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POLITICS AS USUAL (By Jim Baron) Chafee needs some allies to survive

April 17, 2011

To paraphrase President Harry Truman: If you want a friend in politics, buy a dog.
If that is the case, then Gov. Lincoln Chafee should make a trip to his local pound real soon.
The poor guy got zero honeymoon at the Statehouse. From the minute he took has hand off the Bible on Inauguration Day, his critics were at his throat about illegal aliens, gay marriage, union support — hell, they even bashed the poem read at his swearing-in back in January.

POLITICS AS USUAL (By Jim Baron) Boehner, GOP were clear winners here

April 10, 2011

The first time my wife and I went to Washington, D.C., on vacation was in 1995.
We are both wonks about history, politics and government, so where better to immerse ourselves in all three at once than the nation’s capital? We have been back there twice more, including one week after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, which is a whole other story for another day.

Legalize marijuana to realign criminal justice priorities (By Beth Comery)

March 29, 2011

When I joined the Providence Police Department I was assigned to the Patrol Division, where I soon discovered that most of the patrol officers - rookies and veterans alike - had little enthusiasm for getting bogged down with marijuana arrests. We all wanted to remain on the streets for the more serious, and frankly more interesting, calls.

POLITICS AS USUAL (By Jim Baron) I wish Chafee had listened to his own rhetoric

March 20, 2011

I don’t like paying taxes anymore than the next guy, perhaps even less.
I don’t like seeing taxes rise anymore than the next guy, either, nor seeing taxes applied to things that have been exempt from tax up until now.
That is particularly true if the next guy is rich, because they hate paying taxes more than just about anyone else, and they make a bigger stink about it than the average guy. Not only that, but they have the clout with lawmakers to make sure that it is us, not them, who pay to run the government and maintain the infrastructure that allows them to keep making money.

POLITICS AS USUAL (By Jim Baron) Thinking twice about death penalty, voter initiative

March 13, 2011

Consistent readers of this column know I am for the most part resolute (I try to ignore the ones who say arrogant) in forming and stating opinions, but there are two issues that keep me vacillating: the death penalty and voter initiative. Both beasts reared their heads last week.
My default position on the death penalty is to be against it. It is wrong for the government to kill people. Somewhere deep down I know that.

Problems facing state, Providence, and Congressman Cicilline

March 8, 2011


There are two types of political disfunction that harm the body politic. One is corruption, where elected officials engage in illegal activities, and the other is deception, where elected officials don't tell the truth.
The struggling City of Providence has been subject to both from its past two mayors. With a revealed deficit, thanks to an independent audit, showing the city's finances to be in total shambles to the tune of $70 million (this year) plus another $110 million for next , deception is proving to be just as harmful as corruption, and maybe more so.

POLITICS AS USUAL (By Jim Baron) Love Cianci or hate him, he writes a good book

February 27, 2011

If you were going to sit around for an evening listening to stories about recent Rhode Island politics, Buddy Cianci is the guy you would want to be the storyteller. He has a seemingly endless supply of stories and can tell them in an entertaining and funny fashion.

POLITICS AS USUAL (By Jim Baron) Why workers need a weekly paycheck

February 20, 2011

Sitting through a House Labor Committee meeting last week, I had a Popeye moment. After listening to as much garbage as I could take, I muttered under my breath, “That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more.”

POLITICS AS USUAL (By Jim Baron) A very busy week at the Statehouse

February 14, 2011

Last week was quite a busy one at the Statehouse.
Twin River started things off by renewing its push to have table games like craps, blackjack, poker and the like to elevate it from a mere slot parlor to a full casino. Then there was the Health Department hearings on the proposed medical marijuana compassion centers and Sen. Josh Miller’s bill to decriminalize small amounts of the drug.

THEATER REVIEW -- (By Kathie Raleigh) "Make a Date with Becky Shaw'

February 8, 2011

WARREN – Who is Becky Shaw? She’s the title character of a play, and while you may hope never to meet a real Becky, “Becky Shaw,” the play, is a treasure.
Written by Gina Gionfriddo, a graduate of the master’s degree playwriting program at Brown University, the play was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize – and it is set in Providence.
There’s even a joke about the Roe-Dieland accent, which tells you this is a funny play, but it has a dark side, which often is uncomfortably -- yet hilariously -- funny.

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