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The Morning Grumpy – 7/27/12

27 Jul

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

1. Frustrated by the ongoing efforts of ISPs like Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner to destroy Net Neutrality, Google decided to just go ahead and make their own Internet. And it’s awesome. Sure, there are other reasons to make your own network, but Google wants to do away with the middleman and bring you Internet the way it should be.

You can pre-register for the service and the cities that have the highest number of pre-registrations will be prioritized as future Google Fiber rollout locations. So, go sign up and welcome your new Google overlords.

2. Innovation is hard, the story behind Microsoft’s fall from grace.

Amid a dynamic and ever changing marketplace, Microsoft—which declined to comment for this article—became a high-tech equivalent of a Detroit car-maker, bringing flashier models of the same old thing off of the assembly line even as its competitors upended the world. Most of its innovations have been financial debacles or of little consequence to the bottom line. And the performance showed on Wall Street; despite booming sales and profits from its flagship products, in the last decade Microsoft’s stock barely budged from around $30, while Apple’s stock is worth more than 20 times what it was 10 years ago. In December 2000, Microsoft had a market capitalization of $510 billion, making it the world’s most valuable company. As of June it is No. 3, with a market cap of $249 billion. In December 2000, Apple had a market cap of $4.8 billion and didn’t even make the list. As of this June it is No. 1 in the world, with a market cap of $541 billion.

How did this jaw-dropping role reversal happen? How could a company that stands among the most cash-rich in the world, the onetime icon of cool that broke IBM’s iron grip on the computer industry, have stumbled so badly in a race it was winning?

There is a lesson for every business in Microsoft’s inability to innovate and change with market demand, even newspapers.

3. Frank Rich takes on the perception of American decline and reminds us that the good old days weren’t always as good as they seem from the rear-view mirror.

The wave of nostalgia for Andy Griffith’s Mayberry and for the vanished halcyon America it supposedly enshrined says more about the frazzled state of America in 2012 and our congenital historical amnesia than it does about the reality of America in 1960. The eulogists’ sentimental juxtapositions of then and now were foreordained. If there’s one battle cry that unites our divided populace, it’s that the country has gone to hell and that almost any modern era, with the possible exception of the Great Depression, is superior in civic grace, selfless patriotism, and can-do capitalistic spunk to our present nadir. For nearly four years now—since the crash of ’08 and the accompanying ascent of Barack Obama—America has been in full decline panic. Books by public intellectuals, pundits, and politicians heralding our imminent collapse have been one of the few reliable growth industries in hard times.

As usual, Rich offers an interesting perspective.

4. Pew Research reports that the number of conservative Republicans who say Obama is a Muslim has doubled since October 2008 (from 16% to 34%).

Nearly one-in-five voters (17%) say that Obama is Muslim. And 19% of voters say they are uncomfortable with Obama’s religion. Discomfort with Obama’s religion is predominantly concentrated among those who say he is Muslim. And there is a much stronger partisan component in views of Obama’s religion than Romney’s. More than one-third (36%) of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say they are uncomfortable with Obama’s religion, compared with only 7% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters.

Meanwhile, everyone is cool with the whole magic underpants Mormon thing.

Eight-in-ten voters who are aware of Romney’s religion say that they are comfortable with his religious faith (60%), that his religion does not matter to them (19%) or express no opinion (2%). Among voters who know that Romney is Mormon, about one-in-five (19%) say they are uncomfortable with it. This represents 11% of all registered voters, given that many are unaware of his faith.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have an atheist President?

5. I know my Republican friends have liberty boners for the founding fathers, so I thought I’d look into what one of those founding fathers might have to say about the whole “You Didn’t Build That” Obama nontroversy.

“Personal property is the effect of society; and it is as impossible for an individual to acquire personal property without the aid of society, as it is for him to make land originally.

Separate an individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich. So inseparably are the means connected with the end, in all cases, that where the former do not exist the latter cannot be obtained. All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man’s own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came.”

From “Agrarian Justice, Part Three” via Reddit.

Fact Of The Day: Bill Gates has donated more to charity ($28 Billion) than number eight on the Forbes Rich List (Stefan Persson) is worth ($26.0 billion).

Quote Of The Day: “Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.” – Bertrand Russell

Video Of The Day: A father records an excellent version of “Let It Be” to pay for the cost of with the medical treatment for his one year old son who was just diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Consider a donation and when people tell you we don’t need universal healthcare in this country, tell ’em to go fuck themselves. NO ONE should have to hold an auction or a bake sale or sing and dance to pay for medical costs in the “greatest country in the world”.

Song Of The Day: “Choctaw Bingo” – Ray Wylie Hubbard

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