Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Something pretty interesting happened Friday when Neal Boortz made a reference to the November, 2009 “study by J.P. Morgan” that found only seven percent of President Barack Obama’s cabinet has experience in the private sector. You may recall this thing went viral. And, as is usually the case when things go viral, there is much misinformation making its way in, from both the right and the left.
Well, the study itself doesn’t interest me too much. Obama’s cabinet doesn’t know what it’s doing; you don’t need a study telling you that. The evidence is all around us. And common sense should tell you that if there are some smarts in that cabinet, they aren’t going to be of very much use are they? How on earth could they be? Imagine yourself as a high ranking official in the Obama administration. A decision comes along, and what do you do? Answer: You don’t. If you say “peanut butter and jelly” and the Little Emperor says “roast beef on rye” you look like a complete dork. You’ll be backpedaling like crazy, claiming that your remarks were taken out of context — and that’s among your friends, before word even gets out. So no, this isn’t a relevant statistic. For all practical purposes, the experience of this cabinet must be zero percent.
Their Special Guy at the top is just too big and important. With or without Secretary Chu’s coveted Nobel prize, the “Me Too” people don’t count. They are indicators of Chairman Zero’s priorities, nothing more than that.
But I do wish to inspect the debunking. Oh goodness gracious, do read that from top to bottom. It is a fascinating portal into how dedicated liberals “debunk” things.
First of all: The study is bogus, and if you weren’t a simpering moron you’d immediately see the study is bogus, because the math doesn’t work.
Vice President, plus 15 executive department heads, plus six others: 22 people.
If only 10% had private sector experience, that would be 2.2 of them. Each of the 22 people comprises about 4.5% of the cabinet. Two of them with private experience would be 9% of the cabinet. Three with private experience would reveal the chart to be in error. Would it be possible to create a cabinet of 22 people and have only two of them with private experience?
The bullshit detectors in the bloggers’ minds should have been clanging like crazy when they saw that chart. [emphasis in original]
Secondly: J.P. Morgan is a bank. What is a bank doing conducting a study into the resumes of cabinet members?
Well, the article about the study is here.
Michael Cembalest is chief investment officer for JPMorgan Private Bank. The views expressed herein are Cembalest’s and may not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of JPMorgan Private Bank or any of its affiliates.
There is a serious effort here to gather data according to a consistent methodology, and extrapolate meaningful statistics from them. Careless, casual statements like “the chart is a hoax” are, quite plain and simply, wrong.
A hoax is a deliberate attempt to deceive or trick people into believing or accepting something which the hoaxer (the person or group creating the hoax) knows is false.
It is true that the study has been recalled by those who linked it in haste, with perhaps the most representative and thoughtful example provided by Eugene Volokh. The chart could be regarded as misleading, not so much because of bad data or malicious intentions behind it, but because of a strong potential among the readers to misinterpret it.
The rules applied are consistent, but subjective. The headline chosen for Cembalest’s column is “Obama’s Business Blind Spot” and the data support the point Cembalest set out to make: Here we have these real-world problems with our nation’s unemployment situation, and Obama’s tackling them with a bunch of damn professors, P.R. people and lawyers. Their hands are soft. And it is a superlative situation. Cembalest chose a methodology by which each administration could be measured, and was able to produce a data series showing something remarkable about this current one, and indicative of how the administration would view the problem. Therefore, indicative of how it would choose to solve it.
How a bank might be interested in such a thing, should be obvious.
But let’s go on to the debunking blogger’s most pivotal and often-mentioned point, for this is my favorite, and it is probably the most important one in “debunking” the study:
I figure, Rahm Emanuel was a spectacular success at investing. He made roughly $4 million a year, his clients presumably much more. Most people work a lifetime for less than $2 million — so can we credit Emanuel with 8 lifetimes of experience? Why not?
If these bozos don’t want to deal with the facts, they can offer their methodologies, I figure. And if they don’t, it’s probably because their methodologies are unfair and indefensible, so must be hidden.
In any case, a rational person looking for “private sector experience” wouldn’t discount a lawyer’s representation of an historically on-the-border of corrupt company like Chiquita Brands.
Geithner was president of one of the largest and most important branches of the Federal Reserve Banking System, in New York. Working with the highest ranking and best recognized foreign economic consulting firm isn’t toothpaste. His time with Kissinger and Associates was golden, not deserving in any way of the denigration you lend to it. It’s like going from college to a team that includes at their peak, Michael Jordon, LeBron James, and Bill Russell — and getting at least significant playing time.
I didn’t redefine anything I had. I merely looked at the bios of the people Cembalest claimed didn’t have private sector experience.
Chu, who…won a Nobel for his private sector experience, is acknowledged as a genius in the field his department covers, and has more than a decade managing some of the most demanding groups imaginable, including the physics department at Stanford and the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, one of the best-respected masses of 4,000 bright people ever created.
Attempts to denigrate the experience of this, one of the best qualified cabinets, tell us more about the size of the critics, than about the qualifications of people like Steven Chu or Hilda Solis. Or, maybe I should say more accurately, the lack of size of the critics.
His argument mostly hinges on this: Lawyers are hard workers because practicing law is really, really tough. And don’t dare contradict him or else he’ll demand your experience practicing law, and discount whatever that experience is rest assured, so you don’t know what you’re talking about. In the comments section you see him coming back to this point again and again and again. Lawyers are golden. Every lawyer in Obama’s cabinet represents lots and lots of “private sector” experience, even if he didn’t work in the private sector. Maybe we should count that guy multiple times. I see it this way, therefore it is Truth.
Well, my own experience practicing law is as short as it can get. But as a voting citizen, when I go through his painstaking summaries of the experience of each cabinet member, nose-by-nose, my confidence in the Obama administration is not bolstered or even recovered. It is diminished. This idea that practicing law should count as private experience — maybe it should count even more than the other stuff! — think of it what you will, but the “debunking” relies almost completely on this.
And that’s the observation I’d like to make here about liberals “debunking” things. Based on the meandering of the presented argument, and their analysis of it, they see things a certain way. And that way of seeing things is local, not global. There is no guarantee of consistency across time with it. For example, if the Republicans put up a couple of experienced lawyers against Obama in 2012, I don’t know that this liberal blogger will go on thinking law experience is all-that-and-a-bag-o-chips. I expect he’d do a hairpin turn, something to the effect of “Yeah, but Obama has grown into the job of President! President beats Lawyer any day!” Or something to that effect.
But even if that doesn’t come to pass, here the weakness in the debunker’s argument becomes a philosophical one. You m-u-s-t see things the debunker’s way. You m-u-s-t agree that practicing law counts as private sector experience…and it must count exactly the way the debunker says it counts. Agree to that, or else you’re just a big ol’ dummy.
That they think this is a solid argument, let alone a debunking, exposes the fact that they really don’t know truth or falsehood when they see it. And it worries me mightily when these are the people who say we need to “sit down with our enemies and talk out our differences with them.” Look how they do the talking. It’s all point…counterpoint…value system…value system…THE VALUE SYSTEMS FACE OFF AND ONE DEVOURS THE OTHER NOW WE MUST MARCH IN COMPLETE LOCKSTEP ON THE VALUE SYSTEM. And then when we get past that, it’s on to the next point. As opposed to point…counterpoint…value system…value system…now since those value systems are not going to change, let’s try to find some real common ground. The latter is the thinking method of reasonable, rational people. The former is the thinking method of tyrants. And small children.
I recognize that when we’re trying to figure out how lawyering counts as private business experience, some number has to be produced and that number has to win, so that it can be applied consistently across the administrations across the generations. But a rational person would have pointed this out and exposed the real weakness with this study — that it is inherently subjective, although it might be reasonably viewed by a casual observer as something different.
Liberals never seem to want to service the casual observer, to give him the benefit of the wisdom he would pick up himself if he were not a casual observer. They always seem to want to write a headline that offers a different twist to the casual observer, and keep him casual. And so they end up writing garbage. The study is a “hoax”…which the casual observer would infer to mean, it didn’t happen, or there’s nuthin’-to-it. That is not the case.
Their world is one in which everyone must value everything and see everything in a uniform way, and those who value things or see things any differently have to be somehow neutralized. I do not want people who think this way, to represent me as they “sit down and talk with” that I’m-A-Dinner-Jacket guy in Iran, or the Gargoyle in North Korea. Because let’s face it, when the “discussion” gets to that one-value-system-gobbles-up-the-other thumb-wrestling contest — I don’t know they’re gonna win.
This makes them the vastly inferior choice for managing both foreign policy and domestic issues. It is their way of seeing the world and all the things within it. It is immature. Nobel prize or not, it is a worldview inadequate for making real decisions.
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