Topics

City/Town Government

10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 39 (A Providence Income Tax)

Justin and Bob Plain discuss the notion of a municipal income tax in Providence


Arthur Norwalk: No Stops for Voter Approval on Providence Streetcar

The proposed Providence Streetcar (a proposal that never seems to go away) is a case study in the problematic funding, planning, and daydreaming that characterizes government projects in Rhode Island.


10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 35 (Cianci and the Providence Mayoral Campaign)

Andrew and Samuel Bell discuss the Cianci effect in the Providence mayoral campaign.


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Civil Rights

Little Towns, Big (Government) Guns

The events in Ferguson, MO have drawn widespread public attention to the increasing militarization of local police departments. It’s a topic that has been discussed amongst civil–rights minded folks for the last decade or so and has both national and local impact.


George Shuster: Obama’s War on We the People (Told You So)

Early indications of President Obama’s disrespect for freedom of speech have blossomed into an attack on the very fabric of our republic.


A Constitutional Convention for Rhode Island? The Pros and Cons of Democracy and Rights


Steven Brown of the RI Chapter of the ACLU: “The votes that voters get to choose across the country are on some of the most divisive, controversial, social, ideological issues there are; abortion, gay rights, same-sex marriage, anti-immigrant. We are deluding ourselves if we think we can hold a convention and not have those issues come to the fore….What’s troubling about that is that we are talking about individual rights that should not be subject to majoritarian control. You’ll hear about all of the safeguards that are in place; first you have to elect the delegates, and then the convention has to vote to approve an amendment, then it’s up to the voters to approve or reject it….They aren’t safeguards, when you’re talking about minority rights”.

Professor Jared Goldstein: “On a basic level, the concern that we’ll have a runaway convention, or that they’ll pass recommendations that are contrary to our fundamental rights is really a point of view that expresses simple, profound distrust of the people, that is, we can’t trust the people the enact legislation that will help us because they may take away our constitutional rights….Don’t we want the people to decide these fundamental questions about what our society is like?…If the answer is no, then who do we trust? Do we just want the judges to decide what our rights are? What are they basing them on?”


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Congress

Mark Zaccaria on Issues Facing the US Senate


After his campaign announcement, Republican Senatorial candidate Mark Zaccaria answered questions posed by Anchor Rising on the subjects of:

The guiding principle and vision of American foreign policy.

Where to go on Obamacare, from where we now are.

The institutional way to deal with executive overreach.

The gulf between the elites and the people, on illegal immigration.


Mark Zaccaria Announces for Senate


Mark Zaccaria: “[Y]our taxes, your food and your housing costs are all up as a result of what the Federal Government has done, and Jack Reed has voted yes for every single one of those increases, certainly during the last couple of terms. I contend that Rhode Islanders are ready to vote no, and it’s about high time.

But they have to have a choice to be able to do that, to be able to vote for better monetary policy, or smaller government that costs less, so that it takes less money out of your pockets. You have to have that alternative on the ballot. I hope to be the face of that message to the hard-working, tax-paying men and women of Rhode Island during this campaign.

There is another way, folks. We can do that. And I will be making that point, to anyone who will listen to me, every day between now and the fourth of November…you don’t have to vote for the guy you voted for last time. In fact, it might be better if you voted for somebody new.”


What the Republican Establishment Needs to Take Away From Eric Cantor’s Loss


GOP voters are much less likely than Democratic party voters (or Democratic party elites, for that matter) to reject economics. They thus realize that the intra-coalition deal where the establishment gets an immigration amnesty and lower wages for everyone, while the rest of the GOP gets to listen to the establishment elite posture ineffectively on other issues but never actually achieve anything, isn’t a good one.

If Wall Street/Chamber of Commerce types are interested in helping to build a stronger Republican party at the national level, their path forward is this: Invest some energy into an issue or two other than amnesty.


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Culture & Family

10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 40 (Public Funding of Art)

Justin and Bob Plain discuss the morality and economics of funding art through the government.


Don’t Abort a Constitutional Convention Over Scare Tactics

Government insiders want to do to the constitutional convention what they do to any opposition that comes their way — kill it before it can be born.


Philosophy on a Folding Chair: Theft of Good Feeling


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Economy

July 2014 Employment: The Dream Is Over

Rhode Island’s statistical employment surge came to a screeching halt in July, but not before putting the Ocean State in company with the Deep South. (Of course, the numbers still look likely to be revised downward dramatically in January.)


The People Are Leaving. Be Angry.

News that productive people seeking to build a life are leaving Rhode Island is not new, but Rhode Islanders have to start being angry about it.


About That Part-Time Job Theory

Whatever is generating the strange statistics in the labor market, a shift toward part-time work doesn’t appear to provide a satisfactory explanation.


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Education

Gist: Let Another Full Grade Go Through High School Without System Accountability

RI Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has decided it’s reasonable to hold off on standardized testing as a graduation requirement until the next decade, and Rhode Islanders should expect it to be delayed again, and again.


Fact-Checking Sheehan’s Anti-Gist Attack

Sen. James Sheehan uses official State House channels to issue an attack on Education Commissioner Deborah Gist and winds up illustrating the mentality that teachers unions foster.


The Education Legacy of the Chafee Era

NAEP scores and comparisons of trends across the country suggest that the stall of education reform during the Chafee era has not been good for Rhode Island’s children.


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Environment

Of Free Markets and Atlantic Salmon

The evisceration of the Atlantic salmon is not a tale of free-market self destruction, but of society’s evolving needs and priorities, which are highly contingent on wealth.


The Ups and Down of Climate Alarmism

Looking into Rhode Island’s ranking as one of the nation’s top climate changers over the past 40 years shows that tempering alarm might not be unreasonable.


10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 28 (Climate Change & Struggling RI)

Justin and Bob Plain discuss the relevance of climate change in a tiny, economically struggling state like Rhode Island.


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Gambling

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.


Ballot Questions for the Voters

A brief analysis of the referenda questions that will appear on this November’s ballot in RI suggests that the state would be better off reordering its priorities, rather than expanding debt and doubling down on casinos.


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General Assembly

Legislator Contracts and Contractors for Ethics Commission Purposes

Whether it violates the Code of Ethics for legislators or their employers to take money from state agencies depends on the specifics of the case and requires clarification from the state Ethics Commission.


Don’t Abort a Constitutional Convention Over Scare Tactics

Government insiders want to do to the constitutional convention what they do to any opposition that comes their way — kill it before it can be born.


One in Six Legislators, Employers Have Received Payments from the State

Representative Peter Palumbo isn’t the only legislator in the General Assembly whose places of business have received money from the state government. The Ocean State Current takes a look at some of the others.


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Government

10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 40 (Public Funding of Art)

Justin and Bob Plain discuss the morality and economics of funding art through the government.


Don’t Abort a Constitutional Convention Over Scare Tactics

Government insiders want to do to the constitutional convention what they do to any opposition that comes their way — kill it before it can be born.


A Constitutional Convention in Rhode Island; Citizen Democracy in Action

A constitutional convention could help bring an end to a state government of the special interests, by the special interests, and for the special interests.


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Governor

The Education Legacy of the Chafee Era

NAEP scores and comparisons of trends across the country suggest that the stall of education reform during the Chafee era has not been good for Rhode Island’s children.


Budget Growth and Household Income

Working with the federal government, the state government of Rhode Island has managed to keep its budget growing more quickly than inflation. The people of Rhode Island, however, have not been so lucky.


Let’s Remember That Governor Chafee’s Administration Agreed to Change 38 Studios’ Monitoring Reports From Written to Verbal

A report commissioned by Governor Chafee and released on Friday bolsters – surprise! – the governor’s desire for Rhode Island taxpayers to repay the 38 Studios bonds. It concludes that Rhode Island’s (borrowing) world would end and our bonds would likely go to junk status if we defaulted on the 38 Studios bond payments.

Andrew and Justin have done an excellent job demonstrating the bogosity of the report’s arguments; Andrew thoroughly rebutting John Simmons’ testimony to the Oversight Committee last week which previewed the findings of the report.

Now the question is, why would Governor Chafee, who vociferously opposed, as a candidate, giving a loan guarantee to 38 Studios, now be so in favor of repaying the moral obligation debt?


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Healthcare

Government, Academics, and Journalists… RI’s Lead Weight

A Providence Journal article extolling the virtues of lead-paint regulations fails to acknowledge a downside or provide context for the harm it seeks to alleviate.


10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 36 (Hobby Lobby, Freedom, & Health Care)

Justin and Bob Plain discuss the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision and the underlying issues of freedom and health care.


Supporters of HealthSoviet RI

Rhode Islanders shouldn’t buy what supporters of an initiative to pass every healthcare dollar in Rhode Island through HealthSource RI are selling.


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History

The World the West is Creating with Vladimir Putin


Is there a better way than political authoritarianism and stunted economic growth that Vladimir Putin’s subjects (including high-ranking oligarchs) might want to consider? Western elites might not like to admit this, but ratcheting up an “uncivilized” tribal strategy may be an effective way for Putin and current Russian leadership to answer this question in the negative, by boosting the morale (at least in the short term) of his Russian followers, and by frightening an “internationalist” coalition away from being willing to take the steps necessary to slow his expansion.

The ultimate effectiveness of this strategy depends on the strength and the nature of the coherence of the adversary that Russia faces.


Immigrant Children as Political Chips

Progressive historians will one day attribute the Obama Administration-facilitated humanitarian crisis on the border to the racist evils of the United States.


Dorr Was Cool, Until He Wasn’t

Steve Ahlquist has published a portion of the testimony he will be giving in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Senate Bill 2641, which is an attempt to revoke Rhode Island’s current Voter ID law. Calling upon the memory of “Governor” Thomas Dorr, Ahlquist writes: Arguably, next to Roger Williams, no Rhode Islander has [...]


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Immigration

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.


10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 37 (WJAR Gubernatorial Debates & Immigration)

Justin and Bob Plain discuss the first Republican and Democrat gubernatorial debates on Channel 10, WJAR, with some emphasis on the illegal immigration crisis.


Illegal Aliens and RI Social Programs: Qualifying Documentation Ranges from Strong to Alarmingly Weak

… In response to an inquiry from Ocean State Current-Anchor Rising, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services sent over several documents. One of those listed all of the documents that an applicant for social services can submit to verify citizenship qualification for those benefits.


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Infrastructure

10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 38 (Funding Transportation)

Justin and Bob Plain talk transportation infrastructure funding.


Tax Policy, Migration, and the Battle of Good and Evil in Rhode Island, Part 2

Jason Becker poses some questions to Justin on tax policy, government services, and the migration of Rhode Islanders.


Tax Policy, Migration, and the Battle of Good and Evil in Rhode Island, Part 1

Jason Becker poses some questions to Justin on tax policy, government services, and the migration of Rhode Islanders.


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Legislation

Profit as Theft from the Collective

Disdain for “for profit” companies is an indication that progressives believe all property actually belongs to the government, and taking extra is a type of theft.


Supporters of HealthSoviet RI

Rhode Islanders shouldn’t buy what supporters of an initiative to pass every healthcare dollar in Rhode Island through HealthSource RI are selling.


Rhode Island Policy: Single Payer Healthcare and Rationing

Legislation to create a “health care authority,” complete with a commissioner with no other duties, is an attempt to crack the door for government-run health care.


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Media

The People Are Leaving. Be Angry.

News that productive people seeking to build a life are leaving Rhode Island is not new, but Rhode Islanders have to start being angry about it.


Freedom as Guarantor of Justice

The story of the Obama administration, and its path toward tyranny, becomes clearer with each scandal (whether or not the media reports it objectively).


$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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Musings & Announcements

Just to See If We Can

A point of risk and strain on a construction site gives some indication of how we should approach 2014.


Katz in Today’s ProJo: Participation In Boycott of WPRO Is Evidence That the Person Is Not Fit to Hold Office

Ed Fitzpatrick’s column in today’s Providence Journal is about the public union led attempt to boycott WPRO until they fire John Depetro. As preamble, I repeat my own take on this brouhaha: I don’t agree with Depetro’s use of those epithets. They were nasty and unnecessary. However, if Depetro had made his comments about the [...]


A Theory of Success; Confession

It’s easy to lump people into categories of their visible life circumstances, but life and luck aren’t so easily defined.


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National Security

The World the West is Creating with Vladimir Putin


Is there a better way than political authoritarianism and stunted economic growth that Vladimir Putin’s subjects (including high-ranking oligarchs) might want to consider? Western elites might not like to admit this, but ratcheting up an “uncivilized” tribal strategy may be an effective way for Putin and current Russian leadership to answer this question in the negative, by boosting the morale (at least in the short term) of his Russian followers, and by frightening an “internationalist” coalition away from being willing to take the steps necessary to slow his expansion.

The ultimate effectiveness of this strategy depends on the strength and the nature of the coherence of the adversary that Russia faces.


Watching the President from the Other Side

Many among the conservative commentariate have quickly gotten past their brief flirtation with “I told you so” and are moving toward a tone of slow, aching disconcertment.


Government United in Surveillance, People Divided

An opportunity for unified action by all Americans looks likely to be thwarted by the discord that the government and political agents have sowed.


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On a Lighter Note

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

Sgouros’s Convenient, Inappropriate Spin on Pensions

Tom Sgouros’s soothing words about the pre-reform state pension fund should be dismissed… especially by those whose retirements rely on the numbers’ working out in the long term.


The Ultimate Joy of Overtime, Part Three of Three: 3 State Employees Tripled Their Pay With O.T.

RIOpenGov data finds three state employees who managed to triple their income, or more, with overtime.


The Joys of Overtime, Part Two of Three: 102 State Employees Doubled or Better (100-199%) Their Salary with O.T.

The RIOpenGov Web site shows 102 state employees who doubled their salaries or more with overtime and other pay.


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Political Theory

Legislator Contracts and Contractors for Ethics Commission Purposes

Whether it violates the Code of Ethics for legislators or their employers to take money from state agencies depends on the specifics of the case and requires clarification from the state Ethics Commission.


Philosophy on a Folding Chair: Theft of Good Feeling


Making a Stand Far from the Cliff

Why stand our ground in Rhode Island? Because somewhere in the world, the easier decision is to throw your children to their merciful death.


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Politics

Don’t Abort a Constitutional Convention Over Scare Tactics

Government insiders want to do to the constitutional convention what they do to any opposition that comes their way — kill it before it can be born.


One in Six Legislators, Employers Have Received Payments from the State

Representative Peter Palumbo isn’t the only legislator in the General Assembly whose places of business have received money from the state government. The Ocean State Current takes a look at some of the others.


A Constitutional Convention in Rhode Island; Citizen Democracy in Action

A constitutional convention could help bring an end to a state government of the special interests, by the special interests, and for the special interests.


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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

Don’t Abort a Constitutional Convention Over Scare Tactics

Government insiders want to do to the constitutional convention what they do to any opposition that comes their way — kill it before it can be born.


Philosophy on a Folding Chair: Theft of Good Feeling


10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 39 (A Providence Income Tax)

Justin and Bob Plain discuss the notion of a municipal income tax in Providence


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Unions

Gist: Let Another Full Grade Go Through High School Without System Accountability

RI Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has decided it’s reasonable to hold off on standardized testing as a graduation requirement until the next decade, and Rhode Islanders should expect it to be delayed again, and again.


Philosophy on a Folding Chair: Theft of Good Feeling


Feeling the Tightening of the Special Interest Manacles

Providence Firefighter Tom Kenney may hold the key to the antidote to save Rhode Island and the United States.


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Welfare

Philosophy on a Folding Chair: Theft of Good Feeling


Rhode Island Fix a Philosophical Shift; Contra Renn, Part 5 of 6

Part 5 of a response to Aaron Renn: What kills the entrepreneurial spirit in Rhode Island?


Rhode Island Fix a Philosophical Shift; Contra Renn, Part 4 of 6

Aaron Renn’s prescriptions for RI. Part 4: Who is the “you” who puts us to use?


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