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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:07 pm 
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Someone we all know (not George...) sent me this link. I watched what turned out to be a first class YouTube production. Not knowing if the fellow was some extremist whack-job, I investigated a bit more of his production work.

Yes, he's partisan.

No, he's far from an extremist or unintelligent. On the contrary, it's one of the more highbrow partisan pieces I've seen. Oh but wouldn't it be fun if both sides could engage on this level.

Anyhow, thanks to the person whom many of us know but will remain unnamed for forwarding this.

Afterburner with Bill Whittle: It's a Miracle!

Let the partisan bickering begin. Keep it clean, and keep it smart. Thanks in advance.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:10 pm 
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Afterburner is but one outlet Bill Whittle's used for these video shorts, and suprise! He's really good at them. He's able to speak clearly, very quickly (I wonder how many takes he has to go through sometimes to edit out the flubs), and his editors keep the pics coming at a breakneck pace to keep up with the words.

It was a beautiful lead-in. He nailed one of the President's most damaging gaffes, and used it as a springboard to attack a vulnerable president's history. He addressed the question that the Right's been asking for four years: is this man really qualified to be the President of the United States in the first place? Maybe more people will be interested in finding out the answers. He seems to hope so.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:53 am 
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Well put together piece in my humble opinion. There is a lot of information about our current commander in chief that seems to be sealed. One interesting point might be that people who view this and are very pro-Obama will probably do one of two things. They will key on the fact that he uses the term "it's a miracle" with a slightly sarcastic bent, or they will remind us of all of the faults of someone else from the past. But the problem will be debunking the actual facts presented. I will say we do that from both sides of the aisle. But it is interesting.

Steve


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:23 pm 
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Steve Hatfield wrote:
They will key on the fact that he uses the term "it's a miracle" with a slightly sarcastic bent, or they will remind us of all of the faults of someone else from the past.


Unsurprisingly, I wasn't that impressed with this video. It primarily does two things, criticizes his statement about small business and argues he had a free ride to success himself.

As for the former, frankly, I very much agree with his point about business. All these people want to claim they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps with no help from anyone, but that's not true. The president's point is spot on. Society at large, including but not exclusive to government provides the kind of environment that allows hard work and ingenuity to pay off. Your teachers, parents, friends, etc all help in various ways, and the government provides infrastructure, physical security an a regulatory environment that allows business to foster.

People want to take Obama's "You didn't build that" to mean that he thinks they didn't do any hard work at all, when it's plainly obvious he was talking about the roads and bridges he had just referred to. He then goes on to point out the internet as a further example of something "You didn't build" as a small business owner. Whittle doesn't include most of the relevant context, though he does include a little.

The part about how easy Obama personally had it, just earns a big eye roll. It smacks of a Glen Beck's routinue of spitting out a bunch of rapid-fire conspiracy stuff that is strong on implication and short on substance. Lots of little out of context factoids that seem to point to some shocking point (Obama got a free ride!?!). Just to pick one example, he makes it sound nefarious that Obama went to private school despite being poor. He got a scholarship. Or to pick another, he drops in that Obama roomed with foreign students, as if that's indicative of something. Similarly, he points out the house he bought, but from a dubious guy, implying that the dubious guy and Obama were in cahoots when really Obama's house hold made $1.6 million that year.

Basically that rapid-fire delivery masks the thinness of his attack. He's counting on his viewers to fail to check out his statements, and for them to sort of build up and paint a picture of something that doesn't really exist. He's a fast-talking and articulate salesmen that convinces people of falsehoods without actually saying what he's implying (because then he could be called on it). There's very little of substance in this video. Just more of the same "Obama is a communist!!!" propaganda built on a collection of factoids that don't actually mean anything.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/money.asp

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:24 pm 
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I know I can always count on you, Justin, to serve as a counter-point view to such a partisan posting. And while you and I differ often on politics, you know I greatly appreciate your presence. It keeps things real.

Most of what you posted was helpful, Justin, in identifying the innuendo present in Bill Whittle's piece. That's probably the most disappointing part of it all. Often the most damning and compelling part of his presentations aren't what he says, but what he doesn't say.

That said...

Jason Rees wrote:
It was a beautiful lead-in. He nailed one of the President's most damaging gaffes, and used it as a springboard to attack a vulnerable president's history.


I have to agree with Jason here, Justin. The most damning part of the piece isn't Bill Whittle's words. It's the words of Barack Obama himself. To someone who is the son of a late independent business owner (two highly successful start-ups) and lived through the highs and lows of all that, Obama's words are patently offensive. They elicit a visceral response in those who have fought the good fight and are some of the few who have won it.

Furthermore...

What you probably aren't aware of is most people in this country own or work for small business. Not Fortune 500 companies... not government... but small business. Even large businesses like Microsoft and Apple started as garage operations. It is what's uniquely good about this country. It is why such a small country (population-wise) is responsible for such a disproportionately large percentage of world economic activity. The Darwinian economic model we call capitalism produces things people want and businesses that survive without government support. And the exceptions to that rule like Chrysler and more recently GM are propped up long enough to fail again in the next economic downturn. And fail they must. That process ultimately produces goods and services that people want at a price that middle class families can afford. That process helps maintain a median standard of living that is equal to none in this world short of countries like Saudi Arabia which are pumping all their wealth out of finite resources underground.

Valkenar wrote:
People want to take Obama's "You didn't build that" to mean that he thinks they didn't do any hard work at all, when it's plainly obvious he was talking about the roads and bridges he had just referred to.

You are "plainly" wrong. Go back and see the video clip again.

Obama wrote:
If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get that on your own. You, you didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think ‘Wow it must be because I was just so smart.’ There are a lot of smart people out there. ‘It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.’ Lemme tell you something; there are a whole bunch of hard workin people out there.

Again... it is Barack Obama's own words that are so patently offensive.

Independent business owners don't work on a 40-hour week clock like most people. Whether it's the Vietnamese woman who cuts my hair or my father who started two businesses, they work as many hours as it takes to keep the business afloat. Or else... And they are risk-takers. There are very few in this country willing to put their hard work and their dreams on the line and tempt fate. Most would rather their employer worry about all that.

I work for a Fortune 100 company, Justin. I put in 60-80 hours a week over long stretches. When I'm away from home - 6 weeks at a time - I work 7 days a week.

When I was in graduate school and was one of the 3 out of 33 who got a PhD in my class, I succeeded because I was able to get 3 to 5 hours of sleep a night over a three year period in order to survive the culling process. I would teach karate classes until 11 PM and then go into the lab and get on the lab computer until dawn when nobody else in my department was willing to do that. Everyone else was complaining about the measly amount of time allotted to them during "normal" hours. Abnormal effort separated me from the pack and allowed me to succeed where smarter people than I failed.

Quote:
Obama's desperate protests that his anti-business rant was taken out of context are betrayed both by that very context and because they are a part of a piece -- just one more component of his war against the American entrepreneurial spirit.

He would have us believe that his words "you didn't build that" referred to roads and bridges and not businesses.

Given his accompanying statements -- "you didn't get there on your own," etc. -- that is an absurd construction. But even if that's what he meant, why would he have felt compelled to point out that businesses don't succeed without access to roads and bridges? Do roads and bridges ... connect the population to failed businesses?

- Obama: I Defy You To Believe What I Said About Business

Therein lies the kicker, Justin. Obama believes in a Federal Field of Dreams. They believe that the federal government builds it and they (small business) will come. That's classic socialist (as opposed to free market) thinking, Justin, and reason for Bill Whittle's piece and allusions to Communism. In this country it's the other way around. Businesses are born and succeed which create the tax revenue to build the roads and bridges and the oversight to set the rules as competition happens.

You do understand where the philosophical argument goes, right? If you believe in a Federal Field of Dreams, then you believe that wealth redistribution is good. You believe in central planning which was the hallmark of the Soviet system. If you believe in free market principles with minimal government interference in that free market, then you ascribe to principles which let the market - and not the government - pick the winners and losers and create a flexible and evolving playing field. And you believe that high taxes and over-regulation stifle that which makes us what we are. Instead of "doing good", it chokes the goose that feeds golden eggs to the federal beast. Global competition makes all that a stark reality. When it comes time to buy diapers and cars, a lower middle class family isn't all that patriotic. Cheaper and more dependable = survival.

Obama's own words expose his personal beliefs.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:19 pm 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
You are "plainly" wrong. Go back and see the video clip again.


I watched it several times on youtube, different videos. It seems very much like a rorschach test. You either see it as dismissive of small business if you are already biased against Obama, or pointing out that nobody builds a business in a vacuum if you're already biased in favor of Obama. When you watch just Whittle's little clip it seems worse than if you watch the whole thing. I would suggest you go back and listen, and try to look at it as someone who doesn't already assume the worst.

Quote:
What you probably aren't aware of is most people in this country own or work for small business


I am. I'm also aware that every one of those small businesses benefits from roads, bridges, electricity and similar government infrastructure. And that most of the people who built them probably benefitted from a free public education. It's not a knock on small business owners to point out how they've been helped along the way.

Obama wrote:
Again... it is Barack Obama's own words that are so patently offensive.


What's patently offensive about pointing out that there are lots of hard working, intelligent people who don't start businesses, or who don't have a lot of success? I think it's patently offensive to suggest that everyone who works hard and isn't successful must be stupid, or that everyone who is smart and poor must be lazy. And that's what you're saying if you think Obama is wrong when he points out that there's a lot o people who work hard. I think the arrogance of a lot of successful entrepeneurs is offensive. Look, being smart and hardworking is (maybe) necessary for success, but it is not sufficient. And the conceit that one's success is proof that one is smarter and harder-working than anyone who isn't succesful is pure BS.

Quote:
I work for a Fortune 100 company, Justin. I put in 60-80 hours a week over long stretches. When I'm away from home - 6 weeks at a time - I work 7 days a week.


They sounds awful to me, but if it floats your boat, go nuts. I don't love money enough to spend my whole life accumulating as much as possible.


Quote:
Therein lies the kicker, Justin. Obama believes in a Federal Field of Dreams.


The way you lay out this argument is much more black and white than is realistic. Businesses do need infrastructure, you can hardly deny that. There's a huge, huge gulf between saying "Hey, the American dream wherein anybody has a equal opportunity relies on certain crucial infrastructure, like schools so that people actually have a legitimate chance" and saying "Hey guys the government now owns the means of production and doles them out to those most in need taking from those who have most." And you know what, I do believe in some wealth redistribution. Why? Because public schools are a form of wealth redistribution, and without those, I think the poor are well and truly screwed. I think the free market is the best system yet devised for promoting progress, but I'm not willing to put some idealistic purified version of it above all else. Being born to rich people parents doesn't make you a better person deserving an advantage. But I'm not going to suggest we redistribute children instead of wealth either.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:59 pm 
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I watched the clip Bill posted and the Obama video. I have to believe that Justin is correct in his assessment:

Quote:
I watched it several times on youtube, different videos. It seems very much like a rorschach test. You either see it as dismissive of small business if you are already biased against Obama, or pointing out that nobody builds a business in a vacuum if you're already biased in favor of Obama. When you watch just Whittle's little clip it seems worse than if you watch the whole thing. I would suggest you go back and listen, and try to look at it as someone who doesn't already assume the worst.


I remember the post Depression era well, even though I was quite young. Roosevelt put many unemployed people to work, building those bridges, roads and infrastructure Obama talks about.

BTW, my family believes this spending of gov. money went a long way to bringing on a recovery following the Depression.

Although I won't be voting for Obama, I wouldn't take his statement out of context in order to justify lots of hypothetical "truths" linked to the "miracle" statements. If I remember correctly, our Bill jumps all over us, if we use this type of "strawman" argument on his forums! :)

Unfortunately, I don't believe anything a politician says. They say what they have to say to get elected. . . then . . . anything goes!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:07 pm 
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Justin I think you are right in the sense that peoples reactions are going to be based on their bias'. And to that end I believe that if each of the points listed in his life were taken by themselves you would be absolutely correct. But taken collectively I believe we all are a product of our environments. My father was a part time cop so I tended to believe cops. My dad was part owner of a company who hired many black employees so I never had a problem with racism. I grew up in church so that plays an important part of my make up and decision making process. All of these things payed into who I am. Can anyone, no matter who they are, say that they sat under someone's spiritual guidance for over twenty years, "honestly" say they were never effected by, nor ever agreed with, said persons position? Com'on man. Really? I know that's only one example, but to me it's a major one. And if we take your argument to heart...........why would he take credit using the "I" word so many times in his term. "I made the call to take out Obama", "I ordered the bail out" I I I I I............ I'm not as technically knowledgable on all of the ins and outs of government, politics and economics. But when I listened to the "entire" speech he made, my thought was, at a "minimum", here was a man who believed in lifting the place of prominence of the government and decreasing the prominence of the individual. But he "needs" to do that in order to justify building government as opposed to cutting government.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:11 pm 
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gmattson wrote:
I remember the post Depression era well, even though I was quite young. Roosevelt put many unemployed people to work, building those bridges, roads and infrastructure Obama talks about.

My father lived through that period. He told me stories of neighbors putting their heads in gas ovens because they couldn't support themselves.

My father (born in 1922) survived that period mostly because he was aggressive and entrepreneurial. He was the first person knocking on someone's door after a snowstorm, asking if they needed their walkways shoveled. When he got a job reading electric meters, he helped his brother get a job with the same power company. He hitchhiked or walked everywhere - to and from places of employment. He paid his own way through an engineering program at Manhattan, working as a waiter while also going to school.

My father - and historians - also reminded me that Roosevelt failed miserably in his quest to end The Great Depression. Historians in fact remark that he quite possibly made it worse, and lengthened the pain. Only the economic activity surrounding World War II and the destruction of our global competition for a generation catapulted this nation economically.

What Roosevelt's failed Depression programs proved was that spontaneous generation cannot happen either in the laboratory or in the economy. In a country with free enterprise such as the U.S., the only way government has money to pay workers is for it to tax private enterprise. Without private enterprise, the entire house of cards collapses.

In other words... free enterprise begats roads and bridges, and not the other way around. The dog wags the tail.

And for the record... it was Eisenhower and not Roosevelt who inspired our nation to build the U.S. Interstate Highway system. It is modeled after the Autobahn, which Eisenhower observed when occupying Germany.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:54 pm 
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From wikipedia:

Quote:
The Works Progress Administration (renamed during 1939 as the Works Project Administration; WPA) was the largest and most ambitious New Deal agency, employing millions of unskilled workers to carry out public works projects,[1] including the construction of public buildings and roads, and operated large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects.[1]

It fed children and redistributed food, clothing, and housing. Almost every community in the United States had a park, bridge or school constructed by the agency, which especially benefited rural and Western areas.[citation needed] The WPA's initial appropriation in 1935 was for $4.9 billion (about 6.7 percent of the 1935 GDP), and in total it spent $13.4 billion.[2]

At its peak in 1938 it provided paid jobs for three million unemployed men (and some women), as well as youth in a separate division, the National Youth Administration. Headed by Harry Hopkins, the WPA provided jobs and income to the unemployed during the Great Depression in the United States. Between 1935 and 1943, the WPA provided almost eight million jobs.[3] Full employment, which emerged as a national goal around 1944, was not the WPA goal. It tried to provide one paid job for all families where the breadwinner suffered long-term unemployment.[4]

The WPA was a national program that operated its own projects in cooperation with state and local governments, which provided 10%-30% of the costs. WPA sometimes took over state and local relief programs that had originated in the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) or Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) programs.[5]

Liquidated on June 30, 1943 as a result of low unemployment due to the worker shortage of World War II, the WPA provided millions of Americans with jobs for 8 years.[6] Most people who needed a job were eligible for at least some of its positions.[7] Hourly wages were typically set to the prevailing wages in each area.[8] However workers could not be paid more than 30 hours a week. Before 1940, there was very little training to teach new skills, to meet the objections of the labor unions.


And , , ,
Quote:
[b]When was the WPA created, by whom and why?[/b]

The Works Projects Administration, WPA was started in 1935 as part of the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_Progr… for more info. It was a plan to put out of work people to work it was similar to the CCC ,which put young people to work on various projects around the country but was geared to the Middle Aged worker they did every thing from build the Tennessee Valley Authority to do recordings of the remembrances of old slaves.

Criticed at the time some WPA projects can still be seen today
(Emphasis is mine!)

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:00 pm 
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Here are Obama's own words.

Obama wrote:
If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get that on your own. You, you didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think ‘Wow it must be because I was just so smart.’ There are a lot of smart people out there. ‘It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.’ Lemme tell you something; there are a whole bunch of hard workin people out there.


There's nothing equivocal about this. What Obama IMPLIES is patently false. What he is doing is stoking the embers of class warfare. And in a game of numbers, that kind of tactic buys you numbers. Mama didn't raise no fool.

The problem is... those of us who know better are nauseated by the false implications.

Several centuries back, Vilfredo Pareto observed that 20 percent of the population in Italy owned 80 percent of the wealth. His famous observation was the foundation of what we colloquially know as the Pareto distribution, and statisticians now globally call the Bradford distribution. This isn't a matter of social justice or political point of view; this is a law of nature. And my job depends on knowing that this property of numbers is ubiquitous.

  • In a health care plan, 20 percent of the population have about 80 percent of the hospital days.
    ...
  • In a health care population, 20 percent of the population is resposible for about 80 percent of admissions, or visits to the emergency room.
    ...
  • In a health care population, 20 percent of the population consumes 80 percent of the health care dollars. To the degree that we know this will happen but we many not know everyone who experiences bad luck, we have something called insurance. Everyone pools their risk, and they are protected against catastrophe.

Here's the thing... My job wouldn't exist if this was all random. Not at all. We can build sophisticated statistical models which are able to sort out those highly likely to (for instance) be admitted to the hospital vs. those who won't. And because of that, we can hire a small number of clinical people to do a full court press on these people so they stay out of the hospital. That is a win-win.

On the flip side... it's not an accident that I am 58 years old and on no (zero, nada, zilch) medications except for those which help me with seasonal allergies. I work for the weight I have. My strength is not god-given; I earned it in the gym. My waistline is not an accident; it exists because I started eating right before my metabolism slowed down with age. My lack of influenza isn't an accident; I've actively sought out flu shots every year for over 25 years. Etc., etc.

When Obama ridicules those who think their success isn't tied to their being smart or working hard - and make no mistake about it, he is RIDICULING that thinking - he is ridiculing laws of Nature. In other words, he is either knowingly or unknowingly being an Idiot. Since Obama is a product of privilege such as a PRIVATE school education (the theme of Bill Whittle's piece), my guess is he is a very dangerous person. Like some of the Kennedys who also were the product of privilege (and illegal bootlegging from previous generations), pandering to the "victim" notion of hard luck is hypocritical. Like many in socialist governments, a small few benefit from privilege and then sell a bill of goods to people who want to hear that it's not their fault.

When Ryan made his acceptance speech last Saturday in Norfolk, Virginia, he was unequivocal. He said America was a land of equal opportunity, and NOT a land of equal outcome. Woah!!! How refreshing for a politician actually to tell people the truth! Damn! Problem is, he may not get elected for telling said truth.

Before engaging in a knee-jerk response, first read this book.

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Then come talk to me.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:01 pm 
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Valkenar wrote:
Bill Glasheen wrote:
I work for a Fortune 100 company, Justin. I put in 60-80 hours a week over long stretches. When I'm away from home - 6 weeks at a time - I work 7 days a week.


They sounds awful to me, but if it floats your boat, go nuts. I don't love money enough to spend my whole life accumulating as much as possible.

The beautiful thing about life in our country is we have the freedom to make our own choices.

My father drove a Rambler so he could send his kids to private school. Given that all 8 of us now have college degrees... That was his choice. Meanwhile some of his peers chose to use their surplus income to buy nice cars, join the country club, have fewer kids, and let their kids get a public school education. That was their choice.

When I went to graduate school for an interminable period of time, I lived like a very happy hermit. For years I chose to read rather than have a TV and VCR. Entertainment was getting together with my karate family. I walked to and from school. When I got a car and my front seat broke, I disposed of it and drove my guests in the back as if I was their chauffeur. Meanwhile many of my peers chose to go straight for the big bucks after undergraduate. If it was all about maximizing revenue, I would have done the same and taken advantage of the time value of money. But I didn't. I had a passion for the kind of work I am now doing. And now I love it enough to eat, breathe, and sleep it.

And my family hasn't left me. Yet...

As long as someone who compulsively pisses their wealth away or chooses not to work hard doesn't ask those with a different work ethic to cover their expenses, then choice is good and everyone is happy. But in order for that to work best, everyone needs to respect everyone else's choices and not covet the fruits of their neighbors' labor.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:11 pm 
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I actually envy (and maybe even covet) your black and white view of the world Bill. Acknowledging the spectrum that exists forces one to recognize the complexity of these conditions and that solutions are not so simple, and that is no fun.

Bill Glasheen wrote:
When I went to graduate school for an interminable period of time, I lived like a very happy hermit. For years I chose to read rather than have a TV and VCR. Entertainment was getting together with my karate family. I walked to and from school. When I got a car and my front seat broke, I disposed of it and drove my guests in the back as if I was their chauffeur.

You should be extremely thankful that you did not attempt it as a middle-aged father of three (including one starting college next week herself) with a mortgage! I can tolerate adverse conditions just fine, but trying to get the family to put up with it "for an interminable period of time" and not lose the house in the process is more work than graduate school itself. Hopefully the outcome will be worth it, although the job outlook for PhDs is not very optimistic at the moment.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:25 pm 
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Glenn wrote:
I actually envy (and maybe even covet) your black and white view of the world Bill. Acknowledging the spectrum that exists forces one to recognize the complexity of these conditions and that solutions are not so simple, and that is no fun.

Fighting to do what you love...

Losing both your parents who loved you...

Losing one of your best friends...

Living and working with friends who range from successful to suffering...

It all makes you focus on what's important in life. Like I try to tell my materialistic oldest son again and again, the most important things in life are things - like accomplishments - that nobody can take from you. That and love will get you out of bed day in and day out.

Everything else will disappoint you. So there's no point in fretting over it.

And if you truly love your fellow (wo)man, you rejoice in their accomplishments just as you suffer their losses.

This is a bit of the "Protestant ethic" that I have acquired without actually being a Protestant. Go figure... :-D Maybe it's a martial thing.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:57 am 
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I disagree that Obama is implying there's no connection between hard work, smarts and success. I think that's a ludicrous accusation. He's simply saying that hard work and smarts by themselves did not create the success. Basically this is shoulders of giants situation. In the US, we have a society that makes it so that people have a relatively easy time innovating. Ad government services are part of that. This statement in no way implies that hard work and intelligence have nothing to do with success.

The point isn't that lazy people like me need subsidies from hard-working people like you . It's that people who are truly struggling should have a fair chance for their hard work and intelligence to pay off. It's not like it's impossible to climb up if you're poor, but to deny that it's damn hard to escape true poverty is, I think, willfully ignorant. As you like to say, Bill, you argue best when you argue my point. Your father sacrificed so that you could go to college. He was also the kind of person that could teach you a work ethic. That's admirable, and you were lucky to have such a father. Now can you really say with a straight face that someone born in south central LA to an unmarried, drug-addicted prostitute has an opportunity equal to yours?

Anyhow, we're getting a bit far astray. The point is, it's disingenuous to claim absolute sole credit for starting a successful business. When Obama says "If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. " he's absolutely right. Note that he didn't say "If you were successful it's entirely because somebody gave you some help"

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