(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THE WEEKEND EDITION JUNE 9-11, 2018) — Rounding up the flotsam, jetsam, an unclesam of a writer’s notebook:

Oh Say Can You See? — As a matter of fact, we can’t. THE PLANET, however, can propose an equitable solution to the NFL’s kneeling dilemma. That would be to simply not play the Anthem prior to games. What purpose does it serve except to provide the sort of nationalistic litmus test that, if you consider it objectively, is anti-American? No more anthem before sporting events, a tradition that’s more recent than you realize, solves the non-issue through elimination. By the way, for those few hours on Sunday (or Monday or Thursday nights), football players are at the office, on the job. An employer has the right to set policy for workers. If the boss says no kneeling, then don’t kneel. He doesn’t have a gun to your head. You accepted the job and the money, and it’s your responsibility to live up to the terms. If you want to kneel, do it on your own time or go to morning Mass. Besides, haven’t we had enough of the Anthem’s Hohmlande Uber Alles?

What Heroin Bags? — You have to love how circular be the wheels of justice. State troopers stopped a car after it got off at the Turnpike Exit 2. The vehicle had broken brake and tail lights, plus illegally tinted windows. Troopers ran a check on the driver. He was from Holyoke and had conviction for firearms and drug offenses, and he had done time. Police said the driver gave them permission to search the vehicle. A drug-sniffing dog led them to the trunk, where troopers say they found 2,000 bags of heroin. Officers charged the driver, whose lawyers claimed illegal search.. The courts denied the claim, but on appeal, the vaunted state Supreme Judicial Court threw out the arrest and dismissed the case. Now the man, Gabriel Cordero, has filed a lawsuit asking $30 million each from the troopers, the state police, the Pittsfield Police Department, Chief Michael Wynn, the entire city of Pittsfield, and the whole of Massachusetts. If it were up to THE PLANET, we’d tell Cordero to get back on Affirmed and ride the hell out, lucky to be escaping without a new suit of tar-and-feathers. Ah, but this is America. ‘Nuff Ced.

Bobby, We Hardly Knew Ye — On June 6, 1968, THE PLANET found himself in the drafting training room under the tutelage of the late, great Paul Deame, Building 42, General Electric Co. The news quickly circulated that the evening before, an assassin or assassins gunned down Robert Kennedy in a Los Angeles hotel corridor just after declaring victory in the crucial California primary. The old gut punch hit us again, the same we felt on Nov. 22, 1963. Bobby would have gone on to win the nomination and, likely, the presidency on his promise to get out of Vietnam pronto. Instead, the war went on another five years and countless more deaths and injury. We knew that June morning that America had for certain jumped the rails, and that the violently silent coup that took place in Dallas three years earlier had well taken command. All of U.S. history after 6/6/68 serves as a footnote. The RFK killing made of cynicism not optimism’s final refuge but an essential survival tool, especially for one coming of age in that pivotal year.

LeBron and Everybody Else — Watching the great LeBron James unable to singlehandedly lift the Cleveland Cadavers from falling into a 0-3 hole in the NBA finals drives home the point of “t-e-a-m.” Not even LeBron can do it alone. At his post-game press conference Wednesday night, James said trying to beat Golden State was akin to “trying to beat the Patriots.” It can be done, he said, but you can’t make any mistakes. You have to be perfect and also have Lady Luck as your sixth man. We rank James in the NBA all-time pantheon this way, in this order: 1. Bill Russell … 2. James … 3. Wilt Chamberlain … 4. Michael Jordan … 5. Bob Cousy. It’s a privilege to watch players like James and Tom Brady. It makes the sickness of sports in America momentarily tolerable.

A Win for the First Amendment — When the Supreme Court considered the case of the gay couple suing a baker because he wouldn’t make a custom cake for their wedding owing to his religious beliefs, the “experts” were predicting either that the Supremes would side with the couple or, at best (worst) a 5-4 vote along ideological lines. It didn’t happen that way. The Justices upheld the action of the baker, 7-2, overturning a lower ruling by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Writing the majority ruling, Anthony Kennedy said “The [commission’s] treatment of the case has some elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated [the baker’s] objection.” Perhaps the Bill of Rights has a few last gasps in it. If so, a revival is possible. Sanity, for once.

Have a great weekend, everybody.


“A writer who pleases everybody will neither be sitting nor standing, and there will be lots of flowers around” — Sir Tiberius Fruitjuice.



The Usual Disclaimer.




  1. Jonathan Melle
    June 7, 2018 at 8:15 pm #

    Pittsfield politics is in frustration mode concerning the fiscal year 2019 municipal budget, which will be voted on at the City Council meeting on Tuesday evening, June 12th, 2018. Only the lovely Linda Tyer disagrees with the frustration that the City Councilors and hard-hit taxpayers feel. What is worse, City Council Prez Peter Marchetti wants to limit the time of the budget hearings by having editorial powers over City Councilors speech. Who the hell does Peter Marchetti think he is? The government belongs to the people who pay the tax bills for the government!

    ….”I am going to start a process of undertaking looking at how long each councilor has spoken and try to find a way to limit the amount of speaking that can take place at the meeting”…. – Peter Marchetti

  2. dusty
    June 7, 2018 at 11:37 pm #

    Totally agree with the cake baker. Bake them a cake and let them decorate it themselves.

    Footballers kneeling situation is only going to get worse. But if someone is paying me millions of dollars to play a game I love I am not going to poke a finger in their eye. Lots of room off the field to make your point about police brutality.

    Perhaps they should jump the Cordero case straight to the supreme court and let Jeff Sessions people deal with him.

  3. The school committee
    June 8, 2018 at 2:07 am #

    Christians surgeons do not have to perform surgery on Muslims.

    • INFO
      June 8, 2018 at 9:13 am #

      Hippocratic Oath.

  4. The school committee
    June 8, 2018 at 2:15 am #

    The real issue of respectfully kneeling for the flag has been Trumps payback to the NFL for not being invited into the brotherhood of ownership.The Trump disciples just need to read history of the New York Don

  5. mi
    June 8, 2018 at 3:38 am #

    Is limiting Council speech the precursor for citizens speaking all day at open meetings and Committees. Terry got shut down by the Mayor at the Cable Meeting a few months back.It won’t be long before Meetings will be in closed session,the way this is shaping up.

    • dusty
      June 8, 2018 at 4:05 am #

      These people feel that we have elected them to speak FOR us and so we need to keep our dumb mouths shut except for short token chatter which goes in one ear and out the other spontaneously.

      Most of them also feel that they were elected with the understanding that the mayor would tell them what to think, say and do so that they would not have to take time out of their personal lives to do good old boy business.

  6. Halo
    June 8, 2018 at 4:15 am #

    Let the pros handle it.

      June 8, 2018 at 8:51 am #

      I think we can all agree there are no professionals handling it, or available to handle it.

  7. The school committee
    June 8, 2018 at 5:09 am #

    The very thing the city council is about are budgets.They need to spend more time on the school budgets as that is the reason all other services dont happed because they are at the mercy of schools.
    More time on budgets are needed

  8. Pat
    June 8, 2018 at 5:42 am #

    The in bed with the liberals media, Hollywood, and Progressives need to start worrying about the problems of law abiding Americans so much more than they do about illegal immigrants. If these groups of people could manage even half the enthusiasm and outrage for all of the problems being faced by law abiding Americans as they do for illegal immigrants issues, this country would be in a much better place.

    • dusty
      June 8, 2018 at 6:27 am #

      A priority might be worrying about their country being taken over by a dictator. Scary stuff happening in Washington Pat. In the back of your mind you realize it too.

      • Pat
        June 8, 2018 at 9:48 am #

        Yes, dusty very scary stuff which includes stuff done by the last administration. This is why SMALL GOVERNMENT is MANDATORY for both sides.

        • Thomas More
          June 8, 2018 at 10:21 am #

          Russia has small government, very small.

          • Pat
            June 8, 2018 at 6:08 pm #

            Russia is Communist….we’re not there YET.

  9. Bonafide Shakey
    June 8, 2018 at 6:08 am #

    1. There is a collective bargaining agreement between the NFL players and the league. There are also individual contracts between each player and their respective teams. While we can make believe that the same rules apply to everyone, they do not and these two contracts, along with how they resolve disagreements, control the situation.

    That said, yes, please stop with the national anthem crap prior to games.

    2. Dude should not have granted police permission to search his car.

    3. Who knows what would be different if the Kennedys were not assassinated?

    4. The editorial drastically mischaracterizes SCOTUS’s ruling Masterpiece. The majority opinion rebuked the Colorado Commission because they were explicitly hostile towards religion in their deliberations and ruling.

    Kennedy’s decision specifically noted the hostility towards Phillips made by the Commission as their reason to reverse the ruling, but because of the existence of this hostility in the current case, they could not rule on the broader issue regarding anti-discrimination law and the free exercise of religion. Kennedy stated that “[t]he outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market”. Kennedy’s decision affirmed that there remains protection of same-sex couples and gay rights which states can still enforce through anti-discrimination laws, a point also agreed to by Ginsburg’s dissent.

    • danvalenti
      June 8, 2018 at 6:53 am #

      RE Item 2: Cordero claims he did not give them permission. Police say that after initially refusing, he gave the OK. In this case, I’m inclined to believe the police.

        June 8, 2018 at 8:01 am #

        Actually, whether or not Cordero gave Police permission is immaterial to the case, the summary of which you can find here:

        The court properly held that once the police pull you over, investigate the infraction, and provide a citation, you are free to go. The police do not get an indefinite amount of time to generate ‘suspicious’ activity to search your vehicle. There was not one shred of evidence other than the officer’s opinion that the Cordero was in the process of committing a crime.

        I’m glad the police got a lot of potentially deadly drugs off the street.

        I’m curious about supporting the 1st Amendment one day, then trivializing the 4th Amendment the next.

        • NIB
          June 8, 2018 at 10:54 am #

          After reading the whole thing (did you?) the police certainly did have reason to ask to search the car.
          Only a MA bleeding heart liberal judge would throw this out. No reasonable person or judge would.

          • Henry Plachcinski
            June 8, 2018 at 12:43 pm #

            No they didn’t. We are all protected against unreaasonable search and seizure. The judges cited the prevailing US and Massachusetts case law in their opinion.

            If you are conservative why do you want to give away my protections established in the Bill Of Rights of the US Constitution? Why do you hate America? Do you believe in the Constitution?

          • NIB
            June 9, 2018 at 6:09 am #

            Henry, then why did one judge turn down the motion to suppress the evidence then, if it were so clear cut? This is MA, you just keep appealing until you get the eventual liberal bleeding heart judge to go against the police.
            And I’m not a conservative by any means.

      • mi
        June 8, 2018 at 3:05 pm #

        Looks like Codero is using his whip.

  10. The school committee
    June 8, 2018 at 7:44 am #

    Trump is all about pay back.Amazon,shipping and the Washington post.Now that we are living in the conservative world of huge debt ,wealthy influence,and huge ,huge,huge military budgets….healthcare profits will go up 10% a year, SS will be ruined on our way to 3rd world status……does anyone on this board have private health insurance?

      June 8, 2018 at 8:25 am #

      My employer provides BCBS HMO.

    • Pat
      June 8, 2018 at 9:51 am #

      The only people with half way decent insurance are those with private health insurance. Obamacare has been horrible for years long before Trump. Obamacare pays for less and less. It’s a joke.

      • dusty
        June 8, 2018 at 10:26 am #

        It pays for less and less because Trump and his people have been systematically knocking the legs out from under it. It was not perfect but much better than what Trump is going to leave people with.

        • NIB
          June 8, 2018 at 10:36 am #

          Completely untrue. Health care premiums skyrocketed and coverage shrunk way before Trump was prez and it was due to Obamascare and ARRA.

      • The school committee
        June 8, 2018 at 7:40 pm #

        Pat state health is good.

    June 8, 2018 at 10:28 am #

    So if you buy a more expensive health insurance, it covers more of your medical expenses?

    Has this ever not been the case?

  12. u
    June 8, 2018 at 11:37 am #

    What is Trump drunk?

  13. H
    June 8, 2018 at 11:46 am #

    Bourdain was clearly influenced by addiction. And he was clearly an Alchoholic who showed us all, addicted people are good people, some can be assholes because of the addiction, but Bourdain was pretty cool throughout it all, he will be missed.

    I was going to post on here a couple of days ago about Mr. Bourdain, glad I didn’t.

  14. dusty
    June 8, 2018 at 12:18 pm #

    Wondering if city hall will give me a Commercial license to sell fish from Onata lake. I have already bought my boats, nets and freezers from the producers of the Deadliest Catch Tv show.
    Gonna be hiring a coupla fish scalers if anyone is interested. Prolly start the whole operation on the fourth of July and yes of course there will be fireworks. Every kid under ten will be getting a tariff free pickerel and for $40 he can have it mounted on a piece of cardboard with his initials right beside it.

    • 12 Gauge
      June 8, 2018 at 6:59 pm #

      They’re only issuing commercial licensees for Silver Lake at this point.

  15. CosbiesLadies
    June 8, 2018 at 2:49 pm #

    Gaetani stated on his tv show Wednesday that he did a survey at the Big Y last week.

    He asked Pittsdield residents (fifty) if they knew what was going to happen with the water and sewer. Ills now that the sewer project has been approved.

    Thirty three didn’t kow,when he told them, they were astonished, he asked them where they get their news from? almost all of them said the Berkshire Eagle.

    Twelve others said,they knew and were outraged. He asked them where they get their news from? All said fro. P C T V and the Gazette Newspaper. Nine of these individuals said they watch Gaetani’s Show regularly.

    The last five of the of the fifty surveyed said theydidn’t know and didn’t care. When Gaetani told them about the rates they were outraged and couldn’t believe such a huge increase was coming.

    These five also stated that they get their news from the Berkshire Eagle also.

    This is who our family friends and neighbors are and this is what we are up against in this city.

    Certainly we need much better media coverage, but we will never get it from the Eagle because they like to keep the citizens stupid. And we all know how hard it is to change stupid.

    • dusty
      June 9, 2018 at 2:02 am #

      It does seem like the Pittsfield voting population is largely comprised of either apathetic, uninformed or compromised voting eligible folk. Probably not a good combination for taxpayer beneficial results.

      History seems to suggest that there are those who have positioned themselves to take advantage of this uncoordinated often blinded constituency.

      Mr Gaetani has his heart and his efforts in the right place and if his communication skills were better I believe thousands would rally around him. I did vote for him for mayor and would do so again. The existing machine is not our friend except when they want access to our wallets.

  16. Sonny
    June 8, 2018 at 3:31 pm #

    Read today Marchetti is not comfortable with mosquito spraying.
    As council president he has been a colossal failure. Every vote has been 8-3 or 7-4. He is more a follower than a leader. Some how he votes the same as Krol, White, Caccamo, Moon. Rivers, and Persip every time. That is partisanship with no leadership. Connel, Mazzeo, Morandi, and Simonelli show true leadership. They try to do what’s best for Pittsfield. I think Marchetti is in the banking industry. Would be nice if he attempted to use some of this expertise in the cities financial problems. Instead he is steering the boat over the waterfall of bankruptcy. Stay out of the mosqito spraying let the experts do their job. Try to do what people voted you in to do.

  17. dusty
    June 8, 2018 at 3:40 pm #

    You have just described what is known internally as the Tyer Lockstep Team. Also known as the Wink and a Nod Groupees. If you could only see the deleted emails.

    • h
      June 9, 2018 at 1:26 pm #

      Who exactly will be running for mayor?

      • dusty
        June 9, 2018 at 2:41 pm #

        The good old boys will be running. And they will probably run two candidates one of which will be a dummy. Krol seems to have all the animated tools to throw the bullshit and win over the unsuspecting so he may be the one they really want.

        Either way there is no chance, zero chance, people have a true representative. The people have two real choices…one is to pack up their shit and leave and the other is to stay and be taken for a whiplash of a financial mugging.

        …and them there are the facts mamn

  18. Jonathan Melle
    June 8, 2018 at 5:26 pm #

    I support the lovely Linda Tyer as Mayor of Pittsfield. She is committed to making Pittsfield a nice place for people to live. I don’t agree with some of her policy decisions. I believe the people of Pittsfield don’t know how fortunate they are to have the lovely Linda Tyer as their Mayor!

  19. May Hemm
    June 8, 2018 at 8:32 pm #

    I know pot is on the horizon but LSD?

  20. The school committee
    June 9, 2018 at 4:51 am #

    We live in the most conservative era in history with everything tilted to the rich and powerful as usual and using lets make america great again with Russia’s help and a huge national debt being the largest in history of mankind.A fake patriotism turning us into fools.We now have communism for the wealthy where they share in the wealth……does not work but the white poor will vote again for Trump

    • dusty
      June 10, 2018 at 1:15 am #

      the white poor are not going to be able to afford the gas to get to the polls next time

  21. H
    June 9, 2018 at 5:51 am #

    H. H

  22. U
    June 9, 2018 at 1:08 pm #

    Crime is moving rapidly this summer (recent south side of the city) so it now knows no bounds. The troublemakers were out in force today, walking and driving, it’s out of hand and we are only in early June..Please Citizens don’t take your frustrations out on the fellow taxpayers take it out on City Halll.

    • danvalenti
      June 9, 2018 at 2:03 pm #

      Driving past today’s beer fest at The Common, we saw a couple of guys literally staggering out. They were heading to their cars. Fest “Security” stood by with their yellow T-shirts, ready to press the “squelch” button, but they didn’t move a muscle.

      • dusty
        June 10, 2018 at 1:18 am #

        would it not be bad publicity to throw a beerfest and then turn around and arrest the people you invited to come and get loaded? Might affect next years turnout

      • Thomas More
        June 10, 2018 at 7:56 am #

        Dan, you come to Pittsfield to see what you want to see.

  23. ha
    June 9, 2018 at 1:23 pm #

    Why isn’t t the c c able to reduce the budget?

    • danvalenti
      June 9, 2018 at 2:01 pm #

      It lacks the spine.

  24. Halo
    June 9, 2018 at 3:49 pm #

    Tenfold Dan.

  25. Spagirl
    June 9, 2018 at 4:13 pm #

    That’s it in a nutshell. You always tell it like it is.

  26. Spagirl
    June 9, 2018 at 4:14 pm #

    This was in reply to dusty up above. The people have two choices.

  27. The school committee
    June 9, 2018 at 4:40 pm #

    Blame the schools budget because the police are are at the mercy of McCandless, Yon,Curtis,Behnk…Pittsfield needs more police.Everyone is afraid they will be tagged as against education.Rule 1 is safety 1st.Pittsfield needs a reputation as the safest city in the state,then the kids will return to the school system.McCandless does not recognize police as an answer to the finances of the schools……we need 125 police.We have 1300 school employees. This downward spiral will never change…….I ve seen old people clearly under the influence on main street stockbridge

    • 12 Gauge
      June 9, 2018 at 7:12 pm #

      In the late 60’s when Pittsfield had twenty thousand more residents how many school dept employees did we have?

      • danvalenti
        June 10, 2018 at 7:47 am #

        When Pittsfield had 20,000 more residents, the schools were more than double what they are now in terms of students, roughly 13,000 to today’s 5,700. Employees of the school department then? About 40% of what they re now. THAT, my good friend, is the essence of the scam being wrought today on citizens and taxpayers.

    • Thomas More
      June 10, 2018 at 7:41 am #

      Pittsfield donated the valedictorian and salutatorian to the Lenox Memorial graduation this week. They don’t want our special needs kids though.

      • dusty
        June 10, 2018 at 8:18 am #

        That may be how Mickey Candle is protecting his flock. Designate them all special needs and they can’t opt out?

  28. Shelly Liver
    June 9, 2018 at 5:38 pm #

    Americans not getting a piece of Trumps American Jobs pie are retreating along with all the other minimum wagers. Crime and assaults are at an all time high, and don’t even go there with the Opios crisis. But here in Pittsfield everything is o k,we got a new school and the Red Sox are havin a good year, doesn’t take much to feel good about what you do, does it.

    To the older folks, be careful out there, bad drivers disrespect those who obey and go speed limit. Pretty soon people will drive high and get away with it. Time for Lung spotter.

  29. The school committee
    June 10, 2018 at 5:23 am #

    Approval of school budgets means another year of the same old same.Pittsfield school slogan should be the grumpy schools…..

  30. dusty
    June 10, 2018 at 8:21 am #

    Trump is making America great again by crapping on our border friends. Who needs Canada and Mexico when you can be friends with Russia?

  31. H
    June 10, 2018 at 10:53 am #

    Wanting Russia in g-7 is very telling

  32. Shelly Liver
    June 10, 2018 at 11:01 am #

    To make America Great at the expense of dignity and the taxation of the middle class. America is slowing creeping into the Abyss of selling our Souls as Americans for what’s wrong with our morality and social injustices for the almighty dollar. We have a decayed sociey of social ill being ignored for the welfare of Country’s who simply are no goodThere has to be a better way. You don’t shit on our allies.

  33. H
    June 10, 2018 at 11:20 am #

    Totally agree! To tell the truth, it looks like Jong is holding Aces. Make Russia and North Korea great Again.

  34. The school committee
    June 10, 2018 at 12:21 pm #

    Trump is a Russian puppet

  35. U
    June 10, 2018 at 1:15 pm #

    Trump says he’ll know in the first minute about the littl dictator,if I were Jong i’d slap him in the face.

    • Jonathan Melle
      June 10, 2018 at 1:55 pm #

      Trump should send Stormy Daniels to Singapore! She’d be a hit there.

  36. Jonathan Melle
    June 10, 2018 at 1:53 pm #

    I found a full-time, living wage job in Pittsfield, Massachusetts! Not really! It must have been a dream.
    I won the state lottery jackpot! Not really! It must have been a dream.
    It is time to wake up to reality.
    * The “Doyle debacle”
    * The “Hathaway hack”
    * The “Ruberto regime”
    * The “Bianchi bust”
    * The “Lovely Linda”
    Nuciforo wants you to smoke pot! Luciforo stands at 4 feet tall, but somehow his devilish shadow covers Pittsfield.

    • dusty
      June 10, 2018 at 2:06 pm #

      or to simplify it, the Lovely Linda hack debacle, and bust regime

  37. Cos
    June 10, 2018 at 1:57 pm #

    J Mel could we have the streets again? and add Elm and Newell to it.

    • Jonathan Melle
      June 10, 2018 at 6:51 pm #

      Stay off of:
      North st.
      Tyler st.
      Lincoln st.
      First st.
      Second st.
      Linden st.
      Dewey ave
      Cherry st.
      Burbank st.
      Kent ave
      Madison ave
      And Seymour st.
      And you might survive.
      Add Elm Street
      Add Newell Street

      • Cos
        June 10, 2018 at 8:41 pm #


  38. V P of Lurning
    June 10, 2018 at 3:47 pm #

    Don’t know how police is keeping up with the crime, they’re trying.