak prey for an easy kill.

Thinking Thin:

A reader wrote what Megan was thinking, so she just posted that;

I suspect the only way people will change their behavior is a sudden desire to move up the social ladder. Being thin and attractive gives you a competitive edge, especially if you live in a city with lots of talented people. The moment someone I know suddenly gets ambitious, or makes partner, or needs investors, they start losing weight.
.... so people are obese because they're too lazy to care, and you'll never get most people to care about how they look, because we're not a vain species or culture, so they'll always be fat. It's not genetics or the foods we eat or our sedentary lifestyles or some combo of the three, it's our moral fiber. Fat people are simply lesser humans, so we should pity them and give them more lard, not try to help them be superior people like Megan.
And they can't be like her, then she wouldn't be special.

The Magic of Europe:

Tyler Cowan's hair says that instead of liking that more or less all of west and central Europe spends massively less per capita than we do on health care for inarguably better results, gets 4-6 weeks of paid vacation a year, works fewer hours per work week, and just generally has a higher quality of life, we're bamboozled by the pretty buildings. After all, Americans have a national obsession with architecture.
Megan adds that Toronto, which is not in Europe, has some ugly buildings, she's heard, outside the skyscraper area, unlike, say, the Bronx, or the pure visual poetry of Levittown.
So stop talking about the basic facts of European health care versus ours, it doesn't help Megan push propaganda, so it's bad.

The Business of Me-Too Drugs:
I've never understood the ire against me-too drugs. Consumer choice is usually thought of as a good thing: competition reduces prices somewhat, therapeutic side-benefits may be discovered, and often different drugs work well on different sub-classes of patients. If you don't think the world would be a better place with only one kind of coffee, I fail to see why you think it will be better off with only one kind of anti-depressant.
Susan is absolutely right, Megan is being used on the cheap to produce advertising copy, as is the imprint of The Atlantic. But I suspect Megan knows it, and is fine with it as long as she can buy each new Kindle and keep Peter busy with video games.

Be right back with a slightly longer.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

We Still Need a House Troll

here's a good candidate.
A libertarian, misogynistic anime fan on livejournal, because it's 2003 and he's a tween girl*, who uses his clearly deep knowledge of economics to wonder about newly unemployed middle class folk taking unemployment benefits:

Andrew Sullivan has posted a bunch of reader emails lately debating the ethics of the middle-class unemployed collecting unemployment benefits as (possibly) opposed to finding work which is "beneath them", or being in a hurry to find a new job in general. I'm not going to link all of the posts here.
To an economist, though, this debate is somewhat baffling. See, in the old days, people engaged in this practice known as "saving money" in case a rainy day arose. Even if you're not old school like that, there's still an alternative practice known as "taking out loans" of various sorts to cover your expenses during a period of reduced income.
So let's concede that you shouldn't feel compelled to start flipping burgers within a week of getting laid off. Fine. Look at your financial situation, and determine for yourself whether it's worth it to cut into your savings or take on debt to cover your break. If it isn't, why should the taxpayer be covering you?
Now, there are considerations that might add an extra layer onto this argument... what if there's some kind of liquidity constraint that prevents you from acquiring money? What if the specifics of your situation are so catastrophic that you couldn't possibly cover your expenses? These things are worth discussing, but they can be relegated aside for the moment because as far as I can tell these aren't the situations under discussion. What seems to be under debate is whether an unemployed middle-class individual is ethically entitled to enjoy taxpayer largesse to his or her own satisfaction. But this question should be resolved by asking another: If taking a break is such a great idea, why the hell can't you pay for it yourself? Why shouldn't you? I can make an awesome argument for how it would be a great investment of taxpayer funds to buy me a Kindle DX, but there's reasonable skepticism over whether this is true that can only be resolved by my just buying the damn thing myself. That's the economic argument for personal responsibility - it cuts down on bullshit dramatically. Put your money where your mouth is.
awesome stuff.
Found via a singular "came from" result on statcounter. Hopefully the LJ owner, heehee, will come by, I asked him to. If he can find time away from the LJ communities he's watching (aesthetic_lolis, daily_lolita, egl_comm_sales, getoffegl, lolita_wank, lolitafucksmkii, vocaloid), that is.

You thought I was kidding about the misogyny?

*- no offense to the handful of our readers who (still) use LJ, probably because of their membership in communities which still make active use of it.


As you can see in comments, I was mistaken in my assumption that this fan of lolitas is a guy. My bad. As I said in comments, I made the assumption based on my experience of women having better taste in pornography, oops. Instead it seems she's into looking like easily dominated little school girls who still have humongous breasts. My instinct is to make a misogynistic joke here, but the problem is I go for adult women, so the idea doesn't really do anything to arouse the lizard brain from which such thoughts flow.

Ambinder Part Deux

Marc Ambinder works with Megan McArdle. He also borrows from her.
He was right to be wrong, and even when he was wrong about the people who were right he was, and is, still right in his method and they're, by logical extension, still wrong. Next, a post explaining why being wrong makes him even more right now, and why having to learn from a mistake makes him smarter than the people who already knew not to make the same mistake. If he's going to be like Megan he's still got that bit of work to do. Right now it's kind of a Yglesias/Megan combo; Ambinder wasn't a dirty hippie and he was wrong for the right reasons at the time, even if they're the wrong reasons now, and he's learned so he's totally still deserving of his platform.
I'll give Ambinder this much; he seems dim enough to have actually gotten the Iraq War flat wrong. Part of my disgust with Yglesias and Ezra is that in their cases I don't know if they were naive or if they simply supported the war for the sakes of their careers. Mistakes can be learned from, even if we'd be better off reading the work of those whose judgment has been proven valid and valuable, but those who went along to get along are the ones to really be frightened of.
N read the comments, those of you who aren't already in them, it's a rare intelligent thread at the corpse of The Atlantic.

New Radiohead song


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Why Twitter Exists

ahhhhhh, whiteness.

Moar from superboy;

Mmmmmmm, bitterness.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I Was Wrong, But That Made Me Right. No, That's Not Right. I Was Right, So I'm Wrong. No ...

21 Aug 2009 11:42 am

Good News/Bad News on the Budget

Well, I was wrong that the news on the budget would be worse than projected, but right that the Obama administration wasn't delaying its first mid-session budget review in order to hide the bad news in the August doldrums. The budget deficit is going to be $1.6 trillion, instead of $1.8 trillion.
Read that again. She was right, yet wrong. Somehow. She was wrong on budget news, & right to assume that the Obama Admin. wasn't delaying the review because the numbers were bad. In other words, she was right because she was wrong! Let's hope no other nitwits latch onto this newly discovered form of logic; we'll never be able to stop them.
Still, it's hard to be unhappy about a $200 billion decline in the government. $1.6 trillion to go . . .
What does that mean? Is the gov't. the same as the budget deficit? When we cut the deficit, will the entire gov't. disappear? To be replaced by unicorns w/ invisible hands?

More Catch-Up

she's been a real douche bag this week. It's amazing that health care reform, which is in essence an effort as a society to help people, is bringing this out of people. There's no legitimate argument against reforming the health care system. Insurance companies do not provide added value to the system. They dramatically raise costs and markedly reduce access to actual care. There's nothing in reality Megan can turn to for support, there's simply the money involved. It's about people versus money, and if the town hall disruptions are being successful at all it's by distracting from that simple fact.
Anyway, shorters.

Your Freaks Are Dumber Than My Freaks:

Clive Crook says the election of a black man as President is a scarring psychological assault on par with the terrorism of 9/11, and Megan concurs.

Your Daily Omnibus Health Care Post:

The savings involved with health care reform would in no way offset the costs involved with offering a public option. Instead, they'll steal your inheritance after killing your grandmother, and tax you more to boot.

Has Obama Jumped the Shark?:

Megan is asking whether President Obama has exhausted the original creative premise of his tv series.
I'm going to say no.

Housing Starts Rise, Again:

Strangely, the name Obama appears nowhere within this post. I guess she was still debating the quality of the plot of season 3.

Those Who Walk Away:

So I'm working on a piece on consumer borrowing, which will be out, on the Atlantic's somewhat lengthy production cycle, right around the new year.
Fact checking is haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard, especially when there are no fact checkers on staff anymore. Megan is stuck waiting for her turn with the temp.
The story is about how Megan agrees with banks that people should not be allowed to find ways out of predatory mortgages, because.

First Person Medical:

While the reader I'm quoting might be misinformed about the impact of health care reform on him personally, I'd like to respond with more misinformation, including the implication that "immigrants" *coughillegalcough* will drive costs skyyyyyyy high in the west.

An Option That Has Been Proven Difficult, and Left Untried:

Any government health care program is troubling, because it might show that the government can effectively manage the health care system. Like with Medicare or the VA.

The Price of Obesity:

People simply cannot lose weight, as this tale of a woman who lost 100 pounds shows.

Death Comes as the End:

Megan isn't stupid enough to believe in death panels, and is under great blogger clique pressure to mock the very idea, but some of her most devoted readers buy right into it, so she has to tread very carefully here. The pretzel she ends up twisting herself into is the idea that you can't quite trust doctors to be professional. Contrast this with Megan's many words in the comment thread M. called attention to down below, where she says, ahhhhh, whatever, to people carrying presumably loaded hand guns and assault rifles to outside of and into events where political leaders up to and including the President have tried to speak to the public about health care reform. Megan trusts random people with guns more than she trusts doctors. It's just a reminder to the hippies that the 'right thinkin people' have their preemptive 2x4s if the need be. And it doesn't count as gun violence if the gun owner thinks they're acting in defense of themselves, or someone else, or white power.
The point is, doctors have obvious motivations to want to kill you.

And there we are. Take Friday off, Megan, you've earned it.