Topics

City/Town Government

Tracing the Mayor’s Money

While the Rhode Island media piles up the headlines against Providence City Council President Luis Aponte over misuse of campaign funds, blogger Johanna Harris is using campaign finance data as intended: to research Mayor Elorza’s donors.


Thoughts on a Baseball Stadium

Even the best argument for government involvement in a new PawSox stadium reasons backwards; why is it government’s role at all to ensure that we have entertainment and will absorb the risk for private investments?


Of Course Property Value Is Connected to Rate

To put families first, not government, we have to link government’s welfare to taxpayers’, not the other way around, and that means property values should be linked to property taxes.


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Civil Rights

Freedom and Economic Vitality Are Not Compatible with Central Planning

With employment and energy, central planners can’t (and shouldn’t) try to micromanage the world. They’re just going to hurt people.


End “Crimetown” Government by Shrinking It

If we’re going to move from using campaign finance law to find bribery to enforcing campaign finance law as its own body of potential crime, we should at least be aware that we’re in sensitive territory.


Central Planning Is Just Ye Olde Aristocracy Protecting Its Interests

One would think that central planners would figure out that they’re really just building a system to protect their own social group’s interests, but the rest of us should figure it out even if they won’t


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Congress

State House Report with John DePetro, No. 9: We’re All Gonna Die!

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WADK 1540 AM show, the topics were the Democrats’ health care scare mongering and the early political campaigning of two Republicans.

Open full post for audio.


Important Questions for Rhode Island In A Reshaped Healthcare Landscape

If the final federal healthcare law that eventually emerges from Washington, D.C. is similar to the version that passed the House of Representatives in early May of 2017, Rhode Island lawmakers will find themselves in the middle of largely reshaped federal and state healthcare landscape. Soon they may be faced with multiple important questions; and they will also realize that they will be newly empowered to make state-specific decisions for the people of Rhode Island.


State House Report with John DePetro, No. 6: Positioning in Rhode Island Politics

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WADK 1540 AM show, the topics were Mattiello’s PawSox change of heart, NY “free tuition” and Raimondo, Gina’s change of heart on pot, and Whitehouse’s strange relationship with campaign money.

Open full post for audio.


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Culture & Family

The Budget: RI Government Seeks To Grow Itself, Not the Economy

Should the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of Rhode Island families be limited by an arbitrary, politically-driven budget number at the bottom of a spreadsheet? Unfortunately, our state is now suffering the consequences of such an approach, fueled by the progressive-left’s big-spending agenda.


The Message of Fearless Girl May Not Be as Intended

While we might not like having Charging Bull’s meaning changed, Fearless Girl does what art is supposed to do, which we ought to keep doing.


Last Impressions Podcast Episode 16: The Light of the World

Awards, earned and maybe not yet earned; Fight Club; Twin River; and it’s my birthday.

Open post for full audio


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Economy

The Budget: RI Government Seeks To Grow Itself, Not the Economy

Should the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of Rhode Island families be limited by an arbitrary, politically-driven budget number at the bottom of a spreadsheet? Unfortunately, our state is now suffering the consequences of such an approach, fueled by the progressive-left’s big-spending agenda.


More Thoughts on the PawSox Stadium Deal (Including a Compromise Proposal)

Many Rhode Islanders are simply not going to believe the PawSox deal is not a subsidy; advocates should look for new, innovative ways to prove that it isn’t.


Freedom and Economic Vitality Are Not Compatible with Central Planning

With employment and energy, central planners can’t (and shouldn’t) try to micromanage the world. They’re just going to hurt people.


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Education

Changing the American Campus with Conservatives

Universities may be beginning to recognize that they need to offer their students more exposure to conservative ideas, but seeing it as “affirmative action” indicates that they don’t really want to change.


State House Report with John DePetro, No. 6: Positioning in Rhode Island Politics

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WADK 1540 AM show, the topics were Mattiello’s PawSox change of heart, NY “free tuition” and Raimondo, Gina’s change of heart on pot, and Whitehouse’s strange relationship with campaign money.

Open full post for audio.


Last Impressions Podcast Episode 12: The Government Sloppy Joe

Relationship of government to the people, with cheese sandwiches, welfare, probation, and campaign finances.

Open post for full audio.


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Energy & Environment

Freedom and Economic Vitality Are Not Compatible with Central Planning

With employment and energy, central planners can’t (and shouldn’t) try to micromanage the world. They’re just going to hurt people.


Tim Benson: A Carbon Tax Would Hurt Rhode Islanders for Environmental Speculation

Rhode Islanders are already saddled with high energy costs, and a carbon tax would make that worse, without any guarantee that the environment will be helped at all.


Hey, Let’s Try Public Debate and Open Inquiry

With resistance to climate alarmism still high, maybe the solution is a new approach for scientists to address the subject and present it to the public.


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Gambling

Last Impressions Podcast Episode 16: The Light of the World

Awards, earned and maybe not yet earned; Fight Club; Twin River; and it’s my birthday.

Open post for full audio


Tiverton Casino: Live by the Government, Die by the Government

Thanks to efforts to restrict the development of a piece of land in Tiverton, a government casino and hotel became its best use.


A Society in Which the Casino and the Government Must Always Win

A gambler under scrutiny for having found ways to tilt the odds in his favor is a good metaphor for taxpayers who are never permitted to win in the rigged game that politicians, labor unions, and other special interests have built.


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General Assembly

The Budget: RI Government Seeks To Grow Itself, Not the Economy

Should the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of Rhode Island families be limited by an arbitrary, politically-driven budget number at the bottom of a spreadsheet? Unfortunately, our state is now suffering the consequences of such an approach, fueled by the progressive-left’s big-spending agenda.


The Corporate Welfare Strategy Has Failed

The massive budget shortfall is proof that the state government’s corporate welfare strategy has failed. Rhode Island’s current corporate tax-credit economic development strategy is highly inefficient as it creates relatively few jobs at an extremely high cost per job to taxpayers. This targeted ‘advanced industry’ approach does little if anything to improve the overall business climate, which is necessary if organic entrepreneurial growth is to occur on its own. A 3.0% sales tax would disproportionately help low-income families.


State House Report with John DePetro, No. 9: We’re All Gonna Die!

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WADK 1540 AM show, the topics were the Democrats’ health care scare mongering and the early political campaigning of two Republicans.

Open full post for audio.


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Government

Thoughts on a Baseball Stadium

Even the best argument for government involvement in a new PawSox stadium reasons backwards; why is it government’s role at all to ensure that we have entertainment and will absorb the risk for private investments?


How We Take Care of Each Other

Perhaps history’s anti-capitalists offered an important corrective, but that doesn’t mean falling into the arms of government was the only (or best) solution.


Central Planning Is Just Ye Olde Aristocracy Protecting Its Interests

One would think that central planners would figure out that they’re really just building a system to protect their own social group’s interests, but the rest of us should figure it out even if they won’t


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Governor

The Budget: RI Government Seeks To Grow Itself, Not the Economy

Should the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of Rhode Island families be limited by an arbitrary, politically-driven budget number at the bottom of a spreadsheet? Unfortunately, our state is now suffering the consequences of such an approach, fueled by the progressive-left’s big-spending agenda.


The Corporate Welfare Strategy Has Failed

The massive budget shortfall is proof that the state government’s corporate welfare strategy has failed. Rhode Island’s current corporate tax-credit economic development strategy is highly inefficient as it creates relatively few jobs at an extremely high cost per job to taxpayers. This targeted ‘advanced industry’ approach does little if anything to improve the overall business climate, which is necessary if organic entrepreneurial growth is to occur on its own. A 3.0% sales tax would disproportionately help low-income families.


State House Report with John DePetro, No. 9: We’re All Gonna Die!

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WADK 1540 AM show, the topics were the Democrats’ health care scare mongering and the early political campaigning of two Republicans.

Open full post for audio.


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Healthcare

State House Report with John DePetro, No. 9: We’re All Gonna Die!

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WADK 1540 AM show, the topics were the Democrats’ health care scare mongering and the early political campaigning of two Republicans.

Open full post for audio.


Umm, Folks, There Is No Medicaid “Cut” in the AHCA

The overheated partisan rhetoric over the American Health Care Act (AHCA) has everybody talking about a fictional piece of legislation as if it’s what the House actually passed in Washington.


Raimondo’s Slippery Facts, HealthSource Edition

As with employment, so with healthcare: Governor Raimondo uses selective statistics to create a false impression of her government’s activities.


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History

Plywood and Hemlock Each in Its Place

Plywood has its place in construction, as populism has its place in religion.


Last Impressions Podcast Episode 5: Changing the Heart of Evil

Slut-shame-shaming Voldemort, credentials versus competence, and the tsar’s numbered days.

Open post for podcast.


Last Impressions Podcast Episode 3: High Noon for Experts

A bad guy on the 12:00 train, UHIP messaging, and the rule of the experts.

Click here for the podcast.


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Immigration

Compassion and Why You Got Trump

Westerners are figuring out that their compassion is being abused and that the abusers’ preferred policies bring about outcomes that are an affront to the compassionate.


Last Impressions Podcast Episode 11: Keep an Eye on Your Incentives

You’ll find out what I’m talking about as I do, because I’m just making it up. Probably something about immigration, some drug dealing going on, attacks on Christians, and letters to the editor.

Open post for audio and links


No, You Can’t Leave Salary Out of “Jobs Gringos Won’t Do”

A little bit of economic reasoning should lead columnists like Mark Patinkin to consider whether the “lazy gringo” thesis accurately describes America’s problem.


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Infrastructure

Thoughts on a Baseball Stadium

Even the best argument for government involvement in a new PawSox stadium reasons backwards; why is it government’s role at all to ensure that we have entertainment and will absorb the risk for private investments?


State House Report with John DePetro, No. 5: Branding Raimondo & Free Tuition

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WADK 1540 AM show, the topics were my column on the “free tuition” plan, Raimondo’s free branding help from the Providence Journal, and more on the PawSox scheme.
Click full post link for audio.

I’ll be on again Tuesday, April 18, at 2:00 p.m.

(Note: Graphic parody of the Providence Journal‘s free promotional work for Governor Raimondo.)


Leader Patricia Morgan Files Bill to Repeal (Clearly Unnecessary) Tolls

On behalf of all Rhode Islanders, thanks to Minority Leader Patricia Morgan for filing a bill to repeal RhodeWorks’ truck (wink) tolls. (See her statement after the jump.)

Governor Gina Raimondo asserted the need for tolls as a financial necessity to repair state bridges which were/are some of the worst in the country but, by golly, we just don’t have the will to find the money in the state budget (even though it’s a MAJOR public safety issue, danger, danger, Will Robinson).

However, the governor has decisively rebutted her own assertions about the fiscal necessity of tolls, as StopTollsRI.com (disclosure: I act as their spokesperson) pointed out in a letter to the Providence Journal on Sunday, by proposing a brand new, $30M/year spending program.

“Free” college tuition is at best nice to have (and it certainly would not solve the state’s employee skills gap, as the governor claims). If there is money in the budget for an expensive nice-to-have item, then it is clear that there is money for a less expensive vital service such as bridge repairs.

Legislators can now vote to repeal tolls, secure in the knowledge that public safety did not necessitate the passage of this highly destructive new revenue stream and confident that the money can be found in the budget to repair the state’s unsafe bridges. The governor has helpfully done this hard work for them.


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Legislation

More Thoughts on the PawSox Stadium Deal (Including a Compromise Proposal)

Many Rhode Islanders are simply not going to believe the PawSox deal is not a subsidy; advocates should look for new, innovative ways to prove that it isn’t.


Tim Benson: A Carbon Tax Would Hurt Rhode Islanders for Environmental Speculation

Rhode Islanders are already saddled with high energy costs, and a carbon tax would make that worse, without any guarantee that the environment will be helped at all.


The Corporate Welfare Strategy Has Failed

The massive budget shortfall is proof that the state government’s corporate welfare strategy has failed. Rhode Island’s current corporate tax-credit economic development strategy is highly inefficient as it creates relatively few jobs at an extremely high cost per job to taxpayers. This targeted ‘advanced industry’ approach does little if anything to improve the overall business climate, which is necessary if organic entrepreneurial growth is to occur on its own. A 3.0% sales tax would disproportionately help low-income families.


Back to top



Media

Considering the Positioning of the Pieces on Trump’s Chess Board

Even the wiser insiders aren’t seeing the consequence of conducting an establishment coup against the duly elected President of the United States.


Tracing the Mayor’s Money

While the Rhode Island media piles up the headlines against Providence City Council President Luis Aponte over misuse of campaign funds, blogger Johanna Harris is using campaign finance data as intended: to research Mayor Elorza’s donors.


Umm, Folks, There Is No Medicaid “Cut” in the AHCA

The overheated partisan rhetoric over the American Health Care Act (AHCA) has everybody talking about a fictional piece of legislation as if it’s what the House actually passed in Washington.


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Musings & Announcements

​A Shameless Plug

This is a shameless plug. Two, actually. But it’s for two terrific organizations: the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity and the Gaspee Business Network.


Word Choice, Boundaries, and Finding Ways to Communicate

The reasoning behind my use of the word “slut.”


The Conversation Starts Tuesday: Opportunity To Become Self-Sufficient

Everyone concerned about the well-being of our state’s families should be alarmed by our unacceptable 48th-place ranking. It is time to challenge the status quo insider mindset and to search for a more holistic path to help real Rhode Islanders improve their quality of life. This week, the Center will co-host a forum at Bryant University, that will provide an ideal opportunity for community, religious, and political leaders to convene and begin the process.


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National Security

Government as Weapon

As it becomes clearer that the Obama administration abused its access to spy technology, the next question is whether the Left and mainstream press will pivot in their favor or hold to principle.


Former Administration, Current Spies

News of domestic spying and the continued activities of anonymous “former officials” ought to raise concerns and return everybody (including progressives) the the lesson that loyalties can change.


Refreshing Our Memory on the State of Debate on Torture

As our view of torture becomes a matter of public debate again under President Trump, public debate must consider what counts as torture and what makes it wrong.


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On a Lighter Note

Deception and War in Walking Dead

Avoiding war (or entering it justly) requires actively working to bring about and maintain peace, and a willingness to acknowledge when a state of war already exists.


Katz’s Kitchen Sink: #WeKnowBetterRI

As part of its 100-year anniversary self-promotion, the Rhode Island Foundation has been spreading around a video by Nail Communications that is slap-in-the-face offensive.  It begins by putting swear words in the mouths of children reading statements from (quote) actual Rhode Islanders; it tells Rhode Islanders to (quote) stop complaining and if they don’t have anything nice to say, well, be quiet.

Let’s be blunt, here.  Given Rhode Island’s parade of corrupt officials and its stagnant economy, we would be shirking our responsibility as citizens if we didn’t complain.  Now, if Nail Communications were to make another video about the view of Rhode Island’s insiders, it might go something like this.

[Advisory: In keeping with the original Nail Communications/RI Foundation video, the following contains bleeped swears.]


Katz’s Kitchen Sink: But Bountiful Parody Song

As the fiscal year comes to a close for the State of Rhode Island and most municipalities in June, it’s ever more clear that civic life in Rhode Island revolves around government budgets.  For insiders, town, city, and state budgets represent their hopes and dreams — often their livelihoods.  For everybody else, though, they can be a time of dread, as the impossibility of real change is affirmed, cherished programs are threatened (if you’re on that side of the ledger), or more money is confiscated from your bank account (if you’re on the other side of the ledger).

Herewith, a parody song to the tune of “But Beautiful,” inaugurating a somewhat regular new video series, “Katz’s Kitchen Sink,” which will feature whatever sort of content I think might be useful to throw at the problems of the Ocean State — songs, short skits, commentary, or whatever.

Download an mp3 file of this song.

But Bountiful

A budget’s taxes, or it’s pay
Handouts are credits or giveaways
We’re investing, or we save
But bountiful

Bountiful, our industry’s bureaucracies we run
It’s a budget you have no choice but to fund

A budget appropriates, or it steals
Votes are traded in backroom deals
Nobody’s sure just what’s real
But bountiful

And I’m thinking if I had chips, I’d cash them in for gold
And take them to a more bountiful abode


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Pensions

Last Impressions Podcast Episode 13: In Whom Do We Trust?

Trust in Trump (versus the elite), trust in intelligence gathering, trust in pensions and economic development, and trust in the police

Open post for full audio.


Last Impressions Podcast Episode 8: Your Meaning, Their Madness

Missing the kiss (and the point), teacher union fantasy, charity for them, and stuff for you

Open post for podcast.


Anomalies or the Tip of the Radical Iceberg in Public Schools?

The evidence continues to appear that government schools are drifting from their educational mission and toward left-wing indoctrination.


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Political Theory

The Message of Fearless Girl May Not Be as Intended

While we might not like having Charging Bull’s meaning changed, Fearless Girl does what art is supposed to do, which we ought to keep doing.


Considering the Positioning of the Pieces on Trump’s Chess Board

Even the wiser insiders aren’t seeing the consequence of conducting an establishment coup against the duly elected President of the United States.


Thoughts on a Baseball Stadium

Even the best argument for government involvement in a new PawSox stadium reasons backwards; why is it government’s role at all to ensure that we have entertainment and will absorb the risk for private investments?


Back to top



Politics

Considering the Positioning of the Pieces on Trump’s Chess Board

Even the wiser insiders aren’t seeing the consequence of conducting an establishment coup against the duly elected President of the United States.


Tracing the Mayor’s Money

While the Rhode Island media piles up the headlines against Providence City Council President Luis Aponte over misuse of campaign funds, blogger Johanna Harris is using campaign finance data as intended: to research Mayor Elorza’s donors.


State House Report with John DePetro, No. 9: We’re All Gonna Die!

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WADK 1540 AM show, the topics were the Democrats’ health care scare mongering and the early political campaigning of two Republicans.

Open full post for audio.


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Science

Hey, Let’s Try Public Debate and Open Inquiry

With resistance to climate alarmism still high, maybe the solution is a new approach for scientists to address the subject and present it to the public.


Excluding Religion from Government Schools Effectively Establishes Religion

Young Catholics find secular education pushes them away from their faith, which proves that government schools are not truly neutral on the most fundamental question of our lives.


Using Climate Change to Bring in a Tide of Activism

Three Brown faculty members traffic in questionable statistics in an apparent push to end the deadly scourge of days that are “merely warm.”


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Sports

More Thoughts on the PawSox Stadium Deal (Including a Compromise Proposal)

Many Rhode Islanders are simply not going to believe the PawSox deal is not a subsidy; advocates should look for new, innovative ways to prove that it isn’t.


Thoughts on a Baseball Stadium

Even the best argument for government involvement in a new PawSox stadium reasons backwards; why is it government’s role at all to ensure that we have entertainment and will absorb the risk for private investments?


State House Report with John DePetro, No. 4: Flanders in the Outside Lane, Ruggerio on the Inside

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WADK 1540 AM show, the topics were Robert Flanders’s play for the U.S. Senate, Raimondo’s tuition talking point, and Dominick Ruggerio’s insider senate presidency.
Click full post for audio.

I’ll be on again Tuesday, April 11, at 2:00 p.m.


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Taxation

The Budget: RI Government Seeks To Grow Itself, Not the Economy

Should the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of Rhode Island families be limited by an arbitrary, politically-driven budget number at the bottom of a spreadsheet? Unfortunately, our state is now suffering the consequences of such an approach, fueled by the progressive-left’s big-spending agenda.


More Thoughts on the PawSox Stadium Deal (Including a Compromise Proposal)

Many Rhode Islanders are simply not going to believe the PawSox deal is not a subsidy; advocates should look for new, innovative ways to prove that it isn’t.


Thoughts on a Baseball Stadium

Even the best argument for government involvement in a new PawSox stadium reasons backwards; why is it government’s role at all to ensure that we have entertainment and will absorb the risk for private investments?


Back to top



Unions

Priorities in Policy (Taxes and Unions)

Tax cuts, budget deficits, and labor unions are topics that all come back to priorities, and the greater incentive of insiders to make sure that theirs dominate.


Mandated Paid Sick Leave: Plumbing a Depth Below Fiftieth

Mandatory paid sick time would only exacerbate Rhode Island’s already heavily damaged business climate and ultimately rebound negatively onto job-seekers and the state’s already shriveled tax base.


Evidence and Argument Versus Rumor

People who want more taxpayer money for their preferred purposes can’t be bothered with facts; after all, they’ve got dark rumors.


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Welfare

The Budget: RI Government Seeks To Grow Itself, Not the Economy

Should the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of Rhode Island families be limited by an arbitrary, politically-driven budget number at the bottom of a spreadsheet? Unfortunately, our state is now suffering the consequences of such an approach, fueled by the progressive-left’s big-spending agenda.


How We Take Care of Each Other

Perhaps history’s anti-capitalists offered an important corrective, but that doesn’t mean falling into the arms of government was the only (or best) solution.


Medicaid as a Subsidy for Divorce

If our welfare system is leading people to make life decisions based on the sense that taxpayers have them covered, we may be creating unhealthy incentives.


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