On Politics

Rhode Island Public Radio's political blog. Scott MacKay and Ian Donnis keep you up-to-date with the latest in political news from around Rhode Island.

We also have PODCASTS of regular politics coverage, too!

Pre-2013 archives of the On Politics​ blog can be found here.

So now the most ridiculous and irresponsible decision of former Gov. Donald Carcieri’s tenure has come home to roost. That, of course, would be the decision to gamble $100 million or so of the taxpayers’ money on Curt Schilling’s ill-fated 38 Studios video game company.

The company is now bankrupt. As ProJo State House veteran Katherine Gregg reports, the budget proposal from Governor Lincoln Chafee, the most vocal opponent of this fiasco during the 2010 governor’s race, has proposed making the initial $2.5 million payment to bondholders.

The Boston Globe reported Monday that the Canadian government has established a business accelerator program in Cambridge to help its ``most promising young start-ups tap into the expertise and energy of the growing innovation economy around MIT and, ideally return home with new customers, connections and ideas.’’

As anyone with a pulse is aware, the area around Kendall Square in Cambridge has evolved over the past two decades from a seen-better-days warehouse and manufacturing district into an innovation lodestone.

The General Assembly Web site is adding live video streaming that will allow viewers to watch up to four committee meetings at the same time, as well as House and Senate sessions.

The content will be archived for viewing through the Web site, according to a news release:

Currently, Capitol TV airs a live House session and taped the Senate session to broadcast after. Without web-streaming, the channel could only broadcast one live committee meeting at a time.

RIPR file photo

In the best of all possible worlds, Providence's iconic Superman Building would be revived as housing that would add downtown residents and reduce the amount of prime office space. Yet Providence Mayor Angel Taveras isn't ruling out the possibility that the structure might have to be leveled.

During an appearance last weekend on WJAR-TV's 10 News Conference, Taveras said:

Courtesy Paul Tencher

West Warwick native Paul Tencher is set to become the campaign director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The move comes after Tencher managed Democrat Joe Donnelly's winning Senate campaign in Indiana over Republican Richard Mourdock last year.

Tencher is expected to focus on aiding Democratic Senate candidates in states won last year by Mitt Romney.

By email, he says:

A few years back, when lawmakers in states such as Vermont and Massachusetts approved gay marriage, the political chatter was always focused on whether a vote supporting marriage equality would kill a legislative career due to a backlash against those who approved gay unions.

Those who supported gay marriage in legislatures were rarely ousted from office for their votes.

Welcome back to my weekly column, and a happy St. Patrick's Day weekend to all. Stay safe out there and don't let the green beer get you. As always, your thoughts and tips are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. Let's get to it.

Moderate Founder Ken Block joins us on Bonus Q+A to discuss his fraud and waste report, attempts to abolish the master lever, RI's political culture, and his future political plans.

So far, the Ken Block report on waste and fraud in food stamp and Medicaid programs has been a lot of talk about not much. RIPR analyst Scott MacKay explains.

Nothing angers taxpayers more than media stories about n’er do wells ripping off government programs. So it was obvious that the report of fraud in food stamp and Medicaid programs had the headline writers working overtime and the talk radio shouters serving the latest sirloin of red meat to their sycophants.

Moderate Party founder Ken Block, who's had a winning week in the news cycle, says he's still thinking about a possible gubernatorial run in 2014. He got 6.5 percent of vote in a four-way field in 2010.

"I'm just trying to figure it all out," Block said during a taping of RIPR's Bonus Q+A.

The full segment -- covering his fraud and waste report, the master lever, and why more businessmen don't become politically active, among other topics --  airs Friday at 6:40 and 8:40 a.m.

Block says he's still in assessment mode on a future campaign:

In a sad day for anyone who cares about the news, one of the great alternative news weeklies -- The Boston Phoenix -- is closing, ending a long run of delivering penetrating political coverage and superb reporting on arts and entertainment. Sister papers in Providence and Portland, Maine, will continue.

Phoenix editor Peter Kadzis offered this statement:

Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas J. Tobin and Governor Lincoln D. Chafee are at it  again over their favorite hot button issue, same-sex marriage. His Excellency issued a statement supporting the move by Sen. Frank Ciccone, a Providence Democrat, to put the marriage equality issue to a statewide voter referendum.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Brendan Doherty says he has "absolutely, positively no intention" of running as a Republican candidate for attorney general in 2014, although he's still considering a campaign for governor.

Some Republicans hope that Doherty, the former superintendent of the state police, would represent the GOP as an alternative to Democratic AG Peter Kilmartin in next year's race for attorney general. But Doherty sounds distinctly uninterested in the idea.

A state Senate bill being filed Wednesday by Senator Frank Ciccone (D-Providence) calls for a statewide referendum to offer an up or down vote on same-sex marriage.

The bill is cosponsored by 10 other senators: Lou DiPalma (D-Middletown0; Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio; William Walaska (D-Warwick); Nicholas Kettle (R-Coventry); James Doyle (D-Pawtucket); Lou Raptakis (D-Coventry); Judiciary Chairman Michael McCaffrey (D-Warwick); Frank Lombardi (D-Cranston); Walter Felag (D-Warren); and David Bates (R-Barrington).

The timing was purely coincidental, but it's hard to imagine a sharper contrast in leadership styles than what Rhode Island saw this week from Governor Lincoln Chafee and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed.