Gee, Phillipe and Jorge just canít think of anyone we would rather subsidize for $17 million than the grasping federal hillbilly, Vinny "Family Man" Mesolella.
This is the amount that Vinny, the politically well-wired former Nawt Prov legislator, seeks from the state through bonds issued by the Convention Center Authority, so he can fill his polyester suit pockets with money made from developing a downtown hotel, with no upfront cost of his own. This isnít the first time Family Man has tried to bulldoze the public coffers for a development, but itís easy to keep coming back to ask for more when you lack a little thing that P&J like to call "shame."
Matthew T. Marcello III, a lawyer for the Biltmore, near the site of Vinnyís proposed palace, has said the 80-year-old hotel couldnít compete with such a venture, and would have to cease operations. "The results would be catastrophic," he told the Urinal.
Fortunately, P&Jís esteemed old friend, David Duffy, chairman of the Convention Center Authority, dug in his heels when Vinny the Plug made his pitch. Not only did Dave object to the authority being treated like a pawn ó "I donít hear any participation by us, other than we are the ATM machine," he said ó but it could also adversely affect plans to use $25 million in bonds to improve the Dunkiní Donuts Center, a much-needed concert and sporting mecca in downtown La Prov.
Family Manís butt-boy for this attempted fleece job is Representative John J. McCauley Jr., who held Vinnyís hand during his appearances before the Convention Center Authority and House Finance Committee. He also sponsored the bill that would make the Convention Center Authority finance the $17 million bond.
According to reports on the hearing, Mesolella showed the class we have come to expect from him, getting mad at Duffy during his testimony before the authority. This is a sure way to impress folks from whom youíre seeking megabucks. But common sense and Mesolella have long been strangers.
Suffice it say, we should all be proud of the stance that Duff, Governor Don Carcieriís pal, has taken to derail this rip-off, and we hope that Vinny and his gollum, Representative McCauley, head back to the place from which they emerged, and, please, stay there.
IN THE BUNKER
As if WLNE-TV, Channel 6, doesnít have enough problems with its ratings, the big empty suits at ABC did their best to make them even worse on Sunday evening. With golfers Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington, and Rory Sabbatini in the midst of a three-player playoff at the PGAís Buick Classic, the geniuses at the home office switched off the golf to go to another program. Naturally, this was a must-see production, Americaís Funniest Home Videos, due to soon receive a Nobel Prize. Evidently, many people found this less than funny, and the head of ABC Sports was forced to issue a public apology.
Sleep tight, Heidi.
WELCOME TO POTTERVILLE
Hats off to state Senator John F. McBurney III for his well-conceived proposal to destroy many pharmacist-related Health Department records. Why do this? Oh, because McBurney wanted to clean the record of a pharmacist acquaintance whom he had once represented, and who had been disciplined for giving out mistaken prescriptions. On one of the occasions, in 1986, his client was described as having been "unsteady," with "slurred speech" and "impaired performance" at the Rite Aid where he worked.
McBurney did not even give the Health Department the courtesy of having a chance to review the bill before it flew through the Senate Judiciary Committee. This despite that fact that when it was recalled to the committee, a Health Department official told the BeloJo it was "the worst public health bill Iíve seen in my [27-year] public health career." The same official also pointed out that the legislation cites the wrong section of the General Laws of Rhode Island. What is that old line about sausage and legislation?
If McBurney had his way, the public would miss an opportunity to know that a pharmacist may have been a bit tired and emotional when he gave out a faulty prescription. The same person made a similar error 12 years later when he gave the wrong drugs to a customer at a Wal-Mart. The second offense led to the pharmacist being put on probation by the state Board of Pharmacy.
P&J are reminded of the cinema classic, Itís a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart as the heroic George Bailey. His guardian angel, Clarence, shows what Baileyís beloved hometown of Bedford Falls would have become had he succeeded in killing himself ó the hideous "Potterville" of the wheelchair-bound Lionel Barrymore. Under this scenario, George would not have been able to prevent his pharmacist boss, Mr. Gower, who had gotten drunk after his son died, from mistakenly filling a prescription, leading to his professional and personal downfall.
A REAGAN EULOGY
Your superior correspondents must apologize for missing so much of the ceremonies surrounding the passing of former president Ronald Reagan last week. Unfortunately, it coincided with the week we set aside to arrange our sock drawers. But we would like to join the drive to add Reaganís chiseled noggin to Mount Rushmore, with the proviso that the head of Rupert Murdoch, that other great American (who just happens to be of Australian descent), also be added.
There are wusses who question why Franklin D. Roosevelt isnít on Rushmore. Outside of giving hope and comfort to tens of millions, and helping to save the world in WWII, what the hell did he ever do? At least with our 40th president, there is a long list of achievement: Heís the guy who fired the air traffic controllers; taught us that ketchup was a vegetable; buddied up with Ferdinand Marcos, and a host of dictators and murderers throughout Latin America (and under his watch, the CIA produced assassination manuals for the thugs working for those same dictators); brought us Elliot Abrams, James Watt, Oliver North, Michael Deaver, Lyn Nofziger, and Cap Weinberger; tried to give us Bork on the court (thanks for Scalia); had the USIA blacklist liberals; opted for "constructive engagement" with South Africa rather than fighting apartheid; invaded Grenada; extended tax credits to segregated schools; and ignored AIDS for eight years, among other things.
And who could ever forget Iran-contra? Yes, President Reagan managed to do quite a bit in his two terms in office. May he rest in peace, but P&J are not about to go all hypocritical and praise the record of a man who, we think, produced a lot more bad than good. One thing we will say in his favor: the current guy makes Reagan look almost reasonable.
Ray Charles passed away last week. Ray Charles! His music is like a laser beam that penetrates directly into your soul. To understand what the world has lost, just sit down and listen again to "You Donít Know Me," "Born to Lose," "Georgia on My Mind," "Lonely Avenue," "Unchain My Heart," "Olí Man River," and "America the Beautiful" (listening to Rayís recording is the most eloquent argument that this should be our national anthem). To P&J, Ray Charles was the voice of America at its best.
P&Jís lovely friend Meg in NYC e-mails us: "My uncle told me that the June 14 San Francisco Chronicle reported that the San Rafael post office was papered with signs on Friday reading: ĎPost Office will be closed today in memory of Ray Charles.í "
KUDOS AND CONGRATS . . .
. . . to Cranston Mayor Steve "Laugh at Me" Laffey, for going way out of his way to bounce Michael "Traf" Traficante as a Republican national committeeman. It was legit, because the genius Traf, after disaffiliating from the GOP (presumably to vote in a Democrat primary), neglected to sign back on as a Republican. Thatís all "Laugh at Me" needed, and he pounced on Trafís ineligibility as part of his continuing effort to fill the state GOP with right-wing nut-bags (i.e., potential "Laugh at Me" voters), pissing off a number of party graybeards, like Bernie Jackvony.
Of course, there is some question as to whether turning the Biggest Littleís GOP into a reactionary unit will prove more successful than what weíve got already. Over the years, the successful Republicans have usually been moderate types (e.g., John & Linc Chafee, Scott Avedisian, Mac & Susan Farmer, Ron Machtley, Claudine Schneider, etc.). What makes Laffey think that a bunch of extremist GOP storm troopers will fare better than this crowd?
By the way, Laffey should accept his new Casa Diablo sobriquet, "Laugh at Me," knowing that it comes with some GOP history attached. It was the name of the late Republican US Representative Salvadore "Sonny" Bonoís first sans-Cher solo effort for Atco Records. It was basically Sonny whining about being bounced from a Hollywood eatery because his hair was too long and he was wearing an ugly vest made of animal fur (as opposed to wielding a megaphone). There was great faux Specter production on the single as well.
. . . to the vast collection of Republican wing nuts (led by President Georgie Boy, who makes Eisenhower look like Eugene Debs), and their Christian piety. Have you caught a load of how many of them claim to communicate regularly with God? Youíve all heard the quotes from Dubya hisself, and, of course, the Wrong Reverend Ashcroft. Add to this collection the quote lifted from Bush factotum Karen Hughesís memoir, Ten Minutes from Normal, referenced by James Wolcott in the current Vanity Fair. She exults, "Iím on my way to heaven ó not the heaven of quiet and rules that I envisioned as a child, but a heaven of joy and delight, where God has prepared a banquet, with fellowship and a big team, all in supporting roles."
Oh yeah, in the same article, conservative pundit Tucker Carlson pretty much describes Hughes as a congenital liar. Good reading for those who have had enough of elected officials who think theyíre Godís anointed. Shockingly, theyíre all Republicans.
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The Phillipe & Jorge archives.
Issue Date: June 18 - 24, 2004
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