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  • March 10, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Governor Chafee ended his talk-radio ban today, popping in on Dan Yorke and suggesting that he never really intended a ban of any length. The administration, he argued, was just trying to get its feet on the ground in its first few months. He also suggested the controversy got caught up in - and magnified by - the Arizona shootings.

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  • March 10, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Some great stuff in this week's Phoenix, which hits the stands this morning. On the cover, a brutally honest account from a man who has been unemployed for two years. It's easy to forget, when you're working, just how devastating joblessness can be. And in Rhode Island, joblessness is a state still afflicting far too many.

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  • March 09, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Adding my own well wishes here to the many rolling in for Chip Young, one half of our estimable columnist team of Phllipe & Jorge. Chip is moving on to an editing gig at golocalprov.com, stepping away from the "Cool. Cool World" column he has co-authored - with biting wit and cut-through-the-bullshit insight on politics, sports, and other hapless pursuits - for some 31 years.

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  • March 08, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    As details of the governor's proposed budget start to leak out, a mixed reaction in the upper reaches of the General Assembly.

    Chafee's proposal to lower the sales tax rate from 7 to 6 percent, while broadening the items covered, has some appeal - the 1 percent drop can be sold to the public, perhaps, even if more items are covered.

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  • March 07, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    As newsrooms shrink, the age-old problem of "journalism by press release" - essentially lifting bits from a press release and calling it a story - has become more pronounced. Now, for those who care about this sort of thing, an amusing web site out of England - churnalism.com - which allows the user to enter a bit of text from a press release and see, with precision, how much of that text wound up in stories in the popular press.

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  • March 04, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Fascinating to watch the tone of the Providence Journal's coverage of the Providence fiscal crisis the last couple of days - and in particular its gloves-off treatment of former Providence Mayor-turned-Congressman David Cicilline, who is taking a beating over his past handling of city finances.

    There were a couple of tough-minded pieces in yesterday's paper - one that had several officials essentially alleging a cover-up.

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  • March 03, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Running for higher office from the mayor's chair is always a difficult proposition. City Hall comes with baggage.

    That made former Mayor David Cicilline's triumph in the Congressional election of this past fall all the more impressive. And as he settled into his Capitol Hill offices, the ugliness of urban politics was supposed to fade rather quickly.

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  • March 02, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    The latest in Fliergate. This from Wicked Local:

    PLAINVILLE — A Providence Journal ad campaign has local residents all riled up, said Plainville Town Administrator Joseph Fernandes.

    The Journal has started distributing unsolicited ad fliers to people, throwing them in driveways and in yards, prompting some towns to threaten huge fines for littering.

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  • March 02, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Steve Smith, president of the Providence Teachers Union, has been a pivotal figure in Rhode Island's education reform movement. He has joined with Providence Superintendent Tom Brady in a unique labor-management partnership to turn around failing schools - a model that has won national attention. And he provided a key bit of support in the state's successful, reform-minded application for $75 million in federal Race to the Top dollars.

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  • March 01, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Governor Chafee's nominee for chairman of the state school board, George Caruolo, did little to ease the anxiety of the school reform crowd with an interview that appeared on the front page of the Providence Journal today.

    Caruolo's call for a pragmatic approach - for a slowing down of the relentless reform push of Education Commissioner Deborah Gist - puts him firmly in line with the governor who nominated him.

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