Bits & Pieces: Barry Hinckley to Bruce Springsteen

I’ve got a lot of subjects bubbling around, but nothing in-depth to bring you, so I decided that I’d do one of these links & commentary bits about the week.

Barry Hinckley

Mr. Hinckley (photo: Hinckley For Senate)

Barry Hinckley’s Ad & Fox Interview: Mr. Hinckley, who’s running for U.S. Senate to unseat Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has managed to rake in nearly 300,000 views for an economics issue advertisement starring his son Hudson (and brings some free publicity for Save the Bay, courtesy of a sticker that’s briefly on Hudson’s shirt). Unfortunately for his campaign, he followed it up with a disastrous interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox News in which the younger Hinckley says that he doesn’t care about the economy (and behaves just like a 5-year-old should). The elder Hinckley appears to whisper the answers to his son after that. That video is also quickly racking up hits, and reviews have not been good (“creepy” is the word being thrown around. How bad is it? It started popping up on my Facebook feed from non-RI people. The interview may be destined for more exposure throughout this campaign cycle.

WPRI Poll Lacks General Assembly Approval Rating: We often hear how bad the U.S. Congress’ approval rating is (at one point being around 9%). Shouldn’t the same thing be checked on in Rhode Island? The Feb 20-23 2012 WPRI Poll measured the approval ratings of President Barack Obama, Governor Lincoln Chafee, Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline, and Treasurer Gina Raimondo. I realized that escaping from measurement were the legislators of this state, who arguably exercise more power (collectively) than any other state officials. Since the poll gave the chattering class plenty to talk about, would the conversation have been steered towards state government if it’d been included? Especially as many legislators will be facing reelection this year. Short of that, Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed takes a grilling on WPRI’s Newsmakers.

Christina Paxson

Ms. Paxson rocking the shawl (photo: Brown University)

Brown’s President-Elect Keeps Mum on Assisting Providence: GoLocalProv has video of Christina Paxson essentially saying nothing new about handing over a greater share of payment-in-lieu-of-taxes for Providence. This makes sense. Ms. Paxson probably doesn’t want to undercut outgoing President Ruth Simmons, who has held firm on the “Brown’s paying enough” line (however unconvincing the rest of the city finds it). Beyond that, Ms. Paxson probably can’t make much of a difference since she doesn’t become President until July 1st, the start of the next fiscal year, after Providence will have to have closed its budget gap.

Virginia’s Senate Race Gets Ugly: While I’m on campaign ads, NPR has a story about a potential challenger for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Jim Webb. An inspiring first campaign ad has already drawn an attack ad from a SuperPAC. Watch the videos before you read the story. Negative campaigning at its worse.

Anthony Gemma Will (Most Likely) Run Again: An unsurprising event in the Congressional District 1 race, RI Public Radio’s Ian Donnis has it through sources that Anthony Gemma will take another shot at being the Democratic nominee. Since Mr. Gemma has sold off his share in his Mediapeel advertising company, been attacking David Cicilline every time a poll comes out, and been running Facebook ads for at least a year, don’t expect anyone’s jaw to drop at the news, especially as Mr. Cicilline’s poll numbers make him look increasingly vulnerable.

Mayor Angel Taveras Brings His Case to Retirees: Making the case (essentially) of “would you rather lose your foot or your whole leg?”, Mayor Taveras went before the city’s retirees to attempt to address pensions and COLAs that are contributing the the city’s budget shortfall. No one thinks Taveras is to blame for this problem, but retirees are understandably hostile. Providence’s freshman mayor has been between a rock and a hard place his whole term; but his popularity hasn’t waned and he continues to advocate for a long-term solution. Worst case scenario: bankruptcy with a hostile receiver. Best case: the crisis is solved. Since few want to see bankruptcy happen, what I think may be likely is that the city manages to clear the July 1st deadline, but its fiscal woes may continue.

Bruce Springsteen

The Boss (photo: Mark Seliger/Columbia Records)

Bruce Springsteen’s New Album to Drop March 6th: With 10.8% unemployment, unpopular politicians, and a generally gloomy outlook on the state’s future, I wonder how the Boss’ new Wrecking Ball will go over here. Personally, I listened to “We Take Care of Our Own” about a thousand times when it appeared on YouTube. The line “where’s the work that’ll set my hands, my soul free” still gets me. But since the Boss’ appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, the Celtic rock “Death to My Hometown” has been playing in my head, with its Gilded Age imagery. The album is also the last on which Springsteen’s longtime saxophonist Clarence Clemmons played before his death.

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A native-born Rhode Islander, educated in Providence Public Schools, went to college in North Carolina and a political junkie and pessimistic optimist.

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