Saturday, May 30, 2009

First You Access The Money ... Then You Access The Power ...

From a story about a campus "men's professional group" started at the University of Chicago to counterbalance women's groups [A frat? -- ed. A frat with all the obvious benefits of a fraternity removed and all the obvious drawbacks of a frat doubled, yes.]:

Hayward said one of the biggest myths borne of the women's movement was that men like to help each other out.

"We are competing directly for access to women and jobs," he said.

"What you do last weekend, bro?"

"Aw, I got lucky and accessed one of the Delta Phis!"

It's okay, though. They're not treating women like objects, they're treating women like *resources*.

Much better.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Decline and Fall of the Bling Empire

Good lord, hasn't Mickey learned his lesson from panicked updates past? Maybe you should just let sleeping embarrassments lie. (I know I do!) Anyway, another timeline:

1) Mickey approvingly links to some absolutely awesome commentary on how Obama will finally destroy the rap music and stop the tattoos and will get all these damn kids off my lawn and no-I'm-not-a-racist-I-hate-all-people-who-like-black-music, etc.

[Mickey doesn't trust Obama to stand up to congressional Democrats, teacher's unions or Money Liberals, but he's supposed to singlehandedly change black culture? -- ed. Clearly, Mickey's just another Obamabot, treating Obama like he's the *Messiah* or something ...]

2) Mickey gets made fun of.

3) Mickey, eleven months later, willfully misinterprets a WSJ story about rappers and the recession (the Wall Street Journal being Black America's paper of record) to mean that bling culture is dying -- and Mickey was right all along!

4) Mickey gets made fun of, again. E.g.:

This is the same Mickey Kaus who argued that Destiny Child's "Pay My Bills" was proof that welfare reform worked.

5) Mickey, eyes swelling, begins swinging wildly:

All we know for sure from the WSJ story is that hip hop artists have less money with which to buy bling. That could be because of the recession, or it could be because of the decline in the music industry in general ("Internet piracy cutting into musicians' record sales") or it could be a change in hip hop fashion--or it could be because hip hop specifically has been falling out of favor and the ascension of Obama is delivering the coup d' grace.

Say you're Lil Wayne -- rapping, shopping, flying hard like geese erection, etc. According to Mickey, the reason you "have less money with which to buy bling" is:

(a) the recession -- as people have less money to spend, they spending less on your product (makes sense); or

(b) the decline in the music industry due to file-sharing -- people are spending less money on your product in general (also okay); or

(c) a change in hip hop fashion -- uh ... don't really see how this ends up with less money in Lil Wayne's pocket, as opposed to the makers of the blingity bling, but maybe Mickey is advancing this as an explanation for why hip-hoppers aren't buying the bling anymore (iffy, possibly irrelevant); or finally

(d) hip-hop has fallen out of favor -- well, that would put a dent in Lil Wayne's pocket, but the evidence for this is ... where exactly? It doesn't seem to be here.

Ah, but there's the rub. We're in Kaus-land, where evidence for his assertion comes from his assertions themselves, so naturally the evidence-free (d) is the correct answer here. And if you've been following, Mickey's narrative has gone from "Obama's election kills bling" to "Obama's election kills hip-hop" to "hip-hop is dying anyway and hey Obama's election would be a fun little data point for our posthumous line graph".

Nobody said that turning a wish into a conclusion into a hypothesis into evidence was easy.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hey, Look!

Ladies and gentlemen, the very first thing Mickey Kaus has written about the U.S. Attorney scandal:

Will Obama rescue John Edwards by replacing the U.S. Attorney who is investigating him? ... If he does, will Josh Marshall kick up a fuss about it? ...

Oh, sure, the U.S. Attorney scandal is only obliquely acknowledged through a jab at Josh Marshall's purely theoretical hypocrisy ... and only by lazily equating it with a yet-to-happen non-story (Obama replacing U.S. Attorneys at the start of his term vs. Karl Rove having incompetent minions fire select U.S. Attorneys for failure to advance a political agenda and then lying about it) ... and even then it's really a minor part of Mickey's hilariously paranoid conspiracy wherein Obama springs John Edwards on behalf of the Mexican labor unions ... but still! Progress!

[Progress? -- ed. Progress!]

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"All In Favor Of The Amended Springfield/Pervert Bill?"

Terrible, terrible news about that awful Democrat Party:

“After using every legislative trick in the book to prevent a vote on gun rights, Democrat leaders are finally crying uncle and clearing the way for Congress to reinstate the Bush policy,” said Representative Doc Hastings of Washington, senior Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee.

It really is terrible, using legislative trickery against Republicans, when all that they did was attach an amendment about guns in national parks to a bill regulating credit cards.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply doesn't work.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

And Another Thing

From Mickey, same post:

Does Obama really want to ruthlessly eliminate all major threats to his reelection?

Huntsman was approached by Obama for the appointment. Huntsman thought about it, then accepted the post. This is "ruthless" ... how? Did he hold Huntsman out of a window until he agreed or something? Seems like this whole process had a quite a lot of ruth.

I mean,
I agree that "Obama ruthfully eliminates all major threats" doesn't have the same ring to it, but Mickey's holding this appointment out like its Michael Corleone moving against Moe Greene.

It all seems a bit ... I don't know ... excitable, doesn't it?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Off the Floor, Off the Scoreboard, Off the Backboard ...

Mickey, apparently taking a break from his long-running quiz show "Elizabeth Edwards: Bitch, Shrew or Harpy?", has decided to show us all his prized ability to discern and critique the complicated gamesmanship of politics by dissecting the Huntsman nomination:

You'd think that at some point, in a contentious negotiation with Congressional Democrats, it would be useful for Obama to be able to point out that if Democrats raise taxes too high, for example, he might lose the White House in 2012.

Yes. Yes. This has to be what worries Obama. The Senate rejects a reasonable financial regulation bill every time Evan Bayh furrows his brow, he can't get Republicans to so much as sign a birthday card for the House receptionist, but here's Obama, staying up late worrying about the potential Bolshevik Revolution coming out of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

PELOSI: Let's raise taxes to a 99% marginal rate! So that illegal immigrant welfare cheats can buy gifts for our mandatory gay marriages and make the co-payments for our mandatory gay abortions!

OBAMA: No! I might be vulnerable in three years! You can't!

PELOSI: We all know that's a lie! A black man running for political office in America can't lose! The Reverse Double Bank Shot Bradley-Feiler Effect tells us so! You will do our Marxist bidding whether you like it or not! A sitting president in his first term has absolutely no sources of leverage over Congress unless said president is in serious jeopardy of losing! This is a totally reasonable interpretation of the relationship between the executive and the legislative branches! Mwahahahaha!

OBAMA: Curses! I suppose I will have to agree to your outrageous demands for single-payer health care, cap-and-trade regulation, and an overhaul of the financial services industry.

PELOSI: Dasvidania, Comrade!

/House Democrats chortle, the Russian song from "Hunt for Red October" plays, a single tear runs down Lady Liberty's cheek

p.s. I apologize ahead of time if this is one of Mickey's "jokes". I honestly can't tell anymore.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

There's Sweaty, Abject Flailing -- And Then There's This

A quick timeline:

- Mickey, in the throes of who-put-what-in-which-aging-hippie-when-and-who-knew-about-it passion, tries to connect his tawdry fascination to some actually relevant topic by speculating without any evidence (and *against* Nate Silver, which is dangerous territory for Mickey) that Edwards' presence in the primary hurt Hillary Clinton.

- Using charts and math and stuff, others point out that this is crazily unlikely.

- Mickey then updates:

5/11 Update: Mark Blumenthal's calculation today is pretty thorough. His New Hampshire numbers seem especially devastating to the idea that Hillary would have benefitted from Edwards' absence. But, as Blumenthal notes, you can never respond conclusively to a conjecture that 'the whole dynamic of the race would have changed.' ... You could also speculate that Edwards' N.H. supporters lied to the pollsters Blumenthal cites--i.e. they were really non-black voters of the sort who would never have voted for Obama. (If only there were a name for this "effect.") ... I'd still be interested in what Nate SIlver's model shows--if I remember, it assumed that voters ethnicity (along with other demographic factors) was hugely predictive--suggesting Hillary might have picked up a lot of Edwards' white support in early primaries, no matter what a) "second choice" polls showed or b) what those voters told pollsters later in the race when Edwards finally dropped out. ...

Let's unpack:

(1) Because nobody can ever respond conclusively to conjecture, all counterfactuals are valid.

So, even though there is no evidence to support Mickey's counterfactual, there could never be *conclusive* evidence support *any* counterfactual (absent a DeLorean and a flux capacitor), therefore Mickey's is just as plausible as any other? Works for me!

(2) Mickey's counterfactual is plausible because of ... wait for it ... the Bradley Effect! Which caused people to lie to pollsters about their *second choice*! When they've already said they are voting for the white guy! But they then elevate the black guy over the white woman, so the pollster doesn't think they're racist!

It's a good thing that the Bradley effect hasn't been largely debunked over and over by the very expert cited repeatedly by Mickey in this post. Otherwise, Mickey might look foolish here.

[Say, wouldn't the Reverse Bradley Effect have *further* boosted Obama in Iowa and the other caucus states absent Edwards? Shouldn't that factor into Mickey's calculations? -- ed. If Mickey has calculations beyond "Outdated Assumptions Of White Guilt + Arrow's Theorem = Anything Is Possible!!!", I'll eat a stuffed moose.]

And finally:

(3) Nate Silver also might have kinda maybe said something about ethnicity or demographics or something predicting voting patterns -- who has time to look it up, anyway? -- so whites vote for whites, right?

Except, you know, Silver clearly used his model to interpret polling data rather than to ignore it entirely. So close!


But, seriously, the way Elizabeth Edwards avoided admitting mistakes, shamelessly cherry-picked evidence, and spun facts to her advantage was truly ridiculous.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Pure Torture

As Mickey takes time to tackle the most pressing issue regarding the American use of torture -- the morality the effectiveness the legality the consequences the crippling effect on the rule of law whether Obama made an "embarrassing error" in relying on Andrew Sullivan's account of the British treatment of detainees in WWII -- it's worth remembering the potential political consequences of all this scrutiny:

From today's perspective it certainly looks as if the legalistic particulars of Bush's anti-terror demarche--i.e. making an issue of Democratic resistance on semi-torture, trial rights, surveillance, etc.--might actually help the GOPs, doesn't it? ... Voters could still be reminded that Democrats generally are too ACLU-friendly for their taste.

[Are you cheaply taking an ancient item out of context to make Mickey's analysis look idiotic? National security was a big issue in 2002! -- ed. Try again! ... 2004? -- ed. Nope! Mickey thought that torture was an electoral winner in ... September 2006! (scroll up a little) In fairness, Mickey was also speculating that Bush secretly wanted the Democrats to retake Congress so he could pass Comprehensive Immigration more easily and that Hillary might not run in 2008, so this is really only the third- or fourth-stupidest bit of uninformed musing from that week.]

Mickey's Bizarro-Nate-Silver-routine aside, I wouldn't have thought that the current torture revelations would lead to this: Mickey, backed up by the ridiculous Tom Maguire, engaging in an increasingly arcane slap-fight with Sullivan, himself backed up by the beyond-parody-at-this-point Hitch (which is pretty solid evidence against Sullivan here, right?), about Churchill and British detainee policy. Really, though, what else should I have expected?

I mean, if you can't take stinging insects on a detainee's face and somehow turn it into an opportunity for a cheap shot at a former co-worker with whom you've had a pointless decades-long feud, do you really deserve to be blogging?