Random Musings For A New Year

31 Dec

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With the holiday season nearing it’s closure and a new year upon us, I thought it was time to cobble together a random musings post which details where my mind is at right now as both a blogger and Citizen of Buffalo. It’s one part recap of 2007 and one part resolutions for 2008…

  • I thought 2007 would be the year in which Buffalo made some tremendous strides both politically and economically. Unfortunately, it was a lot like 2006, 2005, and 2004; Iterative progress which doesn’t amount to much of a “revolution”. Positive developments can be found if you look hard enough. However, when I look back on 2007, I don’t see much progress made on addressing the massive problems of poverty, urban blight, racism, vacant properties, and failing public education system that engulf vast swaths of our urban environment. I also see little progress being made on the statewide level to address our overbearing business costs, over regulation, excessive personal tax rates, corruption, abuse of taxpayer monies, unaccountable authorities, and unresponsive elected officials. It doesn’t inspire much hope for 2008. Hey, way to kick things off with a tidal wave of optimism, eh?
  • I can’t decide which politician has been a bigger disappointment to the people of Buffalo, Byron Brown or Eliot Spitzer. Frankly, I voted for neither, so I can’t say I’m surprised they have been massive disappointments. It seems as if Mayor Brown is looking to create as little ruckus as possible while he waits for Rep. Louise Slaughter to retire. Congress is calling, don’t want to rock the boat too much and piss off any potential constituencies! Spitzer seems to lack the ability to lead or build consensus. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who was an observer of his behavior as Attorney General. State Senator Joe Bruno has effectively neutered Spitzer and without a massive Mea Culpa, I don’t see a way for Spitzer to rebuild political capital to fight back or accomplish any of his ambitious agenda.
  • The proxy war for the Democratic Party in the City of Buffalo continues unabated between Sam Hoyt and Byron Brown. Shifting allegiances in party politics, control of the Common Council, control of district committeemen, control of patronage power, control of party messaging and candidates…all of it up for grabs as Hoyt and the Party square off against Byron and Grassroots. What does any of this matter in the grand scheme of things? Absolutely nothing and is a total distraction from the business of the people. See my first point about why 2007 was like any other year…
  • Tell Bashar Issa to give me a call when he gets something significant done over at the Statler. Until then, I’d like it if he’d stop with the grand proclamations about his massive design plans to reinvigorate the entirety of Buffalo proper. He is a walking silver bullet plan to the denizens of “New Buffalo” and it is growing execeedingly tedious. To belabor his efforts and support him vociferously every time he farts in our general direction makes us look small and insignificant.
  • Piggybacking on that, I’d like to define the difference between “efforts” and “results” for people in this town as it seems as if we are so disconnected from someone actually getting something done that we often confuse the two…
    • Results – Something tangible that comes from the conscious application of effort. Something to be celebrated.
    • Efforts – The work done to achieve a particular end. Not worth celebrating.
  • The reason that Niagara Falls has failed to derive any tangible benefits from their Casino has little to do with the actual casino itself. It has everything to do with incompetent and corrupt elected leadership and a lack of planning to build anything around the casino. How is it Barry Snyder’s problem that NFR and Cordish have done absolutely nothing with the property they own? People might go outside the casino if there was a place for them to go or something for them to do! The casino has generated millions in tax revenue for the city and they have done nothing with it to build or promote spinoff businesses around it.
  • Buildings, museums, and a “sense of place” do not create economic development. Pro-business policies, lower tax rates, and increased density do create economic development. It is not a chicken v. egg argument…the artistic culture and beautiful buildings we celebrate here and declare as our meal ticket are a vestigial tail of our early economic boom times. When we again increase density by luring people into our region with the promise of decent schools, lower taxes, and jobs…I’ll give a shit about curb cuts, mixed use retail, faux two story buildings, and the constant cycle of business openings/closings on two streets in Buffalo.
  • My Buffalonian of The Year award goes to Michael Gainer of Buffalo ReUse, not sure if his inclusion in this list of rants is a good or bad thing for him. However, each time I get the opportunity to catch up with Michael, I am impressed by his enthusiasm, energy, leadership skills, and results driven organization. He leads a talented group of volunteers who are bound and determined to take the communal liability of vacant properties and turn them into a model for job training, community pride, leadership development, and sustainable reuse. He stays out of the politics and focuses on results. However you can, please support their mission with a tax deductible donation, purchase of building materials at their new showroom, or volunteering your time.
  • I am optimistic about Chris Collins. I will not be holding him to an arbitrarily high standard of “non-politician” nor will I be troubled if his first year in office is spent getting his feet wet and he makes a few missteps. I voted for him as I thought he would bring a “think different” approach to the office of Erie County Executive. If he is going to be successful, he’ll have to play the game of politics on some levels to accomplish anything. He is dealing with a partisan and entrenched legislature that the citizens resoundingly support (based on vote totals) and he is going to need to work with an overbearing and uncooperative Control Board to create some semblance of progress. It’s gonna be a tough year.
  • I’m going to spend more time in 2008 documenting progress in Buffalo’s suburbs and the region as a whole. I am exhausted by the endless discussions and debates with the “creative class” when it comes to issues of progress, preservation, and economic development in our urban core. However, if someone wants to talk about a regional master plan for the waterfront, economic development, consolidation of IDA’s, rapid transit, abolition of the BMHA, regional housing plans, regional governmental consolidation of services and operations, count me in.
  • I’m hoping 2008 is the year in which we all stop trying so hard to agree and we start demanding tangible results from our legislators, councilmen, elected and non-elected leaders, and community activists. Everyone should be open to criticism and we should all demand better.
  • I’m hoping more people call me an asshole. I’m already on several political and cultural blacklists in this town due to my opinions and actions…let’s close that loop and make me persona non grata anywhere stupid ideas are thrown about.
  • Finally, something I’ve been wanting to say to the citizens of Buffalo for a long, long time…inspired by the words of Tyler Durden.  Buffalo, you are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying northeastern urban city as found elsewhere. We do not have the market cornered on beautiful architecture, sense of place, good food, or anything else. We all love the shared context of having grown up here and we are proud to call our city home. It may be news to you, but the people of Chicago, Austin, Portland, Memphis, Louisville, Indianapolis, Dallas, and hundreds of other cities feel the same as you do…except for the fact that they are building, growing, and economically relevant to contemporary America. Meanwhile, we spend our time here looking to copy how other cities do things (ignorant of our own political/economic realities) and/or looking backward to a time when things were “good”. We need to shed this feeling that we are facing some sort of special situation and focus on creating wealth and looking ahead instead of behind. That is what will create a “New Buffalo”.

    16 Responses to “Random Musings For A New Year”

    1. Denizen December 31, 2007 at 1:27 pm #

      Geek, you continuously do a superb job at telling everyone everything they don’t want to hear but should.

      This manifesto tops it all.

    2. Leah December 31, 2007 at 1:57 pm #

      My mother shot me an email notifying me that Buffalo did NOT make the top 10 list of U.S. cities with poor air quality & breathing conditions for Asthmatics. Just thought I’d pass that along; breathing is important.

    3. John Martin December 31, 2007 at 2:41 pm #

      As usual, this mental dump is better than 99% of the vapid bullshit I read on the local online pages of other sites. Nice that you worked in a Tyler Durden reference!

    4. sam hoyt December 31, 2007 at 5:46 pm #

      BG: I enjoyed you “random musing” piece (I really did!) A couple of comments:
      * the so called “proxy war” is more one sided than you may think. I do not consider myself at war with anyone. I am by no means trying to take over the Democratic party here. I did support a few candidates for office during the last election (Maria Whyte for County Leg., Mike Locurto for Common Council and David Rivera for Common Council)as virtually every incumbent elcted official does in each election cycle. In the case of these three candidates, two (whyte and Locurto) were incumbents and all three were endorsed by the Democratic party. Truthfully, the fact that i supported these candidates wouold have gone completely unnoticed had they not been challenged by the mayor. I am proud to have supported each of them. they are all thoughtful, caring, hardworking independent individuals who will serve their communities well. they deserved to win. That said, i can assure you that there is no grand plot to take over anything or even to position myself for some next move on the political chess board. I plan on running for reelection and, voters willing, continuing to represent the people of the 144th a.d. and all of wny. that may disappoint all of the conspiacy theorists out there but it really is the truth.

      * i could not agree more with you about your choice for Buffalonian of the year. Michael Gainer and B.R. are doing great things for our city. One of my governmental new year’s resolutions is to continue to do all that i can to help Michael and his work and to take his deconstuction/community building model to other cities in upstate ny.

    5. Michele Johnson December 31, 2007 at 7:35 pm #

      Chris..Thank you for the support you have shown to Buffalo ReUse..2007 was an amazing year for us.. And we appreciate everyones support..Michael has more energy than anyone Ive ever met..just talking to him is exhausting!

    6. Mike In WNY December 31, 2007 at 11:34 pm #

      I will leave you with this thought, a quote a put on my blog for people to contemplate. This is where our direction lies if we are to improve our lives.

      Persons with no desire for self-control, anxious for the security of lives planned and controlled for them by others, may view with patient resignation the prevailing trend aways from freedom in the United States and in most other lands. Things are going their way. But anyone who views with alarm the growing interventionism will want to plan his escape soon. By tomorrow, or next month, or next year, he might have lost the will — and the capacity — to be free. The escape route, the path to freedom, lies in self-help, self-control, self-responsibility, self-reliance, self-improvement. And slow starters are unlikely to make it.

      — Donald W. Shorack

    7. Pauldub January 1, 2008 at 8:11 am #

      I believe that Mr. Issa is not the one trumpeting his accomplishments, the entourage is doing it. Who cares. Perhaps those from the Broadway Market who partnered with the Statler for the lunch event a while ago.To quote a wise man,
      “What does any of this matter in the grand scheme of things? Absolutely nothing”
      Use your energies where you feel they will be most useful, and try to minimize the amount you spend arguing that which is irrelevant to you.

    8. MediaWatcher January 1, 2008 at 6:57 pm #

      Is there only one author who posts to this site or multiple writers? This seems to strike a very pessimistic tone, but earlier in the year I read stunningly positive utterances like “things have never looked better on the east side.” Now, that seemed to be a remarkably stupid statement made by someone who must not have been to the east side, but now you’ve seen to come full circle and are now bearish on all things Buffalo. Is this the same person or different posters?

      Bloggers are a self-involved lot, but the level of self-pleasure that happens on this network seems to be nearly unrivaled. First, it was alternating posts by buffalogeek and buffalopundit detailing the good works they’ve done. Apparently these ‘i’ve done so much’ posts were triggered by some random comment but it was a fascinating reaction to one of a million comments on this site. Now, this post positions the author as a ‘speak truth to power’ sort. Of course, I can’t figure out what novel or insightful truth he’s speaking nor what power he’s speaking to. We need to make reforms to make WNY more business-friendly? No shit.

      Please let me know what ‘polical and cultural blacklists’ you’re on in this town, because I’m certain the politically and culturally connected have never heard of this site, this network, you, or your family. It’s romantic to paint yourself as an outside yelling the truth while the powerful few ignore your voice and blacklist you, but that ain’t what’s going on around here. You have a schizophrenic blog that addresses random topics and while your pablum occassionally rings true – we need to be more business-friendly – it’s nothing revolutionary or offensive to anyone in a position of power.

      So what are the blacklists? Will the Knox family hanger-on’s not invite you to Christmas parties? Thrown out of the Albright-Knox? Please, specifics.

    9. Christopher Smith January 1, 2008 at 11:12 pm #

      Is there only one author who posts to this site or multiple writers?

      I have had guest bloggers in the past, but I am the chief cook and bottle washer here.

      This seems to strike a very pessimistic tone, but earlier in the year I read stunningly positive utterances like “things have never looked better on the east side.” Now, that seemed to be a remarkably stupid statement made by someone who must not have been to the east side, but now you’ve seen to come full circle and are now bearish on all things Buffalo. Is this the same person or different posters?

      I have never said that “things have never looked better on the east side”. However, relatively speaking, things ARE looking up on the east side.

      Motivated activists continue to perform thankless work in their neighborhoods, east side crime rates are down as compared to last year, there is fresh blood on the board at The Broadway Market, restoration of the Terminal continues, Buffalo ReUse and BFA are doing excellent work, etc. There is progress, it is just iterative and without widespread coverage nor concern from those who live west of Main Street.

      Significant progress is what is necessary and the issues that prevent it from taking place are innumerable and oft-detailed here and on other sites around the network. I enjoy celebrating the results of activist groups on the East Side, but we need more. Looking about the political and cultural landscape, I don’t see a groundswell of communal support or political will behind the current effort. That saddens and frustrates me. Nuance is key and often times, I write emotionally. Deal with it.

      Am I bearish on all things Buffalo? Well, not everything, but I have grown frustrated in the last year, that is for sure. I see people spinning their wheels and arguing about who will polish the brass railings on the Titanic. This city is fundamentally fucked in many significant ways and I wonder if it is possible for it to be unfucked.

      And if said unfucking is to ever happen, do we have the communal will to elect the right people to perform the unfucking? I don’t know. I also wonder why so many people don’t see the obvious problems and investigate simple remedies…which is the purpose of this blog.

      Bloggers are a self-involved lot, but the level of self-pleasure that happens on this network seems to be nearly unrivaled. First, it was alternating posts by buffalogeek and buffalopundit detailing the good works they’ve done. Apparently these ‘i’ve done so much’ posts were triggered by some random comment but it was a fascinating reaction to one of a million comments on this site.

      Actually, it wasn’t a “random comment” at all. Our reaction to the dozens of comments which littered our inboxes, sites, and other local websites frustrated us. When I wrote about the good deeds that I feel we have had a hand in, I even mentioned that I felt awkward writing it. Prior to that post, I never sought recognition for my efforts or the efforts of my friends and business partners. However, I felt it important to maybe recognize their efforts when challenged as a bunch of “do nothing bloggers” who are “bad for the city”.

      I apologize if the urge to defend ourselves upset your left coast sensibilities.

      Now, this post positions the author as a ‘speak truth to power’ sort. Of course, I can’t figure out what novel or insightful truth he’s speaking nor what power he’s speaking to. We need to make reforms to make WNY more business-friendly? No shit.

      It is pretty novel for Buffalo, actually. Otherwise, we wouldn’t keep electing the most anti-business, pro-union, patronage protectionistas to office again and again and again. It is a pretty “no shit” truth, but of the major alternative media outlets/blogs in this town, there are only two who regularly discuss this as a viable option to a better future. Mine and Alan’s.

      Everyone else seems to be a little obsessed with the aforementioned brass railings on the Titanic and whether or not Pano’s should be granted one or two fucking curb cuts.

      Artvoice, under the direction of Geoff Kelly, has done a fantastic job detailing the incompetence of our city government and the bullying nature of our elected leadership. However, Artvoice rarely details remedies for the grander problem of which such incompetence and bullying are a symptom. While you say “no shit” to pro-business policies, many people disagree. After all, “It’s buildings, museums, and a sense of place that will bring us back and revive our economy!” Saying that it’s jobs, lower taxes, and better schools is a fucking revolution around these parts.

      Please let me know what ‘polical and cultural blacklists’ you’re on in this town, because I’m certain the politically and culturally connected have never heard of this site, this network, you, or your family. It’s romantic to paint yourself as an outside yelling the truth while the powerful few ignore your voice and blacklist you, but that ain’t what’s going on around here. You have a schizophrenic blog that addresses random topics and while your pablum occassionally rings true – we need to be more business-friendly – it’s nothing revolutionary or offensive to anyone in a position of power.

      I find it striking that such an astute critic missed the sarcasm in my post. Or it is possible that I was not obvious enough in the delivery of that sarcasm.

      Local politicos read this site quite frequently, as they tend to comment here, send me email about what I write, or mention it when I bump into them. I don’t think I’m really “blacklisted” in any way, shape, or form. I do know that many people in the local Democratic establishment do not like me, but that’s not such a bad thing. How do I know that? Because they have told me so, directly. Or refuse to conduct interviews with me because I might ask questions that are too direct.

      Do I need to delve into the details of my relationships or lack thereof with public figures on the pages of this site? I don’t think so. Personal, off the record conversations are not fodder for my writing. If you would like to discuss this particular issue in-depth, I will gladly do so if you would be kind enough to reveal your name and provide a valid email address. I can be reached at chris@wnymedia.net , but I suspect you already knew that.

      My blog is schizophrenic? Maybe it is. My time in Buffalo has been a roller coaster of positivity and negativity, truth be told. When I returned after a decade away, I was happy to again be back “home” and I was excited to share that joy with others.

      I got involved with some groups which I thought could make a positive change, bought a house, added to my family, and started a little side company. In the meantime, I found that the groups I was affiliated with were more interested in efforts than results and the establishment in this town is so averse to risk and change that I wonder if progress can ever be attained.

      I get annoyed with the yearly election returns, my escalating tax and services bill, my lack of return on those escalating costs, the sad state of our schools, and the feeling that most Internet aware people in this city care more about small stuff than the real issues. I oscillate between hopefulness and despair and I don’t think that makes me any different than 99% of Western New Yorkers, I just have a blog that grabs a few thousand readers each day on which to share my thoughts.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    10. Dan January 2, 2008 at 8:42 am #

      If that last comment was posted on Buffalo Rising, it would earn only one star. It goes against the groupthink held among so many in the Buffalo urbanist scene, the that the city, the surrounding region, and its people and culture, are somehow more “real”,”authentic”, “genuine”, “honest”, and so on, and that the world outside of Western New York is “fake”, “plastic”, “corporate”, “sanitized”, “Anywhere USA” and so on.

      Last summer, there has been a barrage a lot of promotional commercials for Detroit airing on Cleveland television stations. Some quotes:

      Television:
      “In our pasteurized and sanitized world, we’re crying out for something real.”
      “When you need to feel something, come on down to Detroit, because the thrill of a real city is pure Michigan.”

      Radio:
      “What’s the definition of a day out? Going to the mall, or a chain restaurant?”
      “But what if there was a city that was different, where things were like night and day?”
      “We all need to get away from the norm, and there’s no better city to experience a real city than Detroit”

      Looks like they got their copy verbatim from the comments of the booster crowd on Buffalo Rising and various urbanist message boards, substituting “Detroit” for “Buffalo” where appropriate.

      Given the Detroit campaign, describing a city as “real” or “authentic” is probably the rough equivalent of calling a retarded person “special”, or an obese lady a “real woman”.

      Western New York is not place on some sort of mythical plane; that every trait of the built environment and local culture is somehow “more special” and superior to that of every other city in the country, and that those in the outside world just don’t have the foresight to appreciate it. The people aren’t the friendliest and warmest, the food isn’t the best, the surrounding countryside not the most beautiful. One result of this unquestioning boosterism; the region’s faults are either likely to be downplayed, or less likely to be recognized and acknowledged. “Yeah, the region faces the highest tax burden in the nation, but you can’t shovel away an earthquake or hurricane, and just try getting to work in under 20 minutes in Phoenix …” This kind of boosterism is something that, in the long run, could hold the region back.

    11. Jack January 2, 2008 at 9:25 am #

      Funny that “MediaWatcher” says no one in power reads this site while two comments up the page uis a comment from Assemblyman Hoyt.

      As to Hoyt’s comment about this “war” being one sided, I guess the British said the same thing about the Revolutionary War.

      “We were perfectly happy controlling everything until that group of upstarts determined they wanted a piece of the pie!”

      Grassroots v. Lenihan and Hoyt v. Brown/Casey are real conflicts and the winners of these conflicts will control the city for years. Don’t let Sam fool you into his being an innocent bystander who is just “aw shucks, just tryin’ to do my best for the people of Buffalo.” He’s a politician like the rest of ’em and he is working to protect his turf and add more turf when possible.

    12. MediaWatcher's Watcher January 2, 2008 at 9:36 am #

      Buildings, museums, and a “sense of place” do not create economic development. Pro-business policies, lower tax rates, and increased density do create economic development. It is not a chicken v. egg argument…the artistic culture and beautiful buildings we celebrate here and declare as our meal ticket are a vestigial tail of our early economic boom times. When we again increase density by luring people into our region with the promise of decent schools, lower taxes, and jobs…I’ll give a shit about curb cuts, mixed use retail, faux two story buildings, and the constant cycle of business openings/closings on two streets in Buffalo.

      If you could put this in a memo and send it to the following, it would be appreciated.

      Donn Esmonde
      Newell Nussbaumer
      Buck Quigley
      Marti Gorman
      Tim Tielman
      Other members of the local creative class – could be a lot of stamps required.

    13. MediaWatcher January 2, 2008 at 5:33 pm #

      It isn’t novel in Buffalo. You should familiarize yourself with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership which has been espousing these kinds of pro-business policies for years. And since that partnership is largely controlled by some of the richer guys in town (Mark Hamister in particular has significant influence there and is reportedly worth around $300M or so), you aren’t exactly advocating positions that the powerful in this town are uncomfortable with.

      And Jack, if you think Sam Hoyt is in a position of power in this town, you don’t understand power or this town.

    14. JohnMartin January 2, 2008 at 8:33 pm #

      I think it is pretty novel for a media outlet to talk about it. The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is fucking useless and their Unshackle Upstate agenda, which Geek has written about often, is completely without teeth.

      Their traveling upstate press conference featuring stacks of moving boxes was a miserable marketing failure.

      If you are going to claim that the BNP wields significant power in this town, I’d like to know where I can read about the results of their tremendous influence. Aside from writing a check to bring in Williams to break the teachers union and endorsing a bunch of candidates who have done nothing to reform policies, and serving as the home of the lamest mustache in the state (Rudnick), I don’t know what fuck all they have accomplished.

      Your allusions to their being some Buffalo “Star Chamber” of power which we peons are unfamiliar with rings pretty fucking hollow. How about YOU get specific with your claims and stop alluding to your special insider status?

      Many people in WNY are anti-business and pro-union and that includes our elected officials who have direct influence on power. Writing about simplistic solutions is just that, simplistic. However, it seems to be Chinese Algebra to SEIU/AFSCME/CSEA funded clowns like Hoyt, Schimminger, Volker, et al.

    15. MediaWatcher January 2, 2008 at 9:34 pm #

      Ok, it’s novel. Buffalogeek is a modern day Galileo with his uniquely penetrating views that taxes should be lower in WNY. Feel better?

      I don’t think there is a star chamber, but you do: http://buffalogeek.wnymedia.net/blogs/2007/01/16/what-do-we-stand-for/#comments. When you were BuffaloSalesman, you implied that every media outlet was on the take from the ‘same group of 20 people’ who have been running this town for decades. Now you believe what exactly?

      I just think the local rich people have more influence than most others, and a lot of those rich people are connected to the partnership. No grand conspiracy theories like your previous comments; no quid pro quo nonsense.

      I did love your totally unfounded nonsense about Jamie Moses cutting some kind of deal with Golisano to get control of advertising at HSBC arena. I’ve purchased ads for clients at HSBC arena and never did Artvoice or Moses come up. Really, I suspect Golisano would never tolerate a guy like Moses given the way Golisano runs paychex and the life Moses has lived.

      I also loved the insinuation that the BR guys sucked some rich guy’s dick for their money. Did you ever figure out where they get their money? Was it one of the famed 20 people who run this town you alluded to?

      You fucking guys are too focused on simply arguing with people than actually sticking to any kind of consistent point. Like a bunch of feeble-minded lunatics.

    16. Christopher Smith January 2, 2008 at 10:27 pm #

      I suspect with that linkage beatdown, John won’t come back. I know I wouldn’t. 🙂

      How is John’s comment relevant to my point? You’re the one arguing with him, not me. Including me, (you fucking guys) in a statement like “arguing with people like feeble minded idiots” is not very nice. Any Internet forum devolves into arguments, it’s pretty much the way of things. Threads at SpeakUp get beaten down like that and slapfights ensue. Threads at BRO do the same as do threads at fark, digg, etc. It looks like you’re just as guilty of the offense as he is.

      On to the other issues…

      I don’t know much about Artvoice other than the fact that I trade occasional emails with Geoff and our relationship is cordial. I’ve never had anything to say about where BR got their money, it’s of no concern to me. I even said as much right after John posted his original comment. Just wanted to say all of that again.

      Those two media guys we met with back then were a little too conspiracy oriented for my taste and I generally disdain discussions about who holds “power”. I don’t really care. I care about my city and region. I care about helping to add a voice to the movement of setting our priorities the “right way” (aka mine).

      As to your claim that people with money are connected to the BNP, I think you’re right in some ways and not so much in others. There is new (BNP) and old (Buffalo Club, Saturn Club, local foundations) money in town. My observation is that these two groups pursue different ends with their money and political will.

      Looking objectively at BNP, it’s a neutered organization in a lot of ways as they do in fact have little to point to in the way of results.

      I have no problem with you and I’d like to keep our exchanges cordial, I think they are productive and educational for readers.

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