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The Morning Grumpy – 3/11/13

11 Mar

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


1. Last week, Brad Riter and I did a podcast about why we live in Buffalo. My conclusion? I have no fucking earthly idea why I stay here. You?

2. Corporate profits are eating the American Economy alive.

(1) The Dow Jones industrial average is poised to set a new record as corporate profits stretch to all-time highs.

(2) There are still fewer working Americans today than there were before the start of the Great Recession. 

The fact that these two things can be true at the same time might outrage you. But it shouldn’t surprise you. In the last 30 years, there has been a great divergence between growth and workers’ incomes, as the New York Times reminds us today. Corporate profits have soared, in the last decade especially, particularly because of three things: Globalization has pushed down the cost of labor available to multinational corporations; technology has allowed companies to make more with fewer workers, in general; and Big Finance has gobbled up the economy, as the banks’ share of total corporate profits has tripled to about one-third since the middle of the last century, according to Evan Soltas.

But ya know, Obama. Perhaps we need some more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy? Yeah, that’ll do it. Also, cut food stamp funding and HeadStart programs. /RepublicanPlan

3. Holy shit, we’re screwed.

A study published in Science reconstructs global temperatures further back than ever before — a full 11,300 years.

What we found is that temperatures increased in the last hundred years as much as they had cooled in the last six or seven thousand,” he said. “In other words, the rate of change is much greater than anything we’ve seen in the whole Holocene,” referring to the current geologic time period, which began around 11,500 years ago.

So, we have that going for us, which is nice.

4. An incredibly well-researched and damning report on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter by The Washington Post. This story details why we can’t have nice things and explains why it is so difficult to cut defense spending in any meaningful way.

The Defense Department and Lockheed Martin, the giant contractor hired to design and build the plane, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, have constructed what amounts to a budgetary force field around the nearly $400 billion program.

Although it is the costliest weapons system in U.S. history and the single most expensive item in the 2013 Pentagon budget, it will face only a glancing blow from the sequester this year. And as the White House and Congress contemplate future budgets, those pushing for additional cuts may find it difficult to trim more than a fraction of the Pentagon’s proposed fleet, even though the program is years behind schedule and 70 percent over its initial price tag.

Lockheed Martin has spread the work across 45 states — critics call it “political engineering” — which in turn has generated broad bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. Any reduction in the planned U.S. purchase risks antagonizing the eight other nations that have committed to buying the aircraft by increasing their per-plane costs.

Eisenhower spins in his grave.

5. A breakdown of the Fox news-iest segment in the history of Fox News.

If you have never seen Fox News before, here is a four-minute clip that captures the essence of the network so perfectly that you need never watch anything on it again. It’s all here. At the center, you have an old conservative white guy who is enraged about a fact that exists only in his addled brain. At his side, there’s a blonde sidekick who nods along with him but doesn’t get in the way. And ready to absorb his anger is the network’s Emmanuel Goldstein figure, feebly attempting a rebuttal that quickly devolves into a sniveling plea for civility

No four minute clip has ever laid so bare the id and ethos of Fox. It’s a fascinating look inside the anger-addled mind of this network.

Fact Of The Day: 40% of Americans think that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time. 100% of Morning Grumpy writers are incredibly depressed about this fact.

Quote Of The Day: Relevant, due to the Fact of The Day – “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.” – Charles Darwin

Video Of The Day: Canadians at War, Making Coffee in Afghanistan. Rough language.

Song Of The Day: “Mr. Pitiful” – Otis Redding

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