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The Morning Grumpy – 1/6/2012

6 Jan

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

1. WGRZ gave some coverage to the Buffalo Cash Mob effort last night on the 11PM news. More importantly, a quality local business received some earned media coverage to raise brand awareness.

“If they have a good time than hopefully they will tell someone else,” says Scott Wisz, owner of Chow Chocolat.  “You know that’s how we like to grow our business…I think we’re more of a word-of-mouth type venture. If people came here and had a good experience than hopefully they will tell their friends. And that’s really what we’re hoping for.”

This “Cash Mob” event will take place from 4pm-6pm on Friday, January 6, 2011 at Chow Chocolat, located at 715 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo.

When a small business makes an investment in our community, we should reward their investment with our own. That’s the entire point of this effort. Do you want more local business in Buffalo? Do you want to see more retailers opening up in the City of Buffalo? Well, here’s how you can help make it happen. Support them and support Buffalo First!

Just to make things clear for everyone, I make no money nor receive any goods or services in exchange for organizing this effort and neither does Artvoice. This is simply a way of thanking entrepreneurs for showing the courage to open or maintain a storefront in a difficult economic time.

2. The Cuomo Billion dollar pledge to Buffalo is nice, but a bit misguided.

Cuomo’s comments came a day after he unveiled a $1 billion economic-development package for Buffalo and possibly some area communities over the next five years. The money and tax breaks are to be spent on companies willing to invest $5 billion in expansion or relocation efforts.

“I told everyone today this is not a blank check. We want jobs. We want leverage, and this is for new business opportunities,” Cuomo said.

If the local council does not find businesses willing to locate, the money won’t be spent, the governor said.

While relocating businesses to Buffalo should be part of a regional economic development strategy, it shouldn’t be THE strategy. We need sustainable, headquarters-based industry in Buffalo. No more back offices, no more secondary or tertiary datacenters, no more regional offices or secondary manufacturing plants for businesses headquartered in other areas of the country. That type of development is susceptible to whims of corporations looking to trim costs and increase margins.

How about we carve out a small portion of this money to develop regional incubators or startup accelerators for technology?  Not the type of technology found in biomedical or pharmaceutical research companies which can take years upon years to produce results, but angel and venture stage funding for software and web entrepreneurs. Perhaps focus on utilizing our darkened manufacturing facilities to attract companies looking for space and funding for small, advanced manufacturing processes? If we really have a billion dollars at our disposal, let’s not just focus on sending Tom Kucharski and the folks from Buffalo Niagara Enterprise around the country with pamphlets and a wad of cash for bribes. Let’s build our own economy.

As Paul Graham once said, “If you could get the right ten thousand people to move from Silicon Valley to Buffalo, Buffalo would become Silicon Valley.” He footnotes this by saying we could probably turn Buffalo around with 500 people or less. If they were the right kind of people. Put some money on the table for people to come here and DEVELOP business rather than relocating businesses at a high cost.

Incidentally, how pissed off are the people in Rochester? Kodak is going out of business, they face significant challenges of their own and their former Mayor is the Lieutenant Governor, which you would think would give them the inside track on state funding. Including the monies handed out during the Regional Economic Development competitions late last year, the current scorecard is $1.1 Billion for Buffalo and $68 Million for Rochester.

3. A Canadian comedy troupe has seen enough of our Republican Presidential candidates and they’ve decided to throw their toques in the ring with an announcement that they are forming their own American political party.

Beauty.

Follow The Canada Party on Twitter.

 

4. Jay Rosen on the real importance of the Iowa caucuses, reaffirming media rituals.

My suggestion is that it would be more profitable to treat the Iowa Caucuses as a “ritual,” rather than an informational or news event. There may be a modicum of information emerging from the caucuses themselves; they may tell us something–a little bit–about the relative standing of Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, and Michelle Bachmann. But caucus coverage is more profitably viewed as a campaign ritual, in which the tribe of political reporters (like Chuck Todd or Mark Halperin) and pundits (an E.J. Dionne or a David Brooks) and pollsters (like, say, Frank Luntz) and operatives (or former operatives like James Carville or Donna Brazille) claim interpretive rights over the election of 2012.

Every four years they gather in Iowa to affirm that their way of seeing is the way to see a presidential campaign. They say they are bringing you news of what happened in Iowa. But what they’re really doing is maintaining their little society of insiders across yet another election cycle. That is what rituals do. They preserve community over time

The theater of it all is almost too much to bear.

5. Corporate profits have rebounded to pre-recession levels, but unemployment is still high and corporate tax revenue has not yet rebounded to pre-recession levels.

Why? because fuck you, that’s why.

Corporate tax revenue has plummeted for several reasons, but one of the big ones is the growth of deductions, loopholes, and outright tax evasion that helps companies limit, or entirely eliminate, their income tax liability. 30 major corporations, in fact, paid no corporate income tax over the last three years, while making $160 billion in profits.

Just a weekly reminder about why the #Occupy movement began and what we should actually be pissed off about in this country.

Quote Of The Day: “If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us.” – Francis Bacon

Fact Of The Day: Blue is the dominant design color found on Facebook because CEO Mark Zuckerberg suffers from Red-Green color blindness.

Song Of The Day: “Here Comes The Sun” by Nina Simone

Follow me on Twitter: @ChrisSmithAV

Email me links, tips, story ideas: chrissmithbuffalo[@]gmail.com