Making America Grate
Screwing the Pooch
We are going to wear out the memory of poor old Claude Rains, but like his Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca, Phillipe and Jorge are shocked — shocked! – to find that there was fraud involved by leaders of the state’s Economic Development Corporation (now RI Commerce) and Wells Fargo in regard to the 38 Studios debacle that left Little Rhody taxpayers on the hook for tens of millions of dollars.
The federal Securities and Exchange Commission has filed suit against EDC Keith Stokes and Michael Saul and Wells Fargo for not letting investors, and in the case of the EDC execs, their board (Gov. Donald Carcieri, proprietor), know that the $75 million loan the legislature slyly earmarked for 38 Studios was nowhere near enough to fund their video game enterprise after insiders took their cuts, in a deal that stinks like a car trunk occupied by a dead mobster at JFK Airport, Mafia Cemetery of the Stars.
If the EDC officials and their comrades were screwing the pooch on this deal, Wells Fargo appears to have been humping two great danes. That’s because not only did Wells Fargo allegedly not tip the wink to the EDC about this hummer, but they went ahead and sold the 38 Studio bonds without disclosing the fact that the deal was a hummer, and had no more chance of yielding a profit than a Kentucky Derby horse with 300-lb. jockey on his back dragging a refrigerator as it went around the track.
Stokes and Saul have already copped pleas and settled with the SEC, but Wells Fargo is fighting the commission’s charges at this point. Although P&J find it hard to be surprised by any new revelations in regard to the 38 Studios scandal, we will be looking for Wells Fargo to now make some moves that would make “House of Cards” Frank Underwood blush. Hey, it’s Rhode Island, go for it. We have without a doubt seen more absurd gyrations from our own political leaders, and appreciate outrageous moves when we see them.
Late addition – P&J see that 38 Studios’ notorious CEO Curt Schilling has gone on the sports radio station WEEI in Boston and blamed Little Rhody’s corrupt politics as being the cause of his venture’s downfall. Well, that is certainly an easy –– and correct — target. But our shady-dealing government could not find a better collaborator than a dumb-as-a-rock, egotistical blowhard whose knowledge of business could fit in a thimble. Or a bloody sock, on a good day.
We Doth Protest Too Much?
As a result of the recent sit-in at the president of Providence College’s office and a protest march on campus over racism and lack of institutional diversity issues, President Rev. Brian Shanley was presented with a list of demands for reform steps to be taken by the local Catholic school.
In his promised response, President Shanley said that protest “protocols” should be put in place, following the lead of other august Biggest Little learning institutions such as Brown and Salve Regina. P&J particularly liked the example of one such protocol at PC’s fellow Catholic school, Salve, which has a mandatory “protest and demonstration request form” to be submitted by those bothersome malcontents who wish to raise a ruckus on campus … with administration approval, of course.
Pardon us, but since when has civil disobedience required a hall pass? People discontented with an ongoing problem of racism, diversity or any meaningful issue at the college they attend or the country they live in is not something they should have to apply for permission to protest. Peaceful demonstrations and those involved should not ever have to obey written instructions about where, when or how they are conducted, never mind the current practice of the laughable government-controlled “protest zones” for political events or activities that seem to be in favor these days. And too often obeyed, we sadly add.
In the print and/or newspaper world, these protocols are like allowing the subject of your story to edit your copy (say hi, Sean Penn), or allowing lobbyists to write the laws to regulate the industries for which they lobby. And if you want to point a finger at what’s really wrong in Washington, DC, and state capitals around the country, you can aim it at how many of the most important laws enacted by Congress and local legislatures have the grubby paw prints of private special interests all over them. Or they have language written by Corporate America’s loathsome lobbyists inserted verbatim to protect their masters’ interests and bottom line, with the total awareness and blessing of our bought-and-paid-for legislators.
The concept of protest protocols for acts of civil disobedience is totally contradictory and bogus. Instead, is all about heavy-handed control, and is a flagrant attempt to take away civil rights. We don’t recall Martin Luther King or Cesar Chavez filling out any applications in Selma or California when they set out to demonstrate, nor should any of the PC demonstrators (who have continually pointed to how peaceful and “progress-oriented” their actions have been to-date) or those on any other campus or political battleground who disagree with what is happening in their world.
Back to the drawing board, Reverend Shanley, and P&J would urge anyone else who has this crap foisted upon them to tell these control freaks that demand it to stick up their protest zones. With your permission, of course.