Rhody in the National Media

Rhode Island is in the national eye this morning, with - count 'em - two stories deemed worthy of national exposure.

There is a New York Times story on the debate over shortening the state's official name from "Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" to simply "Rhode Island."

The term "plantation" has been strongly associated with slavery for the last couple of centuries and black activists and politicians have worked for years, often in obscurity, to strip the word from the official name.

Amazon's decision to cut ties with Rhode Island web sites in the face of a new Internet sales tax is also going national. There was a Wall Street Journal report on the paper's web site yesterday. And an Associated Press story pops up in the Los Angeles Times, here.

The Internet tax story reinforces a national narrative around Rhode Island as a state in economic distress and a less-than-friendly venue for business. But the name change push harkens back to an earlier image of Rhody as place of tolerance. We'll see how it plays out if and when the proposal goes before voters.


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