Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee and Washington Governor Chris Gregoire announced today that they have filed a petition with the Drug Enforcement Agency asking for reclassification of marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug - on par with dangerous substances like heroin - to a Schedule 2 drug. The idea is that doctors could then prescribe marijuana for medical use.
Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty's decision, last month, to hire former Rhode Island GOP Chairman Giovanni Cicione as his campaign manager and spokesman has created an interesting subplot in his simmering primary battle with former state Representative John J. Loughlin II.
Cicione, after all, is something of a controversial figure in Republican circles.
A curious bit of news from the New York Times involving former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, among other prominent Democrats and Republicans. Here's the truncated version from Robert Mackey on "The Lede" blog:
As my colleague Scott Shane reports,
several former United States officials have been paid to make speeches
in support of a banned Iranian exile group, the Mujahedeen e-Khalq, or
People’s Mujahedeen, known as the M.
The Phoenix hits the stands a day early this week, what with the holiday and all. And it's a fun issue. The cover story: our third annual turkey shoot, where we call out Rhode Islanders, as the story says, for "acts most fowl."
There's some other good stuff in there, too. Brian Jones has a piece on the battle to remake Queen Anne Square in Newport - a fight that evokes the all the city's delicious passions: money, fame, aesthetics.
Three years after the death of Chinese immigrant Hiu Lui Ng at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, a bill is making its way through Congress that would require the reporting of prison deaths. From the Los Angeles Times:
Legislation that would make it more difficult to cover up the causes of
deaths in jails, prisons and private detention centers appears poised to
pass Congress after years of unreported abuse, particularly in
facilities housing immigration detainees.
With election season just around the corner, the focus has been on Congressman David Cicilline and his opponents - Republican and, possibly, Democratic.
But it appears that Congressman James Langevin may have at least one Republican opponent. Michael Riley, who ran unsuccessfully for Narragansett Town Council in 2008 and lost a GOP primary for the state Senate seat held by Democrat James Sheehan last year, has been telling Republican activists that he is planning a Congressional run.
Ian Donnis over at WRNI chats with Senator Jack Reed, who remains hopeful that Congress, afte the failure of the supercommittee, can work out a deficit-cutting deal before automatic defense and social services cuts take hold in 2013.
Other observers have suggested that the deal will come after the 2012 elections - perhaps in early 2013 - when one party or the other can claim the upper hand in Washington and steer matters to a conclusion.
There was much that was striking about last night's vote to approve a sweeping pension overhaul. Ted Nesi over at WPRI, who has provided excellent coverage of the issue from start to finish, tackles some of the big themes in a post-vote analysis.
But one thing that strikes me is the near-unanimous support the legislature's progressive wing, generally quite friendly to organized labor, gave to the bill.
Cumulus, the radio conglomerate that bought Citadel Broadcasting's suite of Providence radio stations, laid off seven staffers two weeks ago, including Lite-Rock 105 jockey Art Spencer, a deep-voiced fixture in the market.
Among the others let go: Tony Cornetta, who produced WPRO talk host Dan Yorke's show and occassionally filled in as a host for the station, and digital reporter Bob Plain.
The Massachusetts legislature's approval of a bill authorizing three full-scale casinos in the state, including one in its southeastern corner, has ramped up the pressure on Rhode Island to move from slot parlor to full-scale casino at Twin River in Lincoln.
But has Rhode Island already missed its moment?
Voters rejected a full-scale casino in 2006, in the face of a slick opposition campaign.
We've got a pretty good sense, now, for what the pension bill will look like when it comes up for a vote. And most observers expect it to pass. So how did the key players fare in Smith Hill's battle royale? An initial look:
David Cicilline and other gay and lesbian members of the House of Representatives have added their own video to the huge trove of "It Gets Better" videos aimed at struggling gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth.
Former Providencian Arthur Jones returns to town tonight to hawk his new book Post-It Note Diaries, amusing post-it sketches of tales from writers like Chuck Klosterman, David Rakoff, and Jonathan Goldstein.
The event is at 6:30 pm at art gallery Buonaccorsi + Agniel at One Sims Avenue, #102. Go here for more information and to reserve a seat.
Conservative think tank Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity is touting a new report from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University suggesting the state's unfunded pension liability (for state and local government) is twice as bad as the state estimates: $18 billion rather than $9.3 billion.
The state and the various cities and towns invest their pension funds, of course.