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Les incompétents

By Fred Bethune on Wednesday December 15, 2010 01:24 PM

Some days I imagine that the rich and powerful maintain their position by employing the most skilled, ruthless agents that money can buy. Then there are the days when I watch a White House White Board presentation:

I probably shouldn't be so hard on poor Austan Goolsbee. It really is a great thing that the White House is doing with him. Many University of Chicago professors react badly to entering the real world and discovering that they wasted so many years learning inapplicable nonsense. However, if they are carefully shielded from this discovery, they can actually lead full and satisfying lives, just like normal people. The key is allowing them to believe that they are performing a real job, while maintaining a safe environment where they are free to make mistakes and grow as a person.

The White House has been quite progressive in adopting the best practices for accommodating someone with a PhD from the University of Chicago. Although he will never be able to give a press conference like a real Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, Austan is allowed to have his friends over to make videos for Youtube. This way, he can get up and give a speech just like a real Chairman, but instead of there being an audience of reporters, his friends record it for him. Once it has been reviewed by his support workers, he can upload it to Youtube and share the link.

The most remarkable aspect of the White House's program is the room that they constructed for Austan. It looks normal, but everything in that room (the walls, the mouldings, the furniture, the whiteboard, the stand -- everything) is made entirely of a pliant polyurethane compound for Austan's safety. Austan could charge full speed at the wall with a wastepaper basket over his head, but then bounce back unscathed. Or say he has his friends over to build a fortress out of the sofa cushions and they use the fireplace poker as a central support pillar. He can jump off of his desk, do a belly flop on the poker, and then scamper off to get some more apple slices and peanut butter, completely oblivious to the fact that he could have impaled himself. It's really a wonderful program.

Comments (3)

"the economy of the future" ROFLMFAO!

Al Schumann:

What an appalling goo-goo video. He's watched too much Sesame Street, and taken Cass Nudgestein a little too seriously.

But I suppose you're right Fred, that it's good for him to have a safe place for his education.


lovely post fb
though i hesitate to say so
u seem to need nasty ankle bites
to produce at a quick tempo

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