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The Morning Grumpy – November 28th

28 Nov

I have a voracious appetite for internet memes, video, podcasts, news, and analysis. Each morning I’ll share several links that you can consume during your “morning grumpy”.

1.  As Newt Gingrich settles into his new role as front-runner for the Republican Presidential nomination, here’s a double whammy of “discredited and unqualified” for you. Along with conveniently forgetting that Gingrich has made millions lobbying as a consummate beltway insider since he left Congress, it seems that most of the GOP base has “misremembered” that Rep. Gingrich was the only Speaker of The House to be sanctioned and fined by an ethics committee while serving in the position. Yeah, he was a glib and condescending tool back then as well.

House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said yesterday he will pay the $300,000 penalty the House levied against him for violating ethics rules by accepting a loan from a surprising source — Robert J. Dole, his onetime rival as leader of congressional Republicans.

“What average American could walk into their local bank — take out a commercial loan for $300,000 with no collateral and no payments due until 2005?” asked House Minority Whip David E. Bonior (D-Mich.), Gingrich’s most ardent House critic. “And on top of that, he wants to borrow the money from a former politician who recently signed on with one of the largest lobbying firms in Washington.” Dole will join the law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand next month.

Oh, and let us not forget that while Gingrich would stand on stage and bemoan the declining state of “the family” and morals in America, he’s on his third marriage. The manner in which he ended his first marriage puts him in the “Holy Shit, what a fucking asshole” Hall of Fame.

Jackie (Gingrich’s now ex-wife) had undergone surgery for cancer of the uterus during the 1978 campaign, a fact Gingrich was not loath to use in conversations or speeches that year. After the separation in 1980, she had to be operated on again, to remove another tumor While she was still in the hospital, according to Howell, “Newt came up there with his yellow legal pad, and he had a list of things on how the divorce was going to be handled. He wanted her to sign it. She was still recovering from surgery, still sort of out of it, and he comes in with a yellow sheet of paper, handwritten, and wants her to sign it.

If you still want more anti-Newt information, here’s a nice compendium of all the horrible things he’s said over the years. Have fun!

2. Internet smart guy Anil Dash thinks that Facebook is gaslighting the internet. Facebook’s vision of a closed loop feedback system and their vision of a walled garden of information isn’t progress, it’s an affront to transparency and the beautiful openness of the web.

Facebook has moved from merely being a walled garden into openly attacking its users’ ability and willingness to navigate the rest of the web. The evidence that this is true even for sites which embrace Facebook technologies is overwhelming, and the net result is that Facebook is gaslighting users into believing that visiting the web is dangerous or threatening

Facebook promotes captive content on its network ahead of content on the web, prohibits users from bringing open content into their network, warns users not to visit web content, and places obstacles in front of visits to web sites even if they’ve embraced Facebook’s technologies and registered in Facebook’s centralized database of sites on the web.

3.  Here’s some information to file away when you’re wondering just what the hell those Occupy people are all pissed off about…corporate influence on public policy.

Companies that drill for natural gas have spent more than $3.2 million lobbying state government since the beginning of last year, according to a review of public records. The broader natural gas industry has been giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaign accounts of lawmakers and the governor. And national energy companies are advertising heavily in an effort to convince the public that the extraction method, commonly known as hydrofracking, is safe and economically beneficial.

Environmental groups, with far less money at their disposal, are mounting a more homespun campaign as they warn that hydrofracking — a process in which water mixed with sand and chemicals is injected deep into the ground to break up rock formations and release natural gas — could taint the water supply and cause untold environmental ruin.

When policy decisions are sold off to the highest bidder, the people lose. Hydrofracking is a serious issue that deserves legitimate debate using open and transparent information and data. Instead, State Senators and Assemblymen are flooded with industry propaganda, biased industry-funded science and heavy donations.

4. The Red State model and the Blue State model are broken. Time to re-invent.

The appetite of red states for federal subsidies mocks the tirades of their politicians against the federal government.  In March 2008, on the verge of the Great Recession, 22 Republican states were net recipients of federal subsidies, while only 10 Democratic-leaning states were. Sixteen blue states were net payers of federal taxes, compared to only one red state, Texas (thanks to the oil and gas industry).

5. Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone delves into how the Republican Party became the party of the 1%.

The nation is still recovering from a crushing recession that sent unemployment hovering above nine percent for two straight years. The president, mindful of soaring deficits, is pushing bold action to shore up the nation’s balance sheet. Cloaking himself in the language of class warfare, he calls on a hostile Congress to end wasteful tax breaks for the rich. “We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share,” he thunders to a crowd in Georgia. Such tax loopholes, he adds, “sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary – and that’s crazy.”

Preacherlike, the president draws the crowd into a call-and-response. “Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver,” he demands, “or less?”

The crowd, sounding every bit like the protesters from Occupy Wall Street, roars back: “MORE!”

The year was 1985. The president was Ronald Wilson Reagan.

Reagan, a liberal in the eyes of the 2012 GOP nominee field.

Fun Fact Of The Day:  The National Priorities Project points out that those tax cuts this year will give the richest 1 percent of Americans a bigger tax cut than the other 99 percent will receive in average income:

The average Bush tax cut in 2011 for a taxpayer in the richest one percent is greater than the average income of the other 99 percent ($66,384 compared to $58,506).

Song Of The Day: “Plenty Is Never Enough” – The Shins

Quote Of The Day: “I admit it — the liberal media were never that powerful, and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures.” – William Kristol