The Morning Grumpy 1/20/2012

20 Jan

All the news and views fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

1. A new report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness reveals that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) (aka IslamoFascoKenyanStimulusBill) was a crucial tool in keeping Americans off the street. Roughly $1.5 billion of Recovery Act funds were spent on “rental assistance and programs steering recently evicted people toward new housing.”

The Homelessness Research Institute, put the number of Americans living on the streets or in shelters at just over 636,000 in 2011. That’s down about 6,000 from the group’s 2009 estimate. The figure is based on reports and street counts from state and local agencies that receive federal housing funds.

Roman said the stimulus money, coupled with pre-recession federal programs aimed at veterans and the chronically ill, have kept that figure down even as the U.S. economy saw its worst downturn since the 1930s.

The Center for American Progress notes:

In fact, the Homelessness Prevention Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP) program alone, which was directly funded by the Recovery Act, helped 94 percent of the program’s participants who were homeless or a step away from homelessness find permanent housing. The Recovery Act also kept 6 million Americans out of poverty and created at least 3.3 million jobs.

Mitt “Mr. 1%” Romney and Newt “Teach the blacks how to work” Gingrich would have let those people rot on the streets. The churches will help them, right?

2. I designed a new campaign poster for the Newt Gingrich 2012 Presidential Campaign after watching the interview with his second wife on ABC News last night.

Allegations made by Marianne Gingrich that Newt wanted an “open marriage,” so that he could carry on an affair with the woman who would become his present wife, were repeated throughout the day on various networks and had been the explosive opening to a nationally televised debate earlier in the evening.

(Newt) Gingrich said that “every personal friend I have who knew us  in that period says the story was false. We offered several of them to ABC to prove it was false. They weren’t interested, because they would like to attack any Republican.”

Ah, yes. The tired old “liberal media” canard. A surefire way for any Republican under fire to inoculate himself from thorough enterprise journalism…blame those dirty liberals in the media. But does the charge hold up? Studies show it does not.

Conservatives are extremely well represented in every facet of the media. The correlative point is that even the genuine liberal media are not so liberal. And they are no match—either in size, ferocity or commitment—for the massive conservative media structure that, more than ever, determines the shape and scope of our political agenda.

In a careful 1999 study published in the academic journal Communications Research, four scholars examined the use of the “liberal media” argument and discovered a fourfold increase in the number of Americans telling pollsters that they discerned a liberal bias in their news. But a review of the media’s actual ideological content, collected and coded over a twelve-year period, offered no corroboration whatever for this view. The obvious conclusion: News consumers were responding to “increasing news coverage of liberal bias media claims, which have been increasingly emanating from Republican Party candidates and officials.”

3. Fox News is truly becoming a self-contained propaganda bubble.

Democrats trust everything- except Fox News.

Republicans meanwhile don’t trust anything except Fox News.

Independents are with the Democrats. They trust everything except Fox News.

Andrew Sullivan fills out the details.

But the real danger for the GOP’s propaganda channel is that Independents, the fastest growing political identity, side with Democrats more than Republicans on Fox. 73 percent of Republicans trust it, while only 36 percent of Independents do – closer to the Democratic number of 25 percent.

At what point does Fox stop being considered a “news” channel by the generic American? The polling shows it is rapidly losing legitimacy amongst the general populace, but how can other news organizations puncture the bubble and bring Fox viewers back to SanityLand? CNN has tried by hiring right wing voices and co-hosting debates with the Tea Party Express, but that seems more like pandering to generate additional ratings than some grand effort to educate the average Fox viewer.Can we eve rget back to a shared set of facts in this country?

4. Yesterday, I was reminded of this Anil Dash blog post about how Bill Gates performed the greatest tech hack ever.

Bill Gates has pulled off one of the greatest hacks in technology and business history, by turning Microsoft’s success into a force for social responsibility. Imagine imposing a tax on every corporation in the developed world, collecting $100 per white-collar worker per year, and then directing one third of the proceeds to curing AIDS and malaria. That, effectively, is what Bill Gates has done.

I was reminded of that old article when I came across this fascinating infographic that details the incredible impact Bill Gates has had upon the world.

microsoft infographic


Fact Of The Day: On Jan. 20, 1981, Iran released 52 Americans held hostage for 444 days, minutes after the presidency had passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan.

Quote Of The Day: “All religions are founded on the fear of the many and the cleverness of the few.” – Stendhal

Song Of The Day: “Simple Twist Of Fate” – Jeff Tweedy

Follow me on Twitter: @ChrisSmithAV

Email me links, tips, story ideas: chrissmithbuffalo[@]

5 Responses to “The Morning Grumpy 1/20/2012”

  1. Tom Dolina January 20, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    However, Adam West IS better than Bill Gates…

  2. Jesse January 20, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    Maybe if enough rich guys follows his lead, the whining about the rich just being a bunch of greedy bastards would die off…

  3. Ethan January 20, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    Can’t go wrong with Jeff Tweedy, nice call there.

  4. Brian Castner January 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    I’m glad you addressed the Gates phenomenon, because we’re in a remarkable time of philanthropic giving. Arthur Brooks (Syracuse professor) wrote a great book (terrible title) called “Who Really Cares,” that shows that church attendance, personal wealth, and earned income are really leading indicators of charitable giving. How does this jive with the 1%/99% dicotomy? How does it fit into our stereotypes of the rich seeking to crush the poor? How does the track record of the org’s Gates gives to compare with government orgs doing similar missions? There is a massive wealth transfer from the middle class to the very rich. Then there is a massive wealth transfer from the very rich to private charities. Is the second phenomenon worth the first?

  5. Eric P. January 22, 2012 at 12:59 am #

    RE: Liberal Media

    Last Sunday I had to turn off Hardwick’s program when he let his guest assert a “liberal media” bullshit premise as the basis for his reply to a question. The “liberal media” claim is almost as ridiculous as the “both sides do it – equally” nonsense that too often goes unchallenged (by anyone in the liberal media – especially when both sides do it – equally).

    There should be a new rule, similar to the immediate discounting of any opinions that employ any Hitler analogy.

    My rule is to shut ’em off when I hear either phrase go unchallenged.

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