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The Award Winning Morning Grumpy – 6/25/12 Edition

Filed under: Morning Grumpy

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

Hey, Bad Luck Brian, what’s new?

1. After six years, I finally beat out my friend Alan Bedenko for a local blogging award as the readers and editors of Buffalo Spree magazine graciously recognized me as Buffalo’s Best Blogger in their annual Best of WNY issue. I didn’t know I won until I read it in the magazine this past weekend, so it was a real nice surprise.

I’ve always been the Cal Naughton, Jr. to Alan’s Ricky Bobby in our collaborative blogging endeavors and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. However, it is nice to be recognized for my contributions to the local blog scene. Thank you very much to those who voted for me, I shall now return to my regular role as the sarcastic consigliere to the Capo di tutti capi of Buffalo blogs, BuffaloPundit.

2. Moving home in the boomerang economy

Boomerangs — people who move away from a place and then later move back  — make up over 37 percent of in-migration to U.S. metro counties, and even more than that in counties that are economically distressed. Many are young-ish people like Farris who moved to places like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, then returned home (often to their own surprise) to launch start-ups, restaurants, furniture stores and fashion lines.

Here in Buffalo, we call them repatriates. Those who once left for greener pastures but have returned home to be closer to family, take care of elderly loved ones, or (less frequently) capitalize on an opportunity to create a new business in their hometown. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many of our repatriates seemingly return for emotional reasons, for “real-ness”, or to find a slower pace than they experienced in larger cities. Why is this anecdotal? Because we’re not really tracking this data in any meaningful way. Also, this is what I’ve learned after six years of working with Buffalo Old Home Week/Buffalo Homecoming/Citybration and offering myself as a sherpa for the returning Buffalonians.

In other cities, recruiting boomerangs is a strategic part of civic growth models with Mayors, city councils, academics, entrepreneurs, and non-profits working collaboratively to bring people home.

Cleveland considers return migrants so important to its future success that it has an economic-development nonprofit, Global Cleveland, with a division devoted solely to attracting more of them. “It’s not that we just want boomerangs,” says Elizabeth Hijar, who leads the Boomerang Initiative, “but we focus on them because the very act of moving away is an entrepreneurial act. We know these people are risk-takers and that they probably have talent.”

The organization matches potential boomerangs with individual peers back in Cleveland who help network them into the city with jobs, contacts, or real-estate advice.

Here? Mayor Brown is busily evaluating new advances in podium technology while Marti Gorman and her rabid bunch of under-funded volunteers host an annual event to remind people that Buffalo is a nice place to live. Her effort is altruistic and noble, but she needs help from local leadership. Yes, I know all about the idea of “JFDI” and how we should fix this problem on our own, but that only goes so far. We need someone to set a vision for the community and LEAD.

What we have here is a tremendous opportunity to market ourselves to our enormous diaspora, but we’re burdened with an impotent city council, ineffective private sector leadership, and a caretaker Mayor who lacks even the most basic vision for strategic planning and growth.  Stories like this one simply remind me that this city has never been in more desperate need of a leader and there isn’t one to be found anywhere. Let me know if you can think of one, let’s get him or her elected.

3. Yves Smith and Matt Taibbi visit the Bill Moyers program to discuss the corrupt financial system and how the government props it up. Highly recommended as Taibbi has a gift for simplifying these complex financial matters for the rest of us.

4. Corporate profits just hit an all-time high while wages just hit an all-time low.

Corporate profits as a percentage of GDP:

Wages as a percentage of GDP:

I’m sure this is somehow Obama’s fault, right?

5. What the Citizens United decision hath wrought, Sheldon Adelson.

He is the perfect illustration of the squalid state of political money, spending sums greater than any political donation in history to advance his personal, ideological and financial agenda, which is wildly at odds with the nation’s needs.

Mr. Adelson has made it clear he will fully exploit the anything-goes world created by the federal courts to donate a “limitless” portion of his $25 billion fortune to defeat the president and as many Democrats as he can take down.

Just as Jefferson envisioned how this great experiment in democracy would grow, I’m sure.

Fact Of The Day: Through June 2012 the crew of Mythbusters have destroyed 146 vehicles, used 33,500 yards of duct tape, and blown up 13.5 tons of explosives.

Quote Of The Day: “Surely the inhabitants of Buffalo think that Buffalo is the most beautiful city in America — let alone the world. That’s what all Americans think of their hometowns.” – Simone de Beauvoir

Video Of The Day: “America Revealed, How Far Does your Pizza Travel?” – Crazy cool

Song Of The Day: “North Side Gal” – J.D. McPherson

Follow me on Twitter for the “incremental grumpy” @ChrisSmithAV

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


  • Very well deserved, and the award write up was exactly right – the only problem with the grumpy is its occasional constipation.

    • The last Spree I got was the one with Purdy’s story in it. I haven’t seen the Best of List – did I miss it? 

      • I got my July issue on Friday, for what its worth, so you aren’t missing it by much.

  • MaxPlanck

    I remain deeply grateful for Matt Taibbi’s work; he’s pulled back the curtain to reveal the banks’ and Wall St.’s shameless and fraudulent  self-dealing which has  placed our financial system at risk. For anyone who’s been insulated from these matters, I strongly recommend reading his book, Griftopia where Taibbi demonstrates his reportorial prowess to explain and clarify the workings of Wall St., the banks as well as the political muscle which allows them to operate with blatant disregard for the rule of law.

  • Ethan Cox

    Congrats, Mr. Smith!  Perhaps sporadic, but always edifying and never condescending, The Morning Grumpy should win national awards.  You deserve a beer: Cheers!

  • Congratulations! I leave you with this, a page from a children’s book that highlights and illustrates classic movie lines, 

  • Congratulations Chris!  I really could have used an org. like Global Cleveland on my return to Buffalo.

  • You won? Oh well, it was an honor to be nominated.

    Wait…I wasn’t even nominated?!

    Awww, #&$^%*@!!!