Content Types

Analysis

The Employment Situation In Rhode Island Is Getting Worse – Bucking National Trend

Happy Easter from everyone at the Center to you and your family! We hope you had a great holiday weekend.

We wish we had better news to deliver. Unfortunately, the employment situation in Rhode Island is getting worse, bucking the national trend. While state politicians crow each year about not implementing broad new taxes, the unfortunate truth is that by nickle-and-diming residents and by not implementing aggressive reforms Rhode Island will continue to lose ground, nationally.


The Choice Between a Free and Natural Society and Institutionalization

A Washington, D.C., housing program is teaching us the lesson that either we must be willing to differentiate between neighborhoods or we must institutionalize the world.


Harvesting Free Breakfast on the Government Plantation

Mandating school participation in free breakfast programs makes sure that somebody gets fed, but it also feeds the government bureaucracy.


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Research

February 2019 Employment: Decreases Continue Past the Revision

With a painful downward revision behind the Ocean State, its employment and jobs numbers began dropping in earnest as the country generally edges toward further employment.


January 2019 Employment: Pain of a Revision and a Bad Economy

With the BLS’s annual revision, job reports that were already showing signs of weakness turned into a disappearance of employment, jobs, and labor force.


Chris Maxwell: National Academic Board Finds No Data to Support Raimondo & RIDOT’s Claims of Truck Damage to Highways & Bridges

The National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Research Board (TRB) recently met to assess whether changes to truck size and weight (TS & W) should be implemented. The nation’s scholars, engineers and infrastructure “wonks” came away from the conference with a consensual determination that there was not enough data to support changes and that further studies were needed before any revisions were made to either decrease or increase the allowable dimensions and weight on America’s highways and bridges. In fact, the group spent significant time developing a plan for future research on the TS & Weight issue because there are information gaps and inconsistencies in studies.

So why are DOT leaders around the country yelling “fire in the theater” as they pin the trucking industry with the ills of our infrastructure?


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Opinion

Political Monday with John DePetro: Looking for Reasons… Perks and Incompetence

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, was about unprosecuted cases under Kilmartin, the Globe moving in, the politics of abortion in the RI Senate, the value of trips to China, and the First Gentleman’s interest in free breakfast.

Open post for full audio.


Power, Human Nature, and a Claim to the Throne

Although the TV show has lost some of the thematic depth of the books, Game of Thrones still raises deep questions about honor, power, and tradition.


The Strange Message of Striking Against Your Own Employer

In what other relationship would you attempt to embarrass and harm the other person… and seek the support of public officials and RIPTA.


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Investigative Report

Cienki Wins RIGOP Chairmanship Race While Supporters Hope For Rejuvenated Conservative Movement

The process to pick a new leader for the Rhode Island Republican Party is over. After an unusually competitive race for chairman of the RI GOP— the conservative faction has triumphed. Chairwoman Suzanne McGee Cienki has been elected to lead the party for the next two years.


Republican Chairman Candidate Showdown At Providence GOP Meeting

In the final leg of the race for the new chairmanship of the Rhode Island Republican Party, three of the four remaining candidates squared off at the Providence GOP Chair Candidates Forum on Monday night.


Large Crowd At R.I. State House In Opposition To Removing Abortion Restrictions

An overwhelmingly pro-life crowd of Rhode Islanders gathered at the State House to oppose the Reproductive Health Care Act (RHCA).The bill would expand abortion in the Ocean State removing existing restrictions from state law.


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Liveblog

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Longer Twitter

RI Down in Jobs and Innovation, Up in Lack of Hope

In terms of politics, it seems to me that the trend is the key question with news like this:

According to Bloomberg’s U.S. State Innovation Index, California and Massachusetts are ranked first and second respectively, but Rhode Island was in steep decline over the past three years.

Rhode Island is ranked 23rd in the 2019 ranking — far behind Connecticut which is ranked fourth. Most concerning is that Rhode Island fell seven positions in the ranking from the 2016 Index — the last time Bloomberg released the Index for innovation.

Now, Rhode Island is the second lowest ranked in New England — only Maine is ranked lower at #41.

This is the opposite of what ought to be happening if we have a governor who prioritizes and understands innovation.  We’ve long been able to observe as job and employment growth has slowed under Governor Gina Raimondo, and it’s turned into job and employment loss.  Now, even contrived ratings for innovation are showing a decrease in strength in a metric that the governor ought to be able to present as contrary evidence to the broader employment data if her method of economic development worked.

Read further down the GoLocalProv article linked above, and you’ll see the usual talk from government insiders presenting all the wrong metrics.  It’s always about how much money the government is managing to spend.

Raimondo somehow managed to get herself reelected, so Rhode Islanders shouldn’t expect much change in execution over the next four years.  The General Assembly, for its part, has been mainly intent on showing its fealty to organized labor.

Looking out over the landscape, the most depressing deficit is the lack of somebody to be a leading light of opposition.  In a system doing this poorly, people ought to be emerging in unexpected places to provide the right answers to a growing population of malcontents.  Where are they?


Fish on Fridays


Nothing symbolizes the supposed arbitrariness of religion to those predisposed towards skepticism towards religious belief more than does the Catholic practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays during the season of Lent. I’ll admit to having asked myself, especially on Good Friday, what connection is there really, between not eating meat and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. And then there is the philosophical paradox. If my soul is lost after I’ve eaten meat on a Lenten Friday, does that mean I’m free to commit worse sins without making my situation worse? But if the rule doesn’t really matter, then why follow it? And on and on and on and on…

Here’s what I do know. With the wide variety of fish and other meatless options available to a 21st century American, abstaining from meat on Fridays is about as small a “sacrifice” in a material sense as can be asked for. But honoring the rule does require me to make some conscious choices that run contrary to what the surrounding culture tells me are cool and sensible. And if I am unable to make this small sacrifice, because I find it too inconvenient, or because I’m afraid to explain myself to others who don’t share my belief or who might think that I’m being just plain silly, then on what basis can I believe myself to be capable of taking a stand in more serious situations, when the choices might be a little harder and the stakes a bit higher?

Slightly edited re-post of an April 6, 2007 original.


The Undeserved Confidence of the New Upper Class

One common suggestion for those who wish to be aware of current events and engage in civil dialogue is that they should seek out alternate opinions and actually listen to the other side.  This practice does create a deeper understanding, but deeper understanding doesn’t necessarily bring a softening of reactions.  That was my thought while listening to former long-time PR guy for Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo, Michael Raia, on the Bartholomewtown Podcast.

Listening to Raia talk about opportunities for our state and region, I couldn’t help but feel my impressions of the Raimondo administration affirmed and my concern about its type of thinking amplified.  The listener can hear how confident Raia is that he’s got the region all figured out, as if a society is just a puzzle for which placement of the correct pieces provides the solution.

Whether it’s the operation of businesses and the economy, the development and modification of the infrastructure, the operations of the healthcare system, or the quality of life of particular demographic groups, like senior citizens, one gets the impression that Raia has a firm belief that he and other go-getter experts can think it all through, plan it all out, wind it all up, and set the great society in motion.  Unfortunately, the human community doesn’t work like that.

Intelligent as they may be, the Raias and Raimondos aren’t smart enough to plan a society even if everybody wanted to live in neighborhoods like the ones they prefer and spend their senior years playing pickleball. Such an accomplishment would require infinite expertise and a God-like perspective.

The fact of the matter, though, is that most other people do not share the tastes of what Charles Murray called “the new upper class” in his book Coming Apart, and those people have a right not to have their societal preferences bulldozed aside by a powerful government.  Moreover, as Murray explains, the ethos of that new upper class is destructive of society in the long run.

Even in the immediate, direct trends of the economy, we can observe the economic sluggishness since Governor Raimondo took office, which suggests that her approach does not work.  In February, Rhode Island was the only state in the country that had fewer jobs than it did a year before.  Yet, one hears no trace of doubt in Raia’s voice that maybe (just maybe) crafting a society isn’t so easy.


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Interviews & Profiles

Bishop Tobin on Priests’ Right and Responsibility to Speak Out

On Thursday, August 30, 2018, the Ocean State Current sat down with the Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence, Thomas Tobin, to ask about controversies in the Church at the state, national, and international levels. This portion of the interview addresses the environment for parish priests in this challenging environment.


Bishop Tobin on His Responsibilities in Pittsburgh

On Thursday, August 30, 2018, the Ocean State Current sat down with the Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence, Thomas Tobin, to ask about controversies over his statement to local news media that sexual abuse issues in Pittsburgh were not within the scope of his official responsibilities.


Tobin Addresses Controversy Among Catholic Hierarchy, Up to Pope Francis

Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin has called on Pope Francis to actively resolve internal conflicts among the church hierarchy with an investigation of allegations against high ranking prelates, including the pope, himself.


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