PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, AUG. 6, 2012) — How stupid has America become? We share this wire story:

Seventeen-year-old John Clark of Vancouver, Wash., knew what to do when he saw a boy struggling to stay afloat in the surf off the Oregon coast.

The trained pool lifeguard jumped through the breakers and heavy swells to reach the boy in the ocean, reports KOIN-TV. Clark then calmed the boy and kept him afloat until watercraft arrived to take them to shore.

“I don’t know exactly how big the swells were,” Clark told the TV station, “but they were big enough to push both of us underwater—all the way down to where we were touching sand.”

An ambulance came and took the 12-year-old boy, wrapped in a towel, and Clark—who complained of a headache—to the hospital.

Clark thought it was standard procedure until a few weeks later when he was shocked at the bill from the hospital.

The emergency room bill came to $449. The physician’s bill was $227. The 15-mile ride in the ambulance was $1,907. The total bill for saving a young man’s life was nearly $2,600.

“I had a feeling there would be a bill,” Clark told the news station. “But I didn’t know how much it would be, and I kind of feel bad for the fact that it’s so expensive. But I couldn’t just let the kid go—I had to do something.”

He and his family are making arrangements to pay the bill.

Tell us we’re dreaming. Tell us this is some nightmare come upon My Country ‘Tis of Thee in the haze of a carouser’s aftermath. Tell us anything but: This crud actually happens.

Well, it does. On the surface of it — and a choppy, tidal surface it is — and in the vast scheme of things, this story amounts to little. You never know, though. Maybe the 12-year-old boy John Clark saved will become President of the United States or go on to cure the world of the common cold. However, even if the lad amounts to nothing, the story shows the decline of virtue in this country.

Where once we would reward and praise Clark for his selflessness, initiative, and heroism, today we penalize the kind impulse and the gesture to intervene in a caring way. We thwart enterprise and reward failure (See “public schools”). We spend half our money feeding a military-industrial complex that has as its sole purpose the sustenance of an illusion, namely, that we are “at war” — perpetual war with the Soviets Union, Grenada, Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorism. You name it, since it doesn’t matter, as long as we have the “enemy.”

We must admit that the “war on terrorism” is the best of all the hoaxes, since one can never teel when such a war is won, lost, or ended.

Fighting a “war on terrorism,” as that dolt George W. Bush reminded us for eight tortuous years, rather resembles fighting a “war on drugs” or a “war on dandruff.” It can’t be done. Terrorism is not an enemy. It’s an idea. “Terrorism” doesn’t have an army, doesn’t carry weapons, and doesn’t exist, except in the mind. People who perform terrorism. These people can sometimes be effective enough to “win” (though no one has ever “won” a war), as we’ve seen in Israel, our own Revolution, and the bombings of Sept. 11, 2011, and more often they “lose.”

None of it matters. What matters is that the United States of America, the former democracy that has been turned into a burgeoning National Security State, keeps us believing we are perpetually at war with something or somebody, even if the enemy isn’t real.



It’s time to pull the plug on Downtown Pittsfield Inc. THE PLANET calls upon Mayor Dan Bianchi and our Right Honorable Good Friends on the city council to do the right thing and get rid of this useless agency that specializes in redundancy and make-work jobs for a lucky few. Savings to taxpayers: $50,000.

PAM TOBIN, head of Downtown Pittsfield Inc., where every day is sunny and We The People are Living in Paradise

You’ll recall last year during the discussion of Jimmy Ruberto‘s final budget (the just-expired FY12 spending plan), our Right Honorable Good Friends, councilors Mike Ward and John Krol sought to eliminate city funding for the white whale. They didn’t get much support from their colleagues, especially after Community Development Czar Deanna Ruffer did her storm trooper act behind and in front of the scenes.

“My point was that Downtown Pittsfield Inc. should be member funded, like the Chamber is, the Berkshire Visitors is, and agencies of that sort,” Ward tell THE PLANET. “DPI’s membership among downtown businesses has been anemic, especially among restaurants. I interpret this as the downtown merchants voting with their wallets, so to speak. If they saw value in the organization solely designed to advocate for them, wouldn’t they pony up the membership fee?”

Krol, in a PLANET interview, said he  “voted against the DPI funding for fiscal 2012 because I was not satisfied with the service we were getting at that point. During the budget session, I voiced my dissatisfaction with DPI’s inability to evolve from a project development-focused organization to one that needed to effectively support marketing downtown businesses and attractions. Also, I voiced my concern that DPI was not showing the ability to collaborate as effectively with other offices supporting downtown efforts.

“At that time, Deanna Ruffer agreed that changes were needed — specifically the scope of service for DPI. In other words, we couldn’t expect DPI to do what we want unless we articulate it in the scope of service we expect for our funding. The changes I was hoping for were reflected in the new scope of service. In addition, there is new leadership at DPI to fulfill these services. At the most recent budget hearings (FY13) Deanna confirmed that the new scope of service is in place. I did support the continued funding based on those changes.

“In regard to your other specific questions, I think my most recent vote shows that I believe the funding is worthwhile. However, I cannot speculate on the impact on the loss of the DTI service. As far as people’s reaction to my vote, I really don’t recall any negative or overwhelmingly positive feedback. I believed it was the right vote at the time, and I am pleased that it led to what I hope will be positive changes and better support for our downtown.”

We respect Krol’s position of wanting to give the new leadership a chance to make a difference, but it has not happened. DPI basically mimics the efforts of the organizations referenced by Ward. Ladies and gentlemen: Downtown Pittsfield Inc. is a waste of $50,000 of your hard earned tax money.

The time has come to pull the plug.

A Slab of Prime US Grade-A GOB

Downtown Pittsfield Inc. might be suitably offered as a U.S. Prime Grade-A example of a GOB Production. As an office, it serves a redundant function. As a community service, it provides nothing more than a fuzzy, feel-good patina over the failure of downtown Pittsfield. Except for isolated pockets of success in retail and Arts, downtown Pittsfield has sadly become the place where people are afraid to venture. We won’t belabor the point. Take a walk up and down the street in the morning, midday, afternoon, and night and check it our for yourself.

The failure of downtown is, of course, a sympom of the failure of local leaders to rebuild the economy after a series of disasters — all preventable — came together for the decimation. They would include:

* The failure to locate the mall downtown.

* The failure to install a pedestrian mall on North Street, from Park Square to Columbus Avenue or even Lyndon Street.

* The crazy decision to raze all of the historic structures on West Street during “Urban Renewal,” which was more like devastation than rebirth.

* The failure to act on replacing GE when the industrial giant pulled out. We lost several businesses, including the Spalding Manufacturing Plant. Instead, we bought fool’s gold (Workshop Live, EV Worldwide, etc.). We could go on and on.

THE PLANET’s anger — a righteous form, if you must know — stems from travels to cities such as Burlington, Vt., Newburyport, Mass., and Syracuse, N.Y., and many like them, that show how a downtown can be revived and brought back to vibrancy. When our duties force us to downtown Pittsfield, we lament, realizing it doesn’t have to be this way.

THE PLANET advocates for a rescinding of its funding as a show of faith by the corner office and the council that they understand the situation of Pittsfield’s bedraggled taxpayers.

BIanchi and my Good Friends on the council: Pull the plug. DPI must go.



Our over-the-top post on the place of women’s sports in the Olympics and in America drew heated comments. Many e-mails were sent to THE PLANET privately. It ran aobut 60-40, with 60 wanting to peel the skin off our backs a ribbon at a time and 40 expressing gratitude that someone would dare “speak the truth” about a can’t-touch-this politically correct gender issue, namely, the “feminization of competitive sports” as seen in the Olympic games.

Many of the 60 basically were of this sort: “I know a woman who could bring you to your knees in the ring, but you’re too chicken to fight” blah blah and yuckety yuck.

ISN'T IT LOVELY: Two hemale fighters pound on each other. THE PLANET will take on all comers.Well, actually, we are not too chicken. THE PLANET will accept any legitimate challenge from any female boxer in our weight class (we weigh 132 pounds as of today) to go three rounds in the squared circle, providing it is for a charity of our choice and of our opponent’s. We shall split the proceeds for charity 50-50. It will help if our opponent is pretty.

THE PLANET will commit to nothing more than appearing in the ring, in the venue, provided it is located in Berkshire County at a suitable and convenient time. Others will have to set this event up and handle the logistics, but we shall publicly commit to accepting the fight on those terms.

Our post and our boast started as a joke. Some “got” it (in general, free thinkers, people with a sense of humor, and lovers of satire) and some didn’t (the politically correct, feminists, and drivers of Toyota Prius-es). The more this issue was discussed, the more we realize it could be an opportunity to raise money for a good cause while at the same time giving the public the chance to see someone shut us up. Both our friends and our critics would salivate at the chance of such a show.

THE PLANET has Experience in the Ring, Courtesy of Carmen Basilio

We share this: Back in the mid-70s, we worked as a newsman at the Syracuse Post-Standard. For the academic years 1977 and 1978, we also taught as a faculty member of the LeMoyne College English Department. We worked out a few times a week in the LeMoyne gym.

The athletic director at LeMoyne in those years was none other than Carmen Basilio. Baslilo had a locker in the LeMoyne gym next to ours. That’s how we met one of our long-time heroes. (From our time as a kid, we loved boxing, especially the Friday Night Fights. Our first sportcasting hero, in fact, was the late, great fight announcer, Don Dunphy.)

As fight fans would know, Basilio won the world boxing championship in two weight classes (welterweight, middleweight), when Boxing Mattered. He beat Tony DeMarco in a classic fight in 1955. Two years later, in his most famous fight, Basilio beat Sugar Ray Robinson for the middleweight crown. The Basilio-Robinson match ranks as one of the sports Top 5 all time fights.

Basilio invited me to his gym on the West Side of Syracuse, where he trained a stable of fighters, including the heavyweight Greg Sorrentino and welterweight Billy Backus, who won the world’s title in 1970 under Basilio’s handing. THE PLANET worked out at Basilio’s West Side Gym and for a time was a sparring partner to Backus. By then, Backus was seven years removed from his title and looking for a comeback. He was all done, but could he ever hit.

Our point is that we have boxing training. We have issued the challenge. Should an opponent be foolish enough to accept, we shall all but assure:

* A great crowd looking for Valenti to be shut up by a woman in the ring

* A great $$ amount for charity

* A sellout crowd, and

* Great entertainment.

Who’s on? Come on. Shut us up!



Afghan Affront — What the heck are we still doing in Afghanistan, Barack Obama. You ended the Iraqui disaster, but you let Afghanistan linger too long. You have failed to end that disastrous experiment in adventurism, and the country once know as the United States of America has been made a fool, footing a trillion-dollar bill for … this?

Folks, you didn’t hear about this, because the The Afghanis are relenting on their part of the deal. Boring Broadsheet didn’t think you should know, but a recent report by the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has found that several American-funded border police bases in that country have been left abandoned and/or vacated by Afghani troops, who were required to provide the personnel.

Basically, the report says that the upcoming hand-over of border security duties from the U.S. to local forces is a joke. For that, Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski continue to pay almost $6 billion a month.

Each of the border bases were supposed to house and be manned by 93 Afghani troops. The IG found, though, that three of the four bases “were either unoccupied or weren’t [being] used for their intended purposes.”

The U.S. withdrawal from the Afghanistan tar pit is slated for 2014. The cornerstone of the U.S. exit strategy is the assumption by local troops of virtually all of the country’s security needs. This isn’t happening, and it will not happen. Rather, we shall remain in the country beyond 2014 in a decided rip-off of taxpayer dollars. The money will continue to pour in to Afghanistan, but the accountability for that money will be nowhere in sight.




Special To PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(EDITOR’s NOTE: This article was first published by The Wall Street Journal, 7/30/12)

By resisting almost any change aimed at improving our public schools, teachers unions have become a ripe target for reformers across the ideological spectrum. Even Hollywood, famously sympathetic to organized labor, has turned on unions with the documentary “Waiting for ‘Superman'” (2010) and a feature film, “Won’t Back Down,” to be released later this year. But perhaps most damaging to the unions’ credibility is their position on sexual misconduct involving teachers and students in New York schools, which is even causing union members to begin to lose faith.

In the last five years in New York City, 97 tenured teachers or school employees have been charged by the Department of Education with sexual misconduct. Among the charges substantiated by the city’s special commissioner of investigation—that is, found to have sufficient merit that an arbitrator’s full examination was justified—in the 2011-12 school year:

• An assistant principal at a Brooklyn high school made explicit sexual remarks to three different girls, including asking one of them if she would perform oral sex on him.

• A teacher in Queens had a sexual relationship with a 13-year old girl and sent her inappropriate messages through email and Facebook.

If this kind of behavior were happening in any adult workplace in America, there would be zero tolerance. Yet our public school children are defenseless.

Here’s why. Under current New York law, an accusation is first vetted by an independent investigator. (In New York City, that’s the special commissioner of investigation; elsewhere in the state, it can be an independent law firm or the local school superintendent.) Then the case goes before an employment arbitrator. The local teachers union and school district together choose the arbitrators, who in turn are paid up to $1,400 per day. And therein lies the problem.

For many arbitrators, their livelihood depends on pleasing the unions (whether the United Federation of Teachers in New York City, or other local unions). And the unions—believing that they are helping the cause of teachers by being weak on sexual predators—prefer suspensions and fines, and not dismissal, for teachers charged with inappropriate sexual conduct. The effects of this policy are mounting.

Associated Press/Hans PenninkSen. Stephen Saland.

One example: An arbitrator in 2007 found that teacher Alexis Grullon had victimized young girls with repeated hugging, “incidental though not accidental contact with one student’s breast” and “sexually suggestive remarks.” The teacher had denied all these charges. In the end the arbitrator found him “unrepentant,” yet punished him with only a six-month suspension.

Another example from 2007: Teacher William Scharbach was found to have inappropriately touched and held young boys. “Respondent’s actions at best give the appearance of impropriety and at worst suggest pedophilia,” wrote the arbitrator—before giving the teacher only a reprimand. The teacher didn’t deny the touching but denied that it was inappropriate.

Then there was teacher Steven Ostrin, who in 2010 was found to have asked a young girl to give him a striptease, harassed students by text, and engaged in sexual banter. The arbitrator in his case concluded that since the teacher hadn’t actually solicited sex from students, the charges—all of which the teacher denied—warranted only a suspension.

Michael Loeb, a middle school teacher in the Bronx and UFT member, calls this a “horrible situation,” telling me “if you keep these people in the classroom, you are demeaning our profession.”

Parents I spoke with described their tremendous fear about what is happening in the classroom. Maria Elena Rivera says her 14-year-old daughter was stalked by one of her Brooklyn high school teachers (who resigned from his position before the Department of Education decided whether to send the case to arbitration). Today her daughter is in counseling, says Ms. Rivera, and doesn’t trust anyone: “It so messed her up. I can’t protect her.”

Local media have begun to get the word out, yet the stories come and go with trifling consequences or accountability. New York City’s schools chancellor and districts statewide must have the power to fire sexual predators—and the final say cannot be that of an arbitrator with incentives to lessen the punishment.

Fortunately, state Sen. Stephen Saland has proposed legislation in Albany to do just this, removing arbitrators’ final say while still giving teachers due process and the opportunity to appeal terminations in court. But the buck would stop with those officials in charge of our schools and tasked with protecting our kids: the chancellor in New York City, and school districts elsewhere in the state.

Mr. Saland’s initiative has little chance of success without union support—which is hardly assured. “I don’t understand how they think this could be a gray area,” says Natalie Harrington, who teaches English at New Day Academy in the Bronx. “I worry that if the union goes to bat [against] this, it makes it seem like they will do anything to keep anyone in the classroom.”

Michael Loeb still supports his union but says it “treats teachers like interchangeable widgets”—defending all teachers no matter what they have done.

The union has reached a moment of truth. With responsible legislation on the table, the right course of action is obvious. At stake is the safety of kids, the reputation of the unions, and the standing of every good and responsible teacher throughout the state.

Ms. Brown, a former news reporter and anchor at CNN and NBC, recently testified on this issue before the New York governor’s Education Reform Commision

—– 00 —–

THE PLANET thanks Ms. Brown for this article.






  1. Ali
    August 3, 2012 at 7:52 am #


    Regarding boxing, at what weight would you be fighting? I’m not sure if I can find a woman willing to fight at too high a weight…

    However, in the name of charity I bet there would be a number of local gentlemen willing to go a few rounds in order to raise money and awareness. Would you be willing to consider fighting a man?

    Thank you for any possibility of raising money for charities.

    • danvalenti
      August 3, 2012 at 9:57 am #

      I would be fighting at 130 pounds or thereabout. A woman fighter from 110 to 135 pounds would work. Fight a man? I would be willing to consider it, but it wouldn’t have the same pizzaz.

      • AMBROSE
        August 3, 2012 at 10:41 am #

        Oh yes it would. Though I doubt ant man would dare jump into the ring with a 60 YO who trained with Carmen Basilio. You are one tough monkey.

  2. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    August 3, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    Hey DV, Guess who was the public face of Downtown Inc before she went to work for Mike Daly?

  3. Ron Kitterman
    August 3, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    Great post on DPI, Petula Clark counldn’t have sung it better. ( Downtown song from the 60’s ) they must of did one of those nationwide searches for her ?

    August 3, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    Syracuse and Burlington have International airports and interstate highways.The average age in Burlington is 35, in Pittsfield 65. Its unfair to compare those two places to Pittsfield. As far as DPI goes, every accusation that you and anybody else has made is 150% true. They still think that destroying the train station was a good idea. If it was left standing they wouldn’t have been able to force the Big Y to stay downtown. Hopefully they’ll be able to persuade the merry-go-round folks to come to town so that the gang who wears their pants with the seat behind the knees will have a place to show of their underwear.

  5. tito
    August 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    Looks like the Pignatelli and Harris campaigns have fallen flat in the sign campaign, there are more Jody for Register signs than both combined and not just in Pittsfield, like overnight.

    • Larry
      August 4, 2012 at 5:48 am #

      Lawn signs will not win the election…. The two girls will split the vote leaving Pignatelli the winner.

      • skier1
        August 5, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

        lets hope not, he’s the least qualified!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Silence Dogood
    August 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    I guess Tricia, Hilary or Janet Reno won’t be in the ring with you.

  7. tito
    August 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    How about all over the place Nilon vs. Deacon Dan.

      August 4, 2012 at 4:37 am #

      This is the bout – it would draw a mob to BWP. Dan and Cliffy are about the same size – dan was trained by the upstate onion farmer, Carmen Basilio – Cliffy by the Second St. hoosegow keeper Carmen Massimiano. Think of the possibilities, promoter, Angelo Stracuzzi, referee, Judge Vega, ring announcer, Sturgeon, judges, Nathan Byrnes and Butch Pisani. Dan’s corner man, (my lawyer got run over by an 18 wheeler) Rinaldo DelGallo, Cliff’s, Ray DelGallo. Ringside seats would be $1,000 and that would include a photo op with celebrities Jim Ruberto and John Barrett. Now if Cliff can’t make it we have Lou Costi and Kufflinks waiting in the wings. Anybody got any ideas for a ring girl to carry the round cards?

      • Silence Dogood
        August 4, 2012 at 5:05 am #

        TFB for ring girl

        • dusty
          August 5, 2012 at 2:03 am #

          She reminds me more of Angelo Dundee.

      • danvalenti
        August 4, 2012 at 8:18 am #

        It would sell out, in more ways that one!

  8. Jonathan Melle
    August 3, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    Downtown Pittsfield is a place to avoid. It is full of Social Services agencies and poor people. Northampton has a cool downtown. Maybe Berkshire Community College should have been built on North Street instead of on West Street.

    • joetaxpayer
      August 5, 2012 at 9:37 am #

      Dowmtown hamp also has many homeless and adicts on those streets

  9. Andrew
    August 3, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    Good lord the misogyny reeking from this website is strong in the past few days. “Feminization of sports”? Really? What does this exactly mean? What sports does the great athlete Dan Valenti, who probably has as little talent in athletics as he does prose. deem acceptable for what he has insinuate to be the weaker and less entertaining sex?

    Are you really claiming you could beat Marti Molloy, a woman in your weight class who won silver at the Olympics for Judo? Or could you beat an of these women?

    They all look to be around your weight class.

    Just because you’re old and still blame the bogeyman “feminists” for some slight that only you and other misogynists have noticed and obsess over doesn’t mean that (a) anybody below the age of 60 cares (b) your antiquated ideas of gender roles have any relevance in today’s societies.

    Your concepts and ideas, like yourself, are old, outdated and irrelevant.

    • danvalenti
      August 4, 2012 at 8:36 am #

      Actually, we are quite talented in sports, and boxing is one of them, through our training. Of course, we haven’t been in the ring in a while, but we are in shape. You have no idea. Your lack of humor about this story is revealing and tells us everything we need to know about your approach to life. To address your specific points, a more careful and astute reading of what I wrote would answer your question. Do your homework before commenting in ignorance. Your point about Marti Malloy falls into the trap I predicted and addressed: Of course, on a selective and individual basis, Woman A can beat Man B (classic example, an in-her-prime Billy Jean King besting a much older and out-of-shape Bobby Riggs). Riggs in his prime would have mopped the clay with King. So yes, we probably would have trouble with Malloy, but a male judo athlete, best in the world and at the top of his game, as she is, would ruin her.Apples to apples, men are superior as athletes simply because they are faster, stronger, and (usually) bigger. By the way, the only one who’s obsessing is you. I suggest you take a stress pill, sit down, and calmly think it over. And if you want to be my opponent in the squared circle, I shall be more than glad to oblige. Finally, let me set you straight on “old” — You’re old when your regrets outnumber your hopes. You’re “young” when your hope outnumber your regrets. I am, old man, one of the youngest dudes you’ll ever meet. Thanks for the post. We enjoyed the sparring. though we would enjoy it more with stronger competition!

      • Andrew
        August 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

        You give your wit and cleverness far greater credit than they deserve. There was no trap you laid nor was there some greater point to your ramblings about the feminization of sports. The simple fact is that you have said (now twice) that certain sports are for girls while others are for boys. You also are clear in your preference for watching men play those sports you have deemed to be masculine. If I was to venture a guess, I’d be willing to bet that you were and are still against Title IX as, in your anti-progressive, howl-at-the-moon senility, still feel the need to needlessly rail against women in sports. It’s a good thing that the majority of Americans (and billions around the world) don’t listen to voices like yours. We’d have missed out on some amazing athletic feats in the last few decades.

        Is tennis a men’s sport? Is basketball? Is soccer, fencing, judo, field hockey, water polo or golf? These were all sports that were in the olympics first as men’s only and it was decades before women were allowed into them. Maybe this is a generational thing and we just have to wait for our voices to die out before more progress in gender equality and sports can occur. I’m looking forward greatly to such a time.

        • danvalenti
          August 4, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

          Our voices will die out, just as surely as the Empire will. Let me keep it simple for you with an example: the NBA versus the WNBA. One is hugely popular around the world, on TV, and live. The other draws relatively little interest. Both are competitive in a relative sense, but we all know that the bottom NBA team, Charlotte (7-59) would crush the top WNBA team (Connecticut and Minnesota, 15-4). The same holds for hockey, football, and baseball, the other Big 3 of the Big 4. In fact, it holds true for all the sports you mention. You insist on political correctness. This undermines your analysis to a fact-blinding, reality-denying degree. Tell us how old you are, since you refer to the generational thing. Tell us your experience with sports. Or are you still hiding these details for some reason?

          • Andrew
            August 4, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

            Me not being a misogynist is not about political correctness. It’s about not being an ass. If you’re to measure the value of athletics by their audience and commercial appeal, you truly don’t understand what sports are all about.

            You argument about how Charlotte could crush the best WNBA teams (excellent job going on is both irrelevant and a strawman. Who is arguing otherwise? I was asserting that the fact you dismiss women participating in certain sports or denigrate their efforts because of their gender is backward and indicative of some deeper misogyny. The fact that you used the term “feminization” to devalue certain sports means that somehow being feminine is less valuable than being masculine. Again, it’s not about being politically correct (which is a useless term thrown about by Republicans when they can’t actually say anything thoughtful), it’s about not being an ass and having an ounce of understanding.

            Regarding my anonymity:

            This is your website. You’ve set it up so people don’t have to post their real names, occupations or ages. That was your decision. If you decide to change that setup, I’ll choose then to either participate further or step away from this echo chamber (and not think twice about it). Don’t complain about something you created or insinuate I’m hiding something. It’s a long standing policy of mine to never put anything online that I couldn’t stand by in real life. Everything I’ve ever written here is my own actual opinion that I wouldn’t mind saying to you in person. If you want to know who every commentor is, either institute a third-party verification system or get out of the blogging business altogether.

            As an aside, what was that nonsense about The Empire?

          • danvalenti
            August 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

            You have every right to hide even the most innocuous information. You mentioned the generational factor in our discussion, which makes no sense unless you specify your generation. As for the Empire, see, you haven’t been reading! Thanks for your participation.

          • Andrew
            August 6, 2012 at 12:51 am #

            If we’re to talk about national or world events Dan, when you address me you are writing to a heavyweight while you’re stuck in the lightweight division. Stick to Pittsfield gossip and slander. It’s what passes for journalism in Berkshire county nowadays regardless of the format and you’re certainly such a blogger/gossiper extraordinaire. You go beyond such limitations at your own intellectual risk. Stay in the shallow pool where you’ll be safe.

          • danvalenti
            August 6, 2012 at 7:25 am #

            Bring it on Big Guy. In fact, we will be bringing some national and international topics aboard, and we look forward to your participation. You claim to be in the “heavyweight division” is subject to dispute, since you offer no curriculum vitae. The proof will be in the writing. You are, though, in the deep end. On that we agree!

  10. JerryPosner
    August 4, 2012 at 6:05 am #

    Do you remember performance artist/comedian Andy Kaufman’s inter-gender wrestling adventures?

    • danvalenti
      August 4, 2012 at 8:18 am #

      Yes Gerry, we do — and you’re on to our trail here. You “get” it, as is usually the case with perceptive and intelligent people. You can tell the “great divide”: The ones who “get” it take your approach or one of satire and humor. The ones who don’t “get it” take the approach of seriousness and lack of humor. Glad you’re a Human being.

  11. tito
    August 4, 2012 at 6:24 am #

    Pummelin Pam vs. Pressman Dan..this is to easy.

      August 4, 2012 at 8:58 am #

      nah. planet would destroy her – if he wants to fight a chick bring out deanna ruffer

  12. tito
    August 4, 2012 at 6:28 am #

    This weeks King of the Swamp Award, goes to Dave, for his quip about Bath Beads and Beyond,” Pack the car kids and hop in, we’re going to BB and Beyond today”.

  13. Scott
    August 4, 2012 at 7:20 am #

    War for profit Americans will never wake up because we have it too good at the expense of others far less fortunate. t’s heartbreaking.

    • danvalenti
      August 4, 2012 at 8:15 am #

      We are in the last days/weeks/months/years of the phenomenon you mention. America’s “superiority” actually began its decline on that day in 1985 when the US of A officially became a debtor nation. A quarter century later, we are witnessing the last futile gasps. “Fortunately,” and the word must be in quotes, those my age and older timed it right. Those 40 and under, though, shall be witnesses to the decline (as all empires must do).

  14. Dave
    August 4, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    Artswalk- another great idea supporting our arts economy. Unfortunately as coordinator Leo Mazzeo was quoted in the BB
    “Contributions havent been enough to pay for the monthly event”
    He estimated $22,000 will be needed to fundthe Artswalk through the end of the year.Pittsfield’s office of CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT and the Berkshire Art Association are major sponsors. Just thinking out loud, if contributions are not enough, PULL THE F@@@ing PLUG! oh wait we have city funds-never mind.

    • dusty
      August 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

      Pull the plug indeed! Except if you could get your hands on the expense sheet you might see where the money goes and why no body is pulling any plugs.
      Just hypothesizing.

    • Dawn
      August 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

      What are the expenses? People walk around.

  15. GEE Whiz
    August 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    The Arts Walk deficit is proof of how weak and moribund the Arts scene is in Pittsfield. It can’t pay for itself. Without taxpayer money it would die. Even with taxpayer money it needs more of it to stay alive. Whats wrong with free markets. If there is no popular market for art or more likely if there is not income or money to buy art (were talking ordinary people) it means its not important to people. I like dusty’s idea. Id like to see the books. Cooked like a lobster.Someone’s making out.

  16. Theo Parkside
    August 4, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    Dan, check out this view of Pittsfield from Back in the day…

    • danvalenti
      August 4, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

      Awesome. I notice many things, including East Street was once called Beaver Street. Many thanks for sharing.

  17. Former Pittsfield Resident
    August 4, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    Hey Dan,

    I know — “How stupid has American become?” — right.

    I know a doctor takes the Hippocratic oath. If someone is dying in the streets and he can help, from a legal standpoint nowadays its better just to walk on by.

    I know it sounds terrible right? However, he can be sued for whatever he does if he gets involved and probably will be. What a world we live in.

    I remember when I got my concealed carry permit. The Chief of Police told me that if I was walking by and saw a woman getting raped or some heinous crime being committed and I was carrying, that under no circumstances was I to get involved.

    He said carrying a weapon does not make you a Police officer. I understand that and agreed to fully comply.

    It just seems like such a terrible shame to “walk on by” and let someone be violently abused.

    Of course I’d call the Police immediately but the person may be dead by the time they get there. At least they will there to pick up the body. Getting involved, no matter what happened would get you a “bill” for damages — even by the victim.

    Isn’t it a shame that only one brave soul with a gun could have saved many lives at the batman movie. And yet who would go the movies packing?

    • danvalenti
      August 4, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

      Yes, it is a shame. Walking by and allowing someone to drown, get raped, get murdered, get beat up etc. is, in America, the safe thing to do. In the moment, however, I’d like to think most of us would do as young John Clark did in the drowning rescue. Act and deal with the idiocy later.

      • Scott
        August 5, 2012 at 5:21 am #

        There’s videos on youtube one where and old man is being beaten and car jacked and another where an off duty cop is pounding his girlfriend in a bar in both situations there’s people just standing there watching. Not me I’d get involved just like I did the other night when two young guys were intimidating an older couple trying to cross the street. I told the guy we’ll see how tough they are with me on your team not that I’m this big tough guy but I’d take a beating just for the principle if I had to rather then let two young punks tune up a guy twice their age over nothing.

  18. tito
    August 5, 2012 at 5:50 am #

    Woman is stabbed in the forearm last. Iast nightnear Columbus Ave. She refuses police assistance and tries to walk to the emergency room, fortunately medics attend to her before she bleeds to death.

    • Scott
      August 5, 2012 at 6:26 am #

      Sounds drug related.

    • On the Q-T
      August 5, 2012 at 9:17 am #

      This stabbing? Probably near where my husband and I had an incident in the Columbus Ave parking deck. Parked there to see a play. After, at night, going back to the car, we found three young people trying to break into our vehicle. My husband charged and they ran, one young punk pulled a knife and threatened us. That was our first play this year and it will be our last one ever. Stayout of downtown Pittsfield, everyone, is the message I want to share.

      • Former Pittsfield Resident
        August 5, 2012 at 9:35 am #

        Interesting situation isn’t it? So your husband “charged”? Let me ask what he would have done if he would have caught one of them?

        If they had a knife and used it on your husband then what?

        If your husband would have succeeded in subduing one of them would he get a bill for the damages he caused to them?

        Does one have a right to “charge” over physical property?

        If you call the Police, would they have been long gone by the time they get there?

        Do you even have the right to protect your own personal property?

        Do you think maybe your husband would end up in jail instead?

        • Former Pittsfield Resident
          August 5, 2012 at 11:23 am #

          Also, is it not the case in Massachusetts that in the “eyes of the law” you are not accountable for what you do as a juvenile until you are 17 or 18 years old?

          In effect teens can do whatever they like because they are teens?

          Would not a Massachusetts Judge rule that “charging” some teens for simply breaking into a car is excessive?

        • Scott
          August 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

          No it’s my understanding we have stand your ground in Mass Deval is trying to do away with it in the wake of the Treyvon Martin case.

        • danvalenti
          August 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

          Sounds like he charged and scared them off. Sounds like it worked out OK. Where are the police? Especially when they know the play will be getting out as such-and-such hour? You think they would account for that? But this is Pittsfield. The Acting Chief doesn’t see it that way.

          • Former Pittsfield Resident
            August 6, 2012 at 5:06 am #

            I’m just curious — I see it here and I see it in the Eagle — why do you refer to the Chief of Police there as “Acting” Chief?

            Isn’t he just the “Chief of Police”?

            Or is he only temporary?

          • danvalenti
            August 6, 2012 at 7:22 am #

            He is the “acting” chief, named so by Mayor Ruberto and continued in that capacity by Mayor Bianchi. It is an awkward arrangement at best, designed to keep the chief on edge at mayoral whim.

      • Scott
        August 5, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

        When you do that you let them win.

    August 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    These incident we hear time and time again. I travel down North St, at night and I never see a Policeman. This Chief is something. Citizen should demand from the Mayor answers on what the hell is going on, and why is nothing being done.

    • danvalenti
      August 5, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

      CONCERNED is absolutely right. In other cities that have a safe downtown, you see citizen-friendly foot patrols. In downtown Pittsfield, you can catch a glimpse of the law. Gee, do you think maybe there causality? Do you think maybe that’s why there’s such much crime downtown? Do you think that’s why decent citizens stay away?

  20. tito
    August 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    What is going on in the Olympics? Great Britain is getting Gold in Bushels, laying third overall, and they don’t even have a dental plan.

    August 6, 2012 at 5:49 am #

    My question Dan is where the hell is the Chief and Mayor. My god will they please wake up and do their jobs!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Bill Sturgeon
    August 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    The Dwyer’s now own the property on Stoddard Ave, where the Methadone Clinic was suppose to go. I must tell you I am so proud of that wonderful group of people who stood firm against the ill conceive political process not the concept of needing a clinic. Politicans should take notice of what the “PEOPLE” can do, when they put their minds to it.