Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Next story:
Previous story:

The Morning Grumpy – 3/1/2012

Filed under: Morning Grumpy

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

1. Jon Stewart does a damn fine job every night. Regularly conducting acts of journalism with a snarky smile and pithy graphics. However, once in a while, this sole media arbiter of veracity really nails Fox/RNC News to the wall.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
I Can’t Believe It Got Better!
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

Thanks, Jon.

2. Damning Chris Fahey with faint praise.

Why is it a good thing that Mark Schroeder trusts anyone? Three years ago, I moved into the Assembly district Schroeder represents and I’d struggle to name one major initiative that he advanced or one significant legislative accomplishment in that time or in previous years. He was a South Buffalo political machine apparatchik without any sort of charisma or persuasive platform. In fact, he was so effective as a legislator that he was shuffled into the City Comptroller’s Office where he could really, umm, do something or other.

Also, what I find interesting about this mailer is Fahey’s claim that he’s an “independent democrat“. What does that even mean? From whom is he independent? He has the support of the Erie County Democratic Committee and has spent nearly his entire adult life working for either Schroeder or Higgins. Is he independent of those groups? Fahey might be a very nice and smart guy, but his campaign has told me little about his positions aside from how he agrees with Higgins on everything. Since his candidacy is related solely to Brian Higgins’s desire to have him in Albany, I fail to see a whole lot of independence ahead.

Fahey Smash Smith For Criticism. FAHEY ANGRY!

Mickey “Independent Democrat/Carl Paladino Beneficiary” Kearns is also running for the seat…as a Republican. Ugh.

3. I studied political science in college and I still dabble in the statistical analysis of voting trends and polling data. I generally don’t include that type of information here because most people find political science to be as exciting as a root canal. And I don’t blame them. However, a new site is making political science accessible to everyone, even those who abhor statistics and such. And since Rachel Maddow referenced the site during a segment last night, I thought it was time to bring it up here. Do you like data and charts? Political charts? Well, welcome to nerdvana

First topic up for discussion is the polarization of our political parties. It seems our national politics have never been nastier (untrue) or more polarized (also false), but things do seem pretty nasty and more personal in recent years.

Is it a “pox on both houses” situation as the media so often suggests with liberals pulling the Democratic Party to the hard left and the Christian conservatives pulling the national Republican Party to the right? Nope.

In this post we use DW-NOMINATE scores to examine historical patterns in the ideological distribution of the parties in Congress. Specifically, we sort Republican and Democrats in the House and Senate from most liberal to most conservative, then mark the position of the members in the 10th and 90th percentiles. For example, a Democrat in the 10th percentile would be one who is more moderate than 90% of her party colleagues, or more liberal than only 10% of the party. Likewise, a Democrat in the 90th percentile would be one who is more liberal than 90% of his co-partisans. These figures give us an idea of how party coalitions in Congress are ideologically distributed over time.

(Click to embiggen)

This chart shows a number of things:

– The years when the moderate factions of both parties controlled the agenda were incredible boom years in the American century.

– Since 1976, there has been a radical shift rightward in the Republican Party. During that same time, Democrats essentially remained static. Which is why we so often find Democrats asking why formerly Republican ideas (cap and trade, individual mandate for healthcare, DREAM Act, etc) are now considered tyrannical or communist by those same Republicans.

– The result of this dramatic race to the right has meant that policy consensus building is only found north of the center. The Republicans are simply better at messaging and discipline whereas Democrats are still looking for compromise, thus policy often ends up as individual mandates rather than Medicare for all – the position of the far left.

– The Republicans have raced so far right, so quickly, that they risk “outkicking their coverage” as it were. After this radical shift, the Republicans are left with only a few core demographic chunks of Americans – aging white voters, rural denizens, evangelical christians, corporate tycoons, and confused people. The rabid right wing rhetoric about “God, Gays, and Guns” serves to maximize turnout in the dwindling voter base, which further alienates larger constituencies.

This is a race. Can the Republicans secure enough power using their shrinking base to make long term changes to public policy that will take generations to unravel or will they shrink their base to uselessness and be forced to return to the center before they get the chance? Based on the low turnout and enthusiasm in the primary season, I’d say the latter is more likely.

4. Fervent Michigan tea partiers overwhelmingly supported Rick Santorum. If the tea party movement is about liberty and shrinking the size of government, why did they support a big government christian conservative? Oh, because limited government has little to do with it!

Limited government, separation of powers, protection of individual rights, fiscal responsibility and transparency, free trade and commerce, and taxes.

And the voters who say they support these principles have chosen, as their preferred 2012 nominee, Rick Santorum, the social conservative who says he voted contrary to his beliefs in order to be a “team player” during the big-spending, federal-government-expanding Bush Administration. Their least favorite is Ron Paul, the most consistent champion of all the issues they say that they care about most. It’s almost a  joke.

The Republican Party is a rocky place, where seeds of reason can find no purchase.

Fact Of The Day: There is enough water on Mars to cover the entire planetary surface to a depth of more than 11 meters.

Quote Of The Day: “As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.” – Adolf Hitler

Video Of The Day: Do you believe in a secular America? I’m an atheist American and I do.

Cartoon Of The Day: “Homesteader Droopy” – Tex Avery

Song Of The Day: “Johnny’s Got A Boom Boom” – Imelda May

Follow me on Twitter: @ChrisSmithAV

Email me links, tips, story ideas:

  • Bbill
  • Max

    I’ve always thought Steve Doocy premier among Murdock’s and Ailes’ village idiots and stooges. Stewart’s brilliant clip captures that; FOX has become such professional peddlers of propaganda, they don’t even pretend to edit copy as professional journalistic practices call for. One thing in Doocy’s favor: unlike Gretchen, he did bungle into telling his viewers the source of the document but I doubt that had any discernible impact among FOX’s audience.

  • Aaron Lowinger

    Great take on the Fahey/Kearns race. If politics is the arena of endless verbal sport, “Independent” is the star point guard. Independent Democract is succinct from an Independent, like Lynne Dixon. In Fahey’s case it means Higgins told him to call himself that. In Dixon’s case, it means she’s really a Republican but she had enough public profile and financial support to market herself as such.

    I have no idea what the word really means in politics but it certainly doesn’t mean independence from anything. The only thing I think it means is “I’m willing to believe I’m right all the time, even when I’m wrong.” We worship huge egos.

  • Some Guy


    No, for Lynn Dixon it means she is enrolled in the Independence Party.

  • Allen Miller

    I see know we are quoting the ravings of a mass murderer and trying to broad brush as christian beliefs.

    Here is an interesting from the prophet of the religion of peace Muhammad.

    Tabari I:267

    “And Allah taught Adam all the names as follows: He taught him the name of everything, down to fart and little fart.”

  • Allen Miller

    You know let me retract that last comment, I would not want the president to have to apologize to calm things down with the religion of peace and cause more American murders.

  • Allen Miller

    Nah on third thought, I see what fun you can have with broad brushing and entire religion with ridiculous statements. I know how much the people around her love abortions so let me give you this from the prophet of the religion of peace:


    “The Prophet said, ‘Kill the snake with two white lines on its back, for it blinds the onlooker and causes abortion.'”

  • Allen Miller

    Hey here is another hilarious one from the religion of peace:


    “The climate of Medina did not suit some people so the Prophet ordered them to drink camel urine as a medicine.”

  • Allen Miller


    My point exactly so why bother trying to give the idea that Christians have things in common with Hitler? One of your favorite criticisms around here is this is insane, that person is insane, Hitler really was insane and as a Christian I agree with nothing that Hitler said.

    • Alan Bedenko

      Chris’ point is that Hitler was as quick to fall back on “Christian values” to promote his tyranny as contemporary Republicans are to promote their tyranny of forcible re-rape of rape victims, denial of civil rights, and slow implementation of what amounts to Christian Sharia law.

      Christianity is often the crutch of the wicked. See Santorum, Rick.

  • Bernard Shakey

    Let’s clear something up, Chris.

    Mickey Kearns is a DEMOCRAT endorsed on the Republican line. Why wasn’t he endorsed by the Democrats? Well, Brian Higgins doesn’t like Kearns and shoved an inexperienced, glorified secretary down our throats.

    I know it’s good to have your “oh they’re all so corrupt tsk tsk” but Kearns is an honest guy who’s been railroaded by the party establishment.

  • Allen Miller

    No Chris’s point was a quote that was left open to the reader to interpret. It made no mention of his disagreement with Santorum or other republicans abusing Christianity to get elected.

    There is just as much use of secularism by left leaning politicians to justify personal weakness and undisciplined behavior that could be considered a crutch. Politicians get more success from appealing to emotion over thought. If that were not true they would be discussing topics like the economy, energy policies instead of HHS admins injecting straw man arguments such as contraception to help get a weak candidate like santorum elevated.

    I love how you guys mindlessly point to MSNBC videos like it is some authority to be accepted and then use ad homonym reaction by calling people FOX/LIMBAUGH/Whatever followers

  • Allen Miller

    As long as we are at stupid quotes lets do a few Obama quotes:

    “No, no. I have been practicing…I bowled a 129. It’s like — it was like Special Olympics, or something.” –making an off-hand joke during an appearance on “The Tonight Show”, March 19, 2009 (Obama later called the head of the Special Olympics to apologize)

    Fortunately Special Olympians accepted his apology and did not kill poeple

  • Allen Miller

    Here is a classic Obamaism

    “I’ve now been in 57 states — I think one left to go.” –at a campaign event in Beaverton, Oregon

  • Allen Miller

    Obama after a Kansas Tornado that killed 12 people:

    “In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died — an entire town destroyed.”

    I know few people heard these, it wasn’t like Bush said them. Then it would have been page one New York Time

  • Allen Miller

    The link did not offend me I did not even look at it just the URL. You guys are just as bad at using MSNBC as your authority as you criticize Fox watches.

  • Allen Miller

    Here was a good quote by Obama trying to prove he is bringing the races together

    “The point I was making was not that Grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn’t. But she is a typical white person, who, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know, you know, there’s a reaction that’s been bred in our experiences that don’t go away and that sometimes come out in the wrong way, and that’s just the nature of race in our society.”

  • @Allen Miller – might have had an argument until the whole 57 states thing. Clearly he mispoke. He meant 47 and 1 to go in the continental 48. Misspeaking is different than being dumb.

  • Allen Miller


    I could go on there are plenty more Navy Corps men quotes to cite. How do we know how smart Obama is? He will not release his college records and transcripts? Probably because he was there as a result of affirmative action. Bush Graduated from Harvard and Yale, hardly something a dummy does.

    How about Biden? Does he misspeak or is he dumb? We know his college records included cheating, he was caught at it. He is a constant gaffe machine. You lefties are really amazing, you want people to accept the errors of the people you worship as simple mistakes, but the mistakes of people you oppose are result of lack of intelligence. How about Al Gore, how smart is he? It’s pretty bad when you lose to someone you call an idiot, same goes for John Kerry.

  • Allen Miller

    @Alan Bedenko

    Christianity is often the crutch of the wicked.

    So how does that explain, Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao, Pol Pot? These were some of the most wicked people ever in recent history all atheist. A wicked person who performs their acts and claims to be Christian are not, they are using deception and you are buying it. The real dupe is the one who thinks the wicked are Christian and buys it.

    • Alan Bedenko

      Because Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot turned themselves into the messiah. All of those regimes relied on faith and cultist behavior to gain or maintain power. The same is true for the North Korean Kims and Castro. Thanks for bringing it up.

  • Some Guy

    Mickey Kearns wasn’t railroaded by the establishment. He interviewed before them, refused to not take the Republican endorsement and admitted he had been in discussions with them. That coupled with his past support of Republicans including Carl Paladino, made him a very unattractive choice.

  • Jim

    “All of those regimes relied on faith and cultist behavior to gain or maintain power.”

    Sounds like to ’08 election of the Messiah.

    • Alan Bedenko

      Sounds like to ’08 election of the Messiah.

      No, it doesn’t. Also, Pol Pot, Stalin, and Mao weren’t elected.

  • Aaron Lowinger

    @ Some Guy
    What difference does it make for Lynne Dixon to be registered with the Independence Party when she receives all her support and caucuses with the Republican Party? I’ll buy her ‘independence’ when the GOP runs a candidate against her in her district.

  • Bernard Shakey

    @Some Guy

    Well, actually he was in fact railroaded by the establishment. The fix was in before he went to the committee and everyone knew it. Higgins had been pushing Fahey for months and Kearns knew that, when Higgins had made nice with Lenihan, it was all over for his chances on the Democratic line.

    He did in fact support Carl for governor. Love him or hate him, at least Carl is passionate about WNY and developing this area, just like Kearns. Mr. Fahey, meanwhile, is content to take hundreds of thousands of dollars from downstate interests and to spread lies about Mr. Kearns.

  • Aaron Lowinger

    It’s really kind of sad to me that a post featuring two key criticisms of the corruption our political system – one in which a local Democratic candidate rides the coat tails of a sitting Congressman yet claims independence and another where the Republican Party is outed as directly supplying the talking points to a major media outlet – is taken over by yet another combative debate about religion.

  • Chris Smtih

    Why did I use the Hitler quote? Not to make broadbrush assumptions about christians nor to highlight Hitler’s alleged christianity. Watching a WWII program last night, they played the speech in which he said it. The quote struck me as fascinating and yet another example of people using religion as a means to shield from criticism of horrible behavior. Lots of people are awful and do atrocious things, many of them use religion to justify their actions. I thought it notable. The end.

  • Allen Miller

    So the only difference between Obama and Mao is that Obama was elected? Sounds about right.

    @Aaron Lowinger

    What the hell do you think this is the NY Times? What do you expect from a post that is pretty much a bowl of rice thrown at the wall? You have a half a dozen erratic points all leading up to a summation quote to give the impression that Santorum is Hitler. This because the author was watching the history channel and in his skewed thinking saw a correlation?

    • A summation quote that Santorum is Hitler? Yeah, not at all. It’s a compendium of links I’ve read and found interesting enough to share with the readers. I add in some of my own thoughts and VOILA! The Morning Grumpy happens. It’s not a narrative building to a conclusion.

  • Allen Miller

    Oh and Breitbart is dead, Bedenko has a little snarky smile on his face

    • Alan Bedenko

      Well, I noted that he’s dead. What more do you want? A eulogy?

      I was far more respectful of the man’s demise than he was of Ted Kennedy’s.

    • Will there be a full autopsy of Breitbart? Would love to hear more about this cocai, err, “heart condition” he had.

  • Happy advertiser

    Wow Artvoice really has gotten its money’s worth from the new columnists, if you equate noise with news.

    • Alan Bedenko

      Columnists don’t report news. Thanks, anonymous troll!

  • Bbill

    When you have to play the 57-states card, you’re losing the argument. Badly.

  • Bbill

    When these are the people with whom you identify, you’ve lost any argument. Badly.

  • Sean C.

    Whom ever equates Columnist with News needs to repeat the 6th grade.

  • Sean C.

    Excuse me “whomever”.

  • David Staba

    Allen, can I suggest that you start a blog of your own? Then you can indulge your rather curious obsession with the president without limit, and I can choose not to be bored shitless by you.

  • Christ, is there anything more tiresome than a litany of instances in which some public figure, Democrat or Republican misspoke or tripped over their own tongues? You can find hundreds of examples from any President, Senator, Governor, or whatever. So what?

    As for Breitbart…ye Gods, now there’s a fellow whose passing puts to the test my general approach of not speaking ill of the dead for a short time after they shuffle off this mortal coil.

  • Joan

    Kearns would have taken the Democratic endorsement first but the fix was in. Higgins wanted his guy in. Mickey will win, most people that I talked to and it is alot realize that when he gets in he will caucus with the Democrats and run in the Democratic primary which is only a few months away. The voters will actually decide then who is the democratic nominee not Higgins. They have to introduce us to Mr. Fahey, people do not know him and they are hoping that by spending 165 thousand dollars of downstate money that Chris is the guy. Mickey does not have that problem, he is known as a democrat and they will waste all that money on Fahey. After Mickey wins, let Chris and Fahey go at it again for round 2 where democratic voters will decide who they want.

  • Allen Miller

    @David Staba Fuck you.


    Yes that is true, funny how you do not notice it when the author of this post bombs us with a litany of bullet points that basically say Republicans Evil, Republicans insane, Republicans Blah Blah Blah.

    @David Staba again, don,t worry next week I am traveling working on moving up to a 1%er from a 2%er. Then you can impress everyone with your exciting never boring shitless comments. And again Fuck you.

  • Oh, Allen, do stop playing the victim. Chris ‘bombs’ you? You’re the one who has to (a) choose to come to this site, knowing what viewpoint you’re going to encounter, and then (b) choose to turn the comments threads into your own personal blathering ground for idiotic talking points. Jeebus, what a crybaby. You’ll fit right in with the one-percenters, on the off-chance you ever get there.

  • newwayofthinking

    All the talk of Chris Fahey being the brains of the Brian Higgins outfit says a lot: mostly Higgins has NO brain. I do know Chris, and yes he is a policy wonk. He has no engaging personality which as a factor that WNY voters look for. They want a person they can have a beer with, or talk to at a lawn fete.
    Mickey Kearns has his heart in the right place. He wants to do good things for the people he represents. He might run with the “lower class” South Buffalo crowd, and not the South Buffalo elite as Fahey, but that very factor just might get Kearns past this first round election (if he can get his backers to the polls on election day).
    One final thing: why does Fahey want to leave a high paying ($85k+) job for Albany’s bullshit?

  • Chris Charvella

    @Alan Miller

    Remember the good old days when you used to scold me for saying, ‘Fuck you,’ to people like you? Oh my, how times have changed.

  • Bbill