The Morning Grumpy – 5/7/12

7 May

All the news, views, and filtered excellence that’s fit to consume during your morning grumpy.



1. Andrew Sullivan chimes in with some shocking analysis based on this chart from the NY Times built from Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

No administration has reduced aggregate government spending as a percentage of GDP as much as Obama’s in forty years.

If you look at the full chart, back to George H.W. Bush, you reach an inescapable conclusion: the biggest spenders and borrowers are Republicans and the most fiscally conservative presidents have been Democrats. Given the last two decades, the Tea Party, if they really want to shrink government, should be voting for Obama.

Paired up with record reductions in public sector employment under President Obama, this data certainly provides some food for thought.

2. Detroit is leading the rust belt pack in trying innovative concepts to solve their urban economic challenges. One such effort is called Challenge Detroit.

Challenge Detroit will invite 30 of tomorrow’s leaders to live, work, play, and give in and around the Detroit area for one year.

Can retaining and attracting 30 of the best and brightest innovative thinkers make a difference? Detroit is betting on it. Tomorrow’s leaders have intelligence, passion, and commitment. Combine this with a community-wide effort of highly connected, motivated, creative, innovative thinkers, and the formula will be explosive!

A Detroit TV station has more details.

900 people from all over the country applied, but only 30 will land one of the coveted spots.

They’ll work with one of [the] top 30 companies from our community. They’ll live in the city supported by a housing stipend. They’ll play in the region. We’ll have different social and cultural activities all the time for them and … the opportunity to give back,” said Deirdre Green Groves with Challenge Detroit.

Buffalo could use an influx of talented people with fresh ideas, new perspectives, and a lack of ingrained bias, don’t you think?

3. The math formula that destroyed the world.

By 2007 the trade in derivatives worldwide was one quadrillion US dollars – “10 times the total production of goods on the planet over its entire history.”

Withdrawal of real dollars from the economy against such fictitious asset bubbles leads, in part, to recession economics.

4. The jet that ate the Pentagon.

The United States is making a gigantic investment in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, billed by its advocates as the next — by their count the fifth — generation of air-to-air and air-to-ground combat aircraft. Claimed to be near invisible to radar and able to dominate any future battlefield, the F-35 will replace most of the air-combat aircraft in the inventories of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and at least nine foreign allies, and it will be in those inventories for the next 55 years. It’s no secret, however, that the program — the most expensive in American history — is a calamity.

The current appraisal for operations and support is $1.1 trillion — making for a grand total of $1.5 trillion, or more than the annual GDP of Spain. And that estimate is wildly optimistic.

It’s also way behind schedule. I know, you’re shocked.

5. The greatest Wikipedia page of them all, “Timeline of the far future

50,000 years from now: According to the work of Burger and Loutre,at this time the current interglacial ends, sending the Earth back into an ice age, assuming limited effects of anthropogenic global warming.

Niagara Falls erodes away the remaining 20 miles to Lake Erie and ceases to exist.

So, we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.

After the death of Adam Yauch last Friday, you may already be tired of overwrought tributes to The Beastie Boys, but suck it up, here’s one more.

The Beastie Boys were the soundtrack of my high school and college years and hearing their music is a trip on the nostalgia express for me.  So, in lieu of the typical grumpy videos, here’s a couple of Beastie Boys videos to get your Monday started off right.

Shake Your Rump – “My man MCA gots a beard like a Billy Goat”

Root Down


Pass The Mic


The New Style

Follow me on Twitter for the “incremental grumpy” @ChrisSmithAV

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8 Responses to “The Morning Grumpy – 5/7/12”

  1. Jesse Griffis May 7, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    On #1, I call bullshit. “Obama” has done exactly nothing to reduce the size and scope of government. Comparing government spending to GDP is completely dishonest when you gloss over the fact that the only reason it’s lower is because interest rates are essentially nil (even below zero in a few cases).

    And when interest rates creep back up to somewhat normal levels, then what? Service on our ever-expanding debt load is going to skyrocket and we’ll all be rioting like the Greeks. Awesome.

    This sort of dissembling is completely dishonest. But oh yeah, only the Republicans lie about their record.

    • Alan Bedenko May 7, 2012 at 8:47 am #

      Measuring government spending as a percentage of GDP is “completely dishonest” because what, now? 

  2. BufChester May 7, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    If we lived in a political world based on facts #1 would have some relevant impact on political discourse, but sadly we don’t and the Republican liars won’t change their rhetoric in the least.  

  3. Jim_Holstun May 7, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    “Uh, so Obama is the one who has instituted a truly suicidal austerity budget, hanging the poor and disabled and elderly and young out to dry? Great! He’s our man!”

    Have Democrats become so helplessly clueless that they praise their heroes because they’re acting like Republicans? We may be doomed.

    • Christopher Smith May 7, 2012 at 9:55 am #

      All I said was that it provided food for thought. One point I will specifically endorse is that public sector employment has dropped precipitously, as a combination of reductions at the federal and state level. Those reductions have had a terrible effect on our ability to recover from the recession, and Obama shares in the blame with Governors for that fact.

      What I find interesting is that providing a counterpoint to “ZOMG NOBAMA IS DESTROYING ‘MURICA” in any way shape or form drives people (not you, specifically) into irrationality. The fact is, he’s a pretty centrist President who is a massive disappointment to the left (due to his centrism and right wing civil liberties policies) while simultaneously being the enemy of the right (due to his pragmatism and centrism).

      He’s one of the most curiously misunderstood Presidents of our time.

  4. Carl Gorney May 7, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    #4: Alan, said jet fighter is also being backed by the Canadian military and the Harper government-despite international criticism. Part of the reason is that it doesn’t meet the country’s needs.

    I realize Canada wants to be known as America Jr., but can it be less blatant about it?

  5. Brien Hall May 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    #2:  I know someone who was involved in a similar project, .  By most accounts, it was a smashing success.  

    One of the best parts about projects like these is the networking/viral aspect.  Imagine if we could get a whole bunch of smart, creative, influential and well-connected folks to come to Buffalo, really see the great things we have as well as the potential, and spread the word through their own networks.

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