The Morning Grumpy – August 17th

17 Aug

1. The Buffalo News is about to lose the senior core of their newsroom staff. Jim Heaney, Donn Esmonde, Brian Meyer, and seven others have accepted a buyout offer from the newspaper. Losing the chief enterprise/investigative reporter, lead columnist, and their best beat reporter will certainly have a chilling effect on the quality of the product, but The Buffalo News saved some money, so it’s all good.

Since we started this little experiment of a website, Jim Heaney has been an ardent supporter and believer in new media. He has graciously offered advice and nudged us along as we learned to walk. For that, we are in his debt. The work product that comes from his dogged pursuit of the facts will not soon be replaced and corrupt assholes in WNY sleep a little better tonight knowing that Jim is no longer on the beat.

While we don’t always agree with Donn Esmonde, he’s an important voice in this community and has often rallied community attention to an issue by simply putting his fingers to keyboard. It is rumored that he may stay on with the newspaper in a part time capacity, but his days as the lead columnist for our local paper of record are coming to a close.

Brian Meyer is a feisty son of a bitch who had deep and trusted connections throughout Buffalo City Hall. After nearly thirty years in broadcast and print journalism, Brian hangs up his notebook and leaves massive shoes to fill. The learning curve for his replacement will be steep and whomever replaces him will struggle to maintain Meyer’s prolific publication pace.

Best wishes to all as they explore new opportunities and leave behind a company that still doesn’t understand that journalism is the product, not the paper it’s printed on.

2. Song for Wednesday, Part 1: “C’mon Talk” by Bernhoft

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3. A reader named Ben Duda sent me this link which he thought played well off my last two columns about economic development. Kiva has spent a decade offering microfinance loans ($234,519,225 and counting) in emerging markets and now they are turning their focus to stateside microfinance efforts with their new project, Kiva City.

Kiva City extends microfinance to small businesses across America. With Kiva City, credit unions or other financial institutions partner at a local level to facilitate the loans, while community groups and civic leaders build awareness among small business owners and refer them to the program.

Each Kiva City requires three partners:

  • Civic Leaders: Mayors & elected officials can demonstrate the power of community engagement by committing to bring Kiva to your city
  • Community Organizations: Work with small business networks, nonprofits, churches, and other community associations to post local businesses to Kiva.
  • Financial Institutions: Partner directly with Kiva or get trained on the small business referral process.

Of course, the first city in line to take advantage of this exciting program is Detroit. Is this on the radar for anyone in Buffalo? Calls to the Mayor’s office for comment were not returned. I’d be interested to hear if any other civic organizations might already be working on this project, but early investigation has turned up empty. I’ll keep checking and update as I go.

4. It appears that one of our readers has decided to open a WNYMedia parody channel on YouTube. The first few videos were pretty lame, but the one about my rift with Bob McCarthy is exceptionally horrible in the most awesome way possible. It is poorly produced and repetitive, but its got a beat I can dance to. Also, I’m glad to learn I now have a theme song.

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5. I CAN HAZ IDIOCRACY?!? Results from a seriously disturbing study.

44 percent of Social Security recipients, 41 percent of military veterans, 43 percent of unemployment recipients, 40 percent of Medicare recipients, 43 percent of college Pell Grant recipients and 27 percent of welfare recipients all said they had never used a government social program.

6. Something you need to know about Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and Rick Perry as we enter the interminably long Presidential election season…they are not normal Christians. In fact, they’re way crazier than your standard issue evangelical nutcase.

Of the three most plausible candidates for the Republican nomination, two are deeply associated with a theocratic strain of Christian fundamentalism known as Dominionism. If you want to understand Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, understanding Dominionism isn’t optional.

Dominionism means that Christians have a God-given right to rule all earthly institutions. Originating among some of America’s most radical theocrats, it’s long had an influence on religious-right education and political organizing. But because it seems so outré, getting ordinary people to take it seriously can be difficult.

7. Song for Wednesday, Part 2: “Fuck Shit Stack” by Reggie Watts – Might as well stick with the loop pedal theme from Part 1

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8. America’s consumption economy is dying, let it die.

With the stock market plunging, we’ve heard plenty of warnings that a “pullback” in consumer spending could trigger another recession. Let me suggest an alternative. The last thing this economy needs is more debt-fueled consumer spending which mainly creates jobs overseas. Instead, we should be focused on boosting investment in physical, human, and knowledge capital.

Have a day!

4 Responses to “The Morning Grumpy – August 17th”

  1. Tom Dolina August 17, 2011 at 7:08 am #

    I now know what to make my ringtone when Chris Smith calls me!

  2. ethan August 17, 2011 at 7:10 am #

    That video is fantastic, and suspicious.

  3. wolfpack August 17, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    Brian Meyer will be missed. He gets both sides, he understands the issues, he is trustworthy, he is tireless.
    Esmonde always gets the juices going. Heaney has had some classic stories. Why didn’t they give offers to some of the losers?

  4. Chris Charvella August 17, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    Because losers are cheap and print news is hemorrhaging money.

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