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The Morning Grumpy – 12/11/12

11 Dec

All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy. Sure, the grumpy has been a little hit and miss lately, but it’s still free and it’s still awesome. So, give me a break.

Mrs. Paladino comes home early and surprises Carl

1. If someone were relocating to Buffalo, to what companies, websites, tools, utilities, or resources would you direct them as they attempt to gather data about neighborhoods, schools, real estate, and events in the city and region? Is there a one-stop shop for information? If not, why not?

Pittsburgh and many other cities offer tools or web portals to help prospective residents make decisions.

Thinking of a move? Once you visit Pittsburgh, you’ll want to stay. Pittsburgh’s affordable standard of living, great health care facilities and things to do make it the #1 Most Livable City in America. View Pittsburgh’s Ranking to see just a hand full of the reasons it was voted #1. Whether you’re building your career, raising a family or enjoying your retirement, Pittsburgh is a great place to call home.Our home improvement, cleanliness, and brain power rank among the best.  Friendly neighborhoods and our passion to look to the future are just some of the reasons why so many love to call Pittsburgh home.

Shouldn’t someone build something like that? We spend a lot of time trying to recruit companies here, but not much time or effort recruiting people. It doesn’t need to be a government agency, there is a business model here.

2. The media completely mishandled the biggest political story of 2012

According to longtime political observers Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, campaign coverage in 2012 was a particularly calamitous failure, almost entirely missing the single biggest story of the race: Namely, the radical right-wing, off-the-rails lurch of the Republican Party, both in terms of its agenda and its relationship to the truth.

“I can’t recall a campaign where I’ve seen more lying going on — and it wasn’t symmetric,” said Ornstein, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who’s been tracking Congress with Mann since 1978. Democrats were hardly innocent, he said, “but it seemed pretty clear to me that the Republican campaign was just far more over the top.”

Lies from Republicans generally and standardbearer Mitt Romney in particular weren’t limited to the occasional TV ads, either; the party’s most central campaign principles — that federal spending doesn’t create jobs, that reducing taxes on the rich could create jobs and lower the deficit — willfully disregarded the truth.

It will happen again if journalists don’t start asking some hard questions about the manner in which they cover candidates and politicians.

3. Breaking news, government doesn’t work when it’s run by people who hate government. Congress, leash-trained by the anti-government right wing and corporations with anti-regulatory agendas, has choked off funds to thousands of federal agencies and regulatory bodies in recent years. The results are startling.

The FDA is supposed to keep drug-tainted fish out of our food supply. But according to the GAO, it is failing miserably, or hardly even trying. In 2009 the FDA tested only 1 out of every 1,000 imported seafood products — for 16 chemicals. By contrast, Canada tests 50 out of every 1,000 products for more than 40 chemicals; Japan tests 110 out of every 1,000 for 57.

Do you like safe food? Well, it costs money to keep it safe. In the 1970s, the FDA inspected 35,000 food plants per year; today, thanks to budget cuts, it inspects under 8,000. And, no, corporations will not ensure the safety if left to their own devices.

4. “Made In America” is making a comeback.

Yet this year, something curious and hopeful has begun to happen, something that cannot be explained merely by the ebbing of the Great Recession, and with it the cyclical return of recently laid-off workers. On February 10, [General Electric’s Appliance Park in Louisville, KY] opened an all-new assembly line in Building 2 — largely dormant for 14 years — to make cutting-edge, low-energy water heaters. It was the first new assembly line at Appliance Park in 55 years — and the water heaters it began making had previously been made for GE in a Chinese contract factory.

On March 20, just 39 days later, Appliance Park opened a second new assembly line, this one in Building 5, to make new high-tech French-door refrigerators. The top-end model can sense the size of the container you place beneath its purified-water spigot, and shuts the spigot off automatically when the container is full. These refrigerators are the latest versions of a style that for years has been made in Mexico.

Another assembly line is under construction in Building 3, to make a new stainless-steel dishwasher starting in early 2013. Building 1 is getting an assembly line to make the trendy front-loading washers and matching dryers Americans are enamored of; GE has never before made those in the United States. And Appliance Park already has new plastics-manufacturing facilities to make parts for these appliances, including simple items like the plastic-coated wire racks that go in the dishwashers.

What’s powering this boom? It’s partially being driven by the availability of cheap natural gas. So, yet another economic Faustian bargain presents itself to the American people. Do we oppose hydraulic fracturing and the environmental dangers it brings or embrace the technology and launch a decades long economic bubble/boom? Or is there a third option somewhere in the middle? Are we even capable of having an unemotional and sane discussion about the balance between?

5. Paul Krugman says, “Not so fast, my friends” when it comes to a new economic boom and a “Made in America” resurgence.

The American economy is still, by most measures, deeply depressed. But corporate profits are at a record high. How is that possible? It’s simple: profits have surged as a share of national income, while wages and other labor compensation are down. The pie isn’t growing the way it should — but capital is doing fine by grabbing an ever-larger slice, at labor’s expense.

The companies may be insourcing, but advancements in manufacturing technology and robotics limit the job opportunities and many corporations refuse to pay living wages, even though corporate profits are at record highs.

Fact Of The Day: Alan Turing, the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, committed suicide after being chemically castrated for being a homosexual.

Quote Of The Day: “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” – Ernest Hemingway

Christmas Song Of The Day: “All Alone On Christmas” – Darlene Love

Song Of The Day: “Mastermind” – Deltron3030

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