Topics

City/Town Government

State Police Tell Story of Heroes and Villains in Cranston

A close reading reveals the state police report about the Cranston Police Department to be a deeply biased narrative serving the interests of its authors and their colleagues.


Charters: Innovative Hybrid or Offshoot from the Giant Blob?

The debate over whether charter schools are more like public schools or private schools points to the race between inside interests and charters’ destruction of private schools.


Laws Corrupting the Rule of Law in Woonsocket

Battles over the annual budget in Woonsocket could open up another corrupting problem with the inadvisable and poorly written law granting the state the power to take dictatorial control over struggling local governments.


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Civil Rights

Arthur Christopher Schaper: One-Sided Free Speech and Religious Liberty in MA

A Massachusetts doctor is pressed to bend to a hospital’s point of view on homosexuality and few take notice.


Thoughts on R.R. Reno and Diplomacy of the Individual

First Things editor R.R. Reno puts Pope Francis’s style of rhetoric and diplomacy in the context of the history of the Roman Catholic Church.


Arthur Christopher Schaper: Bishop Tobin Defending the First Amendment

The Roman Catholic Bishop of the Providence Diocese, Thomas Tobin, stands out in America for his defense of principles articulated in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.


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Congress

Arthur Christopher Schaper: Cicilline Walks the Fence with Obama Iran Deal

Conspicuously absent from the list of Jewish Congressional Democrats who have come out against President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran is Rhode Island’s David Cicilline, and Arthur Christopher Schaper wonders what’s taking him so long.


Inspectors General and the Corrupt Edifice of Big Government

Senator Whitehouse’s notion of expanding the application of RICO suits might point the weapon in the wrong direction.


10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 46 (Congressional Debates)

Rob Paquin and Bob Plain discuss the candidates for U.S. Congress from Rhode Island (mostly by way of the issues).


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Culture & Family

Thoughts on Property, Economics, and Catholicism

A discussion of the correct understanding of economics within Catholic teaching may hinge on the origin of our right to private property.


Thoughts on Kenneth Colston and Pleasurable (and Voluntary) Asceticism

Kenneth Colston traces the significance of Saint Francis and Franciscans in the works of Shakespeare, Manzoni, and Chesterton and applies them to Pope Francis.


The Promotion of Art Without Meaning

Meaninglessness in the arts and politics serves those who hold power by undermining those who might threaten it.


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Economy

The Technocrat’s Dehumanizing Turn Toward Tyranny

Matthew Bruenig offers a helpful illustration of how progressives mix ideology and equations in ways that dehumanize people for their benefit and search for power.


Worldviews and Conflicts of Interest in Social Takeover

Worrying about minor conflicts of interest in government planning misses the point that progressivism is an ideology built around the idealization of conflicts of interest.


Thoughts on Property, Economics, and Catholicism

A discussion of the correct understanding of economics within Catholic teaching may hinge on the origin of our right to private property.


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Education

Charters: Innovative Hybrid or Offshoot from the Giant Blob?

The debate over whether charter schools are more like public schools or private schools points to the race between inside interests and charters’ destruction of private schools.


Sowing the Seeds of a Future Revival

Events in America suggest dark times for liberty and true diversity. But we can always rebuild, starting at the bottom.


Portsmouth Institute 2013 Conference: “Catholicism and the American Experience,” Day 2, Samuel Casey Carter

Samuel Casey Carter, of the Faith in the Future Foundation, begins day 2 of the 2013 Portsmouth Institute conference.


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Energy & Environment

Inspectors General and the Corrupt Edifice of Big Government

Senator Whitehouse’s notion of expanding the application of RICO suits might point the weapon in the wrong direction.


Reading Between the Trees of the Sustainable Argument

Environmental regulation and “sustainable development” may not cause income inequality, but they sure do correlate well with it.


Faith in the Anthropocrimen

News media leaps from evidence of a changing climate to a human cause to a global socialist solution have politicized science and sowed distrust among the people.


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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

Arthur Christopher Schaper: Playing the 38 Studios Game at the State House

Revelations that former House Speaker Gordon Fox was the state politician who kicked of the 38 Studios game at the State House raise questions about whether current speaker Nicholas Mattiello is trying to win level two.


Park Avenue Bridge: Did the Wood Even Need to be Replaced? Was the Correct Part of the Bridge Repaired? “Lieutenant Colonel” Columbo Has a Few Questions

With the completely unacceptable, lose-lose for Rhode Island prospect of across-the-board vehicle tolling suddenly on the table, let’s take a closer look at a high-profile toll-related incident from a couple of months ago: the closure by RIDOT of the Park Avenue Bridge.

You may recall the WPRI investigation last month by Ted Nesi on the timing of the Park Avenue Bridge inspection. RIDOT had ordered an inspection – it turned into three inspections – of the Park Avenue Bridge in Cranston, a bridge just down the road from Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s office. The inspections resulted in the abrupt closing of the bridge at the height of Governor Raimondo’s attempt to get her tolling program passed by the General Assembly.


Updated – Terrible Tolls Would be a Win-Win for Governor Raimondo and a Lose-Lose for Rhode Island

From the wow-that-didn’t-take-long department, the Providence Journal’s Kathy Gregg, in a piece of kick-butt journalism yesterday, reports that the tolling of all vehicles is now on the table as an option. It seems that, at Speaker Mattiello’s suggestion, Governor Gina Raimondo is carrying out an “economic analysis”.

In recent months, the administration also commissioned an “economic analysis” of Raimondo’s truck-toll plan and a variety of other possible revenue-raising options that could, potentially, include: other new “user-fees,” gas taxes and a revived effort to toll all vehicles — not just big trucks — on Route 95 near the Connecticut border.


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Government

The Technocrat’s Dehumanizing Turn Toward Tyranny

Matthew Bruenig offers a helpful illustration of how progressives mix ideology and equations in ways that dehumanize people for their benefit and search for power.


Worldviews and Conflicts of Interest in Social Takeover

Worrying about minor conflicts of interest in government planning misses the point that progressivism is an ideology built around the idealization of conflicts of interest.


Thoughts on R.R. Reno and Diplomacy of the Individual

First Things editor R.R. Reno puts Pope Francis’s style of rhetoric and diplomacy in the context of the history of the Roman Catholic Church.


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Governor

Park Avenue Bridge: Did the Wood Even Need to be Replaced? Was the Correct Part of the Bridge Repaired? “Lieutenant Colonel” Columbo Has a Few Questions

With the completely unacceptable, lose-lose for Rhode Island prospect of across-the-board vehicle tolling suddenly on the table, let’s take a closer look at a high-profile toll-related incident from a couple of months ago: the closure by RIDOT of the Park Avenue Bridge.

You may recall the WPRI investigation last month by Ted Nesi on the timing of the Park Avenue Bridge inspection. RIDOT had ordered an inspection – it turned into three inspections – of the Park Avenue Bridge in Cranston, a bridge just down the road from Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s office. The inspections resulted in the abrupt closing of the bridge at the height of Governor Raimondo’s attempt to get her tolling program passed by the General Assembly.


Updated – Terrible Tolls Would be a Win-Win for Governor Raimondo and a Lose-Lose for Rhode Island

From the wow-that-didn’t-take-long department, the Providence Journal’s Kathy Gregg, in a piece of kick-butt journalism yesterday, reports that the tolling of all vehicles is now on the table as an option. It seems that, at Speaker Mattiello’s suggestion, Governor Gina Raimondo is carrying out an “economic analysis”.

In recent months, the administration also commissioned an “economic analysis” of Raimondo’s truck-toll plan and a variety of other possible revenue-raising options that could, potentially, include: other new “user-fees,” gas taxes and a revived effort to toll all vehicles — not just big trucks — on Route 95 near the Connecticut border.


The New Toll Plan Will Still Be Challenged in Federal Court


If getting bond investors their interest payments construction underway as quickly as possible is of the utmost importance, Rhode Island’s political leaders will need to consider how much of a risk of a lawsuit they are willing to take in order to get the local carve-out; a case like this would take years to work it’s way through the Federal courts and the whole tolling-plan might possibly be enjoined during the litigation process. Of course, an injunction against the toll-plan would mean no money for bond payments road-repairs right away.

On this issue, Rhode Island’s legislators would be wise to keep in mind the lesson of Gordon Fox: Because Rhode Island’s Democratic leadership can play fast-and-loose with interpretations of rules and laws while inside the statehouse (e.g. nullification, revolving door judgeships) does not mean they can extend that power very far outside and forgetting about this can lead to unfortunate consequences.

The legal analysis that leads to this conclusion is in the main post.


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Healthcare

HPV Vaccine Mandate the Tip of Big Money Insider Interests

Following the money around the Rhode Island Dept. of Health’s decision to require all Rhode Island seventh graders to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease reveals the big-money game of politics and government health.


No Weapon Formed Against Us Shall Prosper

Looking at current events, it’s tempting to be discouraged, but in the trials of a church in Charleston we can find inspiration to wipe discouragement away.


Number Games to Lock Us In to Government Medicine

The General Assembly’s budget looks likely to impose a brand new HealthSource tax on all Rhode Islanders who buy individual or small-group health insurance in the state. Whatever the numbers can be made to show, the scene will surely darken in years to come.


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History

Thoughts on Kenneth Colston and Pleasurable (and Voluntary) Asceticism

Kenneth Colston traces the significance of Saint Francis and Franciscans in the works of Shakespeare, Manzoni, and Chesterton and applies them to Pope Francis.


Thoughts on R.R. Reno and Diplomacy of the Individual

First Things editor R.R. Reno puts Pope Francis’s style of rhetoric and diplomacy in the context of the history of the Roman Catholic Church.


Thoughts on Portsmouth Institute Panel on Interreligious Perspectives on Pope Francis

An interreligious panel on Pope Francis’s relationship with those of other faiths raises questions of religion’s relationship with politics, which returns us to the question of whether Francis has the world right.


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Immigration

Arthur Christopher Schaper: Cicilline’s “Grand Theft Auto” Sanctuary City

Arthur Christopher Schaper asks illegal immigration expert Jessica Vaughn about the consequences of sanctuary city policies under former Providence Mayor David Cicilline.


Terry Gorman: Sympathetic Providence Journal Article Encourages Illegal Immigration to Rhode Island

[Terry Gorman of RIILE sent the following e-mail to Providence Journal reporter Karen Lee Ziner in response to her front page article of Saturday. It has been lightly edited for style.]

Regarding your April 18 article in the Providence Journal, “Fight over Obama’s orders“, so much for “HIDING IN THE SHADOWS“. Two women here Illegally delivering 5 children that by current law are U S Citizens. Free pre-natal care, childbirth, post-partum care and long term family planning for two years (evidently not working) all at the expense of taxpayers. Just how much does this group cost US taxpayers and how is it justified in these lean times?

I think this article will only serve to ENCOURAGE many more pregnant illegal alien women to flock to Rhode Island. Why wouldn’t they come if they can arrive Illegally, have as many children as they wish, work Illegally or just not work, receive workers compensation, get free care for a child’s autism, receive subsidies for the new U S citizen children in the form of welfare, SNAP etc., now that it’s been basically ADVERTISED on the front page of a major newspaper? Thanks.


Steve Ahlquist, the Oppressors’ Heir

In attacking Rhode Islanders for Immigration Law Enforcement, Steve Ahlquist gives reason to believe he’d have been a different kind of oppressor in a different time.


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Infrastructure

Park Avenue Bridge: Did the Wood Even Need to be Replaced? Was the Correct Part of the Bridge Repaired? “Lieutenant Colonel” Columbo Has a Few Questions

With the completely unacceptable, lose-lose for Rhode Island prospect of across-the-board vehicle tolling suddenly on the table, let’s take a closer look at a high-profile toll-related incident from a couple of months ago: the closure by RIDOT of the Park Avenue Bridge.

You may recall the WPRI investigation last month by Ted Nesi on the timing of the Park Avenue Bridge inspection. RIDOT had ordered an inspection – it turned into three inspections – of the Park Avenue Bridge in Cranston, a bridge just down the road from Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s office. The inspections resulted in the abrupt closing of the bridge at the height of Governor Raimondo’s attempt to get her tolling program passed by the General Assembly.


Updated – Terrible Tolls Would be a Win-Win for Governor Raimondo and a Lose-Lose for Rhode Island

From the wow-that-didn’t-take-long department, the Providence Journal’s Kathy Gregg, in a piece of kick-butt journalism yesterday, reports that the tolling of all vehicles is now on the table as an option. It seems that, at Speaker Mattiello’s suggestion, Governor Gina Raimondo is carrying out an “economic analysis”.

In recent months, the administration also commissioned an “economic analysis” of Raimondo’s truck-toll plan and a variety of other possible revenue-raising options that could, potentially, include: other new “user-fees,” gas taxes and a revived effort to toll all vehicles — not just big trucks — on Route 95 near the Connecticut border.


End of the Sessioner #2: To Bond or Not to Bond, Questions About Priorities in the Governor’s Toll Plan


What Rhode Island’s Governor and legislature decide in the next couple of weeks with regards to highway tolls depends on what their policy priorities are, by which I mean…

1. Despite the fact that a case for funding a decade or more of highway construction with a revenue bond, instead of saving money on interest and spending the savings directly on construction, has not yet been presented to the public,…

2. …a revenue bond financed through tolls seems to be an integral part of Governor Gina Raimondo’s transportation infrastructure plan.

3. Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello is concerned about the impact highway tolls would have on the local economy, which is a reasonable concern, and has signaled he’d like to see some kind of local-relief plan implemented.

4. However, Federal case law based on the U.S. Constitution’s interstate commerce clause clearly looks askance upon local carve-outs when it comes to highway tolls/user-fees/whatever you want to call them, meaning that…

5. …if a tolling plan did include a local “discount” in its structure, there is a risk it would be immediately enjoined (with the help of ground-transportation trade organizations which appear to have some pretty good lawyers).

6. And, of course, if a tolling program were enjoined right away, a bond sale probably couldn’t proceed until the case was resolved, which would probably take several years, at least.

What to watch for is this: if the priority is issuing the bond, something without anything resembling a local exemption that could bring the court-system into the process needs to be passed soon, and a special session in the later half of the fall might be too late to get bonds issued for this tax-year. If, on the other hand, the bond itself is less of a priority, the timeline is not quite so immediate, and some explanation to the public of why interest payments associated with a bond make sense is in order.

But bond or no-bond, it’s going to be difficult to construct a local preference for vehicle tolls that survives Federal court scrutiny. Based on the proposal already submitted, we know this won’t prevent the Governor from supporting tolls. Will the Speaker eventually come to share to the same attitude?


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Legislation

Laws Corrupting the Rule of Law in Woonsocket

Battles over the annual budget in Woonsocket could open up another corrupting problem with the inadvisable and poorly written law granting the state the power to take dictatorial control over struggling local governments.


No Weapon Formed Against Us Shall Prosper

Looking at current events, it’s tempting to be discouraged, but in the trials of a church in Charleston we can find inspiration to wipe discouragement away.


Another Sign That the House Budget Session Was the Beginning of the End

Another incident during the House debate over the budget, this one involving an amendment that would have directed resources to an investigation of 38 Studios, strengthens the impression that representative democracy is dead at the State House.


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Media

Worldviews and Conflicts of Interest in Social Takeover

Worrying about minor conflicts of interest in government planning misses the point that progressivism is an ideology built around the idealization of conflicts of interest.


Election Coming; Racial Strife on the Upswing

In the run-up to the next presidential election, attitudes about race relations have taken a dive. One needn’t be but so cynical to think the perception is mostly fabricated.


How Terrorism Works (Worst Time for a Progressive Elite)

Fear about increasingly frequent points of terrorism across the United States is made worse by the sense that people in power and in the news media will neither protect us from it nor allow us to protect ourselves.


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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

Arthur Christopher Schaper: Cicilline Walks the Fence with Obama Iran Deal

Conspicuously absent from the list of Jewish Congressional Democrats who have come out against President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran is Rhode Island’s David Cicilline, and Arthur Christopher Schaper wonders what’s taking him so long.


How Terrorism Works (Worst Time for a Progressive Elite)

Fear about increasingly frequent points of terrorism across the United States is made worse by the sense that people in power and in the news media will neither protect us from it nor allow us to protect ourselves.


News Media Dedication to Narrative Misinforms Americans About Chattanooga

Rhode Islanders who get their news from the Providence Journal may find themselves studiously routed around obvious questions and connections in the matter of the Chattanooga shooting.


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On a Lighter Note

Friday Night Beer: Ommegang Valar Morghulis

A dubbel ale by Ommegang offers enjoyable flavor with mild buzz and a tie-in to the world of fantasy novels.


My Non-Epic Soccer Post


I’ll side with the Ancient Romans over Ann Coulter, but soccer’s powers-that-be should really lighten up on the substitution rules.


$5,000 – or .000022 – Worth of Sunday Morning Grins & Giggles Courtesy PolitiFact RI

On a personal note, I’d like to sincerely thank PolitiFact RI for starting my day with a big smile this morning, though perhaps they would not be altogether pleased at the reason.

In today’s Providence Journal, they’ve rated a statement by the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity (hereinafter “the Center”) pertaining to the $224.5 million in wasteful spending identified by the Center in the governor’s proposed 2015 budget. PolitiFact is not questioning that the state gave away the $5,000 example offered by the Center of an expenditure item in the Governor’s Workforce Board from a prior year. PolitiFact is only saying that the Center did not fully explain what the $5,000 in hard earned taxpayer dollars was spent on.


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Pensions

Worldviews and Conflicts of Interest in Social Takeover

Worrying about minor conflicts of interest in government planning misses the point that progressivism is an ideology built around the idealization of conflicts of interest.


Press Conference & Request By Concerned Citizen, Bill Murphy, to Testify about Unfairness of Pension Settlement

[The following was received via e-mail this afternoon.]

Concerned Citizen Seeks to Testify about Unfairness of Pension Settlement to Taxpayers at Court Hearing Tuesday, Schedules Press Conference to Explain Request to the Public

Concerned citizen Dr. William J. Murphy will hold a press conference in front of the Frank Licht Judicial Complex at 250 Benefit Street in Providence at 4:30 PM on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 to explain to the public the reasons for his request to testify about the unfairness of the pension settlement to taxpayers at the ongoing fairness hearings in Superior Court. Dr. Murphy will deliver a statement emphasizing that the terms of the settlement itself as well as the impropriety of the court-supervised secret negotiation process that produced it have significantly harmed the financial welfare of taxpayers, violated the political rights of citizens, and severely damaged the public interest.

(EAST PROVIDENCE, RI – May 25, 2015) – Dr. William J. Murphy, a concerned resident of East Providence, has petitioned the Rhode Island Superior Court to testify at the ongoing pension settlement fairness hearing Tuesday. He held a press conference at Superior Court in Providence on Tuesday to issue a statement explaining the reasons for his request.

Dr. Murphy opened his remarks by saying that, “The pension settlement is grossly unfair to good citizens of Rhode Island because it adds over $290 million to the unfunded pension debt that the state’s already overburdened taxpayers cannot afford. Even more troubling, the terms of the settlement itself as well as everything about the nature of the process itself fail to demonstrate appropriate sensitivity to the economic hardships this increased tax burden would impose on elderly citizens living on fixed incomes as well as low-income younger taxpayers and their families who remain deprived of adequate economic opportunities in part because of the unaffordable state pension system, the high rates of taxation imposed to feed it, and the resulting negative consequences for the Ocean State’s economic competitiveness.


Retiree Liability and What You Owe

If the people of Rhode Island are going to come to grips with their pension and OPEB problem, journalists (and their editors) are going to have to figure out how the math works.


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Political Theory

The Technocrat’s Dehumanizing Turn Toward Tyranny

Matthew Bruenig offers a helpful illustration of how progressives mix ideology and equations in ways that dehumanize people for their benefit and search for power.


Worldviews and Conflicts of Interest in Social Takeover

Worrying about minor conflicts of interest in government planning misses the point that progressivism is an ideology built around the idealization of conflicts of interest.


The Promotion of Art Without Meaning

Meaninglessness in the arts and politics serves those who hold power by undermining those who might threaten it.


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Politics

Arthur Christopher Schaper: Cicilline Walks the Fence with Obama Iran Deal

Conspicuously absent from the list of Jewish Congressional Democrats who have come out against President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran is Rhode Island’s David Cicilline, and Arthur Christopher Schaper wonders what’s taking him so long.


Worldviews and Conflicts of Interest in Social Takeover

Worrying about minor conflicts of interest in government planning misses the point that progressivism is an ideology built around the idealization of conflicts of interest.


State Police Raises and “Neutral” Arbitration in Rhode Island

The appearance of Attorney Vincent Ragosta as both a “neutral arbitrator” for the state police and an important piece of the state police’s case against Cranston Mayor Allan Fung shows how Rhode Islanders cannot take any information from their state’s employees at face value.


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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

Park Avenue Bridge: Did the Wood Even Need to be Replaced? Was the Correct Part of the Bridge Repaired? “Lieutenant Colonel” Columbo Has a Few Questions

With the completely unacceptable, lose-lose for Rhode Island prospect of across-the-board vehicle tolling suddenly on the table, let’s take a closer look at a high-profile toll-related incident from a couple of months ago: the closure by RIDOT of the Park Avenue Bridge.

You may recall the WPRI investigation last month by Ted Nesi on the timing of the Park Avenue Bridge inspection. RIDOT had ordered an inspection – it turned into three inspections – of the Park Avenue Bridge in Cranston, a bridge just down the road from Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s office. The inspections resulted in the abrupt closing of the bridge at the height of Governor Raimondo’s attempt to get her tolling program passed by the General Assembly.


Updated – Terrible Tolls Would be a Win-Win for Governor Raimondo and a Lose-Lose for Rhode Island

From the wow-that-didn’t-take-long department, the Providence Journal’s Kathy Gregg, in a piece of kick-butt journalism yesterday, reports that the tolling of all vehicles is now on the table as an option. It seems that, at Speaker Mattiello’s suggestion, Governor Gina Raimondo is carrying out an “economic analysis”.

In recent months, the administration also commissioned an “economic analysis” of Raimondo’s truck-toll plan and a variety of other possible revenue-raising options that could, potentially, include: other new “user-fees,” gas taxes and a revived effort to toll all vehicles — not just big trucks — on Route 95 near the Connecticut border.


Want an Innovative “Knowledge Economy”? Cut Taxes.

A new study finds that changes in tax rates have a large effect star scientists. Rhode Island should cut taxes to attract them, but it should also learn the broader taxation lesson.


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Unions

State Police Raises and “Neutral” Arbitration in Rhode Island

The appearance of Attorney Vincent Ragosta as both a “neutral arbitrator” for the state police and an important piece of the state police’s case against Cranston Mayor Allan Fung shows how Rhode Islanders cannot take any information from their state’s employees at face value.


Park Avenue Bridge: Did the Wood Even Need to be Replaced? Was the Correct Part of the Bridge Repaired? “Lieutenant Colonel” Columbo Has a Few Questions

With the completely unacceptable, lose-lose for Rhode Island prospect of across-the-board vehicle tolling suddenly on the table, let’s take a closer look at a high-profile toll-related incident from a couple of months ago: the closure by RIDOT of the Park Avenue Bridge.

You may recall the WPRI investigation last month by Ted Nesi on the timing of the Park Avenue Bridge inspection. RIDOT had ordered an inspection – it turned into three inspections – of the Park Avenue Bridge in Cranston, a bridge just down the road from Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s office. The inspections resulted in the abrupt closing of the bridge at the height of Governor Raimondo’s attempt to get her tolling program passed by the General Assembly.


Updated – Terrible Tolls Would be a Win-Win for Governor Raimondo and a Lose-Lose for Rhode Island

From the wow-that-didn’t-take-long department, the Providence Journal’s Kathy Gregg, in a piece of kick-butt journalism yesterday, reports that the tolling of all vehicles is now on the table as an option. It seems that, at Speaker Mattiello’s suggestion, Governor Gina Raimondo is carrying out an “economic analysis”.

In recent months, the administration also commissioned an “economic analysis” of Raimondo’s truck-toll plan and a variety of other possible revenue-raising options that could, potentially, include: other new “user-fees,” gas taxes and a revived effort to toll all vehicles — not just big trucks — on Route 95 near the Connecticut border.


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Welfare

Hurting People with the Minimum Wage and Other Political Tactics

The scam of increasing the minimum wage harms the very people whom it is supposed to help, but helps the people who sell phony remedies for votes.


Thoughts on John Carr and the Balance of Individualism (With Video)

John Carr’s preview of Pope Francis’s message when he visits the United States this fall raises questions about the balance of the individual with the government in the eyes of the Church.


Arthur Christopher Schaper: Doing Things the Welfare Way in Woonsocket

As elected officials in Woonsocket battle over the budget process and the tax rate, Arthur Christopher Shaper reminds us of the dependence of city residents on welfare programs.


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