Controversial Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank brought his book tour to UMass this morning. It was a good location considering that the book itself is published by the University of Massachusetts Press. A table full of books were available for sale.
Of course there were protesters outside.
Some of their posters featured less than flattering photos of the congressman.
Others just called for his removal from office.
All the major players from the local media were there to interview Frank, like Jackie Bruno from 22.
The local NPR station WFCR was there.
So was David Pakman of the show Midweek Politics.
And Ray Herschel of WGGB-TV40. That's Barney's boyfriend standing behind him.
As for the large audience in attendance, they seemed quite supportive, applauding when Frank called for a single payer healthcare system and again when he called for the abolishment of the Senate filibuster rules.
In general though, the usually feisty Frank avoided controversy during his visit, preferring to talk about his childhood in New Jersey, his years at Harvard and his start in politics under Boston Mayor Kevin White. However in the brief question period at the end, one hostile questioner called him "Bailout Barney" to his face and demanded that he defend his role in the collapse of the economy in 2008. Frank responded that the Republicans were as much to blame as he was for not doing enough to avoid the financial crisis, since they had also done little to reform the system when they were in control of congress. Frank said that at least the Democrats tried to pass some legislation to head off disaster, but admitted that attempts at reform were done "too late."
When the talk was over Rep. Frank and the author of his biography, Stuart Weisberg, agreed to sign books for anyone who bought them.
In all it was an interesting and pleasant affair, but perhaps a disappointment to those who came hoping to see Frank in one of his more confrontational and controversial modes.
Nader Attacks Olver
Speaking of Massachusetts congress-critters, someone recently brought to my attention this video showing Ralph Nader slamming Valley Congressman John Olver.
My friend Ruthie gathering trash in a non-poluting way as one of the Pedal People.
Flower power sphinx.
This sign is hard to read with all the stickers.
Beatles and Star Trek in the window.
Today's Music Video
Dancing to the weirdness in Hadley.