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  • April 20, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    One of Congressman David Cicilline's central challenges - as policymaker and politician facing a tough re-election fight - is his relatively powerless position as a freshman in the minority party. He will not be able to go to voters, in the coming months, with a lengthy list of accomplishments.

    But that hasn't stopped him from attaching himself to several hot-button issues in his first year-plus in office.

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  • April 16, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Senator Sheldon Whitehouse's Buffett Rule legislation takes center stage in American politics today, with the Senate expected to vote on the measure tonight.

    But it's not the only tax measure Congress will take up with Tax Day approaching. The GOP-controlled House will consider a measure, sponsored by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, that would hand a 20 percent tax deduction to businesses employing fewer than 500 people.

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  • March 08, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Discerning manufacturing's future in Rhode Island is no easy task.

    For all the trends I identify in this week's cover story in the Phoenix - "Making It In RI: Can manufacturing rescue the state's economy?" - there are, of course, counter-examples.

    I write, for instance, of the increasingly sophisticated training that the modern factory - a high-tech, robot-heavy institution - requires of its employees.

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  • March 07, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Manufacturing is all the rage these days. Factories are creating jobs for the first time in 20 years, nationwide. And pols from President Obama to our own Congressman David Cicilline are placing big bets on the sector.

    So, can manufacturing really save the state?

    I spent the last couple of weeks walking the factory floor, talking to CEOs and policymakers, and poring through the data in a quest for the answer.

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  • February 06, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling will be at a Game Stop in Bellingham, Massachusetts at midnight tonight for the release of his video game company 38 Studios' highly anticipated first title, "Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning."

    The game has won positive early reviews and, as the Providence Journal reported this weekend, industry analysts are expecting sales of at least 1 million, which would make the game a moderate success.

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  • January 27, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    From Greg Sargent at the Washington Post (I've fixed a coupla typos):

    Picture this scenario. The Senate holds a high-profile vote on a proposal focused directly on implementing the Buffett Rule, one that would bring the current tax rate for millionaires paying lower rates on investments up to 30 percent. This, at at exactly the moment when the GOP is picking a nominee who is worth $250 million and is personally benefitting to an enormous degree from the current rate — one that’s lower than many middle class taxpayers pay.

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  • November 02, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Amid the ever-dreary news about the Rhode Island economy, an intriguing finding from Richard Florida, an urban theorist best known for his book The Rise of the Creative Class, and his colleagues at the Martin Prosperity Institute.

    Florida, also senior editor at the Atlantic magazine, and his partners Charlotta Mellander and Karen King find Rhode Island is fifth best among the states and the District of Columbia when it comes to places for women to work.

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  • September 02, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Congressman David Cicilline, in a letter to President Obama ahead of his highly anticipated jobs speech next week, calls for an investment in manufacturing:

    Nationally, the manufacturing sector has been a bright spot even during these trying economic times. If this vital economic engine is to be sustained, we must continue our investments in programs that help manufacturers compete in a global economy, retool to be more efficient and effective businesses, and retrain the workforce so that skill sets utilized in declining sectors can be transferred to those that are expanding.

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  • May 18, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Congressman David Cicilline, who has faced a firestorm over his handling of the city budget as mayor of Providence, got a chance to change the subject today - holding a press event to formally introduce his "Make it in America" block grant proposal and to tout a broader, six-point plan to boost the state's manufacturing sector.

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  • April 13, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Government shutdown averted, the next major battle in Washington will be over raising the federal government's debt ceiling. Republicans are threatening to vote against it unless Democrats agree to major spending cuts. The government, they say, cannot continue its free-spending ways.

    A failure to raise the debt ceiling would lead to an unprecedented default that could have disastrous effects.

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  • January 26, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Austerity is all the rage in Washington these days. See President Obama's State of the Union address and the GOP's response. Seemed like a good time to chat with Brown University political science professor Mark Blyth, who suggests the austerity push is not as virtuous as it may sound. So I've got a Q&A with him in this week's Phoenix

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  • January 10, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Late last week, it was starting to look like Governor Chafee - highly critical of the Economic Development Corporation during the campaign - might re-appoint executive director Keith Stokes. This morning, Chafee spokesman Mike Trainor confirmed the appointment.

    This move is sure to play well in a private sector that has a wary view of the new governor.

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  • January 07, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Governor Chafee's office confirms that the governor met yesterday with Keith Stokes, executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, to discuss his future and the direction of the agency.

    No word, yet, on whether Stokes will remain as EDC chief. But Stokes is telling people the meeting went well.

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  • December 28, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee, who seems bent on an overhaul of the state's Economic Development Corporation, isn't saying whether he'll retain EDC chief Keith Stokes or not.

    Chafee sharply criticized the EDC during the campaign over the 38 Studios deal, leading to heavy speculation that he would dump Stokes.

    But that could be harder to do if Stokes pulls of the grand coup he has been working round the clock on in recent days: poaching an America's Cup boat race that seemed destined for San Francisco just a few weeks ago.

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  • December 14, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    Greg Sargent at the Washington Post argues that Sheldon Whitehouse and other liberal senators who have backed President Obama's controversial tax deal with the Republicans have made it near impossible for left-leaning members of the House to press for change:

    Here's the situation, in a nutshell. Despite their own dislike of the tax cut compromise, House Dem leaders want it to pass the House.

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