RI’S GROUNDHOG DAY: University of Rhode Island economics professor Leonard Lardaro has joined an evocative phrase to describe the state’s seemingly perpetual budget problems: Rhode Island and Sisyphus Plantations.
DEMS IN BLACK + WHITE: On the political blog of the New York Times, Matt Bai notes the fallout of race among the Democratic frontrunners: “Obama has always seen himself, near as we can tell, as a man who transcends ordinary conventions about race, who isn’t really a ‘black politician.’ And yet here he is being compared to Jesse Jackson and depending heavily on his connection with black voters to forge the kind of coalition he needs. Now race is his firewall, not Mrs. Clinton’s — the main thing that makes him, at this late date, such a formidable insurgent. One can imagine that it’s not easy for Mr. Obama to get his head around that.
“The post South-Carolina reality has to be even more disconcerting, though, for Senator Clinton. This is a woman, don’t forget, who came into politics during the civil rights era and who has, at every opportunity in her public life, dedicated herself, along with her husband, to the idea of racial equality, And now she wakes up to find — in fact, she probably understood it weeks ago, when she decided to go hard at Mr. Obama — that not only have those black voters deserted her, but that her campaign now hinges, to a large extent, on racial polarization. This is unpleasant but undeniable: the more white and Latino voters perceive Mr. Obama to be the candidate of black America, the more likely Mrs. Clinton is to win. Strategically, the Clintons have adapted to this reality. Personally, however, it is a direct contradiction to everything they have tried to embody for decades, and it has to hurt.”
MEDIA MIX: Mark Degon, the longtime news director at WRNI (1290 AM), Rhode Island’s public radio station, is leaving to take a similar post at WBUR in Boston.
GOT A NECKTIE, NEIGHBOR? Narragansett Beer, which has distributed a Narragansett-themed Father’s Day necktie in recent years, is seeking designs for this year’s tie. The reason: “We love making beer. We stink making ties.” Send a low-resolution jpeg to email@example.com by February 15. Winners will be announced at AS220 on Friday, February 22.
BASEBALL’S COMING: Yet the downside of being a fan of the ascendant franchise in baseball is how everybody wants to jump on board, and Fenway tickets are an increasingly precious commodity. In recent years, I’d taken solace in how, if you paid attention to when tickets went on sale and exhibited some patience, you’d make out okay. On January 26, though, when the Sox did their annual mid-winter tix drop, a number of fans complained of being unable to penetrate the virtual waiting room until only obstructed view and standing-room tickets were available. Some observers put the blame on an agreement struck last year between Major League Baseball and ticket reseller stubhub.com, while others call it just a matter of supply and demand.