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Old 10-30-2010, 09:00 AM   #41
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There are idiots everywhere. I know first hand idiot lawyers and idiot doctors. I am sure that there are idiot engineers. I know professionals that have severe mental health issues which impaired their work.

One error people make is to assume they have something significant to say in an area where they are not experts just because they are smart and are very knowledgeable in another area. I think Ben Stein makes that error. Sometimes people glaringly make that error. Like the Harvard medical school professor who believes that alien abduction is a real possibility.
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:15 AM   #42
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One error people make is to assume they have something significant to say in an area where they are not experts just because they are smart and are very knowledgeable in another area.
Even more incredible are those who listen to so many clueless rock stars and celebrities about politics and other topics, assuming they have something worthwhile to say. There are exceptions, but they're a minority...
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Old 10-30-2010, 11:56 AM   #43
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One error people make is to assume they have something significant to say in an area where they are not experts just because they are smart and are very knowledgeable in another area.
Oh-oh Martha, you have just removed the justification of this board.

Ha
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Old 10-30-2010, 12:05 PM   #44
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Oh-oh Martha, you have just removed the justification of this board.

Ha


Of course, we all do this. I do it several times a day. Didn't I just post on batteries? But I am not a movie star. It is unlikely people will believe me just because of who I am.
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Old 10-30-2010, 12:21 PM   #45
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But I am not a movie star. It is unlikely people will believe me just because of who I am.
Martha, I believe you because of who you are.
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Old 10-30-2010, 12:25 PM   #46
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Martha, I believe you because of who you are.
You can say that again.
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Old 10-30-2010, 01:44 PM   #47
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Hello MB - before reading all the posts below I am choosing door #1. Who would choose door #2 ?

What type of test is that ? If there is a trick I missed it...

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Which outcome would you like?
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Old 10-30-2010, 02:24 PM   #48
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Back to the original post, the problem I have with this is the pass/fail aspect. I hear about too many people who aren't going to "pass" this test, and they just give up. It's not all black and white, there are nearly infinite shades of gray. Living minimally is better than having your utilities shut off. And living in cramped modest quarters is better than living under a bridge.
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Old 10-30-2010, 03:45 PM   #49
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Back on the topic of the two doors. In reality, there are many door in between Stein's Door #1 and Door #2. I've been retired for 2.3 years and feel that I live a Door #1 lifestyle. I enjoy taking a major trip every year (we went to Europe this year; we're going to Antarctica in January), owning (outright) two homes, and having other Door #1 luxuries of life. But these things are luxuries; I don't really need them. I could live happily retired without them. In fact, most people shouldn't even shoot for Door #1 and certainly shouldn't settle for Door #2, but they should shoot for, say, Door #1.5 or #1.6, on the continuum between Stein's two doors.
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:15 AM   #50
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Not so easy. Partly it is because of malpractice issues. The firm would have to carry him on their policy. Their deductible may be pretty high (think $50,000 or thereabouts) and so he is automatically an additional risk. He would not be able to do legal work outside the purview of the firm. Continuing education and licensing is pricey and is a nuisance for a firm to monitor. He would have to be educated and monitored on all sorts of firm policies, such as trust accounts. Unless he is bringing in a significant amount of money he isn't worth the risk and the bother. It is far easier of him to go on inactive status.

I have kept my Minnesota license but I went inactive in other states where I was licensed because of these factors. In most states you can reactivate by taking a bunch of legal education courses and paying a bunch of money.
I can see you have experience with these issues!

I don't want to pursue a very part time relationship with a legal employer at all, and for the other reasons you have pointed out, it isn't really feasible. I would end up with a small four figure fee every year most likely just to maintain the license and pay for continuing ed. And that is without malpractice insurance.
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:30 AM   #51
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TikiToast had a slightly different impression of him a few years ago:
Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Nords, how did you remember that 3.5 year old post? It was an interesting perspective. I am sure she was right Ben is a very smart guy, and enjoys making sure everyone else knows it. Still it doesn't change the wisdom of his advice. I think the difference between Door #1 and Door #2 is to not spend more than 85-90% of what you earn.
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Old 11-02-2010, 11:23 AM   #52
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Nords, how did you remember that 3.5 year old post? It was an interesting perspective. I am sure she was right Ben is a very smart guy, and enjoys making sure everyone else knows it.
Well, it was pretty memorable considering the contrast between Stein's public character & private behavior-- especially the insecurity. Luckily it came up on a search pretty quickly.

Too bad, too; it makes it much easier to shoot the messenger. At least he's not shilling for annuities as the ultimate one-size-fits-all solution.
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Old 11-02-2010, 05:08 PM   #53
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Back on the topic of the two doors. In reality, there are many door in between Stein's Door #1 and Door #2. I've been retired for 2.3 years and feel that I live a Door #1 lifestyle. I enjoy taking a major trip every year (we went to Europe this year; we're going to Antarctica in January), owning (outright) two homes, and having other Door #1 luxuries of life. But these things are luxuries; I don't really need them. I could live happily retired without them. In fact, most people shouldn't even shoot for Door #1 and certainly shouldn't settle for Door #2, but they should shoot for, say, Door #1.5 or #1.6, on the continuum between Stein's two doors.

You raise a good point it doesn't need to be a binary choice. Still I think a huge reason we are in the economic mess today is because I lots of people choose door #2 although not deliberately. Their attitude was I can't be broke, I still have checks in my checkbook, available credit on my credit card, and equity in my home and by God I am going to spend it. (Yes of course they were encouraged by greedy bankers and Wall Street.)

The consequence of too many of our fellow citizen going through door #2 is to screw up the whole system for everybody else.
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Old 11-02-2010, 05:40 PM   #54
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You raise a good point it doesn't need to be a binary choice. Still I think a huge reason we are in the economic mess today is because I lots of people choose door #2 although not deliberately. Their attitude was I can't be broke, I still have checks in my checkbook, available credit on my credit card, and equity in my home and by God I am going to spend it. (Yes of course they were encouraged by greedy bankers and Wall Street.)
So says a Survivor.

The other side of that coin is that Door #2 was, without doubt, the wisest choice for the great majority of us who didn't live to a ripe old age. Door #1 only benefits those whose "Wheel of Fortune" stops on "A Healthy Uneventful Life."

(Of course, I do thank those who strived for Door #1 and didn't make it... I truly appreciate their contribution to my largess.)
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Old 11-03-2010, 01:41 PM   #55
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I think of Ben Stein as a sycophant. Smart but misguided. Here is a sampling of google on "ben stein wrong"
"ben stein wrong" - Google Search
Videos - Free video downloads and streaming video - CNET TV
IPBiz: Ben Stein's wrong on "not getting into college of your choice"

Peter Schiff vs. Ben Stein : Greg Laden's Blog
I could go on and on but I have been down that road back when it counted.
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:47 PM   #56
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You are having a test for the first 40 or so years of your work life.
Personally, I don't plan on a work life of 40 years ... and I assume that goes for most other people on this board.

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Agreed on the "no dumb lawyer" comment. Plenty of law school grads (probably not from Yale) may not be the brightest, but the bar exam usually weeds them out.
I've been in private practice for a fair number of years now, and I disagree. Most lawyers are reasonably intelligent, but there are certainly some dimwits out there.

As Martha says, there are intelligent people and stupid people in virtually all occupations. Although one is perhaps more likely to encounter a smart lawyer than (e.g.) a smart truck driver, there are exceptions in both cases and the bar exam is no guarantee of intelligence (any more than any other written test is).
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:52 AM   #57
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I've been in private practice for a fair number of years now, and I disagree. Most lawyers are reasonably intelligent, but there are certainly some dimwits out there.

As Martha says, there are intelligent people and stupid people in virtually all occupations. Although one is perhaps more likely to encounter a smart lawyer than (e.g.) a smart truck driver, there are exceptions in both cases and the bar exam is no guarantee of intelligence (any more than any other written test is).
I agree that many can lack common sense and seem like dimwits. Definitely a lot that make bad decisions (womanizing, alcohol, suicide, sleazeballs, etc).

I thought the bar exam was pretty challenging personally (but I waited to take it till 5 years after finishing law school). Half essays and half multiple choice in my jurisdiction. Lots fail. There may be a few that passed it with IQ's a little below the median intelligence level, but it is hard to imagine a truly dumb person passing the exam that I took. Of course stranger things have happened, and bar exams vary by state and have varied in content and difficulty over time, so YMMV.

I am not actively practicing law, but come into contact with a lot of lawyers in my social network. Don't personally know any dumb ones. I guess they wouldn't make the cut to enter my social network anyway!
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:09 AM   #58
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Fuego, yes the bar exam is hard and learning various professions is hard. But smart people make thinking errors all the time. I think that well educated people have to be extra careful in not assuming that just because they know a lot in one area does not make them an expert in another. And everyone has their biases that they reinforce all the time. For example, well regarded college professors that have a weird blind spot and speak with authority on something they know nothing about such as John Mack, the Harvard medical school professor who is the champion of poorly done research on alien abduction. And, just because you did well in school and take tests well does not mean that you are suited for your profession.
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:59 AM   #59
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Great thread. It has given me a new perspective on Ben Stein -- IPOS = Intelligent Piece of ^&*%. But I do find him very funny and amusing.

In the above Craig Ferguson clip he says things are fine and we'll never have another great depression in our lifetimes. I'm not saying he was wrong, but it's interesting that the clip was in April of 2008:

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Old 12-01-2010, 01:55 PM   #60
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There's a myth in US culture that life depends entirely on personal choices. Were it only that simple.
Yes, things can happen. One can become seriously sick or injured for example.

But one SIL (aka "Spendarina" in our house) is under the impression that she and hubby can live on hubby's National Guard pension. This the pair that is in their 50s and still living paycheck to paycheck, recently took out a cc consolidation loan, then went on a week-long trip. This is the one who said when she lost her job a month ago "Well, (BIL) will just have to work more overtime". Lord forbid the princess should reduce her spending.

This is also the one who is getting vaguely resentful/jealous because some of her friends are retired, she's nowhere close and she knows it. And the sad thing is, she has no idea why.

So in 10 years or so when they're living on rice & beans because that's what a NG pension and SS will buy I will have no sympathy for her.
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