TV slew Abel, Seth knew not why/Because if the children of Rhode Island were to multiply, why must any of the children die?

Sorry for the incredibly tacky, bad paraphrasing of Randy Newman's "God's Song," but it appears Abel Collins, independent candidate for Congress, is getting crucified by the local TV stations staging debates in his race.

(Note that Collins has just received the endorsement of the state's Green Party, a rare straying from the party's own slate.)

P&J's pals at the Urinal's "Political Scene" column report that Collins will be excluded from WPRI-TV's October 9 debate, which will include only incumbent Jim Langevin and GOP challenger Michael "Who he?" Riley.

E-mail inquiries to WPRI moderator Tim White and news director Joe Abouzeid, yielded a response from White — one of the best reporters around — saying it was up to "management." We assume that's the extremely shy Abouzeid. No matter whose call it is, it sucks.

And let's not let the JARheads off the hook. Channel 10 is reportedly keeping Collins out of its Langevin-Riley debate on November 2, though P&J have a feeling that situation may change.

Abel appeared on Channel 10's News Conference last Sunday by himself, with both Langevin and Riley apparently standing up host Jim Taricani. Reports from those close to the event said that Our Jimmy was less than amused (read: furious), so after Collins's solo performance, look for a quick JARhead "sorry your invitation got lost in the mail" weaseling.

P&J know Collins and support his candidacy, but we aren't carrying water for him. What we are doing is making sure that some arrogant, small-town TV news clown doesn't make decisions about who is or who is not a viable candidate. For Christ's sake, if the JARheads can invite barking mad omni-candidate and monster raving loony Chris Young to appear on air in a debate with Chi-Chi Cicilline and Ant-Knee Gemma, then why the hell are they blacklisting Collins?

Perhaps some criteria other than — 1) Does the Urinal write enough about the guy?, and 2) Does he have enough money to buy ad time on our station during the campaign? — should be considered.

If Messrs. Langevin and Riley had any integrity, they would boycott any and all debates that deny minor party candidates the chance to speak up.


SICKENING DECISION BY URINAL

After closing down its regional bureaus and consolidating its entire reporting staff at the Fountain Street fortress, it was hard to imagine the Urinal doing anything more egregious in its gradual forfeiture of the claim to being the voice of Vo Dilun.

But the rag, against all odds, has managed to do so.

The BeloJo has apparently decided to end its "Papers for Patients" program, which supplied newspapers donated by vacationing subscribers to hospital patients. This penny-ante scrimping is typical of the BeloJo's Texas corporate buccaneers, who could give a rat's ass what happens in The Biggest Little, as long as the paper churns out enough cash to pay for the sort of bonuses that allow them to hit the barbecue-and-bourbon circuit in the Big D on the hunt for trophy wives.

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