PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

ADD#1 FRIDAY JUNE 29, LATER IN THE DAYReaders may be interested in our ADD #2 addition to yesterday’s column that reported our compliance with the judge’s ruling. 


(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012) — Now back to our usually scheduled programming, before we were so rudely interrupted …

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States issued an important and historic decision on Obamacare. In the decision on Obamacare, the court’s most important case since the Al Gore-George W. Bush “hanging chad” vote that handed the presidency to “W,” the justices essentially upheld President Obama’s landmark healthcare initiative. We haven’t yet read the opinion, and despite the need for American to adopt a workable version of National Health, our concerns about Obamacare remain, particularly the First Amendment issue of forcing Catholic institutions to “cooperate with the intrinsic evil of killing innocent life in the womb” (Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Ill).

Another aspect of the case caught out fancy. That would be the stunning swing vote of Chief Justice John Roberts.

Roberts: A Man who is ‘His Own Man’

In none of the pre-vote analysis did we read did the “experts” and wise guys predict Roberts would side with the court’s liberal faction. Roberts had been safely counted as against Obamacare by both sides. Most of the predictions we read though it would come down to Justice Anthony Scalia. It didn’t. Therein lies our most immediate fascination with yesterday’s vote: How Roberts refused to be typecast, rejecting as he did the political litmus test that conservatives and liberals alike wanted to place on his service.

As Reuters put it, “Roberts’ action instantly upended the conventional wisdom that he would vote with his four fellow conservative justices … and undercut the agenda of a Democratic president, who as a senator in 2005 opposed Roberts’ appointment for the bench.”

Imagine that. We have man who, at the highest levels of the “game,” operates as his own man. We love that, irrespective of the decision itself. We love it anytime someone operates according to principle rather than ideology, especially when it “upends conventional wisdom.” In hindsight, perhaps Roberts’ vote should have been foreseen, because since coming to Washington, the chief justice has held steady on his goal to “preserve the integrity of the judiciary in polarized Washington.”

At this level of the judiciary and of national affairs, that is believably unbelievable.

Transcending Ideological Belief

Again, from Reuters: “While he has voted consistently with the conservative bloc on social issues, such as abortion rights and racial policies, Roberts in his public remarks has suggested that he seeks, as chief, to transcend an ideological label. He routinely refers to the court’s place in history and has bristled at polls and public commentary that suggest the high court acts in the same political realm as the two elected branches of government.

“Indeed, in his comments during oral arguments in the healthcare case, Roberts hinted that he could be open to siding with the government. He expressed concern that the court over which he presides might be seen as ignoring more than 75 years of precedent and rolling back U.S. law to the New Deal era. The last time the Supreme Court struck down a major act of Congress was in 1936, when the court invalidated a federal law that limited work hours and prescribed minimum wages for coal workers.”

Romney, Obama Weigh In

As far as Obamacare itself as policy, not much is clear. GOP nominee Mitt Romney, in a statement his campaign sent to PLANET VALENTI, said, “Today, the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare. But regardless of what the Court said about the constitutionality of the law, Obamacare is bad medicine, it is bad policy, and when I’m President, the bad news of Obamacare will be over. It was always a liberal pipedream that a 2,700 page, multi-trillion-dollar Federal Government takeover of our health care system actually could address the very serious problems we face with health care. With Obamacare fully installed, government will reach fully half of the economy – that is the recipe for a struggling economy and declining prosperity.

“On Day One,” Romney said, I will work to repeal Obamacare to stop the government’s takeover of our health care and intrusion in our lives. I will push for real reform to our health care system that focuses on helping patients and protecting taxpayers. We cannot afford Barack Obama’s on-the-job learning, Big Government proposals, and irresponsible spending. Our basic liberties are at stake – and I will fight to restore our freedoms, renew the respect for our Constitution, and halt the government takeover of health care. This November it’s all on the line. The stakes couldn’t be higher.”

Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, said, “It’s been a good day, but this is a three-step process. 1. Pass historic health-care reform. Check. 2. Get affirmation from the highest court. Check. 3. Win the damn election. Mitt Romney has been clear he’d repeal Obamacare on Day One. Just another reminder on how much is at stake in November.”

SCOTUS Sides with First Amendment: Even Lies are Protected Speech

In the other decision by the nation’s highest court, one just as important for the health of America, justices ruled in a 6-3 vote that deliberate lying is protected as free speech under our precious First Amendment.

In what has been called “a stolen victory for free speech,” in US v Alvarez, the court decided that a public officials lies about his military record is constitutionally protected free speech. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the opinion for the majority.

From the website

“In United States v. Alvarez, No. 11-210, a highly anticipated First Amendment case, the Court held six to three that the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional. The Stolen Valor Act, 18 U.S.C. § 704, makes it a federal crime to lie about having received a military decoration or medal, punishable by up to a year in prison if the offense involved the military’s highest honors. The key issue in this case is whether knowingly false statements of fact – made without any apparent intent to defraud – are a protected form of speech, and if so, what level of protection they deserve.

“Justice Kennedy announced a plurality opinion – joined by the Chief Justice, Justice Ginsburg, and Justice Sotomayor – and concluding that the Stolen Valor Act infringes on protected speech. The plurality reasoned that, with only narrow exceptions, content-based restrictions on speech face strict scrutiny, and are therefore almost always unconstitutional. False statements of fact do not fall within one of these exceptions, and so the Stolen Valor Act can survive strict scrutiny only if it is narrowly tailored to a compelling government interest. The Court concluded that the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional because the Government had not shown that the statute is necessary to protect the integrity of the system of military honors – the interest the Government had identified in support of the Act.”

Huge Victory for Freedom

This is a huge victory for the First Amendment. According to the court, the First Amendment is broad enough to cover intentional lies, as long as (a) the lier wasn’t trying to defraud and (b) the lier is not under oath before a court of law. From The Daily Caller: “The implications of this decision are difficult to fully appreciate, as it merely confirms what we as Americans have always assumed to be true — namely, that we have a right to free speech that the federal government cannot abridge. However, had the ruling gone the other way, it would have set an extremely dangerous precedent that would have allowed the government to carve out a virtually limitless number of exceptions to the First Amendment.”

Read more:

Bedrocks Must Remain Anchored in Place

The First Amendment, free speech, and freedom of the press are the bedrocks of this grand experiment called the United States of America. When justices uphold free speech, we all win. When a judge orders free speech duct-taped across the mouth, we all lose. Judicial infringements upon free speech and freedom of the press, the Supreme Court is saying, are unconstitutional. We all win.

Yes, this includes THE PLANET.



 You can call it a win. It was a win for Mayor Dan Bianchi, who stepped up in light of intense neighborhood pressure. It was a win for the owners of 15 Stoddard Avenue, who said their building would no longer be available. It was a win for Dwyer Funeral Home, which didn’t want a methadone clinic in the area. It was also a win for Spectrum Health Systems, since it will still get its clinic within the city limits of Pittsfield and will end up in a what will most likely be a better location for the company.

As THE PLANET reported, Mayor Bianchi met with Debbie Dwyer and another concerned citizen on Tuesday about the location of the clinic. Of course, even without the meeting, the mayor was well aware of the feelings in Morningside against the clinic. A lively crowd at the council meeting showed up in the evening, ready to make its case.

Confidentiality Is Always a Concern

We still don’t know the terms of the confidentiality agreement, the result of an out-of-court settlement in wake of Spectrum’s lawsuit against Pittsfield for preventing the clinic from going on Summer Street in the Berkshire Nautilus Building. Did it have to do with the Stoddard Street location or with some other matter. In general, and most all the time in particular, when the public’s business is done behind closed doors, the public loses out. Granted, there are times when secrecy can be justified, but, without knowing what’s in the confidentiality itself, it’s hard to judge in this case. That’s the irony of any form of institutional secrecy.

Of course, that is why We The People elect representatives. Elected officials who act on The People’s behalf must make those judgments when the doors are closed to normal open session. The discussion now is between the city and Spectrum to find a suitable location for the treatment center.



On another key issue, it’s harder to determine who made out best. We speak of the city of Pittsfield budget. The spending plan calls for an appropriation of more than $133 million. This represents a $3.8 million increase in spending, which will like result in a tax hike of just under 3%. To hear the Special Interests complain, as the Pittsfield School Department advocates did, Mayor Bianchi’s initial budget was draconian and the worst thing since rusted Brillo. Of course, that’s a time-honoroed tactic: Cry out about “cuts” when what is really going on is that your rate of increase isn’t going up as fast as it did the year before.

The private and public sectors set budgets in opposite fashion. In the private sector, say your household, for instance, if you’re a responsible person, you take a look at your expected income for the year, and you budget accordingly. If you think your income is going down, you find a way to tighten the belt. The public sector does it in reverse. It decides first how much it wants to spend, and then it appropriates the money. It does this because government has one advantage over Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski: Taxpayers. Mary Jane and Joe can’t tax themselves.

A Hike is a Hike is a Hike

The just-under 3 percent tax hike is lower than what Pittsfield citizens have been used to, but a hike is still a hike. Two-point-something percent becomes a lot of money when you are presently pressed for every cent. In this type of environment, it’s hardly a solace that the arts generate $25 million locally. In Pittsfield, the number is far lower, and it stands as evidence that city leaders have for a generation lost out on the opportunity to rebuild the city economy after GE left town. The 14,000 high-paying, high-benefits manufacturing jobs will likely never return, but the city needs in its place more than the service jobs made possible by the recreation and resort sector.

This creates a service economy that will pay minimum wage or slightly more, with few benefits. Such jobs are OK for high schoolers and others just starting out, but try to support a family turning down beds in a hotel room, bussing tables, or asking, “Would you like butter on your popcorn?” It can’t be done.

An Arts Economy is a Low-Wage Economy

An R&R economy will bring some new money into the area, but it tends to be seasonal and it doesn’t circulate well. Those with discretionary income, most of whom live outside the Berkshires, will come here and pay for expensive theater and performance tickets. They will eat in our restaurants and sleep in our hotels. There money, though, goes to the venues themselves, who — in classic trickle down fashion — pay out service-type wages.

The recent report on the economic impact of the arts should provide all the more incentive for city officials to press even harder for an economic revival based on manufacturing and technology. To say it can’t be done is to ensure failure, and there’s been too much of that of late.



By Greg Gillmore

Special to PLANET VALENTI Sports Courtesy of the Pittsfield Suns

PITTSFIELD, MA – The Torrington Titans were able to hold on and overcome some shaky fielding to defeat the Pittsfield Suns by a score of 7-6 on Thursday Evening.

Gus Craven (Columbia) led the way for the Titans as he finished the evening with two RBI’s while Travis Landry (Franklin Pierce) got the win on the mound after coming on in relief.  The Sun’s starter Zach Ferris got the loss.   Ferris fanned one over 4.1 innings of work and allowed 6 earned runs on five hits.

The Suns were led by Ryan Deitrich (University of Pennsylvania) who had two RBI’s and Rob McLam (UMass-Amherst) who collected two hits on the evening.  Adam Krebs (Keystone) and Tito Marrero (Long Island) pitched well in relief for the Suns as they didn’t allow a hit over 4.2 innings of work.

The Suns jumped out to an early lead as they were able to put runs across in each of the first four innings and knock out Titans starter Jordan Scheiner (Colby Sawyer).  The Titans battled back and batted around in the third inning as they were able to score five in the inning.  Gabe Craven (Florence-Darlington) got the big hit for the Titans as he drove in two runs in the inning with a bases loaded single.

The Titans weren’t done as they scored one run in the fourth and fifth inning as well.  In the fifth Ryan Plourde (Fairfield) hit his second home run of the season, which gave the Titans a 7-5 lead.  In the bottom half the inning the Suns battled back and were nearly able to tie the game after a couple of defensive miscues by the Titans.  The Titans made three errors in the inning which allowed Jimmy Riccoy (UMass-Lowell) to score after he singled to start the inning.

After the fifth inning the Titans turned to the bullpen again and used three different pitchers to end the game.  Austin Barnes (Hartford), Alex Moore (Lee) and Michael Joseph each pitched a scoreless inning, and Joseph (Middlebury) was able to strand the tying run at second base with a strikeout to end the game.  Joseph earned his first save of the season with the performance.

With the win the Titans improve to 9-5 on the season while the Suns drop to 7-10.  The Suns are in action next on Friday as they travel to Nashua for a 7:00 game against the Silver Knights.






  1. levitan
    June 29, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    Hey! What happened to my citation from the Alverez case?

    • danvalenti
      June 29, 2012 at 9:00 am #

      Can you re-send?

  2. Shakes His Head
    June 29, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    @ spectator, no that is not what it means.

  3. tito
    June 29, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    where did my comment on octo-fleas go?

    • danvalenti
      June 29, 2012 at 8:59 am #

      Octo-fleas? Never got it.

  4. Dead to Rights
    June 29, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    Yesterday the SCOPTUS gave two important rulings. The first Obamacare was a mistake. I object to it on the basis the issue of whether the government can force members of a religion to violate their beliefs. Catholics on forced coverage for contraception of sterilization would be violating Church dictate. The second ruling was as DV says a great win for the American people. Free speech covers lots and lots and the court upheld a wide blanket of coverage.

    • Scott
      June 29, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

      As much as I despise the organized religion in this country catholic and protestant alike you raise a good question on another part of the constitution that gives us the freedom of religion, I’d like to hear about anything the supreme court has debated on in this aspect of it all.

  5. Scott
    June 29, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    “We love that, irrespective of the decision itself. We love it anytime someone operates according to principle rather than ideology, especially when it “upends conventional wisdom.”

    Beautifully worded and we need more people like this in society with positions of trust. (and power.)

  6. chuck garivaltis
    June 29, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    Why did Justice Roberts do it? Did he do it to save the Supreme Court? Or does he hope to become a historical figure and cast a vote that posterity will remember and bless him for? I’ll never know the answer to any of those questions but I do know, whatever his thinking, he did the right thing.
    This vote reminds me of another courageous act that most have forgotten. I think it was 1948 when a West Point cadet turned in a group of academic cheaters most of whom were football players. West Point has an honor code that cadets adhere to and part of the code is in an examination room without monitors cadets must not cheat and if this code is violated it is the responsibility of a cadet who is aware of the cheating to report to higher authorities the violation of the code. If the code is violated the cheaters are kicked out of the academy.The nationally ranked football team, including the all-american, quarterback who was the son of Earl Blaike, Army’s legendary coach, were expelled. It took Army many years to recover and attain national ranking.The cadet who turned the players in for cheating was subjected to threats of violence, death, and was shunned. But he did graduate and was a fine officer.
    Here’s the point: it has been said he saved West Point. The honor code remains inviolate. West Point remains an honored institution. And it is all because of an underclassman cadet who had a conscious and moral code and believed in the oath an officer of the United States Army must take.
    We don’t see many politicians with a backbone that rivals Justice Roberts or the unknown cadet honoring a code that made him unpopular. But these men do exist and we are a better country because of it.

    • danvalenti
      June 29, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

      I remember reading about the West Point case, I think in SPORT magazine. It is hard for people today, especially young people, to realize the shock of the scandal, the impact it had, and how that cadet “saved West Point.” He did. I agree totally. Roberts showed a backbone. Imagine that, today, in America 2012. Thanks for your wise words.

      • chuck garivaltis
        June 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm #


        The shock was incredible. Three years before Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard graduated. Both were Heisman winners and West Point was ranked number one in America. In ’46 and ’47 Arnold Gallifa was an All- American QB. In ’48 young Blaike, the coach’s son, was going to be Army’s next All-American QB. He was an honor student, too. But he gave exam answers to one of his teammates and both were expelled – with many other football players. It was horrendous. Coach Earl Blaike was going to resign but reconsidered when football fan and West Point alumnus General Douglas McArthur personally asked him to rebuild the football program. He did rebuild and in 1958 Army was ranked number 3 in the country. I had the honor of playing against West Point in 1956. They beat us and had a sophmore halfback named Pete Dawkins who would win the Heisman Trophy in 1958. This was the lonesome end team. We never found out how the end received his signals.

        • levitan
          June 29, 2012 at 10:24 pm #


          “Roberts’ decision in the Health Care Act is parallel to his decision” should have been “Roberts’ decision in the Health Care Act is parallel to Kennedy’s decision”

        • AMBROSE
          June 30, 2012 at 9:14 am #

          sorry chuck – arnold tucker was quarterback when davis and blanchard were in the backfield – gallifa succeeded him – the coach was earl blaik (no e)

          • chuck garivaltis
            July 3, 2012 at 4:27 am #

            Ambrose, you are correct. Thank you for correcting me with Army’s backfield and spelling of Earl Blaik. Your knowledge and memory of football, including locals, is fantastic. Are you a coach or sport writer? Or maybe just a great fan.

    • levitan
      June 29, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

      Roberts upheld the health care bill, but he does not actually support it.

      His statement is to the effect that the Bill cannot be justified under the Commerce Clause, and thus he shot down the administration’s argument stating that it would undermine that Clause and give the Federal Government extraordinary power. But, the Federal Gov. is allowed to levy taxes, and with that authority it may tax citizens in the Bill.

      Roberts’ decision in the Health Care Act is parallel to his decision in Alverez in that he denies government the ability to extend it’s power where the constitution denies it.

      from Syllabus

      “Permitting the government to decree this speech to be a criminal offense, whether shouted from the rooftops or made in a barely audible whisper, would endorse government authority to compile a list of subjects about whichfalse statements are punishable. That governmental power has no clear limiting principle….

      Were this law to be sustained, there could be an endless list of subjects the National Government or the States could single out”

  7. joetaxpayer
    June 29, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    Dan Really think judge Roberts was strong armed by Obama, much like the young judge who issued your silly gag order. Only shows no matter what the issue is people can be bought.That is unfortunately how things work, POLITICS SUCK!

    • chuck garivaltis
      June 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm #


      I don’t think so. Keep in mind Justice Roberets said that this was a tax issue. Watch how Romney uses this “tax issue” the next 4 months.

      • levitan
        June 30, 2012 at 8:11 am #

        Though I doubt you intended to do so, your answer can be interpreted to mean Roberts was taking a political stand in the ruling.

        The issue is what whether Congress (and remember, this is even more Congress’ law than Obama’s) oversteps its authority. His answer is that there does exist the power to enforce that Bill, hence it is not unconstitutional.

        • danvalenti
          June 30, 2012 at 8:28 am #

          Yes, and by calling it a tax, he gives the Romney campaign ammo. They wasted no time jumping on the angle that Obamacare represents the largest tax hike in US history. That’s hyperbolic, but in politics, hyperbole has a much different meaning.

          • levitan
            June 30, 2012 at 9:45 am #

            Romney certainly can use Roberts’ opinion as campaign fodder, but I’m pointing out that the ruling distinguishes between two powers of Congress: Interstate Commerce regulation and Taxation. The Supreme Court corrected Congress’ overstepping it’s boundaries; an important move given any ruling potential for setting precedence.

            Meanwhile, back to the campaign, Romney can call it Obama’s bill, but Obama is just as likely to pin it on the political manipulations of Congress which quickly left his control the moment it left his desk.

  8. chuck garivaltis
    June 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm #


    Another nice memory of the 1956 game is there were royal guests. Attending were Prince Rainer and fiancee, Grace Kelley.

    Army had a great backfield that year. Bobby Kyaski, Bob Anderson, Pete Dawkins, and the QB Don Hollender who the year before was an all-american end. Hollander, it is said, may have become Chief of Staff because he had all the qualities. But his life was cut short in Vietnam.

  9. tito
    June 29, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    Mr. inside and outside were pretty good Chuck, a side note, any backfield with Jim Brown in it would be alright by me! I think Ohio St. had great backfields, my team,OSU had a really good one with Pete Johnson and Archie Griffin, none better.

    • chuck garivaltis
      June 30, 2012 at 7:46 am #

      Agree with you, Tito. Didn’t Archie Griffin win consecutive Heisman’s? As for Jim Brown, best running back ever.

      • danvalenti
        June 30, 2012 at 8:30 am #

        Ever. Period. Hands down. End of discussion. There’s Jim and everyone else, duking (or running) it out for last place.

  10. tito
    June 30, 2012 at 3:24 am #

    Where did my essay on the Dorchester flasher go.

    • levitan
      June 30, 2012 at 8:05 am #

      Check behind the sofa or in the fridge.

  11. Dead to Rights
    June 30, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    The Army team was loaded. Was the “lonesome end” Bob Carpenter? I’m going by memory, but I remember as a kid trying to figure it out: Don’t they like the guy? How does he know the plays? As for SCOTUS, I don’t know what to think. I guess in the end I’m in favor of the law but I agree with Dan and Chuck about justice Roberts, it took a lot of integrity. Hes a good man. So are you Chuck. So are you Dan. And a man of courage.

    • chuck garivaltis
      June 30, 2012 at 7:52 am #

      Good memory, Rights. I think it was Bob Carpenter. I would think after all these years someone would have written how the lonesome end got his signals. Was there a signal? Or was he put out there to make it a 10 man defense because he had to be covered?

  12. danvalenti
    June 30, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    I remember asking Dick McPherson (SU head coach and later Patriots) about this. Dick gave a long, technical answer the way a coach would. In plain English, Carpenter got the plays through audibles. Audibles back then weren’t sophisticated as they are now. Today, you see Peyton Manning or tom Brady go up to the line, look at the defense, and if he doesn’t like the D they’ve set up for the play called in the huddle, the QB will go through a series of verbal commands to change the play. It really is rocket science, which is why the great QBs are great and all the others are not. Carpenter’s audibles weren’t plays changed at the line. They were plays called in the huddle, signaled to him by the QB or, sometimes, a man in motion. Hope this helps. Great question.

    • chuck grivaltis
      June 30, 2012 at 10:06 am #

      Thanks, Dan, McPherson would know or was able to figure it out. Carpenter got his orders in the huddle but if the QB changed the play with an audible, the end being lonesome and way out there may not hear the audible. As you say, a man in motion would correct that. I always looked at it with a very simple answer. The end took a defensive HB out of the play and Army was now facing a 10 man defense.
      McPherson was great at SU. Wish he stayed. Did not do well with the Pats.

  13. tito
    June 30, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    I remember Doug Fluties audible, Planet, remember him saying ……GO DEEP..

  14. Four in one
    June 30, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    The healthcare issue has an unbelievable affect on the 2012 election, doesn’t it. Romney says he will overturn Obamacare is he gets in. He needs the House and the Senate and it could happen. A vote for Romney is a vote against this law a vote for Obama is saying you want it to become law of the land in ’14

    • levitan
      July 2, 2012 at 7:00 am #

      Just like the health care act was built in Congress, it’s repeal would come from that body too. And, I am willing to bet that even the GOP would rather balk at that and just blame the other party for it’s troubles than take on the difficult and perilous task of coming up with a Policy ended reform. It will likely continue as the child of politics.

      • danvalenti
        July 2, 2012 at 7:22 am #

        Agreed. There’s no way we can see where the law will not be first political policy and only second a measure to address health care.

        • levitan
          July 2, 2012 at 7:59 am #

          Yes, it’s all politics and no policy. And the biggest problem is that it does not appear to address the rising health care charges levied by the hospitals.

          It’s a shame the conversation is so myopically focused on insurance costs.

  15. tito
    June 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    Yes, it was the Hail Mary, to Gerard Phelan, one of the greatest plays of all time, bar none.

  16. danvalenti
    June 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Yeah, greatest audible of all time. Flutie to Phelan. It was the first non-audible audible since the Bob Carpenter days at Army. That’s my favorite Flutie memory, of course. My second favorite? When he dropped kicked an extra point for the Patriots in his last year.
    Agreed. The election becomes a mandate on Obamacare. Justice Roberts called it a tax, and since Congress has the power of taxation, the law passes constitutional muster. National health should be one of the rights enjoyed by citizens, but I’m not sold on this version, particularly with the First Amendment still giving everyone — including Catholics —freedom of religion.

    • chuck garivaltis
      June 30, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      Dan and Tito

      I don’t get it. If by audible we mean the QB comes out of the huddle, puts his hands under the center, looks at the defense, decides to change the play, audibles, a new play is called (meaniing at the line of scrimmage), and the QB is hoping everyone hears it and responds to a new play. This can’t possibly be what happened the last play of the BC – Miami game. Here’s why: It was the last play of the game. BC had the ball and needed a TD to win. BC was in the huddle and Flutie was calling the play. It could be nothing but a Hail Mary. BC was 60 yards away. They were not going to call a fullback plunge or a QB sneak. What else could it possibly be but a Hail Mary? BC sent in a substitute and the sub told Flutie to call a Hail Mary. Flutie’s response was, “What the hell else would we call”. It was not an audible. It was a set play called in the huddle and it is one of the most famous college receptions of all time. I think a kid named Phelan caught the ball and fell on his back in the end zone. It was awsome. It was awsome. I saw the game on TV.

  17. tito
    June 30, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    Flutie goes to the huddle, he looks at the situation as bleak, sorta like a particular incident that happened on a city street last year, anyway, he goes to the huddle, Flutie tells his players there is no time left on the clock for more than one play, it’s futile at best, Flutie tells his players to goe long and deep, it’s the only chance to pull off the miracle, he’ll fling it in the air, as the ball is hiked he realizes that all the players go deep into the end zone, at that point he is being rushed, there, right there is where he calls the audible to himself as he has to avoid the rush, he throws it, it’s long and deep, it looks even more futile than ever as the ball is flung against the tenacious Miami defense, the ball comes down and Gerard Phelan is there is get the catch, thus the Hail Mary is born in one of the greatest plays of any athletic sporting event, if Flutie decides to run after being nearly sacked, the audible could never have been conceived.

  18. tito
    June 30, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    Maybe the name should be changed from audible to improvisation.

  19. Demitrius T. Gladiator
    June 30, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    Chuck I think Dan and Tito were being ironic, of course flutie’s Hail Mary wasn’t an audible. An audible is when a QB breaks huddle and changes play at the line. He can do it by shouting of code words (colors, numbers ) or gestures. Thats how I understand it,

    • danvalenti
      June 30, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

      Can’t speak for Tito, but I sure was. As Chuck pointed out, the bomb to Phelan was the last play, the desperation heaves of all desperation heaves. Flutie in the huddle: [TO HIS RECEIVERS] “You guys run as fast as you can to the end zone, and I’ll throw it as far as I can.”

      • chuck garivaltis
        June 30, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

        and you say a prayer hoping one of your guys catches it. It sure is a Hail Mary because the other team knows exactly what you are going to do.

    • chuck garivaltis
      June 30, 2012 at 7:08 pm #


      You got it. That is exactly what we did at Colgate. We used a color code and that was the word to pay attention guys I’m changing the play.

  20. gEE Whiz
    July 1, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    Wish to comment on supreme court. the court made two great rulings on healthcare and irst amendment rights. It restores some hope in our country. Agree with Planet that bianchi scored a win on methadone clinic. But it was a loss on the budget, another tax hike. Been tow several Suns games and we’re enjoying the heck out of it. Fianally, to DV: thanks from a lot of us who appreciate what youve done and are doing on our behlaf with this website.

  21. tito
    July 1, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Flutie went to the line of scrimmage, gave signals to his wideouts, which was an audible, what is so difficult to comprehend, that is an audible!

  22. Four in one
    July 1, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    Through this website I and my friends who follow it have learned more about the workings of government, especially city govt and the courts, than we could have otherwise. We are greateful for PV and DV!

  23. Gene
    July 1, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    fascinating discussion of football. I’ve long wondered what Brady and Manning and the other QBs are doing when the y get up to the line and they yell out and wave their arms all over the place. So chuck, do I have it right. When I see that, they are changing the play. My question is but what if not everyone understand the change? Offensive players can’t move once they get into position. Dpesn’t that happen? Sorry if these are silly questions but ive long wondered about this.

  24. gEE Whiz
    July 1, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

    Gene I’ll let chuck answer that.

    • chuck garivaltis
      July 2, 2012 at 5:58 am #

      Hi Gene and gee Whiz
      The QB calls the play in the huddle and gives a code in case he wants to change the play when they break and get to the line of scrimmage. Example: the QB may say “yellow, on 3, R-22.” Yellow is the key. 3 is when the center puts the ball in the hands of the QB, This number changes every play so the defense can’t charge at a set time.Now the team breaks to the line and the QB gets behind the center and looks over the defense. If the play remains the same as he called in the huddle he will say ” red, blue, green, any color but yellow. If he yells yellow the play will change and he calls out the new play at the line of scrimmage. He does this if he sees the defense left an opening for another play. A good QB will look at the defensesive alignments and make this decision – right there on the spot. Recall Dan V. mentioned in a prior discussion QB’s have to be very smart . Dan is right. A winning QB is always a very bright guy.
      If not everyone understands the change or can’t get it because they are a little slow then they will not make the team. These guys are not stupid. And the offensive and defnsive plays are complicated Once they get in position they can’stmove. You have seen this happen and the guy who moves is called for a penalty bacause you cannot purposely draw a man off-side.
      Not silly questions, Gene, good ones, and I hope I am not to windy in answering them – to the best of my ability.

      • danvalenti
        July 2, 2012 at 6:27 am #

        Excellent answer. To casual fans, the QB audibles can be a daunting task to explain, but you did a fine job. It’s amazing to me that QBs can do it and at a high level. That’s a job requirement for the position today. The ones who can do it at the highest level — Brady, Manning, Brees — win Super Bowls. QBs will change the play if they see the defense stacked to stuff they play called in the huddle and, as you point out, if the QB sees a weakness in the D he can exploit. To appreciate the difficulty of this task, consider: (1) The play clock is running down; (2) the Baroque sophistication of defenses these days, with multiple looks to disguise coverage; (3) the need for a rapid reading of all this, the correct remedy, and the implementation of the right play. This is a far cry from our days playing sandlot football, Chuck, when we’d diagram plays in the dirt or just say, “Tommy, you go deep and out. Dave, you go short and cut in.”

        • chuck garivaltis
          July 2, 2012 at 7:03 am #

          I just laughed out loud. What a nice memory. Sandlot football, played anywhere, huddle like the big boys did and diagram plays in the dirt. We learned the game and learned it well. Arguments settled with fists. And if you went home with a bloody nose dad didn’t sue anyone.

          • danvalenti
            July 2, 2012 at 7:25 am #

            Oh, man, we had some GREAT games, meaning, GREAT fun. I can remember playing four-on-four or five-on-five. You’d get in the huddle, and everybody would be talking and trying to call the play. Sometimes it would take forever, with all the debate going on. Come to think of it, that’s probably where I first learned the fine art of argumentation: in a sandlot football huddle. Love the point about steeling arguments ourselves, with no adults needed … and with fists. You had to know how to use them back then.

  25. Kim
    July 2, 2012 at 3:15 am #

    The solution to addiction is not MORE addiction! Methadone clinics are as bad as the drug dealers on the street. We shouldn’t have one at all. And does anyone know the percentages of people actually being drug free after getting treatment from methadone? I think those are the issues to look at. I’m willing to bet it ain’t pretty.

    • Scott
      July 2, 2012 at 4:46 am #

      I bet it’s killing more people then it’s saving the city should demand such information before letting spectrum do business here.

      • danvalenti
        July 2, 2012 at 6:45 am #

        The way the issue has been explained, it’s as if the city has no say in whether Spectrum can set up shop or not.

    • danvalenti
      July 2, 2012 at 6:46 am #

      Good points. THE PLANET has examined some of these issues, and you are correct. There are many potential and likely problems associated with these clinics. The burden is on Spectrum to provide good security and safety not just for its clients but especially for residents of the city who will have to bear up under the traffic of those clients.

      • levitan
        July 2, 2012 at 7:02 am #


        I hope you are not comparing the results from Spectrum with other clinics that are not owned and ran by that company.

        • danvalenti
          July 2, 2012 at 7:21 am #

          No, LEV. I’m not doing that. In fact, Spectrum seems to have a pretty good track record with security etc.