Just say no
Since you would never know this by reading the Other Paper, things are getting
very serious with the union problems on Fountain Street. Reporters are
infuriated about recent events which, they believe, have compromised the
integrity and quality of reporting by the Urinal (as reported on a regular
basis in the Phoenix), as well as the nauseatingly synergistic interest
of the parent company, Belo Corporation of Dallas, in the ridiculously dubious
As such, the union is continuing to organize a boycott of the BeloJo.
Providence Newspaper Guild officials are going to other unions to get their
support, such as the URI Professors Union, which has voted to back the boycott.
In related news, P&J are told by newsroom rank-and-filers that the National
Labor Relations Board has gone to BeloJo management, saying they are prepared
to rule against it on two major points of union-management contention. The NLRB
asked if the titans of Fountain Street wanted to settle, but the Urinal
management team refused.
Consequently, morale is at an all-time low, and while mid-level editors squirm
at their management team's tactics, there's some real animosity building. Many
Guild members believe Belo is in an endgame strategy to bust the union. This is
one of the fears that was cited by P&J when the Biggest Little's organ of
record was sold to the Dallas-based company. As anticipated by your superior
scriveners, it's a lot easier to screw employees from thousands of miles away,
knowing that you won't possibly bump into them or their spouses at the
supermarket, a kids' soccer game, or some other part of the daily routine.
As regards the Guild boycott strategy, Phillipe & Jorge discussed with a
union employee active in negotiations the risk of cutting off one's nose to
spite one's face. "We have a good chance of bringing the boycotters back [after
a boycott]," he declared. P&J believe this is true, as there is a great
deal of goodwill in the Vo Dilun community for the Guild members and talented
reporters who have always led us to tout the BeloJo as one of the best papers
of its size in the country. As for what a boycott may do to the paper, our
insider tells us, "As you know, the paper has been losing circulation annually
for a number of years now . . . [With this initiative] we could double or
triple the circulation losses."
From what P&J hear on the streets, there are many subscribers who will be
filling out the cancellation notice, which also authorizes the Guild to
re-start subscriptions after any boycott ends. No date has been set for the
action, as the Guild wants to gain as much support as possible prior to pulling
the trigger. P&J urge you to support the Guild, if and when the boycott is
While we expect minor wrangling for another week or so before this whole
election fiasco finally goes away for good, it's all but over and it looks like
Al Gore will be president of Miami-Dade and Palm Beach for the next four years.
Meanwhile, Dubya and friends (on the Today show, Matt Lauer referred to
the photo ops of the conference of white boys on the ranch last week as
"looking like something out of a bad remake of City Slickers") get the
rest of the country.
Lest the average American be cowed by the moronic "Gore's stealing the
election," prattling of the ideological right, we suggest that if the votes
were actually counted, Gore would have won Florida. One thing to keep in mind:
almost all of substandard voting machines of the punch-card variety were used
in counties where Gore was strong. The higher quality, pen-marked ballots were
primarily in Bush strongholds. Check out the analysis of the Florida voting
systems published by the Orlando Sentinel on November 19. And while it
doesn't really matter that much by the rules (except in places where they
actually believe that the person with the most votes wins -- we like to call
these "democracies"), Gore beat Bush by more than 250,000 tallies in the
Dubya and Big Time's strategy of arrogantly acting the role of "winners,"
while making sure that no real recount could occur, wasn't illegal or
unconstitutional. It was just cynical and expected. They have won a botched
election and will reap the benefits of such (being considered impostors by
about half the population for the next six months). Gore and Bush both did what
they had to do to win. Don't, for one minute, buy into the Republican
propaganda that Bush somehow has been above it all. They were both down in the
mud the whole time.
To your superior correspondents, no matter who won this election (and since
about day three, we believed that Bush would prevail), it was evident that
proving political and moral legitimacy would remain their burden. A tall order,
indeed, and it will be very interesting to see if Mr. Compassionate
Conservatism is up to the task. Our guess: this is the biggest comedy windfall
for P&J since Dan Quayle hightailed it out of Washington to the permanent
Among political progressives and veteran lefties, one of the hot topics burning
up the e-mails and Internet sites is whether or not Billary, in his waning days
in office, can be convinced to do the right thing and free Leonard Peltier
through an act of executive clemency. The Oval Office has already been flooded
with petitions from supporters of the Oglala Nation activist, who has been
imprisoned for more than 24 years under rather smelly circumstances.
Amnesty International is among the organizations and individuals urging
Clinton to release Peltier, who was found guilty of shooting and killing two
FBI agents, and has exhausted all his appeals in the case. While space does not
permit your superior correspondents to go into great detail on this notorious
incident, suffice to say that you can find mucho information by checking out
the various Web sites devoted to the Peltier case. The basic assertions are
that testimony was coerced and false statements were made. Among the most
explosive bits is that Myrtle Poor Bear, who had claimed she was Peltier's
girlfriend and saw him shoot the two FBI agents, has recanted and acknowledged
that her testimony was the result of months of threats and harassment from FBI
agents, and that she was actually 50 miles away at the time of the shootings.
What is clear is that a number of credible human rights organizations and
investigative reporters have looked into the case of Leonard Peltier, and
believe that justice was not served. When you consider what we have learned
about the FBI's behavior in a number of other controversial cases over the
years (Waco, Whitey Bulger & Co., the Black Panthers, AIM, etc.) it's no
stretch to suspect that phony and coerced testimony explains why Leonard
Peltier has been in prison all these years.
Kudos and congrats . . .
. . . to Sylvia Moubayed and the folks at Cav, the restaurant/café/bar
on Imperial Place in La Prov's Jewelry District. Cav celebrated its tenth
anniversary Monday evening with a fab party and fund-raiser for Amos House.
Someone at the party summed up the charm of Cav to P&J this way: "People
from Europe love this place, and people from Vo Dilun come here and think
they're in Europe." Cav is one of the most unique places in town, a minor
miracle. May Sylvia continue and thrive over the next 10 years and 10 more
. . . to two of P&J's favorite Vo Dilun personalities, George Patrick
Duffy and Chuck "Heckle" Scherza, who have been chosen to receive the RI Reds
Heritage Society's "Tops 2001" award. The award is named after RI Reds legend
Zellio Toppazzini, the former hockey team's "player of the century," and is
given to people who contributed outstanding service to the organization and the
community. Duffy, a sports gadfly, was the team's publicist, "voice of the
Reds" on radio, and has more good stories than you've had hot dinners. Scherza,
a star player for the Reds and longtime local ice hockey referee after his
retirement, is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet -- despite being
strong enough to break you in two -- and made P&J's acquaintance at the
late, lamented Leo's, when he was part of a two-man beer delivery team known
affectionately by your superior correspondents as "Heckle and Jeckle." Good on
ya, George Patrick and Chuck. It's a well-deserved honor.
. . . to Trent Lott, for signaling all drugstore cowboys, by his preposterous
dress while visiting Dubya at his ranch in Texas, that he's secretly one of
them. Lott, the former University of Mississippi cheerleader, went mincing
through the cow pies in a distressed blue jean jacket and pants ensemble that
looked straight from the box, topped off by a cowboy hat with a jaunty feather
in it. Knowing that the country's senate majority leader is dressing up like a
Ralph Lauren version of the Marlboro Man, and will, along with Big Time Cheney,
soon be telling Junior Bush when to jump, and how high, is so very reassuring
to Phillipe and Jorge. (Gag us with a rodeo belt buckle.)