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Preview: Providence Phoenix - Features

Providence Phoenix - Features





 



Rhode Island’s great communicator

January 13 - 19, 2006

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Rhode Island’s great communicator
Carcieri’s message mastery is a prime asset — and a leading challenge for democrats — in the 2006 campaign

A Rhode Island Republican couldn’t have asked for better timing. Four weeks ago, when Governor Donald L. Carcieri took the state out of a regional effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, the Providence Journal’s front-page account was, for practical purposes, basically invisible. The top-billed story in the ProJo — which remained an ongoing staple of talk-radio and local television news — was Carcieri’s effort to aid Madeline Walker, the 81-year-old woman who had been evicted from her South Providence home because of an unpaid sewer bill.

In the instant analysis of some observers, Walker’s plight was a particularly brazen instance of a routine and exploitative practice. In fact, as the Journal’s Mark Arsenault reported, the elderly woman’s eviction was a more complicated matter that involved liens for unpaid taxes and equity used for bail in criminal cases. Still, in the prelude to a legislative session in which a $60 million-plus deficit could spur spark




The wrong stuff

December 30, 2005 - January 5, 2006

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The wrong stuff
These should be the best of times for Democrats. So how will they blow it in 2006? Let us count the ways

You can’t blame Democrats for feeling optimistic. In 2005, George W. Bush staggered through as rough a stretch as any modern president has experienced. From his botched response to Hurricane Katrina to mounting American casualties in Iraq, from his refusal to outlaw torture to revelations that he authorized no-warrant wiretapping in probable violation of the law, Bush is looking battered and vulnerable. Surely the Democrats can take advantage of that in 2006 by grabbing back one or both branches of Congress. Right?

Well, check back in 11 months — but don’t get your hopes up. Last week, as the furor over the wiretapping story was reaching a crescendo, the results of the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll were released. Believe it or not, they showed that the president’s approval rating had actually leaped up, from a Nixonesque 39 percent in early November to an anemic-but-definitely-breathing 47 percent.

How could this be? Bill Clinton — a Democrat who knows how to win — p




Crystal balls

December 30, 2005 - January 5, 2006

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Crystal balls
Dodgers win the series! Bird plays H-O-R-S-E! Congressman Canseco! We have seen the future of sports (and its name is Tony Graffanino).

"Wait till next year." the plaintive cry — which originated with snake-bitten Brooklyn Dodgers rooters in the 1950s — is now a rallying point for disappointed sports fans everywhere. In New England, 2005 didn’t bring as many blessings as the previous year, what with the Sox going out early in the playoffs and the Patriots facing incredible adversity and numbing injuries. (Although their season is far from over.)

While 2006 may not bring the Red Sox another World Series or get more than three people to watch the Bruins on TV, it will be a topsy-turvy year of spills, thrills, and chills. And there is only one thing we know for sure: Manny will be Manny.

A FLAG FOR LA-LA LAND

The 2006 baseball season starts out poorly for the Red Sox. Theo Epstein declines another entreaty to rejoin the front office in order to head up the fledging "Kerry ’08" presidential campaign. That breeds trouble when ace pitcher Curt Schilling responds by threatening to retire in order




The fat of the land

January 6 - 12, 2005

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The fat of the land
Does the obsession with losing weight do more harm than good?

A few months ago, for Jenna Broccolo’s 15th birthday, she and her family took a trip to New York City to attend a festival in Little Italy. Jenna, a sophomore at Westerly High School, asked her mom for one more gift: a full-length mirror. "You go, girl!" said her mom, Ann Marie Broccolo. "We’ll hang them all over your room!" It all started last May, when Jenna went for a routine visit to the doctor. She had always been substantially overweight, but when she stepped on the scale at the doctor’s office, the result surprised her. "She said, ‘Mom, if I go over 300, I’m in trouble,’ " recalls Ann Marie. "She had eight pounds to go."

At 5’1" and 292 pounds, Jenna was among the 16 percent of Americans between six and 19 who are considered overweight, an amount that has more than tripled since 1980, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This increase, of course, has hardly been restricted to children. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that an estimated




The bonfire of the inanities

December 23 - 29, 2005

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The bonfire of the inanities
Seriously, could it get any worse?

For 2005, my annual task of reviewing the past year has been complicated by an old adage: oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. Here I sit, tangled in a web that many people began weaving way back when the Gipper was protecting us against deadly pollutants released by old-growth forests. It was a jumble out there this year — one that defies linear documentation.

So let me borrow from our friend Mark Twain and offer this admonition: persons attempting to find chronology in this narrative will become lost; persons attempting to find morals in its subjects will be generally disappointed; persons attempting to find a plot will be overwhelmed (because it contains more plots than Arlington National Cemetery).

And anyone expecting a comprehensive review will end up feeling they have a lot more coming.

SCANDALOUS TO THE END

California Republican congressman Duke Cunningham had a narrow window of opportunity. It was late November, and he had 15, 20 m




Annus horribilis

December 23 - 29, 2005

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Annus horribilis
Bush and Katrina, Tom and Katie, Theo and the Sox: Choose your disaster

One year ago, I spoke to Alex Palermo, a psychic medium at the Tremont Tea Room, about his prognostications for the coming dozen months. (See "Seeing Things," December 31, 2004.) His visions, delivered quickly and with wild gesticulations, were peppered with dark mutterings about "major threats to our security," "marred Iraqi elections," and "White House scandal." I’ve always been a skeptic when it comes to psychics, but this guy — who also predicted that two Supreme Court justices would step down in 2005 — might just have been on to something. As it turns out, he was more or less spot-on when he foresaw a lot of "doom and gloom, man!"

The past 365 days have been marked by epic natural disaster, interminable war, terrorist bombs, perfidious politics, and pop-culture inanity. The year was a whole lot worse f




Tough time for Cheney

January 13 - 19, 2006

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Tough time for Cheney
The Veep is being punished for his misdeeds

If the national media give attention to the totally demented ravings of the Christian Coalition’s ludicrous God-botherer Pat Robertson — most recently about Ariel Sharon — the Associated Press should pick up this following news.

The hand of Allah and other non-Christian gods have doubtless wrought the recent heart and foot problems of Dick "Big Time" Cheney, because of his advocacy of war and torture, and total disregard for the Constitution. Not to mention Big Time’s serial lying about the Dubya administration’s nefarious misdeeds. After speaking with our large collection of Mississippi mud voodoo dolls (merci, Reverend Zombie’s House of Voodoo in New Orleans), the higher gris-gris powers inform us that the next time Dick trots out his usual bullshit on Meet the Press, his already black, shriveled heart will seize up like a shark’s jaw, and he’ll be tipping his hat to Old Nick shortly afterwards. Don’t say we didn’t warn you, Big Time.

THERE, THERE

It’s time for




Milking the cow

January 13 - 19, 2006

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Milking the cow

I’m a married guy with a good job, a wonderful kid, and my wife’s a good lady. The problem? Sex. She rarely wants/needs it, and when I can get her in the mood it’s the same old, dull routine. Same position, I do all the work — she won’t even touch my dick! — and it’s over in 15 minutes.

I’ve tried to talk about it with her, even counseling, but she’s very defensive. She claims that I am treating her as an "object." She also claims she got adventure out of her system years ago. How nice for her. I never got enough. Never had a blowjob, never had intercourse in any position but missionary. I’m frustrated, angry, and desperate. I never wanted to cheat, but this has gone on for years and things just aren’t going to change.

Now — act surprised! — there’s an opportunity. This other woman is sexy, smart, and adventurous, and she has a very healthy libido. I want her, she wants me. The problem? She’s going to be leaving soon for a job in a new area. Part of me wants to go with her, but




MONEY MATTERS

January 13 - 19, 2006

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MONEY MATTERS
Our currency reflects the real cultural value of women



LOCAL MOTION

January 13 - 19, 2006

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LOCAL MOTION
Car-sharing creeps into Providence



AS THE PROJO TURNS

January 13 - 19, 2006

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AS THE PROJO TURNS
Is the staffing glass half-full or half-empty?



Fast break

January 13 - 19, 2006

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Fast break