Topics

City/Town Government

If “Misinformation” is the New Standard, Rhode Island’s General Treasurer Must Step Down Immediately

This morning on the WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti – link to audio – General Treasurer Seth Magaziner elaborated on his call for Rhode Island Representative Justin Price to resign from the House of Representatives for spreading misinformation, saying

When elected officials use their platforms to spread (mis)information, to spread lies, they have to be called out for it.”

And

…as elected officials, we should be held to a higher standard …

Interesting. Alright, check out this analysis from August, 2018 by Mike Riley.

In assessing the effort to keep the PawSox in Rhode Island, it is important to review the role of General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. The state treasurer was asked to analyze the costs and opine on affordability, as would be expected with a large borrowing like this. Mr. Magaziner opined in October 2017 and in June 2018 as numbers changed along with the terms of the deal and then opined again recently, finally giving a nod to the deal.

But what everyone needs to know is that $350 million dollars in debt for Pawtucket’s other post-employment benefits (OPEB) for former employees was not used in his analysis. This is more than twice the city’s pension debt! In fact, it was purposely left out by Magaziner. Including OPEB debt would obviously have made the City of Pawtucket’s borrowing look dangerous and ill-conceived. … This $350 million is so significant and overwhelming, it would be irresponsible for any treasurer to think Pawtucket absorbing new debt was a good idea.

Well, that’s an eye-opener. Nice work by Mike Riley catching that serious piece of misinformation by General Treasurer Magaziner. Ultimately, the PawSox left Rhode Island and these ill-conceived, unaffordable bonds were never issued. But that was very much despite this substantive misinformation that Treasurer Magaziner issued about Pawtucket’s financial condition.

Now, it is absurd to call on an elected official to step down due to a statement of misinformation; in part, because it falls into a broader category of free speech and, in part, because about three quarters of all elected officials in the country would instantly have to step down. (I heard that; stop cheering!).

But that is the position of General Treasurer Seth Magaziner.

I do agree with him when he says, as he did this morning, that “As Americans, we all have a duty to speak up when we see people in positions of authority spreading misinformation” and that elected officials “should use our platforms responsibly”. Via this post, accordingly, I am fulfilling that duty. Specifically, I am calling out Mr. Magaziner for a piece of misinformation that is especially egregious because he communicated it in his capacity as the state’s General Treasurer in an analysis about a major financial decision facing a municipality and the state.

Clearly, Mr. Magaziner did not use his platform as General Treasurer responsibly by including misinformation in this important analysis. Now, I myself am not calling on him to resign as the state’s General Treasurer for this. But by his own standard, he must do so immediately. Referring once again to Mr. Magaziner’s own words on WPRO this morning, elected officials have a duty to tell people the truth, to be honest. He failed notably to do so.


Tiverton on Track, 24: Operation Blue Santa

Time is of the essence, on this one.  Tomorrow in Tiverton, the Police Department will be in the parking lot of Tom’s Market on Main Rd. collecting toys and other gifts for 40-50 local families in need.  If you’re in the area, stop by for beverages, cookies, Clauses, and music.

In the meantime, here’s a Tiverton on Track interview I did with Chief Patrick Jones and Sergeant John LeDuc, who suggested and spearheads the event.  We also talk about the need for police to have positive interactions with the public and the experience of policing under the shadow of COVID-19, which is changing the frequency and nature of the calls to the department.


Lockdowns are Now a Proven Failure As Their Collateral Damage Rises Inexorably

Eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, let’s examine the goal of the lockdown, the critical matter of its effectiveness and the collateral damage it has caused.


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Civil Rights

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Closing Out the Year

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for December 28, included talk about:

  • The Guv’s house as the new protest spot
  • A whittled down RI Congressional delegation
  • 2020 winners and losers
  • Things to watch for in 2021

I’ll be on again Monday, January 4, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.


Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Breaking Cloud of Fear

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for December 21, included talk about:

  • The end of the Pause
  • COVID transparency
  • The Guv as a national story
  • Testing at the mall
  • Judges entering the Supreme Court under an ethical cloud

I’ll be on again Monday, December 28, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.


Politics This Week with John DePetro: Them and the Rest of Us

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for December 14, included talk about:

  • The administration’s COVID outbreak
  • The governor’s quarantine
  • A budget through the roof
  • The governor’s house becomes an official protest spot

I’ll be on again Monday, December 14, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.


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Congress

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Closing Out the Year

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for December 28, included talk about:

  • The Guv’s house as the new protest spot
  • A whittled down RI Congressional delegation
  • 2020 winners and losers
  • Things to watch for in 2021

I’ll be on again Monday, January 4, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.


Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Absence of Competition… Sleaze

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for October 7, included talk about:

  • The petty sleaziness behind the Jeff Britt trial
  • Taking stock in Congressional races
  • A turning point in COVID dictatorship

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


Politics This Week with John DePetro: Theater of Courts and Corona

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for September 21, included talk about:

  • Progressive protesters seek Senate shutdown
  • COVID crackdown at Providence College
  • Mail ballot application apprehension
  • No bother with budget before election
  • Fenton-Fung fields Mattiello’s obvious flaws

I’ll be on again Monday, September 28, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.


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Culture & Family

Rhody Reporter: Currahee Project

Mark Zaccaria takes time out to examine one of the notable good things of our otherwise ugly Year 2020, a Vets-Helping-Vets nonprofit doing God’s work right here in the Ocean State.


Demand Transparency on Covid-19 Cycle-Threshold Data

The full release and analysis of detailed testing data could be critical in shaping more focused and less intrusive COVID-19 restrictions for Rhode Islanders.

This data, which measures “viral load” (how much of the virus is present) and which is routinely collected by labs that conduct COVID tests, can be critically important in determining both public policy and individual regimens. Take action now to demand it.

The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity has launched a new campaign, sending over a sixteen hundred pre-written emails (in just days) to officials petitioning the state to take action to collect and publish this vital cycle threshold data.

We have good news to share… they have taken the first steps in making a small portion of this data available. Our campaign is clearly working, but we need full transparency on this critical information.

You can take action by clicking on the link here now. Don’t wait, because your voice is powerful and it will make a difference for the people of Rhode Island!


Tiverton on Track, 24: Operation Blue Santa

Time is of the essence, on this one.  Tomorrow in Tiverton, the Police Department will be in the parking lot of Tom’s Market on Main Rd. collecting toys and other gifts for 40-50 local families in need.  If you’re in the area, stop by for beverages, cookies, Clauses, and music.

In the meantime, here’s a Tiverton on Track interview I did with Chief Patrick Jones and Sergeant John LeDuc, who suggested and spearheads the event.  We also talk about the need for police to have positive interactions with the public and the experience of policing under the shadow of COVID-19, which is changing the frequency and nature of the calls to the department.


Back to top



Economy

California Numbers and Newsweek: Lockdowns Don’t Work

California’s response to COVID-19 has been to lock down and lock down hard. The harshness of its lockdown is confirmed by its decimated economy and heavy out-migration.

Ten months later, California currently has the second highest average daily cases per 100,000 in the last seven days per the CDC. A couple of weeks ago, it was at the top of the list. Rhode Island, also a state which misguidedly chose to lockdown, is currently fifth highest.

Lockdowns, even if they worked exactly as hoped, were never a good solution because of the enormous public health consequences they inflict. Now California’s experience confirms indisputably that lockdowns do not work to stop or slow COVID-19.

And a study just released via Newsweek confirms this.

A study evaluating COVID-19 responses around the world found that mandatory lockdown orders early in the pandemic may not provide significantly more benefits to slowing the spread of the disease than other voluntary measures, such as social distancing or travel reduction.

As she edges out the door, Governor Gina Raimondo has admonished us to “stay the course”. Meaning stay locked down. She is bewilderingly putting on auto pilot a completely failed, highly damaging public policy.

When asked whether he will continue the state’s lockdown, incoming governor Dan McKee has stated (I believe on WPRO radio), “The infection rate is going to drive that”. In light of the complete disconnect between lockdowns and the infection rate, I would respectfully urge him in the strongest terms to re-examine that course and not repeat the mistake of his predecessor of disregarding the data and evidence. He has no obligation to continue any of her policies – but particularly one that has so obviously failed.


If “Misinformation” is the New Standard, Rhode Island’s General Treasurer Must Step Down Immediately

This morning on the WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti – link to audio – General Treasurer Seth Magaziner elaborated on his call for Rhode Island Representative Justin Price to resign from the House of Representatives for spreading misinformation, saying

When elected officials use their platforms to spread (mis)information, to spread lies, they have to be called out for it.”

And

…as elected officials, we should be held to a higher standard …

Interesting. Alright, check out this analysis from August, 2018 by Mike Riley.

In assessing the effort to keep the PawSox in Rhode Island, it is important to review the role of General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. The state treasurer was asked to analyze the costs and opine on affordability, as would be expected with a large borrowing like this. Mr. Magaziner opined in October 2017 and in June 2018 as numbers changed along with the terms of the deal and then opined again recently, finally giving a nod to the deal.

But what everyone needs to know is that $350 million dollars in debt for Pawtucket’s other post-employment benefits (OPEB) for former employees was not used in his analysis. This is more than twice the city’s pension debt! In fact, it was purposely left out by Magaziner. Including OPEB debt would obviously have made the City of Pawtucket’s borrowing look dangerous and ill-conceived. … This $350 million is so significant and overwhelming, it would be irresponsible for any treasurer to think Pawtucket absorbing new debt was a good idea.

Well, that’s an eye-opener. Nice work by Mike Riley catching that serious piece of misinformation by General Treasurer Magaziner. Ultimately, the PawSox left Rhode Island and these ill-conceived, unaffordable bonds were never issued. But that was very much despite this substantive misinformation that Treasurer Magaziner issued about Pawtucket’s financial condition.

Now, it is absurd to call on an elected official to step down due to a statement of misinformation; in part, because it falls into a broader category of free speech and, in part, because about three quarters of all elected officials in the country would instantly have to step down. (I heard that; stop cheering!).

But that is the position of General Treasurer Seth Magaziner.

I do agree with him when he says, as he did this morning, that “As Americans, we all have a duty to speak up when we see people in positions of authority spreading misinformation” and that elected officials “should use our platforms responsibly”. Via this post, accordingly, I am fulfilling that duty. Specifically, I am calling out Mr. Magaziner for a piece of misinformation that is especially egregious because he communicated it in his capacity as the state’s General Treasurer in an analysis about a major financial decision facing a municipality and the state.

Clearly, Mr. Magaziner did not use his platform as General Treasurer responsibly by including misinformation in this important analysis. Now, I myself am not calling on him to resign as the state’s General Treasurer for this. But by his own standard, he must do so immediately. Referring once again to Mr. Magaziner’s own words on WPRO this morning, elected officials have a duty to tell people the truth, to be honest. He failed notably to do so.


Roland Benjamin: COVID-19 Lockdown: The Preferred Intervention of the Elite

It is commonly accepted that an effective vaccine for COVID-19 will save lives.

The vaccine, be it BioNTech’s, Moderna’s, or any other pharmaceutical intervention, will most effectively bring an end to the COVID era. The “science” needed to bring this intervention into the world is astounding, with tens of thousands of test subjects undergoing trials for each version. Months and months and months of careful testing, and yet A SINGLE ADVERSE EVENT among any of the study participants halts the progress. One event. Savings lives is critical, so long as no harm is done in the process.

Simultaneously, governments all over the world have become obsessed with their own interventions. The non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) range from mask mandates, to required testing, to full scale economic lockdown. In the most extreme, China even resorted to welding people into their homes.

There has been no shortage of speculation that the lockdowns have caused harm. The argument has always been that they save lives by mitigating spread, but there really has not been comprehensive proof of that. Florida and California, two comparable states in climate and demography, have had comparable disease spreads with remarkably different approaches to inhibiting its residents. In other words, the NPIs adopted by California, draconian in some respects, have not proven any more effective than the “control group”…Florida’s non-interventionist approach.


Back to top



Education

California Numbers and Newsweek: Lockdowns Don’t Work

California’s response to COVID-19 has been to lock down and lock down hard. The harshness of its lockdown is confirmed by its decimated economy and heavy out-migration.

Ten months later, California currently has the second highest average daily cases per 100,000 in the last seven days per the CDC. A couple of weeks ago, it was at the top of the list. Rhode Island, also a state which misguidedly chose to lockdown, is currently fifth highest.

Lockdowns, even if they worked exactly as hoped, were never a good solution because of the enormous public health consequences they inflict. Now California’s experience confirms indisputably that lockdowns do not work to stop or slow COVID-19.

And a study just released via Newsweek confirms this.

A study evaluating COVID-19 responses around the world found that mandatory lockdown orders early in the pandemic may not provide significantly more benefits to slowing the spread of the disease than other voluntary measures, such as social distancing or travel reduction.

As she edges out the door, Governor Gina Raimondo has admonished us to “stay the course”. Meaning stay locked down. She is bewilderingly putting on auto pilot a completely failed, highly damaging public policy.

When asked whether he will continue the state’s lockdown, incoming governor Dan McKee has stated (I believe on WPRO radio), “The infection rate is going to drive that”. In light of the complete disconnect between lockdowns and the infection rate, I would respectfully urge him in the strongest terms to re-examine that course and not repeat the mistake of his predecessor of disregarding the data and evidence. He has no obligation to continue any of her policies – but particularly one that has so obviously failed.


Mattiello, Shekarchi, Ruggerio, Raimondo Prolonging Failed Lockdown – Due to Filthy Federal Lucre?

Let’s review eight months of unconvincing reasons for implementing, then not ending, Rhode Island’s COVID-19 lockdown, then go to the video tape for what’s looking like the real explanation.


Lockdowns are Now a Proven Failure As Their Collateral Damage Rises Inexorably

Eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, let’s examine the goal of the lockdown, the critical matter of its effectiveness and the collateral damage it has caused.


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Energy & Environment

In the Dugout: RI DEM Head’s Scheme for Revenue in “Climate Change” Lawsuit


TCI Carries the Old RhodeMap RI Flames


Casimiro and Vella-Wilkinson on Pending Legislation

Guests: Julie Casimiro, State Representative, H-D 31, rep-Casimiro@rilegislature.gov
Camille Vella-Wilkinson, State Representative, H-D 21, rep-vella-wilkinson@rilegislature.gov
Host: Richard August
Topic: Vaping and other pending legislation
Host: Richard August Time: 60 minutes
Representatives Casimiro and Vella-Wilkinson discuss a broad range of pending legislation and other matters, which have their concern. Topics include vaping legislation; a veteran joint oversight committee; pharmacist having birth control prescription authority; reproductive health; firearm legislation; climate control; out of school time learning; early parole for young rehabilitated offenders; military sexual assault trauma; and more. Other matters include the need for a constitutional convention; line item veto; minimum wage; and candidate endorsements.


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Gambling

RI Craps Shoot


Political Monday with John DePetro: Many Forms of Political Performance Art

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for December 9, included talk about:

  • Cicilline v. Trump
  • Energy protesters at the State House
  • Empty Wexford
  • Sports gambling lawsuit goes forward
  • Truck toll lawsuit goes forward
  • The Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) tax

Open post for full audio.


Political Monday with John DePetro: Hints of a Constitutional Crisis

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for November 18, included talk about:

  • Raimondo fundraising as governance
  • The governor sues the General Assembly
  • Municipalities sue the state government
  • Protestors’ liberal-meeting interruptions
  • Cranston seeks investigation of another department

Open post for full audio.


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General Assembly

Politics This Week with John DePetro: After the Storm

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

  • The attempt to cancel Rep. Price
  • Raimondo on her way out
  • McKee on quarantine

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


Politics This Week with John DePetro: Departing Queen and Incoming Squad

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for January 4, included talk about:

  • Raimondo’s prospects in a Biden administration
  • Channel 10’s groveling before progressives
  • The General Assembly’s likely atmosphere

I’ll be on again Monday, January 11, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.


Politics This Week with John DePetro: Closing Out the Year

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for December 28, included talk about:

  • The Guv’s house as the new protest spot
  • A whittled down RI Congressional delegation
  • 2020 winners and losers
  • Things to watch for in 2021

I’ll be on again Monday, January 4, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.


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Government

Politics This Week with John DePetro: Closing Out the Year

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for December 28, included talk about:

  • The Guv’s house as the new protest spot
  • A whittled down RI Congressional delegation
  • 2020 winners and losers
  • Things to watch for in 2021

I’ll be on again Monday, January 4, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.


Rhody Reporter: Fines by Executive Order

Diana Lozowski notes all the extra-legislative authority Governor Raimondo is exercising in the service of enforcing her lockdown orders and muses (along with two prominent legislators) that her excellency is skating on thin legal ice.


Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Governor’s Court

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for November 30, included talk about:

  • The Pause arrives
  • The Queen’s bid for a higher court
  • McKee’s bid for the Queen’s attention
  • The General Assembly as courtiers
  • Is the jester in the Britt trial still relevant?

I’ll be on again Monday, November 30, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.


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Governor

Politics This Week with John DePetro: After the Storm

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

  • The attempt to cancel Rep. Price
  • Raimondo on her way out
  • McKee on quarantine

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


California Numbers and Newsweek: Lockdowns Don’t Work

California’s response to COVID-19 has been to lock down and lock down hard. The harshness of its lockdown is confirmed by its decimated economy and heavy out-migration.

Ten months later, California currently has the second highest average daily cases per 100,000 in the last seven days per the CDC. A couple of weeks ago, it was at the top of the list. Rhode Island, also a state which misguidedly chose to lockdown, is currently fifth highest.

Lockdowns, even if they worked exactly as hoped, were never a good solution because of the enormous public health consequences they inflict. Now California’s experience confirms indisputably that lockdowns do not work to stop or slow COVID-19.

And a study just released via Newsweek confirms this.

A study evaluating COVID-19 responses around the world found that mandatory lockdown orders early in the pandemic may not provide significantly more benefits to slowing the spread of the disease than other voluntary measures, such as social distancing or travel reduction.

As she edges out the door, Governor Gina Raimondo has admonished us to “stay the course”. Meaning stay locked down. She is bewilderingly putting on auto pilot a completely failed, highly damaging public policy.

When asked whether he will continue the state’s lockdown, incoming governor Dan McKee has stated (I believe on WPRO radio), “The infection rate is going to drive that”. In light of the complete disconnect between lockdowns and the infection rate, I would respectfully urge him in the strongest terms to re-examine that course and not repeat the mistake of his predecessor of disregarding the data and evidence. He has no obligation to continue any of her policies – but particularly one that has so obviously failed.


Friday Cocktails with Mike Stenhouse on In The Dugout


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Healthcare

Friday Cocktails with Mike Stenhouse on In The Dugout


Politics This Week with John DePetro: The Breaking Cloud of Fear

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for December 21, included talk about:

  • The end of the Pause
  • COVID transparency
  • The Guv as a national story
  • Testing at the mall
  • Judges entering the Supreme Court under an ethical cloud

I’ll be on again Monday, December 28, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.


Roland Benjamin: COVID-19 Lockdown: The Preferred Intervention of the Elite

It is commonly accepted that an effective vaccine for COVID-19 will save lives.

The vaccine, be it BioNTech’s, Moderna’s, or any other pharmaceutical intervention, will most effectively bring an end to the COVID era. The “science” needed to bring this intervention into the world is astounding, with tens of thousands of test subjects undergoing trials for each version. Months and months and months of careful testing, and yet A SINGLE ADVERSE EVENT among any of the study participants halts the progress. One event. Savings lives is critical, so long as no harm is done in the process.

Simultaneously, governments all over the world have become obsessed with their own interventions. The non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) range from mask mandates, to required testing, to full scale economic lockdown. In the most extreme, China even resorted to welding people into their homes.

There has been no shortage of speculation that the lockdowns have caused harm. The argument has always been that they save lives by mitigating spread, but there really has not been comprehensive proof of that. Florida and California, two comparable states in climate and demography, have had comparable disease spreads with remarkably different approaches to inhibiting its residents. In other words, the NPIs adopted by California, draconian in some respects, have not proven any more effective than the “control group”…Florida’s non-interventionist approach.


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History

Christopher Reed: Memories on Veterans Day

Veterans Day this year brought back memories of Christopher Reed’s time in the service.


Let’s Not Overdo the RI History Revisionism

Ever since Rhode Island Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello invited accusations of ignorance by questioning whether there had ever been slavery in the Ocean State, the pendulum has been swinging the other way.


Politics This Week with John DePetro: In Hopes of a Backlash

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for June 22, included talk about:

  • Columbus comes down
  • “Providence Plantations” gets covered up
  • Rhode Island races to watch
  • Stanton shows the journalists’ condescension

I’ll be on again Monday, July 6, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.


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Immigration

Work-from-Home Globalization

As technology brings the benefits of globalization down to the individual level, will it mean greater opportunity for work-life balance, or the democratization of war?


Coming Out of the COVID Shadows

The (possibly related) stories about disproportionate COVID-19 cases among Hispanics and COVID-19 deaths at nursing homes fall in a range of topics about which we’re not allowed to have straightforward discussions, and that’s a dangerous problem.


2019 Census: States Change Their Populations

States, like Rhode Island, that can’t compete for domestic residents seem to be back-filling their populations with new immigrants from other countries.


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Infrastructure

Chris Maxwell: RITA Never Forgot Better Days of Eventually Turbulent Relationship with Nick Mattiello

The Rhode Island Trucking Association (RITA) made a conscious effort to never publicly target recently-ousted Speaker of the Rhode Island House, Nicholas Mattiello.


The Times, They Are A-Changin’

Mark Zaccaria runs through some of the things that need changing in RI and points out the only way to do so.


Design as a Bellwether of Urban Health

Why isn’t Rhode Island government interested in visually exciting architecture? Because our system makes paying off insiders too high a priority, says Mark Zaccaria.


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Legislation

Pandemic on the Road to Tolls

In its defense of the RhodeWorks tolling scheme, we see our state government hiding behind two noxious clouds.


In the Dugout: Lori Giuttari on RI Small Business Coalition

Everyone knows Rhode Island small businesses are hurting; is more government intervention really the answer? Lori Giuttari from the RI Small Business Coalition joins us- watch this new episode now of In The Dugout with Mike Stenhouse.


Fairy Tale Political Battles on the Road to Polygamy

Legislation that purports to clarify the laws around who can be and is a child’s parent does much more, and reportage is telling in a more-profound way than the light tone indicates.


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Media

A Tale of Two Entrances… and Exits

Americans are seeing two different realities in the Storming of the Capitol, neither perfectly accurate, and there are two paths forward, one better than the other.


Politics This Week with John DePetro: Departing Queen and Incoming Squad

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for January 4, included talk about:

  • Raimondo’s prospects in a Biden administration
  • Channel 10’s groveling before progressives
  • The General Assembly’s likely atmosphere

I’ll be on again Monday, January 11, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.


Politics This Week with John DePetro: Closing Out the Year

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for December 28, included talk about:

  • The Guv’s house as the new protest spot
  • A whittled down RI Congressional delegation
  • 2020 winners and losers
  • Things to watch for in 2021

I’ll be on again Monday, January 4, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.


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Musings & Announcements

Christopher Reed: Memories on Veterans Day

Veterans Day this year brought back memories of Christopher Reed’s time in the service.


My Message of Hope During This Coronavirus Crisis

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

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


Mainstream Women’s Group Launches in Rhode Island

A new group for Rhode Island women will put aside both the idea that women are required to be progressive radicals and the bare-knuckle political assaults that the Left thinks public discourse entails.


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National Security

Charles Callanan: The Chinese Problem, Part Two

The world will demand (and deserves) accountability from the coronavirus’s country of origin, China, but imposing a cost will bring the global community into a perilous dance.


Charles Callanan: Something Missing in East Greenwich on Veterans Day

The public events during East Greenwich’s Veterans Day activities did not match the reverence remembered from childhood or that the day deserves.


Media Language and a Virtue-Signaling Lie

A small example of political “news” can illustrate the language by which journalists promote partisan and ideological positions.


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On a Lighter Note

Last Impressions #51: Rebels Needed

Governor Raimondo and her merry band of magic Appointees focus on the true danger in Rhode Island — not roudy rioters carrying signs that threaten to burn down the country, but college kids who aren’t voluntarily living as if in an open-air prison.


What’s in… What’s out… #WaterFire,#Sharks, #TwinRiver, and more. 8/16/19

A run-down of items in Rhode Island political news for the week.


Proud of my Dad’s Big-League, Historic Anniversary

This week, let’s have a change of pace. Instead, I’d like to share something personal with you.

I’d like you to know how PROUD I AM OF MY DAD.


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Pensions

If “Misinformation” is the New Standard, Rhode Island’s General Treasurer Must Step Down Immediately

This morning on the WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti – link to audio – General Treasurer Seth Magaziner elaborated on his call for Rhode Island Representative Justin Price to resign from the House of Representatives for spreading misinformation, saying

When elected officials use their platforms to spread (mis)information, to spread lies, they have to be called out for it.”

And

…as elected officials, we should be held to a higher standard …

Interesting. Alright, check out this analysis from August, 2018 by Mike Riley.

In assessing the effort to keep the PawSox in Rhode Island, it is important to review the role of General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. The state treasurer was asked to analyze the costs and opine on affordability, as would be expected with a large borrowing like this. Mr. Magaziner opined in October 2017 and in June 2018 as numbers changed along with the terms of the deal and then opined again recently, finally giving a nod to the deal.

But what everyone needs to know is that $350 million dollars in debt for Pawtucket’s other post-employment benefits (OPEB) for former employees was not used in his analysis. This is more than twice the city’s pension debt! In fact, it was purposely left out by Magaziner. Including OPEB debt would obviously have made the City of Pawtucket’s borrowing look dangerous and ill-conceived. … This $350 million is so significant and overwhelming, it would be irresponsible for any treasurer to think Pawtucket absorbing new debt was a good idea.

Well, that’s an eye-opener. Nice work by Mike Riley catching that serious piece of misinformation by General Treasurer Magaziner. Ultimately, the PawSox left Rhode Island and these ill-conceived, unaffordable bonds were never issued. But that was very much despite this substantive misinformation that Treasurer Magaziner issued about Pawtucket’s financial condition.

Now, it is absurd to call on an elected official to step down due to a statement of misinformation; in part, because it falls into a broader category of free speech and, in part, because about three quarters of all elected officials in the country would instantly have to step down. (I heard that; stop cheering!).

But that is the position of General Treasurer Seth Magaziner.

I do agree with him when he says, as he did this morning, that “As Americans, we all have a duty to speak up when we see people in positions of authority spreading misinformation” and that elected officials “should use our platforms responsibly”. Via this post, accordingly, I am fulfilling that duty. Specifically, I am calling out Mr. Magaziner for a piece of misinformation that is especially egregious because he communicated it in his capacity as the state’s General Treasurer in an analysis about a major financial decision facing a municipality and the state.

Clearly, Mr. Magaziner did not use his platform as General Treasurer responsibly by including misinformation in this important analysis. Now, I myself am not calling on him to resign as the state’s General Treasurer for this. But by his own standard, he must do so immediately. Referring once again to Mr. Magaziner’s own words on WPRO this morning, elected officials have a duty to tell people the truth, to be honest. He failed notably to do so.


Rhody Reporter: Bad Management

Mark Zaccaria compares the ways in which RI government has managed the state, up to the possibility of a special election for debt while awaiting a federal bailout, and calls it what it is.


Charles Callanan: Unholy Alliance Murdering American Dream in RI

The common interests of labor unions and progressives are draining the Ocean State of its lifeblood.


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Political Theory

A Tale of Two Entrances… and Exits

Americans are seeing two different realities in the Storming of the Capitol, neither perfectly accurate, and there are two paths forward, one better than the other.


In The Dugout: THE CANCEL CULTURE


Friday Cocktails with Mike Stenhouse on In The Dugout


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Politics

Politics This Week with John DePetro: After the Storm

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

  • The attempt to cancel Rep. Price
  • Raimondo on her way out
  • McKee on quarantine

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


In The Dugout: What’s really dividing America


A Tale of Two Entrances… and Exits

Americans are seeing two different realities in the Storming of the Capitol, neither perfectly accurate, and there are two paths forward, one better than the other.


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Regulation

California Numbers and Newsweek: Lockdowns Don’t Work

California’s response to COVID-19 has been to lock down and lock down hard. The harshness of its lockdown is confirmed by its decimated economy and heavy out-migration.

Ten months later, California currently has the second highest average daily cases per 100,000 in the last seven days per the CDC. A couple of weeks ago, it was at the top of the list. Rhode Island, also a state which misguidedly chose to lockdown, is currently fifth highest.

Lockdowns, even if they worked exactly as hoped, were never a good solution because of the enormous public health consequences they inflict. Now California’s experience confirms indisputably that lockdowns do not work to stop or slow COVID-19.

And a study just released via Newsweek confirms this.

A study evaluating COVID-19 responses around the world found that mandatory lockdown orders early in the pandemic may not provide significantly more benefits to slowing the spread of the disease than other voluntary measures, such as social distancing or travel reduction.

As she edges out the door, Governor Gina Raimondo has admonished us to “stay the course”. Meaning stay locked down. She is bewilderingly putting on auto pilot a completely failed, highly damaging public policy.

When asked whether he will continue the state’s lockdown, incoming governor Dan McKee has stated (I believe on WPRO radio), “The infection rate is going to drive that”. In light of the complete disconnect between lockdowns and the infection rate, I would respectfully urge him in the strongest terms to re-examine that course and not repeat the mistake of his predecessor of disregarding the data and evidence. He has no obligation to continue any of her policies – but particularly one that has so obviously failed.


Roland Benjamin: COVID-19 Lockdown: The Preferred Intervention of the Elite

It is commonly accepted that an effective vaccine for COVID-19 will save lives.

The vaccine, be it BioNTech’s, Moderna’s, or any other pharmaceutical intervention, will most effectively bring an end to the COVID era. The “science” needed to bring this intervention into the world is astounding, with tens of thousands of test subjects undergoing trials for each version. Months and months and months of careful testing, and yet A SINGLE ADVERSE EVENT among any of the study participants halts the progress. One event. Savings lives is critical, so long as no harm is done in the process.

Simultaneously, governments all over the world have become obsessed with their own interventions. The non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) range from mask mandates, to required testing, to full scale economic lockdown. In the most extreme, China even resorted to welding people into their homes.

There has been no shortage of speculation that the lockdowns have caused harm. The argument has always been that they save lives by mitigating spread, but there really has not been comprehensive proof of that. Florida and California, two comparable states in climate and demography, have had comparable disease spreads with remarkably different approaches to inhibiting its residents. In other words, the NPIs adopted by California, draconian in some respects, have not proven any more effective than the “control group”…Florida’s non-interventionist approach.


Demand Transparency on Covid-19 Cycle-Threshold Data

The full release and analysis of detailed testing data could be critical in shaping more focused and less intrusive COVID-19 restrictions for Rhode Islanders.

This data, which measures “viral load” (how much of the virus is present) and which is routinely collected by labs that conduct COVID tests, can be critically important in determining both public policy and individual regimens. Take action now to demand it.

The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity has launched a new campaign, sending over a sixteen hundred pre-written emails (in just days) to officials petitioning the state to take action to collect and publish this vital cycle threshold data.

We have good news to share… they have taken the first steps in making a small portion of this data available. Our campaign is clearly working, but we need full transparency on this critical information.

You can take action by clicking on the link here now. Don’t wait, because your voice is powerful and it will make a difference for the people of Rhode Island!


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Science

California Numbers and Newsweek: Lockdowns Don’t Work

California’s response to COVID-19 has been to lock down and lock down hard. The harshness of its lockdown is confirmed by its decimated economy and heavy out-migration.

Ten months later, California currently has the second highest average daily cases per 100,000 in the last seven days per the CDC. A couple of weeks ago, it was at the top of the list. Rhode Island, also a state which misguidedly chose to lockdown, is currently fifth highest.

Lockdowns, even if they worked exactly as hoped, were never a good solution because of the enormous public health consequences they inflict. Now California’s experience confirms indisputably that lockdowns do not work to stop or slow COVID-19.

And a study just released via Newsweek confirms this.

A study evaluating COVID-19 responses around the world found that mandatory lockdown orders early in the pandemic may not provide significantly more benefits to slowing the spread of the disease than other voluntary measures, such as social distancing or travel reduction.

As she edges out the door, Governor Gina Raimondo has admonished us to “stay the course”. Meaning stay locked down. She is bewilderingly putting on auto pilot a completely failed, highly damaging public policy.

When asked whether he will continue the state’s lockdown, incoming governor Dan McKee has stated (I believe on WPRO radio), “The infection rate is going to drive that”. In light of the complete disconnect between lockdowns and the infection rate, I would respectfully urge him in the strongest terms to re-examine that course and not repeat the mistake of his predecessor of disregarding the data and evidence. He has no obligation to continue any of her policies – but particularly one that has so obviously failed.


Roland Benjamin: COVID-19 Lockdown: The Preferred Intervention of the Elite

It is commonly accepted that an effective vaccine for COVID-19 will save lives.

The vaccine, be it BioNTech’s, Moderna’s, or any other pharmaceutical intervention, will most effectively bring an end to the COVID era. The “science” needed to bring this intervention into the world is astounding, with tens of thousands of test subjects undergoing trials for each version. Months and months and months of careful testing, and yet A SINGLE ADVERSE EVENT among any of the study participants halts the progress. One event. Savings lives is critical, so long as no harm is done in the process.

Simultaneously, governments all over the world have become obsessed with their own interventions. The non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) range from mask mandates, to required testing, to full scale economic lockdown. In the most extreme, China even resorted to welding people into their homes.

There has been no shortage of speculation that the lockdowns have caused harm. The argument has always been that they save lives by mitigating spread, but there really has not been comprehensive proof of that. Florida and California, two comparable states in climate and demography, have had comparable disease spreads with remarkably different approaches to inhibiting its residents. In other words, the NPIs adopted by California, draconian in some respects, have not proven any more effective than the “control group”…Florida’s non-interventionist approach.


Demand Transparency on Covid-19 Cycle-Threshold Data

The full release and analysis of detailed testing data could be critical in shaping more focused and less intrusive COVID-19 restrictions for Rhode Islanders.

This data, which measures “viral load” (how much of the virus is present) and which is routinely collected by labs that conduct COVID tests, can be critically important in determining both public policy and individual regimens. Take action now to demand it.

The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity has launched a new campaign, sending over a sixteen hundred pre-written emails (in just days) to officials petitioning the state to take action to collect and publish this vital cycle threshold data.

We have good news to share… they have taken the first steps in making a small portion of this data available. Our campaign is clearly working, but we need full transparency on this critical information.

You can take action by clicking on the link here now. Don’t wait, because your voice is powerful and it will make a difference for the people of Rhode Island!


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Sports

Political Monday with John DePetro: Many Forms of Political Performance Art

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for December 9, included talk about:

  • Cicilline v. Trump
  • Energy protesters at the State House
  • Empty Wexford
  • Sports gambling lawsuit goes forward
  • Truck toll lawsuit goes forward
  • The Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) tax

Open post for full audio.


Political Monday with John DePetro: Shaking Up the Personalities

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for December 4, included talk about:

  • The return of Laffey (?)
  • RI’s suffocating labor unions
  • Progressive tricks with statistics
  • Getting a kick out of soccer stadiums
  • Smiley’s pay-cut stepping stone

Open post for full audio.


Correcting Higher Education as a Funding Mechanism for Nonsense

If URI’s anti-Brady professor were expressing the ideological opposite views, we know how the school would be reacting, so maybe it should flip the script.


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Taxation

If “Misinformation” is the New Standard, Rhode Island’s General Treasurer Must Step Down Immediately

This morning on the WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti – link to audio – General Treasurer Seth Magaziner elaborated on his call for Rhode Island Representative Justin Price to resign from the House of Representatives for spreading misinformation, saying

When elected officials use their platforms to spread (mis)information, to spread lies, they have to be called out for it.”

And

…as elected officials, we should be held to a higher standard …

Interesting. Alright, check out this analysis from August, 2018 by Mike Riley.

In assessing the effort to keep the PawSox in Rhode Island, it is important to review the role of General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. The state treasurer was asked to analyze the costs and opine on affordability, as would be expected with a large borrowing like this. Mr. Magaziner opined in October 2017 and in June 2018 as numbers changed along with the terms of the deal and then opined again recently, finally giving a nod to the deal.

But what everyone needs to know is that $350 million dollars in debt for Pawtucket’s other post-employment benefits (OPEB) for former employees was not used in his analysis. This is more than twice the city’s pension debt! In fact, it was purposely left out by Magaziner. Including OPEB debt would obviously have made the City of Pawtucket’s borrowing look dangerous and ill-conceived. … This $350 million is so significant and overwhelming, it would be irresponsible for any treasurer to think Pawtucket absorbing new debt was a good idea.

Well, that’s an eye-opener. Nice work by Mike Riley catching that serious piece of misinformation by General Treasurer Magaziner. Ultimately, the PawSox left Rhode Island and these ill-conceived, unaffordable bonds were never issued. But that was very much despite this substantive misinformation that Treasurer Magaziner issued about Pawtucket’s financial condition.

Now, it is absurd to call on an elected official to step down due to a statement of misinformation; in part, because it falls into a broader category of free speech and, in part, because about three quarters of all elected officials in the country would instantly have to step down. (I heard that; stop cheering!).

But that is the position of General Treasurer Seth Magaziner.

I do agree with him when he says, as he did this morning, that “As Americans, we all have a duty to speak up when we see people in positions of authority spreading misinformation” and that elected officials “should use our platforms responsibly”. Via this post, accordingly, I am fulfilling that duty. Specifically, I am calling out Mr. Magaziner for a piece of misinformation that is especially egregious because he communicated it in his capacity as the state’s General Treasurer in an analysis about a major financial decision facing a municipality and the state.

Clearly, Mr. Magaziner did not use his platform as General Treasurer responsibly by including misinformation in this important analysis. Now, I myself am not calling on him to resign as the state’s General Treasurer for this. But by his own standard, he must do so immediately. Referring once again to Mr. Magaziner’s own words on WPRO this morning, elected officials have a duty to tell people the truth, to be honest. He failed notably to do so.


Mattiello, Shekarchi, Ruggerio, Raimondo Prolonging Failed Lockdown – Due to Filthy Federal Lucre?

Let’s review eight months of unconvincing reasons for implementing, then not ending, Rhode Island’s COVID-19 lockdown, then go to the video tape for what’s looking like the real explanation.


Lockdowns are Now a Proven Failure As Their Collateral Damage Rises Inexorably

Eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, let’s examine the goal of the lockdown, the critical matter of its effectiveness and the collateral damage it has caused.


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Unions

Lockdowns are Now a Proven Failure As Their Collateral Damage Rises Inexorably

Eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, let’s examine the goal of the lockdown, the critical matter of its effectiveness and the collateral damage it has caused.


Chris Maxwell: RITA Never Forgot Better Days of Eventually Turbulent Relationship with Nick Mattiello

The Rhode Island Trucking Association (RITA) made a conscious effort to never publicly target recently-ousted Speaker of the Rhode Island House, Nicholas Mattiello.


Charles Callanan: Rhode Island’s Leadership Void

So far this year, this is what your state government has produced. If you want to talk about business as usual, well here it is.


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Welfare

Apparent Unemployment Insurance Letters Sent to Mississippi

Apparent unemployment insurance correspondence from the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) sent to an address in Mississippi joins the list of examples of problems handling the government program.


Priorities During the Great Loosening

The desire to open up the economy isn’t selfish or reckless; it’s humanitarian.


The Independent Man Needs YOU: Consider This Call To Civic Action

Is it time for you to get involved… to save our state? If we are ever going to change the policies that are driving away families and crippling businesses, the sad truth, my friend, is that we are going to have to change the players.

Rhode Island’s political class is so beholden to so many special interest groups and agendas, that they are paralyzed when it comes to considering common-sense, pro-growth policy reforms.


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