Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I turned 39 (2014)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Common Sense?

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"Death of Common Sense"
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters
Saturday, December 22, 2007

It seems that the news media has missed the passing of a legend that has guided us so well for so many years. I thought it might do our elected officials from town government to the state and federal government to the White House, to be made aware of his passing.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.

Reports of a 6-year old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student only worsened his condition. Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do to in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were to get parental consent to administer aspirin, sun lotion or a sticking plaster to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. Common Sense was preceded in death by this parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by this three step-brothers, I Know My Rights, Someone Else Is To Blame and I'm a Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

JOHN H. BECKWITH
Great Barrington

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THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE
"I Publius: The story illuminates my town"
By Alan Chartock
Saturday, December 22, 2007

GREAT BARRINGTON, Massachusetts

In the matter of holiday (or Christmas) lights in the town of Great Barrington: This one really is tough for me. I fully understand that, in asking for the holiday lights to be turned off at 10 p.m., the Selectmen were doing their best to try to point out our conspicuous consumption of electricity and the effect that it has had on global warming in this country and around the world.

As most people now know, the infamous Bill O'Reilly has seized upon this as an act of perfidy and has ranted about the foolishness of the Great Barrington board. (He's a fine one to talk about other people's mistakes.)

As a result, this newspaper has reported in a front page story that a ton of letters are coming at the town fathers and mother, letting them have it for grinching up the holidays. I am really torn on this one. I do not think there is a more ill-informed, red meat, mob-baiting jerk than Bill O'Reilly, nor would I want to support this mouthpiece of the right-wing Murdoch operation.

I obviously resent his calling Ron Dlugosz a "pinhead." Anyone who looks at this substantial selectman knows that he could hardly be called a pinhead. But I just have to say that the stringing of a few simple strands of lights across the main street of Great Barrington is a tradition that means a lot to many people.

This might be the wrong place to make the environmental point. If the Selectmen had wanted to go green, it might have been better to change the kind of bulbs that were used or to find some other way to show that they cared about the people's enjoyment as well as the important conservation issue.

Telling the folks who want to put lights up that they can do so, but that they have to be turned off after 10 p.m., goes along with the myth that they roll up the sidewalks in town at night. They don't, right?

Look at it this way: We taxpayers are spending a lot of money, yet some quite serious and often life-threatening situations have not been rectified, even when the fix is fairly simple.

Take the sidewalk opposite the Mahaiwe Theatre when you come through the tunnel that leads from the railroad station parking lot. It is now — and has been for years — a swimming pool in the summer and an ice skating rink in the winter. If someone, especially an older person attending a show at the Mahaiwe, were to slip and fall, it would be a real tragedy. I would much rather see the board give that some attention.

...

In the matter of the war in Iraq: I have said from the beginning of this tragic war that people in this country are not unhappy about the war because it is immoral and disgraceful but because we are losing.

Now the powerful public relations machine of the Bush White House is perpetuating the myth that we are, in fact, turning the corner and winning. Remember that, when we walked into this "big muddy," a huge percentage of the American people went for it hook, line and sinker, while just a few of us were screaming into the wind.

Now there are signs that the blood lust of the people is on the rise and that the president's popularity is going up, too.

P.T. Barnum would be proud of George and his minions.

...

In the matter of who can speak at town meetings and to the Board of Selectmen: So this Egremont couple who are second-home owners want to speak. The rule is that you have to be a permanent resident to speak. Now they pay a lot of taxes to the town. They are part of the mix that makes up the town.

Second-home owners help defray everyone's load. They pay taxes, but they often do not use expensive town services such as schools. On the face of it, they should be allowed to speak. What if someone from the next town wants to speak?

An example. I drive to work on Route 41 from Great Barrington to West Stockbridge and thence on to Route 102 to the New York state extension. When it snows, the Great Barrington section of Route 41 is usually clean and free of snow but when you get to the West Stockbridge part of the road, it often is covered with snow.

How come? If I want, I will be allowed to come before the town and speak, even though I am a Great Barrington resident. I have a lot of respect for the West Stockbridge approach to all of this. Under their rules, I can get an answer to my question even if I am a pain in their collective neck.

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"MCAS is ruining public schools"
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters
Friday, December 28, 2007

Three cheers for Ed Udel and his op-ed column "MCAS Emperor has No Clothes" of Dec. 20. I hope it inspires teachers to talk more openly about this absurd high stakes test.

MCAS was crammed down the throats of schools by the business community and disingenuous politicians — including Sen. Kennedy — whose claim was kids were not getting a good education in public schools anymore and therefore America was losing jobs. What a hoax! America has been losing jobs because these same wealthy corporations have been sending the jobs to other countries where workers receive criminally low wages. The fancy word is globalization. Our current crop of politicians mouth the same tripe about testing and excellence and accountability and requirements, while at the same time refusing to raise the needed revenue to run the schools properly. Cutting funding for the schools, or relying on school districts to want to improve themselves, does not benefit public education, irrespective of the Department of Education's virulent dogma.

I've been teaching for 23 years, not always in public schools. Still, I can say with great confidence that most teachers do not think MCAS has improved education here in Massachusetts. In fact, most would say the contrary. Shame on the Massachusetts Teachers Association for having not fought against the perpetration of this MCAS farce 15 years ago when Education Reform first suggested this type of testing.

As the older teachers leave and the younger ones start careers (at a dangerously low rate by the way), MCAS will most likely ingrain itself more deeply into our educational psyche, and tear away the vestiges of a pretty good educational system that existed prior to the Hobson's choice of Education Reform and No Child Left Behind. We really should be asking what were and are the true intentions of the teach-to-the test crowd? I think it has more to do with purposely leaving poorer children behind rather than not. I think it has more to do with ruining public schools rather than repairing them, and I think it has more to do with keeping struggling schools districts in distress rather than rescuing them.

Yet in a nation that crows about freedom and independence, to challenge the notion of designing school curricula around a packaged test, one risks nearly being branded a dangerous heathen — now that's a lesson we should be teaching our kids, right!

JOE LABARBERA
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

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"MCAS brings data, accountability"
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters
Friday, December 28, 2007

I read "MCAS emperor has no clothes" (op-ed, Dec. 20) with a bit of sympathy and a healthy dose of skepticism. Its author poses a lot of leading questions and follows through with precious few solutions. He fails to recognize that the call for MCAS and its ilk did not rise in a vacuum, but in response to the increasing underperformance of American students.

MCAS is exactly what we were told it was from the time of its inception: an accountability tool. Although MCAS and the like are not necessarily the solution to an ailing educational system, they are the first attempt to enforce the notion that it is not enough that teachers teach, but that students must also learn.

In spite of its many shortcomings, MCAS is quite effective at telling us what students are learning and not learning. Colorful PowerPoints and graphs aside, it is still up to teachers and administrators to determine why students are not learning and then to plan how to help them learn better.

For example, a recent analysis of the performance of some of our students on one of last year's content area exams reveals that a lack of sufficient vocabulary negatively impacted their performance on the test.

This provides valuable information on effectiveness of past instruction and, quite appropriately, will inform curricular decisions for the future. If this is a case of the tail wagging the dog, so be it.

Furthermore, indications of instructional strengths provide the impetus for educators district- and even state-wide to discuss most effective practices.

Collaboration, as Deputy Superintendent Eberwein pointed out at a recent School Committee meeting, is taking place at unprecedented levels. Moreover, accountability measures have provided many teachers the necessary incentive to teach mindfully and reflectively. MCAS can but does not have to extract a pedagogical price. It can just as easily be an asset as teachers begin to share data-supported instructional practices that actually work.

MCAS is definitely not the final answer. Rather, it represents the beginning of a trend toward data-driven education. Unlike Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, data-driven instruction is not a new age fad. (Talk about an emperor with no clothes!) Effective teaching requires teachers to be aware all the way through the instructional process of what students know — collectively and individually — and how well they know it. Only then can effective group and individualized instruction be offered.

Good teachers use data from all kinds of assessment — not just MCAS — to make ongoing changes in curriculum and instruction. These are not knee-jerk reactions as charged by Mr. Udel, but informed and well-reasoned adjustments. The alternative is teaching blindly, with disregard — either willful or ignorant — toward student learning.

Neither do good teachers neglect the formulation of thoughtful sequential and cumulative curriculum as charged by Mr. Udel. At Allendale Elementary School, Principal Williams has organized teams that span all grade levels to look at data and standards. Teachers at all grade levels have become aware of the expectations at all other levels and plan accordingly. This would seem to be very sound practice, indeed.

Surely there are better measures of student achievement than MCAS. While the emperor may not be entirely without clothes, he is certainly in need of a good tailor. There will likely come a day when MCAS will be abandoned because of its many weaknesses, but only to be replaced by something better. Data and accountability are here to stay, and rightly so.

ROBERT DOUGLAS
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
The writer is a Grade 5 teacher at Allendale Elementary School.

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"Good jeer, gifts from Pol Santa: Above all, a very merry Christmas"
By Wayne Woodlief, Tuesday, December 25, 2007, bostonherald.com, Columnists

Hitch up the sleigh, elves. Time to move out with those gifts for the pols, naughty or nice, who have made 2007 such a kick to cover.

With thanks to elves Todd Domke and Michael Goldman, here’s what Santa has to put under their trees:

Mitt Romney: A cryin’ towel to help him wipe away his tears. Not one, not two, but three weepings as of late? Hmmm. Makes you wonder if people told some focus group that the nearly-perfect Romney needed to look more human.

Mike Huckabee: A gilt-bound copy of the Mormons’ Book of Moroni so the former Arkansas gov can tell Satan apart from Jesus the next time he muses about Mormon beliefs. And another turned cheek from Mitt. (Slim chance of that).

Rudy Giuliani: A flak jacket to ward off all the revelations hurled at him by the New York media and the aggressive questioning by Tim Russert on “Meet the Press.” Or for that matter, from mild-mannered Katie Couric when she asked Giuliani on CBS News if he thought a candidate should be judged on fidelity to his spouse as a test of fidelity to the country. Giuliani answered that he wasn’t perfect; that he’d “made some mistakes” in that area, but that he “learned from my mistakes,” before committing them again and learning more. Just call him a serial student.

John McCain: A surprise endorsement from his partner in immigration reform, our own Ted Kennedy. Nah, that wouldn’t help him much in South Carolina.

Barack Obama. A squeegee to clean off all the mud the Clinton campaign has been hurling his way. It was bad enough for New Hampshire biggie Bill Sheehan to raise the questions he said Republicans might pose about Obama’s youthful drug use, but did Bill Clinton have to pile on by claiming Obama was not prepared to be president?

Hillary Clinton: A press corps that would focus more on her proposals and her experience and a lot less on her looks. And a muzzle for Bill. He’s a tremendous asset, the best natural politician I’ve ever seen. But he sometimes misspeaks (i.e., his amnesia on exactly when he came to oppose the Iraq war) and anonymous staffers on the campaign have been leaking that Bill is getting too intense, raising too much fault with their work.

John Edwards: A $4 haircut so the former senator’s too-slick coiffure can instead look as hacked-up as most of the rest of us.

Vice President Cheney: A combat paintball contest to give him a “war” he might be able to manage and make his friends safe from his shotgun.

President Bush: A Nancy Pelosi voodoo doll, with a set of pins. But will he know how to use ’em?

Deval Patrick: A pair of furry dice for the governor’s Caddy. He can hang ’em on his rear-view mirror as a reminder to passing motorists that he wants to make the good times roll in Massachusetts.

Treasurer Tim Cahill: A safe house to hide all those “Tim for governor” bumper stickers that some folks believe he is stashing for 2010. Guess Deval doesn’t wow the state’s treasurer anymore.

Attorney General Martha Coakley: A Wonder Woman costume for when she goes mano-a-mano with the housing mortgage industry. The big boys better watch out for Martha.

House Speaker Sal DiMasi: Enough empathy for Gov. Patrick so that Sal says “yes” to at least one of the guv’s major proposals.

Mayor Tom Menino: A shelf named after him in the Boston Public Library, one stacked with books on mangled language. Surely the next chief librarian will recognize the mayor’s needs.

And, at the suggestion of the Wizard of Oz:

Actor and ex-senator Fred Thompson: Some heart for the campaign.

Democratic second-tier presidential candidates Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson: Courage (and resources) to carry on after Iowa.

Duncan Hunter: A brain so he’ll drop out of the presidential race like Tom Tancredo did.

And to all of you, Merry Christmas and a grand New Year.

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"Pittsfield, Massachusetts"
"Court clears city in bias case"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Saturday, December 29, 2007

PITTSFIELD — A Berkshire Superior Court jury has cleared Pittsfield of discrimination charges that were filed six years ago by a former employee of a job training program.

Deborah Phillips of West Stockbridge claimed that Pittsfield, then Mayor Gerald S. Doyle Jr., the Berkshire Training and Employment Program and two of that firm's employees had violated state discrimination laws when it placed her on administrative leave in September 1999. At the time, Phillips was receiving workers' compensation benefits for injuries received in a work-related car accident, according to court papers.

Phillips was hired by BTEP as its young parents' case coordinator in 1990. The support service, located on North Street, is listed in Phillips' complaint as an "unclassified department" within the city of Pittsfield. It is now known as BerkshireWorks.

According to documents on file in Superior Court, the jury found that both the city of Pittsfield and the Berkshire Training and Employment Program did not discharge Phillips because she was receiving workers' compensation benefits. Because the jury found against Phillips on both those claims, it was not required to award her financial compensation for the wages and benefits lost when she was discharged.

The charges against Doyle, who served as Pittsfield's mayor from 1997 to 2001, were dismissed by Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ford before the case was presented to the jury, ruling that Phillips had failed to present sufficient evidence to substantiate the charges.

Ford, however, denied a similar motion filed by Pittsfield's attorneys, Patricia M. Rapinchuk and Jeffrey J. Trapani of Springfield, asking that the charges against the city be dismissed.

According to court papers, Phillips was injured in an auto accident on March 10, 1999, while traveling to a work-related meeting near Boston. The accident left her handicapped within the limits of the state's handicapped discrimination law, her complaint states.

Phillips filed a claim for workers' compensation on March 12, 1999, and received benefits until Sept. 13, 1999. While receiving those benefits, Phillips claimed that Doyle informed her that she would be placed on administrative leave when her workers' compensation benefits were terminated. No reasons were given for her being placed on leave, according to the complaint.

Before she was injured, Doyle and BTEP's executive director, Michael Herrick, and human resources manager, Daniel Collins, had decided to reorganize the job training center, which resulted in the elimination of her position and termination of employment, according to the complaint.

Phillips claimed that her termination violated the Berkshire Training and Employment Program's policy manual. In April 1999, the firm hired a "less qualified" individual to replace her and failed to follow the procedures in the policy manual while doing so, according to the complaint.

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A BOSTON GLOBE EDITORIAL
"Eight wishes for '08"
January 1, 2008

IT'S TABULA RASA time, when the year is fresh with possibility. Soon enough, all the bright hopes and determined resolutions will be jaded and worn, so we take this day to close our eyes and hope for the best. Surveying our world on the birth of a new year, we find eight candles to wish upon.

1. We wish for a presidential campaign debate that informs, inspires, and motivates. Naive? Maybe not. With the exception of the immigration issue, which has been cheaply exploited to rile up nativist passions, the primary campaign has so far been reasonably civilized. Perhaps the candidates are just holding their fire until the fall, but we hope the eventual nominees are wise enough to know that voters have had quite enough, thank you, of the scapegoating, sliming, simplistic campaigns of the past.

2. We hope that everyone gets to vote and all votes are properly counted. Seven years and billions of dollars after the 2000 election fiasco, the nation can be guardedly optimistic that the most egregious flaws in the way votes are cast and counted are at last being addressed. Without falling for wild conspiracy theories, however, it's clear that too many states still have unreliable systems. Electronic voting machines that crash or won't start; insufficient and untrained poll workers; long lines; voters turned away or forced to cast provisional ballots; mistrust of election officials because of party affiliation - these were all still evident in last year's midterm elections. There is no excuse for them persisting into 2008. The bare minimum: Every voting machine in every county in America should leave a paper trail.

3. We wish that Governor Patrick and the state's legislative leaders stop feuding and start fixing what ails Massachusetts. That means increasing revenues the state needs just to maintain the status quo, much less achieve the ambitious advances in early childhood education, biotechnology development, and capital improvements Patrick has on his own wish list. We think destination casinos are a reasonable way to recapture revenue currently leaking to other states, but if there is no appetite for that, legislative leaders need to offer an alternative. Increase the gasoline tax, close the corporate loopholes Patrick has identified, pressure cities and towns to adopt efficiencies in health and pension benefits, or reorder priorities to eliminate spending elsewhere. Anything less is irresponsible government.

4. On New Year's, revelers often toast to good health, so we wish for the success of the state's landmark experiment with universal healthcare. The biggest threat to that success is cost: of the care provided, and of the insurance plans offered. Some 300,000 (and rising) newly insured residents must be able to afford their premiums, so the healthcare plans need to keep their premiums low. This in turn means that the state's first-rate healthcare providers need to show restraint in their annual rate increases. Finally, the state needs to come up with sufficient cash to subsidize the mandatory plans for those of modest means (see wish number 3).

5. We hope for a soft landing to the nation's economic woes. This means the banks, Wall Street, and federal officials need to take responsibility for what they allowed to happen: a mortgage loan crisis that threatens the solvency of perhaps 2 million homeowners, with resounding ripple effects washing through the whole economy. Relaxing interest rates may help avoid a debilitating credit squeeze and avoid recession. Just as important is keeping homeowners who were lured through deceptive or greedy practices into unsustainable mortgages from falling into ruin. That is the best way for consumer spending and confidence overall to be restored. The alternative is a sickening downward spiral of default and despair.

6. We wish for an end to violence. The conflagrations in Pakistan and Iraq are just the most vivid and immediate examples. Desolating, senseless violence continues unabated from Darfur to Dorchester. Tribal, ethnic, religious, or gang hatreds can be blamed for much of the killing. But the conditions that allow these hatreds to breed are similar everywhere: dead-end lives of poverty, ignorance, and powerlessness. This is the pragmatic reason to support public expenditures - on everything from foreign aid to preschool education to microcredit to addiction counseling - that are often derided as soft-hearted charity. Without justice, there is rarely peace.

7. We hope mankind makes peace with the Earth. The blue planet is under assault, not just from the climate change provoked by global warming, but from extractions of resources that extend the sere reach of deserts; from the wanton dumping of toxics into the water and air; and from a world population that is growing more slowly but still aggravates disease and environmental degradation. The United States has lagged, not led, the world in finding ways to repair the damage. A good step on that path would be for Congress to pass, and President Bush to sign, a strong bill establishing a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions. But overall, we wish for a reckoning by the richest nation on Earth with its ponderous, overdue debt.

8. We hope transparency and civic engagement make a comeback. The last seven years have featured the most secretive government since J. Edgar Hoover plotted against John Lennon. Under the convenient cloak of national security, the administration has sealed presidential records, authorized warrantless wiretapping, muzzled dissent, manipulated government websites, classified or reclassified an unprecedented number of documents, and presided over record-breaking denials and backlogs of Freedom of Information Act requests. It's a waiting game in which the forces of censorship and secrecy hope the citizens will wear out first. This won't happen if the bonds between Americans and a vigilant free press are strengthened. We hope that's not too much to wish for.

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"Another year, and nothing learned"
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters
Thursday, January 03, 2008

The year 2007 ended in a cloud of despair and confusion for me. Let me explain.
During the famous Nuremberg trials (1945-46), Germany's Hermann Goering openly testified, "Of course, people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of their leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to a greater danger."

Hitler made good use of Goering's insights when he unleashed the dogs of war upon the world by telling the German people they were being attacked by poor little Poland, of all places.

While there can be no doubt that, on September 11, 2001, we were attacked, there is equally no doubt that Iraq was not involved. Nevertheless, like Hitler in indicting Poland, which, by the way, met Hitler's tanks with heroic but sadly futile cavalry charges, Bush took advantage of the weakest of possible opponents and misinformed the American public that Saddam Hussein had not only been involved, but had weapons of mass destruction which he intended to use against us. Following the Nazi playbook to the letter, those who objected were denounced as pacifists, lacking patriotism and, thereby, exposing our country to a greater danger.

What is it about the human mind that allows it to absorb such nonsense to the point where we are willing to send our kids off to be maimed or killed, all the while devastating our nation's treasure? What is it about us that, at the end of World War II, allowed the "Stars and Stripe's" cartoonist, Bill Mauldin, the insight needed to create a cartoon in 1945 that depicted his famous combat duo, Willy and Joe, this time discharged and wearing "civvies," visiting a wounded comrade in a veteran's hospital. Their buddy, legs in casts suspended in the air by cables, asks his visitors, "How's things outside, boys? Am I still a war hero or a drain on th' taxpayer?" (Bill Mauldin's Army. Page 383).

Why do I ask about Mauldin's "insight?" It ought to be obvious. Things haven't changed. After Vietnam, it was Agent Orange. After the Gulf War it was depleted uranium. We are still treating our veterans no differently than if they were no better than drains on the taxpayers.

What's our problem? Has our system of education failed us so completely that we can no longer reason things out or are we just plain stupid? I'm depressed because I fear the latter is the fact. After all is said and done, year after year, generation after generation, we fall for the same old crap.

ROBERT W. ALLARDYCE
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

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THE BOSTON GLOBE: Op-Ed: "PIERCED"
"Worth a Gamble: A little leniency for this criminal could go a long way."
By Charles P. Pierce, January 6, 2008

Dear John O'Brien:

As the state's probation commissioner, you have a pretty full plate there, I realize. For all I know, you make a half-dozen calls on various miscreants every half-hour, and if any of the calls goes wrong, somebody running for president will gladly toss you under the bus. But I think the case of this Timothy Elliott guy is an easy one - a win-win, as it were. Elliott, as you know, is the paroled bank robber down in Hyannis who won a million bucks in a lottery scratch game back in November. Now, Elliott is not even the most vicious hoodlum to wind up with his mitts around some lottery boodle. That title goes to the still-at-large Whitey Bulger, who somehow ended up with a share of a Mass Millions jackpot. Elliott at least won his money fair and square. Of course, as a condition of his probation, Elliott was ordered not to gamble. At all. He was not allowed to buy lottery tickets or even eat in a restaurant where people were playing keno. Considering the omnipresence of keno boards these days - I believe there's one below decks on Old Ironsides - this was a considerable hardship.

So he scratched a ticket? That just makes him another guy at the counter who forces us to wait 45 minutes to buy a banana. But now that he's won, you should wield your influence creatively. After all, if a guy knows he's got $1 million coming in at $35,000 after taxes every year, he'd have real motivation not to rob banks as often as he used to. This could be a new approach to the problem of criminal recidivism. Give all the crooks free money. Just don't let the Legislature hear about it. You know how they are.

Charles P. Pierce
pierce@globe.com

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A Boston GLOBE EDITORIAL
"The battle over skin shocks"
January 19, 2008

ON WEDNESDAY, desperate parents begged lawmakers at a State House hearing not to interfere with the work of the controversial Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton. They had reason to be concerned.

Some state lawmakers take a dim view of skin shock treatments at the center, a view that may not be in the best interest of the school's autistic, retarded, and emotionally disturbed students. Even a new bill trumpeted as a compromise by sponsors could undermine treatment programs that many parents view as the best hope against self-destructive and violent behavior by their children. The state Department of Mental Retardation is better qualified than lawmakers to set limits on treatment methods at the center - or decide whether it should operate at all.

The situation is tense. Senator Brian Joyce of Milton, a cosponsor of the bill, is passionate in his belief that the center is not only hurting patients but also manipulating their parents' emotions. Joyce, who can barely disguise his contempt for the center's founder, Matthew Israel, says it is the Legislature's "moral obligation to stop the wholesale application of this so-called aversive therapy." Israel says the bill is just another in a long line of overboard attempts to close his center, which administers brief skin shocks to deter violent behavior by some patients who don't respond to traditional therapies.

The public has reason to be confused about a center that has been embroiled in complex legal battles dating back decades. But the proposed legislation only makes matters worse. It might seem reasonable to pass a law that limits skin shock treatment to cases involving "a clear risk of injury to self or others." But the bill would also bar shocks to treat "minor behavior problems, even if said behaviors are identified as antecedents to targeted challenging behaviors." So, if a disturbed patient is known to rub his head vigorously for several seconds before biting or gouging himself, the shock could not be administered during the "antecedent" behavior, but only at the onset of the actual attack. The whole point of aversive therapy is to discourage the attack before it begins.

Both the patients and public will be best served if the Department of Mental Retardation, which certifies the Rotenberg Center, concentrates fully on the competence of the center to administer the treatment, instead of the treatment itself. There are plenty of reasons to scrutinize the center closely, not the least of which is the questionable quality and training of the workers who administer the shocks. Rotenberg staffers made a mind-blowing error of judgment in August when they shocked two emotionally disturbed students on the phoned-in order of a former patient posing as a medical supervisor. And Rotenberg top officials followed that up with a gross error in judgment, or worse, when they destroyed videotapes of the incident despite a warning not to do so by a state investigator who had viewed the tapes.

If the Rotenberg Center can't do its job consistently and ethically, then DMR should shut it down. But the Legislature shouldn't foreclose the option of skin shock treatment as a last resort for desperate patients.

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"Atheism wilts before truth, logic"
The Berkshire Eagle, Op-Ed By Dan Valenti
Saturday, January 19, 2008
STOCKBRIDGE, Massachusetts

Peter Albertson's toothless gumming of the belief in God ("Glass House on Atheism," Eagle, Jan. 9) regurgitates a clichéd refrain of past ills of the Catholic Church disguised as argumentation. His blubbering invites stifled laughter at best. At worst, I wouldn't care to say.

To a stunning degree, Albertson spits misleading summaries of Spe Salvi (Saved by Hope), Pope Benedict's second encyclical, and Marxist idealism as imperfectly expressed in human history. We can only wonder: Are these shards of ignorance the product of design or are they themselves ignorance getting on too intimate terms with itself, a kind of inbred rhetorical incest?

The author fails to offer compelling evidence that the "no God" argument is worthy of being taken seriously. This has always been atheism's great polemic weakness. Having to argue the existence of an alleged non-existence, it must deny God by referring to God. The poor atheist must accept this on faith and hope others will do the same.

It's easy to show how atheism unravels as an exercise in logic. On the basis of his own lack of experience, and discounting the overwhelming evidence of historical human experience, the atheist deductively concludes there is no God then advances that faulty major premise as an article of faith, one that dooms subsequent reasoning. However valid, the argument cannot be true.

Truth, however, is the atheist's first victim. Instead of the wondrous presence of the universe and everything in it, which by moral certainty we know exists, the nonbeliever presents life as an empty, uncaused desert populated by a human species that, as Albertson admits, is prone to savagery.

It is true; people can be cruel. Human flaws are among spirituality's greatest concerns. But people are also good, the encouragement of which is among spirituality's greatest works. For every institutional inquisition, there are innumerable deeds of mercy performed by ordinary people of good heart each and every day. The truth is, dear Peter, your empty desert — that world without God — exists only in the indolent imagination of those who "believe" in the reality of their illusions. The rest of us prefer our confrontation with life to be more pragmatic, more honest, and more open.

Here's the biggest laugh. You piously tell us you "do not proselytize. I do not recall ever trying to convince someone to join me in (my) belief. I have private feelings and opinions about religion and atheism, but I never visit them on other people." Say what? Does it strike you as a wee bit disingenuous to spill your "privacy" in the pages of the region's only daily newspaper, to tens of thousands of readers?

Your citation of "a billion non-believers in the world" implies how your "religion" is growing. Of course atheism is growing, but not because adherents find the message captivating. Rather, they embrace your position because it avoids the duty of finding out firsthand about God, a lifetime effort that finds no place in an Instant Age where attention spans die on the keyboards of high tech. In the era of surfing the net on a computer while text messaging on a phone while listening to an iPod while watching TV, the capacity for sustained awareness and focus spirituality presumes has little chance.

There's no such thing as honest atheism. Those who openly declare God doesn't exist stand indicted by their own pointing fingers. They accuse deists of a position unsupported by reason and logic, yet they unreasonably and illogically embrace an irrational assertion they have no way of proving.

Atheists, as it turns out, believe things much more fantastic and absurd than those they mock. Neither Pope Benedict nor Karl Marx would subscribe to that kind of intellectual sloppiness.

So here's the deal, Pete. Are you ready to put up or shut up? I'm challenging you to a debate. We need a soapbox in a beer hall, two barstools, and two wireless microphones — no notes or cheat sheets allowed. We bill it, "Funeral for an Atheist," ask a donation for admittance, split the proceeds among the charities of our choosing, and have fun doing it. You game?

Pete, the gap between believer and non-believer fills but a tiny space. It's the one-character space between the word "atheist" and the phrase "a theist." I say you are someone who believes in God but who lacks the conceptual framework, the attitude, the curiosity, the logic, the intellectual rigor, the language, the intestinal fortitude, and the honesty to express it. An atheist is like a man in a room who has closed the curtains to block the sun. He concludes there is no light. Within his dark room, the conclusion seems reasonable. Yet the sun shines, and he must define himself by its rays.

Writer Dan Valenti's latest book is "Under a Grapefruit Sun." He writes about religion and spirituality for www.thedivinemercy.org and www.marian.org. He is a long-time faculty member of the English Department at Berkshire Community College.

--

"Valenti rant lacked logic, civility"
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters
Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The journey that each of us undertakes to find our place in the world and to seek out some sort of meaning to our existence leads down innumerable paths, perhaps as many paths as there are people. Some do indeed find their way toward spirituality, but many do not. For Dan Valenti ("Atheism wilts before truth, logic," op-ed, Jan. 19) to suggest that those who make a sincere and introspective effort to find meaning and arrive at the conclusion that God could not exist are lacking in, among other things, "curiosity, logic, intellectual rigor . . . intestinal fortitude, and the honesty to express it," is as mean-spirited as it is grossly misguided.

What was the purpose of that column? Certainly not to persuade or inform as it contains no coherent explanation as to why God's existence is without question. If it was meant as a legitimate criticism it instantly failed to do so in the first paragraph with phrases like "toothless gumming" and "blubbering," and continued downhill from there with little or no restraint. Instead we have no more than a rant; invective slanted toward anger rather than fact.

It seems to me that skepticism about God's accountability, intentions and
very existence is quite natural and surfaces regularly with any thoughtful person, believer or not. Shouldn't religion be open to the same scrutiny (and critique when necessary) as any other subject? Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Victor Stenger each have written extensively on that theme, one that does not lend itself to sound-bytes and requires all of those valuable assets such as curiosity, logic, etc . . .and there is no dishonesty whatsoever in coming to a different conclusion than Mr. Valenti.

The value from this type of discussion comes from an even-handed and informative dialogue. Mr. Valenti's opinion piece was far from it. The only things that "wilted" in that article were objective thought and civility.

WILLIAM MILLER
Dalton, Massachusetts

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"Senators ask why men left off tipster reward: Flight instructors alerted officials to Moussaoui"
By Frederic J. Frommer, Associated Press, January 26, 2008

WASHINGTON - The two senators who honored flight instructors for alerting authorities to Zacarias Moussaoui before the Sept. 11 attacks are asking why the men were left off a $5 million government reward given to another tipster.

Clarence Prevost, 69, got the payout Thursday, when he was honored in a private ceremony as part of the State Department's "Rewards for Justice" program, which mainly seeks information about perpetrators or planners of terrorist acts against US interests and citizens abroad.

But two of Prevost's former colleagues at the Pan Am International Flight Academy outside Minneapolis are questioning the reward, especially after a 2005 Senate resolution commended their "bravery" and "heroism" for alerting the FBI about a month before the attacks.

The Minnesota senators who sponsored that resolution, Republican Norm Coleman and now retired Democrat Mark Dayton, want answers from the State Department.

"There is no question that both Tim Nelson and Hugh Sims are American heroes," Coleman said in a statement yesterday, adding that any honor given by the government should go to those two men as well. "I have contacted the State Department to determine why these heroic men were not recognized for their roles, and see what can be done to ensure they receive the credit they are due."

In a telephone interview yesterday from Minneapolis, Dayton said: "I don't know what Mr. Prevost did, but I know what the other two did, and if there's an award, it ought to be equitably distributed. This is typical of this administration. They do something in secret and don't discuss it. An explanation is warranted."

Dayton's successor in the Senate, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, wrote a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday, asking why Prevost was selected while Nelson and Sims were not.

"Without diminishing the contributions of Mr. Prevost in any way, I believe it is clear that Mr. Nelson and Mr. Sims played a critical role in this case and are equally deserving of recognition," Klobuchar wrote.

State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey told reporters yesterday that the Rewards for Justice program is based on nominations, and the recipient would have been nominated by a US law enforcement agency.

He said he didn't know if others were nominated for this award.

"If there's some reason to reexamine this issue, or facts that haven't come to light, I'm sure the appropriate people involved will do so," he added.

The State Department hasn't identified the recipient, in keeping with the policy of the program. But two Bush administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to talk publicly about the matter, said the reward went to Prevost.

A US official told the Associated Press that the FBI nominated him for the award.

The agency "considered the relevant information about the three before making their recommendation about the reward for one individual," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Prevost, a former Navy pilot who goes by the nickname Clancy, became a key witness at Moussaoui's trial, at which he was convicted as a Sept. 11 conspirator.

News of the reward came as a surprise to Nelson and Sims.

"It was never done for the reward, but when you give $5 million to a person who didn't call the FBI and didn't put his job on the line, are they rewarding someone for calling the FBI or for testifying?" asked Nelson, 47, of St. Paul, Minn. "And the only reason he was testifying was because he was the instructor."

----------

"Airport boondoggle needs airing out"
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters
Thursday, January 31, 2008

Like a lot of honest Americans, I recently sat down and started to work on my 1040 when, out of the clear blue sky, unscrupulous thoughts started running through my head. Who would know the difference if I listed eight dependents instead of two? Why not write down 10,000 in charitable contributions instead of three? And, maybe I'll accidentally forget to list that paltry amount of interest I earned last year. Wow, think of what I could do with all that extra cash I'd get back! Sounds good, might even go unnoticed for a few years: but as we all know, sooner or later the ax would fall and I would be called in for an audit. My attempt to legitimize those inflated figures would be in vain, and eventually the truth would rise to the surface and I would be held accountable for my misdeeds. The IRS doesn't fool around — and they've gotten pretty good at spotting dubious accounting.

Now, from the scenario above, substitute Harriman West Airport (HW) for me, and substitute an application for federal grant money for the 1040. How long can this airport improvement charade continue? I can hardly believe that numbers such as 44,000 operations (takeoffs/landings) per year (120 per day) are still being thrown around as if they were believable. Twice in the past few weeks, I have seen this figure referred to: once in an Army Corps of Engineers Public Notice, and once in an article published in this very newspaper. Sadly, such a statement is laughable to anyone familiar with HW, or to borrow a phrase from Bill Clinton; it certainly has "fairy tale" qualities.

The history of this project has been plagued with misinformation, deception, doubt, and suspicion from the time it was introduced by the airport's consultants several years back. To many it always appeared to be overkill. Six and a half million dollars for a project that could easily accomplish what it's intended to do (improve airport safety) for a fraction of that amount. Local officials who signed off on permits admit that they felt hoodwinked because the broad scope of the project was concealed by the segmented manner in which it was presented. The next phase will cause even more damage to an already disturbed aquifer system by trucking some 15,000 cubic yards of fill into unprotected wetlands, which when combined with additional tree cutting will almost certainly compound an already aggravated flooding problem in the area.

There's not enough room on this page to get into all of the flagrant discrepancies surrounding this project. A lot of things just don't add up, never did. The only things adding up are the millions of taxpayer dollars already, and yet, to be spent. Things just move stealthily along and no one seems to be watching the store. I think it's about time to do something that should have been done a long time ago before another dollar is allocated or shovelful of dirt moved. As a private citizen concerned about wasteful spending and numerical obfuscation, I would like to see a complete, in depth and thorough, fact-finding investigation into this boondoggle starting with the application process all the way to the present.

Sorry I have to go. I need to find a pencil with a large eraser and get back to the 1040, after all, honesty is the best policy.

R. P. BERGMANN
Williamstown, Massachusetts

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"GE wins, and democracy loses"
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters
Friday, February 01, 2008

Not only does corporate news make decisions on based on the number of viewers who may watch a particular news item, as a letter to the editor on Jan. 17 suggests, corporate news also keeps newsworthy stories off the air when its profits are threatened. NBC, which is owned by GE, and its dealings with former Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, is illustrative of this point.

MSNBC held a Democratic debate in Las Vegas on Jan. 16 and the top four Democratic candidates were selected to participate. Initially Kucinich was not in the top four when MSNBC announced its criteria but Bill Richardson dropped out of the race making Kucinich number four. Initially a Nevada judge ordered NBC to include Kucinich but NBC appealed the ruling and actively fought to keep him off the stage, thereby changing the criteria after it was set.

GE owns NBC, sells electrical power generating equipment, security technology for power plants, aviation and surveillance as well as components that are used by defense giant Raytheon. Kucinich voted 100 percent against war funding for Iraq, was the first Democrat to put forward a plan to leave Iraq and voted against the war. Clinton and Obama would leave a strategic presence in Iraq should either of them become president. GE is a large manufacturer of nuclear power plants and nuclear power was part of the debate. Kucinich was the only democratic candidate who wanted to phase out nuclear power.

Voting for a president is the most important opportunity a citizen has to take part in our democracy. We have the right to consider all the views of candidates on important policy issues in order to make informed decisions about the future of our country. Media companies are granted licenses by the FCC to operate in the public interest not to interfere in the democratic process.

NBC violated the Federal Communications Act by excluding Kucinich from the debate in Nevada on Jan. 16. The dynamics of the debate became more business friendly to GE as a result. Journalism is protected under the Constitution to act as a check and balance against abuses of the government but it is not protected against the abuses of large corporations who own media companies. In the Democratic debate in Las Vegas, GE won and democracy lost.

TIMOTHY WRIGHT
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

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"A burning issue?"
The North Adams Transcript - Letters
Thursday, June 19, 2008

To the Editor:

The laws in Massachusetts that govern the use of consumer fireworks are out of date and out of touch with the demands and rights of the Massachusetts citizens.

The time has come for Massachusetts to be brought into the mainstream of American life and for the state Legislature to allow its citizens to enjoy the celebration of freedom with consumer fireworks.

The spirit of the Massachusetts signers of the Declaration of Independence -- John Adams, John Hancock, Elbridge Gerry, Samuel Adams and Robert Treat Paine -- should rise once again and break the chains of anti-fireworks servitude in the Bay State.

The imperative for the Legislature to "protect" its citizens from the dangers of consumer fireworks is long gone. The consumer fireworks today are the safest ever, and the injuries associated with the use of consumer fireworks is at an all-time low. There simply is no longer any need for the antiquated laws in this state that prevent citizens from enjoying the family celebrations associated with a home fireworks display.

The fireworks-related injuries in American have dropped dramatically, and the use of consumer fireworks has gone up several fold. From 1992 to 2006, the actual number of fireworks-related injuries has dropped over 26 percent, while during the same period, use of fireworks measured by imports from China has increased from 87.1 million pounds to 278.2 million pounds, or almost 220 percent. Based on injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks used, injuries have dropped an amazing 76 percent since 1992. This is based on information published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Massachusetts is now one of only five states that totally outlaws the use of all consumer fireworks.

President John Adams predicted in 1776 in a letter to his wife, Abigail, that Independence Day "ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade ... bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this day forward forevermore.

Fireworks provide the citizens of this state and this nation a means to celebrate their freedoms. Countless Americans, past and present, have fought for this freedom, but in Massachusetts, they are still not able to celebrate this cherished right to celebrate Independence Day as John Adams predicted it ought to be celebrated.

Celebrating Independence Day in the United States without fireworks would be like celebrating Thanksgiving without turkeys or New Year's without the ball dropping. Traditions are passed down within families, nations and cultures. The tradition of celebrating Independence Day and freedom with fireworks is ingrained in the very soul of our country. There is nothing more strongly associated with the tradition of Independence Day than fireworks.

Write to your state legislators and let them know that you want the right to celebrate your freedom with fireworks in the spirit of John Adams.

Please enjoy the Independence Day holiday with your family and celebrate safely.

William A. Weimer
Youngstown, Ohio
June 17, 2008
The writer is vice president of Phantom Fireworks.

----------

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About Me

My photo
Amherst, NH, United States
I am a citizen defending the people against corrupt Pols who only serve their Corporate Elite masters, not the people! / My 2 political enemies are Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., nicknamed "Luciforo" and former Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr. / I have also pasted many of my political essays on "The Berkshire Blog": berkshireeagle.blogspot.com / I AM THE ANTI-FRANK GUINTA! / Please contact me at jonathan_a_melle@yahoo.com

50th Anniversary - 2009

50th Anniversary - 2009
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Columbus Avenue in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety
Paul Capitanio, left, speaks during Monday night's Ward 3 City Council debate with fellow candidate Melissa Mazzeo at Pittsfield Community Television's studio. The special election (3/31/2009) will be held a week from today (3/24/2009). The local issues ranged from economic development and cleaning up blighted areas in Ward 3 to public education and the continued remediation of PCB's.

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

Outrage swells in Congress!

Outrage swells in Congress!
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., left, and the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., listen during a hearing on modernizing insurance regulations, Tuesday, March 17, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh). - http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090318/pl_politico/30833

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!
Photo Gallery: www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/15/St_Patricks_Day_Boston/

The path away from Wall Street ...

The path away from Wall Street ...
...Employers in the finance sector - traditionally a prime landing spot for college seniors, particularly in the Northeast - expect to have 71 percent fewer jobs to offer this year's (2009) graduates.

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...
www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/14/economic_collapse_puts_graduates_on_unforeseen_paths/

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis
Should he be fired? As Bank of America's Stock Plummets, CEO Resists Some Calls That He Step Down.

Hookers for Jesus

Hookers for Jesus
Annie Lobert is the founder of "Hookers for Jesus" - www.hookersforjesus.net/home.cfm - Saving Sin City: Las Vegas, Nevada?

Forever personalized stamped envelope

Forever personalized stamped envelope
The Forever stamp will continue to cover the price of a first-class letter. The USPS will also introduce Forever personalized, stamped envelopes. The envelopes will be preprinted with a Forever stamp, the sender's name and return address, and an optional personal message.

Purple Heart

Purple Heart
First issued in 2003, the Purple heart stamp will continue to honor the men and women wounded while serving in the US military. The Purple Heart stamp covers the cost of 44 cents for first-class, one-ounce mail.

Dolphin

Dolphin
The bottlenose is just one of the new animals set to appear on the price-change stamps. It will serve as a 64-cent stamp for odd shaped envelopes.

2009 price-change stamps

2009 price-change stamps
www.boston.com/business/gallery/2009pircechangestamps/ -&- www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/02/27/new_stamps_set_for_rate_increase_in_may/

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
AP photo v Shepard Fairey

Rush Limbaugh lackeys

Rush Limbaugh lackeys
Posted by Dan Wasserman of the Boston Globe on March 3, 2009.

Honest Abe

Honest Abe
A 2007 US Penny

Dog race

Dog race
Sledding for dogs

The Capital of the Constitution State

The Capital of the Constitution State
Hartford, once the wealthiest city in the United States but now the poorest in Connecticut, is facing an uphill battle.

Brady, Bundchen married

Brady, Bundchen married
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and model Gisele Bundchen wed Feb. 26, 2009 in a Catholic ceremony in Los Angeles. www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/gallery/tom_gisele/

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto
Tanked Pittsfield's local economy while helping his fellow insider political hacks and business campaign contributors!

Journalist Andrew Manuse

Journalist Andrew Manuse
www.manuse.com

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Hampshire_Supreme_Court

Economic State of the Union

Economic State of the Union
A look at some of the economic conditions the Obama administration faces and what resources have already been pledged to help. 2/24/2009

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
The president addresses the nation's governors during a dinner in the State Dinning Room, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari).

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.
Hugh Jackman and Beyoncé Knowles teamed up for a musical medley during the show.

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009
Hugh Jackman pulled actress Anne Hathaway on stage to accompany him during his opening musical number.

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow
A Progressive News Commentator

$500,000 per year

$500,000 per year
That is chump change for the corporate elite!

THE CORPORATE ELITE...

THE CORPORATE ELITE...
Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric

The Presidents' Club

The Presidents' Club
Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton & Carter.

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!
White House Event: January 7, 2009.

Bank Bailout!

Bank Bailout!
v taxpayer

Actress Elizabeth Banks

Actress Elizabeth Banks
She will present an award to her hometown (Pittsfield) at the Massachusetts State House next month (1/2009). She recently starred in "W" and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," and just signed a $1 million annual contract to be a spokesmodel for Paris.

Joanna Lipper

Joanna Lipper
Her award-winning 1999 documentary, "Growing Up Fast," about teenaged mothers in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Happy Holidays...

Happy Holidays...
...from "Star Wars"

Massachusetts "poor" economy

Massachusetts "poor" economy
Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest states, but it is also very inequitable. For example, it boasts the nation's most lucrative lottery, which is just a system of regressive taxation so that the corporate elite get to pay less in taxes!

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon
Hollywood Actress

Peter G. Arlos.

Peter G. Arlos.
Arlos is shown in his Pittsfield office in early 2000.

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes
Big Dig - East-west commuters take hit; Fees at tunnels would double. 11/15/2008.

The Pink Panther 2

The Pink Panther 2
Starring Steve Martin

Police ABUSE

Police ABUSE
I was a victim of Manchester Police Officer John Cunningham's ILLEGAL USES of FORCE! John Cunningham was reprimanded by the Chief of Police for disrespecting me. John Cunningham yelled at a witness: "I don't care if he (Jonathan Melle) is disabled!"

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
The 44th US President!

Vote

Vote
Elections

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check
A political cartoon by Dan Wasserman

A rainbow over Boston

A rainbow over Boston
"Rainbows galore" 10/2/2008

Our nation's leaders!

Our nation's leaders!
President Bush with both John McCain & Barack Obama - 9/25/2008.

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).
$5 rise at tunnels is one possibility $1 jump posed for elsewhere.

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My FAVORITE Journalist EVER!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!
John McCain and Barack Obama appeared together at ground zero in New York City - September 11, 2008.

John McCain...

John McCain...
...has all but abandoned the positions on taxes, torture and immigration. (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman. September 2008).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
The deregulated chickens come home to roost... in all our pocketbooks. September 2008.

Sarah Palin's phobia

Sarah Palin's phobia
A scripted candidate! (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
Family FInances - September, 2008.

Mark E. Roy

Mark E. Roy
Ward 1 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas
Ward 2 Alderman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Peter M. Sullivan

Peter M. Sullivan
Ward 3 (downtown) Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Jim Roy

Jim Roy
Ward 4 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Ed Osborne

Ed Osborne
Ward 5 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Real R. Pinard

Real R. Pinard
Ward 6 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

William P. Shea

William P. Shea
Ward 7 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Betsi DeVries

Betsi DeVries
Ward 8 Alder-woman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Michael Garrity

Michael Garrity
Ward 9 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

George Smith

George Smith
Ward 10 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Russ Ouellette

Russ Ouellette
Ward 11 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy
Ward 12 Alder-woman for Manchester, NH (2008).

“Mike” Lopez

“Mike” Lopez
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH. (2008).

Daniel P. O’Neil

Daniel P. O’Neil
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Sarah Palin for Vice President.

Sarah Palin for Vice President.
Republican John McCain made the surprise pick of Alaska's governor Sarah Palin as his running mate today, August 29, 2008.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.
Congressman Olver said the country has spent well over a half-trillion dollars on the war in Iraq while the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate. 8/25/08.

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!
John Kerry's 9/2008 challenger in the Democratic Primary.

Shays' Rebellion

Shays' Rebellion
In a tax revolt, Massachusetts farmers fought back during Shays' Rebellion in the mid-1780s after The American Revolutionary War.

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore
Actress. "The Big Lebowski" is one of my favorite movies. I also like "The Fugitive", too.

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"
Go to: http://www.berkshirefatherhood.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=699&cntnt01returnid=69

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"
The gap between rich and poor has widened substantially in Massachusetts over the past two decades. (8/15/2008).

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley
"The Bosley Amendment": To create tax loopholes for the wealthiest corporate interests in Massachusetts!

John Edwards and...

John Edwards and...
...Rielle Hunter. WHO CARES?!

Rep. Edward J. Markey

Rep. Edward J. Markey
He wants online-privacy legislation. Some Web Firms Say They Track Behavior Without Explicit Consent.

Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan
She gained fame with her antiwar vigil outside the Bush ranch.

Olympics kick off in Beijing

Olympics kick off in Beijing
Go USA!

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall
In this May 1, 2008, file photo, a customer pumps gas at an Exxon station in Middleton, Mass. Exxon Mobil Corp. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, July 31, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation, but the results were well short of Wall Street expectations and its shares fell as markets opened. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File) 7/31/2008.

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'
Some kind of monster on Onota Lake. Five-year-old Tyler Smith rides a 'sea serpent' on Onota Lake in Pittsfield, Mass. The 'monster,' fashioned by Smith's grandfather, first appeared over July 4 weekend. (Photo courtesy of Ron Smith). 7/30/2008.

Al Gore, Jr.

Al Gore, Jr.
Al Gore issues challenge on energy

The Norman Rockwell Museum

The Norman Rockwell Museum
Stockbridge, Massachusetts

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's financially wasteful pork barrel project!

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's pork barrel public works project cost 50 times more than the original price!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer
Note: Photo from Mary E Carey's Blog.

Tanglewood

Tanglewood
Boston Symphony Orchestra music director James Levine.

Google

Google
Chagall

Jimmy Ruberto

Jimmy Ruberto
Faces multiple persecutions under the Massachusetts "Ethics" conflict of interest laws.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Obama vows $500m in faith-based aid.

John McCain

John McCain
He is with his wife, Cindy, who were both met by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (right) upon arriving in Cartagena.

Daniel Duquette

Daniel Duquette
Sold Mayor James M. Ruberto of Pittsfield two tickets to the 2004 World Series at face value.

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008
Clinton tells Obama, crowd in Unity, N.H.: 'We are one party'

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Wanna-be Prez?

WALL-E

WALL-E
"out of this World"

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck
http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/popup?id=5057139&contentIndex=1&page=1&start=false - http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=5234555&page=1

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
NH's Democratic returning candidate for U.S. Senate

"Wall-E"

"Wall-E"
a cool robot

Ed O'Reilly

Ed O'Reilly
www.edoreilly.com

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
World Champions - 2008

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
J.D. Drew gets the same welcome whenever he visits the City of Brotherly Love: "Booooooo!"; Drew has been vilified in Philadelphia since refusing to sign with the Phillies after they drafted him in 1997...

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs
www.2joes.org

NH Union Leader

NH Union Leader
Editorial Cartoon

Celtics - World Champions!

Celtics - World Champions!
www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_18_08_front_pages/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_finals_game_6/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_celebration/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_15_08_celtics_championships/

"The Nation"

"The Nation"
A "Liberal" weekly political news magazine. Katrina vanden Heuvel.

TV - PBS: NOW

TV - PBS: NOW
http://www.pbs.org/now

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone
List of Twilight Zone episodes - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Twilight_Zone_episodes

Equality for ALL Marriages

Equality for ALL Marriages
I, Jonathan Melle, am a supporter of same sex marriages.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.
L.A. Lakers holds on for the win to force Game 6 at Boston

Mohawk Trail

Mohawk Trail
The 'Hail to the Sunrise' statue in Charlemont is a well-known and easily recognized landmark on the Mohawk Trail. The trail once boasted several souvenir shops, some with motels and restaurants. Now only four remain. (Caroline Bonnivier / Berkshire Eagle Staff).

NASA - June 14, 2008

NASA - June 14, 2008
Space Shuttle Discovery returns to Earth.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.
Boston took a 20-second timeout, and the Celtics ran off four more points (including this incredible Erving-esque layup from Ray Allen) to build the lead to five points with just 2:10 remaining. Reeling, the Lakers took a full timeout to try to regain their momentum.

Sal DiMasi

Sal DiMasi
Speaker of the Massachusetts State House of Representatives

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire
http://doj.nh.gov/

John Kerry

John Kerry
He does not like grassroots democracy & being challenged in the 2008 Massachusetts Democratic Party Primary for re-election.

Tim Murray

Tim Murray
Corrupt Lt. Gov. of Massachusetts, 2007 - 2013.

North Adams, Massachusetts

North Adams, Massachusetts
downtown

Howie Carr

Howie Carr
Political Satirist on Massachusetts Corruption/Politics

Polar Bear

Polar Bear
Global Warming

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Warren & http://www.creditslips.org/creditslips/WarrenAuthor.html

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
Consumer Crusader

Leon Powe

Leon Powe
Celtics forward Leon Powe finished a fast break with a dunk.

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett reacted during the game.

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo finished a first half fast break with a dunk.

Teamwork

Teamwork
Los Angeles Lakers teammates help Pau Gasol (16) from the floor in the second quarter.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant took a shot in the first half of Game 2.

Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins
Kendrick Perkins (right) backed down Lamar Odom (left) during first half action.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
The Boston Symphony Orchestra performed the national anthem prior to Game 2.

K.G.!

K.G.!
Garnett reacted to a hard dunk in the first quarter.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce reacted after hitting a three upon his return to the game since leaving with an injury.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Kobe Bryant (left) and Paul Pierce (right) squared off in the second half of the game.

James Taylor

James Taylor
Sings National Anthem at Celtics Game.

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick
Attended Celtics Game.

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!
Attend Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis
The actor (left) and his date were in the crowd before the Celtics game.

John Kerry

John Kerry
Golddigger attends Celtics game

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
Ends her 2008 bid for Democratic Party nomination

Nonnie Burnes

Nonnie Burnes
Massachusetts Insurance Commish & former Judge

Jones Library

Jones Library
Amherst, Massachusetts

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton
2008 Democratic Primary

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"
U.S. Senator John Sununu took more than $220,000 from big oil.

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
4- U.S. Senate - 2008

William Pignatelli

William Pignatelli
Hack Rep. "Smitty" with Lynne Blake

Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke
Federal Reserve Chairman

Gazettenet.com

Gazettenet.com
www.gazettenet.com/beta/

Boys' & Girls' Club

Boys' & Girls' Club
Melville Street, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

The Berkshire Eagle

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
Williams College - May 2008

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson
www.boston.com/lifestyle/gallery/when_the_celtics_were_cool/

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries
New Massachusetts state lottery game hits $600 million in sales!

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

John Barrett III

John Barrett III
Long-time Mayor of North Adams Massachusetts

Shine On

Shine On

Elmo

Elmo
cool!

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce kissed the Eastern Conference trophy. 5/30/2008. AP Photo.

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton
Kevin Garnett (left) talked to Pistons guard Richard Hamilton (right) after the Celtics' victory in Game 6. 5/30/2008. Reuters Photo.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce showed his team colors as the Celtics closed out the Pistons in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. 5/30/2008. Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis.

Joseph Kelly Levasseur

Joseph Kelly Levasseur
One of my favorite politicians!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
In the Big Apple: NYC! She is the coolest!

Guyer & Kerry

Guyer & Kerry
My 2nd least favorite picture EVER!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

Nuciforo & Ruberto

Nuciforo & Ruberto
My least favorite picture EVER!

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
U.S. Senate - 2008

NH Fisher Cats

NH Fisher Cats
AA Baseball - Toronto Blue Jays affiliate

Manchester, NH

Manchester, NH
Police Patch

Michael Briggs

Michael Briggs
#83 - We will never forget

Michael "Stix" Addison

Michael "Stix" Addison
http://unionleader.com/channel.aspx/News?channel=2af17ff4-f73b-4c44-9f51-092e828e1131

Charlie Gibson

Charlie Gibson
ABC News anchor

Scott McClellan

Scott McClellan
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/scott_mcclellan/index.html?inline=nyt-per

Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho
Downtown Boise Idaho

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Legislative Hearing in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, BCC, on Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
My favorite classical U.S. President!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Higher Taxes, Higher Tolls

Paul Hodes

Paul Hodes
My favorite Congressman!

Portland Sea Dogs

Portland Sea Dogs
AA Red Sox

New York

New York
Magnet

Massachusetts

Massachusetts
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Button

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
"Luciforo" tried to send me to Carmen's Jail during the Spring & Summer of 1998.

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/174

Luciforo

Luciforo
Andrea F Nuciforo II

B-Eagle

B-Eagle
Pittsfield's monopoly/only daily newspaper

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!
A Red Sox No Hitter on 5/19/2008!

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Dustin Pedroia & Manny Ramirez

U.S. Flag

U.S. Flag
God Bless America!

Jonathan Melle's Blog

Jonathan Melle's Blog
Hello, Everyone!

Molly Bish

Molly Bish
We will never forget!

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo listens to some advice from Celtics head coach Doc Rivers in the first half.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett and Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace embrace at the end of the game.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon calls for the ball as he charges toward first base. Papelbon made the out en route to picking up his 14th save of the season.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka throws to Royals David DeJesus during the first inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka delivers a pitch to Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek during the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew is welcomed to home plate by teammates Mike Lowell (left), Kevin Youkilis (2nd left) and Manny Ramirez after he hit a grand slam in the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell crosses the plate after hitting a grand slam during the sixth inning. Teammates Manny Ramirez and Jacoby Ellsbury scored on the play. The Red Sox went on to win 11-8 to complete a four-game sweep and perfect homestand.

JD Drew - Go Red Sox

JD Drew - Go Red Sox
www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/gallery/05_22_08_sox_royals/

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!
Master Sgt. Kara B. Stackpole, of Westfield, holds her daughter, Samantha, upon her return today to Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee. She is one of the 38 members of the 439th Aeromedical Staging Squadron who returned after a 4-month deployment in Iraq. Photo by Dave Roback / The Republican.

Kathi-Anne Reinstein

Kathi-Anne Reinstein
www.openmass.org/members/show/175

Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy
Tragic diagnosis: Get well Senator!

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search
http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&q=jonathan+melle+blogurl:http://jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/&ie=UTF-8

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Billionaire U.S. Senator gives address to MCLA graduates in North Adams, Massachusetts in mid-May 2008

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France
Go Red Sox!

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Interviewed on local TV

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
Luciforo!

John Adams

John Adams
#2 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood under a tree on the afternoon of May 9, 2008, on the foregrounds of the NH State House - www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/nhinsider/vpost?id=2967773

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Inside the front lobby of the NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Bill Clinton campaign memorabilia

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Liberty Bell & NH State House

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Franklin Pierce Statue #14 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Stop the War NOW!

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
"Mr. Melle, tear down this Blog!"

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood next to a JFK photo

Jonathan Levine, Publisher

Jonathan Levine, Publisher
The Pittsfield Gazette Online

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made rabbit ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made antenna ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I impersonated Howard Dean

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
mock-voting

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
pretty ladies -/- Go to: http://www.wgir.com/cc-common/cc_photopop20.html?eventID=28541&pagecontent=&pagenum=4 - Go to: http://current.com/items/88807921_veterans_should_come_first_not_last# - http://www.mcam23.com/cgi-bin/cutter.cgi?c_function=STREAM?c_feature=EDIT?dir_catagory=10MorningRadio?dir_folder=2JoesClips?dir_file=JonathanMelle-090308? -

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Go Red Sox! Me at Fenway Park

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
My favorite journalist! Her voice sings for the Voiceless. -/- Go to: http://aboutamherst.blogspot.com/search?q=melle -/- Go to: http://ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com/search?q=melle

Velvet Jesus

Velvet Jesus
Mary Carey blogs about my political writings. This is a picture of Jesus from her childhood home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. -//- "How Can I Keep From Singing" : My life goes on in endless song / Above Earth's lamentations, / I hear the real, though far-off hymn / That hails a new creation. / / Through all the tumult and the strife / I hear its music ringing, / It sounds an echo in my soul. / How can I keep from singing? / / Whey tyrants tremble in their fear / And hear their death knell ringing, / When friends rejoice both far and near / How can I keep from singing? / / In prison cell and dungeon vile / Our thoughts to them are winging / When friends by shame are undefiled / How can I keep from singing?

www.truthdig.com

www.truthdig.com
www.truthdig.com

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Concord NH

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post
http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?type=loc&newest=1&addr=&zip=01201&search=Search

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
smiles & beer

Jonathan Lothrop

Jonathan Lothrop
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Michael L. Ward

Michael L. Ward
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large
Pete always sides with the wealthy's political interests.

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez
Gerald Lee told me that I am a Social Problem; Lee executes a top-down system of governance.

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large
Kerwood poured coffee drinks for Jane Swift

Louis Costi

Louis Costi
Pittsfield City Councilor

Lewis Markham

Lewis Markham
Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor
Sherman ran for Southern Berkshire State Rep against Smitty Pignatelli; Sherman is a good guy.

Anthony Maffuccio

Anthony Maffuccio
Pittsfield City Councilor

Linda Tyer

Linda Tyer
Pittsfield City Councilor

Daniel Bianchi

Daniel Bianchi
A Pittsfield City Councilor

The Democratic Donkey

The Democratic Donkey
Democratic Party Symbol

Paramount

Paramount
What is Paramount to you?

NH's Congresswoman

NH's Congresswoman
Carol Shea-Porter, Democrat

Sam Adams Beer

Sam Adams Beer
Boston Lager

Ratatouille

Ratatouille
Disney Animation

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008
"Luciforo" swears in Mayor Ruberto. Pittsfield Politics at its very worst: 2 INSIDER POWERBROKERS! Where is Carmen Massimiano? He must be off to the side.

Abe

Abe
Lincoln

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
Leader of the Autobots

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
1984 Autobot Transformer Leader

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/cleanupagreement.html

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/thesite/opca-reports.html

US EPA - Contact - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

US EPA - Contact -  Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/contactinfo.html

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/index.html

Commonwealth Connector

Commonwealth Connector
Commonwealth Care

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

www.network-health.org

www.network-health.org
Massachusetts Health Reform

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

BMC HealthNet Plan

BMC HealthNet Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform
Eligibility Chart: 2007

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare
Massachusetts Health Reform

Business Peaks

Business Peaks
Voodoo Economics

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite
Reagonomics: Supply Side

Corporate Elite Propaganda

Corporate Elite Propaganda
Mock Liberal Democratic Socialism Thinking

Real Estate Blues

Real Estate Blues
www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/2008/0316/

PEACE

PEACE
End ALL Wars!

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech
Norman Rockwell's World War II artwork depicting America's values

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
A young Abe Lincoln

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN
www.openmass.org/members/show/218 - www.rachelkaprielian.com

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/164 - www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/05/04/legislator_describes_threat_as_unnerving/

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!
My #1 Political Belief!

Anne Frank

Anne Frank
Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe

A young woman Hillary supporter

A young woman Hillary supporter
This excellent picture captures a youth's excitement

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman
My favorite Actress!

Alan Chartock

Alan Chartock
WAMC public radio in Albany, NY; Political columnist who writes about Berkshire County area politics; Strong supporter for Human Rights for ALL Peoples

OpenCongress.Org

OpenCongress.Org
This web-site uses some of my Blog postings

OpenMass.org

OpenMass.org
This web-site uses some of my blog postings!

Shannon O'Brien

Shannon O'Brien
One of my favorite politicians! She stands for the People first!

The Massachusetts State House

The Massachusetts State House
"The Almighty Golden Dome" - www.masslegislature.tv -

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Former Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
A corrupt Pol who tried to put me in Jail

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
Another view of Pittsfield's inbred, multigenerational political prince. Luciforo!

Luciforo

Luciforo
Nuciforo's nickname

"Andy" Nuciforo

"Andy" Nuciforo
Luciforo!

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)
Nuciforo's henchman! Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail

Andrea Nuciforo Jr

Andrea Nuciforo Jr
Shhh! Luciforo's other job is working as a private attorney defending wealthy Boston-area corporate insurance companies

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.
Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail! Carmen sits with the Congressman, John Olver

Congressman John Olver

Congressman John Olver
Nuciforo's envy

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol
Our Beacon of American Democracy

Nuciforo's architect

Nuciforo's architect
Mary O'Brien in red with scarf

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)
Former-Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Nuciforo intimidated her, along with another woman, from running in a democratic state election in the Spring of 2006!

Andrea F. Nuciforo II

Andrea F. Nuciforo II
Pittsfield Politics

Berkshire County Republican Association

Berkshire County Republican Association
Go to: www.fcgop.blogspot.com

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer
U.S. Senator & State Representative

John Kerry

John Kerry
Endorses Barack Obama for Prez then visits Berkshire County

Dan Bosley

Dan Bosley
A Bureaucrat impostering as a Legislator!

Ben Downing

Ben Downing
Berkshire State Senator

Christopher N Speranzo

Christopher N Speranzo
Pittsfield's ANOINTED State Representative

Peter J. Larkin

Peter J. Larkin
Corrupt Lobbyist

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!
GE's FRAUDULENT Consent Decree with Pittsfield, Massachusetts, will end up KILLING many innocent school children & other local residents!

GE's CEO Jack Welch

GE's CEO Jack Welch
The Corporate System's Corporate Elite's King

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand
Equilibrium

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts
In 2007, GE sold its Plastics Division to a Saudi company. Now all that is left over by GE are its toxic PCB pollutants that cause cancer in many Pittsfield residents.

Mayor James M Ruberto

Mayor James M Ruberto
A small-time pol chooses to serve the corporate elite & other elites over the people.

Governor Deval Patrick

Governor Deval Patrick
Deval shakes hands with Mayors in Berkshire County

Deval Patrick

Deval Patrick
Governor of Massachusetts

Pittsfield High School

Pittsfield High School
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Pittsfield's former Mayor

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Pittsfield Attorney focusing on Father's Rights Probate Court Legal Issues, & Local Politician and Political Observer

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Very Intelligent Political Activists in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Rinaldo Del Gallo, III, Esq. is the spokesperson of the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition. He has been practicing family law and has been a member of the Massachusetts bar since 1996.

Mayor Ed Reilly

Mayor Ed Reilly
He supports Mayor Ruberto & works as a municipal Attorney. As Mayor, he backed Bill Weld for Governor in 1994, despite being a Democrat. He was joined by Carmen Massimiano & John Barrett III, the long-standing Mayor of North Adams.

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta
Cuts Dental Care for Public School Children-in-Need

Manchester, NH City Hall

Manchester, NH City Hall
My new hometown - view from Hanover St. intersection with Elm St.

Manchester NH City Democrats

Manchester NH City Democrats
Go Dems!

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards

NH State House Dome

NH State House Dome
Concord, NH

Donna Walto

Donna Walto
Pittsfield Politician -- She strongly opposes Mayor Jim Ruberto's elitist tenure.

Elmo

Elmo
Who doesn't LOVE Elmo?

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!
Hillary is for Children. She is my choice in 2008.

The White House in 1800

The White House in 1800
Home of our Presidents of the United States

John Adams

John Adams
2nd President of the USA

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden
Hillary is my choice for U.S. President!

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Radisson in Manchester NH 11/16/2007

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
U.S. Senator & Candidate for President

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004
Linda Tyer, Pam Malumphy, Tricia Farley-Bouvier

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
My friend Brian Merzbach reviews baseball parks around the nation.

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy
The Elites double their $ every 6 to 8 years, while the "have-nots" double their $ every generation (or 24 years). Good bye Middle Class!

George Will

George Will
The human satellite voice for the Corporate Elite

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
The Anti-George Will; Harvard Law School Professor; The Corporate Elite's Worst Nightmare

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
I was born and raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

State Senator Stan Rosenberg

State Senator Stan Rosenberg
Democratic State Senator from Amherst, Massachusetts -/- Anti-Stan Rosenberg Blog: rosenbergwatch.blogspot.com

Ellen Story

Ellen Story
Amherst Massachusetts' State Representative

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.
Books are being written on Pittsfield's high teen pregancy rates! What some intellectuals do NOT understand about the issue is that TEEN PREGNANCIES in Pittsfield double the statewide average by design - Perverse Incentives!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Supports $30 Scratch Tickets and other forms of regressive taxation. Another Pol that only serves his Corporate Elite Masters instead of the People!

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter
The first woman whom the People of New Hampshire have voted in to serve in U.S. Congress

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes
A good man who wants to bring progressive changes to Capitol Hill!

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress
New Hampshire's finest!

Darth Vader

Darth Vader
Star Wars

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush
The Gruesome Two-some! Stop the Neo-Cons' fascism! End the Iraq War NOW!

WAROPOLY

WAROPOLY
The Inequity of Globalism

Bushopoly!

Bushopoly!
The Corporate Elite have redesigned "The System" to enrich themselves at the expense of the people, masses, have-nots, poor & middle-class families

George W. Bush with Karl Rove

George W. Bush with Karl Rove
Rove was a political strategist with extraordinary influence within the Bush II White House

2008's Republican Prez-field

2008's Republican Prez-field
John McCain, Alan Keyes, Rudy Guiliani, Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, WILLARD Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Ron Paul

Fall in New England

Fall in New England
Autumn is my favorite season

Picturing America

Picturing America
picturingamerica.neh.gov

Winter Weather Map

Winter Weather Map
3:45PM EST 3-Dec-07

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Thanksgiving

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Depiction of American Values in mid-20th Century America

Larry Bird #33

Larry Bird #33
My favorite basketball player of my childhood

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008
Kevin Garnett hugs James Posey

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
All heart! Awesome basketball star for The Boston Celtics.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady
Go Patriots!

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch
Owner of Fox News - CORPORATE ELITE!

George Stephanopolous

George Stephanopolous
A Corporate Elite Political News Analyst

Robert Redford

Robert Redford
Starred in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep
Plays a jaded journalist with integrity in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise plays the Neo-Con D.C. Pol purely indoctrinated by the Corporate Elite's political agenda in the Middle East

CHARLIZE THERON

CHARLIZE THERON
"I want to say I've never been surrounded by so many fake breasts, but I went to the Academy Awards."

Amherst Town Library

Amherst Town Library
Amherst, NH - www.amherstlibrary.org

Manchester NH Library

Manchester NH Library
I use the library's automated timed 1-hour-per-day Internet computers to post on my Blog - www.manchester.lib.nh.us

Manchester NH's Palace Theater

Manchester NH's Palace Theater
Manchester NH decided to restore its Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater
Pittsfield tore down this landmark on North Street in favor of a parking lot

Pleasant Street Theater

Pleasant Street Theater
Amherst, Massachusetts

William "Shitty" Pignatelli

William "Shitty" Pignatelli
A top down & banal State House Pol from Lenox Massachusetts -- A GOOD MAN!

The CIA & Mind Control

The CIA & Mind Control
Did the CIA murder people by proxy assassins?

Skull & Bones

Skull & Bones
Yale's Elite

ImpeachBush.org

ImpeachBush.org
I believe President Bush should be IMPEACHED because he is waging an illegal and immoral war against Iraq!

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008
www.blog.bobfeuer.us

Abe Lincoln

Abe Lincoln
The 16th President of the USA

Power

Power
Peace

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer
A member of Green Peace activist sets up a giant thermometer as a symbol of global warming during their campaign in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. World leaders launch marathon negotiations Monday on how to fight global warming, which left unchecked could cause devastating sea level rises, send millions further into poverty and lead to the mass extinction of plants and animals.

combat global warming...

combat global warming...
...or risk economic and environmental disaster caused by rising temperatures

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org
P.O. Box 125, South Lee, MA 01260, (413) 243-5665, tstokes@kyotoandbeyond.org, www.kyotoandbeyond.org

3 Democratic presidentional candidates

3 Democratic presidentional candidates
Democratic presidential candidates former senator John Edwards (from right) and Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd before the National Public Radio debate yesterday (12/4/2007).

The UN Seal

The UN Seal
An archaic & bureaucratic post WW2 top-down, non-democratic institution that also stands for some good governance values

Superman

Superman
One of my favorite childhood heroes and movies

Web-Site on toxic toys

Web-Site on toxic toys
www.healthytoys.org

Batman

Batman
One of my favorite super-heroes

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer
Massachusetts' Governor stands with Dalton's State Rep. Denis E. Guyer.

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer
TV Star Bill Cosby stands with Denis E. Guyer

Denis Guyer with his supporters

Denis Guyer with his supporters
Dalton State Representative

Denis Guyer goes to college

Denis Guyer goes to college
Dalton State Representative

Peter Marchetti

Peter Marchetti
He is my second cousin. Pete Marchetti favors MONEY, not fairness!

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple
Matt Barron plays DIRTY politics against his opponents!

Nat Karns

Nat Karns
Top-Down Executive Director of the ELITIST Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

Human Rights for All Peoples & people

Human Rights for All Peoples & people
Stop Anti-Semitism

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill
State House, Room 227, Boston, MA 02133, 617-367-6900, www.mass.gov/treasury/

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley
1350 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103, 413-784-1240 / McCormick Building, One Asburton Place, Boston, MA 02108, 617-727-4765 / marthacoakley.com / www.ago.state.ma.us

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...
www.takebackthecourt.org - A political billboard near my downtown apartment in Manchester, NH

Marc Murgo

Marc Murgo
An old friend of mine from Pittsfield

Downtown Manchester, NH

Downtown Manchester, NH
www.newhampshire.com/nh-towns/manchester.aspx

Marisa Tomei

Marisa Tomei
Movie Actress

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)
www.masschc.org/issue.php

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler
Mike Firestone works in Manchester NH for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign

James Pindell

James Pindell
Covers NH Primary Politcs for The Boston Globe

U.S. History - Declaration

U.S. History - Declaration
A 19th century engraving shows Benjamin Franklin, left, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman at work on the Declaration of Independence.

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/
Sybregje Palenstijn (left), who plays Sarah Godbertson at Plimouth Plantation, taught visitors how to roast a turkey on a spit. The plantation often sees a large influx of visitors during the holiday season.

Chris Hodgkins

Chris Hodgkins
Another special interest Berkshire Pol who could not hold his "WATER" on Beacon Hill's State House!

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.
Most of Boston's Big Dig highway remains closed, after a woman was crushed when 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto her car. (ABC News)

Jane Swift

Jane Swift
Former Acting Governor of Massachusetts & Berkshire State Senator

Paul Cellucci

Paul Cellucci
Former Massachusetts Governor

William Floyd Weld

William Floyd Weld
$80 Million Trust Fund Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mike Dukakis

Mike Dukakis
Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
Amherst, Massachusetts, Journalist and Blogger

Caveman

Caveman
www.ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com

Peter G. Arlos

Peter G. Arlos
"The biggest challenge Pittsfield faces is putting its fiscal house in order. The problem is that doing so requires structural changes in local government, many of which I have advocated for years, but which officials do not have the will to implement. Fiscal responsibility requires more than shifting funds from one department to another. Raising taxes and fees and cutting services are not the answer. Structural changes in the way services are delivered and greater productivity are the answer, and without these changes the city's fiscal crisis will not be solved."

James M. Ruberto

James M. Ruberto
"Pittsfield's biggest challenge is to find common ground for a better future. The city is at a crossroads. On one hand, our quality of life is challenged. On the other hand, some important building blocks are in place that could be a strong foundation for our community. Pittsfield needs to unite for the good of its future. The city needs an experienced businessman and a consensus builder who will invite the people to hold him accountable."

Matt Kerwood

Matt Kerwood
Pittsfield's Councilor-At-Large. Go to: extras.berkshireeagle.com/NeBe/profiles/12.htm

Gerald M. Lee

Gerald M. Lee
Pittsfield's City Council Prez. Top-down governance of the first order!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
Mary with student

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox
Jonathan Papelbon celebrates with Jason Varitek

Free Bernard Baran!

Free Bernard Baran!
www.freebaran.org

Political Intelligence

Political Intelligence
Capitol Hill

Sherwood Guernsey II

Sherwood Guernsey II
Wealthy Williamstown Political Activist & Pittsfield Attorney

Mary Carey 2

Mary Carey 2
California Pol & porn star

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!
Andy "Luciforo" swears in Jimmy Ruberto for the returning Mayor's 3rd term

Berkshire Grown

Berkshire Grown
www.berkshiregrown.org

Rambo

Rambo

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.
The Mount, the historic home in Lenox of famed American novelist Edith Wharton, is facing foreclosure.