Well the most hyped and expensive presidential inauguration of my lifetime is finally over. The Obama bash cost three times what the Bush inaugural cost in 2004, which is okay I guess but where were the voices this year that we heard so loudly from four years ago who were complaining that the money for the inauguration would be better spent on the poor and suffering?
Oh nevermind, the American inauguration is a sacred ritual to be honored by all. This morning there was a line of people outside Northampton's Academy of Music to watch the ceremony on their big screen. Hmmm, would such an event have been held if John McCain had won the election?
Meanwhile hunger takes no pause for politics, so at noon while our new President was being sworn in we at the Amherst Survival Center were serving lunch to the hungry as usual. Here's me today with Tawanda (left) a student at Amherst College and Dell, a local farmer.
I didn't mind missing the historic moment. I'm sure I'll see it replayed again and again and again and again and again and again.....
I do have one remote connection to the inaugural activities in the performance by someone I've met in person - Pete Seeger! In the early 90's Seeger gave a concert for school kids at the Paramount in downtown Springfield, and to promote it he unexpectedly came over to the studios at WHYN radio to be interviewed by Dan Yorke. Dan asked me to quick tell him something about him, as he had never heard of Pete Seeger! In person Seeger seemed like a real gentle soul. His political opinions are almost childlike in their lack of sophistication, but he always puts out positive energy. Here's a video of Seeger's inaugural performance.
Remember this iconic poster from the Obama campaign?
Well this cool website called obamicon.me let's you create similar posters about yourself. Of course only one word comes to mind when posterizing me:
I recently stumbled upon this old Associated Press article from the Portmouth Herald that has details on the case against former Springfield mayoral Chief of Staff Anthony Ardolino and his bar business that I don't recall hearing before, including testimony from a secret witness:
The government witness, code-named CW-1 in the 2003 affidavit authored by an IRS agent to obtain search warrants, said Campagnari received city-issued licenses to sell beer outside during a summer concert series.
The witness, a former employee of Campagnari, said he was dispatched with envelopes of cash for Ardolino.
"CW-1 stated that he walked over to City Hall and knocked on Anthony Ardolino's side door, which is accessible from the hallway and out of sight from his secretary ... CW-1 stated that he did this for several summers, and that Anthony Ardolino always appeared to be expecting him," according to the document.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William M. Welch II refused to say why charges were not brought against Ardolino in connection with the cash exchanges.
The affidavit also highlights an excerpt from a 1999 telephone conversation in which Chester Ardolino was trying to sell the Civic Pub to convicted loan shark Giuseppe Manzi.
The conversation between Ardolino and Manzi, now serving a federal prison sentence for racketeering, led to the probe of city government....
CW-1 told investigators Campagnari poured cheap liquor into top-shelf liquor bottles and sold drinks at high-end prices. The witness also told investigators that under orders from Campagnari and with the cooperation of an employee of an equipment company, he stole 20 cases of bar glassware.
Sheesh, even the glasses they served the watered-down booze in was ripped off.
Last week there was a concert at the Iron Horse in Northampton featuring local acts doing Rolling Stones songs. Here's a sample.