Troops march in Pyongyang, North Korea. They have a cause.

As someone told us this morning, THE PLANET’s commentary on Korea certainly came at the right time. It just so happened that the latest fireworks (the North’s attack, the South military exercises with the U.S.) occurred as we were preparing our series on this site based on Historian Bruce Cumings’ penetrating book, The Korean War: A History.

Korea is important for a couple reasons. First, the nuclear security of the planet (planet earth, not THE PLANET) may rest upon what happens there. Second, the U.S. experience there provided valuable lessons that we failed to learn (see Iraq and Afghanistan, $3 trillion later).

North Korean monument: Monolithic but not simplistic.

Cumings book presents his analysis of the indisputable facts of history, post WWII. Literally the day after we vaporized Nagasaki, Dean Rusk at behest of the War Department unilaterally divided the peninsula into two nations at the previously insignificant 38th parallel. By September 1945, the U.S. had 30,000 troops there. Why? Why didn’t we do what we did at the end of all previous war? Why didn’t we return to a peace time economy?

Kim Il Sung, misjudging America’s strategic interest in Asia and thinking he was dealing with an honorable nation, saw the chance after the U.S. defeating common-enemy Japan to avenge the wrongs committed under the brutal occupation of America’s recent foe (but now friend, Japan).

The North invaded the South to punish Japanese collaborators, the way the French did with Vichy’s Nazi  collaborators. The North’s actions would have ended in victory in a couple of months, and we should have let the civil war run its course, but no. The U.S., under the thin aegis of the U.N., intervened in June 1950. America actually won the “first” war, in the South, which was fought from then to the end of the year.

If we had stopped there, we could have easily exited Korea with face preserved. We didn’t. Kim Il Sung’s masterstroke was counting on the war mongering U.S. generals and officials to chase his armies into the North. We lost that war and for 2 plus years drenched the utterly defenseless populations of North Korea in oceans of napalm.

Peace on the peninsula can only happen if the U.S. and South Korea tell the truth of the past 65 years.

The North Korean perspective has never been told in the West. This is the truth of Korea that virtually no one here wishes to admit. The freedom fighter for the North were heroes for their county in fighting the Japanese in Manchuria and on their own peninsula. They fought the occupiers the same way the patriots fought the British in colonial America. They figured and still do that their blood earned them the moral right to governance.

As long as this perspective is not included in a meaningful way, we shall have trouble there. The North will not give up. It is a nation literally built on a military-first philosophy, one that is actually reasonable given the horrors the nation has endured for 100 years, when Japan first began to interfere with Korean autonomy.

Look, THE PLANET is the first to recognize the positive actions of the South Korean government since the late 90s in regards to unification. We also know of the noble sacrifices of so many GIs during the Korean conflict. Our point is to argue for the insertion of the missing element in our understandings of history there, the present there, and the future there.

Lesson to be learned: When we do not have a truthful accounting of the past, particularly of gross injustice, we can never have a peaceful present or a bright future. Whether it’s the gross injustice committed by nation against nation or one person victimizing another, a moral and equitable society is not possible without a truthful accounting of the past. Think about it.

‘Song Bird to Pittsfield Airport, Where are You, Over’?

A mighty glare that sunglasses won't touch, only IFR.

At last THE PLANET found a Pittsfield story that had no down side: the installation of several acres of solar panels on Silver Lake Boulevard next to Fourth Street on one side and the PEDA property on the next. These panels are producing energy and providing a model for how a green energy system might integrate into a green economy.

What’s not to like? The use is perfect for the parcel, it’s green, it has produced positive PR, and it will help leverage PEDA, even if only by a small amount. Perfect game, right?

Not so fast. Out of the western skies came “Sky King.” This reliable source says that in the due diligence for the solar project, officials neglected to consider how it might affect pilots coming in on visual approach to the Pittsfield Airport. It appears that the alignment of the panels on certain sunny days at specific times and during certain parts of the season are causing a blinding reflection from the sun on the approach to the airport.

This created a dangerous situation that had to be rectified. Enter, the emergency request and approval by the city a few months back for an IFR flight system. Maybe THE PLANET was asleep during the discussion, but we don’t recall officials sharing with us this safety issue. Why?

"Chipper, can you see the runway?" "No, Sky, there's a glare coming from near Silver Lake."

If “Sky” is correct, and since he is a frequent flier we have no reason to think he is, pilots who land at the airport during those times (and we don’t know specifically the determining factors, i.e., what days, what hours, what part of the year,etc.) must come in on instruments. In broad daylight. With not a cloud in the sky.

Which leads to a question: Had the controlling authorities communicated with each other, and officials had realized this in the first place, could the solar array have been oriented differently or in some other way modified to prevent an additional expense on the multi-million dollar expansion project? As it was, the request for more money was presented in typical hurry-hurry-hurry fashion. As we have seen so many times before, when the city of Pittsfield acts this way, it has a way of backfiring, or have you forgotten about the 1,000 EV Worldwide jobs that never materialized?

From left, "Crash" Corrigan, Gloria Winters (Penny), and Kirby Grant (Sky King) on the set. Solar panels are being installed in the rear.

“Only in Pittsfield,” as “Sky” put it. After that, he promptly downed a Nabisco fig newton “Your’e darn tootin’, we like Fig Newtons”). After that, he rescued his niece Penny. The bad guys tied her up and left her in a chair at their hideout. We didn’t mind, though, because she had on a tight B&W blouse.  You came of age back in the day the moment you concentrated more on Penny than on the airplanes.

Any why was it that in every other episode, she got tied up and had to try and wriggle out of the ropes? Not that we ever noticed, mind you.


  1. Eels a Poppin
    December 1, 2010 at 8:05 am #

    Your take on Korea is to say the least counter what most every other mainstream outlet is saying. Frankly, I had never thought about N Korea and it’s “perspective.” As for the solar panels, what we I say? Only in the Pitts?

  2. Jim Gleason
    December 1, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    We had to pass the money for the airport expansion in a hurry, now the powers that be had to come up with this money in a hurry, the mayor and Collingwood wanted the money for the new highway garage in a hurry, we had to pass 40U in a hurry and the blight ordinances had to be passec in a hurry. The only thing going slowly is job growth and good people coming in to Pittsfield. Come on in a hurry, November ’11, so we can get these hurry up people out of office.

  3. Asking for Sanity
    December 1, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    I don’t usually agree with Mr. Gleason but must on this one. When the airport money came up it was a big rush. Now we find out why. The millions collingwood wants for the highway gagrage is a big rush. were spending money like crazy but where are the jobs? I repeat, Where are the jobs?

  4. Joe Pinhead
    December 1, 2010 at 7:35 pm #

    Mama always told me not to look into the eye’s of the sun
    But mama, that’s where the fun is
    Some brimstone baritone anticyclone rolling stone preacher from the east
    Says, “Dethrone the dictaphone, hit it in it’s funny bone,
    that’s where they expect it least”
    And some new-mown chaperone was standin’ in the corner,
    watching the young girls dance
    And some fresh-sown moonstone was messin’ with his frozen zone, reminding him of romance
    The calliope crashed to the ground
    But she was…

    • danvalenti
      December 1, 2010 at 7:57 pm #

      I love your rhymes, man. I want to sign you to PLANET MEDIA BOOKS (have to look into the sun for about three hours straight, first, though).

  5. Joe Pinhead
    December 1, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

    Well I wish I could take credit for the rhymes but its from Manfred Mann band blinded by the light.
    Sanity, rest assured they have created 2 jobs that will out last us the con and the snow job are working hard here in the city

  6. rick
    December 4, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    living near the airport, i really didnt need to hear that about the pannels! its bad enough they took all the trees away that could catch a distressed plane before it goes into houses. some times i wonder if these people in charge are smoking some thing illegal.