Content Types

Analysis

Hurting People with the Minimum Wage and Other Political Tactics

The scam of increasing the minimum wage harms the very people whom it is supposed to help, but helps the people who sell phony remedies for votes.


News Media Dedication to Narrative Misinforms Americans About Chattanooga

Rhode Islanders who get their news from the Providence Journal may find themselves studiously routed around obvious questions and connections in the matter of the Chattanooga shooting.


Laws Corrupting the Rule of Law in Woonsocket

Battles over the annual budget in Woonsocket could open up another corrupting problem with the inadvisable and poorly written law granting the state the power to take dictatorial control over struggling local governments.


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Research

June 2015 Employment: Jobs Down, MA Down, RI Employment Up?

Employment data for June shows Rhode Island somehow leading the country in employment growth while actually losing jobs based in the state.


May 2015 Employment: Milestones and Missing Workers

Employment and labor force numbers for Rhode Island are still booming, but it remains difficult to believe they won’t be revised significantly, meaning that celebration of a low unemployment rate would be premature.


April 2015 Employment: A Few More Months of Fantasy

Growth in employment numbers has taken off, in Rhode Island, but history and data on RI-based jobs suggests that the numbers have broken free of reality’s gravity.


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Opinion

Thoughts on Fr. Dwight Longenecker and Non-Victimizing Evangelization

At the 2015 Portsmouth Institute Conference, Fr. Dwight Longenecker gives context to Pope Francis’s statement about proselytism and gives a more full explanation of true evangelization.


How Terrorism Works (Worst Time for a Progressive Elite)

Fear about increasingly frequent points of terrorism across the United States is made worse by the sense that people in power and in the news media will neither protect us from it nor allow us to protect ourselves.


Thoughts on John Carr and the Balance of Individualism (With Video)

John Carr’s preview of Pope Francis’s message when he visits the United States this fall raises questions about the balance of the individual with the government in the eyes of the Church.


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Investigative Report

Home-Alone Minor Films House Judiciary Chairman Forcibly Opening Apartment Entry Door

Representative Cale Keable, a landlord with properties in Mapleville, is seen in an online video forcibly opening an entry door, despite the request of the tenant’s minor son for him to return when his mother is home.


UPDATED: Gruber’s Brief Dealings with HealthSource RI

A contract and correspondence with MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber show that HealthSource RI cut his project short and used earlier estimates that he had called “rough.”


Tori Richards: Is Orwell’s 1984 Coming to Rhode Island?

RhodeMap RI puts the Ocean State on a path to lost control and lost freedoms, but some legislators are moving to stop it.


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Liveblog

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Longer Twitter

Planned Parenthood’s Annual $100k from Taxpayers of Rhode Island

With Planned Parenthood baby-organ harvesting in the news (everywhere except Rhode Island), it’s worth turning to the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s handy dandy RI Open Gov vendor payments module.  And, yes, there they are, separate annual payments to Planned Parenthood RI and Planned Parenthood of Southern New England totaling $516,755 over the past five years of available data.

Those two subgroups of the abortion giant go back and forth in the amount that they receive, but the total has typically been around $100,000, as follows:

  • 2010: $128,999
  • 2011: $87,058
  • 2012: $106,005
  • 2013: $87,356
  • 2014: $107,338

The better part of the money is given under the heading of “perinatal and early childhood.”  For those without a dictionary handy, “perinatal” means “occurring during or pertaining to the phase surrounding the time of birth, from the twentieth week of gestation to the twenty-eighth day of newborn life.”

According to the videos making the rounds (another of which I hear is expected tomorrow), the pre-birth part of that range can be a particularly valuable one for abortion providers.


Allowing Representative Democracy at Outdoor Restaurants

Reviewers of legislation for the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s annual Freedom Index had some mild disagreement about H6210, which passed the Rhode Island House but didn’t make it over to the state Senate before the end of the session.  Basically, the bill would have given restaurants with outdoor tables some flexibility to allow patrons to have leashed dogs with them.

The negative view of the bill begins with the (appropriate) belief that it is ludicrous for the government to be getting involved with this question at all.  On the other hand, the positive reviewers assumed that this was a legislative attempt to return some freedom to Rhode Islanders, providing relief from rules already on the books.

It turns out that the assumption is correct.  Regulation 6-501.115(A) of the state Dept. of Health’s “Food Code” is the culprit:

Except as specified in (B) and (C) of this section, live animals may not be allowed on the PREMISES of a FOOD ESTABLISHMENT.

The exceptions are edible or decorative fish, patrol dogs, security dogs in outside fenced areas, service animals, and pets in institutional care facilities.  Arguably, the additional relief that the House bill sponsors sought to provide was so narrow and minimal that it didn’t justify inclusion on the index at all, but lovers of freedom in Rhode Island have to take whatever hints of light they can get.

Upon consideration, the bill actually raises an indictment of the depths to which we’ve allowed our government to sink.  Apparently, the process for law is for regulators to issue decrees, and people can appeal to the legislature for relief on specific grievances.  That’s more like a parliamentary monarchy, or something, whereby the emperor pronounces rules, but people can go to the parliament (or senate) to argue for mild relief.  That is, the representative aspect is effectively secondary.

In June, I noted a similar encroachment when it comes to the bureaucracy-decreed mandate for all seventh graders to be vaccinated against the sexually transmitted HPV disease.  In that case, it appears that Rhode Island is one of only two states to mandate the vaccine, and the other, Virginia, did so by legislation, not by bureaucratic fiat.

What legislators ought to begin doing — and what Rhode Islanders ought to begin demanding that they do — is going through the Rhode Island General Laws and tightening whatever language it is that allows unelected agencies to assume the authority to issue such edicts.  The basic assumption is that experts in the government have a need, and the right, to comb through our society searching for anything that might cause harm to anybody and implementing rules to protect us from ourselves.

If we don’t demand that such a bureaucracy be pulled back, then we can’t claim to be a society that values independence and freedom.

 


Getting Out of the Union You Didn’t Know You Joined

Tom Steward profiles, for the Minnesota Bureau of Watchdog.org, a woman who receives state subsidies as a care taker for her special needs daughter.  Being generally supportive of labor unions, Renee Katz (no known relation) signed a card “supporting an election to form a union.”

She didn’t realize that meant she would automatically become a member of that union if it won the election.  So, “she was outraged to learn that 3 percent of their gross wages [i.e., subsidies for her daughter’s care] would be taken for dues for a union she didn’t realize she joined.”

With the Supreme Court’s ruling that her union (the SEIU) cannot compel either her membership or her dues-like “fair share fees,” Katz has been trying to end the payments.  It became such a hassle that she switched to a whole different care program:

But Katz turned to a different opt-out option. The care recipients she helps have since switched to another state plan, under which PCAs cannot be union members, due to employment laws.

“They (care recipients) didn’t want to deal with the union. They didn’t want them calling anymore, they didn’t want them hounding them,” said Belisle. “And they believe that their salary and tracking information the union wants, their address, their phone numbers and everything else, they don’t believe they (unions) have a right to them.”

As I mentioned during budget season, Rhode Island’s version of this issue is limited to child care providers (also SEIU), and although no details have been released, the dues appear to be substantial.  I’m still trying to get details of the contract, but on based on total dollars, it appears that the governor’s office and the General Assembly gave the union a nice boost in the first contract to forestall providers’ coming to Katz’s conclusion.  That is, our elected officials negotiated sufficiently generous terms that the providers will calculate that being part of the union is definitely in their interest.

And thus is captured another group with a personal interest (and union organization infrastructure) to ensure that nobody is ever elected to office who might actually negotiate on behalf of the taxpayers who have to subsidize the scheme.  One might quip that we taxpayers have, in effect, found ourselves having joined the union, too.  How many of us are imitating Renee Katz and, rather than trying to get out of the deal, are simply moving to other states, beyond the reach of the state government?


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Interviews & Profiles

10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 46 (Congressional Debates)

Rob Paquin and Bob Plain discuss the candidates for U.S. Congress from Rhode Island (mostly by way of the issues).


10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 45 (Secretary of State Debate)

Rob Paquin and Bob Plain discuss a debate between candidates for RI Secretary of State and related topics.


10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 44 (Lieutenant Governor Race & Constitutional Convention)

Justin and Bob Plain discuss the campaign for lieutenant governor and the possibility of a constitutional convention, and (in text) Justin corrects an assertion of Bob’s.


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