Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

There's Something About Megan

It takes a special person to say that peer review is unnecessary because it is not fool-proof, and McArdle is that special person!

Especially for papers that rely on empirical work with painstakingly assembled datasets, the only way for peer reviewers to do the kind of thorough vetting that many commentators seem to imagine is implied by the words "peer review" would be to . . . well, go back and re-do the whole thing. Obviously, this is not what happens.


(Sorry, that just slipped out.)

This is not to say that the peer review system is worthless. But it's limited. Peer review doesn't prove that a paper is right; it doesn't even prove that the paper is any good (and it may serve as a gatekeeper that shuts out good, correct papers that don't sit well with the field's current establishment for one reason or another). All it proves is that the paper has passed the most basic hurdles required to get published--that it be potentially interesting, and not obviously false. This may commend it to our attention--but not to our instant belief.

Fact-checking and the criticism of one's peers are not a few of McArdle's favorite things, and therefore a strawman is duly built, erected, knocked down, set on fire, and its ashes are sown into the dirt.

Welcome back, McArdle!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Theory In Practice

We've discussed why people obey authority. Let's look at the actual process.

Balloon Juice's DougJ discusses Ta-Nehisi Coates' support of George Weigel and Jeffrey Goldberg.

Ta-Nehisi Coates has a thoughtful post about WeigelGate that is marred by this:

It’s always a problem when you have to state your affection for someone you’re blogging about—but I have great affection for Jeff (Golberg). That’s the personal side—the side that makes this a very uncomfortable post. But professionally, I have great respect for him as a reporter.

I have read a lot of Jeff Goldberg articles in the New Yorker and the truth is, when he’s not writing about the Middle East, he’s fine. But he was also the Judy Miller of Iraq-Al Qaeda connections.

It’s disappointing to me that someone who generally shoots as straight as TNC would give Goldberg a pass on this. But that’s the way it is, people reach a certain level of status in the media and can’t keep themselves out of the great Atlantic/National Journal garden party in the sky, no matter how hard they try to avoid it. (To be perfectly frank, this is why I never liked the idea of Journolist in the first place, the idea that all these high-level bloggers/pundits might be coordinating their message somehow, or at least airing their grievances publicly rather than privately, is a bit sickening.)

Perhaps the defining characteristic of our age is how much time political and media elites spend giving each other hand jobs.

DougJ is perfectly correct about the seduction of money and public notoriety. But Coates didn't really try. Coates also said this:

As much as I like Dave Weigel, and as much as I respect his work, I think that there is a valid complaint to be made by conservatives about his beat at the Washington Post. For me, the way to approach this is to ask myself what I would think if e-mails like these came out, circa 2008, revealing that a reporter assigned to cover the netroots was actually contemptuous of some its leadership.

If I couldn't see any bias in 2008 I wouldn't care in 2010.

I think I'd have a problem with that. And I think a lot of other liberals would too.

I'd be delighted to see a little contempt from the "liberal" press. We might get fewer articles on how Iran is about to get a nuclear bomb, or how Obama's civil rights abuses don't exist, or how social security is broke. It is not the job of a journalist to be impartial--his job is to write impartially. To find out the facts and figure out what they mean to the best of his ability in the time allowed, and report what he found to others. We want a reporter that is skeptical, questioning, and doesn't trust the leadership. Anyone who is friends with the people he covers will be a lousy reporter.

Goldberg is a real piece of work, as everyone else has amply shown. His maudlin post about the death of Arab children under Israeli bombings was sickening. [Added--see also.] But he and Coates both work for the same employer, and Coates supports his co-workers no matter how offensive they are. McArdle and Black Panthers, Douthat and unwed parenting, now Goldberg 's offensive behavior. When you work for an information broker who sells access to its reporters to major corporations, you will end up compromising yourself.

We live in a great and terrible world, and are helpless before the forces of real power. But even if we can't change the economic disasters, the environmental disasters, and the humanitarian disasters of our world, we can control how we react to them. The time to take a stand for what is right has long passed. The decision has been made. Now there is only the embarrassing silence and averted eye, and the sly jubilation of the already corrupted.

Friday, June 25, 2010


We seem to have reached an impasse. How am I to mock libertarians if they actually, really, truly Go Galt? There has been only one post from the guest-bloggers at Megan McArdle's site since Wednesday and it was neither dim-witted nor offensive.

I miss McArdle. Sure, Jonah Goldberg is still an idiot, but he's been churning out the same crap for so long that he's become rote. By the way, Jonah, DC spends around $9,000-$10,000 per student per year, not $25,000. Where does your number come from?

What's that, Jonah? You think you and your fellow intellectuals are what?
Is It Just Me? [Jonah Goldberg]
Or has the Corner been on an upswing in quality of late? It could always use more collegial debate and banter, but this has been a pretty good week.
No, it's just you.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Liberal Authoritarians

The non-authoritarians will see multiple sides of an issue because there is nothing stopping them from seeing all sides. The authoritarians will see one side because they cannot bring themselves to break orthodoxy with their side and will not consider any information that conflicts with their beliefs.

Glenn Greenwald wrote that some liberals have been consistently defending Obama's authoritarian actions--his "wretched civil liberties abuses." Greenwald is correct; Obama did do what Greenwald said he did, and those abuses are a danger to us and a violation of liberal principles. Greenwald has documented administrative abuses in exhaustive detail over the last two years, just as he did during the Bush era. Greenwald discussed both what Obama could do and could not do, and criticized him for what he could have done but did not do.

Johnathan Chait, one of the people Greenwald mentions, responded. "[Jonathan] Bernstein Smacks Down Greenwald," he crowed. Bernstein contemptuously stated that the president has no power over senators, that he is no more than a clerk. Bernstein looks at what Obama could not do but ignores what Obama could do but didn't. Chait himself does not refute Greenwald at all.

Forced to state the obvious for people who will not see the obvious, Greenwald related the facts that showed Obama used his power to side with authority and refrained from using his power to support liberal principles.

Chait claimed that Greenwald was saying untrue, mean things about him and again ignored the facts about Obama.

In another post, Chait finally responded to facts by walking back on part of his statements (regarding presidential influence on foreign policy) and reiterating his earlier claims.

Greenwald responded saying that the facts stand for themselves, but added a few new facts that support his earlier statements and conclusively refuted one of Chait's claims. Greenwald, being Greenwald, throws another log on the fire in his update; more facts that support his claims.

Chait doesn't address the evidence in any meaningful way because he can't. To admit the facts is to admit Obama has no respect for the civil rights of others. So he avoids the facts, which is an emotionally difficult thing to do. In fact it is downright painful, and it's no wonder Chait complains that Greenwald is attacking him--he is under attack, by Greenwald's refusal to agree to take part in a massive lie.

Greenwald's posts are long because he supports his facts. He draws logical conclusions from those facts, instead of just saying what he wants to be true and ignoring any evidence to the contrary. There are liberal authoritarians just like there are conservative authoritarians, and they will not admit that Obama is an authoritarian leader because it violates the principles of their tribe.


Timothy Lee's article on immigration seems fair and compassionate. He'll never make it at The Atlantic at this rate.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Blessed Are The Normative

Kathryn Jean Lopez puts aside her thrilling adventures to respond to Barack Obama's Father's Day speech:

Moms and dads matter to children. Children don't always get the mom and the dad and people who lovingly step into the breach are Godsends and should all be celebrated. But the mom and the dad are still the ideal, and for good reasons even social science will back up. Barack Obama could be so powerfully protective of the institution that is at the heart of civilization, in deed and word. Unfortunately, so far he's missing a huge opportunity while he works to transform us into something new (something new which is old, bad news to an increasingly post-Christian and demographically challenged Europe).

Tradition has its benefits.

Good lord, it's dog whistles all through. Evidently Barack Obama is trying to transform our entire society into something that is not Christian or white. Fatherhood (the patriarchy) is under attack and must be deafened at all times, which Obama is not willing to do even though our very survival as a civilization depends on it. And trying to be inclusive towards all kinds of families is wrong, because the only legitimate type of family has a white, Christian mother and father.

"Tradition has its benefits." You bet it does, if you're one of the ruling class. Everyone else is out of luck. Stupid people sometimes accidentally tell the truth, and Lopez could not have more clearly stated her desire to keep and perpetuate her benefits at the expense of others' suffering.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Manna From Heaven

From Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor-at-large.

Women who are running these days as center-right candidates are not Sarah Palin clones, and they’re not anomalies....There’s a maternal gracefulness about it. And it manifests itself in different ways, on different issues, because women, just like men, have different issues and different styles and different thoughts and ideas....

Of course, deny some will. Attack they have, do, and will. If Harry Reid defeats his female challenger, there will be attempts to pretend none of this ever happened and the conservative pro-life woman is just an exotic political animal....

Is Lopez the best Catholic writer NRO could find? How on earth did she get that job? Did the saints intervene from Heaven?

Kathryn Jean: Writer, she is. Bad one, she is accused of being.

The League Of Extraordinary Bloggers: The Replacement

Cross-Posted at TBogg's place.
This is part six of a continuing series about the famous Bloggers who fight for truth, justice, and American Exceptionalism.–the Author

In a Secret Location, a Meeting of Diabolical Minds takes place. It is the League of Extraordinary Bloggers, each a hero (or a heroine or a Coulter) in his (or hers, or Coulter’s) own sphere. They are:

Col. Glenn Reynolds—famous defender of guns, wherever they are needed to fight the Brown Menace.

Michelle Malkin—a creature of the night, with an insatiable thirst for blood under her modest, cheerleader-clad fa├žade.

Jonah Goldberg—A barefoot man-boy with cheek, famous for being so lazy he got his research assistant to paint his fence.

Megan McArdle–a woman of mystery, of disguise, of charm, which hides an unscrupulous and greedy heart.

Ann Althouse—A respectable professor who digs deep into the evil aspects of her psyche when she drink an experimental potion know as “Merlot.”

Part I: The Adventure Begins
Part II: A Fresh Face
Part III: And The Band Played On
Part IV: Strange Bedfellows
Part V: The NRO Cruise: Voyage To Nowhere

Part VI: The Replacement

Reynolds: Okay, bloggers, pull yourselves together. Ann, stop playing with your lei. Goldberg, stop touching the waitress’s skirt.

Goldberg: I’d mow her grass anytime.

Reynolds: Don’t piss me off, Goldberg. Malkin, sit down. When I said fly to Hawaii, I meant take a plane.

Malkin: I have a lot of expenses, Glenn. Fresh blood isn’t cheap. God, are my arms tired. Why did we have to meet in here?

Reynolds: McArdle’s here on her honeymoon and I was under strict orders to include her in the meeting.

Althouse: We have a new leader! What a relief! Karl’s been gone so long and I don’t like that black man at all. He’s so vague and grandiose and socialist. Who’s giving us instructions now, Glenn?

Reynolds: I can’t tell you. (Reynolds giggles but pulls himself together.) Karl wants you to meet his replacement at the Big Island restaurant at 8 p.m.

Goldberg: Waitress!

Reynolds: Goldberg, you haven’t touched your drink. Leave her alone. What’s keeping McArdle?

Goldberg: Duh. She’s on her honeymoon. She’s watching cartoons and drinking everything in the mini-bar.

Malkin: Remind me to send Jessica a condolence card. You’re awfully nervous, Glenn.

Reynolds: No I’m not. I’m sitting her very casually, waiting for the new boss to arrive. Where the hell is McArdle, dammit?

McArdle: Is somebody talking about me?

Reynolds: Hurry up and get over here before the big boss arrives. I want to make a good impression. Oh, and congratulations.

McArdle: Thank you, Glenn. It’s nice to see somebody cares about my Big Event. It’s not like my wedding party did. They spent the entire wedding Twittering each other instead of looking at me.

Reynolds: McArdle–.

McArdle: This is my day, not theirs. I didn’t pay the caterer $100 a head so they could have twitter-fights and throw dinner rolls from one table to another. Plus I had to sneak away from my beloved husband who I miss so much.

Reynolds: Shut up! She’s here! I can’t believe it!

Reynolds giggles and squirms in his seat but quickly recovers. He smooths down his hair and brushes a speck of dirt off his browncoat. A woman slips through the crowded bar and into a seat next to Reynolds. She takes off her wig and glasses and tosses them to the floor. It is Sarah Palin!

Reynolds: Oh, Miss Palin, this is such an honor! We can’t wait to follow your every command. I promise we are well trained and know how to please a woman. A boss woman. A woman who is our boss, and a woman. And a boss.

Althouse: Mrs. Palin, I’m Ann Althouse. I’m a law professor.

Palin: Can you practice law in Alaska? I can always use a good lawyer.

Althouse: Uh, no. I teach.

Palin: Hate teachers. Teachers have unions and want to destroy young minds and call the police on young people who are just high-spirited and didn’t mean to do so much damage. Alleged damage. (To Malkin) Waitress!

Malkin: Mrs. Palin, I’m–

Palin: That’s nice honey. You can get my autograph some other time. Now run over to that bar and get me a little drinkie.

Malkin:—Michelle Malkin, Extraordinary Blogger and Fox News contributor, and not your waitress. And it seems you’ve already had a few drinks.

Goldberg: She has heightened senses. It’s so cool. I’m Jonah Goldberg. I wrote a New York Times best-selling book that was nominated for a Pulitzer.

Palin: Books are for sissies. Col. Reynolds, your orders are to use the British Petroleum oil spill to prove Barack Hussein Obama is a loser. Reynolds, you have the hardest job. I need you to take out one of Obama’s goons. Do you have a gun?

Reynolds: I have many guns, Mrs. Palin and I’m honored to shoot someone for you. I could use my big gun or my really big gun or my special Sunday gun with the mother-of-pearl stock. I have knives too if you want me to kill the Brown Menace with a knife. Also, my boot is very heavy and if you want I can–

Palin: Just shoot him, okey-dokey? Here’s his picture.

Reynolds and Malkin look at the picture.

Malkin: The Brown Menace looks exactly like that guy who moved in next door to you, the writer, what’s his name?

Reynolds: Shut up, Malkin. He’s a dead man, Mrs. Palin, you can count on me.

McArdle: Since Glenn has totally forgotten his manners, let me introduce myself. I am Mrs. Peter Suderman and I write for the famous magazine The Atlantic on economic issues. I’m on my honeymoon but we Extraordinary Bloggers are always ready to serve in a time of need.

Palin: Your honeymoon? That sure as shootin’ brings back memories. And congratulations about the baby. Better late than never, huh?

McArdle: (huffily) I’m not pregnant. What kind of person do you think I am?

Palin: Now, don’t get up on your high horse, missy. It’s no shame for people like us.

McArdle: I am not pregnant! I’m an economics blogger!

Palin: Great, than you can examine these BP spreadsheets and fill out this paperwork. It’s research for our mission. Mail it to this address by the end of the day. (She hands an envelope to McArdle.)

McArdle: Very well. Wait a second. This isn’t figures from British Petroleum. Travel and clothing expenses, W4 forms–these are your taxes!

Palin: Nonsense. Get crackin’, honey, those forms aren’t going to fill themselves out. And make sure you postmark it by midnight.

McArdle: Now just a damn minute. I’m on my honeymoon!

Palin: We all have to make sacrifice for our country. Do you think it was easy quitting my governor job? Where’s your patriotism? Your stick-to-it-tiveness? Your country needs you!

Malkin: Mrs. Palin–

Palin: You still here? Lord, these little Hawaiian people give me the creeps. Hardly a white face from one part of the country to another. Okay, hon, you can write our press release on Obama’s socialist plot to take over BP and redistribute its money to the poor.

Malkin: Fine, just give me the outline. (Malkin scans it quickly and then looks up at Palin.)

Malkin: You want me to update your Facebook page? I don’t ghost-write other people’s work. Doesn’t your husband do this for you?

Palin: Don’t be silly, native girl, schoolbook learnin’ is for children and my Todd is a real man, the kind that loves to hunt and fish and carry out orders to remove your enemies.

Malin: Then why don’t you have him take out—

Palin: Drinkie, sweetie. The day ain’t getting any younger. Fetch.

Malkin bares her fangs and starts to growl.

Reynolds: (hastily) Malkin, you can go now.

Malkin: I bet she tastes like bear grease and failed ambition anyway. (Malkin stalks away.)

Palin: Okay, Grandma, it’s your turn.

The bloggers look around the restaurant. Palin points a long, red fingernail at Althouse.

Althouse: Me? I don’t mind getting you a drink, Mrs. Palin. I know a very special concoction that will make your toes tingle.

Palin: No drinks for you-you’re going to need your wits about you, Grandma. Since Obama’s kids are helping him in his socialist take-over of BP, we have a couple of our own little kiddies to fight back. Your job is to assist them.

Althouse: You want me to introduce them to audiences? Write their little speeches?

Palin: Yeah, yeah. Here’s their pictures.

Althouse: Um, Mrs. Palin, I don’t have any experience with special needs children. Surely his mother would rather be with him if he’s going to be surrounded by strangers?

Palin: Some mothers are busy, alright? They have responsibilities. And their stupid mothers have to take a cruise just because her doctor said she’s exhausted and needs some rest, instead of helpin’ her children like Jesus commanded.

Goldberg: Isn’t that your kid?

Althouse: This is Trigg and Track?

Reynolds: You mean Trogg and Trigg.

Goldberg: I think they’re Trip and Trap.

Palin: Whatever.

Althouse: What about Bristol?

Palin: Teen abstinance lecture. That poor girl pays and pays and pays for her sin. Oh, that reminds me–I haven’t taken my cut yet. Take a note, Honeymoon Girl. Now, which one of you is the Jew?

Reynolds: (points to Goldberg) He is, Mrs. Palin, but I’d be glad to convert if you want. I wouldn’t have to cut anything off, would I?

Palin: (to Goldberg) I have a very special relationship with your people. The only flag in my office is an Israeli flag. I just can’t wait until Jesus returns and wipes you all off the map so Christians can be Raptured. Your assignment is to read all about the history of BP and fill out this research material.

Goldberg: This is a bunch of questions about the history of Alaska. And it has “Piper Palin” written on the name line. And it was due yesterday.

Palin: Your people are so smart, I’m sure you can do it in no time. You have an hour. Piper’s ballet lesson’ll be over then.

Goldberg: I can’t. My research assistant is busy working on my book about cliches.

Palin: Do you want to serve your country or not?

Goldberg: Not if I have to do your daughter’s homework. I have to run, anyway. I have to go to the movies and write a review. For my job. And I have to interview some dancers in the women’s dressing room. I hear some of them belong to a union and I need to talk to them about freedom and the free market. And then I need to take my daughter to the new Harry Potter theme park. For my job.

Reynolds pulls his gun from its holster and points in in Goldberg’s face.

Goldberg: (hastily) I’ll pull my assistant off the book right away.

Reynolds: Good. Anything else, Mrs. Palin?

Palin: Yeah. What the hell is that?

Palin points to a small woman in a nun’s habit and veil making her way to the table.

Reynolds: Oh, Jesus. Quick, eveyone, under the table!

The League and Palin duck under the tablecloth.

Palin: You wanna explain yourself, Col.?

Reynolds: Shhhhh!

“Nun’s” voice: Glennie, is that you?

Palin: That nun is lookin’ for you Glenn. Stop hidin’ and act like a man.

Reynolds’ face turns red and he comes out from under the table. The rest of the League stays where they are.

Reynolds: K-Lo. What are you doing here and why are dressed up like a penguin?

K-Lo: Hi, Glenn! I thought that since Megan was on her honeymoon I could take her place in The League of Extraordinary Bloggers’ latest adventure. I’m in disguise so nobody knows my real identity.

Palin appears from under the table. K-Lo stiffens with shock. Her eyes widen and her mouth slowly opens. She sinks to her knees.

K-Lo: Mrs.–

Palin: What’s that, honey?

K-Lo: Mrs.—

Palin: You got a stutter, honey?

K-Lo makes the sign of the cross and rises.

K-Lo: Oh, Mrs. Palin! God has answered my prayers at last! Well, one of my prayers, but that’s one more prayer than he’s ever answered before!

K-Lo bends over and kisses Palin’s wedding ring.

Palin: Take it easy, girlie, you’re getting spit on my diamond.

K-Lo shudders in esctasy.

K-Lo: Oh, Mrs. Palin! Can I do anything for you, Mrs. Palin? Would you like a drink? A massage? A kidney, one that’s never tasted the demon rum? Is your chair comfortable? Do you need a pillow? I can be a footrest if you want. See, I’ll just bend over and—.

Palin: Col., I don’t think you and your Bloggers will be needed after all. Come with me, little nun. I think we’re going to be very good friends.

Palin hands her wig, sunglasses, purse, and sweater to K-Lo and departs. K-Lo caresses the sweater furtively and follows.

Reynolds: She’s gone.

The other bloggers sit back in their seats.

Reynolds: She’s gone, and I don’t know if she’s ever coming back.

Goldberg: They’re both gone, hopefully for good. I never thought I’d see the day when K-Lo found her true calllng. I was sure she’d end up in the loony bin.

Reynolds: Enough chit-chat. Mrs. Palin needs us. Let’s get crackin’, bloggers.

Goldberg: Sure thing, Glenn. Right after lunch.


Huh. Courtney Knapp is still blogging about tipping. It's really not that complicated.

Ms. Knapp claims to be generous; she doesn't seem to feel the libertarian joy of withholding money from others.

For Your Information

We have a new installment of The League Of Extraordinary Bloggers up at TBogg's place. This episode has a Very Special Guest Star. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Grow Up Already

Shorter Maureen Dowd: Why are you so cold, Daddy? Why? Don't you want to take care of me anymore?

Work Is Hard Work

Megan McArdle's guest-blogger Julian Sanchez finally guest-blogs. He read a criticism of journalism and finds he does not quite agree. Sure, "he said/she said" journalism is bad, Sanchez says, but when the alternative is finding out the truth, what's a journalist to do? Abandon the tried-and-true for the difficult-and-new?

Bonus quote: "Otherwise, again, the individual journalist is sucked into making and justifying an evaluation about which groups are credible. "

We are especially impressed with this observation, since we often encounter this problem when dealing with "journalists" like McArdle, Sanchez and their ilk:
If the issue is even moderately complex and the relevant players are bright enough not to make easily falsifiable claims, there's no reason to expect any kind of ultimate general vindication, since partisans and activists will always be willing and able to devote more time to the question than harried journos.

Careful, McArdle, people are catching on to you.
Not getting it wrong in a he-said/she-said story, by contrast, mostly just requires that you transcribe accurately.

As Steven Colbert said so memorably, the press's job is to take down what they are told, run it through spell-check, and go home. Finding out the truth is hard, you might be wrong, and there are always more liars out there anyway. Just ask Julian Sanchez.

ADDED: Mr. Sanchez joins us in comments. He believe we are in agreement; I disagree.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Shorter Ross Douthat: There is nothing more feminist than seeing women who denigrate feminism benefit from feminism.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Kathryn Jean Lopez Twitters


peggy noonan is sobering today.
5:48 AM Jun 11th via web

Don't worry, honey, I'm sure she'll be drinking again in no time.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Small Note Regarding Our Future

Our elite and their servants are trying to tell the poor that they should not want to be rich. Of course, they should be telling the rich that they should not want to be rich. Whether or not we will undergo economic collapse, we must get away from the financial vampires that are trying to suck us dry for our own physical and mental health.

We don't have to live this way.

Most links via The Sideshow.


A little hint to someone who shall remain unnamed out of pity: Dude. Get off the computer. It's not like she's low maintenance. This is one of those times to devote your attention to someone besides yourself.

God. Libertarians!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oh Frabjous Day!

The Snark wishes to extend its heartiest congratulations to those crazy kids Megan McArdle and P. Suderman as they unite in the Holy State of Matrimony. McArdle is nearly giddy as she announces the arrival of the Happy Event.
Going To the Chapel and We're . . . GONNA Get Ma-a-aaried

So as some of you may have heard, I'm marrying Peter Suderman. Specifically, I'm marrying him on Saturday.

Here is the happy couple preserved for eternity at the time of their engagement:

Young love is so adorable. (No doubt McArdle realizes that she has not, in fact, been granted the title of Honorary Princess For A Day, and merely wore a tiara for entertainment purposes only.)

McArdle says:

We are finally on the brink of that happy moment that every girl dreams of: a qualified change in family status under section 125 of the tax code.

Heh. That's actually pretty funny. McArdle usually reserves her humor for laughing at her friends and enemies equally instead of laughing at herself but weddings make everyone a little excited.

It turns out weddings are complicated, and require a great deal of last-minute detail management.

"Last minute" seems to have been a theme....

Especially when you have to push your column through fact check before you are allowed to depart.

Haha! There she goes with the funny again. Fact checking! That's a good one.

(Comments pointing out that I could have eloped are strongly discouraged).

Why elope when you can start your married life in debt? And how can a nice lapsed-Catholic girl be married by a priest when she elopes?

So I'm off today, and as soon as the Pastor--

A Protestant? She's getting married by a Protestant? How will God know she's married if a priest doesn't marry her? But perhaps she is merely being Ruth to his Naomi--his God will be her God, his tea-bagging people will be her tea-bagging people. No doubt when P. Suderman tells her to uncover Boaz's David Koch's "feet," she will acquiesce as well.

---makes us all legal and everything, we are going on our first real vacation together.

Thank God P. Suderman is finally going to make an honest woman of her. Now she'll be able to criticize Ta-Nehisi Coates for living in sin without being a hypocrite. Not that that bothered her before.
We'll be in Hawaii for ten days, which will just about round out to two weeks off with the flight time.

Take your time! Take three weeks, or even longer.
Luckily for you, I've assembled a crack team of guest bloggers so good--so smart, so elegant in their prose styling, so gosh-darn bloggy--that by week's end I'm sure you'll be writing me in Hawaii to beg me not to come back and interrupt all the awesome blogging.

The last time McArdle had guest bloggers she ended up marrying one of them. They might want to keep that in mind.

McArdle interviews guest bloggers.

It is for this reason that I have made a firm resolution not to check email after Sunday.

We can think of better reasons not to go on the internet during our honeymoon, namely drinking and screwing, but that's just us.

Please be nice to them while I'm away, and hopefully I'll come back fortified by blissful romance + long hours spent lying on the beach.

Bon Voyage, Mr. and Mrs. McArdle, and may you reap all the happiness you deserve. For what greater happiness could there be than the unity of two such similar souls, both determined to do as little as possible for others while telling each other that they are the best of people in the best of all possible worlds.

We're Special

Shorter Eva "Braun" Rodriguez: Because our hearts were pure when we tortured people, we're nothing like the Nazis. They didn't care if their torture was humane and legal. We do, and we have the scientific evidence to prove it!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Focusing On The Primaries

Digby on the White House:
I'm going to be charitable and chalk up these churlish comments from an unnamed official to fatigue rather than stupidity.

Those churlish comments were:
"Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members' money down the toilet on a pointless exercise," the official said. "If even half that total had been well-targeted and applied in key House races across this country, that could have made a real difference in November."

The White House Official was being neither cranky nor stupid. He was saying what the administration thinks. If Democrats refuse to believe what he says, that's their problem.

The AFL-CIO does not believe Mr. Official Unofficial Spokesman.
If that's their take on this, then they severely misread how the electorate feels and how we're running our political program. When we say we're only going to support elected officials who support our issues," said AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale. "When they say we should have targeted our money among some key house races among Blue Dog Democrats — that ain't happening.

Labor isn't an arm of the Democratic Party," Vale said. "It exists to support working families. And that's what we said tonight, and that's what we're gong to keep saying.

The man from the unions understand for whom he is fighting. The middle class Democrats don't, and supported a man who immediately gave all their money to the banks. They will side with the Blue Dog candidate when they are "forced to." For the good of the country. They just don't have a choice, you know.

Digby again:
But in the future the White House would probably do well to remember that as much as they loathe their base that they still need them to get out the vote in November.

No, they don't. The real elite don't care who is in office, as long as he or she will do what he's told, like advocate for off-shore drilling and keep the money and guns flowing in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan and Yemen and bail out the banks while unemployment soars. Just like the financial Masters of the Universe knew that they'd come out okay no matter how much of a mess they created, the elite's servants in Congress and the White House know they'll be set up for life if they play along at the right time.
They should also remember that Blanche Lincoln is not a particularly reliable ally to the administration while labor is essential.

It all depends on whom she's allied with, doesn't it?
Also, constantly belittling the democratic process and condescendingly telling their voters to shut up and do as they're told is not likely to garner the defense of the netroots who are the only defenders they have when the right wing and the villagers decide to turn the administration's sleazy-but-legal political practices into a scandal.

Is Mr. Unofficial Official likely to be afraid of the bat-shit insane denizens of Wingnuttia? If they needed and wanted blogger to defend their interests they would pay them. They don't. The liberal/conservative wars for political dominance exist for the elite's entertainment. It keeps the kids busy while the grown-ups do the hard work of running wars and gutting the financial system and spreading propaganda.
It gets harder and harder to work ourselves up on their behalf when they say things like this.

Then don't.

Being close to power isn't the same as having power. The unnamed official insults the netroots because he knows he can. What are they going to do about it? All their little contributions in the world won't replace corporate money and therefore they will just have to swallow his insults like the good little nobodies that they are. In the end they will decide that the Official made a mistake, or was tired, or just wants what's good for the Party, anyway.
This is just stupid politics and they should be above it.

They will slap down whomever they please, and they are not interested in moral lectures from the little people.
I assume they do want to win some more elections against Republicans, but maybe I'm wrong about that.

Who paid for Obama's election, again? His top 20 contributors donated more than half of his total amount.
They certainly seem less inclined to use them for a doormat for petty reasons and they rarely forget their manners to quite the same extent.

If you're going to threaten someone, you should be sure you can back it up with action. The White House just kicked the netroots in the teeth because it could. It knows they'll be back for more in 2012 because otherwise the uncooperative Democrats will have no access to power.

It's funny. All this fuss and bother to get people elected to Congress and put in the White House so they can obey the military industrial complex. We could try to get rid of the military-industrial complex instead but then we'd have to give up our credit cards and corporate jobs and perhaps our freedom and lives.

It's much safer (and far more pleasant) to focus on the primaries.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Hunting Of The Snark Cookie Of Gratitude Returns!

Lets give a hand to Tom Levenson of The Inverse Square Blog! Mr. Levenson, this cookie's for you!

In the most appropriately named post Megan McArdle Is Always Wrong...Health Insurance Reform/Great Depression edition, Mr. Levenson explains how McArdle skipped merrily past finding reputable sources, doing research, asking questions, and maintaining even a dredge of consistency and common sense while writing about health care.

Thanks again for working hard so we don't have to!

Monday, June 7, 2010

K-Lo Goes To Confession: Mission Improbable

K-Lo: (in a fake southern accent) Bless me, Father, for ah have sinned. It's been six days since mah last confession at an undisclosed location far, far away from Florida, where I, a wandering stranger, did not go this weekend, cross mah heart and hope to die.

Father: Kathryn Jean, is that you?

K-Lo: Oh, fudge stripes. What gave me away, Father?

Father: It was a wild guess.

K-Lo: That's very impressive. It reminds me of the gypsy fortune teller that Mama wouldn't let me visit because she would have drawn me into her dark web of occult terror, and I would end up a bride of Satan instead of a bride of Mitt. Not that I know anything about brides. Or weddings. Or go to weddings, except when I have an invitation. Which I always have.

Father: Kathryn Jean, I suspect you have something to confess.

K-Lo: Father, I stole a candy bar. I felt jealousy and envy and I'm not sure but I think I had some impure thoughts. I stole a detonator. I lied about my age. I snuck over a subway turnstile. I threw a peacock at a security guard. I--

Father: Kathryn Jean, back up a little bit. What did you do?

K-Lo: I snuck over a subway turnstile.

Father: Before that.

K-Lo: I lied about my age?

Father: Before that.

K-Lo: I had impure thoughts?

Father: Kathryn Jean!

K-Lo: I stole a detonator, Father, but it was for a very, very good reason. I, uh, wanted to, uh, help a friend set off some fireworks.

Father: Fireworks don't have detonators, Kathryn Jean.

K-Lo: These were very special fireworks, Father, made in communist China where they also hate our freedoms, especially the freedom of the Free Market. Also they like the color red a lot although I'm not sure why.

Father: Kathryn Jean, you are coming dangerously close to lying in confession.

K-Lo: (sigh) Your Jesuit logic is too strong for me, Father.

Father: Actually, I'm not---.

K-Lo: Now, don't be modest, Father. I knew you'd see through me eventually. I wanted to set off a little celebratory explosion at the wedding of a friend. An acquaintance. Okay, a man who blocks my e-mails and once drew a mustache on my program picture at the Young Republican fundraising dinner. Mr. Rush "Talent On Loan From God" Limbaugh.

Father: Yes, I received a chain e-mail asking me to pray for him and his new bride. Now, what was her name?

K-Lo: The Whore?

Father: Kathryn Jean! I'm ashamed of you!

K-Lo: Did you see her blond hair? I've seen more natural-looking hair on my Barbies. And that engagement ring was just tacky. Did you see the way she waved it around? And that jaw-the last time I saw a jaw like hers was when my cousin invited me to go horseback riding with her. And she bosses him around all the time--all the tabloids say so. "Kathryn put Rush on a diet" and "Kathryn is wearing a huge diamond" and Kathryn this and Kathryn that. Her name is Kathryn too! I was so close!

Father: Kathryn Jean, I notice you are avoiding the subject of detonators. It's time to confess, young lady.

K-Lo: Well, you know that this is "Rushbo's" fourth marriage, and it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of his eternal soul that he find a nice girl and settle down and have kids, like he says he always wanted to.

Father: Yeeeees....

K-Lo: But she doesn't love him, Father, I can tell. She doesn't want to have his babies and light his cigars and fetch his slippers, like Mama does for Daddy, except for the cigars because Daddy doesn't smoke.

Father: Detonator, Kathryn Jean?

K-Lo: It was my moral duty to try to save him, Father. So I slipped away from Nanny by jumping--okay, falling--over a turnstile. Boy, was she mad! Then I hid in the baggage compartment of the train to Florida. I didn't have anything to eat the entire time so I stole a candy bar from a lady's suitcase. I took a taxi to the Breakers and distracted a security guard by throwing a peacock at him, for which I am heartily sorry, so help me God. He screamed at me, Father! It was scary!

Father: The peacock?

K-Lo: The security guard. The peacock pecked his eyes.

Father: Oh, Kathryn Jean. Please finish. Quickly.

K-Lo: I snuck into the Bridal Suite and took out the bomb I made with common household chemicals using directions I found on the internet. That's when I had the impure thoughts. The marriage bed was so pretty, Father. It had lace and was covered with white rose petals and glittery confetti and these little tiny candies in a dish on the table next to the bed. I stole some of those too, Father; I didn't want to but I was so hungry and everything smelled like roasted pork and my tummy was growling so loud I thought a maid would find me.

Father: (dryly) God forbid.

K-Lo: Exactly! But I didn't leave the bomb, Father. I just couldn't do it.

Father: The maid?

K-Lo: Two security guards. They were sweeping the room for microphones and itty bitty cameras. I was afraid they'd find the bomb so I wrapped a towel around my head and another around my waist like an apron and pretended I was cleaning the bathroom. I grabbed the bomb but they caught me and I can't remember what happened after that.

Father: Good Heavens, Kathryn Jean! Did they render you unconscious?

K-Lo: I have no idea what happened, Father! I started feeling kind of woozy right after I ate those little candies and I think I passed out. One minute they were grabbing me and talking into their little ear telephones and the next minute I was waking up and they were on the floor, bleeding. Do you think Jesus smote them for me, Father, since I was on a Mission from God? Or maybe I have secret ninja skills that only come out under national emergencies, like Jonah Goldberg has.

Father: Kathryn Jean, I think he was pulling your leg. So you escaped and decided to visit your parents in New York for a while?

K-Lo: I'm laying low, Father, until the heat dies down. I changed my appearance and my voice and I am on the run at Mama and Daddy's apartment. They said I could hide out as long as I wanted. I'm afraid Rush's soul is on its own, which is no more than he deserves for not valuing the love of a good woman over the wiggling bee-hind of a bad one.

Father: Kathryn Jean, say the rosary every day of the week and I hope you've learned your lesson for a while.

K-Lo: Don't fall for men who hire gay-married gay men to be their wedding singers?

Father: No---.

K-Lo: Don't fall for men who marry women younger than you are even though you really aren't that old and are in your reproductive prime?

Father: (firmly) No.

K-Lo: Don't fall for a married man or a man with multiple wives?

Father: Bingo!

K-Lo: Did I win something, Father?

Father: Never mind, Kathryn Jean. Just say your rosaries like a good girl and stay away from weddings.

K-Lo: (bitterly) You don't have to worry about that, Father.

Father: Amen!


Helen Thomas has retired after saying something hateful in public. Perhaps she should have already retired, since she undoubtedly knows that saying that Palestinians should have been able to keep their country is the quickest way possible to get the boot from polite society. We just adore Israel. They're special like us and they were given their own country to control and expand like us and God likes them best like us. And if there are people already there, obviously God wanted them to leave because otherwise he wouldn't have given away their land.

For eight years Helen Thomas sat in the audience of the White House briefing room and asked the questions none of the other cowardly, sycophantic White House Press Corps had the courage to ask. Like a slightly larger Jiminy Cricket, she was the voice of conscience the administration and their lackeys were trying to ignore. Thomas was nearly the only public voice who questioned authority and they literally had to banish her from sight and refuse to hear her voice. Since she was alone it was easy for the government and Villagers to ostracize her. The right--well, they would have burned her at the stake if they could have gotten away with it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

We Have A Winner!

Megan McArdle and P. Suderman have made a decision regarding their honeymoon, one that we are sure will fill them with great happiness as they embark on the voyage of matrimony together. As you may recall, McArdle was torn between Hawaii and Turkey as her honeymoon destination. Hawaii is touristy while Turkey is exotic, but, as events have proven, Turkey is a little too close to the wars we Americans dearly love to support in other countries. The irony of Megan McArdle, intellectually, emotionally and violently supportive of American bombs protecting the American way of American life, being killed by American imperialism while on her honeymoon would simply be too cruel.

Sad to say, she utterly ignored our own suggestion, beautiful Baghdad, where she could be perfectly safe surrounded by the billion-dollar bases her tax money pays for. Perhaps we should have suggested Somalia, Randian paradise, but McArdle's cavalier attitude towards military and corporate malfeasance stops at her own skin, and she obviously (and wisely) would much rather sun herself on a beach and complain about being ripped off by the natives over being ripped apart by the destruction, war, and poverty that accompanies weak, exploitative governments.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Corpse Would Like A Word With You

Anyway, kudos to Nate Silver, and RIP to the amateur progressive blogosphere. It provided a regular feeling of revolutionary ecstasy while it lasted, but there was no way it could last very long. It was a transitional period into a new media and political paradigm, not a new paradigm unto itself.

I second that kudos to Mr. Silver, but think Chris Bowers is missing the point of the blogosphere. Anybody can publish anything and share it with anyone. People can discuss their esoteric hobbies with other knowledgeable hobbyists. Amateur writers can find an audience even if they can't find a publisher or work in the business. The experience of communicating with others is the attraction of the blogosphere. Money's a bonus.

Only five years ago, the progressive political blogosphere was still predominately a gathering place for amateur (that is, unpaid or barely paid) journalists and activists unattached to existing media companies and advocacy organizations. Those days are almost completely over. Now, the progressive blogosphere is almost entirely professionalized, and inextricably linked to existing media companies and advocacy organizations.

Bowers is assuming the progressive blogosphere consists only of prominent blogs, so when they are co-opted by the larger media, the progressive blogosphere is dead. Except for all the blogs who continue to exist, blissfully unaware that they have been bagged, tagged and declared dead as a doornail. We Americans tend to consider something valuable only if it makes us money, but for someone who wants and needs to write and be read by others, nothing is more valuable than the chance to do just that.

[Cool zombie picture from here.]

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Eat A Cookie, Ease My Pain

Felix Salmon, this cookie's for you!

The Snark is delighted that Felix Salmon responded to Megan McArdle's post on congestion parking. He is the first recipient (of many, we hope) of The Hunting Of The Snark Cookie Of Gratitude. It will be awarded to bloggers who refute Megan McArdle so we don't have to.

Beauty Contest

Megan McArdle is annoyed by a woman attempting to market her assets. Doesn't McArdle know that what's good for marketing is good for America? Why does she hate American breasts?

I'm Too Sexy For This Bank
A friend passes along this link: Can you be too hot to be a banker? I think the real question is, "Can you be too arrogant to be a banker?" And I'm surprised to find that the answer is, apparently, "Yes".

Let's hope for his own sake that the friend wasn't P. Suderman, soon to be Mr. Megan McArdle. The woman banker's arrogance was over her looks. No word on people who arrogantly assume that just because a banker is one of the tribe, he is intelligent and ethical and won't gut the economy.

Perhaps McArdle's pique was pricked by her exclusion from the Twenty Hottest Conservative Bloggers, picked by these irresistible example of male conservative pulchritude:

Glenn Reynolds--Instapundit

Jonah Goldberg--National Review

Andrew Malcolm--LA Times

Dan Gainor--Newsbusters

James Joyner--Outside The Beltway

Imagine the aggravation of being found wanting by that lot. But that's the price conservative women like McArdle have to pay for choosing to support the conservative elite. McArdle must serve food barefoot to her male superiors, suck up to morons, and watch her peers pour over pictures of younger and prettier women, which are plastered all over the internet so her friends know that by the standards of her tribe, she just don't measure up.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Less Active Megan

After a long weekend of nothing, Megan McArdle bursts forth with a flurry of more nothing.

McArdle berates Israel for attacking a ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. Her commenters berate her for caring about terrorizing terrorists with terrible, swift swords, because nothing should stand in the way of God's Chosen getting their war on.

There is also something about tickets to a sports game. McArdle's point seems to be that if people think something will sell, they will sell it. We are astonished by her perspicacity.

Finally, McArdle gets around to economics. She states that things will happen, but she is not sure what, when, where, or by whom. We are grateful that there is nothing to refute, as we have a long list of errands to run and the natives (home from school) are getting restless.