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The presidency -- ahead and back

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There will be a debate watch tonight at Obama's RI HQ. I came up empty while looking for details of a counterpart event on the RI Republican Party and the Ocean State Republican sites.

Anyway, in case you missed it, Rick Massimo had a piece Saturday about how local rapper Sage Francis is trying to help some of those arrested at the RNC earlier this year.

The police state imposed during the RNC was also the subject of a cover story in last week's Phoenix:

The staggering display of force had gathered before any violence had occurred. In front of Mickey’s, dispersal orders were given, and the use of weapons threatened — but for hours no exits were open to marchers. One activist in a wheelchair was tear-gassed. As another protester put it, “It was terrifying. They offered us no way out.”

The Battle of Mickey’s Diner was one of many sites in St. Paul that saw the use of Triple Chaser grenades (the source of the popping sound I heard — the grenades are described by makers Defense Technology as having the potential to cause “serious damage to property” and “injury or death”), 40 mm Direct Impact rounds, pepper spray, Tasers, smoke bombs, mace, brand-new $650 Trek mountain bikes (if you’re confused why these might be listed in a manifest of weapons, you haven’t seen the video footage of officers rearing up on them and ramming into victims), and tactical training costing approximately $50 million received in a grant from the Department of Justice. Another deal netted the city an insurance policy whereby the Republican Host Committee would pay out the first $10 million to litigants for civil-rights violations — a number twice what other cities hosting RNCs have paid.

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