Thursday, December 30, 2010

Covering Himself With Glory

How many times has the current administration called the ACA Obamacare without scare quotes?  None, that's how many. 

For example
Q    How many of the Democrats -- of the 219 Democrats who voted for “Obamacare” have invited the President to campaign for them in their districts this fall?
MR. GIBBS:  I don't have a political schedule in front of me, Lester.
Q    Since not one of the Republicans in the House voted for “Obamacare,” and 32 Democrats voted against --
MR. GIBBS:  Do you mean -- I'm sorry, I'm confused.  Do you mean by that the law that the President signed yesterday?
Q    “Obamacare,” yes.
MR. GIBBS:  Okay, I just was -- I didn't know if that was the Internet vernacular or the name of the bill, Lester.  I was a little confused.

How silly is Matt Yglesias?  Very.
Incidentally, I’m glad to see that the “Affordable Care Act” lingo that I started trying to popularize months ago as an alternative to “ObamaCare” has been taken up by the administration.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Path to Citizenship

The repeal of DADT is the first step toward full equality not only because military service and citizenship are tightly linked in the "western tradition" but also because of the generational split it exposes between and among Conservatives. So, I say, well done Obama well done.

Why I Despair of Glibertarian Gibberish

Matt Yglesias is not, I argue, a serious human being.  His is, rather, an ideological Jack-in-the- box who spouts the usual Glibertarian nonsense at the drop of a regulation. Today he celebrates the beginning  of the end of the regulatory regime painstakingly put in place between 1906 and 1976 with a post lauding Alfred Kahn for deregulating airlines.  This deregulation, he argues, did, in fact, lead to air transportation being "sucky" but only because that's what people wanted.  He offers no evidence for people wanting sucky air transportation but, one assumes, his certainty arises from some Glibbertarian bedrock, like the wisdom of markets.

Airlines have the third lowest customer satisfaction rating on the University of Michigan's survey and, according to the same source, passenger volume was down 6% in 2009.  On average 66% of customers are satisfied with airlines. It's difficult to spin those numbers into evidence of giving people what they want.

But, he might reply -- as he does in the post, that the cost is lower and besides all that luxury of yesteryore was an inefficient use of scarce resources, no really. Costs, it's true, declined but since 2001 have risen kind of dramatically, to say nothing of the nearly 5 billion in 2001 tax payers gave the airlines for free.  From June 2003 until October 2010, the most recent data available, just over 20 percent of all flights arrived late.  Airline passengers don't like paying for baggage and miss the "inefficient" luxuries of the past. There is also problems with maintenance and such like.

So, has deregulation been a success? No.  Is there any evidence that consumers are getting what they want? No.  Is this one more example of Yglesias talking out of his hat because he is a neo-Liberal?  Yes.

Why on earth does Think Progress pay someone to make zombie Reaganite, Thatcherite, neo-Liberal and Glibbertarian arguments?

Andrew Sullivan

John Cole, over to Balloon Juice, is complaining about Andrew Sullivan's stupidity, which is fine.  It ought not go unnoticed, however, that Sullivan created Yglesias and both are equally sillily illogical and ideological bedfellows. Indeed, every time one complains about Sullivan, McArdle, or some other Glibertarian, it ought to be mandatory to include Yglesias.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Google Research

Lots of folks have been all agog at the new Google Ngam Viewer, which searches Google books for words or phrases and then graphs their occurrence.  Here is an image of one such for hitler:

Here's another for Hitler:

Here's another on terrorism versus Terrorism

 In any event, the next time you see some clever Charlies making some kind of argument based on Ngram evidence treat it with all the respect it deserves. Really researching any topic of interest, as opposed to the intellectual sloth that is the Google, is a lot of work.  Something like this might serve as the first step in a long term study but it would have to e a tentative and halting first step.