No refuge from hate
In the wake of the shocking beating death of Matthew Shepard, the gay college
freshman at the University of Wyoming, your superior correspondents were
astonished to hear Channel 10's Karin Reed ask, "Could it happen here?" as a
teaser to an interview with Rhode Island Lesbian and Gay Alliance president
Kate Monteiro and longtime human-rights activist John Blakeslee.
Is the thinking that if Channel 10 cameras didn't happen to be present then it
didn't happen? If so, we would like to direct the mainstream media to a letter
published in the October issue of Options, Vo Dilun's exceptional
lesbigay community newsmagazine.
The letter, from "Mary," describes an unprovoked attack on some gay men in
downtown Providence on the evening of August 24. According to the letter,
Raven, a Woonsocket drag diva, was thrown into a plate-glass window and another
gay man was savagely attacked by a group of young white punks outside the Union
Street Station, a watering hole with a gay clientele.
Mary says that the police were called and rescue workers dispatched to the
scene, but "the police never came to the hospital for a report, so this will
not be listed as a hate crime and a hate crime it was. The victims are unable
to pursue the matter for personal reasons."
Mary also claims that "that same evening, another gay man was smashed in the
head . . . Four weeks ago, another hate crime outside another gay bar, and that
person was hospitalized for two weeks."
While we can't verify all of Mary's allegations, they have the ring of truth
to them and sound frighteningly real to us. That someone wasn't killed in the
melee outside Union Street Station is a stroke of luck: indeed, Wyoming was no
The work of groups like Youth Pride and school-based lesbigay youth alliances
is critical to battling prejudice, hatred and violence. And what impact do you
think the right-wing moral hypocrites, wagging their fingers in condemnation
and shame, have on this? They may not be guilty of encouraging hate crimes, but
their deep-denial responses only make things worse.
Bad management or bad faith?
Word on the street has it that there's been some misunderstanding about the
lawsuit filed by Dan Kaplan's Anchor Communications against the Other Paper for
breach of contract related to the BeloJo's purchase of Rhode Island
Monthly and its three sister publications, Newport Magazine,
Rhode Island Bride and The Guest Guide to Greater
Our understanding is that the suit came about because Kaplan believes he was
ripped off by the BeloJo, claiming they diverted profits that he was to receive
based on the profitability of the magazine after the purchase. After edging
Kaplan out of any management involvement, the BeloJo folks suddenly reported a
60-percent decline in earnings, Kaplan claims.
If true, rumors started by Phillipe & Jorge that the Urinal planned to
change the name of the magazine to Fatwa Express and to have it edited
by Phil Terzian appear to be inaccurate. Although it would be easier to justify
a 60-percent loss when putting out a "right-wing journal of intolerance and
retribution" that would make Human Events look like Utne Reader,
it appears these plans never solidified.
Pay attention, Ethics 101 class, and let's see how this scenario works in Vo
Dilun good ol' boy political fashion: the chairman of the Depositors Economic
Protection Corporation (DEPCO), which has filed suit against a number of local
businesses, is the beneficiary of major campaign donations from these same
companies and many of their principals. What's more, some of the money has come
directly from fund-raisers hosted by the players on the pointed end of the
legal action. Conflict of interest?
Well, while this might seem as easy a question as you'd get in an ethics
primer, at least two people -- Governor Bigfoot, who just happens to be that
DEPCO chairman, and John "Monsieur Pompadour" Holmes, a GOP party honcho and
fund-raiser for the guv -- miserably failed that little quiz last week when
asked about donations from the white-shoe law firms of Adler, Pollock &
Sheehan and Edwards & Angell and the likes of Terry Murray, CEO of the
Fleet Financial Group, all of whom have DEPCO suits pending against them.
"I don't see where one thing has anything to do with the other," said Monsieur
Pompadour, which makes P&J wonder whether it's time for the white cane and
full-time shades for Johnny Boy, whose ethical vision obviously isn't as keen
as those who took the impact of the RISDIC collapse right in the chops.
Obviously a champion of corporate criminals everywhere, Holmes proclaimed,
"Just because a person owes DEPCO money doesn't mean they are bad people or
they are evil, corrupt human beings." Right, John. They are just plain old
soulless lawyers and bottom-line-obsessed bankers who face charges of
professional negligence and conspiracy to mislead state regulators.
Coming to the Missing Link's aid was also his campaign manager, Ed "Black
Pope" Morabito, who declared wide-eyed innocence of any possible conflict,
saying, "Some may view them as the face of DEPCO but, indeed, they are
well-established firms in the community and so that thought did not occur to
Didn't occur to you, Ed? Well, what about the thought that one of the reasons
why they are so well-established is that their firms (and their firms' top
dogs) have made similarly well-targeted contributions to politicians' causes.
And may we remind Morabito while he admires our business leaders (sic) that the
accounting firm of Ernst & Young, another civic-minded bunch, already has
seen the light and settled their DEPCO problems with a multi-million-dollar
Bigfoot should have better advice on when to accept payoff money. It's not
when you are the head of the public agency seeking to extract penalties from
Addit, Porkem & Seeya, Eddie & Angie, and Wideboy Terry for past
malfeasance. This is the main difference between Big Linc and Myrth York taking
cash from the DEPCO bad boys -- Myrth has no official role in seeking court
judgments against these people.
Still, we'd like to think that Myrth might want to hold off on cashing their
checks until after the election and that if she does get in and become the head
of DEPCO herself, she will have the integrity to hand the money back for the
same reason as Almond.
Monday's "Political Scene" column in the BeloJo featured an amusing anecdote
about country music legend Charlie Pride being serenaded by Massachusetts
Representative Joe Moakley in the House visitor's gallery in Washington.
Unfortunately, the usually flawless Scenesters (in this case, we assume it's
the Other Paper's DC ramrod, John Mulligan) identified Pride as the singer of
"Behind Closed Doors."
Sorry, gang. That was the silver-maned ex-rockabilly piano pounder Charlie
Rich. (Pride, the first black country superstar, had his most famous crossover
hit with 1971's "I Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'. ") We're surprised that Scotty
"F. Alger" MacKay, a man who knows his way around local honkytonks, didn't
catch this minor discrepancy.
And speaking of mistaken identities and "behind closed doors," did former
Democratic state chairman Richard James suddenly think he was Rick "Super
Freak" James? The details of James's arrest in Pawtucket early Sunday morning
for simple domestic assault and domestic vandalism at the home of his
girlfriend were horrific. In The Times on Monday and then in the BeloJo
on Tuesday, the descriptions were mighty disturbing.
Domestic violence is no laughing matter, and the recent charges against both
Senate Majority Leader Paul Kelly and James illustrate that this far too common
crime cuts across class and ethnic boundaries.
Ironically, James is separated from his wife, Judge Christine McBurney, who is
the sister of one of Kelly's most vocal critics in the Senate -- Senator John
McBurney. Let's hope that these sad stories will at least open our eyes to the
reality of the domestic violence in our midst and help us to rededicate efforts
to eradicate it.