Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
  Rules are for the little people.
What will we tell the children?I have no real problems with this practice except for the rank hypocrisy and the fact that it is quite clearly against the chamber's own rules.

But the fact is that the GOP has been screaming about supposed voter fraud by Democrats as part of their tool box of limiting access to the ballot box in Democratic leaning precincts. The problem with their crusade is that it is a red herring designed to suppress voter turnout rather than restore integrity. The US Attorney purge was about firing Federal Prosecutors who would not trump up charges on political grounds near election day, even when pressed by GOP honchos. Integrity is not dead.

The list of disenfranchising methods employed in recent years by the GOP is as long as my arm. And the best that they can come up with a some fake voter registration forms (not votes mind you) that were filled out by pot-heads working to sign up voters on commission. (Remind me again why people who forged signatures on Mass' anti-gay marriage petition were not prosecuted.)

But my favorite ACTUAL vote fraud story is Ann Coulter who didn't want to vote in the very Democratic Palm Beach precinct where she dropped $1.8 million on a house, so she registered to vote AND VOTED with her realtor's address in a more Republican area. She got caught and had to spend beaucoup $$$$ to a silk stocking law firm to avoid a felony charge.

In a round about way, that is why these shenanigans in the Texas House matter.
  Garbage In. Garbage Out.
Bedtime Training Ground for Democracy is going bye-bye. Wise decision, although a pound of flesh from the artist formerly known as Buchel would have been nice.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
  Real Performance Art
As of 5 PM, Mass MoCA has not made its promised announcement regarding the fate of materials assembled for the artist formerly known as Buchel in the giant Gallery 5. It seems logical to assume that this delay is because of the appeal filed by the artist formerly known as Buchel's lawyers.

If the appeals court decides not to immediately intervene and issue an injunction, here is my humble suggestion to Joe Thompson:

Open the gallery for one week *free of charge*. Let the public see what the hullaballoo was about.


Auction it all off like cattle. Every last bit. Even I will buy something. (I wonder if I can plant my culinary herbs in a bomb casing?)

Donate all the proceeds beyond Mass MoCA's costs to endow an art education program in the local schools.
  Shut Em Down
I am not the first and I won't be the last to say it, but why are the major automakers not calling a for national health care plan?

In 2003 Billy Ford, then CEO of Ford (and a former schoolmate of my brother), suggested that the Big 3 should start pushing for a non-employer based health care system simply because it was a major factor in making American automakers uncompetitive on the wage/labor front. Since 2003? [crickets chirping]

Alan Mullally is now CEO at Ford and based upon my brief time as the Chef at the Boeing's commercial airline group with Mullally a few floors above me entertaining dignitaries over my lunches, I can say that I have never met a more workers-are-cattle kind of guy. I do not expect him to repeat Billy's call. Alan will not admit that Ayn Rand was wrong. He might get kicked out of the club.

Currently GM is trying to cram a union-wide variation of the Heritage Foundation's plan of individual health savings accounts down the UAW's throat so that GM can break it promises to its retirees with a little less bad PR.

But what else can you expect when Hillary Clinton puts forward a health care plan (a lousy one) that is very similar to the one that Mitt Romney signed here in Massachusetts (fatally flawed, IMHO), yet Romney jumps on his soapbox and declares Clinton's plan to be "socialist." The ironies abound.

In the world of Harvard MBA's, Republicans and Dittoheads, health care is not about people or medicine. No, to them healthcare is a symbolic battle that is fought for different but related reasons. Ultimately for these folks to acknowledge that other countries do it better would be to admit that their basic paradigms of self-sufficiency and free-markets are rife with inherent shortcomings. This issue must remain black-and-white for the opponents of national health care. There can be no compromise because the second they crack the door they know that mobs of those supposedly less deserving types will demand real change.

As long as Rick Wagoner, Billy Ford, Alan Mullally and all their kindred souls don't have to worry about affordable access to medical care, then it seems unlikely that they will do anything about the average American's plight. And therein lies the quandary. If corporate America could acknowledge that the simple precept of healthcare for all would benefit share prices, then it would take less than a year to make it happen. Yet jumping that mental hurdle is something they simply cannot do.

This is a rare opportunity for big business and social justice types to see eye to eye on a major issue that will impact every single American. Can they do it? Does any major CEO have the courage to be the first? Could the now Executive Chairman of the Board at Ford, Billy Ford, resurrect his call for national health care and take his place beside his great-grandfather's $5 day?

I have my doubts.
If you want to get hits on your blog from a bevy of lawyers, several reporters and lots of artist types, just write about the petulant performance artist formerly known as Christoph Buchel. Yikes. Law offices from around the country seem to be curious about Friday's decision by Judge Ponsor. Either that or I'm about to get sued.

Anyways..... I'm home early today because I feel like crap and I work with food. (Bad combination) Fortunately two of the best sports themed films ever were on TV this afternoon - Slapshot and the original Bad News Bears. Paul Newman and Walter Mathau at their comedic bests. It coulda' been worse. There might have been a Julia Roberts marathon, or something.......
  Buchel Appeals
via Anaba: Buchel is appealing his humiliating defeat in court and asking the appeals court to set aside Judge Ponsor's summary judgment against him (Buchel appears to have asked for the summary judgment in the first place), thereby apparently forcing MoCA to keep the tarps over the collection of objects that Christoph Buchel claims is not yet art for the foreseeable future.

The more I see, the more I am convinced that Ed Winkleman's theory that this whole episode is the performance portion of Training Ground for Democracy is correct. What's more "democratic" than abusing the legal system?!

Given the significant infusion of recent support that MoCA has received from Yale and the Clark, I wonder if the urgency to free up the huge gallery 5 is still present. This could go on, and on, and on.......

A friend familiar with the case suggested that this conflict has the potential to go all the way up to the Supreme Court because of the unexplored precedents at play. Wouldn't that be a kicker!
Sunday, September 23, 2007
  Grand Ol' Phonies
Mitt Romney edition:

Rudy Giuliani edition:

Fred Thompson edition:

John McCain edition:
  Humility is far too rare at the NYTimes
Two threads down I referenced a letter I sent to the NYTimes' art critic regard her whiny lopsided editorial about the Mass MoCA vs Buchel smackdown. It looks like I wasn't the only one who thought she was being intellectually dishonest:
An article last Sunday about the dispute between the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and the artist Christoph Büchel over the museum's decision to display an uncompleted installation work by Mr. Büchel despite his opposition referred imprecisely to comments by the museum's director, Joseph Thompson. The remarks defending the museum's position were repeated from an article in May about the dispute; Mr. Thompson was not asked for a follow-up response for last Sunday's article. (Go to Article)
Cherry picking quotes from old articles and using them out of context is much harder to get away with in the modern age of the internets. It's a bitch when your own work comes back to bite you in the arse.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
  BREAKING: Reported Hunting Accident in Woods off of Pattison/Luce Road
11:30 am. According to a resident of the area, a man has been shot in the head in an apparent hunting accident up in the woods near Chenail's farm. Emergency crews are on the scene and the Medivac Chopper reportedly is on the way.

I have no further details at this time.

Thoughts and prayers.
  Court to MoCA - It's OK to throw away Buchel's Crap.
"We appreciate the thoughtful consideration that went into this complex case, and we are pleased with the court's decision," Mass MoCA director Joseph C. Thompson said. "We've exercised great care in dealing with these materials, and we are happy that the judge has granted us the right to continue to do so."

I wrote to the art critic at the NYTimes last week after she started whining about how badly abused Buchel had been by MoCA. The jist of my letter was that I was looking forward to a judge applying logic to the case rather than the sycophancy that she was displaying. She never wrote back.

I think I am going to have to send an official "gloat" to her later today.

And now, if rumor is correct, MoCA is just going to throw all the assembled junk that is covered in tarps out to the curb. It is a fitting end to this whole mess.

(I hear there is a really cool wooden bar in the lot. I'll take it if nobody else has dibs!)

UPDATE: The NYTimes has more here. The only difference in the articles is that the Times chose to quote the Dean of the Yale Art Department rather than the Dean of Mass Mayors and local art critic John Barrett, III.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
  I was wrong. Here's why. Now, please fix it.
A few threads down Clark Billings assured me that notices for City Council subcommittee meetings are posted after I had said that few people even know about the meetings and had suggested that the participants avoid public scrutiny via a loophole.

BZZZT Wrong answer on my part.

The subcommittee meetings are, in fact, treated as public meetings and I will take the good coucilor's word that Marilyn, our devoted City Clerk, makes the required postings on the bulletin board across from her office. Mr. Billings even offered the fact that subcommittee meeting postings are mailed out to certain parties:
I just got in the mail a posting of a Public Safety meeting on Monday the 17th regarding taxi issues-- I have no idea what the issues are and who called the meeting--I don;t recall it a specific referral on this----
anyway- the announcement said- Monday Sept 17, 2007
And while the law says that the meeting need only be posted on the City Clerk's bulletin board to be legal, I thought I would check out the city's brand spankin' new web site (OK it's a year old) and the electronic version of the meeting calendar.

Oops. No such subcommittee meeting is listed online:

I understand that technology can take some getting used to, but if you are going to post meetings online for the citizens of North Adams, it would be helpful if *all* the public meetings appear. I've searched the calendar a few months in each direction and not one subcommittee meeting appears.

And this, fellow local political geeks, was the source of my confusion.
  Ah.... for the simpler days gone by....
This was a real advertisement for Scot Towels. A replica hangs in my workplace's washroom. Heh.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
  Proud Papa Moment
I rarely post about my family on this site, but today I'll make an exception.

Here's the Transcript's story on local 4H. Nice piece.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
  With all due respect....
... if Governor Patrick wants to license a resort casino in Western Mass, I am sure that he would not mind selling off some of his acreage in South County for the project. Heck, he would be providing jobs for his neighbors and he might make a buck or two. I am sure that the Tanglewood set would love him for it.
Monday, September 17, 2007
  What Is The Role Of The City Council?
In the comments of the previous thread, the conversation turned to the affairs of the North Adams City Council. This subject deserves its own forum.

Here in North Adams we have the "strong mayor" form of government which gives the mayor the sole authority to hire, fire and submit the budget. (And in 2007, you can unofficially call it the "VERY strong mayor" form of government.) The council gets to vote on said budgets, resolutions and ordinances.

I fully expect to be told by Councilor Billings that "[I] don't know shit" for even asking such questions, but so be it.

In the past two years I can only recall one notable ordinance passed - the anti-dumping ordinance. Oh, and Chris Tremblay has tried to bring a little traffic sanity to the Dunkin Donuts corner. Aside from those two, what council generated (not mayoral) proposals have even come to the floor for discussion, let alone been voted on?

More importantly, what do *you* think the council should be discussing?

This is an somewhat critical topic at this juncture of our city's latest chapter. I know that some of the readers of this blog don't feel comfortable using their names, so for this thread only, anonymous comments are welcome and encouraged. Each comment will be given the respect it deserves. (In other words - Don't be a jerk or you might get deleted - something I would normally never do.)

Seriously, is the council a toothless tiger under our city's charter? Or are there issues that they could and should address to affect life in our fair city?

Speak up North Adams!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
  No Wonder W Stayed Inside the 13 Mile Wide Secure Airbase

"Abdul Sattar Abu Risha was the leader of an alliance of Sunni Arab tribes that rejected al-Qaeda because of its methods and worked with the US.

He was killed in a bomb attack near his home in Iraq's western Anbar province.

Abu Risha was among a group of tribal leaders who met President George W Bush during his visit to Iraq last week."

Abu Risha is the gentleman responsible for $100/Minute quote below.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
  Sad Follow-up
Two of the 7 active duty members of the 82nd Airborne who penned the brilliant op-ed in the NYTimes a few weeks back that questioned the policy and goals behind their mission were killed in Iraq.

Sad. Very, very sad.

Rest in peace Staff Sgt. Gray and Sgt. Mora.
  War Crimes?
A few years back on another blog where I was much more prolific about the doings of our government, I would occasionally log visits from federal law enforcement and various military IP addresses. It was a little odd, but maybe they just liked my writing. (heh!)

But today I got my first visit from The Hague! (They even googled me!)

I have no idea what it means, but I kinda' feel like I've accomplished something. I'll bet John Mitchell never gets visited by the International Criminal Court!
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
  Time's up!
Marc Lynch finds the perfect metaphor for the "surge" on al Jazeera
... one of the tribal shaykhs is asked how many of the tribes currently cooperating with the US used to be fighting the US. His response: "Your time is up. It's $100 for an extra minute."
In case you are not aware of Dr. Lynch, he is a Middle East scholar at GWU (formerly of Williams) and is considered one of the leading Western interpreters of Modern Arab thought. He is worth paying attention to if you want to understand the big picture.

And to think, I used to make this guy's lunch. Sheesh. What an odd world.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
  "A Game Played on Saturday Afternoon by 18 Year Olds."
Those were the words spoken to me by a Regent of the University of Michigan back in 1988 when I got a little riled up over the performance of the football team.

While last Saturday's loss by my alma mater to Appalachian State is being called "the biggest upset in college football history," I find myself smirking slightly at the notion that this particular game means much more than than the above quote. Sure, programs like Michigan's are basically professional in every aspect but the paychecks, but the participants are still kids. The vast majority of the kids in uniform on Michigan's, Notre Dame's, SoCal's, etc... sidelines are not superstars. They have no pretensions of playing in the NFL. They go to class. They are not pampered like the chosen few. They are simply student athletes - And that is why I prefer college sports over the pro ranks any day of the week.

Give me a Div. III team with a hundred parents in the stands and folding table for a concession stand over Giant's Stadium.

And don't be surprised if Michigan's new-found humility is the key to winning the Big Ten. Or then again, maybe not. Go Blue.

UPDATE: As of now (halftime of today's game) I think it is fair to say that Oregon's 18 year year olds have their act together far more than Michigan's do. Ouch!
Monday, September 03, 2007
  Allanis Morisette Never works on Labor Day
As one of the tens of millions of service sector workers in America who are working this Labor Day to make the day-off enjoyable for mostly white collar types, I can say that irony is not lost.
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

iBerkshires' Online Event Calendar

Because a Chart is Worth 1000 Words

Congressional Budget Office data

Powered by Blogger