Discretion is the better part of valor

A great piece by Tom Edsall on the Ryan plan. Executive summary: it cuts “Mandatory and Defense and Nondefense Discretionary Spending” down to 3.75% of GDP (by 2050) from its current level of 12.5% of GDP. Since defense itself is 4% of GDP and Ryan has pledged not to cut that, that means there is no non-defense discretionary spending at all. In particular:

By 2050, that would leave zilch under the Ryan plan for such separately funded programs as Veterans Benefits (Function 700); the administration of justice, including the F.B.I. (Function 750); Education, Train and Social Services (Function 500), and pretty much anything else.

Here’s why it’s a shell game: he never says specifically what he will cut (he probably says something about bear DNA and volcano monitoring on the stump, but you know what I mean). So if he gets quizzed by anyone who is afraid a program they like will be cut, he can just say “I am committed to saving your program”.

A neat trick.

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152 replies
  1. 1
    c u n d gulag says:

    If I were a Democratic strategist, I’d start calling it “The Romney/Ryan, ‘We Gotta Make Room, Kids – Grandma’s Moving In'” budget.

  2. 2
    cmorenc says:

    The element that most severely undermines the credibility of Romney/Ryan is that they so far have refused to name ANY of the tax deductions they’d eliminate as the tradeoff for significant reduction of tax rates, in order to make the proposal allegedly revenue-neutral. In addition, they’re playing a shell game whereby they’re planning to reduce top-tier tax rates (including cap gains and interest to near-zero) so much that even the bona fide elimination of a significant portion of deductions for high-income earners would be a relatively small sacrifice (trivial in many instances) for top earners compared to what they’d gain from the slash in tax rates.

  3. 3
    Face says:

    Wait…hold on. Are telling me they’re disingenuous?

    Stop the presses!

  4. 4
    Trakker says:

    If Romney is elected President along with a Republican House and Senate, the Ryan budget will never be implemented. Ryan knows it. This is all a giant bait-and-switch to get the Republicans elected. His budget won’t be enacted because establishment Republicans know it would be suicidal. If they ever told the American public what must be cut to implement it they would lose the 2014 mid-terms in a landslide.

    The goal of the Republican Party is power. They will say anything, tell any lie, to win elections. If Romney and the Republicans manage to seize the government in 2012, the budget deficit will be bigger in 2016 and the only major budget cuts will be to our safety net programs and entitlements, and probably regulation enforcement. Taxes on the rich will be cut further. That’s all they really care about. The deficit will soar and Obama will be blamed.

  5. 5
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Trakker:

    The deficit will soar and Obama will be blamed deficits won’t matter (until the next Democrat).

    FTFY

  6. 6
    Ash Can says:

    The best thing is to keep Romney and Ryan talking. Keep them campaigning, keep rolling video of their speeches, keep interviewing them, keep sticking microphones and video cams in their faces. Give them all the exposure possible. They’re like Wile E. Coyote pushing the plunger down on the detonator without realizing that the big pile of TNT is right behind them (and nowhere near the Roadrunner).

  7. 7
    Bulworth says:

    Well, the whole thing about “We’re going to cut federal spending to X% by 2050” is about as reliable a statement as “We’re going to cut spending by $1 trillion across the board equally from defense and non-defense spending if the Super Committee doesn’t come up with a bipartisan agreement to cut $1 trillion”.

  8. 8
    Tonal Crow says:

    @cmorenc:

    The element that most severely undermines the credibility of Romney/Ryan is that they so far have refused to name ANY of the tax deductions they’d eliminate as the tradeoff for significant reduction of tax rates, in order to make the proposal allegedly revenue-neutral. In addition, they’re playing a shell game whereby they’re planning to reduce top-tier tax rates (including cap gains and interest to near-zero) so much that even the bona fide elimination of a significant portion of deductions for high-income earners would be a relatively small sacrifice (trivial in many instances) for top earners compared to what they’d gain from the slash in tax rates.

    NYT agrees: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09.....blank.html . My God, I do believe they’ve committed journalism!

  9. 9
    BGinCHI says:

    You know what’s really fucked up about this? Not that they’ll cut everything if they’re elected.

    It’s that they will immediately go back to big deficit spending. They will keep social programs low, but they won’t make massive cuts. They don’t really believe in supply side economics. They know that a Keynesian pump-priming through gov’t spending is necessary. They might use war to do it instead of spending on infrastructure, but they’ll run big deficits to buy off the votes they need to stay in business.

  10. 10
    jibeaux says:

    Somewhere I read the Ryan plan to deficit reduction:

    1. Vote for a bunch of things that increase the deficit.
    2. Promise a lot of vague cuts in spending.
    3. There is no step 3.

  11. 11
    Tonal Crow says:

    Romney is running the first all-bullshit campaign. He doesn’t care what he says — whether it’s true, false, unknown, or unknowable — as long as he thinks it’ll get him elected.


    Romney: like Sarah Palin, but less competent and more dishonest.

  12. 12
    Comrade Mary says:

    Jesus Hopscotching Christ, is it too much to ask that journalists will now be prepared to ask appropriate questions whenever this tool shows up for an interview? Can we just drive a stake through the myth of The Last Honest Man In Washington, already?

    (I know, I know, I know …)

  13. 13
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Then there’s the other fiction involved in this…that somehow if this plan is followed all the way through 2050, x result will be manifest.

    Ask Bill Clinton and Al Gore how well their plan to pay down the national debt worked out, given that the deserting coward was installed in office in 2001 and immediately, almost as the first thing he did, was cut taxes for the parasite overclass and turn a budget surplus into a deficit. Mind you, this was before he went totally nuts with the Visa cards of children yet to be conceived for his excellent adventure in Mesopotamia.

    Saying that your plan does something in 40 years is utter fucking fantasy when Congress changes parties in two years and has very different ideas of how to allocate expenditures in the Federal budget.

    This ON TOP OF the glorious hand waving about tax deductions that is the lamest attempt at a Jedi mind trick, ever.

  14. 14
    rlrr says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    And risk losing their phony-baloney jobs?

  15. 15
    SW says:

    Squidbilly. Nothing but ink.

  16. 16
    MattF says:

    With Ryan, it’s all “My numbers are bigger than yours.” The notion that the numbers actually mean something… that’s just for the dopes with calculators in their shirt pockets.

  17. 17
    Ann Rynd says:

    The Kaplan poll on the effect the convention had on O’s Popularity:

    Did the Democratic national convention help Barack Obama’s chances in the presidential election?
    Yes – 73%
    No – 27%
    Total Votes: 11,399

    27%: right on the nose.

  18. 18
    kindness says:

    Discretion may have some valor but the Romney campaign feels lying your ass off has more appeal.

  19. 19
    catclub says:

    @jibeaux: And that was exactly the plan that had all the Villagers shouting his praises for a serious plan. Sully springs to mind.

  20. 20
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    The deficit will soar and Obama will be blamed Ronald Reagan proved deficits won’t matter (until the next Democrat).

    With my bolded addition, I present to you the Dark Lord doctrine.

  21. 21
    catclub says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: In particular, worrying that Social Security will go bust in 2037 (actually, it would still be paying 75% of its obligations) was far more important to the Villagers than 9% unemployment TODAY.

  22. 22
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ann Rynd:

    It’s amazing. It never seems to fail. Right there, on the nose. All the time.

  23. 23
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    Jesus Hopscotching Christ, is it too much to ask that journalists will now be prepared to ask appropriate questions whenever this tool shows up for an interview?

    Yes.

    SATSQ.

  24. 24
    Dennis SGMM says:

    The article mentioned that the Bush-era tax cuts are due expire at the end of the year. We Democrats had better be working our tails off for the down-ticket races lest we see another repeat of Republicans demanding their pound of flesh to get anything through Congress.

  25. 25
    Nylund says:

    Ryan’s plan with his huge tax cuts for the rich, spending goals so drastic that not even the FBI will have a dime left, and his magical thinking on economic growth and health care costs reminds me of various children and teens I’ve met convinced that when they grow up, they’ll live in a mansion, have a garage full of luxury cars, and never have to go to work.

    Whenever you meet such a kid, you always want to say, “Hey, hate to break it to you, but the world doesn’t work that way.” The problem is, the GOP has nominated a guy who has kids who not only thought that, but were correct in thinking that! They will indeed all live in mansions with luxury cars without ever having to go to work. The same may be said for many of the children of the media elites.

    And therein may lie our problem. What most of us think of as absurd fantasies are actual reality to some of these people, and thus, someone who offers up a nonsensical budget like Ryan can be praised as serious.

  26. 26
    Zifnab says:

    Here’s why it’s a shell game: he never says specifically what he will cut (he probably says something about bear DNA and volcano monitoring on the stump, but you know what I mean). So if he gets quizzed by anyone who is afraid a program they like will be cut, he can just say “I am committed to saving your program”.

    The Fact Check sites have been buying this line regularly. Democrats point out that Romney’s plan *has* to raise Middle Class taxes to operate as promised. Then Romney says “I promised not to raise middle class taxes!” and the fact check sites conclude – “Democrats must be lying, because Romney said…”

    Vaguery is now the perfect defense. The only consolation is that Romney is perpetually on his back foot playing catch up, so defense doesn’t really save him.

  27. 27
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I have to wonder why I keep getting this “Join Cravaack” ad on BJ when he’s running for congress in Minnesota. Now, Knute Buehler for Oregon Secretary of State, I understand, I’m in Oregon.

    This Cravaack dude apparently is running against Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama, not against whoever the Dems have up against him in Minnesota. I suspect he’s looking for wingtard suckers to send him money.

  28. 28
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    This ON TOP OF the glorious hand waving about tax deductions that is the lamest attempt at a Jedi bene geserit mind trick, ever.

    fxd

  29. 29
    BC says:

    I don’t think it’s a shell game, I think they’re trying to sell the American people a pig in a poke – you know, we have a pig in here, you can’t see it, but you can buy it. So when someone asks what’s in there, they say it’s a pig and you see the wriggling animal in the bag, but still – they won’t let you see what it is.

  30. 30
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Given the behavior of the Republicans the last time they were in power, the last thing I worry about from a Romney/Ryan administration is spending cuts.

    You gotta “spend” money to transfer it from Social Security and Medicare to private hedge funds.

  31. 31
    Punchy says:

    But will they cut Volcano DNA research and bear monitoring? Will Sully support such cuts?

  32. 32
    Joel says:

    Yep, the Ryan Plan would effectively eliminate the National Institutes of Health, which means the end of basic science research and could cause large research-based universities to close their doors.

  33. 33
    Chris says:

    @Trakker:

    If Romney is elected President along with a Republican House and Senate, the Ryan budget will never be implemented. Ryan knows it. This is all a giant bait-and-switch to get the Republicans elected. His budget won’t be enacted because establishment Republicans know it would be suicidal. If they ever told the American public what must be cut to implement it they would lose the 2014 mid-terms in a landslide.

    I’m not sure. The ratio of grifters to True Believers in the GOP is something that the last few years have really made me wonder about, especially since it’s easy to fall for your own con. If nothing else I think it’s safe to say that 2010 increased the percentage of True Believers in government.

  34. 34
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Joel:

    The important thing here, though, is that Defense contractors (not the troops…fuck them) would not have to worry about cutting back on country club dues or other serious austerity measures.

  35. 35
    Ben Franklin says:

    Kays piece yesterday on provisional ballots in Ohio is the ace-up-the-sleeve because chaos is the preferred method for Republicans in a close race.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09.....=2&hp

    The November presidential election, widely expected to rest on a final blitz of advertising and furious campaigning, may also hinge nearly as much on last-minute legal battles over when and how ballots should be cast and counted, particularly if the race remains tight in battleground states.

  36. 36
    BGinCHI says:

    @Joel: No.

    This is what I was referring to above.

    No way they’ll do these things as it would take the kind of political work they would never do, not to mention the risk. What they’ll do instead is fund at the going rate or slightly lower and put it all on the deficit.

    That’s how Republicans stay in power: they promise austerity but deliver debt.

  37. 37
    Roger Moore says:

    @Zifnab:

    Vaguery is now the perfect defense.

    Only if you think the fact checkers would let Obama get away with the same kind of dishonesty. If instead you acknowledge the same reality as the rest of us, you’ll see that the vagueness is just an excuse and the real defense is IOKIYAR.

  38. 38
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    @Ben Franklin: I’ve been saying this for months. They just want to contest every single ballot for as long as possible, until the SCOTUS gets involved and works their magic.

    Having said that, the SCOTUS would be have to be completely insane to steal 2 elections in 12 years, so that wont happen, right? Right?

  39. 39
    bemused says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Interesting. Cravaack has been following me from site to site but I didn’t think much about it because I am from MN and in his district. He sure wants my support but he makes last minute meet and greet appearances that only his ardent supporters seem to know about even though there is no info on his website or facebook page. I even held my nose and signed up for his mailing list but I get NO emails from him. I must be on the no-contact list. It might have something to do with my phone calls to his office, :)

  40. 40
    Joel says:

    @BGinCHI: Maybe, but you might have thought that about the Tories, and they definitely followed through with austerity. Yes, parliamentary systems, etc.

  41. 41
    Ben Franklin says:

    @peach flavored shampoo:

    so that wont happen, right? Right?

    From your keyboard to God’s monitor. IMO, they are still reeling from that ‘one time only’ incursion, and Roberts has already displayed his pride in his Legacy. I don’t think they will repeat, but that doesn’t mean voter nullification can’t work without their help.

  42. 42
    scav says:

    @Joel: Ao, you’re saying you’re against cutting funding to big universities? HA! The mask drops! These there big universities only exist to put ideas in peoples’ heads that BabyJaysusPeeplez doen ‘gree with, which is affront to their Me-ligious FRRREEEEDOMZ. Sides, only thing you need to know about health is that if GoD is going to kill you with his magical little blessings of cancer cells or germs or bullet holes or legitimate rape-based snowflakes well then, just lay back and revel it your demise. Don’t need to go puttin’ sum fancy Latinate name of GoDz’ blessing of death, let alone messin’ ’bout with cures or sumpen.

  43. 43
    Violet says:

    @Joel:

    Yep, the Ryan Plan would effectively eliminate the National Institutes of Health, which means the end of basic science research and could cause large research-based universities to close their doors.

    I hope this is getting out to the science/medical community.

  44. 44
    JR in WV says:

    People have been discussing polling and statistical analysis of combined polls. I saw a link to a Illinois – Urbana-Champaign polling analysis tool that is pretty interesting at:

    http://electionanalytics.cs.illinois.edu/

    They’re using Baysian analysis and separating popular voting from electorial college voting for the Presidential race and also analysing Senatorial races.

    Their data shows a better than .9 probability that President Obama will be reelected, but the odds of keeping the Senate are only between .2 and .3… perhaps they aren’t computing in coattails?

  45. 45
    Roger Moore says:

    @Violet:

    I hope this is getting out to the science/medical community.

    The scientists I work with are mostly a bunch of flaming liberals. When we hear that somebody is suspected of being a Republican, that’s seen as a major blow against their character. It’s really hard to take the side of a political party that actively shits all over your chosen career.

  46. 46
    Culture of Truth says:

    I am committed to Saving Paul Ryan

  47. 47
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Having said that, the SCOTUS would be have to be completely insane to steal 2 elections in 12 years, so that wont happen, right? Right?

    @peach flavored shampoo: Roberts isn’t going to allow the court to touch this or any other election with a ten-foot pole. He is proud well past the point of vanity, and he correctly sees Bush v. Gore as a case that should never have been taken, and one that permanently damaged the court’s reputation.

    He wants to be a Big Playa In History. Big Playas don’t get to be Big Playas by being someone’s stooge.

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @JR in WV:

    perhaps they aren’t computing in coattails?

    They should not, because coattails are notoriously unreliable and more of a media meme (and have been for decades) that is seen in retrospect, not before the election.

  49. 49
    sublime33 says:

    @MattF: You gotta love the legend of Paul Ryan. Sub 3 hour marathons (or was it four, I forgot – I only ran in one race). Climbed 38 different 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado, despite no verification. What’s next – the legend of Long Dong Ryan?

  50. 50
    Chris says:

    @Roger Moore:

    The scientists I work with are mostly a bunch of flaming liberals. When we hear that somebody is suspected of being a Republican, that’s seen as a major blow against their character. It’s really hard to take the side of a political party that actively shits all over your chosen career.

    Yep.

    Someone on another blog a while back asked how the hell America managed to stay afloat when so much of our public’s knowledge of science was between “third world” and “dark ages…” well, the fact that over 80% of American scientists identify as liberal (and even the rest mostly aren’t wingnuts I suspect) has pretty much everything to do with it. People who aren’t lunatics invent all the stuff (usually with a fuckton of government money)… capitalists who don’t care one way or another take the stuff and market it once all the kinks have been worked out… the general public benefits, and gives all glory and praise to the fuzzy Free Market Jesus they worship.

    Tidy little arrangement, but it depends on the wingnuts having enough sense to stay the fuck out of science departments.

  51. 51
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Chris:

    Tidy little arrangement, but it depends on the wingnuts having enough sense to stay the fuck out of science departments.

    Well, some like Dr. Art Robinson (that’s how he runs for congress, I swear!) were tossed out of science departments because their commitment to science was not as great as their commitment to woo.

  52. 52
    Dennis SGMM says:

    OF course it would in no way benefit the Republicans to gut education in the holy name of reducing the deficit. Their reliance on an intelligent, thoughtful, and well-informed base means they have none other than the purest motives.

  53. 53
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Chris:

    80% identify as liberal? That is surprising. I usually associate engineers with scientists, and I’ve always found the former to be largely conservative. Engineers tend to be myopic and miserly; perfect for the Republicans.

  54. 54
    catclub says:

    @BGinCHI: “they promise austerity but deliver debt.”

    See the Two Santa theory.

  55. 55
    amk says:

    @sublime33: Oh, ryan is a big dick alright. We don’t need more proof.

  56. 56
    Cassidy says:

    Sorta OT, but fuck CNN. In one “article” Obama and the Democrats want to raise taxes while thr Republicans want to reduce debt through other avenues like cutting spending. Did anyone know that, cuz I’m pretty sure that what they really meant is cut programs that help poor people and minorities? Maybe I misunderstood.

    Assholes.

  57. 57
    Davis X. Machina says:

    It’s really hard to take the side of a political party that actively shits all over your chosen career

    . Doesn’t stop public school teachers… doesn’t even slow them down, depending on where you live.

    Go Team Red! Oh, wait, you mean my job?

    I wonder if there’s any good empirical work on the MEGO (my eyes glaze over) factor when these quantitative arguments get made. Obviously there’s some non-zero number of voters that’s influenced — or horrified — by them. But there’s a non-zero number who roll the other way, too…

  58. 58
    Culture of Truth says:

    They may have overshot this time. God knows Americans love to be told they can have something for nothing, but they also like to think of themselves as savvy, with good old fashion common horse sense, and able to spot a phony salesman a mail away, unlike all you other rubes (also we are all above-average drivers and more thrifty, smarter and harder working than each other)

    Romneyan may be smooth, they may have good intentions, they may even have the right policy ideas to get the country moving, but “JUST TRUST ME” rubs too many people the wrong way.

  59. 59
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    I usually associate engineers with scientists, and I’ve always found the former to be largely conservative.

    @Ben Franklin: Not the same animal. Engineers have only one field of interest, have zero curiosity, no people skills, and I’ve never met one with a Ph.D. The ones I’ve known have been, male and female, not just right-wing but Bircher-grade right wing, and are usually complete jerks to boot.

  60. 60
    Chris says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    I saw a poll like that months ago, but granted, I think I saw it on a wingnut website where it was bitching about how dangerous liberal bias is, so maybe I shouldn’t say that with such certainty – but I’m fairly sure that most scientists identify as liberal (though I’ve also heard that about engineers being conservative).

  61. 61
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @sublime33: Don’t forget his blue ox, Babe.

  62. 62
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: I’ve told this story before, but it’s germane now. My dad is a physics PhD. He bristles at the way “rocket scientist” gets used to refer to intimidating levels of intelligence. “A rocket scientist is basically an engineer,” he said. “Most of THEM still believe in God.”

  63. 63
    Cermet says:

    @Ben Franklin: Hate to tell you but no scientist has ever considered an engineer as anything but a tech, at best. Engineers are very practical but often rather conservative.

  64. 64
    ericblair says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Engineers have only one field of interest, have zero curiosity, no people skills, and I’ve never met one with a Ph.D.

    Engineer with a Ph.D. here, and please take your obviously superior people skills and cram them.

  65. 65
    Cassidy says:

    Was waiting for it. SQUINT FIGHT!

  66. 66
    scav says:

    OT Puppah break for those that need one.

  67. 67
    Violet says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Engineers have only one field of interest, have zero curiosity, no people skills,

    Good lord. Talk about broad statements.

  68. 68
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Cermet:

    So is a genetic engineer, a scientist?

  69. 69
    Cassidy says:

    Engineers still live in their mother’s basement because they can’t meet girls. Of course women can’t be engineers. It involves math.

  70. 70
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    @Ben Franklin: Engineers have only one field of interest, have zero curiosity, no people skills, and I’ve never met one with a Ph.D. The ones I’ve known have been, male and female, not just right-wing but Bircher-grade right wing, and are usually complete jerks to boot.

    I’m an engineer, with another advanced degree that the perceptive here might have deduced. Curiosity is what led me to engineering, and what continues to motivate me to study, among other things, the factors that drive earth’s climate. On politics, I’ll just say that I’m a life member — and regular, generous supporter — of that association of dangerous radicals called the “A.C.L.U.”

    Take two virus scans and don’t call me in the morning.

  71. 71
    khead says:

    Most engineers are conservative (little c) because that’s how you keep from fucking shit up in the real world – you overdesign things.

    The engineers I know that are liberals are simply tired of idiot Republicans trying to create their own reality.

  72. 72
    👽 Martin says:

    Romney/Ryan are getting into dangerous territory here. The tone among the political media is changing more each week. They might be okay shivving the Dems, but they still largely treat them as credible, capable politicians. The political media are now speaking of Romney and Ryan each more and more as beneath them. When the tone becomes dismissive, like it did with Palin (but not with McCain), then it’s hard to hear even positive commentary on them as favorable.

    I’m not sure how you recover your footing once you reach that spot.

  73. 73
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Engineers have only one field of interest, have zero curiosity, no people skills, and I’ve never met one with a Ph.D.

    Broad statement is too broad. I worked with engineers from various disciplines for years. Some of them met your description. Most of them did not. Every profession has its assholes.

  74. 74
    quannlace says:

    Hey, don’t get all arithmaticy on us.

  75. 75
    SFAW says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Engineers have only one field of interest, have zero curiosity, no people skills, and I’ve never met one with a Ph.D. The ones I’ve known have been, male and female, not just right-wing but Bircher-grade right wing, and are usually complete jerks to boot.

    You really need to get out of yer basement a little more. Or perhaps listen to the voices in yer head a little less.

  76. 76
    khead says:

    For the record, I can be a real jerk…

    ….but it doesn’t have a damned thing to do with my engineering degree.

    Just sayin’

  77. 77
    Comrade Jake says:

    Yeah I don’t get all the engineer-bashing. I know plenty with PhDs (helloooo national labs), and I’d hesitate to paint them with such a broad brush.

  78. 78
    Sir Nose'D says:

    Under the Ryan plan, all federally-elected officials will be zero salary employees (volunteers). No health care, no heat/AC/electricity in the Capitol, no staffers, no money for travel to and from DC. Moreover, all past congress things will lose their health care and pensions. Perhaps someone should point this out to Mr. Ryan?

  79. 79
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    Not the same animal. Engineers have only one field of interest, have zero curiosity, no people skills, and I’ve never met one with a Ph.D. The ones I’ve known have been, male and female, not just right-wing but Bircher-grade right wing, and are usually complete jerks to boot.

    Strange how Silicon Valley is overwhelmingly Democratic then, considering the ascendency of the engineer there.

  80. 80
    SFAW says:

    @khead:

    For the record, I can be a real jerk…

    Great. Now we’ll have a cavalcade of “No, I’m a bigger jerk! And I have 7 Ph.Ds!” comments.

  81. 81
    Suffern ACE says:

    Can we just go back to hating on mbas and keep our feelings about other jobs and professionals in check?

  82. 82
    Ruckus says:

    @Trakker:
    His budget won’t be enacted because establishment Republicans know it would be suicidal. If they ever told the American public what must be cut to implement it they would lose the 2014 mid-terms in a landslide.

    A semi-sane rethug would do exactly as you say. The group we have now? Who the fuck knows what they will do. We do know for sure a few things. They are full of shit. They keep telling us they are full of shit, and you don’t even have to listen very hard to hear it. They are fucking crazy stupid cult members, and that makes them dangerous because they are not only unpredictable but will do crazy things.
    As bad as they were these are not your fathers rethuglicans.

  83. 83
    Jim, Foolish Literalist and Fact Checker says:

    @👽 Martin: the overwhelmingly pale Villagers can overlook the race-baiting, but I suspect Romney getting Jesus-y makes those same complacent upper-middle-class suburbanites (since we’re all about generalizations today) who dominate Politico and the gasbag green rooms a little nervous

    IN the meantime, why ever might the governor of New Jersey be so interested in Iowa politics?

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will campaign for Republican Rep. Steve King in Iowa next week, according to Fox News.

    For the life of me, I can’t imagine….

  84. 84
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Ah. I see that engineerism has reared its ugly head.

    The engineers that I’ve known might be called conservative but were nothing like the current crop of Republicans. Many of them made political decisions based on enlightened self interest, which made them social liberals at least.

  85. 85
    Randy P says:

    My training is in physics. I’ve worked with engineers my entire professional life. Indeed, for much of my life the word “engineer” has been part of my own job title. That’s the commercial job market.

    Some of them fit the stereotype. Many stereotypes have a germ of truth. In my opinion, narrow-minded conservatism in engineers correlates with inability to communicate outside your specialty, to avoid using jargon, and to recognize that your training and methods are not the only possible ones.

    But many work very well in interdisciplinary teams and are a little more open-minded than that. Especially in R & D.

    By the way, I disagree that scientists dismiss engineers out of hand. But there definitely is a culture of “we’re better trained than they are” in undergrad school. Probably to help sooth the feelings of the physics BS holders who can’t find jobs while their B-average electrical engineer colleagues are snapped up at $50K

  86. 86
    Greg says:

    @Herbal Infusion Bagger:

    Strange how Silicon Valley is overwhelmingly Democratic then, considering the ascendency of the engineer there.

    Age overwhelms occupation. I think engineers (and I am one) are more conservative in general, but software engineers also tend to be young, and the younger you are the more liberal you are right now.

  87. 87
    SFAW says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    Yeah I don’t get all the engineer-bashing.

    FTD was channeling Pedro Carmichael, except with engineers instead of Albanians.

  88. 88
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    Broad statement is too broad. I worked with engineers from various disciplines for years. Some of them met your description. Most of them did not. Every profession has its assholes.

    Having said that, if you read a technical-sounding article on the intertubes trying to make a case against evolution or global warming, chances are it’s written by an engineer (or maybe an MD).

    I think it’s because the only way to “get” engineering is to realise to make a problem tractable is to know what assumptions to make, to narrow your focus. It’s a very different mindset from the scientist. And that hyper-reductionism that is very useful for engineering problems can lead to very bad conclusions when used on the wrong topic, especially if the engineer is ideologically prone to blinkering themselves from inconvenient data or ideas.

  89. 89
    catclub says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist and Fact Checker: Check out Nixonland, for the section where Nixon campaigns for House GOP candidates.

    The key point was that he campaigned primarily in districts that had surprised themselves the previous election and elected democrats. So the GOP was not really a challenger and it made Nixon look like a genius,
    for having a really good batting average.

    This seems similar – positioning your support of the party for the future.

  90. 90
    👽 Martin says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist and Fact Checker:

    but I suspect Romney getting Jesus-y makes those same complacent upper-middle-class suburbanites (since we’re all about generalizations today) who dominate Politico and the gasbag green rooms a little nervous

    I don’t think it’s that on it’s face. I think it’s the ‘this will be a campaign about the economy’ lines for the last year, and then going all Jesusy, and then when they ask about the culture war issues, they say ‘we’re not going to talk about that, this is all about the economy’.

    The media feel they’re being trolled. They don’t like that. They don’t mind if you want to take some crazy position so long as you’re willing to talk about it and give them something to report. There’s nothing to report here. Romney/Ryan did the Sunday shows and the best reporting that came out of yesterday was Biden getting a lap dance from a biker and Obama being picked up. That’s not the media being liberal, it’s them having spent hours with Romney/Ryan and walked away with nothing but more lies and contradictions. At least the Dems did something interesting, even if it wasn’t substantive itself.

  91. 91
    khead says:

    @SFAW:

    Nah, I’m just a jerk with an MS.

  92. 92
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Randy P:

    Some of them fit the stereotype. Many stereotypes have a germ of truth. In my opinion, narrow-minded conservatism in engineers correlates with inability to communicate outside your specialty, to avoid using jargon, and to recognize that your training and methods are not the only possible ones.

    I think the engineer’s talent is focus. They have incredible concentration, and so the peripheral vision gets short shrift. It’s said that when Einstein was deep in thought, he had to be physically shaken, as though in a trance.

  93. 93
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Sorry to all, I probably should have added one small detail that will make my comment make a lot more sense – I work in defense.

  94. 94
    SFAW says:

    @khead:

    Nah, I’m just a jerk with an MS.

    Me, I’m just an asshole with a BS. And, boy, can I. (BS, that is.)

  95. 95
    SFAW says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Oh, OK, now it becomes clear – those guys are all assholes.

    Or not, of course.

  96. 96
    Joel says:

    @Ben Franklin: Typically called molecular biologists.

  97. 97
    Ruckus says:

    @khead:
    This seems like a good time for my dad’s engineer joke.

    “Last week I couldn’t spell engineer, now I are one.”

  98. 98
    Tom Ames says:

    @Herbal Infusion Bagger:

    Having said that, if you read a technical-sounding article on the intertubes trying to make a case against evolution or global warming, chances are it’s written by an engineer (or maybe an MD).

    Or a dentist. There are a lot of dentists on the “Dissent against Darwinism” petition.

    (No slur on dentists intended, of course.)

  99. 99
    khead says:

    @Joel:

    Or Biochemical Engineers even.

  100. 100
    khead says:

    @Ruckus:

    I is one.

    Math and science > grammar.

    Someone else can explain the stuff to the corporate folks.

  101. 101
    SFAW says:

    And, for all you engineer-haters:

    It takes a highly developed engineering ability to be able to explain this groundbreaking invention in layman’s terms:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ac7G7xOG2Ag

  102. 102
    Greg says:

    @Ruckus:

    “Last week I couldn’t spell engineer, now I are one.”

    Reminds me of my favorite t-shirt:

    I’m a programmar.
    I’m a programmer.
    I’m a programmor.
    I write code.

  103. 103
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let’s consider who the largest employers of engineers are — oil, car manufacturing, defense contracting. Those industries are dominated by conservative companies. Is it surprising that the rank and file engineers are largely conservative?

  104. 104
    👽 Martin says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: Engineers in the defense industry aren’t usually representative of the field. Most that I know wanted to go anywhere but defense. They tend to not be thrilled to be there, and they tend to be those that had limited job choices – in my statistical, not anecdotal, opinion. Far from universal, but it’s measurable.

  105. 105
    Ruckus says:

    @khead:
    I believe that was the joke. But you knew that.

    This came after one of our employees found a mistake on a blueprint that meant a project could not be build. The main functional part was hanging in air, attached to nothing. Big meeting, company presidents, etc and the design engineer just could not see the problem. Everyone from the janitor on up got it but he argued for hours. It was hilarious for a while but then it just got sad.

  106. 106
    scav says:

    @Greg: I’m a Pro-gramma should someday appeal to the hip retired coder with progeny.

  107. 107
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Herbal Infusion Bagger:

    Having said that, if you read a technical-sounding article on the intertubes trying to make a case against evolution or global warming, chances are it’s written by an engineer (or maybe an MD).

    This runs quite counter to my experience. Most I’ve seen have been penned by mathematicians or economists, with a few wacky physicists thrown in to boot.

  108. 108
    SFAW says:

    @Ruckus:

    Sounds like a pretty lousy engineer. All good engineers know that judicious use of a skyhook will fix a problem like that.

    Problem solved!

    I’ll send you my invoice tomorrow.

  109. 109
    SFAW says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe:

    Let’s consider who the largest employers of engineers are—oil, car manufacturing, defense contracting.

    You forgot Poland consumer electronics!

  110. 110
    Randy P says:

    @Ruckus: There was an artificial intelligence engine name “R1” in honor of that joke.

  111. 111
    catclub says:

    @Ruckus: one hopes that three-d modelling has cut down on some of those sad events.

  112. 112
    Chris says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist and Fact Checker:

    IN the meantime, why ever might the governor of New Jersey be so interested in Iowa politics?

    The minute he vetoed same-sex marriage (in New Jersey, for crying out loud) I knew he was running for president. Not that I didn’t find it plausible before, but that’s what sealed the deal for me.

    He is the best they have, pretty much. The base will love him because he’s an abrasive bully who wears it like a crown and has spent his entire career kicking weaker people who tend to vote Democrat when they’re down, and then boasting and laughing about it. The MSM and “establishment” will love him because he’s an East Coaster who’s appointed a couple of Muslims and sometimes talks trash about the people who object to that, so they can sell him as a moderate. Toss in the fact that he won’t run until the economy’s doing better, and he’s probably their most solid candidate since George W. Bush.

  113. 113
    sparrow says:

    @Ben Franklin: Reporting from the world of academic scientists, physics division: most scientists I interact with are reflexively liberal, probably (honestly) because of the “which-side-is-the-bread-buttered” argument above. Most are unbelievably clueless and unsophisticated in their politics (similar to debating with highschoolers), and a huge number of them will throw out a “oh sigh both sides do it mur de hur hur” if a dinner conversation at a meeting gets political (however, this could just be a lame attempt to prevent heated political discussion… scientists don’t like shouting arguments much). Of course I’m speaking of Americans here, the European and South American scientists I’ve met are far more informed and liberal almost by cultural tradition.

  114. 114
    wrb says:

    I liked these:

    “Interviews I conducted with New Hampshire voters last month reveal the political liabilities of telling potential Republican voters exactly what the Romney-Ryan ticket intends to cut. Two voters, both Republicans, told me they could not bring themselves to vote for their party this year because the Ryan budget cuts spending for veterans’ benefits.
    __
    In an interview days after Romney announced on a Saturday that he had picked Ryan, George Lemieux said, “Based on what Romney did this weekend, I would not vote for him.” Lemieux, a 67-year-old Vietnam War veteran who spent 26 years in the Army, declared that “Ryan wants to decimate Medicare; he wants to decimate the V.A. I have a brother who is dependent on V.A. disability, and he wants to cut it out entirely.”
    __
    “The Ryan budget will kill everybody,” said Aura-Lee Nicodemus, another woman I met, who works at the V.A. Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt. and is active in the advocacy organization, Disabled American Veterans. “I’m a registered Republican and I can’t vote for Romney. His actions speak louder than words.”

  115. 115
    SFAW says:

    @Chris:

    and he’s probably their most solid candidate since George W. Bush.

    Isn’t that a little like saying someone is the best hitter since Mario Mendoza?

  116. 116
    sparrow says:

    @ericblair: Agree. One of the smartest guys I ever met got a PhD in theoretical electrical engineering. While socially a bit kooky (Kramer-esque), he was well-loved & we non-ironically built him a fanclub on facebook when he graduated from our undergraduate institution. There is a wide difference between someone with a BS in engineering, to a professional engineer, to a PhD engineer (plus the difference in what field), just like in the sciences. I wouldn’t call someone with a B.S. in physics a physicist, to put it succinctly.

  117. 117
    Ruckus says:

    @SFAW:
    And I may pay that if I can use the money that exists in that engineers mind. That is, not attached… to my bank account.

  118. 118
    Ruckus says:

    @catclub:
    It probably would just mean the crowd standing around wasting time is bigger and better paid.

  119. 119
    lol says:

    I’d actually say engineers are probably disproportionately libertarian than conservative or libertarians are disproportionately engineers.

  120. 120
    SFAW says:

    @sparrow:

    BS in engineering, to a professional engineer, to a PhD engineer

    Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really put having a PE in the same continuum as getting a PhD. Not saying it’s better/worse, just different. (Kinda like the difference between a cardiac surgeon and a cardiologist, I guess.)

  121. 121
    SFAW says:

    @lol:

    Oh, please. Real engineers are not as clueless as (what today passes for) libertarians. Well, maybe the skyhook-needing engineer that Ruckus described would be, but I don’t consider him a “real” engineer.

  122. 122
    LD50 says:

    Well, it is a fact that a major segment of the people arguing most noisily for ‘Intelligent Design’ are engineers. They can always be relied on to say shit like “I’m an engineer and I know design when I see it”. Ah, so you’re an electrical engineer and that qualifies you to make pronouncements on why the human eye can’t have evolved. Okay, fine.

  123. 123
    LD50 says:

    Well, it is a fact that a major segment of the people arguing most noisily for ‘Intelligent Design’ are engineers. They can always be relied on to say shit like “I’m an engineer and I know design when I see it”. Ah, so you’re an electrical engineer and that qualifies you to make pronouncements on why the human eye can’t have evolved. Okay, fine.

  124. 124
    El Cid says:

    If NASA were to submit a mission budget plan as vague, illogical, disingenuous, and fraudulent as the Ryan “plan”, my guess is there would be no Curiosity rover on Mars, but they might have finally been able to cut off pensions for some old astronauts and the like.

  125. 125
    khead says:

    Well, it is a fact that a major segment of the people arguing most noisily for ‘Intelligent Design’ are engineers.

    @LD50:

    It’s a fact? Really?

  126. 126
    SFAW says:

    @khead:
    Yes. LD50 saw it on the Intertubez.

  127. 127
    SFAW says:

    @khead:
    Yes. LD50 saw it on the Intertubez.

  128. 128
    LD50 says:

    @LD50: @khead:

    Yes, you can tell by the fact that I said it twice [eyeroll].

    Spend a couple years on online evolution/anti-evolution boards and you can practically predict when some ID geek is going to start by saying “well, as an engineer, I can tell you that…”

  129. 129
    LD50 says:

    @LD50: @khead:

    Yes, you can tell by the fact that I said it twice [eyeroll].

    Spend a couple years on online evolution/anti-evolution boards and you can practically predict when some ID geek is going to start by saying “well, as an engineer, I can tell you that…”

  130. 130
    SFAW says:

    @LD50:

    Well, as an Olympic Gold Medal and Nobel Peace Prize for Physics winner, I can tell you that …

  131. 131
    PurpleGirl says:

    @scav: Awwwwww. Puppehs. Thank you. (I agree with the aims of Puppy Awareness Week.)

  132. 132
    trollhattan says:

    @LD50:
    A surprising cohort of climate-change deniers are geologists–some not “deniers” so much as “it doesn’t matter because in geologic time, we’re insignificant anyway”-ers. They tend to be mute, however, on the possible impacts of tens of millions of years of sequestered carbon being collected and released in a geologic eyeblink.

  133. 133
    Chris says:

    @LD50:

    I don’t think it’s that engineers in general have a specific beef with intelligent design. Rather it’s that wingnuts, always in search of an argument ad authority, search far and wide for “scientists” who don’t believe in evolution and then trumpet their voices far and wide as the voice of “aha, you see, there is dissent in the scientific community!”

    Since no one who’s actually involved in anything that requires an understanding of biology will back them up… engineers are as close as they can get, which is probably why you hear so much about them.

  134. 134
    LD50 says:

    @Chris: I don’t doubt it for a second. They’re rather desperate for ‘authorities’ who don’t have divinity degrees from East Jesus Bible College, so they think getting a chemical engineer to declare that “evolution is the biggest hoax in history” is a big coup.

    I frankly have no idea what percentage of engineers reject evolution, but there are vast numbers of old retired white male engineers spending all day on creationist boards. Their politics can be easily guessed.

    And to fend off any future gratuitous butthurt, NO I am not saying “all engineers are Republican creationists.”

  135. 135
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @LD50: What’s really sad is when YEC’s put it out there that they’re a high school biology teacher somewhere. Oh, the humanity.

    I see a lot of defensiveness on this thread, but I took a science major and then did a turn in engineering school (civil). BIG difference in culture AND curriculum.

    And there seem to be no end of loudmouth engineers on the intartubes shilling global warming denialism or pushing other useless tripe because they know math, so herp derp evidence doesn’t matter.

    As stated above, an engineering PhD is a totally different matter. And software engineers !== civil engineers. Coders were not always known as engineers, they don’t go through the same academic program or advance in their profession the same way, and in most of industry they don’t do the same kind of work. Plenty of libertarians in the ranks, yes, often drawn by the same things that draw them to civil engineering, the (mirage) promise of good pay without heavy physical labor and the “you can do this if you know some math but suck at communications and people skills” notion.

    I also find it ridiculous to lump EEs into a discussion of “engineers” in general. Your bog standard mechanical or civil E undergrad buying crib sheets and last year’s exam from the outgoing class wouldn’t last a week in EE.

    Oh yeah, folks, I said it–never saw much cheating of any sort in the physics classroom, but the engineer undergrads cheated so rampantly it was a fucking campus institution.

  136. 136
    gene108 says:

    @khead:

    Engineers believe their knowledge in their particular field gives them a broad understanding of all the sciences.

    They are also handy enough with math and numbers to be a pain to argue with, because they start fighting about how close a Climate Change model is to actual observations, without really commenting on the underlying, indisputable science that (a) CO2 is a greenhouse gas, (b) more CO2 means we get hotter and (c) measured global temperatures are rising.

  137. 137
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @LD50: One thing is that it’s easy to be a civil engineer with a PE and remain a buybull-believing Christ-stain. (You know, the kind of people who give any religion a bad name.)

    It’s pretty damn hard to seriously study physics or psychology or neuroscience to a sufficiently advanced degree and maintain an unwavering faith in the unevidenced, unknowable, and the explainable already through naturalistic phenomena, leaving no need to posit a supernatural being.

    (Philosophy also, too. Even the term “supernatural” is old-fashioned as anything that interacts with Nature is of Nature. Nature is investigated a posteriori, rather than conforming to a priori notions of how it should be structured. Difference between science today and medieval research.)

    I’d bet chemistry of the sciences has the most wingnuts as it promises good pay with only a four-year degree and you can work for Kochs and avoid bio and any serious phys if you want. (Bio slays a LOT of Xtian notions, both old and new.)

    Math seems to attract offbeat geniuses and hippy types. There’s not much money in it unless you go into applied, and applied requires cross-disciplinary flexibility and people skills.

  138. 138
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @gene108: Engineers also never learned how to filter data and variables into a system that is graspable and solvable and creates usable predictions to the first order.

    Civil engineers are taught to deal with problems that have already been solved, just look up the answer in the book because if you get creative, you’ll just get sued anyway. You’re given one hammer and told to treat everything as a nail.

    Even if the problem hasn’t REALLY been solved, like traffic congestion, few engineers are lucky enough to study or work in a group that is trying to solve it. The rest get told to RESPECT TEH AUTHORITEH of Tradition.

    This is an attitude that is utterly antithetical to science and to liberal policymaking.

  139. 139
    SFAW says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Civil engineers are taught to deal with problems that have already been solved,

    Well, whaddya expect from a field what focuses on dirt, water, and bridges? Cutting-edge, pushing-the-envelope development?

    [No doubt I have just gored some civil engineer’s ox.]

    ETA: You do realize that there are a lot more EEs and MEs out there than CivEs, right? Although as wastewater treatment becomes more critical in the years ahead, I wouldn’t be surprised by an uptick in Civil. Just my opinion, of course.

  140. 140
    gene108 says:

    @Chris:

    I want some serious journalist to ask Christie, why he stopped the millionaires tax, put in by Corzine, but kept the 1% increase in sales tax Corzine also rammed through the legislature?

    Seems like a no brainer that the popular thing to do is lower sales tax.

  141. 141
    kerFuFFler says:

    @Chris: I think you’ve hit the nail on the head!

  142. 142
    SFAW says:

    @gene108:

    As someone commented (above, perhaps?), Christie likes kicking the weaker members of society. Increasing the sales tax dovetails with that quite nicely.

  143. 143
    khead says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    I’d bet chemistry of the sciences has the most wingnuts as it promises good pay with only a four-year degree and you can work for Kochs and avoid bio and any serious phys if you want. (Bio slays a LOT of Xtian notions, both old and new.)

    Uh no.

    A + B yields C doesn’t leave much room for the kind of wingnuts that dispute science.

  144. 144
    TheWatcher says:

    @Cermet: If a read another diagratory, anti-engineer comment from some jack-ass academic, I’m coming down to your $hitty lab and wipe the OS off your Cisco router. Scientists are know it all, conceited pricks without a stitch of self awareness. Got it all figured out, until they get proven wrong, then say ‘it’s Science it cannot fail, only be failed’. How’s that ‘search’ for Dark Matter working out? You’ll find it right next to Maxwell’s Ether, smug Jacka$$.

  145. 145
    ericblair says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Engineers also never learned how to filter data and variables into a system that is graspable and solvable and creates usable predictions to the first order.

    Er, whut? This is backwards. Anything you design, if you think about it enough, is going to have all sorts of complex non-linear behavior, and you have to be able to sort out what you can ignore and what you can’t and develop tractable analyses based on what your requirements are. If anything, it’s the mathies and the pure scientists that usually get wrapped around the axle worrying about some third-order effect that can safely be ignored for what they’re trying to do. Whatever the faults of the Generic Engineer, this usually ain’t one of them.

    I’m of the impression also that engineers tend to be small-c conservative a lot more than big-C Conservative. However, you hear a lot more out of the wingnut big-C Conservative loudmouths because they generally shoot off their mouths a lot more. Also, if there’s some wingnut cause celebre and you’ve got a homemaker, middle manager, accountant, fine arts major, and engineer in your kooky little group, guess who gets trotted out as the front man.

  146. 146
    Comrade Jake says:

    Yeah I’m pretty sure Another Halocene Human is either trolling or completely talking out of his butthole at this stage.

  147. 147
    Original Lee says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: I know a number of Ph.D. engineers. They trend Libertarian. A couple have mutated into Full Metal Wingnuts.

    Amusing anecdote: One of these acquaintances (Ph.D. electrical engineer) was a professor of engineering at a pretty well-known university, took early retirement, and after casting about for something to do when consulting didn’t seem to pan out for him, decided to try teaching high school physics. When he first told me of his decision, I knew it wouldn’t end well, but I was surprised by his reasons for quitting. He said it was because it was like being in a cage! He could only go to the bathroom during breaks between classes! He had to wait for his prep period to make personal phone calls! He had to stay after school for an hour so he could be available to answer students’ questions! He had to respond to parents’ e-mails within 24 hours! But because he is a LaRouche Republican, he now believes that people should be able to start up their own schools and teach to small groups of select students, instead of the government having a monopoly on prison-style education. He has still has NO sympathy for teachers, at all, and thinks the dedicated ones are nuts.

  148. 148
    Hob says:

    @TheWatcher: Better call someone from IT to fix your S key.

  149. 149
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Greg:

    I think engineers (and I am one) are more conservative in general, but software engineers also tend to be young, and the younger you are the more liberal you are right now.

    Vaguely related, an amusing (or annoying) bar/party game is to ask a non-engineer/scientist to name a famous living engineer. Bonus question: name a famous living scientist, no credit for “the guy in a wheelchair”. The score is 0 for 10 for both questions, so far. I am hopeful that somebody will be able to answer the scientist question at least.

  150. 150
    SFAW says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    HT Cho (co-founder of HTC).
    Wozniak.
    Paul Allen.
    Dean Kamen

    All the other (recent) ones I can think of off the top of my head are dead, unfortunately.

    ETA: I guess, technically, I don’t count, ’cause I are a enjineer. But I think the non-tech world knows Woz, and probably Paul Allen. Whether Gates qualifies as an engineer is up for debate.

  151. 151
    Joel says:

    @TheWatcher: I bet you don’t drink alcohol, either.

    What’s with DougJ threads today, anyways?

  152. 152
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @Zifnab:
    What some Democrat really needs to do is come up with some plan that’s patently ridiculous:

    “Yes, the Democrat reply-to-Ryan policy will see the total elimination of the income tax, government funded entirely by a small sales tax on gardening supplies, a 50% increase in social welfare, defense and medical spending, and a halving overall of total government expenditure.”

    And whenever anybody questions how it could possibly work, just tell them it works the same as the Ryan plan and like Ryan you refuse to discuss the numbers.

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