Joe Biden’s Climate Advice to Coal Miners: “learn to code”

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to Joe Biden, coal miners worried about their future should retrain as software developers. Miners were less than impressed with Biden’s advice.

Joe Biden says coal miners should ‘learn to program’

By David Montanaro | Fox News

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s suggestion that coal miners should “learn to program” as the United States transitions away from fossil fuels shows “disdain” for the profession, a representative of West Virginia miners said Wednesday on “Fox & Friends.”

Chris Hamilton, co-chair of the West Virginia Coal Forum, hit back at the former vice president for essentially saying coal miners should learn to code or focus on preparing for a revamped green economy.

“Anybody who can go down 300-3,000 feet in a mine sure as hell can learn how to program as well,” said Biden at a campaign event Monday in New Hampshire. “But we don’t think of it that way. Anybody who can throw coal into furnace can learn how to program for God’s sake.”

Hamilton said the attitude from Biden and others on the left regarding coal is “inconceivable” but nothing new, given the Obama administration’s moves against the industry.

“It’s just inconceivable how someone, particularly in his position could advocate putting tens of thousands of working Americans out of work. But it comes as no surprise. Former Vice President Biden has repeatedly demonstrated his disdain for mining and for our coal miners,” he responded.

Read more: https://www.foxnews.com/media/joe-biden-coal-miners-learn-program-code

Why didn’t Joe Biden suggest they retrain as brain surgeons?

The answer of course, is everybody knows brain surgery is difficult. Coding by contrast is so easy anyone could learn to do it in a few weeks, because we’ve all seen that Hollywood movie where a high school kid hacks the computer which controls NORAD.

After President Biden shuts down the coal industry, my guess is coal miners who are still out of work after completing their government provided six week bootcamp software development course, well they’re not really trying, are they?

182 thoughts on “Joe Biden’s Climate Advice to Coal Miners: “learn to code”

    • +100, it is certain they would be able to do just as good a job as the existing code writers have managed…

      • Biden needs to learn that if you’re going to shoot yourself in the foot, you should take it out of your mouth first. What an idiotic thing to say. And for icing on the cake just remember how bent out of shape the media types got when, in response to them complaining about the layoffs of reporters, got told to “learn to code.” Oh the hair pulling and whining about how unfair that was to say that.

        And good coders are hard to find, not only is it technical, and not everyone is good at math/STEM type thought processes, there’s an element of art that goes beyond mere technical chops that great and good s/w engineers have that really can’t be taught. You either have it or you don’t, almost like musical talent.

        • “And good coders are hard to find, not only is it technical, and not everyone is good at math/STEM type thought processes, there’s an element of art that goes beyond mere technical chops that great and good s/w engineers have that really can’t be taught. You either have it or you don’t, almost like musical talent.”
          ———

          Check out “10 Signs you will Suck at Progrmming,” at https://blog.usejournal.com/10-signs-you-will-suck-at-programming-5497a6a52c5c?source=bookmarks———0——————

          • Check out “10 Signs you will Suck at Progrmming,” at https://blog.usejournal.com/10-signs-you-will-suck-at-programming-5497a6a52c5c?source=bookmarks———0——————

            I think I’ve tried to use web pages coded by this clown and his ilk. They can “code” a web page but it is usually very hard to work with and can be maddening to use if you need it to work correctly. We’ve dumbed down the programming of systems to it’s lowest level — the coding of apps. Why should you understand math and logic when designing and developing software? I hope our embedded control software for vehicles and machinery isn’t written by these highly trained “coders”.

          • “A horse that can count to ten is a remarkable horse, not a remarkable mathematician.”
            -Samuel Johnson

            Just because you can spell or create a correct sentence, merely means you can write. It does not mean you are an employable writer.
            Although, given what currently passes for journalism I may be wrong.

        • “there’s an element of art that goes beyond mere technical chops that great and good s/w engineers”

          Ha ha,
          First, I do agree with you – I do optical design. But I recommend not stating it that way to people who think they are “Real Artists”

      • Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Since his mouth is no longer viable, that would be the politically congruent choice.

      • It is just amazing that idiot was able to become a Rep, then a Senator and then another idiot, Obama, chose him as VP.
        However, he knew how to play the game
        He became rich in the process.
        He even got his drug-addicted son a $50,000 PER MONTH, no -show, gig for five years, at a most corrupt gas company in a most corrupt country.
        Now they both are laughing all the way to the bank; they just played the game, did nothing wrong.
        Biden still has advice for miners
        CODE, fellows, CODE!

    • Really they should all just follow Mosher and declare themselves as climate scientists. No studies or retraining required, you just start writing junk supportive of the pro CAGW theme.

  1. But brain surgeons make more money than coders or coal miners… Better yet, why not get a job as a consultant with an energy company like Burisma. Joe can tell us how it is done.

  2. Biden must assume the Party has lost the Blue Collar Democrat. Nonetheless its quite stupid to incite them to rise up and go to the polls on election day. This doesn’t just whip Coal Miners into a fighting frenzy but the whole of working class Americans: auto workers, steel workers, union workers in general. The hubris of the left is astonishing.

    • The Democrats are good for unions, but union workers are starting to realize that they are not good for themselves.

      • I think you meant to say, “Unions are good for Democrats, but Democrats are not good for union members”

        • What you say is true, but I meant what I said and I said what I meant. The DNC is good for union leaders, but not so for union workers. Union leaders are frustrated now because so many union workers are pro-Trump.

          • Exactly so… which is why so many union workers are now wondering why they have union representation which doesn’t represent their interests. Those union workers are now looking for alternatives, made much easier with the Supreme Court ruling which states that unions cannot collect dues or fees from non-members to defray the cost of collective bargaining, even if that collective bargaining benefits those non-members.

            Non-members were not “free riders”, they were “captive riders”… they didn’t join the union in the first place because they felt the union didn’t represent their interests… and the unions still got their money. That’s just wrong. Now unions have incentive to actually represent the best interests of their members, or they’ll lose those members.

            Union leaders are aligned with the democrats, union workers are aligned against the democrats, by and large… there will come a time when union leaders must choose between siding with the democrats, or siding with those they have a duty to represent… if they side against the workers they purport to represent, it spells the end of unions.

            That would be a very great loss… unions, properly administered, serve a much-needed purpose.

            Unions, improperly administered, serve only to enrich and empower elitist democrats at the expense of union members (and, in the past, non-members).

          • @Gary, I have mostly worked in non-union, “white collar” jobs, but I did have one experience in the middle of all that working at a blue collar, “union” job. The union basically sold out its “newer” members to protect benefits and perks for “older” members, and refused to stand up for its newer members. And for this I was forced to pay the union “dues” for “representing” me.

            And, I was never treated worse by any employer than I was by the one I worked for when I was “union represented.”

            Had I been given the choice back then, I wouldn’t have given those pricks a nickel.

      • icisil: I know how bad unions can be for workers first hand. They are definitely in the political power club.

        • That’s not always true. My union is staffed at the upper echelons by those who’ve come up through the ranks, so they have our interests at heart… I wouldn’t be making six figures without them. I wouldn’t even be employed without them.

          I was injured on the job so badly I couldn’t walk. It was an overuse injury from putting in more than 120 miles per week of walking / running in steel-toed boots, while carrying tools and equipment in a backpack. Nearly 4 years later, I can now walk a couple miles before the pain starts in earnest, but I’ve still got constant tingling (nerve damage), and sometimes there’s this spike of pain like someone’s jabbed a hot wire from my foot to my back, and I sometimes get muscle cramps in my feet so bad that my feet bruise.

          When I was injured on the job by a malevolent d-bag middle-manager who’d nearly tripled the amount of walking we did on the watch (carrying a backpack with tools and equipment, in steel-toed boots, required to run at times due to elevator rescues and escalator falls, in a multi-million square foot facility), that d-bag middle-manager wrote me up (although I’d never been written up before and had done nothing wrong… so he just went back through my personnel record and wrote me up for everything he ‘thought’ make me look bad); tore down the wall of our shop so he could walk past without having to go into the shop (in attempting to catch me not working… I’m a bit of a workaholic, so I’m always working… he caught everyone but me… didn’t write any of them up, though); had one of the supervisors follow me around to try to catch me not working (that supervisor, one of his hand-picked toadies, was clueless, got lost and asked someone for directions… that someone was me. I noticed he was carrying the paperwork I’d filled out the prior day, and asked why he was work-stalking me… after getting caught work-stalking me, that supervisor was moved to a newly-created position on the midnight shift by the d-bag middle-manager as punishment for getting caught work-stalking and exposing the d-bag middle-manager’s attempts to get me fired for having the temerity to get injured because of the d-bag middle manager’s edicts), told another supervisor to inform us that if we took more than 6 days per year of sick leave (we earn 12 days per year), we could be fired (a blatant illegality in several respects), and attempted to remove all the chairs from the mechanical spaces so we couldn’t sit down to rest for a moment (which, with my injured feet, was an especially d-bag move, and another illegality in refusing to accommodate a permanent disability due to the injury, per the ADA).

          The union stepped in to back me up in a meeting with HR, the d-bag middle-manager and his toady supervisors looked so bad to HR that he was cowed (he was later fired for attempting to intimidate an entire Hispanic church by driving up to the church in his employer-issued vehicle, while wearing an ICE jacket, and taking pictures with his cell phone… he lived behind the church and didn’t like the ‘noise’ of the worship service). Did I mention the guy was a d-bag? Yeah.

          The union also mitigated the write-up I’d received after being injured… the d-bag middle manager went back more than 90 days and wrote me up for everything he ‘thought’ made me look bad, so everything older than 90 days in the write-up was removed per our MOU… which was everything. LOL

          The employer attempted to install one of the d-bag middle-manager’s hand-picked toadies as his successor… the union yet again stepped in. We’ve cleared all the d-bag middle-manager’s hand-picked toadies out. He’d built his own little fiefdom, we tore it all down.

          That’s what a good union can do. That’s what a good union is supposed to do.

          • While it’s true that unions can temporarily raise the pay of workers above the economic value of those workers, it is also true that the fact that companies have to pay workers more than their work is worth just gives those companies incentive to find ways to do without those workers.
            You are earning more now, but your jobs will be gone soon.

      • Unions are a paradox.

        Bad working conditions and in a union? Well your union is useless, why stay a member?

        Good working conditions and in a union? Well your union isn’t needed, why stay a member?

        • Indeed. Basically, Unions outlived their usefulness. Way back when, Unions were needed as working conditions were poor and labor laws practically non-existent. But once Unions succeeded in improving conditions and getting the laws on the books, their useful job was done and they’ve mainly been political parasites ever since.

          • The reason why working conditions improved had nothing to do with unions.
            It was due to the fact that productivity increased which created the money needed to improve conditions.
            Working conditions for everyone improved during the same time period, even for the self employed.

          • As it coincided with the rise of unions, you can’t separate the two like that. Look, I have as much dislike of unions as you do, but that’s no reason to try to rewrite history. People unionized because conditions were poor and labor laws next to non-existent, conditions then improved and labor laws passed. To claim unions had zero to do with that is to ignore history.

          • Working conditions for everyone improved during the same time period

            Indeed they did. It’s called passing laws that affect everyone and competition. A rising tide lifts all boats. If union workers get better conditions and/or better pay, people will then go to work at the “better” union jobs. To complete, non-union employers will implement better conditions and/or better pay to attract employees. In a free market, you can’t separate the two, it’s why unions want to shut non-union businesses out of the market – they can’t compete because all they bring to the table today is union dues, inefficiency and red tape, the actual improvements for workers have already been made long ago.

          • It’s easy to seperate, if the improvement for everyone is equal to the improvement for union workers, then union workers had nothing to do with it.

            The improvements started well over a generation prior to the first unions. The laws only codified what was already happening.

            Improvements were happening even in places that weren’t covered by those laws. Such as farms and other places where people were self employed.

          • Beyond that, politicians care what voters want. Unions did nothing that workers weren’t capable of doing on their own.
            By your logic, unions will never outlive their usefulness, because once unions go away, politicians will just eliminate the worker safety laws.

          • It’s easy to seperate, if the improvement for everyone is equal to the improvement for union workers, then union workers had nothing to do with it

            Logic fail. You forget competition. If employer X gives better pay (due to unions, demanding it, or any other reason) employees will flock to employer X. Employer Y, in order to attract & retain quality employees will then have to start giving pay on an equal scale or fail to get the number and quality of employee they need to stay in business. A rising tide lifts all boats in a free market.

            The reason why working conditions improved had nothing to do with unions.

            You may want to believe that. History, however, says otherwise. Unions were a response to the poor conditions and were at the forefront of the fight for better conditions and for the codifying into law of those improvements, like it or not. Just because unions served a useful purpose in the past in no way changes the fact that they serve no useful purpose in the present.

            Unions did nothing that workers weren’t capable of doing on their own

            Unions are (or at least back then were) the workers. Joining together into unions is *how* the workers did it on their own. One worker on his own isn’t as powerful an agent of change as multiple workers joining together.

            By your logic, unions will never outlive their usefulness, because once unions go away, politicians will just eliminate the worker safety laws.

            Again, logic fail. MarkW, with all due respect, you are letting your disdain for unions lead to you speaking nonsense. eliminating laws isn’t as easy as you make it sound (just look at how Trump gets taken to court over every action he takes in regards to changing and/or eliminating useless rules, regulations, and laws. Heck just look at all the lawsuits that have followed the creation or elimination of a law). And if any politician was stupid enough to try to eliminate such laws (and you’d need many more than one politician willing to commit political suicide), they’d quickly find themselves voted out of office long before things got so bad as to make unions useful.

      • Close. Actually, the Democrats mantra is that working people would be voting against their own interests if they voted Republican. So, they’re stuck voting Democrat.

        The Democrats betrayed the working people. Listen Liberal!

        Contrary to expectations, the working people were given a viable choice. They didn’t vote Democrat and they didn’t vote Republican. They voted Trump. Both parties should learn from that lesson.

    • “Biden must assume the Party has lost the Blue Collar Democrat.”

      Yes, I think this is a direct appeal to the radical Democrat base. Joe’s focus in on the adoration he thinks he will get from the far left with him taking this position. The coal miners are an afterthought to Joe.

      • The thing is, dimwit Joe can suggest that we run coal miners through a meat grinder and feed them to dogs, but the MSM will never report it and later on snopes will swear it’s a fake conspiracy theory. Let Trump mistake bituminous coal for anthracite and we’ll have Congressional hearings and new impeachment articles. Are the Republicans going to learn how to play this game?

  3. “Anybody who can throw coal into furnace can learn how to program for God’s sake.”

    Wow. I wonder if Joe know how to program? or does being a political hack require less brain power than shoveling coal into a furnace?

    I guess Joe doesn’t know that being a stoker is pretty much of a non-existent job.

    • I’m beginning to wonder if Joe know anything about anything. He not even any good at lying.

    • Walter
      Biden’s remark strongly suggests that he has no idea what is involved in programming. That is, he doesn’t program, and at his age, probably couldn’t learn how to do so. [Incidentally, he is just a little younger than me. I find that the age-related decline of my short-term memory, and the popularity of languages less structured than Fortran or Basic, makes de-bugging code more challenging than it used to be.]

      • If he thinks coal miners are shovelling coal into a furnace, he has no idea what coal miners do either !

        He’s probably never even *seen* anyone who actually works, it’s another world to him.

      • Clyde: I don’t think that Joe could have learned to program when he was 27. It require logical thought, and Joe never did that.

      • To the greatest extent possible I write self-documenting Python code.
        I can pick up stuff I wrote ten years ago and quickly be up to speed.

        For sure, I keep my routines short. Debugging is much easier that way. I test as I go.

        • commiBob
          Congratulations. I always tried to self-document by using variable names that were descriptive, and using liberal remarks. I often found that I had trouble understanding something I had written the previous year.

    • Some how Biden’s advice seems to be insulting to both coal miners and programmers. Not a good political strategy. Next he’ll be referring to folks who don’t support him as “deplorables” or something.

    • ”Anybody who can throw coal into furnace can learn how to program for God’s sake.”

      Coal minors don’t throw coal into a furnace. They move coal from underground to above ground and send it on its way to coal-fired power plants.

      • Give old Joe a break. He’s worried his wastrel son will go to prison, and no Democrat will be in office to pardon him. As a result, Hunter might spill the beans on a lot of his comrades – and the jails could become even more overcrowded.

        Wait… no. Joe has probably already forgotten he ever had kids.

    • “Anybody who can throw coal into furnace can learn how to program for God’s sake.”

      In one sentence he’s shown his complete ignorance about what two different types of workers do. Here’s some hints Joe: Coal miners aren’t shoveling coal into furnaces and skill at manual labor (shoveling coal) does not equate to skill in non-manual labor (programming). There’s no shovels involved in writing software code.

  4. I’d suggest they look to the natural gas industry for good jobs that more closely match their skill sets.

  5. The stuff Joe doesn’t know could fill 100 miles of garbage trains, with every boxcar loaded by hand.

  6. I actually think it is good advice, provided the miners can afford the education. Coders are well paid and have good careers.

    • It’s terrible advice björn. Coding is an art skill.

      If Joe had said “they should all retrain as professional artists”; top end professional artists make a lot of money, but the advice is obviously silly, because not many people have the builtin art talent to be a professional artist. Same with coding.

      I’m sure a few could retrain successfully. it’s not a general solution for everyone.

      • Yeah, terrible advice, because where would all those new coders get jobs, when so many computers went down, after the failed attempt at 100% renewable energy kicked in, or after a failing economy resulting from banishing coal forced us into an economic dark age? And then, no workers to mine coal.

      • nonsense, coding is not hard at all. It is a step by step progress, unlesd you spaghetti-code, that is art. Disciplined coding is hard work but not something special.

        • Come on. Unless you have a mathematics bent you will never make a good programmer.
          The majority of people have no clue about binary and I wonder how many could program in assembly now.

        • nonsense yourself bjorn. while coding is technically not hard (pretty much anyone could be taught to code “hello world”, but that’s not going to get you a high paying job as a software developer), coding well is not easy and takes skills that not everyone has.

          Not everyone thinks logically, and good software development requires logical thinking. Not everyone is mathematically inclined, and a lot of software development requires good mathematical skills (more so when dealing with binary core dumps or programming in assembly for example but even in “higher level” languages like C++ and Java, mathematical skills are often part of the job in more ways than people realize).

          So, while there are no doubt some coal miners who would make fine programmers, it’s not a job that is suited for everyone and the vast majority of coal miners would not find programming a suitable alternative career.

          • My favorite job involved writing code for a braille embosser.
            In order to get the embosser to work well, I had to understand the code, the schematic as well as the mechanics of the unit.

            For a couple of examples. The embosser would work in both portrait and landscape mode. However the data always came in in portrait mode. To write landscape a page worth of data had to be read in, then each cell rotated 90 degrees.
            The embosser already had a print that converted ASCII to braille then sent the braille to the print heads. So the original programmer wrote a routine that:
            1) converted ASCII to braille
            2) rotated the braille
            3) converted the rotated braille back to ASCII.

            When I got a hold of the code, I added a flag to the print module that indicated whether the packet being received was ASCII or braille and removed step 3 above. The original code took about 20 seconds to convert a page, my code took less than a second.

            The embosser used a stepper motor to move the print head, and unfortunately there was no feedback, so if the stepper motor ever skipped then everything printed from that point on wouldn’t be readable. The original programmer figured out how hard he could push the stepper so that it wouldn’t skip on the first step, and then ran carriage at that speed. I added an accel/decel table so that I could I could change the speed of the carriage over multiple steps. As a result I was able to achieve higher top speeds without worrying about skipping. In fact I had the carriage moving so fast that I was burning up the power supply, so I had to slow it down by about 20%. I also reviewed the data sheets for all the components on the mother board. I discovered that several of them had sleep modes, I was able to put these chips to sleep when printing. I was able to use the saved power to get another character or two per minute out of the embosser.

            Good programmers have to fully understand the environment they are operating in.

          • A good programmer is roughly 10 times as productive as an entry-level programmer. Very good ones are 10 or more times as productive as that. The Sorting Hat already decided who would do what.

            Joe made clueless statement, but perhaps less offensive than the Canadian NDP’s Jughead Singh promise to shut down the petroleum industry and retrain the workers to build ‘low income housing’.

            Many of them have already left for Texas, so if MP Singh needs some help building a low-income ‘forever home’ for his retirement, he’s too late.

            For about the same as a ‘starter home’ in Calgary or a tent in Vancouver they can now live in nice brick houses with a swimming pool in the backyard. It’s sad they can’t play hockey in their back yards from October to March, but hopefully they will be able to adjust to their new life in Texas.

          • Another improvement that I made had to do with the carriage. It was a bar that held 7 solenoids. I realized that when the solenoids at one end of the carriage fired, that end of the bar would go down a little bit. Just enough so that the solenoids no longer hit dead center of the dots. I developed an algorithm that would fire the solenoids at the other end of the bar, but not strongly enough to hit the paper.

            I doubled the speed of the embosser and from what the testers told me, dramatically improved the quality of the embossing at the same time.

        • That’s only true if someone completely designs your code for you. Then it’s merely a matter of filling in the blanks.
          Real programmers have to figure out how to solve a problem before they can even begin to fill in the step by step part.

          Even then, there are so many ways to fill in the step by step part that it takes intelligence to know which is the best command for the problem at hand.

          For example, a beginning programmer might use strcat() in a loop to build a string. It’s easy to understand, however it’s slow. A more experienced programmer would use sprintf() and use the return value to bump the pointer.

          Both solutions work, but one can be several orders of magnitude faster. Unless you think about how the commands you are using work you will never be a good programmer.

          This past year I had to completely re-write a module that a junior programmer had written. It worked, but it was too slow. I tried to just clean it up, but it was so poorly written that I ended up having to completely rework the dataflow. By the time I was done I had reduced the overall size of the module from 2000 lines to less than 1000 and it took 1/3rd the time to run.

          You have either never programmed, or you belong to the class of programmer that never thinks about what he is doing.

    • bjorn
      It isn’t an issue of money. I taught myself how to program. However, not everyone can code. Even among those who can master it, not all are good enough to readily find (and keep) employment. You and Biden are naive about what it takes to program. If you are going to do scientific or engineering programming, one will also need a background in mathematics and physics. Now you are talking about getting a college degree. Don’t you suppose the coal miners would have done that in the first place if they could have?

    • Right, it is easy just go to school. I am always amazed at some peoples perception. You are correct programmers are often well paid, often more than brain surgeons, must be easy indeed.

    • Average salary for a coder is about $82k a year, minus the student debt. Coal miners make $65k, $85k with overtime, and have no student debt. Consider that the miners are making that salary while the typical student spends 5+ years in college getting a degree in programming (for those who have been out of school for a while, the average student now takes five years to get a four-year degree). So the coal miner will have earned $325,O00 (with no overtime), while the college graduate has spent $50,000 just on tuition. Your looking at nineteen years for the programmer to catch up, excluding interest. In reality, probably much longer since the student likely borrowed his living expenses in addition to his tuition.

      The primary difference the college education gets you is a job in an air conditioned office.

      • Since you just talk about average salary, your example is too simple.
        When starting a new job, you don’t make average salary, you make entry level. That’s true for both the programmer and the miner.
        I’m going to assume that the ratio between average and entry level salaries are the same in both professions, so that doesn’t change your example. However it does increase how long it takes for the programmer to pay off the college debt.
        The other point that I wanted to make is that the miner has been working for 5 years by the time the programmer graduates and is no longer making entry level wages. This decreases the wage gap between the two professions.

      • “The primary difference the college education gets you is a job in an air conditioned office.”

        I worked for a couple of years in an un-air conditioned, unheated wood shop in Tampa, FL for a couple of years. Never discount the value of air conditioning.

        In the summer we had a 24 inch hurricane fan at each station.
        In the winter, you wore your coat all day long.

  7. He is just trying to copy the line that Clinton used so successfully about lost blue collar jobs. That is, Bill, the one who could get elected and didn’t describe his target voters as ‘deplorables’.

  8. Can the unemployed solar panel sales staff also learn to code? You know … those “green energy” jobholders? Making cold calls from their moms basement?

  9. Won’t the H1b visa holders just take those jobs away? Doesn’t Joe love unfettered immigration? Sounds like a lose-lose, but who can tell these days?

    (The coal miners and oil field people I know cannot and/or will not learn coding on a wide basis. It’s not their thing. Maybe if Joe loses, he can muck out sewers. He’s fully qualified and thinks people should just shut up and take whatever job they are given.)

    • Anybody can learn to code. Not many can learn to code well enough to make a career out of it. You need desire and aptitude.

      • I was a computer enthusiast at the dawn of the personal computer era, but had to work in a family lumber mill business for eight years during hard times. When I went back to school I got a work study job as a computer lab assistant and helping other students with their computer programming home work. As you said some people have an aptitude for “coding” and could make a living at it, but a lot of people could never make a living at it.

        One of the students that I tried to assist was a plumber who decided that he wanted to be a computer programmer. He was a successful plumber which actually takes more smarts than most people realize, but he had zero aptitude for computer programming.

        • Exactly. It’s not really about intelligence. It’s like painting a picture, I can’t do it to save my life, but I can write a program.

    • Metal miners in Canada (mainly remote areas) take in ~$120,000 a year, 2-3 times as much as urban construction workers. Many work 10 years or so and then come down south to open a business – garage, or construction contracting business … They may make more than programmers already.

    • A lot of the people I’ve known who spent most of their lives working outdoors and/or with their hands, would not be able to put up with a desk job.

    • I disagree with you, Sheri.
      Joe is NOT qualified to muck out sewers.
      Fill them? Yes.
      But who gets paid for that?
      (Oh, yeah. Joe, Mann, Schiff, Gore, Pelosi, AOC, Gavin, The Lew, … etc.)

  10. Being an engineer in electronic engineering with additional two years of formal schooling in software development, having started in the mid 1970’s with machine code and slowly moving to countless different programming languages in many different industries, I can tell Biden that it has not come to me in a 6 weeks program. It is hard work and constant education.

    Another point is that most kinds of work is connected with tradition. Without having worked with coal mining myself, and I doubt Joe Biden has either, I am sure most coal miners are proud and confident with their job and the continuity it provides. Really a lot of people do not want to change to a totally new line of work,in particular not towards pension age.

    If the coal price was bad, so be it, the mines would need to close and the miners find other work. Coal use on a global scale is not going down, but obviously if the US decides to have steel made in china and close the coal fired power plants and coal export is not dramatically increased, yes, then coal miners may need other work. But, I don’t think software programming is the future for most of them. Maybe solar panel cleaners, wind turbine blade cleaners, etc will be more in demand.

    • Sorry folks, but Biden is right – even if prone to gaffes and bad formulations. Natural gas is replacing coal, and market forces are against coal miners. They should see the writing on the wall. The jobs are disappearing.

      Once I worked for an ocean shipping company. The company had a contract with a Longshoreman Union, which specified that certain documents had to be entered in the computer system only by an unionized clerk. Now the documents were received electronically, and did not even exist in a paper form. My task was to design a split screen, which displayed a received documents on the left, and a blank document on the right, and the clerk had to retype data from the left on the right. They saw the writing on the wall, and I still can see a foreman Mike calling “give me a rope” whenever I entered the clerks office.

      • Coal’s share is falling now, however this is not a permanent change. Demand for coal will increase again in the future.

      • The world’s coal consumption has been rising for the last four years, and is approaching its highest year set in 2012. The reduction of coal consumption in the US is offset by its growth in China.

        If government stays out of the way, the US could increase the 15% it exports, and become a large exporter. Coal is dead only if the government kills it.

      • Sorry folks, but Biden is right

        He’s not even close to right. Coal miners don’t shovel coal into furnaces, and that’s just for starters.

        Natural gas is replacing coal

        In some places, particularly here in the states, but not everywhere.

        and market forces are against coal miners.

        Worldwide coal use is at an all time high. In the US, while coal production was on a downward trend from 2008 to 2016, in the years since 2016 we’ve been producing more coal than we did in 2016 despite domestic consumption continuing to go down (due to the aforementioned conversion to NG).

        for example:
        in 2016 we produced 728,364 thousand short tons of coal and domestically we consumed 731,071
        vs 2017 we produced 774,609 thousand short tons of coal and domestically we consumed 716,856

        production up, domestic consumption down. How can that be? we’ve been importing less and exporting more.

        for example:
        in 2016 imports: 9,850 exports: 60,271
        vs 2017 imports: 7,777 exports: 96,953

        (all numbers from eia.gov)

        • Gotta scratch my head over why there are any “imports” at all; the U.S. is the “Saudi Arabia of coal,” and should hardly need to import any. But then there is those unions…

          • There’s also states, like California, that prefer to import than to make use of any domestic natural resources they may have access to. “keep it in the ground” only applies domestically, apparently.

  11. I thought ‘learn to code’ was hate-speech? Or is that only when applied to journalists?

    Either way, it’s pointless when all the programming jobs are being given to H1Bs.

  12. For our internal commenters here, Biden was a new Senator when Nixon was President in 1973. He was still a senator when Obama picked him to be his VP running mate in 2008. And was then VP for 8 more years from 2009-2017.

    Obama put him in charge of overseeing Ukranian policy in his second term. It was during that time that his son, with no energy industry experience, amazingly got an $80,000/month “job” with Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company.
    So Creepy Uncle Joe spent 44 years in the cushiest job in DC. A job with no accountability because US Senators have always blamed other people when they screw up, and everyone runs around kissing their ass looking for political favors from them.

    And now he goes to campaign stops and tells his audiences he needs to be President so he can go back to “fix Washington DC.” Considering how long he was power player broker in DC and how his son got crony deal from a foreign government looking for influence on US foreign policy, tt takes a special kind of dumb in order to believe that line from Creepy Uncle Joe.

    Then there is this nice infotainment site of Joe Biden that our international WUWT friends should get a chuckle out of:
    https://joebiden.info

    Worth checking out.

    • “he needs to be President so he can go back to “fix Washington DC.” ”

      That’s entirely true. He needs to be President to make DC safe for swamp-creatures again.

    • I’m just waiting for the first brave reporter to accuse Biden of Clintonizing with children.

      A Pulitzer awaits the intrepid one who asks the hard questions,

      “Joe, can’t you tell children are repulsed by your creepiness and don’t like you touching them?

      “Joe, why do you get your jollies from touching children and women inappropriately?”

      “Joe, as President, would you defend adults touching children inappropriately?”

      “Joe, do you think you might be a closet pedophile? Can’t you just admit you’re creepy”

      … and gets answers.

      If Trump did what Joe Biden does they’d be all over it, but biased reporters look away.

          • I know that we often refer to the primaries as a horse race, but I didn’t know we assigned someone to the pole position as well.

          • well, in 2016 not only did the DNC and the media assign Hillary the pole position, the DNC made sure to start her halfway up the track (via Superdelagates) in the primary. She was the anointed one, entitled to be President, 99% chance of winning the General election. No way Trump could win. yada, yada, yada. Didn’t work out all that well for her in the end.

    • Listen to what’s likely coming down Joe’s chute from Rudy Guilliani in his interview with Dan Bongino

      skip the sponsors

      – and skip to near the end for some revelations about Joe and chums….

    • Some do, I’ve met some ex miners who are very smart. But it’s not just about intelligence. Coding is an art skill, you either have it or not. Plenty of very smart people can never learn how to code.

      • In most cases you will find that good coders have a very good grasp of mathematics.
        Basically dopey Joe managed to insult the coal miners and the coders. Great way to win an election.

      • Jeff
        We aren’t just talking about IQ. It is a question of aptitude. I was a decent programmer in my day, but it wasn’t something I really excelled at. I have met programmers who could write a compact sorting subroutine that I couldn’t even understand.

        • Sykes’ comment was clearly saying Coal Miners are stupid. There’s no other way to spin it.

          I agree with you about aptitude, I was sort of the same as you. But “mental capacity” isn’t the same as aptitude.

          • Of course miners have a lower IQ than SW engineers.

            Rather than trying to pretend we are all the same (we arent), how about not valuing people by their IQ (or income).

        • It is about IQ. CLearly a miner who operates some kind of machinery does not have the ability to design software, or understand perhaps even binary maths.

          • Sykes, don’t be a jerk. Opportunity, how your family values education, continuing family traditions, what you learned from your parents, what you experienced growing up, all play a part in what profession you choose. Being a coal miner doesn’t mean a low IQ, and having a PhD in English doesn’t mean a high one. And I suspect there are more than a few coders who aren’t all that bright.

          • At jtom, since I couldnt reply to your post for some reason.

            Why is it ‘being a jerk’ to accept that people have varying IQs and that some jobs require high IQs?

            It is a fact of life, get used to it. We arent all equal and pretending we are is a mistake.

          • Now you are claiming that people who operate machinery are stupid.
            Is there any group of people that you don’t look down on?

          • You are being a jerk when you assume you know anything about a person based merely on what job that person happens to hold.
            And you sir, are most definitely behaving like a jerk.

      • Face facts, we arent all born equal. Some are natural artists, otherws natural engineers. Others dont have skills, or much upstairs.

        It doesnt change their worth, it does change what they are capable of doing. Miners and SW engineers require very different aptitudes.

        • Aptitudes are not intelligence.
          Nor are people assigned to jobs based on their assumed intelligence.

    • “He really thinks a coal miner has the mental capacity to write code?”

      Matthew, care to clarify?
      Yes, Joe is a prat. But if you really think that just because someone is miner of coal or any other material they don’t have the “mental capacity” to write code, what does that make you?
      “Everybody’s ignorant. Only on different subjects.” – Will Rogers
      Lots of of miners are experts at what they do.
      Lots of coders are experts at what they do.
      “Mental capacity” has little to do with being an expert at what you do.

      • ““Everybody’s ignorant. Only on different subjects.” – Will Rogers”

        Thanks for that. I love Will Rogers. He gets right to the point.

        Everyone has things they can do well, and things they can’t do very well. That’s why we collaborate. 🙂

      • You need clarification?

        We all have varying IQs, and some jobs require a high IQ.

        You know this, we all know this, so lets stop pretend we are all born the same. We arent, but that doesnt make us any less equal, just different.

        And re your quote, one I often say is ‘you can always learn something from someone’.

        Try talking to some people even about counting in base 2, or base 16. They will look at you like you are mad. A lot of people in the world are not capable of handling it. I know. Of course they are good company, you can drink beer play pool and talk about fishing rigs all night, but I have tried to explain some aspects of software to them and they just dont get it.

        • Matthew, a grand total of nobody has claimed that we are all the same, so drop that straw man.

          You weren’t able to explain something about coding to some guy in a bar, and from that you conclude that all miners are stupid.

        • Every see (or heard of) the movie “October Sky”?
          It’s about a coal miner that becomes a “rocket scientist”.
          True story.
          You seem to judge a person’s “mental capacity” by the job they do.
          (Not implying you do, but, I sure hope don’t extend that judgement to a person’s worth.)
          “Counting in base 2, or base 16 ….”? Did YOU get it the first time you heard it?
          I’m not a coal miner (or any other kind of miner) but if I was, I’m sure I could mention aspects of the craft that you wouldn’t have a clue about. Do you lack “mental capacity” because YOU don’t know what they know?
          Do people have different mental capacities? Sure. (My nephew is “retarded”. I don’t know the PC term for his particular condition.)
          Aptitudes? Sure.
          If you looked at my Algebra grades my freshman and sophomore years in HS, what a dope! Never higher than low to mid 80’s.
          A year later my grades in Geometry, mid to high 90’s.
          (All of that in, at the time, one of the top 10 rated High Schools in the US.)
          In which year did I lack “mental capacity”?
          PS What was your first job? The first thing someone paid you to do. Coding? Flipping burgers? Mowing lawns? Washing windows? (I know someone who started out washing windows and retired with a million+ dollar business.)

        • Matthew, you sound like a typical college grad who has been taught that those without a piece of paper to their name are stupid whose own ego will not allow them to acknowledge they are wrong. I’ve worked with to darn many college educated people from Bachelors to PhD’s with this attitude. They are wrong and so are you, lets count the ways though I doubt you’ll listen:

          1. No job requires a high IQ. A high IQ may or may not make you a top person in your chosen field but it certainly isn’t required. If I’m wrong show me the job posting saying “Your IQ must be X before we’ll hire you” as a job requirement.

          2. High IQ is not needed to graduate from college with a degree. Colleges are about turning in required work and regurgitating information on test. Do this and you’ll graduate, no high IQ required. I’ve known people dumb as the proverbial stump with a degree. Yes it’s harder to pass STEM courses without understanding but understanding is not always needed to get a passing grade. Funny enough, neither is a high IQ required to understand a subject enough to pass it. I’ve also come to the belief, with what I’m running into in the work force, that a college education is bought and paid for by the student more than earned. Of course if I paid 100k for an education and didn’t get a degree I might just be pissed myself and let the college know it.

          3. What do you call the highest graduating student in a medical class? Doctor. What do you call the lowest graduating student in a medical class? Doctor. Funny that. Now tell me which of the two has the higher IQ? Grades don’t equate to IQ so good luck with that. Sorry but I’ve watched some extremely smart people fail because they spent to much time partying while someone obviously not as smart top the field because they actually took class seriously and applied themselves.

          4. Despite your belief that blue collar workers all have low IQ’s, you’re flat out wrong and shows you haven’t spent any time around them. I know certified mensa members in the blue collar work force. I know certifiable mensa members in the blue collar work force but never bothered putting in for it as it was a waste to them. I know college grads in the blue collar work force, they decided they didn’t like the white collar job once they were in it so got back out. I know blue collar workers who are college grads but found out they could make more doing blue collar work then they were doing white. Don’t believe me? I used to work with a guy who was an ex-special forces, got out and went to college. He became an electrical engineer for a few years then became a professor teaching electronics for more than a decade. He got tired of doing that, quit and worked as an equipment technician in the semi-conductor industry. Not only that, as a side gig he hung sheet rock. About as blue collar as you can get, do you think he could learn to program or is he to stupid? Guess what, he was much happier fixing equipment and hanging sheetrock than he was teaching stupid students electronics.

          5. Last thing, I know PhD’s who can’t chew gum and walk at the same time let alone understand simple concepts. Classic example, a PhD who claimed to once been a NASA scientist so supposedly smart. Setting up a piece of equipment in a new location, all settings for the equipment are to mirror the original piece of equipment setup in a different location (copy exact for those who know the term). HEPA filter unit on the equipment has a fan speed setting and a differential pressure measurement, Original machine was set up at sea level, new machine location is a mile above sea level. Now there’s a slight difference in air pressure between the two locations but this ex NASA scientist couldn’t understand why fan speed and differential pressure couldn’t be matched. We explained that we could match one but not the other and since differential pressure was the key parameter for the unit to properly function so we needed to adjust fan speed to get the key pressure. They had match the original fan speed setting instead….

        • Sykes
          It is generally accepted that to become an engineer one has to have an IQ of about at least 110. However, that doesn’t mean that because someone holds a job that doesn’t require a high IQ that they necessarily have a low IQ. Anyone who comes to that conclusion is woefully lacking in their understanding of logic.

          As an example, someone I knew well in and after college, who was one of the brighter engineers I have known, had an older brother who wrote his PhD dissertation, logically proving the existence of God, for the reputable Santa Clara University (California). He spent his entire working career working for the US Post Office. I hope you get the point.

    • I encourage you to go down into a coal mine to see exactly how long you’d survive down there… I’m giving you less than a day.

      It’s an active industrial zone full of hazards. Those working have to keep their wits about them, and always maintain situational awareness. One slip-up, and they’re injured or dead.

      The men doing that work aren’t stupid, they survive because they’re very smart at what they do. A programmer isn’t going to die if his code crashes, and he’s got limitless chances to go back and fix the code… a coal miner is always balancing at the precipice of disaster.

      You’re the prat.

      • Says the prat who reinforces exactly what I said. We are all suited to different kinds of work.

        I would not survive in a coal mine for a number of reasons, too tall and have a bad back for one. I fully agree I am not suited to the work, and i would suggest anyone who says I am is a prat.

        And no one called them stupid, I just said they dont have the IQ to design software. There is a middle ground you know.

        • You are a prat because you declared that coal miners are less intelligent than others.
          Your assumption that all miners don’t have the aptitude to code is also prat-like.

        • Matthew Sykes January 6, 2020 at 5:29 am

          You have no idea what anyone’s IQ or aptitude is based on the job that they are doing.
          A lot of people are working jobs because that was what their peers were doing and they didn’t see anything else in their area to do. That doesn’t mean that they can’t do another type of job.

    • Matthew, while I get the point you were trying to make, you made it very offensively.

      coal miners have plenty of mental capacity. It’s just that they use that capacity differently than someone trained in software development would (which is more in line with what you meant to say rather than what you did say). So suggesting that they somehow lack mental capacity comes across as very insulting of their intelligence.

  13. So Biden mocks miners who will lose their jobs if the democrats win, by telling them to learn to code – then gets to mock them again as the potential coding jobs are hoovered up by cheap foreign labour – well done Joe! Oh – and didn’t some left wing snowflake journalist recently take great offence at being told to learn to code?

  14. I guess we “clingers” and miners will be shipped off to one of China’s reeducation resorts where we will burn our bibles, smelt down our firearms, train dor janitorial coding, and learn to be content.

  15. I think that coal miners should retrain as climate scientists with Professor Mickey Mouse at the Disney University in Namibia. At least that knowledge will qualify them to make a real difference and enable them to sign petitions and become activists for social change. Being instrumental in providing vital resources to help power developing nations and lift billions of people out of poverty has become so passé and unfulfilling. Climate science has been so much more valuable for advancing human evolution than silly coal mining .

    • “I think that coal miners should retrain as climate scientists with Professor Mickey Mouse at the Disney University in Namibia. At least that knowledge will qualify them to make a real difference and enable them to sign petitions and become activists for social change.”

      That was a good one! I’m still laughing as I write this! 🙂

  16. As long as there are foreign corporate board positions paying $85k/mo with no experience there will be ossified electeds who spout such nonsense.

  17. And what, pray tell, should recycled politicians/bureaucrats such as Joe himself learn to do?

  18. Anybody who can throw coal into furnace can learn how to become a Hollywood elitist for God’s sake.

  19. A further element in the Democrat decline which will re-elect Trump over the bleeding corpses of all those that hate him.

  20. Biden has been a member of Congress for more than 40 years. How much does he know about the realities of normal life? Maybe even more than he admits as he tries to shield his offspring from the vagaries of the job market. Because when he tells miners to start learning to code he spits right in their faces. Today, when you are 30 years old and you start learning how to code you are most likely toast. Most coders I know were better than I am now when they were 10 years old. Yes, I do some coding, its pretty amateur. I could not compete with those young coders if I wanted. And I have a 20-year amateur coding history. How does anyone expect someone who has never done that to compete? He does not. He knows that those miners are toast and he still arrogantly pokes at them. Despicable.

  21. A note on software development…

    It’s not for everyone. Even many smart and well-trained people never learn to produce quality software in a timely manner, and thus fail as programmers.

    It can be deceptive. Most of us can learn to write a 100-line application, and we start thinking we’re now programmers. But a 10,000-line application is an entirely different kettle of fish, and there are few who ever learn to do it well. The rest either fail outright or can only produce a poorly designed, buggy, and unmaintainable mess.

    Thus people should quite saying “learn to code” like it’s a viable option for most of the population.

  22. Mr. Biden, I will personally train your how to code if you and your entire family agree to completely retire from political careers now and for all eternity.

  23. “Anybody who can throw coal into furnace can learn how to program for God’s sake.”

    Joe was referring to his own experience learning how to program his thermostat.

  24. Climate models? Perhaps they can mine carbon credits and sell them as indulgences on the black market.

    • fake climate change indulgences meet eBay and take then payment in another fake currency like BitCoin. Moshpup could then play along and get his climate action score.

      I’m all for carbon indulgences being bought and sold with/for fake money.

  25. The problem with the Democrats presidential election campaign is that it is similar to the choice of new Labourparty leader in the UK. Both do not possess quality candidates to mount a serious opposition to the residing executive.

    In the UK, the only plausible candidate is Keir Starmer. Obviously erudite but a Brexit remainer and not guaranteed to gain the support of the card-carrying Labour party members.

    In the US you have Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders who are even older than Trump and some say have had their day. Then you have the fragrant Elizabeth Warren who is just plainly in a world of her own where there is no CO2 and where everything is paradise. Then you have the rest of the losers.

    The only bright light in the resistance to climate alarmism is … Trump.

    • The democracies have moved as far left as any intelligent person would want. So anyone intelligent enough to be a quality candidate is not going to be found in a party trying to push a country farther left.

  26. And, in the obverse, anyone who can learn to code can become a coal miner. Here’s your shovel, Mr. Zuckerberg. Get right to it. It’s easy.

    Wow. There is man running for President of the United States who is unafraid of displaying a callous disdain for the lives and struggles of working people. Donald Trump would have had more sense to say what Mr. Biden has said.

  27. Anybody who can string words together like a politician can learn to code, for god’s sake. And write a perfectly accurate climate model in a few weeks, of course. Or control software for airplanes.

    Joe has just proved himself to be utterly clueless.

  28. One coalminer brings more real value to more people in ten years of work than a faculty lounge full of climatologists during their entire working careers. What exactly did climatologists do that was of any use to anyone before they hit on the catastrophic climate change story? Nothing, because it was understood before James Hansen, et al, that people could not really change the climate. Not that we can now, because the remedies for climate change involve severe diminutions of general population standards of living, which are economically (and therefore politically) impossible.

  29. What goes around comes around, doesn’t it … in the 1700’s it was ‘Let them eat cake’ by the political class, and here we are in the 21st century and the current elites have modernized it for the times. As I remember, it didn’t work out that well in the first round. Better luck this time?

  30. First, I must agree with James Francisco: nobody can top Paul S’s comment.

    But the political stumble here for Biden is not that he insulted coal miners or dissed computer programming, that that he got off message.

    He should have said: “Under my energy policies, displaced coal miners will fill some of the millions of high-paying green jobs we’ll create”.

    All he has to do is read the script; it’s not hard for God’s sake!

    • anyone who can stand there with a microphone, can learn to read the script, for God’s sake

  31. Coal miner to computer programmer is more realistic than coke-head military reject to international oil company director.

  32. “>>> According to Joe Biden, coal miners worried about their future should retrain as software developers. <<<"

    It is not the job of the Federal Government to be telling people what to do. It is the job of the Federal Government to support them in doing what they want to do.

    • It’s not the governments job to be supporting people who can support themselves.
      The governments main job is to just stay out of people’s way.

  33. “Coding by contrast is so easy anyone could learn to do it in a few weeks…” Of course it is, just ask Boeing.

  34. I imagine Coal miners’ advice to Joe Biden would go something like “Learn to think before your mouth opens.”

  35. Is that what they tell coal miners in China? Or is it more like “your production quota has been raised?”

  36. Joe Biden’s Climate Advice to Coal Miners: “Do what my son did – get a job with a gas company on 80 grand a month!”

  37. Message from Morgantown, West Virginia; Joe Biden should plan on learning how to live with a coal shovel up his -ss!

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