Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Saturday, May 30, 2009
  Thatsa' Lotsa' Meatballs!
If the turnout and enthusiasm at Thursday's Alcombright spaghetti supper is any indication, the photo below may very well be of our next mayor.
There were a whole lotta' folks out there. This election season is going to be very exciting.
  $64,000 Question
Someone claiming to be Mary Katherine Eade, our city's former Administrative Officer under Mayor Barrett, posts a question for the North Adams Transcript's editor to topix:
Clearly I'm an Alcombright supporter (and wouldn't you all like to know why????)
Actually, after reading it in context, it sounds more like a challenge to The Transcript.

And it's only May. Yikes!
Friday, May 29, 2009
In New England. our right wing extremists have a certain charm:
"Like Ghandi, like Martin Luther King, we need to educate and enlighten the public," said Miller, who joined the Free State movement after breaking up with his fiancée.

The actions have ranged from the odd, such as when Free Staters filed another person's fingernails without a manicurist's license on a public sidewalk or held an unlicensed puppet show, to the irksome, as when they tried to dig a garden in a downtown Keene park, to the instigative, such as the day they stood on a street corner with a marijuana bud held aloft. Sometimes, they simply veer toward obstinate, wearing hats in a courtroom after being asked to take them off or refusing to remove a couch from a lawn.
It beats the hell out of having nutjobs like Tom Tancredo representing you.
I noticed an odd number of readers visiting from right wing sites lately so I investigated and found that the wingnuts at RedMassGroup have given me an honor:

I'm in pretty good company.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
  The Spaghetti Supper Wars
Candidate Alcombright has his spaghetti supper this Thursday at the American Legion. John Barrett had his kickoff supper a few weeks back, and it was well attended.

Whether you support him, or are just curious, come on down and check it out. $6 bucks.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
This kid should be allowed to play. This smells like a couple members of the Pittsfield School Committee trying to punish his parents because an unenrolled student doesn't bring in state money (and no, he is not closely related):
Roach is sidelined because the School Committee's current policy governing home-schooled students prevents them from playing sports, such as baseball, with limited rosters — or a "cut" policy — whereby not everyone who tries out makes the team. A proposed policy revision centered around eliminating that restriction has divided the School Committee, but the measure may have enough support when the seven-member panel votes on it for the final time in June.
Homeschooled kids play in band, take certain courses, do theater, etc... but certain sports are different? The inconsistency in the policy tells me that this is a snub.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
  Retirement, Like Booze, Frees the Tongue
Mr. Billings gives us the humorous quote of the day on Topix:
f you had to deal with the Mayor the second and fourth Tuesday of every month-- you'd have a few drinks before the meeting---chbpod
  Bears in Adams
iBerkshires posts a very cute video. Just remember, if you come across a bear in your back yard, stay away. Let it do its thing. It will leave.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009
  Lowe's on Hold
Last night's council meeting via Tammy Daniels:
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The old North Adams Plaza should be coming down within the next 30 days but its replacement may take longer than expected.

"I don't think you are going to see anything until the economy turns around," Mayor John Barrett III told the City Council on Tuesday night.
Sigh. I wish I hadn't seen this one coming......

(although there is some amusing rumor mongering floating around that the ground breaking is being delayed intentionally until election season. I doubt it, but....)
  An Actual Conservative versus Modern "Conservatism"
The intellectually solid Judge Richard Posner:
My theme is the intellectual decline of conservatism, and it is notable that the policies of the new conservatism are powered largely by emotion and religion and have for the most part weak intellectual groundings. That the policies are weak in conception, have largely failed in execution, and are political flops is therefore unsurprising.
Emotion? Religion? Ya' don't say. But it gets better:
These unanticipated and shocking events have exposed significant analytical weaknesses in core beliefs of conservative economists concerning the business cycle and the macroeconomy generally. Friedmanite monetarism and the efficient-market theory of finance have taken some sharp hits, and there is renewed respect for the macroeconomic thought of John Maynard Kenyes, a conservatives' bête noire.
Indeed. It would almost seem that conservative economics was based upon a faith-based belief system rather than analysis. A pattern?
Unlike a beauty pageant contestant or Donald Trump, this woman might just make a difference in your life, or the life of someone you love:
Ms. Girard took a genetic test to see if her genes also put her at increased risk for ovarian cancer, which might require the removal of her ovaries. The test came back positive, so she wanted a second opinion from another test. But there can be no second opinion. A decision by the government more than 10 years ago allowed a single company, Myriad Genetics, to own the patent on two genes that are closely associated with increased risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer, and on the testing that measures that risk.

On Tuesday, Ms. Girard, 39, who lives in the Austin, Tex., area, filed a lawsuit against Myriad and the Patent Office, challenging the decision to grant a patent on a gene to Myriad and companies like it....
Does anybody know how many patents have been granted on parts of your body? Seriously? Anybody?

This type of patent law seems to fly in the face of common sense. Grant a patent for the test, not the gene.
  Enough Already
What's less important than a beauty pageant runner-up's opinion on civil rights?

The fact that Donald Trump thinks people have been mean to her.

The things that pass as culture and newsworthy in our great country occasionally make my brain hurt. Oy.
Saturday, May 09, 2009
  Damn those overpaid UAW workers...
... Oh wait.
Stung by declining auto sales, Toyota Motor Corp. said it lost $7.7 billion in the fourth quarter -- leading to its first annual loss since 1950. And the world's largest automaker said next year may be worse.

Chief Executive Katsuaki Watanabe said Friday that Toyota, battered by a strong yen and slumping demand, lost $4.4 billion in its 2009 fiscal year, compared with a $17.7-billion profit a year earlier.

For its current fiscal year, Toyota is predicting an even greater loss of $5.5 billion.
When you let Fox News and Rush Limbaugh dictate media memes about why companies have hard times, you inherently will end up with contradictions.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
  Putting His Blog to Good Use
If you live in Mass, go read this.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
  Seen Around Town
The grassroots are mobilizing.

It's going to be an interesting campaign season.
  In 1948 there were 628,624 Republicans registered in Massachusetts
In 2004 there were 532,319.

  Burrito King?
I have seen lots of activity at the former Pizza King on Ashland street, including inspectors etc... Now we know, via MCLA's Beacon, what is happening there - a Burrito joint!! This makes me happy:
Since [Tim] Lanfoir plans to offer “big, giant, Mexican burritos” for around $7, he doesn’t feel he has much competition around town. “Personally, I have to drive all the way to Pittsfield to get Taco Bell,” he admitted. He hopes locals will find Pizza King to be a good stop gap between here and Pittsfield. With no canned food, he plans on also being a healthier option with homemade refried beans, rice and sauces. He will also offer delivery.
I thought I was the only one who found excuses to go to Home Depot in order to sneak thru Taco Bell.

Later in the article Lanfoir offered up the best quote of the week:
“Sometimes the mayor gets a reputation of being a hard ass, but he just wants to be informed,”
I'm all for staying informed, but why did Lanfoir have to submit his menu to the city in advance? Weird.

But I will say it again and again - the stretch of Ashland St closest to the college is a gold mine waiting to happen. For most of the past decade it has been barren of college oriented businesses, as has most of the city. This absolutely has to keep changing for both the city's and MCLA's sake.
Saturday, May 02, 2009
Things can happen when people want them to (and they have lots of money):
Penn never pretended to be performing public service. Its massive investments in the community, school officials said, were designed to improve the university. It stopped making excuses, fronted the money for projects large and small through good and recessionary times, and got the job done.

At the same time it began making risky forays into real estate, Penn started a public elementary and middle school to attract families and stabilize the neighborhood. It planted thousands of spruce and silver maples along barren sidewalks. It gave faculty and staff cash incentives to buy homes there, and some of its top administrators moved in.

Even now, construction continues, just as it did during the downturn in 2001 and 2002.

"This is not altruism or noblesse oblige," Penn president Amy Gutmann said in a recent interview. "It's the right thing to do because it can make us stronger as well as our community stronger."
Friday, May 01, 2009
  The Other White Meat Flu MAYBE Reaches Amherst
The litle boy who called "Swine Flu."

I've resisted posting on Swine Flu because I believe that the media is doing a disservice by hyping the story so much that we've created a climate of paranoia about a virus that looks like it is relatively weak. The news that two students at Amherst have contracted a flu that MIGHT be H1N1 is enough to freak out the entire campus:

Amherst’s Swine Flu/H1N1 task force made up of representatives from Health Services, Dean of Students, Dean of Faculty, Physical Plant, Public Affairs, Campus Police and other offices met this morning. Two new students have presented flu symptoms and have tested positive for Type A (common, garden variety) flu—not H1N1 flu. The college is handling them as suspected H1N1 cases out of an abundance of caution. They are being treated and isolated.

In addition to canceling all parties this weekend, Amherst is setting up instant hand-sanitizing stations at dorms and academic buildings across campus. All of these stations supplement existing locations at the fitness center and dining hall. Posters emphasizing proper sanitation techniques are also being installed in dorms and all over campus.

Amherst is proceeding with previously scheduled athletic contests involving tennis, golf, track and baseball after consulting with coaches and athletics directors at other colleges, as all are off-campus. In addition, coaches are asking that any athlete feeling ill not compete, and that fans not attend if they’re not feeling well. Other college events are being evaluated and/or canceled on a case-by-case basis; activities that could potentially involve the sharing of food or cups, for example, will not take place.
(emphasis mine)

I will say that what this outbreak has been good for is that it is providing a dry-run of the global reaction to a potentially much more serious outbreak. Drills are important. However, after CNN and Fox and everybody else has finished running around with their hair on fire for H1N1, will the average person take the next "outbreak" seriously?
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.

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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

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