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The Morning Grumpy – 12/12/12

12 Dec

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

1. Dr. James Powell, Executive Director of the National Physical Science Consortium, and former appointee to the National Science Board by President Reagan and President George H.W. Bush created the graphic above as a means to prove how and why climate change deniers have no credibility.

Polls show that many members of the public believe that scientists substantially disagree about human-caused global warming. The gold standard of science is the peer-reviewed literature. If there is disagreement among scientists, based not on opinion but on hard evidence, it will be found in the peer-reviewed literature.

24 of the 13,950 articles, 0.17% or 1 in 581, clearly reject global warming or endorse a cause other than CO2 emissions for observed warming. The list of articles that reject global warming is here.

Are we almost done with denying this is a problem? Can the Republicans join us at the big boy table to discuss our response to this overwhelming scientific evidence?

2. Dave Steele, Chicagoan and noted busybody, frequently writes articles that illustrate how we should be doing things here in Buffalo. This modern day gastarbeiter (who sadly only sends advice back to his hometown) would like us to know (yet again) that we’re just doing it wrong.

As nice and great and misunderstood as Cleveland (Buffalo) is, it is not as good as it should be and is often not as good as the places that people are fleeing too.  There I said it.  Buffalo is not that great.  That is not to say it isn’t a great place to be.  But, to keep youthful talent Buffalo and its leadership need to know what kind of city younger generations want and then give it to them.  Saying Buffalo is a great under rated place is not enough. Here is a hint.  More parking lots and demolition of unique places is not going to do it.  Current demographics are showing that younger generations are not looking for mom and dad’s car oriented lifestyle. Sure, jobs are important but guess what? Jobs go where people want to be.

Actually, jobs don’t go where people want to be. It’s just not so. You don’t attract jobs by having a beautiful built environment and thousands of unemployed people just waiting for companies to show up, hire them, and fill our magically rehabilitated buildings.

Entrepreneurship is a culture of innovation. Smart people go where other smart people are so they can do smart things together. We don’t need any more brand marketers, graphic designers, underemployed amateur preservationists, or freelancers with no visible means of financial support in this town. Those are the people who constantly prattle on about saving buildings with other people’s invisible money. We’re silly with ’em.

We need relentless capitalists who want to build big ideas into huge profit churning machines. Those people? I know hundreds of them in cities all across America and they couldn’t give a flying fuck about preservation. They want to go where it’s cheap, where there’s lots of fresh and hungry talent, and where a culture of hustle exists. We don’t need to survey young people about what they want, we simply need to focus on creating a culture of hustle and entrepreneurship.

Let’s be clear about something, historic rehabilitation without capital nor the people and businesses to fill the rehabilitated properties is museum building. Organic economic development and broad-based expansion of regional wealth precedes or at least happens simultaneously with large scale preservation and redevelopment.  That wealth creation then creates the demand for cool condos and brickwalled workplaces. Sure, a developer who utilizes massive public dollars and historic tax credits can save a building here and there and relocate local businesses into them, but it doesn’t scale to the kind of city-wide redevelopment experienced in many other cities. Here, we’re trying to build a place without the people and hoping they’ll come to fill the space, which might be described as putting the preserved antique cart before the horse.

Every problem in this town is political. We lack political strategic vision and we lack corporate wealth to underwrite community investment. That’s why we look to the university and its offshoot organizations as the primary drivers of development in this region. Until the political problems are solved, the only business booming in this town will be non-profits working to “save” Buffalo.

Let’s have a talk, just you and me. Sure, it’s a bit of a tangent and I’ve said much of this before, but it’s time to say it all again. You just don’t listen.

The bigger picture is that Buffalo and WNY are the way they are because you don’t really want it to be any different. And lacking any massive influx of new people with fresh perspectives, it’s going to stay the same.

If you really wanted to create change, you would. However, you’re comfortable in your middling job with your below-national-market salary. You leave your desk at 4:59PM every day to race home through minimal traffic and get back to your life at your affordable house that barely appreciates in value. You complain about the “outrageous” taxes, but you vote for a higher school budget every year and you protest like a 60′s hippie whenever a government official tries to cut spending or reduce/regionalize your public services.

Many of you hate when they tear down old buildings, but also hate the way the new ones look. Oh, and you demand that your input be incorporated into the plans. Many of you wish businesses would invest in their facilities, but threaten to sue if you don’t personally approve of said improvements. The rest of you complain about these types of planning busybodies, but you couldn’t be bothered to get off your ass to stop them. You’re “busy”.

You loathe the local political class, but you rarely vote.  And if you do go out to vote? It’s to vote the same bums back into office or promote them to a higher one. You don’t get involved in your town or city political committee. You don’t donate to unproven candidates and you sure as shit don’t go out to petition or canvass for an underdog candidate. You want to magically will them into office with your supportive Facebook posts.

There are dozens of other reasons that inform why the status quo is what it is, but why beat a dead horse? You are the status quo.

Buffalo is the way it is because this is the way you want it. It’s your fault. Until you own that, nothing much is going to change.

If none of the above describe your attitude, you’re probably reading this from outside WNY or planning to leave as soon as possible.

For the small percentage of people who don’t fit into the above, haven’t moved and aren’t currently planning an escape? You’re a special and unique little snowflake in this town. Try to remain sane as you swim upstream against the ferocious power of the status quo. But here’s a bit of unsolicited advice, stop trying to “save” Buffalo. It doesn’t want to be saved. This city is like an alcoholic, abusive boyfriend. The more you try to save him, the more he drags you down with him. I know, we don’t know how sweet he can be when you’re alone together, right? If you just try hard enough, he’ll change. Sure.

As in real life, you can’t save someone or something that doesn’t want to be saved. Make yourself a personal and professional success…and maybe Buffalo will follow your lead.

3. I’m calling it a day.

Fact Of The Day: “Blazing Saddles” was the first film from a major studio to have a fart joke.

Quote Of The Day: “The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.” -David Foster Wallace

Christmas Song Of The Day: “Christmas In Jail” – The Bobs

Song Of The Day: “Uptight” – Stevie Wonder

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