Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
  Gerald Ford - R.I.P.
Where have all the Gerry Ford's gone? He was a man who served his country for all the right reasons. He made the tough decisions and lived quite comfortably with the consequences. His politics never came before the welfare of the nation. That legacy has served him well in history's eyes.

Go Blue, President Ford.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
  Milestones That Don't Mean Much Anymore
It was widely reported today that American deaths in Iraq have now passed the number of people killed by terrorists on 9/11. Aside from some symbolism, I don't really think the number means very much. But to the families of those who have died, both here and there, each death is a horrible loss.

What does resonate with me when I contemplate these things is that the failed Iraq policy that has led to the death of 3000 American soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen (and multitudes of Iraqis, the people we went to "liberate") will be what shapes history far more than the fall of the twin towers.

The awful events of 9/11 will live in infamy, as other tragic days in our history do. However, it is the ill considered fantasy that invading Iraq would change everything and make the United States safer that will be what shapes the greater threats against us, our children and our grandchildren for decades to come.

Unlike Vietnam or the previous French and British occupations of various Middle East territories, we have created and fueled a much larger backlash. By the sheer stupidity of the Bush Administration, followed by the right-wing need to fuel the domestic political fires, we turned the War in Iraq into the long prophesied war of civilizations - east vs west - Muslim vs Christian, rather than actually "fighting terrorism".

The awful truth is that many, many thousands more will die for decades to come because of our short sighted and ignorant actions in Iraq.

Speaking of Milestones that don't mean much anymore, it looks like Saddam will hang within a month since his appeal was rejected. It's odd that this event, which once was the Holy Grail of neo-con foreign policy, will get a day or two's worth of headlines. But the fact is that the real story is much larger than Saddam, and the blame for that tragedy lies squarely at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
  Merry Christmas
Lot's of family in town and then off to Chicago for a few days.

Peace on earth and Goodwill towards all.
Friday, December 22, 2006
  Conservative Correctness Run Amok
Williams Prof Marc Taylor has a very interesting piece in the NYTimes. While Taylor's view is obviously more focused on religion than on the broad notion of culture, I have long maintained that the modern Conservative Movement is far more dogmatic in regarding what is socially acceptable and proper to say or do when compared to the supposed political correctness of the left. It seems odd that I even feel the need to point this out.

I don't agree with Taylor that this religious "push back" is a mirror image of the left's political correctness. Rather I think Conservative Correctness is indicative of an emboldening of the cultural right which likes to play the victim for political gain while misinterpreting and/or abusing the First Amendment, either through stupidity or intentional obtuseness. In my mind, when the indoctrinated, such as the college student that Taylor mentions below, get uppity, it is just the natural next step of the David Horowitz/Rush Limbaugh, thumb-in-the-eye, "liberals need to be marginalized" school of thought.

It's a good piece. Click on the link and register (it's free) to read the whole thing:
At first glance, the flourishing of religion on campuses seems to reverse trends long criticized by conservatives under the rubric of political correctness.” But, in truth, something else is occurring. Once again, right and left have become mirror images of each other; religious correctness is simply the latest version of political correctness. Indeed, it seems the more religious students become, the less willing they are to engage in critical reflection about faith.

The chilling effect of these attitudes was brought home to me two years ago when an administrator at a university where I was then teaching called me into his office. A student had claimed that I had attacked his faith because I had urged him to consider whether Nietzsche'’s analysis of religion undermines belief in absolutes. The administrator insisted that I apologize to the student. (I refused.)

My experience was not unique. Today, professors invite harassment or worse by including “unacceptable books on their syllabuses or by studying religious ideas and practices in ways deemed improper by religiously correct students.
Monday, December 18, 2006
  The Political Junkies
Just like narcotics, the prospect of a special election for the First Berkshire District Representative has those who are addicted to the horse race aspect of politics going a little crazy.

Of course I have my thoughts on who could/should succeed The Representative formerly known as Prince who will soon be sitting a few doors down from Governor Patrick, but they are not the usual suspects.

But I'll let the ink dry on the press release and allow sufficient time for the community love-fest that Dan Bosley deserves before I place any bets.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
  Comments Are Back
Play nice.
  This Is Really Great News
Dan Bosley seems like the perfect pick for this. I'll miss having a State Rep who actually responds to email, but....
Dan Bosley was appointed Patrick's economic development adviser. The 53-year-old is the second state legislator tapped to serve in the incoming administration, following Worcester state Rep. James Leary, who was chosen as Lt. Gov.-elect Tim Murray's chief of staff.

Bosley is the House chairman of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.
Looks like the cup of coffee I promised Dan will have to wait a while. Hopefully he'll still read the local blogs.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
  The Glen - Not to be Confused with Glenn
Glenn writes an interesting, if not over-cautionary editorial regarding Adams's takeover of the development of the Greylock Glen.

But it opens rather peculiarly:
It seems congratulations are in order for the town of Adams, again. A whole host of state officials joined the party Monday for the latest Greylock Glen send-off — this time a $44 million project that no one would dream to call a resort but that everyone, including the dreaded environmentalists, seems to like — for now.
Was the toss-away phrase "dreaded environmentalists" meant as sarcasm? Or was it meant as a not-so-subtle slam? Honestly, I am not sure.

UPDATE: Mr. Drohan kindly clarifies... and then some.
Greg: Thank you for the left-handed compliment. But why not ask me your questions directly? Better yet, why not write a letter to the editor or a column on the topic? Why limit discussion to your circle of bloggers in hyperspace when your thoughts could be read (and potentially responded to) by thousands?
This is, of course, an oblique plea for people to read and participate in their community newspaper, as newspapers everywhere battle to keep their print versions viable.

But to answer your main question, I used the term "dreaded environmentalists" because, as anyone who has followed the history of the Greylock Glen knows, environmental groups have effectively killed all previous proposals, dating back to the Heritage group's plan for 1,250 condos and a golf course in the late 1980s. They also killed the idea (which a lot of people liked) of creating a 25-acre lake on the site.

Town officials over the years have consistently lamented (often in letters to the editor) the opposition to Glen developments from environmental groups, such as Mass Audubon, the Sierra Club, the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, Applachian Mountain Club, etc. Many believe that, without that opposition, there would have been a golf course and housing up there in the early 1990s, if not by 2000.

That is one reason this latest project holds some promise: Mass Audubon, the AMC and the Berkshire Natural Resources Council seem to be on board. I say SEEM because we haven't got to the final master plan and the "land disposition agreement" yet, which is where all previous projects failed. It's where environmentalists, some of whom had agreed in theory to those projects, used all their clout and every legal means to stall or block them.

Hence, to many in Adams, environmentalists are indeed dreaded. (And I must note, the Glen is by no means the only development project environmentalists have tried to stall or block -- sometimes effectively, sometimes not. The controversy over windmills is the most immediate case in point – all the more interesting because it has pitted environmentalists against environmentalists).

Sorry to be long-winded (no pun intended) but please remember, one of the reasons environmental groups objected to previous Glen projects was that the developers (backed by the state and the town) continually added things on to the original plans. Who's to say that won't happen again when we get beyond the "concept plan" now under discussion?

I, for one, thank the environmentalists for their diligence. If not for them, the Glen would be overrun by timeshares or worse. And do not forget that it was largely the work of environmental groups that exposed the state's questionable (at best) selection of Chris Fleming as the developer of the last failed project.

Over-cautionary? As pointed out in the editorial, Adams has seen the
fanfare and these dog and pony shows before only to end up with nothing.
We'll see what happens this time around. There's a long, long way to go.
— Glenn
And to answer Glen's question to me, yes, I will be writing more columns as soon as I can find a few hours of solitude at a time to write. I wouldn't miss it. 2007 is going to be a banner year for opinion writers in North Adams.
Monday, December 11, 2006
  They've Got Better Things To Do Than Deal With Trifles.
I hope the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts remembers De minimis non curat lex when they rule upon Governor Romney's attempt to win the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary.
  How to Lose a Customer
Here is the jist of the response to my recent request to have TimeWarner Cable look into why my upload speed is about 1/3rd the rate of your typical dial-up account. From the email I received from Tech Support:
Unfortunately we don't guarantee speeds with the Road Runner Lite connection and our trouble shooting for such problems is minimal. I'd suggest that you power cycle the modem and clear cache and cookies in your browser.
Translated: You only pay $25 a month. We don't have time for you.

These guys make Adelphia look like the good ol' days. Wow. I never thought I'd be saying that.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
  One District to the West
John Sweeney sounds like he needs some good counseling and an anti-depressant.
Sessions, asked why Sweeney was so angry and shocked about his loss, said: "John was disappointed that some frailties in his life were contributing issues to his defeat." He said Sweeney has been ill and his blood pressure had risen.

Sweeney believes he picked up "a bug" during congressional trips to Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Sessions.

"A bug got into his system and lodged in his brain," Sessions said. "It caused unimaginable pain and stress."
I hope the guy comes out of this OK, but this type of stuff coming from one of his best friends, Pete Sessions (R-TX), makes me wonder if all the stories about Sweeney being a little too close to the edge are perhaps more true than not.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
  Maybe It's Me
But has anyone else in the area who uses cable-internet had problems with upload speed since Time Warner took over Adelphia's service area?

My upload speeds are running between 15k - 20k. That's ridiculously slow.

I've complained, but Time Warner is sneaky and promises "up to" 256k for their High-Speed-Lite service, which basically means 'you get whatever we give give you.'

Hopefully this is something they can clear up with a simple technical fix. Otherwise I will be finding a new ISP.
A blog of random thoughts and reactions emanating from the bank of a mountain stream in the farthest reaches of the bluest of blue states.

May 2006 / June 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / August 2007 / September 2007 / October 2007 / November 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / February 2008 / March 2008 / April 2008 / May 2008 / June 2008 / July 2008 / August 2008 / September 2008 / October 2008 / November 2008 / December 2008 / January 2009 / February 2009 / March 2009 / April 2009 / May 2009 / June 2009 / July 2009 / August 2009 / September 2009 / October 2009 / November 2009 / December 2009 / January 2010 / February 2010 / March 2010 / April 2010 / May 2010 / January 2011 / May 2011 / June 2011 / July 2011 / October 2011 /

greg at gregoryroach dot com

"Livability, not just affordability." - Dick Alcombright

My ongoing campaign for North Adams City Council

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Because a Chart is Worth 1000 Words

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