Grover does Olneyville; Cuban in question

Offering proof positive that politics makes strange bedfellows, the December 12 visit to Rhode Island by leading conservative strategist Grover Norquist -- a benefit for the Ocean State Policy Research Institute -- is slated to take place at the Cuban Revolution in Olneyville! Holy black bean soup!

Maybe this (tickets run from $50 to $250 for a meet-and-greet) makes a little sense. The two-front Cuban Revolution was started, after all, by Ed Morabito, who worked as a key aide to former GOP Governor Lincoln Almond.

And as I wrote before, Norquist's appearance is quite a score for OSPRI, so it's no wonder that its leader, William J. Felkner, is pumped. As he recently wrote:

There are only two weeks left to the Holiday Freedom Celebration Dinner, hosted by the Ocean State Policy Research Institute. The featured speaker for the event will be Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR).  Please order your tickets today.


You may have seen Grover on last night's Presidential You Tube Debate asking the candidates to take the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. He founded ATR in 1985 at the request of President Reagan. Since 1986, ATR has sponsored the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written promise by legislators and candidates for office that commits them to oppose any effort to increase the federal income taxes on individuals and businesses. 


Ocean State Policy Research Institute has taken the lead in protecting taxpayers in Rhode Island and is particularly focused on effective and efficient government.  OSPRI also continues the reform movement by sponsoring The Thursday Meeting - RI's version of Grover's Wednesday Meeting.


Please join us for an evening of drinks, dinner and stimulating discussion when our fellow "Counter Revolutionaries" meet at the Cuban Revolution restaurant on the evening of December 12th at 60 Valley Street in Providence.


Kindly RSVP by December 5, 2007. 

Still, the idea of Republicans gathering in a place inspired by Fidel Castro, hard by one of the main battlegrounds over gentrification in Providence, is rather odd (although it was a Democrat, John F. Kennedy, who seemed most energetic in trying to kill Fidel).

Some people in south Florida don't take kindly to the concept of Rhode Islanders having their arroz con pollo wraps in a place named for Castro. Emiliano Antunez, a Latino activist in the Sunshine State, wrote the following in 2005 (and don't even get the people on the Lots of Noise forum going):

Fidel Castro is not an aging hipster, he is a murderous thug who has sent thousands of people to their death. Castro is also a thief who pilfered private property (starting with his own mothers’ farm) and “intervened” in businesses both large and small. Che Guevara has been resurrected as a saintly historical figure when in reality “El Che” murdered dozens of people with his own hand (maybe that’s why the Bolivians shipped Che’s severed hands to Fidel, because they thought he might have use for them). If Che would have lived and realized his “dream,” millions more human beings would now be living under tyranny in impoverished conditions.  

I’m sure Cuban exiles and refugees based on their experiences could come up with a few items of their own to include in the Cuban Revolution’s menu selection, in order to make it more in tune with reality. Like “Lead Laden Flank Steak of Young Cuban Firing Squad Victim,” “Tender Caribbean Water Poached Cuban Infant Plucked from The Arms of His Dead Mother from the Wreckage of the 13th of March Tugboat,” “MIG Smoked Brothers to The Rescue Pilot,” or “Rafter Fed Atlantic Tiger Shark.”  

The Cuban Revolution is not some groovy abstraction; it has caused real death, torn real families apart, and confiscated people’s very real private property (including restaurants). It’s ironic that people would open an establishment in a quasi-capitalist location, idolizing another place where private property is non-existent. The owners ultimately have the right to name their restaurant whatever they please; the last thing we need is the state-backed PC police to step in with their own brand of totalitarian oppression. But those offended by the name “Cuban Revolution” can make a conscious choice not to patronize their establishment and to politely ask anyone who will listen not to do so either.

But the Rhode Island Republican Party and its supporters need to branch out, so maybe this is one way to do it.

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