Cicilline seeks student loan stories

In an e-mail to constituents this morning, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI1) voiced his opposition to Republican efforts to poison the student loan rate deal and announced a web page where students (and parents!) can share their student loan stories.

At issue is the interest rate on Federally backed student loans, which will double from 3.4% to 6.8% in July without congressional action. Last week, a compromise proposal pushed by the Republican-controlled House would keep the lower rate, but pay for it by raiding a fund for public health and preventive care.

"After initially voting to maintain 6.8% interest rates, House Republicans passed their own proposal, which would cut funding for preventative health care services," Cicilline said in the e-mail. "I strongly opposed this bill, and I am going to keep fighting to make sure we address student loans in a way that is both fair and responsible."

Cicilline said he plans to share these stories with House Republican leadership next week.

Editorial note: I'm horrified by the cost of college and the impact of student loan debt on families, kids graduating into this economy, and the entrepreneurial risk-taking we need from the next generation. If you've got a story to share, take a minute to click through.

Localblogging, 02871, 2012

Portsmouth (and CD 1 folks) vote for Cortvriend (and President Obama!) on Tuesday

Vote for Terri on Tuesday!

This Tuesday, April 24 is Presidential Primary day in Rhode Island, and Portsmouth's Terri Cortvriend is a candidate for delegate to the Democatic National Convention, supporting President Obama. (She's number 4 on the delegate ballot.)

If you're a regular reader, you'll know Terri's service to our town: a staunch supporter of education who served on the school committee, she is currently the Portsmouth Water District commissioner. Anyone who knows Terri can tell you she is a dedicated member of the community who would represent Portsmouth and Rhode Island well at the convention in Charlotte.

You can find a sample ballot and information about polling places on the Secretary of State's Voter Information site. And remember — this year, you'll be asked for some identification at the polls, so be sure to have your drivers license or other official card handy.

Full disclosure: I am an officer of the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee.

Localblogging, 02871, Elections, 2012

Economics for five-year-olds; data visualization for adults

Hudson Hinckley explains gas prices; reproduced for commentary and criticism.

This week, RI Republican Senate Candidate Barry Hinckley released a campaign spot featuring his five-year-old son giving an economics lecture, and there's something not quite right about it. While most commenters have focused on the bizarre followup interview he and his son gave with Fox's Neil Cavuto, where Hinckley appeared to be lip-synching his son's responses like Fats in Magic, I was more interested in the chart the boy shows in the still frame, above, of gasoline prices from 2006 to the present. It's just, well, fundamentally misleading.

What the data actually show.

I can understand that a five-year-old doesn't know enough to label both the axes, or make sure his line crosses the origin. And, granted, I'm a bit of a chart geek (after all, I slammed the chair of the Portsmouth School Committee for showing a chart with a distorted Y axis). But that's just not what the shape of the line looks like, either in outline or detail. Based on numbers from the US Energy Information Administration, it should look like this chart over here.

I can forgive a lot from a five year old. A Senate candidate? Not so much.

I expect that the person who represents me in the Senate knows how to plug numbers into Excel. And doesn't pretend that they can bend the curve for political gain. The "why" of rising gas prices? Mother Jones has a good explainer.

Check my numbers:
Worksheet on Google Docs; data available from the US Energy Information Administration

Full disclosure: This is the kind of geekery I indulge in on Friday nights. Also, I'm a Democrat and supporter of Sen. Whitehouse. And not just because he came to my local supermarket to talk about helping working folks, or took the time to talk to my son about his experience in Mock Trial.

Localblogging, 02871, Dems, Whitehouse, 2012

Portsmouth's Terri Cortvriend seeks signatures for delegate bid

Cortvriend after picking up declaration papers at the RI Secretary of State's office on Thursday, Feb. 23.

Portsmouth resident Terri Cortvriend has filed papers to run as a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, and will be collecting signatures this weekend to get on the April 24 primary ballot.

"It all started with my curiosity about how people get to go to the convention," said Cortvriend. "I went to a training session run by the Rhode Island Democratic Party and thought I'd give it a try. It would be so exciting to participate!"

Cortvriend will be collecting signatures all weekend — the deadline is next Tuesday, Feb. 28 — and is seeking volunteers to help.

Any registered voter — Democrat, Republican, or Unaffiliated — can sign as many nomination papers as they wish, according to the Rhode Island Secretary of State's office, and signing the papers doesn't affect the voter's party or registration status.

Cortvriend plans to be available at the following locations:

Portsmouth High School (Girls JV/V Basketball games) 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Portsmouth Transfer Station: 8 to 11 a.m.
Newport Empire Tea and Coffee: 3 to 5 p.m.

Portsmouth Custom House Coffee 1 to 3 p.m.

Portsmouth Town Hall parking lot: 5 to 7 p.m.

Full disclosure: I serve with Terri on the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee, and I think she'd make an awesome delegate. If you see her this weekend, please take a minute to sign. Thanks

Localblogging, 02871, 2012, Portsmouth Democrats

Portsmouth senior runs anti-bullying fundraiser; Cicilline helps collect names for Obama

Anti-bullying benefit tournament at Ernie's Karate
PHS senior Amanda McCabe kicks off anti-bullying fundraiser

This morning, Ernie's Karate in Portsmouth hosted PHS student Amanda McCabe's senior project, a benefit martial arts tournament which raised more than $500 for the RI Parent Information Network 2012 Anti-Bully Walk.

More than 100 students, parents, and friends packed the East Main Road studio as McCabe kicked off the event. "Close your eyes," she said. "Now raise your hand if you've been bullied, witnessed bullying, or even been involved in bullying yourself." She waited a moment. "Now open your eyes and look around," she said. A majority of those in the room had their hands up. "That's why we're here."

Participants donated $5 to compete in each event (forms, weapons, synchronized forms) and parents and friends stuffed a jar on the counter on the way in to support RIPIN's efforts. It was a a fun morning of wonderful karate demonstrations for a good cause.

Rep. David Cicilline talks with Len Katzman
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) talks with Portsmouth's Len Katzman

This afternoon, Rep. David Cicilline was on hand at the People's Cafe on Thames Street in Newport to help volunteers collect the 1,000 signatures needed to get President Barack Obama's name on the April 24 primary ballot.

Local political figures who stopped by to help included State Sen. Lou DiPalma (D-12), RI Rep. Peter Martin (D-75), and Portsmouth's former Sen. Chuck Levesque and Democratic Party chair Len Katzman.

And, just a reminder. If you're a Democrat, and want to throw your hat in the ring as a delegate to the national convention in Charlotte, the RI Democratic Party will be hosting a workshop on running for delegate next Tuesday night in Bristol.

Full disclosure: Our son is a student at Ernie's (which is an awesome school) and I am an officer of the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee who signed President Obama's nomination papers.

Localblogging, 02871, Schools, PHS, 2012

Help get Obama on the ballot in RI this Saturday in Newport

In order to be on the March Primary ballot, every candidate needs signatures, and local Dems will be collecting them for President Barack Obama this Saturday in Newport from 2-3pm at the Peoples's Cafe on Thames Street. Get directions and RSVP at BarackObama.com.

Want to play an even bigger role in the process? You might consider running for delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte next September. The RI Democratic Party will be hosting a workshop on running for delegate next Tuesday night in Bristol.

Full disclosure: I am an officer of the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee.

Localblogging, Politics, 02871, 2012