Tag Archives: Twitter

Max Bernegger Firestorm Continues

A number of “06880” readers were appalled at the behavior of Max Bernegger, the 2020 Staples High School graduate who taunted pro-choice protestors from the steps of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral Sunday, while wearing a jacket bearing Fire Department of New York logos. The FDNY quickly noted that he is not a New York firefighter.

Meanwhile, a number of “06880” readers urged compassion for Bernegger, who was arrested in 2020 for posting flyers in Westport falsely implying that outside far-left agitators were coming to terrorize the town.

Readers reached out privately to me as well. Some said that Max’s parents — longtime Westporters — are wonderful people, pained by their son’s actions. Some urged compassion for a young man who made a mistake. Some said he was a young man trying to find his way. Some said he was troubled, and needs help.

I told someone with connections to the family that I would be glad to give Max a chance to tell his side on “06880.” I would also print a statement from the family. I have not heard back.

Today, as the video of Max continues to draw millions of views on social media, more videos have surfaced.

One shows him on the Stew Peters Show last night. He says his name is Chad McDowell, and claims that pr0-choice advocates were planning to attach St. Patrick’s Church “for Satan.”

He also may have changed his name on Facebook to Jacob A. Tate — a Black soldier killed in Afghanistan. Using that name, he posted on Tate’s mother’s page that her son deserved what he got. Those posts are now unavailable.

Meanwhile, Max is no stranger to protests. He was at this earlier event, as posted on Twitter:

Max shows no signs of repentance. In fact, he’s doubling down:


The posts above were recent. Those below are from March:


Someone who knows Max and his parents asked me to stop “piling on.”

I’m not piling on. The tagline of “06880” is “Where Westport meets the world.”

Max Bernegger — aka a New York firefighter, Chad McDowell, Jacob A. Tate, and perhaps other names — has made this Westport story into a national one.

Molly Jong-Fast: Political Tweeter Talks Trump

Molly Jong-Fast knows she doesn’t know everything.

So she sticks to writing about what she knows.

Like women’s issues. The absurdity of the Trump administration. The fact that Republicans can’t quite figure out when life begins (conception? Or after children are ripped from their families at ICE detention facilities?).

And nepotism.

“I come from a famous family,” she says. “I know it well.”

Jonathan Fast, Erica Jong and Molly Jong-Fast.

Her mother and father were novelists. (You may have heard of them: Erica Jong and Jonathan Fast.)

Her paternal grandfather — Howard Fast — was a noted writer too. He became a political figure when he was jailed for refusing to name names in the McCarthy Era.

Jong-Fast’s in-laws are politically active too. Stewart and Connie Greenfield have spent decades working for — and running for office as — Democrats in Westport.

Erica Jong and Jonathan Fast lived in Manhattan and Weston. Molly went to pre-school and kindergarten here. She attended Singing Oaks Day Camp, and rode horses there. Her roots in this area are deep.

Which is why her appearance this Sunday (October 20, 2:30 p.m., Westport Library) is a bit of a homecoming.

The event is the Democratic Women of Westport’s Fall Forum. The title: “How We Can Use Social Media to Beat Trump.”

Molly Jong-Fast

Jong-Fast is no newcomer to the topic. She is a social media veteran. She has over 300,000 Twitter followers (and has tweeted 169,000 times). She’s active on Instagram and other sites, and is a regular contributor to the Daily Beast, Playboy and The Bulwark.

Her bona fides include Tucker Carlson calling her “not super smart.” But she has been skewered by Democrats too: Marianne Williamson once called Molly’s mother to complain.

Jong-Fast began her writing career as a novelist. Her satirical bent found an outlet after the 2016 election.

“Because I’m dyslexic, my brain has always been a bit off,” she says. “In English class, I’d always give the wrong answer to what a book was about.”

However, she notes, “that helps me make connections that are not always the usual ones. They’re not necessarily right or better. But they’re different.”

Her talk on Sunday will build on a theme she’s tweeted and written about often: the need for ordinary citizens to be “the public editor,” calling out disinformation wherever it appears.

But isn’t social media just an echo chamber? Whether we’re Democrats or Republicans, don’t we all listen only to the people we agree with politically?

Not necessarily, Jong-Fast says. “Every Democrat has a cousin who watches Fox News. You have to find that person, and engage with them.”

She worries about the state of our nation. “How do you get the white nationalism genie back in the bottle?” she wonders. “And misogyny, discrimination, the judiciary — it’s a disaster.”

However, she says, “the Democrats won the House in the mid-terms. Polling shows more and more people interested in impeachment. And the younger generation is awesome.”

Tweet that!

(Sunday’s event with Molly Jong-Fast is free, but space is limited. Click here to reserve a seat.)


When Rev. Debra Haffner was snowed in by this weekend’s blizzard, she didn’t pray for a miracle. Or even a plow.

She took to Twitter.

#nemoworshipUsing the hashtag #nemoworship, Rev. Haffner — community minister at Westport’s Unitarian Church — created a “virtual service.”

A couple of dozen people participated, according to WSHU, which broadcast the story this morning.

One of Rev. Haffner’s tweets gave thanks for “safety, heat and electricity, (and) virtual companionship.”

She ended: “Thanks be to God, for all who tried our tweet experiment.”

(Click here — then click “Listen” on the WSHU page — to hear the  full story.)

Morris And Me

Morris Jesup, founder of Westport Public Library

I’ve got 426 friends on Facebook.

Morris Jesup — who founded the Westport Public Library — has a Facebook page too.  He’s got 115 friends.

So someone who has been dead for 101 years has only 311 fewer friends than I do.  Pretty pathetic.

Then again, I have 21 followers on Twitter, and he has 0.

So far.

Dan Chenok Opens Up Government

Barack Obama has a Facebook.  So does the CIA.  Chris Dodd takes time out from plummeting in the polls to Twitter.

It’s a new age in Washington.  President Obama has pledged to use technology to improve government performance and increase openness.  His success will depend on people like Dan Chenok.

The 1982 Staples grad chose a very different career path than his mother and stepfather, noted artists Ann and Bert Chernow.  A lifelong policy wonk with degrees from Columbia and Harvard, Dan put financial aid forms online for the Department of Education back in 1995, when dialup modems were the bomb.

His fulltime gig is with technology consultant Pragmatics. But Dan ran a tech group for Obama’s transition team, and still advises them.  Last week he was on a webinar with Vivek Kundra, the nation’s first Chief Information Officer.

Dan knows that open government faces concerns about national security.  And of course the federal bureaucracy does not measure time in nanoseconds.  “A web year is very different from a budget year,” he notes.

But Dan Chenok is an optimist. “The president has known the internet for half  his working life,” he says. “He’s the first Information Age president we’ve had.”

Although he’s a bit slow responding to wall posts.