A Philosopher's Blog

Compensation

Posted in Business, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on March 24, 2009

While the Dow has taken an upswing, there is still plenty to worry about in the economy. Meanwhile, people are still upset over the AIG bonuses. On the plus side, the mystery of who allowed the exception that made such payouts legal was solved: Chris Dodd.

Dodd claimed that the Obama folks made him put the exception into the law. Two reasons are given for this decision by the Obama folks: 1) concern about the possibility of legal problems and 2) the view that such compensation would be needed to retain the top people.

I can understand the concern about legal worries. After all, breaking contracts after the fact does seem to be a rather thorny area-especially when the contracts are held by people who have access to some of the best lawyer (and politicians) money can buy.

As far the retention argument, that requires some consideration. The argument is that such exceptional compensation is needed to get top talent to stay with (and supposedly save) bailed out companies.

Is it the case that people will only take a job that pays exceptionally well? Clearly not-people routinely take jobs that pay very poorly. These people often work very hard at these jobs-witness the typical sweat shop laborer. Those folks work long, grueling hours for tiny amounts of cash.

Of course, most people who work such jobs do so because they have no choice. The top talent folks have a choice, hence they can demand more compensation or go elsewhere to get it.

Of course, people who do have choices often work very hard for less than exceptional compensation. One might wonder why these top talent folks should be entitled to such exceptional compensation when other folks would be glad to have such jobs even at a fraction of the pay. In other words, what justifies the claim that such folks should get that exceptional compensation? Why not just say “godd riddance” to these folks and get people in there who will do the job for less? After all, isn’t that what companies do to save money? For example, when companies outsource they are getting people to do the same job (or so they claim) for far less. Surely the same logic should apply all the way to the top.

It might be argued that the top talent cannot be replaced in this manner-that they are so top in their talent there are no other folks that can be hired to do the same quality of work at a lower price. Of course, given that many of these top talent folks were instrumental in wrecking the economy, one wonders about their talents and motivations.

Of course, there are top talent people that do earn their money. As odd as this might seem, a professional athlete or a top actor can be good examples. For example, if a star player or actor is paid $50 million, but she brings in $75 million in profits, then she has certainly earned her pay-just as a McDonald’s worker who gets paid minimum wage but whose labor makes a profit. The basic principle is that compensation is justified by contribution. So, exceptional contributions earn exceptional compensation.

In the case of athletes, actors and other stars, it is obvious that they can bring in massive profits and hence earn those massive paychecks. For example, a single star can significantly impact the box office take of a film. This is because people will see the film because of her and would not see the same film if it had not starred that actress.

However, is the same true in the case of the top talent in business? Does a top talent person really create wealth in proportion to their compensation? Prior to the economic disaster it seemed as if they did-top talent worked all sorts of “magic” that created money out of nothing. But, as it turned out, that money largely went back to nothing once again.

So, my view is this-if a person really does contribute exceptionally to the success of a company, then they have earned exceptional compensation. Such people would be well worth the price. After all, if paying $30 million in salary and bonuses gets a person whose efforts and ideas single handedly generates $100 million for the company, then she is a good deal. Unless, of course, you can get a person who would generate $80 million in return for $5 million and so on.

No doubt some top talent earn their keep and then some. However, I suspect that in many case, the “top talent” of corporate folks is somehow getting sweet bonuses in return for little or nothing.

I’ll also repeat an offer I made before: if I can get permission for a leave of absence from Florida A&M University, I’ll gladly be a top executive for a bailout company for that oh so pitiful $400,000 a year. I bet I’ll do far less damage than most of the current “top talent” has done.

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36 Responses

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  1. Paolo De Luca said, on March 24, 2009 at 6:28 pm

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    • Michael LaBossiere said, on March 25, 2009 at 6:00 pm

      Can I learn much money and get bux? That would be super awesome. Can I buy a tux with my bux? That too would be super awesome.

  2. magus71 said, on March 25, 2009 at 7:06 am

    Again though, who’s really at fault here? No money should have gone to these swindling companies. It’s just that simple. If they were over-paying CEOs who were doing bad jobs, they should have been allowed to die and learned the lesson.

  3. magus71 said, on March 25, 2009 at 7:20 am

    And yes, it is possible for athletes to bring in huge amounts as well as actors. But it’s also possible, and it happens quite a bit, that an athlete sighned to a huge contract fails to play up to his past levels, or athat a big actor’s recent summer hit completely bombs. And what do the professional teams or movie producers do? They either cut the players. In the NFL, contracts are not guaranteed, so you either play and get paid or you get cut and look for another job. In the case of Pro baseball, they get paid even if they get cut, in order to fulfill contracts. But still, other teams will take notice of a player’s decline and either not hire him or pay him significantly less. Same with actors.

    I’m for obeying contractual law. Our whole society is based on rule of law, not Mob Rule like CNN tries to encite by interviewing some dude on the street about how outraged he is that AIG CEOs are getting big bucks. The companies had no money. This was in large part no doubt to the poor performance of the “talented” CEOs. They would have gotten their just desserts if the company that they destroyed remained destroyed.

    Instead they got a lot of money from the over-taxed people of the United States. But it was money that the law said was owed them.

  4. kernunos said, on March 25, 2009 at 9:12 am

    I’m not sure you would do less damage. That being said, I don’t think you would have a choice but to do badly. AIG guaranteed all of these bad mortgage notes and could not go good on them when the market collapsed. What could you have done while the Democrats on Capitol hill were driving the bus off the cliff? I’m just not sure what you could have done better at AIG.

  5. biomass2 said, on March 25, 2009 at 10:32 am

    So, where are we now? First, read this letter from an Exec. VP at AIG.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/25/opinion/25desantis.html

    Second, note that the Senate has tabled the subject of tax on bonuses until a future date.

    I wouldn’t doubt that many Americans think the House’s passing of the 90% tax was the last word on the subject. Banner headlines, screaming news anchors. It must be a done deal, right?

    But what we’ve seen, at least in regard to the AIG bonuses is, in my opinion, a fine model of the way our system should operate. The people were not to be ignored. Too bad it doesn’t always work that way.

    Considering who had the majority in the House and Senate 1994 to 2006, I’m not sure the bus analogy is quite complete/accurate. It’s more like the majority party during that time got the bus up to full speed going downhill. The majority party, with little resistance from the minority, saw to it that the brakes weren’t undergoing annual inspection (Apology:This part of the analogy only works for those of you who live in states where annual auto inspections are required.), and by the time the bus reached the cliff–which was on the map, but unseen by most–even Paulson slamming on the brakes didn’t help.

  6. kernunos said, on March 25, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Do I have to show you videos during those times where Republicans were trying to ‘Regulate'(gosh, that seems so un-Republican) Fannie and Freddie but were blocked by Democrats like Barney Frank,who was responsible for oversite of these organizations, every step of the way?

    Ah heck…

    …but I do agree that it is nice when the people are heard. I am not saying the Republicans cannot be just as incompetent but lets put the blame for the crisis where it belongs. Liberals like to force others to give for the cause of ‘goodwill’ and this is the end result. Poor aren’t always poor because their money gets stolen by rich people. Most are poor because they are piss-poor at managing and holding on to money. I’ve been there. We could also show this to be a reflection of our educational system. If public schools were more worried about teaching children the value of money instead of scaring them to death with ‘global warming’ since the late eighties we might be in a better spot.

    Just please stop ignoring the fact that the Dems are to blame for the housing crisis. There are too many videos out there with self incriminating talk. We wouldn’t even be talking about these bonuses and the bailouts if they were doing their jobs ethically on Capitol Hill.

  7. kernunos said, on March 25, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    …here is a shorter one that isn’t so annoying to sit through.

  8. kernunos said, on March 25, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Look at all of these campaign contributions over Dodd’s career. I wonder if it was because he was so hard on them?

    http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cid=N00000581&cycle=Career

  9. kernunos said, on March 25, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    I love this one. Incriminating talk again.

  10. kernunos said, on March 25, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Here is one of Andrew Cuomo admitting that Clinton’s administration got a settlement from these banks in a forced ‘give out money to poeple that can’t afford it’ action. Listen to the language. This is crazy incriminating crap from a Democrat! This is how they have been driving the bus.

  11. kernunos said, on March 25, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    These videos are too easy to find. Nothing doctored, just unadulterated self incriminating testimony from Democrats.

  12. Michael LaBossiere said, on March 25, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    To be cynical, politicians are sold to the folks who help buy them their offices. Thoreau and Goldman had it quite right. As such, it is hardly shocking that the folks who received so much campaign cash from AIG allowed the AIG folks to get their bonuses.

    It might not be change we can believe in, but it is dollars we can. :)

  13. biomass2 said, on March 25, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    First. Nothing will change the following facts:The Republican Party was in control of both houses of Congress from 1994-2006. Also, Republican Jim Leach was chairman of the House Banking Committee from 1994-2006 . Barney Frank wasn’t.

    Second. You say the videos are ” unadulterated self incriminating testimony”. It’s not hard to find videos where the editing (or mis-editing) is crucial to the understanding (or misunderstanding) of any selected statement. The Cuomo vid is a prime example of bits and snippets thrown together in a patchwork in which sometimes the claims bear no relationship whatsoever to the tiny video clip that follows. . .If it were to be truly worthwhile, it would follow a clear timeline and provide clear causal relationships between events along that timeline. I can only speculate as to why it doesn’t.

    Re: the Buycks-Roberson v Citibank case. The piece you provide says that Obama sued Citibank to “force it to make bad loans”. Now I’ve heard of “redlining” and so have you. And that case was about redlining; the Federal judge saw merit in the plaintiff’s case and compelled discovery. Citibank was “forced” :) to settle out of court rather than to open up its files. If its files were exculpatory, why not open them to discovery and avoid being “forced” :) into a settlement? And Obama was only one of many lawyers for the plaintiff.

    The same video claims that late in his administration Clinton “forced” Fannie to make more questionable loans. The piece leaves out the fact that lending institutions and Fannie shareholders also applied a great amount of pressure. Oh. and the Republican US Congress was surprisingly quiet during all of this. . . Aren’t they supposed to have a role here somewhere?

    Frankly, it strains my credulity to the breaking point to believe that ACORN, could strong-arm institutions worth multi-millions or billions of dollars. We’re talking banks the size of Citibank and , yes, Bank of America, an institution that, until mid-2008 had a market value in excess of $300B. These days it’s worth less than the price it paid for Merrill Lynch back in late ’08 (around $50B). But that was before those poor institutions “fell prey” to such things as credit default swaps that even they admit they don’t fully understand. Many bankers and economists have readily admitted that CDS’s are not transparent enough and present a higher risk that risk assessment agencies like Moody’s and Standard & Poor seem to be incapable of dealing with yet. As I understand it , Moody’s, et al consider CDSs ‘proof of insurance’ and consider CDS’s in giving institutions “higher” ratings–kind of ironic, no?. Taleb is more on the money: “It (the CDS)would be like buying insurance on the Titanic from someone on the Titanic.” Might they also have something to do with this crisis?

    Surprisingly, it’s not hard to find video or audio or print evidence of Democrats expressing opposing views on any subject. There are the Bluedog Democrats, the screaming lefties, and those in the middle. On the other hand, the GOP has become so homogenized that their few centrist dissenting voices are barely to be heard over Rush’s bloviating.

    Note: It’s hard to argue that Frank and Democrats, all by themselves, killed Fannie and Freddie legislation. The bill was sponsored by Corzine (D) and it failed to get out of a banking committee that was chaired by Leach and had 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats.For a party that is so homogenous in their voting when they “know” what’s right and what’s wrong, they surely should have been able to muster enough votes to get the bill out of commmittee.

    Then there’s the Gramm-Leach (yeah, that’s him)-Bliley Act, which is a problem unto itself, perhaps central to this crisis— perhaps not. Yet not to be ignored. It seems to be explained most clearly in the 5 or 6 answers provided in this selection:

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081221082602AAFP45W

    This blame is far, far more widespread and the problem far, far more complex than “Democrats/Frank and Freddie and Fannie Mae”.

  14. kernunos said, on March 26, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    I don’t even know where to start with you Biomass. I can’t believe you could look at the Cuomo video with an objective mind(it obviously isn’t) and say it was doctored or edited in a deceptive way. There are full length videos out there that are just so long to sit through. If a speech involving the problems of today with the housing financial crisis is more damaging than that to the mindset of a political party I would like to see it. I am not even going to go over all of the other nit-picking or the Acorn statements. I never said that Republicans were not involved but when it comes to giving stuff to people that do not deserve it the label of the Democrats is usually all over it. The Republicans today are just swinging t the left anyway for the most part. I just think your objectivity is a bit tainted and I feel bad for you credulity as it strains under a heavy load.

  15. biomass2 said, on March 26, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    “and say it was doctored or edited in a deceptive way”
    Look at paragraphs three and four in my piece. Then research the subject matter that’s referred to there. Slopping a few pictures together (Clinton signing a bill, as an example) and making some half false claims in the voice over is, in my opinion, “edit[ing] in a deceptive way”

    “I am not even going to go over all of the other nit-picking or the Acorn statements”
    Why not? Why was Citibank unwilling to move into the discovery phase and prove they weren’t redlining? My guess: They “were” redlining, and they were willing to pay big bucks out of court so they could live to redline another day. What’s your guess?

    “giving stuff to people that do not deserve it”
    And who would “those people” be, specifically?

    “I feel bad for you credulity as it strains under a heavy load.”
    It’s a load of something all right. And you’re not explaining anything (like the Citibank stuff) to make it any lighter.

  16. magus71 said, on March 27, 2009 at 3:02 am

    Anything Barack Obama does is good and right. It is all for our best. We love him.

    Anything George Bush did was bad. He was Satan walking the Earth. We hate him.

    All praise Barack Obama. The light shineth from his eyes like that of a million stars. It pierces the souls of his enemies, scorching and purifying thier inner-most being.

    Now–give up your guns. Guns are evil. Barack is good. Barack hates evil.

  17. biomass2 said, on March 27, 2009 at 7:44 am

    magus71
    Ah, yes. I recall those halcyon days pre-2004 when anyone who disagreed with George W Bush or his policies was “un-uhmurican”.Even our fries had to be “amurican fries” ‘cuz them dastardly French didn’t support the invasion.

    And George was “born-again”.God apparently had a direct hand in assuring that the sun rose and set on George W Bush–though He seems to have lost interest in the project post-2004. . . Bush gazed into Putin’s heart and soul and knew that they were good.

    He wasn’t after our guns (though Lord knows they should have taken Cheyney’s before he shot his ‘ole bud Harry in the face) But it’s often argued that he played fast and loose with the Fourth Amendment.

  18. kernunos said, on March 27, 2009 at 9:50 am

    “and say it was doctored or edited in a deceptive way”
    Look at paragraphs three and four in my piece. Then research the subject matter that’s referred to there. Slopping a few pictures together (Clinton signing a bill, as an example) and making some half false claims in the voice over is, in my opinion, “edit[ing] in a deceptive way”

    I will admit that I do not like the first video that has statements in between and the such. I like raw video. The Andrew Cuomo video, though is just straight forward and just him talking. His statements give much light to the Democrats strategy of getting more people into housing for votes. His talk of how they knew the risks of the mortgages but they still did it anyway was scary to say the least.

  19. kernunos said, on March 27, 2009 at 9:51 am

    “I am not even going to go over all of the other nit-picking or the Acorn statements”
    Why not? Why was Citibank unwilling to move into the discovery phase and prove they weren’t redlining? My guess: They “were” redlining, and they were willing to pay big bucks out of court so they could live to redline another day. What’s your guess?

    Ummm, maybe they were doing something deceptive and should pay the price for it? I’m not sure, you tell me.

  20. kernunos said, on March 27, 2009 at 9:55 am

    “giving stuff to people that do not deserve it”
    And who would “those people” be, specifically?

    People that cannot or will not pay a mortgage should not be given one. Simple enough. Andrew Cuomos speach was about forcing the banks to give these ‘risky’ loans. This goes all the way back to the ‘Community Reinvestment Act’ of 1979.

    This thing has been a long time building, brewing and growing. It took the perfect condition to fall apart and that was housing prices outrunning peoples ability to pay for them. The problem is when you make loans easier to get then it actually brings housing prices up.

  21. biomass2 said, on March 27, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    “Ummm, maybe they were doing something deceptive and should pay the price for it? I’m not sure, you tell me.”
    I did. . .and apparently we agree on this.

    “The Andrew Cuomo video, though is just straight forward and just him talking.”

    You and I look at the same video and see different things. Example: It’s an “eight- and-a-half-minute” video–only the first four minutes of which deal with Cuomo talking. And I noticed that sitting right there in the lower left portion of the screen is a little banner that reads “Discrimination in Public Housing”.In part, that’s the ‘redlining” I’ve been referring to, and, I believe, the “something deceptive” you were referring to. The idea was to eliminate discrimination in housing. The “risky” loans were a–not inevitable(see the Federal Reserve piece below)– consequence of that goal. Some would have been happy to let the discrimination roll on. . .take no action at all.

  22. biomass2 said, on March 27, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly that “People that cannot or will not pay a mortgage should not be given one.” But there are properties out there that people with 45K/year salaries ‘can’ afford. And they should be free to purchase them without fear of financial or racial discrimination. Those houses, I’d be willing to bet, are ‘not’ the ones that have been at the heart of the housing foreclosure crisis. Seriously, did the government ‘force’ banks to sell $300K homes to people making 50K/year? Or did banks, being forced by the government to clean up their discriminatory actions choose to milk the situation for all the money they could pocket by guiding prospective buyers into mortgages they couldn’t afford? It seemed to be a no lose situation for the lending institutions. As I understand it, those sub-prime mortgages were packaged into CDS’s and sold to the likes of AIG. And here we are.

    The buyer of course bears some blame as well. Ignorance is no excuse .Let the buyer beware, and all that .On the other hand, “Truth in Lending” should mean something, don’t you think? In regard to which, this is ‘very’ interesting reading–and brief:

    http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/bcreg/20080714a.htm

    Too bad it doesn’t go into effect until October 2009.It’s like closing the proverbial barn door after the colts have escaped, grown old, and died.

  23. kernunos said, on March 28, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    “You and I look at the same video and see different things. Example: It’s an “eight- and-a-half-minute” video–only the first four minutes of which deal with Cuomo talking. And I noticed that sitting right there in the lower left portion of the screen is a little banner that reads “Discrimination in Public Housing”.In part, that’s the ‘redlining” I’ve been referring to, and, I believe, the “something deceptive” you were referring to. The idea was to eliminate discrimination in housing. The “risky” loans were a–not inevitable(see the Federal Reserve piece below)– consequence of that goal. Some would have been happy to let the discrimination roll on. . .take no action at all.”

    You see it as discrimination I see it as not giving mortgages to people that cannot or will not pay them back. Looking back at the housing crisis I am obviously right. 5 year interest only loans. People thinking they could pay for houses beyond their means. My wife and I were approved at the time for close to a $600,000.00 limit on a mortgage. We bought a house for $130,000.00. Why, because we were not idiots taking the risks that others were.

  24. kernunos said, on March 28, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    “Seriously, did the government ‘force’ banks to sell $300K homes to people making 50K/year? Or did banks, being forced by the government to clean up their discriminatory actions choose to milk the situation for all the money they could pocket by guiding prospective buyers into mortgages they couldn’t afford? It seemed to be a no lose situation for the lending institutions. As I understand it, those sub-prime mortgages were packaged into CDS’s and sold to the likes of AIG. And here we are.”

    I’m sure there was some of both and I certainly agree with you mostly. The banks saw the situation as fighting discrimination as the government influenced them to do and then selling them off.

    I just don’t think the discrimination was as bad in the first place as we were led to believe. IT was a matter of set rules with credit and income. Why should everyone deserve to own a house? What is wrong with renting an apartment or house. We don’t own the damn houses anyway. We just lease the darn property from the town or city. Just a fancy apartment after all.

  25. biomass2 said, on March 29, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    “I also don’t believe “everyone deserves to own a house” And surely there’s nothing “wrong with renting an apartment or house.” After all, if everyone lived in houses we’d likely have to build houses on mountain tops and in riverbeds. There wouldn’t be enough land space for everyone’s house(s). We must go vertical, and some people must rent. And some choose to rent. But those who choose to rent or purchase should not be prevented from doing so simply because of skin color or income. That is, they shouldn’t be PROFILED. Each case should be fully researched and the best (and most honest) options should be presented. If, after due consideration, a person is deemed unfit for a purchase, , then he/she should be led in another direction based on the circumstances. Let me put it in this perspective: In a society like ours, where the nuclear family basically no longer exists, it’s necessary for government to step in and act as parent, sometimes literally preventing the child from being raped by the parent.(Child services, foster care . . .) That’s what was/is needed here. Gov’t steps in, essentially takes the lender out of the equation until a sensible decision has been made then reintroduces the buyer to a broad market of lenders who can then decide whether they want to loan or let the loaning up to the government—which can, in turn decide whether it wants to loan or in some other way influence the situation. You would say” too much government”. Unfortunately did too little. It tried to “force” (if you will)  banks to lend to “people of questionable nature)—the ones who, surprisingly enough, fell within the “redlines”. Government made the mistake of leaving the bad parent (the banks)in the equation. And the bad parents took every advantage of the situation and the deregulation to make as much money as they could. Now government could have stayed out of it entirely. And redlining would continue without end. Some would be very happy with that. In fact they’d be tickled white.

  26. biomass2 said, on March 29, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    My wife and I were approved at the time for close to a $600,000.00 limit on a mortgage.”
    And that limit may or may not have been justified by your incomes. But there were too many banks out there approving loans like that for people who couldn’t afford it. The buck has to stop somewhere, and in this case it must, in my opinion, stop with the banks..

    Anyway, you were smart to go with a $130000 mortgage. But some who aren’t as smart as you sat across desks from some high pressure a*hole mortgage lenders and were pressured into mortgages they were assured would work out. Were those people any more stupid than the individuals and non profits and pension funds and –yes–the irony of it all–BANKS who lost billions to Bernie Madoff??

  27. Kernunos said, on March 29, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    I like how when we start in posts, biomass2, that we seem polarized a great distance apart politically but by the time a few posts are thrown out it seems we are converging at a common point philosophically. I think that is how politics must be. Our parties try to polarize us when the ideology of the people is more along a common thread than we think.

    Let me throw this out though; when talking of the intelligence of consumers let us not forget they need to get this information somewhere. Some of us are lucky that our parents taught us, I was not. Others fall down and eventually learn as I did. I think it would be a good thing for our educational system to teach. Fiscal responsibility would be key but I dread it would become political which is not what I would want at all. Maybe teach them of balancing checkbooks, credit, preditory leanding, telemarketers,…etc.

  28. biomass2 said, on March 29, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Let’s not forget that some of the people burned by Bernie Madoff were directors of major financial institutions major pension fund and non-profits–intelligent individuals who were educated in some of the best prep schools and universities in the US. We could argue that our colleges and universities aren’t so great these days, but 1/Many of Bernie’s victims went through the system 20,30 or more years ago. 2/ Even now people come from all over the world to be educated in what are arguably the best universities in the world. Scammers like Madoff, and, I would argue, many of those “high pressure a*hole mortgage lenders” aren’t impressed by education. They thrive on it. If they can figure out what the borrower/investor/whatever’s weaknesses are, they attack those weaknesses and use the victim’s intelligence against them. Much of the time they succeed.
    I was educated in an average/decent high school and a university with an above average reputation. When I got out of school and got married, I knew nothing about checking accounts. I had never come near a tax form.

    Where were my parents when they should have been teaching me these things? Fortunately they weren’t on drugs. They were both working. When I saved money from summer/odd jobs to buy things, I didn’t use credit. When I got my first car to go to college, it was a junker that my father bought for me. When I bought my first car for my first job, I still needed a cosigner for the loan, so I left my dad take care of that.

    “I think it would be a good thing for our educational system to teach.”
    Absolutely. Now let’s see how easy that is to fit into the time restrictions of No Child Left Behind. :(

  29. biomass2 said, on March 29, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Similar conversations on similar topics undertaken face-to-face would probably be disastrous. The anonymity of the web encourages wild-eyed fanaticism in some; you’ve probably seen some of the garbage that’s sloshing around in the minds of many people on the web these days. On the other hand it gives thoughtful people the opportunity to assess the ideas of others and even change their own without the threat of embarrassment. I enjoy our conversations. Not so much in the early going, but. . . We’d never be reaching any kind of meeting of the minds if we each weren’t capable of discarding bad ideas and accepting good ones.

  30. magus71 said, on March 30, 2009 at 3:35 am

    I’m pretty much the same jerk face to face as I am on the web.

  31. biomass2 said, on March 30, 2009 at 10:37 am

    “I’m pretty much the same jerk face to face as I am on the web.” magus71

    A surprising flash of introspection.
    A possible step in the right direction. . . ?

    • magus71 said, on March 31, 2009 at 1:59 am

      Actually I’ve been in a war against wild-eyed-fanaticism since I began blogging.

      I lost the war.

      And I’ve always been introspective, even if I am a little touched with alpha-male syndrome. But there’s a place in the world for alpha-males too, despite our society’s attempt to shame the manhood out of us. Some people may think I’m a jerk until they get to know a little about me. But for the most part, I think people respect me. I don’t feel slighted in that area.

      My introspection has led me to what Dr. L would call a utilitarian system of morality. Sometimes one has to do “bad” things for the greater good. And people hate it when I point out their hypocricies; many want the rest of the world to do things they aren’t willing to.

  32. kernunos said, on March 30, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Better to step to the right at this point. He wouldn’t be so bad in person but he would probably call you on your crap more than I would. :)

  33. kernunos said, on March 30, 2009 at 10:54 am

    “I think it would be a good thing for our educational system to teach.”
    Absolutely. Now let’s see how easy that is to fit into the time restrictions of No Child Left Behind.

    See, you had to go and sound like a bumper sticker again while I was trying to have a meaningful discussion.

  34. biomass2 said, on March 30, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    kernunos: Seems these statements only sound like bumper sticker statements to you when you have no substantial response to them. . . :) Mine was a serious point: The onerous time restrictions of NCLB have cut out many school programs to fit in the time-consuming testing regimes necessary to make NCLB work. Making the argument that balancing checkbooks and understanding credit are important enough to reclaim some of that testing time will be a challenge. All I was sayin’. . .

    “He wouldn’t be so bad in person but he would probably call you on your crap more than I would.”

    This addressed to me about magus71? or vice versa? He said he was “the same jerk face to face as [he is] on the web”. I’ve posted with him before here (Monkeys and Politics Again, Can God Be Perfect if We Exist)and I take his self evaluation at “face” value.

    A little introspection never hurt anyone.


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