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The Morning Grumpy – 8/16/12

16 Aug

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

1. Pity those poor corporations who just can’t seem to get ahead in this era of Obama socialism, right? While they sit on trillions in cash, stash even more trillions overseas, and enjoy soaring stock prices, they’re enjoying a very beneficial tax structure here in America.

In a recent report by the Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, 26 of 30 Fortune 500 companies examined had negative income tax rates on profits made in the U.S. between 2008 and 2011.

The findings may seem contradictory with recent news that the U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate among developed nations at 39.2 percent. But due to loopholes in the tax code and federal tax subsidies, very few companies actually end up paying the full “statutory” rate.

As it stands now, the actual tax rate corporations pay, called the “effective” tax rate, is at 12.1 percent of profits, the lowest level it’s been since 1972,

I wish my balance sheet looked this good.

2. As it turns out, not everyone loves Marineland, especially the animals.

Former trainer Phil Demers describes conditions at Marineland, citing the effects of sporadic water problems on the health of seals, sea lions, walruses and dolphins. He says there aren’t enough trainers to ensure the well-being of the sea creatures.

3. Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan was against the stimulus before he was for it, and against it again shortly thereafter.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) asked the Obama administration for millions from the $840 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help an energy conservation company in Wisconsin, telling his constituents the money would help “create or retain approximately 7,600 new jobs” in his district for up to  six years.

Despite repeatedly requesting funds and praising the stimulus in correspondence with the Obama administration, Ryan has consistently criticized the policy in public, calling it a failure and insisting that it has created no jobs and in fact only “made things worse.”

Ryan’s criticism might be called into question after reading letters he wrote to Steven Chu, the Obama administration’s energy secretary, asking for stimulus funds. The letters were obtained by Boston Globe reporters Bryan Bender and Brian MacQuarrie, who note that in one Ryan actually says he’s “pleased” that the Obama administration had made energy conservation and reducing carbon emissions a priority, saying it will “stimulate the local economy by creating new jobs.”

However, in his own proposed federal budget, Ryan slashes funding for these companies. Romney/Ryan  is the most intellectually dishonest major party ticket in history.

4. Hey, Buffalo reporters, can we talk? No worries, it’ll be just between you and me. Can we all agree that press conferences are becoming a general waste of time? I know that rolling tape at the event and re-wording the press releases fills broadcast minutes and print column inches, but press conference coverage in Buffalo has reached insidious levels. We rarely learn anything, the multiple politicos in attendance get free (and generally uncritical) press coverage, and people get to a one-sided view of events.

For instance, Canalside and the events going on down there have turned into little more than an engine for press conferences. The hacks and electeds get to show how they went pee-pee in the potty of progress and get some credit for incremental progress.

I know, I know…The Buffalo News is the paper of record and Business First covers, well, business. I also know that press conference statements can be used for enterprise pieces later, but god damn, this is just getting silly.

Explore & More Children’s Museum announced Wednesday it has selected Gyroscope Inc. to lead the master planning process for a new facility on the Buffalo waterfront.

“We’ve selected a firm to help us choose the best children’s museum for Western New York,” said Peter Bergmann, president of Explore & More’s board of directors and president of Sisters of Charity Hospital.

What’s next, will they host a presser when they select a shovel manufacturer as well?

Every public office, non-profit, candidate, elected official, and authority has a team of professional public relations people tasked with generating positive press and managing leads and stories with local media. These are mildly sophisticated teams that are usually staffed with former local journalists and it is leading to, in my humble opinion, a managed and slickly produced version of reality in our media. It’s just something to keep in mind.

5. Bill Gates is on a mission…to reinvent the toilet.

A charitable foundation founded by Gates and his wife kicked off a “Reinvent the Toilet Fair” in Seattle and awarded prizes for promising innovations.

“Toilets are extremely important for public health and, when you think of it, even human dignity,” Gates said.

“The flush toilets we use in the wealthy world are irrelevant, impractical and impossible for 40 per cent of the global population, because they often don’t have access to water, and sewers, electricity, and sewage treatment systems.”

Pretty awesome.

Fact Of The Day: There is a political party in Switzerland, called the “Anti PowerPoint Party”, that works to decrease the use of PowerPoint in professional presentations.

Quote Of The Day: “Take away my people, but leave my factories, and soon grass will grow on the factory floors. Take away my factories, but leave my people, and soon we will have a new and better factory.” – Andrew Carnegie

Your Daily Bruce: New feature. I need a daily dose of Bruce Springsteen, so now you get one as well. “The E Street Shuffle” – Live at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1975

Video Of The Day: “We’re NASA And We Know It”

Song Of The Day: “Hold On” – Alabama Shakes

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