The Morning Grumpy – 3/11/13

11 Mar

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


1. Last week, Brad Riter and I did a podcast about why we live in Buffalo. My conclusion? I have no fucking earthly idea why I stay here. You?

2. Corporate profits are eating the American Economy alive.

(1) The Dow Jones industrial average is poised to set a new record as corporate profits stretch to all-time highs.

(2) There are still fewer working Americans today than there were before the start of the Great Recession. 

The fact that these two things can be true at the same time might outrage you. But it shouldn’t surprise you. In the last 30 years, there has been a great divergence between growth and workers’ incomes, as the New York Times reminds us today. Corporate profits have soared, in the last decade especially, particularly because of three things: Globalization has pushed down the cost of labor available to multinational corporations; technology has allowed companies to make more with fewer workers, in general; and Big Finance has gobbled up the economy, as the banks’ share of total corporate profits has tripled to about one-third since the middle of the last century, according to Evan Soltas.

But ya know, Obama. Perhaps we need some more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy? Yeah, that’ll do it. Also, cut food stamp funding and HeadStart programs. /RepublicanPlan

3. Holy shit, we’re screwed.

A study published in Science reconstructs global temperatures further back than ever before — a full 11,300 years.

What we found is that temperatures increased in the last hundred years as much as they had cooled in the last six or seven thousand,” he said. “In other words, the rate of change is much greater than anything we’ve seen in the whole Holocene,” referring to the current geologic time period, which began around 11,500 years ago.

So, we have that going for us, which is nice.

4. An incredibly well-researched and damning report on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter by The Washington Post. This story details why we can’t have nice things and explains why it is so difficult to cut defense spending in any meaningful way.

The Defense Department and Lockheed Martin, the giant contractor hired to design and build the plane, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, have constructed what amounts to a budgetary force field around the nearly $400 billion program.

Although it is the costliest weapons system in U.S. history and the single most expensive item in the 2013 Pentagon budget, it will face only a glancing blow from the sequester this year. And as the White House and Congress contemplate future budgets, those pushing for additional cuts may find it difficult to trim more than a fraction of the Pentagon’s proposed fleet, even though the program is years behind schedule and 70 percent over its initial price tag.

Lockheed Martin has spread the work across 45 states — critics call it “political engineering” — which in turn has generated broad bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. Any reduction in the planned U.S. purchase risks antagonizing the eight other nations that have committed to buying the aircraft by increasing their per-plane costs.

Eisenhower spins in his grave.

5. A breakdown of the Fox news-iest segment in the history of Fox News.

If you have never seen Fox News before, here is a four-minute clip that captures the essence of the network so perfectly that you need never watch anything on it again. It’s all here. At the center, you have an old conservative white guy who is enraged about a fact that exists only in his addled brain. At his side, there’s a blonde sidekick who nods along with him but doesn’t get in the way. And ready to absorb his anger is the network’s Emmanuel Goldstein figure, feebly attempting a rebuttal that quickly devolves into a sniveling plea for civility

No four minute clip has ever laid so bare the id and ethos of Fox. It’s a fascinating look inside the anger-addled mind of this network.

Fact Of The Day: 40% of Americans think that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time. 100% of Morning Grumpy writers are incredibly depressed about this fact.

Quote Of The Day: Relevant, due to the Fact of The Day – “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.” – Charles Darwin

Video Of The Day: Canadians at War, Making Coffee in Afghanistan. Rough language.

Song Of The Day: “Mr. Pitiful” – Otis Redding

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2 Responses to “The Morning Grumpy – 3/11/13”

  1. Jesse Griffis March 11, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    #1. I love it here. Also, the climate is improving (see #3). It’ll be way more comfy here than Atlanta in a couple decades.

    #2. I don’t know that profits should equal jobs. If a company can bank big profits on worker productivity… isn’t it up to the worker to get more of it? Or, up to another company (started by said disgruntled worker) to bank less profits and do the same job more cheaply? Seems like an opportunity is there to me.

    Also, I know you won’t want to hear it, but (from monocle-wearing folks whom I know and trust) plenty of that money is sitting on the sidelines because of economic cost uncertainty – in many respects, real or perceived (it functionally doesn’t matter) thanks to Obamacare. Also, Congress – in what decade will they pass a budget again? I’m not talking ‘balanced’ here, I’m talking ANY budget at all. They just don’t bother any more.

    #3. See #1! w00t for having access to giant puddles of fresh water!

    #4. See Amherst Systems, Moog, and even Astronics, I think… we are a part of it. I also know someone who “saved” $25 million one year on this project and gave it back… didn’t make a difference. But it felt nice at the time.

    Fact: Make it 99%. I’m more amused than depressed or disturbed. I blame your public school system.

  2. rhmaccallum March 11, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    #1:  Best summers anywhere. Close to all the fun of winter: skiing, sledding, snowmobiling.  Great concerts (many free), great theater.  How many placews are there where you can both sail and ski in one location?
    Earthy!  Rochester for example is just so stuffy and the main entertainment there seems to be shopping for things you don’t need just to keep up with the Jones’s.
    Florida and the south are great…for a week or two but then you find yourself longing for “home”.  And you will find out what true misery is being in inland Florida in the summer.
    #2: We all knew one or two back in highschool.  You know…they were called “money-grubbers”.  So what do you expect when we have turned our government, our economy and our society almost entirely over to those money-grubbers?
    #3:  There is no convincing many of this so long as they see by denial that they can be money-grubbers and dream of getting rich quick and getting rich now.
    #4: When will we begin to treat national defense as a necessity best left to our very gifted and talented Generals and not a get rich quick scheme for the money-grubbbers?  When will we begin to do what is required to defend and protect ourselves instead of allowing money-grubbing politicians to use national defense as a local jobs program to be protected in order to get reelected?  It’s not a jobs program…it’s defense stupid!
    #5:  Try this handy guide:  When watching or listening or reading something, before you get bogged down by the specific details…determine if the one you are watching is pretty much basing their stance and projection on yelling, fingerpointing, anger, hate and all that.  Once again, we all knew a few back in school, those never happy, always boiling over mad people who will most probably still be bitching about everything while standing at the pearly gates.  (think Carl Paladino).  If what you are hearing comes from the cronic crybaby, spoiled, ti’s all about me mindset…turn elsewhere.

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