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The Morning Grumpy – 7/12/12

12 Jul

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

 

1. The Congressional Budget Office just released an update of their household income series, adding data through 2009.  What did they find?

The overall average federal tax rates of 18.0 percent in 2008 and 17.4 percent in 2009 were the lowest in the 1979–2009 period and were well below the previous low of 19.4 percent in 2003 and the average of 21.0 percent over that period. For most income groups, the 2009 average federal tax rate also was the lowest observed in the 1979–2009 period.

Huh, I thought the whole socialist nanny-state thing was happening. As economist Jared Bernstein notes,

I just don’t see how, based on these facts, anyone can make a case that we’re overtaxed, and to be clear, this includes all federal taxes, including business taxes.   I also think there’s a strong, reality-based case in here for new revenues in any deal to stabilize the debt situation, starting at the top of the income scale.

Indeed.

2. Mitt Romney was booed while speaking at the NAACP National Convention yesterday. Why? Ostensibly because he pledged to repeal Obamacare, which ya know, most of the audience recognizes as a law designed to expand care and offer patient protections. However, I think the stage was set for the crowd’s negative reaction before Romney even walked in the door. You see, he’s a big supporter of restrictive voter identification laws which disproportionately effect the African American community.

Governor Mitt Romney says he supports Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law. “I like Voter ID laws by the way… more of them.”

Attorney General Eric Holder calls these new Voter Identification laws “poll taxes” and claims they will suppress the African-American vote in states across the country.

During a speech to the national NAACP Convention, Holder denounced the fact that a number of states are beginning to require voters to present particular forms of photo identification or be turned away from the polls. “Under proposed voter ID laws, many would struggle to pay for IDs needed to vote. We call this a poll tax,” Holder declared to loud applause.

Mother Jones comes through with the details on these laws.

24 voting restrictions have passed in 17 states since 2011. This fall, new laws could affect more than 5 million voters in states representing 179 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

In the past two years, 5 battleground states (Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) have tightened their voting laws.

As of April, 74 restrictive voting laws were on the table in 24 states.

Since 2011, 34 states have introduced laws requiring voters to show photo ID, and 9 states have passed photo ID laws, affecting 3.8 million voters.

2.2 million registered voters did not vote in 2008 because they didn’t have proper ID.

As mentioned above, these restrictive laws are specifically designed to suppress votes in typical Democratic Party constituencies. Seeing as how 25 percent of African-Americans and 8 percent of whites in poor and rural communities don’t have the required identification to vote, this is a concerted effort to restrict access on a partisan basis.

With all of this heavy-handed overbearing legislation, you’d think voter fraud was a massive, widescale problem which demanded immediate attention, right? Well, no.

Between 2000 and 2010, there were:

649 million votes cast in general elections

47,000 UFO sightings

441 Americans killed by lightning

13 credible cases of in-person voter impersonation

It’s all about reducing Democratic turnout and multiplying the effect of votes cast by angry white baby boomers who want the government to keep their god damned hands off their Medicare and keep the blaaaaaycks away from their patio homes. GOP 2012!

3. The United States military and intelligence agencies injected prisoners at Guantanamo Bay with mind-altering drugs.

Prisoners inside the U.S. military’s detention center at Guantanamo Bay were forcibly given “mind altering drugs,” including being injected with a powerful anti-psychotic sedative used in psychiatric hospitals. Prisoners were often not told what medications they received, and were tricked into believing routine flu shots were truth serums. It’s a serious violation of medical ethics, made worse by the fact that the military continued to interrogate prisoners while they were doped on psychoactive chemicals.

That’s according to a recently declassified report (.pdf) from the Pentagon’s inspector general, obtained by Truthout after a Freedom of Information Act Request. In it, the inspector general concludes that “certain detainees, diagnosed as having serious mental health conditions being treated with psychoactive medications on a continuing basis, were interrogated.” The report does not conclude, though, that anti-psychotic drugs were used specifically for interrogation purposes.

The government had already determined that torture was no longer torture, so why not administer drugs without consent? The fact that President Obama has decided not to pursue a full investigation of the methods used at Guantanamo Bay or how prisoners were remanded and interrogated at military facilities around the world is almost as shameful as the original actions.

4. You think Wal-Mart is bad news for local retail? Wait until Amazon.com is done with us.

Amazon’s grand strategy has been to set up distribution centers in faraway, low-cost states and then ship stuff to people in more populous, high-cost states. When I order stuff from Amazon, for instance, it gets shipped to California from one of the company’s massive warehouses in Kentucky or Nevada.

But, they have a new plan…

Same-day delivery has long been the holy grail of Internet retailers, something that dozens of startups have tried and failed to accomplish. (Remember Kozmo.com?) But Amazon is investing billions to make next-day delivery standard, and same-day delivery an option for lots of customers. If it can pull that off, the company will permanently alter how we shop. To put it more bluntly: Physical retailers will be hosed.

As a reminder Amazon is a miserable place to work.

5. There are roughly 7,000,000,000 people on Earth, is that sustainable or rational?

As recently as 1965, when the world population stood at 3.3 billion, we collectively taxed only 70 percent of the earth’s biocapacity each year. That is, we used only 7/10 of the land, water, and air the planet could regenerate or repair yearly to produce what we consumed and to absorb our greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Global Footprint Network, a California think tank, we first overdrew our accounts in 1983, when our population of nearly 4.7 billion began to consume natural resources faster than they could be replenished—a phenomenon called “ecological overshoot.” Last year, 6.8 billion of us consumed the renewable resources of 1.4 earths.

Melinda Gates doesn’t think so, and she is dedicating $560,000,000 to expand access to contraception for women in some of the poorest countries in the world.

The funding commitment was unveiled on Wednesday at the London Summit on Family Planning alongside pledges totaling $4.3 billion from the British government and leaders from African nations wrestling with the health and social problems brought on by high rates of unplanned pregnancy.

The summit launched a program to extend family planning services to 120 million women out of an estimated 220 million around the world who want, but cannot get, reliable access to contraception by 2020.

Incredible.

Fact Of The Day: Sloths only poop once a week and it’s called the poo dance. Yes, this is a full-service blog.

Quote Of The Day: “Beliefs are neat. Cherish them, but don’t share them like they’re the truth.” – Bill Hicks

Video Of The Day: Daniel Tosh was publicly scolded after making a rape joke in a comedy club. If George Carlin was still alive, he might have something to say about that.

Song Of The Day: “Share Your Love With Me” by Aretha Franklin – If this song doesn’t move you, you’re dead inside.

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

Email me links, tips, story ideas: chris@artvoice.com

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