Welcome to this week’s show!
If you’re here for the first time, the Left Hook is a locally focused weekly live internet radio show and podcast based in Williamstown, Mass. We do our best to wade through the spin and nonsense around here and retrieve the important stuff that we think you might care about. Every Wednesday, we’re going to tell you what we think about local current events and the national stories that directly affect the people of Williamston and Berkshire County.
In New England, Super Bowl Sunday basically marks the midpoint of winter. Spring, or at least mud season, seems right around the corner. But there’s a reason why Shakespeare never wrote “A Midwinter Night’s Dream.” Hardy though we may be, we often find ourselves as sad and brittle as the dripping icicles hanging from the eaves at this time of year.
What we want to know this week is what you do to get yourself over the winter hump. Reading good books, Zooming with friends and family, plotting elaborate revenge on notional enemies, skiing, eating a whole giant box of Dots while bingeing Gossip Girl, cooking, snowshoeing, watching movies, bitterly and silently weeping, walking, learning a new language… What works for you?
Believe us, we’re only asking as an academic exercise in the public interest.
— Jay and Steve
P.S. We want to hear from you! Participate live during the show or anytime by sending an email to us at [email protected] or via Twitter: @heylefthook.
P.P.S. Please send us your pet pics! We’ll post them on our show notes every week, and if you include a caption we’ll read it live on the air. Send your pics to [email protected].
LIGHT (OR NOT)
- The great state of Texas’s Amber Alert system apparently misfired last week, sending push notifications out to the state’s citizens to keep an eye out for Chucky, the–dare we say it, beloved?–murderous doll and star of several eponymous films.
- Matthew Gault at Vice reports that the US Navy has been granted patents on a number of futuristic-sounding technologies invented by a researcher named Dr. Salvatore Cezar Pais. We were suspicious, so we immediately ran this so-called doctor’s name through an anagram generator to see what was really going on. Nice try, Dr. Aviators Raze Places!
- It took us a little while to figure out all the stuff you can do with this create your own Bayeux tapestry app, but once we did, we couldn’t stop.
- We speak with special guest Abigail Childs of the Berkshires Democratic Socialists of America about their latest community assistance program, “Care Packages for All.” Anyone living in Berkshire County who needs support in surviving this season may request a care package of personal care items and home cleaning supplies by completing this confidential request form. Fifty packages are available first-come, first-served starting today, February 9th; this form will close automatically when the limit is reached. Members of the Berkshires Democratic Socialists of America will make contactless deliveries on the afternoon of Saturday, February 20th.
This mutual aid effort comes on the heels of a “Bread and Roses” food distribution where 130 grocery bags of fresh and shelf-stable food were distributed with a handmade paper rose—at Pittsfield Common back in December 2020. The Bread and Roses project addresses some immediate needs while the Chapter continues organizing long-term social and economic change.
- Tammy Daniels at iBerkshires reports that the TD Bank branch in downtown North Adams will close in April. Mayor Bernard is right to be concerned both about the employees of the North Adams branch as well as the citizens of North Adams who may not be able to travel easily to Pittsfield or Williamstown to full-service branches. When the private sector can’t be bothered to provide essential services, that’s where the government in a healthy country steps in. It may seem like a distant memory now, but Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders both supported post office banking during the 2020 campaign. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is also apparently a fan. If the UK can do it, why can’t we?
In its “Weekender” edition from Saturday, February 6, the Berkshire Eagle published a piece on the local restaurants that have been forced to close over the past year. We get the misty-eyed farewells here, but this type of reporting obscures the fact that our economy is not a force of nature but the result of political decisions made by human beings in Boston and Washington. From the start of the pandemic, Gov. Charlie Baker refused to take the steps necessary to stop the spread. He never seems to have seriously considered cash payments to devastated small businesses and instead dragged the Massachusetts economy through a cycle of confusing and counterproductive “phases” that forced our small businesses–especially restaurants–to scramble to comply with the seemingly ever-changing COVID safety protocols.
- Former state senator Ben Downing announced last week that he intends to run for governor of Massachusetts in 2022. Downing was known locally for his championship of clean energy and his generally left-of-center point of view on major political issues during his time in office. Remember how Gus Bickford, the Chairman of the Mass Dems told Alex Morse to “wait his turn” and how they’d picked out a spot for him as Maura Healey’s running mate when she runs for the state’s highest office? We do.
- We’ve been hearing from tons of people this week about this piece in the New York Times from Sunday, Feb. 7: How Society Has Turned Its Back on Mothers. It’s not “burnout,” it’s “betrayal,” according to the author. We’re looking forward to discussing this topic in-depth in the coming weeks.
OUR GUEST(S) THIS WEEK
Abigail Childs, Clinical Herbalist/Owner at Three Moon Herbal, will join us to discuss recent and ongoing efforts by the Berkshire Democratic Socialists of America, to provide emergency relief to residents in Berkshire County.
If you are in need of personal care or cleaning products, consider filling out the “Care Packages for All” Request Form
Dr. Joy James
Dr. Joy James is an American political philosopher, academic, and author. She holds the Ebenezer Fitch Professorship of Humanities at Williams College. She was a Senior Research Fellow at the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin where she developed the Harriet Tubman Digital Repository. Her current research focuses on “The Algorithm of Anti-Racism,”incarceration, and rebellion against police violence by captive maternals.
She has contributed articles and book chapters to journals and anthologies addressing feminist and critical race theory, democracy, and social justice.
James is completing a book on the prosecution of 20th-century interracial rape cases, tentatively titled “Memory, Shame & Rage.”
WHO WE’RE READING AND LISTENING TO THIS WEEK
- Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly supported the Right to Repair ballot initiative last fall. In this piece, one of our go-to economics and policy bloggers, Naked Capitalism’s Jerri-Lynn Scofield, discusses the state of play on this important issue and how 2021 could be the year for the Right to Repair.
TLC Episode 100