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The Morning Grumpy – 4/19/12

19 Apr

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


1. The quiet and steady mission creep of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Airports, bus terminals, train stations, highways – what’s left? If you don’t like it, walk. And remember to be respectfully submissive to any TSA agents or police you encounter in your travels, especially now that the US supreme court has ruled mass strip-searches are acceptable for anyone arrested for even the most minor offence in America. If you’re rude to any TSA agent or cops, you risk being arrested on some vague catch-all charge like “disorderly conduct”. Even if the charges are later dropped, you’ll still undergo the ritual humiliation of having to strip, squat, spread ’em and show your various orifices to be empty.

Can I call America a police state now, without being accused of hyperbole?

Yes. Yes, you can.

2. Corporate profits are skyrocketing while wages remain static and hiring rates have slowed. The cause? The Great Speedup.

US productivity increased twice as fast in 2009 as it had in 2008, and twice as fast again in 2010: workforce down, output up, and voilá! No wonder corporate profits are up 22 percent since 2007, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute. To repeat: Up. Twenty-two. Percent.

Remarkable data and a good story from last year that is still relevant today. I know I’ve been victim to the speedup…have you?

3. The drug testing of welfare recipients is a cause célèbre amongst many members of the right wing. The idea is that they don’t want black people, err, drug users “living off the public teat” and allegedly suckling Joe Six Pack’s precious tax dollars. Last year, Florida implemented such a drug testing plan. Tea Party hero and Medicare fraud enthusiast, Rick Scott, alleged that this law was necessary because, he said, welfare recipients used drugs at a higher rate than the general population.

So, how did it work out? Was the state able to kick thousands of people off the dole and save some public money? No.

From July through October in Florida — the four months when testing took place before Judge Scriven’s order — 2.6 percent of the state’s cash assistance applicants failed the drug test, or 108 of 4,086, according to the figures from the state obtained by the group. The most common reason was marijuana use. An additional 40 people canceled the tests without taking them.

Because the Florida law requires that applicants who pass the test be reimbursed for the cost, an average of $30, the cost to the state was $118,140. This is more than would have been paid out in benefits to the people who failed the test, Mr. Newton said.

As a result, the testing cost the government an extra $45,780, he said.

As it turns out, 2.6% of welfare recipients used illegal drugs while the federal government estimates that 8.13% of all Floridians, age 12 and up, use illegal drugs. Excellent work, tea party!

4. We all love Wegmans, right? Consistently rated as not only one of the best supermarket chains in the nation, but also as one of the best places to work in the entire country. Wegmans is the pride of WNY. It must be cold in the shadow of a giant, as Tops was recently ranked one of the absolute worst supermarket chains in the country.

Consumer Reports recently conducted a survey of more than 24,000 shoppers to rank the best and worst out of 52 grocery store chains – and the results show just how disappointing customer experience can be at some megastores.

Tops should probably start brainstorming a new name that includes the word “bottom” or “middle.” In the Consumer Reports survey, it fell in line with the same rating as Weis, and reviews hover around 3 stars on Yelp. One reviewer on a Syracuse, NY location reported an odd smell and disorganized shelves, and another in Niagara Falls said she was frequently overcharged at the register.

In case you’re wondering, the #1 rated chain in the same survey? Wegmans. Tops, the Fredo Corleone of grocers.

5.  Rejected Mitt Romney campaign slogans, from TPElections

Fact Of The Day: Iran is the only country where mandatory contraceptive courses are required for both males and females before a marriage license can be obtained.

Quote Of The Day: “I think Pringles original intention was to make tennis balls… but on the day the rubber was supposed to show up a truckload of potatoes came. Pringles is a laid-back company, so they just said, “Fuck it, cut em up!”” – Mitch Hedberg

Video Of The Day: “The Frontier Is Everywhere” – The Sagan Series

Cartoon Of The Day: “Hound Hunters” – Tex Avery

Song Of The Day: “Goodbye Horses (AKA An Ode To Jame Gumm)” – Q Lazzarus

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