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The Morning Grumpy – 3/12/2012

13 Mar

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

The Grumpy has been on hiatus the past few days as I’m assigned to work projects scattered around the Southern Tier of New York State. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time driving through the small towns and devolving villages of Allegany, Orleans, Wyoming, Cattaraugus, and Steuben Counties these past few weeks and I’m processing what to make of it. It’ll give us something to discuss later this week. Anyhow, on with the grumpy.

1. Brian Castner, a talented writer, excellent friend, veteran, hero, Dad, outdoorsman, and all around swell guy from WNY has written his first book and you’ll want to read it when it is published later this year. Reserve your copy now on Amazon.com.

The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows is the intertwined story of two journeys: an outward struggle of surviving the urban combat of modern war in order to return home at all costs, and the inward journey to find the new person that emerges after undertaking such a task.

Once I got back to the United States and left the military, once I was home alone with nothing but my thoughts, I couldn’t put the war aside and move on. Even as I had trouble remembering the formative moments that comprised my former life – children being born, family milestones – small everyday occurences reminded me of each mission in Iraq, and the experience of the war endured. After countless trips to the hospital emergency room for heart attacks that never happened, I realized that the problem was in my mind. This book examines my struggle to confront the new person who came home from Iraq.

Brian is one of the most thoughtful, original, and honorable men I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting and he’ll deserve every ounce of the incredible success that is right around the corner for him. Please, consider buying his book.

Hold on for a sharp left turn…

2. Yup, Obama is killing off the oil industry. It must be true, Romney keeps saying it. His pinko green jobs plan and job killing, muslim loving, socialist agenda have really driven up gas prices and choked off our access to oil. Wait, this just in…none of that is true.

A report by six federal agencies was released early Monday on the first anniversary of a speech by President Obama in which he pledged to reduce American dependence on foreign oil imports by one-third in about a decade.

According to the study, the United States reduced net imports of crude oil last year by 10%, or 1 million barrels a day. The U.S. now imports 45% of its petroleum, down from 57% in 2008, and is on track to meet Obama’s long-term goal, the administration maintains.

Imports have fallen, in part, because the United States has increased domestic oil and gas production in recent years. U.S. crude oil production increased by an estimated 120,000 barrels a day last year over 2010, the report says. Current production, about 5.6 million barrels a day, is the highest since 2003.

Right wing propaganda machine…ENGAGE!

3. 45% of Republican voters in Alabama and 52% in Mississippi think President Obama is a muslim. New York Magazine brings the snark on the data.

It has been a while since the question of President Obama’s religion — his true religion, maybe the religion he or his “church” don’t want you to know about — has been on the national agenda. And the upcoming Alabama and Mississippi primaries are an opportune time to raise it, since Republicans from Alabama and Mississippi are a discerning bunch and especially apt to see through the president’s tissue of lies.

32% of voters in Alabama and 46% in Mississippi are also either unsure or believe that interracial marriage should be illegal.There is power in racist dog whistles.

Newt cleans up with the ‘interracial marriage should be illegal’ crowd in both states. He’s up 40-27 on Romney with them in Mississippi and 37-28 with them in Alabama.

Finally, the best news which feeds the “Holy Shit, southerners are nuts” meme.

Finally there’s considerable skepticism about evolution among GOP voters in both Alabama and Mississippi. In Alabama only 26% of voters believe in it, while 60% do not. In Mississippi just 22% believe in it, while 66% do not.

GOP 2012!

4. Rush Limbaugh: A bully gets bullied by Pat Sajak’s audience in 1990.

In 1990, a year or two before he became super-famous, Rush Limbaugh guest-hosted Pat Sajak’s short-lived talk show. It didn’t go so well: The taping was disrupted by a group of angry activists who were seated throughout the audience. A visibly rattled Limbaugh was unable to regain control of the show. “He came out full of bluster and left a very shaken man,” a CBS executive later said. “I had never seen a man sweat as much in my life.” Eventually Limbaugh made it to the first commercial break, and then, barely, to the next one; when the show returned from the second break, the activists were gone—along with the rest of the audience. A demoralized Limbaugh then delivered self-serving closing remarks to an empty studio.

5. A nation of “snobs”, at least according to Rick Santorum. College enrollment in America is surging…which will hopefully lead to fewer Republican voters.

In a recent poll 94% of parents said they expected their children to go to college. And in January almost 60% of Americans aged 16 to 24 were enrolled in school, an all-time high for that month.

The recession added an extra kick. Enrolment rose from 57% in the 2007-08 academic year to 59% in 2010-11.

This trend sheds light on one of the central mysteries of the recovery: why so many people have left the labour force. The proportion of the working-age population that is working or looking for work (the participation rate) has fallen from 66% in 2007 to below 64% in January. This has been an important part of the reduction in the headline unemployment figure. With fewer people entering the labour force, there are fewer job hunters to be counted as unemployed.

The drop has been by far the largest among 16-to-24-year-olds; their participation rate has dropped almost five percentage points since 2007. Alan Krueger, the chairman of Mr Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, reckons this can explain almost a third of the drop in the overall participation rate.

Interesting data point to consider.

Fact Of The Day: The Democratic party is represented by a donkey because during the Election Of 1828, Andrew Jackson’s political rivals tried to label him a “jackass,” which amused him to the point that he used the donkey to symbolize his party.

Quote Of The Day: “You don’t need religion to have morals. If you can’t determine right from wrong then you lack empathy, not religion”

Cartoon Of The Day: “Northwest Hounded Police” – Tex Avery

Video Of The Day: The Feynman Series – “Beauty” – Incredibly powerful.

Song Of The Day: “Care of Cell 44” – The Zombies

Follow me on Twitter: @ChrisSmithAV

Email me links, tips, story ideas: chris@artvoice.com