scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Today is the biggest day of David Cicilline’s political career

US Rep. David Cicilline, Democrat of Rhode Island.Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

If you have friends or relatives who would like their own free copy of this daily briefing about Rhode Island, tell them they can sign up here.


Happy Wednesday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and Joe Kelly is my hero. If you don’t know what I mean, Google him. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 18,725 confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday, after adding 119 new cases. The most recent test-positive rate was 3.2 percent. The state announced one more death, bringing the total to 1,005. There were 68 people in the hospital, 10 in intensive care, and seven were on ventilators.


After 13 months, five hearings, 17 roundtables, and 1.3 million documents reviewed, US Representative David Cicilline’s House Antitrust Subcommittee will finally get its opportunity at noon today to grill the chief executives of the world’s largest tech companies.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Google’s Sundar Pichai will all take questions via video conference from Cicilline and the rest of his committee, which is strongly considering a rewrite of the country’s antitrust laws to reign in the power of the four giants.

It’s a major moment in the spotlight for Rhode Island’s junior congressman, a former defense attorney who acknowledges he had virtually no experience – or interest – in antitrust issues prior to taking the committee assignment, but has suddenly emerged as one of the most powerful people in tech, as Bloomberg’s Joe Nocera wrote last year.

Indeed, Cicilline will control most aspects of today’s hearing, which could stretch into the evening, according to the New York Times. And he’s not really hiding his cards, telling the Wall Street Journal “these platforms have been allowed to run wild and free from really any constraint.”


So what should you expect today?

Unsurprisingly, Cicilline declined to provide a list of his questions for the tech giants. But Ben Thompson, who writes the industry bible Stratechery, has laid out the key questions that the committee should be asking.

You can also expect some discussions about whether the United States needs to adopt some of the same sweeping regulations that Europe has imposed on tech companies.

Today’s hearing comes ahead of a long-anticipated report on the tech companies that Cicilline and his committee are preparing. It’s unlikely that Congress will take serious action before the election, but the report is expected to function as the Democrats’ guide on tech companies in 2021.


Rhode Map wants to hear from you. If you’ve got a scoop or a link to an interesting news story in Rhode Island, e-mail us at

Ed Fitzpatrick has a fascinating story on the “Never Trump” movement in Rhode Island.

⚓ Rhode Island reported its most new coronavirus cases since May 29, a worrying trend as Governor Gina Raimondo seeks to open schools next month.

⚓ A federal judge has suspended Rhode Island’s controversial two-witness requirement for mail ballots after good government groups and the state Board of Elections reached a consent agreement.

⚓ The Naval Academy prep school in Newport is dealing with a coronavirus outbreak.


⚓ The Newport Folk Festival might be canceled this year, but we’ve got four ways to folk out anyway.

⚓ Elsewhere: Friend of Rhode Map Julie Tremaine has a piece in Vulture that explains more than you ever knew you wanted to know about Taylor Swift’s love-hate relationship with Rhode Island.


Endorsement: The Globe’s editorial board is backing US Senator Ed Markey over US Representative Joseph Kennedy III in the Democratic primary.

Politics: James Pindell offers his latest analysis of the campaign to be Joe Biden’s running mate.

Football: The coronavirus is really cramping the Patriots’ style.

Sharks: Here’s what that tragic shark attack in Maine on Monday looked like to witnesses.

Coronavirus: As scientists begin to clear a path to a potential coronavirus vaccine, researchers and advocates are increasingly sounding the alarm over what they see as a looming threat: Facebook’s apparent inability to police dangerous falsehoods about vaccines.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what's happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at

BIRTHDAYS: Rhode Map readers, if you want a friend or family member to be recognized on Friday, send me an e-mail with their first and last name, and their age.

⚓ Governor Raimondo’s coronavirus press briefing is at 1 p.m.

⚓ Brown University graduate and former Providence public schools teacher Pedro A. Noguera is on a Globe panel at noon that will examine educational inequalities through a racial lens, but looking specifically at virtual learning. You can watch by signing up here.


⚓ If you’ve never been to a PechaKucha event in Providence before, trust me, they’re fun. Tonight there’s a virtual event where seven presenters will focus on community, creativity, and celebration.

⚓ What role will technology play in these “uncertain times?” FountainHead R.I. is hosting a free virtual discussion on the issue tonight.

⚓ Do you ️♥ Rhode Map? Your subscription is what makes it possible. We’ve got a great offer here.

Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you tomorrow.

Please tell your friends about Rhode Map! They can sign up here. The Globe has other e-mail newsletters on topics ranging from breaking news alerts to sports, politics, business, and entertainment — check them out.

Dan McGowan can be reached at Follow him @danmcgowan.