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THE STOOLEY STRIKES GOLD, A SIOGA INVITE, AND THE SOMBER STORY OF FLAG-DRAPED COFFINS AND BODY BAGS

The En Ef El, or, The Stooley Comes Up Big

BenJarvis Green-Ellis, New England Patriots' running back, moved upfield in his team's 39-26 thumping of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

If you’ll recall, on Saturday we posted our picks in three “local” NFL games. We said the New England Patriots would beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, in Pittsburgh, by 10 points. This was a game, by the way, in which nearly all the “experts” picked the Steelers.

The Patriots won by 13.

We said the New York Jets would be in a close one and lose to the Cleveland Browns by 3. The game was tied at the end of regulation, with the Jets winning with :16 seconds left in OT.

The Jets won by 3.

We also picked the Buffalo Bills to win their FIRST GAME OF THE YEAR by a point.

The Bills won by 2.

Not a bad showing, and if you had gone with our picks, you would have cleaned up. We thank our resident Wise Guy, The Stooley, for his input. The Stooley has a great background, with certain parts of his resume that must be left blank for reasons both obvious and otherwise. We can say he did do a stint making book at the sports operation of the Stardust in Las Vegas. He was also towel boy at the YWCA for a period.

For tonight’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins, The Stolley likes the Eagles, big, over the Skins. Eagles will get off fast against a disorganized Skins, whose confusion can be exemplified by the odd granting of a 5-year extension to 33-year-old QB Donovan McNabb that couldbe worth $88 million with incentives.

Sun, Sun, Sun Here It Comes

They capture the sun and transform the beams into clean energy, and the amazing thing is that it's going on at Silver Lake.

New England’s largest solar energy project will momentarily be online and producing electricity, enough for about 300 homes. To THE PLANET, that’s not the story, although it certainly fits the current “green” profile that plays well in the marketplace for companies, in this case, Western Mass Electric.

The local story is not what, but where. The project is located on the north side of Silver Lake Boulevard on a parcel of land that’s long contained little except what appeared to be randomly placed utility shacks, equipment, scrub grass, and oily dirt. The parcel always looked like the company didn’t know how to fully use it. Now, the solar project will be up and running, helping to prove the commercial viability of solar power.

The land sits adjacent, of course, to the PEDA property surrounding northeastern shore of Silver Lake. Having grown up nearby, not to see the enormous factory and office buildings that used to be GE still takes some getting used to.

We can still vividly “see” in recall the hulking factory complex that used to tower over the boulevard like a hungry beast. Workers parked there cars on the other side of the road in a rounded row that was both crowded and chaotic yet orderly. The scene had a claustrophobic feel, as if one might not be able to emerge, and a sometimes sweet, somtimes acrid smell. That building, with its Rube Goldberg complex of pipes, valves, stairways, decks, windows, and vents reminded me of the conning deck of an aircraft carrier.

It’s great to see something like the sun coming there, and to look at the parklike landscaping. Bringing the land to that state from its original factorial abandonment is remarkable, encouraging, and hopeful.

SIOGA Club to Have Its Grand Opening

THE PLANET would like to share this invitation:

Contact:

Doug Malins

413-281-7415

dmalins@berkshire.rr.com

 

What:  Grand Opening of the SIOGA Club in Pittsfield

Where:  81 Linden Street, Pittsfield

When:  Wednesday, November 17, 2:00 p.m.

It’s been a long time coming, since the fire that knocked it out of its First Street location, but finally, this mission for recovering alcoholics has a place of its own. THE PLANET has a brutally busy Wednesday schedule that day, but if there’s a way we can make this, we shall try as a show of support for this positive force known by the acronym of SIOGA The “S” is for “sobriety.”

Body Bags, Draped Coffins Tell a Powerful Story

A picture that speaks for itself.

While trying to catch up on international news today, we came across a story from Afghanistan illustrated by a couple photos, one showing body bags of soldiers killed in action and the other of flag-draped coffins in somber line on a patch of sandy desert, waiting to be loaded into the mouth of a cargo/transport plane.

It wasn’t too long ago, under the presidency of George W. Bush, that we Americans could not see such tough pictures. Bush wanted to sanitize the death counts from Iran and Afghanistan by forbidding the press to take pictures of containers carrying the remains of young men and women cut down in the prime of their lives. Incredibly, the American people didn’t care enough to raise a protest.

Even more incredibly, the press, which would once have fought and if necessary defied the photo ban, meekly submitted. It’s not hard to know why, since most of mainstream Big Media is owned by large corporations and conglomerates that do not care about the responsibilities the press has in a free society about informing the public of the truth of situations.  Big Media is run by bean counters, not journalists.

While Obama has not kept his promise to get us “da heck” out of the mess in Afghanistan, at least he has allowed these hard-to-view photos. Problem is, though, that the war has become unreal. The foreign intrigues in Afghanistan-Iraq-then-Afghanistan-again have been going on since 2003. It’s burrowed deep into our weary psyches so as to remain nearly invisible, as if it’s not happening. Intellectually, we know there are men and women fighting a politicians’ battle, but emotionally, we have ceased to believe.

War, which has been such a constant in those years, has by its robotic ever-presence morphed into an abstraction, a way of life, even. Our lives go on without interruption. We forget. The politicians do not forgive. Meanwhile, too many people are horribly wounded, maimed, and die.

Those two wars were about oil, revenge, and gigantic revenues and contracts for the outsourcing of the chaotic aftermath. Iraq and Afghanistan, countries in a land that hasn’t never and will likely never embrace democracy, were never direct threats to our national security, and we could only invade on a series of pretexts, all of which were proven in some fashion to be untrue.

People say Bush started (and now Obama is continuing) a “preventive war.” That is incorrect. These two wars were “preemptive.” Let me explain. There are three kinds of war: defensive, preventive, and preemptive.”

A defensive war is when you respond to an overt attack (no, Sept. 11, 2001, aka President Bush’s lucky day, was not such an attack; Pearl Harbor was). A preventive strike is when you have reason (hard, conclusive evidence) to believe a nation will attack, and you take action first to prevent them from attacking (no, there were no weapons of mass destruction in any rational understanding of the phrase). A preemptive war is when you launch an invasion for no good cause, except to say the other guy was going to strike first (without evidence, mind you) if you did not get in with the first punch.

The great thing from a perpetrator’s point of view about a preemptive strike is that we can never know if the other country was in fact going to strike first. It is the political/military equivalent of the perfect crime.

Until these last two “wars” (never declared by Congress, same as Korean and Vietnam), the United States had never engaged in a preventive or a preemptive strike. Sadly, with these actions, we have became warmongers. Good for business, bad for the staus of the U.S. in the community of nations.

8 Responses to “THE STOOLEY STRIKES GOLD, A SIOGA INVITE, AND THE SOMBER STORY OF FLAG-DRAPED COFFINS AND BODY BAGS”

  1. Scott Laugenour
    November 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    On war resolutions:

    I recall the Berkshire Brigades event I attended (as a Kucinich supporter, not as a Democrat) at the beginning of the 2008 presidential primary season. John Kerry was the keynote speaker. I heckled him for a second or two when he intoned that a 60-seat Democrat majority in the Senate was needed to ‘stop the wars.’ They obviously felt they needed some anti-war votes that year, but I didn’t want his hyprocisy to go unblemished.

    My heckling wasn’t unruly and lasted no more than a few seconds. I simply shouted out: “Just stop funding it.”

    After his speech a friend of mine who observed my heckling asked me about it. I tried to explain how a 60-seat majority might be necessary to halt debate, and 67 votes would be necessary to override a veto, but that the Democrats, if they were truly anti-war, already had long had enough votes to block funding bills. A veto override only comes into to play when there’s a bill that has passed, and halting debate only is important if the Democrats want the bill to pass. But if Democrats did not vote to fund the war, then there would be no debate to halt and nothing to veto.

    My friend didn’t get it. Kept on saying – no, we need to give the Democrats at least 60 votes so they can end the war … I just gave up after a while and suggested we wait to see what happens with war funding if the Democrats got a few more seats in the house. I also suggested that my friend watch to see if the anti-war speeches given during the campaign would continue after a Democratic Party victory.

    Well … well … history can fill in the blanks.

  2. Wondering out Loud
    November 15, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    Excellent post, The Democrats as Mr. Laugenour says could have blocked the money for the war. No money, no war. They also could have resisted the post-9/11 jingoism that resulted in a blank check for Mr. Bush, but they were afraid and caved in politically. The Republicans have loved these wars from the beginning. We now have been paying trillions in money and much more in the loss of standing among nations of the world, as the article says. histroy will fill in the blanks, and if anyone is left to read it will tell of the cowardice of politicians in making and sustaing war.

    • Scott Laugenour
      November 16, 2010 at 8:23 am #

      Should have added that the Democratic Party, although they ‘could have’ blocked the money, they didn’t really want to. They, of course, want the anti-war vote but they also want to share the pro-war money with the Republicans, which would be yanked if they ever did anything serious like denying war funding to a president of any party. That’s why I’m a local green – it’s time to organize a political voting power that doesn’t affiliate with the big money. It’s starting local.

      • danvalenti
        November 16, 2010 at 9:48 am #

        I would be great to see this movement, or any, move up from the grassroots level. The only way to combat the Big $$ is large turnouts. This 40% jazz isn’t cutting it and its letting the bums run the show and tip the field. If we could ever get 85%, the monkey business would stop.

  3. Jim Gleason
    November 16, 2010 at 5:56 am #

    The JETS won by 6 on a Mark Sanchez to Santonio Holmes 37 yard pass with 24 seconds left in overtime. After the play there was 16 seconds left. GO JETS, all the way to Dallas in February.

  4. Norm Cashing in
    November 16, 2010 at 7:55 am #

    So is The Stooley a friggin genius or what? Where did you get this guy? I must be nuts, but I took the Patriots based on this. my watering hole bookie weren’t pleased.

  5. danvalenti
    November 16, 2010 at 8:05 am #

    JIM
    Thanks for the correction. Can’t deny that the Jets vs. the Patriots in Foxboro is going to be some fun. Rex Ryan has done a great job with that team.

  6. Oregon certified pilots
    December 2, 2010 at 11:17 am #

    On war resolutions:

    I recall the Berkshire Brigades event I attended (as a Kucinich supporter, not as a Democrat) at the beginning of the 2008 presidential primary season. John Kerry was the keynote speaker. I heckled him for a second or two when he intoned that a 60-seat Democrat majority in the Senate was needed to ‘stop the wars.’ They obviously felt they needed some anti-war votes that year, but I didn’t want his hyprocisy to go unblemished.

    My heckling wasn’t unruly and lasted no more than a few seconds. I simply shouted out: “Just stop funding it.”

    After his speech a friend of mine who observed my heckling asked me about it. I tried to explain how a 60-seat majority might be necessary to halt debate, and 67 votes would be necessary to override a veto, but that the Democrats, if they were truly anti-war, already had long had enough votes to block funding bills. A veto override only comes into to play when there’s a bill that has passed, and halting debate only is important if the Democrats want the bill to pass. But if Democrats did not vote to fund the war, then there would be no debate to halt and nothing to veto.

    My friend didn’t get it. Kept on saying – no, we need to give the Democrats at least 60 votes so they can end the war … I just gave up after a while and suggested we wait to see what happens with war funding if the Democrats got a few more seats in the house. I also suggested that my friend watch to see if the anti-war speeches given during the campaign would continue after a Democratic Party victory.

    Well … well … history can fill in the blanks.