PETER MOORE BENEFIT ON SUNDAY; LET’S PACK THE PLACE … 11th Hr. FUNNY BIZ BAGS DOGWALK … BUSH’S $4 TRILLION+ IRAQ WAR A DISASTER ANY WAY YOU COUNT THE COST AND LOOK FOR THE ‘BENEFITS’ … plus … KIWANIS CLUB OF PITTSFIELD: GIVE THE LITTLE DARLINGS BRUSHES AND BROOMS
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
ADD #1 FEB. 24, 2012 — THE PLANET just received word from Ken Ramsdell — the person who has stepped up to the plate to formally organize the Toby Moore Dog Walk in light of the city’s 11th hour requirement that the heretofore unorganized event obtain “proper” permits — that the Toby walk will now take place on Sunday, April 15.
Read below how the Pittsfield Parks Commission, chaired by John Herman with a membership that includes Clifford Nilan (small world, ain’t it?), stepped in at the last minute and declared the dog walk illegal, subject to a lengthy permitting and application process. As we say below, every good deed in the city of Pittsfield runs the risk of becoming a political crime.
The action may turn out to be a blessing in many ways, including ways that the draconian authorities did not anticipate.
BENEFIT FOR PETER MOORE AND FAMILY THIS SUNDAY AFTERNOON
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, FEB. 24, 2012) — Before we get to anything else, and before we share the shocking news on the last-minute GOB move to kill the Toby Dog Walk, this will be our last promo for The REAL Pittsfield Benefit for Peter Moore and Family.
The event will take place this weekend, from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday from Chameleon’s at 1350 East St., Pittsfield. There’s a huge grab bag of great items to be up for grabs, including three contributions from THE PLANET:
(1) A collection of eight of our titles (baseball, travel, and poetry) in signed (and mostly first) editions. Some of these books are out of print and to purchase from a book service, sports action, or collector would cost a pretty penny.
(2) Lunch for one, with THE PLANET, at the fabulous Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Mass.
(3) Dinner for two with PLANET, this also at the Red Lion Inn.
Promoter superlative Andy Poncherello has booked a great lineup of acts: bands, singers, etc. Please join the Benefit for a lot of family fun. Help send Peter Moore and his family a message about the REAL Pittsfield. Thanks.
Now for the heartburn.
LAST-MINUTE, SERIAL PHONE CALLS FROM OFFICIALS ON DOOM SUNDAY DOG WALK IN HONOR OF TOBY; EVENT WILL NOW TAKE PLACE LATER
Despite the well-publicized plans to hold a morning dog walk at Kirvin Park in honor of heroic little Toby Moore, Peter Moore’s canine buddy who stayed with his master after a callous hit-and-run driver left him for dead, a rancid odor drifted in from officialdom. The city, all of a sudden, is calling the Toby Dog Walk illegal.
A ringer clerk magistrate issues a three-dollar-bill ruling, saying there wasn’t enough evidence on Meredith Nilan‘s alleged mowing down of Peter Moore. She nearly walks. However, a group of large-hearted ordinary citizens — not an organized group — wants to come together in a show of support for the victim who was almost killed and the heroic dog who stood by his master, and all of a sudden it’s a federal case.
Welcome to Pittsfield, where every good deed stands in danger of becoming a political crime.
A String of Serial Phone Calls, the Demand of an Impossibility, and the Dog Walk is Dead
Within the space of a few minutes, Andy Poncherello received three calls, back-to-back-to-back, from the Pittsfield Parks Commission, the Pittsfield Police Department, and OCD czarina Deanna Ruffer. The irony is that Poncherello has nothing to do with the dog walk. He’s promoting the Peter Moore benefit later that day at Chameleon’s. The dog walk is the brainchild of Ken Ramsdell of Pittsfield aided by a bunch of ordinary citizens who have never met in person, can’t be considered organized in any sense of the word, and are in no way a group.
They’re a bunch of people who want to walk their dogs in a city park. Does that mean a handful of kids who want to play a game of unorganized baseball at a city park must file for permits? Or did the dog walkers commit a political crime in wanting to show support for Peter Moore and Toby? Did some GOBsters take that as a slap in the face to their boy Clifford?
Ramsdell, alerted by Poncherello that the authorities were making noise, contacted city clerk Linda Tyer. She sent him the following e-mail, yesterday:
Isn’t it more than odd that these official requests should come all at once and so late in the game, when Ramsdell and the other citizens involved don’t have time to comply? Does that explain the timing?
We spoke with Ramsdell late last night. He says he is complying with the city’s request. He also presented us with this statement:
I regret to inform both you and THE PLANET readers that I have discovered the community-wide dog walk will need to be postponed until late March or early April. I have stepped into a leadership role to preserve this significant event. I first want to thank all of those who helped spread the word and showed the world that we the citizens of Pittsfield care about our citizens and count our pets among them.
The reason for the postponement is the City of Pittsfield has expressed a desire to ensure that the proper permits and procedures are followed. I am not certain what the procedure is for people to just get together with their dogs for the purpose of showcasing the commitment or bond between themselves and their furry family members, but I will attempt to follow it.
This event was never intended to be political nor was it meant to divide or cause consternation. I do feel it is time that the people of Pittsfield to support and rally behind our fellow citizens (be them two- or four-legged) when they demonstrate a level of commitment that we all should strive to emulate such as Toby staying by Mr. Moore’s side in his time of need.
I will need to file permits, garner approvals from various city departments, and then have the request placed upon the Parks Commission agenda. I myself am an animal owner and I am certain my Dog Pi would do the same as Toby and be by my side should something horrible happen to me.
The intent of this walk or gathering was, is, and shall remain to ensure those adopting a pet are aware of the commitment they are about to enter into and the impact it will have both on their life and their animals. This was supposed to be an informal gathering. If it now needs to be formal , it shall be. The good thing is that it will push the event closer to Easter, giving us the opportunity to honor Toby and raise awareness of pet ownership right before Easter, when some will be giving cute little bunnies to kids to only dispose of them later.
As information becomes available on the date, this will be on the Parks Commission Agenda, and as it progress through city hall, I shall keep you and your readers informed. I am hopeful we can get supporters to attend the Parks Commission meeting if needed. And if anyone is interested in helping put this together please let me know
THE PLANET is still trying to piece this one together. We’ll share more … as more is surely on its way.
IRAQ WAR WAS A DISASTER ANY WAY YOU PRICE IT
We take up national news and commentary today. Not long ago on this website, we got into a lively exchange on the value of the Patriot Act, rushed into place by President Bush II in 2001, renewed in 2005, and re-upped by President Obama. In that ping-pong rally, one of our correspondents made the claim that the U.S. won the war in Iraq. We disagreed.
On Tuesday, THE PLANET appeared as a guest on Out Front TV, and there, also we discussed national economic and security issues. After taping the and both before and following a brief speech we made before members of the Berkshire County Republican Association, we engaged in several discussions of some of the same issues.
Let’s continue that here, in a more deliberative way. Today, Iraq. Coming soon, the Patriot Act.
No One Wins Any War, Ever
We won that war, a handful of Bush apologists apparently still believe. If course, no one “wins” a war, except arms makers and suppliers to departments of defense. Still, even if we hold to the archaic notion that ANY war is just and that ANY war can be “won,” how does one define victory”?
In human terms, the war has to date cost 258,000 lives, including more than 6,000 U.S. troops and 2,300 contractors. The wounded cannot be so easily numbered, but generally in war, for each killed there are two wounded. These deaths can be directly attributable to combat. This figure includes approximately 125,000 Iraqi civilians. The indirect deaths due to lack of food and water, unsanitary local conditions, lack of hospitals, lack of enough medicine, poor nutrition, and other causes cannot be counted. In addition, according to the huffingtonpost, almost 8 million people — more than the combined population of Connecticut and Kentucky — have become refugees.
In economic terms and measured in “constant dollars” (adjusted for inflation and other factors), war bills owed to date equal about $3.2 trillion. Final costs in Iraq will likely far exceed $4 trillion. The precise figures can be bandied but practically all of the estimators of the war’s costs concede these are conservative figures.
Keep in mind, too, that the cost of the war does not include CIA-run Predator and Reaper drone programs in Pakistan or the portion of the national intelligence budget that is devoted to this war. When you come right down to it, the true costs of this war remain anybody’s guests, but the bidding starts at $4 trillion, hundreds of thousands killed, millions wounded, and millions displaced.
What did we achieve for that horrendous price? We destabilized a totalitarian country that does not embrace democracy, not even when rammed down its throat.
Consider this report by Ariel Zirulnick in today’s Christian Science Monitor:
A wave of bombings across Iraq today killed more than 50 people and wounded more than 200. Although not the deadliest day in the country since US troops completed their withdrawal, this morning’s attacks are the most far-reaching so far, according to the Washington Post.
Al Qaeda in Iraq, as well as other Sunni insurgent groups, are “bent on destabilizing” the country and have launched attacks, mostly in Baghdad, every couple weeks since the US withdrawal. A senior Iraqi intelligence official told the AP that he predicted today’s attacks were meant to scare diplomats who plan on attending the Arab League summit scheduled to be held in Baghdad in late March. Last year’s summit, also planned for Baghdad, was canceled for that reason.
There were at least 14 separate attacks today, according to AP. Several of them targeted police checkpoints and patrols, and one of them targeted a police station. The deadliest hit, carried out by a car bomb in downtown Baghdad’s shopping district, killed nine and wounded 26, sending shock waves several blocks. The police have been targeted frequently. Twenty were killed earlier this week by a suicide bomber who detonated outside the Baghdad police academy.
The Washington Post reports that today’s attacks were preceded by weeks of calm, which many Iraqis attribute to Sunni insurgents crossing the border into Syria to join the revolt against President Bashar al Assad.
McClatchy reported earlier this week that violence has declined sharply – in some areas it is down as much as 50 percent from autumn 2011 levels – particularly in the region along the Syrian border. The Obama administration said last week that it believes Al Qaeda is behind some of the most “spectacular” attacks against the Assad regime.
Concerns about another sectarian conflict were high earlier in the year, when Shiite Prime Minister Nour al Maliki tried to arrest the Sunni vice president, alleging that he ordered death squads targeting security forces. A bloc of Sunni lawmakers boycotted the parliament and Baghdad was rocked by a series of bombings.
Reuters reports that Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish lawmakers have spent the last several weeks trying to negotiate an end to the political crisis, but their work was disrupted last week when a panel of judges released details of 150 attacks that they say were carried out by death squads under Vice President Tareq al Hashemi’s command.
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This report demonstrates that America stepped into another foreign tar pit — easy to get in, almost impossible to get out, and when you do, everyone is the worse for it.
“W”’s Debacle has saddled this country with an incalculable mess, destroyed its global prestige, helped tank the U.S. economy, and swept away what little was left of morale on the home front.
GIVE THE LITTLE DARLINGS BROOMS AND BRUSHES, AND EXPECT IN RETURN A LITTLE ELBOW GREASE
While we applaud the intent of the Pittsfield Kiwanis Club to donate their time and efforts to cleaning up the trash at the new skateboard park on the corner of East Street and Appleton Avenue, we have a couple obvious questions?
* Why aren’t the kids themselves doing the cleanup?
* Why are the adults rushing in after the little darlings, who have, in two months, trashed the park so that it looks like something from a playground in Iraq? Why aren’t we requiring “the children” to put in a little sweat equity in the place? It might teach them something about responsibility. That’s the other side of freedom’s coin that many of them don’t know exists. It might teach them that, after a certain age, they can’t expect adults to come in and clean up their messes.
In Kiddie Kulture, Looking Like a Dump is Apparently OK
Of course, it’s apparent that the Kiwanians are stepping in because the kids themselves don’t care how bad it looks. In fact, it seems that having the place look like a dump fits in well with the teen and kiddie culture that has embraced the accoutrement of the gansta rap, hip hop, call-it-what-you-will kulture (yes, with a “k”). You also know that two months after the March cleanup — that would make it May — the place will look as bad as ever.
THE PLANET predicted this would happen. Almost every person with common sense and who doesn’t worship at the altar of irresponsible youth agreed with our position regarding not the skateboard park but the users of the park. We said the’d trash the place. We said they didn’t care. We were right. Our minority of critics, who always scream the loudest, protested that we were monsters, that we were hurting the esteem of “the children,” and that we were cooking them up to serve as entrees at the Christian Center community dinners.
THE PLANET is delighted with our good friend, John Herman, parks commission chairman, who stated his preference that the Kiwanians gets the kids involved in the clean-up. Local taxpayers shelled out $215,000 to convert the tennis courts there to the skateboard facility. We hope the Kiwanians, and better yet, the parents, convey that expectation to the kids.
NOW, MY DEAR FRIENDS, OUR LULLABYE’S WANTON WILL BIDS US TO THE WEEKEND, WHERE REASON’S RULE WILL KEEP REIGN WITH OUR THOUGHT, SINCE ALL TOO LATE WE FIND BY SKILL HOW DEAR WE HAVE OUR FANCIES BOUGHT — LOVING IT ALL THE WAY, STAGE RIGHT.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.