Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Porco Family Member Responds To Upstream.

Editor's Note: The following comment from a member of the Porco family was left on my blog. I am putting it here as a post so it will get the attention it deserves. The writer also has a blog at

"For those of us who live in dread that Chris will get away with murder, your thoughts on his incarceration for his other crimes gives us hope he will be punished in some fashion. I just worry that since these crimes were against his father (who is deceased) and his mother, who will not press charges nor cooperate with law enforcement it will be difficult to get a indictment. Also, I am not sure if the statute of limitation comes into play on the 2002 burglary.
At the end of last week’s trial, Lori Shanks made the statement that the Prosecution is tearing our family apart… turning one member against another. Our extended family has never been closer! We agonize over Joan and her suffering: physically; mentally; and, emotionally. No one can feel more abandoned than she. And, yet no one in our family is more loved and anguished over than Joan. It is the defense who has separated Joan from us. In response to the accusation by Ms. Shanks that the Prosecution is damaging our family, I am compelled to tell all that it is the Defense team has done more to separate Joan from her family than you can imagine. Less than six months after Peter’s murder, an associate of K & S (against the wishes of her children and without regard for Mrs. Porco’s age and health) told Peter’s mother the gory details of her son’s long and tortuous death. This same lawyer then told Joan that Peter’s sister, Patty, was working with the police who were gathering evidence implicating Christopher in his father’s murder. As a result, Joan severed all ties with Patty, Peter’s sister, refusing to see or communicate with her. These lawyers so turned Joan against the Porco family members, that when Peter’s ashes were interred, Joan refused to allow ANY family members to attend the memorial service except, Johnathan and Christopher, her brother, John and his wife (with whom she lived), and the priest (her cousin) who conducted the service.
During her recovery, Joan’s doctors had asked us not to speak to Joan about the night of Nov. 15 on the outside chance that Joan might recover her OWN memories… and, those memories should not be tainted by information coming from conversations with us. Joan and Chris’ lawyers told us not to talk with Christopher about his father’s murder & his motherÂs nearly fatal injuries. Up until the time of the Pre-trial hearings, our family lived in a very surreal world. Whenever we were together with Joan or Christopher, the question of who did these horrific things to Joan and Peter was the “elephant” in the room that no one acknowledged or could speak freely about.We kept hoping that Kindlon and Shanks would call our family together and tell us how they were going to proceed with Chris’ defense. We thought that K&S had a handle on evidence supporting Chris’ alibi and claims of innocence which they would soon share with us. We were thirsting for some fact or truth upon which we all could hang our hopes/beliefs that Christopher was truly innocent. K & S treated our family (except for Joan and Chris) as the enemy. Family members were given orders to write letters appealing for the judge to grant bail; orders to anti up for the bail posting… but, there were never any words of encouragement from the defense team in regard to Chris’ innocence or the defense’s strategy. The Prosecution team, however, was more than willing to answer any and all of our family’s questions; share information and evidence with us; and, encourage us to become involved in the investigation. The defense team, on the other hand, did everything in their power to keep the Prosecution from questioning Joan, and to keep mounting evidence from reaching Joan. They told her the police were out to get Chris; that the Prosecution were liars, making up stories to prove Chris guilty. That a certain BPD detective had it “in” for Chris. Joan refused to cooperate with the police and their investigation on the advice of her attorneys. She signed whatever public letters her attorneys gave to her: First begging that her son be left alone; and then, berating the police for their persecution of Chris and their total lack of effort to bring the “real” attacker/s to justice. When the trial was to start, the defense team wanted to be sure they had full control of Joan, so they devised and executed a plan to make John and Barbara Balzano (Joan’s caregivers) leave Goshen and return to their home in Rochester. Joan then moved in with the defense team. They now control what Joan reads, hears, sees, and thinks. She is on call to be present whenever they need her for public displays of affection. Her love for her son has allowed the defense team to make her their pawn.So when Shanks talks to the media about what damage the Prosecution has done to our family… I become enraged at such unadulterated lying. I understand that it is K&S’s job to tear down the evidence against Chris and render it impotent. But, that job does not include publicly lying about our family’s unity and our relationship with the Prosecution. For most all of us, the Prosecution team members and the BPD are our heroes. In addition, I feel a special need to commend and thank Detective Bowdish. It was his quick thinking and questioning of Joan as she lay severely injured that stopped Chris from “getting away with murder” and attempted murder. I know that Det. Bowdish’s failure to administer the Miranda rights completely, word for word, will haunt him for the rest of his life. But, he should know, that for the rest of our lives, we will be forever grateful for his actions at the crime scene where (and when) Joan had a better grip on reality than she has today. "

Even If Acquitted of Murder, Chris Porco Is Likely To Serve Time.

For those of you who are afraid that Christopher Porco is going to be acquitted, don’t worry. I predict that if such a thing happens, that on his way out of the courthouse, he will be arrested for robbery, selling stolen goods, forgery and a number of other things for which he will end up serving a number of years in prison.

Don't Let Faso Blow It Out.

I rarely watch tv because where I live you can’t get cable, and the over the air reception is bad. I happened to be in the waiting room at Amsterdam Memorial Hospital the other day and saw my first Eliot Spitzer for Governor commercial.

Spitzer’s learned that the next best thing to using sex to sell something is to use cute pictures of little kids. But I was surprised to hear the words to the first stanza of “This Little Light of Mine” being sung in the commercial. Most Protestants of my age grew up singing that little ditty in Sunday School. It’s catchy but not very profound.

I doubt Spitzer grew up singing the song. So he probably never got around to the stanza that says, “Don’t let Satan blow it out. I’m gonna let it shine.” Or maybe he has and this is a subliminal commercial in which we are to subconsciously equate the King of the netherworld with John Faso.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Bible Found In Virginia Dump Has Little Value.

It’s been a week for finding old Bibles. A 188 year old one was found in a dump in Virginia and a 1200 year old one found in an Irish bog.

Having bought and sold many old Bibles for 13 years now, I don’t believe that the Bible found in Virginia is a significant find. Millions of Bibles were printed in the 1800s. Even small cities like Troy, Albany and Utica had printing houses that published Bibles. There has to be something very unusual about a Bible from the 1800s for it to have much value. I have sold many of them for $100 and less, and all in very good condition. The Bible found in Virginia is in poor condition, being split into four parts. I constantly get calls from people who want to sell me Bibles from the 1800s. Most of them I have to turn down because they are in poor condition or have no significant value.

The guy who found it claims that there are only six copies left of the particular Bible he found. So what. There are many Bibles which were printed by small printing shops, of which only a few remain. That does not make the Bible valuable.

To the lay person who sees few old books, a Bible from 1818 might seem rare, but when you’ve been in the business for awhile, you realize that they are very common. Almost every 19th century American family had at least one Bible. I have several Bibles from the 1800s right now. If this guy from Virginia brought that Bible to me, I would refuse to buy it because Bibles like that are too common and his is in poor condition.

This guy wants over $1,000 for the Bible. Anyone who pays even a quarter of that is a sucker. The guy who found this Bible is using the ignorance of the media to promote the sale of this Bible.

If the Bible was from the 1600s or early 1700s, I might consider buying it because Bibles from that time period are getting scarcer by the year. Just to show you how inexpensively old Bibles can go for, however, I purchased a Geneva Bible printed in 1619 from another book dealer who was no slouch for $800. It was in great shape. I then turned around and sold it for $900 to make a quick $100. Most family Bibles from the 1800s, I sell for $150-$250 if in very good condition.

The Bible, or part of the Bible, found in a bog in Ireland last week is another story. Its worth would be difficult to calculate. It was “published” long before the invention of the printing press. Prior to the invention of the printing press, Bibles were laboriously copied by hand. Many of them were illuminated or illustrated and are works of art.

In any event, the real value of the Bible, like any classic, is in the reading of it. I suggest that the dumpster diver in Virginia keep his Bible and read it.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Chris Porco Slide Shows On Line.

Check out these slide shows with lots of photos of Chris Porco, but do it quick. I have a feeling they are going to disappear soon.

Father Knew Best.

Life Without Father.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Christopher Porco's Luncheon Date.

The other day I wrote about a young man on who said Chris Porco is one of his heroes. I found that troubling. Even if Porco is not the murderer of his father, I see little in his life for a person to emulate. He stole from his parents, lied to them, and forged college transcripts.

But Dan from Dullmar is not the only person on myspace who admires Chris. Three days ago, Valerie Messina, a 23 year old from Delmar, went to lunch with Chris in Goshen. According to one of our readers, Ms. Messina’s myspace page has loads of photos of Chris on it. We have not been able to verify that because she has changed her myspace page so that only friends can see it. You can, however, still see a photo of her on it.

Unlike Chris Porco, Messina is not a college dropout. In fact, she graduated cum laude from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts in 2005 with a degree in studio art. Wheaton College is a fairly prestigious liberal arts college. It has a number of Rhodes Scholars, quite out of proportion to the size of the college. The most notable thing about Wheaton College, however, is it’s price tag--more than $40,000 per year.

While they are just friends, I cannot imagine the appeal that Chris Porco, a guy who is a college dropout and who cleans up dog poop for a living, has for this well educated and apparently accomplished, young woman. But then I can’t understand why Dan from Dullmar, another friend of Chris, would list Chris as one of his heroes either.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Blogged Down.

I have little to say today. Frankly, I am tired of the Porco case, tired of blogging and tired because of the immense amount of physical labor involved in restoring an old house? Did you ever try to run plumbing and electricity in a 18th century post and beam structure. Why couldn't those colonials have anticipated plumbing and wiring?

I will be back to posting tomorrow, including posting about the Porco case. Meanwhile, I could use some help. More than 1,000 people are reading this blog everyday right now. From the comments and e-mails I get, I sense that most of them are intelligent, high calibre people. They keep me on my toes. I spend one to two hours a day working on this blog. I would especially be interested in people who would want to do a guest column. Anonymous columns would be allowed under certain circumstances.

Guest columnists would be allowed to link to their website, blog or business. E-mail me at if you are interested in participating in this blog.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Another Peter Porco. Another Parental Unit Murdered.

Coincidences can be very odd things. You know the old story--President Lincoln took office in 1860, JFK took office in 1960; Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy, Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln, etc. I don’t give coincidences much weight, but here is one about the Porco case that is interesting.

Peter Porco was murdered on November 15, 2004. Laurie Waterman of Craig, Alaska was murdered the day before, on November 14, 2004.

Peter Porco’s son Christopher was arrested for his murder. Laurie Waterman’s daughter Rachelle was arrested for her murder.

One of the most interesting things about the Laurie Waterman murder, however, is the name of the reporter who first reported it. His name is Peter Porco. So while the Albany media was reporting on the death of Peter Porco of Delmar, Peter Porco of The Anchorage Daily News was reporting on the death of Laurie Waterman in Craig, Alaska.

In both cases there was an older sibling.

In both cases the surviving parent supported the child who allegedly killed the other parent.

If you read all of the stories about Rachelle Waterman, you see a person whose personality is similar to Christopher Porco‘s. Both showed little emotion about the death of their parent. Rachelle often referred to her mother as her “female parental unit.“ Here is Rachelle Waterman’s final entry on her blog.

“Just to let everyone know, my mother was murdered. I won't have computer acess [sic] until the weekend or so because the police took my computer to go through the hard drive. I thank everyone for their thoughts and e-mails, I hope to talk to you when I get my computer back.”

Sounds and awful lot like Christopher’s “Yo Dad.”

The internet played a large role in each case. In Christopher’s it was his e-mails and IMs. In Rachelle’s case it was her blog. Rachelle’s last journal entry received over 7,000 comments, which became a story in itself. Up until recently, you could still access the journal, but it has since been deleted both on and on a mirror site.

Videotaped interviews by the police of both Porco and Waterman were not allowed into evidence.

Both defendants come from fairly properous, middle class families. Rachelle’s father was president of the local school board. Her mother worked as a teacher's aide.

I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Rachelle Waterman has her own Wikipedia entry. There is also an ongoing Live Journal community for people interested in the murder.

By the way, Rachelle Waterman was freed because of a hung jury, even though it seems apparent she played some role in her mother’s murder. We will have to wait until the jury comes in on Christopher Porco before we'll know whether or not there will be another coincidence here.

Two Teens At Northeast Parent & Child Society's Park Avenue Home Arrested For Rape.

I have written before about the need for an investigation into Northeast Parent and Child Society’s (NEPCS) children’s homes, especially the one on Park Avenue in Schenectady. Now that The Daily Gazette has reported (July 22) that a 16 year old and a 14 year old boy from the home raped a 14 year old girl at the Schenectady Municipal Golf Course, I feel the need to say again that this home needs to be investigated.

Recently a teen at the Prahl House in Troy drowned. The state has since issued a report saying that inadequate supervision was a problem at Prahl House.

The supervision at NEPCS’s home on Park Avenue is no better than at the Prahl House. I won’t elaborate on this topic, as I have written about it extensively before.

The State needs to force NEPCS to get their act together. NEPCS, which houses juvenile sex offenders and young girls with emotional problems in the same building, should not only segregate these two populations, but should not let teen rapists walk the streets of Schenectady.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Johnathan Porco's Testimony & More.

Johnathan Porco’s Testimony.
I’m not sure what to make of Johnathan Porco’s testimony yesterday. The most newsworthy thing that came out of it is he said his relationship with Christopher is strained. If Christopher Porco were my brother, he would not have had to attack our parents to strain our relationship. Stealing from my parents and lying to my parents would be enough to strain relations with any of my siblings.

Is Johnathan Porco the “perfect son?”
Everyone says he is except for a guy who calls himself Insider and has posted comments on this blog and The Porco Trial Blog. On Upstream, he posted, “Mark my words- Kindlon is going to regret calling Jonathan the 'perfect son' in open court.”

Insider may just be one of those people who for some psychological reason wants people to think he had an inside track to information about the Porcos. On the other hand, some of his comments seem to suggest he knows more than the average person about the Porcos. Furthermore, he has been posting from *****. I’m not sure what interest a person from ***** would have in the Porco case unless they were a former resident of this area, a relative or friend of the Porcos, or one of Johnathan’s fellow naval officers.

Anyway, if he really is an insider, I wish he would come out of the closet and be less cryptic with his comments.

Speaking of Being Cryptic.
Yesterday Rick Karlin of the TU started his post on the TU Porco Blog with this sentence.

“In the academic world and that became apparent Monday in the Porco trial when chief prosecutor Michael McDermott said he had hoped to call three University of Rochester instructors to the stand but they were “petering out,'’ and would probably not show up at the trial.”

After reading it several times, I was tempted to use some of the words on George Carlin’s list of bad words. If there is an English major out there who can diagram that sentence for me, I would appreciate it. I can’t figure out what it means.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Chris Porco A Hero To One MySpacer.

I was mucking about in myspace yesterday, trying to see if anyone from Delmar had anything to say about Chris Porco. I didn’t have any luck, with one exception. Sixteen year old Dan of Dullmar, works at the Bethlehem Veterinary Hospital where Chris works and lists Chris Porco as one of his heroes.

Here is the list of Dan’s heroes as they appear on myspace:

"my grandfather; chris porco; steve watkins; brian stanton; Holden from the Catcher in the Rye; Thomas Jefferson; alex martin, and most importantly, SARAH NICOLE SNOW FRIGGIN FUHRMAN!! I praise her and her amazingness in every way. she is my life. ... and jessi lee is probably one of the most heroic of asians..."

Steve Watkins is also employed at The Bethlehem Veterinary Hospital. The last I knew Thomas Jefferson was employed elsewhere.

Do you think there is a connection in Dan’s mind between Chris Porco and Holden Caufield?

Here is a photo, from Dan’s Space, of Chris Porco and two other staffers at the BVH.

Copyright Dan Roberts.

Repair Work At Erie Canal Lock 10.

Repairs Being Made To Lock 10 On The Mohawk River. June 15, 2006.

Sunday, July 23, 2006



Saturday, July 22, 2006

My Tuppence On The Porco Trial Blogs.

Reading the comments on WNYT’s The Porco Trial Blog is becoming a daily source of entertainment. Some anonymous bozo suggested yesterday that Christopher Porco was having an affair with the veterinarian’s wife, whom he works for. The real travesty here is that Eric Hoppel didn’t reject the comment. Most of the comments on the blog aren’t as bad as the one about the vet‘s wife, however, it‘s clear from the bulk of the the comments, that Christopher could not possibly have gotten a fair trial in Albany County.

Hoppel, who is filling in for Chris Rooney this week, stated on Wednesday, that he is not censoring any comments, which may account for the above comment appearing on the blog. It doesn’t account, however, for the two comments that I posted on the blog this week that never appeared.

Then we have The Times Union’s Porco Trial: Blog. (The originality of these blog names is astounding). I don‘t have to worry about my comments not appearing there because nobody‘s are. I guess I would rather have the wholesale censorship of the TU, than the selective censorship of WNYT. At least the former is honest.

By the way, check out these comments about the Porco trial. They’re much more thoughtful than what appears on the Porco Trial Blogs. Because they are so thoughtful, I cannot take credit for them.

I make no bones about the fact that I reject some comments. Newspapers don’t print every letter to the editor they receive and neither should blogs publish every comment they receive.

Memo To Ira
You said I could take your comment on my post, Is Patricia DeAngelis A Chauvinist Sow?, as either a slap up the side of my head or as BS and delete it accordingly. I have chosen the latter. As far as loss of credibility is concerned, I published that story you told about former Amsterdam Recorder Editor, Tony Benjamin, because it was really funny, but he says that it never happened.

TV worth watching??
Tomorrow the interview that Ernie Tetrault did with me about blogging and the rare book trade will air on Cable Channel 4 (over the air Channel 15) at 11:00a.m. Unless he edited it, you will see me drop a pile of old books on the floor during the interview. One of them was from the 1600s. There goes my chances for membership in the exclusive Antiquarian Booksellers of America Association, but then the $100 application fee, the $300 entry fee, $575 annual dues and regional chapter dues where applicable might have kept me out anyway.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Is Patricia DeAngelis A Chauvinist Sow?

If you have ever had the thought that Rensselaer County District Attorney, Patricia DeAngelis, might just hate men, there is some evidence that you might be right. Her penchant for seeing male sex offenders everywhere, even driving ambulances and fire trucks and the fact that she deliberately decided not to marry so she could advance her career seem to at least point in that direction.

But her use of the term "deadbeat dads" in a press release from her office yesterday, even more strongly confirms that she is a man hater. There are deadbeat moms as well as deadbeat dads. One criminal case I have written about in the past involves Fulton County Family Court Judge, David Jung, sentencing a woman to jail when she wasn't even in the court room and didn't have a lawyer. The woman's crime was failure to pay child support.

In our enlightened age, the term "deadbeat dad" is a sexist term, and clearly indicative of hatred of males. It should be replaced with "deadbeat parent." DeAngelis' hatred of males is to be expected, seeing that she is a graduate of a women's only college, Wellesley. The few remaining, sexist, all female colleges in the country, are hotbeds of radical feminism. Many of them teach such exteme ideas as "all men are potential rapists."

By the way, Hillary Clinton is Wellesley's most famous alumnus. Need I say more.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Will Patricia DeAngelis Be A No Show In Melrose Tonight?

I’ve written about the firestorm in Melrose over remarks made by Rensselaer County DA, Patricia DeAngelis. DeAngelis’ press agent set up a meeting for tonight at 7:30p.m. with the fire chief and Board of Commissioners so she could clarify her statements.

Now she is talking about backing out because she heard the media was invited. She told the attorney for the fire district that she would not come if the media is there.

If she doesn’t show up tonight, the fire chief and commissioners will hold a press conference, explaining that they held the meeting, expecting an apology from her, but that she didn’t show.

More On Johnathan Porco.

While all of the focus of the Porco trial is understandably on Christopher, I can’t help thinking often of his brother Johnathan. He may not want or need my pity or anyone else's, but that doesn't stop me from feeling the emotion anyway.

Assuming that Christopher attacked their parents, then in some respects Johnathan is the greatest victim of this crime. Johnathan lost his father, has a mother who has been tragically changed, and a brother who may very well be heading to prison for a long time. If he thinks Christopher is innocent, then seeing him on trial must be tough. If he thinks Christopher is guilty, then Johnathan’s relationship with his mother must be strained since she maintains Christopher’s innocence, and, of course, what kind of relationship can you have with a sibling you believe killed your mother?

In one tragic night Johnathan’s family disintegrated. A seemingly perfect, nuclear family, destroyed by the equivalent of an atomic explosion of hatred. (And if any crime should be called a hate crime, it's this one.) In some ways, Johnathan is much like an orphan. As the sole, strong survivor of this family tragedy; however, Johnathan might very will be the key to the Porco’s survival as a family, if indeed such a thing is possible.

In any event, Brendan Lyons of The Times Union wrote a piece a few days ago, in which we get the most definitive story about Johnathan to date. Here is what he said about him.

The potential testimony of Christopher's older brother, Johnathan, who has missed most the case's court proceedings, is even less clear.

Johnathan Porco, a 25-year-old Naval officer, is assigned to a submarine based in Groton, Conn.

"Johnathan was and is the perfect son," Kindlon said in his opening statement to the jury, as he went on to describe Christopher Porco as someone who has "done some really dumb things."

Johnathan Porco has remained silent about the case, other than a letter attributed to him in a bail application for Christopher, who was indicted for murder in November 2005.

"I am firmly convinced that he is innocent," the letter states. "I have not heard or seen anything from him or any other source that would indicate to me that he is guilty."

The letter was never signed by Johnathan Porco before it was submitted to a judge just prior to Christopher Porco's bail hearing. Sources close to the family said the letter was written by an attorney for the family before Johnathan had approved its submission.

Johnathan Porco then attended the bail hearing that month with his own attorney, James E. Long, and allegedly had threatened to withdraw the letter before approving its submission at the last moment, according to sources close to the family. Long declined comment, and Johnathan Porco could not be reached for comment.

"Johnathan is 100 percent supportive of Christopher," Kindlon said last week. "You may recall that a significant amount of Christopher's bail was posted by Johnathan."

Prosecutors said they still hope to call Johnathan Porco as a witness, but his submarine's mission and location are classified and his availability uncertain.

"The information that we've received from the Navy is it's not as simple as all that," McDermott said. "He is on a submarine, and the next time the submarine surfaces, there is a possibility he would be made available, as long as it doesn't interrupt the operation of the vessel. ... It's up to him. It's a voluntary-type thing."

If Johnathan Porco does testify, McDermott said, they would seek to bolster earlier testimony from another Naval officer that Johnathan Porco was on a base in South Carolina at the time of the murder.

Johnathan Porco has never been accused of having any connection to the attacks. But he was one of only four family members -- along with Peter, Joan and Christopher -- who knew the master code on the family's alarm system, which was deactivated at 2:14 a.m. the night of the attacks, McDermott said.

"The main purpose of calling him would be to establish his whereabouts at the time the crime occurred, and that's been done through another witness," he said.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Need A Break Today?

I am taking a break from posting about the Porco trial today, but will return to it tomorrow. If you need a break, Upstream recommends going to Animal Land, especially if you have young children. Located about 10 miles north of Amsterdam, on Route 30, it doesn‘t look like much from the road, but there is a lot to see. The price to get in is reasonable, $9.95 for adults and $6.95 for kids under 12. The only downside is the snack bar offers little variety, so you might consider taking a picnic basket with you if you go.

Here are just a few of the more than 100 photos my daughter took while we were there.

giraffe Tall, Dark and Handsome.

packofcamels02 Pack of Unfiltered Camels.

pigrace New York State Gubernatorial Race.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

More Porco Trial Blogs.

If you are bored with WNYT’s Porco Trial Blog, you can switch to The Times Union Porco Trial blog which began yesterday. Frankly, you will still be bored, but then yesterday’s testimony from the frat rats wasn’t very exciting. They told us what the ADA already told us they would tell us. I did think their testimony was harmful to Porco. On the other hand, the testimony about the amount of gas in the jeep’s gas tank seems about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

Although not very exciting, Abigail Bleck did post a good summary of yesterday’s testimony on The Porco Trial Blog. She obviously put a lot of time into writing and posting it.

Then there is The Edge who spends so much time commenting on The Porco Trial Blog, he has no time to keep his Porco blog up to date.

Finally, here's a blog that combines the names Porco and Bruno.

Former Mohawk Valley Resident Responds To Upstream.

Note: This was sent to me as a comment. I am posting it here so more people will read it and possibly correspond with the writer.

I don't know if u will read this since I just slapped it in here - but I live in So. Ca. but was born & raised & lived my young adulthood in Albany, Schenectady, Ballston Lake, Galway, Rotterdam & Niskayuna (which high school I graduated from). I left NY in the early 70's and went to work for FEMA and the director; covering disasters through the US. I took a transfer to So. Ca. and here I remain. But, I love the history of the Mohawk Valley, am now in a position to want to take the time and bring myself current after all these years. My parent's owned a huge "farm" in Galway (some of the 1st land granted to the New World according to the history of the house called "Kings Grant Manor" - and history it did have. My grandfather was President of Bank in Schenectady, owned a large lake house on Ballston Lake which I dearly loved; and I spent my high school years in a huge home on Vly Rd in Niskayuna. I have wonderful memory's of that area and would love to know what has occurred over the years - I remember the "haunted" house by the old Scotia bridge (right hand side as you came over), the "haunted" hotel & bar going down to the Mohawk outside of Schenectady area - going to the grand opening of Macy's Mall in Colonie; being friends with Susan Yager & Doc Yager (owner of Albany Pontiac dealership) and so many guys from Union College. I would love to hear from you, or anyone else who has the time, etc. to correspond or bring me up to date. Even reading your site has been very warm & fuzzy for me - thanks - Sand-E of So. Cal. (email is

Monday, July 17, 2006

Did Christopher Porco Plan To Kill His Parents? Part Two.

If you haven’t read Part One of Did Christopher Porco Plan To Kill His Parents, you should do so before reading Part Two. Part Two will make a lot more sense if you have read Part One.

When Christopher Porco left Rochester, I don’t believe he had any plans to kill his parents. I believe he was going home to talk to his parents and try to weasel his way out of the mess he had made with college, his finances, forging his father’s name on the loan, etc. That explains why he took the Thruway, instead of an alternate route, parked the jeep in the driveway, and forgot to remove the key from the lock after he disabled the alarm.

My next conjecture is that one or both of his parents woke up. Either they heard his jeep pull into the driveway, Christopher coming in the door, or possibly the dog barking when Christopher entered the house.

Next, even though it was a late hour, I believe one or both parents welcomed him and they talked. (I have two sons in their twenties so I know that late hour arrivals and talks are not unusual). The talk turned to what Christopher had done, then became a nasty argument. Finally, the parents ended the argument and went to bed.

It was at this point that Christopher decided to kill his parents. At this point, he had some time to plan, but not to plan adequately. He waited for his parents to go back to sleep, put the dog in the cellar, donned a pair of gloves (he may have even had gloves with him as it was already the middle of November), then went and got the ax and began hacking away.

Following the attack, which I believe occurred around 4:45a.m, he smashed the security system console and cut the telephone cable to make the attack look like an attempted burglary. In his panic to get away, he bungled the effort to make the attack look like a bungled burglary.

While this theory may not be perfect, it does get rid of some of the problems in the prosecution’s current theory. One of the biggest problems for both the defense and prosecution is explaining what the attacker was doing in the house for three hours. According to the prosecution, the alarm was deactivated around 2:00a.m., Christopher’s jeep was spotted by a neighbor around 4:00a.m. and the phone line to the house was cut around 5:00a.m.

Assuming that Christopher was the attacker and that the attack took place near 5:00a.m, then what was he doing in the house for three hours? Did he plan to kill his parents while in Rochester, get cold feet when he got home and have to work up the courage for two to three hours to do what he did? Possibly, and there are other possible explanations, but I believe my theory is more plausible.

Another difficulty for the prosecution is how was Mrs. Porco able to identify Christopher. Did Christopher turn on the light when he entered the bedroom? How could she have seen him in a darkened bedroom. The defense claims in their opening statement that Peter Porco had sleep apnea and in order to sleep better always slept in a very dark bedroom, therefore Joan Porco could never have seen her attacker. But if Joan and Peter had talked and argued with Christopher when he first arrived home, there would be some plausible explanation for her identification of Christopher as the attacker.

The above theory also explains the ferocity of the attack. The attack, like O.J. Simpson’s vicious knife attack on Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, appears motivated by incredible hatred and anger not money.

My theory, like the prosecution’s, is not without holes. One reader has already pointed out that if Christopher was just going home with the intent of seeing his parents rather than killing them, then why wouldn’t he have just used his EZ Pass? One answer to that question is that he had no money in his EZ Pass account, just as he seemed to have no money in his bank account. Anyway, the amount of money he had in his EZ Pass account wouldn’t be difficult information for either the prosecution or the defense to obtain.

Well I guess I’ve done enough speculating for now. After hearing what the lynch mob on local talk shows and blogs have been saying, it seems necessary to repeat, although it will most likely fall on deaf ears, that we are still at the beginning of the trial, and no one has yet to prove Christopher guilty.

While it may be fun to be an armchair lawyer, it is still important to keep an open mind on the subject of Christopher’s guilt or innocence. From what I have been reading and listening to, it’s a good thing that Terry Kindlon got a change of venue for his client. If the trial had remained in Albany County, Christopher’s only chance of getting a fair trial would have been to waive his right to a jury trial and go with a bench trial.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Can Anything Good Come Out Of Amsterdam?

I had forgotten about Frank Zindler, until I accidentally stumbled across him on the internet. Zindler used to live in Amsterdam back in the 80s. He was a science professor at Fulton-Montgomery Community College. He was also known as the Mohawk Valley’s most strident atheist.

Zindler promoted atheism with all the zeal of a Fundamentalist Christian preacher. Indeed, he had more in common with some Fundamentalists than he did with some fellow atheists. He was and is the true believer. He never missed a chance to speak on the radio or elsewhere, often wrote letters to the editors of local newspapers and even started in own atheist church in Amsterdam, which is no longer in business.

Zindler’s zeal paid off, at least among unbelievers. He is now Director of the American Atheist Press and Editor of the American Atheist Magazine. He is one of the most sought after atheistic speakers in the country. He is also the author of several books.

Zindler isn’t so much anti-God as he is anti-Jesus. Zindler does not believe that Jesus even existed. He has also written a book attempting to prove that the Apostle Peter never existed.

Zindler’s latest theory is that the village of Nazareth, the Biblical site where Jesus grew up, never existed.

Nazareth, according to the Gospels, was such a backwards, provincial, godforsaken place, that when people heard of the fame of this new, upstart carpenter who dared to call himself a preacher, they asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

I’ve often asked, “Can anything good come out of Amsterdam?” I guess if you are a true believer in unbelief, you can answer that question with Frank Zindler. If not, you still have Kirk Douglas.

A Few Questions For Proponents Of Gay Marriage.

I hope to get back to the subject of gay marriage eventually. For now I would just like to ask the proponents of gay marriage a few questions. Once gay marriage becomes legal, as I think it probably will, the current absolutist definition of marriage will be gone. When that happens, the definition of marriage will have the potential of endless expansion, like the universe after the big bang. Bigamists, polygamists and polyandrists are already using the same arguments as gays, in an attempt to legalize their unions. Will the gay community support polygamists in their fight for "equal protection under the law", or will their heterophobia cause them to discriminate against them?

And just how far will the marital universe expand, once gay marriage is made legal? Will a man be able to have five or six male spouses? Will a man eventually be able to marry his niece? Will a PETA-phile be able to marry her horse?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

California Has Wild Fires, New York Has Patricia DeAngelis.

Note: Part Two of Did Christopher Porco Plan To Kill His Parents will appear on Monday rather than this weekend as I initially announced.

Rensselaer County DA Patricia DeAngelis started a firestorm over a recent column she wrote in The Troy Record suggesting that parents in Melrose not call 911 if their children needed emergency aid because a recently released level 3 sex offender could legally become a fireman, respond to a 911 call and maybe molest your child on the way to the hospital. There are no sex offenders working as firefighters in Melrose, and last I heard the Melrose Fire District has not placed any ads asking for sex offenders to apply for jobs as firefighters.

Not only are the fire chief and firefighters in Melrose upset, but firefighters at other fire departments are as well. My sources say that yesterday Channel 6 interviewed Dominic Pasinella Jr., Chief of the Melrose Fire District, and that interview should appear soon. Also DeAngelis’ column in tomorrow’s Record will attempt to explain how Pasinella “misunderstood” her.

Since Danny's News closed here in Amsterdam, I can no longer purchase the Record. I would appreciate it if someone would forward me a copy of the column by DeAngelis.

Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra.

I caught this picture of Alex Torres practicing his guitar outside his store, El Palacio Musical, on East Main Street in Amsterdam yesterday. Alex Torres and his Latin Orchestra (formerly the Latin Kings) have been quite successful in the world of Latino music.

Alex Torres Of The Latin Kings Playing Guitar In Front Of His Music Store.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Upstream Update.

Upstream Slips To Second Place In Google Search.
As of tonight when you type Porco Trial Blog into Google, WNYT’s Porco Trial Blog is now the first result returned. Upstream which has been number one all week has now slipped to second place, although five of the first ten results returned link to Upstream. Frankly, I have no computer savvy, so I have no idea why Upstream is even on the first page of results. After reading some of the more recent posts and comments on The Porco Trial Blog, however, I’m not sure that Upstream needs to take second place when it comes to the quality of posts and comments.

Upstream Editor To Appear On Television.
I’m not very photogenic, which is why I do not post photos of myself on this blog. But in the unlikely event you are interested in what I look like, tune into WNYA, Cable Channel 4 (over the air Channel 15) on Sunday morning, July 23 at 11:00a.m. and you can see what I look like. More importantly, you will see an interview that Ernie Tetrault did with me. The primary topics of the interview were this blog and my book business, although we did touch some on Mohawk Valley history and the Jack Carroll case. By the way, If you tune in this Sunday at 11:00a.m., you can watch an interview that Ernie Tetrault did with Carl Strock.

Upstream Sells Photo And Article To Boating Magazine.
Frankly, I was getting very discouraged with blogging a few weeks ago. While more and more people are visiting Upstream, posting everyday is hard work. Not that I don’t enjoy it at times. Furthermore, blogging takes up a lot of time, and there are no financial rewards, at least around here. I had considered taking a two month sabbatical while I tried to get some articles published in magazines that would actually pay me a few dollars for my two cents. It’s not that I’m mercenary, but I do have two sons that I am trying to get through college, an old house that I am trying to restore; and like the rest of you, I like to eat.

Just as I was about to announce my vacation from blogging, I got an e-mail from Power Cruising Magazine. They wanted to purchase one of the photos I took, and posted on Upstream, of Lock 10 on the Mohawk River. I, of course, agreed and then received another e-mail asking me to write a short article on how flooding affected boating on the Canal. How could I refuse. The photo and article will appear in the next issue of the magazine which, I believe, is due out before the end of the month.

So for now, I’ll keep on blogging. As a reminder, if you have any stories that the traditional media have ignored, have an idea for a post, have some interesting photos, or would like to do a guest post, please contact me at

Did Christopher Porco Plan To Kill His Parents? Part One.

“Christopher Porco went home in the early morning hours of November 15th to silence the voices that wanted to hold him accountable, that were telling him to grow up, that were telling him to take responsibility.” Albany County Assistant District Attorney Michael McDermott. ( Page 39, Transcript of Opening Statements People vs. Christopher Porco).

With all due respect to Mr. McDermott, I don’t believe that Christopher Porco went home to silence his mother and father. That doesn’t mean he didn’t go home on November 15, 2004. It also doesn’t mean he didn’t kill his father and injure his mother. It simply means he did not, prior to leaving Rochester, plan to kill his parents.

The theory that Christopher Porco went home with the intention of killing his parents and with a plan already in place as to how he was going to do it has too many holes in it, holes big enough to drive a yellow Hummer through, not to mention a yellow jeep. Here are some of the holes.

1. If Christopher had planned to kill his parents before leaving Rochester, why did he decide to use an ax when there are easier, less gory, quicker and more sure ways? I mean did he sit in his dorm and think, “Oh yeah, Dad’s got an ax. I can use that?”

2. Why did he take the Thruway home, when he could have driven down to Route 20 and taken that home? The prosecution says that the Thruway was the most convenient route from Rochester to his home, but if you were planning to kill your parents, would you take the most convenient road home, or the one where you would least likely be detected? Route 20 parallels the Thruway. It’s other name is The Great Western Turnpike, and it was the equivalent of the Thruway before the Thruway was built. I often take Route 20 instead of the Thruway. It is a decent road, four lanes in many areas, and would have only added about an hour to his travel time. The advantage to a would be murderer is that there would have been less chance of being detected since there are no toll collectors on Route 20.

3. If he had planned the murder, why didn’t he park his car at least a few blocks from his parents house, instead of in the driveway?

4. If he had planned the murder, why did he leave the house key in the front door?

5. If he had planned the murder, why did he spend three hours inside the house? He would have gone in, killed his parents and left. The length of time that the murderer spent inside the house is something that requires explanation.

6. If he had thought this murder out in advance, why did he leave the murder weapon behind, with the possibility that it might have his DNA or fingerprints on it?

7. If he wanted the crime to look like a burglary, as the prosecution contends, then why didn’t he steal something? The prosecution says that nothing was removed from the house. If he had planned this crime, he would have stolen something to make it look like a burglary.

8. After the murder, the family dog was found in the cellar, a place where it was not ordinarily kept. If Christopher placed the dog in the cellar prior to attacking his parents, as the prosecution intimates, then why didn’t he let the dog back out just before he left the house, knowing that leaving the dog in the cellar might be a clue pointing to him?

One answer to these and other questions is that Christopher planned in advance to kill his parents, but that he planned poorly. While Christopher may have gotten rotten grades in college, he is no dummy, and after getting caught in the past selling stolen property on Ebay, it seems to me that if he planned to kill his parents, his plans would have been more painstaking. The prosecution contends that one of Christopher’s motives was his share of his parents’ million dollar estate that he stood to inherit when they died. That may be true, but Christopher had to have known that if he didn’t pull the murders off just right, he was going to be put away for the rest of his life.

These holes in the prosecution’s case, are not insurmountable. Later today or tomorrow, I will present what I think is a more plausible theory about the attacks on Peter and Joan Porco, assuming that Christopher was the attacker, a theory that would eliminate many of these holes.

There are other holes in the prosecution’s case, however, that can’t be dealt with very easily. I hope to discuss those over the weekend or on Monday.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Aerial Photos Of Flooding On The Mohawk River.

The following aerial photographs of flooding on the Mohawk River were taken on June 28, 2006 by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department.

The first three photos show flooding in Canajoharie, NY, with the third photo showing the Beechnut Factory. The fourth photo shows flooding on Route 5 near the intersection of Route 67 between Nelliston and St. Johnsville. The farm in the left center of the photo is an Amish farm that we used to buy baked goods at. The fifth photo shows flooding at the Fonda Fairgrounds, and the last photo shows flooding at the Cranesville Block Company, which was formerly the Adirondack Power and Light Company, near Lock 10 on the Mohawk River.

Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Mohawk River Flooding at Canajoharie, NY on June 28, 2006.

Mohawk River Flooding at Canajoharie, NY on June 28, 2006.

Mohawk River Flooding at the Beechnut Factory in Canajoharie on 06/28/06.

Mohawk River Flooding at Intersection of Routes 5 & 67 Between Nelliston & St. Johnsville, NY.

Fonda Fair Grounds Flooded by the Mohawk River on June 28, 2006.

Mohawk River Flooding at Cranesville Block Co. on June 28, 2006.

Terry Kindlon's Pink Sneakers & Wedding Dress.

While Assistant D.A. Michael McDermott did a good job at presenting an overview of the prosecution’s case during the opening of the Porco trial, I found Terry Kindlon’s opening for the defense more interesting, at least from an oratorical and linguistic point of view. While he may not be Frank McCourt, clearly Kindlon has inherited the Irish language gene.

All of the quotable quotes in the opening statements came from Kindlon. Here are a few of them.

“And as I listened to Mr. McDermott talking, I said to myself, as I have said before, well, I guess here we go again, we are going to talk about the nod and then we are going to slime this guy, until you can’t see him, until there is nothing but a great big piece of green slime sitting here.

That’s not proof. That is not proof. That is a bizarre grotesque fairy tale is what that is, that the Grimm Brothers, if they were smoking crack, couldn’t think up.”

“If I were to bring into this courtroom the boxes full of papers that this generated-you know what a banker’s box is-I might have 55 or 60. We had to put an office aside to cover the boxes. It’s 56 or 60 boxes full of nothing, like my younger brother calls a bread sandwich; there is nothing in there.

But they generated it, they churned it, piled it up, stacked it up into the ceiling, and there is nothing in there. There is no evidence whatsoever in this case that Christopher killed his father and injured his mother. What there is, if you could weigh it, is about six tons of wishful thinking.”

Finally, here is my favorite quote:

“If I were wearing a wedding dress and pink sneakers out here, I would basically be the human equivalent of Christopher’s jeep.”

You wouldn't think that Kindlon would want to mention how conspicuous Christopher's jeep was. After all wasn't that part of what the prosecution was doing when they brought in toll collectors to testify. But the visibility of the jeep also works against the prosecution. If Christopher carefully planned the attack on his parents, as the prosecution contends, then as Kindlon says why would he park such a conspicuous vehicle at his parent's house the night of the attack.

Johnathan Porco Considered For A Third Time.

I read the opening statements from the Porco trial last night. It was quite a different experience from reading media reports of the opening statements. One thing the openings provided was more information about Johnathan Porco’s whereabouts.

Assistant D.A. Michael McDermott said that Christopher’s brother, a naval officer, is currently at sea, and it is still an open question whether or not he will be able to return and testify at the trial. McDermott went on to say, “But if he doesn’t return, ladies and gentlemen, you will hear proof from people down in South Carolina.” Apparently, McDermott is referring to proof that Johnathan was at the South Carolina base at the time of the murder, so he could not have attacked his parents, making Christopher the sole suspect.

Christopher’s lawyer, Terry Kindlon, said of Johnathan, “he’s in a submarine right now, where he is, from what I know it’s a secret, nobody knows, nobody knows, I guess, unless they are in the sub with him...”

This might explain why Johnathan has not been calling the Paul Vandenburgh Show, writing letters to editors, or giving interviews to the media.

It is interesting, although I am not sure how significant it is, that the prosecution, not the defense, brought up the possibility of Johnathan testifying.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Porco Trial Transcripts Now On Line.

As Albany Eye has already said, The Times Union owns the Porco trial. Further evidence of that is the newspaper 's purchasing and posting transcripts of the opening statements on the TU web site as well as transcripts of testimony by toll collectors. You can read them and find out, as Willie Stark would say, “God’s unflyblown truth” for yourself.”

Upstream would have been happy to provide this service, but our pockets are somewhat shallower than The Times Union's. I hope the TU will obtain more of the transcripts and make them available.

The Porco Trial has been postponed until next Monday, but I find it hard to stop thinking about it. Tomorrow I will be posting more questions that have come to my mind about the case.

Here’s one that I’ll post today. The Times Union received two anonymous letters from someone claiming to have attacked the Porcos. Were these letters ever tested for DNA? Wouldn’t it have been interesting if Christopher Porco’s DNA was found on them?

Albany Judge Keefe Made Right Decision On Burciaga.

Albany Police Chief, Jim Tuffey, is upset that Albany City Court Judge Thomas Keefe refused to issue an order of protection against Elizabeth Burciaga. Burciaga is the mother of the four year old who fell from an 11th story window and was seriously injured when Burciaga left him alone.

I don’t want to make light of what happened to this child, but I think Keefe made the right decision. While this woman made a grave error of judgment, an order of protection is overkill. She needs punishment for what she did. She also needs probation, supervised visits with her child, child rearing courses, etc. But there is nothing in her background or actions that suggests an order of protection is necessary.

Tuffey at least characterized what Burciaga did as neglect. Hasiem Townsend Sr. the boy’s father is serving up to four years in Greene Correctional Facility for breaking his son's legs. (A different son, I believe). Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Bauscher lumped what Burciaga did into the same category as what Townsend did, calling them both abuse. Deliberately breaking a child's legs is abuse. Leaving a child alone is neglect. Both are bad, but they are not the same thing.

No one has brought up the fact that Burciaga was 17 years old when she had this child. It’s strange how we give teens sexual license, don’t require them to have any parenting classes when they get pregnant, but then want to throw the book at them when they do something stupid.

I’m not excusing Burciaga. As I said above, she should not get off too lightly. But we as a society are partially culpable in what happened to Burciaga’s son.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Carl Strock's Column In Today's Daily Gazette.

I just finished reading Carl Strock’s column in The Daily Gazette. Even though I have other things I should be doing right now, the column was so fantastic, I had to jump on the computer and write about it. If you don’t subscribe to The Daily Gazette, you should go out and buy a copy today. The column was on Jack Carroll’s life in prison. Not only am I impressed with Strock’s column, but with Jack Carroll himself. His self disciplined life, his philosophical acceptance of prison life, even though he wants to be released, are admirable.

Strock’s column is based on a recent trip he made, along with Carroll’s brother and Ernie Tetrault, to visit Carroll at the Washington Correctional Facility. Here is an excerpt from the column.

"When I saw him Saturday neither of us had yet learned that the state’s highest court had just refused to hear his latest appeal, so he was still full of hope, as he always is, that justice was just around the corner and he would go free.

It’s what keeps him going, along with family support and the Spartan discipline he has adopted.

Spartan? Running on the prison’s quarter-mile track, to make sure he doesn’t lose count of his laps and run less than he requires himself to run, he carries a handful of pebbles and drops one each time around at a particular spot so he can always see at a glance how far he has gone.

He reminded me of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn using rosary beads to keep track of the pages he had written in his head."

Anyone who has read Solzhenitsyn is automatically on my list of people I admire. I remember plowing through both volumes of The Gulag Archipelago when I was in high school. I will never forget it. I’ve read One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich a number of times.

I notice that Rensselaer County D.A. Patricia DeAngelis wasted no time in issuing a press release on the Court of Appeals refusal to hear Mr. Carroll’s appeal.

By the way, the bulk of the press releases coming out of Rensselaer County come from the D.A.’s office. Out of the last thirty press releases issued by the county, twenty-three came from the D.A. Borrowing from the title of one of Norman Mailer’s books, I believe these press releases would be better named “Advertisements For Herself.” I haven’t had the time to see if any other local district attorneys waste so much ink and paper, but it would be interesting to find out.

Monday, July 10, 2006

My Two Cents On A Number Of Issues.

Plug Power, based in Latham, made all of its employees go see the Al Gore film last week. Employees went on company time. I don’t know how much this cost Plug Power, but it seems odd that a company that has yet to turn a profit, has money to send all of its employees to see this film. Apparently the head cheese there is an environmentalist. I have no opinion on global warming as I have not studied the pros and cons of it, but I would be perturbed if an employer required me to go see any movie.

Glenn Goord, Commissioner of New York State Correctional Services, has announced his upcoming retirement. This relieves Eliot Spitzer of having to remove him when he gets elected. It also means I have less to write about.

But I can still write about Patricia DeAngelis, Rensselaer County D.A. Apparently DeAngelis wrote a letter to the Troy Record and stated her willingness to meet with people in the Melrose community to discuss a level 3 sex offender who had moved into the area. She made some silly comments about the possibility of this person becoming a volunteer fireman or EMT and if he or she did, then a parent with a sick child would not be able to call the fire department for help. The Melrose fire chief did not take to kindly to the letter by DeAngelis. Read his response below.

Fire chief Pt1
Fire Chief Pt2

Since I wrote my post on gay marriage, I have had to change my policy on commenting. Up until I wrote that post, most comments have avoided ad hominem arguments. Issues like abortion, capital punishment, the war in Iraq, gay rights and so on bring out the worst in some people.

I will be rejecting all comments that attack me personally or other people making comments. If you deal with the arguments, rather than make ad hominem attacks, I will publish your comments. For example, I published a response by Joe to my gay marriage post because it only dealt with the issues. (I will be responding to this comment when I get a chance.) But Joe wrote a second comment which I rejected. In his second comment Joe accused me of following everything I read. Joe doesn’t know me from Adam’s off ox, much less know what I read. Don’t make comments about what I read, know, think etc. if you don’t know me.

I have also begun rejecting comments that contain factual errors. One woman responded to my article on Child Protective Services and made several factual errors. For example, she said that Child Protective Services caseworkers do not have civil immunity. New York State law makes it very clear that they do. I researched Family Court law and checked with an attorney before I made the statement that Child Protective Service caseworkers have civil immunity.

By the way, if I make any factual errors, I would appreciate it if you would bring them to my attention so I can correct them.

Hopefully, the above changes will improve the level of discourse on this blog.

Failure To Commit Suicide No Longer A Felony.

I have argued before that would be suicides should not be punished when they fail. Finally, the NYS Court of Appeals has rendered a right decision on this matter. Larry Feingold tried to gas himself in Manhattan in 2003 by blowing out the pilot lights of his stove. A spark from his refrigerator caused an explosion which damaged Feingold’s apartment and several others. Feingold was hurt but no one else.

Feingold was convicted of a felony--reckless endangerment. The Court of Appeals reduced the charge to a misdemeanor because Feingold did not show depraved indifference.

We’ve come a long ways from the days when failed suicides were given the death penalty.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Gay Marriage Is An Oxymoron.

For thousands of years marriage has meant the joining together of two opposites--male and female--to form a complete union. The marriage of two homosexuals is like trying to build a tractor with just bolts or just nuts. A bolt needs a nut to form a union. (Yes I know you can do all kinds of things with that analogy.) Children need both a good male and female parent. Sometimes, heterosexual marriages don't provide that, but that doesn't necessarily make gay marriage a good alternative.

Give gays rights. Don't discriminate against them in employment, etc. Let them call their unions anything but marriage. But don't abuse the institution of marriage and don't abuse the English language by calling a relationship between two homosexuals a marriage.

The New York State Supreme Court was right this week in rejecting the idea of same sex marriage.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Other Porco Son Reconsidered.

I might have to reconsider my opinion about Christopher Porco’s brother, Johnathan. Another Porco blog has pointed out that Johnathan’s letter to Judge Berry was not signed. I have checked the letter, and it’s true. Johnathan’s letter to Judge Berry is not signed, while Joan Porco’s letter to Judge Berry is signed.

If Johnathan did not write the letter as Porcofactchecker says, then it does seem that Johnathan would have written a letter to the editor of The Times Union when they published his letter to Judge Berry and denied that he wrote it.

In any event, whether or not Johnathan supports Christopher is a side issue, and like the check in the dishwasher will have little bearing on whether or not Christopher is found guilty.

By the way Porco Fact Checker seems to have been a short lived blog--a brief burst of temper, then nothing. It’s a disappointing blog, except that I do appreciate the fact that the blogger pointed out that Johnathan Porco’s letter was not signed.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Check Is In The Dishwasher.

A great deal is being made by both professional and lay lawyers about a $100 cashier’s check found in Peter Porco’s dishwasher.

According to The Times Union,

In the kitchen, Peter Porco had opened a dishwasher full of clean dishes. On top of the dishes was a $100 cashier's check in Christopher Porco's name that was to be used to pay his fine for a traffic infraction in Saratoga Springs.
It's not clear why Peter Porco would have handled the check as he was dying.
"With his dying breath, Peter Porco was thinking of his son," Kindlon speculated later outside.

Others are saying that Porco was leaving a clue as to the identity of his attacker.

I say that there were a thousand and one better ways that Peter Porco could have identified his attacker. Besides we have been told that he was on auto-pilot, getting ready for work, going out to get the newspaper, etc. He was not really thinking at this time.

Is it just possible the check was laying on the kitchen counter, and he knocked it into the dishwasher when he opened the dishwasher?

The check in the dishwasher seems to me to be useless as a clue. Too much can be read into it, none of it with any certainty.

More important clues are the key in the front door, the blood spatter evidence, the disabled alarm, the cutting of the telephone cord, Christopher’s whereabouts on the night in question, the DNA on the toll ticket and Mrs. Porco’s nod.

I’m surprised none of these legal eagles have suggested that “Frankie The Fireman” Porco put the check in the dishwasher because he needed to launder some money.

Flood Cleanup At The Canajoharie Library.


The Canajoharie Library and Art Gallery is one of the best small art galleries in the country. I haven't heard whether or not any of the paintings by Winslow Homer or other famous artists were damaged.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Some Questions About The Porco Case.

There are two important questions about the Porco case, at least in my mind.

The first one is: if Christopher Porco didn’t kill his father and maim his mother, then who did? The theories advanced by Christopher’s lawyers don’t make a lot of sense and have the air of desperation about them. Organized crime figures don’t normally execute people with an axe, nor do they usually bungle executions. If it were a botched robbery, how did the robbers find the axe so readily? Was it kept in the bedroom?

The other question is: if Christopher Porco did attack his parents with an axe, why was there no blood in his jeep? It would seem as if he must have gotten some blood on himself and transferred it to the jeep. However, none has been found.

The prosecution realizes that this is an important question, so they plan to introduce a blood spatter expert who will testify that blood did not spray all over the place and that Christopher could have attacked his parents without getting any blood on him.

The answer to the first question tends to incriminate Porco. The answer to the second question will either incriminate or exonerate, depending upon the ability of the expert witnesses and attorneys to answer the question convincingly.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Chris Porco, O. J. Simpson & Lizzie Borden.

Christopher Porco took an axe,
And gave his mother forty whacks,
When he saw what he had done,
He gave his father forty-one.

Many people have made comparisons between the Christopher Porco trial and the O. J. Simpson trial, and there certainly are similarities. The viciousness of the attack on Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, like the attack on Peter and Joan Porco, could only have been motivated by love turned to hate. The alternative theories about who killed Nicole Simpson don’t fit any better than the glove did on O. J.’s hand. Nor do the alternative theories about who killed Peter Porco and maimed Joan Porco. Gut instinct says that Christopher did it. The evidence may say otherwise.

It’s the Lizzie Borden trial, however, that most resembles that of Christopher Porco. The weapon, attack on both parents, prosecutors attempting to enter circumstantial evidence to implicate Lizzie, defense attorneys trying to exclude it, the publicity, and many other details are similar.

O. J. Simpson and Lizzie Borden were found not guilty. I'm not so sure Christopher Porco will get the same verdict.

Read more about the Lizzie Borden Case.

Read primary documents from the Lizzie Borden Case.

Former Recorder Reporter Tells Story About Former Editor.

I can’t say whether or not the following story is apocryphal. It was forwarded to me as a comment and was quite humorous so I thought I would post it here.

Ah, Anthony Benjamin.

There's a name.

Deserves a story.

One day, long, long ago, Mr. Benjamin bought a new automobile. Made quite a show of it around the offices of The Recorder.

About a week later, the telephones failed to operate early one morning in the offices of The Recorder. A supervisor directed a young staff member to inform Mr. Benjamin of the problem. Upon hearing the news, Mr. Benjamin smashed his fist against a desktop.

"What do I look like," Mr. Benjamin snarled, "Alexander (bleeping) Graham Bell?"

Well, it's often said that God has a sense of humor.

A few days later, the young staff member who had been on the receiving end of Mr. Benjamin's editorial statement (otherwise known as a childish tantrum) observed upon entering the offices of The Recorder that Mr. Benjamin had seemingly failed to turn off the headlights of his new vehicle, which was parked in the editor's reserved spot near the entrance to the building.

The young reporter, ever mindful of Mr. Benjamin's editorial skills (and ability to break into a full-blown snit that bordered on a near perfect tizzy) said nothing about the status of Mr. Benjamin's vehicle.

At lunchtime, members of the staff at The Recorder heard Mr. Benjamin quite clearly stringing together a few not-so-carefully chosen adjectives and nouns in the parking lot of the newspaper. Mr. Benjamin stormed into the newsroom and promptly demanded a full staff meeting.

In a calm (read: frantic), measured (read: call the white coats in Marcy) tone of voice (read: screaming at the top of his lungs), Mr. Benjamin told the staff that his car would not start. The vehicle's battery had died. Mr. Benjamin had neglected to turn off the car's headlights.

Mr. Benjamin quietly (read: screamed) asked (read: demanded) whether any of his staffers had noticed that the vehicle's headlights had been on when they entered the building. Slowly, the young staffer raised a hand.

"Yes, Mr. Benjamin, I saw that the car's headlights were on when I arrived this morning," the staffer said.

"Well, why the (bleeping bleeping bleep) didn't you tell me?" Mr. Benjamin responded.

"Simple, sir," the staff said. "Since you told me the other day that you weren't Alexander (bleeping) Graham Bell, I sure as hell figured that you weren't Henry (bleeping) Ford either."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Price Of Freedom In The Mohawk Valley.

Gloomy indeed was the prospect at this time in the Mohawk valley. Desolation and destitution were on every side...Some idea of the lamentable condition of other communities in Tryon county may be obtained from a statement addressed to the Legislature, December 20, 1780, by the supervisors of the county. In that document it was estimated that seven hundred buildings had been burned in the county; six hundred and thirteen persons had deserted to the enemy; three hundred and fifty-four families had abandoned their dwellings; one hundred and ninety-seven lives had been lost; one hundred and twenty-one persons had been carried into captivity, and twelve thousand farms lay uncultivated by reason of the enemy.

Beers History of Montgomery and Fulton Counties, New York. 1878. Page 55.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Other Porco Son.

On WROW and on The Porco Trial Blog, people have been making ignorant statements about Christopher Porco's brother, Johnathan. Primarily, they are saying that Johnathan Porco has not shown any support of Christopher, and this means that Johnathan believes that Christopher is guilty. However, a letter that Johnathan Porco wrote to Judge Berry proves otherwise.

From what I hear on talk radio, it's a good thing Terry Kindlon got a change of venue for his client.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Flood Damage At Lock 10 On The Mohawk River.

Here are some photos of Lock 10 on the Mohawk River near Cranesville. Lock 10 was damaged more than any of the other locks by the flood. The last photo shows where the dam was breached. You can see in the background of the first photo, one of the buildings leaning where it was knocked off its foundation. These photos were taken on July 1, 2006. The water had already receded a lot by this time.

Lock 10 Dam On The Mohawk River. July 1, 2006.

Lock 10  On The Mohawk River.

Breach In Dam At Lock 10 On The Mohawk River.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Train Watching in Amsterdam, New York.

Note: If you are looking for more photographs of the Mohawk River flooding, Northview Diary has several new ones.

The Amsterdam, New York Amtrak Station is a good place for trainspotting and for taking photos of trains. These photos show one of the first trains to come through Amsterdam after the tracks were reopened following the flooding this week.

CSX Train Nearing Amsterdam Soon After Tracks Reopened.

Same train nearing Amsterdam station.

Amsterdam, NY Train Station.

Other good spots in Amsterdam for watching and photographing trains are Guy Park Manor on West Main Street and the pedestrian bridge that connects The Riverfront Center with The Riverlink Park.