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Brain Damaged Wingnut

By Al Schumann on Tuesday December 15, 2009 12:43 AM

MJS has observed that success in foisting a Democratic president on the country is bad for liberals' moral character. They become cretins; indistinguishable from Republicans. It's now clear that successful foisting is also bad for their health.

There’s long been an argument out there that if you equipped people with “smart meters” that report their energy use in detail, they’d be surprised by what they learn and do a lot to conservative. Instead, Matthew Wald reports for the New York Times that the new meters, where installed, are leading to a lot of public anger and “Some consumers argue that the meters are logging far more kilowatt hours than they believe they are using.”

This is framed in the piece as undermining the hopes of the smart meter crowd, but I think it largely underscores the point. People can only respond rationally to the incentives that exist to conserve energy if they know how much energy they’re actually using and where and when. And it’s clear the reaction to smart meters that people actually have no idea what’s going on. Making them aware leaves an impressive.

Matt Yglesias

Via la Rana, who notes that Yglesias appears to have had a minor stroke. Aphasia can of course be caused by other things. Severe drinking problems, concussions and drug abuse will do it. Up to a point, past which there's too much damage, the drunkard and the druggie can recover a great deal of cognitive function. Good health care can help with that, as well with the cognitive dysfunctions of stroke victims and the multiply concussed. One hopes that Yglesias has such care available to him. It would be dreadful to go through life as a brain damaged wingnut. We may disagree with him on most, if not all issues, and be appalled by the way in which he's chosen to destroy his health and moral character. But that does not extend to gloating over his misfortune.

I assume the senior managers at his think tank will look after him in his attempt at recovery. Those of who wish him well may experience dismay at the thought. They are far from ideal, but there's a possibility that they can experience humane impulses towards someone they consider a real person.

Comments (12)


I had to read those two paragraphs a few times to understand what he's saying, but loosely translated, the gist is that if a power company promises to save you money, believe them, even if their new meter shows you are using two or three times the energy of a comparable period before the meter's installation. Seeing your bill double will tend to leave an impressive, but not if you're a true believer, apparently.

"Ignorance is bliss?" That header broke my irony meter.

Al Schumann:

Yglesias is clearly in need of help. The article he's trying to comprehend and explicate is dystopian to an alarming degree. In actual practice the smart meters program eliminates the few cost and service protections consumers still have. It's a punitive individual mandate, which can punish by remote control, not an enlightened corporate effort to lift the veils of ignorance.

People like him tend to to forget that we're no longer buying power from a utility over which we have some control, however modest. We're buying power from a heavily traded and speculated market. If the meters work as they're supposed to, without the normal failure rate of comparable electronics (3 to 5 percent!), their responsiveness puts consumers directly and individually at the mercy of this market. Regulation applied after the fact is no comfort. The corporate appeal process can drag on for months, long enough to be the last straw for paycheck to paycheck households.

Al Schumann:

And just to be clear, if he has suffered a terrible misfortune, let the gloating begin! It's entirely appropriate. His horrible, reflexive, merit class credulity is worse than cynical bootlicking.

This is where a Harvard Government major and a trust fund will get you.

What a lazy creep this guy is.

And this one also perfectly displays his basic theme -- wrongheaded technocratic scolding over irrelevant conventional "issues," plus complete blindness to the larger context.

Al Schumann:

It's infuriating to the point where I can't help laughing. The stupidity is malevolent. It's over the top, and it's a job qualification!


ya but he posts alot

Al Schumann:

In that case, I hereby award him the treasured Yuppie Stakhanovite of the Year award, dedicated to the memory of Frederick Winslow Taylor.

What's that? Drug use? Aphasia? Cognitive dysfunction?

Cripes, man; gimme a break, here. I would never have survived art school and accumulated any talent as an artist if it weren't for the goddamn' drugs, man. Jayzus.

Just speaking as someone who thought Dennis Hopper did his best acting while he was on drugs.

Al Schumann:

In that case, maybe Yglesias should start taking drugs. I only want the best for him, after all. It couldn't do any harm and it might even help his writing, his thinking or both. Who knows, he might even see the light, maybe join a black bloc now and then. Although that's probably hoping for too much.

Trouble is, you've got to have a modicum of talent to begin with.

From the sound of things, this Yglesias guy could smoke all the weed in town starting tomorrow, and it still wouldn't make a Kerouac out of him.

Al Schumann:

I'm reluctant to completely throw in the towel. He, by himself, doesn't mean anything to me, but there are lots of little league neoliberal pundits in desperate need of ways to do less harm. They need guidance and, possibly, large doses of mescaline. Even if he doesn't turn into a good writer, he could still aspire to crafting a few entries for travel guides.

Mr Dawson's comment is pithy.

This is where a Harvard Government major and a trust fund will get you.

Forgive me for not going into supplicant-mode at the mention of one of the Ivy League schools, but I'm prone to broad-brush disgust with their graduates. Yes, it comes from extensive experience among some of them... mostly the Harvard Law cult.

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