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The Morning Grumpy – 1/10/13

10 Jan

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


1. The massive new liberal plan to remake American politics.

The liberal activists have dubbed this effort the Democracy Initiative. The campaign, Brune says, has since been attracting other members—and also interest from foundations looking to give money—because many groups on the left believe they can’t accomplish their own goals without winning reforms on the Initiative’s three issues.

Many of the attendees closed with a pledge of money and staff resources to build a national, coordinated campaign around three goals: getting big money out of politics, expanding the voting rolls while fighting voter ID laws, and rewriting Senate rules to curb the use of the filibuster to block legislation. The groups in attendance pledged a total of millions of dollars and dozens of organizers to form a united front on these issues—potentially, a coalition of a kind rarely seen in liberal politics, where squabbling is common and a stay-in-your-lane attitude often prevails.

Good, it’s time Democrats got their collective shit together to take on the well-funded and more disciplined ideological groups on the right.

2. The NOAA says that 2012 was the hottest year on record, by a lot.

The average temperature in 2012 was 55.3 degrees, one degree above the previous record and 3.2 degrees higher than the 20th-century average, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. They described the data as part of a longer-term trend of hotter, drier and potentially more extreme weather.

No big deal, right? I’m with Jason Kottke on this.

I feel like climate change needs a Steve Jobs to kick everyone’s ass into action on this, iPhone announcement-style. “Unprecedented polar ice cap melt, new colors on Australia’s weather map, massive East Coast hurricanes, are you getting it? These are not three separate incidents. This is one global pattern. And we are calling it anthropogenic climate change. [wild applause]

Something needs to change…and soon.

3. The story behind Barack Obama’s “AMA (Ask Me Anything)” on Reddit and, more broadly, his digital strategy that won him the Internet.

The Obama squad had the Internet on their side, producing viral hit after viral hit, and few negative Obama items went viral that cycle. Even fewer positive Romney items went viral (they were almost nonexistent); only the negative ones did. The most creative forces in the country—the minds in Silicon Valley and elsewhere—had joined forces with Obama and with the Democrats. The Dems had a closer blood connection to the West Coast creatives than the GOP did and it showed. The only exception were the libertarian supporters of Ron Paul, who managed to tap into the Internet’s political potential.

I still wish Obama had answered the best question asked during the AMA, “Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?”. A true question for the ages and I’ll bet it would’ve stumped the shit out of Mitt Romney.

4. Why the mainstream media are clueless about the religious right.

From the attitudes shown by media toward the religious right, you’d never know that more than one-quarter of the U.S. population identify as evangelicals, according to a 2007 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, and among white self-identified evangelicals, 62 percent told Pew in 2006 that they believe the Bible to be the literal word of God.

These, by and large, are the people who determine the outcome of the Republican presidential primary, thanks to the early stacking of states heavily populated by evangelicals, and the propensity of most evangelicals to align with the Republican Party. And yet, we who cover these races often know very little about the voters whose person-on-the-street interviews they’re recording, except to know that these people are very different from us in their view of the world. So as everyday doctrines come to light in one or another campaign incident, the media either find themselves aghast at the implications, or simply choose to ignore them.

I honestly don’t believe that the media, progressive activists, Democratic politicians or regular blue state residents understand this portion of the populace. Evangelical Christians aren’t just a group of people who disagree with our current societal structures, they fundamentally seek to replace those structures with their own literal christianism. Which, as you know by now, is batshit insane. There are those of us who operate in a knowledge-based and world and 75 million people who don’t.

5. We’re 17th! America, fuck yeah!

A new report says Americans are actually less healthy across their entire life spans than citizens of 16 other wealthy nations. And the gap is steadily widening.

The 378-page report was completed under the auspices of the National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences. It grew out of an effort last year that concluded the U.S. has a large and widening “mortality gap” among adults over 50 compared with other high-income nations.

The report also finds that the U.S. fares worse in nine health domains: birth outcomes, injuries and homicides, teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, drug-related mortality, obesity and diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease, and disability.

Not surprisingly, lack of access to healthcare, dependence on sugary/processed foods, massive caloric intake, murders, and suicides are the primary reasons everything is terrible. America, we need to get our act together.

Fact Of The Day: Charles Darwin was known for his excessive flatulence

Quote Of The Day: “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” – Louis Brandeis

Video Of The Day: “” – Aziz Ansari

Song Of The Day: “Static On The Radio” – Jim White

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