Topics

City/Town Government

The Message Government Sends When Everything’s Regulated

A society in which every action is potentially a violation of some law or regulation is one in which residents will think twice before doing anything in public, especially attempting to innovate and grow the economy.


The Double Scandal of Illegal School Choice

Yes, it’s a scandal that a Johnston City Council member whose husband collects a pension from the city (while also working for the state) sends her children to a different town’s high school, but it’s also a scandal that it’s a scandal.


Updated: H7147 Will Show Who Understands Rights, Democracy, and Freedom

The RI House will vote today on legislation that will show which legislators actually understand their constituents’ rights and are willing to defend them.


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Civil Rights

The Message Government Sends When Everything’s Regulated

A society in which every action is potentially a violation of some law or regulation is one in which residents will think twice before doing anything in public, especially attempting to innovate and grow the economy.


Testimony in Rhode Island Senate Judiciary on S2369


RI Campaign Finance Law Nears Its Unconstitutional Conclusion with H7147/S2369

Legislation targeting individuals who advocate on local ballot questions would infringe on constitutional rights and could expose the flaw in all campaign finance law.


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Congress

Distrust in Government Leads to Desire for… Big Government?

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


Rhode Island’s Brand: Don’t Even Try to Make It Here

Today’s edition of the Providence Journal offers an end-of-the-year snapshot of why the state is struggling and likely to continue doing so.


A Warning in Three Steps

The warning signs for civil unrest are all there, plain to see, but America’s ruling class is marching along nonetheless


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Culture & Family

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

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


The Message Government Sends When Everything’s Regulated

A society in which every action is potentially a violation of some law or regulation is one in which residents will think twice before doing anything in public, especially attempting to innovate and grow the economy.


Libertarian Illusions and The Walking Dead

Civilization isn’t a battle between the warriors and reality versus the managers and illusion. We all have an urge for hope and possibility and a responsibility to make reality what we know it ought to be.


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Economy

What’s Really in Your Best Interest? Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI)

This week on “What’s Really in Your Best Interest?”, we examine the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s new Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI.) (RIFreedom.org/JOI)

My guest this week is Justin Katz, the Research Director for the Center and Managing Editor of the Ocean State Current. Justin is the creator of the JOI measure, a new tool designed to give lawmakers a broader view of Rhode Island’s economy than the traditional unemployment rate.

JOI is a national index of states that incorporates three major factors, comprised of over a dozen variables derived from government reported data:

1) A proper measure of employment as it relates to labor force,
2) A measure of job/employment levels as compared with public assistance rolls, and;
3) A measure of personal income as compared with government tax receipts collected

Please watch the video now and see this months post on JOI here.


Buses, Details, and Ideology

If there’s a “conservative case” to be made for dedicated bus lanes, it’s more difficult in an area that’s swamped with a progressive system.


March 2016 Employment: On the Plus Side of Stagnation

Rhode Island’s employment results were generally positive, for March, but the context of other states and of long-term trends advises caution before proclaiming a break of the Ocean State’s stagnation fever.


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Education

The Double Scandal of Illegal School Choice

Yes, it’s a scandal that a Johnston City Council member whose husband collects a pension from the city (while also working for the state) sends her children to a different town’s high school, but it’s also a scandal that it’s a scandal.


Shout Down the Hate

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


Suicide Among the Transgendered and Dealing with Complicated Issues

Reducing the issue of transgenderism to simplistic declarations of discrimination illustrates how harmful broad and inflexible mandates can be.


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Energy & Environment

An Optimistic Economic Story for Rhode Island

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


A Dog Not Barking in the Cold Streetlights

When the government finds “no brainer” deals like Providence’s streetlight grab, you can be sure somebody’s selling the benefits of wealth redistribution.


RI Report Card: Rhode Island Government Still Failing Its People

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s Competitiveness Report Card for Rhode Island is less of an indication of how Rhode Islanders are doing than what insiders are doing to us.


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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

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

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


The Message Government Sends When Everything’s Regulated

A society in which every action is potentially a violation of some law or regulation is one in which residents will think twice before doing anything in public, especially attempting to innovate and grow the economy.


Testimony in Rhode Island Senate Judiciary on S2369


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Government

Buses, Details, and Ideology

If there’s a “conservative case” to be made for dedicated bus lanes, it’s more difficult in an area that’s swamped with a progressive system.


Cooler & Warmer Time Line and the Commerce Corp.’s Promotional Focus

The Commerce Corp. is being vague about the time line of the development of the failed “Cooler & Warmer” brand, which raises questions about what it’s hiding and whom it’s promoting.


The Commerce Corp. as RI’s Economic Development Geniuses

The multifariously botched roll-out of Rhode Island’s new marketing initiative, by the same agency that brought us 38 Studios, should raise questions about the wisdom of RI’s approach to economic development.


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Governor

What’s Really In Your Best Interest — Cooler or Warmer?

This week on “What’s Really In Your Best Interest? ” I discuss Rhode Island’s Cooler & Warmer fiasco. This rollout is yet another instance of government incompetence in the Ocean State. The arrogant response by Governor Gina Raimondo’s administration was perhaps even more telling; oozing contempt for those of us who honestly felt little connection with their marketing scheme. For years, our Center has been promoting family-friendly policies that directly benefit all Rhode Islanders, while opposing government-centric special interest deals for corporations, unions, and other insider groups. Rhode Island families deserve better than their elitist schemes.


Cooler & Warmer Time Line and the Commerce Corp.’s Promotional Focus

The Commerce Corp. is being vague about the time line of the development of the failed “Cooler & Warmer” brand, which raises questions about what it’s hiding and whom it’s promoting.


Raimondo, Healthcare, and Fascism

Fascism is a variety of socialism that allows government officials to blame private businesses that have no choice but to do what they’re told, as Rhode Island is seeing with its health care system.


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Healthcare

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

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


Raimondo, Healthcare, and Fascism

Fascism is a variety of socialism that allows government officials to blame private businesses that have no choice but to do what they’re told, as Rhode Island is seeing with its health care system.


Rhode Island Foundation’s Money from the State

Claims that $600,000 of revenue from the state to the Rhode Island Foundation was simply a “pass-through,” not a payment for services, appear to conflict with state documents related to the Chronic Care Sustainability Initiative.


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History

James Baar: Study Ignores How Spin Erodes RI Credibility

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


Having to Relearn the Lessons Learned Throughout History

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


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.


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Immigration

Shout Down the Hate

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


Can’t Battle Full Fantasy Socialism with Quasi Self-Serving Socialism

Those who fear the threat of Millennials’ full socialism must embrace a more-full conservatism.


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


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


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Infrastructure

James Kennedy: Signs from On High

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


Buses, Details, and Ideology

If there’s a “conservative case” to be made for dedicated bus lanes, it’s more difficult in an area that’s swamped with a progressive system.


What’s Really In Your Best Interest? James Kennedy Moving Together 6/10 Boulevard

This week on “What’s Really In Your Best Interest?” I sit down with James Kennedy of Transport Providence and a member of Moving Together Providence to discuss the 6/10 Boulevard concept for Rhode Island. Kennedy weighs in on the numerous benefits of the boulevard concept including reconnecting the traditional city grid and savings for taxpayers. I raised concerns about the need for dedicated bus lanes. But, we both agree that there is a better option than the Green Gateway being proposed by the RI DOT. Has RhodeWorks become a bait-and-switch for the Ocean State?


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Legislation

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

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


The Message Government Sends When Everything’s Regulated

A society in which every action is potentially a violation of some law or regulation is one in which residents will think twice before doing anything in public, especially attempting to innovate and grow the economy.


Testimony in Rhode Island Senate Judiciary on S2369


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Media

Pope Francis and the Instigating News Media

As always, on the matters of Donald Trump’s faith and the Church’s doctrine on contraception, people should be very slow to take news reports of Pope Francis’s statements at face value.


When Journalists’ Power Can Be Taken for Granted

In Washington and Rhode Island, journalists have been complaining about an increasing lack of respect among elected officials (mainly Democrats) for their authority, but will it change the fundamentals of their coverage?


Fitzpatrick’s Obama Blind Spot Regarding Mussolini and Trump

Comparing Donald Trump to Italian Fascist Benito Mussolini should cause a giant light bulb to go off for liberal journalists about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.


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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

Culture War Must Focus in on Mutual Understanding

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


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


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


A Warning in Three Steps

The warning signs for civil unrest are all there, plain to see, but America’s ruling class is marching along nonetheless


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On a Lighter Note

Shout Down the Hate

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


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.


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Pensions

An Optimistic Economic Story for Rhode Island

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


Another Government Office… Yeah, That’s the Ticket

Treasurer Seth Magaziner’s debt-oversight proposal and the Providence Journal’s endorsement of it avoid the fact that we can’t trust state government.


Not-So-Good-News from 2011 Pension Fund Projections

Pension fund data is complicated, so it’s risky to proclaim silver linings without knowing what caused the appearance of them.


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Political Theory

What’s Really In Your Best Interest — Cooler or Warmer?

This week on “What’s Really In Your Best Interest? ” I discuss Rhode Island’s Cooler & Warmer fiasco. This rollout is yet another instance of government incompetence in the Ocean State. The arrogant response by Governor Gina Raimondo’s administration was perhaps even more telling; oozing contempt for those of us who honestly felt little connection with their marketing scheme. For years, our Center has been promoting family-friendly policies that directly benefit all Rhode Islanders, while opposing government-centric special interest deals for corporations, unions, and other insider groups. Rhode Island families deserve better than their elitist schemes.


RI Campaign Finance Law Nears Its Unconstitutional Conclusion with H7147/S2369

Legislation targeting individuals who advocate on local ballot questions would infringe on constitutional rights and could expose the flaw in all campaign finance law.


Raimondo, Healthcare, and Fascism

Fascism is a variety of socialism that allows government officials to blame private businesses that have no choice but to do what they’re told, as Rhode Island is seeing with its health care system.


Back to top



Politics

What’s Really In Your Best Interest — Cooler or Warmer?

This week on “What’s Really In Your Best Interest? ” I discuss Rhode Island’s Cooler & Warmer fiasco. This rollout is yet another instance of government incompetence in the Ocean State. The arrogant response by Governor Gina Raimondo’s administration was perhaps even more telling; oozing contempt for those of us who honestly felt little connection with their marketing scheme. For years, our Center has been promoting family-friendly policies that directly benefit all Rhode Islanders, while opposing government-centric special interest deals for corporations, unions, and other insider groups. Rhode Island families deserve better than their elitist schemes.


A Republican Primary Primer


As we head towards Presidential Primary Day in Rhode Island, Anchor Rising/Ocean State Current would like to do its part to reduce the number of surprises that people might experience during the Republican primary and corresponding delegate selection process. So, be aware that…

1. Republican Primary voters will be voting in 3 elections, not 1.

2. Because of the 10% threshold rule, it is very possible that John Kasich and Ted Cruz will emerge from Rhode Island with at least 3 delegates each.

3. Primary voters can participate in choosing the delegates for any of the candidates, not just the one candidate they vote for — and if no candidate has a majority of delegates heading into the convention, this could matter.


Testimony in Rhode Island Senate Judiciary on S2369


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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

What’s Really in Your Best Interest? Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI)

This week on “What’s Really in Your Best Interest?”, we examine the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s new Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI.) (RIFreedom.org/JOI)

My guest this week is Justin Katz, the Research Director for the Center and Managing Editor of the Ocean State Current. Justin is the creator of the JOI measure, a new tool designed to give lawmakers a broader view of Rhode Island’s economy than the traditional unemployment rate.

JOI is a national index of states that incorporates three major factors, comprised of over a dozen variables derived from government reported data:

1) A proper measure of employment as it relates to labor force,
2) A measure of job/employment levels as compared with public assistance rolls, and;
3) A measure of personal income as compared with government tax receipts collected

Please watch the video now and see this months post on JOI here.


The Message Government Sends When Everything’s Regulated

A society in which every action is potentially a violation of some law or regulation is one in which residents will think twice before doing anything in public, especially attempting to innovate and grow the economy.


People Have Value, Spiritually and Economically

All people have value, rich or poor, in spiritual terms and in economic terms; it’s our imbalance toward government and away from Christianity that has been slowing our progress.


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Unions

Buses, Details, and Ideology

If there’s a “conservative case” to be made for dedicated bus lanes, it’s more difficult in an area that’s swamped with a progressive system.


Toward Defining Our Society’s Fundamental Problem

Maybe our problem is that people are conditioned to be comfortable with the fact that our machines operate in a way we don’t understand based on an infrastructure we never see.


James Cournoyer: Tolls – Resist the Urge to Create a Big Bang Wrapped in the Worn Flag of “Economic Growth” and “Creating Jobs”

Dear Members of the General Assembly,

Please vote against Governor Raimondo’s and Speaker Mattiello’s Rhodeworks plan that calls for Tolls and more Debt.

RI may have the worse roads and bridges, but we are also saddled with one of the highest Debt burdens in the nation – both on a per capita basis and as a percentage of Gross State Product. We simply do not need more debt.

The Governor explained to us in October that the RIDOT, which has a stunning $450+ million budget this year, was “dysfunctional” and that they “never produced start-to-finish budgets and schedules”. That is precisely the reason our roads are in such disrepair. It is NOT due to a lack of funding; rather, it is due to a lack of planning and oversight, and gross mismanagement.

Tolls will simply add to RI’s already notorious national reputation of being “anti-business”.


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Welfare

Universal Basic Income and Stacked Balls of Flaw

James Kennedy raises an analogy from physics to support a universal basic income, but he’s got the analogy wrong.


People Have Value, Spiritually and Economically

All people have value, rich or poor, in spiritual terms and in economic terms; it’s our imbalance toward government and away from Christianity that has been slowing our progress.


A Real Demographic Issue, and the Solutions

Want to help the poor and foster income equality? Do the opposite of what progressive Democrats push through their policies.


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