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The Morning Grumpy – 2/1/2012

1 Feb

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


1. Mitt Romney, “I’m not concerned with the very poor“.

Under Romney’s proposed reductions in federal spending, it’s likely that Medicaid would be cut by $153 billion by 2016, the food stamp program would have to throw 10 million low-income people off the rolls, and a key program supporting poor children’s health would face cumulative cuts of $946 billion through 2021. As ThinkProgress’ Igor Volsky has said that Romney is living in a “dream world” when he claims his Medicaid cuts won’t hurt the poor.

And Romney’s tax plan suggests his focus is really on the wealthy, as it includes massive giveaways to upper-income earners and investors, while doing almost nothing for middle- and low-income Americans.

The Republican party, 2012!

“I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.” – Robert Kennedy

2. Rick “Santorum” Santorum finally gets the Bad Lip Reading treatment on YouTube. “We all leave skidders”

Here are some links to previous Bad Lip Reading episodes featuring Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Barack Obama. Bachmann’s is still the best, primarily because it doesn’t sound much different from what she says every day.

3. Does spending extensive amounts of time online alter our ability to learn and influence our happiness?

A study from Stanford University, published Wednesday, wrestles with a new question: How is technology affecting their happiness and emotional development?

The answer, in the peer-reviewed study of the online habits of girls ages 8 to 12, is that those who say they spend considerable amounts of time using multimedia describe themselves in ways that suggest they are less happy and less socially comfortable than peers who say they spend less time on screens.

The study has some holes, but was generally validated through the peer review process and will serve as a precursor to further research.  I respect technology because of its awesome power. The tools and the information it brings can be overwhelming and one has to measure how much one consumes in any particular time period. Too much and you become the socially inept “Did you read it?” characters from Portlandia; too little and you can find yourself both culture and information deprived. It is a delicate balance. Brian Lam at The Wirecutter expands on this idea.

It’s the perfect time, with this abundance of pages to read and videos to watch, to consider Clay Johnson’s book, The Information Diet. In his words, the book is about “How the new, information-abundant society is suffering consequences from poor information consumption habits” The book also outlines a plan for metering the kinds of content that we consume, as we do with food diets that need to be balanced between junk food and healthier food that initially taste worse but will make us healthier and happier.

Informationally, we are becoming lard-asses. In the pageview and ratings driven media economy, too much of the content these days is designed to be just like junk food to quickly boost quantifiable viewership. If you make content that is the intellectual equivalent of gummy bears, your site will appear to grow quickly. Advertisers reward size, and growing fast is expected in most places I’ve seen. Last month I visited Xeni Jardin, my blog-sister from Boing Boing and she said to me, “Only cancer and bullshit websites grow fast.” It’s happened to TV with reality shows, radio with clear channel, and it’s happening to words online.

A couple of pieces worthy of your time in the information hurricane we find ourselves in each day.

4. The Susan G. Komen Foundation has severed ties with Planned Parenthood in response to pressure from right wing Christian groups.

Komen has a long history of providing funding to various Planned Parenthood affiliates for such services as manual breast exams and referrals for mammograms and biopsies to check suspicious lumps for cancer. Although that money is not used for abortions, the Komen Foundation may have yielded to demands from antiabortion groups to sever its ties to Planned Parenthood.

According to Planned Parenthood, its centers performed more than 4 million breast exams over the past five years, including nearly 170,000 as a result of Komen grants. Those funds were specifically targeted for use in lower-income areas where women lack insurance options and/or information about the need for cancer screening. Now, those women have even more limited options.

You might also remember that the Komen Foundation also began suing small groups and organizations who used the term “For The Cure” during their fundraising efforts for cancer research.

So far, Komen has identified and filed legal trademark oppositions against more than a hundred of these Mom and Pop charities, including Kites for a Cure, Par for The Cure, Surfing for a Cure and Cupcakes for a Cure–and many of the organizations are too small and underfunded to hold their ground.

“It happened to my family,” said Roxanne Donovan, whose sister runs Kites for a Cure, a family kite-flying event that raises money for lung cancer research. “They came after us ferociously with a big law firm. They said they own ‘cure’ in a name and we had to stop using it, even though we were raising money for an entirely different cause.”

Komen’s General Counsel, Jonathan Blum told HuffPost that legal fees comprise a “very small part” of Komen’s budget, but according to Komen’s financial statements, such costs add up to almost a million dollars a year in donor funds.

My support for the Komen Foundation is now over. No more donations, no more ribbons, no more sponsoring walkers, nothing. My money will go to local foundations and Planned Parenthood.

Fact Of The Day: Author of The Satanic Bible, Anton LaVey, says the tome was “just Ayn Rand’s philosophy, with ceremony and ritual added“. Good to know.

Quote Of The Day: “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” – Abraham Lincoln

Song Of The Day: “Winter Winds” by Mumford & Sons

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