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The Morning Grumpy – 4/13/12

Filed under: Morning Grumpy

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

1. How did Mitt Romney get so rich? Let Robert Reich explain how private equity firms work.

2. George Will, yes, George Will, thinks it might be time to legalize drugs in America.

Would the public health problems resulting from legalization be a price worth paying for injuring the cartels and reducing the costs of enforcement?

Sadly, this is not an issue about which America can have an honest discussion. The hyper-partisan attacks on the first elected official or party to make this a legislative issue would be beyond the scope of just about anything we’ve ever seen before. Fact is, there are more people in American prisons (7.1M) than ever before and the cost to keep them there is astronomical while we continue to become less effective at reducing recidivism.

A $200 (street level drug) transaction can cost society $100,000 for a three-year sentence. And imprisoning large numbers of dealers produces an army of people who, emerging from prison with blighted employment prospects, can only deal drugs.

It’s time to begin the glacial movement towards potential change in our national drug policy, don’t you think? Can we be adult about it?

3. The seedy underbelly of online social networks are populated by the self-anointed social media experts who wish to scrape a few bucks off the bottom of the marketing barrel by helping brands and businesses better shape their relationships with consumers. It’s an execrable career field filled with loads of unqualified people whose only training in the field is their frequent use of Twitter and Facebook. 

Generally speaking, I’m with Bill Hicks when it comes to marketing professionals as I don’t understand why people want to better shape my relationship with soap or my grocery store. I don’t want advertising and marketing in my face at all times and I’m annoyed with people who deign to make that happen.

Anyhow, “get off my lawn” rant over and on to the reason I started down this path…a message from Banksy about advertisements.

 4. Get your indignation engine roaring, welfare fraud is afoot! I’m quite certain this will be a major topic of discussion at the WNY outrage outlets, like WBEN call-in-shows, SpeakUpWNY, and Stefan Mychajliw’s show. Evidently, a local lottery winner was not only cashing his weekly lottery check, but also scamming New York State out of $4,000 in welfare benefits. The horr-uh.

Anthony Palermo has been receiving $1,000 a week since he won on the New York State Lottery’s “Win for Life” scratch-off game 14 years ago.

The 51-year-old Albion resident might continue collecting his winnings from a prison cell, if he’s convicted on three felony charges for allegedly cashing in on more than $4,000 in public assistance benefits he wasn’t entitled to, authorities in Orleans County reported today.

Palermo received more than $4,000 in benefits dating back to last fall from Medicaid and the Home Energy Assistance Program, according to Orleans County officials.

Public records show that Palermo sold off the remainder of his earnings for a lump sum advance from a Maryland financial firm last year. Lump sum payments for those with structured settlements or annuities can come with predatory transaction fees and rates and oftentimes the settlements are paid out with gift cards and debit cards, which result in more fees for the beneficiary. While we don’t know all the details, its not surprising that Mr. Palermo found himself in a bad financial position.

I’m troubled by how indignant people can get over stories of low level fraud and minor abuse of a system that serves millions of people. Meanwhile, our indignation for corporations who commit large scale larceny, bring our economy to its knees, or act as war profiteers pales in comparison. It’s probably because we can more easily conceptualize $4,000 than we can $4,000,000,000. Or maybe there are other reasons…

5. Who is this man and how did his ass take over the Internet? Goatse, revealed.

Sometime in the late 20th century a naked man bent over, spread his ass and took a picture. Eventually that picture, known as Goatse, became one of the most venerable memes in internet history.

Everyone remembers their first Goatse (pronounced Goat-see). I’m not sure the exact circumstances of my first, but I do recall the weightless horror after clicking on the link as a greasy teenager, screwing around online between rounds of the first-person shooter Counter-Strike, that directed me to the now-defunct Goatse shock site: www.Goatse.cx.

If you’ve seen the Goatse photo, which was the original RickRoll, I suspect you’ll relate to the following sentence.

Your first Goatse hits you in waves, rocking between confusion and disgust as the physiological reality of the picture resolves gradually, magic-eye style.

Indeed it does. Indeed.

Fact Of The Day: The Great Lakes contain 21% of the Earth’s available fresh surface water.

Quote Of The Day: “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies” – Thomas Jefferson

Video Of The Day: You’re probably peeling your banana the wrong way, let me fix that for you.

Cartoon Of The Day: “Henpecked Hoboes” – Tex Avery

Song Of The Day: “Jungleland, Live at the Hammersmith Odeon, 1975” – Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – The greatest ever performance of this song. If tonight is your first Springsteen show, I hope you get to see young Jake Clemons take on his Uncle’s saxophone masterpiece. R.I.P. Big Man, we’ll be thinking of you tonight.

Follow me on Twitter: @ChrisSmithAV

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


  • Mike_Chmiel

    People get more outraged by small scale welfare scams than massive Wall Street frauds for two reasons : (1) it is easier to understand how welfare fraud works; and (2) because we have been socialized to look down on poorer people while simultaneously idolizing the wealthy.

    That said, “Palermo” is unlikely to be a minority’s last name, so this story isn’t going to provoke the normal amount of local outrage.

  • 01202013

    Boy you just sucked Robert Reich’s political lies because it fits into you skewed concept.

    But if it makes you feel good about why you have not accomplished much and need to be a morning grumpy then enjoy it.

    • Mike_Chmiel

       Please list these lies, along with actual facts to refute them.

  • Woah, Bruce is only 25 in that video–incredible performance for such a young person.