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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.

POLITICS AS USUAL (by JIm Baron) Caruolo was a savvy choice by Chafee

February 7, 2011

A good argument can be made that Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s appointment of George Caruolo to be chairman of the Board of Regents for Elementary Education was an inspired choice.
Caruolo is universally respected as being smart and tough-minded, he has shown that he can come up with solutions to tough problems (whether some of those were the best solutions we will discuss a few paragraphs down) and he knows enough about the legislative process and how the Statehouse works to fight his way to the powerful position of House Majority Leader.

POLITICS AS USUAL (By Jim Baron) We no longer debate, we vilify

January 17, 2011

I have always been a First Amendment purist, especially when it comes to freedom of speech and (obviously) freedom of the press.
But I don’t think that calls for civility in our political rhetoric violate, or even restrict, the First Amendment.
Calls to ban or, even worse, punish harsh or uncivil political discussion would cross that line. But a voluntary admonition to tone it down and not be vicious or hateful is definitely inbounds.
Not all that long ago, politics was fun. It was fun for those who participated in it and it was fun for those, like journalists, who watched it.

State needs to move forward with its water management

January 9, 2011


Water. We take it for granted. We turn on the faucet and out it comes. Rhode Island is blessed with plentiful freshwater resources. But even here, freshwater is limited, and increasingly, we are bumping up against those limits. Throughout Rhode Island, residential overuse of treated drinking water, particularly in the summer months for lawn irrigation, creates excessive demands on water supplies.

We must work together to complete the Blackstone River Bikeway

January 9, 2011


Let’s face it, Rhode Island’s bikeways bring lots of enjoyment to our residents. From South County to the Blackstone Valley, these paths connect our neighborhoods, improve our economy and draw visitors to explore our communities. They are safe, enjoyable and provide a stress-free place to relax and exercise. Everyone who experiences them wants to see not only more paths but improved connectivity between paths. We have the opportunity to do this.

POLITICS AS USUAL (By Jim Baron) Runoff elections? Let's nip that idea in the bud

January 2, 2011

Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee, a onetime Republican who left the party and pronounced himself an Independent, must indulge himself with a quiet chuckle when he sees examples of how his very existence — not to mention his successful bid for the governor’s office — moves the members of his former party to sputtering madness and sends them climbing the walls with a screaming, snarling rage that approaches outright derangement. Those kinds of emotions are usually touched off only by the likes of Hitler, or perhaps Charlie Manson.

POLITICS AS USUAL (By Jim Baron) - So, what's next for Gov. Carcieri?

December 29, 2010

I’ll say it; I’m going to miss covering Gov. Don Carcieri.
I didn’t always agree with his policies and decisions, as even a casual reader of this space could attest.
But I always thought he was a good and decent man, trying to do what he thought was the right thing, often in difficult situations. I never bought the criticism that he was this mean and heartless guy who relished chopping people off welfare and kicking little kids out of day care.

There is another option for Central Falls

December 20, 2010

(By Jim Baron)

It is small, and its residents are poor, but Central Falls has always maintained a unique identity and its people have persevered with the stubborn, defiant pride of the underdog. That demands respect.
Central Falls should not be abolished.
Central Falls should not become another neighborhood of Pawtucket.
Central Falls should not be split up among its neighbors like a family of orphaned children.
Central Falls should be saved.
But how?

Lynch withdrawal may have had impact on election

December 12, 2010

Politics as Usual by Jim Baron

Attorney General Patrick Lynch says he “did the honorable thing” by stepping away from a Democratic primary fight with Frank Caprio in the recent governor’s race. But an argument can be made that he cost the Democratic Party, and Caprio, the governorship when he did so.
He told the Providence Journal that by dropping out of the primary, he gave Caprio a clear road to campaign without a primary opponent. But that could be precisely the seeds of Caprio’s downfall.


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