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The Afternoon Grumpy – 2/21/2012

21 Feb

All the news and views to consume during your afternoon grumpy…


1. Yesterday, I linked to a speech that explored the devolution of the newspaper. Today, allow me to propose a mission statement for a “new” local media outlet.

Providing the right information, at the right time, in the right context – optimized for all individual user platforms and designed for collaboration and sharing.

The production and dissemination of the content would look a little like this.

I think it’s time we start thinking about what this business looks like, how the idea gets funded, how it earns revenue, and how it sustains and grows.

2. The crazy cost of becoming the President of The United States.

With the added influence of SuperPAC money, the 2012 election is poised to blow away all previous spending records.

3. In the latest Chicago Booth poll of economists, four out of five economists agree: The stimulus created jobs.

Question A: Because of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the U.S. unemployment rate was lower at the end of 2010 than it would have been without the stimulus bill.


4. The 99 Percent Plan is a joint Roosevelt Institute/ series that explores how progressives can shape a new vision for the economy. This is the third essay in the series.

The fate of the labor movement is the fate of American democracy. Without a strong countervailing force like organized labor, corporations and wealthy elites advancing their own interests are able to exert undue influence over the political system, as we’ve seen in every major policy debate of recent years.

Yet the American labor movement is in crisis and is the weakest it’s been in 100 years.

Is there a chance for labor to re-assert itself as the counterbalance to growing inequality?

The labor movement has played a crucial role in advancing economic justice in the workplace and in politics. Union membership raises median weekly earnings and reduces race- and gender-based income gaps, and union workers are much more likely to receive health care and pension benefits than workers who are not members of a labor union. The decline of organized labor is directly linked to the rise in economic inequality over the last 40 years and the onset of a “Second Gilded Age.” The decline in union density coupled with the decline in the real value of the minimum wage explains one-third of the dramatic growth in wage inequality since the early 1970s.

Does America care? Or are they happy to subsist at the pleasure of plutocrats?

5. The Urbanophile blog breaks down the nine reasons behind Detroit’s decline. Many of these issues also contributed to Buffalo’s decline.

Detroit did not always have a relatively weak downtown. The city’s core was a strong retail and commercial center through much of the 20th century, with the advertising, legal and financial offices that supported the auto industry. At some point, Detroit’s downtown became secondary as an employment center to the factory locations scattered throughout the city and metro area. Just like homeowners, offices began relocating to the suburbs. By the ‘60s more and more people saw downtown as a retail center as opposed to an office center, and one that could not compete with suburban malls.

Our cities are inherently linked and we could be working hand-in-hand with Detroit to explore opportunities for synergy and policy cooperation.

Fact Of The Day: On Feb. 21, 1965, former Black Muslim leader Malcolm X was shot and killed by assassins identified as Black Muslims as he was about to address a rally in New York City; he was 39.

Quote Of The Day: “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X

Cartoon Of The Day: “Hair Raising Hare” – Bugs Bunny and Gossamer

Video Of The Day: Reprogrammed bears from the Old Showbiz Pizza Place performing “Love In This Club” by Usher

Song Of The Day, Mardi Gras Edition: “Whole Lotta Soul” by Tab Benoit 

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