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The Morning Grumpy – 3/7/2012

7 Mar

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

1. Would a republican consider you to be a slut? Take the quiz and find out!

2. Yesterday, Michael E. O’Hanlon, Director of Research and Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, 21st Century Defense Initiative at The Brookings Institute testified before Congress about the U.S. Defense Budget. O’Hanlon identifies changes in force structures, weapons plans and other military programs that could be considered, along with the rough ten-year savings that could result.

As former chairman of the joint chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, has persuasively argued, federal debt and with it the possible erosion of our national economic foundations have become national security threats themselves. I begin from the premises that the right dose of defense budget cutbacks, as part of comprehensive deficit reduction, can strengthen American power and influence over time.

O’Hanlon suggest somewhere in the neighborhood of $45BN per year in defense cutbacks over ten years. It’s an adult conversation and a massive rethinking of our force structures and expenditures. Two things that Congress does not like to consider. However, it’s necessary.  U.S. defense spending as a share of the global total is about 45 percent. With a struggling economy and Republicans demanding irrational tax cuts at every turn, this spending just isn’t sustainable.

3. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if The Buffalo News envisioned journalism as a multimedia, open source, collaborative, timely process with an integrated real time feedback system? It’s called “open journalism” and it would look a little something like this:

The sooner that The Buffalo News figures out that this is the future, the better off we’ll all be. Can they adjust? Will they adjust? Or will we keep hearing excuses about Buffalo not being tech-savvy enough whilst the management doubles down on coupons and wire stories as a means to improve circulation and increase margin?

4. The (37 and counting) companies who no longer advertise on the Rush Limbaugh radio program, organized on a Pinterest board along with their statements explaining why they chose to do so.

5. Historian Michael Kazin pronounced the the Port Huron Statement, “the most ambitious, the most specific and the most eloquent manifesto in the history of the American left”. This year, that document turns 50 years old. It’s just as vital now as it was then and it might just be time for us to embrace its message yet again.

We are dismayed by the timidity of our elders and the privatism of our peers. The organizations we know, in which we are to be socialized as citizens, are unradical, in that they treat only of symptoms, not roots, or unpolitical, in that they are impelled more by outrage and static protest than measured analysis and assertive program, or simply hesitant, skirting the issues and blurring them with rhetoric, rather than admitting of problems both intellectual and political and nevertheless seeking a broad analysis of social issues.

I read this document each year and my perception of its meaning has steadily evolved. When I was younger, it served as the basis for my politics. In my twenties, it seemed silly and utopian. In my early thirties, it made me wish for a time when I was less cynical. Now, in my late thirties, it has come full circle for me and I see it as the necessary foundation for a new left.

The right wing operates with exceptional message discipline and order while the left encourages open discussion and respects different viewpoints which leads to compromise with republicans who are tilting ever rightward toward their conservative base. We need the message discipline of the right if we’re to pull the Democratic Party towards the progressive base and re-orient our politics in the actual center. The Port Huron Statement still stands as the best example of a left wing manifesto.

Fact Of The Day: A huge volume of space that includes the Milky Way and super-clusters of galaxies is flowing towards a mysterious, gigantic unseen mass named mass astronomers have dubbed “The Great Attractor,” some 250 million light years from our Solar System.

Quote Of The Day: “The very existence of flame-throwers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, “You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.” – George Carlin

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

Video Of the Day: – Doing viral online advertising the right way. (They are not an AV advertiser, just love the campaign) One day online and they get to the front page of Reddit, Slashdot and become a Twitter trending topic. Nice.

Song Of The Day: “Sinister Kid” – The Black Keys

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