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The Morning Grumpy – 4/15/13

Filed under: Morning Grumpy

All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy. But first, the Venn diagram of irrational nonsense.

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1. Here’s the latest Trending Buffalo podcast featuring Brad Riter and me discussing new media and whether or not it’s possible to make money running a local website. I have more to say about this topic (and the original article in Buffalo Spree which inspired the conversation), but I’ll defer writing about it until Alan Bedenko has a shot to weigh in as he wasn’t able to join us for the podcast.

2. Want to be happier? Stop reading the news.

News has no explanatory power. News items are bubbles popping on the surface of a deeper world. Will accumulating facts help you understand the world? Sadly, no. The relationship is inverted. The important stories are non-stories: slow, powerful movements that develop below journalists’ radar but have a transforming effect. The more “news factoids” you digest, the less of the big picture you will understand. If more information leads to higher economic success, we’d expect journalists to be at the top of the pyramid. That’s not the case.

Society needs journalism – but in a different way. Investigative journalism is always relevant. We need reporting that polices our institutions and uncovers truth. But important findings don’t have to arrive in the form of news. Long journal articles and in-depth books are good, too.

I know this seems counter-intuitive from a blogger who curates “news” for his readers. However, if you’ve been reading the Grumpy, you’d know that I try to not link to the daily bump and grind of local or even national news, but instead focus on underlying trends or articles that inform movements and larger shifts in ideology. I haven’t been explicitly doing it for the reasons stated in the aforementioned article, but I’ve stopped reading the daily news. It’s noise that makes me decidedly less intelligent and less-informed. I try to consume longer-form work and investigative articles that challenge my assumptions and spend the time to fill out an idea with persuasive evidence. When was the last time you read a daily news story (most likely partially ghost-written by a press release and/or featuring pre-packaged comments from a press conference) and thought, “I’m glad I read that.”? Not too often, I’ll bet.

3. Detroit’s story is also Buffalo’s story. I’m constantly watching developments in Detroit  to see how they are working to solve the problems of sprawl, poverty, large-scale economic disinvestment, crime, and sustainability while comparing them to our own efforts in Buffalo. Detroit is ahead in some ways and behind in others, but America is rooting for Detroit’s resurgence and there is a billionaire who is underwriting some broad-based private sector development.

4. A great local hobby for Buffalonians is to imagine and opine about what should happen to the Central Terminal. Some think it should be re-purposed as an events center, an office, apartments, put back into service as a train station, or all of the above. Here’s ten more suggestions for everyone to chew on. Whatever you think should be done with the terminal, you might want to kick in a few bucks and help put a new roof on the place.

5. The annual bee die-offs that have come to be known as “colony-collapse disorder” appear to be accelerating. Mother Jones reports on the issue, and the emerging scientific consensus regarding the effect of pesticides on bee colonies as well as on how the media is covering it.

6. How conservatives invented “voter fraud” to attack civil rights.

Fact Of The Day: Bacon accelerates hangover recovery.

Quote Of The Day: “I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

Video Of The Day: Happy Monday from Operation Smile. Warning: It might get a bit dusty in whatever room you’re sitting in while watching this video.

Song Of The Day: “Falling For You” – Weezer

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

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


  • re #3: Better yet, don’t watch the news. While long-term movements and developments are difficult to write about for journalists, these “real news” items are almost invisible to television when compared to the mundane non-news that gets reported on: murders, fires, weather, political sniping, water-skiing squirrels…

    Ok, we can never have enough videos of water-skiing squirrels.

  • MaxPlanck

    Buffalo could use a tireless advocate with deep pockets like Dan Gilbert however his equivalent is yet to appear. The region instead has to suffer the self-serving presence of the Rich Family or bottom feeder hucksters like Paladino who for all of his Tea Bagger proclamations to the contrary, feeds off the status quo.

  • Have you read Charlie LeDuff’s (who I first heard about from the Morning Grumpy) book “Detroit: An American Autopsy”? It’s on my “to read” list.