PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

FIRST ADD, JULY 23, 2013

THE PLANET has learned through sources and confirmed that school committee chairman Alf Barbalunga will not seek re-election this year. Barbalunga also will not be running for any other municipal office. In a brief interview with us, school committeeman Terry Kinnas told THE PLANET that he was “90 percent sure” that he would be seeking re-election to the committee. Kinnas also said that, if re-elected, he would be a candidate for chairman.

Barbalunga is the third member of the six-member committee (not counting the mayor, who is an ex-officio presence) not to re-up for school committee. Jim Conant and Kathy Amuso have both announced intentions to run for an at-large city council seat. Not counting Kinnas, there are presently five school committee candidates. They are incumbents Dan Elias and Kathy Yon, plus first timers Josh Cutler, Brittany Douglas, and Cynthia Taylor.

THE PLANET will have more on this development tomorrow. Once again, you read it here first! Now back to our regularly scheduled column.

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(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, JULY 22, 2013) — Must have been a slow news weekend. The Boring Broadsheet, a newspaper formerly known as The Berkshire Eagle ran a page 1 Sunday above-the-fold headline and story that tells us of the many demonstrations across the country demanding “justice” following the George Zimmerman verdict of not guilty in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. We thus see the BB caught in the act of being itself, which means stooging for politically correct America.

Zimmerman shot and killed Martin after a confrontation with the teen, in which Martin ultimately got the jump and began pounding Zimmerman’s head into the asphalt. Zimmerman’s lawyers successfully argued that their client behaved lawfully with respect to Florida’s stand-your-ground law.

A judge legally empaneled the jury. Both sides were represented by counsel. The two sides exchanged evidence and used their jury challenges to their best benefit. All witnesses delivered their testimony under oath. All court procedures ensuring a fair trial were observed. Court stenographers recorded every word. Deliberations were done with the most reasonable assurances of impartiality, with cool-headed distance keeping the flames of political correctness, irrationality, and emotion at bay as much as humanly possible. In the end, the jury delivered a verdict of “not guilty.” This verdict validated an oft-maligned (and rightly so) court system by showing the world that evidence, not emotion, would determine the truth. Reason, not race, would lead to the finding of justice.

In short, justice was served.

That’s the essential point to consider in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict. We The People have already been given justice in this case to the extent that our judicial system can help contention sift out the truth of events. Neither divinity nor the fates  grace this nation of laws and its criminal justice system with the rarified state of perfection, but it’s the best system anyone has devised. As the old Defenders TV show used to intone at its beginning: “Democracy is a very bad form of government, but all the others are so much worse.” If you have a better one, THE PLANET is willing to listen.

Martin’s family has a right to grieve. The state has the right to appeal the verdict. They do not have a right to question the service of justice.

This case has been a lightning rod for the racial tensions that still simmer, barely concealed and often not, underneath the sheath-thin fabric of our troubled society and culture — what’s left of them. This case brought President Barack Obama to the lowest and most discredible moment of his presidency.

Obama didn’t do anything to help America, help the Martin family, or help black people when he spoke a few days ago about the racial overtones of the case. That opened the door for Al Sharpton to come to the rescue. Sharpton never misses a chance to feed his massive ego and make a great living by playing the race card all across America. He and Rush Limbaugh make perfect bookends for this once-great nation as it continues to tear itself to pieces over symbols, emblems, badges, and stamps.

The tragic confrontation of these two men, Zimmerman and Martin, fails to register anymore as a real event or a story. It has long since become an allegory — a symbol mistaken for the real thing. It’s as if the driver ignored the hazardous left curve in the road for the traffic sign. No wonder the car failed to negotiate the turn.

Sharpton, who heads an organization with the vague and dubious name of National Action Network,  has no qualms about preying (not “praying”) on the grieving Martin parents. Sharpton organized protests in New York and Miami outside federal court buildings and police stations, demonstrations he wants to repeat in 100 cities in America. Earlier protests in Los Angeles and San Francisco led to outbreaks of violence and arrests.

“A lot of African-American boys are painted with a broad brush,” Obama said in remarks that, coming from The President of The United States, were incredible. “If a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario … both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.” Yes. If the Zimmerman was black and Martin white, there likely wouldn’t have been a whimper of this much beyond the local news.

Sharpton, Obama, and all those who are pressuring the Justice Department to bring a civil rights case against Martin ignore the fact that justice has been served in this case. When the Zimmerman jury prepared the begin their deliberations, the judge made it clear: Zimmerman had no obligation to retreat. He had a “right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he reasonably believed it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself.”

When Martin jumped Zimmerman and began to smash his head into the unyielding pavement, it is “reasonable” to believe that, in that split-second moment where once must choose among a range of possible actions, Zimmerman believed his life was in danger. The evidence introduced in the trial supported this contention. The evidence, not the politics of race, demanded a verdict of not guilty.

The evidence strongly suggested beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was guilty of nothing but self-defense. Defense attorneys portrayed Zimmerman as a good citizen, a conscientious man, one who was concerned about the betterment of his community. The defense claimed that Martin “viciously attacked” Zimmerman, “sucker punched” him, and began slamming his head into a concrete sidewalk. The evidence supported that portrayal.

The jury got it right, yet large segments of rabble-rousing America wants to use this case to advance their own agendas.

One PLANET correspondent, DAVE, yesterday quoted a BB report of a speech Ward 6 councilor John Krol made at a local gathering: “The only speaker to mention the controversial court decision was City Councilor John Krol during a short speech.” Krol’s comment- “From the national perspective, we heard the President speak yesterday and say we have work to do {on race relations}, When a young African-American happens to wear a hooded sweatshirt while walking in a gated community and can be approached, stalked, attacked and killed and no justice is done, we have work to do. We have a lot of work to do”

Assuming the quote is accurate, Krol is “guilty” of political pandering at best and violating his constitutional oath of office at worst. In between these extremes of indulgence and treason rest an entire series of possibilities, none of which reflect favorably on my politically correct Right Honorable Good Friend. Krol took an oath to uphold the laws of the United States and honor the Constitution. For him to baldly claim “no justice is done” reveals an remarkably oblivious and unlettered disrespect for a verdict determined by a lawfully empaneled jury. Krol was not present in court to hear the evidence, yet, following lock-step in the political correctness demanded by the Al Sharptons and the loons who have hijacked the once-respectable political left, the Ward 6 pretty boy parrots the company line. Ward 6 and the people of Pittsfield deserve better representation than this.

In arriving at a conclusion to this troubling aftermath, here are excerpts of a speech delivered by comedian Bill Cosby, a black man who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is when discussing black youth:

“‘They’re standing on the corner and they can’t speak English. I can’t even talk the way these people talk…
Why you ain’t
Where you is
What he drive
Where he stay
Where he work
Who you be…
And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. ;< /SPAN>
And then I heard the father talk.
Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth.
In fact, you will never get any kind of job making a decent living. People marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an education, and now we’ve got these knuckleheads walking around.
The lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal.
These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids. $500 sneakers for what??
And they won’t spend $200 for Hooked on Phonics.
I am talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit.
Where were you when he was 2??
Where were you when he was 12??
Where were you when he was 18 and how come you didn’t know that he had a pistol??
And where is the father?? Or, who is his father?
People putting their clothes on backward, isn’t that a sign of something gone wrong?
People with their hats on backward, pants down around the crack, isn’t that a sign of something?
Or, are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up?
Isn’t it a sign of something when she has her dress all the way up and got all type of needles [piercing] going through her body?
What part of Africa did this come from??
We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans. They don’t know a thing about Africa .
With names like Shaniqua, Taliqua and Mohammed and all of that crap, and all of them are in jail.
Brown or black versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person’s problem.
We have got to take the neighborhood back.
People used to be ashamed. Today, a woman has eight children with eight different ‘husbands’ — or men or whatever you call them now.
We have millionaire football players who cannot read.
We have million-dollar basketball players who can’t write two paragraphs.
We, as black folks have to do a better job. Someone working at Wal- Mart with seven kids… you are hurting us.
We have to start holding each other to a higher standard.
We cannot blame the white people any longer.”
– Dr. William Henry ‘Bill’ Cosby, Jr., Ed.D.


“Doom is dark and deeper than any sea-dingle.” — W. H. Auden, opening line, “The Wanderer.” (1934)






  1. dusty
    July 22, 2013 at 1:39 am #

    Krol was blatantly pandering for votes and it was a low level to stoop. It actually borders on desperation. What is he afraid of?

    • danvalenti
      July 22, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

      Krol would have to be the one to answer the question about fear. Perhaps he’s afraid of Joe Nichols’ challenge?

      • Dave
        July 22, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

        Krol has not taken out papers yet as far as I know. One thought is he is doing the famous trick of our local politicians who read the tea leaves knowing they will lose and not run to save face. The other thought is that he is contemplating running for Mayor, and his comments at the Gather-In festival was pandering to the potential voters in the audience. With the Doreen Wade accusation possibly still in some people’s minds, why not throw out a feeler and see what the response is? You had to know the BB would pick up on it. Anyone notice that the police log printed just about every day started during the Bianchi administration? Coincidence, or is the BB still bitter about the civic authority issue(rhetorical question)?

  2. Russell Moody
    July 22, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    No one says you have to like the laws… Don’t like them? Change them–vote.

    What a dangerous place it would be if we dismissed every verdict with which we did not agree. In the end we are a nation of laws– a reflection of our morals and values.

    Morals and values inform the lawmakers… and so, the hard work begins.

    • danvalenti
      July 22, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

      Well stated, RUSS. Without respect for the law, we are a rogue country. Welcome to the New America.

  3. Joe Blow
    July 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    What I find interesting is they are now trying to turn this into a stand your ground issue. George Zimmerman waived his right to a “stand your ground” pretrial immunity hearing. Not to long ago in Pittsfield a young black man with a illegal handgun got off murder charges because he claimed self-defense. Where was the outrage for that case? Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson and the Liberal Media are turning back the clock on race relations for political gain. The media invented the term white hispanic for G.Z. does that make Obama a white black? Sure it’s to bad a young kid died but actions have consequences and everyone has a right to defend themselves.

    • danvalenti
      July 22, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

      “White Hispanic.” That’s ridiculous, of course, and it shows how desperate various elements of our so-called society wanted to turn this into racial dynamite.

  4. The Kraken
    July 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    I did not watch the trial but it seems a just verdict was rendered – the law is the law. If folks in Florida don’t like their stand your ground law they can lobby and work to get it changed. As far as all the other states (including MA.) are concerned, it is really any of their business? We have our own sets of laws, why all the concern over Florida’s? I also see no reason for the Fed. gov’t to stick its nose in this.
    I am very dissappointed in Obama on this. What he stated on this matter was fraught with racism. Actually, he’s just been one huge dissapointment. After 8 years of Cheney, oops I mean Bush, running this country, and now geting 8 years of this clown, this country is in trouble.

    • danvalenti
      July 22, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

      Excellent point. States rights are an important ingredient in our federal republic. Florida’s law are Florida’s laws. We have our own set, as you point out. From eight years of Cheney-Bush (in that order) to five-and-counting years of Obama, this country has found itself hurtling toward the depths.

  5. Scott
    July 22, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    Love Bill Cosby grew up watching the Cosby show and other things with Bill he’s the man and spot on stop blaming white people the BB disgusts me they do our community a disservice all the lame stream media is doing is telling lies yeah Martin was African American yes he wore a sweatshirt and yes he had skittles and soda but that’s not why he got himself killed if I were a person watching this case for the first time that would piss me off if I was told a kid was shot cause he was black and had on a hoodie but that’s not the case and every media outlet that led people to believe that lie should be ashamed of themselves. Especially those fools over at the Berkshire eagle. A young man lost his life that is aweful. Obama should be ashamed of himself too!

  6. tito
    July 22, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    Scott, here, borrow these,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    • Scott
      July 22, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

      “Tito” subtract your index, ring and pinky finger, sit on it and rotate! Ha,ha jk sorry my punctuation was inadequate in my defense I was in between chapters of to kill a mocking bird and taking a dump when I posted from my smart phone. I guess I could blame it on PPS but come in they did reach me how to read and write.

    July 22, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

    Martin wasn’t shot because he was black, wearing a hoodie. He was doing more than being a teenager with candy and soda. You cant depend on the BB for an honest presentation of a story like this with all its PC and racial overtones. Thats why we have The Planet. Surprised about Alf. Hope Terry runs and gets the chair.

  8. GMHeller
    July 22, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Now the BB is quoting ‘Alf’ Barbalunga as saying that: “I may have opportunities that will present themselves within the next two years, which would necessitate me having to step down mid-term.”
    Zounds! Can we handle the suspense?
    What new, or as yet unheard of, public sector position has ‘No-Show’ managed to conjure up in the patronage heaven that is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts?
    Of even more local significance, how oh how will the leading lights on the Pittsfield School Committee ever manage to get by without the guiding presence of a hack’s hack?

  9. GMHeller
    July 22, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    ‘Pittsfield School Committee Chairman Barbalunga won’t seek re-election’

  10. tito
    July 22, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    ,,,,in other news…the skunk on Pecks Rd is still imbedded in the road and is slowly dissolving after a three week bake in the sun,,,,,,,,,,

    • Scott
      July 23, 2013 at 5:20 am #

      Why don’t you take the initiative and scrape him up the next time you drive by. You’d be doing your community a great service.