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Rhode Island Tip Sheet: Debt drama approaches the wire

July 29, 2011

STATE OF THE NATION: Time keeps ticking down to a possible US credit default on Tuesday . . . . President Obama, the Washington Post reports, calls on the Senate to cobble together a bipartisan plan . . . . More bad economic news . . . . Stuart Rothenberg says someone has to blink, but he notes: “[R]aising the debt ceiling with the backing of Democrats while most conservative Republicans sit on the sidelines would mean the end of [John] Boehner’s Speakership and would be an invitation for a civil war within the Republican Party.” President Obama, meanwhile, “looks terribly weak and irrelevant, a mere bit player as the all-important third act opens. While he calls for shared sacrifice and higher taxes on the wealthy, [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid offers a plan that cuts spending but raises no taxes.”

SHAPING THE DEBATE: Paul Krugman says coverage of the debt crisis shows what’s wrong with “the cult of balance”: “[T]his is no laughing matter: The cult of balance has played an important role in bringing us to the edge of disaster. For when reporting on political disputes always implies that both sides are to blame, there is no penalty for extremism. Voters won’t punish you for outrageous behavior if all they ever hear is that both sides are at fault.”

ON THE OTHER HAND: Justin Katz says “the deterioration of our culture” is a big part of the nation’s economic woes.

FIELD OF PLAY: Nate Silver says Speaker Boehner is wrestling with “a three-legged stool of doom”: “In his inability so far to whip together enough Republican votes to secure passage of his bill, Mr. Boehner has faced a triple threat of his own. The first leg of the stool is the Tea Party. The second are first-term Republicans, who make up more than a third of his caucus. And the third is the threat of primary challenges to his members.”

CENTRAL FALLS: Robert Flanders is set to speak Monday after most retirees vote for more time to consider pension cuts.

OPEN DEBATE: NPR featured an interview with Juan Williams, who uses his new book to argue that his termination at NPR was part of a suppression of unwelcome views.

PROVIDENCE: Wooly Fair is on this weekend.

OPEN BOTTLE: Thanks to one of our DC tipsters for passing on a Gallup poll, showing that wine has matched beer in the preference of US drinkers.

WORTH WATCHING: Politico touts our amigo Ted Nesi.

WORTH LAUGHING: Via Nieman: What The Onion can teach news organizations about social media.

BIRTHDAY: Larry Valencia.

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