Gastritis Broke My Calculator

It’s too early for DougJ to start drinking, even though he is Irish and on vacation, so I will note that McMegan has thrown up a “correction” of sorts:

Yup, Brad DeLong is right: I probably made a math error eight years ago, and didn’t see it when it was initially pointed out to me by commenter Doug J. How large the error is depends on whether you take nominal or real GDP, compare it to nominal or real spending on the Iraq war, and so forth, but I’d say at a minimum I was off by a factor of at least three, though not “an order of magnitude”, since it seems clear to me that nominal-to-nominal, not real-to-real, is the correct comparison.

I can’t explain the math error, since it was, as I believe I mentioned, eight years ago. I can probably explain why I didn’t see it, which is that I was laid flat with gastritis and working on about 3 hours sleep and 300 calories a day of rice and mashed potatoes. As anyone who has had gastritis can attest, this does leave you a little fuzzy. Or perhaps I was just being stupid.

I struggle daily to live up to Brad’s well-known standards of accuracy, fairness, and integrity; I’m sorry that I clearly failed in this instance.

This is so quintessentially McMegan and representative of the way our elites function that it is actually a thing of beauty. Researchers in the future will want to examine this when looking back on the decline of the empire. Point by point:

1. “I probably made a math error…” – Actually, you quite clearly made a math error.

2. “and didn’t see it when it was initially pointed out to me by commenter Doug J”– Or the other half dozen times in the thread he attempted to explain it and re-explain it.

3. “How large the error is depends on whether you…”– Back to making excuses already.

4. “I can’t explain the math error, since it was, as I believe I mentioned, eight years ago.”– Actually, what drove DougJ to drink was that you couldn’t see the math error as recently as a few hours ago, despite repeatedly having it pointed out to you in excruciating detail.

5. “I can probably explain why I didn’t see it, which is that I was laid flat with gastritis…”– Gastritis broke MAH CALCULATOR!

6. “and working on about 3 hours sleep and 300 calories a day of rice and mashed potatoes.”– Really, you all should feel terrible for picking on me when I feel like this. Jerks! Pity party pity party!

7. “Or perhaps I was just being stupid.”– Perhaps.

8. “I struggle daily to live up to Brad’s well-known standards of accuracy, fairness, and integrity..”– And let’s finish this “correction” with a snide insult directed at the people who had the temerity to point out I was wrong.

***

And there you have it- McMegan, in all her glory. The only thing missing is the customary “I’m sorry if you were offended by that” that is so popular these days.

Why couldn’t she just write- “Pretty clearly I was wrong about what the cost of the Gulf War was going to be and made some calculation errors based on my inaccurate projections. I don’t know what I was thinking back then, but right now I’m feeling a little under the weather and not thinking clearly. Thanks to those of you who pointed this out and were right.”

That’s what I would have written. Although, in fairness, I have had a lot of practice being wrong.

252 replies
  1. 1
    valdivia says:

    this is the funniest title. though not a song reference it still fantastic. I really hope DougJ is drinking!

    and you John get triple points for annotating her ‘apology’

  2. 2
    sukabi says:

    Gastritis = full of shit.

    And that explains it all.

  3. 3
    Comrade Mary says:

    Gastritis broke MAH CALCULATOR!

    New rotating tagline, please!

  4. 4

    … you all should feel terrible for picking on me when I feel like this. Jerks!

    I live for the moments when I can crush the delicate feelings of our mighty blog overseer. At least you have cute feet.

  5. 5
    Tim says:

    Come on John: You would have written, “Fuck you, douche.” :D

    Regarding McAddled, does anyone have the scoop on how much the Atlantic pays the moron? I can’t find anything on Google. Would love to know.

    I mean, I am retarded at math and I could write the dodgey bullshit she spews.

  6. 6
    spudvol says:

    Cole would have written the following- “Fuck you, I’m going on vacation!” Then posted something 5 minutes later.

  7. 7
    Dave C says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    This!

    Also too, Cole your ability to admit your mistakes without turning into a passive-aggressive, petulant child is one of the (several) reasons I love this blog.

  8. 8
    steviez314 says:

    The dog ate her decimal point.

    That’s why she was off by, say it with me…..”an order of Megantude.”

  9. 9
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    Why Atlantic’s Business and Economics Editor, what thin skin you have!

  10. 10
    4tehlulz says:

    My dog ate my Gulf War.

  11. 11
    hildebrand says:

    OT – Sorry, still chortling over the sidebar add for D’Souza’s latest book. I imagine that Obama has raged at some point in his adult life, but my goodness, the man barely achieves ‘getting his dander up’ or perhaps he might even get to ‘concerned’ or ‘snide’ or ‘exercised’. Rage? Not so much, unless someone actually threatened his girls – even then I think it would be more like ‘Exterminate!’ (think Daleks).

  12. 12
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    Oh, and comments 1-8 are all seconded by me.

  13. 13
    Zifnab says:

    That’s what I would have written.

    And that’s why you’re never going to make it at the Atlantic.

  14. 14
    Keith G says:

    That’s what I would have written.

    Admitting mistakes – How very West Virginian.

  15. 15
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    She has a lot of practice being wrong, too. She just doesn’t have a lot of experience admitting it.

  16. 16
    Zifnab says:

    @Tim:

    Come on John: You would have written, “Fuck you, douche.” :D

    Um… no, he wouldn’t have.
    Even at the height of Bush-o-philia, John was capable of a genuine mea culpa. That’s why I’m trolling his blog and not still throwing pies at Dan Riehl.

  17. 17
    MTiffany says:

    It’s too early for DougJ to start drinking,

    The upside of the global economy is that it’s always 1pm somewhere in the world.

    +2

  18. 18
    South of I-10 says:

    @Comrade Mary: Totally agree!

    I had no idea gastritis would throw your calculator off by a decimal point. Live and learn.

  19. 19
    Elvis Elvisberg says:

    I think this astute commenter over at her place made the same point quite well.

    Incidentally, her next post is pretty good. Yes, it’s finding fault with Krugman, but in a measured, reasonable way.

  20. 20
    daveNYC says:

    New rotating tagline, please!

    Thirded, or fourthed, or whatever it is at this point.

  21. 21
    MikeJ says:

    I like the fact that she can’t explain why she made the error because it was eight years ago, and who remembers trivial shit that happened 8 years ago? Then she turns around and remembers that she didn’t get much sleep, and that was the week her dog got herpes, and mercury was retrograde, but who could possibly remember the logical underpinnings of an argument to go blow up a million people?

  22. 22
    WarMunchkin says:

    I wish I had the wit to write a snarky or insightful comment. Instead I’ll just say that this is a really good post and made me happy.

  23. 23
    MTiffany says:

    How large the error is depends on whether you take nominal or real GDP, compare it to nominal or real spending on the Iraq war, and so forth,

    “Nominal or real?” Wow, she’s even admitting that there is a reality. Someone’s got a New Year’s Resolution…

  24. 24
    Turgidson says:

    @Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony:

    Or, the vast majority of the time, realizing and understanding it. No matter how meticulously it’s explained to her. The fact that she (sort of) admitted a mistake here is hopefully a breakthrough. I’m not holding my breath on that one though.

  25. 25
    Loneoak says:

    In other IOKIYAR news, GOP big-wigs are hanging out with Iranian terruhists in clear violation of their own stupid interpretation of federal law.

    What’s really weird about this is Tancredo, Giuliani, Ridge and Mukasey palling around with Marxist-Islamic-Feminist terruhists. “Enemy of my enemy” and all that, but yeesh.

  26. 26
    Lesley says:

    Is gastritis responsible for her resisting admitting the error until she had no choice?

  27. 27
    John Cole says:

    @Elvis Elvisberg: “The only logical explanation here is that David Bradley views McArdle & Fallows as the Atlantic’s ripoff of Goofus & Gallant. ”

    LMAO.

  28. 28
    Rob says:

    If only the truth of this could be checked somehow, I’d be willing to bet $1 million that she was not “living on 300 calories a day”, of rice and taters or anything else. My bullshit detector just clanged so loud the neighbors are complaining.

  29. 29
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @Lesley: No but it is responsible for her deciding to do it on the afternoon before a holiday weekend when almost nobody would be reading her stupid blog.

  30. 30

    The important part isn’t the math error, but the conclusion she drew from the math error. Because of the incorrect cost she came up with, she drew a certain conclusion about the Iraq War, and about the argument of those who opposed it warned about that cost.

    She should really write something about that, because this isn’t ultimately about math.

  31. 31
    Carl Nyberg says:

    The lack of sleep claim reminds me of people I’ve known who tell you how hard they are working.

    Many of them aren’t accomplishing much that’s productive, but they are very busy and have lots of attitude.

  32. 32
    quaint irene says:

    Just a more extended way of saying, ‘Well, excuuuuuuse meeeeeee!’

  33. 33
    TooManyJens says:

    That’s what I would have written.

    Well, that and calling yourself a dumbass.

  34. 34
    Chyron HR says:

    300 calories a day of rice and mashed potatoes

    Well, that’s why normal people don’t run out and spend all their food stamps on swordfish steak and European cheese to prove a “point”.

  35. 35
    Lesley says:

    Not to rub pink Himalyan salt in the wound, but

    Gastritis, an inflammation of the lining of the stomach, has many possible causes.[1] The main acute causes are excessive alcohol consumption or prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (also known as NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Sometimes gastritis develops after major surgery, traumatic injury, burns, or severe infections. Gastritis may also occur in those who have had weight loss surgery resulting in the banding or reconstruction of the digestive tract. Chronic causes are infection with bacteria, primarily Helicobacter pylori, chronic bile reflux, stress and certain autoimmune disorders can cause gastritis as well.

    I’m putting my money on bile as the cause.

  36. 36
    Douglas says:

    That’s what I would have written. Although, in fairness, I have had a lot of practice being wrong.

    While McMegan has so muchy practice being wrong that her experience overflowed and turned into the negative.

  37. 37
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooobody could have foreseen a math error hitting the talking points.

  38. 38
    balconesfault says:

    Just in case you didn’t get the point that you’re all a bunch of weenies for challenging her math, she decides she needs to emphasize that in the comments:

    How about I can’t reproduce what I did in a throwaway line eight years out, so I don’t know whether there was a math error, or whether I used some assumptions that I would now not use–or even whether I used some assumptions that I would now use, if my 8-years-ago self could argue with me today. Probably a math error, but I don’t know.

    If you strenuously search everything I write for the worst possible talmudic interpretation, you will certainly find any number of terrible things. This is, of course, equally true of DougJ or Brad DeLong, or anyone else.

  39. 39
    Tim says:

    @Zifnab:

    Um… no, he wouldn’t have.
    Even at the height of Bush-o-philia, John was capable of a genuine mea culpa. That’s why I’m trolling his blog and not still throwing pies at Dan Riehl.

    See? THIS is the kind of Cole brown-tonguing it is my solemn duty to counter. ;D

  40. 40
    Tim says:

    @balconesfault:

    How about I can’t reproduce what I did in a throwaway line eight years out, so I don’t know whether there was a math error, or whether I used some assumptions that I would now not use—or even whether I used some assumptions that I would now use, if my 8-years-ago self could argue with me today. Probably a math error, but I don’t know.
    If you strenuously search everything I write for the worst possible talmudic interpretation, you will certainly find any number of terrible things. This is, of course, equally true of DougJ or Brad DeLong, or anyone else.

    It really is bizarre how she almost always chooses to keep digging herself deeper in comments…what a petulant weiner.

  41. 41
    TooManyJens says:

    @balconesfault: “It’s your fault for noticing that I screwed up!”

  42. 42
    General Stuck says:

    Math criminals should get pardons, on general principle. Perennial Stupidity is an intellectual disability, that is a natural plus for those seeking careers in political punditry. Meghan has no peer, in this regard, while standing out in her field of dreams.

    This blog post could not have occurred without her talent and hard work.

  43. 43
    The Real American Democrat says:

    While Operation Iraqi Freedom unfolded differently than the architects had prepared for, it still unfolded and the current conditions are much better than what could have happened had Saddam Hussein been allowed to continue another decade of human rights violations, WMD development, and terrorist support. Good for America. They rid the world of an ugly dictator and ushered in true democracy in the cradle of civilization. That’s something that you’ll never hear “progressives” saying that they got wrong. I, for one, continue to support our troops.

  44. 44
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

     

    Gastritis broke MAH CALCULATOR!

    Well to be fair, this does tend to happen quite a lot when you try to run a modern enterprise using Thunderdome pigshit as your primary energy source.

  45. 45
    c u n d gulag says:

    Ah kant rite nor figger wid dem nummers none neither.
    Kan I haz a paying gig at Dee Atlantick, two?

  46. 46
    ChrisS says:

    I mean it’s not like she seriously advocates a position. It’s a feckin’ blog fer crissakes. C’mon, cut her some slack, she’s telling things like they are. No one is supposed to take seriously. Like Ann Coulter, she’s just political entertainment.

  47. 47
    Norwonk says:

    I probably made a math error eight years ago…

    I’m no mathematician, but I think the probability is 100% in this case. Not that I would expect McMegan to be able to calculate that correctly.

  48. 48
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    “I could have written something that wasn’t wrong, but I didn’t have the stomach for it”.

    I know how you feel Megan. I kind of feel the same way about reading your columns.

  49. 49
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    “I could have written something that wasn’t wrong, but I didn’t have the stomach for it”.

    I know how you feel Megan. I kind of feel the same way about reading your columns.

  50. 50
    erlking says:

    Does Suderman blow Sullivan to keep Eloise at the Atlantic? It’s irresponsible not to speculate… ’cause that is some grade A bullshit Megs is dishing out.

  51. 51
    Ailuridae says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    The important part isn’t the math error, but the conclusion she drew from the math error. Because of the incorrect cost she came up with, she drew a certain conclusion about the Iraq War, and about the argument of those who opposed it warned about that cost.
    She should really write something about that, because this isn’t ultimately about math.

    I think you are describing McMegan’s thought processes about this backwards. It more likely went like this: economists she dislikes (she didn’t just insult Galbraith but his father as well) pointed out accurately the near certainty of an immensely expensive occupation of Iraq. She reflexively had to disagree in the classic contrarian glibertard way (if a proponent of a larger government role in the economy states p i must immediately assert not p) and her missing the math error which should have been obvious once she typed it was because she simply couldn’t believe that Galbraith could indeed be right (and, oh, he was right as rain).

    This is really no different from any other glibertard including Kain. Start from the conclusion reached from what you believe to be an unshakable reality and ignore all contrary evidence.

    A random bit of whining. Yesterday my corner beer store guy noted that my ID expired last month on my birthday. Not sure how I missed that besides never having to look at my ID. I don’t remember getting a piece of mail So today I packed up my birth certificate, a tax assessor notice, and my Social Security card to get it replaced. Turns out that the state offices are closed today. No big deal. I stopped for lunch on the way home and while I was in the restroom my bag containing only those items and wet used gym clothes was lifted off the back of my chair. Ughh

    And, yeah, I have no idea how to go about getting a birth certificate with an expired ID and no idea how to get a SS card without a birth certificate etc. I basically have to hope I have an understanding clerk at the Secretary of State’s office on Monday. Along these lines is it illegal to have your own SS card and birth certificate forged? Kidding. Well, sort of ….

    Ailuridae +0 but with a Pliny the Elder cooling down for a 2PM CST opening.

  52. 52
    Cat Lady says:

    She forgot to mention one of her initial excuses where somehow her error of magnitude eight years ago was because Cole was egging her on, or something. Her flailing and flopping and spinning is making me dizzy.

  53. 53
    dmsilev says:

    She really needs to buy a new calculator. If memory serves, she tried to excuse some other asinine math mistake by claiming that her calculator didn’t have enough digits or some such.

    I’d recommend an HP-12C; watching her try to understand Reverse Polish Notation would be good for hours of entertainment…

    dms

  54. 54
    El Cid says:

    So, since I’ve only briefly read over this, how would nominal-to-nominal or real-to-real change the ratio between the cost of the Iraq war — postulated at ‘several trillion — if the same adjusted value of the war is made for the different GDP measures?

    Where currently the math is that ‘several trillion’ would be about 1% of the sum total of GDP over the specified time period.

    How do the two different reference values change this ration to 0.1%?

  55. 55
    balconesfault says:

    @The Real American Democrat:

    While Operation Iraqi Freedom unfolded differently than the architects had prepared for, it still unfolded and the current conditions are much better than what could have happened had Saddam Hussein been allowed to continue another decade of human rights violations, WMD development, and terrorist support.

    Yeah, tell that to the Iraqis whose families were ripped apart by the violence we unleashed, and whose homes and neighborhoods and lifestyles were permanently destroyed thanks to our decisions.

    A couple trillion US dollars down the hole? And I thought it was the right wing that insisted on cost-benefit analysis for every government action.

  56. 56
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    Mistakes may have been made, and I may have made one of them.

  57. 57
    cleek says:

    Q: why would an on-line magazine employ a blogger?
    A: because he/she brings hits.

    ignore her and the Invisible Hand will shoo her away!

  58. 58
    handy says:

    @The Real American Democrat:

    John, are sure it’s too early for DougJ to have started drinking?

  59. 59
    p.a. says:

    @Keith G:

    Admitting mistakes – How very West Virginian.

    or how very 19th century. maybe early 20th…

    also, is she saying she has gastritis now as an excuse for her obtusitude obtuseness? or does she remember an attack from 8 years ago as an excuse for the original first-month-of-long-division type of mistake?

  60. 60
    El Cid says:

    @balconesfault:

    And I thought it was the right wing that insisted on cost-benefit analysis for every government action.

    Not for any war, and not for any program they actually want.

  61. 61
    WereBear says:

    @Ailuridae: That sucks AND blows. Might be worth checking dumpsters in the area; unless those docs are worth money.

  62. 62
    tomvox1 says:

    @Elvis Elvisberg:

    He also, like everyone else, can be wrong…but when I make a mistake it’s cause I’m sick and when he does, it’s cause he’s librul

    Fixed.

  63. 63
    BoredNow says:

    Is it just me or did anyone else hear Cartman when reading that.

  64. 64
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    btw, did any of the usual libertarian suspects have anything positive to say about the repeal of DADT?

    Or do they not even bother to pretend to be libertarians anymore?

  65. 65
    change says:

    I hope Obambi enjoys expensive Hawaii vacation, because it’s only two weeks until the GOP takes the Speaker’s gavel.

    We can prevent the government takeover of healthcare and Wall St. by simply refusing to pass a budget that has funds for either.

    What will Obambi say to that?

    And just wait until the debt limit vote…

  66. 66
    BoredNow says:

    – Gastritis broke MAH CALCULATOR!”

    Is it just me or did anyone else hear Cartman when reading that.

  67. 67
    a1 says:

    Although, in fairness, I have had a lot of practice being wrong.

    What’s McArdle’s excuse then? She should have a black belt in Wrongness with all the practice she’s put in. Her problem isn’t being wrong, but having no inclination whatsoever in finding out what’s right – another idolator at the Altar of Truthiness.

  68. 68
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @spudvol:

    Cole would have written the following- “Fuck you, I’m going on vacation!”.

    Or “Not tonight, I have an ulcer”.

    Followed by two dozen posts. About spicy food. That he was cooking for dinner.

  69. 69
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @spudvol:

    Cole would have written the following- “Fuck you, I’m going on vacation!”.

    Or “Not tonight, I have an ulcer”.

    Followed by two dozen posts. About spicy food. That he was cooking for dinner.

  70. 70
    The Bobs says:

    “I probably made a math error…”

    err, in other words, I’m too stupid to know if I made a math error. Besides, math is so indefinite and all that.

  71. 71
    Turgidson says:

    @The Real American Democrat:

    Cool story, brah.

  72. 72
    JoshA says:

    I was watching some of the segments from Maddow’s show online, and noted how she would cheerfully admit how wrong she had been on some issues lately.

    She started off joking that she “couldn’t be trusted on food safety” and then painstakingly detailed the 5 changes to the status of the food safety bill that’s happened and her erroneous reporting (“I said it was done when it wasn’t, then I said it probably would get done when it wouldn’t, then I said it was dead when it was alive” etc).

    She also described herself as “wrong, wrong, gloriously wrong” for asserting that DADT repeal could not be passed during the lame duck session.

    I’m sure there are progressives who can’t admit error, and I’m sure there are conservatives who can admit error. But as a whole, progressives view life as a learning experience, where new facts cause your viewpoint to change. Conservatives want the facts should conform to their viewpoint. If the facts fail to follow orders, they try to make them conform, and if they can’t, then they scream in frustration and blast those who made them admit a mistake.

  73. 73
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    mistakes were made, but they were all part of God’s plan.

    God was testing me, the same way he tested Job and Jesus.

  74. 74
    change says:

    On March 4th, the government shutdown begins…

  75. 75

    I just want to say thanks to all here; I’m having a genuinely sucky day (happy Festivus, all!) and this thread is bringing a smile to my lips and joy to my heart.

    Also, too: the headline must become a tagline.

  76. 76
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony:

    She has a lot of practice being wrong, too. She just doesn’t have a lot of any experience admitting it

    Fixited.

  77. 77
    Rob says:

    Cleek – I often wonder the same thing about Ann Althouse – i.e., if liberals didn’t spend so much time mocking her, would anyone care what she wrote?

  78. 78
    pragmatism says:

    change, i hope the amount you get paid per each post gets increased for Holiday. FSM willing. the work is too important.

  79. 79
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @JoshA:

    I was watching some of the segments from Maddow’s show online, and noted how she would cheerfully admit how wrong she had been on some issues lately.

    How refreshing.

    I was watching Lawerence O’Donnell last night and he had a bunch of butt hurt bloggers who refused to admit any misjudgment.

  80. 80
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @change: don’t you have any respect for Jesus? How dare you disrespect Christians and Christianity by posting so close to the Lord’s birthday!

  81. 81
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @cleek:

    ignore her and the Invisible Hand will shoo her away!

    This, a thousand times this.

    I no longer read WaPo political pieces for this very reason. The fewer hits the Bacon Bits, Murrays, Kornbluts and Milbanks of the Chattering Class get, the sooner they’ll go away.

    I guess we’re all libertarians now. I need a long hot shower.

  82. 82
    p.a. says:

    “I probably made a math error…”

    Could be America’s epitaph post the 2000 Preznit election.

  83. 83
    srv says:

    Well now that that’s settled, perhaps McMegan can figure out how much she got the cost to the Iraqi people wrong.

  84. 84
    catclub says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil: Some people have the sense to NEVER read her blog.

  85. 85
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century):

    God was testing me, the same way he tested Job and Jesus.

    And Larry Gopnik.

  86. 86
    jcricket says:

    A dingo probably ate McMegan’s brain a while back too.

  87. 87
    balconesfault says:

    @change:

    We can prevent the government takeover of healthcare and Wall St. by simply refusing to pass a budget that has funds for either.

    “We” … is Boehner commenting here now?

  88. 88
    srv says:

    @Ailuridae: Birth certificates you can order online from your Secretary of State office.

  89. 89
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @thomas Levenson: Cheer up; I bought your Newton book as one my dad’s Christmas presents, so you should have a monster royalty check coming courtesy of me.

  90. 90
    Chris says:

    @Ailuridae: Anyone can get your (or anyone’s) birth certificate. Simply write to the state (or DC) in which you were born, saying that you need an official copy of “your” birth certificate (there’s a form I used for the one from my birthplace, I imagine it is the same for all others) to be mailed to [address] etc.

    You then use your (or anyone else’s) B.C. to get some other official ID, and voila, you are yourself (or anyone else you wish to be).

    At some point, some states started correlating birth records with death records, and it became somewhat more difficult to steal the ID of someone who died young (but otherwise would have been your own age) if you need to “disappear”. But it’s still possible.

  91. 91
    change says:

    Obambi is powerless to stop the GOP, either he will sign our budget into law or we’ll shutdown the government–and it will be for months this time, not just a few weeks.

    And John Boehner is no Bob Dole/..he won’t cave.

  92. 92
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @JoshA:

    Conservatives want the facts should conform to their viewpoint. If the facts fail to follow orders, they try to make them conform, and if they can’t, then they scream in frustration and blast those who made them admit a mistake.

    This true of a lot lefty bloggers who yesterday denigrated the DADT repeal as “small potatoes”, “a crumb”, and “a bone”. Instead of admitting they were wrong about shutting down the lame duck session or calling for a short term executive order, they tried to marginalize a historic achievement to get off the hook.

  93. 93
    freelancer says:

    Not everyone got deep into the weeds on DougJ’s relevant post so I’ll just repeat this once:

    I’ve no problem volunteering that I have really shit aptitude for (higher) math, but this is ridiculous. Megan gives new meaning to the acronym YMMV aka Your Mileage May Vary. But hey, what do I know? I’ve never walked 528 feet in her shoes.

  94. 94
    Another Bob says:

    You might think, naively, that McArdle’s job was to be honest and accurate and inform her readers. But her actual job, as with so many other “libertarian”/conservative pundits, is to lie and disseminate propaganda for the oligarchs. If she weren’t serving their interests, she wouldn’t have this plum job of hers. She’d probably have to make her money through real estate swindles or pyramid schemes or something.

  95. 95
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @freelancer: Shouldn’t that be 52,800 feet?

  96. 96
    balconesfault says:

    @Another Bob:

    But her actual job, as with so many other “libertarian”/conservative pundits, is to lie and disseminate propaganda for the oligarchs. If she weren’t serving their interests, she wouldn’t have this plum job of hers.

    Yeah – that’s why the “starve her from hits” strategy won’t work. It’s too valuable to have a McArdle and other pundits proving stuff, so that others can refer back to them for documentation of the “truth”.

  97. 97
    JoshA says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century): Ah, the Firebagger faction? Too bad. I really thought that getting DADT repeal done might make them question their belief that Obama is “America’s most homophobic President” or some such. I suppose they know what they know, and Obama shouldn’t think he can confuse them with facts.

  98. 98
    Ailuridae says:

    @srv:

    But how would I prove I am me? So do I just call the Secretary of State in my home state (Upstate NY represent!) and tell them I am me? I imagine they could send it to my address certified mail and then they would know I am not doing any complicated identity theft business. But then I show up to the post office and have to show valid ID, right?

    @WereBear:

    I just talked to two beat cops about this. I wasn’t nearly as worried about it as I should have been (since those forms were all it would take for me to get a new ID, anyone with them could do the same etc). They’re pretty sure that the secretary of state’s office here (Chicago) would be understanding as I have an expired ID that is plainly me, I am the only person with my combination of first and last name in the world etc…

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I gave out the newton book to a half dozen people. It really is quite excellent.

    Ailuridae + exactly one glorious sip of Pliny the Elder which I am starting to believe the hype about (America’s best beer, etc)

  99. 99
    Malraux says:

    How large the error is depends on whether you take nominal or real GDP, compare it to nominal or real spending on the Iraq war, and so forth, but I’d say at a minimum I was off by a factor of at least three, though not “an order of magnitude”, since it seems clear to me that nominal-to-nominal, not real-to-real, is the correct comparison

    Oh this pisses me off. So the $324T or whatever the number was from the other thread was in nominal dollars. But if you do it in real dollars, it becomes a much smaller number because there’s no inflation across that time period. So by trying to make excuses, she’s showing that she knows fuckall about math and making her case worse.

    How the fuck does she have a reasonable paying job dealing with math?

  100. 100
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @The Real American Democrat: Don’t confuse the issues. “Supporting the troops” != “Iraq was the right thing.”

  101. 101
    Ann B. Nonymous says:

    @change:

    Obambi is powerless to stop the GOP, either he will sign our budget into law or we’ll shutdown the government—and it will be for months this time, not just a few weeks.

    Oh, you beautiful man, I hope you do shut down the government for months. I’ve wanted to see Republicans hunted down with dogs in the street for years.

    It’s a little wasteful of the meat, of course. There are deserving immigrants who could benefit from those organs. Still, what better way to trim the fat from American society.

  102. 102
    PPOG Penguin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That depends on whether you take nominal or real feet.

  103. 103
    IM says:

    Now that was a grudging concession.

  104. 104
    Ailuridae says:

    @change:

    That government shutdown worked so well for y’all last time.

  105. 105
    Chyron HR says:

    @change:

    On March 4th, the Tea Party will become as popular as Newt Gingrich…

    Oh no! Not 2000 2004 2008 2012 Presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich!!

  106. 106
    TooManyJens says:

    Remind me again how we’re supposed to distinguish “Republicans governing” from “Republicans shutting down the government”?

  107. 107
    catclub says:

    @Malraux:
    Remember the S Harris cartoon in Physics Today where there is a huge amount of writing on a chalkboard and then an arrow to the result with ‘then a miracle occurs’.

    Same thing here.

  108. 108
    freelancer says:

    @PPOG Penguin:

    Either way, they’re just hypotheticals.

  109. 109
    the fenian says:

    I’m thinking more highly of gastritis than I used to.

  110. 110
    gbear says:

    That’s what I would have written.

    Yea, but you would have also pointed out that Brad DeLong’s glasses were kind of goofy.

  111. 111

    She can’t explain the math error because it was eight years ago, but she CAN remember that she was laid flat with gastritis, working on about 3 hours sleep and malnourished from consuming just 300 calories a day of rice and mashed potatoes??

    Okie dokie.

    Then again, maybe (as she suggests) she was just being stupid.

    I caught my own not nearly so spectacular pundit FAIL yesterday, in the two seconds I was watching Morning Joe.

    This is exactly why I hate our punditry. I’m really just a Tennessee housewife, admittedly one who reads an awful lot, but still: I should be able to watch a full 10 minutes of a morning news & opinion program before catching the elite guests in a colossal error. Yet it never fails, in the first 60 seconds someone says something stupid and I’m throwing the remote at the TV screen.

    I grew up thinking these people knew more than I did. Had some kind of special access to people who were in charge. Somehow had the inside poop. And it turns out they don’t.

  112. 112

    @Omnes Omnibus: That does cheer me up. Thanks!

    May your tribe ever increase.

  113. 113
    Ozymandias, King of Ants says:

    @cleek:

    ignore her and the Invisible Hand will shoo her away!

    Wrong. McMegan is a member of that class of people who are all guaranteed to get invisible handjobs.

  114. 114
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    It’s time for the Steelers to use the bully pulpit!

  115. 115

    @Ailuridae: Lacking any Pliny TE, I will soon raise a glass of something appropriate in your honor. (After taking the next generation to and from the martial arts class that will allow him to break me into small pieces soon enough).

    My thanks.

  116. 116
    slag says:

    @thomas Levenson: And I’m strongly considering buying your Einstein book. When I end my recently self-imposed moratorium on buying stuff, that is.

    Although…I’ll probably buy it used if I can find it. Nothing against your book, it’s just that I generally prefer pre-owned books as a rule.

    On second thought, I guess this information probably isn’t going to cheer you up. Sorry about that.

    Happy Festivus!

  117. 117
    Ozymandias, King of Ants says:

    @change:

    John Boehner is no Bob Dole

    And if you think that’s a compliment, you need a tinfoil hat.

  118. 118

    @slag: Nah, its all good.

    Einstein will earn out its advance approximately at the same time that Harvard returns to the Rose Bowl. (Memo to self: never publish a book three weeks into a then very popular “little” war.)

    Readers is what I crave.

    (Now Newton…that has a very distant chance of someday earning out. More likely in the UK than here, but still. Buy e-editions if you swing that way, as my cut is much larger ;)

    This shameless commercial interlude is officially way over.

  119. 119
    Beauzeaux says:

    McMegan has thrown up a “correction” of sorts

    It does read very much like mental vomit, doesn’t it.

  120. 120
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @slag: Well, you have given him a grievance to air.

  121. 121
    Ailuridae says:

    @srv: @Chris:

    Yep. You’re both right. I am now completely disarmed by how easy identity theft is. Ordered it through something called VitalCheck and I should receive the birth certificate in two weeks.

  122. 122
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ailuridae: I wonder why the Birthers don’t use it to check up on the President.

  123. 123
    Judas Escargot says:

    @change:

    The Red States are due for a reminder of their economic dependency.

    Good luck keeping your rubes in line once that sinks in.

  124. 124
    Ailuridae says:

    @thomas Levenson:

    What martial art does your young’n do? I’ve been doing Aikido for about a decade and really, really wish I had been introduced to martial arts (at least non-boxing martial arts) in my early teens.

  125. 125
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Beauzeaux: Would you have preferred if she had tossed off an apology of sorts?

  126. 126
    Tim says:

    @erlking:

    Does Suderman blow Sullivan to keep Eloise at the Atlantic? It’s irresponsible not to speculate… ‘cause that is some grade A bullshit Megs is dishing out.

    LOL and ew.

    THIS is the kind of delightfully obscene, insulting, gratuitous, and yet dead-on kind of comment I come to BJ for every day.

    Although, to be fair, Sullivan DOES favor homo activities featuring the IRON GLUTES or GLUTES OF TITANIUM or whatever the hell his screen name on Barebackcity.com was. Blowjobs are for amateurs.

  127. 127
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    this is a vindication of Larry Summers who said women are bad a math.

  128. 128
    kdaug says:

    @change:

    And John Boehner is no Bob Dole/..he won’t cave.

    No, he’ll cry. On the capital steps. With the cameras rolling. And America will hear about how mean Obama and the Democrats are, and how much it hurts his feelings.

    And in the meantime, there will be no funding for the troops in Af/Pak or for grandma’s dialysis.

    What’s your point – you think this is a winner?

  129. 129
    madeinamerica says:

    @thomas Levenson: I just bought the Kindle edition a few days ago. Does that help? Also, too, I’m enjoying it immensely.

  130. 130
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    McMegan is simply a lying sack of shit. No integrity at all. No remorse for being very obviously wrong. A few degrees from the pathological falsification of Sarah Palin, who denies objective truth when it is even slightly inconvenient for her.

  131. 131
    Tom Levenson says:

    @madeinamerica: Yes it does. Thanks.

    @Ailuridae: He does Kenpo at one of the best schools for kids I’ve ever seen. (MacDonald’s Martial Arts Academy in Watertown, MA, for anyone in the area with a potential interest.) They do what all the martial arts places say the will, but really, really well: impart physical and mental confidence and self discipline/knowledge in a program that is kind, incredibly supportive, and yet thoroughly (if very gently, almost imperceptibly) disciplined and rigorous. Just really good people.

    I too wish I’d stuck with my martial arts — I did Tae Kwan Do for a couple of years in high school. Shoulda coulda woulda gotten a lot out of it if I had stayed with the art.

    Given how impressed I am with the MacDonald people, I’m actually thinking of dragging my out-of-shape, overweight, fifty + year old carcasse over there for some adult classes. That high pitched scream you are about to hear is me attempting a kick above the waist for the first time in more than three decades.

  132. 132
    Chyron HR says:

    @kdaug:

    Hey, the Republicans just love America in their own special way. You know, the way that Ike loved Tina.

  133. 133
    slag says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That’s good. I always enjoy working from my strengths.

    Review the Newton book for us sometime, please. If you get a chance.

  134. 134
    Tonal Crow says:

    Among Republicans, denying mistakes is not just a personality flaw, it’s a rhetorical device calculated to make it appear that (1) the criticism is unwarranted or disproportionate to the error; (2) the error is unintentional; (3) the error is trivial (4) the critic is a snippy moron who should be ignored; and (5) the Republican is a VIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICTIM!

  135. 135
    catclub says:

    @Tonal Crow:
    Roman numerals in a post about a calculator.

  136. 136
    Tonal Crow says:

    @catclub: That took me a moment, but I’m pretty sure “VIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICTIM” is not a well-formed Roman numeral string. ‘Course, Republicans don’t have well-formed consciences, so I guess it’s appropriate.

  137. 137
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    admitting mistakes is pre 9/11 thinking.

  138. 138
    kdaug says:

    @Chyron HR: Pro-tip: Go ahead and buy stock in Kimberly-Clark, makers of Kleenex (R) Brand Tissues, the Leader in Facial Tissue Softness.

    It’s gonna be a weepy few years.

  139. 139
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @slag: The book is a bit of a bait and switch. It is like the undergrad course I took called “Biology of Human Reproduction;” non-science majors like me took it because we thought it would be about sex, but it turned out to be a biology course and we had to learn. Levenson tricks you into thinking you are going to be reading about a 17th Century Batman, and then he causes you to learn about math, science, and 17th metallurgy among other things. Honestly, it reads like a novel, is full of odd little facts, and is very good at giving the larger picture of who Newton was, what he was like, and why he is as important and influential as he is. Plus, it has a good beat and you can dance to it.

  140. 140
    jacy says:

    And John Boehner is no Bob Dole

    He’s more oranger for one thing. You suppose he has secret malaria, or is he just descended from inbred circus folk?

  141. 141
  142. 142
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Hey, the Republicans just love America in their own special way. You know, the way that Ike loved Tina OJ loved Nicole.

    Fixt.

    Republican slogan for 2012: If the glove doesn’t fit you must acquit!

    Republican slogan for 2016: Elect us and we’ll go out and find the real killer!

  143. 143
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @jacy: His grandmother was a traffic cone. It is the secret shame of the Boehner family.

  144. 144
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Um, I’m afraid that the ultimate message here is that DougJ is better at math than Megan Mccardle is.

    With all due respect to the two contenders, I am not sure that this message is all that profound. I’d expect that DougJ is better at math than most people on the planet, that’s his forte. And Megan is sort of an airhead. Not that an airhead can’t be good at math, I don’t know, that it is a topic for people who have tried to teach math to airheads. I have not done this. I have tried to teach technical subjects and airplane flying to airheads, and I have found the exercise to be frustrating, but that is just me. I don’t have infinite patience.

    In any case, I think that both DougJ and Megan will be better served by moving on from this particular bone of contention.

    Just a friendly suggestion from the friendly suggest department.

  145. 145
    freelancer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    [gut laughing] Can’t…breathe.

  146. 146
    IM says:

    @Chyron HR:

    What has love got do with it?

    It’s just a second hand emotion

  147. 147
    Tonal Crow says:

    @freelancer: There is at least a grammatical error (“[or] what the technology is that I am working on[,] and generally look at us as being lawyers with “propeller” beanies”) and a word-selection error (“copyrighter”). Still, the email is better-written than the vast majority of the writings I see. Although unintentionally humorous, it expresses its point clearly and relatively concisely.

  148. 148
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @freelancer: … here all week … tip waitress… try veal… etc.

  149. 149
    Dollared says:

    @freelancer: Thanks. I loved John’s post like comfort food. But the “528 feet in her shoes” made me giggle for two – now three – minutes.

  150. 150
    j low says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    and then he causes you to learn about math, science, and 17th metallurgy among other things.

    Sounds like something I should read to find out how my faith in Neal Stephenson holds up. Even if it doesn’t The Baroque Cycle is still awesome as a swashbuckling yarn.

  151. 151
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    I have tried to teach technical subjects and airplane flying to airheads,

    how did shrub become a pilot, if he indeed became a pilot (note there are no photos of him flying, merely one of him being briefed on a cockpit’s instrument panel)?

  152. 152
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That should be “17th Century metallurgy.” Fucking typos.

  153. 153
    Tonal Crow says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: Apart from the irony, is it really, um, er, well, moral to attempt to teach airheads how to fly airplanes? Can an adult airhead really become grounded enough (har, har) to handle the task?

  154. 154
    Dollared says:

    @freelancer: us /U.S., as in USPTO.

    But I agree with his general point. I love having engineers correct my sarcasm and run my neatly turned phrases through Word’s grammar checker, and then conclude they know more than I do about the subject matter at hand.

  155. 155
    John Cole says:

    @freelancer: The ? outside the “

  156. 156
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Dollared: People use Word’s “grammar checker” for purposes other than idle amusement?

  157. 157
    cynickal says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Don’t confuse the issues. “Supporting the troops” != “Iraq was the right thing.”

    Of course not, “Supporting the Troops” = “Throwing them into every country that has our oil under their sand then de-funding their benefits and medical when they come home with broken bodies, families and lives”

  158. 158
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century):

    Almost any able bodied humanoid can be taught to move the controls by rote well enough to survive most of the time, at least under supervised conditions. I would put him in that class. But real flying and airmanship requires some judgment and some considerable situational awareness. That can’t really be taught. It can be trained up if the basic ability is there, but if it isn’t …. the results can be hilarious, or tragic, depending on the circumstances. It would be like teaching a chimpanzee to play the piano. You might make it to chopsticks and jingle bells, but Brahms 2nd Piano Concerto is not going to be doable. Okay, on that latter example, have you ever heard David Helfgott play in public? (The movie Shine was about him). I have been to a concert. Let’s just say, it was painful to sit there and listen. He’s basically a circus freak. I’d guess that this is the level of flying proficiency that Shrub reached.

  159. 159
    freelancer says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    I agree. What killed me though was the kvetching about grammar and decent writing, and he let that slip through.

    “If you want to do well, son, you’ll mind the rules. People don’t pay attention to sloppy righters.”

    Whoopsie.

    @Dollared:

    It was the funniest thing I’ve thought of this week. I was immensly proud, too much so actually, when I typed it the first time a couple days ago. Thanks.

  160. 160
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    In actual practice, the airheads do not come to the instructor with “AIRHEAD” painted on their foreheads. One has to ascertain the airheadedness by working with the student. This can be scary. Anyone who has instructed long enough has been almost killed by a student at one time or another. These make great hangar flying tales later, but the risk is real.

    Once airheadedness has been discovered, then the case needs to be escalated to the FAA, and they can handle it from there.

    Good question, though.

    I imagine that Sarah Palin would make a great instructing story.

  161. 161
    Dollared says:

    @Another Bob: This. And she has this job because it takes a Ph.D. and absolutely no memory, a rare combination that she lacks, to get a fellowship at Cato.

  162. 162
    Tonal Crow says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: “But sir, I had the stick in my gut all the way down, but the damn nose wouldn’t rise!”

  163. 163
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: what’s your expert opinion on Mccain crashing so many planes?

  164. 164
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @freelancer: Of course, since he is an IP attorney, he could have meant “copyrighter” as an acquirer of copyrights.

  165. 165
    slag says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: OK. You sold me. And nicely described!

  166. 166
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Classic scenario. Often comes up on flight reviews with people who don’t really fly enough to stay sharp.

    I would set them up to do a classic climbing stall-spin entry and watch them suck the wheel into their abdominal cavity and hold on for dear life (or, death, had I not been there).

    Several turns of the spin later they are still frozen in that position unless you take the airplane away from them.

    Later, on the ground: “What was I doing wrong??”

    Oh boy. That’s why I eventually gave up instructing.

  167. 167
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    I struggle daily to live up to Brad’s well-known standards of accuracy, fairness, and integrity; I’m sorry that I clearly failed in this instance.

    Is McAddled still in high school?

  168. 168
    freelancer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It’s possible, maybe even likely, but not communicating that as well, in an email about clarity of communication is just as egregious an error. In addition to that, he lumps “copyrighter” into the context next to “graphic designer”, things are decidedly NOT related to IP law, as if one must be all three or maybe even more. My instinct says he meant to write “copywriter” and slipped up.

  169. 169
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century):

    We talked about this the other day on the McCain thread.

    Basically what I said was, I have a hunch he was not that good a pilot. He strikes me as being an intemperate risk taker who would break the rules one too many times. I don’t fault him for this, it’s just a human trait that some people have. Something tells me that “Admiral’s Son” might have been his main talent for flying.

    I’ve known a lot of pilots like him. Not all of them lived to tell about it.

  170. 170
    slag says:

    @John Cole: Personally, I hate the standard of putting the punctuation mark inside the quotation marks when it has nothing to do with the quotation. So, I don’t do it. And then I spell colour with a “u” so people will think I’m British and let me get away with it. Suck on that, American grammar rules!

    Crap…now I’m probably on some terror watch list somewhere.

  171. 171
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @freelancer: I agree with you, and, even if he had meant what I suggested, the way he phrased it left the question open. This, of course, reinforces your original point.

  172. 172
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @slag:

    You might have a problem getting a job on the copy desk at the newspaper.

  173. 173
    kc says:

    The dog ate her homework, also, too.

  174. 174
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @slag:

    Crap…now I’m probably on some terror watch list somewhere.

    If you aren’t, you should be after that kind of comment. Why do you hate America, sir? Why?

  175. 175
    Tonal Crow says:

    @slag: I agree about punctuation mark placement. Unless the mark is actually part of the quoted material, it doesn’t belong inside the quotes, “rules” be damned. This is a topic on which grammarians can learn from software engineers.

  176. 176
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Objection: irrelevant and argumentative.

  177. 177
    Mark S. says:

    but I’d say at a minimum I was off by a factor of at least three

    Or ten.

    And isn’t it clear she was using nominal GDP in her original hypothetical? I suppose you could guess what the rate of inflation for the next 20 years is going to be, but why would you care? You’re arguing whether the Iraq War is going to cost over a trillion dollars over x number of years.

    Ugh, this is why I stopped reading anything regarding McMegan. It’s like falling into a bottomless pit of nonsense. You can tell, though, that she is very used to bullshitting her way out of trouble.

  178. 178
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Tonal Crow: I will rephrase… “What is wrong with good old American punctuation, sir? Do you refuse to use it because of your hatred of America? Is that it?”

  179. 179
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Just do it:

    When dealing with direct speech, American rules place periods and commas inside the quotation marks all the time, but the alternative usage varies. In fiction, both styles are the same.[11] In non-fiction, British publishers may permit placing punctuation that is not part of the person’s speech inside the quotation marks but prefer that it be placed outside.[11] According to the Cambridge Handbook for Editors, Copy-editors and Proofreaders, periods and commas that are part of the person’s speech are permitted inside the quotation marks regardless.[11]

    * “Today,” said Cinderella, “I feel free from care and anxiety.” (both major styles)
    * “Today”, said former Prime Minister Tony Blair, “I feel free from care and anxiety.” (British non-fiction only)
    * “I feel happy,” said Björk, “carefree, and well.” (both major styles)

    Many American style guides explicitly permit periods and commas outside the quotation marks when the presence of the punctuation mark inside the quotation marks will lead to ambiguity, such as when describing keyboard input:

    * To use a long dash on Wikipedia, type in “—”.

    In all major forms of English, question marks and exclamation marks are placed inside or outside quoted material depending on whether they apply to the whole sentence or just the quoted portion, but colons and semicolons are always placed outside.[12]

    * Did he say, “Good morning, Dave”?
    * No, he said, “Where are you, Dave?”
    * There are three definitions of the word “gender”: colloquial, sociological, and linguistic.

    In the first two sentences above, only one punctuation mark is used at the end of each. Regardless of its placement, only one end mark (?, !, or .) can end a sentence in American English. Only the period, however, cannot end a quoted sentence when it does not also end the enclosing sentence, except for literal text:

    * “Hello, world,” she said.
    * “Hello, world!” she exclaimed.
    * “Is there anybody out there?” she asked into the void.
    * “Goodnight, stars. Goodnight, moon,” she whispered.
    * The name of the film was, he replied, “E.T.,” which many already knew.

    References: Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition; Hart’s Rules for Compositors and Readers at the University Press, Oxford; Merriam-Webster’s Guide to Punctuation and Style, second edition.

  180. 180
    freelancer says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    Look what I started. Time to start drinking.

  181. 181
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @freelancer:

    Ah, now there is something we can all agree on!

    First round is on me.

  182. 182
    WereBear says:

    @thomas Levenson: (Now Newton…that has a very distant chance of someday earning out. More likely in the UK than here, but still. Buy e-editions if you swing that way, as my cut is much larger ;)

    Just got your Newton book for my Kindle. Shameless, indeed :)

    It’s a Festivus Miracle!

  183. 183
    Ailuridae says:

    Apropos of nothing really – Ezra Klein on the doctor scarcity issue and health care costs. Luckily Ezra writes one of these a month and that spares me from starting a blog.

    America’s long term fiscal issues is a health care cost control problems. The primary driver of health care costs is/are doctor compensation and provider profits (often one in the same). One of the many reasons doctors are compensated so outrageously is they have introduced an arbitrary supply constraint (too few doctors graduate from US medical schools every year) that heightens the demand on each individual doctor. And, yes, that is pretty much the description of a cartel.

  184. 184
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: I still need to pack. Dammit.

  185. 185
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: in 1988, when the dan quayle draft dodging scandal erupted, they sent shrub on NBC news and he said it was no big deal to have someone make some calls on you’re behalf and that he had served in the Guard and that Guard pilots were better than actual vietnam combat pilots.

    It was pure bush: smirking, making it all about himself, full of shit

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....r_embedded

  186. 186
    Dollared says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: That’s nice, but you know that Word’s Grammar Checker has made you completely obsolete.

    And when Apple unveils its Grammar Chooser, it will automatically correct the color palette across your entire document, and get a different shirt out of your closet to better match your pants.

    And when Google unveils its Grammarer, it will review the past records it has of the inside of your brain and rewrite your document to precisely match what you really meant – unless, of course, there are synonyms involved.

    So you can just put that Chicago book away, buster.

  187. 187
    Dollared says:

    @Ailuridae: Yet another problem that would be utterly simple to solve, yet somehow doesn’t get solved.

    Too bad Pete Peterson couldn’t do something about the deficit, like endow 10,000 new scholarships to medical school per year. But he feels just helpless….

  188. 188
    handy says:

    Grammarer

    Nicely done.

  189. 189
    PurpleGirl says:

    McMegan is full of it to excuse her shoddy work by claiming gastritius.

    Back in 1994 I was secretary supporting a group of 25+ people. I typed their letters, formatting teaching materials (charts, tables, captions to drawings, etc.). That was when I began having problems in my lower back. I would manage to get into the office, type a bunch of stuff for a few hours, put the raw file on a small disk, take the disk home and lie down on the bed and proceed to format and finalize the files for printing out the next day. I had to stay perfectly still while I held the keyboard on my stomach. I was in excruciating and constant pain. This was my routine for about 3 months, until I had surgery.

  190. 190
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @freelancer: I spotted a few in addition to ones already mentioned.

    Most of the business people at my clients don’t understand what I do (delete comma) (or) what the technology is that I am working on(,) and (they)generally look at us as being lawyers with propeller (delete quotes) beanies on our heads and pocket protectors in our shirts.

    Admittedly, the deletion of the quotes is a stylistic thing (I HATE quotes being tossed around random (OK, I know they aren’t random, but they might as well be) words to “make” a “point”.), but I’m old-school in that. Here’s another stylistic thing.

    In the end (delete the hyphen) (,) we get judged by our attention to detail more than our legal acumen.

    Again, I’m old school.

    But, in general, it’s well-written.

    @Ailuridae: Ack. Sorry to hear that. Glad it got straighten out so easily, but yeah, a little discomfiting that it is so easy.

    My personal anecdote: I flew somewhere a few months ago, and as I presented my license to the TSA guy, he said, “I hope you’re not driving.” My license was expired (by half a year!), and I didn’t know it. I didn’t get a notice, either. I took care of it as soon as I got back from my trip, but yeah. Not a good thing to find out six months later.

    As for MM2, I don’t think there’s anything she can do that would get her canned. Depressing.

  191. 191
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Dollared:

    Obsolescence is really my best look.

    I like the software future you describe, too. You mean, software that won’t ask me the same question EVERY SINGLE TIME I MAKE THE CHOICE FOR TEN YEARS and never remembers that I have made the same selection ten thousand times but still makes me choose again, and forever …. is actually on the drawing boards? I don’t believe it.

    Did I really want to say I don’t believe it? Okay – Cancel. Yes, that’s why I FUCKING SAID IT.

    Heh.

    Don’t argue with me when I am drinking.

  192. 192
    burnspbesq says:

    Y’all will enjoy this.

    This link will take you to a press release about New York State’s suit against Ernst & Young for cooking Lehman’s books. There’s a link to a pdf copy of the complaint.

    http://www.ag.ny.gov/media_cen.....1a_10.html

    If New York can prove this, EY is in a world of hurt. Not only will they have to disgorge all of the fees they earned from Lehman (and the press release’s estimate of $150 million is absurdly low, my guess would be more like $400 million), the PCAOB will have to take action. That action could, and arguably should, include barring EY from auditing any public companies.

    Big Three, anyone?

  193. 193
    lambaste says:

    On top of everything else, she obfuscates the “correction” with a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, making it seem like a matter of interpretation rather than simple math.

  194. 194
    Glinda says:

    Math is hard for conservative girls.

  195. 195

    @j low: Stephenson is damned good. I had to not read the Baroque Cycle while writing my version of Newton because I didn’t want his dinning in my brain.@Omnes Omnibus: Thanks for this very kind precis. If I’d only called the book “Newton’s Sex Life,” it could have been a contender.
    @Dollared: IIRC, McArdle is a business school graduate — e.g. she possesses an MBA, (which I think Chicago should be asking her to return) and not a Ph.D.

  196. 196
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @thomas Levenson: You are quite welcome. I enjoyed the book, and I know my father will as well. As far as the alternative title, IIRC, (spoiler alert) wouldn’t it have been a bit of a misnomer or a very short book (/spoiler alert)?

  197. 197
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @slag: I’m with you. I do the same. There is no reason to put the punctuation in the quote marks if it’s not part of the quote. Harrumph. I also spell theatre the proper way. Damn. I’ll join you on your terrorist list.

    @Omnes Omnibus: But, that is correct usage of the punctuation inside the quotes. So, I have no beef with you there!

  198. 198
    Ailuridae says:

    @burnspbesq:

    After Enron why was it decided to continue having private auditing firms again?

  199. 199
    Dollared says:

    @thomas Levenson: Yes. After all, she just proved she has some sort of memory capacity today, although it appears to have a garbage-in, garbage-out problem.

  200. 200
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Glinda:

    Math is hard for conservative girls.

    That’s because math is about truth.

  201. 201
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ailuridae: Arthur Andersen was an aberration.

    Wow, I typed that with a straight face.

  202. 202
    Ailuridae says:

    @Dollared:

    Ah this one is sadly all on doctors. It is regulatory capture in it’s most pure form.

    @thomas Levenson:

    She indeed has a Chicago MBA. For a while I used to post a “Fellow alum who I am most embarrassed about today” and was glad to learn McMegan went to B School there as I was getting tired of rotating between Bobo, Broder and whatever Nobel Prize winning economist demonstrated they didn’t understand monetary policy that day.

  203. 203
    KevinA says:

    Is she REALLLLLY posting in the comments on that post as “McMegan?”

    Can I haz sum self-awareness, plz?

  204. 204
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Glinda: But I thought MM2 was a libertarian who would have voted for Obama if she had registered in time? Are you telling me that, gasp, she’s not? Oh, the horrors!

    I loved math–especially calculus. I guess that means by default, I’m not conservative.

  205. 205
    burnspbesq says:

    @Ailuridae:

    Because “anecdote” and “data” are not synonyms.

  206. 206
    burnspbesq says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Wow, I typed that with a straight face.

    You must be an experienced litigator if you can type that with a straight face.

  207. 207
    Ailuridae says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I had a lot of classmates start at Arthur Andersen and used to enjoy trekking out to see them while they were in training. Their training more closely resembled college fraternity hazing though. I was once out therefor a full week for a break and Monday to Saturday the whole group was out every night getting plastered on the bars on Main Street (St Charles is kind of quaint) etc. And none of their trainers were upset about this because they knew this was the expected behavior with clients on the job.

    Same thing with friends that started at Price Waterhouse around the same time. Except that training was in Tampa so more strip clubs were involved.

  208. 208
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @burnspbesq: I can type just about anything with a straight face. I am good at motion practice. Saying it aloud, in front of people, is another kettle of fish.

  209. 209
    burnspbesq says:

    @Ailuridae:

    Seriously, why do you think that would solve the problem? The evidence from places like Japan and Mexico, where there are quasi-public statutory auditors, isn’t especially supportive of your case.

    If you go to a system of public auditors, you’ll end up with a revolving door. The financial incentives to go along with clients who want to do crazy shit won’t go away, they will just change form.

    I’m in favor of more criminal cases being brought under the securities laws.

  210. 210
    WereBear says:

    @burnspbesq: While visions of successful prosecutions danced in their heads.

  211. 211
    aimai says:

    Everyone here has pointed out the other most galling things about Megan but I think there’s room for one more point, maybe its the one I always make about Megan but so sue me already.

    Here it is. Megan’s whole shtick is some sort of personal girl’s bio of privatizing wealth and socializing loss. Megan’s work doesn’t take place in a vacuum–her posts, essays, tweets and even her god damned marriage are entirely functions of her job as an apologist for Republican politics and economics. When she is writing she writes for them–her conclusions are fixed and only the method of getting there shifts. When she’s right, I presume (I’ve never seen it) she and her philosophy take all the credit. When she’s wrong, and she’s caught out in a lie, a total misstatement, a deceptive sleight of graph suddenly its all just a little, tiny, personal mistake that we should put down to dodgy tummy, food poisoning, asthma, wedding jitters, veganism, or whatever else she can summon up as an excuse. The fact that she said what she said because she was paid to say it simply drops out of the picture. Indeed, the very notion that her writing matters drops out of the discussion (check out her pro side commenters who routinely attack readers for reading her seriously as “crazy” and “stalkers” who “can’t let go” of a “little blog post” that happened “years ago.”

    aimai

  212. 212
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ailuridae: I lived in Geneva until I was 11. As an undergrad, AA was the destination of choice for many of my school’s econ majors. I wonder how many of them got caught up in the Enron mess.

  213. 213
    Comrade Mary says:

    Now you’ve done it, John. The title has started this running through my head, chased by this. Ah, the music of my teens …

  214. 214
    Ailuridae says:

    @burnspbesq:

    I don’t think it necessarily would solve the problem. But I can’t see anyway that having private auditing firms compensated by the firms they are auditing will ever work consistently. Same goes with rating agencies.

  215. 215
    Buoyant Citrus says:

    We’re talking about the business and economics editor of a supposedly serious magazine who once prefered to say that she doesn’t own a calculator that shows 10 digits rather than admit that she was wrong (actually, the data was obviously made up to support her position, but let’s not ask too much of her)
    In what kind of alternate universe does someone in her position looks better by saying THAT?

  216. 216
  217. 217
    burnspbesq says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    As MacLean and Elkind pointed out in “The Smartest Guys in the Room,” in the Andersen culture, where fee-earners could tell the national office technical types to fuck off and make it stick, something like Enron was inevitable. It was just random chance that it turned out to be Enron and not some other client.

    KPMG, because of its near-death experience with tax shelters, is probably pretty clean and careful right now. The other three, perhaps not so much.

  218. 218
    Dollared says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: You may notice that I work near software developers. I can assure you that they do indeed software that notices your choices and adjusts. But it will never, ever, ever tell you when it has adjusted and when it will adjust back. That would spoil all the fun.

  219. 219
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @Dollared:

    I slung code for 30 years. I know the rules.

    Stupid (ab)users!

  220. 220
    burnspbesq says:

    Merde.

    We had about six hours of partial sunshine, but it’s back to overcast.

  221. 221
    Dollared says:

    @aimai: thanks for repeating.

    I’ll add my take, and I really know nothing about her: I assume she has always had a great relationship with her dad, a genial, self confident man who is successful in business or the professions. And who taught her about success, and the shiftless poor, and Roosevelt’s betrayal of his class.

  222. 222
    burnspbesq says:

    Speaking of Bethany MacLean, I am reading “All the Devils Are Here,” her book with Joe Nocera about the financial crisis. It is not helping me keep my blood pressure under control.

  223. 223
    Ailuridae says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I got lost snow shoeing out of a base camp in Geneva five years ago. Pretty country. Less so when you think you might die.

    Our high end econ folks all either went to grad school or went into I-Banking. And then some went into management consulting (Anderson consulting versus Arthur Anderson) mostly at DeLoitte and PW(C). The people who ended up @ AA were almost all Public Policy majors (and at Chicago that meant that you were an econidiot who couldn’t handle statistics that included calculus).

    I was really happy that nobody I knew/remembered from that training group was caught up in the Enron mess. Despite knowing a lot of people in the I-Banking world I am also glad to see that none of them are getting perp walked despite knowing that several of them probably should have been.

  224. 224
    j low says:

    @thomas Levenson: Don’t have an ereader so i just ordered the Newton book on Amazon. Wish I would have thought of it earlier, cause my holiday weekend habitation is going to be a cabin in the woods with no modern comforts besides fire. Would’ve been the perfect place to revisit Newton.

  225. 225
    something fabulous says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: Late to the thread, as ever, but I respectfully disagree. As the self-professed resident Math Moran, I think the real point is not, never had been, about her ability to do any sort of accurate math, but rather this:

    How about I can’t reproduce what I did in a throwaway line eight years out, so I don’t know whether there was a math error, or whether I used some assumptions that I would now not use—or even whether I used some assumptions that I would now use, if my 8-years-ago self could argue with me today. Probably a math error, but I don’t know.

    …Which to me indicates that she views it as acceptable or appropriate to even think about calculations about the cost of war to be “a throwaway.” It’s the foundation of her thinking.

    What does that say about her? That’s what, IMO, pointing out her flippancy is for.

    PS for John @ OP: While we’re on the subject of proofreading, I think you mean “Iraqi War” rather than “Gulf War,” which was of course over by then and therefore not eligible for projections… Otherwise, entirely co-signed.

  226. 226
    burnspbesq says:

    @WereBear:

    While visions of successful prosecutions danced in their heads

    And I heard him exclaim, as he rode out of sight,
    “Throw their asses in jail, and to all a good night.”

  227. 227
    bago says:

    @Tonal Crow: 110% agree. Contextual definition FTW!

  228. 228
    WereBear says:

    @aimai: Megan’s work doesn’t take place in a vacuum—her posts, essays, tweets and even her god damned marriage are entirely functions of her job as an apologist for Republican politics and economics.

    Gah. I don’t know if there is enough money in the world.

    If there is, I hope I would do it like Batman, staying up all night to do Good and then blaming my mistakes on lack of sleep. That would be the way to do it…

  229. 229
    bago says:

    @Dollared: Unless you look at the logs.

  230. 230
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @something fabulous:

    Yes. I was being facetious. Something seldom done here, therefore totally unexpected.

  231. 231
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    @bago:

    Real men don’t insert code to write to logs.

    Heh.

  232. 232

    @j low: Add an alchemical still and you’d pretty much have Newton’s shed outside the chapel at Trinity. ;)

    I hope the book rewards your attention.

  233. 233

    @aimai: Exactly so, and bears any number of repetitions.

  234. 234
    Peter says:

    This is easy for you to say, John, after you demoted DougJ from business and economics editor, a lofty position where he was making either 10 or 100 times what he’s making as just a regular front-pager.

    Have you no sense of human decency?

  235. 235
    Tattoosydney says:

    @thomas Levenson:

    Buy e-editions if you swing that way, as my cut is much larger ;)

    This title is not available for customers from Australia.

  236. 236
    jayackroyd says:

    From McMegan’s comment thread:

    McMegan:

    “I was raised with a strong cultural aversion to discussing salaries.”

    I am beginning to think Tom commissioned a Galtian Eliza program from the MIT folk.

  237. 237
    lol says:

    @Ailuridae:

    I’ve moved around the country a lot and I’ve also had a (now ex-) girlfriend who had a habit of losing her identity documents. Having to repeatedly get driver’s licenses and recover documents has made me a lot less sympathetic to the “we should require IDs in order to vote!” crowd given the time and money required to get one. Taking 1-2 days off to deal with this stuff is not an insubstantial expense.

    As someone pointed out, you can order your birth certificate on-line without too much problem, assuming you remember your personal details (SSN, birthdate, etc). It may do some credit report style verification (loans, addresses workplace) when you order as well. This is the easy piece.

    SSA requires photo ID. DMV requires SSN. Seems like a catch-22 but it’s not.

    Dig through your recent paystubs (and similar docs) for anything that has you name and SSN printed on it. That should be sufficient for the DMV in your state.

    In any case, renewing or replacing an ID is a lot easier than getting a brand new one issued so they may not require anything beyond your birth certificate.

    One you get the proper photo ID, go to the SSA to get a new card mailed to you. From there, order a passport with ID card. That way you’ll have two items that can stand in for photo ID and birth certificate if you run into this problem in the future. (And you won’t have to madly rush to get them if you decide to travel out of country.)

  238. 238
    anon says:

    I know noone cares but #57 up there from cleek I read as “A: because she brings tits.

    Q: why would an on-line magazine employ a blogger?
    A: because he/she brings hits.

    ignore her and the Invisible Hand will shoo her away!

  239. 239

    The fact that McArdle has an MBA from the University of Chicago reveals two things.

    1) That getting an MBA from isn’t that hard if McMegan McArdle and George W. Bush can get one.

    2) That the University of Chicago business and econ departments are a total fucking joke.

  240. 240
    Glinda says:

    @Tonal Crow: Exactly!

  241. 241
    birthmarker says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Oh, hell, I am buying the damn thing.

  242. 242
    Glinda says:

    @asiangrrlMN: McMegan is an espoused “Libertarian” but evidences that she thinks that the “libertarian” label means knee-jerk antipathy to government spending of any sort.

    Although I’m sure she makes a cute souffle for her dinner parties.

    Shorthand: McMegan is a dumb broad which might explain her difficulty/horror with math.

  243. 243

    […] Megan McArdle is a successful blogger/journalist while I’m living in a van down by the river. […]

  244. 244

    That’s what I would have written. Although, in fairness, I have had a lot of practice being wrong.

    No… you have a lot of practice in *caring about getting it right*. A huge, huge difference. If you really care about getting it right, then it’s natural for you to want to correct the record when you’re wrong.

    People who care about Being Right – actually, about being viewed as being right – write shitty apologies because they don’t actually care about getting it right. Since they don’t care about getting it right, the embarrassment of apologizing is all they remember… whereas people who want to get it right might also be embarrassed, but there’s a bit of pride, too, in doing the right thing.

  245. 245
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @burnspbesq:

    And I heard him exclaim, as he rode out of sight waved his goodbye,
    “Throw their asses in jail, and to all a good night the ropes over lamp posts, and hang them all high.”

    Fix’t.

  246. 246
    Brad DeLong says:

    Let me just say that this:

    “I struggle daily to live up to Brad’s well-known standards of accuracy, fairness, and integrity”

    is a most precious gift indeed.

  247. 247
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    Good God, it’s even worse than I thought. Check out this exchange in the comments over there:

    clawback 16 hours ago
    __
    DeLong is right about what? He made no comment about the issue, only quoted from the discussion initiated by DougJBalloon. Then, instead of simply acknowledging Doug’s point, you act as if DeLong brought it up. Classy.

    McMegan 16 hours ago in reply to clawback
    __
    You’re right, fixed–named him in the post.

    Aaaannnd…THIS is how she fixed it by naming DougJ in the post:

    Yup, Brad DeLong is right: I probably made a math error eight years ago, and didn’t see it when it was initially pointed out to me by commenter Doug J. … I struggle daily to live up to Brad’s well-known standards of accuracy, fairness, and integrity; I’m sorry that I clearly failed in this instance.

    Shouldn’t this kind of stupidity be painful?

  248. 248
    erlking says:

    @Tim: LOL and ew back to you my friend.

    Now I need to work the phrase, “Blowjobs are for amateurs” into the conversation at the holiday party this evening.

  249. 249
    LosGatosCA says:

    Shouldn’t this kind of stupidity be painful?

    Eight years worth for the literate blogosphere, and judging from her chronic condition, eight more at least. OTOH, it may not be actual stupidity as much as a handicap. In which case The Atlantic should actually be lauded for paying her. But autistic savant she ain’t.

    But as HRoman Hruska would have put it, even mediocre people need representation among the economic editors in the blogosphere. The question is though, do they have to outnumber the readers?

  250. 250
    Another Bob says:

    @Dollared:

    And she has this job because it takes a Ph.D. and absolutely no memory, a rare combination that she lacks, to get a fellowship at Cato.

    But still, her audacity and her shamelessness at least partly makes up for that. I think that the corporate establishment is getting some solid work out of her, and she’s undoubtedly well worth her pay to them.

  251. 251
    henqiguai says:

    @Tom Levenson (#131):

    I too wish I’d stuck with my martial arts—I did Tae Kwan Do for a couple of years in high school. Shoulda coulda woulda gotten a lot out of it if I had stayed with the art.

    Yang’s Martial Arts; Long Fist (if you’re feelin’ gutsy) or Tai Chi otherwise. If I lived closer I’d be all over his Crane courses.

  252. 252
    RobNYNY1957 says:

    I have an MBA (called an MM) from one of Chicago’s big competitors, the Kellogg School at Northwestern. It was a collossal joke. The most that you could have classes was 4 days a week, and if you were clever you have almost all of your classes on two days a week, with maybe a 1.5 hour seminar on the third day. The financial accounting course, the managerial accounting course and one strategic management course were worthwhile, but the accouting courses would have been virtually the same at community college.

    My concentration was in finance, and somehow I took two years of finance courses without ever hearing any professor mention LIBOR. (The professors all wanted to price options, so that’s what we did.) I proudly say that I got a C in business ethics class (the only correct answer, which I did not give, was that nothing your employer could do is so bad that you need to resign or report them to the authorities). In one of my marketing classes, the only coursework that was required was a 28-question multiple-choice exam, and the correct answer to four questions was, “D–Hire a marketing consultant.”

    I’ve quizzed recent grads of other MBA schools, and things don’t seem to have changed much.

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