Topics

City/Town Government

Avoiding Direct Accountability for the Stadium

As public opinion rejects one attempt to back a new baseball stadium after another, insiders are becoming more creative (and dangerous) in their tricks to hide the risk and the subsidy.


Scalable Government Requires Limited Tasks and Local Control

Just as central servers can lose their ability to “govern” the many computers they connect, a centralized government can’t handle all of the relationships between human beings.


A Dynamic of Property Tax Rates and Levies

Tax rates matter, and people playing class warfare over the property tax bills of people in their town may be missing the way in which that drives up taxes on the working class.


Back to top



Civil Rights

When Days Count, Attorney General APRA Response Takes Weeks

The attorney general’s office has conspicuously delayed a records request until after it can affect legislation that might cost the attorney general’s office money.


Supreme Court Ruling a Bigger Slice of the Religious Liberty Cake

The Supreme Court didn’t decide the Masterpiece Cakeshop case as narrowly as many in the mainstream are suggesting.


Avoiding Direct Accountability for the Stadium

As public opinion rejects one attempt to back a new baseball stadium after another, insiders are becoming more creative (and dangerous) in their tricks to hide the risk and the subsidy.


Back to top



Congress

A Gift to Rhode Island Families: The Federal ‘Tax Cuts & Jobs Act’

On behalf of the Center, I would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas! Recently, Rhode Island families have received a gift… the “Tax Cuts & Jobs Act” has passed federally.


Political Monday with John DePetro, No. 38: RI Races for Governor and Senate

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, the topic was the 2018 campaign season, specifically the races for governor and U.S. Senate.

Open post for full audio.


Leaving Out the Key Number on the GOP Health Plan

Another GOP ObamaCare reform proposal, and another wave of studies and news reports that tilt the numbers so Americans can’t see how desperately necessary reform is.


Back to top



Culture & Family

Meaning and the Hierarchical Climb

Human beings may tend to be most satisfied when they’re within a hierarchy, but it would be mistaken to assume that it’s actually the hierarchy that gives them purpose.


A Depressing Problem in Modern Society

An apparent epidemic of suicides from the most disadvantaged corners of our society all the way to the heights of success suggests a problem of meaning and purpose, which our culture is less and less helping us to resolve.


The Clanging Buoy of a Middle School Graduation

An effort to turn the writer’s focus from the markers of children’s progress out of the house and to the truly valuable time between those markers.


Back to top



Economy

May 2018 Employment: Annual Phantom Boost or National Wave?

Rhode Island employment and jobs numbers are looking good, but to the extent that the increase isn’t revised away in the future, it appears to be part of a national trend, not something native to the Ocean State.


Minimum Wages and Welfare Programs Don’t Help Poverty

Negative effects from minimum wage increases, no long-term benefits from welfare programs, and questions about the earned income tax credit show that there is no subsidy for freedom and prosperity.


Political Monday with John DePetro: Tolls, Ballparks, and a Race for Governor

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, about the start of truck tolls, the prospects of a ballpark deal, and the state of play in the governor’s race.

Open post for full audio.


Back to top



Education

Ideology Overwhelming Education

Dismissing school choice suggestions as founded in “fuzzy math” raises the concern that the imperative to dismiss reform policies might affect what math and concepts students are taught.


PC or PC? Vice President Goodwin Takes Out Restraining Order Against Smalanskas

Michael Smalanskas, who was recently the center of an open debate battle with progressive activists over a bulletin board he posted educating students about traditional Catholic marriage, has been barred from campus and has had a restraining order taken out against him by Vice President for Student Affairs, Kristine Goodwin.


An Emblematic Decision Between Security and Salaries

A Bizarro World Justin Katz illustrates some realities that The Current’s Justin Katz thinks ought to be relevant to Rhode Island’s debates about unionization.


Back to top



Energy & Environment

Tinnitus Among RI’s Would-Be Overlords

Calling Aaron Regunberg an “overlord” (at least in intention) is not a dog whistle; it’s more like a game of name that tune.


Progressive Vision: A Plan To Take Even More Control Of Your Life

This is a true battle of visions. Their progressive vision would transform our home state into a liberal hell. Rhode Island could become a place where businesses face even higher legal risks and our citizens would be even less free to live their own lives.


Preparing for the Future Without Experience of the Present

If we’re really under threat of cataclysmic climate change, why do the activists have to go back so far for examples and use on-paper predictions to suggest acceleration?


Back to top



Gambling

Last Impressions Podcast Episode 16: The Light of the World

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

Open post for full audio


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

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


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

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


Back to top



General Assembly

Avoiding Direct Accountability for the Stadium

As public opinion rejects one attempt to back a new baseball stadium after another, insiders are becoming more creative (and dangerous) in their tricks to hide the risk and the subsidy.


Tasking the State to Figure Out Every Legitimate Difference Between People

Rhode Island should pause and think about what it really means to give the state government bureaucracy a mandate to analyze the pay differences of every employer within our borders.


Progressive Bad Bill of the Week: So-Called Fair Employment Practices

Click here to read more.


Back to top



Government

When Days Count, Attorney General APRA Response Takes Weeks

The attorney general’s office has conspicuously delayed a records request until after it can affect legislation that might cost the attorney general’s office money.


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

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


Avoiding Direct Accountability for the Stadium

As public opinion rejects one attempt to back a new baseball stadium after another, insiders are becoming more creative (and dangerous) in their tricks to hide the risk and the subsidy.


Back to top



Governor

Political Monday with John DePetro: Everywhere a Process Crime

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, about Carnevale’s prospects, the Mattiello crew’s subpoena, and the mayor’s tangle.

Open post for full audio.


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

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


Political Monday with John DePetro: Government for Sale

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, about Chafee bowing out, Raimondo jumping in (officially), and Fung’s line of attack.

Open post for full audio.


Back to top



Healthcare

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

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


Lena Cirignotta: RIDOH Attempts to Track Every RI Resident

The Rhode Island Department of Health proposal could expand a child immunization database into a universal health tracking tool.


Vulnerability in the Social Services Shell Game

Reporting about the budget’s change in payments to hospitals for uncompensated care raises more questions than it answers, pointing to the complexity of government spending and the vulnerability of taxpayers.


Back to top



History

GenX’s Asset Number One

As Baby Boomers set their eyes on Millennials and their efficiency toys, we’ll miss something important if we let GenX indulge in its loner inclinations.


Last Impressions 46: Obvious Things We Obviously Can’t Say

Birtherism versus RussiaRussiaRussia, proper humility for kids, mutual discomfort in the co-ed workplace, American aspiration, and aggregate parenting.

Open post for full audio.


Last Impressions 45: Coming to Our Own Conclusions

Radical individualism, young conservatives’ political naivete, brain coupling, and disease in the social media city.

Open post for full audio.


Back to top



Immigration

Political Monday with John DePetro: Hidden Rhode Islanders, Hidden Candidates

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, the topic was a Census immigration question and a quiet gubernatorial debate.

Open post for full audio.


Binding Up the Immigration Issue with Heartstrings

Jorge Garcia’s story brings out the battle between illegal aliens and fluffy animals.


Population Change: The Government Plantation in Action

Every year, Rhode Island replaces its residents (who leave) with foreign nationals (who immigrate), revealing the short-sighted decision of the state’s political elite.


Back to top



Infrastructure

School Choice and the Scheme of Crumbling Schools

Crumbling schools show that the government’s priority has been other spending (mainly on unionized employees), and more school choice could change the equation in students’ (and taxpayers’) favor.


Chris Maxwell: RIDOT’s Inadequate Environmental Assessment Intended to Accelerate Toll Bait Lawsuit

[Below are the prepared comments of Chris Maxwell, President of the Rhode Island Trucking Association, for the RIDOT toll gantry workshop Tuesday evening. The video of Chris’ actual comments, abbreviated due to time constraints, can be viewed here. For the sake of the news outlet that erroneously reported that public comment Tuesday night was mostly a re-hash of old objections and omitted all on-topic comments from their story, Ocean State Current has bolded all of Chris’ comments that pertain to the Environmental Assessment that was the subject of Tuesday’s workshop.]

Good evening. My name is Chris Maxwell and I represent the Rhode Island Trucking Association and all local trucking companies adversely affected by truck-only tolls.

Our opposition to this plan from its introduction in the spring of 2015 is well-documented. And despite the justified rancour that still exists, our industry’s willingness to contribute to infrastructure improvement remains steadfast – even beyond our existing contributions which are considerable.

In 2016, the trucking industry in Rhode Island paid roughly $70 million in federal and state roadway taxes.


Hearing Tuesday on First Toll Gantries With Acute Case of UHIP-itis

RIDOT has identified the locations of the first two proposed toll gantry locations in southern Rhode Island. This Tuesday, they will be holding a workshop and taking public comment on their newly-released (not to say rushed out the door) Environmental Assessment of the locations. The problem is that the assessment suffers from exactly the same serious flaw as the ill-fated UHIP system: it was released before it was ready. “Continue Reading” to learn why – and for deets about attending the hearing.


Back to top



Legislation

Minimum Wages and Welfare Programs Don’t Help Poverty

Negative effects from minimum wage increases, no long-term benefits from welfare programs, and questions about the earned income tax credit show that there is no subsidy for freedom and prosperity.


Political Monday with John DePetro: Tolls, Ballparks, and a Race for Governor

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, about the start of truck tolls, the prospects of a ballpark deal, and the state of play in the governor’s race.

Open post for full audio.


Avoiding Direct Accountability for the Stadium

As public opinion rejects one attempt to back a new baseball stadium after another, insiders are becoming more creative (and dangerous) in their tricks to hide the risk and the subsidy.


Back to top



Media

The Public Radio Journalist’s View of the United States

A local political analyst for public radio uncritically promotes a Facebook post slandering the United States with no analysis anywhere to be found.


Projo’s Economic Enthusiasm

Over-eagerness to proclaim a Rhode Island boom raises questions about government’s “gaming the indexes” to produce cranes without much underlying improvement in health.


Vulnerability in the Social Services Shell Game

Reporting about the budget’s change in payments to hospitals for uncompensated care raises more questions than it answers, pointing to the complexity of government spending and the vulnerability of taxpayers.


Back to top



Musings & Announcements

The Clanging Buoy of a Middle School Graduation

An effort to turn the writer’s focus from the markers of children’s progress out of the house and to the truly valuable time between those markers.


The 2017 Ocean State Freedom Banquet

On Friday, the Center held our first inaugural fundraising banquet -the 2017 Ocean State Freedom Banquet. At the banquet, a capacity crowd of 200 people were on hand to hear the keynote address by Grover Norquist, famed DC anti-tax warrior and President of Americans for Tax Reform.


Last Impressions 30: Keeping in Touch… for Various Reasons

Sympathy for the racist; learning how (not what) to think; in favor of price gouging and dismantling unions; and saying goodbye to an old friend

Open post for full audio.


Back to top



National Security

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.


An “Adaptive” System of Leaks Depends on Trust and Consequences

Journalists who support leaks have a point about their value as a safety valve for government abuse, but that safety valve requires that the consequences for breaking the law be real.


Never-Trump Right Gets Us to the Hub of the Matter

When it comes to Don Junior’s meeting with a Russian lawyer, it seems a lot of the key questions, the “and so”s, are being left out of the arguments.


Back to top



On a Lighter Note

Harry Potter and Muggle Fly-Over Country’s Conservative Stories

The Harry Potter novels are in some regards liberal wish fulfillment, not only that magic exists, and not only that the elect can be whisked away to an exclusive world, but also that we can ignore the obvious and profess progressive beliefs.


Last Impressions Podcast Episode 19: The Tides of Liberty and Attraction

What is government for? What turns me off about libertarianism, and what turns some men on about lesbianism? And a poetic response.

Open post for full audio.


Deception and War in Walking Dead

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


Back to top



Pensions

The Next Pension Crisis Approaches

Beware the gathering clouds of state pension fund “endangered status.”


Last Impressions 39: Children of the Law

The sexist children of the General Assembly, blue states as a fleet of Titanics, Rand got God wrong, and a progressive contradiction.

Open post for full audio.


Making Up for Pension Losses

Just as appliance consumers need a practical guide for decibel levels, news consumers need a better sense of what pension return numbers actually mean.


Back to top



Political Theory

Meaning and the Hierarchical Climb

Human beings may tend to be most satisfied when they’re within a hierarchy, but it would be mistaken to assume that it’s actually the hierarchy that gives them purpose.


Minimum Wages and Welfare Programs Don’t Help Poverty

Negative effects from minimum wage increases, no long-term benefits from welfare programs, and questions about the earned income tax credit show that there is no subsidy for freedom and prosperity.


A Look Farther Down the “Pay Equity” Road

New Zealand’s attempt to ensure “pay equity” across entire industries should be a warning about the wisdom of government’s attempting to guide our economy through narrow political lenses.


Back to top



Politics

The Public Radio Journalist’s View of the United States

A local political analyst for public radio uncritically promotes a Facebook post slandering the United States with no analysis anywhere to be found.


Political Monday with John DePetro: Everywhere a Process Crime

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, about Carnevale’s prospects, the Mattiello crew’s subpoena, and the mayor’s tangle.

Open post for full audio.


Political Monday with John DePetro: Tolls, Ballparks, and a Race for Governor

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, about the start of truck tolls, the prospects of a ballpark deal, and the state of play in the governor’s race.

Open post for full audio.


Back to top



Regulation

Public Policy Inefficiencies Can Be a Feature, Not a Bug

Whether it’s removing market signals with a value-added tax or creating incentive to block new children through zoning, public policy shouldn’t remove its red flags and should seek to address original problems, not symptoms.


Hair Braiders Should Have the #RIghtToEarn a Living

Oppressive Regulations Harm Low Income Families. Hair braiding is a generational and practical African-style art-form for Jocelyn DoCouto and her family, which hail from Senegal and Cape Verde. Yet, unable to afford the burdensome levels of fees and training required to receive permission from the government to legally work in a field that presents no safety risks, Jocelyn, as well as other would-be entrepreneurs, are not able to operate a business that would provide them hope to achieve financial independence.


Can We Realize The Destruction Of Families Has Unintended Consequences?

In the Providence Journal this week, Wendy P. Warcholik and J. Scott Moody write, “This growing number of children in Rhode Island without a solid familial foundation should give us all pause. This is not a problem that is going to just go away, and we must find ways to help these children before tragedy strikes, perhaps in your own neighborhood.”


Back to top



Science

Tasking the State to Figure Out Every Legitimate Difference Between People

Rhode Island should pause and think about what it really means to give the state government bureaucracy a mandate to analyze the pay differences of every employer within our borders.


This Is the Trip, the Best Part

Hallucinogenic drugs appear to help people to reevaluate what’s possible in their lives, which may tie more with the nature of reality than the 1960s ethos would suggest.


Last Impressions 45: Coming to Our Own Conclusions

Radical individualism, young conservatives’ political naivete, brain coupling, and disease in the social media city.

Open post for full audio.


Back to top



Sports

Political Monday with John DePetro: Tolls, Ballparks, and a Race for Governor

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, about the start of truck tolls, the prospects of a ballpark deal, and the state of play in the governor’s race.

Open post for full audio.


Political Monday with John DePetro: Budgets, Cronies, and Women

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, the topics were the governor’s budget proposal, the March for Women, and the politics of PawSox subsidies.

Open post for full audio.


Political Monday with John DePetro, No. 36: Legacies and Baseball Homes

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, the topics were Judge Flanders’s announcement and chances, the PawSox thoughts of Attleboro, and the Raimondo-bomb of UHIP.

Open post for full audio.


Back to top



Taxation

Minimum Wages and Welfare Programs Don’t Help Poverty

Negative effects from minimum wage increases, no long-term benefits from welfare programs, and questions about the earned income tax credit show that there is no subsidy for freedom and prosperity.


Political Monday with John DePetro: Tolls, Ballparks, and a Race for Governor

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, about the start of truck tolls, the prospects of a ballpark deal, and the state of play in the governor’s race.

Open post for full audio.


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

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


Back to top



Unions

Political Monday with John DePetro: Increasingly Complex Governor’s Race

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, the topic was the increasingly broad possibilities for the governor’s race.

Open post for full audio.


An Emblematic Decision Between Security and Salaries

A Bizarro World Justin Katz illustrates some realities that The Current’s Justin Katz thinks ought to be relevant to Rhode Island’s debates about unionization.


Public Policy Inefficiencies Can Be a Feature, Not a Bug

Whether it’s removing market signals with a value-added tax or creating incentive to block new children through zoning, public policy shouldn’t remove its red flags and should seek to address original problems, not symptoms.


Back to top



Welfare

Minimum Wages and Welfare Programs Don’t Help Poverty

Negative effects from minimum wage increases, no long-term benefits from welfare programs, and questions about the earned income tax credit show that there is no subsidy for freedom and prosperity.


Political Monday with John DePetro: A Governor’s Priorities

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, about the consequences and implications of legal bumbling in Governor Raimondo’s administration.

Open post for full audio.


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

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


Back to top



Quantcast