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The Morning Grumpy – 3/2/2012

2 Mar

All the news and views fit to consume during your morning grumpy. Let’s keep it light today, eh?

Thanks to @StevoBuffalo on Twitter for the image


1. Chapter 136 in the “Why Mitt Romney Can’t Connect With Average Voters Chronicle“.

If people don’t feel like you empathize or even sympathize with their personal experience, they’ll never create a connection with you as a candidate. Romney was born into a fail-proof charmed life of success and normal people just can’t grok it.

2. President Obama calls for the end of subsidies for oil and gas companies.

President Obama asked Congress on Thursday to end $4 billion in subsidies for oil and gas companies and vowed to tackle the country’s long-term energy issues while shunning “phony election-year promises about lower gas prices.”

“You can either stand up for the oil companies, or you can stand up for the American people,” Mr. Obama said. “You can keep subsidizing a fossil fuel that’s been getting taxpayer dollars for a century, or you can place your bets on a clean-energy future.”

Republicans in Congress, struggling to regain their message as the economy improves, have latched on to rising oil prices and lobbed new accusations of culpability at the White House almost every day this week. But neither Republicans nor Democrats have been able to get legislative traction on their proposed solutions.

You might remember from yesterday’s edition of the grumpy that renewed focus on gas prices by the republicans emerged from an RNC talking point memo that has been circulated to Fox, the right wing punditry and members of Congress to ensure everyone is on the same page. You might also remember from Monday’s edition of the grumpy when I linked to the real reason for the sustained escalation of gas prices…commodity speculation and the people behind it.

3. FINALLY! A Republican policy idea that I can get behind.

A mustachioed Republican congressman from Maryland is standing up for the rights of the men (and the women) who dare to have hair above their upper lip.

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett has introduced the Stimulus To Allow Critical Hair Expenses Act — or STACHE Act — to give people with mustaches a $250 tax break each year.

“Given the clear link between the growing and maintenance of mustaches and incremental income … mustache maintenance costs qualify for and should be considered as a deductible expense,” the paper said.

Damn straight, isn’t it time to end the tyranny against those of us with facial hair?

4. Stephen Gordon at The Speculist posits that with the ever increasing availability of online goods and services, universities, book stores, and retail shops, will all shrink to the size of coffee shops.

My Christmas shopping this year was 90% through Amazon Prime. Not having to fight the crowds and having it delivered free of charge to my home is a big plus, but as with the Kindle store, the online retail selection is much better that even the largest retail outlet.

Which is more enjoyable: Starbucks or Walmart?  For the sane: Starbucks.  So if you can accomplish your Walmart shopping at Starbucks, why do it any other way?

The same holds true for offices.

The need for offices grew as the equipment for mental work was developed starting in the late 19th centuries. That need appears to have peaked about 1980. It was a rare person who could afford the computers, printers, fax machines, and mailing/shipping equipment of that time.

Now a single person with $500 can duplicate most of those functions with a single laptop computer.  So the remaining function of the office is to be that place that clients know to find you… and that kids and the other distractions of home can’t.

Going forward the workplace will need the same sort of flexibility that I described for education. Groups for one project will form and then disband and then reform with new members for the next project. What will that workplace look like? Probably closer to Starbucks than Bob Par’s cubicle.

I couldn’t agree more.

5. President Obama sat down for a podcast interview with Bill Simmons of ESPN and reaffirmed his coolness with a huge swath of the population. As a tip for Romney (who tries to affirm his regular guy cred by referencing his NASCAR owner friends), this is how you do it.

“Yes. My crossover is solid.”

What a natural, friendly guy with a great handle on sports…also, you had to know that Omar would be his favorite character from The Wire, right?

Fact Of The Day: Spaghetti alla puttanesca literally translates to “whore’s style spaghetti” in Italian. Discovery of this fact now makes this my favorite Italian dish.

Quote Of The Day: “Death is caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over a long period of time.” – George Carlin

Cartoon Of The Day: “The TV Of Tomorrow” – Tex Avery

Video Of The Day: “Bully” – Trailer for the new documentary

Song Of The Day: “Don’t Owe You A Thang” – Gary Clark Jr.

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