Musings & Announcements RSS feed for this section
planetcovid-wide

Dust in the Light on Planet Corona

There may still be a few readers out there who’ll remember that I got my blogging start with a site called Dust in the Light nearly 20 years ago.  When a few of us began Anchor Rising a couple years later, I tried to keep up Dust in the Light for a while, with more of a national and social-issue.  Then, not long after the Ocean State Current started, time just didn’t allow for all that differentiating of content.

Nowadays, a little bit of time freed up, but more important, there are some things I want to write about that just don’t fit on the Current.  Sometimes I’ve tried to force them in, but the fit isn’t quite there.

So, I’ve revived Dust in the Light for philosophical and theological essays and maybe the odd bit of stylistic writing.  Not only are these styles and topics that I miss as a writer, they are also increasingly missing from the public square, from what I’ve seen.  (It doesn’t have to be a solo effort, by the way, so if you want to send me content, I’ll consider it and, per my usual practice, draft you as an independent contributor as soon as I think it’s reasonable.)

My first essay is “Coronavirus Earth,” about the ways in which life under COVID-19 has been “clarifying many ideas with experience that were previously abstract.”

hopeflag-featured

My Message of Hope During This Coronavirus Crisis

During these times that “try men’s and women’s souls” and that are causing such upheaval in our lives, we are all left to wonder how we will cope. I pray for your health and for the safety of everyone in your family.

May I also offer why I am personally hopeful and confident that America and Rhode Island will weather the Coronavirus crisis. In our hearts and minds, we must hold true to the core American values that were the basis for the founding of our nation and for its unprecedented prosperity… our true north.

missvirginiaevent-featured

Free School Choice Movie and Event

Rhode Island Families for School Choice is offering an opportunity to spend some time on Martin Luther King Day learning about and celebrating a policy fight that would be a blessing for disadvantaged and minority families:

On behalf of National School Choice Week, please join us for a special screening of Miss Virginia. Hailed as a “must-see” movie by USA Today, the film follows a struggling inner-city mother who sacrifices everything to give her son a good education. Unwilling to allow him to stay in a dangerous school, she launches a movement that could save his future—and that of thousands like him.

After the movie, meet and talk with legendary school choice advocate Virginia Walden Ford (the real-life Miss Virginia!), who will join us in Cranston for this special event. She will also sign copies of her new book, School Choice: A Legacy to Keep.

Note that the event is free and requires RSVP.

mike-stenhouse-avatar

The Ocean State Current Is Growing

We’re excited to have a new writer on the Ocean State Current!

Joanne Giannini, JFK Democrat, served as a Rhode Island state representative from Providence (District 7, Mt. Pleasant/Elmhurst) from 1994 to 2010.

She will be adding her voice to our independent nonpartisan news and commentary wing.

She has previously written commentaries for the Providence Journal, the Federal Hill Gazzette, GoLocal Prov, and RI News Review.

The Current’s mission is to leverage online multimedia to ensure that a well-informed public has the breadth of information required for healthy self governance.

During her tenure in the General Assembly, she made appearances on CNN network news, Primetime news, and American Morning regarding legislation she filed in the Ocean State.

You can read her new posts by clicking the links below:

What’s in…. What’s out… 8/9/19

Two Giants’ Gaming Wars in Rhode Island

We’re always looking to add broader perspectives to the news and conservative commentary that we offer on the Current, so that many Rhode Islanders have a place to express their views. If you, or someone you know, would like to submit work to the Current, please reach out to us.

addieville-registration-2019-featured

Center Hosts Fourth Annual Shotguns & Cigars Fundraiser At Addieville

On Friday, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity hosted one of our signature events— our fourth annual Shotguns & Cigars fundraiser was a huge success. The day features outdoor fun, camaraderie, cigars, bourbon and wine, and a juicy steak all at Addieville East Farm. Teams of four enjoyed practicing our shotgun skills with sporting clays. We, once again, proved that our Second Amendment rights can be used responsibly.

Here are some images from this incredible day. Please e-mail Info@RIFreedom.org to inquire about joining us next year.

Addiv 2019 1

Addiv 2019 2

Addiv 2019 3

Addiv 2019 4

Addiv 2019 5

mike-stenhouse-avatar

The Employment Situation In Rhode Island Is Getting Worse – Bucking National Trend

Happy Easter from everyone at the Center to you and your family! We hope you had a great holiday weekend.

We wish we had better news to deliver. Unfortunately, the employment situation in Rhode Island is getting worse, bucking the national trend. While state politicians crow each year about not implementing broad new taxes, the unfortunate truth is that by nickle-and-diming residents and by not implementing aggressive reforms Rhode Island will continue to lose ground, nationally.

mike-stenhouse-avatar

“Publick Occurrences” – The Fundamentals: Patriotism & Faith

As part of the recent Providence Journal sponsored “Publick Occurrences” panel discussion at RI College, I’d like to share some thoughts I prepared, but did not have the chance to put forth. The event’s premise – “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?” and the polarization of public discourse – leaves us two factors to consider:

justin-katz-avatar-smiling

The Truth on the Center’s Funding

Will this statement about the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s funding put a rest to attacks about our funding?

The vast majority of the Center’s funding is derived from almost 500 in-state private donors, who support our mission to see Rhode Islanders live and work in a freer society. The occasional grants the Center may be awarded from national foundations are earned via a competitive grant application process in support of policy initiatives conceived by the Center.

There is no regular source of funding to our Center from any out of state group that seeks to influence our operations.

It is curious why our critics fail to understand that there are many, many concerned citizens in our state who share the Center’s free-enterprise vision. Such donors voluntarily choose to financially support our mission to put forth policy ideas to realize our vision to achieve increased freedom and prosperity, They, like us, believe that all citizens should be able to freely engage in a robust and honest public debate about such ideas.

The Center’s staff and Board of Directors make 100% of the decisions about which policy angles to pursue. We do not do the bidding of any outside group, however the interests of our Center and certain state and national foundations may occasionally overlap.

The answer to my question, above, is: of course not.  Dark allegations about our funding are not sincere.  They’re opportunistic slanders meant to belittle our work.  There will never be a satisfactory level of transparency, because progressives will insinuate we’re hiding something (while attacking our supporters to chase them away).

mike-stenhouse-avatar

Reporting by OSC: Veteran Struck With Bike Lock By Antifa Rally Attendee

I want to share with you an outstanding piece of reporting done by our Ocean State Current on a violent politically-motivated assault of a veteran by an alleged member of Antifa last Saturday. The Current broke this important story, and brought Rhode Islanders the real message of what was happening.

justin-katz-avatar-smiling

Each Subscription Does Matter

We’ve been using our email list and social media accounts to remind folks about our new subscription opportunity.  “Subscription” is a bit of a misnomer; basically, it’s a monthly recurring donation (tax deductible, by the way) of $7.60 — about a quarter a day.

I won’t copy and paste the basic pitch on the donate page, but one point that I’d like to emphasize is that subscriptions do matter.  Naturally, we’ve got some bills to cover, but more importantly, we’re increasingly convinced of the need to bring the Ocean State Current to the next level.  Having a regular source of revenue will give work on the Current more weight versus other things we have to do and create the ability to promote what we do.  That, in turn, should increase the number of readers, bringing more incentive to build the site and opening up new opportunities for content (and revenue).

Beyond the business strategy, knowing that people are willing to pay some of their hard-earned money in a completely voluntary way for our work — and the prospect of more of it — is extremely encouraging.  Every person who makes that decision is like a shot in the arm, pushing us to find new ways to improve Rhode Island with information and a message that is too often absent (and too often suppressed).

Please, give it some thought and sign on for a regular donation.

justin-katz-avatar-smiling

Deserving of Poetry on Memorial Day

Casting about for something new (and yet sincere) to write this Memorial Day, I happened upon Mark Steyn’s quoting of his daughter’s poetry.  In his New Hampshire town, apparently, the tradition is for fifth graders to read selected or self-authored poems in remembrance of the deceased heroes who have safeguarded our freedom and our way of life.

Fille Steyn’s offering is sweet and simple and not but so original and raises the question of poetry in our age.  We don’t hear of adults’ reading poetry at such events anymore, and when we do, it seems contrived (not the poetry, necessarily, but the reading).  Appreciation of the art seems to have faded.  Perhaps the fault lies with the pill of modernism, deathly to the arts, that found a subject for mockery in the effort of crafting profundity and making it rhyme.  Perhaps we’re not training ourselves to be as literate as once we were.

Or perhaps (and causal of the other possibilities) with a surfeit of entertainment soaking up our boredom, we’ve lost appreciation for the task of creating and understanding depth.  My mother’s father, when we was old, took to writing poetry.  One imagines the practice was once more common, and a population that writes poetry for leisure is more likely to read the pros for pleasure.

In 2012, I placed my grandfather’s picture over the first of two poems I wrote on successive Memorial Days.  Here’s the second.  I have to confess that it took some sitting with the poems, this morning, to find the meaning.  That is the point of poetry, isn’t it?  Poetry is rich and thick and, when it works, leaves us with memorable lines that somehow hint at the fertile contextual soil from which they sprang.  Poetry is work.

On this day, last year, my subject was the quasi-debate about our proper attitude on Memorial Day… celebratory or somber?  That question seems related to the loss of poetry.  Simple words easily understood allow us to tread lightly on the ideas beneath.  We nod at sentiment and congratulate the fifth-grade author.

There is most definitely a place for that, not the least in the training of the young to honor the dead.  Still, the effort of deeper communication enriches the honor, and the richest of honors is due to those whom we recall on Memorial Day.

justin-katz-avatar-smiling

An Easy Way to Keep Us Going

Long-time readers will have watched the content on the Ocean State Current ebb and flow.  We’ve published extended investigative reports that have brought statewide media attention to issues; we’ve published stories and produced multimedia that have shed national light on compelling controversies; we’ve provided a forum for countering the mainstream narrative in the Ocean State… and sometimes we’ve struggled even to keep up a stream of blog posts that consist mainly of links to interesting things we’ve found on other sites.

When it comes to talent and know-how, we have the capacity to do more and better work and to grow this site as an alternative source of information and analysis, but we can only do what our resources allow us to do.  The case isn’t easy to make in a state as monolithic and adrift as Rhode Island, but arguably, the most dire need of the state is just such an alternative voice as the Ocean State Current could be.

So, we’re asking you to consider clicking right here and signing up for a voluntary “subscription” that will add $7.60 per month to our bottom line.

We want to do more.  Rhode Island needs us to do more.  The problem is that so many holes are gaping to be filled by advocates for freedom, justice, and prosperity in our state that it’s frantic work trying to be the people with the tools and material for every one.  Help us to keep the Ocean State Current as a priority.

mike-stenhouse-avatar

Arthur Brooks Of AEI Inspires Audience at Center’s Leadership Luncheon

This last week, one of America’s leading conservative thinkers, Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute, inspired over sixty local leaders at our Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity leadership luncheon. One guest said: “Every once in a while I get the opportunity to experience something that will change my life in such a profound positive way, that was exactly what happened to me yesterday as I listened to Mr. Arthur Brooks’ words of wisdom. I was further empowered and assured that together we all can and should make that needed difference!”

With “life entrepreneurship” as his central theme, Brooks encouraged the lawmakers and civic leaders in the audience to advance a “start up your life” attitude among the people of Rhode Island. Brooks said that by taking the risk of investing love, time, and commitment to the important people and self-improvement opportunities in one’s life, that this “start up your life” attitude will bring happiness, prosperity, and overall returns on that investment many times over.

The feedback from the bipartisan attendees, whether liberal or conservative, was overwhelmingly positive. As only Arthur Brooks can do, he challenged us intellectually to consider the kind of moral, family, and work culture we want to have in our state. Click here now to see pictures of the event.