(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY FEB. 27, 2019) —  Today marks THE PLANET‘s 1,900th column on this board. What started out as a simple writing exercise blossomed into Berkshire County’s most read site. It’s still an exercise that serves its workout purpose, and we still enjoy the intellectual and rhetorical challenge of coming up with new material on what can seem a relentless basis.

We can think of only two reason to discontinue THE PLANET: (1) Workload (bread-and-butter stuff takes precedence) or (2) We are no longer having fun or enjoyment. As for one, fortunately, technology allows us to ply our wares anywhere on earth. In the old days, we had to travel “there.” Today, we don’t have to “be” anywhere. Two (2) could happen tomorrow or years from now. In truth, at times researching, writing, editing, and publishing THE PLANET can seem a drag, but not often. Besides, as our form of public service, it helps keep the conscience clean!

In honor of our 1,900th, we open up The Comment Line to you, our valued readers. THE PLANET remains an important link for We The People to their community, their government, their daily lives. It is, for many, their morning “cuppa joe,” their sounding board, a chance to share and exchange viewpoints. True, this being cyberspace, the level of “debate” often does not rise above day-old yeast, but there’s enough good reader contributions to keep that vital feedback feature. We are proud to be the unrivaled local home for free speech, and our vigilance in weeding out the occasional foolishness has kept our comments section a model of how it is to be done in this photonic format.

THE PLANET remains free of commercial, communal, or governmental restraint. It is enterprise writing, commentary, and muck-raking journalism in its purest form. We probably have doled out more sleepless night to politicians and The Suits than an ocean of No-Doz pills, although that is never our intention. Such anxiousness, if and when it happens, exists only as an ancillary effect of our main pursuit, which is the good-faith tracking, discovery, and uncovery of stories, issues, and concerns that swirl about.

THE PLANET never has and never will “go after” anyone. The only thing we “go after” is truth. We write what we like, and like what we write, following our instincts and interests as curiosity bids.

With that as preamble and with all good blessings, we turn the discussion over to you.


“Both quack medicine and the Internet were born when the first knave met the first fool”Sir Tiberius Fruitjuice.



The views and opinions expressed in the comment section or in the text other than those of PLANET VALENTI are not necessarily endorsed by the operators of this website. PLANET VALENTI assumes no responsibility for such views and opinions, and it reserves the right to remove or edit any comment, including but not limited to those that violate the website’s Rules of Conduct and its editorial policies. PLANET VALENTI shall not be held responsible for the consequences that may result from any posted comment or outside opinion or commentary as provided in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and this website’s terms of service. All users of this website — including readers, commentators, contributors, or anyone else making use of its information hereby agree to these conditions by virtue of this notice. When PLANET VALENTI ends with the words “The Usual Disclaimer,” that phrase shall be understood to refer to the full text of this disclaimer.






75 Responses to “‘THE PLANET’ HITS 1,900!”

  1. Joe Pinhead
    February 26, 2019 at 10:11 pm #

    This Pinhead has been entertained, enlightened, thought provoked and at times intellectually challenged all sometimes in a single column. I know I am not the only one appreciative both of and for the Planet. 1900 Thank you’s a million more well wishes! congrats and thanks

    • danvalenti
      February 27, 2019 at 10:18 am #

      JOE P
      Man, where do we begin with you. Your comments provide the model for how to utilize and profit from a site such as THE PLANET. Thank you for providing THEEEE Model for conduct via your articulate and well-reasoned arguments. You’re the best.

  2. Johnny99
    February 26, 2019 at 10:30 pm #

    Thank you for letting us Kapanski’s vent, And congratulations!

    • danvalenti
      February 27, 2019 at 10:16 am #

      The Kapanskis rule!

      • Kermit Frog
        February 27, 2019 at 9:26 pm #

        Both fun, informative and cathartic! Thank you.

        • danvalenti
          February 28, 2019 at 11:29 am #

          We try to be all of that! Thank you.

  3. dusty
    February 27, 2019 at 2:00 am #

    Thank you Dan for allowing those of us without special interest connections to speak out. Your contribution to free speech in the Berkshires is immeasurable.

    • danvalenti
      February 27, 2019 at 10:16 am #

      The Special Interests taint everything … All, that is, but this site. That’s why we are the most read and trusted. We greatly value your contributions.

  4. Spagirl
    February 27, 2019 at 2:58 am #

    Congratulations Dan, and thankyou for a forum for all. Many well wishes for your continued success.

    • danvalenti
      February 27, 2019 at 10:15 am #

      Thank you, SPA, for the good thoughts.

  5. The school committee
    February 27, 2019 at 3:32 am #

    The Planet has a great forum.Thanks for the great fun of expressing opinions .I pose two questions ,How has School Choice benefited the Pittsfield Public Schools and their students ?How has Ed Reform benefited the students of Pittsfields taxpayers?

    • danvalenti
      February 27, 2019 at 10:15 am #

      Glad you appreciate this forum. As to the questions, Choice has devastated the PPS simply because Pittsfield schools are so bad. They can’t compete. Ed Reform has dumbed down the dumb.

    • LW
      February 27, 2019 at 12:26 pm #

      School choice has benefited the students greatly. Parents now have a choice to send their kids to a school with no thugs, less bullies, no weapons, and less drug addicts.
      But because it actually benefits the students the teacher unions and Pittsfield school system are against it.

  6. Mr. Fritz
    February 27, 2019 at 3:55 am #

    Congratulations Dan, and thank you for the intellectual stimulation and opportunity to express our points of view!

    • danvalenti
      February 27, 2019 at 10:13 am #

      MR. F
      It’s vital for a community to have an opportunity like this. The Eagle has severely limited reader feedback, banning direct comments on stories and publishing only selective Letters. iBerkshires allows comments but doesn’t generate enough light, heat, and reader interest for people to care. This site remains the unchallenged King for the Kapanskis.

  7. Pat
    February 27, 2019 at 5:30 am #

    Dan V., I hope that Planet Valenti is around for a long time!!!

    • danvalenti
      February 27, 2019 at 10:11 am #

      Appreciate the nod, P.

  8. Pat
    February 27, 2019 at 5:43 am #

    The public school teachers need to teach the young how to think not what to think. The Dianne Feinstein video with the young children showed very clearly that the teachers are pushing their political beliefs on to the children. When Dianne Feinstein asked one of the children if they voted for her, the young boy said “No, but she did”, pointing to his teacher. They are also being scared into believing that climate change will kill all of them in 10-12 years if the Green New Deal isn’t passed. Obviously, their teachers are giving these impressionable students an earful everyday about their political leanings and this is going on across the country.

    • LW
      February 27, 2019 at 10:01 am #

      What’s worse, all these lying politicians or the folks dumb enough to believe them?
      This planet has survived numerous Ice Ages and Green Ages, and yet the misinformed, ignorant, and downright stupid believe we can end the world with pollution.
      With how we’ve misused this planet, if somehow we destroyed all of mankind, the planet would probably hold a celebration. Because it would move on just fine.

    • danvalenti
      February 27, 2019 at 10:11 am #

      Total agreement. I have long held that as my overarching definition of education: “The process of making one a thinker.”

  9. Brian C. Marquis
    February 27, 2019 at 6:42 am #

    Thanks fer blocking me; love ya too!!

    • Brian C. Marquis
      February 27, 2019 at 6:44 am #

      And the saga continues . . .

      I’m guessing by the above posting, my privileges have been reinstated or restored.

      Life’s Good.

      • danvalenti
        February 27, 2019 at 10:10 am #

        Well, BCM, THE PLANET didn’t rescind you, so I don’t know what happened there. My guess is that every once in a while, a post won’t get through, for any number of technical reasons. We have built up a strong filtering process backstage, to keep out unwanted messages (the spam a site like this gets is ponderous!). That’s often a reason something that should get through doesn’t. You’re still a welcome contributor. All’s well that ends … etc., eh?

        • Brian C. Marquis
          February 28, 2019 at 7:49 am #

          You’re still the man, Dan Valenti.

          And that’s the bottom-line!!

          • danvalenti
            February 28, 2019 at 11:11 am #

            Thanks, BCM.

  10. Spider
    February 27, 2019 at 9:02 am #

    What would we do without The Planet? Congratulations and wishing you many more years!

    • danvalenti
      February 27, 2019 at 9:47 am #

      Thanks, SPIDEY.

    • Roman Nose
      February 28, 2019 at 6:16 am #

      Spider you nailed it!!

  11. Mr. G
    February 27, 2019 at 9:21 am #

    Thanks Dan. Always a fun read even when I vehemently disagree. And isn’t it great not to have to “be” anywhere?!? Now if only we could generate that same effect in time as we have in space, we’d really be doing something!

    • danvalenti
      February 27, 2019 at 9:47 am #

      MR G
      I, too, have invariably enjoyed your contributions, even (maybe especially) when we disagree. Your challenges are well argued become a sort of model how discourse and disagreement can be had while still advancing the discussion.

  12. Milt Plum
    February 27, 2019 at 9:42 am #

    Personally i believe that 1791 columns was a bigger milestone.

  13. LW
    February 27, 2019 at 9:47 am #

    Congratulations, Dan! And thank you for this site – I’ve found out many things about local politics and corrupt local politicians I would never have found anywhere else.

  14. LW
    February 27, 2019 at 9:52 am #

    Today, on full display for the American people, is undeniable evidence that the 2 party political system we use has been an abject failure. Only in America can a disgraced, disbarred, proven liar be called before Congress as a jump start to impeachment proceedings that will get nowhere once they hit the Senate.
    A complete, total waste of taxpayer dollars and everyone’s time. Thanks for nothing, hateful Democratic party.

  15. Pat
    February 27, 2019 at 10:20 am #

    Can we believe anything from the left that thinks it’s OK to not save babies born alive after abortion?!?

  16. The school committee
    February 27, 2019 at 10:31 am #

    We are living with and paying for regressive right wing teach to a test.Public education died with liberal exposure to many things before the late 80s demanded we compete with Japan

    • LW
      February 27, 2019 at 11:07 am #

      Incorrect. MCAS was created in 1993 when Democrats controlled both houses in MA. So the standardized testing you whine about was a Democratic supported initiative.
      The idea is to ensure students have a basic standard level of knowledge. It helps prevent teachers from passing students who are in fact failing. Teachers hate it because it requires them to work harder and keeps them from handing out freebies to under-performing students.

    • Johnny2Shoes
      February 27, 2019 at 12:42 pm #

      This article was a good read on education.,565751

      • LW
        February 27, 2019 at 2:02 pm #

        Thanks. It was good reading. And clearly shows the current state of MA EDU was made by decisions at the state level by Dem Patrick and Rep Baker, and while Obama was in office.

  17. The school committee
    February 27, 2019 at 11:56 am #

    There was no choice as Fed money was attached to ed reform.

    • LW
      February 27, 2019 at 12:18 pm #

      No Child Left Behind, if that’s what you are referring to, was 2001. And who was prez in 1993? What I’m trying to say is you are trying to blame Republicans for standardized testing and that simply isn’t true. Blame them for the bad things they actually did, like DOMA.

  18. Johnny2Shoes
    February 27, 2019 at 12:34 pm #


    I love the way you approach your writings without attaching your emotions to them.Sometime ago people in your position would just report the news on an issue and it was difficult to figure out what party they were from. Your a rare breed that in my opinion still reports on the facts and leave it to the readers to decide what to think of those facts you talk about. I firmly believe that if the local powers in government and media had the chance to shut you down, they would. You are definitely the Huckleberry they don’t want.

    • danvalenti
      February 27, 2019 at 4:45 pm #

      Interesting comment. The best way to make an agrument is from facts and logic. Emotions cloud the issue. People MUST make up their own minds, whether it’s through confirmation bias, opposition bias, or genuinely open. Once a writer lets go of a piece and publishes, he does best to sit back and watch.

  19. Johnny Absurd
    February 27, 2019 at 1:19 pm #

    I want to ask Kerwood how much it is costing the city for repairs to city police cars, fire trucks and school buses to bounce around the pock marked Pittsfield roads. The cost for new tires, tie rods, shock absorbers and broken springs has to be substantial.

    But I guess it would look stupid to have decent roads in a city with a failing school system, trash everywhere and a thug or beggar on every corner.

  20. Gigi
    February 27, 2019 at 2:10 pm #

    Congratulations Dan on 1,900!
    I’ve enjoyed reading your columns and the comments that follow.

    • danvalenti
      February 27, 2019 at 4:42 pm #

      Thank you, GIGI.

  21. The school committee
    February 27, 2019 at 3:14 pm #

    We have a very expensive failed school system .Superintendent attached superintendent status to every department head including the business department so that common services would never be combined.A real business person needs to be hired to conservatively spend money.Close the Hibbard stockroom tomorrow and start consolidating the 1600 high school kids into one medium sized high school going into the future.More kids and staff and services under 1 building.

  22. 12 Gauge
    February 27, 2019 at 7:30 pm #

    Why is Pittsfield going with ballasted floculation when it’s a proven fact that ozonation is cheaper and vastly more effective on a wider range of pollutants? Why does the mayor and the majority of the city council dig their heels in? I’m beginning to smell corruption here. Or maybe it’s just stupidity. They both smell a lot alike.

    • 12 Gauge
      February 28, 2019 at 9:08 pm #

      BarryClairmont pleaseweigh in on this

  23. Magoo
    February 28, 2019 at 12:54 am #

    Mr Valenti
    Your ingenuity and passion in defense and effort to educate the masses on the vital importance of the 1st amendment,is inspirational.
    Often it’s not financial wealth that defines a person,but the sum and results of their actions,
    Which in the case of your site,has created an environment of critical thinking and mostly honest and productive debate.
    While occasionally politeness is less than optimal,the value of the site you have created and Nourished, has accomplished that important goal.

    Well done Dan

    • danvalenti
      February 28, 2019 at 11:28 am #

      I thank you for these kind words. Since I first learned about the Constitution, I’ve had a love of the First Amendment. Little did I know that would lead me into a related career. I’m proud that Syracuse University’s famous Newhouse School, where I did my graduate work, has on Newhouse III the entire Bill of Rights lettered on the outside. “Critical think, productive debate, honesty” — these traits you mention drive what I do on this board. One critic recently labeled me a “provocateur,” thinking it was a put down. I actually thanked him for the compliment and explained how I understood the word. The audience loved it!

  24. The school committee
    February 28, 2019 at 4:26 am #

    I’m Mayor Tyer and the council and I will raise taxes to pay for the School Department bad planning .Mr Curtis and Mr McCandless figure in 8 years we will have only 3200 students to teach.Our plan is to have students go to other schools.Be patient Pittsfield is our slogan.

  25. Pat
    February 28, 2019 at 6:00 am #

    The 3 ring circus that the Democrats put on yesterday will be back today with a lot of racist name calling by a known liar encouraged by the Democrats in Congress. Let’s face it, calling people racist is a big part of what the Democrat party has turned into. President Trump has done so much more for African Americans than Obama ever did and many African Americans including Lynne Patton are coming forward to sing the praises of President Trump.

    Just several day previous, under silence from the in bed with the Democrats media, all but 3 Democrats voted to NOT TRY TO SAVE babies born alive after abortion. This included all of the candidates running for President in 2020 on the left. Such a morally wrong position speaks volumes about them.

    • Spider
      February 28, 2019 at 6:53 am #

      You are not alone, Pat. As an independent, Conservative Pro-Lifer I am also disgusted with the Democratic party. And some of my friends who are Pro-Choice are equally shocked.

      This will destroy the Democratic Party and those candidates running for ANY office.

      They have gone TOO FAR!!!!!!

      • Johnny Absurd
        February 28, 2019 at 8:28 am #

        Meanwhile, the republican party is looking great.

        hee hee

        • Spider
          February 28, 2019 at 10:01 am #

          Actually , Johnny, compared to the Democrats, (and thanks to the Democrats) they really do look great!

          hee hee

        • LW
          February 28, 2019 at 2:28 pm #

          Both parties have been abject failures, as has the 2 party system. Wars – both parties. Debt – both parties. Unnecessary impeachments – soon to be both parties. Corruption – both parties.
          Do you choose between being poisoned to death or shot to death? That’s what every election is.

          • Pat
            February 28, 2019 at 4:34 pm #

            The far left, however, will take the country down a lot quicker and permanently in my opinion. Our country will become a police state controlled by the far left. The ONLY way they can implement all of their control over healthcare, the police, transportation, finances, and any other area of life in this country that you can imagine, is through force. Americans will NOT allow their freedom to be taken away.

            Only the young, who have been brainwashed by the far left school system, support the Green New Deal. The far left wanting control over the police is extremely worrisome and says a lot about what they want for the future of this country.

      • Mr. Fritz
        February 28, 2019 at 10:41 am #

        The Dems support gun control, infanticide, socialism, open borders, globalism, global warming, higher taxes, medicare for all, and freebies galore. Look at the field of presidential candidates – all nutjobs.
        Bravo President Trump – MAGA!

        • danvalenti
          February 28, 2019 at 11:13 am #

          MR F
          THE PLANET agrees on the list of Dem presidential candidaates — as that list stand now. If and when Joe Biden decides to run, the list changes. It practially vanishes. No one on that side of the aisle running has Uncle Joe’s foreign policy experience combined with his centrism. He will make a formiddable foe.

          • Mr. Fritz
            February 28, 2019 at 11:54 am #

            I disagree Dan. Biden is old as dirt nd has many skeletons in his closet.
            I believe a lesser-known and not yet declared candidate will emerge later in the season, and take the Dem presidential nod.

          • Dick Flimsy
            February 28, 2019 at 12:09 pm #

            Biden is very left. His foreign policy expertise is the type of thinking that has made many a mess.

          • LW
            February 28, 2019 at 2:30 pm #

            Dan, if Starbucks Schultz decides to run, what do you think of that? Don’t know if I’d vote for him but it would be nice to have a 3rd real choice for a change.

          • danvalenti
            February 28, 2019 at 5:07 pm #

            I would be in favor of his running.

          • Trump Train
            February 28, 2019 at 4:23 pm #

            My prediction for the democratic presidential candidate… John Hickenlooper. The former governor of Colorado.

            Why? Sometime in 2017 or 2018 he was paraded before the globalist elites at an annual “Bilderbirger Meeting”. His success in making Colorado a great place and no Washington DC baggage makes him a clean outsider. If I was a betting man, I would say he is your candidate, not this current crop of losers and perpetrators.

          • Pat
            February 28, 2019 at 4:37 pm #

            Biden really isn’t that great, but that he now looks like the savior of the Democratic party, tells you all you need to know about the terrible characters of the other candidates.

  26. The school committee
    February 28, 2019 at 6:19 am #

    You angry Pat and I understand why.Trump was exposed and you hanging on desperately to the dream.There is honor among thieves.We fount out why Trump called him a rat.Trump has been exposed on many levels.Trump has never told the truth.If he was the student he says he was why did he have Cohen threaten every school he attended.He never expected to win.

    • Pat
      February 28, 2019 at 4:25 pm #

      Sorry, School Committee, but it’s ALL of the far Dems and even many moderate Dems and ALL of the 2020 far left presidential candidates who have been exposed. They all support killing babies born alive after abortions done in the 3rd trimester and sometimes right after delivery. That says all we need to know about their morals and characters.

    • Trump 2020
      February 28, 2019 at 6:47 pm #

      Cohen said Trump never expected to win he also said Trump would do anything to win . The guys full of it. Just tryin to lessen his prison time.

  27. Ed Check
    February 28, 2019 at 6:33 am #


    Congratulations on your long running blog. It gives a unique opportunity for citizens to vent their frustrations with their elected officials and problems in the city.

    I no longer post comments as I vowed to do, however I still read your articles. I find them well written, well informed, and informative. Unfortunately, several of the commenters on this blog cannot say the same. That is the price of free speech.

    With regards to advertising, you should go for it, however, make it clear to sponsorship that you will not alter your communication if it offends. Just save the money for retirement and don’t depend on it, so if it drops off you’re not in a pickle (or should I say pickle ball).

    Many more…

    • Thomas More
      February 28, 2019 at 7:04 am #

      I agree with the advertising part. Business is business, politics is politics. A business buys advertising to sell its products, not to enrich the newspaper or any media. If one owned a business and advertising here increased the bottom line the buyer would not care a whit what Dan Valenti or Pat posted.

      • danvalenti
        February 28, 2019 at 11:19 am #

        That’s true. We experienced this many times when we wrote for newspapers and had our talk show on the radio. Our “products” (columns, shows) drove readership and listenership. Advertisers bought because of this, especially with radio, which was more demonstrable in terms of tracking the financial impact of the “product.” The smart advertisers didn’t care what I said, as long as what I said drew an audience. Readers and ratings can be measured to some extent, and when they go down, even the best “products” get pulled. Even when we were in our book-writing phase, sales drove the next project. We were fortunate that we had some big sellers, and they drove the sale of the next one … and the next one … and so forth. When one writes commercially, there are so many games involved. That’s why when we started THE PLANET and it caught on, we remained determined to keep the site as “pure” as possible from this necessary dynamic.

    • danvalenti
      February 28, 2019 at 11:23 am #

      Thanks. Well, we have tightened our monitoring of comments and have filtered out some of the more blatant and belligerent participants. It has improved the tone and tenor. As for advertising, see my comment to Thomas. As a principle, I have not and don’t intend to go commercial. There’s too much involved. At this stage of my career, I don’t want it, I don’t need it, and I’m only doing what pleases me. If the proverbial Offer I Couldn’t Refuse came along, I would be open to consider it, of course. But that’s not going to happen in this universe. In an alternative, as the quantum physicists would tell me, it HAS happened! Glad to hear from you, my good friend.

      • LW
        February 28, 2019 at 2:33 pm #

        Dan, I for one am glad you don’t take advertising. Not only does it keep you ‘clean’ but ads will slow down your site so badly it will drive viewership down.

  28. Agent 86
    February 28, 2019 at 2:25 pm #

    Here’s a case for that Drew Herzig:

    • Sgt. Bazooka
      February 28, 2019 at 6:44 pm #

      Pine pollen. Did the tree have a MAGA hat?