And how long are we going to swallow the line about Iran being the cause of rising gas prices? Couldn't have anything to do with our speculator pals on Wall Street trying to make a killing off the market, could it? No, let the media keep bending over for the GOP, as it uses the Iran situation as a flagrantly bogus justification for the oil sands project which Obama rightly rejected, "fracking" (so people can continue to light up their tapwater), and offshore drilling in US waters (look, BP just got a woodie!).

And you have the network news swallowing Big Oil's line about a California refinery fire being a major factor in the rising prices at the pump. Sure, one plant fire in California has an enormous global impact on oil prices. Couldn't be the warm winter is chewing into those projected billion-dollar profits and Big Oil trying to recoup quickly, now could it?

Back to you in the studio, Brian Williams. The check from Big Oil is in the mail.


FUN AT THE FOLLIES

The 39th edition of the Providence Newspaper Guild Follies was held on February 24 at the Venus de Milo in Swansea, Massachusetts (that the Biggest Little's premier cocktail party is held in Massachusetts continues to be on of the great mysteries) and, per usual, a fine time was had by all.

The PNG is the union that represents 350 employees at the BeloJo and other local papers, everyone from reporters to advertising sales people, and is always a huge must-attend event for public officials, the media, and other movers and shakers.

One of the first people P&J bumped into was the Republican candidate for Rhody's First Congressional district seat, Brendan Doherty. The Colonel was beaming and working the room pretty well. Pretty soon, the incumbent representative, David "Little Chi Chi" Cicilline arrived, working the room just as fervently.

Among other RI celeb-types spotted were Cool Moose Bob Healey, looking very relaxed (he's out of politics now) and enjoying a cigar outside of the front door, Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Mr. & Mrs. Sean Daly, Bill Rappleye, and Governor Chafee. In short, the usual suspects.

This year's entertainment was one of the best in memory with a strong-voiced cast and fine band, mostly culled from the ranks of current and former BeloJo staffers. Andy Smith was back as the sure-handed director.

For those who have never attended the Follies, it is a series of skits and song parodies lampooning the biggest news stories of the past year. As usual, the performers had plenty of material to work with. Among the topics: the Johnston landfill ("What's that smell ever since it started/Like a whale farted/I can't breathe, my sinuses are rotted/Every time there's a breeze/It smells a-like scarmoza cheese"), the Cranston prayer banner, and a whole gaggle of shamed politicians (Bob Watson, Daniel Gordon, John Carnevale, and the North Providence Stooges: Burchfield, Douglas, and Zambarano).

A special shoutout to the longtime executive director of the International Institute of Rhode Island, Bill Shuey, who won the John Kiffney Public Service Award. And this year's mystery guest was former Supreme Court Justice-turned-Central Falls receiver Bob Flanders, dressed as an executioner and warbling a song to the tune of John Lennon's "Imagine."

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