The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Nothing Left



A lot of people are expressing surprise in the wake of the news that disgraced former State Senator Stanley Rosenberg is making his supposedly estranged husband Bryon Hefner-Rosenberg the recipient of his state pension upon his death. Personally, I am not surprised at all, as I never believed that the couple had ever split up in the first place. I based that opinion on back channel info from sources in a position to know, who told me that Bryon was still receiving legal notifications and other official correspondence related to his criminal case at Stan's address. So apparently the "separation" that Rosenberg claimed had occurred while he still thought he had a prayer of returning to power, never became separate to the point where Bryon felt he needed to file a change of address form with the post office.

Ex-Senator Stan claims in his pension filing that he collected a government paycheck in some form or other for 38 years and five months. That means after decades of Rosenberg attacking working people's paychecks with his relentless demands for higher taxes as he crusaded for every crackpot socialist scheme that came down the political pike, the long suffering taxpayers must now bear the burden of supporting Stan for as long as he lives, and then posthumously supporting his young husband for possibly decades beyond. But why would Rosenberg give his pension benefits to the man whose actions ruined his political career? I'm reminded of that line from Faulkner's A Rose for Emily - "With nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will."

Meanwhile, the old Adams Jewelry by the Haymarket has become festooned with signs for State Representative candidate Diana Syznal.


I peered through the window as best I could, but couldn't tell through the darkness whether the spot has become Syznal's campaign headquarters, or if the sign display is just a supportive gesture from the owner of the building. Ms. Syznal is the District Director for the previous holder of the seat, Peter Kocot, who died tragically earlier this year. Unfortunately, Kocot's legislative voting record was a model of leftist dysfunction, and his aide Syznal is promising more of the same, which should please Northampton's masochistic electorate. Syznal is considered a shoo-in for the seat because after she brushes aside her primary opponent, the political neophyte and dizzy feminist Lindsay Sabadosa, Syznal will face no opposition from the region's hapless Republicans.

In any case, I'm sorry that Adams Jewelry is out of business. At the time of its closing last winter, Jesse Adams wrote this heartfelt farewell.


My grandfather Emery Abrahamowicz survived the Holocaust but his wife and kid did not. Before the war, he was a jeweler and watchmaker in a small town in Hungary. One of his roles was to fix the village clock when it needed it. The Nazis took all his possessions and murdered his family but he hid two diamonds that a dentist friend stashed in his teeth. He survived the holocaust. He came to the US after the war. After Ellis Island he became Emery Adams. He did not know English. He cracked the diamonds out of his teeth. They were still there. (The dentist didn’t trick him as he feared). He married another Holocaust survivor and started a new family. He sold one of the diamonds and started a successful jewelry store in NYC. He taught my father. My father opened up his first store in Northampton in Thornes in 1979 and later moved to a Main Street storefront. He later bought the building and two others downtown. I was in the store nearly every day and lived above it for 15 years. The store supported our family. After nearly 100 years the Abrahamowicz/Adams jewelry/watch/sculpture business ends. From Hungary to NYC to Northampton, it was a good run. It’s the end of an era.

Around the corner at Sam's Pizza, I recently tried Virgil's Cream Soda, the best I've had since I was kid drinking Cray's Soda.


Across the street there was a good turnout for the first summer concert in Pulaski Park.


While Hamp is rockin, UMass is sleepy with the students away for the summer, as evidenced by this video of the usually crowded Peet's Coffee, now turned ghostly silent


Haymarket Cafe - June 8, 2018

Monday, June 4, 2018

Fresh Face


When I got home the other afternoon, the Pedal People chickens (pedal-chicks?) were having a picnic.


The house I live in is so old that the foundation consists not of bricks or concrete, but field stones piled one upon the other.


I see that the local Democrats have opened their campaign headquarters in downtown Northampton next to the Iron Horse.


The Dems must have too much money on their hands if they are renting a headquarters in the middle of the pricey Hamp real estate market. I mean, why even bother? Enough voters can be expected to automatically march in zombie-like fashion to the polls to mindlessly elect every Democrat on the ballot, so any actual campaigning for Democratic candidates is probably unnecessary. It is also in most cases ulitimately irrelevant, as nearly all the local Democrat incumbents have no Republican opponent anyway. However, there is one ray of hope to give beleaguered North Valley Republicans a reason to come out and vote in the local elections: Tracey Lovvorn.


Lovvorn is running against Congressman Jim McGovern, who represents both Amherst and Northampton. Speaking of McGovern, The Worcester Telegram has a picture of McGovern at last weekend's Democratic State Convention, showing him with drink in hand and tie askew.


Also shown is Lt. Governor candidate Jimmy Tingle (right) with former Congressman Barney Frank, who in retirement has really let himself go.


Here's our despicable Attorney General Maura Healey posing with E. Henry Twiggs, a former bagman for ex-Rep. Ray Jordan.


Finally, here's a bit of an Open Mike at Sam's Pizza in Northampton.



Saturday, May 26, 2018

memorializing


Thank you, Governor Baker, for defending the rule of law.


The office of Amherst/Northampton congressman Jim McGovern.


Last weekend I was at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge. Classy joint.


We fooled around with a drone.



When was the last time you visited the Miss Florence Diner? Still as good as it ever was.


A flower on Main Street in Northampton.


Geese by the UMass campus pond.



HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY EVERYBODY!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Bike Day!


Coming down King Street, I came upon these stakes in the ground, with the word "tree" on them.


I assume that means that the city intends to plant a tree wherever there are those stakes. If so, then that is good news. I'm old enough to remember when King Street was a shady, tree-lined corridor of leaves. Unfortunately, at the same time it was always way too crowded with traffic. In response, the city in the 1980's had the street widened, but in doing so, they cut down every single tree on the street, including some that were over a hundred years old. The lack of trees left the street with the appearance of a barren, sterile highway where once there had been bucolic charm. Planting a few trees at this late date wouldn't hurt, although it won't help that much either. Anyway, better late than never.

Soon I arrived at the festivities celebrating Bike Day!


Free food and coffee was available to all passerby.


WHMP was broadcasting live from the event; here's Monte Belmonte producing The Bill Newman Show.


Here's me and my neighbor Ruthie the Pedal Person solemnly surveying the scene.


In a Main Street window.


In the Haymarket Cafe.


With the school year ending, these trucks are seen everywhere.


Maybe this dude in Amherst has the right idea of what to do with a bicycle on Bike Day - ride it to UMass and take a snooze by the campus pond.


Rumors were rampant that the Share Coffee House (nee Raos) was going out of business. Now that seems less likely as the going out of business signs have been taken off the doors. Whatever happens, here's a little film I made of their musical entertainment last Sunday.



MGM Casino will be opening in Springfield, Massachusetts real soon!
This photo shot on Main Street looking North.
May 12 2018 photo by Jeff Ziff.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Rosenberg Postmortem


Former Sen. Stanley Rosenberg walking by the Campus Pond at UMass Amherst, after speaking to students there, Dec. 7, 2017. (photo by statehouse news service)


As most people predicted, Amherst/Hamp State Senator Stan Rosenberg was forced out of office last week, the inevitable outcome of a sordid statehouse sex scandal involving his husband. Rosenberg's departure - combined with the February death of Northampton State Rep. Peter Kocot - means there will be no or only partial representation for the residents of 24 western Massachusetts cities and towns until January of 2019. What's interesting is how many people locally seemed caught by surprise by Rosenberg's fall.

The local media was largely to blame. While the Boston media (and locally yours truly) consistently described Rosenberg as the political equivalent of a dead man walking, the local media kept feeding the irrational fantasy that somehow Rosenberg was still politically viable. Such puff piece coverage, which consistently downplayed the seriousness of the mess Rosenberg was in, may even have influenced Rosenberg to wage a futile effort to seek re-election which unnecessarily prolonged the scandal itself, while increasing the damage to the State Senate's reputation and magnifying the humiliation of Rosenberg himself.

Back in early March, I wrote that "if the report about his husband's alleged misconduct is as damning as some suspect it will be, his Northampton senate seat may very well be wide open this fall." That turned out to be a completely accurate prediction, as Rosenberg was forced to resign less than 24 hours after the report was released.

But even if the local media distorted the extent of the scandal, that still doesn't explain why so many local voters were so loyal to Rosenberg. Certainly the Senator was never a friend to working people, whose paychecks he repeatedly assaulted throughout his more than three decade career. Stan Rosenberg never saw a tax increase he didn't like, and if he didn't see one, he was always quick to suggest one of his own. No person's paycheck was ever safe from reduction as long as Stanley Rosenberg was in the Statehouse.

He was also no friend to citizen democracy. Rosenberg was the Senate's most persistent critic of citizen ballot initiatives, claiming that voters had no business passing legislation by referendum since, well, Stan and his fellow legislators knew best. Despite his supposedly sterling progressive credentials, he was also small help to those who struggled for marijuana legalization over the years, joining the cause only at the last minute when it was inevitable legalization would pass. In the years when it would have taken courage to take a stand, he was silent.

Senator Stan's presidency was a dud, with no major legislation being guided through the chamber on his watch, with the exception of a massive pay raise for the legislators, which included a $45,000 raise for him personally. Rosenberg may have had a hard time getting legislation through the Senate, but Stan was always good at taking care of Stan. Now, of course, his pay from the legislature has fallen to zero, but the taxpayers will now step in to pay the fat pension he will get for his more than three decades of "service."

Rosenberg is the fourth of three prior legislative leaders to depart in disgrace, leaving advocates for good government speculating on ways to fix the statehouse culture of scandal, incompetence and greed. However, the solution is actually very simple. The rat's nest in Boston can only be successfully cleaned out when a majority of the voters of Massachusetts finally have the sense to vote a straight Republican ticket.


Speaking of over-rated politicians, going through some stuff the other day I came across this old photo of my Grandmother posing in front of the Capitol with the late Springfield Congressman Edward P. Boland.


I find it slightly amusing how Boland signed that picture, with the addition of the line "Member of Congress" under his name. What, was he afraid that my Grandma may have thought she was posing with the House Custodian? I detect a touch of insecurity in that addition, one perhaps to be expected from a legislator who was known by his colleagues as "The House Mouse." One of the most damning documents regarding Boland is to be found among the archives of The Diary of J. Wesley Miller, in this letter from activist Eamon O'Sullivan to local Democrat Party boss Judge Danny Keyes:


Dear Dan,

Regarding your comments in the paper about Congressman Boland, the famous writer H.L. Mencken once said, "History is an agreed upon pack of lies." Quite frankly I always thought Edward P. Boland lacked the testicular fortitude to be a leader. As a matter of fact it wasn't until near the end of his time in congress that he was involved in the so-called "Boland Amendment" which was poorly written and described at the time as "a piece of Swiss Cheese."

I remember reading the Boston Globe back in 1972 when they were writing about the various congressmen from Massachusetts. When it came to Congressman Boland the Globe Spotlight column had this to say: "We don't know anything good or bad about Edward P. Boland from the Second Congressional District. After twenty years of service to date he is a cipher and a nonentity in the U.S. Congress." As a matter of fact Boland's record was rather dull with him never taking a stand for or against any significant issue of his time.

I often told my late great mother that I couldn't understand why the Irish, although trapped and scarred by the limited Hungry Hill mentality, always voted for a man like Boland with no real stature as a leader or statesman. Whenever I encountered Boland he was always too much in a rush to talk and his public statements were rare and in most cases glittering generalities.

Boland's most significant failure was causing the closing of the Springfield Armory. I have handwritten letters from the late U.S. Speaker of the House John McCormack, a good friend of then President Lyndon Baines Johnson, telling how Boland's disastrous decision to back Edward M. Kennedy for U.S. Senate over Speaker McCormack's nephew Edward McCormack killed any chance that either Speaker McCormack or President Johnson would use their power to save the Armory. It was Mass Ways and Means Chairman Tony Scibelli and Edmond P. Garvey who partially salvaged the Armory by turning it into Springfield Technical Community College for which they received little help from Boland.

Judge Keyes, I recognize your life long friendship with Boland, but he was not highly respected in the U.S. Congress as you suggest, and it was well known locally that if you wanted something done in Washington you should contact our other Congressman Silvio O. Conte. We don't need anymore streets, statues or schools built or named after Boland. I find it interesting that his parents enrolled him at the public elementary Armory Street School instead of Our Lady of Hope. He may not have been academically inclined, but I concede he was still clever enough to fool the Irish.

Eddie


Every year around here we have a parade.



Photographer Bill Dwight captured Stan Rosenberg at the parade, which took place the day after his resignation became final.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Baking Baker


I love this picture by Valley photographer Keith Sikes of Massachusetts Governor Charlie confidently arriving at The Fort in downtown Springfield.


The Gov has good reason to be confident, having won about 70% of the vote at last week's GOP convention in Worcester. However, complications remain. Despite Baker's lopsided convention win, religious conservative and Springfield resident Dr. Scott Lively also got enough votes to get on the ballot, meaning Baker has to first win the September primary. The conventional wisdom is that he will win the primary easily, but that doesn't mean that Lively isn't a factor. Over a million Massachusetts residents voted for Donald Trump in 2016, and Baker needs every one of them to win. Yet, Baker has tried to distance himself from Trump, which also has the effect of alienating the Trump supporters in his base.


Many see Lively's nearly 30% convention vote as more of an indicator of Republican displeasure over Baker's center-left governing style than an endorsement of Lively's fundamentalist religious conservatism. In other words, most of Lively's support came in the form of protest voters wanting to send Baker the message that he needs to move more to the right. If enough protest voters desert Baker in the primary, Lively may do well enough to embarrass Baker despite the Governor ultimately winning. Balancing the need to hold onto his Republican base in the primary, while still reaching out to the non-Republicans he will need in November, will be a real challenge.

Meanwhile, up in Hamp, Hillary remains completely unhinged.


Is Scott Pruit entering the cut throat Northampton real estate market?


The Mayor was passing out trees for Arbor Day.


As the farmers were hawking their crops.


Bertucci's in Amherst has bit the dust. I'm not surprised, although the food was good, their prices were high and the portions small.


This painting of a sheep in the Black Sheep is decidedly not black.


The world on an Amherst sidewalk.


This video of the late Doyle the Twig Painter training for an ersatz boxing match with Keith Walmer is a hoot.