Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In-Depth Supreme Court Analysis

Shouldn't Sam Alito have consulted Tom Wolfe before reprinting whole sections on urban politics from "Bonfire of the Vanities" in their entirety and without attribution?

Monday, June 29, 2009

It's Only Been Ten Years?

Not to rain on Mickey's parade here, but what else am I supposed to do with this, in his "greatest" "hits" "post":

We could have used [an "independent, non-partisan body to temporarily cut payroll taxes"] this winter, no? Spending cuts may eventually deliver more punch, but tax cuts that don't even have to go through Congress would undoubtedly be much quicker.

Hey, I actually like this idea, what with the payroll tax being completely regressive and the stimulative effect of ... wait wait wait, "spending cuts"? In a recession? Against pretty much all available macroeconomic evidence? Maybe Mickey's just trying to avoid sleeping with the camels in his tent, ifyouknowwhatimean, but an endorsement of spending cuts in a recession is straight out of Grover Norquist's fantasyland ...

Unless of course Mickey meant "spending" instead of "spending cuts", but considering that Mickey thinks "The Case Against Editors" is one of his greatest hits, we have to assume it's intentional, right?


Friday, June 26, 2009

Failure Faster

So, uh, according to Mickey's self-flattering and obviously elitist theories of information dissemination (essentially, "right-wing nerds R teh awesome", "people who don't compulsively check blogs forever R teh lame", etc.), these sex scandals could be over very quickly (Feiler Faster!) or not over quickly at all (Skurnik's Second Electorate!) ...

Well, it's likely to be one or the other!

This ... this is why we have experts like Mickey around.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nice Favorability Rating You Have Here ... Wouldn't Want Someone To Misinterpret It, If You Know What I Mean

Larry Sabato on John Ensign's recent polling:

"That sure says something, that the guy involved in the adultery scandal is the most popular senior elected official in the state," Sabato said. "I don't know what it says, but it says something."

"And," Sabato continued, "if the Senator were to, you know, throw a few bucks my way, I might suddenly figure out what it says ..."

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Answer Certainly Is Instructive ...

Oh, Mickey. See what happens when you wander out of your bubble?

Why was Pennsylvania relatively unscathed by foreclosures in 2008 while neighboring Ohio was hammered? A friend at a conference I recently attended pointed out the contrast. I don't know the answer, but it might be instructive.

What do you think Mickey was expecting here? Unions? The MSM? A bling-bling culture of dependency that had yet to be killed by Obama?

... Update: Thanks to Tom Maguire, who forwards a newspaper article and a summary of three Fed studies on the topic. Regulatory differences are suspected. ...

"Regulatory differences are suspected." Hmm ... bloodless phrasing there. I wonder if those differences are instructive?

Clicking through Mickey's links, one sees that Pennsylvania's success is due to:

(1) Pennsylvania more effectively regulating its mortgage brokers, while Ohio basically allowed lenders to go wild.

(2) An effort by a Pittsburgh community development group working for "economic justice" (Money Liberals!) to work within the Community Reinvestment Act (Naive Liberal Do-Gooders!) to make bank loans to minorities more scrupulous (Red Alert! All Hands to Kausfiles Battle Stations!).

So, while Mickey runs around blaming immigrants and liberals for the housing mess, it turns out that -- naturally, perfectly -- the way to avoid the crisis was a strong regulatory state and the local equivalent of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

This person at this conference giving you ideas, Mickey? They are no friend to you.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Last Laff

If I told you that the very first time that Mickey mentioned the Laffer Curve -- the completely absurd economic theory advocated by tax-cuts-and-more-tax-cuts Republicans that basically dominated domestic political debate from 2001-2007 and is still talked about like it's something sane people believe in -- was just this past Tuesday, would you be surprised?

And if I told you that Mickey used the Laffer Curve -- which, mind you, gained popularity after it was embraced by Dick Cheney -- to attack Democrats, would you be even remotely shocked?

If the answer to either of these questions was "yes", then the fact that a tacit embrace of the stupidest of all possible economic theories and the bad faith analogy to end all bad faith analogies were used by Mickey to endorse Obama's healthcare plan would probably be confusing.

It's okay. We're here to help.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Reflexively Hating Me Because I'm Wrong All The Time About Everything Only Makes You Look Petty

Before Anne Applebaum throws together a column explaining how Mousavi's popularity stems from being a "center-right" "fiscal conservative", I thought I'd share my opinions on her latest blather. Looks like Hitch has a pithy response:

You drink soaked popinjay!
Good ol' Hitch. Way to shoot that one down.

Still, some parts of the idiocy are worth highlighting:

In part because they intuitively disdain anything that President George W. Bush admired, in part because they doubt its efficacy, the Obama administration has quite deliberately stayed away from the whole idea of promoting democracy in general and elections in particular.

(1) A driving force behind Obama's foreign policy is intuitive disdain for Bush? Really? Applebaum knows this ... how? I mean, I know the Obama Administration is basically a bunch of Daily Kos diarists suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome, and the only reason they're not bombing the hell out of North Korea right now is an instinctual hatred for Dick Cheney/Halliburton/AmeriKKKa ...

(2) Hold on, "intuitive"? Isn't disdain for Bush pretty rational at this point? Who's walking around saying, "Boy, there's something about that George W. Bush I don't like, but I just can't put my finger on it ..."?

(3) On that note, isn't the fact that a policy is associated with Bush a *reason* to doubt its efficacy? How many good things came out of that administration again?

It really is remarkable how Applebaum insists that liberals only oppose conservative policies out of anger or spite, while she only obliquely acknowledges the abysmal failures that stem from those policies. Gee, you think that anger might have something to do with those failures?

I mean, remember when she argued that the terrible legacy of the Iraq war is how it discredited all the neoconservative hawks, and now with all that darn liberal disdain for Bush and his preemptive wars nobody was willing to go in and start a war with the people who really truly needed to be bombed?

You know ... the Iranians?


Monday, June 15, 2009

More Fun With The Kausfiles Karchives

From 2004:

Rep. Billy Tauzin's decision to resign his congressional chairmanship to accept a highly lucrative position as lobbyist for the big drug companies--this just after he helped write the Medicare prescription drug bill--stinks so badly I think he just might be shamed into giving up the job.

So, um, how'd that work out?

Oh, he's still president and chief executive officer of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America?

Well, I'm sure that, any day now, the good and great American people will come, like a cavalry, to oust Billy Tauzin from his position.

And we can all rest assured that the author of this post isn't posing as a wise Washington hand, knowledgeable about the ins and outs of political influence.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Murther Most Foul!

No, the title is not a reference to Mickey's apparent belief that Ezra Klein is coming to kill him (and what in the hell does a post have to do to get the "paranoia" tag at kausfiles?) ... it's because the issue of health care reform has turned Mickey into Hamlet.

You see, Mickey desperately hates Democrats, but Mickey also supports universal health care -- it's one of the last sad little vestiges of Mickey's leftist past, a rapidly fraying stitch holding the "liberal" to the "neo". If Republicans were to offer a plan for universal health care -- really, any plan even remotely related to health care -- Mickey would gladly clamber aboard, as he did with Bush's Medicare prescription drug debacle. [Hey! Confusing senior citizens and shoveling money to private insurers and the pharmaceutical industry was a small price to pay for prescription drug coverage! -- ed. Billy Tauzin thinks so!]

Unfortunately for Mickey, the Republicans are still the party where Medicare is equated with Stalin ("we'll be telling our children about a time in America, when men and women were free ... to die in hospital waiting rooms"), and those evil Democrats are pushing universal health care. What to do, what to do?

Watch as Mickey flounders by:

- Consistently equating universal health care with government denial of popular and effective treatments -- essentially repeating GOP talking points and in some cases amplifying and elaborately defending them -- all for the purpose of showing Democrats how to *really* sell universal health care. [Democrats are supposed to pitch universal health care by claiming that it will be a massively huge and constantly expanding government program with no attempts at efficiency or even effectiveness? -- ed. Hey, Mickey's got evidence to support the popularity of that pitch ... right ... um ... over ... hmm.]

- Linking copiously to conservative opponents of universal health care, even as he assures everyone that he would totally be for a universal health care plan if only it didn't deny popular and effective treatments -- which, of course, it doesn't -- and if it didn't have Nancy Pelosi's cooties all over it.

- You know that New Yorker piece showing that higher priced medicine clearly did not lead to better health outcomes, and was generally the product of an information gap between patients and physicians -- as opposed to people themselves demanding "fancy new expensive treatments", which makes literally no sense when you consider that obtaining medical care isn't like shopping at Best Buy, but is kinda hilarious when you picture Mickey angrily demanding an echocardiogram while his puzzled internist explains that he has gout -- and that, hey, maybe the larger problem is a model of health care that focuses on profit-maximization rather than patient outcome, and maybe reforming the way doctors are compensated will change that, too?

Yeah, Mickey's ignoring that (and how it demolishes his oft-stated thesis that expensive is better) and focusing on the New Yorker profile of Peter Orszag instead, presumably because Mickey's casting the role of Heartless Bureaucrat for his play-within-a-play. [“You get paid more if the treatment has been shown to be effective and a little less if not”? Scandalous! -- ed. They don't make horrifying bean-counting treatment-denying ogres like they used to.]

You can expect basically the same game plan from Mickey until universal health care is enacted, or until Matthew Yglesias kills him with a poisoned-tipped keyboard.

Alas, poor Mickey ... I knew him ...

He was a tool.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Looks Like We'll Have To Go With "Nothing Else"

Oh, Anne Applebaum. Several months late to the "fiscal conservatism doesn't fail, it is only failed" party, she trots out Europe (?!?) as a glimmer of hope for laissez faire capitalists everywhere. What's not to love about this article?

- Sarkozy, last seen pushing for a stimulus package, being counted as the sort of fiscal conservative who hates stimulus packages ("a policy more colloquially known as 'massive government spending'")?

- The EP elections, which nobody in Europe cares about and tend to produce extreme results, being used as rock-solid evidence of Europe turning en masse to Joe the Plumber?

- Status quo types in European states with massive welfare-state governments and public expenditures larger than the US by basically any metric being hailed as "fiscal conservatives"?

- Or perhaps this:

But if nothing else, the success of the European center-right during the current crisis proves that there is something to their political formula. They are fiscally conservative. They are, if not socially liberal, then at least socially centrist. They haven't been swayed by the fashion for big spending. They are trying to keep some semblance of budget sanity. And, at least at the moment, they win elections.

Except, uh, you know, in the actual elections that actually occur places other than in Anne Applebaum's head:

Europe's Greens were the only major bloc whose parliamentary proportion increased — from 5.5 percent to 7.1 percent in this election. Far-right groups and anti-EU parties, including the UK Independence Party, also saw big increases in the independent group.

Oh, so the trend isn't so much towards the center-right, as out toward the fringes. Uh, well ... other than that, she nailed it!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Is Will Saletan Just Using Auto-Text Now?

I mean, really?

"I know you've had your differences, with you being the World's Fattest Man and you being a Boeing 757, but listen to me. Talk to each other. You'll figure out that my plan is right."

Hmm ... where have I seen crack negotiation skills like these before?

Will Saletan, trying to sell electronic cigarettes at a mall

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Four Decades Of Exile, And Also Basic Human Mortality

From this Times op-ed, where the author takes Barack Obama to task for not listing every individual wrong perpetrated by Muslims in the course of human history during his recent speech in Cairo:

Mr. Obama never mentioned the belongings I still own in Egypt and will never recover. My mother’s house, my father’s factory, our life in Egypt, our friends, our books, our cars, my bicycle. We are, each one of us, not just defined by the arrangement of protein molecules in our cells, but also by the things we call our own. Take away our things and something in us dies. Losing his wealth, his home, the life he had built, killed my father. He didn’t die right away; it took four decades of exile to finish him off.

Four decades?!? That's a long time! Isn't that kind of a superseding cause here?

Barack Obama's stimulus plan killed my grandfather, but he didn't die right away. No, it took a ten thousand foot free fall into a tank full of sharks to finish him off.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

We Can All Agree That I'm Awesome

Will Saletan -- who I will admit wrote one good thing once, and then rode his "if you don't acknowledge the possibility that the world could be flat, you're just a science-hating creationist" bit to eminently predictable disaster -- has apparently found a new shtick:

On medicinal THC: Every feat of re-engineering challenges our moral and legal assumptions. In the case of Sativex, two positions are under attack: the left's lazy tolerance of recreational marijuana in the guise of legalizing medical marijuana and the right's opposition to medical marijuana on the grounds that it's just a pretext. By refining, isolating, and standardizing pot's medicinal effects, pharmaceutical companies are showing us how to separate the two uses. Are you for symptom relief or getting stoned? That used to be a fuzzy question. Now it's concrete: Do you want the reefer or the spray?

To pro-lifers: If you don't accept what [the murderer of George Tiller] did, then maybe it's time to ask yourself what you really believe. Is abortion murder? Or is it something less, a tragedy that would be better avoided? Most of us think it's the latter. We're looking for ways to prevent abortions—not just a few this month, but millions down the line—without killing or prosecuting people. Come and join us.

On cigarette vaporizers: Maybe what we need is a convergence of the tobacco debate with the marijuana debate. In each case, vaporization is dissolving the categories and grounds that warranted prohibition. Liberals can see this, but only in the case of pot. Conservatives can see it, but only in the case of tobacco. Go talk to one another. The engineering and re-engineering of drugs will only get more complicated as technology improves. We'd better start thinking rationally about it.

"Go ahead," he says, grinning smugly. "Talk to each other. Only through good faith dialogue will you discover that I've been right all along."


First, some questions:

(1) Why is Saletan treating cigarette vaporizers, an unregulated product generally sold in "Akbar and Jeff"-style mall hutches, as equivalent to a peer-reviewed and scientifically tested pharmaceutical product? [But Emily Yoffe casually said it might not be so bad! -- ed. Emily Yoffe, whose primary mission appears to be making Rachel Larimore look sane, also quoted a consultant to the WHO saying that "[i]t stuns me people would so willingly accept the word of manufacturers from an unregulated industry, claiming their product is safe and pure when they won't tell us what's in it and haven't done the most basic studies."]

I guess he was too busy thinking rationally and challenging moral assumptions to notice he was lecturing a group of tweens outside a Hot Topic.

(2) Wait, liberals can see how vaporization of drugs undermines existing rationales, "but only in the case of pot"? You were just saying that the vaporized THC attacked "the left's lazy tolerance of recreational marijuana"! It only took a week for liberals to adopt your position on this? Why wasn't I informed?

(3) And why is my tolerance of recreational marijuana "lazy"? I'd say it's quite robust.

Unless I'm stoned.


Anyway, in the spirit of constructive dialogue, FMK now presents "Um, Really?", a play in three acts:

Act I
Pro-Choicer: "Do you consider abortion something less than murder?"
Pro-Lifer: "Sure, but I'm still against legalizing it."
Pro-Choicer: "Oh. So the only common ground here is that we think the death penalty is inappropriate for abortion providers? Great."

Act II
The Right: "Are you for symptom relief or getting stoned?"
The Left: "Both."
The Right: "Oh. Well, nice talking to you."

Conservatives: "Wait, why am I pro-electronic cigarettes?"
Liberals: "What?"
Conservatives: "Huh?"
Liberals: "Huh?"
Conservatives: "What?"
Will Saletan: "So how are you two doing? Have you withered under the challenges I've laid down to your moral and legal assumptions, and come to the conclusion that my clearly superior logical abilities have divined the only correct answer to these timeless dilemmas?"

[Liberals and Conservatives clasp their hands together, then punch Will Saletan in the face.]


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

If It Were Sgt. Brett Favre, He'd Be Singing A Different Tune

Peter King, on Monday:

Although I'm told the league really wants the Rams to stay in the Midwest, it wouldn't be a disaster if they moved back home to Los Angeles. This is one franchise that can be moved without upsetting any competitive applecart. The Rams in the NFC West always were a bit of a stretch. But a Seattle-San Francisco-L.A.- Arizona division makes much more sense than leaving the Rams in St. Louis.

Kick in the teeth to some St. Louis Rams fans, but who has time to care about them? An access whore like Peter King wouldn't want to come across as churlish about the sordid business of professional sports -- he might not get any more late night texts from Roger Goodell!

But on to what really, truly matters, from the same article ...

I think you'll all appreciate a long-overdue update about your favorite soldier. Army First Sgt. Mike McGuire ...

Oh, right, Sgt. Mike McGuire. This Sgt. Mike McGuire:

"I love St. Louis," he said. "It's my home, and I'm really into the Rams. Greatest show on turf. Hope I get a chance to see them before I go back the first of October."

... Here's a guy whose biggest thrill is to see the Rams whip up on someone, while he's literally going to be laying his life on the line.

But, you know, it wouldn't be a disaster or anything if they were to move the team 2000 miles away. Hey, there are Goldman Sachs deal fees to consider! Mike's gonna be dismantling IEDs in Iraq for most of the season anyway, right?

Peter King gets mocked a lot, and justifiably, for everything from solipsistic personal updates, lazy and obsequious "access" journalism that wouldn't be out of place in the Washington press corps, and insights so insipid they wouldn't make the final cut of Larry King's column ... but this?

Oblivious corporate whoring for the NFL's latest merger and acquisition turned game of municipal brinksmanship right next to a pious attempt at a hacktacular "there are more important things than just a game" human interest story, the subject of which will be directly affected by the NFL's naked obsession with the bottom line?

To the next twenty years, Peter!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Don't Know

Mickey, noting that one of the executives in the Opel acquisition talks has been "linked" (WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE) with Bill Clinton:

Will her relationship with Bill hurt her or help her?--ed Don't know. But it's likely to be one or the other!

[Is this a perfect distillation of Mickey's complete brainlessness or an attempt by Mickey to paper over an obviously weak item with slight self-deprecation? -- ed. It's likely to be one or the other!]

Of course, the ideal story for Mickey wouldn't be Magna winning the bid by exploiting personal connections -- for Mickey, crony capitalism is only problematic when unions are the crony -- but Fiat winning the bid. That outcome would, naturally, imply that Hillary killed Magna's bid (and presumably boiled it along with Belinda's pet rabbit while laughing maniacally) because Bill went all homina homina homina on Belinda. Hillary's bitchy and Bill's horny! Get it?

So of course Magna won the bid, leaving a despondent Mickey to take a sad little swipe at Chrysler. Can't win 'em all.

But don't despair, Mickey! Hey, maybe it'll all come out that Bill was *actually* sexing this guy, too!

Here's a hint: ask around at Cafe Milano!

Monday, June 1, 2009


Did Obama kill Saturn, on behalf of the UAW, Money Liberals and illegal immigrants???

Story developing!