Target’s experience with a too-high minimum wage illustrates in clear lines why government policy can’t simply assert economic fantasies as reality.
One reason for stagnant or declining teacher pay is the legacy costs of defined-benefit pensions, which weigh down government budgets.
If URI’s anti-Brady professor were expressing the ideological opposite views, we know how the school would be reacting, so maybe it should flip the script.
Viewed in isolation, Rhode Island’s employment results for June were OK, but trends over time and the national context leave little reason to hope we’re looking at a turnaround.
Some months produce mixed results when it comes to Rhode Island’s employment report; May was not one of those months.
Although the number of jobs based in Rhode Island is up and the official unemployment rate is down, trends in employment and in the Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI) bring warnings rather than hopefulness.
When those who support tyranny are organized and engaged, while those who believe in freedom are silent, the tyrants will win. Indeed, we we are going to need a bigger army to defend our liberty.
A run-down of items in Rhode Island political news for the week.
Are the decisions by the governors of Rhode Island and Massachusetts to halt the sale of vaping products (which will destroy jobs and small businesses) fueled by solid research or inspired by politically-correct activism?
While we recognize that this may be a sensitive topic to some people, there are many pro-liberty arguments that can be made on why these vape bans are wrong. It is deeply concerning that Governor Raimondo used her office to unilaterally ban a class of products.
An uproar of progressive complaints led to book mentioning God to be removed from lesson plans, while the official Providence school’s summer reading list contains sexually explicit and politically charged novels including one that details a pedophiliac relationship.
At least five Rhode Island conservatives received Progressive hate letters in the mail to their homes. Chad Callanan, Sean Todd, Andy Deutsch, Rhode Island GOP Chairwoman Sue Cienki, and Senator Gordon Rogers were the targets of the coordinated mailings. The identity of the sender is unknown.
Should the criminally insane have unsupervised access to cellphones while in prison?
A British court ruling made international headlines last week when it decided that the Bible is incompatible with human dignity. The case involved a Christian doctor who, out of the conviction of his beliefs, refused to refer to a transgender patient by their desired pronouns. As a result, the doctor was fired.
Should, God forbid, these same sentiments become commonplace in the United States, we should fear that it would mark the beginning of the end of not just religious liberty, but the acknowledgement of universal human rights in general. The most important piece of the philosophy upon which America was founded is the idea that we are endowed by our Creator the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This statement recognizes that human dignity is absolute, not because of the decisions made by judges, rulers, and governors, but because of the dictates of a God that is infinitely more powerful and authoritative.
If the United States, like this British court, at some point decides to throw God out of the picture, we would be forced to come to terms with the fact that government, being the most authoritative force over our lives, is the entity that has the final say over the definition of our rights and dignity. As it currently stands under the precepts of the Declaration, government does not grant us our rights, it dutifully acknowledges them as absolute, universal, and eternal, and protects them accordingly. A society that rejects God’s say in this matter grants this authority to its government, and had better hope and pray it doesn’t change its mind on what human rights should be.
For more thoughts on the issue of human dignity, I have written a more extensive piece on my personal site.
In response to an ideologically driven attack on a statue of Christopher Columbus in Providence on Columbus Day, this is a terrible idea, as reported by the Associated Press:
Democratic Mayor Jorge Elorza told WPRO he’d entertain the idea of moving the statue from the city’s Elmwood neighborhood to the Federal Hill neighborhood, which is known for its Italian American community and Italian restaurants. His spokeswoman later said that any move would require input from the community.
If it isn’t immediately clear why moving the statue to an ethnic enclave would be the wrong response, consider this commentary from Italo-American Club of Rhode Island President Anthony Napolitano, appearing in a WPRI article by Nancy Krause:
While moving the statue may not guarantee it won’t be vandalized, Napolitano said the plan would include putting security cameras in place.
“We’ll watch the statue,” he said.
Because the city apparently can’t, the Italians will defend their statue from the assault of others.
Dividing the city into fortified neighborhoods based on demographic identity would be a disaster waiting to happen. It would declare a retrogression of our community toward a less-enlightened time. It would be an acknowledgement that, as a society, we are incapable of the maturity necessary to take a balanced view of history and handle each other as individuals and as peers in the modern world.
We face a lot of work undoing the deterioration of our shared culture, but the easy accommodation of moving statues would be a marker of a step too far.
On my post about URI professor Kyle Kusz, who became infamous for connecting Patriots quarterback Tom Brady with “white rage and white supremacy,” Joe Smith comments as follows:
Maybe URI should start with how a professor with his doctorate in kinesiology is now qualified to be a tenure track professor of English (or English and gender studies as URI website states)?
There are almost 700 kinesiology majors (Fall 18) at URI, barely 100 English, and not even a dozen gender studies majors — why is URI moving someone with a doctorate in kinesiology to English (maybe because he wasn’t really teaching, I don’t know, actual kinesiology) and not hiring English professors who are more focused on teaching literacy skills that are career focused (like how to write if you are a scientist or business person as opposed to teaching some obscure/niche topic)?
It’s one of the problems with higher education that teaching has taken second nature to publishing (for publishing sake in many cases like the Sokal Squared hoax shows). I’m sure the professor needs a book chapter to advance his tenure and/or promotion file. Maybe it will be assigned reading for his class (no conflict of interest there).
The main problem is not the counter balance of ideological representation, but that our higher education board (although isn’t URI free from that now?) never holds a discussion on — I don’t know — actual teaching and learning metrics. Like page 3 of URI’s benchmark survey of freshmen and seniors shows, URI is average to below average for effective teaching.
Maybe that’s comforting, Justin. If they are teaching ideological slanted material, it’s clearly not in an effective manner.
I’m afraid I can’t take the proffered comfort because of a sneaking suspicion that the results for effective teaching indicate that the ideological slant makes the supposed content of the courses roll off the table. Whether students recognize that the slant is the problem or learn to take it for granted as simply true is still an open question.
Interviews & Profiles
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.
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.