In February, Steve Ahlquist made $213.12 writing for RI Future. Consider supporting his efforts by clicking the Patreon button above, or send a donation through PayPal to the email below: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @SteveAhlquist Steve Ahlquist is a writer, artist and current president of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member. His photos and video are usable under the Creative Commons license. Free to share with credit. "We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Weisel “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu
By Steve Ahlquist on March 26, 2015
“She called the police and had him arrested. He was charged, had to go through a trial, and he lost. They said he violated the protective order. That case went to the Rhode Island Supreme Court, and it was overturned. But something as simple as that, ‘How are you doing?’ and you could be right in the middle of this [law], losing your firearms, and you could be convicted of that.”
Posted in Criminal Justice, Featured, Gun Control, News, Rhode Island, State House | Tagged Comerford & Saccoccio, domestic violence, Evelyn Burgos, Frank Saccoccio, restraining order, Rhode Island Second Amendment Coalition, senate judiciary | 3 Responses
By Steve Ahlquist on March 25, 2015
Intact Rhode Island doesn’t have a lot of political power. No legislators at the State House have publicly supported their efforts, no legislation is being introduced on their behalf. The issue is seen as too divisive and flies too close to issues of religious freedom for the comfort of politicians.
By Steve Ahlquist on March 24, 2015
In the future predicted by the leaders of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association, there will be fewer and fewer people able to pay taxes or in any way participate in the economic system of our state. Robots, however, will be productive and very taxable.
Posted in Class Warfare, corporate greed, Economy, Featured, Labor, Opinion, Poverty, Rhode Island, Taxes, Unemployment | Tagged automation, Bob Bacon, John Henry, Mike Araujo, minimum wage, Paul Krugman, RIHA, robert reich, robots, ROC United RI, tipped minimum wage | 1 Response
By Steve Ahlquist on March 23, 2015
“This issue speaks to how we believe society should be shaped. Do we believe that our citizens deserve equal treatment and deserve full equality, or do we believe that there is a second tier that women, increasingly, belong to?”
Posted in Economy, Labor, News, Rhode Island, State House, Video | Tagged aaron regunberg, Amy Barclay, Angelo's Palace Pizza, Antonio Giarusso, bell street chapel, Bill Kitsilis, Chris Tarro, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Economic Progress Institute, Farm Fresh Rhode Island, fuerza laboral, gayle goldin, Jenn Steinfeld, Joe Fortune, John Elkhay, Mike Araujo, NAACP, NEARI, One Fair Wage Rhode Island, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Rhode Island AFL-CIO, Rhode Island Hospitality Association, Rhode Island Jobs with Justice, Rhode Island Progressive Democrats, RI NOW, ROC United RI, Sam Bell, Teresa Tanzi, tipped minimum wage, Unite Here Local 217, USAW RI, Women's Fund of Rhode Island | 2 Responses
By Steve Ahlquist on March 19, 2015
“If you have to increase what you provide in a healthcare setting and your dollars are being cut, there’s only a few places that money is going to come from. Labor and staff, food and medication. So if that’s what we’re looking at cutting, labor, food, staff and medication, shame on everybody in this state…”
Posted in Class Warfare, Economy, Featured, Health Care, Labor, Poverty, Rhode Island, State Budget, Video, Women, Youth | Tagged budget, Ed Beard, elizabeth roberts, Gina Raimondo, Medicaid, Providence Community Health Center, Reinventing Medicaid, SEIU 1199 New England | Leave a response
By Steve Ahlquist on March 17, 2015
“The rally escalated to a march,” said Raymonde Wolstenholme, one of those arrested, “when someone with a bullhorn suggested that the group head for the highway, saying, ‘No one is seeing us here. Let’s go to 95, and maybe the governor will drive by and see us.’”
Posted in Civil Rights / Liberties, Class Warfare, Criminal Justice, Featured, History, Race & Racism, Rhode Island | Tagged black lives matter, Bruce Sundlun, Charles Donovan, civil disobedience, DEPCO, Jack Kayrouz, John J. Mulhearn, Rhode Island Central Credit Union, Richard H. Gaskill, RISDIC, Steven J. DiPalma | 5 Responses
By Steve Ahlquist on March 16, 2015
According to students, William Ashton was escorted off the school premises by “people in suits” after he told students that school funding will not be affected by student’s opting out of the controversial PARCC testing. Calls and emails to the office of Pawtucket School Superintendent Patti DiCenso have gone unanswered.
Posted in cities and towns, Education, Featured, Youth | Tagged #BringBackAshton, Hope Norton, Jacqueline Walsh Arts School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Maggie Roberts, PARCC, Patti DiCenso, William Ashton | 1 Response
By Steve Ahlquist on March 16, 2015
“When kids see that their punishment does no correlate with their offense, they become angry, knowing that kids who do egregious acts are held to the same punishment. It is simply unfair. The fact is that schools are not following the law and are finding loopholes around it.”
Posted in Civil Rights / Liberties, Education, Featured, Race & Racism, State House, Video, Youth | Tagged grace diaz, Health Education and Welfare, Hilary Davis, John Lombardi, Joseph McNamara, RI ACLU, school to prison, Young Voices | Leave a response
By Steve Ahlquist on March 12, 2015
Rhode Island has a historical claim to judicial sentencing temperance, having eradicated the death penalty in 1852. Yet on the issue of life sentences for juvenile defendants, our state is lagging behind. Al Jazeera reports that, “Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have banned life sentences without parole for juveniles.”
Posted in Civil Rights / Liberties, Criminal Justice, Featured, State House, Youth | Tagged ACLU, American Bar Association, amnesty international, Chris Blazejewski, Craig Price, Death Penalty, House Judiciary Committee, Joee Lindbeck, Juan Méndez, Miller v. Alabama, Peter Kilmartin, RI ACLU, Somalia, South Sudan, steve brown, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, united nations | 2 Responses
By Steve Ahlquist on March 11, 2015
Normally a bill like this wouldn’t attract much attention. It would be dismissed as a cynical statement against a successful social welfare program by right-wing ideologues, but Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, a nominal Democrat, has several times suggested that HealthSourceRI is too expensive and that turning the exchange over to the federal government, something that no state has ever done, might be an option.
Posted in Featured, Health Care, National News, Republicans, State House | Tagged Antonio Giarusso, Anya Rader Wallack, Daniel reilly, Deborah Ruggiero, healthsourceRI, Justin price, King v. Burwell, Michael Chippendale, Nicholas Mattiello, patricia morgan, Raymond Gallison, Supreme Court | 3 Responses
By Steve Ahlquist on March 10, 2015
Undoing the damage of decades of racist housing policy and preventing future Fergusons requires a plan. RhodeMap RI isn’t quite that plan, it’s more a collection of guidelines to help communities develop a plan, but it’s a good step in the right direction.
Posted in cities and towns, Class Warfare, Featured, Housing, National News, Race & Racism | Tagged affordable housing, barrington, Charlestown, coventry, east greenwich, Economic Policy institute, EPI, exeter, fair share law, ferguson, Hopkinton, Justin price, Mike Brown, portsmouth, Rhode Island Comprehensive Housing Production and Rehabilitation Act of 2004, Rhode Island Low and Moderate Income Housing Act, RhodeMap, Richard Rothstein, Richmond, Sherry Roberts, St. Louis, US Department of Justice, West greenwich | 6 Responses
By Steve Ahlquist on March 9, 2015
Governor Gina Raimondo came out in support of bills in the General Assembly that would raise the minimum wage in Rhode Island to $10.10 an hour. “Nobody who works full time should have to live in poverty,” said Raimondo, even as she acknowledge that raising the wage to $10.10 won’t be enough.
Posted in Featured, Labor, State House | Tagged david bennett, Deborah Norman, erin lynch, george nee, Gina Raimondo, Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, Rhode Island Hospitality Association, ROC United RI, Scott Jensen, UFCW | 1 Response
By Steve Ahlquist on March 6, 2015
Representative Slater said that Colorado, the first state to make tax and regulate marijuana, “has one of the fastest going economies in the country.” Money spent on legal marijuana products is money denied to organized crime, says Slater, who asked, “Do we allow criminals to control the market? Or do we want the sales to be regulated and taxed?”
Posted in Civil Rights / Liberties, Criminal Justice, Economic Development, Featured, marijuana reform, National News, State House | Tagged colorado, Dan Harrop, first mover advantage, James Crawley, jared moffat, josh miller, Marijuana, Regulate Rhode Island, Scott Slater, tax and regulate | 7 Responses
By Steve Ahlquist on March 4, 2015
“I probably shouldn’t say this,” says Debbie, “but the owner pays me for 40 hours and then I get the rest in cash. Time and a half has never happened. Every restaurant I’ve ever worked at that’s how it always was. You get paid for 40 hours and then everything else is over time, not on a paycheck.”
Posted in Class Warfare, Economy, Featured, Labor, People, Poverty, State House | Tagged Mike Araujo, minimum wage, Rhode Island Hospitality Association, ROC United RI, tipped minimum wage, wage theft | 4 Responses
By Steve Ahlquist on March 2, 2015
“The fact is that the people who work for tips in Rhode Island use public assistance at a rate twice that of any other employee,” says Mike Araujo of ROC United RI, “Of the 20,000 people who work for tips in Rhode Island we’re talking about 10,000 who are on assistance. Clearly, every penny counts to these people.
Posted in Class Warfare, corporate greed, Featured, State House | Tagged aaron regunberg, Angelo's Pizza Palace, Bill Kitsilis, Bob Bacon, Chez Pascal, Chris Blazejewski, Chris Tarro, Gregg’s Restaurants, Joey DeFrancesco, Joseph Fortune, K Joseph Shekarchi, Kristin Gennuso, Mike Araujo, Providence Renaissance, Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, Rhode Island Hospitality Association, RI House Labor Committee, RIHA, ROC United RI, Siena Restaurant Group, Thomas Palangio, tip theft | 2 Responses
By Steve Ahlquist on February 25, 2015
The bill seeks to criminalize knowingly transmitting HIV. Stephen Hourahan, of AIDS Project RI said the bill will, “privilege the ignorance of not knowing your status.” We don’t want the mantra to be, “Take the test and risk arrest,” said Hourhan, adding that such a bill would create a “viral underclass” and should be opposed by all.
Posted in Activism, Featured, Health Care, LGBT, National News, State House | Tagged AIDS Care Ocean State, AIDS Project RI, Anthony DeRose, Anthony Maselli, Ben Klein, Dr. Amy Nunn, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, HIV, House Judiciary Committee, Kristen Pfeiffer, lgbtq, Michael Fine, Paul Fitzgerald, Rhode Island Democratic Party LGBTQ Caucus, Rhode Island Department of Health, RI HIV Prevention Coalition, Robert Nardolillo, Stephen Hourahan, world aids day, Young Democrats of Rhode Island | Leave a response
By Steve Ahlquist on February 25, 2015
“I would have a rap sheet a mile long if this were taking place in Webster Groves, Missouri in 1953,” said Adele Bourne, who has been fighting for civil rights since high school, “At the time there were real problems and my ministers and my teachers and I would have been put in jail because we had to cross a highway at one point or another.”
Posted in Activism, Civil Rights / Liberties, Featured, People, Race & Racism, State House | Tagged Adele Bourne, American Friends Service Committee, black lives matter, Camden 28, Civil Rights / Liberties, ferguson, Leonides Raptakis, Michael Doyle, Missouri, Vietnam War, Webster Groves | 1 Response
By Steve Ahlquist on February 24, 2015
Kathy Martley, of Burrillville Against Spectra Expansion, was blunt about the potential environmental impacts, saying, “Burrillville is Rhode Island’s sacrifice zone.”
Posted in Activism, cities and towns, Climate Change, corporate greed, Environment, Featured | Tagged BASE, burrillville, domestic violence, fang, jack reed, Just Transition, Kat Burnham, Kathy Martley, People’s Power & Light, RISCC, Sacrifice Zones, Sheldon Whitehouse, Sherrie Andre, spectra pipeline, Wallum Lake | Leave a response
By Steve Ahlquist on February 24, 2015
“Any movement that seeks to establish community control of the police must begin by challenging the legitimacy of the police,” said Glen Ford, journalist and executive editor of the Black Agenda Report and former member of the Black Panthers, “With Ferguson we saw a burgeoning movement that challenged the legitimacy of the system itself.”
Posted in Civil Rights / Liberties, Criminal Justice, Featured, Race & Racism | Tagged Andrea Sterling, Ashanti Alston, Black Agenda Report, Black Autonomy, black lives matter, Black Panthers, BlackLivesMatter, Community Liberation, End Police Brutality PVD, ferguson, Glen Ford, Justice, Leonides Raptakis, M. Teresa Paiva-Weed, Monay McNeil, Nicholas Mattiello, Servio G., Steve Roberts, Suzette Cook | Leave a response
By Steve Ahlquist on February 19, 2015
Peter Nightingale, the University of Rhode Island physics professor arrested during a civil disobedience sit-in at Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s Providence office last December, left court today after settling all charges by agreeing to pay a $300 fine. Shortly after the court decision, at a press conference held outside the Garrahy Court Complex, Nightingale reiterated the […]
Posted in Activism, Climate Change, Environment, Featured | Tagged 350 Connecticut, Environmental Law Conference, fang, fossil free ri, Nick Katkevich, Peter Nightingale, Sheldon Whitehouse, Sherrie Andre, spectra pipeline, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change | 2 Responses