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The Morning Grumpy – 3/28/12

28 Mar

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


1. What is Mitt Romney’s biggest problem? He’s an asshole and nobody likes him. His team has yet to come up with a strategy to deal with the fact that Mitt is the guy who fired your Dad. Around these parts, this is known as “Collins-itis”.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll tells you everything you need to know.

That’s a big divide between he and Obama. Interesting how Obama’s favorable ratings have remained high while his job approval numbers are more volatile.

2. Who or what in Buffalo and WNY is connecting companies to global markets, targeting regional efforts for export production, promoting our regional advantages, and selling the Buffalo metropolitan brand? Is it Buffalo Niagara Enterprise? Buffalo Niagara Partnership? World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara? Who is coordinating any effort that might be underway? Is there a plan in place? I ask because I just finished reading through a Brookings report about Metropolitan Export strategies and I was excited to learn about the work being done by Brookings with regional economic development leaders in Syracuse. The work in Syracuse will primarily focus on building stronger ties to the Canadian economy and increasing their export pipeline.

U.S. exports, a bright spot in the lethargic economic recovery, have now expanded for 10 straight quarters—two-and-a-half years. Alongside an improving jobs picture, the trend offers further evidence of an economy on the mend. Yet, as the economy improves and the dollar strengthens, how to keep export momentum going, and the good paying jobs exports create at home, needs to be a long-term focus of American growth and competitiveness goals.
Yet, the share of U.S. firms that sell a product or good outside our borders has not budged past 1 percent, despite decades of domestic and overseas services and programs dedicated to helping companies export. 
The initiative is aimed at helping disparate economic development agencies focus efforts to bring broader regional success. I’d love to hear what the County Executive or his Deputy have to say about this idea and whether or no they are open to piggybacking on the Syracuse effort in some way, or at least learning from it.

3. Three reasons to remain calm about gas prices. We’ve been here before.

Prices in constant, 2012 dollars. Note how things were stable for quite some time until Bush decided to destabilize the entire Middle East with a war of choice.

4. If PPACA is overturned by The Supreme Court, the name Donald Verilli will go down in legal flameout history. Obama’s Solicitor General came down with a case of the stammering flopsweats and seemed incredibly unprepared for even the most basic questions.

Stepping up to the podium, Verrilli stammered as he began his argument. He coughed, he cleared his throat, he took a drink of water. And that was before he even finished the first part of his argument. Sounding less like a world-class lawyer and more like a teenager giving an oral presentation for the first time, Verrilli delivered a rambling, apprehensive legal defense of liberalism’s biggest domestic accomplishment since the 1960s—and one that may well have doubled as its eulogy.

On the other hand, his opposition was well-prepared.

Former Solicitor General Paul Clement, who argued against the constitutionality of Obamacare, ably responded to questioning from the Democratic appointees on the court, all of whom offered more persuasive defenses of the mandate than the man who had come to the court to do so.

The transcripts are brutal. Perhaps Obama should have left Elena Kagan in the Solicitor General’s office instead of appointing her to the court. What a disaster.

5. This week in fracking

Under a new law, doctors in Pennsylvania can access information about chemicals used in natural gas extraction — but they won’t be able to share it with their patients.

There is good reason to be curious about exactly what’s in those fluids. A 2010 congressional investigation revealed that Halliburton and other fracking companies had used 32 million gallons of diesel products, which include toxic chemicals like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene, in the fluids they inject into the ground. Low levels of exposure to those chemicals can trigger acute effects like headaches, dizziness, and drowsiness, while higher levels of exposure can cause cancer.

Pennsylvania law states that companies must disclose the identity and amount of any chemicals used in fracking fluids to any health professional that requests that information in order to diagnosis or treat a patient that may have been exposed to a hazardous chemical. But the provision in the new bill requires those health professionals to sign a confidentiality agreement stating that they will not disclose that information to anyone else — not even the person they’re trying to treat.

I wonder why those companies don’t want you to know about those chemicals. Hmmm…

Fact Of The Day: There is a male birth control shot being developed in India that lasts for 10 years, and has very minimal side effects so far. In other news, Republicans will most likely cover this birth control under all insurance plans without complaint.

Quote Of The Day: “Two percent of the people think; three percent of the people think they think; and ninety-five percent of the people would rather die than think.” – George Bernard Shaw

Video Of The Day (Great Movie Speeches Week): “The Indianapolis Speech” – Jaws

Cartoon Of the Day (Bugs Bunny Week): Rabbit Of Seville

Song Of The Day: “Trouble No More” – Muddy Waters

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