Tuesday, March 27, 2018


Following the non-event, I emerged out my back door to be greeted by some Pedal People fowl.

They've come back almost every morning since. What do they want?

Look what else showed up at my house....

The gun-grabers were on parade in Amherst Saturday.

The Democrats should be careful, lest they be found guilty of forgetting the lessons of the Gingrich Revolution of 1994. In that year, after the Clinton Administration backed a big push for gun control, alarmed gun owners and their supporters marched to the polls like an army, causing the Democrats to lose control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. Now the Democrats are tempting history to repeat itself by awakening the sleeping giant of the 2nd Amendment electorate with their overblown protests.

This is Peace Week at UMass.

The Minuteman gets psychedelic.

This weekend in Amherst there was the JAMHERST music series featuring local bands. Here's a poster for it that I came across on a wall in Northampton:

Dinosaur Jr. played Greenfield last week.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Saint Pat

On the day when I was born, my daddy sat down and cried. I had the mark just as plain as day, it could not be denied.

I saw this in Hamp City Hall yesterday. A hundred years ago the Irish dominated virtually every City Hall in Massachusetts and still have a strong presence to this day. And we ain't all crooks, neither.

On a more serious note, these brave students of John F. Kennedy Middle School in Northampton were protesting this week in favor of 2nd Amendment rights, a refreshing contrast to the Orwellian so-called "walkouts" recently organized by liberal school administrators. It took no courage for students to please their teachers by allowing themselves to be stooges for ineffective gun control policies. These pro-gun kids are the real rebels.

Be sure to visit Tim's, the new bookstore on King Street in Northampton.

Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts - 1977-05-07

Jeff Ziff took a great pic this week of Miller's River along the Mohawk Trail.

Monday, March 12, 2018

On Giordano

What on Earth has Al Giordano gotten himself into? It seems the former WNNZ radio star and Valley Advocate reporter is being accused of sexual harassment by a dozen or more women. You can read all about it here.

And here.

And here.

Oddly, Al himself has made no public remarks in response to the accusations, which is directly contrary to what is generally recommended in a public scandal, which is to get out in front of it with a statement as quickly as possible. Is he being forced into silence by legal concerns? The scandal has not only silenced the usually irrepressible Giordano, but appears to have shut down the journalism school he has run for many years. Their fundraising effort for next semester was suddenly cancelled shortly after it started, despite having gotten off to a promising start.

The scandal strikes following a puzzling period in which Al had been strangely cutting ties to old friends over seemingly minor political differences. It was behavior that doesn't sound at all like the broad minded attitude for which Al was once noted, especially in his Valley radio days when he loved mixing it up with critics and debating the issues. For example, former Springfield City Councilor Mitch Ogulewicz has said this about his sudden severing of ties:

After 35 years of associating with Al, he defriended me on facebook, because I said I wouldn't vote for Hillary. As he exited from our friendship, he went on a vulgar tirade, calling me every name in the book. Oh well.

Longtime Agawam activist Owen Broadhurst offered this testimonial:

I loved him, admired him, bestowed upon him (in my naive youth) a form of hero worship that I *know* he did not request - but I'm still deeply wounded, offended, and feel betrayed in what he turned out to be. When his journalistic career began, I was all of 18. Back then, I haunted storefronts on what I knew the weekly delivery date just to get a Springfield Advocate as soon as I could. Because *he* was in it. And it was a must read. It is a shame. Back then: Kraft, Giordano, Turner and Vannah all accommodated those of us who fought the Berkshire Power fight in Agawam beautifully. They reported on Michael Armitage, the Springfield establishment, Albano, Tennessee Gas and Dennis the Menace Murphy. It was beautiful. While it is admittedly peevish of me to think this way, I focus on Al because I really feel it as a betrayal.

Giordano has faced health issues, having successfully battled cancer in 2016, and some have speculated that the combined stress of the cancer scare and the rise of Donald Trump may have caused the left-leaning reporter to become unhinged. So is this #metoo moment the end of the fabled career of Al Giordano? Probably not. What are the accusations against him, really? That he was sometimes a boozy boor at the after class beer bashes? That he asked women to do clerical work without paying them? People, these are not Harvey Weinstein level offenses. He should mutter something resembling an apology, permanently drop the subject, and just go back to giving political commentary as usual. Indeed, others have made successful comebacks from far worse.

This update includes details that greatly lessen the chance of Giordano making a comeback. Interestingly, Al had been involved with The Huffington Post at one time.

Kinda hard to read the clock while waiting at the bus stop for the dawn express into Amherst.

Somebody brightened up Greg Stone's dismal Hope statue on the courthouse lawn.

Some people don't mind if their preferred presidential candidate is no longer alive.

Hometown boys Dinosaur Jr. playing the Amherst Common last fall.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Switcher

Here's a picture I swiped from the Hampshire Gazette of 3rd Hampshire District State Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose, left, as he is introduced to speak beside other state representatives, the late Peter Kocot and the now retiring John Scibak and Stephen Kulik, in the Coolidge Room at Forbes Library in 2017.

All four of these dudes have been in the news lately, with Scibak and Kulik both announcing that they are not seeking re-election. In a tragic development, Rep. Kocot died recently of cancer. As for Solomon Goldstein-Rose, he too is going through some changes, but is not intending to leave the legislature, at least not voluntarily.

Some observers are suggesting he has placed his seat in danger, primarily because Goldstein-Rose has unexpectedly left the Democratic Party to become an independent. That move has already complicated his road to re-election in the form of newly announced challenger Eric Nakajima, who clearly stated in his announcement that he thinks party affiliation matters, "Our district needs a tireless and effective advocate, who will listen, work with you, and partner with colleagues on Beacon Hill to meet the needs of our towns. I believe I can do that best as a member of the Democratic Party," Nakajima said. Here he is posing with early endorser Dave Narkewicz. Of course Narkewicz is mayor of Northampton, which is not part of the district, but he is also a longtime major figure in the Democratic Party organization, so his endorsement sends a message to other party operatives that it is time to abandon Golstein-Rose.

It's generally true that the most difficult time for an incumbent to run for re-election is when they seek their second term. That is because they are still a fresh face, and not yet entrenched through deep insider relationships and bulging campaign chests built up over the years. This will be especially true for Goldstein-Rose, who competed in a six person field in 2016, winning with less than 40% of the vote. Unless other contenders enter the fray to help divvy up the vote, in a one on one race Goldstein-Rose will face an electorate where over 60% did not support him two years ago. Still, the advantage of his incumbency, short as it is, cannot be discounted, as well as his reputation for relentless door to door campaigning. Therefore, Goldstein-Rose must still be considered the front runner, but it's only March in what promises to be an unexpectedly competitive race.

The drama of the Goldstein-Rose/Nakajima contest is just part of a much larger upheaval among the Western Mass North Valley delegation. The departure of old timers Kulik and Scibek are quickly attracting a competitive field, and so will the race to replace the late Representative Kocut. Yet another unknown variable is the ultimate fate of Semi-senator Stan Rosenberg. I call him a semi-senator because, although he can still vote on completed legislation that comes to the floor, Rosenberg is currently working out of a basement office in the statehouse and has no committee assignments. The cubicle in the cellar is a humiliating demotion for someone who just a few months ago occupied the palatial Speaker's office, but Rosenberg's lack of committee assignments is a bigger deal because committees are where all legislation is actually written.

By having no assignments, Rosenberg has been essentially shut out of the lawmaking process. It is a legitimate question whether Rosenberg can still accurately even be called a full senator and whether he can adequately serve his constituents in such a crippled role. The Senate has twice had the opportunity to give Rosenberg committee assignments, yet declined to do so both times, thereby seeming to send a message to the effect, "Stan, it's time to go." Although Semi-senator Rosenberg has taken out papers for re-election, it is by no means impossible, especially if the report about his husband's alleged misconduct is as damning as some suspect it will be, that his Northampton senate seat may very well be wide open this fall and no doubt attracting an all star cast of contenders.

Whatever goes down, this much is for sure - 2018 is going to be one of the most interesting and entertaining election cycles in a long time for North Valley voters.

Full moon over KFC/Taco on King Street.

Rooftop revelers at UMass.

Of course I would see this in Amherst.

I'm comin' outta my cage.