[Sidebar] February 15 - 22, 2001
[Philippe & Jorge's Cool, Cool World]

Domestic violence roster

So many horrific tales of domestic violence have been reported in Vo Dilun in the past few weeks that your superior correspondents suspect that, if the climate were more amenable to year-round golf, O.J. would have moved to the Biggest Little years ago. First, there was the murder trial of Edwin Edwards, found guilty of beating and then crushing his girlfriend, Jeanne Robinson, to death under the wheels of his car. Then, Katherine Brown was killed in Barrington. Her boyfriend, Ronald Posner, was arrested and charged. Last week, there was the murder/suicide of Linda Supino and Charles DeRosa, and the report that Bernard Perry, a 21-year-old legislative clerk for Senate Majority Leader William Irons was arrested and charged in connection with an assault on his live-in girlfriend (who, in one instance, was allegedly thrown from a car).

While this may seem to be unprecedented and unusual, the sad fact is that this is more like par for the course. The ugly reality of domestic violence is all too real, for far too many people, and it's happening all the time. That a number of dramatic tragedies occurred back-to-back in Barrington, North Providence, and Providence is mere coincidence. It's going on, right now, in Chepachet, East Greenwich, Narragansett, and Westerly as well.

And how have people responded? Well, the police in Providence let Ronald Posner go without charging him after it was clear that he had attacked Katherine Brown. Some were angry at Senator Irons for not firing Perry. Others disagree, feeling that this incident has no bearing on his effectiveness at work. What your superior correspondents find outrageous is Senator Irons' insinuation that this is some sort of isolated incident that can be compartmentalized from the rest of Perry's life. Our hope is that Senator Irons, generally an intelligent and thoughtful sort, will be able to facilitate the serious counseling and help that young Mr. Perry appears to desperately need.

Speaking of politics, domestic violence and ludicrous statements, the mayor of Miami, Florida, Joe Carollo, spent an evening in jail recently, accused of tossing a tea canister at his wife. Carollo's lawyer denied the charges, stating that the bump raised on Mrs. Carollo's head, "was the result of an unfortunate accident," and "Joe Carollo did not throw anything at [Mrs. Carollo]. He never intended to hit her."

Huh!

Phillipe and Jorge wonder if Deborah DeBare has even had an opportunity to sleep in the past month. Ms. DeBare and the other good people at the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and its member agencies, need a hand. May we suggest that after reading this and contemplating the recent horrors, you make out a check to: The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 422 Post Road, Suite 202, Warwick, RI 02888.

Mighty dopes from little Achorns grow

Actually, this is a very misleading and inaccurate headline, but we really loved it and couldn't help ourselves. Although BeloJo editorialist "Slow Eddie" Achorn is not as seriously odious as Faux Phil Terzian, as reactionary as Francis "Statistics Boy" Mancini, or as, well, completely out of his mind as David Brussat, he is cut from the classic Urinal conservative mold. And when he's not busy playing the party line good boy, he even makes some sense. He's sort of like Terzian sans the giant shoulder chip.

In his column this past Tuesday ("Newspapers are the best reform"), Eddie makes a couple of points with which we heartily agree, particularly that if we did a better job of teaching American history in schools and encouraged daily newspaper readership, the republic would be strengthened immeasurably.

We did, however, discover a minor flaw in his presentation. He introduces his topic by discussing a Princeton Review study of the vocabulary used by presidential candidates during the debates. Achorn notes how the language used by debaters has rapidly eroded in recent years to the point where, according to the test results, Dubya and Two-by-Four Gore were operating at respective sixth- and seventh-grade comprehension levels.

What Eddie fails to report is that the contemporary daily newspaper writer is expected to write at about an eighth-grade level. You may recall that, about 10 years ago, this same test was applied to a number of local columnists, with BeloJo stalwarts M. Charles and the Big Pink One scoring squarely in junior high level. Naturally, your superior correspondents scored higher, guaranteeing that we'll never be allowed in a mainstream American daily. But, then again, as Eddie should know, it's all about marketing, and no media outlet that survives on advertising dollars ever balks when it comes to treating their consumers like morons.

We'll drink to that

It seems like every time House Speaker Pucky Harwood steps out of the house or opens his mouth these days he just gets into deeper and deeper doo-doo.

First, we had his magnanimous, eleventh-hour withdrawal from a conflict of interest case in which he was representing a wetlands violator before the Department of Environmental Management. Of course, this had nothing to do with the fact that the Urinal planned to run a front-page story the next day that would call his unethical muscle flexing into account. At the time, he told the Other Paper that the DEM case was the only one he had before a state agency. That neglected a little thing P&J like to refer to as "the truth."

One week later, Pucky was back on the Urinal's front page, being exposed for actually having three other cases before the Department of Business Regulation this year -- in what look to be direct contradiction of ethics regulations. But perhaps Phillipe and Jorge should not be so critical, as the legal work was on behalf of high-minded cases that try to raise the quality of life for our local communities. One was a fight for the renewal of the liquor license for Big Daddy's, the notorious India Point creep-magnet, which was opposed by the Fox Point Civic Association. Another was a liquor license dispute involving the Johnston strip joint Mario's Showplace, another site of family-oriented entertainment. And finally, Pucky had also gone to bat on the liquor license front (sense a pattern here, boys and girls?) for Providence's former International Club, which was the location of two murders and an arson. What's that line about birds of a feather?

Pucky's involvement with these cases began as the appeals jumped from local jurisdiction to a state agency, over which the speaker of the House has more than a little sway regarding their budgets. What a cowinkydink! Imagine that he just happened to be sought at that juncture each time! Isn't life funny sometimes? How much more of Harwood's questionable behavior will be tolerated is moot, but since he's elected to his powerful position by members of the House statewide, perhaps it's time to ask your rep just what he or she thinks of the man who is looking more tainted by the day.

Even if House members remain willing to be Pucky's butt-boys and girls, Operation Clean Government was ready to put his feet to the fire, as P&J went to press, by filing an ethics complaint against the speaker. This also appears to have cowed Representative William "West Warwick" Murphy; a hearing on his bill to negate the restrictions for which Pucky is being pursued was postponed at the last second by the House Judiciary Committee. Could it be that Harwood and Murphy actually see some of their colleagues rearing up on their hind legs?

Shanghai chic

There was a wonderful little story in the New York Times of February 12 about youth in Shanghai becoming very creative in adopting names.

The Chinese have traditionally played very fast and loose in their naming practices, having previously picked names off approved lists in class or having names assigned by their teachers, which resulted in such government-friendly monikers as Jianjun (Construct the Army). But now, the Times reported, young people are getting inventive, drawing from English words and names, and taking them as their own. And you can't claim that the kids in Shanghai lack imaginations. A la the Phoenix sports section's annual "Best Names in College Basketball," try these babies on if you want to get attention: Medusa Feng, Satan Szhou, Bison Zhang, Jekyll Hi, Redfox Cui, Echo Zhang, Feeling Chen (careful there, Ms. Chen) and Seven Lee. They even have a few kids named Manchester United, Fish and Power. However, our favorite name, beyond Skywalker Wang, just has to be Magic Johnson Ye. But he states that he only uses it during formal situations, like when signing legal documents. Forgive us sir, but we wouldn't try passing a check in Vo Dilun signed "Magic Johnson Ye."

It's a cultural revolution!

Sleep tight, Gang of Four-Eyes, Liberace En-Lai and Mao-Tse Schwartz.

A cheap charade

You've got to hand it to the Economic Development Council -- they keep pushing for a megaport at Quonset Point, no matter the odds and even if some of the worst damage is self-inflicted.

On February 9, the EDC launched a transparent attempt to upstage a February 13 meeting of representatives of all of Vo Dilun's 39 towns and cities, which had been called by Rich Kerbel, North Kingstown's town manager, to air the views of that town's consultant on the megaport and its statewide impact. But instead of an informational workshop, the EDC staged an ostensible press conference to announce the Missing Linc's "10 principles" to guide development of a QP container port. This cheap charade showed once again how little sense EDC has in dealing with the public.

While just over 50 people turned up at the EDC dog-and-pony show, more than 150 were present at the NK session, including, as one attendee put it, "a flotilla of EDC suits." While the red tie-and-wingtips brigade scrambled to hand out their rebuttal to consultant John Vickerman's executive summary, it was just the usual EDC pap, essentially, "We'll figure it our later."

Notwithstanding the EDC's track record, this effort warrants little credibility. As Vickerman pointed out, the EDC hasn't produced enough real evidence -- especially regarding economic impacts (hey, isn't this supposed to be their strong suit?) -- to even think of proceeding to the permitting process or conducting an environmental impact statement (EIS).  As someone might point out to Mr. Schumpert, the EIS, at a cost of millions of dollars to Biggest Little taxpayers, is not meant to be a research project by your short-on-facts agency.

Send rumors, Pulitzer-worthy tips, and accolades to p&j@phx.com.


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