Phillipe and Jorge have raged about this problem for decades, but now it is just getting depressing. We refer to the fact that 40 percent of the General Assembly will face no opposition in the November election. (Brings to mind Joe Pesci's snarky, under-his-breath comment in My Cousin Vinny, "There's a fuckin' surprise.")
This is not exactly what one would call an environment that nurtures good governance. There are already more howling, knuckle-dragging chimpanzees at Halitosis Hall than in the monkey house at Roger Williams Park Zoo. To perpetuate these primates' careers without even a hint of opposition is appalling.
Many of the worst tin-pot totalitarian republics around the world at least have the good sense to trot out sacrificial lambs at election time so they can put a veneer of democracy on the proceedings. Instead, for all the bitching and moaning from folks in The Biggest Little about how the state is being run into the ground by the politicians, we return the usual suspects to the scene of the crime without so much as a pillow fight at election time.
It is easy to blame the state Republican Party (membership: 16) for being about as useless as tits on a bull in this scenario. But forget the party leadership for a moment. Why aren't there a few more quixotic, hardheaded individuals who can appeal to the voting public more than the folks who have buried our economy, cut more insider deals than legitimate ones, and managed the state as well as Bobby Valentine is handling the Red Sox this year?
A couple of young independents have emerged. We're thinking of Mark Binder, who is challenging Speaker of the House Gordon Fox for his seat in Providence, and Abel Collins, who is taking on Congressman Jim Langevin. But because they aren't moneyed or wired into a pay-to-play funding network, they are generally ignored by the media (who, of course, will then bitch about the corruption on Smith Hill).
It is criminal and just a damn shame. But remember, when you either don't vote or give these clowns a free pass to a circus where they have already left more foul droppings than the elephant in the center ring, you have only yourself to blame.
It's not just being apathetic, it's pathetic.
P&J's old friend, Dan Woog, has just written a nice little book titled We Kick Balls: True Stories from the Youth Soccer Wars. He draws on his years of experience coaching and administrating youth and high school soccer. But rather than going after the 'ute readership, Woog really aims for soccer moms and dads, who spend their Saturday mornings driving a Chevy Suburban full of Lionel Messi wannabes with raging hormones to their games.
Dan went to high school with Phillipe and then followed him to Brown. He then immersed himself in the beautiful game. He was named Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (youth level) and received the same honor from the Connecticut High School Soccer Coaches Association for his work at Staples High School in Westport. His vignettes about the kids, parents, and soccer bureaucrats he has had to deal with in the US and internationally range from touching, to terrible, to totally absurd.