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Politics This Week with John DePetro: For the Image of the Governor

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for July 13, included talk about:

  • Dan Connors’s $170,000 DUI
  • General Assembly’s misplaced priorities
  • Gina’s missing tested Rhode Islanders
  • Protests on the governor’s lawn
  • Mask wearing
  • The odds of school

I’ll be on again Monday, July 20, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: Muted Independence

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for July 6, included talk about:

  • Phase 3
  • Lack of budget
  • The secret consultant
  • Nursing home problems
  • Not a real Bristol parade
  • RI schools’ future
  • Lt. Gov. McKee tries an online petition

I’ll be on again Monday, July 13, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: All About Protest

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for June 8, included talk about:

  • Raimondo to the rescue or enters stage left?
  • Who was in control of the march?
  • Was no-discount donuts a mistake, a backlash against regulations, or good woke marketing?

I’ll be on again Monday, June 15, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: In Search of Other Authorities

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for May 27, included talk about:

  • #WeWantOurSummerBack
  • Justice Flanders still protecting rights
  • Trump v. Gina
  • General Assembly… still out
  • Mail ballots
  • Money for insiders
  • No jobs for Rhode Islanders

I’ll be on again Monday, June 1, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Push-Back Begins

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for May 11, included talk about:

  • The governor’s New Order
  • Cops push back
  • Protesters push back
  • The press pushes back
  • Will businesses push back?
  • Will the General Assembly push back?
  • Elorza gets push-back and stumbles

I’ll be on again Monday, May 18, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: Decision Time!

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for April 13, included talk about:

  • The governor’s handling of the virus crisis
  • The silence from everybody else
  • The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s suggestions
  • The decisions facing the governor and the people of RI

I’ll be on again Monday, April 20, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Of Course Police Like Powerful Tools

For the category of the news media constructing narratives on behalf of government, is there any way this finding could have been otherwise?

Police: R.I.’s red flag law ‘likely averted potential tragedies’

As of Oct. 31, state and local police across Rhode Island had invoked the red flag law on 33 occasions since its adoption in June 2018. The law allows police to petition a court for an “extreme risk protection order” that allows them to confiscate firearms from individuals believed to be at “imminent risk” of killing themselves or others.

Yeah, of course any time you take away somebody’s gun, you can say you might have stopped some tragedy.  But (of course) maybe you didn’t.

The implicit bias of this article is indicative of the entire gun-control impulse.  It’s the same mentality that says if we just take away all guns, we’ll obviously be avoiding tragedies.

Except when we don’t.  In those cases, there’s always an excuse and an explanation of how being even more aggressive about taking away guns would work better.  Contrary evidence is also difficult to connect decisively; while law enforcement can claim that every confiscated gun might have “averted potential tragedies,” we simply don’t know what “potential tragedies” might be caused by confiscation.

There are the immediate scenarios, of course, like the woman who obeyed a gun-free-zone law while the stalker who murdered her husband did not or the Texas church-goers who brought a quick halt to a mass shooting attempt.  And then there are the longer-term consequences of being the sort of people who’ll let government promise us greater security if only we’ll sacrifice a little bit more of our freedom.

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Political Monday with John DePetro: A Creature of Their Own Making

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for November 25, included talk about:

  • Insider Alves and the radical caucus
  • The union view of employer responsibility
  • Gaspee versus campaign finance laws
  • Paint on the statute becoming blood on government’s hands
  • Blood on the police officer’s hand gets a slap on the wrist

Open post for full audio.

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The Political Fashionableness of Latin

By way of some morning levity, I thought I’d pass along this headline from the Fall River Herald that caught my eye: “For classicists, ‘quid pro quo’ is music to the ears,” for a story from the Washington Post news wire.

They could have chosen “this for that.” Or possibly even “tit for tat.” But instead, Democrats and Republicans alike decided to go with “quid pro quo” as the defining term for the central accusation of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

They disagree, of course, on whether an illegal quid pro quo occurred, but have embraced the alliterative Latin phrase as the lingua franca for the debate. Now all that remains is the ultimate political thumbs up or thumbs down decision.

For people thoroughly convinced that the mainstream news media is — to varying degrees depending on region — an active wing of the Democrat Party machine, articles like this appear to be a sly effort to push impeachment.  The presentation is of a light article about linguistic fashion, but what it accomplishes, politically, is to give readers the sense that the impeachment effort is about something real (the Democrat position) and to explain a key phrase for people who aren’t familiar with it.

My awareness of this phrase goes back at least 25 years, for a reason that affects my impression of the news media’s efforts.  During the presidency of George H.W. Bush, news stories were repeatedly framed so as to make him seem out of touch.  One example was a news cycle about how he’d been like a stranger in a strange land at a grocery store, when really he’d been expressing due admiration for some new checkout technology that was cutting edge at the time.

I remember distinctly the coloring of the press when President Bush stated, in response to some faux scandal, “There was no quid pro quo.”  The implied commentary of the news media was so strong as to carry across decades of memory:  “What is this strange phrase, and who even talks like that?”

Vulpes pilum mutat, non mores.

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Political Monday with John DePetro: Connecting Political Dots

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for November 11, included talk about:

  • The problem of public sector pensions
  • The value of the Fung brand for the Mrs.
  • Mayor Pete’s no-media, no-controversy event
  • Nanny Bloomberg and Gina’s RFP
  • No warning on the homeless transplants

Open post for full audio.

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A Question of Public Safety

Let’s begin with the necessary caveat that advocates and government agencies have incentive to make problems seem critical and to make increased funding seem to be the solution.  That said, Alex Kuffner’s reporting for the Providence Journal does raise a red flag worth noticing:

Environmental organization Save The Bay blames the disrepair of the state’s dams on inadequate staffing in the dam safety program, a problem that plagues the DEM as a whole, resulting, the Providence-based advocacy group argues, in a diminishment of the agency’s enforcement capabilities and an increased threat to public safety.

“We are literally one storm away from loss of life,” said Kendra Beaver, staff attorney with Save The Bay and a former chief legal counsel at the DEM.

So, here’s the next question we must ask:  Where is all the money going?  The state has a $10 billion budget.  Rhode Island must be doing something wrong if the condition of dams has reached the point of near certain catastrophe.

To be fair, Kuffner’s very long article does moderate Beaver’s assertion, but in doing so, it only amplifies the relevant question:  What’s the point, if it isn’t the need for more resources?  And that brings us back to: Where is all the money going?

Read mainstream news stories for long, and you’ll become very familiar with the “here’s a problem in need of more taxpayer dollars” genre.  Maybe what we need is more skepticism about what the priorities of government should be.

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The Dirt Diggers Maximize Twitter

Maybe it’s not specific to anything Rhode Island, but Remy’s latest video for Reason captures part of our modern moment well and will might start your day off with a chuckle:

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Welfare-Related Advocacy Presented as News

If you hear that the federal government is changing some policy that will affect welfare benefits for millions of people, what is the first bit of information you’d want to know?  For me, the answer is what the change actually would be.  For mainstream journalists, that’s often a secondary or tertiary consideration, probably because they fundamentally see their job as advocacy, not the provision of information.

A prime example is the Columbus Dispatch and Gatehouse Media article by Catherine Candisky and Jayme Fraser about the Trump administration’s proposed rule change for food stamp eligibility appearing in the Providence Journal.  Readers have to get more than halfway through the article before finding a direct statement of what the policy does:

The proposed change would end benefits for people who receive assistance because of broad-based categorical eligibility.

The policy change would only add a requirement that state governments must actually check the eligibility of people applying for food stamps even when they are already receiving other forms of welfare.  The only people who would lose food stamps under the new rule are those who are not eligible for them now, but who receive them because states don’t check.

Of course, as a society we can have the conversation about what level of income ought to entitle a family to assistance, but sneaking beneficiaries onto the rolls seems mainly to be a way to expand the business available for government and the dependency of the people on it.