Re: $3 for 40

1

Good of her to suggest that poor people -- unlike wealthy New Yorkers -- would rather spend money on drugs than on food.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:02 PM
horizontal rule
2

For once I already saw this. The post itself drove me crazy but to give her some credit she twice said that it would be better to give poor people money than food stamps.

It reminds me very tangentially of a James Joyce anecdote whereof I cannot locate a source beyond "I read it somewhere years ago". Supposedly in one of his letters he writes that a man in the street asked him, '" Would you have the price of a drink?'" Joyce says 'I gave him what I could. If he had asked me for the price of a cup of tea I think I would have hit him'.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:03 PM
horizontal rule
3

"Voluntary bad food choices" vs. "economic constraints imposed by food stamps"

grrr. What world do these people live in? Have they thought for a second about how they make their own food decisions and the number of irrational and hard to detect influences on them?

"The poor choose to be fat, just as I choose to be thin!"

grr.

[/batshit insane]


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:04 PM
horizontal rule
4

So you broke the prohibition implemented because people go batshit insane with a post that seems almost calculated to drive people batshit insane. Good job.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:05 PM
horizontal rule
5

Yeah, I can't see why on earth her post would make anyone go batshit insane.

Her doing the food stamp challenge -- for the whole of Lent, not just a week -- is an excellent idea.

On preview, pwned by 4.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:06 PM
horizontal rule
6

But CJB, McMegan is so nice in person!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:07 PM
horizontal rule
7

This is not to say that a -- not necessarily "her" -- broader point isn't valid, in that the Food Stamp program encourages some micro-sensible but macro-problematic programs. (My uncle the conservative policy analyst has argued this, so it's not just a concern on the left.) And increasing food stamps as a means of economic stimulus, rather than (say) out of concern that the newly laid-off working poor won't be able to keep their kids fed during the upcoming recession, is probably not a useful approach. It wouldn't be a McMegan argument if it didn't have something reasonable underneath the layers of condescension and whistling past market failure, although there's no argument from anecdote in this one.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:10 PM
horizontal rule
8

But CJB, McMegan is so nice in person!

Hey I would probably get along with McMegan better then most people here. This just seemed an odd post to break the prohibition for since it is obviously going to result in a thread full of flames.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:11 PM
horizontal rule
9

Of course, Megan is dead wrong here, in part because lack of access to decent food and time and knowledge to cook one's own food are what cause obesity in the poor, not "too much food." Jesus. One of the main causes of obesity is lack of nutrition, which induces hunger because the body's not getting what it needs to survive.

At the Co-op, which takes food stamps (and, bc it is so incredibly cheap, helps food stamps stretch far more than they would at those awful ghetto groceries that supply only a few shockingly overpriced rotten bananas and 40s of malt liquor), I often hear some of the food-stamps-using people I work with say they feel really overwhelmed by the selection of produce. Like, it's nice to have 15 species of fresh greens, but if you don't know how to cook them, they might as well be shelves full of rotten bananas.

The British initiatives right now about after-school cooking classes in schools that seem right to me. But poorer US schools can't afford any kind of useful home-ec program. In mine we learned how to use biscuit dough and cheese to make snacks. Disgusting, un-nutritious, and completely useless for an independent lifestyle.

More home-ec! More sex ed, while we're at it!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:12 PM
horizontal rule
10

I had a comment all written up, but I've decided that her blog simply has to be on the list of Things That Angry Up The Blood To No Purpose and simply avoided.

And surely this article is pretty much on the Jackie Mackie level without having any of JMPP's zany charm?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:12 PM
horizontal rule
11

It is much more likely that the causal relationship between fat and income runs from fat to income than from income to fat

!!!??

"There are really two possible causal relationships here, so I will say that being fat makes you poor. Lets ignore any complicated factors like AWB mentions in 9."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:16 PM
horizontal rule
12

4 and 5 get it exactly right. McMegan may be a perfectly nice person but she's a perfectly shitty political pontificator. To respond only to the most nearly sane bit of her post, in what universe are conservative politicians advocating increasing cash aid to the poor instead of increasing food stamps? More cash would be great, but the choice on the table is food stamps or nothing.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:17 PM
horizontal rule
13

NPH, 6 was not actually meant as a defense of her in any way.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:19 PM
horizontal rule
14

Jesus, Becks. That's even stupider than normal for McArdle. You're trolling us, aren't you?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:19 PM
horizontal rule
15

Hilzoy seems to have posted on this almost simultaneously. I actually doubt that McMegan doesn't know about the food security info, but I'm not sure if that helps or hurts her case.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:20 PM
horizontal rule
16

Also, to add to AWB's 9, we've set things up so that processed food is often so much cheaper than fresh. I'm making cornbread this weekend and I'm positive that the ingredients for my from-actual-kernels-of-corn cornbread costs at least 3X what a box of the Jiffy mix would.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:20 PM
horizontal rule
17

10: Right on, Frowner. I think I'll do the same.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:21 PM
horizontal rule
18

The Co-op does try to have little tutorials about how to shop for and prepare nutritious meals, but they are, I presume, disgustingly sanctimonious. (There's the whole subtle "We'd much rather you become a vegetarian and remove all sugars from your diet, but we suppose it's a free country or whatever" rhetoric behind everything there. It annoys me and I'm a nearly sugar-free vegetarian.) Plus, it's so obviously a class thing. It's embarrassing to ask some sanctimonious white person how to cook. A few of my co-workers have asked me to give them little tours of the produce section, but I think because I act like I'd be pretty discreet about it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:22 PM
horizontal rule
19

McMegan is a jackass.

I'm sure she understands why I say that, and is not personally offended.

On preview, pwned. I think she should live on food stamps, without a car, and taking care of four kids, for lent. While working the graveyard shift. At an office in, oh, let's say Anacostia.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:23 PM
horizontal rule
20

Oh, and she should have to shop in the ghetto.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:24 PM
horizontal rule
21

increasing food stamps as a means of economic stimulus... is probably not a useful approach

I am not economics-savvy, so please feel free to set me straight, but I believe that there is strong evidence against this.

As for M McA, I still allow the possibility that she is not an ignorant, hateful person, but the quoted portion of her post argues otherwise.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:25 PM
horizontal rule
22

increasing food stamps as a means of economic stimulus... is probably not a useful approach

I am not economics-savvy, so please feel free to set me straight, but I believe that there is strong evidence against this.

As for M McA, I still allow the possibility that she is not an ignorant, hateful person, but the quoted portion of her post argues otherwise.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:25 PM
horizontal rule
23

18: "Ask a Sanctimonious White Person" sounds like a great name for an advice column.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:25 PM
horizontal rule
24

Aaaarrrrgggghhhh.

Megan, if you're reading: poor people tend to eat a lot more processed, low-nutrient food, because it's (1) cheaper; (2) what's available at grocery stores in poor neighborhoods that take food stamps. In short, you're wrong: insufficiency of healthy food *is* a major problem for the poor.

People have been talking about this for a LONG TIME. See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. For a start.

And really, have some humility when you're talking about what *other people* "need" or "don't need." Or at least do a little damn research. Jesus.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:25 PM
horizontal rule
25

13: Understood. I'm just noting McMegan's reported personal decency as a vague gesture of respect for Becks' choice of friends before getting on with the slagging of McMegan's work, which is the only thing that really matters to me out here in the exurbs of the internets.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:26 PM
horizontal rule
26

Also, in re. "poor people would rather spend money on drugs"--actually, the poor use illegal drugs *less* than the well-off. But I have stuff to do, so you'll have to do your own googling on that one.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:27 PM
horizontal rule
27

"Ask a Sanctimonious White Person" sounds like a great name for an advice column.

That niche is already overfilled, I'm afraid.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:27 PM
horizontal rule
28

Damn it.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:27 PM
horizontal rule
29

26: as would stand to reason; after all, drugs cost money, and who has more money, the poor or the well off?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:29 PM
horizontal rule
30

Also, 20 gets it right: if she's gonna do the Food Stamp Challenge--which she manifestly should, since she feels free to pontificate about what other people's lives are like--she should also shop in grocery stores in the "bad" part of town.

We'll cut her some slack on owning decent kitchen equipment, though, and not confine her to one or two working burners, one or two cheap-ass Revere ware pots, and maybe a single frying pan. 'Kay?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:29 PM
horizontal rule
31

I think that the "poor people are obese" meme is a sly way of reducing sympathy for the victims. If she had said "poor people dress tacky" or "poor people don't watch cool movies", or "poor people listen to 70s rock unironically" it wouldn't have seemed legit, but uncoolness is the working part of the meme.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:30 PM
horizontal rule
32

19: C'mon Sifu! The welfare queen you're describing *chose* to have those kids. And surely she could get a better job if she just applied herself more. Changing buses 2 or 3 times each way wouldn't be such a problem if she weren't obese, for goodness sake.

(My resolve to ignore this thread lasted for approximately 3 minutes. Clearly, I have the willpower of a poor person deciding between celery and nachos.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:30 PM
horizontal rule
33

I routinely see people use food stamps and EBT to buy junk food. Pure junk food. Sometimes because the selection at the store is poor (no produce, mostly), sometimes willfully (buying tater tots when they could be buying lentils, etc.) And you know what? As I walk around in my nice imported German shoes, carrying my diet soda back to my comfortable apartment where I will spend the evening relaxing on the internet after eating healthy yet convenient deli from the co-op, I reflect that it's a bit hypocritical of me to, er, criticize.

I wasn't going to say this stuff, but now I'm full of rage: what these goddamn centrists want is this : a working class that will exploit itself with maximum efficiency for minimum wage. They want the poor to eat properly, refrain from drinking alcohol or using drugs, save up so that they can pay their own medical bills and not depend on society when they're old, take good care that their children are not a public nuisance, and all the while work for as little as possible with crap labor standards and no health care. When people like this McArdle person stand up for real economic equality achieved by aggressive government intervention, then and only then will I believe that propositions like this food-nannying business are anything but being self-interested. Otherwise it's just that they want the poor people to be good and suffer in silence so that they can enjoy being rich more comfortably.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:31 PM
horizontal rule
34

Like, it's nice to have 15 species of fresh greens, but if you don't know how to cook them, they might as well be shelves full of rotten bananas.

So true.

But poorer US schools can't afford any kind of useful home-ec program. In mine we learned how to use biscuit dough and cheese to make snacks. Disgusting, un-nutritious, and completely useless for an independent lifestyle.

In mine we made pancakes fried in bacon grease, and sugar cookies decorated with Kool-Aid powder. What the fuck, Pittsburgh Public Schools?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
35

I am not economics-savvy, so please feel free to set me straight, but I believe that there is strong evidence against this.

On the plus side, it's -really quick- to get money out to people quickly by increasing benefits, as opposed to something like a payroll tax refund let alone some of the more fanciful things being discussed. On the downside, it's not necessarily as well-targeted as one would like -- I'm swayed here by Brad DeLong's analysis of Obama's stimulus package, in which DeLong argued that the best thing was the thing that got the most money into the hands of the broadest segment of the public likely to spend it as quickly as possible.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
36

31: Right, well, we'll leave behind the fat-bashing for the moment to focus on the poor-bashing. We can jump her shit for being an asshole about fat people--let's just deny them food!--later.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:33 PM
horizontal rule
37

It is true that there are ways to survive and be well organized with little money or resources. But in order to do so people have to break ties with everyone they know who is following the more self-destructive path that comes much more easily and seems like the only way to live.

Immigrants have already cut ties with the world they grew up in, so they can succeed by carefully and painstakingly saving money. But people can't make decisions to cut ties with the people who continue to surround them. It's hard enough to save any money at all when not just you, but everyone around you, could find a good use for it right now. That makes it selfish to save money for the future.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:35 PM
horizontal rule
38

The limits on the type of goods available to food stamp consumers, and the growing season, mean that some (it's hard to say how much) of the food stamp spending will simply draw down perishable stocks rather than generating new economic activity. Eventually this will probably generate more economic activity, but probably well after your stimulus is needed.

This strikes me as spectacularly ignorant. Only 5% or 10% (subject to correction) of the cost of food goes to the farmer, and there will be a multiplier effect all through the system as food sellers spend the money they get.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:36 PM
horizontal rule
39

but I believe that there is strong evidence against this.

I'd agree with McMegan that increasing the amount of food stamps probably won't be a useful economic stimulus, but that's mostly because food is pretty cheap and a very tiny part of our economy. Quite simply, there's no way you could shoot enough money into the system to goose the economy through buying more food for poor people unless you started buying them organic everything and deep-frying it all in truffle oil. Even the $300-$600 individual rebates probably won't do much if anything.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:36 PM
horizontal rule
40

We are conditioned to judge it when poor people buy unhealthy stuff, and to smile at it when rich people do. So while I'm sure there is a difference between how poor people and rich people shop (due to all the factors above), there's also a difference in the way we view it. If I'm working checkout and I see a well-dressed white guy buying a cart full of chips and cheese and beer, I think, "Oh, someone's having a nacho party for the big game!" if I think anything at all. Can we say we think the same when a poor person has the same stuff in her cart?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:36 PM
horizontal rule
41

B may have been alluding, supra, to the stuff linked in this post or something like that.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
42

My local food pantry has been to the rafters with pallets
every time I've gone with a few bags of canned goods. Better an anonymous mouseclick to something farther away, I guess.

Also, ghetto grocers vary by ethnicity. 7-11 is shit, but the bodega two doors down sells pretty good food. He's British and often conservative, but I like Dalrymple on poverty. He's never had anything nice to say about Bush, and is not afraid to write about problems free markets cannot solve.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
43

42.1: Huh?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:39 PM
horizontal rule
44

Becks, you're aware that McArdle drives people batshit insane precisely because her stereotypical post is "Tee-hee, poor people are fat!", right?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
45

I'd agree with McMegan that increasing the amount of food stamps probably won't be a useful economic stimulus, but that's mostly because food is pretty cheap and a very tiny part of our economy.

But doesn't it straightforwardly substitute for other spending? Presumably most people's food budget is more than their food stamp allowance, so if the food stamp allowance is increased, it frees up the same amount of cash elsewhere, which goes into the economy like any handout of money to poor people would. The only virtue of doing it through food stamps is that the distribution infrastructure is set up alread, but it's not terribly different from handing out an equivalent amount of cash.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
46

Sausagely mentions that the CBO disagrees with me; since I'm neither an economist nor a policy expert -- just like McArdle! -- I'll assume that my understand of DeLong's point was wrong and that cranking up the food stamps money would in fact be a pretty good way of providing stimulus.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
47

Holy crap. I just read her post and realized that 38 was the closest she had to "economic" reasoning. She brings shame upon my school.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:42 PM
horizontal rule
48

39: But if current food stamp levels aren't high enough to actually feed yourself, presumably food stamp recipients are also spending non-food stamp resources on food, so increasing food stamp aid should free up some cash to spend on other stuff. If that's true, $1 of additional food stamps may be less stimulus than $1 in cash, but it's still a good enough substitute for cash that you're not just stimulating the food sector.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
49

40: Ditto fat people vs. thin people. If *I* buy Ben and Jerry's, no one gives a shit. If someone fat--whether b/c of diabetes, thyroid problems, lack of exercise, genetics, poor nutrition, or any one of a bunch of other possible reasons--buys Ben and Jerry's, well NO WONDER they're fat.

Grrr.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
50

But you see, Cryptic, it's not just that. The odds are so high against working class people that it's actually weirdly counterintuitive to deny yourself simple daily pleasures (and self-medication, especially with the booze--back problems, etc.) You work a shitty job for terrible pay, you have terrible or no health care, your kids go to bad schools where they're often under the gun for being poor or brown--and if you do scrimp and save and deny yourself, there's a good chance that a big medical bill, a long period of unemployment, inflation or some other crazy thing will wipe everything out. Why not get the tater tots?

And with the housing bubble, it's only too obvious that plenty of poorer people were putting it on the line to do that proper American thing, buy a house. Servants of the world's meanest capitalism, obediently driving up prices for speculators and being clients for dishonest banks. Rich people make a lot of money off poor ones--selling them the damn cheap food, and the terrible interest rates, and the cheap used cars on ridiculous payments, and the endless round of cheap stuff that always, always, always has to be replaced.

In my book, it's a lot worse to make lots of money selling McDonald's to poor people than it is to buy a quarter-pounder.


And richer people indulge themselves in steady, minor pleasures all the time. I'm not even that rich, and I do it without thinking about it--a new book, or a shirt, or coffee with friends.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
51

LB says the same thing sooner and more clearly. Film at 11.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:45 PM
horizontal rule
52

47: She went to your school? The B School? Or the College?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:45 PM
horizontal rule
53

50: Yes. Plus, if you're working two fucking jobs, or you're fucking depressed and don't have mental health care, etc., etc., then fucking fast food is just a hell of a lot easier than cooking from scratch.

And it might not make you fat, either. I ate nothing but crap when I was depressed, and I actually lost weight.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:46 PM
horizontal rule
54

49: Not to mention that they're obviously too poor to be buying Ben & Jerry's in the first place. They should buy the cheap stuff if they really must overindulge themselves.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:46 PM
horizontal rule
55

24 and 26 are right, as is the second part of 33.

On preview, 50 is also right.

re: 53

If you live in really poor areas you tend to see about half and half of really fat people and really skinny people who look about 40 years older than they are.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:47 PM
horizontal rule
56

If poor people were skinny (and many of them are), they'd be skinny in an unattractive way. Probably because they smoke too much. That's the point here.

I'll just plug "The Eight Americas" again, which says that poor white Wobegonians are the healthiest people in America except for Asian-Americans, measurably healthier than rich white Americans.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:49 PM
horizontal rule
57

The sage Cartman summarized McArdle when he said "I'm not bringing food for poor people! Screw them!"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:49 PM
horizontal rule
58

49: B subtly lets those who haven't met her that she's not at all fat, dammit!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:50 PM
horizontal rule
59

pancakes fried in bacon grease

Hey hey, easy there, RFTS. A lot of people object when public schools stop teaching The Classics.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:50 PM
horizontal rule
60

A few of my co-workers have asked me to give them little tours of the produce section

I smell an Unfogged field-trip in the offing.

And I can't be bothered to RTFA, but I don't think Miz Megan's point that you can buy enough food on a limited budget is in conflict with the fact that the incentives tend towards buying unhealthy food. Her point is about quantity, not quality, right?


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:50 PM
horizontal rule
61

Eh, I think you're all being too hard on McArdle. She isn't for just fucking with poor people; she disagrees about a lot of the moving parts that move people to take specific policy positions. I suspect she's wrong, and perhaps more worried about deformations of the market than (a) she should be, and (b) the lives of the poor. But what are you going to do?

I haven't read the post, but I saw it quoted elsewhere, and I think there were more points than the one Becks cited. I don't know how the food stamp ramp-up is supposed work. I'm not crazy about it because I don't love constraining the way that people spend. Maybe, as LB suggests, this won't do that.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:51 PM
horizontal rule
62

45: But my main point is that you just can't push enough money through the program, even though it will basically just serve as extra spending.

Around 25-30 million people on food stamps. Assume they double the amount of aid to $6 per day. That's about $35 billion more dollars put into the economy in a year. Even with a Keynesian multiplier of 3-4 (very very generous compared to experimental data, but giving all the cash to the poorest probably will lead to a higher velocity), you're still talking about less than 1% of America's GDP.

They'd need to distribute that kind of money much more widely. Probably a pretty great stimulus package would be to send out checks of $2000 to anyone making less than $40,000 (with phasing out from incomes of $35,000 to $50,000, yadda yadda...).


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
63

43: Grocery store overflow already provides more food than can can be effectively distributed near me. Giving locally in kind doesn't make sense for me. There are a couple of neighborhoods where people are struggling but not desperate in a 2-mile radius.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
64

In my book, it's a lot worse to make lots of money selling McDonald's to poor people than it is to buy a quarter-pounder.

What if I just walk around giving poor people loaves of spongy bread and hunks of rendered animal fat?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
65

There's a great scene in Ben Okri's novel The Famished Road where the political party "The Party for the Poor" distributes massive amounts of poor-quality dry milk to the starving community, who start using it to feed their babies instead of breast feeding. Everyone gets incredibly ill from it and the community collapses. But it was free!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
66

64: That would be pretty hilarious. Go for it, say I. But you're not allowed to use plastic bags; either hand it out in oily lumps or not at all.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
67

58: B. is subtly letting people know that her anger about fat issues isn't "just because she's a fatty." And hence easily dismissed, to a certain kind of person.

61: The point is that her disagreement about specific policy positions isn't just an abstraction. Specific policy positions have real consequences for real people. That matters.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:56 PM
horizontal rule
68

52: She went to the B school. That's why I'm so ashamed of her econ rationale (her undergrad was jounalism, I believe). Plus, I think she even was a writer for the Finance/Econ section of The Economist.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
69

61: I nominate SCMT to take the food stamp challenge as well. (Although McMegan thinks you should feel free to spend the $3/day on drugs if you prefer.)

Even if they spend it all on drugs, it will hardly be much worse than spending it all on increasing their already astronomical obesity rates.

Crack and meth addicts *do* seem to tend toward skininess.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
70

...either hand it out in oily lumps or not at all.

Of course. WWJD?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
71

We'd still love you if you were fat, B. But you'd have to change your handle to "Jolly PhD".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
72

We'd still love you if you were fat, B.

Just, you know, less.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
73

61: This is Sausagely: Indeed, the CBO estimated that the most effective stimulus idea would be a temporary boost in food stamps. They concluded that the second most effective stimulus idea would be an increase in the duration of unemployment benefits. Democrats proposed both of those things. But Republicans wouldn't go along with either. So in order to make the bill bipartisan, the best idea was stripped out. And so was the second best idea.

It makes intuitive sense to me that there aren't enough people on food stamps to make a difference, but like I said, I'll defer to the CBO on this.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
74

65: Isn't that why we're supposed to hate Nestlé? They did that in the 3rd world in the 70s/80s, and were boycotted for it for a long while (I know people that still refuse to buy their stuff).


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
75

I suspect she's wrong, and perhaps more worried about deformations of the market than (a) she should be, and (b) the lives of the poor. But what are you going to do?

Call her a jackass, apparently?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:00 PM
horizontal rule
76

74: Aren't they still doing that? I would avoid their products for that reason if ever I were inclined to buy them.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:01 PM
horizontal rule
77

It makes intuitive sense to me that there aren't enough people on food stamps to make a difference, but like I said, I'll defer to the CBO on this.

Yeah, I don't know the absolute numbers at all, but it should be an easy calculation: you want to get money into the economy and you have X foodstamp users who can reasonably be expected to spend up to Y additional dollars on food. If XY is big enough to be a significant stimulus, you're golden, if not, it's useless.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:02 PM
horizontal rule
78

65: Isn't that why we're supposed to hate Nestlé? They did that in the 3rd world in the 70s/80s, and were boycotted for it for a long while (I know people that still refuse to buy their stuff).


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:03 PM
horizontal rule
79

76: That's the downside of boycotts -- poor information about when they're over. I didn't eat grapes out of habit for years and years after there was any political point to it. Actually, I still don't eat them much; the boycott kind of broke my habit of eating them at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:04 PM
horizontal rule
80

74: Oh, I didn't know that! Or maybe I did and didn't make the connection to Okri, who's writing about rural Nigeria. Plus, the novel is really surrealistic, so I didn't suppose the connections would be so literally true. Jesus Christ.

It's a great novel about poverty and politics and religion, if anyone needs a fantastically good book to read.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:04 PM
horizontal rule
81

74: Actually, the boycott is back. Cast aside those Toll House cookies -- it's Ghiradelli (sp?) for you.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:04 PM
horizontal rule
82

ZOMG!1!

Seriously, I can feel my blood pressure rising when I read this shit. Even if they, those strange, zoo-animal-like Others who are the poor...Disgusting. The "they" she's talking about is my neighbors. My neighborhood. My first two serious boyfriends. Frankly, a lot of the they is also my fellow union members--a number of university employees qualify for food stamps.

One day, friends, one day blood will flow through the streets like tasty, meat-rich borscht topped with sour cream and accompanied by pierogi, comrades.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:05 PM
horizontal rule
83

77: I think that you normally expect poor people to spend all their money on something. But not necessarily more dollars on food, if they were already spending cash on food besides the foodstamps.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:05 PM
horizontal rule
84

obediently driving up prices for speculators and being clients for dishonest banks.

Everyone who's agreeing with 50 agrees that this is a good way of describing the housing bubble? It doesn't sound that way to me.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:05 PM
horizontal rule
85

Just, you know, less.

Less per unit bitch, anyway. Constant love distributed through more of her to love, you know.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
86

82: Oh, my italics disappeared. I was commenting on this:
Even if they spend it all on drugs, it will hardly be much worse than spending it all on increasing their already astronomical obesity rates.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
87

73: Fair enough. If they were talking about the delivery method for same-size aid packages, that's almost certainly true. I'm just saying that they were probably talking about insufficiently sized aid packages to do anything then.

If they pushed $150-$200 billion (the apparent total size of the stimulus package when tax cuts for businesses are included) through to the people on food stamps, that'd be one hell of a stimulus pretty fast, and probably pretty entertaining to boot since many people with kids in the program would suddenly see $10K to $20K added to their annual income.

Also, I'm sure this is understood, but I feel the need to make it explicit: McMegan's assumptions and ad-hoc rationales for her viewpoint are pretty horrendously wrong and insulting. I just find it amazing that someone whose supposed expertise is economics journalism still managed to botch the main economic reasoning behind her point.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
88

Three dollars for a 40 oz?
Three dollars for a bunch of 40 carrots?
Three dollars for 40 sliders at White Castle?
Three dollars for 40 donuts?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
89

82: And you, Frowner, will not get any borscht because of your cult diet! Ha!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
90

Wow, hating on fat people and poor people in one fell swoop. Yup, calculated to drive me batshit crazy.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
91

82: I feel negatively about borscht. I would not be inhospitable to offers from a revolution promising gutters flowing with caramel, however.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:08 PM
horizontal rule
92

83: We're not giving them cash, we're giving them foodstamps. So presumably once the total amount of foodstamps each recipient gets is equal to their total food budget, the foodstamps won't get spent, and it's useless as stimulus. The food budget acts as a cap on how much stimulus you can create through food stamps.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:08 PM
horizontal rule
93

84: I had assumed that the bubble had something to do with increased demand from people who had not previously been able to purchase houses and who, on balance, were not actually in a position to do so. Certainly, in my neighborhood that was what seemed to be happening--first there were houses that no one would buy, then there were more people wanting those houses, then prices went up. (And there have been foreclosures and all that around here in plenty, many of them on houses that were being purchased by the working poor.)

Obviously, this isn't the only reason that there was a housing bubble.



Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
94

You know how much you get in food stamps if you're single (in Illinois)? About $160. Can you imagine what kind of food you can eat on that?


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
95

69: $3 a day on drugs is barely a quarter of kind bud a month. Nobody can live on that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:11 PM
horizontal rule
96

Constant love distributed through more of her to love, you know.

Saint Paul tells us that "perfect love casteth out fear of fat chicks," Ben.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:11 PM
horizontal rule
97

83: I think that foodstamps never get to the "all the steak you can eat every day" level. People would by treats. I don't think that they'd end up with stacks of foodstamps unused.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:12 PM
horizontal rule
98

Drawing together a thread from earlier today, I wonder if scientists could release a sufficient quantity of genetically engineered sterile libertarians into the wild so that their numbers would plummet after a generation or two?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:12 PM
horizontal rule
99

You know what else is screwy about her reasoning? She's talking as if the only variables in a food budget are more food, quantity-wise, or healthier fresher food. And that's not true. If we gave people enough food stamps, they could be gorging themselves on imported chocolate and lobster -- not a healthy diet, but an expensive one. In the context of using food stamps for economic stimulus, we just want the money spent, though. Frivolously expensive food spending is fine.

So what's the point in rattling on about how the poor have plenty of money to eat healthily now? The policy at issue is economic stimulus, not immediate remediation of hunger, necessarily.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
100

91: Maybe it could vary by town or neighborhood. Caramel is awfully sticky and would take a great deal of Post-Revolutionary Pressure-Washing to get out of the gutters, and I'm not sure that I want to deal with that where I live.

The borscht will almost certainly wash away with the first good rain.

Emerson, I will make an exception to my vegetarianism to eat the Borscht of the Revolution.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
101

Pwned by Emerson in 97.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
102

Some might love fat jolly Bitch substantially more than svelte Bitch.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:14 PM
horizontal rule
103

94: Is that monthly?


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:14 PM
horizontal rule
104

I agree with everything in 93, and I agree that some number of banks could accurately be described as dishonest, but you need to know how they described and sold the mortgages to get there. Just knowing that the rates sucked isn't enough.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:14 PM
horizontal rule
105

94

Is that per month or per week?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:15 PM
horizontal rule
106

To be fair, Nestle marketed and distributed baby formula in the 3rd world, not powdered milk, right? At least that's why I thought I was supposed to be boycotting them.

ANd now I"m not supposed to eat grapes either??


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:16 PM
horizontal rule
107

From the post: Even if they spend it all on drugs, it will hardly be much worse than spending it all on increasing their already astronomical obesity rates.

Aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. (Trying to find the words to not be mean to McMegan). (Giving up). How the fuck dumb do you have to be to think that spending more money on food = getting fatter?

I'm sorry, Becks. I just couldn't help myself.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:16 PM
horizontal rule
108

102: You are in the wrong room, sir.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
109

I am assuming monthly -- UK benefit rates [paid as real money, not as stamps] are between double and triple that [depending on age].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
110

So Becks, why exactly was this the post you chose to break the "no linking to McMegan" rule for?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
111

I reserve my moments of "batshit insane" for the crypto-reactionairies who in the service of tolerance, comity, or mere idle curiousity betray the Revolution by exposing the cadre to a dangerous empathy with the Enemy, a perception of them as people instead of witless embodiments of genocidal ideology.

"Let them eat rice-cakes", is not funny, unless the laughter accelerates the building of gibbets.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:18 PM
horizontal rule
112

103, 105: per month. It's absurd. Also, you can get cash assistance of $100 (as an individual with no income). So that's what you are supposed to live on. $260.

Nevermind that if you aren't already in public housing in Chicago, you're up shit creek with a motherfucking twig.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:18 PM
horizontal rule
113

Also worth noting that food stamp recipients are going to tend not to be income tax payers, so if you're trying to give them money you need a different channel than the tax rebates that are supposed to be sent to higher-income people.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:18 PM
horizontal rule
114

91: I feel negatively about borscht.

This is why The Revolution promises to send it through the streets - not for consumption, but to dispose of it via the storm sewers. I kind of hope that The Revolution will still permit bottled water, at least for the first month or two after the blood and borscht overwhelm the stormwater purification plants.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:19 PM
horizontal rule
115

So what's the point in rattling on about how the poor have plenty of money to eat healthily now? The policy at issue is economic stimulus, not immediate remediation of hunger, necessarily.

Distortive effects, I think. We could also build a bridge to nowhere, but why do it?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:19 PM
horizontal rule
116

You know how much you get in food stamps if you're single (in Illinois)? About $160. Can you imagine what kind of food you can eat on that?

I am not feeling horribly sympathetic about that. I see lots of divorce budgets with people listing $250 for food for a month.

You are going to be drinking a lot of water and eating things that are not tremendously healthy. (rice/pastas)

Sodas are out. that isnt bad.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:20 PM
horizontal rule
117

115: Sure, there's some distortive effect, but any means of getting money into the economy is going to have some distortive effect. The point of food stamps is that it's fast, efficient, and progressive -- saying it's distortive isn't a useful counterargument unless you've got a superior alternative at hand.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:21 PM
horizontal rule
118

Nestle marketed and distributed baby formula in the 3rd world, not powdered milk, right?

Actually, powdered formula that has to mixed with (often) filthy, contaminated water and is given out by women in nurse uniforms who, needless to say, aren't nurses.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:21 PM
horizontal rule
119

re: 112

UK rates aren't massively higher. As I said it's about 60 pounds a week for someone 25 or older [so, about 120 dollars a week]. But if you are under 25 it's a lot closer to the US number. However, you will get additional help with housing costs [that can be up to 100% of the housing costs depending on circumstances].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:21 PM
horizontal rule
120

Don't get me wrong. I would prefer the number to be significantly higher. But that number does not offend me.

Sweets, steak, non-water drinks are out. If you stay away from those things, you can get a lot for your dollar.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:22 PM
horizontal rule
121

So Becks, why exactly was this the post you chose to break the "no linking to McMegan" rule for?

I'm curious about this as well. Did you actually Megan was presenting an interesting or reasonable argument? Or did you think this particular post of hers rightly deserved our contempt? Or what?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:22 PM
horizontal rule
122

Drawing together a thread from earlier today, I wonder if scientists could release a sufficient quantity of genetically engineered sterile libertarians into the wild so that their numbers would plummet after a generation or two?

Umm, role-playing games? Which unfortunately turned out to be not quite as precisely targeted as planned, as so often occurs when we fuck with Mother Nature.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:23 PM
horizontal rule
123

I am not feeling horribly sympathetic about that.

Huh. Well why don't you do the food stamp challenge, and then see?

People might list $250/month for groceries. Hell, I probably spend something like $200/month on groceries, 'cause I eat out all the goddamn time. But total food budget? No way.

I'm serious. Try it.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:23 PM
horizontal rule
124

100: Frowner, I volunteer to make my delicious vegetarian borscht for the Revolution. I will even provide regular and vegan sour cream. From each according to her abilities . . .


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:23 PM
horizontal rule
125

I wonder if scientists could release a sufficient quantity of genetically engineered sterile libertarians into the wild so that their numbers would plummet after a generation or two?

Who says they aren't trying? Megan McArdle is apparently quite attractive, tall, and pleasant in person and JMPP is renowned for her "quality".

Maybe Coulter was Mark I of the project, and they're only just gearing up for larger-scale production.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:24 PM
horizontal rule
126

What Angers the Blood for me is the combination of a) utter confidence in her economic pronouncements with b) the total lack of any understanding of what her teachers were trying to tell her (I hope). On preview, pwned by Po-Mo Polymath.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:24 PM
horizontal rule
127

I know the number is low because I am thinking about doing the food stamp challenge, because it would be good for me (both professionally and bloggically), but I really, really, really don't wanna.

So.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:25 PM
horizontal rule
128

I'd agree with McMegan that increasing the amount of food stamps probably won't be a useful economic stimulus

Please please please this is BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BULLSHIT. Let's spell it out simply here: government gives me $1 more in Food Stamps, I don't necessarily eat more, I use the extra Food Stamps to replace cash money I was spending on food and SPEND $1 MORE ON SOMETHING ELSE.

Unless the Food Stamp allowance really does cover all the money I need to spend on food, which it certainly does not for all food stamp recipients, then it is the equivalent of cash money given to the poorest and most likely to spend part of the population. A Food Stamp expansion does *NOT* go to people who are already maxed out, it goes to those who get less Food Stamps than they need to spend on food.

McMegan deserves every bit of her lousy net reputation. Every time that woman hits her keyboard something dumb and mendacious and spiteful comes out. Her special genius, though, is to combine that stupidity with a condescending faux-reasonable tone that will no doubt make her an effective propagandist.

Here's a short list of the economists who have said Food Stamp expansions are one of the most (or the most effective) forms of economic stimulus available:

Martin Feldstein -- well-known conservative economist, former head of Ronald Reagan's CEA and the National Bureau of Economic Research

Congressional Budget Office -- employs over 200 full time Phd economists, official source of economic advice and forecasts for Congress. Rated Food Stamp expansions as tied with UI for most effective economic stimulus.

Mark Zandi -- runs economic modeling and forecasting for Moody's Economy.com, the leading national business economics forecasting/modeling firm. His models show that Food Stamp expansions are not just effective but THE MOST EFFECTIVE form of economic stimulus.

Now along comes McMegan..."well, I don't know though, aren't those poor people kind of fat already? You know, like it's gross?"

Fuck her.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:25 PM
horizontal rule
129

vegan sour cream

Vegan... sour cream? <boggle>


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:25 PM
horizontal rule
130

129: Careful. You know how they get when they're defending their young.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
131

m leblanc:

Total food budget. It can be done.

I am not going to do it. I am not suggesting that it is comfortable or fun. Isnt that the point?

I buy the groceries for the family so I have a pretty good idea about the cost.

I will reiterate that I would prefer a much greater value.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
132

re: 123

I wouldn't want to get into an argument about it, but I could eat pretty well for $250 a month.

I don't need to do any Food Stamp Challenge to know this. I've spent years living on a food budget of significantly less [also, I grew up on 'welfare'].

That said, I don't want to end up blaming people who struggle to eat well on that sort of budget. As BPhd already said, there are a whole bunch of contributing factors that make it hard to eat healthily living in a low income area.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
133

The only person I know who could easily live on food stamps is Adam Kotsko, and that's because he's basically a monk already.

Somehow, he's not fat, though. Must be because of all that education, which the poor people don't have. If they knew more about Zizek, they'd be hotter.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:28 PM
horizontal rule
134

Not trying to say that the poor have it so good, but I'm not finding $160/mo for a single to be so outrageous. My family (2 adults + toddler) grocery budget is $100-120/week, and there's plenty of liberal-white-folk stuff in there.

The problem - and this is nothing that hasn't been said - is that, at that kind of marginal budget, the "rational" choice is to get a half-dozen super-unhealthy, super-cheap meals (ramen, anyone?) in order to stretch the rest of the budget. But all of the sudden, a third of your meals are absolute shit and, odds are, another third are also subnutritious (toast for breakfast, PB&J on Wonder bread every day for lunch, etc).

Are food stamps means-tested? Do you get more or less depending on employment, or what?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
135

Fuck her.

This should've been comment 1.

I'm sorry, Becks, I know we've been over this but it's still hilarious to me that you actually think McMegan's opinion on things political is interesting in any way whatsoever.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
136

The only person I know who could easily live on food stamps is Adam Kotsko

Silly m. leblanc, bars don't take food stamps!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
137

I'm pretty sure I could do the food stamp challenge. One thing it would presumably do is tie me close to home, though. Potatoes, eggs, cheese sandwiches, and home-made soups. It would get monotonous quickly, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
138

Of course it can be done. The people who are on food stamps aren't dying of starvation, obviously. The point is whether that is any way to live. If it's a sucky way to live, I don't know why you would say "I'm not feeling sympathetic."

I probably shouldn't discuss this. It makes me rather upset.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
139

re: 133

Nah, I used to live on a food budget of much less. It's perfectly do-able. However, you are essentially trading your own time and knowledge for it. If you know where to get the good stuff cheap and are prepared to cook every single day, and freeze what you don't eat, etc. it's really possible to eat quite well on well under $200 a month.

My grocery bill when I was on my lowest income was about $30 - $35 a week.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
140

Isn't it $160/month for one person for food stamps? Were we still trying to figure that out? I mean, $160/month isn't a lot. That's $40 per week. You could do it, probably, if your life was very consistant so that you always had time and fuel to cook and wash up (heating/gas is a cost too). But you still couldn't eat a lot of produce--it would be very substantially plain beans and rice type stuff.

And of course, it goes without question that you couldn't eat organic food, be picky about non-BGH milk, etc. You'd eat stuff that no middle class person would accept; you'd have to.

And you'd better have the start-up stuff to make things palatable--salt, spices and so on--or your food will be pretty drab.

And think of all the things that would suddenly become huge financial issues, like how to pay for a birthday cake for someone. No impromptu inviting folks over for dinner. No picking-what-you-want-to-cook-from-a-fairly-wide-range. Etc, etc.

Charity.

Anyone ever read the good denunciation of the charity model in the very weird Birth of the People's Republic of Antarctica? I wish I had it to hand to quote.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
141

Do you get more or less depending on employment?

Hah! If you're making money, at least as a single person, you're usually not eligible for food stamps (unless you're making like 50/week or something tiny like that).


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
142

Bah. The greater argument here is at least as old as the Romans, or even back to the Egyptians. This is just half of "panem et circenses" or the medieval generosity of the nobility sharing the table scraps of their feasts.

There are progressives out there this month arguing for public works projects instead of cash payments or food stamps and unemployment extensions. But hell, we can't even get back to advocating a decent Keynesian welfare capitalism, never mind social democracy.

Our best & brightest have forgotten how to negotiate, to be charitable to the undeserving.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
143

But you still couldn't eat a lot of produce--it would be very substantially plain beans and rice type stuff.

Again, unless food prices in the US are massively more than the UK, that isn't true.

It still sucks, having to count everything and make sure you use every single thing you buy. And it's labour intensive. I'm emphatically not ragging on poor people -- because, hey, I grew up on welfare and I suspect that puts me in a very small minority here on Unfogged -- but it IS do-able. And you can eat healthy food, too.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
144

I agree with ttaM. But as I said, it would be monotonous and tie you close to home, and as he said, it would be time-consuming.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:36 PM
horizontal rule
145

you couldn't eat organic food, be picky about non-BGH milk, etc. You'd eat stuff that no middle class person would accept

[Snort.]

I'm once again amazed by the rarified way some people use that phrase.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:37 PM
horizontal rule
146

Max food stamp allotment for even a family of two is $300, not $250, for larger families it is greater.

But Food Stamps are given on a *sliding scale*. They decline rapidly with income, which is why they will NOT cover all food expenditures for many recipients. If you want to hit the working near-poor or the working poor close to the poverty line, boosts in Food Stamps for those getting only small amounts now is the right program to use.

Of course, it is not a big enough program to handle the whole stimulus package, but it could damn sure use a couple of billion redirected from those stupid business tax cuts.

McMegan is just a disgrace. Not just for her attitudes, but for her seeming inability or unwillingness to do any research before doing her job. Sort of amazing how friendly the Flophouse cabal is with her. But I'm sure she's nice enough in person and all.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:37 PM
horizontal rule
147

134 was written before 123, for the record. Also for the record, in addition to groceries, I would add exactly 1 dinner out and 1 lunch per week. Including a leftovers lunch from dinner, that's 1/7 of the total food consumption that's off our grocery budget.

But yeah, not "generous" by any stretch. I'd place it firmly in the American tradition of keeping the poor bowed down (but not embarrassingly impoverished) while telling them to be grateful that they've got it so good.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:38 PM
horizontal rule
148

Sorry for all of you who didn't read it, because you will now see, it, but in the comments this lovely snippet from McMegan:

You may have to buy chicken wings instead of breasts, but you don't have to bread and deep fry them.

Um. Teh racism? Hello?


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:38 PM
horizontal rule
149

Haven't had a chance to keep on top of this thread because I was pulled into a meeting (and off to another one) but given that I got a "WTF were you thinking?" email, sorry if this whipped up fury. Focus on my second part - how great would this be for churches to do? We should get Jim Wallis on it.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:39 PM
horizontal rule
150

Here is the CBO page on the proposed stimulus:

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/89xx/doc8916/MainText.4.1.shtml#1070900

Increasing food stamp benefits is listed as cost effective, quick acting, and certain. Much better than some of the other things that were actually put into the package. Mccardle is talking out of her ass.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
151

We should get Jim Wallis on it.

Yeah, I'm sure he's never even heard of the food stamp challenge, let alone advocated for people to undertake it. Yeah.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
152

128: Did you read my 62 or 87? The reason I brought up food being such a tiny portion of our economy isn't because I think there's no cross-elasticity of spending. It's because that implies how small of a program Food Stamps is, and how small of a stimulus it can provide.

Just found some budget numbers from 2005. The entire program had around $28-29 billion in spending. Although each dollar spent on food stamps probably carries a larger multiplier than other forms of cash to the people (see my 87) and is thus a better place to invest money than anywhere else, do you honestly think Congress would expand the program by enough to provide a noticable stimulus? By five to ten fold? Or would it be better to spread a much much larger amount of pure cash among all the various low-to-no income people who received food stamps, unemployment, welfare, public housing benefits or paid very low payroll taxes from the previous year?


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
153

148: No surprises there.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
154

sorry if this whipped up fury.

I'm not furious, just seriously curious as to what you found interesting or linkworthy about Megan's post.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
155

151 - I meant for Lent, specifically. Lalalalala I'm going to pretend that I had this idea myself.

(I did google Lent and Food Stamp Challenge before posting to make sure I wasn't repeating what everyone else is already saying.)


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:45 PM
horizontal rule
156

Jeez, I feel like a Martian. The Fed is chartered to minimize unemployment not as a means to an efficient plutocracy or rising GDP. but because in the better times of my youth, a primary responsibility of the gov't was to guarantee all who wanted one a good job, even if the gov't had to do it itself.

And only fifty years ago this wasn't considered a radical position, not even left-of-center.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:45 PM
horizontal rule
157

These comments are truly awful, another one from MM:

most fat people are fat because they're hungry. It is much more likely that the causal relationship between fat and income runs from fat to income than from income to fat

What the fuck does it mean to say people are "fat because they're hungry?" I can't even... bleh. Anyway, what is she saying? That if you're fat, you end up poor? I ... argh


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:45 PM
horizontal rule
158

145: I meant things other than/in addition to the BGH milk rather than that the middle classes do not consume it. But seriously, it's automatically assumed that wanting pesticide-free food is some kind of ludicrous frivolity for silly rich liberals. (It's an individual solution, and one that I think gets way too much emphasis, but still.) Poor people should have work-related health problems and they should also get a bigger dose of pesticides? That will solve our public health problems?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:45 PM
horizontal rule
159

143, 144: Bear in mind that some huge % of inner city areas there are literally no grocery stores. In luckier areas, there might be 1. Getting to a grocery store somewhere then requires either a taxi or schlepping grocery bags and maybe a kid or 2 on a bus. So the corner store becomes the choice by default.

D.C. was talking about -- maybe it's happened since I left -- getting a farmer's market in Anacostia and trying to get someone to open a grocery store. That's the kind of public policy we need more of.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:46 PM
horizontal rule
160

Clearly, though, we're all just suffering from irrational Megan Derangement Syndrome.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:46 PM
horizontal rule
161

Are food stamps means-tested? Do you get more or less depending on employment, or what?

Yes, that's the point to making it stimulus.

You subtract one-third of household income after exemptions from the max allotment. So a family of two with $1,200/month earned income, gets a straight 20 percent of earned income deducted to start, then say they could deduct an additional $250/month in standard exemption and child care costs, that gives $710 per month. Subtract one third of that from the $300 allowance for a family of two, you get about $87/month to feed a family of two.

Since NOT EVEN TTAM can feed himself and a kid decently on $87 per month, that family is obviously spending cash as well as food stamps on food. Boosting their Food Stamp allotment frees money to spend on other things.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:47 PM
horizontal rule
162

Or would it be better to spread a much much larger amount of pure cash among all the various low-to-no income people who received food stamps, unemployment, welfare, public housing benefits or paid very low payroll taxes from the previous year?

Why can't you do both? Isn't that, in fact, what the Democrats were initially advocating?


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:47 PM
horizontal rule
163

But I am off topic. This discussion of food stamps is about increasing consumption so that business can return to adequate profitability.

It's all about the most efficient economic stimulus.

Just trolling again. Fuck it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
164

128: Did you read my 62 or 87? The reason I brought up food being such a tiny portion of our economy isn't because I think there's no cross-elasticity of spending. It's because that implies how small of a program Food Stamps is, and how small of a stimulus it can provide.

No, sorry, hadn't read them, I was sort of pwned I guess. But what you're saying is true but not that relevant.

Listen: the alternative to $40-$50 billion in business tax cuts wasn't $40-50 billion in Food Stamp money. It was something like $5-10 billion to Food Stamps, $5-10 billion to increased UI benefits (which are straight cash), $5-10 billion in increased aid to states with big budget deficits so they don't have to slash state spending or increase taxes this summer (this is straight cash again), and $5-10 billion in business tax cuts. Or mix and match as you like.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:51 PM
horizontal rule
165

Pwned again, by 162, which is better expressed as well.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
166

152: Do you really think that the CBO didn't run the numbers? The reason it's an effective stimulus isn't that it would, all by itself, boost the economy by 4%; it's that every penny would go almost instantly into consumption, not into savings or debt reduction. You would want to do more, to get more overall stimulus, but just about any other stimulus - aside from extended unemployment insurance - would be less effective, less bang for the buck.

Cash to people doesn't have effective pipelines, and will inevitably include a lot of money to people who will save or retire debt. Building projects don't create any stimulus for half a year at best - most take over a year to really spend money (and those are ones that have already gotten into the pipeline). Et cetera.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
167

Of course, it is not a big enough program to handle the whole stimulus package, but it could damn sure use a couple of billion redirected from those stupid business tax cuts.

I completely agree with this.

The link in 150 is quite good, thanks. It looks like it addresses the quality of the empirical data on each type of stimulus and the results of that data (how quickly it gets spent and how much of it gets spent, etc.) per dollar of aid, which was my suspicion.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
168

In case it wasn't clear, btw, sod food stamps. Just give people more cash.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
169

Is the question just whether this administration in the bottom of their hearts really truly cares about poor people? Are they genuinely compassionate conservatives? Because I thought that question had been pretty fucking firmly settled years ago.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:55 PM
horizontal rule
170

Why 168?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
171

161: Thanks. I assumed it was something like that, but had no sense of how it broke down in reality. What a shitty calculation (Seems to me it should be a lot closer to "until you cross the poverty line, your baseline food needs are met" - which would mean a modest increase in the current baseline, but no reduction in the baseline until you reach the poverty line).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
172

Bob, 142 was the best comment of yours that I've ever read.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
173

I actually agree with 168. But if we're going to give people food stamps and count it as cash, it should actually be enough to eat on.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
174

...in the better times of my youth, a primary responsibility of the gov't was to guarantee all who wanted one a good job....

Was that back when journalists were hard-drinking working class, fedora-wearing raconteurs and great lizards walked the earth?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
175

170: Interfering paternalism. The assumption behind foodstamps is that silly poor people will be malnourished because they're spending their food money on lottery tickets. Screw that -- if you're going to provide income support, provide income support. Poor people aren't any stupider than anyone else. (Given that we've got the program, it's a reasonable tool for economic stimulus, but that doesn't make it sensible.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
176

170: Presumably because the Food Stamp Program serves 2 primary purposes: 1) Prop up agribusiness; 2) Puritanically oversee what the poor do with their alms.

As I said before, it's part of "the American tradition of keeping the poor bowed down (but not embarrassingly impoverished) while telling them to be grateful that they've got it so good."

Although, to be perfectly honest, it doesn't really bother me that WIC funds can be used for real food but not junk food. If a lot of the argument here is that the poor have difficulty accessing healthy foods, then giving them money that is specifically for healthy foods seems like a reasonable thing to do. I'm not sure how to split things up - "here's $100 in use-restricted food aid, and here's another $100 for whatever"? Does that make sense?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:06 PM
horizontal rule
177

According to Mint, I spend $460/month on groceries and eating out. Add another $50 untraced farmer's market cash.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
178

I've been told that some of the support for food stamps comes from farm state Senators. Along with ethanol, crop subsidies, and free trade.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:08 PM
horizontal rule
179

177: Are you single?

That's not a come-on, BTW....


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:10 PM
horizontal rule
180

LB is exactly right in 175.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:10 PM
horizontal rule
181

Interfering paternalism. The assumption behind foodstamps is that silly poor people will be malnourished because they're spending their food money on lottery tickets. Screw that -- if you're going to provide income support, provide income support. Poor people aren't any stupider than anyone else.

Let me play devil's advocate. Suppose 10% of the population, at every income level, are such massive idiots that they will not properly budget for food for their kids. For those idiots above the poverty line, they've got a safety net. But it strikes me as okay to have food stamps as a safety net for poor idiots, and the other smart 90% of poor people are welcome to the food stamps too.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:10 PM
horizontal rule
182

Poor people aren't any stupider than anyone else Paris Hilton or Glenn Beck.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
183

...he must be given food but no clothes, clothes but no food, a third-return ticket to Venice, without either food or clothes when he arrived there. In short, he might be given anything and everything so long as it was not the money itself (google books).

This is less than directly related to the stimulus, obviously. DeLong says one thing, the CBO says another. I'm not competent to judge.


Posted by: ixnaythemetier | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
184

Girlfriended, but not co-habitating for another month. That's the fun thing about keeping track -- I'll be able to see if co-habitating cuts the bill down. (I think it will, but not by more than 10%.)

Come on, data points!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
185

162: We should do both. We should expand the food stamps budget and benefits. But we should do it because it's the humane thing for people to have $200-$300 a month to spend on food, not because it'll stimulate the economy in any noticable way.

164: Well, if you're talking about the likelihood of something getting passed, I think we got as good of a stimulus package as we can ever hope for. I mean, they actually bothered to put on an income cap that stops the top 5-8% of the population from receiving cash, and that's a pretty damn progressive step as far as these things have historically gone.

166: What's stopping them from sending out checks to those who already receive food stamps, welfare, unemployment, public housing assistance, or who have submitted W-2s with very low payroll taxes? We already send those people checks every month or year, so it shouldn't be too hard to send them a very big check. It will take a few months, but so will any other methods of stimulus of any reasonable size.

Here are the relevant bits from the link:

Rebates based on income tax information could be relatively straightforward to administer... The rebates issued in 2001 were issued relatively quickly and with few hitches.

To reach [low-income] households, it would be necessary to base the rebate on W-2s rather than returns, which is administratively a somewhat more complicated task.

Because it is currently tax filing season and the IRS is currently processing returns, it may not be possible to issue tax rebates based on 2007 returns until toward the end of the second quarter of 2008 at the earliest. Basing the rebates on 2006 tax returns could speed the initiation of the process but would increase the number of recipients whose addresses and circumstances have changed. In addition, the process of sending checks out takes time. In 2001, it took about 10 weeks to issue all the rebates, and a similar delivery time should be expected now


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
186

184 to 179.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
187

Poor people aren't any stupider than anyone else.

Everyone else is pretty stupid, though, and ordinarily stupid plus unlucky is a pretty bad combination.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
188

I really do worry about that subset of poor people who are totally dysfunctional to boot.

If you're dysfunctional, but rich, the stakes aren't very high. If you're functional but poor, you're highly sympathetic in people's eyes. But if you're both very dysfunctional and poor, then the stakes are horribly high and yet no one feels like helping you out.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
189

175: Hmm. Of course it's paternalism, but--is that bad? I thought the assumption behind food stamps was that the silly poor people might be spending their food money on alcohol and cigarettes. Maybe lottery tickets too, I suppose, but I haven't heard that concern voiced. And even though some people might think "hey, let 'em", there's a worry that they might also be spending their kids' food money on alcohol and cigarettes, too. Which is in part what the program hopes to prevent. Even if there're still "wasting" more of their money than we'd like, at least there's some set amount we know will go to food.

You say that "poor people aren't stupider than anyone else". I'm not sure what you mean by "stupider". I think they're demographically quite likely on average to be less educated and to exhibit less developed executive functioning. I'm not saying this means poor people would just starve to death if we gave them cash instead of food stamps--I'm not sure how it's relevant at all, really. I'm just noting that I don't know what you mean by "stupider".

Food stamps are paternalistic but don't seem evil. Or even unsensible. (The stingy amounts in which we distribute them seems evil and unsensible, but that's different.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
190

Actually, thinking more on my 176, it would be a lot easier/better to go from cash only to cash + WIC stamps, because you would be specifically augmenting (marginal) cash aid with enough restricted aid to remove constraint from food choices while increasing the likelihood of healthy food purchases. Essentially, the message would be "we know that being poor makes it hard to choose healthy food; here's extra $$ for just that purpose." Because LB's right - poor people aren't dumb, they're resource-constrained. And cash isn't the only constraint.

BTW, in case anyone isn't aware: the absence of proper grocery stores in poor neighborhoods is pretty much straight-up racism. Starting about 10 years ago, some chains started opening full-service groceries in previously unserved neighborhoods, and found that they were the most profitable/SF stores in the chain. Lot of pent-up demand. Lot of boardroom racism.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
191

public works projects

Right next to the headline about stimulus, today's WaPo ran an article reporting that a
Bush appointee
decided against extending a rail line. His being an appointee did not make the paper. I don't know whether the contrasting headline irony was intended.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
192

I'm just noting that I don't know what you mean by "stupider".

If you were smarter, Brock, you'd know what she meant.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
193

184: If either of you is the least bit serious about cooking, your budget should drop by a lot more than 10%.

Maybe I should say "can," not "should." For a long time, I suspect that my wife's & my combined budget was pretty close to the same as uncombined, but in the last year or so I've gotten a lot more serious about making big dishes, freezing leftovers, buying family packs and freezing, forcing us to do leftovers dinners, etc. I would say that our food budget has probably dropped 25% or more in that timeframe, with no appreciable loss of luxury items (and with my growing daughter finally consuming measurable amounts of adult food - it was kind of a shock the first time we didn't have enough fish because she ate half a filet).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
194

How in the hell do food stamps help prop up agribusiness? That doesn't make any sense at all, unless you really do think the poor people would just starve themselves to death if it weren't for the food stamps.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
195

but it could damn sure use a couple of billion redirected from those stupid business tax cuts.

I'm going to call the glass half full and argue that even the business tax cuts are a hell of a lot better than they might have been. The investment deduction will allow businesses to charge their investments against earnings in the current year instead of writing them off over the useful life of the investment. In effect, they're getting an advance on tax savings they would enjoy in future years anyway. The government's only cost is the time value of money (and, as PMP pointed out earlier, the loss of tax revenue from companies that go broke in the meantime). Investment counts in the GDP numbers the same as spending, and it has longer-term benefits of driving employment* and/or productivity growth. Compared to the 2001/2002 cut of the top marginal rate on personal income, this business tax cut is both more equitable and more carefully targeted as stimulus.

*The drawback of promoting investment in a downturn is that most companies won't be in an expansion mode, where they would buy additional equipment and hire more workers. Instead, they may invest in rationalization by replacing labor with capital. Nonetheless, there is an argument for a "balanced" stimulus that contains a supply-side element, namely that it hedges against the risk of staglation if short run aggregate supply is constrained relative to the size of the demand stimulus.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:24 PM
horizontal rule
196

I'm just noting that I don't know what you mean by "stupider".

Boys go to Jupiter to acquire more of this.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:24 PM
horizontal rule
197

unless you really do think the poor people would just starve themselves to death if it weren't for the food stamps.

The poor have been known to starve to death when they can't purchase adequate food, Brock.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
198

The poor crybabies have been known to starve to death when they can't purchase adequate food for attention.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
199

197: look snarky, the comments implied that agribusiness supported food stmaps instead of direct cash aid.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
200

Dodd Wants Infrastructure Spending

I am not alone. Sniff.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
201

we should do it because it's the humane thing for people to have $200-$300 a month to spend on food, not because it'll stimulate the economy in any noticable way.

It WILL stimulate the economy, it is in fact one of the best forms of stimulus you can use. Just because you'd have a hard time getting up to the needed number by doing *only* the Food Stamp piece doesn't mean the Food Stamp piece doesn't work.

Based on Zandi's estimated macro multipliers from the 01 recession, switching the business tax cuts into a mixed type package which included Food Stamps and UI too could triple the stimulus effectiveness of that portion of the package.

As for the politics: don't agree that this was the best we could have gotten. However, I do agree that the Democratic involvement substantially improved the income tax rebate portion, which is reasonably well designed now.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:29 PM
horizontal rule
202

No, 194 is a perfectly reasonable question that I don't know the answer to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
203

Problem with infrastructure spending is that money for new projects has a substantial planning gap, it might not hit the streets for 18-24 months after appropriation. That's too long a wait for stimulus.

As a long-term investment though, things like high speed rail make sense. They just aren't short-term stimulus.

For already planned and designed infrastructure repair projects, the time gap would be shorter. Those are more realistic as stimulus.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:32 PM
horizontal rule
204

I have no idea what 196 means. I guess 192 was probably right.


Posted by: Borck Landers | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:33 PM
horizontal rule
205

I have no idea what 196 means.

It's an allusion to a poem. It's very long, it rhymes, and you clap hands with a 7-year-old girl while you recite it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:34 PM
horizontal rule
206

I just bought Spanish goat cheese, purple kale, mustard greens, 2 lbs of parsnips, tomatoes, red peppers, milk, organic brown eggs, multigrain bread, 2 lbs. of organic coffee, 2 heads of garlic, brown rice, peanuts, and a huge bottle of organic Normandy apple cider for $40. I was hyper-aware while shopping that when I lived in the midst of three housing projects, I would have spent the same amount of money for some bad cheddar, three half-rotten potatoes, factory eggs, white bread, a little package of bad coffee, and a 40 of Bud.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:35 PM
horizontal rule
207

205: I have your back, HBGB. I laughed.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:35 PM
horizontal rule
208

As I remember it, boys never set foot near Jupiter, preferring to go to college to get more knowledge.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:37 PM
horizontal rule
209

Garlic comes in heads, like lettuce?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
210

190.2 is exactly right. South Shore Bank put together a market research technology a few years ago called Urban Logic that demonstrated this very clearly, but the big chains have yet to see the light. Unfortunately, this means that anti-union upstarts like Tesco's Fresh & Easy are going in to the inner city, which of course pleases the local representatives who would ordinarily be more supportive of unionized stores.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
211

I thought garlic came in cloves.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
212

the same amount of money for some bad cheddar, three half-rotten potatoes, factory eggs, white bread, a little package of bad coffee, and a 40 of Bud.

For $40?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
213

175

"... Poor people aren't any stupider than anyone else. ..."

Actually on average they are.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:39 PM
horizontal rule
214

209: Head=bulb. The agglomeration of individual cloves that you buy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:39 PM
horizontal rule
215

In effect, they're getting an advance on tax savings they would enjoy in future years anyway.

I was wondering about whether the investment credits were designed that way. The quoted $450-$50 billion cost seemed high for just moving up tax deductions, unless it is an estimate of the money it will cost the government this year and does not net things out over the budget window. But that's good news if you're sure of it.

Investment counts in the GDP numbers the same as spending, and it has longer-term benefits of driving employment* and/or productivity growth.

I love investment, we all love investment, question is how much new investment you get that is truly induced by the tax incentives. Major investment decisions are too important to be driven by tax considerations alone.

Compared to the 2001/2002 cut of the top marginal rate on personal income, this business tax cut is both more equitable and more carefully targeted as stimulus.

That's for sure -- low bar to hurdle though.

most companies won't be in an expansion mode, where they would buy additional equipment and hire more workers.

Right. Recession = low demand = demand side not supply side barriers to investment = less business responsiveness to investment incentives = suboptimal time to try to goose investment. I don't think most investment is driven solely by a desire to replace workers either.

Good comment though, I don't really know enough about the business incentives to say they are flat-out "stupid", just seems pretty clear that they have less demand side effect than many other things we could do.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:39 PM
horizontal rule
216

213: Shearer! How've you been?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:39 PM
horizontal rule
217

I wanna have dinner with AWB. I'll even bring the 40 of Bud she forgot to pick up.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:40 PM
horizontal rule
218

some bad cheddar, three half-rotten potatoes, factory eggs, white bread, a little package of bad coffee, and a 40 of Bud

Depending on your definitions of "some" and "little", I would put this at more like $20, even at the 7-Eleven around here.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:41 PM
horizontal rule
219

I thought garlic came in cloves.

Wow, Brock really isn't smart enough.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:41 PM
horizontal rule
220

LB, you're still around? I thought you must have gone home or something, since you didn't respond to 189. I guess instead it's just because you don't like me.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:42 PM
horizontal rule
221

As for the agribusiness, I don't know the mechanism, but I know that food stamps are included in farm bills because this somehow benefits ADM. I'm sure I've read an explanation at some point.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:43 PM
horizontal rule
222

I wanna have dinner with AWB. I'll even bring the 40 of Bud she forgot to pick up.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:45 PM
horizontal rule
223

I'd never heard "head of garlic" before, but I guess AWB is right.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:45 PM
horizontal rule
224

I guess instead it's just because you don't like me.

My cold stare when we lunched didn't tip you off? No, actually I'm trying to file something and 189 was long enough that it needed a thoughtful response, which I don't have available right now. I'm too busy wailing for my secretary to come make Track Changes stop doing that, please.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:46 PM
horizontal rule
225

I wanna have dinner with AWB. I'll even bring the 40 of Bud she forgot to pick up.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:46 PM
horizontal rule
226

219; I should note that I neither cook nor eat home cooked food, so I don't know these things. And I'd sort of like to, but I really don't know how. If food doesn't come with directions on the box, I do not have any idea what to do with it. And since I try these days not to eat so much food that comes in boxes with directions, I end up just eating out all the time, or snacking on things like nuts and raw fruits.

Cooking is difficult when you literally have no idea what you're doing. I grew up in a house where no one ever cooked.

I can cook eggs. I learned that from my father. He didn't cook anything else though.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:47 PM
horizontal rule
227

Three 40s for two people is enough, Wrongshore.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:47 PM
horizontal rule
228

I'm quite serious about the $40 for those groceries at the projects bodega. The prices were insane.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:47 PM
horizontal rule
229

Brocken html--sorry.


Posted by: Borck Landers | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
230

199: For whatever reason, farm state Senators tend to support food stamps. It may just be a way to sell it to voters. They also support subsidies and anything else favoring food exports.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
231

No, actually I'm trying to file something and 189 was long enough that it needed a thoughtful response,

And 181 didn't? I demand thoughtful responses.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
232

*Broken. Damn.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
233

Cooking is difficult when you literally have no idea what you're doing.

It really is, and I sympathize. I've watched people learn to cook from absolutely zero. The trick is recipes -- follow a couple of recipes slavishly a couple of times (for simple stuff) and you'll start generalizing techniques.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:49 PM
horizontal rule
234

228: Those people need to move to Pittsburgh, then. I've been to 7-Elevens in poor neighborhoods here and they weren't more expensive than the 7-Elevens in middle-class neighborhoods.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:49 PM
horizontal rule
235

196: The white male is the Jew of 7 year old Feminazis. Of course.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:50 PM
horizontal rule
236

I bet I can get one 120 for a lower price.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:51 PM
horizontal rule
237

Cooking is difficult when you literally have no idea what you're doing. I grew up in a house where no one ever cooked.

You could probably start here here. It really isn't that hard to cook. There is a small learning curve but it isn't that high.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:51 PM
horizontal rule
238

I might add that examples like the bodega AWB describes go a long way in explaining racial tensions between African-Americans and the (usually) immigrants who run convenience stores/bodegas in their neighborhoods. People know when they're being fleeced, and they don't forget it.

I know the dynamic is more complicated but that's a big part of it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:51 PM
horizontal rule
239

come make Track Changes stop doing that, please

Doesn't your firm have a program that generates a proper redline after you finish making changes? Track Changes sucks.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:51 PM
horizontal rule
240

206: Didn't they have PBR or Old English?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
241

We've got DeltaView, but some of the partners like Track Changes, and I hate them for it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
242

The white male is the Jew of 7 year old Feminazis. Of course.

A full moon rises at sunset.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:55 PM
horizontal rule
243

"Jew-Jew-Jew from Jupiter." We know what they really meant.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:56 PM
horizontal rule
244

Jew-jew-ja-jew, Mrs. Emerson.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:57 PM
horizontal rule
245

I think people who don't cook imagine it takes up way too much of one's time and energy. And if you're just starting, it does, because you have to rethink how you shop, and work from recipes, and chop things, and all that takes a fucking long time when your knife skills are still developing and you have to consciously organize stuff. Over time, you get to the point where making a decent little meal at home takes less time than ordering and waiting for food at Burger King, or, in cases where it takes longer, it doesn't stress you out or require planning anymore.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:57 PM
horizontal rule
246

241, DeltaView is the most overpriced malt liquor there is.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 3:59 PM
horizontal rule
247

Look closely at those innocent-looking jump ropes. You don't realize how lethal they can be until it's too late.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:00 PM
horizontal rule
248

Both cooking and making an extra stop at Burger King seem time-consuming to me. I'm always impatient about the hassles surrounding food. I end up eating a lot of sandwiches and cereal. Also I think I happen to have very undifferentiated taste buds. Everything tastes equally great.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:00 PM
horizontal rule
249

I can make oatmeal. And toast!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:00 PM
horizontal rule
250

There's also a sweet spot of easiness for a single person who cooks -- not only do you have skills, you're not catering to other people's demands. Dinner is a lot more daunting when you've got rug-rats with limited palates to feed. (I suppose less so if it's "Eat what I give you or go hungry", but there aren't all that many people in that category.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
251

You don't realize how lethal they can be until it's too late.

And then, once it's too late, you're dead. And then you realize you're dead. And then you realize you should have realized the jumpropes were lethal sooner.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:03 PM
horizontal rule
252

250: Totally. I can also eat when I'm hungry or when I have time, which is any damn time I please. Even couples have to arrange mealtimes. Yet another reason for the Emersonian lifestyle!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:03 PM
horizontal rule
253

I've watched people learn to cook from absolutely zero. The trick is recipes -- follow a couple of recipes slavishly a couple of times (for simple stuff) and you'll start generalizing techniques.

I really wish most recipes were better at outlining the precise techniques they required. Cooking really *isn't* difficult once you understand the underlying technique, but most recipes are just a series of steps with no attempt to connect one to the next.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:03 PM
horizontal rule
254

216

"213: Shearer! How've you been?"

Pretty good actually, work has gotten more interesting therefore less commenting. You still hate your job?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:04 PM
horizontal rule
255

No one keeps statistics on playground "jump rope accidents". And a lot of that erotic asphyxiation looks fishy to me too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:05 PM
horizontal rule
256

I blame The Woman.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:06 PM
horizontal rule
257

254: Indeed I do, but the glacial process of getting another one is still lurching slowly forward.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:06 PM
horizontal rule
258

(I suppose less so if it's "Eat what I give you or go hungry", but there aren't all that many people in that category.)

I feel myself that I have failed to live up to this premise, but it seems that I'm a hard-ass by your standards.

It probably helps that I have no problem with crackers, cheese, and fruit as a backup meal; some dinners, I just announce, "I'm making [something you don't like], you can have [this] or [that effortless alternative]."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:07 PM
horizontal rule
259

I taught myself to cook without a cookbook. I have a very limited repertoire and about a 20% failure rate (things that are barely edible). Fortunately, I'm easy to please.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:07 PM
horizontal rule
260

WIC has gotten talked up here a few times. Wasn't there a big to-do recently over WIC being expanded, for the first time ever, to cover fruits and vegetables, instead of just dairy and agribiz-food?

(currently reading "In Defense of Food" and feeling cranky about food; also somewhat Becks-style from beer hour at work).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:08 PM
horizontal rule
261

And a lot of that erotic asphyxiation looks fishy to me too.

Emerson almost suffocated blowing a carp.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:09 PM
horizontal rule
262

258: I don't make dinner often enough to hold a hard line, if it's not being held otherwise. But that could change in the future!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:09 PM
horizontal rule
263

I really wish most recipes were better at outlining the precise techniques they required.

This is why I worship "Cook's Illustrated." Seriously, you have to be a complete gimp not to be able to cook good food out of there within a few weeks of trying.

I still resent other cookbooks that give little to no detail, even when I don't need it. You're not respecting my knowledge, you're just withholding information.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:10 PM
horizontal rule
264

Kugelmass at The Valve has picked up AWB's post that I liked so much.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:10 PM
horizontal rule
265

Even couples have to arrange mealtimes.

"You'll eat when I put dinner on the table."

Am I so much more a Liberal Fascist than I realized?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
266

234: Even in Pittsburgh, the Giant Eagle at the end of the T line in the South Hills is a lot nicer than the ones in some areas of the city.

Dude, Becks, ogged is gone and all, but that doesn't mean you have to troll your blog!

Let's see. The lack of selection in SketchMarts is fucking criminal. $160 a month is more than enough for one person if said person has solid cooking skills and the time to prepare food, factors which we cannot assume apply universally. And there was an article in the NYT that showed that giving people food stamps explicitly for the farmer's market meant they bought healthier choices. And I would say bulb of garlic, but yes, they're not normally sold by the clove.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:12 PM
horizontal rule
267

"Boys, when little Susie invites you to play 'strip jump rope', turn her down.. "

I had a perfectly wonderful smoked carp the other day. Not too dry, greasy enough but not too greasy, funky enough but not too funky. Mmmmmmm.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
268

Ah, 260 finally answers Brock's 19whatever. WIC is or was only valid for dairy or grains (essentially). Which tracks with the stickers I used to see by the checkout.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
269

261: Plenty of randy fish in the grotto.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
270

Back 30 years ago there was a "commodities" free food program which clearly favored certain specific kinds of farmers. Food stamps is a move away from that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
271

We should start a petition requesting/demanding that McArdle eat on $3 for 40. In the service of scientific inquiry.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
272

The deep key to cooking is to understand how much heat to apply to what when. How things react to heat.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:22 PM
horizontal rule
273

266: The difference is less stark than it used to be. It's sort of been amazing watching the progression of grocery store improvements over the past 15 years. The worst Giant Eagle in the East End is now fine, if not top-notch-shiny.

The biggest - and worst - change is that the two Giant Eagles that were within walking distance (or a very short jitney) of the Hill District (quintessential inner city) have closed. They were shitty, 60s-vintage stores, but they were run as part of a large, reputable chain with the prices and (to an extent) selection that implies. People in the Hill now bus across the river to the South Side to shop (partly because the store got bigger and nicer a few years back, and was essentially adopted by the Hill community; some South Siders resent it, but it's the de facto Hill District Giant Eagle).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:23 PM
horizontal rule
274

272: Oh, you just got that from the NYT article a couple weeks ago.

Actually, I was cooking ambitiously for a long time before I got beyond my high school habit of too much heat for everything (I've disconnected the smoke detectors everyplace I've ever lived). I still fall into the habit. COOK, damn you!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:25 PM
horizontal rule
275

For whatever reason, farm state Senators tend to support food stamps.

The basic deal is this: the food stamp program is administered by the USDA, so it gets appropriated through the agricultural appropriations bill. There is a long-standing bargain whereby farm state congresscritters support food stamps in exchange for the votes of urban congresscritters for agricultural subsidies. It's log-rolling of almost laboratory purity.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:27 PM
horizontal rule
276

275: Mystery solved. Makes sense to me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:30 PM
horizontal rule
277

some South Siders resent it
They can get over it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:32 PM
horizontal rule
278

The difference is less stark than it used to be. It's sort of been amazing watching the progression of grocery store improvements over the past 15 years.

Thank Bill Clinton. Or, more precisely, thank regulatory changes the Clinton Administration introduced to the Community Reinvestment Act (a Carter-era law that compels banks to extend a certain proportion of their lending to the neighborhoods where they take in their deposits). These changes had the effect of encouraging lending to in inner city supermarket developments by community development banks (the vehicle through which many banks meet their CRA obligations).


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:33 PM
horizontal rule
279

There is a long-standing bargain whereby farm state congresscritters support food stamps in exchange for the votes of urban congresscritters for agricultural subsidies. It's log-rolling of almost laboratory purity.

Things like this always remind me of how much I don't know. It makes sense, but, boy, you have to spend your life keeping track of everything to know how anything works.

But I'm all filed, and can go home to get some sleep to come into work tomorrow bright and early.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:33 PM
horizontal rule
280

Yay!

Since getting married and having access to a vehicle, I now shop at SuburbanMart rather than the SketchMart within walking distance. The difference in clientele is stark enough that shivbunny likes to borat me "Where are we, babe? There's all these crazy white people here!"


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:36 PM
horizontal rule
281

We've got DeltaView, but some of the partners like Track Changes, and I hate them for it.

The mind boggles. It's really kind of amazing that going postal isn't called "going Biglaw associate."


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:39 PM
horizontal rule
282

smoked carp

Mud vein?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:39 PM
horizontal rule
283

Mud vein and all. It was tasty.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:44 PM
horizontal rule
284

They can get over it.

Oh, obviously. It's not been clear to me how much is just blue-hair kvetching about "outsiders" in the neighborhood (they complain a lot more about all of yr sister's classmates who have moved into the neighborhood), how much is the baseline racism of the over-60 set, and how much is really-felt racism. I haven't heard stories about any incidents there, and I worked nearby for 4 years and am still involved with a community group.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:45 PM
horizontal rule
285

I haven't read any of this thread, or the linked post, but c'mon guys, you have to admit, poor people are fat.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:51 PM
horizontal rule
286

I hope you aren't accusing Michael Moore of being poor.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:52 PM
horizontal rule
287

You know what I love about D^2? He doesn't insist on his trolling being successful. Sometimes it's just trolling for the sake of trolling.

Craftsmanship, my friends. It's a dying ethic.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:54 PM
horizontal rule
288

Except the ones who smoke too much.

And if they sing "Built for Comfort", their fatness is cool.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
289

There's a lot of fat middle class people, too. This probably doesn't need to be said. But McArdle seems not to have noticed.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 5:01 PM
horizontal rule
290

The mud vein is controversial.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 5:03 PM
horizontal rule
291

i get along splendidly with some immense assholes. 'getting along with' doesn't really mean anything, i don't think, beyond some social compatibility. Although mcmeghan doesn't seem to be the assholish sort of libertarian, just the oblivious.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 5:34 PM
horizontal rule
292

i get along splendidly with some immense assholes

The secret, presumably, is to carry around a couple of those Butt Plugs of Unusual Size that came up the other day.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 5:40 PM
horizontal rule
293

And, in other people who suck news, thank you, Hillary Clinton, for working so hard to overcome my efforts to convince myself that I should feel good about voting for you in November if it comes to that.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 6:06 PM
horizontal rule
294

I haven't read any of this thread, or the linked post, but c'mon guys, you have to admit, poor people are fat.

There's a lot of fat middle class people, too. This probably doesn't need to be said. But McArdle seems not to have noticed.

The fact is, as a rule Americans are fat and many of those don't really enjoy it much because their food habitus is fucked. Apart from a minority of politically empowered fatsos, in general they bear some degree of psychological cost as a consequence -- susceptibility to gimmicky diets, the flood of endless advice and scolding in the media, internalized envy of the rich and thin and fit, etc -- but the poor (and especially poor blacks) are the only ones to bear a political cost as well, of the sort McArdle is dishing out with her condemnation of fried chicken.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 6:58 PM
horizontal rule
295

293: Oh, I know! How utterly vile, cynical, undemocratic.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 6:59 PM
horizontal rule
296

WIC is or was only valid for dairy or grains (essentially).

Eggs and peanut butter were pretty helpful too. I used WIC for a bit around 10 years ago. Good program, I cheerfully pay taxes knowing they go towards WIC. Utah's got a list of foods online.

http://health.utah.gov/wic/pdf/Vendor%20Info/foodcard%20FY2008.pdf


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:04 PM
horizontal rule
297

Would you people stop talking about food stamps!? I'm fucking hungry, here.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:22 PM
horizontal rule
298

296: Funny, I never pictured you as either a woman or an infant.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:29 PM
horizontal rule
299

297: Talking about food stamps makes you hungry? Huh.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:30 PM
horizontal rule
300

293: Hillary should take a principled stand and not try to grab every vote by whatever procedural means will work. George W. Bush's behavior in Florida in 2000 was reprehensible and we can all be grateful that Gore wasn't that kind of gutter fighter.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:31 PM
horizontal rule
301

298:

Yet, you have called him a child on many ocassions?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:32 PM
horizontal rule
302

I think the post of this post was for Becks to show easily she could upstage Fontana Labs, even when Labs has a post full of cock.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:37 PM
horizontal rule
303

300: Wait. You're serious? All the candidates to agree not to campaign or slate themselves in MI and FL because those delegates will not be seated. All the candidates sign pledges. (Clinton does slate herself, claiming that signing a pledge not "to participate" does not include putting her name on the ballot.) Clinton now trying to get those delegates seated is somehow analogous to miscounting votes in FL?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:42 PM
horizontal rule
304

300: Yes, cheating in your own party's primaries is exactly the same as rolling over when the other guy cheats in the general election.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:42 PM
horizontal rule
305

And in case my sarcasm in 300 was insufficiently obvious, I want to go on record as saying that I am deeply grateful that some fucking Democrat is willing to try to use Roberts Rules Of Order to their own advantage. More Chris Dodd, less Harry Reid, is what I say.

And good for Florida and Michigan, too, for trying to game the system to increase their clout. Is the disproportionate influence of New Hampshire and Iowa some kind of bedrock democratic principle here? Bullshit !


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:45 PM
horizontal rule
306

The policy at issue is economic stimulus, not immediate remediation of hunger, necessarily.

And why? Who are the people who will be hurt most during a recession? The folks who have low-skill jobs. If there's a recession, maybe, y'know, we oughta be thinking not just about "the economy" but also about the human beings who will suffer because of it.

Of course, I'm a commie pinko who thinks that the only reason the economy matters is because it affects actual human beings.

I also spend probably $500-600/month on groceries for a family of three.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:47 PM
horizontal rule
307

Funny, I never pictured you as either a woman or an infant.

Heh. Knocked up my girlfriend (now wife) at 21. Dropped out of school to get a job with health insurance and all that. Pretty poor for a while. WIC was a huge help.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:53 PM
horizontal rule
308

304: Again: cheating? Are you fucking kidding me? Hillary is asking that the rules be read in her favor. If she gets turned down, so be it, but it's perverse to suggest that she shouldn't ask. As a football fan, I don't boohoo when someone throws the red flag.

Obama, Edwards and the rest understood there would be a controversy over Michigan and Florida at the convention, and made a tactical decision to skip those states. Michigan and Florida understood that their delegates would potentially be disallowed, and made a tactical decision to go ahead with their votes anyway. Hillary made a different tactical decision.

The idea that it's somehow immoral to engage in tactical decisions is ridiculous. And to suggest that it is undemocratic to engage in tactics that directly support real democracy is perverse.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:53 PM
horizontal rule
309

294: The fact is, as a rule Americans are fat

On a trip to Geneva I asked a colleague/friend how to get to some tourist destination (I forget which). He indicated that the generic local response was to "follow the fat people". I tried to to roll on the little bastard, but he was annoyingly quick on his feet. (And my small, undoubtedly skewed, sampling of folk there leads to my impression that Geneva is a somewhat McMeganiferous place.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
310

293:I can't understand why so many people would want to remove the right of the Democrats in Michigan to play a part in the nominating process simply out of animus toward Senator Clinton.

Perhaps the Obamabots will challenge every delegation that is committed to Clinton or Edwards. They apparently will do anything to get the nomination.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
311

306: I took LB to be saying that McJackass, while purporting to be talking about whether putting more money in foodstamps would be effective as an economic stimulus, strayed into arguing that those damn fat poor people aren't hungry anyway.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:56 PM
horizontal rule
312

307: Yeah, I know, I was just making a lame joke, child.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 7:59 PM
horizontal rule
313

310: I agree with that entirely. I think that the hegemony of IA and NH is bullshit. My comment had nothing to do with that. I do think that if one signs an agreement with the other candidates not to campaign in particular states, and so, in consequence, the other candidates do not list their names on the ballot and do not campaign in said states, it is quite sleazy to attempt to get -- after agreeing that they would not be -- those delegates seated. No one campaigned in those states. If those candidates are to be seated, I'd prefer there be a contest.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:05 PM
horizontal rule
314

Noted at Henley's, from poster Mona:

I've been on foodstamps. Recently, as an adult and not a college kid. And McArdle's right:


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:08 PM
horizontal rule
315

In fairness, I think the quibble with her post wasn't so much on whether cash vs. food stamps would be more beneficial, but with the needless 'fat people are icky and the poor eat too much' bit.

I'm sure McArdle's fun to be around, but her writing increasingly reminds me of Cher in the movie Clueless. Dad, some people lost everything! I'm sure that includes athletic equipment.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:12 PM
horizontal rule
316

Again: cheating? Are you fucking kidding me? Hillary is asking that the rules be read in her favor.

No, she's making a too-cute-by-half attempt to rewrite the rules in her own favor partway through the game. That's commonly called "cheating."

I'm with you in thinking that the favored position of Iowa and New Hampshire is bullshit and hoping that this year's craziness will be a catalyst for changing that. But that doesn't mean what Hillary Clinton is doing is OK. Hardball is well and good, but as Sausagely pointed out, this isn't hardball, it's Calvinball.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:14 PM
horizontal rule
317

From Yglesias:

"Matt,

You are wrong! By the DNC rules, the decision to seat or not seat the delegates at the convention is up to the other convention delegates not the DNC. She has every right to ask her delegates to seat Michigan and Florida. Obama is free to take the position that he doesn't want to seat the Florida delegation. It won't play well for him in Florida eitehr in the primary or in the general election."

..."AP"

Obama is simply undemocratic, wanting to not only disenfranchise MI and FL, but take the power away from the delegates at the convention to seat delegations. I worry about Obama's dictatorial inclinations

I also think he is too lousy a politician to allow in the WH. Florida doesn't get to vote? Right, Barack.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:17 PM
horizontal rule
318

The idea that it's somehow immoral to engage in tactical decisions is ridiculous.

it's not the tactical decision that's immoral, but the decision to chase down the delegates after having pledged not to that's more than a little suspect. If she didn't promise, that's one thing, but having done so, it makes her look like someone whose cutthroat sleazy instincts are primarily directed towards her own party.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:19 PM
horizontal rule
319

314: Does this mean that Mona has to turn in her Libertarian membership card and decoder ring?

The government should have given her cash instead of food stamps so she could buy blood pressure meds? I don't know how to begin to square this argument with libertarianism. Maybe somebody needs to reexamine her belief system.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:21 PM
horizontal rule
320

mcmanus, what definition of "economics blog" or "goodbye" are you operating under today? Any other novel meanings to words we ought to know about?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:21 PM
horizontal rule
321

Maybe Obama is confused about which party he is in, and he and his subordinates don't understand DNC rules.

Perhaps they have forgotten all the critical historic fights over delegations in the 60s. all the challenges of white Southern delegations in 64 & 68. I could understand why Obama would believe all that divisive civil rights history was so irrelevant to his unity message.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:22 PM
horizontal rule
322

320:But I am having fun! Aren't you having fun?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:23 PM
horizontal rule
323

Actually, Bob, I'm an Edwards supporter and it seems pretty clear to me that MI was tailor-made for him, but Clinton suckered him out of campaigning or appearing on the ballot.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:25 PM
horizontal rule
324

Obama is simply undemocratic, wanting to not only disenfranchise MI and FL, but take the power away from the delegates at the convention to seat delegations. I worry about Obama's dictatorial inclinations

I disagree with this. But it is certainly a more defenisble position than to suggest that Hillary is "cheating" by asking that the rules be read in her favor.

There is a certain type of liberal that likes to lose - it confirms their moral superiority. Happily, Obama, Edwards and Clinton are not those types of liberals. Obama and Edwards saw that disenfranchising the voters of Florida and Michigan worked in their favor, so they endorsed it. Good for them ! They want to win ! And like Hillary they are willing to play by the rules.

It happens to be useful to Hillary to endorse democracy. Good for her !


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:26 PM
horizontal rule
325

Uh-uh! No confusing with the facts!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:26 PM
horizontal rule
326

I'm not familiar with Clinton's pledge. If it is as oudemia describes, then there is obviously no perfidy on Clinton's part. Can someone link to some info on this?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:27 PM
horizontal rule
327

324: Thing is, the time for HRC to protest would have been before the "primary" which she called "not going to count for anything" which she "won" was held. She endorsed disenfranchisement at the time, too. Now it's looks like scrabbling (so much for the inevitability narrative, I guess.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:30 PM
horizontal rule
328

327: Right. Hillary should have denigrated the New Hampshire and Iowa votes before those votes took place. Why aren't you disgusted with Obama and Edwards for endorsing the anti-democratic rules of the Democratic Party?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:34 PM
horizontal rule
329

I don't think this makes Clinton evil or (unusually) dishonest or anything like that, but I do think it looks awfully bad (especially her obviously hollow and self-serving cries of "democracy! empowerment!"), and was for that reason a bad political decision.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:35 PM
horizontal rule
330

oudemia is doing fine, but there are very good comments at the Yglesias thread. Better than "so unfair, sleazy Clinton" I can just cut & paste.

"No one forced Obama and Edwards to remove their names from the Michigan ballot. They did it voluntarily to boost their appeal in Iowa and NH.
Anyone with a clue knew Florida delegates would be seated since it is a purple state Dems need to win.
Team Obama is getting outworked and outthought in the nuts and bolts part of the campaign"

...beaten to the punch


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:35 PM
horizontal rule
331

I'm an Edwards supporter and it seems pretty clear to me that MI was tailor-made for him,

When Edwards made the decision to stiff the voters of Michigan, that was a decision that aligned nicely with his self-interest. I don't have a problem with Edwards making that choice, but to deny the tactical nature of his choice is absurd.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:38 PM
horizontal rule
332

I am. But that's disgust that all of the nominees incurred equally; we're talking now about afterwards.

I mean, people in Michigan who were told their vote wouldn't count probably stayed home. Deciding now that it counts doesn't actually make it democratic.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:38 PM
horizontal rule
333


329: Well, that's a tactical question. I happen to disagree, but we'll see ...


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:42 PM
horizontal rule
334

Comments cut-and-pasted from MY do not necessarily...but I said here a while ago that MI & FL were going to get a delegation seated. Maybe the Obamabots should seek an uncommitted delegation. I actually hope to hell Obama has a plan.

"Obama people, Stop whining! This is hardball politics and your guy has been outmanuevered here! He should simply support the effort to seat the delegations of the two states. Otherwise, this will produce terrible headlines in the local newspapers.

If he is the nominee, are you going to whine in the GE too when the Republicans pull much more hardball stunts?

All this constant whining doesn't inspire much confidence in Obama's ability to stand up to republicans. This is my biggest worry about him. He has never run against a serious Republican candidate in his entire political career."

...SRK


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:43 PM
horizontal rule
335

332: Hillary put her name on the ballot. She gave her supporters a chance to vote for her. Edwards and Obama made a calculated decision that disenfranchising the voters of Michigan would work in their favor - and they may be right ! But that's hardly a reason to vilify Hillary.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:44 PM
horizontal rule
336

Jesus Christ on a stick, the point in current politics is not how you play the game. With millions of lives at stake, the point is to win.

After the nukes go off in Iran, I don't want to hear:"Not our fault, McCain cheated." Fuck that.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:46 PM
horizontal rule
337

but I said here a while ago that MI & FL were going to get a delegation seated.

bob, part of this argument is the result of a generation gap. When the kids here bitch about "cheating" and such, it's largely because they don't understand the rules and aren't competent to judge when the rules have been broken. This sort of issue really hasn't been salient since '72, I don't think.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:48 PM
horizontal rule
338

As I understand it--and I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong--the DNC stripped Michigan and Florida of their right to send delegates to the convention and asked the candidates to agree not to campaign in those states or participate in their primaries. They did. Now, after Michigan has already conducted a "primary" in which Clinton was the only candidate, she wants to seat delegates "elected" by an electorate that had been told it wouldn't count and had no option to vote for anyone but her or "uncommitted." She's reneging on her agreement and disenfranchising all the Michigan voters who stayed home because it wasn't supposed to count or that showed up but couldn't vote for their preferred candidate.

You can call that tactics all you want, but let's be clear that the "tactics" you're defending consisted of entering into an agreement with your party and its other candidates in bad faith and then reneging because you think that will get you more delegates than a fair election would.

Florida would bother me a lot less if it weren't for Michigan, because Florida hasn't voted yet and all the candidates are on the ballot. If everyone decided to call off the original agreement and fight it out in Florida, that would be great. But Clinton's not just proposing to call off the deal in Florida and fight for its delegates, she's trying to grab the Michigan delegates at the same time.

This is just exactly the sort of stuff that the Clintons are despised for. Every time you play these games, even if you win, you convince a bunch more people that you can't be trusted, and then it gets a whole lot harder to get anything done that requires others to believe that you're dealing in good faith.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:48 PM
horizontal rule
339

335: They abided by the DNC's request, as I understand it, and she (as well as a couple others) didn't.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:49 PM
horizontal rule
340

When Edwards made the decision to stiff the voters of Michigan

Excuse me? Edwards didn't decide to "stiff" the voters of Michigan. The DNC decided not to seat their delegates, and to punish any candidate who campaigned there. Edwards, like Obama and Clinton and every other Democratic candidate, signed an agreement stating they wouldn't participate in the Michigan primary. And Clinton left her name on the primary after all the others took their names off. At the time, she agreed to "stiffing" the voters of Michigan as much as anyone else in the Democratic field. But now that it looks like she might need those delegates, she wants to retroactively claim them on behalf of an election in which she was the only name on the ballot. It's worse than a farce.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:51 PM
horizontal rule
341

337: Excuse the living fuck out of me. I've been debating you point for point, pointing to facts, explaining why I think you're wrong. Disagree with me if you like. But this has nothing to do with age or because I'm too incompetent to compete with the likes of you.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:51 PM
horizontal rule
342

337:Yeah, I remember the whiny McCarthyites hating Bobby Kennedy for his late entry in 1968 after all the spadework had been done.

I vastly preferred the Chicago 7 and Yippies to the "Clean for Gene" crowd. And the old unions and city-bosses ate the college kids alive at the convention.

The wine-and-brie Democratic faction will ever be with us, whining righteously.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:57 PM
horizontal rule
343

341 gets it exactly right. The "oh look at the cute naive people who believe in rules and fairness and shit" stuff doesn't come across any better from you than it does from the wingnuts.

Look, we're all playing out our little roles in this drama. No doubt the Clinton campaign knew they were going to renege on Michigan and Florida if they thought it would help them, and no doubt the Obama and Edwards campaigns expected that and decided that they'd be better off playing by the rules themselves and calling her on it if she cheated. That's politics. But it's also politics for us, the voters, to say that Obama and Edwards are right. What Clinton is doing really is shitty, it really does make her a less good candidate for President, and it really should make people choose to vote for one of the other candidates rather than her.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 8:59 PM
horizontal rule
344

342: Bob, you have to give us cake when you show up.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:00 PM
horizontal rule
345

I love brie!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:02 PM
horizontal rule
346

by an electorate that had been told it wouldn't count and had no option to vote for anyone but her or "uncommitted." She's reneging on her agreement

If oudemia and stras are right - and you are backing their version here - it was Obama's and Edwards' decision to disenfranchise their voters. And anybody with an elementary grasp of politics can understand why Obama and Edwards made that choice. Unlike bob, I don't fault them for it.

341: Pardon me, Cala. I see that I was being inappropriately patronizing. But anybody who thinks that Florida and Michigan were necessarily going to be excluded from the convention is simply wrong. Brock makes the point that Hillary's insistence on using the rules to her advantage may be politically counter-productive. This was a common analysis of McGovern's problem at the convention in '72, but I disagree as regards Hillary and probably disagree as regards McGovern, too.

Anyway, my guess that you are a youngster was purely a guess. What do you think of '72?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:05 PM
horizontal rule
347

I'm taking great pleasure in the fact that the great sage wise elders who are chastising the foolish naive children on this blog are throwing in their lot with Bill and Hillary fucking Clinton, who, last time around, cut nine million women and children from the welfare rolls in a plan cobbled together with the Republican Party to create a class of permanent wage slaves, set back the cause of universal health care by a decade, attempted to partially privatize Medicare, outsourced torture through the CIA, launched cruise missiles at third-world countries whenever one of Bill's sex scandals resurfaced, and ushered in the age of corporate-managed trade. I'm naive, of course, to distrust them.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:08 PM
horizontal rule
348

272: Oh, you just got that from the NYT article a couple weeks ago.

I did NOT! I earned that understanding. I pretty much stopped reading the NYT and listening to NPR when in the early part of this decade I got sick of the upper middle class culture that spawned me. Now I mostly watch reality TV. I don't need to read the Times anyway, since as you see I spontaneously track the upper middle class zeitgeist anyway.

In fairness, I think the quibble with her post wasn't so much on whether cash vs. food stamps would be more beneficial, but with the needless 'fat people are icky and the poor eat too much' bit.

My quibble with McAirhead was that she was writing about the effectiveness of Food Stamp expansions as economic stimulus without knowing what in the world she was talking about. As usual. If she pretends to be writing about economics and public policy she should put in the elementary effort to know something about them.

I don't have a real quarrel with fat people are icky and the poor eat too much -- that's just opinion with no authority claim. She does show her true colors with that stuff though.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:09 PM
horizontal rule
349

343: So if Obama wins in a landslide in Florida, you'll hold it against him if he wants to re-enfranchise those voters? Seriously?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:10 PM
horizontal rule
350

So agreeing to follow the rules of the party whose nomination you're seeking is disenfranchising voters. Noted.

And yeah, counterproductive is entirely the point. When your word is no good and you won't play by the same rules as everybody else, people don't like to deal with you and it gets difficult to get anything done. That's one of the reasons cheating is frowned on.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:10 PM
horizontal rule
351

Last comment from MY's and I am gone.

Speaking of DNC rules and the Convention. I believe the rules are that the delegates seated by the DNC rules (ie without MI and FL) constitute a body that can make it own convention rules. So if the delegates seated choose to throw out SC, for example, they could. In addition, if the delagates seated choose to seat MI and FL they can do that as well.

Hillary is asking her delegates to support MI and FL when they ask to have their delegations seated after the convention starts but before balloted for nominees takes place. This is all within the rules. They can agree or they can disagree.

Since Hillary will have the enough delegates to win the nomination her request looks like a gracious act to include all fifty states in the process of nominating her and making sure that all votes count." ...ken

Which is the real point, if HRC has the delegates to seat MI, they should be seated. If Obama+Edwards have the delegates to do something else, then something else may happen.

But to ask Clinton (with a majority of delegates) to refuse to seat the delegations out of principle is not only wrong, it's stupid.

I actually expect a compromise, a first ballot "uncommitted" if the delegations are determinative. But even that makes little sense if they would go Clinton on 2nd ballot.

These things will be determined at the convention, with actual politics, which is about people, not rules.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:11 PM
horizontal rule
352

They weren't going to be excluded, and we knew that, so then I guess cries of disenfranchisement* are overwrought, no?

I think 1972 was a crazy circus and it didn't result in a win. You mean the thing over the California delegates? I don't think it's good to change the rules after the fact to change the outcome.

I wasn't there, though.

*It's really weird to use "disenfranchisement" in a system with superdelegates.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:14 PM
horizontal rule
353

347: Read me again, stras. I am against democracy here and in favor of Obama and Edwards. It would have been better, too, if Kerry had gotten 200,000 more votes in Ohio and the 2004 presidential election had been undemocratically decided.

Hillary would certainly be against democracy if it worked against her, just as Obama and Edwards are, since it works against them. I say, good for all of them, and I hope Hillary loses. But bitching about "cheating" is ludicrous.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:15 PM
horizontal rule
354

Ok, one last thing. If Clinton does not actually have a majority of delegates, then John Edwards 10% may be needed to seat the MI & FL delegation. The odds of Edwards being a kingmaker have always been higher than many presumed.

And I am not a Clinton backer, but someone who loves politics as bloodsport rather than tea party.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:16 PM
horizontal rule
355

So agreeing to follow the rules of the party whose nomination you're seeking is disenfranchising voters. Noted.

No sir. You are the one that proposes to negate the rules of the party. No delegates will be seated unless the Democratic Party allows it, according to the rules of the Democratic Party.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:17 PM
horizontal rule
356

I am against democracy here and in favor of Obama and Edwards.

Clinton isn't "in favor of democracy." Democracy isn't what happened in Michigan. There was one name on the ballot and even then "uncommitted" got over a third of the vote. That's not an election. That's a Soviet party member punching a card for the chairman.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:21 PM
horizontal rule
357

349: Eh, I'd probably mostly laugh at Hillary's being hoist by her own petard. I do really, truly believe that this and the Nevada thing demonstrate a political style that I don't like and don't want in the White House, and I think I'm consistent enough to call my preferred candidate if he made a similar grab for unilateral advantage. I don't think the Florida scenario you're suggesting really works as a hypothetical after Hillary's already broken the deal (and it will be interesting to see what the other campaigns do between now and Tuesday), but I'd like to believe I'm at least a little bit consistent.

Having said that, my preferred outcome on all of this would be for Hillary to prevail on the Michigan and Florida gambit, thus maybe, finally breaking the IA/NH lock on kicking off the primaries, but lose the nomination because her tactics turn off too many people and Obama starts putting up solid wins in February and March.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:21 PM
horizontal rule
358

I say, good for all of them, and I hope Hillary loses. But bitching about "cheating" is ludicrous.

OK, I'm starting to realize we're talking past each other. The point of bitching about cheating isn't to make ourselves feel good, it's to make Hillary lose.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:25 PM
horizontal rule
359

but someone who loves politics as bloodsport rather than tea party.

Yeah bob, because in a "survival of the fittest" country, doubtless you'll be one of the ones left standing.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:25 PM
horizontal rule
360

...and I am gone. ....

Ok, one last thing. ...

Bob always breaks his promises. And still no cake!


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:25 PM
horizontal rule
361

And now I gotta go eat. I'll check back on the cooling corpse of the thread in a couple of hours.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:26 PM
horizontal rule
362

Have we established why Becks linked to this McMegan post yet? It needlessly raised my blood pressure.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:29 PM
horizontal rule
363

bitching about "cheating" is ludicrous.

I'm honestly curious how far you'd take this, PF. If you knew a candidate had actually rigged an election, would that in and of itself cause you to remove your support for that candidate, or would you give them a pass if you'd already been rooting for them beforehand? That is, does democracy itself have any intrinsic value in your worldview, or is it just a means of bringing your preferred technocrats to power?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:33 PM
horizontal rule
364

362: Have we established why Becks linked to this McMegan post yet?

Because she knew it would inevitably lead to a comity-destroying fight over political moves among the Democratic presidential candidates. Very subtle, that one.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:37 PM
horizontal rule
365

I suspect it was so that we would have something to bitch over this weekend and thus the blog would need no new posts.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:43 PM
horizontal rule
366

Fiendish!

Comity!

Fiendomity!

Comish!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:46 PM
horizontal rule
367

What's with "faith-based", anyway? Why not just say "religious"?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:53 PM
horizontal rule
368

Speaking of the kind of food that poor people have plenty of and are therefore fat and don't need food stamps (yes, I know we've moved on, but indulge me), I've just popped some of those hot dogs-with-cheese-in-crescent-rolls-that-come-in-a-can things into the oven.

I have a secret weakness for them, as the food of my youth.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 9:55 PM
horizontal rule
369

That is, does democracy itself have any intrinsic value in your worldview, or is it just a means of bringing your preferred technocrats to power?

I'm not like you, in this respect - I really do think that democracy is an important value and I'm not willing to throw it out the window just because Obama or Edwards or the Democratic Party says I need to. And I certainly wouldn't throw democracy out the window just out of loathing for Hillary Clinton.

I certainly was a majoritarian back in the day when majoritarianism would have given Al Gore the presidency. Those with contempt for a Democratic majority chose other candidates than Gore. I voted Gore, and I wish the rules had permitted him to win.

That said, if Obama succeeds here, and the voters of Florida and Michigan are denied an appropriate level of democratic influence, I won't cry about it. Nor would I have cried about it if Kerry had been elected without a democratic majority or plurality.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 10:08 PM
horizontal rule
370

You honestly don't get why "the most powerful person gets to change all the election rules in the middle so they win" bothers people? Come on. That may be how the Democratic party turns out to operate, which is why I increasingly think they deserve nothing more than my general election vote. And the self righteous claims that she's doing it for the people of Michigan makes me ill. If she had said, from the start, "screw the DNC, Iowa, & NH, I'm campaigning in the hopes you seat their delegations when the time comes," that'd be one thing. But we all know what's really going on here.

Jesus F. Christ, are you also a fan of how Daley ran the '68 convention?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 10:46 PM
horizontal rule
371

", I want to go on record as saying that I am deeply grateful that some fucking Democrat is willing to try to use Roberts Rules Of Order to their own advantage. More Chris Dodd, less Harry Reid, is what I say."

Chris Dodd is actually using Roberts rules of order IN ORDER TO PREVENT A TERRIBLE LAW FROM PASSING, not to advance his own power. It's not the same thing! And the Clintons have, historically, f*cking sucked at it! Really, I can literally not think of a single example of her doing something like Dodd's filibuster in her 6 years in the Senate. (Obama hasn't so much either but he at least took some real risks in the not-so-recent past before he got to D.C.)


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 10:57 PM
horizontal rule
372

You honestly don't get why "the most powerful person gets to change all the election rules in the middle so they win" bothers people?

No. Please use quotes. I can't imagine anything that I said could be misinterpreted in this fashion.

And the self righteous claims that she's doing it for the people of Michigan makes me ill.

Again: Please use quotes. I was really, really explicit in saying that this wasn't my view.

Jesus F. Christ, are you also a fan of how Daley ran the '68 convention?

I'm stumped. I don't see how this follows from anything I said. But to be clear: I do think it was a tragedy that Humphrey lost the '68 election.

Nobody even vaguely resembles Daley in the current election. Those who would bitch about Hillary, however, are reminiscent of some of those who allowed Humphrey to lose in '68.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 11:08 PM
horizontal rule
373

(Obama hasn't so much either but he at least took some real risks in the not-so-recent past before he got to D.C.)

I'm with you on this. Obama was distinctly different from Bill Clinton, and Hillary, until Obama started aggressively running for president. Edwards, meanwhile, was just like Hillary and Bill until he started this campaign.

I'm an Edwards guy, but I have no illusions about why he voted for the war, much less why he voted for that disgraceful bankruptcy bill.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-25-08 11:13 PM
horizontal rule
374

Speaking of economic stimulus, the post by Aravosis over at Americablog totally outdoes McMegan. Looks like he already pulled it down, but thankfully it was preserved over at The Poorman.

http://thepoorman.net/2008/01/25/even-liberals-are-sick-of-the-liberal-fascism/


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 2:16 AM
horizontal rule
375

Aravosis is more or less a soulmate of Andrew Sullivan: there's a kind of rich white gay man who's very interested in the prerogatives of rich white gay men, but not at all interested in the rights and opportunities of people who might upset the social order they benefit from. Some of them self-identify as liberal, some as conservative, but in either case, they want to make sure that the world remains comfortable and rewarding for rich white gay men. I get an earful sometimes from trans friends, and they don't seem to be exaggerating the problems facing those interested in the LGBT coalition at this point - there's substantial backstabbing from those who feel that they've had enough political change and no more is called for, thanks.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 3:02 AM
horizontal rule
376

Oh, public works reminds me of one bit of doomsaying I think Bob may have missed, and is worth including both for the compleat pessimist's diatribe and as a very real concern even for the cheery: infrastructure failures. There's a whole lot of construction in this country that was built 30 years ago to last 25, or 60 years ago to last 50, and so on - roads, bridges, dams, government offices, and on and on. Comprehensive evaluation of key structures and their replacement as part of a national effort should have started twenty years ago, but we've had the conservative movement plus neoliberal agenda to make sure it didn't happen. If it were to begin in a serious way this year...it'd be too late to avert a lot of what should have been preventable disasters. It'll be a nasty feature of the next administration, and one that Republicans are likely to use against Democrats despite Republicans being the primary architects of the situation.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 4:01 AM
horizontal rule
377

earlier this week I entitled a post about mcmegan's views on privilege "also, poor people are fat," even though, as she rightly objected, she hadn't said anything of the sort. I was feeling kind of bad about it for a while, but no more. thanks, becks!


Posted by: belle waring | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 4:34 AM
horizontal rule
378

376: Growing up, I was exposed to a lot of negative "useless men leaning on their shovels" rhetoric about New Deal work programs from the FDR was Teh DEVIL! wing of my mother's family. I assumed it was an accurate characterization, until I started noticing the number of public buildings, roads, sports venues and park facilities that I encountered that were products of the WPA and CCC.

But since 9/11 I have realized what an outdated model that was, now I know that it is much more important that we all just continue shopping.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 4:54 AM
horizontal rule
379

What I don't get about it is how somebody can remain friends with a dumb, hateful fuck like McArdle and be any kind of leftie, even milquetoast liberal. The urge to strangle her the first time she opened her mouth to pronounce on how fat the poor are would be overwhelming.

How could you ignore her nastiness, what could ever make up for it? Or do you just think that all of her remarks are just some meaningless political game and can therefore be excused? What kind of asshole do you have to be yourself to hang with Megan?


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 5:11 AM
horizontal rule
380

And discussions about whether or not you can live on whatever pittance you get in welfare?

Utterly obnoxious and missing the point.

Everybody should be guaranteed a decent job for a decent wage. Everybody should be able to live comfortably on social security if, for whatever reason, they become unemployed.

Meanwhile, the way it works is that the poor bear the brunt not just of their own mistakes, but of the decisions made by their "betters", while the rich escape all responsibility for their own mistakes and crimes.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 5:19 AM
horizontal rule
381

This conversation about MI & FL is hilarious, or would be if the Obamabots weren't so frightening.

"I think Obama and Edwards should jointly agree to seat the delegates, provided that their votes are split three ways, and that they MAY NOT re-allocate their support subsequently. In other words, FL and MI are there, but Clinton can't exploit them to gain an unfair advantage." ...nickzi at Ezra's

And if the delegates don't vote the way the party establishment orders them to, we can shoot them.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:15 AM
horizontal rule
382

What kind of asshole do you have to be yourself to hang with Megan?

Some of my favorite family members are at least as bad as McMegan, and I really am very fond of them. My friends currently are a pretty uniform blue-state blue, but when I lived in a red state, I hung with a red-state crowd.

Meanwhile, Martin, I doubt you intended this, but your comment amounts to a pretty nasty and unjustified slam vs. our blog hostess, no?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:24 AM
horizontal rule
383

Here is another one:

"The DNC and they other candidiates ought to get together and agree with Clinton. THAT FLORIDA AND MICHIGAN DELEGATES WILL BE REPRESENTED BUT THE CANDIDATE THAT GETS THEIR VOTES LOSES TWO SUPER DELEGATES FOR EVERY STATE DELEGATE VOTE."

Uh-huh, and if the superdelegates don't vote the way they are ordered maybe we can shoot them too.

Wherefore this fucking attitude about using rules to control the voting of delegates and superdelegates?
Seat them or not seat them, according to democratic process, but once they are seated they are like people with agency. Why do Obama supporters hate freedom?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:26 AM
horizontal rule
384

I'm not like you, in this respect - I really do think that democracy is an important value and I'm not willing to throw it out the window just because Obama or Edwards or the Democratic Party says I need to. And I certainly wouldn't throw democracy out the window just out of loathing for Hillary Clinton.

How are Obama or Edwards saying we should "throw democracy out the window"? The voters of Michigan had no choice in their election. Now Clinton wants that farce of a vote - no more democratic than the "elections" where Saddam Hussein used to win 99% of the electorate - moved into her column. How exactly do you put Hillary Clinton on the side of "democracy" here? You're either being fantastically disingenuous or you're incredibly ignorant about what's happened over the course of the last several months.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:27 AM
horizontal rule
385

Why do Obama supporters hate freedom?

Probably for the same reason they opposed the war in Iraq - because they're objectively pro-terror. Tell us again which one of us sounds more like Andrew Sullivan here?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:29 AM
horizontal rule
386

381: And if the delegates don't vote the way the party establishment orders them to, we can shoot them.

bob, I think everybody is a bit overwrought about this stuff. Surely you realize that, however unprincipled, Obama supporters are engaged in some very ordinary politics here.

What's fascinating to me is the self-righteousness that attaches to this. Obama, Clinton, Edwards, New Hampshire, Iowa and the Democratic Party conspired to disenfranchise voters in other states - solely because they judged it in their political interests to do so. And, in fact, Michigan and Florida have been trying to do the same.

I respectfully submit, bob, that if it were in Obama's political interests, he'd be doing what Hillary is doing, and his supporters would be slamming Hillary for putting crass political maneuvering above the enfranchisement of loyal Democratic voters. In that case, the Obama supporters would at least have the virtue of having the better argument, but it still would be trivial.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:42 AM
horizontal rule
387


stras asks:

How are Obama or Edwards saying we should "throw democracy out the window"?

And answers his own question a sentence later:

The voters of Michigan had no choice in their election.

Again, this fact is the direct result of the connivance of Obama, Edwards, Clinton and the national Democratic Party. And of the Michigan Democratic Party, for that matter. Each pursued a strategy that led directly to this result, for what a purist would have to call crass political reasons - though I am certainly no purist in this respect and don't blame any of the players - especially the Michigan Democratic party - for their role in disenfranchising Michigan voters.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:49 AM
horizontal rule
388

You're tossing around the word "disenfranchisement" a lot, and by the way you're using it here, we only count it if the delegates can't vote, not whether the way the delegates vote was decided democratically.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:56 AM
horizontal rule
389

"Tell us again which one of us sounds more like Andrew Sullivan here?"

Maybe I do, I don't read Andy enough, but I think he is a libertarian.

Rules don't decide, people (delegates) decide. Delegates will decide whether or not or which delegations from MI and FL are seated, not party bosses or abstract rules. Actual human beings with interests and votes.

"Clinton's" delegates, with the parentheses because they are not robots, are perhaps are not as completely sleazy and evil as Clinton, and will not vote the way she wishes. Obama and Edwards will have their chance to make their case.

But this attitude that the process or rules is more important and determinative than actual voters is very troubling, and does show a contempt for democracy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:58 AM
horizontal rule
390

Again, this fact is the direct result of the connivance of Obama, Edwards, Clinton and the national Democratic Party.

I like how you put the DNC last on that list, as if their "connivance" was incidental to that of treacherous Edwards and Obama. This was a decision the DNC made on its own, and the candidates went along with it because no one wanted an intraparty fight that would tear up the primary calendar. No one questioned that until now, long after the Michigan primary, when Clinton saw the opportunity for putting the rigged results of the Michigan primary into her column.

And you haven't answered the question I've asked twice now: how is what Clinton's doing now "standing up for democracy"? The results of the Michigan primary weren't democratic. To count them now would be worse than not counting them at all.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:02 AM
horizontal rule
391

"...not whether the way the delegates vote was decided democratically."

The way delegates vote is determined on the convention floor. I don't think they are in any way legally bound, but are mainly for instance are on balance Clinton supporters, who are more likely than not to vote their candidates wishes. But having watched 68 and 72 wall-to-wall, ain't nothing guaranteed once they hit the floor.

Saw a lot of attempted cat-herding, screaming and crying on TV. It was a blast.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:03 AM
horizontal rule
392

Bob, go back to telling us about the evils of Obama's muslimness.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:03 AM
horizontal rule
393

Stras and bob, have you guys considered doing a variety show kind of thing?

"It's stras! It's bob! It's the stras and bob comedy spectacular! Featuring Rahm Emmanuel, Bobby Kennedy's dessicated corpse, and Bill Clinton as the clumsy waiter! Watch them bicker as American democracy hilariously collapses!"

I can get showbills and costumes made, hire some midgets.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:13 AM
horizontal rule
394

392:Typical Obama supporter? Do the rest of you support stras's type of response to my arguments or assertions in 389 or 391?

Silence, as Thomas Moore said, presumes assent.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:14 AM
horizontal rule
395

Depends, Sifu. What're the residuals like?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:15 AM
horizontal rule
396

bob, you haven't made arguments or assertions, so it's hard to say, even if you quote A Man for All Seasons.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:17 AM
horizontal rule
397

So while you were all commenting here, I was (a) creating value for some rich Canadian fucks and then (b) stimulating the malted beverage sector of the agribusiness economy. But I have a lot to say about this subject, so please allow me to kill this thread.

1. On living poor with no stylee-o.
For a few months in 1996 I semi-voluntarily lived on an extremely restricted budget. I was making enough from temp work to pay my rent, utils and bus fare, but after that I only had about $60 a month to buy food for myself (and for the second half of the period, for one other person). It was fucking tough. I tried to be as economical as I could -- buying the big 5 lb bags of cheap spaghetti, (and cooking it with only a pat of margarine and some tomato sauce), scrounging food from work, etc. -- but it was still really amazingly hard not to break down and buy a cheap bottle of rum ($10) or a 40oz ($1.29 for the cheapest rotgut) or to get a couple of double-decker tacos from Toxic Hell when I was downtown and away from food and kitchen. And that can just totally wreck your food budget when you're skint.

2. Food stamps/WIC/other benefits
I haven't had to live on these myself, but looking at, for instance, the WIC food package, and from having discussed WIC with middle-class raised, living-in-poverty single mothers of my acquaintance, it's kinda bleak. They sure expect you to drink a lot of juice and milk, for one thing. Sure, it's better than *nothing*, and you certainly won't starve, but if you're without a private social safety net, you can find yourself pretty well fucked when a little bit of bad luck hits.

3. Groceries/bodegas/connivance stores
I think one of the points that's elided here is the extent to which poor people are relentlessly marketed too, just like the rest of us. The Coke/Pepsi and Frito-Lay axis of evil is particularly disturbing. In the relatively large convenience store around the corner in my working-class neighborhood, approx. 20% of the floor space is taken up by soda pop and chips. What's more, the rack-jobbers for those products seem to be about the only ones who service that store who can maintain a fresh stock of products. When I've run over there to buy less well-trafficked products like instant pudding or some of the slightly obscure canned goods, I've often found myself grabbing items that were a year or so past their expiration date. At least when you buy Cheetos, Pepsi and Tater-Tots, you can be sure of getting a fresh, consistent product. As to grocery stores, the folx in my neighborhood are lucky to live within a mile and a half of two big box supermarkets, and less than a mile from an Aldi. There's even a very occasional bus that goes right from the big-box grocery to my corner. And yet, like everyone else around here, I wind up going to the convenience store on a regular basis, where I'm often seduced into buying the unhealthy things on offer. Not that even the big supermarkets are blameless. When you look at what's on offer (and especially what's cheap) it really does seem like there's a massive conspiracy to make sure people ingest the maximum amount of high-fructose corn syrup possible.

4. Fake-ass "libertarians"
Lucy Parsons is going to rise from the dead and organize an army of working-class zombies to march to your neighborhoods and BURN YOUR SHIT DOWN!!!


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:18 AM
horizontal rule
398

394: Dude, I have gotten no cake from you. Not even a muffin. I figure at this point I deserve at least one croissant per citation of the '68 convention in lieu of argument.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:20 AM
horizontal rule
399

395: huge! This'll play in Branson for years, we can bring in some journeyman guys to play you two in wigs and fake moustaches. The geezer's'll love rooting for bob! Tons of upside.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:20 AM
horizontal rule
400

399: Okay, but where's the back end? Is there a DVD box set in the picture?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:21 AM
horizontal rule
401

400: oh when the revolution comes this shit'll be huge in China. Blood in the streets, hell, you'll be surfin' that Yuan wave, baby.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:24 AM
horizontal rule
402

399: Mind you, the director of the Branson version will have to take some artistic license to ensure that the audience is satisfied by the ending. Specifically, both the "Stras" and the "Bob" characters will be horsewhipped by the "Sheriff's deputies".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:24 AM
horizontal rule
403

stras, I certainly agree that the Democratic Party was in some sense primarily responsible for the way the Michigan election was rigged. The New Hampshire and Iowa parties were also directly culpable. So was the Michigan party. Clinton, Edwards and Obama merely endorsed this for, as you correctly note, purely political reasons. I've been saying that all along.

No one questioned that until now, long after the Michigan primary

That's simply not true. Michiganders, as I believe they call themselves, were pretty unhappy about the whole thing.

And you haven't answered the question I've asked twice now: how is what Clinton's doing now "standing up for democracy"? The results of the Michigan primary weren't democratic. To count them now would be worse than not counting them at all.

I urged Katherine to use quotes when describing my position. Did I need to specify accurate quotes? Hillary isn't "standing up for democracy" and I didn't say she is, in those words or any others. She's standing up for her political interests. In a trivial way, those interests happen to have more in common with democracy than Obama's and Edwards interests in this particular matter, but again, that's really only true in a trivial sense. That's the only thing I'm saying (again and again).


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:41 AM
horizontal rule
404

402: satisfied s/b "satisfied".


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:42 AM
horizontal rule
405

In a trivial way, those interests happen to have more in common with democracy than Obama's and Edwards interests in this particular matter

No, they don't. That's the point I've made twice now, and the point you haven't responded to. It has nothing to do with Clinton's motivations or Obama's motivations or Edwards's motivations; it has everything to do with the fact that no one else was on the ballot when Michigan voted. That's not a democratic election. To count it as such would be worse than not counting it at all.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:50 AM
horizontal rule
406

in some sense primarily responsible

Tee hee hee!


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:59 AM
horizontal rule
407

402- or at least a banjo player.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:00 AM
horizontal rule
408

no one else was on the ballot when Michigan voted

I have, in fact, responded, but I'll do so one more time and let you have the last word. Obama and Edwards were not on the ballot because they chose to not be on the ballot. If they want to spin this as a principled stand, that's fine - that's politics.

But from where I sit, Obama and Edwards chose to disenfranchise Michigan's voters out of political calculation, with the intent of benefitting in Iowa and New Hampshire, and with the intent of leaving Michigan voters powerless to meaningfully object. Again - that's okay with me; that's politics. I wish them luck. But it is what it is.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
409

406: Ouch.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
410

394 -- I'll bite: I think 390 is a correct statement. Provoking this argument now is, imo, a bad move by Clinton. She'll either have a majority at the convention -- at which time she can get MI and FL delegates seated -- or not, but it's crazy to get herself into an argument right now about whether or not she's a double-dealing opportunist. Especially when the best defense we get is, essentially, 'Of course she is, and that's what we need to beat the other guys.'

All delagate questions get washed away on Feb 5, because she's going to win in a lot of places, and his funding will dry up. (Not my favored outcome, but I don't see BHO as having closed the deal. I think he's lost his moment. I hope to be proven wrong.)


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
411

408 -- It's a party process and a party has rules. If you don't want to play by them, you can't complain about getting a prescribed penalty.

Look if you don't want to have rules, why don't you just get a bunch of armed thugs and take over the convention. Prove you deserve power.

Hey, the people who refrain from hiring armed thugs are making a political decision. No less than the people who decide to hire armed thugs.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:12 AM
horizontal rule
412

394:Provoking this argument now is, imo, a bad move by Clinton

Since the Florida Democratic voters were disenfranchised by the Republican legislature and the DNC, the fact the Clnton is willing to fight for their rights while Obama and Edwards would prefer Florida just disappear or something may give Clinton an advantage in the immediate primary. And that's a lot of delegates. And that's why now.

Now Obama I suppose could say that Florida should be seated but not Michigan, but since both states "broke the rules" oh blah blah blah general election blah blah.

Perhaps Clinton standing up for MI & FL's right to have representation at the convention will so infuriate the rest of the party that Obama will win Feb & Mar in landslides.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
413

408: And refraining from hiring armed thugs, as Goebbels said, is assent.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
414

Obama and Edwards chose to disenfranchise Michigan's voters out of political calculation

Excuse me? The DNC chose to disenfranchise Michigan by refusing to seat its delegates.

Obama and Edwards were not on the ballot because they chose to not be on the ballot.

They chose not to be on the ballot because the DNC was going to strip the state of its delegates. This was a straight-up fight between the national and state-level Democratic parties in which the presidential campaigns - and the voters - got caught in the middle. You're willfully misreading it in an attempt to make it something that it's not.

I have, in fact, responded

No, you haven't. Several times in this thread you've claimed that Clinton's interests are aligned with the interests of "democracy" - that is, seating the Michigan delegates. But that's not democracy at all, because the Michigan primary wasn't democratic because there was only one name on the ballot. And there was only one name on the ballot because all of the others believed that otherwise they'd be under threat of having their delegates stripped away by the national Democratic party! That you don't seem to understand this suggests a willful obtuseness on your part.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
415

It is very simple. The individual state parties have the right to determine how and when their delegates are selected (including the incomprehensible Nevada caucus rules) and the delegates at the convention will determine whether to seat those delegations.

There are no other controlling authorities, nor should there be. If Clinton did anything unethical, it was before the Michigan and Florida primaries, not after. Obama and Edwards, by removing their names from the Michigan ballot, are the ones who acted unethically in denying Michigan's autonomy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:37 AM
horizontal rule
416

For once let me be the voice of reason and moderation. My only concern is that the fight doesn't hurt the nominee in the November election.

Easy for me to say, since my favorite lesser-evil nominee (Edwards) is a 100-1 longshot by now, and since I'm reasonably indifferent between the other two less-lesser-, slightly-greater-evils.

I'm very sympathetic to Bob's hope that the meanest Democrat wins the nomination. We'll see how Obama handles this. If he can out-mean Clinton while seeming cool as butter and sweet as your old granny, then he should be the nominee.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
417

Obama and Edwards, by removing their names from the Michigan ballot, are the ones who acted unethically in denying Michigan's autonomy.

This seems, to me, to be an unusually stringent calculation of the ethics of the situation.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:57 AM
horizontal rule
418

416: For once let me be the voice of reason and moderation.

By all means, a great addition to the act.

Featuring Rahm Emmanuel, Bobby Kennedy's dessicated corpse, and Bill Clinton as the clumsy waiter! And for this engagement only, John Emerson striking out in a new direction as the Ageless Voice of Reason!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:58 AM
horizontal rule
419

My only concern is that the fight doesn't hurt the nominee in the November election.

But it already has, or should have. They're all publicly behaving like 10 year olds. BitchPhd would hang her head in shame if her little boy had acted with the naivety or transparent manipulativeness displayed by the Democratic party's finest at every stage of this sorry saga.

Easy for me to say, since I haven't got a vote to waste on any of this shower. Wake me up again when McCain's done bombing Tehran.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:59 AM
horizontal rule
420

||
Allow me to interrupt a discussion of poverty/the DNC to make a priviledged white person's complaint: Fuck this country's health care system. Our health care ended at 11:59pm, new coverage doesn't start until 12am Monday, so of course our 15-month-old wakes up at 3am Saturday with a 102 fever and bleeding from his mouth and the first thing I have to think about it how much it's going to cost if we have to go to the hospital because he has Ebola or something.
Turned out fine so far, tylenol fixed the fever and we think he just bit himself while screaming. I also think I could pay $1200 for a month of COBRA to retroactively cover these two days if it were something serious, although I don't know if they'd cover claims for treatment prior to payment. I'm going to go lock all the doors so no one can go out and get injured before Monday. What a stupid fucking way to run a country.
|>


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 9:02 AM
horizontal rule
421

Obama and Edwards chose to disenfranchise Michigan's voters out of political calculation, with the intent of benefitting in Iowa and New Hampshire, and with the intent of leaving Michigan voters powerless to meaningfully object. Again - that's okay with me; that's politics. I wish them luck. But it is what it is.

You seem to be leaving out Clinton and the DNC in your first clause and ascribing a lot of intent to both Obama and Edwards that seems unjustified given the agreement that all three frontrunners had.

And again, this is no more re-enfranchisement than it would be to insist that nothing went wrong in Florida in 2000 because, after all, state wasn't ignored in the electoral college. Clinton may be guilty of no more than political manuevering, but this is hardly Those in Favor of Democracy and Kittens vs. Those Who Singlehandedly Stole the Ballots out of the Hands of Babies in Michigan.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 9:07 AM
horizontal rule
422

416: I differ from the apparently-conventional wisdom that the "meaner" primary candidate is necessarily the best general election candidate.

One of the many, many, many flaws of the current system is that it has a primary system that doesn't necessarily produce the best general election candidate. In this case, the Democratic primary is largely insulated from a factor that's going to be pretty huge in the general, namely a large and pervasive antipathy towards Hillary Clinton among conservatives and independents. If Clinton is going to win the general, she's going to have to convince some of those people that they're wrong about her. In particular, she's going to have to convince them she's not the unscrupulous, amoral, untrustworthy, two-faced Lady Macbeth of GOP fever dreams. This makes her particularly ill-suited to fight the general with the kind of scorched-earth tactics she's been using in the primary, where she's been playing to a largely loyal Democratic base against an opponent who's reluctant to come out and use the most obvious lines of attack against her and her popular ex-president husband. But in the general she'll have to deal with a GOP candidate native to those tactics - to the lesbian smears, to the stuff about Monica and Whitewater and dirty money scandals, and she won't be able to fight back as hard without looking like an evil shrew to general election voters who are already predisposed to believe the worst about her.

This isn't even touching on Clinton's still-untouched Achilles' heel in national security. It became clear in the last debate that she thinks the only way to respond to fearmongering hawks is with more fearmongering, and that's a recipe for President McRomney.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
423

I don't know if they'd cover claims for treatment prior to payment

I believe the way it works is that you let the service providers send their bills off to the insurance company. If the COBRA paperwork goes through before the insurer gets around to dealing with the bill, great. If not, they send the bill to you, you send it back, they pay it. With prescriptions, you have to pay out of pocket and then get reimbursed.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
424

I', not too happy with the way any of the candidates are acting, except maybe Edwards who has nothing to lose, but I don't think that anyone should egg anyone else on.

There have been much worse intra-party fights in the past, and not all of them had permanent effects.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 9:24 AM
horizontal rule
425

Hillary also has to convince people that she can't be messed with, something Gore and Kerry failed to do.

Conservatives, God bless their pointy little heads, really, really hate McCain.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
426

425: Ogged emailed me that link last night. You can find similar stories all over, which is why I believe the nominee is going to be Romney.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
427

I believe the nominee is going to be Romney.

I really think that we're going to lose, then. Cripes, I can't believe it. Maybe the Republicans will shoot themselves in the foot and just go openly bitchcakes over HRC's gender in the general.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 9:44 AM
horizontal rule
428

There have been much worse intra-party fights in the past, and not all of them had permanent effects.

I'd actually love to see an intra-party fight with permanent effects, but for that to happen it would have to be over something of substance, and everyone involved here - from candidates on down the chain to self-styled wonk bloggers - is terrified at the prospect of actually discussing policy differences. I've started to see articles and blog posts cropping up that in some sense reevaluate Bill Clinton - moving from "why is he acting like such a dick?" to "maybe he was always a dick" - but it never moves beyond the superficial to discuss the core policy initiatives of neoliberalism that Clinton championed, and the Democratic Party embraced, over the 1990s. In a primary fight that has essentially offered - or threatened - us a third Clinton term, there has been no serious attempt, as far as I can tell, by any major liberal institution to reevaluate the post-Clinton Democratic Party. This is a party of stasis, a "progressivism" that is desperate to remain in torpor.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 9:45 AM
horizontal rule
429

Hillary also has to convince people that she can't be messed with, something Gore and Kerry failed to do.

This is only half of it. She also has to get people to like her. Gore and Kerry failed to do that, too.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 9:46 AM
horizontal rule
430

I don't know, Tim. A Clinton-McCain match has one candidate the media hates versus one they line up to fellate. A Clinton-Romney matchup has two candidates they hate.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 9:47 AM
horizontal rule
431

I think that McCain is a stronger candidate than Romeny, and also would be a worse President (ignorance of econ + extreme hawkishness).

Apparently the press don't like Romney. This will be a test of my theory of the press -- will they be allowed to trash Romney the way they did Gore?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 9:47 AM
horizontal rule
432

I agree about much of that, Stras, but I see few or no signs that Obama isn't a neoliberal too. What I worry about is bruised personal feelings spreading out into the electorate, with the help of the media stressing the race-and-gender differences. I just don't think that people should do anything to intensify the disagreements that there are, the way people are here.

A lot of people love Hillary, probably more people hate her, but I don't think that Hillary's likability will decide anything. (Hillary's 40% negatives includes all of the dead-ender 30%, so only 10% of them are in play at all.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 9:53 AM
horizontal rule
433

As in any playoff system, it's all about the matchups. HRC vs. McCain is increasingly senile grandfather vs. cold but competent grandmother. HRC vs. Romney is robot vs. robot, so I think the choice gets made on other grounds. And lots and lots of Democrats just don't feel that worried about a Romney presidency. Maybe HRC makes it up by winning the white female vote--that would be unbelievably great to finally do it--but I doubt it.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 9:53 AM
horizontal rule
434

I can't tell whether Romney would do better or worse than McCain; I think either could win the general under the right circumstances. Apparently McCain is clueless about the economy, but he's a much better fearmonger than anyone else in the race, and the press loves him. The press seems to hate Romney, but he's good-looking and can at least pretend to know what he's talking about when it comes to money (and pull out the ever-popular "I ran a business" shtick).


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 9:54 AM
horizontal rule
435

Average polls right now:

McCain 46.3, Clinton 46.2
Clinton 51, Romney 39.5

McCain 43.7, Obama 44.0
Obama 52.0, Romney 34.0

McCain 44.0, Edwards 42.3
Edwards 52.3, Romney 36.0


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 9:58 AM
horizontal rule
436

Hillary's 40% negatives includes all of the dead-ender 30%, so only 10% of them are in play at all.)

The top isn't 40%. IIRC, the top number I saw was 50+%, and my sense of the more likely top is 48%. Nothing rigorous about my sense of the numbers, though.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 9:58 AM
horizontal rule
437

I agree about much of that, Stras, but I see few or no signs that Obama isn't a neoliberal too.

On economics, I agree. But his record and his instincts on foreign policy are considerably less hawkish.

A lot of people love Hillary, probably more people hate her, but I don't think that Hillary's likability will decide anything. (Hillary's 40% negatives includes all of the dead-ender 30%, so only 10% of them are in play at all.)

Her negatives are more like 46% right now. And remember that they'll go up in a general election - as will any nominee once they're under attack. The notion that she'll win with a "scorched-earth" campaign is wishful thinking; the kind of fight she'd have on her hands would raise her negatives as much as her opponent, and the general is going to be unfriendly ground for her.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 9:59 AM
horizontal rule
438

435: Yeah, I know, I know. I just don't believe that those polls accurately reflect what's going to happen.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
439

I think it comes down to how each candidate plays to the swing vote in the middle. Romney looks artificial, McCain (quite inexplicably) is the bold, post-partisan truth-teller.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
440

Romney looks artificial,

The problem is that so does HRC.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 10:05 AM
horizontal rule
441

Yes, which is why Romney is the better matchup for her.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
442

I'm not saying you're objectively pro-Coach K, Apo. I'm just not saying that you're not. I think Republican anti-McCain sentiment and McCain's age are going to be bigger issues than people think. Especially if the war becomes backgrounded.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 10:10 AM
horizontal rule
443

I'm pulling for Santorum to knock McCain out. Having insane people on the other side can sometimes be a blessing.

The thing about McCain isn't that he's a good person or an honest person. He's an average politician. It's just that he's a conservative who now and then will say things that are off script, and he's a politican who's done something interesting and impressive outside politics, and every once in awhile he seems like a human being. The average Republican these days is a zombie slave who repeats prerecorded messages and blindly follows orders, except that once in awhile they go off the rails like Santorum with his kinky sexual imaginings.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 10:11 AM
horizontal rule
444

My totally unscientific survey of cow-orkers shows a pretty solid bloc of actual enthusiastic support for McCain while the entire rest of the GOP field gets reactions ranging from eye-rolling to indifferent shrugs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
445

My totally unscientific survey of cow-orkers

Cow-pig hybrids don't have the vote yet, Apo. Although my local ASCPCPH chapter is working on it.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 10:27 AM
horizontal rule
446

McCain's popularity seems to stem from the press liking him, and the press likes him because he makes them feel special by dropping the script now and then. Like they're special insiders who know the real McCoyCain, who's in on the joke with them.

My totally unscientific poll has people thinking McCain is a liberal.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
447

Cow-pig hybrids don't have the vote yet

Why do you hate science, stras?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
448

Oddly though, Noah's favorite toy right now is this barn where you plug in the front and back halves of different animals and get different songs depending on whether you assemble matched or mixed animals. If, as often happens given the small numbers of animals from which to choose, you put a cow head and a pig butt together, the frog in the top of the barn sings:
You put a cow in front
You put a pig behind
Put them together
And what do you find?
A cow-pig? [mooo, oink]
That's silly!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
449

Someone call Children's Services immediately.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 10:39 AM
horizontal rule
450

Back to the delegate question, this seems right.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
451

It's amazing how Democrats adopt the stupid logic about politics that the right adopts in the war on terror. It's a sign, I think. of people who are too traumatized to think straight. The means aren't actually neutral. Pervasive dishonesty in politics systematically helps the right. Getting part of the electorate to vote for you based less on your policies than on their hatred of another part of the electorate--that also systematically helps the right. Basing your campaign on appeals to people's worst instincts--that systematically helps the right.

Where Broder etc. go wrong is in thinking that there's something immoral about saying harsh, negative things. Actually, there's not a damn thing wrong with saying something harsh & negative if it's true. As it is, Obama's rather too afraid to say harsh, true things (he's actually improved about this lately but the press is only covering the stupid back & forth with Clinton), and Clinton has no compunction about lying.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
452

It's too late, John. Every single child in America already has that toy.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 10:53 AM
horizontal rule
453

4049 total delegates, 796 superdelegates (~20%). Superdelegates. Clinton: 170, Obama 77, Edwards has 28, leaving 519 uncommitted. (Link).

The superdelegates are party regulars, so they will wheel and deal, even the nominally committed ones.



Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 10:56 AM
horizontal rule
454

Lock up every single parent in America.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 10:59 AM
horizontal rule
455

Lock up every single parent in America.

Emerson: objectively anti single parenting.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 11:03 AM
horizontal rule
456

McCain is an average politician but he's not an average member of the Congressional GOP, as he occasionally displays flashes of redeeming qualities. His opposition to torture is totally inadequate, but I think also sincere, & was a political risk. His position on immigration is also decent (not just better than Tancredo & Romney's, also notably better than Bush's) & was a political risk. This doesn't make him into a saint or come close to offsetting his overall crappiness or crazy hawkishness but it's more than any of the other GOP candidates have going for them.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 11:06 AM
horizontal rule
457

Every single child in America already has that toy.

Only because this one is sold out.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
458

Noah's toy: objectively in favor of antiquated notions of miscegenation?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
459

"I'm sorry, Mr. Barnes, but the marriage certificate must be carried on your person at all times. No, you can't make any phone calls. Your child will be scientifically deprogrammed and then remanded to a care center specializing in cases of this type."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
460

I'm in South Carolina, getting OTV for Edwards. Anybody have a link for where results will be reported when they begin rolling in. They say turnout's high, but I don't know who that favors, or whether it's true.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 11:22 AM
horizontal rule
461


Official results. No results until 7 pm.

CNN S.C. election center


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 11:57 AM
horizontal rule
462

TPM Election Central should have results when there are any, no? TPM's on the blogroll, and Election Central's a link from the homepage.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 11:57 AM
horizontal rule
463

Yay, sam k!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 11:57 AM
horizontal rule
464

Noah's toy: objectively in favor of antiquated notions of miscegenation?

Noah's toy: objectively crazy-making.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 12:13 PM
horizontal rule
465

That's quite a placid infant there.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 12:17 PM
horizontal rule
466

Well, she's used to it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 12:18 PM
horizontal rule
467

"it" being the heroin.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 12:20 PM
horizontal rule
468

I saw her try to dance! Little butt wiggle.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
469

Noah's toy: objectively crazy-making.

Dude, that thing would send me around the bend. I purge the house of noise-making toys at every opportunity; fortunately, little kids typically have short memories and tons of other stuff to play with, so the noisy crap is rarely missed.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 12:37 PM
horizontal rule
470

That said, I'm thinking about getting them a drum set.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 12:38 PM
horizontal rule
471

The noise-making toys are generally drowned out by the noise-making child.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 12:38 PM
horizontal rule
472

You should do that, Jesus. It only took 7 years for my brother to get good. But, then, once he was good, he played Slayer and crap like that.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 12:39 PM
horizontal rule
473

Noah and the Lemon was hilarious.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 12:40 PM
horizontal rule
474

472: They're about to turn five, same age as Igor Falecki.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 12:52 PM
horizontal rule
475

Twelve-year-old Slayer-playing twin girls would be a thing of beauty, Jesus. Do it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 12:55 PM
horizontal rule
476

The world is not ready for the Jesus twins playing Slayer.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 1:13 PM
horizontal rule
477

re: 472

The guy from Slayer is rated by loads of drummers. Sebastian Rochford [shit hot UK jazz drummer] mentions him in interviews.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 1:16 PM
horizontal rule
478

The world has seven years to get ready, John.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 1:17 PM
horizontal rule
479

Way less than seven years. They've got the attitude already. They just have to learn to play drums, but hey! -- drums are easy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 1:19 PM
horizontal rule
480

I'm not saying that it isn't difficult stuff. I'm saying that I hate it.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 1:29 PM
horizontal rule
481

Being twin drummers, they could out-Lombardo Lombardo, with quadruple kick drums, staying preternaturally in sync owing to their genetic identity.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
482

They could be the Ashley and Mary-Kate of the drums!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 4:12 PM
horizontal rule
483

NBC says that Obama crushed Hilary in South Carolina. Edwards projected to come in third.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22854377/

They forecast Obama to come in third in the white vote but still wins overall since he dominates the black vote.

Needs a thread...


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 5:29 PM
horizontal rule
484

Needs a thread...

Racist.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 5:46 PM
horizontal rule
485

Racist

No, apo, you've got it wrong. The other thread will be separate, but equal to this one.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 5:58 PM
horizontal rule
486

Obama wins SC! Woot!

I just danced a jig when I heard the news!

Again I say, woot!

Did I mention I'm Becks-style?

(Do we still say "Becks-style" around here, or is that totally 2006?)


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:03 PM
horizontal rule
487

We say "Michael-style".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:08 PM
horizontal rule
488

I just danced a jig when I heard the news!

Oh, you better believe that's racist.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:09 PM
horizontal rule
489

Come on, she has a natural sense of rhythm. Can't hardly help dancing.


Posted by: P.G. Delightful | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:11 PM
horizontal rule
490

488: Is it?

OK, I apologize to any of those of Irish descent who might have been offended.

But I really did dance a jig.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:12 PM
horizontal rule
491

489: She?


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:13 PM
horizontal rule
492

I was referring to your alter ego.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:17 PM
horizontal rule
493

No South Carolina thread? Why, the primary there doesn't count? Too many black people, Apo (racist)?


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:48 PM
horizontal rule
494

Clinton campaign strategists denied any intentional effort to stir the racial debate. But they said they believe the fallout has had the effect of branding Obama as "the black candidate," a tag that could hurt him outside the South.

Stay classy, Clintons.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:50 PM
horizontal rule
495

No, it doesn't count. I mean, Jesse Jackson won it *twice.*


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:52 PM
horizontal rule
496

See, if a black candidate wins a primary, it only counts as three-fifths of a primary. Have to do better than that, Barack!


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:54 PM
horizontal rule
497

495: Jesus fucking Christ, Bill. After publishing My Life, you should have stuck to public service and gotten out of politicking because it makes you an asshole.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:55 PM
horizontal rule
498

I seem to recall that Bill fucking Clinton himself used to get a lot of crap on the subject of how he wouldn't have won without the black vote, as if the votes of black people were somehow less real. How really extraordinarily classy that makes this whole line of classy Clintonian maneuvering. Yuck.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:57 PM
horizontal rule
499

I was referring to your alter ego.

Ah. In the Billy Idol, "Dancing With Myself" kinda way. Gotcha.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 6:59 PM
horizontal rule
500

Hillary will drop out now, right?


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:17 PM
horizontal rule
501

It's the weekend, folks. I'm sexist. Racist is Monday through Wednesday. Thursday I hate on the Jews and the gays.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:17 PM
horizontal rule
502

And on Fridays the Nepalese are in for some completely undeserved scorn.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:19 PM
horizontal rule
503

What, the cripples don't get any attention? Bigot.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:19 PM
horizontal rule
504

502: That's offensive, young lady.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:20 PM
horizontal rule
505

503: If they can't catch me, then fuck 'em. That guy with the prosthetic legs, though? He's alright.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:21 PM
horizontal rule
506

Dude, do you know any Nepalese? They totally deserve whatever Apo dishes out. Particularly after what they've done to China.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:21 PM
horizontal rule
507

Excellent speech by Obama. So articulate.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:22 PM
horizontal rule
508

Sorry, the combination of weird Nepal bashing and non-sequitur doesn't really work. I'll try harder next time.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:23 PM
horizontal rule
509

Also, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered"? Obama may have just won the Unfunkked primary.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:23 PM
horizontal rule
510

He's also unusually clean, I think.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:24 PM
horizontal rule
511

He's really better when delivering a prepared speech, isn't he? Debates aren't really his thing. Too messy for such a clean articulate person.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:25 PM
horizontal rule
512

508: Unfogged is all about the low standards -- just let it ride.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:26 PM
horizontal rule
513

Fair point. Love means never having to say you're sorry.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:27 PM
horizontal rule
514

Okay, our standards aren't that low.

For quoting Love Story, Ari is banned!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:29 PM
horizontal rule
515

Fine. I don't want to hang out with a bunch of philoNepalites anyway.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:31 PM
horizontal rule
516

Oh, c'mon, LB. I *like* Ari. And I haven't even fought with him yet.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:32 PM
horizontal rule
517

516: Keep on defending the Nepalese and see how long that lasts.

Anyway, I'm going home now. You know, the thing I hate most about hating my job is that the seething hatred makes me incredibly inefficient, so that I spend much more time getting less done than I would if I were happier. This really sucks.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:35 PM
horizontal rule
518

"fought" s/b "slept"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:36 PM
horizontal rule
519

518: Like I'd tell you, Mr. Blabbermouth.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:36 PM
horizontal rule
520

"tell" s/b "sleep with"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:38 PM
horizontal rule
521

B'd tell me, though.

She hasn't slept with Ari yet.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:40 PM
horizontal rule
522

Exactly.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:40 PM
horizontal rule
523

521: I would have told you at one point. Now? Not so much.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:41 PM
horizontal rule
524

But who'll tell me? Oh wait, can I be unbanned? Now that LB's gone, I mean.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:49 PM
horizontal rule
525

can I be unbanned?

Not until B makes you a man.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:50 PM
horizontal rule
526

Oh wait, new South Carolina thread. Shiny. Someone find me over there if it turns out that B and I slept together. Or fought.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:50 PM
horizontal rule
527

Same difference.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:52 PM
horizontal rule
528

Univision is predicting a B/Ari affair by midsummer.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:56 PM
horizontal rule
529

En espanol. Torrid!


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 7:57 PM
horizontal rule
530

¡EL TESTÍCULO GIGANTE!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:00 PM
horizontal rule
531

For god's sake, people, Ari is a married man with children.

I've already got one of those.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:00 PM
horizontal rule
532

That's supposed to be just between us, dammit.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:02 PM
horizontal rule
533

Oops, sorry apo. I thought that our threesome with the married guy was public knowledge.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:05 PM
horizontal rule
534

Don't bring Chopper into this. Again.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:09 PM
horizontal rule
535

QUIZ! At what part of his body was Apo gesturing when he wrote 534?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:13 PM
horizontal rule
536

535: Intrades says anus 87.2%, mouth 12.5%, ear 0.2%, soul 0.1%.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:15 PM
horizontal rule
537

Aw, c'mon. I like Chopper.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:16 PM
horizontal rule
538

Yeah, that was apparent.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:18 PM
horizontal rule
539

Poor Chopper will be so sorry he missed this thread.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:20 PM
horizontal rule
540

QUIZ! At what part of his body was Apo gesturing when he wrote 534 530?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:28 PM
horizontal rule
541

It's too easy, Knecht. His goiter.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-26-08 8:29 PM
horizontal rule