Looking at a charter school debate in Providence and a home schooling question in Tiverton, the guiding principle of the state’s education system appears to be whether special interests can profit from a particular policy.
Having lured another 117,000 people into Medicaid, the state government of Rhode Island is going to plug them into an experiment that the progressive faction can use as “ammunition” in its political fight.
Without the motivation of the government plantation, Americans would find their comfort point and compromise on immigration.
Rhode Island’s employment picture remains largely stagnant, although the slipping labor force may be a warning sign of changes to come.
In September, whatever boost Rhode Island was seeing in employment cooled and jobs evaporated; meanwhile, Rhode Islanders’ income fell in the second quarter, even as taxes increased.
As usual this time of year, the story of Rhode Island’s employment picture depends greatly on whether one expects a large downward revision. For the moment, the employment picture looks brighter than it’s been, although not by much.
As comments from a school resource officer suggest, changes to social policy require a strong culture and a careful legislature; Rhode Island has neither.
As progressives reverse course and warm to the notion of pushing power down from the federal government toward the states and localities, they may also lean on their urge to consolidate power at international level.
Conservatives have the structural disadvantage of not wanting to use tax dollars just to support allies or destroy the lives of their opponents.
Despite disturbing new revelations and renewed public criticism about insider legislative grants, cronyism appears to be alive and well at the Rhode Island State House. And once again, Ocean State families and businesses would be asked to foot the bill.
In the budget that got voted out of the Finance Committee early Wednesday morning, alert observers spotted and brought to the attention of the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity as well as the Ocean State Current on Friday an extensive revision to Article 18.
They are correct to loudly ring warning bells about it. If it stays in, state electric ratepayers are in for even higher electric rates than they currently pay.
The Commerce Corp. is being vague about the time line of the development of the failed “Cooler & Warmer” brand, which raises questions about what it’s hiding and whom it’s promoting.
Correspondence related to the removal of the toll gantries on the Sakonnet River Bridge on Super Bowl Sunday suggests that the date was no surprise, that the state paid a premium for the timing, and that government officials had the schedule for RhodeWorks legislation planned out well in advance.
An AP story by Philip Marcelo, formerly of the Providence Journal, raises the familiar question of whether Western liberals or progressives understand the world well enough to lead us through it and to protect us from its dangers.
The article is about a “federally backed effort to stem the rise of homegrown extremists” in Massachusetts that is supposed to work by increasing funding for social-welfare-type services for targeted immigrant groups. Here are two of the three programs Marcello describes:
United Somali Youth, which operates out of New England’s largest mosque, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, was awarded $105,000 to help Somali, African and Middle Eastern youths build critical life skills through afterschool programs, counseling, college readiness assistance and other efforts.
Empower Peace, which was founded by a communications and marketing executive, was given $42,000 to teach high schoolers statewide how to develop social media campaigns promoting tolerance and combating bigotry so that they can produce them at their schools.
The blindness to circumstances is what shocks. “College readiness” will stop terrorism? One of the Boston Marathon bombers was a student at UMass Dartmouth.
Teaching media campaigns on “combating bigotry”? The Somalia-born Ohio State attacker appears to have been enrolled in a course on just such a subject. Here’s the syllabus. Indeed, the lessons taught may very well have been key to radicalizing the young terrorist, which means these programs, small as they are, may actually increase the chances of radicalizing American Muslims.
Of course, impeding education would be folly, but that some people — who are empowered to take Americans’ money through taxes and implement laws restricting our rights — see such things explicitly as anti-terror measures is worrying.
I have to say that President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet choices and prospects so far are surprisingly encouraging, continuing with the reportedly probable nomination of fast-food executive Andrew Puzder:
The selection of Puzder sheds light on what direction the Labor Department might take under Trump. Puzder has a long record of spoken and written remarks on job creation. He has said he opposes an Obama administration rule that would expand the number of workers eligible for overtime pay. The rule, which would affect about 4.2 million workers, was temporarily blocked by a federal judge in November. Puzder also opposes efforts to raise the minimum wage.
Puzder has said Obama’s health-care overhaul hurt his company’s growth and forced it to rely more on part-time workers.
Not only does he understand economics, he apparently takes the compassionate, worker-sympathetic approach:
“Low-skill jobs are important because that’s what gives you access to the high-level jobs,” he said. “If you focus on redistributing income, you’re not going to create growth.”
It’s high time we start talking about what’s good for workers while meaning actual workers rather than a trademarked slogan for left-wing, Democrat-lobbyist labor unions. There’s still room and time to be wary that Trump will prove squishy when push comes to shove, particularly on areas of specific concern to social conservatives, but based on the fights he’s picking early on, the signs are encouraging.
The proof should come when his battle plan meets the real opposition. He’ll either fight for his appointments or he won’t. And even if he doesn’t, his initial appointments could be a strategic feint to gain conservative support and draw Senate Democrats into hyperbolic overreaction. We’ll have a better sense of what to expect and what he intends, in other words, when people are actually in place enacting policy.
Speaking of keeping an eye on how liberals, progressives, and journalists move forward from the shocking election of Donald Trump to the presidency, here’s an excellent example of the sort of thing that has made so many of us distrustful of the mainstream:
The [Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC’s)] widely cited report — “The Trump Effect: The Impact of the 2016 Presidential Election on Our Nation’s Schools” — reported that 40 percent of the more than 10,000 educators who responded to the survey “have heard derogatory language directed at students of color, Muslims, immigrants and people based on gender or sexual orientation.” …
But the SPLC didn’t present the whole story. The Montgomery, Ala.-based nonprofit self-censored results from a key question it asked educators — whether they agree or disagree with the following statement: “I have heard derogatory language or slurs about white students.”
Asked last week to provide the data, SPLC initially said it was having a hard time getting the information “from the researchers.” Pressed, SPLC spokeswoman Kirsten Bokenkamp finally revealed that “about 20 percent answered affirmatively to that question.”
In other words, we can file any SPLC reports under “fake news” and arguably treat the organization as a hate group for crafting a message to increase hatred of a particular demographic group — not as an isolated slip, but fully in line with its demonstrated mission and ideology.
Keep an eye out for journalists who cite its work uncritically, but be understanding and compassionate when they do. It’s a difficult thing to learn that the good guys and watchdogs are actually the bad guys and attack dogs. Of course, don’t rule out the possibility that they’re not exactly innocent, themselves; after all, the SPLC’s hiding of significant information is very much in keeping with my observations of the news media’s reports since the election (and before).
Interviews & Profiles
Arthur Christopher Schaper asks illegal immigration expert Jessica Vaughn about the consequences of sanctuary city policies under former Providence Mayor David Cicilline.
Rob Paquin and Bob Plain discuss the candidates for U.S. Congress from Rhode Island (mostly by way of the issues).
Rob Paquin and Bob Plain discuss a debate between candidates for RI Secretary of State and related topics.