BackTalk: A New Slogan for Trump, The Clintons by Andrew Loyd Webber
Sep12

BackTalk: A New Slogan for Trump, The Clintons by Andrew Loyd Webber

Editorial Art Did you know Cinemadope columnist Jack Brown is also a talented illustrator? See his Trump campaign poster and more Brown art at jackjohnbrown.com.     The Rich Get Richer If you ask enough people in our community if they’re able to sustain their families and make ends meet, you’ll quickly find out that too many of my friends and neighbors aren’t getting a fair shake. Even as the economy has turned around, most...

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Backtalk: No to GMOs, Right to Roam, and Hot Takes on Pearl Street Nightclub
Aug29

Backtalk: No to GMOs, Right to Roam, and Hot Takes on Pearl Street Nightclub

Avoid GMOs; go organic Farmers have increased their pesticide use on GMO crops three-fold compared to standard conventional use; that’s enough reason to avoid GMOs (“Vermont’s Short-Lived GMO Experiment” Aug. 11-17, 2016). Most GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are “Roundup Ready” meaning the plant is resistant to the pesticide containing glyphosate, its main ingredient. The World Health Organization, and California, have labeled...

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Backtalk: Irate over Iraq, Going Green, and Cat Burglars
Aug22

Backtalk: Irate over Iraq, Going Green, and Cat Burglars

We’re Back, Iraq Recent headlines announcing more U.S. troops to Iraq made me feel like the character in Bill Murray’s movie Groundhog Day, and with good reason … The politicians in Washington have been duped into believing that more violence will solve the problem — but it has not. The current political campaign reveals that neither candidate is capable of achieving a solution. The people of our country stopped a viciously violent...

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Touch his hair, get an autograph or a selfie? Florence man’s Trump options
Jul25

Touch his hair, get an autograph or a selfie? Florence man’s Trump options

When staunch Bernie Sanders supporter Miles Chilson received Donald Trump’s “Empire” cologne as a joke from a Hartsbrook School classmate last year, he had no idea that gift would become the winning ticket to his national stage performance. Or that the Trump campaign would use him in its ads. Chilson, of Florence, chose to attend a Trump event after meeting Sanders during a January rally at University of Massachusetts Amherst. “Being...

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Back Talk: Inspired by Erykah, Disgusted by Gerena
Jul25

Back Talk: Inspired by Erykah, Disgusted by Gerena

Inspired I am truly inspired by Erykah’s courage (“In Her Own Words: Incarcerated in a Greenfield men’s correctional facility, Erykah Carter documents her transition”). Even as painstaking as it must of been. The feelings of being scared, or accepted by not just your family and friends, but society in general can be terrifying , people can be cruel. Most people claim to be “non-judgmental, ” but the truth is...

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Back Talk: Why not deport criminals? Mourning So Many
Jul11

Back Talk: Why not deport criminals? Mourning So Many

Why Not Deport Criminals? The following is in reference to the article, “Between the Lines: Report a Crime, Risk Deportation” June 9-15, 2016. Why is it a bad thing to deport people who are here illegally who have committed not one, but two crimes? I’m not versed in this matter and am truly curious. Your article says that the person suspected of being here illegally would have to be arrested and be a “high priority” for ICE...

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In Her Own Words: Incarcerated in a Greenfield men’s correctional facility, she documents her transition
Jul05

In Her Own Words: Incarcerated in a Greenfield men’s correctional facility, she documents her transition

Editor’s Note: In October Erykah Carter will walk out of the Franklin County Jail and take her first free steps — ever. “To be able to say my name, my name is Erykah Carter, it means the world to me, it makes me feel right,” says Carter during our interview in the jail’s library. Carter is serving a two-and-a-half year prison sentence on a breaking and entering conviction stemming from two break-ins on the same night at two...

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Back Talk: Mental for Basemental
Jul05

Back Talk: Mental for Basemental

Mental for Basemental I’ve been a reader of the Advocate for many years and I just wanted to say that I have really been appreciating Will Meyer’s Basemental column over the last several weeks. I’ve been to some of these basements and DIY venues he’s writing about, and it is really good to see this side of the local music scene covered — usually ignored by the IHEG/Signature Sounds powers that be. I met Will at...

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Poem: For Orlando/Pulse
Jun27

Poem: For Orlando/Pulse

These barbaric raids of aphotic-sick clouds tar by poison a horror with no boundary, appearing anywhere, pervasive as weather, assailing repeatedly without warning, leaving a vast pool of vulnerability and no shelter. 2 a.m. last call was happening everywhere. Again, propelled out of my own smaller obsessions and shocked into perspective: to cradle firmly and unshakably hold with unwavering gratitude the blessings I have; once again,...

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Guest Column: We had our own Brock Turner situation in the Valley
Jun27

Guest Column: We had our own Brock Turner situation in the Valley

We Had Our Own Brock Turner  Situation in the Valley The sentencing of Brock Turner by California Judge Aaron Persky has sparked a national discussion of how we hold young drunk college men accountable for sexual assault. The general sentiment is that Persky was far too lenient, sentencing the Stanford University student and swimmer to just three months in jail and probation. There is now a recall effort underway to remove Persky from...

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Back Talk: ‘As a firearm-owning gay man, I thank you!’
Jun20

Back Talk: ‘As a firearm-owning gay man, I thank you!’

Guns ‘N’ Education “The Kirk Whatley Challenge: Before you write guns off, shoot one — safely” (June 16-22, 2016) by Hunter Styles attracted a lot of attention online. We posted the article to Facebook along with the question: Can you truly be anti-gun without first firing one? Is that fair? Here’s what people had to say: Corinne Shaw: Can you be straight without trying out a homosexual experience? Josh Pelland: Before firing one take...

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Guest Column: Boycott North Carolina, Springfield kids in the ’30s took a stand against the state’s record of discrimination. Will today’s?
Jun14

Guest Column: Boycott North Carolina, Springfield kids in the ’30s took a stand against the state’s record of discrimination. Will today’s?

This story of today starts in 1934. The American Legion Post 21 Championship baseball team has been invited to play in a national tournament in Gastonia, North Carolina. When the team gets off the train, the band stops playing. A bus pulls away from the curb. At the hotel, there’s no bed for the only black player, Bunny Taliaferro. He has to sleep on a cot and be registered as the coach’s valet. More than two thousand Gastonians show...

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Back Talk: What Killed the Monkey; Pride Month Massacre
Jun14

Back Talk: What Killed the Monkey; Pride Month Massacre

What Killed the Monkey Facebook reactions to “Gross Negligence Alleged in Death of UMass Lab Monkey” William Robinson: Sounds like the incident didn’t have much to do with the nature of the research itself, but a veterinary mishap resulting from pure accident — not neglect or malice. Consider how frequently standard surgeries on humans have complications. I’d be curious to hear more about the specifics of the studies...

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Back Talk: What is Columbus Day Really?; Triple Beef
Jun06

Back Talk: What is Columbus Day Really?; Triple Beef

  What is Columbus Day, really?   Interesting article by Kristin Palpini (“Between the Lines: Columbus, Genocidal Slave-Traders Should Not Get Their Own Holidays” May 26-June 1, 2016). As a child growing up in the ’60s and ’70s I learned from my family and my public education that Christopher Columbus discovered America. As an Italian American that was something I was proud of and held my American flag high at the Columbus...

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From Our Readers: Assault on assault weapons; Fossil fuels run UMass
May16

From Our Readers: Assault on assault weapons; Fossil fuels run UMass

Assault on Assault Weapons Editor’s Note: Earlier this month, residents of Longmeadow voted on three proposed measures to ban all assault weapons from the town, keep a more detailed catalog of guns kept in town, and to ban any firearm from public buildings and recreation areas. All of the proposed measures were voted down. Below is reader reaction to a column written prior to the vote. The Between the Lines [“Can Longmeadow Ban...

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va18-letters-2016

Letter from the Editor: New columns This week’s Advocate marks the second column in a new series we’re calling Basemental. The column will focus on the local DIY music scene, artists who play and record in alternative spaces, like basements and barns, old churches and galleries. It’s written by Will Meyer, a local DIY musician who plays in a bunch of bands including Bucket and New Mom. Basemental will appear during the first and third...

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Letters to the Editor: Divestment victory at UMass? (April 28-May 4, 2016)
Apr25

Letters to the Editor: Divestment victory at UMass? (April 28-May 4, 2016)

So, that’s what victory looks like Divest UMass supporters are close to victory. [“Scene Here: #DivestTheRest,” April 21-27, 2016.] What kind of victory? Well, as you explained in last week’s issue, a $5 million divestment from “dirty-energy companies”. Meanwhile, Berkshire Gas has a pipeline running to the UMass central heating plant, which operates annually on $94 million according to its line item in the UMass...

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From Our Readers: What’s up with WMUA? Readers weigh in on pit bulls
Feb08

From Our Readers: What’s up with WMUA? Readers weigh in on pit bulls

WTF WMUA? UMass Amherst radio station WMUA’s draconian reduction of community programming warrants focusing the spotlight of public scrutiny on this newly minted, institutionalized contempt for the community. In one instance, the student leadership of WMUA, acting with impunity, eviscerated the weekend broadcasts of polka music. Empowered by well-paid university bureaucrats, those students unilaterally slashed the number of hours...

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From Our Readers: Clinton stonewalls on status  quo, co-op revolution
Jan25

From Our Readers: Clinton stonewalls on status quo, co-op revolution

Healthcare: More Bern for Your Buck As a surgeon, I have participated in our healthcare system since 1979. I have witnessed the attempts of medically naive politicians seeking to reform our compromised healthcare system. Bankrolled by health industry lobbyists, these “representatives” fear-monger and manipulate a confused public. They label a potential single payer system as “socialism.” They cite imperfections in the postal service...

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From Our Readers: My trip to Westfield was awesome; More ways to volunteer
Jan18

From Our Readers: My trip to Westfield was awesome; More ways to volunteer

Many ways to volunteer I read your article about volunteering, “Giving Back” (Dec. 24-30, 2015), and I was a little irritated. Why is it that when someone says “volunteer,” the focus immediately goes to homeless/food banks/shelters. There are other organizations that need your help. The better approach to finding a meaningful volunteer experience is to first determine what interests you and where your talents lie. For example, as a...

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From Our Readers: Halos and Horns, you’re doing it wrong
Jan11

From Our Readers: Halos and Horns, you’re doing it wrong

Halos and Horns: You’re doing it wrong Editor’s note: One Dec. 31, 2015, the Advocate came out with its annual Halos and Horns, an edition dedicated to skewering and praising the people, places, things, and events of 2015. Here’s some reader reaction: Responding to horns for Candidate Sarno: The harsh reality is that [Springfield Mayor Domenic] Sarno was reelected on his record, news coverage, and advertising. Everyone else pandered...

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From Our Readers: Social media mobs bully those who make mistakes
Jan04

From Our Readers: Social media mobs bully those who make mistakes

Social media mobs bully those who make mistakes In place of the N-bomb, I would like to offer the P-word – p-r-o-p-o-r-t-i-o-n-a-l-i-t-y. Nowadays, a person makes an error, uses a nasty word, commits some politically incorrect faux pas and the hunt is on! Go after the person’s job. Try to find their home address. Publish their photo. Not long ago Tracey Carver, a woman with no crowd-control training, attempted to break up a...

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From Our Readers: Voting on holiday, Democrats will do more harm to drug laws
Dec28

From Our Readers: Voting on holiday, Democrats will do more harm to drug laws

Voting on holiday Your recent column (“U.S. to blame: Government at fault for low voter turnout,” Nov. 26, 2015) about the lack of voter turnout missed, I think, an answer. Make Nov. 4 a federal holiday. Democracy, anyone? Michael D. Joyce Wendell Democrats will do more damage to drug laws In her letter to the editor, (“‘Treat and street’ is no way to treat addicts” Dec. 17-23, 2015) Charlotte Burns seems to be blaming the Libertarian...

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From Our Readers: Puerto Rico nationhood, women in film?
Dec21

From Our Readers: Puerto Rico nationhood, women in film?

What about women in film? As an area film teacher and filmmaker, I was thrilled to see your “Film or Die” Dec. 17, 2015. Tobin, Skolnick, Baldassaro, Levigne and Hott have wonderful stories, and I’m happy to know that other filmmakers are enjoying the Valley. However, I was thrown off that the article claims to cover four filmmakers, when in fact, it includes five. The one woman in the group, KT Baldassaro, was merely mentioned...

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From Our Readers: ‘treat and street’ is beat, Brownies is badge of honor, and more Chicopee love
Dec14

From Our Readers: ‘treat and street’ is beat, Brownies is badge of honor, and more Chicopee love

‘Treat and street’ is no way to help addicts There’s much talk lately about the serious drug problems in Massachusetts. Having witnessed the struggles of friends with the system I have some strong opinions on the subject. Firstly, I could never fathom why drug addiction was ever treated as a crime. What good is jailing people for what looks to me like a mental illness? Dr. Gabor Mate, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, attributes it to...

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From Our Readers: Getting away with rape, Springfield is a transportation desert
Nov23

From Our Readers: Getting away with rape, Springfield is a transportation desert

Getting away with rape Editor’s note: This letter is in response to “Owen Labrie, rapist or simply a jerk?” Nov. 19, 2015, an editorial in which editors Kristin Palpini and Jeffrey Good wrote about their interpretations of the sexual assault verdict. Good says Labrie was an oaf, while Palpini calls him a rapist. Boys, and men, will be boys — read predators — as long as we allow them. And girls and women may be intimidated and...

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From Our Readers: ‘Sorry, but what about the police?’ ‘Old fogies in yoga pants?’
Nov16

From Our Readers: ‘Sorry, but what about the police?’ ‘Old fogies in yoga pants?’

Sorry, but what about the police? I am very sorry for the families and friends whose loved ones have died due to police action and/or while in police custody in 2015 in the U.S. (“Doesn’t Count: Deaths by police are not tracked in the U.S.” Nov. 12-19, 2015). I am curious, do you think the Advocate could publish the names of those whose lives have been saved by police action in the U.S. in 2015? Also, how many police officers have...

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Put Down the (Mega)phone: A Northampton chef’s review of Yelp reviews
Nov16

Put Down the (Mega)phone: A Northampton chef’s review of Yelp reviews

She smiles at you from across the table as she delicately moves the hair from her face. The lights are dim and the murmured conversations reverberate off the warm decor as the waiter pours the carefully selected wine. We ask for a moment to discuss the menu and take a breath to center ourselves for the night out. Like a lighting flash on a dark night, and a crack of thunder that follows interrupting the silence, the unceremonious...

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From Our Readers: “Drowning in craft beer,” “Lube doesn’t solve all”
Nov09

From Our Readers: “Drowning in craft beer,” “Lube doesn’t solve all”

Drowning in craft beer Dear well-intentioned, creatively-spirited, entrepreneurial-minded, mechanically-gifted, young white men, Please refrain from moving forward with your impending craft brewery project, as we here in the Valley have gone well beyond the number of wonderfully local micro-brews that we’d be able to try and enjoy within our average lifetimes. We beg you to redirect your incredibly passionate energy and expertise to...

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From Our Readers: More to love about Greenfield; Sedaris, for mature audiences only
Nov03

From Our Readers: More to love about Greenfield; Sedaris, for mature audiences only

Sedaris, for mature audiences only I was hoping to see a review or a letter or two in the Oct. 22-28 issue of the Valley Advocate regarding David Sedaris’ performance on Oct. 13 at The Academy of Music. I had seen him twice before, but this program was different in its over-the-top, raunchy language and subject matter. I figured he was pushing the boundaries of good taste because of his skewed perception of Northampton’s reputation as...

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Poem: Bus-Ride in a Bottle
Nov03

Poem: Bus-Ride in a Bottle

On the bus to Northampton from Amherst, I was sitting across from an old man with the wrecked blue eyes of a sunken mariner. Eyes so wet and blue and seen-through as any screen-door of the Deep South ever was, that to be caught looking into them was to be trapped in history itself. He caught me looking into them all right, and I was stunned and stuck for a good 10 minutes, rolling down Route 116; his grizzled and gaunt gaze of gauzy...

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From Our Readers: Gun owners should carry insurance; Marijuana bust right or wrong?

First Head People tend to travel in the direction they are looking. It is obvious that the lady from Wilbraham who wrote the recent letter entitled “Bad Bible” is one of the multitude who sit in front of their televisions and inhale reams of anti-Christian twit without realizing that they are being systematically and successfully acted upon. It seems that every family has at least one unsuspecting member who has, for decades, held the...

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From Our Readers: ‘White people in danger, too’; ‘Go Marthas!’
Oct06

From Our Readers: ‘White people in danger, too’; ‘Go Marthas!’

Unite community around treating addiction I read the article about community opposition to new drug/alcohol treatment centers in Greenfield and Springfield (“Not In Our Backyards” Sept. 24-30, 2015) with great interest. It’s hard to oppose a community uniting for action to safeguard its neighborhoods. Our voices together have power. It would seem to me, though, that programs that address the disease of addiction are of paramount...

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From Our Readers: Help everyone; legalize recreational drugs

Kalliope Jones’ privilege Editor’s note: This comment was made online under the article “Kalliope Jones Takes it to the Web.” True, this is an important problem. You undermine the conversation, though, when you do the following: Scapegoat individuals rather than look at the problem from a systemic point of view. The kids did an interview for MTV. Do we really think MTV is a champion for combating the objectification of women in the...

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From Our Readers: Jazz Fest marred by ‘loud mouths;’ Bad Bible

Jazz Festival marred by ‘loud mouths’ It was impossible not to notice that during the painstaking and brilliant jazz performances occurring Saturday afternoon on the main stage of the Northampton Jazz Festival, a constant din of beer-induced mouth-noise loomed over the mood. Alcohol-lubricated patrons, as they are wont to do, treated the luminous mastery emanating from the stage as just another backdrop to their increasingly...

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