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  • March 17, 2008
    By Ian Donnis

    The state budget crisis offers a great opportunity for the Rhode Island Republican Party to increase its presence in the General Assembly. However, if you read Mark Arsenault's story in today's ProJo, the GOP doesn't seem to be inspiring a whole lot of confidence:

    1. The party began the year with less than $10,000 in the bank.

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  • March 13, 2008
    By Ian Donnis

    The Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless this afternoon, at 3, plans to mark the one-year anniversary of the closing of the Welcome Arnold shelter.

    At the time of the closing of Welcome Arnold, Governor Carcieri made a pledge to accommodate everyone using Welcome Arnold. He also stated that a plan would be developed to ensure all the facility’s residents were housed.

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  • March 10, 2008
    By Ian Donnis

    It was just a matter of time until Bill Lynch jumped on this:

    PAWTUCKET- Rhode Island Democratic Party Chairman Bill Lynch called upon Gov. Don Carcieri today to explain exactly where he intends to find the money to pay for two high-priced communications directors, at a time when the state is being choked by a nearly half-billion-dollar deficit.

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  • March 08, 2008
    By Ian Donnis

    Dan Yorke was wondering aloud about this yesterday, using a bit from from Star Wars (the Jedi mind trick scene, in which Obi-Wan smoothes his crew's way past a storm trooper) as an analogy for how Governor Carcieri backs down on specific budget cuts once particular interest groups raise a fuss.

    The news today that Steve Kass is sliding into a $126,541 job at the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency is likely to raise more of the same questions.

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  • March 06, 2008
    By Ian Donnis

    On Monday, the Rhode Island Press Association and ACCESS RI will hold a 7 pm panel at CCCRI's Warwick campus, on the state of government in Rhode Island. Here are the details:

    The forum coincides with Sunshine Week, a national effort to promote open government. The theme of the national campaign this election year is "Vote for Sunshine."

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  • March 06, 2008
    By Ian Donnis

    Former LG Charles Fogarty, now ensconced at J&W, and House Minority Leader Bob Watson are the lead guests this week for WPRI/WNAC-TV's Newsmakers. Not surprisingingly, the two clashed in discussing Governor Carcieri's level of responsibility for the state's budget woes, with Fogarty ascribing part of the blame to the man he nearly beat in 2006, and with Watson saying that legislative Dems are entirely at fault.

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  • March 04, 2008
    By Ian Donnis

    From Darrell West:

    The Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University is sponsoring a panel discussion about our state budget crisis. It will be held at Brown on 7 pm, Wednesday, March 5, 2008 in room 117, MacMillan Hall (located on Thayer Street between Waterman and George Streets). The event is free and open to the public.

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  • February 22, 2008
    By Ian Donnis

    director

    A.T. Wall, director of the state Department of Corrections, says fears about appearing soft on crime help to explain why Rhode Island has struggled to move forward with criminal-justice reforms that could save taxpayer money.

    Considering this, it's no surprise that he got a chuckle when I shared, off-camera during a taping this morning of WPRI/WNAC-TV's Newsmakers, this well-turned observation from Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox: Elected offcials focus on the three Rs -- revenge, retaliation, and retribution -- because it leads to the fourth R -- reelection.

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  • February 21, 2008
    By Ian Donnis

    It's not all that often that House Minority Leader Bob Watson and the Phoenix's Phillipe + Jorge are on the same page, but the swift ejection from the Carcieri administration of J.R. Pagliarini is just such an occasion.

    From today's ProJo:

    PROVIDENCE — In a highly unusual move, the House GOP leader has written Governor Carcieri to protest his dismissal of John “J.

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  • February 19, 2008
    By Ian Donnis

    No one likes having their expected salary and benefits cut, yet there's still something of a particularly Rhode Island patina to this story in today's ProJo:

    PROVIDENCE — About a third of the state’s judges will retire all at once if the legislature adopts Governor Carcieri’s proposal to slash judicial pensions by the amount of Social Security benefits they’re due to receive, the head of a state judges’ association predicts.

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  • February 16, 2008
    By Ian Donnis

    In 2002, a businessman named Don Carcieri came out of nowhere to vanguish GOP primary rival Jim Bennett, and then to quickly set his sights on making Rhode Island into the jewel of New England. He was a political natural, or so it seemed, and pitch-perfect in projecting a comforting brand of leadership during the Station fire disaster in February 2003.

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  • February 12, 2008
    By Ian Donnis

    Although the governor's approval rating is hardly rosy, RI GOP chairman Giovanni Cicione is citing the results of the latest Brown poll as evidence of support for the Carcieri program:

    The poll found more than half of the respondents would seem to agree with the Governor’s policies on three important themes: reducing the number of state workers and reforming some of their pay and benefit provisions; reducing the amount of time welfare recipients can remain on the rolls; and third, holding the line on any new income or sales taxes.

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  • February 11, 2008
    By Ian Donnis

    EVERYONE, IT SEEMS knows someone who would like to use medical marijuana to cope with such debilitating illnesses as cancer, AIDS, and multiple sclerosis.

    Medical marijuana proponents plan to seek General Assembly support this session to create an establishment, known as the Compassion Center, which, as the theory goes, would have state Department of Health backing to grow and distribute medical marijuana to approved patients.

    While the outlook for such a measure remains uncertain -- at minimum, it would likely have to overcome a gubernatorial veto -- it would address the glaring shortcoming in Rhode Island's medical marijuana law.

    Read More

  • February 05, 2008
    By Ian Donnis

    Speaking of car-related things, I didn't like Governor Carcieri's plan to raise money by fining people who drive while using hand-held cell phones. Let's agree: if you see someone driving like a knucklehead, there's a good chance they'll have a cell phone in their ear. Yet not to be all high and mighty, but some of us can squawk and still drive safely.

    Read More

  • February 04, 2008
    By Ian Donnis

    Bill Harsch, a two-time loser in his runs for AG against Patrick Lynch, has been appointed by Governor Carcieri to the state Ethics Commission.

    Deborah Cerullo, who matches Arlene Violet in having a religious (nun) and prosecutor background, has also been appointed.

    From the Gov:

    Cerullo, a Catholic nun who served as an Assistant District Attorney in both Massachusetts and New York, replaces George Weavill, Jr.

    Read More

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