The ‘new Providence’?

Angel rising. Plus, the IRS blues, after the flood, drilling Obama, and Tiger talk
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  April 8, 2010

WRNI political reporter and Casa Diablo regular Scott MacKay was the first pundit to make the observation to your superior correspondents in the summer of 2002 that we were “about to witness either the last election of the ‘old Providence’ or the first election of the ‘new Providence.’ ” As you’ll recall, this was the special election to replace the Bud-I, who had recently been sent to New Jersey for five years for what the federal government calls racketeering conspiracy. For the Bud-I’s somewhat different inter-pretation of this episode, tune in to 630 WPRO weekdays at 2 pm (disclosure: P+J chat with Cianci on a biweekly basis).

MacKay was referencing the demographic changes in Providence that have occurred in the past 25 years. The candidate representing the “new Providence” in 2002 was clearly the current mayor, David “Little Chi Chi” Cicilline. Candidates of the “old Providence” included former Mayor “Boy” Joe Paolino and Keven “Kenny McKeven” McKenna. Chi Chi blew them all out of the water.

Hard as it might be for some very prominent Providence political pros to swallow, P+J are convinced that the 2010 mayoral election will be another “new Providence” election because, well, it is the new Providence and there’s no turning back. And the new Providence candidate this time around is Angel Taveras.

While P+J know, like, and respect candidates John Lombardi and Steve Costantino, somebody ought to dig up the rotting corpse of Rod “Charlie” Steiger to tell them, a la Terry Malloy, “Kid, this ain’t your night.”

Take a quick look at the Taveras campaign, his supporters and contributors, his inspiring story, the fact that he is a Latino candidate in an urban city with a substantial Latino population yearning for strong leadership from one of their own. He’ll be using the same strategy that propelled Chi Chi: take the East Side and the South Side and West End and let the other candidates slug it out in the old white ethnic enclaves like Federal Hill, Elmhurst, and Mount Pleasant.

Whatever stank attaches to Chi Chi is not transferable to Angel and Councilman Lombardi and Representative Costantino look decidedly old school in comparison. From Casa Diablo it looks like Angel is going to be very tough to beat. We anxiously await the first legitimate polling results (though it won’t count for much until people start focusing on this race and that is months away) and what we believe will be the subsequent dropping out of a few of candidates.

It’s April, tax time and don’t you love it! P+J don’t begrudge having to pay taxes but we do begrudge (and begrudge deeply) most everything else about taxes. For instance, ever wonder why the tax code is so incredibly byzantine? It has to be because the tax code is not written for average people, it is written almost exclusively for the benefit of the über-wealthy. In fact, there is plentiful evidence that their representatives are in the room when tax legislation is being crafted.

And then, of course, as it becomes more and more complex and unwieldy, we are expected to figure it out for ourselves. You do understand that the tax structure also discourages such things as “creativity” and “entrepreneurial enterprise.” If you are an artist or part of the creative economy, you already know that you pay a higher rate of taxes than people who work for big businesses or big corporations (which is where the culture would like you to be so that you can be controlled). Also it is hoped that you will marry and have children so that your ass can further be controlled.

Yeah, it’s all about money and it is structurally set up to benefit those with the money and the power. Being generally supportive of most “free market” initiatives, we wouldn’t mind this so much if it weren’t that it is now almost exclusively meant to benefit the wealthy and powerful. They still have you thinking that there’s anything near “equal opportunity”? Don’t make us laugh. Just check out the gap between rich and poor and tell me that there’s a serious attempt at economic justice.

When not spending our time this week selling fake iPads (old 8-track tapes with an Etch-A-Sketch duct-taped onto it) to chumps on Route 2 outside closed-down Warwick Mall, P+J watched much of the coverage of the hideous effects of the torrential rains and historic flooding. Our sympathies to those hard hit, spoken by ours truly, who did our own share of cleaning up the basement after a foot of water and oil covered it.

However not one local media outlet took time to make the connection between storms like this (and the winter blizzard) with global climate change, despite some pretty heavy prompting from Casa Diablo. More severe storms and hurricanes — not necessarily more frequent, but intensified — are a calling card of future climate change. These recent deluges could be — pardon the analogy — the first toe in the water toward these becoming annual events.

One would think at least one of the talking hairdos or bubblehead Barbies assigned to the story might have at least examined that as an explanation, but wait, that would require actual “reporting” or even, spare us all in the media, “journalism.” And besides, those global climate change scientists don’t buy advertising time.

Instead, most ace media stiffs blamed the rain and flood disaster on witchcraft, Native American rain dances that got out of control, or simply retribution for people in Little Rhody “being bad.”

Don’t even start with P+J about President Obama’s betrayal of his environmental friends with his plans to open the Gulf of Mexico and areas off the East Coast and Alaska to drilling. We hope he is quite proud of an energy strategy worthy of the highly intelligent and informed Sarah Palin.

Sure, he never explicitly said he wouldn’t do it during the campaign, but it is a tacit refutation of his stated desire to move America away from dependence upon fossil fuels, and throw the country’s weight behind alternative energy sources, such as wind and waves. Supposedly this is to get GOP support for a climate change bill in Congress, but that sounds like a doomed policy, given the Republicans’ current openness to bipartisanship. (What doesn’t the highly intelligent Barack understand about “We hate you!”)

Dubya Bush was vilified and John McCain derided for their calls to drill in the US. Join their august company, President B.O. — which now stands for Big Oil.

A few different takes on the Tiger Woods saga, we hope, amid the hurricane of mindless coverage that should continue for at least a few more months.

First, we have yet to hear anyone bring up the fact that by having sex with any number (19 and counting at last check) of high class women, such as hookers and porn stars, he put his wife in danger of getting either an STD or HIV/AIDS, which P+J think might merit just a smidgen of attention while the media dissects his character.

Second, it is only fitting that this arrogant, privacy-obsessed, elitist, control-freak linkster whose treatment of women would make a Saudi man proud is resuming his career at a country club run by arrogant, privacy-obsessed, elitist, control-freak old men whose treatment of women would make Saudi men proud. Only the color is different.

Finally, Barrington’s Brad Faxon, one of the PGA Tour’s best-liked players — who along with fellow Biggest Little pro Billy Andrade, originally from Bristol, has annually raised millions here for local charities — wrote a terrific piece on Tiger in Sports Illustrated’s special Masters Preview. A friend of Woods, Faxon wrote of his own marital problems, pointing out they are painful but private affairs. And he noted that his first interest is in finding out if Woods took human growth hormone treatments from his shady Canadian doctor.

But his main point is if Tiger wants to gain acceptance, he has to get with the program and stop being a self-centered prick, treating sponsors, fans, and the other PGA players like shit on a regular basis. It’s a heartfelt and reasonable sentiment — and very insightful view — from one of the class acts in the golfing world. Find it and read it. Now.  

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