Feeling the Bern
Your superior correspondents (who were at The Met last Tuesday night, emceeing the celebration of Bernie Sanders’ primary win in Vo Dilun) believe that his overwhelming victory in the Democratic Party primary is a very good thing. Yes, Hillary appears on her way to garnering the nomination, but the winds of change are arriving and this should serve notice to both the legislative and executive branches in state government.
It means that, perhaps, a number of people will be emboldened to challenge the many incumbent legislators who have merely been serving the unions or bending over for the “leadership” for decades. It means that people will recognize legislators who have stood up for the people and challenged the leadership (like Ray Hull in the house and James Sheehan in the senate) will be seen as the courageous heroes they are. And it means that the “revolution” (or whatever it is) inspired by Bernie is happening right here in the Biggest Little and Gina should start listening more closely to the people she is serving rather than Wall Street and her pals from Yale.
Taken for Granted? Not Bloody Likely
Also at The Met on April 26, we heard a very common theme among Sanders’ supporters who were willing to admit that Hillary had the Dem nomination virtually wrapped up. It was very simple: Do not take the votes for Bernie as becoming automatic votes for you, Ms. Clinton.
While P&J always, always tell people to vote on election day(s), the progressive grapevine has a lot of chatter that Bernie’s boys and girls may stay home in November. This would be a huge mistake, and almost a vote for the GOP’s frothing mad nominee. But … as we heard from many … if Hillary turns a deaf ear to the anti-establishment voices raised in Little Rhody and across the country, and does not take tangible actions to move the Democratic platform in the direction embraced by those in the Sanders camp, it could definitely happen.
So wise up, Ms. C., and let’s detach your lips from Wall Street’s posterior and start putting out policies that speak to the gross inequality in wealth distribution in this country, among other major problems. Don’t think for a minute if you brush aside the ideas that rallied an entire new generation of voters, that those who fully embraced them will meander like sheep down to the polls to hold their noses and vote for you against whatever lunatic moron the GOP puts up against you.
The History Boys
Phillipe and Jorge’s brain cells might be a bit scalded, but enough substance remains that when the names of big-time national political operatives Paul Manafort and Roger Stone popped up in regard to helping on the national campaign for Trump the Lizard King, the klieg lights clicked on upstairs.
Long ago (well, from 1985 to 1991) there was a governor named Edward “Gerber Baby” DiPrete, in a little state called Rhode Island. He was nicknamed in this column “The Gerber Baby” for his tousled front cowlick that brought to mind the label of the baby food brand, and was actually coined by a prominent member of his staff, who pledged us to silence until death to not rat them out.
The Gerber Baby kept The Biggest Little’s wonderful national reputation for corruption alive by being convicted of bribery, extortion, taking kickbacks and racketeering after he left office. He was asked to spend a year at the state’s pleasure at the ACI spa, part of a plea bargain that essentially was to keep one of his sons from also being brought to justice and finding a bunk next to him in Cranston.
For at least one of his campaigns, The Gerb brought in Stone and Manafort to help defeat Dem challenger and eventual guv-to-be Bruce Sundlun. Both were known for being gutter-crawling GOP campaign shakers and movers who shared a firm with the vile and infamous Lee “Willie Horton” Atwater. Atwater was a Republican moral exemplar who fully fomented the traditional GOP attacks on gays and lesbians, but then years later it was revealed that he was a closeted homosexual. Oh. That.
Manafort has now been brought on by Trump, and is the one who has been telling the media that the raving and flatulent Donald’s public persona is all an act, and that he will soon start behaving like an adult, nevermind coming across as presidential. Or not, as it turned out. Back in the day here in Vo Dilun, we called Manafort “Burning Tire,” to acknowledge the fact that his underhanded tactics warranted him being “necklaced” in grand African style with a Goodyear hung around his head and shoulders and set afire.
His partner Roger Stone, a self-styled bon vivant these days and confidante of Trump’s, is who you may have seen being the one fingered for leaking the allegations of Ted Cruz having extra-marital affairs to the august National Enquirer, and then defending the accusations. (Although the thought of any woman wanting to be intimate with the unctuous and reptilian Cruz boggles our tiny minds.) National recognition of the ethical rot and malodor that accompanies Stone was indicated in a May 2 edition item on his infamous past in The New Yorker titled, “Dept. of Fixers – Bad Old Days,” a fitting follow-up to a 2008 feature on him in that rag called, “The Dirty Trickster.”
We could go on and on about other Manafort and Stone fellow former clients — like The Gerber Baby — such as murdering swine Mobutu Sese Soko, the Zairian military dictator, or the unholy and corrupt Filipino strongman Ferdinand Marcos, but you get the idea. Yet isn’t it nice to know that along the road to fame and fortune, both of these amoral rabid ferrets took time to bring their special touch to Little Rhody’s own circle of political hell?
It has been a rough patch all year so far and, in the past weeks, we have lost quite a few fine friends. Steve Brown, the former associate publisher of the Providence Phoenix, who Phillipe & Jorge worked with for decades and was the true guiding spirit of that publication, passed away Monday, April 25, of a heart attack at Rhode Island Hospital. Steve had been suffering from poor health for some time before that but it was, nonetheless, a shock. The entire Phoenix community who loved Steve are in mourning.
Allan “Big Al” Pavlow, passed away on Sunday, April 10, just around the time we were putting the last issue of Motif to bed. Big Al was internationally known for his encyclopedic knowledge of popular music and was the author of several books on the music business and record collecting, most notably his best-seller, The R&B Book: A Disc-History of Rhythm & Blues. He was the proprietor of Big Al’s Records and Cheap Records shops in downtown Providence in the 1960s and ‘70s and was a record producer of note scoring major regional hits with The Ascots on his Super Records imprint and enjoyed a national release with Deviled Ham for Buddah Records. He was also a founder and member of the board of directors of the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame.
David Perluck, of Westerly, passed peacefully on Sunday, April 24, at the Philip Hulitar Hospice Center in Providence, following a short illness. He was a noted photographer and musician and a wonderful friend to Phillipe & Jorge for many years.
Last but not least, former state Rep. George Levesque of Jamestown was lost to us. George was the most unlikely politician you could find, but was a fine, fine man, who did what he wanted, when he wanted and how he wanted, in a charming, witty and roguish style. And usually what he did turned out to be something that helped those who needed it most. ‘’It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” He’d know what we’re talking about. And thanks for it all, George.