The Morning Grumpy

30 Jun

6/30/2011


I have a voracious appetite for internet memes, video, podcasts, news and analysis, so each morning I’ll share several links that you can consume during your “morning grumpy”.

1. Last week, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation announced the completion of a new “restaurant” at the Inner Harbor. This is what it looks like:

What was supposed to be announced instead of this slanty-roofed Kone King replica was a restaurant at the Naval and Military Park. Well, that worked out as well as expected.

A waterfront agency was expected to approve $200,000 in April to pay for the buildout of a restaurant with an outdoor patio at Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park.

Then the mayor, who said he had been left out of the loop, put the brakes on the project. Now, a refreshment stand on the wharf, but not the restaurant in the museum, will be opening Friday.

Essentially, Mayor Brown wanted the restaurant contract to be directed to former Erie County Legislator George Holt, who turned down the opportunity. Then, the usual palm greasing, crumb hoarding, and backroom haggling began and we end up with a half-assed lean-to which will serve up snacky cakes.

The ECHDC, always desperate to please the Mark Goldman and his 40 friends, decided to put a positive face on this “food shack” and asked for the community for input on what to name the “exciting new development”. Seriously, what exactly are we paying the people at this authority for at this point? Let’s just put Mark Goldman on contract, hire Fred Kent from PPS to do some more Google Image Searches for us and have Goldman’s millionaire brother Tony laugh at the very idea of investing his own money into Canalside. I’ve had enough.

Reminder, the waterfront would have looked something like this, right now, if we hadn’t completely restarted the process:

2. The bane of our political existence is two party rule and First Past The Post (FPTP) voting. It leads to electoral fusion, minimizing variance of opinion and a system which encourages consolidation of power. A solution would be something called Instant Run Off Voting.  Learn about it here and watch a video that explains it in a very simple fashion.

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3. An economist blogger has been writing an ongoing series about health care system “memes” that continue to permeate our debate, even when evidence shows them to be false. The introductory post in his series contains links to all entries. This particular entry is about the myth that “tort reform” would result in a significant reduction in national healthcare spending. I link to it today because I watched the documentary “Hot Coffee” last night and you should as well.

For better or for worse, whenever many are asked about how they would help control the cost of the health-care system, tort reform always seems to be one of the first things offered as a solution.

This image should sum up the argument against tort reform nicely.

4. The Economist created a useful interactive graph displaying state-level economic, political, and demographic data. The screenshot below shows GDP numbers by state:

Click here to read the full story

5.new report out of Brown University estimates that the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq–together with the counterinsurgency efforts in Pakistan–will, all told, cost $4 trillion and leave 225,000 dead, both civilians and soldiers. That doesn’t include the current Libyan conflict nor incursions into Yemen. In estimating the $4 trillion total, they did not take into account the $5.3 billion in reconstruction spending the government has promised Afghanistan, state and local contributions to veteran care, interest payments on war debt, or the costs of Medicare for veterans when they reach 65.

6. On to lighter fare, ever wonder how a hard drive works? It’s extraordinary technology.

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7. Yeah, Grover Norquist is completely rational. Fast forward to 5:30 in the video. I know he was in a jokey environment and all, but Norquist truly believes it is never acceptable to ever raises taxes on anyone in America under any circumstances. This guy is at the heart of the current conservative movement.

8. What’s happening with the national debt ceiling? Here’s an explanation.

9. I’ll close with a life lesson from Leon. Rough language, but advice worth hearing. Curb Your Enthusiasm returns to HBO on July 10th.

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