Thanks all around

By RUDY CHEEKS  |  May 12, 2011

I do know one thing about the coming race. Whoever is chosen as the GOP's standard bearer will be entering the squared circle (cue theme music from Rocky: "Flying high now . . . getting stronger") against the reigning heavyweight champ, Ba-rocky Obama. He's been up and he's been down (remember that "Two Ton Tony" Galento actually knocked Joe Louis down before the Brown Bomber wiped the floor with him). But a little bird flitting about the "Cool, Cool World" tells me that Barry's going to be tough to beat.


Last Friday, the Rhode Island Press Association's annual awards were presented at a dinner and ceremony held at the Quonset O Club in North Kingstown. Entering the maze of Quonset Point, Phoenix associate publisher Steve Brown (not to be confused with the ACLU's Steve "Bad Hair" Brown) and yours truly were ruing the fact that we didn't contact Daniel Boone before leaving Providence to make sure we could find the joint.

Miraculously, we found the club and arrived on time. Congratulations to the great Carol Young, formerly of the Providence Journal, and Dr. Linda L. Levin, longtime professor of journalism at the University of Rhode Island (and a major force behind RIPA), who were both inducted into the group's Hall of Fame. These two women have probably mentored and groomed countless young reporters for a couple of generations. There is reason to believe the Rhode Island print media will continue to present smart, fair, penetrating, and accurate reporting without slant — and that is largely due to the influence of Carol and Linda.

It was also a joy to see a hale and healthy M. Charles Bakst (a Hall of Fame inductee last year). When M. Charles retired a few years back, it was predicted in this space that, despite all the sour comments that were aimed at the Other Paper's longtime chief political columnist, you would miss him. I do. What I really miss is his passionate and courageous voice. I believe that he was the first person in the mainstream media around here to write sensibly and rationally about the LGBT community.

When I asked Charlie on Friday about the volume of hate mail he received for his righteous defense of same-sex love, he told me that the most vicious responses he ever received were near the end of his tenure at the Journal and the issue was immigration policy, another issue that Charlie was right about.

Our news editor, David Scharfenberg, carried home a couple of awards this year, giving the Phoenix table an opportunity to cheer. This column, in its former "Phillipe & Jorge" form, was entered in the Best Newspaper Column category. It was sort of like entering the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in the category of "Traditional Pop" for the Grammy Awards. The category was (rightly) won by Bob Kerr of the Other Paper, though Jim Baron of the Times operates on the same plane. My old partner Chip Young and I always knew that, in order for us to win one of these awards, the decision would have to be tied to the weather: it would have to come when hell freezes over.


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