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Best of Providence 2009

Search continues for our next chief justice

Maureen is no Diana for the RI Supremes
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  January 14, 2009

Ah, the PR campaigns and infighting continue to see who will be chosen as Vo Dilun's newest Supreme Court chief justice.

Now that flatulent wannabe Patrick Conley has shrewdly torpedoed his chances with some quite un-statesmanlike, perhaps tired and emotional rants against all and sundry in letters to the editor of the Urinal, let us turn our attention to Maureen McKenna Goldberg, the lead babe on the Supremes.

Justice Maureen's biggest drawback is that of her unctuous lobbyist hubby, political insider-lawyer Robert Goldberg, who has been and is one of the key backroom dealers of political influence in the state for decades. A basic rule of thumb is that when you see what organizations or individuals Bobby is representing, just assume you want to be on the other side of the street from those interests, and in many cases will want to fight them tooth and nail.

The judge has recused herself eight times from major cases, according to the Other Paper, more than any other of the current Supremes. This included major issues involving the controversial separation of powers, as occurred with the recent ruling regarding the Coastal Resources Management Council; and guilt and reparations in the case of corporate liability, such as the Supremes' overturning the lead paint verdict that would have brought billions to Little Rhody.

One could also argue that given Bobby G.'s considerable access to influential lawmakers and frequent presence at the State House, that in any and all cases that even whiff of government policy or decision-making that she should recuse herself. Anyone in this state ever hear of the idea that Caesar's wife should be above reproach?

P+J are sure there are enough astute lawyers out there that could quite easily connect the dots in any of those instances when their cases come before the Supremes and put her on the sidelines whether she likes it or not. This is hardly the type of person we need as a chief justice. Of course, Bobby could simply retire.

We hardly need the prospect of another potential scandal. Doesn't anyone remember Joe Bev or Tom Fay? How about, out of respect for the legal system and the citizens of Rhode Island, you and your advocates simply rein in the campaign now, Maureen? Do the right thing. And give Bobby a kiss goodnight for us.

Follow that E-Z ambulance!
Boy, could the new E-Z Pass system being installed for the Newport Bridge create more fun? First we had the late-breaking news that your tokens will not be good by the end of January. Sure, there was some mention of that earlier, but this is Vo Dilun, home to mobsters, lobsters and illiterates, where Most Childs Are Left Behind in the educational system, and where it takes a while for complex concepts like that to sink in. Thus, the lines out the door at the E-Z Pass trailer, next to the toll plaza in Jamestown, for the past month.

Then (remember "No Childs"!), we had the obvious misunderstanding that you would be able to make your trip quicker by rolling right through the E-Z Pass lane at a safe speed. Ooops! Did we forget to mention there would actually be a gate there you have to stop for? Our bad. That's why at least a half-dozen drivers did their best impersonation of a battering ram, and plowed obliviously right through and splintered the gate after obtaining their high-tech toll device in the first couple of weeks.

Finally, tears of joy in the eyes of a couple of local Irish lawyers of P+J's acquaintance, our own "doll" of a legal counsel in Jamestown, and anyone selling premium insurance in the area. They are doubtless looking forward to dozens of local drivers (do we smell a class-action suit against the state here?) getting T-boned as they either try to get out of the E-Z Pass far left lane and onto the first J-Town exit as they come through the toll plaza from Newport, or have to cut across six lanes of traffic within 50 yards to access the high speed E-Z Pass lane as they come on Route 138 right near the tolls.

Hear the sounds of the ambulance siren? Paging Brian Cunha! Get those trench coats on, Abrams & Verri! There's a public to be served! Talk about E-Z money.

Pawtucket rising
Kudos to RI-PBS for airing Pawtucket Rising, a 2008 documentary look at the ongoing revitalization of the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, home to Slater Mill, the Deborah Cook Sayles Library, Tommy "The Cork," Corcoran, Ernie Calverley, Tom McCoy, and (ahem) Jorge. As everyone knows, the celebration of the arts and culture has been the primary catalyst in the re-emergence of the once-lively and bustling mill city. This is captured by filmmaker Jason Caminiti, a Newport native who was producing public access programming in Fall River, when he found inspiration from what was happening in the Bucket.

You can (and should) see Pawtucket Rising on Channel 36 on Thursday, January 22 at 10 pm and Saturday, January 24 at 7 pm.(See page 6 in the A+E section for more on the film.)

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Related: Cheap jokes R us, Dollar Bill-ed, City life, More more >
  Topics: Talking Politics , Brian Cunha, Coastal Resources Management Council, Gail Collins,  More more >
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