Rhody smackdown 2002
BY PHILLIPE & JORGE
How many more times will we read the burnt-out phrases "three strikes and
you're out" or "the third time's the charm" in reference to Myrth York's
freshly announced entry in the 2002 gubernatorial contest? P&J's highly
scientific formula is to assume that 25 percent of all print stories and 75
percent of all broadcast reports will succumb, so just add the two together.
Make no mistake about it -- Peppermint Patty's announcement that she is indeed
a candidate for the Democratic Party's gubernatorial nod will have an impact.
Your superior correspondents suspect this will hasten Attorney General
Wonderbread's official entry into the fray, as he can't continue to play the
coy boy when everybody knows he's been running for a long time.
More to the point, expect Myrth to quickly jump into full campaign mode. This
means Sheldon's got to be ready to move or lose precious momentum. Your
superior correspondents also suspect the sort of unpleasant mudslinging that
promises to have Charlie Bakst and the rest of the Voyal Ordah of Vo Dilun
Pundits grinding their teeth and pulling their hair.
The barbs can be expected since Myrth has some high-powered, big-time
Washington-based consultants on the case, Mandy Grunwald and Marla Romash.
After looking at the polling information, cash on hand, the number of party
bigwigs either holding back or already firmly in the Whitehouse camp, and
dozens of other variables, Grunwald and Romash will tell Myrth that the only
way to pull this thing off is to attack, big time. It will be interesting to
see how the gracious and thoughtful former state senator will respond.
Although it seems so foreign to the nature of both candidates, we expect a
real dogfight between York and Whitehouse, something that may benefit Tony
Pires but not enough to overcome the $$$ differential. Anyone remember when
Jack Reed, the distinguished, highly intelligent, and good natured US senator,
first ran for the Second Congressional District seat against the demure
environmentalist (and current Newport Historical Society ramrod) Republican
Trudy Coxe? A regular WWF steel cage match. And while voters generally like
them both, we're predicting more of the same as York and Whitehouse duke it
Thick as thieves
Hey, no problem about that messy little Enron/Arthur Andersen scandal. AA fired
the lead exec who was involved, slapped a couple more on their Rolex-adorned
wrists, and politicians are Express Mailing all the tawdry Enron campaign
contributions back to Ken Lay and his cronies, pretending they know
"NAH-SINK!", as Sergeant Schultz would say. (Except for Dubya, of course, who
calls Lay "Kenny Boy" when they're snapping towels at each other in the locker
room shower. A real man's man, don'tcha know, but at least compared to his
brothers Jeb and Neil, he comes across as straight. "I'll be up in a minute,
Laura, I just want to polish off another pretzel. You just go to sleep. No,
that wasn't a beer can you heard opening, just a Dr. Pepper.")
Fortunately, the fallout from this corporate white boy debacle may actually
result in campaign finance reform, now that the country is seeing first-hand
how the GOP plays the game. You hire snaky accountants to cook the books, pay
off every legislator you can, screw your employees beyond the point of
conscience, and then shred every document you can, knowing you'll never do jail
time because the fix is in with the lawyers and judges. Welcome to the Bush
administration, boys and girls. We won't even bring up the fact that Enron
executives were essentially the authors of Dick "Big Time" Cheney's energy
And in case you don't think Enron is just the tip of an iceberg, check out the
Red Herring Web site at www.redherring.com and look for a January 8 article by
Dan Briody on the Carlyle Group. This defense-oriented megabucks company's
friends include George H.W. Bush, former defense secretary Frank Carlucci, and
until recently, Osama bin Laden's family, among others getting rich from the
defense industry, ably abetted by Dubya and Rummy Rumsfeld, a former wrestling
partner of Carlucci's at Princeton. (If you know what we mean when we say
sausage grapplers.) Bend over and grab your ankles, America.
Phillipe and Jorge hate to make fun of our friends, unless it amuses us, of
course. Therefore we felt it our duty to call Peter Lord, the Urinal's
award-winning environmental reporter, on the morning of Sunday, January 20. We
had to tell him how pleased we were to see him making the most of his expertise
by being assigned to cover all the tailgating drunks in the parking lot at
Saturday night's now-legendary Patriots playoff game against the Oakland
Nothing like applying years of accumulated knowledge about global climate
change and fisheries management to try to get an intelligent comment out of
some young yahoo who cuts you off in traffic. Although Lord wasn't in -- having
driven all the way from New Jersey the previous evening to attend this
celebration of the sweaty sciences before driving back to his Garden State home
in the wee hours -- we must say it was marvelous, Pete. We hope you get a
Our call was made even more amusing by the discovery that another old chum,
Mike Stanton, was working the newsroom phone that morning. Nothing like using a
Pulitzer Prize winner as a receptionist on Sunday mornings, is there? Maybe the
BeloJo editors could get Stephen Hawking to sweep the floors from his
wheelchair, or Jonathan Franzen to run out for coffee for the daily editorial
board meeting. Perhaps Cornel West to shine publisher Howard Sutton's shoes?
Finally, yet another nail in the heart with the departure of Jerry O'Brien,
who had been Newport bureau chief until the office closed earlier this month.
Seems Jerry just couldn't take the insanity of the corporate buccaneers of Belo
and took a hike instead. Too bad, because he was a tremendous asset, an
all-around great guy who will be missed. The editors will doubtlessly replace
him with another disposable "Bic" intern who won't know why it's called
America's Cup Boulevard.
'Terd' World humor, post-9/11
We received this (what we can describe as apocryphal) e-mail message from a
"terd world" friend:
After Sep 11 / 01 in United States, their immigration department has arrested
many visitors from all over the world. In October, an old Jamaican couple
landed in Miami to visit their son and other family members. The son had asked
his dad to bring a "cutlass," otherwise called a machete internationally. The
good father went to his local hardware store in Morant Bay to obtain this
cutlass for his son.
On arrival in Miami, the customs officer asked the family if they had anything
to declare. Jamaicans are known to bring a little weed when visiting. The good
decent gentleman declared that he had a "cutlass" he was bringing for his son.
The officer then proceeded to ask the gentleman to take it out of the
The officer was totally shocked that someone would be allowed to carry such a
thing. He wondered out loud, "How could this pass the x-ray machine in
Jamaica?" The father answered, "Terd world machine, offisa." The customs
officer then asked the old man what would he be doing with this. He explained
that it was for his son. The officer then asked, "What would your son be doing
with this?" The father replied, "Chop bush, Sa."
You can just imagine why he's still in jail, charged with being a terrorist
and wanting to kill the president of United States.
While this story is of doubtful veracity, there have been innumerable
confirmed tales of much worse, usually with a racial profiling angle. Here's a
case in point:
Big irony sale at the Liberty Market
The (Woonsocket) Call of January 11 featured a fine story by Russ Olivo
describing how Amin Mohammed Malik, a US citizen, born in Pakistan but living
in southeastern New England for more than 20 years, was treated by what we
assume are government agents. Mr. Malik is the proprietor of the Liberty Market
on Main Street in Woonsocket. Earlier this month, three men entered his store,
showed FBI badges, and asked whether it was true that he'd made sympathetic
statements about the September 11 terrorists. All this despite the fact that
Mr. Malik took the initiative to become a naturalized citizen, having left his
native country (where he was a labor lawyer) because he felt it was becoming
"more like a police state than a democracy." Check out the story in the
Malik has no idea who made the allegation against him, nor the reason why the
allegation was made. Needless to say, the FBI won't even acknowledge the visit
to Mr. Malik, let alone reveal who made the complaint or whether it was
P&J wonder if the current atmosphere will open up the doors for the FBI to
return to the good old Hoover days when J. Edgar regularly trampled the civil
liberties of those he didn't like ("Negroes" for instance. He was an outspoken
white supremacist and only complied with federal civil rights laws when his
hand was forced) and ignored crime by pals (the organized crime guys he
befriended at the track).
Another thing that struck us is that the story ran in the Call, but no
mention of the incident in the Journal. Olivo's fine work
notwithstanding, this is the sort of episode the Urinal should be covering.
Instead, the Other Paper has been getting regularly beat for some time by a
number of the smaller papers in Newport, Pawtucket, Warwick, and elsewhere, and
now that the BeloJo's regional bureaus have "consolidated," you can expect even
The only thing we'd really like to see is the Urinal column that plainly
explains how "the changes we've made are all about money and nothing less."
Maybe Howie Sutton or Mark Ryan could write it instead of trotting out real
news people like Joel Rawson or Carol Young and making them lie.
Send Oreos, a tall glass of milk, and Pulitzer-grade tips to email@example.com.
Issue Date: January 25 - 31, 2002