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THE MAN WAS GREAT, BUT MLK HOLIDAY IS LITTLE MORE THAN AN EXERCISE IN UNAFFORDABLE ECONOMIC SENTIMENTALISM

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BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, JAN. 19, 2016) — Welcome to MLK Day+1, the day after the day when governmental employees enjoy a paid day off while most of the Dreaded Private Sector (DPS) has to schlepp it into work. Counting federal, state, regional, and municipal, that’s 21,995,000 employees getting another free ride upon taxpayers in the bedraggled working class. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the nearly 22 million government employees outnumber those employed in the U.S. manufacturing sector — 12,329,000 — almost 2-to-1.  Game, set, and match. THE PLANET shall leave it up to the more intrepid scorekeepers to tally up the lost productivity due to this forced holiday.

THE PLANET shall be the first to admire the work of Martin King. This includes not just his fearless stand for social justice but also his use of writing as a signature tactic of non-violent resistance. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” remains one of the great prose essays of the 20th century. He remains a seminal figure whose influence for good cannot be overestimated.

Fact is, though, we have the MLK holiday only because of King’s fate as a martyr. The bullet that cut him down on April 4, 1968 assured his secular sainthood. It stopped cold the dark side of King just beginning to emerge from behind the cover of the virtuous God talker, the all-too-human flaws that made him something other than the mythic black Christ figure that never existed. It is novelistic irony that King, a lifelong smoker who hid his habit not only from the public but from his family, was gunned down on the motel balcony while sneaking a cigarette. After the bullet felled King, one of his aides, Dr. Billy Kyles, reached into King’s pocket to confiscate the cigarette pack. No one must find out.

King is the only American not named George Washington to have a holiday in his personal honor. King moved ahead of Jefferson, Lincoln, Ulysses Grant, and Robert E. Lee, to name a few, but why? What form of honor can people not give King without a national holiday? Name one. Someone.

THE PLANET is waiting.

To shut down the nation so politicians can go back to district gooey photo ops and bask in the glory of government employees for the “free” day off strikes us as unnecessary as well as economically sentimental.

The Country Can’t Afford This Holiday

Go back to the statistics cited earlier, which the BLS has been keeping since 1939. For the first 50 of those 76 years, manufacturing employed more than government. That changed in August 1989. For the first time, government workers pushed ahead of private-sector manufacturing, 17,989,000 to 17,964,000. Since that fateful month, private manufacturing has shed 5,635,000 jobs while government padded the payroll by 4,006,000 “workers” (2015 figures).

One could peg that August 1989 date as The Day The Empire Collapsed, Part 2. Part 1 occurred on Sept 16, 1985. On that day, the United States of America officially became a debtor nation. Prior to that, since 1914 when New York City superceded London as the world’s financial center, America had been a creditor nation. Thank you, Ronald Reagan, the Howdy Doody of presidents — a star before the cameras but clueless without his script-writing Buffalo Bobs.

It’s been all uphill (downhill?) for the DPS since then. The United States of Amnesia — the late, great Gore Vidal‘s immortal phrase for the dissipated country that blew its chance for greatness — doesn’t make things anymore. It imports the goods of other countries. The U.S. of A. provides services — take Pittsfield, please. The city’s moth-chewed twine-ball “economy” is based on Recreation and Resorts, a mottled collection of eateries, bars, movie theaters, and art venues that provide relief from boredom for the La De Dahs and minimum-wage dreariness for locals who serf the jobs.

The government gets bigger, employs more people to do less and less, and the DPS fades into oblivion. Makes one want to take up smoking.

Make ours Camels. Unfiltered.

—————————————————————————————————–

“And I take a good look, at all the time that it took to find you.”Mick Valenti, “I Know Everyone,” from the album Beatlesque, (2011).

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

The views expressed in the comment section or opinions published within the text other than those of PLANET VALENTI are not those of PLANET VALENTI or endorsed in any way by PLANET VALENTI; this website reserves the right to remove any comment which violates its Rules of Conduct, and it is not liable for the consequences of any posted comment as provided in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and PLANET VALENTI’s terms of service.

 

 

 

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Pat
Pat
7 years ago

Everything you wrote is absolutely true. Really its frightening what has happened and Pittsfield is the poster city for the end result. This is what happens when you get politicians in office who don’t have a vision for the country. They get in office for personal glory and to answer to the needs of special interest groups as we have seen with our current president, but they don’t have an overall vision for the entire country and this is what we end up with. There are so many critical issues facing our country today and the politicians and the voters are just looking the other way and pretending these problems do not exist.

Dusty
Dusty
7 years ago

Some cities have mayors and city councils and some have town managers. Pittsfield on the other hand has a mayor, a city council, and a half ton of committees and boards. It also has a rather large contingent of principals and vice principals and assistants to assistants and department heads who also have assistants.

But every time they want to do something they feel the need to hire a consultant. Perhaps if instead of all the hiring of under qualified family and friends they actually had serious interviews with real life applicants they would get people who knew something about the job. And then perhaps we would not need to import consultants to run the city.

I suppose that some of the consultants may actually also be connected family and friends somewhere along the food chain in which case my concerns are not worthy of mention.

Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood
Reply to  Dusty
7 years ago

One thing for sure we don’t need Metcalf & Eddy or Aeocom. If they told Collingwood we had to put the Housatonic river underground he’d believe it.

Arlos Guthrie
Arlos Guthrie
Reply to  Silence Dogood
7 years ago

Dogood-

Change
Change
7 years ago

I remember the sixties when the Vietnam War was fought by blacks who were not allowed in hotels and restaurants,they were being shot and hung at home
Our cities were burning down and the country was in.sad sad shape and this war did not end until the lottery draft came into play
Martin Luther King was the leader who brought peace also the leader of poverty, very powerful and then.he was murdered,….if you remember the times then it measy something

Jack Wagon
Jack Wagon
Reply to  Change
7 years ago

86.3% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasian (includes Hispanics); 12.5% (7,241) were black; 1.2% belonged to other races. 170,000 Hispanics served in Vietnam; 3,070 (5.2% of total) died there. 70% of enlisted men killed were of North-west European descent.

Change
Change
7 years ago

Planet imagine for just one minute how high unemployment would be based on your views that for profit business would take care of society. …in pittsfieldma we would go to 60 percent unemployment. ….pittsfield legacy is that of private business, we have lost many lives to private business. …you should talk about alien dale school which is a shrine to ge…would you let your children go to Allendale. ..we can’t afford privatell business legacy even after they leave…Martin Luther King is a great legacy

Dusty
Dusty
Reply to  Change
7 years ago

Uh, excuse me but most of the parents with children going to Allendale right now are unaware that there is a big chemical dump in the back yard. That was a long time ago and Gerry thought it was OK so let us let sleeping dogs lie.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Change
7 years ago

I disagree. If people weren’t relying on government jobs they might put some effort into other types of jobs. Watching government grow out of control is not my idea of job growth. Neither is watching the school system keep expanding at taxpayer expense and praising the whole corrupt system because it creates jobs.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  Pat
7 years ago

Pretty sure government jobs shrunk through the recession.

Irvin Corey
Irvin Corey
Reply to  Change
7 years ago

Could you repeat that? But this time in English.

Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood
Reply to  Change
7 years ago

Where do you think the money for government jobs comes from?

no mail yesterday
no mail yesterday
7 years ago

As far as working for the goverment, we all do. A certain percentage of every single dollar you make goes to the government. That percentage is growing bigger all the time. In essence, that percentage is the amount of time you spend working for the government.

Taxes are open, hidden, direct and indirect. Federal taxes. State taxes. City and local taxes. Fees. Obamacare was ruled by the supreme court to be a new tax. Its the single largest tax ever imposed on the citizens of this nation.

You don’t even own your own home. You rent it from the government. Don’t pay your taxes and you will find out who owns your home.

Marlboro for me.

“Do you remember….
Your President Nixon
Do you remember…
The bills you had to pay
Or even yesterday?”
– David Bowie / Young Ameicans

Paul
Paul
7 years ago

Here is a thought….10 percent of college graduates believe that judge Judy is on the Supreme Court. Where in the hell is industry going to find employees?

Thomas More
Thomas More
7 years ago

Here is a thought….90 percent of college graduates do not believe that judge Judy is on the Supreme Court. Where in the hell is industry going to find employees? Perhaps industry will be able to find them from the 90%.

Paul
Paul
Reply to  Thomas More
7 years ago

Ya maybe, but you are missing the point. What is wrong with our educational system? A large amount have no idea as to how many branches of government there is, let alone what they do. This is what explains why we have had so many students(and professors) stomping all over free speech as of late. You sound like an educator.

Thomas More
Thomas More
Reply to  Paul
7 years ago

And you sound like a dropout. What is the point, that 10% didn’t get but 90% did. That’s a pretty good success rate. What’s a large amount and where do get all this info? Its usually the students (and professors) who are expressing themselves. BTW, I own a business and pay the double tax rate in Pittsfield.

Change
Change
7 years ago

Allendale school is built on land donated to the city that was their former chemical dump,it was a wetland swamp,useless except as a on-site chemical dump,just ask the planet he is from the neighborhood

Change
Change
7 years ago

Anyone believe the 125000000plus taxpayer dollars could have been used better than bringing in general electric….every person reading this board payed more in taxes than ge

Change
Change
7 years ago

Ask Mrs yon,she is from the neighborhood, she knows Allendale school is sitting on a chemical dump it’s in all the reports…..oil comes out of the ground there ,they capped it again added 2 feet of soil….that’s our experience with private business. …Allendale should not be open…Mrs yon is retire on 50000 a year and is in denial like the city itself….we were pronounced dead officially when sabic left…going to 30000 ….put taconic on hold until it all shakes out

Change
Change
7 years ago

I understand that no one wants to talk about Allendale school….especially Mrs yon and Mr Elias

Thomas More
Thomas More
7 years ago

Neither Ms Yon nor Dan Valenti are from Allendale. Dan was from East St. on the outskirts of Lakewood near the end of Lyman and Ms Yon is from Huron in Lakewood near the other end of Lyman. She is 66 & he 64. How appropriate it would have been had their paths crossed. A match made in heaven, or Lakewood. If only he had gone to Hibbard, who knows?

olga 1975
olga 1975
Reply to  Thomas More
7 years ago

Glad somebody does some fact checking on this blog. Thanks

Tommy
Tommy
Reply to  olga 1975
7 years ago

Except it went a little creepy after the first sentence.

Nota
Nota
7 years ago

Actually many years ago Mayor Tyer along with Mikey Ward and others were dead set against Hill 78, at least the direction it was going. On another note, back in about 2006 or 7 not sure, the first salvo or litany for new schools was from none other than Jake Eberwein..Quote’ …..We need state of the art facilities to attract students in School Choice enviorment’ end quote.

Mike Wart
Mike Wart
Reply to  Nota
7 years ago

Let’s knock all our schools down and rebuild them all

joetaxpayer
joetaxpayer
Reply to  Mike Wart
7 years ago

Combine your idea with school uniforms and all kids will become better students.

Nota
Nota
7 years ago

Former School Superintendent John Kreiger stated ‘ Political considerations must also be included. ‘If you don’t consider the political, you are at risk. ”I refer to what the Public thinks..( and here’s a good one ) ”If you think you’re going to close a school and there’s not going to be a public reaction, I’ve got news for you.”

Kathy Yawn
Kathy Yawn
7 years ago

Everything is wonderful Pittsfield can afford more taxes

mi
mi
7 years ago

Thanx Nota. Your last statement one was very telling, back then, when it was banded together, (discussions) some of the players included Bouvier,Amuso,Malumphy,Ruberto,the mere thought of closing PHS down was unmentionable. The problem with going forward, was duping the public into believing all the nonsense that went on at the School Building Needs the past several years,they were afraid of the taxpayer getting a say on this humongous project, and they got their wish.

Juan Pittsfield
Juan Pittsfield
Reply to  mi
7 years ago

Mi–Don’t worry you will have your voice heard. The G-man is working on it. I think he tapes on Wednesday and will probably give details of his Citizens 4 sanity initiative he is working on. I agree 100% with Dan’s Blog today The public sector is the place to be if you are interested in robbing the taxpayer. A secretary for 95k, custodians at 90k, Police and fire -well north of100k, and on and on.Yep–Want to cop a score – work for the city. I mean–rob the city.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  Juan Pittsfield
7 years ago

This line of thought says to me the MLK Jr yarn is more believable than the fairy tales brought forth to establish Chridtmas, Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. Holidays are dumb, I say give me the PTO and I’ll take it when I want.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
7 years ago

Oh, and Mr. Co, the original Schemer, the Pittsfield G, your whizzel wizard, couldn’t solve a moist paper sack, let alone collect 250 sigs.

Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood
Reply to  Shakes His Head
7 years ago

No one cares to listen to you dummy.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  Silence Dogood
7 years ago

You mad, Bro?

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  danvalenti
7 years ago

An apt comparison in this case would be more like the SUPERPATRIOTS playing North Adams State University.

Painter
Painter
7 years ago

Why didn’t the mayor just wait untill she had city solicitor to hire and not hire our legal firm

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
7 years ago

Pittsfield politics will raise municipal taxes by nearly 4 percent in 2016. That doesn’t include Pittsfield politics’ capital budget. Each and every year, Pittsfield politics raises municipal taxes by about 5%.

When Governor Charlie Baker says he will not raise state government taxes, he is raising local government taxes instead. The Berkshire delegation (“Smitty” Pignatelli, Ben Downing, Tricia Farley-Bouvier, et al), are all up for re-election this year of 2016. Too bad Pittsfield politics “elections” are either unopposed or G.O.B. only events.

Is it true that Ben Downing is going to take a big job in Boston and “Smitty” Pignatelli is being lined up for his State Senator seat? That would only make matters worse for Pittsfield politics!

NEWS ARTICLE:

“Average Massachusetts property tax bill on homes to rise by 4 percent”
The Associated Press, 1/19/2016

BOSTON – Massachusetts home property taxes are on the rise this year.

An analysis of 328 communities by The Boston Globe found that the average property tax bill for a single-family home this year is $5,438, almost 4 percent higher than last year’s average of $5,232.

The review found that the increase in property taxes has outpaced the increase in property values since 2006, with average bills rising 42 percent while property values have dropped 0.7 percent.

Geoff Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, says years of declining state aid and rising costs have squeezed budgets in communities across the state, prompting them to rely more on property taxes.

He says cities and towns are more reliant on property taxes than at any point since 1980.

Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.bostonglobe.com

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/01/18/mass-homeowners-billed-more-property-taxes-average-this-year/I7Qr7Hp3mhn3av1gaoQUgP/story.html

Single family tax bill:
Pittsfield (2016 bill) $3,306 (2015 bill) $3,180 (Change) $126 (% change) 3.96%

Irvin Corey
Irvin Corey
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
7 years ago

The fix is in.

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
Reply to  Irvin Corey
7 years ago

MassLive (Springfield Republican) published a news article about GE’s PCBs in Pittsfield and the Housatonic River.

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/01/nearly_20_years_later_cleanup.html

Excerpt:

State Sen. Benjamin Downing, whose district includes Pittsfield, said he’s glad GE’s relocation and the Housatonic River are separate.

The cleanup of the Housatonic should be based on the need for GE to be held responsible, and it shouldn’t be “muddied up” by the politics of relocating its headquarters, Downing said.

“We should be able to have both,” Downing said. “A good clean-up that respects the need for GE to be held responsible and the desire of the community surrounding it, and also having the global headquarters here within state. Those two shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.”

Irvin Corey
Irvin Corey
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
7 years ago

Downing does not live in the affected area. He speaks only for the wacko fringe.

Irvin Corey
Irvin Corey
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
7 years ago

Downing does not live in the affected area. He speaks only for the wacko fringe. He is an opportunist

Discreet Cat
Discreet Cat
7 years ago

Restfull Hearts that never mend’..Other side Glen, good stuff!

Change
Change
7 years ago

Hill 78 is not the school,the school sits at the bottom of it lowest point, Allendale is.on the dump

Spectator
Spectator
7 years ago

Dan, are you deep down, secretly mad at yourself for not choosing a career in government, with all the cushy days off, benefits, and security?

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Spectator
7 years ago

You are just not getting the point of Dan V.’s article today or you are ignoring his message. If you are from Berkshire County, more than likely you work at a government job and think people are jealous. It’s not jealousy. That’s not the point of today’s message from Dan V. Please reread it. Thank you.

Thomas More
Thomas More
Reply to  Pat
7 years ago

Pat, you are a stalwart. 10:28 last night, 6:03 this morning and 5:49 this afternoon. Outstanding!

Spectator
Spectator
Reply to  Pat
7 years ago

I left when I figured out there were no decent private sector jobs there.

Spectator
Spectator
Reply to  danvalenti
7 years ago

At least you’re happy

Discreet Cat
Discreet Cat
7 years ago

I’m sure the Planet has had no complaints with his entire career, five decades of book titles. Don’t forget he’s also adjunct Professor at B C C.

Thomas More
Thomas More
7 years ago

BCC has 135 adjunct professors.

Change
Change
7 years ago

Continuing education is huge at the community college,art classes or a writing class,computers,very popular

Change
Change
7 years ago

Yon makes 50,000 and does not go to work….she always made great income and never read the news,I don’t believe she knows sabic is gone,I don’t think Dan knows sabic is gone, so has best buy ,baba. Louies,jimmy s ,macys,sears…..if you live on mountain drive your 5 grader is going to be a ninth grader at taconic in 2 years…lenox high is closer