Squid's Ink

Squid’s Ink: Coffee, camping, congrats, and computers

Our hackers are rejoicing at the reopening of The Coffee Exchange, Wickenden Street’s most famous coffee shop. As we move into the new year, we hope you’ll join us in a commitment to meet new people, cross boundaries and forge friendships even with people with whom you might disagree. Enough of the smiles and hope. Let’s dive into the darkness…

Homeless No More

In a move to combine urban ecotourism with housing policy, the RI Department of Environmental Management announced they will be accepting renovations for camping on the plaza in front of the State Capitol building. The newly dubbed “Camp Kickback” will have room for 25 tents with a maximum of 100 campers. 

“We’ve been looking for a suitable site for a campground in Providence,” said Recreation Director Ima Freud. “The recently evicted homeless encampment was a successful proof of concept experiment.”

The daily fee of $18 for state residents and $36 for non-state residents will go to fund the installation of permanent porta-potties. In a concession to the origins of the project, Rhode Island Housing will be providing vouchers for those demonstrating need.

Parting Gifts for the New PVD Administration

In addition to authorizing the Fane Tower of Disaster project and a new Port of Providence Give Away Without Scrutiny contract, the outgoing city council has given incoming mayor Brett Smiley a tangled ball of barbed wire to tie his hands and drape around soon- to- be- closing school buildings. The outside of the congratulations card read, “Best Wishes.” Inside was the grinning face of Nelson from The Simpsons, which read, “Ha ha!”

A New Era in Reporting

To celebrate the solstice, (and because we’re still celebrating in a THC-induced fog) we asked the new AI ChatGPT to give us “400 words on corruption in Rhode Island.”

Rhode Island, the smallest state in the United States, has a long history of corruption in its politics. This corruption has taken many forms over the years, from bribery and embezzlement to nepotism and vote-rigging.

One of the most infamous examples of political corruption in RI took place in the early 1900s, when a group of politicians and businessmen known as the "Rhode Island Machine" held a stranglehold on the state's political system. This group, led by a man named Thomas McCoy [of McCoy Stadium Fame…], used their power and influence to line their own pockets at the expense of the state's residents.

In the decades that followed, other politicians in RI continued the tradition of corruption, using their positions of power to enrich themselves and their friends. This included former Governor Ed DiPrete, who was convicted on corruption charges in the 1990s, and former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci, who was twice convicted of felonies related to his time in office.

The problem of corruption in RI politics has continued into the present day. In 2010, for example, former House Speaker Gordon Fox was sentenced to three years in prison for accepting bribes and embezzling campaign funds. And in 2016, former state Representative John Carnevale was indicted on charges of voter fraud and perjury.

Despite these high-profile cases, corruption in RI politics remains a pervasive problem. Many residents of the state feel that their elected officials are more interested in serving their own interests than those of the people they represent.

This has led to a widespread sense of disillusionment among the state's voters, and a feeling that the political system is rigged in favor of the wealthy and powerful. It has also fueled a sense of cynicism and mistrust of government, and has made it difficult for the state to address many of its most pressing problems.

In order to combat corruption in RI politics, many people believe that stronger laws and stricter enforcement are needed. This could include tougher penalties for politicians who engage in corrupt activities, as well as better oversight and transparency in the political process.
At the same time, however, it will also be important to address the underlying causes of corruption, such as a lack of accountability and a culture of entitlement among the state's politicians. Only by addressing these issues can RI hope to rid itself of the corruption that has long plagued its political system.

Wow! May the Chatbot inspire us to new heights of action, activism, and civic involvement. Or maybe we’ll just repost it on Twitter (assuming it hasn’t imploded by the time you read this…)