January 5, 2008
Nobody here but us archives
I just don't like being alone.
October 17, 2007
Who's buying these things?
asks Megan. I can see why they are selling. Evey major financial firm is posting their subprime losses and freezing hires. It won't be long before the housing recession finally hits NYC.
September 20, 2007
How you know you're an A-list pundit
When people go bats**t with ad hominem. No more traveling commercial, you fly your own private troll! A sample:
Scott is, as we now know, was Megan's college bf. We also know that he dumped her right about the same time her college band got sick of dealing with her. (Yes, I realize it was 100% her decision in both cases and she still gets calls from both parties begging her to take them back and she just lets them pretend to have been responsible to salvage their piddling egos.)
Megan remains unhappy with Scott, however, to the point she quasi-Godwins him with this: "Osama Bin Laden is starting to remind me of my college boyfriend, whose brooding anger at the white male bourgeois power structure quickly disintegrated into anger at the non-Scott power structure."
Lady, Scott had the good taste to stop being in a relationship with you. That means he's better than The Atlantic, which also means he's better than Bin Laden. Radical claim, I know, but I think the logic of saying The Atlantic > Bin Laden is, even with your employment there, unimpeachable.
Now, it's true he also had the bad taste to be in a relationship with you, but let's not judge people for mistakes they've probably learned from.
Later he criticizes her grammar. Don't miss it.
September 12, 2007
Comment Spam Attack
This small excerpt from the log should give you a sense of what's happening. IP addresses are changing pretty rapidly, as are the text strings. One common denominator - All the links go to the "ca" subdomain of geocities.com.
22 minutes ago 22.214.171.124 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by xuspzmd.
23 minutes ago 126.96.36.199 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by vtdlpds.
23 minutes ago 188.8.131.52 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by tagycog.
1 hour, 6 minutes ago 184.108.40.206 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by tkgnbce.
1 hour, 6 minutes ago 220.127.116.11 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by zlrumvg.
1 hour, 7 minutes ago 18.104.22.168 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by xfapqan.
1 hour, 7 minutes ago 22.214.171.124 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by fzjsjjw.
1 hour, 7 minutes ago 126.96.36.199 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by ezbhnfv.
1 hour, 8 minutes ago 188.8.131.52 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by awhkbzg.
1 hour, 10 minutes ago 184.108.40.206 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by sycgylp.
1 hour, 13 minutes ago 220.127.116.11 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by vgfigom.
1 hour, 13 minutes ago 18.104.22.168 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by qdytyoc.
1 hour, 14 minutes ago 22.214.171.124 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by zzjztym.
1 hour, 15 minutes ago 126.96.36.199 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by fyftxrd.
2 hours, 3 minutes ago 188.8.131.52 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by kaemmzc.
2 hours, 3 minutes ago 184.108.40.206 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by xugeqsy.
2 hours, 4 minutes ago 220.127.116.11 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by evdwtag.
2 hours, 4 minutes ago 18.104.22.168 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by pafmqqn.
2 hours, 4 minutes ago 22.214.171.124 Comment on "In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed" by zlfzwef.
Hey look, It's me! More
Hey look, It's me!
More than perhaps any other American political group, libertarians have suffered the blows of caricature. For many people, the term evokes an image of a scraggly misfit living in the woods with his gun collection, a few marijuana plants, some dogeared Ayn Rand titles, and a battered pickup truck plastered with bumper stickers reading "Taxes = Theft" and "FDR Was A Pinko."
Well, this might be:
many wonder why the state should be involved in the marriage business at all, a question that has come to the fore in the debate over gay marriage
September 11, 2007
In Which Megan's Right Wing Conspiracy Membership is Confirmed
Second, Jon talks at some length about the media, and in particular about the Republican ability to get journalists to harp endlessly on supposed character flaws of Democrats, while their own candidates get a free pass. He emphasizes the right-wing echo chamber, but there’s more to it than that. It’s also – as I can report from my own experience – a result of asymmetrical intimidation. Quite simply, if you point out character flaws in a conservative, there will be an all-out effort, involving major media as well as blogs and talk radio, to discredit and ruin you, personally. This just doesn’t happen on the other side.
Asymmetrical Intimidation! Why didn't we think of that? But he could have said "..with 2X4s".
Horse Hockey. I'll bet you a few gajillion 'Bushisms of the day' the media will find a comically unflattering handle for any politician or candidate and treat it like the gift that keeps on giving. Sort of like, you know, "shrill" or something. And the folks on the other side of the aisle will go batshit impugning the motives of those who use it. I mean...move on, for cryin' out loud.
Arriving at the PATH station
Arriving at the PATH station always prompts a memory or two of 9/11. Today, of course, reminders are everywhere. As you walk up out of Ground Zero in the PATH station today, chewing on your own memories of the day, the first thing you are confronted with is...Truthers.
I'm not sure why it angers me, but it did.
The view from my window is Zuccotti Park (who knew that was Zucotti Park?), where today's ceremonies will be held. Right now some sort of horn is blowing. Whatever it is, it's not easy to maintain a pitch.
August 27, 2007
Like commenter "Quakercat", I had
Like commenter "Quakercat", I had to hit pause when she said 'South Africa'. I'd be more comfortable watching thoracic surgery.
Powered by ScribeFire.
August 20, 2007
My other blog is a major media organisation
The first post at the new Atlantic blog is up.
Update Yes, I know, I'm working on the switch back to American spelling. Give me a little time . . .
August 19, 2007
Okay, if you knew about the drum circle held every Sunday in Meridian Hill Park, and you did not tell me, you are not my friend any more. That was awesome.
Did John Quiggin just write that it doesn't matter whether the New Republic ran a false story? I doubt Frank Foer feels that way, for which we may humbly thank God, but perhaps in Australia, where everything is, after all, upside down, journalists are supposed to have higher standards of evidence and accuracy than academics.
Nor does it make any sense to compare this to the Ken Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon story. We will leave aside the rather idiosyncratic belief that two think tank scholars should have formed their judgement not by wandering around with military brass, but by spending a night in Mosul so that they could say "Yup, sure does look peaceful here!" Civilian defense experts--Democrats too!--are generally strategists, not military tacticians. They're not there to count tanks.
But that's irrelevant. Mr Quiggin is confusing two different kinds of "wrong". Lots of experts are wrong--indeed, given the style of US journalism, just about half of the ones quoted on any story. That's not the same as a story being wrong--i.e. having printing major facts (or quasi-facts, such as technical jargon or scientific theories) that were/are not as described in the story.
The significance of the latter is not that a) there is a media conspiracy to discredit the war or b) that right wing bloggers are on a savage tear against disconfirming evidence. The significance is that, if journalists do not care avidly about only printing things that are, to the best of their ability to determine, true, then it doesn't really matter whether they please John Quiggin by editorialising about the various people making domestic and foreign policy claims. That is because no one will be able to trust that there even was a trip to Iraq or a Michael O'Hanlon, so they won't read the story in the first place.
August 18, 2007
At brunch on Wednesday with a bunch of bloggers, there was a longish discussion of my white jeans, and whether white jeans only look good on tall, skinny people. This segued into a conversation about why designers only design clothes that look good on tall, skinny people.
Now Maia over at Ampersand is asking the same thing:
Project Runway has got everything you’d want in a reality show, interesting challenges, weird people and a look at a different world. In the most recent episode here in NZ the challenge was to design for another contestant’s mother or sister. There was a lot gross about the way things were done; the designers got to pick the relatives, which was a ‘we want skinny people’ version of picking teams at school. But the episode as a whole was fascinating, most of the designers were truly stumped by designing for people who weren’t models, particularly fat people who weren’t models.
I think it was Robert Best who said “I don’t understand these proportions”. His day job is to design for Barbie.
Jeffrey, who is a misogynist prick at the best of times, said “If I go then there’s nothing I could have done - I couldn’t have prepared for this challenge.”
It makes me want to read about the history of fashion to figure out how we got here. Where there is a whole occupation, models, to make women to fit its clothes. We’re so used to this ridiculous artifice that it’s absurdity is only brought home when barbies proportions make sense to a designer, and a woman’s, any woman’s, proportions do not.
August 17, 2007
Thanks, everyone, for the kind Facebook friend requests. However, I'm reserving Facebook for people I actually know in the flesh. If I haven't confirmed your request, that's why.
Ezra Klein goes off on Giuliani's health care plan, and Andrew Sullivan's support for it:
I wonder how Sullivan would really feel in a world where the tax incentives were set-up to incentivize sparse health care coverage and high deductibles. That's a land that's very good for the healthy, and quite bad for the chronically sick. Sullivan increasingly strikes me as a first order idealist who ably sees the principles behind things (freedom! choice! equality!) and is stunned when policies based on those concepts don't appear to work.
But here's why they don't work. Take Giuliani's health care plan, which basically rests of tax exemptions to help purchase care. It sets a standard deduction of $7,500 for individuals and $15,000 for families. Everyone will get precisely those deductions no matter what they spend. If you're 23 and your health care costs $2,000 a year, you still deduct $7,500, pocketing the difference. And that's the actual point of the plan. That's the incentive the plan is hoping will change health care -- it will incentivize everyone to buy less of it, and pocket more of their exemption.
If you're healthy, a world in which Giuliani's plan was law would be a world in which it was economically foolish of you to purchase high quality, comprehensive coverage. And that would be fine -- for the healthy individual. But insurance works based on risk pooling. If our hypothetical 23-year-old only uses $10 of health care a year, but is now paying $80 rather than $100 for his plan, that's less money that can subsidize someone with a chronic illness. Their costs go up. Their ability to cover their treatments go down. And they get sick and they die. And one day, ironically, this happens to the 23-year-old, too, because he's now 55 with heart disease, and the current generation of 23-year-olds are purchasing $50 plans.
I think it's a little misleading to talk about insurance pooling here. This isn't really insurance we're arguing about; insurance is voluntary. What we're really talking about is a tax. Single payer advocates are looking for the most politically palatable way to tax the young and healthy in order to pay for the health care of the old and sick*.
In this context, it is trivially obvious to state that any change that benefits the young and healthy will disadvantage the old and sick; if the young and healthy are paying less, the old and sick must pay more. But Ezra seems to assume, a priori, that this is morally objectionable. I'm not sure this is the case.
Assuming, arguendo, that we believe in making social-justice-enhancing forced transfers, I'm not sure that this particular transfer meets the needs of social justice. One might argue that the transfer should flow to those whose need is greater, but as a class, the old and sick are wealthier than the young and healthy. They have more assets, many have a guaranteed income, and few have children to support. Moreover, a need-based transfer would argue for some sort of means-tested programme, not an indiscriminate giveaway to anyone who happens to be sick.
Moreover, as a class, the old and sick have some culpability in their ill health. They didn't eat right or excercise; they smoked; they didn't go to the doctor as often as they ought; they drank to much, or took drugs, or sped, or engaged in dangerous sports. Again, in individual cases this will not be true; but as a class, the old and sick bear some of the responsibility for their own ill health, while younger, healthier people have almost no causal role in the ill-health of others.
Perhaps they deserve it by virtue of suffering? But again, most of them are suffering because they have gotten old, often in high style. The young of today have two possible outcomes:
1) They will be old and sick too, in which case they are no less deserving of our concern than today's old and sick
2) They won't ever get to be old and sick, which is even worse than being old and sick.
As a class, the old and sick are already luckier than the young and healthy. Again, for individuals within that class--those with desperate congenital conditions, for example--this is not the case. But I'm not sure it's terribly compelling to argue that we should massively disadvantage a large group of people in order to massively advantage another, equally large group of people, all to help out the few who are needy, or deserving, or unlucky.
* Yes, there are other arguments in favour of single-payer health care; but this particular argument is about taxation.