Endorsements from Casa Diablo
As usual, the residents of Casa Diablo have our own take on the elections next
week. The most important thing is that you vote. We might remind you that,
statistically, the lower the voter turnout, the better the dreaded Republicans
do. There is plentiful data to support this notion. Now, after that dire
warning, we must suggest you vote for an actual Republican, Senator Lincoln
Chafee. Both Bob Weygand and Chafee have their good points, and both have
represented the Biggest Little with distinction. The similarity of their voting
records, however, leads us to emphasize the importance of women's reproductive
Phillipe & Jorge have long stood for the right to choose, and despite all
the obfuscation from the Bush camp on this issue, it's clear that the next
president of the United States will have the opportunity to select one or more
Supreme Court justices. Of course, that is with the advice and consent of the
Senate. Dubya has already stated that the justices he most admires are the
right-wingers, Scalia and Thomas. That's a pretty clear signal he intends, if
elected, to nominate people of that stripe.
Linc Chafee is on the right wavelength here. Like Dr. Pablo Rodriguez and a
number of other heavyweights in the pro-choice community, we believe that on
this issue alone, Chafee deserves your vote. He's also a strong conservationist
and has generally been a friend to organized labor. But it's the abortion issue
that motivates our desire to see Linc Chafee returned to office.
In both Congressional districts, there isn't really a contest. Much as we'd
like to see some real competition, the Republican Party continues to throw up
sacrificial lambs as candidates. In the first district, we may sometimes chide
Representative Patrick Kennedy for his shrill ways (and we'd really like to see
him hanging around Vo Dilun a little more), but we greatly admire him.
Patrick has frequently been courageous and shown himself to be a hard worker
when it comes to getting things done for our state. He keeps fully engaged in
local issues, despite his frequent globe-trotting, and his input on issues like
gun control, health care and the environment have been pluses. In the Kennedy
tradition, he's a reliable voice for working people and the poor. When you
consider how his Republican opponent, Steve Cabral, recently suggested that
homeless people are homeless by choice, you have to wonder how responsible the
Republican party in Vo Dilun is.
In the second district, Jim Langevin has been a very good secretary of state.
While his overly cautious approach, and the vibrancy and clarity of her
campaign, led your superior correspondents to endorse Kate Coyne-McCoy in the
primary, we expect Jim to be a conscientious representative. He has a
hard-working and good team behind him. Knowing that Jim will listen, we hope
that folks with more progressive agendas will move him more clearly in a
By the way, we must wonder what the reluctance of voters on Question 5, the
Heritage Harbor Museum, is all about. It's a great project, but according to
Urinal/ Brown University polling done by the esteemed Darrell West, only 32
percent of voters favor the $25 million request, and 47 percent oppose it. We
say, use a little imagination and let's get behind this first-rate idea.
Morons and oxymorons
Looking at the national picture, Phillipe and Jorge are becoming more
distressed by the minute that Junior Bush may defeat Al Gore, who is our choice
for president. This despite the fact that, afterwards, we plan to hold our
lever hands over a lit candle to perform some sort of Mean Streets-style
penance for our sin. (Although here in Little Rhody, we won't begrudge anyone
their Ralph Nader vote. Gore is going to blow out the Biggest Little, so
anything that helps get the necessary 5 percent for Nader, and future funding
of the Green Party, is God's work.)
A win by the coddled moron Dubya means that voters have actually bought his
oxymoronic "compassionate conservative" line -- which has about as much truth
to it as a Bill Clinton alibi. If you think a haunted house is spooky, wait
until Senate Majority Leader and former cheerleader Trent Lott and his
right-wing nightriders jump out from where they've been hiding during the
campaign, and along with Daddy Bush's appointed caretaker of Dubya, racist Big
Oilman and non-voter Dick Cheney, start running the country the way they
want to, while Dubya naps.
This, of course, means turning the environment over to corporations, cutting
social service funding and affirmative action, and eliminating anything that
doesn't spell big bucks for white guys in suits. The prospect of Dubya getting
in is beyond frightening, and almost as scary to the rest of the world. As
noted by Martin Kettle, Washington diarist for the Manchester Guardian
Weekly: "To many non-Americans the idea that Bush could be popular, appear
attractive . . . is mystifying and outlandish. He seems so second-rate, so
superficial, so shallow -- and thus so dangerous. Some Americans share this
disbelief too, but it is especially held among foreigners. If Americans can
choose such a man as their leader -- also the West's leader -- they say, then
what a comment it is on Americans. A nation that can be so easily conned into
voting for a puppet of the oil companies, military-industrial complex and the
evangelical Christian right deserves what it gets."
Not that Al Gore has done anything but shoot himself in the foot during his
stilted campaign. Not only has he eschewed being seen in public with Billary if
at all possible, but until this week Joe Lieberman appeared lost in space, as
Two-by-Four has tried to do it all by himself, with wife in tow, not
understanding how off-putting he personally is. Somehow, he thinks he and
Tipper are America's favorite couple, the Love Story delusion he has
already experienced once. Where are the leading women, minorities, celebs of
stage, screen and music -- and by that we mean the A List, not Melissa
Etheridge and Al Franken -- who would willingly go to bat for him and who are
much better received than Mr. Pedantic?
P&J went to Brown political guru Darrell West and asked him what a Dubya
victory might be like, other than gargling with gasoline. He gave us three
scenarios. Darrell sez:
"1) Whoever wins the presidency this year may come to regret the victory.
After years of peace and prosperity, our next president will not be able to
count on as strong an economy as what we have had. It will be a much tougher
job to lead when the economy goes in the tank.
2) Regardless of who wins, look for the opposition party to immediately try to
find a scandal in the new administration and the new Cabinet. The politics of
scandal are here to stay [not just a function of the Clinton years]. It is the
way to discredit and undermine a new administration in ways you couldn't at the
3) If Bush wins, he already has promised a `thorough cleaning' of the Oval
Office before he moves in, especially in the area next to the phone. Perhaps he
should install a glass door at the Oval Office just to be on the safe side."
And leave room for Chuck Heston's desk.
Please, for God's sake vote for the high colonic over low moronic -- Al
In lieu of flowers
Sombreros off to Mary Frances Hallowell and her family. She's the Providence
woman whose death notice in the Other Paper on Monday read, "in lieu of
flowers, please vote for Al Gore." On Tuesday, the BeloJo reported she'd often
get so exercised over Dubya's inane responses during the presidential debates
that she'd get on the horn to complain to her children and grandchildren
about the governor of Texas. Rest in peace and way to go, Mary.
News greatly exaggerated
Phillipe and Jorge received a call last week from Family Court Judge Peter
Palumbo, who, we said in last week's column, is stepping down from the bench
due to health reasons. But unlike Casey Stengel, who -- after being fired by
the Yankees after the 1960 World Series -- said, "I'll never make the mistake
of turning 70 again," Hizzoner explains that he's simply retiring because
he is 72 years old and would like some peace and quiet.
Since Phillipe and Jorge are probably going to look like the green-skinned
Wicked Witch of the West, Margaret Hamilton, and the Queen Mum by the time we
hit Peter's age, we thought that would alone warrant using the term "health
reasons." And since the Honorable Mr. Palumbo is a judge, and naturally
suspect, we demanded that he prove his fitness.
This he did by coming to Casa Diablo and doing 50 one-arm push-ups,
high-jumping 7 feet and 6 inches, sparring three rounds with Vinny Paz, and
doing a five-minute synchronized swimming routine with your superior
correspondents before pulling a double-box semi full of cases of Pernod and
grapefruit 100 yards up our crushed rock driveway with a bit held between his
We stand corrected.
Still crazy after all these years
Two thumbs up for James Traub's piece in Sunday's New York Times
Magazine, "Newt at Rest," a look at the former speaker of the House now
that he's out of Congress. Seems that he's the same old wild man. In the course
of preparing the article, Traub followed Gingrich to a conference on
nanoscience held by the National Science Foundation. As legitimate scientific
speaker after speaker cautioned the assembled about "nanohype" and unrealistic
expectations in the scientific community, Newt was busy doing just the
opposite, making exaggerated claims and over-hyping the whole field. Yes, you
can't keep a good blowhard down.