While Phillipe stayed home to monitor television coverage, Jorge headed out to
Democratic headquarters at the Biltmore. Here's what Jorge saw:
. . . at 8 o'clock, with only media types milling around the ballroom, Jim
Gillis from the Newport Daily News ribs former BeloJo reporter, Channel
6's Jim "Opie" Hummel, about "leaving journalism." Opie takes it like a man . .
. Channel 6's Barbara Meagher vows revenge for when Jorge blew the whistle on
her for putting extra cookies in her handbag at a charity event a few years ago
. . . WRNI news reporter Martha Bebinger is very pregnant. Could give birth at
any moment . . . Joe and Lianne Paolino materialize off the elevators with
their oldest child, Jennifer, who has miraculously turned into a composed young
lady of 14 . . . The 15th floor is "Slam Dunk Alley," where Weygand, Whitehouse
and Langevin suites are all bunched together . . . Woonsocket public safety
commissioner and passionate Democrat Bill Noonan informs me that Whitehouse
headquarters (Presidential Suite North) is the same one that JFK stayed in when
he spoke in La Prov on the eve of his 1960 election. JFK would be proud, as the
Whitehouse gathering is by far the most multicultural group Jorge sees all
night. All shades of humanity in Sheldon's rainbow suite . . . Longtime
Democratic powerhouse Julie Michaelson, when pressed by Jorge for a weird
quote, says, "I can't give you any weird quotes. I'm just not a weird guy."
This is true. All the weird guys are probably at the Marriott . . . Down at
Myrth Central on the 10th floor, Jorge brushes past about a half-dozen bikers
heading for the elevators and grumbling, "So where are the girls?" Jim Gillis
tells me that the bikers are Myrth supporters. "They like her position on
health care," he reports . . . Jorge weeps for Myrth just before nabbing a
Peppermint Patty from the table in her suite.
Bore more years
Catching the entire action on TV, Phillipe gives full points to Channel 6,
which maintained complete election coverage beginning at 9 p.m. -- a strategy
that paid off handsomely due to the "too close to call" nature of many of the
races. Channel 6's Sean Daly also wins the Best Crosscheck Award for elbowing
10's Jim Taricani out of the way to buttonhole Nancy Mayer, a typical bit of
Daly outrageousness which left 6 anchors Larry Estepa and Pam Watts chuckling
in the studio.
Channel 10, on the other hand, should be saying "Just shoot me," as their
decision to go with that NBC show and other prime-time staples killed their
coverage. The JAR-heads' late arrival led to their simply repeating the news
that Channel 6 had had hours before. Channel 10 also had Nicole Livas covering
the newsworthy Cranston mayoral race from their studio (snore), while the
station's decision to send Karin Reed to the 1025 Club to report on the equally
intriguing Johnston mayoral contest was like assigning Martha Stewart to cover
a Mike Tyson fight.
The only saving grace was Paul McGonagle's insightful observation from the
excited Cellucci HQ in Boston that the boisterous mood of the crowd was, in
large part, due to the fact that most of the supporters worked for the Cellucci
administration and were pleased to have kept their jobs.
Channel 12's coverage was enhanced by letting the live shots tell the story.
With Pat Mastors hosting in the field and winning the Ally McBeal Miniskirt
Award (have a word with the cameraman and director, Pat, unless you're looking
to emulate Sharon Stone), we could almost overlook Walter Cryan's abysmal
shilling for WPRI while offering nothing to the evening's context or results.
As for the pols, the award for best goofball smile by a winner goes to Sherbet
Whitebread. John "Where's the Vodka!" Holmes won the obligatory
screaming-introduction derby over a game Jack "Little Big Man" Reed. In the
same vein, Paul Cellucci took the prize for having the most drunks on stage
with him during an acceptance speech in a runaway. But in a surprise
performance, Linc Almond actually looked like he had a pulse in both his
acceptance speech and post-result interviews. Still, bore more years to come.
Tom & Sally & Bill & Monica
Since last week's announcement that there is conclusive DNA evidence proving
the longtime suspicion that Thomas Jefferson did father at least one child with
Sally Hemings (her last son, Eston), there is plenty of irony to go around.
Indeed, most historians now acknowledge that it is a fairly reasonable
assumption that Jefferson carried on a lengthy affair with his slave.
Of course, this probably won't tumble Jefferson from his pedestal, but it
certainly will prove problematic for numerous right-wing nutbags who have been
among the chief venerators of Jeffersonian philosophy in recent years. To wit,
what's the tear-and-compare between Tom and Sally and Bill and Monica?
When faced with this quandary, the William Bennetts and Gary Bauers of this
world aren't likely to do the honest thing, which would be to perform their
best Ralph Kramden impersonation and respond with a
"hominah-hominah-hominah-hominah." No, we fully expect some entertaining
arguments from these phony moralists. At the least, this revelation will
bolster the Clinton argument that "it's about the performance in office,
To P&J, one of the more interesting aspects of the ongoing saga of Tom and
Sally is what it reveals about certain knee-jerk attitudes among historians.
For years, mainstream historians (most prominently, the Pulitzer Prize-winning
Jefferson biographer, Dumas Malone) dismissed the Hemings/ Jefferson
relationship, denigrating the oral history among the Hemings ancestors while
heartily welcoming the oral reminiscences of Jefferson's white aristocratic
relatives. What made one oral tradition more convincing to Malone and the
others? A tinge of racism seems apparent.
One other thought: will House Republicans and Christian Coalition types demand
that Jefferson's visage be taken off the two-dollar bill? If so, this would not
at all deter Phillipe & Jorge's longtime demand for a three-dollar bill
printed with a picture of James Buchanan on it.
Help for those who need it
In case you haven't noticed, while the economy has been humming along these
past few years, the gap between rich and poor has been growing to such an
extent that we now have a gulf wider than at any time since the beginning of
this century. Folks on the wrong end of the spectrum, particularly struggling
working people, should know about the Benefit Fair this Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.
at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John on North Main Street in Providence.
There will be information tables on a variety of programs that you may be
eligible for, including children's nutrition programs, heating and energy
assistance, housing information, mental help services, utility discounts and
legal help. The George Wiley Center tells us that there are 13,000 Rhode Island
children eligible, but not enrolled, for free health insurance. Find out about
help that may be available to you and make it to the Cathedral on Sunday.
For anyone who had any doubts that television rules the world, this from the
BeloJo's account of Powerball winner Edith Scrivani's movements on Sunday:
She left to visit her sister at a local nursing home, and while there, she
caught the 6 o'clock news on Channel 10. "They said, 'The Powerball winner,
please come forward.'
"So, at that point, I got panicky, I said, 'I gotta do something . . . you hear
so many stories: They'll shoot you and kill you or something -- I'm not about
to die now!'"
Not knowing what else to do, she and her relatives drove to Channel 10.
Kudos and congrats . . .
. . . to Cool Mooser Bob Healey who, in the last week of his campaign, issued
a "report card" on media coverage of his candidacy. Given a complete failing
grade was the Urinal, which he accused of failing to cover alternative
candidates. (Take a bow, M. Chuckie.) The BeloJo responded by running a big
three inches of coverage of the report card on the bottom of page B-5 on
October 25. As we say at Casa D., "That proves it."
. . . to Pablo Rodriguez, medical director of Planned Parenthood, for his
compelling op-ed piece, "Doctor in a bulletproof vest," in the October 28
edition of the New York Times. Written in the aftermath of the murder of
Dr. Bernard Slepian, a New York gynecologist, the piece should be mandatory
reading for those anti-abortion folks who believe that these acts are anything
less than the acts of terrorism in the Middle East.
. . . to our newest best friend, Big Red, who attended the University of
Southern California with Frank Gifford. While Gifford was pathetically telling
Larry King that his cheating on wife Kathie Lee had made their marriage
stronger, Big Red revealed that Frankie is a first-class creep who left his
first wife after she made the mistake of contracting multiple sclerosis. A real
stand-by-your-woman type of guy, that Gifford.