The Morning Grumpy – August 4th

4 Aug

I took a vacation for a couple of days and no, I didn’t tell you ahead of time. I don’t like to let 30,000 people know when my house is going to be empty. I’m back now, here’s your daily morning grumpy.

1.  Later this afternoon, we’ll be announcing the first local merchant that will get a visit from the #BuffCashMob. I need to call the owner today to make sure he can handle a (hopefully) large influx of people and that he is both properly staffed and stocked with merchandise. I have no idea if we’ll get the turnout I hoped for, but I’m planning for 100 people to visit this business within a two hour period on Friday. Stay tuned.

2. Chris Sasiadek and I will be covering the Accelerate Upstate confab today and tomorrow. What the hell is “Acclerate Upstate”? Well, howdy-doo, here’s the details.

Buffalo will be host to a two-day conference of Upstate leaders in August to develop an action plan for accelerating priority projects and economic growth in the 40,000 square miles that compose Upstate New York. The leaders will focus on how Upstate can thrive given the state’s particular political balance and the resulting limited political clout Upstate.

The Partnership organized the Accelerate Upstate conference after encountering universal frustration – expressed by Upstate business leaders, labor leaders, municipal and school leaders, environmentalists, not-for-profits, farmers and more – over the region’s inadequate political clout, and the negative impact of it.

Consider the following:

  • Only 81 of the NYS Legislature’s 212 members represent Upstate constituents
  • All major statewide elected offices are held by Downstaters
  • The leaders of both legislative houses hail from Downstate districtsThe 17 New York State counties that showed a population decline in the 2010 census are Upstate

The conference will produce an action plan that will be delivered to Albany within 4-6 weeks. Will the plan be a regurgitation of the standard Buffalo Niagara Partnership annual agenda which simultaneously demands smaller government and lower taxes while asking for big budget public projects? Or will this event provide some fresh perspective on the unique challenges of Upstate New York? This time, I’m hopeful for the latter. Here is the agenda for the event, Chris and I will file reports through the rest of the week.

3. Here’s a homework assignment for you. Have you ever heard of ALEC?

If not, read this article about how ALEC shapes the legislative agendas of state legislatures across America, including New York.

For decades, a discreet nonprofit has brought together state legislators and corporate representatives to produce business-friendly “model” legislation. These “model” bills form the basis of hundreds of pieces of legislation each year, and they often end up as laws. As media scrutiny of the nonprofit—the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC—has grown, we’ve built both a guide and a searchable database so you can see for yourself how ALEC’s model bills make their way to statehouses.

This is simply an AWESOME piece of reporting from ProPublica…just a stunning work of enterprise data journalism. We’ll be revisiting this topic more often in the coming weeks and months. Read up and see how your government fucks you over on the regular.

4. I’m not going to say much about the debt ceiling debacle, except to point you to Matt Taibbi’s pitch-perfect take on why the Democratic Party capitulated and why it’s become clear that the majority of Americans no longer have a political party working on their behalf.

The Democrats aren’t failing to stand up to Republicans and failing to enact sensible reforms that benefit the middle class because they genuinely believe there’s political hay to be made moving to the right. They’re doing it because they do not represent any actual voters. I know I’ve said this before, but they are not a progressive political party, not even secretly, deep inside. They just play one on television.

Maybe this time, the Green Party will nominate someone who isn’t a total disaster and I’ll have a reason to vote on their line.

5. Hey, remember that whole BP Oil Spill thing that we seem to have completely forgotten about as a nation?

Yeah, it’s not going real well down along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. See, BP did a great job of making the oil disappear rather than actually cleaning it up.

Those who work along the coast say they know the presence of tar mats left by the BP oil spill last year is heavy because tarballs continue to float ashore every day.

And that’s heightened with the activity of rough seas.

About a week ago, a 1,500-foot by 30-foot tar mat as much as 18-inches thick “exposed itself” just west of Little Lagoon Pass just off the water’s edge, according to Grant Brown, spokesman for Gulf Shores.

BP’s use of chemical dispersants to break up nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil solved some short term problems of oil making it to the coast, but it created a longer term problem. The oil will be churned up in rough weather and it is nearly impossible to track where the oil has sunk to or how how far it has traveled. Over 1 million barrels of oil remain unaccounted for, and there is a dispute about how much was actually recovered. Awesome.

6. A beautifully well done long read about the capture and kill of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad.

Brigadier General Marshall Webb, an assistant commander of JSOC, took a seat at the end of a lacquered table in a small adjoining office and turned on his laptop. He opened multiple chat windows that kept him, and the White House, connected with the other command teams. The office where Webb sat had the only video feed in the White House showing real-time footage of the target, which was being shot by an unarmed RQ 170 drone flying more than fifteen thousand feet above Abbottabad. The JSOC planners, determined to keep the operation as secret as possible, had decided against using additional fighters or bombers. “It just wasn’t worth it,” the special-operations officer told me. The SEALs were on their own.

Fantastic access…

7. The Conservative Nanny State is coming to get you

Under language approved 19 to 10 by a House committee, the firm that sells you Internet access would be required to track all of your Internet activity and save it for 18 months, along with your name, the address where you live, your bank account numbers, your credit card numbers, and IP addresses you’ve been assigned.

Remember, conservatives hate big government, except for big government which favors their social and corporatist agenda.

8. Al-Jazeera English does what our “liberal media” fails to do, tell the liberal (factual) side of the story on the economy and wealth inequality.

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A brilliant expose on just how fucked the working class is in America and how current policy intends to keep it that way.

9. After all that bad news, I feel like I owe you something cool. So, I present to you, the best of Leon from Curb Your Enthusiasm. He brings the ruckus to the ladies.

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Joe Pepitone up in this motherfucker.

Have a day!

19 Responses to “The Morning Grumpy – August 4th”

  1. John August 4, 2011 at 7:34 am #

    I Danny Duberstein-ed the fuck outta that guy

  2. Ethan August 4, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    “Maybe this time, the Green Party will nominate someone who isn’t a total disaster and I’ll have a reason to vote on their line.”

    You already do have a reason, so what if the candidate is Ralph Nader (again!).  Could he *possibly* have been worse than Bush? or Obama?  Doubtful to me.

    • Christopher Smith August 4, 2011 at 8:38 am #

      Ralph Nader wasn’t the candidate last time, Cynthia McKinney was and she would have been worse than McCain or Obama. If they put forward a legitimate candidate (Feingold comes to mind) and pick off the liberal base of the Democratic Party, they can win 15-20% and set themselves up for future growth or at least move the Dems to the left.

      • Alan Bedenko August 4, 2011 at 8:50 am #

        President Bachmann. ‘S got a nice ring to it.

      • Christopher Smith August 4, 2011 at 10:05 am #

        More like President Bush, Perry or Romney. I will not vote based on my party saying “Well, we’re gonna fuck you over continually, but THAT guy is gonna fuck you over harder.” Until the party takes the base seriously, it’s not a party.

      • Alan Bedenko August 4, 2011 at 10:13 am #

        That was almost precisely the Nader platform in 2000. We don’t live in a parliamentary system where the majority party (or coalition) just gets to do whatever it wants. The obstructionism that we’ve endured over the past 2 years is exactly how the federal government is designed to work, specifically to require compromise and leave the parties’ respective bases as sidelined as possible. Because we don’t have a parliamentary system, the two major parties _are_ each our domestic center-left and center-right coalitions. The left wing of the party can’t get all “Obama sucks” just because he didn’t refuse to compromise with a Republican-led house to forestall default.

      • Christopher Smith August 4, 2011 at 10:39 am #

        I see it less as an inability to compromise with the Republican base, more that he got exactly what he wanted all along. Which politician put Social Security and Medicare cuts on the table in this negotiation? Obama.

        The Democratic Party needs to embrace the base and they must be pushed to do so. Otherwise, they will simply veer towards the center-right, it is a party without principle right now and we must encourage change.

      • Alan Bedenko August 4, 2011 at 10:46 am #

        I am starting to think that people like Adam Green secretly hoped Obama was precisely the Kenyan soshulist the tea party accused him of being. That he wasn’t/isn’t has gravely disappointed both parties’ wings.

  3. Mike In WNY August 4, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    Accelerate Upstate needs to focus on deaccelerating government. Lower taxes, deregulate, end all subsidies and tax breaks, abolish IDA’s and toss Cuomo’s regional economic development plutocracy into the dumper.

    • Alan Bedenko August 4, 2011 at 9:41 am #

      Mike, I am disappointed by the lack of links to articles at Mises.org, Lewrockwell.com, reason.com, or the Cato Institute.

  4. Bbill August 4, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    Fifty years ago today, in a remote Kenyan village, the left-wing conspiracy began.

  5. Mike In WNY August 4, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Alan, sorry to disappoint you. I just all atwitter and beside myself from the anticipation of Ron Paul coming to town tomorrow.

  6. Chris Charvella August 4, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    Fun Fact: The first vote I ever cast was for Ralph Nader.

  7. Ethan August 4, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    Oh, I know Nader wasn’t a candidate last time– and I’ll cop to betraying my own principals in pulling the lever for Obama. I did see some merit in putting the first black candidate in office and slamming the door on McCain/Palin, and quite so: McKinney! (Though I realistically ought to have voted for her, anyway.)  It will be the last Dem vote I cast for President for a long, long time to come, though.

    Alan is kinda right in pointing out that our system really is structurally designed for a duopoly- but it is also true that the amazing influx of cash & revolving-door cronyism between our corporations and our democracy is independently pernicious and corrosive.  Al Jazeera, no surprise, does a good job on that piece.

    Chris, I voted for him, too- 2x.  But my first vote, via absentee ballot, was for ol’ Bill Clinton.  Watched the returns from a Belgian monastery, too: true story.

  8. peteherr August 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    @ChrisSmith – I’m glad it was just a vacation. I thought maybe you suddenly became a morning person.

  9. Leo Wilson August 4, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    So, when does the CashMob announcement come out? It’s Thursday. People have lives and responsibilities, some might need to schedule babysitters and the like to get out that early on Friday evening.

  10. Brian Wood August 4, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    From Matt Taibbi’s column: Also, this: if the Democrats suck so bad at political combat, then how come they continue to be rewarded with such massive quantities of campaign contributions? When the final tally comes in for the 2012 presidential race, who among us wouldn’t bet that Barack Obama is going to beat his Republican opponent in the fundraising column very handily? At the very least, he won’t be out-funded, I can almost guarantee that.

    And what does that mean? Who spends hundreds of millions of dollars for what looks, on the outside, like rank incompetence?

    It strains the imagination to think that the country’s smartest businessmen keep paying top dollar for such lousy performance. Is it possible that by “surrendering” at the 11th hour and signing off on a deal that presages deep cuts in spending for the middle class, but avoids tax increases for the rich, Obama is doing exactly what was expected of him?

  11. Brian Wood August 4, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    I’d say Obama did exactly what his pimps whored him out to do, eh?

  12. jimd August 4, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    All I know is I don’t want my grandchildren debating evolution vs creationism in science class. Which is the goal of the right. You can blather all you want about economics but at the core of the Republican party is the religious social agenda.

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