Column from the New Paper, May 23, 1991
Pi in the facePHILLIPE & JORGE
Always great to see more macho posturing up at the State House. The latest tough-on-crime waste of time comes courtesy of House bill 5995, calling for prison sentences "up to twice" those already on the books for dealing drugs within 1000 feet of a daycare center, public housing project or playground. Since current laws call for sentences of 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, 50 years and life, some of the sane members of the House of Representatives (a distinct minority) questioned the feasibility of this bill.
Rod Driver, Linda Kushner, Mary Levesque, Joseph Newsome and Ray Rickman have all pointed out in the past that these Mr. Man anti-drug crime bills are both expensive and counterproductive. Rickman noted that targeting public housing residents for double sentences is discriminatory. But the State House morons go on proving how tough they are, flexing their imaginary muscles strictly for show.
Professor Driver (he teaches mathematics at URI) introduced a floor amendment to change the wording of 5995 from "up to twice" to "up to pi times," but the ever-vigilant (except when it comes to matters that actually deal with the welfare of Rhode Islanders) House Speaker Joe DeAnge1is, rebuked Driver, calling his amendment out of order "on the grounds that it was frivolous and absurd." Quipped Driver; "We now know that doubling a 50-year sentence is not frivolous and absurd, but multiplying it by pi is."