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  • July 30, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    I'll be on the beach for the next couple of weeks, so the blogging will be intermittent. But check back now and again and keep an eye out for the Phoenix - we've got some good stuff lined up.

  • July 26, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Call it a Rhode Island-size blockbuster.

    Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom - though it won't gross Batman-like returns - continues to blow up the indie circuit. And the film's success here - Kathy Staab of the Jane Pickens Theater in Newport tells me it's her highest-grossing movie in memory - owes something to a local tie: it was filmed in Rhode Island.

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  • July 25, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Senator Sheldon Whitehouse's son Alexander, 19, has been arrested for driving under the influence. And already, talk radio and the Rhode Island Internet is aflame.

    It is, of course, just the latest tale of a son of the powerful caught doing something stupid. There was Governor Chafee's son, Caleb, who allegedly hosted a party at the family's Exeter home that involved alcohol.

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  • July 18, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    On the site now and on newsstands tomorrow, my colleague David Bernstein's piece on Mitt Romney's "shadow years" - the three years he ran the Olympics while remaining, at least on paper, the CEO of Bain Capital. That period, of course, has been the subject of intense media scrutiny in recent days, as journalists and the political class parse what Bain deals he can or can't be held accountable for in that time.

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  • July 17, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    With the London Olympics just around the corner, the US Olympic Committee has come under fire for outfiting its athletes with uniforms made in China. This sort of thing is, of course, catnip for the media. A national story or two is to be expected.

    But I was a little taken aback to see the Providence Journal run a front-page story today on Congressman David Cicilline's press conference at Northwest Woolen Mills, calling on the USOC to swap out its Chinese-issue berets for Woonsocket-made models

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  • July 13, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    This week, Rhode Island again made a dismal showing on a "best places to do business" list: the state ranked dead-last in a CNBC report released on Tuesday.

    This latest ranking comes two years after the state lowered its top marginal tax rate in a bid to improve the state's reputation as a place to do business. The poor ranking, of course, doesn't prove the tax change was a bad idea; perhaps it was just the first of many steps Rhode Island must take to attract entrepreneurs.

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  • July 11, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    The Phoenix's 15th Annual Muzzle Awards, doled out to the "dishonorable enemies of free speech and personal liberty in New England" around every July 4, is on the Interzone now and will hit newsstands tomorrow morning.

    The list includes a couple of Rhode Islanders. Governor Chafee gets a trophy for signing a bill, designed to crack down on child porn, that gives law enforcement the power to wrangle info about customers of online services without a warrant.

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  • June 27, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Official Rhode Island's approach to the homelessness crisis has been unimaginative at best, heartless at worst.

    Two years ago, I wrote a piece for the Phoenix titled "How Rhode Island Can Eliminate Homelessness." And while the headline might sound fanciful, it really isn't. Most homeless are on the street temporarily - displaced by a fire or an abusive relationship.

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  • June 26, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Governor Chafee signed a bill today improving Rhode Island's shoddy public records law. The chief accomplishment: scrapping a provision in the old law that shielded from inspection any record "identifiable to an individual" - an overly broad exemption that stifled many a citizen and journalist.

    Tim White, investigative reporter for WPRI-TV, used to joke that as soon as the governor signed a bill it wasn't public record since it was "identifiable" to the chief executive.

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  • June 19, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    The New York Times' Joe Nocera has a column today, "When ALEC Takes Over Your Town," taking conservative Rhode Island State Representative Jon Brien (D-Woonsocket) to task for rejecting the General Assembly's push to impose a hefty property tax on Woonsocket in a bid to save the city from financial ruin.

    Much of Nocera's critique is fair.

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  • June 15, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    The National Freedom of Information Coalition and, I'm told, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press are joing the chorus of local groups urging Governor Chafee to sign the public records legislation approved by the General Assembly late Tuesday night.

    A letter from Kenneth F. Bunting, executive director of NFOIC, notes that the measure does not include all the reforms sought by local open government advocates.

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  • June 05, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Governor Chafee is making his final push for a municipal financial rescue package with a nifty new video called "Momentum." But the latest word on Smith Hill is that the package doesn't have much momentum at all: only a few of the less controversial measures are expected to pass.

    Is this a sign of the governor's weakness? Sure.

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  • June 04, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    I'll be on the Callie Crossley Show on WGBH radio (89.7) at 1:40 pm today to discuss my story, from a couple of weeks ago, on how Rhode Island came to pass a voter ID law last year.

    It was, as you may recall, one of the year's great political headscratchers. All the other states that passed voter ID laws last year were dominated by Republicans.

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  • May 29, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    The Providence Journal has a strong front page story today by veteran scribes Mike Stanton and Andy Smith explaining Curt Schilling's side of the 38 Studios debacle. The paper gets inside the company's generally off-limits headquarters, provides a splash of color - Schilling shows up in the first paragraph "gaunt, unshaven and wearing a wrinkled 38 Studios T-shirt" - and offers a blow-by-blow account of the saga consuming the state and much of New England.

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  • May 18, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Keith Olbermann may have pulled out of Netroots Nation, the lefty blogger's conference coming to Providence June 7-10. But organizers can claim another progressive media star: New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Mary Rickles, communications coordinator for the event, passed along the word today. More big names to be confirmed in the coming days, she says.

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