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Posted at 12:53 PM ET, 12/14/2010

Obama meets with Gates, Buffett

By Perry Bacon Jr.

A day before meeting with a group of chief executives who may not be as friendly, President Obama met Tuesday with two of his favorite U.S. businessmen: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.

White House officials said the closed-door meeting was mainly to discuss "The Giving Pledge," the initiative Gates and Buffett launched this year to encourage wealthy people to give the majority of their money to philanthropy. But Obama also talked about economic issues with the pair.

Obama has met often with both men, but particularly Buffett, who has embraced much of the president's agenda on economic issues, such as raising taxes on income above $250,00 per year. The Nebraska-based investor is a director of the Washington Post Co.

By Perry Bacon Jr.  | December 14, 2010; 12:53 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

Anyone who would undertake to "revive the economy" would have to ACTUALLY set people to work DOING SOMETHING TRULY NEW (or at least different!) AND GENUINELY USEFUL. But the problem is, far too many people in this society are "too comfortable" with what they currently have, and there DOES NOT YET SEEM TO EXIST much REAL inclination and drive to ACTUALLY GET SERIOUS about undertaking the massive, disruptive, and difficult changeover that is actually needed.

HUGE numbers of people seem to be genuinely afflicted by TECHNOLOGICAL IGNORANCE. And many who are NOT seem to tacitly find it "expedient" (for THEM!) --- that is, easier and often far more "lucrative"! --- to PRETEND to be blissfully unaware of things, and to thereby (by their very example) TACITLY DISCOURAGE others from overcoming THEIR OWN ignorance. They “accomplish” that by simply NOT doing anything substantive to ACTUALLY FURTHER the understanding of many other people who REALLY DON'T "GET" the substance of technological innovations that “we” COULD and SHOULD be SERIOUSLY pursuing (and to have BEGUN ACTUALLY IMPLEMENTING LONG AGO NOW ALREADY!

We have LONG (for MANY YEARS!) been witnessing a MONUMENTAL example of that as regards various supposedly “revolutionary, new” developments in AUTOMOTOVE TECHNOLOGY. The FACT of the matter is that notwithstanding a longstanding LITANY of LIP SERVICE paid to the “goal” of doing something about “our” ADDICTIVE DEPENDENCY on (OTHER PEOPLES’) OIL, the SUBSTANTIAL PREPONDERANCE of “We the (small) People” do not seem to have much (if any!) sense of the fact that “we” REALLY DO KNOW (AND HAVE LONG KNOWN!) how “we” could NEARLY FLAT-OUT ELIMINATE that dependency --- at least as regards “our” VEHICULAR fleets (cars and trucks) --- and that the technologies involved are NOT really “exotic” and “futuristic” AT ALL! Rather, they involve innovations THAT HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN DEVELOPED LONG AGO, and which HAVE EVEN LONG BEEN EMPLOYED ALREADY on various different “platforms” --- that are GENERALLY FAR MORE DEMANDING THAN THAT OF THE MERE AUTOMOBILE!

Posted by: Geheimnis | December 15, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

(connection problems) continuation---

This nation is still even now JUST BARELY BEGINNING to actually address the real underlying problems of this supposedly "superior", "enlightened" society CONSTRUCTIVELY. The first "production" unit of the Chevy VOLT rolled off the line JUST A WEEK OR TWO AGO --- although the engineering of this prototype model of the “new” automotive architecture has actually been "in the can" FOR OVER TWO YEARS NOW ALREADY. (And the concept really still has a long way further to go.)

But the whole initiative really COULD and SHOULD have been SERIOUSLY undertaken GOING BACK 15-20 YEARS AGO NOW! And the fact that IT WASN'T stands, really, as constructive-demonstration proof positive of the logical proposition that "our" supposedly “marvelous”, “economically efficient” "free enterprise" system REALLY DOES NOT ACTUALLY WORK IN THE SUPPOSEDLY "BENEFICENT / BENEVOLENT" MANNER IN WHICH IT ENDLESSLY IMAGINES ITSELF AND PROPAGANDISTICALLY PRETENDS TO OPERATE! If it did, “we” would now be a lot farther along than “we” now are!

The technological concepts employed in this supposedly "new" product are NOT AT ALL "new" --- actually they are QUITE OLD! The “fallback half” of the "CHIMERA"- architecture concept (in Biology, a Chimera is a FUSION of two distinct species --- in this context, a combination of ELECTRIC drive together with an internal combustion engine [I.C.E.]) --- IS JUST THE DRIVE PARADIGM OF THE DIESEL-ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE (that was WIDELY ADOPTED ON THE RAILROADS WAY BACK IN THE 1950S! --- and is also employed in many of THE LARGEST SHIPS ON THE HIGH SEAS, including all those 4500-passenger cruise liners). It has, then, ALREADY LONG BEEN EMPLOYED IN THE BIGGEST BEHEMOTHS RUNNING AROUND FAST, FAR, AND WIDE ALL OVER THE FACE OF THE PLANET. It clearly COULD (and SHOULD!) have been adapted to the much lighter platform of the mere automobile LONG AGO NOW ALREADY! For it has the great merit of FLAT-OUT ELIMINATING THE TRANSMISSION AND DRIVE TRAIN --- which removes a HUGE element of unnecessary complexity, expense, and trouble in building cars initially, and of the costs and difficulties of maintaining them (over an in-all-likelihood to-be-greatly-extended working life).

Moreover, the safe-storage-of-HYDROGEN-fuel technology that underlies “metal-hydride electric batteries” ALSO dates way back --- to work done by then-Daimler-Benz, under a year-long feasibility-demonstration contract sponsored by the German government. THEY OPERATED A FLEET OF MASS-TRANSIT BUSES ON (FREE-BURNED) HYDROGEN IN THE CITY OF FRANKFURT --- WAY BACK IN 1979-80 (the actual significance of which has LONG BEEN ROUNDLY OVERLOOKED by people over here!).
Yet the “average shlemiel in the street” here JUST DOES NOT SEEM TO “GET” the fact that the ECONOMICS of VOLT-type “Chimera”-Architecture cars will be HUGELY ADVANTAGEOUS to “We the (small) People”! THIS is how the beasts ACTUALLY work:

Posted by: Geheimnis | December 15, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

(connection problems) continuation---

This nation is still even now JUST BARELY BEGINNING to actually address the real underlying problems of this supposedly "superior", "enlightened" society CONSTRUCTIVELY. The first "production" unit of the Chevy VOLT rolled off the line JUST A WEEK OR TWO AGO --- although the engineering of this prototype model of the “new” automotive architecture has actually been "in the can" FOR OVER TWO YEARS NOW ALREADY. (And the concept really still has a long way further to go.)

But the whole initiative really COULD and SHOULD have been SERIOUSLY undertaken GOING BACK 15-20 YEARS AGO NOW! And the fact that IT WASN'T stands, really, as constructive-demonstration proof positive of the logical proposition that "our" supposedly “marvelous”, “economically efficient” "free enterprise" system REALLY DOES NOT ACTUALLY WORK IN THE SUPPOSEDLY "BENEFICENT / BENEVOLENT" MANNER IN WHICH IT ENDLESSLY IMAGINES ITSELF AND PROPAGANDISTICALLY PRETENDS TO OPERATE! If it did, “we” would now be a lot farther along than “we” now are!

The technological concepts employed in this supposedly "new" product are NOT AT ALL "new" --- actually they are QUITE OLD! The “fallback half” of the "CHIMERA"- architecture concept (in Biology, a Chimera is a FUSION of two distinct species --- in this context, a combination of ELECTRIC drive together with an internal combustion engine [I.C.E.]) --- IS JUST THE DRIVE PARADIGM OF THE DIESEL-ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE (that was WIDELY ADOPTED ON THE RAILROADS WAY BACK IN THE 1950S! --- and is also employed in many of THE LARGEST SHIPS ON THE HIGH SEAS, including all those 4500-passenger cruise liners). It has, then, ALREADY LONG BEEN EMPLOYED IN THE BIGGEST BEHEMOTHS RUNNING AROUND FAST, FAR, AND WIDE ALL OVER THE FACE OF THE PLANET. It clearly COULD (and SHOULD!) have been adapted to the much lighter platform of the mere automobile LONG AGO NOW ALREADY! For it has the great merit of FLAT-OUT ELIMINATING THE TRANSMISSION AND DRIVE TRAIN --- which removes a HUGE element of unnecessary complexity, expense, and trouble in building cars initially, and of the costs and difficulties of maintaining them (over an in-all-likelihood to-be-greatly-extended working life).

Moreover, the safe-storage-of-HYDROGEN-fuel technology that underlies “metal-hydride electric batteries” ALSO dates way back --- to work done by then-Daimler-Benz, under a year-long feasibility-demonstration contract sponsored by the German government. THEY OPERATED A FLEET OF MASS-TRANSIT BUSES ON (FREE-BURNED) HYDROGEN IN THE CITY OF FRANKFURT --- WAY BACK IN 1979-80 (the actual significance of which has LONG BEEN ROUNDLY OVERLOOKED by people over here!).
Yet the “average shlemiel in the street” here JUST DOES NOT SEEM TO “GET” the fact that the ECONOMICS of VOLT-type “Chimera”-Architecture cars will be HUGELY ADVANTAGEOUS to “We the (small) People”! THIS is how the beasts ACTUALLY work:

Posted by: Geheimnis | December 15, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Gates, Buffet, Tiger Woods and many other mega millionaires protect their money from Fed Income Taxes by creating trusts. They in effect cheat the Feds out much needed tax revenue. The trusts are controlled by these mega millionaires to spend as they see fit. I can only wish that every American could do the same.

Posted by: nmauriello | December 15, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Gates, Buffet, Tiger Woods and many other mega millionaires protect their money from Fed Income Taxes by creating trusts. They in effect cheat the Feds out much needed tax revenue. The trusts are controlled by these mega millionaires to spend as they see fit. I can only wish that every American could do the same.

Posted by: nmauriello | December 15, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

(connection problems) continuation---

What the “VOLT” is Actually All About-

The "chimera" (i.e. a fusion of two distinct species) architecture that is exemplified by the Chevrolet Volt (which is really just a prototype) COMBINES the idea of electric power together with the internal-combustion engine (ICE) running on gasoline (or whatever) IN A WAY THAT FUNDAMENTALLY "CHANGES THE GAME". In the VOLT, and also in its European counterpart (jovially dubbed the Ampere) along the same lines --- as well as in other such initiatives undoubtedly now underway in China, India, and Japan (!) --- a BATTERY carries the car for many miles (40, in the case of the Volt). Thereafter, when that battery runs down the ICE kicks in (seamlessly). But that motor does NOT power the car in the conventional manner to which people have become inured over the course of the last century! For it does NOT couple power to the drive wheels MECHANICALLY through the medium of a TRANSMISSION AND DRIVE TRAIN. Rather, IT DRIVES AN ELECTRIC GENERATOR, which powers the same ELECTRIC drive motors that had been supplied by the battery until it ran down.

Now the thing is FULLY THREE-FOURTHS OF ALL PERSONAL AUTOMOBILE USAGE BY PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY "FITS" WITHIN A 40-MILE "ENERGY BUDGET"! You plug the car into the wall for four hours or so overnight (or whenever), and then go to work, the store, bank, post office, etc. in the morning and return home and plug it back in again --- THE GASOLINE ENGINE NEVER RUNS! Ergo --- you FLAT-OUT ELIMINATE FULLY THREE-FOURTHS OF ALL THOSE EXPENSIVE BAZILLIONS OF BARRELS OF OIL that are imported to be refined into gasoline to brainlessly burn as a mere fuel to power personal automobiles!

Moreover, for HEAVY COMMERCIAL vehicles “we” have (take it from good-‘ol “T-Bone” Pickens!) HUGE reserves of natural gas and/or methane --- much of it left over as a byproduct of past oil and coal production --- to use as a "bridge" fuel until hydrogen technology eventually takes over. And yes, you DO INDEED also eliminate an awful lot of economic and industrial structure, process, jobs, etc. that have grown up in connection with the current outmoded technology. BUT WHAT IS ELIMINATED GETS REPLACED BY NEW (AND HOPEFULLY DOMESTIC!) ALTERNATIVES! (Recall, for example, the histories of demise of the whaling and buggy whip industries!)

Posted by: Geheimnis | December 15, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

"Don't talk and don't ask" command recently, otherwise there is something need to talk and further brilliant action.

Posted by: andrebudianto | December 15, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

I wondered where Obama was getting all his winning advice... What
a different world it would be if Teddy Roosevelt had brought
Carnegie and Rockefeller in as kitchen advisors. Bonfire of the
Vanities.

Posted by: WmLaney | December 14, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

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