It is a bit surprising, but not at all incorrect, to see that the Pell Center, the local journalism overseer in the state, has named the United Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP) computer system idiocy at the RI Department of Human Services the 2017 Rhode Island Story of the Year.
Surprising in that it beat out the much more “if it bleeds it leads” news mantra-oriented recent police chase, stolen state police car and hail-of-bullets shooting worthy of Sam Peckinpah on Route 95 in Providence.
The Center’s panel cited the many ways that Governor Gigi and the state screwed up the UHIP computer system introduction by putting it online despite being told it wasn’t ready to go and with inadequately trained employees, firing three top state officials (oh, excuse us, they “resigned”) because they were out of their depth and scapegoats were needed, and receiving a lawsuit from the ACLU that led to a special master being appointed to try to clean up this clusterfuck.
The panel also cited the fact that the incompetence and arrogance displayed by the administration may not have led to bloodshed, but certainly extreme heartache and anxiety by the people who had their benefits held back for weeks or not even entered into the system, when food was needed on the table and there was rent to be paid. The panel sees this as something that may factor into the 2018 gubernatorial election.
P&J do not agree, although it, along with the DMV’s computer system nightmares that Gigi inherited, will doubtless draw lots of media attention. Not to mention the botched tourism campaign, which has become a running joke — except that Raimondo shopping the creative end out of state should be a talking point. But our not cool, not warm governess will have to pull a Hillary to lose her seat by finding a way to alienate what should be locked-down votes here in Democrat heaven.
Gigi presumably will run against Republican Alan Fung – again — and Indy Joe “two assholes in one pair of pants” Trillo, who are already splitting the few votes Raimondo’s opponents could hope, and need, to get. All our Gigi has to do is keep her mouth shut on niggling and inconsequential issues like car taxes and road tolls, and set up a few photo ops of her on the beach at Sand Hill Cove this summer surrounded by her family and admiring supporters.
But kudos and congrats to the Pell Center folks for getting this one right, and a reminder to their journalistic brethren to keep their teeth sunk into the UHIP story, because this isn’t over by a long shot.
Gone Much Too Soon
With much sadness, Casa Diablo bids farewell to our friend David Jesse Long of Jamestown. David was a musician and a writer and formerly served on the Jamestown Town Council. His presence on the council, for which he was president for four years; his total involvement in the community; and his immense likeability led to him being dubbed “The Mayor of Jamestown” long after his political service ended.
David had a lifelong battle with childhood polio and its residual effects, something he never allowed to keep a permanent smile off his face. He was also an accomplished performer of many stripes and was always ready to sit down at the piano at a favorite Jamestown bistro to entertain the crowd.
Your superior correspondents recall with much pleasure the time many years ago that David invited us to give a presentation at the Jamestown Public Library. Our thoughts and prayers go out to David’s wife, Dana, and the rest of his family. David made a positive difference in so many lives, and it is just heartbreaking to have him leave us so soon.
Paying Through the Nose for Internet
The recent vote along party lines to repeal net neutrality is yet another example of the oligarchy’s unquenchable desire to have it all. Since it has to be paid for, the paying will be done by you and P&J (the average citizens on the road to serfdom). FCC chair Ajit Pai is a fully owned agent for Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and any other behemoth company that stands to rake in the moolah, so the companies are smiling with smug satisfaction today, but Phillipe & Jorge still have hopes that there can be a reversal of this money grab. It may only be a slim (Harpo) chance, but we’re willing to fight for it. Kudos to Little Rhody’s entire Congressional delegation, who vociferously opposed this move publicly after the GOP-rigged vote.
Today’s civics lesson: While looking into and trying to fully comprehend complex and labyrinthine issues being considered under the rule of President Predator, like net neutrality, the tax reform bill, deregulation of environmental laws, etc., etc., just realize that in the end, whatever is being pushed through by this Administration of Greed is that you will be handed the shit end of the stick while Corporate America celebrates with champagne at exclusive country clubs around the country and puts in orders for their new Mercedes high-end SUVs.
And We Thank You
In the effusive, overly sentimental spirit of the holiday season and as the year comes to an end, Phillipe and Jorge would like to thank all our faithful readers for once again showing their lack of taste, discretion and discrimination in what they choose to read, ie, “The Cool, Cool World.” While blood pressures and anxiety levels have skyrocketed with the election of a narcissistic child with little or no interest in anything other than himself (and money) as our Clown-in-Chief, P&J have tried to at least find some humor, often of the frighteningly absurd variety, in what comes out of our delusional, genital-grabbing president’s mouth, unfiltered by any semblance of a brain or civility.
We would also like to thank Motif publisher Mike Ryan for allowing two wiseasses to continue to spout whatever gibberish pops into their diseased brains in his august organ. And we can’t say enough good things about our lovely editor, Emily Olson, who has to directly deal with two monster raving loonies on a bi-weekly basis.
P&J must also recognize the hard work and dedication of all the staff at Motif, who keep the ball rolling in the toughest of times for print publications, and the many contributors whose great work makes us pleased and proud to say we are associated with them.
Now can we have the heavily spiked eggnog? Happy holidays.