Topics

City/Town Government

Farms, Planning, and a Vision for Our State

Let’s pause for a moment to consider who benefits from state government programs to subsidize working farmland and what that tells us about all of our land-trusting and comprehensive-planning.


Taxpayers Aren’t to Blame for Rescue Truck Breakdown

An article blaming taxpayers for a local rescue truck’s highway breakdown shows how irresponsible and one-sided the pro-government view is, in Rhode Island.


A Cultural Underpinning of the Government Town

America’s problems are, in large part, cultural, with dilution of our “can do” attitude, although those who control resources and information are not without their blame.


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Civil Rights

Space for Reciprocal Altruism

There must be space for reciprocal altruism, which means government must do less.


Health, Produce, Rights, and a Congressman

As our economy becomes more intricate and information more available, we need to grow up as a society and recognize that money is just a way of assessing value.


The Disturbing Racial Indoctrination of an American Generation

An Asian journalism intern for Politico apparently doesn’t see that his perspective (learned, no doubt, through indoctrination in the education system) is drawing us back toward slavery.


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Congress

Mark Zaccaria: Advice to Senator Whitehouse

Mark Zaccaria suggests that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse should back away from his attacks on Constitutional rights and focus on making a positive difference in people’s lives.


Arthur Christopher Schaper: Checking in with Congressional Sympathy from the West Coast

Arthur Chrsitopher Schaper commiserates with Rhode Islanders as a California conservative represented by an anti-2nd Amendment sit-in progressive.


Distrust in Government Leads to Desire for… Big Government?

Poll findings about trust in government at different levels and in different states might reveal a contradiction for progressives and a dark future for Rhode Islanders.


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Culture & Family

For Getting Back to Human Interactions, Part 2

The careful threads of political correctness are roping us into pens from which it’s impossible to communicate and alert our peers to invidious government scams.


For Getting Back to Human Interactions, Part 1

The Left has weaponized personal reaction in order to limit our ability communicate, and it’s dragging us into “the crazy years,” for which Republican Maine Governor Paul LePage provides us a helpful example.


Our Approach to an Education System Is Not Working

The education system can only do so much to address the problem of students’ switching schools frequently, and abysmal PARCC schools suggest their not doing what little they can.


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Economy

Eric Palmieri: Income Inequality, a Red Herring

“Income inequality” naturally increases in a growing economy if investigated as a percentage rather than each person’s take, and the real inequities are a consequence of government policy.


Health, Produce, Rights, and a Congressman

As our economy becomes more intricate and information more available, we need to grow up as a society and recognize that money is just a way of assessing value.


Farms, Planning, and a Vision for Our State

Let’s pause for a moment to consider who benefits from state government programs to subsidize working farmland and what that tells us about all of our land-trusting and comprehensive-planning.


Back to top



Education

Our Approach to an Education System Is Not Working

The education system can only do so much to address the problem of students’ switching schools frequently, and abysmal PARCC schools suggest their not doing what little they can.


The Disturbing Racial Indoctrination of an American Generation

An Asian journalism intern for Politico apparently doesn’t see that his perspective (learned, no doubt, through indoctrination in the education system) is drawing us back toward slavery.


Matthew H. Young: Doing Better by Rhode Island Children

The state of Rhode Island could almost immediately give disadvantaged students a leg up with school choice.


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Energy & Environment

Mark Zaccaria: Advice to Senator Whitehouse

Mark Zaccaria suggests that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse should back away from his attacks on Constitutional rights and focus on making a positive difference in people’s lives.


Going to the Heart of Costly Renewable Energy


In this podcast excerpt, I discuss with the Heartland Institute’s Donald Kendal and John Nothdurft the findings of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s new report on renewable energy that confirms a very poor cost-benefit return to Rhode Islanders of renewable energy. (Listen to the full podcast of our conversation here.)

Because 98% of Rhode Island’s energy is generated by natural gas, our state already has a comparatively small carbon footprint. Further reducing it to hit purely arbitrary renewable production targets would cost state ratepayers and taxpayers $141–190 million per year in production expenses alone – four to five times the EPA’s recommended cost standard.

Rhode Islanders also cannot afford the cost to the state economy in the form of lower employment levels or in the $670–893 million per year extracted in unnecessarily higher electricity rate payments by private sector businesses and families. When will the status quo learn?

Based on these findings, the Center has strongly recommended that lawmakers reject all proposed new energy mandates and, instead, repeal those that are currently written into law. The EPA’s own cost standard highlighted in the Center renewable energy report demonstrates that state officials can set aside all renewable energy mandates with a clear conscience.


Article 18: Another Insider “Deepwater” Scam in the Making? (Corrected)

Despite disturbing new revelations and renewed public criticism about insider legislative grants, cronyism appears to be alive and well at the Rhode Island State House. And once again, Ocean State families and businesses would be asked to foot the bill.

In the budget that got voted out of the Finance Committee early Wednesday morning, alert observers spotted and brought to the attention of the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity as well as the Ocean State Current on Friday an extensive revision to Article 18.

They are correct to loudly ring warning bells about it. If it stays in, state electric ratepayers are in for even higher electric rates than they currently pay.


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Gambling

RI’s Bad Decisions and Burning Money Instead of Tobacco

My op-ed in today’s Providence Journal places the match of Rhode Island’s experience of the tobacco settlement money (a one-time-fix turned bad debt) on the pile of bad decisions that the state government has made in the past decade or so:

According to a review by ProPublica, Rhode Island has just refinanced some of the resulting debt, with the expectation that “the deal would shave $700 million off a $2.8 billion tab due on the bonds in 2052.” In that regard, it’s a bit like the state’s pension reform, which was marketed as salvation but merely shaved about $3 billion from $9 billion of unfunded liability.

The people who operate Rhode Island’s government are racking up quite a list of these liabilities.


Beware Statists in Libertarian Clothing

Some libertarians have been encouraged to see the liberalization of laws on social issues, but they should go beyond the cliché that politics makes strange bedfellows and wonder why they have the company they do.


Betting the House for Rhode Island

Legislation submitted last week would allow people to gamble their assets (such as houses and investment accounts) at the new state-run casino.


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General Assembly

Frias Calls on Speaker to Ban 38 Studios-Type Moral Obligation Bonds

The following was just blasted out via e-mail.

MR. SPEAKER, TAKE THE PLEDGE: NO REPEAT OF 38 STUDIOS

Cranston, RI – Last week, Rhode Island reached a settlement with Wells Fargo Securities and Barclays for approximately $26 million, but taxpayers are still expected to pay millions for the 38 Studios moral obligation bonds. The former Economic Development Corporation issued moral obligation bonds as a result of 2010 legislation supported by Nicholas Mattiello when he was House Majority Leader. Recently, in a commentary, Scott MacKay, of Rhode Island Public Radio, asked “Why Won’t Pols Who Gave Us 38 Studios Pledge No More Moral Obligation Bonds?”

Steven Frias, Republican candidate for Rep. District 15, commented: “I have been campaigning for two months on a platform calling for the end of moral obligations in order to prevent a repeat of 38 Studios.


HealthSource and Pensions: The Center Was Right (Predictably)

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity (among others) was able to pick out the problems with HealthSource RI and the state pension reform, while those in government had incentive to pretend impossible systems would work.


Bike Paths, Lights, Sustainability – RhodeWorks Tolls Turn into Huge Bait-And-Switch

Am I going crazy? (Don’t answer that!) Didn’t Governor Gina Raimondo sell us on her unnecessary and highly destructive RhodeWorks toll plan by saying that the money would go to repair our very unsafe (oh so unsafe; most unsafe in this quadrant of the galaxy) bridges? But look at this RhodeWorks Quarterly Report!

Bike paths, lights, guardrails, road re-paving, something called “I-95 Sustainability” – RhodeWorks is being spent on all kinds of projects, not just bridge repair. Remarkably, there is even a RIDOT sign that CONFIRMS money from the RhodeWorks/Toll Project is being spent on a bike path!

What the heck??? Tolls were supposed to go to our unsafe bridges! Where did all of these other projects come from?


Back to top



Government

Health, Produce, Rights, and a Congressman

As our economy becomes more intricate and information more available, we need to grow up as a society and recognize that money is just a way of assessing value.


Farms, Planning, and a Vision for Our State

Let’s pause for a moment to consider who benefits from state government programs to subsidize working farmland and what that tells us about all of our land-trusting and comprehensive-planning.


A Cultural Underpinning of the Government Town

America’s problems are, in large part, cultural, with dilution of our “can do” attitude, although those who control resources and information are not without their blame.


Back to top



Governor

Bike Paths, Lights, Sustainability – RhodeWorks Tolls Turn into Huge Bait-And-Switch

Am I going crazy? (Don’t answer that!) Didn’t Governor Gina Raimondo sell us on her unnecessary and highly destructive RhodeWorks toll plan by saying that the money would go to repair our very unsafe (oh so unsafe; most unsafe in this quadrant of the galaxy) bridges? But look at this RhodeWorks Quarterly Report!

Bike paths, lights, guardrails, road re-paving, something called “I-95 Sustainability” – RhodeWorks is being spent on all kinds of projects, not just bridge repair. Remarkably, there is even a RIDOT sign that CONFIRMS money from the RhodeWorks/Toll Project is being spent on a bike path!

What the heck??? Tolls were supposed to go to our unsafe bridges! Where did all of these other projects come from?


Hints of Life Independent from Government

Getting “the rest of the story” on a young lady making her way in the world of welding in Rhode Island points to another path for government and economic development.


Domestic Violence, Activist Paydays, and Gender Bias

RI politicians are touting their increase of funds to activists working on the issue of domestic violence, but tracing the money shows it to be a profitable activity, indeed, and one that conspicuously targets the fixing of men.


Back to top



Healthcare

HealthSource and Pensions: The Center Was Right (Predictably)

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity (among others) was able to pick out the problems with HealthSource RI and the state pension reform, while those in government had incentive to pretend impossible systems would work.


What’s Really In Your Best Interests? Aimee Gardiner On The No HPV Mandate Movement

On this episode of “What’s Really In Your Best Interest?” I interview Aimee Gardiner, director of Rhode Islanders Against Mandated HPV Vaccinations, on the movement against the HPV Mandate in the Ocean State. Rhode Island parents deserve the freedom to make private family choices without government involvement. The mandate on the HPV vaccine for Rhode Island students is an important and symbolic violation of our rights.

Recently, the RI DOH undertook a marketing campaign directed at the children of our state. Do you think this is a proper use of taxpayer dollars? The government should include parents in the discussion when dealing with minors, not bypassing our families! This is a very disturbing trend. The #NOHPVmandateRI movement stands to reverse the HPV vaccine mandate in RI. Please watch the new videos of our interview now.


Social Radicals Use the Law to Affirm Their Worldview, at Children’s Expense

Legislation forbidding any professional services for families seeking help with a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity issues will enforce a particular social ideology.


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History

The Narrative of the Americas

A narrative of American advance and decline that misses the importance of the rule of law in mediating ideological differences pushes us toward tyranny.


James Baar: Study Ignores How Spin Erodes RI Credibility

The Brookings Institution study recommending steps to reinvigorate Rhode Island’s economy conspicuously leaves out suggestions about how to overcome state government’s addiction to spinning the people.


Having to Relearn the Lessons Learned Throughout History

Some brief examples from early U.S. history illustrate the importance of the free market and raise the question of whether the lessons of history are being deliberately mis-taught.


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Immigration

The Party of Trump, Which I Cannot Support

Maggie Gallagher succinctly describes the Trump policy platform, inasmuch as it is possible to discern and predict:

Here is the new Party of Trump that we saw in this convention: liberal in expanding entitlements, pro-business in terms of tax and regulations, non-interventionist in foreign policy, socially center-left (with the possible, but only possible, exception of abortion).

Americans who pay attention to politics and policy tend to err, I think, in allowing themselves to be drawn toward the exchange of discrete, independent policies as a form of compromise.  I give you this social policy; you give me that regulatory reform.  That’s how we end up with a worst-of-all-possibilities mix of policies that, for example, encourages dependency while socializing the losses of major corporations, all to the benefit of the inside players who are well positioned to manipulate the system to serve their interests.

Broadly speaking, policies are components of a machine that have to work together, with a basic operating principle.  As the most-charitable interpretation, the machine that Gallagher describes is designed to drive corporations forward in order to generate enough wealth for government to redistribute as a means of providing comfort and accommodating the consequences of an anything-goes society, with the world blocked out at the borders and not engaged in socio-political terms so as to avoid bleeding of the wealth.  (The only difference between that vision and a fully progressive one is that progressives don’t want the machine to be independent, but to be plugged in as a component of a bigger, international machine.)

Put that way (again, most charitably), Trumpian nationalism doesn’t sound too bad.  Unfortunately, the lesson of the past few decades (at least) is that the machine doesn’t work.  The corporations recalculate to the reality that the politicians’ plan makes them (not the people) the engine of the whole machine, while the value of promising entitlements leads politicians to over-promise and the people to over-demand, particularly in response to the consequences of loose culture, while the world outside the borders erodes the supports of our society and allows implacable enemies to rally.

Now add in the stated intention of Donald Trump to actively agitate against members of his own political party because they show insufficient fealty, and the policy mix points toward disaster.  The aphorism that “success is the best revenge” is apparently not good enough for Trump.  More than that, though, from his late-night tweets about the pope to this planned attack on Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and some unnamed foe, Trump shows no realization that these leaders have supporters.  Trump is free not to respect Pope Francis, but his behavior shows that he has little concern for the vast world of Roman Catholics.  His own supporters Trump loves, and he’s happy to condescend to them; those who aren’t his supporters are either enemies or inconsequential.

Nobody should have any trust that they’ll continue to have Trump’s support starting the moment their interests conflict with his, and that has implications for the instructions he’ll attempt to give the machine.

Yes, one of the very few arguments in favor of a Trump presidency is that he may remind certain sectors of American civic society about the importance of the checks and balances designed into our system.  However, Trump’s behavior has also proven that we should not assume he’ll moderate or react well to the reinstated rules of the game.

This isn’t to say that our electoral alternative is any better.  As I’ve written before, more than any I’ve ever seen, this election hinges on the timing of oscillating disgust with the two major candidates.  The wise move may very well be not to invest much wealth, energy, or emotion in the outcome, devoting personal resources instead to battening down the hatches.


Looking at Demographic Trends in Rhode Island

Demographic trends indicate something that Rhode Island is doing wrong, not something that voters and policy makers should consider inevitable.


Brexit and the Government Town

Brexit and Luton don’t indicate a tension between latent nationalism and a more-enlightened elite, but between an economic model that creates opportunity and one that relies on mutual dependency.


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Infrastructure

The 2017 Budget for Rhode Island in Historical Perspective


Spending from All Sources, Current Dollars
Spending from All Sources, Inflation Adjusted
Spending from General Revenues, Inflation Adjusted
Spending from Federal Funds, Inflation Adjusted


The Impossibility of Big Government You Can Trust

The impossibility of holding government accountable illustrates a fatal flaw in the progressive approach to society.


James Kennedy: Signs from On High

James Kennedy argues that road design, not signage is the key for assessing and handling traffic, and that a 6/10 boulevard design makes for better design than a DOT-designed tunnel.


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Legislation

Bike Paths, Lights, Sustainability – RhodeWorks Tolls Turn into Huge Bait-And-Switch

Am I going crazy? (Don’t answer that!) Didn’t Governor Gina Raimondo sell us on her unnecessary and highly destructive RhodeWorks toll plan by saying that the money would go to repair our very unsafe (oh so unsafe; most unsafe in this quadrant of the galaxy) bridges? But look at this RhodeWorks Quarterly Report!

Bike paths, lights, guardrails, road re-paving, something called “I-95 Sustainability” – RhodeWorks is being spent on all kinds of projects, not just bridge repair. Remarkably, there is even a RIDOT sign that CONFIRMS money from the RhodeWorks/Toll Project is being spent on a bike path!

What the heck??? Tolls were supposed to go to our unsafe bridges! Where did all of these other projects come from?


Matthew H. Young: Doing Better by Rhode Island Children

The state of Rhode Island could almost immediately give disadvantaged students a leg up with school choice.


Domestic Violence, Activist Paydays, and Gender Bias

RI politicians are touting their increase of funds to activists working on the issue of domestic violence, but tracing the money shows it to be a profitable activity, indeed, and one that conspicuously targets the fixing of men.


Back to top



Media

For Getting Back to Human Interactions, Part 1

The Left has weaponized personal reaction in order to limit our ability communicate, and it’s dragging us into “the crazy years,” for which Republican Maine Governor Paul LePage provides us a helpful example.


A Cultural Underpinning of the Government Town

America’s problems are, in large part, cultural, with dilution of our “can do” attitude, although those who control resources and information are not without their blame.


Separate Topics (Somewhat): RI Bitterness and Pensions

Ted Nesi’s weekly column misses an important distinction between what is good and what is bad about Rhode Island and goes too far in accepting state government pension spin.


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Musings & Announcements

Friday Night Beer: Troegs Troegenator

The Troegenator Doublebock blends alcohol and flavor for an experience of sweet associations.


Friday Night Beer: Troegs Hop Knife Harvest Ale

Troegs’s Hop Knife Harvest Ale accomplishes what a “harvest ale” ought to accomplish: it brings to mind an agricultural past and a sense of heritage.


Friday Night Beer: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA

Sometimes a beer just fits a dark New England evening, with heavy music on the speakers and a heavy meal on the plate.


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National Security

The Party of Trump, Which I Cannot Support

Maggie Gallagher succinctly describes the Trump policy platform, inasmuch as it is possible to discern and predict:

Here is the new Party of Trump that we saw in this convention: liberal in expanding entitlements, pro-business in terms of tax and regulations, non-interventionist in foreign policy, socially center-left (with the possible, but only possible, exception of abortion).

Americans who pay attention to politics and policy tend to err, I think, in allowing themselves to be drawn toward the exchange of discrete, independent policies as a form of compromise.  I give you this social policy; you give me that regulatory reform.  That’s how we end up with a worst-of-all-possibilities mix of policies that, for example, encourages dependency while socializing the losses of major corporations, all to the benefit of the inside players who are well positioned to manipulate the system to serve their interests.

Broadly speaking, policies are components of a machine that have to work together, with a basic operating principle.  As the most-charitable interpretation, the machine that Gallagher describes is designed to drive corporations forward in order to generate enough wealth for government to redistribute as a means of providing comfort and accommodating the consequences of an anything-goes society, with the world blocked out at the borders and not engaged in socio-political terms so as to avoid bleeding of the wealth.  (The only difference between that vision and a fully progressive one is that progressives don’t want the machine to be independent, but to be plugged in as a component of a bigger, international machine.)

Put that way (again, most charitably), Trumpian nationalism doesn’t sound too bad.  Unfortunately, the lesson of the past few decades (at least) is that the machine doesn’t work.  The corporations recalculate to the reality that the politicians’ plan makes them (not the people) the engine of the whole machine, while the value of promising entitlements leads politicians to over-promise and the people to over-demand, particularly in response to the consequences of loose culture, while the world outside the borders erodes the supports of our society and allows implacable enemies to rally.

Now add in the stated intention of Donald Trump to actively agitate against members of his own political party because they show insufficient fealty, and the policy mix points toward disaster.  The aphorism that “success is the best revenge” is apparently not good enough for Trump.  More than that, though, from his late-night tweets about the pope to this planned attack on Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and some unnamed foe, Trump shows no realization that these leaders have supporters.  Trump is free not to respect Pope Francis, but his behavior shows that he has little concern for the vast world of Roman Catholics.  His own supporters Trump loves, and he’s happy to condescend to them; those who aren’t his supporters are either enemies or inconsequential.

Nobody should have any trust that they’ll continue to have Trump’s support starting the moment their interests conflict with his, and that has implications for the instructions he’ll attempt to give the machine.

Yes, one of the very few arguments in favor of a Trump presidency is that he may remind certain sectors of American civic society about the importance of the checks and balances designed into our system.  However, Trump’s behavior has also proven that we should not assume he’ll moderate or react well to the reinstated rules of the game.

This isn’t to say that our electoral alternative is any better.  As I’ve written before, more than any I’ve ever seen, this election hinges on the timing of oscillating disgust with the two major candidates.  The wise move may very well be not to invest much wealth, energy, or emotion in the outcome, devoting personal resources instead to battening down the hatches.


Culture War Must Focus in on Mutual Understanding

The West and the Muslims within it need an open discussion of how peaceful people and jihad-fighting terrorists can come to such different conclusions from the same text.


Quick Thoughts from a Rhode Island Republican, on the Presidential Primary Vote


Really quick thoughts: Saying no to Donald Trump, and choosing between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.


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On a Lighter Note

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


Shout Down the Hate

When a mob of Brown University students brought their politically correct disease down the street to Rhode Island’s State House, they made it near impossible to resist writing a parody song about their symptoms.


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Pensions

HealthSource and Pensions: The Center Was Right (Predictably)

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity (among others) was able to pick out the problems with HealthSource RI and the state pension reform, while those in government had incentive to pretend impossible systems would work.


Separate Topics (Somewhat): RI Bitterness and Pensions

Ted Nesi’s weekly column misses an important distinction between what is good and what is bad about Rhode Island and goes too far in accepting state government pension spin.


An Optimistic Economic Story for Rhode Island

A brief forward-looking story describing a positive vision for all Rhode Islanders.


Back to top



Political Theory

For Getting Back to Human Interactions, Part 2

The careful threads of political correctness are roping us into pens from which it’s impossible to communicate and alert our peers to invidious government scams.


For Getting Back to Human Interactions, Part 1

The Left has weaponized personal reaction in order to limit our ability communicate, and it’s dragging us into “the crazy years,” for which Republican Maine Governor Paul LePage provides us a helpful example.


Space for Reciprocal Altruism

There must be space for reciprocal altruism, which means government must do less.


Back to top



Politics

For Getting Back to Human Interactions, Part 1

The Left has weaponized personal reaction in order to limit our ability communicate, and it’s dragging us into “the crazy years,” for which Republican Maine Governor Paul LePage provides us a helpful example.


Bike Paths, Lights, Sustainability – RhodeWorks Tolls Turn into Huge Bait-And-Switch

Am I going crazy? (Don’t answer that!) Didn’t Governor Gina Raimondo sell us on her unnecessary and highly destructive RhodeWorks toll plan by saying that the money would go to repair our very unsafe (oh so unsafe; most unsafe in this quadrant of the galaxy) bridges? But look at this RhodeWorks Quarterly Report!

Bike paths, lights, guardrails, road re-paving, something called “I-95 Sustainability” – RhodeWorks is being spent on all kinds of projects, not just bridge repair. Remarkably, there is even a RIDOT sign that CONFIRMS money from the RhodeWorks/Toll Project is being spent on a bike path!

What the heck??? Tolls were supposed to go to our unsafe bridges! Where did all of these other projects come from?


The Route to Fraud in a Rigged System

Voter fraud is a broad strategy with intrinsic and damaging effects, not typically a simple and narrow political scam.


Back to top



Science

Mark Zaccaria: Advice to Senator Whitehouse

Mark Zaccaria suggests that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse should back away from his attacks on Constitutional rights and focus on making a positive difference in people’s lives.


What’s Really In Your Best Interests? Aimee Gardiner On The No HPV Mandate Movement

On this episode of “What’s Really In Your Best Interest?” I interview Aimee Gardiner, director of Rhode Islanders Against Mandated HPV Vaccinations, on the movement against the HPV Mandate in the Ocean State. Rhode Island parents deserve the freedom to make private family choices without government involvement. The mandate on the HPV vaccine for Rhode Island students is an important and symbolic violation of our rights.

Recently, the RI DOH undertook a marketing campaign directed at the children of our state. Do you think this is a proper use of taxpayer dollars? The government should include parents in the discussion when dealing with minors, not bypassing our families! This is a very disturbing trend. The #NOHPVmandateRI movement stands to reverse the HPV vaccine mandate in RI. Please watch the new videos of our interview now.


Back to top



Sports

Shut Down the NCAA

The NCAA handed down a one half of one game suspension for current Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel for taking money for autographs. However, they have a bit of a history with giving out much longer suspensions for lesser offenses. It’s time to shut down the NCAA.


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Taxation

Frias Calls on Speaker to Ban 38 Studios-Type Moral Obligation Bonds

The following was just blasted out via e-mail.

MR. SPEAKER, TAKE THE PLEDGE: NO REPEAT OF 38 STUDIOS

Cranston, RI – Last week, Rhode Island reached a settlement with Wells Fargo Securities and Barclays for approximately $26 million, but taxpayers are still expected to pay millions for the 38 Studios moral obligation bonds. The former Economic Development Corporation issued moral obligation bonds as a result of 2010 legislation supported by Nicholas Mattiello when he was House Majority Leader. Recently, in a commentary, Scott MacKay, of Rhode Island Public Radio, asked “Why Won’t Pols Who Gave Us 38 Studios Pledge No More Moral Obligation Bonds?”

Steven Frias, Republican candidate for Rep. District 15, commented: “I have been campaigning for two months on a platform calling for the end of moral obligations in order to prevent a repeat of 38 Studios.


Farms, Planning, and a Vision for Our State

Let’s pause for a moment to consider who benefits from state government programs to subsidize working farmland and what that tells us about all of our land-trusting and comprehensive-planning.


Taxpayers Aren’t to Blame for Rescue Truck Breakdown

An article blaming taxpayers for a local rescue truck’s highway breakdown shows how irresponsible and one-sided the pro-government view is, in Rhode Island.


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Unions

Taxpayers Aren’t to Blame for Rescue Truck Breakdown

An article blaming taxpayers for a local rescue truck’s highway breakdown shows how irresponsible and one-sided the pro-government view is, in Rhode Island.


HealthSource and Pensions: The Center Was Right (Predictably)

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity (among others) was able to pick out the problems with HealthSource RI and the state pension reform, while those in government had incentive to pretend impossible systems would work.


Bike Paths, Lights, Sustainability – RhodeWorks Tolls Turn into Huge Bait-And-Switch

Am I going crazy? (Don’t answer that!) Didn’t Governor Gina Raimondo sell us on her unnecessary and highly destructive RhodeWorks toll plan by saying that the money would go to repair our very unsafe (oh so unsafe; most unsafe in this quadrant of the galaxy) bridges? But look at this RhodeWorks Quarterly Report!

Bike paths, lights, guardrails, road re-paving, something called “I-95 Sustainability” – RhodeWorks is being spent on all kinds of projects, not just bridge repair. Remarkably, there is even a RIDOT sign that CONFIRMS money from the RhodeWorks/Toll Project is being spent on a bike path!

What the heck??? Tolls were supposed to go to our unsafe bridges! Where did all of these other projects come from?


Back to top



Welfare

Frias Calls on Speaker to Ban 38 Studios-Type Moral Obligation Bonds

The following was just blasted out via e-mail.

MR. SPEAKER, TAKE THE PLEDGE: NO REPEAT OF 38 STUDIOS

Cranston, RI – Last week, Rhode Island reached a settlement with Wells Fargo Securities and Barclays for approximately $26 million, but taxpayers are still expected to pay millions for the 38 Studios moral obligation bonds. The former Economic Development Corporation issued moral obligation bonds as a result of 2010 legislation supported by Nicholas Mattiello when he was House Majority Leader. Recently, in a commentary, Scott MacKay, of Rhode Island Public Radio, asked “Why Won’t Pols Who Gave Us 38 Studios Pledge No More Moral Obligation Bonds?”

Steven Frias, Republican candidate for Rep. District 15, commented: “I have been campaigning for two months on a platform calling for the end of moral obligations in order to prevent a repeat of 38 Studios.


A Cultural Underpinning of the Government Town

America’s problems are, in large part, cultural, with dilution of our “can do” attitude, although those who control resources and information are not without their blame.


The Party of Trump, Which I Cannot Support

Maggie Gallagher succinctly describes the Trump policy platform, inasmuch as it is possible to discern and predict:

Here is the new Party of Trump that we saw in this convention: liberal in expanding entitlements, pro-business in terms of tax and regulations, non-interventionist in foreign policy, socially center-left (with the possible, but only possible, exception of abortion).

Americans who pay attention to politics and policy tend to err, I think, in allowing themselves to be drawn toward the exchange of discrete, independent policies as a form of compromise.  I give you this social policy; you give me that regulatory reform.  That’s how we end up with a worst-of-all-possibilities mix of policies that, for example, encourages dependency while socializing the losses of major corporations, all to the benefit of the inside players who are well positioned to manipulate the system to serve their interests.

Broadly speaking, policies are components of a machine that have to work together, with a basic operating principle.  As the most-charitable interpretation, the machine that Gallagher describes is designed to drive corporations forward in order to generate enough wealth for government to redistribute as a means of providing comfort and accommodating the consequences of an anything-goes society, with the world blocked out at the borders and not engaged in socio-political terms so as to avoid bleeding of the wealth.  (The only difference between that vision and a fully progressive one is that progressives don’t want the machine to be independent, but to be plugged in as a component of a bigger, international machine.)

Put that way (again, most charitably), Trumpian nationalism doesn’t sound too bad.  Unfortunately, the lesson of the past few decades (at least) is that the machine doesn’t work.  The corporations recalculate to the reality that the politicians’ plan makes them (not the people) the engine of the whole machine, while the value of promising entitlements leads politicians to over-promise and the people to over-demand, particularly in response to the consequences of loose culture, while the world outside the borders erodes the supports of our society and allows implacable enemies to rally.

Now add in the stated intention of Donald Trump to actively agitate against members of his own political party because they show insufficient fealty, and the policy mix points toward disaster.  The aphorism that “success is the best revenge” is apparently not good enough for Trump.  More than that, though, from his late-night tweets about the pope to this planned attack on Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and some unnamed foe, Trump shows no realization that these leaders have supporters.  Trump is free not to respect Pope Francis, but his behavior shows that he has little concern for the vast world of Roman Catholics.  His own supporters Trump loves, and he’s happy to condescend to them; those who aren’t his supporters are either enemies or inconsequential.

Nobody should have any trust that they’ll continue to have Trump’s support starting the moment their interests conflict with his, and that has implications for the instructions he’ll attempt to give the machine.

Yes, one of the very few arguments in favor of a Trump presidency is that he may remind certain sectors of American civic society about the importance of the checks and balances designed into our system.  However, Trump’s behavior has also proven that we should not assume he’ll moderate or react well to the reinstated rules of the game.

This isn’t to say that our electoral alternative is any better.  As I’ve written before, more than any I’ve ever seen, this election hinges on the timing of oscillating disgust with the two major candidates.  The wise move may very well be not to invest much wealth, energy, or emotion in the outcome, devoting personal resources instead to battening down the hatches.


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