Content Types

Analysis

Checking in on COVID-19 Perspective

The disconnect between the warnings of government officials and the experiences of the people could make it more difficult to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath.


Play in the Joints of the Rule of Law

The law and its enforcement rightly (and inevitably) has some flexibility, but that only puts the responsibility on the citizenry to put up resistance.


A Lesson Already Learned on Social Issues

RI conservatives should have already learned that dropping social issues from their platforms not only won’t help them, but cedes critical ground to the opposition.


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Research

Updated 3/23/20 9:30 p.m.. COVID-19 by Northeast County: A NYC Crisis

As the federal government and states’ governors decide how much to clamp down on free motion, they should keep in mind the geographic specificity of coronavirus cases.


December 2019 Employment: Has the National Boom Finally Reached RI?

Checking in with Rhode Island’s employment and jobs numbers just before the annual revision by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we see overall a gradual improvement that lags the region and most of the country.


2019 Census: States Change Their Populations

States, like Rhode Island, that can’t compete for domestic residents seem to be back-filling their populations with new immigrants from other countries.


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Opinion

COVID-19: A Plan To Restore Financial Security to RI

In these trying times, with well over fifty thousand Rhode Islanders recently laid-off, common-sense public state-based policy can help mitigate the destructive economic impact of the Rhode Island COVID-19 crisis … and can help restore a sense of normalcy and financial security.

We need your help to tell lawmakers you want them to take action.


Tiverton Takes the Lead on Emergency Dictatorship

As Americans across the country attempt to deal with a global pandemic while respecting each other’s rights, Tiverton Town Council President Patricia Hilton has given herself total power over town government.


Politics This Week with John DePetro: Government and Twitter Flames

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for March 30, included talk about:

  • Raimondo v. Cuomo
  • Cheit v. Fung
  • Rhode Islanders v. the state budget
  • Democracy v. mail ballots
  • and the U.S. Senate as the means of grabbing money

I’ll be on again Monday, April 6, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.


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Investigative Report

At the Top of the Patronage Network

Conspicuous relationships between powerful people and employees of the Convention Center Authority are just snow on the sharp point of the tip of the iceberg of RI’s patronage network.


A Progressive Summer (Reading List)

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.


Special Delivery! Conservatives Receive Anonymous Progressive Hate Mail

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.


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Liveblog

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Longer Twitter

Was That COVID-19 You Had in January?

One of the persistent questions surrounding this outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus is whether all of the people who had a bout of some mysterious flu-like illness in the two months or so before the world really started to pay attention to the disease have already had it.  Writing on her Facebook page, Lisa Daft made the excellent observation that Rhode Island saw “a lot of negative flu tests this winter.”

The chart she displays comes from the RI Dept. of Health’s Influenza Surveillance page, which currently offers the following, with the gray sections representing tests that came back negative for the flu, presumably despite flu-like symptoms:

RI-weeklyflutestresults-040720

 

Can the number of those negative results actually be showing us early COVID-19 infections?  Possibly, but finding the same chart in the last few years of the Dept. of Health’s annual report suggests these results aren’t actually unusual (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019).  Here’s the one from two years ago:
RI-weeklyflutestresults-2017-2018

 

These trends are consistent with national experience.  The following chart shows the number of flu-negative tests for the United States from October 2015 through January 2020, as reported by the World Health Organization:

US-weeklynonfluvirustests-1015-0120

 

So, while negative tests during this flu season look like they’re going to prove to have been higher than average, they aren’t unusual, and this hasn’t been the worst year on record for negative tests.  Of course, that doesn’t mean the strange illnesses so many people have reported were not COVID-19.  Every year, the number of negative tests could be accounted for by something different, ranging from the amount of attention the media is paying to the flu to the severity of the flu season (making people more inclined to get tested) to an outbreak of some virus that is never identified.

The next question to answer would be how many deaths occur each year due to mysterious illnesses that initially present as the flu.


Rhode Islanders Are Adults and Have a Right to Explanations

Here’s a clip from WPRI’s coverage of Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo’s latest daily COVID-19 statement that shows an absolutely unacceptable attitude from the governor:

Asked about the latest projections from the University of Washington — which now predict nearly 1,000 Rhode Islanders will die due to COVID-19 and the outbreak will peak in the state later this month — Raimondo said the school’s model has been updated after conferring with Rhode Island officials. She again declined to share the state’s own predictive modeling, but indicated she thinks the peak could be as late as mid-May.

“If anyone tells you they know exactly when Rhode Island’s peak is, and what the number of hospitalizations will be at that peak, they’re not being honest with you,” she said.

The governor is making decisions that have profound effects on our lives, including the exercise of direct executive authority to do things that would not normally be permitted in a representative democracy.  She has an obligation to explain herself to the public.  “Take my word for it; I’m the boss, and I have the best of intentions” is not good enough.  (That’s a characterization, not a quotation, if you weren’t sure.)

How many deaths does the governor project Rhode Island will experience, and how many does she expect to avert by taking this or that action?  These aren’t idle questions from a Don’t Tread on Me enthusiast.  Every new restriction on our activity comes with a price-tag in health and lives.  In rough numbers, Rhode Island experiences just under 400 suicides and drug overdoses each year; how much is poverty, isolation, and idleness going to drive up those numbers?  Does the governor have a model for that? 

Tough-gal talk about driving around the state and “you’re not going to want to be in that group” if she has to “break up any crowds” is (maybe) how you manipulate teenagers, not how you communicate with adults.  Declaring a slow-rolling state of emergency for months on end does not make us subjects, and the governor’s legitimacy requires complete transparency so we can evaluate for ourselves whether her actions are justified.

Of course, it doesn’t help that our legislators are proving that they lack the courage to fulfill their role in our government during this tricky time.


Social Distancing Between States: RI Arrests Massachusetts Golfers

Welcome to the world of social distancing.  As a person-to-person strategy to slow a contagion, it’s absolutely reasonable, but it’s starting to sound like an ominous act by government to tear us apart.

Meet three golfers trying to walk the line between their state of Massachusetts, which closed golf courses, and the neighboring state of Rhode Island, which closed the state to outsiders who can’t quarantine for 14 days:

An Attleboro man and his two golfing partners are being charged with playing a round in Rhode Island in violation of a ban on people coming into the state for nonwork-related reasons. …

They were apprehended at a nearby McDonald’s restaurant, where police say the men changed cars to drive to the course in a vehicle with Rhode Island license plates.

Taunton and Attleboro, where the men are from, are part of the regular lives of Rhode Islanders.  The quarantine restrictions don’t apply to Rhode Islanders who travel across the border or to people heading in either direction for work.  In this case, the three of them came to Rhode Island to give a local business some money and to walk around a giant outdoor lawn for a few hours.

Perhaps in our current environment this outcome is a matter for reasonable debate (although some would surely say no debate is allowed and I’m wrong), but this seems to me to be an indication that we’re beyond the reasonable line.


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Interviews & Profiles

Suggestions on Contract Reform from a Teacher

Michael Marra is a teacher of history and economics and asserts that Providence schools are not the only schools in need of improvement. His focus is on teacher contracts, which need to be modified to foster good teaching and diminish poor performance.


Mainstream Women’s Group Launches in Rhode Island

A new group for Rhode Island women will put aside both the idea that women are required to be progressive radicals and the bare-knuckle political assaults that the Left thinks public discourse entails.


A Law with Red Flags

Mr. Calenda was a prosecutor in the Attorney General’s office for many years. Now in private practice he describes how the “Red Flag Law” has been implemented over the last 18 months and its implications on the constitutional protections of due process and unlawful search and seizure. He also discusses the “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazine” bills introduced once again in this current session of the Legislature.


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