Phillipe and Jorge have lost two wonderful friends and Little Rhody is also short a brace of its best with the recent passing of Peter Lord and June Gibbs.

Peter was the award-winning Providence Journal environmental reporter who was among the finest in his field in the country. Ever. And that's no exaggeration.

You can believe P&J, or simply note the gracious respect paid to him in print by his colleagues at the BeloJo from Ed Fitzpatrick to the editorial page to Bill Reynolds' Saturday sports free-for-all. He wasn't just a fine journalist, but a great person. Kind, caring, smart, and funny.

If you want to read P.'s tribute to his friend and colleague for more than 30 years, go to ecori.org/green-opinions/2012/4/5/lord-the-environmental-medium-was-the-message.html. Love to his family from this corner.

June Gibbs, the former GOP state senator from Middletown, was a kindred spirit with US Senator Olympia Snowe, the moderate Maine Republican who has showed such grace and guts on the national stage. P&J met June ages ago, during one of those rare moments you could catch her between hikes with daughter Elizabeth and sailboarding off Second and Third beaches in her hometown.

That was back in the day, before politics at the State House gave up all pretense of being a forum for the exchange of ideas geared toward helping the Biggest Little first and foremost, and became an open ode to cronyism — in other words, before the days of punks like Rubbers Ruggerio and Frank Ciccone running the show.

Despite being a member of a skeletal GOP minority that made Kate Moss look like she has some heft on her bones, June, who with her height and full-forward personality cut quite a figure in the State House corridors, received respect from everyone in the building on either side of the aisle.

She was kind, fair, and always smiling, although if you crossed her, she wasn't afraid to let you know what time it was.

June will be greatly missed by anyone who ever came across her. P&J always enjoyed any encounter with the fine lady of Aquidneck Island because she always turned the conversation into a panegyric to the Ocean State. We'll catch a wave for you bodysurfing this summer, senator.


DEMS SING 'HALLELUJAH'

Begin the frenzied snake dance (thanks, S.J.) at the White House as Rick Santorum bids adieu to his challenge for the GOP presidential nomination.

This vile little piece of dung, the God-bothering head of the American Taliban that travels under the banner of the Tea Party, folded his hand because he couldn't stand the idea of being handed his genitals in a sack by the voters from his own home state. Of course, Santorum hasn't won an election there in a dozen years, so no surprise. No one knows you better than those closest to you, right Ricky?

But the biggest impact Santorum has made on the upcoming presidential campaign is to rip the presumptive (sick of that phrase yet, folks?) GOP nominee Mitt "Magic Underoos" Romney a new asshole.

This summer and fall, Santorum is going to be the TV star he obviously wants to be, as the Dems trot out all his personal attacks on the Etch-A-Sketch Boy. Thanks, Ricky, and wow, does that save a ton of production costs for the Dems' National Committee.

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