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Good God, Is He Really That Stupid?

Yesterday, President Obama blamed the high unemployment rate, in part, on ATMs and airport kiosks and other areas where we've "automated' jobs.

This is, of course, laughable on its face. Much like so much of what President Obama says when he speaks off the cuff.

I took that one a bit personally, though -- I have a friend who spends a great deal of time at his job fixing and maintaining ATMs. If it wasn't for them, he'd be stuck doing the same thing to human tellers -- and his wife would definitely not approve of him doing that.

But as I thought that, I realized -- he really does say incredibly stupid things quite often, and almost never gets called on it. And most often, it's when he is trying to make himself look better -- either by deflecting blame, or inflating his own importance.

Unemployment stubbornly refusing to acknowledge his genius and competence? Must be those stupid machines, taking jobs from hard-working Americans.

Remember when he was campaigning for president? Trick question -- he's been running for president for most of a decade, and hasn't slowed down. Let me be more precise. Remember when he was still a US Senator (in name only, not actually doing his job) and arguing in favor of ObamaCare? One of the areas where costs are being driven up was by greedy, dishonest doctors who unnecessarily perform amputations on diabetics and remove tonsils that don't need to be taken out.

He tried to tie himself into American history, making his personal story emblematic of America's biggest issues. He talked about how the Selma march for civil rights had led to his parents marrying -- but he was born four years before that march. He talked about how his attitudes towards his own race were shaped by an article in Life that showed a black man whose skin was scarred from attempts to bleach himself "whiter" -- but that article never existed.

Earlier this week, he joked that the "shovel-ready" projects that were supposed to be the subject of the big "stimulus" boondoggle weren't quite as "shovel-ready" as he'd thought they would be. But when that was pushed, a lot of us said that his boasts were BS -- and we were roundly denounced for saying then just what he's saying now.

That's just a few examples. There are plenty more. But the question remains -- is he really that stupid as these would indicate?

No, he isn't. "Stupid' is too simple a concept to properly capture just what is going on in his head.

Obama is intelligent. There's no denying that. But he has several other characteristics that undermine that intelligence.

First, he's not as smart as he thinks he is. He's above average, but I'd hardly peg him as a genius.

Next, he's arrogant as hell. No matter the circumstances, he thinks he's the smartest in the room, and all he has to do is impart his wisdom and genius, and all will be well.

Finally, he's lazy. He simply isn't interested in learning what he doesn't know.

It's fairly easy for me to identify these traits -- I have them myself, to certain degrees. But I am considerably smarter than Obama, in some ways -- I know that I don't always know better than others might, that there are areas where I don't know as much as others, and one motto I try to live up to is "I have many flaws, but among them is not self-deception."

But I also have another major advantage over Obama. I've failed before. Rather, I've been allowed to fail, and sometimes learn from them. He's always been protected from failure, so he thinks that he can't fail.

Hey, bozo: you're failing. And you're taking all of us down with us. Including the 47% who voted against you because we KNEW this is what would happen.

Grow up a little, will ya? And get a fricking clue.

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Comments (84)

Leftists bristle when you c... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Leftists bristle when you call them neo-Luddites. Um. Well? Next they'll be smashing ATMs to create jobs. That'll be another great government make-work program.

Looms didn't replace worker... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

Looms didn't replace workers ... the cloth makers simply made alot more cloth with the same number of workers ... which allowed them to charge alot less, which brought in much more business which allowed them to HIRE even more loom operators ...

What a complete fail as an academic ... that man hasn't opened an academic book in decades ...

Good God, Is He Re... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:
Good God, Is He Really That Stupid?

Yes, he is.

When he arrives in the Oval Office in the morning, he doesn't know what he's supposed to do, why he's there, or how he got there. He's a mannequin.

Stupid? Never -though that ... (Below threshold)
Don L :

Stupid? Never -though that is great camoflauge for a race card president. "They're pickin on me agin cause I'm black"

Obama is anything but stupid. These folks keep using our stupidity - for arguing logically,about things like economic fine points and constitutional legal issues, while they win, time after time with free lunch, free sexual depravity, victimology, envy, greed and
"we care" abortion-it's for the children etc.

They win because folks want to hear what they say and really don't care much what they do as long as the checks keep coming. While we argue about money and spend all our time trying to destroy our own Sarah!

The soviets kept the masses happy with booze -we use sex and depravity with a lot of victimhood to whip them in line.

Don't blame Obama -it is we that are eagerly committing suicide.

Obama is intelligent. There... (Below threshold)

Obama is intelligent. There's no denying that. But he has several other characteristics that undermine that intelligence."

I have never seen evidence of that. I would bet that many of us would destroy The One in a game of Jeapardy using even categories like "Community Organizing", "History of Progressive ism in America", "Healthy Eating", "Hawaii", "Political Theory", "The Constitution"... There is no category in which he would shine. Until he releases even his kindergarten records, I'm not buying it. He is of average intelligence, and has been pushed along by misplaced affirmative action.

Unfortunately he is not stu... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Unfortunately he is not stupid, the electorate he is talking to is. They fall for his bullshit. Just count how many big "promises" he has made that he did not keep.

How about Michelle Obama saying Barry works 24/7. Wow! Who is she talking to?

The elitist left doesn't mind because they know the can get the dumb vote. ww

Yes! ------ ummm wait... i... (Below threshold)
cathymv:

Yes! ------ ummm wait... is that a trick question?? 8/

"He's always been protected... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"He's always been protected from failure, so he thinks that he can't fail."

As far as 'accomplishing' anything of note (besides getting elected), he is a failure.

It's just that no one has even called him on it.

He's 'smart' and 'intelligent' only in that he's learned how to work the system to his advantage.

Those claiming Obama is int... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Those claiming Obama is intelligent....

Exactly what do you base those claims on?

I would agree that his arro... (Below threshold)

I would agree that his arrogance is at the root of his incompetence, along with his status as a golden boy and protected minority, which cushioned his problems and failures via the efforts of an army of mostly rich, white 'guardian angel' mentors and politicos. You're absolutely right about that one.

I also think he actually started to believe his campaign's own bullshit messianic narrative and just expected things to "work out" when he assumed office -- not realizing that the reason things had always "worked out" for him before was due to the efforts of his guardian angels. What a shock it must have been to him when he finally realized that he could no longer simply pick up the phone and say "fix this."

He's an actor, playing the ... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

He's an actor, playing the role of "President" in the movie: "Death of a Nation"

And like so many actors who can portray a 'genius' when reading a script that gives them smart things to say, when they are interviewed or speaking off-the-cuff they sound like (and often ARE) complete idiots.

I can only hope & pray that "Death of a Nation" gets cancelled before it finishes production and is fully distributed.

republicans should start a ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

republicans should start a bill in congress callled "put america back to work" which bans kiosks and ATMs and mention Obama in the bill.

Force a vote on it and see what the dems do.


Actually you're.the one tha... (Below threshold)
JustMe:

Actually you're.the one that is stupid if you don't realize that the introduction of ATM's and Airport Kiosks do cause the loss of jobs. Think about what they do and you'll quickly realize that not that many years ago these jobs were performed by actual people and that more than once both banks and airlines hace cited the advancement of technology for the loss of jobs in their respective industries.

I find that arrogrant peopl... (Below threshold)
mag:

I find that arrogrant people are never as smart as they think they are....because they already know everything and they don't leave their minds open to learn.

"Obama is intelligent. T... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"Obama is intelligent. There's no denying that."

Never confuse intelligence with a well developed ability to mimic others.

No, he's not particularly bright. He's never had an idea of his own. He's been handed the work of others to claim as his own and he's spent nearly his entire political career insulated from criticism.

He is a con man. Con men ha... (Below threshold)
Razorgirl:

He is a con man. Con men have to have some intelligence. However, it is the only thing they know.

Unfortunately, Oba... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Unfortunately, Obama is largely correct. No matter who was or will be in office, Wall Street and big corporations are interested in profits and productivity not jobs, unless they are their own.

We have lost an enormous number of manufacturing jobs which will never come back, with global free trade, the consequently high US trade deficitis, unless we want to start paying workers five dollars an hour, with no benefits. The old nostrums no longer work.


And (as Obama intimated in his second point), "We are approaching a point where the Luddite premise will no longer be entirely fallacious" given the advanced and accelerating rate information technology is completely changing society,... displacing a huge proportion of workers, on balance.

The Wizbang site-and wikipedia are good illustrations of that phenomenon. How many jobs have they created..except perhaps with google? and a few in IT?

Where Obama erred was in convincing so many Americans that he really cared and could dig us out of structural unemployment..from a policy of going from hope to hope.

Just get him OUT o... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:


Just get him OUT of office. Then whether or not he "grows up"' or "gets a clue" doesn't matter.

The task of rectifying the damage he and the progressives have inflicted will be difficult enough without side issues.

Leave it to "JustMe" to rea... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Leave it to "JustMe" to react to Obama's simplistic remarks with something equally simplistic. The relationship between human workers and machines and the economic logic that ties them is more complex than "the ATM ate your job!"

Jay Tea: I know you read O... (Below threshold)
James H:

Jay Tea: I know you read Outside the Beltway, so you should know you're way off here.

Disintermediation -- that is, the substitution of technology for jobs formerly belonging to humans -- does indeed reduce available jobs. ATMs replace bank tellers. Advanced algorithms replace document-review attorneys. Travelocity and Expedia replace travel agents. Checkout computers replace grocery-store cashiers.

This is not new.

I think you hit the nail on... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I think you hit the nail on the head when you say that he is lazy. His "accomplishments" consist of being appointed or elected to some lofty position but once there he does little or nothing.

Once appointed to the position of President of the Harvard Law Review he became the first to never publish a single article. As a lecturer at Univ. of Chicago he never published a single paper. As Chair of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge he dispensed millions of dollars to friends whose projects achieved nothing. As State Senator he left no legislation bearing his name and the only memorable action was to bottle up in committee the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which passed in just days after his departure. He did nothing in the US Senate but run for President.

So now that he is President what do we get? Not much. A lot of golf. Nothing to address the major problems of the nation. Jack up spending by a trillion a year and then claim that cutting more than 6 billion is too much. How ever did we get by without that extra spending all those years?

When the President can't even be moved to present an appropriate gift to a visiting head of state why should we expect him to bother to do the rest of his job. He can't do the easy stuff why should we expect him to do the hard things?

the substitution of tech... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

the substitution of technology for jobs formerly belonging to humans -- does indeed reduce available jobs.

Jeez. I can't believe we even have to have this argument. Technology increases productivity, increased productivity produces wealth. Technology saves labor, which means workers have more time to spend on even more productive pursuits -- or leisure, if one wishes. This is economics 101. How many jobs and how many millionaires have been created bi IBM, then Bill Gates? Google? Yahoo? GE? Henry Ford?

How does one argue with people like this? You can't fix willful stupidity.

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."

One of my jobs was programm... (Below threshold)

One of my jobs was programming some of the systems on Army helicopters at the flight and training center in Fort Rucker, Alabama. Many Jordanians and Saudi Arabians were trained there in the 90's.

One night after a few brewskis, one of the pilot trainers, who was a friend of mine, went off on the Muslim trainees. He hated trying to teach them to fly. They were arrogant and ignorant. They thought by being Muslim men they were superior to everyone, and they didn't need to learn anything. They grew up seeing their mothers terrorized by their fathers, and many of them were now terrorizing their own wives. They would make some horribly stupid comment and would fly into a rage when the trainer would correct them. The trainer comforted himself by knowing if we ever had to face these yahoos in battle, we'd take them out easily.

I thought these pilots were idiots because they were all princes of their Muslim lands, but I see this in Muslim men today on trial for murdering their wives or daughters, or killing innocents.

Obama has that personality. He was raised as a Muslim, after all, by a Muslim father. Perhaps he is a Christian now, or an athiest, or whatever, but his essential clay is Muslim. He is arrogant and ignorant.

Actually you're.th... (Below threshold)
Eric:
Actually you're.the one that is stupid if you don't realize that the introduction of ATM's and Airport Kiosks do cause the loss of jobs. Think about what they do and you'll quickly realize that not that many years ago these jobs were performed by actual people and that more than once both banks and airlines hace cited the advancement of technology for the loss of jobs in their respective industries.

1) ATMs, kiosks, debit cards and all of those things that replaced the need for bank tellers have been around for decades now. They have been around when we had prosperity and recession. To blame them for the recession is to ignore the fact that we had many years of prosperity even with them.

2) ATMs, kiosks and debit cards don't cost jobs, they actually create jobs. The economy grows when money flows. The opportunity cost is very high between the choice of inconvenient access to money from relatively few locations for only a few hrs a day vs. convenient access to money from many locations 24 hrs a day.

Oh, and James H, comment nu... (Below threshold)

Oh, and James H, comment number 20?

"At the dawn of the self-service banking age in 1985, for example, the United States had 60,000 automated teller machines and 485,000 bank tellers. In 2002, the United States had 352,000 ATMs – and 527,000 bank tellers."

Care to explain that? Or do you want to stick with your insanely ignorant statement that "Disintermediation -- that is, the substitution of technology for jobs formerly belonging to humans -- does indeed reduce available jobs."

Heh, heh, heh. Ignorant arrogant types slinging around big words are so much fun to toy with. They usually don't realize they are being batted around like a beach ball, but the rest of the audience enjoys seeing it.

"How many jobs and how many... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"How many jobs and how many millionaires have been created bi IBM, then Bill Gates? Google? Yahoo? GE? Henry Ford?"

For liberals, the economy is a zero-sum game. If jobs gets lost, there's never any created to replace them - which is a crock of shit.

The job I've been doing for the last couple of decades didn't even exist when I graduated from high school. The job position I fill now wasn't deemed necessary until just about a year back, when corporate policy changed and our division started getting charged for excess software on the systems. (You know, stuff like Elf Bowling, Zuma, and so on...)

Of course, some typewriter repairmen had to be sacrificed. Every technology seen as 'better' ends up displacing an entrenched base - but that's not an excuse for never adopting any new tech. If that'd been the criteria, we'd be in miserable shape when whale oil ran out.

JLawson,If only th... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

JLawson,

If only that darned Guttenberg press hadn't sent all those scribes to the unemployment line. Just think where we could be now. LOL.

James, I touched on that po... (Below threshold)

James, I touched on that point -- yeah, we may have lost some teller jobs, but we also gained a whole new industry: ATMS. ATM design, manufacture, distribution, support, and all that. My hunch is that we net gained quite a few jobs -- and a lot of them better-paying than tellers.

But even if Obama had a point (and I dispute that), he picked a terrible example to make his point.

J.

Obama was not making an his... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

Obama was not making an historic comment -- that is, remarking on how ATMs and kiosks have eliminated some jobs while creating new ones (programers, maintenance). Rather, he was blaming ATMs, etc. for the here and now.

That's the difference, and that's what prompted JT's fine rant.

If you listen carefully to Obama objectively, and not as a partisan, you'll soon realize that the man is incapable of accepting any responsibility for anything that goes wrong. He's quick to assume credit but even quicker to place blame. To him, someone else is always to blame.

jim m, Obama is and was ver... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

jim m, Obama is and was very ambitious but not lazy, maybe a little intelectually lazy, but not lazy, as is commonly meant. At the University of Chicago, where he was a lecturer, he was a state senator, wrote his two books, and was active in his Chicago law firm.

Being President and chief CEO with only one dunderhead vice president requires much effort. Most companies have multiple vice-presidents. On top of that you want Obama to be spending his time worrying about the appropriate personlized gifts to hand over to every dignitary that arrives in DC or he sees abroad. Most of them like the Queen have warehouses of the stuff anyways.

More: Advances in producti... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

More: Advances in productivity will always eliminate jobs while creating new ones. Whole industries are destroyed or greatly diminished because a newer, better, more productive method, product or service is introduced -- creating new jobs in the process.

Of course, it's not a one-for-one tradoff. Sometimes the new thing will create more jobs than those lost, sometimes fewer. But the tradoff does not exist in isolation, meaning that when one opportunity closes, others are open elsewhere.

Steve, Obama's ambition is ... (Below threshold)

Steve, Obama's ambition is a given. It's a given for any pol above a certain level.

On the rest... he was a lecturer who called himself a "professor" with zero academic accomplishments. He was a state senator infamous for avoiding the real work, but always ready to claim credit. His authorship of his first book has been credibly challenged.

He hand-picked his "dunderhead" (and that's being kind), as well as all the rest of his advisors. I didn't bring up the slights to England, so don't drag that up here -- that's a sign of another of his character flaws, not the ones I'm bringing up here. Well, except for the IPod filled with his speeches.

Sounds like you got a hefty dose of buyer's remorse there, Steve... I'll spare you the gloating this time.

But no promises for the future.

J.

Steve Crickmore ... Yes, be... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

Steve Crickmore ... Yes, being president requires much work, but your statement in #30 to that effect is misleading. Yes, the president technically only has one vice president, but the executive branch is huge, with numerous departments and their leaders, as well as the president's advisors and counsels. The department secretaries, etc. report directly to the president. And the White House chief of staff has more raw power/authority than the vice president (though not always: Dick Cheney, for example).

So, each president is well served by numerous senior officers -- not just the dunderheaded vice president.

Automatation made redundant... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Automatation made redundant a lot jobs, but created as many if not more in other fields, to compensate but the revolution of information technolgy is such a different kettle of fish, this time, IT replaces almost everything. Look at even Weiner, he didn'nt even go to strip club or use a prostitute. This is a new economic phenomenon that we are witnessing. The job losses, due to IT, might not come back.

Frezetta:I do stic... (Below threshold)
James H:

Frezetta:

I do stick by it, actually, disintermediation is a documented phenomenon. And in the legal world (my profession), I've seen many, many attorneys lose their jobs because of more efficient document-review software.

And as computers have become more commonplace, secretaries have lost work. Consider the number of empty secretarial bays in any law office that has gone a decade or more without remodeling.

As for your bank tellers example ... I would be interested in seeing how many tellers would have been employed if banks had continued their growth without ATMs. But that's a story for another day.

For liberals, the economy is a zero-sum game. If jobs gets lost, there's never any created to replace them - which is a crock of shit.

JLaw, I don't consider it a zero-sum game. Rather, the spurts of technology tend to foster unemployment. One minute you needed typists, the next minute you need computerists. But in the middle, your pool of people looking for work are typists, not computerists ... and if more computerists are coming into the work force, it may not be worth a business's time to transmute a typist into a computerist.

Thus ... unemployment, at least for a while.


Jay Tea, it's not just the ... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Jay Tea, it's not just the new jobs created to design and build ATMs. We take the convenience of ATMs for granted. That convenience creates all sorts of economic activity that otherwise would be hindered by the limited hours that banks are open.

Think about how we would operate if we didn't have ATMs or debit/credit cards and had to rely on bank tellers for our money. All sorts of economic activity outside of banker's hours would be impacted because people simply wouldn't have access to their money.

What would you do if you wanted to eat at a restaurant on Sunday, but didn't have the cash on hand? I don't know many restaurants that take checks.

I do stick by it, actual... (Below threshold)

I do stick by it, actually, disintermediation is a documented phenomenon. And in the legal world (my profession), I've seen many, many attorneys lose their jobs because of more efficient document-review software.

James, you know I like you, but I can't help but read that and want to jump up an give a big old "America, FUCK YEAH!" at the thought of lawyers losing their lawyering jobs and having to find actual honest, productive work.

You call that a bug. I call it a feature.

Sorry, chum, but I gotta be honest and I gotta be me.

J.

Bad call Jay Tea. Those do... (Below threshold)
James H:

Bad call Jay Tea. Those doc-review lawyers who are suddenly out of work either go on the welfare rolls ... or they hang out their own shingles, where they create headaches instead of reviewing documents.

OK, James, the shingle thou... (Below threshold)

OK, James, the shingle thought is kinda scary... but welfare? For reals, bro? They don't even TRY to find some kind of productive work outside the legal field?

And the cynic in me wants me to say "even as welfare recipients, they're costing society even less than as a practicing attorney."

J.

Well, yeah, they go on welf... (Below threshold)
James H:

Well, yeah, they go on welfare and/or unemployment until they can find something new. Temporary doc-review attorneys are considered the Dalits of the legal world. It's very tough for them to find work.

A couple more factors come into play for these attorneys, Jay Tea:

1) Most carry a large student-loan burden, so working a job that pays $30k/year or less can leave the lawyer without enough money to live on.

2) Again, finding job outside the legal field can be tough. Somebody who went straight from undergrad to law school has no meaningful job skills beyond being a lawyer. And I have found from personal experience that people in other industries are uncomfortable with hiring lawyers for non-lawyer jobs.

Jay, or worse thay go into ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jay, or worse thay go into politics. Obama is so ambitious (and pragmatic in his fashion), that everything is sacrificed for his ambition, including writing an academic paper. He doesn't seem to be very interested about any subjects, on their own merit, apart from his own life. Writing two books about himself, is a key. I should have seen it earlier. My bad!

Biden was a poor choice too, completly inside the box, but Obama wanted to give the ticket the veneer of experience, just as MaCain went the other way to give their ticket a little charisma.

Steve, to paraphrase a Dane... (Below threshold)

Steve, to paraphrase a Dane (I think) commenter on the last election: we had a choice between a Harvard lawyer married to another Harvard lawyer, or a war hero married to a busty blonde who owns a beer distributorship.

And we went for the lawyer.

I weep for my nation that was.

J.

James H,I work for a... (Below threshold)
Eric:

James H,
I work for a law firm too. And while I agree with you that that the attorney/staff ratio is a lot smaller than it was 20 years ago, advances in technology have allowed our firm to be far more productive and cost efficient so that we have grown as a result. 10 years ago my firm had

Now we have 24 offices and nearly 300 people. We've been growing even during the current recession. Growing with more billable associates and partners who can use technology to be productive vs. non-billable assistants who did things manually. We also haven't laid off anyone.

Barry is ignorant. AA has t... (Below threshold)
Sep14:

Barry is ignorant. AA has taught him well.

Somehow that first paragrap... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Somehow that first paragraph got cut up. It should read:

10 years ago my firm had less than 10 offices and around 100 people with a high attorney/staff ratio.

JamesH:"And in ... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

JamesH:

"And in the legal world (my profession), I've seen many, many attorneys lose their jobs because of more efficient document-review software."

At the same time, I've seen the productivity of all researchers increase exponentially by the same technology. You now have virtually instantaneous document retrieval and records searching. You can skip the law library. Things you likely would have missed before are now easy to find. Peer collaboration is easy, fast, and useful. I guarantee you that the practice of law has seen more benefits than harm. I guess you're not a glass-half-full kind of guy.

Steve:Jay, or w... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Steve:

Jay, or worse thay go into politics. Obama is so ambitious (and pragmatic in his fashion), that everything is sacrificed for his ambition, including writing an academic paper. He doesn't seem to be very interested about any subjects, on their own merit, apart from his own life. Writing two books about himself, is a key. I should have seen it earlier. My bad!

We tried to tell you. Hell, even the Late Lee-Lee was going on about how unqualified he was over on WizBangBlue... until he got the nomination and all of a sudden couldn't be praised enough.

The man didn't change - he was still the badly flawed candidate that he was before, still had all the problems and shortcomings identified so clearly, and he was the same then as he is now - but once he was the nominated one - that was it. Party loyalty took over.

"Yeah, she's promiscuous, a liar and a thief, she can't hold a job and she doesn't bathe regularly - but I'm gonna marry her anyway - what she can do with a billiard ball and a garden hose is incredible!"


Steve: "On top ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Steve:

"On top of that you want Obama to be spending his time worrying about the appropriate personlized gifts to hand over to every dignitary that arrives in DC or he sees abroad. Most of them like the Queen have warehouses of the stuff anyways."

That's why having good protocol advisors... and listening to them... is so important.

There's going to be a lot of fences that need mending once he's out of office...

At the same time, I've s... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

At the same time, I've seen the productivity of all researchers increase exponentially by the same technology. You now have virtually instantaneous document retrieval and records searching.

Jeff, that's one of the things that's been wonderful about the internet as far as I'm concerned. If you want to find out about something, you can. If you want to learn about something you're interested in, you've got on-line resources that range anywhere from the Khan Academy (where I'm working on math) to videos of MIT lectures. Want to see what solar output's been for the last 5 years? Want to see what the sun looks like right now? Looking for a left-handed Australian widget to replace that one the cat chewed up? Or the GDP and import/export ratios of Wheredefukistan and Whodehellcarestan?

You can find it. It's an amazing time we live in.

RE: "Obama is intelligent."... (Below threshold)
kevino:

RE: "Obama is intelligent."
I disagree. He doesn't appear to learn from his mistakes. Perhaps, as you said later, he's too arrogant to learn. But from my view he just doesn't get it.

RE: "He's not as smart as he thinks he is. ... He's arrogant as hell. ... Finally, he's lazy."
I agree. First of all, no one is as smart as he thinks he is. But his laziness is unreal. He wanted healthcare reform, and then basically turned it over to Congress. He's been focusing like a laser on his golf game while the economy has been stuck in the basement. The only reason he's even talking about the economy in recent weeks is that his re-election team has told him that he's a one-term-wonder if the economy doesn't get better. That was probably a shock to his system.

Actually, Jeff, I have my j... (Below threshold)
James H:

Actually, Jeff, I have my job because I am somewhat better with technology than I am with law and I try to stay abreast of that technology. But still, people have been displaced. When companies focus on efficiency, hiring employees is down on the list of priorities. One person is productive, another is out of work. But God help that unproductive person who comes for my job.

Yes, JLawson, that was quit... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Yes, JLawson, that was quite a 'volteface' by Lee..like Obama~s being against individual mandades before we was for them. We knew what we were getting in Hillary, Lee's candidate, pre-convention, and Paul Hoosan´s preference in the early days was Edwards. Who were we supposed to support.. Biden?

Yes, I suppose we have alot of common ground for our complaints with Obama. He hasn´t been totally incompetent, (there have been no big scandals yet). He has been more half-hearted than anything. He has just halved the differences on most policies, and been the machine politician, not the transformative politician we hoped he would become. Reminds me of Robert Redford´s film 'The Candidate' and of course, there are big powers in agencies resistant to change, if he really wanted it, which I doubt now.

Yeah, and the Coke machine ... (Below threshold)
Brad:

Yeah, and the Coke machine took the jobs away from all those guys who used to stand around selling Cokes. And who can forget the gumball guys and that whole industry? The president is a jackass.

Fascinating. Liberals brist... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Fascinating. Liberals bristle at being characterized as Luddites, and then proceed to validate that characterization in the comments.

In essence, they're subscribing to the labor theory of value, Karl's risible notion that the value of a good or service is determined by the amount of labor that went into it.

So don't fill that pothole with a skiploader; fill it with a tea spoon! Do it for the collective good!

This story had a friend and... (Below threshold)
Rich:

This story had a friend and I creating a whole scenario of getting rid of ice-makers. We had unions(IBAIWU),Degrees(BIM,MIM),Levels of competence Ice Gathereres,Cutters,Crushers,Government Offices of Ice Management...anyway it got a little ridiculous.

Obama isn't stupid, but he'... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Obama isn't stupid, but he's not particularly bright, either. I'd put him at the approximate intellectual level of the average college student, no higher. That's a respectable, but not noteworthy, performance.

This assessment comes from looking at the breadth and depth of knowledge he displays, his vocabulary, and his facility at abstract reasoning, all of which are modest. It focuses solely upon extemporaneous speech; reading someone else's words off a teleprompter doesn't count. Hell, Richard Burton could speak fluent Elizabethan English - when he was performing Shakespeare.

"We knew what we were ge... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"We knew what we were getting in Hillary, Lee's candidate, pre-convention, and Paul Hoosan´s preference in the early days was Edwards. Who were we supposed to support.. Biden?"

Hillary, for all her faults, would be a hell of a lot better than what we've got.

So would Jimmy Carter, come to think of it. And Warren G. Harding.

Wait a sec - Harding's dead, isn't there something in the Constitution that says you've got to be alive to run for President? (Of course, that hasn't stopped folks from voting in Chicago...)

Yeah, that's part of the problem, isn't it? The race turns into a seniority-ranked beauty contest, and what we end up with is a mix of 'I've been around long enough - I deserve this!' and 'Can this candidate even get elected', plus a dollop of 'Can this candidate even survive the campaigning?'

Don't know of any better way to do it, unfortunately...

For God's sake, Rich, don't... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

For God's sake, Rich, don't give them ideas!

The ironic part is that leftists deploring jobs made obsolete through technological innovation style themselves "progressives." It is to laugh.

Justme ref post 13<... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Justme ref post 13

I guess we should ban cars because it put buggywhip makers out of business to right?

We should ban tractors because it puts farm laborers out of work.

We should ban email because it put bicycle messengers out of work.


IT IS CALLED PROGRESS.

James H, comment 40: "Mo... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

James H, comment 40: "Most carry a large student-loan burden"

Like drinking or drugs, poor financial commitments can be painful and permanent, but it's their own fault for assuming they could take on that kind of debt and pay it off with no risk or worry. I paid for my MBA by saving up for years ahead of time, choosing my school carefully and not kidding myself about opportunity in the real world. Granted, lawyers don't usually do any of those things ...

With statements like this f... (Below threshold)
TaterSalad:

With statements like this from Barack Obama, the real problem with him is exposed. He is a "Community Organizer", not a President with any type of business background. This is very scary for America. Why did/has all of his cabinet advisors on the economy quit? This statment tells the story. America, you are "reaping" the awards of "Hope & Change" and they are not good. Enjoy! Technology advancement is what brought America to the forefront economically. Evidently Obama doesn't even want the cottin gin and its technological advancement. I wonder how he'd like to pick cotton then? Or his children?

Well at least jay tea had t... (Below threshold)
warchild:

Well at least jay tea had the decency to admit Bill O'Reilly, is a moron as he has said the same things.

Like drinking or d... (Below threshold)
James H:
Like drinking or drugs, poor financial commitments can be painful and permanent, but it's their own fault for assuming they could take on that kind of debt and pay it off with no risk or worry

Immaterial to my point, which is that young attorneys have difficulty finding jobs outside the law in part because in many cases they can't afford to live on the lower pay. Which is entirely separate from the wisdom of taking on said loans in the first place.

If President Fifty-Seven St... (Below threshold)

If President Fifty-Seven State is intelligent, he has managed to hide all evidence of it. The man has taken pains to destroy any paper trail.

I believe Obama to man of ordinary intelligence, who is extremely uneducated, credentialed, but not educated. For all of Obama's life all he had to do was to just show up. His ideas were never critically examined, and this lack of critical feedback has caused Dim Won to have a massive intellectual ego, with little actual basis for it.

As the Herminator, Herman Cain, put it, Obama could not run a pizza parlor.
\

Bill Who?Oh, Warch... (Below threshold)

Bill Who?

Oh, Warchild is having another of his hallucinations. Someone wake me when he stops his babbling.

J.

Bill Who?Oh, Warch... (Below threshold)
warchild:

Bill Who?

Oh, Warchild is having another of his hallucinations. Someone wake me when he stops his babbling.

J.
-------

Bill O'Reilly is a conservative commentator and a bit of a moron. You'd like him.

Anyway don't bother waking up, I rather like the excuse you were sleeping as explanation for the stupidity of this column.

Oh, Bill O'Reilly! Sorry, n... (Below threshold)

Oh, Bill O'Reilly! Sorry, never watch him. I find him tedious. Almost as tedious as you.

You wanna talk about the topic, warbaby, or you wanna go somewhere else and whine? I'll be glad to assist you in making up your mind.

J.

Obama's new Jeff Dunham imp... (Below threshold)
epador:

Obama's new Jeff Dunham impersonation:
[directed at ZAWAHIRI -
SILENCE! I KEEEL YOU!

James H: "Immaterial to ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

James H: "Immaterial to my point, which is that young attorneys have difficulty finding jobs outside the law in part because in many cases they can't afford to live on the lower pay"

Nope, that is the point exactly. Nobody owes them anything, and if they can't succeed and find another way to use their talents and brains, don't expect pity from us that earn our money.

Oh, Bill O'Reilly! Sorry, n... (Below threshold)
warchild:

Oh, Bill O'Reilly! Sorry, never watch him. I find him tedious. Almost as tedious as you.

You wanna talk about the topic, warbaby, or you wanna go somewhere else and whine? I'll be glad to assist you in making up your mind.

J.
----------------------

Actually I was talking about the topic, you probably just missed that because you are not particularly bright.

Be that as it may, warbaby.... (Below threshold)

Be that as it may, warbaby... you're not particularly valued, and you won't be particularly missed.

Go and share your wisdom with those more worthy.

(SPLAT)

J.

For the record: warchild wa... (Below threshold)

For the record: warchild was NOT banned for personally insulting me. He was banned for taking three comments to contribute nothing to the discussion besides insulting me. Waste of bandwidth, waste of oxygen, waste of skin.

J.

So, in the 70s if I went ou... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

So, in the 70s if I went out, I could only spend what I had in my pocket after I stopped at my local bank that was only open 9-4, M-F. And I could only go to my local bank.
If I left my region, say going from NJ to IA as we often did, we had to carry lots of cash or bring travelers checks (and hope people would accept them or personal checks from another state).
Today, I can got to any ATM and most banks have customer friendly hours.
Which scenario sounds better in a capitalist system?

Jeff B,"Jeez. I ca... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Jeff B,

"Jeez. I can't believe we even have to have this argument."

I like how you pretend that there's no discussion to be had here. Neato.

"Technology increases productivity, increased productivity produces wealth."

Now there's an oversimplified, ridiculously idealistic statement if I have ever seen one. Technology CAN increase productivity, but by no means does it automatically do so. New cell phone technology can certainly be used for "productive" means, but it can also be used to waste time and send around YouTube videos of kittens to the whole office. Technology is and has been used to do all sorts of things, Jeff, and it does not always lead directly to the production of wealth.

"Technology saves labor, which means workers have more time to spend on even more productive pursuits -- or leisure, if one wishes."

Another idealistic statement that sounds great, but oversimplifies the economic and social roles that different technologies can play. New technologies aren't some magical panacea to all our problems--they can solve problems, sure, but they can also create new ones too.

"This is economics 101."

Maybe it's time to move on to Econ 201? Better yet, take a class that doesn't simply take everything that economists proclaim at face value.

Jay G:"In essence,... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Jay G:

"In essence, they're subscribing to the labor theory of value, Karl's risible notion that the value of a good or service is determined by the amount of labor that went into it."

The LTV wasn't "Karl's notion". People like Adam Smith and David Ricardo were thinking about ways of understanding value (in terms of labor) long before old KM ever walked the earth. Just FYI.

JT: [warchild was] "Was... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

JT: [warchild was] "Waste of bandwidth, waste of oxygen, waste of skin."

To be fair, there's not many who could produce as much manure as he did. The guy was a natural feces factory, give him that.

war(child)god:Ok, ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

war(child)god:

Ok, so you disagree with Jay Tea, great. Go for it. Hell, I disagree with the him (and others around here) all the time. But what's with all of the name-calling and childish ad hominem bullshit that you're posting? Do you think that's somehow impressive or something?

It's not.

I wouldn't follow a lemming... (Below threshold)
Crystal:

I wouldn't follow a lemming of brown or a lemming of black, I am looking for the lemming of light to follow. I am an INDEPENDENT.

Ryan A -<... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Ryan A -

"Technology is and has been used to do all sorts of things, Jeff, and it does not always lead directly to the production of wealth."

Maybe not - but I think what's often missed is that the enabling effect of technology tends to be quite a bit wider than what's apparent at first glance. The space program wasn't initiated to sell Tang and velcro - it was to put a man on the moon. It's often the 'unexpected consequences' that end up being the game changers.

For instance - Radar was developed for war. Yet a technician noticing a chocolate bar melting when he went in front of a radar beam gave the spark for microwave ovens. (You gotta wonder, though, if it was melting chocolate in his pocket, what was it doing to the rest of his body?)

Another secondary example - computer games. Frankly, the first ones back in the '80s were pretty pathetic. The graphics stunk, and the machines were barely able to keep up with the demands of the software. Yet the demand was great and each new generation of hardware was quickly exploited by the game developers, and pushed to the max... and the hardware developers responded. To the point where we've got desktop machines that surpass the Cray line of supercomputers of the '80s. And let's be honest - the machines of the mid-90s, for example, were perfectly capable of browsing the internet of the time, and do whatever business applications needed. Number crunching, word processing, databases... a 400 mHz machine could handle it. Heck, a 12 mHz machine could - you just had to be patient. Who needs a 2.4 gHz quad-core system to surf and play games on?

But the materials breakthroughs needed to produce those machines gave us smaller goods overall. Cell phones, IPods, better pacemakers, all sorts of things wouldn't be possible in their current forms without such development. The end state, what we've got now, wasn't a targeted result, but rather an offshoot. And that a lot of wealth was created and many aspects of daily life made more pleasant is a nice side effect.

"Technology saves labor, which means workers have more time to spend on even more productive pursuits -- or leisure, if one wishes."

Another idealistic statement that sounds great, but oversimplifies the economic and social roles that different technologies can play. New technologies aren't some magical panacea to all our problems--they can solve problems, sure, but they can also create new ones too.

Of course! That's part of the fun! Societal changes from the introduction of the automobile, radio, telephone and TV are still reverberating, and let's not even talk about cell phones. No technology is so benign that someone can't find a way to do something someone else considers 'wrong'. Microsoft's Kinect XBox controller is a fun thing (beats the buggers out of the Wii, I think) and some of the hacks have been amazing. One that kind of made my eyes bug out is an attempt by the porn industry to use that to create a series of 'adult' games controlled by body motion.

Yeah. The mind... boggles.

I think I'll pass on the early adoption of THAT offshoot of gaming tech, thank you kindly...

The point is, humanity is adaptable. We change our environment, then find ways to cope with the changes - and then we create new changes to adapt to. It's a great circle, always bringing new challenges, and it'd be a pretty dull world if that didn't happen.

Ryan A -"But wh... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Ryan A -

"But what's with all of the name-calling and childish ad hominem bullshit that you're posting? Do you think that's somehow impressive or something?"

Of course it is. We're all very impressed by Warchild, and take notice of what it writes.

However - there's a number of ways to be impressive and memorable. And not all of them have positive results for the person making themselves impressive and memorable.

I think Jay demonstrated that to Warchild.

There's a difference between disagreeing and making a point in such disagreement, and disagreeing for the sake of being disagreeable. You and James H disagree, and you've got valid points of contention and discussion.

Warchild comes on, and wants to be an annoying ideologue and/or an asshole. (Sometimes there's little difference in the two...) There's no apparent desire for discussion, and loads of insults... so (finally!) out comes Olaf the Troll Hammer.

Don't think Warchild is going to be missed....

JLawson, I'm glad you and r... (Below threshold)

JLawson, I'm glad you and ryan a agree with me. But just to spell it out:

I will put up with a very low signal to noise ratio in comments. When it gets down towards zero, and stays there, out comes the hammer.

J.

Not that you really needed ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Not that you really needed our approval, Jay... just warn me a bit before I do something requiring the hammer, okay? I can take a hint!

(Well, usually...)

"Grow up a little, will ya?... (Below threshold)
DavidD:

"Grow up a little, will ya? And get a fricking clue."

Actually, strike that. Keep on doin' what you're doin'; pretty soon, even the people with sh*t-stained glasses will see through you.

Obama is of course right in... (Below threshold)
Escartes:

Obama is of course right in talking about the impact of structural change. The West is still transitioning from the Industrial to the technological age. Virtually all industrial age jobs will disappear as the video (link below) shows but no technological age industry sector is emerging that will absorb ALL the displaced workers. The one hope was the service sector but these are lowly paid jobs and you need three of them just to survive.

The developing nations have been able to postpone the impact of technology through borrowing. But this is also now unraveling with devastating results.

But there is an emerging sector and it is in providing free goods and services by externalizing the cost. Think Google, Twitter, Facebook etc externalizing cost through advertising. Ultimately this will lead to a new rebalancing and a new economic model.

http://tinyurl.com/42nfy98




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