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Republicans Find Their Own John Kerry

Now that the votes have been cast and counted, and the president has handily won a second term, the long and convoluted process of dissecting this election will begin. The data wonks will begin combing through demographics and vote tallies searching for hard numbers to chart Obama’s path to victory. The pundits will either fume or gloat, depending on their party affiliation, but either way will bloviate and prognosticate and offer post-mortems. The Obama team will give itself a well-deserved pat on the back for reassembling (most of) its 2008 coalition and once again running a formidable ground game. And, of course, the Republican Party is likely to assemble quickly and noisily into a circular firing squad.

There will be many attempts by various right-wing factions to explain Romney’s loss. The more pragmatic among them will mix undeniable truths (Obama’s undoubtedly superior get-out-the-vote machine, the failure of Republicans to court a wider swath of the growing Latino population) with unanswerable questions (Should so-called “Moderate Mitt” have emerged sooner? Did having Romney sidelined during Sandy drain his momentum?). The more rabidly ideological base will find any which way to spin this into a reaffirmation of their impenetrable world views, rattling off arguments ranging from tin-eared and out-of-touch (they lost because Romney was never a true conservative) to downright insane (Obama was manipulating the jobs numbers; the Democrats control the weather and unleashed Superstorm Sandy to turn the election).

And while the Republicans have their firing squad, the Democrats will have their circle jerk. Liberal strategists, pundits and supporters will weave the admittedly numerous strands of good news into a warm, fuzzy security blanket to keep out the cold, hard facts of a divided country that just barely skewed left this time. They will claim a mandate, a decisive refutation of the conservative agenda, despite a slim …   More

Local Trivia

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Block Island

1. The island’s first inhabitants called it Manisses, which means “Island of the Little God.”

2. Sixteen families first settled the island in 1661; their descendants live here still.

3. A passenger ship called The Palatine once caught fire off the island’s coast, killing

all aboard; some say the ghostly ship can still be seen burning on quiet nights.

4. In the winter, fewer than 1,000 people call the island home; the island’s tiny K-12

public school educates about 115 students.

5. The island has had a strong conservation movement since the 1970s, and now,

more than 43% is set aside as public open space. The island’s goal is to get to 50 percent.

6. Tradition has it that the island has 365 ponds, one for each day of the year – although modern geographers say it’s more like 300.

7. Once a premier Victorian vacation destination that drew families complete with steamer trunks and full-skirted “bathing costumes,” the island is full of the ghosts of grand hotels that burned down. One such is the Ocean View, just above the town’s post office, where the US Congress once held a summer session.

8. More than 2,000 pleasure boats crowd the Great Salt Pond on an average during July Fourth weekend.

9. The statue of Rebecca at the Well was erected by the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement, but a close look at the modern day statue (a faithful replica of the original) and her grapes and amphora hint that the late-1800s statue supply company may have mixed up the biblical figure with a more wine-friendly Greek goddess, Hebe.

10. Recently retired island nurse Mary Donnelly helped the sick and injured for 50 years and established a local charity, the Mary D Fund, which has been featured on every major news outlet. (Google it.) August’s annual Mary D Ball is the social event of the season.   More

Expanding Horizons at Brown

Nirupama Rao is the perfect fit for Brown University. With unparalled diplomatic experience, she joins the Brown-India Initiative to futher the study of contemporary India. Roa has an impressive resume and her accomplishments are well known. Rao was the ambassador to India from September 2011 to November of this year and was appointed to the highest office in the Indian Foreign Service. She served as a minister of press and cultural affairs at the Indian embassy in Washington and was the first woman to be designated as the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs among many other accomplishments. We welcome this inspiring woman to the commnity.

Read the full story here


An Hour in the Life Of Accessory Designer Jaclyn Altieri Murphy

Who: Jaclyn Altieri Murphy

What: Accessories designer and owner of LuniacStyle

When: 8am, Saturday June 16

Where: Sandy Point Beach, East Greenwich

She places a stretchy cotton turban on my head like a crown – one half bright pink, the other a multicolor floral that’s reminiscent of my grandmother’s old curtains. “It’s perfect,” she says, stepping back with a nod of her head. I examine my reflection in a hand mirror as the warm morning sun casts a glow on my face. I look chic, regal, trendy. She’s right. It is perfect.

Jaclyn has been making jewelry since she was six years old. “I remember going on car rides with my parents and lugging my bead boxes everywhere,” she says with a smile as she hands me a pair of dangly peace sign earrings, which coordinate perfectly with my new headpiece. “Back then I made necklaces and bracelets to sell on the beach.” I glance at the ocean; she’s come full circle.

LuniacStyle is Jaclyn’s successful jewelry and accessories line, and this morning she’s invited me to join her on the beach for a photo shoot. Ethereal young models don flowy dresses, stacks of gold bangles and strands of funky necklaces. Like me, they wear turbans on their heads as they pose gracefully by the sea. I’m reminded of a scene from a Brigitte Bardot film.

“I love the look of old Hollywood glamour icons, with tons of jewels, and that whole beachy scene,” Jaclyn says. “I think of Elizabeth Taylor and Sofia Loren. They would wear the most elaborate outfits on the beach and rock them.” She pauses to select a new set of jewelry and to fluff a model’s hair. “I love turbies at the beach.” Me too, I think to myself, me too.

“I wanted to put a little spin on the turbies: mix and match materials, sequins, studs, puffy hearts. I wanted to revamp that old Hollywood glamour. I love the girls who aren’t afraid …   More

Vogue Hearts RI

For the second month in a row, Vogue magazine has shot a cool, blonde, Oscar-winning Hollywood A-lister along the equally cool Rhode Island coastline for its cover. In December, it was Charlize Theron, shot in Newport...

This month, Meryl Streep kicks off the New Year Charlestown...

Who's next? Kirsten Dunst in Little Compton? Cate Blanchett in Watch Hill? Here's hoping they ditch the blondes and graduate redhead Emma Stone to big girl Vogue. Oh, Emma...


Good News and Bad News In Historic Preservation This Week

With the start of a new year and Providence Preservation Society set to unveil its annual "Most Endangered Properties" list on January 23, it's a good time to think about historic preservation. This week brought both good news and bad news on that front.

First, the bad news: The 1871 Alexander F. Adie house on Federal Hill (right by the arch) is being demolished, supposedly clearing the way for a hotel. While the eventual result could be good or bad – that remains to be seen – we can all agree that it's sad to see an iconic structure razed. Both Greater City Providence and ArtInRuins have been documenting the demolition and soliciting reactions.

On the brighter side of things, the good news is that the City has announced a transfer of ownership and redevelopment plan for the George C. Arnold building, known as the "Narrow Building" donwtown. It's an overdue revival of one of PPS's former "Most Endangered Properties." Washington Street has really come alive over the past few years with AS220's revamp of the Dreyfus and the new and improved Biltmore Garage. Allowing this unique structure to remain vacant and blighted was a real impediment to that progress, and we're excited to see the Taveras administration making a move on it.

What do you think of these projects, and other historic preservation (or not) efforts around the city? Tell us below.   More

The Third Way

We’ve done it again. After months of campaigning and a tumultuous political climate in which many voters claimed to be undecided, fed up and unhappy with the direction things are going, we did what reliable Rhode Island voters can always be counted on to do: reward the incumbents and strengthen the Democratic monopoly of our state offices. The next General Assembly will convene with Democrats holding 69 of 75 House seats and 32 of 38 Senate seats. Speaker Fox, tarnished by his role in the 38 Studios fiasco, retained his seat and his speakership. Congressman Cicilline has been faulted for both mismanaging city finances and misleading the public about them, yet was handily rewarded with a second term.

Of course, the Democrats aren’t entirely to blame. Their only real opposition comes from a Republican Party seemingly incapable of producing a slate of candidates worthy of election to a student council, let alone state office, and remains trapped between the rock and hard place of an increasingly extreme and intractable national party agenda and a local electorate that’s not buying what they’re selling. The fact that they could not produce a victory for a well-respected former State Police superintendent of unquestioned integrity over a weak incumbent who fought a damaging primary battle says all we need to know about their prospects – simply put, they took their best shot and came up short. We often talk of a need for a third party, but at this point we’d do well just to have a second party.

If there is one state in this country that should be capable of fielding a viable third party, it is the smallest one, with a reputation for independence and contrarianism. There is evidence of this already – admittedly small flickers of hope, but hope nonetheless. Whatever people may think of Governor Chafee, it is significant that we elected someone without party affiliation to our highest state office. On the East Side, a grassroots independent with no …   More

Providence to Host Hot Hockey-on-Hockey Action in 2013

The American Hockey League, the NHL minor league in which the Providence Bruins play, announced today that its All-Star Classic will return to Providence in 2013. This will be the third time the event has been held in Providnece; the first dates all the way back to 1956 at the old Rhode Island Auditorium. The event returned to our city at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in 1995 for the first AHL All-Star Game of the modern era. From January 25-28, the Dunk will host a variety of hot hockey action, kicking off with a P-Bruins home game on Friday, the 25th. The Providence Bruins Youth Hockey Festival will follow on Saturday. The All-Star Skills Competition and Hall of Fame Induction happen on Sunday, and finally, Monday brings the All-Star game itself. The weekend festivities are sure to bring a boost to Downtown in a typically slow month, and the AHL looks "forward to showcasing our brightest stars to capacity crowds at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center and to an international television audience" -- possibly on "The Ocho"?   More

Keep it Simple, Stupid

A funny thing happened in Providence on Columbus Day. The fifth annual PRONK! Providence Honk Fest kicked off in India Point Park. It’s a daylong gathering of street and marching bands, a truly grassroots event that came to Providence after the original Honk Fest was founded in Boston. What struck me as funny was its simplicity: you just show up.

Granted, a substantial effort goes into organizing this thing – people volunteer their time, money is raised to cover transportation for bands from all over the county, visiting musicians are housed in guest rooms and on couches of local participants, organizations like the Providence Tourism Council and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts pitch in – but the experience for the end user, the person attending the festival, is refreshingly simple and low impact: you just show up. There’s no ticket to buy, no list to be on, no cover charge to pay. And when you do arrive, there are no food vendors charging pumped-up prices for mediocre food, no bar where you need to show ID or buy drink tickets, no merch vendors hawking t-shirts or posters. There are no lines to wait in, no rules to follow (other than the everyday rules of a civil society, of course), nothing to do except enjoy the music and have a good time. It sounds simple, but how many examples of that kind of streamlined, low impact fun can you bring to mind?

Another great example of this simplicity is Project Night Vision, something that I’ll call an after after school program. It’s an intramural sports and activity program for children and teens in underserved communities – basically, it’s a way to keep kids off the street who might not otherwise have somewhere to go and something to do. Again, a tremendous amount of (unpaid) time and effort on the part of dedicated volunteers led by founder Kobi Dennis goes into making Project Night Vision happen. But again, the beauty is the low bar to entry and thelow impact …   More


Party of the Year

It might not technically be winter anymore, but that isn’t stopping PPS from hosting its annual Winter Bash on March 29, the huge, highly anticipated fete that’s regularly touted as the party of the year in Providence. This isn’t your average (and if we’re being honest, usually boring) fundraiser. Hundreds of partygoers gather for an evening of dancing and general revels – without all of those tiresome asks for support and silent auctions. Just come (in your finest prom attire), have a drink and dance the night away.

This year’s theme is Enchantment Under the Sea. Expect the ALCO building on Valley Street to become a 1950s prom-inspired wonderland, complete with a balloon waterfall, bubble machines and a signature cocktail. “This year the Bash will once again have a prom theme. We are encouraging people to dig out their dated formalwear and join us for an evening that will include lots of balloons, spiked punch and awkward photos,” says event co-chair Caitlin Amirault. And, in true Rhode Island style, the king and queen of the prom will be crowned the old fashioned way... by purchasing votes. “The Winter Bash is always the party of the year,” she continues. “It feels like the entire city comes out to celebrate the Providence Preservation Society.” Don’t miss it. $30 before March 8, $35 from March 10-27, $40 at door. VIP “Chaperone Party” 6:30- 8pm. 8pm-midnight. ALCO, 555 Valley Street. 


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