Tag Archives: George W. Bush

The Morning Grumpy 5/4/12

4 May

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

1. In yesterday’s grumpy, I linked to this article that demonstrated how the “vast majority of workers have been closed out of the country’s gains for nearly 40 years” as wages have remained stagnant while productivity has risen.

Today, let’s take a look at where income growth has actually increased.

Compensation for chief executives at American companies grew 15 percent in 2011 after a 28 percent rise in 2010.

Oh, but that’s an anomaly, right? Not at all, my dear.

From 1978 to 2011, CEO compensation increased more than 725 percent, a rise substantially greater than stock market growth and the painfully slow 5.7 percent growth in worker compensation over the same period.

Once upon a time, when America had a thriving middle class, CEOs made but 26 times more than the average employee in their company. Now?

They now make roughly 206 times more than workers, EPI found. The pay isn’t always tied to the performance of their businesses — as ThinkProgress has noted, CEOs at companies like Bank of America often pocket huge pay increases even as the company’s stock price plummets and jobs are cut.

Yes, our income inequality is now worse than Ivory Coast and Pakistan. Meanwhile, one of Romney’s advisers is telling us that skyrocketing inequality is good for America. Robber Barons for Romney!

2. Is Mitt Romney an erstwhile centrist republican from Massachusetts, Tea Party enthusiast, or is he just George W. Bush 2.0? Well, a quick look at the people Mitt Romney has brought on to his team as foreign policy and national security advisers, it would appear that he is turning into Bush’s “Mini-Me“.

Mitt Romney announced today his Foreign Policy and National Security Advisory Team. This group draws on a wide array of experience to advise Governor Romney on foreign policy strategy, defense issues, intelligence matters, counterterrorism, and regional policy. These advisers will assist Governor Romney as he presents his vision for restoring American leadership in the world and securing our enduring interests and ideals abroad.

Twenty-three of Romney’s most senior advisers formerly advised President G.W. Bush. Many of them held key decision-making positions within the Bush-Cheney administration. So, if you like the idea of pre-emptive war and an Israel-first at all costs foreign policy, you’re gonna love the Romney team.

You’ll find such neoconservative warriors as John Bolton (mustache enthusiast and former ambassador to the UN), Meghan O’Sullivan (deputy national security adviser on Iraq and Afghanistan under Bush), Cofer Black (former head of Blackwater), and Robert Kagan (former head of the Project for a New American Century, the grandaddy of neocon think tanks). It’s not odd that Romney would retain Bush advisers, as they are the most experienced Republicans available, but he did really seem to cherrypick the really awful ones, didn’t he?

3. Hey! Someone found a relevant use for the (IMO) completely useless social media tool, Foursquare.

Researchers from CMU’s School of Computer Science (SCS) have developed an algorithm that takes the check-ins generated when foursquare members visit participating businesses or venues, and clusters them based on a combination of the location of the venues and the groups of people who most often visit them.

This information is then mapped to reveal a city’s Livehoods. Wired’s blog says, Livehoods is “taking a big swing” at mining insights into “cultural habits and how societies flow.”

And the buzz among Twitterers includes, “Brilliant research project — Using Foursquare to understand the ‘true spirit’ of a city’s neighborhoods.”

Maps for New York, San Francisco and Pittsburgh are available on the project website. People can help choose the next city to map by voting on the Livehoods Facebook page.

I would imagine that a foursquare map of Buffalo would look very busy around HSBC Arena, Pearl Street Grill, Elmwood Avenue, and Hertel Avenue surrounded by wide swaths of emptiness. However, getting some granularity into the areas that ARE busy, would be a very useful tool for our (yet to be hired) urban planning staff at City Hall.

4. America is its own worst enemy, says Foreign Policy magazine

If America stopped searching for goblins under the bed, it might actually be able to reset its economic priorities and start investing in the things that would make the country stronger, more prosperous, and safer again, from infrastructure to energy security to better schools.

This is so true that it hurts to read it.

5. An advice column from “Ayn Randers”, courtesy of McSweeneys.

Dear Ayn,

My baby daughter is turning one year old, and I don’t know if I should throw her a birthday party or not. What should I do? I’d appreciate any advice.

One is the Loneliest Number           
Dear One,

DO NOT reward this tiny unemployed Jew with a party. Your so-called “baby” is most likely an immigrant (read: LAZYBONES) who doesn’t contribute to her family’s income and gives terrible, poor-people gifts like HD-DVDs and sand. Unrelated question: does your baby have any spare hands?

Hope this helps,

Awesome. Have a great weekend!

Fact Of The Day: If all of Earth’s water were put into a sphere, it would have a diameter of 860 miles, with a volume of about 332,500,000 cubic miles. This picture puts it in perspective.

Quote Of The Day: “Beware of he who would deny you access to information for in his heart he dreams himself your master.” Commissioner Pravin Lal, U.N. Declaration of Rights

Video Of The Day: “The Last Creed Fan”

Laugh Of The Day: “Fear In The Media” – Doug Stanhope with a reminder that nothing of any significance will ever happen to us.

Song Of The Day: “Unsatisfied” – The Replacements

Follow me on Twitter for the “incremental grumpy” @ChrisSmithAV

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

What’s Spanish for “Gastarbeiter”?

27 Apr

There are books’ worth of statutes, regulations, procedural rules, and background information on the issues of police stops. Generally, a cop can briefly detain you and ask you questions if he has a reasonable suspicion that you’ve committed, are committing, or are about to commit a crime. Definitions like “reasonable suspicion” get litigated because they’re open to so much interpretation.

The legalities and constitutional issues surrounding these types of police interactions are what separate us from police states. Nothing can be done arbitrarily or with impunity.

But Arizona recently passed a law allowing state law enforcement to detain and demand proof of citizenship from people who they reasonably suspect may be in the country illegally.

In other words, it’s a license for police officers to stop, detain, and investigate someone who “looks” or “acts” like an undocumented immigrant. There’s no question that it’s directed towards illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America, so it will exclusively be affecting the day to day lives of Arizona Latinos.

I guess this law is a whole lot easier than cracking down on people who illegally employ undocumented immigrants. It’s the lazy, unconstitutional way out. Unconstitutional because at its essence it requires Hispanic people present in Arizona to keep proof of citizenship on their person at all times and subjects them – and only them – to a “papers, please” police state reality. This law makes it a crime for a Latino person in Arizona to not always carry their immigration documents – Green Card, Passport. It’s not just a 4th and 5th Amendment problem, it’s also a massive equal protection issue. Irish immigrants, I suspect, won’t be subjected to these rules because…well, you know.


What other ethnic group will we single out for especial treatment? The Republican Party makes occasional progress with Latino voters because they tend to be more socially conservative, but then they pass and support laws like this ones and drive them into the waiting Democrats’ arms.

Megan McCain leaves this thought in her piece:

Arizona is ground zero for the wingnuts. There’s a problem with illegal immigration and no one wants to do anything constructive about it so you get crap like this.

It’s no surprise whatsoever that the teabaggers, given a direct and palpable example of what an unconstitutional police state looks like, remain silent. Because it’s only bad when Democrats do it. Especially Democrats from Africa or Chicago or California who “pal around with terrorists”. Even George W. Bush recognized the need for comprehensive immigration policy reform, but was thwarted by those in his own party who are more narrow-minded (!) and refused to go along with anything that could be called “amnesty”. Because “amnesty” is an epithet, I guess.

First American Latino who gets detained will sue, and this law is not long for this world. It’s a shame that the United States’ immigration policy is mired in the 1960s, but God forbid we make tough decisions and change things to stem the illegality. A reasonable guest worker program would be completely acceptable, document the undocumented, permit these immigrants doing menial work you won’t do to do the work, send money home to Mexico, and be taxed on all of it.

Just over 30% of Arizona’s population is of Hispanic origin – twice the national average. 1/3 of the state’s population now has to carry citizenship papers on their person in their own country. Because some people of Hispanic origin are doing something bad, the lazy and stupid solution is to criminalize the entire population.

It beats thinking. Or problem-solving.

Sometimes, it’s not unlike the Buffalo mentality – see how everyone else does it relatively effectively, and then do the exact opposite.

There will be a march in Buffalo for immigration reform on May 1st, starting at Goodell and Main at 2pm, ending up at MLK, Jr. Park. Immigration is an important issue, and we’re hurting our own economic growth by keeping skilled people out. We’re also hurting ourselves and turning our backs on the Constitution when we single out particular ethnic groups for special police scrutiny.