All the news and views fit to consume during your morning grumpy.
1. Over 100 readers and Facebook contacts have sent me this article from Reuters in which a guy from Cleveland claims to be the originator of the Cash Mob concept.
At the first International Cash Mob day on Saturday, wallet- toting activists gathered in as many as 200 mobs in the United States and Europe, with the aim of spending at least $20 a piece in locally owned businesses, according to the concept’s founder, Cleveland lawyer Andrew Samtoy.
“It’s my baby but I’m not a helicopter parent,” said Samtoy.
The 32-year-old dreamed up the Cash Mob idea last year after spending time in Britain during summer riots that unleashed looting in cities including London, Manchester and Birmingham. His first Cash Mob, in Cleveland last November, brought around 40 shoppers packing in to the Visible Voice book shop.
The Buffalo News is the earliest mention of a cash mob on a Lexis-Nexis search as they reported on our first event in August of 2011. Also, the reporter from Reuters could have checked Wikipedia or done a Google search and referenced any of the 35 previous articles proclaiming Buffalo as the home of the idea. While Mr. Samtoy has done a great job organizing events in his own community, advocating for the cause, and recruiting organizers in other cities, the article was just incorrect.
Just for the record, the Cash Mob concept is open source and should stay that way. It shouldn’t be monetized and the only people who should benefit financially are the businesses we support. As long as it stays that way, I don’t really care who gets credit for the idea. But, I don’t like lazy journalism either. So, let’s move on.
2. Chris Collins taking on David Bellavia in NY-27? My money is on Bellavia.
“We’re not going to die!” yells Staff Sergeant David Bellavia as his rattled platoon of soldiers takes cover from machine-gun fire in the streets of Fallujah. The platoon has been ordered to hunt down and kill a group of insurgents hiding somewhere in a block of 12 darkened houses.
Bellavia, a wiry 29-year-old who resembles Sean Penn, is pacing the street, preparing to go back in. Bellavia’s bluster on the battlefield contrasts with his refinement off it. During lulls in the fighting, he could discuss the Renaissance and East European politics. “Get on me now,” he says, ordering his squad to close in. There is little movement. He asks who has more ammunition. Two soldiers stand up and join him in the street. “Here we go, Charlie’s Angels,” Bellavia says. “You don’t move from my goddam wing. You stay on my right shoulder. You stay on my left shoulder. Hooah?” The men nod. “I wanna go in there and go after ’em.”
Collins might be able to outspend him, but Bellavia will out-hustle and out-work him. Also, Michael Caputo will be managing Bellavia’s campaign and I’ll lay money on his skills when paired with a candidate who is not Carl Paladino. Either way, it’s going to be an exciting three months…if you like horrible, nasty, political campaigns.
3. This week, the United States Supreme Court will hear the longest arguments in 4o years over an issue which could make-or-break Obamacare and have resounding effects on the Presidential election. NPR gives us an excellent primer on the issue.
Assuming the Supreme Court rules that there can be an immediate challenge to the law, the big issue, the central controversy, is the so-called individual mandate.
It requires everyone to have health insurance, in order to spread the risk and pay for the things everyone wants in this bill — namely, affordable coverage for everyone, with no discrimination based on previous medical conditions, and a requirement that insurance companies generally charge people in the same age groups the same rates.
Those challenging the law argue that this is the first time the federal government has required people to buy something they may not want, and that the government simply doesn’t have that much power. The government counters that everyone consumes health care and that the only question is when.
A fascinating examination about the role of government and how conservative legal scholars like Alito, Roberts, and Scalia perceive the mandate, which was initially a conservative idea.
4. Think raising state income taxes on the rich results in them relocating to lower taxed municipalities? Think again.
The study, by Universeity of Massachusetts economist Jeffrey Thompson, reviews several previous studies of state tax increases and concludes that the wealthy are not only as strongly influenced as anyone else by the pull of community ties and the costs of moving but often find it easier to stay put in the face of tax increases than lower-paid workers do. Wealthier citizens also frequently feel that it is worth paying higher taxes to obtain increased public services.
Well, unless your name is Tom Golisano, that is.
There are actual civil society organizations on the ground in Uganda, composed of Ugandans. Maybe we should take our lead on this from them, instead of paying attention to this white man’s burden horseshit?
The discussion grew more nuanced and interesting, but Colin’s point remained, the KONY movement was a manifestation of white guilt and the American savior complex. This weekend, Teju Cole also wrote about this perspective and it’s worth sharing.
One song we hear too often is the one in which Africa serves as a backdrop for white fantasies of conquest and heroism. From the colonial project to Out of Africa to The Constant Gardener and Kony 2012, Africa has provided a space onto which white egos can conveniently be projected. It is a liberated space in which the usual rules do not apply: a nobody from America or Europe can go to Africa and become a godlike savior or, at the very least, have his or her emotional needs satisfied. Many have done it under the banner of “making a difference.”
A great think piece.
6. Oh, that individual health care mandate thing I mentioned a few lines back? Let’s ask Mitt Romney make the conservative policy case for the mandate…
The principle of personal responsibility.
Quote Of The Day: “I used to work at McDonald’s making minimum wage. You know what that means when someone pays you minimum wage? You know what your boss was trying to say? It’s like, ‘Hey if I could pay you less, I would, but it’s against the law.'” – Chris Rock
Video Of the Day: Biggie The Tank Engine
Cartoon Of The Day (Bugs Bunny Week): Long Haired Hare
Song Of The Day: “Hey Hey Uh Huh” – The Verbs
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