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Old News: Hospital Implosion Kills 12-year-old Girl

As Artvoice reported on September 22, the implosion of the former Kaleida Gates Circle hospital tower is not the sort of event the local media should be promoting as a wholesome spectacle—yet the Buffalo News continues to pump up the hype machine.

Click here to read about the 1997 implosion of the Royal Canberra Hospital in Australia.

However, the implosion of the Royal Canberra Hospital was a terrible failure. The main building did not fully disintegrate and had to be later manually demolished. But far worse, the explosion was not contained on the site and large pieces of debris were projected towards spectators situated 500 metres away on the opposite side of the Lake, in a location that nobody considered unsafe or inappropriate. A twelve-year-old girl, Katie Bender, was killed instantly, and nine other people were injured. Large fragments of masonry and metal were found 650 metres from the demolition site.

Read the comments on YouTube.


500 feet should be good. Nevermind if 650 meters wasn't enough in Canberra.

500 feet should be good. Never mind if 500 meters wasn’t enough in Canberra.

Gates Circle Hospital Implosion Not the Best Live Spectator Sport

As a disclaimer to this Buffalo News story projecting a “big crowd” for the planned October 3 implosion of the former Kaleida Health Millard Fillmore Gates Circle hospital, there are very real air quality concerns associated with such demolitions that potential spectators and nearby residents should know about.

Below is a map showing the implosion site, with the hospital shaded red.

OSC Street Closure_Implosion











(Note the “Hospitality Area” on the roof of the parking ramp, near the Command Center!)

Pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars are to be outside the red boundary when the implosion takes place at 7am. If you live within the red boundary, your best bet is to remain inside your house until the dust settles—at least an hour after the blast, according to this study by Johns Hopkins University, published in the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association.

From the study:

Demolition by implosion is conducted by using

nitroglycerine-based dynamite to strategically destroy

load-bearing structures, allowing the building to collapse

onto itself. Depending on the timing and location of

charges, implosion contractors are able to predetermine

the direction of the collapse and subsequent debris pile.3

(The demolition that is the subject of this paper was

conducted by collapsing a high-rise on top of adjacent

smaller buildings, thereby achieving multiple building

demolitions from a single implosion.) For economic purposes

and to minimize the emission of hazardous chemicals

during demolition or debris removal, recyclable (e.g.,

plumbing and ventilation) and hazardous materials (e.g.,

asbestos and lead [Pb]), respectively, are removed before

the implosion.4 Asbestos removal is federally regulated

under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air

Pollutants (NESHAP, 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart M). Depending

on proximity, adjacent buildings may be draped with a

heavy-gauge plastic or woven vinyl to prevent damage

from flying debris. Such a precaution likely has a secondary

benefit of reducing dust infiltration. Emissions and

exposure also can be affected by meteorology. Specific

criteria are site-and contractor-dependent; however, in

general, light precipitation with winds in the direction of

sparse population is desirable. Post-implosion settled dust

control strategies include suppression with water and vacuum

street cleaners.


Despite these precautions, the potential for human

exposure to air contaminants from urban building implosions

is great because of a combination of high population

density, the enormous particulate matter (PM) emission

rate, and the resulting high PM concentrations. The

exposure potential is further exacerbated by the spectacle

of the event and media promotion that brings community

residents outdoors and to the site, swelling the exposed

population. In addition to the short-term exposure

concern associated with the airborne PM at the time of

the implosion, there is the potential for longer-term exposure

to PM that settles across the community and then

is available to be resuspended and inhaled or ingested after hand-to-mouth contact.

Here’s a more current Google map of the area, showing the current pile of rubble from the partial demolition of the hospital buildings that has been taking place all summer. Also, with the white descriptive boxes removed, you can more easily see just how many homes and residences are within the blast zone. It will be a matter of which way the wind blows that morning to see who gets the worst of the fallout.

DON'T Get to Gates!

DON’T Get to Gates!











Here are a few bullet points for would-be spectators and nearby residents, from the study:

Stay away from the implosion. Watch it on TV especially if you are very young, elderly, have immune problems, or a lung disease like asthma.

Stay indoors. If you live near the implosion, keep your doors and windows closed before and for one hour after the implosion.

Implosion dust can get indoors. Use a damp cloth or mop to clean dust from surfaces. Don’t vacuum the dust. Vacuuming stirs the dust back up into the air.

Rinse sidewalks and door stoops with a hose. The dust settles on outdoor surfaces near or downwind from the implosion.

Remove shoes or use a doormat. This will keep the dust from being carried inside.

Ontario Specialty Contracting, the demolition company performing the planned collapse, is hosting an informational session to answer questions on what the implosion entails at the parking lot located at 637 Linwood Avenue at 5pm on Thursday, September 24.


Artvoice Interview with Adam Zyglis

Click here to read an Artvoice interview with Pulitzer Prize winner Adam Zyglis from March 3, 2010. From Mark Sommer’s account in the Buffalo News, you’d have never known Zyglis had anything to do with Artvoice.

UB & The Buffalo News—Bamboozled by Natural Gas Industry

Sharon Wilson once dreamed of getting rich like her north Texas neighbors who seemed to be driving out the gate in the morning in a beat up pickup, only to return in “new, fully loaded Dodge diesels wearing new 7x beaver hats.” She began to research the best way to reap the benefits of the mineral rights she owned while also preserving the surface of her Texas land. It became an enlightening journey, to say the very least. Along the way, she became known as a “fracking insurgent”—a label she proudly wears today. Click here to read her story, and take some time to explore her enlightening TXSharon blog.

Last Halloween, as fate would have it, she attended the “Media & Stakeholder Relations Hydraulic Fracturing Initiative 2011” in Houston. Her $1,299 admission to the two-day gas industry event was paid for by EARTHWORKS’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project. The event included senior industry speakers from Chesapeake Energy, Range Resources, EQT  Corporation, Cabot Oil & Gas, Encana Oil and Gas, and Norse Energy, among others. Wilson brought her tape recorder along to document the event.

Among the shocking things she took away from the conference was the way the gas industry labels anti-frackers “insurgents” and employs ex-military PSYOPS to do intelligence and work within communities to thwart opposition and further the industry mission. Click here Click the icon above to listen to Matt Carmichael (Manager of External Affairs, Anadarko Petroleum) advising attendees to download the US Army/Marine Corps Counter-Insurgency Manual to be prepared for the fight ahead. He also considers “Rumsfeld Rules” to be his bible. (You can also click here and scroll down to the Carmichael link.)

Another speaker, Dennis Holbrook (Executive Vice President of Regulatory and Public Relations, Norse Energy) was recorded sharing a number of tips on how the gas industry can better manipulate public opinion toward the gas industry cause. Here are some anecdotes he tells those in attendance about New York State, UB, and the Buffalo News:

“We consider New York a pretty significant battle ground so…we aren’t there yet. We have a Governor , I think, that believes this thing should probably move forward. And I’ll just give you a couple more quick observations—I made some notes to myself while these gentlemen were speaking. We talked about “don’t dump the media,” be an information source for them, develop a rapport, keep it simple, don’t let the opponents define the issue, make it your meeting rather than theirs because they keep it far too superficial, seek out academic studies and champion with universities—because that again provides tremendous credibility to the overall process. We tend to be viewed, as I said earlier, very skeptically. We’ve aligned with the University at Buffalo—we’ve done a variety of other activities where we’ve gotten the academics to sponsor programs and bring in people for public sessions to educate them on a variety of different topics. One last thing: The key in all this is to keep it credible. I’m gonna read you a quote to sort of finish up right here so we still have some time for Q&A. This is an editorial that showed up not too long ago. It says, ‘Life is about managing risks, with sensible protections. Hydrofracking includes certain inherent risks, but so does any exploration for oil or gas—which virtually all New Yorkers use. New Yorkers who insist on never taking any risks should not get into a car—though they could get hit by one while walking. Or, just stay in bed all day—risking bed sores.’ I like this quote, obviously. I pulled it out and bring it along with me. I’ve told some media folks: ‘You probably think that’s coming from somebody in the industry.’ What you might find sort of fascinating is to find out that this quote actually comes from the Buffalo News—which is a Warren Buffet owned paper, so it’s not known for being overly conservative. A year ago it endorsed the moratorium on hydrofracking. So this is a major turnaround for this paper. And we spent a good year and longer meeting with editorial boards, providing essays to the paper, and doing whatever we could to educate the reporters on a different perspective than what they’d been led to believe until now. So I view this type of turnaround as a major success story. And these are the type of areas that I think can have a tremendous amount of influence. It doesn’t matter whether they’re gonna throw a well in Buffalo or not. But the spread of that information out there has a tremendous impact on the politicians and the other folks that we ultimately have to bring around to understanding that we can do this safely.”

Click here Click the icon above to listen to Holbrook’s full talk at the event. The above quote emerges around the 10:30 mark. (You can also click here and scroll down to the Holbrook link.)

Good to see that the State University of New York at Buffalo and our daily paper, the Buffalo News, aren’t swayed by the arguments of corporate shills. Here’s one of Holbrook’s slanted essays the News published August 30,2010. Here’s another one of his they published July 20, 2011.

Norse Energy recently pulled offices out of the area and relocated back to Texas. ““What’s bad news for Buffalo is good news for Houston,” Holbrook said. Click here to read about that.


The Morning Grumpy – 7/9/12

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

97% of people who enjoy roomy booths also enjoy print newspapers.

1. The Editor of The Buffalo News, Margaret Sullivan, hosted a live chat with readers and subscribers of the newspaper on July 5th. In it, she addressed several questions, but I’d like to focus on a series of exchanges regarding the new paywall digital subscription service the newspaper plans to implement this coming fall.

Reader: Hi, Margaret. What’s the reaction been to the News’ plans to move to digital subscriptions?

Margaret Sullivan: The reaction has been quite positive. People do seem to understand that news gathering is an expensive business and many of them are willing to pay for it in the digital as well as print form, especially since the cost will be quite low — and free to subscribers.

One might think that the challenges presented by declining revenue and a shrinking print subscriber base might push the venerable paper of record to embrace technology, develop new revenue streams, and incent their readers to slowly move to the online version of the product. After all, the online version comes with much less overhead and embracing this opportunity is in the long-term interests of the company. Instead, I was surprised to read that Ms. Sullivan sees this as an opportunity to leverage demand for online content as a means to boost flagging print revenue. Bizarre, I know.

Reader: What’s Plan B if you find out that nobody wants to pay for the News online?

Margaret Sullivan: Newspapers are experimenting, all over the country, with how to survive in a vastly different world. If something doesn’t work, we’ll try something else. It’s important to keep the printed newspaper healthy, which this plan is designed to do. (emphasis mine – CS) It’s also important to develop new ways of making money, such as expanding into commercial printing and distribution. The News has made some big gains there, too.

What she is saying is that The Buffalo News is in the newspaper business, not the journalism business. They are not the same thing. Meaning the product – the thing they produce – is the printed copy of the daily news, not the news itself. It’s a telling statement. The editors and staff will certainly give all sorts of high-minded statements about the mission of The Buffalo News, its editorial direction, and how they believe providing news and features is a sacred trust with the public. And they would be correct. The editorial mission of The Buffalo News and the quality and scope of their news organization is vital to a healthy and informed community. But, when you get down to brass tacks, the owners and management believe they are managing a printing company.

If they didn’t believe that, why would the pricing plan for their online product be designed to drive print subscriptions?  If a reader wants a single day of unlimited online access to the journalism product, he/she is asked to pay $.99. If that same reader only wants access to the printed version of that same content, he/she would pay $.75.  Yes, it’s $.24 cheaper for a customer to purchase a newspaper that has been printed on multimillion dollar equipment using expensive ink, bundled by union workers, placed on diesel trucks and driven and delivered to stores throughout the area than to read the content online.

If a reader doesn’t have a print subscription, he/she will be able to buy a digital subscription for $2.49 a week. Sounds like a deal, right? Let’s crunch the numbers.

The Sunday paper’s newsstand price will be increased to $2.50 later this month. Of course, if you’re a home subscriber to the Sunday edition of the newspaper, you’ll only pay$1.99 for the newspaper. That special subscription rate also entitles you to unlimited/24-7 access to the online content. So, which option will most people choose? If they are rational, they’ll pay $.50 less per week for the physical newspaper/online combination, which allows The Buffalo News to artificially increase Sunday subscriber rates and charge regional and national advertisers higher rates for advertisements and coupon placement in that Sunday edition. This pricing structure reinforces Ms. Sullivan’s point that the digital subscription service is a means to sustain the print newspaper.

Again, just so I am not misunderstood, traditional and establishment media is important. I value The Buffalo News, but I want to see them embrace technology and innovate, not just stem losses on a balance sheet and sustain a dying business model. The Internet is changing everything, and an attempt to replicate an old business model onto it is not a recipe for success. As Jeff Jarvis wrote, paywalls might boost short term revenue, but they also generate long term costs to journalism.

Alan Rusbridger, the innovative editor of the Guardian in London, just delivered a monumental speech arguing that charging “removes you from the way people the world over now connect with each other. You cannot control distribution or create scarcity without becoming isolated from this new networked world.”

There is a huge business opportunity for someone to build a nimble, multimedia, web-savvy, digital news product in this town that hires hungry young reporters, mixes in a dash of old graybeards for credibility, and takes on The Buffalo News where they are weak and blind, on the web. Maybe it’s time to start working on that business plan again.

2. Everything you need to know about Mitt Romney in one Venn Diagram.

3. The money-empathy gap, new research suggests that more money makes people act less human. Or at least less humane.

This research is not intended to prosecute the one percent, those families with an average net worth of $14 million. Nor does it attempt to apply its conclusions about the selfishness and solipsism of a broad social stratum to every member within it: Gateses and Carnegies have obviously saved lives and edified generations, and one of the biggest predictors of a person’s inclination to donate to charity is how much money he has. But when the top fifth of American families have seen their incomes rise by 45 percent since 1979, whereas the bottom fifth has seen a decline of almost 11 percent, these ­researchers want to explore a timely question: How does living in an environment defined by individual achievement—­measured by money, privilege, and ­status—alter a person’s mental machinery to the point where he begins to see the people around him only as aids or obstacles to his own ambitions?

A long, but very interesting read.

4. The conscience of America, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I, VT), gave a robust and rollicking speech on the floor of the United States Senate on June 27th. He takes on Wall Street in the way I wish more of our Senators would and should.

“The Federal Reserve provided a jaw dropping $16 trillion dollars in virtually zero-interest loans to every major financial institution in this country … why can’t they move to protect homeowners, unemployed workers, and the middle class?”

Wall Street got everything it wanted. What did we get? Incredibly powerful.

5. Thinking about a degree from University of Phoenix or some such similar for-profit “university”, you might want to think again.

A new study from two Boston University economists finds that students at for-profit schools fail to receive any wage boost from obtaining a certificate or associate’s degree. “There is little evidence of a return to any certificate or degree from a for-profit,” the researchers write in a new paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Meanwhile, people with legitimate degrees from public or private not-for-profit universities do receive a significant wage premium after completing their education. In 2010, FRONTLINE did a fantastic hour long expose on the predatory practices of for-profit schools. Absolutely worth watching if you’ve never seen it.

Fact Of The Day: AT&T has a database known as “Hawkeye” that contains 312 terabytes of data detailing nearly every telephone communication on AT&T’s domestic network since 2001

Quote Of The Day: “The weak hate not wickedness but weakness; and one instance of their hatred of weakness is hatred of self.” – Eric Hoffer

Video Of The Day: “This is our planet a.k.a ‘Space Station Porn'”

Song Of The Day: “Potholes In My Lawn” – De La Soul

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UB Shale Institute in the News Over the Weekend

Late last week, the UB Shale Resources and Society Institute (SRSI) took its website down to do some tweaking after it came under criticism from a number of directions. Late in the day Friday, the amended site went back up, though it now claims to be “under construction” (or “under reconstruction,” as the case may be). You can compare the amended pages with those saved by the Public Accountability Initiative (PAI), here.

Also last Friday—after an AP story was published in papers around the country raising grave concerns about the funding for, and gas industry ties to the SRSI—the UB Reporter issued this prepared statement from E. Bruce Pittman, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Dutifully, the Buffalo News summarized that statement. But you’ll notice that comments aren’t allowed on the story if you read it on the News website.

No such gag order here at Artvoice. If you have any thoughts on the whole mess, feel free to share, below.

The Morning Grumpy 2/20/2012

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

Seems legit

1. I haven’t written much about State Senator Mark Grisanti’s Rumble At the Falls.  Now that the full police report has been published, it seems appropriate to comment. From the time that initial reports of the fracas surfaced, the idea that a sober Sen. Grisanti simply attempted to break up a fight and was then attacked by two drunken native americans due to his lack of native friendly legislative accomplishments seemed (to this writer, at least) a bit contrived.

To make matters worse, Grisanti and his staff simply lost control of the narrative as the story developed last week. Allegations surfaced that Grisanti and his wife were drunk, that Grisanti used racial epithets, and that it was Grisanti who instigated the fight.

Oh, this also happened. Weird.

While the other parties involved in the donnybrook took control of the public relations battle, Grisanti and his young staff were being pummeled with conflicting advice from all of Grisanti’s political bosses, mentors and unofficial advisers like Henry Wojtaszek, Joel Giambra, Michael Caputo, and many others. To make matters worse, Grisanti didn’t seem to know that it’s o.k. to simply say “no” to an interview.

The media had a field day playing with Grisanti’s tenuous memory of the melee, what with his Nixonian claims that he “didn’t recall” using a racial epithet and the incremental changes in his story throughout the week. During this entire process, all I could wonder were two things.

  • Why isn’t Senator Grisanti pressing charges against the person who severely concussed and injured his wife?
  • Why aren’t any of the parties involved demanding that the casino surveillance tape be released?

Until one of those two things happened, it seemed that everyone had something to hide and we were simply dealing with bullshit “spin”. Now, news has emerged that Grisanti intends to press charges, the police report has surfaced, and the full surveillance video is rumored to be on its way to the media; it sure seems as if the Senator has retaken control of the narrative and has the facts on his side. This story has shifted frequently and I suspect that it will continue to do so throughout the week. Stay tuned.

2. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz most likely kicked back with a beer last night and celebrated a pretty excellent week.  The man is currently THE Bruce Dickinson of Erie County politics.

His pick to fill the now vacant Erie County Comptroller’s office was confirmed by the Legislature and he was rewarded with a nice column in the Sunday edition of The Buffalo News supporting his claim that the county IDA system needs significant reform. Poloncarz even took the opportunity to call Kevin Hardwick and other legislature Republicans ignorant. However, his biggest win of the week was the restoration of funding to the child care subsidy program cut by the previous administration. As reported in The Buffalo News:

Starting March 5, a family of three will be able to make up to $37,060 this year and still qualify for subsidized child care, as opposed to the current rules setting the limit at $32,427. The projections allowing that increase run through 2013, bringing some stability to a program that has had its ups and downs in recent years.

This program is a critical tool for working families as parents struggle to stay off public assistance, progress through job training programs or return to school. The availability of subsidized day care is absolutely crucial to thousands of families in WNY and the funding was restored without adding to the budget. Anyone missing Collins yet? Didn’t think so.

3. When digesting the news last week that The Buffalo News posted its lowest profit in decades last year, please consider this speech given by a former newspaper executive.

Crappy newspaper executives are a bigger threat to journalism’s future than any changes wrought by the Internet.

As you read through his speech, I think you’re going to see The Buffalo News making many of the same mistakes that every other newspaper in the country is making.  Think about it the next time you consider how much better the daily product would be if Brian Meyer, Jim Heaney, and dozens of other talented writers and editors were still on the job. Think about it the next time Margaret Sullivan proudly boasts of the latest results from reader surveys and the popularity of coupons.

The greatest irony of the devolution of newspapers is that journalism itself is more vital and relevant than ever. The cost of production has radically scaled down for startups, talent is plentiful, distribution of content has never been easier, and audiences never more receptive to new and engaging voices. Meanwhile, executives in the newspaper industry struggle to maintain the legacy distribution model rather than embrace new, cooperative and engaged models of production and distribution. Due to a lack of competition in daily news production, The Buffalo News still has a few years to figure this out. Will they? Or will someone dedicate the capital necessary to take them on and beat them on the web?

4. Speaking of Jim Heaney, have you heard about his new project? The ol’ man is getting back into the journalism game with a very exciting new organization called the Investigative Post.

Investigative Post is collaborating with major media outlets and university journalism programs to produce and distribute investigations and analyses on the major issues confronting Buffalo and Western New York.

Jim Heaney, a veteran investigative reporter formerly with The Buffalo News, is spearheading the venture as editor and executive director.

“We’re going to produce hard-nosed investigations and in-depth analyses intended to help shape the debate over how to get this community back on its feet,” said Heaney, a former Pulitzer Prize finalist who departed The News in August to launch Investigative Post.

“We’ll be a watchdog with both bite and brains,” he added.

Members of the board of directors include Tom Toles, who won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning with The News before joining the Washington Post, and Lee Coppola, an award-winning newspaper and television investigative reporter and former dean of the School of Journalism at St. Bonaventure University.

Rather than competing with established news outlets, investigative centers collaborate with them. Investigative Post will share selected content with News 4, WIVB-TV; WBFO-FM, 88.7 FM and AM 970, the region’s National Public Radio stations; The Buffalo News; and Artvoice.

Heaney has been a wonderful mentor for hundreds of young students, bloggers, and reporters in the region for years. I’m excited to see him leading this new project and look forward to reading and contributing whenever and however I am able.

5. Red states hate being taxed, but they sure as hell love to bathe in that sweet, sweet federal spending! Tea Party!

Republican states, on average, received $1.46 in federal spending for every tax dollar paid; Democratic states, on average, received $1.16.

Fact Of The Day:On Feb. 20, 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth as he flew aboard the Friendship 7 Mercury capsule.

Quote Of The Day: “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.” – Frederick Douglass

Cartoon Of The Day: “Magic Highway USA” – Disney

Song Of The Day: “Ramblin’ Rose” – MC5

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The Morning Grumpy – December 8th

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


America, F*CK YEAH!

1. The future of journalism is on the web. That may seem like an odd statement for someone who plies his trade for an outlet primarily known for its print product, but it’s not some dirty little secret. Print will always have a place, especially alternative weeklies that focus on feature reporting. But day-to-day transactional beat coverage? It will be web-based. Covering events and beats and reporting them the following day in a print product is a wasteful and expensive proposition. I’m roughly the 351,450th person to write this on a blog in the last year, so I’m not going to pretend this is some big revelation.

Print coverage of local events is expensive and lacks timeliness. Local broadcast television coverage is typically shallow and glib. Radio coverage is nearly non-existent, with the exception of local non-profit, public radio. Ah, wait, I sense a point coming!

Ten NBC-owned television stations across the nation will team with nonprofit news outlets in an attempt to beef up their enterprise and analytical reporting, the network announced Monday.

NBC affiliates in Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia will work with work with non-commercial outfits in those cities — KPCC public radio, the Chicago Reporter and WHYY public radio and television, respectively — while all of the network’s owned-and-operated stations will get early access to investigative reports from the independent, nonprofit newsroom Pro Publica.

Television outlets doing enterprise coverage? Wow, that would be refreshing around these parts, eh? Now imagine extending this idea to a traditional print daily. What if  The Buffalo News partnered with a local non-profit web outlet on beat coverage, enterprise projects, and multimedia stories? It would extend the newsroom, better inform the public, and create a better product. Seems like a natural fit.

The best online, non-profit journalism is found in San Diego.

We try to go beyond the press releases and press conferences to bring you the stories that our leaders and powerful don’t want to announce — the kind of stories that result in positive change, uncover vital information for San Diegans, and bring us together as a community. And we put perspective and analysis into the things they do announce. We don’t report with any right- or left-wing agenda. But we are inspired by passion to expose what is right and wrong, to drive reform and to spur solutions for the best of the community as a whole.

Damn, that sounds excellent! I want this to happen right here in Buffalo. It seems that an enterprising group of young reporters in this town might want to think about partnering up with some of the quality talent The Buffalo News has laid off in recent years and copy the San Diego model. I know I’d like expanded and timely coverage of local news events, dedicated fact checking, and “explainer” articles.  I’ll put some money on the table to make this happen, anyone else want in?

2. Want to buy a federal election? Let Mother Jones show you how!

3. “Tweet” from McSweeney’s. Caused a bit of introspection at Chez Smith last night…

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by brevity, over-connectedness, emotionally starving for attention, dragging themselves through virtual communities at 3 am, surrounded by stale pizza and neglected dreams, looking for angry meaning, any meaning…

4. Hey America, looking for a solution to the jobs crisis and a sputtering economy? Corporations have the answer for you!

Corporate America is sitting right on top of the solution to the nation’s employment crisis, according to a new report from a group of University of Massachusetts economists.

If America’s largest banks and non-financial companies would just loosen their death-grip on a chunk of the $3.6 trillion in cash they’re hoarding and move it into productive investments instead, the report estimates that about 19 million jobs would be created in the next three years, lowering the unemployment rate to under 5 percent.

In fact, according to the Federal Reserve (Table L.109, line 28), banks are sitting on $1.6 trillion in reserves — about 80 times the $20 billion they held in 2007.

Meanwhile, non-financial companies are keeping their profits liquid, rather than plowing them back into investments, to the tune of about $2 trillion.

Together, that amounts to almost a quarter of the U.S. gross domestic product.

Let’s get it together, fearless corporate barons. Spend some money, hire some people and get this fucking train moving.

5. I like the way Ron Paul looms.

Rep. Ron Paul rarely makes news, and his candidacy is frequently ignored by Beltway reporters. But headlines, his aides say, are overrated. In fact, the Texas Republican’s low-key autumn was strategic. As Paul’s competitors stumbled and sparred, he amassed a small fortune for his campaign and built a strong ground operation. And with January fast approaching, his team is ready to surprise the political world and sweep the Iowa caucuses.

While several GOP candidates have taken their turn at the front of the pack, Ron Paul and his ill-fitting suits have hung back, waiting to strike. He has a rabid base of supporters and the race will inevitably give him and them their moment once Newt Gingrich steps on his arrogant dick in the next month or two. While those rabid supporters are a blessing for Paul, they’re also a curse. One of the least appealing things about Paul is the glib assholes who scold America for not agreeing with them. If he can overcome the Jim Ostrowskis of the world and positions himself as the reasonable fallback/compromise/not-Mitt-Romney option, Ron Paul just might end up the nominee.

6. How many times can a Christian be “born again”? Good question.

Bishop Eddie Long, the Atlanta-area Baptist megachurch leader accused of sexual misconduct with several young men, announced on Sunday he is taking time off to focus on his family. His church, like many evangelical Christian churches, exhorts sinners to be “born again,” accepting Christ as their savior on the path to redemption. If a born-again Christian like Long has already been reborn, can he later become born again again?

It’s hard to say. Though more than one-third of U.S. Christians characterize themselves as “born-again,” the phrase isn’t clearly defined in the Bible.

Blow some coke, smoke some meth, sleep with a prostitute, sleep with young men, it’s cool. Just apologize, condemn others for doing the same, and get born again…again. No wonder Americans like this christianity thing so much.

Fact Of The Day: On this day in 1980, Mark David Chapman shot and killed John Lennon. John was only 40 years old.

Quote Of The Day: “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

Song Of The Day: “Beautiful Boy” – John Lennon

Follow me on Twitter: @ChrisSmithAV

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

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