Mary E. Carey - My favorite news Journalist EVER!
UMass Journalism: Part time Faculty
Newswriting and Reporting Lecturer
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
Political Reporter, Daily Hampshire Gazette
108 Bartlett Hall, University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA 01003
phone: 413.545.1376 & 413-549-2000 fax: 413.545.3349
Mary Carey has been the political reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette since 1998. A Pittsfield native, she graduated with a BA in English from the University of Vermont in 1979 and earned a PhD in English from the University of Texas in 1994.
Mary E. Carey. She is my FAVORITE Journalist EVER!
Mary E. Carey's Blogger Profile:
Pittsfield, Massachusetts native, living in Amherst, Massachusetts Reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette since 1994. Adjunct instructor of Journalism 300 at the University of Massachusetts since 2002. Early influences: Ace teenage detective Nancy Drew, redheaded comic strip reporter Brenda Starr, "That Girl" Marlo Thomas.
Mary E. Carey's Blogs
Go to: journ300.blogspot.com, aboutamherst.blogspot.com, ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com, mayanberry.blogspot.com.
Dear Mary E. Carey,
You are my favorite journalist because your voice sings for the voiceless (including me). You tell the whole story, not just the political propaganda. Your brother Bill Carey did the same as a staff writer for The Berkshire Eagle, especially when he covered the corrupt Pittsfield Consent Decree and its toxic aftermath.
Last night before going to bed, after watching the Boston Celtics romp the Knicks on TV in pre-season NBA Basketball, I read both The Manchester Daily Express
Below, please find a criticism against New Hampshire's right-wing, Corporate Elite-esque, fascistic rag: The Union Leader!
HippoPress -- The Hippo -- Guide to Manchester & Nashua NH (area)
That’s a story?
The Union Leader is joining the cable news networks in creating its own news and that’s bad news for New Hampshire journalism.
This Sunday, the Union Leader led its front page with a story about its own online survey about how immigration — mostly from Massachusetts — is ruining New Hampshire. Put aside for a moment that “people from Massachusetts” is common code for blacks and Latinos; the story was entirely self-created and offers no insight into how New Hampshire residents actually feel about these newcomers — the survey only offers a glimpse into the thoughts of people who visit the Union Leader Web site, and is that really news?
My questions for you, Mary -- an excellent U Mass Professor of News Journalism, as well as my favorite news journalist whose voice sings beautifully for the voiceless (including me) -- are as follows:
1 - Should a newspaper fabricate its own news to fit its ideological designs to indocrinate its readers with their political dogma?
2 - Do former Massachusetts residents, such as myself, ruin New Hampshire's political landscape by voting for and supporting Liberal Democratic Party candidates to elected offices?
3 - Is New Hampshire really racially superior to Massachusetts because New Hampshire has more per capita white people residents than Massachusetts?
4 - Will Black and Latino immigrants from Massachusetts to New Hampshire really burden the local and state taxpayers with social welfare entitlement programs?
5 - Should New Hampshire impose even stiffer criminal sentencing laws to keep Massachusetts' have-not minorities from moving to New Hampshire?
6 - What is the real message The New Hampshire Union Leader trying to send to both Massachusetts and New Hampshire?
I hope you reply to my email and post your responses on your Journalism Blog!
Jonathan Alan Melle
~Former lifelong resident of Massachusetts~
Blurring the borders
By SHAWNE K. WICKHAM
New Hampshire Sunday News Staff
Sunday, Oct. 14, 2007
Nearly nine of 10 readers who participated in an online survey believe that southern New Hampshire is becoming more like Massachusetts -- and most are not happy about it.
Eighty-four percent of the nearly 900 people who took part in the informal UnionLeader.com survey are concerned that the "traditional culture" of New Hampshire is changing as people move here from other states -- including 63 percent who are "very" concerned. Only 10 percent were "not very concerned," while six percent were "not concerned at all."
Asked what the biggest change has been, more than half answered "politics." About 28 percent said it was traffic, and more than 16 percent thought it was the state's "more diverse population."
Of more than 400 respondents who answered a question about moving here from elsewhere, the majority -- 63 percent -- came from Massachusetts. Eighteen percent moved here from another New England state; the same percentage came from the mid-Atlantic region.
Plenty of folks blame Massachusetts transplants for new problems they see facing New Hampshire, such as crime, traffic and even rudeness. Many bemoaned the rise of a "nanny state" mentality and newcomers' demands for local services that push taxes up.
Here's how lifelong resident Todd Poulos, 40, of Manchester put it: "I am not a fan of the liberal politics that Massachusetts transplants bring with them. They are too eager to allow government to become larger and less willing to take personal responsibility."
Dennis Herrick, 56, said he supports the libertarian Free State Movement and is "disgusted with all the Nanny Staters" moving here from Massachusetts.
"The first thing they all want when they get here is a street light," Herrick wrote. "They're afraid of animal noises and they think the lights are free."
Milford resident Brandon Bishop, 23, wrote, "Massachusetts culture is affecting NH like the plague." And, as a result, he said, "Our property values are being driven higher than ever before, pushing hard-working Granite-Staters out of the local real estate market."
But many of those who are most critical of the influence of Massachusetts culture on the state are transplants themselves.
"We are becoming a 'nanny' state -- our individual rights are being trampled on by left-wing liberals who know what's best for everyone," wrote Don DeCapot of Londonderry, 60, who moved here from the Bay State more than 20 years ago.
Cathie Schneider, 54, another transplant, said New Hampshire is starting to look like its southern neighbor, "with no smoking laws, higher cig taxes and attempts at the seat belt laws too.
"Make no mistake, an income tax is coming too!" she warned.
Robert Tessier, 74, said he retired here to get away from city life and enjoy the state's natural beauty.
"Now they are destroying the area by building more and more hotels and shopping areas that we don't need," he wrote. "I moved away from that and now these people that loved this state are bringing all that is in Mass. and destroying our way of life."
Lee Ann McCarthy, 45, was among those who said politics is the biggest change. "Live Free or Die, open spaces and independent thinking is being replaced with We Know What's Best for You, Let's Build as Much as We Can, and the Politically Correct Way of thinking," she wrote.
And Peter Hudson, 32, compared the influx of out-of-staters to "the spreading of a locust or cancer."
It's not just former Bay Staters sounding the alarm. Dave Petrangelo said he moved here from the "People's Republic of New York."
"New Hampshire was my last bastion of hope that you could live somewhere and not have the government making laws on every aspect of life, tax everything under the sun and actually had a 'personal responsibility' way of thinking," he wrote. "In the few years I have been here, I have seen that erode at an alarming pace as more out of staters move in and expect the same level of services, laws and coddling they received from their native states."
Keith Richardson, who moved here from Florida, said politics is the biggest change he's seen: "Voters moving here from MA voting to make NH the same as the state they left . . . It's like someone burning down their house, moving into a new one, and playing with matches!"
William Albenzi, 27, who moved here from California, wrote, "I am concerned that the people who come here solely for the inexpensive homes have not given up on big government social engineering experiments. The passage of a law restricting my ability to open a business in which I allow smoking illustrates that."
Brian Guilbert, 51, said his town of Londonderry has lots of transplants from Massachusetts who "moved here for the small town feel, form cliques, run for town office positions and eventually change the character of the town."
That's why Rick Bernier, 43, who lives in Cheshire County, suggests elected positions should be open only to those who have lived here 10 years or more. "I'm sick of people coming here, spending a couple of years and then running for some political position so they can 'make some positive changes,'" he wrote.
But Lou Eastman, 41, noted he moved here to escape the taxes, "nanny state" mentality and consumerism he's seen elsewhere. "I came here not to change the state or to implement my ideals in place of existing ones, but to help bolster and KEEP the ideals that made NH and this country great," wrote Eastman, who lives in Peterborough.
Rick Newman, 48, said the premise that people in New Hampshire are different from folks elsewhere is false: "Every state has liberals, conservatives, good people, bad people and so on."
But wait a minute...
Not everyone sees the changes as bad.
Brian Jennison, 57, grew up in Lee and remembers the state's downtowns were "dumpy" and rundown. He recently moved back to New Hampshire and is pleased with the changes he's seen.
"All these cities are thriving," he wrote. "The world moves on, and New Hampshire must move with it."
Tim Ashwell, 59, also finds recent changes here "generally positive."
"The inevitable growth of the state's southern tier is also leading the state to consider responsible development and land use policies that will pay off in the decades to come," he wrote.
And George M. Fodor, 62, a former Bay Stater, said, "It's vitally important that the 'traditional character' change as quickly as possible so that New Hampshire can enter the 21st century. Phony conservative values are an anathema to everything our country . . . represents."
Meanwhile, not everyone believes the state has really changed that much. About five percent of those surveyed said southern New Hampshire is still more like the rest of the state than like its southern neighbor, and nearly eight percent agreed with the statement "New Hampshire will never be like Massachusetts."
Among the latter was Rob Campbell, 37, who grew up in Salem and now lives in Manchester. His take? "Things change. Get over it."
But Paul Clay, 53, suggested a sinister consequence of all these newcomers moving in: "The Old Man of the Mountain left. He was fed up with the Mass. influx."
"New Hampachusetts?", asks the RACIST, Politically Conservative to the point of FASCISM!, New Hampshire Union Leader Newspaper.
NH's new blue hue not result of Bay State transplants
By SHAWNE K. WICKHAM
New Hampshire Sunday News Staff
Sunday, Oct. 21, 2007
They share a common geography, ethnic heritage and economic interdependence -- not to mention fierce loyalty to the Red Sox and the Patriots.
But residents of New Hampshire and Massachusetts have always looked over the border at each other with a sort of smug superiority.
Now some believe the sharp distinctions between the cultures of the two states are blurring. Nearly nine out of 10 readers who participated in a recent informal survey on UnionLeader.com said southern New Hampshire is becoming more like Massachusetts, as reported in last week's New Hampshire Sunday News.
There's some evidence that the cultures are blending.
Start with politics: The land of "Live Free or Die" not only has a popular Democratic governor and two Democratic U.S. congressmen, but new Democratic majorities in the House, Senate and Executive Council.
And while New Hampshire was becoming more of a "blue" state, the commonwealth that folks here like to call "Taxachusetts" saw a succession of Republican governors from 1991 until this past January, when Democrat Deval Patrick took office.
Both states recently hiked highway tolls and are now looking at expanded gambling to ease their budget shortfalls.
And earlier this year, the New Hampshire Legislature voted to allow civil unions for gay couples; a Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling had made gay marriage legal there three years ago.
Some of this could be explained by sheer numbers.
For decades, Massachusetts has been the source of the majority of transplants to New Hampshire. According to estimates from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, more than 92,000 people moved here from Massachusetts between 2000 and 2005, about 43 percent of all in-migrants.
But the movement isn't just one way. During that same period, an estimated 42,692 New Hampshire residents relocated to Massachusetts, again far more than to any other state, even Florida, where an estimated 24,868 Granite Staters moved.
By those estimates, there was a net in-migration of more than 49,000 folks from Massachusetts during those years. And on this side of the border, it's long been a tradition to blame these newcomers for everything from highway congestion to higher taxes and a demand for increased services.
Ken Johnson, a demographer with the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire, said these sorts of complaints are typical when a "high-amenity" area such as New Hampshire abuts a state with a nearby big city. He heard the same for years when he lived and worked in the Midwest, where folks in Wisconsin complained of the influx of population and problems from Chicago.
The joke there, he said, was that "you can always tell people from Chicago because they put their garbage out and expect the trash guys will pick it up -- or that the volunteer fire department will get there in time to put the grass fires out around what's left of their houses."
But some say blaming folks from Massachusetts for driving up taxes and changing politics here is unfair.
Andrew Smith is director of the UNH Survey Center, which last year asked New Hampshire residents who had moved here from Massachusetts why they did so.
"The cost of housing was less; that was by far the biggest reason," he said. "The second reason was the taxes are lower, and the third reason was there are too many Democrats and liberals in Massachusetts."
These transplants, Smith said, typically move into the communities along the state border. And he noted, "Those towns are the most Republican and the most conservative towns in the state. Because those people moving here from Massachusetts by and large tend to be Republicans."
It's the folks moving here from the mid-Atlantic states and settling in central New Hampshire and the Upper Valley, Smith said, who tend to be more liberal and vote for Democrats.
So don't blame those folks from Taxachusetts for New Hampshire's new blue hue, he said: "They're the ones who are keeping the state as Republican as it is."
Not everyone thinks New Hampshire's traditional culture is being diluted by its proximity to Massachusetts.
Jennifer Lucas, an assistant professor in the Department of Politics at St. Anselm College, recently moved here from her native Massachusetts. "I see enormous differences still between the two states," she said.
She points to the perennial proposal to make seatbelts mandatory -- something the Legislature continues to reject.
"It's something that people in Massachusetts would automatically think is an absolutely appropriate use of government power," she said. "In New Hampshire, it seems like that's much too close to an individual freedom, even if it's sort of protecting you from yourself."
Lucas suggested the structure of the state's citizen Legislature plays a key role in limiting "where government can and cannot go."
"Even if everyone from Massachusetts moved up to New Hampshire and were elected to the New Hampshire Legislature, it would still be difficult, with the budget and the structure the way it's set up, to actually make a lot of things happen."
Johnson noted it's not just the people moving in who can change a state's culture; it's those moving out. Here in New Hampshire, those leaving tend to be young adults who move elsewhere for jobs, and seniors moving south to retire, while those moving in are typically families with young children.
And that, he said, "is going to create a pressure for change."
Salem selectman: We're still different
By JIM DEVINE
Sunday News Correspondent
Sunday, Oct. 14, 2007
Salem – Born in Massachusetts and raised in New Hampshire, a Salem selectman who works in the Bay State, Michael Lyons would seem to epitomize the blurring of the two states' identities.
Yet Lyons considers himself a Granite Stater through and through, and he regards Salem as every bit a New Hampshire town.
"We're still very distinctly different," he said of his current and former homes.
That's true even in towns, like Salem, that are situated along New Hampshire's southern border, Lyons added.
"I still think we have that (New Hampshire) identity," he said. "In the southern tier, you just have a more densely populated area."
Lyons has spent the past four years commuting to and from his job with Raytheon in Andover, Mass. He said the biggest difference between working in Massachusetts and working in New Hampshire is the 5 percent taken from his paycheck each week for Mass. state taxes.
Lyons said Massachusetts and New Hampshire have maintained distinct identities largely because of a symbiotic relationship. Given the number of Granite Staters who cross the border to work and the number of Bay Staters who head north for shopping and recreation, he said, the two states benefit from each other.
Former Bay Stater Dave Horne, a Hudson resident who commutes to attend evening classes in Somerville, Mass., notes a large influx of former Bay Staters who now call the Granite State home.
"I kind of wanted to escape Massachusetts," Horne, 45, said. "Now a lot of people from my town -- they're all transplants.
"I always liked New Hampshire," he added. "If we ever move, it would probably be to head more north."
Another Massachusetts native-turned-Hudson resident, Russ Flewelling, shares Horne's observation that the southern part of the state is largely populated by other transplanted Bay Staters. But Flewelling, who commutes on Interstate 93 to a job in Wilmington, Mass., would like New Hampshire become more like Massachusetts in at least one respect:
"I'd love to see (I-93) go four lanes," he said.
Daniel Pearl's widow drops lawsuit against bank, al-Qaida
10/24/2007, By: Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) - The widow of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl withdraws a lawsuit seeking damages against al-Qaida, a dozen reputed terrorists and Pakistan's largest bank.
The lawsuit sought unspecified damages against people and organizations that Mariane Pearl alleged were involved in the kidnapping and murder of her husband.
Daniel Pearl started his journalism career in Massachusetts at the North Adams Transcript and The Berkshire Eagle.
Lawyers for Mariane Pearl did not explain their reason for dropping the action.
Daniel Pearl was the Wall Street Journal's South Asia bureau chief at the time of his abduction from Karachi, Pakistan.
His execution and beheading were videotaped by his kidnappers and displayed on the Internet. His remains were found in a shallow grave on Karachi's outskirts.
Pearl was researching a story on Islamic militancy.
The North Adams Transcript Online - Letters
Friday, October 26, 2007
To the Editor:
I have searched the paper in vain for the comic strip Doonesbury. Perhaps you published an explanation of why it was dropped, and I missed it.
What is the matter? Are you becoming too politically correct? Sometimes it is the most cogent and sensible item in the paper.
Therese J. Taft
North Adams, Massachusetts
Oct. 25, 2007
Editor's note: Ms. Taft may be assured that the Transcript is not becoming too politically correct. We are, however, in this day of tight times for newspapers across the nation, trying to become more fiscally responsible. Ms. Taft is one of three astute readers who not only have noticed the absence of Doonesbury (and Garfield and Tina's Groove) from our comics page as of Oct. 15 but also have taken the time to write or call to question why they are gone.
The short answer is this: For many years, the Transcript has been blessed with the largest selection of comics of any newspaper in the Berkshires, if not in the entire Western Massachusetts region. Rising costs have made that a luxury we can no longer afford.
Doonesbury was by far our most expensive comic, coming in at more than three times the cost of any other. Our editorial board also believe that it and Garfield, in particular, have become stale over time. The third choice of a comic to eliminate was tougher and may be re-evaluated after certain contract obligations with other features are met.
No one likes it when comics are cut, but economic reality sometimes dictates difficult choices.
The good news is, despite the loss, the [North Adams] Transcript still boasts the largest selection of comics in our New England Newspapers group. We will consistently evaluate our features budget and, as time goes on, we hope to be able to make more pleasant choices in the future.
Dear Mary Carey, News Media, Pols & the People:
Mayor Jim Ruberto is in the pocket of The Berkshire Eagle, which published three INACCURATE Letters for his re-election today. Below each published Eagle Letter are my criticisms and thoughts.
P.S. Mary E. Carey, I liked your Blog comments on the other Mary Carey. While you represent integrity and decency in public life (via the 4th Estate), she represents the brutal reality of politics, which is that it is all up for sale and everyone has a price. In Alan Chartock's column today, he myopically writes about how Major League Baseball is just another capitalistic system and not about the actual sport anymore. The reason why Alan Chartock's comments are myopic is because like the other Mary Carey, Major League Baseball represents the reality of our Corporate Elite ran political system. It is nice to think that my two favorite political journalists--Mary E. Carey, #1, and Alan Chartock, #2--have integrity and decency, and have even written to me in the past in my defense, but that is not how the system and those who operate within its gilded constraints actually works.
Move on from stadium issue
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Talk about being negative, sometimes The Berkshire Eagle really takes the cake! Read the editorial of Nov. 21 ("The greater good.") It still can't stop complaining about losing its precious downtown stadium. It continues blasting the people that were against it, and it is forever insulting our historic ballpark on Wahconah Street. Come on — get over it! Stop complaining and insulting!
"All the worst"
THE NORTH ADAMS TRANSCRIPT ONLINE - TheTranscript.com
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Happy holidays from Time Warner and your state Cable Commission: That will be $5 more on your basic cable rates, thank you. That's a 60 percent hike, people. Even the oil industry doesn't have that much brass (yet).
Once again our illustrious state commissioners have proved they have no clue what life is like in rural communities like the Berkshires. And once again they have pandered to a gargantuan corporation that can do what it likes out here because it has no competition.
Time Warner hasn't implemented the rate increase yet, but who wants to bet cable customers won't see it within the next few months? And the Cable Commission's recent decision only applies to basic rates — who knows how much more other tiers will soar?
Time Warner's request and the commission's compliance were all the more odious because the people who will be hurt the most are among the poorest in our communities, who can only afford the measly 22 channels that basic service offers. Three of those channels are so-called "public access" channels, and two of them are so-called "public television" stations. Then there are two shopping network channels and one "TV guide channel" — showing the schedules for all the channels these subscribers don't even have.
Time Warner has to do it, you know. Just think of those rising costs for services and upgrades (which the Berkshires may see in our lifetime). Right. So more of our meager cash will go to pad the already fat wallets of the most gluttonous corporate executives on earth — whose real money comes from hammering us with ads for endless pills, fast food, and other products that we don't need that are probably making us sick.
Come on, Congress. Revisit cable deregulation, which is not working in the places where price breaks are needed the most. Come on Massachusetts Cable Commission. Start doing your job and exercising the little power you have instead of jobbing us.
Our one hope is that the Internet will finally come of age and make cable television a dinosaur — or free again, like TV used to be and most radio still is. But Time Warner and all its grasping cousins probably have that sewn up, too.
Corporate media will bring '1984'
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters
Monday, December 03, 2007
With the help of the FCC chairman, the current administration continues its systematic evisceration of the First Amendment. Permitting a few huge corporate entities to gobble up independent news outlets will inevitably result in a dangerous mixture of pap and propaganda being fed to us as news.
Have you noticed the lack of serious and sustained investigative journalism, hard questions, and criticisms of political figures and parties in power? Don't you wonder why so many important stories seem to surface briefly and then just disappear? Where are Woodward and Bernstein now that we really need them?
Media consolidation is a very real danger for the dwindling democracy in the U.S. Control of the media by a few corporations has already severely damaged our freedom. The FCC should be rolling back consolidation, requiring divestiture, not handing over the keys to the newsroom.
Congress must prevent any further consolidation of broadcast media and prevent cross-ownership of broadcast and print media. Freedom of our airwaves and press is our right and responsibility. Stop further media consolidation by passing S. 2332, The Media Ownership Act Of 2007.
Time is short — the deadline is Dec. 11. Please, people, stand up for a basic and crucial freedom. If we allow special interests to control the news, we will be well on our way to a bleak future — Orwell's "1984."
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Dear Glenn & N.A. Transcript,
I really loved your newspaper when I lived in North Adams from July, 1997 through August, 1998, while I also attended UMass Amherst from the Fall of 1997 through the Spring of 1998, too. Your paper, which I still go online to read, covers the Northern Berkshire and Southern Vermont region very professionally and goes into the real needs of the people and communities living there. I am happy to read that Glenn Drohan is now the Editor of The North Adams Transcript.
Glenn, you amaze me when you target only me for "libelous, half-cocked or WAY TOO LONG..." letters. Look around you, man!
Too give illustrative examples:
1) DENIS E. GUYER! He has done nothing but incite violence against me and my family through his illegal slandering of me throughout the Pittsfield area for over 2+ years. I have documented his violence and slander as it happened against me to The North Adams Transcript, et al, but I guess to GLENN DROHAN I am the bad guy, not Guyer. So, Why is not Gold-Digger Guyer in your target, too?
2) Luciforo! He strong armed two Pittsfield woman out of a state "election" in the Spring of 2006, among other issues of his illegal political corruption in Massachusetts State Government politics. So, Why is not Luciforo in your target, too?
3) Mayor Barrett! North Adams' public schools are among the worst performing schools in the state and nation. How long has Barrett been Mayor? Who is accountable for these poorly performing public schools? Moreover, what about the city's water pollution that disables the brain development of the city's local children? What is going to happen to North Adams' troubled water supply system a couple decades after John Barrett III finally steps down from his post? It all fits: (a) poorly performing public schools, and (b) an ever growing problem of a polluted water supply. So, Why is not Barrett in your target, too?
4) Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley! He only supports perverse incentives in public policies that only benefit his campaign account fiscal coffers, the municipal government's fiscal coffers, and the state government's fiscal coffers. Time and time again, I call Bosley on his perversities in public policies, while everyone else takes him at face value. Bureaucrat Bosley's most famous moment: Voting for Clean Elections before voting to terminate this campaign finance reform program attached as a rider to the FY04 state budget in order to prove his loyalty to the dictatorial, top-down former-Speaker and current Felon, Tommy "Taxes" Finneran! So, why is not Bosley in your target, too?
5) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.! He always talks about the limited fiscal constraints of Pittsfield's municipal government, and even stood by the "Good Old Boy" Mayor Jimmy Ruberto's proposal to disincentivize Pittsfield's retention and attraction of quality public school teachers by cutting their compensation. THEN, Luciforo, et al, voted Carmen a 21% pay raise, despite the fact that this corrupt Berkshire County Sheriff already makes about 3x the amount of a starting teacher. Moreover, Carmen had no comment on his own pay raise. So, Why is not Carmen in your target, too.
6) Deval-uator Laurdine Patrick! He wanted to buy off the Massachusetts Legislature's Committee Chairs and Ranking members with "Leadership Pay Raises" IF they rubber stamped his legislative agenda to consolidate most powers under the Governor. Moreover, the Massachusetts Legislature already received a pay raise this year. So, why is not Governor Patrick in your target?
7) Stan Rosenberg! He took a trip to Russia while a good number of state employees lost their livelihoods because some of the state's legislative budget business went undone. Moreover, Rosenberg supports limiting grassroots power via the initiative petition or state referendum process. On top of that, like Luciforo and Bureaucrat Bosley, Rosenberg supported 3 straight years of state aid cuts to the cities and towns while either voting for or supporting 3 consecutive pay raises from FY02 - FY04. So, why is not Western Massachusetts' future Congressman not in your target, too?
8) Mayor Jim Ruberto! He promised to change Pittsfield for the better, including the best public schools in the commonwealth. Look at the outcomes of over 3 years of his poor leadership. Teen pregnancy rates have never been higher in Pittsfield than last year's startling high numbers that double the statewide average. Pittsfield Public Schools have never performed worse than last year's dismal numbers. Welfare caseloads are up, while job retention and growth are down. Moreover, he has been criticized for promoting the special interests of Pittsfield's power broker groups instead of the grassroots needs of the residents he shuts out of his municipal government. So, why is not Pittsfield worst Mayor since Gerry Doyle not in your target, too?
9) Chris Speranzo! Here is a man who is ten times, if not more, smarter than myself, and much more accomplished, too. Despite his promise, as I think he would make the best future Congressman out of the whole bunch of otherwise lousy Pols, he sold out to the "Good Old Boy Network." When Peter J. Larkin stepped down from his state Representative post in the early Winter of 2005, Speranzo had the inside position to be anointed instead of "elected" to this political position. Again, like in "Luciforo's" 2006 state "election", two women candidates were marginalized by a few male-dominated insiders who chose Speranzo to replace Larkin. So, Why is not Chris Speranzo in your target, too?
10) Smitty Pignatelli! Last but not least, Smitty Pignatelli has demonstrably proven himself to be an insider instead of a grassroots leader for Berkshire County on Beacon Hill. Your newspaper, THE TRANSCRIPT, had news articles quoting him on his praise for former-Speaker Finneran's closed door, OR non-Sunshine/open meeting, legislative sesssions. Not only was Pignatelli's first act as a state Legislator to vote for Tommy "Taxes" Finneran for his next consecutive term as Speaker of the House of Representatives, but also, Pignatelli praised Finneran's closed door management style in THE NORTH ADAMS TRANSCRIPT! While I believe Pignatelli is a good man and not as vicious as the rest of the aforementioned list of power brokers, he sure places political power way above political grassroots representation. So, Why is not Pignatelli in your target, too?
In conclusion, I believe Glenn Drohan and The North Adams Transcript do a good job in reporting the news, but they also use a sharp double standard in characterizing only me against a whole group of political insider who have proven to be (a) violent and slanderous, (b) strong-armed and corrupt, (c) poor performers who produce negative societal outcomes, (d) poor environmental leaders who neglect long-term solutions to serious pollution problems, (e) sees the political system through inequity and perverse economic incentives, and supports top-down, dictatorial state and local "leaders", (f) comments on public teachers' pay and compensation, while having no comment on their own excessive pay raise, (g) proposes buying of an entire state legislative body via the second of two pay raises in 2007 in exchange for the legislative rubber stamping his own power grab to consolidate executive power, (h) takes a junket to Russia while state employees take pink slips, and wants to limit grassroots political power in favor of insider control, (i) makes false promises he never has any intention of fulfilling in order to oust a sitting Mayor (Sara Hathaway, who was 3 years later strong-armed of the 2006 Middle Berkshire Registry of Deeds state "election" by "Luciforo"), and produces communal outcomes that have negative societal impacts and only benefits a very narrow constituency of special interests, (j) proves himself to be the ultimate insider instead of the intelligent and promising leader he should be in order to serve only the narrow interests of the "Good Old Boy Network", and (k) supporter of closed door legislative governance and top-down, dictatorial legislative leaders who only support special interests.
Well, Glenn Drohan and The North Adams Transcript: I have sure proved your hypothesis of me being "libelous, half-cocked or WAY TOO LONG..." to be a myopic double standard. Like I have written to you guys many times before when you toe the political machine line against Mitt Romney not visiting the Northern Berkshire region once in his 4 years of being Massachusetts Governor, or my slams and diatribes, and the like, TAKE A LOOK AROUND, MAN! Take another read on my criticisms of Gold-Digger Guyer, Luciforo, Mayor Barrett, Bureaucrat Bosley, Carmen, the Deval-uator, Stan "The Inside Man", Jimmy Ruberto, Speranzo, and Smitty. After you have fairly evaluated what I had to say against the political machine and power brokers in my writings, then comparatively come back to me with the same criticisms you have written against me. If the standard is fair, then I will accept "the truth", but if The Transcript's standards are the same double standard that so many Berkshirites, past, present and future, are coerced into living with, then I will DISSENT against your biases in news journalism for as long as I live!
Thank you, Glenn Drohan and The North Adams Transcript!
-Jonathan A. Melle
"News at thetranscript dot com wrote:
We have published your letters on occasion when they are not libelous, half-cocked or WAY TOO LONG LONG, LONG. We are in fact the only newspaper I know of that has published your letters (except The Advocate when I was editor). Also, you tend to send out an inordinate amount of letters. There is a limit. Certainly, as a former resident, your opinions are welcome here. Libel, half-baked slams and lengthy diatribes are not.
Globe endorses McCain, Obama
By Boston.com staff | December 15, 2007
Senators Barack Obama and John McCain have been endorsed by The Boston Globe editorial board ahead of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary on Jan. 8 in New Hampshire.
The board wrote that Obama, the Illinois Democrat, fulfills America's need for "a president with an intuitive sense of the wider world,'' and that McCain, the Arizona Republican, ''has done more than his share to transcend partisanship and promote an honest discussion of the problems facing the United States.''
The newspaper released early excerpts of its McCain and Obama endorsements, which will be published in full in Sunday's Globe and on Boston.com. The endorsements followed in-depth interviews with the presidential contenders.
Of Obama, the editorial board wrote that his diverse and international life experience was a plus. "The most sobering challenges that face this country — terrorism, climate change, disease pandemics — are global,'' the board wrote. "America needs a president with an intuitive sense of the wider world, with all its perils and opportunities. Barack Obama has this understanding at his core.''
The board, noting that Obama would be the country's first post-Baby Boom president if elected, addressed his relative lack of Washington experience compared to several of his Democratic rivals. ''It is true that all the other Democratic contenders have more conventional resumes, and have spent more time in Washington,'' the board wrote. "But that exposure has tended to give them a sense of government’s constraints. Obama is more open to its possibilities.''
McCain was praised as a straight talker whose honesty at political cost might help a polarized nation. The board called him an antidote to the "toxic political approach'' of the last two presidential elections.
''McCain’s views differ from those of this editorial page in a variety of ways. Yet McCain’s honesty has served him well,'' the board wrote. "As a lawmaker and as a candidate, he has done more than his share to transcend partisanship and promote an honest discussion of the problems facing the United States. He deserves the opportunity to represent his party in November’s election.''
GLOBE EDITORIAL | WEB EXCLUSIVE
For the Democrats: Barack Obama
December 15, 2007
THE FIRST American president of the 21st century has not appreciated the intricate realities of our age. The next president must. The most sobering challenges that face this country - terrorism, climate change, disease pandemics - are global. America needs a president with an intuitive sense of the wider world, with all its perils and opportunities. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has this understanding at his core. The Globe endorses his candidacy in New Hampshire's Democratic presidential primary Jan. 8.
Many have remarked on Obama's extraordinary biography: that he is the biracial son of a father from Kenya and a mother who had him at 18; that he was raised in the dynamic, multi-ethnic cultures of Hawaii and Indonesia; that he went from being president of the Harvard Law Review to the gritty and often thankless work of community organizing in Chicago; that, at 46, he would be the first post-baby-boom president.
What is more extraordinary is how Obama seals each of these experiences to his politics. One of the lessons he took from organizing poor families in Chicago, he says, was "how much people felt locked out of their government," even at the local level. That experience anchors his commitment to transparency and accountability in Washington.
Similarly, his exposure to foreign lands as a child and his own complex racial identity have made him at ease with diversity - of point of view as well as race or religion. "I've had to negotiate through different cultures my whole life," he says. He speaks with clarity and directness, and he is also a listener, a lost art in our politics.
In what looks like prescience today, Obama was against the Iraq war from the start. But his is not the stereotypical 1960s antiwar reflex. "I don't oppose all wars," he said in the fall of 2002. "I'm opposed to rash wars."
When it comes to waging peace, Obama has the leadership skills to reset the country's reputation in the world. He notes, for example, that the United States would be in a stronger position with Iran if it took more seriously its own commitment to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. His bill, cosponsored with Senator Richard Lugar, to add conventional weapons to the nation's threat reduction initiative, became law this year.
On domestic issues, the major Democratic candidates are reduced to parsing slivers of difference. But Obama has been more forthright in declaring his slightly heterodox positions to traditional Democratic constituencies. His support for merit pay for teachers, or a cap on carbon emissions, suggests a healthy independence from the established order.
The first major bill to Obama's name in the Illinois Legislature was on campaign ethics reform. In Washington, he coauthored this year's sweeping congressional lobbying reform law. When he describes his approach to healthcare negotiations, he says, "The insurance and drug companies will get a seat at the table, but they won't get to buy every chair."
Obama's critics, and even many who want to support him, worry about his relative lack of experience. It is true that other Democratic contenders have more conventional resumes and have spent more time in Washington. But that exposure has tended to give them a sense of government's constraints. Obama is more animated by its possibilities.
In our view, the choice on the Democratic side is between Obama and Hillary Clinton. Clinton has run a diligent, serious campaign, and her command of the issues is deep and reassuring. But her approach is needlessly defensive, a backward glance at the bruising political battles of the 1990s. Obama's candidacy looks forward.
Obama's memoir, "Dreams From My Father," is divided into three main sections. The first is a reflection on his youthful search for identity. The second recounts his days in Chicago, which include the first stirrings of a religious life. The third is a roots pilgrimage to Kenya, to better understand his often absent father. It is hard to read this book without longing for a president with this level of introspection, honesty, and maturity - and Obama published it when he was only 33.
"I genuinely believe that our security and prosperity are going to depend on how we manage our continued integration into the rest of the world," he says. Obama's story is the American story, a deeply affecting tale of possibility. People who vote for him vote their hopes. Even after seven desolating years, this country has not forgotten how to hope.
GLOBE EDITORIAL | WEB EXCLUSIVE
For the Republicans: John McCain
December 15, 2007
CONVENTIONAL wisdom among political handlers used to hold that a candidate needed to capture the political center. The last two presidential campaigns proved that wrong. The Republicans scraped out victories by pressing just enough buttons and mobilizing just enough voters. But such wins breed political polarization and deprive a president of the political capital needed to ask Americans to sacrifice in difficult times.
The antidote to such a toxic political approach is John McCain. The iconoclastic senator from Arizona has earned his reputation for straight talk by actually leveling with voters, even at significant political expense. The Globe endorses his bid in the New Hampshire Republican primary.
McCain is a conservative whose views differ from those of this editorial page in a variety of ways. He opposes abortion rights. At least in the current election cycle, he has shown no particular quarrel with his party's knee-jerk view of tax cuts as the cure to the nation's economic problems.
Also unlike this page, McCain has strongly supported the current war in Iraq, including the troop surge. Yet the Arizona senator has never been an uncritical booster of President Bush's policies. Early on, he accurately predicted that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld wasn't sending enough troops to maintain order after Saddam Hussein fell. Today, he straightforwardly acknowledges the fragility of the Iraqi government and the corruption that pervades that country. He understands that US failures in Iraq, along with President Bush's torpid response to Hurricane Katrina, have damaged the nation's credibility abroad and at home.
McCain's honesty has served him well on other issues. As a longtime public official from a border state, he recognizes that illegal immigration is a complex problem - for which better border control is only part of the solution. His thoughtful stance may be a tough sell politically at a time when many Republicans (and many Democrats) are anxious about the number of people living and working in the United States illegally. But his opponents' get-tough poses are unlikely to close the gap between immigration law and immigration practice; McCain's comprehensive approach is far more likely to bring the two back in line.
One of McCain's great virtues is his willingness to acknowledge unpleasant realities. McCain sees that special interests with money to throw around have an undue influence over the electoral process and public policy, that the planet is getting warmer because of human activities, that interrogating a suspect by pretending to drown him is a form of torture. To the consternation of many of his fellow Republicans, McCain has pushed for serious reform legislation in all three areas.
In 2000, McCain's insurgent candidacy almost succeeded in stopping the George W. Bush juggernaut. This time around, McCain is running further back in the pack of candidates. Yet Republican voters in New Hampshire would be wise to consider this: Of all the party's candidates, McCain has the greatest potential appeal to independent voters.
The Arizona senator is running for president at a treacherous time. Iraq is in flames. The economy is weak. American voters are worried about their futures, and about their government's ability to enforce its own laws. A general election campaign with John McCain in it is more likely to turn on substance, not demagoguery.
As a lawmaker and as a candidate, McCain has done more than his share to transcend partisanship and promote an honest discussion of the problems facing the United States. He deserves the opportunity to represent his party in November's election.
"Small states, big noise"
The Berkshire Eagle - Editorial
Monday, December 31, 2007
Iowa and New Hampshire, fawned over by presidential candidates since the days following the 2006 elections over a year ago, are now poised to make their selections. If past primaries are any guide, their choices will have little or no bearing on America's choice of a president. That is as it should be, as their primacy in the process is undeserved. Four years from now, we'll probably be saying the same thing.
Massachusetts, a far larger state than either and considerably more representative of America demographically, will vote along with 21 other states on February 5. While Massachusetts will be lost in the pack to an extent, it will be far more relevant than it was when its primary was conducted in March. This "super primary" day is also more akin to what will happen in November when all of America chooses a president at once.
Iowa, which will conduct its caucuses on Thursday, and New Hampshire, which will host its primary on January 8, are so fiercely protective of their first in-the-nation status that it appeared for a time that both would move their votes into December to fend off interlopers. Michigan and Florida were penalized with the loss of voting status at the respective party conventions because they dared challenge Iowa and New Hampshire by moving up their primary dates, although there is a little doubt that party chieftains will revoke the penalties rather than alienate voters going into election day.
These two states don't justify the fuss that is made over them, Iowa in particular. The Iowa caucuses are so Byzantine in nature that they are dominated only by a relative handful of party insiders. Yet the national press will anoint Thursday's two winners with "momentum," which could at least theoretically prove to be a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Iowa's high number of politically active evangelicals have pushed former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who has made it clear he would be the president of Christian Americans, not heathens, into the limelight. In a past caucus, Iowa swooned over the candidacy of Pat Robertson, a mean-spirited evangelical who is now largely a punch line. Mr. Huckabee, who is Mr. Robertson with a friendly face, may find it difficult to maintain momentum when he leaves Iowa.
Iowans who aren't evangelicals appear to be ethanol farmers, as candidates of both parties are expected to promise subsidies for a mythical alternative energy source that is costly and will not improve the environment. While New Hampshire voters don't demand the pandering that Iowa expects, the "Live Free or Die State" is small, largely white and not deserving of its first in the nation status. All of those candidates, volunteers and media types, however, are great for the economy.
Reportedly, Republican strategists are writing off Massachusetts because Mitt Romney is a "favorite son," which suggests that they haven't talked to a lot of Republicans in the state. Mr. Romney did nothing to build the struggling party and as a result made few political allies. Democratic voters in Massachusetts were fond of Bill Clinton, but who knows if that fondness will translate to Hillary? So far, no polls have been conducted in the state.
Bay State residents have until January 16 to register to vote in the presidential primary and to switch party enrollment before the election. Voters may or may not play a decisive role in electing a candidate, but no trip to the polls is ever wasted.
A Boston GLOBE EDITORIAL
"Charlie Wilson's Zen lesson"
January 4, 2008
TWO MESSAGES are appended to the end of "Charlie Wilson's War," the artful Hollywood flick about a hedonistic Texas congressman who in the 1980s raised covert funding for the Afghan mujahideen from $5 million to $1 billion, thereby helping to drive the Red Army out of Afghanistan and precipitate the implosion of the Soviet Union. An explicit moral of the movie comes from the real-life Wilson, who lamented that America did the right thing in Afghanistan but messed up "the endgame." Today there can be little doubt that Washington's brusque loss of interest in the fate of Afghanistan after the Soviets' withdrawal was a calamitous error.
But it is the second, more philosophical message that ought to be at the center of current debate about America's role in the world. This lesson, which the Bush administration has learned all too slowly, teaches the need for humility in those who make America's moves on a global chessboard - a virtue that seems almost totally absent from the patriotic posturing of the presidential candidates.
Toward the end of "Charlie Wilson's War," a CIA officer played by the pitch-perfect Philip Seymour Hoffman cautions the Wilson character (played by Tom Hanks) not to be too sure they have done something glorious. To make the point, he tells the story of a Zen master who observes the people of his village celebrating a young boy's new horse as a wonderful gift. "We'll see," the Zen master says. When the boy falls off the horse and breaks a leg, everyone says the horse is a curse. "We'll see," says the master. Then war breaks out, the boy cannot be conscripted because of his injury, and everyone now says the horse was a fortunate gift. "We'll see," the master says again.
This is screenwriter Aaron Sorkin's way of warning against triumphalism. Yes, Afghan suffering at the hands of the Soviet invaders was atrocious, and the Soviets' defeat by Afghan mujahideen armed with US Stinger missiles ought to have been a humanitarian liberation. But the fighting among Afghan warlords that ensued opened the way for the fanatical Taliban to take power, for Al Qaeda to set up terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, for the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, and then for to the Bush administration's global war on terror, whose destabilizing effects are likely to extend far into the future.
In a similar vein, Bush should have foreseen that the invasion and occupation of Iraq could become a strategic gift to Iran; that his pledge to foster democracy in the Muslim world while backing Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan would make America look hypocritical; or that his reluctance to seek a United Nations Security Council resolution to halt Israel's bombing of Lebanon in the summer of 2006 would inflame anti-American feelings in the Arab world. These are the sorts of unintended consequences a Zen master would expect - and a president must try to anticipate.
"Clear choices for president"
TheTranscript.com - The North Adams Transcript - Editorial
Friday, January 4, 2008
We don't need Iowa or New Hampshire to tell us who would make the best president. Although the choices, both Democratic and Republican, aren't terrific, they are quite clear. The Transcript endorses Barack Obama and John McCain in the upcoming primaries.
That said, we urge everyone who won't vote for them to vote for anyone but Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney. Rudy Guiliani? The street fighter may pull it off in this age when getting away with things actually scores points, but his skeletons may be too many even for us Americans to take.
Bury Fred Thompson, who is lost without a script. John Edwards is just a little too far to the left of our center, although we admire his idealism. He also gets too expensive haircuts and talks with just a trace of a swish that will perhaps unfairly doom his candidacy. Too bad. Good man. Obama has more charisma, and the presidency is much about charisma.
Why not Hillary? Foremost, she does not deserve the honor of being the first woman president. She's no Margaret Thatcher. She's not even Madeleine Albright. Hillary can't command the respect of her own husband, whose moronic skirt-chasing would certainly bring scandal to the White House yet again. How is she going to command the respect of leaders in foreign countries — particularly those who still have 17th-century ideas about the role of women? Try as she might for warmth and charm, her shrillness bursts through, always, along with her callous calculation. She doesn't really want to be president anyway. She'd rather be queen. Does anyone seriously think she could be elected?
So how about Mitt, the best-looking-for-president guy? Mr. Corporate Square Jaw Opportunist doesn't make the grade. We've seen what he's done in Massachusetts — state responsibilities shunted to local taxpayers, accounts cook-booked for a fast bottom line that turns to huge deficit one year later, taking the credit for health-care reform brewed out of other minds. No thanks, Mitt. You're a potentially nice guy, sold out to big business — and trying for religion.
Mike Huckabee: Is the world really ready for a Baptist minister as president? Beyond that, what is his real record in Arkansas? Media folks there don't seem to like him much. Then again, some people like it that he's irritated or infuriated the press. He's the fastest of foot, as debates and interviews have shown, but will repartee — and that old time religion — get him to the goal? This man is sharp, but he's not what America needs, as we step into the international world and realities of 2008.
Mr. Obama, the agent for change who advocates sensible diplomacy and talks reasonably straight, may be. Mr. McCain, the free-thinking, stand-on-your-feet, tell-it-like-it-is veteran, who understands the carrot and stick and has more experience than anyone in the field, may be. And he's getting back his charisma. We support both of them, with nods to Mr. Edwards and Mr. Huckabee and a polite no thank you to the rest of the field.
Anyone but Hillary and Mitt.
My favorite journalist, Mary Carey, with her daughter in California.
"North Adams Transcript launches new YouTube site"
Thursday, March 13, 2008
The North Adams Transcript is pleased to announce the launch of its YouTube channel, where you can find video clips and produced news segments relating to stories found in the daily paper and even a few that are Web exclusive.
To view clips of all your favorite news pieces and local sporting events go to
and click on the video of your choice. You can also go to YouTube's main page and search for "North Adams Transcript" in both the videos and the channels section.
Create a YouTube account of your own and you can subscribe to our channel to receive e-mail updates when a new video is posted. Or be sure to bookmark our channel and check for updates every week.
Also be sure to check out the Transcript's Web site at www.thetranscript.com for more photos and stories.
Mary E Carey
July 15, 2008
Dear Berkshire Eagle:
Massachusetts has much bigger finanicial problems and crises than New Hampshire! Having lived the first +28.5-years of my life in Berkshire County (region), Massachusetts, and the past nearly-4.5-yearls of my life in Southern New Hampshire, I have a bird's eye view of both state governments, and let me tell you, Berkshire Eagle, that Massachusetts' finances are in much WORSE shape than its neighboring state to the northeast!
Massachusetts has the "Big Dig": The most expensive, wasteful, dangerous, problematic (leaking), and the like, single public works project in the history of our great nation! Massachusetts is the #1 per capita (which means per person) debtor state, too. Massachusetts has implemented a flawed healthcare reform law without even one funding source from the state government itself! In fact, Massachusetts takes monies from the federal government, hospitals and community health centers to fund its overhead for "Commonwealth Care", which is a substandard healthcare insurance policies for the state's working poor.
Moreover, where you--Berkshire Eagle--operate from: Pittsfield, Massachusetts or Berkshire County, is the #1 place in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for job LOSS! Teen pregnancies double the statewide average and welfare caseloads are skyrocketing! Property taxes have risen by over 33% in Massachusetts since the 2nd worse bear market in U.S. History in late-2001-early-2003.
Massachusetts taxes, fees and tolls have all risen, and the Berkshire Eagle does not protest these tax hikes, while the Berkshire Eagle wrongly criticizes New Hampshire's state government financial system. While the Berkshire Eagle omits that Pittsfield's public school system is among the bottom ten worst performing school districts in the commonwealth, they pick on New Hampshire's struggling schools. That is utter hypocrisy! For the foregone reasons, I despise the Berkshire Eagle for attacking New Hampshire!
Jonathan A. Melle
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorial, July 15, 2008
"Right stand on tax repeal"
Give the state's Republican Party credit for eschewing the knee-jerk, anti-tax philosophy of national party leaders that has helped get the economy into the fix it's in. Party leaders have come out against Question 1, the fall ballot question calling for the elimination of the income tax, joining Democrats and the business community in opposition to a shortsighted referendum that, if enacted, would devastate health care, social programs and education by eliminating as much as $13 billion in annual revenue. The assertion by the question's sponsor, Libertarian Carla Howell, that the state's politicians are "awash in cash" is untrue and irresponsible. Massachusetts residents can look northeast to New Hampshire, a state with punishingly high property taxes and a public school system so poor that the federal government had to demand improvement, to see what a state with no income tax looks like. We believe voters will see through this foolish question.
"Don't turn state into New Hampshire"
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
This November we here in Massachusetts will be faced with two big decisions. Not only will we decide who our next president of the United States will be, we will vote on Question 1.
Question 1 is proposing to cut our 5.3 percent state income tax in half by January 2009 and to abolish it completely by January 2010. Money that is collected from our state income tax is used to fund our schools, law enforcement agencies, firefighters, paramedics, hospitals, roads and bridges and many other services we all use every day. A yes vote on question 1 would be disastrous to all of these services. People who work in these areas would be pushed to the limit with very little funding if they are the lucky ones to keep their jobs.
Here in Massachusetts we are fortunate to have schools that perform much better than the national average, police, firefighters and paramedics who respond quickly, roads and bridges that are safe to drive even hours after terrible snowstorms, and much lower property taxes than our neighboring states. A No vote on Question 1 would ensure that we keep Massachusetts a great state with great services provided for the public.
If we wanted to live in a state that does not have a state income tax, has poor performing schools and outrageous property taxes we could move to New Hampshire. Vote No on Question 1.
September 24, 2008
Re: Massachusetts v. New Hampshire fiscal debates?
The fiscal debates between Massachusetts and New Hampshire are full of hidden messages.
When NH proponents put down Massachusetts, people see NH as more white and they want to protect the majority from the more racially diverse minority populations in Massachusetts.
When Massachusetts proponents put down NH, people see NH as fiscally inequitable with poor social services, but are blind to Massachusetts' huge fiscal problems such as the Big Dig, which has made the Bay State the highest per capital debtor state in the nation, among other issues such as Healthcare Reform with unsustainable costs.
Having lived in both states, I find them very similar with marginal differences in their fiscal policies. Both are elitist, predominantly white, full of regressive taxation schemes, and ran by the vested interests from Boston's large financial institutions, i.e., big banks and insurance companies.
Jonathan A. Melle
Re: The NH Union Leader is A FASCIST RAG!
September 25, 2008
Dear NH Union Leader Editorial FASCISTS!
I take great OFFENSE at your Editorial in today's newspaper! Why not go further with your totalitarian-tortured-logic and do what Adolf Hitler did around 7 decades ago? Why not set up concentration camps for forced labor and orderly executions of the mentally ill? That would save NH taxpayers a lot of $ -- and maybe even turn a profit for the state too!
Furthermore, to the Union Leader Editorial Fascists: I, Jonathan Alan Melle, can stand first in line for your political persecution of the mentally disabled! You can make me out to be the enemy of the People!..because I cost them a paltry marginal amount in their tax dollars. Well, wait one minute, you will have to wait your turn because the Manchester Police Department (John Cunningham) & the Hillsborough County NH District Attorney's Office (Brett Harpster) is already ahead of you on persecuting me with many lies, falsehoods and false sworn testimony that defies both common sense and the laws of physics!
To Hell with HUMAN RIGHTS! The New Hampshire Union Leader Editorial Fascists would rather NEGLECT and PERSECUTE those citizens who have involuntary, untreated, under-treated, and the like, mental health disabilities, limitations, impairments, constraints, etc. While your at it, Union Leader Fascists, why not burn some books and newspapers and magazines, too. When the fire gets really hot, then through me into the burning fire.
My God! What kind of newspaper is the New Hampshire Union Leader anyway?! To follow the Union Leader's logic, the report by the state's mental health provider's cries out for more public money than currently provided in order for the state to address the CRISIS in mental health care treatment services in New Hampshire, but because taxes must remain low, then it is O.K. with the Union Leader Fascists for the mentally ill and disabled to end up in PRISONS (maybe like me for up to 7 years, which will cost taxpayers a lot of money -- never-mind my upcoming 2/17/2009 trial by jury!), on the STREETS (especially abused and neglected women and children), or in the local HOSPITAL for a short-term visit that will cost a lot of money, too.
The Union Leader's Editorial FASCISTS don't make sense! How is a mentally ill, disabled, limited, impaired, constrained, etc., citizen going to pay rent month after month after month...? When they are turned away from social services due to NH's underfunding of mental health care services, then they are going to end up costing society a lot of money via PRISONS, HOMELESSNESS, & HOSPITALS, and the like.
In the strongest of my DISSENTS EVER!,
Jonathan A. Melle
~A PERSECUTED CITIZEN BY the following Bullying Abusers of their respective Authoritative Power: ANDREA F. NUCIFORO, Jr., DENIS E. GUYER, CARMEN C. MASSIMIANO, Jr. (PITTSFIELD, Massachusetts), & Manchester NH Police Officer (THUG) John Cunningham, Assistant County Attorney Brett Harpster, et al.~
"Mental health scare: New report needs salt"
The NH Union Leader, Editorial, 9/25/2008
If a task force made up of private hospital executives recommended that the state spend $10 million a year on direct payments to private hospitals for the treatment of patients, we would all regard the report with great skepticism.
On Monday, a task force made up of publicly funded mental health professionals recommended that the state spend an additional $10 million a year on mental health treatment -- mostly provided by those same publicly funded mental health professionals.
It's time for some serious skepticism.
Supposedly the state's system for treating the mentally ill is vastly underfunded and ineffective. Even if there is indeed great room for improvement, two objections to Monday's report immediately arise: For every problem raised in the report, the solution was additional state spending; and the report never addressed where the money might be found.
The task force's case for more funding is shaky. For example, it cites expensive housing as the No. 1 problem. But instead of urging communities and the state to adopt policies that will increase the stock of rental housing, thus driving down prices, the task force simply asks for rental subsidies for the mentally ill.
The task force cites reduced Medicaid and other provider reimbursements as a justification for increased state spending. Yet it never addresses whether providers might reduce costs instead of seeking higher state payments.
Legislators will no doubt latch onto this dubious report and propose large increases in state spending on the mentally ill in the next legislative session. But based on the case presented in this report, that action is not justified.
The NH Union Leader, Letters, Friday, October 3, 2008
"Real reason our health care system is broken"
To the Editors:
In response to the September 25, 2008, editorial regarding the "supposedly" lack of funds to treat people with mental illnesses, I would like to say that there is no supposedly about it. The mental health system in New Hampshire is broken.
This was not always the case. Once we were a shining example to the nation. People would come from out of state to study our model of care. Now we rate a D from The National Alliance on Mental Illness. But, in actuality, there really is no decrease in funding. Instead of treatment, the funds just go to our jails and prison system, where those unfortunate folks who cannot access proper treatment and housing wind up committing petty crimes or become public nuisances.
I know of a number of firsthand cases. Prevention, in the long run, is always cheaper and spares an immeasurable amount of suffering.
11 Country Club Drive
Manchester, New Hampshire
"Former editor was 'heart of paper'"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Thursday, September 25, 2008
LENOX — Former Berkshire Eagle associate editor Roger B. Linscott, who won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing for the newspaper in 1972, died Monday afternoon at his home at Kimball Farms. He was 88.
An irreverent, witty man, Linscott worked at The Eagle for 38 years before retiring in 1986. He continued to work part-time at The Eagle for years afterward, while also working full-time at Laurin Publishing in Pittsfield, where he served as editorial director before retiring in 2003.
Linscott received the Pulitzer Prize after submitting 10 editorials that The Eagle said contained "the objective of illustrating the wide range of subjects an editorial writer on a small paper must deal with, ranging from purely local to national and international situations."
Asked to single out one submission as an example of his best work, Linscott chose an editorial published on Oct. 18, 1972, in which The Eagle endorsed George McGovern for president.
Mark Miller, a former executive editor of The Eagle, called Linscott "one of the key figures that made The Eagle what it was in the second half of the 20th century."
Miller, whose family owned the paper until the mid-1990s, said Linscott and his father, Lawrence Miller, made the editorial page "the heart of the paper."
Don MacGillis, a former Eagle editor and now an editorial page writer for The Boston Globe, said Linscott's editorials kept public officials honest.
"Linscott used the Eagle editorial page to keep Berkshire County from being overrun by development, to keep state government on the straight and narrow, and to fight the worst excesses of the Nixon and Reagan administrations," MacGillis said.
"He delighted in speaking to power with conviction and plain-spoken eloquence," added MacGillis, who still lives in Pittsfield. "When a misguided official was the target of an Eagle editorial, Linscott did not mince words. He put his crustiness to good use. The county is better for it."
Said former Eagle City Editor Bill Bell, "He was a brilliant writer and an advocate of high journalistic standards whose influence was felt throughout The Eagle's news department."
'It keeps me young'
Former Eagle reporter Charles T. Troy, currently the senior editor at Laurin Publishing, said Linscott was responsible for a lot of the quality magazine work the company produced, and also liked working with young people.
"A lot of times I asked him, 'Why don't you retire and go home?' " Troy said. "But he said, 'I love working with young folks. It keeps me young.' "
Linscott is one of two Berkshire County residents to have won the Pulitzer Prize. The other is James MacGregor Burns of Williamstown, the Woodrow Wilson Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Williams College, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1971 for his book, "Roosevelt: Soldier of Freedom 1940-45."
Linscott was also a noted fly fisherman, hiker, and billiards player, who once drove a souped-up Plymouth Duster, loved animals, and was known for his bouts of absentmindedness. According to Eagle files, as a member of a college jazz band, Linscott once went dashing off to a New York City recording date, but left his rented bass fiddle in a taxi cab.
"He was extremely erudite and particular about history," said Hartford Courant reporter Rinker Buck, who befriended Linscott after working at The Eagle in the early 1970s, "but the details of life often eluded him."
Attorney Wendy T. Linscott, of Great Barrington, one of Linscott's four daughters, said her father never owned a short-sleeved shirt, declined to wear shorts, and didn't purchase a pair of blue jeans — "dungarees, as he would call them" — until he was in his 50s.
"He was a renaissance man," Wendy Linscott said.
Born in Winchester, Linscott was the son of Robert N. Linscott, an editor at Random House, who was one of the most respected editors in American publishing in the first half of the 20th century, according to Bell. Wendy Linscott said her grandfather, who died in 1964, worked with William Faulkner, and discovered well-known American author Carson McCullers, who wrote novels, short stories and plays. Robert Linscott also edited the "Selected Poems and Letters of Emily Dickinson."
"His descendants still get royalties from that," Wendy Linscott said.
Linscott graduated from Harvard University in 1941, after spending summer vacations working for the Cape Cod Standard-Times. He was employed briefly by the Buchanan Advertising Agency in New York before enlisting in the Navy where he served on a destroyer during World War II as a lieutenant second grade.
Following his discharge from the service, Linscott worked as a copywriter for the Franklin Spier advertising agency before joining the New York Herald Tribune in November 1946. Linscott spent two years at the Herald Tribune writing the "On the Books" column for the newspaper's Weekly Book Review section, before coming to what was then known as The Berkshire Evening Eagle in 1948.
Seeking a small-town paper
According to his daughter, Linscott came to Pittsfield because he wanted to move his family out of New York City. She said her father discovered The Eagle by going to a New York City newspaper stand and looking through the small-town papers until he found one that interested him.
When he arrived at The Eagle, Linscott was first assigned to cover City Hall, which he did for six years while writing a weekly column on politics. He became an editorial writer in 1954, and was named chief editorial writer in 1957. Linscott was later named editor of the editorial page, before being promoted to associate editor in 1972.
Linscott leaves four daughters, Wendy T. Linscott, of Egremont; Judith K.R. Zask, of Lakeville, Conn.; Victoria Harper Linscott, of Falls Village, Conn.; and Rebecca S. Spieler, of Sandisfield; four grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. He also leaves his family friend and caregiver, Betty Sacco of Pittsfield.
He was predeceased by his wife, the former Lucy Ann Richardson Goodlatte, who died in March 1996; his brother, Seymour; and his sisters, Barbara Meyers and Sylvia Reynolds.
Burial will be private and a memorial service will be held later this year. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Berkshire Natural Resources Council or the Berkshire Humane Society. Funeral arrangements are under the care of Finnerty & Stevens Funeral Home in Great Barrington.
To reach Tony Dobrowolski: firstname.lastname@example.org, (413) 496-6224.
The Berkshire Eagle - Editorial
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Like any good newspaperman, Roger Linscott abhorred dishonesty and incompetence wherever he encountered them, whether that was Pittsfield, Boston or Washington, D.C. As a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer, Mr. Linscott, who died Monday at the age of 88, spoke truth to power with uncommon eloquence and authority.
Smart, outspoken and possessed of a dry wit, Mr. Linscott, who served the Eagle as associate editor as well as editorial page editor, retired after 38 years in 1986, but never really left. He continued to work part-time at The Eagle for many years while working full-time at Laurin Publishing as editorial director, and in recent years he would drop by the newsroom to offer praise — which meant a lot considering the source. He had great affection for the newspaper, the people who put it out every day, and the Berkshires he moved to from New York City to raise his family with his wife, Lucy Ann.
The 10 editorials that earned him the Pulitzer Prize in 1972 ranged from Berkshire road projects to the Vietnam War, and demonstrated his insight, boldness and gift for writing. He chastised the city's two hospitals for not participating in an innovative countywide family planning project and observed that the $213 million in state funds for a highway project would be better used to clean the Housatonic River. In The Eagle's endorsement of George McGovern for president in 1972, he wrote, with considerable prescience, that even if the endorsement was a minority view, "it is nonetheless one that we feel obliged to make, because we are not at all confident the nation can emerge without irreparable damage from four more years of President Nixon."
Mr. Linscott wrote often about the folly of the Vietnam War, and on January 24, 1973, asserted, as the war wound to an end, "We have perhaps learned that all the money and technological might in the world are worth nothing when applied in the wrong cause at the wrong time in a cause unworthy of American goals and ideals. The importance of those lessons ... provide the only rationalization for the staggering price that has been paid." Though recent events reveal that we didn't learn those lessons, The Eagle and its readership were enriched by the work of Mr. Linscott, who exposed wrongs with insight and passion.
"Fond memories of Roger Linscott"
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters
Monday, October 06, 2008
I served with (former Eagle editorial page editor) Roger Linscott for about two years on the U.S.S. Hunt during World War II. Roger had a dry sense of humor. One night we had a crew party and everybody drank too much, including Roger. The next morning one of the men said to him, "I didn't think you were going to live." Roger said, "It was nip and tuck for a while there!"
He was a delightful friend and companion. We kept in touch for many years with Roger and his wife, Lucy. I was very sorry to learn of his passing.
Re: On Glenn Drohan & the North Adams Transcript
Glenn Drohan is a good Editor and high quality journalist. Please keep up your good work with the most wonderfully subversive small-town newspaper in the World!
P.S. Mary E Carey is still my favorite journalist EVER!
"Adapting to the times"
The North Adams Transcript (TheTranscript.com) - Editorial
Thursday, October 9, 2008
North Berkshire residents should not read anything worrisome into the sale of the North Adams Transcript building, as reported in Wednesday's Page 1 story. As stated by Publisher Robert Chapman, the newspaper itself is staying right here in North Adams. Only the building is being sold.
In these tough economic times, as credit tightens, the stock market teeters and fuel costs and food prices soar, businesses everywhere are tightening the purse strings and looking for savings. Grim forecasters have warned of job losses across the nation. We are indeed in a deep recession, with some experts calling it a "crisis."
Why are we at the Transcript confident about our future, even as newspapers across the country are struggling with declining advertising revenues and falling circulation? Because we are a small community newspaper that deals primarily in local news.
The shift of our printing and mailroom operations to Pittsfield this summer left us with a building far too large for our needs, and by selling our building, we are now adapting to the times. But while newspapers can be printed anywhere, the news can only be gathered where it happens. That is why our reporters, sports staff and photographers have to stay right here in North Berkshire. It's the only way we can deliver our readers what they have come to expect: local news about their town and city governments and schools, local photographs and features, previews of local events.
When the move comes, we will miss 124 American Legion Drive, which has been the Transcript's home for 39 years. But our staff looks forward to finding a new, smaller, more sensible building to fit our current needs. And when we leave this building, be assured we will still call North Adams home.
October 10, 2008
Re: Attn: Mary E. Carey - My thoughts on Pittsfield & Jack Welch...
Dear Mary E Carey:
You are my FAVORITE journalist EVER because you have defended me while Pittsfield area powerful pols.... (see):
.... wanted to jail me and fire my dad from his former state job of 31-years (Spring 1998), and they have since conspiratorially colluded against me to blacklist me from employment and now from Western Massachusetts in order for me to be the BAIT in order for "Luciforo" to settle a political score against my dad and ruin my family financially so that he can discredit me and run and represent his insurance company lobbyists on Capitol Hill in U.S. Congress.
I also believe that you are brave to defend me and take on the powerful career Pols who live in your region in and around Amherst, Massachusetts.
My thoughts on Jack Welch are two distinct categories. If you go to:
....you will see that the average gain per year by GE's former CEO was nearly 20%! That is an amazing yield or return on investment over his 20 years of service in America's #1 corporation's corner office. 72/20 => 3.6, which means that stock holders doubled their money on average nearly every 3.5-years -- or 5.5 times. That means that an investor who held $10,000 worth of shares in GE stock from the time Jack Welch started as GE's CEO to the time he left 20 years later would have made a net surplus or profit amount on his investment of about nearly $490,000! The bottom line is Jack Welch made a lot of money by making the corporate elite a lot of money. He was one of the best and brightest businessmen in the World! He will go down as the "Michael Jordan" of Corporate America.
However, Jack Welch has a DARK SIDE! His decisions were extremely economic and financial (or banal) without any morality and humanity to the people and communities he irreparably harmed. Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is a case in point. Jack Welch pulled a great majority of GE's business out of Pittsfield and killed its local economy in the process.
Moreover, Jack Welch signed a consent decree that was FRAUDULENT on so many terrible levels. GE left behind TOXIC WASTE in the form of cancer causing PCBs in Pittsfield and like areas. Pittsfield colluded with GE to cap -- NOT clean -- the numerous toxic waste sites. The crux of the problem with the consent decree is that the caps will last about a generation and then become as useless as a used condom. Around the years 2025 - 2030, Pittsfield residents will be exposed to lethal amounts of GE's left behind PCBs and even more local people will suffer and die from CANCER because of Pittsfield's deal with the Devil...excuse me, Jack Welch.
Jack Welch represents Henry F. Potter in Frank Capra's post World War II suburban (white flight propaganda) movie: "It is a Wonderful Life". The dichotomy between the good and dark sides of Jack Welch are the two sides of the coin that is economics.
In a large economy of scale, the people are liabilities or inputs in to system to produce efficient outputs or products. In essence, we are victims of fascism or as Pink Floyd's band sang: "All and all, you are just another brick in the wall." When I am viewed by the corporate elite, I am a quantified cost to be regulated and controlled. If I am of use to the corporate elite, my marginal benefit must exceed my marginal cost, and when I become marginally more expensive than the CEO's bottom line may allow, I am downsized or out-processed. In other-words, the CEO cuts his losses by giving me a short-term unemployment check subsidized by the regulated masses. In return for the corporate system that runs our American Government and economy, our government is funded and I get to consume more products than I would under socialism.
In a small economy of scale, the people are assets or outputs to produce equitable inputs or community resources. In essence, we are the beneficiaries of good schools, professional police units, safe streets, nice neighborhoods, and a hopefully well-adjusted family and group of friends. Unlike a successful corporate CEO, a good Mayor will invest in his local residents via providing first-rate public schools, job training, public safety, and great neighborhoods that are equipped to produce healthy and happy families and friends.
Because a decent Mayor needs to invest in his community instead of in his big business, he is often at odds with the Governor, Congressman and U.S. President.
However, in Pittsfield's case, then-Mayor Gerry Doyle did then-CEO Jack Welch's dirty work and signed GE's consent decree ensuring that the costs and deleterious health effects from GE's left behind toxic waste sites will be deferred well into Pittsfield's future.
Jack Welch truly represented the economic/financial rational man of corporate America. He screwed the proverbial Pittsfield, but also, he yielded an average annual return on investment rate of nearly 20% per year for 20 years. I both admire and despise Jack Welch and his tenure as GE's CEO.
Lastly and in closing, you, Mary E. Carey, was, is and always will be my FAVORITE journalist EVER! I thank you for advocating for me in the face of Pittsfield's dark prince of politics: "Luciforo" and his insidious political network of unfair, insider public sector henchmen! I will always be grateful for your check on their abuse against me. AND, I know when the proverbial "flag of War" will predictably rise when Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr. uses his corrupt insurance company connections and runs for U.S. Congress, you will be there to cover the truth, which will both protect me and set me free. Unfortunately for me and my family, that day of Nuciforo's political reckoning is fast approaching sometime within the next decade. I just say to Denis E Guyer, Carmen C Massimiano, Jr. and "Luciforo": ROUND TWO!
Thank you, Mary E Carey, & Yours very truly,
Jonathan A. Melle
April 8, 2013
Re: Pittsfield's problems
Pittsfield has a problem with teen pregnancies. Pittsfield is a place with scarce living wage employment, but very high per capita welfare caseloads. I believe in birth control, sexual education, and masturbation in lieu of consensual sex. If teenagers were educated about sex, used birth control, and masturbated in lieu of sex, I believe there would be little to no teen pregnancies. The United States is #1 in the industrialized World for teen pregnancies.
I read a news article about former Pittsfield resident and former CEO of GE Jack Welch today while I was in the waiting room at the VA Hospital. Jack Welch "reviles" U.S. President Barack Obama. He gives Q&A's all over the country and World for 6-figures a pop. He talks business and politics to the masses. He sponsors an MBA program with his name at a for-profit college that enlists homeless people who take out student loans. Jack Welch transformed GE from a manufacturing business to a financial institution that almost lost its shirt in the 2 recessions of the 2001 - 2010 decade. Jack Welch retired from GE in 2001. He made hundreds of millions of dollars for himself, while firing over 100,000 GE employees. Jack Welch screwed Pittsfield by GE leaving town. GE was Pittsfield's economy. Now, Pittsfield's economy is single teenage mothers on welfare and senior citizens on fixed incomes. There are no jobs in Pittsfield, Massachusetts unless you are connected to the Good Old Boy network.
Dan Valenti makes his living writing about this. Pittsfield is a dying community. It is a post-industrial town that the financial system left behind. Pittsfield is a reflection of post-industrial America.
Our nation is ran by the Corporate Elite. Like Jack Welch, the corporate elite has left manufacturing behind for financial gain. The corporate elite has bought a majority of our politicians from our U.S. President on down. The result is staggering socio-economic inequalities between the wealthy and the hundreds of millions of have-nots.
- Jonathan A. Melle
Re: What is missing from "Eagle endorsements"?
November 4, 2008
The Berkshire Eagle's endorsements, below, is missing 5 endorsements for the political offices of Berkshire State Senator, South Berkshire State Representative, Middle Berkshire State Representative, Pittsfield State Representative, and North Berkshire State Representative. Does the Berkshire Eagle endorse Ben Downing for Berkshire State Senator? How about William Pignatelli, Denis Guyer, Chris Speranzo, and/or Dan Bosley for State Representatives? Does the Berkshire Eagle endorse the fact that not one of these state representatives and senator is running unopposed in 2008? Does the Berkshire Eagle even want democracy in Berkshire County? Are these career Pols entitled to these seats on Beacon Hill's State House? Why does the Berkshire Eagle fall SILENT on this travesty of anti-democracy?
The Berkshire Eagle - Editorial
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Election Day is finally here, to the excitement and relief of many. When it comes to political polls, all that can be said with certainty is that they mean nothing as of now. The only poll that matters is the one being conducted around the nation today in voting booths.
The hotly contested presidential campaign may lead to an impressive turnout, which would be unusual in a nation that fancies itself the world's greatest democracy. People die in many nations fighting for the rights that we take for granted. Voting is a right but it is also a privilege, one that should be enjoyed today.
The Eagle endorses Democrat Barack Obama for president of the United States. The Eagle also endorses the re-election of Democratic Representative John Olver, congressman of the First District, and incumbent Democratic Senator John Kerry.
There are three referendum questions on the Massachusetts ballot. The Eagle urges a No vote on Question 1, which would reduce the 5.3 percent state income tax rate to 2.65 percent beginning on January 1, 2009, and would eliminate the tax altogether on January 1, 2010. The Eagle urges a No vote on Question 2, which would replace the criminal penalties for possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana with a system of civil penalties, and would exclude information from the state's criminal record system. The Eagle endorses a Yes vote on Question 3, which would ban dog racing in Massachusetts where any form of betting or wagering occurs.
THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE's Political EDITORIALS!
NOVEMBER 6/7, 2008 -
"A wise vote on taxes"
The Berkshire Eagle - Editorial, Friday, November 07, 2008
The decisive rejection of a ballot referendum question Tuesday that would have eliminated the state income tax speaks to the ability of residents in Massachusetts to see past simplistic slogans and even more simplistic math and do what is best for them and the state. We hope will this will be the last of the periodic attempts to tinker with the income tax through the state's easily abused referendum process.
Carla Howell, the former Libertarian gubernatorial candidate who led the effort to repeal the 5.3 percent tax, revealed her low opinion of voters when she declared that they succumbed to scare tactics in turning down Question 1. Ms. Howell was confusing the logical arguments against repealing the tax made by elected officials, business leaders, educators and others with the unsupported assertions by proponents of the measure that about 40 percent of the state budget consisted of waste.
The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation did important legwork on this measure, pointing out to voters that eliminating the income tax would primarily benefit the wealthy and save the average taxpayer around $800 to $900. With roughly $13 billion of the budget mandated by law, the $12 billion that would have had to be cut if Question 1 passed would have come out of funding for schools, human services, roads and other critical areas, and whatever modest savings that would have been received by taxpayers would have been eroded by increased property taxes.
The familiar refrain that Massachusetts voters are being taxed to death might have been true 20 years ago when the state earned its nickname of "Taxachusetts," but it is statistically untrue today. Beacon Hill has passed tax reform in recent years, and while no one enjoys paying taxes they are the price we pay for the many benefits of living in Massachusetts and the United States.
Tuesday's vote came not long after the Wall Street meltdown and resultant Main Street breakdown forced Governor Patrick to make budget cuts because of a significant drop in tax revenue in September and the anticipation of low revenues in the months ahead. This would have made the impact of Question 1 even more devastating had it passed.
Of course, the defeat of Question 1 does not mean the governor and Legislature shouldn't continue to look for responsible cost savings. Pension reform for public employees is well overdue at a time when fewer and fewer workers in the private sector receive pensions. Merging the Turnpike Authority with the state highway department, as the governor has proposed, is another promising method of cost control in the state.
The ease in which it is possible to get questions on the ballot has produced any number of bad measures, including the proposal to eliminate the state income tax in 2002, when the effort was last on the ballot. It was defeated but won 45 percent of the vote, in large part because the political and business community did not take the measure seriously enough. This year, the measure won only 31 percent of the vote, as 69 percent of the electorate, paying close attention to the strong case against repeal of the tax, voted wisely.
"The Democratic sweep"
The Berkshire Eagle - Editorial
Thursday, November 06, 2008
The combination of President-elect Barack Obama's decisive victory and a gain of seats in both the House and Senate puts the Democratic Party in firm control of the levers of government in Washington. This presents a great challenge as well as a huge responsibility, but if Democrats can learn from the mistakes made by Republicans when they were given the same opportunity they may meet that challenge and live up to that responsibility.
While some close races for seats in both branches of Congress remain undecided, it can be said that Democrats will add at least 19 House seats to the 30 seats they gained in 2006 and will expand their narrow majority in the Senate. Every Senate Democrat up for re-election, including Massachusetts' John Kerry, was returned to office, and incumbent First District Congressman John Olver won decisively. Democrats undoubtedly benefited from a presidential coattail effect, as Mr. Obama earned an electoral mandate that President Bush could never lay claim to.
It was just four years ago that leading Republican theorists like Karl Rove and Grover Norquist bragged of a "permanent Republican majority." Two years later that majority was gone, and two more years later it lies in ruins. There are many reasons for the Republican collapse, but it began with arrogance. That arrogance bred corruption, entitlement and a tin ear to the needs of Americans, and if Democrats succumb to that arrogance it will just as surely bring them down as well.
There will be no permanent Democratic majority — politics is too volatile. Using that majority for the greater good is what matters, not protecting it for selfish political reasons. That means addressing the economic issues that plague the poor and middle class. It entails expanding health care and closing the educational gap between America and the rest of the world. It means repairing our fractured relationship with allies so we can form a united front against our enemies. It means confronting our energy needs and environmental problems without the taint of ideology that has hamstrung those efforts for eight years. To accomplish these goals, Democrats must work with the opposition, not isolate it as the Republican Party did when it controlled the executive and legislative branches. Americans are justifiably fed up with the partisan bickering that paralyzes government.
The Republican Party obviously faces its own set of challenges. The party that was once the party of ideas has come to embrace mediocrity since George W. Bush was elected in 2000. It mocks science, belittles education, sneers at erudition. The good people of the Republican Party must free themselves from the bigots and know-nothings who have dragged the GOP to where it is today. Republicans must abandon the cultural wedge issues like opposition to abortion rights and stem cell research that appeal only to those who make up a tiny fringe of their party and an even tinier fringe of the nation.
To rejoin the mainstream, the Republican Party must offer solutions to the problems that afflict mainstream Americans. Taking an anti-government stance when the lack of government regulations on Wall Street led to the economic meltdown won't cut it with voters. Nor will taking a pro-government stance only when convenient, as the Bush White House did in sabotaging our civil rights. America voted for hope Tuesday, and the GOP risks a long stretch in the wilderness if its leadership continues to encourage negativity, fear and anger.
While the task ahead for Democrats is formidable, it is made easier by the mandate for change the party was handed on Tuesday. America is ready for better times.
"Take back the blogs"
The North Adams Transcript - TheTranscript.com - Editorial, Thursday, February 26, 2009
Fr. John E. Midura of Adams made several valid points concerning the Transcript and Berkshire Eagle's topix.net forums in his excellent letter on Wednesday ("We need to be better listeners").
Editors at both newspapers have long wrestled with the issues that have arisen because of the anonymity of Topix posts and the pervasive comments from people who have axes to grind or poison to spew.
As Fr. Midura wrote, "... Many responses are written by people who could not possibly have an ounce of respect or compassion and appear to be in a state of personal torment ... unless the writer completes an accurate profile, no one truly knows who the author is -- complete freedom of expression without putting your honor on the line."
While we agree with this assessment, we have chosen to allow the forum to continue, somewhat unfettered, because of its value as a sounding board for important matters and a place where opinions can be voiced with little fear of censorship (within reason) or retribution.
However, we understand the valid and compelling arguments on the other side, and we have tried to eliminate the most noxious of the Topix posts while maintaining the integrity of the various threads.
It's not easy. When dealing with public officials, for example, where is the line between personal attacks or valid criticism? Some have used the forum to launch a series of accusations about Mayor John Barrett III, many of which are vulgar, uncalled for and untrue. On the other hand, they should feel free to criticize his policies or decisions they disagree with and to make their points as strongly as they wish.
Sometimes, we, as "censors" are vilified for taking posts off the forum. Just yesterday, we removed two entire threads of comments -- one because people were using the forum to make vulgar scatological jokes, the other because it had degenerated into a series of personal attacks about people caught in a drug bust and -- shamefully -- their families.
All too many other topics have resulted in similar disintegration -- away from issues of relevance, impact and timeliness and into name-calling, vulgarity and just plain stupidity. We can't allow that or we lose any credibility the Topix forums have.
To that subject, we believe there is credibility, validity and often great value in these forums, which is why we have allowed them to continue. Used sensibly, they can result in scintillating discussions, pertinent information that may not yet have made its way into the news and valid criticisms of news stories, columns and editorials.
For example, most recently Julia Bowen of the BArT charter school has elaborated on why she has targeted Conte Middle School for enrollment at that school; Fr. Midura and others have espoused a multitude of views about the closing of St. Stanislaus and other Catholic churches; readers have debated various aspects of the Hoosic River; anonymous baseball fans have embarked on a debate about all-time players and the current Red Sox team; readers have initiated a number of polls on current issues.
The point is, we have weapons to use against the cretins who would steal away our valuable community sounding board and make it their own personal chat room. We can flag offensive posts or post our own comments to let people (and the censors) know when they are out of line.
More importantly, we can take back these blogs and make them our own by making our comments relevant and on topic. We, the decent, honest, caring and sensible who represent the vast majority of our North Berkshire community, can push out the obnoxious few who give such offense and make them feel as irrelevant as they actually are.
We pledge our continued support in this endeavor and ask you for yours. Take back the blogs! Help make the Topix forum all that it could and should be. Starting right now
"Journalists warily eye Massachusetts libel ruling"
Associated Press, Saturday, March 07, 2009
BOSTON (AP) - For decades, journalists have been guided by what most considered an absolute defense to libel lawsuits: If a news report is true, it can't be libelous.
But a recent decision by a federal appeals court in Boston is calling that ironclad defense into question and creating an outcry from news organizations and bloggers worried it could make reporters hesitant to touch certain stories.
The case doesn't involve anything published by a news outlet but instead an e-mail sent by Staples Inc., the Framingham-based office products company, to more than 1,500 employees, telling them a salesman had been fired for padding his expense reports.
A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found Feb. 13 that even though the content of the e-mail was true, a jury could reasonably find that Staples had shown "actual malice" in widely circulating the e-mail to humiliate the salesman, Alan Noonan.
The court cited a 1902 Massachusetts law that holds that truth is a defense against libel unless the plaintiff can show "actual malice" on the part of the person publishing the statement.
The court's ruling means Noonan's defamation lawsuit against Staples can go forward.
But legal observers say the ruling could reverberate beyond the employment arena. Media bloggers have lambasted the ruling as an attack on the First Amendment. And they say the case could have implications beyond Massachusetts because in most defamation lawsuits the libel law in the state where the plaintiff lives applies.
So, for example, if a California newspaper writes something about a Massachusetts resident and the newspaper is circulated or does business in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts law could apply.
Robert Ambrogi, a lawyer and executive director of the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association, called the ruling "the most dangerous libel decision in decades" on his blog, Media Law.
Ambrogi said the ruling "freezes out the long accepted notion that truth is a defense to libel."
"For the news media, it puts reporters in the odd position of having to not just assess the truth of what they're reporting, but also assess the intent with which something was said," he said in an interview.
Boston media lawyer Robert Bertsche said the ruling applies only to lawsuits brought by private figures, such as Noonan, about a "private concern." But he said that the law does not clearly define what a "private concern" is, and that media organizations worry that juries would be more likely to find them guilty of libeling someone based on the court's definition of actual malice as simple "ill will."
"Let's say a media outlet found out about Noonan's firing and decided it was noteworthy that this individual were fired for this reason. If a jury deems that to be something of a private concern, the newspaper would potentially be on the hook for defamation for writing something that nobody disputes is true," Bertsche said.
"It's a scary notion when you start saying truth - undisputed truth - can be punished as defamation."
But Noonan's lawyer, Wendy Sibbison, said the ruling has been misinterpreted.
"This case doesn't implicate the First Amendment," Sibbison said. "The Massachusetts statute allows a plaintiff to recover damages for malicious true speech under a narrow set of circumstances."
A 1964 U.S. Supreme Court case set a different standard for public figures, and it defines actual malice in those cases as requiring knowledge that the information was false or that it was published with "reckless disregard" to whether it was false.
Bertsche said there is broad concern the 1st Circuit ruling could create a precedent and make it much easier to sue news organizations for libel, even when there is no doubt a story is true.
"A prudent news organization is going to pull back - faced with that possibility - and refrain from publishing," said Bertsche, who is preparing a friend of the court brief to accompany Staples' appeal of the ruling to be filed next week by numerous news organizations, including The Associated Press.
Staples has asked the full bench of the 1st Circuit to rehear the case or to send the case to a lower court for a hearing.
Noonan, who lives in Plantation, Fla., and has a nonpublished telephone number, could not be reached for comment.
In his lawsuit, Noonan argued that the e-mail announcing his firing, which referred to him by name and said he was terminated after an "investigation," could give the impression he had committed a crime.
Staples found that Noonan had submitted padded expense reports, including some where decimal points had been shifted two places. In one case, an airport McDonald's meal that cost $11.29 was submitted as costing $1,129.
Noonan admitted that he often submitted reports with estimated expenses but said he intended to amend the reports later with the actual expenses. His lawyer said he was a "poor record-keeper" who undercharged Staples just as often as he overcharged it.
The executive who sent the e-mail had never previously referred to a fired employee by name in mass communication. The court said a jury could find that by sending the e-mail to more than 1,500 employees, Staples showed a malevolent desire to harm Noonan's reputation.
Staples claimed the e-mail was sent to make it clear to employees that they must comply with the company's travel and expense policy.
The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, ROBERT ZELNICK
"Politics and the Fairness Doctrine"
By Robert Zelnick, March 7, 2009
THE EFFORT by Democrats in both Houses to resurrect broadcasting's "Fairness Doctrine" after a 22-year hiatus suggests the fragility of constitutional values once the lure of partisan advantage comes into play. And the relative silence of the mainstream media on the issue implies that many are willing to tolerate some slippage in First Amendment guarantees as the price for taking right-wing talk-radio gladiators down a peg.
The doctrine has a checkered past. Proclaimed by the Federal Communications Commission in 1949, it required broadcast licensees to cover important controversial issues and to provide both sides with reasonable opportunities to air their views. Further, the FCC proclaimed a "right of reply" for anyone suffering a personal attack.
In the 1967 case Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, involving a writer's use of the rule to reply to the attack of a right-wing minister, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Fairness Doctrine. The court declared that the need to allocate scarce spaces on the broadcast spectrum gave the commission the power to regulate broadcasting primarily in the public interest, thus trumping the First Amendment claims of the licensee.
Just seven years later, the court underlined the distinction between the print media and the more restrictive world of broadcasting, holding unanimously in Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo that a state-imposed right of reply to personal attack in print violated the First Amendment. "Government-enforced right of access inescapably dampens the vigor and limits the variety of public debate," wrote Chief Justice Warren E. Burger.
Despite its judicial ratification, all was not well with the Fairness Doctrine. For one thing, broadcasters disliked having their editorial judgments second-guessed by commission bureaucrats while licensees fretted about the consequences of guessing incorrectly on whether particular circumstances mandated opposing advocacy or rebuttal time. The result, as the commission itself later concluded, was a shying away from public-affairs coverage, precisely the reverse of what the commission had in mind.
Another problem: Politicians quickly learned to use the Fairness Doctrine as a sword rather than a shield. In his book "The Good Guys, The Bad Guys, and the First Amendment," former CBS president Fred Friendly quoted Bill Ruder, an assistant secretary of commerce under President Johnson: "Our massive strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters and hope that the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue." President Richard Nixon instructed his staff to use the doctrine as a whip against those attacking his Vietnam policies.
The most basic problem with the Fairness Doctrine was, of course, the diminishing need for anything like it. Technology was galloping along, giving the lie to claims that the spectrum needed speech police rather than simple traffic cops. Back in 1949, the typical citizen might own a radio with half a dozen AM channels. Today we have cable, DirecTV, satellite radio, the Internet, blogs, and Twitter. Obviously it's a breathtakingly more communication-friendly world than that of 1949, or even 1987, when the commission voted unanimously to repeal the doctrine. It had become a rule without a reason. Today it is even more so. Many specialists in communications law suggest that a hefty majority of today's Supreme Court would reverse Red Lion and hold the doctrine unconstitutional.
Nonetheless, the 1987 action set in motion a partisan battle that has grown in intensity over the years. The battle traces the phenomenal audience success of conservative talk radio, which has eclipsed similar efforts by liberals. One early Democratic attempt to restore the Fairness Doctrine foundered after a Ronald Reagan veto, while a threatened veto by George H.W. Bush halted a second. From that day to this past January, Democrats controlled either the White House or the Congress, but not both.
Now, with nearly impregnable control over both Houses and Barack Obama in the White House, the Democrats are again girding for battle. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan told one interviewer, "I absolutely think it's time to bring accountability to the airwaves." Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa was more blunt still, saying, ["W]e gotta get the Fairness Doctrine back in law again." On the House side, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has left little doubt that her minions are raring to tackle the project. No mind that, talk radio aside, Democrats and liberals have proven themselves highly effective political communicators, including the most prized ability to win elections.
Last week the White House told reporters that the president does not favor restoration of the Fairness Doctrine. But on at least one occasion during the campaign he suggested going even further, attacking such issues as station mission and ownership.
And so we have purveyors of solutions assiduously searching for a problem serious enough to warrant their cures. The First Amendment may suffer a bit in the care of a generation raised on speech codes and political correctness. Hopefully the damage will be reparable.
Robert Zelnick is a professor of journalism at Boston University and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.
"Are these writers actually for real?"
The Berkshire Eagle, Letters, Thursday, March 12, 2009
Over the past four years I have attended college out of state and come home on summer breaks and holidays. During these times at home, I always enjoy reading the editorial section of your paper. In the past few visits however, I have come to believe that several of the letters must be staff written under the names Jack, Thomas and Walter.
The goal of these letters seems to be to antagonize your readers and increase circulation. These characters have expressed extreme views in politics, business, and science. The "facts" presented by these characters turn out to be nothing more than opinions that are easily debunked.
Up until recently I was comfortable with the idea of these characters being fictional, but now, I have come to believe they are, in fact, real people. If these characters are real then I would like to aide them in preventing further embarrassment. Political science, environmental science, biology and business courses are taught at Berkshire Community College, as well as many other great classes. The teachers are top notch and would be happy to help with objective inquiry. Classes are offered year round.
"Comic strip with regional tie has trial run"
The Berkshire Eagle, City, Monday, March 16, 2009
The Berkshire Eagle's Comics & Puzzles page is taking a cartoonist with ties to Western Massachusetts for a test drive with our readers. Springfield native Jeff Corriveau's "DeFlocked" will run for six days, starting with today's edition.
The comic strip focuses on four outcasts — Mamet, the reckless sheep; Cobb, the conscientious dog; Rupert, the daffy dog; and Tucker, an 8-year-old boy raised by Cobb and Rupert. All live together on Lubberlock Farms where their exploits play out.
Corriveau is a television comedy writer who has has contributed to "Saturday Night Live" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" He was the head writer on the Emmy-winning cable comedy show "Talk Soup."
Find "DeFlocked" on Page C6 of today's edition in lieu of "Zippy," which will go on a six-day hiatus. Readers are encouraged to tell us if you like "DeFlocked" by e-mailing email@example.com.
"Too much emphasis on lurid stories"
The Berkshire Eagle, Letters, Sunday, March 29, 2009
I am not squeamish. I've been a criminal and divorce lawyer in this community for 30 years. I join those appalled by The Eagle's headlines and front page placement for stories involving unusual domestic assaults in recent weeks. They are drawn, not from real reporting, but from the most lurid of the details available from witness or alleged victim's statements in the district court files. These statements are usually unsworn and always only one side of the story. A few days later your readers have been subjected to rebuttals from the opposing party or clarification.
I question the editorial judgments behind these choices. There will always be people who choose or are forced to involve the police and the courts in their lives. Sometimes the conduct involved is serious and terrifying, and sometimes it springs from immaturity. Sometimes the original report is painfully accurate, but sometimes it is exaggerated. That is why criminal cases frequently go to trial. That would be the time, in my view to share detailed facts of cases which matter with your readers.
The real question is whether these particular alleged crimes are newsworthy, or whether the tabloid-like coverage is simply meant to sell papers. If a same sex relationship and abortion had not been involved, would these stories have been chosen for the placement they received?
There are human interest stories of depth and merit all around you as the citizens, governments, schools and businesses of this county struggle with the recession. There are real questions about the causes of and ways to prevent crimes of violence and efforts by law enforcement to do so. I've seen the Eagle cover all of those areas and do it well. Please don't misplace your standards, repulse visitors and possible investors, and dishearten the community with this sort of emphasis.
DEEP POCKETS: Mort Zuckerman, owner of the New York Daily News, may consider buying the Globe.
BELEAGUERED: A woman exits the Boston Globe.
"Union foe Mort Zuckerman may be mulling Globe buy"
By Jessica Heslam, Tuesday, April 14, 2009 - www.bostonherald.com -Local Coverage
Names of potential owners of the Boston Globe are being tossed out like morning editions on the sidewalk - but one white knight being floated has newspaper union leaders grimacing: New York Daily News publisher and real estate billionaire Mort Zuckerman.
“I don’t necessarily think he would be a savior for the Guild people at the Boston Globe given the way he’s treated the people at the Daily News,” said Bill O’Meara, president of the New York Newspaper Guild.
O’Meara said yesterday the New York Guild technically represents Daily News employees, but there is no contract.
“We have tried over the years to negotiate some kind of a reasonable contract and Zuckerman apparently has no interest in doing so,” O’Meara said.
“They’re hurting at the New York Daily News. They’ve had huge increases in their health care costs. And without a contract, we’re unable to stop that. Not a good situation at the New York Daily News.”
The New York Times [NYT] Co. has given the Globe’s unions until May 1 to come up with $20 million in concessions or it will shut them down. The demand has fueled speculation that a potential buyer may be waiting in the wings. But the beleaguered broadsheet lost $50 million last year and is expected to lose $85 million this year unless drastic measures are taken.
Zuckerman, who got his real estate start in Boston and purchased U.S. News & World Report in 1984, bought the Daily News out of bankruptcy in 1992. Zuckerman has not returned multiple calls for comment.
Speculation revolving around Zuckerman suggests he may be interested in the Globe as a way to eventually gain a foothold at the financiallystruggling New York Times. But some say if the media mogul does come to the table for talks on acquiring the Globe, he would do so reluctantly.
“On the one hand, he seems to have a lot of connections with Boston, so he’d have sort of an emotional reason to connect with it,” said one New York media observer. “But on the other hand, he’s really averse to run anything at a loss.”
“Boston, to him, was always a place to make money and then move on,” the observer added. “It wasn’t a place where he wanted to go to the Four Seasons. Here (in New York), there’s a whole social stratosphere that he wants to impress. I don’t think he has the same thrill about being a big wheel in Boston.”
24/7 Wall Street blogger Douglas McIntyre, who recently predicted the Globe and Daily News would fold or publish only online, doesn’t buy the Zuckerman rumor.
“He’s losing a lot of money on the Daily News and he’s probably losing a lot of money on U.S. News & World Report,” McIntyre said. “I would think not. Plus, he’s in the real estate business. This isn’t the best year for that.”
Said veteran newspaper analyst John Morton: “I would think that Mr. Zuckerman has his hands full in New York, but who knows?”
"Not enough of Sunday paper"
The Berkshire Eagle, Letters, Saturday, April 18, 2009
I just finished "reading" the Sunday edition of The Eagle.
I am not sure what financial difficulties The Berkshire Eagle is facing, but the level of journalism is lacking in quantity and quality. I find it hard to believe that for $1.75 I got three sections of news, one section of sports, one life and art section. On average each section is only seven pages.
Obviously this is not because there is no news occurring, but instead must be do to a financial decision by the newspaper that it is best to keep a Sunday paper "small." I have canceled my subscription and will be buying either the Albany or Boston papers which actually address world and national news and will take me more than 10 minutes to read.
A man walks by an empty Boston Globe stand at City Hall Plaza. (Photo by Patrick Whittemore (file).
"Globe haters rejoice! The end is near: Implosion on Morrissey Boulevard"
By Howie Carr
Sunday, May 10, 2009, www.bostonherald.com - Columnists
It’s every moonbat for himself now at the Globe. May the best trust fund win.
Jan. 1 will be D-Day - D as in deadwood. Assuming the effete Globe union OKs the new pact - and what choice do they have? -New Year’s is when the suits can start whacking useless overfed zombies like Dan Totten, the guys with the “lifetime” guarantees.
The bow-tied bumkissers are throwing a hissy fit. Why, these givebacks are “draconian” (a true Globe word). The Times wants everyone to work . . . 40 hours a week! The publisher, who was paid $1.9 million last year to lose $50 million, says the paper needs “healing,” a New Age cliche that usually goes hand in hand with another overused phrase that no one at the Boulevard ever wants to hear again.
But that’s exactly what Pinch Sulzberger is looking for: closure, one way or another. And the spoiled brats in the Guild still don’t get it. They’re dissing the Times, even though without the Times’ weekly $1.7 million infusion of cash, they’d already be out of business. Beggars can’t be choosers.
Get a load of some of the newsroom job descriptions that we’re just now hearing about. Like, “letters editor for the editorial page.” Yeah, most newspapers have one of those. They’re usually called “the intern.” Then there’s the “Globe Magazine copy desk chief,” which seems to indicate there are multiple people on said desk. But not, I predict, for long.
The trick now for all these journalistic hacks is to hang on for as long as possible, until the inevitable “So Long Boston!” final edition rolls off the presses. So the compassionate liberals begin counting heads, lining up the guy in the next cubicle for a head shot. They whisper, “Do you realize that we have 16 photographers - 16! And seven ‘managers’ for them. Start cutting there, dammit.”
What exactly does that Washington bureau do, they hiss.
And what about the columnists, that faded collection of “paralyzing snoremongers,” to use Tom Wolfe’s phrase? Two columns a week - how do they keep up that grueling pace? I heard at least one of ’em has already volunteered to start writing editorials. Any port in a storm.
These clueless fools keep braying that they can’t fold because . . . well, because. Now they’re touting how many hits they get on their Web site. A phenomenon that can be explained in two words: Red Sox [team stats].
Are any Globies delusional enough to believe anyone is logging on to boston.com to read another riveting account of Mumbles’ revitalization plans for Uphams Corner, or Best Bicycle Paths of Jamaica Plain?
On the news side, they don’t have a single writer left who can sell papers. They all write like bureaucrats, which is what they are, or were. One suggestion has been to turn the Globe into a nonprofit. Oh, that’s right, it already is - a nonprofitable.
Some of the most devastating stuff about the Globe’s dizzying descent into irrelevance has been written by ex-staffers. One former columnist headlined his blog piece: “The Newspaper That Fired Its Readers.” Perfect. And now the owners will be firing the insufferable snots who fired the readers.
Somebody should set up a camera on a tripod across the Boulevard. It’s going to be fun watching the implosion of 135 Morrissey.
"Talk of the town: WBRK radio show to have Berkshire flavor"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Wednesday, May 13, 2009
PITTSFIELD — A Berkshire County "issues-oriented" talk radio show will debut Monday.
"Talk Berkshires," hosted by Sherman Baldwin, will occupy the 3 to 6 p.m. slot weekdays on WBRK-AM (1340), replacing a music block of time.
WBRK, the only remaining locally owned and operated radio station in Berkshire County, has for many years hosted the "Open Mic" call-in show on weekday mornings, where the emphasis has been on Pittsfield issues. This show — unique for its three-hour duration — also will take the bold initiative to broaden its scope beyond parochial borders, according to Baldwin.
Baldwin said his call-in show will take a regional approach.
"It's going to cover local issues, and national and international issues that are important to the residents of the Berkshires," he said.
Baldwin "has incredible energy," said Willard "Chip" Hodgkins III, WBRK's president and COO.
"He also represents responsible journalism, which the media has gotten away from in the 24-hour talk cycle," Hodgkins said.
Baldwin's show debuts Monday with Gov. Deval L. Patrick, U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry, and Pittsfield Mayor James M. Ruberto as guests.
Tuesday's guests are Alan Chartock, president and CEO of WAMC Northeast Public Radio, and North Adams Mayor John Barrett III.
As an example, Baldwin said since Kerry is involved with small-business issues, the discussion could center around the availability of Small Business Administration loans to local entrepreneurs.
"We'll talk about economic stimulus money in the Berkshires," he said. "But then I'll also talk about a spaghetti and meatball dinner for someone who may be sick.
"So it really covers the gamut," he said. "It will be all Berkshires in one way or another."
Baldwin said he will also check in with The Berkshire Eagle during the show's final hour to highlight what the newspaper is working on for the next day's edition.
Hodgkins said he was looking for an opportunity to add a countywide-oriented talk show to the station's daily programming and decided to take advantage of it when Baldwin became available.
"National talk, what I call right-wing propaganda, doesn't work around here," Hodgkins said.
A native of Greenwich, Conn., the 49-year-old Baldwin originally came to the Berkshires from Phoenix to work at WUPE-FM in Pittsfield in August 2007. He had hosted a talk show in Phoenix, but when that opportunity didn't materialize in Pittsfield, Baldwin went to WROW in Albany, N.Y., last December.
While at WROW, Baldwin co-moderated a nationally televised debate in the contentious 20th Congressional District Special Election between Democrat Scott Murphy and Republican Jim Tedisco. But Baldwin was laid off by WROW on April 8, and decided to return to Pittsfield. Baldwin worked for both WUPE and WROW at the same time when he was first hired in Albany, and had kept his residence here.
To reach Tony Dobrowolski: firstname.lastname@example.org, or (413) 496-6224.
Larry Kratka. I appeared on Larry Kratka's Pittsfield, Massachusetts, radio show during the early-Spring of 2004 when I would have run against "Luciforo" for Berkshire State Senator.
Cronkite interviewed John F. Kennedy in Hyannis Port in 1963. Cronkite got Kennedy to express views on the Vietnam conflict and how his civil rights stand might cost him votes in the South.
Cronkite was a fixture of CBS's political coverage, covering every political national convention from 1952 through 1980.
"Emily Rooney recalls kinship between legends"
By Jules Crittenden & O’Ryan Johnson, Saturday, July 18, 2009, www.bostonherald.com - Celebrity News
The nation knew Walter Cronkite as “Uncle Walter,” the kindly, trusted newsman they watched every night, but Emily Rooney knew him as the Uncle Walter who frequently joined her family for dinner.
“He was my father’s best friend,” Rooney said last night.
The host of WGBH’s Greater Boston TV news magazine is the daughter of legendary CBS newsman Andy Rooney. The two iconic reporters had known each other since they covered combat in World War II, and still saw each other on an almost daily basis as recently as a few days ago.
“They loved each other. They had their disagreements the way newsmen do. But they’d be back at it the next day,” said Emily Rooney, who was trying to reach her father last night to comfort him on his old friend’s death.
Emily Rooney grew up with the Cronkites as regular guests in her parents’ home, when they weren’t guests of the Cronkites on Martha’s Vineyard, on their boat or in their New York home. She remembers him as serious - his wife Betsy was the more lighthearted one - and always keenly interested in the news.
“These guys personified the birth of modern journalism, but they didn’t lament the past. They appreciated the here and now of what journalism was about,” said Rooney, who said her father, Cronkite and other friends such as Mike Wallace didn’t sit around pining for the good old days.
Cronkite, who retired at 65 nearly 30 years ago, was always interested in how the business was evolving, Rooney said. While he was noted for having taken a stand on the Vietnam War, he was concerned about the encroachment of political agendas into news coverage and fretted about the wall between advertising and news breaking down.
Last night on Martha’s Vineyard, Pauline Wallace said her father, Mike Wallace, was absorbing the news of his friend’s death and could not come to the phone.
“They were very, very close,” she said. “He respected him tremendously. They were colleagues. He’s very sad to hear about the passing.”
If Americans considered Cronkite to be a member of their families, Rooney said, Cronkite had no problem with that, nor was he shy about his role in 20th century American history as the leading news voice of his time.
“He loved that. He assumed the role. He said it was right. He agreed,” Rooney said. “We would laugh about that.”
"A newspaperman’s newspaperman"
The North Adams Transcript, Editorial, May 27, 2011
The Northern Berkshires -- and North Adams, in particular -- lost a friend and advocate on Thursday when Transcript Editor-in-Chief Glenn Drohan passed away following a long battle with cancer.
"They don’t make ‘em like they used to," the saying goes, and that certainly summed him up.
Anyone who knew Drohan, even slightly, knew that he was one of a kind. He was the type of newspaperman -- that’s how they referred to reporters in the old days -- that rarely exists anymore.
Former North Adams Mayor John Barrett III referred to him as the newspaperman’s newspaperman. Drohan knew everybody in town, knew where all the skeletons were buried, and knew where to find them when he had to.
To Drohan, newspaper work was more than a profession -- it was a lifestyle. Nobody enjoyed the rough and tumble give and take of the newspaper world the way Drohan did. He lived and breathed the ups and downs of this oftentimes turbulent profession. It gave him a sense of purpose.
Even when the cancer that killed him had all but ravaged his body, Drohan continued to show up at The Transcript for work. It stayed that way all the way up until last week. Even then, rumors circulated through the newsroom every day that he might stop by.
Drohan was as fine a reporter as he was an editor and bureau chief. In 1992, he received a first place award in the general news category from the New England Associated Press for his coverage of the closing of the Yankee Atomic nuclear plant in Rowe. When he found a big story, Drohan would jump on it, and stay with it all the way through. He wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.
Like many local legends, Drohan was a character. He could be stubborn, cantankerous, and curmudgeonly -- often at the same time. These words from a Kris Kristofferson song, "he’s a walking contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction," certainly applied to him.
He was also forthright, honest, and a mentor. Those who worked with him always appreciated his help. Those who read him appreciated his dogged pursuit of the truth. Those who knew him considered him a friend. Glenn Drohan touched a lot of lives. He will be missed.
Larry Kratka, a radio personality for WBEC-WUPE, is retiring from the radio station in Pittsfield. Kratka, 66, has hosted radio shows in the Berkshires for nearly 30 years. Gamma Broadcasting vice president Peter Barry says thousands have grown up listening to Kratka. (Stephanie Zollshan / Berkshire Eagle Staff).
"Longtime radio host Larry Kratka signing off, one final time"
By Clarence Fanto, Special to The Berkshire Eagle, 2/7/2014
PITTSFIELD -- For Larry Kratka, it hasn't sunk in yet.
Today is his last day as news director at Gamma Broadcasting, which owns six of the county's eight commercial radio signals.
"It's a life-changing event," he said, "but a radio guy never really hangs up the microphone."
He won't need to wake up at 3 a.m. anymore to begin his early shift at WBEC and WUPE, where until last August he was the voice of local news. Since then, he has been writing the newscasts for the Pittsfield stations, as well as for WNAW in North Adams and WSBS in Great Barrington.
Kratka said it was his decision to step away after nearly 30 years on the air in the Berkshires. "It's been a quite a run," he acknowledged.
"I turned 66 in August and I said, maybe it's time, because there's been a lot of pressure since Tommy [Tom Conklin] left," he said. His original retirement date last summer was pushed back repeatedly.
In an ironic twist, Conklin, the newsman who was let go in November 2012 in a downsizing, has been rehired to succeed Kratka.
"I love it," Kratka said. "You can't find a better guy to do it. I used to say to him, someday this can all be yours. Little did we know."
Today, Kratka will be given a luncheon party as he begins to "write a new episode in my life."
"Larry has spent almost three decades providing news to the residents of Berkshire County and his voice has become very recognizable as a familiar source of trusted news," stated Gamma Broadcasting's vice president and market manager Peter Barry in an email message.
"Thousands of Berkshire County residents have literally grown up listening to Larry deliver the news, and to have a career that spans decades in this marketplace is truly impressive," Barry added.
A native of New Britain, Conn., Kratka recalled how he was "bitten by the radio bug" in middle school when he met the local station's program director.
"He showed me around, and I got bit," he said during a conversation Thursday afternoon at Taconic High School's radio station, WTBR (FM 89.7 "The Brave"), where Kratka has served as student adviser for seven years and plans to expand his involvement there.
Barry cited Kratka's "tremendous passion for the news and radio in general," as demonstrated by his role at Taconic. "Thanks to Larry's efforts, many students now have the opportunity to experience working in a radio studio firsthand while still in high school." Gamma has donated equipment to the now higher-tech station.
Morgan Holm, 16, a junior, credited Kratka for "figuring out my career. Before this, I didn't know what I wanted to do. Larry guided a path for me so I do have a plan to work in radio. I love everything about it, getting involved with the music and hands-on with the equipment."
"Larry is my favorite adult in this entire building," said Vanessa Purcell, also 16 and a junior. "Whenever he talks about the station, he gets so enthusiastic."
After attending Graham Junior College, part of Emerson College in Boston, Kratka landed his first job at a tiny station in Berlin, N.H., as the nighttime DJ. "I had a ball, playing the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, talking to God knows who -- moose maybe."
"Looking back, I have always been on the air somewhere," Kratka noted, even during a brief stint as a TV director at Hartford's WVIT.
After working at central Connecticut and Florida radio stations, in September 1985, Kratka landed at WBEC (AM 1420) in Pittsfield, hired by Joanne Billow, then the program director.
His first job here was as wake-up host on WBEC-AM before the station picked up the syndicated "Imus in the Morning" show in 1992. A day after he was let go, Phil Weiner, then the owner of WUPE, hired Kratka.
"When he offered news, I said ‘oh boy,' " said Kratka, who stayed there until Vox Radio Group (now Gamma) purchased WUPE in December 2003, a year after the company had acquired WBEC's AM and FM signals.
Kratka returned as news director for the Vox group of stations, establishing the Berkshire News Network to provide countywide coverage. He also took over WBEC-AM's midday interview show.
"My opportunity to interview everybody from governors on down was most enlightening," Kratka said. "A guy from a little town in Connecticut interviewing governors, lieutenant governors, selectmen -- that was always fun to do."
His most memorable moment came when he interviewed Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
"He was talking at the Crowne Plaza and we were told, media wait in the lobby outside the ballroom," he recalled. Although all the region's TV stations were chomping at the bit, "Ted Kennedy comes over, the TV lights were flashing, he stops them and says, ‘Gentlemen, ladies, give me a few minutes with the guys in radio.' We all looked at each other -- us?! Here's a famous U.S. senator, talking to little guys in radio. He looked at us like, you guys are earning a living and I'm going to talk with you. It was nice."
His most searing moment came on Sept. 11, 2001, when news of the terrorist attacks broke near the end of his morning news shift with the WUPE host at the time, Alex Seseske.
Although Kratka said he feels upbeat about "passing the baton," he hopes to fill in at WBEC and WUPE when needed -- Barry confirmed the arrangement -- and will substitute for John Krol occasionally on WTBR's "Good Morning, Pittsfield."
Krol, the Pittsfield Ward 6 City Councilor and host of the 7:30 a.m. interview show, saluted Kratka as "definitely someone who's very fair, definitely not a ‘gotcha' journalist. He gives people an opportunity to voice their thoughts; that's his style."
Krol, president of OneEighty Media, a local marketing, communications and advertising firm, called Kratka "someone who truly loves radio. You can see that in his passion for WTBR."
For Kratka, despite the dominance of the Internet and TV, radio endures.
"The epitaph can't be written for radio because it's still the main source of information when the chips are down," he said. "Radio always comes through. When there are emergencies, people will turn it on. Most people don't give it a second thought, but it's always there when you need it."
February 21, 2015
Re: An ode to Mary E Carey, my favorite journalist/blogger EVER
I read Mary E Carey's U Mass web-page today. I graduated from U Mass Amherst in May 1999 when I was 23 years old. I never had Mary E Carey as a professor, but I wish I did take her journalism class. She is my favorite journalist/blogger EVER because her voice sings for the voiceless. She is a true Christian or Humanitarian because she spoke out for me over the years. I felt very powerless or insecure against the system, especially with Pittsfield politics (see Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr. aka Luciforo!) where my dad was a politician during my U Mass Amherst days from Fall 1997 - Spring 1999. Mary E Carey's work in journalism and blogging represents everything I believe in. I believe that those with no rights or power, they have rights and power under me. I believe that I am right in that I will always speak my good conscience as long as I live. I never met Mary E Carey in person, but we have spoken to each other on the telephone and we have emailed each other over the years. Mary E Carey's voice and writings sing for the voiceless.
- Jonathan Melle
Mary E. Carey
UMass Amherst Journalism
Mary E. Carey
NEWSWRITING AND REPORTING, TRAVELWRITING, INTRO TO JOURNALISM
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
Mary Carey has been an adjunct instructor of journalism at UMass since 2002. A Pittsfield native, she graduated with a BA in English from the University of Vermont in 1979 and a PhD in English from the University of Texas at Austin in 1993. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette for 15 years, has been a freelance writer on politics, government and food and is certified in teaching English as a Foreign Language. She has experience working on local political campaigns and is currently the communications director for the Office of Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan. Click to see a slideshow of her pictures from her Journalism 300 classes. https://plus.google.com/photos/116789814925390572896/albums/5646023489642751073?banner=pwa
S414 Integrative Learning Center
650 North Pleasant Street
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003
Phone: (413) 545-1376
"The Berkshire Eagle sold to local ownership group"
The Berkshire Eagle, 4/21/2016
PITTSFIELD — For the first time in more than 20 years, The Berkshire Eagle will return to local ownership.
Digital First Media will complete the sale of New England Newspapers Inc. and its flagship newspaper, The Berkshire Eagle, to Birdland Acquisition LLC on May 2 . Included in the deal are the Bennington Banner, the Brattleboro Reformer and the Manchester Journal.
The principals in the new company include three Stockbridge residents: John C. "Hans" Morris, former president of Visa Inc.; Fredric D. Rutberg, former Pittsfield District Court judge; and Robert G. Wilmers, chairman and CEO of M&T Bank. The fourth principal is Stanford Lipsey, publisher emeritus of The Buffalo News and former owner, publisher and Pulitzer Prize winner for The Sun Newspaper Group in Nebraska.
This marks the return of ownership with strong local ties that had ended more than 20 years ago. The Birdland owners see their purchase as a step toward rerouting the national trend toward consolidation of smaller newspapers into large media organizations, which will allow for more local news coverage.
Rutberg said Birdland's investment is intended to "reinvigorate The Eagle and its future" as a quality print and digital news and information resource devoted to the local community it serves.
As a first step, the new ownership group intends to add new jobs to the staff during the first year.
Publisher Edward L. Woods will continue to lead the newspaper group with the current management team and staff remaining in place. They will be joined by a substantial number of new hires for positions in the newsroom, marketing, web and technical services, finance and accounting.
Birdland has developed a long-term strategy to focus the papers to appeal to the community's desire for more local news. Plans include improved editorial content and a variety of innovative additions. An editorial advisory board will be appointed to further engage the community, as will citizen journalists be recruited to enhance coverage of outlying Berkshire County.
Donald Graham, the former publisher of the Washington Post, summarized the Birdland group's feelings when he said of Lipsey's management of The Buffalo News, "Newspapers that focus on community and the news that is most important to their readers can still be good business."
Our Opinion: "New era for Eagle, NENI"
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorial, 4/21/2016
After two decades in which dramatic changes rocked the newspaper industry, The Berkshire Eagle, which experienced all of those changes, has returned to Berkshire ownership.
During those years, a digital revolution quickly transformed a business that had been print-based for centuries. That revolution was accompanied by severe financial challenges that caused budget cutbacks and layoffs that were felt throughout the industry and at The Eagle and its sister newspapers. It constituted a trial by fire that in many ways steeled the newspapers that have come through it.
Financial setbacks combined with a brutal recession led the Miller family, the longtime owners of The Eagle, to sell the newspaper in 1995 to Dean Singleton's Denver-based MediaNews Group. That sale was accompanied by cutbacks, and the adjustment to those losses in personnel and to outside ownership was not easy. The Eagle, however, survived, which was not the case for every newspaper buffeted by industry-wide turbulence in recent years, and under MediaNews Group The Eagle continued to produce solid, Berkshire-oriented journalism.
When MediaNews Group came under the ownership of Digital First Media in 2013, more painful changes resulted as part of an industry-wide effort by newspapers to remain profitable in a time of declining print circulation. DFM, however, has been at the forefront of the necessary expansion of newspapers' footprint into the digital world, and expansion of The Eagle's website and its aggressive move into social media have put it in position to be at the forefront of this transformation.
There are, however, obvious advantages to local ownership that can watch local issues unfold firsthand and develop a keen understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of a community. Berkshire County, with its cultural attractions, physical beauty and proximity to New York City, has long benefited from the presence of residents who are able to back community spirit with financial wherewithal to make a major difference. The Eagle's new ownership team should make this kind if difference for The Eagle and by extension the Berkshires.
The Eagle, whose roots go back to the late 1700s, was owned by the Miller family for more than a century, since Kelton B. Miller purchased the paper in 1891. The Eagle now returns to local ownership, poised to build on its advances into the digital era and ideally to serve the Berkshires for many decades to come.
"A Letter from the President: News, notes and updates on The [Berkshire] Eagle"
By Fredric D. Rutberg, Op-Ed, The Berkshire Eagle, 9/9/2016
I would like to give you some details on what has been happening here over the recent weeks and how it affects you.
Last month, I told you that The Berkshire Eagle has started to redesign both its print and the online editions, and I asked you to participate in an online survey. Thanks to the responses you made to our survey, we believe that the redesign will be better and the content of our publications will be more interesting and attractive to you.
I also mentioned that we began to do our own page composition of The Eagle in Pittsfield again, after years of it being put together at a remote site where lots of other publications also were assembled. This change meant that we were able to hire five new full-time employees, including several recent MCLA graduates, to do this work. We can now make the paper look more like we, and hopefully you, want it, not the way someone who has never set foot in the Berkshires thinks it should.
This in-house control has also given us the flexibility to "hold the presses" to include in-depth stories and photos of last week's devastating mill fire in Pittsfield. Previously, this important news would not have been reported in print until Wednesday.
On a happier note, this capability will allow us to extend our deadlines in the future to include more breaking news of governmental votes and meetings, cultural events and sports scores.
Editorially, last weekend's editions were also a break from recent tradition. First, we editorialized in the contested primary election races for state Senate and Legislature. In the past, The Eagle did not publish its opinion on primary election candidates except where the winner faced no opposition in the ensuing general election.
After consideration, we concluded that the two primaries being contested on Thursday were both important and rare. Consequently, our readers deserved to learn who we think would be the best among those candidates. In doing so, we took the risk that the candidates we endorse in the primaries may not be the candidates we endorse in the general election; however, we believe that you, our readers, are sophisticated enough to understand how such a result is both possible and consistent with our job to endorse the best candidate for the particular election.
We also made an unusual editorial decision when we chose to endorse Hillary Clinton for president of the United States two months before the election. Traditionally, newspapers wait until just before an election to endorse. However, as the editorial stated, we think that this election is truly unique in that a major party has nominated a candidate who we believe is unfit to hold such a high office.
Two months' time will neither remove the barriers to fitness nor prepare Donald Trump to be president. Therefore, we decided to announce our decision now and join the vanguard of publications that are also choosing to break with tradition on this matter.
When my colleagues and I announced our purchase, our stated goal was to make New England Newspapers the finest group of community newspapers in America. We remain steadfastly committed to this goal. One of the major functions of a community newspaper is to act as a "town square" for that community. Whether or not you agree with our editorial opinions, I hope you view these changes in the context of making The Berkshire Eagle a more engaging town square.
As always, I am eager to hear your thoughts and suggestions at email@example.com.
Fredric D. Rutberg is president of New England Newspapers.
“Berkshire Eagle advisory board members announced”
The Berkshire Eagle, November 18, 2016
Hans Morris, chairman of the board of New England Newspapers Inc., has announced the formation of The Berkshire Eagle advisory board.
Don MacGillis, a former Eagle executive editor, has agreed to serve as chairman of this newspaper’s first-of-its-kind group of advisers.
“Don MacGillis has agreed to chair the advisory board, and I believe he is uniquely qualified to do so,” said Morris. “He is a newspaperman through and through, and he knows and cares about the Berkshires and The Berkshire Eagle. Plus, he has the time and desire to get involved.”
"The new owners of The Eagle and I look to the advisory board as a way to make sure the paper is connected to, and responsive to, as many corners of the Berkshire County community as possible,” MacGillis said.
To that end, 18 Berkshire-based board members will bring to bear their experience in community affairs and/or journalism as The Eagle strives to become the best local newspaper in the United States.
They also will be charged with helping improve The Eagle’s editing, reporting and writing; making suggestions about news coverage and story ideas; and increasing the number of contributors to the news and opinion pages.
The board, which met for the first time on Thursday, includes education and arts advocate Megan Whilden, former Time magazine editor Donald Morrison, journalist and author Simon Winchester, journalist Linda Greenhouse, editor and author Richard Lipez, Mass MoCA Director Joseph Thompson, museum director Barbara Palmer, health care expert Charles “Chip” Joffe-Halpern, journalist Bill Densmore, attorney Wendy Linscott, consultant and educator Shirley Edgerton, author Jennifer Trainer Thompson, musician Yo-Yo Ma, journalist Daniel Lippman, retired educator Will Singleton, public policy researcher Oren Cass, multicultural advocate Eleanore Velez, journalist and professor Elizabeth Kolbert, and photographer Gregory Crewdson.
The Eagle’s local ownership group includes Morris, Robert G. Wilmers and Fredric D. Rutberg, president of New England Newspapers. Also this week, Judi Lipsey, wife of the late Eagle co-owner Stanford Lipsey, was appointed to the board of New England Newspapers Inc.
Alan English speaks to the staff of The Berkshire Eagle on Monday after being named publisher of New England Newspapers Inc. English is a newspaper industry veteran who most recently was president of The Shreveport Times in Louisiana. Ben Garver - The Berkshire Eagle.
"Newspaper veteran Alan English named publisher of The Berkshire Eagle"
By Tony Dobrowolski, firstname.lastname@example.org - The Berkshire Eagle, November 28, 2016
PITTSFIELD - Alan English, a newspaper industry veteran, was named publisher of New England Newspapers Inc. on Monday.
The company publishes The Berkshire Eagle and the Bennington Banner, Brattleboro Reformer and Manchester Journal in Vermont.
New England Newspapers President Fredric D. Rutberg introduced English to employees gathered in The Eagle newsroom on Monday morning.
"This is exciting for me to join you all," said English, who turns 52 on Dec. 15. "I'm truly honored to have the opportunity to be part of shepherding in a new era for The Berkshire Eagle.
"I can't thank Fred and the other owners enough to have me join this mission."
English most recently served as president and publisher of The Shreveport Times in Louisiana, following a stint as its general manager and executive editor. A native of Harrisburg, Pa., who attended high school in Tennessee, English also has held executive positions at newspapers in Arkansas, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Tennessee. Three of those papers are members of the Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper chain.
New England Newspapers was purchased in May by four investors, three of them local residents, who have emphasized returning the newspaper to its local roots and making it the best community newspaper group in the country.
"Alan was a unanimous choice of all of us," said Rutberg, a member of the ownership group.
English succeeds acting Publisher Martin Langeveld, who assumed the position when the former publisher, Edward L. Woods, stepped down in early July.
Langeveld will remain a member of the company's board of directors. The search to find a permanent replacement for Woods took five months, Rutberg said.
English has been involved in several innovative projects throughout his journalism career. He was recognized in Gannett for social media and sports coverage initiatives, and helped develop a mobile platform that included an interactive text messaging strategy to cover the Masters Tournament when he served as executive editor and vice president of audience at the Augusta Chronicle in Georgia.
The new ownership group's mission to make NENI the best group of community newspapers in the country is what attracted him to this job.
"I chose to come here because of what I saw," English said. "This is by far one of the most unique, rare opportunities in the community newspaper world. ... It didn't take long for me to decide that this is the opportunity that I want."
Judi Terzotis, the regional president of Gannett's Gulf Group, eight Southern newspapers that include The Shreveport Times, described English as a "roll-up-the-sleeves-kind of guy."
"He's truly invested in the success of his employees and the community and he's committed to that," Terzotis said. "He's the exact opposite of somebody you would see sitting behind a desk glued to a computer. You're going to love that he's hands on but not in a micromanaging way. He's about 'How can I make the operation as successful as I can?' He makes sure the lives of the people in his community are stronger.
"I think he is perfectly suited" to carry out the new ownership group's mission, Terzotis said. "I can't imagine a better person to do that. He wants to build readership the right way, not through click views or eye-catching headlines."
Rutberg said English's work ethic made him stand out from the other candidates who were interviewed.
"He's analytical and seems to enjoy and be successful in solving problems," he said. "An articulate leader; that's what we need."
English said he comes from a "newspaper family." He met his wife, Janice Rowley, when the couple worked at a newspaper in Passaic, N.J.
He originally majored in microbiology at the University of Tennessee. But after becoming interested in journalism, English transferred to Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y., where he graduated with a bachelor's in photojournalism in 1987.
The first four positions he held in the newspaper industry were photography positions, including photo editor jobs at newspapers in New York, New Jersey and North Carolina.
English has two children. His daughter attends Champlain College in Burlington, Vt.; his son is a high school junior in Shreveport.
Contact Tony Dobrowolski at 413-496-6224.
Our Opinion: “Nixon's pre-election treasonous act of '68”
The Berkshire Eagle, January 9, 2017
As the world waits to take the measure of a new American president, evidence has emerged that an earlier one put national interests behind his own while still a candidate, violating federal law years before the malfeasance that would force his resignation.
Yes, we can only be talking about Richard M. Nixon, the disgraced 37th president.
In the final days of the 1968 presidential campaign, Nixon instructed his campaign staff and advisors to do all they could to scuttle peace talks in Paris that might have helped bring an end to the war in Vietnam and save countless lives on all sides.
On Oct. 22, 1968, Nixon told aide H.R. Haldeman to "monkey wrench" talks that President Lyndon B. Johnson was working to orchestrate with the warring parties. That language appears in newly discovered notes Haldemann took while speaking with his boss.
Johnson had determined that if the U.S. halted its bombing of North Vietnam, the Soviet Union would persuade Hanoi to come to the bargaining table. The war had already claimed the lives of 30,000 Americans.
Henry A. Kissinger, an adviser to Nixon, called to warn Nixon that a peace deal was in the making. According to biographer John A. Farrell, Nixon used his connections to South Vietnam, including Anna Chennault, a Republican socialite and Nixon fund-raiser, to try to keep leaders from South Vietnam from participating in the talks.
Farrell's research turned up Haldemann's notes. "! Keep Anna Chennault working on" South Vietnam, the aide scribbled down. "Any other way to monkey wrench it? Anything RN can do."
"Potentially, this is worse than anything he did in Watergate," Farrell said of Nixon in an interview with a reporter for The New York Times, for a story that followed up on a Dec. 31 commentary by Farrell in the paper.
Scholars who reviewed Farrell's work say his finding confirms that Nixon lied when repeatedly denying he intervened to keep South Vietnam from joining the talks. Researchers have long believed that Nixon, despairing over a tightening race against rival Hubert J. Humphrey, acted to sabotage negotiations.
But until now, they lacked conclusive evidence.
When Johnson learned of Nixon's maneuvering, he was furious, telling Republican Sen. Everett Dirksen, the minority leader, "This is treason."
It is against the law for a private citizen to attempt to defeat foreign policy objectives of the United States.
Nixon's hidden actions show his venality. He appeared to know how badly he'd compromised the national interest, because his denials were vehement. "My God. I would never do anything to encourage [South Vietnam] not to come to the table," Nixon told Johnson, in a conversation captured by the White House recording system.
We will never know whether 1968 peace talks would have shortened the war, which continued until 1975. But it is clear Nixon was willing to let the fighting continue to advance his candidacy.
The Nixon presidential library just got a $15 million facelift. There is no way to paper over this former leader's treachery.