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The Dark Humor of North Providence Little League Sponsorships

Let’s start Thursday on a lightish note.  Is it me or does news about the North Providence West Little League read like some sort of Rhode Island–specific Abbot and Costello routine?  From the Valley Breeze:

Senator Ciccone and FOP-13 NPPD [Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 13, North Providence Police Department] earned a share of the North Providence West Little League’s Major Division regular-season championship by capturing their respective finales at Romano Field and concluding their schedules with 14-2 records.

On Monday night, Senator Ciccone posted a 9-0 triumph over Christiansen’s Fine Milk that was the ballclub’s fourth straight victory. Nathan Bautista pitched a superb one-hit shutout that saw him strike out 13 batters and Mazeo DiScullio led the offense with three hits and as many runs scored.

FOP-13, meanwhile, will head into the postseason with an eight-game win streak, thanks to its 12-5 victory over Mayor Lombardi last Wednesday night. Ethan Leveillee delivered the game’s biggest hit, a grand slam home run over the left-field fence.

It’s possible I just don’t remember something, but I can’t recall any labor unions sponsoring teams when I played Little League years ago in New Jersey and definitely not any politicians.  The latter seems flatly inappropriate.  Politicians aren’t promoting a product in the same way private businesses are, and to politicize children’s athletics in this way is wrong.

That said, it is inarguably appropriate, symbolically, for Rhode Island teams named after politicians and labor unions to be “triumphing” over those sponsored by the private businesses that move our economy forward.

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Yes, That Political Double Standard

Just sayin’.  Neither of the following is purely objective reportage, but the first is stealthily positive, while the second is overtly negative in its focus, its overstatement of the action taken, and insistent reduction to partisan disagreement.

Washington Post in 2011:

In gay rights victory, Obama administration won’t defend Defense of Marriage Act

The Obama administration said Wednesday that it will no longer defend the federal law that bans the recognition of same-sex marriage because it considers the legislation unconstitutional, a sudden and rare reversal.

Washington Post in 2018:

Trump administration won’t defend ACA in case brought by GOP states

The Trump administration said Thursday night that it will not defend the Affordable Care Act against the latest legal challenge to its constitutionality — a dramatic break from the executive branch’s tradition of arguing to uphold existing statutes and a land mine for health insurance changes the ACA brought about.

Look, I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t been on the media-bias bandwagon almost since I began really paying attention to politics nearly 20 years ago, but we’re getting to the point that anything negative that a mainstream news source reports about the president must, almost by necessity, be assumed to be spin, potentially to convey the opposite meaning from the truth.

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When the Chief Executive Is Often Somewhere Else

One can’t help but combine the news Monique highlighted here — that the administration of Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo missed a critical deadline for appealing a costly legal ruling — with today’s “Political Scene” in the Providence Journal:

As a champion fundraiser, economic-development cheerleader and devoted Yale Law School alum, Gov. Gina Raimondo has been out of state on official, or political, business at least 90 days since the Jan. 1, 2017, midpoint of her term as governor.

Her travels during this stretch took her to New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Arizona, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Texas, Oregon, Michigan, California, North Carolina and Washington, D.C.

All of these trips were identified in a summary provided to Political Scene by the governor’s office as either “official” (27), “political” (19), or “mixed” (15). The trips categorized as “official” included her Harvard Class Reunion in April, which her staff described as a valuable networking event.

We can discuss the (unknowable) variable of how often prior governors were out of state and debate the importance of Raimondo’s trips to the people of Rhode Island, but the plain reality is that her administration has faced repeated problems executing its responsibilities, and at the same time, she has been traveling far and wide, burnishing her own brand and collecting unprecedented money for her political interests.

I commented recently on a fundraising email from the Raimondo campaign emphasizing the importance of donating money in order to support the policies of the Raimondo administration, so it’s possible the Raimondo camp believes its fundraising in order to buy the next election to be a long-term benefit to the people of Rhode Island.  Those of us who must live with the consequences of government policies should probably give some thought to whether that interpretation matches their own assessment of a governor’s responsibility.

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UPDATED: Latest Stunning Display of Incompetence by Raimondo Involving our Most Vulnerable May Cost Taxpayers Tens of Millions

Both the Providence Journal‘s Kathy Gregg and WPRI’s Ted Nesi are reporting today that the State of Rhode Island, more specifically, the Executive branch’s Office of Health and Human Services (the Rhode Island Executive Branch being currently occupied, we should note, by Gina Raimondo), missed a critical court deadline to appeal a court ruling and thereby may have put state taxpayers on the hook for “$8 million annually for each year starting in 2016-17″. From Ted Nesi’s story about this disturbing and jaw-dropping situation:

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If They’re Together, Who’s Left Out?

It probably means I’m one of those people who refuses to engage in constructive dialogue, but I’m skeptical of these Rhode Island Foundation events:

What do you get when you mix a bunch of Rhode Islanders who disagree about public issues with 47 gallons of marinara sauce?

“You find common ground and ways to civilly disagree and debate,” Neil D. Steinberg, the president and chief executive of the Rhode Island Foundation, said Thursday afternoon ahead of the foundation’s annual meeting. A significant portion of his remarks prepared for the meeting discussed the foundation’s recent Together RI initiative, in which nearly 1,300 people attended 20 dinners around the state from late March to early May.

There are two possibilities, here, that may depend entirely on the viewer’s perspective:  Did these events mingle people who disagree or darken the lines around what a certain segment of insiders thinks is acceptable?  It’s their forum; they set the tone; they choose the venue; they control the debate.  Most importantly, they decide what beliefs and behaviors count as “civil,” and they write the summary report after the fact.

This is the same organization, don’t forget, that promoted a slick and offensive video tarring Rhode Islanders as uncouth complainers who should just be quiet until the kids who mouth the RI Foundation’s preferred line have grown up and taken over.

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Matt Brown, the Anti-Progressive?

Some comments from Democrat gubernatorial candidate Matt Brown strike a curious chord, especially prefaced with WPRI reporter Ted Nesi’s characterization that it represents “a pitch based on science”:

“I think we need to remember, we know now from DNA studies, recent DNA studies from all around the world, that we actually all started out together,” he said. “There were as few as 1,000 of us, human beings, struggling to survive on the African savannah. And we did survive, and we went north and we went around the world.”

“But in the process, we found every possible way to divide ourselves against each other,” he continued. “We found race, we found religion, we found nationality, ethnicity, and politics. And so now we are divided, and that makes us powerless. … [W]e’re going to have to make sure that people recognize that now, because these problems are so big, that the only way to solve them is to find a way over these divides.”

So, is Brown saying that he’s against identity politics and all of the left-wing policies that dice humanity up into ever-smaller groups and pit us against each other?  Or (far from being “based on science”) is this just the typical “Imagine” pablum about which the reader or listener is encouraged not to think too hard?

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Disaffiliation: Voting Against the Bad Can Help the Good

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is reminding voters of their ability to be unaffiliated and vote in either party’s primary during this upcoming election cycle:

Concerned about the gains of liberal-leaning lawmakers in the General Assembly, Freedom Center CEO Mike Stenhouse asked fellow conservatives in a Friday email to “consider voting in September primary races that include progressive candidates,” to potentially stop them before they get to the general election.

“The greatest threat facing our state is more progressive lawmakers elected this fall who will advance more anti-family and anti-business progressive policies,” Stenhouse wrote. “RI is one election away from far-left progressives gaining control of the General Assembly and a more firm hold in the executive branch. By joining thousands of voters from other conservative organizations who are likewise being asked to consider voting in September primary races that include progressive candidates, you can help put Rhode Island on a better path.”

The deadline to become an “unaffiliated” voter is June 12, and voter registrations can be viewed and edited here.

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A Canary in Seattle

The city of Seattle is blazing trails in the assault on business and disincentive for job creation, and Seattle Times columnist Jon Talton is correct to warn of a reckoning:

One thing is clear. The tax will not be paid by Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, or any other real or imagined toffs running the targeted companies. It will be “paid” by hiring fewer people here, making fewer investments, thus perhaps reducing overall taxes to the city. This is not sticking it to The Man.

One of the fascinating aspects of the jobs tax is how it reveals a tectonic shift in Seattle politics.

The slow-moving but generally pragmatic center-left that governed for years has collapsed.

Some of Talton’s lessons are either (it seems to me) either off base or specific to Seattle.  I’m suspicious, notably, of the blame that he puts on the GOP for becoming a “hard-right party” that exploded its leverage by booting its centrists.  One needn’t change the tilt of one’s head too much to see that as something more like a center-right party that didn’t move far enough to the left to keep progressive activists from attacking its donors and volunteers.

Consider Talton’s complaint that voters don’t have options; that can be a sign that people won’t run, given the charged atmosphere.  In short, this probably isn’t quite the distinct trend that he presents it as:

Meanwhile, a hard-left movement arose with the activist foot soldiers, infrastructure and energy to win municipal elections. It might represent a minority of voters, but given the withering away of the old order, it can win. Voters don’t have alternatives.

This lesson is probably increasingly universal across the country.  An activist infrastructure has been built up with funding from embedded interests (like labor unions), a supremely wealthy progressive elite, and siphoned taxpayer money from the Obama Administration.  At the local level, it targets any politician or grassroots organization that attempts to offer an alternative, and so the alternative doesn’t get a voice.

So… the city gets insane tax-and-spend policies that create obvious incentives against economic activity and for reliance on public subsidies.  A reckoning will come, indeed.

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Matt Brown’s Disastrous Platform

One can have little doubt that Matt Brown’s platform is right in line with the views of progressive Democrats.  One can also have little doubt that Matt Brown’s platform would be economically disastrous for Rhode Island:

On policy, Brown said he wants to reverse various recent state tax cuts, such as by raising the top income tax rate from 5.99% back to 9.9%, where it stood until 2010. He also said he would raise the top corporate rate from 7% back to 9%, but wants to create a graduated system that lets smaller companies pay a lower rate. He has not yet decided whether he wants to raise the estate tax, he said.

Brown pledged to increase funding for Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for low-income residents that has grown to about a quarter of the state budget.

So, increase dependency on government and suppress the free market dynamism that pays for government programs.  Brown’s program would push Rhode Island into the accelerated spiral that Connecticut is experiencing and the flight of the productive class.

It seems unlikely that Brown will actually have a chance to push his program as governor, but his end point is that toward which progressives are incrementally moving the state.  We need to take his succinct statements as a warning.

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National Popular Vote and the End Game

Upon the entry of Connecticut into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, Michael Walsh emphasizes the practical motivation and effect:

“Work-around”? Nullification is more like it. But this is typical of the fascist Left, offering a “solution” to a non-existent problem in order to improve their chances at permanent political domination. It frustrates them to no end that having conquered California, New York, and Illinois in order to bank 104 electoral votes before a presidential campaign has even begun (270 are needed to win), they discovered that transforming those states into Democrat ghettos meant that every popular-vote margin over 1 is wasted, since the overall national popular vote doesn’t matter.

As I argued when Rhode Island took this leap, it makes no sense for small states.  Rhode Island and Connecticut have more leverage under the electoral college than under a popular vote regime.  But the powers who be in these states trust that their political party will continue to dominate other, bigger states, so they’re willing to sell out their own voters in order to take leverage away from other small states that either aren’t as partisan or are partisan in the other direction.

Walsh has it correct when he writes:

… the idea of independent and, dare I say “diverse,” states is repugnant to totalitarians. As they go about rewriting the history of the United States, one of the things they’re trying to expunge is the idea that thirteen separate colonies came together in order to form a more perfect union. The nation they envision — and which they’re on their way to realizing — is one ruled from Washington, with the states acting as administrative satrapies.

We can project farther into the future, too.  We’ve already had plenty of indication that, once Washington, D.C., is reliably fixed in the hands of an executive to their liking (one who will use the power of government to hurt their enemies and skirt the Constitutional order to subvert that troublesome legislature), they’ll turn to shifting power to a global elite.  Their goal is a planet that has no place to go where you can live as if their philosophy might be wrong.

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The Million Dollar Quarter: Is Rhode Island for Sale?

Everybody who writes or comments on Rhode Island politics is expressing shock and striving to process the fact that Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo took in $1.3 million in fundraising during the first three months of 2018.  That’s a 40% increase in her cash on hand over a period of time during which polling data and the general temper of the people of the state suggest lackluster support for the governor (to put it mildly).

So what gives?

Spreadsheets available from the state Board of Election Campaign Finance Unit show that a significant majority of the governor’s donations come from out of the state: 60.5%, to be exact.  Out-of-state donors tend to be more generous, too, with an average donation of $725, compared with $524 in state.  In fact 63% of Raimondo’s out-of-state donors gave her campaign the maximum of $1,000 (with one Robert Clark of Saint Louis, MO, apparently giving an illegal $2,500 donation).  This compares with 43% of in-state donations.

By contrast, Raimondo’s nearest Republican opponent, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, raised only 16% of his $191,460 first-quarter revenue out of state, with the average out-of-state donation amounting to $288.  Just 16% of Fung’s out-of-state donors gave the maximum $1,000 (with none giving illegal contributions greater than that).

The question Rhode Islanders should be asking is:  What do all of Raimondo’s generous out-of-state donors expect to get for their investments?  Neither of the two possibilities that come to mind aren’t encouraging.  Perhaps the donors want special deals from the governor’s office, using Rhode Islanders’ public resources.  Or perhaps they’re using Rhode Island’s governorship — the chief executive office of a state that has been mired in stagnation and controversy for way too long — as a stepping stone for national political ambitions.

Either option suggests a state for sale whose people will either have to tuck their empty pockets back in or brush the footprints off each other’s backs when the governor’s done with us.

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A Key Insight from Mattiello’s Campaign Finance Woes

Everybody’s choosing corners in response to news that Speaker of the Rhode Island House Nicholas Mattiello, a Cranston Democrat, and his close allies have been tangled up in campaign finance peculiarities, with some subpoenas flying and Mattiello having to transfer $72,000 from one campaign account to another.  Given the ground I’ve staked out on the broader issue, however, I’d suggest that italicized sentence in the following paragraph is probably the most important consideration:

Mattiello issued this statement late Tuesday night: “I am pleased this issue has been resolved. I regret that my campaign inadvertently made some mistakes. I accept the warning from the Board of Elections and will fully repay from my campaign account what is owed to the PAC account. To assure those mistakes are not repeated, right after the 2016 election I hired a CPA with expertise in campaign finance to handle all of the finances.”

If our election laws have become so complex as to require specialized accountants in order to run for a seat in a part-time legislature, we’re doing something wrong.  We need more people running for office, not fewer.

Yes, money in politics is a problem, but the solution isn’t to force candidates to spend more money on campaign management.  Rather, we need to reduce the value of elective office as an investment for special interests.  That could mean something relatively easy, like term limits, but more fundamentally, we have to reduce the things that we task government with doing.

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Where the Unexpected Windfalls Go

In preparation for my weekly spot with John DePetro, this afternoon, I revisited Katherine Gregg’s Providence Journal article about the 7.5% in raises (actually 7.7%, compounded) state employees under Council 94 are expected to receive as part of a deal with Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo.  Raimondo, you may have heard, is facing a tough election this year.

These paragraphs jump out:

… the events at Council 94 union headquarters coincided with the announcement by the Raimondo administration that year-to-date revenue collections are running $46.5 million ahead of the estimates adopted at the state’s official Revenue Estimating Conference last November, on which Governor Raimondo’s $9.3 billion budget proposal was based.

A statement issued by the Department of Revenue said: “The major contributors to this surplus are personal income tax revenues, $43.6 million more than expected; estate and transfer tax revenues, $5.3 million above expectations; departmental receipts revenues, $4.5 million more than expected; and public utilities gross earnings tax revenues, $5.4 million ahead of estimates.” A few smaller sources of revenue fell short of projections, yielding the net surplus of $46.5 million.

Gregg notes that the new raises will be competing with the pleas of other special interest groups in their annual “more money” dance (which, admittedly, sometimes means more than a budgeted reduction).

But have you noticed that an unexpected increase in revenue is never cited as an opportunity to lower tax rates?  To the extent that it comes up, reduced taxes are typically handled in such a way as to make a special interest out of taxpayers, as with the specific elimination of the car tax.

In any event, time will tell whether Raimondo’s bid for the labor vote creates enough of a boost to save her job.  Valley Breeze publisher Tom Ward is skeptical of her chances, generally:

My take on it: There is no amount of money that will save her candidacy. The unfixable UHIP that continues to cost taxpayers more millions, the now-late and already unpopular tolls that create a new budget shortage, the “scooping” of energy conservation monies – and now, grabbing 911 emergency funds for God knows what. She owns all of it! She will lose a two-way race soundly, and needs to keep independents like Joe Trillo in the race to save her.

We’ll see.  The thing with full ballots is that a candidate can win with a small plurality, as Rhode Islanders keep learning… to our detriment.

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Another Bizarre Press Release from a Candidate

Let’s take it as written that I’m no P.C. softy seeking to avoid controversial positions or bend to the identity politics mobs.  Even so, I’m scratching my head that independent candidate for governor Joe Trillo would think it worthwhile to send out a press release attacking Starbucks for caving to left-wing pressure in Philadelphia:

“On three different occasions police officers, called by store management, asked the two males to leave the location because they were trespassing.  When the men refused requests to leave, they were arrested.  That’s the way it goes.  If two white men were arrested for refusing an officer’s instructions to leave, we would not be learning of this story,” Trillo said.

“I am so sick of hearing people scream the word racism every time a minority gets arrested for something unlawful.  Sorry folks, if you’re asked to leave a business’s premises, you leave.  It’s not racism, it’s what happens when you break the law,” he added.

And the relevance to Rhode Island is… what?  What would he do, as governor, to combat the scourge of liberal companies’ caving to pressure from liberal activists?  Or is he treating his run mainly as an opportunity to play pundit?

That explanation is as good as any other, at this point.  In a press release from earlier in the week, Trillo insists:

Today, I’d like to officially and publicly set the record straight:

  • I did NOT get in this race as a spoiler or to help Gina Raimondo win.
  • I am NOT working with Gina Raimondo or “providing her with talking points to use against Allan Fung.
  • I am NOT running to get my step-daughter a job.
  • I am NOT going to back out of this race!

That would have been a good moment to pivot and explain why he is running; instead, he focused entirely on wanting to beat Fung and Raimondo.  But why?

In earlier press releases, he’s said he wants to “change the status quo,” but that’s an objective subject to multiple interpretations.  If any of those interpretations fit very well with his declaration that the Rhode Island GOP would have “blood on its hands” if it knocked Speaker Nicholas Mattiello out of the General Assembly, I’m not seeing it.

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Man with Pointless Government Job Shows Fear of Opposition

So widely known is the fact that Rhode Island’s lieutenant governor gig is just a six-figure waiting room for politicians that the late Bob Healey gained a significant local following on the promise of eliminating the office from within.  Now the politician who currently occupies that State House bean-bag chair — and who used to actually do something in his job as Cumberland mayor — is showing how afraid he is of losing it.

In a bizarre and embarrassing display, Lieutenant Governor Daniel McKee sent out a press release condemning the Gaspee Project for going after his opposition.  Worse, he spouted dark, untrue allegations about the organization’s funding, which at best indicates his willingness to attack his fellow Rhode Islanders in full knowledge that he has no idea whether what he says is true.

What a disappointment.  McKee must be very afraid of Rhode Island’s progressives if he’s that willing to discard his integrity and join them in their delusional, divisive rhetoric.  Last month, McKee said he’d campaign by “comparing what I stand for against whoever runs [against] me.”  Well, that must not be going very well if he’s finding that the only way he can grab attention is to run against his opposition’s bogeyman.

I’m not directly involved in Gaspee’s activities, but I’m pretty sure that any support they have shown for McKee is motivated primarily out of opposition to far-left candidate Aaron Regunberg.  It would have been nice to believe that a successful campaign would at least have let a worthwhile politician stay (somewhat) relevant in a useless office.  Now, the unexciting question for voters who don’t want to pay Regunberg $117,637 to continue his career as a professional activist is whether an empty suit can make an impression in a bean bag.

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Some Campaign Promotion for Our Delegation

Mainly for a bit of midweek creative thinking, give a read to Linda Borg’s recent article in the Providence Journal about three members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation and their hangout session with some local youths:

Only in a state as small as Rhode Island would you be able to corral most of your congressional delegation in the basement of a brew pub.

But there they were — U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, U.S. Rep. James Langevin and U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse — taking photographs and playing shuffleboard with some 65 millennials against the din of pop music. U.S. Sen. Jack Reed had planned on attending the meet-and-greet but got pulled away on official business.

Many of the college-age students were from organized progressive organizations; a couple had either worked for one of the congressmen or campaigned for them. The mood was relaxed, the questions mostly of the softball variety. This was friendly territory for the delegation, with hardly a Republican in sight.

Take note of the very last line of the article:  “Sunday’s event was organized by all four members of the delegation.”

The creative part comes in imagining how the story would be presented differently were our delegation made up of conservative Republicans.  First of all, the article wouldn’t lead with the misleading impression that some vague “you” had managed to “corral” the politicians together, in a sign of the warm closeness of our small state.  Rather, it would start with the fact that the politicians had organized the event.  Maybe the headline would be “Party Faithful Get Special Access,” and it would go something like this:

The promise of campaign-funded beer was not enough to fill the booths in the basement of a local brew pub, as Rhode Island’s conservative congressmen and one of two U.S. senators sought to lure young activists into their campaigns.

The absent senator had planned to attend but decided that his time was better spent elsewhere.  Those who attended managed to slip in a few softball questions between bar games and to pose for campaign-ready “candid” photos with the three white Republican men.

If you’re a Democrat with substantive questions for your elected officials, you would not have been welcome.

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If There’s a Divisiveness Agenda… It’s Working

I’m inclined to agree with the Boston Herald’s general interpretation of the collusion investigation, but it does make me think how utterly separate the two conceptions of reality are in the United States:

Democrats planted the Russian collusion nonsense, which mobilized intelligence services and activated the Watergate-­level press coverage. The new administration never had a chance to get off the ground. Weeks and months went by and no collusion was found, but some lives were ruined for lying to the FBI in the process. As the special counsel petered out on the matter, the spectacle of porn star Stormy Daniels and her oily attorney on CNN served as a flare to catch the eye of investigators, and the football was lateraled by Mueller to the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, who has just begun a fresh hunt.

And we’re off to the races, with the media trying to make vapor into a solid.

How do we come back from a place in which half the country thinks this is plainly true and the other half thinks it’s delusional and offers up its own “plainly true” interpretation, which the first side thinks is delusional?

In all reality, this is probably nothing all that new, but the problem we face is that we’ve allowed government to become so intrinsic to life that our differences on these things matter.  Not that long ago, Americans could have wildly divergent understandings of reality and still live their lives and even cooperate in everything else.  That’s becoming less possible.

To some extent, yes, this has to do with the Internet, the visibility of people’s opinions, and the immediacy of global communications, but on net, the technology is a positive development.  What we need is a social system that can accommodate this technological evolution, and forcing us to resolve our problems in government at high levels of centralization isn’t likely to prove a productive component of that system.

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Some Pointers for Whitehouse

Retired economics professor Dennis Sheehan had some excellent advice for Democrat U.S. Senator from Rhode Island Sheldon Whitehouse in a recent Newport Daily News:

In that spirit, let me offer Sen. Whitehouse some new ideas. First, stop calling people names. Reading the senator’s speeches, it is all too easy to find people referred to as “thugs,” “liars,” “flunkies,” and “stooges.” He has said “The fossil fuel industry, on the other hand, is neither honest nor decent.” Accusations like this make for good political theater – which might be the senator’s real purpose – but they don’t make for good discussions.

Second, end the hyperbole. As an example, in the Roll Call article, Sen. Whitehouse claims that “he sees weekly full-page ads in his local paper for services to protect homes from rising seas.” If the senator’s local paper is The Daily News, I have to say that I have never seen weekly full-page ads for such services. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration prediction for Newport of a rise of 0.9 feet over 100 years might explain the lack of ads.

Third, rethink the “fossil fuel industry controls everyone” idea. …

One suspects Professor Sheehan is correct that political theater is more the Senator’s objective than actual action, which explains why he would persist with his hundreds of “Wake Up” speeches despite finding that they have little practical effect.

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UHIP Catastrophe: Governor Once Again Blaming Deloitte as “Real” Problem (Also, Chafee)

Yesterday on NBC 10’s Connect to the Capitol, Dan Jaenig asked Governor Gina Raimondo, among other topics, how the state dropped the UHIP ball. The governor started her response by taking a swipe at former Governor Lincoln Chafee, saying he signed a terrible contract with Deloitte. She then continued,

Under my watch, we hit the go button before it was ready. But I will say the real problem here is the company sold us a product that didn’t work.

This is not to defend Deloitte, which apparently has a mixed record with regard to such systems. But let’s be clear. It was you, Governor Raimondo, who gave the catastrophic order, for your own selfish political reasons, to launch an unready system. Accordingly, DO NOT BLAME FORD MOTORS FOR DELIVERING A DEFECTIVE CAR WHEN YOU ORDERED THEM TO REMOVE IT FROM THE ASSEMBLY LINE ONLY HALF WAY DOWN. And similarly for the aspersions you cast at Governor Chafee: the contract, good, bad or indifferent, is completely irrelevant if the manager who takes over the contract inexplicably orders production to be shut down well before the product is finished.

Everyone else – taxpayers and UHIP clients – but you, Madame Governor, is paying the high price for your catastrophic action. Please at least stop casting blame for it in desperate and absurd directions.

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