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Rhode Island once again has a Christmas tree

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‘Tis the season for overly dramatic and arboreal scuffles.

In response to last year’s flak regarding renaming the 17-foot evergreen in the State House a “Holiday Tree,” Rhode Island’s Governor Chafee ’75 P’14 P’17 has restored the Christmas tree title in a statement issued on Monday.

Rhode Island of all places is a peculiar site for a debate over public religious tokens, considering the Rhode Island Charter of 1663 was the first legal document in the world that completely decoupled church and state in favor of toleration, according to historian J. Stanley Lemons.

However, unsurprisingly, much of the hubbub last year surrounding the name “Holiday Tree” came from none other than Papa Bear Bill O’Reilly. In classic Factor fashion, he sent Jesse Watters up to Providence to ask Brown students for their take on the issue. Watters aired a segment portraying Brown students as the only population in the state that preferred the holiday tree over a Christmas tree, saying that all people he spoke to in Providence preferred the traditional name “except if you go to Brown University.” Continue Reading


Rhode Island Senate passes same-sex marriage bill

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This afternoon, the Rhode Island State Senate passed the same-sex marriage bill 26-12.

Before the bill lands on Governor Lincoln Chafee’s ’75 P’14 desk, the Senate’s updated version of the bill needs to go back to the House for review and approval. The House had approved an earlier version of the bill back in January in a 51-19 vote. If the bill is signed to law, it could go into effect as early as August 1, and Rhode Island would become the 10th state to allow same-sex marriage. Lil Rhody is well on its way to making marriage equality a reality.

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Rhode Island Same-Sex Marriage Panel

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The fight over same-sex marriage has taken place across the country, in homes, schools, campaigns and bedrooms, an incredible number of times through recent decades. The issue holds a special place in the American political process for the emotions it raises among both its supporters and its detractors.

Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage and one of the two major political parties have embraced it as a part of their platform. Now the debate has taken over Rhode Island. Lawmakers in the R.I. House of Representatives passed a bill in February that would legalize same-sex marriage. If the Senate approves the bill, Rhode Island’s governor Lincoln Chafee’75 P’14 will sign it. The matter, however, is far from settled.

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Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on Rhode Island Marriage Equality Amendment

Picture of BAMF Matthew Lannon from RIFuture.Org

Picture of BAMF Matthew Lannon from RIFuture.Org

Rhode Island politicians took testimony about an amendment that will legalize same-sex marriage on Thursday. Some highlights from the opponents of the amendment:

  • State Senator Metts legitimately claims that it’s important to consider the “cosmic battle between God and Satan” in this discussion.
  • Dr. Susan Yoshiharo cites faulty studies that claim gay parents are worse parents.

Some great moments from the supporters of the amendment:

  • 6th grader from Wheeler School Matthew Lannon who has two moms asks RI to “Choose Love!”
  • Rhode Island College Professor Wendy Becker didn’t fuck around: “Our family, our relationship will not destroy the fabric of society. We are the fabric of society.”

While I’m clearly biased, a Senate vote to determine the fate of the bill could be months away. Nonetheless, these testimonies are really important to whether the Senate eventually passes this landmark piece of legislation.

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State of the City: Heists and soup

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Soup-er.  Haven’t you heard that the easiest way of raising scholarship money is through a person’s stomach? Fall River Mayor William Flanagan has cooked up a scheme to raise money for a city scholarship fund by selling soup, WPRI reported. According to The Herald News (not affiliated with the BDH), his face will soon be featured prominently on “Mayor Flanagan’s Signature Kale with Chourico Sausage Soup,” coming soon to a grocery store near you.  All proceeds from soup sales will go to the Mayoral Scholarship Fund for local students. Souuuper.

Stick it to ‘em. A Pawtucket man took the phrase “speak softly and carry a big stick” too far when he tried to rob the McCoy market armed with a large tree branch while allegedly mumbling “money, money,” the ProJo reported. Well, at least he wasn’t singing ABBA. The man attempted to burglarize the store, taking only a “locked donation box labeled ‘Friends of Syria,’” before he was captured and arrested by the police. Criminals sure are branching out with their weapons of choice these days.

Cold case…? The federal government recently offered immunity to anyone who has information about or was involved in the 199o art heist of $500 million worth of art, including pieces by Rembrandt, Degas, and Vermeer, WPRI reported. The paintings were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in one of the largest art thefts in U.S. history. “We’re all optimistic that they will be returned,” a U.S. attorney said in a press conference. It’s been nearly 25 years, so the optimism seems a little empty.


State of the City: Spotlight on crime

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Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife—a crime spree is devastating local businesses.

Beef thief. A supermarket thief is currently on the lam after stealing $320 in porterhouse steaks from a grocery store in Franklin, MA, WPRI reported. The store’s surveillance videos show a man leaving the store with 26 steaks. Is the thief hosting the world’s most epic barbeque, or does he just have the world’s worst black eye? Either way, the stakes have been raised in the meat theft game.

Dick’s hurting after stolen balls. A golf ball theft is chipping away at the profits of Dick’s Sporting Goods in Smithfield, RI. Last week, a woman made off with eight boxes or more than $380 worth of golf balls, WPRI reported. The woman is currently on RI’s list of Most Wanted criminals. Continue Reading