PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, AUG. 30, 2011) — Many critics who lashed out at THE PLANET for our comments on the dud Irene seemed upset by what they read. The reason for this, while puzzling to some of our fans, is clear to THE PLANET.

For whatever reason — and it differs from person to person — the ones who got upset at our take on the fizzled and drizzled storm hated to be reminded of the truth: that the Storm of a Million Lifetimes, which the press and personal scuttlebutt did their best to scare the mustard out of people, did little more than muss the hair of Berkshire County. These critics suffered a case of intelligence fed to them by this website and got mad at us because they find it hard to get back to their ignorance. Kind of like an intellectual version not of “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” but “I got up, and I’ve forgotten how to fall.”

‘Is That All There Is’?

Virtually everyone who posted — friend or foe — confirmed the truth of what we reported: The Berkshire escaped virtually untouched. There were no fatalities, a few downed trees, and some leaves blowing in the wind, along with Bob Dylan. We toured Pittsfield last night. Like Peggy Lee, we sang, “Is that all there is? Then let’s keep dancing. Let’s bring out the booze and have a ball, if that’s all there is.”

South County had MUCH WORSE than that this summer, when one fine day the wind blew with much more force than Irene (and it rained much harder, too). Many trees went down and caused significant property damage. Check the homes, camps, and cottages around Stockbridge Bowl if you wish to verify, or many of the properties on Route 7 in the Athens of Berkshire County.

Folks Were ‘Taken In’ by the Relentless Hype & Brainwashing

The unusually irate and angry tone of many of our beloved critics says to us that some people didn’t like to be reminded that they were taken in by the incessant blathering of endless-loop 24/7 Weather Channel brain washing. Irene was an “uneven and hard-to-predict” storm. Some got hit a little bit harder than others. Berkshire County got a light tap on the fanny. Stockbridge didn’t even get that.

The golf course, situation next to the Housatonic River, flooded, but that’s a biannual occurrence.

People got taken. That’s pretty much all THE PLANET said by way of commentary. Yet to hear the ravings of our critics, you’d think we’d unsquared the circle and claimed to find the final resting place of Pi.

Hurricane Irene was actually downgraded. Two days from land, it was a Category 3 Hurricane. A day from land, a hurricane hunting airplane flew into Irene and reported that the storm’s winds had dropped markedly. It was barely a Category 1 at that point. In fact, some weather people — uh, meteorologists … sorry —were labeling it a cyclone at that point. In other words, it was only arguably a hurricane.

The Weather Channel’s Deliberate Fudging

Patrick Michaels of reported that despite the downgrade of Irene from a hurricane to a cyclone, The Weather Channel left its forecasts “virtually unchanged,” hyping the event and fictionalizing the extent of the storm: “… the Thursday evening forecast was virtually unchanged, the Internet went thermonuclear, and the Weather Channel’s advertising rates skyrocketed. From that point on, it became all Irene, all the time. With this level of noise, the political process has to respond with full mobilization. Hype begets hype.”

As of the latest reports, 38 people died as a direct consequence of the hurricane, in a swath of land with a population of about 130 million people. And while the death of one person is a tragedy, always, let’s get that clear, for those of you who want THE PLANET to be The Monster. And I’m sorry for all of you who wanted more tragedy, more deaths, more destruction than what we actually got. THE PLANET will do our best next time to see that it happens.

Speaking of the Big D, most of those people died as the result of stupidity, such as the dope who decided to wade into the Atlantic (forget if this was in North Caroline  or Florida) while his friends and family were watching from the beach (even that was a dangerous place to be). The man got knocked down by an undertow. Others risked their lives to bring him to shore. He was pronounced dead after CPR failed. Or how about the rocket scientist who decided to watch the waves crashing from an ocean dock? Or the nuclear physicist who wanted to prove that he could withstand cyclonic winds? As comedian Ron White observed, “It’s not THAT the wind is blowing. It’s WHAT the wind is blowing.” Ouch.

From NYC, Our Friends Report: ‘Bored’ by The Big Snore

And this, from so-called “devastated” NYC, on the CNN website: ” Tropical Storm Irene’s swipe at the Big Apple proved Sunday that New Yorkers can be a tough crowd to impress. ‘I slept through the whole thing,’ said James Trager, a writer who said he was nonplussed by nature’s display of fury that took place outside his windows overlooking 58th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Midtown. ‘Nothing. It’s exaggerated.'”

Another New Yorker, Jamie Keeling, a Facebook friend, posted: “Boring. Nothing to see here concerned family and friends. It’s a weak ending to all the hype. My state of emergency sleepover cohorts are sorely disappointed. Our survival skills were not tested. The skies are grey — in our unheroic hearts.”

THE PLANET also shares this with our critics and those who appreciated the rational approach we took to this over-hyped Big Wind. This is a blog posted on

Within hours after Hurricane Irene had blown past the New York/New Jersey area, people were already starting to make light of a weekend’s worth of media coverage, both nationwide and locally in effected areas, that some say overhyped the story.

Howard Kurtz leads the way this morning in his Daily Beast column:

“Someone has to say it: cable news was utterly swept away by the notion that Irene would turn out to be Armageddon. National news organizations morphed into local eyewitness-news operations, going wall to wall for days with dire warnings about what would turn out to be a Category 1 hurricane, the lowest possible ranking. “Cable news is scaring the crap out of me, and I WORK in cable news,” Bloomberg correspondent Lizzie O’Leary tweeted.

“I say this with all due respect to the millions who were left without power, to those communities facing flooding problems, and of course to the families of the 11 people (at last count) who lost their lives in storm-related accidents.

“And I take nothing away from the journalists who worked around the clock, many braving the elements, to cover a hurricane that was sweeping its way from North Carolina to New England.

“But the tsunami of hype on this story was relentless, a Category 5 performance that was driven in large measure by ratings. Every producer knew that to abandon the coverage even briefly—say, to cover the continued fighting in Libya—was to risk driving viewers elsewhere. Websites, too, were running dramatic headlines even as it became apparent that the storm wasn’t as powerful as advertised.”

My dear friends, just admit it and make peace with your admission: THE PLANET was right on this issue. We are so secure with this fact, that we shant demand an apology from all the posters who lost their minds and their cool. You will see in a moment: We love you all.







  1. beezer
    August 30, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    I would think everyone would be happy that the local area was spared from the devastation of the storm, not make a pissing contest on who was right or wrong…gawd!

    • ambrose
      August 30, 2011 at 10:47 am #

      You’re right beezer – anybody can take a chance and say it won’t happen and if they’re right they can peacock around and call everybody else zombies and stupid. Dan’s whole world is Pittsfield and if it doesn’t happen there it doen’t happen anywhere – for a guy who watches no TV (doesn’t even own one) he knew an awful lot about the Weather Channel and its reports – He is right on about us dopes in the 2nd district however – we’ll stick with the party and send Nesbit-Farley-Bouvier to Boston and get just what we deserve –

      • LV
        August 30, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

        Internet? That’s not a tough call.

      • danvalenti
        August 30, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

        We agree on Tricia Nesbit-Farley-Bouvier. She’s is not the most qualified candidate. Want three who are way more qualified: 1. Mark Miller, 2. Pam Malumphy, and 3. Peter White.

        • Hearse Driver
          August 30, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

          Thats why I’m voting for Pete White!!! He works for what he wants, he dont just walk around town thinking he is owed something like The Fat Beast.(TFB)

  2. Shakes His Head
    August 30, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    I am shocked that we have a sensational news story on the sensationalism of new stories, opined on a self-admitted sensational blog.

    We are definitely lucky here. There were significant damages elsewhere and many deaths that are tragic and may have been avoidable. I don’t have cable and had no clue to the weather. Even the experts admitted they misdiagnosed the internal bands of force that occur internally in clyclonic disturbances. This discussion is neither newsworthy or noteworthy.

    • danvalenti
      August 30, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

      The newsworthy and noteworthy part that you fail to see is the subtext of this story: How given the new ability of the Internet and the 24/7 newscycle of cable TV to keep us well informed, we easily become OVERLY informed, and whipped into frenzy. We saw at play in this story what is regularly happening: People’s inability to realize that data is not information and that information is not knowledge. It must be true. Why? The Internet says so and so does the Weather Channel. People are losing their ability to discriminate in this regard. This will lead to more and more “crying wolf” whether or not the wolf is at the door. That’s how the terrorists won the war.

      • Dusty
        August 30, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

        Dan you seem to be more “whipped into a frenzy” about the whole thing than anyone else. Odds are there will be another one coming along within a week or two and you can pick it up from there.

        And the fact that Farley B is even running for such an office convinces me that I am living in a cartoon.

      • Shakes His Head
        August 31, 2011 at 7:58 am #

        I will conceed that the national media placed more effort on hyping the storm rather than offering sound instructions on how to avoid the damage typical of hurricanes, particular the heavy rains that were the destructive force as opposed to high winds. I grew up in an area that was plagued annually by hurricanes so maybe I am de-sensitized to the hype.

        If a person takes the time to weed through the news reports for technical information they should have been able to 1) make a determination to the severity of the storm and 2) decide how the storm would affect their personal situation. E.g. if I live next to a low lying area that floods in heavy rains I should prepare for high water. I open up the NY Times and immediately saw several articles that provided good reasons as to why even the scientists got this one less than correct.

        • danvalenti
          August 31, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

          At last. A dose of reason and logic. God love the engineers!

        • Ray Ovac
          August 31, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

          Yeah, and these are the same brilliant scientists and meteorologists who assure us that Earth’s climate is warming and that causation is induced by humankind.

  3. Jeffrey Turner
    August 30, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    That’s … [COMMENT REDACTED — WEBMASTER] Valenti.

    • danvalenti
      August 30, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

      I noted that our webmasters followed orders and edited out your obscenity. I am sent redacted emails for our records. Please, we remind you: Take your shots as easy or as hard as you wish, but advance the discussion. Don’t fall into that kind of lowest common denominator. Thanks.

      • Jeffrey Turner
        August 31, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

        Obscenity? That wasn’t no stinkin’ obscenity. Your webdonkey is lying.

        • danvalenti
          August 31, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

          Just keep it clean, Jeff. That’s all we ask.

  4. Jeffrey Turner
    August 30, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    25 Frightening Photos Of Hurricane Irene’s Destruction

    • danvalenti
      August 30, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

      That’s more like it. These pictures actually contribute to the debate.

  5. Aclu
    August 30, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    300 left homeless in Williamstown ma. In the berkshires their trailer park got fizzled away.

    • danvalenti
      August 30, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

      You’re telling me nothing I don’t know. This information does nothing to change the facts as I’ve outlined it: The storm failed to live up to the advance hype.

  6. Aclu
    August 30, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Dan practice this phrase ” I was wrong and I am sorry” humility is not a weakness.

    • frank Galoway
      August 30, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

      Aclu You will never get The Planet to say he was wrong. I guess he hasn’t seen the damage done to New England from the storm. But we all know Dans for the little guy.

    • Joetaxpayer
      August 30, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

      Al cu Gore Relax

    • danvalenti
      August 30, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

      Agreed. Humility is not weakness. Anytime you have two words describe similar phenomena, the very existence of the second word proves they are not the same.

  7. Payroll Patriot
    August 30, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    @Dusty, you get the BEST OBSERVATION AWARD when it comes to TFB. Even Walt couldn’t top that.

    Let’s get back to the Local Economy, BJ’s is opening very soon; were they formed before or after Clinton’s Monica Lewinski affair?

    Is it true that Angelo was trying to be a BJ rep to the minors he tried to engage in Maine?

    Whatever happened to “Angelo sent me.” ? Rumor alert: Angelo lives on Tyler Street. Ward 2 has an interesting history of City Councilors.

    Fiction writers have nothing when it comes to the real history of Pittsfield politicians.

  8. Real Deal 2
    August 30, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    Dan, a question for you. I read on Topix (insert joke here) that Berkshire Life is closing. Any truth to that? I dont expect any news from the BB, except what the corner office tells them to print. If this is true, what a blow to Ruberto-lite (Marchetti) and Ruberto (heavy) Farley-Bhgfderghjjkklmnnjhgfd. Especially during this campaign season.

    • danvalenti
      August 30, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

      This rumor has been buzzing for a bout three weeks now. So far, nothing one way or the other. There is, though, an increase in the chatter. We shall attempt to find out more.

    • Joetaxpayer
      August 30, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

      Pittsfield should not worry we have a massive 6,800 sq.ft building going up at the Stanely PCB Park.

  9. GEE Whiz
    August 30, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    Yeah. All is well. A building goes up on PCB park but Silver Lake? Oh, a couple inches of sand will keep all the toxins from spreading into the ground water. I hear what everyone is saying about Irene but Dan is right. Lots of End of the world storm but little in way of deliverance of that.

  10. Richard
    August 30, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    I am sorry Peter White is too close to the Mayors way of doing business I won’t be voting for him either.

    • Dustys
      August 31, 2011 at 1:16 am #

      From my observations I have to agree with you Richard. Another councilor who was hand selected to vote as instructed…outside of Mazzeo and Nichols the rest seem to be programmed

      • rick
        August 31, 2011 at 11:17 am #

        check out whites voting record, and you will see if hes worth voting for.

        • danvalenti
          August 31, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

          Good advice. A voting record is a track record.

  11. Ray Ovac
    August 31, 2011 at 2:05 am #

    NPR (locally WAMC) contributed to the massive Irene hype. Like the NPR commentator who claimed that being downgraded from hurricane status to tropical storm was merely a ‘technical distinction’. No one at NPR seems to have noticed nor made mention that the 75 miles per hour winds implicit in a hurricane were winds actually no more than about 16 miles per hour in NYC’s Central Park. Oops! 16 MPH versus 75 MPH, that’s some technical distinction!

    • Steve Wade
      August 31, 2011 at 4:31 am #

      Did any of you people see the damage done in NY or VT? Get your head out of your arse! Especialy you Valenti!

  12. Albert Prince
    August 31, 2011 at 5:59 am #

    Stve wwade and the planet’s critcs on irene have their head up a dark place. Ray Ovac has a great post on nyc, and no one’s refuting damage being done. of course damage was done. The point, tho, is that the hurricane didn’t live up to the advance billing. Steve and the others, Ray, me, and common sense are right, and so is Valenti.

  13. rick
    August 31, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    does anyone know when the debates will be???? a lot of questions to be asked….. one question i want asked to the people who are running for the lard ass seat is…………… what their opinion of his sleaze ball move thats costing the tax payers money for a special election. dan we can file a civil suit on speranzo for the money hes costing us. some one ask scago, hes studying law.

    • danvalenti
      August 31, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

      Yes, We The People could sue Larded for damages. Whether we’d receive a fair hearing is another matter. As for debates, I haven’t herad a peep. Isn’t that interesting.