Just a gag

A comment on "no comment"; fun in Sochi; musical notes
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  February 12, 2014

Nothing gets the media in more of a tizzy than people not speaking to them. The fabled “no comment” is bound to inspire a reporter’s wrath, even if he or she won’t flat-out admit it.

So there has been general squirming by the ink-stained wretches trying to cover the state’s pension overhaul settlement, because Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter has put a gag order on the politicos negotiating the mediated-by-court-order agreement — principally Governor Linc Chafee, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, and House Speaker Gordon Fox. All are obeying it, leaving newsfolk to play with an empty hand, and the pols to claim it isn’t their fault, even if they love the fact they don’t have to comment.

A gag order on this important of a deal isn’t a bad idea, but it plays to the worst of Rhode Island political history: lack of transparency, back-room deals, and limiting any information for public consumption unless the politico in question has a gun to their head. This will just encourage cynical rumors of who is buying off whom or playing games behind closed doors.

Sure, a gag order prohibits the negotiations from being played out in the media, with leaks and unattributed quotes flying around like Oz’s monkeys. But any time secret meetings are held concerning a decision with lotsabucks involved, one has to wonder. . . and worry.

Our gal and guy in Sochi

It’s almost enough to make up for having to endure Bob “Pink Eye” Costas’s hosting NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage in Sochi.

Phillipe and Jorge are, of course, referring to seeing Cranston’s own Marissa Castelli help bring home a bronze medal to Little Rhody with her performance with partner Simon Shnapir in the team pairs free skate figure skating. Despite the duo being US national champions, this was far from being a lock. World competition is fierce, especially at the Olympics, where you’d better bring your “A” game or just stay home. Marissa and Simon brought it.

Carolyn Thornton wrote an excellent piece on Castelli’s early career in The Other Paper. It makes you proud to be a Vo Dilunduh with someone as talented and inspirational as Marissa carrying the “Hope” flag for us all on the big stage. And no, Boris, it’s not Long Island.

Almost as much fun as seeing Marissa succeed was the presence of Johnny Weir as a color commentator on the figure skating broadcasts, especially given Bad Vlad Putin’s war on superior behavior and “propaganda.” If you’re unfamiliar with Johnny, he’s a former three-time US figure skating national champion. And let P&J just say that when they trot out “flamboyant” and “fabulous” as code words, they don’t come close to doing Weir’s wild hairstyle and outfits justice. (In JockWorld, where “we don’t need no effing homos,” Weir had the guts to carry the LGBT torch high when he married Victor Voronov in 2011, saying he had also been inspired to push the envelope by a number of gay teen suicides.)

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