Last week, Phillipe and Jorge wrote about the downside of the gag order imposed on principal players in the state’s ongoing pension reform case. Our point was that allowing Little Rhody politicians to cut deals in secret meetings with no transparency or openness was the last thing the public needs, given the fact that most of the questionable shenanigans at the State House are cooked up behind closed doors, to the detriment of the Great Unwashed and the financial/influence benefit of those in power.
Now that the details of the pension settlement have been aired at a press conference last week after a false start earlier in the week (no doubt to make sure the right quid pro quos had been satisfied over a blood rite in which everyone had to slit their thumbs and put their bleeding imprints on a document that would make Machiavelli — or Raymond Patriarca — feel comfortable), one would think everything about the negotiations would finally become public.
Not so fast, boys and girls.
Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter, who issued the initial gag order, has now imposed another zip-your-lip rule as to disclosing details about negotiations, including the legal fees paid by the state (read: you, the taxpayer). This has drawn the immediate attention and dismay of the American Civil Liberties Union, as well as P&J.
The ACLU rightly pointed out that these are obviously public records that should be disclosed under the state’s pesky little Access to Public Records Law. (There is also a question of Judge Taft-Carter’s conflict of interest regarding her mother, uncle, and son, who either currently or will eventually partake of state pensions, but P&J won’t bore you with the details, save to say “same old shit.”)
Your superior correspondents are going to take a wild guess that the lawyers who took part in the negotiations are receiving more in one month than your average pensioner is in an entire year. But, as long as this new gag order remains in place, we’ll never know.
Time for the ACLU to page Emile Zola and — along with the Biggest Little media and citizens — stand up and shout “J’accuse!” But good luck with that one.
Sleep tight, Roger Williams.
PASS THE REMOTE
If P&J hear one more word about Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon, and changes at The Tonight Show we’ll shoot Seth Meyers, just on principle.
Leno’s been mailing it in for years, and appears to have an ego for which you have to grease the doorjambs to get his head into the room. Fallon is simply obsequious, constantly mugging for the camera and being the one laughing loudest at his own jokes (which are unfunny to begin with). His promo TV ad prior to the debut of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon featured him getting hit in the cojones by a hockey puck. Gee, there’s some upscale, witty humor.
It appears The Tonight Show with its new host is going to (still) be horrible; Meyers, who follows Fallon on Late Night, will make Conan O’Brien look like a comic genius (if that’s possible); and, over on CBS, David Letterman should retire, as he obviously thinks it’s a chore to come to work.