The Morning Grumpy – July 29th

29 Jul

After a one day sabbatical, I’m back to give you the news, video, and links that help make your morning grumpy a more pleasurable experience. Let’s get to it.

1. Here’s another cool thing I wish we had right here in Johnson City!

The Small Business Administration announced on Tuesday that it had formed a $130 million venture capital fund to invest in high-growth companies in Michigan. The fund is the first of what Karen Mills, the S.B.A. administrator, said is a $1 billion commitment over five years through what the agency calls Impact Investment funds, part of the Obama administration’s Startup America initiative announced in January.

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The Obama administration has not sought to renew the equity program, either, though the S.B.A. says it is developing a $1 billion fund for early-stage companies, set to be launched in late 2011 or early 2012.

Calls and emails to Mayor Brown’s office predictably went unanswered. If offered the opportunity to ask the Mayor about this program, it would go a little like this:

  • When you were at the White House for the Super Bowl, did you do anything other than shop around for a job?
  • Did Steve Casey eat all the dill dip at the party? Everyone hates the guy who lingers over the dip…
  • Did you think it might be appropriate to ask the President about ways in which the federal government could help us out of our 50 year economic downturn?
  • Might you have any interest in a program like this? Any plans to pursue it? If so, who would lead the effort and what would you be seeking?

2. TEDxBuffalo2: Electric Boogaloo is happening. The first TEDXBuffalo didn’t happen for several reasons, most notably, because a crazy person was leading the effort. Now, we have a team of real adults (myself included) and accomplished professionals working on the effort which is being led by completely sane person and local technology maven, Kevin Purdy. Here are the details as we know them.

  • We have a theme: “No Permission Necessary”
  • We have a place: Montante Cultural Center at Canisius College
  • We have speakers and performers (to be announced soon).
  • And we want YOU to SAVE THE DATE (Tuesday, October 11, 2011) to watch the event streaming over the internet, at a viewing party (we’ll let you know about those, too) or live in person.
  • We’ll be announcing more about the event and all the details in the coming weeks, so check back here, as well as our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

WNYMedia will be a sponsor of the event, providing the video streaming and other video services. I tell you this because I intend to talk about this event frequently and you should know why.

3. Speaking of TED, here is a video that I fell in love with and watch frequently. I wanted to share and get you hyped up for our local version of the event. Barry Schwartz tells us where we went wrong and encourages us to rediscover our practical wisdom.

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4. Has anyone else seen this bizarre item in their local frozen foods aisle?

There has to be a reason they are named “wyngz” and not “wings”, right? Why am I using so many unnecessary “quotation marks”? Being the intrepid reporter that I am, I dug into this issue like a sumo wrestler at a buffet line. It turns out something is amiss in the frozen aisle

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service allows the use of the term ‘wyngz’ to denote a product that is in the shape of a wing or a bite-size appetizer type product under the following conditions.”

The statement may only reference the term “wyngz” (no other misspellings are permitted).

AND

a statement that further clarifies that the product does not contain any wing meat or is not derived only from wing meat

The more you know…

5. Want to know why your broadcast media sucks? Might have something to do with this…

Large media outlets have been cowed into avoidance of anything resembling an opinion or judgement on the news of the day for fear of being labeled as biased. The fear of an appearance of bias or informed opinion is so strong that outlets resort to he said/she said reporting and a determination of “winners”.

It is a pointless determination which does little to inform the people about the issues of the day and frankly; it is absolute chickenshit journalism. Tell me what’s happening, who is involved, where and when it went down. Then, maybe, just maybe, give us an informed analysis of why it’s happening and tell us what you think will happen next. It doesn’t matter “who’s winning” the debate, it’s not a horse race.

6. After that weird mix of news, you might be in the same spot as Homer. Let’s take a break.

7. The problem with the American economy, summed up in three paragraphs.

Back in the U.S., companies are squeezing more productivity out of staffs thinned by layoffs during the Great Recession. They don’t need to hire. And they don’t need to be generous with pay raises; they know their employees have nowhere else to go.

Companies remain reluctant to spend the $1.9 trillion in cash they’ve accumulated, especially in the United States, which would create jobs. They’re unconvinced that consumers are ready to spend again with the vigor they showed before the recession, and they are worried about uncertainty in U.S. government policies.

For now, corporations aren’t eager to hire or hand out decent raises until they see consumers spending again. And consumers, still paying down the debts they ran up before the recession, can’t spend freely until they’re comfortable with their paychecks and secure in their jobs.

Corporate profits in Q2 of FY11 have exceeded expectations, so I’m sure all the job creators will soon take advantage of the ten years of tax breaks and start, ya know, creating some jobs!

8. While the national GOP is holding the economy hostage over the debt ceiling issue, their state GOP counterparts are busily at work making sure we won’t have as many people at the voting booth in 2012 to do much about it.

In states across the country, Republican legislatures are pushing through laws that make it more difficult for Americans to vote.

There are only two explanations for such action: Either Republican governors and state legislators are genuinely trying to protect the public from rampant voter fraud, or they are trying to disenfranchise the Americans most likely to vote against them. The latter would run so egregiously counter to democratic values — to American values — that one hopes the former was the motivation.

And yet, a close examination finds that voter fraud, in truth, is essentially nonexistent.

9. A primer on raising your kids to be rational, skeptical, and curious critical thinkers.

I want my kids to see the universe as an astonishing, thrilling place to be no matter what, whether God exists or does not exist, whether we are permanent or temporary.  I want them to feel unconditional love and joy at being alive, conscious and wondering. Like the passionate love of anything, an unconditional love of reality breeds a voracious hunger to experience it directly, to embrace it, whatever form it may take.

Children with that exciting combination of love and hunger will not stand for anything that gets in the way of that clarity. Their minds become thirsty for genuine understanding, and the best we can do is stand back.

Perfect.

10. Debunking the right wing version of tax burdens which usually features some version of, “half of all Americans don’t pay taxes at all!” From those filthy pinko hippies at “The Economist“.

American society is becoming more unequal. Incomes at the bottom level are stagnant or declining, while incomes at the top are rising. This is why a large number of people at the bottom levels of the income tier don’t make enough money to pay any federal income tax. At the same time, we’re not collecting enough overall revenue to pay for our government spending. We could try to raise the money we need by repealing tax breaks for poor children and the elderly, if we were sort of mean and determined to hurt people who don’t have the political strength to resist, but I think it makes more sense to raise the taxes we need by increasing rates on relatively well-off people whose incomes have risen dramatically over the past couple of decades and can thus afford to pay them.

Have a day!

3 Responses to “The Morning Grumpy – July 29th”

  1. Bbill July 29, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    The Economist has become a Communist tract, along with anyone else with two fingers of forehead.

    Perhaps what the Teabagger politicians are doing doesn’t fit the strict legal definition of treason … or does it?
    It’s hard to believe that economic global terrorism and extortion at this level can be non-prosecutable, especially considering Eric Cantor (that we know of) has shorted the dollar and will personally benefit from the worldwide economic catastrophe that these lowlifes are plotting.

  2. Grand Poo Bah July 29, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    Well Done Chris.
    Frankly, I’m trying to position myself and my family to move to another country because things aren’t going to get better here for at least a generation.
    Why fight a battle I can’t win when I can flee.

  3. Mike In WNY July 29, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    It’s no wonder the federal government is broke. We have to pay for a bureaucracy to decide how the word “wyngz” can be used.

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